We’re back with more AMERICAN GORE STORIES, this time Volume 2: MOVIES THAT MADE MY MOM PUKE. Another grab bag of underground horror, the second volume in this sick series kicks off good and strong, just like the last one, though with a decidedly different tone.
Where Volume 1 commenced with the grim psychothriller CLAY, a serious and seriously fucked up movie, MOVIES THAT MADE MY MOM PUKE offers up HORNO as it’s seminal offering. What happens when you mix porn and horror? HORNO! What happens when your horno shoot gets interrupted by actual real-life horno events? You fight evil! No, wait. You grab your camera and keep filming because the real life zombies, biting off dicks and bringing whole new meanings to “eating someone out”, deliver way more production value than anything HORNO’s sleaze director and his questionably talented cast and crew are putting on camera. Titties, fucking and intestines, not to mention offensive humor, keep this short-but-sweet sexy gore flick – not quite HORNO but close enough for this to be kinda meta (a semi-horno film called HORNO about a horno shoot that gets interrupted by actual horno happenings). It’s an enjoyable flick that’s as smart as its characters are idiotic. Lotsa fun!
Now, more questions for you. What happens when a bitter magician gets an elixir from some long-haired bum claiming said elixir contains REAL magic? I’ll tell you what happens. The magician finds himself the vessel for the wicked workings of PETER ROTTENTAIL. It totally does NOT help that a couple of dipshit youngsters in knit caps decide to recite from a grimoir. This leads to one of the more unusual rising-from-the-grave sequences I’ve seen. It’s effective as hell and rather cognitively dissonant when a life-size anthropomorphic bunny rabbit is what rises from the grave. He even goes BOING when he hops. Heh. Twisted movie. This could have been a shitty movie in which the only entertainment value is in the novelty of having something like the Easter Bunny committing acts of violence. But the film’s tone, characters and events put more into this than mere novelty – though the novelty is admittedly a lot of the fun value. But it holds out rather than petering out, pun intended. And I love that he uses a CARROT as a weapon during a double-kill scene and that it makes crunching noises when it stabs a victim. Nice. He’s got other weird tricks up his sleeve too, all fatal. It’s like a live action Saturday morning cartoon, complete with corny jokes and kooky antics, though of a much darker nature. With tongue still planted firmly in cheek.
SKI WOLF is every bit as silly as you’d suspect, and given that it’s a Chris Seaver picture, you can count on UBER silliness. This is one of Seaver’s more polished affairs. Some might say “polished” is not a word to apply to Seaver, or any micro-budget movies, but for all the crudity, Seaver’s pictures are loaded with style and panache. He makes low-brow classy. Merging Teen Wolf with Ski School – re-affirming Seaver’s obsession with 80s cinema, and who can blame him? – SKI WOLF pits an asshole badass skier played by Troma regular Trent Haaga, who always brings something to the table, against a nice guy whose ski skills aren’t quite up to snuff. Nevermind, though, when he’s bitten by a werebeast – in a lovely low budget sequence that would be right at home in straight horror – he becomes … Ski Wolf. Which means he becomes badass skier in his own right as well as finding his inner loverboy. He even nabs Haaga’s big-tittied girlfriend, played by a porno actress whose boob appears in one of the most awesomely composed shots involving tits I’ve ever seen. Actually, there is a trend of interesting cinematography here, a nice touch and unexpected for this type of film. Big boobs, a bit of gore and zany humor – not to mention some swell action sequences Seaver must have been proud to pull off – all combine in a Chris Seaver extravaganza.
As a nice bonus disc – at least that’s how I see it – volume two of AMERICAN GORE STORIES includes DRIVE-IN MADNESS, which is what the title suggests. It’s a batch of footage from classic indie exploitation, some of it surprising vintage inclusions. It’s another compilation disc to continue the precedent set by the first GORE box, which boasted the HORROR ROCK mixtape of horror footage.
Finally there’s arguably the best of the box, DIRTY COP NO DONUT, a modern faux shockumentary classic about a cameraman following around one of cinema’s biggest asshole cops. This ego freak revels in the attention from the camera – he frequently orders the cameraperson to keep the lense on him since he, Mr. Popo, is the start of the show. He loves it so much he doesn’t balk at being totally himself in front of the camera, no matter how incriminating his behavior might be. It makes you wonder how much of a future the cameraperson even has. The movie and its protagonist waste no time getting right to the nitty gritty with the titular dirty cop visiting a known drug dealer, bullying him and making off with his blow. From there he’s off to a convenience store where he grabs a coke and a box of doughnuts – even some chips – with no intent to pay. He even goes behind the camera to sneak a peek at the nudie mags. Essentially, we’re treated to a satirical comment on modern American police culture with an extreme stereotype employed as a condemnation of corrupt, power-tripping “peace” officers. Seems particularly appropriate in this age of militaries police forces. Mr. Dirty Cop, the mean blue popo himself, goes around bullying whoever he likes, all under thinly veiled legal excuses. Pawn shops hocking stolen goods? Bust up the merch. Spot a hooker? Make her pay a, ahem, personal fine. And so on and so forth. The film finds diverse scenarios for Mr. Dirty Cop in which he can act an ass. It plays like a spin-off of “Cops”; you could call it “Crooked Cops”. There is a sense of humor but it’s situational, not punchline. And it’s not over-the-top. This plays mostly straight-faced, an exploitation film with a social purpose. Not the first time. (See Cannibal Holocaust.) It’s well-executed and the main actor upon whose performance the film hangs does a compelling job of playing a cop we loathe. He is a good target for all our anger toward abusive authority. In that case, you could say the film is cathartic. The film, and the cop’s behavior, escalates from mere bullying, theft and property destruction to a disturbing scene of violence, and the shift is somewhat abrupt. The incident of bloody violence is of such an ugly nature that it’s a real shocker – the viewer suddenly knows what he/she is in for. This is no mere corrupt cop; this is a psychopath. He heaps his particular brand of scorn upon criminals because he clearly prefers his downlow brand of justice to actually arresting anybody. Even loud music or driving uninsured are not beneath his notice. As the movie progresses, Officer Dirty becomes more and more belligerent. The viewer is treated to a fun exercise in guessing just what peaceable setting he will invade next and just how fucked-up a method he will employ to assert his, um, authority. When the movie comes to an “end”, it’s surprising and satisfying … and then the film keeps going in an extended prologue that is both more of what’s gone before but is also, contextually, a progression of what came before.
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