5/11/10

Blair Week: Grotesque (1987)


In collaboration with a selection of the finest film blogs the infranet has to offer CampMovieCamp is proud to contribute this quality post to Blair Week, a six day extravaganza expounding on the virtues of Linda Blair and her legacy of quality motion pictures. Don't believe me? Just read on...



Welcome to CMC's contribution to Linda Blair Week, Day 2! Usually, I will post a few ridiculous lines and put a video or two or whatever and I also know I tend to glaze over plot and story descriptions, because honestly, none of the movies we "review" have much of a plot. But not today! In honor of Blair Week, I am going balls out on this piece! If you just want the videos and pictures, there are plenty of those still, don't worry. I will highlight the exciting bits for you skimmers/lazy people. Let's get Grotesque!

Linda Blair and her buddy are going to visit her family in remote cabin area, and have a run in a VW van full of "punkers" led by a deranged uber dramatic Billy Idol lookin punker named Scratch. And in an odd bit random casting, we have Robert Z'dar as one of Scratch's sidekicks! I think he maybe has two lines in the whole movie, but his face does most of the talkin' anyways. Anyways, the punkers here there is a "big secret" in Linda Blair's house, which they reason out to be only two rational options: dope or money.




Z'DAR!!!

Overacting below:




So Blair and her friend arrive at her parents' house, and her dad introduces himself as a movie make up effects genius, and we also learn that her uncle is a plastic surgeon: "dad [turns] people into monsters, and uncle rod [turns] monsters into handsome people." But truly, dad's movie-making genius really just amounts to pranking the kids with masks and fake limbs.

That night, the punkers invade and kill the shit out of everyone, and throw Linda B out a window, only to realize that the family doesn't have money, jewels or dope. It's pretty terrible to watch, I kinda hate home invasion type movies, they really make me cringe more than anything else, I dunno why. But the terribly underused Robert Z'dar finally discovers what the secret is...

A HIDEOUSLY DEFORMED MAN LIVING BEHIND A BOOKCASE!



"Oh shit!"

Said deformed man proceeds to then kill the shit out of the punkers in a fit of revenge, a few of which scurry out into the snowy woods surrounding the cabin. So let me catch us up. Out in the woods we now have a crew of homicidal punkers, a deformed man out for blood, and Linda Blair.

After smashing more of the punkers into bits, the deformed guy is finally killed. but not before we get a few awesome bits of dialogue: "You know I'm getting tired of running from this thing!" No shit lady! I don't think anyone would enjoy being chased by a melted-face man who wants to kill you. Cut to a couple of punkers hiding in a mine shaft "You can face the maniac or freeze your ass off." "My ass doesn't get cold."

So grotesque man finally finds Linda Blair after she gets caught by a woods punker, but he thinks she's dead and flips out.

The shopkeeper from earlier (I didnt mention him before, but there was a shopkeeper) comes by to go fishing with Linda Blair's dad, and you can imagine what a scene that must be to walk into. Oh wait, you don't have to, they reshow it to you no less than 67 times before he opens the front door, to which he rather calmly exclaims "Oh my god!"

Uncle Rod (Tab Hunter) FINALLY shows up, and the man hunt for the remaining punkers begins. And here we get one of my favorite lines of the film, "when someone's running for their life, they get animal instincts...sometimes better than an animal." So wait, what kind of instincts are better than animal instincts? I mean, I never considered "animal instincts" a measure of instinct per se, just a type, no? So maybe one could maybe go: bad instincts, so-so instincts, good instincts, animal instincts, better-than-animal instincts...WHAT THE HELL ARE WE TALKING ABOUT HERE? I have 2 cats and a dog, and they are all incredibly stupid, and make terrible decisions on a daily basis. My dog tries to eat the cats' poop all day! So maybe he means the punkers know better than to eat cat poop while they are running for their life. That makes sense to me.

Soon, all parties collide and grotesque man wrestles with the punkers, and the cops shoot the face of grotesque man and Uncle Rod completely freaks out. The movie gets all weird at this point, and is more like an episode of law & order.



Uncle Rod, after fining out that Linda Blair is died in the hospital and realizing that the punkers are going to get cut loose, loses his shit and storms off, to which the cops observe, "Sounds like a man who's going to take matters into his hands." "Frankly Blaine, I don't give a damn." Terrible policing gentlemen, just terrible. He even kidnaps the released punkers IN FRONT OF THE POLICE STATION! Again, terrible policing by all at the station. During the following scene, we find out the deformed guy was Uncle Rod's son, Patrick, (whom he calls retarded) and his brother raised him as a favor for some reason. Kind of shitty parenting by keeping him in a bookcase. Just sayin. We also learn that Uncle Rod is deformed looking too, and he pulls his mask off, proclaiming he doesn't need it having seen the true face of disgust in the punkers. Ok wait so let's back up one moment here...Uncle Rod is a freak and has a freak son, but where is the kid's mom? Did I miss a line of dialogue somewhere? I am assuming he kept the mask on during sex times?




We then see that Uncle Rod has made freaks of the punkers and is now keeping them in Patrick's old room behind the bookcase at his brother's house. If this has all gotten to be too much for you, then you're not alone because apparently filmmakers had enough too. The whole movie I just spent about 80 ridiculous minutes with is then revealed to be playing in a theater in which the wolfman and Frankenstein's monster have taken over the projection booth. They shut down the movie to give the movie goers a "real" dose of horror. They then run out and scare everyone then embrace in an oddly comedic ending with vaudeville music leading in the credits. I swear I did not just make that up, though it really is something I might tell my wife was the ending to a movie she fell asleep during.




I have a feeling at one point, director Joe Tornatore wanted to deliver a grand message that gets lost in translation, or rather, super heavy handedness. Numerous times they dish up the notion of real vs. fake/grotesque either through hideous dialogue ("Sometimes I don't know what's real or fake anymore" and "We're people, REAL PEOPLE, everyone else is phony!"), the deformed cousin living in the walls, through the movie make-up/plastic surgery professions, and even BOTH endings are overtly basking in this concept. For the life of me, I have no idea what that final message is intended to be because the whole package is kind of a weird mess, going from domestic terror, to monster chase, to courtroom drama, to vaudevillian ending. Are we to question who the truly grotesque ones are in the film? Perhaps it's more "actions speak louder than looks?" Are we supposed to question our own realities? Cherish the different? Cherish the accepted? Take the law into our own hands? Fuck if I know. Even if there was kind of a message, it was all thrown out by the ending, like an "Aw shucks, never mind!" postscript. This movie is truly an anomaly.

Here's the original trailer:



Our colleagues are bringing fresh Linda related content all week long:
Monday
May 10:
Lost Video Archive - Savage Streets
Satan's Hope Chest - Chained Heat and Savage Island
Tuesday:
Camp Movie Camp - Grotesque
The Horror Section - Hell Night
Full Moon Reviews - Bailout
Wednesday:
Illogical Contraption gets Repossessed
Lines That Makes Things drops original Linda inspired artwork
Breakfast In the Ruins - Exorcist II
Thursday:
B Movies and Beyond - Summer of Fear
Camp Movie Camp - Nightforce
Friday:
The Manchester Morgue - Rollerboogie
Happy Otter - The Chilling
Ninja Dixon - The Witchery
Saturday:
Lost Video Archive - Born Innocent
Unflinching Eye wraps it up with a look at Linda's fall from grace.

7 comments:

  1. Wow, it certainly sounds like this movie lives up to its awesome coverbox!

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  2. It's been so long since I saw this, I should probably try again but the lingering pain of the experience still haunts me. I forgot that it starred Maniac Cop.

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  3. I need to see this. Fucking Z'DAR!?!? FUCKING FUCK YEAH!

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  4. "need" isn't a word i would use to describe having this movie in your life.

    z'dar is terribly underused here!

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  5. Hilarious stuff, and a movie I can't believe I haven't seen! Gonna have to fix that, I think.

    I did see WITCHERY, though, and look forward to its Blair Week entry. Blair and THE HOFF, and witches and rainbows and shit. It's an unheralded classic!

    Great work!

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  6. Never seen this but I need to! Great review.

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