I'M NOT FACINATING: THE MOVIE
Super 8 film-guru Danny Plotnick's 16th film, I'm Not Fascinating: The Movie
('96) is a beautiful understatement of the pursuit of success in rock 'n'
The Pepsi-obsessed, slobbishly dressed San Franciscan Icky Boyfriends,
Anthony Bedard (drums), Shea Bond (guitar) and vocalist Jonathan Swift (all
playing themselves and identifiable by the names written on their socks) are
a rock band on the road to nowhere. True to their name, the trio all have
short-lived, unfruitful relationships.
By day, to support the band, Anthony and Shea are instructors at a comedy
school, where they teach skills like proper prat falls (taught by their
slogan, "Leg down, no clown; leg up, bust a gut!"), the use of hand puppets
and the infamous spit-take (sip a drink; straightman asks question; spew out
drink and deliver punchline).
Jonathan, on the other hand, refuses to stoop to having an actual job. He
spends days getting his hair done by a stylist who excitedly tells him his
Afro-like hair mass, is "so big and fluffy."
Even with fluffy hair, Jonathan can't hold a relationship. When his
girlfriend breaks up with him, he asks her: "What about the time you said no
one else could do it for ya?"
"I think what I said was, 'No one can make me cum like I can', " she replies.
The breakup (as well as Anthony and Shea's breakups) is musical inspiration
to Jonathan, who writes "No One Can Make Me Cum Like I Can." The band perform
a live grunge/punk version of it at a garage concert just in time to catch
the eye of a nameless Past It Records exec (Chris Enright).
Discovering the band from the parking lot, this lanky dude with sunglasses, a
large peace-symbol medallion and an opened shirt displaying a hairy chest
offers to sign them to his label.
After Past It Records (which, according to a trailer after the movie, is a
real record label in San Francisco) signs the band, the exec puts together a
focus group who, although they seem more interested in the free snack food
than The Icky Boyfriends, manage to record their negative opinions.
Thus, the record exec initiates his murderous "Operation Image
Movie bonuses include a post-credit scene, without which the film would be
incomplete, and trailers for Plotnick's Pillow Talk ('91) and Death Sled II:
Steel Belted Romeos ('90), two shorts featured on the video compilation Small
Gauge Shotgun ('92), a dual effort between Plotnick and Jim Sikora,
showcasing eight award-winning film shorts.|
Small Gauge Shotgun also includes Plotnick's Flip About Flip ('90) and
Dumbass From Dundas ('88). The other four shorts, Terminal Hotel, Bring Me
the Head of Geraldo Rivera, Stagefright Chameleon and Love, After the Walls
Close In, are supplied by Sikora. The average length is about 10 minutes.
A couple of my favorite shorts:
Pillow Talk: My favorite installment, this is a whopping 18 minutes of Laura
Rosow's brilliant portrayal of a single, 25-ish woman trying to sleep in her
urban apartment. She has had it with the next-door neighbors, who nearly
always have loud sex, and the guy downstairs who beats his wife and son at
all hours of the night. Rosow tears up the sheet-rock wall beside her bed
with a hammer, yells and beats on the floor. In the laundry room, she crazily
confronts an old woman and shoves her head into the washing machine. She then
turns on the family downstairs, their accusations at her of the other
neighbors' sex sounds disarms her rage.
Death Sled II: Steel Belted Romeos is based on a true story. After
near-missing another car at a sharp curve, Plotnick is harassed at a stop
light by its driver and passenger - two uptight Italian Wiseguy- wannabes.
While it seems to take forever for the light to turn green, we see these guys
blowin' steam, in character and out. I love the surrealistic cuts: Pop!
They're soundin' off in full-clown costume. Cut. Now they're buck-ass naked.
Plotnick is a self-propelled media spectacular. I eagerly await the next
installment from him. He can rigidly adhere to his love of the Super 8, a
cross between the archaic 8-millimeter film (remember those old, silent
home-movies, or nickel peep show loops?) and Beta. I suspect that we will see
either a big-screen debut or national broadcast of new Plotnick material
I'm Not Fascinating: The Movie and Small Gage Shotgun are available for $20
each (postage paid) from Peeling Eyeball, P.O. Box 460472, San Francisco, CA
If you're in the mood for an early strange black-and-white film featuring
Yoko Ono and loaded with drugs, sex and violence, try out Satan's Bed.
In 1965, while The Beatles were working on Help!, Ono was working on her film
debut, Satan's Bed. This black-and-white film is actually two stories -
Judas City, an unfinished film by someone named Tamijian, and another about
a naive Japanese woman referred to as "Babysan" (I had to guess the spelling)
and played by Ono - inter-cut to make one feature film.
Filmmaker Ed Wood (Plan 9 from Outer Space) used to do this, with about as
much success. It just doesn't work. As much as Satan's Bed's editor tried to
meld the two films into one story, it's still two films. Even a novice film
viewer will be able to tell instantly. To splice the two separate stories
together, the producer put voice-overs over some scenes. But they're out of
There are no credits in the film, so good luck trying to figure out who the
supporting cast are.
The opening scene (from Judas City) introduces three hoodlum drug addicts -
two men in loose-fitting, dark shirts and one woman in a tight-fitting
sweater, tight jeans and knee-high leather boots, who need money for "stuff."
Snake, the group's leader, tells the others not to worry. They take off,
leaving behind a woman tied to a pool table, her legs spread eagle, in their
Meanwhile, Babysan, wearing a nice (but not very flattering) loose kimono,
has just arrived in New York City and is with Paulie, her fiance and, unknown
to her, a drug dealer. Paulie, a sharply-dressed, sincere fellow, wants to
get out of the drug business so he and his betrothed can start life anew. He
checks Babysan into a respectable (albeit not lavish) hotel. "Everything will
be OK," he assures her, handing her a wad of cash for safe keeping, to be put
in the bank after their marriage.
The film cuts to the Judas City gang spying through an apartment window on a
woman showering and dressing. The front door is opened with a switchblade,
and the gang, "who still need more money," search the home. They rough-up the
woman and rape her, which she oddly seems to enjoy.
The scene is cut, and we're back to watching Ono's film.
This continues, the films going back and forth. Babysan is robbed, raped, yet
remains hospitable. The Judas City trio do some raping and thieving themselves.
On with the death and destruction.
This film has all the markings of a worthwhile drive-in movie (sex, drugs,
violence, T 'n' A) but lacks any real substance.
UPDATE: Satan's Bed has finally come to home video, click here for more info.
Dead Girls ('90) is the name of a leather-clad, glam-rock band made up of
four scantily dressed women and one man. A well-produced who-dunnit romp with
plenty of suspects throughout the film to keep you guessing, Dead Girls has a
two-fold-with-a-twist climax of murder mayhem.
However, the lack of any musical material by the band is disappointing and
annoying. References to songs are made throughout the film, but we never get
to hear them. (Exceptions are "You've Got to Kill Yourself" and "Angel of
Death," played during the opening and ending credits.)
The band's music, focused on death, dying and suicide, generates a cult
following. Band member Gina Virelli, a.k.a. Bertha Beirut (Diana Karanikas),
has a teenage sister, Brooke (Ilene B. Singer), who, along with half a dozen
friends, slices her wrist, as per the lyrics of a Dead Girls song.
Brooke ends up being the sole survivor of the group suicide. This causes the
band, which also includes drummer (Steven Kyle); Suzie Striker (Angela
Scaglione); Nancy Napalm, a.k.a. Amy (Kay Schaber); and Dana (Angela Eads),
to question their death gimmick and postpone all gigs for a two-week retreat
at a cabin in the woods. Gina insists on bringing Brooke, who is comatose
from her failed suicide attempt, and her personal nurse (Dierdre West).
When the band, arrive at the cabin (which happens to have a mentally
challenged, hulking caretaker, Elmo [David Williams]), a string of murders
start with the first victim being an obsessed groupie in torn jeans, biker
leathers and a black wig, who followed the band.
Each murder is inspired by a different Dead Girls song.
Directed by Dennis Devine, Dead Girls was released by defunct
Rae Don Home Video.
LAS VEGAS BLOOD BATH
Shot, edited and produced with semi- professional video equipment, Las Vegas
Blood Bath (1989) was a forerunner for self-produced video releases. The
acting is well below par, but we've come to expect that from features like
this. Some of us even like it.
This film is heavy on sex, blood, guts and gore. Thanks to the special
effects and makeup by David Dalton (who puts on Las Vegas haunted-house
shows), it is either disgusting or hilarious, depending on your disposition.
The first time I watched it, I really busted a gut laughing.
When I shared it with some friends, the males got the gist of the gross
humor, unanimously rejoicing at the gore and guffawing at the puns, but our
girlfriends said it was "gross" and that they were going to puke. They opted
to go shopping instead!
Blood Bath opens with big-wheel businessman Sam Butler (Ari Levin), in his
Sacramento, California, office, celebrating the close of a big deal. Over the
phone, he buys a coveted red sports car for his recently impregnated wife and
intends to drive it to their Las Vegas home as a surprise celebratory gift.
Meanwhile, his wife, Ruthie (Elizabeth Anderson), and a Las Vegas Police
officer (Jerry Raganesi) are undressing to their skivvies and making out on
Sam arrives home to an empty pair of men's shoes in the doorway. He peeks
into the bedroom and sees the naked couple asleep in each other's arms. Very
calmly, he removes the cop's gun from its holster - still attached to the
pants on the floor - takes aim and kills the pair.
Deciding that all women are sluts and that they will pay, Sam takes to
cruising in his sports car. Mid-day, he picks up a lady-of-the-night (Tina
Prunty), wearing a spandex skirt, high heels and a gold-sequined tube top.
After she gives him a peak of her breasts, she directs him behind an
apartment building. Outside the car, the hooker asks, "What's your pleasure?"
"Head," he replies as he removes a basketball-sized, towel-wrapped parcel
from the trunk. He has her lie on the ground and ties her hands to the base
of the building's electrical box, in an effort to "try something different."
She doesn't resist.
He says, "If you give me head, I'll give you one," and reveals that the
parcel is the head of his late wife, Ruthie.
The hooker responds undramatically: "Oh, no."
He pokes a knife into the hooker's face from throat to nose, then secures one
end of a rope around her right ankle and the other end his car's rear bumper.
Then he drives with her bloody leg dangling behind and leaves the rest of her
body still tied to the building. At the end of the block he stops and
nonchalantly drops the leg into a trash bin.
He continues on this woman-killing rampage, eventually running into the
(bikini-clad) Beautiful Ladies of Oil Wrestling (BLOW), one of whom (Barbara
Bell) is massively pregnant (and whom he later takes to her own bedroom to
"play gynecology and obstetrics").
In one grotesque moment of comic relief, a Jehovah's Witness (special effects
wizard Dalton in a brief cameo), pokes his head in the front door of the
BLOW-members home and says, "Jehovah's Witness . . ."
Sam cuts him off by slamming the door so hard that it sends the Witness's
decapitated head tumbling onto the floor.
"You're not a Witness anymore," he exclaims before he fondly recalls, "My
wife used to be a Jehovah's Witness."
Las Vegas Blood Bath was sold via classified advertising in various print
media, but was only available for a short time (possibly due to the rumor
that none of the actors were paid), and the city of Las Vegas strictly
disavows any knowledge of the project.
KLARK KENT; UFO EXPERT
In this two-hour documentary, which was broadcast live on a Dayton, Ohio,
cable-access station, "UFO Expert" Klark Kent gives a highly uniform
monologue presentation. He appears so familiar with the material that it
sounds like he has delivered it many times in seminars.
Not having much knowledge about the UFOs, I referred the film to MUFON
(Mutual UFO Network) director James E. Clarkson, who helped me authenticate
the material. According to Clarkson, Kent knows what he's talking about:
"One of Klark's best points is how he defined the manner by which the UFO
question will be solved: 'It will not be solved by the scientific
establishment . . . [but] by American entrepreneurship, a grass-roots
response of people trying to understand the phenomena and perhaps even trying
to duplicate it with fringe technologies.' . . . This is a sound
Kent presents a wealth of informative data with a slide projector, dandily
operated by a foot switch. (It might have been a better idea to transfer the
slides to video and cut to them, rather than to videotape their projection
onto a screen, but what's a guy on a tight budget to do?)
This is not the type of show that will sway a skeptic, but for those
interested in UFO research, there is plenty of thought-provoking material,
such as death-bed confessions of military personnel sworn to secrecy and
references to documents and photos that will leave you asking, "Where'd he
get those slides?"
A wide variety of spacecrafts (including the cigar-shaped, triangular and
saucer ships) and aliens (such as the ominous greys, the angelic blondes and
others) are discussed throughout the monologue, leaving little ground
According to Kent, UFO phenomena are not transient and have been increasing
since World War II, when Earth had its first nuclear detonations.
The first half of the film is in presentation format, and the second features
phone-in interaction between Kent and the program's viewers. It was
refreshing to see a show where the calls were not judiciously screened. Some
callers describe their encounters and hope for some validation. Others call
Kent a kook with a phony name. One insists that he display his driver license
to the camera. Religious callers, who are treated to Klark's Biblical
references of UFOs, either claim the phenomena are foolish or part of God's
plan. Other questions are about Area 51, the Bermuda Triangle and crop
circles. All camps - pro, con, on-the-fringe and who-could-care-less - are
I extend my gratitude to Mr. Clarkson for his input.
The two-hour video is available a bon marche of $10 (postage paid) from Big Beef Productions, P.O. Box 303 WBB, Dayton,
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Dave Lewis, a non-recovering videophiliac, is constantly on the lookout for
strange and unusual videos. If you have an independent film (with or without
good production values) or know of a rare or unique film that may be good for
review, please write:
Dave Video Addict, P.O. Box 1753, Aberdeen, WA 98520. Or,
e-mail Dave at
Video Additcs Hot-Line
Video Addicts Hot-Line is © 1994-2007 David Masters. All rights reserved.
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