Monday, March 27, 2017

The Pit, Homicidal Adolescent

No matter how uncomfortable and taboo this film is, the ending is classic.  Yeah, it goes places where polite people don't like their films to go, but hey...if there is bloody carnage involved, we can forgive the film-makers.  Nudity, gore, and child-murder through the eyes of an adolescent 12 year old boy. Today we look at 1981's "The Pit" directed by Lew Lehman.
Jamie (Sammy Snyders), an awkward 12 year old is coming to grips with his sexuality.  In school he is frequently punished for his stash of nude girly photos.  He has a sultry mother (Laura Press) who is sexually molesting him.  As his parents leave for Seattle, they find a babysitter to stay with him...the nubile and bubbly Sandy (Jeannie Ellis). Jamie immediately falls into lustful love with Sandy and never misses a chance to see her nude in the shower or in bed.  Uh oh...Jamie has a Teddy Bear that goads him to doing some weird things.  Double uh oh, Jamie finds a pit in the woods with four monsters in it.
With no friends, Jamie befriends these creature.  He begins feeding them, first candy bars, then raw meat from the butcher shop, then folks who antagonize him.  He will feed them a little girl, and old woman in a wheel chair, then Sandy's beau, and more.  As Sandy refuses Jamie's advances we wonder if she will be fed to the creatures. Empowered, Jamie, with assistance from his bear, starts peeking in windows at nude women.  Are the creatures a mere metaphor for Jamie's raging hormones? As Sandy turns into a damsel in great distress, and perhaps a menu item, Jamie's homicidal tendencies increase, and the creatures get fatter.
Perhaps this film needs to be attached to modern day anti-bullying campaigns. Instead of an ineffective emoji on our smart phones, bullies can be told they will be eaten by monsters.  In any case, this film is not for everyone, and won't be discussed in polite company, but fans of this blog will have a certain affection for it.  Oh yes...the'll love it...see "The Pit."

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Urge to Kill, Gratuitous Sex and Horror

A dominatrix, a submissive, and BDSM! Gratuitous shower scenes!  Gratuitous nudity!  Gratuitous hot-tub scenes! Threesomes!  Foursomes! Wild and gratuitous cat-fights! Mud wrestling! Okay, the acting is pretty bad, but does that even matter?  Today we take a look at 1989's "The Urge to Kill" (aka "Attack of the Killer Computer").
Bono Zorro (Peter Gordeno) is a seedy record producer with deviant sexual desires.  When Melanie (Sally Ann Balaam) struts into his studio one night to share her demo tape, he brings her home for some kinky pre-marital sex.  Oh yes, Bono shares his apartment with his computer SEXY, which controls the entire place, from plumbing to electricity.  Bono tries to get his GF Jane (Sarah Hope Walker) over for a threesome...and guess what...Sarah is up for it.  In the meantime, Melanie calls her stunning lesbian lover (Maria Harper) over, also for a threesome . With Bono out for a minuter, the two sexy lesbians get it on and SEXY goes to work.  Melanie will die in the shower when SEXY fixes the shower head to shoot out acid, and her lover gets lasered to death on a tanning bed.
When Jane and Bono return the gals are nowhere to be seen.  Disappointed, Jane calls her two pals, the dominatrix Tiga (Tiga Adams) and her submissive Susan (Joanna Breck) for a foursome.  The two leather clad BDSM gals arrive and hot-tubs and sex take over the plot for awhile.  These two will meet similar fates, leaving Bono and Jane to try to survive against a jealous SEXY.  STOP!!!  That's get the picture.  Psycho computer, gory deaths and deviant sex.
Will either Jane and Bono survive?  Given that Jane is Bono's #1 GF, does SEXY have an especially excruciating death planned for her? Is the misogyny in "The Urge to Kill" symbolic of Silicon Valley's sexism and disrespect for women as embodied in their newest computer technology? Or, is "The Urge to Kill" an orgasmic fantasy of the BDSM culture?  This is a sordid and wild one, and the prettier the gal, the more horrible the death.  I know you all will be repulsed by this film, but if you are curious...check "The Urge to Kill" on YouTube.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Most Dangerous Game, Not Quite King Kong

Almost "King Kong, which would premier in 1933, but 1932's "The Most Dangerous Game," one might say, birthed the classic gorilla flick.  Like "King Kong," this film stars Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong.  Both these films had David O. Selznick, Merian Cooper, and Ernest Schoedsack involved in the making and production.  Also, like "King Kong," this film has also been re-made, but even more frequently than the gorilla epic.  In fact, readers of this blog may find the plot of today's feature a bit familiar.  Both Turkey Shoot and Awaken , which have been reviewed on this blog, are terrific rip-offs of "The Most Dangerous Game."
Bob (Joel McCrea), a big game hunter, is the only survivor of a shipwreck.  The wreck was no accident. The evil and eccentric Count Zaroff (Leslie Banks) lures ships into a coral reef near his island, with the intention of sinking them.  Survivors who make it to his island are welcomed into his castle, treated with much hospitality, and then set loose for the Count to hunt.  Bob arrives and meets some earlier castaways including the lovely Eve (Wray) and her brother Martin (Armstrong). Eve warns Bob that the other survivors were taken out hunting by the Count and never returned.
You guessed it, the Count is bored with animals and now seeks the most dangerous! As Eve and Bob snoop around, looking for Martin, they find the Count's trophy room and the severed heads of his human kills.  The game is on, our evil host sets the two budding lovebirds loose on the island for a hunt no one has ever survived.  But wait!  Bob is no ordinary prey.  He is an expert hunter himself, and instead of behaving like prey, he and Eve will also turn hunter.
Faye Wray is stunning and will be wet a lot as her clothes are gradually torn to shreds...not that we care about this.  For 1932, this film is very gory, showing a graphic shipwreck with sharks eating passengers, and also the aforementioned severed heads.  Will Bob and Eve have a chance to cultivate their love?  Will Count Zaroff be fair in his hunting methods? If she survives the hunt, will Eve emerge as the diminutive wallflower she was before the hunt?  Treat yourself to one of the most re-made films in cinematic history, catch "The Most Dangerous Game" on YouTube.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dark Age, Another Aussie Killer Croc Film

One might argue that 1987's "Dark Age" is merely another Australian crocodile film, which offers nothing new.  That would be unfair.  Yeah, I do admit that much of this film may be interpreted as a cheap rip-off of "Jaws."  Entire scenes seem to be lifted out of Spielberg's expensive rip-off of "Moby Dick."  However...would you rather see a gratuitous rip-off of "Jaws" or a rip-off of "Silkwood"?  For horror fans, "Dark Age" is an interesting film which inspired many plot devices in those made-for-Syfy films.
Okay, a 25 foot Australian saltwater crocodile starts eating everyone...including a cute little aboriginal boy. An evil monster to some, but to a wise old Aborigine, Oondabund (Burnham Burnham), it is a deity.  In fact Oondabund has some sort of psychic connection to the thing.  Enter a park ranger, Steve (John Jarratt). He is in charge of monitoring the croc population and is real stupid. He will have lots of numb-skull ideas.  Also enter the beautiful anthropologist, Cathy (Nikki Coghill). She is Steve's GF and always reminds him how stupid he is and how awful he is. The chemistry between Steve and Cathy will remind you of the Diet Coke and Mento experiment. They have lots of passionate pre-marital sex, and afterwards, instead of a cigarette, she yaps to him about how he mistreats her and never wanted commitment.  We can only hope she becomes gator bait!
As tourist dollars are jeopardized, Steve and Oondabund hatch a really stupid idea...and ironically...Cathy likes it.  This will entail capturing the monster alive with tranquilizer darts.  Yeah...tranquilizer darts always work out well in these films...almost as good as Ouija boards. The croc will eat more Aussies and eventually a small reward sends every gun-toting, beer guzzling Aussie after the thing.  As the idiot Steve and his aborigine pals set out on their plan, some local-yokels grab axes, shotguns, and harpoons and follow.
Will Cathy get eaten?  Is the monster croc really a god?  Are anthropologists all hot, or is this a sexist plot device put out by B horror film makers for exploitative purposes?  Directed by Arch Nicholson, "Dark Age" has lots of kills, which we usually cheer at.  Not a masterpiece, but still better than any Meryl Streep film.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Frankenstein's Island, Bikini Babes vs. Frankenstein

All well respected literary journals agree that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was a near miss on being considered a great classic.  the Oxford Review of Literature quotes, "...perhaps a more drastic plot device to anchor this story to the sublime. Bikini clad Amazon women, for example, is just what Shelley's story thirsts for."  So in 1981, "Frankenstein's Island" was released in order to fill out Shelley's horror story and perhaps convert it into a timeless classic.  After all, is there any film plot in which very alluring bikini clad women, who run and jump a lot, will not enhance?
So here we go!  Four guys, riding a hot air balloon (don't ask) are blown off course. They land on a mysterious island occupied by babes wearing leopard skin bikinis.  They run around, dance, jump up and down, and charm snakes.  The four guys immediately befriend their potential mates.  But wait!  Mutant goons emerge and hunt down the girls.  The girls are brought back to a secret lab run by Dr. Frankenstein's granddaughter, Sheila (Katherine Victor).  Oh yes, a crew of sailors, captained by Clay (Cameron Mitchell) are also discovered.  Sheila keeps Clay alive as his blood is needed for transfusions.
The bikini babes dance and run some more, and we learn Sheila is in touch with Dr. Frankenstein's spirit in order to channel life itself and to cure death...or something like that.  As mutants grab more of the bikini clad babes, the lovelies team up with our balloonists, grab a big machine gun, and attempt a rescue and destroy mission on Sheila's lab.  In preparation for this, the bikini babes dance and jump around some more.  As the final battle approaches, guess who appears from a cave?  Yep, the Frankenstein creature himself.  I stop here, but is there really any more one needs in a plot?
Will the nubile bikini babes prevail against the creature, Sheila, and the mutants?  Will we be treated to any cat-fights among the bikini clad babes?  Gratuitous and exploitative, "Frankenstein's Island" is highly praised in the halls of the Oxford Review of Literature."  A guilty pleasure indeed, however, Mary Shelley would have been well pleased.  

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Slaughter of the Vampires, The Romance of the Vampire Tale

From Italy, we have a vampire tale which will appeal to fans of romance novels.  1964's "The Slaughter of the Vampires"  (aka "Curse of the Blood Ghouls") is equipped with flowery language, a big castle, a waltz in the ballroom, and a hunk prince-type fawning all over the vulnerable, buxom lady dressed in white gowns.  Don't fret guys, this film has a really attractive leading woman, lots of vulnerable cleavage action, and some vampires. Directed by Roberto Mauri, probably for the benefit of his wife or GF, let us take a look a neat Gothic horror tale.
As our tale begins, a vampire (Dieter Eppler) and his babe vampire wife are fleeing angry townsfolk. The vampire gets away, but his wife is skewered with a dozen pitchforks.  He gets out of Dodge and finds himself back at his old castle where he sets up his coffin in the cellar.  Times change, and so do real estate deeds, as Wolfgang (Walter Brandi) and his buxom wife Louise (Graziella Granata) have moved in.  On their first night they throw a formal ball and all the ladies are dressed in ornate ball gowns.  Our vampire awakens and wanders upstairs and is immediately captivated by Louise's, beauty.
Game on, he puts Louise under his spell and bites her in her bedroom.  She'll become his vampire bride.  Wolfgang, clueless that he is, needs help.  He fetches Dr. Nietzsche (Luigi Batzella) from Vienna.  Yep, nothing new here for the good doctor.  He knows exactly what they're dealing with, and begins a war against the vampire.  He better hurry as everyone in the estate is in danger of being bitten, from the beautiful governess to the groundskeeper's little daughter. The hungry fiend, and his new bride set their sights, or fangs, on anything that moves....and has cleavage.
Gothic and melodramatic, this is still an enjoyable film during moon-lit evenings.  The women, living and undead, are stunning, and the men who protect them are handsome and over matched. Available on YouTube, if you guys want your GF or wife to watch a horror film with you, try "The Slaughter of the Vampires."

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hell High, Revenge of the Homicidal Educator

Teachers aren't paid enough.  We trust them with our most precious asset, and still ridiculous athletes make hundreds of times more money than them.  How can we blame these heroic educators if they go a little crazy sometimes?  In 1989's "Hell High," we meet a biology teacher who goes a little crazy. Warning, this is a weird and awkward film, but the last 30 minutes are worth waiting for.
As a little girl, cute Brooke accidentally murders two nymphomaniac teens (who among us hasn't had similar indiscretions in our youth?).  In fact, the two lovebirds end up impaled on lots of rusty spikes.  18 years later, Brooke (Maureen Mooney) is a high school science teacher.  Even better, no one knows she skewered two unfortunates years ago. Unstable, Brooke is harassed by a quartet of sadistic teens.  Dickens (Christopher Stryker) is the leader of the gang, and he's a weird one.  Queenie (Millie Prezioso) is the lone female in the group, and quite the tease.  Jon Jon (Christopher Cousins) is an ex- jock who has been adopted by the weirdos.  Smiler (Jason Brill) is the fat, obnoxious idiot that rounds out this team.
Our quartet decides to follow Brooke home one day and pull an awful prank on her.  These antics get out of hand and Brooke will be sexually assaulted by both Dickens and Queenie. guessed it...she snaps.  Thinking Brooke's dead, our juveniles let their guard down.  Bad move.  The previous unstable, and now psycho teacher, clad in lingerie, embarks on a most gory path of revenge.  Lots of gore will follow as impalement and crushed skulls will rule the last few minutes of this film. Warning, psycho Brooke will consult Gray's Anatomy as she inflicts carnage on one of the fiends.
Is "Hell High" good therapy for millions of teachers who must put up with the abuse of society's little darlings?  Is Brooke's treatment of four of her students a metaphor for America's education system relying too heavily on the standardized Standards of Learning tests?  Okay, that one is a reach.  Feel free to fast forward to the final 30 minutes of this film for some squeamish fun.