Again already? That's right, a springtime deluge of scintillating schlock has hastened this previously year-end fave of those with spastic hamster attention spans -- the CineSchlock-O-Rama Lightning Round!!! Simply click the covers for complete star ratings and hang on tight ...
TOPLESS ACADEMY'S GUIDE TO BARTENDING (2003): Given that menfolk have been concocting schemes to cajole nekkid women onto camera since the silent era, there ain't exactly much jiggle room for innovation, except in those rarefied cases of exceptional craftiness. Enter frustrated Hollywood producers (a.k.a. bartenders) George Hobbs and David Horowitz who turned the gigs that'd been paying their bills in lieu of movie bidness into THIS downright ingenious brainstorm. Boobs 'n' booze go together like Jack 'n' Coke, but it took these fellas to bring such timeless male obsessions into a classroom that really, truly, honestly is EDUCATIONAL! A brimming tip jar of credit to Headmaster Bates (Hobbs) for minding his intensive, hour-long curriculum alongside a DOZEN bare-breasted, schoolgirl-skirted knockouts apt to douse themselves with bubbly, accessorize with whip cream or get overly sapphic while demonstrating proper body shot execution (blame CineSchlocker muse Laurie Wallace for that one). Undistracted pupils will learn to mix, garnish and serve more than 50 tasty elixirs, plus other alcoholic arts such as muddling and crowd control. The maestro mixologist's greatest insight: "One woman at your bar is worth FIVE men!" Cheers to that. Can't wait for next semester!
THE BUM SHOW.COM (2003): Yours truly suggested "reserved seating in the fiery caldrons of Hades" are likely in order for the makers of Bum Fights. Perhaps there's room on their laps for the purveyors of this second, only vaguely less reprehensible wave of video'd crimes against humanity. Two half-hour episodes chronicle such "hilarity" as paying transients a whole DOLLAR to guzzle Listerine and rousing stupor'd contestants to choose between a 40-ounce or a new shirt. Extras thoughtfully include footage of a gutter celeb lopping off part of a finger during an ill-advised cooking demonstration on morning zoo radio.
MAIL CALL: BEST OF SEASON 2 (2002-03): The Gunny and de facto Commander-and-Chief of The History Channel, R. Lee Ermey, returns with another seven-episode collection of military minutia. And, yes, the one with the trebuchet is front 'n' center! For the uninformed, this piece of ancient artillery, oft confused with the catapult, was used to heave heavy objects so as to smite thine enemies. Naturally, R. Lee loads HIS nemesi, loathsome watermelons, into a full-size replica for his and our amusement. Other highlights include loving odes to the Deuce-and-a-Half and the ever-reliable Huey helicopter. But the real gem of this bunch, or any episode, is when Ermey takes a weapon in hand and displays his "superior Marine Corps marksmanship training" such as when comparing Union and Rebel rifles against a soon-to-be-shamed Civil War reenactor. TV geeks should note that THREE second season shows were erroneously featured on Mail Call: Best of Season 1. However, there are no duplications. See previous review for episode list.
Serious gorehounds can, at long last, retire their ragged VHS dupes of Long Island auteur Nathan Schiff's grew-strewn sub-sub-sub-cult classicks. Lovingly remastered from original 8mm elements, these seductively titled, yet primitive and gleefully grotesque exercises in backyard filmmaking are an acquired taste. WEASELS RIP MY FLESH (1979) begins the trio with a '50s-style tale of giagundous papier mache rodents crazed for human flesh by radioactive litter from the planet Venus. Blessedly, the running time's only an hour. While Mr. Schiff's first honest and most entertaining feature, LONG ISLAND CANNIBAL MASSACRE (1980), truly delivers on its murderous moniker with nasal-voiced girlies ground face-first into Lawn Boys and a disgustin' final-reel CHAINSAW dismemberment that's either the most DANGEROUS ever filmed or the most expertly choreographed! Although it's a rough ride til that memorable moment, but it's worth it, especially when the peanut butter-faced cannibal king lets his brood of angelic little girls lick the plate, so to speak. Finally, there's Nick's furious skewering of '80s greed, THEY DON'T CUT THE GRASS ANYMORE (1985), about a pair of hayseed gardeners who butcher anyone who sniffs coke or wears designer clothes. With a yuppie getting pointy unpleasantness shoved up you know where, a nether-noshing canine and about two too many protracted cranial crushings, it's the most, um, AMBITIOUS of the bunch gore wise. Every disc comes loaded beyond belief with a commentary AND 20-minute sit-downs with Nathan, interviews with constant collaborators John Smihula and Fred Borges, plus oodles of Schiff shorts and behind-the-scenes photos.
THE KISS (1988): There just aren't enough movies about Cosmo covergirls who console their dead sister's hubby with afternoon delights atop a kitchen table and, by night, attempt to take possession of their niece's nubile bod via a kinky mixture of lesbian tongue rasslin' and Congoan hocus pocus. Teen dream Meredith Salenger instinctually despises long-lost auntie Joanna Pacula. It's a rift that only widens when the little honey's sidekick gets her face waffled by an escalator and a potential beau is pancaked by an 18-wheeler. Guess that's what he gets for sneaking into a witchy woman's hotel room while she writhes around nekkid, smearing herself with blood, in front of a Gene Simmons-tongued idol. If only daddy would LISTEN!!! And mama's grisly, out-of-nowhere demise not only starts things off right, it lands among horror's most cringe-inducing moments! Sadly, while presented in anamorphic widescreen, the print quality is puny.
ST. ANDREW'S GIRLS (2002): Imagine The Breakfast Club recast with Catholic schoolgirl approximations of the "Sex and the City" gals and one might gain the vaguest notion of where this decidedly dark comedy aims. There's the kind-hearted hussy (Alice Frank), the gratuitous goth spaz (Wendy Walker), the princess secretly angling to become an asian crime boss (Vanni Nguyen) and the new girl with a teeny-tiny secret gestating inside her (Malindi Fickle). Punch lines range from sexually-induced stigmata, bullet-to-the-brainpan suicide to ditching detention by fellating a horndog teach just so the girls can go play video games. Har. Har. Might've scored without the sentimental landmines and the bazillionth usage of "Truth or Dare" as an expositional crutch. Note: This is a Canadian release.
THE SKULLS III (2003): Less notable as a sequel than for sitcom weenie Barry Bostwick's return to the manicured mayhem better showcased in Project: Metalbeast (a.k.a. the finest CIA-werewolf movie ever made). "The Skulls," of course, are Hollywood's Blockbuster-friendly take on Yale's infamous "Skull and Bones" secret society. Of which both 2004 presidential candidates are members as are a disproportionate number of our culture's power elite -- lending to all manner of conspiracy theories and an apparently interminable film franchise. This time "Buffy" babe Clare Kramer tests the limits of pretzel'd plots and the frat's stand on gender equality by demanding to endure their dark initiation rites. And, ew, they're like, HARD! First-time director J. Miles Dale bleeds nearly TWO HOURS out of this tepid turnip with no less than THREE music-video montages.
FLESH FOR THE BEAST (2003): From the director of Lord of the G-Strings comes -- wait, that's not quite fair. Terry West's first film, Blood for the Muse, showed his inky promise as a Euro-enthused horrormeister, but in the years since, he's made us T&A-hee with sapphic spoofs. Recently, he returned to the crypt in grand, visually arresting fashion with this macabre spook-house tale. Although Mr. West's no fool, as he's wisely populated the nightmarish premises with the randy, yet R-A-V-E-N-O-U-S spectres of high-dollar, piranha-chopper'd harlots (including CineSchlocker fave Ruby LaRocca in a career-high performance) and a buffet of parapsychologists as the prescribed flesh for said beasts. However, one wonders just how qualified these ghostbusters are when their first order of snoopage is to SPLIT UP!!! Mr. West earns that conceit with his often mesmerizing, gallo-esque use of shadow and personal by-the-gallon zest for bloodsports. Sinister show-stealer Clark Beasley Jr. being a firsthand witness to the latter. Limited extras include a chat with genre icons Caroline Munro and Aldo Sanbrell that's LONGER than their screentime. By the way, that sultry silhouette in the shower is impending B-phenom Isadora Edison who's won the lead as Laura in Joe Sarno's triumphant return.
THE INVITATION (2003): Don't let the cover fool ya. B-deity Lance Henriksen stars as a shiny, happy Ricardo Montalban meets Dr. Kevorkian writer/adventurer who, after a profound personal tragedy and years of soul searching around the globe, beckons his inner circle to his own fantasy island for a celebratory feast. But even before dessert is served, the largely vapid gaggle of gorgers are informed they've been poisoned, for their own good, as Lance explains in as giddy a tone as his trademark gravel-growl will allow. Hysterics and drugged-out "I was naughty!" hallucinations ensue with our grinning host holding each of their hands while the guests rassle personal demons. In the end, it's sort of a gallows version of "The Dr. Phil Show," though infinitely more tolerable and features one of Mr. Henriksen's more entertaining roles since "Millennium."
ROTTEN SHAOLIN ZOMBIES (2003): Uh oh! One of our own's gone and done it. Not content to remain on the fringe of fringe cinema, CineSchlocker Blaine Wasylkiw followed his lifelong obsession to its illogical conclusion by heeding Lloyd Kaufman's hyperactive admonition: MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN MOVIE!!! Hence this 22-minute tickler about brothers (Wilson Wong and Wil Yee) whose passion for sushi and parading around Calgary in kung fu getups erupts into zombirific zaniness. Naturally, with all the puking, tongue-ripping, head-crushings and brute-force amputations one would EXPECT from a magna cum lousy student of B-movies. The exceptionally entertaining hijinks begin, appropriately, with an eyeball-munching fishy flitting through the air on far-from-transparent strings and crescendos with a bro-against-undead-bro throwdown for the ages. Copious extras -- FOUR commentaries, FOUR featurettes -- and a pro-level DVD presentation make owning the short well worth 10 bucks. Every CineSchlocker should do their darn'dest to support the arts. Especially those of the zombified martial variety!