Archive for the ‘Boobs’ Category

Raw Force (1982)

 

On the Norwegian Wikipedia page for the 1982 exploitation epic RAW FORCE — probably the only time I’ll ever start a sentence that way — we are informed that the movie was banned in Norway in 1984. That’s the most attention any kind of majority, political or otherwise, has paid this movie. RAW FORCE is made for almost no one, because it is apparently made for almost everyone. Nearly every convention or trope of genre movies from the first seventy or so years of the existence of film is expended in this one rickety heap of madness.

 

THIS IS THE RAW FORCE.

 

As I tried to describe on our latest podcast focusing on RAW FORCEdescribing this movie is like fighting a giant squid. Just when you’ve bested one wavy storytelling strand, another one snaps up and grabs you by the throat.

 

Here’s the trailer, which is maybe the most dishonest trailer I’ve ever seen:

 

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That trailer literally sells a different movie. The clips are the same, but some of the character names and all of their backstories are totally different. The editors somehow cobbled together a cohesive story from several scenes that have no connection. This is the SHOGUN ASSASSIN of movie trailers. RAW FORCE is plenty of kinds of fun, but one adjective that does not apply is “cohesive.” This is the summary I gave on the podcast:

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NOT THAT EDWARD MURPHY

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First, a quote from Anton Chekhov:

“Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.”

Okay. So early on in RAW FORCE, when a plane lands on a remote island and a character mentions that the waters surrounding the island are infested with vicious piranha, you can bet you will see those fish by the end of the movie. And if that character is a white-suited human trafficker who looks and talks exactly like Adolf Hitler, you may fairly assume he’ll be the one to meet them.

 

EVERYBODY HATES HITLER

 

Otherwise, RAW FORCE, also known as KUNG FU CANNIBALS, completely ignores the principle of Chekhov’s gun. This movie operates under its own rules, and also it doesn’t have any rules. If you somehow managed to drink up all the movies and television shows of the 1970s and then you barfed them back up, the mess on the bathroom floor might look like this.

 

RIGHT IN THE TUMMY-BALLS

 

Saloon fights, graveyard fights, bazooka fights, hippies in warpaint, gratuitously naked ladies, karate-chopping hobbit bartenders, giggling monks who dine on human women, ninja zombies, a BOOGIE NIGHTS style group of protagonists calling themselves the Burbank Karate Club, an ornery sea captain, a kung fu chef, an extended riff on ‘Gilligan’s Island’, and the aforementioned worst person in human history: All this and more in RAW FORCE.

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This was a fun episode even though I was delirious and feverish and congested and loopy. As always my co-hosts Joe and Freeman were terrific, engaging, and informative. You can subscribe and download the show on iTunes (please comment with feedback!) or you can

CLICK HERE!

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Here are our previous episodes, in case you’d like to catch up. We’re recording a new episode this week! Stay tuned.

STREET WARS (1992)

STREET WARS (1992)

Vigilante Force

VIGILANTE FORCE (1976)

GHOSTHOUSE (1988)

GHOSTHOUSE (1988)

THRILLER: THEY CALL HER ONE EYE (1973)

THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE (1973)

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@jonnyabomb

 

BYE I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU

 

 

RAW FORCE

 

LADIES

 

 

My Top 10 Favorite Albums Of 2013.

Posted: December 28, 2013 in Boobs, Music

I wrote my ass off in 2013, which means I listened to a lot of music.  I also covered a lot of city miles, walking with the earbuds in, which means the same thing.  Now I’m not really in my element when it comes to writing about music:  To me it’s like describing emotions.  It’s not like movies with me, where I can talk about how much I love them while still speaking analytically, like a student, and also riffing off them like a bad comic.  Music is a singular experience for me; it’s straight to the heart, where movies hit my heart and my brain equally.

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I’m making this list of my favorite albums of 2013 — in no real order — in case anyone who feels simpatico with my taste in movies might find a recommendation here they haven’t checked out yet.  I made it albums over songs to keep it manageable.  If I made a list of favorite songs, it’d be pages long.  Hit me up in the comments; I’ll make you a mixtape.  But if I had to name my single favorite song of 2013, it would probably remain this one.

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Some of the albums I bought this year include Atoms For Peace, Beyoncé, Burial, Daft Punk, Fitz & The Tantrums, Flume, Iggy & The Stooges, Joseph Arthur, Kavinsky, The National, Neko Case, Nine Inch Nails, RJD2, Run The Jewels, and Talib Kweli.  I also got that Jimi Hendrix album of unreleased songs.  I don’t think that can count, although I’m not sure there are any rules here. Anyway, here we go.

Janelle Monae: The Electric Lady

Janelle Monáe: The Electric Lady

Janelle Monáe is the closest thing we have right now to Prince, and I say that even though we still have the actual Prince.  There’s not another artist I can think of making such buoyant, eccentric, genre-hopping music.  As a live performer, she’s pure positive energy in human form.  I like how her artistic through-line is the movie METROPOLIS.  Mine is MOTHER, JUGS & SPEED.  Which is maybe why it’s good thing I don’t make albums and she does.   The song above is called “Primetime.”

Mark Lanegan: Imitations

Mark Lanegan: Imitations

Mark Lanegan fronted an alternative band in the 1990s and has in recent years become a go-to featured player for a variety of artists who are looking for his distinctive gravelly growl.  Lanegan writes and sings like a man who has stared into the dark heart of midnight.  It’s sometimes chilling and often profound to hear the cold rasp of his instrument.  I like his originals, but this is an album of covers, pf songs made famous by folks like Vern Gosdin, Nancy Sinatra, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, and Nick Cave (more on him in a second.)  As usual, Lanegan’s approach to music very specifically captures both the fragility and the strength in heartache.   The song above is “I’m Not The Loving Kind.” It’s a John Cale cover.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Push The Sky Away

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Push The Sky Away

Even by the standards set by the inimitable Nick Cave, this album is spooky, ominous, and frigid.  His records often sound like dispatches from the edges of the world.  This one sounds like a looming apocalypse.  As ever, there are many moments of funereal swagger and jet-black humor, but by the time he gets around to mentioning Miley Cyrus floating in a swimming pool in Toluca Lake, without mentioning the specifics of her vital signs, it’s hard to escape the sense that Cave is reminding us how we’re all ultimately doomed as a species.  The song is “Higgs Boson Blues.”

Jean Grae: Gotham Down

Jean Grae: Gotham Down

Jean Grae is one of the most innovative, confident and nimble lyricists in hip-hop, an absolute thrill on every single verse she turns out.  In earliest 2013, she released Dust Ruffle, a collection of previously unreleased tracks, and didn’t slow down from there.  Gotham Down is an ambitious three-album cycle, released independently and telling a continuous story about a futuristic assassin.   You can get the whole thing here.   The song above is “Kill Screen.”

Ghost B.C.: Infestissumam

Ghost B.C.: Infestissumam

In 2013, the new Pope was named Time’s Person Of The Year.  In a possibly unrelated story, the lead singer of Swedish metal band Ghost B.C. calls himself Papa Emeritus.  While the rest of the band are hooded figures known as Nameless Ghouls, Papa Emeritus wears papal robes and a cardinal’s hat over his face, which is painted black and white like a skull.  The theatrics wouldn’t mean much if the music wasn’t awesome.  Surprisingly, this isn’t the heaviest metal you’ve ever heard.  To me, they sound more like Blue Öyster Cult than anything else.  That’s a lot funnier than if they were to sound like Slayer.  The costumes add to the showmanship but the tunes are solid apart from the visuals.  The song is “Secular Haze.”

Ghostface Killah Twelve Reasons To Die

Ghostface Killah: Twelve Reasons To Die

Another year, another Ghostface album on my list of favorites.  Probably the most consistent artist in all of hip-hop, Ghostface is a killer storyteller and this album as a whole is more of a story than most.  It tells the story of Ghostface’s character, a mob enforcer for the DeLuca family in 1960s Italy.  He falls in love with the capo’s daughter and gets gunned down, only to take his revenge.  What?  Is there a problem?  The melodies may sound like vintage soul samples, but they were produced by Adrian Younge, a composer who did the score to BLACK DYNAMITE, among other amazing things.   The story continues in an accompanying comic book series; hopefully another collaboration is upcoming soon.  The song is “Enemies All Around Me.”

Kanye West Yeezus

Kanye West: Yeezus

I love Kanye.  If Kanye himself can’t stop me from loving Kanye, then surely none of y’all can.  People dog Kanye for his public persona, his arrogance, but I don’t know… Is he wrong?  As long as his music is this creative, I don’t care how he talks in interviews.  I listen to the albums.  I’ve been listening to his stuff since he was a producer only; I bought his first album the day it came out, as I’ve done ever since.  A lot of people I know have trouble with Kanye because they had a vision of what they wanted him to be; a conscious rapper, in the mode of Black Star, or Common, or some of the other artists he worked with as a producer.  I admit I may have expected that too at first, but Kanye had a singular path in mind.  He’s certainly a provocateur, which rubs more superficial minds the wrong way, but I kinda think we need to be provoked, in an era of TV singing competitions and bubble-headed pop singers.  I don’t agree with everything Kanye is about, but I don’t have to.  His ambition is to art, and art rarely brings consensus.  You get to decide for yourself how you feel about it.   Currently, Kanye’s art seems to be addressing the topic of fame.  Is it a coincidence that Kanye hooked up with the Kardashians and made his angriest album yet?  I kinda don’t think so.  It’ll be interesting to see where he goes next.  You may not agree.  But you probably won’t be bored.

The song, as you most likely know already, is “Bound 2.”

Blue Sky Black Death Glaciers

Blue Sky Black Death: Glaciers

This is an intriguing case, a two-man team of producers who create music for hip-hop artists which is equally listenable as instrumental music.  They’ve worked with the aforementioned Jean Grae, as well as less famous rappers like Nacho Picasso and Deniro Farrar, and more famous rappers like Cam’Ron.  The Blue Sky Black Death sound is epic and colorful, and will no doubt score one hell of a movie scene one day, but it equally fits the heightened drama of hip-hop.  Glaciers is an instrumental album, one which makes Blue Sky Black Death the first hip-hop producers to evoke Brian Eno, the Cocteau Twins, or Vangelis.  This is the first hip-hop-based music I can name which sounds equally good working out or zoning out.  The song is “IV.”

Xander Harris The New Dark Age of Love

Xander Harris: The New Dark Age Of Love

My favorite discovery of the year, Xander Harris is as prolific as Blue Sky Black Death, which means there was a lot of music to dig up and enjoy all year.  Buffy The Vampire Slayer fans may recognize that name.  It indicates the intention.  This is an artist more influenced by Lovecraft and Carpenter than Dylan or Lennon, an electro-spin on spooky orchestration.  Check out Black Moon, the three-song EP Xander Harris put out at Halloween time.  And The New Dark Age Of Love is a spectral masterpiece.  If you’re like me and you like to listen to Goblin soundtracks from July to December, Xander Harris is the motherlode.  I’ve been inspired to come up with three or four movie ideas while listening to this music, and I couldn’t ask for anything more from an artist.  The song is “When Prophecy Fails.”

Demon Queen The Exorcise Tape

Demon Queen: The Exorcise Tape

Not really sure how to explain this one.  It’s a weirdo.  I don’t even remember how this album came to me.  I only know that I like its style.  Two beings, presumably humans, made it, and their names are Tobacco, from the band Black Moth Super Rainbow, and Zackey Force Funk.  I got that from Google, dude.  I don’t know what to do with the information, except to direct adventurous listeners to this album.  As the name implies, it sounds like angry aerobics for ghosts and goblins, or a porno score to a 1980s skin flick starring skeletons and zombies.  It’s louche-sounding electro-lounge music, really difficult to pigeonhole (which now sounds like a perverted term by proximity).  I like movies to show me things I’ve never seen before, and I like music to give me sounds I’ve never heard before.  This surely fits that bill.   The song is “Love Hour Zero.”  In the video, a disembodied boob goes on an adventure.

So that’s it.  Here’s to a musical 2014!

@jonnyabomb

MOTHER, JUGS & SPEED (1976)

MOTHER, JUGS & SPEED (1976).

You may have noticed that I’ve talked about MOTHER, JUGS & SPEED a lot.  I wrote about it only once, for my friend’s spotlight on Underrated Comedies.  As I wrote then, this isn’t only an underrated comedy in my eyes.  In my opinion, this may just be the most underrated American film of all time.  Am I exaggerating?  Read on, amigos.

MOTHER, JUGS & SPEED was written by Tom Mankiewicz, who worked on SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE, DRAGNET, and three James Bond movies.  It was directed by Peter Yates, best known for classic tough-guy movies such as BULLITT and THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE.  One of the producers on MOTHER, JUGS & SPEED is Joseph Barbera — that’s right — one half of the insanely prolific Hanna-Barbera cartoon team.

All of the above credits may begin to hint at the unique atmosphere of MOTHER, JUGS & SPEED — I could call it “cartoonish realism” if I thought the term might ever take off.  The story concerns an independent ambulance company competing against rival services in addition to the proper channels. They’re barely-legal L.A. outlaws, riding into life or death situations. Most of them do it for the kicks.

The veteran driver is nicknamed “Mother” and that’s the only name he’s known by. He’s a man of simple pleasures: He likes getting massages from pretty ladies, keeping a fully-stocked cooler in the rig, and “buzzing” gaggles of nuns with his siren as they’re crossing the street.

That’s Bill Cosby.

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The new guy is Tony Malatesta, a former police detective nicknamed “Speed” due to the bogus drug allegations that recently got him shitcanned from the LAPD.

That’s Harvey Keitel.

And the knockout receptionist with larger ambitions is nicknamed “Jugs” (which she hates, by the way.)

That’s Raquel Welch.

Those are three very different stars, which means that the movie is a collection of very different tones. This movie brims with raucous comedy and sober tragedy, on a scene-to-scene basis.  Somehow it all hangs together cohesively – credit to the sure hand of Peter Yates.  But even with that said, it’s probably still not what you’re expecting.  Cosby’s got a potty-mouth, for one thing!  Your Cosby Show memories will be forever changed once you hear him say “Bambi’s mom had great tits.”  But even as he’s doing that, he’s rocking some real pathos too.  His performance here is way more HICKEY & BOGGS (see that too, please) than GHOST DAD or LEONARD PART SIX.  There’s a real depth to his acting that could be frankly shocking even to longtime fans of his comedy.

Meanwhile, Keitel was best known at the time  for his work with Scorsese – he appeared in TAXI DRIVER the same year – but even though he’s cast as the straight man here, he’s totally down to play. And Raquel Welch, a sexual revolution in human form, is easily their equal and frequently their better. It’s one of her best-ever roles.

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Add to that a supporting cast that includes L.Q. Jones, Bruce Davison, Dick Butkus, Larry Hagman in brilliantly gross & bastardy form, and the sorely-underappreciated character-actor great Allen Garfield (THE STUNT MAN) as the low-rent boss of the gang, and you have one of the most fun movies of the 1970s, and arguably one of the most unheralded.  Name another great movie from that year – ROCKY, ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN, NETWORK – and then ask me if I’d rather watch MOTHER, JUGS & SPEED.  Apologies to Stallone, Hoffman, Redford, and Duvall, but I think you already know my answer.

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And check out this fun photo-article on the film’s shooting locations.

I can’t stand repetition.  I certainly don’t like to repeat myself.  But I put a lot of work into my thoughts on THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS, and I know that some people who follow me on Demon’s Resume might like to have alerts on when I write elsewhere, so I wanted y’all to know about my piece for Daily Grindhouse.  I tried hard to make it worth your time!

Click here to read about >>> THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS <<< !!!

And all challenges may be directed to me on Twitter:  @jonnyabomb

And now here are pictures of Jamie Chung:

DEAD & BURIED strikes me as a film underrated even by the crowds who usually stand up for films that are underrated. DEAD & BURIED was directed by Gary Sherman (RAW MEAT, VICE SQUADPOLTERGEIST 3) and written by Dan O’Bannon & Ronald Shusett (ALIEN, TOTAL RECALL).  These aren’t household names by any stretch, but neither are the guys who built the George Washington Bridge, and tens of thousands of people drive over that every single day, get me?

Jason Zinoman’s 2011 book Shock Value does a heroic job of making the case for O’Bannon’s place in the pantheon of important horror filmmakers of the 1970s and 1980s.  However, if Zinoman’s terrifically readable book has an obvious flaw it’s that it’s far too short for such a rich subject.  When I went back to the book to see what it had to say about DEAD & BURIED, there was literally nothing there.  This is a project O’Bannon and Shusett wrote before ALIEN, and got to make (with Shusett producing) once ALIEN conquered the world.  It features early effects work by the legendary Stan Winston (PREDATOR).  It’s a movie worth considering, for its historical import alone.

O’Bannon and Shusett wrote ALIEN and adapted TOTAL RECALL.  O’Bannon, a classmate of John Carpenter at USC, made DARK STAR with the director who would soon take off with ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 and HALLOWEEN. And O’Bannon wrote and directed RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, the movie that introduced talking zombies with a taste for brains to punk music.  Dan O’Bannon is as valuable to the sci-fi and horror genres as just about any more famous hyphenate worshipped by genre film fanatics.  Ronald Shusett has obviously earned his bones as well.

DEAD & BURIED was originally a short story and script by Jeff Millar and Alex Stern, which O’Bannon and Shusett rewrote and then gave to Gary Sherman to direct.  Sherman’s previous film, RAW MEAT aka DEATH LINE (which I will cover at greater length in a future column), is what got him the director job on DEAD & BURIED.  The story needed a director who would go all the way in, and it got one.

DEAD & BURIED opens on an overcast beach in Maine (actually Northern California), where a photographer has stopped to shoot some local scenery. He’s approached by a striking young woman (Lisa Blount), they flirt, and she starts posing for cheesecake snapshots.  She spontaneously opens her blouse, and just when the poor guy thinks his day is made, a mob of locals appears, seizing his camera away and snapping disorienting flash photos as they beat and kick him mercilessly.  They wrap him around a wooden pole with a fishing net, splash gasoline on him, and burn him alive.

It’s a mightily unsettling scene, even to modern eyes (like mine) who have seen three decades of horror hence.  The romantic music, the sudden boobage, and the jarring transition to such savage violence make one powerfully disturbing cocktail.  And the scene isn’t even done with us yet:  The local sheriff, Dan Gillis (James Farentino), and the town mortician (Jack Albertson) arrive on the scene to examine the burnt and deformed body of the photographer.  They kneel in close, looking for the cause of death, and the skeletal figure SCREAMS.  It’s an ingenious and upsetting scare, the likes of which we’ve seen several times since, in films as great as David Fincher’s SE7EN, but DEAD & BURIED has that film beat by a decade and a half!

DEAD & BURIED is full of unnerving moments like that one.  It’s a movie that was actually pared down in many markets due to its gruesome violence.  The scene that was cut, surprisingly, wasn’t the one I just described, but instead a rather infamous act of cruelty that befalls that poor photographer a little later in the film, as he lies helpless in the hospital.

This is only the beginning, by the way.  Sheriff Gillis is called to a new crime scene every morning after that first one on the beach.  The spookiness really kicks in when those murder victims start reappearing in town.  Don’t go picturing zombies — these folks are as unharmed and as generally pleasant as they had been before an angry mob bashed their heads in and set them on fire.  The practiced horror viewer will likely figure out the mystery before the sheriff does, but it’s the journey, not the destination, that makes DEAD & BURIED so indelible.

The story crafted by O’Bannon and Shusett parcels out surprises cleverly, in a way that can be surprising even three decades later.  Director Gary Sherman and his crew make the most out of their locations, making the town of Potter’s Bluff feel like a tangible environment.  The music by Joe Renzetti contributes mightily to the creepy atmosphere.  The ensemble cast, including a young Robert Englund (pre- NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET), is never less than fully invested.  But no discussion of DEAD & BURIED would be complete without mention of its two lead performances.

When I found out that James Farentino (who died in January of this year) was a native New Yorker, I wasn’t surprised: He has a direct, grounded presence that we as the audience depend on to keep us steadily moving through a story that becomes increasingly, horrifyingly unhinged.  He’s a low-key Everyman in the early goings, a regular guy whose very sanity is tested by the town’s journey into darkness.

But if we could retroactively award Oscars to unheralded performances of our choosing, I might have to commandeer the time machine to ensure that Jack Albertson would get his due.  If you’re like me, you either know Jack Albertson as Manny Rosen in 1972’s THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE, or more likely as Grandpa Joe in 1971’s WILLY WONKA & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY.  Especially if you’ve seen either of those roles, in which he played the definition of the kindly old Jewish grandfather, Jack Albertson’s portrayal of the morbidly sardonic coroner Dobbs will be a revelation.  He’s there to help in the investigation, but he irritates the sheriff as much as he entertains him (such as the comical moment when Gillis arrives at the morgue and Dobbs loudly mentions where his young assistant stashes his weed.)  This was one of Jack Albertson’s final roles, and according to the director’s commentary on the wonderful Blue Underground DVD, he knew he was dying while filming the movie.  So Jack Albertson, a vaudeville performer from way back, clearly relished the black humor and irony in the role, and played it up to the hilt.  Dobbs isn’t just an eccentric with a nostalgic affection for big-band music — there are many more shades to the character, and Jack Albertson’s nimble performance alone is more than reason enough to take another look at DEAD & BURIED.

In addition, I think we can all agree that Jack Albertson has the greatest IMDb profile picture of all time:

 

DEAD & BURIED is playing tonight in Los Angeles as part of Cinefamily’s Video Nasties series.

Follow me on Twitter:  @jonnyabomb

This happened on October 15th, 2009.  There’s still no joy in it for me.

Trick ‘R Treat is a movie that has developed a large internet and word-of-mouth following among a certain kind of film fan, the kind that loves to find a little-known movie worthy of attention in order to champion its merits to the world.  Trick ‘R Treat was originally slated for a 2007 release and was never released widely; it finally made it to DVD last week.  Having heard scattered but rapturous praise in advance, and always on the lookout for an original horror film that could use a defender, I made watching it a priority.

The verdict:  Disappointing.

It’s not good.  It’s not.  In fact, a half an hour into the movie I realized that it was actually bad, and it wasn’t going to stop being that way.  And sure enough, it didn’t.  It’s twice as disappointing because I know that there are plenty of smart people that love this movie, and good for them, but they’re not right on this one.  There’s some nice cinematography in Trick ‘R Treat, and some occasionally inspired imagery, but a new and original Halloween classic?  No.  Really, it isn’t.  Not hardly.

Trick ‘R Treat is an anthology horror movie, meant in the spirit of Creepshow (George A. Romero & Stephen King) or Twilight Zone: The Movie (John Landis & Joe Dante & Steven Spielberg & George Miller), and the five individual stories are meant to overlap seamlessly in the spirit of Pulp Fiction.  (Stepping into big shoes can make it real easy to trip up…)  The five stories – or four with an introductory sequence – all take place on the same Halloween night, and all are haunted by a scarecrow-mask-wearing trick-or-treater in orange pajamas, kind of a silent Crypt-Keeper figure.   That character is by far the most memorable thing about the movie, and he features into the final and most straightforward story, the only one that is ultimately worth watching in the least.

Here’s the lead-off problem:  Trick ‘R Treat is operating on the premise that Halloween has a series of traditions, and that bad things can happen if you violate those traditions.  The movie mistakenly assumes that every viewer is acquainted with the traditions featured in each story.  It certainly does not lay out the traditions clearly at the outset, and even after watching all of the stories, I wasn’t clear what principle they were referring to.

Let’s look at each segment in these general terms:

The prologue features a young couple returning from a Halloween parade.  The young woman (Talladega Nights’ Leslie Bibb) snuffs out all the jack-o’-lantern candles in the yard, against her boyfriend’s warning.  In an extended “homage” to the opening sequence of John Carpenter’s Halloween, she is stalked and killed.  The tradition broken here:  Don’t take down the Halloween decorations until the night is over?  Okay, this one I get, although it hardly seems like the punishment fits the crime.  (After all, how else can she make room for the Christmas lights?)

The first full story features a school principal (Spider-Man’s Dylan Baker), a single parent with a young son, who confronts a sloppy brute of a child (Bad Santa’s Brett Kelly) who has been smashing pumpkins and stealing candy.  The principal calmly poisons the kid, then spends the rest of the episode trying to nervously hide the body from the neighbors and his son.  The tradition broken here is:  Always check your candy.  That one I get, because it’s the only time in the movie that a tradition is clearly stated.  The crippling problem with this story is character-based:  Why does this guy kill a kid on his front steps, totally out in the open, and then all of the sudden get shy about it?

In the second story, a group of adolescents plays a scary prank on an autistic girl, but in doing so, they invoke an old supernatural menace.  Tradition broken:  Don’t play pranks lest they happen for real? I’m not sure.  This was a pretty convoluted segment, with plenty of character and plot inconsistencies.  My more empathetic tendencies also lead me to take issue with the concept of the mentally-challenged undead.  If you are the type of person who is excited by the prospect of retarded zombies, go ahead with it I guess.

In the next story, a virginal college student (True Blood’s Anna Paquin) is stalked by a cloaked, fanged man, but she and her mega-hot friends turn the tables on him.  Tradition broken:  Don’t take anyone’s Halloween costume too literally?  I really can’t say.  This segment is an utter mess, and it pains me to say it because it culminates in the appearance of my favorite movie monster.  But the story makes no sense, it is confusingly intercut with the previous stories, it features the abrupt and not-well-explained reintroduction of a character from an earlier story, and it features the worst acting of the entire film.  You can distract me with amazing cleavage, but only temporarily.

In the last story, a wheezing old bastard (awesomeness’s Brian Cox) is besieged by that scarecrow kid who’s been appearing throughout the movie.  Tradition broken: Be kind to trick-or-treaters lest they be unkind to you. I guess.  This isn’t fully clear, but it almost doesn’t matter this time around.  I called this one the best segment earlier because it has the most interesting filmmaking – it has the movie’s best actor playing against a legitimately decent monster design, and it’s just an extended chase sequence that doesn’t waste time on poor dialogue or cute twists.  The pumpkinbaby’s motivations are still mighty unclear, but at least I wrung some entertainment out of the movie’s final moments.

The one thing that fans of Trick ‘R Treat and I can agree on is the mystery behind its delayed and unceremonious release.  Not that I believe that this movie is good enough for anyone but the most optimistic and desperate horror fans, because it’s not; but because I literally see a worse movie than this dumped into theaters every single week.  Trick ‘R Treat doesn’t hang together right, but it’s less ugly and sadistic than the Saw movies, more energetic than (for example) Surrogates, and more ambitious than just about any Sandra Bullock movie.  Trick ‘R Treat fails, but at least it tried.  It’s sad that I consider that praise, but I’d rather give a chance to a movie that wants to be original than a movie that is cynical and lazy.

But yeah, probably skip this one anyway.

Am I wrong?  All I know for sure is that I’m on Twitter:  @jonnyabomb

LAWLESS is a couple weeks old now, but it’s still way worth talking about.  It’s not to be confused with FLAWLESS, the Philip-Seymour-Hoffman-in-a-dress movie, nor is it to be confused with the upcoming DREDD movie, which as we all know is guaranteed to have a surplus of law.

Here’s what I said about LAWLESS before I saw it

WETTEST COUNTY was on my list of 50 most eagerly-awaited movies of the year.   But it’s not called that anymore, though.  Now it goes by the handle LAWLESS, a much more generic title which sounds a little cooler after knowing it was generously bestowed upon the movie by none other than Terrence Malick.  Whatever it’s called, it’s a John Hillcoat movie, which after THE PROPOSITION and The ROAD, promises good things.  I’m definitely getting a less-artsy, more-mainstream PUBLIC ENEMIES vibe from the new trailer, but that doesn’t strike me personally as a deterrent.

Check out the trailer, it made LAWLESS travel that much higher on my want-to-see-now meter:

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Now, to read what I had to say about LAWLESS after seeing it (spoiler warning: it’s a lot of very nice things), you’ll have to click over to Daily Grindhouse:

>>>LAWLESS!!!<<<

And make damn sure you check out that soundtrack: