Thursday, March 22, 2018

Axe to Grind, From Scream Queen to Slasher

Ah, the evolution of a scream queen.  Nude, vulnerable, afraid, and on the run...the scream queen has served the slasher genre so well. Often times they are axed, torn in half, tortured, humiliated, knifed, stripped of their clothes, burned, decapitated, impregnated by monsters, gutted, etc. Many times they are the lone survivor and quite capable of offing a monstrous killer. The actresses who portray them have served horror films with honor and good humor. Debbie Rochon is one such actress.  Beautiful and quite capable of being the victim or the final girl. As the years have gone by, Ms. Rochon is beautiful as ever, and now takes her turn...not as a victim...but as the fiendish slasher. Today we look at 2015's "Axe to Grind."
Debbie (Rochon) was a hot commodity in B (...or C) horror films. She hitched on with a producer, Peter (Matt Gulbranson) who fed her roles and fame. Debbie got a little older, and before she knew it Peter threw her out. Peter's preferences are 20 year old skank actresses. Wanting to rekindle her glory days Debbie returns to see Peter. After axing his new GF (Tawny Amber Young) to pieces, she enacts an evil plan. With Peter bound and gagged, Debbie hijacks his newest slasher film, "The Bayou Butcher." By the way, I'm not even mentioning the blood soaked and taboo backstory attached to this plot...but it is so good.
Debbie arrives at the abandoned insane asylum and meets the cast. Convinced that the three young actresses have bedded her man, Debbie intends to chop them to little pieces.  The voices in Debbie's head then guide her to bloody carnage.  The very sultry actresses will start dying horribly. Nikki (the very lovely Dani Thompson) will engage in a gratuitous cat-fight with Debbie and it will not end favorably for the full figured actress. More  gratuitous cat-fights will occur, but Debbie brings an axe to the fingernail and hair pulling contest. Debbie doesn't just want to kill these beauties, she wants to torture them and make them scream. Uh oh...Debbie might have help.  The voices in her head are quite persuasive, but is there another force inside the asylum eating up all this axe carnage? Delilah (Paula Labaredas) seems to be Peter's current skank...and it looks like Debbie has something special planned for her.
Will any of our scream queens survive Debbie's wrath? Will the silicon implants fly as freely as limbs and heads? Has Debbie ruined her chances of rekindling romance with Peter? Everything about this film is gratuitous and we can classify it as horror sexploitation. Yep, "Axe to Grind" would have been right at home in Italy in the 1970s. You know those films, the more beautiful, the gorier the death type film. Kudos to all the actresses, they will meet tortuous and horrible fates here, but they all play their parts to perfection.  Directed by Matt Zettell, "Axe to Grind" is a lot of fun.


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Crater Lake Monster, Land of the Lost at the Drive-In

Everything about this film is underwhelming. Actually, the dinosaur effects are pretty fun, but as far as drive-in fare, audiences were very disappointed. 1977's "The Crater Lake Monster" no doubt appeared at drive-in theaters all around the country with some entertaining films which contained gore and nudity. Roger Corman could have done wonders with this story, but instead we have an effort which would only appeal to fans of the 1974-76 TV show "Land of the Lost." So...if you, as a boy of course, had a crush on Holly (Kathy Coleman), you would have enjoyed this dinosaur epic.
A meteor crashes into an Oregon lake unleashing a plesiasaur...or is it a platapusosaur...or a pladisodon...doesn't matter...big dinosaur. It starts eating people right away. We meet Sheriff Steve soon after. He finds his way to a cafe where a buxom, mini-skirted waitress (Susy Claycomb) serves him coffee.  If this was a Roger Corman film, this waitress would have found her way to the lake, engaged in pre-marital sex with her boyfriend, the dinosaur would have arrived, eaten her boyfriend, and impregnated the nubile coffee server. Alas, this isn't a Roger Corman film and we will never see the sultry server again.
As the monster eats cattle and an assorted variety of schmucks, Steve teams up with two scientists, Dan (Richard Garrison) and the pretty Susan (Kacey Cobb). Susan will also not be impregnated by the beast. As they look for the thing, the alcoholic-magician Ross (Michael F. Hoover) and his sultry wife Paula (Suzanne Lewis) arrive in town. Ross, in a moment of sobriety will fight off the thing with fire and Paula won't be impregnated by the thing.  Now on the offensive, Sheriff Steve rounds up a mentally challenged posse to either kill it, or as the scientists desire, capture it an study it (...this always go so well).
Will the crater lake fiend find love in Oregon? Will any of the nubile babes in this film do anything remotely interesting? Could this film have been juiced up with slestaks added in a plot device? Not all is lost here, as the creature effects are a lot of fun, and we do find ourselves cheering for the pre-historic antagonist.  Directed by William R. Stromberg, "The Crater Lake Monster" is cheesy fun, in a MST3K type of way.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Outpost 11, The Thing Does Steampunk

"Ahhhh! Spiders! Get 'em off of me! GET THEM OFF OF ME! Please!" The rantings of a lunatic. One can seem so normal one moment, then poof! Apparent insanity reduces some to driveling madmen clawing at imaginary insects. This can happen to the best of us. It is futile to try to convince the future mental patient that there are no spiders on him, but heavy duty drugs can be administered. Isolation and paranoia can bring this madness on...or perhaps an acute connection to a reality that no one else sees. For all we know, the spiders are really there. Hence 2013's "Outpost 11," directed by Anthony Woodley.
In an Antarctic listening post three soldiers listen for radio signals during England's war with the 1950s? Yep, this is an alternate reality...or alternate history I should say. They seem cut off from merry old England and any other semblance of civilization. Their post is powered by a mysterious steam machine which occasionally develops a squid-like parasite. Mason (Luke Healy) is in command and his temperament seems sane and measured. Albert (Joshua Mayes-Cooper) is the young soldier who is not cut out for war. Then there's Graham (Billy Clarke). A lifelong soldier who only knows war, and realizes that much has passed him by. The strangeness begins immediately. A rabbit blows up, the alert light is set off, and spiders seem to make their way into this lonely outpost.
After a cryptic message is received, the isolation and paranoia are joined by mystery and dread.
A suggestion that an attack is imminent, or that the war has been lost, sets off Graham. His hallucinations (...or are they hallucinations?) convince him that Albert is a spy for the spiders. Mason goes to investigate a neighboring outpost only to find insane carnage. Meanwhile, the ominous steam powered energy machine looks as though it has ominous plans for its three human subjects.  As Graham's insanity increases and Albert's cowardice does the same, Mason's discoveries will be quite horrific.
Exactly what does a spider invasion have to do with the Engilsh-Russian War of 1950? What is cooking inside the ominous steam reactor in the outpost basement? Will any of these three chaps escape with their sanity in place? At very least, the props in this film could inspire some neat jewelry designs for Goths, but fans of David Lynch films (like "Eraserhead") will find more to grab onto than that. Deep, dark, and open to much interpretation, enjoy the very creepy and unsettling "Outpost 11."

Friday, March 16, 2018

Ozark Sharks, Syfy Does Family Ties

The best shark movies have all taken place in Arkansas. Who can forget the 2015 classic Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre ? Leave it to the Syfy Channel to capitalize on this, which brings us to today's feature...2016's "Ozark Sharks." Perhaps a thinly veiled metaphor of the horrors the Clinton family unleashed on this nation, or a demented retelling of the hit TV show "Family Ties," this film fills a need for all of us. Heartwarming and exploitative, "Ozark Sharks" (directed by Misty Talley) may be a great alternative to any Herman Melville fish story.
While playing in an Arkansas lake, some great looking college babes and hunks are pureed by a shark. Dawn (Ashton Leigh), an impressive bikini babe, is the only survivor.  Enter a Colorado family. They arrive in the Ozarks with grandma to enjoy a family vacation. As teen age daughter Molly (Allisyn Ashley Arm) takes grandma to the lake, brother Harrison (Dave Davis) and Molly's BF Curtis (Ross Britz) visit the bait shop. In a scene that will warm all of our hearts, Grandma is eaten by a man-eater in a foot of water. Only in mild shock...well, maybe not in shock at all, Molly races to the bait shop to inform her brother that Grandma is no more. Jones (Thomas Francis Murphy), the bait shop owner is pumped. This guy has been preparing for the zombie apocalypse and is eager to go shark hunting.
The siblings realize their mom and dad are out on the lake fishing and desperately try to find them. Along the way, Harrison rescues bikini babe Dawn, and Jones takes arms Curtis and Molly for a war against killer fish. Apparently six sharks have moved into these lakes in the Ozarks. More bikini babes will be eaten, so will a fisherman and some assorted schmucks. Now heavily armed, and with the sultry Dawn on the team, the ticked off family sets out on their rescue and destroy mission. The war will have its casualties and be quite explosive.
Will our siblings in peril defeat the horde of man-eaters? Will the sultry Dawn survive or meet the same fate as dozens of other bikini babes in this film? Is "Ozark Sharks" merely a cheap exploitation flick showcasing scantily clad bikini babes in much peril, or a serious man versus nature film? Not that there is anything wrong with exploitation film highlighting bikini babes...after all, if we want serious man versus nature stuff we could watch reruns of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. For sheer Syfy Channel fun, enjoy "Ozark Sharks."

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Strip Nude for Your Killer, and Everyone Else

Strip nude for your killer, for your heterosexual lover, for your lesbian lover, for your bosses husband, for your boss, and anyone else who wanders onto the camera. Hence 1975's "Strip Nude for Your Killer," an Italian horror yarn directed by Andrea Bianchi. As so many of these types of films, we will have lots of sizzling fashion models in much peril and always nude. Sadly, their survival prospects here are negligible.
Evelyn, a sultry fashion model {NUDE ON OPERATING TABLE} dies during an abortion. That night, her doctor is gutted. Fast forward to a health spa where Carlo (Nino Castelnuovo) meets Lucia (Femi Benussi). The two will hit it off {NUDE IN A SAUNA} and have pre-marital sex in the steam bath. Carlo, a fashion photographer, brings Lucia back to his agency and agency boss Gisella (Amanda), takes a liking to Lucia {NUDE DURING LESBIAN SEX}. Gisella hires beautiful models and as a condition, they must all have sex with her while she beats and humiliates them. Magda {NUDE ALWAYS} (Edwige Fenech) loves Carlo and always have pre-marital sex with him. Bad news, the killer strikes again killing mostly beautiful models. The {NUDE WHILE DYING} models are gutted and have their breasts cut off.
Gisella's fat husband also buys it {MERCIFULLY NOT NUDE} after he tries to rape Doris {NUDE WHILE RAPED}. Meanwhile Carlo shows some misogynistic tendencies, but this only turns on Magda {NUDE ALWAYS}. As more models drop from this cursed agency, Magda {NUDE ALWAYS} has more pre-marital sex with Carlo as the two try to solve the mystery...before they end up dead {NUDE WHILE A CORPSE}. Uh oh, the sultry lesbian Gisella may be being blackmailed and Magda {NUDE ALWAYS} and Carlo are on to it. As more models {NUDE ON A MOTORCYCLE} catch the eye of the killer, the suspect pool gets smaller and smaller.
Could Magda {NUDE ALWAYS} or Carlo be the killer? Is Gisella's violent and domineering treatment of her models a motive for the killings? Would this film be worth anything if everyone stayed fully clothed? {NUDE IN A DARKROOM}. "Strip Nude for Your Killer" is Italian horror sexploitation at its nudest level. The ending will be typical, but the deviance and taboo of it will leave a mark on the purist of nudes. For lots of blood and gratuitous nudity, catch "Strip Nude for Your Killer."   

Monday, March 12, 2018

Tokyo Gore Police, Sultry Policewoman vs. Monsters

The sultry Japanese actress Eihi Shiina has made quite an impression on this blog. She has appeared in some of the goriest films included here. Last October Audition was featured. In that very uncomfortable film, Ms. Shiina dissects her male lovers. She also appeared in Helldriver , which I reviewed in 2014, a film which...well...its gory! Today we look at 2008's "Tokyo Gore Police" in which Ms. Shiina plays a very beautiful Tokyo policewoman charged with tracking down genetically engineered monsters. Unlike "Audition," Ms. Shiina's victims all deserve to be pureed in this one.
Many years ago Ruka (Shiina) watched her policeman dad get his head blown she is all grown up, and a policewoman. The Tokyo Police have been privatized and an elite unit, which Ruka belongs, is charged with hunting "engineers." Engineers? A mad-scientist has injected genes of evil men into schmucks to make them evil killing machines. Here's the good part...when one of these engineers is wounded, they grow a deadly weapon out of their wound. For example, when a guy is castrated, after the spurting blood ceases, a machine-gun grows out of the groin. For females...when one prostitute is turned, her...well...her you know...turns into an alligator head...chomp chomp!
Ruka hunts these creeps very well and at the same time looks for her dad's killer. What do these two quests have in common? You'll see.
But wait! The evil force behind the engineers has special plans for Ruka. As a fellow with no scalp and a battleship turret in its place hunt our sultry policewoman, Ruka and her sword decrease the engineer population. Betrayal and heartbreak torment Ruka as her zeal for revenge increases. Appendages are severed and fly through the air, weird gizmos replace them, and the blood spurts endlessly, a most gory final confrontation awaits.
Why was Ruka's father killed, and by who? What devious plan does the evil geneticist have for our sultry policewoman? Is "Tokyo Gore Police" a warning to the Japanese people against the evils of privatization of government services? Be ready to turn your head as the gore is thrown at you continuously. For my Japanese friends...if Sony or Honda take over the police force, you will be well served just to submit. Enjoy "Tokyo Gore Police," directed by Yoshihiro Nishimura.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Bullet Head, Cujo vs. Reservoir Dogs

Man's best friend. The dog! Loyal companions just looking to love us, even though we don't deserve that devotion. Then some slime bag like Michael Vick comes around and perverts that relationship. A year in prison was too good for Vick who returned to his pampered life in the corrupt NFL (National Football League). Many of the dogs he exploited were put down, but the NFL took great care of Michael Vick...quite an injustice. I for one am happy to see the NFL falling from grace, hopefully their downward descent will continue. Hence, a film from 2017, currently on Netflix, and from the dog's point of view, "Bullet Head."
Plot line #1: Three schmucks crash into an abandoned warehouse after their getaway driver dies of bullet wounds. This trio just pulled off a big robbery and figure they will hole up in the warehouse until the heat dies down. Ah, but in these films, abandoned warehouses are never abandoned. Plot line #2: Michael this film it is Antonio Banderas, has trained a killer Pit Bull. This warehouse is the arena for the dog fights. Banderas has bred a killing machine, but like any great athlete, careers end in defeat. After sustaining mortal wounds, Banderas orders some idiot to execute the pooch. The joke will be on the idiot. Unbeknownst to Banderas, Cujo (not really his name) isn't quite ready to die, and he eats his would-be executioner.
Okay, Walker (John Malkovich), a philosophical thief, Stacy (Adrien Brody) a romantic thief, and Gage (Rory Culkin), a junkie think their safe from the dragnet occurring all over the city. They'll get a rude awakening as our favorite Pit Bull sees these three as invaders and entrees on the buffet line. The dog is unmerciful, and the three must also wrestle their personal demons in battling the pooch. Wait! Is our killer dog really pure evil? As our three thieves get in tune with their human sides, an opportunity for survival might be opened.  Uh oh, maybe not, as Antonio Banderas shows up with a machine gun. His prize winnings from the dogfights are also hidden in the warehouse.
Which is more of a peril for our three thieves, the dog or the machine gun? Is the dog really the evil monster Antonio Banderas has made him into, or is their a chance for redemption? Is Antonio  Banderas' character a metaphor for Michael Vick or Roger Goodell. This film is flawed, but is interesting in that the dog's point of view is championed by director Paul Solet. Sometimes it takes context to figure out who the real villains are. Enjoy "Bullet Head," and avoid Roger Goodell's NFL.