Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How Cheap CAN You Get?

There are times that you know you just cannot belly up the ducats for, well, anything. Okay, maybe some Ramen noodles. But if you want protein to go with that, yer screwed, dude. So there is a similar situation for those of us who love their movies cheap, in every sense of the word.

Wait, don't think that I'm referring to myself. I mean, hell yeah, send me free movies and Ramen noodles and cash. All worthy donations will be accepted, and anything offensive will either be trashed or turned over to Homeland Security. Heck, I've been buying movies like idiots buy whatever drops out of Oprah's mouth. And I eat somewhat better than Ramen noodles, thank you. (Not that I have anything against Ramen noodles.)

Having cleared up any confusion, I do understand that others aren't as fortunate. So I'm going to introduce you to a resource for the downtrodden (who can somehow afford a high-speed internet connection). Okay, it can be used by people who can't cough up $100 bucks for a VHS copy of a some obscure movie on Ebay. It can also be used by tight-ass misers.

Go to cultrararevideos.com. A great place to score public domain weirdness. And not the usual suspects, either. Just a word to the wise...and the cheap.

There. I've done my random act of kindness for the day. Now on to the reason for being here. Wait, you thought I was gonna pimp someone's site and be done with it? Forget that. Like I said, I've been kind. Now I heap the cruelty on with a shovel.

The references to food haven't been without reason. The main cause of food being brought up is the fact I'm hungry. How's that for honesty? But it also plays very well into the theme of today's film. Actually, the title is enough to send me into the kitchen. Of course, after watching this movie, food doesn't seem as appealing. And not for the obvious reasons.

We are gathered here to take a look at Lunchmeat. No, really, that's the name. Yeah, I thought the same thing. WTF? And if you look at the cover of the VHS, you'll get an idea of where this might be going. Also like the cover, this ain't gonna be pretty. Kinda like painfully ripping off that Band-Aid and finding a festering maggot hole. Okay, maybe not that bad.

Here's the disposable plot: City kids fall prey to a family of cannibals. Yup, that's it. Where have we seen that one? EVERYWHERE! We'll cut this one a little slack. It was from the 80s. Anything from the 80s has to be looked upon like the mentally challenged cousin everyone ignores as he messes his pants and plays with food on YOUR plate. Hey, I love the 80s, but that doesn't mean I can't look at it realistically.

The build up to the slaughter is enough to break a person. The family of cannibals actually happen to be the most interesting part of the first 30 minutes. They seem to barely tolerate each other. They scream at each other. The father whips the hell out of the brain-dead "baby" of the family who just wants to eat anything he can wrap his porky fingers around. That would be him on the cover art. Paw, Elwood and Harley are the others and they insult each other happily. Elwood just wants candy bars and should be requesting a box of Depends instead. All of them need to take long baths.

You lose all interest in the group of cute city kids the instant they hit the screen as they are offering up a jolly rendition of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat". Before they finish the first chorus, you want all of them to die horrible, painful, bloody deaths. You don't want to wait. You want it before they start on the next round of that damned song. What you want is not on the filmmaker's mind. The pain continues. Like gargling with Pop Rocks and minced sheet metal, you suffer through the development of these morons in what I can only guess is an attempt to make you care for them. It doesn't work. I was fantasizing about how they should die before they even get within a mile of the cannibals. You will do the same. You actually hope the story will switch back to the smelly, rude and incontinent cannibals.

Soon enough, the kids are ambushed by the wacky family, and everyone scatters into different directions. Okay. So the last unbearable 30 minutes of developing the struggles and character conflicts of these people are rendered pointless? Damn it, I could have been repainting the house. Worse yet, the ONLY character I halfway liked gets slaughtered two seconds after she steps out of the vehicle.

As has been pointed out in other reviews, the film then turns into an hour-long chase that is the film's highlight. Yes, it is cheesy. And, yes, the effects are cheap. Of course, you see the same bits of background when there shouldn't be repetition. Still, given the insanely pathetic budget, you kind of get sucked in, even if it is on a "Good Lord, what are they gonna throw in next?" level. Really, it is the whole last hour of the film. A chase.


The other thing that everyone seems to bring up when discussing this film is that one of the female leads went on to have a long career in the porn industry under a different name. A bit of a shame. She is the only one in the whole film who seems to understand how to act, although she has some bad moments. Her hair threatens to overtake every scene it is in, and she should be thankful there were no pyrotechnics as that hair would have went up faster than a pedophile's hand when they called for volunteers to join Big Brothers, Big Sisters.

Overall, the film looks like crap as it is most likely dubbed off a VHS tape, but the quality looks shoddy anyhow based on the fact it comes off like a video feature transferred over to film. At least the sound is decent and too good in some shots as you can hear the camera running. The direction? Kirk Alex wrote, produced and directed this. Given what he had to work with, he didn't utterly embarrass himself. Sadly, he never followed up on what has become a bit of a minor cult hit.

Hey, if I couldn't say anything else nice about this movie, I could at least be proud of the fact it didn't cost me more than the time to download the file.

P.S. Like a dog with a bone (there are those food references again), I just keep poking into this film. First thing, the image I have at top shows DVD in the bottom right corner. No legit DVD release ever that I am aware of, but I'm happy to be corrected by anyone who wants to send me one for free. Second thing, the VHS release was by...TAPEWORM VIDEO!!!! Okay, I thought it was funny.

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