Snips And Snails And Puppy Dog Tales

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Produced to exploit the then-hot topic of Christine Jorgensen, the first person to undergo sex reassignment surgery, Glen Or Glenda? (aka I Led 2 Lives and I Changed My Sex) is part pseudo-documentary on transgender and transvestite folk, part drama, part personal confession by director Ed Wood Jr himself, part satanic fever dream, part burlesque/ S&M fantasy, part vehicle for fallen star Bela Lugosi…and the sum of its parts is unlike anything you’ve ever seen…Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, the narrator shifts from Timothy Farrell’s compassionate offscreen narrator to Bela Lugosi’s angry, godlike onscreen narrator…from the documentary-esque footage of transvestite and transgender case studies to Glen’s (Ed Wood Jr himself) inner turmoil over his impending marriage and his struggle to tell his fiancee (Dolores Fuller) about his secret life as Glenda…and his burning desire to try on her angora sweater. Not to mention all the incongruous stock footage which nevertheless seems to mean…well, something…Now, Wood’s Plan 9 From Outer Space may be far more famous, being on just about every cult movie list as the “worst of all time” (Obviously they’ve never seen The Creeping Terror or Monster A-Go-Go)…but it’s just good, goofy fun. If you’re looking for incredibly strange cinema, it doesn’t get any stranger than Glen Or Glenda?…

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Red Right (And Left) Hand

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Aka King Boxer, this Shaw Brothers classic was the first Kung Fu movie to play in America. Yup, it’s the one who started it all. Lieh Lo is Chao, a young, up-and-coming Martial Arts student targeted by unscrupulous rivals who break his hands…oh yes, this is also one of the most brutal Kung Fu movies of the 70’s…And he must come back stronger and more focused than ever for victory in the tournaments and vengeance on the streets. Tarantino obviously saw this one…in Kill Bill he uses not only the “wee-ooo…shit just got real” music from it, but also copped its eyeball gag…and you know Tarantino only steals from the badass best…

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Rudy Can’t Fail

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Dolemite (standup comic Rudy Ray Moore) super pimp extraordinaire, must help his friend Queen Bee, a nightclub owner being leaned on by the mob in this sequel to the Blaxploitation smash Dolemite which is even more outrageous, hilarious and straight up crazy than its predecessor…With Moore’s trademark rhyming boasts, disses and brain-derailing non sequiturs…Gorgeous women…Surreal dreamlike sequences…And fight scenes with the funniest action you’ll see outside of Looney Tunes…so watch Rudy signify…and get ready to testify…

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I’m A Don’t Care Bear…or…Hell Hath No Furry

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Let’s start ticking off the ol’ 80’s slasher flick checklist shall we? Social outcast turned deranged killer? Check. Thanks to a cruel prank gone horribly awry? Check. Horny, obnoxious cast? Check. Whose dialogue is way too clever to be spoken by dumb jocks? Check. Portrayed by actors that look way too old for their roles even if you squint or rub your eyes ’til they water? Check. Creepy phone calls? Check. Cheesy Hitchcock-ripoff twist? Check and double check. So what does this flick bring to the party that no one else did? A killer in a bear suit with claws made from steak knives. He’s also rather talkative, at a time when most slashers were strong, silent stuntmen. What this movie has that the others didn’t is a great soundtrack of Kasenetz-Katz bubblegum tunes. And Do You Believe In Magic and Summer In The City by the Lovin’ Spoonful. Which they must’ve gotten cheap ’cause they’re heard alot…but I don’t hold that against ’em…How can ya not love a horror flick with a killer this adorable?

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And Guess Who’s Dying

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Here’s a classic from the days when exploitation flicks ruled the rental shelves. Kay Lenz plays a cop going undercover at a strip joint (run by of all people Norman Fell) to catch a killer who’s set their sights on its dancers. The plot is ancient chappeau now but this was the film that started the subgenre of stripper thrillers (unless you count H.G. Lewis’ Gore Gore Girls a decade and a half earlier…but that one didn’t inspire many imitations) Its twist ending is cliche as hell, straight out of slasher movie 101…but Lenz is great as the hardboiled cop who grows to enjoy stripping…ditto Greg Evigan as her partner the token smartass stubbly mullethead. I know what you’re all really concerned about though…How good are the stripteases? Well, some are a bit on the tepid side but others go for broke…especially the pneumatic, exuberant Dazzle (Debbie Nassar)…

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Oh and the movie’s director is also a beautiful woman…former B-movie actress Kat Shea. Remember though…you must not come within five feet of the dancers…

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This Could Be Anywhere

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In Tenement aka Game Of Survival the the tenants of a rat-infested South Bronx slum must fight for their lives when a ruthless street gang (including Paul Calderon, Karen Russell and Dan “Cigarface” Snow) takes over the building in a reign of terror that stops at literally nothing…intimidation… beatings…rape and murder…

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Now, you dedicated sickies know that I’ve reviewed many a Roberta Findlay movie and usually you know what to expect:  bizarre plots, viciously snarky dialogue, virtually unheard of sexual perversion and ingeniously wicked methods of murder…But this one managed to surprise me. First off, it’s an action movie, rather than her tradmark horror films and roughies…It’s pretty finely crafted considering the budget restraints…and for once she shows sympathy toward the gang’s innocent victims.You’d think her cynical, Grand Guignol sensibilities would clash with the All-American, moralistic style of action movies but her brutal ingenuity just takes Tenement to a whole new level of intensity… 

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The Great Red North

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Obviously inspired by Dali, Lynch, Cronenberg, Romero, Evil Dead, Bob and Doug McKenzie and mass quantities of cheap beer, this 1989 Canadian Super 8 movie could best be described as “abstract Schlock”. A couple of Canuckleheads named Don and Fred visit their buddy Doug, whose wife has just given birth to a litter of the titular things…large ant-like monsters with xenomorph teeth….and the rest of the movie is a swirling miasma of gore, acid freakout music, lowbrow humor, haunted house sounds, horrendous dubbing, copious reverb and just indefinable whatthefuckness…

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Trust me, this is not the weirdest moment in Things