Friday, January 20, 2012

Olive Street Cinema, no 3 | Of musical vampires, ill-fated campers, and man-eating slugs

Jan 1st: Rockula (1990). After a failed attempt to party like the hip young couple we are, we rang in the New Year with Rockula. I am more than okay with this—not only because New Year’s Eve parties are always super overrated, but because Rockula is a super fun comedy musical with songs and choreography by Toni Basil, excellent wardrobe, and a sort of dweeby/adorable vampire who has a wise-cracking reflection as confidante. Believe it or not, Wolfman chose this movie, not me, based upon the poster image of a spiderweb-decorated Explorer (his first and favorite guitar), which, sadly, was not actually featured in the film at all. But, I think it’s safe to say that both Wolfman and I still enjoyed this. Toni Basil, in particular, stole every scene as a sort of cartoon vampire worrying mother Bette Page. Absolutely delightful.

Jan 1st: Friday the 13th, Part 3 (1982). This may be the only Friday the 13th movie I've ever seen from start to finish. (Actually, as I typed that I suddenly remembered that Wolfman and I saw the remake in the theatre on one of our first dates, but remakes don't count.) As a horror fan, I'm not sure how to explain or defend this, but Jason Voorhees never really sparked my nightmarish imagination the way Michael Myers or Freddy Kruger did. Perhaps the reason is that groups of teenagers who go out into the woods on camping trips and proceed to act like assholes don't elicit as much sympathy from me as poor teenagers hunted in their own suburb or, worse, their very dreams. But, all that aside, not only have I seen Part 3 twice now, but we own it. We bought it on a whim, because it was cheap, but also because it's in 3D, which always sounds more exciting than it actually is. And now that Wolfman's Christmas present, a movie projector, is installed in our living room, we blew the dust off the cover, got out the pork skins (true story), and dorkily pushed our paper 3D glasses up the bridge of our noses, prepared to be blown away, and instead became slightly nauseated and had to start the movie all over again without the 3D option. Other than all this, I can find nothing interesting to say about this particular installment except that the chubby kid who pulls cluelessly cruel pranks, the one nobody likes, kind of looks like Seth Rogen.

Jan. 2nd: Slugs (1988). This would, perhaps, have been a remake of 1977's Squirm if not for the environmental message, one popular in the 80's: toxic waste totally makes monsters. It's never very clear exactly what toxic waste is, or exactly what produces toxic waste except that it's some big corporation and it's freaking evil (see CHUD or any of the Toxic Avenger movies). Slugs is very much a gross little gorefest, and should be approached as such. Unless you want to see some heads exploding, don't watch this. For example: one character, having actually ingested a man-eating slug, lives for the next few scenes on borrowed time, which means Wolfman and I were taking bets on when his imminent and imminently disgusting death would happen, and how (would he projectile blood vomit against the restaurant bathroom mirror, as Wolfman predicted? Would a slug errupt out of his stomach during an important business meeting, as I predicted?) Knowing exactly what this movie was, and enjoying it for that very reason, I have only one complaint, which stems from the fact that while I, of course, don't believe that actual teenagers deserve death by crazed slasher for having sex or smoking weed or being assholes (despite what my above Friday the 13th review might suggest), I'm not particularly keen on willy nilly free-for-alls in respect to creative movie murders. I kind of expect there to be a triumphant, morally sound, badass hero or antihero. I certainly don't want to watch decent people die unnecessarily cruelly, like the chaste, studious teenage girl who rejects the clumsy, chauvinist advances of one of her classmates, only to be attacked by a masked would-be rapist, only to escape his clutches by falling into a gully and being eaten alive by the titular creepy crawlies. What a bummer. And what sort of statement was the writer or director trying to make with this sequence of events (if any)? Ladies, get your heads out of your books and start sleeping with every icky classmate who asks, whether he asks politely or not? Perhaps I'm reading too much into this.

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