Saturday, January 24, 2009

The saddest part is that I wasn't kidding about wanting to hit that

Back in the 80's, any struggling/aspiring filmmaker who wanted to make a quick buck could make a horror movie and put that shit out on VHS or Beta. Because back then, video stores were as numerous as McDonald's chains and those places would take ANY movie available just so they could have product to stock their shelves with. The movie didn't even have to be good, it just needed blood, a couple of titties somewhere, and a cool video box cover for suckers to want to rent it. Some filmmakers didn't even let the lack of film stock stop them -- they just shot the whole thing on video.

One such shot-on-video flick is 555, which I watched along with another flick that I'll write about next time. I watched them back-to-back, along with some Jack & Cokes and a bunch of popcorn because I'm a fat drunk.

555 starts out with an old man walking down a beach in the middle of the night, while somewhere nearby two naked guys make out. I'm sorry, that's one guy and one unfortunately heroin-thin and flat-chested girl making out. It isn't long before some guy shows up with a knife, makes quick work of the guy and takes his time with the girl, as they always do in these movies. The old man finds the bodies and the next day he's being questioned in a public access television stage passing itself off as a detective's office. The cops do everything in this room -- eat, sleep, interrogate people, but I guess you have no choice when your police station only consists of one office, one hallway, two detectives, two uniformed cops, and the Captain's voice coming from a speakerphone (I assume he's calling from home).

The detectives are played by guys who look to be at least in their mid-forties, which I found believable compared to the photogenic models they have playing cops nowadays. You got a guy with blow-dried helmet hair, you have the district attorney who looks like a local anchorman and then you got this dude who looks like Todd Barry on crystal meth. Det. Todd Barry is the loose cannon maverick kind of cop while Det. Helmet Hair is the more sensible type. D.A. Anchorman only appears in like three scenes, so fuck him. We find out that the old man is a retired Army colonel, and that's all the cops find out because the questioning goes nowhere. He claims that the killer was a hippie, judging by the way he dressed and looked. Whatever dude, they're all hippies to guys like you. The Colonel is let go, leaving Det. Todd Barry pissed because he's sure the old dude is guilty.

Two more young lovers are getting it on in a van, with the guy saying such sexy things like "Ohhhh, yeah that's it, don't stop. Uhhhh pleeeeease, unnnnhhhh" and then the chick opens up her blouse and takes one breast out like she's gonna give milk to her baby and the guy's reaction to this is to put both hands over his chest, shake his head back and forth and go "Unnnnhhhh!", like he doesn't want it. They cuddle up and the chick goes on about how she can't wait until after they graduate so they can get married(!) and have more nights alone together without worrying about her parents coming home. The guy responds with "Yeah, and no more gettin' it on in a van neither!". He's got that right, because the killer shows up and knifes the dude across the back of the neck. He then ties up the chick and cuts her up while she screams the same exact dubbed scream they used on the previous lady victim.

Let's talk about that repeatedly used scream. It sounds like they got a 50-year old former opera singer who has since gone to seed and destroyed her voice with alcohol abuse and too many cigarettes to do it. Or, they got a fat dude to scream in as high a pitch as possible. Either one sounds about right. What makes it worse is that apparently the filmmakers did not instruct their screamer to cry out in pain, but rather told him or her to scream in reaction to the on-screen events. That's two completely different kinds of screaming. It's amusing, to say the least.

Dissolve to the next morning as our cops are at the crime scene, looking over the bodies. Looks like there's a serial killer on the loose, one whose M.O. is to kill love-making couples and then have sex with the female's dead body afterwards. Yup. The scene is intruded upon by the kind of Nosy Lady Reporter who always show up in these flicks. It goes exactly the way you'd think it would go; she asks the cops questions, they tell her to go fuck herself, she gives them some lip, and they have her escorted out of the premises. How much you wanna bet she does that whole "The people have a right to know!" routine as she's being walked out?

Now a word on the Nosy Reporter. Like the cops in this flick, she also appears to be pushing fifty. She's got that extra heft that only middle-age brings to a person, and her neck and chin blend in like mine does. She looks like my third grade teacher, minus the granny glasses. She looks like someone who likes to gossip with the other moms in the neighborhood. She even sounds her age. Look, I know I'm an asshole, I'm just saying that this is one of those flicks where the reporter should be a hot chick in her mid-twenties. I know that probably doesn't make it realistic, but that's just how it is in these flicks and they're not doing it that way here. Which is not to say that a woman pushing 50 can't be hot, because I've seen my fair share of very attractive mature women. I'm just saying that this lady ain't one of them. Calm down, I'm simply judging her by YOUR standards, not mine. I'm so fucking horny and in desperate need of getting laid that I would definitely hit that and come back for seconds. But any other red-blooded male or lesbian under 30? No dice.

The District Attorney digs her though, in fact it's public knowledge that she and him know each other rather intimately. You get the sense that's the only reason the cops don't just straight out smack her. They figure their boy D.A. Anchorman has that shit under control, especially when he admits he's only sleeping with her because literally being in bed with the press has its advantages. Too bad Ms. Nosy Reporter hears all of this while eavesdropping on him.

By the way, is it Cat-Fucking-Season right about now? I ask because as I write this, some cat is going MMMMMOOOOOOOOWWWWWWRRRRRRRR outside and freaking me out. The sound is coming closer and closer towards my shack. If the cat's in heat then that's okay, it's just looking for another cat. Otherwise, the only other possible answer is that there's a Devil Cat coming to feast on my immortal soul and I really hope that isn't the case here.

So Todd Barry and Helmet Hair go to the Colonel's house to question him some more, and when they find a collection of knives and swords in the next room, the colonel loses his cool and kicks them out. Looks like they got themselves a prime suspect. He isn't, though, just so you know. After they leave, Ms. Nosy Reporter arrives and gets on the Colonel's good side by showing off her matronly figure and letting him shove his face into her breasts. A make-out session follows. If you like watching old people swap spit, then you came to the right place, my man. At least they look compatible, which is easy since they're probably no more than ten years apart in age. In the end, this scene doesn't do anything for the movie but show that Ms. Nosy Reporter is not above whoring herself out just to land The Big Scoop.

As the movie progresses, we get a better look at the killer. He wears a long-sleeved floral pattern shirt, has long unkempt hair and a long beard to match, making him look a little bit like Peter Jackson if he went nuts and disappeared halfway through production on Lord of the Rings. Mr. Jackson finds another couple bumping uglies in some graffiti-covered shack and while the girl takes a bathroom break, he chops the dude's fingers and head off. It's a pretty nifty effect actually, but I was slightly more interested in the graffiti in the background, specifically the big "555". It's cool to see a movie promote itself like that. When the girl comes back, Peter Jackson does the tie-her-up and slice-her-up thing he likes to do, then we're treated to the sad sight of him fucking her corpse.

It's really depressing, because the way he's lazily humping her and the way she just lies there motionless reminds me of the last couple of girls I slept with. They were just doing me a favor and you can tell they had other things on their mind, meanwhile I'm thinking that I'm some fuckin' stud, a stud with a fat hairy belly bumping against their navel while giving them such hot dirty talk as "Is that good? Am I doing all right? Is that okay? Do you like that?" said in the most pathetically eager-to-please voice possible. Fucking sad.

The detectives find out that Peter Jackson has been a bad boy for a much longer time than originally suspected. The Captain informs them that Jackson has been traveling around the country for about twenty years, and every five years he's killed five couples over the course of five nights. 555, get it? The reason the detectives didn't know about this until now is because it's been kept on the DL in all of the affected cities so as not to cause any copycat killings. Now he's here and has killed three couples so far, leaving the cops only two nights to stop the motherfucker before losing him for another five years.

Well, make that one night to stop him, because now we're watching another couple in a bedroom doing some pre-coital chatting. The dude resembles Mitch Hedberg circa 1999 and the girl reminds me of the kind of chicks I used to jerk off to on the Spice Channel (thanks cable descrambler!). Come to think of it, this whole movie looks like a porno, only with all the XXX scenes taken out. Kinda like what they did to my boys' stag film in Bachelor Party. What's that line, "I usually don't like my filth this clean"? That movie was awesome, definitely Tom Hanks' best flick, his purest work before he got all Oscar-friendly playing gay dudes and retards. Anyway, our couple hears a noise, so Mitch Hedberg gets up and takes a knife with him to check on the noise. A few seconds later, he returns with an even bigger knife shoved into his throat. Upon seeing this, the girl starts screaming with a smile on her face, then takes the idea of a "security blanket" literally. Stab stab stab die die die. End of scene.

Okay, I'm hearing more of the MMMOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW now, but it sounds like there's also another slightly less freaky MOOOWWW joining it, so I guess it's just two cats about to fuck. Good, that means my soul is safe for now. Those cats in heat remind me of something that happened when I was 11 or 12. My buddy Jerry was spending the night at my house and after all the pizza and video games, we decided it was time to hit the hay. And to suck each other's cocks. Disregard that last part, I was just trying to beat you assholes to the punch. Anyway, about ten minutes later we hear a bunch of cats in heat doing their whole mating call in the backyard. It was fucking exaggerated how loud and crazy these cats were going, like the backyard was filled with the feline equivalent of drunk fratboys looking for some sorority snatch. If these cats had opposable thumbs, they'd probably be holding up little plastic cups of beer yelling the Cat version of WOOOO! or PAAAARRRRTYYYYY! like they're doing right now. Suddenly, I hear someone in the house walk down the hall and all the way to the back door. It's my mother, who then opens the door and angrily tells the cats in Spanish to get out of the yard. The cats stop. It gets completely quiet. Then out of the far end of the yard, one of the cats goes RRREEEERRRR! which I'm guessing is Cat for "Shut up, bitch!". Jerry and I started busting up, it was so funny. We laughed so much, we couldn't sleep after that. So we went back to playing video games and sucking each other's cocks.

Ms. Nosy Reporter breaks into the detectives' office and goes through their files. She finds out that the killer is actually District Attorney Anchorman, so she tells the two cops and they all go together to find the crazy bastard before he commits the final murder. Well, Big Massive Fail on that plan because the next shot consists of a bloody naked dead man on the floor, a helpless tied-up woman next to him, and Peter Jackson/Anchorman standing over them both with his knife. He slices her up a bit and then cuts her throat. Then he has sex with the dead body.

Police sirens are heard approaching, which causes Peter Jackson/Anchorman to stop mid-hump, look up at the sky and scream "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!". He then continues raping the dead girl. I think the idea was supposed to be that he realizes that the police have arrived and he has to hurry, but it comes off more like he's part Dog and the sirens hurt his ears momentarily.

These fucking cops, man. The rest of the time they'd been spending the movie talking and talking and talking and talking in that shitty office of theirs. They'd been having leisurely lunches at some hot dog joint that was bigger and more populated than their own police station. They'd been taking naps in that goddamn office with a bottle of booze to keep them company. They'd been trading important dialogue like how long before one should buy the other a ham sandwich for lunch. Only after ALL of that boring shit do they finally get on the ball and even then it was the fucking reporter who broke the case. And did I mention the killer succeeded in killing his five couples? These cops fucking suck.

A short foot chase ensues, ending when Peter Jackson/Anchorman is trapped behind a fence he apparently didn't think was worth climbing. Both detectives catch up and blow the necrophiliac motherfucker away. Ms. Nosy Reporter goes over and kicks the dead son-of-a-bitch, less likely for all the victims and more likely for all the shit he talked about her behind her back. She and her men then walk away, I assume to go eat some more hot dogs and ham sandwiches. We then watch a repeat of the murder scenes intercut with D.A. Anchorman lying dead in the street. Roll credits and cue porn music.

The story goes that this movie came together after some dude supposedly told his wife one day that he could make a better horror movie than some of the shit that'd been stinking up the local video store, so he got some cash and some friends together and made this lovely movie. I give him points for having gotten off his ass and actually making something, but that's about it. The end credits promote future productions from the dude but it never happened, and since he died in 2006, it never will.

I first heard about this movie on some movie forum, where they lumped it in with other shot-on-video trash faves like Boardinghouse. Now THAT movie was real good times, so I figured 555 would be along the same lines. But it was actually kind of a chore for me to watch, even with the booze. It's about 80 minutes, but the gore scenes and preciously few funny moments are padded out with shit like a guy taking his shoes off and laying down on a couch, then getting back up, walking over to a drawer, opening it, pulling out a pillow, going all the way back to his couch, making himself comfortable, taking a quick drink from a bottle of booze, then going to sleep. Other movies can and have made such routine shit watchable, but this flick isn't one of them. They talk talk talk in this motherfucker, and once you get over the hair and clothing styles, you're just watching boring stuff being told in a boring setting -- that goddamn bland office of theirs.

The video box really tries to sell the gore on you, with lines on the cover like "SHOT IN BLOOD-VIVID VIDEO for your VIEWING PLEASURE" and "Caution: Viewing may cause severe damage to your brain cells". I love that. It brings back memories of being a little kid and going with my family to the local mom-and-pop joint like Video Flicks or Electric Video and freaking out at all the movies in the Horror section. They all had awesome covers and they all convinced a 6-year-old me that Satan himself would come out of the screen and pull me into Hell if I watched any of these movies. My parents would never let me rent them, but luckily I grew up with two teenage girls in the house who lived on horror movies and had no problem warping my fragile little mind with them. But the truth was that for every good horror/slasher flick, there were also ten shitty wastes-of-time that failed to cover anything the boxes promised you. There was a silver lining to this cloud, however -- if the movie made up for the lack of scares or gore with the kind of unintentional laughs and moments of absurdity that only the best of the worst can give you, it was worth it. Going by that scale, there ain't enough of either to make 555 worth it.

(The following contains violence, language, and mature woman cleavage)