Friday, October 31, 2014
Not to be confused with BLOOD OF GHASTLY HORROR, which is what I usually do, this one is a slightly better horror flick from the swingin 60's. If I remember that one correctly there was some kinda monster in it but this one is concerned with psychopathic serial killing by regular humans(or I guess technically in this case, mentally deranged irregular humans). Much of what goes on here doesn't make a lot of sense. There's a twist ending which also doesn't seem to add up to what we saw earlier in the film. I will say for a movie shot in the 60's it seemed way more like a 70's film with it's gory axe murders and hands getting chopped off. It is seemingly riffing off of PSYCHO with it's deranged flashback-having main character and also there's a mom who gets involved in the proceedings. All in all it works as a curiosity but not very well as actual entertainment.
There was a gimmick employed when this was originally released where the filmmakers would give out $1000(or $2000 if it was on a double-feature!) to anyone who died of fright while watching the movie. Don't think they ever had to pay out.
This was released on a double-shock show with director Joy N. Houck, Jr.'s other horror flick WOMEN AND BLOODY TERROR:
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
I watch this film about once a year. It didn't invent the slasher genre(BLACK CHRISTMAS is usually cited as being the film to do that) but due to it's success it did kick-off the 80's glut of stalk n' kill movies that followed. Probably the first few times I saw this was on TV which is a different cut from the original theatrical release so when I finally caught it on VHS it was strange to see all the little differences. Of course now having seen it so many times on VHS and DVD it's pretty ingrained in my memory.
Everything about this film is very iconic to the horror genre. Shots are framed with an amazing focus on detail, the camerawork is incredible, the music fits everything perfectly and the characters are about the best the slasher genre would ever see. Donald Pleasence was the only actual name actor at the time this was made but everyone does a great job and of course Jamie Lee Curtis would become a household name after this. This also started director John Carpenter down the road of making some great 80's horror flicks and unlike many of the other supposedly great horror films of the 80's his weren't all full of jokes, but actually scary movies.
There were 8 official sequels and then a shitty pointless remake from Rob Zombie.
HALLOWEEN posters from around the world!
One of the complaints I hear from people with no patience or ability to sit still for more than 5 minutes like human beings about old horror movies is that many of them contain long boring scenes of people creeping around old castles with nothing else happening. If you're also not a fan of that kind of non-action this probably will not be the movie for you since there are some long stretches where that goes down. It's your basic guy has to stay in a haunted house story and even the presence of Barbara Steele doesn't make this one all that special. A couple of unique things here are in the opening and closing segments you get Edgar Allen Poe just hanging out in a pub and being all goth-like and the ending is not a very happy one(unless you happen to be a ghost). This unfortunately is not enough for me to recommend this to anyone unless you're really into old slow-moving ghost movies. AKA CASTLE OF BLOOD
Adding to my negative feelings about this is that the DVD I have this on, and apparently the version that's on Youtube, has a bunch of scenes that are in French with no subtitles which seems like a stupid way to release a movie.
Played in the U.K. on this blood & dinosaurs double-bill!:
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Saw this last night on a double-bill with PEONY LANTERN and they make a good pairing since they're both Japanese ghost-lady flicks. This one doesn't have any of the comedic elements present in that other epic and the ghost herself, known as The Snow Woman, has the more common appearance of one of those long-haired pale spirits. The story has to do with a fellow who's spared from the Snow Woman's curse after she falls in love with him but then has to take a vow to never tell anyone about his meeting her. Needless to say things don't go smoothly for our main character. Most of the film plays out like more of a samurai flick with some shitty warlord-types causing troubles and that sorta thing. It's really only the opening and closing bits that focus heavily on the supernatural elements. While not the most amazingly complex plot ever it's all done with great style and amazing camerawork to tell the story. AKA THE SNOW WOMAN, SNOW GHOST, GHOST STORY OF THE SNOW FAIRY and GHOST STORY OF THE SNOW WITCH
This tale is basically a remake of a story in the earlier ghost anthology KWAIDAN.
An Italian giallo mixed with a little bit of Edgar Allen Poe's THE BLACK CAT and served up with a bunch of nudity, spousal abuse, animal abuse, a bag of sheep's eyes, a naked hippie party and a touch of lesbianism thrown in for fun. As far as giallos go I've always found this one, directed by Sergio Martino, to be a good watch. It's not as kill-crazy and slasher-movie-like as something like Martino's TORSO but it makes up for that with a very gloomy atmosphere, plot twists galore, lots of backstabbing characters and some bloody murders using a small sickle. Also the soundtrack is pretty sweet which is the case in many of these giallos. Also pretty sweet is Edwige Fenech who gets very naked which is always a plus! AKA EYES OF THE BLACK CAT, EXCITE ME, GENTLY BEFORE SHE DIES and IRENE(which might be the stupidest title ever since the characters name is actually Irina)
This horror anthology reminds me a bit of one of those 90's Nickelodeon shows like ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? but I guess since this came out first that wasn't the actual inspiration. Just like those stupid shows though, this is a really dumb movie that seems like it was made for kids. It's PG-13 so there is at least a little bit of blood and gore. You get a dog exploding in a microwave, a monster that hangs out in a boys room at school, and a disgusting fat kid. The great thing about this movie is that they're not afraid to murder little kids in it and one kid even gets his arms ripped off by some giant angry flies. James Karen and Clu Gulager, both from RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD, show up, so that's something. There's an in-joke about THE GOONIES since one of the kids, Sean Astin, was in that. Ultimately though you should only watch this if you're interested in seeing a semi-retarded version of CREEPSHOW.
The morale of this story seems to be don't fall in love and have sex with beautiful ghost-ladies or you will die. The plot concerns a teacher who does just that and I think there's some political message in there also, luckily I'm not smart enough to decipher it. Overall this is a beautifully-shot Japanese ghost-flick with a little touch of samurai cinema thrown in as a bonus. So far all of these 60's ghost-lady movies I've seen from Japan have been really great with some awesome atmosphere. This one does throw a couple of comedic-relief characters into the film which didn't seem like they totally belonged but I think it worked well enough anyhow. I've stayed away from any of the more modern Asian ghost flicks(RINGU, JU-ON etc.) mostly because they all had horrible Americanized remakes that I'm unfairly judging them on but also because there's so many of these superior 60's examples of the genre to catch up on that I'm not sure I'll ever get around to those more trendy examples. AKA THE BRIDE FROM HADES, A GHOST STORY OF PEONIES AND STONE LANTERNS, GHOST BEAUTY, THE BRIDE FROM HELL(which is also the title of a Shaw Brothers movie) and A TALE OF PEONIES AND LANTERNS
Technically this is a remake of a 50's movie titled PEONIES AND STONE LANTERNS which itself was based on a Kabuki play from 1892 so it's a pretty old tale.
There's also what I think is sort of a remake of this called PEONY LANTERN SEX STORY from the 70's which was one of those Roman porno movies and sounds pretty sweet.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
This a terrible slasher movie! It's shot-on-video which is usually not a good thing to begin with, the murder scenes are mostly bloodless, the acting is terrible, there's long silent parts where they seem to have forgotten to put any music or even sound in, there's no nudity, and nothing makes any sense. Luckily I was able to watch this as part of a horror movie marathon in a theater full of fans of terrible crap. Whoever made this obviously knew they were gonna get more laughs then frights out of it so there's much intentional comedy thrown in, Queen Kong(aka Matilda The Hun) from The Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling has a fairly big part(and you would think a lady pro wrestler would at least be better than this at acting!), and it works as one of those so-awful-it's-great works. Of course there's a better slightly higher-budget killer meets girls in leotards movie called AEROBICIDE which treads similar territory that you could watch instead of this but if you want bottom of the barrel chuckles this will supply lots of those.
Lucio Fulci also made a movie titled SLASHDANCE and it's also not very good.
For a movie made in 1965 this one has a surprising couple of scenes of torture. It's basically the tale of a mad doctor named Stephen Arrowsmith (which sorta sounds like it could also be a terrible cover band name) who catches his wife cheating on him so he tortures(red-hot poker to the chest and acid-to-the body) and murders them. He also does this to inherit her money and to keep his old maid (who he's also in a relationship with) looking young with some fresh blood, so there's a lot of things going on here. It gets into some familiar rising from the dead ghost territory and Barbara Steele plays two roles of identical-looking, except for their hair, step-sisters(which seems like a very strange thing?). While it certainly has a few slower haunted house scenes and never seems quite as stylish as mario Bava's similar films I think the presence of Steele and all the crazy-shit going on helps elevate this from other 60's ghost flicks. Also Ennio Morricone does his usual amazing job with the goth soundtrack music. AKA THE FACELESS MONSTER, LOVERS BEYOND THE TOMB, NIGHT OF THE DOOMED and ORGASMO(which sounds like some kinda porno)
Sunday, October 19, 2014
Not that the earlier GHOULIES movies were all that serious but this one goes full blown comedy. It actually starts out like an action movie with a hot leather-clad kung fu chick killing police officers and from there we get some Satanic shenanigans. After that some Ed Norton and Ralph Kramden-impersonators show up and we know it's all just a big goof. The original Ghoulies only show up for one scene and stick around for what seems like 30 seconds and then split. This, of course, is a flashback to the first movie since the 2 Ghoulies here just look like midgets in shitty Halloween masks. The other ridiculous thing going on is these two demons from hell talk. They did also talk in Part 3 but here one of them talks in full jive mode which I don't recall happening in that one. So yes this is the worst of the Ghoulies films, it was made in the 90's so that's to be expected, but for some reason I still prefer it to those shitty CRITTERS movies. We are promised a GHOULIES IV PART 2 at the end, fortunately this never happened.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
John Waters' commentary on the "typical" American family? Of course in Waters-land that includes a 300-pound cross-dressing man(Divine) as the mom, a filthy, flatulent, porn-theater owning dad who's also sleeping with his secretary(Mink Stole), a glue-snorting foot-fetishist(and foot-stomping) son and a constantly go-go dancing daughter who's dating Dead Boys lead-singer Stiv Bators who plays a greasy punk with the awesome name of Bo-Bo Belsinger. In addition to these insane characters you also get the always wonderful Edith Massey as 70-something year old obese "debutante", who can always see the silver-lining in any cloud no matter how big or small from alcoholism to murder. Divine's sadistic mother and 50's idol Tab Hunter as a romantic Romeo. Hunter even gets to make out with Divine which is something I'm sure he never envisioned in his wildest dreams doing when he started back in the 50's. Jean Hill also shows up for a bit where she proceeds to hijack a bus, chomp on a tire and smack Bators around. If you like insanity, no one touches Waters as the king of off-the-wall antics. The man pretty much embodies what is the punk-rock aesthetic and amazingly did so before punk rock really even existed.
I got a chance to experience this the way it was originally released in full Odorama last night with scratch and sniff cards as big as your face and a full crowd which totally added to the enjoyment of the film.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
"Who cares for Heaven or Hell? In the depths of the unknown we seek out the new!"
I love films about evil little girls. Stuff like THE LITTLE GIRL WHO LIVES DOWN THE LANE and all those EXORCIST-rip-offs are just awesome! This one deals with a couple of gals who pledge their lives to Satan and they go about doing bad stuff just cuz it's fun. It also has a really amazing totally nihilistic ending which is the way all great movies should go out. I feel like there's also some subliminal ideas about lesbianism and just growing up in general but that's for more intelligent people than me to decipher. I just enjoy the film for it's embracing and exploration of taboo subjects including underage rape and molestation(the girls here are actually not underage but they do look it), criticism of organized religion and showing seemingly innocent-looking females as actual human-beings capable of horrible deeds which includes poisoning some sweet little pet birds, setting wildfires and ultimately murder and self-immolation.
This film was based on a real-life murder case in New Zealand involving some young teenage gals and was also used as the basis for Peter Jackson's HEAVENLY CREATURES which I really need to rewatch one day since I remember very little about it but I'm sure it doesn't reach the sleaze or even artistic-level of this French shocker.
Doin it all for Satan!:
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Although I love director Lucio Fulci for his gore-filled 80's romps, this here might be one of my least favorite giallos. I mean there's only one murder throughout the whole movie and much of the film is filled with dream-logic and if there's one thing I hate in films it's dreamy interludes that just take up time. On the positive side this does lead to a memorable scene where a giant duck flies overhead and that's something to see. Also you get another dream where some dogs are split open with their guts hanging out and hung up like some gruesome puppets. I recall reading somewhere that Fulci had some legal problems and had to go to court for alleged animal cruelty which is pretty amazing since, regardless of how gross they look, these are obviously not real dogs. Overall there's plenty of nudity and other various great visuals to look at even if the whole movie never makes very solid sense and it moves along fairly quickly for a murder-mystery with almost no murder in it. OK, so maybe this isn't my very least favorite giallo but it's definitely not one of my favs. Fulci-fanatics seem to really enjoy this though so check it out if you're one of those. AKA SCHIZOID
This was reissued under this less artsy very much more blunt title:
French people like boobs on their VHS tapes!:
Saturday, October 11, 2014
After years of watching this on VHS and later on DVD as ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST(which really should have been called something like CANNIBALS AND ZOMBIES HOLOCAUST) I finally got a chance to see a battered 35mm print of this 80's splatter classic on the big screen with a surprisingly packed house of maniacs and misfits. The great thing about DR. BUTCHER is that it takes cannibals and adds in some zombies(although these zombies are more of your classical voodoo-style maulers(one fella even uses a knife as his weapon of choice)than the more modern gut-munching variety) and of course you get the titular mad doctor(Donald O'Brien) on this crazy island of madness. The gore is plentiful and guts are spilled. In one amazing scene the great Ian McCulloch(who was also the star of Lucio Fulci's ZOMBIE, which is a movie this borrows quite a bit from) creatively uses an outboard motor to make mincemeat of a zombies cranium. All in all a great film to catch with a crowd of gorehounds, especially, as in this case, in a theater that serves food during the movie. I mean who wouldn't want to munch down a nice greasy burger while on the big screen cannibals similarly munch on some human entrails? Good times!
Another added attraction at the screening I attended was STREET TRASH writer and producer Roy Frumkes, responsible for the strange opening title sequence on the American released version of this film, who was there to regale us of tales of 42nd Street and how they had a flatbed truck driving around back in 1980 made up as a Butchermobile to advertise the movie. Amazing!
Played back in the day on a "twin terror" bill with an Italian crime film:
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Saturday, October 4, 2014
This is a real creep movie! I mean I guess pretty much any movie that deals with necrophilia can be classified as that but this one has an especially creepy vibe that runs throughout it. The soundtrack by Goblin definitely helps set this mood. The story concerns a fellow whose fiance dies so he decides to dig her up, embalm her and keep her around. He also goes out and meets new gals(I guess since his corpse-lady isn't so hot in the sack) that he brings home and ends up murdering in various ways. Luckily, or maybe not?, he has a super-creepy maid who helps him get rid of these extra bodies. If you're into stuff like NEKROMANTIK, this is probably the closest to that film that Italian cinema got with a similar subject matter(at least that I'm aware of). So if you're in the mood for intestines being spilled and corpses being fondled check it out. AKA BLUE HOLOCAUST & BURIED ALIVE
Thursday, October 2, 2014
One of my favorite character actors William Smith stars in his first biker movie as Angel, a guy who rats on his fellow bikers, The Devils Advocates(which is also the name of the biker group in THE LOSERS and maybe some other similar films), and spends most of the film doing what the title says. You get some of the staples of the biker flick including a barroom brawl, rape, lots of riding and other assorted violence. The soundtrack, including Tammy Wynette, could have been a lot better with some more rockin' Steppenwolf or psychedelic tunes. Overall the film runs along pretty smoothly until you get about 3/4's of the way through when it gets really bogged down in Angel's relationship with his old lady and heavy drama ensues.