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Should've been some other movie entirely
27 August 2014
There's lots wrong with NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2 — the whole, previously espoused-on "gayness" of it, and also how it manages to look and feel at least FIVE YEARS OLDER than the first one. It's seriously CARRIE meets SLEEPAWAY CAMP as far as the era depicted therein is concerned. That, plus it came on the heels of the hip, aggressive, and intelligent Wes Craven-directed original — so audiences were a little hard- pressed to get on board with some slow-ass, soft-focus "Afterschool Special" about a gay teen being menaced by a growly voiced bogeyman who may or may not be the hero's own repressed sexuality. Or something? I dunno.

However, it's reasonably well-directed. I love the opening credits and some of that David Lynch-y boiler room action toward the end. The steadicam shot going up the stairs to the sister's room was pretty cool, too. Basically, I think it's like a really awesome TV movie. If it were some ABC Movie of the Week from 1978 that existed on its own, people would probably think it was pretty rad.

Unless they were offended by the gayness. ;-/
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Return to Eden (1983– )
Victims of Crododile Attacks Can be Supermodels Too
13 May 2005
I have very fond memories of watching this film every year during my childhood. This film has EVERYTHING! A frumpy, 40-something millionairess gets eaten by a crocodile, survives, pays for a very extensive plastic surgery & rehabilitation program with the money she gets from cashing in some opals at a pawn shop, and then become an international model. Choice scenes of edge-of-your-seat intrigue include her lunch date with Wendy Hughes, the woman who helped feed her to a crocodile. Fifteen pounds thinner with a Pat Benatar haircut, she is completely unrecognizable to her former best friend. Although Ms. Hughes does remark, "Hmm, Stephanie was a beer drinker...." Oh no! Two beer-drinking women in Australia! Do you think she knows?? Intrigue ensues.
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There's something entertaining in this mess
14 December 2004
I saw this film on Commander USA's Groovie Movies, which used to play on the USA cable network. What a great movie! My favorite part was how the women weren't really psychotic. But, aside from that, my favorite character was the slutty sister, Nicole. I also loved the prudish, sexually repressed sister with no hand, the sneaky nurse with fake eyelashes, and hypocondriacal, wheelchair-bound chick with ex-husband issues. That's not to mention the hairy-chested, weight-lifting handyman who knew that the real way to seduce women is to grab them and throw them up against walls. Meanwhile there's a mad killer who's knocking off blond-haired bimbos, plucking out their (blue) eyes, and preserving the orbs in little pitri dishes of formaldehyde. Is it the handyman? One of the sisters? Did I mention the musical score yet? It's the same swinging piccolo flute song over, and over, and over again (never changing one iota despite scenes ranging from sexy to horrific to action-based). Of course, the stalk-and-slash sequences (of which there are three) are set to a musical box-rendition of "Frer Jacques." Nice way to save on music royalties. I absolutely loved this film.
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The Grudge (2004)
An incredibly creepy and nightmare-inducing version of "Lost in Translation"
23 October 2004
I had one of the best times I've ever had at the movies last night watching "The Grudge." I wouldn't say it was brilliant film. The low-budget look and PG-13 rating combined with the fact that the audience was filled with teenagers definitely contributed to an overall B-Movie vibe. But, DAMN, was this movie scary! Even though it's not as high-budget as "The Ring," or as densely plotted, it compares favorably (if you're one of those retarded Americans who HAS to compare one Japanese horror-inspired remake to another). What "The Grudge" has going on in its favor is an unmistakable and potent aura of creepiness and unpleasantness underscoring some of the most intensely orchestrated shocks in recent memory. I saw it in a packed house and I can't even begin to describe the screaming, gasping, and shrieking that went on around me. It's been a long time since I've seen an exceedingly well-crafted and skillfully made horror film. This one definitely comes VERY close to being just that.
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L.T.R. (2002)
Da bomb
23 August 2004
This movie is da bomb, yo. I got the Boys Life 4 compilation for my birthday and this was, by far, the best short on the DVD. Even if the other three hadn't sucked major ass, L.T.R. would have still impressed me with its above-average acting, writing, editing, and direction. Unlike most other low-budget, gay-themed shorts, L.T.R. actually has a theme, plot, and subtext. A lovely film, really. A gem. A diamond in the rough. Required viewing for anyone wishing to see gay cinema that doesn't patronize or underestimate its audience by using shirtless boys to cover up a lack of conviction.
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Crush (2000)
Surprisingly good
23 August 2004
Don't listen to that sourpuss. This is definitely the best short on the DVD. It is sentimental, but never cloying - and the performances are the best part. As far as production values are concerned, it's not, you know, 70mm Cinemascope or anything - but it looks terrific. I'd watch it if it were 10 hour long, it's so good. It's rare to see a warm, charming gay film with actual human characters - rather than caustic, venom-spewing queens. A lovely film, really.
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27 July 2004
Although filled with editing gaffs and bad acting, this film has a rather odd, endearing quality to it. Maybe it's because it resembles a ham-fisted, but earnest camcorder-shot effort by an enthusiastic group of teenagers. Tonally speaking, the film is all over the place. It goes from voice-over narrated documentary, to comedy, to horror, and back again - often in the same scene. It's shameless and uninspired appropriation of the "Halloween" soundtrack, with nary a note or thank you in the credits, is rather jarring, as is the whole "cheese" theme - which I found hard to stomach. However, any movie with drag queens getting killed is okay with me.
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Pippi as directed by Fassbinder
1 February 2004
Although this is one of the least ambitious of the Pippi movies, it happens to be my favorite. It doesn't have the pirates or exotic locations of the South Seas adventure, or the flying cars of the one where they run away from home. It's basically just a continuation of the first film, with Pippi and her friends tramping around town irritating people and showing complete disregard for property laws. Since the back story and exposition are already in place, no time is wasted and the children set to work immediately. And, unlike the other films, the children are a bit more malevolent in this one.

There's a strong, negative undercurrent to the proceedings this time around. Tommy and Annika are noticeably more fault-finding of Pippi, critisizing her singing voice and expressing displeasure on several occasions. Tommy insults her shoes. Annika says her games are dull and uninspired. Pippi, in turn, plays cruel jokes on them involving guns, drugs, and sinking boats. She makes Annika cry and forces Tommy to compromise his manhood by spraying ladies perfume in his face. The animals aren't spared from Pippi's abuse, either. She throws a pair of panties on her horse's head, admonishes him harshly for eating sugar (which she encourages him to do), and brutally traps Mr. Nilsson under an overturned laundry basket, furiously telling him "If you're going to act like an ape, you belong on a cage!"

In "Pippi Goes on Board" there's actually three different children doing voices for Pippi, Tommy, and Annika - as opposed to that one old lady who did everything in the first movie. However, most of the characters are dubbed with unvarnished, lower-class New York accents - which makes their kvetching all the more hilarious.
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Vegetable Soup (1976– )
I loved Vegetable Soup
14 November 2003
I loved "Vegetable Soup." I remember a great story on this show called "Chi Chi Hoo Hoo Boogeyman," a short film that was cut into segments and broadcast across three shows. It took place on an Indian reservation and involved three young Native American girls who take a canoe ride and encounter a deaf, flannel-wearing man living in the woods. They think he's the "Chi Chi Hoo Hoo Boogeyman" that they heard a ghost story about. They eventually find out he's just a deaf guy and invite him to dinner, learning lessons about tolerance and accepting differences. It was REALLY badly acted and amateurishly directed and edited, but I loved it as a kid. I taped it on a beta tape and made all my friends watch it.
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Terrified (1963)
This movie scared me to death when I was five!
13 November 2003
I remember seeing this film on Saturday afternoon TV when I was a kid. One minute I'm watching cartoons, the next some hooded freak is burying a guy in wet cement. I thought it was very spooky with some creepy scenes of the phantom killer creeping around the desolate ghost town. Of course, I was five, so I suppose anyone's attempt at horror would have been considered "creepy" at that age. I've always wondered about this film because, aside from a few random TV viewings as a kid, I've never heard of or seen it again.
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Unbelievably cheap and bizarre from the abrupt and jarring opening credits on....
13 November 2003
This jaw-droppingly odd and obscure softcore crime film was on a double-feature cassette with "Axe" and that's how I saw it. It starts off with the most jarring set of opening credits ever. Basically, a booming male voice shouts over a black screen "A Scream in the Streets!" then it abruptly cuts to the Fastest Scrolling Titles Ever superimposed over footage of an unconvincing drag queen killing someone (1970's police show music raging in the background). The film settles down a bit after this into something resembling a story, although I can't remember what it is. My only memory is that it involved a massage parlor and lots of sex scenes (one, at least, verging on hardcore). The men were the ugliest beasts I've ever seen with their clothes off. They couldn't have found more hideous men for this film. Towards the end, the ludicrous drag queen from the opening credits shows up again and implausibly stalks a park while going completely unnoticed. Then something happens and the film ends.... For fans of runny color and grainy cinematography only.
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I LOVED this movie!
11 October 2003
Oh my God, Quentin Tarantino is brilliant. This movie is pure, unadulterated bliss. Exhilaratingly entertaining from start to finish. I had a big, fat smile plastered across my face the whole time. It's too bad they chopped this in two because I would, without whimper or complaint, sit through a five hour movie if it were as deliriously wonderful as this one.
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The Cockettes (2002)
This film is inspiring to artists everywhere
24 August 2003
I really enjoyed this film. It's odd that I would because I have almost no interest in hippies or drag queens. But, something about their DIY (do it yourself) aesthetic really resonated with me. They wanted to be "stars," so they dressed up in crazy outfits, dropped acid, and put on "shows" consisting of whatever interested them that week. If they wanted to make a film about Trisha Nixon's wedding, they grabbed a camera, dressed up, make makeshift sets, and shot one. This film was really inspiring to me as an artist.
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One of the funniest comedies I've ever seen
22 August 2003
I inadvertantly saw this cheap, badly dubbed, shot-in-Hong Kong sex fantasy on Cable and LOVED IT!! The movie is so haphazardly shot that, during her introductory scene, the main heroine is almost run over by a garbage truck while she's crossing the street. Apparently the director told her to keep walking and pretend it didn't happen because she tries, and it's hilarious. The rest of the movie is typical, soft-core fantasy-inspired exotic Emmanuelle stuff, with some bad dubbing. The "beautiful, exotic star" of the movie (the one who was almost squashed in her big debut scene) is about as endearing and seductive as the Filipino wife in PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT.
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See China and Die (1981 TV Movie)
Dated and hilarious
6 August 2003
I remember when this movie premiered on TV, and I begged my mom to let me stay up and watch it because the preview featured a man in an oriental mask chasing Esther Rolle out to the end of a pier. It actually gave me nightmares for a few days. It re-ran on cable when I was a teenager and it became something of a "midnight movie" around my neighborhood. It's dated and hilarious, with a great, tv-movie-style canned jazz soundtrack and Esther Rolle being as sassy and irreverent as ever. In one scene, a mugger attacks her on the street and she's able to fend him off by repeatedly hitting him with her purse. He eventually runs off, screaming, "You're crazy, lady!" In the before-mentioned "pier" scene, she manages to knock the oriental-mask-wearing assailant off the dock by rocking it back and forth with her own weight. Still later, she throws Pine Sol in his face and warns, "You better run!" when he takes off crying in pain. After repeated viewings, my friends and I started talking back to the screen and acting out scenes from the film in our living rooms. I'd give anything to have a video copy of it today, but it's relatively hard to come by.
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The Intruder (1981)
Mikey is the scariest thing about this film
6 August 2003
I, too, saw this film on "Commander USA's Groovie Movies" when I was a kid. I don't remember much about it, except that it had a terribly complicated plot and contained almost no suspense or horror to speak of. The one thing I remember about this film (one that I can't forget) is "Mikey" one of the main character's sons. "Mikey" was this creepy red-haired kid who, for some reason, spoke entirely on a post-synchronized soundtrack (with his heavily Canadian-accented voice dubbed in by what was obviously an adult mimicking a kid's voice). In one scene, he climbed on top of this glowing coffin and said, "I like you, you're nice and bright! Want me to climb in??!" He then climbed into the coffin and disappeared for the remainder of the film. Odd.
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I want the mask!
6 August 2003
Warning: Spoilers

I used to own a beta copy of this film and I watched it all the time as a kid. It has a very dated, tv-movieish feel to it. My favorite character is the nosy, astrology-obsessed maid who runs off screaming when she meets the retarded groundskeeper. Some of the acid-trip scenes are lifted from Necromancy (1972), which was produced two years earlier by the same guy. When the husband burns up in a car accident, his injuries are limited to a burnt-up rubber-looking face with a gobular eye (his arms, legs, and torso are intact and even his clothes are unburned). I want the mask they used in this movie, it's hilarious! Someone sell it to me.
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Had me scared for decades
30 July 2003
Not only was this one of the first "gay" movies I ever saw, but it was, in fact, one of the first movies I ever saw - period. It had a profound influence on me, as I grew up thinking the adult life of a homosexual was going to be a dialogue-driven, melancholy soap opera set to instrumental Burt Bacharach. "The Boys in the Band" is one of my favorite films, and certainly better than most contemporary gay cinema. They don't make 'em like this anymore. This film has real visceral power and impact. I'd take this over "All Over the Boy" any day.
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Jawbreaker (1999)
Anyone who doesn't like this movie is a jerk.
8 July 2003
Anyone who doesn't like this movie is a jerk. So what if it's not as good as "Heathers" or as original. Not much else is. "Heathers" is a classic, and it seems like every subsequent film dealing with bitchy high school girls is unjustly compared to it. I really like "Jawbreaker" and I have good taste in movies. I know what I'm talking about. I'm no fool. If I say I like "Jawbreaker," it means something. "Jawbreaker" is a strange, dark, arty teen thriller/comedy that

obviously isn't as mainstream as other teen fare of the late 1990's, and never intended to be. Perhaps mismarketing is to blame for it's critical and financial underperformance. I really don't think it's bad at all. It's funny and smart in a lot of ways that really surprise me. I know that sounds terribly vague, but whatever. I know what I like, and I like this movie. If anyone disagrees with me, we can take it outside.
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Sparkler (1997)
Nervy and sensitive film observes life's gorgeous little truths and sadnesses
8 July 2003
I avoided this movie for the longest time because of the video box, which prominently features Jamie Kennedy and Freddie Prinze Jr. Ugh. However, upon renting it, I was pleasantly surprised. It's actually a unexpectedly entertaining, well-written and acted indie film about a trailer trash chick who dumps her loutish husband and searches for independence. Along the way, she meets up with the before-mentioned teen hearthrobs and acts as a catalyst for their own personal growing experiences. The director imbues his material with a caustic, cynical edge which is refreshingly unique for this type of film, and thankfully prevents it from degenerating into sappy, maudlin Oprah-style "I am woman hear me roar!" melodrama. Park Overall is excellent in the title role, but the real surprise here is Veronica Cartright - who demonstrates more of the comic genius she displayed in "The Witches of Eastwick." Some of her lines had me rolling on the floor.
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Hilarious childhood camcorder movies reveal a genius in the making.
3 July 2003
I've never laughed and/or smiled so much in my life. My face literally hurt after watching this movie. The films Darren Stein (the director) made with his childhood friends were way more ambitious than anything my friends or I made as a child. We pretty much stuck to straight horror, whilst Darren and Company tackled such heady themes as the holocaust, child abuse, and nuclear war. My favorite part: a little girl screaming "no, mommy, no!" in a monotone while her mother "beats" her (the little girl's barely suppressed laughter audible throughout). Other parts worthy of mention include the concentration camp "execution" scene (shot in a suburban living room) and the "bank robbery" scene (also shot in what appears to be the same living room). What makes the film really special, however, is watching a young Darren exhibit signs of being a truly manipulative, megalomaniacal film director. It's sweet, and also a little bit scary. This film is a must for all artists, writers, filmmakers, and musicians who knew what they wanted to be at an early age.
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*SPOILERS!* Finally! The ever-elusive "alien" makes his appearance! *SPOILERS!*
3 April 2002
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this film when I was a kid; and, like most people, it scared me, gave me nightmares, etc. However, I never quite got over my curiosity regarding the alternate ending that was deleted prior to its release. I read about the "bat-winged alien" and the spaceship sequence in fanzines and The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film and, although it didn't dominate my every waking thought, I was always curious about the other endings. Now, finally, at age 25, I get to see the alien! I love DVDs! I love the fact that other people wanted to see the alien too and put it out there for all of us horror/sci fi film dorks to appreciate. I can see why the alien was considered silly and subsequently edited out. It's shabbily animated and looks kinda like a Chinese New Years paper dragon float. Also, the spaceship sequence is very dated by today's standards. It's very THE BLACK HOLE meets TRON meets Atari. HOWEVER, in relation to the re-shot ending, I think the original one was superior. In the original version, there is a greater sense of dread leading up to the chapel sequence, courtesy of some excised dialogue in which Bette Davis cryptically warns Lynn-Holly Johnson that they are dealing with an "angry, evil" entity. The scene didn't do much for me now, but if I woulda heard this when I was a kid, whoa mama! Also, there's more tension involving the mother racing to save her child, which directly mirrors the flashback sequence when Bette Davis was rushing to save HER daughter (unsuccessfully). Cheap monster or not, cheap spaceship or not, the original ending was WAY more literate and involving and tension-filled. It's too bad they couldn't have found a way to leave these parts in (and perhaps make the monster more convincing). Instead, the chucked all the intensity and reshot the ending a year later with the actors looking suspiciously more mature. Anyway, I just wanted to say how happy I am to finally see the alien monster.
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Seeds (1968)
Rough around the edges, but interesting nonetheless
11 February 2002
Say what you want about Andy Milligan - but if his family was even 10% as deranged as the one in this film, well then I guess he could have turned out worse. Unfortunately, the video print of this film contains sex scene inserts originally shot by the distributor to boost the picture's box office appeal. Several times during the film Milligan's ugly camerawork and silent film music abruptly ends, and suddenly good-looking stand-ins for Milligan's homely actors take over and start doing it to psychedelic 60's guitar rock. It's pretty easy to fast-forward through if you're trying to pay attention to Milligan's original film, which, unfortunately, is missing quite a bit of action that was cut to make room for the added sex scenes. What remains, however, is still compelling stuff. I don't think I've ever seen a more hateful mother in any film before.
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Campy, soapy 1980's romance melodrama never fails to entertain
6 February 2002
I bought this video off of EBAY sight-unseen, and was pleasantly surprised. It's actually a very entertaining, campy soap opera from South Africa circa 1985. I think it compares favorably to RETURN TO EDEN, a more well-known but similar melodrama from Australia.

In this film, Zoli Marki (misspelled "Zoli Marks" on the American video sleeve) plays "Suzie with a Zed," a young woman living a life of forced prostitution in order to repay an evil madam to whom her father owes money. Enter Howard Carpendale, who I must admit I'd never heard of before. He plays a veterenarian who travels from the bush to Johannesburg to help save the endangered Rhino. He also sings the theme song and contributes other material used for obligatory music video sequences. Elke Sommer plays an old hooker friend of Suzie's who cares about her and shows her the ropes. Elke alone makes the film worth seeing. In a completely unrestrained performance, Elke screams, dances, cries, laughs, gives inspirational pep talks, makes faces, sticks her tongue out, etc. (sometimes all in the same scene!). That's not mentioning her "singing in the bathtub" sequence, which has to be seen to be believed!

In addition to the freaked-out acting and dialogue, there is an alarming amount of animal footage in this film. Even though the bulk of the film is set in the city, there is at least one lion's face or gazelle leaping every fifteen minutes.

Almost every scene is touched with inspired madness - making for a truly surreal viewing experience.
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Death Nurse (1987 Video)
Home Movie Shot in Tacky House Masquerades as Cinema!
27 October 2000
This movie was horrible. It looked like bad porn! It was supposedly shot by the same party behind CRIMINALLY INSANE, but compared to that tarnished little jewel, this film is utter and complete trash. Unedited, unscripted, and un-acted, this piece of VHS video was obviously ripped clean out of the camcorder and thrown onto video store shelves without even the most rudimentary post-production tinkering.

The film supposedly takes place in a state-run "clinic," although the viewer soon wonders why the state would refer patients to a tacky tract house with cottage cheese ceilings and bad wood paneling.

Terrible. Simply terrible. And disappointing, too. Quite sad, actually. I'm crying right now because of this film. That's how bad it was.

This was not a real film. This was a home movie.
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