Cannibal Ferox, or Make Them Laugh Slowly
8.22.2002 by , every Thursday.
Can't get enought Ash? You should be reading Pulp!
I know, I know, I'm getting later than ever with these lousy columns. It's just that I'm so damned busy, locking myself in my apartment and listening to Dimmu Borgir's Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia at full blast until that weird old lady across the hall gets the message and stops screaming at the TV playing daytime game shows like The Price Is Right. Not only does she do that, but she never says thank you when I hold the front door to our building open for her, nor does she ever appear to say anything positive to anyone at all, leading me to believe that no one will care when I cut her up into bits in my bathtub and feed her to my roommates. Needless to say, if I'm wrong with this assumption, my next column may be delayed for about 10-15 years, depending on how good my lawyer is.
Charming Mexican picture that makes up for the fact that it's foreign by killing a whole lot of dogs. Usually, animal cruelty is the only way I can stomach international movies, as it distracts from the subtitles, making it feel more like watching a movie and less like struggling through Spanish class. But, thanks to the tireless efforts of people like Briget Bardot and my vegetarian upstairs neighbors, now you can barely even torture a duckling on screen without raising a stink with PETA. Thankfully, special effects have now advanced to the point where simulated animal cruelty is almost as amusing and, let's admit it, arousing as the real thing. Actually, in all honesty, weird foreign movies that depend on the gratuitous suffering of animals, like Amores Perros or Italian cannibal films, can actually be beneficial to society. When you think about it, if I'm spending all my time watching two dogs chew each other to death, I have less free time available to nail cats to trees, or fill up the crawlspaces in my house with 13 year old girls, or waste valuable bandwidth with tasteless serial killer jokes.
Austin Powers in Goldmember
As usual, the only funny part of this Mike Myers vanity project is Seth Green, who spends his limited screen time sitting in the background looking bored, for which I have great empathy. Watching Myers fill up hour after hour of celluloid with stupid voices two steps above an Adam Sandler impression must get tedious for Green, especially if he didn't have the option of getting up to go get popcorn in the middle of the irritating Fat Bastard scene, or the opportunity to kill time by hiding Milk Duds in the dreadlocks of the fetid, hennaed hipster sitting in front of him.
Friday, August 2
Early F.W. Murnau movie that tells the story of Faust's deal with the devil in classic German expressionist form. Unfortunately for fans of the genre, many of the existing prints of this film are way too dark to make out, giving the impression that the movie was filmed through a pair of Ray-Ban Predators. Emil Jannings, from Murnau's previous picture The Last Laugh, gives an interesting performance as the devil, although he does look rather portly and somewhat Japanese, bizarrely enough, coming off somewhat like Nathan Lane in a Kimono, which is actually a much more terrifying vision of Satan than the traditional fire and brimstone biblical demon.
Saturday, August 3
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
While I appreciate the charms of this remarkably well-directed Western, I still can't understand why Robert Redford is famous. I understand that his boyish good-looks and whimsical, laid-back, slightly stoned demeanor might make the ladies a trifle light-headed, but for god's sake, not only did this man willingly make a series of films with Barbara Striesand, but he actually made The Horse Whisperer on purpose. This was not an accident, the result of a lost weekend in Vegas high on ether and a half-blotter of acid, it was a calculated decision to waste countless man-hours on making a film about a veterinarian who talks to horses, kind of like Dr. Doolittle but without the jokes and 3 hours long.
Sunday, August 4
Evil Dead Crew Shorts
It's amazing the kind of cool bootlegs you can find if you're willing to spend a few hours searching and don't fear death at the hand of a shady Oriental fellow with long fingernails who works out of the back of a convenience store in Chinatown. Not only did I pick up this tape of short Super 8 films that Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell and company made in high school, but I found a human kidney for dirt cheap, and I got a good deal on a Mogwai.
Monday, August 04
Steven Soderbergh is one of the most talented directors working in Hollywood today. He's a man of many hats, mainly because he's bald, taking films from varied genres and making them his own, and doing it all within the confines of the studio system of test screenings and producer notes. And that's a damn good thing do, because when he's not being watched over, he comes up with crap like this. Seemingly under the impression that he's David Lynch, Schizopolis is Soderbergh's attempt at a symbolic, non-narrative driven art film. Unfortunately, since he's not David Lynch, and is instead the guy who keeps making George Clooney films, the whole thing comes off as disjointed mess, not unlike what would happen if you gave a first year film student a video camera after making him sit through a Godard festival. There are some interesting ideas floating around amid the light-hearted pretention, but you fall asleep too fast to notice them.
Tuesday, August 5
There's not a lot to say about this film that hasn't been said before, namely "holy f$%&, they just rammed a six-foot stake up that girl's business". The most infamous of the films from the Italian cannibal cycle of the late 70s, Cannibal Holocaust is banned in nearly every country that has electricity. Plot wise, it follows the same pattern of its ilk, in which a group of Americans head into the jungle, rape some natives, burn some villages, then get eaten, posing the question of who the savages truly are. Well, the cannibals, clearly. They eat people, plus they haven't invented clothes yet. Anyway, the most interesting thing about this movie, aside from the countless un-faked animal killings, is that it clearly inspired The Blair Witch Project. Most of the story is told through the footage of the missing Americans, which is found by a search party a year later. Not only that, its original release mirrored the Blair Witch ad campaign, purporting that the footage was real, with so much success the director had to go to court to prove that nobody actually got impaled up the business, at least not anybody who wasn't a savage.
Austin Powers in Goldmember
Trust me, it's no better the second time, even if it's at the drive-in. Fat Bastard looks even more disgusting through a haze of car exhaust, and I've heard about enough I can stand of Beyonce Knowles on the radio without adding another hour and half of her shrillishly uneducated voice over the speakers, thank you very much.
I had heard good things about this latest installment in my favorite slasher series, from several people I trusted. I haven't decided whether or not they were lying, or are just stupid, but either way I'm going to kick out their teeth so they can't give anybody else bad advice. Not even the gas fumes seeping into the car at the drive-in could make this movie interesting. Full of gaping plot holes and incongruities with the previous films, Halloween Resurrection has Michael Myers, having finally finished with his sister, Jamie Lee Curtis, going after a new batch of youngsters, including Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks, for no apparent reason. I mean, I can understand wanting to kill Busta Rhymes, having been made to sit through his performances in both Finding Forrester and the Shaft remake, but I don't think Michael Myers spent a lot of time in the multiplexes over the past 20 years, although I'm sure he turned up for the premier of the Austin Powers movies.
Wednesday, August 6
How in the hell did Charlton Heston win an Oscar for this role? He acts like he was tutored by Jim Carrey, and then decided to turn it up a notch for the cameras. Had they not invented subtlety in 1959, or was reading your lines like you're straining to lift a heavy suitcase and slightly out of breath considered cool? Interminable breaks between words, masquerading as dramatic pause, bring back irritating memories of standing in line at the video store behind a recently immigrated Chinese fellow, rather unfamiliar with English, attempting to start a membership with nothing but a student ID and a half-stamped Pita Pit card.
So there you have it, another week's worth of wasted time. I'll try to have another one ready within at least a couple of weeks, and keep an eye out for a brand spanking new September issue of PULP.