Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens

Why did Sharknado 4 have to open with a Star Wars-esque opening crawl? Was it because they gave Tara Reid a Light Saber hand?

First there was a shark sandnado in Vegas, then a shark bouldernado in the Grand Canyon, followed by a shark oilnado/firenado in Texas. A shark lightningnado heads toward Kansas. Cue Wizard of Oz references…and a cownado. The lightningnado heads towards a nuclear power plant in Ohio…and becomes a shark nuclearnado. The grand finale takes place all the way in Niagara Falls…Wait, how did that baleen whale get into the Sharknado? And the baby shark nipple defibrillators…uhhhh…the end? At least they set it up for a sequel…Sharknado in France.

Adding Gary Busey to the mix was a stroke of genius. I didn’t think there was any more crazy that could be added to the mux, but I was wrong.

I was disappointed that Tara Reid wasn’t killed off in the last one, but I technically, I guess she DID die. Grumble, grumble…

The cameos came fast and furious: Carrot Top, Vince Neil, Wayne Newton, Adrian Zmed, Dr. Drew, Xfinity Cable Remote Controls, Al Roker, Bud Bundy, Jillian Barberie, Gilbert Gottfried, Dog the Bounty Hunter, Dan Yeager (Leatherface) and Caroline Williams (Stretch), Stacey Dash, Christine (the car), Steve Guttenberg (his character crossover from Lavalantula), Comic Con, Paul Shaffer, the biggest ball of yarn in the world, Lloyd Kaufman!!! (one of my idols), Gena Lee Nolin and some other Baywatch skank…did I miss any?

The whole family agreed that this one was better than the third one, which was previously the best one. Although it was mostly ridiculously predictable, there were a few WTF moments that had a tiny spark of genius, like the Christine cameo. I didn’t catch any other Stephen King references, it just seemed out of place, which made me love it all the more. Just a total, “fuck you, we’re going for it” moment. But isn’t Sharknado itself a whole spectacle of “fuck you, we’re going for it”?

Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead

It’s been so long that I had forgotten what it’s like. I actually got out of the house last weekend and got to attend the Houston Premiere of Poultrygeist at the Alamo Drafthouse!

Poultrygeist is a love story, wrapped inside of a horror movie, tucked inside of a musical. That’s right, it’s a musical! The songs are catchy and are guaranteed to get stuck in your head. They’re almost as good as Cannibal! The Musical. I’ve had “Fast Food Love” stuck in my head for a couple of days.

When Arbie and Wendy make love for the first time in the Haunted Indian Burial Ground, little do they know that there are plans in place to bulldoze the Burial Ground and open up an an American Chicken Bunker Restaurant. Flash to six months later – Wendy returns from college a full blown dyke and dumps poor Arbie on his zombie finger buttplug (don’t ask). Arbie’s revenge is getting a job at the very place Wendy and her new girlfriend Micki are protesting – American Chicken Bunker. When a mysterious, vein-covered pulsating egg is accidentally fed to one of the guests, strange things begin to happen at the American Chicken Bunker…guests and employees alike begin dying, only to be resurrected as Indian Chicken Zombies with a craving for human flesh.

Poultrygeist is the grossest, most special effects intensive TROMA movie ever – and if you’ve seen Terror Firmer, that’s saying a lot. Lots of shit and blood. Ron Jeremy. Lots of green broma seltzer vomit – a TROMA specialty. In fact, there’s a group vomit scene that almost puts Stand By Me to shame…and yes, the Sgt. Kabukiman car crash is back. I was actually surprised by how they used it, too. Stick around for the credits and you’ll get a special 80s inspired dance number.

TROMA founder Lloyd Kaufman was there in attendance, signing stuff and taking pictures with his fans. I didn’t bring anything to sign, but I did stop and chat with him for a bit. (I considered having him sign my belly, but thought better of exposing my stretch mark covered abdomen in front of a bunch of fan boys.) I picked up a copy of the Poultrygesit “kara-yolk-e” DVD that allows you to sing along with all the songs from the movie. In fact, Lloyd asked me to mention their “kara-yolk-e” contest in my review. Throughout the end of the year, TROMA is accepting fan videos of karaoke performances. The winner will end up on the Poultrygeist DVD and get some other stuff. Details can be found here. Lloyd also hosted a Q&A session after the film ended, which I unfortunately had to duck out of early to go pick up the kiddo.

Poultrygeist is the first TROMA film that I’ve gotten to see in the theater. I don’t know if it was because Lloyd was there in person, but every time he appeared on screen, the crowd cheered enthusiastically. Well, as enthusiastically as a theater that is only half full can cheer. I was floored that the theater wasn’t sold out. I overheard someone in the crowd say that the Austin premiere the night before was packed, which isn’t surprising at all – The Drafthouse is a BIG DEAL in Austin. I assume that a Dallas show would be just as packed. Is Houston really that lame? (That’s a hypothetical question, I already know the answer to that question.) Lloyd says he raided his wife’s retirement fund to make Poultrygeist, so go support Lloyd and see Poultrygeist! The West Oaks Drafthouse also hosts Free TROMA Thursdays, which is an amazing deal, even if their food is a way overpriced. I encourage all my readers in Houston to go out and support FREE TROMA Thursdays – I would hate for them to close the shows down. Of course, you may get mugged in the parking lot, which makes it a bit less enticing…but it’s well worth it, right?

Beware: Children at Play

Imagine what would happen if I took some acid and started reading Beowulf. Then switched to the bible. Then switched to Children of the Corn. Then decided to try to write a screenplay. Chances are, the results would be really similar to Beware: Children at Play.

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I did learn many things from this movie. If you are an English teacher, don’t take your son camping. And it’s also not a good idea to step right into a bear trap. When you are all delirious and maggots are living in your wounds, don’t start quoting Beowulf, because after you die, your kid will start to think that cannibalism is a good idea. Your kid also might end up the leader of a nutbag cannibalistic cult. Oh well, still better than having him grow up to be a scientologist.

Ten years later, children are disappearing from town. The god-fearing folk has seen their children wandering around the forest, but they sure won’t go in there and look for them. A famous sci-fi author comes to investigate the disappearances. The author starts nosing around – then the townsfolk start dying in really lame ways…those darn kids! They’re just hungry!

Unbeknownst to me, this is not my first exposure to Beware: Children at Play. An episode of South Park actually parodies the movie. It was the Wacky Molestation Adventure, where all the parents in town were sent away for “molestering” the children. A society of children forms, with Cartman as their leader. “Your blood will spill, Outlander!”

TROMA has brought us a horror movie that breaks one of the last great film taboos – the graphic depiction of the murder of a child. Not just one child – a dozen of them – all at the same time. It’s impossible to think of a film that shows graphic harm coming to a child. (If you think of any, please prove me wrong and email me about it!) [JD Bandy emailed me with a few examples – Fight for Your Life and Who Can Kill a Child? Thanks, JD – I’ll have to check them out!] There are plenty of movies with dead kids, hell, there are plenty of movies with mutilated dead kids, but not many will go all the way and stick a .45 in a kid’s mouth and blow his brains out. Kids are not only shot, they are also pitchforked, stabbed, clubbed and bottled…er, hit with a beer bottle. This may sound disturbing, but it’s not. The special effects are so bad, the scene is just laughable. The kids have no acting skills at all, so they are kind of going all stiff and then laying down on the ground. If I ever watch any of this film again, it will be just the last 10 minutes. The first hour and a half was boring as hell, but it was totally worth it for the hilarity of the final massacre.

The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie

So the Wherehouse Music down the road went out of business. A couple months ago, DVDs were 40% off, so I picked up Bad Taste and the Hairspray/Pecker combo. A few weeks ago, DVDs went down to 70% off – and what do I pick up? Girls School Screamers and Toxie III, of course. I swear that Toxie wasn’t there the first time around, or I would have gotten him then…

So everyone makes a big fuckin’ deal about Kill Bill being waaaaay too long and being cut into two films. TROMA was there first. The Toxic Avenger, Part II ran over 4 hours, so it too was split into two volumes. Choke on that, Harvey!

Toxie is back and this time, he’s evil. Toxie unwittingly makes a deal with the devil in order to pay for his blind girlfriend’s eye operation. He becomes total yuppie scum and Tromaville is overtaken by the evil Apocalypse Inc. Fortunately, he sees the light and defeats the devil to save the citizens of Tromaville.

Did you know that if you stick a bad dude’s hand into a VCR, it will grind it down to a nub? Sure enough! Did you also know that a videotape eraser can erase a bad dude’s face? It will! Did you know that bubbles and flames shoot out of Toxie’s ass when he comes? Unfortunately so…

There are lots of shout-outs to Redneck Zombies, one of the first TROMA flicks I ever watched. Too funny.

Now I just have to get ahold of Citizen Toxie…

 

The Toxic Avenger, Part II

The first Superhero from New Jersey is back!

In this one, The Toxic Avenger goes to Japan to find his father. I was impressed by the fact that they really filmed in Japan and found some great locations, like the Fish Markets. There was more blood and gore going on in that fish market than in the rest of the film. There were also a lot of Kabuki men, possibly foreshadowing Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.? I did expect more Godzilla references though.

There are some decent villains in this one – my favorite is the little midget Basketball dude. The Mutant fish head guy is a close second. I think Malfaire was underused though – I guess they couldn’t afford to send her to Japan.

Toxie’s “new” girlfriend is quite annoying. I just wanted to bitchslap her the whole time. She does fill out a dress better than the last one, but geez….she could stop making those weird squealing sounds.

And what’s up with ‘Amazing Grace’? I have noticed it used in almost all TROMA films that I have seen recently…there is a gospel version in this one, a Kabuki version in Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. and a metal version in Terror Firmer. I am guessing that the rights on the song have lapsed and they can use it all they want…or maybe Lloyd just likes that song a lot…

Well, I gotta say that the second installment in the Toxic Avenger series is not nearly as good as the first one, but it is still a pretty decent way to spend a Labor Day. The main shortcoming is the lack of gore, as compared to most other TROMA fare. Even though I have the Director’s Cut DVD, a lot of the gore is edited out. The official site says that a box set is coming out that will include the gore, but goddamn it, I HATE it when they do that, now I have to buy the damned thing again.

   

The Toxic Avenger

Toxie made TROMA a household name.

My boyfriend bought me the Director’s Cut DVD, which fully restores all of the bloody glory that had been edited out in past versions. On top of that, there are deleted scenes. Ahhhhhh, the joy that is DVD.

Melvin Junko is a dorky mop boy at the Tromaville Health Club until he falls into a barrel of Toxic Waste and is transformed into the Toxic Avenger – though he is never referred to as the Toxic Avenger in the film – they call him the “Monster Hero.” I was quite impressed by the Toxie transformation special effects – they aren’t bad for 1985….too bad TROMA‘s special effects haven’t improved much since then. Hey, but why improve on a formula that works, right?

Oh, but to count the wonderful things Toxie does. He saves children from hit and run maniacs and helps little old ladies across the street. He rips off noses, arms and scalps. He deep fries, electric mixes and bakes the bad guys. He even dry cleans a midget!

It’s no wonder that Toxie is TROMA‘s most popular franchise – Toxie has spawned 3 sequels, a kiddie cartoon show and even action figures!

  

Sucker: The Vampire

When I was in 11th grade, I was in a class, either World History or Sociology – I don’t remember which, that required me to turn in Current Events, which amounted to finding a newspaper article and writing a page on it, including who, what, when, where, why – that kind of busy work bullshit. I bought a copy of the Weekly World News and did a report on an article that said that the Vampires of the world are dying of AIDS. Seriously.

In this film, Anthony is a Vampire that is dying of AIDS. He is one of those Euro-fag Vampires, so I don’t have much sympathy for him. He was being chased by Vampire Hunter, Vanessa Helsing – haha, get it? He made the mistake of biting her, she had contracted AIDS on purpose, just to give Anthony a little surprise.

That is not the main focus of the film, however. The main focus is on Anthony’s familiar, Reed. Reeds sucks. He is a necrophiliac male nurse, hired due to his ability to easily get rid of Anthony’s victims. Of course, before he gets rid of them, he dresses them up in lingerie, takes pictures with him and bones them. It doesn’t show him boning them though. Shit. Reed (Renfield?) is creepy to watch, he has this weird leer and I spent the whole time trying to figure out if he was wearing Billy Bob teeth – I don’t think he was.

This film was very boring and tedious to watch, my boyfriend fell asleep. The cinematography and lighting was very cool though. Lots of red and blue light bulbs in the vampire’s lair.

Sucker sucks, not in a good way, but there were a few moments that made me laugh.

Legend of the Chupacabra

This is the first film that I have ever reviewed that is not even in the IMDB. They have 600 Ron Jeremy pornos listed, but no Chupacabras. [note: Legend of the Chupacabra has been added to the IMDB since the date of the original review.]

Shitty. I bought it on DVD. For $20. It’s decently hard to find, I guess, but jesus, it’s bad. I laughed very hard, but my head hurt afterwards.

This film does deliver though – how many horror films show you the monster, in daylight, within less than 20 minutes into it? The Chupacabra is sucking and killing at 17 minutes. I would have thought that the Chupacabra would be a night creature, but he does a lot of his sucking during daylight…they probably couldn’t afford lights. The film is shot documentary style, and you would assume it is a rip-off of The Blair Witch Project, but this was released a year before Blair…which leads me to believe that it’s a rip-off of this Chupacabra Hunt gone horribly wrong.

Katsy Joiner is the worst actress that I have ever seen in a TROMA release. That is saying a lot. She was heinously bad, in that bad Texas Independent Film sort of way. (For further examples of bad acting in Texas Independent Films, see The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Slacker, El Mariachi, Lust (starring me).)

The DVD is ‘packed’ with all kinds of special features: an alternate ending that is even more X-Files than the first; a couple of deleted scenes and an instructional video on how to put on a Chupacabra suit!

Did you know Mexicans refer to hickeys as ‘chupacabras’? Really, ask Erin…

Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.

From TROMA, of course.

Sgt. Kabukiman fights crime with a supersonic fan, chopsticks of death, killer sushi and of course, a big fucking sword. The streets of New York are safer with Sgt. Kabukiman on the job…though a hell of a lot stranger…TROMA brings us a new superhero, even stranger than the Toxic Avenger.

It also should be noted that within this film, is the origin of the most over-used car explosion in history. Sgt. Kabukiman had not yet mastered his powers and changes into Sgt. Clownman. The bad guys chase him through New York, through a child’s birthday party, and ultimately, one of the cars explodes. This is the very same footage later used in Tromeo and Juliet, Terror Firmer and probably countless other TROMA flicks.

As in most TROMA flicks, the film is rife with social commentary. Yuppies are felled by falling women, lawyers are vomited upon and cops are spewed with acidic bodily secretions…Yippee!

Coming in 2002 – Sgt. Kabukiman L.A.P.D.!!!!

I’m glad this film was not Sgt. Bukkakeman.

Terror Firmer

Vile. This is the vilest film I have ever seen.

So, of course, I liked it. I had been waiting to see it for a while. It never came out into the theaters in Dallas, I checked. It just came out on video/dvd in January, so I tried to order it from Amazon. Hopelessly back ordered. I ordered it from Digilot – back ordered. I even tried to order it from Troma – but their online store was broken – ASP errors everywhere. I finally broke down and got it off eBay – for about list price….and Saturday night, I watched it for the very first time….

Terror Firmer is the story of a film crew just trying to “make some art.” The director, played by Lloyd Kaufman (founder of Troma, father of Toxie), is blind and his 12 year old daughter (played by Kaufman’s real-life daughter, Charlotte) is mute. A serial killer terrorizes the set, hilarity ensues…average Troma fare? Nope, it’s weirder.

A woman gets de-fetused, a guy gets killed with a bong up the butt, another gets eaten by an escalator…and the killer is a little confused about his sexuality…and even worse, his favorite director is Speilberg. I don’t want to ruin the film for you by telling you too much about the killer, but if you’ve seen the trailer, it’s already ruined – it pretty much gives the film away.

Again, there are lots of cameos. Ron Jeremy makes an appearance, though his cock doesn’t…wait! It kind of does…eeewwwwwww! Lemmy is back as well…so are Trey Parker and Matt Stone.

Lemme tell you, the dvd is loaded with extras – it’s a 2 disc set, with commentaries, deleted scenes, a making-of and a video game. I haven’t even gotten through the whole thing yet.

The film would have gotten a higher rating for the gore factor alone, but there were parts that were slow and just made no sense. It took a good half hour for the film to get going. The fore-shadowing was good, I even think I may have missed a few things. Maybe after a few viewings, who knows – I may change the rating.