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Grafted in a jiffy


So last Friday, I went to the Art Theatre in Long Beach to watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, which I had never seen. I'd been to this particular place once before, to catch Sunshine Cleaning for the 2nd time before visiting my friend to watch a bunch of motherfuckers beat the shit out of each other on UFC. I remember liking the place but hating the parking, and as it turns out, this time the parking is even worse now that they closed the small lot behind the fuckin' place. As I walked towards the ticket booth, a homeless dude using his coat as a mattress started mumbling to me something about my cigarette, so I gave it to him. For all I know, he could've been warning me about the dangers of smoking and probably thought I was being a dick for handing over my cancer stick, but whatever, he was mumbling. Kinda like what I'm doing now with my typing.

Instead of a ticket, the girl stamped my hand and I was in. It was a decent turnout and I ended up sitting near the female lead of the movie, Caroline Williams. She was chatting with the people sitting beside her and was in very good spirits. Two of the guys who worked on the makeup effects were there as well, Bart Mixon and Gabe Bartalos, but I wasn't sitting next to them, so who knows if they were in good spirits or not. At least up on stage, they seemed cool, but Madam Williams wins the award for this night. She was awesome. There was a giveaway of DVD's for those who got the trivia right, and I ended up winning an autographed poster of TCM 2 because I was the only one who raised my hand as opposed to yelling out the answer (which I didn't know until I heard it yelled). I won for demonstrating good manners while swooping in and owl-ing that shit from a motherfucker. Lesson here, kids: Raise Your Hand.

I really liked the movie, really liked it. I can understand why this flick might have rubbed many a horror fan the wrong way back in '86, considering that it's basically for the most part a piss-take on the first movie. I mean, it still has some genuinely shocking moments, but for the most part it feels like Tobe Hooper made this because he had to, not 'cause he wanted to, and so he decided to have some fun with it. But even if that wasn't the case, it's kind of an uphill battle to follow up such a classic. So why not take it to a different fuckin' playing field? Anyway, while I can understand someone not liking this movie, I do not agree with them. This fuckin' movie rocked and I'm definitely buying the special edition DVD with the shitty Saw design.

Something I noticed during the viewing was, well, two things I noticed. First, they must have blown out one of the speakers of something, because there was a weird crackling coming from the front throughout the whole fuckin' movie (the 35mm print looked great, though). Second, I realized that Rob Zombie owes a shitload of his film career to this goddamn flick. Holy shit, was this motherfucker influenced by what he saw here. I mean, there was a lot of The Devil's Rejects in here with the half-crazed Texas lawman avenging his fallen family member(s), the use of Bill Moseley, the unsettling mix of horror and goofy, colorful language, people forced to wear other people's flesh, etc. Both TCM 2 and Zombie's Halloween II even have a similar directorial tone of Fuck This Shit, I'd Rather Be Doing Something Else But I'll Give You A Fuckin' Sequel To Remember, going as far ending their follow-ups with straight-up closure, all the baddies dead and no room for further sequels (which doesn't mean a fuckin' thing to the studio, 'cause there's always a way to continue). I guess what I'm trying to say here is that if they've never met, and in that case, were to meet one day, it would make perfect sense if Tobe Hooper's first words to Zombie were to be "You're welcome".

The next day I rented The Collector, because this gentleman had tweeted its praises. It was written by the guys who wrote Feast and directed by one of them. The movie is about this dude named Arkin working construction/renovation shit on a house in the woods owned by a family with money, but what they don't know is that once they take off for vacation, homeboy's gonna come back at night and jack everything in the safe. It's kind of a scummy thing to do, but the fact that his baby mama owes a shitload of money to some undesirables helps you want to see him pull it off and get away with it. And he would've gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for that darn mysterious masked man in black already inside the house and torturing said family.

Yup, it's the title character and it's people that he collects; he likes to slice them up, beat them up, and stitch their mouths shut. Arkin tries to get the fuck out of there, but suddenly it seems like every other step he takes is thisclose to a deathtrap that didn't seem to be there a minute ago. Suddenly there are spikes sticking out of the stairs, razor blades hidden between the planks of the boarded up windows, needles attached to the phone, etc. Arkin is trapped and I guess there's the whole human being side of it that makes him want to help these poor people out, in addition to getting the fuck out of there before midnight (that's when the loan sharks are coming to either collect from his woman or break her fuckin' legs). But there's also this Collector dude stalking around the whole joint that he has to contend with.

This was intended to be a Saw prequel, but for whatever reason, that shit didn't happen. So here we are with this movie. Ultimately, it wasn't bad, I thought it was OK and worth a Saturday night rental. It's a short movie, and fast at that; this one felt a little more torture porn-y than others of its ilk.  There's a really creepy motif involving spiders and even the Collector himself looked a tad arachnid. Even some of the traps give off a spider web vibe where once a poor motherfucker goes in, there's no getting out; rooms are suddenly lined with tripwire and one fucked up trap involves the floor of a room being covered in some yellow sticky substance (it's like flypaper, this shit) and as a special bonus, this stuff is like acid and starts eating away at your feet once you're stuck. Even a poor fuckin' cat is stuck to this shit and doesn't sound too happy about it.

OK, those were my brief thoughts on the movie itself, but I want to get into the revelation of who the Collector is and what I got out of it, so, again with the spoiler warning. So it turns out that the Collector ends up being the pest control dude who was working alongside the construction guys. He's played by character actor Juan Fernandez, who you might not know by name, but you've sure as shit seen his face, usually as a bad guy. Shit, I think he's only played bad guys. Anyway, being that this dude is raza, I wonder if the movie is trying to say something about how most of you motherfuckers see the brown dude who is cutting your grass, or the lady who watches your kids, or yes, even the Latino who is killing your bugs. You better watch the fuck out, people. Respect these motherfuckers, be kind to mi gente and don't ever look down at them just because you might make more money and have a better job/life situation and because you're not a dirty wetback. Don't be like that. Or they will put bear traps all over your foyer.

I understand this movie made its money back and they're considering a sequel. Good. I want this to become the new Saw. I want more and more people to know about the Collector and I want the movie to make people aware about the ethnicity of the actor playing him because what would come out of it would be just so darn amusing. I can see it now; upper-middle class/wealthy liberals will kowtow and walk on eggshells so as not to annoy Lupe the nanny. I can see similar tax-bracketed conservatives using The Collector as another reason why we have to close the borders: "You see, people -- these illegal Mexicans will come over here, take our jobs, live off our socialist/communist/fascist health care that our son-of-a-bitch president Obama has forced us to live with, and then they'll lock us up in trunks in an attempt to lure more rich White--ahem, I mean fellow Americans into their deathtraps!"

I don't want to see paisas get mocked for wearing their cowboy hats and gigantic belt buckle and snakeskin boots and driving their old Ford pickup with a 2 foot Virgin Mary on the dashboard and blasting some fuckin' ranchera music. I want them to be feared. I want to see people get nervous at the possibility that Jorge the kindly gardener will own their fuckin' ass, should he ever feel like it. This is the kind of change I believe in.

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