by Louis Fowler
Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
According to veteran character actor Sid Haig, who portrays a grizzled horror film director in this, “mimesis” is the act of being such a fan of some sort of work of art that they have to live it for themselves. Typically, this is limited to dorks dressing up in homemade costumes, but Mimesis takes that theory one step further as a group of teens at a horror convention attend a party at an old farmhouse and wake up the next morning in different clothes and come to find that zombies are chasing them down. Turns out that, somehow, they’ve entered into a real-life Night of the Living Dead situation, but not in the way that we’re led to believe. There’s many things for which I could criticize Mimesis — the acting, the dialogue, the direction, the budget — but the plot and its subsequent twists are so undeniably clever, that it’s very easy to overlook those things and just enjoy it for what it is: a meta-revisionist take on a classic horror flick.
Bath salts are all the rage among the kids today. Eschewing your basic warm, relaxing water immersion, today’s ever-experimental youth have managed to find a way to get high with them. However, whether it’s because of real-life news stories or urban legends, so has the idea that by using them, you will turn into a mindless cretin hell-bent on chewing people’s faces off. And this is where the exploitatively fun backyard horror-flick Bath Salt Zombies enters into frame. In New York City, a rather potent and deadly incarnation has hit the streets thanks to a young chemist who has botched the latest batch that turns its junkie-users into rampaging, and rather ravenous, zombies who only want one thing: your face. Under the guise of a vapid monster movie, director Dustin Wayde Mills has actually crafted a cool little punk-rock masterpiece, as timely as it is trashy.
I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: God bless Apprehensive Films. While most other reissue and re-release companies are trying to get the trashiest of films remastered and thrown on Blu-ray with many bells and whistles, Apprehensive quickly lets you know that these films don’t really deserve it. No, they deserve to be seen as shoddy as possible, if only to preserve the real way they were meant to be seen, like you right there back in a 42nd Street grindhouse. In this double-feature, they’re proud(?) to present two lost classics: Black Cobra Woman, and Super Bitch. In Cobra, the notoriously sleazy Joe D’Amato directs the low-budget Emmanuelle herself, Laura Gemser, as a master commander of snakes who meets up with a scuzzy wealthy snake enthusiast played by Oscar-winner Jack Palance. On the other hand, the Italian crime flick Super Bitch is the best of the worst of ’70s spaghetti shoot-’em-ups, filled with plenty of marinara-drenched ultraviolence. Keep ‘em coming, Apprehensive!
A burgeoning teen in the early ’90s, I was too cool for cartoons and definitely too cool for Nickelodeon, so, of course, I missed out on the cult favorite Rocko’s Modern Life, which from what I’ve learned, has an extremely rabid fan-base. Watching it today, with no apparent sense of nostalgia, the animated series about a wallaby and his friends and how they deal with all types of intruding shenanigans, is often funny and clever and wouldn’t be out of place in, say, Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim lineup. While nowhere near as dirty or offensive as those shows can get, Rocko does have a zippy, manic energy to it that transcends most pretensions about kids' programming. Shout! Factory has collected all four seasons — 52 episodes — into one package that, if you’re a parent (or a total stoner), you'll find plenty entertaining.
Warhammer 40,000, so I am told, is an immensely popular tabletop science-fiction role-playing game that uses little figurines and such and costs hundreds of dollars to invest in. If that sounds interesting to you, why not just cut out the middleman and rent Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie. It’s less expensive, less time-consuming and, best of all, less socially maligned. For the most part. In the 41st Millennium, a band of warriors called the Space Marines are the only thing stopping alien hordes from decimating what is left of humanity. They are genetically enhanced, mega-armored soldiers, and when they are on-screen, in their gory CGI goodness, Ultramarines is a fun ride. But because these things need a plot, I guess, eventually self-reflection and internal struggles occur, and, let’s be honest: It’s nowhere near as fun or entertaining. Featuring the voices of Terence Stamp, John Hurt and Sean Pertwee, all who should know better, Ultramarines is a decent romp into a world where only the geeky don’t fear to tread.