Monday, January 10, 2011

Zack Carlson's Top Ten Films seen in 2010!

At this point, Zack really needs no introduction. You all know him and his wonderfully eclectic and interesting passion for film. If you've cracked open your copy of DESTROY ALL MOVIES you can sure feel that passion flowing from every page. Anyway, without further ado:

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In case anyone cares, the following are the Ten Best New-To-Me Movies of 2010, all of which are not available on DVD! And don't try doing some namby-pamby online streaming crap with these either. I'll break you in half.

10) MARLEY'S REVENGE: THE MONSTER MOVIE Dir. Jet Eller / 1989
I bought this rare tape for $10 in North Carolina, and it turns out it was made for $10 in North Carolina. Luckily, I have the utmost respect for sincere homemade horror, and this ambitious
wallet-wrecker is boiling with dedication to the form. Two goofballs unwittingly get mistaken for drug smugglers, and are chased by hillbilly vigilantes to a voodoo zombie island that houses a tremendous bone-creature. The broke-ass filmmakers actually created the 10-foot-tall razor-toothed monstrosity by hand, unlike modern-day Hollywood billionaires who pay a bearded college student $500,000 to draw a monster on his iPhone. Fuck the modern world!!



9) TALES OF THE THIRD DIMENSION IN 3D Dirs. Tom Durham, Worth Keeter, Thom McIntyre & Earl Owensby / 1984
Coincidentally, this family-friendly horror anthology is another North Carolina export, though infinitely more insane than any other I've seen since CARNIVAL MAGIC. Also, it boasts the most redundant title in movie history. The stories are hosted by Igor, a Rod Serling-aping robotic skeleton surrounded by animatronic vultures modeled after Laurel & Hardy and The Three Stooges. The first two segments are totally adequate, but the walls tumble to the ground in the final stretch with a tale of a homicidal granny desperate to wipe out her grandkids on Christmas Eve. Watch in horror and amazement as a lovable old woman employs cutlery, electricity, poison and shotgun blasts in an all-out war against two 8-year-olds. All this, plus a twist ending that will shatter your kneecaps. This film was never officially released on video, but you can get your own 2-D VHS version by writing to semi-legendary director/producer Earl Owensby himself. His address is almost as entertaining as the movie: 1 Motion Picture Blvd, Shelby NC 28152. I'm not making this up.



8) SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT 5: THE TOY MAKER Dir. Martin Kitrosser / 1991
This is the final installment of the much-(dis)respected franchise, and strays so far from slasher Santas or simple sense that it can't even exist in the same universe. Nevertheless, I was shocked that a rushed Brian Yuzna production from the '90s could be this brutally weird. I can't give away much, but I will say that Mickey Rooney gives his all to his role as Joe Petto, a possibly evil toymaker whose wares are wiping out a suburban community. Also, this movie contains what may be the most disturbing sex scene in Christmas film history: "I love you, mommy!"



7) BLOOD RAGE Dir. John Grissmer / 1983
Two entirely unrelated films were released with the title “BLOOD RAGE.” The first – from 1979 – was about an unassuming, mentally ill teenager who delights in carving up innocents. Then came this underwatched sleazoid gem about an unassuming, mentally ill teenager who delights in carving up innocents. This blade fetish thunderbolt is a minor masterwork of counterintuitive exploitation, as a set of identical twins (played by one actor, of course) embark on a cat-and-mouse disemboweling spree across their own apartment complex. There’s not all that much more to the plot, but the movie practically radiates with the type of intellectual abandon usually reserved for mentally challenged people watching a New Years parade. While each individual performance seems beamed in from a different dimension, the twins’ suffering mother – played by TV comedy star Louise Lasser – truly brings the insanity home. Watch closely to see a grown-ass man mush up a piece of pumpkin pie and throw it at a wall.



6) NIGHT OF THE DEMON Dir. James C. Wasson / 1980
When '70s sasquatchsploitation drifted back to Boggy Creek at the decade's end, this was the mangled, squalling child/turd it left behind. NIGHT OF THE DEMON is a straight-up sasquatch slasher epic, following a team of forest researchers hot on the trail of the most pissed-off man-beast this side of the Serengetis. That's where the Yeti lives, right? I forget. Anyway, this blood-starved anti-humanoid thrasher is so vile, he even pauses to tear off a urinating motorcyclist's wangledoodler. TOO RUDE!!! The filthiest and most vicious of all squatch operas!


5) DEVIL STORY Dir. Bernard Launois / 1985
A completely indescribable trash-fueled hellwreck from...France??!! Yep, when no one was looking, those darn wine-sipping, art-worshiping sissies actually managed to unleash one of the craziest experiences you will ever have with your television. This movie is like something that fell out of Charles Manson's ear while he was piloting a space shuttle into the sun. If you like ghost horses, pirate ships that explode out of mountains, mummy romances, deformed Nazis and
man-eating crabgrass, have I got a video tape for you. NOTE: the back of the VHS box has a synopsis that has absolutely nothing to do with this movie, and starts with the following sentence:"At a party at a haunted mansion, drugs and alcool are everywhere." That's right: "Alcool."



4) LOST IN THE DESERT Dir. Jamie Uys / 1969
Over a decade before he struck gold with THE GODS MUST BE CRAZY, writer/director Uys shot this journey into the darkest corners of a child's hell. Uys cast his own small son Dirkie in the lead, crash-landed alone in the hostile South African desert with only a whimpering lapdog at his side. Over the course of a few skin-flaying days, Dirkie will be attacked by hyenas, venomous snakes, ants and scorpions. He will starve, burn and hallucinate as his life is slowly drained by a hostile, unfeeling God. Blood will pool in the sands. "Rated G."



3) MIAMI CONNECTION Dirs. Y.K. Kim & Richard Park / 1987
The set-up: An Italian, a Jew, a Greek nerd, a black man and a Korean walk into a brawl. The punchline: MIAMI CONNECTION! That admittedly doesn't make much sense as a joke, but it sure doesn't make much sense as a movie either. The aforementioned crew are a martial arts-themed synth rock band named Dragon Sounds. When ninja drug dealers start taking over the streets of Orlando (NOT Miami), the boys must use their wits, skills and incredibly broken English to set things right. Along the way, you'll witness every variety of trash fu, usually performed by alcoholics and semi-hobos who probably would have been paid better for a half-quart of donated plasma. 2010's Cinefamily screening of this unseen treasure was one of the viewing highlights of my past decade. Keep an eye out for the well-fed biker who intimidates women by uttering the word "salami."



2) GONE WITH THE POPE Dir. Duke Mitchell / 1976 & 2010
An incredible crime epic shot in the ’70s, only to be edited and finally released this year, long after the death of its writer/director/producer/star. Duke Mitchell plays Paul, a self-destructive ex-con who hatches a plan: hold the Pope hostage until every Catholic in the world pays $1. As brilliant as that is (and it really is, if you think about it), the movie’s real power comes from Mitchell’s performance, which — deliberately or not — reveals his loathing for mankind and an immeasurable sadness, veiled under racist jabs and remorseless gunfire.


1) NOTHING LASTS FOREVER Dir. Tom Schiller / 1984
This is -- without a doubt -- one of the greatest and most unique movies I’ve ever seen. A hilarious, society-condemning, hobo-empowering, grandparent-respecting, space-traveling ode to living life properly. Innocently optimistic and beautifully misanthropic at the same time. Completed in 1984, it was never distributed; instead, it played one festival, was barred from Cannes by its own studio and broadcast a handful of times on late-night Eastern European TV. It’s never even been released on video. Earlier this year, Bill Murray requested that it screen as part of a retrospective of his work, saying it was one of the best films he’d ever been part of. He’s sure right. Since then, its writer/director Tom Schiller has begun hosting 35mm screenings in various cities, changing the lives of anyone who watches it. It really is that good. Officially one of my Top Five Ever, goddammit.

1 comment:

btsjunkie said...

Awesome list! I too discovered SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT 5 and BLOOD RAGE in 2010 and Zack is spot on about both (as always)!

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