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Depress-A-Thon: Threads Double Repost by Jamie

Well, unfortunately there was just too much to get on with at work last night for me to find a spare moment to finish writing the list of my favourite Sci-fi villains. I did manage to get half of it done and plan to have it up tomorrow. Instead it’s time for another repost in the Depress-A-Thon, this time dedicated to the film which truly scarred my soul, ‘Threads’. I’ve decided to stick the two occasions which I’ve written about ‘Threads’ together since the original review was a little shorter than I remembered.

So included below is the part the bit I wrote about Threads for my top 10 Post-Apocalyptic Films List (Which can be found here: Part 1, Part 2) and, after the video, the original review entitled “Threads: The Single Most Depressing Thing Man Kind Has Ever Put To Film.” Enjoy.

1. Threads

Cause Of Apocalypse: Nuclear War.

Yes, for number one I’m going a little obscure. It’s a made for TV British film that I’ve reviewed before and it’s truly fucking chilling. The acting is corny, it’s incredibly 80s, scratch that, it’s incredibly Northern England 80s and it’s a little slow to start but fuck, after the bombs drop, it’s just… Wow.

This film portrays what life would have been like if the US and Russia had decided to launch nukes at each other and what would have happened had England been completely ravaged by nuclear bombs. I’m sure that a few of the things that are described aren’t considered exactly scientifically accurate these days but I’m also sure that it’s still as close as I’ll ever see a film get to the truth.

This film essentially put me into a sort of mini-depression after watching it. It made me feel doomed, as though at any moment the world could come crashing to a halt if a small group of people wished it so. Keep in mind that the Cold War had been over for some time at this point. Seriously though, there doesn’t need to be a cold war for it to happen anyway. All it takes is a few buttons being pushed and then Boom. Life as we know it will be over. The lucky ones will die in the initial attacks. Oh, god. It’s happening again. Just thinking about this fucking film is bringing it all back. What the fuck is the point?

Still, if you feel that happiness is a commodity that you just don’t need in your life anymore, I heartily recommend ‘Threads‘. It’s incredible and horrifying. Oh god, why? Why?

Threads: The Single Most Depressing Thing Man Kind Has Ever Put To Film.

I love post-apocalyptic films and games. Despite the harsh existence that the people living in the post nuclear war landscape have to eke out, they always seem fun, especially something like Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome or Fallout 3. So I decided to buy and watch the DVD of the BBC’s 1984 nuclear war drama, Threads. Spoilers ahead.

The synopsis promised a realistic look at what would happen if Britain were suddenly struck by nuclear weapons launched by then biggest threat to the Western World, the Soviet Union. I know what the effects of a massive nuclear launch would be, so I wasn’t expecting to be shocked by anything on screen. How wrong I was.

Let me start off by saying never ever watch Threads. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a brilliantly made drama, especially for the time it was made but if you ever want the possibility of happiness to be present in your life ever again, then you really should watch a Mad Max movie instead. Seriously, I think I may have killed joy by viewing this.

The story follows two families in Sheffield, one working class and one middle class. The two families are linked by the fact that the son of the working class family has gotten the daughter of the middle class family pregnant and they have become engaged to be wed. The first forty-five minutes follows their everyday lives whilst highlighting the fact that tension between the US and the Soviet Union are growing due to military movements by both sides in the Middle East.

The film is also interspersed with narration and text that highlights the fact that Sheffield would be a prime target for nuclear strike due to it’s economic value as a producer of steel and chemicals and it’s proximity to a US Air Force base. These little pieces of information continue to mount the tension as relations between the US and the Soviet Union continue to become increasingly strained.

Then the main event occurs. Britain is essentially nuke raped by the Commies. Sheffield itself is devastated, with buildings being flattened and bodies turned to ash in seconds and the pregnant girl‘s fiancée is killed. There are some who have built shelters but the film makes it perfectly clear that the radiation will destroy those peoples futures. Hooray!

The film then follows what happens to the survivors during the years following the nuclear strike. Nuclear winter sets in meaning that during the day illumination remains at twilight levels. This, compounded by massive radiation contamination of the earth, makes the growth of crops increasingly difficult. The ozone layer is massively depleted allowing increased ultra-violet exposure resulting in more instances of skin cancer, premature aging and cataracts and the population of Britain dwindles to medieval levels.

Children are being born more frequently with physical and mental mutations and even those who are born normal have no education and speak broken English. Their parents generally die before the children are able to take care of themselves and are many of them scamper through the ruined cities, trying to scavenge for food and clothing whilst avoiding the gunshots of people who shoot looters on sight.

I’ve pretty much avoided any major plot points of the story because, despite what I said earlier, I think it’s worth a watch. For a made for TV British production it’s all pretty good. The acting and special effects are a little dated but bearable. In fact the only things that don’t really hold up are the fashions and the haircuts. So yes, I’d highly recommend it. But if you do watch it, be warned. Once you watch something, you can’t unwatch it. I spent the day after viewing this film wandering around in a kind of daze, not entirely sure what the point in doing anything was.

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Threads: The Single Most Depressing Thing Mankind Has Ever Put To Film. by Jamie
07/06/2009, 8:54 pm
Filed under: Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I love post-apocalyptic films and games. Despite the harsh existence that the people living in the post nuclear war landscape have to eke out, they always seem fun, especially something like Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome or Fallout 3. So I decided to buy and watch the DVD of the BBC’s 1984 nuclear war drama, Threads. Spoilers ahead.

The synopsis promised a realistic look at what would happen if Britain were suddenly struck by nuclear weapons launched by then biggest threat to the Western World, the Soviet Union. I know what the effects of a massive nuclear launch would be, so I wasn’t expecting to be shocked by anything on screen. How wrong I was.

Let me start off by saying never ever watch Threads. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a brilliantly made drama, especially for the time it was made but if you ever want the possibility of happiness to be present in your life ever again, then you really should watch a Mad Max movie instead. Seriously, I think I may have killed joy by viewing this.

The story follows two families in Sheffield, one working class and one middle class. The two families are linked by the fact that the son of the working class family has gotten the daughter of the middle class family pregnant and they have become engaged to be wed. The first forty-five minutes follows their everyday lives whilst highlighting the fact that tension between the US and the Soviet Union are growing due to military movements by both sides in the Middle East.

The film is also interspersed with narration and text that highlights the fact that Sheffield would be a prime target for nuclear strike due to it’s economic value as a producer of steel and chemicals and it’s proximity to a US Air Force base. These little pieces of information continue to mount the tension as relations between the US and the Soviet Union continue to become increasingly strained.

Then the main event occurs. Britain is essentially nuke raped by the Commies. Sheffield itself is devastated, with buildings being flattened and bodies turned to ash in seconds and the pregnant girl‘s fiancée is killed. There are some who have built shelters but the film makes it perfectly clear that the radiation will destroy those peoples futures. Hooray!

The film then follows what happens to the survivors during the years following the nuclear strike. Nuclear winter sets in meaning that during the day illumination remains at twilight levels. This, compounded by massive radiation contamination of the earth, makes the growth of crops increasingly difficult. The ozone layer is massively depleted allowing increased ultra-violet exposure resulting in more instances of skin cancer, premature aging and cataracts and the population of Britain dwindles to medieval levels.

Children are being born more frequently with physical and mental mutations and even those who are born normal have no education and speak broken English. Their parents generally die before the children are able to take care of themselves and many of them scamper through the ruined cities, trying to scavenge for food and clothing whilst avoiding the gunshots of people who shoot looters on sight.

I’ve pretty much avoided any major plot points of the story because, despite what I said earlier, I think it’s worth a watch. For a made for TV British production it’s all pretty good. The acting and special effects are a little dated but bearable. In fact the only things that don’t are the fashions and the haircuts. So yes, I’d highly recommend it. But if you do watch it, be warned. Once you watch something, you can’t unwatch it. I spent the day after viewing this film wandering around in a kind of daze, not entirely sure what the point in doing anything was.



Great Scenes From Shit Films, Part 7: Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan by Jamie
04/11/2008, 4:34 pm
Filed under: Great Scenes From Shit Films | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I love the Friday the 13th films to an almost psychotic degree but even I will admit that most of them are not good films. Fun films to be sure, but not good films. I’m not entirely sure exactly why I like them so much, there’s just something about the silent, plodding killer that I love so much. That and the sheer stupidity of the characters he kills. Perhaps my favourite example of this is in one of the earlier films. I’m not exactly sure which but I think it might be number two.

Whatever film it is doesn’t really matter, the scene is thus. Two characters are sitting downstairs playing a game, a boy and a girl. The boy is in a wheelchair. Take note of this because it’s very important. Any way, the two are flirting and generally having a good time when the girl decides to leave to change in a sexier pair of panties. While she’s away, Jason strikes killing the boy in the wheelchair. The girl returns and looks for the boy BY GOING UP THE FUCKING STAIRS! She leaves a boy in a wheelchair by himself and figures that he must be waiting UP THE FUCKING STAIRS for her. She is quickly despatched and frankly deserved it for her stupidity.

But we’re not here on Halloween to talk about whatever particular film in the series that was. We’re here to look at perhaps one of the worst films in the entire series, Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan, a film only really outshone in awful by part IX: Jason Goes To Hell. Christ, not even the messiah himself, Billy Dee Williams, could save that piece of shite. On to Jason taking Manhattan.

So part VIII begins, after a montage of the seedier side of New York, with Jason once more being resurrected and immediately sets about doing what he does best, despatching horny teens. Oh Jason, you loveable rogue! Is there a sexually adventurous teenager you won’t massacre? Anyway, it turns out ol’ Camp Crystal Lake is getting a little tired and played out for everyone’s favourite zombie serial killer. He wants to slay in the city that never sleeps! He hitches a ride on the cruise ship Lazarus bound for the Big Apple at… Crystal Lake harbour? I’m not entirely sure when Crystal Lake became connected to the sea but apparently it is. Hooray! Also aboard is Renee, a girl with a pen and a troubled past, and Sean, the ship captain’s son with a sexton and daddy issues. There are of course also your generic machete fodder. There’s 80’s rock chick JJ, film nerd Wayne who looks and sounds a bit like Matt Damon and Julius the boxer and two girls who do coke. There’s also high school teacher Charles who also happens to be Renee’s creepy uncle and Salty McSeadog (Actual character name may differ) who claims the ship is doomed.

So Renee has a few visions about drowning and the young Jason Voorhees, made worse when she falls overboard, Jason goes around ridding the world of a few pointless background characters and stereotypes and one of the cokeheads tries to seduce creepy uncle Charles whilst Wayne films in an effort to get out of handing in a biology paper. She is soon after taken out by Jason.

A storm hit’s the boat and Jason kills the ship’s captain and his first mate, making the journey that much more treacherous. Sean discovers his dad all dead and that and takes command through whining. It is now 40 minutes into the film and I’m guessing Jason killed the crew as he was pretty pissed off that it was taking them so long to get New York. He really wants to stray around the very heart of it. Salty McSeadog goes on about Jason Voorhees, claiming every one will die. He’s clearly a bottle o’ rum half-empty kinda guy. Anyway, Jason kills a few more folks including the other girl who does coke and Wayne. The rest of the gang decide to try and take Jason down, gathering as many weapons as they can. They fail and abandon ship, finally reaching New York and hour into the film with about half an hour left, Wow, Jason really has to tighten up his game if he wants to take Manhattan.

The survivors are captured by a New York street gang but are rescued when Jason shows up and begins killing the gang members. Has Jason finally changed his ways? Is he becoming the superhero we all knew he was deep down inside? No, he just loves killin’ folk. He’s been doing it for a while and sometimes hobbies are just impossible to give up.

Jason now hunts down Julius who decides to fight the big gut on top of a roof top in a scene which may or may not be at the end of this blog post. Ok, it will be. It’s great. Seriously. This one scene almost makes up for the rest of the movie for me. Julius’ determination, Jason standing there and taking it and it’s inevitable yet awesome conclusion make this film worth renting at least… though since I’m going to show you the scene, I wouldn’t bother. Nothing else is really worth seeing.
So from down here it’s all down hill. There’s a flashback in which Charles explains Jason drowned because he never learned to swim and that he’s still down there, ready to drag people down if they can’t swim. He then chucks her in the lake and tries to force her to learn, explaining her uninteresting back story of being afraid of water. Sean and Renee run off, leaving Charles to Jason’s capable hands. Jason drowns Charles, which I guess is supposed to be irony or karma or something.

Renee and Sean run to the subway, Jason chasing them and apparently not being that big of a shock to New Yorkers. Guess they have seen a lot what with giant gorilla attacks, alien invasions and all manner of things that’d make someone from a smaller town at least raise an eyebrow. Jason gets shocked on the subway track and our two, sigh, heroes are safe to explore New York. Except this is a Friday the 13th film and there are still 15 minutes left! Jason is still alive! I for one am surprised.

He chases them across what I think is Times Square where he freaks out some punk kids by lifting his mask. I for one am annoyed with Jason. Where’s the bloodshed, bro? Where’s the wanton slaughter? Has the franchise grown so tiresome that even you are bored of it all? No matter, Jason still has two more victims in his sights before he retires, moves to Florida and spends his last days playing Bingo.

They escape into the New York sewers, which makes perfect sense. If I had an unstoppable killing machine after me, I’d head into a dimly lit, underground maze. As they flee, they run into a sewage worker who explains that in ten minutes the sewers will be flooded with toxic waste, just like they are at every night at midnight… New Yorkers, is this true? If so, why? Is it to kill of all those alligators that live down there? Perhaps a mutant turtle eradication programme? If I may be so bold as to make a suggestion, maybe you wouldn’t have such a high ratio of mutated animals living in your sewers if you didn’t flush them with radioactive goop every night.

Anyway, Jason shows up and kills the sewage worker and is about to kill Sean when Renee attracts his attention with a flashlight. Apparently, Jason has the same mental capacity as the T-Rex from Jurassic Park, even though earlier he was seen to be working out elaborate ways to kill his victims bringing his intelligence level at least up to that of the Velociraptors in Jurassic Park 3. Renee runs away with Jason following, leaving Sean unconscious in a tunnel that is about to be flooded with toxic waste in a matter of minutes. Plan. She stumbles across a toxic waste barrel and throws it in Jason’s face. Seriously New York, is toxic waste really that big of an issue in your fair city that, not only must you flood your sewers with it on a nightly basis but you must also leave barrels of it lying around in aforementioned sewers? What The Fuck?

The toxic waste causes Jason to remove his mask, revealing his visage. It’s kinda hard to describe, something kind of like a cross between one of those old Madball things and a Garbage Pail Kid. If you’re too young to understand those references I’m sure the fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia will answer your questions. In my day we had to use real encyclopaedias and I can guarantee you that they didn’t have entries about old 80s toy lines. Anyway, here is a picture of Jason sans mask for your viewing pleasure:

As you can see it’s pretty fucking terrible. Seriously fucking awful. Just plain shit. But it doesn’t stop there.

Renee comes back for Sean, they climb a ladder and leave Jason below as the, sigh, toxic waste begins to flood the sewers. As it does, Jason speaks. Yes, Jason speaks but only that, he sounds like someone trying to do a child’s voice but poorly. And what does Jason, who has been so silent for so long have to say to the world? “Mommy, don’t let me drown… mommy.” Well… that’s just great. I know it makes sense in the context of the series but still… It just… It’s just wrong. Jason then get’s hit by the toxic waste and is reverted back to his childhood form. Which makes no fucking sense but by this time you’ve been pretty much battered into submission by the films unrelenting stupidity and you just kind of accept it. And so Sean and Renee are free at last to go and be boring together. Whoop-de-fucking-doo. You know what, fuck it. Let’s just show you the last scene, courtesy of CampVoorhes.com. Consider it a Halloween bonus.

See! See what I mean! It fucking sucks! And what’s worse is it looks like Jason the child has a normal head. What the fuck is that about? Fucking hell!

Ugh. There you have it. So what have we learnt? Well, I personally have learnt that New York has a severe toxic waste problem that they can surely find better ways of solving than simply flushing it down the sewers. I’ve learnt that throwing your niece into a lake after telling her it’s haunted by a dead child is not the best way to teach her to swim. I’ve also learnt that, since most of this movie takes place on a fucking boat, it was severely wrongly titled. It should have been called something like Friday the 13th VIII: Avast Jason! Or Friday the 13th VIII: All Hands On Death! Or some such thing.

Let’s at least end things with a high note. I present to you, my favourite Friday the 13th death of all time, Jason Vs. Julius. Enjoy.



Great Scenes From Shit Films, Part 6: Pumaman by Jamie

Ok, I promise, tomorrow will not be a movie featured in MST3K. In fact, it’ll be a super awesome Halloween special edition of Great Scenes from Bad Films! Awesome. But Mari Nickl reminded of Pumaman and I just had to include it. It was another great Mike era episode and this film really deserved the MST3K treatment. Allow me to elaborate.

The film opens with a paragraph regaling us with the Aztec legend of a God descending from the heavens, fucking an Aztecette and fathering the first Pumaman. Next we see a giant sphere approaching Stonehenge… I think. I’m not entirely sure because I just don’t see how Stonehenge could possibly fit in to Aztec legend. Anyway it’s probably not important. The aliens bequeath a mask to mankind, declaring that the Pumaman will look after it and that. This is followed by the credits in which the film’s big name, Donald Pleasence, has his name spelt wrong as Donald Pleasance. Well done movie.

We then meet a blonde lady archaeologist, intensely studying the aforementioned golden mask in modern times. Donald Pleasence enters, looking for all the world like a hideous, bald dominatrix, and basically asks her “How’s shit?” She turns around and answers “Shit’s good but don’t desecrate this mask otherwise the Pumaman will fuck you up.” Donald decides not to heed this careful warning and uses the mask to take control of blonde lady archaeologist’s mind. Oh Donald, you funky, cheeky monkey.

Anyway, I guess my first major question arises here. Why the fuck did the aliens leave a mask that gave people the ability to control the minds of other people? And I thought that the Pumaman dynasty was supposed to guard it always. Why was it not passed down the Puma family line?

The next scene shows a man being tossed out of a window, a newspaper revealing it’s the fourth American to be killed in London that week. It turns out that the person behind these slayings is the hero of our story, Vadhino (I must interject here and point out that I’m not saying he’s the hero because he is ridding London of Americans. Hmmm, shouldn’t have used the word ridding there, just makes things sound worse. My point is no one should be killed in London. Except for Luxembourgers. You know what you did Luxembourg!) and his next target is the film’s side-kick character, palaeontologist Tony Farms.

Tony ‘senses’ danger whilst being yelled at by his boss when Vadhino appears, steals a bone and Tony gives chase. Vadhino suddenly grabs him and chucks him out the window. Way to sense danger there Tony! When Tony survives, Vadhino tells him he’s the Pumaman and runs away.

Tony then meets blone archaeologist lady, Jane, and they ‘flirt.’ She invites him to a party laid out by her father. Alas! She’s still being mind controlled by Donald! Gasp! It turns out he’s controlling Jane’s father as well!

As Tony’s getting ready for the party, Vadhino shows up again and gives Tony the lame plastic belt that allows him to access the powers of the Pumaman! Which confuses me as it’s already made clear that Tony can survive falls and see in the dark. We’re also lead to believe he can sense danger but… Anyway, Vadhino explains that he knows Tony’s father which also raises the question as to why he didn’t look up where Tony Farms was, rather than going around tossing Americans out of windows. Guess it’s a hobby or something.

At the party, Donald turns up with a few henchmen and begins to stir up trouble when they attack Tony. Tony beats a few up or dances violently with them, it’s hard to figure out exactly which. Vadhino shows up, tosses Tony the belt allowing him to fly through the air… like a puma. The belt also gives him the lamest superhero costume since Robin decided little green underwear was a great look.

And so Tony flies. The effects are astounding. You’ll gasp in wonderment as Tony flies at all manner of angles, especially apparent when he drops a henchman, You’ll scratch your head in amazement Tony glides through the air with all the grace of an Aardvark tossed out of a helicopter. It truly is a thing of beauty.

So Tony tries to find out where the mask is by entering a trance and walking through a wall… like a puma. Or at least he tries but fails. Because if there is one thing that you will learn about Pumaman it’s that he’s the living embodiment of epic fail.
Jesus this is going on for a while. Ok, to cut a long story short. Donald has an evil plan, Pumaman tries to stop it, fails but thankfully Vadhino saves the day by not being Pumaman. At the end of the film Vadhino, Pumaman and Jane go to Stonehenge, which seems to be in an area which is certainly not where Stonehenge actually is. Vadhino claims that the the protection of the Gods has not failed since the day is saved though I must heartily disagree. The day was nearly lost because the stupid fuckers left the mind control mask on Earth in the first place… Twats. Anyway, Jane and Pumaman kiss and it seems apparent that the patter of tiny puma paws can’t be too far away. Eww.

Ok, sorry about that synopsis. I was watching the MST3K version, trying to ignore the riffs and focus on the film and I just completely lost track and the will to live, so I guess I have to add the same warning that I added to the previous two MST3K-inspired entries, do not watch without Mike and the Bots. Seriously. I think my left arm is tingling and I’m certain I feel chest pains.

What’s left to be said about this film? Well, as mentioned the special effects are awesome, though not just the flying effects. When Donald is taking over someone’s mind, the film wobbles, like water being sucked into the mouth of a goldfish’s mouth. That’s an odd analogy and that’s how this film has effected me. I’m also not sure whether Pumaman can phase through walls or just break through them. The special effects are that ambiguous!

One last thing of note is the music. Pumaman’s theme is a touching little number that will cause many to hold their hand over their heart and shed a tear for the Aztec Puma man-God who came to Earth to save us all from the mask left here by the Aztec Puma God for some reason.

One last thing, Vadhino would later appear in the second ever episode of the A-Team and get pummelled by Mr T. Good on him.

Well I’m exhausted. Couldn’t actually find any clips from a pure copy of the movie so here is a compilation clip from the MST3K version. I’m doing you all a favour, really.



Great Scenes from Shit Films, Part 5: Hobgoblins by Jamie

As with yesterdays entry into the hallowed halls of shit cinema fame, this entry came to my attention through the stellar work of the crew at Mystery Science Theater 3000. This film was in what is possibly my favourite of the Mike era episodes, in fact it would probably be my favourite of all episodes if not for Manos. Everything about this episode is great, the riffs, the host segments with classics like Crow’s ‘In Search Of…’ style programme about women to the cardboard cut-outs of the crew singing about Hobgoblins. One particular scene of note is the ‘interview’ with director Rick Sloane during the films end credits.

Still, this isn’t supposed to be about MST3K, it’s supposed to be about the movie itself. It’s about a number of small beasts from space who can make peoples fantasies come true with TERRIFYING consequences.

The film begins with an elderly security guard and his young helper doing a check of the old movie studios where they work. They go their separate ways and the younger of the two gentlemen opens a vault. Inside he suddenly finds himself on a stage where he begins… well I guess you’d kinda have to call it singing really. Suddenly he falls from the stage and dies. The older security guard, Mr McCreedy, discovers his body and shuts the vault door.

Our… well I guess you’d kinda have to call him hero really, Kevin takes the dead dude’s job so he can impress his frigid bitch of a girlfriend Amy because as every man knows, nothing impresses a woman more than taking a job which means you’d have to spend most of your nights away from them and most of your days sleeping. Good thinking Kevin.

After his first night he comes home and finds Amy hanging out with uber-slut Daphne and effeminate Kyle. Daphne is a classy kind a girl, wearing a condom in a packet around her neck and Kyle is a stylish fellow in his little red shorts. Amy is dressed like she doesn’t want to have sex with anything. Ever. Daphne’s boyfriend Nick, a soldier type, arrives later and challenges Kevin to a fight. The weapon of choice? Garden utensils! In what was rated as the most epic fight scene until Gladiator came along, Kevin and Nick duel it out for some time until Nick just manages to get the upper hand. Nick gets his reward by fucking Daphne in his van, whilst Amy takes the piss out of Kevin. In the background Nick’s van can be seen bouncing up and down with hilarious cartoon bouncing sound effects! Rick Sloane is a cinematic genius.

The next night Kevin chases a burglar into the vault that the dude had died in earlier unwittingly releasing the titular Hobgoblins! Oh Noes! WTF? I can has Cheeseburger?… Sorry, not sure what happened there. Anyway McCreedy provides the creatures back story and explains they can make people see what they most wish for though they do kinda accidentally kill them in the process. And so our mighty hero Kevin goes to stop the evil beings and save the friends that frankly no man deserves!

The Hobgoblins head straight for Kevin’s house, perhaps wanting to leave him a thank you note for freeing them after all this time or perhaps smelling Daphne’s rancid pheromones from miles away and they are just looking for an easy lay after such a long time in the vault. Either way they happen upon Kevin’s chums whilst they are…well I guess you’d kinda have to call it partying really. The hobgoblins manage to lure Daphne out of the house with an exact replica of Nick’s car horn. Having never met the man and having been locked in a movie vault, I can’t help but wonder how they know the sound of his horn or where and when they purchased such an item. Anyway, one of the hobgoblins tries to kill Daphne but she fights them off with a rake. Garden utensils would have made Lord of the Rings way more awesome.

Meanwhile, Kevin is calling a phone sex line, when he is told the woman he’s talking to is right outside. He takes her to the make-out spot of the city, with signs denoting where people should park depending on what kind of sexual activity they plan on engaging in. I’m sure the city council are very pleased with such a well organised make-out spot. The woman tries to push the car off of the make-out spot cliff with Nick still inside it until Kevin shows up and kills the hobgoblin generating the fantasy. The car still goes over the edge and the two characters are left standing there, watching the terrible fire which seems to have all the intensity of two torches being shone into the actor’s eyes.

Whilst this is going down, Amy heads to Club Scum to become a slutty, slutty stripper. (Point of interest: The man who plays Club Scum’s host would go on to voice Cosmo in the Fairly Odd Parents.) She demands to be degraded until Kevin and friends show up to kill the hobgoblins. The club is thrown into chaos and Nick begins to fantasize that he’s in combat. He manages to set himself on fire by jumping on a grenade… damn that’s stupid.

The surviving friends go to tell McCreedy that they’ve killed all the hobgoblins but Kevin is confronted by the burglar he chased before. A fight breaks out and Kevin wins, impressing Amy at last. Maybe now she will have sex with him. Good for them. But what’s this? The burglar has a gun! He’s going to shoot Kevin! Will he never get his end away? Thankfully McCreedy shoots the hobgoblin which is causing Kevin’s fantasy and the future conquest of Amy by Kevin seems assured. Kyle makes a move on Daphne who seems willing, probably because she’s a whore and not even little red shorts will put her off. Unfortunately for Kyle, Nick shows up covered in bandages. He and Daphne retire to the van which begins bouncing with those same cartoon sound effects and the future conquest of Kyle by Kyle’s hand seems assured.

The rest of the hobgoblins run into the vault and McCreedy blows up the studio, a plan the old man who spent his entire life guarding them for the sake of mankind must have really wished he’d thought up earlier. The End.

Well there you have it. Once more, as with yesterdays pick, I recommend you only watch this film with the appropriate MST3K riffs. Doing otherwise will release the hobgoblins. Oh an rest assure, the hobgoblins will ride again regardless with the soon to be released, direct-to-DVD sequel, Hobgoblins 2. Hooray!

So, what scene? Well there can only be one choice really. Enjoy.



Great Scenes from Shit Films, Part 4: Manos: The Hands of Fate by Jamie

Like most people out there who have seen Manos: The Hands of Fate (Translation: Hands: The Hands of Fate) I became aware of it through Mystery Science Theater 3000. The episode is held in high regard amongst the shows fans and rightly so. It is, after all, awesome. Some of my favourite riffs I heard in the shows history come from this episode, as do some of my favourite segments. Such a thing is only possible with the just the right film, and Manos is just such a film.

Every frame is such exquisite crap, that you just can’t help but laugh. From the inexplicable scenes involving two teenagers making out to Torgo’s chilling theme music, everything here is so ripe for a riffing that if MST3K hadn’t done an episode with it then there would have been a public outcry… except that no one would have heard of the movie.

The plot then if it can indeed be called such. A family made up of husband Mike, wife Margaret, daughter Debbie and dog Peppy are travelling somewhere for some reason. Meanwhile two teenagers make out in a car until a cop tells them to piss off. The family reach a house and are greeted by every one’s favourite satyr/housekeeper Torgo. He takes care of the place while the Master is away.
Mike asks Torgo is his family can spend the night at the house and, after a little hesitation, Torgo agrees.

Later that evening, Peppy runs outside the house and is later discovered as a corpse dog by Mike. Margaret wants to leave and Mike demands that Torgo put the luggage back in the car, which is a very rude way to treat someone who kindly let you stay in house even though he had reservations. What a bastard. It’s not Torgo’s fault they can’t control their fucking dog. Torgo does as he’s told before catching Margaret alone. He informs her that the Master wants her for a wife but he can’t have her because Torgo wants her for himself. He then ‘fondles’ her in a way that demonstrates just why Torgo is considered a ladies man without equal.

Meanwhile, the two teenagers continue making out until being told to move on by the police again.

Now Debbie runs outside of the house and, rather than being found as a girl corpse, her parents find her with a big evil looking dog. When asked where the dog was found, she leads them to a chamber which contains the Master and several women (his wives) dressed in white nighties in an apparent cryogenic stasis, though without the cryogenic part.. The family run back to the house and try to find Torgo.

Torgo, though, has gone to the chamber himself where he does a little more fondling, this time of the Master’s lovely ladies. That Torgo, what a lovable scamp! Torgo then knocks Mike out and ties him to a pole. Suddenly the Master and his wives awaken. They argue about the families fate, some wanting to kill ’em all, others wanting to keep the wife and daughter. The Master, however, has his own plans. He’s pissed at how Torgo always seems to get more pussy, even though the Master has well loads of wives. So he decides he’s going to sacrifice him to Manos! It should be pointed out at this point that the Master is wearing a fetching poncho with a hands motif. It’s lovely. He leaves the chamber and the wives carry on arguing about the fate of the family which devolves into a wrestling match in the sand. A long one. Like several minutes long. It’s really painful viewing at this point.

The Master finds Torgo and tells him he’s going to be well dead. Torgo tries to fight but the Master puts him in a trance or something. Meanwhile one of the wives finds Mike and kisses and slaps him while he’s unconscious but by this point of the film you will have given up hope that anything in life will ever make sense again. The Master brings Torgo to the tomb, puts him on a stone tablet whilst tying up one of the wives. The wives give Torgo a massage for some reason, the Master burns his hand and Torgo runs away, presumably to his death. He then kills the wife tied to the pole for good measure.

Mike wakes up and joins his family as they try to escape. Unfortunately they encounter a stock footage snake which impedes their progress. of course it’s not like they are in a wide expanse of desert affording the option of walking around said snake and giving it a very wide berth so Mike decides to fire at the snake. This gunfire catches the attention of the policemen who shooed the teens who were making out so they go to investigate. These are clearly crack crime fighters as there investigation involves moving away from their car, staring into the darkness before giving up and going away. To Protect and Serve!

The family, unable to make their way through a maze of stock footage wildlife, decide to return to the house. It just makes sense. The Master attacks, Mike fires at him and the screen fades to black.

The next scene shows two women who are travelling somewhere for some reason. They reach a house and are greeted by every one’s favourite human/housekeeper Mike. He takes care of the place while the Master is away. Next we see that Margaret and Debbie have joined the army of wives in stasis, which it pretty disgusting when you consider that Debbie is a little girl. Chris Hansen needs to take the Master’s ass down a peg or two.

The credits are followed by the scariest scene in the entire film when the words ‘The End?’ flash up. That question marked has plagued any and all who have seen this film.

So there you have it, the ‘plot’ of Manos. Now for a few fun facts:

1) The camera used to shoot the film could only shoot for thirty seconds at a time and everything was filmed without sound. The voices were dubbed in later!

2)The film had a budget of $19,000!

3)The driving sequences at the beginning of the film were supposed to have the opening credits over them, but the director forgot to include them!

4)John Reynolds, who played Torgo, sustained permanent damage to his kneecaps because of the apparatus on them. He was constantly on painkillers up until his suicide, due to the injury he had from this movie. It’s believed that his kneecaps were damaged due to the device being worn backwards… I’m sorry, that probably shouldn’t have been included in the ‘fun facts’. Let’s move on.

This movie is among the very worst ever made. Simple as that. Plan 9 from Outer Space is awful, Hobgoblins is an abortion but in my opinion this film tops them all. If you have to see this film, and you have to, make sure you watch it with Joel and the Bots from MST3K. Doing otherwise is hazardous to your health.

As for the scene I’ve picked from this treasure trove of awful, I’ve decided upon Torgo charming the pants off of Margaret with his suave fondling. Enjoy.




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