Sunday, June 6, 2010

That Creepy Crawly Feeling


What has SIX arms, SIX legs, a writer/director with the last name SIX and crawls around in your mind long after you've witnessed it? Why, The Human Centipede, of course! People that know me personally are pretty annoyed at my level of enjoyment when it comes to this movie. It's really hard to explain how this movie is so great, but I will try to convince you, dear reader, that this is an instant classic. I will attempt to break down my reasons for liking it for you here in this post. This is also an attempt to kind of "get it out of my system", so to speak and lastly, to defend my opinion when people come back to me after watching it on my recommendation and are disappointed. I'm not saying we all have to like the same movies, but damn it, I want you to like this one!

 First and foremost, you need to approach it with a different mindset in order to enjoy it. I mean, how else can someone "enjoy" a movie that is basically centered around the fusion of 3 people via their mouths and asses? If you don't see the humor in this're in for a horrible ride and you will probably hate me (as some people do) for loving this film so much. Now if on the other hand, you like b-movies and unintentionally (or is it intentionally?) funny flicks, this movie is, well, the shit (a first of many bad puns for this post, I'm guessing).



 The movie was written and directed by Tom Six and the story is pretty basic and to the point. There is not much back story or unnecessary character development. I mean c'mon, you're watching a movie about an ass to mouth surgical horror show, what do you need to know about these people, right? For those of you that have somehow avoided  hearing/reading/seeing anything about this movie, I'll lay it out for you. On paper (or in this case, on your computer screen) the plot sounds deeply disturbing and downright fucking gross, but I urge you to read on after the description, after the initial feeling of a little vomit in the mouth, it's not so bad.

  The movie is about two young, infinitely stupid (hey, I didn't write the screenplay) but good looking American girls (Ashley C. WilliamsAshlynn Yennie) that are vacationing in Germany. Heading out for a night of partying in good ol' Deutschland, the girls get a flat tire on (you guessed it) a dark countryside road that is being pounded by rain. Oh yeah...and they're lost. After freaking out profusely and getting creeped out by some perverted old German dude (that I absolutely hope will be back for the sequel), the girls decide to get out of their car and into the rain, abandon the car and run INTO the woods for help. Obviously, very smart decisions. Things can only improve from here, right? In true predictable fashion, they end up at the home of  Dr. Heiter, who happens to be "the leading surgeon in separating Siamese twins" (true story, that's what he says), an incredibly ridiculous villain played to perfection by  Dieter Laser. A guy with a name like that definitely should be fucking shit up in a movie, and here he steals the show! The dude is so detached and so "mad-scienty" (yes, you read that right)  that it's unreal. He's got it all! Creepy glare, German accent, weird paintings depicting conjoined twins, an underground lab, a labyrinthine house and of course, a white lab coat. Without much hesitation, Dr. Heiter drugs the girls and locks them up in his evil operating basement. Once a third victim (Akihiro Kitamura) is acquired, the "project" is explained to the "participants" via crude slides that looked like they were drawn up by a 7 year old. The idea is to attach the three victims in the way I described earlier; by surgically removing flesh and stitching up all kinds of areas that you don't want to think about. But what takes it a step further is the fact that they are not just merely "attached", they are CONNECTED. And what do I mean exactly? Use your imagination. Need help? The person in the middle has horrible meals and the person at the end of the centipede has really, really horrible meals. From this point is when the movie really kicks in and the "what the fucks?" start pouring out of first time viewers.


One of the crappy drawings Dr. Heiter uses to get his point across

This one really drives it home. Bummer.

 Gross right? This is where a lot of people make their minds up about this movie. "Oh my God the movie is about what?!" Your mind goes in a bunch of weird places, you sicken yourself with the mere thought of the situation. What a horrible movie, right? Well if you ask me, yes and no. The IDEA is absolutely out there and very disgusting, but Tom Six capitalizes on this and pulls the oldest trick in the book. He doesn't exactly show you your biggest fear. Let's face it, "2 Girls, 1 Cup" already exists, his intention wasn't to show you people eating shit in a movie, nobody would see that (well, some people would, but not most). Is the movie Shocking? No, not at all. After you get your head wrapped around the idea of the movie (the hardest part for some people), the movie is actually pretty tame. Is it Gory? Not really. You see some minimal gore thrown in there but when compared to a lot of other gore movies out there, this is very, very soft. The thought of the Human Centipede is way scarier than the film. But the thought of the Human Centipede is so ridiculous that it's instantly laughable. Once you can laugh at it, the other little gems in the movie begin to reveal themselves. The comedy in some of the dialogue and the delivery is very over the top, the situations are so unreal that you can't help but laugh. The acting is not great but once the centipede is constructed, you do away with the mouths of 2 actors so you kind of get over it.

 Meet Dr. Heider! He looks like Christopher Walken in that Fat Boy Slim video here, doesn't he?

Watch this movie. Watch it with friends. Watch it with some alcohol. It's fun, trust me. I've seen it six times so far and every time has been with at least one new person in the group. For the second viewing, a friend could not believe we were watching it, she couldn't even look at the screen for the first half of the movie and almost got up and left the room. The thought was torturing her, she hadn't even seen any of the nasty bits and was insisting on leaving. But guess what? Curiosity (and a lot of convincing) eventually got to her and she watched it through and enjoyed it. Is it the greatest movie out there? Absolutely not. Is it shocking? Not really. Is it fun? Yes Indeed. Gorehounds might be disappointed and squeamish types might shy away from it, but one thing is certain; love it or hate it, you'll have something to talk about.

BONUS: Check out this game I ran across over at, pretty addicting! 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mannaja Trois?

Hey people, I've decided to dust off the old bloggo and give it another tiny tiny chapter, which will hopefully help me get out of this non-writing funk I've been living in (I blame facebook, riding my bike and getting drunk for this...but never myself ) and back into the glory of boring you to death about movies. I've seen quite a bit of stuff since my last post, made mental notes to write about certain films, but then wiped them away with a guilt soaked magic eraser and never following up, like I should have. Well hopefully those times are behind me and I will stop spending money on those damn nifty erasers. So what film brings me here? Well, unfortunately it wasn't a steamy three way orgy of tomahawks as indicated by the photo above, but you're getting warmer.

The movie is called Mannaja (aka "A Man Called Blade") from 1977 and was directed by Sergio Martino, who is better known for his Giallo films. Mannaja is a pretty formulaic spaghetti western that succeeded at keeping me entertained. Nothing out of this world as far as story goes but some great scenes when it came time to showcase some gore (Martino being a Giallo director, I expected this). Mannaja (excellently played by Maurizio Merli) is the main character in the movie, a tomahawk wielding bounty hunter in search of some loot for some scumbag he rounded up. After chopping said scumbag's hand off with his tomahawk, Mannaja drags this dude into some wack ass town where drinking and chasing tail has been outlawed. The town has no sheriff but is run by a rich old man (Philippe Leroy) named McGovern. The old man has the town by the balls; he owns and operates the silver mine where basically the whole town works at. The catch is that he's an asshole and is literally working people to death and not letting them chill and get loose on the weekends...imagine that! Mannaja finds out out all this and decides he wants to meet this douche so he can get his money for the scumbag, but it's not that easy son.

Everybody following along okay so far? There is a Douche AND a Scumbag, two different characters...just want everyone to be clear on that. Of course, he can't go straight to the Douche directly, he has to talk to his top bitchboy first. The top bitchboy is a guy named Valler (John Steiner) who has two Dobermans. That's his thing, he chills in a shitty western town with his badass dogs that will bite your ass if you look at him sideways. They meet at a card game and when Mannaja brings his card game-winning, money-taking skills to the table, bitchboy sicks his dogs on him. This turns out to be one of the funniest scenes in the movie because what Mannaja does is basically slap the the shit out of the dogs with the back of his tomahawk, making them cry and run. After killing a couple of the guys and taking his winnings, Mannaja decides he doesn't need the reward for the scumbag and cuts him loose.

 From here the film takes some expected turns. McGovern (the old guy that runs the town) and Valler (bitchboy) keep sending guys to try to kill Mannaja but they just end up with his tomahawk in their skulls and shit. On one of these attempts, Mannaja almost dies but is saved when a pimp named Johnny Johnny(Salvatore Puntillo) and his girls find him in under a pile of rocks that fell on him. Johnny Johhny (whose parents apparently liked the name "Johnny" so damned much) dreams of having his own brothel someday, so naturally, since they saved his ass, Mannaja promises to hook him up in the town of no guessed it; CONFLICT. Shit goes wrong and more people get tomahawks in them. It's gonna happen when you piss this guy off. Talking shit? BOOM! Tomahawk to the dome! You said what? FWACK! You get a fuckin' tomahawk chest ornament! At this stage in the film it starts getting really good, as you can tell from my excitement about tomahawks. Without spoiling it, it turns out to be a pretty decent plot with some unexpected twists that involve some great gore and some pretty impressive torture. Don't believe me? See below!

Yes, you are seeing what you are thinking, he is buried up to his neck and his eyelids have been pinned wide open with needles (or nails, couldn't really tell) with a fuckin' spike under his chin...pretty dope, huh?

All in all a very entertaining film with some excellent shots as above and some good acting. Although I can't speak for myself , I do need to point out that I  read in a couple of places that this film is very similar to a film from 1976 called Keoma. I haven't seen Keoma so I can't compare, but I definitely will check it out now. I'm assuming that Keoma is superior because it stars Franco Nero of Django fame, but I'll have to wait and see. Something interesting is that the similarities don't stop at just character and plot, some say that the reason Maurizio Merli even got the title role in Mannaja is because he looked like Franco Nero. The funniest thing I found out is that the score was done by the same team in both films, Guido De Angelis & Maurizio De Angelis, two brothers that in my opinion, created one of the worst theme songs to a western ever when they wrote the theme to Mannaja. It's as if they wanted to really wow the world with a horrid combination of Leonard Cohen and David Bowie. It had me cracking up when the title sequence came on. Truly awful sounds do that too me, I just can't believe the recording session where somebody was like "Fuck yes! I wanna hear this shit during my ENTIRE movie!", it just doesn't compute in my head. You can kind of hear it in the background of the trailer, but the vid below really lets you have it.

Check out the intro and quirky theme song!
(The fun begins at around 2:08)

I truly enjoyed Mannaja. Even if it was a little generic, the last act threw out some curve balls that made the movie standout. The direction was solid and so were the performances, making this something I would recommend. Just remember, when the opening theme comes spilling out of your speakers in all of it's glory...turn it up!

Thanks for reading, time for me to go smack some Doberman Pinschers!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Scotch and a Sofa

After last night, I can now finally check off yet another elusive little film off of my list. One film that for some reason never crossed paths with me...CRIMEWAVE(aka The XYZ Murders)! I first learned about this movie when I read Bruce Campbell's "If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor about 5 or 6 years ago. Being an Evil Dead fan, naturally, I devoured that book and my quest began. The "quest" was really not a "quest" per se, but I was pretty driven to see this damned movie. Why? Well, how can I put it? Basically, it's like the cinematic equivalent to The Justice League. Well, not as many superheroes, but really really important ones.

Crimewave marks the first collaboration between a few of my favorite filmmakers of all time; Sam Raimi, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen. Who would not froth at the mouth at the mere mention of this team? Along with a screenplay written by this awesome trio and directed by Mr. Raimi, you can also add a bit part for Bruce Campbell as well and this sounds like something a little too good too be true. So that was it, I needed to see this movie! The only problem? It was out of print. I would only find bootleg vhs copies on ebay (which I refused to watch)for years to come, so I was relegated to sadly checkng every month or so looking for any signs of dvd release. Eventually, I gave up and decided that it was one that got away. Until recently. I was casually searching through Netflix's catalog when I ran across it, there it was. It was there and I couldn't believe it. Crime-fucking-wave, directed by Sam fucking Raimi, 1980-fucking-5. Holy shit. click. This title has been added to your dvd queue. Availability: LONG WAIT. Really?! The 5 plus years that have gone by meant nothing to you? Why must I be tortured?

Fast forward a couple of months and my mail box smiles and spits out the dvd into my anxious palm (cue Bruce Springsteen's
"Glory Days") and I set into motion an event that has been years overdue: my viewing of Crimewave!

So was it epic? What the fuck was it about this movie that I felt the need to waste so much of your precious time building it up? NOT MUCH. Don't get me wrong, it's an awesome movie and I loved it, but is it important? Yes and no. It's important in the way that you can see early habits starting to form, habits that would become key signatures for these filmmakers who would go on to be considered by some to be a major force in keeping film original and extremely entertaining for us today. First and foremost, it's a fun, goofy dark comedy written by the Coens, so the dialog is totally off the charts and hilarious, even for an eighties comedy, and that says a lot, based on my belief that comedy is the genre that suffers the most with age. Some shit you saw 10 or 15 years ago just isn't that funny anymore, we all know that. What keeps Crimewave funny? I don't know, I think it's the over-the-top film noir delivery combined with cheesy(but totally effective)sound effects and cartoon-like situations. It almost seems as if after Evil Dead, Raimi wanted to amp up the silliness that was just an effective background tool for Ash and company and just went totally balls out and made a cross between The Three Stooges, "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" and a live action Tom & Jerry episode. Watching this you can't help but imagine just how much fun Raimi had throwing every classic slapstick gag into this movie. You name it, it's in here.

The storyline is insanely surreal but simple. Two business partners are dead and an employee is framed for the murder. Through flashbacks, we get thrown into a plot that involves Bruce Campbell as a scumbag (or "Heel", as he is constantly referred to) that utters lines like "Hey baby, why don't ya come on over to my pad. We'll have a scotch and sofa", a sorry ass nerd (who is also the "hero" played by Reed Birney, whoever the hell he is) who is in love with the wrong girl and best of all, there are two "exterminators" that kill people with an electrocution device that has 3 hilarious settings: "RAT", "MAN" & "HERO". The movie is a blast and you'll love it if you love campy, goofy cult classics. The Budget wasn't the best, the acting is not top notch, but the talent is there and the fun is in your face, just stop being a tight ass and enjoy the damn movie.

Check out the clips below!


And here's the trailer (shitty quality)

-The name of the prison in this movie is "Hudsucker", a name they would reuse for the Coens' "The Hudsucker Proxy", a film where the trio would collaborate on screenwriting duties yet again.

-The Oldsmobile Delta that is featured prominently in the Evil Dead trilogy which also makes an appearance in this film (and many of Raimi's films to come, including Spider-Man), was Sam's actual car for quite some time.