Meaty Bits 9/19: Short Reviews and a Digital Religious Artifact

Short Reviews

Below are some quick thoughts on shit that I have checked out for the first time within the last few days. This includes some relatively more mainstream media, recent random finds, and my usual weird fare. Unlike my other reviews, I have only watched these things once. As these are mostly knee -jerk reactions, all are subject to me completely changing my mind on a second viewing, absolute misunderstanding on my part, or a full "review" at a future date.


Office Uprising (2018) 


Let's be real--not one concept featured in this film could be considered groundbreaking. In fact, if anything, it's a mix of several ideas that have been done multiple times in the last eight or so years--to more acclaim. That doesn't stop it from being functional, bloodsoaked slapstick that made me laugh out loud a few times. It kind of feels like an extended, R rated episode of a quirky cubicle themed television show from a time before The Office came over the pond. Gregg Henry is in there, and I'm always down to see him play a slimy role. Zachary Levi appears as well and gets a little crazy, post-Chuck but pre-Shazam!, which I actually enjoyed despite my severe (admittedly weird) hate for Chuck. 
(IMDB - WIKI - Crackle)


Cornman: American Vegetable Hero (2001)

I can't, with certainty, tell you how long this DVD has been hanging out at the bottom of my collection. I do know I have passed it over a few times in the last year, having had my fill recently when it comes to comic book parody. As is often the case, my rash conclusion was a little off base. Cornman is less a parody of the mainstream crime fighters we see so much of and more a homage to Troma's The Toxic Avenger, physical comedy, and agriculture. Seemingly made for pennies and heavily padded by nonsense, the movie is like watching a bunch of highschool 4H kids act out an inside joke with backyard wrestling, set to the soundtrack of a skateboard VHS. I took it for what it was and being in the right mood, I was soon ready to sign up for the official fan club. It's a light-hearted, stupid comedy with silly violence held together by an earnest homegrown vibe, usually reserved for SOV splatter. Plus, it gets extra points for utilizing a vegetable as a deadly weapon ( more than once) and bringing paper mache decapitation back.
(IMDB - WIKI - Amazon)


Hollywood's New Blood (1988)

After Seeing the cover and the film's title, I thought this low budget horror flick would have been a sleazy hamfisted pseudo critique of the Hollywood casting couch--something along the lines of a 90s Maskhead (2009) with aspiring stars lining up for slaughter and greedy snuff dealers praying upon the gullible. What transpires instead is a bare-bones Jason-derived camping trip with a few young-ish attendees (who sometimes mention a movie production) and one murderous senior-citizen. It's a lot of bad dialogue, and at one point there was a rapey dude that looks like a young Mark Hamill mixed with an Osmond brother. The color/lighting had some interesting moments (for the budget) and not in any way is it the worst slasher I have ever seen, but after seventy minutes of chatter, nothing happened. There was no notable payoff, not even reasonable trashy stab-em-up stuff, (blood, boobs, etc.) as those things were just referred to. Maybe I have a TV copy or something, and they chopped out the gore and nudity, or they simply spent all their money on Mormon Luke Skywalker, leaving little for rubber guts-- who knows. It does have an official theme song. However, so did Cornman and that movie actually remembered to bring enough fake blood along.
(IMDB  - Amazon)


Reel Nightmare (2017)

Even with some decent performances, well-done lighting and enough lore for two projects, this movie goes off with little more than a thud. Outside of those few highlights, it never reaches past film school jokes and passionless cliches. It wasn't terrible, but I couldn't help feeling I was watching someone's vanity project, which is an odd notion in a trashy horror flick. I put it on immediately after Hollywood's New Blood, and they ended up going together perfectly, but it wasn't always to their benefit or mine.
(IMDB - Amazon)


Assassination Nation (2018)

I should have popped this on immediately when it was released and after it's target audience shunned it. For some reason, I imagined Spring Breakers (2012) type, mainstream dick tease, only with less neon. I was wrong on both counts. As it turns out, ADD fueled satire with science-fiction style extremes, shot through an arsenal of millennial gibberish makes a pretty good watch. The film loosely wears the skinsuit of a YouTuber, and is something of a modern Jawbreaker (1999) meets The Purge (2013) and The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street (1960) on MDMA. Its whole social media premise has been done, but the flashy relentlessness does the societal threat some well-dressed exploitation justice. With plenty of colors and lens flare, it's an effective mainstream spiral into hyperactive violence with a rare and increasingly mean spirit. Its dizzying editing could probably be headache-inducing, but the medium is perfectly matched to the theme, treading a thin line between edgy teen party and video collage. According to the web, there were some celebrities in the mix of whose names I'm only slightly familiar. I didn't recognize anyone but Joel McHale and the dude from the IT remake. Then again, I had trouble telling who was who among the main cast, maybe they are all famous. I also probably didn't understand half of what was said, but I'm totally down with this shit.
(IMDB - WIKI - Amazon)


Orange Is the New Black: Season 7

I hope it doesn't surprise anyone that I make my way through the new season of the streaming poverty-porn-pioneer every time it drops on Netflix. It's very much in my wheelhouse, being both an iconic piece of fictional garbage and the revival of women in prison exploitation. It also helps that it has Captain Janeway in it, sporting a crazy Russian accent. That being said, the new season was definitely more Prison Stories: Women on the Inside (1991) than charming sleaze of the previous seasons. It seems to be reaching to provide development for the actors it can hold on to and is hitting the "hot topics" with more frequency to wring out its cheap drama. It's still a kind of stupid that I can roll with, though now it has passed its purpose and with a touch of self-parody. While OITNB is reported to be in its final season, it's interesting to watch such a shiny streamline of classic pulp ideas, pop culture, and new mediums go through the same phases of aging as the previous television drama traditions that its format has almost replaced. I can't wait for a spin-off.
(IMDB - WIKI - Netflix)



Digital Religious Artifact

The Day of the Locust (1975) Trailer

I made a quick trip to Las Vegas a few weekends ago. All and all, it was pretty fun. I finally visited the Erotic Heritage Museum, got drunk, talked to Uber drivers, stayed drunk, and listened to some music. But, honestly, I was a little let down that Vegas wasn't covered in grasshoppers. You see, every several years, due to the weather, the area sees an influx of crawly citizens of all kinds--little green fuckers that stink and fly in face holes, loud-ass cicadas and most of all, grasshoppers. The season had been especially bad, and my town was hit with enough new jumpy friends to make the weird religious people nervous. According to the news, YouTube and anyone you talked to, the city of sin was seemingly caked in the insects, making for all kinds of cinema-grade effects when mixed with the Strip’s lighting. That wasn't the case when I got there, not even fucking close. I guess the pseudo locusts had their fill of the amenities and moved on (probably heading to my town).  In reality, I'm relieved, as they probably would have fucked up the night, though part of me was hoping for Exorcist sequel type shit. It did remind me of a film trailer that had left an impression on me as a child.
A Dramatic dark look at Hollywood and the desire for fame in 1939, The Day of the Locust was directed by John Schlesinger and featured intense performances from everyone involved. Among a cast of greats (including Donald Sutherland as Homer Simpson), Karen Black is at a peak in both beauty and frightening passion. I will forever love her mark on horror, but it’s roles like this that make me want to remind people that she was so much more than one genre. 
Long before I would actually watch or could probably fully grasp the film, I witnessed a trailer on a rental tape that stuck with me for two reasons. First, the title seemed like a mix-up, where the fuck were the Bible bugs? Was the minor bad guy from Ghostbusters (1984) going to turn into a giant grasshopper or something? Secondly, it was fucking intense. Just the trailer’s composition and content was an emotional rollercoaster, and despite the boring things the narrator was mentioning, it seemed epic to my young mind. Little RevTerry was confused and intrigued. Many years later, I would finally see the film and find the name less enigmatic, and that trailer held only a fraction of its overall power.  I was also familiar with the legendary Karen black by that point and knew she could shake a large apartment from inside a small tube television.
I can't be completely sure this is the exact trailer that I saw all those years ago on VHS, but if it's not, it's close and has the same voice-over. It also seems to have the same general effect, in that it draws you into the chaos but doesn't give away any more than a trailer should.  If you haven't seen the actual film, I can't recommend it enough--but pick the appropriate movie night as it's not a movie about swarming bug attacks.
(IMDB - WIKI - Amazon - Trailer Source: YouTube Movies)
New full review coming soon, and be sure to follow VideoReligion on all the social media outlets for daily film appreciation and because that's the only measure of worth left in the dystopian wasteland. Facebook Instagram Twitter


by: RevTerry

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