Life & Stuff

These next few weeks are going to be so hectic that I thought I should go ahead and apologize in advance for my absence. On a personal note, I'm getting married in 11 days! Big stuff, I know. I avoided it (preparation, not getting married) for the longest time but I'm afraid with just a week and a half to go it's finally time for me to get into bride mode. Yuck! I suck at weddings. What's even more stressful is that we're moving to LA three weeks after. As of the past few days I've been a big ball of mess. I so just want to relax, pack a box or two a day and watch movies which in turn I would review, but it's looking like I'm not going to have much time for that in the upcoming month. Though I promise to try! I just got my last order I'll be receiving in this household. Including Spermula, Monster Shark, Ator the Fighting Eagle and a bunch of other stuff. I don't even have shoes to go with my dress yet....but I have lots of schlocky out of print movies! Geez. As of right now I'm hustling to get my house in order for company and getting my Mom's house in order for the reception/dinner party. All I've made time to watch since the Noble War is Ren & Stimpy and Black Books (the second seasons sucks, btw). If I can find time to watch some of my new weirdies I promise to crank out a quick review. But until then please excuse my (re)tardiness. I'll be busy doing wife things. Like this...

ACK! yeah right.

If you're at all interested I might be posting little updates on my other blog Unicorn Wizard. Also, my music archivist fiance and I will be compiling a great cd for our guests to take with them (sort of in place of a program). I'm going to post it as a download on Unicorn Wizard, I'll be sure to link you to that as well ;-)


The Noble War (1984)

I realized that it had been almost a month since I reviewed my last Sompote Sands disaster, Hanuman vs. 7 Ultramans. This is just unacceptable. I became so enamoured with Sands as a director, producer and a douche bag that I found his work to be truly daunting. Alongside alluring, disgusting, hypnotizing, ugly and somehow whimsical. The first experience left me with a lot to think about. As a reviewer and the direction this obsession could take me. It was a little terrifying to jump into the next one. I decided to sit with it for a while and fully absorb Hanuman vs. 7 Ultramans.

The past week I've been feeling the itch for more, but where to start? I decided to take a step back and try something a little more "tame". Now that  I've seen The Noble War I realized that that's just not a word to use when describing this guy's work. Because my reception of this movie was so bewildering I'm going to describe what it was like for me going into this completely blind with nothing but language and cultural barriers.

As I'm sure you've guessed, like pretty much all of Sompote Sands movies, there are no subtitles. I can usually deal with this pretty well. It's easy to follow a simple plot by observing the actions and change of setting. The Noble War was a little more difficult. For one, the acting is in traditional theatre style. They're almost dancing out their actions. Lyrical body language while Thai overdubbing speaks for the characters whose lips aren't even moving. This distracted me from following the story as well as I might have.

From what I could tell it revolved around all of the Hindu deities. Doing all kinds of senseless things I couldn't begin to fathom. It started out simple enough. Hanging out in a glorious palace fit for a ...God! Meanwhile lower/God/Monkey-things played flute and entertained the higher God(s?) and pretty ladies would feed them grapes (ok I made up the grape part). Much how you'd suspect an Eastern God would hang out. In come new similar looking Gods and they chatter for a while. Then they go outside and look in a magic mirror to see a war going on.

Here's where I got kind of lost because these characters, although awesome and sometimes different colors, all looked alike to me. The language barrier prevented me from catching their names so pretty much from there on out I had no fucking clue what was happening. So let me try and break it down.

  • Nobody likes the Green guy.
  • the Red guy likes to rip shit out of the ground.
  • In Thailand tree bark looks like peacock feathers.
  • Sompote Sands loves that fucking crocodile.
  • "What's that rotting rotisserie chicken doing floating in that pond?"
  • Hindu deities puke milk.

That pretty much sums up my viewing experience. I paid CLOSE attention to the dizzying psychedelic scenery to make sure I didn't miss anything that might perhaps transcend cultures.Only the three V'sViolence, vileness and vomiting. Make that four V's: Visuals. The Noble War is visually stunning. Nothing short of an epic, really. The rich pigments made my entire living room illuminate with glowing rainbow hues. Definitely a candidate for movies that should be experienced under the influence of LSD. At times it reminded me of the Thief of Bagdad (1940) with it's elaborate technicolor atmosphere. Even at times of utmost confusion the electric Bava-esque surroundings will keep you glued to the screen.

After the movie I felt really good, enriched somehow. I'm also left with a sense of fulfillment I've only gotten seeing a Sompote Sands movie. I can see a trend forming. Of course I got online to do my usual post-movie-research only to find that there's little to no information on it. Only the review that lead me to it on Die, Danger, Die, Die Kill!'s blog. Perhaps I'm just completely dense and oblivious to the Hindu religion or maybe I'm just less educated on the subject. To refrain from anymore paraphrasing and because I'm forever grateful to I do recommend reading Die, Danger, Die, Die, Kill's review as it appears to be much more self aware than I am. I was far from making any connections with the Ramayana, the epic Hindu legend. The Noble War was evidentally based on the Thai adaptation, the Ramakien. Being a newbie to Thai culture I wasn't even aware that they had their own adaptation (that's what I get for dropping out of World Religion). Being familiar with the Ramayana though, I was able to make connections that didn't even occur to me as I was watching. I think I might have caught on if Sita (Sida, pretty grape feeding lady by Green man's/Rama's side) was in it more, since she's basically the reason the war began!

So for those who are unfamiliar with this story, I suppose the plot can be summarized as easily as the Ramakien or the Ramayana. A war erupts between Rama and Thosaganth for the kidnapping of Rama's wife Sita/Sida. Only Rama gets Hanuman and his army of Monkeys to do his bidding. That's it! All that scrambling around was just the result of Sompote Sands unrelenting shenanigans.

 Compared to what I've seen and what I know of Sompote Sands I think it's safe to say this is traditionally one of his "better" movies. Aside from a few nasty out-of-place sequences peppered in The Noble War really does have a touch of class. The date throws me off a bit though. Based on what I've read on thereformentioned blog and Sci-Fi Japan. Hanuman vs. 7 Ultramans and the Noble War share a scene. Hanuman is in outer space talking to a Deity in a fiery orb (the sun I imagine). Yes, he is the kind of director that reuses scenes from his own movies. Although there's really no solid information about any of these movies, I've been under the assumption that Hanuman vs. 7 Ultramans was made in 1974 since that's what all websites and bloggers I've encountered cite. But that movie obviously a mish-mesh of a scenes from other movies (ie: the 6 Ultra Bothers vs. the Monster Army). I highly doubt he used a scene from Hanuman vs. 7 Ultramans for The Noble War. It MUST have been the other way around. You know what I think? I think we all have the Hanuman date wrong. It's always classified as being from 1974 but I think that's because of the common misconception that Hanuman vs. 7 Ultramans and the Six Ultra Brother vs. the Monster Army are the same movie, when in fact they aren't.  Sompote Sands used scenes (a lot of them) from Monster Army but they are separate entities completely. If you've seen it, think about Hanuman vs 7 Ultramans. Think about how it looks. Refer to the picture in my review if you want. It really looks 80's! Mid/late 80's in fact. I think I'm onto something here. I'd be interested to hear everyone's thoughts.

I can easily say I enjoyed this as much as my first Sompote Sands movie. Where Hanuman Vs 7 Ultramans lacked, the Noble War provided. I don't mind being baffled by a candy colored absurdity. When it comes to Sands the payoff is pretty good. Not for everyone but worth while for explorers of true outsider cinema. No pretense here, folks. Just raw unadulterated curiosities.


TV Tuesday: Spider-Man (Toei)

Chances are you've seen the intro to this kooky fun fest (if not scroll down and watch it NOW). It's pretty much gone viral because of it's obvious coolness. There's something about taking an iconic character and putting them in a foreign setting with foreign characters that makes it feel very so strange and off. Seeing this Supaidaman is almost as wonderfully weird as the Turkish false eyelash wearing rapist Spiderman in 3 Dev Adam.

Apparently for four years Marvel allowed Toei to do whatever the fuck they wanted with whatever character they wanted (?). I'm sure you can imagine that Toei did things with the character that Marvel never dreamed of like make it, um...AWESOME!? Truth be told I'm not really that kind of nerd. I've never gotten into the Marvel/DC/any-superhero-related-comic thing. I'm not sure if that makes me biased or unbiased. I love the idea of foreign reworkings, no matter how artfully (or poorly) done it is it always feels wrong. Sometimes Usually so wrong that it's right. And the Toei Spider-Man feels oh so right.
No Peter Parker here. Our hero is Takuya Yamashiro, motorcycle racer whose father is killed after a UFO lands. The ship is called "the Marveler" and the remaining survivor is from a planet called "Spider". The mysterious Alien gives Takuya a bracelet that gives him the power of the Spider! There are also some bad guys lead by "Professor Monster" (best villain name ever). Oh yeah, and a giant fucking robot! Not surprising from the tokusatsu stand point, but totally out of place if you're used to the boring American storyline.

Apparently this show set the standards for a lot of Sentai and Tokusatsu in the following years. It really is a staple and a great place to start if you're new to the frantic antics of Japanese Super Hero shows and wacky world of Toei.


The Prophecy (1979)

When I bought this I think I was mixing it up with the 1995 movie The Prophecy with Christopher Walken, not that I would rather have that one. In the long run I think I'm better off with this John Frankenheimer version. What starts out as a really serious eco-political thriller ends up being a total schlockfest in the end, and isn't that the way it should be?

Robert Foxworth plays a peace loving doctor who is frustrated with his futile attempts at making the world a better place in a big city. When offered a job with the Environmental Protection Agency which would give him a change of scene and a chance to make a difference in another way, he accepts. He doesn't know that his wife, Talia Shire, is pregnant. She's afraid to tell him because he doesn't want to contribute to the over population and squalor of the world today. Understandable.

When they arrive they discover that the loggers and the local American Indians are feuding over land. It has turned violent and his job is to investigate to see what he can turn up. Armand Assante plays the leader of the Indians and he gets into a particularly awesome skirmish with a lumberjack. A fight ensues with an axe and a chainsaw as the battle weapons!

Something very large and scary is killing people. The loggers think it's the Indians retaliating but the Natives know better, they think it's "Katahdin" a legendary beast who's described as "larger than a dragon with the eyes of a cat". Not quite, but I'm getting there. Hawk's wife Romona is a midwife who describes birthing babies with deformities that usually die right away. Many locals get very sick and collapse. The white devils of course chock it up to the old stereotype of redskins not being able to hold their firewater. When Ramona introduced the Doctor and his wife to her father, he describes the place as being "the Garden of Eden " and fishes out a skanky mutant tardpole for proof.

At first I just thought it was a mudskipper but upon closer inspection I noticed that it wasn't, and it also couldn't be from the Garden of Eden because this is truly AN ABOMINATION OF GODDDD!!!

Need more proof? Check out this freak baby...

They realize that the Paper Mill is secreting mercury in the water so the whole area is a melting pot of grotesque deviation. Everyone/everything drinks the water, eats the fish and then dreadful mutations occur.

Oh, and did I mention that the large scary thing killing people is a BEHEMOTH MUTANT BEAR??...

I was pretty surprised about that. I was expecting something a little more monster-y. As far as I can tell, aside from it being hideous, it seems to act like any grizzly bear. Especially one whose baby has been stolen! (yeah, that was a cub up there) At first I was disappointed by this, I liked the idea of the Indian legend monster being real. But no, just another don't fuck with nature horror movie. I got over it quick though. The bear delivers some nice fuck-uppery though. Lots of people throwing, face eating, bitch slapping, it can even breathe under water.

In a lot of ways this movie reminds me of a better version of Godmonster of Indian Flats! Toxic gasses make local sheep turn into mutant sheep that serve ample helping of terror to the local assholes. Toxic mercury make big bear a BIGGER face-inside-out beast freak. They even kind of look alike!

Papa Bear

Sheep Fart Man

 For the record I'm not really sure where any "prophecy" fits in here. Not that I mind. I love that I was inadvertently mislead by this movie. It made all of the antics more entertaining in the long run. In the end...well, I'll let you find out. But for the record, preggo Talia Shire eats the same fish that Momma bear does. Suddenly that abortion that the Doc suggested is sounding pretty good!


The Room (2003)

Spoilers Ahead!

Ok people, where the hell have I been? Apparently this movie and it's overwhelming cult status have been sweeping the Country for God knows how long and I'm just now finding out about it. A friend on Facebook asked me if I'd seen it. I'd never even heard of it, so I watched the clips he sent me and IMMEDIATELY bumped it to the top of my Netflix que. I had a to wait a whole weekend to see it and let me tell ya... pure torture. I spent the entire weekend watching any youtube video with Tommy Wiseau's name attached to it. It was becoming clear that I was onto a new favorite movie.

To sum it up, it may just be the best worst movie ever made. There is so much wrong with it you'll find yourself looking for anything decent, functional or coherent about it. It's almost hard to believe that there's a plot, but somehow something is there!

 A successful banker named Johnny is madly in love with his "sexy" fiance Lisa, but her boredom and selfishness has lead her to seduce his best friend Mark. All the while, getting every single person they know involved in their affair. Since that synopsis sounds like I could have read it from the back of the box, let me break it down for you...

  • Successful Banker Named Johnny - The first time I watched this movie (yes, first time, as in, I watched it TWICE...in a row.) I did not notice any mention of what his profession was. In the second viewing I realized he does slur the word "bank" in his usual guttural fashion.
  • "Sexy" Fiance Lisa - Ok, let's be honest. Despite the male cast repeatedly reminding us that Lisa is "beautiful", who are we trying to kid? Let's start from the top: brassy peroxide hair with nappy roots, black eyebrows, old man big pickle nose, potato shoulders and a wardrobe that consists of mostly clothes from Fashion Bug. At BEST, she looked like pre-nose job Courtney Love. Only, she's about as alluring as a venerial disease.
  • Seduce - let's talk about cliche's, shall we? Candles. Red dress. Red Roses. Petals on the Bed. Silk Sheets. Sheer Drape Over Bed, and most importantly Sensual Urban Music.

The other Characters include, Denny the orphaned college kid who Johnny (Wiseau) has pretty much adopted. Which makes no sense because he's an adult. He has an unhealthy obsession with both Lisa and Johnny. He does incredibly creepy things like jump into bed with them pre-coitus for a pillow fight before reasoning that he just "likes to watch you guys." They say "aww" and give him a pat on the head before sending him off so they can mix their ungulating bodily fluids. Then there's Claudette, Lisa's mother who doesn't care about anything but her daughter's financial security. One of the most refreshing characters (and actors) in the whole movie with moments like "Well, I got the test results back, I definitely have breast cancer." They also have a group of fucktard friends whose names (although repeated 50 times) I didn't bother to remember.

It's shocking that this was made in 2003. It REALLY feels like late 80's/early 90's. I've questioned the sincerity of it. As I'm sure a lot of you have. HOW could this be unintentional? At least on some level. Tommy Wiseau - who wrote, directed and starred in this narcissistic self-indulgent disaster - claims that everything went according to plan. It was intended to be a black comedy and he's happy with it's reception though he's huffy about certain critic's obvious responses. For the most part, I think that he's just going a long with it because of it's insanely trendy reception. Why not capitalize on it, right? Tim and Eric are working with him now. He was in an episode of Season 4 and they've been pushing to get his sitcom The Neighbors on Adult Swim. I'm still not sure if this is straight forward. Tim and Eric are known for mocking the very thing that is The Room. I've often wondered if David Liebe Hart or any of their other targets are completely in on the joke. Surely they must be. If by some stretch of the imagination, the Room and Tommy Wiseau's essence are fabricated like some elaborate Sacha Baron Cohen character, I would bow down to his genius. But until disproven, I can only assume he's a hulking goon with the longest buttcrack known to man...

I've barely even talked about the man himself! Johnny, aka, Tommy Wiseau. I want to start by saying that, to my personal taste in men, he is the most revolting creature I've ever seen. That stringy unkempt long black hair, strange deep set face muscles not to mention unnatural lumps and indentations all over his filthy rectangular body. What woman would want this?

Did anyone else notice the ridiculous use of primary colors in this film? And what about that amazing skyline on the roof? What about the obsession with tossing a football 4 feet away from eachother?

When discovering that his girlfriend and best friend have been falandering he loses control, humps her dress and blows his brains out.

Did he just jizz in his pants?


This movie has brought me so much joy in the past few days. It's worth every bit of the hype. It's a remarkable achievement, even if it is a mistake. How many terrible movies end up being this entertaining anymore? This surpasses even some classic era baddies. I watched Fred Olen Ray's Cyclone a few days before this with every intention of reviewing it and all of it's 80's Motorbabe glory, but now I can't even think straight. The Room is so trashy and ugly that it can only be admired. It has redefined my views of bad and badd-er. Going even beyond that, challenging some of the worst movies of all time. There can only be one, and it is The Room. Not A Room. THE ROOM!


TV Tuesday: Black Books

Sorry I'm a few hours late!

This show really seemed to come out of nowhere and disappeared just as quickly, in America anyway. I can't remember what exact year it was, sometime between 1999-2001, which would put me in between 7th and 9th grade. I believe it was around the time they started that awful show with Dave Attell. I had no interest in Insomniac or whatever else they showed in that late night line-up but I instantly fell in love with Black Books. I remember having to be really quiet and secretive because it was a school night. I didn't care how tired I was, if I could get away with catching an episode of Black Books it just had to be done. I can't even remember what grade I was in, let alone whatever I was supposed to be learning. I do remember telling the other students and no one having any clue what I was talking about. For the most part things have remained that way. Over the years when talking about the Young OnesMr. Bean or any of the other British comedy series I like, whenever Black Books would get brought up I've rarely encountered others who were lucky enough to catch it's brief American syndication.

I recently noticed that Borders had Black Books season 2 on DVD! Thankfully Netflix is here to aide my broke ass, so there you have it. I've been re-experiencing it for the past few days and even well into my 20's I laugh just as hysterically as I did in my tweens, only this time I don't have to muffle it avoid waking up my Mom.

Written and starring Dylan Moran as a chain smoking wino named Bernard Black who owns a book store. He's rude and belligerent to customers, while his friends Manny and Fran are always keeping him from falling apart completely. Naturally lots of British slapstick ensues mostly as a result of Black's drunken shenanigans. There's something kind of John Cusack-y ala High Fidelity about the character. Bill Bailey plays Manny, a perfect foil for Black's mayhem. Check out this show if you haven't already. It's further proof that the English are the only ones who know how to make a sitcom work.


Accion Mutante (1993)

I really had no idea what I was walking into with this one. I knew it was a Spanish film with a cult following, that's about it. Now that I've seen it, I'm glad I went into it blind. Knowing nothing made it even more of a mind blowing experience!

Set in a post apocalyptic future run by all attractive people. A group of crippled terrorists revolt against everything this modern oppressive society stands for by blowing up buildings and assassinating public figures. When their leader, Ramon, is released from prison he schemes up a plan for them to kidnap the daughter of a wealthy businessman for an outrageous ransom. At her wedding no less, they infiltrate and massacre the entire guest list and take Patricia with them in their crazy spaceship.

Ramon has already set the wheels in motion to turn his team against each other. He wants all the money for himself so he convinces them that there is a traitor among them, then begins picking them off one by one until all that's left is half a siamese twin who must drag his dead brother around. After their spaceship crashes on their destination planet, Patricia begins to act strange. Ever since Ramon unstapled her lips shut, she seems to have feelings for him. Which he repeatedly reminds her is just Stockholm Syndrome. This is the point I think I should comment on the obvious connections between this storyline and the taking of Patty Hearst. Her name is eve Patricia!

This movie really lives up to it's title. Literally non-stop Mutant Action from start to finish. It just gets more outrageous as the film goes on. Colorful strange characters doing bizarre and disgusting things. Like a combination of Paul Verhoeven and Frank Henenlotter. I'd even go a step further and say at times it reminded me of a Riddley Scott movie. It's no wonder this movie was an instant cult success. Over the top violence executed with a decent budget, depraved charcters and an amazing punk soundtrack. It really is a modern masterpiece. Directed by Alex de la Iglesia, this would be the first of many cult movies he would direct, including The Day of the Beast, which I've also been wanting to see but hadn't made the connection between the two movies.

Despite it's cult following, this movie is still relatively unknown. I never hear people talking about it. If you haven't seen it I urgently recommend tracking down this accion packed freak fest!

Attack of the Robots (1966)

Let's face it. I love Eddie Constantine. Ever since I saw Alphaville in my teens I've wanted more of this character. Lemmy Caution is a legend, and much to my surprise there's a whole slew of movies starring this boozing gumshoe. It would be these classic spy movies that inspired Jean-Luc Godard to make Alphaville. There's a total of 15 I believe. Most are out of print and nearly impossible to find. Thankfully that's one of the many problems that Something Weird Video has solved for us. When I finally was able to dive into Eddie Constantine's body of work it lead me to some interesting discoveries. Aside from the unconventional Alphaville, he did another offbeat sci-fi spy flick directed by none other than Mr. Jesus Franco!

Ahh...is it possible? Two of my favorite people could come together in such an unexpected way? Yes it is possible. It is Attack of the Robots.

Constantine doesn't play Lemmy Caution, but if you've seen a few of his Euro-spy flicks you know it doesn't really matter. He's always basically the same, even if the name is different. He's always a witty, misogynistic, drunken, gambling, sarcastic, frog faced, eye rolling Ladies Man. Isn't that what we love about him? Godard toned his punchy humor down a bit for his puzzling masterpiece, which works perfectly. The style he originally became famous for was slightly more sardonic . In that respect it almost seems like Franco made a strange conglomeration of an Alphaville-like fantasy and a tongue-in-cheek espionage film.

Constantine plays Al Pereira, a retired agent of Interpol. When an assassination takes place and they discover that an android robot is the culprit, they track down Pereira and force him out of retirement. The thing is, they don't tell him his mission. They find out that the people being brainwashed and turned into robots all have type 0 blood. Pereira happened to be the only agent they have with type 0 blood so they give him a false mission and place him in the middle of the action to be a prime target for who ever is responsible. Ideally, he'll get taken and lead them to the suspects.

There are a lot of nice little touches that make this better than a lot of the cut and dry euro-spy flicks that were made in enormous numbers in the 50's and 60's. With Jess Franco in the driver's seat you can be sure he's going to get away with as much as possible. Although this could be considered a family film next to the average Franco movie, it's still has a unique presence. He manages to make it normal enough to be passable but strange enough for the inevitable cult status. My favorite part about this movie is how weird the robots look.

Almost like they're in black face.

I really enjoyed the music by Paul Misraki who not only did the Alphaville score, but most of the other Eddie Constantine spy flicks. The theme was an obvious rip-off of the Richard Diamond theme (one of my favorites). The rest of the score was playful and very lounge-y like Bruno Nicolai. If I could ever find the soundtrack I'd definitely invest in a copy.

Unfortunately this isn't one you can get from Something Weird, though they have a lovely selection of Eddie Constantine movies I recommend browsing through. I had a heck of a time tracking this one down, but it was worth it. I should have it up for sale on my Ioffer site within the week. Alphaville still reigns supreme but It's definitely one of the most interesting in the series, and worth a look for any fans of the Constanine or Franco.


Moustache Monday: demons and too much hair in all the wrong places

I watched Black Roses (1988) last week, which I may or may not get around to reviewing. But one thing's for sure, this guy's stache deserves to go in the 80's Hall of Moustache fame. It's funny how sometimes it's almost like the moustache is the real star of the film, and the guy wearing it is just an accessory. I think you see what I mean...

I know I've been a little neglectful lately, but there's just a lot going on right now with the move and the wedding so close. A part of what's been keeping me from reviewing is that I just have not had the time to do these epic picture heavy reviews, and I really like doing those. They're the most fun. I'd still like to document what I've been watching though and give my thoughts and musings as I normally do. So if you see more short entries for the next couple of weeks, don't be alarmed. I'm just trying not to spend so much time on the computer. Between the watching the movie, capturing the pictures, doing background research and writing the review it can take hours. Sometimes I have to save it and work on them intermittently through out the day (or days). I really love writing about movies, after I see one there's always so much I want to say. So I'm just going to adapt to my time restraints when necessary.

Expect at least one review later today!