Archive for October, 2012

Trick Or Treat!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 27, 2012 by Brain Hammer

What are you afraid of? It’s only rock & roll.

TRICK OR TREAT (1986)

Marc Price, well known to 80′s TV lovers as the wacky next door neighbor “Skippy” from “Family Ties” stars as Eduardo “Ragman” Weinbauer, a loser teenage metalhead who is constantly tormented by bullies at his high school. Ragman spends his free time writing fan letters to his favorite rocker – the controversial and flamboyant Sammi Curr. Ragman idolizes Sammi Curr because Sammi went to the exact same shitty small town high school when he was a teen, and just like Ragman – he was hated by the students and staff. The bastards wouldn’t even let Sammi come back and play a free Halloween concert for the kiddies!

When Sammi suddenly dies in a mysterious hotel room fire Ragman is completely devastated. In sheer frustration, he tears down every heavy metal poster in his room, including some really rad Judas Priest, Ozzy, KISS, & Raven posters. Then the shit REALLY hits the fan when Ragman is incredibly given a rare test pressing of the unreleased brand new Sammi Curr record by his super cool radio DJ pal, Nuke. (played by none other than Gene Simmons from KISS!) Nuke warns Ragman not to follow in his fallen idol’s footsteps, but being a stereotypical 80′s metalhead Ragman immediately decides to play the record backwards, and the Satanic spirit of Sammi Curr is unleashed!

Sammi’s sinister voice, his explicit instructions, and the supernatural power of his Satanic spirit help Ragman become a man and finally get revenge against all of the jocks and preps that had been pushing him around for years. A metal shop confrontation with the skinny leather tie sporting lead bully (who asks Ragman if he considers him to be a “wussy fucking weak tit!”) nearly ends in bloodshed, thanks to Sammi’s malevolent spirit. At first Ragman (I never get tired of typing that name!) loves getting the upper hand against the bastard bullies that had been making his life miserable. But Sammi soon goes too far for Ragman’s tastes, and his sinister spirit manifests itself as a demon lizard that molests a topless skank in a car before melting her ears with the fire of his rock n’ roll!

Ragman then realizes that he’s really just a pawn in Sammi Curr’s deadly game of revenge against the high school. Ragman’s dream of meeting his metal God in the flesh becomes a rock n’ roll nightmare when he watches Sammi’s charred corpse reach into a television set to attack his moral crusading critics. (Including Ozzy Osbourne himself in a hilarious cameo!) Ragman then has to race against time to try to destroy the record containing Sammi’s spirit before Sammi can resurrect himself in the flesh at the big Lakeridge High Halloween dance and make the entire school suffer…after midnight. Sammi’s fans won’t let him die. He won’t let them live. 

TRICK OR TREAT is the true definition of a heavy metal horror flick. It cashed in on the raging heavy metal “controversies” that were making headlines at the time, and was clearly manufactured and marketed to appeal to the rabid legions of 80′s metal heads. The blistering hard rock soundtrack is performed exclusively by Fastway, featuring the one and only Fast Eddie Clarke from Motorhead. Fastway provides some really good tracks here, including the clas-sick title track, After Midnight, Tear Down The Walls, Don’t Stop The Fight, and Get Tough. The music compliments the action in the movie perfectly. Metal heads will also love Ragman’s bedroom, as it is full of clas-sick heavy metal posters and records. There’s a great scene where Ragman’s annoying mom leafs through his record collection and gets a steaming eyeful of his Megadeth, Possessed, and Impaler platters!

Sammi Curr is played to perfection by the late great actor and former Solid Gold dancer Tony Fields. (RIP) Tony is absolutely electric in this role and even gets to break out some of his dance moves during the big musical number towards the ends of the film. Marc Price also does a great job in the lead role. A lot of people over the years (including myself) have said that Marc is a bit of a miscast as a metalhead, because he’s just too damn geeky. That is bullshit. All high school metal heads were geeks and losers. The sad reality is that Eduardo Weinbauer lives inside all of us, we just don’t want to admit it. The other positive of casting Marc is that it’s completely believable watching him get his ass kicked. Special credit should also go to uncredited co-writer (and future horror director) Glen Morgan, who plays Ragman’s best bud Roger. Glen is absolutely hilarious in this flick. The “comic relief best friend” is usually a real buzz kill, but Roger is actually amusing.

High school angst is clearly the real star here. There is some heart string tugging drama along the way as Ragman is stripped and humiliated in gym class, and later shoved into a swimming pool with a backpack full of weights. You really do have to feel for the kid as he is continually humiliated throughout the beginning of the film. There’s also a slew of very memorable lines in this baby, especially in the opening scene where we hear a beautiful letter that Ragman is composing for Sammi. “You did it man. You beat this fucking school…it’s like you say: Rock’s chosen warriors will rule the apocalypse.” FUCK YEAH!!! This flick is fairly soft in the horror department. No blood, just lots of wacky demon hijinks including the aforementioned melting ears and the awesome sight of Sammi Curr reaching into a TV set and pulling out the shriveled and charred remains of an obnoxious anti-rock & roll crusading hag.

The biggest selling points of this flick were the cutting edge makeup, visual, and special effects, the soundtrack, and the cameo appearances of Ozzy & Gene. Sadly, “Trick Or Treat” didn’t exactly light the box office on fire when it was first released just in time for Halloween of 1986, but it eventually went on to be awell known and loved cult clas-sick on home video. I’ve personally been a big fan of this one ever since I bought a used vhs copy when I was in high school.I still make a point of watching this one every year for Halloween. I would even go as far as calling this one the very best Halloween horror film that doesn’t have the word “Halloween” in the title.

TRICK OR TREAT is currently available on a cheap-o bare bones dvd from Platinum Entertainment, with a truly shitty cover featuring gross recent photos of Ozzy & Gene. You can also sometimes find it in an amazing double feature dvd set along with the Charlie Sheen/Clint Howard clas-sick “THE WRAITH!” Your head just might fucking explode from the sheer awesomeness of that double feature. These dvd releases are better than nothing of corpse, but I for one DEMAND a special edition two disc release with commentary from Marc Price and director Charles Martin Smith and a bonus documentary on the life and career of Tony Fields! Someone…Shout Factory, Synapse, anyone…please make this happen as soon as possible! What are you afraid of? It’s only rock & roll!

 

KEEP THE BLOOD FLOWING!!!

Advertisements

Night Train To Terror!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 17, 2012 by Brain Hammer

Everybody’s got something to do…everybody but you!

NIGHT TRAIN TO TERROR (1985)

This unbearably wacky anthology horror film features God (Ferdy Mayne!) & Satan (Lu Cifer) riding in a night train along with a helpful Conductor, a wisecracking Night Porter, a utterly terrible rock band, and a bunch of break dancing, lip syncing retards. The train is destined to crash at dawn, killing everyone on board. (no big loss really) God & Satan pass the time before the crash bickering with each other, arguing about the true nature of man, and reviewing the “cases” of the recently deceased before passing their final judgment on them.

The first “case” is actually a condensed version of an unfinished horror film entitled “Scream Your Head Off,” which was written by Phillip Yordan and directed by John Carr. John Phillip Law (“Diabolik”) stars as Harry Billings, your average Joe with a thirst for cars, women, and booze. Harry accidentally kills his wife in a car crash on their wedding night and winds up in a sanitarium ward, about to enter a new life of terror. The sanitarium is run by the demented doctors Fargo & Brewer and their psychotic henchman Otto. (Played by none other than Richard “Bull” Moll of “Night Court” fame!) The evil doctors run a lucrative black market business where they abduct young girls and dismember them so they can sell the freshly severed limbs to medical schools around the world. Otto lends a helping hand by murdering anyone who stumbles upon the sanitarium grounds, and is rewarded with ample time to strip and torture the helpless captives before finally hacking them to pieces.

Harry is brainwashed with hours of electroshock therapy, hypnosis, and mind altering drugs until he finally becomes an unwilling accomplice to the doctor’s horrible crimes. Under their control, Harry combs the local bars and churches (!) looking for sleazy whores to seduce and abduct. Harry also becomes the part time lover of Dr. Fargo, who eventually decides to double cross Dr. Brewer and have him lobotomized. Harry finally awakens from his drug induced stupor, chops Otto’s head off, and then leaves Fargo in the murderous hands of her former partner in crime and patients. God & Satan can’t decide where Harry ultimately belongs, so the helpful Conductor suggests 100 years in Purgatory.

The second story is an edited version of the offbeat 1983 horror flick “Carnival Of Fools,” which was also written by Phillip Yordan and directed by John Carr. This “case” begins as a playboy billionaire named George Youngmeyer picks up a popcorn selling slut named Greta at a carnival and gets her a dream career in porn. A middle aged medical student named Glen sees one of Greta’s fuck flicks and immediately falls in love with her. He quickly winds up shacking up with the slut, which rightfully pisses her sugar daddy off to no end. Glen & Greta are then forced by George to join a bizarre “death wish club” that likes to play elaborate variations of Russian roulette.

The first game features a hideous looking poisonous insect that flies around the group and takes turns landing on their hands before finally escaping through an open window and randomly killing a dude who was getting laid outside. For some unknown reason Greta suddenly gets a rad looking butch haircut, a bow tie, and a new evil personality before the second game of death. She also begins wildly overacting and mugging for the camera while an computerized electrocution machine fries a Jimi Hendrix lookalike until his eyeballs melt. (Excuse me while I smoke!) Greta then magically grows her hair back and stops being evil. Glen & Greta are then kidnapped by George’s hired thugs after an especially brutal and random bout of hotel room kung fu fighting. The third and final game climaxes with a giant construction wrecking ball that crushes an old hag trapped inside a sleeping bag. The story ends with a whimper as the Conductor informs God & Satan that Greta moved away with “a nice man” and lived happily ever after. God then sentences everyone else to Hell.

The final and most lengthy “case” is a chopped up version of the 1980 occult horror film “Cataclysm,” which was written by Yordan and directed by Phillip Marshak, Tom McGowan, & Greg Tallas. This one is a morbid tale filled with arrogant atheists (Richard Moll, making a second appearance), Satanic Nazis,“Omen” inspired bearded religious fanatics with “666” tattoos, cloven footed demons, and a baby faced Anti-Christ who is itching to rule the world. The late, great Cameron Mitchell (“Blood & Black Lace”) stars as a cop trying to solve the mystery of “Olivier,” an eternally young looking Satanist and former Nazi who has sold his soul to the true God – Satan,  in exchange for eternal life.

Olivier is a playboy millionaire Anti-Christ with hooves and a taste for disco. Olivier spends his nights seducing and sacrificing sluts, and his days trying to recruit the controversial atheist author of the best selling book “God Is Dead” into his infernal army. When the arrogant author refuses to accept Satan as his true master and join Olivier’s legion, he faces his demonic wrath. In a bizarre twist of fate, Olivier winds up wounded in a hospital and at the mercy the author’s devout Catholic wife. Routine surgery turns into a Biblical battle to the death!

As the tales of terror unfold, the unsuspecting and utterly terrible rock band give their final performance on a hell bound trip into the outer limits of horror. Some call it the heavenly express. Others, Satan’s cannonball. But we guarantee to deliver every passenger to his right destination! C’mon and dance with me, dance with me! Everybody’s got something to do…everybody but you!

This is an overstuffed little turkey of an anthology horror film. Incredibly, all five of the aforementioned directors get a credit for NIGHT TRAIN TO TERROR. Academy Award winner Phillip Yordan (I’m too lazy to look up what he won an Academy Award for) wrote the “night train” wrap around story with God & Satan which feebly attempts to link all of the footage together. As you can imagine, all three stories suffer a great deal from the massive amounts of editing required to splice them all together into one feature length film. “Carnival Of Fools” aka “Death Wish Club” gets it the worst. The story is so badly butchered, all continuity and characterization goes right out the window. The original version of the film explained Greta’s haircut and personality switch, and also spent a lot time building up to a proper climax. The sudden sleeping bag punchline used for “Night Train” is amusing, but doesn’t really feel like a proper ending to the Glen & Greta storyline.

“Cataclysm” aka “The Nightmare Never Ends” also loses most of its plot, but in exchange gets a couple of freshly added scenes with very cheap and silly looking claymation demons. And when I say cheap, I mean cheap! “Scream Your Head Off” in my opinion is the gem of the trio. That unfinished film clearly had the potential to be very cool, and the gory footage from it that’s used here gives “Night Train To Terror” a big boost in the splatter department. The end result is considerably more than a little…uneven. The first two stories fly by at a lightning pace, but the “Cataclysm” segment drags on for over 40 minutes. Most of the juicy splatter can be found in the first half of the film, which features a fair amount of hacked off limbs, severed heads, and rupturing facial wounds. The abundant use of gratuitous nudity and hysterically cheap looking clay animation is also appreciated.

This flick is probably best known and remembered for the incredibly annoying theme song which is maddeningly repeated throughout the movie. The toe tapping tune “Everybody But You” is guaranteed to dig a hole into your brain, make a home for itself, and never leave. This craptacular little dance number is repeated at least five times, and by the end of the flick you’ll be begging for that fucking train to crash already and end the misery. The “rock singer” is played by none other than Byron Yordan, the son of director and evil mastermind Phillip Yordan. This explains why the kid gets so much precious screen time to show off his less than impressive lip syncing and breakdancing skills.

The wrap around story is totally ridiculous (why would God & Satan ride a train that crashes?) and the production value of the newly added footage is pretty much abysmal. It would all be more than enough to spell sheer suckitude if this flick wasn’t so goddamn entertaining. There’s no reason at all why any of this should work, but it does. It doesn’t make a lick of sense, but it doesn’t matter. This flick defies all logic and common sense and demands to be appreciated for the bizarre and borderline incompetent work of art that it is! This is a brain damaged masterpiece of schlock cinema. All fans of horror flicks that are “so bad they’re good” should consider this one a must see!

NIGHT TRAIN TO TERROR has either slipped into the public domain, or it has been widely bootlegged, because every cheap ass DVD company in existence has released it, either by itself or included in some generic looking “HORROR COLLECTION.” Find yourself a cheap copy, kill a few brain cells with some buds, and enjoy some Brain Hammer approved high-larity!

KEEP THE BLOOD FLOWING!!! 

The Exterminator!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 6, 2012 by Brain Hammer

In war, you have to kill to stay alive…on the streets of New York, it’s often the same.

THE EXTERMINATOR (1980)

This clas-sick revenge flick opens with a BANG right in the middle of a burning jungle in Vietnam. A trio of GI’s, including our wounded hero John Eastland (Robert Ginty – RIP) and his best pal Michael Jefferson, are taken prisoner by the Vietcong, who proceed to tie them up, torture, and interrogate them. One of the unlucky soldiers is decapitated with a machete before Jefferson can finally get free and blow the shit out of everybody in a merciless slow motion bloodbath. John and Mike then manage to fight their way to a helicopter which carries them both to safety. In war you have to kill to stay alive…on the streets of New York, it’s often the same.

We then flash forward about a dozen years or so and find the two vets working together in a sleazy South Bronx warehouse. John discovers a pack of street thugs (including Ned Eisenberg from “The Burning” & the one and only Irwin Keyes of “Friday The 13th” and “The Warriors” legend!) stealing beer one afternoon and a violent confrontation quickly ensues. Mike shows up and the two pals manage to run the punks off. This small victory leads to an inevitable retaliatory beat down and flesh ripping attack that leaves Mike in a hospital bed, paralyzed for life. John then turns into a vigilante, uses his trusty flamethrower to gather information, and quickly tracks down the ghetto ghouls that crippled his friend. After a dramatic confrontation set to “Disco Inferno” that includes the clas-sick line “That nigger was my best friend, you motherfucker!” John fills the scumbags full of lead and leaves one of them still alive to have his face eaten off by rats! Burn baby, burn.

Jefferson’s distraught wife turns to John for help with the hospital bills, and John decides to extort one of the greasy meat mobsters who control the warehouse where he works. THE EXTERMINATOR is best known of corpse for his trademark flamethrower, but he also takes the time to make his own homemade mercury filled bullets, and he really knows his way around an industrial meat grinder too! I always get a sick chuckle out of seeing a fully clothed mafioso going into the meat grinder and nothing but fresh ground hamburger coming out of it! No pesky clothing or shoe pieces to worry about! Not content to stop there, John euthanizes his paralyzed pal Jefferson, and then unleashes an onslaught of violent fury against the entire NYC underworld. No pimp, pervert, or pusher is safe from The Exterminator. John has become a one man army. A new kind of soldier in a new kind of war.

The late great genre superstar Christopher George (“Enter The Ninja,” “Pieces”) plays a hard boiled cop trying to track down the man they pushed too far. Chris takes up a lot of the running time slowly investigating the case, grilling hot dogs and prostitutes, and romancing his doctor-girlfriend, played by Samantha Eggar (“The Brood”). John shares a tender moment with a disfigured and burned teenage prostitute, and then sets his sights on the sick bastards that mutilated her. The Exterminator quickly becomes a hero to the public but is considered a dangerous menace by the corrupt mayor, who fears more for his re-election attempt than he does the public’s safety. As the body count rises John also becomes a target for the C.I.A., who consider him to be the most dangerous serial killer in the country, and a threat to national security. When everyone’s the victim, he’s the only hope they’ve got.

James Glickenhaus wrote and directed this clas-sick exploitation flick which is chock full of nasty violence and SLEAZE including child prostitution, gay sex slaves, torture, mutilation, and disfigurement! “The Exterminator” is an ultra-grisly, ultra-sleazy combination of “Death Wish” and “Taxi Driver.” The perverted sequences featuring the “chicken shack” are unreal. It makes you wonder where in the hell this stuff was filmed! There’s an especially gory decapitation during the violent opening sequence that ranks as one of the best I’ve ever seen. Not realistic by any means, but exceptionally cool looking! I love the way the head doesn’t fully detach from the body. This incredible effect was achieved with an entire animated body with graphic facial expressions and reportedly cost $25,000 to create! Good gory fun!

This flick could be considered a little uneven in terms of pacing, but it more than makes up for it with grit and grue. Sadly, this film was heavily edited back in the day to earn an “R” rating. Like any clas-sick exploitation flick, this has to be seen in all of its full uncut glory to be fully appreciated. When the more extreme moments of splatter are scissored there’s not a lot left here to be enjoyed. The romantic scenes with Christopher George and Samantha Eggar are pretty much worthless to the story and the viewer, but they effectively pad the film’s running time in between the violent scenes. (remember: only love pads the film) The film was predictably savaged by critics upon release (Roger Ebert referred to “The Exterminator” as “a small, unclean exercise in shame”) but was a box office success, and it quickly became a cult favorite on cable and home video. A lot of the film’s notoriety came from the posters and and VHS covers, which always featured ominous looking shots of a muscular masked man (clearly not Robert Ginty) with a raging flamethrower in his hands. Few viewers could see the cover and resist giving it a rental!

The fine fiends at Tango Entertainment were good enough to release the digitally remastered unrated director’s cut of THE EXTERMINATOR on dvd. That’s the only version of the film worth seeing. The total lack of bonus features is a major let down, but the superior image quality and the fact the film is presented uncensored make this dvd a must have for hardcore fans of brutal revenge-themed action. Buy or die!

 

EXTERMINATOR 2 (1984)

The human fire bomb returns! The Exterminator is back, and this time he’s not fucking around. He’s dropped the “The” from his name, and he shoots off his flamethrower in the first five seconds of the movie! He’s also picked up some bullet proof armor and got himself a nifty metal welding mask. John Eastland (Robert Ginty – the Gintyest!) survived the C.I.A. sting that almost cost him his life and resumes his career as a torch wielding outlaw vigilante. John returns to action after a 4 year absence and roasts a couple nuts who had just robbed a liquor store. This earns the wrath of X!

X (Mario Van Peebles!) is the deranged and poorly dressed leader of a ferocious street gang that is threatening to take over New York City. His demented master plan includes armed car robberies, subway car bisections, roller skate kidnappings, and the eventual drug addiction of the entire Big Apple! X dreams of turning the city’s street trash into drug addled zombies, who will then join him and allow him to rule the world. X seeks revenge on The Exterminator for killing off his minions, and teams up with the local Mafia for help. John evens the odds by getting an incredibly annoying best friend named Be Gee. He then spends most of the movie riding around in Be Gee’s garbage truck or hanging out in a bar, where he watches his eternally doomed love interest Caroline dance.

John & Caroline have a tender sex scene and fall in love, which of corpse means Caroline must be brutally attacked by X and his gang. (this is an exploitation flick after all) Caroline is severely beaten by the bad boys in Central Park and is left crippled in a wheelchair. John and Be Gee try their best to cheer her up afterwards, but not even Be Gee’s incessant yelling can do the trick. John knows the only answer is brutal revenge, which is proceeded with an “A-Team” inspired montage where John & Be Gee turn the garbage truck into a makeshift bulldozer. There wasn’t a conveniently located industrial meat grinder this time around, so John improvises and interrogates a punk by putting him in the trash compactor instead.

John & Be Gee then use their makeshift bulldozer to crash a party where X and the mafia are doing a dope deal. Lots of drugs and punks get crushed under the wheels of justice, but the fun is short lived. Be Gee makes the fatal mistake of trying to grab a bag full of cash and gets pumped full of lead by X. John barely escapes with his life, and now that his woman AND his best friend have been violated, he jumps headfirst into yet ANOTHER montage where he prepares the garbage truck for mortal combat. This all leads up to the final explosive confrontation between The Exterminator and X. Cars crash, people are lit on fire, a body count just slightly less than that of the Vietnam war is racked up, and X goes out with a bang. Don’t bug The Exterminator!

The notorious Cannon Group were responsible for this 1984 cash-in sequel to THE EXTERMINATOR. The words “a Golan-Globus production” should clue in the viewer for what they are in store for. Cheap, formulaic action, with the emphasis on cheap. EXTERMINATOR 2 was co-written and directed by Mark Buntzman, who was also a producer of the first film. To Mark’s credit, there are a few genuinely shocking moments along the way, including the groovy subway bisection and the closeup of the charred corpse of a hapless helicopter pilot. Sadly, these noteworthy moments are few and far between and for the most part the film is predictable, tedious and uneventful. A lot of people over the years have compared “Exterminator 2″ to another Cannon clas-sick – “Death Wish 3,” and I have to agree. The films feel very similar, and both feature wacky multi-racial street thugs in horrible outfits savaging the streets of NYC. The plot is indeed a very standard tale of vigilante justice that could easily have been molded for any action star of the era.

“Exterminator 2” is a much more “standard” 80’s action flick than it’s predecessor. It also features considerably more breakdancing and rollerskating. This flick has a reputation for being pretty violent, and has been banned and censored throughout the world, but I have to admit I found it fairly tame. Having X and his minions kidnap and shoot up a young girl with dope is pretty shocking, but it pales in comparison to the graphic child prostitution seen in the first film. Same deal with seeing John threaten someone with a trash compactor instead of actually grinding them into fresh hamburger. Irwin Keyes returns and plays another short lived street punk, but he doesn’t get much screen time. Critics love to make fun of Robert Ginty’s sleepy performances and general lack of charisma, but I think the majority of the shame in this one belongs to Mario Van Peebles. Mario looks and sounds completely ridiculous as “X” and is one of the least convincing “Futuristic Warriors” ever seen in an 80’s action flick.

Negatives aside, EXTERMINATOR 2 is a very fun flick and should be considered a must see for fans of revenge themed 80’s action. Diehard fans of the first “Exterminator” and “Death Wish 3” in particular will eat this up. The maniacs at Shout! Factory recently released Exterminator 2 on dvd as part of a kick ass Action Packed Movie Marathon that also includes the incredible “Alienator,” the slightly less impressive, but still fun “Cyclone,” and the Gary Busey biker-revenge epic “Eye Of The Tiger!” “Exterminator 2” shares a dvd with “Eye Of The Tiger,” and there is a commentary track with director Mark Buntzman and “X” himself – Mario Van Peebles! Sadly, that’s the only bonus feature present, none of the film’s many deleted scenes, or the promotional behind the scenes documentary that was shot during filming are included here. No trailer either. Interesting, because this stuff is available on youtube. I’m still hoping that “Exterminator 2” might eventually get the special edition dvd release that it deserves, but until then I highly recommend checking out the Action Packed Movie Marathon.

KEEP THE BLOOD FLOWING!!!