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February 17, 2015

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Malibu Express

FLAT – but not flat chested

February has a lot going on. There is Valentines Day, Black History Month, Women In Horror Month, American Hearth Month, as well as about two-dozen other days devoted to nonsense like eating ice cream for breakfast. Also during this minimal month of made-up celebrations is the birthday of notable filmmaker Andy Sidaris. Every February 20th we at Slaughter Film try to sit down and watch a few of his films, Malibu Express being his fist independent feature. Before that Sidaris worked in television mostly, and since, he has developed quite the reputation of making films that showcase some of America’s finest “Bullets, Bombs & Babes”.

The year is 1985. Dairy Queen invents the “Blizzard”, Nintendo give birth to the Mario Brothers, Dr. Herbert West re-animates the dead in “Re-Animator” and Rock Hudson dies of AIDS.

THE SKINNY
Things kick off with Cody Abilene, Darby Hinton, a private investigator who lives on a boat, drives a red DeLorean and carries a .44 Magnum, even though he couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with it. Cody is a native Texan who has moved to Malibu for work and along the way he has made friends of some pretty colorful characters. Some of which include his boat neighbors May and Faye, a big breasted stock car driver June Khnockers, all three of which are Playboy Playmates and Sexy Sally, a phone sex operator among others. Are you starting to notice a theme here?

 

As Cody investigates, he discovers that Lady Chamerlain’s nephew Stuart is secretly a cross dresser who has been sleeping with Sean the butler. Stuart’s wife, Anita, is also sleeping with Sean and so is Stuart’s sister Liza. Sean is an ex-con who owes a loan shark thirty thousand dollars and he also has a nasty habit of secretly recording and photographing the sex he is having with this family. Soon Sean winds up dead and the rest of the film becomes a “who-done-it?” with Sean being the keeper of everyone’s dirty laundry.
While Cody is trying to piece together the murder he manages to sleep with Contessa, his two hot boat neighbors, a local lady officer who Cody brings in for help, some random girl he borrows a car from, and, maybe a few others that I forgot about. I kinda lost count. There is also a sub-plot about a family a backwoods bumpkins who keep challenging Cody to a street race.
Cody finally gets close to the computer smuggling ring when he learns that Liza is good friends with Johnathan Harper, a computer salesman and exporter, and she plans to invest in his business. Cody apprehends Liza and Harper, but not before Harper’s men – Peter, Paul & Luke – try to rub out Cody.
With some quick help from June Khnockers, the stock car driver, she and Cody manage to lose the hired muscle in the desert.

The film ends with Cody throwing a party on his boat – named the “Malibu Express” by the way — to celebrate a job well done. He is accompanied by all the other major players, the various women he plowed and even Liza. Cody then tells them that Contessa wrote him a letter explaining to him that Sean was the person selling the computers to the smugglers and that she was the one who murdered him. She then planted evidence to frame Liza and even wore a mask to look like Liza when she did it. While Cody was perusing Sean’s killer, Contessa would be able to freely escape the country and no one would be the wiser that his death was an assassination.
The problem with this explanation is that Cody just told everyone, so all the cloak and dagger was for nothing. I assume what happens next is that the party turns into a giant boat orgy. The End.
THE VERDICT
“Malibu Express” isn’t one of Andy’s best. I attribute this to it being the first he both wrote and directed. It seems like he didn’t know if he wanted to make a spy movie, a murder mystery, a sex comedy or rip off “Smokey & the Bandit”. The action falls flat, as does the comedy and most of the plot. There are so many characters involved that it’s easy to forget who is doing what or why I should even care. The film starts with the notion that Soviet Russians are stealing computer secrets and by the end of the film the Russians have been brought up once, maybe. Not to mention the terrible ending where everything literally needs to be explained to the audience. In the medium of cinema, you mustn’t tell the audience what happened. You have to show them.
There is also a strange amount of jokes made at the expense of homosexuals. And not just characters in the film, but homosexuals in general. Not sure why these jokes were an important to the film but they stood out like a sore thumb.
The only thing that works in this movie, I’m sorry to say, are the topless women. Who am I kidding, I’m not sorry. These women are amazing!
The Playmates and the porn-stars in “Malibu Express” were all filmed during a time when breast implants weren’t yet popular, like they became in the ’90s, and before the terrible fashion sense of the later ’80s had taken hold. To compare these women to those of  the “Friday the 13th” franchise, they most resemble the women from the first four films. Happy-go-lucky, naturally cute, girl next good types. Where in the later “Friday” films the women were all big hair, terrible fashion and became generic unlikeable character types.
These women all had a great attitude and were not only fun to watch, but they seemed like they were having fun during the making of the film. Especially Lynda Wiesmeier, aka June Khnockers.
So in the end, we all learned that Andy Sidaris likes to make action movies that are teeming with titties and I learned, that I like that… If you’re interested in other boobie-action movies, check out my review of “The Lost Empire” by Jim Wynorski.
I’m Cory Carr and this concludes another trip on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Until next time, Semper Fi Punk!
For more from Cory, check out his website slaughterfilm.com, where he and his good friend Forest Taylor record weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!
February 6, 2015

SR Announcements

Dear You,

We wanted to take this time and say a few things. We have been very busy in our free time updating and expanding the Simplistic Reviews Network. As you may have seen we’re now available on Stitcher, Tunein, Pocketcast and of course iTunes. The Android App has been updated with a ton of new features and some design changes (A whole new design is in the works for the future 😉 The Mobile App also has been updated and will be rolling out this weekend with a built in Podcast Player (if your browser supports it).

And now for the Big Announcement…

Today we have hit a milestone. Out with the old and in with the new!

Since September I have been tinkering with a new look for Simplistic Reviews. Simplistic Reviews now has a fresher, cleaner look but will still be the same old SR we love. It’s not just a complete visual change. The new site is also speedier by 30% and you will also have a direct stream at top right of the our current Podcast. Also you can now subscribe to receive reviews via email. Oh and Julie is our new search engine, its a hell a lot better then the old one.

I could list a log of changes but you will see soon for yourself.
For a lack of a better word the new site is, Simplistic!  

And a big Thanks to You! Because without you we couldn’t have made it this far!

http://SimplisticReviews.net/

Enjoy!

January 15, 2015

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Cobra

EXTREME

Welcome back to another “Action Movie Time Machine”. As we continue our trek into the realm of action films that have a flair for the more macabre, “Horror Movie Killers”, we will be looking closely at Sylvester Stallone and a Danish model who teach a killer cult how to love again in “Cobra”. All aboard! The “Action Movie Time Machine” is now departing.
The year is 1986. RUN DMC made Aerosmith popular again with “Walk This Way”, everyone learned not to take soap-operas so seriously when “Dallas” had all been a dream and “The REAL Ghostbusters” started kickin’ ass and takin’ names.
THE SKINNY
Cobra” begins with a nameless mad man, armed to the teeth, who has strolled into the local supermarket and begun blowing people away. All in the name of something called “The New World”. The local police call in their special weapon, Marion Cobretti, aka Cobra, Sylvester Stallone. Cobra isn’t one to take it easy on a violent perp. And in moments the mad man is stabbed in the chest and unloaded on. Cobra and his partner are what the police force affectionately call “The Zombie Squad”. They’re the guys who take cases no one else wants. The bottom line.
 
As the crime-scene is being cleaned up and the dead loaded into meat wagons, Cobra is harassed by the media – questioning his often deadly tactics. This is recurring theme of the film. That, and the idea that a revolving door policy keeps criminals on the streets and peaceful citizens in terror.
Aside from this days events, the city has been shaking in it’s boots. There is a serial killer on the lose known as the “Night Slasher”, who has been slashing and stabbing his victims for weeks now. Cobra and his partner Gonzales, Reni Santoni, have been brought in to help find the killer. Maybe their unique brand of gun-slinging detective work are sure to make the case break wide open.

While Cobra and Gonzales hit the streets to rattle some cages, the killer…or killers strike. Late one night as young Ingrid, Brigitte Nielsen, is on her way home from a photo shoot, she witnesses a woman being murdered and gets a clear look at the face of one of the killers. The leader of the group, who is unnamed but we learn is the Night Slasher, Brian Thompson, instructs one of his underlings, who is a cop, to find Ingrid’s identity by using her license plate. This group of killers is a cult, bent on ushering in their order of “The New World”. Whatever the hell that is.
Why is it a cult? Well there are several scenes that show the group of killers in black performing some sort of ceremony held in what looks like a parking garage. They are chanting and clanking axes and other bladed weapons together. It’s no Stone Cutters, but it’ll have to do.
 
Once the Night Slasher and friends learn who Ingrid is they set out to kill her, but she narrowly escapes and reports the attack to the police. This is where Ingrid and Cobra meet, bump uglies and Cobra promises to protect her from the maniac cult.
The Night Stalker uses his police resources to find out who is working on the case and this results in several more attacks on the life of Ingrid, Cobra and Gonzales. One of these attacks involves the Night Slasher going after Ingrid while she’s being looked after at the hospital. A 20 something woman being attacked by a silent stalker with a big knife. Nothing has reminded me more of Halloween 2. Just another reason “Cobra” is getting the “Horror Movie Killers” treatment.
One of these attacks involves the cult converging on our protagonists as a biker gang. This becomes a chase, with Cobra and Ingrid running for their lives. They end up at a near by refinery. After the cult is dispatched, one by one at the hands of Cobra, Cobra and the Night Slasher go head to head. The Night Stalker eggs Cobra on, in typical 80s bad guy fashion and the two throw down in a round of fisticuffs that ends with the Night Stalker being impaled on a giant hook. Cobra operated the hook like a crane and directs the Night Stalker into some sort of industrial furnace until he is no more.
 
The film ends with Cobra and Ingrid riding off into the sunset on one of the cultists motorcycles. The End.
THE VERDICT
“Cobra” is the spiritual successor to films like “Dirty Hairy”. What both “Cobra” and “Dirty Hairy” share is a cop forced to push the envelope in order to do his job. A cop who struggles against the limitations of the bureaucracy he works for, in a city that is getting more violent every day.
But in this case, “Cobra” is more extreme. Instead of Hairy, who kills to protect himself while protecting  citizens, Cobretti kills because his world is kill or be killed and the citizens just get in the way. Instead of a lone killer, there is an entire cult of killers. And the same it true with the underlying social commentary. The police work of Dirty Hairy is handicapped by scrutinizing reporters, policy makers and the city itself who vilify Hairy for not being politically correct, and of course, using excessive force.
“Cobra” paints a world were criminals are so common, even Granny has to shoot two or three hoods on her way home from bingo. The criminals has banded together in some lose organization, or cult, to further spread murder and mayhem without any clear goal. How someone might take notice of crime getting worse year after year by looking at faceless, nameless statistics. Oh, and there is also excessive force.
Over all, “Cobra” isn’t a terrible movie. Stallone is fine. The action is fine. The underlying message is fine, albeit overly sensationalized in a way that only a mid-80s Reagan voter could concoct, but otherwise fine.
I guess my problem with this movie is it’s villain. Who us this cult? Why is it a cult? Other than general mayhem, what do they want? What is their goal? I understand the idea of crime being looked at as a statistic and how it seems to middle America that the boogey man is around every corner, but this wasn’t developed well enough. I like the idea and maybe it was just lost in translation between the Stallone, the writer, and George Cosmatos, the director.
A much better depiction of America being terrified of itself can be found in “The Purge”, or even better yet “The Purge: Anarchy”. Everyone who has the urge to kill is set lose upon the city to do what they will with little or no explanation as to why they are doing the things they are doing. Just danger around every corner for the protagonist. This is the world that “Cobra” lives in.
  As the 80s continued, action films got more and more bleak and this is a fair example of that. I love how the 80s flicks became filled with doom and dread. “Cobra”s dark nature can be entertaining and watching a lesser known Stallone flick is a lot of fun. But for my money “Dirty Hairy” is the cop for me. Next time, we’ll be paying ol’ Chuck Norris another visit as he kicks the ass of a supernatural killer.
I’m Cory Carr and this concludes another trip on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Until next time, Semper Fi Punk!
For more from Cory, check out his website slaughterfilm.com, where he and his good friend Forest Taylor record weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!
January 5, 2015

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Hero and the Terror

MISFIRE

An odd thing happened recently as I was milling through my movie database. I noticed a strange similarity. During the ’80s, there were a handful of action flicks that didn’t just have a villain bent on revenge or world domination. These villains were all formed out of horror chiches. So, all aboard the “Action Movie Time Machine” as we travel to the ’80s to find slashers and murderous cults in the genre of action.
The year is 1988. Michael Jackson wasn’t yet the butt of a joke and instead was in his own anthology film “Moonwalker”. A group of teenagers were “Saved By the Bell”, and Stephen Hawking becomes a bestselling author with his book “A Brief History of Time”.
THE SKINNY
Hero and the Terror” is about detective Danny O’Brien, Chuck Norris, who has become a bit of a celebrity since he captured Simon Moon – a man who has committed a series of vicious murders in which he stalks women, snaps their necks and keeps them as rag doll trophies. It’s explained in passing conversation that Moon was abused as a child and has grown up deranged. No, this isn’t a Slaughter Film review, even though we’re in horror movie territory.

O’Brien has since been given the nickname “Hero” by the local media. A name that he laments. O’Brien is the type of guy who’s too modest to accept the praise and would rather avoid it all in place of some hard detective work.
Things aren’t all rainbows and lollipops for O’Brien. Since he apprehended Moon, he has been terrorized by reoccurring nightmares of Moon on his killing spree. He reaches out to a psychologist to help interpret and overcome his dreams, who he later develops a relationship with and even knocks up. Between his night terrors and his pregnant girlfriend, Kay, we get to see a just how complicated and caring O’Brien is… But I just wanna see Chuck Norris deliver some justice to the skulls of mindless thugs in the form of a roundhouse kick. Am I right?
O’Brien’s nightmares become reality when Moon escapes from his prison cell and disappears into the rural wilderness. Actually, he steals a van, rams it through the facilities guard gate, then off a cliff and into the ocean. LOL He escaped only to, seemingly, kill himself in a car accident. Oh, but Moon lives to kill more women.
Once the bodies of young women start turning up in Los Angeles, the media explodes with theories that Moon has returned. The Mayor, played by Ron O’Neil – aka “Superfly” himself, calls in the chief of police and O’Brien to take a look at the evidence and re-assure the public that these recent killings are not the work of Moon. Of course O’Brien can’t do that.
Things spice up when one young woman turns up missing and another is found dead outside the town’s recently renovated historic theater.
O’Brien orders a search of the theater – from top to bottom – suspecting that Moon, injured and weak from his car ride over the cliff, made his way to the vacated theater. The search reveals nothing, but O’Brien takes it upon himself to investigate further. In the attic above the theater, O’Brien discovers a series of catacombs. This doesn’t make much sense to me. These catacombs look more like sewer tunnels. Why would these be above a theater? I don’t know, I’m just along for the ride.
O’Brien follows the tunnels for a while before he finds Moon’s roost. A room willed with candles and several more dead women that Moon was saving as his trophies. Moon appears from the shadows and a firght breaks out that leads through the attic of the theater and onto the roof.
O’Brien delivers some sweet kung-fu justice before he manages to get behind Moon to choke him out. In classic slasher movie tradition the killer comes back to life for one last scare. O’Brien throws Moon through the theaters skylight, and he falls to his death.
The film ends with O’Brien visiting his girlfriend in the hospital — she just gave birth to their child. He hobbles through the hospital halls, broken and beaten by Moon, as he grabs a priest to wed the them there in the hospital. The End.
I guess O’Brien didn’t need a shrink to cure him of his nightmares. Just a healthy dose of murder.
THE VERDICT
“Hero and the Terror” has potential, but it lacks in story telling. The direction and/or editing leave something to be desired. The plot and characters are just fine, but my god, everything this film has in it’s favor is completely avoided. As if it were on purpose.
My first problem is with the killer who isn’t developed enough to be a true “terror”. Even though Moon follows in the footsteps of other silent killers like Jason, “Friday the 13th, and Michael Myers, “Halloween”, there isn’t enough suspense to make him, or his actions terrifying. The fact that Moon never speaks is a bit of a missed opportunity to expand the idea that he’s deranged. We should get a glimpse into the mind of the man behind all the killings. Unfortunately, Moon exists only for O’Brien to have something to do.
O’Brien’s girlfriend, Kay, being pregnant and having second thoughts about her life isn’t important and too much time is spent on it. The pregnancy is a just a way to show that there is more to O’Brien than the other, more action packed characters portrayed by Norris. The problem with this is that people don’t watch Chuck Norris flicks to watch him share his emotions.
Speaking of emotions, Norris isn’t the best actor, but by no means is he a BAD actor. However, in this movie, he seems stiff and uninteresting. Again, I point my finger at the director. As if no one explained to the actors how they should act, and many of them deliver their lines devoid of emotions.
 It’s a shame Chuck Norris wasn’t in more better movies. Some aren’t bad, but largely they go unnoticed or forgotten. But not anymore! Lets see what other Chuck Norris flicks I can uncover with the “Action Movie Time Machine”.
I’m Cory Carr and this concludes another trip on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Until next time, Semper Fi Punk!
For more from Cory, check out his website slaughterfilm.com, where he and his good friend Forest Taylor record weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!
December 8, 2014

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Spider-Man (1977)

SSLLOOWW


First, Reb Brown as Captain America, and now “The Amazing Spider-Man”. Don’t get your hopes up, there is no Emma Stone to be found here.
The year is 1977. A sensation known as “Star Wars” is storming the galaxy. The “Atari 2600” leaves “Pong” in the dust. The “Son of Sam” killer is captured and a young man from New York gets exposed to a radioactive spider in “The Amazing Spider-Man”.
THE SKINNY
The film begins, as you would expect, with college student and amateur photographer Peter Parker. One day while performing some experiment, a radioactive spider bites young Peter on the hand, and soon, he notices a change. He can climb walls and even has super human strength. Soon he invents himself a “web-slinger” device to, yadda yadda yadda. We all know the origin by now. Peter Parker becomes Spider-Man. Spider-Man saves some little old ladies and all of New York erupts into spider fever.

While this is happening, a Tony Robbins style guru named Edward Byron has been selecting prominent New Yorkers, bankers, lawyers and the like, from his life coach seminars to be his mind controlled puppets. Once under his control, Byron uses them to carry out bank robberies. To guarantee they don‘t lead the police back to him, he has them drive their get away car into the side of a building, killing themselves. 

Byron also uses these robberies/deaths as examples when he makes a fifty million dollar demand from the city. If his demand isn’t met, he will force ten citizens to kill themselves. How is he doing it? It’s a combination of hypnosis that takes place during his classes, making the subjects vulnerable. Later Byron transmits a radio signal that is picked up by a lapel pin receiver, given to them by Byron when they join the group.
Peter is assigned to photograph the remains of one of the car crash victims, Professor Noah Tyler. On location he meets Noah’s daughter, Judy Tyler, and a romance begins. As they get to know each other, Judy mentions to Peter that her father has been attending the classes of Byron. They even sit in during one of his classes. It isn’t overtly suspicious, but Peter still has his suspicions.

Things take a turn for Byron when Peter accidentally discovers how he has been transmitting the radio waves. Spider-Man follows the signal to it’s source, destroys the radio tower, apprehends Byron and saves the day for ten unlucky New Yorkers.

The film ends with Peter and Judy  walking off into the sunset together. The End.
THE VERDICT
Before I share my thoughts on “The Amazing Spider-Man”, I would like to cover a little Spider-Man television history.
This was the first live action Spider-Man with any substance. Before this there was an animated series in the late ‘60s and the occasional appearance on the children’s show “The Electric Company” during the early ‘70s.
This TV film was a “backdoor” pilot for the “Spider-Man” television show that lasted only thirteen episodes, stretched over two years. Critics, kids especially, complained that the show didn’t involve any established villains or storyline, and that the production values were lousy. Soon CBS thought they may soon be referred to as the “superhero station”, as it already had two successful series; “The Incredible Hulk” and “Wonder Woman”. In addition, they also aired two “Captain America” TV films, as well as a “Dr. Strange” TV film. Because of all this, CBS pulled the plug on “Spider-Man”.
While this was going on in the states, Toei, a Japanese production company, was producing a “Spider-Man” show of their own. We all know how things in Japan can get a little strange. Well, the Japanese “Spider-Man” is a motorcycle racer who gets his spider powers from a special suit that alters him genetically when he wears it. This ran for a total of forty-one episodes and came complete with giant robots and the hit song “Spider-Man Boogie”. That’s Japan for ya.
So, what do I think about “The Amazing Spider-Man”? It’s not very good. I find that my complains about the film are the same complaints fans had back in the ‘70s. There aren’t enough comic based characters and the special effects are cheap and unimpressive. Instead of Byron, the villain could easily have been The King Pin who employs some hypnotist lackey to carry out a similar plan. This could have been an easy way to shoehorn more Marvel Universe into the film.
Peter Parker never became comfortable in his spider skin. I miss the cocky, wise cracking Peter from the comics, cartoons and later films.

I understand there was no CGI in the ‘70s. Cheap special effects are something that I could otherwise overlook. Especially when they are forty years old. But, there is just SO MUCH of these effects. So much of the film is Spider-Man’s origin and him wall crawling. It makes the films drag on. “The Amazing Spider-Man” is an exorcise in patience. It has it’s charm, but it’s no wonder it was canceled after thirteen episodes.
I’m Cory Carr and this concludes another trip on the “Action Movie Time Machine”. Until next time, Semper Fi Punk!
For more from Cory, check out his website slaughterfilm.com, where he and his good friend Forest Taylor record weekly podcasts, reviewing the films that are legendary, even in Hell!

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