Archives for posts with tag: crucifix

Outpost Black Sun

In the opening scene of Outpost: B.S., an elderly gentleman (Michael Byrne) in a nursing home receives a visit from a young woman, Lena (Catherine Steadman), claiming to be his long-lost niece. Rather than embracing him, however, she turns insolent, grasps his hand, breaks his fingers, and even pilfers the old man’s ring. This, one assumes, is intended to endear her to the audience when the man is revealed to have been a Nazi, and social justice demands that, lest the Fourth Reich rise up and six zillion more Jews suffer another Holohoax, wheelchair-bound geezers must be physically abused.

Whereas this film’s predecessor, Outpost (2008), was an impressive exercise in modestly budgeted horror-action that benefited in macho economy from focusing on a gruff, totally male ensemble of seasoned mercenaries, this 2012 sequel shoots itself in the boot from the beginning by featuring a Jewish Nazi huntress as the heroine, thus injecting a dose of sanctimonious and emotional motivation into the franchise where none was needed. Something of the sense of suspense that drove the first film remains in evidence, however, as the bothersome Nazi zombies are on the loose again and conquering a constantly broadening swath of already war-torn Eastern Europe. It also becomes more entertaining once a British commando unit enters the story, contributing a brusque, confrontational snottiness.

The cast is fine and does what it can with the preposterous material. Catherine Steadman is pretty and hardly to be faulted for her annoying character’s uselessness to the franchise; however, the teaser ending, which suggests that she will also play the lead in the expected third installment, is somewhat disappointing for that reason.

[WARNING: SPOILERS]

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Outpost: B.S. is:

9. Pro-family. Lena carries on a family tradition of Nazi-hunting and hopes to avenge relatives who died in the Holohoax.

8. Anti-military/anti-nuke. The term “military intelligence” is used sarcastically. Hovering over the whole mission, meanwhile, is the threat of a nuclear option that would probably not be efficacious in any event.

7. Anti-slavery (i.e., pro-yawn). A black soldier (Gary McDonald) winces at the sight of a chain and shackle.

6. Anti-state. The American spokesman for a “UN-backed task force” claims to be looking for chemical weapons, but actually wants to secure the Nazi superweaponry for his government. “Any government will pay any price” for the technology.

5. Anti-Slav. Scientist Wallace (Richard Coyle) claims to have been betrayed by Russian partners. “Don’t do time in one of their prisons. They’re cold,” he says, presumably with reference not just to their penal system, but to the Russian people themselves. Eastern Europeans are depicted as shady, sleazy, and suspicious.

4. Feminist. Self-reliant Steadman succeeds in throwing a monkey wrench into the Nazis’ plans.

3. Anti-Christian. One Nazi is named Christian Gotz, and a house with a crucifix conspicuously displayed on one of its walls turns out to have a Nazi zombie hiding in it. A map shows the concentric spread of the undead’s conquered territory in crosshairs, i.e., with a cross at its center.

2. Paranoiacally Zionist and Holohoax-alarmist. The movie industry, prescient of the day when the passage of time would render too ridiculous the idea of a geriatric Fourth Reich rising from the ashes to conquer the globe, has over the decades foisted on filmgoers such interesting (or not) innovations as the conventional Nazi zombie army in films like The Frozen Dead (1966) and Shock Waves (1977); cloned Hitlers in The Boys from Brazil (1978); vengeful and pitilessly boring Nazi ghost sailors in Death Ship (1980); the National Socialist moon colony in Iron Sky (2012); and now, most outlandish of all, the immortal runic unified field Nazi zombie army of the Outpost franchise. “Two days ago I still thought this was all about what these people [i.e., Germans and gentiles generally] had done,” Lena reflects. “But it’s not. It’s only ever been about what they were going to do.” “There’ll always be somebody else,” Wallace warns. Ironically, treacherous gentile Wallace turns out to have been working against Lena the whole time, hoping to acquire the Holy Grail of Nazi zombie-generating unified field technology not to destroy it, but to sell it back to the Nazis. Hilariously, once the deception comes out, Wallace’s black hair changes to blonde, revealing his truly evil nature.

1. Anti-German. Outpost: B.S. reduces the Teuton to what, in the paranoid and condescending anti-white progressive’s view, is his essence: a dead-eyed, lumbering, growling, killing machine bent on stabbing or cudgeling to death anybody unlike himself.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

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Till Death Do We Scare

Till Death Do We Scare (1982) ****

Poor Irene (Olivia Cheng) – every man she marries dies as soon as they tie the knot! Fortunately (?), her three dead husbands, who loiter around the house as ghosts, want Irene to be happy, so they determine to locate another, hopefully more durable husband for her and pick incompetent radio horror show host Alan (Alan Tam). What follows is essentially a series of slapstick shenanigans as the ghosts, invisible to Irene and Alan, pull various stunts to bring the couple together. Complicating matters are the machinations of evil spirits who would prefer to see Alan dead. 

Till Death Do We Scare is typical fare for the Chinese ghost comedy genre, but with the odd, added attraction of stretchy Beetlejuice-style special effects by none other than Tom Savini. The best comic set piece in the movie is probably the haunted chair that refuses to let fat guy Eric Tsang sit in it; but other highlights include a deflatable ghost face, an animated pig’s head on buffet table, a decomposing princess with amorous intentions, and an unfortunate sucker who rolls down a hill and gets flattened by a steamroller. Till Death Do We Scare has the madcap energy viewers have come to expect of the Hong Kong film industry in the eighties, and should please devotees of the Chinese horror comedy.

4 out of 5 stars.

Breakfast

Vampire’s Breakfast (1987) ***1/2

Fat Piao (Kent Cheng) is a portly Hong Kong photojournalist investigating a series of what appear to be vampire murders, but police refuse to believe his stories, and only a sleazy thief (Keith Kwan) is willing to help him. Vampire’s Breakfast, like The Haunted Cop Shop (1987), is not a typical indigenous Chinese hopping vampire movie, but a horror hybrid featuring a rotten-looking blond Caucasian bloodsucker (Simon Willson) with the usual western susceptibilities to crucifixes and wooden stakes – or, as the subtitles would have it, a “mahogany nail”. Pretty, pouty Emily Chu, whom action enthusiasts may remember from John Woo’s classic A Better Tomorrow (1986), adds a deal of grace as Piao’s love interest, Angie, while Parkman Wong contributes irksome antagonism as skeptical Inspector Chen.

The movie drags a bit in the middle, but does feature a handful of suspenseful sequences, generally drenched in creepy blue moonlight and city shadows. A clandestine visit to a morgue makes for one of the more memorable scenes, while a spurting decapitation at the end should please gorehounds. One does wish, however, that the nastiness of one early scene in a strip club had been sustained throughout the film. Veteran viewers of Hong Kong horror will probably enjoy Vampire’s Breakfast, but prissier audiences accustomed to Criterion disc production standards are hereby warned that the subtitles on the Fortune Star DVD release are more than usually sloppy, resulting in lines of dialogue like, “Tow big eyes were ataring at me”.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Vampire’s Breakfast trailer

teenbeachmovie

Teenage surf enthusiasts Brady (Ross Lynch) and Mack (Maia Mitchell) find themselves transported into a 1962 movie musical called Wet Side Story after they catch a bogus wave and wipe out via a magical time warp, thus setting into motion Teen Beach Movie, a weak Disney Channel send-up of the classic beach party vehicles of Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. The two modern protagonists naturally set about infecting their more picturesque forebears with cultural Marxism, all while singing several songs, and also succeed in halting the dastardly plot of villainous real estate developer Les Camembert (Steve Valentine), who of course has no other aim in life than to rain on the fun of young, freewheeling surfers and bikers.

The songs, all fairly generic, are too obviously lip-synced, and an inescapable air of the plastic prevails for Teen Beach Movie‘s grinding duration. The principals in the cast, however, are uniformly photogenic, bright, and enthusiastic, doing whatever they can with such substandard material. Top-billed Ross Lynch and super-suave Garrett Clayton, who resembles young George Hamilton in Where in the Boys Are and may have been cast as “Tanner” for that reason, definitely have the look of ascendant stars, while fathers goaded into subjecting themselves to this wacky butt-wipeout of a flick may at least console themselves that the girls on display, from Mitchell to Grace Phipps and Chrissie Fit (who does a trampy Fran Drescher impression throughout), are all pretty easy on the eyes. Barry Bostwick – who, against all odds, has managed to add to his resume a movie even gayer than The Rocky Horror Picture Show – has a minor supporting role as Big Poppa, Mack’s grandfather.

ICA’s advice: gather the family around the tube for a wholesome screening of Point Break instead.

Point Break

2.5 of 5 possible stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Teen Beach Movie is:

9. Pro-gay. The aerial view of a Busby Berkeley-style surfboards-and-beach-balls dance number is vaguely homoerotic.

8. Christ-ambivalent. Big Momma (LaVon Fisher-Wilson) is given to exclamations like “Hallelujah!”, but Big Poppa’s pendant resembles an inverted crucifix.

7. Antiwar. “All fighting ever did for us was stop us from seeing what we all have in common.”

6. Pro-immigration. Territoriality and tribalism are hangups to be overcome. Mack and Brady, when they first wash up on shore, are given a chilly reception as “ho-dads” or outsiders, but the bikers and surfers all come to accept them. “You guys are strange. I like that.”

5. Multiculturalist/pro-miscegenation. The 1960s “gangs” are retroactively integrated, with whites, blacks, and browns intermixing in dance.

4. Green. Camembert threatens to cause party-pooping climate change with his secret weapon.

3. Anti-capitalistic. Bad guy Camembert is described as an “evil real estate mogul”. Private schools, in this case the ominously monickered “Dunwich Preparatory Academy”, are characterized derogatorily. Riot and industrial sabotage win the day.

2. Pro-castration. Brady dyes his hair. Butchy (John DeLuca), the leader of biker gang the Rodents, cries with emotion and is revealed at the end to have an irrational fear of lighthouses.

1. Feminist. That protagonist MacKenzie goes by the mannish-sounding “Mack” for short is significant, as her abrasive feminism rears its nasty snout at every turn. Mack hates Wet Side Story, objecting to all of the motivationless singing and the fact that “the girls never surf as well as the boys.” Showing her stuff, she easily out-surfs the arrogant Tanner. “Why does she need a boy to be happy?” Mack asks Brady about one of the girls. “Because it’s 1962,” he explains. “Why should a boy influence what you choose to wear? Or anything you do?” Mack exhorts her still-feminine early 60s counterparts. “We can do anything a guy can do.” She encourages them to become more sexually aggressive and generally more assertive as well as less appealing in their apparel.

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