Welcome back, boo believers, to another episode of #hauntlife, the only regular blog that tries to focus on the haunt industry, but gets off course 80 percent of the time. This week, I will be reviewing the newest film from Troma Studios called Grindsploitation. And with a title like that, you know it’s going to be good.
Before I get to that, I want to catch you guys up on a few things. As many of you know, October is the month I wait for every single year. Not only is it haunt season, but it also brings other things I love. Cool weather is something I am big fan of (us people of the larger-sized crowd tend to like not sweating the moment the door is opened). My Tennessee Titans take the field again to find new ways to be mediocre, but I still pull for them each and every single week (Go, Marcus Mariota). I get to shower love and attention on my wife for her birthday. It is Cyber Security Awareness month, so my day job has me doing a ton of extra projects, since, well, I am an IT Security Administrator. Tons of Christmas orders start rolling into my 3-D printing business. And I get to decorate the outside of the house in all the scary glory I want (not really, ’cause the wife makes sure that I remember that little kids come for candy). Nothing but love for the month of October.
I think my love for this month goes back to my childhood. Since I loved making props and decorating for Halloween, my dad would let me into his cabinet shop to have my way with the scrap lumber and PVC he had. I would spend hours with a jigsaw, pipe cutter and sander, making intricate designs meant to inspire fears and dread, but mainly they just inspired my dad to ask me, “What’s that supposed to be?” He tried to be as discreet as he could, but looking back, I know that what I was making was not recognizable as anything remotely scary. Where I would see a spider, or a scary coffin, others saw what amounted to a heap of junk that sorta was in the shape of a melted ice cream cone. But after he saw how much I had worked on it and how much I wanted it to turn out good, he would break away from what he was doing, so he could help me out. A better dad no one could ask for.
As years went on, I spent less and less time in Dad’s shop. Video games, computers and role-playing games took the place of hanging out in the shop. But come October, I was right back out there, getting my haunting fix. And there was always my dad, right there with me.
My dad passed away in 2011. He never got a chance to come to the haunted houses I have worked for. But he did get to see some of the work I did as a makeup artist and some of the props I built in my tiny apartment. And I always gauged how good my work was by if Dad could know what it was and not have to ask, “What’s that supposed to be?”
This year, I am working on a big display for Halloween. I am busy in my extremely limited spare time making giant spiders, stringing up beef netting spiderwebs and setting out the inflatables. Since Dad is not here, I have to rely on my amazing wife to look at my final products and let me know how I did. Not once has she had to say, “What’s that supposed to be?” And that makes my heart happy.
All right, now on to my review of Grindsploitation: The Movie. It’s funny that this is called “The Movie,” as it is not really a true film. It is an anthology of B-rated slasher and action flicks. Just like my thoughts on October, this film takes me back to the ’80s. Back then, I spent hours watching B-movies, as I have mentioned in almost every review I have done here. And one thing I loved about these movies is that when I got to watch them on VHS, there were always kick-ass previews at the beginning. In fact, those previews turned out better than many of the films they proceeded. Grindsploitation takes me back to those times with a smile.
This celluloid celebration came from the minds of some of the greats in B-movie culture. Lloyd Kaufman, Tony Newton and Paul Wennersberg-Lovholen, plus many many directors all get a chance to show off their gory goods in spectacular splendor. From the moment I started the screener, I knew I was going to be in love. The familiar “Our Feature Presentation” title card, straight from 1960s cinema, began playing, followed closely by the “Scaredy Cat” rating system (not sure what I mean? Go educate yourself here). Immediately I was hooked. Soon, I was watching a masterful mix of short films, faux trailers and faked banned scenes filled with gruesome delights. “The Power Tool Rapist”, “Cannibal Vampire Call-Girls From Outer Space Part 3”, “Dr. Seuss’s There’s A Wocket In My Pocket” and other bite-sized films played out before me, making me wish that these films where actually available for me to watch in full. After 150 minutes of pure exploitation, the final flick, “Isabella,” played out and the credits began. And I found myself saying, “WHAT!!??? THERE HAS TO BE MORE!!”
Sadly, there was nothing post credits (not that I was expecting, but more like hoping)…
If you cannot tell, “Grindsploitation: The Movie” gets a solid 5 out of 5 stars from me. While it may not be something everyone will love, it got me wanting more, which is not something easily done (especially in the world of B-films). I am hoping beyond hope there is a sequel to this, and really hope that some of these faux films actually get picked up and made. Hell, it worked for Machete, and in the world of movies (where new ideas are about as common as Congress passing a balanced budget), lightning can strike more than once. Let’s get it done!
So, now I am going to head back to my laboratory (dining room table) and begin bringing my evil creations for the front yard to like (aka: spiders made out of trash bags). If I don’t see you before Halloween, have an amazing one. If you are in the Nashville area, be sure to check out Nashville Nightmare, the No. 1 ranked haunted attraction in the country as reported by USA Today, where I will be running the online ticket pick-up booth. Open every Thursday through Sunday through Halloween.
See you in the next #hauntlife.