Monday, August 30, 2010

Bad Biology, Or: Oh, Screw it, Let's Talk about a GOOD Movie

Sigh. I was SO disappointed in this.

I love Henenlotter and I was really pumped to hear that he ended his fifteen year hiatus with a new film.

Frankenhooker. Brain Damage. The Basket Case films. I love them all. In fact, I love them all so much that when I started to write about Bad Biology, I ended up writing more about Basket Case. 

So I said Eff It. Let's talk about Basket Case!!!!!

In fact, the original Basket Case must have been the first 'so bad it's good' film that really affected me. I'm sure I saw bad films before that, but there was something so unique and endearing about Basket Case (even though it must feature some of the worst acting this side of Showgirls.......and I say that with all kinds of affection) that it wormed its way into little black heart and it's stayed there. 

Right away we make with the red stuff:

                                    I'm gonna git ya with mah big clay hand.....

Basket Case is the story of Duane, a young man who wanders into New York City carrying a mysterious wicker basket that he talks to:

 and feeds:

Duane, as we'll soon find out, is in town to look up a few doctors. They have neat names like Kutter and Needleman.

He wastes no time going to see Dr Needleman, where he meets a receptionist with a real talent for imitating mice caught in typewriters:

                                                     Nope. Not kidding.

I especially love when she gets all over Duane's case for not visiting Radio City Music Hall or the Statue of Liberty in the approximately 12 hours he's been in town:

But getting shit from total strangers must float Duane's boat, because he ends up going out with her.

Duane gets in to see Dr Needleman, and whips out this little puppy:

Later, Duane and his basket pay the doctor another visit:

And we finally get to see what's in the basket:

Next day, Duane and his crabby receptionist hit the town:

          Just when you thought she had the worst hairstyle in the movie....

Which doesn't sit well with Basket Boy, who goes on a rampage:

And then goes to pout in his favorite spot, where Duane has a heart-to-heart with him:

Duane goes out later to drown his sorrows, where he runs into a woman who lives in the hotel, and proceeds to do the worst impersonation of a drunk person ever:

In his drunkenness, Duane spills the beans to his buddy, telling her that his deformed brother, Belial, lives in the basket - and not only that, they used to be Siamese twins.  Then Duane passes out so he can have a nifty flashback showing us what happened to he and Belial:

Turns out his mother died in childbirth, and his father always hated them and set up a little impromptu operating room to seperate the two:

Complete with neato sound effects that sound like cutting through styrofoam:

I love how they just toss him in a garbage bag and set him outside.  Like, 'Oh, that deformed Siamese twin you just cut off my son?  Just throw him outside, I'll put him on the curb tomorrow"

But it doesn't take long before Dad gets his:

But it turns out that Duane and Belial's aunt always had a soft spot for the little monster, and helps hide Belial from the world:

                    Yeah, I'd totally rock the monster to sleep at night.

Eventually, Duane wakes up from his drunken slumber and he and Belial head out to find Dr Kutter:

Who has not only the balls to call Duane a freak but to also be the worst actress in the movie.

Good acting, Bad acting, doesn't matter, if you're wearing a white coat in this movie, you're goin' down:

After Belial pushes her face into a drawer full of scalpels (which is how everyone keeps them, right?)

                                                     All kinds of awesome.

Duane and Belial return to their room after a hard day of killing only to find his receptionist girlfriend show up - which leads to hanky panky.....which does NOT sit well with Belial in the basket:

So Duane does the only logical thing. He wraps his girlfriend up in a BLANKET, opens the door, tosses her out into the HALLWAY, where she promptly bounces off the wall and hits the floor.


Of course she does the only logical thing and gets out of there ASAP:


Well, apparently a concussion isn't enough revenge for Belial, since he sneaks out later:

                                               Stop motion madness.

And gets a little business on of his own-  Which ends all kinds of badly:

Duane finds out and goes ape shit, then Belial goes on and goes ape shit right back at him:

Then, alas:

Like you thought a movie about a guy with a mutated detached Siamese twin killing machine was going to end happy.

Oh, don't feel too bad. They come back to life in Basket Case 2 and 3.

The DVD also has all kinds of neato extras, including commentaries and a tour of the locations featuring Frank Henelenlotter.

I also have to mention that I met Kevin VanHentenryck (Duane) and he was the sweetest thing. He's now an artist - look him up sometime.

Briefly, regarding Bad Biology.  When we had this:

less than 20 minutes in, my hopes were high.  I was all, Yay! Freak Babies!

Then it was downhill from there.
It's about a hyper sexual girl and a hyper sexual guy and guess what, they have a lot of sex. And talk about sex and think about sex and do sex a lot. But they're both such freaks that the people who have sex with them end up dead quite often.  And inbetween all the sexin', well, it's just.....kind of .....

It was one of those movies that I ended up checking my email during and looking around for things to dust. Yeah.

But hey, we always have Belial and Duane, right?  And maybe now that Henenlotter is back making films, he'll try another....and I'd probably give that one another shot before I totally give up.  Because hey, I'm nothing if not optimistic.

Till next time, Dearhearts.....
Mother Firefly

Thursday, August 26, 2010


I want to say a big THANK YOU  to everyone that's taken the time to post comments recently. I had a Huge Shit day at work today, I mean SHITTY, the kind of the last straw variety that makes you realize that it's really never going to get any better.  But at least it kicked my ass into gear to make some changes. They may be baby steps, but the plan is finally in motion.

Any day I get comments makes my day, but today they were especially appreciated and REALLY needed. I heart doing this blog, and I wish I was able to post more often. The time I do get to devote to it helps to keep me sane. I really do appreciate the time you take to read it and to give me your thoughts.

So in the spirit of trying to stay positive and pass on some good news, dig this:

Zombie Puppets. 
The Oriental Theater.


Just waiting on the forthcoming details.....

-Mother Firefly

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Lord knows Mama loves herself some Joan Crawford. Especially her later movies, when the good jobs dried up and Joan found herself making some CLASSIC horror films like Strait-Jacket and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?  So I'm not sure how I missed out on Trog for so long. It's Joan's last film and possibly her silliest, but no matter - Joan still acts the SHIT out of it.  Which is a pretty neat trick when you consider the monster is basically a dude in a bad monkey mask with a rasta wig attached.

Trog (short for Troglodyte) is discovered by a team of explorers who come across a cave that's never been explored before. And what do they get for their trouble? Killed and attacked by the monkey man in the cheap wig - leaving behind one very traumatized young man and another who decides the smart thing to do is to take his injured friend to see Dr. Brockton (Joan Crawford) an anthropologist and author of the book 'Social Structure in Primates'.

                 You'll feel better if you tell Mommie Dearest all about it....

And of course, the only reasonable reaction Joan has is to go down in the cave and find this monster monkey man for herself:

                                                Joan spelunks.

Joan manages to capture this on camera:

And then the town and the police get involved, and eventually Trog finds his way to the surface - scaring people and just generally causing a commotion. Thank God Joan is there, because she's the only one in the town with a weapon, apparently:
Her tranquilizer gun also makes a neato loud BOOMing noise when she fires it.

Joan takes Troggie back to her lab where they feed him lizards and fish n stuff:

Joan teaches Trog to play with toys while she narrows her crazy Joan Crawford eyes at him:

Booga! (This one's for you, Emily)

And Trog finds out that toys are FUN (pay attention to the FORESHADOWING in this scene.

What I find most nifty about Trog is not that he managed to survive underground all those years, but that somehow, someway, he managed to make himself some SHORTS.
                                                   And furry boots.

But because we need some bad guys in this movie, some people think Trog is bad news and needs to be destroyed. And these two creeps want to see Joan get fired as well.

Which doesn't go down well with Joan:

Sometimes Joan takes Troggie outside and lets him play:

But monsters will be monsters, and eventually there's problems involving a neighbor's dog:

And then Joan has to put on her best pants suit and go defend the Trogmeister:

But Joan has a plan: She invites all her scientist friends over for some Trog's Greatest Home Movies:
And then they operate on Trog, then strap him down and make him look at slides of dinosaur bones - which makes Trog remember the good old days, apparently:

What's cool about these scenes is that they appear to be from the Ray Harryhausen/Willis O'Brien made short on dinosaurs from a documentary called The Animal World:
 Which is an extra on the Black Scorpion DVD.   

Evidently the surgery, slides, and trip down memory lane have quite an effect on the Trogster, because after all that, he develops the power of speech.

Or so I have to believe what the scientists say, because I have no Frickin' idea what this monkey is babbling about.

Well, you know movies about monkey men are just never going to end well, and this one is no different. One of the bad dudes decides to break into the lab, get Trog all riled, then let him out to wreak havoc on the locals:
Which he does very well.
                                    Coolest. Monkey. Man. Shot. Ever.

Trog hits the playground....

And now it's time to remember that bit of foreshadowing I pointed out earlier.

Trog takes his prize back to his cave, but Joan aint' having it. She follows Trog in and lays the Smack Down:
                                                      Bad Trog!

And then, as always happens with big monkeys on the loose, the military shows up and puts an end to all the fun:

And there you have it.

I dug Trog. I think probably one viewing was enough - but the movie's easy to watch and if you love the Crawford half as much as Mama does, you'll have fun with it.

I hope nobody picks a movie called Trog intending to take it seriously - so just relax, sit back, and maybe have a Pepsi while you partake in the fun:

After all, Joanie would want it that way.

No more Troglodyte hangers,
Mother Firefly