Sunday, November 27, 2005

"Wait, don't touch him. He's red hot with radio activity"

I was ill for Thanksgiving. I felt it coming on on Tuesday, had to call into work on Wednesday, and by Thanksgiving Thursday I was under the hammer. Huge, echoing, racking coughs rent my body in convulsive spurts. Aches and pains spasmed outwards from the very marrow of my bones. I was alternately boiling hot or freezing cold, so Country Mouse had to stand guard over the thermostat lest I burn a full tank of oil or plunge the house into subarctic frostiness. In short, I spent most of the past week flat out on the couch loudly bemoaning the state of my health, the imagined failings of our furnace, and the dire state of cable TV.

Wonderful Country Mouse carried on throughout all my snotty histrionics, producing a delicious Thanksgiving dinner (I'd like to thank the combined powers of Dayquil, asprin, and Theraflu for allowing me reprieve enough to enjoy her hard work), tending to the dogs, maintaining the medicine pipeline through the snow, and nursing me with such tender patience that once again makes me feel humbled to have her in my life.

As I mentioned above, almost every offering on television over the holidays was terrible. Every single news broadcast was just a big ad for "Black Friday", inviting Americans to pile on more debt at crappy big box stores (just how good do you think a $350 laptop will be, numbnuts? I hope it comes with WebMD loaded as its homepage so you can look up "Mass Hysteria" when you get home). What is the point of a flat screen, HD TV when all the programming appears to be about how crowds of people are punching each other at Mall Wart in order to get one? Bahh. I declined to watch the annual Macy's helium and mylar fetishists' march (and thus missed the Hindenberg like end of the M&Ms balloon) as the only thing more annoying than watching a parade in person is watching one on TV while Al Roker cracks wise. I've never liked the Dallas Cowboys, and like them even less now that they have that albatross Drew Bledsoe as quarterback, so football was out.

At this point I was about to follow the perennial advice of my mother and just turn the damn thing off (mum has a television but seems to believe that it is never to be watched, and is best used as a platform for displaying photos or a nice vase). I was steeling myself for an unsteady crouch in front of the various CD racks and an existence of staring at the ceiling as my head was swimming to much for me to concentrate on a book or magazine. I gave the channels one last cursory flick through.

It was then I found In the Year 2889 on Movieplex, a channel I didn't even know I had.

To quote the highlighted review above:
"The whole idea behind the story was absolutely inane. Basically, there was a nuclear war, and everything and everyone on the earth was blown to bits, except for this one valley that happens to be surrounded by hills that are full of lead ore and also just happens to have a stream running through it that is heated by some underground heat source, thereby creating an updraft that helps keep the radiation out of the valley. Captain John Ramsey built a house there and equipped it with generators and supplies and his big plan was that in case of nuclear war, he and his daughter would take refuge there and then her fiance was to meet them there as quickly as possible. After that they would live off the rations for about three months until the environment cleaned up enough for them to start growing their own food.

So people start showing up at the house. John wants to send them all away, but "Oh no!" says his bleeding heart daughter, "We can't send them away!" This really ticked off her father, but he went along with it anyway because he didn't have the nads to stand up to her and put his foot down. Now, because Joanna's fiance never showed up, they could have taken in one extra person without any problem. We find out later that he didn't show up because he ended up becoming a mutant and started wandering around in the forbidden zone looking for raw meat..."

I have to say it was one of the most beautifully awful films I have ever seen. The photo at the top of this post shows Larry the Mutant. As you can see, high doses of radiation gives you the same hair as Christopher Lloyd in Back to the Future. Eighty minutes of 2889 (when apparently the fashion was for retro 1967 clothes and hair. And weapons. And appliances) combined with all that medicine was enough to perk me up for Country Mouse's cooking.

But bad movies were not done there. In her infinite wisdom, CM had been to the video store, anticipating a lack of quality programming for the holidays, and among her picks had been a movie we had read about in one of her film magazines recently as being the worst flick ever made.

Now we all know it is rare for a movie to ever live up to its hype, but in this case I think "Manos", The Hands of Fate exceeded expectations. We watched the MST3K edition which of course came with the leavening of silly comments- I would recommend that, as on its own the film would be unwatchable. This post is already too long, but let me attempt a summary:

Vacationing family lost in Texas; find old house tended to by gigantic kneed bearded wierdigan (called Torgo [coming soon to a VW dealer near you!]), told "can't stay as master would not like it" but allowed to stay anyway; something eats family's poodle; master awakes from tomb sporting a hair/moustache combo supposed to make him look satanic but rather resembles Freddie Mercury while dressed in a UGA football blanket; various vestal virgins wrestle; everyone faffs about in the desert; then big shocker ending. Nobody can really do it justice, but these guys try harder than me:

The Agony Booth
Rinkworks- Manos

I hope everyone else had a pleasant Thanksgiving (even you Brits and Australians who were working- you'll make up for it on Whitsun, or Australia Day or something) and remember, should you ever be struck down with the galloping lurgie anytime this winter, be sensitive to your body's indicators and at the first sign of sickness get down the video store for a large inoculation of the worst films ever made. And one last thing: if anyone knows where I can find a copy of The Spawn of the Slyphis(sp?) I would be eternally grateful.
Torgo's giant knees of doom


Joe said...

"Slithis". Spawn of the Slithis. What a great great great great great great great film!

"I'm just a high school chemistry teacher, but if I had to venture a guess, I'd say that the mud at the bottom of the bay somehow mutated into a creature that is now wandering around and killing dogs."

Ed Wood would have been so proud.

Sorry, Weasel, I don't know where you can locate a copy of this fantastic movie. If I had one, I would surely lend it to you.

p.s. my word verification would make a wonderful character name in one of these movies: Krezto.

weasel said...

I am so glad that somebody other than my grandfather and me have heard of "Spawn of the Slithis". My favorite scene in that movie is in the sheriff's office. While the law is ranting histrionically about something, the car headlights passing by his window move first in one direction at normal speed and then in the opposite direction at high speed as the film loop is worked back and forward. I've heard of the Poor Man's Process but that took the cake.

We have to find it.

bri said...

(just how good do you think a $350 laptop will be, numbnuts? I hope it comes with WebMD loaded as its homepage so you can look up "Mass Hysteria" when you get home)


Ah, how I miss MST3K. And Joel.

Joe said...

My research indicates that Spawn of the Slithis (or simply "Slithis") is not available on DVD. For shame!

There's gotta be a VHS out there somewhere on ebay or something.

"seboz": another potentially great movie monster name!

Joe said...

My secondary research indicates that Slithis is available on DVD via ebay. Bids start at $8.

weasel said...

I bet you someone made their own low quality disc off a VHS recording from the TV.

One who as a teenager bought a pirated copy of "Terminator 2" in Malta and found out my copy had been shot from the back of a crowded theater.