Friday, October 31, 2014

Return of the Evil Dead, Happy Halloween from Spain

What better way to celebrate Halloween than examining a movie from "The Tombs of the Blind Dead" series.  On August 28th we looked at "Tombs of the Blind Dead," and on September 15th we parsed "The Ghost Galleon."  Today we plow into 1973's "Return of the Evil Dead" (aka "El Ataque de los Muertos sin Ojos").  All of these movies emanate from Spain and are directed by Amando de Ossorio.  With plenty of virgin sacrifice carnage this film is set in a Portuguese village celebrating the overthrow of Satanic Templar knights, centuries ago.  Much like our Halloween, there are parties galore, heavy drinking, sanctioned and pre-marital sex, and costumes.  Of course, hundreds of villagers will die bloody deaths at the hand of resurrected fiends...but what a party!
The plot:  Way back when, Templar knights returning from Egypt took over a peaceful town in Portugal.  These knights, now Satan worshipers, practiced the black arts at the expense of the residents.  The most heinous act these fiends enacted against the poor schmucks was virgin sacrifice. The knights seized all the virgins they could (see picture above) and bled them to death with a sacrificial dagger, then drank their blood.  What a fool will do for immortality!  The townspeople rebelled, and while the knights slept off a night of heavy drinking, captured them.  The gutsy citizens burned them all at the stake, but not before burning out the eyes of their invaders.  As they charred, the knights promised to return and exact revenge on the town.  Fast forward five or six centuries.  The same town readies for a celebration commemorating the rebellion.  Jack (Tony Kendall) arrives to provide the fireworks show.  He meets the corrupt mayor (Fernando Sancho) and his beautiful skank, Vivian (Esperanza Roy).  These two are pictured below with one of their nemesis'.
Vivian is an interesting sort...apparently she has had sexual relations with most of the men she meets.  Jack is no exception, and right away the mayor knows that Jack and Vivian are sweet on each other.  Meanwhile, Marvin, the town's version of Renfield, kidnaps a beautiful virgin and sacrifices her over the burial ground of the knights.  When the girl's blood soaks into the earth, the knights rise out of their graves.  In town, Jack moves in on Vivian and the Mayor orders a hit on him.  On their way into town, the knights invade Monica's (Loreta Tovar) home and kill her lover.  The two were not married and should of known that pre-marital sex will get you skewered.  Monica escapes into town to warn the mayor, but the knights are on her tail.  The knights then kill most of the townspeople leaving Jack, Vivian, the mayor and his henchmen, Monica, Marvin, and a few others holed up in a church.  Though the knights seem to be held at bay, everyone of these survivors has their own agenda.  Betrayal and scheming act as the real enemy, and the knights only need to wait for opportunity.
Will Vivian pay the ultimate price for her sexual prowess, or will Jack be able to save her?  Are the resurrected Satanic knights a metaphor for the beat downs delivered upon the proletariat by the clergy and bourgeois?  Will Jack figure out a way to defeat or escape from the knights?  Lots of blood and screaming damsels highlight this horror film.  Oddly enough, many of the scenes will remind you of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds."  Some of the scenes are intense, for example, when a five year old girl sees the knights murder her mom and dad.  This is a terrific horror film, and a worthy addition to your Halloween movie-thon.     


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

We Are The Night, Four Hot German Vampires Bite and Shop

2010's "We Are The Night" (aka "Wir Sind Die Nacht") comes to us from Germany.  It seems whenever we meet really sophisticated vampires, who have survived centuries, while accumulating the wisdom of the ages, they end up acting really stupid and getting killed. Will that be the fate of our four lovelies today?  You'll have to wait until the closing credits for the answer to that question, but in the mean time, hold on for quite the roller-coaster ride.  Machine guns, Russian mobsters, car chases, vampire carnage, love stories (all of the unhealthy sort), and eroticism are delivered in very loud fashion, here.
As the film begins, Louise (Nina Hoss), Charlotte (Jennifer Ulrich), and Nora (Anna Fischer) have just finished sucking the blood of every passenger and crew member on a Paris to Berlin flight.  In the picture above, Louise finishes off the last surviving stewardess.  Big on adrenaline rushes, the trio pop open the cabin door and finish the flight on their own, letting the airplane crash.  Meanwhile, Lena (Karoline Herfuth) is a low-life pick-pocket, running from the police.  Tom (Max Reimelt), is on her tail, determined to arrest her.  On the run, Lena finds her way to a nightclub secreted in a Berlin park.  Louise, who runs the joint, is fixated on Lena's desperation and allows her in.  After attempting to seduce Lena, Louise bites her, changing her into a bloodsucker.  With much angst and pain, Lena becomes a vampire and at first enjoys the apparent immortal life.  Louise has intimate intentions for young Lena, but Lena is not a lesbian.  Lena is sweet on Tom, even though he seeks to put cuffs her.  The, now quartet of vampires, live the high life.  They drive Lamborghinis, shop at exclusive malls, drink lots of blood, and hang around in bikinis and party dresses.
As Tom continues his pursuit, Louise also continues her's.  Lena rejects intimacy with Louise which causes some difficulties.  First, Charlotte becomes jealous, as she used to be Louise's lover.  Second, Louise realizes Tom's continued existence makes a relationship with Lena impossible.  Oh yes, Tom is actually a great cop and is able to locate these vampire femmes.  With the full force of SWAT teams, the cops move in.  Thanks to some nifty machine-gun work by Charlotte (see photo below), the femmes escape, and an all out war is now in progress between the police and the vampires.  The immortal vamps prove to be anything but immortal.  As casualties mount, Louise becomes unreasonable and impulsive, putting Tom and Lena in mortal danger.
Is there a future for Tom and Lena?  How will Louise ultimately handle rejection?  However lost Lena seemed, Louise never figured she had a human side.  Now immortal, Lena finally begins to appreciate her humanity (....though she is no longer human).  This is a loud, bloody, stylistic vampire story.  Our four vamps are alluring and dangerous.  However much a love story "We Are The Night" is, it is mostly an action-packed horror film. Available on Netflix, enjoy these four sexy monsters this Halloween season. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cabin Fever: Patient Zero, Get Ready for the Pandemic

Our President is determined to integrate Ebola patients into our major cities.  Our Vice President tells us we'll die if we get on an airplane.  The HHS (the masterminds behind the Veteran Affairs scandal)  and CDC (which is headed up by the soda-Nazi, who banned 16 ounce soft drinks in NYC) tell us there is absolutely no way to catch Ebola.  The military is dispatched to western Africa.  "The Walking Dead" season 5 is underway. Who are you gonna trust?  This brings us to this year's "Cabin Fever: Patient Zero."  There is absolutely no cause for worry, but perhaps we may learn something from the "Cabin Fever" movies.
The plot:  You know about that hyper-skin eating virus from the previous "Cabin Fever" films.  One man, Porter (Sean Astin, see photo above) in immune to the killer, and he is being tested at a secret CDC lab on a deserted island near the Dominican Republic.  As with most deserted islands in these B movies, they tend to get crowded pretty quickly after the opening credits.  Porter has an adversarial relationship with the mad Doctor Edwards (Currie Graham), who is charged with coming up with a cure.  Edwards has two assistants, the good Dr. Camila (Solly Duran), and the evil Dr. Bridgette (Lydia Hearst).  Through a series of events, the virus, of course, spreads through the lab facility.  Meanwhile, four pot-smoking, young adults land on the island for a bachelor's party.  Two of these revelers, Penny (Jillian Murray) and Josh (Brando Eaton) go snorkeling.  Unfortunately, a sanitation pipe from the lab dumps contaminated waste into the ocean.  Penny and Josh emerge from the surf....infected (see photo below).
As Josh and Penny start deteriorating, they decide to engage in pre-marital sex.  Pre-marital sex in these films never turns out well, and in this case produces some disgusting results.  To help these two unfortunates, Marcus (Mitch Ryan) and Dobbs (Ryan Donowho) head to the lab at the other side of the island for help.  Bad move.  The lab is overrun by the virus and our would be heroes meet up with Porter, Edwards, and his two assistants.  Each of these survivors has their own agenda, and no one can be trusted.  Does Edwards have the cure?  Is patient zero willing to sacrifice himself to prevent a pandemic?  Without giving too much away, this film features a thrilling cat-fight between a horribly disfigured Penny and an infected Bridgette , which ends when one of the women use a female-sex toy as her weapon of choice.
The gore meter never rests in this film, which may have been released at the perfect time.  The acting is good, and this work takes the "Cabin Fever" franchise to a new  So, someday in the near future, when your government tells you to report to the local elementary school (which is now a shelter), where you will be safe......remember this film before you pack up an overnight bag.  Available on Netflix, "Cabin Fever: Patient Zero" will give you the if today's headlines don't.  

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Vampire Lovers, Lesbian Bloodsuckers from Hammer Films

Upon her wedding day, Queen Victoria's daughter received this piece of advice from her mom, regarding the wedding night; "Just lay back and think of England."  Similarly, Ingrid Pitt sought advice regarding her intimate lesbian scenes when she was starring in 1970's "The Vampire Lovers." Director Roy Ward Baker offered only this to his beautiful actress, "Just enjoy it."  The eroticism hinted at in Hammer vampire movies comes gushing forth in today's selection.  TVL is a perfect companion piece to Hammer's "Countess Dracula" (reviewed on this blog on May 4th), as both star Ingrid Pitt, arguably the best scream queen in film history.
The plot; During an aristocratic ball in Vienna, a countess (Dawn Addams) arrives with her apparent, niece Marcilla (Pitt, pictured above).  All the guys are checking out this stunning beauty, and in turn, Marcilla checks out all the buxom young ladies.  In a suave scam, the woman pawns Marcilla off on a general (Peter Cushing), while she attends a sick relative.  Perfect for Marcilla, as she is lusting for the general's daughter, Laura (Pippa Steel).  As Marcilla is a guest in the general's mansion, Laura and her grow increasingly close.  Eventually there is a lot of intimacy and nudity associated with these two.  Uh oh!  Laura is getting weaker and paler.  When Laura finally departs this mortal coil, Marcilla is nowhere to be found.  What is found are two puncture marks on Laura's neck.
Marcilla pops up again, this time as Carmilla.  We find out that this vampire is the last "living"descendant of the cursed Karnstein family (see my review of "Twins of Evil" on May 8th).  In a similar scam, Carmilla is taken in by the Morton's.  Good news for our fiend, as now she can set her sights on Emma Morton (Madeline Smith).  As you can see from the picture above, Carmilla does just that.  As Carmilla gets naked and intimate with Emma, and Emma's governess (Kate O'Mara), the general assembles a posse to end the evil once and for all.  Will our heroic posse be in time to save Emma from an unspeakable evil? 
This vampire's lust for beautiful young women is the draw for TVL.  Pitt, Smith, Steel, and O'Mara are all beautiful in this.  Peter Cushing, as usual, is terrific as the grieving father turned vampire hunter.  As the 1970s progressed, these Hammer horror films began to increase the eroticism...which believe it or not....coincided with decreased box office revenues.  In any event, this film will certainly please all Hammer horror film fans.  The beauty of the glamour women of Hammer films has never been matched by the more contemporary actresses.  Available on Netflix, treat yourself to what some may term a "guilty pleasure."

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Young Blood: Evil Intentions, White Trash vs. The Vampires

....or one might term 2012's "Young Blood: Evil Intentions" as the anti-"Twilight" movie.  No cool, twinkling teenagers who have graced high schools for generations.  No centuries old central European royalty.  No sophisticated recluses dwelling in mansions.  Nope. In this film we have real people that actually look like our neighbors.  Directed, written, and produced by Mat and Myron Smith, today's blog entry gives us a vampire story resembling how "Twilight" might have looked if Troma made it.  Not a Troma film, but our buddy Lloyd Kaufman appears as a TV anchorman, in a very dramatic role.  Filmed in Martinsville, Virginia (NASCAR-land) YBEI is a horror story, a satire, social commentary, and a comedy....but it's default is all horror.
The movie begins at Anastasia's (Autumn Ward) birthday party.  Lots of friends and family converging on a roller skating rink to celebrate this day, but it is ruined by the girl's abusive stepfather to be, Dale (Myron Smith).  Once home, Anastasia's older sister, Anavey (Zoe Cox) takes her for a walk in the park.  However strange Anavey is, we all know someone like her.  The quasi-Goth Anavey, a vampire, then bites her reluctant sister on the neck, turning her into a bloodsucker. Anavey has a plan.  She desires to turn all the children in her town into these fiends and then kill all the adults.  Why such the hatred for adults?  It doesn't take Freud to figure this one out.  The girls' mother (Rebecca Kidd) is shacked up with an abusive Dale...who is appropriately clad in a wife-beater undershirt.  Dale beats their mom, and also Anavey.  After biting Anastasia, Anavey orders her to kill their grandmother (Brett R.M. Smith) in order for the transformation to be complete. This killing delivers much a dark sort of way, of course.
As Dale gets more abusive, the girls kill more, all the while converting all the children in their school into vampires.  The local church begins to hold anti-vampire rallies.  Rallyers  will hold signs saying clever stuff like "Let Them Eat Stake."  Mat and Myron Smith throw in lots of biting commentary regarding what violent adults, and broken homes can turn our children into.  However, the commentary doesn't end there,  Every institution in working class suburbia receives attention from our film makers.  Teachers and parents meet horrible fates, and our children turn more evil.  However dark Anavey is, it is obvious Anastasia has good in her.  As Anastasia's doubts about vampire culture mount, Anavey begins growing suspicious of her little sister's loyalty.  Uh oh!  Is it too late for Anastasia?
Autumn Ward is absolutely FANTASTIC!  Though the adults are portrayed as out of touch and one dimensional, we the viewer must realize that is how the children see them.  Kaufman (pictured above) is his typical boisterous self, and presents newscasts as only he could.  However comedic and satirical this film is, be warned, when it ends there is no doubt we have just seen a horror film.  Kudos to Mat and Myron Smith for making a film that is perfect for this Halloween season.   

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

X-Ray, Barbi Benton Heats Up a Hospital

Barbi Benton, who got her start on "Hee Haw," first graced this blog with my entry of "Deathstalker" (see my review on March 3rd).  Ms. Benton appeared in many network TV shows, and in Playboy. Though never a Playmate, she did date Hugh Heffner.  With plenty of excuses to embark on the wild side, Ms. Benton married in 1979.  Today, she has been married to her husband for 35 years and has two children with him.  Today's entry might be her most risque role, 1982's "X-Ray" (aka "Hospital Massacre").  In this film, she has an elongated nude scene in which she is examined....groped, actually, by a doctor.  While filming this scene, quite a crowd assembled behind the camera.  Perhaps that heated up the set a bit, as if Ms. Benton needed any help with that.
The plot:  Susan (Benton) needs to pick up her test results from a previous physical exam at the hospital.  She is dressed in an alluring red business suit, with some high it happens to be Valentine's Day.  Here is the bad news, some evil fiend is at work in the hospital, determined to inflict a torturous death upon her.  Susan's appointment is with the very pretty Dr. Jacobs (Gay Austin), however our antagonist lures the unfortunate soul to the abandoned ninth floor and inflicts some angry carnage on her (see picture below).  When Susan arrives, someone has switched her test results with a patient who has a combination of Ebola and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  The opportunistic Dr. Saxon (John Warner Williams) reads the fraudulent medical file and orders Susan to strip, which she does with minimal apprehension.  This gives way for three of the most gratuitous minutes ever put on film in which Susan is probed.
As Susan is being "examined," our psycho is busy protecting his ninth floor lair.  A maintenance guy finds Jacobs' corpse, and then gets his head shoved in a sink full of acid.  Meanwhile, Dr. Saxon orders new blood work for Susan, however the nurses who do the tests are butchered, and the fiend substitutes results from diseased unfortunates, thus Susan is admitted.  By the way, this is quite a hospital.  Every patient is insane or in a full body cast.  One creep prowls the halls and shows up every time Susan is in a state of undress (much like the crew for this movie).  As more nurses and doctors are murdered, our monster is closing in our our naive damsel.  Whoever is keeping Susan in the hospital, has a diabolical plan for her which includes several surgical instruments and no anesthesia.  A back story lets us know that Susan humiliated a boy on Valentine's Day in 1961.....but who did this boy grow up to be?  An ex-husband, a materialistic boyfriend, weird doctors, nurses and patients are all suspects.
The ending is loud and fiery as Susan will have to go one on one with her tormentor.  Many will compare this film to "Halloween 2," as they hit the theaters at about the same time.  The John Carpenter name made H2 a bigger box office success, however, "X-Ray" may be the better movie.  Surgical saws, big knives, coat racks, acid, a big syringe, a stethoscope, and an ax are all used to deliver gushing gore.  Even after receiving her boyfriend's decapitated head in a hat box, Susan keeps it together in order to give our insaniac the fight of his putrid existence.  See Barbi Benton's most revealing film to get your fill of 80s slasher fare this Halloween season.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Schizoid, Weird Group Therapy

1980's "Schizoid" started the mantra, "It's not safe to go back into group therapy."  Well maybe not, but with Klaus Kinski starring as a kinky therapist, and the prime suspect in a series of scissor murders, we have a worthwhile slasher flick.  The suspects outnumber the beautiful victims, and feature a young Christopher Lloyd as a creepy maintenance guy who enrolls in group therapy with a bunch of sexy women.  With a great cast, plot twists, a plethora of suspects, and a shiny pair of scissors, "Schizoid" will certainly please.
As our film begins, the female members of Dr. Fales' (Kinski) therapy group are nude in a Jacuzzi. As they commiserate about their dysfunctions, none of them are aware that each of them is being bedded by our nymphomaniac Dr. Fales.  Fales is an odd one, in addition to having carnal relations with his patients, he enjoys watching his teen-aged, daughter, Alison (Donna Wilkes), undress.  I was a young teenager when I saw Ms. Wilkes in "Jaws 2."  If she had been eaten by the shark, I would've needed group therapy.  As soon as the women dry off, the slashing starts.  One of the group members (see photo below) is slashed at an abandoned plantation and hung up to dry.  Simultaneously, Julie (Mariana Hill), an advice columnist, has started getting cryptic letters from someone who desires to shoot her.  The next to go is a group member, who is also an exotic dancer.  She buys it just after Fales visits her in her dressing room, where they have passionate sex.  Meanwhile, Alison spies on the therapy sessions with the use of the intercom system, and develops a hatred for Julie.  
More suspects are piled onto the plot.  Craig Wasson plays Julie's ex-husband, Doug.  He rightly believes that the therapy group is responsible for Julie, who he adores, seeking a divorce.  Gilbert (Lloyd) is a maintenance man who just happens to show up on jobs in whichever building Julie walks into. Gilbert is the only member of the group not having carnal relations with Fales.  Back to Alison (see photo below).  She has not handled the death of her mother well, and resents her dad for sleeping with every women he meets.  When Fales brings Julie home for dinner, Alison creates one heck of an awkward time for them.  As the notes threatening Julie's life keep coming, the cops are only mildly interested.  The letters express a desire to shoot Julie, yet the killer is using a scissors....are there more than one?
As Julie tries on her own to catch her tormentor, she surrounds herself with those she trusts...even though they all have motives to murder her.  The story is creepy, not so much because of the murders, but Dr. Fales' relationship with his daughter will also give you the willies.  If Alison is the fiend, she is a fiend we are pulling for.  Ms. Wilkes has returned to acting, most recently in this year's "90210 Shark Attack."  Thankfully she was not eaten in "Jaws 2," and watch "Schizoid" to see if she survives in this slasher film. 


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Literature Review #3: Ghost Under Foot, The Spirit of Mary Bell

I have been in law enforcement for almost 25 years.  Peers and colleagues poo-poo my writings and assertions about anything paranormal.  We in cop-culture are reasonable....looking for provable facts...cynical....and dismissive.  The stereotypical witness to hauntings is artistic, impressionable, impulsive, and vulnerable.  True or not, generalizations sometimes rule.  Hence my literature review for October, Kenneth W. Harmon's "Ghost Under Foot, the Spirit of Mary Bell."  Mr. Harmon is a fiction writer and a retired cop.  He, in his retirement, has also been befriended by a ghost.  This book is non-fiction, and chronicles his and his family's experiences with the long deceased Mary Bell.  Call me biased, but Mr. Harmon's law enforcement background wins him much credibility with me.
The story begins as the Harmon family tours a hotbed of paranormal activity, the historic Stanley Hotel (pictured below) in Colorado.  What exactly happened during this tour is up for discussion, but perhaps something (someone?) took an interest in the Harmon family.  Back at home in Fort Collins, our author's interest in ghosts is peeked (19th century Fort Collins is pictured below).  At this point Mr.Harmon may be termed an amateur paranormal investigator...but the amateur label will be short-lived.  Physiological symptoms indicate that whatever was present at that hotel affected Mr. Harmon.  Whether he had that proverbial "third eye" opened or beings from "the other side" were communicating with him...who knows?  Investigation is in his blood, so Mr. Harmon begins a mission to assess the paranormal activity in his very old house. Fort Collins has quite a history, and the whole city is built on graves, marked and unmarked.  The initial results of video and photographic endeavors show orbs.  In the paranormal community, the presence of orbs is much debated as evidence of ghosts. 
As a good cop does, Mr. Harmon becomes adept at necessary investigative tactics.  Researching, interviewing, consulting experts, and pure determination equip our author to conduct a complete investigation into a mystery many would claim is destined to stay a mystery.  As each family member endures unexplained experiences and sensations, the retired cop takes a risk.  Instead of merely chronicling the paranormal, Mr. Harmon decides to communicate and learn from whoever (or whatever) is dwelling with them.  Not all paranormal investigation is of the dramatic sense which we see on TV, and lots of land records and property research is undertaken (over the span of months), and a suspect is discovered.  Mary Bell!  Bell is a 19th century wife and mother who died at an early age of Typhoid fever.....AND IS BURIED  on Harmon's property.  Whether it is a good idea to communicate with the dead or not, the cop in Mr. Harmon is not going to let a mystery stay a mystery.  What happens next is where most paranormal stories end.  As our family comes to terms with their ghost, Mary Bell begins to act more overtly...sometimes in a very scary sense.
The results of the investigation?  Shocking!  I won't ruin it for you, but this Halloween, treat yourself to a terrific ghost story and read "Ghost Under Foot, The Spirit of Mary Bell."  Where most ghost stories end, this one continues much further into an uncomfortable realm.  As mysteries are solved, more are born.  First printed in 2012, this book is published by Llewellyn Publications of Woodbury, Minnesota. Available on and also at

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Sadistic Baron Von Klaus, Possession Jesus Franco Style

One of the worst parts about visiting the dentist are the magazines in the reception area.  Dental schools must instruct future dentists to select only periodicals of absolutely no interest to their patients...but why?  Tennis monthlies, photography journals, and every child molester's favorite read..."Highlights," await us as we embark on these twice a year teeth cleaning adventures.  So, when we find a movie where the protagonist is a journalist for "Murderers and Maidens" magazine, and features a castle's torture chamber, and lots of doomed damsels....well...we know we have another Jesus Franco film.  1962's "The Sadistic Baron Von Klaus" (aka "La Mano de un Hombre Muerto"), made by Spain's famous horror director is our feature today.
Baron Von Klaus died 500 years ago.  In his time he abducted beautiful young women and subjected them to sexual torture before sacrificing them with an ancient dagger.  Over the centuries, these types of ritualistic killings re-occur, always withing a few miles of the Von Klaus castle.  The superstitious townspeople believe the ghost of the Baron rises from the nearby swamps to seek fair maidens.  Uh oh, the killings have begun again.  Max Von Klaus (Howard Vernon) is a grouchy eccentric who lives in the castle now.  His brother, the milquetoast wimp, Ludwig (Hugo Blanco), has just brought his beautiful fiance and potential future sacrificial meat, Karine (Paula Martel), to visit.  Also arriving in town is Karl (Fernando Delgado, pictured above), who intends to investigate the legend and the recent murders.  The castle borders the atmospheric Gothic town of Holfen, and it's main pub is stalked with buxom bar-maidens...or shall we say future subjects of some evil ritualistic rite?
Initially Ludwig (pictured above) comes across as a loser, dating way out of his league.  When he begins spending all of his free time in his ancestor's basement/torture chamber, we the viewer wonder when beautiful Karine will wise up and give him the "I love you, but I'm not in love with you..." speech.  At the pub, both Linda (Ana Castor) the proprietress, and Margaret (Gogo Rojo, sadly, she is also pictured in the top photo) will continually make really stupid decisions that put themselves in the cross-hairs of the killer.  As evidence mounts suggesting Max is the killer, the babes of Holfen let their guard down.  After a sultry songstress is murdered in her hotel room, Max is arrested.  When the murders continue, Karl discovers some revealing clues and races to the Von Klaus castle to find Karine (pictured below), but is it too late?  Finally, how can we get our dentists to stock their waiting rooms with "Murderers and Maidens" magazine?
Of course there will be a nail biting conclusion that takes us into the Von Klaus torture chamber, and a really eerie ending.  The cinematography is stunning (black and white), and it intensifies the creepiness of this little seen Franco classic.  All the actresses are beautiful, and they play the naive damsels well.  Available on Netflix, this would be a terrific selection for your Halloween moviethon.   

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Town That Dreaded Sundown, Jason goes to Gilligan's Island

1976's "The Town that Dreaded Sundown" graced the drive in theaters for years.  A docu-thriller about a serial killer mashing up lover's lane couples in 1946 Texarkana.  I had avoided this film largely because of the reviews which described it as boring.  Shame on me!  After viewing this work last week, I couldn't disagree with it's critics more.  Effective as a period piece, capitalizing on middle-America's distrust of the Truman Administration, and as a scary thriller, TTTDS is a winner.  Ben Johnson is perfect as Captain J.D. Morales of the Texas Rangers, who personifies the confidence and arrogance of State and Federal law enforcement while dealing with local police departments, perfectly.  Also starring Dawn Wells ("Gilligan's Island") as a would be victim and Andrew Pine as a very competent deputy, the supporting cast is terrific, as well.
The plot:  On March 3rd, an attractive couple parks in the woods with the expressed purpose to kiss a lot and get naked.  Probably unmarried, our amorous couple meets a painful fate, as they are bludgeoned by a masked man.  Both survive, but the future victims will not be as fortunate.  Three weeks later, a Navy Sea Bee and his 17 year old date are shot to death as they park down an abandoned dirt road.  The girl was tied to a tree by our fiend before being shot to death.  The killer also bites the neck, back, and breasts of his female victims.  This time, Deputy Ramsey (Pine) is able to pursue the masked fiend, but this elusive phantom barely gets away.  Gun stores and locksmiths in Texarkana start doing great business.  Then, to take charge of the investigation, Capt. Morales of the Rangers (Johnson) arrives.  In true magnanimous fashion, he announces to the local PD and sheriff's department, "Things will be handled my way." This works magnificently, unless you are a resident of Texarkana, as three weeks after the last attack, two high school students, a hunk and a babe trombone player, are murdered.  Our killer went to special efforts in murdering the trombone player, as he tied her to a tree, too, and made the trombone into a weapon to do his deed.
The national media, FBI, and every crackpot wanting credit for the murders then converges on Texarkana.  As Morales and Ramsey work around the clock, sometimes with comedic results, the phantom begins to eye Helen Reed (Wells).  Despite the increased police presence, and various stakeouts, Reed and her husband are targeted for an excruciating demise by the murderer.  Without Ginger and Gilligan available, Reed will endure a tortuous evening. 
Many will be reminded of the story of the Zodiac killer when viewing this film, as this is also a true story.  Filmed in Texarkana, Charles B. Pierce effectively turns middle America into a creepy world.  Will the police capture this phantom?  Will Donna Wells survive to become the most notable advocate of marijuana use in this country?  Chilling and horrifying, this is a hard to find film, only recently available on Blu-Ray and Netflix.  The makers of "Paranormal Activity" have remade this film, set in 2014, with a paranormal flare to it.  The original 1976 version will have you thinking, and may give you the creeps well after the film ends.  

Monday, October 13, 2014

Gator Bait 2: Cajun Justice, More Rape and More Revenge in the Swamp

14 years after "'Gator Bait" graced the drive-in theaters, "Gator Bait 2: Cajun Justice" was released. Because of the untimely death of Playboy Playmate Claudia Jennings, this movie stars the daughter of the directors,  Jan Sebastian.  Fans of "American Angels Ladies Wrestling" might remember Ms. Sebastian as Luscious Lisa.  Also known as Jan MacKenzie, she is the daughter of Beverly and Ferd Sebastian, who also directed the original "'Gator Bait."  However raunchy these two films are, life presents some unexpected turns.  After suffering serious heart problems, Mr. Sebastian found God and became an ordained minister (I guess we won't see a third "'Gator Bait" film).  It is not known if his congregation has seen these two movies.
Over a decade removed from when Claudia Jennings dispatched a bunch of rapist rednecks, Angelique (MacKenzie) arrives in the swamp to marry Big T (Tray Loren).  In the first film, Big T was Little T, the little mute brother of Desiree, who watched his other sister get rifle-raped.  Our heroine is a city girl, and is not properly schooled in the ways of the bayou.  After a Cajun wedding (not quite rivaling the wedding scene that opens "The Godfather"), our love birds take a swamp boat and find an isolated cabin.  There, they have lots of sex (...with the benefit of clergy) and Big T teaches Angelique swamp living.  He schools her on shooting rifles, catching food, calling gators, setting traps, steering a swamp boat, and self-defense.  She schools him on some rigorous sex.  The newlyweds are about to be thrown into a horror story.  Big T's rivals want revenge for something and set out to find our couple....which they do.
Our swamp rats find Angelique getting out of a tub all wet and naked.  They grab her and proceed to humiliate her.  First they pass her around naked and force her to put on her wedding night lingerie, then proceed to to take her back to their lair.  Big T arrives, and the gang shoots him and leaves him for dead in the swamp.  Once back at their lair, the redneck brutes chain her down and one by one, rape her.  As the third rapist takes his turn, she escapes.  Believing Big T is gator food, she utilizes the skills taught to her on her honeymoon and begins stalking her tormentors.  She uses her marksmanship, swamp boat, and a sack filled with venomous vipers to inflict gory and unimaginable revenge. Despite being raped, she does not cower, and instead turns into an unmerciful killing machine.
Is Big T really dead?  Was it awkward to film one's daughter being stripped and humiliated?  Is there a sermon that addresses this?  This 1988 film premiered as drive-in theaters were facing extinction, thus the popularity of this sequel was minimal.  However, in the true spirit of the sexploitation and revenge genre of the 1970s, the second "Gator Bait" film is a worthy sequel.  Available on YouTube, fans of the first one will want to see this.  Below are links to Luscious Lisa getting humiliated.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Bigfoot Wars, Rednecks...Hide Your Daughters

Quirky, alienating, yet pristine, today's feature is 2014's "Bigfoot Wars."  Sort of a cross between "The Legend of Boggy Creek" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" this film is a must see for all cryptozoologists, and Roger Corman fans.  Though, not a Corman film, director Brian T. Jaynes obviously drew inspiration from the master.  Terrific performances from C. Thomas Howell as a redneck mafioso (who knew there was such a thing?), Holt Boggs as Sheriff Taylor (, not that one...), Judd Nelson as a loco doctor highlight this film.  However, in the "Actresses We'd Like to See More of" department, these two young ladies also do a fine job; Monica Harmse plays a nurse who is Boggy Creek's only hope for competent medical care, and Mindy Raymond graces the screen as a TV info-babe.  Oh yes, for you beer aficionados, this film also serves a neat advertisement for Dosequis (XX).
The plot: Looking for votes, the Mayor of Boggy Creek is shacked up in a sleazy motel room with Dakota (Audrey Ellis Fox), who is the daughter of the Dixieland mafioso (who knew there was a Dixieland mafia?).  Also six hormone infested, nymphomaniac high school kids wander on to private land for volleyball and an orgy.  Each of these romps is attacked by bigfoots.  In the first one, the mayor buys it the same way Elvis did, on the toilet.  In the latter scenario, a team of Sasquatch's rips apart most of the teens.  Uh oh, here is the Roger Corman influence....the buxom Dakota, and Amanda, the bikini volleyball athlete, are not killed but hauled back to the monster lair.  For what?  Come on...take a guess.  A PTSD wrought Sheriff Taylor, who believes bowel stench is all of our destinies, puts a hunting posse together when his daughter is kidnapped from the drive-in movies by one of these creatures.  Zeke, our mafioso leads the search, and mumbles his way to the lair.
Wait, here comes Emmy nominated, TV reporterette, Kendall Sharp (Raymond).  She meets up with our cynical posse after her cameraman is dissected by a fiend.  All make-up, high-heels, hairspray, and tight wardrobe, Kendall puts on warpaint and finds a gun and some cajones.  After more carnage, our posse arrives at the lair, but will it be in time to preserve the chastity of the surviving skanks.  Meanwhile back at Boggy Creek's hospital, Dr. Evans and Nurse Willis (Harmse) treat Dakota, who is now an insane, drooling lunatic.  Willis then notices something awful about Dakota's condition which will have horrifying ramifications.
The unbelievable conclusion will contain lots of Sasquatch and human carnage.  Spears, pistols, machetes, and claws are utilized in the final battle between man and his rival at the top of the food chain.  Exciting and gory, the acting was terrific.  C. Thomas Howell had the Dixieland mumble down just right, and our cynical sheriff oozed of someone requiring three days of observation on the fifth floor.  Both Raymond (member of UT's championship National Forensic team) and Harmse (a former NCAA Division 1 athlete) will have movies coming out in the near future, which should be paid attention to.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, The Lunatic and the Porn Star

1989's "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down" (aka "Atame!") is our feature today.  Bordering on an X rating, this film features one of the strangest sex scenes in movie history.  Antonio Banderas plays a recently released mental patient, infatuated with a porn star (...not that infatuation with a porn star is insane...).  What follows is anything but normal, as neither character ever graces the realm of normalcy here. When this film hints at approaching tameness, director Pedro Almodovar turns on the eroticism.  Pure fantasy or pure dysfunction?  You choose.  For those easily offended, do not read any further.
The plot:  Ricky (Banderas) is released from an insane asylum by his female doctor.  This doctor was addicted to sex with Ricky and before he departs, she thanks him for the "pleasure and the pain."  Marina (Victoria Abril), a porn star/junkie is finishing an exploitation/horror film and is addicted to smack.  Her elderly, wheelchair bound director is also infatuated with her, but strictly in a lustful mindset.  Ricky's first act in the real world is to follow Marina home, break into her flat, knock her out, and tie her to the bed.  When Marina wakes, she is terrified.  She implores him to get it (rape) over with and leave.  Ricky advises her that he is not there to rape, rather he wants to keep her until she loves him, marries him, and has his children.  She keeps trying to escape, he keeps punishing her.  Unfortunately her addictions keep consuming her. She needs smack to control pain, and Ricky has to go find some. No problem, he'll do anything for her.
Ricky really does care for her, using non-allergic tape to gag her, and soft rope to bind her.  We find out why Ricky developed his obsession with Marina.  No matter how twisted we see this obsession, remember, Marina is a drug addicted, porn star, and she sees the sweetness in it.  Both our protagonists are messed up, and insane Ricky is bent on forcing her to love and cherish him. In contrast, is Marina's current life.  Addicted to drugs because of pain, her perverted director, Maximo (Francisco Rabal), sees her as a sexual goddess, and 100% object.  Ricky offers Marina the rest of their lives and....normalcy?  She is smart and realizes that her current fame is fleeting and based on her willingness to perform nude for the camera.  Perhaps the most controversial part of this film is eventually we stop seeing Marina as a victim, but as a woman with opportunity.  In other words, the independent Marina headed down a path of ruination, the Marina in bondage approaches salvation.  More likely, this is a story of two lost souls, with plenty of fantasy thrown in.    
A hit in Spain, when this film came to the U.S. it was tagged with an X rating (which kills box office numbers).  Abril is excellent as our sad star in peril.  Her performance creates a believable atmosphere as Marina transitions from a horrified hostage to a needy love object. Of course, Ricky sees her as more than an object, and a young Banderas pulls it off too.  Throw in plenty of eroticism and  a musical score by Ennio Morricone, and I just have a guilty pleasure sort of way...recommend "Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!" which is available in subtitles on Netflix. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Killing Car, Hot Asian Chick Mows Down French Babes

Tiki Tsang was a wonderful actress.  Born in Queensland, Australia, she moved to Paris and was quickly cast as the mysterious gun-woman in Jean Rollin's "Killing Car" (aka "Femme Dangereuse"). This 1993 film was shot in 1989 over the span of seven days.  This would be Ms. Tsang's only film.  French director, Rollin, made lots of horror movies and often interjected lesbian scenes.  Though this film resembles "Ms. 45" and "Death Wish" more than anything supernatural, the eeriness which Rollin is famous comes through in intense fashion.
The plot:  A mysterious Asian woman arrives at a junk yard.  After she seduces the owner, she shoots him at point blank range.  The owner's scantily dressed buxom girlfriend grabs a gun and the two femmes get in a gunfight.  Realizing she is over matched, the girlfriend flees and meets four prostitutes by the side of the road.  Our protagonist finds them and chases all five of these seductively clad young women and shoots them to death one by one.  This woman also drove off the junk yard with an old, green American car.  Next she meets up with a gangster and his hot, girlfriend.  She offs both of them.  These are in fact morality tales, and the girlfriend was actually married to another man.  She waits, and the gangster's right hand man arrives, and she shoots him to death.  While shooting this one to death, his hot girlfriend decides to strip to her intimates.....before our hot Asian chick impales her to a barn door with a pitch fork.  All this is quite titillating on the screen...don't ask why.   
Next up, two really hot lesbians.  Posing as a model, our femme fatale shows up at Pascale's studio.  When the sexy but experimental Pascale introduces Barbara into the photo-shoot (and perhaps a threesome), they are offed by our Asian assailant.  I know this is gratuitous, and that is probably the reason this film gets such bad reviews...but it is so much fun!  She'll pose as an exotic dancer next and off more hot chicks.  I know this begs an obvious question.....WHY?  Something awful happened one years ago...but what?....and our victims all had something to do with it. Our only clue is the green car she stole in the opening scene.  The two detectives on the case are too bumbling to pose any serious threat to our beautiful mystery woman.  There will be over 20 murders in this less than 90 minute revenge epic.
Though the ending isn't too unpredictable, a few plot twists introduce a macabre flavor to this shoot-em-up fest.  Tiki Tsang is beautiful, sensual, and enigmatic.  When she is on the screen in either tall leather boots, revealing blouses, tight pants, exotic costumes, or a flowing gown, the viewer can't take their eyes off of her.  If anyone knows what ever happened to Ms. Tsang, please fill me in.  It is a great mystery as to why this is her only film.  Available on Netflix, you're not gonna want to miss this French pseudo-masterpiece.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Colony, Get Ready for Winter

In 1973 Jacques Cousteau promised that by the early 1980s all of our oceans would be lifeless black goo.  In 2008, Al Gore promised us that by 2013, both polar icecaps would be 100% melted.  As the global warning scare starts to fall apart, we delve into 2013's "The Colony."  I guess the makers of this film never got Gore's memo.  As the planet gets cooler, global warming enthusiasts tell us that the warming planet leads to colder temperatures (don't even ask...). Thus, we find ourselves with inflated heating bills in winter, and some good movies capitalizing on the climate scare of 10 years ago.  Global warming, plague, or nuclear war...doesn't landscapes work well in B or straight to DVD movies.  Filmed in Ontario, the strengths of this film include the apocalyptic sets, some nice gore, and fine acting.
The plot:  Colony 7 (see picture below) exists in a frozen wasteland, outside a major city which is buried under 20 feet of ice.  Their leader, Briggs (Laurence Fishburne), keeps the 50 colonists together with the hope of the sun returning.  His second in command is a psycho named Mason (Bill Paxton), who like Carol in "The Walking Dead," shoots anyone with the remotest symptom of the flu. Sam (Kevin Zegers) is an idealist, who like Glen from TWD, has taken the apocalypse as an opportunity to date way out of his league.  Sam's sultry love interest is Kai (Charlotte Sullivan), who does heat up the frigid landscape.  Anyway, the colony receives a distress call from Colony 5, but no further explanations.  Sam, Briggs, and an ill-fated Graydon (Atticus Dean Mitchell), brave the apocalyptic tundra and hike over to that colony (see picture above).  Briggs leaves Kai in charge, though she will be conquered by the homicidal Mason later in the plot.
After a perilous journey, our trio arrives at Colony 5.  It looks as though a war has been waged there. The walls are dripping with blood, and at first, there are no signs of survivors.  When a survivor is found, he is a drooling mad-man who warns about a horde of invaders.  Our trio then finds a room where feral humans are chopping up colonists with meat cleavers and eating them.  The horde then sets their sights on fresh meat and pursues our out-manned trio.  Lead by an imposing cannibal (see picture below), the feral horde also makes a dash to Colony 7.  Commanded by a huge bald cannibal (Dru Viergever, see picture below), our invaders are armed with axes, meat-cleavers, crowbars, and irrational hunger. Back at Colony 7, Mason has knocked out Kai and tied her up.  Realizing who and what this horde is, Sam implores Mason to order the colony to evacuate.  During their exploration of Colony 5, Sam found evidence of a thawed out piece of Earth, where the sun is shining again.  Of course, our benign peeps will have to have a war with the wannabe "walkers" before they can make the trek to the new Eden. 
The sets are really cool, as some of this film was shot in a decommissioned NORAD facility.  The shots of cities buried under ice are eerie.  The acting is terrific, and there is lots of gore and battle scenes.  Directed by Jeff Renfroe (director of Syfy's "Being Human"), this film is well done. Touches of so many great films can be seen here, such as "The Road Warrior," "John Carpenter's The Thing," and "Midnight Meat Train."  This film is available on Netflix, and a must view for all you scifi and horror enthusiasts.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Sorority House Massacre, Classic 1980s Slasher Fare

Slasher films began their rise to prominence in the 1970s with classics such as "Halloween." However, in the 1980s, all of us fans of that genre who were born in the mid-1960s, were finally able to sneak into Rated R movies.  Being 16 and sneaking into "Deadly Blessing" and "Halloween 2" were proud moments in my childhood.  Fans like me kept this genre afloat until we went off to college, and by the later half of the 1980s, the slasher film began to decrease in popularity.  1986's "Sorority House Massacre"is today's blog entry.  The slasher film of the 1980s will always occupy a place of honor on this blog.
The plot: 13 years ago, Robert pick-axed his mom and dad, and knifed three of his sisters.  Beth (Angela O'Neill) escaped, and was then raised by her aunt after her family was butchered.  Remembering nothing of this horror, Beth enters college.  As she arrives at her new sorority house, Robert (John C. Russell) goes bananas in a nearby insane asylum.  Robert is Beth's brother and mass murderer extraordinaire.  The two are psychically attuned, and Robert knows she has returned to the scene of the crime.  Oh yeah....get this....the sorority house is the same house Robert committed the murders.  Quite a coincidence.  Now Beth's memories begin to return, and she dreams about Robert coming after her.  Robert then kills an orderly and escapes.  On his way to the sorority house he steals a hunting knife after killing the shop owner.
The sorority sisters, who have no idea about the house's history or Robert's recent escape, plan a party.  I guess it is an Indian themed party as they erect a tepee in the front yard.  As Beth's dreams become increasingly graphic, the boyfriends arrive.  These guys are pretty useless, as after they make-out with the sisters, they end up murdered.  Now Robert is after the lovely sorority chicks.  Lots of running and screaming ensue, and the obligatory nudity, of course.  As Beth's memories come gushing back, the surviving sisters try to survive the night.  The gals are very feisty and inflict lots of punishment on Robert, but he keeps coming at them.  With the phone lines cut, the boyfriends assuming room temperature, and corpses in the tepee, the odds appear to be against these ladies.
This is a typical 1980s slasher film, complete with a synthesizer musical score, and will hold few surprises for the fan of this genre.  From a nostalgia perspective, this film brings back great memories of our youth.  Available on Netflix, filled with beautiful college girls, and some nice carnage, "Sorority House Massacre" is a great way to spend a movie night at home.