Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Dead Pit, Lunatic Zombies worshiping Brains

Mad scientists!  Insane asylums!  A sultry heroine in skimpy underwear!  Zombies searching for brains!  Do I really need to say more?  Oh yes, a special-ops hero with a British accent.  1989's "The Dead Pit," directed by Brett Leonard, is our feature today. There will also be shapely nurses, clad in white (none of them will fare well).  Demolitions, hordes of zombies, satanic motives, and more lunatics cap off this orgy of gore. Yes, it is a Merry Christmas season!
20 years ago Dr. Ramzi (Danny Gochnauer) conducted experiments on patients at his lunatic bin.  He would lobotomize them, cut open their skulls, and stick pins in their brains.  So repulsed at Ramzi's doings, Dr. Swan (Jeremy Slate) goes into the basement lab of horrors and puts a bullet in the mad scientist's brain.  He then seals up the basement with Ramzi's corpse and his patients still down there. This wing of the hospital is then closed down and boarded up.  Present day, a Jane Doe (Cheryl Lawson) is brought to the asylum with amnesia.  She has no idea who she is.  Jane will spend most of the film in thin underwear while running around and being restrained by nurses.
Uh oh...an earthquake!  The basement seal is broken and Ramzi is back, with his minions.  His minions are the lunatics, but now the crazies love to crack open skulls and pull out the brains of their victims.  Jane makes two friends;  The beautiful Nurse Robbins (Mara Everett) and Christian (Stephen Gregory Foster).  Don't get too attached to the shapely Nurse Robbins, as she will have part of her skull torn off and become a brain -craving zombie.  Christian is a special-ops guy (don't ask). As the lunatics invade the other wings of the hospital, we'll see lots of skulls ripped open and more nurses and orderlies ripped apart.  As Christian and Jane team up, Dr. Swan realizes that Dr. Ramzi is back for revenge.  Now Christian has a very ambitious plan to end the evil onslaught and Jane will run around some more in thin undies.
What does Dr. Ramzi have in store for Dr. Swan?  Who exactly is our Jane Doe, and is her arrival at the asylum at the time of the quake purely coincidental?  Can human blood be cleaned out of those nice white nurse uniforms?  Bloody to the max and the weak of stomach will turn their eyes a lot while watching this film.  If you were forced to go to the cinema and watch "Manchester by the Sea" or "Collateral Beauty" this holiday season, "The Dead Pit" may be just the film you need.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Stay Awake, Nubile High School Girls in Trouble...

...from the demon ghost of a serial killer! From South Africa comes a demon/slasher film with the exploitative qualities of the slasher genre.  When in doubt, set the film in an all girls school in which every student is a babe.  Throw in some idiot hunk boyfriends, and we have a can't miss horror yarn. Mixing gratuitous shower action, gratuitous aerobic action, and gratuitous locker room action, with some gore and neat kills, we take a look at 1988's "The Stay Awake."
William James Brown (Lindsay Reardon) is executed for the assault, rape, and murder of 11 women. He taunts his executioners and vows that he will be back to carry out the will of the Prince of Darkness.  Return, he does.  An all girls school in Europe is having a stay awake to raise money (how this raises money is unclear and unimportant).  Trish (Shirley Jane Walton) is a beautiful science teacher who will chaperone this event.  As we met our girls, Samantha (Tanya Gordon), clad in a shiny tight aerobics outfit, is putting her classmates through a work-out.  During this elongated aerobic routine, the spirit of Brown enters the school.
Uh oh....four boys plan to crash the stay awake and have pre-marital sex with the girls.  This won't go well, as Brown has manifested as a monster and rips these horny invaders to shreds.  Sometimes appearing as a weird glowing eyed demon, and sometimes as a tentacled beast, Brown abducts the beauties one by one.  He is putting together a satanic harem.  As Trish realizes what is going on, she and three surviving girls begin fighting back.  With attitude, and her science knowledge, Trish begins taunting Brown.  Brown looks at Trish as a prize waiting to be won.  Can our sultry chaperone fend off the satanic spirit that has invaded the stay awake? Do the girls have any virtue left to protect?
Perhaps nothing new here, but an attractive cast and some nice kills are worth watching. Written and directed by John Bernard, "The Stay Awake" is the kind of exploitation/slasher film that never grows old.  Available on YouTube, enjoy "The Stay Awake." This is surely a more interesting picture than Hollywood's recent Christmas season films.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Evil in the Deep, The Birth of Charlie's Angels

Before Cheryl Ladd was Kris Monroe in "Charlie's Angels," she was Cheryl Stoppelmoor.  However, in 1974 she was cast in "Evil in the Deep" (aka "The Treasure of Jamaica Reef") with David Ladd, and the two would wed, hence Cheryl Ladd.  Okay, everyone who has seen this film agrees it is the worst movie ever made.  So judgmental!  At it's best, "Evil in the Deep" is 90 minutes of Cheryl Ladd nee Stoppelmoor, running around, diving, and swimming in a bikini.  Given that, this film cannot be the worst ever made.  In fact, it is infinitely better than anything George Clooney has done lately.  Added bonus:  For you ladies... guys can enjoy the bikini clad Ladd, but you can drool over the Speedo clad infomercial king and game show host Chuck Woolery, who also co-stars.
Three businessmen Hugo (Stephen Boyd), Joshua (Mr. Ladd), Victor (Woolery), and a babe, Zappy (Ms. Ladd) receive salvage rights to a Spanish Galleon which sank on a Jamaican reef.  The quartet drop everything and head to Jamaica where they set up a salvage operation.  From the outset, villains try to steal the still sunken treasure and kill our heroes.  Zappy even ends up on the hood of a speeding station wagon which just stole much of their equipment.  The group charters a boat and hires Rosie Greer (remember him?) to teach Zappy to dive.  Mr. Greer is very fortunate as Zappy is always clad in flowery bikinis.
We could go on with the plot. Yes, there will be lots of diving, some explosions, lots of chases, and some island intrigue.  More importantly, we have a lot of Zappy snorkeling in a bikini, SCUBA diving in a bikini, running in a bikini, hanging out in a bikini, and jumping around in a bikini.  For you ladies, we have lots of shots of Chuck Woolery bouncing around in a tight Speedo.  As bad as some have described this film, it is infinitely more entertaining than "Arrival" and "Loving," two holiday bore-a-thons hitting the theaters this Christmas season.
Frivolous and silly, perhaps, "Evil in the Deep" knows what it's greatest asset is...and I'm not talking about Mr. Woolery's Speedo.  Fans of Cheryl Ladd will not want to miss this extravaganza.  Cheryl Ladd in the 1970s, and beyond, absolutely blows away our modern day swimsuit models in beauty and class.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

The Electronic Monster, Relax and be Brainwashed

In the immediate years following World War 2, a resurgence of the Third Reich was a very real fear in Europe.  Just like the atomic bomb and its radioactive effects, science fiction films exploited this fear with many tales of Nazi mad scientists setting up shop in our own backyards.  Escaped Nazis were smart, cunning, and stole enough gold and currency to pay people off so they could set up labs with new identities and malicious goals.  At least, in films, National Socialist horror continued well through the 1950s.  Today we examine 1958's "The Electronic Monster" (aka "Escapement"), a minor scifi tale from England.
Jeff (Rod Cameron) is sent to Cannes to investigate the death of a hunk movie actor.  Jeff's insurance firm is set to pay a lot of money to the studio for this actor's demise.  But wait!  Our hunk finds out that the actor is one of many young, healthy people who have died from natural causes.  Oh yes, all of the deceased underwent psychological treatment at an institute owned by Paul Zakan (Peter Illing).  First, our hero arrives at the institute and interviews the attending doctor, Dr. Maxwell (Meredith Edwards).  What he learns is that the experimental treatment which clients undergo seeks to relieve anxiety and depression.
 As anyone who asks too many questions about the institute ends up dead, Jeff must be careful.  Uh oh, when he sets his sight on Zakon, he learns his old girlfriend Ruth (Mary Murphy) is now his fiance. As Dr. Maxwell develops a conscience, Zakon gets heavy handed.  Being the evil fiend that he is, Zakon murders Maxwell's beautiful wife/assistant (Kay Callard).  This impulsive behavior by Zakon will  not bode well for Ruth, as she too begins asking forbidden questions about this experimental treatment.  As Jeff infiltrates Zakon's complex, he sees that Ruth is one of many beautiful dancers assembled by the fiend. When Maxwell and Jeff find out Zakon's goal is to brainwash humanity and bring back the Third Reich, they must act. Unfortunately for Ruth, Zakon and his thugs figure out she is conspiring with Jeff and grab her.
Will Jeff rescue Ruth?  Are there easier and more efficient ways to brainwash the general public than dancing girls and electro-shock therapy?  Directed by Montgomery Tully and David Paltenghi, this 1950s scifi film is a lot of fun.  With square-jawed hunk heroes, lots of damsels in much distress, and evil Nazi type villains, this picture is sure to please.  "The Electronic Monster" is available on YouTube.  

Friday, December 23, 2016

I am not a Serial Killer, ...but you are!

Crowley (Christopher Lloyd) accuses John (Max Records), "You attacked my wife."
Perturbed, John replies, "You murdered my therapist."
A bit of dialog Shakespeare would be proud of.  2016's "I am not a Serial Killer" is the newest horror film on Netflix, and it isn't what you think it is.  A serial killer film?  Possibly.  Can a sociopath be heroic and caring?  This film may hold the answer.
John has been diagnosed by his therapist as a sociopath.  Our protagonist (...or antagonist) knows he is what serial killers are made out of.  In order to appear normal, John has some rules.  Whenever he has the urge to disembowel one of his high school mates, he gives them a compliment instead.  John works at his mom's funeral home, and they begin receiving bodies of townspeople who have been disemboweled (there's that word again) by a serial killer.  John is fascinated and wonders what the fiend is doing with certain organs which aren't in the corpse.
The killer?  Crowley!  An elderly man deeply in love with his wife.  A sweet old man with a penchant and uncanny ability to kill, and rip out organs.  Uh oh!  Our sociopath finds emotions and desires he never knew he had.  John takes it upon himself to stalk Crowley and protect the town.  Double uh oh! Crowley may not be a serial killer, but something even worse.  No spoilers here, but when John turns stalker he sees horrific kills and a side of Crowley that is...well...you'll see. John the hunter must be careful as now he is also being hunted by a killer with 60 years more experience than he.
The acting is great.  Max Records is convincing as a sociopath teen and his conversion to a caring and afraid kid is fascinating.  Christopher Lloyd is sweet and monstrous as...well...you'll see. Will experience triumph over youth?  Will good triumph over evil in John's psyche?  Wonderfully shot in frigid Minnesota, the landscape matches the motives of two very chilling characters.  Oh yes, the last two lines of this flick are classic!  Enjoy "I am not a Serial Killer" brilliantly directed by Billy O'Brien.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Eyes of the Roshi, Fate, Good Ole Boys, and an Assasin

When cultures collide blood and carnage rule the day.  For the pure of heart, however, perhaps enrichment and edification are the byproducts.  Fortunately Eric Roberts is in this with a couple of real life grand masters, thus the blood and carnage will dominate. Unfortunately for the pure of heart, past indiscretions can simmer to nuclear apocalypse.  For some very sweet good ole boys, a semi-virtuous babe, and a holy man, horrific consequences are converging on them.  2016's "Eyes of the Roshi" (produced by Ethan Marten and directed by John Mark Nail) chronicles this potential human train wreck.  In a roller-coaster ride manner, sure to please fans of Coen brothers films, we have an explosive film on this blog today.
Decades ago a blood curdling murder happens in Vietnam.  Fast forward to modern day Virginia Beach.  A mysterious Vietnamese holy man, Adam (Grand Master Adam Nguyen), arrives in town.  He immediately befriends some very benign, good ole boy farmers.  They are attracted to his intense work ethic and his ability to dispose of the evil town heavies.  Uh oh!  Guess who else arrives.  Adam is righteous and the people he touches are blessed by knowing him.  Well, not so for a mysterious hit-man who has just been sprung from an Asian prison for the sole purpose of murdering Adam.  This assassin (Marten) is pure evil and death and humiliation follow him everywhere. The epitome of evil will have his work cut out for him.
Local schmucks pick right up on Mr. Evil's arrival.  Local schmuck bounty hunter, Booker (Eric Roberts), sees the new arrival as an easy target.  Booker and his idiot cohorts plot to rip him off.  Oh yes, town godfather, Hogan Dodd (Chris Van Cleave), also has motives to come into contact with this devil.  The hit-man is focused, and is willing to murder anyone who gets in his way to finding Adam. Oh yes, Blanche (Amanda Dunn)!  Stunning and vulnerable.  With seemingly no hope and an abusive guy in her life, Adam gives her spiritual hope.  However flawed Blanche is, we plead with the silver screen that the hit-man never meets her.  Unfortunately, all of the above, and lots more will converge in a wild ending.   Blood, brains, and lots of bullets will fly.
Will the virtue of Adam prevail over evil?  What in Adam's past links him to our determined assassin? Will Virginia Beach survive this Vietnamese invasion? However good and pristine we are, "Eyes of the Roshi" is a fantastic reminder that prurient elements of our past are only dormant, not gone.  The acting is fantastic and in this violent and gritty fable, the morals taught are timeless.  For more on "Eyes of the Roshi," click on the following links. Roshi Website Trailer Roshi on Facebook

Monday, December 19, 2016

Chopping Mall, Killer Robots vs. Hunks and Babes

Yep!  We all have done it.  Sneaking into a mall after closing for wild partying and pre-marital sex.  It always ends up so wonderful and after it's over, we were all glad we did it.  Years later we reminisce and remember this foray as one of the most brilliant ideas we ever had.  Not so for some great looking hunks and babes in 1986's "Chopping Mall" (aka "Killbots"). Many of these alluring youngsters will suffer horrible deaths.  A year after "Re-Animator," and the same year as "From Beyond," Barbara Crampton (one of my favorite actresses) would star in this film.
Our hunks and babes have a great plan. You guessed it.  After closing they will sneak into a mall and party in a furniture store.  Perfect locale for pre-marital sex.  Alison (Kelli Maroney) is a shy babe who will be fixed up on a blind date by her sultry BFF, Suzie (Crampton).  Ferdie (Tony O'Dell) is the fortunate, and somewhat nerdy, soul who is matched with Alison.  A sweet couple.  Uh oh!  The mall has a new security system.  Three robots who patrol after closing with the ability to stun thieves and hold them for the cops.  Boom!  A lightning strike damages the circuits of these machines turning them to homicidal robots.
After killing two schmucks in the security office our fiends go on patrol.  As the furniture store becomes an arena for an orgy, our unsuspecting lovebirds will soon realize that they are now prey.  Suzee (Leslie Todd) will get her head blown off while prancing around in her undies.  Prancing around in undies is a sure way to get torn apart in these films.  Now our hunks and babes are on the run.  However hormonal they are, these kids do have fight in them.  As the gals and guys get separated, the guys grab weapons from the gun store.  Now a war is on.  The gals double back to help the guys and the mechanical menaces begin killing more of them.  Who will win?
Fun and vicious in tone, "Chopping Mall" is a fine film.  However silly it could become, some of the kills touch us as we actually care about some of the characters,  Of course we pull for the beautiful Alison and Suzie.  Unfortunately no one in this film is too beautiful to die.  If Suzie doesn't survive, will her death be as horrific as Barbara Crampton's death in "Re-Animator"?  Some great looking and feisty peeps will fall horribly (blown up, decapitated, burned, or worse).  Directed by Jim Wynorski, "Chopping Mall" is a perfect film as we all go out to the malls and complete our Christmas shopping.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Terror is a Man, ...or a Panther Man

On the surface 1959's "Terror is a Man" is a minor B horror film.  A deeper look at this quirky film reveals it is a nice mesh of "Creature from the Black Lagoon," "The Mummy," and "From Here to Eternity." Made in the Philippines, our film today has a suave mad scientist, a sultry damsel in much distress, a creature, and a schmuck hero.  Furthermore, I was attracted to this film after our mad scientist antagonist stated his desire to "...bring about a modification of a species... lose traits of it's own and to take on characteristics of the new one.  To speed up evolution."  That is exactly what I'm doing in my basement laboratory.  To think, someone imagined that in the late 1950s.
William (Richard Derr) is the lone survivor of a shipwreck.  He washes up on a remote island inhabited by superstitious natives and a mad scientist, Dr. Girard (Francis Lederer) and his wife Frances (Greta Thyssen).  Before he regains consciousness, Dr. Girard's experiment escapes and mauls several islanders to death before it is recaptured.  So spooked by the monster (Flory Carlos), all the islanders flee the island.  The monster?  It used to be  Frances' pet panther.  After Girard's experiments, the panther is half human/half panther.  As William awakes, Girard lets him in on his experiments and secrets.  To make matters complicated, the stunning Frances is attracted to him.
After William comes across Frances sunbathing, the two lock lips on the island surf.  They will eventually have extra-marital sex.  Frances pleads with William to help her escape the island and her mad scientist husband.  Further experiments by Girard cause our panther man to grow more unstable and violent.  Uh oh, the straps no longer can hold the fiend and it escapes...and it is ticked off?
Will Frances' former pet seek to claw her to death, or carry her off for some sick animalistic mating ritual?  Will Dr. Girard let this happen in the interest of science?  Perhaps this film is a little lacking on shocking horror, but it is heavy on the sexual tension given off by Greta Thyssen's Frances character.  Relax, grab a Heineken, and enjoy "Terror is a Man" (also known as "Blood Creature") which is available on YouTube.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Bits and Pieces, Torture and Humiliation

Critics of 1980s slasher films were repulsed that this genre promoted misogyny.  Whether these films did promote that deviant behavior is debatable.  Fans of "Friday the 13th," "Prom Night," and "The Burning" grew up to be well adjusted members of society.  However, even in the slasher genre, a sub genre of torture and humiliation was harder to defend with these critics.  Today we look at 1985's "Bits and Pieces."  In this lurid film, a psycho abducts beautiful college coeds, tortures them, humiliates them, tortures them some more, and finally cuts them up into little pieces.
For a project in her psychology class, the stunning Rosie (Suzanna Smith) visits a male strip club with her note pad and BF Tanya (Sheila Lussier).  She probably should have done a paper on group behavior of 3rd graders.  Upon departing, Tanya is grabbed by Arthur (S.E. Zygmont).  Arthur, like he has done six times already, brings Tanya home, ties her up, cuts off her clothes, scribbles with lipstick all over her face, and cuts her into pieces.  Arthur is sacrificing these gals to his mom (who he killed years earlier).  Arthur is convinced all beautiful women are whores.  Uh oh for Rosie, Arthur believes that Rosie may be able to identify him.  Arthur then starts his pursuit of Rosie.
On his way to Rosie he offs anyone who he sees as getting in his way.  Rosie's new BF, Jennifer (Tally Chanel) will die an excruciating death at the hands of Arthur.  Rosie's mom and dad?  Very sad, you'll see.  There is some good news for Rosie.  She falls in love with Lt. Carter (Brian Burt), the detective on the case.  Unfortunately our good detective should have spent more time catching killers than seeking pre-marital sex with his new GF.  Giving in to his hormones, Lt. Carter seems no match for Arthur who has staked out the state university as his feeding grounds.  As the pretty get chopped up, Rosie's guard gets let down.
Will Rosie succumb to the same fate as her two friends?  If Lt. Carter survives, will his department mandate he take sexual harassment and victim/witness relations training?  Graphic and merciless, this slasher film may be difficult for some to watch.  Anytime a beautiful actress walks onto the screen, Arthur follows with his torture tools and homicidal attitude.  Directed by Leland Thomas, and available on YouTube, treat yourself to "Bits and Pieces," a vicious slasher film.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Phantom of the Theatre, Ghosts and Revenge in Shanghai

Falling in love with a ghost is surely going to bring complications.  Normal rules of courtship are thrown out the window in favor of a death-centered relationship.  From China, today we take a peek at 2016's "Phantom of the Theatre." A love story?  Sure.  A horror story? Sure.  A ghost story?  Well... you'll see.  With a tip of the hat to Victor Hugo's "Phantom of the Opera" director Wai Man Yip brings us an epic story filled with twists.  Beware... do not draw too many conclusions before the end credits roll.
Meng SiFan (Ruby Lin) is a hauntingly beautiful starlet that captures the 1930s Shanghai film industry.  Much to the displeasure of lots of beautiful actresses, she owns every movie maker.  Weibang (Tony Yo-ning Yang) is a young director who manages to get Meng interested in his script.  The two have instant chemistry.  Uh oh, Weibang's script is for a horror/ghost story to be shot in a refurbished theater.  Double uh oh, 13 years previous a fire killed all the performers of an acrobatic troupe which performed there. In fact, as our film opens, a thief seeks refuge in the old theater only to be murdered by ghosts (...or was it something else?).  Shooting begins and the ghosts seem to be stirred into action.  A malevolent force and a masked phantom prey upon the cast and crew, and kill some of them.
The sultry Meng will not be deterred.  For some mysterious reason, she is bent on completing this film.  She and Weibang fall deeper in love and her leading man is seemingly burnt up by a ghost.  This leaves Weibang, the director, the opportunity to fill in as the new leading man.  Now Weibang and Meng can fall in love in real life, and in the movies.  Uh oh, something or someone doesn't want them to fall in love.  Exactly what happened to that acrobatic troupe 13 years ago?  Where did Meng come from, and what is her passion for braving the otherworldly in order to complete this film?
I have left so much of the plot description out in order to refrain from spoilers.  Revenge, vengeance, murder, and love will converge.  The cast is great looking, and however much a love story this film is, it is also a neat ghost story.  Did I say ghost story?  Might there be something else going on here?  Find out by watching "Phantom of the Theatre" on Netflix. You'll love the twists, be mesmerized by the special f/x, and Ruby Lin, and Meng, will absolutely captivate you.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Night of the Lepus, Bunny Carnage

The 1970s fostered a fear of rabbits throughout western civilization.  In "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," a monster bunny pureed several of King Arthur's men.  Even worse, 1972's "Night of the Lepus."  In this horror flick, huge bunnies devour Arizona.  Instead of being menaced by Norman Bates, Janet Leigh will be tormented by thousands of huge rabbits. Oh yeah, remember McCoy (DeForrest Kelley) in "Star Trek"?  He too will be terrorized in this film by monster rabbits.
Apparently rabbits ate Australia in 1954.  Now it is happening here.  Cole (Rory Calhoun) has a horse and cattle farm that is threatened when a rabbit infestation eats all the plants and drinks all the water.  Enter Roy Bennett (Stuart Whitman) and his wife Gerry (Leigh). These two scientists attempt to reduce the rabbit population by altering their hormones so they stop mating.  EPIC FAIL!!!  You guessed it, the bunnies grow to the size of elephants.  The Bennetts' and a science guy from the university, Elgin (Kelley), instead of eating crow, attempt to assist Cole in saving Arizona's farm land.  These long-eared, and now long toothed, vermin are hungry and devour miners, campers, truckers, horses, cattle, more campers, a town, etc.
As the bloody carnage dots the Arizona desert, our quartet fail to stop the fiends with explosives.  The several hundred rabbits quickly become several thousand and begin a death hop toward more farms and towns.  The National Guard readies some fighter bombers and the surviving Arizonans grab their guns and flamethrowers (Yes!!!).  As all looks lost, Bennett comes up with a wild plan that taps into the triple feature at the local drive-in.  It's far fetched, but it just may work.
Are our long-eared tormentors a mere metaphor for what happens to us humans as we experiment on the animal kingdom?  Is it true that DeForrest Kelley sought out the role of Elgin in order to build up popular support for Star Trek's "The Trouble with Tribbles" episode?  If the Syfy Channel existed in 1972, would we have had "Lepus vs. Anaconda" in 1973?  "Night of the Lepus" is a lot of fun and surprisingly gory.  Fans of the 1970s will love this film, and of course, the rabbit community will view this 90 minute horror fest as an orgasmic cinematic jaunt.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn, Apocalyptic Wasteland in 3D

Before Kelly Preston was a Scientology queen, she was Dhyana, babe of an apocalyptic wasteland seeking the assassination of a monster warlord.  Many would argue that these two roles are one in the same, but I will refrain from any editorial comments about the religion of the stars. Just like Scientology has its magic crystals, 1983's "Metalstorm: The Destruction of Jared-Syn" has its magic crystals containing the life-force of peon unfortunates.  This film is a wild scifi ride and was released in 3D.  However corny and campy, "Metalstorm" is an infinitely more entertaining film than the newest bore-a-thon, "Manchester by the Sea."
In an apocalyptic wasteland, there always seems to be a sultry babe put in much peril. Dhyana (Kelly Preston) is one such chick.  While mining in a no-man's land, for crystals, Baal (R. David Smith) shows up with his henchmen and murders her dad.  Baal is a monster cyborg with a mechanical arm. Dhyana and her dad never got the memo that the truce ended and Jared-Syn (Michael Preston) wants to conquer humanity.  Fortunately for the nubile Dhyana, Dogen (Jeffrey Byron) arrives.  Clad in a leather Mad Max outfit, our hunk is a Ranger.  Dhyana and Dogen instantly fall in love and both seek to kill the evil Jared-Syn.  Uh oh, Mr. Syn has psychic abilities because of his giant life-force crystal, and knows they're coming.
The crystal gives Jared-Syn the ability to create energy portals, and he uses one of these to abduct Dhyana and set a monster on Dogen.  Dogen then befriends Rhodes (Tim Thomerson), a former Ranger who knows how to get into the lost city, where Jared-Syn dwells.  The two hunks then head there and must fight sand monsters and Syn's giant warrior, Hurok (Richard Moll), on their way.  Alas, Jared-Syn has some more surprises for the two would-be heroes, as well as the beautiful Dhyana as his hostage.
If "Battlefield Earth" was John Travolta's love letter to L. Ron Hubbard, "Metalstorm" is Kelly Preston's. Half "Mad Max" rip-off and half sword and sorcerer epic, this is a wildly entertaining film. Guys will like the explosions, Kelly Preston, and fights, and gals will like our two hunk heroes, and Scientologists will go goo-goo over all the crystals and energy portals.  Yep, a film with something for everyone.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Xtro 2: The Second Encounter, Havoc from an Alternate Universe

Alternate universes rarely have blessings for us.  Whatever is over there tends not to like us.  In alternate universes, their inhabitants are not 'just like us'.  They usually have bigger teeth and more homicidal tendencies in their demeanor.  In 1990's "Xtro 2: The Second Encounter" this is the case.  For those of you familiar with the original "Xtro," you also know that rape and misogyny are also going to be key traits in beings from the other side.
Three unfortunates are sent into an alternate universe from a top-secret underground lab.  Only one returns.  Unfortunately for our Project Nexus scientists, the returning explorer is a babe named Marshall (Tracy Westerholm).  Yep, she was impregnated on the other side and a monster soon explodes out of her womb.  The lab, thousands of feet underground, is now under lock-down, quarantine, and in self-destruct mode.  We've all been there, I know.  As our toothy monster rips scientists apart and snoops for more nubile women, Dr. Julia (Tara Buckman) calls in her former lover, Dr. Ron Shepherd (Jan-Michael Vincent).  He is the only one ever to go and return from the other side.  Ron is deemed insane as he returned yapping about monsters.  So horrified by the other side, Ron destroyed Project Nexus' Texas facility.
Now the monster is loose in a very cavernous underground lab and has infected Julia's boss, Dr. Alex (Paul Koslo).  A tactical team attempts to track down the fiend, but even with heavy weaponry, the monster shreds most of them.  With the countdown clock running down, Julia and Ron must rekindle their former love affair, figure out how to kill the beast, and escape from the lab.  Is there room for pre-marital sex in a besieged top-secret underground facility?  Can we blame a monster from an alternate universe to want in on that love?
Like "Xtro," this sequel (which really isn't a sequel) was directed by Harry Bromley Davenport.  The action is explosive and the ending is quite chilling.  Not as taboo as the original, but fans of cheesy science fiction/horror will love it.  This film is more of a rip-off of "Alien" than a sequel to "Xtro."

Monday, December 5, 2016

Wild Beasts, Animals Eat Europe

"Belve Feroci."  Have some with a red wine, preferably a Merlot.  Nah! Movie titles are always better in Italian.  This 1984 product of Italy is actually "Wild Beasts."  Shot in Germany, set in "a major northern European city," (as opposed to a minor northern European city), this film is the urban version of Day of the Animals . Though made during complicated negotiations between Reagan and Gorbachev, one may view this film as foreshadowing of the plight of the European Union.  Okay, that's a stretch.  In any event, this film will deliver plenty of gore, bad dubbing, ridiculous dialog, and a most horrific conclusion.
Lorraine De Selle
The elegant and glamorous Lorraine De Selle stars in this film.  Oddly enough, her character has nothing to do with anything relevant in the plot.  Other than being really good looking, we'll not mention her again.  Animals at a German zoo are thirsty.  Unfortunately for Germans, something is in the water and these furry beings all go completely mad.  Before they bust out of their cages and march down city streets, signs of this disaster occur.  Hundreds of rats eat a cute couple having pre-marital sex in a car, and a seeing eye dog eats his blind owner.  A flamethrower dispatches the rats and once again we are reminded that when a flamethrower is introduced into a movie plot ...well...only good things can happen.
Strangled by an elephant
Much to the surprise of Dr. Rupert Berner (John Aldrich), zookeeper, his animals bust out.  Some classic cinema ensues.  In one heartbreaking scene, elephants converge on a car driven by a great looking German couple.  One pachyderm strangles the guy with his trunk...the other crushes the gal's head with his foot.  These same elephants will bring down a Lufthansa jet with hundreds on board...don't ask.  As Rupert and the police try to figure out what is going on and how to stop it, polar bears head to a dance academy and tigers run into the subway.  The death toll will be hundreds, including a German babe in a VW Beetle chased down by a leopard.
Hold that tiger
Will Rupert figure out how to end this carnage?  Do humans deserve this treatment after exploiting these animals for so long?  Will the statuesque Lorraine De Selle, who appears often in this film, doing practically nothing, remain un-chewed upon and un-crushed?  Directed by Franco Prosperi, "Wild Beasts" is a lot of fun.  Beware!  However inane much of this film is, the ending is incredibly chilling.  

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Last Shark, Jaws Italian Style

"The Last Shark"! (aka L' Ultimo Squalo")  Oh please, not the last one, how about one more?  Nope, today's film is 1981's "The Last Shark."  Made by Italians and shot in Savannah and Malta, this is an over-the-top B movie. With entire lines and plot devices taken right out of "Jaws," we must give director Enzo G. Castellari credit for ripping off a great film instead of "Ordinary People" or "Looking for Mr. Goodbar." With lots of gore, bad dubbing, and a cheesy irrelevant musical score, you'll have fun with this one.
A nice, quiet coastal town prepares for their annual windsurfing regatta.  Mayor Wells (Joshua Sinclair) reminds us of the revenue this regatta will bring in.  Uh oh, preparing for the weekend event, a hunk wind surfer is swallowed by a 30 foot great white.  The political entities want to keep this potential boating accident a secret as not to scare off tourists.  Peter Benton (James Franciscus), no...not Peter Benchley...his babe wife Gloria (Micaela Pignalelli) team up with Ron (Vic Morrow)...think Quint...to find the shark.  Alas, Peter's beautiful daughter, Jenny (Stefania Girolami Goodwin) grabs some of her teenage buddies and they also go out fishing.
The adults find Ben Gardner's boat...actually in this film it is Ed Glover's boat...all chewed up.  Meanwhile our teens find our 30 foot monster which will feast on leg-of.teenager.  Peter, Ron, and Gloria go back out to sea and now the entire town is mobilized.  The giant fish will take out a helicopter, more boats, news crews, more windsurfers, and some spare ribs.  I bet you can figure out how this will end.  To this film's credit, the mechanical shark is quite neat and dwarfs Bruce from "Jaws."
Fans of the 1975 classic will be able to pick out a dozen scenes lifted right out of that film.  The actors and actresses are all great looking, the gore is quite nice, and cheesiness is perfect for B movie fans. Stupid and campy?  Maybe, but that's fine with me.  "The Last Shark" (the best fish film ever shot in Malta) is available on YouTube.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Blood Freak, Turkeyman vs. Marijuana

As the 1960s became history, the fight against illegal drug use shifted into high gear.  Even before President Nixon created the DEA, a half human, half turkey being was already on the fight.  Alcohol, pot, LSD, and even regular cigarettes...all of them...poison (according to our film today)!  Perhaps the quirkiest anti-drug effort in U.S. history, 1972 "Blood Freak" seems to be a hippie response to a seedy side of hippy culture. Filled with pre-marital sex, nudity and gore, this low-budget goody earned an X rating from a very judgmental MPAA.
Poor Herschell (Steve Hawkes).  He is a semi-clean cut schmuck trying to walk a noble path.  When the sultry Angel (Heather Hughes) breaks down on the side of the road, our good motorcyclist comes to her aid.  Angel is all Christian and quite the evangelist. She invites Herschell home and finds him a job at a turkey farm.  Uh oh, Angel's addict sister, Ann (Dana Cullivan) has a case of sister rivalry and goes after Herschell.  When Herschell rejects her, Ann gets him addicted to pot.  Now Herschell is hooked on marijuana, Ann, and Ann's supplier.  The next day, the poor schmuck shows up for work at a turkey farm.  The scientists at the farm ask Herschell to eat the turkeys they injected with a chemical to make them bigger and tastier.  A hungry Herschell chows down.  After convulsing, he wakes up with a turkey head and thirsting for the blood of nubile babes.
Now a monster turkey-man, our schmuck grabs some great looking babes, hangs them upside down, slits their throats, and drinks their blood.  He attempts to see Ann, who at first is horrified, then she has pre-marital sex with him.  Not wanting to hurt Ann, Herschell runs off to feed on more babes.  As Ann enlists the help of mind numbed users to stop her mutant boyfriend, Herscell gets more violent and sadistic.
Where will the carnage end?  Is our turkey-man a hero or a monster?  Can a half man, half turkey find love in a world of free sex?  Has our turkey-man evolved into a crass metaphor for the Nixon Administration and the DEA?  The actresses are beautiful, the gore is spurting, and f/x are quite hokey in this B movie which can be found on YouTube.  If you have been thirsting for a Thanksgiving horror film, "Blood Freak" is it!