Sunday, July 11, 2010

Jason goes to Holehead--Day 3

4 movies, so let's just jump in:

First up, the world premiere of the Christian scare film homage/parody SATAN HATES YOU. In true Christian scare film form, there's no swearing or nudity, but plenty of graphic violence and sinning. Also, there's plenty of horror icons like Angus Scrimm (as a kindly televangelist), Reggie Bannister (as a gruff bartender), Michael Berryman (as a God-fearing manager of a flophouse hotel). And it pretty much channels Jack Chick. Two cartoonish devils follow people around, urging them to turn to sin and away from God. They have a particular interest in Marc--an alcoholic with a nasty streak of leaving the Coco 66 bar with men, then murdering them when they insinuate he's gay. And they have an interest in Wendy, a wild party girl who has sex with dozens of anonymous men, eventually leading to an abortion. There's all the big sins here--drug use, murder, abortion, blasphemy, Dungeons and Dragons, Halloween parties... And ultimately it's done well enough that I have no idea if the "Good News" scenes are supposed to be serious or a parody. I suppose it's like the old saying, "Sincerity is everything. If you can fake that, you've got it made." I have no idea if director James Felix McKenney is a believing, born-again Christian. I suspect not, and if I'm right, good job faking that sincerity.

Next up was a film that left absolutely nothing a mystery and absolutely no taboo untouched--A SERBIAN FILM. It's hard to talk about this movie without talking about the shocking scenes (it has been banned in its native Serbia), and I can't really do that without giving away spoilers. I'll just say the only time I've seen anything more shocking is whenever I close my eyes. It's easier to say what it's about metaphorically. It's about the Serbian war/genocide, and on a more universal level it's about how people, when they abdicate control of their lives to any authority (e.g., government, a sick film director, etc.) can be coaxed to perform horrible atrocities for which death isn't even an escape. Milosh is a retired porn star (he starred in such classics as MILOSH THE FILTHY STUD, and the movie opens with his ~8 year old son watching that movie). He has retired to family life--a loving wife and son. He...maybe? misses the old work, but he definitely misses the money. So when an old co-star (Milosh was so good that when he retired she could only co-star with donkeys afterward) contacts him with a lucrative one-movie deal that would set his family up for life, he hesitates but goes forward. The big catch--he can't read the script in advance. The director Vukmir has a vision, and it pretty quickly gets degrading. A bit of abuse in front of an underage witness is just the start. The movie is powerful, all the more so for how well made it is (narrative structure, acting, special effects, foley art, etc. are all top-notch) and especially because it very definitely has a not-very-subtle point.

And then we returned to a Holehead mainstay, crazy Japanese splatstick comedy with VAMPIRE GIRL VS FRANKENSTEIN GIRL. Vampire girl would be Monami Arukardo, a transfer student new to school just around Valentine's day. Keiko is a spoiled rich girl, her father is the assistant principal, and her love interest is Jyugon Mizushima. On Valentine's day, it's tradition for girls to give their beloved chocolates. But the stern teacher confiscates all chocolates as not classroom related and therefore contraband. But Monami hides one piece of candy and gives it to Mizushima. However it has a very strange filling--her blood. That turns Mizushima into a vampire (or at least halfway there). That's a problem for Keiko. Luckily her dad isn't just assistant principal--he's a mad scientist and heir to the legacy of Dr. Frankenstein. Wacky hijinx ensue throughout. Pretty funny, especially in the parodies of various school cliques (the cutting girls, the "ganguro" girls, etc.)

And finally, the late show was a blast from the past, THE EXTERMINATOR. Vietnam vets John Eastland (Robert Ginty) and Michael Jefferson (Steve James) are still friends well after the war. After Jefferson (who was the tougher one back in 'Nam) breaks up an attempt by a street gang to rob the warehouse where he works, they come back and get revenge, putting him in the hospital paralyzed. So Eastland seeks revenge, and finds the role of a vigilante "exterminator" fits him pretty well. Too bad the law doesn't agree. And that's that.

Total Running Time: 385
My Total Minutes: 188,419
Post a Comment