Saturday, December 15, 2018

Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf, Spaghetti Western With Samurais

Sarah McCarthy, Jennifer Mullaney, and Chikako Omura don't get top billing in today's feature, but their portrayals warms the heart of everyone who enjoys this blog. The three dancers, clad in shiny bikinis and black go-go boots is a plot device that Kurando Mitsutake utilizes to draw all of us fans of 1970s exploitation in. Sure they're gratuitous, and eventually they will die in equally as gratuitous fashion. So let us take a peak at 2009's "Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf"...part spaghetti western...part Kung Fu epic...part 70s exploitation...all fun!
In a vicious backstory, a loving husband must witness the brutal murder of his family. He will also be forced to blind himself. Seven years later, our left for dead dad is now Blind Wolf...sworn to avenge the murder of his family. The fiend? Nathan Flesher...sadistic psycho. Flesher is due to get out of jail and Blind Wolf is determined to kill him on the spot. Not so fast! Flesher hires seven of the most colorful assassins ever put on film. The aforementioned dancers are merely henchwomen for one of the assassins. Their death by skewering is such a beautiful thing.
As Blind Wolf treks toward the jail he is eventually joined by a drifter (Jeffrey James Lippold). This bloke has his own tragic backstory and together they go through assassins like crap through a goose. Don't fret...our three bikini dancers may have assumed room temperature, but other babes will also enter the plot...and you will love Mariko Denda as the hypnotist assassin. These assassins aren't just thugs with guns, each of them has a great story straight out of 70s exploitation. Quentin Tarrantino would be proud. Beware...betrayal and carnage awaits our duo.
Will Blind Wolf  make it through gauntlet of assassins and deliver sword justice to Flesher? Just what did Blind Wolf go through in the seven years since his family's demise that made him the world's greatest Samurai swordsman? Can we look forward to the aforementioned bikini babes in future Mitsutake films? If not, I'm going to steal them and make them characters in an upcoming novel. The gratuitous nature of "Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf" speaks to the heart of those of us who enjoy gratuity in our films. For spurting blood, bikini babes, and Samurai justice, see this Kurando Mitsutake masterpiece. Oh yeah...did I mention the zombies?

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Creeper, Cat People-Lite

World War 2 had just ended. President Truman dropped two atomic bombs on Japan and Germany's Third Reich was shredded by ally forces. All was good again...or was it? Celebrations in every major city displayed a temporary exuberance. With victory also came fear. Was the Third Reich really gone? Would there be more nuclear wars in the near future? Post-war fear enveloped America as the greatest generation may have won the war to end all wars, but the ominous fear of cats and Chinese restaurants would haunt this country for decades to come. Hence 1948's "The Creeper."
The very pretty Nora (Janis Wilson) catches a fever in the West Indies. In delirium and hallucinating for months she is beset by nightmares of cats. Coincidentally, the West Indians believe the dead return to us as felines. She is in the West Indies with her dad, Dr. Cavigny (Ralph Morgan) and his sultry assistant Gwen (June Vincent). The trio return home to work on a mysterious serum with Dr. Bordon (Onslow Stevens). Nora and her dad are horrified at what this serum will do and try to destroy all notes of the experiments. Gwen and Bordon feel the opposite. Uh oh...Nora starts behaving strangely and going into trances. The trances usually find her doing something that would suggest she is homicidal.
Dr. Reade (John Baragrey) arrives. He used to love Gwen, but now he loves Nora. This doesn't make the sultry Gwen very happy. The murders begin. Nora's dad is shredded to death in his study and a lab aide is also shredded. Both murders coincide with Nora being in a trance. Dr. Reade courts Nora and brings her to the same Chinese restaurant he used to bring Gwen to. This won't end well as Nora sees a cat and runs out screaming. Gwen will confront Nora and call her a paranoid-schizophrenic. Nora will ignore her. As the police focus on Nora, our pretty damsel comes up with a few theories herself and seeks to...well...you'll see.
Is Nora really the psycho killer, perhaps under the spell of a cat demon? Will Gwen and Nora engage in a...well...a cat-fight over Dr. Reade? If Nora is the killer, will the sultry Gwen have a prayer in the aforementioned cat-fight? Spooky and mysterious, "The Creeper" has some chills that were not in the budget of the original "Cat People." For some great horror from the 1940s, see "The Creeper," directed by Jean Yarbrough.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Monsters Don't Get To Cry, Predator or Prey?

I remember it. The late 1980s in Baton Rouge. Two U.S. Marshals at the airport are escorting a convicted  child molester off a plane and through the terminal. The video shows the trio walking past a bank of payphones. Then, from one of the payphones a man whirls around and at point blank range, blows away the child molester with a handgun. The two marshals are shocked. The gunman? The father of a boy molested by this fiend. The dad was convicted but a Louisiana judge would not give him jail time. Hence we look at a Kurando Mitsutake film, 2007's "Monsters Don't Get To Cry."
Our story begins after a school shooting in which Russ (Kyle Ingleman) kills 10 classmates and teachers. The 18 year old is then busted out of police custody by Jim (Dean Simone). Uh oh for Russ, one of his victims was Jim's daughter. Like the bloke at the airport in Baton Rouge, Jim believes the American justice system isn't mechanized to inflict justice on the creep who killed his baby girl. Our setting is an out of the way warehouse where Jim intends to interrogate and torture Russ. Jim's ready, he has a briefcase filled with saws, knives, pliers, duct-tape, etc. First...Jim wants answers. Why? Russ is an unrepentant monster and the questioning won't go the way Jim desires.
Russ may be tied up, bloodied, and undergoing horrific torture, but who is in control? Jim, unintentionally, becomes the mouse in a cat-and-mouse game. The interrogation of the monster seems to be going nowhere, but in a sense, Jim ends up interrogating himself. After all, how do you get reason from a soulless fiend? Jim's journey will be dark and headed into an abyss of torture for himself. The torture scenes will cause you to avert your eyes, but the dynamic in the room will change into something many of us will be uncomfortable with.
Just how depraved will Jim get in his search for answers...and do we blame him? Is there anything inside Russ that can provide answers we will provide us closure or satisfaction? Is this a statement of the failed US justice system, or a warning where we might be headed if we don't cling to an imperfect system? "Monsters Don't Get To Cry" is a beautiful one-act play that completely reveals two beings who might meet in Hell...and also allows us to pose some important questions to the image looking back at us in the mirror.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Naked Massacre, Richard Speck in Northern Island

Yeah, Yeah! We've heard it all before. It was said so many times that people believed it. The violence we see everyday on the television and in the streets around us just breeds more violence. Supposedly the Vietnam war bred millions of psycho killers, and to our European friends...the violence in the streets of Belfast between the IRA and anyone they came into contact with, did the same. Excuse me for yawning. In 2018, we can look at 1976's "Naked Massacre" as violent exploitation and not the tired old social commentary it was intended for.
Richard Speck broke into an apartment and mutilated and murdered (and raped one) eight student nurses. Our film purports to tell this story, moving the carnage to Belfast from Chicago. American Vietnam war vet Cain (Mathieu Carriere) is on his way home from Nam and steps off the boat in Belfast (don't ask, just go with that). Instantly he is almost killed as the IRA bombs a church. Machine-gun fights permeate the urban landscape and our soon to be psycho, Cain, is captivated by eight beautiful nurses sharing a flat. With knife in hand, Cain makes his move.
What happens next is lurid and ominous. As the angels in white sleep the invasion begins. He ties them all up and picks up on the lesbian tendencies of Christine (Christine Boisson) and Jenny (Leonora Fani). After strangling the senior nurse, the beautiful Amy (Carole Laure), Cain orders Jenny and Christine to perform sex on each other. Very humiliated, they do and Cain will reward them with a brutal knifing and another strangulation. The nurses are indeed helpless and nothing suggests they will fare well. They beg, they cede to his perverted demands, and they die. Yep, this is a hard one to watch as eight lovely nurses, all depicted as noble and heroic, will meet such an ugly fate at the hands of a psycho vet.
Defenders of this film will claim it is full of powerful social commentary...but its not. Violent exploitation is a better description. All the actresses do a fine job and we do pull for them which makes their demises very sad. Will any of the beauties in white survive? What are the odds of finding eight nurses who are all beautiful...or do only psychos have that privilege? Does this film tell us more about society or the perverseness of the people who made it? Violent and unforgiving, for hardcore horror and sexploitation fans, "Naked Massacre" is for you.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Maria's Tale, The Demise of a Web Show

A funny thing happened on the way to the insane asylum... Actually, funny isn't the word...ironic...no, horrific! Yep, the insaniacs are no longer locked up in these draconian institutions. The more crazy among us dwell among us...or if you watch slasher films, in the woods and the cabins in those woods. Hence 2018's "Maria's Tale." Again, not the feel good film of the 21st Century, and an early twist will seal a most terrifying fate for three members of a popular paranormal-web show.
Recent high-school grad Maria (Saorise Stuhr) has a web TV show called "Old New Expeditions." Her and two buddies, Mario (Zachary Chase) who is also her lover, and Jake (Joel Hair) find abandoned places to explore and document paranormal activity. Our hostess is well liked and we are told she is genuine, kind, and sincere. The web show enjoys heavy viewership. Uh oh, as the story begins we are told we are watching the last broadcast and the tone is of a eulogy. Yep...on the way to an abandoned insane asylum our trio meets up with the ultimate irony. Perhaps a maven on paranormal entities and haunted locations, Maria's judgment of the living proves to be unfortunate.
Enter George (Michael Ciesla)...who will eventually be Georgina...you'll see. He's weird, anxious, and overly friendly and domineering. George is interviewed by the trio about his knowledge of the asylum. His motives are obviously (at least to us) twisted when he invites the trio to spend the night. They accept...fools! What follows is a twisted (there's that word again) slasher film in which our trio is beset by an evil that probably would blow anything that ever happened at the asylum away. Ironically, the found footage film we believed we were watching changes in tone when it becomes...oops...no spoilers here...you'll see.
What does the twisted and anxious George have in store for the nubile beauty and her two mates? Other than George, do any other surprises and humiliation await Maria, Mario, and Jake? Is the abandoned and haunted asylum a mere metaphor for the world we live in and work in? This may look like an amateurish horror film, but remember, the web TV show it presents is done by amateurs, too. Enjoy a dark and ominous found-footage film, "Maria's Tale," directed by Robert A. Trezza and Zachary Chase.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Literature Review: Salvage

We've seen it all before, and each time we love it more. That plot where a cavernous old mansion in the moors holds an unspeakable secret. Better yet, there is a locked laboratory...or bedroom...or basement...or attic! Oh yes, a cryptic warning from the mansion's master, "Don't go near that room." Then a beautiful damsel looking like Veronica Carlson or Ingrid Pitt finds a reason to sneak into that room. Of course there will be some ungodly fiend waiting. Hence the 2018 graphic novel "Salvage." Pure scifi/horror set in space in the future, far from the Gothic settings we love so much (or is it?). My buddy Martin Greene, one of the creators crafted the story, but kudos also to Mike Lynch (script), Neil McClements and Anthony O'Neill (artwork), Nikki Foxrobot (lettering), and Aidan Courtney (sketch gallery).
With much homage to the "Alien" franchise, a survey ship, Noland, with a tired crew falls victim to exhaustion, human error, and a space storm. Now adrift in space and losing air, The captain, Arkel, is ready with desperate measures to do what he has to. Fortunately, space-babe Grace, Arkel's ensign, picks up a signal from a Titan class ship, the Ridley. The Ridley is responding to the S.O.S. call. Does anyone believe this will go well? The beset crew has little choice. Oxygen is just about gone and crewman Yuri has a serious head injury. You'll see why but Arkel has the heebie-jeebies about the Ridley. Maybe he saw "Alien."
This cavernous ex-warship will hardly be a safe haven for our beset crew. No spoilers here but some truly horrific artwork will take us through the rest of the story. Arkel's hesitation will be replaced by pure lust for Mary Celeste (those of you who know the fate of the Mary Celeste will understand this is a bad omen), the daughter of a mad scientist. The sultry Grace isn't seduced by the space-vixen Mary, thus she will go exploring and what she finds will show up in an orgy of horrific images that will chase you into nightmare-land. The Ridley will emerge as a fiendish laboratory in space where...well...you'll see.
Will our space-babes survive the unspeakable horror aboard the Ridley so they can engage in a cat-fight? Will Arkel stop thinking with his groin long enough to realize the danger he and his crew are in? Just what has the mad-scientist, who now commands the Ridley, turned this Titan warship into? Total horrific action will flood out of the pages of this graphic novel with images that will blow anything in the "Alien" franchise out of the water...or solar system, I should say. Kudos to the fine artists listed above for delivering us a graphic horror story in their graphic novel. To order "Salvage," click on the link below.
order SALVAGE on Book Depository

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Blood of Ghastly Horror, Al Adamson Epic

Two mad-scientists! Lots of beautiful damsels in much distress! Zombie creatures! A very merry Christmas season is upon us as we take a look at 1967's "Blood of Ghastly Horror" (aka "Psycho-a-Go-Go"). A complicated plot, no doubt, but unlike "Jupiter Ascending," this one is so much fun. Al Adamson fans will love this film, and his critics will term it a C film. Unlike Mila Kunis, Al Adamson actually gives us a cast we want to see, like John Carraddine as a mad doctor and Regina Carrol as a buxom damsel.
Here goes, but don't pay too much attention to t he plot description. As the film starts out a zombie murders a couple of beautiful women and three cops in an alley. Meanwhile a trio of misogynist thieves rip off a jewel store. The getaway goes bad and Joe (Roy Morton) kills a fellow thief and a beautiful secretary. The jewels get misplaced onto the pick-uo truck of schmuck of a construction worker. Oh yes, Joe used to be a good guy until a brain injury left him in the care of Dr. Vanard (Carradine), who put an electronic device into his skull to re-animate dead brain tissue. All of us who have tried this at home could have told Vanard this wasn't going to work. Now Joe is an evil thug bent on knifing and raping beautiful women.
Okay, Joe tries to get his jewels back which results in him kidnapping a beautiful nightclub singer, Linda (Tacey Robbins). Joe's dad, Dr. Corey (Kent Taylor) is also a mad-scientist and seeks revenge against Vanard for turning his son into a psycho.  Dr. Corey is into voodoo, and has created a homicidal zombie to strangle anyone involved with Vanard's experiments. Susan (Regina Carrol) picks a disastrous time to return to town, and now Corey's fiend is sent to collect her. The sultry Susan is now slated to be turned into a fiendish zombie herself. Okay, that's enough...you get the picture.
Will the buxom Susan escape the vengeance of mad-scientist Corey? Will the beautiful Linda escape the evil desires of the homicidal Roy? Will the two mad-scientists end up in the ring for a fight to the death match? Enjoyable and fun, "Blood of Ghastly Horror" will warm your souls this holiday season. For fans of Al Adamson, this may not be a must-see, but its close. In fact, you know this is a winner when IMDB rates it a 2.1/10.