Friday, December 26, 2008

jeezus christ

Alright, I've been meaning to put up a review of the Criterion DVD release of White Dog since I watched it last week. It's so great. On that day of seeing this movie after so many years of looking (without having to pay "some guy" for a questionable dub) I finished a book about the making of Videodrome, by Tim Lucas. They were made right around the same time, and I couldn't help but draw some connections between them. It's so rare that you see one movie, let alone two thatdeal with ideas (!) in such an openly metaphoric way, and these films do just that. Videodrome dealing with the merging of media with our lives (physiologicly, pychologicly and physically) and White Dog taking on the subject of indoctrinated racism. And it's the open air vibe that really makes this stuff work in movie form. There is something so great about seeing aquishy faced Kristy McNichol talking with dog trainers Burl Ives and Paul Winfield about the evil nature of racism and how it can be taught to an innocent dog. Oh, and Burl Ives plays a lovable coot who hates racists! So that's highly reccomended, but yes, I'm having trouble finding that inner write-drive. So soon, I'll be posting some older writings here. Hopefully that will get me on track.

Monday, December 15, 2008

skip right to the 3rd video if you like hot babes with lot's of leg

The Unseen (1981) Movie Review

Code Red Dvd (a company I fully endorse) released a souped up dbl disc of this horror a couple months ago and I just picked it up on payday. I'm glad I did.
Appropriately I went through 2/3's of my life having not seen or heard of The Unseen.The Unseen quickly jumped to my "must see" list back in the late 90s, when I spied the review in The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film and envisioned the grandeur of Stephen Furst of a killer-feral-retarded-baby-man. I was a big fat fan of Stephen as Flounder in Animal House (natch), but moreso his work as rich asshole Harold in Midnight Madness (an all time fave), so I was just dying to see him killing some people, wreaking havoc, being a k-f-r-b-m, etc. After many roadtrips to all the mom n pop video stores near my parents' house (now all gone) I found the ultrarare vhs and got ready for the shocking, ridiculous and over the top horror movie my 20 year old brain had conjured.
I was vaguely disappointed. Although Sidney Lassick's performance stayed embedded in my brain, I was rather bummed that the titular "unseen" remains so unseen through the whole first hour of the movie. I was also let down by the lack of shocking violence I was so reliant on back in those days.
You can probably tell where I'm going with this: seeing this flick beyond it's rarity and potential for over-the-topness, The Unseen becomes something more satisfying. It's a measured and creepy "creepy house" movie that's reliant more on it's performances and what is actually "unseen." It's no classic, but it's a nice change of pace, and both Sidney Lassick and Stephen Furst really give a memorable couple of intense performances. It's also nice that in 1981 we don't get teenage axe-fodder, but 3 young professional ladies, even if they are also not really fleshed out, though I liked the dynamic of main chick Barbara Bach and her would be football hero boyfriend.
The story is simplicity itself. 3 young women go to a town to cover a news story, go to a creepy hotel/museum outside of town, meet the weird family and are stalked and murdered. Not much more to say here.
I really think that the new tranfer from Code Red is what brings Stephen Furst's work to the fore, cuz I remember barely being able to see those final scenes on the old VHS. I'm sure you know what iI'm talking about if you ever watched low budget films on VHS that have scenes in basements or in the woods at night. I haven't watched any of the extras yet (save for the interview with SF), so I can't tell you about any of those yet, but there's a bunch of stuff, and if you have any other Code Red releases, you can guess that they are gonna be thorough.
So, if you are a fan of early 80s horror cinema and don't need necessarily tons of gore, I'd highly recommend this little slab.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Blogs mean never having to say you're sorry...

...but I do feel some self-annoyance that I haven't been keeping up so much (in depth stylee) with this here thingamajigger. Of course I've been too busy with other shit, but more of a blockade to posting is nagging sense of "nothing to say" that weighs down of me sometimes. In fact, this feeling is the main reason that it took me so long to start Trashcanland. I certainly have large stretches when you can't get me to shut up about a thousand different things, but lately I've just been absorbing, absorbing, absorbing. Now I'm trying to get over the blog-block.

My pal Mike G does some great reviews of trash movies over at, and a recent review of Don't Panic brought some thoughts to the fore that have been simmering in me for a while. Mike is relatively favorable in his look at this Mexican horror film from the Crypt of Terror box set, but he doesn't mention the two scenes that made it such a favorite for me this year. Firstly, there's a montage of the two teen stars on a date together: They eat ice cream and hang out and get balloons. Later the boy who is the subject of all the horror gets frustrated and quarterassedly tears up his room. Now, I'm not suggesting that Mike didn't also love that stuff, but it brings to mind the fact that over the last couple of years I've become much more interested in the stuff surrounding the horror in horror movies. In the past I had to see all the Italian and Japanese gore films "with that infamous scene where....," but now what I really seek out is scenes of dancing, fake bands, shopping/date/whatever montages. I mean, I've always liked this in T&A movies, but it's crossed over into my most intense filmic interest.
I'm pretty sure that one of the reasons for this is that me and my buddy George started DJing some 80s nights which I made video projections for. The videos consisted mostly of vintage commercials, music videos and lots of these kind of scenes from obscure movies. Hunting for me of these made it so it was worth sitting through some terrible bore, just to add another slumberparty sequence to my collage tapes. Now my mind is always seeking, compiling shit in my mind. And we haven't done one of these nights in months, so what the hell am I doing?
I'm also looking out for good fashion. Just watched Jess Franco's Bloody Moon a couple of weeks ago and loved it. But when I'm thinking about it now, I get more images of that one chick's sweatshirt/miniskirt with Grace Jones on it, or the gal in the full jungle ensemble. Hey, there's also a great beheading and some exquisitely bad dialogue, but give me some hot chicks in ridiculous clothes and I'm all set.
Just seeking out that perfect world I guess.