Legend has it that in the 1960s the president of Mexico (whoever that was) was obsessed with wrestling. He was humiliated that his country couldn’t beat Russia in the Olympics, so he began a secret program. Scientists took three of the best lucha libre guys and Frankensteined them into one: El Mascerado, the greatest wrestler who ever lived. But after a while something went wrong. He went insane in the ring, poking people’s eyes out and mangling people (both of which are illegal in Mexican wrestling). So they took him away to some small town to put him down and nobody knows what happened. Now, a vanful of American douchebags have accidentally stopped in a ghost town where El Mascerado secretly resides. And they’re about to learn that he’s not exactly retired yet. He hasn’t switched to ringside commentator, he’s still in the game. And still undefeated.

How can you go wrong with a premise like that? Well, they try their best to go wrong. After a nice lucha libre montage under the credits they introduce the obnoxious lead-trespasser, Alfonse, talking about that stupid concept called “the Dirty Sanchez.” I’m not gonna explain what it is because it doesn’t exist, it’s just some stupid bullshit some prick like this guy made up because he impresses himself by yammering about this type of stupid shit. Basically it’s a made-up sex act that would give no sexual pleasure but would be demeaning, racist and disgusting, so Screech did it in his porno dvd. (read the rest of this shit…)

Hell Ride

The first time I saw KILL BILL VOLUME 2, when Michael Madsen got chewed out by his boss at the strip club, I thought Who is that guy? Because he had such a presence, he seemed so perfect to play that type of sleazy (but completely justified in this case) boss, but I didn’t think I recognized him from anything. Turns out he was Larry Bishop, son of Joey Bishop. He’s an actor going back to WILD IN THE STREETS and an I DREAM OF JEANNIE episode, and the guy who directed that movie MAD DOG TIME a while back. Well, Tarantino obviously liked him so he helped him to make a biker movie, this time not just as director but as writer/director/producer/star.

Tarantino put his name on the movie as a presenter, hooked Bishop up with Dimension Films, and loaned him the use of Michael Madsen and David Carradine for a while. He also seems to be a big inspiration on the attitude of the movie, which is basically a western on motorcycles with lots of weird non-sequitur shit thrown in. The movie also has some pretty hip marketing, one of the first incidents in modern times of a movie released with a cool illustrated movie poster that remains as the DVD cover. Everyone knows you’re supposed to throw away the poster and put a shitty photoshop collage of the actor’s heads on the DVD. That’s in marketing 101. This one breaks that rule. (read the rest of this shit…)


Producers of violent horror movies like to claim their movies are “controversial.” Here’s a more mainstream-acceptable horror movie that actually is controversial among movie fans. It was hugely popular at the time, but it seems to me like most horror fans today look down on it or sent it. Like it or not, SCREAM was an important landmark in the ongoing history of the horror. It singlehandedly resuscitated the rotting corpse of the slasher movie (at least in its whodunit form inspired by FRIDAY THE 13TH, SLEEPAWAY CAMP, PROM NIGHT, TERROR TRAIN, etc.) It made horror big business again, paving the way for an onslaught of low (and medium) budget horror that otherwise wouldn’t have happened. But alot of horror fans see themselves as outsiders, so it bugs them when a horror movie is popular with people who aren’t as into stabbing and monsters as they are. And in my opinion there is a certain amount of sexism there, because they get mad about teenage girls liking the same movies as them. (Don’t tell them that HALLOWEEN is about teenage girls, they might cry.) (read the rest of this shit…)

Road Games

After watching DARK AGE and ROGUE recently I started thinking about other Australian pictures, but without giant crocodiles: MAD MAX, RAZORBACK, CHOPPER, WOLF CREEK. And I thought holy shit (American for “crikey”) I gotta see some more Australiama or whatever it’s called. Actually, I have since learned that a documentary on Australian exploitation cinema played in Austin recently and got all my Ain’t It Cool colleagues excited about “Ozploitation.” I’m not ready to accept that term, that seems pretty forced. How bout if we call it “cinemarang.” Or “cinemaroo.” Or “Australian cinema” would be another good one.

Anyway I decided to watch this one by Richard Franklin, best known in the states for the surprisingly decent PSYCHO II. He did that one because he was obsessed with Hitchcock, studied all his movies, even got him to come speak at his film school. Can you believe that shit? “Good evening kids, I’m Alfred Hitchcock. Questions?” I wonder if he hung out in the dorms at all. (read the rest of this shit…)

Sleepaway Camp


There’s no way around it: SLEEPAWAY CAMP is a blatant ripoff of FRIDAY THE 13TH. It borrows the summer camp setting, the child with a tormented past and messed up guardian, and the unseen killer who’s unmasked in a crazy twist ending that nobody could’ve seen coming because it came out of nowhere. Alot of slasher movies take the same formula and put it in a different setting, this one takes the same formula and puts it in the same setting. It’s like DIE HARD in a building.

The reason it’s survived in the popular consciousness, though, is that it has its own weird brand of sleaziness that gives it a feel different from any other slasher movie, including other summer camp slasher movies. For one thing, the kids at the summer camp are played by actual kids. The vast majority of ’80s slasher movies were about teens played by actors in their early to mid twenties. And FRIDAY THE 13TH focussed on the counselors. Adrienne King, who played FRIDAY heroine Alice, was 20. Felissa Rose, the star of SLEEPAWAY CAMP, was 13. It makes it more uncomfortable. (read the rest of this shit…)

The Strangers

Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman (Felicity) play a young couple who have come to town for a wedding and are staying at an isolated house Scott’s family owns. It’s a house with a long driveway and a lot of trees around, a place where people can get lost, he mentions. They’ve had a bad night and might be calling it quits with each other and then all the sudden, around 4 am, some girl knocks on the door asking for somebody they never heard of.

Out here? In the middle of nowhere? Where did she come from? Then Scott makes the mistake of going to buy cigarettes. While he’s gone the girl shows up again, and things start getting weirder. Basically this is the story of what happens when 3 people in Halloween masks show up at your house and try to get in, for unknown reasons. (read the rest of this shit…)


I can’t remember if I’ve brought this up before or not, but I fuckin hate Bush. Worst thing to happen to this country including our version of Godzilla looking like an iguana. I don’t think I’m the only one who’d rather not think about him unnecessarily. So when I heard Oliver Stone was already doing an all-star George W. Bush movie it seemed like a joke. It honestly sounded to me like a fictional movie they would refer to in some TV show like STUDIO 60 or one of those. A character would mention that they’re trying out for the part of so-and-so in Oliver Stone’s George Bush biography. And I would think come on, Oliver Stone would never make a movie like that.

I mean, there’s the whole too soon factor. Are we really ready for a more humanized portrait of the moronic shitbag sonofabitch who’s about to exit the White House leaving behind 2 (two) wars with no clear objectives, a Constitution that has been devalued by the government intentionally and openly violating it without any consequences, the people sorely divided for intentional political purposes, and (the cherry on top) the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression? Should we really give a shit what makes this asshole tick? Shouldn’t that be a fun hobby for historians to play many, many years from now when we’ve managed to get some of the mess cleaned up? (read the rest of this shit…)


Everybody loves dog movies if the dog is named Air Bud or is a descentdant of Air Bud, and he plays basketball or football, or rides a skateboard or wears sunglasses. But what if the dog’s sport was hunting, and furthermore what if his prey was THE ULTIMATE PREY – MAN. Same prey that Predator chose, in other words. Not so adorable now, is it?

CUJO is another solid Stephen King picture with a high concept about people with marital difficulties being terrorized, but for once it is not a haunted object that terrorizes them, it is a dog haunted only by a viral zoonotic neuroinvasive disease that causes acute encephalitis in mammals. Cujo got his rabies from a bat (the unsung villain of this piece, if you ask me) so now he’s kind of confused and taking his car chasing duties a little too serious. So when the mom from E.T. and the kid from “Who’s the Boss?” get stranded in their car on his property it creates a conflict. There is a strong disagreement about whether or not the dog should be allowed inside the car, basically. (read the rest of this shit…)

Vern survives the FACES OF DEATH 30th Anniversary Edition!!

I know we got some home theater buffs out there, right? Let’s say you have an HDTV, a Blu-Ray player, 5.1 surround (or whatever the best is these days), the whole setup. How do you feel about using all that to watch a guy eat monkey brains?

What I’m getting at, my friends, is that FACES OF DEATH came out on Blu-Ray and a new 30th anniversary DVD earlier this month. I don’t think Harry covered it in his column, so I thought I would give my thoughts on this important event.

As you know, FACES OF DEATH is one of those movies with a reputation so vile, so putrid that it’s not even thought of as a movie. It’s just a tape. A tape more hated than BATMAN AND ROBIN or MEET THE SPARTANS – one most people are disgusted by without having necessarily seen it. Like I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE only worse, because it has REAL DEATH IN IT! (read the rest of this shit…)


To be honest I had written off the possibility of good Stephen King-based movies a while back. It seemed like that whole thing had run its course, but then I saw THE MIST and that was an enjoyable one. So I gave 1408 a shot, what the hell.

John Cusack plays a writer of haunted places guidebooks travelling around to allegedly haunted rooms, testing them, staying the night and writing about them. But he’s kind of a dick about it and doesn’t even believe in ghosts. And it’s indicated that something tragic happened in New York that caused him to leave his wife. But now he wants to go back to New York for the first time to stay in this room he found out about, 1408 at the Dolphin, where a whole bunch of people have killed themselves. And of course he gets in, the room terrorizes him for real, he learns about himself and explores the traumas of his life and faces why he left his wife. Spoooooky. (read the rest of this shit…)