makes one a Chewer? It isn’t just reading CHUD.com regularly, although
that’s a great start. It definitely isn’t being an expert at
mastication. Being a Chewer requires a certain sensibility that’s
outside of the mainstream. Sure, a Chewer can hold his or her own in a Star Wars
OT vs PT argument with a standard movie geek, and sure, a Chewer can go
with the rest of the film snobs to an Ozu revival, but a Chewer also
gets really, really excited about the DVD release of The Manitou.
the next few weeks we’re going to be bringing you The CHUD.com
Essential Films Collection – the films that would be in our dream
Chewer DVD Box Set. These are 50 movies that we think every Chewer
should see and love. This is by no means the definitive list of movies
that make one a Chewer, but it’s a good start. It’s also in no order –
the first films that we list are just as essential as the last ones.
And it’s a list that will leave off the obvious as much as possible –
you don’t need us to tell you to see Lawrence of Arabia or Seven
fire up your Netflix or your Amazon accounts – every day we’ll be
bringing you two movies that are worth seeing, and probably worth
owning as well. Chew on, Chewers.
Ogami Itto is ronin, a wandering masterless samurai selling his swordsman skills for a living. With him is his baby son Daigoro, traveling in a tricked-out baby carriage that is stealthily armored and equipped with secret spring-loaded blades. The father and son team work together very well, cutting an extraordinarily grisly swath of carnage across the countryside, on a boat, and finally in the desert.
Why it’s Essential: These days we get very upset about American hands butchering Asian films (Weinstein!), but Shogun Assassin is a classic exactly because of that kind of treatment. The movie is a mash-up of the first two of six Lone Wolf and Cub movies, based on the popular manga series, and Shogun Assassin cherry-picks the best and bloodiest stuff, without too much regard for plot.
The film has been described as hyper-violent, and that’s putting it mildly. Shogun Assassin is blood soaked, just dripping with the red stuff. What I find that I like best about the movie is how it dances on the edge of cartoonishness, like a scene where a guy gets his feet cut off at the ankle and stands on the stump, or a moment when a warrior takes the time to make a comment about the whistling sound coming out of his own slashed wind pipe, but Shogun Assassin never quite falls all the way into silliness (well, except for the scene where a female assassin jumps out of her clothes and runs away backwards. Huh?) – the violence keeps an edge of brutality. The kills are often laugh out loud funny, but you’ll also be wincing.
The final ingredient to the film’s greatness is its soundtrack – a cheesy synthesizer score is laid over some moderately poor dubbing. This is the element of Shogun Assassin that’s probably most famous, since the Wu-Tang Clan has sampled young Daigoro’s voice-over, and Quentin Tarantino features it in Kill Bill, where we learn the Bride showed the gory film to her daughter in lieu of a bedtime story.
Martial arts movies ruled the TV airwaves on Saturdays and Sundays when I was young, but they never quite delivered on the bloody mayhem I hoped for. Shogun Assassin makes up for every drop of blood I didn’t see back then.
Why it’s Essential: There was no better late-night cable discovery than Night of the Creeps. Funny, gory and (because it added a stab at John Hughes ennui) more ridiculous even than Return of the Living Dead or Evil Dead 2, this is the most underseen representative of the mid-’80s horror/comedy mashup trend. Brainchild of Fred Dekker, who bookended Creeps with House (the script) and Monster Squad, the flick nods enthusiastically to other filmmakers with character names like Cynthia Cronenberg and Christopher Romero. It also mixes in a love for ’50s sci-fi and a healthy dose of all the stuff that makes a great b-picture: breasts, exploding heads, a gratuitious axe murderer, and a perfectly cheesy synthesizer score. If it’s not always adroid in switching gears from blood to laughs to teen angst, it’s impossible to fault the movie’s enthusiasm. And while Dekker’s self-consciously funny and mocking script might have eventually led to Scream, it also helped push James Gunn to create Slither.