Saturday, 18 October 2014

So I Launched A Podcast!

Over the last couple of months I have been making appearances on both "The LAMBcast" as well as "Filmwhy" podcasts having decided to bite the bullet after wasting far too much time saying I wanted to do podcasting but not actually doing anything about it. Needless to say I have had a blast doing these podcasts and through them have met some great bloggers, while getting to chat with others who until now the only contact I've had was through either e-mail or comments on each others posts.

So now I've decided to throw my hat into the podcasting ring by launching my own podcast which in turn will tie into what we started with the 1001 film introduction to cult and obscure cinema I created with a number of other bloggers when we put together the "Mad, Bad and Downright Strange" list. The idea for the podcast now being to work through the list and cover each film, while getting the chance to discuss them with likeminded bloggers / film junkies. The podcast also aiming to build on the showcase feature I ran over on the site for the list.

So together with Emily from "The Deadly Doll's House of Horror Nonsense"  and "The Feminine Critique" we recorded the pilot show which is now available on PodOmatic for your listening pleasure were we looked at "Starship Troopers".

Of course I appreciate any feedback that you guys and gals have to offer and especially would love to hear if you'd like to be involved and come on discuss some great and frequently random cinema.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

The Devil's Double

Title: The Devil’s Double
Director: Lee Tamahori
Released: 2011
Starring: Dominic Cooper, Philip Quast, Ludivine Sagnier, Mimoun Oaissa, Raad Rawi, Mem Ferda, Dar Salim, Khalid Laith, Pano Masti, Nasser Memarzia, Tiziana Azzpardi, Akin Gazi, Amrita Acharia

Plot: Iraq 1987, Latif Yahia (Cooper) a soldier finds himself recuited to become a “Fedal” (body double” for Uday Hussein (also Cooper) the son of the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein (Quast).

Review: Lee Tamahori is hardly a director who springs up on anyone’s favourite director list, despite memorably launching his directing career with the powerful “Once Were Warriors” it's been a series of disappointments which followed in its wake while he managed to single handily kill both the “XXX” franchise (not even Wilem Dafoe could save that sequel) and for awhile the “James Bond” franchise with the disappointing series tribute “Die Another Day” while the less said about “Next” the better really. Needless to say I wasn’t sure what to expect from this film, while sees Tamahori moving away from action cinema and back to his drama roots.

While it might claim to be based on a true story, the facts have been frequently disputed since the film’s release, mainly due to lack any actual evidence that Latif Yahia had any connection to Uday Hussein let alone the kind of access to the higher levels of Saddam’s regime as the film depicts. This however does not stop it from being a fascinating story and a highly enjoyable one to boot thanks largely to the phenomenal double act pulled by Cooper as both Latif and Uday. At the same time Latif and Uday are fascinating characters in their own respects with Latif being forced into new role as a Fedal, rather than willingly excepting the role with his first refusal seeing him imprisoned and tortured and ultimately only agrees to take on the role after being informed that his family will be tortured and killed if he doesn’t agree. It is an almost begrudging sense of duty which he takes on the role. Uday on the other hand lives a “Scarface” style lifestyle thanks to the unlimited wealth and power he is afforded as the son of Saddam. At the same time he also enjoys a highly deviant lifestyle of hovering up vast quantities of cocaine, picking up school girls of the street and frequently being prone of burst of psychotic violence which it would seem is none too different than his real life counterpart.

Much like “Scarface” this is equally a film with a focus on gross excess both in terms of wealth aswell as in violence as Latif frequently bears witness to Uday’s life as a playboy gangster which he in turn he is forced to become a part of , while Uday views him as his brother and an object he has created while deluding himself into thinking that he has control over Latif, even though Latif is constantly looking for a way out which won’t endanger his face who have been left believing that he has been killed in the war. While the main focus on the story might be on this thread like bond between Latif and Uday, the film also takes time to follow the relationship between Latif and his advisor let alone the closest thing he has to a friend inside of the regime Munem (Rawi) who like Latif is equally disgusted by what he is forced to bar witness to yet at the same time continues his duties with a sense of grim numbness. At the same time he is frequently a source of sound advice for Latif even if you’re never sure were his loyalty truly lies, more so when he never seems to really side with either party throughout the course of the film.

Still if things are not complex enough a further twist is thrown into the mix with Sarrab (Sagnier), Uday’s lover and the one person who could prove to the breaking point in the fragile arrangement between Latif and Uday as she soon starts showing an interest in Latif with the two soon carrying on a relationship in secret. This however like so many aspects of the film was seemingly included in the more fictional elements which have drawn most of the criticism for the film especially when so much of the film can’t be proven or would appear to have been based on real life events such as the jealous slaying of Saddam’s bodyguard Kamel Hana (Ferda) by an enraged Uday.

The other criticism about the film is the levels of violence which while sporadic frequently burst into cartoonish levels of gore as with the aforementioned killing of Kamel Hana while providing yet another reason to compare it to “Scarface”. At the same time the violence is never excessively over used and often feels in context even if the tone of the film is far from the serious biographical film that I think a lot of the detractors were expecting it to be.

Unlike his more recent output Tamahori here proves that he can still craft a gripping drama even if falls more between the worlds of his brutally dark debut and the more action orientated later latter films. This is still a great film and even while it might be factually questionable in places, its strong characters and visual styling which includes a memorable scene of Saddam playing tennis against his double this film gives us hope that he’s still capable of producing memorable cinema, while at the time of writing it remains to be seen if he continues on this track or returns to more mainstream fare.

Saturday, 4 October 2014


Title: Confessions
Director: Tetsuya Nakashima
Released: 2010
Starring: Takako Matsu, Mana Ashida, Kaoru Fujiwara, Yoshino Kimura, Yukito Nishii, Ai Hashimoto

Plot: Junior high school teacher Yuko Moriguchi (Matsu) while announcing her resignation to her class also reveals that she also knows the two members of her class responsible for the death of her daughter Manami (Ashida) setting in motion her own plot for revenge against those responsible.

Review: Adapted from the novel of the same name by Kanae Minato, while directed by Nakashima who is probably best known for “Kamikaze Girls” and thanks to “Third Window Films “Memories of Matsuko” which as of the time of writing has yet to get a US release while such limited distribution has hardly helped him to establish himself with Western audiences. However with this film he provides a fitting reminder to never assume anything when it comes to Asian cinema, as despite having convinced myself that I knew how the film would play out, I would soon be proven to be way wrong especially as this film is nothing short of surprises to say the least, while also seemingly a statement of the failing of the Japanese judicial system as frequent stabs at the short comings of Juvenile law are made over the course of the film, as it gives numerous fictional examples of crimes were the juvenile offenders are able to get away with often the most hideous of crimes it would seem.

Comprised of a series of confessions the film constantly switches focus between characters, as the effects of Yuko’s revenge ripple out from her initial confession to her class in ever more surprising ways. It’s an interesting narrative to say the least and having not read the source novel it’s hard to say if it works better as a book especially awith the film constantly switching between characters as each confession finishes, before bringing it all together for the finale, which honestly requires something of a leap of faith from the viewer especially when at times it doesn’t seem to know what direction it’s going to take.

Opening with Yuko’s confession which is at the same time eerily haunting for how calm she remains throughout, even with the dealing with the details of how her daughter died and finishing with the nasty sting of her confessing that she spiked the killers milk with HIV infected blood. From here we get to see how each of the killers deal with the aftermath of her confession which is strange seeing how we know who they are so early on rather than their identity being teased out like a more traditional thriller which this film is anything but.

It is of course these multiple narratives which makes the film so interesting than your run of the mill thriller, especially when it comes to the fall out of the killers actions and Yuko’s revenge which sees one of the killers Naoki (Fujiwara) becoming a hygiene obsessed shut in which bizarrely doesn’t extend to his own personal hygiene as he become increasingly more filthy and unkempt. On the flipside the other killer Shuya (Niishi) returns to school for the new term were he soon finds himself being targeted by his fellow classmates who even setup a points system to judge who can pull off the best bullying tactic as they carry out their own style of vigilante justice to punish him. Shuya though as we soon finds out carry’s his own set of issues outside of the school as he finds himself constantly frustrated for his genius being overshadowed. A gift he equally views as being a curse having inherited his intelligence from his scientist mother who abandoned him in favour of pursing her own scientific ambitions and which now leads him to inventing ever more impressive inventions in the hope of her noticing him again. Strangely like Naoki the background of the killers and how they deal with the fallout their actions proves to be a lot more interesting than the reason they murdered Yuko’s daughter in the first place which only becomes more inane the further the events of that day are explained.

As well as the three main confessions of those involved, director Nakashima attempts to fill things out further by adding the additional confessions of Naoki’s mother (Kimura) who starts off siding with her son and soon finds herself being driven closer and closer to the end of her wits by her son’s sudden erratic behaviour. The bizarre choice is the classmate Mizuki who soon forms an unlikely relationship with Shuya which while it comes with some interesting moments such as the idea of serial killers taking on celebrity status with Mizuki having a tattoo of an “L” on her wrist in tribute to the “Luncacy Murder” girl who poisoned her family. Sadly with the film feeling slightly bloated with so many different angles at play these segments only really serve to drag the film out longer.

Unquestionably the film is very pretty to look at and makes it easy to understand why comparisons have been made to Park Chan Wook’s “Vengeance Trilogy”. However unlike that trilogy this film is sadly lacking in any real emotional punch to add any weight to the film and while it might certainly not be filled with the same shocking moments of violence it does however manage to make the scenes showing the murder especially harrowing to watch. Alas while the characters might vary in the levels of interest that their confessions bring, you rarely feel anything for their plight which is certainly one of the things which stopped me from liking this film more. Thankfully the Nakashima manages to pull it all together for the finale, which she's Yuko revel the full extent of her plans with a great twist which goes some way to making up for the earlier flaws.

Monday, 29 September 2014

I Am Divine

Title: I Am Divine
Director: Jeffrey Schwarz
Released: 2013
Starring: Divine / Glen Harris Milstead, John Waters, Tab Hunter, Ricki Lake, Mink Stole, George Figgs, Bruce Vilanch, Lisa Jane Persky, David DeCoteau, Susan Lowe, Mary Vivian Pearce, Edith Massey, David Lochary

Plot: Documentary charting the life of legendry drag performer Divine, from his early start in the films of his best friend John Waters to his rise as a national phenomenon as he became an off Broadway star, disco queen and cult cinema icon through to his premature death at age 42.

Review: Unquestionably one of the most iconic characters in Cult cinema, Divine might be best known for the films he made with best friend John Waters such as “Hairspray” and the legendry midnight movie “Pink Flamingos” who in turn helped him create his snarling and outrageously offensive alter-ego. But beneath the flamboyant costumes and snarling remarks was a gentle and soft spoken man who couldn’t be further from his drag alter-ego as this documentary reveals.

Director Jeffrey Schwarz who previously gave us the fantastic “Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story” now turns his attention to arguably an even bigger personality, as he combines home footage, movie clips and copious amounts of new and archive interview footage to truly paint a full picture aswell as one which shows that Divine was much more than just another character in John Waters repertoire of now legendry quirky characters which made up Dreamland Productions.

Once again devoid of any kind of narration or title cards, here Schwarz instead lets the interview footage tell the story, as once again he truly has assembled a great set of interviews which take in not only all the major players from his life, but also touching interviews with his mother and even his first girlfriend which truly paint the fullest picture possible, while extensive use of archive interviews with the man in question only further help to round it out what is already a glowing tribute, especially when  none of the interviewees have anything bad to say about him and serve to provide more of an idea of who he was away from the limelight rather than anything overly scandalous.

When it comes to scandal it would seem that Divine preferred to leave it all with his drag persona, than with his real life even though there is much talk of his casual drug use and life life long love affair with food which includes tales of Glen eating directly from the fridge. It is also interesting to see how quickly Schwarz is to shut down any assumptions about Divine’s life, with a prime example coming as one of his off Broadway co-stars musing that Divine lived a solitary life is shot down by a sudden burst of conflicting interviews highlighting just how active his sex life was with John Waters happily highlighting some of his better known conquests.

While Divine will no doubt be best known to most for his film persona, which is covered heavily throughout the film including the rare films he did without Waters such as “Lust in the Dust” and his rare out of drag film role as Hilly Blue in “Trouble in Mind” though Divine is constantly seen out of drag throughout the film as he preferred to stay in character only when performing and instead preferring to be just to be his softly spoken self as we see throughout the film and something further enforced in the interviews.

True it could have been enough to focus just on Divine’s celebrity lifestyle, but thanks to Schwartz’s interviews with his mother Francis his childhood is equally well covered aswell as more painfully the breakdown in their relationship after he choose to come out as gay, while they would reunite years when he was enjoying the success as an underground star with Francis clearly proud of her son and his various achievements as she along with his best friend John Waters provides many of the films touching moments.  

Ending with the release of “Hairspray” which would launch both Divine and John Waters into the mainstream, it would also be a launch pad for the career of Ricki Lake who like the other interviewees has plenty of fond memories to share including stories of Divine teaching her to walk in heels. It would of course be the last film he would complete before his untimely death which in turn would mean as the film highlights never get to break away from his popular alter-ego which he’d planned to do with his role as the gay uncle on “Married with Children” which he was set to start around the same time and which interestingly would also have made him the first mainstream gay character on TV.

While he might not have ultimately forfilled this destiny it is still an incredible legacy which he did leave behind and this documentary is more than a fitting tribute. Even if you only have a passing knowledge of his work, there is still much to enjoy here even for the more established fan as Schwarz here gives us a documentary which has something for fans of all levels as he presents John Waters favourite leading lady in all her filthy and foul mouthed glory!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Hunter

Title: The Hunter
Director: Daniel Nettheim
Released: 2012
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Frances O’Connor, Finn Woodlock, Morgana Davies, Sam Neil

Plot: Martin (Dafoe) a mercenary hired by the biotech company Red Leaf to hunt down and recover tissue and organ samples of the Tasmanian Tiger, which has long since thought to be extinct. Arriving in Tasmania under the alias of a university professor, he sets up a temporary residence with single mother Lucy (O’Connor) and her two young and seemingly feral children Sass (Davies) and the mute Bike (Woodlock), whose father disappeared in the wilderness eight months previous hunting for the same Tasmanian Tiger which Martin seeks.

Review: Possibly one of the more low key releases, but non the less important releases of this 2012, it is a film much like “Lost In Translation” in the fact that it is hard to make sound appealing and a film which it would seem that director Daniel Nettheim has taken the most cue’s from as he crafts a simple plotted but none the less engaging film.

Based on the book of the same name by Julia Leigh, it is far from being one the most action packed films but at the same time far from boring as we follow Martin on his quest for the elusive tiger. From the start though its clear that he is a man who seems most happy when he is isolated from the rest of humanity as seem in the opening, as he complains about being kept waiting in his hotel room and despite being in Paris cares little for sight seeing while clearly having long since grown used to a life on the road as shown by how he sets out his personal effects in his hotel room. Still despite this solitary existence he has chosen for himself, it is also clear he was not prepared for some of the aspects of this latest assignment, as he is left horrified by the rundown condition of his latest dwellings which inturn soon has him running for the local inn seeking alternative accommodation.

Elswhere the locals are less than welcoming, as they associate him with the local environmentalists or “greenies” whose current protests currently threaten the livelihood of the local loggers, who in turn ensure that the threat of violence is never far away, even more so when they are potentially linked with the disappearance of Sass and Bike’s father. Realising that he has little choice but to stay at his original accommodation, he soon finds himself bonding with his host family in particular the children whose fathers disappearance has sent their mother into a medicated downward spiral leaving them with almost no adult supervision outside of the occasional visit from the local guide Jack (Neill), who is from the start and throughout especially suspicious of Martin, especially with his loyalties being seemingly divided between both the environmentalists and loggers.

It is only when Martin sets out into the Tasmanian wilderness that the film really  is at its best, let alone most stunning as panoramic shots and extensive helicopter footage add to the sense of isolation, especially with the shots of Martin walking across the plains with nothing but wilderness and harsh terrain in seemingly all directions. This sense of how remote this territory only further reinforced when Jack points out during Martins first trek that most of the surrounding land hasn’t even been mapped outside of satellite imagery. It is also during these treks that Martins real skills are showcased as despite his desire to surround himself with the comforts of modern technology at the home, out here when at his most focused on his mission he takes on what could almost be seen as a complete personality shift, as he is shown as an expert in tracking, setting traps and surviving on backwoods skills, all believably portrayed by Defoe who worked with bush survival experts to prepare for the role, which clearly pays off here as he once more truly embodies the character of Martin.

During the treks the film provides most of it’s drama, not only with the hunt and the excitement of the smallest of clues that Martin is on the right path, but also from the fact that it frequently alluded to that he is never quite alone, with the discovery of additional traps and warning shot only furthering his paranoia, especially when he can’t be sure if he himself is being tracked by the loggers or even his own employers, even more so when he starts finding clues to what really happened to Sass and Bike’s father. This tension is expertly cranked up as the film progresses, with small details and events rather than sudden surprise twists, but none the less effective as the audience’s attention is firmly held by director Nettheim, even when it is essentially just Martin wondering around the dense woods and rocky mountains. What is especially interesting is noticeable lack of voice over which I’d expected during Martin’s treks, especially with him traveling alone Nettheim instead opts to shoot these scenes in eerie silence and only a spattering of minimalist soundtrack, as any internal monologue is left to be played out by Martin’s actions.

In between his treks Martin slowly brings order to the Armstrong house, as his bond only grows with the family, forcing Lucy to kick her addiction to prescription meds, while repairing the generator which like the rest of the house has long since fallen into disrepair, while also building a bond with the mute Bike, who may hold the secret to the whereabouts of the elusive tiger, while the family themselves slowly begin to provide Martin with a purpose outside of his work, while providing the film with many of it’s simpler moments of pleasure such as when Martin fixes the speakers hung in the tree and floods the surrounding area with the sounds of his favourite opera, to the ecstatic excitement of the family.

True this might not be the most action packed movie, but it is absolutely stunning to watch, with the human drama and the power of one man’s obsession and his humanity being restored is griping enough without feeling the up the action quota, as director Nettheim proves perfectly here that in this case certainly that less is certainly more.

Sunday, 14 September 2014


Title: Compliance
Director: Craig Zobel
Released: 2012
Starring: Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker, Pat Healy, Bill Camp, Phillip Ettinger, James McCaffrey, Ashlie Atkinson

Plot: When a prank caller (Healy) claiming to be a police officer investigating a theft at a fast food restaurant, the manager Sandra (Dowd) is convinced to interrogate one of her employees Becky (Walker) as the caller gives instructions over the phone.

Review: Based on the real life events of April 9, 2004 when a prank caller managed to convince the manger of a McDonald’s in Mount Washington, Kentucky that they were a police officer. At the same time the film also references the controversial Milgram experiment carried out by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram and which was designed to look at participant’s willingness to obey an authority figure instructing them to perform acts which would conflict with the personal conscience, which Milgram achieved by asking participants to administer electric shocks of increasing voltage to another subject every time they made a mistake. What they didn’t know was that the person who they were supposedly shocking was an actor and not actually receiving any of the shocks the participant was lead to believe they were giving.

Like its inspiration this film proved to be non the less controversial with its premier at Sundance being greeted with Walkouts and shouting matches erupting during the Q&A session though since its release it has pretty much sunk under the radar, which is surprising as normally if anything is guaranteed to help the promotion of your film its controversy.

An intriguing plot made even more so because of the real world elements being a lot truer than the majority of so called movies “Inspired by real life events”, it is also a fascinating look at how different people respond to orders given by those in position of authority and while the film might centre around the situation that Sandra and Becky find themselves in, the real focus here is on how Sandra is manipulated and what she is willing to take as standard protocol based on nothing but the fact that she assumes she is being given the correct advice by a police officer.

Interestingly director Zobel has followed the events of the case in question remarkably closely, while at the same time bringing in other characters into the twisted games of the caller and perhaps in a way linking the events even more to the Milgram experiment as he shows how different staff members react to the orders being given, with some proving to be unquestionably compliant while Sandra’s friend Kevin (Ettinger) aggressively refuses to take part. Equally at the same time there is a curiosity about how far the caller will take things, which for those of you familiar with the case will come as no surprise while providing grim shocks for the rest of us.

Shot on a shoe string budget Zobel works around his limitations by keeping the majority of the film within the confines of the restaurant back office which helps add to the tension, only breaking away to show the caller as he works through his plan or to show one of the numerous hallway conversations between the staff regarding the escalating situation, which helps reassure us that they aren’t all of the same mind set and furthering reinforcing the different mind sets regarding the commands they are being given by the supposed officer.

While the majority of critics have raved about Dowd’s performance as the coerced restaurant manager which earned her the National Board of Review award for for Best Supporting Actress, which for myself as the film goes on proved to be source of increasing frustration especially as she continues to agree to the ever more invasive requests, even recruiting her own boyfriend Van (Camp) to watch Becky which only leading to some of the more shocking moments of the film. For myself the real standout here is Dreama Walker who while no doubt best known for her comedic talents in the sitcom “Don’t Trust The Bitch In Apartment 23” really proves her dramatic abilities here, which equally taking on no doubt one of her most challenging roles to date. More so when you look at what she is forced to endure over the course of the film and while also spending the majority of the film naked bar an apron, but this is in no way fun nudity.

My main gripe with this film though is the caller. Mainly because there is never any clear reason given for why he chooses to do what he does. Clearly it’s not for sexual satisfaction, while his meticulous note taking he makes over the course of the call only hints at a greater obsession which is frustratingly never explored further, with Zobel seemingly happy to just give us the fact and leave us to draw our own conclusions.

While it is a fascinating case which Zobel has chosen to highlight it is really a no thrills style which he chooses to shoot it in, while his focus purely on the events as they played out, with only a passing glance paid to the actual investigation and aftermath the film ends feels as if something is lacking, while the grim later portions combined with the lacking areas highlighted, especially in terms of the psychology of the caller means that it doesn’t stand up to repeat viewings. Still for those with any interest in the true case its worth giving a watch.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Bikini Bandits Experience

Title: Bikini Bandits Experience
Director: Steve Grasse
Released: 2002
Starring: Maynard James Keenan, Dee Dee Ramone, Jello Biafra, Corey Feldman, Peter Grasse, Larry McGearty, Bret Reilly, Heather-Victoria Ray, Heather McDonnell, Betty San Luis, Cynthia Diaz, Robyn Bird, Clark O’Donnel

Plot: Following the Bikini Bandits a four strong gang of bikini loving, muscle car driving and machine gun welding bad asses, as they embark on a series of ever more random adventures, which see them being sent to hell and even traveling though time.

Okay I couldn't find a trailer, but this is pretty much what the whole film is like

Review: Honestly I originally had zero plans to review this film, happy to write it off as another zero which failed to turn out more. However since that original viewing something strange happened as I found myself still thinking about the film and frequently finding myself talking about it to other cult cinema fans, about this film which is honestly largely a horrible mess, yet at the same time projects an aura that somewhere in this hour long jumble of ideas and random plots there was something special lurking under the titillating and confused surface.

Originally the Bikini Bandits were launched as a series of short films via the now defunct and would be there that the series slowly gained a cult following of sorts as the girls embarked on a series of increasingly random adventures the majority of which have now been edited into this film. At the same time they have also been padded out with new shorts which see director Grasse taking stabs at American consumerism via home shopping commericals for the fictional conglomerate Gmart, aswell as going off on further random tangents with the beyond creepy “Morning Yoga” and the seemingly shot on the cuff “Zembo” segments were a fez wearing Zembo basically harasses unsuspecting members of the public about if they know who the Bikini Bandits are. Needless to say with the exception of the Gmart segments which also features a John Waters Alike who along with his fellow host stop them from seeing like yet more filler thanks to their tone perfect performances.

Due to the film essentially being a best of collection of those original shorts loosely tied together with increasingly random filler, the film is unquestionably disjoined to say the least and makes for an experience similar to watching TV while your ADD suffering friend frequently flicks through the channels. At the same time the various misadventures the bandits find themselves on haven’t been developed beyond their original shorts so hence most of the adventures revolve around the girls finding themselves in an interesting situation before Grasse turns it into yet another excuse for cheap thrills as the stories are often suddenly ended with the girls engaging in some form of Andy Sidaris inspired slap and tickle or tormenting whatever male character happens to be nearby. Of course such antics are not only kept to the Bandit segments as they also make up a series of mock adverts for muscle cars, which generally consist of bikini clad ladies welding guns and draping themselves over the car. Still if this wasn’t enough titillation for you already, we also get the “Imports Suck” segement which consists solely of bikini clad ladies taking sledgehammers to a car….still whatever floats your boat right. How much of the film was inspired by the films of Andy Sidaris who essentially pioneered the Girls and guns film with the likes of “Return to Savage Beach” and “Hard Ticket To Hawai” its hard to say especially when it also seems to be a questionable homage to as well as grindhouse cinema, if perhaps with none of the style that Rodriguez and Tarantino brought with their own homages which kick-started the Neo-grindhouse genre.

The only developed story we do get being “Bikini Bandits Go To Hell” thanks to its original multipart structure which sees the girls being the girls being tasked by Giant penis codpiece wearing Satan (Keenan) to deflower the Virgin Mary or face being forced to watch 80’s favourite Corey Feldman dance for all eternity. It is probably around this point were most people will choose if they stick with this film or not, especially when Grasse doesn’t seem to give much a damn about who he offends, as he frequently it would seem is aiming to offend whenever possible. This in turns leads me to my main peeve with the this film in its frequent use of the word retard, with the apparent thinking that the mental handicapped make for the best source of amusement, especially with two of the stories revolving around such characters. The film though is always at its strongest when playing things straight and not aiming for such crude stabs at comedy, while these misfire attempts at comedy can't help but bring to mind "The Underground Comedy Movie" which was yet another underground series turned into a feature with equally questionable results.

Surprisingly for such a T&A focused film the performances aren't overly bad, even if the girls are hardly being forced to do anything overly challenging performance wise, which can’t be said for most of the male cast, who often end up coming off like crude and overplayed but then the majority are played by Grasse’s brother Peter so chances are that Grasse was saving budget by having him play so many roles. Rounding out the cast though we do also get a number of interesting musical cameos with Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan really giving a standout performance as Satan, while Dee Dee Ramone makes for an interesting choice to play the pope, especially as he doesn’t exactly seem to know where he is as he bumbles from through his lines. Elsewhere we also get Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra appearing as a sleazy porn producer which sadly sees him majorly underused.

The most interesting casting choice here though is Corey Feldman appearing here as, well err…himself. What makes his appearance here so interesting is just how clear it is that he had no clue what he was signing up for, which is only made the clearer when Grasse includes what appears to be footage of an unsuspecting Feldman slagging off the film and making comments about what a piece of trash it is and how he’s been made to look like a joke. True it’s hard to fault his reasoning especially when his contributions are so random and range from him busting some Michael Jackson style movies to having a drag race with an overweight Mexican masked wrestler. However when combined with the rest of the film it hardly seems out of place especially with the logic that this film runs on. On the whole though it is hard to tell if his casting was out of an obsession with his 80's glory days and that having cast him realised that they had nothing for him to do, of if it was to truly see what they could get away making his current career stalled self do.

Despite running for a mere 60 minutes the experience does feel a lot longer, yet it is hard to fault that there is still something about this film, in much the same way that there is with films like “The Room” and “Boardinghouse”. True it might seem like it is intentionally trying to emulate the so bad its good style of those films, but this film has enough weird ideas and general titillation to make it the sort of film that’s fun to dig out and maybe freak out your friends with.
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