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VCinema 2 – Another Fun Success!

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 30 - 2009

Just want to take some time out to thank everyone who was able to show for the event tonight. For those who don’t follow, we’ve been hosting gatherings now two months in a row with the intention of gathering as many genre fans as possible while we watch a movie streamed for us all to chat along with. Tonight the film was Riki Oh: The Story of Ricky, and for those familiar with the film you know it’s a lot of laughs. So, it was a blast and a lot of great friends showed up to make the even even better. Coffin Jon gave his reviews for the two classic anthology flicks in Tales From the Crypt, Vault of Horror and a fitting kung fu classic in Heroes of the East – which I just HAVE to see now.

We took some more voting as well and it looks like Shogun Assassin will be the film we’re to watch for VCinema III on September 27th. Another bloody classic! We managed to get up to 20 visitors last night, on a night where a few of our friends were actually missing in action. Next month, we’re hoping to do even better! I hope more of you guys can join in on what is probably the most fun I have all month now!

Trailer Break! Overheard

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 17 - 2009


OverheardAlan Mak and Felix Chong should be fairly recognizable names to any fans of Asian cinema. After all, they were the writers behind the most epic saga Hong Kong has likely ever seen with their crime epic Infernal Affairs trilogy, which was of course remade as The Departed. Anyhow, I haven’t really kept up with these filmmakers since their breakout trilogy (mostly because Initial D didn’t look like anything I would be interested in), but have found some interest in their latest project.

Looking very much like one of the Infernal Affairs flicks, Overheard seems to have that quick-paced narrative down as well as the solid cast. Featuring the likes of Ching Wan Lau, Waise Lee and even the often maligned Michael Wong. I’m hoping for the best from this one even if it has received some fairly mixed reviews. Twitch seemed to hate it, but lovehkfilm seemed to dig it. It’s a fifty-fifty shot, but I have some faith in this project. Anyway, the basic plot is as follows:


A major stock exchange in the world, Hong Kong attracts not only money but any who try to manipulate the market. At the Hong Kong Police Force Commercial Crime Bureau, an operation is underway to infiltrate a trading company, Feng Hua International where a man, nicknamed “Boss” is the chief suspect.

The team, led by Inspector Leung (Lau Ching Wan) together with Yeung (Louis Koo) and Lam (Daniel Wu) install interception devices to monitor the company’s communications. When a crucial information on a surging share were intercepted, a moment of greed led the team in a cross fire between the Bureau and the boss.




Criminally Insane 2 Review

Posted by Josh Samford On July - 12 - 2009

Hey guys, back with a review if you can believe it! I know, I’m slacking. I really do have a couple of reviews sitting around here but unfortunately keep getting stuck between two or three different computers. Meaning, I have the screencaps on one, the written part of the reviews on another and such. Kind of a bummer, but don’t worry, it’ll just take me a bit to make my new situation work for me. For the time being, enjoy this review for an absolutely awful film! Who’d have thunk the Crazy Fat Ethel series would ever have taken off in any manner? I guess it just goes to show when you create anything too terribly bizarre people will be attracted. Read up an be entertained with Crazy Fat Ethel/Criminally Insane 2!

The Plot: Ethel is back and ready to attack! This time, several years after her killing spree in the original Criminally Insane, the hospital she is staying at has had to severely limit itself due to budgetary concerns and has sent along many of their patients to live in a halfway house. Things seem to be going swimmingly when Ethel arrives, no killing at the start and the promise of three square meals a day for Ethel sounds like a decent start. However, once the first soup is served – Ethel has had enough. The straw that breaks the camel’s back however is the attendant in charge to look over the house when the owner (Mrs. Batholomew) is away starts teasing Ethel and eating candy bars in front of her. Ethel just isn’t the person to be teasing with candy, let me tell you. Now, will this situation break down into another case of wholesale slaughter or will Ethel somehow come out of her killer rage? Meh, don’t count on it.



CONTINUE READING THE REVIEW HERE

Criminally Insane 2

Posted by Josh Samford On July - 12 - 2009

The Plot: Ethel is back and ready to attack! This time, several years after her killing spree in the original Criminally Insane, the hospital she is staying at has had to severely limit itself due to budgetary concerns and has sent along many of their patients to live in a halfway house. Things seem to be going swimmingly when Ethel arrives, no killing at the start and the promise of three square meals a day for Ethel sounds like a decent start. However, once the first soup is served – Ethel has had enough. The straw that breaks the camel’s back however is the attendant in charge to look over the house when the owner (Mrs. Batholomew) is away starts teasing Ethel and eating candy bars in front of her. Ethel just isn’t the person to be teasing with candy, let me tell you. Now, will this situation break down into another case of wholesale slaughter or will Ethel somehow come out of her killer rage? Meh, don’t count on it.

The Review: The whole reason I ever even started up Varied Celluloid was essentially to bring the world reviews for films like the one I’m discussing today. I originally reviewed Criminally Insane back when the site first started up (2003) and I was always kind of proud to be one of the few people out there having any kind of comment or analysis for such an obscure title. Little did I know back then that there was also the Death Nurse series which was basically spawned from Criminally Insane AKA: Crazy Fat Ethel. I knew that the original Criminally Insane spawned SOME sort of cult audience, but enough for four films? It’s amazing, but I suppose the interest was there. Afterall, I’ve seen Priscilla Alden referred to on more than one occasion as a “cult horror icon”. I don’t know if I’d stretch it and say Icon, but these b-level horrors certainly deserve some sort of notoriety. Not for any reasons that one would call “good”, but how many “heavyset woman kills so she can eat food” flicks have you seen recently that aren’t titled Criminally Insane? I thought so. This sequel picks up several years down the line from the first, with Priscilla looking a little older but still having that cold demeanor that actually kind of worked in the original flick. The jump from film to video however isn’t a gracious one, and is ultimately very unforgiving due to its muckier visuals.

In a sixty minute feature, you know you’ve got problems when the first fifteen minutes are mostly flashbacks to the original. It didn’t work in The Hills Have Eyes 2 (not the sequel to the remake, the original sequel) and it doesn’t work here. This is sort of the first hint out of the gate that Criminally Insane 2 isn’t going to be as memorable as the original. Which really doesn’t bode well since the original was only memorable because it was one of those cinematic oddities that you just can’t believe was actually made. Now you’re left scratching your head throughout the duration of this film because who can believe they actually made a sequel to Criminally Insane! On a serious note however, if you haven’t seen the original film one of the few interesting things it had going for it was the arthouse style approach it took instead of just being a straight ahead exploitation shocker. With a soundtrack (that transports itself back in this sequel) of jangly piano notes being played, with plenty of lingering shots that drone on forever. The same format is brought back for the sequel, for better or for worse. Well, let me just save you the drama, it’s definitely for the worse.

I’ll try not to be too negative on Criminally Insane 2. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel, picking on a flick like this. Although a fairly boring affair, it does seek to spice things up by putting Ethel in the house with someone that could very well be her match, another cold blooded killer who could maybe avoid her traps – but this lasts all of about ten minutes before the film falls back into the patently repetitive “Ethel kills anyone who stops her from eating” routine. Then there’s the whole arthouse style that at least separates the series from the rest of the slasher genre. Let’s not kid ourselves though, Criminal Insane 2 AKA: Crazy Fat Ethel is just about everything you could expect it to be. It’s a slow paced sequel made up with about a quarter of it’s running time with clips from the first film, shot on video with non-actors (aside from Priscilla, who is certainly amusing in her role but not because of any expressions of acting talent) and very little violence. Hey, it is what it is. B-movie fans should definitely flock to this one, simply for the sake of having it in their collection. However, aside from a few unintentionally funny bits (“Granny, give me those pretzels back!!!”) it really doesn’t have much going for it at all. It’s a 1 out of five, because it’s not so dreadful that it causes physical pain to sit through and it’s not entertaining enough to warrant anything higher.

Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers

Posted by Josh Samford On April - 28 - 2009
The Plot: Jack Chandler is a private detective who always has the last word. When he takes on a simple missing persons case to find a teenage girl who’s step-daddy may have touched her a little too much, he stumbles upon a world he never expected to find. In California there have been a series of grizzly chainsaw related murders. No one can quite piece the crimes together, but this detective may just discover Hollywood’s most devastating secret. When carousing the local bars, he stumbles upon the girl he has been looking for! She’s stripping (and hooking) at a rundown joint, while her hooker brethren are making the rounds about the bar picking up Johns. While enjoying the show Jack begins a conversation with one such girl, but before he knows it he’s out like a light. He had been poisoned and awakens in a room with two beautiful women standing over him. Turns out they’re part of a cult that worships the Chainsaw. Their religion is ancient, reaching far back despite the chainsaw being a modern machine and now it’s up to Jack to find out how to stop them!


The Review: “The CHAINSAWS used in this Motion Picture are REAL and DANGEROUS! They are handled here by seasoned PROFESSIONALS. The makers of this Motion Picture advise strongly against anyone attempting to perform these stunts at home. Especially if you are naked and about to engage in strenuous SEX.” if only all films could go out of their way in helping to ensure the safety of their viewing audience, but I guess that’s just what separates Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers from the rest of the pack. That and maybe the fact that it is as batty as a belltower. A horror comedy that tries about a dozen different directions, it’s goofy enough to offer a pretty fun experience. It’s also dumb enough to drag on the nerves of the majority of those who give the film any of their time. I’m a Troma nut, so I know what over the top acting for the sake of entertainment is all about. Although Hollywood never quite reaches those lengths, it certainly shares a lot in common with the Troma way of doing things. Only, instead of the focus being on gore and gross-out humor, I suppose Chainsaw is more focused on boobs and jokes. Not just “campy, look how silly our movie is!” inside jokes, but literal sight gags and puns that seem harshly dated. The filmmakers were smart enough to keep their tongues firmly glued to their cheeks for this however, and the bad jokes easily roll of the backside if you’re the right type of viewer.

To get the formula right in recreating Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, take one parts silly “Detective” softcore porn flick you’ll find on Cinemax every other Friday night. Now, take that and add it alongside a lot of horror movie references and an affection for the genre. Mix all of this with some over the top acting and gore – then you’ve got Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers. There’s a lot of hatred out there for this flick, and even some undue praise for its brilliance. My personal opinion of Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers lies somewhere in between. Although I can enjoy the camp value of it and the comedic direction, you still have to accept the fact that it’s still pretty poorly made and at times falls terribly flat on its face. However, it does remain sort of lovable throughout because of how naive the performances are and the camp that actually does work. The opening sequence with one of our chainsaw hookers picking up a john in a bar, then taking him home and stripping but putting on a showercap and wrapping the walls in plastic… it leads to one of the silliest and most fun chainsaw deaths in film history; as our buxom hooker dances nude in her shower camp while blood is literally thrown at her along with body parts. It’s an odd sight that kind of sets up the whole movie. If you’re not laughing at this point, chances are you’d probably do better to find something else to watch.

Despite having Gunnar Hansen in a lead role (who is subtle, almost to the point of being wooden, but still actually carries a presence and was one of the better performances in my opinion) as well as the great scream queen Linnea Quigley (who is almost TOO bubbly to take here) starring opposite our leading man, the movie just never catches any kind of spark. It’s over the top, it’s goofy but rarely does it deliver the goods as far as something we the audience have never seen before. Sure, the dance of the dual-chainsaws towards the end with Quigley naked and dancing with a snake painted over her no-no parts comes pretty close – but there’s no crazy gore, there’s no zany weirdness or anything that makes you stop and go “wow”; which is what the film is sorely missing in my opinion. It’s definitely a fun flick to watch with some friends, but keep some reserved expectations. Although the title Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers would seem to sell a balls-to-the-wall camp classic with lots of gore, lots of nudity and some shrewd wackiness – you might be disappointed walking out of this one if you keep your expectations that high. The best thing to know about Fred Olgen Ray’s masterpiece of b-cinema is that you’re going to get some boobs, some blood and a whole lot of shtick. It’s a camp comedy-horror classic in many circles, so it’s definitely a must see if only to check out all the hype, but you’ve been warned. I’m giving it a three out of five, which puts it just above average. It’s a good bit of fun, just don’t go in expecting the moon.

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Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

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