Monday, March 19, 2012

Deadbeat At Dawn

DeadBeat At Dawn (1988)

Dir: Jim Van Bebber (Necrophagia/The Manson Family)

IMDB Rating: 6.7 out of 10

Once in a while I stumble on to a film that truly exemplifies the term "Exploitation" film. When I think of the word used to describe a film or film genre , I automatically think of films that depict people and surroundings as grim and trashy as possible and certain films live up to that standard I have set my expectations to. Films like Combat Shock, Street Trash, Tenement, The Paul Morrisey Trilogy and a few select others. Deadbeat At Dawn is certainly one that fits the criteria and man what a film it is. On  the surface it can be looked at as a standard gang movie like The Warriors but if that is the case than this is The Warriors on PCP. Not since Combat Shock have I watched a film that depicted the on goings of the inner city in such a graphic , dirty and honestly over the top fashion. So let's get into Deadbeat At Dawn shall we?

            Our protagonist if you can call him that is Goose a neighborhood  junkie thug that is the leader of a street gang called The Raven's , they are in a heated feud with rival gang The Spider's led by Danny. As things get more intense between the two gangs Danny and Goose have a face off that leaves Goose seriously wounded and after escaping the police ,Goose's girlfriend Chrissy pleads for him to quit the lifestyle as she tends to his wounds. After some thinking Goose finally decides perhaps he will be better off sticking with his heart and giving up the gang life for a potential family life. Upon informing Keith the second in command that he is resigning , Goose is informed that The Raven's and The Spider's are joining forces which does not sit well with Goose but it doesn't matter as he has bigger and better plans that lie ahead.The following night Goose plans one making one last drug deal to stack some money for he and his lady. While he is out Chrissy has a premonition that she is in danger while fiddling with her Ouija board. Just as this occurs two of Danny's goons arrive at her door and brutally murder her while Goose is away.

After Goose returns home to find Chrissy's body and disposing of her corpse , he begins to feel lost and falls into some serious depression as well as fear knowing the gangs are now after him as he is all alone now. Goose shacks up with his insane heroin addicted father for a few days until his pop's habits lead him to trying to rob his own son for his next fix. Now with nowhere to go Goose roams the streets with nothing but his painful thoughts. It gets to the point that goose finds himself in an alleyway after a night of binge drinking and he prepares to off himself to end the pain he is experiencing when his former friend, now Raven's leader Keith finds him and stops him. He has a proposition for him stating that he has an opportunity for him as the gangs combined are planning a big heist of an armored truck. Goose believing that Danny is responsible for his girlfriends death is hesitant to join but with nothing left to loose he agrees to provide his services. Keith acknowledging Goose's martial arts and stealth abilities assigns him to ambush the guards. Meanwhile Danny is unbeknownst to Keith still planning on offing Goose but due to the truce he cannot. A few weeks pass and it is time for the big job and surprisingly it goes down without a hitch as the gang takes over the armored truck in a truly violent showdown.

After the big score as the Raven's celebrate their success, Goose let's Keith know his feelings about the Spider's as he believes that Danny is planning to take to turn on the Raven's and keep the money for himself.Keith and the rest of the gang don't buy it as they head to the Spider's meeting point where in fact Danny does ambush the Raven's who went into the meeting unarmed except for Goose, thanks to his gut feeling and after a gory shoot out Goose manages to flee as the lone survivor of The Raven's with the cash. After a intense chase Goose narrowly escapes the gang and scrambles for a hiding spot to lay low for awhile. This does not go as easy as planned as it appears everyone in this town is packing a gun as Goose has a interesting run in with a Mormon looking young man and his grandmother while stealing a soda at a local liquor store.Goose knowing that the gang is not going to give up hunting him down until they have that cash , he decides to track down Chrissy's younger sister. Once he does he sets up a meeting with her estranged sis in order to give her the money for her family. As Goose heads to the meeting pint unfortunately he is spotted and while waiting for the young woman he is cornered by Danny and several goons. This leads to easily the most graphic and bloody showdown of the film as Goose is a one man army with his Kung-Fu skills while being out numbered by the double digits. As Goose takes out the gang one by one while taking a significant amount of damage , Danny flee's with the bag of cash. Once Goose disposes of the last remaining man which so happens to be BoneCrusher who was responsible for killing his girl, Goose gives chase to Danny.
At this point the two low life's get an impromptu meeting with Chrissy's sister as the two duke it out in the final brawl which leaves both men fallen. Goose however gets some serious revenge as he kills his longtime rival in seriously over the top fashion, Which is suiting for this film as nothing here has been subtle whatsoever.

DeadBeat At Dawn is truly a gritty and grimy film and it truly makes you feel dirty while watching it, which in this case is a good thing because that is exactly what it sets out to do. The film is exploitation at it's finest and paints everyone in the film as low of a scumbag as possible. This is not a feel good film and it shows. This flick is what Grindhouse truly is and was and films like "Hobo with a Shotgun" and  "Father's Day" as well as many of the over the top "Grindhouse" style rehashes truly owe this films some serious credit as I feel it was truly ahead of it's time when it comes to pushing boundaries. I highly recommend this flick to anyone that likes the "Grindhouse" style films as this one is as gritty as you will find. It is not a light hearted film and everything is amped up to eleven from the dialogue to the gore to the story all is truly brutal and well put together.As I stated before this is like "The Warriors" on PCP and that is honestly the best way I can think of describing it.Honestly the only film I have ever seen that even remotely resembles the despicable nature of the characters and their surroundings would be "Combat Shock" or "Tenement" and I loved those films as well. This would make for one hell of a movie night alongside those two accompanying it. Definitely a recommended watch if you can stomach it, It will be worth your time I promise.

Fun Factor:8
Overall: 7.5 out of 10

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sandy Johnson: A lesser known beauty of the exploitation Screen

Born July 7th 1954 in San Antonio,Texas. This lovely little Texan was picked up by Playboy magazine and became Miss June 1974, Shortly after being spotted in the pages of the famous mag she entered the world of the Silver screen. Although a brief career for unknown reasons , her beauty transcends time as she certainly made a lasting impression on mine and many men's lives with her youthful face and curvaceous body that she did not shy away from displaying if called upon to do so. Her first appearance was in a low budget T&A flick "Surfer Girls" followed by a personal favorite of mine getting a bit role in "Jokes My Folks Never Told Me".

Although she was only hired for small roles , in 1978 she caught the eye of Horror icon John Carpenter and scored her biggest "Bit" role as Judith Myers , The sister of infamous Michael in the original "Halloween". Her part was short as she was the first victim of the series but , The character she played plays heavily into the Michael Myers mythology. After her Big Screen debut she made two more films which were standard Drive-In skin flicks of sorts getting a role in "H.O.T.S." and what could be considered her biggest role (As far as screen time and dialogue) in "Gas Pump Girls" which proved to be a trail blazer for the sub genre of Business in peril saved by women in little to no clothing films made infamous years later in the 80's and 90's with films like "Bikini Carwash Company" among many others. Despite the fact that Sandy's career was brief she did have a certain presence to her appearances as she pulled off the innocent girl next door look better than most women out there thanks to her adorable face , but when she disrobed and revealed her gorgeous body all the thoughts of innocence in the men who watched her films went out the window. Miss Johnson no doubt  is hands down one of the most beautiful women to ever grace the pages of Playboy during the 70's and in my book of all time. A completely natural beauty with awesome breasts and she also possessed something that not many women of the day had and that was a phenomenal ass. If you like what you see here please check out her works, Especially "Jokes my Folk's Never Told Me" which is a personal favorite of mine in the sketch comedy film genre. I leave you know with a few more pictures of this somewhat mysterious beauty. Enjoy as I know looking at her certainly can brighten up my day,especially on one as rainy as today.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spoiler Warning

Just to let all readers and potential readers of this site, I am constantly working on ways to better review films and it was recently brought to my attention that I tend to spoil the films I review. I completely understand this and I know I tend to do so. Mainly what i am trying to provide here is a place for folks of oddball cinema to come and potentially find films that they have not seen or have wondered about and give a feeling of what the film is about. I typically will watch the film once or twice and write a brief opening , then provide a in detail run down of the film before giving my final assessment and whether or not I think people would enjoy the film as a whole. I really am planning on getting a video camera in the near future so I could provide more humor to the reviews and  that way perhaps give less up about the film. So with all this said i do apologize to those who I have spoiled  a film for and I am going to work on new and more creative ways to describe the films in question and convey what I feel about said films. Thank you all for checking out my site , it does mean the wordld to me . Especially right now when things are going so grim for me in my personal life this is my "happy" place as I enjoy sharing these hidden gems of sorts with all of you. I am always looking for suggestions on how to improve the site and ideas on what I should do to provide better reviews.
                                                                            Thank you all for the support, I will try and do better,
                                                                                                                     Nathaniel (Dick Swift) Guest

Here is a special treat for my fans of vintage T&A with a nice photo of Sandy Johnson, Whom I will be paying tribute to on here very soon.....Until then Enjoy.

Blondes Have More Guns

Blondes Have Gun (1996)

Dir: George Merriweather

IMDB Rating: 3.7 out of 10

When it comes to film Sub-Genres there is not one that is more hit and miss then the Slapstick/Spoof Comedy. For every Naked Gun and Airplane there is thirty Silence of the Ham's and Epic Movie's. I went into this film with obvious hesitation and very low expectations and I am so happy I did, because this film flounders and falls into the latter category of this type of film. This is a cheap Troma cash in on Naked Gun , Hot Shots and others in the genre that was quite popular in the early to mid 90's. So how does this knock off mock off stack up? well truthfully not very well.

          The film opens with a woman killing a man with a chainsaw while in the midst of a sexual encounter. Quickly afterwards we meet our films main character and hero Det.Harry Bates, which obviously leaves an open for "Dirty Harry" and "Master Bates" jokes the lowest of brow available. The victims wife Montana Beaver-Shotz (another way to pull off cheesy name jokes) is brought in for questioning and with lack of evidence is released after a series of plays on "Basic Instinct" which you can see coming from a mile away.Montana quickly is remarried and after her husband looses all his money and is in debt with doctor bills after Montana is run over by Bates, Her husband makes an "Indecent Proposal" with her doctor ,selling her off to him for a night of romance. Seeing this is a quick and easy way to make money the couple decide to advertise this new service on T.V. As expected the new husband ends up dead after further questioning detectives learn that Montana supposedly has a Twin "Half" Sister who she pins the murders on.

Montana begins putting the moves on Bet.Bates and continues placing blame on this sister , But after doing some research Bates finds out she may not have a sister when he interrogates her psychiatrist. Although he has never seen Montana or her "Sister" Dakota in the same place at the same time he feels it may be a case of split personality. This is further solidified when Montana slips up and even states that she does not have a sister while she is on a date with the Detective. Montana or Dakota continues to play the sex pot and moves on to seducing Bates' partner Dick Smoker (You can see the running gag here with the names for quick laughs).As the bodies continues to pile up Bates begins to fall hard for Dakota, pegging Montana as the crazy sister.Montana begins to focus on Smoker and while on a date she says "Everyone is dying around me." then the camera pans out to show everyone in the restaurant is dead (This is the kind of silly humor we are dealing with here.) Since there has been no real progress in the case , the Captain (Captain Hook , Of course) decides to put Montana under surveillance .

                                                            Get it Sir Valliance?

After a hot and heavy date between Dakota and Bates , Dakota is taken into custody and now it is another cash in on the "Basic Instinct" interrogation scene, but this one provides one of the easiest and oldest jokes available as when she uncrosses her legs it reveals she is a man, which makes no sense if you go back to the prior scene. I think that would be something a bit hard to not notice in Bates' position. As Bates is forced to deal with his new found information, Montana returns to not only confess her love for Bates but to inform him that Dakota was in fact her younger brother that always wanted to be a woman. Again this makes no sence with all the prior information she had given earlier in the film and the whole split personality angle as well is now thrown out the window. While Bates and Montana are on a date it is made quite obvious that she is homicidal but he does not seem to notice.

Once Bates and Montana return to her house we are treated to one of the most pathetic attempts at a twist ending as I have ever seen. I don't wanna go into great detail but let's just say the story runs in circles between the two suspects a few times with both of them getting shot by Bates' dog that is actually a human that believes he is a canine. In the end we see Bates and Montana who now suffers from brain damage as they vacation and participate in the running of the bulls which is a play on words as a gang of "Bull Dykes" chase them down a hall. After the vacation the couple returns to their house and the ending sequence is basically repeated where we see the actual twist and the murderer is revealed which makes no sense whatsoever.

So in the end all Blondes Have More Guns is, is a blatant cash in on the spoof genre and it lacks the humor and charm of the more popular films like Naked Gun. That is not to say this film doesn't have it's moments and it is much better than the more recent films of it's kind like Epic Movie, Vampires Suck and the like. I will say though the entire time I was watching that I was thinking of things they could have done to make it much better, Sometimes subtlety is key in these kind of films and just because the joke is there to be made and is easy it doesn't always need to be touched upon because it is too easy or sophomoric.If you're a fan of the genre you may find something to enjoy here but it is nothing that had not been done several times before this film was made. I am astonished at the amount of love I have for Troma in general because they have pumped out so many lackluster and even plain terrible films in their time but ever so often the turn out a classic cult film and my love is realized. This one may be worth a watch if they put it on the On Demand Troma station but otherwise you may just wanna stick with the classics of the genre instead of seeking this one out.Unless of course you are a huge mark for fart and dick jokes, in that case this one is a classic.....I guess?

Fun Factor:3
Overall:3 out of 10