Death By Cinema – 3 – Just For the Hell of It

“If I must just choose the method of my demise, I choose…

Britt

Death By Cinema!” -Britt Rhuart

Day 3 – Just For the Hell of It

So, I didn’t post a review yesterday because I got food poisoning last evening. I’m still not feeling so hot, but I figured I’d make up for it today by doing a double feature review. Luckily, on my Something Weird DVD of the HG Lewis film Just For the Hell of It, there’s a bonus feature to watch it as a drive-in style double feature with Blast-Off Girls, complete with bonus trailers and other drive-in goodies. So, I’ll do that today.

HG Lewis has long been one of my favorite filmmakers. This is not because he makes good films, far from it. However, his movies, particularly his gore films, are a great deal of fun. I don’t know much about the movie I’ll be watching today, but I have seen the trailer, and I can tell you two things about the film. 1. It has a group of teens doing horrible things just for kicks (at least one thing of which I’ll talk about during the review). 2. It features one of the worst theme songs I’ve ever heard in my life. I’ll try and post a video of the terrible song during this review, because I don’t know that I can do it justice.

Random Thoughts While Watching the Film:

We begin with some drive-in segments, specifically for the concession stand. The first one is an ad for hot dogs. We also get one for burgers and one for meatball subs (drive-ins had meatball subs?). If I was feeling better, I’d head over and pick one up. Also, what the hell? An ad to buy cigarettes and SHRIMP ROLLS in the concessions stand? Some of the clips are clippy and cut in and out, but I don’t expect much. These weren’t meant to be saved and the fact they’re still around is a miracle. Oh, and there’s a quick 3 second clip for something called Flamer: The Electric Football (also available at the concession stand). It’s literally a light up football. There’s an ad for corndogs, like they’re the hit new thing. There’s a slightly racist ad for BBQ. An ad for a clothing store called The Wizard of Oz. An ad for the concession stand where all the food looks like ass, including BBQ sandwiches, Chilly Dillys (I’m assuming spoiled pickles), pizza (none better anywhere my ass), and green hot dogs.

Here’s a trailer for Just For the Hell of It. I won’t comment on it too much, because I’ll be commenting on all of it in a bit.

There’s a trailer for a movie called Suburban Roulette. It’s basically a swapping movie. I guess it’s also by Lewis, though I’m not familiar with it. I do recognize one of the main actors from Blood Feast and 2000 Maniacs! in it though.

A trailer for what was for a long time the last Lewis movie, The Gore Gore Girls. It talks about how gory it is and… it’s pretty accurate. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s cheesy gore, but it’s still brutal. Also, Henny Youngman is in this film. Take this film, please!

A trailer for a film called The Psychic. Never heard of it, will likely forget about it. It’s a sexploitation film. Boy, this trailer just goes on and on. Ha, there is literally a slow motion running through the meadow scene.

Here’s a trailer for the film Something Weird.Honestly one of my favorites of his films. Basically mix witchcraft, snipers, ESP, and LSD in the most awesome way possible. Just a good mind screw of a movie.

A clip of a dance party devolving into destruction of public property. I think this is a clip from the movie, so I’ll comment on it when the actual movie starts. This goes on way too long though. I’m not feeling too good about the movie right now.

Oh, wait, that was the opening hook/intro to the movie. Never mind. Wait, that part went of for 4 minutes?!? Literally, all it is is just them destroying a house, or more accurately, a room in a house, for 3 1/2 of those minutes. Uh, oh.

And here’s that terrible theme song. How best to describe it? Ok, picture a bad high school rock band. Now they play pussy rock. They also don’t know how to play in rhythm or anything. Their guitars are out of tune. Their voices are out of tune. They’re in an echo chamber. They can’t sing harmony. The chorus is really just a repeat of the word DESTRUCTION over and over. The lyrics are the cheesiest I’ve heard since Coven sang One Tin Soldier (The Legend of Billy Jack). There’s literally a repeated line about the kids in the movie huffing and puffing and blowing your house down. Here’s the sad thing. the theme was written by HG Lewis. He also wrote the theme to 2000 Maniacs!, which is, no lie, one of my favorite movie themes. This is a major disappointment. Also, it’s sung by a dude named Tary Rebenar. Anyone wonder why we’ve never heard of him? Here’s part of the song, with clips from the film:

Ok, we start with a shot of another high school band playing. I notice a couple things here. 1. The guy’s playing a Paul McCartney bass. 2. The film quality is actually pretty good. Better than most exploitation films in general, Lewis films in specific. 3. This instrumental this band is playing isn’t terrible. It’s not good, but this would have made a far superior theme song for the film.
Here are some of the names of the people in this badass gang. Dexter. Denny. Cransy. Bitsy. Not the most frightening names. Don’t worry though, there’s also a dude named Lummox.

Actual line: “Nobody makes Denny Fortune look like an idiot.”

Oh, good, that theme song is back. That’s what this film needs now.

*GASP* They just threw a bucket of water on an old lady! So hardcore. And lit a newspaper of fire (sorta) while in a woman’s hand? Brutal. And tossed a cop’s helmet in the air? They don’t care who they mess with. I’m scared, you guys. Then they lit a fire on a woman’s front yard and sprayed HER with the hose. These guys are worse than the Crips or Bloods!

The dialogue in this movie is very hard to hear at times. They got a bunch of crowd noises and it’s louder than the people we’re supposed to hear.

Now they’re trying to recruit a new gang member, Doug, with no crowd noises and a lot of gaps in speech. This conversation is awkward and dull.

Out of nowhere, Dexter stabs Doug with a broken bottle! Like in apropos of nothing. Who just stabs someone with a broken bottle? Then who comes back from being stabbed and kicks ass? Doug’s a badass.

Annnnndddd… more random destruction in apropos of nothing. Thus far, this film is dullsville and makes no sense.

A dude is about to call the cops and they put his hand on a hotplate, somehow blackening it immediately.

They do a sequence where they show a bunch of newspaper headlines about the gang. The only problem is, it’s lit so badly, you can only read parts of some of the headlines.

Here’s an old sheriff talking about those damn, dirty, long-haired hippies. This movie is so 60s.

Both the acting and writing of this film is so bad, particularly in this interrogation scene. The kid playing Dexter can’t act opposite again these bad actor cops.

Ok, here are the scenes from the trailer (and the clip above). The gang beats up a blind man and a dude on crutches. See I don’t get this. They have no motivation to do any of this. I get their motivation is supposed to be just for the hell of it, but you need to have better reasons for your characters to do stuff.

I will say, I do think the next scene if funny. They toss a baby in a trash can and then destroy his stroller. His stroller appears to be made from adamantium, as it takes a long ass time to break. If you’re wondering where the mom is in this scene… so am I. She conveniently walks out of frame.
There are like 5 more scenes of the gang randomly destroying things and being a public nuisance. Two things… 1. Where are the cops? They are very leisurely about getting away so they should be caught right quick. 2. We friggin’ get it! They’re bullies who have no regard for anyone else! Move on with the damn story!

Ok, well they just raped some girls. That would move plot forward. The gang is like 15 people and that just makes it more creepy. Jesus, that’s terrible.

I guess they’re not going to continue on with this rape storyline. Looks like they’re just going to beat up some little kids. Good. Can we please get some plot?

There’s about a half hour left in the film and finally we’re getting some plot that’s not this gang just beating people up. Dexter and Doug are really going with their feud.

God, Dexter has been setting up a billiard table with no dialogue for a whole minute of screen time. That is so wasted.

Looks like a random young couple, who we have nothing invested in as characters, are at the beach and the gang is gonna go after them. Will this drive the plot? I’m betting no.

God, the score in places often sounds like either bad rock, bad jazz, or bad old time radio sound effects.

Oh, good. Another gang rape. That’s great. Just want I want to see. And they’re destroying the couple’s boat. Because more mindless destruction and no plot has worked so well for the movie already.

And that crappy song’s back!

I just realized, there are so many scenes where Dexter doesn’t do anything, just walks around strutting and mugging with nothing else interesting happening on screen. Waste of film.
Ok, I get this scene with the girlfriend is supposed to be building suspense, but the score sounds like a bad sci-fi film where someone doesn’t know how to work a theremin.

And God, they’ve been building this suspense for 5 damn minutes! Literally, we saw the gal change out of her clothes and into a nightie while some bushes rustled. That’s it.

And now another rape. This time of Doug’s girlfriend.

Actual line: Doug: “Anything happens to Jean, you’ll never make it with another guy. I’ll promise you that.” Did… did the good guy in the film just threaten to murder a girl and/or mutilate her vagina?

One quick thing, sometimes in the scene transitions, there is a quick flash of black and white. Looks cheap and stupid.

Well, Jean’s dead and… she’s got blood suspiciously trickling down her leg? Wow, this rape stuff just gets worse and worse. Too bad Doug didn’t look closer at her. The actress is clearly breathing, though dead.

Doug’s chasing Dexter and Bitsy down. Doug’s in a Mustang, the gang’s on motorcycles. I wonder who will come out ahead. Now cops are chasing them.

Wait, Dexter and Bitsy swerved slightly off the road and their motorcycle explodes?!? What the hell?

Actual line: Cop to Doug: “Why, son? Just for the hell of it? Just for kicks?” The cop then arrests him. Jesus, that is a bleak friggin’ ending. Everyone’s dead, except our good guy who’s going to prison for life. Also, they said the name of the movie. Boo!
Wait, one more scene? Well, I guess we do need to find out what happens to the rest of the gang. Nothing. Nothing happens. They say two lines to each other and walk off. Then the stupid theme comes on with the line: “The moral of this story is there’s no moral at all.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Also, a The End title card comes up, but it says, “The End of This Story, But Not of Violence.” Dude, screw this film.

This was one of the harder films I’ve ever had to get through. Usually, I have enjoyed HG Lewis films. This film was not fun. It had no real plot, it was just a loose connection of shots of people being douchebags, which does not a film make. And it was boring. I’ve said it before, I can forgive a film for a lot, but not for being boring. Screw this film.

See you later this evening for the second half of my drive in double feature!

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