Monday, October 24, 2016

The Bloody Vampire, Germany Invades Mexico

Those of us who have tried it know it isn't worth the trouble.  Sure, enslaving every man and woman on the Earth to obey our every command might seem like a good idea.  In reality, this quest will introduce us to the reality that there are a lot of stupid and annoying people in the world.  However, if you are a vampire, the stupid and annoying can serve as your buffet line while the beautiful women can all share the coffin with you.  This is the quest of the German vampire, Count Frankenhausen. Let us examine, from Mexico, 1962's "The Bloody Vampire" (aka "El Vampiro Sagriento").
After fleeing Europe, Count Frankenhausen (Carlos Agosti), an arrogant vampire with lots of babe vampire brides arrives in Mexico to begin his conquest of the world.  I know, let him have it.  Back to the plot.  Too bad for him, the Count de Cagliastro has also moved his family to Mexico.  Of course, neither of these clans blend.  The mission of the de Cagliastro clan, through centuries, is to rid the world of vampires.  As Frankenhausen goes through Mexican senoritas like crap through a goose, the de Cagliastro team acts.  The beautiful Anna (Begona Palacios) infiltrates the Frankenhausen castle undercover as a servant.  Because she is so pretty, Frankenhausen desires her for his bride.  Her fiance, a doctor named Riccardo (Raul Farell) also infiltrates the castle, undercover as the Countess' personal doctor.
As Count Valsamo de Caglistro (Antonio Raxel), the patriarch of his clan, experiments with herbs and fresh corpses to find something to kill vampires, Anna and Riccardo continue their efforts inside the fiend's mansion.  With only traditional means of vampire hunting, are our lovebirds any match for for Frankenhausen and his allies?  As Mexican beauties are drained of blood at an alarming rate, will the good folks of that great country turn xenophobic against more immigration from Germany?  Did this 1962 film have a hand in all but ending any German immigration into Mexico?
In this short write-up, many key characters and subplots were ignored.  This film has so many other creepy elements that were omitted here in the interest of space.  Grave robbing, a mad scientist type lab, a torture chamber with gruesome happenings, ghostly images of of a surreal Mexico are all included in this film.  Once again, our Mexican amigos have made an outstanding vampire film, "El Vampiro Sangriento," (directed by Miguel Morayta) which is available on YouTube.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Zeder, Pet Sematary Italian Style

Hundreds of millions of people die each year.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could bring them all back?  Okay, maybe not.  Whenever the dead return, carnage follows.  Still, we have to love all those scientists, who without government grants, figure out ways to bring back our dearly departed. In 1983's "Zeder" (aka "Revenge of the Dead") a scientific team joins forces with some fallen clergy and academia to do just that.
Stafano (Gabriele Lavia), a writer and first class schmuck gets an anniversary gift from his lovely wife, Alessandra (Anne Canovas).  Alessandra is beautiful and pure, and since this is an Italian horror film, has "I WILL DIE A HORRIBLE DEATH" emanating from her every movement. An electric typewriter.....used (they are on a tight budget).  Stefano quickly needs to replace the ribbon and examines the words typed from the old ribbon.  Wouldn't you know it...the typewriter's previous owner wrote a lot about bringing back the dead and certain grounds that were fertile for doing this.  Now Stefano has inspiration for his new book and begins investigating....big mistake.  He traces the typewriter to a defrocked priest, who appears to be deceased.  His investigations captures the attention of some very weird people.
Stefano finds out that experiments in 1956 by Paolo Zeder reveal that certain K-Zones exist which are special places in Europe where corpses can return to life.  Stefano grabs the naive, and stunning Alessandra and heads to Chartres, France to the place where these 1956 experiments took place. Uh oh, the experiments did not end in 1956 and the scientists don't want anyone snooping on them.  As ghouls come to life in a homicidal fashion, Stefano gets too close for his own good.  Science meets the occult and what happens next will make Stefano wish his wife gave him a necktie for their anniversary.
Will the gorgeous and nubile Alessandra survive her husband's demented curiosity?  Sadly, that question is an easy one to answer.  Is Paolo Zeder dead?  To what end is our team of scientists and weirdos bringing back the dead?  Fans of Stephen King's Pet Sematary will figure out where this one is going.  For some ominous and grim Italian horror, directed by Pupi Avati, see "Zeder" which is available on YouTube as "Revenge of the Dead."

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake, The Art of Headhunting

In today's technology age, we have lost so many valuable skills.  Head shrinking is just one of those lost necessities.  Sure, we can send nude pictures of ourselves to Asia, instantly....but we no longer have the ability to decapitate old friends, shrink their heads, and display those trophies on our bookshelves. Perhaps a revival of 1959's "The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake" will help us recapture that art.
Jonathan Drake (Eduard Franz) has a problem. Generations ago, Amazonian Indians cursed his family.  Every male heir would die at the age of 60. Not just die, paralyzed by curare poison and then decapitated. But wait, there's more! The skulls would be sent back to the family and the remnants of their heads would be shrunken trophies.  Uh oh...Drake's brother dies as the film opens, and this fate plays out.  Double uh oh...Drake is about to turn 60.  Enter the weird archaeologist, Dr. Emil Zurich (Henry Daniell), who just happens to be the world's most renown expert on shrinking heads.
As Drake quakes in fear, his beautiful daughter, Alison (Valerie French) teams up with Detective Rowan (Grant Richards) to get to the bottom of the theft of the brother's head.  As an ultra weird Amazonian Indian (Paul Wexler) stalks Jonathan, Det. Rowan makes some startling discoveries about the family curse and Dr. Zurich. We are treated to some graphic scenes in which Dr. Zurich takes us through the process of creating shrunken he related to the curse?
Will Jonathan succumb to a centuries old curse?  Will the fair Alison be in peril as she attempts to solve the mystery of the stolen corpse heads, and save her dad? What is Dr. Zurich's relationship to the curse, and is he working with immortal Amazonians?  Directed by Edward L. Cahn, this is a neat mystery/thriller which will have you wincing. There'll be plenty of decapitations and head-shrink-ology in this one.  Available on YouTube, don't lose your head over "The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake."

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Fatal Pulse, A Sorority's Bloody Demise

At AOK sorority, not all is a-okay.  True, we will not find a sorority with better looking coeds, but by the end of 1988's "Fatal Pulse" most of them will be corpses.  The demise of sorority sisters is a popular theme on this blog.  Not even the caped Captain Marvelous can save some pretty young ladies (you won't believe this plot twist).  In fairness, these ladies exhibit serious judgment issues beyond engaging in pre-marital sex, and our slasher has an easy time of his pursuit.
The sultry, white lingerie clad Stephanie's(Kitty) attempt to seduce Jeff (Ken Roberts) is rejected, as he wants his ex-GF back.  Our seductress is then strangled with her own silk stocking and her dead body is raped.  So our film opens.  Jeff, who is creepy, is our main suspect.  Lisa (Michelle McCormick), who is a beauty, is the ex-GF.  Stephanie's demise has all the gals at AOK a bit tense, but not too tense.  Carol (Sky Nicholas) will be the next to fall, as her throat is cut by the shard of a record. As Jeff continues to emerge as either a homicidal psycho, or at least a full fledged creep, Lisa takes him back and they engage in pre-marital sex.  Then Sheila (Maureen O'Hanlon) is drowned in the AOK bathtub.
There are other suspects; Ernie (Joe Estevez), the weird AOK maintenance man, who loves to spy on the coeds through their bedroom windows, seems to be the best bet.  Then of course Professor Caldwell (Alex Courtney) who may not have recaptured his sanity after his wife's death seems a likely possibility.  Then Cassie (Cindra Hidgdon) is electrocuted as she is stripped and hung in a shower by our fiend.  Jeff, knowing he is the prime suspect, begins an attempt to catch the killer.  His plans for this are silly and usually end in embarrassment.  As Karen (Christy Mucciante) is grabbed, stripped, and encased in a plaster cast, AOK may run out of coeds before our monster is found.
Will Jeff or the police catch the killer before Lisa is skewered?  Even if Jeff isn't the killer, will the makers of "Fatal Pulse" do us a favor and kill him off?  Does Captain Marvelous' appearance enhance the plot or detract from the serious nature of a vicious slasher film?  Yep, the beautiful die horribly and the handsome hunks show their stupidity in this film.  Available in VHS tape quality on YouTube, "Fatal Pulse" is a slasher film that, at very least, has some great kills and a great looking queue of lady victims.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Hard Target 2, Rhona Mitra vs. Scott Adkins

Clad in black leather, Rhona Mitra says to Scott Adkins, "They tell me you like punishment."  Mr. Adkins replies, "You're not my type."  To which Ms. Mitra replies, in an offended manor, "I'm everyone's type."  I gotta agree with her.  In what may be termed as a demented version of "The Quiet Man," 2016's "Hard Target 2" has so much going for it.  For us guys, Rhona Mitra in leather with a crossbow.  For you gals, Scott Adkins, his abs, and will to survive.
After killing his best friend in a UFC type fight in Vegas, Wes (Adkins), stricken with guilt, heads to Thailand. Now in an underground circuit, our protagonist continues fighting. He catches the attention of ex-CIA renegade, Aldrich (Robert Knepper).  Aldrich makes him an offer he can't refuse.  For a million dollars, Wes believes he's signing up for one more fight.  Aldrich has something else in mind.  He lures Wes into the jungle and assembles several hunters who have paid lots of dough to hunt human prey.  The most colorful of these psychos is Sofia (Mitra) who loves crossbows and leather.  With a two minute head start, the game is quickly on.
As Wes has some close calls, he begins picking off the hunters.  The hunters are armed with M16s, crossbows, RPGs, and pistols.  Sofia and Wes do meet up, and Wes knocks the snot out of her.  The femme fatale escapes, however.  Wes befriends a lovely elephant herder, Tha (Ann Truong).  Tha's brother was hunted six months earlier and she helps Wes toward the border.  Uh oh, Adkins is a step ahead of these two soon-to-be lovebirds.  So is Sofia, as she desires a rematch.  Now Adkins tells his surviving hunters that Tha is fair game also.  Now saddled with a beautiful elephant herder, does Adkins have a chance to outwit the psycho CIA cast-out?  Does he have a chance at redemption for killing his best buddy?  Will Tha and Sofia engage in a cat-fight?  The answer to this third question is yes, and in surprisingly vicious fashion, I may add.
Some may say this film is stupid and hokey.  Perhaps, but it is still a lot of fun and a lot more intellectual than those stupid superhero films like "Thor" and "Iron Man."  Mr. Adkins and Ms. Mitra are terrific on the screen and play their characters well.  Shot in Thailand, the scenery in "Hard Target 2" (directed by Roel Reine) is beautiful.  If the dialog contained in the first paragraph appeals to you, this is a film you need to see. This action thriller is available on Netflix.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Maneater of Hydra, Vampire Plant

Go ahead, eat plants.  Don't be surprised, however, if they decide to eat you.  We keep them in pots, or a confined garden, but our plant friends may decide to roam, and eat.  I guess that is only fair.  We eat them, they eat us.  One of my favorite Creature Feature films was 1967's "Maneater of Hydra" (aka "Island of the Doomed").  After all, the thirst for human blood spans all of nature. This film from Spain stars Cameron Mitchell in his finest performance.
After many of it's citizens were found with their blood drained, the citizens of Hydra fled.  Fearing vampires, these scared townspeople left a weird Baron (Mitchell) as the only resident of the island. The Baron is pleased to be left alone.  He is a botanist and scientifically engineers new species of carnivorous plants.  Most of these green things feast on mice, except for the Baron's most treasured creation....a huge vampire plant which feasts on human blood.  Six tourists will find this out the hard way as they pay the Baron a visit.
The maneater goes right to work.  After the tour guide is drained, a Sophia Loren look-a-like, Cora (Kai Fischer) is next.  Cora is a loose women with extra-marital sex on her mind.  Her search for it will not go well.  Like the guide, Cora will have all her blood sucked out through her once stunning face. The Baron, unbeknownst to his guests, assists the plant in it's quest for human blood.  As more guests succumb to the vampire plant, the fair Beth (Elisa Montes) and hunk David (George Martin) fall in love.  Will the ever decreasing number of tourists figure out that their host plans to add them to a macabre buffet?  Will the fair Beth be spared a horrible fate, or will her new hunk beau have to save her?  Will the evil Baron prevail, or end up fed to his own creation?
Not a traditional bloodsucker, but our green antagonist is just as horrific.  Perhaps predictable, this horror film benefits from a great performance by Cameron Mitchell as the demented and evil Baron.  Slimy green things that capture and suck you dry may not be a threat in our home gardens, but for guests of a mad very afraid.  

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Cinema of Vampires, My New Book

It's here!  My latest book, Cinema of Vampires.  Fans of this blog, which began in the fall of 2013, have enjoyed almost 600 reviews.  Now, all of the reviews of vampire films have been compiled in one book.  Count Yorga, Dracula, and BloodRayne are finally together, with dozens of other vampire flicks.  This book is now available on Amazon by clicking this link Cinema of Vampires .
 Priced under $5.00, this book would make the perfect Christmas...well....perhaps Halloween gift.  If you have friends who have never perused Zisi Emporium for B Movies, buy them this book. Whether you like your bloodsucker suave like Christopher Lee, or seductive like Natassia Malthe, their all in this book.  Enjoy.