Tank Girl ~ 1995, Rachel Talalay

tank girl

THE PLOT: In the future, there is no water. A group of dummies goof around and who gives a shit. Also, our lead character has sex with a mentally retarded kangaroo monster.

Basically, it’s a world where you act as stupid as possible, and everything works out for you anyway, except for when it doesn’t, but that’s only ever just a set up for things to work out even more so a little down the road.

Tank Girl is a movie tailored to appeal to the Generation X kids of yesteryear, a youth culture that, if Tank Girl is to be believed, was fully devoted to being a stupid asshole at all times. I hope Tank Girl was as wrong about it’s audience as it was about absolutely everything else. It can safely be said that this is one of the worst movies of all time.

I’m not an expert on the Tank Girl comic book, although I have read some of it. From what I’ve seen, this is a terrible, halfway style adaptation, and halfway isn’t enough. The Tank Girl comics that I’ve read operate by a frantic, near surrealist style of logic, suggesting that the storytellers are “too cool” to obey the laws of traditional narrative, and can’t be bothered to “make sense” when they’re having so much fun just doing whatever they want. The film tries to capture some of that energy, but it doesn’t have the guts to go all the way, so they end up trying to capture non-traditional narrative style logic from within the confines of a very traditional narrative. How does that wash out? Not well, what we end up with is slapstick and cartoon logic in enough of the mix to dissolve any sense of danger or realism when every other aspect of the production is trying to go the opposite direction, and they try to split the difference with uninspired gags that are the furthest thing from funny. The Tank Girl comic is successful not because of WHAT they do, but HOW they did it, and the how is something this film doesn’t get right. Surprise surprise, it ends up not working, and you have an inexcusable piece of shit.

Ugh. It’s just so awful. Tank Girl (The character) knows but three ways to respond to any given situation; 1. Act like a moron. 2. Act like a moron, but somehow people around you manage to die (fighting) 3. Act like Bugs Bunny (and also still a moron.) Are we, the audience, supposed to think any of this is funny?



(Special note: Still better than Sucker Punch.)

The Mighty Peking Man!

The Mighty Peking Man ~ 1977, Meng Hua Ho


The Mighty Peking Man is sort of like a Chinese King Kong, but with some Tarzan mixed in. It was produced by The Shaw Bros. studio, so it’s a predictably solid production with great sets and a lot of charm. That being said, this film came out the same year that Star Wars did, so take a look and you’ll see it’s not exactly cutting edge.

The Plot: Reports of a bizarre, gigantic ape have come filtering out of The Himalayas. From Hong Kong, a team is organized by wealthy, money grubbing types, eager to drag Peking Man (or so the ape has come to be called) back for display, dead, or alive. Our hero is a capable hunter called Johnnie, who is offered the job of leading the expedition to find the creature, a job he accepts, because he recently walked in on his girlfriend in bed with his brother, and so now he don’t give a ‘f’ about nothin’.

The hunting party undergoes many trials while hunting for Peking Man, who is like, impossible to find even though he’s friggin’ giant, and eventually, they return home defeated, leaving Johnnie behind after he becomes separated from the group. Little do they know, however, that Johnnie would soon find the beast, as well as Samantha, a beautiful white girl who was left orphaned in the jungle after a plane crash and subsequently raised by Peking Man. She is totally buds with all of the jungle animals, and it is with her help that Johnnie survives. Soon, the two are in love, and Johnnie persuades her to travel back to Hong Kong with him, and also to bring Peking Man, who would absolutely be shackled up and jeered at for the rest of his miserable days on Earth, but he leaves that part out.  They make the trip, and things are okay, until they aren’t. The film ends with a giant monkey rampage, which was really the only possible outcome.

So, what’s going on here… Firstly, the movie makes excellent use of thematic repetition to tell a story. The best example of this is how people are constantly walking in on the person they love in the arms of another, and how that inevitably pushes the story into darker and darker territory. First, Johnnie walks in on his brother in bed with his girlfriend, which is the catalyst for him going into the jungle. At the end of the movie, Johnnie and said ex-girlfriend are in the throws of potential reconciliation, at which point Samantha, his new jungle GF, barges in and flips out. That’s sort of what kicks off Peking Man’s tantrum. I’ve saved the best for last, though, around the halfway point, we see that Peking Man is actually in love with Samantha (how’s that gonna work, PM?) And he has his giant, simian heart broken when he peeks into her little cave only to see her gettin’ down to business with Jonnie.


This is done to further emphasize the tragic element in Samantha’s unwitting betrayal of Peking Man. The moral here is pretty clear- if what you have is good, keep it, don’t mistreat it, and for heaven’s sake, don’t go running into the arms of whatever fancy hotshot rolls into town. That’s not fair to the one you’re with. That’s treating him/her like James Marsden in X-Men. Or James Marsden in Superman Returns. Or James Marsden in The Notebook. Or James Marsden in Enchanted…. Or James Marsden in… Is James Marsden married in real life? If I were him I’d be nervous. Any man his wife mentions by name is trouble brewing.

Another point that no written assessment of The Mighty Peking Man can fail to explore; Samantha’s wardrobe. Never before has any garment lingered so tenuously on the boundary of a wardrobe malfunction for so long. As a matter of fact, nothing else is the movie captures suspense the same way her left boob does. It transcends human sexuality and becomes less about seeing a woman’s boob, and more about “how in the hell can that possible stay on like that?!?” You will be on the edge of your seat, shaken with disbelief that so shabby a caveman bra could manage to stay in place under such conditions, and in fact, eventually, even this miraculous contraption finally succumbs to the most basic laws of physics, and the inevitable nip slip becomes a reality. Never before has a skimpy top made such a valiant effort to suppress a jungle boob, though, but in the end, those 1977 pasties just couldn’t hack it.

Later in the film Johnnie explains to Samantha that her hyper-sexualized mystery top just isn’t appropriate to wear in mixed company, so on their way back to Hong Kong he presents her with a new outfit; some sort of weird, leather Crocodile Dundee as a hooker costume. It’s the trashiest thing I’ve ever seen, and I own Frankenhooker on BluRay. Even without any idea of what is acceptable clothing for a young woman, Samantha can only handle wearing it for about thirty two seconds, and then she chucks it out of a porthole.

There’s still other fun stuff to be discussed, but the single best thing that The Mighty Peking Man has going for it is that even though it is technically a kaiju film, it manages to be a lot of fun and stays interesting, even without spending that much time with our giant monster. The greatest challenge of the Kaiju movie is making you give a shit about its human characters, who 99% of the time are an unwanted necessity put there to hold the narrative together. The Mighty Peking Man cheats a little bit, it’s Tarzan-Woman subplot jazzes up the time we spend with our humans so successfully that Peking Man himself becomes secondary to the story of Johnie and Samantha. Another important reason that works? Because it’s well written. That, more than anything else, is why The Mighty Peking Man is so enjoyable, and why is stands out against the crowd as being an especially memorable little grindhouse kaiju flick.



Basket Case~ 1982, Frank Henenlotter


Basket Case is the debut full length motion picture from Frank Henenlotter. It’s gritty, trashy, bloody, it’s a real classic. There’s also more going on under the hood in Basket Case than you might find in some of it’s 80’s grindhouse contemporaries, and it deserves reverence and praise  all day and all night. I love this movie, and it’s nice when there’s something to talk about in these reviews.

THE PLOT: Basket Base follows Duane, a lanky geek with giant hair and a flannel shirt, as he saunters awkwardly around the Big Apple carrying a large wicker basket. As you can imagine, the first pretty girl he meets wants to get herself a piece of that.


There he is! Nothing weird going on there!

Duane predictably puts the attractive Susan on lock-down for future wrong-side-business. Little does Susan know, however, the contents of Duane’s giant nerd basket, or his mission in New York City… Duane was actually born with a conjoined twin, a monstrously deformed one, named Belial… Their parents made it very clear that they would love all their children equally when they chose to give the ugly one a Hebrew name meaning “worthless,” known to be the name of a particularly loathsome demon in the Catholic faith… Well, if the lopsided affections they had for their offspring wasn’t apparent from day one, things probably came into focus a little more for little Belial and Duane when mom and dad hired a team of doctors to come out to the house, separate the two, presumably killing Belial (but who cares), and then tossed Belial’s corpse into the trash. Secretly, he survives, though, and now he and Duane are grown up and in New York on a quest to track down each of the doctors responsible for their separation, so that Belial can maneuver his surprisingly mobile abomination of a body over and kill the shit out of them with his lumpy, deformed claws. So yeah, that giant, weirdo basket? That’s how Duane carries Belial around.


That’s him. He’s a total dick.

So, that’s pretty much the the movie. Other stuff happens, but that’s the set up.

So, here’s what’s special, beyond all the grue and the grit; what Henelotter has done here is to tell a story by bisecting the the human ego. In effect, Duane and Belial are the same character, with Duane making up the uncorrupted inner child, and Belial representing the parts of us that carry the burden of anger, fear, resentment, hate, and grudge. Belial is everything ugly inside of us all, smooshed into one angry little wad. He’s everything we need to learn to let go of in order to live a happy, healthy lives. At the beginning of the film, Duane’s commitment to Belial is absolute, but as he comes to see what his life could be without all the baggage, and as he starts to form new relationships, his dedication wanes, and he’s nearly able to let go of all these toxic emotions that have taken him down his destructive path… Only, by then, it’s too late.

In the end, the movie is about letting go of your Darth Vader and finding a way to hold onto your Anakin, because hate is destructive for all parties involved. What a positive message for a movie with full frontal (male) nudity and heaps of monster on human violence. Show this to your children.

This interesting dynamic of separating the human ego and exploring the resulting relationship is something Henenlotter would also play with in Brain Damage and Bad Biology, as well as in the two Basket Case sequels, albeit to a lesser extent… The sequels are not great, but this one sure is.



Maximum Overdrive~ 1986, Stephen King, USA

maximum overdrive

“If you want something done right… You gotta do it yourself…”

And so goes the memorable and woefully confrontational advertising campaign for Stephen King’s directorial debut; Maximum Overdrive. Apparently dissatisfied with how his work has been handled in the past, King has taken matters into his own hands… His horribly, horribly incapable hands.

THE PLOT: Due to a bizarre astrological occurrence, all machines on the planet Earth gain sentience and unite to destroy humanity, even though most of them wouldn’t really be able to do anything. A band of survivors takes shelter in a roadside diner called The Dixie Boy, and begin their fight for survival. This is a movie where a soda machine and a steam-roller are equally lethal, and where a semi-truck looks exactly like The Green Goblin for no reason at all. Maximum Overdrive is stupid… and it doesn’t make any sense.

The trailer is a good place to start on this. First beef; if we can’t keep him seated in front of a typewriter or laptop, can we at least keep him BEHIND a camera? Because, damn, homeboy looks like a cross-eyed denizen of that village The Grinch used to terrorize.

Maximum 2

Stephen King; bumpkin exile from Whoville?

Secondly, hear that quasi-John Carpenter-esque music in there? Sounds creepy, huh? Building tension pretty good! Really fits the vibe… Well, apparently whoever cut that trailer together is a better director than Stephen King, because that shit isn’t in the movie. The soundtrack for Maximum Overdrive comes to us courtesy of Australian rock gods AC/DC. ACDC-LIVE2


I wish to be clear;  I love AC/DC… And you might love your car, but you probably want it parked in your driveway and not at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Even great things need to be kept where they belong. Sadly, AC/DC does not belong in this movie, and they are not doing Maximum Overdrive any favors… In fact, their high energy brand of hard rock is borderline uplifting, and not at all scary.

There is one sequence in particular where a little boy rides his bike through a neighborhood shortly after it’s been hit by the robo-jihad. It’s a beautiful neighborhood, nice houses, nice yards, tons of corpses all over the place. The juxtaposition packs a punch, and the scene being viewed by a lone child, desperately searching for survivors from the seat of his ten speed is also pretty damn heavy. It could have been extraordinary, the kind of thing you see on “Best of” lists twenty years later, except that the rockin’ soundtrack drags you the opposite direction. So, you’re like, “oh, wow, this is kinda brutal. This is almost scary- Oh, no, wait-ACDC 2SHOOK ME ALLLLLLL NIGHT LONG!!!! YEAAAAH WHOOOO!!!!”

The rest of the movie doesn’t fare much better. Perhaps the use of AC/DC music suits Stephen King’s vision. I’m willing to believe that his taste in cinema runs decidedly more campy and “Tales From The Crypt“-ish than his writing. Tonally, Maximum Overdrive has a lot less in common with The Shinning than it does with George Romero’s Creepshow; another comic book camp-fest to which Stephen King also contributed… So it would make sense if this was just the kind of movie that Stephen King wanted to see… But damn, he really threw down the gauntlet in that trailer, so no matter what we can’t cut him slack if this thing sucks.

Here are some other interesting points to address;

The plot holes in this movie are huge, glaring, and constant- oh wait,acdc-04-12-09YEEEAAHHH!!!! WHOOOOO!!!! DONE DIRT CHEAP!!!!!

Sorry- The music is seriously distracting. Anyway; plot holes; Where’s the cut off? A bike apparently doesn’t qualify as the kind of machine that can go all Christine on us, so perhaps they have to be electric, or gas fueled, or something? How does a pinball machine crack it’s own glass? How does an arcade machine blast somebody with lightning? How come Curtis and Connie’s car doesn’t turn against them when they’re on the run from all those killer semi trucks? Why don’t the machines just kill us all with nuclear weapons instead of trying to run us all over individually? I imagine there would be a lot more Skynet type stuff in the mix here, but this feels more like a garage door on the fritz than anything else. Also, at the end of the film, a caption informs us that a Russian “satellite” encounters a UFO hiding in the cosmic dust around Earth and takes it out with a missile or space laser or something. So, how? Why isn’t that Russian Satellite just raining death missiles down on we humans below? The aliens don’t control the satellite? Also, won’t the aliens just come back? How many humans did they kill, versus how many aliens were on board that space ship? Certainly these aliens know that you can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs. Maximum Overdrive doesn’t gel, and if it don’t gel, it ain’t Jello.

The funniest scene in the damn movie takes place early on in the game room of the Dixie Boy. You see, when the machines first start acting out against their oppressors, most people simply interpret their attempts at murder to be a malfunction of some kind. As you would expect, the people of Earth are reluctant to jump to the conclusion that all of our machines now literally have a mind of their own and are trying to kill us… All except for one dude, who immediately knows what’s going on, THIS guy:

black guy thief

This is the first person on Earth to get it. For most people, if you were to walk into a room of arcade games, and they were all freaking out, you’d think, “This room sucks. These games are all broken. This is annoying. I’m leaving this room.” And then you would. Not this guy. He understands what’s going on, and interprets the electronic boops and flashing lights to be intelligent, and also disrespectful… and he takes it personally.  His reaction to this electronic sass is the funniest part of the movie, but sadly, he doesn’t make it out of the room alive… Or without embodying hurtful racial stereotypes. 1986! He would have been a better main character.

Another interesting point; This is Curtis.

curtis weakHe’s a total nerd. Cowardly, weak, just a damp little wuss. Now, let’s look at Curtis after 24 hours in Maximum Overdrive world.

curtis die hard 2Damn! Suddenly he’s Bruce Willis in Die Hard! Seriously, what the hell happened!? Maximum Overdrive will turn your life around and transform you into a bad ass in a matter of hours. I think it might actually be a good thing. It’s probably all the AC/DC that does it. We should probably be hoping for a Maximum Overdrive type situation to happen in real life. We’d all be so awesome.

Underneath all off this, there is something endearing and very “80’s precious” about Maximum Overdrive, and it’s fun enough. It’s little wonder so many people have a lot of affection it, even if it can’t be called a good movie by really any stretch of the imagination. Somehow, in the face of all the stupid, Stephen King’s first major motion picture manages to be watchable, and probably pretty close to how he wanted it.

That having been said, as far as Stephen King motion picture adaptations go, it sucks out loud, so go figure.


Crimes Against Humanity: Zack Snyder

Uber douche

Ugh. ZACK SNYDER. What a piece of trash. Snyder is that guy you know who just doesn’t get it, but couldn’t be more enthusiastic. He’s just smart enough to figure out what smart people are into, but not smart enough to have a legitimate interest himself. If you asked him what he thought about The Mona Lisa, he’d probably say it was “tight.” If asked why, he might assert that her expression was “hella funny.” He might then invite you to Carl’s Jr.

Zack Snider is the guy who shows up to every party on time, but no one is happy about it. Zack Snyder produces mindless, bottom of the barrel, opiate of the masses level popcorn entertainment for people who would rather die than suffer subtitles, and what makes him especially bad is that he seems to prefer doing this to intellectual properties that could actually be really great in the right hands. Zack Snyder is a machine that ruins other people’s good ideas. He assassinates potential. He’s really, really good at that.

  • Dawn of the Dead Now, on the surface, this movie wasn’t horrible. At the time, I actually liked it… It had a good script (James Gunn). The thing is, however, that this movie is the reason zombies suck so hard now, and now that we know more about Mr. Snyder this movie seems pretty pernicious in retrospect. This was Snyder saying “You know, I like Dawn of the Dead… But obviously I can make it better.” This was the gateway drug the X-Box/Monster Truck Rally crowd needed to get them into zombies. Horror, dread, psychology, existential terror, all this wasn’t going to work for today’s youth. They needed zombies that could run fast and make monster noises. Some might try to pin the blame on Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later, but that argument won’t stand. That movie may have sped zombies up, but this one dumbed them down, and this is the movie that defined what path these movies were going to take from that point forward.
  • Watchmen In an interesting way, Watchmen is actually an incredible accomplishment, because it is at the same time an incredibly faithful adaptation of the comic book and also the exact opposite of the authors intention. How can this be? The devil is in the details, it’s not what Snyder says, but how he says it that causes this phenomena. He’s like a parrot; he repeats faithfully, but always in a strange, uncomfortable monotone and with no actual grasp of what his words mean. This is a great illustration, because that’s Snyder to a T, he’s a huge fan of a lot of great things, but like a child he appreciates and is aware of only the most superficial layer of any composition. Any subtext or statement is over his head by miles, and he couldn’t care less because he’s too busy imaging it in slow motion with techno music and explosions. Just like Dawn of the Dead and The Man of Steel, Watchmen has Snyder taking an idea with some complexity to it and reducing it to it’s most simplified, shallow form, and then dumping sugary gloss all over it to jazz it up. The comic book version of Watchmen was ground breaking, and is beloved for taking old ideas and subjecting them to unheard of levels of stark realism and complexity. Mangling that into a generic, cookie cutter, super hero film complete with every age old stereotype and no intentional irony is a pretty Herculean example of missing the boat. Where great artists look for new ways to say more, Snyder is a master of finding old ways to say less, or nothing at all.
  • “Saving” Watchmen from the Terry Gilliams of the world- Though past his prime as an artist, Terry Gilliam remains an incredibly respected and admired director by film buffs the world over. This is a respect he has earned, and which Zack Snyder has not. There was a time when the studios courted Gilliam to produce a Watchmen film, but these negotiations obviously never went anywhere. In a recent interview, Zack Snyder, creator of jaw-droppingly shallow media, stated that part of why he made Watchmen was to, and I f’ing quote, “save it from the Terry Gilliams of this world.” The impact a statement that over-whelmingly out of line is impossible to measure. Snyder’s lapse in judgment regarding his own self worth is at this moment the most staggeringly incomprehensible thing in the universe. I struggle to even find an appropriate analogy. Saying that this is like Einstein’s scientific contributions being criticized by a used diaper with a sixth grade science text book is giving Snyder too much credit.
  • Sucker Punch- Sucker Punch perfectly captures the experience of watching your little brother play Playstation 2 for two hours. Solitaire, the card game, has more character development. It’s one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, and I devote most of my spare time to actively seeking out the worst movies known to man with frenzied desperation. After Sucker Punch, though, you’re just chasing the dragon. Nothing will ever be this bad again.You’d have a better time watching your own snuff film. Sucker Punch is a piece of garbage strung together by a man who lacks the attention span to achieve anything. Does Zack Snyder have children?! What happens when they ask him to make them a bowl of cereal? He get’s half way to the pantry, is distracted by a moth and runs out into the street pretending to be an airplane? How did the creation of this blisteringly vapid piece of dog shit lead to this man being in charge of the DC cinematic universe?! Only the most deranged and depraved collection of soulless money vampires could have seen this and not demanded a public suicide of Snyder in an attempt to reclaim honor. I view the creation of this movie the same way that The Terminator franchise views the creation of artificial intelligence. Time travel must be researched so that this wrong can be completely erased from Earth’ history. What if there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe and they find Sucker Punch?  Did you ever think of that? That’s like your mom finding your porn collection, but on a scale where the consequences are human extinction. They’d show up with the death ships, we’d make our case, they’d say “We saw Sucker Punch.” And mankind would grow silent, knowing it had no leg to stand on. “Make it fast,” we would request, though we knew we didn’t deserve it.
  • Sucker Punch Again – If I was entered into the Witness Protection Program, and the false identity the FBI created for me had a Netflix account associated with it that had given Sucker Punch a passing grade, the shame would be so burdensome that I would just contact the Mafia and inform them of my location immediately.
  • The Man Of Steel – Clark Kent is the reason Superman is a great character. That’s the depth that people respond to, and good writers have always known that for Superman, the best stories are not the ones reliant upon Superman facing physical challenges. Those struggles are best left for other characters, for Superman, his whole shtick is that he readily and easily dominates the physical world on an almost God-like level. The path to writing a great Superman story is by exploring what it means to someone to have that level of ability and responsibility, and to be a complete outsider, when in reality all you want is to be a good person with a normal life. The speech David Caradine’s character Bill gives in Kill Bill Vol. 2 is right on the money, Superman is great because the false alter ego he adopts is not his super hero persona, but rather the shroud of normalcy he tries to cloak himself in when he steps into the role of the clumsy, bumbling Clark Kent. The Clark Kent/Superman dynamic is 100% the key ingredient in crafting a great Superman story. What’s that, Zack Snyder? You’re not even going to do the Clark Kent thing? You’re going to do it super half-assed, and have Lois Lane know from day one, because you don’t fully appreciate or understand why Superman works? Well, what are you doing instead? Explosions and buildings falling over, huh? People getting killed? Great. I thought that’s what you would say. And on that note….
  • Batman VS Superman- I’m just glad I’m a Marvel comics guy. I have to take a break and write about this another time. This idea is so bad that I need a full eight hours of sleep and two weeks preparation to adequately hate on it. I’ll come back and do this later.Okay, I’m back.

    DC and Warner Brothers want Marvel movie success, but they don’t have Marvel patience or foresight. It’s like someone noticing their neighbor having a really nice Thanksgiving Dinner and wanting to experience that for themselves, but then refusing to take the time to cook any of the food, or even remove it from it’s packaging. When the time comes they pile a huge mound of rotting garbage in front of their guests, only to become upset when nobody enjoys the evening. That’s DC and Warner Brothers right now. If you want a massive film universe, establish it. If you want a massive crossover film, establish properties that you can then crossover. Yes, it means you can’t enjoy the box office of a major cross over film as soon as next summer, but you can milk each specific character for their own film franchises,  making more money in the long term anyhow, and it’s really important to take the time to do something like this the right way, or else it’s just going to fall flat on it’s face. Instead, this new movie is going to be absolutely crammed full of poorly imagined, underdeveloped new characters like a damn clown car, which is just such a bad plan. Part of the issue is that they have no confidence in their product, because most of these guys have very little potential for solid, stand alone films in the first place. We all saw how The Green Lantern went down and most of these guys all have much worse problems, DC is just campier. For instance;

    1. The Flash…. He runs light speed, and his main villains are Captain Cold, Professor Zoom, and a talking, psychic super gorilla from space or the future or something… Sounds like The Flash is going to be a challenge.
    2. How about Wonder Woman? She’s made out of clay and lightning, and her only villain is a Cheetah girl… Called Cheetah. The DC Universe also has a character who is a Cyborg, with the super creative name of: Cyborg. Good job, DC.
    3. Aqua Man? (crickets chirping….) How are you going to film the underwater scenes?! Just make his voice sound really bubbly?

    We could write for days about why the strategy that DC and Warner Bros is using is stupid and destined for failure, but that’s a conversation for another time. What we’re talking about right now is Zack Snyder. The hurdles facing DC wouldn’t be the looming, insurmountable road blocks that they are if we had someone at the helm we could trust to do a good job and find new ways to enjoy these characters without mangling them too badly. But we don’t.

    And I don’t want to hear any “You can’t judge a movie that isn’t out yet” crap, because of course we can. If a man comes at you with a knife and clearly states his intention to stab you, do you refuse to react on the grounds that you cannot properly judge a wound until you’ve experienced it? This is that stab wound. Dodge it, run, anything. Or don’t, this movie is getting made no matter what we do. The era of good DC movies died with the conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s last Batman film, so make peace with that and brace yourself for all the nerd drama that’s going to be meme-ing up your newsfeed left, right and damn center for the foreseeable future.

    This has been my presentation. I hope now you all understand that Zack Snyder sucks in a way that is vibrant, striking, and utterly devastating to the human spirit. He’s like some kind of coiling, farting viper lurking in the shadows, waiting to strike and kill something beautiful, all the while clouding the air with shameful gasses. Also, I imagine this snake to have blunt, bucked teeth, one of those propeller hats stupid people wear in cartoons, because Snyder is apparently also stupid. Everyone have a nice day.


HARD ROCK ZOMBIES ~ 1985, Krishna Shaw, USA


Oh my goodness. If I could remake any movie that I wanted to, I would choose to remake Hard Rock zombies. This thing is pretty wild.

The movie follows the exploits of what we are supposed to accept is a talented, up and coming hard rock band. Of course, just look at them and you’ll see immediately that our main characters are actually a profoundly lackluster 80’s pop metal band with no future at all. The band (Do they even have a name?) is fronted by a dude who looks like Frank Zappa’s Turkish stunt double, and he rocks about as hard as Neil Diamond’s mom. This doesn’t really matter, though. The movie is bonkers.


That’s him.

So, our guys pull their gross van into a backwoods town somewhere where they are inexplicably scheduled to play a show, and they then proceed to get down to the business of cutting loose- hard. Apparently, they compensate for their lack of a street team by spreading word of mouth via their too-cool-for-school attitude. Naturally, the eleven people in town under the age of 65 love it, and the remainder of the town’s populace grumps their asses off until they can’t stand it anymore, at which point our guys are jailed and told to leave town asap. Who booked these guys here and why? Never fear, however, our band (Let’s call them Stink) is next invited to bunk at a nearby mansion, where they can finally count on a little American, Small Town Hospitality. Hospitality administered by who else, but Hitler, who secretly lives here with his weird, freak children, and a now Werewolf-ized Eva Braun. No idea why this is part of Hard Rock Zombies, but that’s all in there. Naturally, Hitler and co. have taken in our friends with the intention of murdering them, which they do, but not before Turkish Frank Zappa (his real name escapes me, I promise it’s not important) begins laying ground work with a local girl who is clearly super, super under age, and creepily gives her a cassette tape to play in the event of their demise. What great timing! The cassette tape contains a recording of a bass riff based upon the mad writings of Abdul Alhazred or something, and apparently brings people back from the dead.

So, our hard rocking band of gross losers and potential statutory rapists returns from the dead to groove off in the direction of Casa De Hitler for revenge, and I’m serious when I describe their method of locomotion as “grooving.” Afterwards,  they go right back to trying to make it as a crappy 80’s rock band, leavings Noweheresville, USA infested with murderous zombies, including a now Zombified Hitler. The townsfolk then go about the task of trying to rid themselves of the undead, mostly in pretty wacky ways. Around this time I realized the movie was supposed to be funny, which is always a let down.

How the movie ends is something I have chosen to keep to myself, even though I’ve already spilled the beans on 99% of the movie without so much as a “spoiler alert,” but what you need to know is this; Hard Rock Zombies is freaking nuts. It’s really, really crappy, and the funniest parts of the movie are inadvertent. Getting your hands on a copy is easy, but the DVD currently in circulation has a pretty shabby print, which leaves the third act of the film a murky, dark mess of visual confusion. Who knows, maybe it was shot that way, or perhaps it’s some kind of day-for-night shooting gone horribly over-board. Anyway, the movie deserves a better release, but I recommend people watch it, because it’s pretty funny.