Wednesday, 9 October 2013

DIARY OF A GENRE ADDICT VOLUME TWO - FINAL COVER

Hot on the heels of the release of VHS ATE MY BRAIN next month will be DIARY OF A GENRE ADDICT VOLUME TWO, which completes the project and will be the final output from the DOAGA site for the foreseeable future. It includes all of the remaining reviews and diary entries plus additional diary entries and an original essay on the cult film lifestyle.



VHS ATE MY BRAIN - THE NEW COVER!

VHS ATE MY BRAIN, my 7th book, has a brand new cover design from the awesome Lunchmeat VHS fanzine. Check it out! The book will be out next month. More new soon!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

THE TOXIC AVENGER (1984)

Troma means a lot of different things to a lot of people. To some, the studio is nothing but a purveyor of cheap, nonsensical films full of bad special effects and gratuitous boobs. Well, actually that's not that far from the truth, but there's more to Troma than just that. I think.

I've been reading Troma mainman Lloyd Kaufman's books MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN MOVIE and EVERYTHING I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FILMMAKING I LEARNED FROM THE TOXIC AVENGER, both of which are hilariously entertaining and well worth a purchase.

The latter charts the inception and subsequent rise (well, they did rise a bit) of the world's longest running independent movie company and is told in Lloyd's inimitable style, i.e. endless jokes about masturbation, boobs, farting, urinating and countless other bodily functions. They're great books, and made me want to revisit the film that started them on the road to semi-stardom. THE TOXIC AVENGER.

This film wasn't the first from Kaufman and co (Look up Squeeze Play, The First Turn on and others. Just avoid Big Gus, What's the Fuss?), but it was the first to feature their signature character, the lovable mutated maniac, Toxie. THE TOXIC AVENGER follows the misfortunes of Melvin, a much-harangued geek who ends up jumping out of a window to avoid being bullied any more.

He lands in a vat of toxic waste and is soon transformed into THE TOXIC AVENGER, a huge, deformed and muscular hero who brutally murders bad guys and can sense evil lurking nearby. He sets about righting wrongs, with gory, ridiculous and hilariously cheesy results. The film showcased the anarchic spirit that Troma became known for, as well as their cheap special effects and (some may say obsessive) fondness for the female form. It's that spirit, that gung-ho attitude, which helps suspend disbelief throughout this beautifully demented film.

The production values are about as low as it gets, but that didn't stop Kaufman and his merry gang of assorted lunatics from delivering a film which is in a class (and indeed genre) all of its own. Mix horror, comedy, a bit of sci-fi, a lot of slapstick and plenty of dirty jokes, then pour it directly into the brain of someone having a surreal fever dream, and you'll be close to what the film is like. Toxie is lovable, even when he's squashing skulls or tearing people to pieces. He's very clearly the good guy, but his methods would sometimes suggest otherwise.

The film is a hell of a lot of fun, as are the sequels, but none of them match the lunacy and feel of this first one. At times inept, it is nevertheless a testament to the genius of Kaufman and Troma that this cheap and tacky genre comedy still remains much loved – and much watched – today.

 

Sunday, 4 August 2013

THE END IS NIGH...


Diary of a Genre Addict has been my dream project, my solace, my place to indulge since I began the site in 2009. In that time I have been able to write about some truly weird films and stuff, and have loved it very much. But all good things must come to an end, and as such, Diary of a Genre Addict will soon be complete. A few more important reviews will be published, and then the climactic final post will come.

The second volume of the collected Diary of a Genre Addict pieces will thus be the final release from this incarnation of the site.

I am not ruling out a return someday once the project has ended, but for the time being there are other things which I must devote my energies to, including life as a father and husband and a slate of projects which are becoming too major to turn away from. I would like to thank you all for visiting and reading my little corner of geekdom, and I hope you'll stick around for the grand finale of reviews and the final diary entry.

The end may be nigh, but the addiction lives on.

And who knows what the future will bring?

Monday, 22 July 2013

CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS (1973)


This was always one of those films I told myself I'd get around to watching someday. I'm sure we've all got extensive lists of those, and this was fairly high on mine. I love the premise, namely a hippy theatre troupe dig up a corpse, have a high old time screwing around with it, perform some satanic rituals and then the undead rise to take revenge upon them. End credits. Simple enough.

Actually there's more going on there but to be honest if I hadn't been flicking through my copy of the BOOK OF THE DEAD history of zombie cinema I would have completely missed the whole thing about the film being an attack on the hypocrisy and rotten core of the hippy culture at the end of the 1960s and start of the 1970s.

I just thought it was a cheap zombie movie with some comedy elements. However, upon watching it following on from reading about it, I appreciated it much more than I would have done otherwise. It's a lot of fun, if slow starting, but once the festivities kick in with an army of corpses attacking the vile main characters, the film all falls into place.

Directed by Bob Clark, the film opens with pranks being played in a graveyard, where we are introduced to the uniformly unlikeable cast of characters, led by a dude with a bloody awful collection of facial hair. Within five seconds you want to punch everyone in sight, such is their collective level of annoyance.

As soon as the gang digs up the aforementioned cadaver, things take a macabre turn and the tone of the film starts to shift from comedy to something more uneasy, before the final act turns it into a full-on horror movie. The zombie effects are cheap but pretty effective, but it's the exemplary score which adds a demented quality to the film – cold, jarring synths and effects warring for supremacy as hippies are massacred.

The film feels a little padded out, even at its brief 82 minutes (about ten minutes of which are just credits), but the idea works well and there's enough going on to hold the interest until the rather sudden ending (an ending which Lucio Fulci would inadvertently echo with ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS). CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS is a nice little Grindhouse flick, cheap, atmospheric and often straddling the lines between good and bad as well as comedy and horror.


Hmm...

Right, where was I?

Saturday, 20 July 2013

TRAILER TREASURES: THE BOOGEYMAN (1980)

Aka THE BOGEY MAN here in the UK. The film is nowhere near as great as the trailer makes it out to be. Definitely worth seeing, but the trailer is tons better. And no, it's nothing to do with those 'Boogeyman' flicks from a few years ago. This is Video Nasties era stuff ;)

Thursday, 18 July 2013

TRAILER TREASURES: SAVAGE STREETS (1984)

Linda Blair. Ass-kicking. 1984. What more do you need to sell this movie to you?

   

Btw... apologies for the radio silence of late. Stuff going on. The Addict will be back at full strength soon!

Thursday, 30 May 2013

CONTINUUM – I think I've found my show


It's been a long time since I've really enjoyed a current TV show. Of late it's even been tough to sit through my beloved Doctor Who, and after finding stuff I kinda like (Warehouse 13) and stuff that promised so much but turned out to be painful to watch (Defiance), I was feeling a bit left out.

Everyone seems to have so much stuff they love, and I remember being just the same a few years ago, but now there seems to be so little that appeals to me. This is down to not having the time or patience to dedicate to stuff for long now, and though new content needs to grab me from the get-go.


One such show which I have latched onto properly is the rather wonderful (if somewhat underrated, from what I can see) CONTINUUM. Blending science fiction, action and drama in a story of time travel and assorted intrigue, it has a great concept and a strong cast, as well as a beautiful balance of SF concepts and contemporary TV.

I've been getting through the first season and enjoying it greatly, and the start of season 2 is sat on our TiVo waiting for me to indulge. The writing is strong, and while the cast are all far too immaculate, they carry off their parts very well. The only thing that I can't get past is that the chunk of the time machine looks very much like a piece of a Terry's Chocolate Orange. I'm glad I've been able to find something cool again. Long may it continuum. Erm. You know what I mean.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

NINJA HUNT (1986)

This was the first Joseph Lai film I ever saw, and I just got a vintage copy on VHS (finally at a decent price) and revisited one of the most profoundly odd cinematic experiences of my life. Quick refresher: Joseph Lai and his company IFD bought up a bunch of failed East Asian action movies, retitled them and cut them together with new footage of white guys in ninja costumes having ludicrous battles, then gave each atrocious film a frankly hilarious dubbing job. 

Ninja Hunt was my introduction to these films and the concept of recycled movies, and as a teenager I watched it again and again, just astounded at something so mad and awful could get made. Plus, I wanted to be a dayglo ninja like the guys in these mental films. Yeah, for some reason at the time I thought they were the coolest thing I'd ever seen. 

I guess the attraction is that these films felt alien to me. Those glimpses of other cultures mixed with comic-book style ninja fighting were wildly appealing, giving the films a weird, dreamlike quality with their own odd internal logic and shoddily spliced footage. I loved them to bits. 

Ninja Hunt concerns a gang who have stolen a top secret formula, DAK10, which switches on a desire to kill in anyone it comes into contact with. A ninja overlord wants it, as does a government agency in the US, who (naturally) send out a ninja master (the awesomely wooden Richard Harrison) to deal with the case. 

And thus, with nonsensical scene after nonsensical scene, including lots of sex, club nights, talking around smoky tables and multicoloured ninja gymnastics, the film plays out to a sudden and baffling climax. It makes no sense at all, it looks and sounds awful, is cheap and tacky and woefully made, but it's brilliant. Well, brilliant in a way that only lovers of the Joseph Lai ninja movies can understand, anyway. A weird little gem.

Friday, 19 April 2013

DEFIANCE – PILOT (2013)


SyFy is producing actual science fiction again, and I am a very happy bunny about that fact. I saw the trailer for this new transmedia franchise, which offers both a TV series and a video game, a while back and thought it looked superb, but hey, the trailer for The Phantom Menace made that look brilliant too, so I was wary.

 It takes a lot to impress me, or indeed engage me at all, with new TV shows, and thus it was with a little trepidation that I watched this. Was I going to be wasting my time? Was it going to be a great show? Would it last more than five minutes on our TV? No, almost and no.

I did manage to watch the whole thing, but there were a couple of points I almost gave up on it. Earth has been transformed into a post-apocalyptic wasteland following a war and some failed terraforming from a race known as the Votans. Since then, an uneasy alliance between humans and Votans has created a new kind of society, in which typical science fiction intrigue tends to go on. And on. And on. And on.


Y'see, this opening shot for Defiance is almost agonisingly slow, to the point where I caught my hand creeping towards the remote control lest my brain atrophy from the dull, cheap tediousness on the screen. Then, as if by magic, the third act kicks into gear and it all makes sense. An epic third act brings a real element of danger to the lives of main characters Jeb (Grant Bowler) and Irisa (the gloriously talented Stephanie Leonidas under some understated character makeup).

With a cast also featuring Julie Benz and Mia Kirshner, Defiance starts slow but builds to an ass-kicking climax, well, this first episode does anyway. While it does blatantly show influences from Firefly, Deadwood, Farscape, Battlestar Galactica and more, it does have its own charms and merits.


It helps greatly that the cast know what they're doing, and while a lot of the script is cringeworthy, dialogue is delivered with conviction and the effects are at times brilliant. Yeah, a lot of it looks cheap and chock-full of hackneyed old sci-fi cliches, but it's entertaining enough once the pace picks up. Whether the pace and growth of the story can be maintained over the rest of the season is yet to be seen, but I'm up for sticking with it for now.

Friday, 12 April 2013

TEN OF THE GREATEST CARTOON THEMES OF THE 80S

I am a bitter old geek. The sort of person who likes to tell the young 'uns that cult entertainment was much cooler when I was a kid. However, rather than just nostalgia making me sound like an angry old fart, I'm actually right. Here are ten of the greatest cartoon intros of the 1980s as proof. You're welcome.

BEHOLD... JAYACE AND THE WHEELED WARRIORS, GALAXY RANGERS, DUCK TALES, HE-MAN AND THE MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE, SHE RA - PRINCESS OF POWER, TRANSFORMERS, THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS, VISIONARIES, BRAVESTARR and THUNDERCATS.

More may follow soon, as it's impossible to watch these without going on a massive cartoon intro binge. Watch them and find out for yourself!











CARRIE REMAKE TEASER - I actually kinda like it

I hate remakes. I loathe them. However, this teaser actually has my interest piqued. I love the original version of the Carrie movie, even though it changed Carrie from an overweight, curly haired girl into the waif-like Sissy Spacek. Sissy's performance was so powerful that it's now hard to think of anyone else tackling it.

Chloe Moretz (aka Hit Girl from KICK-ASS) is Carrie this time out, and if it had been anyone else cast I'd have ignored it. Moretz is an excellent talent, and the teaser actually does what it's supposed to and TEASES a film rather than giving it all away. I may have to actually go and see a remake. Yikes.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

THE MUTILATOR (1985)


I wish I'd seen this film years ago, rather than now when I'm jaded by thousands of slasher movies full of attitude-laden teenagers. The Mutilator (with it's frankly awesome tagline 'BY SWORD, BY PICK, BY AXE, BYE BYE!') is a cult favourite amongst slasher fans, and it's easy to see why.

The trashy atmosphere of the film is further helped by a campy script, hammy performances and some gloriously tacky death scenes. In fact, one particular death scene really sticks out as the pinnacle of the film's trashiness, when a guy is attacked with a saw and takes an overly long time to finally fall to the ground, instead hanging desperately onto every morsel of screen time he can get before collapsing into a bloodied heap.

The premise is that of a bunch of the film follows a group of teens staying at a beach house being picked off one by one by the demented father of one character, who we see murder their mother in the opening flashback sequence.

Once the concept is established, then logic and characterisation fly straight out of the window in favour of grisly 80s horror fun. The Mutilator has a lot going for it if you're a fan of this calibre of trash cinema, and delivers the goods when it comes to the kill scenes.

If you're not one for formulaic (yet good fun) 80s horror movies with kinda faceless casts (yet decent quality direction from Buddy Cooper), then this really won't be for you, but if you fancy a slasher marathon, you could do a lot worse than lining this little gem from the VHS era up alongside flicks like SLEEPAWAY CAMP and SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE.

Very much a product of the era, it's nevertheless a fun flick with some decent scares and some marvellously bloody kills.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

CRASH AND BURN (1990)

A Charles Band b-movie about robot warfare in a post-apocalyptic wasteland? I'm in. Or, I would be if the film was anything like what the packaging would have you believe. The cover makes CRASH AND BURN look like a pseudo-sequel to ROBOT JOX, thanks to the prominence of a giant robot on the cover art. In fact, it was actually released in some territories as ROBOT JOX 2: CRASH AND BURN, despite being nothing to do with Robot Jox at all!

Well, there's a robot in it, but for 99% of the running time it lies inert in the dust, then wakes up for one solitary scene. The rest of the film is essentially a bleak, depressing story of humanity's struggle to continue once everything goes wrong.

Computer and robot use by civilians has been outlawed, and the world is run by the Unicom corporation after a global economic collapse, and when a remote TV station is infiltrated by a humanoid robot intent on tracking down insurgents against the corporation, a lowly delivery man must help the employees of the station stay alive.

And then there's a robot for a bit.

Crash and Burn is a film where all the big stuff happens elsewhere and is included in the script as a backdrop rather than much to do with the plot. This is basically a siege movie with a mad cyborg character picking off humans one by one in a variety of ways.

It's cheap and takes a long time to really pick up any pace, but when it does it's entertaining enough, just not as great as the artwork makes it out to be. Starring a young Megan Ward, it's an interesting flick for fans of the era of cheapie post-apocalyptic actioners, but don't be fooled by the cover art's robot action.

Friday, 18 January 2013

BALLISTIC: ECKS VS SEVER (Trailer)

Sticking this 2002 film on my Tivo list now. I know it's awful, but I kinda enjoyed it when I first saw it. Lucy Liu makes for a badass assassin.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

SALUTE OF THE JUGGER (1989)

One of the many cheap sci-fi movies Rutger Hauer starred in after the genre-defining success of Blade Runner, Salute Of The Jugger (aka The Blood of Heroes) carries fond memories with it; Memories of video rental shops, the awesome cover art and the buzz around the film when it came out. Well, three years or so after it came out anyway, as I was only ten when it arrived.

When I was becoming aware of movies with 19 Certificate stickers on them, this was one that people talked about a lot (Like Dark Angel or Robot Jox), due to the weird status thing that went along with having seen a film you were too young for.

It took me until my twenties to actually see the film, and now in my thirties I'm re-watching it thanks to a cheap movies channel and a Tivo spree I went on the other night. So what do we have here? Salute of the Jugger is up there with Split Second and Wedlock as entertaining Hauer fare from roundabout the same era, but this time we're in a proper sci-fi b-movie setting: The archetypal post-apocalyptic wasteland (shot this time in Australia).

Brutal sportsmen called Juggers basically roam the wastes of the old world and beat each other to death with big sticks, chains and anything else they have scavenged from wrecks and assorted junk. Think Mad Max meets Gladiators and you pretty much have the whole film.

It has the feel of earlier films, 1970s/early 1980s fare which exploded in the wake of the Mad Max films (post-apocalyptic stuff was cheap to do – all you need is desert and some junk!), and to me it makes it feel kinda timeless.

The fact there's so little in the way of futuristic technology works in its favour, making it feel both classic and distant, like a Star Wars Fight Club. Also starring Joan Chen as a fellow Jugger, the film follows Hauer and Chen as they battle their way through round after round, working towards the ultimate showdown in the underground cities where the affluent survivors of humanity live and are entertained by brutal bloodsports.

A good sight more bleak than a lot of similar sci-fi movies of the era, Salute of the Jugger holds up well thanks to the limited budget being used wisely onscreen and due to the hard-edged plight of the characters. Not perfect by a long way, Salute of the Jugger is still worth a watch when you're in the mood for some dust, dirt, Rutger Hauer and lengthy fight sequences with plenty of impact.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

W.A.S.P. - "Scream Until You Like It" from GHOULIES 2

Yup, eighties metal and horror b-movies were made or each other. This song is amazing, and Ghoulies 2 was a ton of fun. I kinda miss films and music being so easy to enjoy.

Friday, 4 January 2013

I DRINK YOUR BLOOD (1970)

I've been looking forward to this. I saw the trailer on a volume of the GRINDHOUSE TRAILER CLASSICS series of DVDs and was instantly hooked on getting hold of a copy. After losing out on several gorgeous vintage VHS copies (look at that artwork - how the hell could I not want it?), I finally found it as a superb Region 1 import DVD under our Christmas tree courtesy of my brother in law.

A gang of devil-worshipping, LSD-hooked Hippies cause havoc in a small town, and as an act of revenge a local boy drains blood from a rabid dog and injects it into meat pies, which the hippies then eat. Yeah, how brilliant is that set-up? I love it! The cult, of course, turn into rabid, marauding zombies and go mental, rampaging through the town on an insane killing spree.

It takes a while for the film to pickup momentum, but once it hits its stride around 40 minutes in, the payoff is superb. The set-up for the gory shenanigans of the second half of the flick do help you feel some pathos towards the town's inhabitants, but not much, as the characters which get the most development (if you can call it development in a bloodthirsty 1970s sleazetastic exploitation movie) are the trippy Satanic cult themselves.

That said, my favourite character has to be the young boy who gives them rabies - he's cool, despite the hopelessly wooden performance. In fact, there isn't a decent actor in the film really, but this is Grindhouse stuff and thus nobody really cares. I know I don't. I'm into this film for entertainment value, in which it's rich.

When the symphony of chaos begins, bathed in weird synthesizer effects and lashings of fake blood, it's hard not to get caught up in the grime and filth of the era which spawned it. The plot is ridiculous, but there are enough scenes of bloodshed and weird hippy crap that it holds the attention, well, it does if you can stand films like this, and I'd hope so if you're reading this.

The version I have is totally uncut, including some material even I find unpleasant, like the giant kebab of butchered rats, but the gore has that fake quality which makes it hard to take seriously. The final act of the film is total, wonderful mayhem, splattered with blood and severed limbs and screams which distort the lo-fi mono audio.

I DRINK YOUR BLOOD certainly lived up to my expectations. David Durston's direction is snappy and professional, despite the rumours of carnal mayhem and substance abuse on set. It's cheap and very nasty, but you can't go wrong with a film in which someone is chased with the wet end of a severed leg.


New find: CRACKER JACK

I've wanted this flick on and off for years, but never enough to actively track it down. I found it today for small change in a nice VHS edition in great condition. I always thought it looked like a fun little Die Hard knock-off, and I'm all for cheap action movies. I'll give it a watch and get back to you, but do check out the trailer:

THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS: TROLL BRIDGE

I was a massive Ghostbusters fan as a kid. I mean MASSIVE (as you'll discover if you find my GB1 review on here). I knew the lines to the film at the age of ten, inside out, including all of the cut scenes both filmed an unfilmed. I loved the cartoon too, but my introduction to it was a weird one.

The first episode I saw was "Troll Bridge", which wasn't one of the best by far (IMHO that was definitely episodes like "Knock Knock", which felt like little movies rathe than cartoon episodes), but it was fun and a bit whimsical.

Even though it's a different beast (no pun intended) to what I wanted from Ghostbusters stuff, I loved it and watched the hell out of it until the next episode came on the following week. This was 1988. I was hooked as soon as I saw this. here it is, and despite its faults, I think it's lovely. I must talk about GB again soon.

HAPPY NEW YEAR, ADDICTS!

Right. Let's get this show back on the road properly. Stuff to watch. Stuff to geek out about. Let's rock.