AUGUST 10, 2010
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t like to use the 2nd half of a double feature at the Bev as my daily movie, because I run the risk of dozing off and missing chunks of a movie that is nearly impossible to find, leaving me without the ability to review it. But tonight was the rare (first?) occasion where I had already seen/reviewed the first film (Pigs, more on that later), and thus it was either use Satan’s Mistress (aka Demon Rage) for my daily movie, or not go to the Bev at all, which is never my preferred option (especially for Grindhouse nights – I haven’t been in quite a while).
Considering how boring Mistress is, it’s amazing I stayed awake through any of it, let alone about 95% (yes, I dozed, but it couldn’t possibly have been more than for 3-4 minutes, because by that point I was checking my watch pretty frequently). Until the batshit climax that I couldn’t even follow, the film only offered a single death scene. The rest of it was just the Christopher George-esque husband frowning his way around the house as his wife became withdrawn and his daughter started acting weird more often than not. And then every now and then a ghost would bone his wife.
Yeah, it’s sort of like The Entity, right down to the “this is based on what happened to a woman in California” text, though here it appears at the beginning of the film. And she’s sort of into it at first, because her husband is always working (possibly having an affair) and the ghost appears to her in full bodied form, looking quite dapper and sporting a William Petersen beard. And unlike The Entity, it doesn’t toss her around or make weird ghost squeezes on her breasts (though that’s actually for the best – Lana Wood’s nipples are so big they’re actually kind of un-nice to look at after awhile). Which makes this the first “Grindhouse” ripoff that’s actually less exploitative than its Hollywood counterpart, as far as I know.
The movie also unfortunately kept reminding me of the less than awesome Girls on the Road, which also took place in and around a California beach house and featured annoying supporting characters. Instead of the hippies from that movie, though, we get “Burt”, a friend of the main family who thinks himself a comedian (he isn’t) and irritates his way throughout the film until finally getting his head chopped off in the film’s lone (but very crowd-pleasing) death scene. I wanted to punch this guy in the face every single time he spoke; when his head got lopped off I wasn’t sure if I was cheering more because he was dead or because something was finally happening.
It also shares Girls’ annoying tendency to show important plot points (I use the phrase somewhat ironically) in blurry-vision, with wavy lines and other nonsense preventing me from even seeing who the flashback was about at times. Maybe I could have understood what the hell was going on in the climax if I was able to SEE the back-story that I presume it tied into. Or they could have had someone just explain these things out loud, instead of cutting to the ocean every 17 seconds. I swear to Christ, home videos of my family at the beach don’t have as many shots of the water as this movie.
John Carradine pops up as a priest, roughly 70 minutes into the film. Both my buddy Angel and I pondered whether or not Carradine just wandered onto the set while the cameras were rolling, because he doesn’t quite fit into the movie, nor do the things he says have any real bearing on what is happening. It’s also pretty much the only scene in the movie that takes place away from the house and surrounding area, so it feels even more out of place. But hey, it’s always nice to see Carradine.
As for Pigs, it was re-titled The Love Exorcist, and given an entirely different opening sequence than the one I saw a while ago. Basically, in order to cash in on The (non-love) Exorcist, someone filmed a scene of a girl (who if you squint can almost look kind of like a decent stunt double for our real actress) yelling “fuck me!” and making pig noises while wearing generic demon makeup, as a priest and another guy look on. Then she flies out the window and we cut to our proper movie. So basically, they tried to make it look like the heroine was “on the run” from being possessed, even though the real backstory (killing her father after he raped her) is still intact throughout the rest of the film. At least, I THINK that's what they were going for. If not it's even more baffling. Either way, I guess no one really cared back then. But it was kind of fascinating watching the film under a new context, even if it had zero bearing on anything that happened. Also, the print was much better than the one I had suffered through on Netflix instant (which has since been removed), allowing me to truly see the film for the first time. It’s still a mess, with almost every other scene having no point whatsoever (my favorite useless excursion – the sleazy construction worker telling his dog to go home for about 2 straight minutes. I also quite enjoy the one scene where Zambrini terrorizes his neighbors for no reason), but it’s also kind of sad in a cheesy exploitation movie kind of way, and again, reminds me of the underrated Haunts (which would have made for a better pairing with the film than Satan’s Mistress).
But even though the movies weren’t exactly top draws, I still had a grand old time, as always. The crowd laughed but refrained from MST3k-ing, the trailer reel was FANTASTIC (I must see Devil’s Wedding Night as soon as humanly possible, as well as the Shatner/Borgnine vehicle Devil’s Rain), and in between movies I got to chat with some pals I haven’t seen in a while. And as dull as Mistress was, it would have been unbearable at home, so I appreciated having a hundred or so other folks suffering with me, and laughing at oddball line readings and confusing edits (not to mention the unfortunate production company name – BJ Creators) to keep the energy up. Plus, any movie with Mary Goodnight, Plenty O’Toole, and Gobinda can’t be a total waste of time.
What say you?
P.S. I also wrote cat down in my notes, though I don’t know why. Yes, there was a cat in the movie, but he didn’t do much. Wasn’t even that cute. *shrug*