Saturday, 18 August 2012

TRAILER TREASURES: THE DEMOLITIONIST (1995)

I first saw this charmingly fun SF/action flick on the Sci-Fi channel, back in the days before the stupid SyFy rebrand, an era in which they actually did show science fiction. Oh happy days.

This low budget bit of fun starred Baywatch's Nicole Eggert as a cop resurrected as a cyborg superhuman after being murdered by a gang. Yeah, it's a RoboCop rip-off, but I enjoyed it. Low budget SF movies are always more fun when the main character wears a superhero style costume and stuff explodes. I'm easy to please.

Friday, 10 August 2012

THE DARK POWER (1985)

“It looks like a refuse heap and smells like a fart!” 

That's just one of the golden lines from DARK POWER, a slice of pleasingly stupid horror nonsense from the early-to-mid eighties. Blatantly ripping off The Evil Dead (right down to the camera-through-the-forest shots) and Poltergeist (ancient spirits returning to exact revenge on the living), the film gets all of its exposition out of the way in the first ten minutes or so.


This is done by explaining the Dark Power and how it can be controlled with a certain artifact, during conversations between whip-toting Exorcist/grizzled old Ranger Girard, played by the grizzled old Lash LaRue (I swear that's his name, and it's amazing) – who offs bad guys and demonic zombies with a magic whip (this just keeps getting better), a lardy hick and a typically 80s news reporter.

Bugger characterisation, here's a bunch of dialogue about the Toltecs and their mystical ways, bashed about the viewer's head minus any subtlety, but somehow delivered in such a boring manner that you're soon desperate to flick forward to the bits where teenagers are being massacred by rubbery zombies.

One night, a bunch of students have a bit of a party in the house they've moved into together (despite the fact they'd hate each other if any of them even actually met), but of course, the house is over the ground where the Toltecs buried themselves alive in order to return from the dead and butcher the living every now and again.

Subplots? Pah. Subtext? Pssshh! Stereotypes, cheese, crap acting, an atrocious script, wonderfully cheap effects and woeful production values? Come on in! The Dark Power is a really, really bad movie, but it is also a really enjoyable movie too. It's so inept and deliciously, incredibly bad, but there's enough black comedy in the script and enough typically 80s kill scenes that it makes for a pleasant enough evening's viewing, but only if you've already been desensitized to crap and enjoy it as much as the rest of us genre addicts. In fact, it does bring to mind the later (and better) films THE VIDEO DEAD and NEON MANIACS thanks to the group of undead entities turning up out of nowhere and slaughtering everyone in sight (while wearing costumes which look like torn old clothes and discount shop Halloween masks).

The cast of teenage girls are uniformly awful, but so are the rest of the cast. The glorious presence of Lash LaRue and his magic zombie/demon destroying whip is the icing on a very cheesy cheesecake.

If you want lashings of gore and mayhem, then the first half of the movie is going to bore you stupid, but once the fun kicks in, the entertainment value skyrockets. If you're happy to sit through endless bad movies for the sake of cheap entertainment, then feel free to come sit next to me. I'll crack open a cold one and we can watch this slice of ultra-low budget nonsense.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

STREET TRASH (1987)


You really haven't lived until you've watched a film in which a hobo sits on a toilet in the ruins of a burned-out building, drinks a noxious liquid and then proceeds to convulse and suddenly melt into multicoloured slime and gore. Seriously, STREET TRASH is a thing of demented, messy joy.

The film had one of the most memorable VHS covers of the rental era, thanks to the main image of the melted hobo sticking his blobby, slimy face out of the toilet bowl. It really sums the film up – a tasteless, insane slice of gleefully exploitative nonsense. I picked up the Arrow Video DVD set of the film, including the essay booklet and a second disc of extras, and as ever, Arrow didn't let me down.


Reading the booklet essay, I was delighted to find out that the filmmakers did indeed intend to make everything in STREET TRASH as offensive as possible, and they do just that. There's extreme violence, endless jokes about mental illness, rape, alcoholism and more.

Of course, something that is a bit of a talking point is the lengthy scene in which a hobo has his penis sliced off and thrown away, resulting in a slapstick comedy chase scene in which the dickless hobo tries to get his severed member back from the other hobos that live in the junkyard where a lot of the action takes place. That scene features repeated shots of a flying, severed cock. Add to this the famous decapitation-by-gas-cylinder and a plethora of melting and exploding hobos, and you have a very odd but very entertaining evening's viewing.


The actual plot, such as it is, revolves around a crate of 'Viper', which a liquor store owner finds hidden on his premises. He sells it cheap to bums, who down it and melt/explode/leak slime everywhere. A subplot (I use the term loosely) follows life on the streets, albeit in a hyper-stylised sense, and played completely for exploitative laughs.

There's a hell of a lot of nasty stuff going on in STREET TRASH, but the film is so silly and so delightfully ridiculous that even the worst scenes seem blackly comedic.


The only sympathetic character in the entire film is Wendy, played by Jane Arakawa, an employee of the junkyard who befriends a number of the homeless people who inhabit it. Mind you, even she comes in for a massive amount of abuse both verbally and physically. A lot of STREET TRASH should be very unsettling, but it's just so deliciously stupid and gratuitous that you can't help but laugh. Trashy bliss.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012