Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Zombies Vs. Strippers (2012)

Zombies Vs. Strippers

Written & Directed by Alex Nicolau

Oh, those Full Moon Fellas are at it again.  This low-budget quickie follows a group of employees and patrons of the classless Tough Titty strip club in California who find themselves trapped when the zombie apocalypse breaks out on the streets.  It begins as a party, then becomes a business opportunity, and finally evolves into a fight for their lives.

Zombies.  Strippers.  Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Well, if you mean completely brainless, then yeah, you're right.  There's not a chance in hell that the undead could feed on this film.

The characters are paper-thin stereotypes that we're already overly familiar with: the sleazy strip club owner; the bouncer with a soft spot for the girls; the stoner; the badass blaxploitation bitch; the post-apocalyptic biker gang.  They're exactly what you'd expect from a first-time filmmaker.  It's just too bad that Full Moon has been making movies for decades.

The action is lame, the special effects forgettable, and the acting generally piss poor.  The gore is ineffective, leaving the sole selling point the T&A that the title promises.  How disappointing.  It is there, don't get me wrong.  You just won't be able to see it.  The lighting throughout the entire movie is atrocious, and nearly every damn thing is obscured by shadows.

I believe in Full Moon.  It's just hard to believe that the current incarnation of the company are the same people that brought such joy to my childhood.  Lately it's been one disappointment after another.

Not recommended.

Rated R
75 Minutes
United States

"The Tough Titty has the best titties in the city."

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Incubus (1966)


Written & Directed by Leslie Stevens

Marc...William Shatner
Kia...Allyson Ames
Amael...Eloise Hardt
Arndis...Ann Atmar

In a small island village, the evil and corrupt are preyed upon by Succubi, who seduce and destroy them for their sins. One rebellious Succubus, though, by the name of Kia, is tired of bad men. She wants to feed on a saintly man to prove her worth to her dark master.

The opportunity presents itself when she meets Marc, a wounded soldier with a heart of gold. Although he immediately falls for the beautiful Kia, he doesn't succumb to sinful temptation, making her job that much more difficult. In order to achieve her goal, she has to bring out the big guns.


This is, above all else, a curious film. Although an American production, it's filmed entirely in Esperanto, a constructed Universal Language that never really caught on. This, when paired with the subtle artistic details of the film, give it an exotic quality as if we were watching an Ingmar Bergman picture. It could very well be the only film that's foreign to ALL audiences (except the few Americans who actually speak Esperanto, I suppose. Worldwide the number is estimated to be between ten thousand and two million, which really translates to NOBODY KNOWS).

Casting William Shatner in the lead could easily be viewed as stunt casting to the modern audience, but it's important to remember this was released just before Star Trek launched him into stardom. He was just another TV actor at the time.

I only have two complaints, the first of which is that the subtitles appear to have been done with a label maker and sometimes obscure what's happening onscreen. My second complaint may make me sound like a pervert, but fuck it: the sexuality should have been amped up quite a bit. I'm not saying nipples are a necessity--at best, they're a luxury that we've come to take for granted--but Succubi are sexual demons by definition, and it should have been played up a bit more to fit their nature.

Regardless: Strange and oftentimes beautiful, Incubus is a must-see for all fans of obscure cinema. I enjoyed it a hundred times more than I expected, and I'm glad I picked it up from the bargain bin. I suggest you do the same if you're lucky enough to stumble upon it.  It would make an excellent double feature with the original Carnival of Souls.

78 Minutes
Black & White
Esperanto (English Subtitles)
United States


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Broken Angel (1988)

Broken Angel

Written by Cynthia A. Cherbak
Directed by Richard T. Heffron

Chuck...William Shatner
Catherine...Susan Blakely
Sgt. Mercurio...Brock Peters
Shakti...Roxann Dawson

Chuck Coburn believes he has the perfect daughter in Jamie--she's pretty, smart, a great student, well behaved. So when she requests permission to stay out all night for prom, he says it's okay "as long as you're going to be with the gang."

Oh, she's with the gang all right. But not the Archie-from-Riverdale gang that he's thinking. Turns out Jamie is also known as Shadow, and she's deeply involved with L.F.N. (Live For Now), a bunch of "middle class white kids shooting at each other from BMWs."

Rival Asian gang The Dragons have a hit out on Jamie's boyfriend Rocket, and when they perform a drive-by, her best friend Jenny is killed in the crossfire. Jamie goes missing, and Papa Chuck decides to accentuate the police investigation with a search of his own.

Chuck follows the clues from his cozy little neighborhood into the seedy streets of Los Angeles, full of drugs, guns and prostitution.

This could have (maybe should have) been a Father Gets Revenge film, but instead it's one long melodramatic PSA/After School Special about all the urban dangers lurking behind the corner of every white man's house.

It's a cheesy made-for-TV movie and full of melodrama, but that's part of its charm. There's a lot of horrible 80s fashions and retro street life imagery, so there's always something fun to look at onscreen. And it features music by the all-but-forgotten Suicidal Tendencies, so it gains a few extra points from me.

Shatner is relatively restrained here, somewhat believably playing the concerned father--albeit one who is entirely too old to be sporting a Letterman jacket. There was a pretty outrageous scene where he single-handedly busts up a drug deal, but for the most part he's not an action hero. This isn't Captain Kirk or T.J. Hooker taking on the street gangs--although if it were, I'd probably watch it twice.

Brock Peters is also good as the rather ineffectual Sgt. Mercurio, but the real star of the show is Roxann Dawson as Shakti, the street smart member of the L.A. Gang Project who assists Chuck in searching for his daughter while dropping uncomfortable truth-bombs on him like he was Pearl Harbor. I think Chuck develops a little crush on her...and I'm pretty sure I did as well.

Amusing enough for a curious viewing, but a little on the preachy side for me.

On an interesting side note, Rodney Eastman (best known as Joey from Nightmare on Elm Street 3 and 4) appears as a male prostitute trying to give Shatner blowsies for bucks. Best...cameo...ever.

Not Rated
93 Minutes
United States

"If I eat this one more time, my initials are going to be MSG!"


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