Primates, Puns and Penanggalans — Reflections on T-Fest 2010
Standard Unnecessary Intro
Once again, it’s time for me to make like Led Zeppelin and ramble on. Sing my song. Find the queen of my dreams. (Well, maybe just the first two; the last one’s been done.) Sorry for the delay on this; I’ve just been really busy, and consequently having a hard time writing. Not that I think anyone was eagerly anticipating or clamoring for this.
Anyway, T-Fest 2010 has come and gone, and if you haven’t made it out to one yet, I hope you do sometime soon. They’re a blast. You get to hang out with bad movie reviewing royalty, bad movie-making royalty, video game- and RPG-making royalty, and a whole mess of court jesters. You get to eat tasty snacks, especially if Cookie Lady Angela shows up. You get to shock some lucky restaurant’s crew by arriving in the biggest damn crowd they’ll ever see, and enjoy a delicious meal with your comrades. And, you get to watch movies that can leave you with bleeding eyes and scarred minds. (If that last one doesn’t sound tempting, what the hell are you doing here!?)
This year’s Fest was a bit different this time around. The crowd wasn’t quite what I’ve seen the past two years; however, the hardcore attendees were there, and we had a lot of big names show up. We had a shorter than usual schedule, due to some jackass security guard that told Mr. Petersen two days prior that we had to be out be 10 p.m. due to some construction work being done, and said he was going to check up on us to make sure we were gone.
Taking a cue from Ken himself, I made a short list of important things to remember, so I wouldn’t forget things like what was shown, and people’s names. Good idea! You’d think I’d have done this years ago, but that’s not how I roll, baby. Logical solutions to simple problems—feh! There was one other difference, but we’ll get to that in good time.
Five Years of Torture: A Look Back
During my writing, I was trying to look up something I’d written in a prior Fest reflection, and rediscovered Ken’s write-up for the original T-Fest back in ’05. I’ve read it before, but I’d completely forgotten about it until today. It occurred to me that T-Fest 2010 was the sixth T-Fest to be held. This was T-Fest’s fifth anniversary, which means we should’ve held From Hell It Came until this year because it’s the wood anniversary. (Ken, stop snickering.)
Wow, six years. To think, it started as an excuse for Ken, Chris, Dr. Freex, and Sandy to gather and get hammered whilst watching bad movies. (I think that’s right.) They ended up deciding to let other members of the faithful attend, in order to defray their liquor costs, and instead started a new fest tradition. That inaugural event featured a Gamera movie, a Chesty Morgan movie, The Giant Claw, and 1,000 Year Cat, which I’d really like to see.
The next year is shrouded in mystery and the fog of time. It was apparently when the infamous Shredder Orpheus was shown, but little else is known.
In 2007, the Fest moved to Dallas, and history was made as it was the first time I darkened the doorway of T-Fest. I had so much fun that I could barely wait for the next year. Lawyer Chris would be the first Jabootuite I would meet in person, and Ihave looked forward to seeing him ever since. I also got to hold a giant millipede, which was very exciting. Movies included Blood Car, Yonggary, Monster From the Deep and *shudder* Funky Forest.
The fourth T-Fest may have had my favorite overall line-up to date, and proved to be just as great as the prior one. We suffered through The Harrad Experiment, thrilled at Eternal Evil of Asia, and cheered on Jimmy during War in Space. I believe this was the first time Mary, aka galaxyjane, showed up to brighten our lives.
We moved venues in 2009, and had perhaps our biggest turn-out to date. Angela’s cookies were the hit of the Fest, and she’s now forever trapped in a vicious cycle of having to bring cookies to every damn one of these things. Big Man Japan proved to be a big disappointment, Theodore Rex was possibly worse than I could’ve expected, and I savored the pain of my fellows during the ending of Nightmare City.
What wonders were beheld during T-Fest 2010? Well, if you’re still reading this, you can finally find out in the next paragraph…
I managed to get there a bit early this year, and found myself all alone. Luckily the doors to the hall were open so I went inside. The first person I ran into was a delightful surprise: None other than Mary! My understanding was she wasn’t going to be able to make it out this year, but as she explained, she’d finished up her residency (?—I needed to start the list sooner, I guess. I’m sure she’ll correct me on what it was she finished) and had managed to make it down. Yay! Now, if someone has a health emergency during a Fest, we have her on staff to save us! Double yay! (No pressure, Mary.)
The attendees came in steadily for about the first half hour. All my former Fest buddies were there: Guy, Lawyer Chris, KirknPatty (to my delight, they referred to themselves as “Brangelina”) with daughter Samantha, and of course Mary. Angela arrived, Frank and cookies in tow. (Amusingly, I just took a gander at my T(ween)-Fest write-up, and I mentioned there being a “Frank,” and then talked about Angela and her guy, whose name I didn’t’ know.) Mason and his Billy Jack shirt made the scene, as did his lovely companion Maggie, who, unless I’m mistaken (but what are the odds of that?) was one of our T-Fest virgins. Chad made it, although Stephanie did not. No Gracie with our Burns? Ah well.
Rich was there, too. This is important, because Rich is always there, and I never remember his name. (There’s something to this “list” thing, after all…) A cute young redhead named Rebecca, proclaiming herself “a fan of Ken’s,” was another of our Fest newbies. She fit right in. Actually, all the newcomers did. A young man named Reed (who seemed familiar, although I can’t remember for sure if I’ve met him before) came in an Iron Maiden T-shirt, which was matched by Mary’s Lordi one. (Mary’s led to a nice discussion of Dark Floors, a movie Lordi made. She and I felt pretty much the same: pretty good movie, nice acting, effects, and story, craptastic ending that kind of ruins the whole thing.) Between them and Mason, I feel I need to wear some nifty shirt next year. Maybe I can dig out my old Dokken shirt…
Finally, the cool kids. Sandy and Ken, of course, were there to oversee the whole shebang. Sandy’s son, the one I always see there, was of course present. (I REALLY need to learn his name, he’s been to at least as many of these as I have.) There may have been more of his sons there, but they’re like ninjas and I never seem to see them. Dr. Freex once again showed up, dashing my dreams of winning the trivia contest, the bastard. Chris Magyar made it down, which is great, as did Chris Holland, which is terrible because he delights in bringing the pain. IT HUUUUUURTSSS USSSSS.
If you were there and I didn’t name you, speak up and make yourself known! Then, next time, come talk to me! I’ll be sure to mention you in next year’s write-up! Who wouldn’t thrill to that??
It turned out that my Fest buddies this year were a guy named Jason (who also elicited a vague sense of having met him before), and none other than Mr. Kenneth Richard Begg. I don’t know how that happened, but I managed to refrain from doing a little dance and warmly greeted him as we settled in…
Gorilla at Large
Cameron Mitchell! Anne Bancroft! Lee J. Cobb! Lee Marvin! Raymond Burr! AND GEORGE BARROWS!! What are all these talented people doing in a T-Fest presentation!?!
Anyway, what we’ve got here is a circus, which features an act where the luscious Bancroft performs a trapeze act in a series of tight, revealing outfits over a cage with a gorilla in it. This culminates in her swinging real low, just out of the ape’s reach. Thrilling, no? As you might imagine, Burr and Mitchell are hot to trot for her, but that’s kind of a minor deal. The big deal is that Cameron’s got a gorilla costume he wears to stand in for the real gorilla during the performances. The gorilla starts murdering people, so you can see where his owning that costume could be a problem. Eventually, the true killer’s revealed, and promptly gets their comeuppance. The poor gorilla gets it too, which is sad.
The gorilla suit Mitchell wears is supposed to be identical to the “real” gorilla, as played by our man Barrows. However, I guess they didn’t want to confuse the audience, so not only is it a different color, it’s got a different hairstyle. Yes, the gorilla costumes have hairstyles. Yes, it’s as incredible as it sounds. Speaking of incredible, Bancroft. Yowza! Mel Brooks, you lucky dog you. More than one person marveled at his snagging her. She’s fun to watch, and not just ‘cause she’s hot. Her character’s got a few quirks to her, and while Burr manages to match her, Mitchell tends to lag a bit. Nothing against him; he does well enough.
Lee Marvin has a small role as an Irish cop named, of course, Shaughnessy. Because when I think “Irish cop,” I think “Lee Marvin.” Chris Magyar showed up a bit later in the proceedings; thus he’d not seen the opening credits. When Marvin popped up, there was a pause, and then from the back, an incredulous, “No.” Heh. He doesn’t have much to do except try to provide comic relief. Because when I think “comic relief,” I think “Lee Marvin.”
George Barrows gives his all, as he always did; thankfully he doesn’t have to amble around the sweltering desert like he did in Robot Monster. He does get to hide in a little bathysphere ride the circus has, which doesn’t seem like a great place to put a big, hairy, smelly ape for any length of time, but what do I know?
This movie endeared itself to me for all time during a scene where the gorilla’s being pursued through the circus. Well, carnival, really. There are too many rides for a circus. Anyway, it’s ambling around, and I expressed a fervent desire to see him King Kong the roller coaster. Well, he hopped on the carousel, which satisfied me for a bit…but at the climax, the gorilla grabs a dame and up to the top of the coaster it goes! YES!! And then they shoot fireworks at the gorilla to distract him, because I guess this climax wasn’t quite full of AWESOME yet. The movie itself’s not bad, but this ending totally makes it worthwhile. Well, that and Bancroft slinking around in her little leotards.
I don’t know what the hell I did to deserve it, but Kirk and Ken started tossing puns around during this movie, rarely stopping throughout the day, and then egging me on to join in. Am I really the pun guy? When did this happen? It’s Kirk and Ken that do those, especially the former. Anyway, even if I’d wanted to, their barrage of puns left me shell-shocked and unable to retaliate. I tossed a few weak ones out during the Fest, but that was about all I could manage. As I reeled, I started to wonder about this whole “Ken sitting next to me” thing.
That’s not the name of this little fake trailer we watched, but if I tell you the title, it gives away the joke, which is a pretty funny one. I don’t really want to tell you much about it; I will say the guys that made it know their horror movies, and that it’s on the DVD for Treevenge. You should pick up that DVD, by the way; as a bonus, you can watch this and find out what I’m alluding to.
OK, what is going on here? This has got Bela Lugosi AND Boris Karloff; this can’t possibly be a bad movie. Sure enough, it’s not.
Boris plays Dr. Janos Rukh, a scientist who manages to look through time with the help of a ray from space (yes, they tried to explain it, and no, it doesn’t make any sense) and finds a meteor that landed in Africa. This meteor’s supposed to be full of minerally goodness, so he, his wife, and some colleagues who doubted him go to Africa to check out a new mineral deposit. They get some native porters, who in a nice touch are actually black people, although they’re still fairly cowardly. The mineral Rukh really wants, Radium X, is massively radioactive. Boris comes up with a way to focus the power into a death ray that can melt stone. Like you do. He also wants to use it for medical purposes. You can imagine what playing with radioactive materials does for Boris, though; yup, he starts glowing in the dark (or the light for that matter) and kills anyone he touches. Naturally, the first thing dead is his great big dog. PUPPY!! NOOOOOOO!!!
Bela’s character, Dr. Benet, finds out about it when Rukh confides in him, hoping the two of them can come up with a cure. Benet eventually finds a solution that temporarily reduces the effects, so at least Rukh doesn’t glow and can touch others. Still, Rukh’s pretty upset about it all. The radioactivity starts to screw up his brain, making him paranoid and untrusting of everyone. You can imagine how long it takes for him to realize he can take care of everyone he’s worried about, all thanks to that little power of his. He fakes his death with the help of an unfortunate passerby who’s just about his size, and his mad vengeance begins…
This movie is pretty cool. After Rukh starts killing people, he takes to melting big statues conveniently outside his place, seeing in them those he wants to destroy. Unlike The Body Snatcher, Bela gets good screen time, and in fact has quite a bit of time with Boris. Turns out that, while Karloff was not short (just under six feet), Bela had a couple of inches on him. In a weird twist, it’s Boris who provides the histrionics as he goes crazy. This is very at odds with his cultured accent (doubly hilarious since he’s supposed to be Hungarian), but it still works. Bela proves himself quite capable of underplaying with this role; he’s calm throughout, and on top of that, he’s one of the good guys. Very interesting reversal there. He’s also supposed to be French, which is about as funny as Boris being Hungarian, if not more so.
We started picking out common themes in the movies here. A big one was people who can’t get a clue. In the last movie, it took the cops forever to figure anything out; here, it takes longer than it should to figure out who’s killing people with massive doses of radiation. Lurking was also coming about as a theme, with several people doing just that in the prior movie, and Boris doing plenty of it here.
Here Come Dr. Tran
This has become a T-Fest tradition. I love it. I’m sure you can find it online.
So much for my list. I didn’t mark when this took place, but I think it was about here. Anyway, as we do anymore, we had a trivia contest, run by Sandy. Last time, I tied for first with Ken. This is because Dr. Freex didn’t come up for T(ween)-Fest. He was here this go-round, so I decided I’d be playing for the top three.
This year’s theme was zombies. This would explain why Ken didn’t think he’d beat me this year, since the only thing I watch more of than zombie movies are giant monster movies, whereas I get the feeling he doesn’t watch a lot of them. However, in an interesting twist, Sandy had us team up together to make sure no one was cheating. So, Ken and I took this on together. There were a few I hadn’t seen, and one I was embarrassed not to remember (Wild Zero). I still managed to score in the top three, but was again beaten by Dr. Freex, as well as one of Sandy’s sons. A NEW CHALLENGER EMERGES. Great. Just great. I’m guessing he and Sandy have watched a few of these together in the past.
The prize was the novelization of The Harrad Experiment, or maybe the book it was based on. Either way, ICK. Maybe I should be thankful I didn’t win. I’m not sure who got the book; I think Sandy’s son was the “lucky” recipient. I hear rumors that next time, the subject will be kaiju; this would be my only chance to topple Dr. Freex, or at the very least pull a draw. I guess I know how Ken feels re: myself and the trivia contests. Begg, you are avenged!
OK, NOW we’ve got the kind of movie I expect at T-Fest. It’s H.G. Lewis’ original gore “epic.” Fuad Ramses owns an exotic catering company, and he also wrote a book on “Ancient Weird Religious Rites.” It would seem only young single women buy this book, which is good for Fuad, ‘cause anyone who buys it gets a visit from him, during which he picks a random body part and hacks it off. He’s cookin’ up an “E-GYPTIAN…FEAST!!!” (I swear everyone accents it like that) and that requires body parts from young women. Yum!! Why’s he doing this? It’s part of his worship of Ishtar, naturally! I had no idea was an Egyptian goddess. It’s amazing what you learn from the movies. Two of the most incompetent movie cops you’re likely to encounter try to figure out who’s doing the killings. Various “actors” in this movie vie for the title of Worst Goddamn Actor You Will Ever See. It says a lot that I’m not sure who won. Eventually one of the cops’ cerebral cortex starts functioning long enough for him to figure out who’s doing it. One of the most amazing foot chases I’ve ever witnessed occurs during the climax, and then Fuad dies in a garbage truck, which I’m certain means something, I just don’t know what.
This movie, while very, very bad, is not the worst thing Lewis ever did; so, despite its badness, it didn’t seem as bad as it should have. That could just be me. A lot of people must’ve gotten bored with this, because many attendees decided to chat during the first part of the movie, and I missed some dialogue that was probably pretty terrible anyway. They also started talking about things being an “ILLUSION!!” and then using words that rhymed with illusion. My favorite was talking about being careful or you’d get a CONTUSION!! Heh. It would seem that MON-TAAAAG~!’s evil influence is alive and well, as this continued for the rest of the day. I’m just glad they hushed up for Connie Mason’s first line read, which resulted in a collective, awed, “Wow.” Wow, indeed.
There’s exactly one person in this mess that can kind of sort of act, and that’s William Kerwin, who plays the slightly more competent cop. Everyone else is useless and stupid and shouldn’t be allowed to breed. Kind of like Teabaggers. (Oh oh, a political comment. I’m gonna get Ken in trouble. Sorry Ken!) Scott Hall (the police chief) blatantly reads his lines off whatever’s handy (as does Connie at one point); Mal Arnold is terrible as our villain, although his overacting is at least somewhat amusing; Lyn Bolton (Mrs. Fremont) is utterly awful. Connie Mason… Jesus Christ on toast points. She’s absolutely abominable, and it’s so nightmarish that it never becomes more than slightly amusing. I get a feeling meeting a Great Old One would feel like watching her try to act. My mind just went numb, and I think the chuckles were a defensive reflex to save my sanity. I will say, however, that Gene Courtier, as “Tony,” probably would’ve proven worse if he hadn’t been onscreen for all of a minute and a half. His big emotional scene, where he’s blaming himself for his girl’s death and sobbing, is, I feel fairly safe in saying, the WORST moment of acting to ever exist. It blew my mind. Kerwin’s character kind of shakes his head sadly at this poor blubbering sap. However, the look on his face…I get the feeling Kerwin couldn’t hide his disdain for this guy’s performance. His face reads “Holy fuck what have I gotten myself into” as clear as day, and I’m not sure it was purposeful.
The gore is a mixed bag. The woman getting her tongue ripped out starts off silly, with everyone yelling, “JUST BITE HIM ferchrissakes!!” but ends up rather effective, with her slowly dying as nasty black-red gunk oozes out of her mouth. The severed leg’s all right for the time, if not particularly realistic. The rest is pretty bad, the highlight being a woman getting whipped. It’s just rope coated with red paint being lightly slapped against her back. They don’t even try to hide it. Already, this early in his gore period, HGL just didn’t give a damn. Despite the overall inferior quality, poor Ken had to put his head between his knees and breathe deeply during the bloody scenes. Poor guy. I patted his back and gave him what encouragement I could. At least he didn’t puke. He’s such a trooper.
We get one nice shock scene, featuring the whipping victim’s discovery. It’s not that shocking, but it’s actually well shot and effective, even if you aren’t totally surprised by it. We also get that great “HUH!?” moment where the boa constrictor is suddenly on the beach, crawling around by a victim’s splattered cranium. Teleporting snake! On the other hand, the revelation of Fuad’s Ishtar statue is a whopper: a mannequin with gold spray paint and costume jewelry. Incredible. There are also a couple of unintentionally funny lines, like the classic, “For crying out loud, tell ‘em not to eat anything!” I also liked Mrs. Fremont whining about how the guests will have to eat hamburgers after it comes out that someone tried to serve long pig at her soiree. Really? That’s you’re biggest concern?? Good thing your daughter didn’t get her head lopped off, or you might’ve had blood stains on the linoleum, you poor dear! IT’S SO HARD TO BE YOU!!
The best part of this movie, hands down, is that last chase scene. It’s an onion of ineptitude: layers and layers of stinky crap. The bad guy is being chased by several cops. Cops, I assume, that have guns. Cops that never draw said presumed guns and order the perp to freeze or they’ll blow him away. Cops who turn and run away and hide when the killer turns and lobs his machete in their general direction. Now he’s completely defenseless, yet they STILL can’t catch up to him and bring him down! What, are they afraid he might have another machete in his pant leg? TACKLE HIM YOU DIPSHITS!! Oh, did I mention the killer has a friggin’ limp, and yet manages to outdistance these bozos the whole time? I know a couple of them were puffing away on coffin nails the whole movie, but come on! My roommate during my senior year in college was over 400 pounds and found eating to be strenuous exercise, judging by his sweating and heavy breathing. HE could’ve made the catch! That’s how slowly Fuad is moving! You know, if it wasn’t for the driver starting his compactor, the old gimpy unarmed murderer would’ve gotten clean away. Of course, this would actually have been a good thing, because I have to believe all those cops would’ve been fired immediately, and their replacements could be nothing but improvements.
More people who can’t get a clue abound; the first on-screen victim hears a report about the murders, but doesn’t lock her windows. The cops take forever to figure out the book/killing connection, and almost as long to figure out a victim’s trying to say, “Ishtar.” I mean, come on! “I-tar! It-aur!” Someone really needed to bitch slap them. Unlike the prior movies, the cops here have the audacity to act smug about how they pieced it all together, after several people die due to their incompetence. Of course, this seems to pale in comparison to Connie Mason’s character letting a creepy stranger lie her down with her eyes closed and trusting he won’t whack her with a machete. What happened to survival instincts? As for lurking, Fuad of course does a lot of it, being a psycho killer and all.
We also realized that a common thread was a hot momma in each movie. Anne Bancroft, Francis Drake, and Connie Mason provided the eye candy up to this point. I discovered another theme as well: close-ups of T-zones. We got some in the last movie, and there are a couple here when Fuad hypnotizes Mrs. Fremont. I think he was trying to hypnotize her; that seems to be what was implied. You know HGL and details…
You could easily do worse as far as HGL goes, but I think this one, pound for pound, has the worst acting, in quality and quantity. I think you should see it at least once, just to marvel at it all.
Four shorts, rapid fire.
First up was a clip from a Larry Buchanan movie called Mistress of the Apes. It features a hot blonde in khakis trying to blend in with some Australopithecines or something (read: men in loincloths with monkey makeup) by eating a banana and scratching herself. The monkeymen stare at her, not sure if they are interested, aroused, or just plain insulted. All the while, this horrendous song (the title song, in fact) plays over it. I don’t know if the rest of the movie matches up to this clip, but YE GODS. It wouldn’t be that crazy if it wasn’t for that song. Interestingly, this was also shown at the first T-Fest.
Then we get a trailer for a documentary called Sweden: Heaven and Hell. What, both at the same time!? That’s ludicrous! Anyway, there’s good people and druggies and hookers and other stuff. They seemed to play up the Hell side, imagine that.
Then that son of a bitch Holland played the dance scene from Sting of Death. I proceeded to throw a lot of curse words and threats at him, which I’m sure he loved ‘cause he’s a sadistic bastard. This features a lot of women shaking their asses at the camera, which is not a bad thing. Unfortunately, this is also the scene that features the infamous “Jilla-Jalla-Jellyfish” song by Neil Sedaka. Every time I hear this song, or indeed even think about it for too long, it proceeds to get stuck in my head for weeks at a time. This is despite seeing this movie exactly once, about six or so years ago. In fact, I can hear it right now. It is one of the most insidious earworms I’ve ever encountered. I don’t care if I have to live a thousand years, I am going to get you, Chris. If you have any ideas about how to get Chris, by all means, share them with me.
Finally, we rounded things out with some weird little cartoon from Studio Ghibli, who bring us Hayao Miyazaki’s wonderful anime. This thing was called “Ghiblies” and it was “Episode 2.” Three coworkers–a woman, a man, and an anthropomorphic pig–go out to lunch. There’s a challenge there, where you can win some cash if you eat the highest level of spicy curry they serve. The guy and the pig are happy with levels two and three, but the woman goes for the ten. The guy and the pig end up immolated and getting blasted through walls by their spicy food, but the woman perseveres and eats the ten. Then she orbits the earth on a flame jet she blasts out of her mouth before crashing back to Earth to claim her prize and leave. It’s pretty weird, but not terrible or anything. Just weird in that Japanese way. You know what I mean.
This year, I hitched a ride with Lawyer Chris to dinner, which gave me someone to talk to. That was nice, and we caught up on our lives. We all trooped off to Burger Island #2. I had never heard of it. I kind of wish I hadn’t, because it was super-tasty…and also very far away from where I live. It’s hard to justify a half-hour drive for burgers, especially when we’ve got a couple of great places less than five minutes away. Anyway, I got myself a delightful burger packed with onions, pepper jack, and A-1 sauce. It was big and juicy and delicious. The Texas toothpicks (sliced and fried onions and jalapenos) were also wonderful. I don’t know what they did to them, or even if it’s legal, but those things stayed crispy even as they got cold. I am a little sad that I somehow did not notice they had clam strips until Sandy’s order arrived. I LOVE clam strips, but they’re not exactly something you find in Dallas. Sandy, in his mercy, allowed me to have a couple, and I became even sadder I hadn’t seen them because they were flawless—crispy, flavorful, and not greasy. SOOOO GOOOOD. I am going to have to bite the bullet and make a trek back that way in the near future.
“That Reindeer Short”
It’s about Lapland and how people farm reindeer and sexually assault each other in that wonderful land. We watched this last year, and many were horrified. You may have seen the reaction on Youtube, which someone posted there. If you squint real hard and turn your head sideways, you might even see me lurking in the darkness. Those who hadn’t seen it before had their turn to be scarred. Oh, for fun!
Mystics in Bali
FINALLY! I got to see it! I am filled with glee.
A white woman learns black magic in Indonesia from a master leyak sorceress, which is a witch that can shapeshift and likes to drink blood and is generally not someone to invite to cocktail parties, much less mess with. The witch decides to turn the woman into a penanggalan, which is a type of vampire whose head flies off from her neck, dragging her entrails behind. She sends her new pet out to get newborn baby blood, because it makes her stronger. Like Popeye’s spinach, only disgusting. The woman’s boyfriend, who introduced her to the witch in the first place, is not only to blame for all of this, but also is no help at all when she gets penanggalanized. And no, his little wussy “magic” dagger isn’t going to cut it, so to speak. Luckily, he’s got a relative or two who’s actually competent…
Well, I can’t say it’s a good movie by any logical stretch, but it is a damn fun one, and that’s the important thing. People turn into pigs and snakes in some of the worst effects sequences I’ve ever seen. A woman pukes up live mice. A fake head with rubber entrails goes sailing around the set on a wire. The witch constantly lets loose with over-the-top wicked laughter, causing several people in the crowd (especially Mary) to get very angry at her. I myself was delighted with her constant cackling, but we’ve already established I am a very sick man. I started copying her laughter, which means Mary wants me dead now. The witch regularly shows up in hideous, rubbery forms. Then she gets her baby’s blood and for most of the rest of the movie shows up as a hot young woman. Have Proctor & Gamble looked into this? They could make a fortune! “Turns hags into hotties! Try Oil of Bay-bay, with real infant blood!”
The special effects are a mixed bag, ranging from “bad” to “holy crap are you serious!?” The bluescreening is terrible, the physical effects are not much better, and when people start throwing around magic bolts at the end…let’s just say I’ve seen local kids’ shows with better effects. This, of course, just adds to the enjoyment. I will say the effect used to signify the penanggalan sucking a baby out of a pregnant woman is pretty effective. Granted, the fake head and bluescreening kind of get in the way, but it’s still a neat moment. Not as neat as when the fake head manages to slam someone through a wall, but still…
See this movie if you love bad movies, and just be patient through the first part. It gets insane before long, and you don’t know bad movie bliss until you see a chubby man in a bath towel fighting a were-pig with crappily animated lightning bolts while a mannequin head with fake rubber guts dangling from its neck flies around them on a wire.
Well, unless you’ve seen the midget-powered dragon shooting flames at kids in that Mexican Red Riding Hood/Tom Thumb movie. If you haven’t yet, you REALLY should. MAN that was incredible.
People who don’t get a clue: Well, the boyfriend’s useless, and it’s his fault this all happened, but he is at least aware of what’s going on. Of course, his lady should’ve realized messing around with black magic was a bad idea long ago.
Lurking: The witch likes to lurk. Hell, she likes it so much that sometimes she just sends her aswang-ish tongue out of the bushes to conduct her business, leaving her free to lurk some more. Her best magic trick is talking clearly with her tongue extended many feet out of her head, by the by.
Hot mommas: The main character’s pretty damn cute, and the witch’s young woman form is quite pretty.
T-zones: During the snake transformation we get a couple.
This short movie is about people hacking down pine trees for Christmas, which oddly doesn’t kill the trees, but only confuses and enrages them. On Christmas morn, the trees are suddenly able to move, and enact an amazingly gory vengeance.
This was a hoot! The people cutting down the trees act like nutjobs, waving their axes and chainsaws around and screaming and cursing and cackling. The trees talk in gibberish, which of course people can’t hear. We get subtitles for the tree-talk, which is good. Then the carnage begins, and it’s so over-the-top there’s no possible reaction except further laughter. No one is safe: adults, kids, babies—everyone dies. There’s a kill that was stolen from either Class of Nuke ‘em High or the Crawlers. I would like to think the latter, since it had killer tree roots, but I’m guessing the former’s more likely as more than 30 people have actually heard of it.
I again encourage you to buy this. It’s great, and as a bonus you get that trailer I alluded to earlier.
El Baron del Terror
You know and love it as Jabootu’s own Brainiac. Sandy put on the English version, but also gave us the English subtitles, so we could laugh along at how disparate they were.
I think my favorite part of this movie is the opening sequence, with Baron Vitelius having his VERY lengthy list of charges read to him by his inquisitors. The reading’s long and boring; it’s the Baron that makes this wonderful. He’s stone-faced, taking the charges seriously…until they get to his debauchery with women young and old, married and virginal. Then he cracks this huge grin, as if to say, “Hey, yeah! I forgot about that! That was sweet!!” He settles down as the list continues. When the court describes their ineffective attempts to torture him, though, it comes back. “Yeah, the rack! That was fun!” So anyway, they burn the Baron at the stake, but it doesn’t really seem to faze him. Then the most inept comet I’ve ever seen appears, and he tells the assembled inquisitors that their ancestors 300 years in the future are SOOOO dead before vanishing. Well, that’ll learn ‘em.
Sure enough, 300 years later he shows up when the “comet” turns into a flaming papier mache rock and lands in Mexico. Fun fact: Unlike meteorites, a comet that impacts the Earth will gently float down through the atmosphere, leaving not even the slightest crater. The Baron can now turn into a rubbery, air bladder-filled monster with a long, bifurcated tongue that can pierce a human skull and useless floppy rubber pincers that couldn’t pierce a wet sheet of toilet paper. He magically steals a victim’s suit (thankfully leaving the poor schlub’s underclothes on him) and goes about with his vengeance.
The Baron has got a real nasty streak; he tends to hypnotically paralyze the target, make out with their wife in front of them, kill said wife, and only then kill the victim. He makes one guy walk into a giant furnace. He should’ve asked the victim, “Hot enough for ya?” before he died; then he’d be dead AND pissed off. Turning into a monster made him hungry for brains. Isn’t that always the way? His magic tongue lets him somehow withdraw the whole brain and later deposit it into a steel tureen for later noshing. Naturally, they don’t show how he does it since it’s this little thing I like to call “impossible.” Fun fact: Brains, if left in a tureen in a cabinet at room temperature, will not in any way deteriorate or rot. Still, it lets us watch the Baron’s preferred method of eating the craniums: look around carefully, pull out the tureen, and then dip up a little bite with a spoon. He’s so dainty! Not like those uncouth zombies, with their skull-chomping and moaning of “Braaaaains!” The Baron’s too debonair for that. Why he chooses to do this when he’s got company over—hell, he does it during a huge party he holds—is less explainable.
Anyway, he kills three of his four targets. The last is Vicki, our heroine. The Baron seems to be falling for her, but is determined to kill her anyway, and no one seems to be able to stop him. Well, until the police show up with a flamethrower. I don’t know why this would work, seeing as burning at the stake didn’t seem to phase him at all, but it does, and the Baron is left as naught but ash.
I think this movie is super-keen. It’s short, fast-paced, utterly ridiculous, and the monster…oh, man. I really like the monster. The movie is fairly straightforward as far as the story, and wouldn’t itself be overly terrible, but the monster never fails to elicit wild giggles from all who see it and really helps put it into the realm of our Dark Lord. I’m betting most of you have seen this before, but if you haven’t, you really must. It’s a true B-movie classic.
People who don’t get a clue: Honestly, I could see not connecting the Baron with the horrible murders immediately, even though he’s new in town. The cops didn’t seem stupid, just confused by what they were being confronted with. So, no, I wouldn’t say so.
Lurking: The Baron does it when he first returns to Earth.
Hot mommas: Rosa Maria Gallardo is muy caliente. So are a couple of the other lesser actresses.
T-zones: A couple during hypnotizing scenes.
Ahh, time for our T-Rex movie. It sounded like they were going to play King Dinosaur again, but a few of us remembered seeing it a couple of years ago. Luckily they had this handy. It’s a fun little movie that I rather like, and no real reptiles kill each other in it, which is always a plus.
A Tyrannosaurus Rex, Brontosaurus (‘cause that’s what it is dammit, “Apatosaurus” my ass), and caveman are discovered at the bottom of the ocean somewhere in the Caribbean, in a place shallow enough for a snorkeler to find it and nearly die when she faints. Dames! I don’t know how that prehistoric menagerie stayed frozen for millions of years at the bottom of the sea, or how no one noticed them before since it’s shallow, or why a caveman is there with the dinosaurs, but there you go. They’re recovered from their watery tomb, and the EEEEEEEvil rich boss man of the island’s mine starts flashing dollar signs in his eyes and plotting to get these critters all for himself. Then a storm comes up (well of course it does), and the dinosaurs and caveman awaken to wreak havoc. Well, just the T-rex wreaks havoc. The Bronto just wanders around until his tragic death, and the caveman makes friends with the movie’s Mexican version of Kenny and does purportedly funny things. OK, he does bash in a radio, I guess that’s a little bit of havoc. He’s got nothing on Trog in that department, though.
This movie has little plot, but it moves right along and it’s fun, like I said. I will say it’s pretty cruel though. The poor Bronto is first mauled by the T-rex, then wanders into the biggest quicksand pit I’ve ever seen and dies. The movie also gives us some OCR with a drunken Irishman (where DO they get their ideas?), but then the T-rex eats him! The cruelty in this case comes when we realize the caveman has moved up from second chair to become the lead OCR for the rest of the movie. Watch as he tries to eat wax fruit and puts on women’s clothes! HILARITY!!! Urrrgh.
Still, despite the two-for-one Nightmare Deal on OCRs, it’s overall a pretty enjoyable movie. The Mexican Kenny isn’t too annoying, the heroes aren’t too dull, and the villain’s pretty fun. The stop-motion (and occasional puppets) are not high-quality, but it just kind of adds to the charm, rather than detract from the proceedings. (Of course, I’m a sucker for stop-motion, so your mileage may vary.) It also moves right along, never getting too bogged down with subplots and nonsense. This is helped by its being less than 90 minutes, as well.
There are two really great moments in the movie. One is where the bad guy tries to break a bottle to attack someone, and unlike every other movie you’ve ever seen, he just ends up with a slashed-open hand and some delicious carbonated beverage on his pants. Hooray for realism! The last is the climax, where the hero gets into a handy steam shovel and fights the T-rex at the edge of a cliff. Great stuff.
People who don’t get a clue: Not really; it doesn’t take long for them to realize the dinos are runnin’ wild on Isla Nublar…er, St. Croix, or whatever Caribbean island this is supposed to be.
Lurking: The bad guy does a bit, but for the most part the caveman handles the lurking duties.
Hot mommas: Kristina Hanson, our lead, is definitely easy on the eyes. Luci Blaine, who’s a waitress at the island bar, is not bad either.
T-zones: Not that I recall.
As you may have remembered, waaaaay back when I began, that there was something different about this Fest compared to previous ones. You may have already figured it out. It’s the line-up. Look at it again. Oh, sure, there’s three very bad movies in there, but the other three? Two are rather good, and one’s not bad. Of the remaining three, two are hilariously bad and a hell of a lot of fun; only one is really painfully bad. That’s a pretty easy line-up to get through, all things considered. Ken himself said that they’d decided to go easy on us this time around, following the completely BRUTAL line-up we got at T(ween)-Fest, and the quite nasty one for last year’s get-together. I don’t know if I can buy this, coming from the man who joyfully inflicted The Harrad Experiment and Samurai Cop on us. Personally, I think it was some kind of trap, where they lull us into thinking there’s mercy in the hearts of the organizers, only to turn around and absolutely floor us come 2011. Be warned.
There’s really no contest as far as Nastiest Movie of the Fest. El Baron del Terror and Mystics in Bali are way too much fun to compete with the non-stop awfulness of an HGL movie. Blood Feast: this year’s Agonizer/Excruciator/whatever we’re calling it this year. Here’s the thing, though: it didn’t seem as terrible as it is. At least, that’s the consensus I got. This seemed to perturb Sandy for some reason. I’m not sure why; this thing’s bad, but it’s probably a bit better than Wizard of Gore, as I’m sure he realizes. I mean, at least this movie had a plot you could follow. It also really can’t compare to some of the past heavy hitters (insert obligatory Funky Forest complaint here). His reaction leads me to further fear the next Fest; I think he’s got something to prove. I hope he doesn’t bust out The Gore Gore Girls or something. If he does, I hope he at least brings Wild Zero to counter it (seriously, you should show that, my rock and roll brother).
As usual, everyone went their separate ways at the end, and I headed home much earlier than usual, which was kind of nice as I didn’t have to worry about falling asleep at the wheel.
After T(ween)-Fest, I was hoping we’d again try the DVD for Sea Serpent. Ah well, maybe next year. While I’m thinking of it, I will once more voice the opinion that the next T-rex movie needs to be Attack of the Supermonsters. Do it so I can stop begging Begg for it.
It was so nice to see you all there again. Mary, Chris, Guy, Rich, Angela, Frank, KirknPatty, Chad…everyone. I only see you once or twice a year, but I consider you all friends. Which I’m sure you’re thrilled with. I can just see you all now, pointing to this review and telling your loved ones, “See this mess? I met the freak that wrote it. Yeah, I know, right?” Sandy, Dr. Freex, Chris, and Ken, and anyone else who helps make these things a reality: We owe you so much for the work you put into making these a day to set aside to the exclusion of all else. My Fest buddies, Jason and Ken, thanks for making me laugh harder than I have at any Fest to date (although everyone, especially Kirk, helped in that regard). Ken, in particular, is just a nonstop quip factory. I don’t know where he gets the stamina. On top of that, he’s just a fine, upstanding human being, one who can restore hope and faith in humanity to even a near-misanthrope like me. He is friend to children and should be famous the world over not just for his writing and sense of humor, but for his compassion, his intelligence, and his smoldering good looks. (There, now he HAS to post this.)
Again, my thanks to the guys who make it possible, my love to all my fellow attendees, and I look forward to seeing you all in 2011. And on that note…let’s bring things to a close.