Grotesque (1988)

grotesque_1Starring Linda Blair, Tab Hunter, Donna Wilkes, Brad Wilson, Nels Van Patten, Sharon Hughes, Michelle Bensoussan, Guy Stockwell, Charles Dierkop, Chuck Morrell, Lincoln Tate, Robert Z’Dar, Robert Zoller

Directed by Joe Tornatore

Expectations: I hope it’s… grotesque!

On the general scale:

On the B-movie scale:

Grotesque is not a good movie. It’s quite hard to get through, and even a cast boasting genre favorites like Linda Blair and Robert Z’Dar can’t spice it up past bland. I could barely stay awake, and took multiple breaks to slap myself in the face. Part of the film’s problem is that it has almost no tension whatsoever, plus it’s one of those movies that can’t decide what it wants to be. I’m chuckling to myself as type this, though, as the film’s identity crisis is also why I ultimately didn’t end up completely hating Grotesque.

Grotesque doesn’t obscure how boring it’s going to be either; right from the first second I immediately wanted to snuggle into a pillow and count some sheep. An elderly woman dreamily narrates while we take in a dark, nighttime exterior shot of a house. This lasts nearly three minutes and by the end of it I felt ready to start collecting Social Security. But Grotesque has a trick up its sleeve; this Gothic, dreamy opening was all a big ruse! We were actually watching a rough cut of a film being shown to some studio execs, and now the real movie can begin!

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Samurai Cop (1989)

Starring Robert Z’Dar, Matt Hannon, Jannis Farley, Mark Frazer, Melissa Moore, Krista Lane, Gerald Okamura

Directed by Amir Shervan

Expectations: Oh I fully expect a golden, wonderful piece of shit.

On the general scale:

On the B-Movie scale:

PURE. FUCKING. AWESOME. Can you tell I loved Samurai Cop? Oh man, where do I begin? This movie surpassed all expectations I had and promptly found a place beside shitty favorites such as Laserblast and Mac and Me. It’s always a joy to find a pure gem of cinematic trash like this, and Samurai Cop is like the Dom Perignon of trashy action flicks. Literally everything in this movie is done poorly and wrong, but it’s just this quality that means that literally everything is perfectly right. This is the kind of cult movie favorite that only a truly gifted individual could pull off. Like Lawrence of Arabia, or Troll 2, Samurai Cop is a movie so pure in its vision that it transcends the simple label of entertainment and becomes an art form. Samurai Cop is pure fucking awesome and you need it in your life.

I honestly didn’t keep track of the story as the film went along, as the film wasn’t too concerned with keeping track of it either. There’s a Japanese gangster who’s mad at some other gangsters and causing mayhem in the streets. The police force brings in their specialist, a man known as Joe Samurai to take on these katana-wielding fuckers. And that’s pretty much it. The cops chase the bad guys and shoot their guns. Next scene: the bad guys hunt down the cops and shoot their guns. Repeat. It’s fantastic. Samurai Cop is nothing but pure, unfiltered 80s, opening with a pair of undercover cops trailing a GMC van to a cocaine deal on the marina. I believe most everything of note in the 80s happened on the docks of a marina. Isn’t that where Reagan held the press conference to tell Gorbachev to tear the wall down?

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Uncle Jasper reviews: Maniac Cop (1988)

Maniac Cop (1988)

Starring Bruce Campbell, Tom Atkins, Laurene Landon, Richard Roundtree, William Smith, Robert Z’Dar

Directed By William Lustig


As the 1980’s were drawing to a close, video store horror aisles were beginning to lose some of that blood-splattered luster and morbid creativity that spurred a whole generation of gleefully degenerate filmmakers. Both the Friday the 13th and the Halloween series had been putting the slasher formula through its paces and although it never gets old watching a half-naked camp counselor run through the woods only to be beheaded by some machete wielding nutjob, horror fans were begging for a breath of fresh air.

Rather than resting on their laurels and being quite content with cranking out yet another by-the-numbers slasher film, William Lustig and famed B-grade writer Larry Cohen took a few of your typical genre conventions and stood them on their heads. Trading in the usual spooky woods for the dark alleys of New York City and the typical abused child turned homicidal psychopath for a warped civil servant, Lustig and Cohen were able to escape the standard ho-hum frills of the genre and bring a little something extra to the table. As a result, Maniac Cop offers not only a fresh take on a tried and true formula but also offers a unique look at police brutality taken to its nastiest and most horrendous extremes.

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