Thursday, November 29, 2012

Messy Messiah of Evil

Messiah of Evil (1973) is a semi-coherent zombie flick with some Ancient Evil and a lot of art damage. Arletty, played by Marianna Hill, goes floundering into a little California beach town looking for her father, who is some kind of artist. Along the way she meets an albino guy with a pickup full of dead people; Thom the Suit-Wearing Weirdo and his two groupies; and Elisha Cook, Jr. as the town wino.

There is a whole lot of plot that mostly consists of flashbacks and the reading of diaries and it gets mighty tedious.

Then there is some pretty decent zombitation, beginning with the cuter of the two groupies becoming the manager's special at the grocery store.

These are pretty clever zombies — they can build fires on the beach to signal The Dark Man, or Messiah of Evil if you prefer. They run the movie projector at the theater, and patiently wait for Groupie #2 to finish her popcorn before they attack.

The flick suffers from Antonioni Syndrome — characters wandering around visually striking sets, talking in circles.

Somebody probably thought there was some kind of art being made.

Hill never gets nekkid, which is a shame — and, of course, an automatic one-coil deduction.

It loses another coil for Frequent Fast-Forward.

So two coils, which is generous.

Rule #1 — Never hang out at the meat counter at the market in a town you suspect might have a significant zombie community

Rule #2 — Do not let directors who have watched a lot of Antonioni movies anywhere near an Arriflex.

Rule #3 — If you are the only person in the theater eating popcorn, something's amiss.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Death Race 2000 Is Very Silly, Wins Iron Coil

I'd forgotten just how goofy Death Race 2000 is — from the dorky, smarmy TV announcer to the ridiculous cars to "Mr. President," the cult of personality star with no apparent personality.

David Carradine was El Rey de Queso, no doubt. And Roger Corman certainly had a good time making this thing.

Leonard Maltin (between us, he's a bit of an anal probe) has a pretty good interview with the master on the DVD. A fair bit of Death Race 2000's predictions have come true: cult of personality, post-Constitutional country obsessed with violent entertainment, and a constant state of war. Not bad for low-budget satire.

And let's not forget the horror — of Carradine in his underwear, and Sly Stallon in a pink necktie and Speed Racer brand leisure suit.

Immortal, and the winner of an Iron Coil.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Take that, you dumb mothers

Occasionally I need reminding that the stupid brainless miserable pig-fuckers out there aren't really all that important. Irritating, certainly. But not important. Photo one is the best I could do on a river in Yosemite some years back. I was visiting my friend Christina in the East Bay, and I drove way the hell to the western entrance to the Yosemite park and found this river, which was a bitch to wade. I caught something and managed to get a shot of it disappearing. Photo two is down in Claryville, N.Y., on the Neversink. I am explaining something stupid to Giles Harlowe, who owns this fabled stretch where the East and West Branches of the river meet up. Imagine that — owning the Junction Pool.