Film Festival at Scott's

It Jumps, It Squeeks,
It Reviews Strange Movies


JUNK (1999)

      Here are short reviews of three movies I saw at Scott's place, the first of which is Junk, a Japanese zombie movie.

      Now, I realize that there's a certain level of suspension of disbelief one must have when watching a flesh-eating zombie movie. But there's also a certain level of internal consistency needed for the movie to actually WORK as a movie. Let's say, how about establishing what bullets do to zombies, for instance. They should either kill the zombies, or they don't. Bullets should definitely not be something that don't kill zombies, then abruptly do kill (re-kill, whatever) them for 15 minutes of the movie, then not kill them for another 15 minutes, then knock them over but not kill them for 15 minutes, then kill them AGAIN. Am I asking for too much thought here? One or zero: They do, or they don't.

      Somebody had seen some Tarantino, so the erstwhile heroes are a ruthless, unlikable band of murderous gangsters ("erstwhile" means "by default" or "I suck as a screenwriter so you don't care who dies"). They go to hold up a "jewellry" store. They are such good thieves that they bring a sword for no reason, smash every case (which sets off no alarms), and have a getaway car that they've taken for a test drive from a car dealership. For several hours, apparently. The getaway driver gave the dealership her cell phone number before stealing it, and gets a call from the salesman during the robbery. Her compadres doing the robbery are almost defeated by a woman who jabs a pair of scissors into one guy's foot (it took me the whole movie before I got who he looked like in clothes & hair--Johnny Slash! "Square pegs square pegs square--PEGS!"). That was her whole gig. Jabbin' the scissors, makin' the blood spurt, just sittin' there so one of the heroes can shoot her. Wow, NOW they're likable.

      Oh, yeah, the movie opened with a SECRET AMERICAN ARMY PROJECT to REANIMATE DEAD JAPANESE people. This high-tech cutting-edge experiment took place in an abandoned warehouse with a staff of two. This Naked Japanese Chick was injected with "DNX," the magic life-giving formula with the mild side effect of making any corpse immediately eat your neck, or at least rip off the piece of latex that covered the blood bag. You know, if for some reason I ever get a job reanimating dead people, I'm locking them in a big vault first. Has there ever been a movie where the dead didn't jump up & eat your guts, but instead ran off to find Jimmy Carter and build houses for the poor? At the very least, I'd expand the budget so that there was a third person, and his specialty would be De-Animation. And I'd try DNX on a toothless hamster first. SCIENTIST: "It's--ALIVE! My creation is ALIV--Okay, Mr Fluffikin's trying to rip my latex jugular out now." (De-Animator grabs Mr Fluffikins & flings him into the trash can) "Let's brew up a better batch of DNX this time, okay? With less throat-ripping this time?"

      And meanwhile, back at the gangsters: Johhny Slash's foot is geysering blood, but the Girl heals him by pouring Evian on it (NOT MAKING THIS UP!). Then there was a bunch of shit we paid no attention to, US Army reanimating dead, some Japanese scientist, Yakuza fencing the "jewells," the place to make the payment is--why, it's an abandoned factory! The kind where you have shoot-outs! In over-populated Japan, and it's abandoned, EXCEPT FOR THE ZOMBIES.


      Zombies don't scare me. They're like mummies with broken feet. If zombies had an Olympics, the 50 Yard Dash would still be going on during the next Olympics. It's hard to be afraid of something that I could outrun, and harder still when it's something that I could out-loiter.
      (In front of the 7-11): "Hey, dude! That's zombie's gonna eat us!"
      "Yep. He sure looks hungry."
      "Yeah. I am so running away in...I dunno. Ten minutes?"
      "Maybe. I may wanna microwave another burrito, dude. Let's say...Ten minutes and 90 seconds."
      "'Kay." (slurps) "I may need to use the bathroom after this Big Gulp though."
      "Hahaha! Dude, he wants BRAINS! You're so safe!!"
      "Fuck you, man!" (slurps) "What kind of burrito? Beef & bean?"

      As far as the internal consistency thing goes, zombies are caused by direct medical injection of DNX. Or, some guy spraying 8,000 rounds from the Uzi of Infinite Ammo at a cheap wooden shelf of DNX while going "YAARRGGHH!" (while the people he's supposedly shooting crouch down behind it; he doesn't bother aiming a yard lower and kill them, as he's to busy yaarrgghhing) which causes DNX to seep into the carefully-preserved corpses in the high-tech storage facility (they're wrapped in sacks & laying on the floor--Hoo WEE, that place must need a whole forest of pine tree air fresheners!). They are also caused by zombies eating corpses of major characters, well, not eating, noshing really, on their intestines. And sometimes the zombies eat their OWN guts. They're a self-contained biosphere! If I could live just by eating my fingernails, I sure wouldn't be eating some stranger's intestines. I mean, intestines! Who KNOWS what HE'S been eating!

      Plot...Plot, yes. The US Army gets together with this Japanese scientist whose dialogue is half the time in Japanese, and the rest of the time in Martian. No, wait, it's phonetically read English, and he's got a throat full of pudding. That's the way it sounds, at any rate. It's the "Night of the Living Pink Lady and Jeff"! "Okk-ay, Jheff, naow we siong ouhr song uhnd den, we eat yoo-or brains!" "Hey, sexy ladies! That sounds good! Wait--what's that phonetic cue card say again? The brains part, I mean?" "Eet say--H'ARRGH! BRAIIINS!" *chomp* And all America cheered!

      The scientist & an Army guy try to blow up the factory with the zombies by remote computer control. But! They didn't count on Naked Zombie Chick! Since this movie just basically uses every stupid thing from every stupid American Action Blockbuster of the last 5 years, the Army guy types 1600WPM on the keyboard (about a 160:1 ratio to the words on the monitor) to send the AUTO-DESTRUCT signal to the factory's LPD--wait, I meant "CPU," not "Lame Plot Device" (How come houses or toasters don't come with auto-destruct sequences, but Villain Headquarters or Abandoned Factories always do? If you build that into your reanimation lab, aren't you just admitting that you're too stupid to put the corpses in a vault before reviving them?)
      Unfortunately, they don't realize that they're dealing with the only L33t haX0r Naked z0mbie ChiX in the whole world! She types THREE WHOLE KEYSTROKES which turns the auto-destruct off. It can't be reactivated...except...for...this key...ZZZZ...
      Huh? Wha? Sorry, dozed off during that last totally unpredictable plot twist. Oh, wait, Scientist says "One of them is very smart!" ("Zom B. Coyote, SUPER Genius!") "This is not a normal zombie!" Yeah, the normal zombies are shopping at the Mall. "Can I help you with anything?" "Yessss...BRAAAAINS!!" "Aisle Two, sir."

      I'm devoting far too much typing to this stupid movie. Umm, now the scientist takes an L33t commando team (him and another guy) to attack Zombie Headquarters. The producers paid for the helicopter rental, so damned if they ain't gonna draaag the flight out for 10 minutes! Scientist says several English sentences like "Muh num glum compootuh uhnd da keys hai fo zombeesuh, Jheff!" while the Americans wisely avoid pronouncing any Japanese. Obviously, the producers were quite sure that this was going to get an American release as a breakthrough crossover hit. Morons. Jet Li reciting Beowulf would be more comprehensible.

      At some point when we weren't paying attention, Naked Zombie Chick found a leather miniskirt. In the abandoned stinking-corpse-filled factory. With matching boots. And nylons. And garter belt.
      Scientist confronts Clothed Zombie Chick. Kevin says, "Oh, you're my beloved girlfriend! You were killed in a car crash, so I brought you back to life!" AND THAT'S JUST WHAT HAPPENS! We thought Kev had read about it on the web, but no, he was just doing some free-style cliche guessing.
      She was killed in a car crash, but there wasn't a single mark on her body (she was Naked most of it, remember?). Okay, maybe she was...umm, suffocated by the airbag or something. But Scientist also tells us that she died "two years ago." And...uhh...You know, I'm betting that a Naked Chick who's been dead for TWO YEARS is not someone I'd want to see naked. Especially in a place where the Stiff-Stor (R) is the unrefridgerated floor of an abandoned factory. "Oh no! Disney-San has thawed! And he's being eaten by mice! It is ironic!"

      The Clothed Zombie Chick throws Scientist's head down the stairs at Girl gangster's feet. Oh, wait, did I forget to mention that her whole gang except Johnny Slash was killed? Man, and I got to know them so closely as characters. And, umm, Johnny? He's like driving away in that car they stole from the dealership? Like 8 hours ago? And he's like on his cellphone? He's trying to call the girl, but like she can't reach her cell phone? Because of the zombies? But then she does? And she shoots Zombie Chick, and like with no explanation or even any comment, Zombie's hair turns like Platinum Blonde? I KNOW, girlfriend! Shoot me any time if it like makes me blonde!!
      And Platinum Zombie swallows the keys that blow things up, so you know, yeah, Johnny Slash is all of a sudden right there and cuts Pia Zombidora in HALF with a SHOVEL. And her hair is inexplicably black again. Hero Chick recovers the plot-pointed keys while the Foley guy loudly crinkles cellophane at his microphone to make gut-ransackin' noises.

      Oh, Gourd. Why am I still typing this?! Come ON, you just KNOW the Main Zombie's not dead! Why the hell else would Hero Chick WALK RIGHT UP TO HER? Note to Main Zombie killers: If the Main Zombie is killed, run the fuck away. Do NOT WALK UP as the HALF-A-ZOMBIE will ATTACK! Yes, it's her TORSO attacking like the fucking Black Knight in "Monty Python & the Holy Zombie," and her FUCKING HAIR'S BLONDE AGAIN.
      Hero Chick throws Zombina into a circuit breaker, & she bursts into flame, just like the circuit breaker in your basement does when you throw a blonde torso at it. "OH NO!" I yelled, shocked at this amazing special effect. "Her mannequin's on fire! Get her wig, that cost 1800 yen!!"
      Wow, not only did they blow the factory up, they also outran the giant explosion with one second left on the red decimal counter.

      Hero Chick had spent the movie complaining how she wanted a Porsche. Guess what! Johnnie "My Horribly Stabbed Foot Was Healed By Evian" Slash had ordered a Porsche over his cell phone! From IDIOT MOTORS TOKYO, the same retards that lost the car they stole during a test ride to use as a getaway car! And the same salesmoron delivers it! To the smoking ruins of the zombie factory! With no one with him! And they beat him and steal the car! HAPPY ENDING, JHEFF! WE SIANG CLOHSING TITULL MOOHSIC NAOW!

      And then, at the ruins of the factory--A ZOMBIE HAND POKES THROUGH THE DIRT! "The End--?"
      Thanks for squeezing one final, total cliche in.

      JAY (bored, late in the movie): I don't get it--Why's this movie named "Junk"?
      ME: I think that's pretty obvious.

JASON X (2002)

      Thanks to the technological wonder that is peer-to-peer file sharing, we got to see Jason X six weeks before its theatrical release. I sure had never heard of this--Itís Friday the 13th, The Most Finallest Chapter of Them All, Unless It's the Newest Beginning Yet. From the website:

       ...And check your brains at the door. Welcome to the future of "Direct to MST3K Releases."

      It's Jason Goes to Space. I immediately started crackiní wise on how Jason and Freddie should team up to fight the Aliens and Predators ("And Chucky! And Bride of Chucky!" Scott suggested. And Bride of Re-Animator, too!). But it really WAS that...except, umm, Jason was the Alien. The future of horror turned out to be plagiarism.

      I also said "Blast Jason out the airlock" as the way to "kill" him this movie. During the credits, I think.

      In the year 2008 or something, the "Crystal Lake Research Facility" (built out of dead horny teenagers) throws "Jason the Unkillable Killing Machine That Just Keeps Killing, and Killing, and Killing..." Rabbit into a cryogenic vault just like Walt Disneyís. He kills everyone before this, of course, then jabs his adamantium machete through the foot-thick vault door to stab the Replacement for Jamie Lee Curtis. Which amazingly freezes them both. Just like how if thereís a guy on dialysis, and he stabs you through his dialysis machine, you get A FREE KIDNEY!
      Is there any follow-up to find out how this Army-run project got EVERYONE KILLED? With the big freezer leak? Of course not! Do they still keep paying the utility bills on the freezer for the next 400 years? Of course!

      And then the Earth is destroyed by an event that destroys the Earth. Itís not explained. I personally suspect evil monkeys. I suspect that these same monkeys sneak into my fridge at night and put mold on the food that was PERFECTLY GOOD 6 months ago.
      My back-up theory is that it was done by Mumm-Ra from Thundercats. With help from the evil fridge monkeys.
      Or possibly Skeletor.

      Then...itís 2455 AD and everyone got a free spaceship. Big-ass battlecruisers are used to give field trips to an archaeological class to romp around on the monkey-devastated Earth. Why? Crimeny. In the first 15 minutes the plot holes are big enough to eat the single one in the concept of Series 7 a hundred times over. It's like a Plot Black Hole, sucking in everything in the movie!

      So they find Jason and marvel that heís wearing a "hockey mask!" "Whatís hockey?" asks Future Victim, Queue # 8. The Robo-Chick programmed with useless sports trivia says "Hockey is a sport that was banned in 2042!" ("Oh no!" says Lilly. "This really IS a horror movie!" [Houston, we have in-joke!]) Yeah, that's a handy robot that knows what sports were banned 400 years ago. How come my PC "Help" file won't tell me why I can't find tickets to a Shakespearean bear-baiting online?
      It's quickly established that after 400 years, everyone knows who "Jason Voorhees" is. However, no one, not even Chick-bot, connects "Jason" with "Hockey Mask" with "Crystal Lake" with "Bloody Machete" with "Frozen Hot Babe with Stab-Wound from Machete in her Abdomen Surrounded by Corpses Kilt by Machete Stab-Wounds." I could SO beat these guys in Trivial Pursuit, Psycho Killers Edition.

      You know, when you go to BIG!Lots--don't get the "Fritos Chili & Scoops." The Scoops are good, but it all just sits there, in between the chicken and the hard-boiled egg. And you get chili-burps that smell like Fritos.

      I'm sorry, where were we? Ah, yes. They take the Tasty Chick and the "hulking, rotted carcass wearing a strange mask" onboard their ship, just like you would. "Hey, are you guys just gonna leave this perfectly rancid maggot-infested hulking rotted carcass wearing a strange mask behind?! DIBS!"

      "LET GO THE ANTS!"
      The ants are nanites--yes, Nanites! I said that this was a direct-to-MST3K release, didn't I?--and they fix the Frozen Hot Chick and also a guy who got his arm chopped off by the still-frozen Jason.

      Then Jason comes back to afterlife and kills everybody for an hour.

      It's not a very good movie.

      I don't care how much disbelief you suspend--an unkillable ...whatever Jason is, gets really boring. "Everyone will get killed except for Jamie Lee Wannabe, who will kill Jason only after several fake-out killings of Jason." The dopiest fake-out was when Chick-bot (certainly one of the Cherry 3000 models) abruptly appeared in a dominatrix outfit with giant guns and blew Jason's head off. She turned up in her lovely de Sade for spring outfit after taking about a second to change clothes and arm herself. Well, maybe robots can do that. But how come suddenly the guns--FUTURE guns, mind you, guns that have probably had to be used in bloody hand-to-hand combat against EARTH-DESTROYING FRIDGE MONKEYS--how come they finally WORK on JASON?! About ten thousand rounds have been discharged into Jason the Pincushion at this point, and all that happened is making him do the hokey-pokey. WITHOUT turning himself about, as he's JASON. Now they blow his ARMS off, they blow big WILE E. COYOTE-type body-shaped holes in the wall behind him and he falls through, then he gets HIS WHOLE HEAD AND HOCKEY MASK BLOWED REALLY VERY OFF!
      Those would've been the first guns I would've used.

      "Hey, guys! He's this legendary mass killer who couldn't be destroyed! So let's leave him here! I mean, we could blow him out the airlock, but we still have 20 minutes of movie left!"

      "LET GO THE ANTS!" Yep, they crawl out and heal Jason and his exploded head bits.
      One might point out that it's already been established that the Ants cure anything. So...why didn't they just LET GO THE ANTS! everytime someone got killed? I don't know. If the villian is unkillable, why not JUST ONCE put him up against unkillable victims?
      Oh, right.
Writing that script might've been work

Of course, the Ants don't just rebuild Jason, they make him...all together now! "Better, faster, stronger!" Bionic Jason! The Six Million Body Count M--er, whatever he is. He also gets a new techno-mask! He's like a Transformer now!

      Then more shit blows up. The entire ship, in fact, with Jason Austin on it.

      It was actually intentionally funny in parts. Such as when the crew uses something...well, it's really hard to describe, so I think that I'll just make up a word like "Holodeck" from a thing I'll also make up called "Star Trek." They recreate "Crystal Lake 1980" on it (yes, this is a good moment to roll your eyes: they have that in their database. Do they also have a condo in Vernon CT, 2002?), and it's complete with Teenaged Bimbos. "Want to drink some BEER?" asks Boozin' Bimbo. "Or--Smoke some POT?" says Tokin' Bimbo. "OR--" they chorus, taking off their tops in what I understand is the absolute latest boobies have been shown in a Jason the 13th flick, "--Have PRE-MARITAL SEX?! We LOVE pre-marital sex!" Then Jason beats them to death in their sleeping bags while the holograms go "Ow! Ouch!"

      Then, FINALLY, they blast him out of the airlock. Which--sigh--isn't enough.

      Oh yeah, the incredibly indestructible spaceship Grendel FINALLY explodes (after destroying a giant space station by side-swiping it--believe me, it makes about as much sense as crashing your Geo into the Chrysler Building and driving straight through it untouched, while the skyscraper crumples to the ground). Then the next good bit comes as Freezer Burn Woman sees Jason somehow rocketing from the exploding ship to her escape pod: "You have GOT to be fucking kidding me!!" But, poor ole Jason ends up burning up in the atmosphere as he plummets to Earth. "Look!" cries a Horny Teenager on Earth. "A shooting star!" "It landed in the lake!" says her those-who-do-not-learn-from-history-are-doomed, doomed, DOOMED!!! horny boyfriend. "Let's go check it out!" And Jason's techno-hockey mask sinks to the bottom of Crystal Lake, the only place outside of the West Bank where property values go down by the hour.
      I thought that that the Earth was "a world of violent storms, toxic landmasses and poisonous seas." What's with the smooching teeners? Who were dressed in early 80s clothes?

      When this comes into your local theater--Skip it. Unless you want to yell out the spoilers I've told you here, just to piss off anybody dopey enough to pay to see this. I'd give it thumbs down, but my thumbs have been cut off. RELEASE THE ANTS!! BABY NEEDS NEW THUMBS!!

DAGON (2002)

       Keep an eye out for Dagon, too. And if you see it, run away screaming. Supposedly this was "the only faithful adaptation of an H.P. Lovecraft story." I think the story must have been found on his grocery list:

      And they somehow managed to turn this into 100 minutes of movie. Of very bad movie. The first hour consisted of the hero, who looked like Buddy Holly but acted like Jerry Lewis, being chased by Fish People. Fish People chase very slowly, and go "Squeeeak! Squeeeak!" like evil versions of Flipper. It was hardly exciting, and we managed to use every possible fish/Jerry Lewis joke we could come up with. It also had a guy who drank the Spanish version of Bukoff, el Bukova or something, and whose dialogue was actually harder to understand than that of the Roly-Poly Fish Heads. He recalls in a flashback how some guy rejects God because He doesn't give them enough fish. Instead, he wants everyone to worship Dagon, who isn't so much God as Cod. He supplies them with fish and turns them into Fish People, which is really not all that great a deal when you think about it.

      Up till now, the movie was PG, but the last half-hour had good guys getting their skin flayed off alive (by fishing knives, which is either irony or retardation, take your pick), both female characters being raped by Fish People (making this the only movie in history to rip off Humanoids From the Deep), with one of the women committing suicide, while the other one gets cut up, gets her arms ripped off, and eaten by Dagon, and the hero setting himself on fire before instantly deciding he wants to be a Fish Person and have sex with a mermaid who's also his sister. Fun for the whole family! The Manson Family, anyway.

      At the end, a Fishie pulls off his mask and he's--CTHULHU! In the movie's established most-faithfullest-adaptation way, he's a squid-headed fat short old man who needs two canes to walk. Cthulhu's really not that scary a concept when you realize that he parks in the handicapped space.

      This was a screener, a copy that's sent to reviewers before the film is released, so every so often there's a disclaimer on the screen: "THIS IS A PROMOTIONAL COPY, NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION OR DUPLICATION. NOT FOR SALE OR RENTAL." The last time this came on screen, I said "Dudes, you really don't have to worry about anybody buying or renting this movie! You should've just named it Not For Sale or Rental!"

      The only nice touch in the movie was Buddy Lewis' sweatshirt, which said "Miskatonic" on it. Kevin had a Miskatonic University sweatshirt that had a motto in Latin on it. One day a college student stared at it:
      "Do you know what that says?"
      "No, what?"
      "The truth shall make you flee!"