As Dusty As It Is Sleazy : “Murderlust”


Trash Film Guru

Even among connoisseurs of “this sort of thing,” director Donald M. (not to be confused with Donald S. of The Forest and Schoolgirls In Chains fame) Jones’ low-rent straight-to-video slasher Muderlust has something of a checkered reputation for being nastier than the norm. Shot in California in 1985 for next to nothing, it was released straight to VHS in 1987 and quickly managed to raise a few eyebrows — among the few who were paying attention — for its downright gleeful misogyny, which reminded one youthful viewer (okay, me) of, say, what you’d end up with if Maniac didn’t take itself very seriously. But does that make this film less disturbing than others of its ilk — or more?

I gotta admit, having recently watched it for the first time since I was a teenager thanks to its recent addition to Amazon Prime’s streaming line-up (although Severin Films’ “cult”…

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Flesh & Blood: Marilyn Chambers in RABID (New World 1977)


cracked rear viewer

Once upon a time, there was a pretty young actress named Marilyn Chambers. She had a fresh, wholesome quality about her, and did some bits parts and modeling gigs. One was as the decent young mom holding her pride and joy baby on the box of Ivory Snow, the detergent that claimed it was 99 1/4% pure. But no acting jobs were forthcoming, so Marilyn found herself in a porn flick called BEHIND THE GREEN DOOR, which became a sensation…

… as did young Marilyn, though she longed to be taken as a serious actress in mainstream films.

Around the same time, there was a young Canadian director named David Cronenberg. He was making a name for himself in the horror field with films like CRIMES OF THE FUTURE (1970) and SHIVERS (1975)…

… but though a few critics admired his work, most dismissed him as just another Grindhouse hack. For young…

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A Movie A Day #98: Crime Zone (1989, directed by Luis Llosa)


Welcome to the future.   To quote Leonard Cohen, it is murder.

The police state of Soleil is engaged in perpetual war with the nation of Frodan.  In Soleil, being rich means living a life of carefree decadence while the poor struggle to survive from day to day.  Criminals are routinely executed on live TV and the government forces women to work as prostitutes, servicing only the rich and powerful.  When Bone (Peter Nelson) and Helen (Sherilyn Fenn) meet, they break the law by falling in love.  Desperate to escape to the legendary paradise of Frodan, Bone and Helen accept an offer from the mysterious Jason (David Carradine).  If Bone and Helen agree to commit a series of crimes, Jason will help them escape Soleil.  Bone and Helen soon become the two most wanted criminals in Soleil but Jason may not be what he seems.

David Carrdine’s performance is typically strange and Crime Zone has a few interesting ideas but the main reason to see the movie is because of the performance of a pre-Twin Peaks Sherilyn Fenn.  As Helen, Sherilyn Fenn is sexy, tough, and always better than the material that she was given to work with.

Executive produced by Roger Corman, Crime Zone was an ambitious project that did not have the budget necessary to reach the heights of Blade Runner, Mad Max, A Clockwork Orange, or any of the other dystopian science fiction films that it tried to rip off.  Crime Zone was filmed, on location, in Peru but that mostly for a budgetary reasons.  Since almost the entire movie was shot on cramped and dark sound stages, it could have just as easily been filmed in West Baltimore.  To its credit, Crime Zone has more on its mind than a lot of the movies that Corman executive produced in the 1980s but the main reason to see it will always be Sherilyn Fenn.

Netflix Review: Mystery Science Theater 3000 11.1 “Reptilicus”


I grew up loving Mystery Science Theater 3000.  Since my favorite was always Tom Servo, it never mattered to me whether Joel or Mike was the host.  Even after the show went off the air, it was always nice to know that I could say, “How much Keeffe is in this movie?” and at least one person would know that the correct answer would always be “Miles O’Keeffe.”

When I first heard about the Kickstarter campaign to bring back Mystery Science Theater 3000, I was worried.  As someone who owns all of the Rhino DVDs, along with The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Colossal Episode Guide and several VHS copies of the original broadcasts on both Comedy Central and SyFy, I was happy to see that there was still life in the show.  At the same time, I was worried that a possibly inferior reboot might ruin some of my favorite childhood memories.

I just finished watching the first episode of the Netflix MST3K and there is no need for alarm or concern.  My childhood will survive.  While it wasn’t perfect, it was still more than good enough.  It may not have ranked up with the classic episodes of MST3K but it’s at least as good as the one where Pearl forced Mike and the Bots to watch the Russian version of Hamlet.

Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt were great as the new Mads.  I appreciated the return of the invention exchange and that the show still had the same deliberately cheap look that we all know and love from the original.  With Tom Servo, Crow, and Gypsy all being voiced by new actors, it’s going to take a while to get used to the new crew on the Satellite of Love but, by the end of the episode, both Hampton Yount and Baron Vaughn had settled into their roles of Tom and Crow.  Considering that it was his first episode and that it is still strange to see someone other than Joel or Mike hanging out with the bots, Jonah Ray did a commendable job as the new host, bringing a laid back vibe to the role that was very reminiscent of the Joel years.  (That’s not surprising, considering that the revival is largely Joel’s baby.)  Tom being able to fly and Gypsy now being suspended from the ceiling are things that sound like they should not have worked but they did.  My one real complaint is that, without the Netflix captioning, it is often difficult to tell the difference between Jonah’s voice and Tom’s.

The movie was Reptilicus.  As a badly dubbed Danish monster movie, it was the perfect “experiment” with which to start off the new MST3K.  Everyone, even Gypsy, got a few good jokes in at the film’s expense.  Among my favorites:

“Something is rotten in the state of Denmark and it’s this movie.” — Crow

“Now, you’re Mr. Filing Cabinet.” — Gypsy, after one of the film’s scientists placed his hat on a filing cabinet.

“The Danish Army, cheaper than extras and less busy.” — Tom

“Reptilicus Returns in Reptilicus 2: 2 Fast 2 Danish.” — Jonah

The show’s best joke came during a host segment, when Crow and Tom asked Jonah to explain how every country has a monster “preferably in rap.”  The chorus of “Every country has a monster/They’re afraid of in their nation/Every monster has a country/Yeah, a station they call home” stayed with me long after the song ended.

Finally, I was happy to see the return of viewer mail segment.  It is nice to know that, in 2017, eight year-olds are still drawing pictures of Tom and Crow on the Satellite of Love.

If you are like me and you were worried that a new Mystery Science 3000 would destroy your childhood, don’t worry.  MST3K is back and, so far, it’s pretty good.

 

TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.6 “Demons” (dir by Lesli Linka Glatter)


Twin Peaks

Episode 6, “Demons” opens with Maddy (Sheryl Lee) and Donna (Lara Flynn Boyle), who are caught in the act of trying to steal Laura Palmer’s Diary from Harold Smith (Lenny Von Dohlen, Electric Dreams). Harold threatens them, telling them they are “unclean” and are just like the others. Advancing on them, Maddy screams just as James Hurley (James Marshall) rushes into the house, breaking them up. In the scuffle, the Diary is dropped, which Donna makes a move for. Harold, however, intercepts it and rushes after them. He’s only able to make it to the entrance of the house. Donna, Maddy and James regroup at the street in front of Harold’s house (as his agoraphobia keeps him from following them).

James and Donna embrace as they fall to their knees, leaving Maddy staring along with just a hint of contempt. Donna assures James that they’re fine, and James advises that they need to go to the police with what they’ve found. We then cut back to Harold, who is spraying his flowers and trying to hold his composure. He fails, the anger getting the best of him and howls in frustration.

Back at an undisclosed location that looks like a biker club, Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) carries the rescued Audrey Horne (Sherilyn Fenn) inside, laying her gently on a nearby bed. Meeting up with Hawk (Michael Horse), they try to revive Audrey. Cooper notices the needle marks on her arm, and suggests she’s been drugged. As she comes to, she tells Cooper she prayed for him to find her. It thankfully resolves part of her kidnapping arc. Cooper-Audrey.jpg

Near Harold’s, James and Donna get a car for Maddy, who’s sent home. This gives Donna and James some time to talk. Donna suggests that because he had the diary, Harold could very well be Laura’s killer. James asks her to stop going off alone anywhere. The two reconcile their relationship with a kiss.

Cooper and Sherriff Truman (Michael Ontkean) are going over what happened at One Eyed Jack’s. Audrey’s going to pull through from the heroin she was given. Truman shows Cooper a picture of the man who killed Blackie, Jean Renault (Michael Parks). Truman explains that Jean was the one after Cooper in revenge for what happened to his brother Jacques. Cooper is beside himself. Having crossed the border – twice, he adds – others were in danger for his actions. She was bait for him to come after by Renault. Truman reassures Cooper, telling him he’s one of the best lawmen he’s known, but that he thinks a bit too much. They relax over a cup of coffee.

In the next scene, Cooper meets with Ben Horne (Richard Beymer). Handing him the briefcase, Cooper informs Horne he was able to rescue Audrey without giving up the money. Horne is of course delighted to have his cash returned to him, but you can tell from his demeanor that he really doesn’t care, even when told that Audrey almost overdosed. Definitely Father of the Year material there.

Bobby Briggs (Dana Ashbrook) wheels Leo (Eric Da Re) into Shelly Johnson’s (Madchen Amick) place. Their expectations are high for the payout they should receive for taking care of Leo. “Yeah…well, Leo is special to us both.” Bobby says. When given the check, Shelly’s smile quickly fades. They learn they’re only getting about a fraction of the $5000 a month should receive. The effect of this would be for Shelly to quit her job. So now they’re stuck with taking care of Leo and with little to show for it. Credit goes to Eric Da Re for keeping such a straight face in this scene and throughout the episode.

In the Precinct interrogation room, Donna and Truman are going over the events of the evening. Donna explains that Harold has Donna’s secret diary. When asked, Donna mentions that she didn’t see the Diary itself, but it was read to her, and that it did have Laura’s handwriting in it. With the previous incident that put Dr. Jacoby in the hospital Truman is reluctant to believe Donna. Before they can get into more detail here, Gordon Cole (David Lynch, in front of the camera this time) arrives. Cole is Agent Cooper’s supervisor, who brings the news that Al Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) wouldn’t be returning. He also provides the forensic information that Rosenfield wouldn’t bring, due to earlier issues with Truman. Fibers from a Vicuna coat were found in the location where Cooper was shot. Additionally, the needle from the One-Armed Man appeared to be a mix of medicines. The last bit of information were some papers found near the train site, papers that could be from a Diary. It definitely seems as if the One-Armed Man may have some clues to provide. Sure enough, in the middle of their conversation, Hawk brings in Phillip Gerard (Al Strobel), and everyone heads to Truman’s office for further questioning.

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Now comes my favorite scene in this episode. Cooper brings Ben to see Audrey. From the moment she sees him, there’s nothing but venom. I had hoped that she would say something about One Eyed Jack’s and what occurred there in front of Cooper (particularly between the two of them). I wanted Cooper to be able to maybe arrest Ben on the spot, or at least break his glasses with his fist, but it doesn’t come to pass. All Audrey really has to say is that “I’ve seen so much.” in regards to the horrors she must have experienced. Ben is as vile as he’s ever been, maybe more so now, because he doesn’t even understand what he’s done wrong. In previous scenes, you can see him manipulating things, but here, from his point of view, it’s just a reunion. It still looks bad.

Nadine (Wendy Robie) returns home from shopping, full of joy. Ed (Everett McGill) welcomes her with open arms, playing along per doctors orders. With her ‘parents’ away and the house to themselves, she offers the notion of a little intimate time between the two. Ed seems to be a little caught off guard, but it’s good to see Nadine in such great spirits here.

Josie is given a one way ticket to Hong Kong by Mr. Lee. She states that she still has one more day and that she needs to receive the monies owed to her from both Ben Horne and the Insurance tied to the mill burning down. Lee notes that “Mr. Eckhardt will make it worth your while.” Lee also suggests that he’ll kill Truman if she doesn’t leave by Midnight. So, who is this Eckhardt, and what does he have hanging over Josie?

The next day, we find Maddy sitting by some water. James rides up on his motorcycle and takes a seat next to her. They talk about what happened between them. Maddy speaks on how close she was to Laura, and the attention she received from James on seeing her as Laura. “For a while, I got to be somebody different.” She gives James that nudge towards Donna, saying they’re best for each other. Since Maddy is back to being herself, it’s time for her to return home. TP-Maddy-Goodbye.jpg

At Ben Horne’s office, Josie won’t leave until she’s paid. Ben goes on to tell her that he has the key to a dossier on Josie, including information on her husband’s boat explosion. Josie has a key of her own to personal information on Ben, and if anything happens to her, it would lead authorities right to him. They move on equal terms, he gives her a check for the money owed to her and she passes to him what he needs. Though I’m not fond of these two characters together, I liked the way the scene was set up.

TP- Party for Leo.jpg

At Shelly’s place, a small party is being held for Leo. who can only hum on a kazoo. However, when Shelly and Bobby start to make out on the kitchen table, Shelly catches sight of movement from Leo. This causes her to freak out, and they go back to treating Leo better. Leo’s case falls into some cake, but the scene ends with a bit of laughter.

Another great scene has Gordon Cole finally running into Dale Cooper at the precinct. Both are happy to see each other, and Gordon mentions that Cooper reminds me of a small Mexican “Chi-wow-wow”. They head into Truman’s office to speak privately about something, but with Cole’s hearing loss, the increased volume from both parties echoes through the entire floor. They discuss an issue that Cooper had in Pittsburgh and the hopes the Palmer case doesn’t turn the same way as that one. Cooper assures Cole that he’s fine and there’s nothing to worry about. Cole present Cooper with an envelope that was sent to the head office. When Cooper opens it, it reveals a chess deal “P to K-4” from who they assume is from former agent Windom Earle. I’m not sure what the impact of this clue is yet, though so many episodes remaining, it may come to light later on.

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At the Great Northern, Ben Horne welcomes Leland Palmer (Ray Wise) back into the company. Leland lets Ben know that he’s more than 100% okay, though he does take the time to snatch some hairs from a nearby stuffed cat. When Ben explains that a group from the Orient is looking to get into a deal he’s working on, Leland suggests a legal loop that could keep the transaction locked up indefinitely. Winning over Ben, it’s agreed to keep Leland on.

Nighttime. Truman arrives at the lodge to find Josie leaving. She tells him she’s sold the mill, but he tells her to stay. He tells her he loves her (more than once), but it’s simply not enough. Josie is out of the door, and presumably, out of Truman’s life.

Ben  Horne has a small sitdown with Mr. Tojamura. Tojamura is looking for the other part of the deal they made. He gave Ben 5 Million dollars, but hasn’t seen anything come back. When he plans to withdraw, Ben Horne tries to stall Tojamura. Before they can get into any deeper conversation, Ben hears a familiar voice singing. Leland is once again lost in song.

After the song, Pete Martell approaches Tojamura and inquires about the music. Tojamura has nothing to offer, and keeps the conversation short.

The closing scene may be the best scene in the episode. We’re in the conference room of the precinct, with Phillip Gerard, Dale Cooper, Harry Truman, Hawke, and Gordon Cole are present for a conversation. The group refuses to give Phillip his medicine, which contains trace amounts of Haloperidol – used to treat both Schizophrenia and Dissociative Identity Disorder. Note that the two illness are different things, contrary to popular misconception. Schizophrenia is a break in being able to think clearly (voice hearing, hallucinations, thought insertion or removal), where DID covers multiple identities that are created to deal with trauma (much like M. Night Shayamalan’s Split).

Getting back to the show, without the medicine, Phillip “becomes” MIKE. MIKE explains that he’s after BOB. Mike explains he is an inhabiting spirit that uses MIKE as a host. BOB is “eager is fun, he wears a smile. everybody run.” Mike goes on to add that he’s been after BOB for 40 years, and that BOB inhabits a human host in the same way MIKE does. When asked where BOB can be found, MIKE gives a description that sounds exactly like The Great Northern Hotel.

And that’s the episode. Now, we’re closer to Laura’s killer than ever. BOB is in the Hotel, but where is the major question.

Previous Entries in The TSL’s Look At Twin Peaks:

  1. Twin Peaks: In the Beginning by Jedadiah Leland
  2. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.1 — The Pilot (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  3. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.2 — Traces To Nowhere (directed by Duwayne Dunham) by Jedadiah Leland
  4. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.3 — Zen, or the Skill To Catch A Killer (dir by David Lynch) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  5. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.4 “Rest in Pain” (dir by Tina Rathbone) by Leonard Wilson
  6. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.5 “The One-Armed Man” (directed by Tim Hunter) by Jedadiah Leland
  7. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.6 “Cooper’s Dreams” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  8. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.7 “Realization Time” (directed by Caleb Deschanel) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  9. TV Review: Twin Peaks 1.8 “The Last Evening” (directed by Mark Frost) by Leonard Wilson
  10. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.1 “May the Giant Be With You” (dir by David Lynch) by Leonard Wilson
  11. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.2 “Coma” (directed by David Lynch) by Jedadiah Leland
  12. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.3 “The Man Behind The Glass” (directed by Lesli Linka Glatter) by Jedadiah Leland
  13. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.4 “Laura’s Secret Diary” (dir by Todd Holland) by Lisa Marie Bowman
  14. TV Review: Twin Peaks 2.5 “The Orchid’s Curse” (dir by Graeme Clifford) by Lisa Marie Bowman

AMV Of the Day: Angel With A Shotgun (Fairy Tail)


Today’s AMV of the Day comes from 2012 and I have to admit that I’m picking it for purely personal reasons.  I’m spending this weekend with my sisters and, if any group of people could be called Angels with shotguns, it’s the Bowman Girls.

Along with featuring The Cab’s Angel With A Shotgun, this AMV uses clips from Fairy Tail.

Anime: Fairy Tail

Song: Angel With A Shotgun by The Cab

Creator: Mimiluexify

Past AMVs of the Day