Archives for posts with tag: vampire

White Girl

Just when you thought the movie industry had hit rock bottom, along lumbers White Girl with its Jewish jackhammer to get at the rock beneath the rock. Following on the heels of American Honey (2016), White Girl exemplifies a long tradition of cinema that seeks to shock the sensibilities with its exposure of the wild rites of the rising generation – a genre that stretches from the earliest juvenile delinquent pictures up through the likes of Over the Edge (1979), River’s Edge (1986), Kids (1995), Bully (2001), Spring Breakers (2012), and Heaven Knows What (2014).

White Girl is yet another foray into the demimonde of ugly people in ugly clothes engaging in ugly, loveless dances and lewd acts to ugly, afro-degenerated soundtracks – with the difference that this entry makes its anti-white agenda totally explicit. Purporting to tell the true-life experiences of some lowlife named Elizabeth Wood, the story follows an Oklahoma City slut (Morgan Saylor) after she moves to New York – ostensibly in order to “study” – but instead uses her parents’ money to buy drugs and get into trouble.

Gazing longingly out the window of her apartment at a group of loitering mongrels, White Girl announces, “I’m gonna go get some” and so sets out on an odyssey of debauchery that will occupy the next eighty minutes or so. White Girl falls hard for hat-backwards barrio banger Blue (Brian Marc), who tenderly screws her against a wall. After Blue gets arrested, he trusts her to get his supply of dope back into the hands of his ruthless supplier; but, being the stupid White Girl that she is, she instead hopes to raise money for his legal defense by trying to move the powdered product herself – with inevitably catastrophic results.

Not worth watching more than once, White Girl is a nihilistic film that thrives on shocks and not much else.

3.5 out of 5 stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that writer-director Elizabeth Wood should be institutionalized for her own protection and that White Girl is:

3. Media-skeptical. At the very least, White Girl presents a sobering picture of the species of undesirables who seek employment in the media. The idiot protagonist, the sort of lout produced by a lifetime’s ingestion of mainstream media poison, has gone off to New York to study writing and the “liberal arts”. White Girl’s sleazy magazine editor boss (Jewish actor Justin Bartha, playing a character with the distinctly goyische moniker Kelly), meanwhile, hopes to inflate the value of some worthless artwork he bought by spotlighting the artist (“Rambo”) with a special profile.

2. Pro-drug. The script halfheartedly makes a distinction between marijuana and harder drugs – “We just smoke weed every day, all day,” explains one of the mutts – but all drugs are inextricably linked with sex in the film. The title character falls in love at first sight with a street pusher, and plying women with cocaine or alcohol comes across as an expeditious means to satisfaction. Kelly gains instant access to White Girl’s orifices when he lays out some lines of cocaine and essentially rapes her with little resistance and no consequences. The movie appears to want to dissimulate about its intentions and provides a couple of scenes of morning-after horror and vomit for plausible deniability; but the association of sex with drugs is undeniable in the face of such moments as a young woman snorting a line of cocaine from a man’s penis.

1. Anti-white. Whatever claim White Girl might have to being a cautionary tale is forfeited by the flippant choice of celebratory ape music about pimping white flesh to play during the closing credits. A Jewish triumphalist proclamation of victory in the face of ubiquitous European degeneracy, White Girl is nothing if not an expression of ethnosadism. Zio-prostitute Chris Noth of Sex and the City infamy puts a gentile face on the sleazy lawyer archetype in his role of George, the unscrupulous attorney White Girl hires to represent Blue. In one telling moment, a drop of wine trickles like blood from the corner of George’s mouth – a projection to the effect that whites, not Jews, are the vampires that prey on America. “It’s a really fucked up system,” this character explains. “You could have a white kid stab someone to death and he’ll get less time than a black kid caught with a miniscule amount of drugs. This is the way it is.” One of the movie’s objectives is to get across the propaganda meme of “white privilege”, with White Girl seen to escape unharmed, suffering no repercussions after precipitating what is likely the end of Blue’s career. He goes to prison while she, unperturbed, is accepted back into the fold of the “college” life. White Girl, unsurprisingly, was produced by a rats’ nest of ethnics including Ariel Schulman, Orlee-Rose Strauss, and Gabriel Nussbaum – all of whom, one can only imagine, are deeply concerned about the plight of white girls worldwide. Another producer, Christine Vachon, made The New York Observer’s list of “The New Power Gays” – homosexuals being Jews in spirit and politics.

Vachon

Kosher Lunch

Chris Noth

Chris Noth 2

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Laurence Merrick 2

Life imitating art?

One of the many unusual figures whose life trajectory intersects with the Manson Family saga is Laurence Merrick, an Israeli Defense Forces veteran who, as critic Bryan Thomas relates at Night Flight, was sent to the U.S. in 1960 “to speak in support of Zionism, and while he was fundraising in New York City, he met his future wife, a dark-haired aspiring Broadway showgirl and wannabe actress named Joan Huntington.” From there the pair “came out to the west coast, and set up the Merrick Studio, located at 870 N. Vine St. in Hollywood, California, and for a time it was an inexpensive place for actors” – including Vietnam veterans – “to learn lessons about their craft.”

The Merricks were subsidized by the government, too, which enabled them to make a lot of money running the school. They bought a nice house in Beverly Hills and then decided to put their studio profits towards making their own movies, which they could then cast with students from the school, a win-win situation for everybody.

Laurence Merrick

Merrick, Thomas writes, is “probably best known for co-directing the legendary 1972 documentary Manson with Robert Hendrickson, which […] ended up garnering an Academy Award nomination for Best Feature-Length Documentary.” The Israeli “was also well-known in Hollywood […] for the fact that one of his students, Sharon Tate, would later be killed by members of Manson’s Family, during August of 1969, the same year he spent fourteen days directing [the biker film] Black Angels.” Note the interesting choice of words, too, when Thomas relates that Huntington viewed her husband’s movies as “training exercises”.

A 1977 UPI article states that “Merrick became interested in the Manson Family because actress Sharon Tate, who was murdered with four friends by the group, had been a student at his school” – implying that Merrick only took an interest in Manson after the killings had taken place; but Merrick and Hendrickson had begun conducting interviews with Family members “before and after the shocking murders that rocked the nation in 1969,” Thomas indicates (italics added). As his account of the making of Black Angels tantalizes, the totality of Merrick’s involvements with this movie, Tate, and the Manson Family strains the limits of what can be dismissed as mere “synchronicity”:

In fact – in yet another example of the parallels that existed between Southern California’s biker and hippie countercultures – members of Manson’s Family would occasionally drop by Paramount Ranch, located at 2813 Cornell Road, in Agoura, California, and visit the set while Merrick and his cast and crew were filming scenes. […]

Merrick’s script focuses on two biker gangs at each other’s throats, a white motorcycle gang called Satan’s Serpents — led by Chainer (once again played by Merrick’s favorite leading man, Des Roberts) — and a black motorcycle gang, called the Choppers (their leader was played by Bobby Johnston, whose biggest role previous to this one was as a prison guard in In Cold Blood).

The film’s title, Black Angels is actually the name attributed to the highway patrolmen who observe the two rival biker gangs from a distance, waiting for the race-motivated war for turf to explode.

Merrick recruited a real black biker gang to play the Choppers in order to provide authenticity.

The main plot concerns one “Black Angel” in particular – a lieutenant for the highway patrol named Harper (Clancy Syrko, who also edited the film) – who wants to see all of the biker gangs wiped off the face of the earth, and he plots to pit the two gangs against each other so they will end up in a race war leading to both of them being destroyed. […]

Black Angels

It’s interesting to note that this film’s concept of pitting white against black in a race war, in the year 1969, is very similar in some respects to Manson’s concept which he called “Helter Skelter”, an apocalyptic war arising from racial tensions between blacks and white, which he believed was foretold in Chapter 9 of the book of Revelations in the bible (as well as hidden messages he believed he heard in the Beatles’ “Revolution #9”).

Makes you wonder what kinds of conversations they were having at Paramount Ranch between members of the cast and crew and some of Manson’s followers.

There were also many interesting cameo appearances, including a real member of Charles Manson’s gang, Mark Ross (he plays “Singer”), who later claimed to write a theme song for the film that was never used […]

The film’s tagline “God forgives, the Black Angels don’t!,” incidentally, was borrowed from the hugely successful 1967 Italian spaghetti western, God Forgives… I Don’t.

Another tagline – and perhaps another reference to Manson? – was “A portrait of the family.”

Speaking of Manson and his family, again, it was during the film’s production that Merrick was invited to head over to Spahn Ranch, with a 16mm camera, in order to film the Manson family on their own turf.

Merrick also shot footage of them at Devil’s Canyon, their Barker Ranch hideout in Death Valley, and then later – during the Manson trial – at the Hall of Justice in downtown Los Angeles, in addition to other locations.

Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Vincent Bugliosi, who did as much as anyone to shape the public’s perception of the Manson Family mythos, participated in the production of Merrick and Hendrickson’s documentary and appears onscreen.

Guess What Happened to Count Dracula

Des Roberts as Count Adrian in Merrick’s Guess What Happened to Count Dracula?

Merrick’s previous movie, Guess What Happened to Count Dracula?, concerns the occult, mind control, and, at least subtextually, acknowledges Jewish power in Hollywood – and it only intensifies the Tate-LaBianca resonance of Merrick’s work, even featuring a minor character named Sharon. Thomas continues:

The movie featured several of Merrick’s students in key parts, and chiefly concerned what happened to Dracula’s son, Count Adrian (Des Roberts, who plays the vampire while sporting a wicked John Carradine-style goatee). Roberts and his musical partner, Andy Wilder, also provided the film’s musical score.

The film was shot at the Magic Castle in the Hollywood Hills, a mansion built in the 1920s which had been renovated for performances by magicians.

One of Merrick’s students owned the place, and had invited Merrick and his wife over for dinner, which left a lasting impression, and when the couple began thinking of locations where they could shoot their Dracula movie, they both remembered the Magic Castle, which was just about to undergo a renovation. […]

The movie also contains a subplot straight out of the then recent box office smash Rosemary’s Baby, when one character — an actor named Guy (just as John Cassavetes’s character was in Roman Polanski’s film), played by John Landon — is all too willing to sell his soul in return for being given a successful acting career.

It’s also interesting to note that Merrick’s film features a “surprise” ending that was clearly inspired by Polanski’s previous film, 1967’s The Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in My Neck, when Polanski’s future wife Sharon Tate sprouts fangs in the film.

According to Horrorpedia, “more obscure X-rated edits of the film [Guess What Happened to Count Dracula?], with an emphasis on male gay sex, were released as Does Dracula Really Suck? and Dracula and the Boys.”

Adding to the mystique of Merrick’s Manson documentary is the fact that it features Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme caressing a rifle and explaining, “You have to make love with it; you have to know it […] so that you could pick it up any second and shoot.” This interview took place several years before Fromme was convicted of (supposedly) having attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford in Sacramento. Merry Prankster and founding Yippie Paul Krassner claims that Manson sent him a letter instructing him to get into touch with Fromme around 1971:

I called, and we arranged to meet at her apartment in Los Angeles. On an impulse, I brought several tabs of acid with me on the plane. […]

The four of us [Krassner, Fromme, and her roommates Sandra Good and Brenda McCann] ingested those little white tablets containing 300 micrograms of LSD, then took a walk to the office of Laurence Merrick, who had been associated with schlock biker exploitation movies as the prerequisite to directing a sensationalist documentary, Manson.

Squeaky’s basic vulnerability emerged as she kept pacing around and telling Merrick that she was afraid of him. He didn’t know we were tripping, but he must have sensed the vibes. He may even have gotten a touch of contact high. I engaged him in conversation about movies. We discussed the fascistic implications of The French Connection.

Was Fromme “afraid” of the Merrick from the effects of the LSD – or did she have other reasons? This brief encounter, whatever its meaning, in combination with Fromme’s participation in Merrick and Hendrickson’s Manson constitutes another Israeli connection to an eccentric piece of American political assassination drama following the various Jewish and Zionist intrigues surrounding the murder of John F. Kennedy.

Bizarrely, Merrick himself was murdered in an outrageous episode further dissolving any distinction between reality and theater. Bryan Thomas relates the bizarre incident:

Dennis MignanoThen, in 1977, Merrick’s life would intersect fatally with a potential acting student named Dennis Mignano, who – much like Manson himself – had really wanted to have a music career, but when that didn’t pan out, the struggling rock singer decided to take acting lessons.

That decision had led him straight to Merrick Studio – which by now was teaching classes in acting, directing and cinematography – where he applied to be a student.

He believed that Merrick – due to his association with Manson, bikers, and magic – was the perfect person to help him launch a successful acting career (Mignano had reportedly been obsessed with magic as a child).

Mignano filled out an application to be a student, and then was told he was eligible for government assistance to pay for his tuition, but he had to wait for three weeks for the application to be processed.

Mignano grew irritated and felt like the delay was yet another setback and a disappointment, but he waited, and while he did so he watched episodes of a 1976 TV mini-series called Helter Skelter, which just happened to be re-airing on TV.

The TV series may have played a small part in reminding him that his life was now intertwined with Merrick’s and he then became obsessed with the idea that Merrick had actually placed a curse on him.

On January 26th, 1977, he went to the school and waited in ambush for Merrick to appear in the parking lot for a few hours and then pulled out a pistol and shot 50-year old Laurence Merrick in the back.

Mignano then fled the scene, and much like the opening scene of Richard Rush’s 1980 action film The Stunt Man – which, and get this, starred actor Steve Railsback, who had played Charles Manson in the Helter Skelter mini-series – he, by pure chance, happened upon a movie being shot mere blocks away, on Willoughby Ave., and the killer blended in with the crew (just as Railsback’s character did), pretending to be part of the film production team.

Merrick, meanwhile, staggered into his office at the studio, telling his students “Some son of a bitch shot me and I don’t even know why!” Some of the students thought they were witnessing an impromptu acting exercise, but quickly realized that their teacher was dying in front of them.

Merrick was rushed to Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital, but he was pronounced dead within an hour. Students at the Merrick Studio Academy of Dramatic Arts said that Mignano had been hanging around the building all morning, asking them questions about Merrick and his Manson documentary.

Mignano confessed to the crime in 1981 and was confined to a mental institution. Six months after his murder of Merrick, Mignano’s sister Michele, a topless dancer, was also murdered – a case that remains unsolved. Questions about Merrick remain, as well. Why was his actors’ studio receiving government funding? Did his work on behalf of Israel end after he left New York for Los Angeles – or did it continue in some capacity as he interacted with the Manson Family and completed his films?

Rainer Chlodwig von K.

Paul Morrissey

Paul Morrissey

Mention Paul Morrissey and movies about transvestites, heroin addicts, and other varieties of lowlife are likely to come to mind; but the director of such films as Flesh (1968) and Heat (1972) holds very different views than one might assume from a first impression of these films and from his professional association with Andy Warhol. “Staunchly conservative, Morrissey still frowns upon the moral and artistic state of America today,” writes Steve Ryfle, who interviewed the filmmaker in 2000. Rather, Morrissey’s vintage films reflect his view that “modern American life was going down the toilet.”1 David Bahr of The New York Times writes:

Paul Morrissey disdains rock music, abhors recreational drugs and thinks even less of liberal politics. When asked his views on sex, he pauses for a moment, looks his inquisitor in the eye and says: “I’m Catholic. I’m with Rome 100 percent.”

Such sentiments may seem surprising coming from a director whose films luxuriate in the libertine lives of heroin users, masturbating transvestites and polymorphous-perverse male prostitutes. Yet Mr. Morrissey – who from 1966 to 1972 directed more than half a dozen movies produced by Andy Warhol, discovered the avant-garde rock band the Velvet Underground and once saw a court label his work “obscene, vulgar and profane” – believes he’s misunderstood, to say nothing of misrepresented.2

Morrissey situates his work outside the counterculture and characterizes it instead as his disapproving reaction to the general collapse of morality as it occurred around him:

There’s something I realized years later, after I had made all the films, although I probably realized it at the time even though I wasn’t conscious of it. At that time, there was this idea that was just coming in – the media was just getting hold of it, and the music world was just screaming its lungs out about how great it was – saying you could do whatever you want. That was really idiotic, and stupid and foolish and silly, unbelievably stupid.

People, by the late sixties, were doing whatever they felt like, and nobody gave a damn.

“I understood that these people were good story material, good subjects to show where life had gotten to, and how pathetic it was,” Morrissey explains.3 Blood for Dracula (1974), for instance, imagines a future-shocked traditionalist vampire (Udo Kier) who despairs of finding virgin blood to drink in the sexually free and easy 1970s, while Trash (1970) depicts the boredom of heroin dependency. “So much of the culture glamorized drugs at the time,” remarks frequent Morrissey leading man Joe Dallesandro. “Paul wanted to show the seedier side, where it all led to.”4 Women in Revolt (1972), which utilizes a cast of transvestites for satirical purposes, mocks the increasingly noisy and confrontational feminist movement of the day. “I thought it would be funny if they were playing women who were converted to lesbianism by the women’s lib movement,” Morrissey says. “The whole women’s thing was so ridiculous. ‘We don’t need men,’ and all that.”5

The director envisioned his Madame Wang’s (1981) as a satire of nonexistent American values and the decline of Western Civilization:

The huge Masonic Temple was a Greek temple, it represented past culture, and it was abandoned and lived in by derelict female impersonators. That was my take on Americans, especially Southern California Americans. They couldn’t care less about anything, except maybe getting up in drag or doing a punk rock show and screaming and throwing themselves on the floor. And the poor Russian agent comes from East Germany and says, “I’ve got to meet Jane Fonda, we’re taking over this country one day, and we have to have all of our operatives in place and I’m one of them.” And everyone says, “great, so what?”6

Morrissey gives the following explication of his comedy flop Spike of Bensonhurst (1988), in which his “pain in the ass” protagonist (Sasha Mitchell) “treats everybody like dirt, and does whatever he wants”:

The little switcheroo, which I thought was the point of the story, was that finally when someone disciplines him it turns out to be the best thing that happens to him. The idea that there are some standards and a sense of order in the world somewhere […]7

Like so many avowed conservatives in American politics, however, Morrissey’s work reveals his complicity in the projects of the culture destroyers even as he professes traditionalism. The mundane drugs-and-drag depravity of his classic oeuvre, while successfully illustrating the emptiness of the revolutions in sexuality and consciousness that had been engineered during the 1960s, also serves to normalize the ascendant dysfunction.

“Life is so second rate now,” Morrissey assesses.

And that idea that life has degenerated to a second rate position was part of the story to all those movies. I still don’t see that as a story element in any other movies – the obvious fact that life today is so much poorer than it was before. And I don’t think you can tell that story unless you’re aware that there’s a difference now. Most people don’t even know there’s a difference between today and before.8

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Endnotes

  1. Ryfle, Steve. “Life Is a Toilet: The Films of Director Paul Morrissey”. Shock Cinema 17 (Fall-Winter 2000), p. 18.
  2. Bahr, David. “Conservative Bard of the Demimonde”. The New York Times (February 27, 2000): http://www.nytimes.com/2000/02/27/movies/film-conservative-bard-of-the-demimonde.html?pagewanted=all
  3. Ryfle, Steve. “Life Is a Toilet: The Films of Director Paul Morrissey”. Shock Cinema 17 (Fall-Winter 2000), p. 18.
  4. Bahr, David. “Conservative Bard of the Demimonde”. The New York Times (February 27, 2000): http://www.nytimes.com/2000/02/27/movies/film-conservative-bard-of-the-demimonde.html?pagewanted=all
  5. Ryfle, Steve. “Life Is a Toilet: The Films of Director Paul Morrissey”. Shock Cinema 17 (Fall-Winter 2000), p. 20.
  6. Ibid., p. 21.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid., p. 19.

Between gigs as the smirkingly hip host of the “Weekend Update” on Saturday Night Live in the eighties and his present occupation as a soullessly carnage-enthused neocon radio maniac, Dennis Miller appeared in a handful of movies, one of which is the entertaining Tales from the Crypt Presents Bordello of Blood (1996), which followed Tales from the Crypt Presents Demon Knight (1995). Miller plays sleazy Jewish private dick Rafe Guttman, who is hired by prim Christian career woman Katherine Verdoux (Erika Eleniak) to find her brother Caleb (Corey Feldman), who has gone missing after visiting a whorehouse that doubles as a funeral home.

Bordello of Blood coverVampires, as this writer has discussed in further detail here and here, are symbolic stand-ins for the Jews; and Bordello of Blood, written by A.L. Katz and Gilbert Adler, who also directs, evinces a definite knowledge of this traditional understanding. Before being enticed into the vampires’ den of immortal vice, the mischievous Caleb is already doomed to a horrible fate. He does not share his sister’s Christian values, and wears a little Star of David patch on the back of his leather jacket. It seems to indicate that Caleb has been marked for death and foreshadows his later conversion into a happy-go-lucky parasite.

A further indication of the Jewishness of the vampire plague in Bordello of Blood is the choice of giving the name Lilith to the vampires’ queen (Angie Everhart). Lilith, in Hebrew mythology, is Adam’s rebellious first wife, the world’s earliest feminist, who told her husband, “I will not lie below” (i.e., with a man on top of her). In later elaborations of the Lilith myth, she has vampiric traits, and superstitious Jews feared her as a demon who preyed upon boys. In Bordello of Blood, a midget explorer (Phil Fondacaro) in the tradition of Indiana Jones restores Lilith to life, and hopes to keep her under control by means of a charm or “key” decorated with Stars of David. This prop, appropriately enough, is the key to understanding the film.

When Guttman goes to the whorehouse, posing as a horny customer so as to pick up some first-hand intelligence, he finds himself face to face with a vampire in dominatrix Tamara (Kiara Hunter), who of course intends to suck his blood. As Guttman begins to remove his shirt, she is horrified by what she at first mistakes for a crucifix, but is relieved to discover is only a Star of David pendant, to which vampires are clearly immune – another of the film’s indications of the affinity between Jews and vampires. Guttman, however, has no patience for Tamara’s sexual pushiness and succeeds in turning the tables on her and making his escape. During a later adventure, Guttman tracks the gore-gobblers to an abandoned factory, where he remarks, “I’m gettin’ some really bad juju off this place” – which is, of course, to say “Jew-Jew”.

Bordello of Blood key

The “key” to Bordello of Blood

Another interesting feature of Bordello of Blood is Lilith’s relationship with a sleazy televangelist, Reverend Current, played by Fright Night’s Chris Sarandon. (The casting of an actor most closely associated with a vampire role as a Christian minister is itself highly provocative and intentionally insulting to Christians.) “You know, I can’t decide what to do with you,” the bloodsucking super-Jewess tells him in words that seem to resonate with a broader relevance to Jewish attitudes toward Christianity. “Should I kill you or let you live, make you my dog?” – by which she presumably means turning him into a John Hagee type of groveling Christian Zionist Shabbos goy. Lilith settles on the latter. “I want this sanctimonious shit to watch what happens now that I’m free,” she declares, referring to the sadistic, vampiric pleasure her kind derives from watching Christians squirm under the onslaught of the cultural rot inflicted upon them by the very ethno-parasites they revere as “God’s Chosen People”.

i_109_K57Current, though a corrupted man, is reluctant to acquiesce to such evil, and decides to stage a last-ditch effort to stop the vampires in their lair. “I, uh, I know I can’t fight you all, so I’ve come to join you,” he says – but just as no Jew can trust a Christian, no matter his protestations of good will, the vampires see through him and so the battle of the bordello commences, with Current and Guttman dispatching the Judaic creatures with holy water. The preacher, after containing his anti-Semitism for so many years, seems to experience a cathartic thrill in setting the vampire sluts ablaze, consigning them to the flames of a veritable whore-Holocaust. This sequence, significantly, plays out to the tune of the Sweet’s glam rock song “Ballroom Blitz” – the word “blitz” carrying a strong association with a certain European anti-Semitic initiative.

During the final confrontation with Lilith, which takes place in the TV studio where Current does his Christian crusade program, Guttman uses a laser to scorch a cross into the vampire bitch’s back, after which Katherine impales the hag with a populist pitchfork. A rabbi (Robert Rozen) then “consecrates” Lilith’s remains – this mumbo jumbo, one assumes, is some sort of “good Jew-Jew” – after which Guttman and Katherine are free to commence interfaith miscegenation – one of Bordello of Blood’s obligatory concessions to cultural Marxist expectations. A further surprise awaits the viewer, but this writer does not intend to spoil it.

Rainer Chlodwig von Kook

Read more about Jewish movie vampires:

Monsters We Do Not Need

The Vampire Elite

Have shopping to do and want to support icareviews? The author receives a modest commission on Amazon purchases made through this link: http://amzn.to/21EPsoW

The_Grand_Budapest_Hotel_Poster

Not since Nicolas Refn’s Only God Forgives has this reviewer seen such a shameless triumph of style over substance. Overrated Rushmore auteur Wes Anderson, the most artificial of all filmmakers, delivers in Grand Budapest Hotel a work that is less a movie than a succession of fetishistic explorations of elegant line and symmetry and fastidiously composed tableaux of actors making eccentric faces and striking unnatural poses. Anderson’s admirers will probably enjoy this nonlinear, tonally anachronistic account of the various characters – several big name actors in small parts among them – whose lives revolve around the titular luxury accommodation. Others are, however, advised to seek their lodgings elsewhere.

3.5 of 5 possible stars. Ideological Content Analysis indicates that The Grand Budapest Hotel is:

8. Anti-gun. An absurd and needlessly destructive gunfight erupts in the middle of the hotel.

7. Anti-slut. It is Agatha’s (Saoirse Ronan – worst name ever?) purity that makes her attractive.

6. Anti-Christian. Lobby boy Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) pushes over a piece of religious statuary, breaking it into pieces.

5. Anti-fascist (i.e., pro-yawn). “I find these black uniforms very drab.”

4. Pro-gay. Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) is a stylish and comfortable bisexual, prompting bigoted bad guy Dmitri (Adrien Brody) to call him a “fruit” and a “faggot”.

3. Anti-white. The hotel’s clientele is described as “rich, old, insecure, vain, superficial, blonde, needy.” “Why blonde?” “Because they all were.”

2. Pro-immigration and pro-miscegenation. “You can’t arrest him simply because he’s a bloody immigrant. He hasn’t done anything wrong.” Agatha’s marriage to immigrant Zero endorses the dissolution of national identities and, in view of her Mexico-shaped birthmark, advertises its relevance to the present Mestizo settler colonization of the United States.

1. Zionist. The Grand Budapest Hotel evinces a very Jewish sensibility, racking up a few extra shabbos goy points for the director, and The Jewish Daily Forward‘s review of the film is actually titled “How Wes Anderson Became a Jewish Emigre Director“. In a ridiculous reversal of the real world, Jeff Goldblum plays a Jewish attorney as an exemplar of moral rectitude who is mutilated and murdered by vampiric gentile Willem Dafoe. Alluding obliquely to the “Holocaust”, the film notes that Agatha dies of a “Prussian” disease. “Today, we treat it in a single week, but in those days, many millions died.”

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

The horror genre took a big leap backward when computer-generated effects took over from prosthetics and animatronic monsters.  Werewolf: The Beast Among Us, a C-grade Universal Studios rehash, makes this abundantly clear with its baboon-like lycanthrope bounding through a central European forest and maiming villagers to less-than-thrilling cinematic effect.  Unoriginal and unlikely to do much for the theatrical fortunes of furry monsters, Werewolf is still far from being a total loss.

Though plainly rooted in Universal horror tradition, Werewolf also borrows from that other venerable genre of golden age Hollywood, the western, with the plot revolving around a bounty and Ed Quinn playing his beast hunter as a Wild West gunslinger.  Also part of the motley posse are tough broad Kazia (Ana Ularu), mannered annoyance Stefan (Adam Croasdell), and – though the group only accepts his assistance reluctantly – newsboy-capped whippersnapper and medical student Daniel (frequently shirtless Guy Wilson).  Party Machine‘s Nia Peeples, meanwhile, displays her cleavage capably as Daniel’s mother.

V for Vendetta‘s Stephen Rea brings a haggard air of a life lived painfully to his part as Doc, Daniel’s mentor and the man who must deal with the mounting heaps of corpses as the werewolf attacks increase.  Rea has the best and most interesting face and presence of any of the actors, and could have enhanced the film still further had his screen time been extended at the expense of the broader, less individual characterizations.

The action sequences are adequate, but marred by hyperkinetic camera work and such gimmicky moments as the hackneyed following of a bullet in close-up as it makes its way toward its target.  Because Hollywood has yet to produce a convincing and truly frightening creature via computer animation, periodic recourse is had to lurid shots of nicely realized gore and guts to keep the audience alert.  None of this would have been necessary, however, had the script amounted to something more than recycled ideas, and if director Louis Morneau had borne in mind the infallible Val Lewton formula for suspense, in which shadow and suggestion rather than show are of greatest importance.

2.5 of 5 possible stars.  ICA’s advice: watch I Was a Teenage Werewolf again instead.

[WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS]

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Werewolf: The Beast Among Us is:

6. Anti-racist (i.e., pro-yawn).  A village bigot suggests that, rather than going after the werewolf, the people ought to be hunting “stinking gypsies”.

5. Racist!  Notwithstanding the above, Werewolf perpetuates the positive gypsy stereotype of ancient, arcane wisdom.  Also, one character (a gypsy?) embodies the unwashed, dishonest archetype of the bandoliered Mexican bandit of yore.

4. Feminist.  More than one woman must violently assert her dignity when a man rudely puts his paw on her.

3. Anti-vigilante.  Thuggish villagers more than once shoot innocent people in error.

2. Class-conscious.  Daniel’s rich girlfriend’s father fires a warning shot to make clear the lad is unwelcome.  From the moment the cocky vampire Stefan calls Daniel “peasant boy”, his comeuppance is inevitable.

1. Secularist/anti-religion.  The spiritual paraphernalia of monster combat are absent, with lycanthropy characterized as a biological contagion rather than as a curse.  Daniel, in a moment of intense stress, picks up a book (probably the Bible) briefly but throws it to the floor in despair.  Christian symbolism is utilized, however, with a werewolf suspended from a tree in a sympathetic monster-as-martyr crucifixion pose.  (As in the classic I Was a Teenage Werewolf, a young man’s monstrous adolescent angst is exacerbated and manipulated with unwholesome ambition by an older, morally corrupt authority figure.)

Haunted Cop Shop

The Haunted Cop Shop (1987) ****

The story of goofy police pitted against the vengeful spirit of a Japanese general, this Hong Kong ghost/vampire horror comedy distinguishes itself from most other Chinese films of this genre by featuring western-style bloodsuckers with sunlight-and-crucifix-susceptibility, etc, rather than the usual Hong Kong hopping variety.  Interestingly, one noticeable stylistic influence is Fright Night (1985), though The Haunted Cop Shop‘s plot bears little resemblance and evinces a personality and concerns of its own.  Unexpectedly suspenseful and simultaneously funny, this one is a winner from a special period in Hong Kong genre cinema.

abraham-lincoln-vampire-hunter

America’s worst president gets the superhero treatment in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  Actually dumber than I thought it would be, this reeking hunk of historical brain damage comes packed with boring characters, endless speed-up/slow-down bloodletting, and enough sanctimonious posturing to stock White House larders until John Brown’s apocalyptic resurrection.  A description of one moment from the film should suffice to indicate its level of stupidity.  In one scene, stampeding horses come thundering out of nowhere, and a vampire picks up one of the horses (!) and throws it on top of Lincoln, who gets up unhurt (!) and jumps from horse to horse like an acrobat.  Utterly condescending trash.  2 stars that belong behind bars.

Ideological Content Analysis indicates that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is:

6. Pro-drug.  Lincoln’s vampire hunter mentor takes a toke from a hookah, which is probably an indicator of this film’s intellectual genesis.

5. Feminist.  Even Mary Todd gets to play rough at the end.

4. Egalitarian.  Lincoln calls for silver tableware to be sacrificed to forge vampire-annihilating, racism-destroying weapons.

3. Pro-miscegenation, with slavemasters’ intense desire for black flesh sublimated into hissing vampiric bloodlust.

2. Anti-South.  This film actually manages literally to dehumanize
southerners, who, as it turns out, comprise a vast empire of the vampires.  Not only slavemasters, but whole Confederate armies, apparently, are inhuman.

1. Anti-slavery (i.e., pro-yawn)

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