Unless otherwise noted in the post title, these are not
reviews, per se. They are articles for people who have already seen the film or read the book in question--meaning that there will be spoilers. If you're already familiar with the material being covered, or don't mind the plot being spoiled, please read on and leave a comment.
These days, Dennis Hopper is remembered primarily as a great
actor. This is true, even if there are a number of questionable films on his
résumé. In the 1970s, though, he was considered more than just an actor. He was
an artist, and beyond that, he was a countercultural icon.
Hopper had started acting in the 1950s, and appeared in two of
James Dean’s three films—REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955) and GIANT (1956). His
1961 foray into the genre film, NIGHT TIDE, has a small audience, as does
1966’s QUEEN OF BLOOD, but it wasn't until 1967 that he started to appear in the
types of films that would make him famous. That year saw him in a supporting
role in the hit film COOL HAND LUKE, but more importantly for our purposes,
larger roles in the biker flick THE GLORY STOMPERS and the drugsploitation film
THE TRIP. It was the latter that teamed Hopper up with costar Peter Fonda and
screenwriter Jack Nicholson, setting the scene for their immortal collaboration
EASY RIDER in 1969.
Stunning red head Emma, in her barely-there shorts and tight
tee shirts, should have no problem
keeping a man, but apparently she does.
According to her roommate Carolyn, it's because she only goes down on them once
a month. What Carolyn doesn't know is that Emma's acts of fellatio always line
up with the full moon, and the reason she can't keep a boyfriend is because
they tend to die afterwards.
Emma is some vampire variation, whose choice of ingestible
body fluid isn't blood. She doesn't wear a black cape or sprout fangs or any of
that, but she does occasionally transform into a ridiculous rubber bat, just so
that we'll know what's really going on here.
Two bumbling cops, Joe and Frank, do their best DRAGNET
impressions while investigating the deaths plaguing the city—seemingly healthy
men with giant erections and ecstatic rictus grins who have succumbed to severe
dehydration. It's a tough case to crack, but luckily these coppers aren't
afraid to get their hands—among other things—dirty in the pursuit of justice.
With NYMPHOMANIAC, writer-director Lars Van Trier draws to a
close his so-called Depression
Trilogy—an unofficial trilogy, as they share
common themes, traits and leading ladies, but do not share characters or a
storyline. Unlike the first two entries, ANTICHRIST (2009) and MELANCHOLIA
(2011), this film was such an epic endeavor that for distribution, it had to be
broken into two volumes. However, I viewed them back to back as a single film,
and will be covering them as such. And I will warn you now, there will be spoilers.
One winter night, aging bachelor Seligman finds a woman,
Joe, beaten and semi-conscious in an alleyway.
She refuses medical assistance and doesn't want the police
involved. When asked what she does want, she admits that a cup of tea
would be nice. Seligman helps her to his
house, tucks her into bed, tends to her wounds, and then offers her the
tea. Finally, he asks Joe what had happened
to her to leave her in such a state. She
warns him that it is a long story, and that in order for him to fully
understand, she will have to start at the beginning.
Two friends, Mitchell (Josh DuHamel) and Carter (Dan Fogler),
are on a roadtrip through the desert
when the truck breaks down. Carter has
taken them so far off the beaten path that Mitchell can't even get a signal on
his cellphone, and the road is so rarely traveled that they haven't seen
another vehicle in hours. With nothing to do but wait, and tensions between
them already running high, their friendly conversation quickly turns to a
heated argument, and eventually a brutal physical confrontation.
Kenneth is young and awkward, but he is also meticulously
organized. His morning routine consists
of waking up before the alarm, working
out, showering and shaving, and dressing from his carefully categorized closet.
The opening scenes that depict this routine not only go a long way in
explaining why he is so good at his job as a technical writer, but they also
immediately call to mind images of Patrick Bateman from AMERICAN PSYCHO, and
while Kenneth may not reach those same heights of pathology, he still wobbles
quite a bit off his rocker.
Dreamstalker was a
two-part storyline that filled up the entirety of both issues of this title,
revolving around two heroines who are forced to face off against Freddy
Krueger—the first is Allison Hayes, a teenage girl with innate dream powers
that make her the perfect foil for Krueger; and the second is Juliann Quinn, a
young psychologist who has trained to develop her dream powers, making her the
perfect mentor for Allison. With Allison in custody at Springwood Medical, and
later the Westin Hills Psychiatric Institute, Juliann has to navigate hospital
politics in order to get her patient the best care, and buy the time needed to
prepare her for a final showdown against the man who has been haunting both of
There are the expected surrealistic nightmare sequences,
some of which are a gruesome delight. As far as the actual plot goes, though, there’s
nothing too far out of the ordinary here. Much of it is a rehash of themes that
were introduced in A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3: DREAM WARRIORS (1987) and A
NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 4: THE DREAM MASTER (1988)—Westin Hills, the
dream-suppressant drug Hypnocil, and learning to use your dreams against Freddy had all been dealt with
before. However, there are few minor diversions here that actually expand on
the Elm Street mythos significantly.
Nearly one-third of the first issue was dedicated to an
overview of Krueger’s backstory, beginning with a more detailed depiction of
his unholy conception than previously seen and ending with his career as the
Springwood Slasher (pre-death). Some of the particulars might not line up
exactly with everything that has come before and everything that has come
since, but it wouldn't take a lot of imagination to deftly insert this into
The second issue has a sequence in which Allison recounts
her first encounter with Freddy after accidentally stumbling into his dream
world by taking a wrong turn at a crossroads in her dream. There are hints of Lewis
Carroll here, with Allison playing Alice, though the Wonderland she falls into
is a much darker place than the Cheshire Cat would tend to frequent. Here,
Krueger fraternizes with all manner of other freaks and monsters during his
downtime. What this place is, and who these other creatures are, is never
explained but is wide open for further exploration. It may come off as
something of a silly peek behind the curtain, but if the creators were going to
part them, they may as well have thrown them wide open.
Perhaps they would have if the series had lasted more than
Interestingly enough, the series wasn't cancelled because of
poor sales--it was actually the top seller in Marvel’s magazine line. At the time these issues were published, the horror genre was under
heavy fire from concerned parents and panicked public interest groups, and
although Marvel was not the recipient of any undue pressure, they still shut
down the title out of fear of bad publicity as something of a preemptive
Both issues were written by the legendary Steve Gerber and
remains consistent throughout, even if it isn't his most imaginative plotting. The
artwork was done by Rich Buckler, Tony DeZuniga, and Alfredo Alcala and is
typically pretty solid, though Buckler’s work in the first half of the first issue
surpasses DeZuniga’s work, which is great when at its best, but simply isn't as
Overall, an entertaining read that likely would have been
better as a piece of a larger whole than it is as a whole all by itself.
Virginia Marcus is rich and beautiful. Unfortunately, she’s also terribly
deranged and looking for something more exciting out of life than the safari that
her brother Anderson has invited her on. Instead, she opts to stay home and
cook up a little hunt of her own.
lures three men to her home—professional wrestler Rocco, washed-up stage actor
Charles Freeman, and street hustling drug addict Buddy—and offers them each a
deal of a lifetime: $100,000 in cold hard cash, no strings attached. All they have
to do is stay alive in Manhattan for 24 hours while she hunts them down like
the filthy animals they are.
In 1991, aspiring filmmaker Kelly Hughes began production on
his very own horror-suspense anthology series entitled HEART ATTACK THEATRE,
which aired on Seattle’s public access television. The schedule was a rushed
one, from script-to-broadcast in one week’s time, and the budgets were
decidedly limited. What was not
limited, however, was the passion and dedication needed to crank out a new
mini-movie week after week. Shot on VHS and utilizing a rotating roster of
local performers, the themes ranged from drugged-up freak-outs to psychotic
breaks, but each one was down and dirty exploitation. If John Waters was Rod
Serling, then this would be THE TWILIGHT ZONE.
Hughes also went on to direct a couple of feature films—TWIN
CHEEKS: WHO KILLED THE HOMECOMING KING (1994) and LA CAGE AUX ZOMBIES (1995),
the latter of which featured Russ Meyer starlet Kitten Natividad as an
obscenely large-busted victim that unwillingly supplied a pair of
cross-dressing zombies with breast milk. That’s a sentence that pretty much
sums up the nuttiness that runs rampant in Hughes’s work.
HEART ATTACK! THE EARLY PULSE POUNDING CINEMA OF KELLY
HUGHES functions as both a documentary and a retrospective of the man’s filmography.
Composed almost equally of talking-head interviews with those in the know and
clips from his films, this was an utterly fascinating look into a side of
moviemaking that rarely gets attention: not the Major Studios like Universal or
Sony; not the Major Minors like Full Moon or Troma; but the real minors, the true independent that exists solely because the creative force
behind it is simply too determined to quit.
Full disclosure: I had never heard of Kelly Hughes before
watching this doc, and I had certainly never seen any of his movies. But now?
Now I want to see every single one of them, so I would have to say that this
was a success. HEART ATTACK! was fascinating, entertaining, and more than a
little inspirational. This was truly one of the most special films I have seen
in a long time.
If you’re a fan of cult, horror, exploitation, or
micro-budget cinema—and especially if you hope to someday create your own—this
is the best piece of advice that I can
Watch. This. Movie.
Visit Kelly Hughes's webpage by clicking HERE, and rent/purchase a digital copy of the documentary HERE.
Lila (sexploitation starlet Susan Stewart), a stripper at
one of the many burlesque houses in town, has a tendency to pick one member of
the male viewing audience and take them out for a night that they won't ever
forget. She takes them to an abandoned warehouse (assuring them that "This is where it's at!"),
puts on a private show, and then get down to business.
The first man that we see her do this with is a vintage
sleazeball-hipster hybrid with an absurd
dangling ear ring. Unfortunately for
him, he introduces some LSD into Lila's time-tested tradition, and she starts
to freak out. The business at hand may begin with a little casual sex, but it
ultimately ends with his murder.