Monday, October 29, 2012
Gore godfather Lucio Fulci directed this predictably bloody spaghetti-western that features four criminals(a gambler, a prostitute, a drunk and a crazy black dude) who get set free and travel around together and get into some bad situations. Fabio Testi is our main star as the slick card-shark leader of the group named Stubby but the highlight for me was Tomas Milian who mostly played heroes in these types of films but here is pretty awesome as a bad-ass sharp-shooter named Chaco who isn't above torturing his enemies and murdering whole families of religious types. There's one scene (which oddly wasn't dubbed) where Chaco starts skinning a guy alive and then sticks a sheriff badge right into his bare chest. Not the kind of violence you usually get in westerns but this did become Fulci's trademark style. There's also some peyote usage, cannibalism, rape and bloody shootouts that make this worth checking out for Fulci fanatics or just folks who enjoy a decent violent western. I did think the out-of-place 60's folk songs they chose to throw in were a bit weird.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
Woody Strode (ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST), George Eastman(THE GRIM REAPER) a guy who has amnesia(Leonard Mann), and one other nondescript fellow make up our title characters. They escape from an insane asylum(even though none of them seem all that crazy) and look for some gold and revenge in this Italian western. Also the guy with the shitty memory is trying to figure out who the hell he is which leads to some big revelations at the climax. The last 15 minutes are really the highlight of the whole movie with some neat shoot-outs and double-crosses but most of the rest of this film is your pretty standard spaghetti-western type deal with barroom fights, crooked card games, etc.. Strode doesn't get to do a whole lot but is pretty convincing as a strongman bad-ass and I always love seeing Eastman in bigger roles like this even if this isn't the most memorable of films to star in. AKA CHUCK MOOL. This was also released as a sequel to DJANGO in Germany. Director Enzo Barboni also made the way better TRINITY series.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
When I first started watching this I coulda sworn I'd seen it before since it starts out like just about every other modern-day horror film with a group of racially-diverse friends out for an adventure in the wilderness. It does get a little more quirky after this dull opening sequence but still nothing very exciting happens. This was made by Fangoria magazine which I guess explains why it's so crappy. I mean have they ever produced anything worthwhile besides a cool magazine 30 years ago? This movie is filled with terrible acting, stupid action sequences and every single stereotypical person(the white rednecks, the wise-cracking black guy, the skillful wise Asian, the dopey fat guy, the mystical hippies) that appears onscreen you can't wait until they die and they don't die fast enough. This movie is presented as a giant killer pig on the loose story but he doesn't really show up until the very end. The rest of the movie is taken up with warring groups of idiots that you could care less about. On the plus side there were mostly practical FX from what I saw and Les Claypool does the soundtrack and has a small role which was kinda neat still you're way better off skipping this altogether and just watching RAZORBACK for a better made giant killer pig on the loose tale.
Without the great German madman Klaus Kinski(AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD) and the alcohol-infused Englishman Oliver Reed(THE DEVILS) having main parts in this film and having lots of great exchanges between each other this would probably not be very memorable. But thanks to these two and the lovely Susan George from STRAW DOGS who we get to ogle in her underpants this movie is at least mildly amusing to lovers of campy throwaway thriller fluff.
The main story here concerns two kidnappers(Kinski and Reed) who plan on holding a little namby-pamby wuss of an asthmatic rich kid hostage. Thrown into this simple tale is a super venomous black mamba snake who is loose and enjoys biting people right in the face and killing them. It's a little weird how I just recently viewed THE SADIST and in that film a bunch of snakes are the heroes and in this film we also get a snake who basically gets the role of the heroic action star of the film in his spare time when he's not playing the menacing monster. So basically what you get here is a tense hostage standoff flick with an animal on the loose monster flick shoved in there for added thrills.
While the movie is a little too slick-looking for me and the acting is pretty awful(with the exception of our two bad guys) this might be worth a look if you dig crazy old European actors. Also there are some crazy stories behind the scenes which may or may not be true about how Reed would get extremely drunk and challenge Kinski to brawl. This caused original director Tobe Hooper to flee his job and go work on POLTERGEIST instead which may have been a wise decision. If only someone had a camera to record that action we might have had a truly classic film here.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
The most iconic horror movie ever? probably. The most remade movie ever? very possibly. What's for sure is it's the one that kick-started(along with DRACULA) the whole classic monster series that led to a zillion monster-obsessed kids including myself. I first viewed this as a young fellow early one Halloween morning as part of an all-day classic monster movie marathon where some fuzzy UHF channel was showing all the Universal greats in order. I think that might have been the perfect introduction for me. Before that I knew about Frank from reading tons of Famous Monsters magazines and any books I could find on the subject of horror films. Of course even if I didn't do any of that avoiding the imagery of Frankenstein's monster would have been impossible since the character has become as symbolic over the years as Superman or Mickey Mouse. A poster-monster for awkward youth and alienation. It's hard not to feel at least a little sympathy for old Frank.
Reviewing a movie like this today is kinda ridiculous since anyone that appreciates cinema of any sort and has half a brain would have to acknowledge this film as a milestone for what it did in it's era and beyond. Boris Karloff, Colin Clive and Dwight Frye are all amazing and it's a film that will be around long after everyone who had anything to do with it is long gone. Also you get to see a little kid killed and that's a rare thing in American films even today. It's too bad kids today will never get the chance to stumble across this playing on a dark and rainy Halloween morning. Maybe kids in the future will have it directly downloaded into their subconscious.
I caught this last night at a big screen showing along with it's arguably superior sequel and felt lucky to finally get a chance to view it closer to the way it was intended.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
"Teachers think they so much smarter than everybody else"
Thanks to the unique acting style of star and titular sadist, Arch Hall Jr., this story of three folks on their way to the big baseball game running across a crazy psychopath named Charlie Tibbs and his kooky gal-pal really stands out as a camp classic and actually goes beyond that and works as a real suspense-filled scare-flick. This was obviously inspired by the real-life thrill-killer Charles Starkweather who was a James Dean-obsessed murderer who also went on a murder-spree with his girlfriend. To me this is Arch's greatest role and the one where he lets it all hang out. In most of the other handful of films he starred in he was the hero or sympathetic character but not here as he enjoys shooting folks in the face and rubbing pretty ladies faces in the dirt all the while giggling like Barney Rubble. There's not a big body-count since there's only a cast of 5 people during most of the film but they manage to keep the sense of dread high and you never know when killer Charlie is gonna decide to get violent. Check it out for a low-budget film that works because of it's sparse setting and desolate locations. Also some snakes show up and get to be the real heroes of the film and you hardly ever get to see that.
AKA SWEET BABY CHARLIE:
Friday, October 19, 2012
Plenty of boobs and bare-ass frolicking in this one, kind of a standard drama with nurses screwing doctors and patients and that sort of thing. Carrying on the tradition with these types of movies, of a mixed-race cast of nurses, we get two white gals and one black. The black chick gets mixed-up with some drug-dealing killers and surprisingly right in the middle of all this light feel-good stuff a couple of guys get stabbed to death in a bloody fashion. The white chicks just go boating and give free gynecological exams for the feminist movement. The great Dick Miller shows up as an asshole cop in one scene, director Sam Fuller plays a doctor for some reason and the black guy from the 30's Charlie Chan movies(Mantan Moreland) shows up long enough to get run down by a motorbike. It turned out to be his last film appearance.
I can't say any of these Roger Corman New World-produced nurse movies are essential viewing unless you're really into silly, light-hearted, soft-core 70's fluff.
and for all the blind folks out there:
Thursday, October 18, 2012
I'm not sure how I've never heard of this one before yesterday. It's probably cuz of the very bland title. I'm glad I stumbled across it though and I think the thing I appreciate the most out of this flick is it's strange casting and equally strange mash-up of a sci-fi/slasher plot. You get John Carradine, Catwoman from the old BATMAN TV-show(Julie Newmar) and Ginger from GILLIGAN'S ISLAND(Tina Louise)as aliens who hire Aldo Ray and that guy from EATEN ALIVE (Neville Brand who looks extra ugly in his appearance here) to go kill some horny teenagers and collect their blood. These stalk and slash parts have some driller-killing amongst other gory bits. Also some porn stars like Amber Lynn and Jerry Butler show up which is sorta appropriate since the sex scenes seem pretty close to porno. Tons of nudity, graphic violence and gratuitous use of chloroform. Also a movie poster that has gigantic cartoon-lady nipples on it. While not the most intelligent thing you will ever see it's at least an 80's horror movie that isn't afraid to get extra-specially sleazy.
This preview makes it look like you're in for a standard slasher film which this isn't:
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
The sub-genre of the animals run amuck genre, the creepy-crawly insects gone wild film category is full of mostly crappy throwaway movies. Things like SLUGS, SKEETER, TICKS and dozens of others are for the most part instantly forgettable. This here semi-intelligent cockroaches gone wrong film isn't much better. The filmmakers did have the decency to at least throw some extra gory scenes in towards the finale with an arm ripped off and a head bitten in two among the blood-flow so at least it has that going for it. Besides this it's a pretty standard and unremarkable entry into the bad bug genre. Also there was already a much better killer cockroaches movie named BUG made back in 1975 written by the great William Castle and in that one the roaches shoot fire out of their asses and spell words with their bodies which is way cooler than these mutating half-roach/half-cat things we get here. So go watch that one instead.
Daddy turns into a big stupid roach-man!:
Monday, October 15, 2012
This 12th film in the Waldemar Daninsky Wolfman series is down there around the bottom of the barrel as far as Paul Naschy's werewolf films go. It's not quite as bad as TOMB OF THE WEREWOLF since there's actual actors, it looks like an actual movie and Naschy gets to actually do some acting here, but it is a close second in the crappiest department. Two of the main ingredients in Naschy's El Hombre Lobo series(as well as in all good movies anywhere) are sex & violence. Unfortunately in this one there's not even a bare boob to be seen and the violence is pretty lackluster as well. Apparently Naschy wrote a much juicier screenplay and all the good stuff was edited out by the director, who is obviously a moron. It's also a little strange here that Naschy is an older man living with this terrible werewolf curse and yet somehow he's gotten himself married and raised a family and lived to be an older man without anyone shooting his ass with silver bullets or anything. There's also a serial killer running around but he's pretty lame as well. All in all this is very skipable to all but the most die-hard of Euro-Trashy Naschy fanatics.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
If you took your typical kung-fu revenge flick and added in a bunch of mystical stuff and then sprinkled in some silly crocodile men in equally silly costumes plus a cage full of cannibals, an old witch and the flying guillotine this Indonesian action flick is what you would get.
Barry Prima stars as our hero, as he seem to do in just about every movie from this country, and he gets a female sidekick to help him battle various ridiculous enemies on his quest to regain the titular Devil's Sword for his old grey-bearded master.
For a martial-arts flick this one is pretty jam-packed with goodness(and wackiness) since you get plenty of bloodshed with decapitations, limbs chopped-off, impalement, super-hero/DRAGONBALL Z-type fight scenes, a witch that you can cut into pieces and she still fights you, a nymphomaniac crocodile-lady queen, a laser-shooting croc-statue, a cyclops, a magical umbrella and probably a few other oddball things I'm forgetting. The only thing lacking is some gratuitous nudity although there is one shot of a swimming man's asshole and balls on display if you're into those kind of things.
Check it out for something quite bizarre that's good for more than a few laughs.
This is definitely one of the better made exploitation films from Mexico. You can see that director Rene Cardona Jr., who was one of the most well-known low-budget Mexican directors, was working with a decent budget with with this one. There's even a sort-of all-star b-movie cast with Arthur Kennedy as a priest, Mexican action star Hugo Stiglitz as a pilot, Carrol Baker as Ginger from GILLIGAN'S ISLAND with a dog, Olga Karlatos(the chick who gets the splinter in the eye from ZOMBIE) as a pregnant lady, and Lionel Stander(that old gravely-voiced guy from ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST) as an old gravely-voiced guy in a suit.
What starts out as a disaster movie slowly morphs into a tale of survival(and then dips into JAWS-territory towards the end) as three different groups of people try to stay alive floating out in the middle of the ocean while sharks try to eat them. Things do get a little slow watching people float around for almost 2 hours but there are enough conflicts and horrible events to keep the average viewer interested. You get the expected sharks-eating-chunks-of-meat scenes(they also seem to enjoy pulling guys pants off and playing with intestines), violence towards a little dog, which I've read in a few places might have been real but after watching the film I'm gonna say that's probably a bunch of bullshit(at least the blood they used doesn't look real at all and is of the super-neon bright 70's variety), and finally things are rounded off by some human butchery and cannibalism which seems like the way things would go down if you're floating in a boat with a bunch of starving people long enough.
So just for the realistic aspects melded with the more crazy scenes of violence(also a soundtrack by Riz Ortolani who is most well-know, at least by me, as the guy who did the music for CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST) I'd say this one is worth a watch for slightly higher-end trash lovers.
Friday, October 12, 2012
This super low-budget Indian horror film starts out with Dracula(an Indian guy with big fake plastic fangs) in a cowboy hat espousing his personal greatness. From there we get the James Bond theme song and a bunch of Indian folks wandering around the woods getting chased by various random monsters(apparently these are past victims of Dracula cursed to roam the woods forever). It all plays out like some strange far-eastern version of SCOOBY-DOO except your average SCOOBY-DOO episodes had more of a plot to them as well as more of a sense of realism. The editing here is super bizarre as we jump from random scene to random scene and having intermittent subtitles on the print of I viewed only added to the mind-boggling confusion on display. The high-point for me was all the hot pants and short-skirt-wearing ladies but unfortunately, because this is India we get no actual bare breasts, but the camera does linger uncomfortably long on ass-shots which is a nice gesture. The monsters that show up here are quite the collection of ridiculous things. They all consist of people in dollar store rubber Halloween masks that tend to fall off during the absurdly bad fight scenes. You get what might be the world's worst Wolfman suit which kinda looks more like a teddy-bear suit(you can really only tell he's a Wolfman because of the howling wolf sounds he makes), a fat guy in a skeleton suit, a few Lady Draculas, a Wolf-Lady, a sorta-Charles Manson-looking hairy guy and some red-faced zombie/Frankenstein-type fellow amongst other nondescript generic ghouls. I did enjoy the use of crosses here as weapons to beat the monsters over the head with since their religious significance is probably not all that great in a country full of Hindus and Muslims.
Amazingly enough for a film from India there's no big song and dance numbers here although at one point a music video does break out.
It's hard to believe this movie was made in the year 2006. If this was an American film I would guess it was made around 1978 or so, just from the looks of things, but my cultural references might be a little off here.
I've seen this film referenced as the worst film ever made which is a highly overused expression and not applicable here since there are about a billion shot-on-video pieces of crap that are way worse than this and way less watchable although there is a sorry lack of blood and I'm not even sure that anyone dies throughout the whole thing.
All told this is a film only the most deranged film-goer with years of bad-movie viewing will probably be able to get through without their brain imploding from the illogical and repetitive shenanigans presented. I can't help but think the experience of viewing this would be torture for your average modern-day citizen but it gave me quite a few laughs and that's more than a lot of better made films can do.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
This movie starts out with a bang as an almost totally naked lady patient takes a dive off a hospital building. Unfortunately from there it turns into a pretty standard dull drama with some naked nurses thrown in here and there to keep it from being a complete waste of time. You get a hallucinating truck-driver, some militant Black Panther types, a pervy old flasher and our three titular nurse heroes who are just trying to help the world be a better place by humping the young attractive patients and whatnot. There's also a subplot thrown in about a cross-dressing stalker who threatens one of the nurses but that ends in a pretty unspectacular scene.
If all these Roger Corman-produced nurse flicks have anything in common it's that there's always a racially-mixed group of girls that star and here it's a black girl and a couple of whites. I was a little surprised that we didn't get an Asian or a Hispanic girl to round things out but I guess they filled that quota with some of the other films in this series.
This was directed by the guy who would go on to make the great Blaxploitation classic TRUCK TURNER but there's not much to recommend this one unless you have a strong nurse fetish and are looking for a very light-hearted 70's drama.
Appropriately dedicated to HG Lewis and full of great shots of 42nd Street back when it was a sleaze-filled mecca, this classic gore flick is definitely in my top ten of all time great bizzaro movies. First feature film by Frank Henenlotter, who is probably the most consistently entertaining horror director ever, this is the story of an angry little lump of flesh monster who was hacked off his Siamese-twin brother and is now looking for revenge on a cold, cruel world. Even though this little creature likes to rip throats out and murder in the most bloody and grotesque ways, you can't help but sorta cheer on our protagonists in their quest for vengeance on corrupt, moral-less doctors and other low-life types who have wronged them in the past( at least up until our little rubbery man starts to get a little too rapey on innocent ladies).
The film overall straddles the line between horror and comedy but never becomes too jokey for it's own good like just about every other "horror" film made in the later half of the 80's. I'd say this is a must see for gore-hounds or just lovers of well-done offbeat grindhousey flicks.