Bonus CineFiles: Emo teens, spiritual sojourns and the first straight-to-video horror flick!



Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.

Daydream Nation (R) (Blu-Ray)
Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

Fucking teenagers. I am sick of them, with their stupid problems and constant need for attention … surely, somewhere in Congress, there’s a bill on the table to put these freeloading crybabies into forced labor camps, right? What cements this disgust? Daydream Nation, a dreamy, ethereal, emo teen-drama that is almost as pretentious as the Sonic Youth album it’s named after. The forced Kat Dennings is Caroline, a 17-year-old skank who uses grade-school feminism to rationalize her sexual exploits, from seducing her teacher to keeping a dumb classmate on the back-burner, launching into nonstop monologues about her empty, vapid life. In the background, there’s a serial killer offing her classmates in an attempt to rip off David Lynch. No, I take that back; this movie isn’t smart enough to rip off David Lynch. Let’s say Donnie Darko instead, because Daydream Nation desperately apes and mimics the pseudo-intellectual, faux-symbolic feel of that movie with all the aplomb of a stoner’s English 2 writing assignment.

El Topo / The Holy Mountain (Not Rated / Rated R) (Both Blu-Ray)
Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

Alejandro Jodorowsky is an artist, using film to capture fantastical, religious fever dreams, treatises on God and spirituality in the most dangerously mystical way possible. His two masterpieces, El Topo and The Holy Mountain, are now available on Blu-ray, remastered and restored, offering brave visions of the inner workings of the soul. El Topo is metaphysical head-trip study of Christ-like self-enlightenment by way of Spaghetti western, while The Holy Mountain is a sacrilegious journey into the total immolation of the ego, a movie that could have only been made in the ’70s when true creative freedom trumped box office figures. These movies have changed my life, reopening my eyes to the spiritual world that I once had as a child and died as my innocence was lost, like they were Holy Tomes put to celluloid instead of paper.

Sledgehammer (NR)
Intervision Picture Corp.

Made in 1983, David A. Prior’s Sledgehammer has the unique distinction of being the first shot-on-video slasher movie that was made and sold exclusively for the home video market. Almost 30 years later, it’s still one of the best homegrown attempts to cash in on bigger-budgeted genre fare ever made, a true forefather to what would eventually become a gigantic industry, almost rivaling that of the mainstream studios. So, while I have total reverence for the history and pedigree of Sledgehammer, that doesn’t mean it’s not a bad movie. Because it is bad … hilariously bad! A group of middle-aged mullet-lovers spends the weekend at a backwoods house where, years earlier, a child killed his mom and her lover in the living room. In between depressing food fights and numerous slow-motion music montages, the feather-haired friends are picked off by a bizarre killer wielding a, you guessed it, sledgehammer! Sledgehammer is the ultimate party DVD; you won’t have more unintentional laughs all year.

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