Monday, March 9, 2009

Faces of Death

Released in 1979, "Faces of Death" was banned in over 46 countries until a video boxset containing all six volumes was released. Only parts 1 and 2 (and a "greatest moments" version containing clips from parts 1 and 2) have been released on DVD. Dr. Frances B. Gross (great name huh) takes us on a journey through the different arenas of death in all it's blood and gore. From suicides to gruesome accidents, and from eating live monkey brains to orgies and cults that dine on dead human flesh. Part one is by far the best. Although, some of the footage is faked. Mostly blended together with real footage for appearance sake. Part one probably has the highest volume of real footage out of all six volumes. Part two is a slightly cheaper version of part one. Part three is pushing the boundaries of being all fake. Part three has a new host who loves to give the camera big eyed closeups that are far more frightening than any of the fake footage piled together. Part five is a hodgepodge of clips from parts 1 and 2. Part six has absolutely no extra footage. The first 30 minutes are from part 2, and the rest are clips from parts 1 and 3. Therefore, stick to volumes 1,2, and 3. The rest is a waste of time. Well worth seeking out, especially for those cult fans who thought they had seen it all. There's even a rip off series called "Traces of Death" which steals all the "real" scenes from Faces of Death and has added some new scenes of their own, set to an instant headache inducing death/speed metal music soundtrack.

Toxic Zombies

Pothead zombies, ain't that a kick in the rubber parts. A truly unique combination, don't you think? It starts of with a ripoff reproduction of the beginning of the classic "Night of the Living Dead". A long winding road with an approaching car, creepy soundtrack building in the background. Quick cut to some Feds watching a naked woman take a bath in a creek. They chase her and shoot her. Turns out she was part of a group of potheads (hardly a reason to kill someone) growing a field of dope out in some campgrounds, somewhere. Looks like backwoods Tennessee, I dunno. Anyway, The Feds decide to dump a load of some experimental chemical herbicide that hasn't been approved by anyone, onto their crop. The potheads and the idiot pilot that was conned into crop dusting with this chemical weapon, all start to get sick, puke blood and crave human flesh. Y'know, the typical symptoms of "zombieism". A few unexposed potheads, a ranger and his wife, and a family camping in the woods (complete with retarded son), all get caught up in the drama. We lose a character here, a zombie there, until the Feds finally figured out that they have really screwed things up and go out to see the damage, getting killed in the process by the few remaining zombies. That's about it really, the rest is all women screaming at the top of their lungs and moaning zombies. There's a lot of rather convincing gore, but other than that it was kinda boring. It ends with the ranger leaving office, mourning the death of his wife, who by the way was one of the worst actresses of all time, and that says a lot coming from me. It was about potheads and zombies, two things that truly fascinate me, so I thought it would be cool. And as far as cult films go, it's pretty good (translation-it sucked). It's very Troma, although I can't say for sure whether it actually is or not.

Robot Monster

Wow, what a piece of doggy doo. This movie is a great example of a "so bad, it's good B-film". So bad in fact, that it makes the worst of Ed wood films look positively top drawer. Released in 1953, this movie has all the hallmarks of a 50's sci-fi drama. It's filled with Christian overtones and is riddled with scenes that are so blatantly sexist, that you can't help but laugh to yourself. Anyway, little Johnny pipsqueak gets zapped by a falling star while picnicking with his family in what looks like a barren desert wasteland (probably some small corner of California). Soon, there is a guy in a cheap gorilla costume wearing a diving helmet with antennae, named Ro-Man. Often, just called Roman. Can you feel the preach yet? Ro-Man has conquered all mankind. All of course, except the Brady Bunch which are hiding out in some adobe shanty just outside Ro-man's cave headquarters. Ro-Man often reports to a TV screen boss who constantly bitches at him for not doing his job in completely wiping out the human race. NASA, FBI, CIA, KGB, and all the rest of the world was conquered with ease, but the "Partridge Family Robinson" somehow stops him dead in his tracks. For some reason, because they're a family, Ro-Man gets all soft hearted (what happened to the rest of the world?) Amidst Ro-Mans destruction, a couple gets married, walks off into the desert on they're honeymoon, and makes out in a ditch. Ro-Man kills the husband and kidnaps the wife. Even Ro-Man hits on her. Truly, if I listed all the totally sexist remarks in this movie, I'd be at this damn keyboard for days. The goofs in this movie are the only things rivaling the sexism. Ro-Man goes to tie the girl up, can't do it, gives up, and throws the rope down. Literally two frames later, she's all trussed up with a perfect rope job, complete with square knot. A rocket is shown that already looks like a plastic toy rocket with a sparkler shoved up it's tailpipe, reveals it's special effects secret when a flash goes off and you can see a guy in black holding the rocket and making it "fly". Often we see "dinosaurs" attacking each other. Some are claymation stock footage, and others are alligators or armadillos with dinosaur looking fins and other attachments glued onto them. What this has to do with the story, is anyone's guess. Another funny bit is the intermission the film has... on a movie that's only an hour long. If you really want to laugh at a serious 50's period piece, this film's for you. true B-movie, all the way.