Beyond Belief

Beyond Belief

The Beyond is the second film in Lucio Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy, and ain’t that special.

It’s pretty gory, which caused a fuss when it was released back in the olden days (1981).

Today, however, it’s difficult to imagine what could possibly cause anything short of a snuff film to be banned, except for obvious things: racism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, transism, treeism, shrubberyism, dentalstudentism…

Oh, I almost forgot Islamophobia! Boy, do I need to check my privilege.

Speaking of privilege, a dopey New York woman named Liza inherits a crappy old hotel in New Orleans and instead of selling it she decides to fix it up because it’ll be great!

Never mind the water in the basement and the dead bodies in the walls and the blind woman in the garden — it’s also a portal to the underworld.

And to severe boredom. For every eye-popping gross-out scene, there are interminable stretches of “I feel…something” and “Where is my wrench?”

It ends unhappily. But you already guessed that.

Disgusting, intermittently. Boring, constantly. Avoid, eternally.

Two coils.


Lots of this…


And this…


Culminating in this…



Earning this
Adventure! Excitement!

Adventure! Excitement!

I have a week off between Christmas and New Year’s, and in the spirit of adventure I am cleaning my apartment from top to bottom, getting some new furniture, and culling the piles of CDs, DVDs and books that threaten me daily.

This is exhausting work. Also dusty.

So last night I sank into the $10 transfer station couch that is going to end its 14 years of service when a new one is delivered day after tomorrow and fired up three films that are adventure stories of one sort or another.

I began with Deathstalker and the Warriors from Hell. This is, the internet informs me, the last sword ‘n’ sorcery flick made by Roger Corman in Argentina.

It is also my favorite of the first three Deathstalker films. (The final two are essentially the same film and of no use to anyone.)

It is my favorite because it features character actor Thom Christopher as the evil warlock Troxartes.

John Lazar does a fine job with the similar character in number two, but Thom gets the edge because he channels Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard.

To wit:


Troxartes is simply teeming with evil here.

It also features the famous potato scene, between Deathstalker and the mother/daughter combo who live in the canyon and raise horses and potatoes. That the women are proto-Third Wave feminists goes without saying. (The hair.)



Next up was Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with its rabbit jokes,  discussions of avian migration, and the endless peril. Also French taunting and the brave but somewhat delusional Black Knight.




I completed the journey from ridiculous to more ridiculous to weird and creepy and ridiculous with A Clockwork Orange, which I haven’t watched in 30 years.

It remains a disturbing film. The Ludovico Technique is particularly gruesome, as is the interior decorating at the DeLarge home.

I’d like to see someone try to make it today. I think it would ruffle a lot of feathers across the political and cultural spectrum.

The Return of Mylar Ovaltine

The Return of Mylar Ovaltine


Stray thoughts on “Rogue One” —

  • Would it kill the screenwriters to invent a character with a regular Earth name? “Han Solo” is about as close as you’ll ever get to “Joe Smith” in one of these things. Everyone else has a handle like “Mylar Ovaltine” or “Smarm Jazzbo” and it’s hard to keep it straight.
  • Why don’t the platforms that abound in space cities have guard rails?
  • Computer Peter Cushing was pretty good. No reason not to have a Hammer Films Dracula remake, complete with a computer Christopher Lee and a computer Ingrid Pitt.
  • Forest Whitaker was quite splendid as Don King.
  • The kung fu blind monk was excellent, and I was pleased the filmmakers stayed true to the martial arts movie tradition that only one bad guy may attack at a time.
  • The scene where the Imperial troopers are ambushed by the insurgents could have been an outtake from “American Sniper.”
  • Nice “On the Beach” moment at the end.
The Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Mummy Is Better Than Citizen Kane

The Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Mummy Is Better Than Citizen Kane

The Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Mummy (1964) is quite possibly the best film ever made. It answers two questions that have always bothered large segments of humanity:

1) Can bad guys really run around on ancient Aztec pyramids in those pointy little shoes without tripping?

2) Can women in tight sweaters and Capri pants really save the world from an Ancient Evil?

In this fine film by the immortal Rene Cardona and recut and dubbed by the equally deathless K. Gordon Murray (director of Cell Block Girls and producer of Shanty Tramp and Santa’s Magic Kingdom) , the Wrestling Women get on the trail of some thugs in the pay of the evil Black Dragon who have swiped the sacred Aztec breastplate. The chase goes hither and yon, with many fine wrestling sequences, some of them between the actors’ lips and the dubbed dialogue.

After an enormous amount of plot and the introduction of the “Purloined Letter” theory of hidden camera placement (i.e. if you’re going to spy on someone with a hidden camera just shove it in the bookcase), the breathtaking chase takes us to the Aztec pyramid, which has steps, unlike the Egyptian kind. (See, you get some archaeology with this picture too.)

And soon enough we get the answers to those questions.

The Aztec Mummy is worth the price of admission alone. He makes a heartbreaking “waaargh” sound that really makes you wonder what it’s like to be locked for centuries in an airless room guarding a princess’ remains when all of a sudden bad guys in ill-fitting suits and pointy shoes, and female wrestlers in tight sweaters and missile-silo brassieres come barging in, stirring up the dust and generally making nuisances of themselves.

To sum up: Bad dialogue, worse dubbing. Female wrestlers. Asian female wrestlers. Comic book villains. Unconvincing, wailing mummy. Short neckties and peak lapels. Gratuitous driving back and forth to the ancient pyramid. Capri pants. Girls in tights. The parts that aren’t bizarre are idiotic. Short.

Better than Citizen Kane and a damn sight cheaper to buy, too. Plus the version I have is a two-fer, with Doctor of Doom, which is, if anything, worse.

A heartfelt four coil rating.

(Click here to read a highly academic article that requires 1000 words to reach the same conclusion)

The Remedy for Post-Election Blues

The Remedy for Post-Election Blues


Lori is willing to atone for being a member of the imperialist hegemony


Okay, progressives. Time to snap out of your Donald Doldrums with a truly inspiring film, Zombi Holocaust, which if made today would have it’s own GoFundMe page.

This tells the inspiring story of how the indigenous peoples of the Mollucan Islands reclaim their heritage from the white cisgender patriarchy.


Zombie vs. outboard motor. Typical use of technology to oppress the masses.


See, someone is swiping body parts from the recently deceased at a New York hospital.

Lori decides to go with Dr. Peter Chandler to the islands to investigate. They bring along the boorish misogynistic racist George and investigative journalist Susan. George, always problematic, insists on calling Susan “his” “girlfriend,” like she’s his, like, property.

They all go the wrong island because everybody assumes that their Mollucan guide Mollotto understands Western maps, which completely disregards the indigenous people’s holistic understanding of their environment.


Fitting retribution for cisgender white male’s habitual practice of eye rape


There they find cannibals and, later on, zombies, who are all victims of the typical white mad scientist Dr. Obrero, who in spite of his Hispanic heritage is just another agent of the hegemony.

George gets his eyes poked out and eaten, which is entirely justified because he was looking at Susan like he was his, like, property.

Susan is carried away by the cannibals who unfortunately bring her to Dr. Obrero for some completely coercive neuro-surgery and haircut.


An alt-right zombie, doing only what his Fuhrer commands


Despite being deprived of their Western weaponry and thus powerless to spread oppression, Peter manages to set Dr. Obrero’s operating barn on fire.

Meanwhile Lori is privileged to be the guest of honor at the cannibals’ sacred ritual. They lovingly paint flowers on her, prior to having her get into a completely indigenous altar thing, prior to the sacrifice.

Lori doesn’t make a sound. She is clearly willing to give her life to make up for thousands of years of white imperialist oppression against all peoples of color.

But the altar suddenly levitates and the democratically-elected leader of the cannibals sings a sacred song to signify that they must all go to the barn and kill the doctor.


Lori, about to make amends for centuries of oppression


Peter escapes and joins Lori, who has somehow acquired a dress. They watch as the cannibals reassert their indgenous and completely organic pride.

Obviously, the cannibals represent the misguided Trump voters, who ignored their own socio-political interests to vote for Dr. Obrero.

The zombies are the alt-right, capable only of obeying Dr. Trump’s orders.

The other characters are archetypes of an exploded and archaic fascist system.

It’s amazing that this prescient film was made by Italian schlock director Marino Girolami in 1980 on a budget of $87.

There are several scenes of Lori naked, which serve to illustrate her strength in the face of the hegemony. Especially the garter belt.

Two clenched fists.

fist fist




How to be helpful in these stressful times

How to be helpful in these stressful times



I realize my progressive friends are having a tough time since the election, and I understand.


I recognize they are moving through the five stages of grief, albeit slightly modified.

Stage 1: Denial

Stage 2: Denial

Stage 3: Denial

Stage 4: Insane shit

Stage 5: Denial combined with insane shit.

Stage 5 will last four years minimum.

But as we all know, there comes a time when sympathy is misplaced. It actually does more harm than good.

So it’s time for a little tough love.

Tell your friends “Don’t worry — I’ll bring vegan care packages to the concentration camp! And just think of the weight you’ll lose!”

Or “With all the illegals gone, you’ll finally be able to ditch that career as a barista and mow lawns instead!”

Or “No need to sweat that conversational Spanish class now!”

Or “I’m sure you can find a buyer on eBay for your deluxe Koran.”

Or “With tax reform, you’ll finally be able to express your patriotism by paying federal taxes instead of getting a refund!”

Or “With Facebook protecting you from fake news, the chances of you encountering a contrary opinion and having a hissy fit are almost nil!”

I’m sure you can think of your own compassionate sentiments to help the liberals in your life too.

As they say, “Let’s begin this national conversation.”

Father’s Day grinds along

Father’s Day grinds along



A half-nekkid stripper is enjoying a smoke in her dressing room when a fat cannibal nerd invades her privacy and starts smacking her around.

Annoyed, she sets about him with a chainsaw.

Alas, the nerd wrests it from her and…

What does this have to do with the plot of Father’s Day? Beats me.

The flick is an artsy homage to 1970s grindhouse exploitation films and is supposed to be funny.

Mostly it’s confusing.

Heavy gross-out factor, including but limited to: anal rape, penis-eating, entrail-eating, non-medical crowbar removal, DIY circumcision (I think).

Half a dozen of the most unerotic breasts in sleaze film history.

Multiple flashbacks, for extra confusion.

Presented as a late night movie on a UHF station, with exciting scenes from the other late night flicks, which is sort of clever.

On the DVD you have to fight your way past the Troma Team introduction. There’s a four-disc version, which is four too many, and a one-disc version, which appears to have been burned by someone in a basement. Buyer beware.

So on one hand there are all the elements that make for a good exploitation flick, and on the other hand there is the undeniable fact that the flick sucks.

Worth a look if it doesn’t cost anything and you’re not expecting anything. Two coils.





Butthurt Alert!

Butthurt Alert!

The American left never misses a chance to act like brainless little twerps. Here are some examples from the Soros gang in reaction to the election of Donald Trump.

(Hey, is George paying that $15 an hour wage yet?)

Brilliant Strategy Department:

Nothing persuades people to rally to your cause like…

Delaying them for hours on the way home from work.

Work. Employment. You know — that thing the people who pay the taxes do while you plan your protests.




Those fall evenings are pretty chilly, so you’ll want to start a cheery blaze.



One surefire way to get street cred — and maybe get a gig as a protest coordinator — is to get in a cop’s face. Be sure to have your friends close by to capture the special moment when the dedicated public servant decides he’s had enough.

I wonder if this representative of the cisgender patriarchy realizes he’s oppressing a minority?



Rules for weenie radicals: Always show the courage of your convictions by wearing a mask.

(And for God’s sake zip up your fly, Boston Guy Fawkes dude.)



Here is the supreme sacrifice — a social justice warrior throws his bike at the fascist troops. Oh, wait, it’s someone else’s bike.


Is this her natural expression?


Jared is cool as a cucumber in our Uncle Sam formal outfit ($2695 at Neiman Marcus)


Dear Progressives: This is why you lost. Nobody likes being harangued — especially through a bullhorn.


Not for nothing, but if you spoke English your sign might be a little more effective.


I guess they were all out of Pol Pot hoodies


Cher said she was moving to Jupiter, but here she is, looking like Michael Jackson — which pretty much amounts to the same thing.


So what do you want? An award?


Another look at The Slumber Party Massacre

Another look at The Slumber Party Massacre




Now in glorious Blu-Ray, “The Slumber Party Massacre” demonstrates, once again, why it is vitally important to keep a neat tool bench.

Why is it of vital importance?

Because you never know when a fiend armed with a drill with a very large bit will crash your slumber party and require repelling.

The Blu-Ray edition of Amy Jones’ 1982 slasher classic has some very amusing interviews that make the claim that the flick is much smarter than it appears to be.

This is a little like the fellow who said the music of Richard Wagner isn’t as bad as it sounds.

The screenplay was written by Rita Mae Brown, a minor feminist figure of sorts who writes mysteries to pay the bills.

(These are the “Mrs. Murphy” mysteries, featuring a postmistress and a cat. I have not delved into the series, though I think I’m on safe ground when I say they don’t involve driller killers.)

Ultimately the bl — er, credit for TSPM goes to Roger Corman.

Which means whatever subtle nuances were built into the original story were pretty much obliterated by the need for blood and mayhem and of course gratuitous female nekkidity.

Indeed, before the party has even started there are eight breasts and two butts.

The breast total winds up at 11, by the way. (The odd number reflects a couple of profile shots and one grope.)

There are a few moments of slapstick that almost work, but for the most part, the best you can say is that TSPM is a competent piece of low-budget moviemaking.

In the exciting interview extra, actor Michael Villella, who played the killer Russ Thorn, wears an ascot and a sort of smoking jacket and talks about how as a Method actor he brought the part to life, enduring cold swimming pools and other indignities.

This is almost as good as the film itself.

Summary: Eleven breasts, two nekkid butts (in shower). Tight pants on everyone, even the killer. Gravity-defying 1980s hair, also on everyone. Many many many “Oh don’t open the door” moments. Corpse in refrigerator. Death by pizza delivery. Post-mortem pizza eating. A paltry two quarts of blood. Dramatic piano playing by heroine. Discussion of Los Angeles Dodgers roster.  Girl’s basketball. Playgirl magazine. Stupid creepy next-door neighbor. Almost everybody dies. Magic portable drill that never needs charging. Short.

Everybody should see “The Slumber Party Massacre.” And hardly anyone will want to see it twice, glorious Blu-ray or not.


Tenkara madness, snake alerts

Tenkara madness, snake alerts

I was given a Temple Fork Outfitters Tenkara rod (the 10’6″ Soft Hackle model) for my birthday, and it remained in the wrapper until the giver was around to show me what to do.

I have since deployed the thing with great success on the Housatonic River, mostly for smallmouth bass.

I also bought a smaller one for use in small trout streams.

It’s a fixed-line rod, no reel, and it telescopes out. When in the closed position it’s easily stuck in a day pack.

Backpacking anglers love them. So do more sedentary types.

Meanwhile giant snakes are everywhere, especially on the Housatonic. It’s so warm and dry that even the snakes need to cool off.

So fishing upstream of the Amesville Bridge, on heightened snake alert, I beheld an enormous serpent.

It rose up out of the river, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

Well…that’s a little exaggerated.

But it was still a big snake, just hanging around waiting for some oaf like yours truly to come blundering by.

Also upstream of the bridge, a comprehensive effort by those mysterious Rockpile People.

I see this everywhere I fish — rocks arranged in piles, for an unknown purpose.

These intrepid Rockpilers braved the evil serpents and put up a whole mess of them.

And finally, first trip on the Lower Lake on Mt. Riga with the pontoon boat. The TFO rod landed my first big largemouth of the year, as well as a fairly hefty crappie.