Friday, December 12, 2008

You Shouldn't Buy This

Last week, I unexpectedly had a little extra cash rattling around in my pocket, so I went to my favorite local movie store and bought this thing:



My thought process went something like, "Say, this sum'bitch is less than thirty dollars. That's like a buck a movie. Plus also which, I haven't seen any of these, and maybe there are some hidden gems in here. If I really like only two of these movies, then I can easily justify the purchase!"

I can't honestly say I'm terribly familiar with all of the various '"sploitation" genres that are being represented on this box-set (the twenty films are crammed onto three two-sided discs), and I've long felt that I might be missing out, genre fan that I am. So I took the plunge and bought it. I'm not even going to tell you what DVDs I put back in favor of this, for the shame I feel now is too great.

I've only watched one of the movies, and that's the only one I plan on watching. That film is Max Kalmanowicz's 1980 horror opus The Children, about a small town whose entire child population -- which must be pushing double digits -- is contaminated by some toxic, gaseous disaster, transforming all of them from children into...The Children. Which might sound to many of you like a lateral move at the absolute worst, but which is in fact a quite horrifying development, as it deadens their minds and turns their hands into deadly, flesh-melting weapons. Cutting off those hands is this film's equivalent of "destroy the brain and the body dies", nonsensical as that both sounds and is. But this is a film that introduces one female character as having a sister (or teenage daughter) who seems barely conscious, and to whom she feeds codeine tablets, only to have both the codeine feeder and the feed-ee drop out of the story within minutes. Also, before all the kids come back and start burning off everyone's skin, it's believed that they've been kidnapped, and upon hearing this information, the resident Bad Mother (she's rich and has a pool and sunbathes) says, "A kidnapping in Ravensback?? How exciting!!"

The Children looks and feels like an old TV movie, and I might think that's just what it was if it wasn't for the scene where there are boobies, and the other scene where that one guy says "handjob". The TV movie feel is enhanced by the DVD quality, which is rancid. The damn thing looks like it was transferred off of a VHS bootleg. And hey, what's this? Right at the end of the film, before the credits, the picture fritzes out with that rolling distortion, bleeding into static, that you used to get with old, well-used tapes. Hmmm....

The Grindhouse Experience retails on Amazon for $34.99. It's not worth $3.49. I'm taking this turd back to the store tomorrow, where I can get trade-in credit, and hopefully I'll be able to go home feeling a little less ripped-off. Before I do, though, it occurs to me that the picture quality of High School Hitch Hikers might not be so bad. I'd better give it a look...

5 comments:

Rick Olson said...

the picture quality of High School Hitch Hikers might not be so bad. I'd better give it a look...

We'll expect a full report in the morning ...

Fox said...

Man, that didn't sound as bad as I thought you were gonna make it sound.

I would through this past the eyes or Arbo before selling it back. $10 bucks says he's seen at least half of them and can tell you if it's worth it or not.

p.s. Was Samuel Fuller's White Dog one of the movies you passed up?

bill r. said...

Maybe I wasn't clear, but the films themselves are less the issue than the fact that the DVDs all look like shit. I threw in a mini-review of The Children just for something to do.

PS to Fox (in answer to your PS) - as a matter of fact, it was.

Ed Howard said...

Really, what were you expecting? These kinds of cheapie public domain collections usually go for much less than $30 though, that's a ripoff.

I for one think the myth of the movie that's "so bad it's good" is way overhyped. Give me a movie that's so good it's good any day.

bill r. said...

Ed, in my experience, the public domain DVD sets you're referring to usually wear their shittiness on their sleeves: the packaging is cheap, the images on the box are faded, etc. And they usually cost around ten bucks. This one was pricier, and looked more slick. I thought maybe the company was along the lines of Blue Underground or Anchor Bay or something. I was wrong. I got suckered.

But I returned it today, along with several other DVDs I never really wanted, and walked out of the store with three movies I'm happy to have in my collection. I still got kinda hosed on the deal, but that's my fault.

As for the "so bad it's good" philosophy, I generally agree with you, although I do enjoy bad movies on occasion. But I figured the odds were in my favor that a couple of these movies might have been forgotten gems. And maybe one or two were, but I'm not going to sit through those muddy transfers to find out.

Followers