Suggested Audio Candy:
Richard Band & Nicole Staudgil Dollman vs. Demonic Toys
“Everybody’s a hot-headed gangster. Everybody’s Mister Mafia. Ha! The Don! The Don of Douchebags, that’s what you are. Nick – Nick the Dick. That’s what they call you, behind your back, you and your restaurant. Your stinkin’ restaurant”
I fear my brain may well beginning to rot you know. Fifty two movies in and I barely know how to grasp a dessert spoon anymore let alone grasp a toilet chain. At least Julia Roberts got paid; not once have I been offered the chance to go shopping for a designer outfit or made love to atop a grand piano under the candelabra’s tepid glow. Indeed my only remuneration has been finding the occasional diamond in the rough. However, when you’re scraping the very bottom of the cinematic barrel, said precious stones can be decidedly few and far between. How could I possibly offer an upside to watching Day of The Dead 2: Contagium? I could try but then I’d likely be set upon by 2001 disgruntled Grueheads and have my feathers plucked like Big Bird in a butcher’s window. I am required to say it as I see it; many of these rotten eggs are utterly indefensible and the best I can do is to pre-empt you against such filmic travesties.
“You’re a fucking dead man, you fucking rat. You know what a fucking dead man is? That’s what you are, a fucking dead man”
“Yeah? Well I’ll tell you something. I’d rather be dead than wear this fucking monkey suit. I look like Bullwinkle”
I’m not quite ready yet to delve into the algae so my first Z-Lister is a much-adored B-movie cult classic and one you should beg, borrow, or steal to get your filthy paws upon. James M. Muro’s Street Trash arrived in 1987 and fast became revered by bad movie enthusiasts the world over, quite rightfully it has to be said. It told the tale of an alcoholic beverage by the name of Viper which had practically the same effect as Absinthe. One swig and it was over; soon afterwards the stomach rot would begin but wouldn’t end in a dicky tummy. Instead, a full body melt ensued which at least meant no unneccessary hangover or dehydration at the dead of night. Watching a hobo melt away into a latrine was the crowning moment and Muro chose this icky image to elucidate his cover art. If that wasn’t sufficient to encourage us to drink irresponsibly then how about a game of piggy-in-the-middle…with a penis no less? Street Trash had it all and is utterly deserving of the charmed reputation that precedes it. Watch in a doube-bill with Peter Jackson’s gloriously goofy Bad Taste for maximum effect.
“You know, you’re very beautiful. Maybe it’s the environment, but you turn me on. And I could turn you on, too. You’ve seen my kid, haven’t you? That’s just a glimpse of the animal in me”
Larry Cohen happens to be a film-maker for whom I have the utmost admiration. Q: The Winged Serpent and The Stuff are two wonderful B-movies from his heyday but, by the tail-end of the eighties, he jumped on the sequel trail and It’s Alive 3: Island of the Alive was birthed unto the masses. In 1974 he concocted a cherished brew in the shape of It’s Alive. Four years later, Cohen reminded us that It Lives Again. By 1987 the pram began to rattle once again, although now the director would have a much larger budget to work with and greater creative tools at his disposal. Cohen regular Michael Moriarty and the wonderful Karen Black both showed up and likely lamented their decision as it was third time unlucky for the mutant in a Moses basket.
“I’m not a Nazi hunter. I’m a Nazi killer!”
I would imagine that he was going through some sort of mid-life crisis at the time as, in the very same year, he also encourage us to make A Return to Salem’s Lot. Something informs me that Stephen King had one helluva itchy dick around the time when this was shat into the marketplace. Tobe Hooper’s original was a classic of its time and scared us straight out of our skins for its own vampiric amusement. This however didn’t. Neither of Cohen’s stinkers are without their merits, so long as slumming it doesn’t faze you.
“…Anything you say can and will be considered very strange because you’re dead. You have the right to an attorney, but it won’t do you any good because you’re dead. Do you understand these rights that have just been read to you? Are you even listening? It would be a lot easier if you were a little more cooperative!”
Two years later, Wallace Potts gained inspiration from William Lustig’s Maniac Cop and offered the loathsome lawman a partner in the shape of Psycho Cop. I have no intention of bashing this film; it’s derivative drivel for sure but, as a straight slasher and with a bottle of Viper at hand, it’s worth the ticket for his cringeworthy one-liners alone. However, four years down the line, Adam Rifkin called the cop out of semi-retirement and decided to go for broader comedy. Psycho Cop Returns proved single-handedly that N.W.A. were onto something when they suggested that all law enforcement officers should be soundly FUBAR. Some films are so bad that they’re good; present company well and truly excluded.
“Is it safe?”
If Ulli Lommel thought we was getting away scot-free then he really should have taken Celine Dion’s lead and though twice. He has escaped a scathing thus far on sole account of The Boogeyman. I feel that I have now cut him more than enough slack and the time has come for Keeper to lay the smackdown on poor defenceless Ulli. Don’t feel bad for the German director, I don’t get a kick from beating on one of lesser strength than I. The reason why he doesn’t have a leg to hop on is coming right up. The year was 2005…sounding familiar yet Ulli? Ringing any bells? Allow me to elaborate a tad further. Zombie Nation. There I said it, just speaking those two diminutive words in enough to cause the bile to rise within my esophagus. Since when has applying a little too much foundation qualified you for being labelled a zombie? This, my distinguished friends is the motion picture equivalent of having a white-tipped pimple, situated directly below your nostril, pinched by Edward Scissorhands. It’s agonizing, more painful than zipping your back-fat into a leather corset. I trust you’re getting my gist here. Avoid like the bearded aunt at a family barbecue. You have been warned.
“Guys, check out this book. Looks pretty old, maybe it’ll help us!”
This is my fifth Z-List and still I haven’t made mention of another of Lommel’s countrymen and the most notorious German since Adolf Hitler. It could only be you Uwe “Raging” Boll; you may have thought I would let your indiscretions slide but, alas, they are too heinous to overlook. In truth, there are many of your films ripe for the picking when compiling a hit list such as this but I will give your dues. Because of a tax loophole, you have managed to attract some fairly prestigious actors to your work. The allure of the almighty Deutsche Mark eh Uwe? I’m nothing if not fair and there have been peaks in Troughsville. However, House of The Dead and Alone in The Dark deserve their lowly spot in the doldrums. Jürgen Prochnow, Clint Howard, Stephen Dorff, and even the admittedly unfussy Christian Slater all desired a bite of your Bratwurst and, as for Tara Reid, we all know she’s partial to sausage. Despite such a distinguished B-List cast, these two risible video game adaptations were enough to make Ed Wood turn in his shocking pink cardigan.
4 Girls and a Family of Killers!
Continuing on with the theme of Boll, Keeper’s next Z-Lister is a sequel to one of his other atrocities. Seed 2 aka Blood Valley: Seed’s Revenge appeared last year and actually features a dear friend of mine; the marvelous Nick Principe. I had the exclusive pleasure of hanging up in a meat locker with this 6″7 man mountain over three nights of filming last summer and it culminated in improvised movie plutonium. My beef with Marcel Walz’s travesty is not with he; indeed, he is the only thing about the movie that doesn’t blow mountain goats. However, I know Nick, and he would be the first to admit that Seed 2 was a dead duck at first quack. Incoherent, repetitive, poorly shot, and borderline numbing agent; its main selling point, other than a wonderfully slobbery turn from Chromeskull himself, was that one of the hapless harlots took a bullet to the vagina. If that didn’t have you clutching your labia for dear life then it replayed the entire scene at a later point just to pad out the 78 minute runtime further.
“The world is a toilet, and everyone in it are assholes”
Time for another of my little gems methinks. Peter Manoogian’s Demonic Toys aimed to show that the Puppet Master rejects were not the only novelty playthings to fear and, in 1992, set off to return the great Tracy Scoggins and her affiliates back to factory settings. Less gimmicky than their illustrious cousins, they were more than content to cut and cannibalize as opposed to shooting orally stored leeches your way then blow-torching your eyebrows. Manoogian’s film played it straight, offered lashings of delicious practical grue, and is the kind of B-Movie that makes me proud to have no shame. I implore you to take the trip into that haunted warehouse and relive those childhood fantasies with those impish Demonic Toys. But don’t tell Dollman.
While I’m sucking B-grade dick, I may as well enlighten you on another delectable downtrodden delight from 2007. The gloriously named Joseph Ariola provided door-to-door service courtesy of his low-rent slasher Knock Knock. I appraised this little obscurity on the site back in April 2014 and it limped away with a well-earned six from Keeper. Don’t let a little wayward dialogue fool you, this was every bit deserving of my praise and featured more grisly dispatches, courtesy of Tate Steinsiek, than you could wave a shitty stick at. Ariola was evidently no nipple, he knew the bottom line when coming up with the concept of a killer polite enough to knock first and chose not to overplay this pony’s one trick. He just gave us a kill count and that, as it transpired, was all that we asked for.
Shuki Levy & Deborah Shelton Take It All The Way
“Where are you going?”
“To shoot myself … I want to be first at the pearly gates. I hate long lines”
Back to the dregs and, in particular, William T. Naud’s Whodunit. Often known as Island of Blood and more often than not, not known whatsoever; this turgid puddle of diarrhetic dross attempted murder mystery à la Agatha Christie but the best it could come up with was death by being caught off-balance and pushed into a swimming pool without the necessary heat regulations. The kills were so murkily shot that the killer could be in plain sight the whole time, clad in lavender knitwear, and we’d still be none the wiser as to who actually dunit. There is no cure for dull as Naud discovered; it’s just a shame we had to find out the hard way. Nice cover art however.
“I don’t like bad food. Especially meat … it stinks. I don’t like anything smelly. I don’t like anything that tastes bad”
Arthur Jeffreys’ Demented attempted to jump on the tampon strings of Last House on The Left and I Spit on Your Grave with a cautionary tale of a woman scorned. After suffering the indignity of being gang-raped in a horse’s stable surrounded by long faces, Linda Rodgers descended awkwardly into madness and prepared something special for her antagonists. One bare-chested victim is fed peppered steak and then given a chestful of shotgun metal to assist with any troublesome indigestion. His death cry alone makes this worthy of legendary status as it makes Jerry’s scream in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as he receives his mole-whacking seem positively testosterone fueled. In addition, what’s not to love about a movie which closes with a freeze-frame of an unhinged fishwife brandishing a steely blade?
“Do you think its been easy all these years? Do you? Do you think its been easy trying to take care of my brother? Trying to keep my secret from my mother? Fighting to keep my own secrets locked up inside? When I told you about Carl, I thought you would understand. I thought you would be different from all the rest! But oh no. You wouldn’t believe me. You’re just the same as all the others! All those years of trying to protect my brother. And that was the only thing that really mattered! But now… I am the strong! And you are the weak! Now I see you where you really belong! Subservient! Grovelling! Subhuman, as I was all those years! Now we’re finding out who stand where, aren’t we! You, you putrid scum! Fowling the air with your very presence! Now we’re finding out, aren’t we? Aren’t we? AREN’T WE?”
Another lady you’d be ill-advised to trifle with was Marion Penrose. After extensive electrolysis failed to remove her unsightly body hair and she grew tired of tucking her Johnson between her ass and walking in heels, Marion finally snapped. Don Gronquist’s Unhinged closes our current Z-List on a high as his one-time video nasty had a number of tools in its arsenal. While a paltry three co-eds were primed for the flunking meaning plentiful shameless runtime padding, there was a certain creepy charm surrounding the old ramshackle tool shed which remained padlocked by day but became open for business each nightfall. Gronquist threw in a monkey spanking prowler, some full-frontal nudity sponsored by seventies bush, and a couple of callous dispatches but the true treasure was in its shocking conclusion. While Angela from Sleepaway Camp was still nursing the first pube on her ballbag, Marion was only too willing to straddle the final girl and let her winkie nestle as she perforated her quarry literally dozens of times and revealed her baritone.
Is winning worth killing for?
Okay, you’ve earned this Grueheads. One more for the road, what are rules if not there to be broken? In a way they’re no different from track records. This brings me tidily onto Michael Elliot’s far from unforgivable Fatal Games from 1984. Picking up where Graduation Day left off, it pitted some of America’s finest young athletes against a javelin-wielding psychopath and escaped disqualification due to a number of factors. Watching a distressed lemming on crutches attempt to outrun said javelin was beyond precious. Moreover, it actually packed tension in its kit bag and doused the screen with ominous blue tones as it ratcheted towards its finish line, clipping more hurdles than Ronald McDonald en route, it has to be said. The audio provided the reason for it’s Z-List inclusion; the jabbing soundbites that accompanied each death were simply awe-inspiring and some douche forgot to cue up the end credit song and it took a good half a muted minute to dust off the vinyl. Only in the eighties, God love ’em.
A Keeper’s work is never done it would appear. Before senile dementia comes a knocking, I am determined to exorcise every last one of these demons or, at the very least, croak trying. I still have a field of Children of The Corn sequels to peruse, a shady sounding ninth Hellraiser entry to consider, the proposed return of Leprechaun to prepare for, and countless other over-matured wedges of Camembert just waiting to gunk up your nostrils. There can be no decongestant for true bona fide badness, my advice to you would be to take large sniffs as it will clear the blast radius quicker. Now, if you don’t mind, I have a half-empty bottle of Viper to glug. Bottoms up Grueheads; I’ll be puckering up for my asshole on the way down the shitter. Maybe I’ll meet Ratman down there. Wretched vermin.
The Deplorable Collection
It’s Alive 3: Island of the Alive,
A Return to Salem’s Lot,
Psycho Cop Returns,
House of The Dead,
Alone in The Dark,
Sequence Thus Far
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
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Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2015