Blackenstein - This marks the beginning of why I refer to 2011 as The B-Fest That Hated Women. When a Vietnam vet is taken by his girlfriend to her old mentor to have new limbs grafted on to replace the ones blown off by a landmine, the eeevil butler who wants the woman to himself intentionally botches the procedure and the result is a silly black Frankenstein monster with a square afro who stumbles around killing random people. One of the people he kills is a woman ditched in a park at night after refusing to put out for her boyfriend, and the tone of the scene strongly suggests the movie really believes that women who don’t put out deserve to be mutilated by a silly black Frankenstein monster with a square afro. Then the girlfriend almost gets raped by the butler at the end. While the movie would be painful solo, it’s fun with a group, and as stupid as the rest of it is, it does have on interesting thing going for it. I’ll admit to not being a huge fan of blaxploitation, and so I’ve not seen a lot of them. This, however, is the first one I’ve seen where the white authority figure not only isn’t the villain, but is a good guy of sorts, no matter how much of a bumbling tool he is. A brief sociological observation: there were large swathes of uncomfortable silence during this flick, where a really obvious racial joke could be made and you could practically hear what everyone was thinking, but no one wanted to be the first to cross that line. During subsequent movies, however, people were more than happy to be hollering rape jokes at the top of their lungs. Why is rape more acceptable than racism?
Manos: The Hands of Fate - I can’t imagine this one needs any introduction, so I’ll instead relate what may be the most cold-heartedly hilarious joke I’ve ever heard uttered at B-Fest. It was great to have Fistula next to me in the theater again, and this perfectly illustrates why. When grumpy old dad goes out into the desert to find the family dog that has been savaged by The Master‘s pet hellbeast, and wanders off to presumably bury the poor mangled body, Fistula cracked, “Well at least he won’t have to wipe with cactus.”
Canadian Fire Prevention Short - I stupidly deleted the e-mail that had the title for this and this year’s one other short, and I’m too lazy to look it up again. Deal with it. The basic gist is if you marry someone you don’t get along with, solarmanite will destroy the universe.
The Manitou - Tim and Sean sponsored it. They got sick and had to miss it. As much as I’d have loved to fully experience this mindfuck with a crowd, I own it and had watched it just a few months previous, so I missed most of it too. I tried to stay up in honor of the missing Los Hermanos Tyrannosauros, but I couldn’t quite manage. This year’s lineup is maybe the strongest I’ve ever attended. Unfortunately, I own most of the movies that made it so strong, so it was doubly difficult to stay awake for the ones I really wanted to watch other people watching.
Undefeatable - I slept through half of Manitou so I could stay up for this? Really? Cynthia Rothrock is a street fighter who must team up with an oily kung fu cop to defeat an even oilier kung fu serial rapist/murderer. Back in 2009, I commented during The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant that there just weren’t enough movies that had people getting beaten to death with log chains. I retract that wish if what the Universe is going to give me is rape victims getting beaten to death with log chains. Features what is the first, and I hope only, scene of graphic rape I have ever seen that is shot like a Cinemax porn suggesting that I’M SUPPOSED TO BE TURNED ON BY IT! WHAT THE HELL? Oh, fuck this movie. I've sat through just about every gritty rape/revenge movie you can think of, and although they are almost all more graphic and serious than this, not a single one of them is more offensive than this load of crap because none of them had the unbelievable gall to suggest the audience is supposed to find it sexy. This is the one where all the rape jokes started. Seriously, how is this funnier than a little harmless, insincere, good-humored racism? I realize that sounds weird, but stereotypes can be funny. Rape can’t.
I Accuse My Parents - nap.
Night of the Lepus - Every time I watch this movie, it surprises me by being even sillier and more graphically gory than I remember it being the last time I watched it. I love this movie. You should too. It's giant killer bunnies for fuck's sake!
American Ninja - This movie has more nut shots than an episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos. It’s nice to see a (relatively) big budget ninja movie still stoop to the trick of ninjas having ridiculous otherworldly powers like teleportation. A decent waste of 90 minutes.
Skidoo - Uh…what? Most people summed this up as “Otto Preminger didn’t get the 60’s”. Fair enough. It’s a bizarre example of a major director being given all the money he wants with no supervision to make a cracked out movie that, despite being almost mesmerically weird, collapses under its own excess. Word on the street is that Preminger was a real dick to one of the actresses, and Jackie Gleeson stepped up to the plate and threatened to knock his dick in the dirt if he didn’t stop being a jerk. I dig Jackie Gleeson. What I took away from this movie is a theory that John Phillip Law’s character here is the same one he plays in Danger: Diabolik! Embittered by his experience with gangsters, he abandons his hippy lifestyle to out-gangster them all as the most badass super criminal of all time.
Cool As Ice - I slept through this piece of crap in 2003, and was unfortunate to be well-rested enough to see virtually all of it this year. Once again, it’s the B-Fest That Hated Women. Dopey white rappers are cool. Rock and roll is a poindexter sport in this flick. The only redeeming thing about it was it gave me an opportunity to get a couple of people around me to get in on making a ton of Burt Gummer jokes whenever Michael Gross was onscreen.
Another Odd Short - Some black and white student art film bullshit. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, I hate shorts.
Mighty Peking Man - And yet more rape! They couldn’t have picked a more thematically appropriate monster movie for the finale. A deliriously silly kaiju flick to end the Fest on. It drags a bit through the middle, but all in all it’s fun even by yourself, and much more so in a room full of sleep deprived nerds who’ve had their senses battered by 22 ½ hours of the garbage described before this paragraph.
Cleanup and group photos and farewells before heading back to the hotel for a shower. Then on to Marilyn’s for a goodbye supper (odd leaving times nixed the traditional breakfast for a lot of people, including us). Poor Jacob rolled in without the benefit of a shower or any relax time, as a wrong turn leaving Northwestern resulted in his winding up in the hinterlands of Wisconsin before he managed to find his way back to us.
One final mishap on the way home: leaving the gas station our Garmin froze up and refused to load its maps. Thankfully Mal had just switched phones to a Droid shortly before we left for Chicago. It has a GPS function so we didn’t have to waste any time with those pesky paper maps. You think in the Age of Technology I’m going to navigate for myself? Bust out the sextant, Captain Anachronism.