Wednesday, July 07, 2010

HOLEHEAD 2010—Peter Galvin Reviews The Exterminator (1980), Lady Terminator (1988), and Metropolis 1984 Redux

SF IndieFest's Another Hole in the Head (Holehead) always prefers that you have a good time over a good film. This year's line-up continues the gore and guffaws, and some of the films manage to be wholly original through sheer gumption and insanity. Titles like Mil Mascaras vs The Aztec Mummy and Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives seem to only encourage audiences to come to the showings drunk, and the programmers' obsessions with Miike and The Machine Girl bring the latest iterations of each, but for my money Holehead's best films might be the older ones on the bill: The Exterminator (1980), Lady Terminator (1988) and Metropolis 1984 Redux.

The Exterminator—A classic of crap genre film, The Exterminator is a NY anomaly of gleeful macho-isms and vigilante justice in the wake of Death Wish (1974). Opening with a bang in the jungles of Vietnam before taking to the streets of The Big Apple, The Exterminator has some great scenes of slo-mo action and gore but struggles with a scattered narrative and pretty piss poor action hero—but those are both pros and cons for a film of this ilk. Robert Ginty as John "The Exterminator" Eastland has a droopy face and very little motive to do in a lot of the street punks he murders, but luckily there is only a single city cop on the case and he'll never catch Eastland because he keeps taking time off to go on dates. Made in 1980, The Exterminator still has that gritty '70s grindhouse look and feel, and it even takes a stab at an ending that reflects post-Vietnam paranoia. Doesn't work though.

Lady Terminator—Killing two male fantasies with one stone, this Indonesian production beat its inspirators by 15 years in bringing a female Terminator to the screen. Mixing island fantasy with sci-fi, the female Terminator of the title is actually the reincarnation of The South Sea Queen, a demon who seduces men and then cuts off their you-know-whats. The differences barely matter though, and Lady Terminator does more than pay homage to the 1984 classic, fully recreating the eye gouge at the sink and the "Come with me if you want to live." With die-hard pacing, '80s fashion and Indonesian pop music, Lady is easily one of the better cheapo action flicks of the '80s, Indonesia or otherwise, and sports some great-terrible dubbing.

Metropolis 1984 Redux—Yep, that Metropolis. Having really enjoyed the 1927 silent classic, disco-star Giorgio Moroder pulled some strings and re-cut his own version, tailor-made for 1984 audiences. The man behind Midnight Express' "Chase" theme and the mastermind of Donna Summer's best hits re-scored the film and added a bunch of crazy colors, but the core remains. In addition, Moroder re-imagined a lot of lost scenes from the original cut, but managed a product 40 minutes shorter by making most of the inter-titles subtitles. Is it blasphemy? Well, for the haughtier of film fans there can be no doubt, but Moroder's release did gain the film a new audience who would not have otherwise seen the film and his redux version has its own charms stemming from a time-capsule candy coating and terrible Freddie Mercury theme song. Sure, there were probably a bunch of kids who treated Metropolis 1984 Redux like a planetarium laser show, but let's not pretend we're above something as fun as a laser show.

Cross-published on
Ornery Crosby and Twitch.

1 comment:

Jay, aka The Angry Little Man said...

I'd sort of like to see Metropolis 1984 Redux, as I would love to be transported back to my laser show days, too!

However, the Club Foot Orchestra's score was for this version, so if this were available on DVD, I'd relive those mid-90's thrills too! (The Club Foot score is on CD.)