Monday, October 22, 2018

The Comeback, Composing and Decomposing

However lovely one may be in life, death changes a lot. As the heart ceases beating, decomposing moves in. Holly Palance is a lovely actress and her hanging death in "The Omen" still gives us the shivers. In 1978's "The Comeback" she'll appear as a glamorous and sultry woman...at least for a few minutes. Then as she is chopped up into pieces, her beauty flees...the flies come...the maggots arrive...decomposition commences...and presumably her friends bolt. When the sweet aroma of Chanel Number 5 gives way to the stench of rotting meat, men may not come around as often.
Gail (Palance) arrives at her penthouse apartment in London in order to claim her belongings. She and her hubby Nick (Jack Jones) have divorced. Though heartbroken, she still looks stunning...until a fiend with a sickle chops her up in most gory fashion. She'll go undiscovered in the penthouse and decomposition will begin immediately. Nick on the other hand, now that he is divorced, decides to revive his singing career. After a six year absence, his agent Webster (David Doyle) is eager for Nick to cut another album. Webster finds a secluded country estate where Nick can work without being disturbed.
Lucky Nick! The beautiful blonde Linda (Pamela Stephenson) is assigned to him as an assistant. The two will have a lot of sexual intercourse together...in bed...in her car...or wherever they damn please. Uh oh...Nick hears moans, groans, and screams in the middle of the night. No one else does. The caretakers (Bill Owen and Sheila Keith) of the estate are weird but swear they don't hear noises. Oh yes...Webster...well...you'll see. As the noises continue, Nick also sees a rotting corpse of a woman with maggots coming out of her mouth. He doesn't realize this is Gail as he believes his ex-wife is still alive. As Nick's sanity is questioned, and as Gail continues to decompose, and as Nick tries to compose, the nubile Linda may be in horrific peril.
Is Gail's ghost trying to warn Nick about danger, or upset he is having carnal relations with Linda without the benefit of clergy? Could Nick really be insane...and did he kill Gail?  Is Linda headed for a similar fate as Gail suffered? Directed by Pete Walker, this is a well acted mystery/thriller with some very gory plot devices. For some pure 1970s fun, and maybe Pamela Stephenson's best film, enjoy "The Comeback."

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Sasquatch Mountain, Bigfoot vs. Miss Korea

Oh, to be Bigfoot. Wander around a lonely forest looking for D.B. Cooper's loot and some nuts and berries...what an existence. Maybe scare a few campers occasionally...that would be fun. Growl, pick ticks out of your fur...a simple and enigmatic life. Then one day, while minding your own business, a babe from the Miss World Pageant, Miss Korea...to be exact, charges at you screaming like a banshee...do you decapitate her or perhaps mate with her? For the answer to that conundrum, you will have to watch 2006's "Sasquatch Mountain," starring Lance Henriksen, Cerina Vincent...and former Miss Korea Karen Kim.
Five schmuck bank robbers led by Travis (Craig Wasson) hit a bank, kill a cop. During the getaway they are blindsided by a car driven by the lovely Erin (Cerina Vincent). Now Erin is a hostage as the six flee into the woods. Kayla (Kim), a beautiful bank-robber,  is ticked at Erin and pummels her. Uh oh...the cops show up and after an elongated gunfight chase the bad guys into the woods. These woods are home to Bigfoot and he is not happy about the intrusion. Here comes Chase (Henriksen). He joins the sheriff's posse because he saw Bigfoot many years ago and no one believed him.
One by one, Bigfoot picks off the cops and robbers. Erin and Miss Korea keep antagonizing each other. After a few kills, Bigfoot traps the crew in a cabin with a decomposing corpse inside. Miss Korea and Erin trade insults and promise a great cat-fight. Uh oh...Bigfoot has something planned and appears to be toying with these schmucks. Oh yes...Erin and Miss Korea continue to hiss at each other. As Bigfoot moves in for the kill, some yell and scream...some run...and Miss Korea...well let us just say that we have to give her a lot of credit for her efforts when confronted with a nine-foot tall hairy monster.
Will Miss Korea and Erin ever get into that knockdown drag-out cat-fight promised throughout this film? Will Miss Korea's passionate charge against Sasquatch produce surprising results? Will Lance Henriksen end up with either of the beauties (I speak of Erin or Miss Korea...not Bigfoot)? Also called "Devil on the Mountain," fans of the Miss World Pageant will find "Sasquatch Mountain" quite worthwhile.

Friday, October 19, 2018

POP, Vanity and Horror

What happens when the L.A. body image culture meets 1970s sexploitation? Nirvana...at least as far as this blog goes. Beautiful women and tentacled creatures converge in what is bound to satisfy the fetishes of every businessman in Tokyo (if you have to ask...never mind). "POP" will premier on Amazon Prime Video on October 19th and will have you moaning in disgust and revulsion (in a good way for you horror fans) as what unfolds on the silver screen will be nightmarish and in some sense, familiar.
Renee (Chloe Farnworth) is a stoned slacker who can manipulate a bong with ease. She's beautiful...actually, she would be beautiful if it wasn't for her disgusting zits. As the film progresses, the zits on her face get more disgusting (there is that word again). We get to watch her try to pop them. Despite her zits, the otherwise sultry blonde has a collection of boy toys for a hefty supply of pre-marital sex and illegal drug use.
Vanity is a main topic of conversation with Renee and her main GF Heather (Kasia Szarek). Heather calls attention to her complexion and Renee fires back with reference to Heather's anorexia. Something deeper than a blackhead is happening here. The physical imperfections are minor as compared to the  empty and hopeless existences lives these ladies are leading and their impending futures. No depth...no compassion...no love for anything meaningful, the zits are quite symbolic of Renee's plight. Even a fix of this problem would still leave Renee...well...in a bad place. Then it happens. A cure? What if the cure leads to horrors unimaginable. In an H.P. Lovecraft type of scenario, a monstrous and disgusting (am I getting superfluous?) reveal awaits.
Comedic, biting irony, and horrific scenes make this 15 minute horror short a brilliant commentary on a culture so focused on appearance, and void of humanity. Ms. Farnworth is spectacular as she must be hideous and sultry in the same film. Kudos to director and writer J. Spencer, as he masterfully blends the comedy, horror, and social commentary into a 15 minute short. "POP" is a great fable on a growing American subculture and should be heeded as a warning to where our civilization could end up if we eschew compassion and humanity.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

So Sad About Gloria, Loonies and Romance

We live in an enlightened time. Total whack-balls used to be put in mental asylums. Not anymore. Today we drug them, make them promise to keep taking their psycho-tropic drugs, and send them to your neighborhoods. Back then we locked them in cells, sometime in straight jackets. Today we set them up next door to you. They go to church with you...the supermarket with you...they babysit your children...and even teach them in school. Back then, their confinement kept us all safe. Today, we are still safe until they decide to stop taking their meds...which they will decide...then God help you as they reach for an axe or a chainsaw. Hence 1975's "So Sad About Gloria."
The very beautiful...but quite insane...Gloria (Lori Saunders) has just been released from a mental hospital. This is always a good idea. She still has visions of an axe-man trying to break open a coffin...but other than that...well, you know. Upon release she goes to live with her Uncle Rick (Dean Jagger), as her dad's violent death was what sent her into insanity. Their loaded, actually she's loaded. Uncle Rick lives in the family mansion but all the money is hers...unless something happens to her. What could happen to her? Her doctor has warned Uncle Rick that she is to be kept free from any stress or scares.
As she rides her horse she meets the weird but handsome Chris (Robert Ginnaven). He sweeps her off her feet. Oh yeah, nearby, a sultry brunette (Brenda Evans) is axed to pieces in her bedroom. This murder will go unsolved. As decent as Chris appears, after he marries Gloria he moves them into the same house the aforementioned lovely was chopped up. This unsettles her and eventually she will hear strange noises and her visions and dreams of the axe-man trying to open a coffin increase. As Gloria begins to lose it again, axe-men seem to come out of the woodwork. Unstable, vulnerable, and very wealthy, Gloria seems defenseless against any axe-man or evil-doer that may prey on her.
Is Gloria still insane and if so, is she criminally insane? Is the handsome and smooth Chris after more than the love of the beautiful Gloria? May the diminutive beauty, herself, be the axe-wielding maniac? Veteran horror fans may find this one predictable and slow, though the ending is terrific. Still, at very least, "So Sad About Gloria" may be a decades old warning about the virtue of mental asylums. Remember, in 2018, one in three human beings is total-nutsoid...good luck trying to figure out who those one-third are before they manifest their insanity.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Slayer, The Perils of Sleeping and Fishing Hooks

I know what all of you are thirsting for. Yep, that perfect movie which combines elements of the classic "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" with the 1984 slasher classic The Mutilator . After all, how many of us have fallen asleep and had nightmares about fishing hooks and creepy fishing shacks. Yep...ranks right up there with dreaming about going to high school wearing pajamas. Hence today we delve into 1982's "The Slayer."
Kay (Sarah Kendall, a cross between Sigourney Weaver and Amy Irving), a surrealist painter, has nightmares. This will be tragic news for her friends. Her beau David (Alan McRae, who's mere looks annoy us and we hope he will die horribly) and she will join her brother Eric (Frederick Flynn) and his wife Brooke (Carol Kottenbrook) on an island getaway. When we first see Brooke, it is during a gratuitous shower scene...can you guess her fate? Kay is uneasy as she dreams that bad things will happen to all of them during this excursion...and of course, that she has been there before.
They will be the only four on the island, apparently, and are warned by a creepy pilot (Michael Holmes) that nothing good happens at this island. Like an answer to prayer, David gets his head squeezed off by a trapdoor in a creepy fishing shack. As the others look for David, Kay tells them that he is dead...she dreamed it. Kay is convinced that if she falls asleep again, they will all die horribly. Annoyed at his weird sister, Eric spikes her coffee with sleeping pills and Kay is out like a mangy old dog. A storm hits, and the beautiful Brooke and Eric split up to look for David and more flares. The best pitchfork murder in the history of slasher films and a very ironic fishhook scene await.
Will Kay ever awake? If she does, will whatever is terrorizing the island set its sights on her? If she survives, now with no boyfriend, will Kay begin painting lighthouses and fruit bowls instead of her horrific paintings that no sane person would buy? The kills are quite gory and the end is kind of neat. For some classic 1980s slasher fare, treat yourself to "The Slayer," filmed at Tybee Island, Georgia.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Bell From Hell, An Insaniac's Revenge

Weird, twisted and creepy! Just the way we like it. Add perverted and unsettling and we have a gem from Spain, 1973's "Bell From Hell" (aka "The Bells"). A standard revenge plot, perhaps, but this one is moved along with strange scene after strange scene. We realize that we are in for a unsettling experience when John (Renaud Verley) explains why he is leaving his job at the slaughterhouse, "I've learned everything I need to know." For what? Oh come on, you can guess.
John is released from the psychiatric hospital on a sort of probation (...this always works out well). Was he really insane, or did his Aunt Marta (Viveca Lindfors) merely want to steal his inheritance? The point is John feels the need for revenge and after getting practice at the slaughterhouse, he heads back to see Aunt Marta and his three lovely cousins, Esther (Maribel Martin), Teresa (Nuria Gemeno), and Maria (Christina von Blanc). He also amasses quite a collection of invasive surgical tools for future use. John has a plan, and his experience at the slaughterhouse and the surgical tools are integral parts of it. The three cousins are no pure flowers, as each of them, including underage Esther, desires taboo sex with him. I will skip the gang rape and the man at the urinal scene, but those scenes drive home this film's effort to make us feel uncomfortable.
The time to enact the plan has come and rape, humiliation, and bees will kick it off...a lot of bees, I should say. Uh oh for John...his Aunt Marta isn't as helpless as her advanced age and wheelchair may suggest. As the three nubile lasses are readied for a most violent and gruesome fate, Aunt Marta's plan is also put into action. Let me not forget to mention the bell. A new bell is being delivered to the town's church and this thing will figure prominent in the end of the film. In fact, director Claudio Guerin, while filming the last scene of this film, was killed when he fell off the church's bell tower...really, I'm not making this up. No spoilers here, but Mr. Guerin's demise was a lot less painful than what John has planned for his aunt and three cousins, or what Aunt Marta has planned for him.
Who will win, or will there be no survivors? Is John insane or are his plans for bloody revenge completely justified?  This one will have you squirming especially when you realize the slaughterhouse scenes will be replayed with the three nubile lasses. For weird Euro-horror, enjoy "Bell From Hell" from Spain.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Fractured, Young Lovers in Distress

It can be difficult to watch. We meet a very pretty young lady and a handsome young man in a horror film. As much as we like them and want them to live happily ever after, we remember this is a horror film and there is still 70 minutes left until the end credits. What could go wrong? Everything! Beset by a horrific force, we cringe as these great looking lovers encounter much peril. Or...have our eyes deceived us? Yep, this is one you will want to pay close attention to.
The aforementioned couple, Rebecca (April Pearson) and Michael (Karl Davies). As they drive on a dark night we get to know them pretty good. Passionate and intense we can see this duo engage in pre-marital sex or antagonize each other into a lover's spat. This night...passionate sex awaits them as they reach this vacation estate in the country. Both are a bit on edge as the evening has contained some slightly weird and unsettling episodes. But wait! They may not be alone. As the sex goes from sweet to slightly more deviant, something or someone in the house may be stalking them.
Despite a flurry of romance and pre-marital sex, both Michael and Rebecca are spooked. Now on edge, more indications suggest something ominous is in the house. A noise here, a noise there, a bloody hand print over there.... Then all hell breaks loose...and that's all for the plot. What happens to Rebecca and Michael is nothing as compared to what will happen to you. Jamie Patterson takes us on a ride which will be rocky and shocking. He'll teach you to be wary of trusting what you see. Not all is as it seems, and yes, it can always get worse. 
Will Rebecca and Michael survive the night and unknown torment? What is in the house and is it hunting them? Wait...how about Alva (Louisa Lytton) and Freyr (Jordan Metcalfe)...why hasn't this review mentioned those two characters? This is a fun and shocking horror story that may also be a twisted love story. For a horrific ordeal with great acting that will take you on quite a journey, enjoy Jamie Patterson's "Fractured." To view the trailer of this film, click on the below link.
Fractured trailer