you have pretty skin, give it to us…

The Evil DeadOh jiminey christmas, where to start? I feel the speechlessness welling up inside as I try to write these words (and down a rolling rock at the same time). But there is no point in beating around the bush I suppose. Regardless of what you might think of it (though I assume that we all feel equally about it), The Evil Dead is one of the most important, seminal, entertaining, enthralling and just plain fantastic films ever made! I was down in the bed for some general anesthetic recovery and I felt no fancy to watch any other film. The Evil Dead is the great horror classic that established Sam Raimi’s career (for better or worse) and introduced most of the world to the wonderful Bruce Campbell, in his leading role as the second great “Ashley” in filmdom!

In The Evil Dead, the godlike Bruce Campbell is Ashley, a fine chap who has come with four other young’un’s to some godforsaken (well, some gods have probably forsaken it) woods in the middle of gol-darned, b-f nowhere to rent a terrible, run down and creepy cabin. Of course, this nowhere isn’t nowhere to everything, as it seems to be filled with some terribly evil, rambunctious & witty spirits…. So even before they get to the cabin it is obvious that this vacation will not turn out well.

The Evil Dead



Strangely enough, they actually go into this cabin and decide to stay! And then, while traipsing around the creepy place, they head into, sigh, the basement… There they find a tabletop with such bad omens as: a shotgun, a reel to reel tape player (with a tape still in it), a creepy dagger with skulls all about its hilt and a book bound in flesh with a face on the cover (also, worst of all, a poster for The Hills Have Eyes)!

The Evil Dead



Of course, picking up books like that is no great idea and reading from books especially so… No matter how creepy they might be. But an even worse idea is to play the reel-to-reel tapes of someone reading the books aloud… Especially if the person who is reading is also recounting how things start to go awry once he started reading the book! For our heroes, there is little relief after this. With the first recitation of the verses, the steam starts to rise from the leaves on the ground outside and, not to give things away (though I hope that you have all seen this film many times over already), bad things start to happen to the characters. After leaving the cabin at night to follow up on a bad sensation, one of the girls is hauled off into the woods to be bound and violated by various plant matters, something that she doesn’t take to well to. In fact, after that experience, she doesn’t take to well to anything.

The Evil Dead



Of course, to be fair to her, anyone who gets into close contact with the haunters of the dark out there begins to react quite unfavorably. The Evil Dead is pretty much non-stop creepy, gore action. It is filled with terrible violence, much running from ominous cameras (if you haven’t seen it, you can’t even imagine how much running from ominous cameras there is), over-the-top ridiculous gore, horrid voices, delightfully evil dialogue, and an unsettling and creepy location that might make you not want to stroll into the woods again.

The Evil Dead



It’s not as over-the-top as Raimi’s more humorous, but equally great, Evil Dead Two a couple of years later, but The Evil Dead is highly recommended to everyone. Everyone… Regardless of taste, age or language.



get the hell out of the hospital…

The Business of Being BornOhh, shivers! Tonight we watched a documentary that was very through-provoking in a number of ways. It was The Business of Being Born
(which is a very accurate title for the subject matter) and it basically covers the difference between “regular” hospital births and midwife attended, both at home and in the hospital. As someone who was involved in a birth the straddled these lines, both in the sense of planning on a midwife attended natural childbirth, but having it be a conducted in a hospital, and who watched the progression of suggested interventions, this did ring quite close to home.

The Business of Being Born
is told mainly through interviews with OB/GYN’s (both American and European) and midwives, with lots of footage of births and birthing processes, both at home and in the hospital. It is very blunt, both in its message and its methods. Starting with the basic fact that the United States has: the industrial worlds highest rates of hospital births, highest rate of cesarean sections and also the most expensive births. From which this country ends up with about the worst rates for infant and mother mortality in the industrialized world! The filmmakers look at the smear campaigns against midwives in the early 20th centuries and some of the horrible practices used against women going through child birth in the decades since then (some of these are too much to stomach watching). There is one troubling segment where they discuss how once medical intervention is begun (generally under the guise of relieving pain for the mother), each step of intervention leads to effects that pretty much require a further step of intervention. All of which ends up in an unhealthy, expensive (and for some, quite disappointing) viscous circle of even increasing intervention.

They thoroughly point out that only in a small numbers of cases is there any reason for childbirth to be a surgical procedure or even a hospital event, yet in this country that it what it has become in the vast majority of cases. It becomes obvious that they are using the ever-present American tactic of “giving direction through fear” to keep childbirth a profit center (for many: hospital profits, insurance companies profits, ensuring enough highly billable work for doctors) and to undermine (if not quash) traditional, logic and natural means of doing that for which the human was actually designed to do. Of course to me it all brings to mind the old RIAA philosophy of seeing anything that doesn’t feed these good old boy profits centers as some kind of evil or ignorant foolishness.

Anyway, I digress. The Business of Being Born is a project of Ricki Lake (but no, she is neither irritating or obnoxious here) which she was inspired to make after undergoing a hospital birth. Conveniently, the director got pregnant while the film was in production and her experience was worked into the film. All in all, even for one as skeptical of the Establishment as I am, it was still quite eye-opening. And unsettling, and maddening. The fear that people are saddled with (to bring gain to the greedy), and the limits of what the Establishment will do to defend itself against reason can be a little hard to take in such potent doses.



keep on truckin…

Truck TurnerAh yes, I finally got around to re-watching Truck Turner. Though it comes across pretty good, not having terrible cheap sets and horrible acting, it’s certainly not one of my favorite 70’s action films as it has a rather standard storyline and nothing particularly remarkable about it, well, nothing remarkable except for some great casting! Any weakness is more than made up for by the stars… First off, the incomparable Isaac Hayes is reason enough to watch it many times over! In fact, my first knowledge of this movie was when I found an LP of the soundtrack in a record store while browsing the Isaac Hayes records. Though the LP was sadly missing one of the two records, I bought it anyway and then went out and found the movie. And while it doesn’t have Pam Grier, it does star Nichelle Nichols, here playing a much, much different role than Lt Uhura…

Truck Turner



Ike plays Mac “Truck” Turner, a hard-boiled bounty hunter who will go after any target if the price is high enough. One of the assignments that he and his partner take on is going after a violent pimp named Gator. After he and his partner end up taking Gator down, his “all business and serious as all getout” lady Dorinda (that’s Nichelle) goes for vengeance and basically offers up a big piece of their stable of girls to whoever can kill Truck.

Truck Turner



Of course much bloodshed follows with people being blown away left and right, lots of fighting, girls in terrible Ho-clothes and some rad pimp outfits (try and avoid though laying your eyes on Desmond, though… a skinny white pimp who tends to go around in awful western style clothes with a matching eye patch). So it is a lot of fun!

I did watch it with a 13 year old, which made me somewhat uncomfortable with the endless foul language and rather overt subject matter. I think it was his first pimp movie viewing… Also be on the lookout for a small role for Scatman Crothers and a big role for another one of my old favorites, the always intimidating Yaphet Kyoto following up his awesome role as Mr. Big in Live and Let Die!

Truck Turner




master of the cube…

Wall-EYes, yet another classic from Pixar. As I have never been much of a fan of animated movies, nor of kids movies in general, I have always had some skepticism towards Pixar… Especially as I have always view computer animation to be some evil step-child of “actual” animation. But, admittedly, their films are the best modern American animated kids movies, bar none, and Wall-E was no exception. Not only are their animations utterly eye-catching, but the stories are sincere and interesting to a depth that other studios just can’t seem to manage.

For Wall-E we take a look into Earth’s future, where humans live purely consumer lives, aided by the horrible mega-corporation that controls everything, Buy-N-Large. After years of this, there comes a point where the world is basically covered in trash. Buy-N-Large decides that things need to be cleaned up so they come up with the idea of sending the worlds population on a multi-year space cruise, during which they will set an army of robots to clean up all of that trash.

Cut to 700 years later and one poor little robot, Wall-E. This little robot (his name is actually just his model, he is a Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth Class) seems to be the last one left cleaning up the trash in an otherwise empty world. The cruising population never returned and the other robots broke down so he wander his cities with his only friend (a cockroach) and compacts trash and collect trinkets.

Wall-E



One day though, a ship comes to visit. And not only does this ship come, but it brings with it an object for Wall-E’s attention… Something to focus on besides his towers of trash and his collections of knick-knacks. Of course, it also brings with it all of the other things that mysterious ships bring: danger, excitement, love and confusion and, possibly, a chance to take an adventure like no other!

Wall-E



Very reminiscent of Idiocracy with its big mountains of garbage, portrayals of ridiculous levels of mind-numbing consumerism and a statement of the terribly shallow (yet not implausible enough) future for humanity. They might actually make a fun double feature! But on it’s own, Wall-E is great fun to look at, quite entertaining and has some very nicely done science fiction elements.

Wall-E




 

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