Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Malcontented Moose's Top 10 Trashy Films

Article by Malcontented Moose

Having no idea where to start for my first review, I decided to ignore it for at least a small while longer and do a top ten list instead. This turned out to be a poor choice on my part as top ten lists – especially mine – seem to have a significant amount of honourable mentions, two options squished into one section, duplicate styles and they always seem to miss YOUR favourite. Philistines. So, in order to pre-emptively placate some readers and forestall others, here is my disclaimer.

Toxie approves of the following disclaimer.
“This is my personal list. It is not ordered one to ten or ten to one as I love each of these films equally for different reasons and cannot hope to judge them based solely on their brethren. Where possible I will make note of why one film is included where perhaps a more well-known one in the same genre or style is not. I will attempt to explain my love for each item with clarity and where I have not done so you can suck it. If I have missed your personal favourite it is either because I have A) not seen it or B) hate it with a passion. Let me know what you think I have missed and I will let you know why I hate it! ”

Ok? Good. Let’s go.


Oh this film. The original Death Race movie (not the appalling re-boot in 2008) stars an exceptionally young Sylvester Stallone in one of his very first forays into film and an oddly placed David Carradine as the anti-hero of the piece. The story is as thin as you could make it, having a group of race car drivers compete in the Transcontinental Road Race – a competition in which you kill as many bystanders as possible to rack up points and race to the finish in order to win – and then throw in a guerrilla group against the race, a flimsy romance, a mystery surrounding David Carradines’ character Frankenstein not being who he is portrayed to be and lots and lots of gratuitous nudity. Brilliant and dumb, this film is just a perfect b-list to watch with friends and pick apart.


Directed by Paul Verhoeven (an immediate red flag for awesome trash cinema in my books) this film is loosely based on a classic novel by Robert A. Heinlein. Anyone reading the novel first should be very aware that the script for this film is quite widely removed from the book but this does not diminish the fun to be had here. While the novel is significantly more serious in tone this film walks the edge of comedy satire and does it well. It follows the story of three young teens that join the military for different reasons and how they cope for the next few years when a war with a significantly underestimated enemy species erupts. It stars a number of familiar faces including Neil Patrick Harris and Denise Richards and I find re-watching this film always brings more details to my notice. Enjoyable for the terrible dialogue and cutting satire both, this is a great Saturday night film for when you don’t feel like going out.


Oh yes, if you want a perfectly crafted genre movie this is where you look. Want the leather wearing crazies from ‘Mad Max’ with added cannibalism? These ones have tattoos too! Need a bad ass female protagonist in skin tight suits? Rhona Mitra has got it covered. Over confident SWAT-like team getting over powered in the first ten minutes? No worries here. Oh, and my favourite of all, Malcolm McDowell playing a bad guy? Check and double check. He even has Bob Hoskins as a side kick! This movie is just a lot of fun to watch. You know every beat of this even before you’ve seen it but that won’t stop you enjoying the hell out of it.


I have been introducing this film to friends for almost 20 years now and as yet I have failed to find someone who has seen it before. Good thing I am helping to rectify that as this is one of those really unique films that is funny, sweet and bad all at once. A long time ago Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum were married and did a series of film together. The more well-known and critically acclaimed film partnership they embarked upon being ‘The Fly’ but my personal favourite has to be ‘Earth Girls are Easy’. A silly film about three aliens (Jeff Goldblum, Jim Carrey and Damon Wayans all looking incredibly young) who crash land in the Valley in Hollywood and proceed to get make-overs and party with Geena Davis, here playing a bubbly nail technician looking for mister right. Interspersed with kooky musical numbers and the best alien sex dream ever, this is one of my go to films to perk me up if I am feeling down.


A lot of people don’t like this one and to be fair I can see why. The title pretty much tells you everything you need to know about this film. Samuel L. Jackson is in it being Samuel L. Jackson and nobody cares what happens to GET everyone on the plane, just that they ARE so that snakes can happen. However this is here for two reasons for me. One is that I honestly like it, a fun mix of stupid thing happening and I quite enjoy anticipating each passenger get theirs in various ways. The other is that I believe this film is the reason terrible monster movies have made such a resurgence in recent years. Yes, movies like ‘Anaconda’ and ‘Eight Legged Freaks’ came before and have definitely enjoyed a bit of a cult status but I feel without the internet push power behind SOAP things like ‘Sharktopus’ and ‘Mega Shark VS Giant Octopus’ wouldn’t fill the niche they now enjoy. So here it is.


Ahhhh, one of my all-time favourite movies. This film is on this list as both a personal favourite and also as what I consider to be the apex of a few movies to come out during this period. Other films that could also take this spot are ‘The Running Man’ or ‘Total Recall’ however ‘Demolition Man’ fills this spot due to the excellent use of both humour and skewed satire prevalent throughout the movie. The jokes are clever, especially considering how well they hold up after 20 odd years, the characters work well to each role and the intense energy Wesley Snipes exudes is just that much more fun to watch knowing he is having a blast. Sylvester Stallone takes an interesting tone here melding both his He-Man persona and a softer, more subtle characterisation to create an interesting role that is easier to connect to throughout the film. Funny, clever and action packed ‘Demolition Man’ is not one to miss.


Troma had to be somewhere on this list, right? Again, this was a toss-up between a few films – namely ‘Cannibal: The Musical’ and ‘Poultrygeist’ – however for me ‘The Toxic Avenger’ beats them both for being amazingly camp and amazingly gross at the same time. This film is the one that despite the budget effects, hilariously bad dialogue and played out story you love to pieces and so do your friends. One of my first forays into trash cinema, Toxie will always be close to my heart.


I have felt for a while now that ‘Zombie Strippers’ is an exceptionally underrated film. Yes, the dialogue is just as ridiculous as other films on this list and yes, the story treads very familiar ground where the ‘government sanctioned virus out of control’ is concerned however there is just something strangely riveting about it. Whether it be Jenna Jameson as Kat spouting Nietzsche or her rival Jeannette Sousa as Berenge quoting from ‘The Warriors’ the film manages to draw you in, if not to care about the character, than for the sole purpose of watching them fall. The twist on the zombie formula is cute and the ongoing black satire of the world outside the strip club sits well with the horror/comedy premise. Definitely one to watch with mates.


Oh Billy Zane, you are just a great bad guy. If you haven’t seen this Hollywood version of the classic comic book/TV show I can’t blame you. I found it in a bargain bin at a video store when VHS was still a thing. Don’t let that deter you though, this is a great comedy/horror from an age when duct tape and fishing line were top notch special effects.  The acting is both cheesy and brilliant, the script is actually exceptionally well thought out and Billy Zane as the Collector is worth everything, ever. If you can’t find a physical copy to entertain your friends I recently discovered this gem floating around the bowels of Netflix and if that’s still not good enough I believe the whole thing is up on Youtube, so get to watching!


So, apparently a significant amount of people loathe this film. If you’re a fan of the comics they are based on I can see why. The film does veer wildly from established cannon and does away with a number of characters for the sake of brevity. I can also see why if you’re just not a fan of the style, it is quite ….different for some people. You know what though? I adore this film anyway. The characters are mental, the story is insane, Ice-T is a giant human-kangaroo hybrid and Malcolm McDowell is the bad guy. I love it; I will never stop loving it and there’s not much else I can say other than ‘she’s just the girl, she’s just the girl, the girl you want!

1 comment:

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