T(ween)-Fest Diary 2012: The Rev.

The Rev’s Fest Reflections

T(ween)-Fest 2012:  Diary of a Madman

Yes, boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, and movie freaks of all ages.  The Rev. is here to once again invade Ken’s domain with a rundown of the fun, excitement, and agony of another T(ween)-Fest.  This is the third one now, so things are going pretty well.  As usually happens, there weren’t as many attendees as we get at T-Fest, but it was still a good, strong core group.  My notes tell me that we were graced with the following people:

Mason and Maggie, the first people I ran into this year.

Ken and Sandy, of course.
Black Chad.
Guy.  Sadly, no Frank, as he was ill.
Kirk and Patty.  Sadly, no Sam, as she was off living it up at college, I believe; as a result, no Sheepie, either.
Arthur, son of Sandy, and Cody, son-in-law of Sandy.

Will was a new guy.  I approached him to introduce myself.  At this point, the name started trying to wake up a memory within my brain; hadn’t Ken mentioned a fellow B-Master making a pilgrimage to Texas for this?  Waaaaaaait a minute…HOLY CROW!!  It’s THAT Will!!  “Braineater” Will!!!  At this point I proceeded to act like a drooling fanboy, telling him how I enjoyed his breakdowns of movie soundtracks in some of his reviews, which is one of his unique things.  I’m not entirely unmusical myself, so I appreciate that touch.  To his credit, he took it pretty well, and even ended up being my Fest Buddy, sitting next to me on one of the couches Sandy has ready for this sort of thing.

He probably regrets that choice now, but that’s for later…

Before we got started, Kirk and Ken, giggling like schoolgirls, pranced up to show me a recording they’d made on a visit to an aquarium in Houston.  It featured a smiling Ken happily dancing and singing away.  This should have been one of the greatest things in human history.  Unfortunately, he’s dancing next to a large tank of jellyfish…and by this point you all know where this is going.  That’s right, Ken is ruining the sight of him dancing next to jellyfish by singing THAT GODDAMN SONG just as loud and as proud as he can.  OH you insufferable bastards.

I should mention that my original notes simply say “F*CK YOU KEN AND KIRK,” but having all this time to heal has tempered my searing rage ever so slightly.

My only solace is that some day, they’re going to play this game so many times that I’ll be inured to it, and then I will be the one laughing.  In fact, now that we have a date for T-Fest 2012, I think I’m going to pull out my copy of Sting of Death and watch it again the night before.  Maybe I’ll even look up that clip on the Internet and just watch it on a loop until I am like a piece of iron.  That’ll show them.  Sure, my brain will likely be dribbling out of the ears I have punctured, so it’ll be a bit Pyrrhic, but at least I’ll have the last laugh.

The worst part is I have nothing to retaliate with.  Seriously, what can I possibly inflict on these two?  I guess I could go “Clockwork Orange” on Ken with Pretty Woman, but I don’t know Kirk’s weakness.  His wife regularly watches Double Agent ’73 ferchrissakes; what horrors are left to him?

Hey, wasn’t I supposed to be writing about TwF2k12?  Maybe I should get on with that.

Master of the Flying Guillotine

A one-armed boxer kills two acolytes of the titular character.  [Editor Ken: This was the climax of a previous film, 1972’s One-Armed Boxer.] Said master proceeds to kill every one-armed person he hears about (he’s blind, see.)  Meanwhile, there’s a martial arts tournament going on, but it’s mostly there to give the movie an excuse for fight scenes.  Eventually the actual one-armed boxer finds himself in a desperate battle for survival against a seemingly-unbeatable foe…

FINALLY!!  I’ve waited years to see this, and happily it did not disappoint.  It has an actual plot, which is pretty rare for kung-fu movies of this vintage; however, it’s just gravy, because we’re here for martial arts mayhem, and we get it in quantity AND quality.

The opening’s a bit disconcerting; there’s narration being done by the guy who did the opening narration for Godzilla vs. Megalon, and in his rage at his acolytes’ deaths Master (Kam Kong!) actually leaps out of his house, going right through the roof!  Man, that seems counterproductive, especially for a blind guy.  I guess he’s got a good contractor.  Still seething, Master decapitates a real chicken.  I’m sure said chicken ended up as lunch for the crew, but did they really need to film it?  *sigh*  Then, because his fury wasn’t clear enough, Master blows up his whole damn house as he leaves.  Well, if nothing else, that hole in the roof’s no longer a problem.  In addition, the title Master of the Flying Guillotine apparently only applies to this opening sequence, as a new title comes up reading The One-Armed Boxer vs. Flying Guillotine.  The movie mostly settles down after that.  We also get our first listen to Master’s villain theme, which is fantastic.  It’s right up there with “The Imperial March” and “Battle Without Honor or Humanity.”

We go to Boxer (Jimmy Wang Yu!) watching some of his students train.  Here, we learn that holding your breath gives you absolute balance, allowing Boxer to walk on the rims of empty baskets.  It also lets you defy gravity, as he proceeds to walk up a wall and across the ceiling.  How come they didn’t teach us this when I was a lifeguard?  I’m not saying it would’ve been handy at the lake, but I’m sure I could’ve found uses for it!

Anyway, Master kills a couple of guys that made the mistake of having one arm, or pretending to be the real Boxer, with his flying guillotine.  We learn that flying guillotines, when bouncing off walls and such, make a sound exactly like a bullet ricochet.  Interesting.  During Master’s rampage, Boxer comes to watch the aforementioned tournament, although he doesn’t participate.  Thanks to the tournament, we get a lot of various styles on display.  We’ve got a gross Thai guy who Muay Thais the hell out of people; Long Spear, who wields…a three-section staff; an Indian guy who must’ve been the inspiration for Street Fighter’s Dhalsim, as he can stretch his arms for yards to safely choke people to death; Wins Without a Knife, who—surprise!—has a hidden knife in his tonfa that he wins with; and then the also-rans, including tiger/crane, eagle claw, knife fighters, swordsmen, pole fighters, and two of my favorite styles, mantis and snake, who end up fighting each other and making me very happy indeed.  The tournament is brought to an abrupt halt when Master shows up and kills the snake fighter (who unfortunately had only one arm), screaming about how he wants Frazier…er, Boxer.  Boxer proceeds to run the hell away, which is surprising but completely understandable.  A few competitors decide their best bet is to help Master by capturing or killing Boxer, although it turns out to be harder than they thought.

Jimmy Wang Yu wasn’t a great fighter, but he had charisma to spare, and was smart enough to bring in people whose talent would make him appear better onscreen.  He’s also helped by two of the famous Laus (Kar-leung and Kar-wing) handling the choreography, as well as Kam Kong, who steals the show every time he’s onscreen as the deadly Master with a combination of fine acting, great fighting, and looking like someone who’d totally kick your ass without trying.  The fights are all good, entertaining stuff, with strong talent on both sides of the camera.  The movie never drags, but also gives us time to breathe so we aren’t left dazed and pummeled by constant action.  As you might imagine from the titular weapon, it’s also pretty brutal.  Along with decapitations, we’ve got impalements, an “iron coat” kung fu master losing to his opponent after having his eyes ripped out, and the fates of Thai Guy and Master (more on those in a minute).  The movie’s pretty grim, only occasionally lightened by comedy or silliness (the Indian fighter’s extendable arms, for example.)  We do, at one point, get a jarring bit where the movie changes from subtitled to dubbed; it may have been something added in from a prior release, since the quality was different, as well.  Not sure what that was about, but it’s easily elided over.

This movie’s biggest surprise is that Boxer, our nominal hero, is a big goddamn cheater.  He’s a fine fighter on his own, but apparently he prefers fighting dirty.  Thai Guy is one of the competitors who comes after him, and proves no pushover.  So, Boxer lures him into a hut that turns out to have a metal floor.  His students light up some fires under the house, Boxer lights out of there, and when Thai Guy tries to follow, he’s met by a forest of spear points that force him back inside.  Eventually he can no longer stand on the searing-hot floor, collapses, and dies horribly.  Our hero?  The hijinks continue against Wins Without a Knife, although he was asking to have the tables turned on him with Boxer’s own concealed blade.  We can give Boxer a pass on that.  Finally, Boxer goes all out against Master.  To be fair, Boxer knows he can’t take this guy straight-up, but his first attempt to stop Master is to lure him into a tunnel and then blow it up.  This has no noticeable effect, so Boxer comes up with a huge, complicated plan to beat him.  First, he leads Master to a large stand of bamboo, and gets him to throw his guillotine repeatedly, eventually dulling its bladed edges on the tough bamboo.  He then brings Master to a coffin-maker’s house, where a bunch of booby-traps have been set up, most involving spring-fired axes being launched from various coffins about the place.  Master dodges quite a few of them, but eventually takes three to various portions of his anatomy.  This doesn’t seem to do more than irritate Master, but Boxer finally manages to shove one of the axes straight through his foe’s torso, which brings him down.

This is top-notch kung fu entertainment, folks.  You really should watch this.

My inadvertent campaign to make Will hate me began here.  Despite knowing he’s from New Jersey, I made an off-the-cuff Jersey joke at some point during the movie.  I suppose he’s heard it for decades, so he smiled it off, but the seed had been planted…

Gun targets:  Sadly, after Mary’s unfortunate accident last year, the guns were given a pass this time, killing this feature.

Themes:  This movie also started one of those weird, random themes movie festivals often have, although we didn’t know it yet.  This one was owls.  You see, the Indian fighter, along with his other tricks, had a throwing owl!  Seriously, he’d just throw this at people and then it’d come back after attacking the target.  If Bubo had been able to do that, he wouldn’t be the Wesley Crusher of Clash of the Titans.

The Witch’s Mirror

A man murders his wife and gets himself a new one.  The dead wife, assisted by the housemaid, comes back for vengeance.  Old wife’s ghost causes the husband to inadvertently set fire to new wife.  He proceeds to take a page from the Eyes Without a Face playbook and starts killing girls to try and fix his wife.  You can imagine how well that works out.

Hmmm…obscure Mexican horror movie.  Although that could be Ken, I guessed this was coming to us from Will, and it turned out I was correct.  This is not a bad little thriller, if a bit disjointed.  I mean, you start with the housemaid, who is also a witch with a large mirror (see, the title does have a point.)  Although her witching shows Elena’s fate, a devil (possibly THE Devil) prevents her from interfering.  Elena ends up poisoned, and naturally her spirit doesn’t take it too well.  She starts haunting the husband, Eduardo, and when she manifests as an apparition, he panics and tosses an oil lamp at her.  This ends up setting fire to the room, and severely burning his current wife Deborah’s hands and face.  Then it suddenly turns into a mad scientist (well, doctor) movie as Eduardo starts snatching the bodies of young women to try and fix his wife.   Deborah goes steadily around the bend, and comes to accept Eduardo’s works as the only way to restore her beauty.  Eventually, Eduardo unearths a young woman who was mistakenly buried alive and is sure this will do the trick.  The poor girl gets her hands hacked off, and we never do find out what happened to her.  We then get some Hands of Orlac action as Deborah’s new hands start trying to kill Eduardo.  Finally, the hands manage to detach themselves to run amuck, because why not throw The Beast with Five Fingers into the mix?

One of the most fun parts of the movie is the realization that they’re filming in the same castle they shot parts of Jabootu favorite The Brainiac in.  Many of us had the feeling this was the case; our feelings crystallized into certainty when the brain hutch showed up.  Yay, brain hutch!

It’s not a bad film, although there are slow spots and it keeps leaping from plot to plot.  It’s not as nutty as The Brainiac, but it’s still pretty out there, and shows that same nasty edge that Brainiac evinced.  Fans of Mexican horror should check it out.

Themes:  We realized at this point that owls could be a running theme, as one seems to randomly show up in the castle.  We eventually learn it’s the housemaid’s pet.  I almost wish it’d just been a random owl, showing up for no reason at all and never mentioned, kind of like the snake in Blood Feast.

Evil Brain from Outer Space

Starman/Super Giant takes on the evil forces of Balazar’s disembodied brain to protect the universe…or at least Japan.

Oh boy, I’ve wanted to see this for ages!  Right away, you know you’re in for a hoot, because we meet the best alien council EVER, composed of barely-moving puppets and people in ridiculous costumes.  They talk about how Balazar, a very evil alien who’s now just a brain, is trying to conquer the universe.  They decide to send Starman (originally Super Giant) to Earth to thwart Balazar.  Starman’s a robot, or android, or something, so he pretty much kicks all asses before him with minimal effort.  He loses in the style department, though; while the bad guys have fantastic clothes and uniforms and change their salute every day, Starman is in a too-tight leotard showing WAAAAY too much package, and likes to stand arms akimbo and said package jutting right into our faces.  He does have neat little cape-streamer things hanging from his arms, if nothing else.

I didn’t realize Japan was so laid-back.  At one point, someone says, “I’m a cop,” and shows his wallet, but doesn’t actually open it.  No one thinks to question him.  The bad guys, who are men wearing make-up, try to murder kids in public, in broad daylight, and no one seems to mind.  One of the boys wears leggings, and no one comments on it.  In fact, this movie is full of child abuse, yet it’s all good.  Japan, you so crazy!

When the bad guys realize they can’t stop Starman, they bring in the heavy hitters.  First up is a bat monster with weird, art-deco wire filigree ears, a huge eye on his belt, and Bugles™ for claws.  He’s the BEST.  He leaps around and goes right after Starman with his “deadly cobalt claws,” and even though he never comes anywhere close to connecting with them, he sure tries, bless his heart.  After a pummeling, he disappears for a while, and a bird-man-woman thing tries its luck.  This is revealed to be an avatar for  a deadly Space Disease, which is why it can kill with a touch.  Except, of course, for Starman, who she cannot get ahold of (and since he’s a robot it probably wouldn’t affect him anyway.)  We come to find out this thing’s true form is a pulsating blob in a jar.  Starman hits the bird-woman (we confirmed this later) monster in the shoulders, and it explodes, although said explosion harms no one.  A random fire starts soon after, and that’s it for Space Virus.  Happily, the bat monster returns, and the crowd rejoiced.  Sadly, he is supposedly killed when Starman punches him in the face.  I refuse to believe that’s what happened.  I think he was playing possum, snuck off when Starman wasn’t looking, and is happily living in a cave, raising Bat-Boy right now.  Then they pour something on the Evil Brain and it dies and that’s the end.

This is pretty great overall.  It’s hyperactive and full of action, there’s the above-mentioned bits of silliness, the bad guys are stylin’ and profilin’, and we also get dummies tossed off high places, something I adore unashamedly.  Starman even waves goodbye to us!  Bye, Starman!

Not everything is beer and skittles.  The movie posits that the handicapped are evil; among the bad guys are a guy missing a leg, a man with a horrible burn on his face, and one poor sap with an eyepatch and a hook hand.  We get a really weak-ass nuclear grenade, which is a weird inverse of the standard Atomic Grenade™.  The first fight with the bat monster is partially reused in his second appearance.  The fights are all one-sided, never once producing any tension since we know Starman is going to win and never even get touched.  Happily, it’s more fun than not.  If you dug Prince of Space and Invasion of the Neptune Men, you’ll dig this.

Will won the day during this movie.  A little girl is shown praying for Japan’s safety in front of an organ, and Will quipped, “It’s a prayer piano!”  (It works on two levels, see…think about it…yeah.  Maaaag-nificent.)

Themes:  One of the bad guys has an owl on his shoulder at one point.  The bird-woman monster is kind of owlish-looking, so there’s also that.


Nothing too fancy this time, just a series of actors and actresses that we had to name.  I think the scores were pretty high for the most part.  No one was surprised when Will easily won this with 51 points.  I came in second with 41, followed by Black Chad, Ken, and Arthur.  The grand prize was one of those DVD party games, which Will seemed reluctant to take.  I grabbed a shirt packaged into the shape of Texas.  I don’t even know what’s on the shirt, because I refuse to unpack it.  It has long been my dream to own a piece of clothing shaped like a state, and now I do!

At this point we got a clip show.  That’s right, they’re not just for sitcoms anymore!

Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter

This clip features Jesus and a fat, possibly Caucasian El Santo fighting vampires in an empty lot and/or junkyard.  Also, everyone involved knows kung fu, even the Son of God.

How have I not already seen this!?

Interesting fact:  sleeper holds work on vampires.

Lost in Space

We watched part of an episode called “War of the Robots,” featuring Robbie the Robot as a “robutoid,” who tries to get the LiS robot to join him in wiping out the humans.  At one point we hear the theme music from Day the Earth Stood Still.  I would’ve thought the theme music from, oh, I don’t know, Forbidden Planet might have made more sense.

Sting of Death

The notes, of course, say “F*CKING JELLYFISH” in large letters.  Yeah, I think this is going to happen a lot now.  It seems to have replaced that Lapland short with the Reindeer Ritual, much to my personal chagrin.

Orgy of the Dead

This is an Ed Wood, Jr. film…or is that “film”?…that I have not seen.  If the whole movie’s like this, I really don’t think I’m missing anything.  The clip features a not-unattractive woman dancing around in a cat costume that has strategic holes cut out for her breasts.  Sadly, the music is terrible, the dancing is worse, and not even Criswell and Vampira commenting from the sidelines to what I assume are the captive heroes can save it.  She does finally start stripping, so I guess there’s that, but it’s not worth it, really.


We returned to Twisted Root this year.  I don’t believe anyone had a problem with this.  The girls came out to join us, and who can blame them?  This year, I chose the Spicy Goat, a burger with jalapeños, goat cheese, bacon, and chipotle sauce.  Oh, that’s good stuff, that is!  The bite of the peppers was cut through by the cheese’s pungency, and bacon is always great.  On my last visit, the BBQ sauce had been the best compliment to my burger among the tableside condiments.  This time, the ancho ketchup was the winner, adding an additional tang as well as a bit more heat.  The weird-ass homemade root beer this go-round was cotton candy, which was extra-sweet with a sugary aftertaste.  Their original works just fine for me.  The onion rings are just fine, not losing their coating when you bite into them.  I really, really like this place.

After our delicious dinner, it was back to the movies.  It was at this point that I managed to secure Will’s undying enmity.  I naturally wanted to sit with the girls, and meant to ask Will about their usurping his seat for their movie.  To my discredit, I did not; the girls took their seats before I could find him; and the next thing Will knew, the couch was full and I was sheepishly asking him for a favor a bit too late.  To his credit, he did not slay me where I stood, but found a chair until the spot opened up again.

So, yeah, I now have two B-Masters that hate me.  That may be a first.

Santa Claus

Santa and Merlin take on Satan and Pitch for the souls of five Mexican children.  No other children apparently matter.

Even though I’ve seen Santa Claus a couple of times before, I’m never going to complain about a batshit-crazy Mexican children’s movie.  I have to admit that it’s not quite as great as that Red Riding Hood/Tom Thumb one we watched a couple of years ago, but not for a lack of trying.  If nothing else, this movie is more disturbing than that one.  Santa’s given up on elves and has kidnapped children from all over the world, forcing them to dress in sometimes-racist costumes and sing songs while they slave to make his toys.  They must always smile and pretend to be happy, because they never know when Santa’s going to use his spy-organ to check up on them.  Speaking of which, Santa must’ve been a CIA spook with all the surveillance equipment he’s got:  along with the organ, there’s the giant telescope with the creepy extending eye, the listening dish with the ear on it, and the extremely disquieting control panel with the grotesque face, complete with giant, alarming lips.  Santa invades children’s dreams, pilots his sleigh with grotesque robotic reindeer which like to laugh in a delightfully bloodcurdling fashion, mind-wipes anyone who sees him on his rounds…and let’s not forget that he is a serial home invader.  The movie repeatedly reminds children that Satan wants their eternal souls; Santa is nearly blasted with a shotgun; and Lupita, the good girl in the movie, has a dream about dolls, her heart’s desire, which a devil quickly warps into a nightmare where people in hideous doll costumes prance around her trying to get her to steal and thereby turn her soul over to Satan.  Not all the horror is overt, either.  Billy, a neglected child, just wants his mom and dad to remember he exists; and while Santa dumps mind-altering drugs into their cocktails that do just that, it seems likely it’ll only last for the night, and come New Year’s Billy is back to wandering his empty mansion, his soul crying out for the love his bastard parents refuse to give him.

Yet I love this movie.  It’s so damn weird, with Santa living in his cloud castle with Merlin and the kids, and using magic flowers and umbrellas to help him on his travels.  Satan and his main devil Pitch take a lot of interest in Santa, as if he was Jesus’ right-hand man or something.  Pitch hams it up and pratfalls all over the place, which means I should despise him with hatred as hot as the fires of his home, but I find myself rooting for him against the clumsy, scatter-brained Santa.  Not so much the three bad kids, though.  Maybe if they’d pranced around like Pitch does…or maybe if I liked kids.  I have to admit, though, that Lupita’s pretty cute, although she can’t act worth a lick.  I’m glad she got her doll at the end, even if she is still living in abject poverty and her parents will probably have to sell that doll in two weeks for food.  (See what I mean about this movie being relentlessly grim?)  Santa getting treed by a dog never fails to make me laugh, especially since the dog’s not particularly large or frightening.  I also like Pitch being threatened with chocolate ice cream if he fails in his mission to make all the world’s children do evil.  Pitch’s idea of stopping Santa mostly revolves around pranks of a Home Alone type, except for that whole “head nearly blown off by an angry neighbor with a shotgun” thing.  My favorite is his moving a chimney, because Santa somehow doesn’t notice the gaping hole next to the chimney and gets all confused when he can’t get down.  There’s a reason Pitch was a recurring character on “MST3K,” and it’s because he’s easily the best part of this movie.

I gave us our first official Rickrolling during Santa Claus.  It was decided that Billy looked like a young Rick Astley, and, well…you can imagine where I went with that.  I’m happy to say everyone joined in with me.

Themes:  No.

The girls seemed to enjoy this, as should everyone that watches it, and were about to leave since they aren’t into the whole “multiple movies in a row” thing.  However, I convinced them to stay for one more, because it was one I’d seen earlier in the year, and it was GLORIOUS.  They agreed, and they later said they’d made the right choice in doing so.

Tarkan vs. the Vikings

Tarkan, and the true hero of the film Kurt Jr., fight a bunch of laughable, toilet seat cover-wearing Vikings, an inscrutable “Chinese” woman, and a charming inflatable rubber octopus.

I saw this at B-Fest earlier in the year, and in my horrendously-delayed, massively-massive report on it, I went into detail on this movie, because I loved it wholeheartedly.  That particular piece is to blame for my getting this done so late, because I’m a bit OCD and I had to finish them in chronological order.  I don’t want to rehash what I said in that piece (especially since I want people to read it), so I’m just going to let you know that this movie is fantastically fun, hilariously bad, and KURT IS GOD.  I still mourn the fact that there wasn’t a series of movies featuring Kurt the dolf/wog/whatever.

Themes:  There weren’t any owls present, but we did have a falcon at one point.

The Killer Shrews

Killer dogs…er, shrews…kill some people with their deadly poisonous bites and ravenous hunger.

The Killer Shrews is of a kind with The Giant Claw, in that the movie itself isn’t too bad, but the monster’s presentation sinks the whole enterprise.  I will say that it’s less fatal for this movie, since overall it is quite a bit better; and while happy friendly puppies in shag carpet remnants and goofy rubber masks, or cruddy shrew puppets, aren’t going to fool anyone over the age of four, they’re still not nearly as ridiculous as that whiskered, fanged, ratty vulture marionette.  They are a lot cuter, though.

Honestly, other than the shoddy effects and some murkiness in the film that probably can’t all be blamed on age, there’s really no reason this should be considered a bad movie.  The acting’s fine, the movie clicks along, and it has a couple of good chills (the guy typing his symptoms out as he dies is a, pardon the pun, killer bit.)  Other than the designated Panicky Asshole, no one acts unbelievably, and the survivors’ plan to escape is not only practical, but plausible.  The final sequence delivers some nice tension as the characters become weary from their effort, and the shrews getting at them becomes ever more likely as they become inadvertently careless due to the stress of it all.  I honestly think this is a bit of a gem, despite the one admittedly-glaring flaw, and should get more respect than it generally does.

Themes:  Once again, no.  Man, we really needed Mary for this.

Zombies:  The Beginning

Zombies attack some commandos who are trying to investigate a secret zombie-making plant or some shit like that.  It’s really not important.

Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out who brought what to these things.  In this case, considering that at the time of this writing only one B-Master has reviewed this piece of crap, it’s not hard to guess.  Thank you so bloody much, Will.

To break it down, this is Aliens with zombies in the Alien role, bad actors in the human roles, Earth in the LV-426 role, and a large, talking brain in a glass case in the Alien Queen role.  Any divergence from the Aliens plot is purely coincidental.

This is…wow.  Where do I start?  I guess it’s a sequel to a prior movie Bruno Mattei did, but my understanding is it’s not really required watching to know what’s going on here.  What a shocker, eh?  The lead actress from the prior movie (a lovely Filipino actress named Yvette Yzon) is found adrift and unconscious following whatever nonsense happened in the prior movie.  As she recovers, she dreams that she brings back the zombie infection.  After she wakes, she’s interrogated by starched suits from an eeeeevil corporation.  They decide she’s full of it and she is discharged, but eventually a corporate representative finds her and convinces her to lead a team back to the island (which was supposed to have disappeared) to look into things.  She agrees, the two bring some marines along, they find the disappearing island, and fight a bunch of zombies.  The lifting from Aliens continues unabated, so much so that the Marines might as well have been named Houston, Rednecks, Raven, etc., all being led by Helen Tearley.  Oddly, there are no Newts or Bishops.

Continuity?  Psssht.  It is claimed that a hundred people get on the submarine to the island; only 15 of these get off, leaving 85 in reserve, I guess.  Footage of the sub rarely matches each other, showing at least two different types.  Logic?  Pfffft.  The island disappeared, but they have no trouble finding it.  An explosive device put on the outside of a door blows the door outwards.  EXPLOSIVES DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!!  A grenade launcher is used in a confined hallway, but only zombies take shrapnel from it.  The well-trained marines constantly handle their guns like rank amateurs.  At one point, the group finds a van equipped with TARDIS technology.  Zombies are capable of Offscreen Teleportation™ and can only be seen by onscreen characters when the audience can also see them.  Originality?  Thhhhbpt.  The footage of the “sub,” as well as various explosions, are stolen from various other movies, none of them this one; zombie footage is reused; music from (I think) Predator shows up; and there’s the whole “This is just Aliens!!” thing.

All right, to be fair, we do get some original touches, like that giant talking brain running a rather horrifying zombie baby processing plant made up of women attached to the walls with xenomorph goop and having the zombie babies ripped from them by machinery.  The Vazquez manqué goes off on the Bishop mission and gets torn in half by a random zombie gorilla, or some damn thing, that never shows up again.  There are a bunch of weird, cone-headed, black-eyed zombie children that gyrate in a disturbing manner, and a zombie midget with a third eye on a stalk erupting from its forehead.  We also learn that having something “surgically tattooed” is completely different from the regular tattoo process.  Still, you have to wade through the whole movie to get to that weird stuff, and you’d be better off just watching Aliens again.

The fun extends to the credits, where we learn that the prosthetic effects were done by “Prosthetics Artist,” and the sound effects design and editing by “Movie Sound Editor.”  Just like Burial Ground, we get misspellings at the end; the movie had a “Traslator,” and the last credit reads, “Zombies:  The Beginnig.”

Most people were not happy with this movie.  When we figured out it was just Aliens rehashed, I’m pretty sure Ken started cursing a blue streak.  Kirk shouted, “F*ck you, movie!” when a character used the “little friend” line from Scarface.  The director, Bruno Mattei, died after making this movie.  (Can you prove it’s not related?)  I can only think of two people who actually got any joy from this mess.  I notice Will was grinning the whole time it ran.  I think he’d get on swimmingly with Chris Hamilton, if that tells you anything.  The other person that got any joy from this movie would be producer Giovanni Paolucci, who married Yvette. Nice.

Themes:  No owls.  Phooey.

This is the end, my friend

>With that, another T(ween)-Fest was by the boards, and with our goodbyes made, we went into the night.

This year is unusual, in that best movie is a tough one, while worst movie is no contest.  Master of the Flying Guillotine is a better movie overall, but Tarkan vs. the Vikings is so much crazy damn fun.  I really don’t think I can pick a winner here; it’s too close.  They’re both great.

On the other hand, Zombies:  The Beginning, while not the worst movie ever, was easily the worst this day.  Good job, Will.

As always, my thanks to the organizers, and guests, who make this all possible.  You’re fantastic.

And once again, I am so sorry, Will.  Take comfort in the fact that these guys will be driving me nuts with the Jilla-Jalla-Jellyfish until I die.

  • Great review! My memory is a bit hazy about some of these films (brain rot, no doubt), but Tarkan was a winner and a half! Can’t wait until T(ween)Fest 2013… this very weekend!

  • The Rev.

    Hey, thanks, Guy! Yeah, Kurt the Wonder Wog and His Somewhat-Competent Companion Tarkan was something else. I doubt I’d have forgotten anything about it, but seeing it twice (B-Fest and then T(ween)-Fest) just reinforced its greatness on me. I look forward to the day I can afford to own it.

  • Ken_Begg

    Mondo really needs to reissue some of its disks; maybe on Blu Ray, or perhaps in a box set.

  • Love the review of the Mexican “Santa versus Satan for Christmas”. Hey, if it was made in Mexico, why didn’t jolly old Saint Nick rung up El Santo and have him take down Lucifer in the squared circle?

    And that zombie one— urrgh, it sounds almost as goofy and badly-researched as ‘Chupacabras: Dark Seas’. John Rhys-Davies was the sole bright spot in that film. I wonder why he keeps appearing in junk like that, though.