Saturday, August 30, 2014

Breakout From Oppression, Hong Kong Horror Italian Style

Maggot infested corpses.  Maniacs with meat cleavers.  Knives in backs.  Prison cat-fights.  Swallowing ground glass. A decapitation or two.  Nope, not a Lucio Fulci film, but a hard to find gem from Hong Kong.  1978's "Breakout From Oppression" (aka Sha Chu Chong Wei"), a horror film with all the makings of an Italian horror gore-fest.  When one of the main characters is a maniacal 17 year old girl who tends to (terrorizes, actually) her insane and invalid grandmother, keeps men hog-tied in her basement, and dismembers cute animals...well, you know that we have a cinematic achievement worth watching.
The plot: Fonda (Fonda Lynn, pictured above), has just served eight years in prison for a murder.  She has a letter from a newspaper president offering her a job upon her release.  When she gets to the paper, the president is missing, but the editorial staff believes her and hires her...probably because she is really good looking.  Simon (Alan Tam), the editor, is very sweet on her and eventually the two will fall in love.  Then weirdness begins for Fonda.  While taking a shower, she soaps up, only to painfully find out that someone has blended ground glass into the soap bar.  Later on, while serving her spring-rolls at a bake sale, Fonda is horrified to find out that small glass shards have been mixed in.  When a child starts coughing blood, suspicions are drawn to Fonda, the ex-con.
Oh yes, Sheena (Longa Chang), who is only 17, and in love with Simon, directs her wrath toward Fonda.  Unbalanced would be an understatement in describing Sheena.  Some poor sap is imprisoned in her basement, and she eventually kills him.  Her wheelchair bound grandmother is terrified of her (pictured above), probably because of the threatening manner in which she displays meat cleavers.  As Simon's attraction for Fonda swells, Sheena becomes even more psychotic.  Determined to butcher Fonda, Sheena disposes of anyone who hints that they may get in her way.  In death scenes right out of Hitchcock's "Psycho" and Italian Euro horror, Fonda seems doomed to be the next victim.
Just who did Fonda murder to land her in prison?  Are Sheena's motivations driven solely by her crush on Simon?  The ending is gory and exciting.  However victimized Fonda appears through the majority of this film, she gets her fight on for a deadly final confrontation.  This film is very well written by Godfrey Ho and directed by Karen Yang.  If you can find "Breakout From Oppression," seize the opportunity to view it.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tombs of the Blind Dead, Perfect Euro-Horror from Spain

1972's "Tombs of the Blind Dead" is everything we want from Euro-horror, and more.  Made in Spain, filmed in Portugal, TOBD gives us gore, a great story, nudity, babes in peril, and ghost knights riding ghost horses.  I must also recommend the Spanish version with subtitles over the American version which is dubbed.  The Spanish version is...shall we say...a bit more "risque" in a European sense.  Need I say more? This film generated several sequels, including "Ghost Galleon" (this one is available on YouTube).
The Plot:  Two bikini clad babes meet at poolside in a Spanish resort.  Here is the awkward part, Bette (Lone Fleming) and Virginia (Maria Elena Arpon) were lesbian lovers at boarding school.  Virginia is with her hunk boyfriend Roger (Cesar Burner), but when she sees Bette, she only desires her again.  Unfortunately for Virginia, Bette has moved on, and when she sees Roger, she only desires him.  The three decide to go by train to spend the week-end in the Portuguese countryside...and yes...three is a crowd.  After Bette and Roger all but consummate their relationship in front of Virginia, Virginia decides to sneak off the train when she sees, what she believes, is a rural town in the distance.  Uh oh!  Berzano isn't a town, but the ruins of an ancient city cursed by the ghosts of Satanic medieval knights.  With no civilization near these ruins, Virginia prepares to spend the night in the ruins of a church.  As we get to see her undress, the knights rise out of their graves, are met by ghost stallions, and converge on the church.  A horrified, and half dressed Virginia can't get away, and is caught, bitten, and drained of blood by the knights.
Feeling guilty the next morning, Roger and Bette decide to look for Virginia.  They arrive at Berzano and are met by the cops who advise them Virginia has assumed room temperature.  As Roger and Bette look into the mystery of Berzano, they find that medieval knights came to the town in the 13th century.  These knights returned from Egypt skilled in Satanism and begin sacrificing all the town's virgins in tortuous fashion.  The townspeople revolt, and hang the knights, only to have the ghosts rise up from the grave and hunt the living. Meanwhile, Virginia reanimates in the morgue and starts drinking the blood of the living.  Now the real danger starts.  Bette owns a mannequin shop, and a vampiric Virginia makes her way there.  Virginia and Roger enlist the help of two smugglers, Pedro (Jose Thelman) and Maria (Maria Silva), to bring them to Berzano again.  As the beautiful Nina (Veronica Llimera) tends to the mannequin shop in Bette's absence, Virginia arrives in a very thirsty state (see picture below).  At Berzano, Maria seduces Roger, and Pedro attempts to rape Bette....as the ghost knights rise from the grave.
Will pretty Nina survive Virginia's advances?  Will Roger and Bette survive both the smugglers and the ghost knights during their night in Berzano?  The acting is terrific, story gripping, and Fleming, Arpon, and Llimera are each stunning.  Full of scares and a most ambitious ending, "Tombs of the Blind Dead" is a must see.  Gory and ominous, this is a film one must watch twice because of all the action and plot devices.  I enjoyed TOBD more on the second viewing, and was inspired to see a couple of it's sequels ("The Ghost Galleon" and "Night of the Seagulls") soon after.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Slugs, Slimy Terror from the Sewers

1988's "Slugs," about toxic worm creatures that breed poisonous parasites, is widely believed to be a metaphor of the American welfare system.  These creatures bore into the bodies of the living and eat vital organs and leave parasitic worms which explode out of the victim's face.  Not too subtle if you ask me.  Beyond the political commentary, "Slugs" is an icky, horror flick that will have you feeling these creatures climbing up your back as you watch this on Netflix.
As our story begins, a bikini clad babe watches her boyfriend eaten when he falls out of a boat.  That same evening, a grouchy drunk guy goes home to his house which has just had the utilities cut off. Unaware that giant slugs are oozing out of his vents, he lays down on a sofa and is eaten by hundreds of these creatures.  Next up is an elderly and grouchy couple tending their greenhouse.  Unbeknownst to them, the slugs have moved in, and in very gory fashion, the bickering gardeners are consumed.  Mike (Michael Garfield), the county health inspector starts getting suspicious after the fourth death.  His buddy, Don (Philip MacHale), is head of the country sewer system....someone has to do it.  Don and Mike begin working together when Don discovers half eaten animals clogging the sewer.  Mike's hot wife, Kim (Kim Terry), is very amorous, and we get some nice scenes in which she is clad in some classy lingerie, finds giant slugs in her garden. Unfortunately for Don, his wife looks like she should be his mother, and when he suggests they get naked and wild....well...the imagery is kinda icky.
Back to the story:  Kim's colleague, John (Santiago Alvarez) is a scientist with a lab.  Mike takes a slug to him.  After the slug eats one of his lab rats, John realizes the ramifications for the town if the slugs continue to multiply.  The slug carnage continues. In one elongated and disgusting scene, when two teenagers engage in premarital sex, a million slugs flood their bedroom after arriving through the toilet.  Both are slimed and consumed before our eyes.  These films, after all, are morality tales.  As more hormone driven teenagers are eaten in their states of nakedness, Mike, Don, and John craft a desperate plan.  John concocts a chemical compound that will explode these vermin, and Mike and Don don rubber suits and head to the sewers.  These two brave men must lure all the slugs to one place and blow them up.  
Even if they can blow up the slugs, will Don and Mike be able to escape the slugs in the sewer?  Does Don harbor any jealousy toward Mike because Mike's wife is hot, and his looks like Betty Crocker?  This movie was banned in the Australian state of Queensland when it was released: but was it banned because of the gore or because it was viewed as an unkind metaphor to Queensland's poor and downtrodden?  Slugs will have you squirming in your seats and conjure up images from the movie "Squirm."  See "Slugs," and be prepared to feel them against your body as you slip between the sheets for a good night sleep. 

 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Devil's Rock, The Kiwis vs. the Nazis

Some of the greatest horrors inflicted upon mankind emanated from World War 2.  Setting a horror movie during that war poses difficulties for the film-maker.  For instance, can a horror be created which won't pale in comparison to the horrors of the death camps in Poland, the firebombing of Dresden, or the atomic blasts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki?  2011's "The Devil's Rock" works well, in part, because it is set in a claustrophobic setting in which the above horrors are not entwined with the plot.  On a smaller scale, good is pitted against evil.  The evil is an SS colonel in cahoots with a demon from Hell, as a commando from New Zealand represents the good.
The plot:  On the night before D-Day, two Kiwi commandos land on a Channel Island in order to destroy a bunker containing a big gun.  The object is to draw Hitler's attention away from Normandy.  Cpt. Grogan (Craig Hall) and Sgt.Tane (Karlos Drinkwater) are amazed at the ease in which they landed and were able to arrive at their target.  As they rig their explosives, the commandos hear men screaming in horror and gunshots from within the bunker.  Grogan kills a Nazi soldier fleeing the bunker.  Both men are confused why the soldier would be fleeing.  After hearing a woman scream, both men enter the installation fearing the Germans are torturing island citizens.  Really bad move!
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Now we switch from war to horror movie.  The Kiwis find several disemboweled German soldiers in cramped tunnels inside the bunker.  Unfortunately for Tane, the lone surviving Nazi, Col. Klaus Meyer (Matthew Sunderland), gets the drop on him and kills him.  Grogan rushes to the scene and Meyer knocks him out and ties him up.  Meyer's interrogation of Grogan is interrupted by a woman moaning for help.  Meyer scoops up some body parts, announces "It is hungry," and leaves.  Grogan gets untied and finds that Meyer is dabbling in "The Black Arts."  Now Grogan gets the jump on Meyer and demands to be taken to what he thinks is a prisoner.  Meyer warns him that the prisoner is actually a demon summed up from Hell and very dangerous, but our Kiwi is skeptical.  When they arrive at the dungeon, Grogan is shocked to see his beautiful wife (Gina Varcela) in chains.  His wife was blown to bits by an air raid on London a few years back.  Meyer reminds him that what he sees is not his wife, but a monster.  When the thing eats some body parts and comes back to life after Meyer shoots it in the head, Grogan gets on board.
As Meyer and Grogan continue WW2 by shooting and stabbing each other, the demon waits in anticipation. Grogan comes to realize that he needs Meyer to defeat this spawn of Hell, but can he trust this Nazi (remember the story of the turtle and the scorpion)?  Initially Meyer conjured up this wretched fiend in order to use it as a weapon against the allies, however, it proved uncontrollable.  As Grogan and Meyer inflict gore on each other, one may ask if the makers of "The Devil's Rock" are perhaps saying that man can be as destructive to fellow men as the Devil.  Will Grogan be able to survive a very cunning Meyer, and the chained demon?  If the demon wins.....then what?  The ending is interesting and will require some thought to understand exactly what happened.  Lots of gore, and very defined characters (all the acting is superb) make "The Devil's Rock" a must see low-budget film.     

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Literature Review #1: The Gathering Anthology- Paranormal Romance

For the first time, this blog will focus on a non-movie.  Between novels and film lay graphic novels.  Today's entry will focus on one from my friends at GrayHaven Comics ( www.grayhavencomics.com ).  Today's review looks at the 28th issue, "Paranormal Romance."  Perfect for a Valentine's Day blog, as far as this blog is concerned, romance is always in the air....especially if blood, gore, and the paranormal are present.  After reading the entire 28th issue, I kept thinking of Edgar Allan Poe.  Poe knew, that like haunted houses, graveyards, and storms....love and romance exist in a territory ripe for horror and the macabre.
To love and to be loved, we all desire it.  However, there is a down side to love which, at least subconsciously, horrifies us.  Our mortality and proclivity to be bored and to change, often spells doom for nature's finest gift.  This work capitalizes on these fears as we meet a series of vivid characters battling the macabre and scary aspects of mortal infatuation.  Poe would be proud.  The authors here effectively use metaphors such as werewolves (or shapeshifters), zombies, vampires, spirits, etc. in order deliver the horror. The mortality of our lives feeds good horror, however, in "Paranormal Romance," the mortality of our seemingly perfect love is exploited.  


At times sad.  At times humorous.  At times provocative, "Paranormal Romance" delivers in so many ways to the discerning horror fan.  In one of my favorite stories in this set, a little girl's love for tree in the forest turns into a deep statement.  "Lost Souls" written by Lisa Harrison and Matt Watson, is sure to tug at your heart strings.  The final images of this tearjerker imply that at the end of life, all traditional love and romance proved ephemeral, however the purity of a child's desire remained.  The words may not have spelled this out, however, as with all effective graphic novels, the illustrations are worth 1,000 thoughts.  In another of my favorites, "It's All in the Moon- Meet Me at the River" (by Attilla Kiss and art by Chris Dixon), the real horror is not the werewolves, but the potential monster our loving relationships can turn into.  All of the stories are intriguing and symbolic of so much.   


Kudos to publisher Andrew Goletz, editor Roy Goldfield, and for production Erica J. Heflin.  These folks and their team have delivered some deep horror.  The writers of these stories are also to be congratulated, and I look forward to their future endeavors.  In addition to the website given above, follow these peeps on Twitter at @gatheringcomic.  I enjoyed "Paranormal Romance" a great deal, and even though each story is relatively short, they all could be turned into full length films...that's how deep they were.  

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Nun, Say Six Hail Marys and Die!

I had a nun as an English professor in college, and she was terrific.  Sister Enda inspired me to major in English and was a pure joy in the classroom.  My friends who went to Catholic high school, conversely, all seemed to have traumatic nun stories.  Some were belted across the hands with yard sticks.  Some were forced to write a Bible verse 500 times as a method of punishment.  Knowing these kids, I am sure they all deserved these penances...and more.  The nun in today's story, Sister Ursula (Cristina Piaget), exacted  a harsher brand of punishment on her students.  In 2005's "The Nun" (aka "La Monja"), our characters are condemned to a bloody fate, including Zoe (Paulina Galvez), who is listed sixth in the credits, and of course dies the most tortuous death (baked alive in an oven).
The plot:  A group of girls are terrorized by their boarding school's principal, Sister Ursula.  Ursula is big on weeding sin out of all her girls, most of them very attractive and driven by hormones.  One day she is punishing Mary.  The other girls hear Mary scream and rush to her aid.  Believing Ursula intends to drown Mary, the girls attack and drown Ursula in a tub.  The conspirators then dump Ursula's body in a murky pond and swear each other to secrecy.  Ursula's body is never found.  Jump ahead 18 years.  The girls begin dying mysteriously.  Johanna dies in London by fire.  Next, in New Jersey, Mary (Lola Marceli) is attacked by Ursula's ghost and has her throat cut.  Mary's death is witnessed by her 18 year old (...aha...a clue!) daughter, Eve (Anita Briem, pictured below).  Eve's best friend, Julia ( Belen Blanco), convinces Eve to travel home with her to Barcelona.  Eve agrees- not for R&R, but to find the secret of the mysterious boarding school her mom attended.  
Though Julia wants to get Eve's mind off her mother's murder, Eve is determined to find out why her mother and her mother's classmates are dying gory deaths.  With the help of a handsome seminary student, Gabriel (Manu Fullola), she tracks down two of her mom's friends.  First Christi...oops!  Just as Eve arrives at Christi's hotel, Christi is cut in half by a malfunctioning elevator.  Next....Eulalia.  Just a little late, I'm afraid. Moments before Eve and Gabriel arrive at Eulalia's apartment, Eulalia is crucified in her bathroom (see photo below).  Now Eve, Gabriel, and Julia head to the abandoned boarding school to find answers and the ghost nun.  They are met by two other ladies, Zoe and Susan (Natalia Dicenta).  The two women fill Eve in on a horrifying secret of 18 years ago.  Now these survivors and Eve must mount a fight against the supernatural. For Eve, she must not only defeat the ghost nun, but also come to grips with  newly acquired, sordid knowledge regarding her mom.
The final 20 minutes of "The Nun" is eerie as some predictable and unpredictable plot twists manifest themselves.  Those of you who love ghost stories will not want to miss this film, shot in Spain and available on Netflix.  The two lead actresses, Briem and Blanco, are very pretty and do a fine job in this film.  In fact, all the acting in this film is terrific.  Each death scores big on the gore meter.  Next time your wimp friends complain about a nun whacking them with a ruler, send them to see this movie.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance, Inspiration from Japan

Our governments thrive on keeping the citizenry stupid.  Rulers revel in telling us that if us little people want to make a difference, we should be obedient to some stupid recycling program in order to save the planet.  Lady Snowblood (Meiko Kaji) would have no patience for this guidance.  In 1974's sequel to "Lady Snowblood," our heroine battles a corrupt and bullying government by disposing of them with swords and daggers.  "Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance" is pure fantasy as we see what happens when us little people actually fight back.  The operable quote in this film describing Lady Snowblood, is "Without blood, you would be merely snow...that melts into dirt."  Suppressed in American public schools is the reality that the founding fathers of our country knew that freedom would not be obtained without blood.
As our sequel begins, it is 1905, and the Russo-Japanese war has just ended. The mood is right for political reform, but corrupt power mongers want to hold onto their power and wealth.  Lady Snowblood (Meiko Kaji) is captured by about 200 Japanese cops (see above photo).  She is sentenced to be hung for the 37 assassinations she committed in the first "Lady Snowblood" film (see this blog for my review of "Lady Snowblood" dated Aug. 6th).  On her way to the gallows, she is "rescued" by the state's secret police.  Realizing Japan's peasants are ripe for rebellion, Kikui (Shin Kishida), head of the secret police, offers her a deal.  Lady Snowblood, or Yuki, in exchange for her freedom, is sent to spy on an anarchist leader, Ransui (Juzo Itami), and recover a secret document he has stolen.  She goes, but as she realizes that Ransui's motives are pure, she betrays the secret police.  Now serving as Ransui's bodyguard, the secret police make their move.  Kikui's men capture Ransui, but Yuki escapes with the secret document.
Ransui goes through a blood curdling bout of torture at police headquarters.  The document reveals that anarchists were falsely blamed for assassination attempts against the emperor.  If the peasants knew that anarchists were being executed for trumped up charges, they would rebel.  Yuki must now conspire with Ransui's grouchy brother, who would rather blackmail the government than start a rebellion.  Where Ransui lived for leading anti-government movements, his brother seeks financial security.  Then the horrific happens; the secret police inject Ransui with the bubonic plague and deposit him in the slums to infect all the peasants. Yuki then heads to Kikui's mansion, where a sword and dagger battle between her and dozens of secret police is waged with lots of spurting blood.  As the infection spreads, Yuki realizes that blackmail and rebellion must now take a backseat to her brand of justice....carnage a la sword.  She then sets out to end not only Kikui's rule, but the reign of the emperor.
Will Yuki succeed in altering world history with just one sword?  Will the conflict resolution models displayed in this film ever be taught in communication classes at our universities?  This is an ambitious plot.  Where the first "Lady Snowblood" saw Yuki destroy the individuals responsible for her mother's fate, this sequel has Yuki toppling a government that just won a war.  The Japanese lost 370,000 soldiers during their war with Russia, and in these two movies, lost nearly that much to a young lady born of vengeance.

Monday, August 18, 2014

All Cheerleaders Die, The Pep Squad of the Succubi

2013's "All Cheerleaders Die" was the most awaited film of this year by fans of this blog.  The title suggests a can't-miss B Movie, and that is what we get.  Filled with beautiful young actresses, lots of gore, witchcraft, succubus carnage, and energetic cheer routines, ACD is currently on Netflix.  Oh yes, my favorite actress in this film is Reanin Johannink, who plays Martha, is listed sixth in the credits.  We all know what that means....the goriest death of course.  Sadly, she is killed in a car crash, comes back to life, is gang raped by football players, knifed in the gut and throat, and oh yes...has her beautiful body switched with the nerd mascot...not necessarily in that order.
The plot:  High school nerd, Maddy (Caitlin Stasey), is doing a film project.  She is putting together a video on Alexis (Felisha Cooper), the cheerleader captain.  Alexis is deep, and gives her fans words of wisdom, "take basic classes (not honors classes), show up on time, and look hot."  During a cheer-leading routine, caught on Maddy's video camera, Alexis lands on her head and is killed.  Tracy (Brooke Butler) is now the captain of the squad and immediately starts dating Alexis' boyfriend, Terry (Tom Williamson), the football team captain.  Maddy, full of hate for the stuck-up cheerleaders, glams up, tries out for the team and makes it.  Her motive is to exact revenge on her shallow team-mates.  Pretending she likes her new arrogant friends, Maddy drives away her former best bud, Leena (Sianoa Smit-McPhee), who is a witch (literally). 
Uh oh...change of plans.  Instead of maintaining her hate for Tracy, the new captain, Maddy falls in love with her.  No matter, when Leena sees Maddy and Tracy making out in a graveyard, she puts some curse on them.  When the cheerleader party is invaded by the football jocks, Tracy is slugged by her boyfriend, Terry, and confesses her attraction of Maddy to him.  A brawl erupts and all the cheerleaders flee in their car, pursued by the irate football jocks.  Their car plunges into a river and Maddy, Tracy, Martha (Johannick), and Hannah (Amanda Grace Cooper) are killed.  Leena recovers their bodies and uses magic crystals to bring them back to life as succubi.  One other minor problem, sexy Martha is now in the body of her nerd sister, and vice/versa.  Bigger problem...the girls are now succubi and need the blood and life-force of others to nourish themselves.  Now clad in tight, red and black leather cheer-leading outfits, they return to school in order to seduce, and then suck the life out of the football players who drove them off the road.  With Maddy and Tracy hot for each other, and Hannah and Martha coping with their new bodies, bickering ensues.  Leena implores them to stay unified, but lets face it, these are shallow high school  girls.  As they are about to go to war with each other, a new evil force is introduced into the plot with the intention of hunting down our lovelies.  
As the cheerleaders start getting picked off, our succubi begin acting like teen-aged girls again.  Will they pull themselves together and mount a fight against their new foe?  The actresses are all beautiful and their acting is terrific.  Certainly not a film one would bring up in mixed company, in the boardroom, or your kids soccer games. However, if you want to see a movie that you will enjoy so much you will want to watch it again....see "All Cheerleaders Die."

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Fertilize the Blasphemous Bombshell, Barbie and Deathstalker vs. Satan

From Troma, today's feature is 1990's "Fertilize the Blasphemous Bombshell."  I guess we all have our "kidnapped by Satanists" stories, so this film is one we can all relate to.  Sheila Ryan (aka Sheila Caan) died two years ago at the age of 60, and was married to James Caan for a short time.  Her film career is extremely limited, but she certainly filled the bill as the bombshell in this Troma classic.  Co-starring with Ryan is Rick Hill ("Deathstalker," see my review of March 3rd) as a hunk she becomes sweet on, and Bo Hopkins as the sheriff.  Throw in dozens of Satanists, including a nude snake dancing woman, and a few shower scenes, and we have 90 minutes of fun.  This film is available in good quality on YouTube.
The Plot:  Susan (Ryan) gets in her red VW and drives from Las Vegas to the California desert.  The anthropologist is looking for her twin sister Sandy, and Sandy's fiance.  The night before, this unfortunate duo was abducted by Satanists. Sandy was raped by the Devil-Master, and the fiance was torched.  Sensing her twin's pain, Susan knows something bad happened and arrives at a gas station run by a hunk (Rick Hill).  Susan, from her last conversation with Sandy knows she stopped at a town called (Ellivnatas...yeah, I know what it spells backwards).  Deathstalker has never heard of this place.  Susan is determined to find her sister, so immediately she becomes sweet on Deathstalker and goes home with him.  Together they discuss a plan to find Susan and her man?  No, Deathstalker pours them both a bourbon, and Susan announces she wants to take a bath.  The bath turns into an elongated shower scene, unhampered by tan-lines.  Then off to find Sandy?  No, our bombshell then goes to sleep, in Deathstalker's bed.  One can't blame her, even though Deathstalker's shack is a dive, his bed is equipped with satin sheets.

Okay...when our bombshell has a vision that Deathstalker is the Prince of Darkness, she sneaks away to begin her search.  She visits the sheriff (Bo Hopkins), but he is uninterested, and has never heard of Ellinvnatas.  Susan finds enough clues, like pentagrams burned into the sand, but the sheriff is still unmoved.  After being chased by Satanists in souped up desert vehicles, Susan finds this elusive town.  When she walks in on a black mass being conducted by the Devil -Master (Robert Tessier), they are expecting her.  They grab her and bring her to the pentagram in the desert, and the Devil-Master beckons Satan, quoting Keats, to "enrich this chalice of toad's blood with thy potency, that I may fertilize this blaspheming slut."  In all fairness, she called him some pretty abusive adjectives in the previous scene.  As he tries to rape Susan, she escapes clad only in a blouse and panties.  During her escape, the bombshell uses knives, boulders, fire, gun, cars, and tree branches to dispose of 10 Satanists.  She takes a break to shower nude under a waterfall, again, unhampered by tan-lines.  Uh oh...Deathstalker and Bo Hopkins are on her trail...but can either of these men be trusted?
Susan is a feisty heroine, and at no point in this epic do we sense she is at a disadvantage.  She goes through Satanists like crap goes through a goose.  Ryan is, in the classic sense of the word, a babe.  Troma probably picked Ryan because of her obvious appeal in shower scenes, but her acting is pretty good.  Despite the low budget, the action is superb, as many of the scenes will remind you of "The Road Warrior."  See this Troma film.  If you have small children and have seen "The Toy Story" movies 40 times too many, "Fertilize the Blasphemous Bombshell" will serve as needed therapy. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Nazis at the Center of the Earth, The 3rd Reich at the South Pole

Lilan Bowden (pictured below) is a beautiful young actress with terrific screen appeal.  She exudes energy, playfulness, smarts, and personality in her role as May Yun in today's feature, 2012's "Nazis at the Center of the Earth."  After watching her in this film, I am looking forward to her future works.  Sadly, she is listed sixth in the credits, and all you B Movie aficionados know what this means.  In B Movies, the character listed sixth in the credits suffers the goriest, and most ominous death (that is if you call having a scalp cut off and brain pulled out, gory).  May's demise in this flick is representative of the gore and carnage in NATCOFE.  Sure to effect your stomach, today's blog subject piles on the gore, and concludes with a most ambitious ending.
The plot:  A scientific expedition in Antarctica, headed by Dr. Reistad (Jack Busey, Gary's son), takes an unexpected turn.  Two of the lead scientists (Paige and Mark) are abducted by Nazis wearing gas masks near a drilling platform.  The rest of the team goes looking for them and falls into a hole and ends up in an oasis with a temperate climate.  Meanwhile, Dr. Mengele (Christopher Karl Johnson) prepares to operate (without anesthesia) on the two doctors he captured.  He rips off Mark's face and puts it on a Nazi soldier.  The Nazis escaped to Antarctica immediately after the war and need human body parts and bones replenished regularly.  Unfortunately for our team, Dr. Reistad is in cahoots with Mengele, and lures attractive young scientists to his snowy outpost in order to supply them to the surviving Nazis, who use their body parts.
Reistad and Mengele have a master plan....find a way to make Hitler immune to hypothermia.  See, Mengele smuggled Hitler's head out of Germany and has attached it to a super-robot that shoots lasers and bullets.  Mengele experiments with May in order to extract her brain fluid...but this does not work...especially for May.  Then when Reistad finds out his own girlfirend, Silge (Marlene Okner) is pregnant with their child, he vacuums out the fetus and uses fetal tissue...and this works.  Now Hitler is ready.  Meanwhile, Paige (Dominique Swain) has convinced Mengele she is German, and sympathetic to "the cause."  She even lets him feel her up...yuck!  Hitler's plan?  Get this; the Nazi's have built a super airship which will attack non-Aryan nations with missiles armed with flesh-eating bacteria.  Paige to the rescue!  She frees her boyfriend just before dissection and together they search for a way to stop the attack and kill Hitler.  Part of her plan is sass, and at one point yells to Hitler, "Come on you bobble headed, zombie, Nazi, son of a b@#%h."
This movie will even have the non-squeamish averting their gaze.  Mengele skins one poor sap, and we see it all.  When Reistad sucks his own child out of Silge with a vacuum device, some may decide this flick crosses the proverbial line.  As far as over-the-top action...we have a ten foot tall robotic Hitler who shoots machine guns and laser beams, decapitates prisoners, and barks out narcissistic inanities.  We even have a Nazi spaceship battling the U.S. Air Force.  Will Paige's rebellion be in time to stop the Nazi attack on the free world?  Will May's brain eventually be used for good?  See this film, at very least, it will entertain.     

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster, Poetry from Virginia

What do you get when three guys from the University of Virginia, including the future Poet Laureate from that state, get together to create an epic horror story?  We get 1965's "Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster."  As far as B Movies go, this is a classic one, with all the elements.  Cheesy acting, amateur special effects, a rubber suited monster, lots of bikini clad babes in peril, and square jawed heroes are the ingredients in this treasure filmed in Cocoa Beach, Florida.  Marilyn Hanold ("The Brain That Would Not Die") stars as the shapely queen of the Martians, who invade Earth to kidnap beautiful women to repopulate their planet.  One cannot go wrong with this plot.
The plot: An atomic war has destroyed most of Mars and rendered all their women sterile.  The male survivors, and their queen, head to Earth to find "breeding stock" in order to repopulate their home.  Meanwhile, NASA is sending a space probe to Mars, manned by an android they created, which the public believes is human.  Colonel Frank Saunders (Robert Reilly) is handsome, but because of Florida humidity, freezes during press conferences.  One of his creators, Nancy (Karen Grant), is even sweet on him.  When his rocket is launched, the Martians mistake it for an incoming missile and shoot it down.  Frank crash lands in Puerto Rico with half his face burned off, and most of his circuits fried.  Now an abominable sight, and half android-crazy, he goes on a mild murder spree.  Puerto Rico has other matters to fret over.  The Martians have landed and abduct breeding stock.  Women are taken, not from the State Department or other federal government offices, but from beaches and pool parties.  Gotta give those aliens credit- they like the beautiful and bikini-clad among the fairer sex.  
Nancy and her human partner, Dr. Adam Steele (James Karen) arrive in Puerto Rico, commandeer a moped, and begin their search for Frank. Unfortunately, they spend most of their time sightseeing and falling in love.  Only after their moped crashes into a mud puddle near a cave where Frank is hiding, do they get back to the mission at hand.  Karen races back (perhaps "races" and "moped" shouldn't be in the same sentence) on her moped to get help, but is abducted by the Martians.  She is put in a cage next to a space monster in order to intimidate her to talk (...about what? who knows?).  The Martians also capture Frank.  After forages to the Puerto Rican beaches and pool parties, the Martians have about ten potential beauty pageant contestants captive as well.  An ominous signal to all the lovelies in captivity occurs when Princess Marcuzan announces that Phase 3 of their master plan is about to commence.
Can Frank escape his chains and rescue Nancy and the other lovelies?  What terror awaits our women captives when Phase 3 is implemented?  Hanold, as Princess Marcuzan, and Lou Cutell, as her first mate Dr. Nadir, are terrific.  Humanoid in appearance, the Martians are void of emotion and personality.  They remind us of an insect colony where drones serve the queen, at all costs.  For classic 1960s  B Movie fare, see "Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster," in which deep themes can be seen in what, at first glance, seems like mindless schlock.      


Sunday, August 10, 2014

District 13, Paris may be about to burn...

2004's "District 13" (aka "District B13") is an action thriller currently available on Netflix.  B Movie fans will appreciate that every character is an exclamation mark....  Why reason, when you can shoot?  Why take the stairs, when you can jump off the building?  Why apply the brakes if you can ram roadblocks?  Why clean up a neighborhood if you can prevent a nuke from ruining the whole day?  This film succeeds as an action-fest, but if you are so inclined, you may choose to notice some flippant social commentary, as well.
The plot:  Paris, six years into the future.  Crime is out of control, and the slums are ruled by drug gangs, infinitely better equipped than the cops.  The government walls off the worst slums...no one gets in...no one gets out.  B13 is the worst.  Taha (Bibi Naceri) is the crime lord.  Leito (David Belle) is a vigilante force, determined to be Taha's foil.  As the movie begins, Leito has stolen and destroyed a big drug shipment meant for Taha, and K2 (Tony D'Amario) is dispatched to kill him.  Leito escapes, jumping from rooftop to rooftop, and using neat martial arts to disable several of Taha's henchmen.  Unable to capture Leito, Taha kidnaps Leito's sister, Lola (Dany Verissimo-Petit).  She is a feisty gal, and is all fight.  Less than an hour after her abduction, Leito drops through Taha's skylight and rescues her (above picture, Leito, Taha, and Lola).  Leito flees to the police, but corrupt cops give Lola back to Taha, and arrest Leito, but not before Leito kills the corrupt captain.  Lola is then drugged by Taha, and kept in bondage by his side.
Uh oh!  An experimental neutron bomb is hijacked and now in the possession of Taha.  An elite cop, Damien (Cyril Raffaelli), is assigned to penetrate B13 and diffuse the thing, which will detonate in less than 24 hours.  The cops get Leito out of prison to lead Damien in (see picture above).  An uncomfortable alliance, but Leito wants to rescue his sister.  The two make a very loud entrance back into B13 and are instantly dealing with Taha.  Now Taha's prisoners, the two must escape, repel about 40 of Taha's heavily armed thugs, find the bomb, rescue the girl, and.....  If those were their only challenges, life would be so simple.  Remember, Damien works for the government.....do you figure his bosses  may be fibbing to him? Together Leito and Damien realize they are on their own, as Taha and the government have nefarious motives.
Will our dynamic duo diffuse the bomb, and save Lola?  Does the government really want the bomb diffused?  What does Taha have planned with an arsenal bigger than that of most armies, and a neutron bomb?  This film is a lot of fun, and caters to the ADD crowd. Not three seconds ever go by without a punch, gunshot, car crash, someone jumping off a building, or a martial arts fight.  Both Leito and Damien have a comic book appeal, and are both driven by virtue.  See "District 13," and enjoy the ride.  

Friday, August 8, 2014

Dead in Tombstone, Danny Trejo is Hellbent on Revenge

Continuing our revenge theme, we turn to this bloody jewel currently on Netflix, 2013's "Dead in Tombstone." This film mixes the wild west with the supernatural, and features Mickey Rourke as the devil, Anthony Michael Hall (looking more like Malcolm McDowell than a character in a John Hughes film) as an evil sheriff, Dina Meyer ("Starship Troopers") as a sassy widow looking for revenge....and best of all, Danny Trejo as our anti-hero.  Atmospheric, complete with saloons, dirt streets, and Gatling guns, fans of westerns and horror will love this this movie.
The plot:  Guerrero de la Cruz (Trejo) is about to face the gallows when his cohorts, The Blackwater Gang, rides in with guns blazing and effects his escape.  All wanted men, the gang is now hiding in the mountains of Colorado.  Red (Hall) is the gang leader, and half brother of Guerrero.  Red has a score in mind...the town of Edendale.  Gold has just been found in Edendale's mines, and while the claim on the mine is disputed, the gold is being stored in the local bank.  The gang rides in and easily robs the bank of the gold, but in the process, murders the sheriff in front of his wife, Calathea (Meyer). Guerrero did not want any killing, and tries to stop Red from shooting the sheriff, but Red and the gang empty their revolvers into him.  With Guerrero dead, Red decides to stay in town, mine more gold, and make himself the new sheriff and mayor.  Guerrero descends into Hell and is met by the devil (Rourke), who tortures him before making a deal.
The deal?  To avoid eternal damnation, Guerrero offers to deliver the souls of the six gang members (including Red) who murdered him. The devil agrees, but gives Guerrero only 24 hours to do the task, and the six must be killed by him, not anyone else.  Our menacing looking protagonist is sent back, and instantly disposes of two of his former partners in mayhem.  Calathea, still wanting revenge for the murder of her husband joins up with Guerrero.  Together they must kill the remaining four.  Not so easy, Red has allied himself with some corrupt, and heavily armed U.S. Marshals.  As Trejo puts his former colleagues in pine coffins, Red's defenses are fortified.  Guerrero must also battle some tender feelings he begins to develop for Calathea, which are softening his gunfighter's resolve.
Will love jeopardize Guerrero's ability to escape an eternity of torment and torture?  Will the devil keep his end of the bargain if Guerrero succeeds?   The acting is superb.  Dina Meyer is always terrific on screen, and Anthony Michael Hall as a crusty, evil old-west, villain, is superb.  Danny Trejo is perfect and fires lots of guns, and wrecks much havoc in his pursuit to save his own soul.  Filmed in Romania, the old west sets are terrific.  See "Dead in Tombstone" in order to get your fill of the supernatural and the old west.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Lady Snowblood, Vengeance: A Dish Best Served Cold

The driving philosophy of 1973's "Lady Snowblood," is that white snow does not represent purity, rather purity is symbolized when that white snow is stained red with blood.  When asked what motivates us, most of us would answer family, love, God, justice, or freedom.  If you want to sober up a crowd, when this query is posed, answer...."vengeance."  This film, from Japan, introduces us to a protagonist motivated purely by vengeance....and the results are quite bloody.  This work inspired Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" films.  Meiko Kaji plays Yuki, a character who inflicts more gory killings than Freddy Krueger and Jason combined.
The plot:  In 1894 a girl, Yuki, is born in a Tokyo prison.  Yuki's mom, before she dies, proclaims to her daughter "You were born for vengeance...a child of the netherworlds."  The mom was sent to prison for knifing to death the gangster who orchestrated her husband's bloody murder.  The perpetrating gang then gang raped her for three days before one claimed her for his concubine....   Once in prison, this woman has relations with every prison guard so that she may get pregnant, and set her offspring onto a voyage of revenge to kill the other gang members responsible for her husband's murder and the rape.  Through twisted circumstances, Yuki is raised by a grand-master and taught to kill.  At the age of 20, she is the perfect killing machine, and sent on her way to track down the fiends that victimized her mother.  
Clad in white, armed with an umbrella, sword, and knife, Yuki tracks down the evil culprits.  Her prey have no idea who she is, and when one asks her, she replies "revenge."  Next she finds Banzo, a pathetic figure who is about to be finished off by evil gamblers.  Yuki pays off Banzo's debts, just so she can kill him.  Now a newspaper writer begins chronicling Yuki's story in the newspaper, so the next victims are expecting her.  No matter, this is the perfect killing machine, bred for only one task.  As powerful and capable as the remaining fiends are, Yuki is never at a disadvantage.  She is pure...no imperfections, such as love, mercy, and compassion.  
The people Yuki kills are pure evil, with no redeeming qualities.  In this movie vengeance is a sweet dish.  In the world we live, evil thrives as justice systems answer it with compassion and understanding.  In "Lady Snowblood," evil is sent whimpering.  Perhaps Yuki's mother realized that evil must be defeated, not reasoned with, in order to better society.  The blood spurts, limbs fly, and evil falls.  I found this a refreshing film, and quite possibly an inspiration to all the good people our governments have failed.  From Japan, see "Lady Snowblood."   

Monday, August 4, 2014

Blood Surf, Crocodile Mayhem in The Philippines

One of my favorite countries to visit is The Philippines...and one of my favorite creatures in monster movies is the crocodile (see my review of "Crocodile 2: Death Swamp" from last Nov. 14th).  This brings us to today's feature, the universally maligned "Blood Surf" (2000).  Kate Fischer (aka Katie Fischer), the tall Australian beauty, stars as an underwater camerawoman trying to capture surfers plying their trade among sharks.  Beautiful ocean, beach, and island settings in The Philippines, contrasted with gore and a neat 31 foot crocodile monster were not enough to please the wine and cheese crowd, but B Movie fans should find lots of exuberance from this work.
The plot: A film crew arrives on Palm Island to film surfers weaving through sharks.  The producer, Zack (Matthew Borlenghi), Cicely (Fischer), and two surfers, Bog (Dax Miller) and Jeremy (Joel West) make up this team.  They succeed in hiring guides to bring them to the dangerous Lilo Cay.  Sonny and Melba have a neat catamaran which our crew piles on to.  Jeremy then consults the statutory rape laws of The Philippines, as Sonny and Melba's daughter just turned 15.....Jeremy ends up in luck.  Sonny and Melba were our crew's second choice, as Dirks (Duncan Regehr) and his kinky girlfriend Arti (Taryn Reif) refused, as Dirks had a horrible experience in that cay.  By the way, Arti is listed sixth in the credits and loves to skinny-dip....you can guess her fate.  Anyway, our crew (see picture above) arrive at the cay and captures some great film as our surfers dodge man-eaters while surfing.  Melba and Sonny are not so lucky.  With our quartet exploring the island, a 31 foot crocodile attacks the catamaran and eats the guides.  A few minutes later, Jeremy is engaging in premarital relations with their 15 year old daughter, Lemmya (Maureen Larrazabal).  A morality tale is "Blood Surf," as Lemmya is then gulped up by our monster. (The picture below shows Lemmya's image in the eye of the giant crocodile).
With the catamaran sunk, our protagonists have no way to flee the island.  They are then abducted by pirates who want to rape Cicely....fortunately, the crocodile attacks their ship and eats most of them.  Now our four are rescued by Dirks and his beautiful, semi naked first mate, Arti.  Dirks is a Quint-like figure, and wants to kill the crocodile.  He will have his chance sooner than later, as our fiend attacks his boat and eats Jeremy (see picture below).  Like Quint in "Jaws," Dirks endures a gruesome fate.  As Bog, Cicely, and Arti..never mind about Zack, he gets what he deserves...make their way to the cursed island, they prepare for a final confrontation with this freak of nature.
Will our, now, trio make a successful stand against the king of the crocs?  Will this film inspire The Philippines to change their laws on statutory rape?  I counted ten direct references to "Jaws" in this film, which I found entertaining.  I am confused as to the very harsh reception "Blood Surf" received from most critics.  This monster film is better than "Thor" and "The Transformers," and possesses a more plausible plot.  The actors do a good job, and it knows when to be "tongue and cheek."  Another huge asset of "Blood Surf" is that we get to see a lot of the creature.  See this film as the summer beach season begins to wind down.  Note: "Blood Tide" is a movie I recommend (see my review of it on this blog dated July 5th), but a different movie altogether from "Blood Surf," which is less ethereal, and more"blue collar."    
 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Raiders of Atlantis, More Schlock from Italy

Atlantis' track record in film is not a good one.  When Patrick Duffy's "Man From Atlantis" is the first work to come to mind at the mention of that mythological island, this tells us that it is a plot device that hasn't met with success.  However, this blog loves Italian horror and science fiction (see this blog's June 15th entry on "Creatures From the Abyss").  Like "Creatures From the Abyss," 1983's "The Raiders of Atlantis" is an Italian film set in and near Miami.  With massive battle scenes and over the top carnage, this film ranks #1 all time in the category of "movies with Atlantis in the title."
The plot:  A scientific team aboard an ocean platform in the waters near Miami is trying to raise a sunken Russian submarine.  These unfortunate scientists commandeer Dr. Cathy Rollins (Gioia Scola) from her dig at Machu Picchu because they have found an inscribed tablet on the sub which dates back before any known civilization.  Rollins is excited at the discovery, but her glee is short lived.  The radiation from the nuclear sub causes the lost City of Atlantis to raise back to the surface, destroying the oil platform and sending all the scientists into the ocean.  A couple of mercenaries who have just finished some mayhem in a third world hell-hole, rescue the scientists and are able to beach on an island community housing old rich guys, their trophy wives, and cute children.  What they don't know is that a homicidal biker gang from Atlantis, looking like cast-offs from the movie "The Warriors," has just murdered everyone in the community.  Cathy, her scientist friends, and the mercenaries arrive to a city full of bloody corpses (see photo below).
Led by a psycho with a crystal skull mask, the gang begins pursuing our protagonists.  Eventually our team, led by Mike (Christopher Connely), and Washington (Tony King, a Fred Williamson look-a-like) find lots of machine guns and Molotov cocktails and engage in an action-packed, bloody war with Crystal Skull's gang. Crystal Skull lets our scientists know that he intends to murder them all except for Cathy....for which Atlantis has special plans for.  The psychos from Atlantis must have been a bit tired after butchering all the trophy wives as our scientific community fares well in battle against them.  After decapitating one of Crystal Skull's henchmen, Mike and Washington puree the spazoids with machine guns, and Molotov cocktails.  During at least three epic war scenes, we see carnage induced from guns, crossbows, gas bombs, swords, darts, booby traps, flame throwers, machetes, bows and arrows, and electrical wire.  As Crystal Skull abducts Cathy, our heroes then must rescue her and come face to face with the true intentions of Atlantis and it's warped inhabitants.  
What do the rulers of Atlantis have planned for the fair Cathy?  What models of machine guns were Mike and Washington using which never run out of ammunition?  Did the xenophobia of the 1980s, rampant in Italy, make war between Atlantis and the modern world inevitable?  This is a heartwarming tale in which people's hearts really do get burned by flame throwers.  See "The Raiders of Atlantis," and have your pre-conceived judgments about Atlantis movies shattered.