Friday, February 22, 2019

It's the FRIDAY'S BEST POP SONG EVER Podcast! "Substitute"

"Substitute" by the South African all-woman band Clout was a number one hit in countries across the globe--but you've never heard of it, have you? Todd is here to make things right.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

4DK at 10: Haseena Atom Bomb (Pakistan, 1990)

[ORIGINALLY POSTED JUNE 3rd, 2009: This review of the notorious Pakistani sleaze-fest, Haseena Atom Bomb was, for several consecutive years, the most read review on 4DK. I love you people, but you are clearly monsters.]

If you wanted to make the argument that sleaze is an unavoidable byproduct of puritanism, you could do a lot worse for an Exhibit "A" than Haseena Atom Bomb. And I say that with full awareness that my own country, with its dizzying sexual hypocrisy, is in no position to cast stones in that regard. It is these United States, after all, whose porn industry seems to grow in inverse proportion to the sanitization of our mainstream cinema screens, and whose media dedicates as much energy to sexualizing underage pop stars as they do to working themselves into an apocalyptic tizzy over sexting. And let's not spare our pals the Japanese in this matter, either; as their own strident censorship laws, which prevent the depiction of human genitalia or penetration even in hardcore pornography, have lead the marketplace to fill the resulting vacuum with perverted visual delicacies like tentacle porn.

In contrast, Pashto language movies like Haseena Atom Bomb are not even explicit by Western standards. But when you consider that the members of their target audience -- men living in the tribal region along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan -- are forbidden by custom from even gazing upon women outside their immediate family, you get a sense of the yawning gap between public conduct and private desire that they address.

Haseena reminds me a lot of 1970s Telegu action films like Pistolwali, only with everything turned up to eleven. The women are more voluptuous. (Okay, they're fat, to be completely honest -- something on which I imagine even the most sensitized proponents of positive body image would have to concur.) The dances are raunchier, and the camera angles used to film them even more disconcertingly intimate. On top of that, the action is even more frantic and cartoonish; No blow can me shown to have connected with its target sufficiently unless it is shown several times in rapid succession, with the deafening sound accompanying that blow being enough to make Bollywood's trusty old "dishoom dishoom" sound like a limp slap with a wet paper towel in comparison.

Correspondingly, the histrionics on display are over the top to the extent of losing sight of it completely, with every line delivered in a full-throated bellow and every hysterically caricatured reaction shot accompanied by an ear-shattering clap of thunder. Yes, impossible as it may be to believe, Pashto filmmakers offer up a cinema that even Pistolwali director K.S.R. Doss -- a man whom I had previously thought was about as committed an enemy of subtlety as one could encounter -- can look down upon for its brashness and lack of refinement. Add to this a lack of budget and technical skill made plain by the film's grade school play level sets and abundance of dodgy camera work and the picture is complete. Haseena Atom Bomb comes at you as a film whose every mottled frame screams its utter trashiness at you, holding you forcefully by the shoulders as it does so in order that you may fully savor its ghastly, crazy homeless person breath.

Haseena and its like are also similar to Telegu films like Pistolwali in their heavy reliance on revenge themes - which is not surprising, given the prominent part vengeance plays in the Pashtun people's traditional code. In Haseena's case, we get, not just one, but three avengers. For starters, there is our titular heroine, announced at the film's beginning by a theme song, "Main Hoon Haseena Atom Bomb", whose picturization sees starlet Mussarat Shaheen's every utterance of her name punctuated by a thrust of her generous posterior and stock footage of a volcano erupting. Haseena is set on the vengeance trail after she is subjected to a protracted gang rape at the hands of a band of leering thugs on her wedding night, an act which her attackers top off by stringing her husband from the rafters and forcing him to stand on Haseena's shoulders until the poor woman's collapse from exhaustion sends him swinging.

Understandably hacked off over this treatment, Haseena sets out to murder her assailants one by one, an act which she typically accomplishes after first tantalizing her intended prey with a seductive dance. And these dances, once seen, are not soon to be forgotten: an unholy alliance between obese flesh and clingy synthetic fabrics -- often made even more constricting by the liberal application of water -- captured by the heat-seeking lens of a resolutely crotch-fixated camera. Thus is the fly drawn into our heroine's web, at which point he ends up being on the receiving end of some extremely loud fake kung fu before being strung up himself in the same manner as Haseena's betrothed. (As a side note, I wanted to mention that one of these dance numbers features Haseena singing a song that's set to the tune of "Kaate Nahin Katte Ye Din" from Mr. India.)

But alongside all of this we also get a parallel narrative -- a "lost and found" story of sorts -- about a brother and sister, separated by tragedy, who each pursue their own path to vengeance. He is a portly fellow in an awful disco shirt who rides around on a white horse, heroically intervening in the frequent gang rapes that seem to have replaced casual greetings in Haseena's milieu. His weapon of choice: A huge hypodermic needle, which he uses to spear and then drain the blood from his opponents. She is an equally portly (not judging; describing) young lady with a taste for leopard print spandex who prefers the use of her fists when it comes to giving lowlifes their comeuppance -- and who comes equipped with a ringleted paramour who's a ringer for the singer in REO Speedwagon. In addition, Haseena somehow also manages to shoehorn in a subplot involving Inspector Shabana, a lady cop who, when not hot on giant hypo guy's trail, is having romantic daydreams about her boss.

In fact, there is so much going on in Haseena Atom Bomb and -- for those English speakers like myself trying to fathom it without the aid of subtitles -- so little obvious connection between it, that, had there not been a brief scene in which Haseena and hypodermic guy appeared together, I would have just assumed that it was several different movies patched together. It didn't help matters that the version of Haseena I ended up getting my hands on appears to be severely truncated, clocking in at just over two hours when, as I understand it, the original is more in the two-and-a-half to three hour range. However, I'm not convinced that having the missing footage would serve to tie things together all that much, since the film's director, Saeed Ali Khan, doesn't give any signs of being all that concerned about doing so himself. At the film's conclusion, Haseena's path never proves to converge with that of the other characters, with each of their stories reaching their violent crescendos separately as the action cuts back and forth between them (in Hypo guy's case, involving some pretty nifty forklift-fu). Given that, I imagine that most of what I'm missing from Haseena Atom Bomb is more of the sexy dancing and implied sexual violence that appears to be its reason for being. Which is perfectly okay, really. I got the idea.

To be sure, Haseena Atom Bomb is a singular viewing experience, providing a not inconsiderable amount of trashy thrills to anyone who's up for the ride. But there's such an unremitting grotesquery to those thrills that I'm inclined to keep my experience of it at just that: singular. Omar Khan, in his review of the film over at The Hotspot Online, is right to see similarities in it to the early work of John Waters. But while, even at their most debased, Waters' freak shows always had an air of the celebratory about them, Haseena's suffocatingly masculine, crotch-cam view of the world it presents implicates its viewer in a spectacle that is all unalloyed prurience. As such - and in spite of all the reckless energy put into that presentation - it comes off as feeling more than a tad dreary.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

4DK at 10: Zimbo (India, 1958)

[ORIGINALLY POSTED DECEMBER, 21st, 2008: This review of the first Zimbo movie was not only a reader favorite, but also provided 4DK with its enduring mascot, Pedro the Ape Bomb]

Homi Wadia's Zimbo is proof that you can never have too much of a good thing. That is, if your idea of "a good thing" is Tarzan, because Zimbo is essentially just Tarzan under another name. That struck me as odd, because -- despite what the estate of Edgar Rice Burroughs might have had to say about the matter -- Indian filmmakers have never seemed shy about making films about Tarzan under his own name. Lots of them, in fact.

Anyway, Zimbo: Professor Chakravarty, after years of toil in his beaker-filled jungle laboratory, has finally perfected his revolutionary youth serum, and secrets the formula away in a locket that he places around his young son's neck. No sooner has he done this, than a pack of angry lions invades the Chakravarty family home. The Professor only has enough time to place his son within the basket of a handy hot air balloon before being fatally mauled by one of the beasts. Chakravarty's wife is unable to join her son before the line mooring the balloon slips loose, and the child goes sailing off into the sunset without her.

With her husband dead and her son now a rapidly receding dot in the sky, Mrs. Chakravarty instantly descends into face-clawing madness and disappears into the jungle, only to emerge periodically throughout the rest of the film to go "boogity boogity" and freak people out. Later, Chakravarty Jr.'s balloon touches down in a remote part of the jungle, where he is taken in by Dada, a chimp played, according to the credits, by "Pedro, the human chimpanzee" (though, to be clear, Pedro is actually a real chimpanzee who acts human, and not the other way around). Thus is young Chakravarty's journey to becoming Zimbo, the lord of the jungle, set in motion.

Seventeen years later, the Professor's brother and his adopted daughter, Leela (Chitra), arrive in the jungle to look for the missing family, and it is not too long before they are confronted with the adult Zimbo (Azad) in all his glory. And hey, color me edified: It turns out that extremely well-built, mostly naked men who are in touch with their primitive sides, but at the same time display a strong, if nascent, sense of chivalry are quite popular with the ladies. Really, who'd have thought? Because judging from the look Leela gives Zimbo upon first laying eyes on him, she really like-a what she sees:

As does Maya, the evil queen of a secret kingdom hidden deep within the jungle:

It should come as no surprise that Leela will eventually become the Jane to Zimbo's Tarzan, and, despite the fact that the leopard skin togs she'll wear are a sight more matronly than those worn by her American counterparts, the obvious warmth that she feels for Zimbo's form adds an estrogen-fueled heat to Zimbo that I don't recall in any of Hollywood's entries in the Tarzan saga. Judging from that look she gives him, you'd expect that, rather than the other way around, it would be she who slings Zimbo over her shoulder and carries him off into the brush.

And why not? Zimbo, as he's presented, fully lives up to his almost-name: a perfect male bimbo, half innocent and half idiot, but with all of his manly parts in prime working order. In short, an ideal fixer-upper for the woman willing to invest herself in the task And Leela, by all appearances, is highly motivated.

While Zimbo provides a rote, eyepatch-wearing male villain with his eye on the Professor's formula, it is clearly a film that belongs to the ladies. And the real MacGuffin is not what's hidden in Zimbo's locket, but what's locked in his trunks. As such, our hero is little more than a delightfully oblivious boy toy, caught in a tug-of-war between two powerful females who both have a very firm grasp on exactly what it is that they want. Of course, we should expect such take-charge women from a director like Wadia. This is, after all, the man who made his directing debut by introducing the whip-wielding Fearless Nadia to Indian cinema audiences, and who would soon after that make Nadia the -- whip wielding? -- star of his own life by marrying her.

Eventually Maya's desires drive her to have her men capture Zimbo and bring him to her palace -- a wonderfully phantasmagorical set complete with cartoonish-looking giant idols that ends up giving Zimbo a bit of a Flash Gordon flavor. Here she tries to win his affections with sexy item numbers, but to no avail. Zimbo ultimately escapes, leaving Maya no choice but to take Leela, her father, and Dada prisoner in order to draw him back. This leads to a spectacular climax in which Zimbo leads a charging herd of elephants in an attack on the palace. It's a sequence that demonstrates that Zimbo, while having a B movie sensibility, is actually a fairly handsomely mounted production, with a large number of extras, some eye-catching sets, and a number of well-staged action set pieces.

While it's definitely the women's show, I don't want Pedro the human chimp's substantial contributions to Zimbo to go unmentioned. Not only does he perform all of the expected movie chimp duties by riding a tricycle and wearing a tutu (though, sadly, no fez), but he also -- while obviously doubled by a dwarf or a small child in a couple of shots -- takes part in a song and dance number with the movie's comic relief and, in the climax, displays a thirst for vengeance and handiness with a weapon that would not be displayed by a chimp again until Dario Argento's Phenomena in the eighties. I've never really sat down to compare the merits of various chimp actors before, but I think that, if I did, Pedro would most likely come out on top.

Zimbo is the rare entertainment that actually earns being described by the over-used adjective "rollicking", aided by what is, by all appearances, a very ahead-of-its-time, self-conscious sense of camp. In short, it's more fun than a barrel of monkeys, human or otherwise.

Monday, February 4, 2019

4DK at 10: Wahan Ke Log (India, 1967)


Wahan Ke Log, might have benefited from English subtitles, because the lack thereof made the more exposition-heavy middle section lag a bit. Then again, that might have been for the best, because it gave my brain a rest. Had Wahan Ke Log continued to deliver the volume of sheer face-rocking awesomeness that its opening act provided, I might not have survived. The combination of flying saucers, secret agents, mad scientists and a sci-fi themed go-go number featuring Laxmi Chhaya (the "Jaan Penechaan Ho" girl from Gumnaam, dude) is, after all, a lot to foist upon an easily excited man of my advanced years.

Flying saucers are terrorizing India, and CID agent Rakesh--played by golden age leading man Pradeep Kumar at the beginning of his late sixties slump--is put on the case. Apparently the Martians--as they identify themselves--are recruiting Earth scientists to assist in their evil plans, communicating with them through small flying discs that keep showing up out of nowhere. Chief among these human emissaries is the diabolical Anil, played by the film's producer/director, N.A. Ansari, who also played one of the numerous Mogambo red herrings in Maha Badmaash. Anil's first order of business is to eliminate Rakesh, and the two lovely femme fatales in his employ, Sofia and "Miss Margaret", are more than up to the task. I'm not sure who the actress portraying Sofia is [it's Bela Bose - Todd] but she's quite exquisite, and part of her seduce-and-destroy mission involves her doing an item number featuring a chorus line of guitar strumming white women. (I love the use of Caucasians as exotics; it's a nice bit of turnaround.)

Another scientist more reluctantly put into service of the invaders is the father of Sunita (Tanuja), Rakesh's girlfriend, and his recalcitrance eventually leads to the space-suited Martians kidnapping both him and his daughter. With the clock ticking, Rakesh must now locate the evil Anil and his intergalactic buddies' subterranean base of operations in order to save Sunita and thwart the Martians plan to... what, exactly? And are the Martians really Martians, after all? See Wahan Ke Log ("The Aliens") and find out. Or if, like me, you don't speak Hindi, see Wahan Ke Log and piece together as best you can what happened, cobbling together a patchy version of events that is probably rife with inaccuracies. Anyway, there are explosions. Yay!

I was really pleased by how generously Wahan Ke Log delivered upon its concept. There is even a climactic battle between the flying saucers and the Indian Air Force that's pulled off with all the technical flare of Plan 9 from Outer Space (though, to be fair, the flying saucer interior set and the full-sized mock-up saucer that are used are, production value-wise, leagues beyond Plan 9). Add to that all the sub-Bondian hi-jinks and N.A. Ansari walking around cackling like a low rent Dr. No and you have all of the ingredients for a deeply satisfying piece of pulp cinema, something that would make an excellent double bill with Santo contra la Invasion de los Marcianos. Hopefully someone will get around to putting this one out in a subtitled version so that it can enjoy the international cult status it deserves.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

4DK at 10: Goldface, The Fantastic Superman (Spain/Italy, 1967)

[ORIGINALLY POSTED JULY 23rd, 2008: This was the first of a series of reviews titled Italian Superhero Roll Call.]

Along with 3 Dev Adam, Goldface, the Fantastic Superman is a perfect example of the international influence of the Santo films. Something of a Spaghetti Lucha, if you will. Robert Anthony portrays the crime fighting masked wrestler Goldface. Of course, because this is 1967 -- and the influence of the Batman TV series cannot be escaped -- Goldface is also provided with a secret identity, a departure from standard lucha movie procedure that tells me such conventions were too weird even for the Italians.

That alter ego, Dr. Villar, is a horndog scientist with a bevy of giggling, nubile lab assistants. We know that he's a scientist because, at one point, he looks up from a microscope and spews some nonsense about the "sex organs" of a certain "species" of "microbes". We know that he's a horndog because anything any of his young female assistants says provides an opportunity for him to toss off some kind of witty double entendre, usually something on the level of "Yeah, in my pants!"
Goldface is the type of movie whose vision of the Swinging Sixties leaves no doubt as to precisely what it was that was swinging, buttressed by the kind of jazz pop chorale soundtrack -- all folks going "bwap-wa-waa" and "dooba-dibba-dip" -- that screams out "I'm a cheerfully sexist Italian movie from the 60s, dammit!". On the other hand, vintage can neither excuse nor prepare one for the appearance of Goldface's faithful sidekick, Gotar, a large, bare-chested black man who wears a crocodile tooth necklace, spouts gibberish while making moon eyes, and calls Goldface "Bwana". This character is just one of Goldface's many instances of intentional camp, but the movie lacks any of the sophistication that might suggest we should give it any more weight than any of the other kitschy anachronisms that are glibly trotted out for our amusement. So shame on your racist gold face, Goldface!

Goldface's foe here is a fellow called The Cobra, who runs an outfit called Cobra, which is involved in something called Operation Cobra. As you might imagine, The Cobra is prone to making super villain speeches that are extremely repetitive -- so much so that, after a point, every time he started talking, all I could hear was "cobra cobra cobra cobra cobra" -- but he does have one great line, in a scene where he executes one of his minions, saying, "You are guilty of being and acting incredibly stupid". The Cobra also wears a cloak with a wraparound collar that covers his face up to his eyes, which gives him an appearance reminiscent of Mort from the old Bazooka Joe comics.

Despite an obviously tiny budget, Goldface does an admirable job of keeping things moving along, giving us a variety of vehicle chases and a lot of fist fights in addition to the requisite two wrestling matches (one of which, following a grand lucha movie tradition, involves an evil Goldface impostor). The film even manages an acceptable pass at the old 007-style "climactic siege upon the villain's compound", employing some tricky editing that disguises the fact that there were only about eight people involved.

At the film's close, there's a wrestling match where Goldface's aggressive love interest jumps into the ring to challenge him -- and, after she pins him, we learn she meant "with tongues". Those crazy Italians!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

4DK at 10: King-ka Kayasit, aka Magic Lizard (Thailand, 1985)

[ORIGINALLY POSTED May 6TH, 2008: This review of Magic Lizard was part of a series of reviews I wrote of films by the controversial Thai director Sompote Saengduenchai. While I do not take credit for it subsequently becoming a cult film, I do regret whatever part I had, no matter how small, in making that happen.]

As stated in my previous post, in preparation for writing my Teleport City review of Hanuman and the 7 Ultramen I felt compelled to watch a bunch of other films (God help me) by that movie's director/producer, Sompote Saengduenchai, aka Sompote Sands. Today's entry is the 1980s film King-ka Kayasit, aka Magic Lizard.

It seems that the idea with King-ka Kayasit was to dress a man up in a Frill-necked Lizard costume and film him in whatever scenarios could be thought up on the fly, and then to try and impose some kind of narrative structure upon the result by inserting footage from previous Chaiyo productions into the mix. As most of you no doubt know, a Frill-necked Lizard is that lizard who, when frightened, opens his mouth wide, puffs out his frill and tears around on his hind legs. Of course, unless you live in a region that the Frill-necked Lizard is indigenous to, you never see it in any other state, for the simple reason that a relaxed Frill-necked Lizard just isn't as funny as a terrified one. Magic Lizard follows this rule, showing our titular reptile in a constant state of agitation--and constantly prattling away in a shrill little girl's voice for good measure.

I'm not really big into writing a lot of summarization in my reviews, but in the case of a film like King-ka Kayasit I can think of no better way to give you a sense of what watching the film was like than to simply describe what I witnessed taking place on screen. After an opening sequence in which we watch Magic Lizard roller-skating around the city to the accompaniment of 80s dance music, recycled footage from the earlier Giant and Jumbo A shows us some space aliens landing in a pink flying saucer. One of the aliens steals into a cave beneath a temple where the hapless but putatively lovable Magic Lizard appears to be responsible for guarding some kind of treasure. After threatening Magic Lizard with a light saber, the alien makes off with a crystal of some sort, after which Magic Lizard starts with the high-pitched nattering and spazzing out that will characterize his behavior for the rest of the film. He runs to Yuk Wud Jaeng, the demon-like living statue previously featured in both Giant and Jumbo A and the earlier reviewed Tah Tien, and pleads for his help. Yuk Wud Jaeng takes off into the heavens, not to be seen again for some time.

We next see footage recycled from Sands' 1981 film Crocodile depicting people being gorily chomped on by a fake-looking crocodile head. This sequence also manages to work in what appears to have been one of Sands' favorite motifs, the skinny dipping scene. In this instance, the top-heavy female swimmer has a male companion who fondles her boobs as they swim, holding them up for the camera as if to demonstrate their girth. Having handily dispelled any notion of King-ka Kayasit being a family film, the action then moves from croco-carnage to croco-comedy as Magic Lizard has a series of hilarious encounters with the crocodile, some of which involve the crocodile apparently trying to bite his balls. This kicks off a series of episodes in which Magic Lizard runs into and away from various beasts. As in Tah Tien, those animals are represented by stock wildlife footage until contact with the actor in the Magic Lizard suit requires that they become ridiculous, largely immobile life-sized puppets... or in the case of a bear that Magic Lizard wrestles, a man in a blindingly shoddy costume. This series of episodes winds down with a long scene in which Magic Lizard dances with some elephants as "Baby Elephant Walk" plays on the soundtrack.

Next comes a scene where some treasure hunters are trapped in a cave with some life-sized skeleton puppets, a golden fire-breathing ox, and a swarm of giant puppet mosquitoes. Magic Lizard comes to their aid but is apparently killed by the mosquitoes. Despite this he later manages to turn up in a bath house where an old man is trying to get a much younger woman to take her clothes off. Magic Lizard and the woman end up trading massages, much to the apparent chagrin of the old man. Somewhere in all this is a scene in which Magic Lizard rides an ox--a real one--and attempts to get it to giddy-up by sodomizing it with his tail. (And if you think that such an action would simply be implied, King-ka Kayasit has a graphic little surprise for you.) Later the ox gets revenge by getting the drop on Magic Lizard and shitting in his mouth.

Next up is a rematch with the crocodile from Crocodile, which climaxes with a monkey in a tree pitching coconuts to Magic Lizard, who hits them into the crocodile's mouth with a bat. When the crocodile becomes too bloated with coconuts to move, Magic Lizard starts spinning his frill around like a helicopter rotor and takes off into the air, towing the crocodile behind him. Finally we're shown more footage from Giant and Jumbo A featuring Yuk Wud Jaeng fighting with a giant alien on the moon, or something. Then Yuk Wud Jaeng flies back to Earth and returns the stolen crystal to Magic Lizard, who is very happy. The end.

King-ka Kayasit bears what I'm beginning to understand is a hallmark of Sompote Sands' style in that it is both supremely retarded and deeply creepy. I actually feel like watching it made me slightly stupider. Still, it was hard for me to look over what I've written above without thinking that some of it actually sounded kind of awesome (the lizard-as-helicopter thing in particular). It really wasn't, though.

Friday, February 1, 2019

4DK at 10: Papi Gudia (India, 1996)

[Originally posted March 1st, 2008: Papi Gudia was one of the first Bollywood films I reviewed on 4DK, a garishly disco-fied remake of the American horror film Child's Play complete with a doll that looked like it had been plucked right off the shelf of the local 99 cent store.]

It occurs to me that a lot of my reviews of Bollywood movies focus on films that serious fans and proponents of Indian cinema probably think would best be ignored. It's not as if I think that these films are all there is to Bollywood, or all that's worth mentioning. It's just that, to tell the truth, my taste in so-good-they're-good Bollywood movies is pretty boring. I don't think the internet needs one more person writing about how great Dil Se, Deewaar, Mother India and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam are. (Though if you want to read something I wrote about a classic Bollywood movie that I love, love, love, go here.) On the other hand, mining the nether-reaches of Bollywood for overlooked jaw-droppers and then writing about them is a hell of a lot of fun.

That said, I just don't feel like I have the energy to give the 1996 film Papi Gudia the full review treatment. Doing so would just entail me trying to describe in detail a lot of things that would be best just witnessed firsthand. But I do feel that Papi Gudia should be remarked upon. The film--a spectacular box office failure, from what I've heard--is a remake of the Hollywood film Child's Play, and it comes to us complete with special effects that are just about as special as they could be, and Mithun-caliber song-and-dance bits featuring that snappy dresser Karisma Kapoor.

It's rare to see a mainstream Bollywood film from this era that tries to tackle the horror genre, and Papi Gudia abounds with evidence of filmmakers who were working in very foreign territory. They seem to have grasped onto just a couple of common devices and then clung to them for dear life, never letting a moment of screen time pass in which the audience isn't being pummeled with them. For instance, rather than trying to build tension through judicious use of music and sound design, they plaster the soundtrack wall-to-wall with overwrought creepshow music and demonic sound effects. The goal seems to have been to create a sense of omni-ominousness and, not just foreboding, but during- and after-boding as well.

Karisma Kapoor's musical numbers do serve to break up that mood a bit, though. I can best describe them by saying that they take the aesthetic of a 1980s Pepsi Super Bowl commercial, root around in it for what precious vestiges of taste and restraint can be found, and then eliminate those with extreme, spandex-clad prejudice. In short: Fans of Disco Dancer will find much to love here.

Papi Gudia
is also noteworthy for how, in a cinema so demonstrably in love with the use of the shock zoom, it stand out for its profligacy. In one scene alone, where we first see Karisma lay eyes on Avinash Wadhavan, we get three consecutive matching pairs of his-and-hers shockers, insuring we can't miss the fact that--doiiinggg! doiiinggg! doiiinnng!--this is not the first time they have met. This actually caused me to yell "I Get It!" at the screen, which is something I always thought people only wrote about doing in reviews of cult movies, but never actually did. Now I know.

Lastly, Papi Gudia distinguishes itself from its inspiration by having a social agenda. A title card--in English--at the top of the film reads:

" The story idea of the film is to create positive feeling in children which will make them careful against similar situations in future and also to warn them against blind faith or surrender to alien things be it a doll or computer toys, robots, etc."

Papi Gudia is not a good movie, but it made me laugh until I cried. And then I cried until Papi Gudia taught me to laugh all over again. Sadly, I could not find a YouTube clip of any of the musical numbers from the film, but if you would like to recreate the experience for yourself, just pour a bag of glitter into a desk fan that's pointed directly at your face while listening to Stacy Q's "Two Of Hearts" at 45 with the treble turned all the way up.

It's the FRIDAY'S BEST POP SONG EVER podcast! "Dancing With Myself"

Look, you either like "Dancing With Myself", or you're lying. Tell me you don't and you might as well be telling me that you never got "Mmbop" stuck in your head. Anyway, the fact that FBSE is covering the song should let you know that I intend to leave no area of pop music unexamined, be it Jpop, Mersey Beat, Glam, Southeast Asian psychedelia, easy listening or, in this case, a big MTV hit from the 80s. Come on and feel the love vibration.