Posts tagged vhshitfest
Posts tagged vhshitfest
By Dan Kinem
As I’m sure everyone knows, there haven’t been many reviews recently because Dabeedo and I have been working on Adjust Your Tracking and also have been finishing up this year of college. However, when I was blindsided by certain devastating news late last week, I knew that I had to come out of mild hiatus to pay my respects… If “’cause I’m the miggity-miggity-miggity-miggity-Mac Daddy” doesn’t ring a bell then please end your life before I have to do it for you. You obviously don’t know the first thing about true hip hop or the musical art form as a whole. So for all y’all suckas that don’t know… CHECK IT OUT!
The hip hop duo Kriss Kross (Mac Daddy and Daddy Mac) blew up the rap game way back in ’92 when producer/hip hop mogul Jermaine Dupri plucked them out of obscurity. They quickly dropped their first full-length album, Totally Krossed Out — a bona fide masterpiece of dope lyricism, clever metaphors, and unique style, a style which consisted of their trend-setting backwards attire and short dreads. Off that album came hits like “I Missed the Bus,” “Warm It Up,” and of course, “Jump.” The success of this album was astronomical. Shit went platinum in like a millisecond and with this success came the release of something that was popular for about as long as Kriss Kross was: The VHS music single. “Jump” was such a banger it of course needed its own VHS release featuring the music video, the remix, and interviews with the legends themselves. A whopping total of 14 minutes for your hard earned 30+ bucks.
This tape has been making the rounds in my video playlist for a long time now. I’ve busted it out multiple times while hanging out, much to Joel’s (getaway driver) and my girlfriend’s chagrin. They just don’t understand the charm of Mac Daddy and Daddy Mac, or at least they pretend not to understand until “Jump” kicks on and everyone in the room is bouncin’ to the fucking ceiling. Shit is fire and that fire has stayed lit to this day despite people constantly trying to put the song and the group down. This VHS proves why Kriss Kross is timeless and why anyone who disagrees is wiggity-wiggity-wiggity-whack!
The tape opens with an interview with the duo about their style. They explain that wearing their pants and shirts backwards just “looks right” to them and that they’d wear their shoes backwards but sadly they can’t… “obviously.” We even get a brief glimpse of a super cool-looking Asian dude biting their fashion style as well as some dude on the schoolyard rockin’ Kriss Kross’s patented backwards overall-look.
Then we are treated to the classic video for “Jump.” One of the all-time greatest club hits. There’s not a person who can hear this jam and not jump out their shoes. It has that sick G-Funk distorted horn sound and vinyl scratch. Their rap style is a mix between Das EFX and some Naughty by Nature but by two 13-year-olds. Without them you would have never seen anyone like Lil Bow Wow, Lil Romeo, or even Justin “The King” Bieber. They completely opened up that lane to the mainstream in the same way Vanilla Ice gave whities hope.
Next, they explain how not only is their music totally positive, it’s completely hardcore hip hop. Couldn’t agree more. They manage to tap into that rare positive hardcore rap group that few have been able to pull off. Not only can they roast you on the mic but they’ll teach you how important going to school is.
Sadly, the “Jump” remix leaves much to be desired. Not only are there no new verses by Kriss Kross or features, but half the song is identical to the original. There’s only a couple moments where the beat switches. Their goal was to extend the song for the dance clubs, and while admirable and necessary, this wasn’t the way to do that. It loses a lot of the charm and would have made much more sense to add some new verses.
Lastly, they show an inside glimpse into their family, friends, and the hordes of girls that want to sleep with them. As the final credits roll, and a fan feels the need to remind us that “hip hop is here to stay,” we are left wanting much more. Overall, the video is much too short, rather pointless to own today with the internet, and takes up too much space, but it is totally krossed out and totally amazing. No VHS collection is complete without this piece of 90s gold.
Now, you must be asking yourself, “But Dan, what was the news that made you have to review this great piece of video art?” Well, I regret to inform everyone that on May 1st, Mac Daddy (aka Chris Kelly) was found dead from a drug overdose. It took me a couple days to even bring myself to pop on one of their jams I was so saddened by the news. He was only 34 and my personal favorite of the group. Not only did he rap some of my favorite verses of all-time and craft some of the most fun songs in hip hop that made me who I am today, he and his partner also recorded the infamous “Rugrats Rap” for Nickelodeon that can be found on many of the old Nick tapes out there. I will forever miss you and in honor of your legacy I will be wearin’ my clothes backwards the rest of the week.
I will leave you all with this classic Mac Daddy verse:
“So many times I heard you rhyme but you can’t touch this
I’m kicking the type of flow that makes you say ‘You’re too much Chris’
So feel the fire of the one they call the Mac Dad
The fire’s what I pack and what I pack is real bad
I’d like to grab a hold of your soul and never let go
Never ‘til they jump, ‘til they say Hoooo
Now that’s the state of mind I’m in huh…
With rhyme after rhyme I win
The Mac, The Mac
‘Nuff for breakin’ ‘em off somethin’
They layin’ in the back and front
Keepin’ the speakers pumpin’
The miggity-miggity-miggity-Mac came to get a warm
And my pants to the back that’s my everyday uniform
You little cream puff Mac Daddy wannabe
Keep dreaming cause the Mac you will never be
So all y’all with the Dr. Seuss riddles
You can get the finger… the middle”
You grabbed my soul and I’ll never let you go. <3
by Tim May
My father was a Lutheran pastor, so I would sometimes be stranded at the church before or after the service while he was doing some work in his office. On the occasions I had forgotten to bring a book or my own movie to watch, I would be stuck with whatever was lying around—mostly volumes of Christian children’s programming, such as The Donut Man and The Greatest Adventure. Even as a small child, I found these shows condescending. I could never figure out why I was so put off by the Donut Man’s preaching, even though I accepted essentially the same moral code taught to me by my father in church.
Although The Goosehill Gang was a church library staple from before my time, I can see in it all the same elements I had found in my generational equivalents. The titular gang is a group of preternaturally upstanding and moral children who hang out in a treehouse and solve mysteries like some sort of Pentecostal Scooby gang.
One member of the crew, dorky Michael, has been causing concern among the rest of the group. See, Michael has been reading an awful lot of ghost stories lately, even though his parents have forbidden it. As you’ll learn from most Christian entertainment, children are completely incapable of separating reality from fiction, so when the candy Michael had stashed away in the treehouse goes missing, he immediately leaps to the conclusion that ghosts must have taken it.
Even though Michael’s friends seem to think it’s their responsibility to enforce the fourth commandment on him, they aren’t too concerned with following the golden rule. As soon as he discovers the missing candy, the rest of the Goosehill Gang barrage him with jokes about his propensity toward candy. “Ghosts and food, food and ghosts—that’s all he ever talks about!” says bitchy Beth.
Michael is unconvinced by his friends’ arguments that ghosts are not real, mostly because his other friend Gary Thompson told him they are. In order to put his mind at ease, gang members Don and Pete offer to stay with Michael overnight at the treehouse and finally confirm the non-existence of ghosts. Michael lays out some things Gary told him would help ward off the ghosts—most notably, knives, because unlike us corporeal beings, ghosts are afraid of being cut. When Michael hears ghostly wailing, he bangs some pots and pans together, because ghosts are uniquely annoyed by the noise it makes.
The next day, Michael’s bike has been stolen, and Gary has run away from home. Ever the dullard, Michael thinks his bike was stolen by the ghost, until he’s finally convinced by the rest of the gang that Gary was both the ghost and the bicycle thief. At first, Michael is angry with his friend Gary, whom he now refers to only as “creepo.” However, unlike most children, the Goosehill Gang never gives in to their petty desire for vengeance. Melissa reminds Michael that Jesus died to forgive our sins, with all the conviction a child actor reading a cue card. After another sermon to Gary about his running away, the Goosehill Gang can once again be proud of themselves for being supernaturally mature and forgiving, all thanks to programs like The Goosehill Gang.
The most consistent problem with almost all Christian entertainment is its unoriginality. Whether it’s imitating The Hardy Boys or Scooby Doo or Lassie, these Christian knock-offs are not only woefully behind the times; they’re dishonest. By trying to trick kids into thinking they’re watching something they’d see on Saturday morning, these programs send mixed messages as exemplified by the aforementioned chubby, candy loving Michael and all his mean hypocritical friends. That’s not to say children’s entertainment can’t teach moral lessons. The secular Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood achieved that balance, but even as a child, I could sense the difference between his sincerity and this sort of Christian entertainment’s cynical manipulation.
Notes: The tape was distributed by Concordia Publishing House, a publishing division of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. It seems to have been re-released sometime in the ‘90s, but information on that release or other tapes in the series is scarce.
by Tim May
Let’s begin our look at the American/Korean hybrid Armicron in Outlaw Power with a close reading of its opening crawl.
“It is a dark time for the galaxy.”
Only the first of many Star Wars “homages.”
“Ankar, sinister overlord of the Morgoth Ulaan Star System continues to cut his murderous swath through the heavens, laying waste to one planet after another.
His next stop—Earth.”
Here is where the makers of so many low-rent sci-fi films make their first mistake—the characters’ names. Ankar is bad enough, but he comes from Morgoth Ulaan? There are more pronounceable names with more apostrophes in most Star Wars novels.
“As Ankar prepares his assault, he is confident that his devastation will be swift and total. His one true nemesis, an ancient celestial warrior named Armicron, was savagely destroyed in the Battle of Altair IV. Unless Armicron can be regenerated, the fate of the unsuspecting planet will be all but sealed.
Earth needs a hero.”
The film’s protagonist is (of course) a dork named Barry Lando (again with the Star Wars?) who begins the movie by giving an embarrassing presentation to his class about his heroes, two fictional princesses from some video game.
A bunch of asshole students who seem to pick on Barry a lot invite him to go camping so they can use his car. Barry agrees because he’s an idiot and he is unsurprisingly sent to gather firewood as soon as they arrive at the camp site.
While looking for wood, Barry sees a UFO, which turns out to be a speeder bike ridden by two helmeted individuals who are being chased by some Cobra Commander looking bad guy. This, along with a later forest based action setpiece (as seen below), makes me think the people behind Armicron really wanted their movie to be a vaguely sleazy teen version of Return of the Jedi. The minions are even called stormtroopers!
After the mysterious bikers lose their pursuer, they take off their helmets and reveal themselves to be the princess’s from Barry’s video game. At first he thinks it’s a prank from his new “buddies,” but after they explain everything that was in the opening crawl to him, he believes them. They also explain that their deity-like grandfather had been kidnapped by Ankar and they had sent some canister of ooze to Earth to build an army or something.
Once they’ve explained Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze to Barry, the princesses see that he has an amulet which, when combined with an amulet of their own, will allow him to become the reincarnated Armicron, the hero of legend who is destined to defeat Ankar. So, they combine the amulets, and Barry transforms into Armicron, an odd looking lab experiment between Ultraman and Kamen Rider.
With Barry’s transformation into Armicron, Armicron, the film, abandons even the remote sense of narrative cohesion it had up until that point, and devolves into a series of dull, poorly staged action sequences. Along with the Armicron powers, Barry has apparently also gained bravery, intelligence, and full confidence with his female cohorts.
The Armicron powers helped him so much, in fact, that when he returns to school at the end of the film, Barry is now a “cool guy,” complete with sunglasses and an inexplicable chemistry with beautiful women, as illustrated by the film’s brilliant final shot.
Armicron is made up of stock footage from a 1995 Korean film called Power King and original American footage shot in 1996. Unlike Power Rangers, Armicron director Coleman DeKay chose, in many cases, to shoot around the action sequences he was appropriating for his film by shooting one half of the action and cutting between his footage of Armicron and the Korean footage of one of the villains. There are many scenes in which the two people involved in a fight or a chase never appear in the same shot!
The tape was put out in 2000 by a late period distributer called Raven Releasing, who also released forgotten crap like New Genesis: Twilight of the Dogs. Extraordinarily terrible cover design aside, the Armicron tape also claims that the film’s star, Michael Bunata, had been in Power Rangers. As something of a Power Rangers scholar, I was surprised I didn’t know who Michael Bunata was. But then I remembered! He replaced Billy as the blue ranger during the big cast change up during the show’s third season.
Films like Armicron are typically right up my ass, but I found it more entertaining when it was trying to be a teen comedy than any of its far from impressive tokusatsu antics. I expected more from the one and only Michael Bunata.
By Dan Kinem
Looking at this fantastic cover of a woman with her throat slit dripping blood, plastered in beautiful rental sticker warnings, you would expect this to be a classic crazy 80s slasher. You’d expect it to be anything other than what it actually is, a sixty-minute-long softcore drama from the 60s called The Kill. Luckily, or unluckily, for the audience the film was re-titled, re-edited and re-dubbed into a weird nudity-filled unintentional comedy.
Blood Hunger opens with a dead cat on the side of the road for needless shock value (can’t say 100% for sure if it’s real or not, but it looks it). Great start to what I can only assume will be a classic cinematic masterpiece. There’s an overly long car chase that culminates in three men in black (galaxy defenders) beating the shit out of a woman with their fists, then dragging her back to a room with only a mattress and a bunch of film canisters to be raped (likely the director’s actual room, which is sad on so many levels). The sound effects for the punches are hilarious, as they sound like frozen meat is being hit with a stick. The re-dubbing I mentioned above is done so poorly that it becomes comical. The girl’s screams go in and out, don’t match up, and sound like they are meant as score to the film rather than an actual sound effect. The sound of a guy unzipping the zipper on his pants in order to rape this poor woman is priceless (sounded like a bee buzzing in my ear). I cannot get over the effects they settled on. When the guy finished raping the girl there’s a literal lion’s roar and a car crash played. Then the sound of him zipping his fly back up is a creaky old door. I can only assume they had a library of effects to pick from and just tried to use every one of them randomly.
“I’m about to, I’m about to… Aaaaahhhhhhh!”
The rape victim goes to hire a private detective to help her catch these bad guys. As if his 40s/50s movie detective-schtick wasn’t obvious enough, they plastered a gigantic poster of Humphrey Bogart on the wall of his “office,” too. She talks to him, but all that comes out is a sped up Alvin and the Chipmunks-like effect over her voice so you can’t hear anything she says. Turns out this rape victim is a nympho who only cares about getting revenge on the guys who raped her and having sex with anything that moves. She bangs the detective and the detective says in his head, while they are both having sex, “I still didn’t trust her, she might be from the phone company.” Huh? Is this humor?
A hunchback/retarded janitor, who, because of his fake hunchback, can’t even button his shirt fully, gets raped by the girl who got raped. She throws him on the detective’s desk while he is gone, has sex with the guy’s hunchback, with the Lone Ranger music playing in the background (actually, it was an advertisement for the Lone Ranger playing), in front of the Humphrey Bogart poster. I could barely believe my eyes but it happened.
While the detective is investigating, he gets caught by the thugs and gets tied up. Turns out these are heroin dealers headed by a man named Adolf Krueger (lol). He manages to call the rape victim to come save him in a hilarious scene featuring him struggling to get the phone and falling all over the place. She comes over and she has sex with him in the gangs’ room where she was raped… Classic.
There’s another WC Fields-like car chase (ala The Bank Dick) between the gang and the detective/nympho. The whole time this chase is going on she is giving him road head, I think. The scene was so disjointed and crazy that I can’t be 100% sure of anything that happened.
A few random simulated sex scenes followed (including one random death) and then both of the main characters were killed. The end.
This movie plays more like Woody Allen’s What’s Up, Tiger Lily? than an actual serious horror or rape-revenge film. It’s like a group of teenagers found the original footage without sound and were given the job of creating a comedy out of it. The footage comes across like one of those late 1960s, grab a camera and shoot some sex and violence-type of movies (i.e. a perfect candidate for a Something Weird release). I enjoyed the movie for how bad and funny it was, but overall, it’s a pretty terrible movie that’s saving grace is its short, sixty-minute run time.
The fact the director, Gary Graver, went on to work with Orson Welles is baffling. His skills as a cinematographer increased greatly after working on this as some of his later stuff, like Welles’ F for Fake is amazing! Graver also directed and worked on so many other semi-noteworthy horror and porn movies, such as Trick or Treats, Mortuary, and Young and Restless II (starring an underage Traci Lords!). The man is a legend so it’s definitely cool to see where he got his start, though, I assume this release was edited without his approval (I could be wrong, though).
I am absolutely in shock over the fact this film was also released on VHS under the name Reservoir Cats with the bold statement, “Quentin Tarantino fans will love this!!!” This is not even remotely like Reservoir Dogs, nor have I ever heard Tarantino mention this. Such a funny attempt at a cash-in that probably pissed more people off than even this Blood Hunger release did. This release was put out by Even Steven Productions, one of my absolute favorite companies (Midnight Intruders, Swinger’s Massacre, Satan’s Storybook, etc.). So far I have 7 of the 8 known-releases by them and their whole gimmick for the most part was re-editing adult stuff or random movies they had access to and making them look like horror movies. I highly recommend copping this tape if you can find it. I heard the movie was released on DVD, but as far as I can tell there is no official release of the movie so you have to go with the tape and you won’t regret it!
By Dan Kinem
A side of myself that I haven’t shared yet on VHShitfest is that I’m a huge wrestling fan. It’s always been my opinion that the only people who like wrestling are either the absolute dumbest, most annoying people alive or the smartest. I’m one of the latter, obviously. A genius, like myself, will understand it’s a true art form that manages to take athleticism and sport and add something — in the form of soap opera drama and unique characters — to make it actually worthwhile and entertaining. A fool will watch to see naked men beat the shit out of each other.
The more absurd the characters and storylines, the more I love it (I’m looking at Goobledy Gooker right about now). I especially love how much product the WWF managed to body slam out back in the day. WWF (now WWE) has been known to not only release every single one of their pay-per-views onto tape, but also to do weird cash-grabbing tapes such as over 50 random Hulk Hogan tapes and this, WWF Superstars - The Music Video. It stands far away from their other product as it’s something that will never get a DVD release and something that everyone involved wants you to forget. Well, I won’t let you and neither will Gooker.
Our host, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, is no stranger to music. With WWF Superstars - The Music Video, Macho Man really hones his skills for what would later become the hip-hop masterpiece, “Be a Man.” He comes out of the gate as energetic and ridiculous as ever. He just keeps dropping weird misused catchphrases like “Pump up the jam” and “Yeah, I can do it!” I couldn’t help but wonder how much they paid him to do this. All he has to do is introduce four terrible songs, but he goes above and beyond, putting the Macho-twist on everything and proving he was truly one of the most amazing entertainers ever.
The first song is called “Wrestlemania” by World Wrestling Federation Superstars. You would expect a song about the biggest event in wrestling sung by a bunch of superstars, but all you get is a simplistic song sung by a group of unknown singers. Some superstars do pop up, but all they do is drop random bragadocious quotes. Big Boss Man is the only one who looks like he is trying to actually sing or rap or something and that’s only because he’s tapping his toe. Bret Hart and Tatanka just stand there and talk. I don’t want to completely knock the song, as it does have an insanely catchy chorus, “Ooohh, Wrest-le-man-i-a! Yeah, this is our life!” You even catch Macho Man singing a bit of it after the music video ends.
For no reason whatsoever, you get wrestling clips that don’t really matter. Most of them are classic clips that you can see elsewhere, like the moment King made fun of Bret Hart’s parents.
The next song is called “Summerslam Jam” and is exactly like the last one. It is sung by some randoms (and includes a terrible early 90s rap) and features quotes from wrestlers mixed in. Every kid that bought this hoping to hear Bret “Da Sharpshoota” Hart rapping was probably suicidally depressed after it finished. This song is totally forgettable besides one of the worst Undertaker moments ever, which features him in a recording studio saying, “Yeah, the Undertaker says ‘slam.’” Please bury me alive.
So happy we get a Yokozuna vs. Jim Duggan match after that (not). Further cementing Yokozuna as one of my most hated wrestlers ever. He is so fucking terrible and should have never been in a ring. You would think after hundreds of matches that consisted of him almost falling multiple times, then finally falling, that he’d be better at it. He can’t even successfully do his own finishing move the majority of the time.
The Jim Duggan song is un-fucking-bearable. It repeats “U-S-A, hoooooo!” over and over again. I wanted to rip my eyes out. The last video is the one we have all been waiting for, “Speaking from the Heart” by Macho Man himself. It’s dedicated to “all the kids around the world.” I cannot praise this song enough. I haven’t stopped singing it since I first heard it and all I can say is “he’s quite amazin’.” My only gripe with the song is they add a “T”-sound in “Macho.”
The release was of course put out by Coliseum Video, as was all other WWF stuff from the period. It went along with a compilation album called “Wrestlemania.” Surprisingly (and hilariously), every song except the Macho song managed to place on the UK music charts. A lot of the Coliseum Video stuff is really collectible and cool, including this tape. Even if the material on the tape has made the jump to DVD, it will likely be edited in some way (at the very least the “WWF” mentions will be removed) so it’s cool to have these. Like I said above, this is not on DVD and never will be. If you come across it cheap you must add it to your collection. It’s a gem and a great novelty tape.
I’d probably rather be in a figure-four leglock for five hours straight than watch this again, but the thought of not owning this is more sickening than Yokozuna’s thong. Wooo!