Monday, February 1, 2010

Movies, movies, movies.... and movies

I recently dropped by one of Toronto's best video stores, Eyesore Cinema, to pre-order the House of the Devil DVD/VHS super duper package deal and thought I'd grab me some viewing material. Daniel (the owner) always has an outstanding selection of films I would defy anyone to find elsewhere in the city. On previous visits I've picked up Kioyoshi Kurosawa's impossible to find Sweet Home and later grabbed Unlucky Monkey with the director's commentary. This visit I picked up Noboru Iguchi's Sukeban Boy and Hypertrophy Genitals Girl which I very much look forward to seeing... when the wife is away. She thinks I'm peculiar enough without walking in on me watching a movie about a girl who grows a massive ding dong. And I finally got myself a membership as well. I poo poohed my previous reason for not getting a membership because the store was too far away to return the movies on time when I was confronted with the awesomeness of the DVD selection. Like a junkie in a heroin boutique, I needed more! And here I present my little reviews of what I brought home that fateful night.


This certainly was not what I expected. What I thought was going to be a funny, low-budget creature feature turned out to be pure madness. In brief, Eddie, a sheep herder goes into town in the back of a pickup truck shared with half a dozen sheep, accompanied by church music of course, and enters an empty casino as creepy music plays on the soundtrack. Cut to a bustling casino and Eddie has come into some money! Some dude invites Eddie to accompany him to a bar in another town only to have Eddie's money stoled by a woman of the night. He accuses her and everyone in the bar takes a turn at beating him up. The local doctor brings Eddie back to his stable where Eddie has a vision and one of his sheep gives birth to a monster fetus. That's probably the first 10 minutes. Then Eddie and our monster are left by the wayside as we have a businessman vs the restoration committee, the doctor performing experiments, a lynch mob, a relationship with Eddie and the wonderfully named Mariposa and the monster actually goes on a rampage within the last 20 minutes.

Godmonster is packed with entertainment. Filled with subplot upon subplot and a hilarious monster suit there is seldom a moment of boredom. I've read that this film was considered lost for a long time, but thank goodness it was found. There is so much more to this bonkers film than just a monster movie.


Oh dear me. Here's a movie filled with unlikable characters doing dumb things in a silly story. But if you are a bad STV movie fan, you could do far worse.

The movie is about a group of friends (who don't seem to like each other very much): a douchebag boyfriend and his nagging girlfriend (the hero of the film), a ditzy blonde bimbo and her goofy overweight, rich boyfriend and some other douchebag who is upset with the bimbo for dumping him for fatso. Sounds like a fun trip, don't it? All they needed to do was invite a date rapist and they could be characters in a reality show.

Anyway, boat crashes, they get stuck on island with a killer tribe of neanderthals and the naggy heroine finds her inner strength. Actually, the film has a decent opening showing a group of researchers in the past getting killed, but about 20 minutes later I was fading fast. Then something miraculous happened. I was already sick of the nagging lead character who, upon getting stuck on the island, demands that she and her boyfriend abandon everyone by taking off in the only life raft that made it out of the shipwreck. Rather than the boyfriend saying, "Are you fucking kidding me? Wait, you are, aren't you? You almost had me there. I really thought you wanted to take a life raft and paddle into the vast ocean rather than waiting to be rescued using the radio readily available to us. You are kidding, right? You have to be. I mean, it would really be fucked up if you were serious... right?" he walks away. Then our heroine (Liz, to us in the know) storms away to go to the bathroom in the jungle. As she is piddling away she cuts a fart. A big one. And does not acknowledge it at all (me guesses the editor was allowed to put this in since no one had any faith in the movie anyway), so at this point the movie could do whatever it wanted, I was now happy I saw it.

And there are unintentionally funny moments:

-There's a stock shot of an iguana that's obviously taken in a zoo since it has it's food (two strips of beef and a lemon) sitting right next to it

-When they are apparently in the middle of nowhere at sea, in one shot there is clearly a ship behind them

-During an argument Liz pronounces ogle as oogle

-Liz's boyfriend gets a small cut on his leg and leaves a river of blood in his wake

-Liz manages to nag a dead body

-The climax, where Liz becomes a pantless Rambo

Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not recommending this film in any way, shape or form, but if you happen to stumble upon it, you might get a laugh or two between the yawns and cringes. And the hero farts!


Most know Eric Tsang as the mob boss in part one and two of Infernal Affairs. From what I've seen, he's now quite a well respected actor in his homeland (and we even brought him to Canada for the miniseries Dragon Boys). But back in 1989 he wrote, starred and directed this CAT III gem about a group of tourists vacationing in the Phillipines being taken hostage by a group of rebels. As with any self respecting CAT III film, the film has a sleazy vibe (rape seems to be always just around the corner in these films) and lots of bloodshed. In Fatal Vacation, everything is over the top. Tsang has crafted a fun action film that would satisfy anyone who also liked Born to Fight or Rambo (IV). The hostages decide they need to kick some ace or succumb to certain death and along with moments that will leave the audience cheering, there's also those wonderfully downbeat moments guaranteed in a CAT III flick. Also, I think this might be the only non-American film role I've seen Victor Wong (the squinty eyed actor from Big Trouble in Little China) in. Highly recommended for action and CAT III fans alike.


What did I just watch?

The doorway to hell is opened by a sorcerer. Only one problem. It's in his neighbor's stomach. What sounds like a comedy/horror hybrid is played mostly with a straight face as his neighbor, Michael, goes on the run from Satanists (?) as hell's foul creatures keep escaping from his gut. For the most part, the film works well, having an almost Lovecraftian feel (the first scene in the film involves 2 boys catching a monster along with some fish) and it contains some cool monsters and gore. It was shot in english in Argentina, so it takes a while to get used to every actor speaking with an accent and at one hour and forty some odd minutes, it is a little long in tooth. But for fans of bizarro cinema like myself I would absolutely recommend seeing this highly ambitious and imaginative low budget flick. I'm looking forward to the director's next work.

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