Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Trick or Treat---"No wimps, no false metal!"

My name is Juliet. I live in Texas. I stay up late. I watch a lot of weird movies.

 I'll tell you about the film I saw last night at a midnight movie called "Trick or Treat"(1986) not to be confused with the excellent Halloween film Trick 'R Treat (2007).

This film was made as a big "fuck you" to all the metal haters of the mid 1980s. I was in 5th grade at the time and I remember the panic surrounding "playing your records backwards" to hear satanic messages.  Satan was a real bad-ass and he was gonna get your soul if you didn't watch out. And that fucker really dug Metal.
Ozzy Osbourne was seen as a threat to all youth.  I remember urban legends about him eating bats and evil shit like that being told on the playground. He and Gene Simmons made minor guest appearances in this film to support the "nail 'em" vibe going on to all the wack christian moms crusading for censorship and fucking with people getting their metal groove on!

So this DJ (Simmons) gives an outcast teenage metalhead, Eddie, the final record of his metal hero Sammi Carr, who has recently died in a terrible fire. Sammi worshipped satan, so he is able to come back as an electrical powered ghost/zombie and he is really pissed off.

A bunch of jocks and a-holes at school taunt Eddie and he is able to summon Sammi to enact a "plan" to nail all the jerks. Of course love screws everything up, when Eddie fall in love with one of the preppy girls, who is attracted to the dark side (betrays her friends to become a rocker).

When Sammi starts really killing and maiming, Eddie freaks out and realizes Sammi will go after his true love.

One of the best lines of the film is when Eddie chickens out on the plan and Sammi says (as record is played backward) "No wimps! No false metal!!"

So the point of the movie is turned totally upside down and metal IS the enemy and Eddie and his nerd friend must stop Sammi at the big Halloween dance.

The movie goes a little Carrie from here.

There is a really cool rubber demon monster that appears in the film and Sammi's performance at the dance ROCKS!

The musical sequences were done by the band Fastway.

Tony Fields (Former Solid Gold dancer, appeared in Thriller and Captain Eo) plays dead rocker Sammi Curr. Gene Simmons was originally offered the role, but passed. Fields does a pretty good job as the crispy-faced rocker.

There is a hilarious moment where Eddie's girlfriend tries to flush the metal ghost down the toilet!! Pure cheeseball. But what were you expecting?

Doug "gay dude from Melrose Place" Savant plays Tim who gets zapped by ghost/zombie rocker Sammi Curr

Mark "Skippy from Family Ties" Price is metalhead Eddie
Ozzy, Fields, Simmons

Trick or Treat (1986, USA)
Trick or Treat poster 1986

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Taliesin Meets: The Walking Dead (Seasons 1 and 2)

I am rather good, apparently, at missing TV shows and catching up on them a little ways down the track. I am sure you will have heard of the Walking Dead. The show has been getting rave reviews and its third season has just completed. So I just watched the first two seasons and I can see why the reviews have been so good.

For those unaware, the series (based on a comic book series) takes place in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by the living dead. Walkers (as they are known) are very much the Romero-esque zombie. They hunger for human flesh (and any other form of flesh, though human seems preferable), they have very rudimentary skills (we see a walker bash at a glass door with a rock) but essentially are driven only with the need to eat.

Herd of the dead
Noise attracts them and smell is an element (they can smell the difference between live and dead flesh). Science is at a loss. We are shown (in a CDC facility) the resurrection process as the pathogen (they aren’t sure exactly what it is) kills off the human and dims the electrical lights of a functioning brain and then restarts the stem area, all the things making that a unique human dying and leaving only a creature of instinct and appetite. If bitten then the victim quickly succumbs and dies, however all humans are now infected and will become walkers when they die. We have seen the fact that herds of walkers seem to be crossing the land.

Coma waking
What is really good about the series, however, is the amount of time that they have spent building characterisation. We begin in the company of sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln). After an opening in the post-apocalyptic world we are with Rick when he is shot in the line of duty. Rick ends up in a coma and, when he awakens, it is to a dead hospital, wrecked and blood-stained, bullet holes peppering the walls. He stumbles along, looking for someone, anyone.

a crawler
A door warns of the dead inside. It is chained shut but fingers try to pry the doors open, white, dead flesh. Rick manages to stumble through the town, past piles of bodies wrapped in sheets and shot in the head. He sees a body, no legs below the trunk and is horrified as it grasps for him. He takes a bike and rides away, eventually reaching his abandoned home. For Rick this could all be a coma dream or a view of his Hell. Of course the waking to the apocalypse, in a hospital, was the opening to infected (rather than zombie) flick 28 days later, which pre-dates the comic book.

Norman Reedus as Daryl
Eventually, through the kindness of strangers, he heads to Atlanta and a refugee centre. Unfortunately the city is overrun and it is by sheer luck that he is able to escape the dead and join a group of survivors. Miraculously his wife, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), and son, Carl (Chandler Riggs) are amongst the group – she was saved by Rick’s cop partner, Shane (Jon Bernthal), and – believing her husband dead – she has started an affair with the man. As the two seasons progress we grow to know more and more about the group. Redneck Daryl (Norman Reedus) is a particular favourite of mine. The series is not above killing a main character, however, which keeps a tension running.

in the sights
What the series does is show that the living are as dangerous as the dead. The world and structures they knew are gone. Rick tries to do the right thing but there are hard decisions to be made and one is left to ponder as to whether the moral thing or the immoral is right after all. The series does seem to be a journey with Rick as he spirals and the script writers show the tensions building within him as well as between the various survivors.

Dead Inside
The series is given a gritty, dirty look and that works very well. The zombie effects are fantastic – look out for a thigh clenching scene in season 2 where a walker pushes his head through a hole in a windshield to get at the human inside, ripping away the flesh from his cheeks as he does. This is a great series, that cannot be doubted, one you should watch if you haven’t already and I for one am looking forward to catching up with season 3. The imdb page is here.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


In this category I will sometimes just mention a film I am currently in the middle of and rather than give a big review of the movie I  will just mention it in passing and supply a few images. I think you can tell what this film is about already from the title and who knows knows, it may have inspired the Cher song.  Robert Young (Marcus Welby MD) plays a "tin-horn" gambler who is just passing through town when he suddenly finds himself in between an Indian uprising and the local towns people. Also while just passing through he falls in love with a saloon hall performer (Janis Carter) and befriends the half-breed of the film title, Charlie Wolf, played by Jack Buetel (Billy the Kid in Howard Hughes's The Outlaw). Lots of mono-syllabic dialog from the Apaches - you know, you just leave out all the articles and prepositions and say me when you should say I - some who seem to be dressed more like Sioux or Cheyennes than Apaches, or actually more like hippies from the late 60's with beaded hand bands and frilly knee high moccasins).  The barbs directed at the corrupt white man's world as seen through the eyes of the Indians is little corny at times, and they all but come out and say "white man speak with forked tongue". Lush Technicolor makes it a treat for the eyes and the poster of the white man saving the white woman from the horny half-breed is a bit misleading. It never happens quite in this fashion. Jack Buetel couldn't act his way out of a tee-pee and that is half the fun of this one.  Gotta get back to the rousing conclusion. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Taliesin meets: Ghoul

Before I take a blog style gander at the 2012, Gregory Wilson directed film I’d just like to take the opportunity of my first post at The Uranium Café Cult Cinema Club to thank Bill for th e opportunity of blogging over here.

For those who don’t know me I blog as Taliesin at Taliesin Meets the Vampires and, with a fairly heavy work rate, I blog about vampires in the movies, TV and literature. Bill has given me the opportunity to blog about other things and I do watch films other than vampire films. There’s a lot of sci-fi, horror, exploitation, world cinema and art-house films that I love but they just don’t fit in at TMtV. Bill has given me a platform to wax lyrical on these films and I will – though sporadically I would think.

I’ve started with the Ghoul, not because it is a favourite film but because I happened to watch it and thought… Hell, may as well start there.

the ghoul in question
It starts with a silhouetted creature – the ghoul – before hitting a comic book style set of opening credits. When the film starts proper we are with Timmy (Nolan Gould), a young kid who reads comic books by torchlight. It is 1984… It’s here that the film could have lost me, twice. The film concentrates on the children and, you know what, I have seen worse performances. It also decides to go into some pretty dark stuff but we’ll get to that. If the children didn’t lose me the year might of. But the film actually felt 1980s, in its look, in the filming and in the props.

Timmy and Grandpa
Anyway Timmy lives with Mom and Dad and his grandpa and it is the beginning of his summer break. His Dad has chores for him but his grandpa thinks young boys should play. He has found Timmy (and his friends’) dugout den but he won’t snitch on the kids. In fact he left a present in there for Timmy. Grandpa and Timmy are planting flowers when his friend Doug (Jacob Bila) arrives. Doug’s trouser leg has been savaged by the stray dog known to hang around. Grandpa lets Timmy slope off.

grave digging
They call for the third musketeer, Barry (Trevor Harker), but awaken his drunken dad. It is here we discover that Timmy has a Hell of a gob on him, refusing to be bullied by the misogynistic, wife (and son) beating gravedigger. Barry is at the graveyard (doing his dad’s job) but the boys are banned from playing there… though it just so happens that is where the dugout is. They are not there long when Timmy’s mom comes looking for him. His granddad has died…

Anyway, long tale shortened. There is a rumour of a ghoul that lives below the graveyard. He is blamed when teens go missing. There are also mine shafts below the graveyard from before the mine collapsed. Teens do start going missing (and there seems little reaction by the police, but perhaps that is because we look from the boys’ point of view). We also see that the ghoul is killing the males but abducting the females.

I said that the film touched on some dark stuff and it is not just domestic violence – though we see Barry badly beaten and the eventual reaction of him wanting to 1) exact violence back on his dad and 2) meting out violence – to the stray dog – that went beyond defence and became animal cruelty. We also discover that Doug is a victim of child abuse of a sexual nature (and in turn this might have led to his overeating and obesity). In a twist, however, this is perpetrated by his mother. Then, of course, there is the ghoul…

coffin of blood
You’ll work out pretty early on what is going on, but I don’t intend to spoil that. What is more interesting is some vampiric overtones that the filmmakers added in (we just can’t escape vampires). Timmy has dreams of the ghoul. In one he is pulled by the creature into an exposed coffin that is swimming with blood. The blood filled coffin was actually a determining factor as to whether a corpse was a vampire or not in the 18th century vampire panics and is a device used in the novella Carmilla. Another borrowed trope is the idea that the ghoul can be killed by pulling it into sunlight – though in this case it perhaps more signifies exposing the town’s dirty little secrets.

aftermath of violence
Not everything with the film is well done. Disbelief was far from suspended when a group of teens explore a tunnel (thinking it is Timmy’s dugout) and split up. They stand below an electric light that not one comments on and leave the girl to stand watch, taking a lighter as their light source and leaving her with the torch (despite the fact that she is stood in light). Things like that are just sloppy. I felt that the pacing was a little off in places. But this tried to do so much more than the standard fair and that is to be congratulated.

Thursday, January 3, 2013


Here is an interesting study of a very young looking David Lynch talking with and/or giving direction to Jack Nance on the set of Eraserhead. I recently tried to re-watch Eraserhead and found I was not in the mood for it at the time, but I have seen the film a half dozen or so times so that may have had something to do it. Still one of the creepiest and weirdest movies of all time and I can relate to Henry's hair problems.