Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Up In The Air

Title: Up In The Air
Director: Jason Reitman
Released: 2009
Starring: George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, Jason Bateman, Amy Morton, J.K. Simmons, Sam Elliot, Danny McBride, Zach Galifianakis

Plot: Ryan Bingham (Clooney) makes his living traveling around the United States firing people when their employers are unwilling to do it themselves. It’s  life he is content living until his company threaten to take it away with the introduction of videoconferencing, an idea he is quick to oppose leading to him taking new hire and the instigator of this new process Natalie (Kendrick) out with him in the field.


Review: Director Reitman first burst onto the scene with “Thank You For Smoking” a film which followed a lobbyist for Tobacco actively trying to encourage more people to smoke and here again he gives another character with an usual job that they actually enjoy doing. So is the case with Ryan, who enjoys his job so much that he sees it as a burden to have to go home on those few days every year when he hasn’t got an assignment.

A creature of habit, Ryan has lived this life for so long he now has his routine down to almost a science, even crafting his personal philosophies into motivational speeches he gives at conferences under the heading of “What’s In Your Backpack?”, all while working towards his target of reaching ten million frequent flyer miles with American Airlines, a goal which he is set to be only the seventh person to achieve. Of course he’s none too pleased to have this work cocoon being threatened by what Natalie is trying to put in place, while his stubbornness to change sees him embarking on a mission to prove her wrong as the pair embarks on their highly unique road trip.

While Ryan might seem like a solitary character, especially with his sparsely decorated apartment, which he seems to have set out to make seem like any of the many hotel rooms he stays in, judging by the stolen hotel towels and fridge full of mini bar spirit bottles. However he has a causal relationship with Alex (Farmiga) a seeming kindred spirit and fellow frequent flyers, with the two hooking up whenever their paths cross. But while it might not be a traditional lifestyle it is one that Ryan is happy living. Clooney really embraces this character, especially in how he handles his day to day work which is not so much with the cold and calculating nature you’d expect him to approach this task with, but rather he relies on a tried and tested quotes, while seemingly knowing how to handle any reaction the people he’s firing.

As with “Thank you For Smoking” the journey the film takes us on is once again one were we have a character of fixed motivation, who slowly comes to realise that his world view might not be as true as they thought. So is the case for Ryan as his relationship with Alex grows closer than its original casual roots, while his sisters impending wedding for which he has to take pictures of the happy couple’s cut out next to tourist spots only further sees him questioning if he is missing something.

A film truly carried by Clooney’s Cary Grant esc charms, especially with his way with dialogue which is only emphasised by the narration he provides and which frequently provides the best insight into his character, especially when he is so often on the defensive to those around him. At the same time he gets equally strong support from both Farmiga and Kendrick who while both playing feisty ladies each bring their own approach to playing this sort of character, especially with Farmiga who effortless manages to switch between aggressiveness and femininity, making her the perfect match for Ryan especially when their lifestyles mirror each other, as highlighted during their initial meeting which soon descends into a game of perk card one upmanship. Their relationship frequently providing a source of fascination as they work around their situation, rerouting appointments to create connecting cities and sending flirty texts when apart and while it might have started casual they soon find things unintentionally getting closer.

Equally fascinating are the segments involving people being fired which not only features a standout appearance by J.K. Simmons, while  Reitman also works in interviews with real people who responded to an advert he placed looking for people to appear in a documentary about job loss in an attempt to avoid actors responding. Each of these interviews also saw the participant being fired on camera, while being asked to respond either how they responded originally or how they wished they had responded to the situation. Of these interviews twenty two would be used in the film, which certainly adds a level of realism to the situation, with some of the responses being truly heart breaking, making you wonder how Ryan actually manages to do this job.

A film which manages to walk the tightrope between humour and real emotion perfectly, even if the journey by the end does have the feeling that we have spent going in a circle. Still the film is funny and smart enough to make the journey an enjoyable one, while finally providing a much needed companion piece to "Thank You For Smoking".

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Hard Ticket To Hawaii

Title: Hard Ticket To Hawaii
Director: Andy Sidaris
Released: 1987
Starring: Ronn Moss, Dona Speir, Hope Marie Carlton, Harold Diamond, Rodrigo Obregon, Cynthia Brimhall, Patty Duffek, Wolf Larson, Lorry Green, Peter Bromilow

Plot: When two DEA agents are killed on a private Hawaiian island, Agents Donna (Speir) and Taryn (Carlton) soon intercept as part of their investigation a delivery of diamonds belonging to drug lord Seth Romero who plans to flood Hawaii with drugs by taking over the island of Molokai.


Review: The second film in director Andy Sidaris’s “Triple B” series (Boobs, Bullets and Bombs) of loosely attached films in which Sidaris casts Playmates / Penthouse Pets as the leads in his series of over the top action films with this film being one which I recently got to discuss on the “Exploding Helicopter” podcast. Now If you’ve ever seen any of Sidaris’s other films you will already know what to expect going into this film, as Sidaris essentially picked up were Russ Meyer left off as he shares Meyer’s love for amply breasted ladies, moulding his films around this love by casting them as his feisty leads in these otherwise by the book 80’s action fests with a healthy side order of cheese.

The plot is as paper thin as it is nonsensical with Sidaris padding out the plot with a healthy dose of nudity and softcore sex scenes, aswell as a random sub-plot involving a seemingly invincible killer snake. This however does not stop it from being a fun ride and all the more unsurprising that it has more recently gained a real cult following, if especially for some of the more truly bonkers scenes including the much discuss assassination attempt, by an assassin riding a skateboard and while holding a blow up sex doll!

While the girls are more than capable of handling things on their own, the girls are joined by fellow agents Rowdy (Moss) who can seemingly can only use a bazooka to hit anything (by his own confession no less) making me wonder what exactly the entrance requirements are for their agency, while Jade (Dimond) brings some killer kickboxing skills. Both 80’s action hero cut outs, yet still make for an amusing double act whenever they are left to their own devices or have one of the numerous attractive ladies to distract them.

The action scenes are one of the main selling points and other than the appeal of gratuitous nudity; Sidaris crafts several great action scenes which are so amusingly over the top it’s hard to not use these moments to see past the numerous other flawed parts of the film. After all what other film sees a bazooka being showcased as having so many uses, including being used at point blank range with zero effect on the shooter. Such leaps in realism are scattered throughout the film with the real jump the shark moment coming when Rowdy takes out a guard using a razorblade Frisbee in yet another standout moment. Still this is also a world where the characters have movie posters on the wall of the directors other films hanging on the wall.

The acting on show here is surprisingly better than you would expect from a cast which largely consists of glamour models. This is not to say that its Oscar worthy, but certainly its not being hammed up, with the general feeling being that the cast and director were genuinely trying to make a good movie, something only further reinforced by the introduction provided by Sidaris and Julie Strain, even Sidaris spends most of it complimenting the looks of his leading ladies.

True this might be abit of a cornball action movie, with more than a handful of outlandish moments, but then this really is all part of its charm and makes it only the easier to understand its cult appeal. This isn’t award winning film making but at the same time it’s a world apart from the intentionally bad efforts churned out by the likes of “The Asylum”, while it more than lives up to its triple b promise, with enough boobs, explosions and gunfire to keep things intresting. So watch it with an open mind and a few like-minded friends and it’s a blast. So buy a ticket and just enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Atari: Game Over

Title: Atari: Game Over
Director: Zak Penn
Released: 2014
Plot: Documentary charting the creation of the now infamous “E.T.” video game and the search for the landfill the game was reportedly buried in.

Review: One most popular video game urban legends is the story of “E.T. – The Video Game” which was rushed out by Atari for their 2600 console in order to cash in on the popularity of the film and to ensure that it was in time for Christmas. However this left game designer Howard Scott Warshaw with five weeks to code and finish the game in order to meet the insane deadline set by the company. Unsurprisingly the game was deemed a flop, let alone one of the worst games ever made leading to Atari burying the cartridges in a landfill in the New Mexico desert. It’s a myth that this documentary sets out to uncover the truth behind while charting the history of the game creation which has largely been blamed for the collapse of Atari.

Now for myself I never had an Atari with my parents not wanting to buy my brother and me a games console like my friends, instead opting to buy an Amiga which while its true I could have used for school work, but instead mainly used for gaming with many a misspent hour being spent playing “Space Crusade” and “Cannon Fodder”. This being said I’ve never had much of a connection to Atari like many other gamers, but this in no way stopped me from having a blast with this documentary.

Directed by Zak Penn, who is probably better known for his screenwriting and whose previous documentary “Incident at Loch Ness” saw him searching for Nessie with Werner Herzog here takes a laidback approach to the material, while shooting in a similarly humorous style to Michael Moore (Bowling for Columbine) and Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) the documentary breaks up the main meat of the film following the excavation of the mythical dig site with the history of the games creation. It makes for an fascinating watch, even if the sections surrounding the history of Atari is wooly and sporadic to say the least, which will no doubt infuriate the video game history buffs. More surprisingly though is the attempts by the film to restore the tarnished legacy of Howard Scott Warshaw who here features extensively throughout the film as he talks about his time with Atari which appears from Warshaw’s recollections to have been a much wilder place than you would have expected, with tales of copious drug use at work let alone eccentric behaviour of some of the game designers. Still despite Warshaw now having long left the computer programing world and now working as a therapist, it would seem that Penn and several of his interviewees would like to see Warshaw receiving prestige for his contributions to video games which they clearly feel he doesn’t get due to being the one who created the game.

The sections concerning the search for the mythical landfill site are surprisingly fascinating with the search being headed up by Waste Disposal Expert Joe Lewandowski who sounds strangely similar to Ray Romano which added an unintentionally funny edge to his segments of the film. At the same time we have Penn framing his search for the site by comparing him to Indiana Jones as the documentary frequently uses footage from the film and even reinacts the warehouse scene to close the film. At the same time it’s amusing to see the pilgrimage of nerds which the news of the dig attracts while at the same time highlighting their dedication to the love of these old games as they brave sandstorms while essentially standing around in the desert waiting for a big reveal which not even happen.

An entertaining documentary even if its history sections could have been improved, while the short runtime did leave me wishing it had been longer, especially when the journey to the truth behind the dig site is so much fun.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Rumble In The Bronx

Title: Rumble In The Bronx
Director: Stanley Tong
Released: 1995
Starring: Jackie Chan, Anita Mui, Francosie Yip, Bill Tung, Marc Akerstream, Garvin Cross, Morgan Lam, Kris Lord

Plot: Keung (Chan) travels to New York to attend his uncle’s wedding, who has recently sold his supermarket to Elaine (Mui) only for her to soon find herself the target of a local motorcycle gang. Things only get more complex when the bikers occur the wrath of the powerful gangster White Tiger (Lord)

Review: After several failed attempts to break into the American market with films like “Battle Creek Brawl” and the ill-advised attempt at turning Chan into a tough cop in “The Protector”. A film which would ultimately end up being re-edited by Chan for the superior Hong Kong cut, while in turn inspiring him to make arguably his best film “Police Story”. Here though we get an interesting mixture of Chan’s usual slapstick and breath taking stunt work only now with attempts to make Chan more sexually appearing as gone is the Beatles haircut while he seems to now favour vest tops which emphasise his toned form more than in previous films, were he seemed to dressed to cover his physique to make him seem much more of an everyman.

In a story which seems to be a reworking of Bruce Lee’s “Way of the Dragon” Keung finds himself frequently having to defend the store against the local motorcycle gang, whose paths frequently cross with Keung including a surprisingly brutal sequence in which Keung is pelted with glass bottles while cornered down an alleyway. Things only get more complex when Keung discovers that Nancy (Yip) the sister of his disabled next door neighbour is also the girlfriend of the gang leader Tony (Akerstream). For the established fans of Chan’s work this film is essentially business as usual bar the slight aforementioned changes to his usual style of character and the change of location which sees Vancouver standing in for New York which for the most part works, bar the occasional shots where mountains are visible in the background. This however is really nit picking especially when it only becomes noticeable when highlighted.

While this might have been designed as a vehicle for Chan, fellow Hong Kong cinema favourite Anita Mui appears here, mainly for comic relief which might come as a disappointment to fans of her films like “Saviour of the Soul” and “The Heroic Trio” and despite initially being setup as a romantic interest. Introduced as the attractive business woman, she is bizarrely dressed down as soon as Keung starts getting involved with Nancy and her brother. Despite this sudden change of direction for her character she still manages to put in a fun performance throughout which at times seems to echo Maggie Chung’s performance as May in “Police Story”.

The story on the whole is pretty flimsy in places and isn’t helped by some over acted performances by some of the cast members, whose performances are only further hammed up with the questionable dubbing track which the studio decided to add for many of its English speaking cast. While the film starts off with Keung taking on the biker gang which would have worked fine, the fact that we get a second group of bad guys only seems to highlight the lack of faith in them being a believable threat. More baffling is how it only takes a beatdown at their hideout for them to suddenly make them allies, despite all the destruction they caused to the store and let’s not forget they also projectile bottled Keung earlier in the film, but he’s more than happy to let all that go, even hoping that their next meeting will see them drinking as friends. Ok true the last part is said in his native tongue and makes for a badass end to an equally badass showdown between Keung and the bikers

The fact that the plotting of the film is so questionable is not a huge issue thanks to some engaging performances from Chan, whose kung fu klutz style transfers well here while Chung provides some fun comic relief which helps to make up for the lack of action she gets here. The action scenes through are unquestionably the real draw here, with Chan crafting some memorable and as always creative fight scenes as he manages to turn any number of objects into surprisingly effective weapons, with a hijacked hovercraft chase providing an equally inventive finale including Chan making a leap which resulted in breaking his leg which like so many of the mishaps you get to see during Chan’s traditional end credits outtakes.

Thanks to Golden Harvest handling the production, Chan has clearly been afforded the same time to work on his fight scenes that he was afforded with his other Hong Kong productions which helped them to stand out from the American productions which regularly suffered from comparisons to the fights and stunt work seen in his earlier films, thanks largely to American studios not being willing to schedule Chan the kind of time he has become legendry for assigning to these sequences with his quest for perfection seeing Chan more than happy to shoot the same scenes over and over, which he wouldn’t be afforded with his American productions. This film clearly argues the case for Chan being assigned this time.

While perhaps not as good as many of his earlier Hong Kong productions, this is certainly one of the strongest of his later films and unsurprisingly would be the film which helped his break into Hollywood.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015


Title: Sharknado
Director: Anthony C. Ferrante
Released: 2013
Starring: Ian Ziering, Jaason Simons, Cassie Scerbo, John Heard, Tara Reid, Aubrey Peeples
Plot: A freak hurricane has caused hundreds of sharks to be scooped up in water spouts which are now flooding the city with shark-infested water. Surfer and bar owner Fin (Ziering) realising what is happening sets off with his friends Baz (Simons) and Nova (Scerbo) and bar drunk George (John Heard) to rescue his ex-wife April (Reid) and teenage daughter Claudia (Peeples) from the impending disaster.

Review: It’s safe to say that there are some film plots which only one studio would be bold (read insane) enough to attempt, as “The Asylum” prove once more here by bringing another fourteen year old’s fantasy to life, as they take a break from harassing the latest summer blockbusters, with their legendry Mockbusters from which the company has built its legacy on, having previously given us the likes of “Snakes On A Train”, “Transmorphers” and my personal favourite “Sunday School Musical”.

Seeing how many of these bargain basement style movies resolve around either sharks or hurricanes, I was half surprised to not see the poster for this one screaming “Sharks and Hurricanes Together At Last!!”.  Still since the Asylum got on the radar of even the average movie goer with “Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus” they have made several attempts to recapture that same level of impossible to fulfil excitement they generated with a single shot of a giant shark leaping out of the sea to eat a plane, with previous attempts such as “Sharktopus” and “2-Headed Shark Attack” coming close, but it was when they released this image as part of their promo work for the film, that they saw that same level of interest once more.

Baring all the usual marks of questionable film making the Asylum have become so renown for the film opens randomly with a bunch of shark fishermen doing shady deals with an evil Japanese businessman, before they are suddenly consumed by a swarm of hungry sharks. It’s a random way to open the film, especially seeing how it has no relevance to anything which follows, but then the same could be said about the rest of the film, seeing how it flounders from one plot point to the next, as director Anthony C. Ferrante tries to ties together one random scene to the next.

As to also expected from the Aslyum they have once again dredged the has been actor ranks to put together their latest cast, as only further highlighted by the casting of Tara Reid whom for which this seems to be her usual output these days, having long since fallen from her glory days of “American Pie”. Supposedly she signed up for the film on the title alone, which would be more believable if the state of her career wasn’t as in such a slump, something I don’t think will be changing here seeing how bored she seems throughout. However despite not having a cast high in star power, they have still found a strong lead with Ziering best known for his years on “Beverly Hills, 90210” aswell as more recently performing with the Chippendales which E! Seemed to deem to be highly important during their coverage of the film. Still here is a likable and believable hero , while sharing a good on screen chemistry with both ex Baywatch star Simons and Scerbo, to the point where I was actually disappointed when they added Fins Ex-wife and daughter into the mix, let alone the random inclusion of his son whose appearance seemingly comes out of nowhere.  This threesome make for a fearsome shark fighting force, if alas one that can’t seemingly resist any opportunity for a disposable one liner. One Tag along member of their group I did wish they had used more was Barfly / Drunk George who is way to underused, especially with his  frequently hilarious antics such as his insistence on carrying his barstool around with him constantly, even using it as a shark club on occasion. While Heard might be slumming it by appearing here, he manages to make the character a much more likable character than he would have probably been had he been played by anyone else, especially when it character essentially consists of ramblingly drunkenly about whatever is happening around him.

Surprisingly for a DTV shark movie, there is a surprisingly large amount of gore on show, as the film for the most part avoids the usual sudden cutaways which seem to be current trend and instead gives us a few prolonged attacks and even a couple of shots of mauled limbs which made for a refreshing change of pace, even if most of the shark attacks largely consist of horrible CGI sharks leaping up at equally questionable CGI renderings of the character being attacked. It would seem though that director Ferrante’s man focus here is in finding a way to rack up as high a body count as possible, as especially seen during the opening beach attack which sees any character standing in 2 inches of water suddenly being attacked by unseen sharks.  The main gore here though the man on shark violence here, which is where the film really gets creative, with exploding airtanks, shotguns and even a cabinet being used to combat the killer sharks. Elsewhere Ziering gets to tap into his inner Bruce Campbell, as he spends the last quarter of the film running around welding a shotgun / chainsaw combo, both of which he proves himself especially handy with even diving inside a shark to minutes later chainsaw his way out!

While limited in the budget it is still largely an entertaining affair, while frequently intentionally hilarious due to its low production values, which see’s CGI rain falling on bone dry streets and the weather suddenly changing from stormy to bright blue skies. However if the film has one main failing, it is that it is let down by its script more than its effects seeing how at this point, most fans of the asylum’s output will be already familiar with their level of film workmanship.  Even with this expectation though the script only brings things down, especially once Fin has rescued his ex-wife and daughter which is also the moment that you release that the film is only halfway through. From this point it constantly seems to be the group moving from one random scene to the next as the film loses all sense of direction, before ending with a half-baked finale involving using home made bombs to stop the water spouts ravaging the city.

Unsurprisingly considering the amount of attention this film got on its release, the unimaginatively titled sequel “Sharknado 2: It’s Coming” (Surely “Sharknami” would have been the way to go) was pushed through pretty quickly, with the Asylum ensuring that they continued the madness is set to continue, while this film remains the kind of movie you might enjoy if stumbled across while late night channel surfing, but not one worth the effort of hunting down.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

The Achievers: The Story of the Lebowski Fans

Title: The Achievers: The Story of the Lebowski Fans
Director: Eddie Chung
Released: 2009
Plot: Documentary following the fans of "The Big Lebowski" and the Lebowski fest they created.

Review: When it was originally released in 1998 the Coen Brothers were coming in hot off the back of the success of the critically acclaimed “Fargo”. However their follow up “The Big Lebowski” would be less favourably received as it was branded both a critical and commercial flop on its original release.  However the film refused to be forgotten and was soon being shown at midnight screenings as it continued to gain a cult following. There would however been one group of fans who would take their love of this film one step further with “Lebowski Fest”. This is their story.

Taking their name from an obscure reference to the film, the achievers are a group of passionate Lebowski fans, whose shared love of the film would be turned into a festival by founding members Will Russell and Scott Shuffitt in 2002, who had the simple plan of getting together a group of Die Hard fans in a bowling alley, while they kept the white Russians flowing and the movie running. It would turn out to be an idea which would soon become a phenomenon as the festival  continues to grow with each passing year. Thankfully Director Eddie Chung happened to be in the right place with his camera rolling as he captures here perfectly how one simple idea blew up into the worldwide festival it is now.

Charting not only the rise of the festival but also interviewing many of the founding members of the Achievers, all who take their names from various characters and references from the film and as to be expected they are a mixed bunch to say the least from trivia master Bunny who is still pursuing her first big win at the festivals trivia contest, though to costume enthusiast Logjammin whose “Masterbation Manual” costume creates controversy amongst some of the festival attendees over the relevancy of its reference. However while coming from such varied backgrounds it is the love for this movie which unites them, while it is equally a nerdy love that they share with attendees to the festival being shown taking their costume inspiration from often the most obscure lines in the film, as this documentary highlights frequently, with costumes based on throwaway lines like Camel fuckers and face down in the dirt all making for surprising costume choices.

While the focus on the various members frequently provides many great insights into what it is that they love about the film, the real bonus here are the section which meet the real life inspirations for “The Dude” aswell as his best friend “Walter” who seem quite touched to have been the inspiration for these characters, as they put in appearances at the festivals and even highlight some of the plot points based on their own lives and misadventures with the Coen brothers. Still it would seem that for those involved in the film it seems to have been truly a fun experience, especially when not only actors who played minor characters, but also the main cast such as Jeff Bridges are more than willing to put in appearances as well as the documentary shows with Bridges taking to the stage to perform an acoustic cover of Bob Dylan’s “Man in Me”.

Curiously the documentary ends on almost a down note, as the establishing members speak of how the festival has moved away from its roots and perhaps in the process lost some of its original vision, with members like Bunny stating that they would rather just hang out with her friends from the group away from the festival. Needless to say the festival continues to grow, even as the original members move away and new additions join their ranks.

In all this really is a fun documentary for established fans with plenty of fun interviews with seemingly all the minor cast members with Bridges being the only main cast member interviewed which might be a little frustrating for those wanting more behind the scenes gossip, though at the same it also goes some way to explaining its appeal to the non-initiated.

Thursday, 2 April 2015


Title: Eggshells
Director: Tobe Hooper
Released: 1969
Starring: Ron Barnhart, Pamela Craig, Allen Danziger, Sharon Danziger, Mahlon Foreman, Kim Henkel, Amy Lester, David Noll, Jim Schulman

Plot: Free flowing and highly experimental film following a group of hippies living in a house.


Review: If you’re like myself you’ve probably been drawn in by Tobe Hooper being in the director’s chair with this film marking his feature length directorial debut after previously directing the short film “The Heisters”. Here four years prior to his breakout and arguably best known film “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. Here though he opts for something far more experimental tone and one more closer to the films of Jean-Luc Godard than anything resembling the legacy of horror films he has become better known for. Shot on a paltry budget of $40,000 this is if anything a curiosity to say the least let alone an early forerunner to the “Mumblecore” genre.

Chances are if you’ve seen this film it would have been via the film festival circuit were it often turns up as a fun curiosity, while personally I caught it at MUBI which serves as a Netflix / online cinétique for the more cinematic adventurous movie watcher. But so low regard the film is held in it, that it recently also turned up with “The Heisters” as a bonus feature on the recent blu-ray release for “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2” an indignity not seen since “The Boondock Saints” showed up as a bonus feature for the documentary “Overnight” which focused on the self-destructive atmosphere surrounding that film.

The film itself wasn’t a huge success back when it was released and would have possibly marked the end of Hooper’s directing career had it not been down to a midnight screening of George Romero’s genre defining classic “Night of the Living Dead” that he would find the inspiration to craft his own budget horror with “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. Watching this film now it serves as a kind of time capsule to the period it was made, while at the same time falling to same pitfalls most experimental films are prone to in that they tend to be made for film makers rather than a traditional audience.

Shot from an observational standpoint the film features no discernible characters or plot, but rather a collection of scenes strung together, as one scene see’s a hippie couple sharing a bath, another sees another two characters discussing whether the house is haunted. Then we have sequences such as the guy in the basement, which after finding a sword by the toilet proceeds to engage in a swordfight with himself. It’s a scene frequently discussed for the editing technique used, much like the occasional bursts of psychedelia which not only bring to mind the ending of “2001: A Space Odyssey” but also further serving as a stamp for of the period.

Written by both Hooper and Kim Henkel who would later team up again for “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, Henkel also turns up here as a crazed hippie in a shed who frenziedly writes what he thinks on his typewriter making me wonder if this was how they came up with this film. More so when Hooper appears to be making it up as he goes it would seem to be the only explanation for the scene in which a paper airplane takes an extended flight before crashing into the house and turning into a fireball as it hits the ground before one of the bewildered hippies.

This film would be ultimately the last Hippie movie that Hooper would make as he instead moved to throwing the hippies to chainsaw welding crazies with the film which followed. Ultimately though this film was kind of a chore to get through, mainly because of the lack of plotting and interesting characters, let alone the fact that I had the feeling throughout that it was one which was designed to be enjoyed with the kind of illicit substances which don’t exactly fit in with my straight edge lifestyle. Still if anything it proves even early on in his career that Hooper was a cinephile as he pays homage to his inspirations here, though this is best viewed as a curiosity at best and really one for the completists only.
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