Posts tagged cheesy
Posts tagged cheesy
By Dan Kinem
If you couldn’t tell by the bad ass cover, Rana: The Legend of Shadow Lake is about a crazy half-frog/half-human monster and his regular-sized frog minions fiercely and furiously protecting a mountain of gold at the bottom of a lake. Sadly, few plot outlines have promised so much, yet delivered so little.
The movie focuses more on the boring lives of the characters rather than showing any frog action. Kelly, our male lead, is telling his girlfriend all about when he was 11-years-old and found a strange bone fragment, a fragment that could obviously only belong to some bizarre half-human/half-frog-like creature. Kelly was the king as a kid, and just like myself, he also drinks nonstop bottled Coke and stashes beef jerky chunks in the front of his overalls. But, unlike myself, his only friends are his pet skunks and a crazy hillbilly hermit named Charlie, who has the ability to talk to goats.
Charlie is the only one who believes Kelly when he thinks something fishy is going on in the lake, but little does Kelly know, Charlie is hiding a deep dark secret. Occasionally, the frog-man will pop out and kill, but it’s always so quick you can’t tell what the hell is going on. I kept hoping you would get some crazy long-frog-tongue carnage, but instead, the monster chooses to kill with a spear. The only time you get any evidence that there’s even a monster doing the killing is when you see a green flipper under the murky water.
The movie focuses most of its energy on the bland story of Hermit vs. The Loggers. Charlie the Hermit will run around shooting at these loggers to try to get them to leave the woods, but all it does is piss them off. Around this point is where I started pulling a Tim (aka struggling to stay awake at 6 p.m.), but the possibility of maybe getting to see the monster kept my eyes open. Instead of the monster, all I got was real frogs, who would come out of the water to nibble and stare at people.
Finally, the legend of Shadow Lake is revealed: Years ago, a guy found a gold pebble and threw it into the lake. The water began to bubble and boil and Rana appeared at the surface and was super pissed off. He demanded more gold, so in order to appease the monster, the entire town threw all of its gold to the bottom of the lake. Now the monster lives every day of its life fearing someone will take the gold, while the decedents of the townsfolk (who call themselves “frog people”) give it more gold and feed it. Charlie is the last of these frog people left and continues to feed it, which all reminded me of that terrible movie, Lake Placid.
It does start to get good at the end, though, after one of the loggers shoots Charlie. Rana gets fucking ticked off and comes jetting out of the water and starts wrecking people. He blows through Kelly and his family’s front door, steals some chick, blows the entire house up, pounds some dude’s head into a tree, and disappears. Fast forward to the present day and Kelly has the genius idea to go looking for Rana’s gold. Big mistake. Of course, Rana is still alive and kicking and the second Kelly and his girlfriend find the gold, he comes chasing after them. Credits. So, after all of that, it leaves me asking the question: Why does a frog need gold?
Few movies have had so much potential, yet failed on every level. Rana was directed by one of the masters of the cheesy horror movie, Bill Rebane (Capture of Big Foot, The Giant Spider Invasion), but features too many boring side-plots to become so-bad-it’s-good. It does have some laugh-out-loud moments, however, like the use of “Swan Lake” during a shoot out near a lake. Talk about on the nose. And, of course, the plot itself, which is the one thing that makes me want to still recommend this boring, mess of a movie. It’s godawful, but I would still say it’s worth owning and watching at least once just to say you’ve seen a movie about a frog who loves gold.
The movie has had a bunch of different releases, most notably this big box release through Active Home Video and a clamshell through the Canadian distributor, Astral Video. The movie rights were later bought by Troma (no surprise) and the title was brilliantly changed to, Croaked: Frog Monster from Hell for a bare-bones DVD release. Stick with any of the VHS.
Someone also uploaded the whole movie to YouTube here.
By Dan Kinem
Imagine waking up one day to find out that not only had a lost 1980s feature-length horror anthology been uncovered, but it was being released in a big box VHS! Impossible, right? Clearly the dreams of a crazed VHS obsessed freak who ate way too much Chinese food, or at least that was what I thought until this wondrous package finally showed up at my doorstep. I immediately ripped through the packaging and pulled out the glorious new [red] VHS tape and popped it in, but not even I could have guessed what was on the tape. How could this be? My eyes watered and my jaw dropped as what came on the screen was not only what was promised, a never-before-seen 80s horror anthology, but was actually genuinely amazing! Day after day I watch boring piles of shit that would have put even that jackass Dave Attell to sleep, so when I watched The Basement, which truly delivers the cheese on every single level possible, it fully revitalized my love of the so-bad-it’s-good horror flick and reminded me why I do this in the first place.
The plot is simple, a bunch of hideous 40-somethings (50-somethings?!) stumble into a basement where they are greeted by The Sentinel (aka Max Von Sydow in The Seventh Seal). He pulls a Minority Report on them saying that soon they will sin and that they must confess to these future crimes immediately. Each member of the group more baffled then the next gets to see into the future at the sins they are going to commit.
First up is one of the ugliest creatures I’ve ever seen grace the screen. It looks like a poodle died on top of a literal rat lady, and that’s me being nice. But it was the 80s so I’m sure she was hot shit back then. I mean, she certainly acts like it. She keeps inviting people over to her magical house where her pool inexplicably sucks people into it and kills them. She has a list of the people she wants to kill and keeps crossing them off one by one. Honestly, though, I would be more scared of seeing this thing’s tits in a bikini then I would the pool. Imagine two tanned condoms were stuffed with a huge grapefruit then pasted to a dude’s hairy chest. That’s what it looks like. Her sin, according to the movie, I guess, is having a magic pool that eats people, but her real sin is that botched tit-job.
The next guy’s sin is hating Halloween. And being a huge dick teacher who dreams about massacring his whole class. Because of these things a bunch of ghouls, goblins, witches, and mummies come and haunt him on Halloween night. A mummy even rips his tongue out, eats it, and tells him happy Halloween. What could be better than this? Well, the next guy, who has a hideous pencil-stache, is making a terrible zombie movie and real zombies rise from the dead to kill him because of it!
Of course, judging by the mustache, he is a huge sleazeball who is only making the movie for the money and the skanks. A guy even comes to the set to try to help him with the effects (looking strangely like Mark Borchardt from American Movie) and the director tells him, “Hey fuck you, and fuck George Romero. And fuck anyone else who thinks they know about horror!” This ridiculous statement causes the dead to come to life and kill everyone in sight.
The last story features a complete idiot who decides to waste all his money and move into a house that the realtor specifically said was, “a sadistic den of torture and sex” and 22 people were raped and dismembered there. After hearing this he asks, “Where do I sign?!” To further identify him as a retard he goes into the house before the lights work and just wanders around aimlessly. His friend, who must have broke in and hid in this pitch black house for hours waiting for the chance to kind of scare his friend, pops up out of nowhere and they decide to drink beers by candlelit in a haunted mansion. The guy who used to live in the house comes back and weird demons start killing people and the guy grows a huge demon hand and blows his own head off with a shotgun. Yep. Amazing.
After all these sins are revealed they are forced to follow death into The Basement. This volcanic finale needs to be seen to be believed and is the ultimate way to end one hell of a great horror movie. I cannot tell you how much fun this movie is. I could easily see this becoming a big cult hit and a must in any horror collection. Don’t sleep on this one!
The audio on the movie must never have been recorded or was lost, which in turn is a gift because the newly recorded voice over actors are hilarious. It adds an extra level of humor and ridiculousness to the whole movie. A good Coca-Cola drinking game would be to take a shot every time you hear a Paulie Shore impression. I’m sure you’d go through a couple two liters! The metal guitar riffs and synth score mix in perfectly and the fact this actually looks like a VHS transfer makes the whole experience feel genuine.
This fantastic three DVD, one VHS set was released through the Camp Motion Pictures Retro 80s line. You not only get The Basement on VHS, but you get it on DVD along with four other great cheesy horror flicks (Video Violence 1 and 2, Captives [aka Mama’s Home], and Cannibal Campout)! My only criticisms would be that the box is slightly more wide than a normal big box and that it didn’t include Tim O’Rawe’s follow-up feature, Ghoul School (which Camp put out on DVD already). Beyond those few minor blemishes, this set is absolutely stunning. You get a lost 80s horror flick on VHS for Christ sakes! And they even throw in 4 other sweet movies and tons of special features for an insanely low price! What are you waiting for? Go order this immediately! (I’m serious!)
By Dan Kinem
There are the classic Nickelodeon shows that everyone remembers for being nostalgic and fun, like Wild and Crazy Kids and Clarissa Explains It All, and then there are the shows that should have never went beyond someone’s sick and sadistic dream. Don’t Just Sit There falls under the latter. The best example I can give to capture the idiocy of this video is: a local church in the 80s hires a bunch of hip teens to give fun pointers to their Sunday school group. That’s about how lame this is. Normally it’s a talk show mixed with “comedy” performed by Mickey Mouse Club rejects. This particular VHS release (the only release the show ever received), however, is a home video exclusive survival guide. It follows a similar format, but has no musical guest and is mostly focused on giving survival pointers. There should have been an accompanying prerequisite tape that taught me how to survive the actual video.
The overall plot focuses on a group of kids giving easy-to-follow tips on how to survive school, your social life, and home. It fails to do any of these three things, however, and likely ruined anyone who watched this’s life.
There’s a house band featured, Out of Order, that occasionally play songs to go along with what’s about to happen on screen. Somehow they managed to be some of the worst “rock” music I’ve ever heard, yet also the best part of the whole video. Mostly due to the fact that if you cut each of their perfectly-shaped mullets off, strung them together, and donated them to Shaq, he’d be tripping over his newly added locks. That’s how much mullet action I’m talking about. It’s insane and sickening all at the same time. Somehow a few of the members even managed to survive this embarrassment and continue on to play music in life. One guy plays in the fairly popular Latin rock band, DeSol, and the other plays in an Irish rock band, The Havers. I even attempted to get in contact with them for an interview, but had no luck. In fact, I posted on the drummer, Mike Baldwin’s Irish bar-band’s Facebook page asking if I could please ask him a few questions and they deleted the comment. I guess he is embarrassed? Well, I think playing music for three seasons on a fairly successful show on Nickelodeon is much less embarrassing than playing to three more-than-fairly-plastered alcoholics in a bar in Virginia, but that’s just me.
You want to know how to give a book report on Romeo and Juliet? You spit sick rhymes, obviously. The black girl and some jock begin rapping about the story of Romeo and Juliet. The black girl literally has no flow at all. She’s the clumsiest MC I’ve ever heard. When a white bro with a mullet out raps you, just go kill yourself. Also, a book report consists of more than just reciting the plot synopsis on the back of the book with not-so-clever puns added in. F.
Then you have your social life. The crew show you the “dangers of being too cool” with ridiculous scenarios that no one would ever care about. Some chick sees a girl with colorful ribbons in her hair and says, “Wow, cool! I want that.” The black girl says, “I can do that.” And of course the results are disastrous. More and more girls come out of the same stall seconds after one another (lesbian orgy?) with cooler hair (i.e. more ribbons, braids, moose, and colored dye) so they add all those styles to the mix and the girl ends up looking like a complete idiot, not too different than how she looked to start.
There’s a painful scene in which the girls take a bunch of “plain white tees” and make them “hip.” Making them cool consists of the dumbest and most obvious stuff possible. I can tie-dye a shirt?! Oh man, I didn’t think it was possible to draw designs on my shirt before this video taught me how! They even go as far as to cut shapes into potatoes, dip them in paint, then press them on the shirt. Oh the 80s, what couldn’t you do?
Remember how I said this was a talk show? Well, finally a guest, Joe Humeres, comes in to teach skateboard tricks… That has nothing to do with surviving anything! It’s not even enjoyable to watch. He’s a great skateboarder but he just does typical tricks and then tries to teach the kid to do them. The kid fails miserably, of course.
Next, the main girl wants to throw a party to spice up her social life, but she has nothing to wear! Oh no, I wish she would have killed herself over it. Then her room turns into some Wheel of Fortune-style set, but with a wheel of clothes. She loses miserably, but it gives her an idea on how to turn her own clothes into cool items, like “distressed jeans.” Ugh. She ends up taking too long and forgets to make the party food, luckily, Out of Order comes in to get things back in order. Beyond being amazing musicians, they’re stunning chefs, too! Stupid on screen recipes come up to teach you how to make this food. If anyone ever paused their tape and made any of this stuff I’d be dumbfounded.
Last, is one of the most embarrassing things I’ve ever had to sit through. You know when something is just so terrible that you actually feel bad for all the people involved? Well, feast your eyes on the dance lessons segment of the show. If you ever wanted to know how to turn the act of mowing the lawn (and pulling the string to start the mower) into a dance move, then this is for you. You even learn some of George Michaels’ signature “attitude”-filled, hip-swaying moves. No one is fit to go clubbing without viewing this lesson first.
While this particular episode is complete trash (with some mildly amusing cheese), I’d still like to watch a lot more of this show. Although not featured on this tape, the oldest brother from Boy Meets World, Will Friedle, is often the host of the show, which would be fun to see. Also, somehow they attracted some seriously great guest stars like William Shatner, Weird Al, and even Robert Englund as Freddy! That’d be great fun to see, sadly, it’s damn near impossible to find anything from this show. If you have anything or find anything from this show let me know!
This is one of the earliest Nickelodeon VHS releases, before they adopted the orange tape. Sadly, it features not a single advertisement or bumper (which is one of my favorite things about the Nick tapes). If you find this cheap, definitely pick it up, it’s a pretty rare tape and it’s a fun conversation piece to have in your collection despite being annoying shit-filled garbage.
This is New Kids on the Block performing on a different episode of the show. It’s one of the few clips available. I couldn’t find a single full episode anywhere. If you know where I can get more of this show or have some recorded, please let me know. One day when I get a cord to transfer VHS to the computer I’ll upload the whole thing. Also, on an unrelated note, if anyone ever recorded anything on Nickelodeon back in the day I would kill to get a copy of it. Please get in contact with me.
By Dan Kinem
Now this isn’t necessarily our type of flick, as it is a PG-13 rated family movie (though it does have horror/fantasy ties), but when we saw Corey Feldman on the cover looking EXACTLY like Edgar Frog from The-fucking-Lost Boys we had to buy it. Sadly this movie was so bad that not even Feldman could save it, though if he’d been the star I would have enjoyed it a hell of a lot more. The movie is so cliché, boring, and cheesy it hurt. Alan Thicke plays the dad of some annoying kid “actor” whose mom is killed (?). I got somewhat lost at this point (yes, within the first ten minutes) because the beginning of the movie did not explain shit about what happened to the mom, they made it seem like the kid dreamt his mom’s death but then he woke up and had a new stepmom with no noted time jump. He of course hates his new stepmom and thinks she is a monster. A Tropopkin to be specific. He is continually reading a comic that tells EXACTLY what is going to happen next in his life (why he didn’t skip to the end right away I will never know) but his dad won’t stop giving him shit about reading comics (“the devil’s work”). Way too far into the movie comes Phlegm (Feldman) to the rescue (sadly he didn’t rescue the film itself). They then discover the only way to kill the monster before she kills his dad on their honeymoon is to play the fucking violin. That’s it. Play the violin until she fucking disintegrates. Something good comes out of that idiotic plot point, however, and that is the camera focusing right on Phlegm and him uttering the line, “Wow and they say heavy metal music is dangerous!”
It started promising with a credit sequence of the drawing and inking of a comic, a Roger Corman comic specifically, but went downhill immediately following that. I didn’t realize until just now that this was straight-to-video, which would have given more warning to the shittiness that was to come. I’m ashamed to admit that I thought this movie was going to be good before watching it. The only reason to watch this is if you want to see Corey acting exactly like Keanu from Bill and Ted.
On two other notes, when we removed the VHS from the package someone had liked the movie so much it would appear that they tore the fucking sticker off. By doing that it left no indication that this was even the movie it said it was, which after watching it I wish it hadn’t been. Also, I just started reading Roger Corman’s book, How I Made A Hundred Movies In Hollywood And Never Lost A Dime and it’s amazing. I highly recommend it (unlike this movie).