7/19/2017

RETURN TO RETURN TO NUKE 'EM HIGH AKA VOL. 2 (Review)

Title: Return to Return to Nuke 'Em High AKA Vol. 2
Director: Lloyd Kaufman
Writers: Travis Campbell, Derek Dressler, Lloyd Kaufman, Gabriel Friedman
Cast: Asta Paredes, Catherine Corcoran, Zac Amico, Vito Trigo, Lloyd Kaufman, Babette Bombshell
Year: 2017

Picking up immediately after Vol. 1 had ended, Lauren (Catherine Corcoran) has slime and blood running down her legs as she showers. Soon after, she unwittingly sprays acidic slime from her body, killing the girls laughing at her. A little bit after, she ends up giving birth to a cute and very funny, little mutant duck/ humanoid baby. You see, he is a result of the duck oral rape that had happen to Lauren in the last film. Meanwhile, Chrissy Goldberg (Asta Paredes) is threatened by the evil Principal Wesley (Babette Bombshell) to stop her blog which deals with the mutant causing, toxic contamination that the man he is cahoots with, Lee Harvey Herzkauf (Lloyd Kaufman, himself) and his company are behind. If she doesn't delete her blog; he will release the video that the traitorous Zack (Zac Amico) has of her and Lauren making out. It will be leaked to a conservative (and honestly uproariously funny) talk show that airs on Tromaville. We also learn that Herzkauf has been sniffing and using the farts of the Troma citizens that he has prisoner to keep himself young.

At the same time, the former Glee club members, who have mutated into the killer, signing, evil punks, henceforth called The Cretins, want revenge on our luscious duo for happened in the last film. And, on top of all of this, Lauren's aforementioned duck, Kevin (Josh Potter) has now mutated even further thanks to exposure to another dose of toxic chemicals and has become a human sized monster. Believe, it or not, things are only about to get crazier, as our sexy and beautiful lesbian couple take on the forces of evil in a climatic battle at Troma High!
Let's cut to the chase right away, Return to Return to Nuke 'Em High AKA Vol. 2 is the funniest horror comedy, probably, since Shaun of the Dead. It is also one of the most wild and over the top genre movie in a many a moon. There is just so much going on, which you get just a taste of in the plot summary above. It amazes me to see that it all fits so well and perfectly in the roughly 90 minute length. It is a true credit to Kaufman's talent that he is able to handle all this crazy shit, so very well and coherently. As much as I adored the first Vol. 1 (which I consider to be one of the 10 best films of 2014), this film actually fucking tops it! And, dear readers, ain't no simple feat!
From start to finish, and beyond as they keep ongoing even during the credits(!), the jokes keep on coming, nonstop one after the other. But, it never gets tiring or stale, and that is a big compliment to both the script and Kaufman's fun and lively directing. I was dying from laughing so hard, and could barely stop to catch my breath and laugh my ass off again!
The humor is raunchy, politically incorrect, timely, and satirical in nature. No group, movie, or person, whether celeb or politician is free or safe. Everybody and everything is equal fodder in the laugh department. The more sensitive viewers out there, might not appreciate that, but hey this movie ain't for them. Of course, splatter plays a big part of the funny moments. Slimey and bloody meltdowns, gooey transformations, amputations, bodies get ripped apart, and more, as blood, slime, and even cum, spray and spill all over the screen, making this an easy 10 on the gore-o-meter, thanks to the special FX which range from very good to excellent.

Nudity is also rampantly displayed. Both of our beautiful leads, Paredes and Corcoran, show skin and give us more hot and sexy lesbian love making. We also get full frontal from many beautiful female extras, including adult star and scream queen Nadia White. And, to show that Troma and Kaufman are equal opportunity exploiters, there is also some male full frontal nudity. Who says these movies are sexist?
The acting is all solid. Everyone has great comedic timing, especially from the leads. Paredes and Corcoran are not only gorgeous, but have great chemistry together and are hilarious and so very likable. It is impossible to not love them! Amico is uproarious as Zak. He seems to be having a blast in his role, and it shows. Plus, he is a brave man willing to it bare all and show his ass and schlong to the world, all in the name of a good, no make that great, laugh. Kaufman makes for a hilarious villain. His Blue Velvet inspired ass-gas sniffing had me in stitches. And, can we please give Josh Potter's Zack the Duck, his own movie? Cause, that would fucking rule! Also, keep your eyes open for all the awesome cameos, including but not limited, to Stan Lee, Lemmy Kilmister, Ron Jeremy, and the Angry Video Game Nerd!
Return to Return to Nuke 'Em High AKA Vol. 2 is an utterly hilarious extravaganza of splatstick. It has everything you could ask for in life: hot babes, lesbians, gore, nudity, cool cameos, kick ass metal and punk music, and more! The jokes are wonderfully offensive, silly in nature, non-stop, and, most importantly, are utterly hilarious. You will bust a fucking gut from laughing so hard. And, speaking of gut busting, the gore is absolutely, fucking spectacular. The cast is amazing and great at comedy. The women are gorgeous, and the nudity is in high quantity, with guys and gals, both, showing the goods. It is, in all, completely and utterly over-the-top, as how many movies can you name where a monster gets hit in the eye with flying splooge?

The truth is, I could probably go on and on about how great this movie is and write a book about all the awesome moments and components it. In short, Troma have a made a masterpiece, one that ranks as one of their truly finest and funniest cinematic moments. They are talking about touring with the film and playing at different places this year. Be sure to catch this, one of the year's very best, as soon as humanly, or mutantly possible!

4 out of 4

7/17/2017

In Loving Memory of George A. Romero, the Godfather of the Zombie

We, the horror community, have lost another one of the great ones. George A. Romero, the Godfather of the Zombie, passed away yesterday at 77, as result of a short battle with an aggressive from of lung cancer. The moment that received the news, via a text from a friend, I was devastated. I, like the rest of the horror world, couldn't believe it. I quickly bawled my eyes out crying. This hurt, and it hurt, a lot.
Romero was born in the Bronx, NY, on Feb. 4, 1940, to a Cuban father and Lithuanian mother. He would go to become one of the greatest and most important filmmakers in the horror genre. He stayed out of the mainstream for most of his career, yet his influence is felt to today. In fact, it seems to be felt even more. The whole zombie craze, would not exist without him. And, that is a fucking fact.
For me, the loss of Romero hit so hard, because I had felt I had lost a hero. He was and is such an influence in my life, that it is hard to put into simple words. But, I am going to give it my best. As I was getting into horror movies, I found it important to see all the classics. One of the filmmakers, I had yet to see anything from was Romero. But, I changed that quickly.

I first caught his debut movie, Night of the Living Dead (1968), when it aired on a premium cable channel. I was about 12 or so, and at that point black and white horror, unless it was Psycho or Godzilla: King of the Monsters, didn't have that much appeal to me. Still, I knew this wasn't like any Universal film. And, boy, was that ever true! I was blown away with how graphic, especially for a B&W movie, it was! We are talking stabbings, bloody bullet hits, immolation, and, gut munching! Shit, there was even a naked, female corpse!

I can only imagine how this must have shocked audiences back in the day! He created the template of the what now think of the zombie, as well as pushed splatter further into the mainstream. Not only that but it was smart, scary, intense, and wonderfully acted. It made an immediate impact on me. I adored the movie and could not stop talking about it. It didn't take long for me to see the next two films in the series: Dawn and Day of the Dead.
I soon rented them, in consecutive order. Dawn of the Dead (1978) had the immediate same effect on me. I was already tiring of the tame and many times censored, slasher movies of the era. Here, though, was a film that wore its' unrated title loud and fucking proud. Tom Savini's effects were amazing! I remember seeing the bloody squibs and thinking, ''That is how it must look like to get hit by a bullet (excluding the bright, red color, I mean)!'' I was weary of seeing the bloodless gun shots that sometimes happened in movies, and thus, this was an eye opener.
Add the graphic hackings, stabbings, impaling, head bisection, gut munching, head shots, and I was in motherfucking heaven. The scene where the crazed and racist cop blew that one dude's head up with a shotgun was an instant favorite splatter scene of mine. In all, this masterpiece that would define the zombie, even further than the genre changing Night, was epic, fun, and exciting. And, like Night, it was also extremely smart.



Soon after, I saw Day of the Dead (1985). I always hear of people who grew into liking it, as they didn't like it on the first viewing. That was not the case with me. I LOVED it from the get go. I adored the acting and the dialogue. The movie felt smart, because it was. I was captivated by all that happened onscreen, every single second of it. And, then there is the gore. Again, Romero did not give a flying fuck about making an R-rated film, and as such even topped Dawn, in this department.

This is some of Savini's finest work, as the splatter was graphic and stomach churning. Bloody squibs, head shots, amputation, gut scarfing, and more ruled the fucking screen. The gore drenched climax, with bodies getting ripped apart, shot, and devoured are some of the greatest gore you will ever see! ''Choke on it!'' screams the evil Captain Rhodes (Joe Pilato) as he gets ripped in fucking half! I almost shit myself from the excitement!
The political statements that he made with the films were brilliant. It set them apart from the brain-dead horror movies that Hollywood kept shooting out. These three movies changed my life, and they along with a couple of others were the reason I got into film. I wanted to make movies like Romero, drenched in gore, but also smart. I was not interested in another mindless, interchangeable stalk and slash movie. I have rewatched all three of those movies infinite amount of times. The two sequels are in my top 20 favorites of all time, while Night is my fifth favorite movie of all time. At one point, thanks in large part, but not only to, Romero zombie films were my favorite horror sub-genre. That is no longer case, but I blame the post The Walking Dead entertainment world on that.
 
But, to just talk about his zombie movies is unfair. Romero made many other great movies. Martin (1977) is one of the smartest and most fascinating vampire movie ever made. I love the fact that it takes a real world approach to vampirism. It deals with a boy thinks he is a creature of the night and uses razor blades to cut and kill his victims and get their blood. Again, Romero did it his fucking way, and I loved it.
I actually only saw Knightriders (1980) a year or two ago, on El Rey network. Not a horror movie, but still amazing, fun, and wonderfully acted by a great cast, this tale of modern day jousters who reenact this spectacle on motorcycles was cool as fuck. It showed that Romero was not just horror and splatter, but could do drama and action as well. Although, those elements were already seen in his earlier genre work.
Creepshow (1982) is probably his most well known to the mainstream audience outside of his zombie movies. With Stephen King writing, Romero directing, and Savini doing the FX, this loving and fun tribute to the EC comics of yesterday is a great time. It has only gotten better with age, and Romero's love for the material is so very much on display.
Another great film of his was Monkey Shines. I always loved this wonderfully acted and admit ably intense tale of a handicapped man and his assistant monkey, who is psychotic. Under lesser hands, this would've been a stupid piece of shit. But, under Romero's gifted hands and mind, it is a fucking great and sometimes, overlooked gem.
To me, the last great, or even good movie, he made was his return to zombie films: Land of the Dead (2005). We waited ages for it, and while, not as great as the first three Dead movies, it was worth it. The other three are such masterpieces that they were impossible to top. But, Romero really did come close to that level, with this excellent movie. The cast is amazing (including Dennis Hopper and goddess Asia Argento), the gore is great (though, I didn't like the CGI stuff), and the story is smart and, again political. An obvious damning look at the then current George Bush administration, it really hit me in a great way, that made me happy and smile.
I won't discuss some of his misses, though The Crazies, The Dark Half, and Bruiser, all have their merits. But, again we can skip his lesser work, because that is not what this article is meant to be. This is a celebration of a man and a legend.
I am happy and honored to say that I did meet him back in the 90s when he did a Fangoria Weekend of Horrors. He signed my laserdisc of Night, and while, the line was long and one couldn't get a pic with him, it was an amazing experience. I cherish it even more now.
 Romero signs the guy in front of me's VHS copy of ''Night of the Living Dead''
The master signs my laserdisc! Oh my god, what a great memory!
George Romero, thank you, for the amazing films that you did. Thank you, for not giving a fuck about the mainstream. Thank you for the influence you had on the modern horror and splatter movie. And, thank you forever changing my life, being such an influence in me, and being a hero to me. My most deep and sincere condolences go to his family and loved ones. And, may you RIP, Mr. Romero, you will be forever missed and loved.
Also: FUCK CANCER!

7/15/2017

SATAN'S CHEERLEADERS (Review)

Title: Satan's Cheerleaders
Director: Greydon Clark
Writers: Greydon Clark, Alvin L. Fast
Cast: John Ireland, Yvonne De Carlo, Jack Kruschen, John Carradine, Jacqulin Cole, Kerry Sherman
Year: 1977
Min: 92

Benedict High School's cheerleader squad are a fun loving and hot as fuck foursome. They are led by their equally hot gym teacher, Ms. Johnson (Jaculin Cole). The school's pervy janitor, Billy (Jack Kruschen), is not only a creeper who has his eyes on them, but he is also a member of a deadly Satanic cult! Shit, don't hate when that happens?! He conducts a plan to kidnap and sacrifice them, in the name of Satan. He accomplishes this by cursing their sweaters, thus causing their car to swerve off the road. He then gets them in his van, kidnaps them, taking them to the cult's satanic altar.
But, it turns out one of them, pretty blonde Patti (Kerry Sherman), is actually a powerful witch! While, they all entranced, Patti uses her powers to kill Billy. When, they come out of the trance they go to seek help from the local sheriff (John Ireland). Who it turns out is the leader of said evil cult! But, with Patti on the cheerleaders' side, they might be fucking with the wrong girls!
This is endearing 70s exploitation at its most fun and likeable. Combing two things that were really popular back them, IE Satanic horror and cheerleader sex comedies, it manages to be a wonderfully silly gem. The flick is funny, sexy, and never takes itself too seriously, and stands as a cool and easy to love sign of the times.
A big part of this film's appeal is one's love for cheerleaders. I have always had a thing for them, so this right up my alley. I suppose if your fetishes/ preferences lie else where, then this one might not really be for you. Anyway the point is the female cast is gorgeous! All four girls and their gym teacher are very easy on the eyes. As a bonus, we also get eye candy support from rival girls from another school. The girls are seen in skimpy outfits (duh) and some bits of nudity, too. Asses are shown and shaked, and we get some boobs, too.
One of the most interesting aspects, is when it comes right down to it, the female characters, both good and bad, are smarter than the males in this film! Now, I wouldn't calls this a feminist flick or anything of the sort. It really is quite happy and content in being a simple and sexy little movie. But, it is a nice little, and somewhat subtle, extra touch.
The cast is truly impressive, with the aforementioned John Ireland, as well John Carradine, Sydney Chaplin (son of Charlie Chaplin!), and Yvonne DeCarlo, among more! The late, great DeCarlo is, of course, best known for playing sexy, proto-goth babe Lily Munster on The Munsters. This may well be her second greatest role, well it is at least, in my humble opinion.
That said, the acting is... well, it's nothing to write home about. But, even the worst acting is somehow endearing and adds to the fun to the movie. When you take into account the terrible dialogue and silly shit that happens, it is clear that this ain't The Exorcist. Taking all of this into account, the acting comes off as quite adequate and, dare I say, perfect for this film! It probably wouldn't be perfect for any other film, but who the fuck cares?!
There is some nitpicking to be done. For example, why do the Satanists use a pentacle and not a pentagram for their rituals and robs? But, let's be honest here, the filmmakers didn't care to do any research, and that is fine by me. It is possible that you might bitch about the quality of the acting or find this movie to be stupid or cheap and exploitative. To those people, I say, ''What the fuck do you expect from a movie called Satan's Cheerleaders?! And, why in the blue hell are you watching said movie?!'' Honestly, you should know what you are getting yourself into and just shut the fuck up and enjoy the cheese and babes!
There is truthfully nothing scary about this movie, as the horror aspect is silly and light in tone. There is no real gore or bloodletting to speak of. And, again, this is all fine for it succeeds in the other aspects that it aims for, namely humor and hotties. That being said, it does get bonus points for a climax and ending that I got a total kick out of. It manages to raise the flick to an above average level, that further sealed my enjoyment of it.
Satan's Cheerleaders is a fun bit of 70's exploitation. It brings lots of humor and camp as it combines two of the eras most popular sub-genres: satanic horror and cheerleader sex comedy. Filled with a great veteran cast and hot girls, in various stages of dressing and undressing (the girls NOT the veterans!), this is an enjoyable romp of the silliest manner. It is never scary, always light, many times funny, and a feast for cheerleaders lovers. If come you in knowing what to expect and this sounds like your cup of skin, jump right in! It is currently streaming on Shudder. There is also a DVD put out by VCI (alas no Blu-ray of it). Both versions are the R-cut, as apparently it played as a PG flick, when it first came out (not sure if anything was cut back then, but at least this certainly ain't!) However you see it, it'll make you go ''Ra-Ra Satan!'' or at least cheer for some cheerleader ass!

3 out of 4

7/12/2017

THE VOID (Review)

Title: The Void 
Writers/ Directors: Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski 
Cast: Aaron Poole, Kenneth Walsh, Daniel Fathers, Kathleen Munroe, Ellen Wong, Mik Byskov
Year: 2016
Min: 90

Deputy Daniel Carter (Aaron Poole) finds drug addict James (Evan Stern), who has escaped being shot by two men, on the side of the road. He sees him dragging himself aimlessly on the ground and bloodied, so he takes him to the local hospital. Working there is his estrange wife Alison Fraser (the lovely Kathleen Munroe). Also on-hand are a few other staff members, including Dr. Richard Powell (Kenneth Walsh) a patient, as well as a grandfather (James Millington) and his pregnant teen daughter, Maggie (Grace Munro).

When, Carter walks into a room he catches one of the nurses, Beverly (Stephanie Belding) stabbing the aforementioned patient in the eye. She then lounges at Carter, and he shoots her dead. When he steps outside of the hospital, to call in her death, he is confronted by a fully robed cult member. He stabs Carter in the chest. Wounded, Carter goes back into the hospital, where he get immediate help for his wound. Soon after, Beverly turns into a tentacled monster. Meanwhile, more cult members surround the hospital. And, then the two men whom James escaped from at the beginning of the film, force their way in, and even stab and kill Dr. Powell. And, believe it or not, things continue to get worse from there.
The Void is a Canadian, Lovecraftain, sci-fi/ horror movie, that after playing a couple of festivals got a limited release April, of this year. It quickly drew great reviews and had a successful run. It has now made its way to NetFlix. Is it worth the hype? In short, fuck yeah it is! This a solid and ass kicking, old school style genre flick that truly and fully pleases.
The script by Jeremy Gillespie, Steven Kostanski (who also co-directed) may not be that original, but there are enough cool and wild moments to make it all more than worth your time. It is very obvious that the movie is made with a lot of love and heart for 80s horror. This is especially true in the very clear influence that John Carpenter's work has on the duo.
 As directors, they're really good at making an ever mounting feeling of terror, as things just keeping getting worse for our protagonists. The pacing, thus, is ever escalating and leads to an all out wild and cool climax. They also love using practical FX and give a whole plethora of hideous monsters with blood and lots of tentacles. If you, like me, love monsters, then this fucker is for you! On top, of the excellent and nightmarish creatures, there is lots of grue. Bodies transform and twist in gruesome scenes of body horror, all the while blood is splattered and spilled via stabbings, exploding heads, ax-hackings, and more. All of this is handled, by mostly, practical and excellent FX. There really is very little CGI, and I am most grateful for that!
The acting is solid, throughout. Everyone is quite good at the role they are given. Aaron Poole makes for quite a likeable hero. Meanwhile, Welsh is particularly memorable as Dr. Powell. About my only small complain, cast wise, is the character that the very pretty Ellen (Silent Night, GLOW) Wong plays. She isn't bad in it, in fact quite far from it, as Ellen is good actress. It had more to do with the fact that she sometimes frustrated me with her not knowing what to do. But, in turn, it proved to show just how into the movie I was, as I kept screaming and cursing at her character!
To put it bluntly, The Void is one of the year's best horror movies, though I still prefer the superlative Get Out over it. Regardless, this is a crazy movie that keeps getting wilder and wilder. The Lovecraft inspired horrors are represented with excellent practical FX, which is further helped by the adding of graphic splatter. Throw in solid acting and an awesome climax, and I really can't say enough good things about this one. If you are a fan of Carpenter movies like Prince of Darkness and In the Mouth of Madness and/ or love Lovecraft monsters, or monsters, in general, then it is to you, that I give this movie my highest recommendation!


4 out of 4