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|50 reviews in total|
The Baby joins a select club of really flaky little films from the
poofy-hair-on-guys era, early 70's to early 80's; the best of these was
Night Warning, William Shatner's wigged-out Impulse is another, the MST'd
Touch of Satan is another. The Baby and Impulse even share the services of
the wondrous Ruth Roman, who in The Baby looks more than ever like Victor
Mature in full drag. All these feature somebody driving around in a Dodge
Dart or a Maverick and plot twists that make you ask, "What were these
Ted Post was already in his late fifties when he did The Baby, so the lame direction can't be written off as a young director learning his craft. It just plain sucks. Anjanette Comer stands around screeching and flapping her hands for emphasis like she's at a community-theater audition; it's hard to see any of the luminescent Aimee Thanatogenos from The Loved One, just eight years before. And Baby is a hoot - this was pretty much the entire career of the hard-working young actor trying to make us believe he's a teenager operating at a 9-month-old level, but somebody decided to dub in the sounds of a real baby coming from his adult voice-box, and you don't buy the bit for five seconds.
But there's just enough here to make it worthwhile to stick it out for the snapper ending. Anybody who says they guessed where this was going is lying like a red dog. It's no Night Warning, but if you've seen Night Warning and you need another sip from the same bucket, it'll do.
Got to give it 4/10. One point plus three more - 1) you've got Neil
singing, "Do the Jellyfish." 2) You've got really, really pretty color,
better than a lot of mainstream films from the same era. 3) And the final
man vs. monster confrontation is so hilarious that you'll play it over and
over, if, of course, you're drunk on your ***.
Kind of disappointing, really, because this probably would've been more fun if it had either been inept and stupid start to finish, or if it had been 'way-over-the-top whack like an Al Adamson epic. Worth watching mostly so you can tell people about this messed-up movie you saw about a guy with a Portuguese Man-o'-War for a head.
[The other Southern film with a trashbag-based monster, of course, is Attack of the Giant Leeches.]
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Well, reading the other comments it seems there's at least two versions of
this out there. Mine is Media Home Entertainment's, and does NOT have the
ending described in the other comments - this version is monumentally lame,
but the version described in the other comments, with Frankensein and the
Wolfman, sounds legendary.
Otherwise, for those of you under twenty, I want to assure you that, although a lot of weird things happened in the eighties, there were not, as far as I remember, gangs of snarling twentysomethings with Billy Idol hair and dressed in expensive leathers roaming the countryside in VW busses looking for innocent citizens to terrorize. Grotesque would like you to believe this; it would also like you to believe that Linda Blair can run around in the snow for a couple of hours in her jammies and bare feet and not turn into a snow-cone; or that even Tab Hunter is stupid enough to threaten two punkers with a shotgun, demand they get in his car, and then drive off with them in the back seat, where, one presumes, they will sit quietly with their hands in their lap until we get to Grandma's.
Overall, Grotesque is definitely worth hunting down, if you can wrap it up for less than three bucks. No plot? No, this thing has more plot than Gravity's Rainbow.
*************THIS WOULD BE A LOT OF SPOILERS, EXCEPT THERE'S MORE THAN ENOUGH PLOT LEFT TO GO AROUND ************** Linda Blair and a friend drive up into the mountains to see her folks, and are menaced by a "gang" of punkers also on their way to see her folks, on the rumor that they've got a lot of money stashed, because Linda Blair's dad is a famous FX artist. Her dad keeps jumping out at her and her friend with rubber masks and body parts, but he's Guy Stockwell, and charming, so it's OK. The punkers descend on the house, kill everybody except Linda B., but unfortunately let Linda's cousin out of his secret room, who's a large, horribly deformed, essentially sweet but now angry and murderous kind of a guy, who then kills off all the punkers except two, but then a family friend drives up the hill, finds the carnage, calls the cops, her uncle (Tab) drives up the hill for some reason, and after all is said and done the deformed cousin is dead, Linda's in a coma, the two punkers are shaken but not stirred, and the police begin their investigation.
FOLKS, WE ARE NOW ONLY FORTY MINUTES INTO AN EIGHTY-MINUTE MOVIE!!!
Maybe Grotesque was being put out on spec, to get backers interested in a mini-series.
Oh. Robert Z'Dar, my favorite actor with a really big face, is NOT in this version. Also, there's no nudity and the FX are pathetic, But it's STILL worth watching, in horrified fascination, as the plot lurches around drunkenly, banging off doorframes, stumbling over the furniture, just to see whether it finally falls out of a second-story window (it does).
Race car drivers say that 100 mph seems fast till you've driven 150, and
mph seems fast till you've driven 250.
Andalusian Dog seems breathtakingly bizarre till you've seen Eraserhead, and Eraserhead seems breathtakingly bizarre till you've seen Begotten.
And Begotten seems breathtakingly bizarre till you've seen the works of C. Frederic Hobbs. Race fans, there is NOTHING in all the world of film like the works of C. Frederic Hobbs.
Alabama's Ghost comes as close as any of his films to having a coherent plot, and it only involves hippies, rock concerts, voodoo, ghosts, vampires, robots, magicians, corrupt multinational corporations, elephants and Mystery Gas. And the Fabulous Woodmobile, cruising the Sunset District in San Francisco, of course.
What's really startling is that somebody gave him a LOT of money to make Alabama's Ghost. There's sets, lighting, hundreds of extras, costumes, lots and lots of effects. Somehow that makes Alabama's Ghost SO WRONG. You watch some awful cheeseball like Night of Horror or Plutonium Baby, and at least some part of the weirdness is excusable on the basis that they were obviously making the film off the headroom on their Discover cards. But Alabama's Ghost was made with an actual budget, and that's EVIL. I mean, I've got a script about a tribe of cannibals living in Thunder Bay, Ontario, building a secret temple in the woods out of Twizzlers, and nobody's beating down MY door waving a checkbook - how did this guy get the funds for FOUR of the flakiest movies ever made?
Evil has many dimensions. It can make you angry, it can make you quiver
with fear, it can make you doubt the existence of a kind and loving
Being. For years I've sought Ultimate Evil, ever since I discovered that
Plan 9 not only isn't the worst film ever made, it probably shouldn't make
the Bottom 20.
And, while I'm always ready & eager to audition new candidates, "Night of Horror" may be -- IT. This film turns ALL the dials on the Evil Meter to 11. It will make you angry AND afraid AND plunge you into blackest despair.
Picture this. You take three or four of your lumpiest mullet-headed male buddies and dress them in Confederate uniforms. Put a bucket of dry ice in front of a Ford Gran Torino and turn on the headlights. Have your buddies stand in front of the lights and shift from one foot to the other. That's the sum of your horrifying FX.
Picture this. You see some goat-roper in line at Wal-Mart with 1978 REO Speedwagon hair and so skinny, his jeans fit exactly the same with the fly in the front or the back. That's your male lead. Oh - identify him as a "California rock singer" so everybody will know that he's supposed to be terminally hip.
Picture this. You want to establish your female lead as being hopelessly sensitive. So you have her read an Edgar Allen Poe poem to the male lead in the back of an RV. It works too well - his voice-over tells us he's now afraid of losing his cool.
This doesn't give you even a hint of how loathsome Night of Horror is. I've seen it cause even hardened veterans of the Bad Movie Wars to hit the Eject button screaming after the first twenty minutes. Manos at least had the studly cape. Zombie Lake had the naked girls' basketball team treading water. They Saved Hitler's Brain at least had Hitler's head mugging it up in the back seat. But Night of Horror has NOTHING. NOTHING. NOT ONE MOMENT of inspiration, humor, or gratuitous nay-nays. NOT ONE FRAME that doesn't look like it was shot in a koi pond and processed in bongwater.
And this turkey di tutti turkeys ACTUALLY FOUND A DISTRIBUTOR. Do you understand what that means? I have no doubt that all around the world people have worse films sitting in cans in ancient Kelvinators rattling away in mouldering tool sheds, that they just can't make themselves take to the dump. But Night of Horror actually caused money to change hands - somebody screened this excrescence, said, "Yeah, I think I can make a buck off that," and cut Malanowski a check.
We're there. This is it. We've touched bottom. Until Battlefield Earth 2 premieres, The Worst Movie Ever Made.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Incredibly frustrating to watch. I mean, the actors are carved out of balsa
wood; as big a fan as I am of gratuitous nudity, do we need EVERYBODY to
shuck out of their shorts, including the Professor? And big chunks of
dialogue were apparently written by somebody with a length of rebar lodged
in their skull - "Who are the REAL cannibals," indeed.
But, lordie, when Deodato hits his groove, this thing ROCKS. Several viewers have mentioned Blair Witch - how about Blair Witch crossed with Begotten? The jungle sequences in the first sixty minutes, in particular, are GORGEOUSLY shot, the premise beautifully established, and this silly-ass splatter film you rented suddenly starts looking like a major work of artistic creation.
POSSIBLE SPOILER FOR THE ARTISTICALLY SENSITIVE
Well, Deodato loses control for about ten minutes. He's not skilled enough to convince us that the first film crew is actually capable of cold-bloodedly going to the lengths they do to phony up a documentary. It would have worked a LOT better if they'd at least started out fudging a few shots, rather than making the whole 'documentary' up from scratch.
But, amazingly, he finds it again, and in the final sequences in the jungle he gives a clinic on cathartic violence that only Straw Dogs approaches.
So if Coppola can rerelease a recut Apocalypse Now, why can't Deodato have another shot at Cannibal Holocaust, including shucking the drive-in-friendly title? He's ten minutes away from a masterpiece, instead of an exceptionally well-done splatter film.
Incidentally, I trust that all those who find the turtle-killing and similar scenes to be shocking are vegetarians.
The rarest and most satisfying kind of bad movie, one that whoops and
hollers and waves its hat around like Raquel Welch in Myra Breckinridge.
Nothing shy or retiring about Troll 2 - Joe d'Amato makes no excuses
whatsoever for his crummy little movie, he REVELS in its badness, putting
every cent of his $58.23 budget right up there on the screen where you can
I mean, you only THINK you've seen bad acting in a color movie - Troll 2 has entire rooms full of actors - okay, warm bodies - reading lines to each other like rehearsals for the church pageant. And it has Creedence the Druid. Creedence the Druid sets a standard for over-the-top-screamingly-godawful acting that may never be exceeded unless they make Manos 2: The Reckoning with Richard Simmons as Torgo.
And you only THINK that nothing could top the mutant sheep fetus in Godmonster of Indian Flats for flaky plot points. How about - vegetarian shape-shifting trolls, identifiable in human form by shamrock-shaped warts?
Crappy FX? How about lime jello and green food coloring used as...no, you won't believe it, nor the use of a double baloney sandwich as an offensive weapon.
Gotta see this one, folks. This isn't a bad movie because it's incredibly boring, or because MST got hold of it, or because all the major critics hated it. This is a bad movie because it's crazy as a backhouse rat whacked with a ball bat, running around in circles in the middle of the barnyard.
Like any sensible person, I expected a 1968 movie called Maryjane
Fabian and Diane McBain to be a complete hoot. It turns out to be maybe
good script rewrite away from being a minor classic, Rebel Without A Cause
about stoners instead of juicers.
The only clunker is the dopers' clique, who basically look way too much like Spanky and Our Gang and are about as menacing as the Chess Club. Otherwise, this is one of about three drug-related films from the sixties you can watch without cringing: no ridiculous "insider" names for marijuana, no hallucinations, and some startlingly well-balanced dialogue about the issues involved. Fabian is believable and intense - three words I NEVER thought I'd use in the same sentence. There's an actual plot, they've got the nerve to make it twist around a bit, and almost every time you think the movie's going to go for a cheap resolution of a plot twist, it surprises you by actually doing something intelligent.
It's incredibly difficult to find, and it's probably not worth spending a fortune on, but against all expectations Maryjane is a 6/10. This is NOT another Weird World of LSD, Acid Eaters, or Teenage Devil Dolls.
Check out John Landis' filmography. Apparently, in 1985, just after
wrapping Into the Night, someone crept into his bedroom while he was asleep
and replaced his brains with extra-firm tofu. How else can you explain a
director going from Into the Night to Three Amigos in ONE YEAR, and not
being able to rise above that level FOR THE NEXT DECADE AND A
Three Amigos is THUNDEROUSLY unfunny. I'm one of the few people left alive who've seen both Under the Rainbow AND Won Ton Ton, the Dog That Saved Hollywood, the previous record-holders for the least laughs in a major comedy - I thought nothing could ever join that illustrious company, but then in 1986 Three Amigos came along.
I saw it on HBO right after it came out, smoked on Heineken, with three friends who, like me, were HUGE fans of Martin Short, Steve Martin, and the other guy. We sat there, primed, waiting for something funny to happen. Eventually our exposed teeth got cold and we switched off.
Tonight, fifteen years later, at the insistence of a friend who said I should give it a second chance, I sat here stone cold sober, waiting for something funny to happen. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Time to put on The Young Ones.
One of the other viewers nailed it perfectly: subversive. This is the movie
that challenges the very moral and intellectual foundations of modern
Western civilization AND features Britt Ekland doing the nasty with a blank
wall. Perfect fare for your anglophile friends who think Easter egg hunts
on the church lawn are cute, and can't understand why Father Hugh is so
dead-set against having a maypole dance at the spring picnic.
Yes, it's going to take at least three viewings before you appreciate just how deep and finely constructed this low-budget quickie really is. Shaffer starts laying traps for Edward Woodward (and us) on the first page of the script, and until you've seen this twice or three times you won't understand just how inescapable Sergeant Howie's fate really is. And then you can see all the better that nobody but Edward Woodward could have brought it off without looking like a complete jackass.
And Christopher Lee should have gotten an Oscar, an Emmy, AND a Tony for his reading of three words: "He blew it." And a Grammy for his crazed rendition of "Summer Is A-cumin' In" in the grand finale.
An absolute monster of a movie. Fifty years from now your grandchildren will be studying the script in Lit class.
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