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CHOPSOCKIE...Scarecrow's "worst" section?

Lately I have been engaged in an internal dialogue pondering the big question: Which rental section in Scarecrow has the highest concentration of "bad" films per capita. A few of the auteurs in the director's section like Al Adamson and Ray Dennis Steckler come to mind. There is also a lot of potential in the Sexploitation section but I haven't really tapped into that particular collection. There are some real gems in the Drug section and the whole Psychotronic room is peppered with cruddy gold. But, my friends, after conducting extensive research I have seen the light. Indeed, the holy grail of joyously crappy movie collections may very well be....CHOCKSOCKIE! The section is loosely defined as being the home for "American Martial Arts Films" (which basically means you'll find the good Asian stuff downstairs in the Hong Kong section) but Scarecrow keeps a lot of multi-national co-productions in Chopsockie too. This is where you come for movies starring folks like Sho Kosugi, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Cynthia Rothrock and Chuck Norris. You'll also find films directed by Cirio H. Santiago, Godfrey Ho and Brian Trenchard-Smith. It is also home to all those ludicrous 80s ninja films, many of which were produced by Cannon Studios. It is a fun section to browse as much of the box art features incredible images of violent mayhem as well as promises of mind-blowing action. Give me something from this section over an "adequate" Hollywood picture any day. While these movies may be shoddy they pack their minimal budgets with ambitions of Bond-level international battles for world domination involving scruffy heroes with bone crunching skills. Safe to say, if you share my tastes for lowbrow, unpredictable excitement and unrestrained cheese there is a lot to like about Scarecrow's Chopsockie section. Here are a few that stood out for one reason or another. Hopefully you will be inspired to come into the store and do some exploring of your own! This is the movie that really got me thinking about the misleading artwork and unpredictable nature of the films in the Chopsockie section. Do you see how the box claims that the film stars "Chuck Norris"? It is not the Chuck you know but actually a red headed lady given the name in order to confuse suckers like me. Ironically upon researching this film I discovered that we have the DVD under its more familiar name (Ninja Strikes Back) in the Bruceploitation movie. Speaking of which, there's a bunch of wild stuff in the Bruceplo section too. If interested I recommend The Dragon Lives Again where a fake Bruce Lee teams with The One-Armed Swordsman and Popeye in order to fight Dracula, Zatoichi, a fake Clint Eastwood and The Godfather. Pretty weird stuff. This outrageous flick about zombie martial artists, cannibal monks and The Burbank Karate club is a lot of fun. It is a somewhat slapdash affair but manages to deliver the goods in a sleazy, half-assed manner. Check it out! Another VHS mindblower directed by a guy who mainly does Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV episodes. This movie features a James Bond clone named Duncan Jax (played by an actor by the name of Ian Hunter- but not the Ian Hunter from Mott the Hoople). There is a sequel that Scarecrow doesn't have but if you rent this we can justify bringing in The Order of the Black Eagle for your viewing pleasure. I'll admit that I haven't watched this Canadian TV movie. But I want to. It stars Famke Janssen in an early role as a martial arts practicing super model. I bet I'll be disappointed but I still have to see it myself. Opening credits of 9 Deaths of the Ninja This Sho Kusugi flick comes on a DVD twofer with another movie called Kill Point making it quite a rental bargain. Just watch these opening credits featuring a ninja inspired interpretive dance. Gymkata trailer This is a fairly well mounted production directed by the guy who directed Enter The Dragon and tons of other enjoyable action films. Gymkata is a Most Dangerous Game type variation set in a mysterious Eastern European nation. It stars an Olympic Gymnast who uses his gymnastic skills to beat the crap out of lots of people. One of the best bad movies of the 80s, just watch the trailer!

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