Saturday, November 14, 2009

In the Red: A Morning of Exploitation

Netflix served up a double helping of exploitation related material and like last time really dug one, didn't dig the other.
The Haunted World of Superbeasto: I'd long anticipated Rob Zombie's return to original material. I enjoyed The House of 1,000 Corpses though deemed it a bit too frenetic and reverential to prior films for its own good. I LOVED The Devil's Rejects in which Zombie compellingly followed the exploits of a gritty band of marauding murderers and shockingly made us care about them. Rejects shows a director with remarkable stylistic control who manages to shock and awe with brutality. Then the remake gigs came. Bad enough he should remake indisputable classic Halloween but to then do a sequel after specifically promising not to? For shame. The Haunted World of El Superbeasto though, an animated film following the adventures of an egotistical luchadore and hi sexy eye-patch wearing sidekick in a world of monsters, how could I resist? Unfortunately the film did not meet my expectations. The film starts off with an homage to an animated uncle Carl Laemmle appearing before the audience to warn them the following film may be too scary (as in the original Frankenstein). Off to a good start but then what follows is a series of John K. inspired gags that would've been tossed off after the first draft in the adult swim writer's room.

Want gratuitous nudity? The film starts with porno auditions. Want gross? A wave of rats are evacuated from a man's ass. Want violence? How about rows of nazi zombies being mowed down? Yep, plenty of it. Unfortunately there are no sympathetic or even fleshed out characters for the viewer to invest in. Each character is paper thin and the good gags are spaced so far apart its difficult to get into the sound and fury that's signifying nothing. I can see the fifteen year old version of me enjoying this, but it's entirely disposable. Not even game voice work from Paul Giamatti (as needy Dr. Satan) and Brian Posehn (as a horny robot) manage to bring life to the proceedings.

Not Quite Hollywood: The Story of Oz-ploitation makes for a really fun evening guaranteed to get you to fire up the netflix q or hit up amazon to find the titles on display. The doc runs down the history of genre cinema in Australia in a brisky hour and forty minutes, but I would've been content to watch hours more of this stuff. Aussie luminaries like George Miller and Brian Trenchard-Smith join "fan" Quentin Tarantino and a band of colorful rogues in this enticing exploration of a tragically unheralded area of cinema. The film gives you a bit of historical context and the need to for Aussie filmmakers to break the powerful grip of censors and then shows off a variety of great, fun looking films in various sub-genres. Among the areas explored are sex comedies, horror, cars and assorted other forms of action. Viewers get a chance to scope out Razorback (Jaws with a wild boar), Stone (an ultimate Aussie biker anti-hero), Patrick (a terrifying looking comatose psychic killer), Roadgames (a sort Rear Window/Duel hybrid) and Dead End Drive-In (a post-apocalyptic crazy car mash-em-up with a drive-in prison camp). Viewers will get all sorts of new names to admire and track down. Check out the trailer below.

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