Professional help, that is, that I hope they never actually get... because, kids, Biff Juggernaut's anthology flick known as LovecraCked! The Movie is something I simply cannot get enough of... and don't think I haven't tried.
As the name might imply to the astute reader (or really, even the dumbasses), this film is more than a little inspired by the works of one H.P. Lovecraft. However, using Lovecraft as a springboard, Biff Juggernaut and Company push the B.C. Powder Envelope of good taste somewhere way beyond any West Texas Trailer Park Porno Store, and into the realm of absolutely horrific science fictional erotic comedy with blood, guts, breasts and laughs. I'll be the first to tell you, the results are a bit mixed, and LovecraCked! shows its true nature as an Ultra-Indie with the occasional sound, color or budgetary flaw. On the other hand, it's surprising how very well LovecraCked! works and succeeds at its goals. Most of the "flubs" are intentional, and the successes this "gang" pulls out of their budget is noteworthy. The final product is a strange combination of A Current Affair, The X-Files, Gilliam's Monty Python cut-out animation, twisted morality tales, porn and cheese.
Essentially a collection of various short films submitted for approval from... most likely the Land of Cthulu, LovecraCked is bookended and quasi-narrated by a ridiculously out-of-it "Investigative Journalist", played by the dubious award-winning BiFF JUGGERNAUT mastermind Elias, on a quest to uncover "The Truth" about Lovecraft. Elias' goofy portrayal evokes images of the most self-aware Bruce Campbell moments, and the self-effacing documentary stylings send up everything from In Search Of... to This Week with George Stephanopoulos!
Like a strange collection of Tales from the Crypt episodes (if, that is, "The Crypt Keeper" was a bumbling, often pants-free news man), the short films progress through the Sci-Fi to the disturbing to the ultimately horrific, showcasing some excellent world-wide talent, all the while maintaining that wry, dark, Tongue jammed VIOLENTLY in Cheek humor that throws its clown-pies in every direction.
The Film Fest of the Forlorn begins with a comic-book-inspired credit sequence, setting the mood perfectly for Elias' silly introduction. The film-proper begins with Jane Rose's segment "The Statement of Randolph Carter". The grainy and strangely colored short comes off less as cheap than as a fitting tribute to the B-Movies that partially inspired it. The concept of a mad scientist keeping in touch with his "Ygor" via makeshift telephone (read: two cans connected by a string) is worth every second of this scary, funny Sci-Fi short.
Justin Powers' segment "History of the Lurkers" is the first of many primarily "silent" flicks, which is strange to say, seeing as how its packed from bow to stern and from port to starboard with loud Punk Rock (but then, so was my wedding). Virtually devoid of dialogue, "Lurkers" combines elements reminiscent of SLC PUNK and (oddly "The Real World") to tell the tale of Eric and his loser, chronically masturbating neighbor as they summon the otherworldly beasts who... um, well, "hang out in the private viewing rooms of porn shops". Why isn't there an "IgNobel Prize" for discovering THAT?
One of the most satisfying pieces from LovecraCked is Ashley Thorpe's "Remain". With none (well, almost none) of the signature humor of the main film, "Remain" is an artistic and trippy mix of quick, jerky-cut live action, seamlessly integrated animation, stunning gore effects and even some amazing waxworks. This one is a keeper, to say the least, but with its red-filter and shocking visuals, this one is going to stick with you in its most disturbing way whether you want to "keep" it or not.
Though ostensibly set in the present, "BugBoy" by director Thomas Almgren has the feel of an old film with its grainy stock and intentionally scratched and dusty print. Bringing back some incredible NOIR imagery, Almgren's film is a well-effected and scary short, packed with some real nastiness that could turn the old tummy at any turn. It could've used some nudity, but then, so could my wedding.
Brian Barnes' "Witch's Spring" details some of the less-obvious perils of internet dating in present-day London. Young Londoner Tom (Tom Wontner) meets up with a beautiful, large-breasted redhead named Rhiannon (played with scarlet temptation and... large breasts by Gillian MacGregor) who just might be a modern day witch. Self-identifying as a "pagan", offering Tom a "Witch's Brew", saying she's going to "have a man together" and overall acting creepier than Maude, it's pretty horkin' clear that She is like a cat in the dark and then she is the darkness... so why does Tom, a seemingly intelligent guy, succumb to Rhiannon? Same reason my wife can get me to do anything in the world... I'll give you a hint, they're right in front of her and they can open great doors.
Simon Ruben's contribution, "Alecto", is another "silent" short, this time detailing the nightmares and memories of a virtuoso violin teacher (Nick Ewans). Like a cross between Cronenberg's Spider and something out of a Bergman Flick, "Alecto" dances between the past and the present, reality and fantasy, up to and including a surreal sequence detailing Ewan's treatment at the hands of some psychotic marionettes, more frightening than that little dude from Saw. From an artistic standpoint, this one is up there with "Remain"... but to get an art film fan to watch it, you'd have to find one who could stomach either one of them.
Continuing with 1999's grainy, black and white, silent horror short "Chaos of Flesh" (from director Grady Granros and writer Tomas Almgren), LovecraCked delves into the psychological and the very twisted. This morality tale has a clincher one might find on the last page of a Vault of Horror comic, right on down to the bitter as Scottish Ale ending. A special, nervous laugh must be given to the striking make-up found in "Chaos of Flesh".
However, that's nothing compared to the make-up... or the FLESH of the next entry called "Re-Penetrator". This Pornographic spoof of Herbert West: Reanimator stars the incredibly hot porn actress Joanna "Burning" Angel (as either "Corpse Girl" or "Zombie Bitch" depending on the version you're watching) wearing not much more than zombie make-up (and that doesn't cover much) as she's re-animated and re-penetrated by the nefarious Dr. Hubert Breast (Tommy Pistol). Like just about everything in this film, "Re-Penetrator" can be pretty damned disturbing, even considering that this is considered the "Soft-Core Cut" (let me tell ya... the Hard Core... whoa!). Make no mistake, this segment is truly porn and truly zombie in nature, the combination of which might not sit too well with fans of either genre. Neither aspect has any pulled punches involved. In fact, the nature of this subject matter caused so much disturbance in the members of BurningAngel.com that the new website RePenetrator.com was launched for this film only. Strange, because one of Joanna Angel's prime claims to fame (among many... wow!) is her film The Xxxorcist.
Brian A. Bernhard's animated segment "And This Was on a Good Day" is the computer-enhanced cut-out cartoon that encapsulates some of the best of LovecraCked on the whole, as well as adding nightmare elements from out of nowhere. Cthulu would be proud... but kids, even Gilliam would be disturbed. It's a must for Lovecraft fans, to be sure, especially as his animated visage (on a funny cut-out body) guides us through this surreal mindscape equal parts South Park and Monty Python.
Naturally, this is Elias' baby, and his "Host Segments" are the guiding force through the entire experience (though when Angel is on the screen I pretty much forget he's even in it). His wrap-around feature is far from just piecemeal introduction segment, but a hilarious comic relief (actually needed through a lot of this) that takes us through as many varied interviews and locations as he can think of. His exploits bring him to a place that has nothing to do with Lovecraft (for the section on Lovecraft's birth), face to face with an angry dog, an angrier opposing film crew, a man-on-the-street interview with a snowman, interlaced with another interview with a scandal-drenched wall-street executive, and even to the offices of TROMA ENTERTAINMENT INC., complete with "Toxie" creator Lloyd Kaufman. While, like the movie on the whole, Elias does meander on occasion, and often the viewer will wonder just where the hell he thinks he's going with this (occasionally he seems to latch on to something funny and beat it to an ectoplasmic pulp), I can honestly say that this man is hilarious. His influence shine through, and he's internalized them well and made them his own. While maybe not "perfect", this guy's comic timing is fantastic. Further, he knows from scary, and seems to revel in this B-Movie world so many of us only get to visit through our DVD players.
Stay through the credits for some Smokey and the Bandit)-style Bloopers, as well as one last ultra-short animated segment called "Midnight Visitor" by Raymond Zablocki... then maybe some special features if you've got the DVD... that is... if you want to see Elias' Schlong, which I...
Independent films can be great, or can be crap. Elias' H.P. Lovecraft-inspired LovecraCked! The Movie is a while lot of both... but when it's crap, it's all intentional crap. Make no mistake, this might not be the GREATEST movie ever made (hey, edit that sentence with some ellipses and you've got a quote there), and it's most certainly not for all tastes (or even a large percentage of tastes), but it's a solid, scary, creepy, funny Science-Fiction/ Horror hybrid well worth the time of any serious fan of film making (with an iron constitution). Three and One Half Stars out of Five for LovecraCked! The Movie, a psycho-sexual romp through the surreal whether you want to go or not. Sick, Sick, Sick. Guys, you need help. I pray you never seek it, though. Give me more of this! Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to spend the next fourteen hours on the internet watching every streaming second of Joanna Angel's movies I can get my fingers on. She's not THAT scary... Hell, like "Witch's Spring"... it's totally worth it. Hey, maybe I could get my wife to watch these with me... I got her to come to our wedding, after all. See you in the next SURREEL!
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