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June 9, 2015

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Kung Fury

WILDLY BAD-ASS

The year is 2015. Funny man and “Late Show” television host David Letterman calls it quits after thirty-three years, “Jaws 19” premieres and breaks every previous box office record, gold medal Olympian Bruce Jenner undergoes a sex transformation – becoming Caitlyn Jenner, and both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush announce their entry in the 2016 United States Presidential race.
Little did they know, that announcing their bid for the presidency would polarize the country in a way that had not been seen since the Civil War. American citizens were divided into two factions – either Blue or Red – and began skirmishing with one another. Buildings were burned and blood ran in the streets.
The events of the Party Wars, as they would later be known, brought on the first collapse of the United States of America, and later the atomic bombing of New York City. This attracted the attention of imperialistic space aliens who’s invasion was fought off by the people of Earth. This triggered a chain reaction of events; The Alien Wars I-III. The aliens were finally fought off when robotic soldiers were created to protect humans. Once the robotic soldiers became self-aware, they turned on their human creators which lead to The Robot Wars. After all this, America wasn’t very popular, as the country was directly responsible for the previous catastrophes. As a result, Soviets began launching nuclear weapons at the United Stated. This lead to The Apocalypse War. And finally, The Franchise Wars, which guaranteed that Taco Bell would be the one and only fast food restaurant.
All this, and an indie action flick, “Kung Fury”, took the world by storm. 
THE SKINNY
“Kung Fury” takes place during 1985 Miami, and begins in an ’80s style arcade. The “Laser Unicorn” arcade machine comes to life and begins attacking the patrons of the arcade, then the townspeople of Miami. Outmatched, the Miami police call in for backup and soon Kung Fury, David Sandberg, is on his way. Kung Fury makes short work of the renegade arcade machine. This fight takes place on the ground, in the air, and even in space for optimum bad-assery.
Meanwhile, somewhere in a back alley of Miami, the wind picks up and lightning begins to strike. Suddenly a time portal opens up and one Adolf Hitler steps out. To be continued.
Kung Fury returns to the office to talk to his commanding officer who reams his ass out, in typical action movie fashion, for destroying an entire city block with his arcade machine battling efforts. Afterwards, Kung Fury’s commanding officer receives a phone call a mysterious stranger. Who could it be Hitler…? Well yes, it is in fact Hitler and through the phone, Hitler assassinates Kung Fury’s boss in an attempt to lure Kung Fury into a confrontation.
Most people don’t realize this but Adolf Hitler was a martial arts master who has grown envious of Kung Fury and his martial arts mastery. If Hitler can eliminate Kung Fury, we will obtain the art of Kung Fury – the super secret and ultra deadly martial arts style who “Kung Fury” is named after.
Kung Fury attempts to locate the murderer of his boss and in doing so recruits the help of Hackerman – the greatest hacker in the world. Hackerman – through his hacking talents – ascertains that the one and only Hitler was responsible for the murder and offers to “hack time”, sending Kung Fury back to Nazi Germany to confront Hitler before his evil plot began. But there is a problem…Hackerman mistakenly sends him back too far in time. All the way back to the Viking age.
 There in the Viking Age, Kung Fury meets up with some totally sweet Viking babes who he pleads his case to and agree to help him. How do they do this? Well by calling upon the Thor himself. Thor, with all of his mystical Norse powers, uses his might hammer to open time portal to send Kung Fury to the appropriate time – somewhere in the early 1940s.
There, in Nazi Germany, Kung Fury confronts a horde of Nazi soldiers who he fights – hand to hand – one by one before being out numbered and out gunned. Just then, the cavalry arrives in the form of another one of Thor’s time portals. From this time portal enters Thor, Hackerman who has hacked himself into a robot, two sexy Viking warrior babes, a talking T-Rex and last but not least, Triceracop – Kung Fury’s recently assigned partner who just so happens to be half man and half triceratops.
Kung Fury and his pals fight hundreds of Nazi soldiers, killing them where they stand before Hitler is vanquished…or is he? I won’t be the one who spoils the end for those of you who haven’t seen it. Just know that “teamwork is important”…and go WATCH IT!
THE VERDICT
“Kung Fury” is, honestly, one of the most entertaining things I’ve seen in some time. It is a wonderfully  bad-ass and nostalgic blend of all things ’80s set inside an action film. Not only does it incorporate the aesthetics of ’80s special effects film making – recreated digitally – but it takes place within the shortcomings of VHS.
“Kung Fury“ is almost as if a child dumped his toy chest out onto the floor and started to pretend that all of his toys somehow belonged in the same reality – and that is “Kung Fury”.
There is time travel (Terminator), robots (everything in the ’80s, but also Transformers), dinosaurs (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Dinosaucers – whatever the hell that is.), animation (G.I. Joe and Thundercats), as well as stereotypical action movie stuff like the traditional partner who gets killed by the villain in the first act, pun related one-liners and countless dead.
One of the things that makes “Kung Fury” so entertaining, is it’s humor. I’ve tried to avoid too many of these details for those of you who haven’t seen it yet. Just know that it’s…go watch it.
Much of what can be nit-picked are minor things. For instance, the acting is stiff and a bit over the top. But this is intentional, in an attempt to capture some of what ’80s action films had to offer. If you’ve read my reviews you’ll know that action icons such as Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme aren’t the best actors and sometimes their films reflect that. It isn’t a terrible thing, but rather, something that has become synonymous with the genre of that era. My only honest negative remark is the faux VHS effect. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’ve seen it used a handful of times and each time it looks like an obvious fake. I appreciate the effort to try to make an “’80s film” resemble a film on VHS from the ’80s, but it just doesn’t look right. They always look like a digital film edited digitally to resemble that classic VHS quality. Again, this is a nit-pick but it’s worth stating.


 

Honestly, there isn’t much I can say about this. There is no underlying meaning or hidden message. If there was, it would be; “Remember the ’80s? Wasn’t that a wild time? REMEMBER IT FOREVER!”. And for that I highly recommend “Kung Fury”. Watch it and pick apart each scene to uncover it’s particular ’80s influence. Watch it now and have a blast! Did I mention that you should watch it now? WATCH IT NOW!
I also reviewed “Kung Fury” for Slaughter Film which sparked a bit of a conversation between my co-host and I. If you’re interested, check it out.
I’m Cory Carr and this concludes another trip in 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!



April 14, 2015

SR Podcast (Ep. 44): Police Academy – Movie Commentary: April 2015

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES

Today is movie commentary day! Today we watch the one and only Police Academy.

There isn’t another movie in the likes of Police Academy. I mean how many movies include a human soundboard, extreme racism, a man in a horses ass and a surprise blow job to a 100 year old man (that could possibly be or not be by Steve Guttenberg).

Sounds like the perfect ingredients for the perfect film right? Well it is one of the funniest comedies ever made. So cue up that VHS copy of Police Academy and prepare to laugh at one of the more ridiculous comedies ever made.

 SHOW NOTES
Vampire Academy Joke

Police Academy – Trailer

Police Academy – Theme Song

February 19, 2015

The House of the Devil

FUN

The House of the Devil – Fun

Like I mentioned in my review of “The Guest,” I love the 1980s, especially 80s horror, but one genre always kind of eluded me; the devil-worshiping/possession genre. I simply don’t find those types of films very scary or unnerving. This goes double for, get ready for it, “The Exorcist.” I simply don’t get the appeal of what so many people call “the scariest film ever made.” I also think the market has been flooded with these possession/evil house/devil worshiping found footage type films, and while they are low budget, and make a ton of money because we have enough sheep who go to the theater to waste their money with lackluster fare like that. But, every once in a while I’ll take the advice of a friend, or in this case a blog (thanks Slaughter Film) and go out on a limb and watch something I normally wouldn’t, and than I wonder to myself why it took so long to finally get around to this movie. That movie is 2009’s “The House of the Devil.” Directed by Ti West, who has also worked on the anthology series “V/H/S” and directed “The Sacrament” brings to glory of late 1970s and early 80s Gothic horror to life by recreating a film that is suspenseful and a crap ton of fun.

“House” is the tale of Samantha, a struggling college student looking to move out of her dorm room that is constantly being used by her over-sexed roommate. Desperate for money after finding the house of her dreams, Sam calls about a babysitting job the night of a lunar eclipse. After losing hope on the job, she receives a call from Mr. Ulman, the man who placed the babysitting ad. Dragging her friend Megan along, Sam accepts the job and heads to the Ulman residence. Upon arrival, as the viewer, you already have the sense that something isn’t quite right about Mr. Ulman, who is played to creepy perfection by consummate creeper, Tom Noonan. Creeped out, Sam is about to leave, but now desperate, Ulman tells Sam to name her price. She’s seizes the moment knowing that her new house is on the line. The film progresses with Sam exploring the house, hearing noises, and finally learning the secret the Ulmans have been hiding all along. To spoil the third act would be a disservice.

What works so well in “House” is the look of the film. The opening credits are something right out of a Wes Craven film, mixed with Hammer Horror, and a dash of Italian giallo. The hair styles are to the era, the score is reminiscent of something Ric Ocasek. However, even with all of these 80s elements, the film is still very contemporary and can fit into any era.

The one gripe I see that people could have is the pacing of the “House.” There isn’t a whole lot of “action” until about an hour into the film, but just like the films of yore, the build-up is part of the fun of this film. However, in this day and age of instant gratification, jump scares, and found-footage dredge (which is ironic since I actually enjoyed “V/H/S”) it’s refreshing to see a movie like “House” but I”m sure that’s the reason why this film hasn’t gotten much traction outside of die-hard horror fans who have been watching the genre for decades.

Overall, “The House of the Devil” is great and it pains me to think that it took me so long to finally get around to this film. The production design is strong, the acting is believable and likable, and the villains are creepy. It’s everything that you would want in a suspenseful horror film. New school kids beware, this IS your Daddy’s horror film.

Fun Fact: The Church of Satan was founded by Anton LaVey in 1966

February 2, 2015

The Guest

The Guest – Homage

HOMAGE

If anyone knows our site you know we have an unhealthy proclivity for the 1980s. It’s what made us the animals we are today. Ultra-violence, one-liners, and many many more hyphenated phrases came from this glorious decade of excess. What’s even better is that the people who are our age are now directing films and a lot of them have the same sensibilities as we do….what a wonderful world we live in. This brings me to “The Guest” another effort from Adam Wingard who has also worked on “V/H/S” “The ABCs of Death” and “You’re Next.” However, “The Guest” is his strongest effort so far and is a true homage to the 80s thrillers of yesteryear.

The film starts with a shot of a man running from something and, BOOM, title card. You already know this film is going to be good. Next, we meet The Peterson family who have recently lost a member of their family, Caleb, to war. There comes a knock at the door and enter David, the good-looking ex-soldier friend of Caleb who has been tasked with helping the family anyway possible. Rounding out the family, outside of the grieving mother Laura is Spencer, the father, daughter Anna, and bullied son Luke. Upon David’s arrival in town things slowly start happening that both benefit the Peterson family and make them very uncomfortable. As tension reaches a boiling point, both the Petersons and their town will never be the same. Going any further with the story would be a disservice.

I’ll preface before I continue. Yes, there is a story in this film, and it’s rather weak and limited, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. So, “The Guest,” yeah, this movie is awesome. It’s an incredible, earnest throwback to anything made by John Carpenter, namely “Assault in Precinct 13” and the unstoppable force theme of “Halloween.” There are also dashes of “Fear” and “Drive.” What makes the film work, however, is the slow burn of “Guest.” You have a feeling right off the bat that something isn’t quite right with David and just when you think there is a logical explanation, the film takes a turn that isn’t quite expected, and that’s where some people might turn away and write the film off. However, if you know anything about thrillers in the 80s and early 90s, this was par for the course. You expected something ridiculous to happen, and eventually it does, with blood-soaked glee (hey, another hyphenated word).

On to more gloating about this film….the soundtrack. Again, if you love John Carpenter or anything other synth-forward (hyphenated again) 80s soundtrack, again, this is the film for you. I’ll be the first to say that while I love the “Halloween” soundtrack, my favorite Carpenter score is by and far, “Christine.” It’s pulse-pounding, driving, literally, and incredibly unrelenting, very much like the soundtrack for “Guest.” While there are some cheesy bits thrown in, the work by Steve Moore is impeccably 80s and it works with the tone of the film.

If I was to criticize anything from the film, it would be the thin plot, or lack there of a plot. This film is strictly for people well versed in 80s cinema, the pacing, and the style. Adam Wingard is obviously well-versed in what he thinks people wants to see in a throwback piece like this, and while some people might knock the film for that, and I understand, that doesn’t make them right.

After singing the praises of “The Guest” nearly this entire review, is it worth the praise. Well, duh, of course it is. It’s a great throwback film with a style all it’s own and it’s super entertaining. Is it zany and lacks sense, of course it does, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Fun Fact: In the original screenplay, the story took place in Korea and it had far more action, including a car chase that was 50 pages long.  

January 8, 2015

Unboxing/Review: Rotten Rentals > VHS Packs & Horror Collectibles

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Ready to try something a little different?

Here we go!

We start our journey with an unknown package from my Simplistic Reviews Brother Matthew…

November 14, 2014

Slaughter Film Presents: Action Movie Time Machine – Survivor

In an attempt to find something totally awful and remarkably unremarkable to close out “1980s Post Apocalyptic VHS Rentals”, I discovered a little film that goes by the name “Survivor“. It has a four star rating on IMDB and over half of the dialogue is dubbed inner monologue, written like some prose poem. Sure signs that I’ve found myself a turd in the rough. But ya know what?… It isn’t as bad as all that.
Out there somewhere, relegated to someone’s musty basement and stored on reels of magnetic tape, only now finding their way to the human eye by Youtube and what not, are wretched works of post apocalyptic fiction. I have failed to find one of these films. Perhaps it’s a good thing. I know they are out there. Somewhere. But the “Action Movie Time Machine” isn’t about traveling time to find stinkers. It’s about finding the obscure, the little known and about finding out Action Movie roots.
With that said, the “Action Movie Time Machine” is synched into a parallel time stream for the year 1998.
The year is 1987. Construction begins on the Channel Tunnel, connecting the UK and France. Wang Chung gets everyone to “Have Fun Tonight” and Reagan tells the Soviets to “Tear down that wall!”. Also a nameless astronaut kills a guy in “Survivor”.
THE SKINNY
“Survivor” begins with our main character, an unnamed NASA astronaut, played buy Chip Mayer. Well the man’s real name is Christopher Mayer, but he is credited as “Chip“. So for the purposes of this review, I’ll call him “Astronaut Chip”.
For NASA, Chip was given the task of deploying a laser defense satellite from his space craft, “Challenger 2”. It seems in this time stream President Reagan’s “Star Wars” project came to fruition. But before the satellite became operational, WWIII began and Chip watched the whole thing unfold from space. This whole NASA/astronaut plot was also used in a similar movie “Def-Con 4“, about an astronaut who return to a post-WWIII Earth in search of his family.
Chip later re-entered Earth’s atmosphere and began traversing the post nuclear war desert-like landscape of Europe, searching for a place to live. Though the war is over, scavengers and survivors still fight to the bitter end if they think there may be drinkable water near.
One of these very scavengers, a Turk who nearly killed Chip, told him about a “promised land” south of Budapest. Since then Chip has been traveling the railways on his solar powered rail car…thing, in search of it. Soon this leads Chip to a night time run-in with a pair of survivors who live on a boat in the desert (what was once an ocean). This run-in gets him stabbed and left for dead, then found and taken in by a former Soviet credited as “The Woman”. Since she has red hair and is a communist, I think I’ll call her… “Red”.
On Red’s sea side villa (a wrecked and rusted out ship), Chip and Red share a tumultuous relationship. A relationship based exclusively on suspicion and sex. This is fine and well, until one day as Red is fishing for lunch, a man grabs her by the hair and drags her off. Chip see this and chases after them.

  Chips follows for days, through the desert, until he discovers the ruins of some sort of underground facility that contains fresh water. As Chip investigates the facility, he sees people living and working underground. Operating machinery and growing plants that don’t need sunlight. This is a self sustaining facility. There is just enough food, water and electricity for one hundred and fifty people. If a baby is born, then someone must die. That’s just how closely this ecosystem is balanced.
This ecosystem has been maintained for years by a council of scientists (An engineer, a surgeon, a biologist ect…), but has since been overthrown by Kragg, Richard Moll, who has pillaged the facility’s resources and raped it’s fertile women. Kragg sees the apocalypse as not the end, but the beginning and himself as the future. He wants to control the facility so he can breed a new race of people who will eventually repopulate the Earth and exterminating all other survivors.

 
Chip learns all about the facility and Kragg from the council, who also tell him that Red originally worked at the facility and escaped after Kragg claimed her as a sex slave. The council then assign Chip with the task of killing Kragg, which would free Red and allow the ecosystem to return to a balance.
Chip agrees and moves to confront Kragg. When he does, Kragg explains his rather interesting world philosophy and asks Chip to join him. Things go south pretty quick. A bit of a cat and mouse chase takes place before they engage in hand to hand combat and soon, Chip manages to stab Kragg up through the jaw and out his head.
 
After this, the film ends with Chip and Red, now back at her ship, watching the sun set together. So… what about the people living in the facility? Oh well. The End.
THE VERDICT
If my synopsis seemed a bit sparse it’s because there is a pretty simple story with very little dialogue. As I mentioned in the beginning, most of what’s said is Chip’s inner monologue or voiceover from the Turk or Red who fill in back story. It’s kind of a strange way to tell a story, but that’s not to say it doesn’t work. It reminds me a lot of Frank Miller’s “Sin City”, which is heavy on noir like inner monologue.
I also like the idea of watching WWIII unfold from space. Seeing the blinding white flashes at either end of the Earth’s surface, hearing nothing due to the vacuum of space and wondering if you’re the only human left alive. It’s a pretty heavy idea and I don’t think I’ve seen it (“Survivor” and “Def-Con 4” talk about it but don‘t show it.). Not even in a contemporary film which would be infinitely more feasible with CGI. Perhaps someday.
I admit, “Survivor” wasn’t quite what I was expecting. It isn’t the best but it is competently made and held my attention. It was a shot in the dark and I’m glad I had the opportunity to see it. Watching this on Youtube is a lot like renting VHS back in the day. You see the name, the cover art and a brief description, and that’s all you’ve got.
There were hundreds of thousands of films released on VHS and over half were straight to video. It was easy to feel cheated by spending your hard earned money renting a pile of crap with superb cover art. At least this way I don’t get charged late fees or have to worry about rewinding the damn thing. In a strange way “the digital age” and Youtube are breathing new life into that old rental experience. The adventure and the mystery is still there, it’s just a little lazier.
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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