Friday, June 24, 2016

Caution – Objects in Mirror May Be About To Kill You: THE CAR

Readers of this site will know that I’m kinda obsessed with JAWS rip-offs.  I love all the crazy variations they come up with to milk the tried and true money making formula.  I've already written about a JAWS with a giant land mammal (GRIZZLY) and one with fish monsters (HUMANOIDS FROM THE DEEP).  It seems obvious to take it to the next logical step: JAWS with a devil car in the desert.  Strange as it is,1977’s THE CAR is actually a clever combination of our fear of creatures that may kill us and our fascination with a thing that, far more often, really does kill us.
The Capsule:
The sleepy town of Santa Ynez, Utah is rocked (in the bad way) when a mysterious, demonic black car shows up out of nowhere and starts mowing down innocent pedestrians.  The cops seem powerless to stop the car, except momentarily, while it backs up over their bodies.  It’s up to an extremely young James Brolin to put an end to the supernatural death machine before everyone in town becomes a red stain on the road.

The Car is unquestionably the most evil looking vehicle ever.  CHRISTINE could be sinister with the right lighting, but it was just a 1958 Plymouth Fury.  The truck from DUEL was extremely menacing, but again, it was just an existing vehicle.  The green goblin truck from MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE was… sorry, can’t stop laughing enough to finish that thought.  The Car is its own beast.  The 1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III at its base is almost unrecognizable underneath all the extensive modification.   The headlights are wide, hungry eyes. There are fangs on its huge, reinforced bumper.  It is unnaturally low and muscular.  It is not a crazy apocalypse car like from one of the MAD MAX films or DEATH RACE 2000.  The Car is something you could conceivably see on the road, especially if you are Guillermo del Toro, who actually had a replica build for himself.  I can guarantee he does not have a problem with tailgaters.  Not for long, anyway.

Since the movie follows the JAWS model, the mayhem starts right off the bat.  In the first scene, The Car appears out of nowhere to run down a couple of carefree ten-speed riding teens.  As it rips through the desert dust in beautiful, extended long shots, The Car appears as a swimming predator.  While the shark from JAWS was an indiscriminate killer,  The Car seems to have a very calculating, malicious intent.  It specifically goes after the innocent and the protectors.  The racist wife abuser Amos, played by crusty old coot character actor R.G. Armstrong, is ignored multiple times by The Car in favor of more sympathetic victims.  Whenever it takes someone out, it rapidly honks its horrible sounding horn like it’s laughing.  It’s so much of a jerk that it goes after an entire middle school marching band.  

Like GRIZZLY, THE CAR is an example of the kind of shit you could get away with in a PG movie in the ‘70’s.  It’s not quite as, um, grizzly as GRIZZLY.  No children are killed or maimed, though plenty are endangered.  The bloodiest bit is when one of the ten-speeder victims gets dragged against a wall and her mangled body is found afterwards.  Nothing else it that rough, but The Car pulps a lot of people.  The sound effects add to the viciousness of the attacks.  The impacts are very resounding and visceral.  Even without all the blood and body parts flying across the screen, THE CAR could be even more traumatic to young viewers than GRIZZLY, or JAWS.  A fearful, impressionable kid could stay clear of the woods or the ocean, but cars are everywhere.  In fact, the only place you could totally avoid cars would be the woods or the ocean.  You’re screwed, kids of the ‘70’s.  

This is definitely a stuntman’s (and stuntwoman’s) movie.  People are thrown off bridges, driven over cliffs, and smacked around like pinatas (except with cars instead of sticks).  There is one absolutely crazy stunt where The Car is racing towards two police cars driving side by side.  The Car swerves at high speed and rolls on its side, smashing into the windshields of both cop cars at once.   It's like a trick a kid would do with Matchbox cars, except they did it for real.

James Brolin, younger here than his son Josh is currently, plays the increasingly desperate Sheriff Wade.  He actually starts off as a Deputy Sheriff, but is promoted by attrition pretty damn quickly.  With his handlebar mustache and often bare barrel chest, he’s the definition of macho.  The best thing about the movie, though, is how it subverts Brolin’s character.  Despite his rugged tough guy appearance, his sensitivity is established right away by his loving interactions with his girlfriend Lauren and his two daughters.  Even though he is a smart lawman who comes up with sound strategies against the vehicular menace, nothing works.  The Car is impervious to bullets, explosions, or damage of any kind, it seems.  Wade is powerless to protect the citizens of his town or even his loved ones.  As the movie goes on, you see him get increasingly desperate and anguished.  The Car, being the jerk that it is, even messes with Wade.  It could have killed him numerous times, but it keeps him alive to torment him.

One of the best scenes in the movie (there are two absolutely fantastic ones) is in Wade’s garage.  He and the remaining cops have devised a trap that might take out The Car.  Wade is just about to head out to the climax on his dirt bike when he remembers something and pops back into his garage.  And guess who’s waiting for him?  What makes the scene great is that there is no build up to it.  The camera smoothly follows Wade across the garage.  He passes The Car parked in the back without noticing.  There is no ominous music, close-ups, or lingering shots, nothing to cause tension or indicate anything is wrong.  It goes by so casually it made me doubt what I saw.  It couldn’t have been The Car; it must have just been Wade’s regular car or something.  Then Wade suddenly has the same realization, turns around, and oh shit, it is The Car.  There is no explanation of how it got there, it just is.  And Wade is in a shitload of trouble.

The other amazing scene involves Wade’s outspoken school teacher girlfriend, Lauren (Kathleen Lloyd).  During the marching band attack, Lauren directs the kids into a tiny, fence enclosed graveyard.  The Car can’t go in, presumably because it is hallowed ground, or maybe The Car just has a strong respect for the dead.  Probably the hallowed ground thing.  Whatever the reason, it is clearly pissed, revving its engine and honking at the gate.  While another teacher gets ready to make a run for help, Lauren distracts The Car by taunting and laughing at it.  She basically says it has a little dick.  The Car gets progressively angrier, doing donuts in a fury.  Lauren is terrified, since there is no physical barrier between her and the infernal machine, but she keeps on sneering and making fun of it until her plan works.  Lauren survives that encounter, but now the petulant metal bully is holding a grudge.  [Spoiler coming]  That night, she’s at her house packing to leave town.  As she’s talking to Wade on the phone, two headlights appear in the distance through the picture window.  In one unbroken shot, we watch the headlights get closer and closer while Lauren is looking away.  She only notices when it is too late. The Car plows straight through the house and drives away without ever slowing down.  

It’s a great scene because it shows that all bets are off.  Nowhere is safe from this thing.  

As I’ve mentioned here before, I love when a movie leaves a little mystery to the story.  THE CAR has a trunk load of mystery (a ‘70’s style trunk, so it’s very roomy).  There is never an explanation of exactly where The Car came from or what it is.  It is clearly supernatural, and Ronnie Cox’s church going deputy character figures it must be from hell, but there is never an established link between it and the Christian devil (other than the Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey's quote at the beginning).  The Navajo characters talk about it more like an evil spirit.  That might be a better explanation, since The Car never hurts any of the Native Americans.  Wouldn’t it be great if it was an Indian spirit taking vengeance on the white man by adopting the form of one of the white man’s favorite obsessions?  Squashed by irony.  

In the end, Wade and his crew seem to have stopped the metal beast.  They blow up a canyon and bury it under hundreds of tons of rock.  A demonic shape forms in the ensuing fireball before dissipating completely. It’s not a victorious moment.  Everyone is too exhausted and numb to celebrate.  Faced with something so far out of their understanding, they are lucky just to have survived.  The credits play over a low angle shot fixed on one of The Car’s tires as it wheels around a new city, so maybe that wasn’t the end of it after all.

Director Elliot Silverstein was mainly known for TV work and westerns before this, and went back to TV afterwards.  It's a pity.  He brought a sense of depth and seriousness to what could have been a very silly movie.  I would have liked to see him continue in this vein.  Director of Photography Gerald Hirschfeld has not done much that I’m familiar with, but he pulled off some very beautiful widescreen desert shots for this movie.  Kathleen Lloyd went on to do the killer baby movie, IT LIVES AGAIN, plus a ton of TV.  Star James Brolin would continue his successful acting career, culminating in his most famous role, of course, as the Hollywood version of Pee-Wee Herman in PEE-WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE.  The Car allegedly still roams the L.A. hills, doing weekend motor tours of the area.  The price is your soul.  And $85 per passenger.

C Chaka

Friday, June 17, 2016

Dumb Person Shooter: DOOM

Video game movies are never a safe bet.  There have been moderate successes, but nothing on the level of, say, movies made from amusement park rides (PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN).  They do, at least, fare better than board game movies (BATTLESHIP, OUIJA, SCRABBLE).  The biggest reason why they rarely live up to expectations is that games and movies are totally different mediums that don’t lend themselves to each other.  Games tend to be 15% story and 85% doing shit.  Even for the high budget titles featuring tons of cinematic cutscenes, most of the game is spent running around in real time dealing with repeating challenges.  This method doesn’t fit well with movies.  The only video game movie I can think of that was successful with this method is HARDCORE HENRY, and it isn’t actually based on a game.  Most video game movies do the inverse.  They expand out the story, rearranging or inventing key elements, and reduce the game play aspects to nods and references.  This approach rarely leaves anyone happy, but it is exactly what they did with the 2005 first person shooter inspired DOOM.  The good news is that there is still fun to be had, as long as you set your expectations low enough.  I suggest subterranean.

The Capsule:
It’s 2046 and bad shit is going down on a Mars research base.  Scientists have unleashed a destructive force that endangers the compound’s entire population.  If it breaches the teleporter, Earth itself may be at risk.  A marine unit led by Sarge (The Rock, pre Dwayne Johnson, or even Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is sent in for rescue/containment.  As their numbers drop, they realize that all their firepower might not be enough to stop the unnatural menace lurking in the dark corridors.  They will also need bombs and punching.

There’s no getting around it, this is a dumb movie.  It hangs together fairly well on the surface, but if you start to really think about almost any aspect of the story, nothing makes sense.  Say, for instance, you discovered that the ancient Martians were monkeying around with genetic engineering just before they wiped their entire species out.  Should replicating those experiments – on death row inmates, for god’s sake – be your next logical step?  It’s the kind of dumb that I find endearing, though.  Like when a couple of marines are tensely searching the dead silent med lab and all the caged animals suddenly start making noise at once, as if they were waiting to yell “surprise” at a party.  Or the fact that the small Martian compound has an elaborate, city sized sewer system.  Also, instead of sneaking in the names of horror directors, the hunted scientists from the beginning have the names of the game designers.  

The US Marine Corps must have really lowered their standards by the year 2046.  The motley collection of grunts is clearly modeled after the Colonial Marines from ALIENS, but way more ridiculous.  First of all, everyone goes by a nickname, even when they are talking to civilians.  Is anyone going to take this guy seriously when he introduces himself simply as “Sarge”?  Yes, because he is played by The Rock.  You always take the Rock seriously, unless he’s playing a tooth fairy.  

Fittingly, the team is introduced by their talking guns.  Goat is an uptight religious weirdo who carves a cross into his forearm every time he blasphemes.   I guess a cuss jar is too awkward to carry on a mission.  Duke is the smooth talking lady’s man.  Destroyer is the silent type carrying the big gun.  Mac is the guy too insignificant to have a cool nickname.  Portman is the white trash pervert who is a really big fan of Natalie Portman, I guess.  They even have a nervous young rookie named The Kid, because why wouldn’t they?  

Rounding out the team is Karl Urban’s Reaper, who is the only person to have a real name (it’s John Grimm, get it?).  This is Urban’s dry run for playing Judge Dredd seven years later in DREDD.  Reaper is a dour soldier haunted by a Childhood Trauma, which, of course, happened on Mars.  He doesn’t have Dredd’s supreme confidence and resolution.  Reaper is more quietly introspective and full of doubt, especially when dealing with his estranged sister, Samantha, who, coincidentally, works at the Mars base.   Urban does a good job of portraying a man trying to keep both his pain and his potential locked down, but not always succeeding.  His performance is more effective than his hokey, generic family tragedy backstory deserves.  

Rosamund Pike (the GONE GIRL herself) does a nice job as Sam, being appropriately annoyed and concerned about him.  She needles him about giving up on science for a career of shooting things.  I believed them as siblings, though not necessarily as twins (one marine asks if they are identical, not sure if he was being ironic).  She is the smartest person in the movie (not a huge feat) and is brave without needing a gun.  Her American accent wanders a bit (Mid-West? Southern?), but otherwise, she’s a solid character.  Aside from Sarge, Reaper, and Sam, everyone else is pretty disposable.  It’s appropriate, since that’s what happens to them.

Several of the game’s iconic monsters are well represented by Stan Winston Studios (though not Stan Winston himself).  When people are infected, they change from zombies into Imps (Alien/Pumpkinhead type things with detachable worm tongues) into Hell Knights (big ass Imps).  The zombies are fairly standard, but the later stage monsters are all imposing and visceral.  Professional freaky monster actor Doug Jones (HELLBOY, PAN’S LABRINTH) plays various different beasties, infusing them with his decidedly unhuman physicality and grace. There’s a cool scene where one of the imps gets stuck halfway through a futuristic door when it rematerializes, and he keeps twitching in the background.  There are only a few monsters at first, but the floodgates open up near the end.  One guy, a bureaucrat who lost his lower half in a teleporter accident, turns into a pink, eyeless demon bulldog dragging a Segway-like trolley behind it.  That was a nice touch.

The most innovative – and goofiest – part of the movie is the first person shooter sequence.  It was the gimmick the entire movie was built upon.  Near the end, Reaper has to fight his way through the compound against a hoard of monsters.  He picks up his gun and we go to his (sort of) uninterrupted POV through the whole segment.  I remember being fairly amused the first time I saw it, but that was before HARDCORE HENRY.  That movie managed to use a single person’s POV to tell a (ludicrous) story, include bits of character development, and maintain a frantic pace through the entire film.   The DOOM FPS sequence does not hold up well by comparison.   It actually seems like one of those mid-range amusement park simulator rides.  Everything goes super slowly and precisely.  It’s more like Reaper is having a casual stroll rather than a race against the clock.  I guess the filmmakers figured that if it went by too quickly, as in regular speed, the audience wouldn’t be able to make out what was going on.  Or they would get motion sickness.  It is the complete opposite of immersion.  It practically screams “Now let’s watch our video game sequence!”  There are some things going for it, though.  Like HENRY, it is punched up with comically over the top gore, at least in the unrated version.  It also leads to some hilariously stupid gags, like when Reaper blows up a monster with a mine while standing three feet away.  The explosion liquefies the beastie, but doesn’t even nudge Reaper.  That wouldn’t have even happened in the video game.

Probably the best thing about the movie, though, is The Rock.  At first, it seems like his no-nonsense, badass jarhead will be the lead.  But interestingly, and rather suddenly, [SPOILER coming], he becomes the main bad guy.  The genetic C24 “infection” (the science is iffy here) seeks out and mutates people with psychotic tendencies, but Sarge has a serious mental break well before the monsters ever tag him.  Near the end, he goes into full containment mode, determined to kill everyone who was evacuated from the compound to avoid an outbreak, regardless of if they are infected or not.  Any of his troops who object is shot for insubordination.  At first I thought this change came out of nowhere, but on rewatching, I saw the signs earlier on.  Right in the beginning, as he is listening to his mission orders through the radio, he robotically repeats things like “search and destroy” and “with extreme prejudice” and other phrases which sound like either action movie titles or Trump presidential campaign slogans.  I got the impression that he was so indoctrinated to the corps that he would follow any order blindly.  Sarge was just a well-disciplined psycho waiting for the opportunity to cut loose.

Being The Rock, his showdown with Reaper is impressive.  Reaper himself is juiced up with the experimental C24, which gives nice people like him super healing instead of turning them into monsters.  It makes things a bit fairer.  Urban is a big guy, but he’s no The Rock. The action is shot wide enough to tell what is happening and the editing is clean.  There’s a bit too much reliance on wire work for my taste, otherwise, it’s a solid knock down drag out fight.  They start with the corny tough guy tradition of laying down their guns and putting up their fists.  That always makes me smile.  

It’s not all dumb fun.  There’s some painful dumbness.  It has a terrible score, generic synth and guitar bullshit.  There is a nice Nine Inch Nails song for the credits, otherwise it’s a total loss.  They make a huge deal of the BFG, or Big Fucking Gun, that Sarge carries around, but for all the fetishistic attention, he only shoots it twice and misses both times.  It was a bit of a let down.  Some of the dialogue is creaky, and not always matching the situation.  Someone says “we need to destroy these discs,” while holding up some props that are in no way disc shaped.  On a side note, one of the marines knocks around a Hell Knight by swinging a 2046 era CRT monitor.  We have teleporters and nano doors in this future, but flat screens are out of our technological league.  

This movie can be an amusing distraction, as long as you don’t raise the bar higher than ankle level.  The main actors do a decent job with what they’ve been given, and there are enough weird touches to make it interesting, when you’re not rolling your eyes.  I picked up the DVD for $3.99, and I can confidently say it’s worth every penny.  Before tax.

C Chaka

Friday, June 10, 2016


A little while ago, I reviewed the 2009 remake of NIGHT OF THE DEMONS.  As I stated then, I ordered the blu ray thinking it was the original ‘80’s version.  I was immediately disappointed when I realized what it was.  I almost didn’t watch it because by the look of the case, it was just another cheap, crappy remake that I never knew existed.  But the scrappy little indie won me over with its heart and enthusiasm, so I gave it a pass.  It still pales to the original, I thought.  The thing is, I finally got around to rewatching the original.  Guess what?  It’s terrible.  It has its moments, good make-up effects, and a crazy performance by Linnea Quigley, but it’s so uninspired.  Kids sneak into a spooky abandoned house for a party and they start getting possessed by demons.  They run from one boring room to the next and scream a lot.  That’s about it.  Anyone who’s seen THE EVIL DEAD knows that a basic plot doesn’t have to mean a dull movie, as long as the other elements are strong enough.    NIGHT OF THE DEMONS just wasn’t strong enough.  So yes, the remake is better than the original, in my opinion.  Sorry for doubting you, remake.  You may now hold your head high.  The real surprise, however, is that the 1994 sequel I’ve been ignoring forever turned out to be better than both.

The Capsule:
A group of witless teens sneak out of their strict Catholic school for a little Halloween partying.  Most of them are harmlessly obnoxious, but Shirley has a real nasty streak.  Along with a couple of reprobate friends, she lures her school mates to Hull House, the abandoned funeral parlor rumored to be haunted.  This is especially traumatic for Mouse, because her sister Angela disappeared from Hull House years ago after a Halloween massacre.   Turns out the demonic Angela is still knocking around the old place.  When one of Shirley’s twisted pranks sends everyone running back to the school, Angela tags along.  Soon, kids are getting possessed, heads start flying, and car seats are giving phantom handjobs.  Angela kidnaps Mouse and hauls her back to Hull House to be sacrificed.  Nice girl Bibi, her rock stupid boyfriend Johnny, and demon obsessed nerd Perry, all head off to save her.  Leading the way is righteous ass kicker Sister Gloria.  She’s a rosary whipping, holy water bombing supernun.  But all the holy water in the world might not be enough to stop Angela on the (Second) Night of the Demons.

My biggest problem with the original NIGHT OF THE DEMONS was that I was stuck in a single location with a bunch of annoying characters for almost the whole time.  The good kids were whiny and useless.  The bad kids were obnoxious and also useless.  There was no one to root for.  The sequel is a huge step up.  Most of the characters are still annoying, but the things that happen to them are more entertaining.  One character in particular, though, steals the whole show.

For a School for Troubled Teens, not many teens seem to be that troubled.  Not many of them seem like teens, either, but that’s a separate matter.  Angela’s sister Mouse clearly has issues, and Shirley is a hellion, but everyone else seems like a typical over-privileged suburban kid (in their twenties).  Christine Taylor, as Shirley, is playing a prototype of her mean girl from THE CRAFT.  She can be sneering and catty, but she never takes it too far.  She's just a spoiled brat.  I like that Rick, Shirley’s douchey boyfriend, actually calls her Marcia, and this is a year before she got the part in THE BRADY BUNCH MOVIE.  Maybe this is what inspired her to go for it.  

Kurt is a typical bullying jock.  He becomes much more interesting when demonified, playing basketball with his own severed head.  Perry is the occult obsessed nerd.  He even has a copy of the Necronomicon (4th edition, Penguin Press).  It’s funny, because he’s completely oblivious to why Father Bob disapproves of his hobby.  He doesn’t seem to get that the occult has anything to do with religion.  He’s coming at it like a science experiment.  I would be surprised if he didn’t have a survey prepared for the demons he’s trying to summon.  

Bibi is clearly established as the final girl in this equation.  She hangs out with Terri and Shirley, but disapproves whenever they pick on Mouse.  Unfortunately, she’s the second blandest character in the movie, topped only by her young Michael Biehn looking boyfriend, Johnny.  She spends most of her time moving slowly and looking scared, but she gets one decent scene, at least.  After she escapes from the sexually predatory Z Boy, who was bad enough in human form and worse as a demon, she lobs a holy water filled balloon right into his monster crotch.  She and Johnny also get to go against the sex = death trope.  They get it on in Hull House (Angela isn’t great about dusting but insists on fresh bed linens, apparently), and they are never punished for it.  I guess blandness is punishment enough.

The true hero of the movie is undeniably Sister Gloria (Jennifer Rhodes).  It’s a fantastic subversion of expectations.  Normally in a movie like this, the nun character would be a humorless sadist, going out of her way to degrade and punish.  Sister Gloria seems this way at first.  She’s very strict and prudish.  When she catches Shirley and Kurt fooling around, she bans them and innocent spectators Bibi and Johnny from the Halloween dance.  She seems like perfect demon bait.  Then, bit by bit, you get to see her playful side.  She practices fencing with her knuckle rapping yard stick.  When Shirley tries to embarrass her in class by asking a question about fellatio, Sister Gloria skillfully turns it around and makes Shirley look like the fool.  She’s the one who steps up when the demon shit hits the fan, staring down Angela and forcing her retreat.  After Angela kidnaps Mouse, Sister Gloria is the one who leads the rescue.  There’s a great sequence of her suiting up like she’s an action hero, only with a habit and rosaries instead of a head band and a bandolier of bullets.  She opens a drawer that has a set of yard sticks precisely lined up like swords.  She’s prepared for this kind of shit.

Even though the movie is partially based in a Catholic school, it plays the religion pretty light.  It’s obviously satire, but doesn’t become derogatory or sacrilegious.   I like that Sister Gloria stays true to her character even after becoming a demon ass kicker.  For her, it’s more about saving the kids than it is about destroying evil.  She is a bit corny, using lines like “save room for the Holy Ghost” when keeping the students from getting too intimate (the gag pays off nicely later).  She genuinely cares about the kids, though, and is willing to sacrifice her life if need be.  But she’s also ready with a holy water filled machine gun if opportunity arises.

The demon effects are much more creative than in the original (or remake).  There’s a talking head in the toilet (always welcome).  Demon Shirley’s boobs turn into hands to grab and burn up her lunkhead boyfriend.  Holy water makes them dissolve into green ooze and blood.  In one fantastic scene, the entire floor is covered in sloshy demon guts, flopping limbs, and Father Bob’s torso stuck in the middle.  He’s like a moving GI Joe melted down on a skillet.  They do the silly but appreciated gag where a decapitated body shuffles around spurting blood for several seconds after his head drops.  The most ambitious effects are at the end when Angela transforms into a giant snake monster.  It’s marred a bit in HD because you can see the cables that make it whip around, but it’s still an impressive visual. 

My biggest complaint with the NIGHT OF THE DEMONS remake was that they over explain things.  There had to be a reason behind everything, even if the reason made no sense.  The original was the opposite, it didn’t explain much of anything.  Why are there demons running around?  Because it’s Halloween, demons love Halloween.  NIGHT OF THE DEMONS 2 is nicely balanced.  It does explain a few key parts, like how Angela is able to escape the underground stream barrier that kept her in Hull House (it involves a clever, and gross, use of Linnea Quigley’s lipstick from the first film).  Other times, the movie lets you figure it out on your own, like why some demonified people can be purified by holy water while others are destroyed by it.  My explanation may be different from the filmmakers (if they even had one), but that is part of the fun.  A lot of it is left vague.  We know Angela will gain power through sacrifice, but we never know how much power or what she plans to do with it.  My money is on evilness, but who knows.  Maybe she just wants to renovate Hull House into a quaint bed and breakfast.  She clearly enjoys playing hostess.

Incidentally, I wonder how Angela and her demon pals got back into Hull House, since it was still surrounded by the underground stream.  Far be it from me to suggest a low budget horror movie sequel would have plot holes.  It must have been in a deleted scene.  

All of this is brought to us by the wonderful Brian Trenchard-Smith.  Smith was an early Ozpliotation director, unleashing insane Australian films like DEAD END DRIVE-IN, TURKEY SHOOT, and THE MAN FROM HONG KONG.  He was in his prime during the mid ‘70’s to ‘80’s.  By the ‘90’s, he was working mostly in the US and his style of gonzo filmmaking had ebbed.  I either forgot or never knew he did this one before I watched it, so it’s off-kilter and clever approach was a nice surprise.  He went on to do a couple of LEPRECHAN sequels after this, neither of which I have seen.  I should give them a shot sometime.  There might be a bit of mad Aussie magic hidden in them, too.

C Chaka