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April 14, 2017

The Scarlet Scorpion (1990) and Deadtime Stories (1986) Double Movie Review

Just when I thought I was making a dent in the pile of tripe. I mean…no, that’s what I mean. As I get closer to the bottom of the stack of DVDs, sometimes I get a double disc and dammit, that means I’m really not that much closer to getting through this craptastic supply!
But this time it’s okay because these were actually kinda fun, for the most part.

The Scarlet Scorpion comes to us from Brazil. It opens with what looks like those news reels that used to play in theaters back in the 40s and 50s. After a few stories, it closes with the announcement that the long loved The Angel comic has been adapted for radio! People across the country are shown stopping EVERYTHING they do just to listen in each week. And I mean everything - even a local priest refuses to continue an exorcism because he’s got more important stuff to do! Like find out in this week’s chapter of The Scarlet Scorpion what that rapscallion bad guy is up to and who he's trying to kill!

As the show airs each week, it seems in the real world someone is mimicking the crimes portrayed in the show. Is there a real Scarlet Scorpion running around? Gloria, a local designer, is the only one who seems to connect the dots. The police laugh her out of the station but the director of the show thinks she might be on to something. So let’s create a fan based program around her theories! We never actually get to hear it, though, because the Scarlet Scorpion is targeting her next.

Will he kill Gloria to get her off his trail? Will Alvaro Aguiar, writer and creator, be able to save his lady love on the show AND in real life? Stay tuned to find out. But first, a word from our sponsor…

I don’t know if The Angel was a real comic/show in Brazil but this film definitely captures that aspect of life in the 50s when most people didn’t have smart phones and tablets or even fucking televisions (at least not yet) to entertain them. Lots of this film seems like a hat tip to that time people had to rely on their own imaginations to ‘see’ what was happening in a radio play. I really loved that aspect of this film.

You are getting sleepy...sleepy...I mean, you will enjoy this film. Enjooooooyyyy....

Now it’s pretty obvious Brazilians like their nudity and sex and jiggling boobs but nothing felt sexy while watching this. One scene is a strip tease/ burlesque style show and while the woman performing is gorgeous (she was a famous model at the time), she had all the sensuality of a stick of butter. Same for all the titillating up-crotch shots and full frontal female nudity. Not sure if the writers were going for a little exploitation or not but I think they missed regardless.

Acting is not great but I’m not all that surprised. It actually makes it a bit more enjoyable to watch the awkward performances in conjunction with the rather silly storyline, though the pacing dragged a bit through the middle.

Overall, while this is not a great movie, I’d say it is fun if you don’t mind a little camp
2 Hatchets (out of 5)

Speaking of camp and silly, my beloved 80s has delivered again with this fun little anthology film, Deadtime Stories.
Uncle Mike is babysitting his nephew, Brian. Brian, being the whiny little bitch he is, continually begs for Mike to tell him a story to help him sleep. Three stories later, we get an awesome and predictable ending but totally worth watching the whole film.

First story is about a couple of evil witches who plan to resurrect their dead sister. With the bought slave, Peter, they can procure the items needed for the spell (roots, plants, the left hand of a priest…wait, what?). He’s uncomfortable bringing people to the sisters to kill so when they plan to sacrifice a beautiful girl for their spell, he betrays them and runs off into the sunset for a happy ending (probably literally).

Granted, Little Brian hates that ending so Uncle Mike adds a quick “ah, look - they both die” to satisfy the little brat.

Second story is a modern horny spin on Red Riding Hood. Hey, Mike just agreed to babysit, not be an upstanding example for this kid. Apparently Rachel (Red) is a horny teenager that just thinks about sexing up her boyfriend. After picking up her granny’s meds at the store, instead of taking them home IMMEDIATELY, she runs off to the woods for some boinking in an abandoned shed. Okaaaay… Unfortunately, the pharmacist switched up granny’s pills with another guy, Willie, who needs to get the right medication before the full moon. Uh oh…

The final story is an interesting version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Baby and Papa Baer have escaped from a home for the Hopelessly Insane where they were serving out a combined sentence of 4,726 years. Wow. Mama Baer drives the getaway car. They hide out at their old house, now abandoned, while things calm down. They discover Goldie Lox, a telekinetic psychopath who’s been living there in their absence. She and Baby Baer hit it off and fall in love. While they all decide to go out to a local diner as their porridge is too hot to eat, the police show up and shoot the shit out of the house then just ASSUME everyone was inside and are now dead. Well that works out just fine for the Baers and Goldie because they just wanted to go off and live quiet lives anyway, after Goldie force chokes the waitress so they can get out of paying the bill.

Finally Little Brian goes to sleep but soon, the monster he keeps crying about that never appears to Uncle Mike, shows up and eats him. And Uncle Mike just assumes Brian’s still being a baby. AWESOME.

We can cover this with makeup, right? RIGHT?

This movie has everything you want in a fluff film - bad acting, silly humor, goofy plot lines, trite writing, terrible direction. The makeup and special effects aren’t awful but just bad enough to be entertaining. All the segments are ridiculous but the last one really has that John Waters over the top ridiculousness feel, which made it my least favorite but it was still pretty fun.

Nice little film to have on in the background while you’re doing something else or if you just don’t wanna think to0 much with your entertainment.

3 Hatchets (out of 5)

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