The Greatest Albums of All Time: SAMHAIN – “November~Coming~Fire” (1986)


A lot can be (and has been) said about Glenn Danzig- he’s a douche bag, a big baby, egotist pip squeak, hard to work with, etc. (I’ve also heard he’s a very nice guy), but you can’t really disparage his musical legacy.  The MISFITS, SAMHAIN, and DANZIG are all original, subgenre starting or defining bands that were (mostly) ahead of their time.

Of the bands, I like THE MISFITS the best, but my favorite single release of a band he’s fronted has to be SAMHAIN’s November~Coming~Fire.
THE MISFITS were fun and punky, but when they quit making music, he decided to go darker.  Much darker.  SAMHAIN’s debut Intium takes some getting used to (mainly because of the production), but still has some leftover MISFITS sing-a-long punk in it (particularly on songs like “He-Who-Can-Not-Be-Named”), tho interwovern with a much darker edge (and ended with one of my fav songs from them- “Archangel”, which actually was a MISFITS song that went through tons of revisions, re-recordings and re-mixings (the bass was re-recorded at least 3 times, once by Jerry Only and once by Al Pike of REAGAN YOUTH, who also played some of the keyboards on Intium), which I suppose was an ok trade off since Danzig ‘gave’ some songs he had written for SAMHAIN (“Death Comes Ripping” and “Bloodfeast”) to the MISFITS so their Earth AD/ Wolf’s Blood album could be full length), but it’s a solid first effort, and great intro to the new sound.
Their next release, the Unholy Passion ep, was even darker (and featured another of my most fav songs from them- “The Hungry End”), and had even less of the funner MISFITS feel (even in their version of “All Hell Breaks Loose” (now titled simply “All Hell”)).

But when we get to November~Coming~Fire, that’s where the darkness and atmosphere mix with punk and death rock to make a perfect album- punkier than death rock, but much more atmospheric and dark than punk, it’s the best of both worlds.  The guitars are ran through a processor that gives them a haunting, otherwordly feel (I’ve only heard a couple of other bands use this sound, most notably the hardcore band THE SCAM, who only put out one 7″ep and a couple of comp tracks before they broke up), and are laden with spooky sounding feedback.  The keyboards are low in the mix, just enough to provide some dark atmosphere and background noise, and the drumming is very rhythmic, almost tribal at times..  Danzig was 30 years old when he recorded this album, and his voice was in fine form- he was beginning to get the croon he would later be famous for, but still with a bit of a younger, punky edge to it.  The songs go by almost too quickly, (only three songs are over 3 minutes long), and it leaves you wanting more.

This album introduced a new drummer, London May (who came from the similarly punky death rock band REPTILE HOUSE, who had a 7″ep out on Dischord produced by Ian McKay) who didn’t have enough time to learn the songs, so Danzig programmed the drums for five of the songs on his drum machine (tho it sounds so good you couldn’t tell the difference), as well as playing keyboards and second guitar.  It was recorded at Reel Platinum studios (where a lot of MISFITS sessions were also recorded), and produced by Glenn Danzig.

Danzig has written some very cheesy and goofy lyrics, which were fun in the MISFITS but get a little too serious in DANZIG (the band), almost a parody of what would be considered ‘evil’ and sexual, but done completely straight-faced.  However SAMHAIN’s lyrics are a different story- minimalist, filled with rage and deviant dark thoughts, there’s very few ‘evil nerd fullfilment’ type lyrics (well, maybe “Human Pony Girl”), and it works well with the darker nature of the music.
This album is a masterpiece, and anyone into goth, dark punk, or death rock should love it.  It should be right up there with the darkest of gothy and death rock classics like SISTERS OF MERCY’s Floodland (which came out the same year) and BAUHAUS’ In the Flat Field (even tho it’s much punkier than either of them), but because it came out of a different scene, it was never embraced by the Bat Club crowd (and a good percentage of punks who picked it up just didn’t get it).  So it’s a woefully underheard and underrated album, which is a shame.
The only other release SAMHAIN put out was the Final descent ep, which was basically the band DANZIG (for the most part), some of it even recorded after DANZIG had formed.  Tho it has a few decent songs on it, it just doesn’t have the feel, the darkness, the atmosphere of their other releases, and for those reasons I find it hard to consider it a SAMHAIN release.  But we’ll always have the first album and ep, plus this monumental release, to enjoy from them.

Today is Halloween, so it’s a great day to revisit it, or listen to it for the first time if you’ve never heard it.  It’s pretty easy to find on youtube and other places (tho the actual lps and cds are hard to come by), so do yourself a favor and check it out.

The Fearless Vampire Killers


What can I say about this movie that hasn’t already been said?  Also known as Dance of the Vampires, it’s my favorite vampire movie, and I watch it every year around this time.  It’s a masterpiece of style and atmosphere, and very clever (particularly for it’s time (1967)).  It was written and directed by a young Roman Polanski (with help from his Repulsion co-writer Gérard Brach), and was his first big budget film.
The story focuses on Professor Abronsius (Jack McGowran, who played Burke “Your cunting daughter” Dennings in The Exorcist) a bumbling, elderly scholar who specializes in bats, and who is obsessed with the idea of hunting and confronting vampires.  He is aided by his naive young student/ assistant Alfred, played by director Polanski himself.  While traveling through Transylvania, they stumble across a cult of vampires living in a castle close to the inn they stop in when the head vampire (Ferdy Mayne) abducts the hotel owner’s daughter Sarah (Sharon Tate).
They follow him to the castle and end up as guests, while trying to figure out how to put a stop to his evil and rescue Sarah.

This movie is so filled with atmosphere it almost caves in on itself.  Every frame is chock full if lush, beautiful scenery; the homey country inn, the snowbound countryside, and the spooky, decaying castle, filled with spiderwebs and old paintings and moldy furniture- very few movies have such exquisite set dressing as this.  It gives it a fairy tale feel, very whimsical despite it’s horrific nature.  It’s almost like a Grimm Fairy Tale by way of Hammer studios (which, tho it’s not a Hammer production,  the atmosphere closely resembles.  However I would say The Fearless Vampire Killers is a bit more lavish and atmospheric than even Hammer’s gothic horrors) brought to life in sweeping anamorphic widescreen.

The balance between comedy and horror is done very well (it is primarily a comedy), and tho it borders on camp and slapstick at times, it never goes completely over to that level of ridiculousness.  The humor is very clever, and a lot of issues that you have about how vampires would actually work in the real world are confronted for the first time on screen (such as whether a cross would affect a Jewish vampire or not, and are there any gay vampires?).

The characters are all slightly bigger than life and very likable (even the bad guys).  The acting is old fashioned and superb; Polanski always manages to find interesting looking people to fill his movies with, and this one has them in spades (watch out for Ronald Lacey, who played the creepy Nazi who burned his hand on the medallion in Raiders of the Lost Ark, in a small role as a goose plucking village idiot who almost gives way that there’s a castle in the area).  Shagal, the lecherous old innkeeper and his wife are played over-the-top for comic relief, but never become crude stereotypes (tho they are obviously very Jewish).  Count von Krolock could easily have been played as a joke, but he’s probably one of the most down to Earth characters in the movie (despite being a vampire, of course).  Ferdy Mayne gives a great performance as the aristocratic, deep gravel voiced leader of the vampires.   His son (who is homosexual) could also have easily been done quite stereotypically flamboyant (this was 1967), but is handled with some subtlety.

The vampires in this don’t seem to have a lot of special powers, other than living forever, having fangs and drinking blood.  They’re almost more like zombies, decrepit and bored, and makeing it seem like being a vampire would be a real drag (and a lot of them look like they’ve literally lived forever).

Besides the incredible cinematography, atmosphere, and set dressings, the music is outstanding as well.  Enhancing the dark fairy tale feel, it’s playful and moody and very original.
Tho it was a critical and commercial failure, I definitely recommended it for Halloween viewing.  It’s a fun, dark  fantasy, and gets better each time you watch it.

Midnight Marquee #48



Midnight Marquee began in the ’60s as a xeroxed fanzine called Gore Creatures put out by a teenager named Gary J Svehla.  After 26 issues he changed the name to Midnight Marquee, and it eventually became a thick, well respected magazine, lasting all the way to 2001.  The magazine featured very long, in-depth (much longer than most magazines) and well thought out articles about certain films, actors, or points of view with lots of original art to go with it.

This issue had articles on classic American ghost stories, a Paul Naschy retrospective, a look at the Academy Awards from a genre point of view, a very long (12 pages) article on the evolution of the alien doppelganger subgenre, an examination of film noir horror movies, an examination of the movie Murders In the Zoo, a look at different classic versions of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, book and movie reviews, a letters page, and a regular column called “Forgotten Faces of Fantastic Films”, this issue featuring Maude Eburne.  Almost a hundred pages chock full of horror and fantastic film content.  Here’s a taste for you to peruse:

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Buio Omega (aka Beyond the Darkness)


Also known as Blue Holocaust and Buried Alive (which is the name I first saw it under, when I was a wee teenager), this mean little slice of Eurosleaze comes to us courtesy of Joe D’Amato, one of the more talented masters of Eurosleaze.

The story is about a young taxidermist named Frank who is madly in love with his ailing wife (played by the waifish Cinzia Monreale, who went on to be in The Beyond, The Stendhal Syndrome, and is still making movies to this day) , who is a victim of a Voodoo doll attack carried out by their jealous housekeeper Iris (Franca Stoppi, who went on to be in several nunsploitation movies).  Iris wants to be the woman of the (rather large, expensive) house which Frank inherited from his parents.  Unfortunately for her, the quite unbalanced Frank is not the type to let things go, including his deceased wife, who he digs up and taxidermies, so he can be with her forever.
Frank and Iris have quite an unhealthy relationship to say the least, however she is happy to clean up after him such as when a hitchhiker sees him embalming his wife (and eating her heart), insuring he has to kill her (after ripping all of her fingernails off).  Iris helps give her an acid bath (after dismembering her), and later helps Frank with another girl who he invites over to have sex with while fondling his dead wife in the bed beside them.  Eventually Iris grows tired of Frank’s obsession, and that’s when things go downhill for their relationship, culmination in a bloody, eye gouging climax before the cheap, illogical ending.
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This movie is the very definition of sleazy Eurotrash gore flick.  There are several full frontal nude scenes, tons of blood and guts (I heard that D’Amato actually got ahold of a real corpse to chop up), bad dubbing (and dialogue- in one part, when Frank is running through the hospital to see his dying wife, he runs into an elderly man who shouts at him “Hey!  Who taught you how to drive?!”), and nonsensical scenes.  It also contains some pretty well done atmospheric cinematography, including some nice shadow work and camera angles (proving that D’Amato is not quite the hack a lot of people accuse him of being, at least not when it came to cinematography), lots of realistic looking gory effects, and an awesome soundtrack by the one and only GOBLIN (which the English Language version calls ‘The Goblins’ in the opening credits).  The pace is a little slow at first, but before long it picks up and you don’t go too long without some flesh or gore.
However, at heart this movie is a love story, about a man who loves his wife so much he’ll do anything to be with her forever, and the woman who’ll do anything to marry him.  How romantic- it should be a Valentine’s Day movie tradition.


Related to my earlier post (review of Vincent Price- A Daughter’s Biography), I’m sure most of you have seen this, but if it’s been awhile, it’s worth another view (one of the best shorts ever).

In 1982, Vincent Price received a phone call from an executive at Disney on behalf of an animator (who was a huge fan) who had made a short about a boy who thinks he’s Vincent Price.  The executive asked if Vincent would give his blessing to it, and maybe lend his voice.  Vincent was happy to do it, and it began a collaboration that lead to his final role in Edward Scissorhands, which came out December 1990 (and in which Vincent plays Edward’s creator, who dies before he can finish him).  It also began a friendship with director Tim Burton (who was the animator who made the short) and Johnny Depp that lasted until his death (20 years ago today).  But first there was this excellent short, Vincent (1982):

Vincent Price died 20 years ago today. Read his biography to find out what a fascinating person the world lost…


There are few celebrities who deserve a tell-all biography more than Vincent Price.  The man was full of life; he lived big, surrounded himself with wonder and tried to experience everything he could.  Vincent Price- A Daughter’s Biography (released in 1999) was written by Victoria Price, who called upon not only her own memories of her father, but also dug through tons of his writings and memoirs and interviewed many of his friends and co-workers.
Price’s life was fascinating, and I’ve read this book several times.  Most people know him as Vincent Price, the creepy horror movie villain, but as Victoria points out in her introduction, “…fewer than a third of the more than one hundred pictures he made in his fifty-five year career as an actor were horror movies”.  He was so much more than just a horror movie star- an artist, a father, a lecturer, a wordsmith and master letter writer, a fountain of knowledge on all kinds of subjects, a book writer, and a true renaissance man, always trying new things and wanting to learn, experience, and meet new people.  In this book we see the highs and lows of his life (and tho she is his daughter, Victoria does not ignore the darker points, including admitting that he could be a ‘mean drunk’, and going over the split between him and her mother and his affair with the woman who would become her step-mother, who she did not get along that well with).
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It starts off with Price’s birth on May 27, 1911 in St Louis, after giving a little history on his father who had become fairly wealthy in the candy business (and his grandfather as well, who had experienced financial ruin, which in turn fueled some of Vincent’s depression and continuing fear of his own financial failings).
Vincent was a world traveler and an art collector.  He set up his own little art shop in California, and collected art and reveled in it until his death.  In the early ’60s Sears, Roebuck and Co approached him to open his own line of art for them to sell in their stores, the Vincent Price Collection.  He also became an avid chef, and co-wrote a cookbook with his wife (as well as several books on art).
The biography goes over all of this in detail, as well as his Broadway plays, lecture circuits, and radio show appearances (and monologue on Michael Jackson’s Thriller).  All of his television guest spots (including a lot of game shows and eight years hosting Mystery!), and joy of life.  Vincent Price loved life.  He was a strong animal rights advocate, and loved to eat hot dogs and drink root beer floats and ride roller coasters and have Christmas parties.  He lived his life to the fullest, but still was always afraid of losing his popularity and not being able to find work.
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But of course that never happened, because along with all of the above, he made movies.  A lot of them.  Victoria talks about most of them to some extent, telling the stories we want to hear, such as how a camel fell in love with him on the set of one movie, and how he burned his eye lighting a match on another and after it healed had to keep squinting in a certain way for the rest of the movie (for which critics lauded him).  About how he didn’t get along with Michael Reeves when they filmed Witchfinder General (aka The Conqueror Worm), what he thought of his fellow horror legends like Boris Karloff and Peter Lorre, and how Roger Corman talked AIP into making a movie based on Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, and furthermore somehow talked them into spending twice as much time and money on it as they usually spent on their movies, and getting Vincent to be in it.
She goes through his college days, and the dark times of the Red Scare, where Joe McCarthy was attacking Hollywood and destroying careers.  His damaged first marriage and both of his divorces, his battle with Parkinson’s disease, even his unflattering later years (including his joy at working with Tim Burton and Johnny Depp), and his dislike of riding horses (“The horse and I just don’t see eye to eye.  In the first place, the top of a horse and my bottom don’t fit.  My legs are too long, and my torso too short- in short, I look ridiculous on top of a horse and I suspect it feels ridiculous under me.  Maybe the situations should be reversed.”).
Reading this book makes you want to lead a more full life yourself, which I’m sure would delight Vincent.  Fascinating and inspiring are the two words which best describe his life, and anyone even mildly interested in horror movie history, Hollywood history, or people who lead interesting lives should check it out.  It’s a great read and his daughter writes it in a way that keeps your interest throughout (some biographies can get tedious and boring; not this one).  And as a master of horror, reading about him is perfect for this time of year.

Blood Feast Inc. ‘zine



Blood Feast Inc is both a music and horror movie ‘zine (tho this particular issue seems to have more music stuff in it).  The music is (at least in this issue) mostly metal and industrial, and tho there are a bunch of reviews scattered throughout the issue, it focuses on several longer music reviews rather than a whole bunch of shorter ones (like most ‘zines).  It also has several horror movie reviews, and this issue features interviews with make-up artist Julie Cimperman, as well as the bands SKREW, DEAD WORLD, MERCYFUL FATE, CHEMLAB, and DISINCARNATE.  There’s also news, a page of weird facts, and articles on the ‘concerned parent’ phenomonon, Conrad Veidt, and collecting monster models.  All in all a nice little ‘zine.  Look at some pages here:

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From Beyond the Grave

the VHS cover is a bit more sensational than the movie itself

the VHS cover is a bit more sensational than the movie itself

It’s strange what can draw a person to a movie, or repulse them as well.  Take this movie, for example.  Put out by Amicus, who did a lot of anthology movies around the late ’60s and early ’70s (such as Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors and Tales From the Crypt), it was directed by their in-house director Kevin Connor (At the Earth’s Core, Motel Hell; tho this was his first movie for them) in workmanlike fashion without much style or flair, but enough talent to develop an entertaining movie.  What puts it over the top and makes it more enjoyable is the performances.  They lift this movie away from being a silly, mediocre early ’70s British horror quickie (of which there are plenty) and turn it into, well, maybe not quite a classic, but an enjoyable watch.
As mentioned above, it’s an anthology, featuring 4 stories (plus a wrap around story to tie them all together).  It details what happens to several dishonest customers who come into an antique shop named Temptations Ltd, which is run by Peter Cushing, looking rather haggard and older than he really was (his wife had passed away just a year or two before filming, which was very hard on him), but charming and gentlemanly as ever (Cushing brings something extra to most any role he played, but he seemed almost born to play this role- he is perfect in it).  His performance anchors the film, but it’s complimented by several of Britain’s finest actors.
In the first story, the always reliable David Warner fast-talks him into selling a valuable mirror very cheaply, which turns out to hold the spirit of a dangerous being who demands to be fed… with blood  This story is hampered by not having enough time to breathe and create suspense, and a pace that’s way too fast.  It’s probably the weakest story of the bunch, and even Warner can’t really save it from being a bit bland.
The second segment is probably the best one, in which a worm of a man stuck in a loveless marriage with a shrew (played by Diana Dors, who was also in Theatre of Blood with Vincent Price) befriends a down on his luck ex-military man (a nicely restrained Donald Pleasance) selling matches on the street corner.  He steals a medal from Temptations Ltd to impress the ex-serviceman, who invites him over for tea, and to meet his daughter (played by his real life daughter Angela Pleasance).  Things are not as they seem, tho, and everyone gets what’s coming to them.
The third story is a comedy, and a showcase for the entertainingly hammy talents of Margaret Leighton, a British theatre actress who never did much on screen.  She plays an eccentric  medium who spies a homocidal (and invisible) imp attached to the shoulder of a man who just came from ripping off Temptations Ltd for a silver snuff box, and tries to help him get rid of it.
The last tale, like the first one, suffers from being too short and being hurried along at too fast of a pace, and involves young couple who buy an antique door that sometimes opens a doorway into another world.

The storylines themselves are rather hokey and pedestrian, but the acting is outstanding.  You end up liking a lot of these characters (or disliking some of them, as they are played to be unlikable), and wanting to see them interact with each other more.  The set dressing and production values are also very nice, and provide a great atmosphere for the stories.  Unlike rivals Hammer, Amicus didn’t soak their movies in gore and blood much, and this one is no exception- the violence and bloodletting is rather tame, and the overall feel of the whole thing is actually very quaint and charming.  I find the old time urban British setting to be a nice place to visit on screen, which makes the whole thing even more appealing.
So, to sum it all up, From Beyond the Grave is not a masterpiece, but is a nice little charming horror anthology that would go good on a cold October night with hot chocolate and peanut butter crackers (or whatever your snack of choice might be).

Chain Saw Confidential: How We Made the World’s Most Notorious Horror Movie


What can you say about the Texas Chain Saw Massacre (the 1974 original) that hasn’t already been said?  It’s been studied, broken down, copied, and intellectualized to death, and the general consensus among both horror fans and art fans is that it is one of the most important films in movie history.

Despite it’s legacy being watered down by a slew of sequels and remakes of dubious quality (let’s be honest- most of them outright sucked), it’s still one of the only horror movies inducted in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and began at least 3 or 4 horror movie trends in the United States (group of teenagers being preyed on by killers, crazy homicidal rednecks, a killer who wears a scary mask, and the final girl trope).  So it’s fans already know a lot of the stories and rumors surrounding it- about the horrible conditions it was filmed under (including incredible heat and dangerous stuntwork that injured several of the actors and crew), the grueling 27 hour dinner scene shoot, the real carcasses and roadkill that made up (and stunk up) the set dressing, and all the financial troubles and Mafia double-dealing it underwent after it was released.  A lot of the actors refused to talk about it for years because of the pain they went through and the lack of financial compensation they received.  Many of them are still angry about it (I incensed Ed Neal (who played the Hitchhiker) at a convention one year asking about it, and he became more and more angry and agitated as he tried to explain it (the “moving decimal point”, as he calls it, wherein the more fingers that are in the pie, the farther the decimal point moves to the left in the amount of money him and the other cast members receive).   To say there were a lot of hard feelings would be an understatement.
There was a story a few years ago in the convention circuit that Tobe Hooper (the director of the movie) was terrified of Gunnar Hansen, who played Leatherface (the main killer) and that anytime both of them were booked to do the same convention, Tobe would cancel.  He also would not do the commentary for the Texas Chain Saw Massacre dvd at the same time as Gunnar without someone else there because he was afraid to be alone with him.  Now, that same Gunnar Hansen has written a book detailing his experiences making The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and it’s a fascinating read.

After paraphrasing Herman Melville, he begins at the beginning of his involvement with the movie, and tells how he got the part of Leatherface and the things he did to prepare for it.  He describes most of the key scenes in order and gives little asides and tidbits of information about them.  His writing style is very to-the-point and matter of fact, and he discusses and debunks (and verifies) a lot of rumors and myths that have been told and believed about the movie and the making of it for years.  It’s all told from his point of view, however he did interviews with all of the surviving principle cast and crew (except for Tobe Hooper, which lends more weight to the thought that there is some bad blood between them.  He does not, however, speak ill of Tobe (for the most part) and does quote an interview done with him from 2008 for thoughts from his side of the story) and has quotes from them, as well as several members of the horror community such as Stuart Gordon, John Landis, and Doug Bradley (who all have thoughts on the legacy of the Texas Chain Saw Massacre).  He also talks about how the film was received, the reviews both good and bad (“a vile little piece of sick crap”), and goes into details about the distributing fiasco and Mafia dealings (and manages to not sound too bitter about the whole situation).

He dedicates a few chapters at the end to various thoughts on horror, the horror movie, how the Texas Chain Saw Massacre fits into the horror movie history,  and censorship (which will probably be preaching to the converted,  with most of the likely readership of this book).  Most Chain Saw fans probably already know a lot of these stories, but it’s good to have them verified by someone who was there and all in one place, so that when someone tells you they were in prison with the guy that Leatherface was based on you can tell them they’re full of shit and have this book to prove it (since he was barely loosely based on Ed Gein, and most of the story was totally made up).

This is a great book to read for anyone interested in horror movies, or even just indie/ guerrilla  filmmaking.  At just 234 pages (including 16 pages of photos), it’s a fast read as well.  Definitely recommended.

Machete Kills


Last week, in my review of Argento’s Dracula 3D, I wrote: “For me, there are 3 basic levels that I can enjoy a movie on.  The first level is how good it is.  The acting, story, cinematography, direction, and originality of it.  Is it clever?  Charming?  Interesting?  Does it have anything to say?  Some movies knock several of these out of the ball park, and those are great movies.
If it fails the first level, then we drop down to the second level- does it have at least one or two of the above things done well enough that it makes up for lacking in the others?  There’s a lot of fairly bad movies that can at least craft a good atmosphere, or have a clever twist, or good comic timing; something cool about it.
Failing the above two levels, the last one is if it’s at least entertaining in some way.  Is it fun?  Over the top?  Charismatic?  Does it pack a ton of crazy shit in it to  make up for the bad story and acting?  Or is it at least so bad it’s ridiculous, and therefore fun to laugh at?”.  
Machete Kills is totally a 100% perfect example of the third level.  It has everything (except subtlety and realism)- more beheadings and machete kills than any Friday the 13th, crazy, over the top violence and characters, tough ass chics, a wild sense of humor, disembowelments, death by helicopter blade, boob guns, a laser that when you’re shot by it turns you inside out, gratuitous everything, someone getting shot about every 45 seconds, and Tom Savini.  So tho it’s not exactly a well put together cinematic cultural treasure, it’s entertaining and fun.

It did T E R R I B L E at the box office, but I recommend it.  I saw it at a bargain matinee, and I didn’t feel like I wasted my money.  You just have to have a good sense of humor and be in the mood for an over-the-top fun goofy violent grindhouse movie.

The story is about Machete Cortez, who fights evil, corruption, and the Mexican drug cartels every chance he gets.  When a terrorist with a nuclear bomb aims it at the White House, the President (Charlie Sheen) calls him up to go kill the terrorists.  He runs into trouble when the terrorist turns out to have a split personality (one good and one bad personality) and wires the bomb into a heart monitor that will send it off to the White House if his heart rate stops.  They also have to deal with a gang of heavily armed angry prostitutes and am assassin named El Camelion who can change his appearance almost to a supernatural degree (played by Waltor Goggins (from Predators and Django Unchained), Cuba Gooding, Jr, and Lady Gaga), before they finally meet the nefarious mind who masterminded the whole thing.

You can’t take this movie seriously, of course.  It’s along the lines of absolutely awesome movies like The Toxic Avenger and Street Trash, only a lot cleaner (and with more money and cgi, so not as cool).  It’s unbelievable and over the top and funny, and I enjoyed it (I liked it better than the first Machete, or director Robert Rodriguez’s grindhouse tribute he did with Quentin Tarantino Grindhouse, which I liked ok (mostly for the stuff before and between the movies).  It could have used a little more substance, instead of blowing from one zany action piece to another (just a nice moment here and there for it to all sink in), and was a little preachy in a couple of places (but not too bad or unwarranted), but entertaining enough for the likes of me.


It’s too bad it did so bad at the box office with all the crap out there that should be doing worse, but you know what they say.  There’s no accounting for taste…