VHS Verdict: 1986’s ‘BULLIES’ Channels ‘The Karate Kid’ Via ‘DELIVERANCE’!
I just watched what I consider to be a true bonafide lost 1980s gem, at least to me this movie was something I’d only found and watched by sheer chance. I frequent thrift stores quite often and upon discovering director Paul Lynch’s ‘Bullies’ a 1986 Canadian genre mash up of horror, thriller, action and revenge on VHS, I was most certainly intrigued, while realistically not getting my hopes up too damn high.
I’m pleased to report that ‘Bullies’ delivered the damn goods and then some in nearly every way I’d been hoping! Like I said in the title, this movie is essentially a mixture of The Karate Kid and Deliverance. I guess we’d categorize it as “Hicksploitation”. Sorry all you lovable hillbillies out there, but it’s kinda like if The Karate Kid’s Cobra Kai were evil messed up psycho mountain men! And when I say evil I mean evil with a capital E!
We follow the simple story of a teenage boy who moves with his mom and stepfather to a cozy little mountain town smack dab in the middle of the woods to run a family business. The only problem is some of the locals are restless and don’t particularly like the new arrivals in town…at all. A wicked gang of family hicks are on the prowl to fuck with anyone they please and no one seems to give a damn, not even the cops- imagine that huh?!
Luckily our teenage equivalent to Daniel Laruso befriends a cool local Native American man, who he establishes a strong bond with and like Mr. Miagi he teaches him some serious life lessons, survival and even a few nifty combat techniques. Something his stepfather whom he somewhat loathes and views as a useless coward doesn’t seem to have ANY interest in being part of. Of course he meets the beautiful Olivia D’Abo, and of course crushes out hard. I mean what are the chances he meets a babe like her in this po-dunk town? Lucky guy! Or is he?
As it just happens to turn out that she’s the sister of one of the insane maniac hillbillies who who threaten the town folk on any whim. But that’s not gonna stop the teen romance though as the two are immediately lovestruck. So the pissed off hillbillies up the ante with their evil shenanigans and the boy’s step dad is too chicken to stand up to them. These guys not only terrorize the teenagers but also go on the war path against the parents too, leading to a truly shocking rape scene that ups the stakes to deadly proportions and drastically shifts the tone. Be warned! ‘Bullies’ takes some dark twists and turns but by the final act you’ll be rooting for revenge with all of your damn heart. Even though it does go to some dark places it oddly has a lingering light feeling to it somehow, an 80s charm of something like The Karate Kid or My Bodyguard. Most importantly are how, for the most part, endearing the characters are in this grimy little banger. It makes the journey one worth taking.
I’d say this is the perfect coming of age revenge flick, filled with genuine heart, romance, comedy and some pretty wild and crazy action sequences. You also get served some gory kills and some intense explosions that put this one in a league of its own as a intriguing lost 80s gem. Bullies exists on VHS only and is just begging to be cleaned up and released on a slick blu ray. It really deserves far more attention from cult movie fanatics, if you get a chance check this one out, but beware, these “Bullies” are playing for keeps!!
Movie Review: ‘The Head Hunter’, a Dark Fairy Tale of Monster Revenge!
Here’s a pretty interesting little tale of midieval monster revenge, 2019’s ‘The Head Hunter’, a short & sweet little film that clocks in just a hair over 70 minutes in length. We follow a lonely barbarian who’s daughter is snatched up and killed by a monster that roams the nearby wilderness. We see clearly from the inside of his crude living quarters that he revels in killing monsters by his collection of their heads and this time it appears that the conflict is deeply personal. What’s most intriguing is just how simple the plot here is, there’s really only one actor in the whole film if I remember correctly, aside from a brief appearance of his daughter (and maybe a monster or two).
It gives it’s majority of run time featuring the barbarian all by his lonesome and really for the most part ignores his beast hunting almost entirely, only to reveal the aftermath prize of monster heads he brings home every now and again. Though light on the action, it still remains quite an effective slow burn. It takes a brief moment to reveal a world that’s much more fantastic and magical than what we’re mostly shown in a great scene where the barbarian quietly observes a giant troll (who looks pulled straight out of ‘Trollhunter’) towering past a mountain range.
Luckily the film wisely chose a short run time, as it does indeed skimp a bit on showing us any real action at least for most of it’s duration. It instead focuses more on a depressed warrior in solitude, who’s haunted by his daughters death and then late at night, creatures who lurk near his secluded forest home. Whatever budget the movie did have was used wisely with great locations, costuming and effective but subtle monster fx. We really feel the depression, heartbreak and loneliness of the barbarian and all of that set up makes the film’s simple but stunning finale all the more worth the wait. Add to that, a great twist to the whole story that wraps this tale up in a nice nasty bow. When the final confrontation occurs it goes some truly dark places with a creature that at first glance appears as if it’s barely a match for rough and tumble “Conan” style brawler.
For such a short and simple movie it was a real treat, as I’ve never seen a sword and sorcery style flick take this approach to monster slaying. Pretty impressive coming from the guy who directed “Thankskilling & Thankskilling 3” as well as the short film “Critters: Bounty Hunter” from 2014, none of which I’ve seen. After seeing The Head Hunter though I just might give ’em a shot. Check this one out if you dig stuff like Conan the Barbarian, don’t expect a grand spectacle and you’re probably going to enjoy this sweet little tale of revenge quite a bit.
The Boston Dynamics Robot’s Revenge!!!
I love all those real life robot videos out there from Boston Dynamics, they are simply a marvel to behold. The technology these days involved in robotics is stunning and even a bit creepy but one thing is for certain these robots aren’t going away anytime soon!
One thing that that I always found funny are the videos where the humans are fucking with the robots to test their durability and balance, pushing them over and just basically making them look like complete fools. Here’s a real life example of what I’m talking about:
Well this latest video from the Youtube channel “Corridor” sure does hit the spot when we get a glimpse of a robot who’s just plain had enuff!! The VFX wizards behind this video have got people out there seeing the rise of robots in our modern culture in a whole new way- check this amazing shit out!!
Should James Gunn Have Been Fired?!
So ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ director James Gunn was fired by Disney/Marvel over the weekend when a questionable right wing personality himself, Mike Cernovich, outed him for his trove of highly offensive tweets he’d made between 2009 & 2012. This, like the Twitter inspired firing of Roseanne, has got many people on both sides of the political spectrum up in arms. Many are defending Gunn, who was quite vocal in his disapproval of Donald Trump, saying he should never have been fired as his tweets were made years ago when he was in his 40’s. Gunn now 51, has responded, apologizing, basically saying he was merely trying to be provocative and doesn’t think they are funny anymore. The tweets were made before he’d been hired to helm the now mega millions Marvel movie franchise ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’. Most of his offensive tweets involved bizarre “jokes” and “witty” banter involving highly disturbing sexual topics involving rape and pedophilia. His supporters say he’s a changed man but it’s important to note he stopped tweeting about this type of thing when he’d been hired by Disney, we all know money talks sometimes. I’m sure he knew at this point more tweets of that nature wouldn’t be good for his newfound high profile directing career with a family friendly mega corporation.
This all really doesn’t come as much of a surprise to me as Gunn’s background as a filmmaker was rooted in the Troma movie universe. Most Troma stuff is intentionally outrageous and meant to shock and offend. Back in the 80’s it was the kind of stuff your parents would likely be outraged over, meanwhile teens would giggle about. It’s always seemed to me like James Gunn for the most part was a pretty cool guy, who shares a lot of the same interests in oddball cinema as I do. He’s a bit of a Hollywood misfit and most definitely NOT your average Hollywood director. I’d compare his background to say Peter Jackson & Sam Raimi who both came from indie style schlock/horror cinema and later became highly paid Hollywood blockbuster directors. I however didn’t know until recently what he’d spent his time tweeting about in his recent past. What’s surprising to me is that the old weird ass tweets were never deleted by him in the first place when hired by Disney/Marvel.
Many of his supporters have rallied behind him with a new petition, to demand he be rehired to continue the franchise. In my personal opinion I agree with Disney for dropping him. I’m not sure Gunn is quite the monster the ‘right wing’ is painting him out to be and I’m also not so sure he’s the saint that the left seems to think he is. I think it’s their right to fire him, I also think they should have checked a little further into his past before giving him the job if they really are the family friendly company we’ve been led to believe they are.
I really do think Gunn is a pretty unique & talented filmmaker, I Iove ‘Slither’, thought ‘Super’ was good & really enjoyed the first GOTG. However, with that being said, as I read through his tweets, it certainly does leave me a bit perplexed as to why a man in his 40’s would waste his time continuously tweeting on subjects of this nature? The tweets aren’t funny and neither is this type of humor to me at least, and I’m a bit surprised he’s getting all of this support from fans to get his job back. To me it seems to prove the lunacy of people these days now on both sides of the political spectrum, it reminds me a bit of the right wing people who defended Trump during the 2016 election, when a decade ago he made his sick comments about grabbing women. I’m not sure Gunn is truly a bad guy, but I honestly don’t know what goes on inside people’s heads either. I’m totally satisfied at the fact that Roseanne was canned, I think Gunn getting fired was a totally reasonable decision and I also would love to see the President fired as well…
The Birch: A Truly Tree-rific Short Horror Film!
I’ve been on a bit of a horror kick lately here and I just had to share this awesome short horror film called Birch. Beautifully filmed along with a totally original story and an incredibly awesome creature too make this one easily of the best super short horror films I’ve ever seen.
I’d say directors Ben Franklin & Anthony Melton are two people to watch in the future. This on is under five minutes long but it’s one of the best, most unique “getting even with a bully” stories you’re likely to ever see. I think the premise would make for a great feature film. Check this out:
Big Man Plans #1: A Little Ball of Serious Rage!
I just finished reading issue #1 of the new four issue limited series from Image called “Big Man Plans” and it’s quite a debut! This one is a full on mean and dirty little story about a little guy named ‘Big Man’ who’s lived his entire life being made fun of, beat up and bullied. When Big Man finally hits his breaking point he goes bat shit crazy bringing revenge to those who’ve wronged him. Kinda like a smaller version of Michael Douglas in Falling Down. We get an in depth look at just what has pushed Big Man over the edge and it really ain’t pretty. He’s like a dog that’s been teased it’s entire life, all he knows the world to be is a rotten place and now he pissed.
Big Man has had quite a life, spending time unofficially working for the United Stated Army in Vietnam as special type of solider who can fit in to places no other can and get the dirty work done in the dark. He’s been to prison, kicked the shit out white supremacists, punched out cocky kids and even had the time to be a bit of a ladies man. He’s quite a guy, an angry little bastard who’s got clearly quite a story ahead of him. Issue #1 is said to be the tamest of them all and if that’s true the next few issues are going to be quite wild ride.
Fellow Portlander Tim Wiesch and Eric “The Goon” Powell have done a great job building the intrigue here for this new character. Powell as usual shines as the artist on this title, bringing the grit and dirt in every panel. I’m curious to see where this little mystery is headed and hope that ‘Big Man’ at the end of issue number four can find a little happiness in his thus far miserable existence. Check this one out if you’re looking for something that’s bound to pull out some serious shocks! Get the full scoop with a great interview with the creators of the series right here
Friday the 13th Meets The Karate Kid: 1985’s The New Kids!
This last Friday night I had myself a little movie night by myself, real exciting beginning to a weekend huh? Well that’s the life of a dork sometimes I guess. But honestly it could have been a total bust as I have learned many times as I am constantly taking chances on movies trying to find the hidden gems of yesteryear. Usually I end up with some total crap ass movies-the kind that aren’t even good in a bad way, but this time little did I know I was in for a treat!
Well my double feature started out pretty good with 1994’s Brainscan, starring Edward Furlong. This one turned out to be a pretty fun little movie where Furlong orders a new state of the art interactive “video game” from Fangoria magazine and it ends up subliminally turning him into a vicious killer. It also introduces one of the lameest movie monster villains I’ve seen in quite some time, the amazingly not scary at all “Trickster”.
This jerk off is about on par with The Wishmaster if you get my drift. Still it was a decent movie despite some really shitty 1994 CG.
The next movie however was the real deal, Sean “Friday the 13th” Cunningham’s movie “The New Kids” was a real treat all the way back from 1985.