Saw a Takashi Miike picture called The Great Yokai War. "Yokai" is a Japanese term for monsters from folklore, as opposed to the more familiar kaiju. It's a kids' picture, about a young boy from Tokyo sent out to live in the countryside with his older sister and his intermittently senile grandfather. When a vengeful spirit appears, the boy gets caught up in a war between warring groups of yokai and must find his courage to become the "Kirin Rider", the hero who will set everything to rights. It's not a bad picture - nothing deep, but an amusing story. Some of the yokai are really trippy, Japanese folklore can get pretty "out there", apparently.

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DEATH WARMED UP (New Zealand, 1984): "A deranged scientist is on a remote island working on his experimental brain procedures on human test subjects. Unfortunately, many of the patients suffers side effects from the procedure that transforms them into murderous zombies. Arriving on the island is a group of youths that include the son of the scientist's chief rival. Years before the mad doctor had hypnotized the youth and had him murder his own father, so the young man has come to track down the scientist and make him pay."

I am thankful for that capsule description above because without it I wouldn't have know what, exactly, was going on. I know this because Tracy didn't read it, kept asking me what was going on, then asking me "How did you know that?" after I told her. It is never clear what, exactly, the mad scientist is trying to accomplish. It is equally unclear how the son of the other scientist convinced his girlfriend and another couple to accompany him to the island. the son wanted revenge but what, exactly, did they other couple think they were there to do? 

The movie starts with the son's murder of his dad and MILF mom. After that, he's thrown into a padded cell. A caption tells us seven years have passed, the son is being released, and the scientist is performing his experiments on human subjects at his own facility on an island off the coast. That's it. No further explanation. The next thing you know, the son and his friends are on a ferry to the island.

The ferry ride takes over an hour. On the way, the other couple take off their clothes and start making out in the back of the car... on a ferry in broad daylight. The vehicle behind them is a van from the scientist's facility, driven by a little psychopath. His partner is big, ugly and slow-witted. They are both enjoying the "show" while the other couple are chatting up the ferry pilot. He warns them to stay at the hotel on the island, not to camp. One of the ferry workers, a somewhat deformed hunchback, comes up from below deck and asks the naked couple for their tickets. This causes a stir, the other couple joins them in the car and the ticket-taker goes to the bridge.

The the other guy (the one who was making out with his girlfriend in the backseat), gets out of the car and pisses on the van. This brings them into conflict with the psychopath and his apish partner. The first guy breaks up the conflict, they all get in the car, and he drives away... to the other side of the ferry. Once they dock, the van rear ends the car on the ramp, then harasses them on the road for a bit. Later, the car runs the van off the road, but no one is hurt.

Both couples go to a nearby beach to make out. There is some talk about going to "the tunnels" but the other guy's girlfriend doesn't want to go, however they talk her into it. There is a maze of concrete tunnels beneath the scientist's complex, which is what they begin to explore. The men and the women are briefly separated (possibly as a prank), then they are chased by two black-clad men on motorcycles (!). They find a way out, but the one guy upsets one of the cycles and the rider is impaled on a piece of rebar and killed. The other rider comes to his aid. It is the two guys from the van. Now the little psychopath really hates the two couples. He rushes his dead friend to the lab but the doctor's there refuse to work on him.

All along, the scenes of the kids outside the facility have been interspersed with shots of what's going on inside the facility. the outside shots look like something from Mad Max, and the inside shots (sets and costumes) look like something from A Clockwork Orange. The events are starting to blur, but the psycho attacks the doctors who refused to help his friend and set loose a room full of zombies (the zombies being the result of the Mad scientist's experiments). It's getting dark now and the zombies chase the two couples to the local pub. The owner and patrons are concerned but not too surprised that the zombies are on the loose. (Apparently this is an event that occurs with some frequency.) Many of the people in town (including the guys in the van and the ticket-taker on the ferry), it turns out, are somehow "infected" with whatever's going on.

The girlfriend of the second guy has suffered a head injury by this time. She ends up burning to death in a fire she herself caused. Her boyfriend takes an ax to the stomach from the psycho and is killed. The first guy kills the scientist, but later a high voltage wire falls from a damaged tower and electrocutes him, so only his girlfriend survives to star in the sequel, Death Warmed Up II: The Leftovers (Just kidding.) Tracy says this Mad Max/Clockwork Orange/Zombie flick is the worst we've seen. I don't know if it is or not, but right now I can't think of a worse one. 

Wow, never heard of that one.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

DEATH WARMED UP (New Zealand, 1984):

An excellent possibility exists that I will never, ever see this movie. And if I never, ever do, when my end comes (hopefully, many, many years from now), I will harbour no regret about that whatsoever.

At least there was a lot of making out, to the delight of 12-year-olds everywhere.

The son of the chief rival is showering after a run while the mad scientist peeps and creeps. He grabs the teen and uses a hypodermic needle the size of a forearm to inject him with something that makes him like a zombie. With that scene, I thought it would be a different kind of movie. The girls came in later. Near the end, the mad scientist opens the skull of one experiment and pulls out a gray mass the size of a golf ball. He says "another one" but that is never explained.

Unanswered questions annoy me but thinking about a terrible movie with unanswered questions is just a colossal waste of time. 

OMG, yes! As much detail as I went into about that horrible, horrible movie, I completely forgot about the almost comic Three Stooges-sized hypo needle. I see now I didn't do into nearly enough detail about the operating room scenes. The mad scientist drills into his patients' victims' heads with a 1/4 inch drill bit, drills three or four holes, cuts lines between them and removes the little "hatch" he created. Inside the brain pulses (I could not resist quipping about a "throbbing headache"), but sometimes the head pulses without surgery. In either case, the head explodes, spattering brain matter all over the surgical team (who wear mesh masks, BTW). And what was that thing he took out of the guy's head? It looked like a rock with black spots. 

The guy on the poster is the little psycho guy, and the tagline is his catchphrase. 

This sounds like one of those pictures that might be too  terrible even for MST3K.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

OMG, yes! As much detail as I went into about that horrible, horrible movie, I completely forgot about the almost comic Three Stooges-sized hypo needle. I see now I didn't do into nearly enough detail about the operating room scenes. The mad scientist drills into his patients' victims' heads with a 1/4 inch drill bit, drills three or four holes, cuts lines between them and removes the little "hatch" he created. Inside the brain pulses (I could not resist quipping about a "throbbing headache"), but sometimes the head pulses without surgery. In either case, the head explodes, spattering brain matter all over the surgical team (who wear mesh masks, BTW). And what was that thing he took out of the guy's head? It looked like a rock with black spots. 

The guy on the poster is the little psycho guy, and the tagline is his catchphrase. 

The Duke featuring Helen Mirren based on a true story about the 1961 theft of an oil painting of the Duke of Wellington from a British museum. Great fun.

EMBRYO (1976): "A research scientist is experimenting with human DNA in an attempt to create the perfect human being. His work has made it to the point where he can take a human fetus and accelerate its growth to that of an adult within a few days. His latest creation is a beautiful woman, but side effects from the process turn the woman into a deranged killer."

I don't think that description is entirely accurate. I would say "side effects from the process cause the woman to take increasingly desperate measures to save her own life." The woman is played by future Bond-girl Barbara Carrera and the research scientist is none other than Rock Hudson. Roddy McDowell has a small part, and Dr. Joyce Brothers makes a cameo appearance as herself. Rock is a widower with a grown son who has a pregnant wife. He also lives, platonically,  with his sister-in-law (Dianne Ladd) who assists him in the lab. The movie opens with Rock speeding down a rain-slicked road, unable to avoid a Doberman Pinscher which walks in front of his car. He takes the dog back to his lab where he determines it has a ruptured spleen and will live no longer than 12 hours. He also discovers the dog is pregnant with three fetuses, which he tries to save. Only one of them lives, but it is super-smart.

Apparently inspired by this success, he gets a human fetus from a suicide victim. In a matter of days, the fetus grows up to be Barbara Carrera. She is super-smart, too, and forms a bond with the dog. she figures out not only what is wrong with her, but also that the only thing that can save her life is an antidote made from a five-to-six-month-old-fetus. She breaks into the charity files of Rock's daughter-in-law's office and finds a prostitute who is far enough also. what she doesn't see in the file, however, is the sheet which falls to the floor (right in front of the camera!) and explains that the fetus is stillborn but they're going to let the woman's body expel it naturally rather than risk the mother's life. 

Carrera learns how to perform a C-section from a medical book, but is distressed to learn that the baby is dead. Just then , in a classic case of bad timing, Rock's daughter-in-law shows up. I'm gong to skip ahead a bit. [SPOILERS] After everything falls apart, Rock ends up in a car chase with Carrera. Her car crashes on the beach and explodes. She escapes, but the fire has drawn the attention of bystanders. They arrive on the scene just as Rock is trying to drown her.  She reveals that she is pregnant with Rock's baby. She is taken to the hospital and the screen fades to black with the sound of a newborn baby crying in the background. [END SPOILERS]

This is the kind of movie that makes me sad Rock Hudson stooped to make. 

END OF THE WORLD (1977): "A scientist discovers signals from space that appear to carry information concerning a series of seemingly unrelated natural disasters, occurring across the globe. Hoping to discover the source of these signals and who's behind them, the scientist on his wife set out on a trek to locate the intended recipient of the signals. What the couple eventually discovers is a small remote convent with occupants who are not really who they appear to be."

"A priest walks into a bar..." That's how this movie begins, but it's not the setup to a joke. (On second thought, maybe it is.) The priest is played by none other than Christopher Lee. He asks to use the payphone, and the bartender goes to get him a cup of coffee. Suddenly, inexplicably, the payphone explodes. Then the coffee maker explodes, spraying the bartender with hot water. He staggers in pain, crashing into and through the neon sign hanging in the window, which kills him. the priest goes back to the convent where his is met by... another Christopher Lee!

This scene is called upon to carry us 50 minutes into the film when the next (semi-)interesting thing happens. It doesn't quite live up to what is called upon to do. In addition to Christopher Lee, the scientist's wife is played by Sue Lyon (Lolita, Night of the Iguana) and his boss by Dean Jagger (credits too numerous to mention). This is an incredibly slow-moving movie, so I'll just cut to the chase. A group of aliens have landed on Earth. A series of natural disasters (an earthquake in China, a volcano in Africa) have somehow stranded them on Earth. They clone the bodies of a priest and six nuns, inhabit the clones, then kill the originals until they can construct a space gate to take them home. In order to accomplish this, they must engineer additional disaster which will eventually destroy the Earth. The scientist and his wife figure out their scheme, but are unable to stop it. the aliens have arranged it so the convent is they last place on Earth to be destroyed. One by one, they escape through the gate to their home planet, which they describe as a utopia. Lee tells the two humans they would make excellent citizens of their planet, but does he invite them along? No, he does not. After they have departed, Sue Lyon and the scientist watch mismatched stock footage of various natural disasters making their way ever closer to the convent. Eventually they decide to step through the star gate and take their chances on the alien world. 

The Earth explodes.

THE END.

The most terrifying thing about these movies is that, no matter how bad they get, you and Tracy keep watching them. I fear for your brain cells.

THAT DARN CAT! (1965): This is one of Tracy's picks. Surprisingly good for a Disney film.

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