Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Only now does it occur to me... HELLRAISER III: HELL ON EARTH

Only now does it occur to me...  that it might be worth watching HELLRAISER III just for the "killer-CD slinging Cenobite" alone.  Does that require some explanation?  Okay, here goes:

After being killed by his own CDs, the L.A. surfer dude DJ at a posh n' yuppie club

is transformed into a CD Cenobite whereupon
 he removes deadly remixes from a tray in his chest and

flings them into cowering passersby.

That's simply well done.
A lot of people have problems with this HELLRAISER movie, calling it "the one where Pinhead becomes Freddy Krueger" or "the one where the series goes to shit," but I call it "the one that allowed me to accurately use 'deadly remixes' in a sentence."  That is all.

(P.S.– it's possible that those deadly remixes contained Motörhead's "Hellraiser" the rockin' closing credits song whose tie-in music video features a Lemmy vs. Pinhead playing card battle!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Only now does it occur to me... BREAKING GLASS

Only now does it occur to me...  that a British indie punk movie from 1980 would have such a far-reaching influence on 80s Sci-Fi.

Before I explain what I mean, I must compliment BREAKING GLASS, a gritty "rise to the top" record industry film (in a similar vein as SLADE IN FLAME or LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE FABULOUS STAINS).  Mostly it's a platform for Hazel O'Connor to sing the shit out of a variety of legitimately amazing punk, New Wave, and post-punk music she's written for the occasion. 

But there's also the part where she (and the costume design team) inspire the entire aesthetic for 1982's TRON:



Then there's the small matter that for large chunks of the film, she's in white-face and New Wave eye makeup with a teased-out, electro-bob haircut:  the spitting image of Daryl Hannah's "Pris" from 1982's BLADE RUNNER:

Hazel hangs out with her band in BREAKING GLASS.

Daryl Hannah hangs out with her replicant buddies in BLADE RUNNER.

Hazel freaks out on stage in BREAKING GLASS.

Daryl freaks out on Harrison Ford in BLADE RUNNER.

Clearly, Ridley Scott saw this, and was taking notes.  And it may be a bit of a stretch, but in some scenes she even looks like Joanna Cassidy's "Zhora," another replicant from BLADE RUNNER:
 Hazel in her dressing room in BREAKING GLASS.

Joanna Cassidy in her dressing room in BLADE RUNNER.

Before you chalk it up to coincidence, allow me to present one final, bizarre detail– BREAKING GLASS prefigures BLADE RUNNER's use of the "weird, reflective, robotic pupil" effect.  In BLADE RUNNER, it's generally used to indicate when a person (or a creature) is a synthetic "replicant":
Tyrell's replicant owl.

Replicant Rutger Hauer.

In BREAKING GLASS, it's used by Hazel and her band as they impersonate robots on stage:
Inspiration can be found in the most unlikely of places– and I'm sure that Hazel and the makers of BREAKING GLASS had no idea that they would exert such a stylistic influence on two of the biggest sci-fi flicks of 1982– and furthermore, at the time, I'm sure no one could have guessed that those two films would establish such cultural staying power.  But here's hoping that BREAKING GLASS can muster a little staying power, too:  it's an invaluable document of New Wave-Punk realness, and seriously, it's rare for a film to have such ass-kicking original music, across the board.  A gushing recommendation, for sci-fi fans and punk rock enthusiasts alike!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

RIP, Menahem Golan

It saddens me to report that Menahem Golan, mastermind of Cannon Films and bringer of joy to moviegoers everywhere, passed away last Friday.  He was 85, and he had a hell of a good run. 

Longtime readers of this site know that I adored the man (and his cousin/Cannon partner Yoram Globus), and have referred to him in turns as "the king of the 1980s," "an arm-wrestling auteur," "breakdance pioneer," "Norris whisperer," "Mama Rose to Van Damme's Gypsy," and "a Charles Bronson casting agency."  He made trash, he made art– and all of it was fabulous:   he presided over the most seminal action flicks of the 80s (BLOODSPORT, DEATH WISH 3) as well as genuine high art (Konchalavsky and Bunker's RUNAWAY TRAIN, Cassavetes' LOVE STREAMS, Schroeder & Bukowski's BARFLY, etc.).   He directed films personally (THE APPLE, OVER THE TOP, THE DELTA FORCE), and was an unparalleled wheeler-dealer who believed in the integrity of every project, whether it was THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2 or Zeferelli's OTELLO.

I cannot describe how much joy this man has brought me.  As a child, the first film I ever saw on the big screen carried his stamp (SUPERMAN IV: THE QUEST FOR PEACE), and there have been times in my life where I was broke, depressed, bored, what have you– and just what the doctor ordered (Doc Golan, that is) was BLOODSPORT, DEATH WISH 3, RAPPIN', BREAKIN' 2: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO, or whatever the case may be.

It was my pleasure to see he and Globus in person several times during a Lincoln Center retrospective a few years ago, and it was my honor to meet the man himself (albeit briefly, but while wearing a Cannon Films t-shirt) at the after-party to a screening of THE APPLE.  You can read about those zany experiences here.

So this weekend, pick a Cannon Film (or one that Golan worked on outside of that glorious company), have some friends over, pick up some junk food, some beers, or whatever floats your boat, and watch it.  Watch the hell out of it!  And raise a toast to a man who empirically raised the levels of fun on this sorry planet.  I'll be doing MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE myself, but I have a few others I can recommend:

Splits, full-contact, and JCVD crazy-face in BLOODSPORT.

BIM exercise hour and disco dystopia in THE APPLE.

Chicken's good and it's my car in DEATH WISH 3.

Acting greatness and a light dose of Danny Trejo in RUNAWAY TRAIN.

Boomboxes and Bronson's loose in DEATH WISH II.

The Ninja film finds its voice in ENTER THE NINJA.

Robby Rosa treats himself to "mucho money" in SALSA.

Not payin' and not punkin' in DEATH WARRANT.

Dennis Hopper double fists chainsaws and 80s Gran Guignol reaches operatic heights in THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 2.

Gutter Rouke and Bukowski realness in BARFLY.

John Glover and Clarence Williams III scare the bejeesus out of Roy Scheider in 52 PICK-UP.

High-steppin' Chris Walken and feline grace in PUSS IN BOOTS.

Poor man's Indiana Jones and holy Chuck in FIREWALKER.

Chuck's Rambo routine in MISSING IN ACTION.

High fashion, low blows, and killer soccer balls in DEATH WISH 5: THE FACE OF DEATH.

Naked space vampires and slummin' Patrick Stewart in LIFEFORCE.

Explodin' Trejo, roller-skatin' panic, and Bronson sandwich makin' in DEATH WISH 4: THE CRACKDOWN.

Chuck "treats that lady nice" in THE HERO AND THE TERROR.

Ninja madness and mustache choppin' in REVENGE OF THE NINJA.

Bronson, Mormons, and a dearth of action in MESSENGER OF DEATH.

Oscar-chasin' Christopher Reeve and pimpin' Morgan Freeman in STREET SMART.

Flamethrower vigilantes and Mario Van Peebles pushing the boundaries of good (?) taste in EXTERMINATOR 2.

Norris tailpipe action, crabby Lee Marvin, and beers for everyone in THE DELTA FORCE.

The perversions and high-kickin' senior citizens of KINJITE: FORBIDDEN SUBJECTS.

"Toejams" and "fart brains" in MURPHY'S LAW (but hold the mayo!).

Knife-sharpening and facial contortions in CYBORG.

Axe gangs, pizza-scissorin', and AWESOM robot fashion in COBRA.

Bayou Chuck, l'il armadillos, and slick Billy Drago in INVASION U.S.A.

or Menahem teamin' up with George A. Romero and Tom Savini for NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD '90.

P.S., the New York Times also posted a surprisingly reverent obituary that's worth your time.