Uncle Gary's all time fav, Humongous!

If you know me like I do then you've no doubt heard umpteen stories about my notorious, infamous, and highly entertaining Uncle Gary. A tall thin drink of water resembling a mix of Count Floyd and Pete Townshend with a greaser pomp and sideburns. 'Twas this great man who had not only seen but "shot the Jersey Devil", who walked arms at sides into the railing of a backyard deck to flip head first over it and fall six feet to the ground only to stand up, dust off, and blame the feat on a patch of rogue ice on the deck. An accusation of rogue ice made downright spectacular by the fact that this Super Dave Osbourne act occurred during a 4th of July barbecue!! A few more of my beloved Unc's greatest hits: my cousins' cat gets flapjacked in the street directly in front of their house, Aunt Donna suggests amongst the kiddies' sobbing that he deal with it. How does Gary deal? Well he strolls outside, into the road, pulls up what's left of Tinkerbell or Jasper or whatever that damned cat's name was by its tail and promptly whips it around with the arm of an Olympic slow pitch champ and sails it straight into a tree top right on the side of the road. Walks back into the house and then tells my cousin who has hysterically witnessed all of this that in fact the cat was "taken up there by a giant spider". Uhhhhhh!? There was the Thanksgiving where me and my two brothers got a little overzealous tossing around a toy football in the living room and accidently chucked it right into the roaring fireplace. Gary to the rescue! Unblinking, unflinching Gary staggers over to the contained inferno, reaches right into the flames and retrieves a molten mess of what was moments before our football. Arm hairs glowing orange and the air stinking of burnt Gary and Nerf he then proceeds to blow the smoldering ball out and hand it back to my brother who upon the gesture shoved both hands into his pockets and says "WHOAH!" Notice I said "Gary staggers". I wanna inform you at this point in the tale that my uncle's oft beverage of choice was a PBR emptied into a 22oz plastic cup and then topped off with what I think I can recall as vodka of the plastic bottle variety. In short, Gary could par-tay. Ok one more really quick before we get to our movie. I'm staying over my cousin's house, my aunts out and Garys left to watch us. Uh oh Spaghetti-O's! Gary watching us usually consisted of us watching him watch television and get bent up like a beach chair in a typhoon. Unc gets tired of our monkey shines in a hurry and orders us upstairs where we're "not to make any noise for the rest of the evening". Sounds like a dare to us. Once exiled we quietly devise a plan to send a near life size creepy roller skating doll they own called "Baby Skates" careening down the stairs to see if we can get a rise out of Gar-bear. Once Baby Skates made it to the bottom of the steps with some amount of crashing and banging what we got was a beheaded Baby Skates sent flying right back up the staircase at us! That message my friends was received loud and clear. Pin drop silence the rest of that night.

I could lay down at least another forty tales from vault of Uncle Gary but the main reason I'm bringing this gent up is that he was pretty instrumental in shaping my taste for distasteful movies. See my aunt and uncle had cable long before my parents so I used to end up over their house a lot on weekends watching stuff I had no business watching. I can remember the first time I ever watched Halloween was on a beat to pieces VHS tape that they had copied the gem off of cable onto. Great stuff like Creepshow, Hamburger the Motion Picture, Phantasm, Prophecy, Cujo, and Salems' Lot, to name a select few, were first viewed by my young eyes under the furrowed brow of my Uncle. Somebody bless'em!

You know how there are supposedly "Elvis people" and "Beatles people"? Or like "'Stones people" or "The Who people"? Yeah I kinda buy it 'cause I love Elvis but detest the Beatles. Rolling Stones and The Who? I'll give it to The Who but I like 'em both. Of this I AM sure, there are indeed "Godzilla people" and "King Kong" people. These two icons started many a debate between me and Gary. Picture an 11 year old me in big mean greens' corner and whatever image you've painted yourself of my uncle fighting out of the corner covered in back hair. Always a reptile man and thus certain to back Godzilla, a typical conversation between me and Kong supporter Gary would sound like this, "Godzilla is 400 feet tall and breathes blue radioactive fire! If he didn't just stomp on King Kong he would set his hair all on fire and burn him up!" "Cristopher listen, Godzillas brain is the size of an olive, King Kong's brain is at least the size of my own. Bigger brain will win that fight!" When he and I finally sat down to watch King Kong vs. Godzilla for the first time together..well you can't imagine the tension. That friggin' movie ruined my life for awhile. In its' finale King Kong emerges from the sea after quite ambiguously defeating Godzilla. Gary's monster triumphs and I am shattered. I later informed Gary that in the Japanese film version it is of course the hometown boy who beats the living bananas out of the lame ape and celebrates a clear cut victory. Gary's response "too bad this is America". Again, somebody bless'em!

Humongous released in 1982 was Gary's all time favourite movie. He talked about this one ALL the time and it was "just the best" and "it had everything". Sadly I never got to see Humongous with Gary and by that I mean I actually DID see it with him but not really 'cause when you watch this damn movie you can't really see anything because two thirds of it are shot in total darkness! Yeah Humongous had it all alright, less one important thing in it's budget called LIGHTING! I later found out that the one thing this obscure movie was at all known for was its' extreme absence of lighting. Maybe PBR and vodka enhances vision 'cause Gary sure didn't seem to mind.

So...Labor Day weekend back in '46 on the quaint little Dog Island some hobnob Canadians are having themselves quite the shin dig. One of the women at the festivities is being drooled/sweat all over by this guy who looks like Harry Anderson from tv's Night Court. She rebuffs this less than gentlemanly glandular goon and makes the mistake she needs to advance the story, she runs off into the woods alone. She's of course followed by Mr. Persistent who takes it upon himself to get REALLY romantic by slapping the macaroni salad out of her and forcing her into a little of the Labor Day on Dog Island woods romping. In great close up we get to this sweaty clods face as he does his thing whilst smoking a cigarette and mumbling something about this or that. Then outta nowhere one of the many ravenous dogs that populate the island shows up and rips the guys neck open. While he's then laying there doing a herky jerk death twitch and begging the woman he just raped for help she forgivingly takes a cinderblock and blasts a pint of Smucker's preserves out of his face with it. Humongous!

Flash forward thirty odd years and we get six dink twenty-somethings pleasure boating around in the fog off the coast of the very same island from our preface. I forget the characters' names but for brevity's sake and because a few of them actually looked like the members of the Scooby Doo gang we'll call those three Fred, Velma, and Daphne. The other three are Fred's brother, Fred's model wannabe girlfriend, and some guy they just happen to come across floating in the water for no reason. Fred's brother is a real party animal who runs around on the deck of the boat slamming beers and playing with a shotgun and who in true Uncle Gary fashion, gets blasted to the bejesus belt and decides to skipper the ship straight into some big pointy rocks. Now I'm not sure when boats were ever made of balsa wood cured in kerosene but this friggin' thing explodes faster than you can say "did they just put a firecracker in a toy boat and shoot it close up?" Luckily or maybe not, all six passengers make it off in time to swim safely to the shores of......take a wild guess.

While we're at it take another guess at what became of our lovely party guest from reel one. You know the young woman who had some unrequited hibbity-dibbity put on her by the sweat hog hood who ended up as puppy chow? If your answer is that she put it all behind her, moved off Dog Island to the British Columbia mainland and started a successful custom teddy bear building shop well then I'm sorry. Here's a hint though, she becomes a shut in recluse, stays on the island alone with her mongoloid child spawned out of the rough love, raises him up to be a vengeful seven foot tall mongo-man, then dies leaving him to fend for himself alone and angry on the island that the six Scooby dinky dorks are now stranded on! Things may have gone better for him and the castaways had mongo man not chosen to eat all of the dogs on Dog Island but what's an abandoned, confused, overgrown cave dude to do for his three hots? It's the familiar formula from then on. Dumb annoying kids lost on island + giant sized, blood thirsty man beast = Humongous. Soon enough we're treated to the standard stalk and slash (in this case smash and bash) fare that we're used to. Mongo man starts busting through shed doors Randy Savage style only instead of snapping into nasty ass beef by-product treats he's more into snapping neck vertebrae and femur bones through dim teen flesh. I know I said before that this movie is quite dark in the literal sense throughout and it boasts a synth score that pretty much sounds like who ever recorded it had no sense of tone nor actual fingers on either hand AND I'm totally one for obscuring the bad guy beastie until the moment is just right but DANG!! Humongous takes it to a new level and that level is lowwwww! Mongo is only ever shown in silhouette and in that light totally DOES look like Macho Man Savage. His oh so terrifying visage is only ever glimpsed once at the films dreary climax and thats after he's been set ablaze, put out and then impaled with a sign post. By then folks the titular character in Humongous' face is pretty much a 10 lb. burnt marshmallow with a bright blue SuperBall stuck in it. A sigh, a die, the lone survivor (Daphne) stares off a dock, end credits and horrible music roll. Humongous!

This thing is of course derivative of a hundred horror films before it and though wild island marshmallow head caveman is an interesting angle, in the end poor pretty-much-everything does Humongous in. Maybe if you're a genre completist, a masochist or just wanna know what my Uncle Gary considered a damn fine film you'll decide to visit Dog Island for yourself but don't say you weren't warned! So here's to Gary, hopefully at this writing, sneaking into that great drive-in in the sky! Pop* hiss* glug glug glug! Miss ya man.

"Humongous! It's loose! It's angry! And It's hungry!" Seemingly for Slim Jims, OOOOOHH YEAAAHHH!!!


Great Clips, awesome songs set to awesome films.

Just something different this time out. Perusing YouTube like any other person I accidentally and thankfully frequently come across cool videos where someone has taken one of my favourite movies and paired it up bang on with one of my favourite songs. Soo, no review this time out. I just wanted to share my current top five clips done in this manner that I have managed to watch at least twenty times each. I'll throw in a bit of commentary of course but more so, here's to the people who took the time to make each one of them.

My earliest memory of the Evil Dead 2 was looking in the movie section of the newspaper as a kid and being scared sideways by the one sheet ad running for it. That iconic skull with intact eyeballs leering corner eyed straight off the page at me I'm sure kept me up a couple nites when I was a little guy. When I finally saw the movie some years later it was by complete accident. I had somehow obtained an unmarked VHS tape and I had no clue what was on it. One nite me and my good friend Brad rolled the dice on said mystery tape and upon seeing the Rosebud Productions marquee before the title sequence we were less than hopeful. When Evil Dead 2 hit the screen shortly after though... oh goodness...bliss! Good guy Ash clamping the disembodied and shrieking head of his zombie bride to be in the work shed vice before pointing in it's face and yelling "You're goin' down!" cemented this thing immediately as one of the best things we had ever seen. I still own that all black unmarked tape of pure Raimi/Campbell gold. Groovy!

When I told an ex once that I did in fact think Duran Duran were a more than credible 80's outfit she pretty much laffed in my face. She said that it was the kinda music her dad tuned in on an FM station while sitting in their garage bobbing his head, drinking Miller High Life and staring at his derelict muscle car. Well baby if in twenty years I own both a garage and a muscle car I'm pretty sure I'd think it was pretty damn cool to do the same exact thing.

#5 Howlin' Ash gets hungry!

Plenty have people have heard me say plenty of times that I wouldn't mind putting on a pair of golf cleats and kicking beady eyed Ryan Gosling's head to bits. I don't get what it is about that guy that makes me wanna go all Twisted Brain on him. Maybe it's that every girl between ages 20 and dead turns into a puddle of lust over the clown and I just can't see why? I suppose I could have my eyes surgically moved so they are two millimeters apart too. Then I could be beating them off with a stick and getting cast in droll movies where I have dirtface scruff and speak uninspired lines monotonously. Good plan. Having said that, his excuse for a musical venture has produced at least one catchy tune that comes off even catchier when paired with one of my favourite creep kid flicks, 1960's Village of the Damned.

#4 Glowing eye murder brats backed with kiddie creep chorus!

What other band in existence are you gonna even try to lay over the Mad Max trilogy? Exactly! Speed, speed and more freakin' speed! "WE REMEMBER THE NIGHT RIDER! AND WE KNOW WHO YOU ARE!" Side note: I actually met and took photos with Lemmy at London Heathrow. Later when I was eating alone at the T.G.I. Fridays in the terminal, Mr. Kilmister sent a Corona from the bar over to my table. True story!

#3 Lemmy Kilmister vs. Lord Humongous? I'll double down on Lem!

Recently I was telling my dear friend Oskar about how I was really into finding these sorts of videos online. She had a revelation for me. Never would I ever think ANYTHING but the sheer greatness of Ennio Morricone could be beautifully paired with the epic Sergio Leone westerns. She certainly proved me wrong showing me this clip. Sometime later we sat down and watched One Upon a Time In the West under some blankets on a cold sunny day. A marvelous 175 minutes of Fonda and Bronson married to Leone and Morricone where I couldn't help but thinking if they had cheated on them with Arcade would have worked out too.

#2 Arcade Morricone. Blasphemous? No. Gorgeous? Yep. Now because I feel like I just personally cheated Ennio as the greatest film composer in history I offer this one up as tops. I have probably watched this at least a hundred times and while John Williams score to the Star Wars trilogy will forever be one of legend, just gotta ponder what these films would have been like with Morricone at the conductor's stand. When I was a kid all I really cared for were snakes, bikes, punk rock, and Star Wars. As an adult I can say I still look pretty much the same as I did then and continue to like those things a lot. My music taste has however, slightly matured. Quite possibly it's the only thing about me that has. My love of film has brought me to a great love of film scores and sir Morricone, definitely for me, stands at the pinnacle. Ecstasy of Gold is my all time favourite piece of music period, paired here with my childhood favourite movies. Enjoy!

#1 Defining epic with the Maestro!


Ozzy Ozzy Ozzy Oi Oi Oi, budget werewolf helms dune buggy in Turkey Shoot!

Russian and American war machine
Will destroy mankind's dream
They shoot their missiles in the air
They do not care they do not care
Guerrilla armies rule the street
No more christmas or trick or treat
Is this what the future will bring
I pray for peace more than anything

The solution to peace isn't clear
The terrorists threat is a modern fear
There is no future for the youth
There is no hope for the young
Death destruction bombs galore
The rich are laughing at the poor

Planet Earth 1988 -Ramones

You gotta love the positive outlook of some of our great artists eh? Without their sunshine and rainbow visions sometimes sprinkled with some nutty political agenda and/or hard liquor and narcotics we would have never gotten any of those wonderful films forecasting a future where there was no future. Ya know the kinda films who's opening credits would be followed by a title card ominously reading something like, OUR FUTURE, After the Fallout, Earth Post WWIII, or if the movie was made anytime in the late 70's/early 80's, then maybe any calender year between say 1985 and THE PRESENT. Cut to some mangey kid with axel grease smeared all over his face wearing a tank top made out of a possum and staring a burning Plymouth Volare crashed into the side of a building and you got the opening of half a dozen post apocalyptic/dystopian films from the era. By the way isn't in funny how in Planet Earth 1988 with our world on the precipice of atomic ruin that the thing the Ramones seemed most concerned with is halloween candy?!

I can remember being a wee little guy when Ronald Reagan took that lead for Jody Foster back in '81. And while every B horror and sci fi movie maker at the time was wanting to fast track some flop about the fit hitting the shan and the world being bombed back to the stone age within the next decade, all I can recall is thinking that my dad and mom were going to beat me to death for hearing me say the F word when I was irate about not being able to get anything on the damn teevee except Bonzo Ronnie laid up in a D.C. hospital. I can maybe sorta kinda remember all that dang assassination hullabaloo preempting a showing of Escape from New York which for crying out Hinckley might be the best of the best when it comes to these ridiculous movies. Johnny Carpenter sees Manhattan Island as a max security prison for all the countrys' criminals, Isaac Hayes as its' in-house dictator and Donald "clearly I'm british" Pleasance as our own U.S. President? All by the year 1997!? Well you better believe it! Plus that's all fine 'cause we got Kurt Russel to send in and sort it out? HOME RUN!

On the ever so long and must less distinguished list of sac flys and bunts we have a bleak little Ozsploitation picture or peek-sha set in the popular world gone to crap year of 1995 and going by the title Turkey Shoot or Escape 2000 orrrr Blood Camp Thatcher orrrrrr, well, I think those three titles were it. What we get outta this one is a totally totalitarian society in which any and all persons deemed "deviant" by who the hell knows, are rounded up, given a banana yellow track suit and some Chuck Taylors and stuffed into murdered out Winnebagos and carted off to "Reeducation Camp". These less than luxurious camps are where they're to be broken of their decadent behavior by being tormented, slapped silly, raped, hunted for sport or if the days schedule is really busy just plain doused in flammables and blown up. Turkey Shoot opens with a lotta stock news footage of what I'll gently call social unrest and then we get to meet our two protagonists and gasp are they most heinous offenders against the new ideology of 1995! Paul, played by Steve Railsback AKA the poorman's Tommy Lee Jones and damn that IS pretty poor, gets nabbed by the gestapo or whatever they are for unlawful ham radio usage. Chris, played by the huge slice of eye pie that is Olivia Hussey is taken into custody for as near as I could discern...politely operating a jewelry store. You'll all recognize Miss Hussey who at the tender age of 15 flashed her cash and prizes in Franco Zeffirelli's renown version of Romeo and Juliet. Later she went on to star as Jess in Bob Clark's just as legendary but way less fleshy Black Christmas. Just a heads up for bawd hounds, the curve machine Hussey gets a steam o' rama shower scene in Turkey Shoot but my suspicions tell me that the filmmakers and Olivia pull the old switcharooney on us. That's right folks, stunt boobs. Enough with the gratuitousness of this movie right? Yeah right!

After we get acquainted with our two good characters we get to meet all the nasties that in no short supply populate Turkey Shoot. We get the camps warden type Thatcher and his two goon enforcers, one played by Roger Ward AKA Fifi from Mad Max and the other by some guy who looked a lot like my primary schools' custodian Mr. Costello who I can remember challenging me to fight him for hitting him in the back of the head with an egg salad sandwich on accident in the 6th grade. Beyond these three menaces we also meet a few evil aristocrats who convene at the re-ed camp on their weekend breaks from definitely not ever never doing anything deviant to participate in hunts of hand selected inmates. We get a cannibalistic lesbian archer on horseback, a Newt Gingrich lookalike which is deviant enough in and of itself but who also displays sex predator tendencies, and lastly a guy looking like the Count from Sesame Street who rides around in a dune buggy bulldozer thing and who of course has a circus freak sidekick that looks like some half-assed wolfman that rocks a top hat and vest. Freaky wolfy's name? It's "Alph".

After some random punishments by way of beatings, bullet sprayings, and immolations are handed out to some of the camps inmate extras it's time to send Railsback and Hussey a'runnin' for their lives. They're released with a trio of other deviants who you know aren't gonna see act 3 in this baby and then are promptly set upon by Thatch and his guards, the Count and wolfdude Alph, Newt, and the galloping gay version of Jennifer Nichols. The hunts' rules which clearly none of these scumbags are gonna adhere to are simple enough. No poaching of each others priorly selected prey and if any of the targets survive until morning they will be allowed the freedom to rejoin society. Well about 30 seconds into this honorable hunt good old Alph is pulling saturday nite wrasslin' moves and eating pinky toes off anyone he comes across and the lesbian archer is firing exploding arrows all over the joint like it's dystopian Dukes of Hazzard. Pretty soon there's blood everywhere, Newt is in flames, Steve Railsback is sweating through his jumpsuit in all the wrong places, and poor Alph has a stick jammed through his eyeball before getting his legs chopped off by a runaway go-cart! So this thing is pickin' up right? Our jungle hunt down of Railsback and Hussey all leads up to the double back to the camp for a slam bang freedom assault finale that features a gazillion squibs, a LOT of stuntmen doing somersaults, and at least like 600 dollars worth of what looked to have been South of the Border bought fireworks. Whammy kablammy. Machetes end up in skulls and through limbs, faces fly off heads, and king creep Thatcher is reduced to about 50 lbs. of flying ground beef when Steve Railsback finally gets him in his sights and lights him up like a christmas tree with an M-16. Steve's arm goes round Olivia, smiles, obligatory H.G. Wells quote, roll credits!

Gratuitousness aside, which if you edited it all out you'd be down to a 6 minute feature, we really have to hand it to the aussies for what they regarded in the late 70's and 80's as acceptable film making. Backstory on Turkey Shoot reveals the usage of LIVE ammo in weapons fired AT live actors with one actual extra being shot. Hey only one! The wonton pouring of gasoline all over the set to "liven up" the finale. Telling actors, not stuntmen but actors, oi so yeah mate ummm this jeep type rig with a huge blade on the front will be driving straight at you full speed so just get out of it's way "a bit early". Oh and just for fun we're gonna add in a dag bodgy wolfman wearing a top hat and vest. Good onya Turkey Shoot! Ozploitation at it's finest.

Blink and you'll miss my main man Alph at 00:49


Whoah baby The Baby is wild!

At one time or another they've tried to make EV-REE-THING frightening enough to turn into a scare the britches off your bottom terror picture. I heard Elvis say that once, "terror picture", love it! Anything that walked, swam, crawled, creeped, leaped, looked remarkably like Robin Williams, or even breathed oxygen was formulated into an antagonist in many a drive-in worthy fright show. You got your crazed people eating animals, crazed people eating people, masked madman on the loose from what does that even matter, oversized insects, plant people with moldy faces from all kinds of outer spaces, killer cars, killer trucks, killer appliances, alien creatures, critters, humanoids from beyond wherever, eco-terror, high winds, hard rains, poor weather all around, and even oxygen itself doing people in in the most creative of ways all for the sake of good old drive-in entertainment. Now some of these premises work like gangbusters. The giant radioactive ants in Them? Heck yeah! Some coal miner whackadoo in a gas mask running around with a pick axe on Valentines Day? I've seen it forty times and I'll see it again. Human assimilating space virus action set in Antarctica? Still one of greatest movies ever made! A lot of the ideas were and still are right on the moola with what would make a great drive-in freak you out film er.. terror picture.

Not so high on the idea list of things to try and make effectively scary or even interesting you might find a 21 year old retarded guy who's kept in an oversize crib like a baby so he can toss around his Duplos, go geeegy gooey ga geee, fill his diaper a few times, chew the buttons off his baby sitters shirt and look like the member of the Monkees who didn't make the cut because he only played the rubber band between his teeth. Come on now! Do ideas for a scary movie get much worse? I mean I'd love to have sat in on the pitch meeting for this thing. "We wanna put a drooly mop haired manchild in a crib and have a vibrant curvaceous social worker express a little too much interest in'em!" Now this is where someone chomping a cigar should have said "GET OUT!" Thankfully they didn't because even though it is a lame terrible awful idea, the movie completely and totally works.

The Baby released in 1973, centers around "Baby" the already described man-tard and the social worker played by Anjanette Comer that takes his case and thus has to meet his family, the perfectly creepy Wadsworths. Momma Wadsworth and his two eye pie pretty damn hot for the 70's sisters. Beside the fact that they have a 21 year old guy upstairs wearing Huggies and fondling his babysitter's cash and prizes when no one's looking, the Wadsworth women are two tons of eeriness in their own right. Chain puffin' gruff talkin' Momma seems to hate everyone who's not Baby or a member of the Hells Angels. Sister #1 seems to hate everyone that's not Baby and she proves this by getting buck starkers in the middle of the night and climbing all over him while he's in his crib dreaming about strained carrots. Sister #2 looks like the one the Brady Bunch kept locked in the attic and she hates everyone INCLUDING Baby! So much that she attacks him with a CATTLE PROD when he gets on her bad side for wanting to play "ball ball". This friggin' family is icky bingo and THAT is what makes this movie go! They are that family that you just aren't sure about, there's one in every neighborhood and when you peel away the rhine and get a good look at 'em you start getting the heebie jeebies. Once the social worker is introduced tensions mount faster than a rabbit in the springtime. The Wadsworth wackos clearly loathe her and her interest in Baby DOES seem a little pedo bear dubious. What keeps this movie taught and together are all the twists in each of the characters interactions. So well done that you really start to wonder WHO the good people even are in this movie. Now as I've told anyone who ever reads this blog before, I kinda watch these movies so, for the most part, you don't have to. Or maybe you've seen'em before and just wanna see what some idiot other than yourself thinks of 'em. The Baby is absolutely one worth checking out but if you reaallly don't feel like it... here goes. The good people in this movie? THERE ARE NONE. Baby's momma and sisters are plum psychos! The social worker who cares sooooo much about the case and Baby's welfare? Well she's wrapped about as tight as a mummy in a hurricane! Her and her also crackers mother-in-law have formulated a nefarious plot back in reel one that we aren't allowed to fully realize until the final 30 seconds before the credits roll. What starts and builds very slowly as a quirky unsettling tale about an odd as a cod matriarch and her just as nutty kids fast unravels into a drugged, baby napping, back stabbing, neck slitting, leg breaking, axe whacking, shovel beating, burying bodies ALIVE fiasco all in the name of a new swimming buddy. See I still can't in good conscience give EVERYTHING away about this movie. It's a sicilian thick slice of well done weird and you really need to see it for yourselves this time. ***

Shock the Monkee! Baby's better lookin' sister teaches him a thing or two about a thing or two.


Jaws of Satan, or Would I Just Rather Have Venom Spit Into My Eyes?

A lesser known fact about myself. When I was just a wee lad spending my summer nites at either the Delsea or Rio Grande drive-ins in less than picturesque southern New Jersey, I was spending most of my summer days schlepping through field and stream looking for snakes. Snakes and most any reptile or amphibian were a huge hobby of mine growing up. Identifying, keeping, breeding, and raising snakes held my fascination all through the warmer months and aside from the occasional random acts of vandalism, usually influenced and co-perpetrated by neighborhood nuisance Karl Forss, the little hobby kept me out of troubles. I was very hopeful in my youth of actually one day going to university someplace and furthering my studies in this field and becoming a paid herpetologist. Now before you start asking, "Cris, is that one of them people who prescribe those creams you find yourself needing on sunday morning when you wake up with a red bump on your something?" the answer is noooo. Herpetology is simply the scientific specializing in reptiles and amphibians. It was always a little weird in primary school being asked what I wanted to be when I was grown up and me enthusiastically responding "aaaaa herpetologist!" I'm fairly certain all the adults including school teachers I told this to were oblivious as to what the fudge a herpetologist even was. I'd have to say the strange corner eyed nods and silence I was treated to when I ever I let this ambition be known pretty much made me change my answer. From then on when asked what I wanted to be when grown up out came the much more ambiguous and sadly more acceptable, "man, I don't even know". "Oh.... well that's ok honey". Turns out it was definitely NOT ok but that's a tale for another time.

Speaking of tales about tails. What's sixteen feet long with inch long fangs and starts slithering about the country side after escaping from a padlocked box on a derelict train run by horny inept bozos and has hopes of unhinging its jaw and swallowing a alcoholic preacher whole in a single gulp? If you guessed the gigantic king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), yes that's the latin genus and species and yes I'm that big a snake nerd, that's running amok and is apparently the embodiment of old Satan himself in the 1981 devil snake clunker Jaws of Satan then you've nailed it. What happens here is that for no good goddang reason at all a big beast of a cobra starts stalking a booze soaked holy man played well enough here by Fritz Weaver of Creepshow notoriety. A fellow drinker in a self proclaimed "witch" tries to warn him of this evil presence by clairvoyantly reading his coffee grounds, catching the vapors and going into a full faint fest in the middle of a fund raiser social BUT our man of gawd simply dismisses her antics as "parlor tricks". Meanwhile every other snake in town has gone plain herky jerky and starting sinking their fangs into any farmers or undersexed kids listening to boom boxes they happen to come across. This is presumably because the king cobra Satan super commander is orchestrating the attacks. The sheriff is at a loss, big shocker in these types of films, the town officials don't want any fuss made about the attacks because the bad publicity would hurt the opening of a new dog track, plot point reminiscent of many a horror film namely Jaws and the local big wig doctor is at odds with the super smarmy herpetologist she has called in to "assist" her in the ways of the serpent if you can pick up what I'm putting down for you there. Our protagonist doctor manages somehow to not be repelled by the sour pussed sexist reptile specialist even after she calls him for help when a snake that DOESN'T call his wrangler jeans home finds its way into her bed. This clown haired clod shows up and gains entrance to her home by smashing out what looks to be a pretty expensive window in a sliding glass door and THEN follows that up by blasting a big hole through the offending rattlesnakes face and into her drywall with a pistol seemingly produced out of nowhere!!! THEN, and I'm not kidding cause you will see this in the posted clip, he straight slaps the hysterical doctor right across the chops!! But of course in the very next scene she is cooking him breakfast and in a clearly post coital manner they exchange a cute kiss. B-A-R-F !!! Two things immediately sprang to mind when I saw this. First I literally out loud, spelled the word barf. Second, damn I should have became a herpetologist!! I mean this idiot's running round playing with snakes, smashing windows and shooting guns off IN houses only to then get a girl to hop in the humping hay AND make him waffles by smacking her around!?!? What a life!

Onto the rest. What ends up happening is after one town meeting and six or eight more snake bites, the town officials buckle and our priest sobers up long enough to realize that what his witch lady friend was trying to tell him before she got fanged in the face herself was the truth. Satan was after him in cobra form. The why of this matter is further explained with a subplot about the priest being an ancestor of St. Patrick, ya know the saint who drove all the serpents out of Ireland? Aaaaand there's also a sequence where the demon snake for some kind reason saves our doctor lady character from being raped by a biker, not making that up, but none of it is necessary in getting to the pivotal yet underwhelming showdown between father single malt and the Satan snake. They meet in a cave, crucifixes are brandished, holy light illuminates the cave, latin is shouted and bammo serpent souffle faster than you can say it. Roll credits.

As far as snake scare films go, this sorta hodgepodge of religion meets nature's horror is a bit of a low rung. Coming in way under titles like Stanley, Venom, Frogs, or even Sssssss!. That being said it's 100 percent a drive-in type deal and good for at least a chuckle when in one scene the cracker deputy tells the african american sheriff, "Sharf they gotta snake over in the corner store!" Sheriff says, "well what kind is it?" Deputy,"I don't's black!" Sheriff, "Natch!" **1/2

Breaking and entering + indoor gun play + slapping a woman silly for being upset = sex and waffles in Jaws of Satan


How to derail the Horror Express? Send in Kojak!

been a bit lax folks I know, but to be fair that's what happens when you relocate to a horrid southern locale ridden with crime, horrible police forces, terrible food, and the worst weather ever. did i mention NO DRIVE IN!? seriously!? i could/should have been spending more time catching up the dedictated reader(s) i have on some titles i've taken in instead of making a nice comfy grip on the non business end of a louisville slugger so's i don't get a blister when i cave in the skull of the very next mongrel criminal i find walking around near the backyard after sundown. trust me folks it won't take long for one to show up. gah....the south, anywhere but Texas!

you guys remember the show Kojak right? ugh, probably not, but Kojak was this bad-butt teevee cop played by renown bad-butt baldy Telly Savalas. here's every episode of the show ok? ole' Koj would land a case, usually murder or if youre Kojak, "mur-dah", then he'd put on a floor length mink coat, suck a dozen lollipops, kick down six doors, bust three heads, solve one case and then say "who loves ya' baby?" roll credits! i bring up this small screen nonsense only because Telly shows up in the third reel of our movie this time out...chugga chugga toot toot, Horror Express.

Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Telly and guess what it's not a Hammer production folks. i'm not gonna take the time to research it but i'm gonna say this was an Italian backed movie about two Englishmen, sixty Russians, and one mad monkey looking missing link man thing with glowing red eyes and a temper because he's been thawed out and has some sorta alien being inhabiting his Chewbacca like bod. back it up you say? uhh no sir.. full steam ahead!

so Lee plays an archeologist who finds a possible missing link creature frozen in the Himalayas. well hell doc let's box him up and load him on a train and get the plot moving shall we? once on the train, Lee and Cushing do a lot of yammering with the aristocratic passengers while our crate creature wakes up and starts having red eyed staring contests with baggage handlers and other non essential characters and the end result is them ending up white eyed and dead. bodies start to pile, our two main men Cushing and Lee catch on and i guess because it was in the effects budget, autopsies start happening. after turning a few dead peoples skulls into flip lid convertibles with a hacksaw and poking a few eyeballs (in close-up thank you) with some syringes our docs discover that the walking throw rug monster man is only a host organism for an ancient alien being that's been around since the dinosaurs. what? yeah, so this thing's running amok on the train and turning people into white eyed corpses and then thankfully it gets shot full of holes and falls over dead. the end? you wish! we still have a train to wreck off a cliff here folks. for what? well because before fur-foot kicks the lunch bucket the alien thing jumps into another body. this time a dodgey policeman who comes with a freaky fur hand to match. then that guy gets shot down and then the alien jumps into a mad and butt butt butt ugly monk who we're introduced to back in reel one but he's got the kinda face you just wanna forget for the whole movie and you hope to god he got off at an earlier stop. sigh, he doesn't, and the next thing you know he's the one sporting the evil red eyes and goin' on about satan and what not. remember Kojak? then all the sudden he gets on the train with a bunch of sword swinging Cossacks and they start stabbing fools and taking names. action upon action here in the late going right? so funky monk alien man then is able to resurrect all the dead white eyes that have been piling up and all the sudden it's the full on zombie express with the throttle pinned to the WTF? setting. so quick thinking Lee and Cushing get anyone who isn't a mangled monk alien or a zombie onto the caboose, unhitch the locomotive and that thing model railroads right into a miniature ravine taking all the zombie cars along with it. el Kaboomy blam-O!! roll 'em Smokey!

not a bad movie this Horror Express, decent effects for the 70s. they include gross out close-up eyeball prodding, skull sawing, blood squirting eyes, shish kebab sword play, evil alien infested chewbacca, the best worst looking annoying mad monk ever, and one model train explosion. worth your 86 minutes. the trailer is in German here but that figures when your'e dealing with an Italian movie staring iconic Brits and a bunch of other Italians playing Russians. points for Telly Savalas showing up in the final half hour to show that Kojak don't play.


Mucho murder on the Bronson Express in... Breakheart Pass

honestly has Charles Bronson ever made a bad movie? ok, ok, has he ever made a movie that wasn't bigtime entertaining? exactly. this time out Chuck ends up full speed on twin rails of murder, intrigue, double, no, make that triple crosses, weird beards, redman savages and extra whacky secret spy shenanigans in Breakheart Pass.

the story starts off with Bronson being detained at a rail station by some stuff shirt army troops and an immediately noticable slimey governor played by Richard "Col. Troutman" Crenna. seems that they have commissioned a train to travel through snow country to reach a military fort stricken with disease. supposedly this train is to provide fresh healthy enlisted men and medical aid. yeah supposedly. after an encounter at the rail station water hole they take Bronson aboard as a prisoner because supposedly he is wanted for arson and card cheating and having the meanest mustache this side of the old miss. the seemingly good guys on the train, governor bag O' lies, an army major (Ed Lauter), a lowdown lawman (legendary Ben Johnson) and a seedy preacher (Bill McKinney of Deliverance "squeal boy!" fame) don't treat Chuck very well off the bat but guess what? someone starts offing lesser characters left and right and then everyone wants to be Bronson's best bud. they've all likely seen the guys' movies and know that in a pinch with the stench of death everywhere, few are better than Chuck. the plot then starts to thicken and the pace starts to quicken as we're treated to a few games of human plinko with people being mysteriously thrown from the train and pingo pongoing down some high as hell bridge supports. then a little literal backstabbing, and a great mass murder scene in which every one of the enlisted men on board is sent to a canyon grave in one single swoop. i'm talking crasho el smasho the caboose is kaput! along with a bunch of mooks who were never gonna be integral the the twisting plot of this thing anyways.

once this thing get's rolling full tilt it's pretty clear that the big mystery is that everyone on board, save for the "bad guy" Bronson, is actually a REAL bad guy! and this train ain't hauling no dull medical supplies but something of much more interest. especially to this weird beard cat named Calhoun and a bunch of savage injuns! one or more of the passengers is in proverbial cahoots with the caveman lookalike Calhoun and the actual cargo is there to be secretly and illegally dealt to this rowdy row of rogue rapscallions! they had the plan, the train, the cargo and the deal in place but the sonsabitches forgot just one thing, Charles Bronson. and ultimately bad guys find out what many had found out before them, that you never ever f@*# with Chuck.

give this gem a look, it's certainly no Deathwish, Chato's Land, Dirty Dozen or even White Buffalo but i ask again folks...has Charles Bronson ever made a movie that wasn't bigtime entertainment?

whether it's a New York subway, a Nazi prison camp or on the top of a speeding deathtrain in snow country, Chuck kicks ass at kickin' ass. points for the snowball toss and extra points for the baddie ricocheting off the bridge supports!