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B-Movie Reviews
Joe Bob Briggs

The Official Home of America's Drive-In Movie Critic Extraordinaire

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Nothing to Lose (1994)


A guy in New Jersey got hauled into court for whacking a rat with a broom handle.

The charge: “needlessly killing a rodent.” The Goody Two Shoes Lobby: the Newark Humane Society.

Welcome to the era of Rat Rights.

I would think that, if any city would be happy to get rid of rats, it would be Newark. But it wasn’t killin the rat that bothered the Enviro-Nazis. It was not letting THEM decide how the rat dies. You’re supposed to wait till they get there so they can decide whether to “put the rat to sleep” with lethal injection, or “set it free in a nature environment.”

I know you think I’m makin this story up. Sometimes I make stories up. I’m not makin this one up.

A 69-year-old man caught a rat eating his tomato plants, caught it in a live trap, called the Humane Society to come pick it up. But when they didn’t come right away, the rat escaped. He clobbered it with the broom. And now he’s charged with a crime.

But that’s not all. Condo associations all over America are arguing like crazy over whether to use “glue-board traps” to get rid of rats and mice. What happens is the rat gets caught in it and starves to death. So all the rat-lovers hate it because it takes too long for the rat to die.

The alternative, they say, is to use cats. I’m sure the Rat Chamber of Commerce loves this idea. Don’t put us in a cruel prison, they’re thinking, where we slowly waste away. Let us be eaten alive, crushed by the ruthless jaws of a monster ten times our size.

I have an idea for how to deal with this particular nineties issue. Now my personal rat weapon of choice is a baseball bat, because there’s nothing like that “splat” sound when you score a direct hit, especially to the rat cranium. But if I ever get caught by the Rat-Rights Police, I know exactly what I’m gonna say.

“I had to do it. The rat was about to eat a cockroach. I saved the cockroach’s life.”

After all, if we’re gonna be HUMANE about this, let’s be humane about it, okay? Let’s kill every species that tries to kill any OTHER species. Let’s see, how many species would that be?

I believe the answer is “all of em.”

I’m surprised I have to explain this stuff.

Listen to me. They’re RATS. They DESERVE to die.

Speaking of meaningless death, this week’s flick is “Nothing To Lose,” the old familiar story of the French-Canadian street fighter who takes revenge on the mob for murdering his aunt and sister while falling in love with the tough but sexy social worker who won’t allow him to see his young niece because he keeps getting kidnapped by vicious coke-dealing martial artists and given the dreaded punch-in-the-tummy torture. (It consists of being strung up by your wrists and pummeled once in the stomach every time you refuse to answer a question. I’ve seen more brutal displays at the Neiman-Marcus cosmetics counter.)

The mumbledy-mouth kung fu star of the week is Juliano Mer, who has a French accent so heavy that you can barely understand him when he forces out emotional show-stoppers like “Everybody I care about gets hurt.” In his big moment, he points to a punching bag and screams “This is me!”

This is certain to be the first in a series of one movies for Juliano, who looks like Tony Franciosa after a facial and a blow-dry.

In other words, they’ve been spending that Canadian funny money again.

Eleven dead bodies. One breast. Three motor vehicle chases. One rape, by homosexuals in clown suits. One bald, sword-wielding hippie. Nine Kung Fu scenes. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Michael “I Was in ‘The Godfather'” Gazzo, as the gangster who says “He’s not a kid anymore–he’s a vampire–I wanna drive a stake through his heart”; Juliano Mer, as the only kung-fu star who still trains by skipping a jump-rope, for saying “Look, it would be as easy for me to live in your world as for you to believe in mine!”; Alexandra Paul, as the piece-of-furniture love interest who yells “What about Maria!”; and Paul Gleason, as the obnoxious cop who keeps showing up at crime scenes so he can scream “You let this happen!”

One and a half stars.

Joe Bob says check it out.

 

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Not of This Earth (1997)


You ever get advice like this?

“Gee, that’s a HORRIBLE story, Joe Bob. You should prob’ly just swear off women entirely.”

That makes you feel great, doesn’t it?

It’s sort of like saying: “You seem to be a TOXIC individual. Everything you touch turns to dog doo-doo.”

I mean, you tell a story, like, “She broke into my apartment, poured coffee all over my Cuban cigars, slashed the bed with a knife and shot out the screen of my big-screen TV.”

And the response to that is, “What the hell did you DO to her, Joe Bob?”

What did I do to HER?

What I did to her is, of course, something EMOTIONAL. It does not involve knives, guns, or coffee used as a weapon.

Why does the media always make MEN out to be the violent ones? We may have a few wacky gene cells, but when it comes to all-out assaults on the fortress, I think women win every time.

Women should definitely be allowed into combat, because when women want to kill, women, by God, KILL.

All right, all right, I’ll fess up. I told her I wasn’t gonna marry her.

I was direct. I was honest. I did what women always say they want you to do. I didn’t beat around the bush.

I didn’t say, “We’ll see after we’ve dated a while longer.” I didn’t say, “Maybe next year.”

I just said: “Nope. Don’t wanna get married. This year OR next year.”

And she went all Middle Eastern on me.

“Gosh, Joe Bob, don’t you understand women?” “Gosh, Joe Bob, that was really, really stupid. I can’t believe you did that.”

What if I really, really didn’t wanna marry her? “Gosh, Joe Bob, don’t you understand women?” She TOLD ME SHE WANTED THE COMPLETE AND HONEST TRUTH. Pause.

“Gosh, Joe Bob, don’t you understand women?” Nope.

I don’t.

And speaking of aliens who look like normal human beings, Michael York is donning the cool shades, picking up the sinister silver briefcase and checking into his Beverly Hills mansion as “Paul Johnson” in-you know what I’m gonna say, don’t you?-the THIRD version of “Not of This Earth.”

All three versions were produced by legendary drive-in king Roger Corman, beginning with the one he directed in 1958, continuing with the Traci Lords version in the ’80s and now this one, which may be the greatest yet.

Not since “Logan’s Run” has Michael York done such a nice sci-fi turn, skulking through parks, sticking three-pronged suction needles into the necks of innocent young girls so he can drain their blood, hollow out their eyes and mummify their bodies.

But he’s a selfless alien who goes back to his study, hits a button on the wall opening the “gate” to his planet and ships out the blood for scientific research that might save an alien race from extinction.

“Paul Johnson,” as he calls himself, is actually one of the greatest B-movie science-fiction characters ever created. He speaks in one of those clipped, learned-English-from-a-thesaurus voices, and he can read at the rate of about two million words a minute, flipping through magazines in the waiting room at about one second per.

He wears shades at all times to hide his bulging red laser eyes, but in El Lay nobody thinks it’s strange.

The only people who think he’s a little nutzoid are Elizabeth Barondes, his private-duty nurse, and Richard Belzer, his sleazeball chauffeur, cook and gardener.

Whenever he needs something-like three fresh bodies to keep himself alive-he just stares at the person he’s trying to manipulate and controls ’em with telepathic mind-talk.

Mason Adams, as the doctor who studies rare blood diseases, ends up spending 24 hours a day trying to cure whatever virus Paul has, but, of course, there are those telltale ashes in the basement furnace….

In other words, they took an old story, and…told it again! Nineteen dead bodies. Four breasts. Mechanical bloodsucking. Vein-slicing. Gooey stingray protoplasm. Alien octopus body-wrapping. Strangling. One shower scene.

The old claw-to-the-stomach cure.

Body-burning. Pistol-to-the-mouth. Killer supernatural computer-generated man-eating stingray.

Two motor vehicle chases, with three crash-and-burns. Flaming Jehovah’s Witness. Flaming valet parker, with eight-story death plunge.

Flaming cop. Flaming Belzer.

Mind-control Suicide Fu.

Drive-in Academy Award nominations for…

Michael York, as the businesslike alien who says, “Here you will feed me blood” and, “My brood-do they still survive?”

Mason Adams, as the goofy doctor who says, “Either this case is one in a trillion, or you are not of this planet” and, “It’s some kind of crazy gastric bouillabaisse.”

Richard Belzer, as the scuzzy chauffeur who says, “This guy scares me.”

Elizabeth Barondes, as the screaming nurse who says, “Johnson is inside my head!”

And Terence Winkless, the director, who scored once before with “The Nest,” for doing things the drive-in way, and for ending the movie with the epitaph: “Here lies a being who was not of this earth.”

Four stars.

Joe Bob says check it out.

 

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No Contest (1995)


All right, that’s enough. Let’s stop stealin one another’s football teams. I was just gettin used to the Carolina Panthers,

for God’s sake, and the Jacksonville Jagwires, and now they’re expecting the words Nashville Oilers to come out of my mouth?

Heck, I still can’t say “Indianapolis Colts,” much less “St. Louis Rams.”

Have you ever seen the front page of a local newspaper on the day a city either gains or loses a professional football team?

They didn’t use type this big when Kennedy got shot.

I know it’s a Big Deal and everything, but come on, it’s not THAT big of a deal.

The cities that lose the teams go around in shame for weeks, like they just got word from the Mayo Clinic that they’re hopelessly bald and impotent. Then the shame turns to anger, as the blame the evil owner for caring too much about Money and not enough about Fans. But then they realize that, hey, there weren’t that many fans, and so they start blaming the fans. “Why didn’t this city support this team?” Stuff like that.

Look. It’s not such a bad thing.

Look what happened in El Lay. They lost both their football teams in one year, and so the result is . . .

You can watch all the pro games you want on TV! You don’t have to watch the Rams or the Raiders anymore, or, what’s worse, get blacked out because the Rams and the Raiders failed to sell all their tickets that week.

But look what goes on in New York, which has two football teams, two basketball teams, two baseball teams, and FOUR goldurned hockey teams. THOSE ARE THE ONLY TEAMS YOU CAN WATCH ON TV! Every Sunday afternoon, it’s the Jets and the Giants, the Giants and the Jets, causing massive numbers of people to decide that they’d rather take the wife to the botanical gardens.

But losing your football team might be good for another reason, too.

It might be that nobody went to the games because there are BETTER THINGS TO DO in the area.

Why are the smaller cities taking teams away from larger ones?

Because the larger ones have more people who DON’T LIVE OR DIE ACCORDING TO THE WEEKLY FOOTBALL SCORE. I mean, they might like football. They might even love football. But sometimes Pavarotti is in town, or Courtney Love.

There are Other Things To Do.

Losing your football team, in these crazy days, might just be a sign of MATURITY.

I’m surprised I have to explain this to you people.

Speaking of American institutions, this week’s flick has a scene destined to become immortal–Shannon Tweed and Andrew Dice Clay in a kung-fu death struggle. After they’ve both bloodied a few body parts and broken a few bones, Shannon says “Don’t you know you’re not supposed to hit a woman?” And Dice says, “I hit everyone equally.” And then the kung-fu continues.

I speak, of course, of “No Contest,” starring the Diceman as an international drug dealer who infiltrates the Miss Galaxy Pageant, takes the five finalists hostage in a hotel penthouse, gruesomely executes several dozen innocent bystanders, and demands $10 million in diamonds or else he’s gonna waste the beautiful daughter of a weaselly senator.

What Dice doesn’t realize is that one of his hostages is Shannon Tweed, the famous female kung-fu movie star, and she’s been doing some upper body work, if you know what I mean and I think you do. The other thing he doesn’t know is that Robert Davi is downstairs in the SWAT team van, waiting for a chance to take out some babes.

What we’ve got here is basically “Die Hard With Babes,” with a special appearance by Roddy Piper as Dice’s killer henchman. Tweed, Clay, Davi and Piper–does it get any better than this?

I think not.

Thirty-three dead bodies. No breasts. (Shannon Tweed is in the movie, and there are ZERO breasts. Go figure.) Three exploding cars. Exploding beauty contestant, with crash and burn. Groin-shooting. Knife-throwing. Steam face-scalding. Eye-gouging. Steel spike through the body. Ice-bag face-bashing. High-rise swan dive. Throat-cutting. Automatic-weapons Jamboree. Kung Fu. Headbutt Fu. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Shannon Tweed, as the ex-beauty-contestant-turned-martial-arts-movie-star, for saying “You better wipe your lip–there’s a trace of venom showing”; Robert Davi, as the tight-lipped bodyguard, for saying “Don’t show your fear, and don’t b.s. him”; Keram Malicki-Sanchez, as the techno-geek terrorist with a burr haircut, for saying “Sharon Bell–she’s like a Bruce Lee with boobs, man!”; and Andrew Dice Clay, as the terrorist, for saying “I don’t understand–I kill several innocent people, threaten to blow up a building, and the police still don’t take me seriously.”

Four stars.

Joe Bob says check it out.

 

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Nighty Nightmare (1990)


How to make a horror film (the essential rules):

1. The innocent must suffer.

2. The innocent must be female.

3. The innocent must be good-looking female.

4. The innocent must be occasionally nekkid good-looking female.

5. She shalt scream.

6. She must have friends who are female, good-looking, and occasionally nekkid, who shalt die horribly, grisly deaths before the third reel.

7. Said bimbos must be relentlessly bubbly right up until the moment of death.

8. The killer must be a zombie, ghost, psycho or reasonable facsimile thereof. We know this from a single physical trait: he breathes through his mouth.

9. Every man in the movie must look like a potential killer, slobbering all over aforesaid bimbos.

10. There must be a horrible secret. (Examples: “Did you hear what happened in this house ten years ago?” “Do you know what they say about old Fletcher Tatum? Well, the way I heard it was . . .”)

11. The weather must cooperate with the killer. (Examples: Windows blow out for no reason. The wind blows doors shut. You can see lightning in interior hallways.)

12. The creepy servant can never be the killer. (Example: A guy in grungy overalls and an eye patch says, “Welcome, Miss Stevens. I’ve finished CHOPPING in the yard.”) The creepy servant’s job is to show up every ten minutes and make you THINK he did it.

13. The survivor is the one who never says anything for the first twenty minutes of the movie. Instead, people talk about her and to her. (“Oh, Janey, don’t be such a party pooper!”)

14. The bimbos shalt take showers.

15. Said bimbos shalt say, “Hey, I know, let’s order some pizza and start a fire and smoke some dope!”

16. In the second reel, the bimbos shalt enter the basement and say “This stuff gives me the creeps.” It doesn’t matter what the stuff is.

17. The phone shalt never work.

18. The police officer shalt never arrive until it’s too late.

19. The police officer shalt say, “That Steinberg case from ten years ago–something still BUGS me about that.”

20. The door shalt creak.

21. When the door creaks, there is never anything scary behind it.

22. There shalt be a strange sound in the attic.

23. Instead of everyone going to check out the sound, someone must say, “No, I’ll go. You stay here.”

24. Thou shalt rummage through kitchen drawers for a meat cleaver.

25. The first body must not be found by the living until at least three people are dead.

26. Even after the body is found, surviving cast members must continue to “spread out.” (“All right, you take the living room. I’ll check the kitchen.”)

27. The electricity shalt fail.

28. The police officer shalt be delayed by the storm, the bridge washed out, and/or the traffic.

29. Blood must drip on the innocent virgin.

30. By the fourth reel, she must discover the killer’s lair.

31. The killer’s lair must be full of pornography, newspaper clippings, and, most important, pictures of HER.

32. The killer must never attack her until everyone else is dead.

33. The killer must attack her directly and slowly, so that we can see her fearful, cringing, blood-spattered face.

34. Thou shalt see her face change from cringing to angry, as she calls on some deep inner source of strength.

35. The killer shalt die at least three times. Each death must be more spectacular than the one before.

36. The only way to know that the third death is the final one is for the body to be totally destroyed (splattered off the roof of a 70-story building is good, but burned to a crisp is best).

37. When the police officer arrives, he must say “I’ve never seen anything like this. Are you okay?”

38. The innocent virgin survivor shalt spit in the cop’s face.

Fortunately, we have a master of the horror film working today: Arch Stanton, creator of what will surely become the standard for all horror in the past, the newly-released “Nightie Nightmare.” There may have been better horror films made, but not with this many women in their underwear.

By a coincidence, Arch Stanton also directed the film I reviewed last week, “Tower of Terror.” By a further coincidence, eight of the actors appear in both movies, including the star, Robyn Harris, the world’s only Valley Girl with a British accent. And–will these coincidences never cease?–“Nightie Nightmare” and “Tower of Terror” both have exactly the same plot. “Tower of Terror” is set in a high rise where the angry ghost of a mass murderer inhabits the body of a brunette in a satin bustier. “Nightie Nightmare,” on the other hand, is set in an abandoned sorority house where the angry ghost of a mass murderer inhabits the body of a blonde in a silk chemise. I KNEW there was a difference!

After ten years of “Slumber Party Massacre” movies, Arch Stanton has taken them to a new level: somewhere between the knee and the thigh. The man’s a genius.

Sixteen breasts. Ten dead bodies. Multiple stomach stabbing. Strangling. Raw-meat eating. Showers. Multiple meathook splatter. Bloody doll face. Extended topless bar sequence. Head-in-toilet plunging. Girls running out into a rainstorm in their nighties, for obvious reasons. Flashback footage that looks suspiciously like scenes from “Slumber Party Massacre.” Ouija Fu. Bear trap Fu. Fire poker Fu. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Robyn Harris, for shivering in a corner, terrified, holding a butcher knife in her hand and saying “I know you’re out there–you really hurt me–please, if you’ve got an ounce of humanity left, you’ve gotta remember!”; Dana Bentley, for saying “We’re gonna turn this into the best sorority house in school!” and “I never really told you guys why we got the place so cheap”; Mike Elliott, as the leering token male; Orville Ketchum, as the grungy guy in a plaid shirt, for saying “I found em–I found em all!” and “If you be needing anything, I’ll be watching”; Jurgen Baum, as the cop who says “Body parts were scattered all over the house!” and “Jeez, not again!”; Michelle Verran, for objecting to the seance by saying “No one puts a finger on my diviner”; Melissa Moore, for saying “All right, let’s spread out–we’ll find her” and “I’ll be right back–stay alert!”; Bridget Carney, for dancing topless for no reason, and for saying “We did see him that afternoon lurking around the neighborhood”; Stacia Zhivago, for taking a long shower, a bath, and getting nekkid after she’s already dead; and Arch Stanton, the director, a filmmaker for the seventies.

Four stars.

Joe Bob says check it out.

 

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Night Trap (1993)


Well, the French have figured out how to solve the Croatian-Serbian-Bosnian-Herzegovinan ethnic Slavfest over there.

To get the fighting stopped, the Froggies are sending the very toughest guy they have, the French minister of defense, and he’s gonna clobber hineys and stand on tables and yell until they do exactly what he says.

There’s only one thing wrong.

His name is Francois Leotard.

Why am I the only person who KNOWS this will never work?

Don’t you ever notice that there are some people who will NEVER be what they wanna be, SIMPLY BECAUSE OF THEIR NAME?

I mean, what are the Serbs supposed to think? That a man named LEOTARD is gonna flog them across the neck with an ankle warmer or something? How terrified can you be, especially when his FIRST name is Francois?

It’s the same question I used to ask about that famed romantic leading man who could never quite get his movie career off the ground, and nobody could figure out why.

I speak, of course, of Randolph Mantooth.

I KNOW WHY! Didn’t the guy have a manager? Didn’t anybody ever say, “Hey, Randolph, I don’t think they’ll be founding a Mantooth School of the Contemporary Theater anytime soon.”

People just ignore this name stuff, like it doesn’t exist. But wasn’t Gennifer Flowers BORN to be a mistress? What other job can you get? Hostess at Baby Doll’s Topless?

They had a murder trial on Court TV last week where the defendant’s mistress took the stand–a psychologist named Lucy Papillon. We NEVER WOULD HAVE KNOWN, would we?

Joey Buttafuoco wonders why people won’t take him seriously.

The managing director of Polygram Australia Group, a huge music conglomerate, had to resign because of constant “differences in management style and attitudes.” In other words, people didn’t give him enough respect.

His name was Michael Smellie.

There’s a casting director in Hollywood named Valmont Du Bone. I think we KNOW why he’s a casting director and not a movie star. Of course, maybe he could have been a PORNO . . .

Let’s not dwell on it.

In the very first book ever written, “The Iliad”–which, now that I think about it, is also the first splatter-punk gore book ever written–how do we know who’s gonna win the big fight? One guy’s name is Achilles, which might be the coolest warrior name ever invented, and the other guy’s name is . . .

Hector.

I knew this from page one. No guy named Hector is gonna win the biggest epic battle in history.

I saw an actress in a movie called “Last Dance.” The actress’s name is Marci Brickhouse. She played . . . a stripper. What did you expect?

Judges know this. The only reason we were able to take Supreme Court Justice Byron White seriously–after all, “Byron” is a little wimpy for a judge–is that he CHANGED it from WHIZZER White. If he hadn’t changed from Whizzer to Byron he would never have made it past justice of the peace court.

What if Pia Zadora was named Kathleen O’Hallohan? We might say, “What a great diva of stage and screen!” Instead, we say, “Yuk yuk yuk, Pia Zadora! You know what? I heard she can REALLY SING!”

We will always have more respect for Justice Learned Hand than for Justice . . . Felix Frankfurter.

We will never give the respect he deserves to the great handsome macho actor . . . Walter Pidgeon.

Don’t get me wrong now. I’m not claiming you can NEVER overcome your name. There’s a woman named Honey Almond who’s a very respected entertainment attorney in Hollywood. And, let’s face it, William Shakespeare had one of the worst names in history. Just think what it was like for him on the first day of second grade. “Hey, Billy! Shake your spear for us!” But he overcame it through sheer talent.

So it IS possible. And one way you can almost always do it is by using THREE names instead of two.

For example, Oliver Holmes sounds boring. But Oliver Wendell Holmes sounds like a goldang GREAT MAN.

James Jones is nothing. Jimmy Jones is a football coach with a hair helmet. But James Earl Jones sounds like a HELL of an actor.

This is why, rather than using my simple Christian name and surname, “Joseph Briggs,” I use the more elegant “Joe BOB Briggs.” And look where I’ve gotten with it.

Let’s not dwell on it.

And speaking of actors with great names, drive-in veterans Robert Davi and Michael Ironside battle for the souls–and bodies–of women in lingerie in yet another New Orleans demon-voodoo erotic thriller that doesn’t make a lick of sense.

Basically what we got here is a cop (Davi) who’s trying to catch a kinky murderer (Ironside), only what Davi doesn’t know is that the murderer is actually the day-uh-vil himself, and that means he’s gonna be awfully hard to shoot. It doesn’t matter that much as long as he’s just killing hookers, but when he tries to murder Davi’s ex-wife, real estate lady Lesley-Anne Down, AND the little Canadian girl Davi is sleeping with, Lydie Denier, AT THE SAME TIME, then Robert starts consulting a voodoo psychic for serious advice. Zaniness with firearms ensues.

Have you noticed how Robert Davi, the man with the most pock-marked face since the invention of acne, is starting to get all these sensitive GOOD-GUY roles?

And one more thing: How can you kill the devil with FIRE? This is the third movie I’ve seen where they kill the devil with fire. Shouldn’t they smother him with an Igloo ice cooler or something? Wouldn’t that make more sense?

And one more thing: If I see one more “oh-look-isn’t-this-colorful-and-bizarre” Mardi Gras scene in a movie, I’m gonna puke big-time.

Nine dead bodies. Twelve breasts. Blood-drinking. Wrist-slitting. Two bodies flung through plate-glass windows. Hooker torture. Exploding house. Four motor vehicle chases, with four crashes, explosion and fireball. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Michael Ironside, as the you-know-who, for saying “Whose body would you like to hold next to you in bed, while the other lies rotting in a grave?”; John Amos, as the captain with a guilty secret, for doing the old “everything by the book I’m warning you Turner or you’re off this case” speech and making it sound good; Margaret Avery as the weirdbeard voodoo woman, for saying “The devil gone kill her for sure”; and Robert Davi, for telling the devil “Burn in hell, you son of a bitch!” (Which is sort of the POINT, right?)

Two and a half stars.

Joe Bob says check it out.

 

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Night of the Zombies (1981)


I had to take Rhett Beavers out to the faith healer in Mabank last week or else I would had this sooner. A lot of you turkeys have been writing saying, “Hey , what the hey, where the hey is the 1983 Drive-in Academy awards?” and I’d just like to point out that I don’t take this responsibility lightly.

This is not any Hollywood indoor bullstuff deal, where they wheel’em from Palm Springs every year to cast ballots for people who send out hams in the mail. This is not any teensy-wensy-screen TV jerkola banquet where they listen to Herb Alpert play “Oh what a feeling.” This is a legit deal. This is for the non-Communist drive-in going public of America. You know what I’m talking about. It’s that time of year again. It’s time to give out Hubbies. (Junior Bodine’s shop out in Mineral Wells did a great job this year engraving the Chevy hubcaps. He only had to cross out the letters five or six times.) Okay, let’s get down to the nitty.

BEST ACTOR:

Chuck Bronson (“10 to Midnight”), blowing scum off the streets and saying and saying lines like “I hate quiche.”

Vic Morrow (“1990 The Bronx Warriors”): Remember when he rides in with 900 guys carrying industrial-strength blowtorches and orders them to burn the eyes out of everybody they see?

Bruce Campbell “(The Evil Dead”), who makes the mistake of not chainsawing his girlfriend after she turns zombie on him.

Christopher Walken (“Dead Zone”), the geek schoolteacher who runs his VW bug into a milk truck and doesn’t wake up for five years and ten his eyes bug out like a katydid and he starts twitching around the room.

Wings Hauser (“Deadly Force”), kicking hineys all over the Elephant-Man therapy institute.

AND THE WINNER IS: (DRUM ROLL MAESTRO PLEASE)

Big Chuck, of course.

BEST ACTRESS:

Kathryn McNeil (“The House on Sorority Row”), making like Jamie Lee Curtis.

Lynda Speciale (“Screwballs”), for her moving performance as Purity Busch, the ice queen and official school virgin.

Ellen Sandweiss (“The Evil Dead”), the bimbo who gets raped by the forest.

Monique St. Pierre (“Stryker”), the garbonza woman forced to fight it out with the bald-headed fu-mancu hookarm turkey.

Corinne Alphen (“Spring Break”), the brunette Penthouse Pet of the Year who sings “Do It To You” and makes all the guys smash Miller cans on their heads.

AND THE WINNER IS:

Monique, for her enormous talent.

BEST BEAST:

Miles O’Keeffe (“Ator the Fighting Eagle”), the beefcake Tarzan turned barbarian, trying to keep his breechcloth on.

The 300-pound Baby Huey in “Midnight” who hangs around the graveyard and carves up Babtist preachers.

Lou Ferrigno (“Hercules”), the man has veins like a road map of Louisiana.

Little Howard (“Deathstalker”), the household pet in a basket that only eats human eyes and fingers.

Christine (“Christine”), drop a cigarette on the upholstery, and this ’58 Plymouth Fury might have to dump your body in a Goodwill box.

AND THE WINNER IS:

Christine, for the best performance by a motor vehicle in history.

BEST KUNG FU:

Jim Kelly (“One Down Two To Go”), shoe leather to the groin on 14 white guys.

Johnny Yune (“They call me Bruce?”), he got his black belt in a state where they just have a written test.

Fred Williamson (1990 The Bronx Warriors”), Fred against eight punkola freaks on roller skates.

Jacky Chan (“Eagle’s Shadow”), master of the snake style and cat’s-claw, who thwocks and whooshes his way through 15 complete fight scenes including everything from one-on-one to eight-on-two, then grabs Old Goat-Hair in the place we can’t talk about in the newspaper and watches the turkey.

Sho Kosugi (“Revenge of the Ninja”), kicking in the heads of punkola wierdos in the park, Ninja warriors, Mafia guys, using hands, feet, Nunchakus, blades, throwing stars, and those little pointy things that look like jacks but make your face look like it caught on fire and somebody put it out with a meat tenderizer.

AND THE WINNER IS:

Sho Kosugi, teh only actor ever to win a high-speed chase when he didn’t even have a car.

BEST SUPPORTED ACTRESS (FORMERLY BEST CHEST):

Sabrina Siani (“Ator the Fighting Eagle”), bleach blond Amazon bimbo who wins the contest when they tie up Miles O’Keffe and have a nude mud-wrestling match to see who get to be his sex object for one night.

“High Test Girls”, the entire cast, 83 full exposures from Lisa Roberston, Nancy Patricks, Polly Quigley, Sherri Richards, Kathy Close.

Linda Shaayne (“Screwballs”), Bootsie Goodhead herself, who made movie history in the now famous drive-in scene when the nerd jumps out the back of the van and the door catches on Bootsie’s halter top and she has to rub her breasts against the back window for a full minute.

Betsy Russell (“Private School”), teh blonde witch bimbo who like aerobic dancing leotards, underwire bras, group showers, and Lady Godiva imitations.

Barbie Benton (“Deathstaker”), chained to the wall in a see-through nightie while extras from the “Planet of The Apes” fight over groceries.

Ashley Ferrare (“Revenge of the Ninja”), teh blonde who demonstrates bimbo-fu at its finest.

AND THE WINNER IS:

Bootsie Goodhead, the one and only.

BEST SPECIAL EFFECT

“Midnight”, the women-in-dog-cages scene, where they get fattened up ofr Baby Huey blood-drinking scene.

“Timerider”, first motocross western, where Lyle Swann gets time-zapped into 1877 by the Reagan Administration.

“High Test Girls”, 12 complete bouncing breast in one shot while the bimbos are running nekkid through the woods; still unknown how they found a camera that could handle it.

“Screwballs”, the famous bowling-alley scene where the ball gets stuck on an important anatomic part of stuntman Alan Daveau’s and the explosion that gets it off.

“Wavelength”, when the bald-headed space babies come to life in their sterilized barrels in a secret laboratory underneath Hollywood.

“Deathstalker”, when the magician turns the Stalker into a Barbi Benton look-alike and he nearly dies of chest pains.

“Amityville 3-D” when Candy Clark burns up on camera.

“Escape 2000” Olivia Hussey’s stunt breasts in the shower scene.

AND THE WINNER IS:

“Screwballs” for the bowling ball levitation scene.

BEST GROSS-OUT SCENE

“They Call me Bruce?”, the part about the guy who gets his jollies out of being whipped on the back by Margaux Hemingway; not a pretty sight.

“Ator the Fighting Eagle”, the tarantula torture scene.

“Bloodsucking Freaks”, when the doctor decides to do “a little elective neurosurgery” with a power drill while he’s humming “The Marriage of Figaro.”

“Madman”, when Madman puts Dave’s head between the carburator and the fan belt on Betsy’s truck and turns his face into a pizza.

“The House on Sorority Row”, head-in-teh-toilet scene.

AND THE WINNER IS:

“Madman,” for terminal engine trouble.

BEST PICTURE:

“Hell’s Angels Forever”, documentary of the year, with a lot to say about the correct role of women in society today; best on-camera use of a ball peen hammer.

“The Evil Dead”, Spam in a cabin.

“Revenge of the Ninja”, every kind of kung fu known to man.

“Deathstalker”, starring Barbi Benton’s upper torso and a Miles O’Keeffe look-alike who goes around throwing spears through people.

“Screwballs”, most imaginative use of female breasts, best Porky’s ripoff. v AND THE WINNER IS:

“The Evil Dead”, was there ever any doubt?

——————

NOW FOR THIS WEEK’S REVIEW “NIGHT OF THE ZOMBIES”

“Night of the Zombies” is this flick about a SWAT team in Italy that blows away some terrorists and then decides to go the jungles of New Guinea to find out why everybody down there at the chemical research center is turning into zombies. What the hey, they just has a little genetic DNA accident, and now these rats are eating off people’s faces and all the lab assistants are turning zombie and chewing off each other’s shoulders. But when the SWAT team gets over there with this blonde-bimbo TV reporter, they find out that a lot of the jungle tribes have turned into Buckwheat zombies and making little boys eat their daddies and stuff like that and the only way to get rid of ’em is to use a shotgun on their brains until they disappear. Meanwhile all the zombie natives start eating dead people and the bimbo decides she needs to stop this by painting big white circles on her breasts so they’ll think she’s one of them, but then things get a little too nasty when the zombies want to eat her fingers and so she has to escape with the SWAT team in a four-wheel drive vehicle and then take this Evinrude out to the island where the research center is, and then they have to fight about 9,000 Buckwheat zombies at once.

We are talking seven breasts. Maggot close-ups. Forty-six dead bodies. One motor vehicle chase. Five on-camera vomiting scenes. Heads roll. Hands roll. Fingers roll. Forearms roll. Intestines roll. Seven Quarts of blood. Two soldiers eaten alive. Two rat dinners. T

Two and a half stars

Joe Bob says check this sucker out.

 

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Night of the Living Dead (1990)


I admit it, I was a scoffer.

I didn’t believe they could do it.

Me of little faith.

“Night of the Living Dead”–regarded by the drive-in-going public of the world as the greatest movie ever made–was rewritten two years ago, and a remake was announced. Not only did it have the blessing of George Romero, but George Romero was gonna WRITE and PRODUCE the remake.

Excuse me, but this would be like Mark Twain waking up one morning and saying “You know that Huck Finn thing I did? I don’t like it anymore. I’m doing it AGAIN.”

And so everbody went “George! No! Please! You’re senile! Don’t try it!”

But he did it. He turned over the direction to Tom Savini, his special-effects makeup guy, the man whose made a whole career out of building slimy pus-filled ghoul faces.

We kept trying to talk him out of it. “George, don’t do it! We LOVE the black-and-white! It won’t work in color!”

But he kept on.

Menahem Golan, the Israeli king of the ninja flick, announced he was producing the remake.

“No! Menahem! Please! This will be a bigger turkey than ‘Treasure of the Four Crowns’!”

And Menahem said, “What is ‘Treasure of the Four Crowns’?”

And we yelled back, “‘Treasure of the Four Crowns’ is a 3-D Indiana Jones ripoff full of Spanish extras that you made in 1982!”

And Menahem said, “I made that?”

And then they got to the point of no return: they started casting the lead roles–in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh, the city where it all started. 1967. George Romero was an unknown director of TV commercials. One day he wrote a script called “Night of the Flesh Eaters.” He hired some amateur actors. He conned a crew into working for him. He got investors. Seven months later, the modern horror film was born. (The distributor retitled it “Night of the Living Dead.”)

One night, for no reason, the zombies rise up out of the earth and start devouring the United States. Seven people are holed up in a Pennsylvania farmhouse, trying to decide which is worse–fighting the flesh-eating zombies or fighting each other.

And zombies have never been the same since.

The “Zombie Stomp,” the herky-jerky movement of Romero’s drunken, stumbling zombies, has been adopted by zombies in every movie since then. Brain-eating first became a staple of the American zombie diet in this flick. And it was the first movie where the white guy wasn’t the hero. Women did the clear thinking. The black guy did the fighting and protecting. And the white males just got in the way.

In other words, it was also the first DEMOCRATIC zombie movie. In the fifties, all the heroes were Republicans, fighting against Russian-type space aliens that were trying to take over our minds, and the women all stood by their men. In George Romero’s movies, the women have to knock the men out of the way with a rifle butt to get a good crack at the mostly white, mostly male zombies. (Actually, the zombies are pale yellow in the remake, but I don’t think George is making an Asian statement yet.)

In 1968 George had a hard time getting anybody to release “Night of the Living Dead,” but by 1970 it was already considered the greatest horror film in history. Romero has made two sequels, “Dawn of the Dead” and “Day of the Dead,” and one of the original producers has done an excellent comedy version, “Return of the Living Dead.” The original movie has probly been seen by more people, worldwide, than any other horror flick except “Psycho.”

And now they’ve done it again.

They’ve not only done it again. They’ve done it better.

This time, with professional actors, with color, with special effects, with zombies that out-zombie the original zombies, they’ve told the exact same story, with about five minutes of changes in the plot, JUST ENOUGH to give it a great surprise at the end, and even though you’ve seen it before, and even though you know what the zombies are gonna do, and even though you know what each of the people inside the house are gonna do, it still scares the bejabbers out of you and satisfies the first rule of drive-in moviemaking: Anybody can die at any moment.

I’m humiliated that I was such a doubter.

I apologize to Mr. Savini and Mr. Romero.

Wheel in the Academy members from Palm Springs. Hook up their IV’s. Force em to watch this.

Because, as Barbara says, “They’re us. We’re them and they’re us.”

Zombierama.

No breasts. Twenty-one dead bodies. Exploding pickup. Exploding supporting actors. Neck-crunching. Zombie corral. Zombie target practice. Zombie bonfire. Eighteen gallons blood. A 74 on the Vomit Meter. Kung Fu. Zombie Fu. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Patricia Tallman, as Barbara, one of the greatest screamers in moviedom, for slowly going crazy with a shotgun in her hand, and for saying “What’s happening?”; Tony Todd, as Ben, for doing the impossible, surpassing the original starring performance of Duane Jones, and for saying “This is hell on earth”; Tom Towles, best known as Otis in “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer,” as Cooper, for stealing the TV, barricading himself in the cellar, slapping his wife around, and screaming “You bunch of yoyos!”; and for Tom Savini, the director, for perfectly preserving drive-in history.

Four stars.

Joe Bob says check it out.

 

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Night Breed (1990)


You know something that burns my bacon?

These same Tipper Gore lovers that are trying to get drive-in movies banned from the video stores are going after music now, and they’re actually getting these laws passed in Missouri and some other places that say you have to put giant yellow stickers on CD’s and cassettes that say stuff like “This song has bestiality in it.”

And then you have to be eighteen to buy the cassette, unless, of course, your Mama is TRAINING you in bestiality. They make an exception for people living in the Ozarks.

Anyhow, they’re saying that there shouldn’t be any songs written in the following categories: adultery, alcohol, drugs, suicide, satanism, incest, bestiality, sadomasochism, sexual activity in a violent context, murder, and morbid violence.

So I got a question for you people: what’s left to sing about?

Lot of people are gonna be real ticked off about this.

For example, here’s a few of the songs that’ll be labeled and banned for sale to minors:

“My Darling Clementine”–can’t sell that song, it’s about suicide.

“Ode to Billie Joe,” same thing.

Elvis doing “Kissin’ Cousins”–sorry, incest song, put it on the banned list.

Adultery–how many THOUSANDS of songs will that be? “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.” Almost ALL the Hank Williams songs, including “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.” How bout “You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, Lucille”? That’s a PATRIOTIC song. Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson.” Are you telling me we’re gonna start banning Simon and Garfunkel?

Come to think of it, I guess we COULD ban Simon and Garfunkel, that’s not so terrible.

And then how many MILLIONS of songs are about alcohol? The “Beer Barrel Polka”–you won’t be able to sell that one! What will Polish people do? “Wastin Away in Margaritaville.” “Days of Wine and Roses”–that whole dang movie’s about alcohol. “Tequila.”

And how about the Drugs category? If you’re under eighteen, just forget about buying “Minnie the Moocher” by Cab Calloway, or Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine.” In fact, forget about just about every song in “The Blues Brothers.”

But I’ll tell you what really burns me up, is this Satanism category. I think kids oughta be able to buy Charlie Daniels doing “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” if they want to, and I’m sorry, but if they ban Frank Sinatra doing “That Old Black Magic,” we might just have a little revolution on our hands.

Listen to me, on this labeling songs according to content, you people are SICK.

Does Frank know about this?

What about the complete works of Black Sabbath?

Sorry I’m babbling about this, but these people are SERIOUS.

Ray Charles is in big trouble: “Let’s Go Get Stoned.”

“Goodnight Irene” is about suicide.

Any song by Steppenwolf!

Are you guys getting the idea here. Make some noise. Send some postcards. Play “Sympathy for the Devil” at 340 decibels.

Let’s kick some hiney before these loonies win another one.

I don’t wanna have to tell you again.

Speaking of stuff that will annoy your mother, “Nightbreed” just came out, latest movie from Clive Barker, the King of Gooey Crud on the screen, creator of “Hellraiser,” all-round kinky-sex-and-violence kinda guy. Clive’s idea of a great time is to have a nightmare about a woman with three heads and no skin who flays your body with a pitchfork. To give you some idea, “Nightbreed” has over 200 pus monsters, including one guy with a crescent moonhead like the McDonald’s commercial and a fat guy with snakes that pop out of his stomach and eat your face off, and these are the GOOD GUYS. These are the people we’re supposed to LIKE.

All these slime-glopola monsters live in a place called Midian, which is underneath a cemetery in northern Canada, which is where a weirdbeard psychiatrist spongehead is slashing housewives and wasting innocent suburbanites. To make it even scarier, the maniac mass murderer is David Cronenberg! The guy who directed “The Fly,” “The Brood,” “Rabid”! The kinkiest man in Canada! The guy who makes movies about viruses that are so weird they make disgusting bloody power drills come up out of Marilyn Chambers’ armpits and burrow into your heart until you’re a flesh-eating zombie! So we’ve got the kinkiest man in Canada AND the kinkiest man in England, and they’re spewing slime TOGETHER!

There’s a whole lot of plot getting in the way of the story, though, and so what happens is the weirdbeard psychiatrist tries to pin his 37 mass murders on this innocent kid who’s his patient but has these dreams all the time about a land full of special-effects makeup where Intestine-Head Norwegians live in cages. Pretty soon the psychiatrist sets him up, the local Nazi cops blow the kid away, and the kid ends up in Midian, the place where the monsters live, and where the kid is becoming a monster himself. It’s sort of an “Alice in Wonderland” deal, but instead of the Mad Hatter, these people are like the Mad Shish-ka-bobbers. The kid’s girlfriend decides to go to Midian herself, mainly cause she’s willing to continue the relationship even though he’s dead (it’s a nineties thing). But what she doesn’t know is she tips off David Cronenberg to where the monsters live, and so here comes the Canadian National Guard with about 700 troops, flamethrowers, explosives, and 74,000 rounds of ammo. Will the cute little mucus mummies survive? Nine thousand special effects closeups later, we finally get the answer. Unfortunately, I was so exhausted by then, I don’t remember what the answer is.

Six breasts. Sixty-six dead bodies. One motor vehicle chase, with pickup plunging into the center of the earth. Killer porcupine breasts. Exploding monsters. Throat slashing. Bimbo staking. Head hacking. Closeup of a guy cutting off his own face. Whimpering mutant E.T. dog that turns into a little girl when it’s taken out of the sunlight. Heads roll. Mutant Fu. Flamethrower Fu. Earthquake Fu. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Charles Haid, as the Nazi police captain, for saying “You are a freak and a cannibal and you’ve come to the wrong town”; Craig Sheffer, as Boone the savior of the monsters, for surviving an attack of meat-eating intestine-heads, and for getting a sword through his chest but CONTINUING TO FIGHT; David Cronenberg, as the evil psychiatrist Decker, for saying “Miss Winston, EVERYBODY has a secret face”; Doug Bradley, as Lylesberg the chief priest of the monsters, for saying “The life you lived will be a dream–the tribes of the moon embrace you”; Oliver Parker, as Peloquin the snakehead meat-eater, for saying “Everything’s true–God’s an astronaut, Oz is over the rainbow, and Midian is where the monsters live.”

Three stars.

Joe Bob says check it out.

 

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Night Angel (1990)


I have this one ex-wife . . . naw, excuse me, she’s not an ex-wife, she’s the ANTI-WIFE.

The anti-wife used to show up in my nightmares, with purple four-inch Lee Press-on Nails, screaming at me to pick up her sister at the airport.

Sometimes the anti-wife had snakes growing out of her hair. But usually the anti-wife said just one sentence:

“I will not have that THING in my house.”

It didn’t matter what the thing was–a baseball bat, a Weedeater, a ’69 Hemi Cuda engine, the July issue of Melons Monthly–whatever it was, the anti-wife would point at it like it was three quarts of German shepherd puppy doo. And I would say to myself, “I could SWEAR she never looked like that when I first met her.” What happened? Did she go to the Neiman-Marcus beauty spa and turn in her fake arms and legs and eyebrows and get her REAL ones back? I’m talking about physical stuff–as if I married a bionic wife, but the bionic wife was just a temporary model. When the batteries run down, it becomes . . .

THE ANTI-WIFE!

I’ve even got pictures to prove it. Here’s the wife, 1984, looking like the checkout girl at Eckerd’s drugstore. She smiles at strangers. Her eyes sit back in her face where they belong. Her legs have curves in them. And then here’s the wife in 1988, when she’s become the anti-wife. We’re talking bug-eyed lizard lady, with more bulges than a fat man’s lawn chair.

Then there’s the money thing.

1984: “I don’t really care about money. You handle it.”

1988: “YOU OWE ME!”

Every time the anti-wife shows up, I feel like Paul Newman in “The Hustler” when he has to face George C. Scott at the end.

“YOU OWE ME MONEY!”

The anti-wife is certain that you’re hiding her money, or making more money than she knows about, or SECRETLY working a night shift at K-Mart to cheat her out of eighty bucks a week.

And then the most amazing thing happens. The anti-wife changes back. She MUTATES. You run into her in the mall, and there she is again, 1984 Model–arms, legs, eyebrows, everything in the right place. She even smiles at you. She’s gone bionic again.

I’m telling you guys this for your own good. Don’t fall for it. The parts can be traded in. Within in two months of your marrying her, you know what you’re gonna hear:

“I will not have that THING in my house.”

Why am I telling you this? Because there’s been about fifty movies come out in the last ten years about the anti-wife. And one of the best ones I’ve ever seen–the one that kinda sums up the whole anti-wife phenomenon–is called “Night Angel.”

Meet Isa Andersen, mysterious European model making her first film. Maybe your average guy would think something’s wrong when a beautiful woman walks up to him wearing black fingernail polish, breathes in his ear, starts doing the multiplication tables with her pelvis, and then suggests they go to her place for three days of animal sex. Your average guy would think, “Hey, something’s wrong here.” Right?

WRONG!

Your average guy is an idiot!

Your average guy goes home with this woman, and she sticks those fingernails in his heart and sucks the blood out through her veins.

Isa Andersen, the night angel of the title, is simply the anti-wife–one woman in the disco, a very DIFFERENT woman at home.

It turns out that this lady is the ORIGINAL anti-wife, a woman named Lilith who was Adam’s first wife. She dumped him, ran out of Eden, “consorted with demons,” and for the rest of human history she’s been out there, hanging around the bar at closing time, stuffing quarters in the old alimony jukebox. Only this lady doesn’t just want your sub-woofers. This lady wants . . . well . . . she wants your SUB-WOOFERS.

There’s only one thing that can stop her–the true love of a woman for a man. And the woman is Debra Feuer, Mickey Rourke’s girlfriend, because they figured, if the woman can live with Mickey Rourke, she can manage a little 8000-year-old devil woman.

And, oh yeah, one more thing. Lilith plans to turn the whole world into sex-crazed zombies by posing for the cover of Siren, a high fashion magazine, and putting a lot of subliminal messages in there like “Have sex with the cleaning lady today.” Unfortunately, in order to do that, she has to have crazed devil sex with the editor of Siren, Karen Black, and the way she does it is . . . no, if I talk about it now, I’ll NEVER be able to forget it.

A VERY scary movie.

Twelve breasts, including two that can talk. Seven dead bodies. Throat slitting. Spike impalement. Devil-goddess disco dancing. Tormenting midget. Tire tool through the leg. Claw through the heart. One fireball. One slime woman. Aardvarking. Gratuitous Karen Black. Kung Fu. Lee Press-on Fu. Birthstone Fu. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Isa Andersen (when they say this woman will break your heart, they mean she’ll BREAK YOUR HEART); Debra Feuer, as the good girl, for saying “I’m sorry–I think the wine is getting to me”; Linden Ashby, as the magazine editor, for saying “The world needs beauty, desperately”; and Dominique Othenin-Girard, the director–not bad for a French guy.

Four stars.

Joe Bob says check it out.

 

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New Jack City (1991)


Me and Ice-T were hanging out in Cleveland a few months ago . . .

Wait a minute! Do I detect titters in the audience? Are there scoffers here?

Do you think I would LIE about something like my personal friendship with such a righteous rapper?

Like I say, me and Ice-T were hanging out in Cleveland, discussing our mutual appreciation of the three B’s–Blood, Breasts and Beasts–and then the talk turned to Rap Censorship (they’re ROASTING this man), and, to make a long story short, I ended up getting inducted into something called The Syndicate. Actually, it was Ice-T’s personal assistant, Sean P. Sean, who inducted me into The Syndicate, because I asked him what I had to do to get a pair of these mean black shades and hats that Ice-T and his people were wearing. So Sean P. Sean invited me to be in The Syndicate, and after I joined–and thereby became eligible to wear the shades–my first question was:

“Okay, what’s The Syndicate?”

“It’s the L.A. version of Zulu Nation.”

“Great. What’s Zulu Nation?”

“Zulu Nation was the first organization of rappers who got together to agree to work TOGETHER instead of AGAINST one another.”

“By the way, have you noticed I’m white?”

Sean P. Sean thought this was funny and explained to me that, even though I might be the only white guy in The Syndicate, it was not because of discrimination. It was just because it was hard to find qualified white applicants.

“So what do I have to do now that I’m IN The Syndicate?”

“You agree that you’ll never turn against another member of The Syndicate.”

“This is very heavy.”

“No, it just means that if the MEDIA calls you up, and they want you to say something about the PROBLEMS of one of the rappers in The Syndicate, that you’ll just say ‘I don’t know NOTHING.’ And they’ll do the same for you.”

“So like, if some reporter asked Ice-T to talk about one of my ex-wives, Ice-T would say, ‘Don’t mess with my brother’?”

“You got it. Cause we got too much going against us to be fighting amongst ourselves. Ever since last year.”

“Last year?”

“2 Live Crew.”

And then we started talking about 2 Live Crew, and some more about Rap Censorship, and how Vanilla Ice blew it, and then I talked to Ice-T some more about this hot new movie he stars in called “New Jack City” (this was before it came out) and how it’s the first movie to show what it’s really like on the streets, but he was worried about whether his fans would accept him portraying a cop. And then we talked about how great it would be if everybody found out how talented Mario Van Peebles is and a few white people besides me got to see something decent that he made.

And then that was it. A few days later I got my Syndicate baseball cap, my Syndicate shirt, my Syndicate black shades, my secret Syndicate Fax number (in case of emergency), and a list of the Syndicate musical acts that I’ll be loyal to for the rest of my life (sorry, the names are a secret).

The last thing Ice-T said to me was, “Joe Bob, you probably wonder sometimes who your audience is.”

“It’s occurred to me, yes.”

“It is US.”

And then I went to the movie. Of course, before I could get in to see the movie, I had to go through a metal detector and leave my rosewood-handled nunchucks with stainless-steel chain at the box office. I was a little concerned that they’d get stolen, then I noticed the other 400 weapons that had been checked at the door.

You see, this shakedown thing was a complete overreaction to the fact that, on opening night of “New Jack City,” 137 people were killed by sub-machine-gun fire while buying popcorn.

I used my secret Fax number to send Ice-T a message: “Dear Ice, I think we’re gonna need some help getting that WHITE audience out for this one.”

But then the Warner Brothers publicity department decided they would try to help the movie out, and so they had a press conference to announce they would PAY for any “extra security” that any theater owner requested.

Now THAT’s gonna bring the crowds out in droves.

Naw, the whole thing was a joke. What really happened was that the gangs thought “New Jack City” was a gang picture. Listen to Joe Bob on this one:

“New Jack City” is an ANTI-gang picture. And it’s an ANTI-drughead picture. Marion Van Peebles can’t help it if the gang members are dyslexic and they think it’s about what THEY believe in.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Oh, he’s just saying that cause he HAS to say it. He’s a member of The Syndicate.”

Well, yes I am, but I’m also saying it because it’s true.

Right after they had the violent stuff around the theaters, the media started tap-dancing on this movie, too, saying, “Well, what do you expect? You put all that VIOLENCE in the movie, and then you expect people to UNDERSTAND that it’s anti-violence.”

You know the first time this stupid argument was made?

1932.

The movie was “Little Caesar,” starring Edward G. Robinson. It was the first gangster picture. Even though Little Caesar dies at the end, totally destroyed, his life wasted, there were a bunch of ignorami who said this type of movie shouldn’t be made, because of the effect it would have on the unstable criminal element.

In other words, PEOPLE LIKE ME.

And so they’re doing that number on this picture, even though it’s a more REALISTIC gangster picture than “Scarface” (the Al Pacino version), which didn’t get any flack at all.

Ice-T is an undercover New York drug cop trying to bust Wesley Snipes, a two-bit basehead who becomes king of Crack Street and takes over entire apartment buildings with his operation. Ice-T works with Judd Nelson, an Eyetalian cop wearing Syndicate shades,  and these two guys locate the scum, spy on the scum, make friends with the scum, double-cross the scum, and try to EXTERMINATE the scum. I say “try to,” because it’s not like “Death Wish.” These guys actually try to use the justice system.

And it’s not like “Scarface” either. “Scarface” was bloody, but you never really believed that plot could happen. All this stuff is believable.

I’m not kidding. Everybody should see this baby. They even break the modern record for number of gold neck chains in one movie.

Six breasts. Thirty-eight dead bodies. Three gun battles. Knife through the hand. Brain blasting. Cold-turkey crack withdrawal. Catfight. East River bridge-dangling, with deadly results. Gratuitous street-corner four-part harmony. Gratuitous hip hop. Gratuitous “Say No to Drugs” lecture. Kung Fu. Rap Fu. Plea-bargain Fu. Drive-In Academy Award nominations for Wesley Snipes, as the whacked-out basehead drug king, for saying “You gotta rob to get rich in the Reagan era” and, after he gets rich, “Sit your five-dollar ass down before I make change”; Chris Rock, as Pookie the freebasing narc, for saying “They call it the Enterprise Room, man, because it’s for people who wanna be beamed up to Scotty”; Judd Nelson, as the Eyetalian buddy cop, for saying “Is this one of those black things?”; and Mario Van Peebles, for directing this sucker, for doing the street life like it really is, and for coming up with lines like “They either become customers, or they become live-in hostages” and “Yeah, he gonna be hangin with Elvis.”

Four stars.

Joe Bob says check it out.

 

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