Tuesday, October 29, 2013
This classic Shaw Brothers kung fu film almost feels like it has too many characters jammed into one movie but while viewing this it certainly keeps the movie quickly moving along without giving any time for boredom. It's basically the story of a rich guy traveling somewhere and a bunch of criminal types trying to get their grubby kung fu'ing hands on his money. The coolest of these characters, and our main bad guy, is known as The Whipmaster and he's extra cool because his whip has the ability to rip people's heads right off. There's also some hopping zombies that show up and turn out not to be what they seem. The weirdest thing here is that there's some cannibalism, at the tavern, that is briefly alluded to but never really explained. Overall this is a good watch for a Sunday afternoon if you like the classic Shaw-style fu.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Better known in the U.S. as HORROR HOTEL this is a classic example of British horror starring Christopher Lee. The main hook here is the deep atmosphere that saturates the film. It's a familiar story of a witch who gets burned at the stake in olden times Massachusetts and returns, still wreaking vengeance 300 years later. The Italians would produce similar goth classics with Barbara Steele throughout the 60's and those would amp up the violence and blood but this one has to be given credit for helping to get the ball rolling and serving as a blueprint. Christopher Lee is also pretty awesome as usual. Overall it's a good Halloween-time movie, with all the fog and witchery going on and it ends with a large wooden cross inexplicably shooting fireballs at witches and warlocks(and maybe just some run-of-the-mill Satanists thrown in?). That's some crazy god vengeance there!
I saw this as part of a horror marathon recently and it was by far the best thing on the bill.
This was originally released in the U.S. on a double-bill with a movie called THE HEAD which is supposed to be a German version of THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE that looks pretty nutty.
also The Misfits dig it:
Saturday, October 26, 2013
If you took the THE DEADLY SPAWN and mixed it with LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS and filmed it on 8mm and also mixed in a bunch of extra weirdness and set the whole thing in Texas(gratuitous cow shots plus everyone here drives a pickup truck and chugs numerous beers while doing so) you would get something like this. It starts right off showing all the gory FX work right out of the gate and then takes it's sweet time getting going but when it does it's quite the gore-show. The basic story is about a tumor that turns into a bunch of monsters, that basically just consist of sets of sharp teeth attached to slimy balls of goo, and then get our main guy to go on a killing spree to acquire meaty treats by hypnotizing him or something. These monsters might be from outer space or hell, that part's never made exactly clear. Multiple hands get bitten off, necks are slit, a chainsaw decapitation happens and many folks are chomped up. Blood sprays across rooms and hits people in the face. Real animal intestines are strewn about in an insane feeding scene to end it all and a clearly unhappy cat gets placed in a toilet bowl. There's also a phony preacher character who likes to take loud, farty shits with the bathroom door ajar like a true degenerate. The shittiest part is the wraparound "it's all a dream" story but if you ignore that it's a pretty crazy ride.
After watching 2 different versions of this Jess Franco Euro-trash epic over the last 2 days I'm still not sure if I would say I actually like this film or not but it is at least an interesting viewing experience. It's the story of a family of weirdies who have a young gal, Cristine von Blanc, our titular virgin, come live with them. This family includes Franco himself as a mumbly-mouthed maniac, a couple of chicks who might be vampires of some sort that use scissors instead of fangs to extract blood, and Howard Vernon as the creepy head of the family. It's basically the chronicles of mistreatment of a naive blonde gal. The better version, with the VIRGIN AMONG... title, has a couple of dream sequences with zombies that were filmed by Jean Rollin, and who better to film dream segments than the guy who's every movie plays like one long dream? There are numerous claims on the internet that these bits are taken from Rollin's ZOMBIE LAKE but I don't think that's true. Either way these aren't your typical flesh-eating killer zombies, they basically just menacingly stalk and mess up your hair which is a little disappointing to say the least. There's also a rape scene and an erect penis that pops up in this version. This wasn't the original cut though but actually a 1981 re-release version made to capitalize on the zombie craze at the time. The original, which was titled CHRISTINA, PRINCESS OF EROTICISM, is shorter, has no zombies and just focuses more on the soft-core sex stuff and has a bit with a giant black dildo that rules the universe or something. While this is essential viewing for Franco-fanatics, normal, well-adjusted humans will most likely be repelled by the leisurely pace and illogical weirdness of it all.
This was eventually released on VHS in a severely cut version with no nudity as ZOMBIE 4: A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD to make it part of that series and there's probably a few more cuts of this out there but since life comes to an end at some point I don't think I can watch all of them.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Most killers in slasher flicks have some disturbing event, like the guy getting burned in THE BURNING or Jason drowning in FRIDAY THE 13TH, that set them on their killing ways. In this movie our killer sees his mom making out at a drive-in, where THE HOUSE THAT CRIED MURDER is playing, and goes off and kills someone with a hatchet. This seems like quite an over-reaction for something that at worst would be mildly disturbing. There's also a twin brother, played by the same actor, Mark Soper, who gets blamed for his evil brother's actions. Now there is a way to film this movie where we don't know who the real killer is and there would be some sense of mystery involved(which I guess would make this into more of a giallo really) but the director here, John Grissmer, instead just goes on to lay it all out for us in typical dumb slasher movie fashion. At least there is some gore and boobs on display: a lady gets hacked in half, a guy loses a hand, many faces are whacked with machetes and there's the prerequisite shower scene. Louise Lasser from that MARY HARTMAN show plays the wacky mom of our killer and she's pretty annoying as are a lot of things that happen in this movie. Maybe worth a watch if you just want some gore but there are a bunch more entertaining 80's slasher out there.
Apparently this was shot in 1983 and not released theatrically until '87, with all the gore cut out, as NIGHTMARE AT SHADOW WOODS and then released with gore on VHS as BLOOD RAGE.
There is a 1979 BLOODRAGE(all one word) that I have yet to watch that looks pretty sleazy about a guy who kills hookers.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
The most amazing thing, to me, in this movie involves a long tracking pan-shot across a train littered with dead bodies after a massacre has taken place. It's a pretty amazing artistic moment and might be one of the most iconic shots in spaghetti-westerns. The director here, Massimo Dallamano, was cinematographer on a few of the Leone westerns so this isn't very surprising. He would go on to make the cool giallo WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO SOLANGE? before unfortunately being killed in a car crash.
The story itself here is not all that intricate. It concerns a master gunslinger who has his hands destroyed by a former friend and vows revenge. His vehicle for this revenge is his student who has his own dark secrets. This idea of the pupil getting revenge for his crippled master is one that I've seen in countless kung fu movies, and a few spag's, that came after this so maybe that's why it doesn't seem all that fresh to me. It is done really well here though and the sweet soundtrack helps out a lot. AKA YOU DIE...BUT I LIVE
BANDIDOS (Massimo Dallamano, 1967) from Vimeo.
Sunday, October 20, 2013
A mob hit-man(played by famous French actor Alain Delon) wants to retire and finds out there's no way out of the mafia then ends up on the wrong side of his former colleagues. After his wife and kid are bumped off it becomes more of a personal revenge film. It never really gets too graphically violent outside of the expected gunshot wounds but there is a guy who gets crushed to death in a car and women are generally treated very shabbily in many scenes. There are also a bunch of very well-done car chases/crashes.
This is a pretty good example of a top-notch euro-crime film. It hits all the classic notes; assassinations, double-crossings, etc. and is worth a look if you dig these type of movies that were clearly trying to cash in on THE GODFATHER but doing it in a cool trashy way. AKA NO WAY OUT
Saturday, October 19, 2013
This is part of a trilogy of NINJA DEATH flicks all made at the same time and unlike many of the other movies I've seen recently with the word "ninja" in the title, this one actually has a bunch of ninjas in it. There's a gold ninja, a ninja with a plastic Halloween face-mask and a lot of your regular standard ninjas. I'm not sure if NINJA DEATH II is even the correct title here since the cheap-ass DVD I have of this has no title on it at all and just starts right in with a load of incoherent scenes strung together. Having never seen the first film I'm not sure if they were from it or just badly edited parts of this film since most of the movie kind of follows this random action pattern that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. A lot of this movie is really drawn-out and dull but they almost make up for it with a couple of instances of unexpected gore that shows up when this guy in a mask, that looks like the one in DEMONS, yanks this guy's head off and then rips out another fellow's intestines. Earlier on some eyes get bloodily gouged out also. I also enjoyed when a ninja gets called a meat-head by his master but it didn't really help make this worth the time waste most of it was. AKA VENOM OF THE NINJA 2
Growly demon-face fights some ninjas:
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
This is cult director Ted V. Mikels' first feature and it's not very good but I guess everyone has to start somewhere. The movie here starts out with a guy getting shot in the forest for sleeping with this other fellow's wife and then this other guy stumbles across the scene and gets chased and chased and chased. This goes on for a good half hour then we get a hostage situation and then some flashbacks, that are really dull, explaining how everyone knows each other or something and then it ends with more running through the woods. There's really not much here to recommend this one and I was kinda expecting this to be more of a sexploitation/roughie kind of deal which it isn't at all. Mikels next two films, DR. SEX and ONE SHOCKING MOMENT, are in that category so I should probably check those out at some point.
Christ! Even the trailer is full of running!:
Monday, October 14, 2013
I was never a big fan of Cynthia Rothrock. The movies of hers that I'd seen were just the most generic of direct-to-video action films possible and I assumed they were American martial arts films which is normally not a very good thing. This one is directed by the great Godfrey Ho, who, as far as I know, is not an American(although he is credited here as Godfrey Hall which makes him seem way more American) and I always thought he just made Hong Kong movies with bizarre editing tricks before seeing this. The best thing about this though is that it features a kung-fu serial killer and is by far the most entertaining Rothrock flick I've seen yet. A lot of the credit here goes to actor Don Niam as an insane rape-happy, ass-kicking killer named Stingray. This guy was only in a couple of things in the 90's which is too bad because he's so over-the-top here it's awesome! Stingray goes around trying to find his wife after she splits(I guess she was tired of the frequent rapings on the kitchen table and whatnot), has a very bad mommy-complex and rips people's eyeballs out and sticks them in a fish-tank after he beats their asses in a fight. He also never forgets to load his mullet up with hairspray before going on a killing-spree so he looks good for the ladies. Rothrock here also has a gang of sidekicks that sorta act like an Asian version of the Bowery Boys and this movie might have one of the strangest endings ever where everyone gets punished by being enrolled in college!?. I was lucky enough to see this in a theater full of drunks yesterday and that might be the perfect way to watch this. It definitely raised my opinion of Rothrock and also Ho and if there's anything similar to this that they did together I gotta find it. AKA BLOODY MARY KILLER
Saturday, October 12, 2013
If the Invisible Man was a bank robbing gangster who was created by radiation this would be his tale. And just like THE INVISIBLE MAN this isn't a horror movie but basically just a crime story with some sci-fi elements thrown in. It's not bad though even if it is all pretty basic. I do like how pretty much all the main characters are bad guys except for the German doctor who gets blackmailed into creating this invisibility-ray thing to save his daughter. Then again he may have been a Nazi in the past so maybe he wasn't such an innocent victim after all. Also the movie ends with a big nuclear mushroom cloud the way all good movies should.
I picked this up on a $5 four-movie MGM DVD set, so for that price it wasn't terrible.
Probably the weirdest thing I've ever heard about REPTILICUS is that apparently the novelization of it is full of sex scenes that almost make it a porn book with a monster story thrown in the middle of it. The movie itself has no sexy stuff at all and is basically just a crappy Danish version of GODZILLA with a big snake-like monster on strings instead of a guy in a costume. It also has a title that is impossible to, in any way, say seriously. There are also supposed to be a few different versions of this out there including the original where the monster flies around. AIP brought this to America and cut out a scene of the monster flying and added bright green cartoonish acid spit that our monster likes to spew on army men and a neat scene where Reptilicus chomps on a guy. Obviously this isn't a very good movie but the monster attack scenes might give you a few chuckles and apparently The Monkees also thought so because clips from this would show up on their TV show occasionally.
Friday, October 11, 2013
This is one very strange kung-fu flick. Presented by the appropriately named Action Brothers Productions this is the tale of a gang of way too old High-Schoolers who are also martial artists that get into rumbles with other gangs. So, in that way, it's sort-of a shitty version of THE WARRIORS except THE WARRIORS if it was made by Koreans but shot in Los Angeles. You have your main inter-racial gang of good-guys, a gang of white-dorks called The Spikes and a Hispanic gang that enjoys pissing on cars. The plot is pretty much non-existent for most of the movie as it meanders from one fight scene to the next. The basic story is that our main gang gets hired as security guards that work at important events like a toga-party(where bad heavy-metal plays) and a break-dancing event(where crappy rap plays). Eventually they get an actual important job working security at a drug-dealing mob's cocaine party and they end up crossing the mob by stealing their drug-money. It all leads to a awesome, violent, bloody climax where everyone gets really stabby. Like many movies with "ninja" thrown into the title there are no actual ninjas that show up here. AKA L.A. STREETFIGHTERS and CHINATOWN
I've never seen the movie MIAMI CONNECTION(directed by the same Korean fellow that made this, Richard Park aka Woo-sang Park) which got a revival and theatrical release and a bunch of hype last year but from the clips I've seen I imagine it's along the same line as this film except there's no rock band stuff here.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
These three college gals, Taija Rae, Raven and Kristara Barrington decide to join the navy to boost their grades or something. So they end up on a submarine where lots of fucking happens. As far as I could tell these girls have no superpowers at all besides the power of spreading their legs and performing other sexy antics at the drop of a hat. It's your pretty standard/nothing special 80's high-on-the-humping, low-on-the-plot kinda deal. Ron Jeremy is in the opening credits but not the actual film for some reason. Director Henri Pachard shows up as an admiral and he would bring the supergirls back in SUPERGIRLS DO GENERAL HOSPITAL, later on the same year, which I'm sure excited soap-opera fans back in the day.
As a follow up to one of my favorite blaxploitation flicks, BLACK BELT JONES, under it's alternate title of BLACK BELT JONES 2: THE TATTOO CONNECTION, this is pretty awful. Even not judged as a sequel it's still not all that good. You get a lot of extra-silly dubbing with lines like "Damn your ass" etc. and before Jim Kelly shows up I actually thought I might be watching the wrong movie since it seems like a super low-budget kung-fu flick with a Chinese guy as the hero. Finally though Mr. Kelly does show up along with god's gift to martial-arts cinema, Mr. Bolo Yeung. Of course here, as always, he plays the villain. Strangely that fat dude who always plays the bully-role in just about every kung fu movie he's ever been in, Cheng Fu Hung, here gets to be a good guy for once! Also some acid-rock is thrown in which is awesome but it's also disappointing that there's no awesome funk tunes like in part 1 and finally a dummy gets thrown off a cruise-ship to end it all. Stick with the original for more inspiring chopsockey goodness.
Known in France as HONG KONG CONNECTION:
Monday, October 7, 2013
These Godfrey Ho-directed kung-fu/ninja flicks are pretty hard to tell one from the other. They almost all star Richard Harrison and they all seem to be conglomerations of at least two different movies. This one also stars a guy named Bruce Stallion and if that's not the greatest name for an action-movie star I don't know what is. The plot here deals with a couple of rival gangs fighting over turf or something(it's not all that easy to follow exactly what the hell is going on). One gang sometimes dresses like they're in the 1930's and the other gang enjoys dressing up like The Blues Brothers. They then do a bunch of gun-fu and people get assassinated. In the middle of all this Mr. Ho shoehorns in a bunch of scenes of two ninjas, who wear heavy eyeliner, fighting and Mr. Harrison doing some slow-motion sword-handling which I'm guessing was shot at another time. This is definitely one of those movies that I will forget ever seeing five minutes after it's over but at least it's mildly amusing, even if just for it's extremely stupid dubbing, while viewing.
Bruce Stallion is, in real life, a Muay Thai fighter named Paulo Tocha. Strangely he doesn't do much of any real fighting in this.
Sunday, October 6, 2013
I have this movie on a DVD-double feature disc of 2 George "Buck" Flowers movies(the other one being THE CAPTURE OF BIGFOOT) which I think is very strange because who in their right mind would make a George "Buck" Flowers DVD set? Technically both films are also directed by Bill Rebane so maybe it was supposed to be a Bill Rebane double feature but that's an equally strange selling point. Rebane did make the craptacular GIANT SPIDER INVASION so I guess that's something. While it's hard to believe, this ALPHA movie is even worse than his spiders-on-the-loose epic. Shot in the dreariest part of Wisconsin, the story, which is basically just a rip-off of THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN, concerns a Martian virus that somehow ends up here on Earth and infects 5 people who mostly just sit around in a room for the whole movie and bicker. Sounds thrilling doesn't it? There is one cool gore-filled bit where a guys head grows really big and his brains try to escape out of the top of his head and his one eye falls off but besides that you won't find much of anything interesting here. Flowers plays the role, that he specialized in, as the old guy with the beard and they rip-off the ending to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. I can't wait to watch Rebane's Bigfoot movie, I'm sure it will be just spectacular. AKA GIFT FROM A RED PLANET
"Look at his head!":
Looking for movies similar to the English crazy-family flick GIRLY I came across this Amicus studios production. This is probably the most atypical movie I've ever seen from Amicus since it's not a horror film at all but basically a drama/thriller about a young guy who generally hates old people and in particular his grandma who he stands to inherit a great deal of money from when she kicks the bucket. So along with his sneaky/sexy girlfriend, played by Vanessa Howard, who also played the title role in GIRLY, they set out to help usher Gran as quickly into her grave as possible. Granny does get the last laugh with a little twist towards the end and what I learned from this movie is if you're gonna be a heartless, murdering, scumbag bastard don't take a partner and especially not a female partner who's prone to violent fits of jealousy.
There's a great scene where our main nefarious fellow fantasizes about being a Nazi and machine-gunning down a whole van-load of old-folks and dear old grandma right in her bed. This, along with the whole film really, serves as a great metaphor for the generation-clash that was very prevalent in the late 60's/ early 70's. Of course if we were to remake this nowadays(pretending for a second that they still shoot actual films today and not shot-on-video glorified beer-commercials) the roles would have to be reversed since almost all young people today are about the most sheep-like, boring, computer/hive-minded group of people you could ever encounter and old-folks are the only ones left that even remember what being an individual with any sense of freedom was like.
Unfortunately Vannessa Howard never gets naked in this but check it out anyway if you can deal with a slow-moving British drama about murdering the oldies. AKA ROMEO AND JULIET '71
This trailer gives off a way stronger horror-vibe than what you get in the actual movie:
This Three Stooges short, along with DISORDER IN THE COURT, MALICE IN THE PALACE and BRIDELESS GROOM, is on just about every cheap-o VHS or DVD Stooges collection ever made. Why only these 4 shorts are in the public domain, and not any of the other 186, I'm not really sure but it makes them very easy to find and they're all pretty good as long as you don't get sick of seeing them so often.
This one stars Shemp in place of Curly and while most people prefer Curly, for his maniacal energy and general insanity, I've always been a big fan of Shemp's unique style. For one thing he's not really trying to emulate Curly all that much and if you know anything about the Stooge's history, he's actually an original member of the group back when they were a stage act before Curly came along. Also Shemp is the only original Stooge to have his own career outside the group starring in his own shorts and a bunch of movies including a few ABBOTT AND COSTELLO features.
The plot here involves the Stooges as tailors who run afoul of some mobsters. Larry gets pricked with a needle and there's lots of expected head-bonking. Unexpectedly there's a scene where Moe figures stuff out using his brains.
Having seen this so often I can almost recite lines by memory. If you weren't raised on this stuff you might hate it but if you were these are some classic low-brow hijinks.
The Stooges would remake this, and use stock-footage from the original, as RIP, SEW AND STITCH in 1953.
This was colorized, probably sometime in the 80's, when that became a big fad:
Saturday, October 5, 2013
Not to be confused with the Larry Cohen killer baby movie, this is the other Larry; Larry Buchanan's TV-movie about a crazy farmer dude who keeps a pet prehistoric creature in a cave and feeds unsuspecting people to it. I've been watching a few Buchanan films lately and they're all pretty awful. This one is no exception but it's not the worst I've seen. The pacing really kills it though and the monster, I think, is supposed to be like a giant dinosaur-type creature when in reality it's just a guy in a really ridiculous rubber-suit shot from underneath to appear slightly bigger. The monster is really the only thing that makes this one entertaining at all and it's a shame that he's really only used as a background character for the most part. It's hard to imagine a world where this was broadcast on national television and people accepted it as entertainment but I'll still take it over anything airing regularly today.
This was part of a group of made-for-TV remakes that Buchanan did for AIP except that the original version of this one was never made. It was supposed to have starred Peter Lorre and Elsa Lanchester which probably woulda been pretty cool.
The wacky monster suit used here was recycled from Buchanan's sea-monster movie CREATURE OF DESTRUCTION which itself was a remake of THE SHE-CREATURE. Buchanan also remade IT CONQUERED THE WORLD and called it ZONTAR, THE THING FROM VENUS as part of his AIP-TV deal.
The whole she-bang!:
Friday, October 4, 2013
Coincidentally Dr. Frankenstein is referenced in this movie and that's the character Naish would go on to play years later in DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Not to be confused with Jess Franco's DEMONIAC this is a Jean Rollin-directed tale of a couple of young gals who get raped and killed by a gang of ship-wrecking pirates. After being beaten to death our victims go on to come back as ghostly apparitions of some sort who then go on to gain some supernatural powers thanks to a lady-clown and some hippie guy on an island who introduce them to a helpful and handsome demon who imbues his powers by getting bare-assed naked and humping away. These powers include some CARRIE-like telekinesis.
Basically what you get here is a sort-of ghostly/surrealistic rape/revenge flick. Rollin fills it with some weird imagery, strange clunky acting choices and a very artsy ending. As usual in his Eurotrash epics there's plenty of nakedness and dream-like pacing. For hardcore Eurosleaze-lovers only. AKA CURSE OF THE LIVING DEAD(not to be confused with the re-titled version of Mario Bava's KILL, BABY, KILL)
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
This classic Shaw Brothers kung-fu movie concerns a madam at a whorehouse and some kidnapped whores, which is a pretty unusual plot and setting for a Shaw Bros. film, making this a sort of martial-arts/sex-flick hybrid. The first half of the film is pretty light on the kung-fu'ing and almost seems like a bit of a women-in-prison kind of situation with some blatant lesbianism thrown in for added fun. There's also some not very explicit, and pretty goofy, rape in this part. The martial-arts action eventually does heat up though and it becomes an ass-kicking rape/revenge flick and by the last half hour limbs are getting hacked off, swords are slashing bodies and blood is spraying against walls. Also our main bad-gal/madam has long sharp fingernails that she uses like Wolverine's claws. This is a good flick for kung-fu fans who have seen a lot of Shaw stuff and want something different. Unexpectedly Pink Floyd shows up on the soundtrack for a bit.