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Best of Schlock 2001
BY G. NOEL GROSS | January 4, 2002

Baby New Year is squawkin' and Dick Clark has returned to his stasis chamber, so it must be that magic hour when yours truly looks fondly back on the standout genre titles of the year. Before that, though, I'm pleased to recognize TVA International's Ginger Snaps special edition as the inaugural recipient of the CineSchlockers' Choice award honoring THE top DVD as voted by CineSchlock-O-Rama readers! Congrats to all who made this remarkable disc a reality! It's certainly on MY list along with nine other must-haves and here they are in very particular order:

1. Terror Firmer
(Read original review)

By far, THE sickest, most disgusting, gratuitously-vulgar, stomach-turning, grossly-offensive movie I've ever had the uneasy pleasure of watching -- again and again and again. Truly Troma's triumph! This two-disc gut punch of a special edition spews engrossing extras like a stuck mastodon, especially the feature-length Farts of Darkness documentary. The meat of the story takes us behind the scenes of the next Toxic Avenger flick where we're confronted by an eccentric crew of punks, stoners, transsexuals and militant filmmakers led by its BLIND director (Lloyd Kaufman) whose motivation style generally leans toward idle threats of blowing his own brains out. Two major forces conspire to hinder his art-making -- a dwindling staff due to a mysterious woman's inventive serial killing and the various boisterous and very public on-set romances of his diddle-happy starlet (Debbie Rochon). 18 breasts. 15 corpses. Wangdoodle super-hyper extension. Flatulence flame throwing. Life-affirming rape scene. Gratuitous multi-stream urination. B-auteur Larry Benjamin coaches an actress, "You're supposed to be a seductress. Can you please do this with a little more of that slutty-whore-bitch vibe? We love that!"

2. Killer Klowns From Outer Space
(Read original review)

How refreshing to see a cult film lavished with this much attention by a major studio. It couldn't have happened to a better bunch of bozos! Stephen, Charles and Edward Chiodo offer an enthusiastic commentary among GOBS of other keen goodies, including their riotous early film The Beast from the Egg. On a lazy evening, a brilliant light screams across the sky and disappears behind some trees provoking the curiosity of locals (Grant Cramer and Suzanne Snyder). Upon investigation, they are astonished to find not a meteor, but an illuminated circus tent. It's when Debbie and Mike wander inside that they come toe to floppy shoe with its beyond-bizarre inhabitants, who despite their festive attire and jolly painted faces, have murder, not slapstick on their minds. These over-sized jesters zap the citizenry into pink cotton candy cocoons and cart them back to their ship to suck out their blood with crazy straws. Yum! Earthlings simply don't stand for such discourteous impositions, so it falls to our heroes to teach these space buffoons proper dining etiquette -- and fast. No breasts. 20 corpses. Balloon bloodhound. Upper-cut decapitation. Postmortem ventriloquism. Officer Mooney (John Vernon) is a real scene stealer with lines like, "Whooptee goddamn dee doo!!!"

3. Ginger Snaps
(Read original review)

John Fawcett and Karen Walton sharpened the time-worn teeth of the werewolf genre by blending unflinching horror and heart in a picture that's as morosely witty as it is grotesque. Inexplicably, the film only garnered a skeletal domestic disc, so we must hail Canada for this richly-deserved special edition. Sisters Brigitte and Ginger (Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle) are grim goth girls who stand in stark contrast to the bright uniformity of their idealized suburbia. One fateful night, a furry beast that's been making kibbles and bits of neighborhood canines snatches Ginger and drags her screaming into the woods. Brigitte stands frozen in disbelief before timidly running toward her sister's cries to find her being mauled by a wolf-like creature. They frantically scratch and claw themselves away to safety where Ginger's wounds miraculously begin to heal. Afterward, nothing between the two girls is ever the same as Ginger slowly blossoms into a man-eater in the most direct definition of the word. No breasts. Five corpses. Backseat diddling. Snuff photography. Human popsicle. Gratuitous urination (with blood). Ginger's beau recognizes he's got a problem, "I'm up to some whack s@#% right now. I'm way out on the corner of f@#%ed up and evil."

4. Basket Case
(Read original review)

Something Weird Video, those sainted Samaritans of exploitation, teamed with goretur Frank Henenlotter to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this unforgettable clasSICK with a spectacular disc featuring all the extra digital guts it's so worthy of being splattered with. Behold a tale of two exceedingly unusual brothers rich with vengeance, lust and inexplicable charm. Duane (Kevin Van Hentenryck) is a lanky kid who wanders into the seedy Hotel Broslin toting a large wicker basket housing his very tiny and very ferocious bubba Belial. The two are in town to systematically chew -- one of them quite literally -- through a gaggle of quack physicians they were wronged by many years before. But their revelry is complicated when Duane falls for a bright-eyed receptionist (Terri Susan Smith) with a revolving door on her virtue and a dime-store wig. Belial is enraged by and jealous of his brother's Romeo antics which, fueled by his own sexual frustration, spawns a murderous rift between them with obvious Biblical parallels. Two breasts. Eight corpses. Nekkid dream sequence with untethered wangdoodle. Eye gobbling. Toilet diving. Monster cam. Duane lovingly describes his brother, "He's deformed! He's a freak! He looks like a squashed octopus!"

5. Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers
(Read original review)

Director Fred Olen Ray tells it like it is, "It's probably taken me more time and more effort and more care to put together this special edition than it ever did to make the original film." His witty "Night Owl Theater" intros create the perfect mood in which to view a picture of this ilk -- complete with cigars, cocktails and topless Twister. It's easy to get caught up in the jiggling lingerie and whirring chainsaws, but at its festering little heart, this genre gem is really a private eye flick. As we learn through fantastically cornball voiceovers, it's when trying to track down a beautiful runaway (Linnea Quigley) that Jack Chandler (Jay Richardson) accidentally stumbles across a cult of chainsaw-worshiping whores who gleefully turn Johns into cold cuts. In fact, the gal he's looking for is in cahoots with the Cuisinart cultists, landing Jack flat on his back as the sacrificial main course for a Feast of the Dead. But not before Linnea slinks the immortal Virgin Dance of the Double Chainsaws. 12 breasts. Four corpses. Fire breathing. Private dick jokes. Finger stealing. Chandler knows what he likes in a dame, "The kid talked like a Frosted Flake, but she had the nicest set of knockers that I'd seen in a long time."

6. Satan's Sadists
(Read original review)

Deservedly dubbed the Citizen Kane of biker flicks. Sam Sherman, cohort of the late director Al Adamson, guides viewers through this cult classic with both reverence and humor through his insightful commentary. Ordinary folk are brutalized by a gang of seven riders who've named themselves after the Prince of Darkness and try their darndest to live up to the rep. First, they rob a guy and take turns diddling his girlfriend, although she doesn't seem to MIND all that much. Later, they rumble into a secluded roadside cafe to fill their stomachs and raise even more hell. In so doing, the gang's malevolent leader Anchor (subtly acted by Russ Tamblyn) executes THREE folks just for sassing him. The cafe's dingy waitress (Jackie Taylor) and her Marine hero (Scott Brady) are able to escape into the desert where they're hunted by the homicidal motorcycle maniacs for the rest of the picture. Four breasts. 15 corpses. Waitress licking. Rattlesnake necktie. Russian roulette. Anchor knows how to let a gal down easy, "Love? What do you know about love? You're good for one thing and one thing only. And you know something, now that I think about it, you're not even so good for that anymore. You ain't nothing anymore to me baby ... you're just nothing but a piece of dead meat."

7. Spiders
(Read original review)

Wry humor punctuates this gooey farce with the familiar monster-on-the-loose pace of 1950s creature epics. Don't skip the outstanding featurette that showcases the FX, cast interviews and revealing "how'd-they-do-that?" footage. A student journalist with a Fox Mulder-complex attempts to infiltrate an Area 51-type base with her photographer and computer whiz in tow. Meanwhile, orbiting Earth, the space shuttle is hit by a solar flare during an experiment with a very SPECIAL spider. After a fiery crash, Marci (Lana Parrilla) and pals wind up playing hide-and-go-eat in the underground base with a two-foot tarantula that doubles in size every time they squish it, until it gets to the point where the thing clambers atop a tall building like a certain value-sized primate. Director Gary Jones is no stranger to the genre as he made Mosquito (penned by Leatherface himself, Gunnar Hansen) -- not to be confused with Skeeter, which is a COMPLETELY different movie about giant blood-sucking insects. No breasts. 19 corpses. Phony electrocution gag. Egg-laying closeup. Projectile puking. Spidervision. The script is intentionally littered with lines from other flicks: "I'll be back!" "I've got a bad feeling about this!" and "We're sure as s@#% not in Kansas anymore!"

8. Batman: The Movie
(Read about BatCon Comic & Toy Expo )

Holy sensory overload, Batman! If you, gentle reader, were only going to listen to any ONE audio commentary from 2001, it'd have to be from this circular orb of bat-tastic video conveyance right here. Caped crusaders Adam West and Burt Ward spin hilarious -- sometimes, well, blue -- yarns about their on and off screen antics while making the feature film that followed their classic TV series' first runaway-hit season. They also provide amusing voiceovers for the bat-themed motion-video menus. Fans will thrill to a personal tour of the real-deal Batmobile. The 35-year-old flick finds our Dynamic Duo racing to thwart a diabolical scheme to take over the world hatched by super-criminals Penguin, Joker, Catwoman and Riddler (Burgess Meredith, Cesar Romero, Lee Meriwether and Frank Gorshin). CineSchlockers will howl at the riotous shark attack and bomb disposal sequences. The movie also marked the debuts of the famed Bat Boat and Bat Copter. No breasts. No corpses. Smooching. Heroic dolphin. Government-surplus submarine. Mr. West is master of his "Theatre of the Absurd" as squeaky-clean zillionaire-playboy Bruce Wayne, "I've rarely met a girl that's such a potent argument in favor of international relations."

9. Coffy
(Read original review)

This keystone of MGM's "Soul Cinema" boasts a typically solid and refreshingly modest commentary by legendary filmmaker Jack Hill. Coffy (Pam Grier) is a nurse fed up with police inaction in her community -- one that's crawling with dope pushers, pimps and the politicians who seem to be pulling the strings. But it's when her own sister falls victim to the scourge of drugs that Coffy picks up a sawed-off shotgun and decides to settle the score. This one-chick hit squad follows a trail of junkies to King George (Robert DoQui) and infiltrates his harem of high-class escorts, which isn't easy since they're an extremely MEAN group of gals. Thankfully, this tension builds to a catfight royale that's darn near unrivaled in B-cinema's lurid history. Coffy eventually schemes her way into the inner circle responsible for most of the unseemly stuff that'd hacked her off in the first place, but who she comes face-to-face with there may prove more than one woman can take. At least without a loaded scattergun. 13 breasts. Eight corpses. High-speed pimp pull. Gratuitous Jamaican accent. Ol' razorblades in the bouffant gag. Ms. Grier in seductress mode, "Now don't start gettin' insecure ... you know the long goodie will keep on workin' as long as I'm able to handle it."

10. Maximum Overdrive
(Read original review)

Maligned as Steven King's grandest failure, this underappreciated picture has become a cult hit that easily mesmerizes discerning viewers. Its beautiful W-I-D-Escreen (2.35:1) print and driving AC/DC score in Dolby Digital 5.1 will also dazzle those who've only seen the flick on cable. Machines revolt against their creators when a comet bathes our planet with a slimy green haze. An ATM dispenses curses instead of cash. Soda cans launch like mortar shells from vending machines to brain little leaguers. As Chuck Heston would say, "It's a MADHOUSE!!!!" And it's worldwide, but King's story focuses mostly on the Dixie Boy Truck Stop and the odd collection of rednecks cowering inside. Our hero is Emilio Estevez as a parolee turned short-order cook who doesn't seem to mind battling the convoy of 18-wheelers that crush any Earth ape dim enough to wander outside. But the real fireworks begin when Pat Hingle breaks out his secret arsenal of militia gear to level the playing field against the Green Goblin truck and its mechanical minions. No breasts. 20 dead bodies. Maniac lawnmower. Gasoline to the eyes. Arcade-game electrocution. Gratuitous urination. King's script really sums up Earth's plight, "The whole g%damn world is going t@ts up!" and "Jesus is coming and he's pissed."

G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.

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