Thursday, August 5, 2010

Finding That Half-Decent B-Movie Needle in that B-Movie Value Pack

First off, let me begin by saying, welcome to America!  In America, (pronounced U! S! A! Motherfucker!) we care about a couple of things.  Equality and value.  Along with probably every other country, we can buy fifty movies on high-tech digital video discs for the price of one movie!  This may seem like a bargain in theory, but when you actually think about it, are you honestly going to go through all of that mayonnaise before it spoils?  Also, does mayonnaise ever really spoil?

Bargain movie packs, somewhat like Ye Old Country Buffets, are a scam as old as time. Quantity over quality.  Perhaps because I was raised with the mentality that twenty cheap pieces of shit as Christmas presents from the dollar store were better than one quality $20 item that I actually wanted, I own more than a few of these.  Also, I went to Sizzler for every birthday  from ages 5-12 because fuck real restaurant limits, I want pizza and mashed potatoes in the same meal!  The real challenge with "value" packs is to find more than one film in the within that is actually watchable.  

Of course, this means traversing through 47 other possibly straight-to-video-shelf  turds just to find a mediocre movie.  For many, finding the dedication for this type of detective work is nearly pointless impossible.  Thankfully (?) for me, I am stubborn and have somewhat of a drinking problem so I happily take on this challenge.  Preemptive background now having been spewed, here are some half-decent holy grails I was able to find in those Nazi-riddled caves also known as bargain bin movie value packs.

Chilling Classics - 50 Movie Pack

 Although this pack is full of mostly grainy, slow and unwatchable turds from the 50's - 70's, there were a few circa 80's and 90's fully watchable and sort of enjoyable films scattered throughout as well as some surprisingly interesting older films.  There are some recognizable films, such as Peter Jackson's Bad Taste (1987) and cheesy docudrama, The Legend of Bigfoot (1976), about the endless search finding that ever elusive hunting buddy in a cheap gorilla suit Northwest legend.  Since movies such as these are more obvious in their entertainment factor and I just so happen to still have at least six beers left, I prefer to dig further.  Here are some examples of the fruits of my labor.

Drive-in Massacre (1977)

This film starts with text claiming the story is based on an ACTUAL series of murders at a California drive-in movie theater.  This is unconfirmed because I never felt like researching it on the Internet.  Either way, it's your average steak and potatoes slasher film where kids go to the drive-in to give each other hand jobs, end up talking about unwanted pregnancies and eventually get their heads cut off and stabbed to death by a crazy with a sword.  Police try to investigate, sort of and all they really learn is something about a carnival that used to be on the same spot as the drive-in theater.  They surmise, with all their hardened police wisdom, that maybe the sword swallowing carny is still pissed about losing his lucrative carny job and is going "postal" if you will.  This is never fully revealed, but who really cares?  It might be some right wing ninja that hates abortions and would rather these babies die with honor.  That's what I like to pretend anyway.  The end of the movie has a disclaimer that states the killer was duh,duh,duh "never found" and "could still be at large."  Holy shit, you guys!  And we were all so totally pumped to go to the drive-in tonight!  Bummer city man!  Try to handle the ominous teenage abstinence commercial below.

Metamorphosis (1990)

A brilliant genetic researcher is being pressured by the higher ups to come up with results faster on his new project, a serum that reverses aging.  Why didn't he just tell them it might be a bit of wait since that isn't fucking possible?  Any who, like most brilliant genetic researchers, he decides to inject his own eyeball with the stuff to see if it actually works (even though he watched at least two monkeys die really dead from it already).  Turns out it reverses human aging, but increases monster becoming by A LOT.  He ends up turning into this pretty heinous soupy goopy thing with yellow eyes that likes to rip off young girls clothes and eat their faces or something.  Apparently it works kind of like roids.  There's a side story about a girlfriend with kid who understands the man behind the monster, but fails really to make good parenting choices.  Point is, cute guy turns into frightening monster and this can only end one way...unless you haven't seen The Fly and in that case you are still optimistic.  Check out the VHS tape preview below under the more aggressive title, Regenerator.

House of the Dead (1978)

Mostly released under the what the fuck title Alien Zone, this quaint little nugget is about an adulterous husband that gets stranded in an unknown city at night in the rain and is taken in by a kindly/creepy old funeral home director who makes him a cup of coffee and brings him into that place in the basement he keeps all the dead bodies.  He opens each coffin and tells the weary guy yarns about each dead person and how they came to be in wooden boxes in his basement.  I generally love the stories within a story genre.  This one isn't as good as Monster Club, but it's interesting enough.  The ending seemed pretty predictable from the start, but though I was ultimately right on how shit played out, there is a bit of a twist to it.

   Horror Classics - 8 Movie Pack

Though this pack seemed to be full of only horror classics, decent ones by the way, I was intrigued by a listing on the back of a film titled Mutant for a few reasons, one it was titled Mutant, two it starred Wings Hauser and three it was made in the 80's.  I took the gamble and for $5, it kind of paid off.

Mutant (1984)

Originally titled Night Shadows when it was released theatrically, Mutant is about two dudes (one of which is Wings Hauser, who has one of the best action actor names after Powers Boothe) that go on a road trip that is rudely re-routed by some asshole hillbillies that run them off the road, getting their car stuck in a ditch. From there they walk to a nearby town full of, no surprise, backwoods butt-fuck weirdos that they eventually find out are infected by mutating toxic zombieism, a relatively unknown disease! People die and other half dead people lurch around and walk slowly. All in all, a fairly entertaining hour and a half.  There's even a fleeting romance thrown in there for all you lame-os. Mutant mayhem below! 

Horror Classics - 8 Movie Pack (Again)

Almost the same pack with with more haunting mysterious imagery (sorry Christoper Lee) and less Jack Nicholson.  Also, eleven hours instead of ten!  That's an entire sixty more minutes of movie for the same price!  U! S! A!
Snowbeast (1977)

Sometimes I'm sold on title alone, but those titles don't always live up to their...titles.  Snowbeast is exactly what you would imagine.  Here's a shocker, it was a made for T.V. movie so kind of like an after school special in that way.  Just like learning one beer is too many with Val Kilmer, sometimes you shouldn't ski near lonely ape creatures.  It only makes them jealous.

Snowbeast reflects on whether or not he
should have told Karen how he truly felt...
Which reminds me of the plot, a small Colorado ski resort is rocked to it's small skiing core when several skiers are eaten to death by a mysterious animal.  All the townsfolk are sure it's just a bear, I mean come on, they kill people for no reason all the time, right?  Just like sharks.  Bears are the sharks of the forest or sharks are the bears of the sea, which ever you prefer.  Eventually some of the main character people notice a really bad yeti suit and make-up job running around all bloody and gripey.  Wait, was it the Yeti Abominable Snowman Snowbeast that killed Karl?  I won't spoil it for you, but here's one hint, no Karls were harmed in this film because there are no Karls.  On a side note: I enjoyed this movie so much, or at least the title, that I named my cat Snowbeast.  He too is emotionally detached and yearns for understanding.  I mean she.  Well maybe if she started killing things I'd pay attention.  See the drama unfold below.   

Toxie's Top Ten - 10 Troma Movie Pack

I didn't actually purchase this one.  My mom bought it for my birthday (thanks Mommy!).  I'm not sure what these are the top ten of or at least what the criteria for the list was.  I retract that statement because I think the back says something clever about them being the top "Tromatic" films as picked by Toxie himself (the affectionate nickname for equally as affectionate Toxic Avenger).  The collection consists of some mildly entertaining schlock Croaked, Demented Death Farm Massacre and some real shitty bullshits such as the completely improperly packaged Dead Dudes in the House (see The Great VHS Cover Art Swindle! although presented here on DVD).  Somewhat surprising is that within this tin can covered in Toxie's radioactive jizz ooze, I found what would come to be one of my favorite shit movies!    

The Newlydeads (1987)

Okay, so get this...the owner of a lakeside resort that is a romantic destination for honeymooners (already, gross, stab 'em!), comes on to a lone traveler who turns out to be, a what should have been obvious, busted tranny!  He kills her in a fit fear of his possible homosexuality and then the tranny's ghost starts returning to the resort, haunting the homophobe killer and his fiance as well as killing off dumb shit lovey dovey honeymooners!  Yay!  The effects kind of suck, but my thoughts on this movie are as long as it's red, it's blood and as long as it's grey, it's dead.  Works for me, especially when there are psychics and killer trannies involved!  Check out the honeymoon horror below! 

Savage Sisters - 4 Movie Pack

This bunch seemed obvious enough, a collection of Blaxploitation and Kung Fu movies with women who kick ass despite the fact that they are unfortunately women.  TNT Jackson, Get Christie Love, Sister Street Fighter, all films I had seen at some point or another, but SHUT THE DOOR, my friends!  Turns out, there was a fucking wild card in this movie pack deck and a pretty SAVAGE wild card at that!

High Kicks (1993)

So you may have found that "holy grail" comment a little over the top earlier, but that was before you understood the monumental find that is this movie! I thought these sort of plots, actors, outfits and mullets could only be found in my own hopeful B-movie imagination.  This turd turned out to be one of my FAVORITE shit movies of ALL TIME!  It's goddamn amazingly awful!  The story involves a lady named Sandy that runs some aerobics class for women.  Most of these women are forty and show their spandexed camel toes a lot.  A new allegedly handsome faced guy named only mysteriously Sam with a gigantic lion mane of a blond mullet shows up looking for a job.  He has just pulled his house boat into the town port and wants to wash some windows, if you know what I mean.  Sam and Sandy share some quick wittery and possible sexual tension.  After Sam leaves, the gym is shaken down by a group of ambiguous ethnics with "Crazy" before all their names.  These guys end up raping Sandy even though most of them are fat and slow.  The rest of the film is Sandy fighting her way back to self assurance under Sam's karate tutelage and smooth moves.  She learns to love again, they end up beating up the gang of disabled rainbow kids and Sandy eventually turns the boring aerobics class into a new form of kick ass karate self defense!  Fuck yeah!  There is no end to why I love this film.  First, it was pretty much filmed on a hand held camera, second, the music is amazingly sexy saxophone synthesizer bad and third, and this is the bombshell, (SPOILER ALERT!) in order to counsel Sandy through post-rape life, Sam reveals that HE HIMSELF has also been raped!  One time he parked his boat house on an island where, well, "...the natives weren't too friendly."   You can't make this shit up!  Oh wait, someone did and it's called High Kicks!  This thing is so hard to find that no trailer even exists on the technological plain!  If I'm a liar and or lazy and you find one, let me know! 

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