Saturday, December 3, 2011

Neon Maniacs (1985) actually says 1986, but I'm going with my super-awesome VHS tape on this one. Seriously, have you seen the DVD cover?? - It's a joke. This movie; oh, this movie. It has been sitting on my shelf since the early days of San Francisco, patiently waiting for its moment to shine. And that moment came when my favorite roommate and friendly bandmate (oh yes, I am in a band. We are called The Sunset Warriors) made his exit from my residence, leaving me slightly more alone and without instant musical companionship. But in a night of reluctant celebration, Neon Maniacs shined like the vibrant 80's signs it titularly embraces. Set in golden San Francisco, this horrendously hilarious horror flick brings just about everything one could want from a creature-feature to the table. The Scooby-Doo-loving porno fiend of a director, Joseph Mangine, did quite nicely with his $1.5 million. "Explain yourself," you might be thinking. Well, one look at Mr. Mangine's imdb page will explain the 'porno fiend' comment (although, with a name like that, how can you blame him?). The SD is only so apparent after watching this, his one big-screen manifesto (to be fair, he was DP of the immortally esteemed film, The Sword and the Sorcerer = I guess I always knew deep down there was a working relationship between the dirtydown industry and B-list Hollywood sci-fi) . At first I was going with the whole bargain bin Costume Shop explanation for the bizarre range of so-called mutants. I mean, we've got a Native American, an electro-man, a cyclops alien with a hook, an evil doctor, a caveman, a ghoul with a conquistador helmet, a noose man, a biker with a chain....And all these dudes are zombied out of course. It's like Mangine rounded up all of the Scooby-Doo villains he could find and brought them to life in the 80's to slice and dice kids with sex on the brain. Seriously, what's with the PSA? I guess being around all those pornos makes Mangine aching to do a little broadcasting of his own. Talk of virginity? Talk of birth control? And getting hacked up for making it in the park? I'm sensing a message here....right? But for all that, even in the glory of the 80's, we only get the slightest flash of tit. It's as if they forgot to edit it out - or perhaps they thought they could slide it by the editors as a little gift for their most loyal of fans? I'll take that one please, thank you very much (and how well it was received = yes, someone has screen captured that one 3 frame moment of bliss for our eternal pleasure). But back to that budget: the costumes are pretty good, so that's why I discarded the 'back alley costume shop' theory. I'm actually guessing that's where most of this budget went to - that and the sweet, vintage Muni chase scene. Oh man, I bet that Muni symbol was so trippy back in the day...But you've got to cut costs somewhere, and i'm guessing it's with actor time. The lead mamajama, Leilani Sarelle, has only two modes in this movie - blank and sad. Combined with the fact that her hair starts pretty curly in the film (like 80's poodle curly) and gradually become less and less enthusiastic, eventually ending as straight as middleaged cat lady in Minnesota that had me wondering if I was watching the same actress, I'd give it 2 days tops that this chick was on set. Ok, I'm being a little harsh. But why is she trying to lose the big V at a battle of the bands a day after all of her friends were brutally hacked and hung to pieces (that noose gets a lot of play - the danger of hanging out in wooded areas I guess....)? And that battle of the net, big hair thrashers vs. floozy sharp-shouldered crooners? I looked up the singer actually, just for kicks. He's moved on to much bigger and better things. So, if you're ever looking for some scrimshaw work, be sure and give Rick Bowles a call. Actually, most of the movie is filled with the beautiful lullaby of requisite synth. We get to truly appreciate it during the 3rd version of the opening credits. Ok, to be completely fair, there's a prologue, a title and theeeennnn the credits. So it's 3 different things. Except that I have no idea why the disembodied voice of the DragonStrike Dungeon Master is giving us a warning about children and death and apocalypse and the future and all that malarky. Be warned, the 80's awaits....

`When the world is ruled by violence, and the soul of mankind fades, the children's path shall be darkened by the shadows of the Neon Maniacs.' long as it doesn't rain of course......

Final Judgment: "Classic and clearly culturally relevant = everything a Scooby-Doo safe-sex ad in the 80's could ever hope to say!/Get me my curling iron and my time machine!/The mystery of shady side dealings between the porn kingdom and the B-list empire unveiled!

P.s. Check out this super-awesome character study by Bob Wiacek, a minorly mid-level comic book artist = go neon!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Maximum Overdrive (1986)

Stephen King strikes again with another transportation-themed horror film starring the ever blown-out Emilio Estevez. All of the hair, none of the crazy. Seriously, what is it with King and vehicles? Was he molested by the meatman back in his early years? I'm getting a totally 13-year old vibe from this movie. I don't think it's the Transformers playdate, or even the complete lack of tact. Okay, maybe it's the lack of tact. A field full of dead kids and shit jokes? Where am I? Oh yes, in a land full of comet-powered machines led by a Master Clown Semi and set to a bitchin' AC/DC soundtrack. That's right, they did the whooooole soundtrack. So at least you know the music is good. There are also the other inexplicable but totally palpable elements like random rocket launchers and the fact that everyone seems to be named Bubba. And what about the power of the chest bump? Has it reached to the vast ends of the Intelligent Universe? It seems sort of like King, who both wrote and directed this beauty [did I forget to mention that? awesome, right?!! this is actually the only movie King ever directed], just gave up by the end of the film. I mean, text conclusion? Really? Not too surprising I guess, since this managed to go from a $10 to a $20 million budget when they had to pay out to the Director of Photography who lost an eye on set. That's right, he lost his eye! His money maker! And the most horrific part is that it's almost ironic! Okay, it's totally ironic. In a movie about machines going crazy and killing people, the DoP lost an eye when a remote-controlled lawn mower went crazy and hacked shit up. Back away from the big black cauldron Stephen King! Stop praying to the Dark Side to keep your books hitting the shelves every 6 months! There are other things in life! Whewf. What else....Oh yeah! Yeardley Smith is in this movie! Be warned though: once you start hearing the voice of Lisa Simpson, there's no going back. Also, the quotes are great.
"This machine just called me an asshole!"
"I'll tell you one thing - you sure make love like a hero."
"The whole goddamn world's goin' tits up!"
"Don't you understand! You can't do this! We made you!" Yes. I'm sure we'll be telling that to the robots when they eat our brains.

Final Judgment: "I'm not sure what happened in Stephen King's playroom, but I like it!/Bring on the trucks, gore and big-hair rock!/Save me Cindiana!/Let's rocket launcher those alien assholes back to Hell!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ghost in the Machine (1993)

This is an absolutely classic, early-90's, B-list, cyber thriller. And believe it or not, there are enough of them to shake out the classics. Ghost in the Machine pulls together some of the most monumental movie themes of the 1990's and sends them flying down the information electron highway. That's right: computers (and all the glorious computer graphics that come with them), serial killers and hip-hop. Oh what a party. I'm glad they included the categorical black character (also classic); otherwise, using "nigger" as a punchline might seem a little inappropriate. So might quotes like, "Listen rookie; it's a whole new ball game since LA - we don't play that sitting duck shit anymore." Thanks Frazer! Your presence has given me a duly needed sense of calm! Sagging pants and sensational soundtrack aside, this flick also brings forth a couple of my favorite ladies. Karen Allen (of Indiana fame) and Jessica Walter (of Arrested Development) class things up with their feisty attitudes and girlish figures. Jessica may be young in this film, but her tea drinking stance never changes! I guess I shouldn't leave out the babysitter, played by Shevonne Durkin, of such masterpieces like Tammy and the T-Rex (omg; why don't I own this?), Magic Kid II and Speedway Junky. I am suddenly reassessing my babysitting career after learning that I should have been charging substantially more for subpar strip shows. It's not too surprising that the cast of females is where it's at, seeing as this flick was directed by Rachel Talalay, the force behind Tank Girl and probably about 5% of the female directing force in Hollywood (I jest, I jest...maybe). Throw in a couple of kids, some sucked-into-the-computer sequences, a car sliding upside down through a cemetery with a hysterically laughing serial killer driver, a few epic "final destination" type death scenes (microwave anyone?) and you've got quite the enjoyable 95 minutes. At least, so says Tesla. Looking at a few of the comments, not everyone agrees. I see some hate. I see some love. And, I see a lot of sarcasm. But my favorite response has to be from the user "chrismulkeyisgod," of London.
" I worry that maybe actual serial killers may use this film to find out about technology, and try to use technology to commit their crime. I can only assume that serial killers do not currently use the internet, so I feel safe right now (for the most part,) but no one can say what the future holds for us. I hope this film is not in our future (though I fear that it may be, especially when I see the news that's going on in the world). I can guarantee that I will no longer allow my children to visit any arcade alone, or buy software for our computer, alone. But even with these preventive measures, I cannot feel safe, now. This film really drives home just how dependent on electricity, and technology we really are (--we are very dependent!!). Bravo to Chris Mulkey et. all for taking on such a brave subject matter. It is about time that someone questioned all of this change that's going on around us. One only has to look at the news going on in the world to see. I suggest you watch this film with your children so that can be more wary too about the safe use of technology."
Thank you Chris Mulkey lover. Thank you for being the reason I have to defend my love of B-list sci-fi/fantasy thrillers. You may not be a dishwasher, but if I could set you to "explode," I would.

"There's no way anyone can kill somebody with a computer." If that was a stretch 18 years ago, I'm afraid to consider our future. Fine London weirdo! - you win this paranoia battle! Who knew that an MRI was the path to immortality? I guess the same person who figured out that internet and electricity are the same thing. Oh people.

Final Judgment: "Gloriously terrifying in a plethora of ways, and an epic encounter with all of the American fears of 1993 = take me back to simpler times!"

*Thanks to for the photos

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Airborne (1993)

I'm not sure how this movie made it past my childhood without stopping in to knock me on the head and proclaim it's awesomeness - I'll go ahead and blame it on the feminine blights of my candy-coated kiddy-hood as a little girl with the sole desire of rocking a wicked mullet. But it has finally dropped by, and my life has clearly been forever changed. What is the goodness that could create such a stirring effect in my discriminating (cough cough) movie brain? Well let me tell you kind gentlesirs. This most excellent piece of cinematic tubularosity is clearly the epitome of everything that was so awesomely radical about the righteous year of 1993. In essence my dudes, it is a time capsule. And not of the terrors of cult warfare, Rodney King and Somalian executions, but instead of all the things that are holy to an adolescent boy. That's right: surfing, skate boarding, rollerblading, hockey, basketball and girrrrls. There's even Seth Green primarily dressed as a goth guerrilla, but willing to undertake the most glorious scene in the move in which he parades around in a flurry of every stereotyped outfit that existed in 1993, all while set to knee-knocking tunes. Oh yeah, and a young Jack Black takes on the role of the quasi(modo)-bully, ready to represent the MidWest in a flurry of jean jackets and bushy eyebrows. Let the games begin.

In summary, I only have one thing to say: To those individuals who are reading this blog in the distant future, I must heartily recommend the moving picture "Airborne" as a stunningly accurate historical representation of life in 1993 for young adolescent, white, males. Use this text as you see fit. And remember: long live the 90's!

Final Judgment: Let us all be stylin'

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Fistful of Fuzz

Well....lookee here. Following my previous post on For A Few Fuzz Guitars More, I went out and got myself the first fuzz album from DMT. Because, let's face it, one more download location isn't going to kill anyone. Also, I'm in San Francisco, so the local flavor of a lot of these groups makes me feel all warm and (dare I say it) fuzzy on the inside. Hahahaha. I made a funny. A fuzzy funny perhaps? Okay, now I've gone too far. So here's the music. Enjoy my friends. Enjoy.

1. John Doe and the Acetates - "Purple Haze" (3:02)
2. Sound Apparatus - "Travel Agent Man" (3:10)
3. Ruins - "She Doesn't Understand" (2:08)
4. Prodigal - "Reality" (2:08)
5. Journey Back - "Synthetic People" (2:44)
6. Sounds Synonymous - "Tensions" (3:20)
7. Pretty - "The Electric Hand" (4:09)
8. Aliens - "Season of the Witch" (3:36)
9. Ritual - "Speed Freak" (3:20)
10. In-Keepers - "That Was Just His Thing" (3:36)
11. Loos Foos and the Fiberglass Cornflake - "Bless Me Father" (2:54)
12. Flying Circus - "You Really Got Me" (3:18)
13. Denims - "White Ship" (2:45)
14. Don Malena and the Dry Ice - "Land of Summertime" (3:38)
15. Thackeray Rocke - "Bawling" (3:11)
16. Tapestry Garden - "She Needs Love" (2:16)
17. Green Slime - "The Green Slime" (2:19)
18. Peabody Company - "Tobacco Road" (7:09)

DOWNLOAD the tracks here. Just click and save.

For A Few Fuzz Guitars More

Amidst a sea of chanting in foreign tongues and finger pickin' away, a few lone albums that represent classic American psychedelia grace my ipod. This is one of them. I found it in the stacks of my lovely WPRB and used that oh-so-noble of inventions, the "import" button to bring it warmly into my world (damn you Apple for getting so many shoutouts in this post!). It was only upon further examination, when I decided the CD was actually so awesome that I would pay money for it as a gift for a sibling, that I realized it is a basically non-existent commodity = boooooo. So, just to make sure that we maintain an active download link, here is my musical contribution to that invisible web that oozes information around the world. From what I can gather, For a Few is a actually the sequel to A Fistful of Fuzz, both compilations featuring late-60's hippy psychedelia music that is totally awesome. Overall, the songs are a little anti-war and apocalyptic, which just makes it more epic if you ask me. Both albums were put out by Digital Music Transcendence (DMT).

1. Purple Sun - "Doomsday" (2:43)
2. Velvet Haze - "Last Day on Earth" (2:22)
3. Golden Grass - "Elastic Soldier" (2:16)
4. Bare Facts - "Toy Soldier" (2:37)
5. Ritual - "Walls of My Mind" (2:43)
6. Sherman Marshall - "Purple Haze" (2:37)
7. Smith Vinson - "Hallucinations" (2:21)
8. Rochelle Rosenthal and the Kickball Queen - "Lottery" (2:31)
9. Goodly Rubenson - "Inside Outside" (2:14)
10. Living End - "Sheep" (2:35)
11. Super Band - "Fast-Master" (2:40)
12. Peacepipe - "The Sun Won't Shine Forever" (2:49)
13. Dystraction - "Where Are We Now?" (3:42)
14. Fowl - "You Know" (2:42)
15. White Lightnin' - "Leaves" (3:07)
16. Twiggs - "Moon Maiden" (2:54)
17. Attack - "School Daze" (2:51)
18. Sounds Synonymous - "Babylon" (3:20)
19. Sub - "Ma-Mari-Huana" (4:50)
20. Outrage - "The Letter" (4:38)

To DOWNLOAD, right click and save link as