Movie of the Week: Class of Nuke ‘em High

A high school located just a mile from a nuclear power plant… what could possibly go wrong? Everything, that’s what! But don’t worry, the school was a cesspool before the inevitable radiation, and that only made things more interesting.

Readin'... Writin' and Radiation! (This poster exaggerates things a bit)

The school is terrorized by a gang composed of punks, lowlifes and cretins who call themselves… the “Cretins” (makes perfect sense). Meanwhile the rest of the school experiences the bizzare after-effects of the radiation by causing horrific mutations and a “thing” that comes out of a girl’s stomach (it’s not a baby).

There isn’t much of a plot to speak of, but these are not the kinds of movies you watch for depth in story. You watch it to watch weird stuff and though this movie delivers in spades, it still doesn’t have same charm of something from John Waters. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still weird, but it’s a bit bereft of the charm, if that’s the operative word, of a John Waters film. Still definitely worth a weekend watch.

Watch the trailer

Warning: The Earth-shattering trailer is heavily narrated to let us know that this movie is about “The Class of Nuke ‘em High” and may contain scenes not appropriate for everyone. Also, it’s 20 kinds of awesome!

Movie of the Week: The Brain that Wouldn’t Die

What happens when a doctor keeps his girlfriend’s accientally severed head alive in desperation and tries to find her replacement bodies? Calamity!

Alive... Without a body... Fed by an unspeakable horror from hell!

The story follows Dr. Bill Cortner (Evers) who has few qualms about radical procedures that at first border on outright human experimentation. We see later how easy it is to cross that line. The movie starts off in the operating room where Dr. Cortner’s dad is the lead surgeon who had just failed to save a patient. The good doctor then takes over from his dad and tries something truly radical “because he’s dead; I can’t do any harm”. It all starts there.

Dr. Cortner’s girlfriend is Jan Compton (Leith), the nurse (naturally) who was present during the “succesful” operation.

The story truly takes a turn for the bizarre when Jan loses her head in horrific car crash and the doctor manages to still keep her head alive, and talking, using a special compound (“Adrenal Serum”) he had invented and other scientific apparatuses. Of course, this still leaves her without a body and the doctor goes body hunting by tracking down attractive women to behead, much to the horror of the Jan-head.

Let me die! Let me die!

Though the film has little gore for the genre, even with a mutated abomination attack, and we’re spared some of the bloody horror. Having said that, there are some interesting dialog in the lab including several memorable lines from Jan’s head juxtaposed with rather amusing pickup lines from the body-shopping doctor.

Released in 1962 (fimed in ’59), the film stars Jason Evers (then going by the name of Herb Evers), Virginia Leith and Leslie Daniel.

Be sure to sidestep the oozing puddles of sexsim even considering the era it was released (like the doctor driving Jan’s car with Jan in the passenger seat) and take it for what it is. Remember this was filmed in the late 50′s.

Watch the trailer

Watch the full movie

This is one of very few older movies that I’ve been able to watch online instead of VHS or DVD due it being in the public domain. Yes, I still keep a VCR, just to watch old movies.

You can also download the whole film at the Web Archive.

Movie of the Week: Gumnaam

There are few things as enjoyable to me as watching old movies and once in a while you get to see adaptations of even older movies in a foreign language; the term is “Gold” ladies and gentlemen.

We’re rekindling the Movie of the Week series with Gumnaam released in 1965. Essentially a Hindi cinema adaptation of the Hollywood film, And Then There Were None (1945 Twentieth Century Fox) which in turn was an adaptation of the book of the same name by Agatha Christie (1939).

Taking that rich line into account, the movie then pours in all of the wacked out Indian goodness all over (including the obligatory music and dance numbers with the 60′s vibe). The interpretation is “unique” to say the least and the beginning features a song and dance routine that is legendary even by Bollywood standards.

The song Jaan Pehechaan Ho, was so popular, it was featured in credits of the movie Ghost World and, more recently, all over the place in Heineken commercials. I have to say the commercial does try to capture the wackiness of the original routine with clever gimmicks, however nothing there really compares to the actual scene in the movie.

The scene features Laxmi Chhaya as the masked front lady. The vocals are by the legendary Mohammad Rafi with lyrics from Anand Bakshi, music by Ted Lyons and His Cubs and the choreography by Herman Benjamin.

Behold, the original…

Believe it or not, this is actually in the thriller genre and the rest of the movie follows quite faithfully to the original 1945 production.

Site of the Week: Not Coming to a Theater Near You

This week’s entry is a real treat for me because I do have a thing for older movies, B-movies and relatively unpopular ones, and a lot of these jems are long out of theaters. Some aren’t even available in widescreen yet.

Not Coming to a Theater Near You

 

Straight from the site :

Not Coming to a Theater Near You’ began as a printed column in 1998, was published in varying capacities, and arrived at its current form as this web site (launched in October 2001). If not discerned in its title, this site assumes a bias towards older, often unpopular, and sometimes unknown films that merit a second look. This site caters specifically to those who find an impotent similarity in the “New Releases” section of a video store and whatever’s “coming to a theater near you.”

That’s right up my alley!

I haven’t been posting the last few days because I’ve been busy with other stuff. My goal was to share something that came to mind at least once every 3-4 days and I do have a few other things lined up.

Movie of the Week: The Color of Pomegranates

Few other works in the artistic world exemplifies the statement that “art flourishes under censorship”. Sergei Parajanov’s work created behind the Iron Curtain is no less than an audio-visual onslaught of poetic metaphor and vision.

The Color of Pomegranates - Sayat Nova

The Color of Pomegranates - Sayat Nova

Created in 1968, the film is an exploration of Parajanov’s life without the use of dialogue. The entire story is narrated in imagery and symbolism alone. It would probably take a decade or more to unravel all of the meaning. The film was suppressed in the former Soviet Union and was not widely available outside film festivals in the West.

It stars Sofiko Chiaureli in no less than six roles including that of the male poet and main character Sayat Nova, the King of Song.

Sadly, Parajanov didn’t live long enough to see his work flourish. He passed away in 1990 after a battle with lung cancer. Arguably caused by his years of incarceration in a labor camp as punishment for expressing his views.

The film had such a strong impact on the musical group Juno Ractor (known for their contributions to the Matrix trilogy soundtrack), that they fashioned a music video composed entirely of imagery from the movie.

Not quite the original film, but you get the idea of what you would be missing if you don’t watch it.