Street Trash

Cosmic FredBetter Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)

After a weekend spent in beautiful Crystal Lake, New Jersey (or Forest Green, as they call it now) I thought I’d take a short trip north to the Brooklyn-Queens border region for a bottle of Tenafly Viper, the booze with a bite. Yeah, it might be a little old, and there’s been reports of people melting after drinking it, but the same has been said about New Jersey’s tap water, so I’m not that worried. If you haven’t heard of Tenafly Viper, then you probably haven’t seen Street Trash, and that would mean your life is incomplete and that you should be really careful not to die until you can take a trip to your local movie store and purchase it from a clerk in a dying industry.streettrash0

“‘Eraserhead‘ meets ‘Night of the Living Dead‘ on the set of ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre‘” was the sentence that got me to see this movie back in the day. It stands as the king of the small genre of “Melt Movies” that came around in the late 80s, though comparing it to those other movies is a bit much. It’s a movie with no budget for actors or a script that isn’t written by the producer, but then they get it all right with the effect, set design, and the camera work. Seriously, this movie is very confusing in how you’re Street Trash Meltdown Edition 7watching some people who have never acted in their lives, trudge their way through dialogue written by a drunk with tourettes syndrome, but meanwhile the make-up effects and cinematography is by far some of the best you will ever see in a horror flick. Written and produced (told you) by Roy Frumkes, who also gets a cameo as a gross face melting guy, to be the ultimate offensive and tasteless movie of all time. While I don’t think he surpassed anything by John Waters (ok, maybe it’s more offensive than Hairspray) he certainly created a script that covered lots of offensive material, to the delight of subversives such as myself, and probably you if you’re reading this right now.
streettrash5 The film follows Freddy (hey, that’s my name) and his exploits as a homeless drunk on the streets of New York, with his brother Kevin and their friend Burt. Facing off against an obese junkyard owner (legendary R.L. Ryan), a street-smart tough guy cop, a Jersey Boy type gangster, and Bronson, the Vietnam vet who is in control of the Flatbush Foot Brigade, a gang of bums who live in the same junkyard that Freddy and his brother stay in, and are busy either ‘cleaning’ windshields, drinking foul liquor, or playing ‘toss the dick’, which is a scene you should not let your toddler watch alone.
That foul liquor I mention is a 60 year old concoction that a cheap liquor store owner foundviper in his basement, in a crate, in a crawlspace, in a wall. Not really something you should put on the shelf, but hey, it was New York, it was the 80s, so safety regulations be damned, there’s profit to be made! Kinda like Do the Right Thing, there is no hero in this movie, and it’s full of people who do not do the right thing. I can’t imagine everyone being able to get into this one, what with so much negativity throughout and things like rape and murder being treated like goofy mishaps. Actually, there are technically two heroes in this one. There’s Kevin, the young boy who has a relationship with the junkyard secretary (yeah, this movie has a lot going on, it’s like a soap opera with more melting) street-trash-10who doesn’t really do much, other than try to avoid dying. But then there’s James Lorinz,  the doorman who shines in this movie as an extra who made the right ad-lib at the right time and got himself a legit role in the film. The guy is a natural and while he’s only made small appearances in movies like this and Robocop 3, you really gotta check him out in the “oh-my-god-why-haven’t-i-reviewed-that-yet?” film, FrankenHooker.
What this movie is really about is the melts. It’s like some psychedelic dream mixed with spin art mixed with that huge wax candle in the SURF shop on the boardwalk in Ocean City NJ that’s been growing for the last 20 or more years. The melt scenes are so good street-trash-shit-is-meltingthat they just make you pissed at the rest of the movie for not being exploding and melting people. Don’t worry, it’s not a small number by any means, and every melt is different and creative in it’s own right. While there are a few murders and epic fights leading to kills, the real villain of this movie gets to be an emotionless bottle of toxic ooze that, when consumed, leads to a somewhat violent ending. No, it’s not quite like drinking shots of drain-o (which I’m a total pro at) it’s more like drinking buckets of pain that gets into your bloodstream and then makes your body into a giant Gak candle. It’s a million times better than your standard blood and gore fest and 50 shades of red, and it almost makes it watchable while eating.

Ivan Ooze returns!

Ivan Ooze returns!

I could watch this movie on repeat for quite a while. I actually have, when I’ve either been too lazy to put something else on, or where I was working on something else and having this on in the background didn’t hurt for inspiration. I would kill to get a complete, 4 hour version of this, made from all the weird little side stories they cut, because this is like the film equivalent of a grateful dead song. They took this 3 minute long single, and turned it into a 30 minutes jam that just goes places and does whatever it feels like. Man I love this movie. The art in it really reminds me of the art for the brand new Ghostbusters pinball machine from Stern. Look at that slime.Ghostbusters-Limited-Edition-pinball-machine-flyer-stitched

Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter

Cosmic FredBetter Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)

Happy Friday the 13th everybody! A day made famous by superstition, fear, and jealousy. Ok, not really jealousy, but Christopher Lee demanded I finish the quote. So whether you celebrate by crying in a corner and worrying about your lack of luck for the day, or if you’re just going to drink white wine and eat shrimp all day, I raise my glass to you, person who cares about an arbitrary date that affects nothing. Well, isn’t that all of us? Actually, there’s a thing here in Philly where you can get a specially designed tattoo for Friday the 13th. At least there used to be. That was 6 years ago I heard about that, but I guess getting a tattoo would be something people want to do on a day like this, so it would make sense to offer some special deal to those ink favoring friends. For me, it’s going to a be a movie night involving the exploits of a man in a mask and a jumpsuit who kills horny teenagers for fun, and isn’t the son of Norman Bates‘s first victim, or a huge Star Trek fan. Actually, I’ll more likely be watching Mocking Jay Parts 1 and 2 tonight, since I rented both of them two nights ago and really need to return them soon.friday-4-posterIf you’re going to watch a Friday the 13th film though, you could do much worse than The Final Chapter. That’s right kids, here it is, the end-all story finalé edition of Jason movies. This 1984 film put a nail in the coffin of the series and Jason Vorheez was never seen again.
BWAHAHAHAAAAHAHAArHAHHaahahhahahhhhAHAHHAsHhahahhhhaHHahgHA
Ok, so they were a little premature in the titling of what is the 4th in a 12 film franchise, but much like how Spinal Tap probably inspired more bands than they made fun of, the Friday franchise just intensified it’s insanity as it went on, along with the genre of slasher flicks that had exploded onto the market, which Jason was arguably the masked face of at the time. So this was understood and the morality of the producers and writers actually prevailed against the idea of continuing this horrible smudge on Paramounts Studio’s record and decided to end it all, with one glorious goodbye film that, along with Part 3, is one of the classic Jason movies, what with Parts 1 and 2, not having the hockey mask, and Part 5 being a totally disgusting piece of crap that you will never, EVER, NOOVER, NOTVER, see me review on this site, so help me Satan. So these two flicks get to be definitive in a mess of good and bad on either side. Did that make sense?
Tom_SaviniOk, now to the meat of the deal. Not only do you get everything I just said, but this movie also comes with a free toaster!!! No. Actually, this film has 3 things that are much better than that. Tom Savini is back from the first movie to bring more creative deaths to actual celebrities who happen to wander into these films. Well, Kevin Bacon is the only A list guy in ’em, from the first movie, but I’m a bigger fan of Crispin Glover and Corey Feldman anyway, and this is right before both of them both of them were big names. Er, well, let’s say they were names that some people knew, like me. If you aren’t me, then maybe learn to click and read, silly face. Isn’t the Feldman legacy enough to get you excited enough to read more?

Crispin is not amused

Crispin is not amused

Oh man though, Crispin is great. I didn’t realize it was him the first time I saw this, but you immediately recognize him as a huge weirdo who makes some weird acting choices. His dance in this makes David Bowie dancing with puppets look like the Elaine(sweet fancy moses). Was that an insult or a compliment? I have no idea. friday-the-13th-5-things-to-expect-in-the-new-reboot-518483Corey gets to be the hero AND shave his head, so, win win for him. I’m hoping I’m not ruining anything for you here, because I’m not, but Jason gets killed in this one (Final, get it?) and everyone knows that when a kid kills a killer, it turns them into one too. Right? His character gets to live on through the next 2 movies, and for some reason, everyone acts like this kid turned hero is gonna go nuts and start killing people, just like the guy he killed. Hasn’t that happened so many times? I know if I ever came across a kid who lived through a horrible experience and had to kill some serial murderer, I would act like he was a menace who can’t be trusted. I tell ya man, the fuzz be hammering down on non-violent drug offenders and little kids who hit mentally impaired murderous goalies in their heads with machetes.

Ouch?

Ouch?

So, again, I don’t bother with plots or character’s names in Friday reviews, because, they’re totally irrelevant to the movie itself anyways. All you need to know is that this is one of the good ones (not that it ever tries to stop the bad ones, so, can you really say it’s one of the good ones when it’s brethren are so bad? I’ll leave that discussion to the BlackLivesMatter protestors) and it’s ending leads directly into the story of the next movie, Jason Lives. “but Fred, Jason Lives is Part 6 and that would mean you’re skipping Part 5” YEAH, THAT WOULD MEAN THAT, WOULDN’T IT!?!??! Oh man I hate Part 5.

But I looooooove Corey <3

But I looooooove Corey <3

Friday the 13th Part 3

Cosmic FredBetter Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)

Happy Monday the 9th everybody! Right now, in some distant New Jersey shack, a machete is being sharpened, and I don’t mean that Danny Trejo is filing his nails. I mean that the boy wonder himself (he came back from the dead and can teleport, what can Robin do?! Nothing!!!) Jason Vorheez is currently probably as giddy as a kid in a candy store on christmas who is also Jesus, so, ya know, BirthdayChristmas! Actually I heard that sucks because then you only get, like, a quarter or a half more presents. Wouldn’t it be cool if your birthday was a different day each year? Like how Friday The 13th can fall in any month, and sometimes we get two! You know what? I think I’m gonna start celebrating Friday the 13th as my birthday from now on. Why not? Who’s gonna stop me?  You? Ha! Maybe this guy though…

Friday-the-13th-Part-3

Psycho much?

Welcome to Friday the 13th Part 3, which is kinda the real first ‘true’ Friday movie. If you’d like to read my review of Part 2, just search for it up top. If you want to read my review of Part 1, too bad buddy because it doesn’t exist yet because I don’t play by the rules, cause I’m a loner Dottie, a rebel. Plus, I’m just not into the first movie that much.

Tommy Chong replicant

Tommy Chong replicant

Frankly, I’ve only seen the second one just a handful of times. Now, Part 3, on the other hand, is the Friday I pull out on most occasions that call for a Friday film. It’s the first one with the hockey mask and it’s the first one with ridiculous stereotype characters, like the stoners, the jock, the biker gang, and, of course, who could ever forget, the goofy fat nerd who can’t catch a break, Shelly.

Proto Seth Rogen

Proto Seth Rogen

There is probably only one character in the Friday series that I will mention by name that isn’t played by an actor of note, and Shelly earns that by being possibly the greatest horror movie character of all time, with his prankster antics and soured self-esteem, he speaks to the lowly nerd in all of us, AND he just happens to be the person who supplies Jason with his trademark hockey mask. So, yeah, great character, and is responsible for one of the greatest horror mask icons in history. So in his honor, I will now sing this South Park classic.

my love is creeping Shelly out

my love is creeping Shelly out

You made me come out of my shell, Shelly
You give me strength when there was only fear
I ate at Burger King today, Shelly
And stood up to a boy who called me queer
When you pushed me off the diving board, I fell
And you make the world a nicer place, Shelly
So I can come out of my shell

Wow. That was emotional. Ok, so do you understand how awesome Shelly is yet? I certainly hope so. Okay, so let’s go over the list here. This movie has stereotype character, which is awesome and hilarious. It’s got the first time Jason wears the hockey mask. It’s got Shelly. AND, in the tradition of of the film having a 3 in the title, this movie was in, 3-D!

This is Jason normal.

This is your Jason.

This is Jason on drugs.

This is your Jason on drugs.

Which is just great for all those stupid shots where they’re just trying to make use of the camera. Really, the camp value of this film is off the charts, because these films are just beautiful excuses for cheap gimmicks. Did you know (I’m talking to all the nerds who know this movie in-and-out by now and are just reading this review while nodding their heads, but all others, please, continue reading) that the opening of the film, which features decapitated Jason Mommy on a table in a zoom in shot, was going to have her open her eyes at the last second? Really, everybody go watch so you can see what I’m talking about, because it’s pretty hilarious, and you can tell that this zoom in shot stops right before this severed head was supposed to open it’s eyes, but instead, a big 3 and a D comes out of her closed freeze framed eyes. Apparently audiences laughed too hard at the opening eyes from a rotting head, and someone was like “Fix that Now!”

Hairspray and candles don't mix

Hairspray and candles don’t mix

So if you noticed, I haven’t touched on the plot of this film at all. Am I trying not to spoil anything for you? No. You already know the entire plot of this movie, so don’t be a smart aleck, and stop asking the wrong questions. The question you should be asking, is “Hey, so I noticed that whenever I see Jason in popular culture, his mask has this huge cut in, on the top left side, so what’s with that?”

Those gloves though

Those gloves though

Well how observant of you. That would be because in this movie, towards the end, he gets an axe to the head, which, obviously, barley affects him at all. I love it though, because for all the wardrobe changes this guy makes from movie to movie, whether it be yellow gloves or a different color jumpsuit, they still always remember to have a mask with the huge gash in it. It also just looks way cooler. And really, that’s the most important part of the ending of this film, because who gives a shit about who survived and what was left of them? It’s more satisfying to see that axe hit his head, and know “yup, that’s gonna leave a mark.” as opposed to every other thing they do to the guy (how many eye gouges has this guy been through?).

Now, I probably said this in my review of Part 2, but the fact that there is no Friday the 13th pinball machine is just criminal. There’s a Freddy one, a Frankenstein one, a few Dracula ones, a Phantom of the Opera one. Ok, so there’s no Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, or Hellraiser pinballs (Phantasm would be great too) either, but I still think it’s unfair. I just played the brand new Ghostbusters pinball machine, which is about 32 years late, but as Cheech says “better late than never.” and it’s fantastic. With The Walking Dead pinball machine also being a fantastic make, my heart burns for a Friday Machine, and something better than this home-brewed online piece of crap.

ew

ew

Happy Friday the 13th Week everybody!

Alien

Cosmic FredBetter Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)

Oh, hey folks, Fred here. So, uh, have you ever been abducted by aliens and thought it was really cool until they started putting cellophane on the toilet and fake spiders in your shoes? And then you’re like “ok guys, it was funny at first, but I really thought higher life forms such as yourselves would be beyond this” and then they’re all like “we’re just trying to entertain you, bro, ok? It’s not easy knowing exactly how much we should dumb down for you!” and it became this whole big deal, and so then, this great year long vacation you’ve been on with these totally chill aliens comes to an end because they apparently forgot they’ve gotta help their friend with this thing. Dudes, it was so weak. But whatever, I’m here, it’s earth, it’s 2016, and I just wanna put the past behind me. Ok, so which movie am I reviewing? Oh right… *sigh* Alien.159083960_c9e54eNo no no, I’m not bad mouthing one of the greatest horror movies of all time, but let me tell you something, they got a few things wrong. Nonetheless, I’m here to talk to you about an extraterrestrial and its heartwarming relationship to the humans woriginal-8641-1399975924-3ho discover it. Or, rather, less heartwarming, more heart wrenching, and then heart bursting. Yes, Alien, the film ‘bout a creature that physically resembles an insect, and emotionally resembles a cat. Made in the late 70s boom of sci-fi done right and with respect, this movie is good on practically every level. The acting, the writing, and most of all the art direction. This film also was, for most people, an introduction to visual artist and hero to goths everywhere, H.R. Giger.

When coming up with the design for their titular alien, Dan O’Bannon, screenwriter extraordinaire, introduced director Ridley Scott to the works of H.R. Giger, who Dan had become aware of while working on Alejandro Jodorowsky’s attempt at making a Dune movie, which ultimately fell through. As soon as Scott saw Giger’s work, he immediately knew what the Alien of his film would look like, as well as solving the other design problems of the film. Instead of working from scratch, they had Giger design the alien

hrgiger111

You see what you want to see

to almost exactly resemble one of his already existing paintings, despite the phallic-ness, as well making new art for designing all the visual aspects of the creature’s life cycle and the alien ship itself. It’s Giger’s designs that help define the film and make it stand out among other sci-fi films of it’s time.

Dan O’Bannon also hit a goldmine when he solved the script problem of getting their creature onto the Nostromo spaceship. The facehugger is as beloved a character as the fully formed alien that bursts out of our chests after gestation, after being laid there by said facehugger. From plush toys to freaky fetishes, that little guy has inspired lots of love and fear. But that’s enough of me gushing over the creative genius involved in this film, cause that’s boring. You don’t need me giving your little factoids

2268d1327514412-hero-silicone-facehugger-avp_facehugger_hero_silicone_2

Free Hugs

better left to the Bonus features, you need me telling you how much they changed the facts. That’s right folks, believe it or not, the whole movie is based on a completely true story, and it didn’t happen quite like the way you know it.

Imagine you have your house invaded by a bunch of aliens, who proceed to go into your nursery and disturb your sleeping children? Right? Now let’s say your child, OUT OF SELF DEFENSE, latches themselves onto one of those intruders’ faces? How are you going to blame the person whose house you are in for their children’s defensive actions against some invasive threats such as the elephant man just showing up, without make up, in some nonsensical inward light pointing space helmet? Not to mention Bilbo Baggins, Viper, The Repo Man, and two women with more alien problems between them than Donald Trump Alienhas made up in his head. Humans are ridiculous, as is the notion that Fred is dead and I’m an alien host living in his skin, so don’t even go there! Fact is, those humans got what they deserved, and I was cheering for that Xenomorph the whole time. How are you going to root for the majority, when the obviously oppressed “Alien” (so racist) is obviously the one with the disadvantage here. And then to insinuate that some sack of mostly water is gonna defeat my brother while she’s in her gross cotton human undergarmets? The only good part of this film was the cat, which the alien let live out of professional courtesy. I take back everything good I said about the human Dan O’bannon, for obviously he is a hack trying to cash in on the Xenophobia that has plagued my people, and when I say my people, I mean it in a cultural sense. I am not an alien, but I encourage you and your family to tune into OSI 74 nightly, so that we may better track your positions and monitor your brain waves. I mean, if we were into that sort of thing.

Also, ever wonder what a pinball machine with a cool alien on it would look like? Yeah, you don’t have to. *scoff* Space Invaders? What does that even mean? It’s not like we’re invading space. I mean, they are. I mean, I don’t know who they are, I swear.19926.si2

Dolls

Cosmic Fred

Better Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)

Cosmic (Fred Frederick) Charlie here, continuing to participate in the Cinema Insomnia ‘March of the Dolls” doll themed month of march! Today’s film, Dolls! Directed by Stuart dollsGordon, who you should already know from his amazing work in the horror genre, like  Re-Animator, which came out the same year that this movie was made, even though this movie didn’t come out ‘til two years later. Also involved was producer Charles Band, who would go on to helm Full Moon Entertainment, and producer Brian Yuzna, who you should also already know from Re-Animator, unless you’re some sort of not-nerd, in which case, good for you, not wasting your life away on silly bits of information about movies that no one likes. Now, shut your mouth and keep reading! One of us! One of us! Mwwahahahahaha!!!!

Dolls-2

Never too old to play with dolls.

Dolls is the story of when a little girl has stupid parents and they happen to get stranded near an old house that houses old people. One of those old people you might recognize as Guy Rolfe, who later found fame in the third installment of the Puppet Master series as the complicated creator of the puppets, and made people want to see more, and why we’re now up to number ten in their sequels. He appears in Dolls as an ironically similar character, controlling a bunch of murderous dolls, which, I hope that’s not a spoiler for you, cause if you’re watching a horror movie called Dolls, you should probably have figured out by now that this ain’t about Barbie™. So, getting back to Dolls, for about a second, because it reminds me a bit of Nothing But Trouble, the Dan Akroyd movie with Chevy Chase and Demi Moore that you either know and love, or don’t know and probably wouldn’t understand. Point being, if you have car trouble in the middle of nowhere, you might as well jump off a cliff, because unless you’re a pure of heart child, and not a scummy adult/lawyer person, you’re probably not going to find anyone who’s going to help you, and they’re either gonna strip you into bones, or turn you into murderous dolls. Maybe

Now you see 'em...

Now you see ’em…

...now you also see them, as dolls.

…now you also see ’em, as dolls.

So besides the little girl’s stupid parents, there’s also a nice fat guy, Ralph (he’s Officer Duffy in Robocop2!) who is giving two punk girls a ride, who both turn out to not be so nice, because even alternative thinking and interesting looking people can be judgemental MV5BMjE2NDU2ODk2Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjI5NjYzNA@@._V1_SX640_SY720_dicks sometimes. Needless to say, because it’s a horror movie, things don’t go well for the nefarious females, and one of those things I said in the last sentence of that last paragraph happens to them, but I’ll let you figure that out. So the fat guy helps the little girl search for the missing girls (or does she help him?) … (yes. yes she does) and she ends up having to convince the murderous dolls to spare his life. Unfortunately, the dolls have already killed some other people, and certain other people think that other people killed those other people, so other people want revenge on other people, and Judy is stuck in the middle. What? Judy! The little girl! Did I not mention her name was Judy? Well it is. SPOILER!

Say "AAAHHHHHH!"

Say “AAAHHHHHH!”

It’s a great little horror movie that has the Stephen King feel to it where the children are the saviors of our tormented human souls, pretty much literally in this case. It somehow ends happily, with everything tied up in a neat little package so the little girl can go on and dolls-1live a happy and perfect life without even having to know that her dad and step-mother’s souls are trapped in dolls that murder and enslave other bad parents for not raising their children right. What a paradise that must be. Or, some sort of horrifying movie. A ‘horror’ movie, if you will.

I feel like I should start actually drawing these hypothetical pinball machines I keep dreaming up. It’s always just taking an already existing machine and imagining the movie’s theme plastered on it and thus creating a kind of storyline following gameplay rather than all this bumping and flipping pointlessly nonsense. I always try to get a machine from around the same era, and in this case, since the movie was made in 85 (though not released til 87) I’m going with the 1986 machine ‘Hollywood Heat’, which, with its horrendous Miami Vice rip off artwork, should be obvious why I’d prefer some murderous dolls painted all over it. Also, in some bizarre way, I feel like the gameplay would be somehow fitting to the storyline. I dunno, take a look and decide for yourselves.

Field whole

Puppet Master

Cosmic Fred

Better Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)

Another Fred ‘Cosmic Charlie’ Frederick original here. Now to conquer the first

This is NOT child's play.

This is NOT child’s play.

installment in what can be considered one of the all time greatest collections of hits and misses of sequels in film history, Puppet Master. Not as easy to calculate as the Paramount Star Trek movies (odds=bad, evens=good), but still a debatable line of good and bad that separates fans and haters alike. Though the third movie is widely considered to be the best of the now ten parts series, the first two aren’t without their merits. I’ll be focusing on the first film here, but don’t go far, cause I’ll be sure to hit up the other installments soon enough, despite their varying horridity and disregarding of different story elements .
puppetmaster-picture-3

We open with William Hickey as Andre Toulan in 1939, who becomes the antagonist and then protagonist of later films, as well as being played by a different actor. Hickey you will recognize from many films, but to me, he’s the grandfather from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation as well as the drunk in the bar in Mel Brook’s The Producers from 1968. We don’t see much of William, as he never appears after the opening scene. Same with a puppet credited as Shredder Khan, who doesn’t appear in the rest of the film, or ever again in any Mystery_puppetother films! I bring that up because I saw these movies out of order, and this film is actually the last one I got my hands on, so part of me was flabbergasted by this introductory puppet who I’d never seen before! I seriously want a new Puppet Master movie “The Legend Of Shredder Khan” because of how intriguing this lack of development is to me. The other puppet we meet to start off with is Blade, who is pretty much the star of the whole series, and whose origin is properly explained in the third film. Watch for the bullets in his eyes that pop out on occasion, as I believe the mechanism that did that broke after this film and was thus never used again in the sequels.Puppet-Master

So we flash forward 50 years to 1989, where a bunch of psychics have been summoned to this mysterious hotel by a former colleague who they all assume has discovered Toulan’s secret of bringing inanimate objects to life, as well as resurrecting the dead. Despite having, or perhaps because of, terrifying dreams and premonitions about horrid goings ons at the hotel, they all show up only to find out their friend has bit the big one, but not before taking a wife, who everyone is a little skeptical of. So we see a bunch more crazy psychic stuff that puts the film in a fantasy realm and properly allows us to disconnect it from our mostly scientifically sound world. puppetmaster-psychics-1989

Not wanting to give the rest of the plot away, I wanna tell you about a funny thing that happened with horror movies at some point in the mid eighties and continuing heavily into the nineties. The inclination to find the horrifying killers of the film, such as Freddy or Jason, to be enjoyable and almost cute, and instead make the victim characters into unlikeable jerks so we’re happy when we see our 8813037_origvillain/hero(s) do them in. Such is the case in the puppet master movies, with what can be very creepy dolls, also being able to steal the scene and be far more interesting and empathy invoking characters. It’s not just them being cool looking dolls, but as puppets, they are slaves to a master, and thus can have the blame taken away from their actions. As well as the fact that they’re the only recurring characters throughout the series and allow us to follow their evolution, across the fractured timeline of the canonically-ignorant series.

So while the film operates on its own without a need of the puppets, their appearance, and obeying their master, and killing, provide the meat of the film and an awesome ending to what could have been a boring movie about psychics. You get the feeling that somebody merged two scripts, but it’s not distracting orpuppet-master-1 hindering to the enjoyment of what you already know is a B-level film. It does make you wonder why Toulan wouldn’t have used his resurrection on himself. Well… maybe you’ll get the answer to that in another review, or maybe you should go rent/buy all ten movies and binge watch them so you can solve that mystery for yourself. Oh, and as for the kind of pinball machine this movie, combined with all the others, would make? Quite possibly the greatest horror themed pinball machine of all time. I can’t even begin to theorize all the features such a machine would posses. Dear god, you’d need a feature for every puppet, and probably more than could fit on a machine but still satisfy my need to include all the elements of the series. Oh man, I’m gonna have to think about this one, I’ll try not to drool too much.

Puppets can't drool

Puppets can’t drool

Dollman

Cosmic Fred

Better Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)

Freddy Von Frederick here (Cosmic Charlie incarnate) with a review of one of the biggest little movies of all time, Dollman. A Sci-Fi/Horror/Action flick from the people at Full Moon Entertainment, another film where size doesn’t matter when it comes to kicking ass. Instead of puppets or toys being our little terrors, we get a cop with an attitude who’s from another planet, Brick dollman_posterBardo (Tim Thomerson). Nothing very alien about this alien, besides his awesome laser gun, and the fact that he’s 13 inches tall, but other than that, he’s no different than a Tom Atkins or Dirty Harry type cop who’s ready to kick butts and and chew bubble gum, but who’s all out of bubblegum.

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Saving fat ladies and their fat sons. Like a boss.

We start off on the little guy’s home planet and get to see some bad ass Demolition Man style handling of a hostage situation, as well as some hilarious dialogue about laundry and fat ladies. After we get the tone set from that small scene, we’re introduced to the main villain of the film, Sprug, but more on him later. We then take a spaceship flight through some sort of vortex and to a pale blue dot we call Earth. The situation enlarges as our hero encounters some Terran punks who are about 10 times his size, but luckily, lasers still do damage even if they’re from an inch long gun. From that point the movie kinda gets confused as to what it is.

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We’re introduced to a hispanic woman, Debi, trying to make her neighborhood in the Bronx safe again by ridding it of the drug dealing gangs while she’s also raising a little boy. It’s a great emotional story that hooks you in, but I dunno if I really wanted this level of realism and heartbreaking hardship from a movie about a laser shooting doll sized cop. Don’t get me wrong, our female lead does a great acting job, and her interaction with our titular character as well as her son’s interest in this action figure sized man is interesting and entertaining, but I feel like they do too good of a job bringing you into a reality, that it feels awkward to accept the rest of the story.

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Mona Lisa is jealous of that smile

Can’t forget to mention the practically immaculate Jackie Early Haley (it’s not his fault he wasn’t Robert Englund, so I’ll let the Nightmare On Elm Street remake slide) as Braxton Red. Jackie shines in such movies as The Bad News Bears and Watchmen and shows the same kind of completely convincing acting for a punk ass kid that we’ve come to love about him. I can’t say enough about how pathetic and unconvincing almost every street level punk in cheap horror films tend to be, and how that annoys me so immensely, but Jackie nails it. He’s scary enough that you wouldn’t want to meet him in an alley, but Bart Simpsony enough to make you kinda wanna join his gang. He runs the show in his part of town, but keeps Debi safe out of some misplaced affection. It’s his out-of-line gang members that Bardo shoots when he first lands and encounters them about to set Debi on fire, despite Braxton’s wishes.

Things are looking up for Dollman

Things are looking up for Dollman

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Not many mirrors on his planet.

So back to Sprug, a hideous looking head on a messed up hover car, who Braxton discovers in his little ship and befriends after being offered a special ubber-bomb of alien design, which, is kinda weird, but, necessary for the plot, so we just go with it. Braxton and his men go after this guy they’ve come to refer to as Dollman, and get the bad end of a big stick, or gun. Does that analogy work? I don’t care, cause I’m tired and it’s 2:30 pm and I have no excuse for the yawning that’s going on with me right now. So where was I? Oh yeah, Braxton(Jackie) makes it back to his place, but in bad shape, until he cuts a deal with Sprug, who heals him, and then tries to claim mastery over Braxton, but when you’re only inches tall, and only a head, I wouldn’t suggest making demands of New York gang members, ‘cause it’s not gonna go well. So more stuff happens and things blow up and believe it or not, the good guys win. SPOILER!

Does size count?

Does size count?

All in all, a very fun film that should be required viewing for anyone trying to make a cheap sci-fi/horror adventure, or anyone who loves dolls. Like I said before, I’m not so sure about the whole harrowing heroine in the Bronx story, even though it’s done perfectly, I just didn’t feel like it was what I signed up for when I bought a movie called Dollman. It’s also not a theme you would want in a pinball machine. Or I dunno, maybe a “The Bronx” pinball machine with Multiball gangbanging and Orbit Shots to back alley murders with Pop Bumper rumbles and Trapdoor street rapes. Orrr not.

The Town That Dreaded Sundown

Cosmic Fred

Better Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)

Gooooooood morning Vietnam, and the rest of the world. Freddy Fred Frederick here, with a review of the proto-slasher classic known as The Town That Dreaded Sundown. The 1976 one, not the 2014 remake, which should just go without the-town-that-dreaded-sundown-postersaying, but I said it anyways. The film is one of those “based on a true story” deals, where the names of people and places were changed to protect the innocent. The events it’s based off took place in texas in the 40s, by a murderer known as ‘the Phantom Killer’, but if you didn’t know that, you might assume that the movie is based on the Zodiac killer who’s spree ended only a few years before the creation of this movie and is very similar in it’s events and and the killer’s executions of his executions.

It’s not a gore filled frightfest like you get from movies like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, which came out two years prior, but instead seems more like an episode of Law & Order with a very serious narration that also adds a clinical feel to the events and makes them easier to deal with as it comes across more like cold and hard facts rather than experiencing the emotional turmoil of the victims. Not that it isn’t without its terrifying parts, but if it weren’t based on a true story, you’d probably think the writers were lazier than people who use remotes for their air conditioners. It’s full of the cliché about teenagers at make out point getting their comeuppance from a sexually frustrated man in a stupid mask, but with a whole lot less flair than we’re used to seeing from this killer’s 80’s era successors.

Teenagers? Yeah right!

Risking death to get to third base, which in the 40s meant looking at a girl’s ankle.

Instead of following a group of stupid kids around and betting on who will be next, and what will be left of them, this movie is about the whole town and how it reacts to the fear of a masked killer on the loose. Gun sales go through the roof, which, it being Texas, is either surprising that these people aren’t already armed to the teeth, or not surprising because buying a new gun is like getting a fresh loaf of bread to these people. Not that this deters the killer, who’s rampage continues because teenagers just can’t stop making out in cars in secluded locations. See parents, this is what happens when you don’t let your daughter close her door when she has boys over. So kids, next time your parents tell you they don’t want you having a baby, just ask them if they’d rather you be brutally murdered by a man wearing a pillow case on his head. It’s one or the other folks. Or both.

TTDS_04033.NEFAs it turns out though, not just good people can buy guns, and windows can be seen through from both sides, and the side that’s well lit is probably easier to observe and thus aim a gun at. Also, if someone asks you if they heard something outside, you might want to start making peace with your god, cause, you know. So after actions that I just alluded to take place, the whole town decides to board up their windows, because if there’s anything psychotic killers can’t stand, it’s wood. Also, why is it that anytime someone starts assaulting and murdering horny teenagers while wearing a mask, people always assume it’s a white male? That’s discrimination people, and I thought we were better than this. Why couldn’t it be a chinese toddler, or how about a purple octogenarian? Huh? HUH? Tell me that America! Or should I say, CANADA! No wait, I am in America. Ok, nevermind, sorry about that.

Make out point isn't just for teenagers.

Make out point isn’t just for teenagers.

The film closes with the killer never being caught, and leaving us all wondering if he’s still out there now, even though he has most certainly died from old age at this point, unless killing all those young kids gives him special powers of immortality. Hrmmm, makes you think doesn’t it? Or maybe you’ve already moved on to thinking about what kind of pinball machine this movie would make? Well, since it’s from 1976, it would have to be one of the more dull machines, like Jive Time, that’s just a bunch of stationary crap that doesn’t do anything special other than give you a few buzzes and bings, much like the movie itself. But perhaps you like your leisurely pursuits to be more straightforward and without all the bells and whistles, in which case, you go have fun eating some rice cakes and watching C-SPAN, Mister Borey McBorington the third.

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers

Cosmic Fred

Better Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)

Fred (Cosmic Charlie) here again but with a special review for a movie that I have chosen in order to honor one of the greatest humans to walk this earth, Mr. Leonard Nemoy. Of all the actors I have watched in film and television, he was the most, influential to nerds, like myself.

He has been, and always shall be, our friend.

He has been, and always shall be, our friend

invasion-of-the-body-snatchers-1So, today’s film Invasion Of The Body Snatchers is probably the only remake you will see me review (besides John Carpenter’s The Thing) and could actually be considered a sequel to the original, technically, what with Kevin McCarthy from the first film still running through the streets in order to warn the masses. It also features Mr. Spock as a psychiatrist who annoys his fellow humans with logical thinking and rational explanations, but while showing some actual human emotions. It’s kinda weird seeing Leonard get mad or act frustrated or even smile, like seeing your elementary school teacher shopping at the grocery store. Also featured are Donald (Animal House) Sutherland, Jeff (The Fly) Goldblum, Veronica (The Birds) Cartwright, as well as Brooke (The Dead Zone) Adams who just reminds me of Jessica Harper from Suspira so much that it bothered me to the point of writing about it right now. grrrrrrrr.

ok, so her forehead isn't THAT big

Ok, so her forehead isn’t THAT big

We start the film with a very cool alien spore sequence that succeeds in convincing you that this is reality and not some schlocky 50s low budget horror deal. Much like Star Wars did, this film uses new and better special effects technology to convey a believable outer space that we can feel has it’s foot in reality somehow, even though their subject matter is the same as the sci-fi B-movies of the past. We also get the acting presence of Robert Duvall in a very brief cameo as a priest on swing who is the first pod person, making sure a bunch of children play with all the nice new plants in the playground. So our female lead played by Brooke Adams comes across one of these new plants and takes a bud from one to show to her dentist husband who just reminds me of Peter Dinklidge so much that it bothered me to the point of writing about it right now.

First it was birds, now this woman has to deal with aliens for the rest of her career.

First it was birds, now this woman has to deal with aliens for the rest of her career

Now if you’re unfamiliar with the very famous and many times spoofed premise of the film and you don’t want it ruined for you, then cover your ears now! It’s the tale of these alien spores that have melded with plants, and these plants make it their job to replicate and replace humans all over the world with emotionless beings. They attempt to do this covertly, but a few people notice that their spouses are acting more like vulcans than human. That’s what happens with the woman who looks like the woman from Suspiria and her Peter Dinklage looking hubby. She tells Donald (father of Jack Bauer) Sutherland’s character about it but he doesn’t pay much attention to it, after all, women are crazy, amirite? uuggghhh. So then we see another woman complaining about her husband’s lack of emotion to a man who probably doesn’t understand that to be a problem, Mr. Leonard Nemoy, playing a famous psychiatrist who enjoys telling women that they’re just being stupid and to just trust their husbands. Now, it’s somewhat unclear, or at least it is to me, when exactly Mr. Spock becomes a pod or if he’s a pod from the first time we see him. He seems to show a good amount of emotion, but that might be a skewed judgement on my part since seeing him show any tick of emotion is more than I’m used to.

"ménage a spock?"

“Ménage a Spock?”

We move on to Jeff (Independence Day) Goldblum and his girlfriend Veronica (AlienThe X-files) Cartwright discovering a pod person who was trying to clone Jeff, and they develop their theories about aliens and metal spaceships or lack thereof that seem to allude to their future alien encounters by ironically dismissing the very notions of such types of alien life existing. Spock continues to also ironically dismiss the idea of emotionless aliens and we get to see him make a fool of Donald (don’t call me hawkeye) Sutherland as the few remaining humans realize the breadth of their situation and start running. Lots of running. Scared and terrified and trying to get away while also trying to seem emotionless kind of running. Then there’s a weird dog with a man face that will both creep you out and make you laugh out loud (LOLing as the kids call it) as well as Donald trying to destroy the pod headquarters in one of the stupidest looking scenes in a horror movie involving an axe where his character would have been better off with a pair of scissors.

Some people can't take criticism

Some people can’t take criticism

All in all, we get the fear and suspense we wanted, but the film lacks any fun. With a movie full of actors I love, I wanted more from it. And the end just wears you down so much that not even a pair of naked boobs can bring you outta the funk. I don’t even wanna think about the kind of pinball machine this movie would make, but it would probably be something like Xenon, only without the cool art or the awesome moaning sounds when you hit a pop bumper, and instead just Donald Sutherland’s hideous scream. The boring and repetitive game play would be fitting for this painful to watch ‘til the end film. It did have great art direction though, but hey, so did Waterworld, sooooooo..

Dead Alive

Cosmic Fred

DeadAlive posterBetter Viewing Through Cosmic Cognizance By Fred E. Frederick
(a.k.a. Cosmic Charlie)

Hey folks, Fred (Cosmic Charlie) Frederick here, with a review of one of the all time greats, Dead Alive, or Brain Dead if you aren’t in the United States. From the man who brought you the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peter Jackson, comes a movie from before he made those movies, that makes Evil Dead II jealous for how much crazy they packed into this thing. Dead Alive, as I will refer to it for the rest of this review, is what happens, apparently, when a New Zealander decides he wants to make the funniest and goriest film that anyone’s ever even tried to make, in New Zealand, and ends up with one of the greatest horror-comedy blends of all time, that lets Mr. Jackson (the Peter one) stand right next to Sam Raimi in horror-comedy legendary status, and makes you wonder how the hell these guys ended up making two of the most profitable trilogies of the last 20 years, but then that makes you think about Star Wars Episodes 1 through 3, and then… NO, DON’T STAB YOUR EYES OUT! IT’S NOT WORTH IT!!!

GettinBrain Dead Posterg back to the movie. It might not be the ideal date movie for your blind date with the boss’s spawn, but if that is your choice of cinema for your incredibly awkward evening, and this possible significant other stays ‘til the end, then you may have met your soulmate, and I would suggest chaining them to the floor, next to the couch preferably, since they’ll need a place to sleep, and you only have a twin bed, plus you don’t have money for a new bed, so the couch for them, it’s not like they’ll mind, I mean hell, they just sat through Dead Alive with you! All kidding aside, I really do think it’s a great date movie. Really. Besides all the gallons of blood and tons of gore, what you have is a tale of awkward love and restrained desires that captures the romantic side of any conscious human’s heart.

11020275_10153059980934647_43434203_nIt’s the timeless tale of a momma’s boy who falls in love with the gypsy girl at his local grocer, probably because it’s the only place his mother lets him go to when she even lets him leave the house. The gypsy grocer girl likes him back, and is a good example of a woman who knows what she wants and is willing to deliver groceries to a stranger’s door in order to get it. So our adorable couple end up going on a date, but then nosy mom gets attacked by a weird rat monkey thing that would make Ray Harryhausen go “ewwww.” The rat monkey attack leads to zombification, obviously, and then one zombie leads to more, as is the zombie way, and from there on, zombie-filled hilarity ensues. The rest of the movie is a bunch of insane twists and turns and a Three’s Company meets Weekend At Bernies style craziness that combines laughter with wincing, which I call lincing. I don’t wanna give too much of the insanity away, but, I will say that if this dude meets Ash from Evil Dead II, they would have an epic chainsaw vs. lawnmower match and I don’t know who would win. I should also mention that this film holds the record for most fake blood ever used in a film, though I think Kill Bill is a close second.

The one problem this movie suffers from is something that I tgirlhink every Peter Jackson film suffers from (besides on set foot odor) and that’s length. By the end, the glorious and uproarious end, you’re probably gonna feel so drained and grossed out that the climactic finale will be a welcome rest from the insanity, while also cranking it up a notch (BAM!) to where you’re desensitized and enjoying the nonsense enough to get your second wind and be able to go out for pizza after viewing, rather than spending the rest of you night over your porcelain throne, crying to god “I just wanted to see another movie by the Lord Of The Rings guy! Whyyy!?!?”

Probably more upset about her dress being ruined.

Hey, true story, I was eating chips and salsa while watching this film, and the part where the son pulls his crush’s dog out of his zombie mother’s mouth literally made me dry heave and have to stop the film so I could recover. Another true story, I wanted to see this film for the longest time based on my local video store having the box with the tagline on it “the goriest film ever made.” Years of looking at the image of a man’s rib cage being ripped out of his chest must have warped my fragile little brain somehow, when in fact, if I had just watched the movie, I probably wouldn’t have liked it, what with the weird comedy elements and me being a child with no comprehension of such nuances in the horror-comedy cinematic universe.

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As far as pinball goes, I would love to get my hands on a Champion Pub pinball machine, part of the 90s pinballs with themes that absolutely no one was asking for (see Fish Tales and Junkyard as other examples) and turn that into a Dead Alive themed machine, with the Pub fighter guy remodeled into the giant zombie mother from the end of the film (spoilers, whoops). And the punching bag at the top right could be the evil baby, which sounds horrible, saying the baby could be a punching bag, unless you’ve seen the movie, which, by now, you should have already ordered on the internet, because seriously, if you haven’t seen it, you are not a full human yet. YET! So make it so, and hey, if you know anyone with a pinball machine that they want to give to me so I can deface it to suit a better theme, CALL ME!

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