Thursday, June 3, 2010

Short Film: Eggs (USA, 2006)

This short film is so frigging stupid I promptly fell in love with it when I stumbled on it on YouTube. Written and directed by Dane Boedigheimer (aka Daneboe), the dude shown here at the left sharing his nipple with us, the film stars a dozen eggs and a gal named Theresa. Daneboe seems not only to have been a Clutch Cargo fan as a kid, but is an Adobe After Effects specialist as well. He's made lot of talking foodstuff horror and comedy short films, including a number that are entertaining riffs on the same basic idea as Eggs such as (among others) Terrified Corn Cobs and Marshmallow Murder. Dane is also a productive producer of Goth Art, as can be seen here at his website.
According to the website of Gagfilms, which he co-founded in 2005 with some other expats from his home state, Dane was raised in Harwood, North Dakota, a town of 696 inhabitants and which, according to the town website, is “a quiet, rural community surrounded by vast open farmland, rich soil, fresh air and is filled with friendly people with Midwestern values who care about their neighbours.” (No wonder the lad seems to have such a weird sense of humour—the place sounds like a David Lynchian nightmare.) Having a lot of free time on his hands when he was growing up, he began to make short 8mm films with his younger brother, “many of which are only funny to him[self]." It is perhaps inevitable, then, that Daneboe ended up in California, where he is still determined to make “the perfect short comedy film” that “will end all social problems and bring laughter to all the children of the world.” In the meantime, he earns his rent, beer and condom money making commercials.
In a case of what one could call synchronicity, a guy named Eric Bickernicks made a similar if somewhat more primitive film called Scrambled Eggs in 1984.

As an added attraction, you can Clutch Cargo – Space Station here.

Demon Slayer (USA, 2003)

"It's a baby carriage from Hell."
Father Enrique

Dr Gore aptly states the initial appeal of Demon Slayer when he, pained at being suckered once again during his never-ending search for the perfect B film, states in his review of the film that "Once again, the video box cover sings me sweet love songs only to have the movie break my heart." The seductive DVD box sang a Circe song to the hearts at A Wasted Life, too, and while the film did not make us shed the tears of the broken hearted, it did piss us off about as much as a skanky bitch in heat with the invisible drip does two weeks after the drunken fact. There be good horror films (see Dark Remains [2005 / trailer], among others), there be good lousy horror films (see Creepaziods [1987 / trailer], among others), and there be truly crappy horror films; take a guess what Demon Slayer is.
Yep, despite some titty bits—a rarity nowadays that usually helps redeem the worst of films—Demon Slayer is an example of true, irredeemably pointless direct-to-DVD crap that, much like such films as Museum of the Dead (2004) or 7 Mummies (2006 / trailer), leaves the viewer with an inner-emptiness that is caused not by the feeling of wasting a life but by the feeling of not having a life at all.
Demon Slayer is the directorial debut of James Cotton, who has since gone on to make the western horror Sugar Creek (2007 / trailer) and the 2nd-tier actor employment project La Linea (2009 / trailer). Cotton's debut is basically a remake of Michael B. Bruxman's unknown flick from 2000, The Doorway (trailer), but without a name star (the original version had Roy Scheider for the top-billed, five-minute appearance), which explains Bruxman's writer by-line in the film credits. Having never seen the original, it is hard to say which version is better, but somehow it is difficult to believe that The Doorway can be any worse than Demon Slayer.

For Cotton's version of the oft-told tale, The Doorway's college students earning extra cash have been changed to troubled teens doing community service and the house with the gateway to hell has been moved from New England to L.A. The five troubled teens (all orphans) of Demon Slayer are deposited at the deserted hospital with a bloody past (built upon a former brothel run by john-killing demon worshipers) as part of their court-ordered community service. They are to spend three days cleaning the structure in preparation for its conversion into a community center. The film stretches out such genre staples as infighting, bonding, false scares, kids walking around alone, screaming, teenager sex and so on for way too long before finally ending with ten minutes of Meet the Demons and Die. Along the way, the Priest in charge (Robert Eaten) is revealed to have a hidden agenda and another Priest (Joaquín Garrido) pops up from nowhere for a few minutes of ridiculousness before proving to be an ineffectual demon slayer. The best (and only) scenes of mild note are the bathtub scene (titties!), the death of the tertiary character Mr Cobb (Layon Gray of Hood Angels [2003 / trailer]), and a screwdriver in the forehead episode; the rest of the darkly shot film is pretty easy to sleep through.
The first present-day scene of Demon Slayer (which follows the pointless and poorly staged opening scene of the past killing of a security guard) actually raises one's hope initially, for not only does it involve a short but effective tracking shot that seems to promise some directorial standards, but the introduction of the film's fodder—Alicia the Goth (Michelle Acuna), Tyson the Gang Banger (Howard Williams Jr.), Claudia the Bitch (Hanna Lee), Tamara the Bitch's Friend (Monique Deville) and Phillip the Punk (Adam Huss of El Mascarado Massacre [2006 / trailer] and Resurrection County [2008 / trailer])—seems to infer a subtle sense of irony. Regrettably, Cotton not only quickly proves to have the directorial standards of a hack, but the expected sense of irony reveals itself to simply be a basic inability to construct a suspenseful or interesting narrative. Perhaps Cotton was hoping to milk some humor from the hackneyed plot and action, but with the possible exception of the scene in which the exorcist priest tries to dispel demons by calling on "the name of God and Frida Kahlo and [etc]", Demon Slayer instigates less smiles or laughter than it does derisive raspberries. (It would seem the only genre Cotton has less control of than horror is comedy.)
Take heed of these words of wisdom: even though you can always write it off to the beer afterwards, much like you really should avoid that easy (male or female) skank at the bar, you would do well to avoid Demon Slayer.

Oasis of the Zombies (France, 1981)

"Let’s get some bottles to make Molotov Cocktails like at school."
(Statement made by some zombie fodder during the climactic scene.)

A productive filmmaker, Franco has made films that are surreally great, such as A Virgin among the Living Dead (1973); films that are intriguingly bad, such as Succubus (1968 / trailer) or the celebrated Vampiros Lesbos (1971 / trailer); and films that are simply shitty—Oasis of the Zombies is the last. It is an exercise in patchwork narrative and padding, and regrettably plays like one.
According to most sources, the legendary Italian filmmaker Jess Franco was given this project after he left the equally ridiculous but oddly more entertaining Euro Z-zombie flick Le Lac des morts vivants / Zombie Lake (1981 / trailer). The legendary French filmmaker Jean Rollin ended up finishing Zombie Lake, which has longed gained a rightful reputation as one of the most laughably engaging Eurotrash fiascos.
To put it simply, Franco bailed from a slow, hilariously crappy French film to make a not very hilarious but still crappy and slow and very boring European film. (Twice over, in fact, as he filmed this flick in two versions at the same time, one French and one Spanish, with minor cast changes.) As hilariously bad as Zombie Lake is, it pales in comparison to Oasis of the Zombies, which is far from amusing even though it is dumbfounding bad. Going by the location, number of extras, trucks and explosions, Oasis of the Zombies probably even had the bigger budget of the two films, but Oasis of the Zombies also has worse dubbing, more consistently inane dialogue and plot development, less gore, less breasts, less zombie action—or action in general—less continuity, less logic, and less anything else that might help make it an enjoyable viewing experience.
Oasis of the Zombies begins with a short intro scene of two young female tourists wandering around an oasis in their nylon disco shorts and tank tops. Although the zombies only attack at day-for-night for the rest of the film, here they do away with the girls in broad daylight and without even ripping off their tops—in fact, for a Eurotrash film of the 80s, remarkably few tops get taken off in this film. Once the credits are over, we meet Kurt (Henri Lambert), a former Nazi colonel out to locate a shipment of gold lost in the desert. He goes to see Captain Blabert (Javier Maiza), gets the information he wants and promptly kills Blabert. Following some stock footage of London, we meet Blabert Jr, Robert (Manuel Gélin), who returns to the family house when hearing about the death of daddy. Going through the family papers, Robert learns of both his roots and the oasis in a long flashback that reveals how his father fought the Nazis during the war and barely escaped with his life; saved by Bedouins, he was nursed back to health by Aisha (Doris Regina), the daughter of his host, Sheik Mohamed Al-Kafir (Antonio Mayans). As thank you, he popped her cherry and returned to war, only to return two years later to find Aisha dead and himself a daddy. Oh, he also learned that the oasis is damned and that those who die there never really die. (Only half true: of all those that died there in the war scenes, it seems that only the Nazis came back.)
The flashback over with, the flick returns to the 70s where, even as Robert and his privileged school chums are deciding to blow their final exams to hunt for the 6 million, back at the oasis Kurt barely escapes the clutches of flesh-hungry Nazi zombies that munch on his wife Ingrid (Myriam Landson) and his two helpers, one of whom shouts “Stop or I’ll shoot” but never does. (The zombies sure have remarkably modern haircuts under all that grime. But then, just like in Zombie Lake, temporal reality is a moot point in Oasis of the Zombies: the Babert son Robert, for example, is only around 20 when simple math should have had him in his mid-30s.) Robert and company arrive in Egypt (?) and the film is padded with some "exotica" shopping scenes and such before they meet up with another team of Europeans also in search of the oasis, the blonde Erika (Juan Solar) and Professor Konrad (Albino Graziani). Tagging along with them to a hospital, they arrive in time to see Kurt's prolonged and over-acted death scene during which Robert drills him about the location of the oasis. A badly shot topless swimming scene later, the two groups leave on their separate ways in search of the secret oasis (which, oddly enough, was on the map of the two gals killed at the start of the film). Robert ends up finding his grandfather, Sheik Mohamed Al-Kafir, who shows him the way to the oasis although he knows it means sure death for the teens. At the oasis, they find an injured Erika and Prof, who babbles about the living dead before passing out. The next day, however, the sun shines and everything is fine so everyone giggles and laughs and digs for treasure. The sun goes down, and after a badly shot sex scene the zombies come for dinner, announcing their arrival (as always in the film) by snorting like pigs....
The climactic scene is not very exciting to say the least, made worse by the bad cinematography, editing, focus, sound and everything else. The gore is truly gore light, so any and all money shots are as anticlimactic as they are unimpressive. Most die, a few get away, and then, thankfully, the film ends.
To give credit, at times the background music, particularly when it is so slightly tinged with an Arabic flavor, is very good—much better than the film itself. But the interludes of good music are rare: most of the time it sounds like an atonal organ being played by a five-year-old. The film lacks any and all suspense or tension, and visually it can best be described as an ocular accident; Franco's patented style of Doris-Wishmannesque intercut objects, pan shots to nowhere and meaningless zooms (often out-of-focus to out-of-focus) do little to improve things.

When it comes to oasis zombie flicks, skip this turkey and watch Dawn of the Mummy (1981 / trailer). Dawn of the Mummy might be a pretty lousy film in itself, but in comparison to Oasis of the Zombies, it is a masterpiece of filmmaking.

Full Film at the Internet Archive:

Kaena: La prophétie / Kaena: The Prophecy (France, 2003)

Kaena: The Prophecy starts with the wreck of a intergalactic spaceship, has a brief scene of alien hunting alien, and then pops 600 years into the future to a small and simple folk that spend their days collecting sap for their gods. They harvest the sap from Axis, their "planet," a huge and inter-coiling plant floating mid-air in a never-ending horizon of clouds. But Axis is withering and dying, and their gods care little about the problems of the peons. But then, the gods are in reality simply a race of devious creatures—modeled ever-so-slightly after Geiger's alien archetype—led by an evil queen (voiced by Anjelica Huston) whose only goal is to destroy the glowing orb that crashed upon her planet 600 years early (that she is a stubborn being must go without saying, for after 600 years she is still trying). An adventurous young girl of the village named Kaena (Kirsten Dunst) not only has visions that there is more to life than what they know, but dares to question the gods; her actions result in her having to flee for her safety. With no place else to go, she decides to finally journey down to see what lies in the forbidden zone below the clouds...
Kaena: The Prophecy is an animated film for young adults—if only because smaller children and older folks will probably not be able to follow the style of animation or the convoluted yet underdeveloped storyline. That Kaena supposedly won 2nd place at the 2003 FantAsia Film Festival in Montreal does not exactly sing praise for the quality of the movies screened at the festival. Touted as the first fully computer-animated French film, the visual style of Kaena is much too aligned with the graphics of computer-animated computer games to be in any way truly innovative or astounding, and the film probably already looked somewhat dated when it first came out.
Not to say that there is a total lack of anything of visual interest—the mostly sepia-toned color scheme is something different, Kaena has nice tits (even if they are covered for all but one indistinct segment), and the talking worms in their mechanically locomotive bodies are enjoyably expressive. But the filmmakers were overly enamored by the rendition of fluid and barreling tracking shots in and out of tunnels and through branches, things that had a "WOW" effect back in the early days of computer animation but that have long become overused standards (if not clichés)—and probably weren't all that fresh in 2004, either. It would have done Kaena some good had less time been spent on the eye candy and more attention had been given to visual clarity.
The story could have been a bit clearer, too—or at least a bit more clearly structured. Originally developed as a computer game, the linear and action-heavy plot development betrays the movie's roots. The film is a good 10-15 minutes underway before the (thinking) viewer is able to interconnect the various opening visual highpoints (or plot elements) into a halfway coherent narrative, and it is not until the appearance of Opaz (Richard Harris) that the strands are actually tied together. But then, to keep the story rolling all sorts of elements are pulled out of thin air (or dropped) as needed—whatever happened to the teethy, meat-eating flying worms, for example? No longer needed by the end of the movie, they simply disappear. And why does Opaz, once so set on returning home, suddenly have a turn of mind and do a "I am the last of my kind save your people" number? Where, actually, did Kaena's people come from in the first place if the "gods" were the natives and Opaz's people from space? Why does Kaena alone have the mystical link to the orb? These and dozens more questions arise when one in any way starts to take a closer look at the plot, but for all the loose ends the scriptwriters also throw in enough subplots to make the film even harder to follow if one's attention should happen to stray at the wrong moment—the queen's loyal male's desire to mate (although it means their death) and his subsequent (and fortuitously timed) testosterone-driven betrayal, for example, are easy to miss. All that occurs, however, happens around the bare bones of a story old, tried and tired: a young outsider that refuses to follow the masses and is thus expelled only to return to save the people with the help of a rag-tag team picked up along the way—and, as they say: all's well that ends well. About the only truly iconoclastic element of the narrative is the underlying thematic strand that a ruling religion can be a lie and should be questioned.
Kaena is not a fiasco as a film; it simply feels as if it seems to miss whatever marks it may have been aiming for, visually, plot-wise and/or thematically. The end result is a mildly interesting but just as mildly aggravating film. The film would have been a lot better had the filmmakers simply slowed down a bit in every way.

The Strangers (USA, 2008)

"What you are about to see is inspired by true events. According to the FBI, there are an estimated
1.4 million violent crimes in America each year. On the night of February 11, 2005, Kristen McKay and James Hoyt left a friend's wedding reception and returned to the Hoyt family's summer home. The brutal events that took place there are still not entirely known."
Opening Narration

The couple Kristen McKay (Liv Tyler) and James Holt (of Dark Blue [2002 / trailer] and Weirdsville [2007 / trailer]) return to the remote vacation home belonging to James's parents after attending a friend’s wedding. The mood is glum because Kristen has said no to James's marriage proposal. A late-night knock at the door by a mysterious blonde asking for "Tamara" evolves into a night of terror when the couple are confronted by a unisex trio of masked psychopaths out for a murderously good time….
According to first-time director Bryan Bertino, the inspiration for the lean and linear plot of The Strangers has its birth in a childhood event: one late night a stranger came a-knocking at the family home asking for someone unknown to him or his parents; later they found out that that very night other homes in the neighbourhood had been ransacked and burglarized. Bertino just took the event a step further for his film, making the late-night knock not a pre-robbery casing out but rather the search for targets by a trio of resolutely anonymous psycho killers.
Since the film has been released, on-line sleuths have found "proof" that the film is actually based on a relatively obscure and still unsolved quadruple murder known as the Keddie Resort Murders that occurred in Northern California on April 11, 1981: it seems that some of the lines in the opening 911 call are taken verbatim from the original 911 call of the Keddie Resort Murders. Other folks claim that the inspiration is the Mansion Murders (because the trio is unisex), but in all truth it is probably close to impossible to do a home-invasion murder movie without someone seeing a link to the Family. In the end, The Strangers is probably based on "true events" about as much as the The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974 / trailer) is based on Ed Gein and Fargo (1996 / trailer) or The Woodchipper Massacre (1988 / trailer) are on the Woodchipper Murder. (In other words: distantly and thrice removed at best.)
Here at A Wasted Life, we tend to think that The Strangers is inspired less by "true events" than it is simply an Americanization of the basic plot of the original Austrian version of Michael Haneke’s Funny Games (1997 / trailer), a film which Haneke himself also Americanized the very same year that The Strangers was released with a virtual shot-by-shot remake using Hollywood actors. But at least enough aspects are different in The Strangers that it can claim to be a film of its own (more or less) and not simply a rip-off. This, however, raises the next question: is The Strangers a good film? The answer is a resounding yes and no.
It’s plot—three psychopaths in masks terrorize incompetent yuppie couple—has all the depth of a mud puddle in the desert, but for that Bryan Bertino manages to wring more tension and horror than many a more experienced director has gained from a plot labyrinthine.
Filmed mostly using a handheld camera, The Strangers has a directness and intensity that feeds upon a basic fear shared by many: indiscriminate home invasion by unknown intruders. (And indiscriminate it is, as is evidenced when "Dollface" [top model Gemma Ward] answers Kirsten's questions of why with "Because you were home.") But for all the tension and terror wrung in the prolonged game of cat and mouse that takes up two-thirds of the film—the other third being primarily the introduction of the relationship-troubled couple and the film' resolution—somewhere along the way the viewer can’t help but start feeling that the couple are particularly incapable. OK, you do feel sorry for them and hope that they’ll survive, but really: they have a fucking gun, for Christ’s sake, and all they can do with it is shoot a friend? And considering that the psychos were smart enough to take the axe from the barn wall to break the front door, why is Kirsten too stupid to even grab a hammer? Hell, even the lamp she knocks over up in the bedroom could've easily bashed in someone's brains if swung right. (Kirsten is an exceptionally old fashioned helpless type of gal for the world of today; you know that her concept of Classic Literature is Barbara Cartland and that, had they gotten married, she would have stayed home to cook, clean and watch soap operas. But then, one can’t help but wonder after awhile whether James, if given a drill, would be able to drill a hole in the wall.) And while the final fate of the couple is heart-rending, the stabbing scenes tend to reduce the film to a level of torture porn better suited for a cheap exploitation film—which is what The Strangers sometimes feels like, despite all its craftsmanship. Worse, for all the scares and chills, the film begins to feel a tad too long rather quickly—a feeling that hardly justifies adding two minutes for an "unrated" DVD version.
The unrated version, by the way, adds absolutely nothing to the film but a few pointless minutes to the end which clarify the why behind where the Mormon boys find Kristen. The addition comes across very much as a desperate attempt to gain repeat viewings from those forever interested is seeing the "uncensored" version (although it is doubtful that the added minutes would have in any way affected the movies MPAA rating). Indeed, The Strangers would be even more unnerving and subtly horrifying had it been even shorter and simply ended, for example, with the scene in which "Pin-Up Girl" says "It'll be easier next time."
So, what you got with The Strangers? A well made film that thrills and chills most of the time but hangs around a tad too long. The lady in the room will probably find it scarier than the man—unless you're the type of guy that can't drill a hole in the wall.

Gui si / Silk (Taiwan, 2006)

"I have one question for you. If there really are ghosts, why do they always have clothes on?"
James the Photographer (Kevin S. Smith)

Written and directed by Chao-Bin Su, this expensive-looking Taiwanese film is an odd breed indeed: a modern day, earthbound sci-fi ghost story. No haunted spaceships or virus-induced mutations here, however; instead, there’s a lot of contrived mumbo-jumbo about the "Menger Sponge," some sort of special invention that captures energy and allows you to hold conversations on the ceiling of a room, as Hashimoto (Yôsuke Eguchi of Anaza hevun / Another Heaven [2000 / trailer]), the handsome but crazed and life-hating crippled scientist that invented it mentions at least twice. But if you take the material that the Menger Sponge is made of and dilute it in water and spray it into your eyes, you can see dead people! (Ghosts, after all, are merely manifestations of energy.) Spray it all over a room, and you can even trap a ghost. Spray it on bullets, and you might not kill the ghost but you can get its attention. (Believe it or not, it all makes more sense in the film—sorta.)
When Hashimoto and team manage to entrap the ghost of a little boy (Kuan-Po Chen), they bring in wonder cop Tung (Chen Chang of Wo hu cang long / Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon [2000 / trailer] and John Woo’s Chi bi / Red Cliff [2008 / trailer] and Chi bi xia: Jue zhan tian xia / Red Cliff II [2009 / trailer]) to read the ghostly lips. Thanks to Tung's fabulous lip reading skills, the fab sharpshooter and top detective soon unravels the story behind the death of the boy. (Too bad that the little kid has the tendency to kill anyone who looks at him.) When the project gets shut down, Hashimoto goes over the edge and kidnaps the ghost, much to the rage of the ghost of the ghost boy's just deceased mother (Fang Wan), who now begins killing everyone on the team one after the other. Can Tung save his own life and that of his main squeeze?
So where does the name Silk come from? Well, probably from the fact that it sounds a lot better than "Thread" or "Strand." The name refers to the thin, virtually invisible silky thread of energy that connects the killing ghost to its victim to be. (Virtually invisible it may be, but Tung has no problems following it down the streets as he barrels along at full speed in his car—that dude has some good eyesight.) Supposedly the ghost only kills when you look it in the eyes, but this concept is shaky from the start and then gets completely tossed by the time the ghostly momma shows up to go on a rampage: she takes victims from behind and through soup bowls, eye-contact or not. Similar narrative lapses pop up a couple of times in the movie, but luckily the film is made and acted well enough that the slip-ups don't immediately jump in your face; it's only after the flick is over that the many irregularities suddenly start coming to mind.
Indeed, it is thanks to director Chao-Bin Su's excellent control over both his actors and his camera that Silk remains engrossing from beginning to end instead of aggravating, but his story is simply too tangled to hold water or be fully effective. He would have probably been better served had he simply made two films, a sci-fi and a ghost flick, instead of this odd amalgamation that overflows from too many threads that don't tie into a neat knot. (One question the film posits without fully answering, for example, is whether one can suddenly see a ghost because one has pissed on it, or whether a ghost can suddenly decide to make someone see them when pissed on or pissed off. And the ghostly heart massage that enables the half-way happy end is also a less than logical final act of the homicidal boy ghost.)
In short, Silk is a well acted, well directed and engrossing film that doesn't lack in scary, eye-catching, suspenseful and/or shocking scenes, but its plot has as many gaps as a spider web. If you can accept that, you’ll probably find it worthwhile viewing; those that like their tales half-way watertight, however, might prefer to skip the flick, no matter how well made it is.

Deadly Instincts / Breeders (UK, 1997)

Ah, cheese. It comes in so many flavours: Cheddar, Gouda, Harzer, Limburg, Manchego, Mimolette and so many, many more. Some cheese is good, some cheese is excellent, some cheese is pretty painful. Sometimes it stinks but is good, sometimes it looks and smells good but is pretty crappy. If Deadly Instincts—or Breeders, as it is called in every country of the world but in Germany—were a cheese instead of a film, it would probably be Velveeta—in other words, no real cheese at all, but rather a "pasteurized prepared cheese product," and as such highly immemorable. True, it might appeal to some people out there, particularly those with no taste at all—bad taste is a taste, after all—but in the end it is not worth buying as it has nothing to do with the real thing.
Breeders is the second film of the English auteur-filmmaker (naaahhht!) Paul Matthews, who has been wowing nobody since his first film in 1995, the cheapy horror tale Grim (trailer). For this R-rated television co-production—the German broadcasting station RTL, renowned for its excellent taste, helped finance this piece of Velveeta—Paul Matthews raided his DVD collection of bad films of yesteryear: the movie is a remake of cheap and sleazy grindhouse film from 1986 entitled—Surprise!—Breeders. The original Breeders, a 42nd Street breast-a-thon, was one of the select non-porno films made by director Tim Kincaid, born Tim Gambiani, a director better known as "Joe Gage", the still-active porno director behind the pre-condom, gay classics Kansas City Trucking Co. (1976, starring the great Jack Wrangler), El Paso Wrecking Corp. (1978) and L.A. Tool & Die (1979). (Kincaid's brief series of non-X-rated films more-or-less ended with She’s Back [1989], a "comedy" written by Buddy Giovinazzo [!!!], the man behind Combat Shock [1986 / trailer], and starring a totally coked-out Carrie Fisher.) Kincaid's Breeders is hardly a masterpiece, but it is a prime example of vintage 42nd Street sleaze, and as such it is finely aged cheese in comparison to Matthews's Velveeta and thus is definitely the better viewing experience. (Watch the cheesy opening scene here!)
The new version of Breeders starts off highly promising with an unbelievably good-cheese credit sequence: over the extended scene of a cheap looking CGI asteroid-spaceship flying through relatively cool looking CGI space some truly nasty, cut-rate lettering lists the non-stars of the flick before the asteroid-spaceship crashes in front of an all-girls college in or near Boston (the Isle of Man, actually, but the filmmakers would like us to think it's Boston). Out pops the rubber suit (Clifton Lloyd Bryan) and his human, scar-faced female sidekick in an ill-fitting S&M outfit (Kadamba Simmons, who also starred in Grim and was, in real life, murdered in London by her boyfriend in June of 1998). They go hide in the miles of underground tunnels beneath the school while Horace the Janitor (Nigel Harrison, the base player of Blondie, in his movie debut) makes some extra cash by selling pieces of the meteor as pendants to the college girls—but the alien does him in before he can do much with the dough. Ashley the Stud (Todd Jensen of Cyborg Cop [1993 / trailer], The Mangler [1995 / trailer], the remake of It's Alive [2008 / trailer], and Wrong Turn 3: Left for Dead [2009 / trailer]) is the art (and, it seems, the only) teacher at the school, and he has the eyes for the babes; in no time flat he’s bonking the blonde babe student Louise (Samantha Womack of the UK TV series EastEnders). People start disappearing and blood is found and when he sees the monster and starts telling people, the panties-sniffing teacher promptly becomes the main suspect. To prove his innocence, he and Louise decide to take matters in their own hands and go for the monster...
Breeders obviously enough has a nicely cheesy plot and could have made a nicely cheesy film, but Paul Matthews the scriptwriter fucks it up almost as badly as Paul Matthews the director. Finer points of the script: no sooner is it established that the removal of the pendants frees the enslaved than does Ashley the Stud start blowing holes into the gals; when Dt. Moore (a hilariously overacting Oliver Tobias of Addio, fratello crudele / 'Tis Pity She's a Whore [1970 / soundtrack by Ennio Morricone], The Stud [1978, trailer] and The Wicked Lady [1983 / trailer]) sends in "forensics", a swat team goes in—only to get decimated as they wander this way and that; Roper the Bitch Principal (Melanie Walters) knows there’s a monster on campus but not only prefers to let it get the girls than reveal the truth but also goes wandering around this way and that; out-of-the-blue, Ashley suddenly knows how to injure the unstoppable monster; day changes to night—need I go on?
To give Matthews' version of Breeders some credit, at least he went for the traditional man in a rubber suit instead of relying on CGI like so many b-films of today; as a result, unlike so many b-films of today, the monster looks pretty OK—sometimes even effectively mean and nasty. Regrettably, little else in the film is either effective or nasty, despite having one of the better, gratuitous mass nude shower scenes since the original Carrie (1976 / trailer) or Black Mama, White Mama (1973 / trailer). To give Matthews even more deserved credit, it is astounding that he was able to make a film as boring as this one despite such cool ingredients as nekkid college girls, a monster from space hot to breed with earth women, guns and explosions, crappy acting, cheap special effects and a high body count. So much for Velveeta—I want some Danish Blue.
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