Every Wednesday and Friday
Skinheads takes a particular place in my heart, not just because it’s one of Graydon Clarks better looking films, but also because of the era that it’s done in. With Clark I spend a lot of time in the 70s and 80s, but this is early 90s – right around the time I was a teenager. You can tell from the fashions and the hairstyles and that alone is enough to really make me enjoy it. The sort of commentary here is just a little bit better than a lot of stuff that Clark does – it’s still heavy-handed, but delivered with better efficiency and more entertainment. Clark himself will admit that he lifted the idea and most of the plot from his first film, but it plays better in this theme I think. Our plot involves a group of skinheads who are involved in a casual yet brutal murder, chasing down the last of the witnesses to it. I see some of the strongest performances in the villians here. In particular, the leader of the gang of skinheads – this guy is perfect, he is charismatic and articulate and when he speaks his voice just draws you in. The fact that what he’s actually saying is horrible and ugly is irrelevant, you just sink into his passion and his voice. With this strong performance I never ever lose my suspension of disbelief – I can absolutely see how this charismatic personality could’ve drawn people to his horrible cause. And make no mistake about it, he is absolutely charismatic and winning and beautiful – he is the perfect example of a sociopath. Great Kudos to both Clark and his actor for creating such a strong character – honestly a stronger character them our heroes.
Well perhaps not all of them, our old man played by Chuck Conners, he’s a little over the top but man is he entertaining and I am totally on his side from the word go. We get some of the best action set pieces from him and the events in his cabin – I absolutely love this. Indeed, it feels like there’s a lot more money spent on this and they are really wise – the action is fast and brutal and perfectly entertaining.
This could almost be a perfect movie for me – until we hit the rape scene towards the end. I genuinely don’t know why this was included – it does not really drive the narrator and if you want to give a female protagonist a better reason for wanting to extract revenge (something I don’t think she needs by the way, seeing her friend assaulted and gone down should be more than enough. And if it’s not, how about the fact that they planted them through this woods for a couple of days? We really don’t need to draw rape on top of all of this) but to me it seems ridiculous and excessive – it’s not even a matter of wanting to throw some nudity in there, we don’t see anything exposed… But we do see the act. It’s repulsive. Unfortunately this is a deal breaker for me, without the scene I probably would’ve recommended this film as a buy. It really is one of Clark’s better films and absolutely worth a watch.
Every Wednesday and Friday
It was slightly chilly for a spring afternoon as the creatures crawled out of their holes and congregated in the back patio of the 5 o’clock lounge for their annual food drive and monster walk. I was particularly excited this time around because my girls were both with me – but something was different this time… This year, instead of being zombies, they had chosen to arrive as hunters. Madeline carried her bow, and Lydia packed her crossbow under her purple survivor vest.
The monster walks at the 5 o’clock lounge are familiar – it’s where the first zombie walks I can remember started, and the rout is a traditional block of Lakewood that I’ve spent many years on. It’s probably the one that I’ve taken the kids on the most frequently as well – with familiar streets and faces. The umbrella corporation was there, as well as our typical field leader – this time decked out in a slightly more armoured persona of major iseue. The zombie hunter aspect is new for the kids though, it’s something I’ve been suggesting for years since they don’t always dig the make up… This time however, it’s fueled by a desire to play a little more into the world that Maddie is creating with her backyard zombie movie. Indeed, the girls cornered various zombies before the walk and got some footage for their web series…
I was actually a little disappointed with my own make up, but the kids decision to go was a last-minute one… Lydia informed me the night before that she wanted to go and wanted a costume, but she didn’t know what… Something like survival clothing – with tools and weapons on it… I cut up an old purple bag and added a walkie-talkie, spare arrows, and grenades to it (she was inexplicably excited about the grenades – a tool she recognises from some of her video games). On the back she requested a cute and tie zombie picture which I whipped up using gel markers, paint, and glitter.
With Maddie deciding the day of the zombie walk that she wanted to go, there is no time to really create much for her though I did build her some balsawood arrows with blunted foam tips, that way she can carry her bow though she wasn’t allowed to fire it. She was a little bummed, especially since Lydia was allowed to shoot her soft foam arrows from her crossbow.
While your average zombie walk brings out the typical undead featuring torn skin, splattered blood, and oozing sores, The 5 o’clock monster walk always seems to encourage a greater variety of creatures – you never quite know what kind of monsters will show up… Killer panders or demented Easter bunnies – Gas mask fiends, zombified dogs and Teen Titans, not to mention the star cars from the weaponised zombie Dodge, to the glitterati art car that pulled up behind it.
Lydia mention to her mother that she wanted to go to the zombie walk because it was something that daddy liked and she wanted to do something with me… I think that’s the best part of these kind of things… We all had fun, and in the end the walk wrapped up too soon – leaving the girls asking when the next one was. We’ll find out soon.
Eaters : Rise of the dead is a by the number is zombie film.it’s right out of the Romero playbook, zombie outbreak and fall of society. Very standard fare, with a lot of actors who are definitely into horror and genre films. The zombies here are viral, not quite as fast as rage zombies but certainly that same origin done make up is good, the splatter is fun and the filmmakers are trying very hard to make an enjoyable film. They realise this is not art, and there are definately not trying for a high concept piece here. It’s good bloody fun to throw on and play in the background at a party or will you do something else.it’s exactly the sort of thing that I expect to see a compatible like cinema wasteland done it also exactly the sort of film that I could see myself renting back in my College days. It’s a recommend, but a shaky one. Go in with low expectations and you’ll have fun.
Every Wednesday and Friday
Every Wednesday and Friday
I don’t often have my family with me when I hit an advance screening, but in the case of Disney’s new documentary Born in China, it was a must. My youngest daughter loves pandas and that alone was enough to compel her to run out to the theater. I settled into the nice reclining chairs in Rocky River and ambivalently prepared myself for an hour and a half of nature channel on the big screen. I wasn’t expecting to be impressed and I had no idea the oddessy that we were all just about to embark on.
The first thing that strikes you about Born in China is just how lush it is. The vast panoramas that just seem to go on forever immediately draw you in and then take off on breathtaking aerial shots. It’s all of this before we are even introduced to the animals and Disney is obviously showing that they’ve put the maximum effort into this film. This isn’t just going to be any old nature documentary.
We follow a year in the life of several animal families, a group of monkeys, a panda mother and daughter, a snow leopard and her two cubs as well as a herd of elk. The leopard and monkeys get the lions share of the screen time, having the most story to follow, and yet there’s a certain charm to the way we cut back and forth between narratives and the bumbling panda never failed to make my Lydia laugh as it tumbled down the trees and hills time and time again.
The story about the skull faced monkeys in particular seemed to have the most characters and factions as our young subject explores other families and groups of monkeys before finally returning to it’s family and finally seeming to find his place.
My elder daughter Maddie found herself drawn more to the snow leopard’s segments. The story of the leopard is far more aggressive as the mother hunts and tries to provide for her cubs while defending her territory. The violence of the hunt is muted to keep us in a “G” rating, we see no blood and absent is the actual killing strike. I know it seems silly, but I kind of miss it.
The film makers work hard to craft a narrative from their years worth of filming. Some of the stories are a triumphant adventure, others are melancholy. Not everyone gets a happy ending, but they frame the movie with the Chinese myth about the Storks – the idea that they carry the spirit of the dead with them, perpetuating the cycle of life and death. It’s an adequate conceit, but honestly, the writing isn’t what you are here for. Born in China is beautifully filmed. It’s one of those rare films that you really need to see in a movie theater with a good screen – no drive-in theares (sorry Aut-O-Rama! I still love you and I’ll be out this summer, I promise!) or HD TVs for this, there’s too much detail and scope for any other platform to do it justice.
Stay for the credits by the way. There’s behind the scenes stuff, bloopers and general shenanigans with the animals as they explore the cameras and check inside the filmmakers bags.
Seriously, if you’re a fan of documentaries, or nature channel presentations, and especially if you have kids, take them to this. It’s a brilliant departure from the summer blockbusters full of superheros and lazers and by-the-numbers CGI cartoons.
Born in China opens in theaters nationwide this Friday
Satan’s cheerleaders is a very quintessential Graydon Clark film – its exploitation to the core, and it’s a grind house pedigree is unquestionable. A quick and easy description is the creepy janitor spying on the cheerleaders is actually into the occult and wants them as his own. I don’t know that we really need much more than that now do we?
This is a trashy B exploitation film, and to that end it works extremely well. Cheerleader films were in at the time and Clark wisely exploited the fashion of the day – but combining it with in a horror film is really where he gets my attention. He’s going old-fashioned with the satanic cult, robes and sacrifices and that sort of thing… It’s got a nice Hammer feel towards the end and that’s exactly what I want from this sort of film.
The only part that occasionally irritates me is our virginal chaperone who is naive to the point of irritation – I understand, that’s really the point of the character but it’s still grates on me a little bit too much – it’s a little too on the nose…but then again it is the experimental era of the 70s and 80s and it’s a bit that probably worked a lot better at the time.
Satan’s Cheerleaders actually does not pass the watch test for me – it took a couple of tries to get through this and I’m not sure why… It’s not too long, it’s just not engaging enough for me. I’m glad to have seen it, but I probably will not be revisiting it. It’s one of the easier Clark films to find, in fact I’ve seen it streamed on YouTube once in a while as well as sold on DVD are conventions. If you can get a screening of it someplace like wasteland, you’re better off.