Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sexandroide (Michel Ricaud, 1987)

You remember when a leggy and wonderfully muscular-armed Angela Bassett lip-syncs Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do With It" as Tina Turner at the end of the movie of the same name? Well, that's what most normal people think of when they hear that song playing, oh, let's say, while browsing the frozen food aisle at their local corporate supermarket. Us abnormal people (a.k.a. cult movie fans), however, whether we want it to or not, have to contend with the dizzying image of a naked, belly chain-sporting, recently turned female vampire dancing up a storm to the song immediately popping into our heads whenever the classic '80s jam decides to make its presence felt (while, of course, we're out buying frozen peas). Unfortunately, most folks won't be able to enjoy the sight I just described as they probably won't make it to the end of the ultra-strange Sexandroide, come for the scantily clad torture, stay... as far as away from this movie as you possibly can. Seriously, no good can come from you watching it. The way I see it, the Tina Turner/"What's Love Got to Do With It" sequence that ends the film is the reward for those who were able to slog through such a heinous exercise. (It can't be that be that bad, can it?) Trust me, it can. For starters, two pairs of stockings, one red, one black, are torn asunder in this flick. (Oh, I thought you were going to mention the nipple piercing scene.) Yeah, that's pretty awful. But seeing two perfectly good pairs of stockings ruined was too much for me.

The Michel Ricaud-directed film, which is, thankfully, barely fifty minutes long, opens with a faceless man/woman/creature of unknown origin opening an envelope that contains a photo of a blonde woman. Without wasting any time, the faceless individual starts abusing the photo. Meanwhile, a blonde women (who looks like the blonde woman from the photo) in red stockings is sitting (with her legs crossed) at a bar...

(What kind of dress is she wearing?)

It's a simple dress, but the colour is nothing but. If I had to describe it, I would call it red hot poker-esque, as it mixes yellow and red in a similar manner as the flower of the same name.

While in the ladies room, the woman suddenly feels sick and vomits in the sink.

After she's done throwing up, she suddenly feels a force tearing at her clothes. While I was somewhat saddened to see her red stockings and matching garter-belt removed in such a violent manner, the sequence itself is kind of awesome. In fact, if the entire film had been a series erotic vignettes involving lingerie-clad women struggling to prevent their clothes from being torn off by an unseen entity, I would have no choice but to declare Sexandroide to be one of the greatest films of all-time.

In a way, the film does adhere to that basic principal. But the middle "vignette" is so disgusting that... Though, I have to say, it's only vignette where the stockings make out pretty much unscathed. And the twist ending was a pleasant surprise... Actually, now that I think about it, the film isn't all that bad.

Note to self: Try to decide whether or not you like a film before you start reviewing it, not during.

Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah, the blonde in the washroom was being tortured by an unseen individual wielding some kind of voodoo-style power. After they're finished with the photo, the unseen individual starts poking a doll with needles. As expected, the blonde, whose sexy legs used to be sheathed in red stockings, begins to bleed from the places that are being poked on the doll.

I don't know why this happening to her, or why I'm watching it for that matter, but I have to give it up to the actress portraying the washroom blonde. She had me convinced an invisible presence was fucking up her shit big time. Kudos to you, unnamed actress from the opening scene of Sexandroide, your unorthodox thespian skills did not go unnoticed by this viewer.

If you thought the blonde's thespian skills were unorthodox, the lithe brunette in the black hold-up thigh-high stockings takes unorthodox acting to the next level.

After descending a staircase in a dramatic, unorthodox fashion, the lithe brunette stumbles upon a red carpeted room. Wait, why did she shoot that hooded figure and why is she setting her hands on fire? This movie has taken a bizarre turn. Oh, sure, it was bizarre before. But this is ridiculous. Whatever, um. Removing her black dress, the lithe brunette (who is sporting a bob-style haircut) begins to whip herself with a cat o' nine tails.

Interrupted by a ghastly man-thing in Frankenstein leisurewear, the lithe brunette finds her skinny ass in serious danger, as the ghastly man ties her to a chair. Sticking nails in her nipples and tongue, the ghastly man removes one of her eyes and eats it... Ugh... this is disgusting.

(Yeah, it's fucking gross. But look at her stockings... there's not a scratch on them.) It's true, the fact that her stockings make it through this unspeakable nightmare unsullied was worthy of a smidgen of uncut giddiness. But still...

Again, I have to ask: Why is this happening to her and why am I watching it? Never mind that. The twist ending is surprisingly romantic. Yeah, I know, how can eyeball-eating and self-disembowelment be romantic? If anyone knows how to make those things seem romantic, it's the makers of Sexandroide.

The final vignette contains the same amount of garment-tearing and general unpleasantness as the previous two chapters in the Sexandroide saga. But alas, this one features the infamous "What's Love Got to Do With It" dance number.

It starts off with (yet another) a lithe brunette in sexy goth funeral clothes mourning over a casket that contains what looks like a vampire. Suddenly, without warning, the vampire springs from the casket and begins to rip off the lithe brunette's clothes. Damn, those were some nice black stockings. But just like that, they're gone. It's a fucking shame, I tell ya.

Biting her on the neck, the lithe brunette collapses against the coffin, the end. Oh, wait. The lithe brunette is a vampire now. Which makes sense, I guess. What doesn't make sense is why is the lithe brunette vampire chick dancing to Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do With It"? Or maybe it does... make sense. Either way, Sexandroide is, to put it mildly, a fucked up movie. Sure it's gory and sleazy, like hundreds of other films. But there's just something off about it that I can't quite put my finger on. And it's this "off-ness" that makes the film sort of worth watching. SORT OF.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Sorority House Massacre II (Jim Wynorski, 1990)

I'll admit, after the mini-debacle that was the first Sorority House Massacre, I wasn't all that thrilled with the prospect of watching the same exact movie again. What's that? How do I know the sequel is going to be exactly the same as the first one? That's easy. Fresh ideas are hard to come by and I doubt the makers of Sorority House Massacre II are going to be the one's stumbling upon any anytime soon. Hold up, it says here that part two was directed by Jim Wynorski (Demolition High). Which means... Actually, this does not bode well, either. As Mr. Wynorski's track record when it comes to delivering the goods is a tad sketchy at best. For every 976-EVIL II and Chopping Mall, there are dozens of stinkers. While not exactly his best, this film is the forerunner to his Hard to Die (a.k.a. Sorority House Massacre III). Meaning, we should expect to see scantily clad bimbos running up and down stairs in bad lingerie. I know, what is exactly constitutes "bad lingerie"? I mean, how can lingerie ever be bad? Right, that's pure, unadulterated kooky-talk. Well, I have news for ya, fellas. The lingerie in this film pretty god awful. Though, I shouldn't be surprised, as I distinctly recall the lingerie in Hard to Die being pretty god awful as well.

For one thing, none of the women are wearing nylons. Seriously, there's not a single pair of stockings in the entire film. We do, however, get two jean skirts, one pair of jean shorts and a single pair of jeans. (Wow, that's a lot denim.) You got that right. And I'm still shaking my head over it. I can sort of see two of the women wearing denim of some kind, but four out of five? That's ridiculous.

What do we want? Less denim in Sorority House Massacre II! When do we want it? Um, now would be nice.

Since Dana Bentley's "Janey," is the only co-ed not wearing denim during pre-lingerie stage of the film, I immediately gravitated towards her. Of course, she's probably going to be the first to die. But I don't care. I'll take a gothy brunette dressed in all-black over four denim-slathered blondes any day of the motherfuckin' week. To make matters worse, when she does die, it will most likely be done off-screen, as I don't think this film was given much to work with as far gore budgets go.

Anyway, just like in Hard to Die, we're told the story of the Hockstatter murders that took place in Slumber Party Massacre. Yeah, I'm confused, too. After watching an entire scene from Slumber Party Massacre (narrated by one of the girls), the girls come face-to-face with Orville Ketchum (Peter Spellos), the large (creepy) man who lives next-door. Oh, and before you ask if Orville is the killer. Remember this, this is Jim Wynorski we're talking about, not Fred Olen Ray. In other words, expect the unexpected.

Other than Gail Harris' first-rate panties and Dana Bentley's shunning of denim, I would say that Orville Ketchum is the best thing about this movie. Yeah, that's right. The scary-looking fat guy who enjoys lurking and eating raw meat. He gives, believe it or not, a nuanced performance as the neighbour who can't be killed.

It's a shame the same can't be said about the rest of the cast, who all give the same variation of your typical stupid and confused late '80s co-ed.

You might have noticed that before I singled out Dana Bentley's denim snub, that I alluded to Gail Harris' first-rate panties. Which might seem odd, as you might recall, I pretty much dismissed every stitch of lingerie that appears in this film.

Well, I'm making an exception for Gail Harris' panties. Now, some of you might be thinking yourself: You only liked her panties because they wore you out. What I mean is, they were onscreen for such extended period of time, you grew to tolerate them.

While, yes, it's true. Gail Harris' panties, and, I suppose, her crotch and buttocks region, are featured quite heavily throughout this movie. I did fall madly in love with them the moment they appeared onscreen. But make no mistake, this was purely a pantie anomaly. Everything else is an abomination. (Even the black one-piece Dana Bentley puts on during the film's lingerie phase?) If it had been paired with stockings, I might have given it a pass. But black lingerie without stockings is unacceptable in my book.

I'm currently in love with a woman who has a port-wine stain on the left side of her face. She's beautiful and fierce as fuck. (I'm happy for you. But what's this got to do with the movie you're currently reviewing?) Oh, sorry 'bout that. If you look closely, you'll notice that Gail's panties have a port-wine bloodstain on them at one point. And I say, "at one point," as the bloodstain seems to change in-between shots. In one of the shots, her panties appear completely devoid of blood. Did she wash them while going from the living room to the kitchen? I doubt it.

I wonder who was Gail's pantie wrangler on this flick. Now, that's what I call a dream job. Although, I bet a large part of the job involves keeping the cross-dressing crew members from trying them on in-between takes (I hear precum stains are a nightmare to get out, especially on white panties). Oh, and who am I kidding, this film didn't employ "takes." If it did. Wow, that's pretty sad. No, this film looks like it was shot over a couple of days. The only one who seemed to put in any real effort was Chuck Cirino, whose score is top-notch, as usual.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sorority House Massacre (Carol Frank, 1986)

Even though Sorority House Massacre brings absolutely nothing new to the well-worn formula established by John Carpenter's Halloween way back in the late 1970s, it's still, I must say, a pretty effective slasher flick. Wait, did I just say, "slasher flick"? I meant to say, fashion... flick. We're talking baggy jean jackets, winklepicker boots and the mother of all movie dress-up montages. Oh, don't get me wrong, the film is still a minor horror classic along the lines of House on Sorority Row and Happy Birthday to Me, it's just that the only reason for anyone (i.e. me) to watch this film is to study the fashion. Take, for example, Angela O'Neill's baggy jean jacket. I vaguely remember when teenage girls and some grown women started wearing baggy jean jackets, and I remember being vaguely horrified... you know, by the sheer bagginess of it all. I am, of the opinion, that jean jackets should fit snugly against the body and should never hang too far below the waist. Well, not only does Angela O'Neill's jean jacket break all these rules, she roles up the sleeves, exposing the inner denim. I know, the horror. While it might sound like I'm ragging on her jean jacket game, I'm actually reveling in its awfulness to a point unseen in any previous review of Sorority House Massacre. Anyway, do you remember the killer in the eerily similar Slumber Party Massacre? Now that guy knows the proper way to rock a jean jacket.

Now, you would think I would have nothing but praise for Pamela Ross and her pointy winklepicker-style boots, as they are pretty much my favourite shoes/boots in the whole wide world. However, I have to question the clothes she wears with said pointy winklepicker-style boots. Or do I? After giving it some thought, I've decided to get behind Pamela Ross' decision to pair her Goth footwear with bright and breezy new wave mall threads.

I mean, think about it. While her feet are practically screaming, "Undead, undead!" the rest of her ensemble looks like something Cyndi Lauper would wear on a cruise. Sporting a pink blazer paired with a tropical fruit-themed, mid-riff exposing two piece (a white headband and a funky necklace are added to the mix to create even more drama on campus), Pamela Ross' look signaled to me that her character was worth rooting for.

Sadly, the chances that Pamela Ross will be breathing on her own by the time the end credits start to roll are not that high. While the film may be lacking when it comes to originality and character development, it lives up to its title. Meaning, there's going to be a massacre at a sorority house. And if a character shows an interest in fashion or sexual intercourse, odds are they're going to get their stylish/horny asses massacred.

As for mopey asexuals with an affinity for loose-fitting denim, they're probably going to not get stabbed to death. Which is totally unfair, because they're the reason everyone is killed in this movie. Okay, that was a tad on the harsh side. But seriously, if she had just gotten murdered when she was five years old along with the rest of her family, all this sorority house madness could have been avoided.

However, since there would be no movie had Angela O'Neill's Beth not survived her brother Bobby's killing spree (and we wouldn't want there to be no movie), I'll let it go... for now.

While it's obvious to anyone with eyes and ears that work to some degree that Beth is repressing the memory of her families slaughter at the hands of her deranged brother, she seems to think that the person stalking her in her dreams is just some random psychopath. Unbeknownst to her, this "random psychopath" is all too real and languishing at a poorly run mental hospital just down the road from sorority row.

As Bobby is planning his escape, co-eds, Sara (Pamela Ross), Tracy (Nicole Rio) and Linda (Wendy Martel) are planning to engage in the ultimate dress-up montage. With their house mother away for the weekend, the girls decide to raid her closet. And oh my god, do they raid the living shit out of it.

You know how when you see a parody of the 1980s nowadays and they always seem to go overboard in terms of its 80s-ness? Well, the dress-up montage in Sorority House Massacre is so 80s that even the 80s was like: Whoa, tone it down, girls. Screw the 80s, I was even shocked by how insanely 80s this sequence was.

The only thing that dampens the mood is the fact that the camera occasionally cuts to gloomy Beth, who is watching the dress-up extravaganza from a nearby bed. Yeah, I get it. She's having nightmares about being killed by a knife-wielding maniac, and is a little too preoccupied to care about clothes. But does she have to ruin it for everyone else? I mean, it's the 1980s. You're supposed to try on brightly coloured clothes to the synthesizer music... it's in the decade's freakin' charter.

After they're done playing dress-up, Pamela Ross' Sara dons a shirt that pretty much solidifies the film's standing as a fashion classic. An ill-defined patchwork of shapes and colours, Sara's shirt dominates the film's final third with a breathtaking ease. Worn with black leggings, the shirt not only dominates, it upstages the other actors. Now, under  normal circumstances, you would have to classify this as a negative. Seriously, what kind of film is overshadowed by a radiant garment? However, in the case of Sorority House Massacre, the vividness of Sara's shirt makes an otherwise insipid movie less so.

Granted, the shirt is nowhere to be seen when the girls and their lame boyfriends (c'mon, Craig... I mean, jeez) eventually come face-to-face with the killer. But I think most people will agree that the shirt, along with the baggy jean jacket, the pointy boots, and, of course, the dress-up montage are more than enough to override the film's more tiresome bits.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Rubber's Lover (Shozin Fukui, 1996)

According to my exhaustive research, the cyberpunk genre is known for depicting a world where high tech collides with low tech. And while this particular film does meet some of that criteria (computers are used by degenerates), I would classify the overall aesthetic as steampunk. It's not really that big a deal. It's just that I see the word "cyberpunk" bandied about so much in correlation to Shozin Fukui's Rubber's Lover that I feel the need to point out that it's not really a cyberpunk movie. The film's fetishistic obsession with old technology practically oozes steampunk. Or, I should say, it literally oozes steampunk, as almost everything in this oozes something at one point or another. Gauges ooze, people ooze, it's one big ooze-fest. Get it, "ooze-fest," Ozzfest, the heavy metal festival tour... (I don't want to interrupt your flow, but I must commend you for not using the phrase, "what the fuck," or the equally obnoxious, "what did I just watch"? in your review.) Well, it's still early. But thanks, nonetheless. Now, where was I? Ah, yes, the film literally oozes steampunk. No matter what aesthetic it oozes, Rubber's Lover will, no doubt, test the patience of some viewers. Unfolding in a manner that is, let's just say, unorthodox, the film is pretty much ninety minutes of spastic twitching. My God, there's a lot of spastic twitching in this movie. However, you'd twitch too if you were repeatedly subjected to Digital Direct Drive (a.k.a. D.D.D.) and pumped full of ether whilst sheathed in rubber. And not only would you twitch, you would spew copious amounts of viscous liquids from every orifice possible.

If what I just described sounds in anyway appealing to you. Congratulations, you're this film's target audience. As for the rest of us, we could be in for a long ass ninety minutes.

Thankfully, there's a scene where Kiku's corporate pantyhose are torn asunder by a psychotic, muscle-bound scientist named Motomiya (Sosuke Saito). Wait, that didn't come out right. The scene is deplorable. It's just that I wasn't sure if Kiku's legs were adorned with nylons, and Motomiya's assault enabled me to properly assess what was going on with Kiku's shapely gams. And it's clear, judging by Motomiya's frenzied tearing motions, that he was clawing at her corporate pantyhose.

In a similar vein, Akari's white knee-high, garter-assisted stockings also served as a sort of tonic. Even though Akari (Mika Kunihiro) spends the bulk of the movie injecting Shimika (Norimizu Ameya) with industrial-strength ether, I was comforted by the fact that the lower portion of her legs were encased in white stockings.

What I'm doing right now is exactly what I recommend all you non-masochists out there do while watching this film. I know, you could simply not watch it. But you could use that logic when approaching every film in existence. I mean, why watch anything for that matter? What's the point? Unless it's Liquid Sky or How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, there's no real reason to bother with other movies.

As I was saying. What non-masochists need to do is focus on something that interests you. As you can tell, I've chosen to focus on the nylons worn by the film's two female characters, Kiku (Nao), an employee who works for some shadowy organization, and Akari, the assistant to a trio of demented scientists.

If, for some bizarre reason, nylons aren't your thing, you could try focusing on all the antiquated technology that appears throughout the film. Honestly, I have no idea what half the machines (all covered with knobs and switches) are supposed to do in this movie. But I'll admit, watching them overheat and spew smoke was kind of interesting.

The film's bondage aspect will definitely appeal to some viewers. Every scene seems to feature one character dominating another. And one of these characters (typically Shimika) is usually dressed in rubber... and wearing the latest in steampunk headgear (the shots of Shimika wearing these elaborate props are some the film's most indelible).

Speaking of headgear, I gotta add Akari's welding goggles to the list of things I liked about this movie. The way the Test Dept. vibe of her googles clashed with the Gothic Lolita temperament of her overall ensemble was quite alluring.

Despite all things I liked about this movie (the harsh industrial/techno score by Tanizaki Tetora is amazing), Rubber's Lover is still a bit of a chore to sit through. Basically ninety straight minutes of torture, the film is best suited to be played on a loop at a long closed industrial-goth nightclub. In other words, I cannot recommend it as the kind of movie you sit down and watch from start to finish... while sober.