The Dark Side: The Mostly True Story of the Making of Star Wars

INT. MOVIE THEATER – DAY

The rows are PACKED, the theater is SMOKY. The film “THX-1138” is playing on the screen. People are DISTRACTED, CHATTING AND JOKING. In the back row, an aisle seat, is GEORGE LUCAS, 27, looking mildly frustrated.

SUPERIMPOSE: CANNES FILM FESTIVAL – 1971

George LEANS FORWARD and listens to two people speaking in French right in front of him. Someone TAPS George on the shoulder. George TURNS to see WALTER MURCH, 28.
WALTER George, we should go now. The usher let me in to come find you.
GEORGE Okay. Hey, what does ‘Ennuyeux’ mean?
Walter PUSHES open the door, the theater’s hallway is extremely CROWDED and LOUD.
EXT. STREET – DAY
Walter and George exit the theater.
WALTER What did you say in there?
GEORGE I asked you what ‘Ennuyeux’ meant?
WALTER Umm…boring.
GEORGE Hmm.
WALTER Listen, George, you know what you’re gonna say to Picker?
GEORGE Uh…I’m not too worried.
WALTER This is a real movie guy, okay? We’ve got to come across like we know what we’re talking about. We don’t wanna go in there and look like a couple of film school jerks.
GEORGE How do we pull that off?
WALTER This guy produced “A HARD DAY’S NIGHT”, he’s no lightweight.
GEORGE I know, I know.
WALTER Has he seen “THX-1138”?
GEORGE I don’t know. I hope not.
INT. CARLTON HOTEL – LOBBY – DAY
Walter and George are walking through the hotel lobby.
WALTER Maybe we should have a drink first.
GEORGE No, we should go in there clearheaded.
They come to an elevator, Walter IMPATIENTLY PRESSES the button for the top floor.
WALTER All right. George, we’re going all the way to the top.
George laughs politely.
WALTER (CONT’D) He’s staying in a suite. Wonder how much it is a night up there?
GEORGE More than we’ve got.
WALTER I just hope he’s got food. I’ve lost fifteen pounds in the last week.
GEORGE (sarcastic) Is it the fine European cuisine?
WALTER Yeah. I can’t afford to eat it. You know, I thought I was being smart, riding my bike across England. See the countryside, meet the people, eat simply. Actually thought I’d save money. Here I am broke and starved.
GEORGE I’m not doing any better, Walt. I couldn’t afford a ticket to see my own movie.
WALTER That’s the sort of thing we wanna play down, George.
GEORGE Don’t worry. I’ve got a good feeling about this.

INT. CARLTON HOTEL – SUITE – DAY

A KNOCK at the door of the LUXURIOUS suite, the door OPENS to Walter and George. DAVID PICKER, 40, wealthy but conservative, greets them.
DAVID Welcome! George, Walter, how do you do?
GEORGE Hi.
WALTER Hi.
David shakes their hands and pats George on the back.
DAVID You know, I just saw your movie, this afternoon. “THX-1138”.
GEORGE Oh good. I was hoping.
INT. CARLTON HOTEL – SUITE – BALCONY
The three of them are having cocktails.
DAVID You know, boys, a flop isn’t always a failure. I’ve made movies that I knew would never turn a profit. I didn’t make a dime off “Lenny”, and I never thought I would. But the impact of a film is not always at the box office. Someday, it will pay off, I believe, in its own way. It will find its place, it will reach somebody. In the meantime, I get to make movies.
George and Walter think this over.
DAVID (CONT’D) Of course, Dustin Hoffman got his paycheck.
David sips his drink and takes a DEEP BREATH, GAZING off into the distance. He turns back to them and RAISES HIS GLASS. They all do.
DAVID (CONT’D) To “American Graffiti”.
They CLINK glasses and drink.
DAVID (CONT’D) So, George, what do you have planned after Graffiti? I heard something, somewhere, about you trying to buy the rights to “Flash Gordon”.
George nods.
GEORGE I looked into it. I decided to go another way, though. Do something original.
DAVID Good for you.
GEORGE But it is going to be space movie. A space opera. Like those old serials that used to play back in the fifties. You know…
DAVID (melodramatically) “Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe!”
GEORGE Something like that.
DAVID Well, good luck, George. And don’t worry if it doesn’t make you any money. Just get it made, and it’ll find its place.

INT. CARLTON HOTEL – HALLWAY – DAY

George and Walter exit David’s suite and walk to the elevator. Walter waits until the suite’s door is shut and then he turns to George.
WALTER I don’t get it, George, why did you tell him you were gonna make the space movie? What about “Apocalypse Now”? You’ve been working on that for years.
GEORGE No one is gonna finance a movie about Vietnam. Not my movie, anyway. Not after “THX.”
WALTER So that’s it?
They run to catch the elevator, which is closing, and they just make it.
GEORGE No, that’s not it. I’ll still shop it around. When “Graffiti’s” a hit, I’ll be able to do whatever I want.
WALTER That’s a big if.
GEORGE It’ll be fine.
WALTER I don’t know. I mean, you don’t even have a script.
The elevator doors close.

EXT. PETALUMA – STREET – NIGHT

Two classic cars are riding side-by-side down the street. Driving the car are on the left is HARRISON FORD, 33, wearing a cowboy hat. The driver on the right is PAUL LE MAT, 28.
HARRISON (to Paul) Hey, I’ve been lookin’ for ya! Didn’t you hear I was lookin’ for ya?
PAUL (to Harrison) Naw! But you can bet if I had I woulda slowed down so’s you could find me!
Harrison laughs.
HARRISON That’s good! Oh, hey, is that your car? Shoot, I thought I saw a roller skate running loose down the street! My sister lost one, ’bout the same size as that!
PAUL Really? Judging by your car, I guess most race cars look like roller skates to you, seeing as they’re usually so far ahead o’ ya!
HARRISON Well, we must be on a hill, ’cause I never saw a dogcart movin’ without a horse! You must be a magician!
PAUL Well, I don’t know no magic, but you must be using some kinda voodoo to keep that heap runnin’.
HARRISON I keep her runnin’ with…darn it!
Harrison’s hat falls off his head and in between the two cars. He reaches for it.
GEORGE Cut!
The cars are revealed to be on the back of a moving trailer with fixed cameras pointed at each. George is sitting just ahead of them, looking on.
HARRISON Oughta staple this hat to my head. Hey, are we gonna actually do a second take?
PAUL First time for everything. How was it, George? Until the hat malfunction, I mean.
GEORGE (distracted) It was great! Terrific!
Paul and Harrison look at each, frustrated.
HARRISON That’s what he always says.
PAUL Maybe we’re that good.
HARRISON Aw hell, I’m just doing this movie thing to support my carpentry habit.
PAUL Yeah, I was gonna tell you, you should keep your day job.
HARRISON Well, acting with you is a lot like working with wood, anyway.
PAUL How drunk are you, Ford?
HARRISON Depends on how good your booze is, Paul.
PAUL It’s gone, is what it is.
George CLIMBS DOWN from the truck. HASKELL WEXLER, 50, walks up to him.
HASKELL I think that’s it for the night, George. We could give it one more pass, but it’ll be getting light pretty soon.
George LOOKS at his watch and YAWNS, EXHAUSTED.
GEORGE I’m heading back to the office, Wex.
HASKELL You need to sleep, George.
GEORGE I’m waiting to hear from Francis.

INT. OFFICE – NIGHT

George walks into his office, waiting there is GARY KURTZ, 33.
GEORGE Gary, did you talk to Francis?
GARY Yeah, George. I’ve got an idea of the offer he’s gonna make on “Apocalypse Now”. I doubt you’re gonna like it, though.
GEORGE Well, what is it?
GARY (reluctant) Coppola wants twenty-five percent of the profits.
George SHAKES his head and COLLAPSES in an office chair.
GEORGE (disbelief) He’s a millionaire. A millionaire. But I don’t think he’s truly happy unless I’m broke.
GARY You may be right. He sounded pretty happy.
GEORGE He’s got to do better than that. He owes me.
GARY I don’t think he sees it that way. He’s not the same guy, George. He’s the director of “The Godfather” for chrissake. You’re the director of…
GEORGE A piece of arty-fartsy trash?
GARY No one’s saying “THX” is trash, George. People are still talking about how amazing it was that a first time director pulled that off. But you don’t have a lot of clout, right now. Francis has got a lot of pull. He’s a gross player.
GEORGE “Apocalypse” is not his movie. It’s John’s and mine. I think he’s gonna try and take it over, and I don’t think I can work like that.
Gary shrugs. George is SILENT for a moment, PENSIVE.
GEORGE (CONT’D) If I give in, I think Francis is just gonna want more. He’s becoming a dictator.
GARY That’s just the way he is. He’s pushy, he’s unreasonable, that’s just Francis. We wouldn’t be here today if he wasn’t.
GEORGE I’m not sure I can trust him.
GARY He’s still your friend.
GEORGE I know that, but that doesn’t mean we ought to be making movies together.
GARY So?
GEORGE So nothing. I’m just not gonna do it. That’s that. I don’t think I can work with him. I love the guy, I admire him, but I think we’re just too different. I think I’m just gonna go ahead and work on the space movie.
GARY (nodding) You’re gonna go ahead with “The Star Wars”.
George nods, too.
GARY (CONT’D) Good. I’m glad.
GEORGE Yeah, and it’ll be my movie. That’s the most important thing.

INT. THE LUCAS HOME – OFFICE – DAY

George is sitting at his desk STARING BLANKLY at a notebook. He picks up a pencil and writes something, then LOOKS it over.
CLOSE UP – NOTEBOOK at the top of the page is written “Journal of the Whills.”
George LEANS FAR BACK in his chair and is QUIET. The clock on the wall TICKS LOUDER AND LOUDER.

CUT TO:
INT. EDITING ROOM – DAY

George is LEANING BACK in a chair, his notebook on his lap, while Walter is SITTING in front of a tape reel machine used for sound editing. He’s TRYING to talk to George while working.
WALTER So, where were we? Um, you’ve got this guy named Chewie Two Thorpe…
GEORGE Chewie, for short. He’s the son of a famous pilot named Han Dardell Thorpe.
WALTER Right. So, Chewie…I kind of like that, makes me wanna eat some caramels. So, Chewie’s 16 and going off to school to become a knight templar of the future, which are called Jedis, then.
GEORGE Jedi-Templer.
WALTER Templer. That’s interesting. You change it just enough so that’s it familiar, yet different. Words change over time, anyway.
GEORGE Right. You know, I’m kind of moving away from this being in the future, though.
WALTER Well, when’s it happening, George? It can’t be happening now, and there certainly weren’t any space cruisers before now.
GEORGE Yeah, I know. I just haven’t decided exactly what or where this whole thing takes place. I’m leaving that open, for now.
WALTER Okay. Well, anyway, you said this guy has some big adventure, right? Goes on a quest of some kind. What’s that all about? Is he searching for something, like in “The Lord of the Rings”? Some sort of macguffin?
GEORGE No. It hasn’t got a macguffin. He leaves the academy because his teacher, Mace Windy, is expelled. It’s thought that he’s become too strong, too powerful. The other Jedi fear him.
WALTER What happens after that?
GEORGE They sort of wander aimlessly. Eventually, they get work guarding a shipment of fusion portables to Yavin.
Walter PAUSES, LOOKS OVER at George, a bit perplexed. George is LOST IN THOUGHT.
WALTER I don’t know, George. Something’s definitely there, but…
GEORGE What?
WALTER There’s just no…story, you know.
GEORGE Well, I’m doing something completely original, Walt. It takes time to come up with something completely new.
WALTER Yeah, I get that, but…what’s new, George? To a guy who knows movies, nothing is new. I mean, if a guy wants to do a romance film, he’s got to remember that Shakespeare already did Romeo and Juliet. If he forgets that, he might end up just remaking it. You know what I mean? Someone’s already done it, no matter what you come up with.
GEORGE What are you saying? That you can’t be original? I don’t believe that.
WALTER Yeah, you can have new ideas, but…
Walter TURNS to George.
WALTER (CONT’D) It’s like Kurosawa. You love Kurosawa, right? He didn’t do anything new. He redid Macbeth, Dostoevsky, even John Ford. You know, he loved John Ford movies the way you love his. Nobody cares that he took the stories. Do you?
GEORGE Hmm.
WALTER It wasn’t stealing, really, it was just…Kurosawa’s turn to tell them. Now people are redoing his movies!
George nods.
GEORGE That’s interesting.
WALTER Seems to me, you’ve got to go with your gut. I mean, what do you really wanna see up there on the screen, George? The kind of story that just forces you to tell it, that won’t leave you alone until you do. That’s the story you’ve got to tell!
Walter YAWNS, RUBS his eyes, and POINTS to a shelf of reels near George.
WALTER (CONT’D) Do me a favor, George. I need Reel two, Dialogue two. It’s labeled “R2-D2.”
George is PIQUED.
GEORGE What did you say?
WALTER I said “R2-D2.”
George picks up his NOTEBOOK.
CLOSE UP – NOTEBOOK
George JOTS down R2-D2 and UNDERLINES it.

INT. DAVID PICKER’S OFFICE – DAY

Picker’s secretary GAYLE, 20s, OPENS his door and WALKS in, she HANDS David a package.
GAYLE Mr. Picker, a package from “Lucasfilm.”
DAVID Oh good! Thank you, Gayle.
David OPENS the package and finds a bundle of TYPE-WRITTEN PAGES and PICTURES. He FLIPS through them suspiciously, as if not knowing what to make of it. He STOPS on a page, READS a little, and POINTS to something.
DAVID (CONT’D) Um, Gayle, do you know this word? Is this a misspelling?
Gayle, who was leaving, TURNS BACK.
GAYLE Let me see.
Gayle BENDS OVER and reads.
GAYLE (CONT’D) (pleasantly) Opuchi.
DAVID Oh-poo-chee?
GAYLE Mm-hmm. Opuchi.
David FLIPS through the package again. Mixed in are PHOTOGRAPHS from NASA missions and professional DRAWINGS of sci-fi CREATURES and SPACESHIPS.
DAVID (shocked) My god. This movie would cost a hundred million dollars. There’s not enough money in Hollywood to shoot this picture.
GAYLE Wow. What is that thing?
DAVID I don’t know. It’s all a bunch of spaceships and monsters.

INT. AMERICAN ZOETROPE – AUDITION ROOM – DAY
POV – CAMERA

Sitting across from one another are SYLVESTER STALLONE, 20s, and an unidentified Japanese ACTOR, 50s. George is standing in front of them with a clapper.
GEORGE Action!
SYLVESTER Han Solo. I’m captain of the Millennium Falcon. Chewie here tells me you’re looking for passage to the Alderaan system.
JAPANESE ACTOR (thick Japanese accent) Yes, indeed. If it’s a fast ship.
SYLVESTER Fast ship? You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon?
JAPANESE ACTOR Should I have?
SYLVESTER It’s the ship that made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs! I’ve outrun Imperial starships, not the local bulk-cruisers, mind you. I’m talking about the big Corellian ships now. She’s fast enough for you, old man. What’s the cargo?
GEORGE Cut! I wanna try the dialogue between Han and Luke. I’m gonna bring in someone to read for Luke.
The Japanese Actor NODS and gets up.
SYLVESTER I’ve got a couple of questions about Han.
GEORGE I think what you’re doing is pretty good.
The actor reading for Luke sits down.
SYLVESTER Okay. It’s just that I’m thinking I could play him more like a thug, you know, a criminal. Not a bad guy, exactly, but someone who’ll do what needs to be done to survive. You know, he can be cold, calculating, but underneath it all is some kind of…light, you know?
GEORGE (disinterested) Uh, yeah, okay. That’ll work.
Sylvester frowns.

INT. AMERICAN ZOETROPE – AUDITION ROOM – DAY
POV – CAMERA

Now, reading for Han and Luke, respectively, are CHRISTOPHER WALKEN, 30s and ROBBY BENSON, 19.
CHRISTOPHER What the…? Aw, we’ve come out of hyperspace into a meteor shower. Some kind of asteroid collision. It’s not on any of the charts.
ROBBY What’s going on?
CHRISTOPHER Our position is correct, except…no, Alderaan!
ROBBY What do you mean? Where is it?
CHRISTOPHER Thats what I’m trying to tell you, kid. It ain’t there. It’s been totally blown away.
ROBBY Destroyed…by the Empire!
CHRISTOPHER The entire starfleet couldn’t destroy the whole planet. It’d take a thousand ships with more fire power than I’ve ever seen! There’s another ship coming in.
ROBBY Maybe they know what happened.
CHRISTOPHER It’s an Imperial fighter.
ROBBY It followed us!
CHRISTOPHER There aren’t any bases around here. Where did it come from?
ROBBY It sure is leaving in a big hurry. If they identify us, we’re in big trouble.
CHRISTOPHER Not if I can help it. Chewie…jam it’s transmissions.
GEORGE Cut! Good.
CHRISTOPHER (pleasantly) Yeah? I’ll have to take your word for it. I’m utterly confused.
ROBBY I think you nailed it.
CHRISTOPHER Yeah? To be honest, I’m not certain what’s going on in this picture. I haven’t read the script, yet. I like this guy, Han, though. I like his name. Solo. Sooolooooo. How SO low can you SO go?
ROBBY Luke Starkiller’s a pretty cool name, too.
CHRISTOPHER Yeah? Who’s that?

INT. AMERICAN ZOETROPE – AUDITION ROOM – DAY
POV – CAMERA

Reading for Han and Luke, respectively, are NICK NOLTE and WILLIAM KATT.
NICK Well, it checks out again, there’s no mistake.
WILLIAM You mean, you can’t find organa major?
NICK Oh, I’ve found it, it’s just not there!
WILLIAM Organa major’s been destroyed?
NICK What’s left’s been contaminated. That’s it right there. Look at those radiation readouts. It’s impossible, I’ve never seen anything like it!
WILLIAM The empire must have gotten here first.
NICK The planet’s been completely blown away. Why, this would have taken a thousand ships with more fire power than I’ve ever seen! If the Empire had some new kind of weapon that could do this, I’d have heard something, I would have known about it.
GEORGE Cut!
Nick Nolte takes a DEEP BREATH and LEANS OVER, his FACE in his HANDS. He’s hungover.
NICK (to William) I tell ya, Luke, I feel like the Empire blew up my brain.
Everyone laughs, all around.
WILLIAM (laughing) Don’t know what hit ya?
NICK Hell, yeah, I know!

INT. AMERICAN ZOETROPE – DAY

George and FRED ROOS, 40s, are discussing the auditions while walking through the hall. CARPENTERS are at work, sounds of HAMMERING and SAWING surround them.
GEORGE (exhausted) My god, Fred, I’m glad to be getting a break from this.
FRED What did you think of Walken?
GEORGE Hmm. Yeah. Yeah, I can see him as Han. He’s got a coldness about him, kind of feline, predatory.
FRED What about Glynn Turman?
GEORGE (disapproving) I did like him, but I’m second-guessing the idea of Han Solo as possibly being black.
FRED Yeah?
GEORGE I think people will think it’s too deliberate. Han’s too important a character, I don’t want people talking about Han just because they haven’t seen a black actor in a sci-fi flick before. I think that would weaken the impact of the film. Maybe in the sequel.
FRED Okay. When we start up again on the twelfth, let’s have Harrison Ford read the part of Han. I think it would be good to concentrate on Luke and Leia, and it would be less confusing if Han just stayed put.
George stops just before passing through a doorway being built and TURNS to Fred. There’s a carpenter in a mask working down on his knees, DRILLING the inside of the frame.
GEORGE (reluctant) I don’t know, Fred. That might get him thinking he’s a shoo-in for the part. I’m willing to let him read, but I still don’t think I want anyone who was in “Graffiti” in this. I don’t want the audience thinking about cars and pop songs when they see Star Wars.
FRED Reconsider that George. Still, I’ll let him know that he’s not up for the part, we just need to him to read.
GEORGE Okay, then. Are you sure he’s available? I mean, it’s just a couple days from now.
The carpenter working at their feet STANDS UP and PULLS OFF his mask. It’s a TIRED, SWEATY Harrison Ford.
HARRISON I can make it.

INT. CHINESE RESTAURANT – DAY

George, Carrie, Harrison and Mark are all SITTING QUIETLY, waiting for their dinner to arrive. No one is speaking. The actors are all STARING at George, waiting for him to say something, ANYTHING. He seems thoroughly NONPLUSSED, COMFORTABLE. George PUSHES back his chair and STANDS.
GEORGE Excuse me, I’ll be right back.
CARRIE/MARK/HARRISON Okay.
George WALKS off, the three actors LOOSEN UP immediately.
MARK God, I hope the food comes before he gets back.
CARRIE This feels just like the audition!
HARRISON (teasing) Don’t worry, you’ve got the part.
CARRIE (laughs) Are you sure?
HARRISON He flew you to England, didn’t he?
MARK I don’t think he likes me. Actually, I’m sure he doesn’t.
HARRISON He likes us. He likes all of us. Believe me, when he doesn’t like you, you know it.
MARK How?
HARRISON (insisting) Because he’s a different kind of quiet when he doesn’t like you!
MARK You know, I think he based Luke Starkiller on himself. I’m trying to incorporate some George into the character, but I don’t think it’s gonna be easy acting passive-aggressive opposite an alien.
HARRISON George IS an alien. Haven’t you figured that out yet? This movie’s his life story.
CARRIE Why did he bring us out here, though? He seems a sweet guy, but…isn’t this dinner about him getting to know us? How do you do that without speaking?
HARRISON He’s reading our minds.
MARK Then I’ve got some apologizing to do.
Carrie LAUGHS.
HARRISON Don’t worry about it, though. Shooting Graffiti was a breeze. He lets you do what you want. In fact, he pays more attention to the lights than he does his actors.
CARRIE He’s probably calling the lights right now, telling them he misses them.
LAUGHS all around.
HARRISON It’s real simple: He says action, you say your lines the way you want to say’em, and unless your nose starts spewing blood, he yells cut and tells you you’re great!
Mark RAISES a glass of water.
MARK To “Star Wars.”
Carries RAISES her’s, too.
CARRIE To “Star Wars.”
Harrison DISMISSES them.
HARRISON I don’t drink water.

INT. AMERICAN ZOETROPE – STUDIO – DAY

George, Gary, and JOHN DYKSTRA, 30s, are going through HUNDREDS of color storyboards depicting SPACESHIP BATTLES, SQUADRON FORMATIONS, etc. Joe is SHAKING his head, both IMPRESSED and DAUNTED.
JOHN Wow. I don’t know what to say. It’s incredible on so many levels. It’s so far beyond what anyone has done before. Cramming some three-hundred fifty plus special effects shots in one film, it’s just…that’s five or six times more than any movie I’ve ever heard of.
GEORGE But not impossible, right?
JOHN Yes, it is. It is impossible. This is impossible.
GEORGE Why do you say that?
JOHN You want to shoot dogfights with spaceships, like in those old world war two films, but the old fixed camera approach won’t work. You’ll never get those fluid movements with a stationary camera. Add to it the complicated optical effects and…I can’t give you what you want. No one can.
GEORGE No one, huh?
JOHN Truth is, the technology doesn’t exist that can give you what you want. This is new territory, to say the least. We’re gonna have to rewrite the manual to make “Star Wars”. It’s gonna take new technology, technology designed specifically for this film. A monumental task. The cost will be…phew!
GEORGE Hypothetically?
JOHN (shaking his head) I don’t even know where to start. Giving a cost estimate is practically impossible. It’s gonna take a lot of money, a lot of people, and a lot of time. And seriously, money, people and time are virtually the same commodity when many the people involved have to be specialists, who aren’t free.
GEORGE Hmm.
JOHN We’re talking about creating a new Los Alamos here. A company with several different branches.
GARY What is the basic premise of this new technology?
JOHN The cameras are going to have to be computer-guided. That way we can program the camera directions and save it to cassette tape, that way we can duplicate shots exactly. It’ll also save loads of time because it will eliminate the need to keep sets hot. But it adds a whole new element to this, one that will be, possibly, more costly than everything else involved, combined. Models, lights, mattes, everything.
George PONDERS this quietly.
GEORGE How long do you think it will take to put together an estimate?
JOHN I’ll get to work on it, immediately. Although, it’s unlikely, it’s possible that on a budget of eight and a half million, this could cost…half.
GARY Half a million?
JOHN Half your budget.

INT. AMERICAN ZOETROPE – STUDIO – DAY

Gary and George are BROODING after John’s departure.
GEORGE (frustrated) 50 to 100 people.
GARY (shrugs) It’s gonna take what it’s gonna take, George. And there will be lots of students willing to work for free.
GEORGE Well, we need to get started. We can’t wait around for Fox’s green light, it might take months longer.
GARY Careful, George. That old adage about investing your own money exists for a reason. It’s so you don’t find yourself a million dollars in the red on a movie that’s not gonna get made.
GEORGE I’m just going to go forward, as if it’s a go. If I just stand back and wait to see what happens next I’ll be behind when things start up. After all this, do you think they could still pull the plug?
GARY It’s possible, but I think we’ve got a friend or two among the suits.
George EXHALES, his mind BURDENED.
GEORGE I just wish I felt good about the script.
GARY George, I can’t imagine you feeling good about anything.

INT. LONDON OFFICE – DAY

George and Gary are PORING over two copies of the movie script. They are FRUSTRATED and EXHAUSTED.
GARY George, you’re just going to have to face the fact that we can’t keep nipping off little pieces here and there and eliminate $600,000! It’s not gonna work like this.
GEORGE We’ve already made fundamental changes to the film. A big cut now, on top of it all…
GARY It’s not as if they’re giving us a choice. There’s no green light until we do this. So let’s do this.
George takes a DEEP BREATH and SITS DOWN.
GEORGE So…draft number four.
GARY You’ve been wanting to tighten it up.
GEORGE While it’s true I’m not totally satisfied with it, I don’t know where to begin. I’ve been wracking my brain.
GARY Well, let’s start with what you don’t like. Where are you most dissatisfied? What’s the real problem area?
GEORGE Hm. The first thing that comes to mind, is the Kyber Crystal.
GARY Cutting that out won’t really save us much money.
GEORGE No, but it’s a problem.
GARY You don’t like the design, or you don’t like the very idea of it?
GEORGE Well, Luke Starkiller is supposed to be strong with the force, so why does he need a crystal to connect with it?
GARY He’s new to it. He’s young.
GEORGE Yeah, but it also seems kind of convenient that the crystal and the princess are both in the same installation on Alderaan.
GARY We already discussed that, didn’t we? You said since it was so precious it’s sensible that it would be kept in the most well guarded fortress, the same place they would keep the most important political prisoners.
GEORGE I was thinking along those lines, before, but I’m not so sure now.
GARY Well, we can’t afford to have them sneak into two different fortresses. We can barely afford the one. You know how expensive the interior Alderaan sets were. And John’s not looking forward to shooting the ground scenery, either. He says it’s the hardest, most expensive thing he’s got left to do.
GEORGE All I know is that I think the Force is more internal for Luke. He shouldn’t need an artifact.
GARY Okay, let’s say he doesn’t need it, he still has to tangle with Darth Vader in the dogfight scene. Is he so powerful that he can defeat Vader without any sort of help? I mean, he’s just starting to learn about it.
GEORGE Maybe Obi-Wan is there with him somehow, guiding him when he’s in the cockpit. Not literally in the ship, but there in spirit form?
GARY Like they have some kind of telepathic connection?
GEORGE Maybe.
GARY We should try to establish that earlier, though. Maybe Obi-Wan feels Luke’s presence in the desert when he saves him from the Sand People. He hears him in the same way Luke hears him in the X-wing.
GEORGE Hm. I don’t know.
GARY It makes sense.
GEORGE Yeah.
GARY But? Sounds like there’s a ‘but’ there.
GEORGE It’s just…maybe when Obi-Wan guides Luke in the dogfight, he’s more of a spirit. It’s not telepathic, maybe he’s dead and contacting Luke from the beyond. Maybe when he dies he joins the Force, in a way. Becomes part of it.
GARY I don’t know. Alec’s not gonna like you killing him off.
GEORGE (getting excited) But it’s better this way. He’ll understand that. Another thing I don’t like is how they have to drag Ben with them when they escape Alderaan. Ben’s really just slowing them down. Maybe he dies on Alderaan. Maybe Vader kills him during the sword fight. I think it would definitely strengthen the dramatic aspect of the whole rescue episode.
GARY Hm. I’m still not seeing how this is going to save us over half a million dollars.
GEORGE You said Alderaan’s going to be expensive right?
GARY Yes. Very expensive.
GEORGE What if those sets we built we for the Death Star?
GARY Okay. I guess so. So…what? We cut Alderaan altogether?
GEORGE Yeah. The princess is on the Death Star, not Alderaan. It makes more sense this way.
GARY We have spent some money on Alderaan, though. We have a model of the planet. It would be a waste of money if we don’t use it.
GEORGE We blow it up. Alderaan’s the planet that they blow up. Before, all we did was suggest the power of the Death Star, but we never show it. They head to Organa Major, but it’s gone. We make it Alderaan. We have the model already!
GARY I suppose rigging up an explosion will be a small expense compared to what we were planning to do.
GEORGE Exactly.
GARY But, George, this doesn’t solve our problem. There’s still a lot we have to cut.
GEORGE It’s a good start. I have to talk to Dykstra, right away.
A pause.
GARY Still, Alec’s not gonna like his part being reduced.
GEORGE I know, but he’s a professional. He’s been through this sort of thing before.

CUT TO:
INT. SIR ALEC GUINNESS’ HOME – DAY

Sir Alec has a PHONE RECEIVER to his ear. His face SCREWS UP with anger.
ALEC Bloody hell!
He SLAMS the PHONE down in its cradle. His wife MERULA, 60s, is STARTLED.
MERULA Alec! What is it?
ALEC (livid) Cut my role in half, will he? Putting my career on the line for this bloody George Lucas and his bloody rubbish Martian film! No, sir! I’m through with him! Through!

INT. ELSTREE STUDIOS – REBEL BLOCKADE RUNNER SET – DAY

SINISTER MUSIC RUMBLES, but the hallway of the blockade runner, where Darth Vader makes his first appearance, is empty. The MUSIC CUTS OUT and George enters the hallway rather than Vader, STROKING his beard and looking PENSIVE.
GEORGE Mm-hmm.

MOVIE REVIEW: THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD(1982)


Although my college dorm didn’t drip blood, the guy I shared a bathroom with did. Actually, it trickled, more than it dripped, and it wasn’t the right color for blood. The first time I saw the stuff, it looked little more than a puddle of some thin, cream-based soup. A chowder, perhaps a bisque, with little chives in it. When I asked my roommate about it, he said that all he really knew was that it tasted kind of salty and he was scooping about a spoonful of it out of his bellybutton every couple of hours.

From a way better 1982 film. Oh my god.

Though I didn’t like where the stuff came from(or who it came from, for that matter), I tried not to worry about it. Whatever it was, it seemed harmless enough. I just had to remember to wash the stuff away before I stepped in the shower every morning. Eventually, though, the bottoms of my feet began to peel and blister, and a crust formed around the drain that proved resistant to all store bought acids that were available (in Fort Collins, at least, a pretty soft city for Colorado).

A friend of mine, who was very much into all that organic, homeopathic butt-pluggery, advised me to make a poultice to protect my feet from a mixture of crushed mustard seeds, epsom salt and alum. I tried to remember all of the ingredients, but at about the sixtieth impossible-to-find-in-a-red-state herb, I started jotting the list down on my forearm with a green ink pen of mine that I used, mostly, to doodle naked chicks and dancing teddy bears in my notebook during class. I stopped writing, however, when we reached ‘blood of a baby dragon’.

Actress realizing she’ll have to go back to waitressing when people see how stupid her movie is.

My dorm was pretty interesting, really. It was the building where they stuck all of the foreign kids – about half of the immigrants were Chinese boys who were too timid to look you in the eye, while the other half was South American girls who weren’t afraid to put their tongue in places usually reserved for bowel evacuation. So, I could always get help with my math homework, although it was hard to pay attention when I knew Carmen Dominguez was all alone in her room(hopefully eating hot peppers). I was a freshman, who, for some reason, was thought to belong somewhere in between those two demographics(which one I was closer to being, I’m still not sure of). Though there were never any murders in my building, during Halloween week, the American half of the dorm’s population hung up pictures of famous serial killers in the hallway. I stuck up a photo of Vanilla Ice.

Me and some kids from my dorm.

Two major events threw the dorm into a buzz that year. The first was when some guy posted photocopies of his dick all over the place. It was pretty impressive, ten inches or so, and right underneath, written in sloppy magic marker, was his cell phone number. The Chinese kids, for obvious reasons, had no idea what it was. They simply had no frame of reference, although their minds probably swirled with theories. I think they, finally, decided it was some kind of eel, ready for chopping and woking. I wonder if it made their mouths water.

I did have a frame of reference, however. Back in high school, a guy of similar biological fortune(a football player, of course), used to enjoy swinging his thingy from side-to-side so it could take a peek all the way around his waist, while spraying us with piss like some circus trick shot, forcing everyone into the kneeling duck-and-cover position. It was less a penis, really, than some kind of gross animal sidekick you’d see on a Saturday morning cartoon.

Idiot mistaking pocket fisherman for flashlight

.

I’d like to think there was some kind of judicial force in the universe, one that took note of such behavior and made sure proper dues were paid him in the future. I find that unlikely, however. Such thoughts are dangerous, for they beguile us with their justness, and guys with a looser grasp on the reigns of their sanity find themselves compelled to be the avenging angels that god never sent forth. I’m sure you’ve heard about such guys in the news. No. The truth usually sucks Richard. That guy had it great, and probably still does.

Hard truths should be faced. That we were wrong about all those sweet, doe-eyed and creamy skinned girls we had our lame fantasies about, the ones who were popular, but never dressed slutty, who said hello to you in the hallway, even when surrounded by their also popular friends. In rare, frank discussions we had about love and our romantic futures, we imagined these girls were innocent and good, because their smiles stopped us in our tracks and their laughter made our hearts flutter. These were the kinds of girls we admitted to each other, with blushes and goofy grins, that we day dreamed about marrying someday and would worship for the rest of our lives, if they would just have us. As High School ground on, we found out, time and time again, that these girls did bubonic things on Megadick’s waterbed, a glimpse of which would have given us all nightmares of envy.

What those ‘nice’ girls were really up to.

This segues nicely into the second noteworthy incident, which occurred at the tail-end of the school year, which is known, nowadays, as The Columbine Massacre(See? There was a point to all of that. You just had to hang on). Littleton, Colorado was just a pleasant chitty-chitty-bang-bang away from our campus, and someone I knew made mention of a huge ruckus he’d witnessed as he passed through that neighboring town. He said that 50-60 kids were dead in Littleton, and the killers were these two nerdy types who wore all black and had remote control helicopters with real missiles built on them. One morbidly obese student, a guy who was just doused in denim, sporting a cowboy hat and leather boots, too(a sophomore in the agriculture department),said that he’d heard the killers were Jewish extremists, and that today was some kind of Yiddish holiday when the ‘Hebes'(his word)made symbolic sacrifices to their tentacled goat god. I think some of this stuff turned out to be untrue.

From a way more awesome 1982 film.

I quickly discovered that Colorado was no place to be a weirdo. Thank God that my soul-taint didn’t show in my choice of clothes or hairstyle. Woe to those people who, for some reason, expressed their self-avowed individuality by dressing up Goth-style(which, when you think about it for more than a second, precludes any notion of true individualism, anyway), for they would be on the receiving end of many a chicken-fried knuckle sammich, with a steel-toed boot to the belly and a ‘Yeeehah!’ for an appetizer. The campus was unsafe for the time being, but that just made it all the more adventurous. Particularly, those dark stacks in the library’s bottom floor, where anything could be waiting to thump you one.

I suppose the point is that I went to college, I did what I was supposed to do, and all of my dreams, the ones that did come true, are now just part of my everyday life. If I had known that the future, no matter where you ended up, would not be the glorious parallel dimension that it was made out to be in those obtuse valedictorian speeches at graduation. A place where all debts would be settled, all desires satisfied, and which we would miss out on if we didn’t buckle down.

If we had known it would pretty much be like it is now, and that we would actually miss those days(I don’t, but I bet most of you do), we would not have taken it all so seriously. Who can say for certain that, at that age, and that level of stress, they would not have snapped, too? And that’s kind of what THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD is about, more or less. Excepting for the fact that I’ve put more thought into my review, already, than ever went into this film.

Anyway, when a movie opens up showing a title card that contradicts the title written on the box and poster, you know that you are in for something very special. And I was not disappointed with the first scene, which features some stellar conversation between lead character Joanne and her boyfriend Tim. I’m not certain about every word, though. It opens with our protagonist and her beau seated on a couch, awaiting the director’s cue, smack dab in the heart of what must have passed for a party in 1982(but looks more like 1977).

DIRECTOR(O.S.)

Action!

JOANNE
Hey, why don’t we get up from this couch and walk
away, now.

TIM

Far out, man.

JOANNE
Okay, but you have to stop pestering
me, Tim. I can’t decide right now about
our future together, and I don’t want to
get caught up in another one of those
conversations that sums up our whole lives
in just a few minutes.

TIM
Okay, hun, but remind me, again,
why you are staying at school while
everyone else is leaving? I know
we’ve been discussing this for four
weeks now, but for some reason,
the night before vacation, I can’t
remember.

JOANNE
Jeeze! What’s with your memory, Tim?
Is it the quaaludes?

TIM
It’s possible. I mean, you could still
get quaaludes back now, in 1982.

JOANNE

Oh Tim! The school is closing down
this hall, silly, so me and a few other
students are going to be irresponsibly
left behind, without oversight, to clean
it out and sell off the furniture. It’s
pretty much the best idea, ever.

TIM
Oh, that’s right! Thanks. And let me
just reiterate that I’m disappointed
that you are being wishy-washy on the
prospect of us living together.

JOANNE
Are you worried, perhaps, that there
seems to be an undertone of reluctance
that could mean something more,
such as my dissatisfaction with our
relationship, in general, making
sexual shenanigans all the more likely
to occur when you are gone.

TIM

Nah! There’s no way I’d notice something
like that. Hey, I just know you’re gonna have
a great time. I’m gonna go hang out
now with my friend who looks like
he may be the second far less talented
younger brother of John Belushi.

JOANNE
Okay, and I’ll wander around and
have short conversations with
everybody who is involved, just
as if I were introducing them all
to an invisible spectator.

TIM

Would you just go, already! Jesus Christ,
you’re a fucking nightmare!

The motif of THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD is rather familiar. Isolated young people being smushed by a deviant who’s doing it for some reason that would leave Sigmund Freud scratching his noggin. One of the major differences between this and most slashers to come, is the lack of sex as a precursor to a victim’s demise. Fans of this will be sorely disappointed. There is one random pair of titties in this film, but you pay a penalty for it when you have to see her disgusting lover, who looks some white trashier half-brother of Kris Kristofferson, talking on the phone with his shirt off. But don’t worry, there’s plenty more to be disappointed about. In that alone, you will NOT be disappointed.

Why would you want to hurt her? She’s adorable! Are you a psycho or something?


We see the beautiful Daphne Zuniga, for the first time, I believe, in this film(I wish I could clone her, the only problem would be waiting 10 long years for her to grow up). I could look that up, I guess, it wouldn’t be hard, I’m sitting, right now, at my computer. If I do that, though, I’ll just end up watching STEP BROTHERS or EUROPEAN VACATION on Netflix or Crackle. Zuniga is the star of one of my favorite films THE SURE THING, not to mention a long list of girly tv shows I couldn’t watch all the way through if I were trapped under a boulder.

In a rather strange murder for a slasher film, Debbie(Daphne)faints after finding that her mom has been permanently Nyquilled by the killer, who then carefully backs over her with her parent’s car while she’s K.O.’ed on the cement. I found this a bit unrealistic, because if a 19-20 year old Daphne Zuniga is safely passed out in front of most college age guys, killing her is probably way down their list of things to do with her. On a busier week, some fraternity would’ve built a booth around her and sold tickets to ‘Debbiestock’. After all, there was no such term as ‘date rape’ back then. If anything occurred within that gray area that’s found between sexual battery and consensual sex, the girl was usually instructed to say the rosary and apologize to the boy’s parents. Man, was I born too late.

It lets you record your favorite programs and watch them later. I shit you not

I think if Debbie had not fainted and been murdered, she would have realized that with her parents out of her life, and their insurance money about to make her rich, things weren’t half bad. That next semester she could be living off campus in her own apartment with a Pac-man machine and one of those new-fangled VTR home entertainment devices.

The movie tries to distract you from figuring out who the murderer is by throwing a decoy killer at you, some creepy guy who’s hanging around the dorm, but isn’t a student. If you are well past potty training, you won’t fall for this. Just keep your eyes on the prize, my friend, and you’ll be okay. Keep them trained on one of the two ridiculously obvious suspects, one of which gets painted in blood early in the film.

Did you know Bruce Willis was dead before the end of the THE SIXTH SENSE? If so, you will probably figure this mystery out during the opening credits, which flashes the film title PRANKS. This is, really, just another clever ploy by the filmmaker. He thinks if you easily figure out who the killer of PRANKS is, you will be surprised when the killer of THE DORM THAT DRIPS BLOOD is revealed. Does that make sense to you? If it does, holy shit are you crazy.

The way most people died in 1982.

Although the film opens with a rather interesting shot of a hand being split lengthwise by a huge knife, don’t expect to see too much more of that, later on. Most of the good murders don’t happen on screen. When Debbie’s head gets crushed under the wheel of her dad’s car, it’s not shown, but implied by off-camera sounds of ‘daphne-splutter’. When Patty(did I mention her? who the fuck cares)is shoved in a pressure cooker by the killer(while another student is, actually, STILL THERE WITH HER, making it not such a leap of faith to pin him as the murderer), her death is, like Debbie’s, implied with foley sounds of steamed rice being prepared for someone’s General Tso’s Chicken dinner.

My favorite scene in the movie is the bathroom murder of a school handyman. It’s well worth a closer viewing, because it just gets funnier and funnier if you pay attention. Here’s a chronological breakdown:

1 – Handyman enters bathroom, takes off work shirt, stands there looking tired and late middle-aged(which look the same, anyway). Takes out transisitor radio and turns it on.

2 – Pair of ‘mystery hands’ plugs something in outside of bathroom.

3 – Plug is revealed to be attached to drill. Drill is picked up.

4 – Handyman washes face in sink.

5 – Camera creeps up behind Handyman, murderer’s POV.

6 – Handyman continues to wash face, suspense is simply maddening.

7 – Killer’s arm stretches out behind Handyman(more slowly than an anaconda that’s been struck with a shovel)and grabs him around the neck(with RIGHT HAND). Handyman screams like a puss.

8 – Handyman’s head is shoved, rudely, into empty sink(with LEFT HAND)and held there.

9 – Killer picks up drill off the floor(also with LEFT HAND, the other one, I guess).

10 – Drill is slowly swiveled(in RIGHT HAND)and carefully aimed, as if it were a pistol.

11 – Blood spatters on mirror in arcing pattern(evidence of severed artery, possibly ketchup squeeze-bottle). Bathroom door, shown in mirror, is clearly open.

12 – Handyman dies on the floor in, possibly, a different bathroom. Door is now open, but it’s a different door, in a different bathroom, anyway, so no problem there. He is longer bleeding. Nasty undershirt now covered in dried blood, and even nastier than it was with just him in it.

A much better way to die in 1982.

Okay, so you don’t get to see any gore, but you do get to see the terrible things that a baseball bat can do to a roasted Cornish hen. Believe me, it ain’t pretty. There is no trick photography evident when the killer beats the shit out of the group’s late supper. It’s shocking, and it’s REAL.

What have I learned from THE DORM THAT DRIPPED BLOOD, you may ask? Well, to put it succinctly, without exaggeration, I learned how to love again. I think I understand now, the importance, and incalculable worth, of every human being on Earth not involved in the making of this film. It reawakened my appreciation for the whimsical, often comical, consequences of creating in a collaborative art form other than this film. When people come together, work together, respect each other, great things can happen.

Great things like World War 2 – probably the best war ever made; Football – a great way to ensure the streets are safe for a couple hours a week, while I go to the bookstore; Gang Bangs – something almost as fun to watch as it is to participate in(does anyone know where these things happen? Seriously, just give me one solid lead, and I’ll never bother you again, I swear).

Hand-splicing made it possible to flash eleven alternate variations of the ‘Heavy Metal’ sign at concerts.

Yes, I put DTDB in
the same category with all of these terrific things, and I offer no apologies for it. What stands this film apart from them, however, is that it’s simply impossible to improve upon. No matter how much better you can make the picture or sound quality, through computer enhancements, etc., I doubt you’ll ever notice any qualitative difference in the experience of viewing it. But if you are ever forced to choose between watching this and having your legs torn off by a giant, just remember how much you need your legs to get home.

I highly recommend this film, in much the same way that I used to highly recommend friends double-bag their penoids with Carmen Dominguez.

                               
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Led Zeppelin – The Battle of Evermore(Remix) – Tribute to Lord of the Rings

Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Real Genius Tribute

Everybody says ‘war is hell’. Bullshit! Hell is editing video in Windows!

Movie Review – The Weirdo a.k.a. Weirdo: The Beginning(1989)

Trying to explain WEIRDO: THE BEGINNING in a thousand words or so is no easy feat. It’s a lot like trying to explain what ‘nothing’ is to a child who’s never heard the word.

Q: Daddy, what is nothing?

A: It’s nothing.

Q: But what is it?

A: I just told you, it’s nothing.

Q: What’s it look like?

A: Um…it doesn’t look like anything.

Q: It doesn’t look like something?

A: No, something can look like anything, because anything other than something is just nothing. But nothing just looks like nothing.

Q: Where can I find some nothing?

A: Hmm, everywhere, I guess. I mean, most of the universe is nothing. Then again, you can’t really find it, because it’s not there. Nothing doesn’t need to be somewhere, cuz it’s nothing. So it’s nowhere, too.

Q: Why did mommy leave us?

A: Cuz you were bad.

Shot and released in 1989, the making of this ‘movie’ was possibly contemporaneous with a brief flirtation I had with the Boy Scouts, and that was present in my mind as I watched. Not too much later, my mother would start dating an ‘outdoorsy’ guy who would abuse me and destroy the childhood purity that had, up to that point, been tenderly guarded by those who loved me. The man did not hit me or molest me. No, camping was his chosen form of abuse.

Also known as ‘wooding’, camping can often feel, depending on the participant’s tolerance for frigid temperatures, bowel discomfort and perpetual emasculation, like a Pre-Renaissance form of punishment. Hard to imagine that this practice still exists in our time, when teens are said to describe, while trembling, the temporary loss of their iPhone’s texting function as ‘torture’. That’s NOT how I define torture, personally. Not as long as I can still get on the internet.

This ‘movie’ helped me remember why I hate the outdoors. In the very opening scene our hero, Donnie(aka Weirdo), a skinny, mongrelized version of a person, is accosted while wandering through the forest collecting trash in a sack. Being a nature despiser, I’ve never had the chance to observe a donny up close. And if this movie contains any amount of accuracy, I don’t want to. Here are a couple of pictures of one, to help you understand what we’re dealing with here.

Donny, out for a walk.

As should be plainly obvious, it’s hard to photograph donnies. Not only do they cower in the darker corners of the forest in daylight hours, but they are almost always being assaulted by bikers and personal trainers. It’s getting harder, too, as their native habitats slowly disappear beneath the cement foundations of urban sprawl. Though, not often, sometimes they can be seen wandering outside the perimeter of the gas stations and Dairy Queens that now occupy the spots where, once, the foul outhouses and sheds that used to be their homes stood.

Donny, shopping for groceries.

The tale of Donny is the tale of all donnies. Rejected by their mothers, they live with pious old women and collect dirty frisbees, old turnips, and wood to decorate their bedrooms with. Donnies seem so much like us, that it’s easy to forget that they are still animals. Their person-like gazes imitate, quite realistically, visages of thought and emotion that can seem so human. This is understandable because, as actual people, capable of empathy, we have a tendency to attribute intelligence where there is nothing but shameful stupidity. But this Donny gets closer than most to crossing over that fine line.

He can almost speak, he can play with himself(I assume so, anyway, since the scene in which he is secretly observing a young female bathing, thankfully, transitions to a fade out before he begins), and he understands the value of sixty cents(an amount of money incomprehensible today). I ask you, what else makes a man a man? Seriously, that’s it.  Also, due to his waif-like innocence and uselessness, people sympathize, befriend, and help him. Most dogs attract this sort of attention, too, but dogs have a reason to exist.

Donny, lookin' sharp.

Like most irritating, lower-phylum creatures, Donny is spurned by his biological mother and driven away from the family nest when he’s old enough to spawn. This having already occurred years before the movie takes place, we don’t get to see it. That’s unfortunate, for it’s one of the more fascinating trials to be found in nature.

Typically, this process begins when the mother detects the scent of the donny’s hormonal glands, usually found wafting through a hole in the posterior of his unlabeled jeans, and he begins to attract females. The mother confronts the donny, using her hard, sharpened teats to threaten physical harm, to which he responds with immediate intestinal evacuation of the field mice and Doritos he feeds on.  That’s usually the end of it. However, this one continually returns to be subjected to further abuse by her.

Though this ‘movie’ doesn’t exactly have a plot, every now and then something almost verifiable does occur.  If you really need a story, you can make up one up for yourself. And that’s one thing I really do like about this ‘movie’ – it lets you use your imagination. Donny gets pummeled, mocked, even stabbed so frequently, and so viciously, that it seems almost like a service he provides to the community, and it’s left up to the viewer to figure out why. It takes a refreshing detour around those niggling little details, and challenges the audience to fill them in for themselves. It’s a bold approach, a real gamble. One that pays off better, at least, than a penny slot machine I once saw that spit out dead bees with AIDS.

Donny and Jenny, discussing last night's 60 MINUTES.

You witness the first overtures of the donny mating ritual early on in the film, when a gimped female named Jenny wanderers into his creek-side bachelor hangout. Unless a great amount of time passes that the viewer of the film is unaware of, Donny and Jenny become instantly emotionally intertwined, even before they know very basic things about each other. This is, once again, another example of this ‘movie’s’ participatory approach to non-storytelling. Not unlike an ugly child with a dented head, abandoned in the back of a flatbed truck to raise itself on its own, WEIRDO: THE BEGINNING allows the viewer to create its own rules, ethics and morality.

Though Jenny, somehow, resists Donny’s romantic advances, at first, within one or two brief scenes she becomes fully dedicated to him. Defending him, yet keeping him at arm’s length. This is partly due to a violent experience in her past that has left her scarred, and partly because she must sense that Donny makes love with the gentle grace of a baboon fucking a coal-burning stove.

Though it touts itself as a love story, WEIRDO: THE BEGINNING is so much more than that. By using my imagination, I can create an entire universe within the vast empty spaces left in the narrative.

Donny and Jenny, discussing last night's 6 to 8 seconds.

Why, I can imagine that Jenny’s inexplicable love for Donny stems from a resemblance he bears to her father, an environmental scientist named Pierre Caduz, who was tragically lost on a dangerous expedition to Antarctica while cataloging the diminishing ice shelves. The ‘movie’ leaves this open for discussion, making it seem to the viewer like being an embarrassing cripple is enough to make you grateful that any man loves you, even a forest-dwelling imbecile.

Also, the reason the three-dude biker gang hates Donny so passionately is never really dealt with. I mean, they beat him close to death every time they encounter him. The ‘movie’ leaves explaining it up to me! Hot dog!

I can use the magic of imagination to figure out the reason as having it’s origins in the town’s founding. Yes!

You see, two-hundred years earlier, the first settlers of the town committed sacrilege when they broke ground on an ancient Indian burial site. They angered the ancient Indian demon spirits that haunt the soil, who had deemed this sacred dirt the future site of a Blackfoot casino. Since then, once every generation the community must select some shit-for-brains wild boy as a sacrificial lamb, and they must abuse him mercilessly to appease them. This doesn’t interfere with the director’s own explanation, which is, none at all.

Donny, doing his paper route.

Eventually, though, something happens to kick start the third act. You will know this is happening, because something will be happening. Don’t be alarmed, it’ll feel like when a friend spikes you in the shin, waking you up before the teacher notices you’ve fallen asleep with your face cemented to your textbook by snot. Donny visits his mother only to have her reveal to him that his father is also his uncle. Following that, you’d think, might be hard, but then she tells him that she’s sold him into slavery to a Texas oil thousandaire. For what purpose, you can only imagine. Well, you’ll have to, actually. What they do with donnies down South is left up to you to devise. Personally, I smell barbecue.

Donny murders her with a cleaver. It’s a miraculous, bloodless beheading and is depicted below in a glorious VHS still. And you’re lucky to even have that, asshole, because you won’t find WEIRDO: THE BEGINNING on DVD. In fact, it only ever made it to VHS by accident, when Rusty, the teenage stepson of a Beaverton, Alabama KKK local chapter president, mistakenly recorded it over his stepdad’s tape of 1978 Super Bowl Highlights. This chance occurrence happened during WEIRDO’S one and only appearance on cable tv, when it was broadcast over a Chinese military satellite on a bet between two techs named Dong, who were later hung for treason.

Donny, deciding whether he should freeze or salt his mom's head. We've all been there.

Donny continues his bloody rampage, murdering a new person in the next several subsequent scenes. Murder is too strong a word, though, for the whiny, sniveling way he goes about his business. It’s too pathetic for first-degree homocide, but definitely more illegal than just doing nothing at all.

Donny's pastor, still boring, even after being strangled with Christmas lights.

Eventually, he’s cornered in a wide open field and beaten to death by angry family members(the director’s family). Jenny leads the police to his body, but it’s gone! The policeman picks up the tattered jacket, covered in fresh blood, and says ‘Where’s the body?’. I suppose he’s never heard of the magic of imagination. Some people are hopeless.

Writer/Director Andy Milligan, maker of this, and many other, celluloidal tests of faith, has been dead these last twenty years. I’m not certain what killed him. Whatever it was – natural causes, disease, or an understandable suicide –  it happened, just in time, to prevent a sequel to WIERDO. So, I guess that is kind of a happy ending.

Donny, using the power of Christ to take out an old lady.

You will not enjoy WEIRDO: THE BEGINNING. Nor will you learn anything from it. If I have to pinpoint a moral in this tale, it’s that what doesn’t kill you, doesn’t necessarily make you stronger, but might leave you alive just enough to limp off back into the wilderness, leaving a trail no one, not even the local police force, is interested enough to follow. Really, when it comes down to it, WEIRDO is about how anybody can find love, just as long as they absolutely do not care who it’s with.

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Horror Movie Review – BRAINSCAN(1994)

EDDIE FURLONG: THEN AND NOW

         

If you’re a Terminator 2 fan, then you probably remember Eddie Furlong, the young girl who played the teenage John Connors. However, if you’re a fan of Eddie Furlong, himself, then you are not here reading this. You don’t read for pleasure, if at all. Also, like a goat, you probably swallow random things lying scattered about your neighbors’ lawns and garages. In fact, right now, you’re out squatting in your backyard waiting for your father’s car keys to emerge from your bowels in a hardened dinosaur egg of tar, plaster, paint chips, and newspaper. I pity your parents, who wanted a child, but instead were cursed by an angry God with progeny that uses the sink and toilet interchangeably.

Eddie’s destiny has led him from public celebrity to public drunkenness. There are worse fates, I suppose, since he did have a good time for a short while, and he really does get along with Christian Slater. However, since Corey Haim passed on to the great VHS clearance bin in the sky, those two have been without a third to make up their trio of Merry Junksters. This kind of life may work out fine for Furlie, but most of us don’t need tubes leading from penile catheters to our left cowboy boot. That sloshing sound Eddie makes when he walks is not his flask. Not just his flask, anyway. Most of us prefer experiencing life in the present tense, not later on in flashbacks. But Eddie has to live his dream, and we ours. And who knows? One day he might find a place in our hearts again, rather than fighting for his place in a row of derelict cardboard boxes lining the alley behind his ex-wife’s apartment. Listen, honey, restraining orders mean nothing to people without restraint.

When asked why he didn’t reprise his role as John Connors in the popular TERMINATOR 3, rather than the poorly casted, equally Testosterone-killing, Nick Stahl, his reply was something along the lines of ‘It just wasn’t the right time.’ I’m paraphrasing, of course, I suppose the ‘right time’ would have been just minutes after the casting director was blinded by a bucket of boiling sewage and fumbling about with a .38 caliber bullet embedded between his frontal lobes. Not a pretty picture, huh? Well, neither was T3, from what little I recall of it. However, I do remember seeing a very firm pair of buttocks in the film. I wasn’t certain which terminator they belonged to, but I liked them, nonetheless.

Look up the word Douchebag in the dictionary, sometime. I don’t mean the kind of Douchebag that Eddie grew up to be, I mean the actual feminine kind. You won’t find anything in there about Furlong(maybe if you check a thesaurus, I don’t know), only a mind-expanding description of a container used in the rinsing of orifices. I only mention this because Eddie currently makes his living selling them out of a burlap sack alongside Ventura Highway. He still doesn’t know what they’re used for, but he keeps one filled with a homemade gin that he distills with berries that grow out through the cracked tiles in his bathroom floor. Does this sound depressing to you? Of course it does. It would to Eddie, as well, if he was mentally present for more than the few precious seconds that occur, everyday, between waking up in the morning, stumbling to the kitchen, and dunking his head in a sink filled up with potato vodka.

To top it all off, Eddie also released an album. I haven’t heard any of the tracks, but Furlong’s voice shifts in and out of a higher register that, if you close your eyes and imagine tits, can sound quite feminine. No doubt, his stringy, underdeveloped, DiCaprio-esque physique has fooled many a lonely con in the dimly lit Los Angeles county drunk tank, as well. You can, at least, speak up a little when that happens, Ed.

BRAINSCAN was made in that brief period, after T2, that he was a recognizable film actor. A time that people snapped photos of him walking down red carpets with beautiful starlets, rather than face down on stained throw rugs, somewhere within the vicinity of Tara Reid. He’s not recognizable now, however, to even his mother, who often mistakes him for a hobo, and keeps a taser on her person at all times, just in case it IS him.

BRAINSCAN is not a horrible film, but it’s not one of those movies that are so bad that they’re good, nor is it one of those far rarer movies that are actually good. If you pay attention to the film, you’ll notice a couple startling similarities to the more recent DISTURBIA. Although, there’s no Shia LaBeuf(LaBeof or LaBufe, or however that guy’s ridiculous name is spelled), there’s plenty here to sicken and horrify you, without him. If, like Lot’s wife, you’re the type who simply must take a look, you can get a better epinephrine shot of Shia’s befuddled terrorism in Transformers.

BS features Furlie playing Michael Brower, your typical high school outcast, who is an outcast for no reason that is ever made clear in the film. He doesn’t carry weapons, wear chains or nose studs, dye his hair, or even bomb his nostrils with nitrous charged whipped cream cartridges for recreation. He doesn’t wear black, either(a la Columbine’s infamous Trench Coat Mafia), which, at least, when done right, can come off mildly threatening, even if underneath the apparel is just another noodle-armed geek(also, just like the Columbine’s Trench Coat Mafia). The movie seems to think it’s enough that he’s into horror films, and adorns his walls with old black and white movie posters. As if being a horror fan makes him more likely to slice up his Home Ec teacher into little cubic chunks and build a bloody, mini-igloo out of her. As far as the film is concerned, Michael Brower is the definition of misunderstood rebel, even though he may seem like the kind of kid who’s too afraid to enter a restroom he’s never been in.

Furlie’s character is also a voyeur who enjoys spying on his neighbor Kimberly(Amy Hargreaves), an angelic girl, his own age, whose room has more windows than the Titanic. We are supposed to find this odd and suspicious. However, I think I’ll cut him a little slack on this one.

He’s just doing what nine-out-of-ten teenage boys(and one-out-of-ten teenage girls), would do in his place. Anyway, Michael’s mother is dead, and his dad is an itinerant ‘businessman’ who’s always away on ‘business’. So, of course, Michael has zero supervision, and is left to his own devices almost all of the time. Essentially, he can come and go as he pleases, which is really, really good for the plot of this movie. Good for you, plot! I’m not certain of the legality of this arrangement, since Mikey is clearly not even old enough to drive yet, since he’s still chitty-chitty bang-banging around on a BMX. But, judging by his house, and Mike’s collection of expensive computers and gadgetry, his dad is doing awfully well. So why mess with a good thing?

It’s a sweet setup, an allegedly awkward teen’s wet dream of a situation, and contrived deliberately for the intended audience of this film. So what’s dad’s ‘business’, a bright fellow, such as you, may ask? Why, it’s being away for long periods of time. Wait, I know he’s got ‘business’, but what kind of ‘business’ is it? What’s he doing when he’s away? He’s being away. That’s his job. Don’t you get it? What’s the problem? Back the fuck off.

Furlie’s best friend is named Kyle. He’s your standard 90’s, grunge rock, flannel wearing, baggy-panted, long-haired, irreverent doofus. Seth Green played this role in every other stupid movie made that decade, and might have grounds for a lawsuit(so long as the case doesn’t coincide with Comic Con, and he can wear his Spidey costume). Kyle tells Michael about an ad for a new game he saw in the back of a magazine(Scouting for Girls)for a new horror video game called Brainscan, which claims to be the ultimate experience. Mikey, so jaded to the muted offerings of horror games, shrugs it off as hype, but orders one, anyway. He dials the number his friend gives him and receives a “insert title of film” that assesses his psyche, and decides what version of the game to send him. Despite the fact that “insert title of film”-ing over a phone line would take impossible, supernatural technology, Mikey is unperturbed.

You wanna get a copy of the game? The number they give in the movie is 1-800-555-FEAR. You could also try 1-800-555-DEAR or DEBS. I’m proud to say that I only had to consult the internet twice to figure that out.

Next, we see Furlie and his pal Kyle at school, watching a gore film in their horror flick fan club. The Principal bursts in and calls a halt to all proceedings. Back in his office, he lectures Mikey, in a subtle display of foreshadowing, on the degenerative influence of such filth as he’d just been viewing, stating firmly his belief that partaking of such movies and games could lead to murder and rudeness in real life. Mikey laughs this off, and rebuts his principal’s opinion with an argument that, influences aside, a person is responsible for their own actions, and that the modern cultural tendency to blame said influences, rather than the individual, needs to be reconsidered from an historical perspective, which demonstrates that staggering violence has always been a part of our collective heritage, while video games are just a recent phenomenon. The principal leaves him with a warning that he is headed for disaster, and that he should, forthwith, go fuck himself.

EDDIE FURLONG: THEN AND NOW

On his way home, Mikey comes across a crime scene swarming with police. A murder has occurred just a strong piss away from his own home. He is noticed by the lead detective, played by Frank Langella, and told to get lost. Langella plays the role of typified, bland authority figure with his usual flare, coming off as he always does: dependable, yet possibly a pedo-necrophiliac. When Mikey gets home, Brainscan is waiting for him in the mail. Mikey pops it into his Tandy 1000 and off he goes!

He finds himself in a murder simulation, in which, he’s a would-be serial killer breaking into some bald guy’s house(don’t serial killers ALWAYS murder in accordance to their sexual preferences?). Along with him on the ride is Trickster: at the moment, just a disembodied voice egging him on and providing helpful guidance, like when Mikey comes across a rack of kitchen implements, all of them useless in murder, but for the gigantic butcher knife, and the voice advises him to ‘choose one!’.

Trixter is so persistent, so irritating in his Lower Mortgage Rate/Refinancing commercial style voice, it’s a wonder this doesn’t end up a suicide simulation. Also, he laughs through the murder, his breathless cackle sounding much like the last sound most teen runaways ever hear being coughed onto the top of their head in a bathroom stall. Well, Mikey does the deed, quite messily, and saws off his victim’s foot for a souvenir. Why you’d want some frumpy, hairless guy’s foot, I can’t imagine. The best meat is on the thighs and cheeks.

Well, with his murderous urges satisfied, and his demons exorcised in violent retribution to the frustrations of growing up almost, but not quite, wealthy, Mikey wakes the next morning with a clear head. However, he hears at school that, yet, another murder has occurred on his street. This one, to his dismay, sounding a bit too much like the shenanigans he’d gotten into last night. Surprise, Private Pyle! Mikey freaks out and, when he gets home, is confronted by Trickster in his terrifying true form: the ugliest, dumbest looking villain you will ever see outside of Japanese cinema. He looks like a cross between SCHINDLER’S LIST’s Ben Kingsley and a laughing hyena that’s cursed with the ultimate 80’s metal haircut. Not to mention his name is Trickster. Trickster? For godssake! Someone get the director a Budweiser! He’s been drinking Mimosas for far too long!

Trickster tells Mikey it’s all just part of the game, which, though violent, perverse, and actually happening, can’t be more sick than anything playing Friday night on ABC. A german shepherd steals the foot out of his bag when he’s out in the woods trying to bury it. This is a major setback, but it begs the question: why bury a foot?

About half the way through the movie I started paying attention to how often Furlie nervously scooped his hair with his fingers. At his peak, I think I counted five times in one minute. He does this more than Kristen Stewart pauses, more than Keanu Reeves gets confused, more than I use analogies. Considering the amount of torture it took to mount those early-90’s haircuts, which required computer guided lasers to burn the end of each prickly follicle to the width of a single atom, the palms of his hands must have been more calloused than a Kardashian girl’s tonsils.

At one point Trickster starts urging Mikey to kill himself. On this point, Trickster and myself see eye-to-eye. The sad fact is that movie Eddie has more to live for than the real one.

To sum up the rest, without giving everything away, people that Mikey knows continue to find their quietus in manners not consistent with natural causes, and Detective Langella, with the aid of basic problem solving skills, starts closing in on Furlie, the single, possible, most obviously guilty suspect in the case. In the film’s denouement, Mikey finds out that his gorgeous neighbor has been spying on him, as well, and she, despite having seen his penis, loves him. Then, Mikey and Trickster face off in the greatest battle since Bonaduce vs. Barry Williams.

All in all, the simplicity of BRAINSCAN really works in its favor.. There aren’t many plot twists in this movie, and fewer characters than most pornos. Even though it was intended for viewing by impressionable young people, it doesn’t try to be too preachy about morals, yet, it’s very straight forward, with little ambiguity as to who is naughty or nice. It was made to turn a quick buck selling and renting to teens, and I’m sure it did that. Don’t expect boatloads of gore, or for all of the pieces to fit together in a logical way. And don’t be surprised if you even start rooting for Eddie Furlong to succeed over the evil Trickster, in the end. Why? Believe it or not, he’s even less likeable, and awful looking, than the real Eddie is nowadays. Only time will tell if that remains true.

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Led Zeppelin – The Battle of Evermore – Tribute to Lord of the Rings

Talent in the funny can be trained on a different medium. The greatest tribute video of all time. Enjoy. Be inspired.

Movie Review – Class of 1984(1982)

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I am writing this in haste, so I apologize if you are underwhelmed. After losing volumes of literary work to a hard drive crash, numerous technical difficulties, followed by weeks of crying while clicking the hammer of my replica Civil War pistol, which doesn’t fire, I am finally back online, expounding my opinions of film. I am doing so based on the assumption that you care what I think. While we’re at it, assume that I care what you think, too.

This movie opens with an apocryphal warning about teen violence: “Last year there were over 280,000 incidents of violence by students against their teachers and classmates in our High Schools.”

I don’t know what classified as ‘violence’ in the 80’s, but being familiar with the popular music of the era, I have a suspicion that the bulk of it was keyboard-based. The popularity of the Casiotone line of keyboard instruments for kids provided an inexpensive, highly portable tool that made it possible for battered children to bring their abusive domestic situations to school with them. Tortured souls, by the hundreds of thousands, defensively clustered together in what were once called ‘garage bands’(now called ‘gangs’), armed with weapons that spat out primitive consonant sounds to plant the seeds of the shockingly violent culture that begat The Crips, The Bloods and MS-13(also called the Miami Sound Machine).

Released in 1982, Class of 1984 created a startlingly accurate, dystopian picture of what the future would be like. A world where an entire generation of poor, inner city ethnic minorities(later known as Wayans Brothers)were pushed around by white, permed, 25 year-old teenagers in multi-pocketed leather pants. It was a time when the very whiff of hairspray, or the low, thumping beat of a Human League album, would send terrifying waves of paranoia through the ghettos. Public Enemy’s little known first single, entitled
White Boyz, said it best:

“Prisoner in my own house,
I feel safer in jail.
Cuz there ain’t no Timothy Van Patten pickin’ up on my trail.”
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Picture this: It’s your typical all-white, Canadian, inner city, war-torn hell hole. It’s run by arch-criminal, and former haircut model, Peter Stegman(Timothy Van Patten), who controls the campus’ drug and prostitution rackets. Enter a new teacher, Mr. Norris(not THE Mr. Norris), into this 10th circle of hades. Aside from looking like Prince Valiant, Mr. Norris is quite unprepared for the trials he’ll face at…shit, I forget what the school’s called.

I could look it up on imdb.com, I guess, but I’ve been boycotting it ever since my screenwriting credit got taken down. Those were hard times, I tell ya: the film production collapsed under a massive failure of management and budget underestimations(fucking computer animation!). It was a lot like the fall of communism , really. It was slow, inevitable, and Ronald Reagan took all the credit(even though he had little more than a peripheral involvement). Actually, I’ll probably just never bring it up again. That’s for the best. Let’s do that.
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Class of 1984 paints the morbid picture of youth gone irrevocably out of control, which is what youth does when you overlook the telltale signs of hardened criminal influences, such as

– teen boys wearing blush

– hair that doesn’t move, even in high winds

– well-accessorized outfits with an abnormally high zipper-to-buckle ratio

– extremely angular facial features that hover somewhere between normal-
looking and Scott-Caan-looking

– being caught, on more than two occasions, physically abusing veteran ‘Planet of the Apes’ actor Roddy McDowall.

No doubt, you’ve seen examples of this sort of abhorrent behavior in your own world travels, and know what to look for. These are all signs of an obvious moral downward trend that, if ignored, could end up spawning Class of Nuke’em High movies, just like this movie did, and possibly even encourage the casting of more Van Pattens in future productions. Sound impossible? Check the statistics – 1 out of every 12 failed actors tests positive for Van Patten DNA(have you even been tested?) Luckily, I live in Pittsburgh, where hilly terrain and ancient glacial formations once prevented the migration of Van Patten tribes further eastward.

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Peter Stegman, the movie’s villain, is a snotty rich kid, in his mid-to-late 20’s, who’s supposedly some kind of genius, although, the movie doesn’t exactly go out of its way to back that up. In fact, neither does the Van Patten who plays him. I suppose that taking the time to prepare for a role like this by brushing up on his enunciation, reading a book to sharpen his mind or, at the very least, just learning to mimic the facial expressions smart people make, might’ve helped a little. But that is more from the ‘method’ school of acting, rather than the ‘daddy had a t.v. show’ school, he belongs to. This kid has got it coming from the very beginning. We know this from the over-confident way he walks, where each proud step displays the kind of self-assurance usually reserved for the likes of a Rocky Balboa approaching the boxing ring, where a black fighter twice as good, and three times as big, is waiting. He’s a boy blessed with the natural certitude of a retard recognizing a balloon animal as a dog, though, it clearly has horns. Mostly, we know he’s gonna bite it in the end because someone HAS to.

His gang is the typified gaggle of goons one expects from 80’s teen criminals. All sporting a punk-derived style, blank, vacuous expressions, a total disregard for human life, plus a tendency to deliver snarky lines followed by tongue-wagging. They are deviants, and they are AWESOME. Awesome in a way not even these actors can fuck up. When 14 year old ne’er-do-wells come seeking criminal employment, or late-teenage girl junkies want to hook for them, they conduct interviews just the way any well-established business would, and are extremely polite, patient, and professional. They tell them right away whether or not they are qualified for the position, which is a courtesy very few of the larger criminal corporations(I’m lookin’ at you U.S.P.S.)have the decency to bother providing.

Honestly, what is worse than waiting weeks, even months, just to find out you are STILL unemployed, unoccupied and unfuckable? I can’t get over how great this is. And if you have to toss a salad or two to get the job, they tell you right up front. You simply strip down to high heels and bush, right there, and they lead you to a creepy back room where a thin mattress set atop a creaky spring frame awaits you. I just can’t believe this sort of thing is outlawed, when it is so fair! What is with this new entrepreneur-hating economy!

And tongue-wagging(a.k.a. blowing the raspberry), by the way, is punk-classic to the core. Throughout this iffy music’s history, showing your tongue to any nearby camera was essential for conveying your society-bucking, rebellious intentions. It was an act of supreme individuality that absolutely everybody did, back then. I know it seems lame, but you had to be there. Which, I wasn’t.
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Like a lot of 80’s films…well, like ALL 80’s film, C-84 shows us that diplomacy and reason NEVER work. Don’t bother telling the principal, or calling the police, not when you’re dealing with punks. Punks have to be killed. End of story. Although, our hero doesn’t wise up to this age old axiom until the last act of the film, we see hints of his brutal vigilante style early on. How would I classify his particular form of ‘they pushed him too far’ vengeance? Well, it’s kind of a cross between 1950’s-style whitebread basketball, where you pass the ball 70-80 times a minute, and Junior High School shop class, where you saw off kids’ arms if they spill woodchips on the floor.

Now, was Mr. Norris actually pushed too far? Definitely. From the second he arrives at, uh, ‘____’ High School, Stegman and his cohorts are rude to him, they disrupt class, they make snarky remarks(followed with classic tongue-wagging), they shout ‘Not Here’ during roll call and they pound out entire Chopin impromptus, flawlessly, yet can’t remember what an amphibian is. Were they asking to be brutally cut down in the prime of their lives? No. They were begging to be. You simply DO NOT tempt a married man, who has to wear a Sears’ sport coat to work every single day of his life, into a blood feud. Such a man has already peeked into the abyss, and is ready to vent some spleen by booting a jar of Vlasic pickles up your ass, then breaking the glass.

Okay, so it starts out small like that, but the situation escalates when Mr. Norris finds them pushing drugs in the bathroom, but can’t prove it, which sets his blood aboil. After that, when a tripping student gets himself waxed pulling a numb-skullish stunt on a flagpole, something right out of a cautionary episode of ABC’s After School Playhouse starring Scott Baio and Maureen McCormick, the teacher appeals to the dead kid’s friend, Arthur, to testify against Stegman and his baddies for selling him the drugs . Unfortunately, Arthur(played by Michael Fox, now known as Michael J. Fox, a.k.a. the Canadian Quaker)is immediately slipped the shank in the cafeteria for being a rat. Let’s not forget Stegman’s beating himself up in the bathroom right in front of Mr. Norris and framing him for the assault(Yes, Fight Club did, in fact, rip this off. You can deny it all you want, I know you will, because you live in a dreamworld with gingerbread houses and pussy-flavored pancakes).
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On the very last night of many a student’s life, Stegman and his crew taunt Norris, relentlessly, while he is on his way to a High School band recital. Now, if you’re a grown man who has to spend his Friday nights doing things like watching Michael(J.)Fox playing the recorder, you have, most likely, already spent many hours plotting the savage murder of at least half a dozen people. Maybe you even have a couple under your belt, and have developed into an experienced killer with a matured, distinct Modus Operandi of your own. Even if you haven’t, just BEING an inner city music teacher makes you as ready to pop and gush as a frothy can of Milwaukee’s Best all over the tits of an Ohio State Cheerleader. Stegman gets right in his face and says “I AM THE FUTURE”. Okay, that’s hardly a death threat, but it is pretty gay.

Before Mr. Norris can actually be ‘pushed too far’, something has to be done to someone he loves. The act that, finally, pushes Mr. Norris just far enough to be ‘pushed too far’, is when they break into his home and spring some surprise sex on his pregnant wife. It’s hard to believe he doesn’t see this coming. He apparently has not seen even ONE Charles Bronson film, in his entire life. Can that really be called living? Not too long after that, Stegman’s senior class starts getting seriously reduced in headcount.

Maybe the title, Class of 1984, is supposed to be ironic, since he downright murders half the graduating class and assures that very few, in fact, will be left. The only students remaining after his bloody rampage are the ones that have never shot smack, teased their hair, hit their 30th birthday, or publicly admitted to having any blood connection to the cast of Eight is Enough. I SERIOUSLY recommend this film. It is just ridiculous enough, obtuse enough, and immature enough, for most adult audiences of today. It hammers home the still relevant message that all teenagers should, no MUST, be senselessly slaughtered. Furthermore, it shows us that if there is a future, that future is going to be good for the manufacturers of sleeveless shirts.

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http://www.amazon.com/Days-Yore-Arin-Lee-Kambitsis/dp/1935361147

After killing the marauding giant Oggmagog with a devious trick, a boy named Jack is brought before the dying King Arthur who sends him on a quest to Albion, land of the giants, to retrieve his sword Excalibur and save all of Britain.

 

 

Horror Movie Review: Santa Sangre(1989)

Santa Sangre, in a distressing display of unoriginal thinking, sets up its story as so many have before it. It opens with the same old insane-naked-man-stuck-up-in-an-artificial-tree-on-the-inside-of-a-Mexican-madhouse-with-a-flashback-to-his-childhood-in-which-he-attends-the-sad-New-Orleans-style-funeral-of-an-elephant-before-witnessing-his-hairy-morbidly-obese-rhinestone-cowboy-knife-throwing-circus-freak-father-slash-his-own-throat-after-cutting-off-his-mother’s-arms-in-a-fit-of-rage-after-she-tosses-a-jar-of-acid-on-his-balls-for-banging-the-tattooed-lady-making-her-death-referential-to-the-martyrdom-of-an-unofficial-armless-saint-that-she-worships-thusly-setting-the-stage-for-her-vengeful-spirit-to-return-from-the-grave-and-seize-control-of-his-arms-and-go-on-a-killing-spree type of deal. If you can keep awake while watching this tired, old premise unwind, YET AGAIN, for the fiftieth time, the film rewards you by moving into more unfamiliar territory.

So, after a flash-forward, or whatever you want to call it. Actually, since we are returning to the present from a flashback, can we really call it a flash-forward? Maybe we can. However, it doesn’t make logical sense to call it a flash-forward when all that’s really happened is the flashback has ended, thus returning us to the present, which is not the present, but 1989 Mexico, which kind of has the feel of 1981 Miami. At least, the hairdos do.

Anyway, after we return to the present, our boy Fenix(yes, his name is the Spanish word for Phoenix, not exactly subtle, as symbolism goes, this IS the country that gave us Menudo, remember)is all grown up and nuts because of what he saw as a child(we covered that right?). So, one night, during an inpatient trip to the movies, he and a bunch of Down’s Syndrome buds of his are intercepted at the ticket booth by a greasy, Mexican pimp, who gives them cocaine and gets them some sticky access with a three hundred pound prostitute. I know what you’re thinking: this is what happens to EVERYBODY when they go to Mexico. These guys don’t get out much, though. The next day, Fenix is filled with a renewed vigor, bouncing around the madhouse like an acrobat and, once again, wanting to drink of the magnificent font of experience that is life in a 2nd world country. Out the window of his cell he sees a vision of his mother calling him from the sidewalk below, and he climbs through the window down to the pavement to meet her. The two march off, side-by-side, down the mysterious fog-strewn street, and into destiny and/or the second act.

Now, this is something that really gets my goat. People have GOT to stop following their mother’s ghosts down foggy streets, symbolizing uncertain futures. Symbolism should be avoided in real life, take it from a guy who once accidentally sliced a crucifix into his cheek, while shaving, at the same time he was on the phone lying to a minister about fucking his daughter. However, should you ever venture down that foggy road, stop before you come to a crossroads or a rickety bridge extending over a raging stream, because now you’ve stepped into the territory of full-blown allegory, at the end of which you will find things like personal growth, and other such fruity crap, that you can definitely do without.

Anyway, as it turns out, Fenix’s mom isn’t dead, she’s very much alive, although her armlessness seems to have never gone away.

Now, ask yourself this: Would you rather be dead, or unable to wipe your ass in a country where people spend as much time on the toilet as they do sleeping?

So, mother and son put together a circus act, where he acts as her arms, although, unknown to the audience, she can take complete control over them whenever she wants, even against her son’s will. As it turns out, this is prime entertainment in Mexico, and they prove quite popular. Women are simply all over Fenix, and mother ain’t down widdat. She forces him to stab and mutilate them, which makes this red, viscid, plasmatic liquid squirt from their wounds, which, I believe, is supposed to be symbolic of blood. I may be reading into that, too much, though.

Santa Sangre is, supposedly, a very important film. It is highly lauded by critics, and film school dicks, across the world. It is a pretty good movie, however, it’s too eccentric and tongue-in-cheek to truly be scary. It was made by surrealist filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, and should be watched carefully, for many a riddle is posited in both the story being told, and in the very scenery in which it is told. If you pay attention, you can spot the director’s mysterious sense of humor built into the very fabric of the tale, as well as the sets. It’s a tour-de-force of wit, sensuality and brutality that appeases both the intellect and the escapist. It’s not very scary, though. So, if your idea of a perfect movie is anything with the word Hellraiser in it, you should probably skip Santa Sangre and go back to listening to bands whose guitars are tuned down to A#.

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Movie Review: Summer Camp Nightmare(1987)

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Did you attend summer camp as a child? Well, if you did, then Summer Camp Nightmare will be a magical trip down memory lane. 

Now, you all must remember the popular, blond William Kat-ish guy who made sure to befriend, and defend, all of the geeks the other kids picked on. Thank god for that guy! What would adolescence be like without guys like him? Try to imagine, if you can, a world where jocks, and their familiars, pick on the smaller, sensitive kids; bullying them, humiliating them, maybe even driving them to homicidal rampages through school with a shotgun bought at a low Walmart price. Now, I know that kind of world is hard to imagine, but it really might be like that if the popular kids weren’t so nice. I’m serious.

And do you remember the camp directors? Those washed up actors from the golden age of television that always did the exact wrong thing? No matter what choices they were faced with, and what tell-tale signs the situation offered up to steer them in the right direction, they ALWAYS took the short-sighted detour over the metaphorical cliff. 

And do you remember what ALWAYS happened? The inevitable bloody teenage rebellion that ended in a primitive society being established, the strongest siezing control, and the swift partitioning off of all voices critical to them. Finally, everything culminating in a might-makes-right atmosphere where all disputes are settled by a violent display of force or a brutal trial by ordeal? 

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Undoubtedly, this all sounds very familiar to you, and is making you as wistful as it is me. But that’s just the kind of charming romp Summer Camp Nightmare has in store for you, you lucky dog.

We begin on the first day of camp, at the cattle call of prepubescent protagonists, where we get the first heavy-handed bits of exposition, pin-pointing precisely who every kid is, and of what use they will be in the future. The popular good kid, Chris Wade, is helpful and fair. Franklin Reilly, a spoiled rich kid and our future psycho, spouts some Nietzschean nonsense about being above society and conquering fear(a la Leopold and Loeb). John Mason and Stanley Runk(the punk)are our typefied denim-vested heavy metal bullies whose nostrils are still stinging from snorted model airplane glue. 

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Mr. Warren is the square, clueless camp director(played by Chuck Connors, a.k.a. The Rifleman). And, most importantly, our hapless geek, reluctant hero, and resident coward named, not kidding, Donald Poultry. Donald arrives at camp carrying a cache of gadgets that, unfortunately, only really come into play once to make Stanley Runk(the punk)show off his asshole chops for the audience when he gets annoyed at the shiny, noisy box the kid is carrying.

On the first day, Mr. Warren warns all the kids to stay off the old bridge, because it’s dangerous and also(gasp!)it leads to the nearby South Pine Girls Camp. Just how a man this dumb managed to live into his 60’s, much less, end up responsible for a hundred or so kids, is a credit to the benefits of coming from a well-connected family(the Kennedys? the Bushes?). Later on, Franklin comes to learn of an incident in which Mr. Warren lifts a boy in the air to catch a butterly and ends up scaring him. Franklin, in his zeal for justice, chocks this up to the director’s secret and illicit sexual attraction to boys. Irresponsible accusations, such as this, happened quite a bit in the 1980’s. My father is up for parole in 2017. Fingers crossed! And…sorry. 

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No camp experience is complete until kids are bussed in from another nearby camp. Even though it may seem to the viewer that the summer has still, pretty much, just begun, there’s been plenty of time to put together enough acts for an inter-camp talent show extravaganza, replete with professionally recorded midi-backing tracks with vocal accompaniment. I’m amazed at how these kids pulled off such a technological feat out in the middle of nowhere, considering that, at the time, the most portable recording console available was approximately the size of the International Space Station.

Now, racism was very much alive in Hollywood, in 1987. Shawn McLemore, as Hammond, seems to be in over his head as the sole black kid at camp. While everyone else just gets to be a child, McLemore must have been given the task of representing ALL black American youths. According to 80’s films, all black people were entertainers back then, and McLemore fit the bill. Hammond even gets to MC the talent show, and school all the campers in old-timey, beat-box hippity hop. 

 

 

Either Hammond, or Shawn, must have been late of a Connecticut boarding school, because his raps are slightly peppered with hints of a classical education. This is evidenced by rhymes such as…

“Friends, Romans, and countrymen too, there’s a little something I’ve got for you.”

and

“This group of guys have been working for a long time, I think you’re gonna find them, fine as wine.”

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I can’t say for sure if the director was a racist or not, but it’s obvious he was raised in mainland China, the dark jungles of South America, or Manhattan. – the three most likely places on earth where one can thrive without ever encountering actual black people. Possibly, all the man knew of them was based on the first season of Different Strokes, which isn’t a bad place to start, at least. I imagine Shawn’s first conversation with his unworldly director went something like…

“Shawn, real quick. I wanna talk to you about your character.”
“Oh, good. I have some ideas regarding his…”
“Yo! Absolutely, bro! Listen, Oregon law states that we can’t have more than one black teenager on the set. So, I need you to represent your ENTIRE race in this movie.”
“Pardon?”
“Just do what your people do best: Talk real loud, eat with your mouth open, walk around with your hand down your pants. You know, things that I know your people do. In fact, show no self-restraint, whatsoever. Act like you’re Helen Keller bleeding out her asshole.”
“Hmmm. Okay, so you’re saying that my character is sort of a counterpoint to learned social behaviors. The classical fool, basically.”
“No, you’re playing black. How many people in your family are in prison?”
“Well, my father is a criminal attorney.”
“Your dad’s a convict, huh? I think we can use that.”
“No one in my family’s in prison.”
“Sure, kid. Sure. Can you rap?”
“Um, I own a couple cassettes.”
“You have a couple albums out? Great! Well, I’m gonna send you over to the studio in 10 minutes. The Oberheim’s got a busted trigger pad, so we need someone who knows how to program a polyphonic step sequencer. The friggin’ engineers don’t have your kind of experience. Say, you don’t have diabetes, do you? All blacks have diabetes.”
“What?”
“Let me see you limp around, a bit.”

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The first act is The South Pines Sisters, a sort of Abba-ish sounding trio of near-comely girls who dare the boys of North Pines to come visit them. 

“We know that football is okay, but this we have to say, there’s other games to play.’

So, basically, they’re daring the boys to sneak out, traverse the truncated death bridge, and join them for unprotected, underage ugly-bumping. I’m just assuming a nurse at an all-girls camp doesn’t distribute condoms. Dental dams, maybe.

The following act is an acoustic number by…we don’t hear the name, nor do we care. Acoustic guitars don’t come back into style for a couple more years, when all the heavy metal power ballads start hitting the radio. So, if you’re in the mood for some Every Rose Has It’s Thorn, well…fuck you, just for that.

This, literally, sets the stage for the main act. The incredible Horn Dogs playing Beef Baloney.

She don’t like salami, 
she don’t want pastrami
She don’t want a chicken, 
she don’t want a roast
She just wants her double dose of my
Beef, beef, beef, beef baloney 

Beef Baloney is an anthem. It united an entire generation, gave them hope. But not Mr. Warren’s generation. He immediately calls a conclusion to the talent show after the Horn Dogs’ crotch-clutching, fist-pumping antics. He sends the girls packing, calls off the dance, and signs his own deathwarrant in doing so. Little does Mr. Warren know, any man who denies horny teens the right to congregate around a Toshiba boombox and do the 80’s white kid side-to-side shuffle-and-clap dance, is surely asking for a bloody, and merciless, comeuppance.

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The drama really escalates when Chris Wade is incarcerated for sneaking out of camp to go…you get one guess…give up…THE GIRLS CAMP! Franklin Reilly, snotty little asshole that he is, stages a Coup d’état in retaliation using a 45. caliber pistol he discovers. Mr. Warren is locked up and the wanton teen debauchery begins. Kids are dancing, drinking, pressing their lips together in a way reserved strictly for man and wife, and then only for the first couple months of their marriage. It is Sodom and Gomorrah and Poughkeepsie all rolled into one filthy mess!

Now, you may be wondering just when does the nightmare begin? It’s already begun. You are now 45 minutes older, and have yet to be frightened or entertained! 

However, if you do enjoy 80’s camp, and 80 camps, then you will probably at least get a partial Woodrow Wilson out of Summer Camp Nightmare. The movie really tries to make a statement about the dangers of nationalistic fervor, personal responsibility, the folly in trusting any teen prick who’s appeared on both Dallas AND 21 Jumpstreet, and finally, never EVER taking shit from Chuck Connors. 

Poorly directed, acted and conceived, Summer Camp Nightmare could be your cup of tea if you’re up for pure 80’s cheese, and it also could be a great drinking game. This is how it works: one chug every time it’s apparent the director was standing off to side yelling, “Blacker, Shawn! Blacker! Have you even seen Different Strokes?”.

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