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The Brood (Domingo’s VHS Vault # 1)

23 Aug

I had an idea yesterday that I’m sure I’ll be really enthusiastic about for a few days and then completely lose interest, cause I do that, but for now let’s assume I’m actually the type of person who finishes what he starts.  Here is the Eureka type idea:

“I will watch…and write a review of….EVERY SINGLE MOVIE THAT I OWN!!”

That may not sound like that big of a deal except for the fact that I own around 5000 movies.  You read that right.  Five.  THOUSAND.  Movies.  And that’s a conservative estimate.

I was considering starting a whole new blog for this venture, but decided to just create a sub-category instead.  “Domingo’s VHS Vault. ” I did this partially because I’m too lazy to start a whole new blog, and partially because the blog I already have has been far too neglected of late.  I may write another entry explaining this neglect today or I may not.  I would bet on NOT.  (But one never knows, especially when alcohol is involved, which I began consuming today well before noon)

So without further ado I will jump right into it!  It should be duly noted that in further blogs from this sub-category I will dispense with all this rambling exposition, but as it has been quite some time since I have contributed to my blog, I can’t really help myself.)

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THE BROOD

1979

Directed by David Cronenberg

Starring Oliver Reed (you might know him as that guy that died while he was making “Gladiator” with Russel Crowe) , Art Hindle and Samantha Eggar

So yesterday afternoon I popped this tape in. (Yeah it’s an actual VHS tape. Some of these movie reviews, assuming at the moment I ever actually do any more, may end up being DVD, BLU-Ray or stuff I watched online, but I’m going to continue to call these blogs “Domingo’s VHS Vault,” because as far as I’m concerned there never has been a better medium for viewing films, and there never will be.  Don’t bother arguing if you believe otherwise.  You are wrong.)

I knew I was in for a treat when I noticed this movie was directed by David Cronenberg.  This guy was the MASTER of weird psychological horror in the 70’s.

Listen,  I’m going to spoil the shit out of this movie right off the bat, so if you care, go watch it, and then come back to see what I have to say about it. Or don’t.  I don’t really give a shit what you do to be honest, but don’t come whining about it later.  I will only point and laugh at you, since you have in fact been warned.

Here’s the basic premise:  Some guy’s crazy wife is in a weird asylum run by a quirky psychiatrist (Oliver Reed) who uses a theatrical form of confrontational psychology that is supposed to make a person separate themselves from their most destructive emotions.  The guy does NOT trust this psychiatrist (and who would?  Oliver Reed was MOSTLY known for playing villains) and he becomes further concerned when his young daughter comes back from visiting her mother with a bunch of bruises and scratches on her.  He confronts the psychiatrist and tells him he doesn’t want his wife to have contact with their daughter anymore but is told that would interfere with her therapy.   Then a bunch of savage murders start to happen to people around him.  By murders I mean people are bludgeoned to death by deformed children.  One of the “children” dies after the attack and is examined.   They are indeed CREEPY looking as fuck.

THE-BROOD

HERE COME THE SPOILERS:

Turns out the murderous “children” ARE in fact the wife’s separated emotions of anger and vengeance. Eventually a couple of them kidnap the young daughter and the husband goes to the Asylum to confront the doctor (who actually turns out NOT to be the bad guy at all but is sincerely trying to help!)  In the climactic ending, the husband sees his wife give “birth” to one of these creatures while several others beat Oliver Reed to death.

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So  how did I feel about this movie?

Like most Cronenberg movies of this era, a creepy and unsettling tone is set right from the beginning, but also the story seems kind of dull and plodding for the first 45 minutes or so and I found myself wondering when and if anything was actually going to happen.  Still I found myself enjoying it and when it got to the climax, when the wife (Samatha Eggar) reveals she is about to spawn another of The Brood I literally sat up off the couch and said (out loud, in an empty apartment:  “WHAT…THE…FUCK?”)

She literally rips an embryonic pouch off her belly, peels the mutant baby out of it, and begins LICKING THE BLOOD OFF IT!   (Apparently this was improvised on the spot by Eggar) In order to save the day the husband must to strangle her to death, at which point the brood children all drop dead, though not in time to save Oliver Reed.  (poor sap)

I grant this film 7 out of 10.  (I haven’t decided what I will use as stars yet.  I was considering Orange Slices, as there is a bag of them sitting on my desk right now.  Where was I when Ant Man needed me?)

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Good wholesome family fun.  Make plenty of popcorn before viewing!

 

KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park

22 Jun

Over the weekend, on a payday inspired drinking and spending spree downtown, I came across this at a local used music store that I frequent:

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It’s a VHS tape. Back in the old days, we used to have these big clunky devices called VCRs. To watch a movie, you had to insert a big plastic 8 track looking thing into the machine, and hope it didn’t start spewing the tape back out at you.

“KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park” is a film I had heard about many times, but never seen.  In various conversations it had been referred to as “Unwatchable,”  “The Worst Movie Ever Made,”  and “Really.  REALLY bad.”  And there it was, the infamous KISS movie… resting in a place of honor, behind the cash register counter.  I spotted it as my music selections were being added up for purchase.  (Yes I do still buy music in actual physical form such as cds, cassette tapes, and vinyl record albums.  I could go on at length about why I do this, but I will put that digression aside for now in the “Ideas For Possible Future Blogs Folder” instead.

“I’ll take the KISS video too.” I said it almost dejectedly.  Like I’d been defeated at a game of chess or something.

The man behind the counter said “I knew this wasn’t going to be hanging around here long.  This is the right format to buy it in too!”  (We both laughed at his remark.)

“I’ve heard a lot about this movie, but I’ve never seen it,”  I said.

His eyes widened as if I just said I’d never seen Star Wars.

“But I’ve always wanted to…” I added hurriedly, feeling for some reason an explanation was required.

He then told me that another guy that used to work there swore this was his favorite movie.  (It stands to reason anyone who considers “KISS meets the Phantom of the Park” their favorite movie is probably one of those known as a “hipster.”  Often times “hipsters” claim to like really awful things for the sake of irony.  I guess this behavior is supposed to somehow be ironic in itself, but in reality therefore cancels out the original irony, and just becomes stupid. )

In any event I was excited to get home and watch it, but not so excited that I wasn’t going to stop somewhere for a burger and fries, followed by several gin n tonics.

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Here’s the view from the coveted window booth at Old Town Tavern, which I had all to myself.

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Here’s all the stuff I had bought that afternoon.

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Here’s a picture of my first gin n’ tonic of the evening. (I didn’t take a picture of my burger and fries, because I didn’t feel like being “That Guy.” I assure you there was such a meal, and it was delicious.)

Eventually I made it home, popped in the video cassette, and prepared to have my mind blown.

Here’s what goes on, and in case you were wondering, yeah I’m gonna go ahead and spoil the whole movie for you, but believe me when I say the plot is so predictable it doesn’t matter.  KISS are playing three consecutive nights at some random amusement park.  The park is having financial trouble, and management has brought KISS in (described as the biggest band in the world) as a last ditch effort to save the park from financial ruin. Because who doesn’t want to go to a rock concert after a long day baking in the sun and tromping all over the tarmac at an amusement park on a hot summer’s day?

One person is not happy about the arrival of the rock legends, as he feels it cheapens the image of the theme park.  He is the resident robotics engineer, played by one of my own favorite character actors and frequent 70’s villains: Anthony Zerbe.  Zerbe plays Abner Devereoux who, in addition to being the park’s engineer, also has his very own mad scientist laboratory hidden deep beneath the park’s largest coaster.   (Cause why not?)

kiss_meets_the_phantom_of_the_park_sage

Anthony Zerbe. He almost always plays a bad guy, though younger movie viewers may recognize him as the ancient patriarchal leader of the good guys in the Matrix films.

People begin to disappear from the park and eventually KISS come to the rescue, stepping in to solve the mystery in true Scooby Doo fashion.  The only thing missing is a brightly colored cargo van for them to drive around in.  (The similarity between this movie and every episode ever made of Scooby Doo is not really all that unusual once you realize that it was, in fact, produced by Hanna Barbera.)

In a special effects extravaganza that gives Star Wars a run for it’s money, we soon learn that not only is KISS the greatest rock band in the world, they also have magical powers to help them with their mystery solving!

Paul Stanley (Star Child) can shoot laser beams out of his eyes and reads minds.

kiss-meets-the-phantom-of-the-park-09Gene Simmons (The Demon) can breathe fire, and roar in such a way as to sound exactly like a badly overdubbed jungle cat.

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ROWR!!!

Ace Frehley (Space Ace) can teleport himself and other members of the band safely out of tight spots, and is also capable of randomly going “ACKKK!!” for no apparent reason throughout the film.

DVD Snap 1#145

This harrowing gesture means KISS is about to vanish, lickety split.

Peter Criss (Cat Man) doesn’t really do much except lope around while appearing to not have the slightest idea what the fuck is going on.  (That’s because he didn’t.  He was doing drugs.  LOTS and LOTS of drugs.  He was soon fired from the band because of it.)

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Oh ok. Wait. What?

These amazing powers come from a box of mysterious talismans that are never adequately explained at any point during the movie.  Apparently their origin is explained in a couple of KISS comic books that had been in circulation at the time, and I guess it was just assumed anyone watching this movie would have read them.

kissph5

As if being rock legends and having awesome space powers wasn’t enough, all the members of KISS also turn out to be experts at various forms of MARTIAL ARTS!  The rockers easily defeat robotic cat apes, samurais, and a gang of classic horror movie monsters, all with ease.

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Take that robotic cat ape dude!

ddee

The producers hoped and prayed that George Lucas never watched this, otherwise they might have some “splainin to doooooo.”

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Watch out Frankenstein’s monster, here comes Ace Frehley’s stunt double!

Eventually they somehow end up trapped in a cage with lasers for bars, which is really terrifying except for the five feet gap in between each bar which everyone just ignores.  Instead they combine minds, allowing them to use their telekinetic powers to regain their magic talismans, which doesn’t even make any sense because prior to this they were able to use the talismans remotely anyway.  Then they are able to free themselves and rush towards the concert venue, where a robot version of KISS is playing  a…(brace yourself)…. second rate performance!!!  (The horror!  THE HORROR!!!) Abner’s ingenious plan all along, it turns out, was to drive the audience into a frenzied rage with a weak KISS performance.  This frenzied rage would somehow ultimately result in complete destruction of the amusement park and all life within.   Perhaps the best moment of the whole film is Abner staring down at his computer before the appearance of robot KISS and suddenly screaming maniacally “I WILL DESTROY YOU ALL!!!!”

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Rumor was Ace Frehley really was kicking himself for agreeing to be in this schlock fest.

But of course the fake KISS is no match for the real KISS in battle, and eventually Devereoux’s plans are foiled, and the real KISS goes on to amaze the crowd with a smoldering rendition of ‘Rock n Roll All Nite’ which snaps the crowd out of it’s blind rage.  Everybody is now having a fine time except poor old Abner, who for some bizarre reason is now in some sort of coma and appears to have aged 20 years or so.

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“But I don’t WANNA rock n roll all night and party every day!!!!”

The end.  (Well, there were a few other things that happened, but whatever.)

Is this the worst movie ever made?  Not a chance.  It was, for instance, WAY better than such cinematic atrocities as Titanic, Pearl Harbor, Batman and Robin (Or for that matter any movie made by Joel Schumacher.) Jurassic Park 2, or that Carrot Top movie.  (And I’m sure there’s a ton more.)

It is a bad movie, but it’s a bad movie that’s fun to watch.  Especially with booze, drugs and/or a loud rowdy group of friends.  Or perhaps it could be watched on mute with Dark Side of the Moon playing.

Oh and it also has Brion James in it.  (He was the guy that played Leon in Blade Runner.)

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Nuff said!

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This site is about everything from my philosophy on life to the little things that make me laugh. IIt is about living, and breathing, and pausing long enough to take it all in. I hope it makes you laugh, sometimes makes you cry, but always makes you want to come back for another visit. It is your words, and your likes that inspire me to keep writing. And it is through my writing that you have a very large window to my soul. Relax awhile, read, and enjoy!

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