Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)

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Gappa Angry!

Gappa is not a descendant of Godzilla, but a nice shirt nevertheless.

Gappa is not a descendant of Godzilla, but a nice shirt nevertheless.

I think it’s fair to say that this film scrapes the bottom of the kaiju barrel, being something of a cheap knock-off of several other films, such as Rodan, Godzilla vs. The Thing, King Kong vs. Godzilla, and especially Gorgo. Gappa features a mostly incoherent plot punctuated by shot-for-shot remakes from the above-named films. Nothing new under the sun.

There are some racist and sexist overtones to this film that were probably anachronistic when it was made, and are even more so today. Cast portraying a primitive Polynesian island culture were in a Japanese version of “blackface,” while there’s something of an urban legend that there was a line of dubbed dialogue in some versions of this film that said something to the effect of:

The monsters are attacking Tokyo. Fortunately they are attacking the Negro [or Black] section of town.

This is almost certainly not the case–it seems that a version of the film containing this inflammatory line has never surfaced.

The film is often rightly criticized for some equally tasteless dialogue in which the leading female character struggles with life outside the home and contemplates a plan to “go back to Tokyo and learn to cook. Marry some little office worker. Have babies. Stay at home and wash diapers.” As the adventure concludes, she decides it’s all just too much, and announces this is now her new life plan. Oy.

The Kaiju Cast covered this film in their Daikaiju Discussion back in April, and one thing the gang came away with was that the producing studio, Nikkatsu, did not have a good appreciation for the kaiju film genre, and was trying to make a quick buck with Gappa. That’s likely true. Tempting to think Nikkatsu was some cheap studio based on Gappa, but instead, Nikkatsu is Japan’s oldest film studio having been producing and distributing films in Japan for over a century now. So they should have known better.

I think the Kaiju Cast Gang said it best: if you have 90 minutes to kill, and an appreciation for obscure little films, and no expectations for character development, this might be a film for you.  It’s on YouTube (the AIP version, anyway), which is the version I watched:

photo_01Just caught this little “neo-grindhouse” gem by borrowing the DVD from my local library. This project started as a “make your own grindhouse film trailer” contest, and then the pros came in to fill this project out–most notably Rutger Hauer and some Canadian indy film talents.

I would’ve much preferred to see this film without Hauer, but if this were the case, I suspect this effort would have brought us a film somewhat like Antfarm Dickhole or Bong of the Dead.  Z-grade film, with little notoriety outside those of us who seek these gems out.

Regardless, this was a fun watch.  The plot? Read that title again, plus some odd demons thrown in, inexplicably in the middle to move things along. Best line was from Abby (Molly Dunsworth, of Treevenge):

Not all the world’s problems can be solved with a shotgun!

Hobo answers, James Dean style:

But it’s all I know…

Enjoy a couple videos here on the making of this film, and some interviews with cast and producers:

 

The Thing (1982)

HORRORPEDIA

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‘Man is the warmest place to hide’

The Thing (also known as John Carpenter’s The Thing) is a 1982 American science fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter (Halloween, The Fog), written by Bill Lancaster, and starring Kurt Russell (They Live, Escape From New York). The film’s title refers to its primary antagonist: a parasitic extraterrestrial life-form that assimilates other organisms and in turn imitates them. The Thing infiltrates an Antarctic research station, taking the appearance of the researchers that it absorbs, and paranoia develops within the group.

The film is based on John W. Campbell, Jr.’s 1938 novella Who Goes There?, which was more loosely adapted by Howard Hawks and Christian Nyby as the 1951 film The Thing from Another World. Carpenter considers The Thing to be the first part of his Apocalypse Trilogy, followed by Prince of Darkness 

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Blood Feast

I’m always a sucker for this film

Really Awful Movies

Gore. For many, the raison d’etre of the genre. A good horror flick need not have it and many do not. Knuckle-whitening suspense, taut pacing, superb atmosphere, nuanced characterization and expert plotting can all contribute to a successful horror film. 1963’s Blood Feast features none of the above. But it does have gore; lots and lots and lots of juicy, squishy, stomach-churning gore! And we like gore. Thus we like Blood Feast!

Blood Feast, the first of the infamous “Blood Trilogy” writer and director Herschell Gordon Lewis made with producer David F. Freidman, is credited as the first ever gore/splatter film, and it changed the course of what a horror film could do/show. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing is up to the individual (I fall squarely on the side of the latter), but Blood Feast’s importance to horror is undeniable. Like Elvis, the film broke down…

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Drive-In Massacre

Really Awful Movies

Drive_in_MassacreDrive-Ins basically functioned as cheap motels in their peak in the mid 60s. So the prospect of gettin’ some was a draw but if you weren’t, think about it…it was a weird business proposition: a big swath of land required for what is an undeniably crappy experience.

When audiences atrophied theatre owners began to show exploitation films – like this one – which also happens to be about drive-in culture. Neat eh?

Drive-in-MassacreThe Drive-In Massacre movie poster is duplicated in the first ten minutes as a sword-wielding freak starts dispatching movie-goers. Gotta admit, that was pretty cool. However it’s followed by the classic film cliché: the zooming in on a newspaper headline.

Some bored Barney Miller-types are called into action bemoaning “every nut in town’s gonna be callin’ in claimin’ credit!”

The drive-in manager “the perfect asshole” Austin Johnson is questioned and says of his clientele, “they’re all one big zit and long hair.” He oversees staff…

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The Cars That Ate Paris

HORRORPEDIA

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The Cars That Ate Parisaka The Cars That Eat People – is a 1974 Australian horrorcomedy film. Directed by Peter Weir, it was his first feature film. The film stars John MeillonTerry Camilleri,, Chris Haywood and Bruce Spence.

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Plot teaser

Lying in a gently rolling range of hills, the town of Paris has prospered from the hunting and destruction of cars: the road into Paris is a death trap. Into this trap drive George and Arthur Waldo. George is killed; Arthur survives and is pronounced harmless by the mayor. Although unaware, Arthur is a prisoner. He must never leave Paris. But the town that lives by the car shall die by the car, and eventually the hunters become the hunted

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The producers unsuccessfully attempted to negotiate an American release for the film with Roger Corman after it was…

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Hospital Massacre

Really Awful Movies

Hospital_MassacreThe tagline is…There’s no recovery room at…Hospital Massacre…but shouldn’t it be Massacre Hospital? It’s also known as X-Ray and Ward 13 so perhaps there were some creative differences early on.

You want back-story?! You got it! A boy leaves a Valentine’s Day card for the prettiest girl in school and when he’s rebuffed, he strings her brother up on a hat rack.

Fast-forward (as you might be inclined to do anyway because of the less than stellar performances) a few decades and she’s all grown up and portrayed by playboy model and Hee Haw regular Barbi (yes) Benton who goes in for what is supposed to be a routine checkup….and

You want foreshadowing? You got it!
Her friend David: “Isn’t this the hospital where they had all  the trouble last year? Some patient ran amok or something.”

Hospital_MassacreKetchup mistaken for blood, dripping from the sandwich of a drunk?…

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The Nostril Picker

“Despite its title, the film plot does not directly revolve around a man who picks his nose.”

HORRORPEDIA

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‘He chose his weapons… he selected his victims… he picked his nose…’

The Nostril Picker  aka The Changer –  is a 1993 American horror film in the slasher genre. It was directed by Mark Nowicki from a screenplay by Steven Hodge, It stars Carl Zschering. Edward Tanner and Laura Cummings. Despite its title, the film plot does not directly revolve around a man who picks his nose.

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Plot teaser:

Joe is an ugly loser, incapable of picking up women. But when he’s taught a magical power, capable of transforming him into anyone he pleases and then back to his normal self, he decides to use it to live out his perverse fantasies.Initially content just watching them shower, Joe soon tires of mindless nudity and gears up to take his ultimate revenge against womankind: luring them to his shabby apartment, violently killing, and even eating them!

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Reviews:

“Rhinotillex enthusiasts, I’m afraid, will whine endlessly about…

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A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin

HORRORPEDIA

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‘Biting, gnawing terror claws at your brain!’

A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin – Italian title: Una lucertola con la pelle di donna; released as Schizoidin the US – is a 1971 Italian giallo film directed by Lucio Fulci. It stars Florinda Balkan, Stanley Baker and Jean Sorel. Ennio Morricone provided the score.

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Plot teaser:

Carol Hammond is a sophisticated politician’s daughter who experiences a series of vivid, psychedelic nightmares drenched in depraved sex orgies and LSD. The dreams turns into a nightmare featuring the death of her neighbour, Julia Dürer. The next day Julia is found brutally murdered in her own apartment.

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The investigation, conducted by Inspector Corvin, leads to Carol’s arrest, however she is released after a mysterious man confesses to Scotland Yard that he is the murderer. Not convinced of Carol’s innocence, Corvin continues to investigate the murder and…

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