Sunday, March 19, 2017

Metal Skin (Geoffrey Wright, 1994)

This is what happens when you leave Australians unsupervised for a few minutes. Am I right? New Zealanders know what I'm talking about. Just kidding, the Aussies in Metal Skin wish they were as loopy as their Aussie movie brethren. No, the wonderfully long-haired fellas that populate this not quite lawless version of Australia are just plain annoying. Oh, in case you're wondering. The reason I called them "wonderfully long-haired," as supposed to just plain long-haired, is because I'm sick of seeing people with undercuts. Sure, I used to sport one for what seemed like forever, but the moment I saw a smallish child on the subway rocking an undercut was when I finally decided enough was enough. So... what was my point? Oh, yeah, I liked how the two main guys in this movie had longish hair on every part of their head. Meaning, it was the same length on top, on the sides and in the back. And I think I speak for everyone when I say, the fact that the two male leads didn't have undercuts was the film's strong suit. (Um, aren't you forgetting something?) Okay, the drag racing was pretty strong, too. (No, not that, silly. The goth chick.) Uh, she wasn't goth. For starters, I didn't see any goth band posters on her bedroom wall. And secondly, her footwear wasn't pointy... at all. Of course, these aren't hard and fast goth rules. But just because you're a woman with a thing for dark makeup and witchcraft doesn't make you goth. Seriously, though, does this chick even own a Sisters of Mercy album? I doubt it.

Way too busy trying to cast love-spells on douchebags with great skin and even greater hair, non-practicing Satanist and full-time nut-job Savina (Tara Morice) spends the bulk of the movie acting like a boy crazy nincompoop. I'm sorry for using such harsh language, but that's what she is. Think about it. No self-respecting goth would repeatedly demean themselves the way Savina does in this movie. And even if they did, I like to think they'd choose someone a little less... (Douchey?) Yeah, all right... a little less douchey as the object of their affection.

Granted, this particular douchebag, Dazey (Ben Mendelsohn), like I said, does have great skin and hair, and he drives a cool car. But still, there are so many less douchey options out there. Or are they? You would think the obvious choice would be Joe (Aden Young), a co-worker at the warehouse-style mega-supermarket they all work at. But she, for some reason, decides to put Joe in the dreaded friend-zone.

If you take away all the character's quirks, it's essentially Pretty in Pink crossed with The Fast and The Furious (the DVD artwork for this movie tries to capitalize on that franchises blockbuster success). Except replace the high school setting with the Aussie version of Costco. And while you're at it, switch out Vin Diesel and Ludacris for a couple of floppy-haired Aussie gits.

While I would date Dazey in a heartbeat (his skin is so smooth), I can't quite see what the appeal is for the women in this movie. Take Roselyn (Nadine Garner), for example. It's implied that Dazey's reckless driving is the reason Roselyn can't wear a bikini to the beach anymore (there was apparently a terrible traffic accident some years ago). So, why does she still allow him to hover around the way he does?

The film is basically a critique about the toxicity of male-based rejection. While most guys handle rejection with either whiny griping or a series of indifferent shrugs. A small number tend to act out in a destructive matter. Now, a "small amount" might not seem like a lot. But all it takes is five or six spurned men to destroy the earth. In other words, a man whose recently been rejected by a woman has the potential to be a danger to all those around them.

And Davey and Roselyn learn this the hard way, when Joe decides one day that their aloof brand of smugness needs to be altered in an extreme manner. And given that the film is Australian, it only makes sense that these alterations be legislated via vehicular violence.

However, it should be noted that there are only a handful of car chase/car race scenes in this movie. This, I'm sure, will irk some viewers. No, the majority of the film centers around the dating ups and downs of the  four main characters. So, if you were hoping this was going to be the Mad Max of the 1990s, you're going to be severely disappointed. Personally, I found their antics to be more irritating than anything else. That being said, if you love Aussie weirdness, illegal street racing, annoying non-goth chicks and guys with floppy-hair, Metal Skin is the film for you.

Special thanks to Ian Butt for recommending this movie.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Trash (Paul Morrissey, 1970)

At first I was like: Just give him the damn shoes! Then it suddenly dawned on me. Fuck no. Don't give that motherfucker your shoes. Sure, you can buy another pair once the welfare checks start rolling in, but those are your shoes. I know, it's kinda unorthodox to talk about the final scene at the beginning of a movie review. But if you've seen Paul "Women in Revolt" Morrissey's Trash, you know the final scene is probably one of the most important scenes in film history. Well, at least it is to me. While Holly Woodlawn's decision not to give her dandy-ish caseworker her silver shoes in exchange for welfare might seem illogical to some, I totally understood where she was coming from. You see, Holly has struggled to get everything she owns. Whether it be the bathroom sink (which also doubles as a toilet) or the chest of drawers (which also doubles as a bassinet), Holly has earned the right to be proud of her possessions. In other words, she's not merely going to hand any of them over to some Joan Crawford-loving, welfare check-dangling Friend of Dorothy. And this includes her fabulous silver shoes.

Fab shoes aside, when you get right down to it, Trash is basically about a junkie named "Joe" (Joe Dallesandro) who doesn't get his cock sucked by a shrill cadre of women with irregular eyebrows. Actually, he gets his cock sucked... for awhile. Let me explain. When it obvious that Joe isn't able to transform his flaccid penis into an erect penis, the shrill, irregularly eyebrow-ed women [usually] cease massaging his cock with their mouths. I mean, what's the point, right?

Wait a minute, Holly Woodlawn is one of these cocksucking women. And most people will agree, Holly Woodlawn ain't shrill. In fact, I would go as far as to declare Holly Woodlawn's performance in Trash to be one of the greatest ever to be captured on film. (She's that good, eh?) Are you kidding me? She's amazing.

Seriously, every time she would appear on-screen, the not even close to being feckless audience that lives inside my head would let out an audible gasp.

Sadly, we have to wait eleven minutes for Holly to first appear. (Eleven minutes? That's not too bad.) Yeah, I guess. But watching Joe, who, like I said, is a junkie, talk with a go-go dancer named Geri Miller was pretty painful. On the plus side, we do get to observe Joe's cock as it napped peacefully on his pillowy ball-sack. That being said, after about five minutes, I had grown tired of watching these basket cases not have sexual intercourse.

The same goes for Andrea Feldman's LSD-obsessed "rich girl." Even more shrill and annoying than Geri the go-go dancer, watching these two brainless twits discuss drugs and...uh. All I remember is her screaming about wanting some acid. Anyway, I was getting restless.

Don't get me wrong, I love the film's gritty, nasty, sleazy vibe. But these women are causing me a shitload of emotional distress.

Of course, things get a whole lot better when the gorgeous Holly Woodlawn and her slender jet black pantyhose-adorned legs show up.

The story goes something like this: Transgender legend and one of my biggest inspirations, Holly Woodlawn, who met producer Andy Warhol at a screening of another movie some time before filming, was only supposed to have a bit part in Trash. This changed, however, once Paul Morrissey saw Holly in the dailies.

Realizing that she was more talented than the rest of the cast combined, Paul wrote a bigger part for Holly on the spot. And his instincts paid off big time, as Holly gives a funny, touching and sexy performance as a woman who turns tricks to pay for her boyfriend's heroin habit and has a talent for finding furniture on the side of the road.

Now, you're probably thinking to yourself: Side of the road? Where I come from, that's called garbage. As Holly would say, "Just because people throw it out and don't have any use for it, doesn't mean it's garbage." What can I say? You can't argue with that kind of logic, now can you?

Frustrated that Joe, the man she provides drugs and free furniture for, doesn't slip his erect penis into any of her moist orifices with any regularity, Holly resorts to using a beer bottle instead. This, as you might expect, causes her to become despondent and a tad cranky. I mean, a beer bottle is no substitute for a hot juicy cock. Am I right, ladies? Ladies? Hello? Oh, hey. There you are. I couldn't see you in the corner. At any rate, I am right. It's no substitute.

Blaming the drugs for Joe's impotence, Holly plans to get him on methadone. She also plans to adopt her sister's unborn child in order to qualify for welfare. If all goes to plan, Holly should be up to her eyebrows in welfare checks and succulent cock.

Well, she would be if she wasn't so attached to her shoes. Then again, who needs welfare checks and succulent cocks when you've got a killer pair of shoes? (Can't she use the money she gets from welfare to buy another pair of killer shoes?) Haven't you been paying attention, those her shoes. Gawd.

Containing several laugh out loud moments. Meaning, it boasts multiple instances where laughter occurs. Trash is a scummy look at New York City back when it was filled with junkies and whores. Helping matters greatly is the fact that the film's primary junkie and main whore are played Joe Dallesandro and Holly Woodlawn. Watching them wallow in the filth of that dingy room of theirs brought me a surprising amount of joy. His laconic brand of indifference meshed with her unhinged style of acting (I've read that most of her lines were improvised) in such a way, you would have thought they had been married for years.

Warning: The film features close-up shots of intravenous drug use, women with irregular eyebrows in almost every scene, ass acne and sex with a beer bottle.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Killer Condom (Martin Walz, 1996)

Even though the film's hero dead-names Babette at least twenty times over the course of Killer Condom (Kondom des Grauens), you can't help but root for him in his quest to exact revenge on the killer condom that ate his left nut. Huh? What's "dead-naming"? Oh, that's when you use the birth name of someone who has changed it to something else. In the case of Babette (Leonard Lansink), a former cop turned sex worker/lounge singer, her birth name is Bob. And every time Luigi Mackeroni (Udo Samel) dead-named her, I would cringe. While it's clear that Luigi, a chain-smoking New York City cop who was born in Sicily, doesn't respect Babette's decision to transition, their scenes together are worthy of a shit-ton of GLAAD awards. (I don't think this is the type of movie they usually give awards out to.) Really? Well, that's a shame. While the film, directed by Martin Walz and based on the comic by Ralf König, practically oozes politically incorrectness from start to finish, it's one of the more pro-LGBTQ+ genre movies I've ever seen. For one thing, the film has a gay hero. That right there is something you hardly ever see, especially in a horror film. And get this, he's not some cute little glee-esque angel with floppy hair who gives fashion advice to lonely cis women. No, this guy is a balding loutish lump who is unabashed when it comes to his love of fucking other dudes in the ass with his giant cock. In one particularly memorable scene, he explains to his homophobic partner, Sam (Peter Lohmeyer), why he prefers men over women. Oh, and the word "homophobic" is used in the film. Which I thought was strange, as I don't remember it being a common an expression back in the mid-1990s. Or maybe my memory of the mid-1990s isn't as sharp as I thought it was.

Either way, social justice aside, the film is still about condoms that kill. Normally viewed as items that are designed to save lives, Killer Condom, "The Rubber That Rubs You Out!," turns that whole concept on its head by making the popular prophylactic a pointed predator that preys on pockmark-laden pricks.

(Oh, come on. How do you know the cocks attached to the multitude of men who have their junk masticated by a sentient rubber were "pockmark-laden"?)

It's simple, really. Judging by the sleaziness of the hotel at the center of this masterpiece, I would guess that 90% of the penises were covered in pockmarks.

If you're wondering why everyone in New York City speaks German, stop... wondering that. Did you know German almost became the official language of the United States back in the 1700s? Well, it might have. You see, I can't confirm or deny it (it sounds like an urban legend). Nevertheless, in this version of the United States, or at least New York City, German is the official language. And the sooner you accept this, the quicker you'll be able to suspend belief. I've heard of that some people are unable to accept the fact that all New Yorkers speak German, and thus hampering their ability to enjoy the scuzzy spectacle that is this movie.

Which, if you think about it, is kind of sad. I mean, you can accept the fact that an armada of cock-chomping contraceptives are wreaking havoc across New York City. But you can't accept a New York City where everyone is fluent in German. That's fucked up.

Playing like a conventional murder mystery, Killer Condom adds a twist to the genre by having cocks be the primary victim. Usually attacked during coitus, the authorities initially blame the sex workers for the cock-noshing, but Luigi Mackeroni knows better.

For one thing, he likes to frequent the hotel where the bulk of the attacks have taken place. Why, you ask? Um, anonymous gay sex? Duh.

Just as he was about to plunge his giant schlonge into the anal cavity belonging to a yummy prostitute named Billy (Marc Richter), Luigi feels something gnawing on his genitals. Thwarting the toothy condom's attempt consume the entirety of his package in the nick of time, Luigi manages to survive the altercation. Unfortunately, he lost a portion of his testicles in the fracas, his left ball to be testes-specific.

This encounter with the ravenous dinger gives Luigi an unique perspective, as the majority of his co-workers doubt the string of dick-related homicides were caused by murderous cabal of sheath-like inanimate objects designed to hold vagina-bound dick-jizz.

Frustrated by the lack of support of his fellow cops, Luigi must battle these "killer condoms" all by myself. If that wasn't enough, Luigi must contend with Babette, his transgender ex, and the desire to mount Billy... like I said earlier, his initial attempt to mount Billy's butt was hindered by a psychotic prophylactic.

(Are you sure Babette isn't merely a cross-dresser?) That's what I thought at first. But Luigi mentions the "fake hormones" coursing through Babette's veins at one point. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think cross-dressers go through hormone replacement therapy. (Okay, but why is Babette so hairy?) Didn't you get the memo? Trans women who are hairy are valid. Bigot.

Call me overly sensitive, but when Luigi eventually calls Babette "Babette" without being told to do so, I got a little teary-eyed. Yeah, that's right. I cried while watching Killer Condom, you got a problem with that? I didn't think so.

A poorly-worded German love letter to New York City when it was a sleaze-soaked paradise, Killer Condom breaks ground left, right and center. Sure, it's mildly transphobic and homophobic. But I can't stay mad at a film that boasts a Cruising tribute (the hanky code, baby) and multiple scenes that feature dudes getting their genitals eviscerated. No, transphobia and homophobia aside, the film... Oooh, they mention the internet, too! And cybersex! Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah. This film is basically a must-see for fans of Frank Henenlotter's NYC-set body horror flicks.

Special thanks to Katie for recommending this movie. *hugs*

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Nomads (John McTiernan, 1986)

Let's see. How should I describe the gang of L.A. street toughs who manage to repeatedly bewilder the living bejesus out of Pierce Bronsan's bearded, French-accented anthropologist character in Nomads, John "Die Hard" McTiernan's lone stab at making an Andrzej Żuławski-style urban thriller? Middle-aged troublemakers? Mature mutants? Cretins of a certain age? Or how 'bout this: Nomadic punks... who aren't exactly youthful? What I think I'm trying to say is, I loved how the punks at the centre of this bizarre tale were all over thirty, or, in some cases, forty. Technically, I should be able to dress anyway I want. However, society has made-up a bunch of rules that dictate what people should wear. And one of these rules involves people over thirty not being allowed to dress like punks and goths. Or, in some rare cases, goth punks. Well, not only did this film make it seem okay, it somehow was able to temporarily soothe my anxiety in a way that no other film that features Remington Steele beating the lead singer from Adam and the Ants with a tire iron has ever done. You see, I feel like my time is running out when it comes to becoming the goth princess of my dreams. Yet, seeing a thirty-ish Josie Cotton and a forty-something Mary Woronov strutting around L.A. in sleazy, goth-friendly punk rock threads managed to placate a modicum of my fear. Of course, it's going to take a lot more than a non-ageist movie from the mid-1980s to fix what's wrong with the universe. But I have to say, seeing Mary Woronov dance erotically in a black slip was like receiving shot of uncut estrogen directly into my bloodstream. In other words, it made me feel good and junk.

What's weird about the gang Mary Woronov belongs to is that none of them speak. (Not even their leader?) No, their leader, played by Adam Ant, doesn't say a word. This muted display on their part gave the film a surreal, almost European quality to it. While it's obvious the film takes place in Los Angeles, no one in the film behaves like your typical L.A. resident. In fact, I'd say no film, other than maybe Into the Night or Miracle Mile, has ever made L.A. seem this odd before. But then again, a character does call L.A. the world's largest beach parking lot at one point. So, it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that L.A. is rife with free-roaming punks and freaks...

Let's recap, shall we? Adam Ant, Mary Woronov, Josie Cotton, Frank Doubleday and Héctor Mercado play the mute members of a nomadic gang of street punks who mystify an anthropologist who is studying nomadic peoples...

How a leggy E.R. doctor, Dr. Eileen Flax (Lesley-Anne Down), ends up being a part of the story is a tad convoluted, but she... ("A tad convoluted?) Okay, fine. It doesn't really make a lot of sense.

Nevertheless, watching Pierce Brosnan and Lesley-Anne Down struggle to come to grips with their unique dilemma was pretty entertaining.

Should I take another shot at explaining the plot? Um, I don't know. Personally, I would much rather focus my attention on Mary Woronov, as this film is an outstanding showcase for the lithe actress. Of course, it does seem strange that she doesn't have any dialogue (her voice is one of her best features). But you gotta love any film that gives Mary Woronov four distinct close-ups.

The first MW close-up comes when Pierce Brosnan's Jean Charles Pommier tracks down the street punks that keep spray painting graffiti on walls of the house he and his wife, Niki (Anna Maria Monticelli), recently moved in to, to the beach. While secretly taking pictures of them, we get a great shot Miss Woronov sitting on a beach-adjacent bench.

Wearing a beige sweater over a black slip, torn black stockings, black fingerless gloves and studded bracelets, Mary looks like a middle-aged punk goddess. It's clear that she doesn't give a fuck. And why should she?

The second MW close-up comes when Pierce, who is still stalking the street punks, tracks them down in an alleyway later that night. Still wearing what she had on at the beach, Mary takes off the beige sweater and does a sexy dance for Pierce on the hood of a parked car.

It should go without saying, but Mary looks amazing during this sequence. Oh, if only my legs looked as good as Mary's legs do in this movie. Oh, if only... Wait a minute... my legs not only look as good as Mary's legs look in this movie, they look, dare I say, better. Who would thought I would turn out to be a leggy milf. Crazy world.

The third MW close-up comes when Lesley-Anne Down's friend/potty-mouthed co-worker, Cassie (Jeannie Elias), is confronted by Mary in her car. Approaching Cassie's car, Mary pretends to be selling flowers. But we all know that's merely a ruse. No, something sinister is going on. Sinister or not, this scene gives us our best view of the multitude of silver rings that adorn Mary's fingers.

The forth and final MW close-up comes when Lesley-Anne Down and Anna Maria Monticelli are hiding in the attic. Thinking they're safe from the punk onslaught that has befallen them, Mary Woronov suddenly comes crashing through the ceiling... or is it the floor? Whatever. The sly grin she gives them is classic Mary Woronov. Not allowing her character to speak is not going to prevent her innate charisma to shine through.

What's that? Why were Lesley-Anne Down and Anna Maria Monticelli cowering in the attic? How the hell should I know? I told you, the movie isn't your typical slab of 1980s era punksploitation.

Are you ready for this... the punks may or may not be related to an Inuit demon who wants to possess Pierce Brosnan's soul.

I know, what are Inuit demons doing in Los Angeles? I mean, shouldn't they be hanging out in Arctic or something. Hey, I'm just the messenger. In other words, I didn't write this flick. That being said, the film, while confusing at times, does manage to maintain an effectively creepy atmosphere for most of its running time.