Think of this Euro-Trash as "The Guns of Navarone" meet the gods of Italian sexploitation. Today we examine 1977's "SS Hellcamp" (aka "La Bestia in Calore"). Offensive, in bad taste, exploitative, almost porn, and badly dubbed, our feature today is heavy on gore, torture, and nudity. To spare the weak stomachs who might read this blog, we will refrain from mentioning the exact means of torture, and only do so....[RATS]...in a subliminal manner.
Monday, February 29, 2016
Saturday, February 27, 2016
Shot in Italy and Spain, in a style reminiscent of Argento, today we look at 1978's "Trauma" (aka "Rings of Fear"). This frightening murder mystery almost crosses into the realm of Euro-trash or exploitation, but comes up...probably one gratuitous shower scene short of those genres. Nevertheless, we are treated to gratuitous shower scenes, a sultry shoplifter in a bathtub, lingerie gratuity, sex in a library gratuity, nude French teacher gratuity, and bordello gratuity. These scenes are strewn throughout this film, but we'll concentrate today on a gory tale of homicide.
Beautiful 16 year old Angela is killed. Her nude body is found, wrapped in plastic, in a lake. Enter handsome Detective DiSalvo (Fabio Testi). A good investigator, DiSalvo is able to piece together some cryptic clues. Angela was a student at an exclusive all-girls boarding school, in a clique with some beautiful classmates, and apparently a well-behaved lass. Uh oh...someone is trying to kill off the other girls in the clique. DiSalvo interviews/interrogates the other girls and teachers at the school. His interrogation methods entail him barging in on everyone when they are in states of undress in their bedroom and screaming at them. Surprisingly, this method yields few positive leads. He also uses strangulation as an interviewing technique....with fewer results.
Despite his combative communication strategies, DiSalvo develops some firm suspects. When each good suspect is also murdered, the mystery gets weirder. The clues lead DiSalvo to a bordello which our schoolgirls may have ties to. Also, the girls and the murdered suspects have received lurid notes from someone who goes by the moniker NEMESYS. As the pretty friends of Angela are put in extreme peril, DiSalvo pulls together clues from old cases in order to identify NEMESYS. Are the hormonal friends of Angela involved in her murder? What are the girls' relationship to the bordello?
The conclusion to "Trauma" is multi-faceted. Perhaps a minor murder mystery, but fans of Italian horror and exploitation will enjoy this work. In typical Italian fashion, we have a dangerous pair of scissors and nymphomaniacal characters. The DVD is reasonably priced on Amazon.
|Angela's friends Interviewed|
Thursday, February 25, 2016
How many of you remember the 1970s? The Nixon Administration soured us all on politicians. President Carter was seeing UFOs. The CIA, in order to keep up with the KGB, was experimenting with schmucks who they perceived had ESP (...this last one is merely a theory). On the horror film side, Brian DePalma made Stephen King's best-seller "Carrie" into a box office smash. In 1978, Gerald Ford was contemplating another run for the White House and Brian DePalma put out another horror film, "The Fury."
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Are the dead sexy? Is death sexy? What would Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord) of "Excision" have looked like as a medical student? Gory, uncomfortable, and taboo, 2014's "Dead Sexy" is a perfect film for this blog. Writer and Director Daisy Turvey takes us through a surreal horror story which will have us all screaming, "No! I'm not aroused!" That plea might be true...or maybe not. This short runs 19 minutes, so I will be brief on the plot to avoid spoilers.
Dead Sexy Link
Dead Sexy Link
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
After "Battle Royale," is anyone really up for another 40 or so children being murdered in bloody spectacle? Yeah...me too. Hence, 2003's "Batle Royale II," complete with spurting blood from jugular veins, dozens of great looking middle-school adolescents meeting their demise in bloody fashion, and....dozens of Japanese special forces troops also being pureed. The game must go on....and this Battle Royale is just a bit different, though no less violent.
Sunday, February 21, 2016
Not quite the Love Boat, but 1935's "Phantom Ship" proves to be a ton more interesting. Lots of homicide awaits the doomed voyage of the Mary Celeste, which is no surprise as Bela Lugosi is on board. Movie goers, who in recent years saw both "King Kong" and "Dracula" at the theaters, had no idea that this film, though a minor B-movie, would hold bigger shocks. So let us look at a grim, and surprising film which might have turned off audiences in an era gone by.
Friday, February 19, 2016
Last October I reviewed Day Watch which is the sequel to 2004's "Night Watch." Both films were directed by Timur Berkmambetov and filmed in Russia. Ambitious, action packed, gory, and playful, these films are fascinating. Sadly, the sultry Russian rock star, Zhanna Friske died recently (immediately after giving birth to her son). So again, let us look at an apocalyptic tale featuring vampires, shape-shifters, ancient prophecies, witches, and magic.
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Yep, "Here, hold my beer," is a quote always followed by carnage. A trip to the ER perhaps. Stitches are a likely possibility. In rare cases a tourniquet should be applied. In 1979, Alfred Heineken was kidnapped for a gargantuan ransom in Amsterdam. This is the story. In 1979, the usual suspects included the Red Brigade and the IRA. In reality, five schmucks pulled this off....actually "pulled this off" is not the applicable term here. What most schmucks, seeking to get rich fast, soon find out is some wisdom shared by Alfred Heineken...."You can either have a lot of friends or have a lot of money...not both." Today we examine 2015's "Kidnapping Mr. Heineken."
Monday, February 15, 2016
High School! The best times of our lives? I think not. At Herrington High in Ohio, one can safely assume an all-star cast were subject to the most terrifying years of their lives. Salma Hayek! Elijah Wood! Famke Janssen! Jason Patrick! Clea DuVall! Jordana Brewster! Piper Laurie! Josh Hartnett! And more! So picture "Grease," take out the sappy music and sickeningly sweet smiles, add in tentacled parasite creatures and illegal drugs and we are left with 1998's "The Faculty." Oh! One more thing! This movie was directed by Robert Rodriguez!
Saturday, February 13, 2016
What lurks in the bowels of an old Scottish castle? Ghosts? Too easy! Today we look at a very atmospheric film, complete with fog, cobwebs, long dark hallways, and something mysterious slithering just beyond the candle light....1953's "The Maze," in 3D! This film includes a sensational performance by Veronica Hurst. Ms. Hurst portrays our pretty and dainty heroine who never shows fear, even though everyone else in this film does. Locked doors and cryptic warnings just won't stop this lady.
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Spurting blood from jugular veins! Arrows through necks! Axes in heads! Cute adolescent girls mowed down by machine-gun fire! Decapitations! Grenade in a mouth! Shocking when all this carnage is inflicted on a middle-school class....by classmates. 2000's "Battle Royale" may be an over-the-top exploitation film (...the Japanese are great at these). Or....perhaps this grouchy uncle to "The Hunger Games" is biting social commentary regarding how society is devolving in it's treatment of children. You decide...but for lots of gore, killing, and exploitation...."Battle Royale."
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
...or so it may appear. Ali Larter is one of this blog's favorite actresses. From "Final Destination" to her role as Claire Redfield in the "Resident Evil" films, she is impressive. The pretty blonde can easily take on the role of the kick-but heroine and still keep her femininity. So today we examine 2015's "The Diabolical." In this film she plays a struggling single parent desperately trying to keep her home and children. She's tender, tired, and vulnerable. Sound dull? Don't worry, by the time the end credits roll...well....you'll see that Claire Redfield side of Ms. Larter again.
Sunday, February 7, 2016
Okay, so this film only received a 1.7/10 rating on IMDB. So maybe it is a cheap rip-off of "Pacific Rim." Made by our friends at Asylum, probably for the Syfy Channel, we look at 2013's "Attack From Beneath," which had an original title of "Atlantic Rim." If you despise made for Syfy Channel films, you are not going to like this one. However, if you are like me, and enjoy those straight-to-DVD quality masterpieces, this work will outshine any of the over-rated bore-athons nominated for Best Picture at next month's Academy Awards.
Friday, February 5, 2016
We all know them. Perhaps none of us take them seriously. They have short attention spans. Holding a job is almost impossible to these guys. They don't get our humor. Occasionally they have emotional outbursts. ADD...ADHD...PTSD....Lactose intolerant...yep. These chosen few...were indeed chosen..by aliens. The abducted community. They were beamed up into UFOs and experimented on. Upon their return to Earth, they tried telling the truth...which only got them medicated or institutionalized. But someday...all of us will know we should have listened to their warnings. From the director of "The Blair Witch Project," Eduardo Sanchez, today's feature from 2006, "Altered."
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
What if "The Thing" had taken place in a supermarket instead of a remote Antarctic outpost? What if the hero of that classic horror tale was a stockboy instead of MacReady the helicopter pilot? Before you answer those questions, consider 2008's "Alien Raiders." "The Mist" and "Intruder" may have to give way to "Alien Raiders," which may be the best horror film ever shot in a supermarket. Heavily influenced by "The Thing," let us look at "Alien Raiders."
Monday, February 1, 2016
Last month we looked at Joe D'Amato's "Anthropophagus." Today we examine this Italian horror director's follow up to that film. Though the gore is as intense as his earlier film, D'Amato has created a blood curdling rip-off to the American horror classic "Halloween." Complete with a 'boogey man' who doesn't seem to die, a mysterious stranger in pursuit, and synthesizer musical score, 1981's "Absurd" is a jewel for slasher film fans. Oh yes...like "Halloween," the last 30 seconds is classic!
As our film begins, Mikos (George Eastman), a monstrous slasher, splits his intestines open as he is being pursued by a weird priest (Edmund Purdom). Expected to die, the operating surgeon notices that Mikos' blood coagulates at superhuman speed, and he heals. While recuperating, Mikos drills through the head of his pretty nurse and flees the hospital. Sgt. Engleman (Charles Borromel) joins forces with the priest pursuing our maniac. The priest is also a chemist and lets the cop know that Mikos escaped from the church's lab (who knew they had those?), and is invincible except for the brain. For some unknown reason, Mikos makes his way to the Bennett house, where young Katia (Katya Berger) is confined to her bed recovering from spinal surgery.
On the way to the home, Mikos knocks off some poor schmucks in most gory fashion. One unfortunate is done in by a table saw in an elongated and bloody scene. Our priest/cop duo are in pursuit but have no idea where he is. With the Bennett parents at a Super Bowl party (Rams-Steelers), pretty Peggy (Cindy Leadbetter) is watching over Katia and her little brother. Like the nurses in this film, she will not fare well. As the Rams intercept Bradshaw, Mikos arrives at the Bennett home and cooks Katia's nurse, Emily (Annie Belle). Uh oh...paralyzed Katia will have to think fast and man up to survive this fiend and also save her brother.
Why is Mikos so bent on destroying the Bennett family? Does a bed-ridden Katia have any tricks up her sleeve...or sharp objects that can pierce a cranium? Will Bradshaw stop making mistakes and engineer a fourth quarter comeback? With apologies to my nurse friends out there, "Absurd" is a terrific horror film...even though much of the plot is a carbon copy of "Halloween." Available on YouTube, enjoy this Italian classic.