Wednesday, May 28, 2008

PD Project Horror Part 6

Halfway home. Ladies and gentlemen, the comic book film event of the summer: Italian Spiderman

Disc 6

The Brain that Wouldn't Die

A surgeon who's been working on reanimating dead flesh nearly kills his fiancee in a car accident, salvaging only her head. He starts looking for a woman to kill whose body he can give to his fiancee while his finacee's head rests in a pan, begging for death.

There's quite a lot wonderfully wrong with this picture and I can't, in good conscience, recommend watching it without the MST3K commentary. It's the first episode with Mike on the SOL and it's high-quality even if the movie's not.

This was featured as episode 0513 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and can be purchased on its own. Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Brain That Wouldn't Die.

The Killer Shrews

A group of genetically-engineered giant shrews escape their cage and start menacing people stranded on a deserted island.

Here's a drinking game to suggest to people you want to see die of alcohol poisoning--drink whenever someone on screen drinks. You can even have them pick just one character, they'll still drink themselves to death. You'd think I'm unnecessarily focusing on the alcohol consumption in this movie, but there's really nothing else going on. They drink, get "menaced" by the killer shrews (really dogs with shag carpet draped across their back--clearly friendly dogs at that), drink, talk endlessly about the plot, drink, fall into a cliched and half-hearted love triangle and, oh, what else was there? Oh yeah, drink. Hilariously bad.

This was featured as episode 0407 of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and can be purchased as part of The Mystery Science Theater 3000 Collection, Vol. 7.

King of the Zombies

A plane crashes on an isolated Caribbean island leaving the pilot, an American special agent and his valet at the mercy of a strange German doctor.

If you hop over to the Archive.org page for this movie you'll see a summary of the film in thumbnails and you'll have a pretty good idea of the character of the piece. When I first watched the movie I thought it was the most racist thing I'd ever seen. Then I saw Michael Bay's Transformers. It's not that the film's particularly hateful, it's just the revelatory nature of all these pictures. They all express the latent cultural concepts without thinking about them. What's shocking is the utter disdain that greets Mantan Moreland's character throughout the film.

There are a lot of issues at play. He's playing a stereotypical role, but it's also the role Shaggy and Scooby play in Scooby-Doo. It's the nature of the comic relief in a horor-comedy like this. Things get more complicated in the fact that Moreland's clearly the star. This is an old black and white b-horror and has, of course, a useless white guy as the hero. Moreland has the most compelling scenes. He's funny. I'd go so far as to say it's a good flick--both for his performance and as a window into the culture. Just be ready to shout, "You Nazi bastard!" a lot. It makes things easier.

Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde

The silent picture starring John Barrymore based on the horror classic by Robert Louis Stevenson.

S'alright. It's very good actually. Barrymore's great, the story's great, the production's great, lots of funny moments (many lines unintentionally homoerotic), I just don't really like silent pictures. I'm impressed by them but I also like dialog. On the other hand, I have realized that I can put the DVD player on fast-forward and still get the same movie experience.

Next up, Disc 7 with something! And something else! As well as some third thing! Beware!

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