Tuesday, August 15, 2017

MEATCLEAVER MASSACRE (1977)

MEATCLEAVER MASSACRE is what we, the highly-educated professionals in the movie review biz, call "a stinky piece of motherfucking shit".

A college professor (who specializes in the occult) and his family are attacked at home by four of his students.  His wife and children die during the attack, but the professor stubbornly clings to life.  While drifting in and out of consciousness in the hospital, he summons an ancient vengeance demon called "Morak The Avenger" to get revenge on the men who murdered his family.  That sounds like an interesting idea, but unfortunately the story is told with excitement of "The Chevy Chase Show", the acting skills of an infomercial and nearly zero violence.  

Also, there wasn't any meat cleavers...ever!  That doesn't even make sense!  With a title like MEATCLEAVER MASSACRE (or HOLLYWOOD MEAT CLEAVER MASSACRE as it says on my copy) you would, understandably, expect some meat cleaver action, but you would be disappointed.  And disappointed I was.  Not just in the lack of meat cleaver murders, but the fact the film was really slow and had zero payoff.  The most interesting thing about MM is the completely out of place Christopher Lee scenes.  Lee bookends the film with two short clips (one at the beginning and one at the end) where all he does is sit in a 70's-looking office and spout off weird stuff about the supernatural.  It is entertaining, but it has nothing to do with the film.

Slow pace, one topless scene, a quick glimpse of Sunset Blvd ("The Rocky Horror Picture Show" was playing at The Roxy Theatre), boring dream scenes, terrible lighting, forgettable ending.

As it often is with these low-budget and relatively obscure films, I'm way more interested in the story behind the camera than the boring one onscreen.  With MEATCLEAVER MASSACRE there's rumors that Ed Wood himself had something to do with the making of it!  I don't have an opinion on this, but it is humorous to think about.  It still doesn't make it worth watching.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN (1983)

NYC banking executive Peter Weller's family goes on vacation without him.  Why he even has a family, since they serve no purpose to the story, I don't know, but anyway, they go on vacation while he stays behind to focus on a project for work.  Things go well for about one day, then (kinda like Catherine Deneuve in REPULSION) he starts hearing odd noises and seeing stuff.  Is it real or is it his imagination?  Could it be a ghost, a wookalar or maybe...a giant rat!?

Real rat or not, Peter goes so completely bonkers looking for this thing that it doesn't even make sense!  Broken water pipes, holes in the walls and ceiling, wrecked furniture...he'd almost be better off letting the rat live!  Or even better yet: act like a normal human being, hire an exterminator, tell your employer you're going to be out for a few days to deal with an urgent rodent problem and that's that.  Instead, he half-ass tries to get an exterminator (and fails) then loses his mind fighting the rat himself.  People at work, (rightfully?) believe that he's cracked under the pressure of the project and maybe he has.  The story is so illogical that, by the end of the film, I was seriously doubting the rat even existed.

OF UNKNOWN ORIGIN is best looked at as a dark comedy.  My favorite part of the movie was Peter's kid.  He's such an obnoxious fuck that during a dream sequence, he's still a little shit!

Double-feature with MOUSEHUNT.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

SAVING GRACE (2000)

Grace is a moron. In the opening moments of the film, we learn that Grace's husband committed suicide and not only was he cheating on her, but he had also borrowed money against everything they own and left her over £300,000 in debt!  How exactly does a housewife with no job become so out of touch with reality that she doesn't even realize stuff like that?  Anyway, so I guess we're suppose to feel sympathy for her and then laugh along at her unfunny journey into big time weed dealing.  I didn't laugh once...

...but I did enjoy the film, because SAVING GRACE is the first time we ever see Martin Clunes as "Doc Martin".  I absolutely love the TV show Doc Martin and have watched it from beginning to end multiple times, so this film, while it was completely predictable and not funny, was interesting because we get to see Martin Clunes, Tristan Sturrock and the town of Port Isaac.  All three would go on to star in the television show.  It was very interesting to see just how wildly different the character of Dr. Martin was in this film compared to what he became in the show 4 years later.

Long story short: SAVING GRACE is a mildly entertaining film that is totally predictable, but it's worth a watch for Martin Clunes fans. As for me, I'll never watch it ever again.

Monday, July 24, 2017

THE DIANE LINKLETTER STORY (1970)

Rumored to have been made by John Waters and a few fellow Dreamlanders (to test a new camera) the day after Diane Linkletter's suicide, THE DIANE LINKLETTER STORY was never intended for public consumption, but yet...here we are.

At only 10 minutes long, there's not a lot going on.  Mary Vivian Pearce and David Lochary star as two concerned parents, sitting on their living room sofa, talking about their daughter's wild life style.  After a few minutes, the daughter (Divine) walks in and announces that she's high on LSD.  They send her to her room upstairs.  She goes and almost immediately climbs out the window and jumps to her death.  The parents look at her bloody corpse in horror as the closing lines of Art Linkletter's tacky "We Love You, Call Collect" plays.  The End.

There's not a lot to say.  The dialogue seems to be completely improvised...at one point all three actors are talking at one time.  There's no attempt at professional-looking camera work...it simply pans around and zooms in and out, but not too fast.  The film is very watchable.

Honestly, THE DIANE LINKLETTER STORY isn't much to look at, but it is an interesting look into early Dreamlander stuff.  And I'm always happy to watch Divine, Mary and David!