I love few things in life more than a nice toasty charred piece of meat and giant eyeballs, so when I ran across the movie, Burnt Offerings, from 1976 with Bettie Davis in one of the lead rolls, I had to dig in. Not to mention, with a name like Burnt Offerings, what could go wrong? Well, as it turns out, loads.
The film opens with a family (a man, a woman, and a small human boy I think) traveling in a car on their way to a summer vacation spot, which as the ominous music strongly indicates, is Dark Overlord Krisenfarg’s pad in Hellfireville. When the family arrives at the giant rundown house owned by two old people incredibly deficient in not psychotic social skills, it is clear; this rental situation is no less than bigtime fucked.
The woman explains to the old people ( I think she is talking to them. The actress playing the woman is moderately crossed-eye and I can never tell where she is looking which is just like my friend growing up with the lazy eye who had me convinced there was something extremely weird right behind me for just under seven years) that they will not be taking the house alone because Aunt Elizabeth (Bettie Davis!) will be joining them (thank Christ). The old lady assures the family that, “The house will take care of itself and you won’t believe it! It comes alive, tell them, brother! (I am guessing that the old man is her brother and she is Mickey Rourke.) Anyway, there are centuries of horribleness in this house and only nine-hundred dollars for the whole summer!”
When the family questions this generous payment arrangement, the old lady mentions one tiny stipulation, “Oh yeah, our mother will stay here too and she just stays in her room and you will never see her and don’t worry about it and all you have to do is leave a tray of food outside of her room three times a day everyday and that’s all.” Nothing strange about that. Nope, no problems here. We’ll take it!
The family arrives back at the house a few weeks later to start their fun family vacation in the big scary old and alive with pure steamy evil house for the summer. They find that the elderly siblings have left the house fully stocked with many foods and they left one bedroom fully stocked with their really very old mother who will never come out of her room and everyone is fine with that and I feel like something bad will happen with the food and especially about the Ding-Dongs.
At first, things seem to be going all right, as long as you are fine with a really old invisible mom and mild to moderate old-timey car bald man hallucinations and a remarkably violent for no reason swimming pool. Of course, the good times start to go south fairly rapidly when the man demands to see the invisible really old broad in the room who the woman leaving trays of sandwiches and creams of wheats for is really shady about and the house starts to change and is destroying them and the man is catatonic for a little bit and Bettie Davis makes terrible guttural noises for a while and I won’t say that she dies brutally because I don’t want to ruin this for you guys.
The man finally decides they need to get the hell out of there, most likely after running out of chips and delicious scotch and they all get into the car and then the woman decides she needs to go back in to tell the invisible really old mother that they are leaving and maybe leave her a bowl of oatmeal or something. Once inside, the woman starts straightening pictures and other goddamn idiotic things until the man finally goes in after her and some really not good stuff happens to all of them. I won’t spoil it, but I am guessing the house will be back up for rent in no time.
Aside from my mild disappointment in the lack of Bettie Davisness in this film, I still say it is worth a watch. I am giving it one angry thumb up. Now, who wants a Ding-Dong?
I’ll be honest, I started at least three different films, each encompassing various elements of the appealing variety (magical hot babysitters, rape and write mean and unflattering notes Dennis Quaid, drunk screamy Patty Duke married to William Shatner acting, etc.), but when I started a movie that opened with a crazy 1970’s Liz Taylor playing ping-pong with Michael Caine, I was hooked. The film that I settled upon is from 1972 and titled, XY & Zee (which makes sense because Liz’s character is called Zee and the other people in the movie have letters in their names).
As I mentioned, the opening scene is a ping-pong battle shot in fancy slow-motion and stuff. So, who will win? We should know in seven hours. Luckily, the film switches to regular-motion and the game wraps up, but to be fair, I would have watched Liz/Caine slow-motion ping-pong for eight hours. I don’t have a lot going on right now. Spoiler: Liz (Zee) wins. and then there is some chasty…? And goosing…? (Look, I could not quite make out what my notes said. Also, it may have been my grocery list.)
Now they are at a party and everyone is drunk. It is obvious, at this party, that Caine (X) is some kind of a sculpture expert, and he bigtime digs broads. He spots a woman (Y, I presume) whom he fancies and casually asks if she needs a bodyguard because that is a really smooth thing to ask a stranger at a party. Caine (X) then asks if she (Y) is a lady of leisure and if he is well dressed. He might be autistic. Liz (Zee) comments that the woman (Y) looks like a bag of bones, which reminds me, I need holiday cards.
Now they are playing pool, but mysteriously, still talking about ping-pong and steak dinners. I seemed to have jotted down “Prone to weeping if anything nice happens” on a piece of paper, but that could just be my notes from tap dancing therapy. So anyway, Cainex asks the womany out in front of Lizzee, his wife. Did I mention they are married? They are married.
The womany agrees to dinner with Cainex and they talk about having two times to fall in love, one is true and one is false and something about cabbage I think and they do the sex and Cainex wants an egg and then he leaves.
Cainex returns back to the house he shares with Lizzee to find her blaring what I have written down as either fundly or funky music. It’s probably fundly. Lizzee yells to Cainex, who is clearly getting all gussied up to go out, “You can’t go at it every night.” To which Cainex replies, “Why don’t you take a lover?” I am no scientist, but this relationship seems moderately fucked.
I won’t go into detail, but surprisingly (not at all surprising. Dogs know it), circumstances result in Lizzee, Cainex, and Womany having a romantic dinner at home together. Should be fine. It’s not fine. Lizzee promptly instructs Cainex to “Make the ladies a martini, Boobie” and then Cainex shouts to Lizzee, “Wouldn’t you like to chew on a bone or a piece of gristle or something?” Obviously, this is an invite for the three of them to go out to dinner instead.
The three of them go out to dinner, but Cainex leaves in a huff and the two women are left alone to exchange stories which result in a series of flashing to each of their faces while they repeatedly shout, “NO YOU! NO YOU!” while hysterically cackling. Guys, it was weird and now I feel like someone slipped them some acid or overcooked their meats.
Also, it is indicated at some point that Womany is actually a repressed lesbian and she likes to eat things. I mean steak. So, the lesbian dinner fades out and back at home, Cainex wants to go over bills, but Lizzee wants to ride horses and wear fun hats so Cainex ties her up with a belt and then they do it. I mean sex.
Some other things happen and Womany is scared of crazy Lizzee so Cainex and Womany go on a trip together to get away from Lizzee. Cainex returns from the Womany sexy trip to find Lizzee packing his things, telling him to leave and also, “She’ll get fat once she has a man; I’ve seen her eat, you know.”
Now suddenly Cainex is looking for a place to live with Womany. This apartment search is immediately followed by the weirdest pre- divorce conversation between Cainex and Lizzee, complete with porno music in the background. Then Lizzee slits her wrists in the tub and she bleeds a lot and ruins the bathroom for people.
Womany goes to visit Lizzee in the hospital and then she talks about her dead husband and his slow cancer to cheer her up. Meanwhile, Cainex is making out with his secretary all of a sudden in his office building and Womany tells Lizzee that she was expelled from school for making out with a nun really bad.
Now Lizzee is out of the hospital and goes to see Womany at her new place that she shares with Cainex and they bang while Cainex is off bonking his secretary(Q?). Cainex returns to find Lizzee at his new place and Womany naked in their bed and then Lizzee says, “Come on daddy, baby wants something to eat. It’s been a hell of a day” and then they hug and it is over.
I am giving it one angry thumb up for the heavily implied ladynun on lady and actual happening wife on mistress action and because I love steak meats and playing that fundly music.
I ran across the movie, Don’t Go In The House, from 1979 by chance, and the title reminded me of my niece once saying, “Guys, I have a question. Don’t go outside.” While I realize that is not a question, the advice , is sound. (At least in the film it is, I have no idea what the out of doors situation was like to cause my niece such great concern.)
Like all of you, I admire a movie where a man catches on fire straight away; great, now I am hungry again. Anyway, as the movie progresses to the next scene, I start to get a very familiar feeling…it reminds me of another film, but I can’t quite put my hairy, yet remarkably useful finger on it…a young man who lives with his abusive, overbearing, religious mother…a bed and breakfast of some sort is coming to mind…one word title…Patholigist…Pediatrician…Sociopath…anyone? I give up.
So, the young man, Donald finds his mother dead in the house and takes it…badly. This is displayed by a zoom in on his face, which is making a series of ugly expressions, not unlike someone eating a piece of bad fish or getting a whiff of a one and a half star motel room in Oklahoma.
Donald does what anyone would do in his troubling position, he pretends she is just asleep and demands that she drink her tea. At this point, the tea thing is not happening and that is when the random voices say he is free and he can do whatever he likes. Obviously, he plays his disco music super loud and jumps on the furniture and smokes and fucks up some Precious Moments figurines real bad.
The figurines are clearly the last straw and Donald starts to hear his dead mother’s voice too-so he checks on her- yup, still dead. Now, things start to get weird and he sees flashbacks of his mother abusing him, you know, like holding his little arms over huge flames on the stove (gas, obviously), but in all fairness, she did warn him not to run and/or yell inside the house.
At this point, Donald is still hearing the voices, which is very distracting while driving and separating the whites from darks on laundry day. Okay, so now he spots a woman at a plant/flower shop and the shop is closed, but he begs her to just sell him something simple for his sick (dead, so really sick) mother and she does, reluctantly.
Now, plant lady has missed her bus and wide-eyed, Donald offers her a ride. After plant lady accepts, he suggests stopping by his house to drop off the flowers to his mother. Again, she hesitantly agrees. This can only be a mistake. (Dogs know it.) He eventually gets her to come inside to say hi to his mother, who undoubtedly, will be unable to have much to say back.
The plant lady starts wandering around the house, seeing strange, but typical, dead/abusive/mother/awkward/disconcerting/delusional/son stuff. It is now clear that Donald has a problem with using inside voices, as he yells and makes plant lady jump, “Mother must be upstairs!!’
Big surprise, she’s not upstairs, and something really bad happens, but let’s not spoil it. (You’re chained to the ceiling, naked-go!) I won’t say why, but it is apparent at this juncture, that Donald has some mild to moderate fire abuse issues and his friend at work, Bill (who looks a bit like Bill Pullman) speculates on this very matter.
By this time, Donald (who I am just now noticing looks remarkably like Bill Bixby) has found his thing (giving unsuspected, stranded women a ride and then setting them on fire, maybe). It is, at this moment, abundantly clear to me that, Don’t Go Into The House should have been called, Don’t Need/Take A ride From Some Guy That Looks Like Bill Bixby.
Donald (Donaldbill)’s friend from work (Pullman look alike, Billbill) tells him that if he is not at work Monday, he is out of a job. Donaldbill assures Billbill he will show up (as soon as he is finished punishing his dead mother, by burning a bunch of random broads, like his head voice friends want; he does not mention that part to Billbill).
Now Donaldbill has decided he needs some order around here, and instructs the crispy, not living dames to “Stop laughing!” This should not be too difficult because nothing is particularly funny and no good shows are on and they are dead. Midway through, I pretty much have the gist of this movie (hears voices, flame broils dames, mom laughs, I get it) and just want it to end.
However, apparently, Donaldbill has also grown a bit weary of his routine and decides to call his only friend from work, Billbill to hang out. Billbill says he has an even better idea and that they should go to a disco because he has “Two live ones.” (I can only assume he means two women who are not dead, which admittedly, would be a refreshing change for Donaldbill.)
Billbill advises Donaldbill to look snazzy for the disco date, so Donaldbill picks out a fancy new disco suit, and now we are cooking! (No offense burnt dead ladies.)
Once at the disco, there is a bit of snap dancing happening, but Donaldbill does not want to snap dance, so his date snap dances with some other dude and Donaldbill promptly sets her hair on fire with a candle (so, presumably, no second date for them).
Anyway, after lots of screaming, Donaldbill runs off and drives away and picks up more women, blah blah, fire, blah blah, voices, blah blah…zzzzzzzz…
Basically, this is just a movie about a motherboy, who burns women to a crisp big time and also enjoys disco music sometimes, but definitely not snap dancing of any kind, standing in front of a dead mother, with an apparent predilection for Precious Moments figurines, who won’t drink her tea, wanting to be loved.
I’m giving this movie one angry thumb up because I have yet to figure out how to make my thumb go down, however, I assure you, it is the angriest thumb of all. Get off my back. Now, who wants S’mores?
I can do a remarkable impersonation of Michael Caine introducing himself and then eating an invisible banana (or whatever invisible fruit is preferable and in season at the time). It was at a party, while doing that very impression and pantomiming fruit eating that I first learned of the film The Island, from 1980, starring Michael Caine. The film starts strong, and much like Tom had Rene at hello (I was once held captive and forced to watch Jerry Maguire and listen to Color Me Badd for fourteen hours, which is how I learned English and shame and that I do not care for small, blonde, mostly balding gorillas with above average-sized heads), The Island had me at axe-wielding pirates, people in small swimming bottoms, and numerous flying bloody body parts.
Michael Caine plays a reporter who plans to go and investigate the disappearance of a number of sail boats and yachts in the Caribbean, but his ex-wife throws a human wrench into the works by dropping off their son with him for the weekend unexpectedly. Caine decides to bring his young son along on the investigation with the promise of a fun trip to Disney World (just as soon as they solve the whole missing boat mystery because surely that won’t take up the entire weekend). They set out on a drive, stopping along the way to maybe grab a snack, buy a gun for the kid to play with on the way to Disney World, and take a leak. They then hop into a tiny plane with a shady (he is decidedly sweaty and wearing little shorts) pilot, and after a crash landing of sorts, they all flee the wreckage mere moments before it explodes.
Caine and his boy find themselves on an island, which is pretty much abandoned, save for some old nut-ball man and some law officer type person. Caine tries to make the most of their misfortune by renting one of the crazy man’s boats and taking his son fishing (practically the same thing as Disney World, so everyone wins). Things seem pleasant for the moment, I mean, what could possibly sully a nice relaxing fishing excursion? An ill-tempered pirate with a great big knife jumping up out of the water
and onto your little boat that you rented from some wack-job on a desolate island. The good news is Caine still has his boy’s gun and shoots the tetchy pirate, killing him. The bad news is there are more pirates with more really big knives and now they are really mad.
The indignant pirates take Caine and his boy to another island with nothing but a shit-ton of fuming pirate men and one livid, very recently widowed (by Caine’s gun-toting hand) pirate woman. After a fair trial of spitting and shouting and laughing and taunting and setting various things on fire, the pirates decide that Caine should be the widow’s new thruster man and make a baby with her in the hopes of strengthening their gross, incesty bloodline (let’s face it, these guys are not getting out to the clubs to pick up non sister/mom/daughter/cousin/aunt/grandmother dames much) with Caine’s wang. It is also deemed appropriate to take Caine’s boy, rename him Rhubarb or something, and turn him into a ruthless blood-thirsty murderer who hates his real dad (Caine) and only answers to his new dad (Crabbypants Pirate). As you can imagine, a process resulting in changing everything one has ever known or loved as the base of their well-being and very existence would take a while, like a good two to three hours.
Caine (now prisoner/breeder man) and his boy (now biological dad hater/new little brat pirate) are brought along on the next yacht pillaging raid, upon which Caine notices many large bags of cocaine and the pirates encounter and kill many drunk/high people and one ready to fight everyone while donning only his tiny underpants guy. Fortuitously, some Coast Guard people are looking for this cocaine and stumble upon the pirate yacht takeover and things seem to be looking up. My point is, cocaine saves people. Or, maybe not and they are all severely knived and die horribly. But, as luck would have it, there are plenty more Coast Guard people and lots of cocaine to find…so that all of them can be brutally slaughtered too, leading to some confusing Coast Guard radio talk, “Our men were attacked by pirates.” “Pilates?” “Pirates.” “Pyrex?” “Pirates.” “Prom dates?” “PIRATES!” Now, I don’t want to spoil things for you, but let’s just say Micheal Caine suddenly turns into Rambo and we all know there is nothing like a giant blood bath to remind you who your real daddy is. All right, we’re going to Disney World!
I am giving The Island one angry thumb up because, in the words of a reasonably furry man who is wise in the ways of life, love, and oatmeal, “It’s the right thing to do and a tasty way to do it. Diabeetus.”
Once again, I found myself hanging around at home with my bunny pal, Edgar Esther Constabulary, snacking on various fruits, drinking copious amounts of whiskey, and needing to watch a film with Christopher Walken in it. (I have always loved him, mainly because we have similar indomitable fur issues.) I was fortunate enough to run across the delightfully gross cult classic, The Sentinel, from 1977, and as if the primate gods were smiling rather than hurling poop from above, it even has a touch of Jeff Goldblum in it. (I love him too, but for different reasons that you would not understand. I was young and I needed the money.)
The Sentinel stars Cristina Raines, who plays a young, tall, thin, gorgeous model and Chris Sarandon, who plays a lawyer who is boning the young, leggy, beautiful model, Cristina, but who was married to a woman who jumped off of a bridge and fell to her death, specifically because her husband was boning a young, ravishing, statuesque model with lovely porcelain like skin. Sarandon and Raines are living together as lawyer and model, but Raines decides she wants to get a place of her own, so her realtor, played by the legendary, Ava Garner, shows her a super terrifying, old, huge, suspiciously under priced house/building place with a scary looking blind priest who lives on the top floor and just stares out his window all day at nothing in particular because he cannot see. Obviously, she takes the place.
Promptly after moving in, Raines starts to meet her neighbors, who other than the aggressive public masturbation displays during tea time and cat surprise parties where they say, “black and white cat, black and white cake” repeatedly, seem pretty normal to her, apparently warranting no need for excessive concern on her part just yet. Once Raines does get that subtle twinge of say, maybe stuff is a little crazy fucked around here, things start to escalate pretty quickly. Let’s just say, if you like old naked men and lesbians who point and laugh a bunch and Beverly D’Angelo’s boobs, but you are not terribly attached to parakeets and cats and human faces looking like what you have grown somewhat accustom to them looking like, you won’t be disappointed.
When Gaines’ new living situation finally gets problematic enough for her (like the fact that all of her neighbors, with whom she has danced, dined, and celebrated cats, turn out to actually be dead murderers of themselves and others), she starts spending more time at her lawyer boyfriend’s place and expressing to him and a couple of detectives, one of whom is played by Christopher Walken (at last), all of the unpleasant bizarre crap she has been through in her new charming home (of Satan). Sarandon mistrusts his girl’s stories at first, but after doing some researchy lawyer stuff at the library, he discovers some pretty freaky shit is about to go down in Gaine’s new home that may or may not be the passage way to the gates of hell and the living quarters of a bunch of not particularly attractive dead people and one gross blind priest.
Sarandon asks a friend to stay with Gaines while he goes to Satan’s house to try to fix everything, expressing his concern to the friend for Gaines’ safety and even her life, but the friend is throwing a party that night and has all of the little cakes and hats already so it cannot be canceled to shut down the gates of hell. Luckily, thinking fast, Sarandon helpfully suggests, “Let her come to your party, she’ll love it.” Against all odds, Gaines does not love the party because she feels like she might die and/or be perennially tortured; she decides to go and find her lawyer boyfriend at the awful terrible building to feel better.
The last bit of this film gets exceptionally nuts with no shortage of dead people, all suggesting that they go to hell and be together where everyone is really deformed and suicidal, dead lesbians eat parakeets and cats and your boyfriend’s face. Don’t worry, it all works out in the end pretty much, except that every living soul who enters the evil house building is eternally doomed and the abominable, and the murderers, and the whoremongers, and the sorcerers, and the idolaters, and the liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Well, good night.
I give this film one angry thumb up because my only complaint is that it did not have enough Christopher Walken and not nearly enough Jeff Goldblum and I am all out of whiskey and I just swallowed my gum.