Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

With the pacing of a chess match, and the musicality of…a chess match, Sgt. 
Pepper’s 
Lonely Hearts Club Band is a tough slog, even for us, frequent champions of the terrible.

How is it humanly possible to turn great Beatles songs into unlistenable mush? Well, much of the blame lies at the feet of the Bee Gees, which give many of us the heebie- jeebies. Their squeaky voices and generous pompadours are enough to turn stomachs, that’s for sure, but it’s not like there’s not lots of blame to slather around.

They, along with Peter Frampton, are members of a supergroup from which the film’s title is derived. They’re stars of Heartland, USA, a fictional town located in (wait for it) the heartland of the United States. They probably should’ve hailed from Tin Ear, Indiana.

BD Records signs, and then exploits them, but it’s hard to tell who’s exploiting whom. A strong case could be made that when it comes to exploitation, it’s that of the cochlea or auditory nerve.

Filmed mostly around an MGM backlot gazebo that’s probably given a healthy workout during episodes of Gilmore Girls, Sgt. Pepper’s features musical numbers as pedestrian as the town square sidewalks.

Steve Martin mallets his way through Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, Barry Gibb badly warbles A Day in the Life, Billy Preston sashays his way through Get Back…And speaking of getting things back…how ’bout that lengthy run-time?

On the Really Awful Movies Podcast, we have occasionally delved into atrociously bad musicals, discussing films like Xanadu and The Apple. And stinkers though they were,  they were fun and spirited. This one though, yikes. Steer clear.

* (out of 5)

[Tune in to our Really Awful Movies Podcast discussion of Sgt. Peppers!]

 

Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

A fun directional pivot for the series, and the first appearance of Kane Hodder as the man behind the mask, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, is truth in title and a fun double entendre. New (or fresh) blood: new members admitted to a group, typically as an invigorating force.

There aren’t many ways to go with a stalk-and-slash premise that boils down to “masked guy going on a rampage in the woods.” But here, director John Carl Buechler adds some supernatural / telekinesis elements that bring a fun, Cronenberg-lite touch to the Camp Crystal Lake series in the form of researcher, Dr. Crews.

Jason is rotting on the bed of a lagoon, and this Crystal Lake looks more like a Louisiana bog. Crews is studying young Tina Shepard, a girl with the power to move things with her mind, who’s inadvertently caused the death of her father, as well as reanimated Mr. Voorhees from the lake bottom. He’s an institute-appointment psychiatrist who’s more interested in self-aggrandizement than helping poor Tina assuage her feelings of guilt. And she’s a bit like Charlene in Stephen King’s Firestarter (or Carrie, to acknowledge an oft-cited debt).

The rest of Friday is, of course, Jason getting down to the business of killing once he is broken free from his chains and emerges from his sub-aqueous ecosystem.

Dr. Crews is weed-wacked, and Kane Hodder is a kind of Lucio Fulzi Zombie of a Jason, complete with rotting maggot/worm visage and a hulking physicality.

The second unit director and Buechler shot test footage of the allegedly “too small” Hodder (we should all be that small at 6’2″)  in a mock-up mask and suit and sent it to Paramount. And the rest…is history, at least as far as Hodder in the lead role is concerned (Hodder would go on to play Jason five times).

How does this fare in terms of fitting into the Friday canon?

It’s not the best, but The New Blood is far from the worst: that (arguably) came a year later in Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan.

*** (out of 5)