Saturday, June 7, 2014

Around The World In Widescreen By William O Donnell

Around The World in Widescreen

My good friend Gorehound Mike seems to have a lock on coverage and reviews of the US/Australian/

English speaking countries’ wild, weird, and wonderfully wacky films, so he asked me to do a column for

him about the world-wide weird and wonderfully wacky cinema masterpieces.

This time around, a classic fantasy adventure from Indonesia rubs shoulders with a more recent

scatological Japanese take on the undead.

“The Devil’s Sword” (1984) – Director Ratno Timoer, Starring Barry Prima

This masterpiece of Indonesian bargain-basement filmmaking, no doubt inspired by the stream

of sword-and-sorcery movies seeing release in the USA and Europe, features at its core a loose

interpretation of the Javanese legend South Seas Queen, here known as the Crocodile Queen (portrayed

by Gudi Sintara). This queen demands sacrifices from the local villages, young, virile men to satisfy her

urges, and sends her lead warrior Banyunjaga (Advent Bangun) to crash a wedding party to procure a

groom. The heroic Mandala (Barry Prima), passing through, becomes embroiled in the struggle—

*sigh* So much for an attempt to provide a legitimate synopsis of the plot. It becomes so completely

bonkers from the beginning that any sort of linear analysis can be frustrating. Gory special effects-
laden fight scenes, a rock outcropping seeing use as a flying surfboard, “crocodile men,” (when you see

them, you’ll understand the quotation marks), a wind tunnel parasol, a deadly “Flying Guillotine“-esque

hat, arguably the worst movie monster ever fabricated, death ray duels, a killer scarf, and the titular

sword which Prima’s character Mandala and the kidnapped groom’s bride-to-be, who screenwriter

Imam Tantowi apparently forgot to name but is played by Enny Christina, somehow wind up on a

quest to retrieve, if the rival mystical warriors who fight over it don’t get to it first. Will the mystically

powered Devil’s Sword be enough for Mandala and What’s Her Name to defeat the Crocodile Queen

and Banyunjaga? It doesn’t matter, but you’ll have a great time finding out. If bizarre trashy world

cinema is your thing, this slice of crazy bad-tertainment should satisfy your tastes.

“Zombie Ass: Toilet of the Dead” (2011) – Director Noboru Iguchi, starring Arisa Nakamura

From taste to no taste, this film from the director of “Dead Sushi” (which is tame by comparison), and

the “F is for Fart” segment of The ABCs of Death, will single-handledly raise the “bananas” bar almost

impossibly high. This movie is less concerned with red stuff than (ick) brown stuff, as five kids go on a

fishing trip of some sort. Schoolgirl outfitted karate expert Megumi, full-figured model Maki, geeky Joey

Ramone-a-like Naoi, brainy girl Aya, and her drug-addled boyfriend Take seem to not do a lot of fishing,

as they’re too busy finding an intestinal parasite for Maki to ingest for weight loss purposes (!). After she

swallows one down, she quickly develops an urgent need for a toilet. She finds an outhouse, in which

she is attacked from below by an excrement-covered zombie, who begins throwing the waste at the

main characters. The zombie is joined in no time by other zombies, so our main characters must dodge

the zombies, the anal parasites that create them, and figure out the ulterior motives of a biologist with

sketchy motives. If you liked “Dreamcatcher,” but you thought it wasn’t anal-centric enough, this ought

to hit the mark just fine.

There’s plenty of kung-fu action, ass-backward crab-walking zombies, multiple disgusting bodily

functions, a better story than one might expect (it might not sound that way, but believe it), and a “big

boss” videogame-styled duel at the end, in which the final survivor utilizes farts as a propulsion system,

leads right into an ending with leaves this ‘Zombie Ass” wide open for a sequel.

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