Sunday, 3 April 2016

Top 20 Obscurus Lupa Presents Episodes

Oh my god, if there was ever a person who needed to never do a crossover again, it would be Obscurus Lupa. She’s perfectly fine on her own videos but, as soon as someone gets in front of the camera with her, she cranks up the derp and only serves to annoy the audience to death. Oh, and she’s apparently just a female clone of the Cinema Snob… if you squint and tilt your head until it does a full 360 degree spin on your neck. And with that, I present to you the Top 20 Obscurus Lupa Presents Episodes.

#20: Return To Frogtown

Robert Z’Dar and his incredibly full face, Lou Ferrigno and a live frog band? Given Lupa’s preference for schlocky B movies, it’s no wonder she wound up looking at this thing. Honestly, this film is just so amazingly surreal that, had I not known that she would look even weirder shit down the line, I'd be surprised that she’s able to keep up with half of it.

#19: Desire

I’ll rarely if ever say that a video can be sustained by a single running joke, but this is one of those occasions. Starring show favourite actor Kate Hodge and one phenomenally creepy love interest, a seriously bizarre line of dialogue involving smelling someone’s underwear (believe it or not, it’s actually worse than that set-up makes it sound) carries through the entire video and only keeps getting funnier every time it’s brought up.

#18: My Little Pony: The Princess Promenade

After the 50th episode special on Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, this could easily be written off as a simple fluff episode but it’s a damn good fluff episode. Something that’s going to crop up more than once on this list is Lupa’s sheer determination, and petulance at times, to enjoy even the most objectively bad media. Also, Alternative Character Interpretation for the titular Princess makes a little too much sense.

#17: Yes Madam

From the director of DOA: Dead Or Alive (yes, seriously), this film gives way to the most complete portrayal of Lupa’s appreciation for Hong Kong action flicks. Her disappointment at the weak characters that take the spotlight away from the other show favourite actor Cynthia Rothrock, coupled with her detailing of the difference between Hollywood and Hong Kong action filmmaking, results in easily her best review involving the genre.

#16: Blood Red Moon

Twilight rip-off, ahoy! Another niche that Lupa reviewed numerous times on OLP are vampire movies. Really, really crappy vampire movies. The sheer levels of amateur hour production qualities are perfect riff fodder, and her choice to review this for Red Ribbon Reviewers was one of my initial reasons for taking part in the initiative myself. I’m also giving extra credit for openly admitting to liking Twilight ironically; trust me, even now, getting even that much from someone is rare.

#15: Birdemic

Oh, Birdemic; without a doubt, one of the most singularly worst films of all time. While Lupa isn’t the first, nor the last, reviewer to look at it, her expertise in all things schlock serves her well here as she gives the film a fairly reasonable thrashing for what it’s worth. Add to this the cameo ensemble at the end, who are all hilarious, and the freeze-frame end credits over The Wombats’ Let’s Dance To Joy Division, and you’ve got a solid review that stands up to the cavalcade that would end up reviewing it afterwards.

#14: The Fly II

I’m a fly, motherfucker! She gives a pretty detailed break-down of the film, highlighting how much the original film did right, how much the sequel did wrong and even what the original plan for the sequel was going to be. There’s also the somewhat-obvious but still funny climactic fight set to R. Kelly music, a statement that no doubt sounds as strange to you as it does to me.

#13: Gooby

A rare collaborative appearance by former tabletop RPG reviewer and former Atop The Fourth Wall co-star Iron Liz, she and Lupa bounce off each other really well as they look at how unintentionally horrifying the film in question is. Liz being mostly annoyed that she was cursed with a bad movie is pretty hilarious as well.

#12: Gymkata

One of Lupa’s earliest reviews, this is her at her most MST3K-esque. She barely does any real commentary on the action in context, and spends most of the video riffing on it as it happens. Not to say that this approach is bad; it wouldn’t have even made it on this list if it didn’t work out. If nothing else, it serves as a nice comparison point for where Lupa herself would end up a few short years later in terms of format. That, and it’s incredibly funny in its own right.

#11: Shark Attack 3

A head-on collision between bad stock footage, bad effects work and Captain Jack from Torchwood, this is another one of those movies that was designed solely to be made fun of. As much as John Barrowman himself is enjoyably cheesy throughout, it’s kind of surprising just how easily Lupa is able to keep up and even match him in terms of over-the-top cheesedom.

#10: We Wish You A Turtle Christmas

This is mesmerizing in how bad it is (the subject, that is) and Lupa pretty much cracks wise about every single painful lyric to be found… and yet, this video somehow isn’t several hours long, given how long such a venture would traditionally take. Much like the subject itself, the big centrepiece of the review is Gotta Get A Gift For Splinter, which gets probably the funniest reactions from Lupa of any of her videos.

#9: Witchcraft 10: Mistress Of The Craft

Given how Lupa spent over a year reviewing nothing but the Witchcraft movies, I wanted to throw the rest of her output a chance so I decided to only list one of the 13 reviews that she did to represent them as a whole. As such, I chose this empathically British film full of major histrionics and abysmal sound editing. Even for this series, Lupa had to highlight it as one of the weirder ones and, thanks to Lupa’s improved riffing, you definitely get that impression.

#8: The Amazing Bulk

This is probably Lupa at her most defeated; all of her energy is pretty much sapped in response to how head-scratching the film in question is. And yet, I’m surprised that she escaped this film with even that much of herself intact; I have to give credit that she was able to detail how much wrong this thing contains without just devolving into insane jabbering. Also, the backdrop used to make fun of the hideous screening in the film is pretty spot-on.

#7: Heidi 4 Paws

With how often she pulls out the snarky Ash The Cat voice in her reviews, and how frequently grating for the wrong reasons it can get, this review actually turned out a lot better than it should’ve. Her bizarre knack for comedic animal voices serves this review well in showing just how bad and kind of depressing this film can get. There’s something inordinately funny about the vengeful Pomeranian livestock that keeps showing up as well.

#6: Two Front Teeth

Sometimes, these reviews work on just how strangely awesome the films in question are. I’m doing a really crap job of keeping up with my promise of not just picking the videos because the movies reviewed are funny. Regardless, this review officially sold me on the film, to the point where I bought a copy of the thing myself; that rarely if ever happens.

#5: Evil Dead II

OLP’s 100th episode special, featuring Lupa’s favourite film and she goes into it in the kind of detail you will only find among the most hardcore of film fans. Of course, she only spends half the review actually detailing the film itself and the other half… well, something else that’s going to crop up a fair bit during Meta Month is how the reviewers frequently use their videos as a form of self-reflection and dealing with their inner demons. I’ll put it like this: Breaking through all the incessant taunts and heckles (all of which were apparently real responses Lupa has gotten) with a rendition of a song from the Jekyll & Hyde musical, probably best known for starring David Hassellhoff. You couldn’t ask for a better melding of kitsch and earnestness. A lot deeper than you were expecting from the reviewer of stuff like Hamlet The Vampire Slayer, huh?

#4: Hamlet The Vampire Slayer

And speaking of that weird head-on collision between the worlds of Shakespeare and Joss Whedon (oddly enough, not the last time this would happen), here we are at #4. Now, my statements above regarding Crossover!Lupa are partially made in jest, but make no mistake: The schtick can get really annoying at times. However, in arthouse snob Oancitizen, she found the perfect yin to her yang. The duelling under and over-intellectualizing of the film makes for easily Lupa’s best crossover video within the OLP umbrella. For added fun, there’s also the bonkers blooper reel to go along with it. May I refill your steak for you?

#3: Pocket Ninjas

A lot of YT-brand reviewers rely on how expressive their reactions to the media they’re reviewing can get, and with this Lupa reaches her highest mark in that regard. Turtle Christmas may hold claim to the best singular reaction, but this review is definitely the best consistent reaction we get from her. This is another one of those films that are hypnotizing in just how awful they are, and Lupa does an admirable job in snapping the audience out of their Zen Filmmaking-induced stupor.

#2: American Ninja 4: The Annihilation

For as funny as this gets, there’s also something kind of sad about what makes this video work as well as it does. After highlighting the previous American Ninja films, and showing how awfultastic they can get, we come to the film in the series that Lupa seems to like the least. As the fight scenes continue to fail to impress, we see Lupa still trying to salvage the film with funny song choices for the fight scenes. This ends up leading to a moment of defeat that is a major mindfrag moment in how funny, and yet seriously freaking sad, it gets.

#1: Max Hell: Frog Warrior

This review, along with a couple other videos Lupa did, ended up getting flagged for copyright infringement by filmmaker Scott Shaw, who throughout the entire ordeal acted just about as condescending as you can get without descending into full “Like unto an amoeba” territory. However, ignoring the director’s rather prickish mannerisms, what makes this review top the list is what Lupa did to even get it back up. With the short documentary-style video she made, re-uploading was easy enough if she just got rid of the offending footage. For this, on the other hand, she went back and basically drew up storyboards for every scene she was going to show and re-did all of the voices and music herself. … Wow. I could only pray for that kind of dedication to my work. Even if it’s all kinds of distracting in places, with that surreal feeling that Lupa is essentially riffing on her own acting in places, it’s also pretty inspiring to see as well. This is one of those “You have my undying loyalty” kind of moments that, whenever I feel that familiar sting of burn out, I will revisit to feel that drive to create again.

And with that, we have the 20 best episodes of Obscurus Lupa Presents. Maybe some other time, I’ll look at her successor series Movie Nights or even the sister series Manic Episodes. Until then, it’s time to dip back into movie reviews again as I look at a rather pivotal release from one Neon Harbor, or as it was known back then, Dark Maze Studios.

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