Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Movies You Can't Netflix: Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare

Just say no(In which I share my thoughts on an obscure piece of Eighties cinema: Today's film comes from 1987 via the Great White North.)

We open with one of the least scary horror sequences you're ever likely to see. Despite the director's obvious intention to create some suspense (see note below about the score) and perhaps frighten us the scene comes off rather flat. While cooking breakfast, disaster befalls a housewife: a puppety demon pops out of the fridge and eats her. The demon then kills the father and the couple's son.

That's our prelude. Ten years later, a hair-metal band heads to the very same house on a working vacation. Their plan is to relax, rehearse and/or record new material, up in Canada, because there are no distractions in Canada. Nonetheless, the band brings along their girlfriends too, but maybe they expect them to be very Canadian (i.e. not distracting). They aren't your typical groupies, what with the wearing of the pearls and such.

There's only about 20 minutes of movie in this movie, the other hour or so is mostly padding. First off, the film proper begins with an extended sequence of John Triton (the mantastically sculpted Jon Mikl Thor) driving his van through the countryside, a scene which lasts a good four minutes. Four minutes... of a van... driving through the countryside. Okay, so I can't document every instance of filler in this film, but viewers can expect to see lots of static shots of the exterior of the farmhouse where the film takes place, more shots of tree branches rustling in the wind, puppet's-eye views of furniture, a bunch of very un-sexy sex scenes, two musical numbers, time-lapse photography of clouds, and more scenes of people washing dishes than any movie with the words "rock n roll" in the title has any right to. Throw in some really cheap effects, consistently shitty dialog, and sizable helping of komedy, and you've a recipe for greatness. And by greatness I mean this movie sucks.

After about 20 minutes of filler, bad acting, the worst fake English accent ever, and shots and shots of branches, the truly horrible happens: The first musical number. It's a not-very-good hair-metal tune titled "We Live To Rock." To be fair, it's way better than the second tune they later play, but that ain't saying much. The band's rehearsal sounds, I'm guessing, nearly identical to their studio recording, but on the final note, tragedy strikes. The drummer breaks one of his drumsticks. Now, apparently this has never happened to anyone, anywhere ever before, and it is such a shock to the band that the rehearsal is thrown into chaos. And let me tell you, folks, it's all downhill from here. First off, people soon start dropping like so many fumbled plectrums, and secondly, there's another musical number still on the way.

The manager slinks off to the basement to find a spare stick, and once down there, bumps into the drummer's girlfriend. She's hot and raring to go, so she put the moves on him. Those moves involve turning into a monster and biting him. When the others rush downstairs to find out what the rumpus is, the basement is empty. The manager is gone, and no one is sure what to make of things. Though, it does lead to this primo dialogue exchange: "Let's go check upstairs," suggests one of the girls. Triton replies "Well, it sounded like the scream came from down here. [Thoughtful pause] You're right, let's go upstairs."

Unable to find the errant manager, it's concluded he must've gone to town to buy some new drumsticks. That certainly explains why he and the van have suddenly disappeared. Of course, you'd have to be daft to believe it. Needless to say, everyone believes it. Practice is cancelled and everyone is sent off to get laid. For a band that is supposed to be up in Canada rehearsing, they sure will use any excuse to slack off. Maybe this is why The Tritonz never became a household name, unlike Winger or Faster Pussycat.

And while none of the above makes any sense, it does allow this film to progress. Sort of. Eventually, after some footage of tree branches and whatnot, another member of the party is attacked. This time it's the drummer with the fake English accent, and he is again done in by one of the girls. Suddenly, it occurred to me that maybe this is some sort of anti-feminist parable, where women are really monsters who suck the life-force and creative energy from virile males, as typified by the cock-rockin'est of all archetypes: the heavy metal guitar god. But then I realized this is a movie starring Jon Mikl Thor and bunch of puppets, and quickly put that thought from my mind.

Here's the thing about the attacks: No one seems to end up dead. No, the victims all return sooner or later, oftentimes sooner. I think maybe they're possessed. Or they've transformed. Or something. After the drummer is attacked he's able to play without breaking his drumstick! He also seems to lose his awful, fake accent. I'm not sure that was because he's now a demon, or just a shitty actor. Of course, his newfound ability behind the drum kit leads to the inevitable: Yup, the second musical number.

And as bad at that song is, it cannot compare to the horror that's yet to unfold. I'm talking about Jon Mikl Thor's sex scene. I'm pretty much inured to the heterosexual mating rituals that are par for the course in your typical exploitation film, but this just goes beyond the pale. From his darting, reptilian tongue to his sweaty, misshapen ass, he's a horrific ghoul of a man. Watching him hump some woman, up in Canada, was just about all I could take. I shuddered as he pressed his naked flesh against the woman in the shower, his damp, stringy hair reminiscent of a dog caught in the rain.

The above notwithstanding, the film is not scary. But you can tell it wants to be. Whenever something "strange" or "ominous" happens, not-very-good synth music plays on the soundtrack. That's our only cue to be scared. If the score sounds familiar it may be because you perhaps, at one time, lived in the adjoining duplex where I grew up. When I was about eleven my mother bought me a Casio keyboard. I'd pound at the keys randomly, in an attempt to approximate music, in much the way an Einstürzende Neubauten album approximates music. But alas, I was never going to be Giorgio Moroder, and the producers of this soundtrack will never win an academy award. What I am saying is, the score here sounds a lot like an eleven-year-old boy with no talent banging away randomly at a synthesizer.

Somewhere in all this are more puppets, though they don't really do much except give the director an excuse to strap his camera to a skateboard and run it around the floor of the house so we can see what all the furniture looks like from down there. There is also a scene where an arm pops out of someone's chest and strangles a groupie. And for some reason the kid from the prologue returns, and turns into a ghoul, and attacks more members of the entourage.

All of this leads to the grand finale, where Thor's girlfriend reveals herself to be Beelzebub. This is a nice effect achieved by fading from an image of her to an image of a giant, green puppet. But don't worry, John reveals himself to be Triton the Archangel, AKA the Intercessor. (Note to non-Milton scholars, Triton does not appear in Paradise Lost, that chapter having been cut for being too fuckin' rockin' for pre-Restoration literature.) Triton the Archangel has quite the get up. He's wearing eyeliner and lipstick, his hair teased to the heavens (of course), a cape, and metal-studded forearm bracers.

Oh yeah, and he's sporting a very nice studded loincloth, the likes of which St. Michael would be envious of.

"You've overstepped your line again, Bub. There's a creator's highest law that keeps you in your dark place and yet you and your brethren still insist on coming into this world and trying to steal a place in the world of the living. When will you ever learn?"

Triton delivers the above pronouncement just before all hell breaks loose. All hell includes flying rubber starfish. Triton fights them off, tearing them asunder, as another hair-metal anthem blares from the soundtrack. Triton goes toe to toe with puppet Beelzebub, a fight that lasts exactly as long as the recording of "We Accept the Challenge."

It's no surprise that Triton defeats Beelzebub, but what is unsettling is how Bub (as Triton likes to call him) goes down in a shower of sparks. It's almost as if someone set a Black Cat firework in front of the puppet and lit the fuse. It's a not-very-good finale to an otherwise not-very-good horror film.

This movie sucks. I mentioned that earlier in my review. But still, I love the fact a film like this exists. There is something pleasing in the fact that a C-list rock star can write, produce and star in his own monster movie. Sure, the film could have been better if they'd used good actors, a competent director, and a decent script, but that is all beside the point. Jon Mikl Thor managed, somehow, to put together a film that is by no means good but still wholly his own.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Santa Baby

"Santa Baby" by Eartha Kitt.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cheney Whispers Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Since I've decided The Washington Times is my new favorite gay newspaper, allow me to share this headline: "Bush, Cheney comforted troops privately." Hawt. Sounds like a Dink Flamingo production.

From Dink's website:

Hot on the tails of The Surge, comes this white-hot sequel: Legendary power-bottom Dick Cheney returns to the screen in blistering performance as The Rear Admiral. Dick doesn't ask, he tells the young, raw recruits how he wants it! And they deilver, in only the way the men of the U.S. military can: with an unflinching lust for man-on-man action!

Stand at attention, boys, for the red, white and pink!
The article itself is pretty galling, and I don't recommend reading it unless you'd like to make yourself angry. But, I'll use anything as an excuse to post a Dink Flamingo picture.

Movies You Can't Netflix: Santa Claus

(Hola, Shakers, su película vienen hoy de México alrededor de 1959. ¡Feliz Navidad, bichos!)

Forget everything you thought you knew about Santa Claus. This movie* pisses all over those notions like it's had one too many cervezas. Santa does not live at the North Pole. Nope, he lives in a castle on a cloud in outer space. That ain't the half of it: His reindeer are windup toys, there are no elves, and he has to battle it out with Lucifer for the hearts and minds of all the children down on Earth.

Instead of elves, Santa has a whole mess of little kids helping him out. Children from every corner of the globe have been sent to help Santa. They labor night and day making toys for other kids the world over. It's like one big multi-ethnic sweatshop (which maybe explains why the African delegation is wearing nothing but leopard-print loincloths... No, I guess it doesn't. (This bit is, just FYI, usually removed from broadcast versions of the movie**.))

And Santa has gizmos galore in his ... laboratory. He's got a telescope that can spy on anyone anywhere, a giant ear in a radar dish that can pickup even a whisper, and a weird contraption that allows him to see what every child is dreaming about. It's been said Santa knows if you've been bad or good and all that, but until I saw him in action here, I never realized how creepy that really was. (No telecom immunity for Santa, I say!)

Lucifer doesn't like Santa, but hey, Lucifer doesn't like anyone. He sends Mitch***, his top henchman, up to earth to tempt all the kiddies into ill behavior, and thereby pissing off Santa to no end. First and foremost on Mitch's list is Lupita, a poor peasant girl whose only wish is to have a dolly of her own. But try as he might, Mitch can't turn the girl to the dark side (i.e. petty theft.) She "doesn't want to be evil" (her words) and shuns Mitch.

On Christmas Eve Mitch does his best to muck things up for Santa, moving chimneys and setting door knobs aflame. But Santa is pretty spry, plus he's got a bag of magic powder given to him by his old friend Merlin. Yeah, Merlin. Apparently he's no longer working for King Arthur and is now mixing things up at Santa's castle. In fact, he's the only other adult there. Forget what I said about the place being like a sweatshop, it's more like Neverland Ranch.

And as much as Mitch is bound to ruin things for Santa, Santa is determined to get Lupita that dolly she wants. He's one final stop before sunrise, which he has to avoid lest the reindeer turn to dust. (Are they vampire reindeer? Fuck if I know. I thought they were mechanical.) But Mitch puts a Doberman between Santa and Lupita, and it's up to Merlin to save the day.

This sort of makes Santa look not only like a wimp, but daft as well. But that's okay, because Lupita gets her doll and Mitch is defeated once more.

This film was originally produced in Mexico, and later "Americanized" by producer K. Gordon Murray. I've no idea how much his version resembles the original, or if his work can count as an "improvement." The production is so head-scratchingly bizarre, I don't know if it pleases me more to think the original version was just as loopy, or that Murray thought up all the crazy shit himself for American matinee audiences. Either way, I recommend gulping down a puke-inducing level of eggnog and sitting down to watch this unique bit of cinema.

* The film is available here, should you be inclined to view it. Thanks, Liss!

** If you're a glutton for punishment and want to see the offending image, click here, but be warned, it's in really bad taste. WTP is the only thing that comes to mind when I see it.

*** Actually, his name is Pitch, but the narrator kind of mumbles it the first time out, and I misheard it. But it was imprinted on my brain as "Mitch," so that's who he'll always be to me.


So Red The Robe

Like most As-Seen-On-TV! type products, I tend to shrug whenever I see them and think I could take it or leave it. Usually I lean toward leave it, since I have no real need for a Bedazzler or a fishing rod that will fold up nicely into my jacket pocket. I make an exception for the Sham-Wow guy who irks me to no end, with his stupid little Janet Jackson headset and annoying comments ("It's made in Germany, and you know the Germans always make good stuff"). He makes me want to punch the TV.

But I saw this one the other night and it made me laugh.

The Snuggie: The blanket with sleeves! Which, at first glance, seems like an innocuous enough product. Kind of makes the wearer look like they've got on a robe. And that's okay. Except, the red robe version makes the wearer look distinctly like a Satan-worshipping cultist.

And that's why I laughed.

See devil worshippers watch TV! See Satan's minions check their email! And my personal fave: Cultist eating popcorn! Knitting, reading time with the kids, backgammon! Cook smores around the fire, high five at the human sacrifice: Satanic families do it all! And there's nothing like getting your morning coffee or checking the Lifestyle section of the paper in your flaming-red devil-worshipping attire.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Anchors Away, My Boys

Another update in the ongoing, heads-exploding-on-the-right saga of Obama's appointments and gays in the military: Congressional Democrats working with retired military leaders are pushing for William White to be appointed Secretary of the Navy. If chosen, White would be the first openly gay person to top one the nation's armed services.

Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Hugh Shelton says White "would be phenomenal." Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-New York) agrees, saying "He's very capable."

Of course, professional homobigot Elaine Donnelly opposes the idea, claiming it "would be very demoralizing to the troops" and that appointing White that would be "very poor judgment on the part of the commander in chief." Donnelly stands by her long record of... well... nothing... to draw her conclusions.

The Obama camp had no comment.

(And why, oh why, do we keep reading this stuff in the Washington Fucking Times? Anybody?)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Why I Hate The News (Yahoo Edition)

Actual Headline: Fewer adults would buy foreclosed homes: survey.

Ummmm... okay. And what would toddlers buy?

Movies You Can't Netflix: Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker

Peek-a-boo!(In which I yet again share my thoughts on an obscure sequel: Today's film is brought to you by the Christmas Spirit, 1992.)

Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker is a sequel to Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation which is not a sequel to Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out!. This one at least follows the previous film, though indirectly, by making Kim and Lonnie from part four the next door neighbors. Clint Howard even manages to return as Ricky, despite have been turned into worm food, literally, in the last outing.

For those of you who don't know, Silent Night Deadly Night 4 was kind of like Suspiria, but with Clint Howard. I guess that makes Silent Night Deadly Night 5 like Toy Story, but with Clint Howard. Except the toys here are more dangerous than Tim Allen after an eight day coke binge.

Someone has been anonymously leaving gift-wrapped little toys for a young boy named Derek on the family's porch. The first one is unwrapped by his suspicious father. It looks like an oversized Pokeball, but soon reveals itself to be a demented Santa music box that churns out a death march before attaching itself, Alien face-hugger-style, to poor old dad and sucking the life out of him.

Witnessing his father's death has rendered Derek mute. Mom, on the other hand, doesn't seem all too broken up. In fact, you'd be hard pressed to tell her spouse had passed away at all. I guess we all deal with grief in different ways. Susan makes sandwiches for her son and otherwise behaves as if nothing happened. To be fair, she does express some mild concern for her son, and decides to buy him a nice toy to cheer him up.

Susan and Derek stop by Petto's Toys, in hopes of finding the perfect gift. Now, "Petto's" might look okay up on the façade of the shop, but saying it out loud makes it disturbingly pervacious. Shopkeeper Joe Petto is played by Mickey Rooney, and it made me wonder how broke, how desperate was he, that he had to appear in this. After 65 years in Hollywood, had he not saved enough money so he wouldn't be reduced to roles like this?

Joe Petto runs his shop with his son Pino, a stiff young boy with few social skills. When not imploring Derek to take a toy he built (a charming number called Larry the Larvae), he's breaking into Susan's house and sniffing around her underwear drawer.

All the while, packages keep showing up for Derek.

He manages to ditch them one after another. Unfortunately they end up mutilating whoever else happens to find them. A pair of rocket-powered rollerblades sends poor Lonnie into the path of a speeding car and straight into traction. If it ain't witches trying to sacrifice him, he's got to worry about demented toy makers.

Another toy burrows into some poor sap's head while driving, causing him to run off the road. Of course, his car explodes in a huge fireball. (For the record, any time a car in a movie explodes despite having no real reason to, a little bit of joy is brought into my life.)

Who the toy maker is, isn't exactly clear. Odds are on creepy little Pino. But then again, who's that strange guy always lurking around the neighbourhood? And what's up with Joe? Did he really sabotage some toys and mangle a bunch of kids years ago? And is Pino what he really seems?

That last one is probably a yes, because "wooden" seems to describe more than just his personality. If you figured out he's not a real boy, pat yourself on the back, because you've proven yourself not a moron.

As strange as this film is, it takes a serious left turn right near the end, with the last ten minutes being truly bizarre. Any attempt to describe it wouldn't do it justice, and besides, it would ruin the surprise. That'd be like peeking at your presents before Christmas. And we know what happens to boys and girls who are naughty. Well, if this movie is any indication, they end up abducted by a deranged lunatic dressed as Santa and stuffed into his sack. But now I've already said too much. No more peeking, just track this one down yourself.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Pat Boone Loves You Just The Way You Are

Well, no, not really. I mean, he says he loves gays, loves people who "were practicing homosexuals." (The operative word here seems to be "were.") Sure, just because he compared us to terrorists last week, doesn't mean he doesn't like us, right? In response to some criticism from bloggers like me (and someone named Keith Olbermann, who has some sort of TV show) Boone has a new piece up at WND professing just how much he doesn't hate us (so long as we don't touch his thigh. Seriously.)

Among his ample evidence, the two books he wrote about how to stop being gay: Joy: A Homosexual's Fulfillment (which I am going to go out on a limb here and predict does not include having a same-sex relationship) and Coming Out: True Stories of the Gay Exodus. He even prayed for his friends, Rock Hudson among them, as AIDS ravaged their bodies, even though he "couldn't approve their sexual practices." That's nice.

Thanks, Pat, but I just don't think I can take any more of your "love."

(Via Towleroad. Again.)

Friday, December 12, 2008

World's Sexiest Man To Host Oscars

And the wimmer is...I'm going to be honest with you: I haven't watched the Oscars in years. This is largely because the movies I tend to patronize aren't the types of things that get awards. Not good awards anyway. Besides that, Giorgio Moroder hasn't been nominated for anything in years (and I suspect he might actually be dead, but wevs) so why should I tune in? And even though I don't watch the show, I still feel compelled to critique the ceremony. It's my nature, really.

Breaking the tradition of anointing a passable, semi-passible, or oft-times downright-unfunny comedian to host the festivities, this year producers are taking a different approach. They've selected someone charming to emcee the event: Hugh Jackman.

He is a likeable fellow with a decent career (Van Helsing notwithstanding). Oh, and as I mentioned, he's also The Sexiest Man Alive, as decided by whomever decides such things. Good for him. I hope everyone in the free world tunes in to ogle him in a tux.

Too bad he'll still have to deliver Bruce Vilanch's mind-numbingly awful jokes. And even I may let that slide so long as he enters the stage like his:

P.S. Go Heath Ledger!


Because I Jinxed It

Just the other day I mentioned how pleased I was not to hear a darn thing about John McCain in the news lately. Of course, that prompts not one but two stories about him to crop up. (And rather than muck up this blog with more of my pointless yammering, I'll just drop them both into one post.)

Part One: Even Joe The Plumber Thinks You Suck

Sammy "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher said he felt "dirty" after campaigning with McCain. Particularly, he was upset by McCain's efforts to keep the economy from tanking completely. Wurzelbacher said he "asked him some pretty direct questions. Some of the answers ... they appalled me, absolutely. I was angry." (But that's okay, looks like Wurzelbacher will get his wish soon enough.) I guess he doesn't think people in this country should get something for nothing. Unless it's a book deal, or a recording contract.

He added, "In fact, I wanted to get off the bus after I talked to him." He didn't. Points for integrity, Sammy.

Part Two: Pot Meet Kettle

McCain appeared on Letterman last night, and inevitably the subject of Blagojevich came up. While discussing the governor's refusal to step down amid pressure from all sides. Letterman pondered "[Blagojevich] is either stupid or he's nuts. What do you think?"

To which the senator replied "I think a rare combination of both."

Well, if anyone knows crazy and stupid, it's McCain.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Obama To Appoint Lesbian To Senior Role In Administration

Speaking on the condition of anonymity two transition team officials leaked President-elect Obama's pick for White House Council on Environmental Quality: Nancy Sutley, Deputy Mayor of L.A. and "prominent member of the gay and lesbian community."
[Sutley] previously served on the California State Water Resources Control Board, which is responsible for protecting water quality and resources throughout the state, and was the energy adviser to former Gov. Gray Davis. During President Bill Clinton's administration, Sutley was an EPA official, including being a special assistant to the EPA administrator in Washington.
Also worth noting: "Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, appears to be increasingly on track to become energy secretary."

This just keeps getting better and better.

(Via Towleroad.)

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Larry Craig: Still Totally Gay

Well, still guilty of soliciting gay sex in a Minneapolis airport. The Minnesota Court of Appeals today rejected Craig's request to have his guilty plea (and subsequent conviction) thrown out.

After the court's ruling, Craig issued the following statement: "I am extremely disappointed by the action of the Minnesota Court of Appeals. I disagree with their conclusion and remain steadfast in my belief that nothing criminal or improper occurred at the Minneapolis airport." Despite this, Judge Charles Porter described Craig's original plea as "accurate, voluntary and intelligent, and ... supported by the evidence."

Craig is considering an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Random Thought

You know what's nice? Reading the news and not hearing peep about John McCain.

Pat Boone, No One Gives A Shit What You Think

Retrofuck jackhole and irrelevant has-been Pat "I-Once-Recorded-A-Shitty-Metal-Album-In-A-Desperate-Bid-To-Prove-I-Wasn't-Dead" Boone wants you to know something: Fags and terrorists are one and the same. To wit, "there is a real, unbroken line between the jihadist savagery in Mumbai and the hedonistic, irresponsible, blindly selfish goals and tactics of our homegrown sexual jihadists." And by sexual jihadist, he means anyone (as I just mentioned this morning) who stood up against bigotry and intolerance by protesting against Prop. 8.

In a profoundly stupid op-ed piece for WorldNetDaily filled with misinformation, contradiction and outright lies, Boone lays out all the tried and true talking points of homobigotry (which I am not even going to bother debunking, as that's been done hundreds of times already) but throws in a new twist, "the awful similarity between what happened in Mumbai" and the struggle for equality.

And as Boone so aptly points out, "Hate is hate, no matter where it erupts. And hate, unbridled, will eventually and inevitably boil into violence." Yes, Pat, we know. Which means, if you had even the slightest modicum of decency, you'd refrain from wildly inappropriate and inflammatory bullshit. But then, you've your readers to think of, eh?

Newt Gingrich: Still A Douche

Newts gets chummy with a fascistRemember last month when Newt called us gays fascists for having the temerity to stand up for our basic human rights? Turns out he totally didn't mean it. Well, he did mean it, but only sort of. Just in a "very narrowly focused" way. Oh, okay, I guess that's alright then. Seriously, does he think anyone is buying that? Does anyone really believe the phrase "gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us" refers to anyone other than the millions of people, gay and straight, secular and religious, who fought to defeat Prop 8 and similar measures? Those of us who stood up and said "you are not going to reduce us to second-class citizens anymore"?

I don't know what's more galling, Newt's outright lies on the matter, or his mealy-mouthed refusal to actually defend his beliefs. Wevs, Newt, you're still a douche.

Movies You Can't Netflix: Nutriaman

Peek-a-boo!(In which I share my thoughts on an obscure piece of vintage cinema: Today's film comes from 1984 by way of the Creole State.)

I've said before, there are few better things in the world of B-cinema than a film that opens with stock footage. One of those things is a movie that opens with a POV shot of monster. In this case, we're looking through the eyes of Nutriaman, a creature that is, well, a giant, mutated nutria. A giant, mutated, pissed off nutria at that.

Nutria are small rodents, akin somewhat to muskrats. And while not indigenous to North America, they have adapted quite well to the swampy terrain of the Gulf Coast states. The state of Louisiana has attempted to promote nutria meat as The Other, Other White Meat™ with little success; despite being allegedly low in cholesterol, most folks aren't too keen on eating rodent. Oddly enough, people aren't too averse to wearing them as coats, which brings us to our story.

The Copasaw bayou is the heart of nutria country. It's a wilderness of trappers, poachers, and mad scientists with only one lone game warden to keep them all in check. (And how much do I love that the film's hero is not a cop but a game warden.) The film opens looking through the eyes of the monster. He grunts, he groans, he skulks behind trees... Until he hears the tortured squeaks of a fellow nutria, snared in a trap. He immediately puts a bayou-style smackdown on the drunken yokel responsible.

Local game warden Frank discovers the body and hauls it out of the swamp. He and the coroner are both confused. Clearly, it wasn't an alligator that tore this man up. It kind of looks like the work of an angry grizzly, but bears don't live on the bayou. Meanwhile, trappers Jessie and T-Bob, along with their agitated father, discover their traps are all empty. Poachers, they assume.

The only people who might know the truth are a pair of research scientists working to create some sort of supernutria for the fur industry. Of course, they're not talking, afraid word of that nasty business with their latest experiment might prove troublesome. After the monster attacks the ramshackle hovel of a crotchety old swamp woman, the scientists kidnap the woman and pump her for information.

She describes "a man, a nutriaman…" Can it be possible? Turns out, the coroner says the same thing. The first victim was killed by a nutria. A single nutria. Frank has a hard time believing a tiny rodent could have slaughtered that man, but there is no other reasonable explanation.

In the meantime, Frank is butting heads with Jessie and T-Bob. They don't like the game warden snooping around their place. In addition to their fur trapping business, the family also cooks up its fair share of moonshine. Jessie and T-Bob have also managed to steal a few crates of dynamite from local miners, in the hopes of turning it around for a quick buck. (It's a business model based on diversification, I guess.) Frank himself has already got his hands full with a killer, mutated rodent roaming his bayou, the last thing he needs is trouble from the locals.

But this is Louisiana, and trouble is what he's got.

One of the scientists has posted notices across town offering $10,000 for anyone who captures a 100 pound nutria. Now, every drunken fool in the parish with a gun and an airboat converges on Copasaw looking to collect that ransom. Too bad Nutriaman isn't so easy to wrangle.

Frank has brought in a Green Beret friend of his to help track the beast. For some odd reason, the supposed commando is wafer thin and is as intimidating as Judge Reinhold. He doesn't look like he could wrestle a poodle to the floor, much less a full-fledged Nutriaman. Nonetheless he and his team load up their rocket launchers and head into the swamp.

And when Nutriaman devours Jessie and T-Bob's father, they too wade into the bayou seeking revenge. It's anyone's guess who'll make it out alive.

This film is far better than it has any right to be. Nutriaman is only seen in flashes, which perhaps worked in his favour. No point in showing off a badly made monster suit if you don't have to. The performances were actually pretty good for regional fare (the bizarro Green Beret casting aside). I particularly liked Michael Tedesco's sympathetic turn as the idiot man-child T-Bob. (Then again, maybe I just have a soft spot for the idiot man-child archtype.)

If you're a fan of rodent-based swamp-monster movies, search out Nutriaman. If you're not, well, that's your problem.


Monday, December 08, 2008

Possibly More Good News

You know, I've given Obama plenty of shit for his less-than-impressive relationship with the gay community. But this bit of news pleases me to no end. President-elect Obama may be the first president to appoint an openly gay person to his cabinet. Mary Beth Maxwell is described as "a gay woman, community organizer and labor leader with an adopted African American son." And she's in the running for the position of Secretary of Labor under Obama. Very cool. Here's to hoping she gets the job. This country needs someone like her.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sunday Night Kitteh

The best place for a kitteh on a Sunday night? In front of the fire.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

God Is A Bullet

Kentucky is the only state in the country to never suffer a terrorist attack, know why? Because they have God on their side. And that's the law.

That law requires Kentucky's Homeland Security department to thank, first and foremost, God for protecting the state from harm. Specifically, the law mandates that as the department's prime directive. (I guess protecting citizens is a secondary concern.) The law also requires the Department of Homeland Security to hang up plaques saying how much they owe their safety to God. Because it's not enough to thank God, but you've gotta be showy about it or it doesn't count. Right? That's in the Bible, folks!

The law is not without its detractors. But KY Homeland Sec chief Thomas Preston remained neutral, stating "I will not try to supplant almighty God. All I do is try to obey the dictates of the Kentucky General Assembly."

As state Rep. Tom Riner (D-Louisville), the man responsible for the legislation, puts it: "This is recognition that government alone cannot guarantee the perfect safety of the people of Kentucky. Government itself, apart from God, cannot close the security gap. The job is too big for government."

No word yet on what God could have done to prevent the deaths of 165 people at the Beverly Hills Supper Club or the destruction of Brandenburg by a tornado or the crash of Comair Flight 191 or anything listed here.

(Via Birmingham Blues.)

The Slippery Slope

I think it was Rick Santorum who warned us that if you let teh gayz get married, then all kinds of crazy shit would start happening. Turns out he was right. Check out this bit of celebrity news from California: The Cruises are planning to marry the Beckhams. You're probably scratching your head wondering what that means. Allow me to explain. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are going to "merge" their family with David and Victoria Beckham's family "in a special ceremony." The couples have been wooing one another with hansom cab rides, standing ovations and custom-built basketball courts, so the next logical step is to get hitched. Good luck on your new union, kids! Though, I'd think there's got to be an easier way to get into David Beckham's pants.


Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Random Funky Winkerbean

I've no idea the context here, I found this years ago while sitting in a laundromat waiting for my socks to dry. I don't know what it means. I don't want to know.