MISTER KEYES AT THE FLICKS AND SHIT. October 1986.
The Keyes' Rating System:
BE CHILLY--Not a masterwork, but worth a look.
BE BUGGIN'--The joint. Highly recommended.
Flick: THE HUMAN TORNADO
Rating: The Full Bug
You haven't lived until you've seen Rudy Ray Moore, the velour king of all time, as 'Dolemite' an avenging sort-of superhero with a foul mouth and a mean right. In this, the second in what they hoped would be an inner-city Bond series (oops), Dolemite goes up against (guess who) WHITEY, in the form of a crooked sheriff and a syndicate boss. Now you have to work real hard to figure all this stuff out, because co-writer (and set designer) 'Jawbone' Jimmy Lynch throws in mucho incomprehensible dialogue just for fun. The flick opens with Rudy Ray doing his crude stand-up act (his comedy albums are definite velour collectibles, and I would love to get his Christmas (!) album), but soon he's off on a stupid adventure, full of sped-up car chase footage and long gaps of the aforementioned inept 'what it is, brother' repartee. The last 40 minutes is non-stop brilliance with a hilarious dream sex scene where the bed shakes more than a Russ Meyer movie and the ceiling falls in! For five minutes! Amazing. Then it's time for Dolemite to rescue two damsels, well, hookers in distress. You must see the fight scenes to believe them. It looks like Rudy's fight coaches were Curly and Jerry Lewis, and all the fights are sped up so after a while they look like Benny Hill outtakes. WOW. I could do a whole piece on the awesome wardrobe, but suffice it to say that Rudy lives up to his title, King of Velour (nice shoes, too). Add lots of awful music and you have a fully bugged effort. This one's the joint, for sure. Special mention to the Roxy triplex, where your brave reviewer caught this flick. The only break in the continuous 24-hour showings is to rewind the cassette. So, until next time...
YOU CAN BET YOUR LAST MONEY
IT'S ALL GONNA BE A STONE GAS, HONEY, CAUSE MISTER KEYES IS ON THE CASE, FACE!
MR. KEYES AT THE FLICKS AND SHIT. December 1986.
Flick: VENDETTA aka ANGELS BEHIND BARS
This reviewer thought he'd seen all that a Women In Prison film could offer, but after VENDETTA, we've got to say 'tres chilly'. Rapes, assaults, lethal injections, hapkido catfights, Prince imitators slaughtered in prison riots, etc. Totally aggro, and we haven't even dusted the plot off yet. A feisty stunt woman brings her little tease of a sister on location to TunaFish, USA. After the wrap party, one of the horny yokels tries something funny, and sis blows his brains out (with his gun) in the cab of his pickup. Sis gets a year in the pokey and clashes head-on with Kay, the Superdyke godmother of the pen (a truly gritty turn by Sandy Martin, who gets the Keyes' Chill Pill for November). Well, Sis manages to push all the right buttons in the lockup, and she gets beat up, shot up, and pushed over a railing in D block. Enter the older sister, bent on revenge. After viewing her used and abused sister's body ("when you fall off a building, you die. You don't bruise, you die!") and wading through bogus coroner's reports, she decides to take matters into her own hands, Bronson-style. After some attention-getting stunts like car theft and grand larceny, Stunt Lady gets what she wants---a personal audience with the State Correctional facility, and a face-off with the Godmom. Director Bruce Logan keeps things moving at light speed, and good photography (check the verite variation on the usual solitary confinement rape scene) makes this a grindhouse sleazefest of high order. Let's not forget The Screamin' Sirens, as the all-girl punk-country band at the party. Check this one with your fave homeboy.
MISTER KEYES IS ON THE CASE
KEYES' GRAFFITI PICK OF THE MONTH: "Try Crack. Don't be shy!"
MR. KEYES AT THE FLICKS AND SHIT. January 1987.
Flick: CLASS OF NUKE 'EM HIGH
Rating: Rasta-size joint, mon.
No doubt about it, those weasels at Troma have a definite lock on the teen-sex-gore-radioactive dope genre. Their smash sleaze-a-thon THE TOXIC AVENGER began by delivering the goods scumbags want most--gratuitous sex, raunchy fake gore, inane dialogue, and anti-nuclear sentiment. Well, these bozos have definitely Tromadosed on their latest epic, CLASS OF NUKE 'EM HIGH. Perhaps the first (and hopefully last) hybrid of REEFER MADNESS and THEY CAME FROM WITHIN, again taking place in Tromaville, "Toxic Waste Capital of the World". You see, the high school is being terrorized by the vicious Cretins, a biker gang wearing lots of scary makeup (they look like the road company of CLOCKWORK ORANGE). These blokes also deal the drugs to the student body and their connection is growing his herb at the nuclear power plant (located conveniently right behind the school). Well, these Cretins aren't dummies (huh?) and soon their "Atomic High" is selling for ten bucks a joint. Next, at an off campus frat soiree, the local JD's introduce the squeaky clean preppie couple to the joys of a radioactive sleegee. The "illicit sex under the influence" is a Troma staple, and this pic delivers it with tasteless glee. But soon the couple are in the throes of a nuclear freak out. They both have mutated hallucinations, replete with papier-mache prosthetics. Ooh. The next day at school, Muffy and Biff (not their real names) are distinctly not themselves. Muffy ralphs a nuclear parasite up in the john, and Biff turns into a TOXIC PREPPIE, breaking up a Cretin bashing by shoving his fist down some guy's throat (I mean tonsillectomy here). All the stupidity comes to an apocalyptic climax, with all the Cretins going down for the count, and the atomic preppies (and the parasite) peeking out from the wreckage. Dialogue is great, with a hospital PA announcement "Paging Dr. Moe, Dr. Fine and Dr. Howard". Shows you where these idiots get their inspiration. Well, me and the other guy in the theatre on Christmas Eve were laughing.
MISTER KEYES IS ON THE CASE. April 1987.
FLICK: GRINGO a.k.a. Story of a Junkie (1984)
RATING: Too much, man
On a double bill with some idiocy called FAT GUY GOES NUTZOID, The Keyes wasn't expecting much. But from the first few minutes, a simple fact emerged. These guys aren't fucking around. Troma is certainly leading the pack in sweeping the indie floor and coming up with the real thing. Sort of a This is Your Life of a sleazebag East Village scag buster, John Spacely (mmm...). Countless, harrowing scenes of real addicts popping with sub-grade works, babbling pathetically about UFO's, life with non-junkies, etc, while the blood-filled hypos hang from their veins, waiting for the shot heard 'round the world. This one's gonna be shown in 3-D at Epcot Centre real soon. GRINGO is no doubt in the stratosphere of grime, on a par with COMBAT SHOCK and TENEMENT for ghetto-blasting grimness. You'll thrill to the extended 'Cocaine is a lovely, beautiful thing' monologue and the heart-warming withdrawal sequence, replete with ant-barking and foot-picking. Woof. Mr. Spacely is the kind of scum you just can't find at Central Casting. Apparently this flick was done by the director of DOA. Well, be ready for an extensive foray into the deepest pit of mankind. Have a blast... MISTER KEYES BE ICE COLD AND SHIT
MISTER KEYES' A DAY ON THE DEUCE. June 1987.
On a horrifyingly humid day, The Keyes and The Keyes' Crew decided to brave the elements and venture from sleazepit to sleazepit, in search of refrigerated entertainment. Our first feature was HUNTERS BLOOD, a fabulous rip-off of DELIVERENCE and TEXAS CHAINSAW, as Sam Bottoms and Clu (RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD) Gulager wander into the wrong Arkansas territory, and find themselves on the business end of shotguns, knives and meat hatchets. As Sam, Clu, and company wander around the forest looking for deer, a bunch of backwoods Ph.D.'s decide that their poaching operation should include humans, too. Special mention to Bruce Glover (Keyes' Chill Pill for June) as the cackling psycho redneck. There isn't much scenery out there, so Bruce just munches the foliage. Joey Travolta (awful in SUNNYSIDE. Urgh.) attempts to essay the role of 'yankee dimwit who gets us all in trouble', with little success. But some good grim gore (groovy!), including a great head blown clean off add to the laughs/chills. Certainly a possible cable time-waster come the fall season. It's still light out as we stumble on to the next urinal/theatre. This flick was a gamble, and it really sucked. If you can watch DIRTY WAR, it says something about your threshold of pain. This creaky Italo-no-budgeter wants to be James Bond badly, but ends up being 'Idiotic Greaseballs on Parade'. Definitely a film to eat fried pork rinds by. We ended our descent with ENEMY TERRITORY, the first Shakespearean tragedy set in the Bronx. Ex-TV wimp Gary Frank (looking a little peaked in probably his first post-detox effort) plays a down-and-out insurance salesman given a job and a half by his fed-up boss. Go collect a hefty premium on a big policy. In the ghetto. Bad move. He ends up getting chased around a tenement hi-rise by the Vampires, an exceptionally well-armed street gang who don't like ex-TV wimps. Or pop singers either. So when Ray Parker, Jr. steps in as the good Samaritan, they want his black ass too. Gary and Ray sneak around from apartment to apartment, with Ray making Gary fork up much of his collected cash premium for bribes. Then Jan Michael Vincent (this guy looks scary, DWI's notwithstanding) comes on to steal the show as that timeworn staple, the 'Psycho Vietnam Vet'. Wow, I thought they only painted nice pictures of vets nowadays. Jan putters his wheelchair around his bunker/apartment, waving his M-16 and spouting survivalist dogma, much to the delight of the scenery union. A few brief spurts of violence here and there, but mostly urban decay auteurism (what the fuck?) that ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 did much better. Also a good bet for fall cable, so wait until you have nothing else to do at two in the morning. You'll watch it (no!no!). Yes, you will.
MISTER KEYES INTO REFRIGERATION AND SHIT
MISTER KEYES BE DEUCIN'. July 1987.
On another broiling summer afternoon on the Square (you know, the kind when the sidewalk/urinal starts melting, producing the finest of aromas) we went to check out our main man Fred "The Hammer" Williamson's latest cheroot chewer, THE MESSENGER. Well, it's obvious after watching this steaming Italo-turd that Freddy's definitely dead. Just because IBM in Milan wants to shelter some blow money is no excuse to endure this embarrassment. OK, here's the plot. Ol' 'spare tire' Williamson plays an ex-con who gets out and reunites with his wife, only to find out she's in on a international smuggling gig. She gets iced, prompting Fred to travel from city to city, courtesy stock footage (like he needs padding), offing drug dealers like Joe (TAXI DRIVER) Spinell. Meanwhile, in the 'inserts shot later' department, Cam Mitchell and Chris Connelly ham away as cops on his trail. Spine-scorching, eh? After about the third or fourth sync drop and mismatched cut, I decided that I wanted whatever it was these guys were doing when they made this movie, 'cause it was better than what they were selling outside the theatre. So unless you're into Italo-confusion, avoid this Euro-bummer.
MISTER KEYES BE ALL MOIST AND SHIT
MISTER KEYES' GUIDE TO HOME MOISTNESS. September 1987.
Yes, as summer draws to a close, The Keyes Crew find themselves seeking refuge indoors, far from the depressing sight of our favourite sleazemarts either razzed altogether (six theatres in six months, by our count), or turned into Cineplex Super-yup-prep-shitboxes that charge seven bucks a head (!) and don't even have the courtesy to then let you light up or swig cheap wine up front. Bastards. The good news, however, is that home vid has picked up quite a few curios to help the Crew fill in the gaps in our funky blaxploit viewing. We kicked off with a great vintage Motown actioner, DETROIT 9000, top-lining Alex Rocco (?)(!) as a sweaty vice cop looking for the dudes who pulled a by-the-numbers heist at a political fund-raiser. The thick plottens when a crazy injun fence is found in a trunk with his legs sawed off ("Why?" "So he'd fit in the trunk!") which brings macho detective Hari Rhodes on the scene. This guy has as much charisma as Brown or Williamson, but he smartly chose TV wimpery to bring home the bacon. Vonetta McKee also checks in as the hooker with a serious wardrobe problem. The chases and gunplay are pretty funny, and well filmed to boot. My favourite is when the hood with the funky hat screams 'Motherfucker!' just before catching two slugs in the neck. So, good action, wide lapels, hilarious music, funky dialogue. Very moist. Honestly, to give a fair review of HONEYBABY, starring Diana (BOOK OF NUMBERS) Sands and Calvin Lockhart, we're going to re-rent and re-view 'cause, um, The Keyes discovered the hardest part of the home video experience is staying awake through the entire flick, especially if you used up your entire, uh, supplies, for the first feature. Oops.
MISTER KEYES BE ALL OUT AND SHIT
MISTER KEYES ORIGINS OF MOISTNESS
The Keyes' crew felt it was time to shed some light on one of our fave blaxploits, the flick from which we copped our moniker. Yeah, THREE THE HARD WAY is as bad as they come (and we're for real here, not like that creepy mega-star who looks like E.T. with a deep pile carpet on his/her head). Helmed by Gordon (SHAFT) Parks Jr., this whacked Bond-meets-Bros. adventure pits the big three (Brown, Williamson, and Jim 'Keyes' Kelly) against a neo-Nazi-Klan outfit that wants to exterminate all black people using a serum (grin) dumped into the water supply of three major cities. To add insult to idiocy, the Nazis kill Jim B.'s brother and kidnap his woman (SUPERFLY's Sheila Frazier). Now he's mad. JB hooks up with 'The Hammer' in Chi-Town, where he's busy wearing some serious suits (c'mon, it's 1973). Then, it's on to NYC, to pick up 'Mister' Keyes, played by the semi-immortal Jim Kelly. He's busy clobbering half the NY police force with his feet when he finally quits to join JB and Hammer. What follows is a non-stop barrage of gunplay (my faves were the guy who gets pasted with a 12-gauge through a ski-ball machine), mean guerrilla tactics (The Keyes uses a Nazi as a human shield while the other Nazis fire away. Ouch!) and S/M torture (courtesy of The Countess, The Princess, and the Empress). This leads to an awesome climactic battle at the Klan HQ, with plenty of well-paid white extras in uniform dropping like flies as the big three put the lid on this caper. Total bugout, this flick always delivers the perfect combo of fast action, great fashion sense, and 'get whitey' sentiment to stir any aficionado of soulful cinema. Extra points for the amazing score by The Impressions. A must.
NEXT - THE KEYES GOES LEGIT (AND SHIT)
MISTER KEYES BE ALL LEGITIMATE AND SHIT. November 1987.
When the Keyes crew got wind that a Jackie Chan chop-socky epic was to be screened at a seafood convention (The NY Film Fest), we knew it was time to go legit. But first, we hit the Deuce far a quick hit of sleaze, a tepid horror quickie called THE OFFSPRING. This low-budget anthology (also called FROM A WHISPER TO A SCREAM) is an excellent opportunity to see what amounts to a detox clinic casting call (Cam 'urp' Mitchell, Vincent 'what day is it?' Price, Susan 'pay me in fifths' Tyrell, and Clu 'get me a prime time guest shot' Gulager) in several perverted little vignettes. Our fave was the circus side-show run by Rosalind Cash (God, she looks like Jake LaMotta) where all the freaks are under spiritual contract, and when the glass eater tries to skip out... let's just say that the local paint store is out of red Latex Satin. Then it was time for a trip uptown to (gack) Lincoln Center, where a reserved seat had the Keyes' name on it. Jackie Chan's POLICE STORY proved to be well worth the hoopla, a mile-a-minute cop-socky saga with heavy doses of laughs and some amazing stunts (which Jackie does himself). Afterwards, Jackie himself showed up on stage for a round of Q&A with the fish market crowd ("What was your motivation for..."). In his severely limited English, Jackie got big laughs describing the idiocy of most kung-fu schlock ("in most 'Drunken Monkey' type movie, there's no reason for fight! One guy says to another 'good morning', the other guy is like 'why you say good morning?' and they fight! My movie more, uh, action comedy with a plot."), his hopes to get better releasing for his films over here, and one stunt that didn't turn out quite right ("I fell like 50 feet, and felt OK, but one of the crew saw I was bleeding out the ear. I went to hospital, now I got metal plate in my head. Feels OK, I think..."). No doubt he is the best of the post-Bruce Lee Kung-fuey stars (just forget that he was in CANNONBALL RUN II) and with more buggin' flicks like POLICE STORY, he'll probably hit it big. The Keyes was starting to smell a little funny (seafood exposure) when another choice epic snuck into a Mrs. Pauls dairy case in Soho. In the 'Black Women in Film' series (arf) at the Flick Forum, they unspooled the mighty FOXY BROWN, starring the baddest Mama Jama, Pam Grier. Triple bug! A blaxploit classic in every sense. Pam plays a sassy femme whose brother, Antonio (Huggy! Huggy!) Fargas is a sleazebag dealer who turns Pam's boyfriend the narc (Terry 'TV wimp' Carter) over to the mob, played as usual by a bunch of lameass whiteys headed up by a lady pinhead ("man, you is ugly, woman!"). Pam turns up the heat and goes undercover as a hooker for the mob (The best is when she tells her high-ranking john he's got a "meat shortage"). When she gets uncovered, though, it gets rude. She's shot full of smack and sent to "the Ranch" where Sinatra--oh sorry--a couple of wormy rednecks rape her repeatedly until she rips one of their eyes out with a coat hanger and sets the other one on fire. Kick now serious ass Pam! (Translation from the Japanese.) She lines up a few heavy brothers to wage a mob war. Antonio and his old lady, meanwhile, have been dusted off by the no-neck greasers. Pam intercepts the Pinhead Lady's squeeze (the bag man) and chops his dick off as a present for the nice lady. Hilarity reigns when Pam brings the specimen to the mob HQ (Pinhead Lady--"Open it! What is it?" No-neck greaser--"I don't know. It looks like a pickle jar!") Ouch! Pam leaves the Pinhead and her dickless boyfriend alive to suffer, and takes off with the Panthers, to the soulful sounds of Willie Hutch. Is this perfection, or what? The budget for platform shoes alone places Foxy Brown in the pantheon of wah-wah cinema! The print they showed (The only print left I'm told) was so bad that everyone on screen looked like they had the measles! I didn't care! The Keyes was so satisfied. Now I just have to get the smell out of these clothes.
MISTER KEYES BE ALL MOIST AND FISHY
MISTER KEYES 'BE MOIST' WORLD TOUR... February 1988.
The Keyes Crew rolled into NYC for the first date of the 'Be Moist' Tour, stopping at various bars and cineplexes in the tri-state area. Our first feature was DEATH WISH IV: THE CRACKDOWN, which had the crew christening this the 'Sorry Charlie Tour'. A ridiculous Cannon-Bloatin'-Yourbutt concoction has 66-year-old Bronson mercifully backlit as he wages war (again) on criminal scum. Using the trendy subject of crack dealing, we join the ludicrous saga of Paul Kersey, Architect-Vigilante as he picks up the pieces (again), living in Houston and dating sweet (deadmeat) Kay Lenz. Kay's already got a teenaged daughter, and when she flames out on a crack overdose (yeah, rite?), Chuck gets kinda excited ("Anybody involved with drugs deserves to die!"). True to his word, Bronz goes after the crack moguls of Texas, creaking his way past loads of tracer bullets, punching the clock with a vengeance. This is certainly the sleaziest film of the series, truly the Reefer Madness of our time. Chill Pill for January goes to John P.Ryan as the slimy mogul who meets up with the business end of a rocket launcher... The Crew was looking for something to watch on the tour bus when a title shouted, "Let's Get It On!". Yes, the wacky THE BLACK GESTAPO proved to be the find of the month. It seems that the leader of a "black power" neo-military group is having trouble keeping the white Mafia from terrorising the inner city. So the second-in-command (future TV wimp Charles P. Robinson, looking seriously medicated here) suggests a more, um, persuasive squad of brothers to protect the neighbourhood. Soon, however, this "peacekeeping force" turns into 'Soul heil!', as the squad starts kicking honky Mafia ass left and right. When the 'family' tries to strike back, a straight razor provides the raunch as Charles P. Sedative tortures and castrates Mr. Honky Torpedo. OwOwOw. Of course, no vintage blaxploit would be complete without "the message" (right on), and it's soon apparent that the soulful Reich is no better than the "old boss", terrorising the same hapless ghetto store owners and running dope and prostitution rings (Wow, man. Heavy.). So it's up to the original leader to infiltrate 'Reich On' HQ and try to convince his ex-partner to chill out. No way. Too many new-found perks in this gig (including large-breasted white women). We won't spoil the final showdown, though. This one bugs with the best blaxploits, and not bad acting and camerawork to boot. It's a funny fresh TRIUMPH OF THE WILL! (Maybe not).
MISTER KEYES SAY 'YO' TO BUGS. March 1988.
The Keyes crew stumbled into the draughty Criterian ghettoplex for THE NEST. Now when we say this flick bugs out, we're not kidding. A hilarious tale of mutant roaches gone awry on a lazy seacoast island, this pic serves up enough humorous gruehem to rival the latest Euro-shred effort (or to fill a small appliance store). It all starts when mayor Robert Lansing (whose lithium dosage hasn't worn off since DIMENSION 5) makes a deal with 'Intec Labs' (yes, that's 'Intec') to use the island as a testing ground for genetic experiments with the little guys. Of course, it quickly gets out of hand, and soon we've got a roving gang of malicious bugs who can turn a guard dog into a fast order of spare ribs. The 'lameass' subplot, which takes up a little too much of the first 60, is your typical 'good sheriff in a love tryst with the mayor's daughter, back from the big city'. Yawn. Mayor Lithium calls in the expert from the mainland, a scenery munching woman scientist who rolls her eyes and gets all hot and bothered over big bugs ("ooh, they're biting my hand."). These little fuckers evolve quick, and soon they're immune to Pesticide and take on characteristics of their dinner (my favorite strain; the flying catroach!). It's up to the sheriff and Homer, the stoned 'pest control agent' to rid the island of the pesky critters. Auteur Terence H. Winkless (smirk) borrows liberally (rips off blindly) from every major horror epic of the past two year. You've got your Aliens Queen, your Cronen-Fly breakdown, your Gremlins microwave massacre (funny scene) and even your Blob C02 solution. Even so, the last 20 minutes is funny, certainly worth a coupla bucks at your vid outlet.
MISTER KEYES GONE BOATIN'. June 1988.
The second leg of the 'Be Moist' world tour found the crew hitting the decks for a day of boatin' and deucein' The swabbies at Empire Pix hit the jackpot with PRISON, a gritty actioner which manages to combine horror with lively 'behind bars' mayhem. It begins when a scumbag prison guard ices an inmate, then frames a con for the dastardly deed. That relatively innocent con is then fried for the murder, but of course his revenge-bent spirit hangs around the pen, waiting for his turn at the grill. Years later, the long-abandoned prison is being re-opened, and that sleazy guard will be the new warden. Mmm. That darned spirit starts out slowly, knocking off an inmate or two (we liked when the con trying to break out gets chmushed to death, particularly the lead pipe through the brain). Warden Scum torments all the inmates, stripping them down in the yard, making them stand like morons until someone confesses to the murder. Soon it's the next day, and when a guard starts losing it, they send him off on a coffee break to chill out. Mr. Fried Spirit moves in, possessing a bigass bail of barbed wire, and daintily wrapping it real tight) around the guard's neck (and his face a few times, too). Back on the cell block, a voodoo-crazed con tries to summon Mr. Fry from ... beyond! He succeeds all too well, and all heck breaks loose. Despite the trimming this flick supposedly got to cop an R-rating, it still packed a crowd approved punch. The crew then dropped anchor at the fine 8th Ave. establishment, The Full Moon Saloon. Full Moon, indeed. You'd have to be a blow-crazed wolfman to howl at the bar, where hefty hagged-out barmaids spill out of their 'Fredericks of Hollywood' tops. And you have your choice of pharmaceuticals, sold by an assortment of grimy 'men's room attendants'. Our business taken care of, we dropped in on ACTION JACKSON, a top contender in the 'stoopid fresh' sweepstakes of '88. Carl Weathers (whose stump has miraculously grown an arm since Predator) tries his hand at Shaft-isms, with middlin' results. Vanity certainly makes a lusty heroine (speaking of which, her post-injection nod-outs and slurred speech make her the most unconvincing junkie I've ever seen) and Craig 'ex-TV wimp' Nelson rolls his eyes and carries on like Norman Bates at Club Med as the 'psycho millionaire mobster'. Carl lets his biceps ripple and jumps on a few car roofs in extended T.J.Hooker style action until he finally plants a few rounds in Norman T. Nelson's gut. To be fair, tho, a few funny lines and wild jabbering ghetto characters make this Action worth a coupla' bucks on the vid shelf. And as promised, when it came time for tour bus idiocy, we selected a vintage effort by 'The Hammer' himself. HELL UP IN HARLEM is indeed a satisfying testament to the days of velour, before Fred started squeezing out Italo-turds like the aforementioned The Messenger (which, be warned, has been released in the same pack with CAESAR, HARLEM and BUCKTOWN). Williamson is back as Tommy Gibbs, the soulful Caesar, as we pick up right at the end of Black Caesar, with Fred getting nailed by torpedoes right on 57th Street. The Hammer promptly hails a cab, with assassins in hot pursuit. 'Abdul' in the driver's seat goes down in the line of fire, but Fred escapes, and grabs some blackmail material on his enemies to boot (Wow! The first 5 minutes!). Fred enlists his dad for support (literally), and "Big Papa" comes through, hiding the blackmail and calling the funky cavalry to get Caesar some medical attention; A "horse doctor" who "wouldn't make a house call" pulls Fred's slug, while some grim brothers keep the op-position occupied. With Fred's approval, dad takes over 'operations', promptly icing two cops and doing the dirty work with a smile (and handy assistant Zack). OK, so much for the plot. Director Larry Cohen visits his relatives in Florida and shoots a pointless insert in which Caesar and the cavalry raid an island syndicate fortress. What is this, Sea Hunt? Well, anyway, Fred uses his 'vacationing mobster hostages' to swing a 'get out of jail free' deal, as Edwin Starr croons "Don't it feel good to be free". Jeez. Fred's ex-girlfriend turned informer (the awesome Gloria Black Belt Jones Hendry) is still hanging around, and boy, does she get a raw deal (kids snatched and everything). Meanwhile, ex-pimp turned preacher Rufus is delivering anti-Caesar sermons, so The Hammer shuts him down and grabs Sister Jennifer for his new mate. Three years later (!), the corrupt DA starts applying the pressure, so Fred blows town and leaves his Metro territory to--you guessed it--BIG PAPA! So Pops cruises the fast lane, catching 'The Stylistics' set at the Apollo, boozin' and whorin', and airing out rival gangsters on the subway (watch the closing doors). Unfortunately, handy assistant Zack is now Badass Rival Zack, and between his serious wardrobe and his lethal right hook, he manages to dethrone Pops as Numero Uno. Fred leaves his Beverly Hills estate to 'ease on into town' and wipe out all his opposition (including a demented 'handmade' implement on the beach and the 'hot dog' murder in the park) and really finish the job by lynching the whitey DA (in all fairness, though, he kidnapped Fred's son and he looks like Morton Downey, Jr.) as Edwin essays the catchy title tune. Keyes Chill Pill to Julius Harris (BIG PAPA) for 'killin' women. A lot of women.' Needless to say, HELL UP IN HARLEM is a trip to wah-wah heaven.
MISTER KEYES BE DOCKIN'
MISTER KEYES' FRIED PARK MINDS. October 1988.
After an extended summer hiatus (you try writing in a greenhouse), The Keyes Crew delved into the latest and freshest offerings around. This time around took us up to haughty Park Avenue, where the Asia Society was bowing Jackie Chan's latest, PROJECT A--PART II, another bugged-out entry in Jackie's growing list of unique action-comedy outings. Although the pace flags heavily in the middle, this tale set in turn-of-the-century Hong Kong has enough twisted gags and back-breaking stunts to appease the jaded minions of Slime. Jackie is a military officer assigned to the raunchiest sector of Hong Kong, where pirates, smugglers and opium are in charge. Jackie's attack plan doesn't sit too well with the ultra-corrupt cops, so Jackie and a few comrades take on the local Tong lord, with able assistance from 'the cavalry'. As I said, we almost lost our interest for awhile in the middle, when the unswift plotting and period sequences took over. But 'Buster' Chan breaks through for a kickass finish, with Jackie doing some serious fighting, free-falling, and hot chilli pepper eating (the spit then blinds his enemies) truly worth waiting for. And as always, the end credits show some behind-the-scenes lunacy (a technique he uses a little better than Hal Needham). Hey, we even get Jackie crooning the uncatchy title song! This guy does everything!...So we were perky (jacked-up) when we decided on a second feature for today's viewing. We didn't know we were going to be seriously de-perked by MESSENGER OF DEATH, the latest loser from Colon-Pancreas, featuring over-the-hill Charlie Bronkhead (this guy can barely raise a rifle, for chrissakes) as a nosy reporter investigating a massacre of women and children at a rural farm (a pretty grim opening, actually). It turns out to be a feud between brothers, all of whom are pseudo-Mormon 'marry 'em all' zealots. But after a few lightweight shoot-outs (with Chuck trying to keep the peace) it turns out that one of the brothers won't sell his land, and he was set up by--The Water Company! It's Charles Bronson vs. The Fucking Water Company! Add such stalled careers as Trish Van Devere, Larry Luckinbill and John Ireland, and you've got some Brothers wanting their money back. Now! Any more contractual obligations like this and Chuck's going to be in mandatory retirement.
MISTER KEYES BE CHIPPIN'. January 1989.
With most of the quality bijous in the Square area dead and gone (to make room for hermetically sealed accommodations for Japanese businessmen and gangsters), The Keyes Crew chased down some sleazy fare in Downtown Brooklyn, where there still remains a 'Super Fly Boutique' Annex and a quality assortment of low-grade pharmaceuticals. Our first feature, I'M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA had our hopes high for a laughathon at the expense of our favourite blaxploitation idols. But unfortunately, major studio intervention obviously kept writer-director-star Keenan Ivory Wayans firmly in mainstream land, while 'High Concept' studio mongoloids avoided rewrites on a script that needed more good jokes and less padding (more on that later). Obviously Keenan wanted Naked Gun level hi-jinx, and assembled a sterling cast of classic blaxploiters (Jim Brown, Isaac Hayes, Antonio 'Huggy' Fargas, Bernie Casey) and even some soulful TV faves likes Clarence Williams III and Ja'net Dubois to do his bidding. But despite some funny business (Jim's bunion problem, people found dead O.G.-ed on gold chains, Huggy's 'Pimp of the Year' flashback), too much falls flat, Keenan comes off like a soggy soulful Robert Hays (urgh), and Jim and Isaac aren't given much to do except stand around and compare expanding midsections. Damon Wayans (sibling) is extremely chilled, tho, as a baseheaded hoodlum who has a problem exiting his scenes. So Sucka gets the Keyes 'wasted potential' award, but check it out on the vid shelf for Huggy & Damon. The crew conveniently hiked on upstairs for our second feature, the babes-behind-bars epic PURGATORY. We sighed in relief as the sleaze quotient was brought back up to spec. Director Ami Artzi (no, you ain't) kicks off the action quick, with Charlie's Angel-replacement Tanya Roberts and friend vacationing in South America. When martial law is declared, Tanya and friend try to hightail it out of town. They pick up a clean-cut Aussie on their way to the airport, but when the inevitable roadblock looms ahead, the Aussie bloke takes the wheel, and takes off, determined to hang on to his smuggled stash. Of course, apprehension is imminent, the Aussie bites the dust courtesy Mr. AK47, and the gals are shipped off to -- Purgatory! Tanya's mom is soon on the case, hiring lawyers and bribing judges, but it's 'fuck the gringo over' week in town, and Tanya and friend are out of luck. The facts of life at Purgatory are spelled out by the warden, a dainty Englishman with a dark past (Harvard Business School Grad. Ouch!). It seems that Warden MBA runs a little prostitution ring, using inmate 'talent' and the word is 'when I tell you to fuck, you fuck!' Well, Tanya's friend doesn't take too well to the whole deal, and soon she's gang banged and stamped 'psycho ward'. Now Tanya's on her own, and Mom's still on the outside trying to get her out. The local American ambassador is a corrupt wormbag, but his assistant seems to have a handle on reality. Tanya is now in the prison stable, servicing the local rich scum while downing sedatives and booze. Meanwhile, Mom uncovers a little too much evidence in trying to free her daughter, and runs into a slight mishap involving her car and a rocket launcher. Bye, Mom. Now Tanya's only hope is 'assistant to wormbag', who quits his job and hires a speed boat to spring Tanya. The big breakout scene is inevitable, with Tanya and her cell mates slitting some throat and grabbing some gun. The Warden rides around in his jeep shooting down Tanya's poor cell mates like dogs until Tanya hits checkpoint Charlie and dispatches Warden MBA with a flare gun. So PURGATORY keeps the ladies-in-the-lockup genre alive and well. Let's hope that a major studio doesn't decide to parody these films, too...
MISTER KEYES' BACK ON THE BOULEVARD. March 1989.
With our Cheez Doodles in one hand and our Hawaiian Punch in the other, The Crew trouped back onto the 'Dirty B'lvd' for an unstoppable double bill. First up was KINJITE, yet another in the seemingly unending contract obligations Chucko Bronco is releasing as entertainment with the help of Israeli supermen Gippo and Globulo. Charles is an LAPD. whore-buster who runs up against a child prostitution ring, and Japanese businessmen are the prime customers. Despite some artzi build-up and long pauses, trying to indicate 'meaning' (this ain't Oshima), soon a Tokyo-based exec gets an LA transfer, and he's whistling Chevalier all the way. He moves his whole clan (including his subservient teenage daughter) to the west coast, and he does some meagre skirt-chasing on the bus. But hey! That's Chuck's daughter you're groping, swine! Charles is on the trail of the head pimp (chills to Juan Fernandez as the supremely oily child hawker). Although some gruesome, I mean funny moments creep in (Chuck makes Oily swallow his own fucking watch, then blows up his car, hahaha, Chuck berates double-parked Jap businessmen with slurs), this is yet another assembly line non-actioner, with 'backlit Bronco' dodging tracer after tracer and poor character actors (ex-REPO MAN Sy Richardson, for one) taking the squibs. But anyway, our night was salvaged by the B-feature, a class-Z project all the way, auteur Andy Sidaris' PICASSO TRIGGER. This sequel to his late-night cable staple MALIBU EXPRESS finds his private eye/stud (played this time by professional nobody Steve Bond) on the trail of international assassins. But let's face it, Andy's main interest here is displaying a succession of smokin' babes in jaw dropping actionwear. He also dresses Steve in cheeky bikini shorts and skin-tight Levis. Steve's 'dream team' of female cohorts dispatch disposable heavies with plenty of exotic weaponry (including radio-controlled cars and planes with plastique surprises, and an exploding boomerang!), and what cheapo soft-core action outing would be complete without stock footage of planes landing! And count me in whenever the climactic showdown involves busty gals in wet suits armed with crossbows! This is truly drive-in entertainment late-'70s style, worth picking up on a lonely night with Mr. VCR. Enjoy it.
YO! MISTER KEYES' BUMRUSH THE SHOW! June 1989.
The Keyes Crew is back in action with a demented double bill, and 'word up', this pair of superduds truly deserved the audience of gibbering seniors, screaming kids, and crying babies they got. First up was Roger Corman's cash-in attempt in the "Deep Star Leviathans From the Abyss" sweepstakes, LORDS OF THE DEEP. What we actually get is a voyage to the bottom of the barrel as cathode thesp Priscilla Barnes (stop. please.) and crew submerge into a murky world of bad miniatures. The 'high-tech' undersea lab sets could easily have been built in a suburban garage (Remember SPACE ACADEMY? Better sets.), and all the actors (?) stare at cardboard 'computers' while purple gels shine up at them. Of course, they start disappearing one by one, prompting the 'I'll go look for him/her alone, so I can get killed' plot mode. This is entertainment. As the skipper of miniature city, Bradford "Where's my career?" Dillman shatters any previous reputation for acting talent with his savage scenery munching. When the pesky aliens are revealed, it turns out that: (a) They didn't kill any of the missing crew, (b) they are of the 'cute, benign' variety, (c) they look like papier-mache dolphins with red Jell-O eyes, and (d) they should've fired the moron running the eyelids on aforementioned alien. O1' Rog himself chimes in with a wooden cameo (fitting in perfectly with the rest of the cast). The whole mess ends with a wimpy eco-conscious preachfest using cheaply acquired NASA footage. A thrill a minute. Perhaps not. Well, our second feature, LADY TERMINATOR, certainly perked up the festivities, and definitely takes the best 'movie where a slithering eel comes out of the title character's pussy and bites a guy's dick off' award. Yes, auteur Jalil Jackson's ultra-bizarro Chinese-Espanol-Mexicali voodoo love child details the hilarious "legend of the South Sea queen" (the award winner). Many years later (after a profound voice-over and endless crashing waves), a sexy young college student (don't forget, she's "not a girl, she's an anthropologist!") travels across the sea in search of the Eel Queen. Needless to say, after a great non-sequitur dissolve from our gal underwater in scuba gear to a slo-mo descent onto a queen-size bed, she is possessed (courtesy of a hand-drawn eel animating its way through her bikini) and becomes an unstoppable demon. No bullets can stop her! No leather pants are too tight for her! No automatic weapons run out of bullets for her! Yes, kids, now it's a dangerously plagaristic blueprint of Terminator, except that she's not an android and shouldn't really be able to take point blank hits over and over. But that's nit-picking, isn't it? She's after the grandson of the guy who de-eeled the Queen all those years ago. After about two hundred Mexican extras bite the bloody dust, this guy finally blows her up real good, and she staggers back at you as a teeth chattering life-size voodoo doll, and finally expires. Well, after this brain-numbing logic test, Mr. Jackson deserves to get his dick chewed off by the South Sea queen. As we stumbled out, a guy expressed his opinion, and relieved any gas build-up at the same time. "Yes," I said.
MISTER KEYES BIZARRE BREAD AND BUTTER. April 1992.
As a departure from the normal Keyes' Crew accounts of sordid moviegoing escapades, we travel into the demented regions of unusual employment. Finding the Crew's budget tapped and legit prospects limited, the Voice beckoned and we answered the call to a white sweatshop factory building on the corner of Brooklyn and Manhattan. The calls made indicated a video editing job of no fixed subject matter, but a glimpse at the lobby directory spelled it all out -- BIZARRE. Bizarre Video, to be exact, a distributor specializing in my favorite kind of porn -- fetish, bondage, water sports, latex wedgies -- just pure entertainment. After a brief meeting with the hopped-up supervisor and a tour of the luxurious facility, featuring a 'no-speak English' assortment of forklift operators and props from past efforts (the Medieval Torture Rack in front of the main office was my favorite), we got our assignment -- to dissect old films, to seek out new combinations, to boldly rip off a pathetic consumer with something they've seen before. In the meager edit room (and the impressive mass duplication fortress), the prime directives, inspired by numerous state legislature rulings, were posted; NO erections on screen, NO personal intrusions unless battery operated, NO piercing of, well, anything ON SCREEN (long live implied piercing), oh, and no weights on balls. O.K., holding back a cerebral hemorrage, we go to work. Encouraged to 'be creative', I created a title for my shameless repackaging of turgid transvestite bondage, and presto, "Power of the Leather Mistress" was born. After a short perusal of the tape library (where the Dewey Decimal System had been replaced by such designations as 'Wet and Wild', 'She-Male Soft and Hard' and 'Big Tit Spanking'), we found our selections (I was tempted to use the 'Avengers' episode they owned just because Diana Rigg was wearing leather). Soon we had slapped together an exciting melange of torrid non-explicit shenanigans involving various confused participants. My freqent snoozing during the editing process was interrupted by Orwellian speakerphone assignments ("We need 50 'Bound in Latex' for New Mexico by 4") and the ominous security cameras gave the whole office that '7-11' feel. The Crew wishes it could've stayed with the slap-happy folks at "Bizarre", but due to exciting new adventures (another job), we had to say goodbye to the chance of a lunchtime, but we will always remember with fondness that 'TV' isn't always television, that jewelry can be be worn in unusual places, and that "Lesbian Dungeon Submission" just is not as exciting as it sounds.