I wanted to get this one up by Christmas, but alas, the holiday season side swept me right into the Christmas guard rail. Too much rich food and too much booze had my stomach screaming in agony, sluggish and carb sick I didn’t really want to do anything, much less write a blog post but I really wanted to introduce “Fantastic Games” to people who were not in the know, so I bucked up and gonna dive right into this thing.
So “Fantastic Games” was a movie I found on a external hard drive my buddy gave me. I actually watched this three months ago and to my surprise I found out this was a kid’s Christmas film, but not like any I’d ever seen. Watching the credits and doing research I found out this was an Italian made movie directed by Al Passeri who also directed the equally bat shit insane “Creatures from the Abyss” (1994). The whole Christmas motif is pretty much a wreath around the main body of the story which is some weird Never Ending Story/Power Rangers hybrid.
So during Christmas Eve, a family is stranded in a cabin while a snow storm rages outside, Mary the daughter is deathly ill covered in cloths, there is mom, grandpa and her brother Kevin, their awaiting the return of the father who is a doctor but he is stranded in the snow, their dog is also missing. Then there is the family “friend” who looks like a villain from Central Casting circa 1910, he wears a long black trench coat, derby hat and big black mustache. He goes to see if he can find the father out in the snow, but he has ulterior motives. Since its Christmas Eve the family gets to open presents, Kevin opens one for Mary that contains what looks like a cave girl on a surf board and a book. Kevin starts reading from the book and we are off to a rip roarin’ start.
In “Fantastic Games”, a gnome castle floating in space is threatened by a third rate Darth Vader type with a mask made of various mirrors who controls another floating castle called the Planet of the Black Fortress, the Lord of the Black Fortress, Makeb, wants all the wealth in the gnome castle, so the gnomes call on Jade, Queen of Hope who wants to be paid with a grain of golden wheat, they agree and Jade, along with her surf board and midget dog go to take on the Black Fortress full of weird technology that the gnomes seem not to have.
She enters a weird contest that mimics a video game to defeat Makeb and save the gnomes from destruction, and as all this is happening, Mary is ever closer to death and the blizzard outside gets worse and worse. Black hat “friend” keeps showing up saying he is trying to find the father but twitches his evil mustache. Some of the actions in the story correspond with what happens in real life. On the other hand Makeb keeps zapping his assistants from a stone dragon above his bone laden throne when they screw up, one in his death throes puts bugs in the system making Makeb’s job harder. In the game Jade/Mary battles evil eye balls, jazz playing skeletons, giant stop motion sand worms, fire demons and other things to get a higher score then Makeb who will get destroyed if Jade wins.
“Fantastic Games” is a strange movie in the best way, made in 1998 it looks like it could’ve been made in 1988 instead, in fact I wondered if this was made earlier but released later. As in any Italian production the acting is bad, the dubbed voices atrocious and a plot a mix of 1980 Flash Gordon and the Never Ending Story. For a holiday kid’s film this is just nutso all over the place and that is a good thing. The Italians don’t mess around when they make genre films, its everything out the window, including the kitchen sink.
Which was my response when I first watched this movie, in fact, when I first got this movie from “Vinegar Syndrome” and watched it, it kind of pissed me off, it was everything I hated in a movie, pretentious, trying to be weird, trying to be different, trying to be funny etc. Then after it ended at an hour and three minutes, my mind started to meditate on what I watched, the movie wasn’t long, to make the “Short (S)hit” list it has to be under a hour ten minutes, to me that is a short film, after the hour ten minute mark its a feature. Then an hour later I was still thinking about the movie, Cornshukker’s nasally refrain “I know” to any person who visited his sparse and rustic abode started to make me chuckle, then I meditated on the Cornshukker, a ghostly figure from folklore made up by the director/writer Brando Snider off of a painting he made, the Cornshukker is supposed to be a cryptid/nature spirit who lives on corn whose natural habitat is being in infringed upon by civilization. The Cornshukker’s skin is pale, he has no hair, black lipstick and eyeliner and wears a ill fitting suit with a wide tie, in other words he is a mopey 90’s goth kid.
He mainly communicates through telepathy and when he does this his head stretches and morphs via cheap 1990’s in camera digital effects, crawdads invade his property and make loud noises in his head so he smashes them bloodily in the carpet, and various visitors like a girl scout cookie seller, prancing flute player, traveling dead heads, a make up saleswoman, a crazy pastor, a drunk pizza delivery guy from “Smegma Pizza”, a Mexican Senorita, a bigoted person in a creepy old man mask etc. come to Cornshukker’s shack and almost all of them with weird lines they read stilted. If you got this far reading this your probably muttering or yelling in a anger “WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK”. That was my initial reaction but I watched it again, the Cornshukker is a movie that is dream like, the weird visitors the Cornshukker seem to me to be from some other dimension, I mean this was filmed in the Mid West so that would probably explain a lot of this vibe. The soundtrack is a whole other thing, the music is mainly ghostly lo fi country, something that one would hear on some radio signal from the ghost world, the segments and the “logic” in this short film drift on seas of the abstract. When (SPOILER AHEAD) Cornshukker kills the bigoted old man, a young guy in a weird old man mask, with a shovel, Jesus Penis’ “I Left My Body” industrial track drifts in, now this track sounded familiar to me, I had to search my memory banks, some burned out from all the substances I’d done in the past and some overloaded with underground pop culture effluvia, in the credits under the “soundtrack heading” the name “Bureaucracy of Hope” and a address to the record company popped up then I remembered the shitty, shot on video movie that tried to rip off “Necromantic”, the movie “Ghorewhore” and its industrial soundtrack which was the whole compilation album “The Bureaucracy of Hope” the title “Elephants Force-Fed on Stale Chalk” (which I will post on my bitchute channel and do a review of sometime), on that album is Jesus Penis’ ghostly “I Left My Body”, it gives the murder scene a nightmare quality. A hour and three minutes for a movie like this is perfect if the “Cornshukker” had lasted longer I would’ve literally “shukked” this film onto amazon or ebay. It has drawn comparisons to “Eraserhead” but “Eraserhead” it is not, both are black and white but that is where the similarities end, “Eraserhead” builds tension, a nightmare atmosphere of barely comprehended fear, you can feel “Eraserhead” vibrating in your bones, “Cornshukker” doesn’t mess with any of that, it bashes you over the head with its weirdness, some people will retaliate in anger and some will go down unconscious and happy, at first I was the former but now I am the latter. “Cornshukker” took some time getting used to, if you aren’t patient you will not like this film.
“Cornshukker” was made on a six thousand dollar budget, Brando Snider, the director decided to make this movie after he watched Robert Rodriguez’s “El Mariachi”, a precursor to his later bigger budgeted movie, “Desperado”. When Brando found out that Rob made his movie for as little as seven thousand dollars, he knew he could make a movie on his own. He said two thousand dollars went to the director of photography, Jim Tipperman, one thousand dollars went for film, and one thousand dollars to process it, he had no money at the end of it. He had to take out a loan through the Greenfield Banking Company, the loan officer who gave him his loan, Judy Gable, was in the movie she is one of the people in the (SPOILED MEAT AHEAD) torch and pitchfork ending. The mob with the pitchforks and torches at the end were people they asked in the local Fortville pub to play the crowd, so twenty to thirty drunk people showed up with pitchforks and torches. The police were actually called because they thought the film crew was a satanic cult, Brando’s mom and grandma tried talking to the police but were told to shut the fuck up at shotgun point, when Brando showed them he had permits to film they dropped the guns and said into the radio “Film Crew” and left like nothing happened. For the character of “Cornshukker” Brando almost got a professional actor to play the character and he found the perfect guy, tall, lanky and skinny, the only problem was the actor had long hair and the “Cornshukker” has a completely shaved head, and the actor wouldn’t shave his head, so Brando hired his brother Jason who shaved his head and in my opinion, is the “Cornshukker” nobody else could’ve played him, most of the cast of “Cornshukker” is family and friends. The only two professional actors in the movie was David Briggs who played the Reverend Lewd and Jack Rooney who played the ranger/cop. The acting of the non actors in this reminded me a lot of “Gummo”, Harmony Korine, the director of “Gummo” used some actors in his movie but shot actual people in their surroundings, this is called “Cinema Verite”, an almost documentary style of capturing moments on film. When Brando was filming out in public with the Cornshukker people would drive by and yell “Powder!” Which was a lamestream movie that came out back around when he shot his movie and it pissed him off because he thought his character was nothing like “Powder”. He did post production in a place that let him pay off the post production cost by shrink wrapping tapes which took six months, they allowed him two hours to edit his movie, an older guy, David Lister, helped him edit the movie, he said Lister was an ex hippie who loved “Cornshukker”. After the film was finished VHS copies were made and distributed they sent a copy to Sundance Film Festival but were turned down, they sold the VHS at twenty bucks a tape through various channels and for the longest time this movie was hard to find until its Blu Ray release. Along with Vinegar Syndrome this was put out in partnership with VHShitfest, a company that specializes in releasing little seen movies.
Been awhile since I did one of these, hell, been awhile since I have posted, been busy and lazy, since I can’t make a basket of mackerels with this web site I have to do actual work to keep myself alive and after that work is done I don’t want to do anything but veg out and let my brain soak in the book I am reading, the movie/TV show I am watching or the music I am listening to. I really have to force myself to work on my blog, that being said I constantly go to this site, “366 Weird Movies”. This site has introduced me to so many cool movies, TV show and other media I otherwise wouldn’t have heard about. They have different features like “Saturday Shorts” where a weird short of yesteryear or current day is featured every Saturday, “Apocrypha Candidates” different reviewers try to decide if a certain weird movie should join the list, “Weird Watch Party” where you can join other fans of strange cinema on streaming platforms to group watch a weird movie, “Weird Horizon for the Week” where they list theaters and festivals showing odd movies and DVD and/or Blu Ray releases of strange films for the week, “Whats in the Pipeline” where they discuss movies and TV shows in production or that are coming out in the near future, “Capsules” where movies and TV shows of the past that are bizarre are reviewed, and interviews with film makers. I could read “366 Weird Movies” all day long, but there is a draw back, sometimes “366 Weird Movies” has the “stench of hipster” all over it, some of the pieces are way up their own ass and they make me roll my eyes. The drawback to some of these sites is it seems that the people who run them and write for them think their better than everybody else with their unpopular and fringe tastes and sometimes politics gets injected into the pieces were politics doesn’t even apply which is one of my biggest pet peeves. Look, nobody gives a shit about what you think, talk politics if it has do with the plot or message of the piece of media you are reviewing. This even pisses me off when the person agrees with me, but overall these are minor drawbacks and their rare, though the hipster thing is a light coat over the whole web site. That being said this site is one of the few that searches out movies and TV shows no one else does and as a result I have found a lot of good stuff both old and new. So go over to “366 Weird Movies”, take the road less traveled, even if it is crooked and leads to a rabbit hole.
Ahhh video stores…anybody remember those? Well in “Red Eyes” there is one and it is called “Galaxy Video”, back when mom and pop video rental stores proliferated though out America, gimmicks were used to keep the customer coming in, i.e. special devices, giveaways, food, people dressed as characters from various films etc. “Red Eyes” plays on this and also uses it as a wraparound (excuse) to introduce sub par horror anthology segments, a big man in a trench coat with a mustache and mullet rents a “Vid-Visor” from Galaxy Video, a virtual reality type contraption that you have to put quarters into to make it work and show you bad short films, now first off, why the fuck would you want to put quarters into something you already paid to rent in the first place? I mean you paid already, this fucking “Vid-Visor” would have me walking away calling it out for what it was, a scam to siphon quarters off of you. As you can see “Red Eyes” from the beginning makes no sense. Mullet guy when he puts on the Vid-Visor, sees a screen that looks like the type of IBM computer graphics I used in junior high flashing “Insert Coin” he rummages through his pockets and finds some change. The grim reaper appears with flashing red eyes, I am sure they picked up this grim reaper at some cheap Halloween chain store, an early 1990’s “Spirit” store. He calls himself Charon, the same name of the boat man in Greek mythology and introduces the first horror short.
The shorts in this anthology aren’t very good, that being said they are at least entertaining and the movie isn’t boring, the first short has a grandmother telling her grandson while fishing on a dock about a World War Two vet that got antsy not being in a battle and goes into the lake their fishing at to see if the a downed Japanese POW plane is being operated as a base by the enemy, he goes into the lake and disappears, soon a really stereotyped Japanese soldier zombie emerges from the lake and attacks the grandson and grandma, the World War Two vet emerges and blows up the stereotyped Japanese soldier with a grenade and gives the kid his dog tags. After this short ends the mullet guy has no more change so he lures a priest to his door collecting money for the poor, and slams his hand so hard in the door it pops off spewing blood. Wow. So a dumb horror short viewed in a cheap visor makes you want to kill. OK buddy. The next short is about almost all the people in the world getting into their cars and driving, a father gets his wife and daughter in their car and they drive aimlessly, he tells them he heard about a family whose car stalled and the people just died. Soon they come across their deceased son, they stop and let him in the car and they keep driving all happy. Uh without a job, driving aimlessly around with no income, you aren’t gonna last too long, it looked like it was trying to take a shot at something Ray Bradbury like, but it misses the mark. The company who makes “Vid-Visor”, a Japanese company somehow finds out there is a malfunction in one of their units and sends an android killer to take out mullet guy. Next mullet guy murders a pizza boy to steal his change and another sub par short pops up about a theater that swallows lonely people represented by a clown, it is done documentary style with interviews with police, journalists and the theater owners. The last and best short in “Red Eyes” is about a guy who has long hair, a Motorhead T shirt, drives a muscle car and is a jerk who drinks booze in a bag while harassing his girlfriend. The music in this short is a mix of Z grade hair and thrash metal which makes this short the best out of the whole rotten bunch. Long hair guy drunkenly hits a girl on roller skates while she is carrying her doll. He puts the girl’s body in the woods and takes the doll home, the doll comes to stop motion life and makes him drink rat poison and cuts his throat. His girlfriend wanting to make up comes in in black see through lingerie and screams when she sees him dead.
Android assassin locates mullet guy at a bowling alley where all the participants are dead and finds mullet guy sitting down with a toy walking skull, the assassin goes to shoot him, sees a bowling pin and uses that to take his head off which goes down the alley, knocks all the pins down and reemerges in the ball machine thing. The end. SIGH… HA! HA! Yes, dumb, cheap, nonsensical, inept etc. “Red Eyes” will give you red eyes because you’ll be laughing so hard you’ll be crying.
Not to be confused with equally entertaining “Laughing Dead” (1989) this movie isn’t funny, in fact, its cynical and depressing. Then you ask why the hell are you reviewing this on your blog? Well, because its a cynical, depressing AND interesting. Speaking of “confused” this movie gets confusing in some parts. A kid runs away from some people after his mother is burned at the stake, he dives in a river and seemingly as an adult washes up on the banks of a city that looks suspiciously like L.A., a future LA where milkmen load the numerous dead and addicted into the milk trucks, people melt, people rampantly shoot up heroin, half hog half wolf things chase people, acid rain falls in intervals, all the TV shows look like something you’d see on public access TV in a nightmare alternate reality and a limo chases people down running them over.
Sometimes “The Laughing Dead” tries too hard to be depressing and ruling over this movies tries too hard to be depressing and ruling over this mess is a vampire elite who feeds on the poverty stricken populace. The man who is washed up befriends two female junkies and forgets where or when he came from, he runs into a black revolutionary who randomly blows people away and runs them over saying “Their gonna die anyways”. It turns out the man can travel on the river of time and his brother the vampire is the ruler of the city and he’s been looking for his brother for years this the Gen X cynical outlook pushed to the brink.
That being said “The Laughing Dead” makes for an interesting watch, again at an hour and half this movie didn’t have me looking down at my watch, the film looks scummy, and the surroundings look filthy, like this movie needs to take a long hot shower and be scrubbed with a Brillo pad, of course most of this is due to the cheap film stock this movie was shot on but besides that if they wanted to create a post apocalyptic hell hole they did a hell of job and is a must see for post apocalyptic film fanatics. The story about a time traveling vampire gets confusing and parts don’t make sense but just let your brain soak in the insanity of this movie. “The Laughing Dead” is a movie I don’t see or hear about too much and for good reason, I found this VHS at a yard sale, the guy wanted a buck for it, that is too much for this movie but I don’t think I wasted money, I’ll make sure you don’t either because really you can’t find this movie anywhere.
This movie is what happens when a person watches too many David Lynch, John Waters and 1950’s sci fi horror movies and mixes them up in their head. This movie’s logic is not of this world but that isn’t a bad thing. A goth looking girl, Connie Sproutz, checks into a decrepit motel and the night clerk, played by James Diederichsen who also does the special effects in “Disembodied” looks like death warmed over and he also gives out creeper vibes, the only room he has left is in the basement near the boiler, the look of this boiler would give David Lynch a hard on. Her next door neighbor is a buxom prostitute named Trixie, who turns tricks, there is also a cleaning lady who smokes giant cigars and complains about cleaning the shit hole of a hotel.
Connie keeps her brain in a jar and feeds it liquids, she also has a machine that keeps her dreams of outer space and alien landscapes from becoming a reality, all the while a man who looks like Colonel Sanders, Dr. Sigmund Sylvanus pursues her on behalf of a corporation. Connie used to work for the corporation and was taken over by a parasite alien while doing research and is on the run. Connie has a huge pimple that spews liquid that turns people into slime which she eats and then she gives birth to breathing vagina like things she stores in a dirty bathtub.
Trixie befriends Connie and the clerk tries to pick up both girls by asking them to watch old educational film reels and the girls always turn him down which makes him very frustrated. These characters are pretty much the main ones, except for two victims of Connie and a John Trixie slaps, it exists in its own strange world, there is stop motion and rocks that Connie collects that change into different items like balls, dolls etc. There is flowers that spew liquid in stop motion. I wasn’t bored one minute and the fact that this movie is only one hour and seventeen minutes makes it ever better. The otherworldly quality of this film and the world it creates will keep you interested.
The last puppet movie I saw that was made for adults was Peter Jackson’s “Meet the Feebles”, it was before Jackson slathered CGI shit all over the screen with “Bored of the Dings”. “Meet the Feebles” featured puppets fucking, getting AIDs, having eating disorders and being addicted to drugs, you know, kid’s stuff. Now I know in the interim that there was one other adult puppet movie that came out which I never saw called “Happy Time Murders” but Melissa McCarthy’s presence makes me not want to see it. However, while rolling through the web site “366 Weird Movies” I came across a review for a movie called “Frank and Zed” which featured all puppets, and watching the trailer made me cum in my pants. I crossed my fingers hoping there was somewhere I could watch it. No such luck, until I visited the filmmaker’s facebook page and web site which was called “Puppetcore” to see if there was anyway I could see it. “Frank and Zed” was going to be streamed through Halloween and I plopped down my money down and what I got was a puppet movie unlike I’d ever seen, a fantasy, horror and comedy, three of my favorite genres mashed together, visually eye popping, gut busting funny, I had a great time watching “Frank and Zed”, the puppets all had personalities of their own right down to the background puppets, “Frank and Zed” is like a mutant hybrid of “Evil Dead 2”, “Meet the Feebles” and “Young Frankenstein”.
I don’t want to give too much away, but the movie tells the tale of Frank who was made from various body parts and Zed who is a zombie whose soul is trapped in its body by the God of Death, whom Frank and Zed were made to serve. The God of Death seeks to rule over a small village but he is slaughtered by the villagers and he puts a curse on the village saying they will all die in a “Orgy of Blood”. A priest and a lord plot to overthrow the king and make the curse not happen by tricking the villagers into killing Frank and Zed whom they see as maintaining the curse and all hell breaks loose. Bones break, blood splatters, brains get eaten etc. I sure hope sooner or later this gets released in physical format, the only draw back to watching it online streaming was that it had a watermark right in the middle of the screen, which was annoying, but I understand why they put it there, to keep theft from happening. “Frank and Zed” took an impressive seven years to make by Portland, OR based filmmaker Jesse Blanchard and crew, the miniatures were shot on the RED camera which was Stanley Kubrick’s favorite lens. Jesse and his crew made all the sets and puppets in his garage and used mainly practical effects, only using CGI for some thunder and electricity, this movie was strictly old school. He helped fund “Frank and Zed” in part through Kickstarter. This movie is a hoot and I can’t wait to watch it again, another hidden newer movie that is actually good. Here is praying “Frank and Zed” comes out in Blu Ray/DVD sooner rather than later.
The web site “Bleeding Skull” (my web site review here: https://www.noisepuncher.net/2021/05/13/web-site-spotlight-bleeding-skull/) dives deep, deep, deep in the scummy abyss like recesses of the pop culture of yesteryear and the present, bringing up the celluloid filth that most everybody else would like to see gone from the face of the earth. But I am glad I am not everybody else, there is times “Bleeding Skull” actually comes out of the recesses with a fistful of gold and diamonds. “Bleeding Skull” is the only site to have guts enough to try to watch every SOV (shot on video) and mid fi film in existence, I’ve done a review on their web site, now it is time to review the reference books they put out and, boy oh boy, did I find a lot of good movies I otherwise wouldn’t have found without the books and their web site.
The first book, “Bleeding Skull! A 1980’s Trash-Horror Odyssey”, is the first volume, published by the great Headpress Publishing, all films are listed in alphabetical order, with black and white photos and a handy index, this book dares to go into the steaming pile that is SOV and mid fi movies of the 1980’s. In the 1980’s video rental stores (RIP) were popping up all over the country, people forget that movies even back then on VHS weren’t cheap to buy, especially in the early days. So mostly local and regional film makers shot no budget “epics” on their camcorders or Super 8 cameras, using Halloween store make up and cheap prosthetics, primitive computer graphics, using friends, relatives, significant others as actors etc. slapping some interesting cover art on the box and selling them from video store to video store. I actually remember as a kid watching some of these movies when me, my brother and cousin would rent the movie based on the box art, only to take it home and be disappointed. As kids we bought the cover art hook line and sinker, it wasn’t until I was older that I got into SOV, as a kid I was too used to seeing movies with some of a budget, movies like “Dark Crystal”, “Return of the Jedi”, “ET”, “Killer Klowns from Outer Space” and the like, not something me and my friends made with my dad’s camcorder. The very first movie that brought back the SOV beast for me was “Black Devil Doll From Hell” directed by Chester Turner, which I stumbled across in “The Psychotronic Video Guide” (you can see my weird book report on aforementioned book right here: https://www.noisepuncher.net/2021/03/25/wtf-is-the-psychotronic-video-guide/) reference book, reading the description made me run out and get it off of ioffer. When I put the movie on my jaw hit the floor, it was like watching some pervert’s home made doll fetish video and then the SOV beast came roaring out from the back of my childhood mind and bit me good. That led me to searching out and finding “Bleeding Skull”. This book “Bleeding Skull! A 1980’s Trash-Horror Odyssey” turned me on to so many other movies from that period of time which I am eternally grateful . In addition to “Black Devil Doll From Hell” you’ll get reviews on movies with titles like “Attack of the Killer Refrigerator”, “Bloody Video Horror That Made Me Puke on My Aunt Gertrude”, “Cannibal Hookers”, “Killer Workout” and the like, you’ll get capsule reviews from Joseph Ziemba who I know personally is a cool dude and has responded to every email and message I have sent him and founder of “Bleeding Skull” and Daniel Budnik whose dry wit and humor had me belly laughing. The two guys don’t take the subject matter too seriously and who would? This book is free wheeling fun like the 1980’s as a decade were, I was literally writing down what movies I had to search out after reading this book, sometimes I couldn’t find the movies they were talking about because they were so rare. Speaking of rare, this book is out of print at Headpress and everywhere else, copies are gonna cost you an arm and leg. Luckily I was a early “Bleeding Skull” fan and bought the book when it was in print. This book covers movies from the 1980’s to the early 1990’s because to be honest the early 1990’s were still the 1980’s style wise.
This is when we dive face first into the 1990’s and face plant…HARD. “Bleeding Skull! A 1990’s Trash-Horror Odyssey” delves deep into the SOV and mid fi cesspit that was the 1990’s. Video rental stores were still around but they were more wise to the “box art masking a home made movie” so different companies sold them direct through catalogs, magazine ads and the newly burgeoning internet. Also, this was when the PC shit beast started to rear its butt ugly head and being “ironic” was the creed of the day. This book was put out this year and I’ve literally been waiting for it for about two years thinking it would never come out. Fantagraphics, whom people who read my site know I love, was taking forever to put it out. Well it finally came out, the dry wit of Daniel Budnik was gone and replaced with Annie Choi, and Zack Carlson with Joe still on board. This time the book has higher production values, it has color photos and art, slick pages, its again in alphabetical order with an index. And again this one put me on to movies I had never heard of movies like “Attack of the Serial Killers from Outer Space”, “Blood Slaves of the Vampire Wolf”, “Frankenstein’s Planet of Monsters!”, “I Was a Teenage Serial Killer” etc. And the problem is Annie, Zack and, to a lesser extent, Joe, took the 1990’s moniker too seriously, don’t get me wrong, the writers replacing Dan are damn funny in their own way, when their not trying to preach or virtue signal. Come on guys, this a fucking book on no budget movies not your college term paper, in fact, when I read some of the reviews peppered with PC millennial/zoomer horse shit, I’d roll my eyes. The prior book had little to no meditating on politics of any kind, in fact in Annie’s review for “I Was a Teenage Serial Killer” she abandons humor altogether and goes on a huge diatribe about how women are still oppressed, no humor at all, all I had to say is “SHUT THE FUCK UP”. I am here to find out about movies I’d never heard, not have some ex college ass hat lecture me on how evil I am, she is not the only one, Joe also does his share of preaching which he didn’t do in the previous book, like under the movie review for “Limbo” you get this “I am a white dude. Because of this, there’s no way for me to understand the challenges women and people of color face on a daily basis (me: semi true). I recognize that my life has been easier (me: bullshit you don’t know that, this isn’t Jim Crow America and not every woman and black person has the same experience, their individuals not a collective faceless mass, like white people, some women and black people have had either easier or tougher experiences depending on their circumstances.) This is why its important for me-and every other white man on the planet-to celebrate the accomplishments of people who are not white whenever possible (me: if their work interests me or their creative that is my criteria not because of skin color or gender, that is what you virtue signals call “Racist”)”. Then he goes on to tell a story of how a woman, Tina Krause, completed and submitted her movie “Limbo” to different film festivals under her own name and got rejection after rejection, then she did it under the name Stephen and was accepted once she was called to address the crowd she went on stage and berated the festival and film goers for “Sexism” and Joe slowly clapped, so Joe did it even enter your mind that maybe since “Limbo” is an SOV movie that most festivals wouldn’t take it? Is it quite possible that they didn’t like the movie and wouldn’t accept it? Too many people are quick to jump on the “victim” band wagon, maybe Tina’s experience was an actual one but this is the kind of crap that hurt the book for me. Annie, Zack and Joe do a good job, but they would’ve done a great job if they hadn’t thrown in the virtue signaling horse shit that is prevalent all over most indie/cult film sites, it isn’t original and its boring. That being said this volume is still good and you can easily ignore the political preaching junk, they don’t do it too much but when they do its annoying and makes them seem like virtue beggars. Guys stick to humor and reviewing movies, save the mealy mouthed bull shit for the talking heads and loser academics in their ivory towers. Mark Polonia who made a shit load of SOV movies and is a SOV legend does the intro for the book. These days digital cameras, cheap computer graphic and editing programs, even phones etc. have made it easier than ever to make movies, the SOV legacy lives on and all one needs to do is go to Amazon Prime Video or Tubi to see the independent spirit to make low to no budget movies is still alive, even though most video stores have gone the way of the dinosaurs. SOV makers now use streaming services, sell DVD and Blu Rays of their own releases through their own web sites and use video hosting sites to show their work, as long as there is a person with a passion and a camera out there of some sort that spirit will never die and “Bleeding Skull” is still the king of digging up these treasures, may they never waver in their pursuit of beautiful trash.
Dan (played by Klaus Tange) returns home from a business trip to find that his wife Edwige (played by Ursula Bedena) is missing without any evidence of her leaving or a break in, he starts looking for her in different rooms of the building, the first lady is behind a veil and tells the story of how her own husband went missing after he was hearing voices and sounds behind the wall where he gets stabbed. Soon Dan turns to the police, at first the inspector (played by Jean-Michel Vovk) is dismissive and of no help at all, Dan has a dream of going to the roof top and encountering a nude woman who jumps. The inspector himself has a missing wife and as the movie goes on it does play with giallo genre tropes but goes into Lynchesque, abstract, noir territory with shifting perspectives of reality.
“The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears” uses a lot of symbolism and metaphors, sometimes you can’t tell if what Dan is seeing is real or what he perceives to be real, and without giving too much away there is another world within the walls of the building and Dan becomes a voyeur spying on the weird going ons of his neighbors. While to some extent, “The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears” is less linear then its predecessor “Amer”, this one, in my opinion, is more rich and mysterious. Its true you get the masked killer with razor and brightly lit color scheme of Argento and Bava, you get a lot more of a stylized and noir like atmosphere. I liked “The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears” more and it is one I want to revisit. The directors claim you need to watch it more than once to get more of the details and more of the stories. This movie will try a lot of people’s patience, even the ones who are into the weird and absurd, that is a warning. This is a love or hate it proposition, if the above description of the movie interests you by all means dive in, if it doesn’t well if you dive in your diving into an empty pool and you will get hurt.
Heading into Halloween it has been a tradition of mine to watch nothing but horror movies for the month of October, that includes every sub genre of horror, so keeping that in mind I decided to review a newer movie that needs more attention by “newer” I mean 2009. And that movie would be the giallo film “Amer” by French husband wife team Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani who did the equally retro western/heist/polzieschi film “Let the Corpses Tan” (My review is here: https://www.noisepuncher.net/2021/02/12/go-ahead-let-the-corpses-tan-2017/).
The film is in three parts, the first part is about the main character, Ana, as a child played by Cassandra Forêt . Now the first part is the strangest part of all, the girl lives with her parents who seem on edge, her grandma who seems to be mentally unstable and dress in black and her dead grandfather who they have laid out on a bed. This first part seems to meld both reality and the girl’s over imagined perception of it. Little girl Ana, seems frightened by all the adults in her life, including her dead grandfather. Now this part is pure Bava/Argento worship with strange colors and leather clad masked killer with a razor who pursues her after she snatches some jewelry from the dead hands of her grandfather. When she sees her father and mother having sex after being scared at her black funeral clad grandmother spying on her, she gets traumatized and her psyche seems to literally shatter.
The second part of “Amer” goes into Ana’s teenage years (played by Charlotte Eugène Guibeaud), where she has a sexual awakening which she is both turned on by and repulsed by. This is illustrated when her and her mother walk to the butcher shop, the butcher shop owner’s son tries to kiss her and she turns away. She walks toward what looks like a biker gang whose lustful gaze turns to her, there is barely any dialogue in this scene, just the sound of the rustling of her mini skirt and the crinkling of their leather. She seems to be turned on by the fact that these guys could jump her at any minute on the one hand but on the other she has complete power over them. Her mother finds her and slaps her for the flirting.
The third part sees Ana (played by Marie Bos) as a grown up is on a train closely surrounded by men and she seems to be aroused by it. She gets picked up in a taxi cab by a man (played by Harry Cleven) dressed in leather, the man is gazing at her in the mirror the whole time and she is aware of it. At times she begs him to open the window because its hot in the car and he pretends to not listen a couple times as if he trying to show her he is in charge. He ends up dropping her off at her old house which is decrepit and rundown, she goes inspecting and she keeps seeing a dark figure out of the corner of her eyes. At one point when she goes to take a bath, a man in leather tries to drown her but she pulls the plug. As she gets out the man who drove the taxi cab seems to be stalking the house, I am not gonna give away anymore but the end is a mind fuck. The “giallo” genre has certain tropes, the masked killer with the razor, a psychic/occult occurrence, crimson red blood and strange bright colors, this movie plays with all those tropes and makes them their own. This movie is stylized but it holds your attention and keeps you guessing. Another “modern” movie done right. They’d do another giallo film “The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears”(Drink the tears here): https://www.noisepuncher.net/2021/10/30/let-me-taste-the-strange-colour-of-your-bodys-tears-2013/.