Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Friday, March 8, 2013
Supervixens is a fast paced, surreal, sexy, part murder mystery/on the run camp/dark comedy that stars an all to gorgeous Shari Eubank as Super Angel, the ferocious and mean spirited vixen that drives her husband Clint Ramsey to the end of his wits. A crooked and evil sheriff Harry Sledge (played by films own producer Charles Napier) attempts an affair with Supervixen but her wicked taunted pushes him to the point of murder. Poor Ramsey is framed on the run from the law on a surreal journey of continuous journey of equal parts Vixen of all shapes and sizes and also equal part bad luck, from beatings, muggings and unwanted advances from voluptous goddessess starring a Myriad cast of Super Eula, Super Lorna, Super Cherry, Super Soul and Super Haji (Faster Pussy Cat Kill, Kill)
Clint Ramsey's luck turns around when he meets a woman quite like Super Angel in appearance (also played by Shari Eubank)but only all she is all too sweet as a gas station/restuarant owner. Ramsey finally finds love until the evil Harry Sledge enters their life again to bring a climax of cartoonish dynamite throwning violence that could only be taken slightly serious in the entertaining Universe of Russ Meyer. 8/10
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Two college hipsters find an unconscious British politician on a set of subway stairs. They argue wether to get involved and telling the authorities, upon returning to the knocked out/possibly drunk politician they find he is gone. Enter Inspector Calhoun (Donald Pleasance aka Dr. Loomis), half comedian half rule breaking detective, the couple's complaint creates more questions concerning other "missing" cases related to the underground subway tunnels. Brief (and I mean brief) cameo by the always pleasant Christopher as an opposing agent to Dr. Calhoun adds little to the detective part of the story, but if you are a Lee fan, he is still cool as shit.
The films pacing is undiliberatley slow and slightly off putting from mildly warm scenes between Pleasance and others within his office to the overly gritty subway cannibal family and their grimy way of life. Sharon Gurney, the love interest of the films protagonist played by David Ladd, is easy on the eyes in contrast to the grotesque and convincing make-up of the main, constant drooling, Cannibal (Hugh Armstrong) and his relentless rephrashing of "Mind the Doors!"
One particular stand out long, long, long camera shot reveals the interior of the Cannibal's dwelling and the tunnels connecting to the busy subway, adding needed tension and showing Gary Sherman's early eye for suspenseful layout's.
I would only recommend this for Pleasance/Lee or Sherman completists. The film is at best, a mediocre gross-out detective story. Similar plots can be found in the much superior Frightmare by Pete Walker.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
A young pregnant Martha Schmidt(Maren Jensen) loses her husband in a farming accident, attempts to stay on the farm with the help of her friends Vicki and Lana (starring a young voluptuous Sharon stone and Susan Buckner). Vicki suffers her own hell after being trapped in the barn and battles nightmares of a spider and Lana tries seducing a curious Hittite, who was the brother Hittite turned wordly John Schmidt. The Hittites (as quoted from the film "Makes the Amish look like swingers") continue to torment these three woman with threats of vandalism and planting typical scares for the genre helmed by the screen captivating Michael Berryman, until they decide to fight back and arm themselves.
The films third act transcends into the supernatural, and delivers more frightening tension than an average slasher with a sleep walking psychic, ghostly visitation and one hell of a shoot out that was not scene in Craven's films until this one. The ending rings a bell for exploitation fans of Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls.
Borgnine's strong performance as the overbearing rule enforcing elder brings strength to the story, and his harsh way of dishing out punishment to even shunning his own people.
A surprising 8/10. If you are a Craven completist or are tired of the regular late 70's early 80's slasher fair, this will be a breath of fresh air.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Monday, July 9, 2012
Andrzej Zulawski's Possession, is arguably a daring masterpiece, a modern horror-drama that has rarely been imitated and revered as an intimidating, gut-wrenching; at a few moments stomach churning, piece of celluloid.
A distraught husband (Sam Nell) is certain his wife (Isabella Adjani) is having an affair. His investigation leads him on a downward spiral to an emotional breakdown, as he finds out the truth of his wife's actual were-abouts. The end result reveals a dark, evil realm of questions that no man should ever asked himself.
Adjani's award winning performance maybe (and I am not saying this lightly) one of the most disturbing performances ever filmed. This marital drama transcends paranoia and rejection and enters into a bizarre world of sickening horror that would turn most audiences stomachs and even drop the jaws of hardened horror viewers.
A must see for any fan of cult cinema or horror. Few films have come close to the disturbing content, save the earlier work of David Cronenberg (The Brood)
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Directed by John Moxey (Circus of Fear)
The always screen captivating Christopher Lee stars as an occult savvy Professor who leads a young student, Nan Barlow, into a haunted Massachusetts town called Whitewood, for the furthering of her knowledge in Witchcraft. Little does she know that she is the now a target for a virgin sacrifice.
Horror Hotel is ranked among classic horror films that are recognized for its dreadful atmosphere along with Wicker Man (also starring Lee), Blood on Satan's Claw and Witchfinder General.
Spoiler Alert. Similar to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho of the same year, the main female (and blonde of course) protagonist is stabbed within the first act of them film leading into a mystery of her whereabouts.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Beautifully executed by Martino's masterful direction in a gorgeous Italian Villa. Martino's style is different then Argento's or Bava's surrealist approach to the genre nor is his violence as over the top as Lucio Fulci, Martino's focus on his stories is character struggle mixed with sensuality (see Strange Vice of Mrs.Wardh and All the Colors of the Dark) Watch also for the hilarious placement of J&B bottles within the house. (Green J&B bottles are as much a character in Giallo films as a black gloved killer). 9 out of 10.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
This almost forgotten film is in desperate need of a great transfer, the only copies available are VHS and VHS to DVD versions. Bleak winter atmosphere, creepy dolls on rainy back woods roads, a killer in an old woman mask with a sickle and a scary mental breakdown performance by Samantha Egger (The Brood).
An overbearing director charges six beautiful women to stay with him in his dark secluded mansion for the weekend to bear everything in an audition for a role in his upcoming film. Jealousy ensues and the women back stab and betray each other until they die off one by one. The lavish death scenes are cruel, like a Giallo and the pace is formidable for a slasher, but the unconventional twist at the end demands a re-watch to follow characters motives.
Curtains was shot in 81 and released in 83 but it feels like a mid-70's horror film, in terms of atmosphere and cinematography. 8 out of 10
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
There are the obvious 70's horror films like John Carpenter's Halloween, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Exorcist then there are the 2nd tier of 70's horror like Black Christmas, George Romero's Martin, and Suspiria.
Hollywood has laid waste to most of these good names with remakes, rehashes and re-hacks that most common horror viewers are unaware that The Hills Have Eyes, Last House on the Left or The Crazies are remakes.
My unconventional top 70's horror is as follows (By unconventional, I mean you might not have heard of it)
Blood Spattered Bride (72)- Carmilla Karnstein story, A newlywed wife undergoes twisted sexual abuse from her perverse husband and feels trapped. She stumbles (in the most odd introduction of characters) upon Carmilla, a forgetful and lost, beautiful young woman who brings dominating sexual and bloody havoc to the household. Strong surreal moments and excessive blood letting, unpredictable ending very impressive for the early 70's. Highly recommended 10 out of 10. A perfect horror film in every sense.
Shockwaves (77)- The quintessential Nazi Zombie film, starring Peter Cushing. A boat is shipwrecked on a seemingly deserted island, that is the old experimenting grounds of SS killing machines. They awake from their slumber and kill again. Fantastic cinema photography, the suspenseful build up to the killings is treated as fair and intelligent to the viewer, equivalent to Carpenter's delivery in Halloween. The ending is very disturbing and leaves a grim feeling, superior film that deserves more attention. 8 out 10.
Rabid (77)- Another David Cronenberg gore-fest. Adult star Marilyn Chambers under goes radical plastic surgery after a motorcycle accident then its all "body-horror" meets Night of the Living Dead. Odd deaths that involve a tentacle from the armpit. Comparable to Romero's The Crazies with trigger-happy Military vs.Quarantined Citizen. Chambers proves her acting abilities outside the adult world as the terrorized and unknowing murderess. 9 out of 10.
Let's Scare Jessica to Death (71)- Early 70's ghost story, is Jessica loosing her mind? Beautiful cinematography, thick atmosphere that you can cut with a knife and a haunting minimalistic score.. A post mental Jessica and a few friends getaway to the country in a creepy house with an orchard that needs upkeep. They find a beautiful seance-loving hippy squatting in their new house and the towns people are scabby octogenarians that pose an immediate threat. Gorgeous film, atmosphere with a capital "A". 10 out of 10.
Tourist Trap (79) - Early David Schmoeller (Puppet Master) peculiar night-time slasher,sick drive-in horror finally on DVD. Originally and inappropriately released as a PG film. Stranded teens encounter help from a local man (Chuck Conners) and take lodge at his creepy wax museum and have a run-in with his demented brother, a maniacal telekinetic mannequin hording-villain, unlike anything ever scene in horror. Weird and unique death scenes, bizarre ending that stuck with me for years. 9 out of 10.
Silent Night, Night Bloody (74)- Crazy people used to reside in an old house, have they resided there all these years? Watch for the beautiful sepia toned asylum flashback. The House on Haunted Hill remake lifted this scene. 7 out of 10.
Isle of the Damned (76) aka Who Can Kill a Child. Hitchcokian elements inspire this evil child horror film. Low on gore, heavy on suspense. The first documentary style segment is unnecessary however the film build and builds as the town closes in on the unsuspecting couple. 8 out of 10.
Baba Yaga (73)- AKA The Devil Witch. A young female photographer cross paths with Baba Yaga, the mythos of an evil witch, at 3AM on a foggy night in a grimy cab (not spooky at all) . After wards the photographer's camera becomes cursed and is an object of murder. Poor dubbing, great imagery, cool concept of photographs within the story telling. Very psychedelic. 8 out of 10.
Daughters of Darkness (71) Harold Kumel directs this big budget, Vampire, Euro-Horror with a classy finesse, more dialogue driven and focusing on the drama and turmoil of another married couple with a Countess that comes in between their marriage. 9 out of 10.
Vampyres (75) Part Vampiress Gothic-Horror and part lesbian-erotica. Two beautiful young females lure men and women back to their castle to commit seduction and murder. Gained a cult following. Great restored copy by Blue Underground. Not for the Squeamish. 9 out of 10.
Private Parts (72) One of the most strange love scenes in any film ever, (spoiler, man + blow-up doll) but don't let that scare you. Paul Bartel's Private Parts is a creepy hotel horror with even creepier tenants, more of a bizarre character study than actual scares. Great restoration and much better than Howard Stern's film Private Parts. 8 out of 10.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
This particular Italian slasher features a large roster of beautiful college girls that get killed off particularly quickly, with little time for any character development or attachment. But Torso sets it self higher than most other films of this nature. The killer, a dapper and perverse psychopath, donned with a gray ski mask and a handsome silk neck scarf creatively eliminates each victim in the oh-so elegant ways of murder that the scenes are gore-tacular artistry.What makes Torso stand out amongst slashers films with the same premise is the odd camera angles and perspectives, which could have been an influence on John Carpenter for Halloween and I think even more so for Alexander Aja's High Tension. Halloween is praised for its credit for what it did for slasher films but I think credit should established to Italian director Sergio Martino ( Your Vice, All the Colors of the Dark) .
Concerning the blood and gore of the film, for 1973, hack-sawing limbs off of dead corpses and close ups of blood pools slowing draining in the muddy water while a minimalistic score seems pretty bold for the time and place of where this film was in the world of horror. Fortunately, the recent release of Torso on DVD may increase popularity along with the rise of in popularity of the Giallo genre, one would hope a 70's gem like this could be talked about in the next decade as one of the great contributors to horror. 9 out of 10
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
After watching hundreds of horror films you become desensitized to well, just about everything, the only good that could come out of horror desensitization is when you see a good horror film, that actually IS good you say, "well dammit, I should tell someone about this one." Frightmare was a treat. Any film about cannibalism should either not take it self seriously or freak the hell out of you but Frightmare was directed, with a bit more finesse and written and acted so well that not only was it taking the subject matter very seriously but it had a simmering tension that came to a conclusive ferocious boil at the end. I have become a recent fan of British horror director Pete Walker, with The Confessional, House of the Whipcord and the wonderfully disturbing Schizo and I love all of his films. 8 out of 10.
Pete Walker is a criminally underrated master of horror or better yet, horror-dramas. His films usually are lengthy, a bit wordy and are shot with a by the numbers standard but the way he tells his stories with editing and how the actors flesh out the complex scripts mixed with great scores make each and every one of his films something to be sought after. Frightmare is a great start to his catalog but another gem to be held on par is his psycho-thriller masterpiece Schizo.
1971 was a good year for the Giallo genre. All Giallo films have the haunting score, a good majority by Ennio (genius) Morricone, and most Giallo's have the bold camera tricks, black gloved killers, colorful back drops, excessive blood-letting and oh-so-beautiful victims, but director Paolo Cavara (Mondo Cane) had the right elements with the film to make it one of the best of the genre.
The story's perspective isn't the typical Hitchcockian framed man caught in the middle of a murder while proving his innocence but instead follows a brooding inspector, who lost heart in his profession, yet follows the killer's bloody trail. The victims are viciously killed by being debilitated with a poisonous needle in the back of the neck and then cut open by a scalpel in the stomach. Black Belly has the right elements to transcend similar films within the genre by its ominous and hypnotic tone. The atypical cheese that comes with 70's European horror films is not present and the end leaves you feeling melancholic. (Which was also present concerning context in Dirty Harry of the same year) If you like Hitchcock or even the 70's films from Brian De Palma you should start you Giallo viewing with this particular film. 9 out 10.