Catching up on some junk movies.|
The Beast of Bray Road (2005) is a
straight-to-bargain-bin video from a group called The Asylum, which seems to
churn out a cheapo every two week or so. So far this year, they have thirteen
releases listed at IMDb, including one I reviewed,
Legion of the Dead. To
refresh your memory, that's the one where the characters were not surprised to
find an ancient Egyptian burial site in California because it is well known that the
ancient Egyptians had mastered "trans-Atlantic" travel, as evidenced
by Incan culture(!!). One of the characters was a grad student who spoke to
the California Eqypyian in a language which had been dead for 4000 years. And
they say our education systems are failing!
I'm not sure if these people are great geniuses or complete idiots. Maybe a
bit of both. One thing is certain, they don't take themselves seriously, and
that is very refreshing. The Beast of Bray Road, filmed entirely in Wisconsin,
consists of dialogue like this:
Sheriff: What did you see, ma'am?
Woman: I don't know. Some kind of monster.
Deputy: That sounds like the Beast of Bray Road. You don't know about
this because you're new, Sheriff, but back in the 18th century ...
You'll notice that the woman didn't say "a one-armed 13 foot tall monster
with green eyes and 8-inch teeth and a hunchback," in which case the deputy
might actually have had some reason for his outburst. She simply said it was
something she couldn't identify - which the deputy knew must obviously be an
obscure 18th century monster. You'll also notice that the deputy didn't say
"gosh, that could be a bear, or a mangy wolf, or Robin Williams, or Farmer Bob
gettin' drunk again." Instead he was immediately able to pinpoint the "I don't
know ... some kind of monster" identification as something which hadn't been
seen for a few centuries.
As it turned out, there was a handy cryptozoologist available in the small
Wisconsin town, and he was able to establish that the beast was not merely a
beast, but a human who transforms into a beast. So which human is the beast being hunted by the sheriff?
Well, since the sheriff is new in town, and since the re-appearance of the beast
coincides with his arrival, it could be that he is hunting himself ...
... Nah, too logical, and far too interesting an idea ...
but I was ultimately entertained by the true identity of the beast. And I
got a few laughs out of the sheer cheesiness of the gore - the beast rips
limbs from and disembowels its victims on camera, in fairly graphic detail.
The DVD has a commentary track, although I should say a "babble track",
because it consists of a bunch of guys who seem very drunk, all trying to
out-shout one another to be heard. Occasionally they would all break up into
laughter at some inside joke. Their comments consisted of insightful stuff
like "Whoo! Whoo! Here comes some tits," "I don't remember this," "Huh? I
thought this character was gay," and "My original line here was 'honey, this
dick ain't gonna suck itself.'"
At any rate, I guess these lads have found an economic model that enables
them to make a profit from getting drunk, persuading actresses to remove their
bras, and having fun together while they churn out some haphazard
straight-to-video nonsense. God bless 'em. If I could do the same thing, I
would. We have enough lawyers and politicians and marketing analysts in the
world, but we can always use some more rowdy, fun-loving slackers. Sure, their
films are basically just extended fraternity pranks, but there's no complaint
from me because they occasionally make me smile and they throw in some hot
naked chicks as well.
The Ice Queen (2005) is another cheapozoid straight-to-vid.
Unlike The Beast of Bray Road, which is shot in a widescreen format and looks
like a film, The Ice Queen looks like it was filmed at a family picnic in your
back yard by your dad and his vintage 80s-era VHS camcorder, except:
1. Your dad's home movies have a better narrative structure.
2. Your yard
is more interesting than these sets.
3. Some of the people in your family
are scarier than this monster.
4. Pretty much everyone in your family is
more talented than this cast, unless you are related to Anna Nicole Smith or
The Ice Queen of the title is an almost-human monster whose body
temperature is extremely low. She is trapped in a resort hotel by an
avalanche. Several "normal" people are trapped there as well, and IQ knocks
them off one by one with her super freezing powers. Then some guy pushes her
into the hot tub and she melts.
That's really what happened.
. This woman needs to go back to her cosmetic surgeon and get those things fixed.
El Padrino (2004) is an attempt to tell the basic Godfather
storyline (small time hood becomes king of the mobs) in a Mexican-American
context. El Padrino means The Godfather in Spanish. Here's a
summary, if you really care.
The film was written by, directed by, and
stars actor-turned-auteur Damian Chapa. I have no idea what qualified Damian
for this particular task. I know his family is Mexican, but he grew up in
Ohio and was once married to the uber-Canadian white bread queen Natasha
Henstridge. It seems to me that qualifies him to chronicle life in the L.A.
barrios approximately as well as my Polish last name qualifies me to write
about the Warsaw Ghetto. To tell you the truth, I don't know whether El
Padrino is authentic or not, but that doesn't really matter because the
problem with the movie is that it doesn't really seem to have much heart or
originality to it. It's just the usual macho chest-thumping, over-the-top
violence and other crazy drugged-out behavior.
I guess this film had some
theatrical aspirations. It stars a lot of people who used to be somebody,
like Faye Dunaway, Gary Busey, Stacy Keach, Robert Wagner, and Joanna Pacula.
It also stars some familiar character actors like Brad Dourif and Jennifer
Tilly. Ms. Tilly does sound silly when she speaks Spanish, and when she
speaks English with a Mexican accent, but I guess that doesn't mean much
because she also sounds silly when she speaks ... er ... normally. Whatever
distribution plans the producers may have had for this movie seem to have
evaporated, and it ended up being released on DVD exclusively in Belgium
last year, Why Belgium? Beats me. At any rate, that was a year ago and it
has now made it to Region 1.