Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Deadly Mantis, Bug...Really Big Bug!

The U.S. Congress just opened up the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) in Alaska for oil drilling.  This was a controversial move as learned men on both sides of the issue vehemently debated this opening for decades.  Sure, caribou populations may be endangered, and Arctic plains may be polluted, but one wonders if the U.S. Congress even thought about the real risks to humanity.  Bugs!  Big ones!  Hence 1957's "The Deadly Mantis."
A crumbling iceberg in the Arctic unleashes a pre-historic monster, a giant praying mantis.  The creature takes out a C-47 cargo plane, a radar outpost, and an Eskimo (a 1950s politically incorrect term, I might add) village.  At first these attacks mystify the U.S. Air Force, who man these radar stations in Canada's Arctic.  The very handsome Colonel Joe Parkman (Craig Stevens) calls in bug scientist Dr. Nedrick Jackson (William Hopper) for assistance.  Fortunately for the Air Force crew in the Arctic, who haven't seen a dame since the Roosevelt Administration, Nedrick brings a dame with him, the sultry reporterette, Marge (Alix Talton).  Marge, quite a dish,  will be sexually harassed unmercifully by the men at the base, but in true B movie fashion...she likes it.
Back to the story.  The bug continues its attacks and even decimates the Air Force base, sending our men, and the nubile Marge scrambling.  After some more sexual harassment, the Colonel and Nedrick take Marge (a sight for sore eyes) on the road, following the mantis as it attacks U.S. cities. While pursuing the monster, the Colonel parks the car and plants a big one on the dame.  As the two swap spit, the bug takes out a bus and the Washington Monument.  Now New York, Richmond, and New Orleans are in peril.  But which is more dangerous to this country...a giant bug monster, or the rampant sexual harassment prevalent in this male dominated society?
Marge, the doll that she is, screams great and wears tight sweaters nicely.  Will the huge bug be stopped?  Is the creature a metaphor for the dangers women face from military personnel groomed to kill?   So all you dames out there, take note, next time a serviceman, who fights off enemy terrorists or creature invasions, pinches you on the rear, smile and give him a wink.  Ah 1950s scifi B movies...can't beat them, and perhaps we can learn something from them...Harvey Weinstein did.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Leech Woman, Forever Young and a Cat-Fight

I originally saw 1960's "The Leech Woman" over twenty years ago.  As I recently re-watched this classic, I only remembered this film for two reasons.  First, it was a lot like The Wasp Woman . Second, and more importantly, that cat-fight.  One of the greatest cat-fights ever to hit the silver screen occurred between the nubile Gloria Talbott ("I Married a Monster from Outer Space") and the sultry Coleen Gray ("The Vampire").  Oh yes, the nubile Ms. Talbott gets the drop on the sultry Ms. Gray as she has a gun. Uh oh...The sultry one has evil in her heart and soon disarms the nubile one and inflicts horrible doom on this darling.  Let us take a more detailed look at "The Leech Woman."
Dr. Paul Talbot (Phillip Terry) and June (Gray) were married many years ago, she was ten years his senior and very hot.  As the years go by, she is...well.. ten years older.  As for Paul, he has a nubile young nurse, Sally (Talbott), who looks great in her white nurse uniform. A mysterious 152 year old hag arrives at Dr. Talbot's office with a tale of a potion that will make the old young again.  Paul and June travel to Africa to find this elixir, and they do find it.  June tries the stuff and is young and sultry again.  Bad news, the potion must mix with a human hormone, and this step will kill the host. Now greedy and fanatical, June uses Paul as the first subject.
Now back in the States, June passes herself off as her niece and seduces Neil (Grant Williams). Because Neil is engaged to the nubile Sally, Sally's fate is tragically determined.  See, June's youth only lasts a short time and she must keep feeding on human hormones to stay young.  Addicted to being young and beautiful, the sultry June kills often. With the slaughter of the nubile Sally, Neil will have to be careful and wise up.
Can June keep killing to feed her beauty?  Is the quest for eternal youth an endeavor that ever meets with success?  Is "The Leech Women" a 1960 foretelling of the fate of modern day actresses that are addicted to Botox and plastic surgery?  "The Leech Woman" is a lot of fun even though the story isn't at all surprising.  B movie grade all the way, enjoy this horror classic which appeared on MST3K.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Because Reasons, Opportunity and Boredom

They have no guilt.  We do.  They are intelligent.  We're schmucks.  They are master manipulators.  We're suckers for kind words and a smile.  The psychopath!  In my 25 years as an FBI agent, I studied psychopaths.  All the advantages are theirs.  They are church deacons.  They are computer programmers.  They are school teachers.  Oh yes, even more alarming, they stand behind you in line at Costco. They are at reception when you sign into a hotel or for a doctor's appointment. They seize opportunity.  Hence, a My Little Rascal Productions short horror film(15 minutes), "Because Reasons." 
Tiffany and an unfortunate schmuck (Shawn Shillingford)
Tiffany (Krista West), on this particular day, goes on a murderous rampage.  She doesn't look like a monster; in fact she is quite attractive.  Everyone who sees her desires either pre-marital or extra-marital sex with  her.  Like most psychopaths, she is a bit of a prude when it comes to morals, and making people die for their sins is her hang-up on this day.  She'll, very calmly, explain her mindset and her thought processes.  You males out there will, before being horrified by her, be attracted to her perkiness and simple beauty.
The beautiful psychopath
Since "Because Reasons" only spans 15 minutes, I'll be brief on the plot.  Alluring, sexy, playful...deadly.  As we watch and listen to this evil vixen, it is apparent that she could end up offing a couple dozen schmucks.  Like many psychopaths, sex and the pursuit of sex seem to drive her.  All kinds of sex.
 Pastor Bev (Adela-Adriana Moscu)
 A bit of comedy, lots of horror, and some titillating allure will be thrown at you in a very short period of time.  Isaac Thorne's understanding of what makes up a psychopath is spot on.  Fortunately this is a work of fiction, though deep in the bowels of the Behavioral Science Unit (I've been there) at Quantico, Virginia, may be files that chronicle the activities and conquests of devils like Tiffany.  Oh yes, consider this a cautionary tale...and remember, in 2017, there have ever been more psychopaths on the prowl on this planet.  Not for the squeamish (the gore f/x are gratuitous), enjoy "Because Reasons" (directed by Roger Glass).  For more information about this work, visit the links below. This screenplay was written by Joseph Sorrentino and adapted from a story by Isaac Thorne.
Because Reasons on IMDB
Because Reasons on Facebook

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Castle of Evil, Maniac in Old Castle

As a lifelong horror fan and a lawyer (shhh, don't tell anyone), my favorite legal proceeding is the obligatory reading of the will.  Oh!  If conditions are attached, even better.  You know those conditions.  Some wills may stipulate the surviving heirs must spend the night in a haunted castle to collect.  Or even better, those same heirs must survive the night to collect.  Hence, 1966's "Castle of Evil."
After an opening scene filled with blackmail, betrayal, and murder, six schmucks land on a remote island.  These peeps were summoned to the island's Gothic castle to hear the reading of the will of Kovic (William Thourlby). Recently dead (or is he?), Kovic's will stipulates the six must stay in the castle overnight's the best part...must figure out which one of them murdered him. Surprise! All had motives as Kovic ruined all of their lives. Matt (Scott Brady) takes the lead and immediately develops goo-goo eyes for the sultry Carrol (Lisa Gaye). Carroll is a beauty but pretty worthless to the plot as she will faint in horror and not emerge until the end of the film when a monster chases her around as she is clad only in a red negligee.
Okay, bad news.  Despite Kovic's corpse, with a very disfigured face (a lab accident) being in the coffin, Kovic seems to rise from the dead to begin killing the heirs.  Uh oh, Kovic's weird housekeeper, Lupe (Shelley Morrison) is up to something and spends most of her time in a laboratory monitoring the guests on CCTV. Sable (Virginia Mayo) is the most colorful of the guests, a former canteen singer and GF of Kovic.  Wronged big time by Kovic, could this beauty be the killer? Did I mention, if the guests identify Kovic's killer, they will share a larger chunk of the inheritance?  As Kovic...or his ghost...hunts down the guests, Matt spearheads an effort to figure out just what really is going on.
Is Kovic really dead?  If so, which one of these schmucks killed him?  Will anyone be left alive by the morning?  Perhaps a cryptic statement of inheritance and Trust and Estate laws, "Castle of Evil" is a nice film with a scary monster, an old cavernous castle, and damsels in much peril.  Before writing your will, think about having some fun with your surviving heirs, and watch "Castle of Evil."

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Vampire, Bloodsucking and Addiction

Unlike most of today's Harvey Weinstein corrupted actresses, Coleen Gray seems to have had an uncharacteristic Hollywood history. In addition to being cast in lots of films after being discovered while waiting tables, Ms. Gray testified in front of the U.S. House in favor of prayer in the public schools. This beauty didn't just talk a moral game, she went into prisons and helped preach to hardened convicts. She must have been a sight for sore eyes behind walls and jail-bars, but good looks can be a hindrance if caught in a vampire's radar. Today we look at 1957's "The Vampire."
Dr. Paul Beecher (John Beal) accidentally ingests an experimental serum which proves to be highly addictive. Thinking his pills are treating migraines, Paul finds himself popping them more frequently. Meanwhile, people in his small town are dying. Not all is going bad for Paul, he has just hired Carol (Gray), a new nurse who looks mighty fine in her white uniform. As the deaths continue, police chief Buck Donnelly (Kenneth Tobey) begins to get suspicious. Paul has told him the deaths are heart failure, but whenever two puncture wounds are found on the neck, that natural causes story always flies out the window.
Above suspicion, Paul doesn't have to explain his blackouts, which occur when some of his female patients are drained of their blood. Now completely addicted to his supposed migraine pills, Paul loses sanity and control. Oh no! The lovely Carol begins dating both the police chief and Paul...not at the same time of course...that would be weird...unless Harvey Weinstein was the police chief, of course.  Needing more pills, and more importantly, a woman's blood supply, Paul, now a monster, sets his sights on his new beauty in white.
Will Carol's white nurse's uniform be stained red with her own blood when Paul gets finished with her? Where did those migraine pills come from? Is Carol's  proclivity to date a cop and a doctor at the same time an omen for bloody doom? Ms. Gray is the perfect white-clad damsel in much distress and we do pull for her to survive the toothy menace. Directed by Paul Landres, "The Vampire" is a minor horror film, but lots of fun, nonetheless.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Mill of the Stone Women, Euro-Babes Die Horribly

The fate of the very pretty Annelore (Liana Orfei) is horrible, no doubt, but probably a good metaphor for the plight of young ladies in misogynistic and patriarchal western civilization. The pretty redhead will appear in 1960's "Mill of the Stone Women" as a seductively clad model in front of an art class, then as a frisky canteen singer entertaining drunk men, then as an abducted damsel having her blood drained and turned into a macabre piece of artwork. Finally, this beauty will be decapitated and have her head tossed about like a soccer ball. In a sense, perhaps this fate awaits all of a figurative sense, that it.
The professor and an unfortunate damsel
Hans (Pierre Brice), a Euro hunk, arrives at an old windmill inhabited by Professor Wahl (Herbert A.E. Boehme). The professor is an artist and Hans will help him...well...with something artistic. Uh oh, strange wails emanate from another part of the windmill. Oh yes, the good professor has an art exhibit enjoyed by everyone in town...a carousel of wax statues of sultry women being murdered, executed, or otherwise killed.  Charming indeed. Those wails? Wahl's nubile daughter Elfie (Seilla Gabel) has a mysterious illness and cries out in pain a lot, and is constantly treated by a mad doctor (Wolfgang Preiss).
Elfie dying
Against Wahl's wishes, Elfie meets Hans. So blown away by her, Hans has immediate pre-marital sex with her. Now she must have him. Big problem. Hans is engaged to the equally pretty and nubile Liselotte (Dany Carrel). Oh yes, the professor abducts a model from his art class, Annelore'll see but it will be quite horrible, I assure you. A rare disease causes Elfie to die and the mad doctor has figured out a way to bring her back to life using the blood of beautiful ladies. After the blood is drained out of the ladies, Wahl takes their can figure that out. More bad news! The mad doctor figures out Loselotte's blood is special and will cure Elfie for good. As Wahl and the mad doctor make a move to secure Liselotte's blood, the always two steps behind Hans must play catch up.
The most unfortunate Annelore
Will Liselotte suffer the same fate as the unfortunate Annelore?  Is Hans' proclivity to engage in pre-marital sex with beauties having one foot already in the grave a bad omen for his future relationship with Liselotte? Will the detached head of Annelore play a factor in the final fiery conclusion of "Mill of the Stone Women"? An erotic Italian horror piece with a very loud and crazy ending awaits whoever views this cinematic gem.  The ill-fated dames are beautiful and we do hope at least one will survive the madness and sadism of our antagonist. For an alluring and morbid good time, take in "Mill of the Stone Women." 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Santo Versus the Vampire Women, Wrestler Saves Senorita

No one embodies the ethos of Mexico like Santo. This masked and caped wrestler oozes goodwill and justice from south of the border like no other. While capturing the hearts of his people, Santo saves his republic from all sorts of criminals and the undead. Always in costume and racing around in a sporty convertible, Santos fights oppressors and fanged menaces like no other. All hail Santo! Today we look at 1962's "Santo Versus the Vampire Women."
Tundra (Ofelia Montesco), vampire priestess, resurrects a lot of vampire babes and Zorina (Lorena Velazquez) Queen of the Vampires. This is key because ancient prophecy dictates that Zorina will give up her throne to 21 year old Diana (Maria Duval). Now Diana is totally ignorant to all of this, but her dad, the professor (AugustoBenedico) is not. Meanwhile, the vampire babes attack nubile young senoritas and drink their blood. Now Zorina sets her sights on Diana's abduction. Fearing this, the professor summons Santo (Santo) to protect Diana. Oh yes, that same ancient prophecy dictates that a masked and caped wrestler will be hired to protect Diana...really, I'm not kidding.  Santo is busy though and we see an elongated wrestling match in which he grunts a lot. While Santo wrestles, the vampire babes look like the proverbial Keystone Cops in their efforts to abduct their future queen.
As the vampire babes move on Diana, Santo is able to ward them off. Not to be deterred, Tundra comes up with a genius plan. She will replace Santo's masked opponent with a vampire. This won't go well for the vampire as Santo is Santo...and no one beats Santo. Though not the smartest vampires on the planet, the babes are able to make a move on Diana which will necessitate Santo bringing his fight to their lair. The last five minutes of this film are classic and show the world the passion of Mexico and its peoples.
Just why does Santo wear a mask and cape? Were Haystack Calhoun or Chief Jay Stronbow any match for Santo? Are Santo's brawn combined with the incompetence of the vampire women a metaphor for Mexico's patriarchal history and disrespect for its senoritas? But wait! We must give Mexican filmmakers credit as they have made films in which female wrestlers fight evil and save our favorite south of the border  republic (see my review of  Batwoman ).  For some frivolous but cultural fun from Mexico, see "Santo Versus the Vampire Women" directed by Alfonso Corona Blake.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Bloody Birthday, Born Evil

Sex in a graveyard at midnight. Oh, that's a fine idea. If you're a teen, why wouldn't you do that? Just think, 60 years into the future you can brag to your grandchildren (when grandma isn't around, of course) of your sexual conquest.  Heck! Even if you never did it, you can still brag about it. Even better, sex in a freshly dug grave at the cemetery. Yep, you'd be a legend! What could go wrong? Well, if your the sultry Annie (Erica Hope) and the hunk Duke (Ben Morley), you'll be murdered by a trio of fourth graders.  Hence we look at 1981's "Bloody Birthday."
Three babies are born during an eclipse.  Ten years later, this evil trio, awaiting their 11th birthday party begin a homicidal wrath.  Debbie (Elizabeth Hoy), Curtis (Billy Jayne), and Steven (Andrew Freeman) are our psycho kids. The fiends, after slaughtering the aforementioned lovers, murder the sheriff, who just so happens to be Debbie's dad.  The sickeningly sweet kids are pure evil.  Debbie is also very industrious and charges her two friends a quarter to look through a peep-hole at her sister, Beverly (Julie Brown) dancing naked. The shows will eventually end when Debbie fires an arrow through Beverly's eye.
Our trio befriend Timmy (K.C. Martel). Their attempts to murder him are always disrupted, usually by Timmy's hot sister, Joyce (Lori Lethin). How annoying! The kids then set out to murder Joyce, as she keeps getting in their way.  Uh oh, Joyce is on to them, but no one will believe her.  Now our psychos plot, and come up with a fool proof plan to murder Joyce and Timmy.  On the way to their goal, they will murder more nude, great looking teens engaging in pre-marital sex.  Will the beautiful Joyce be able to outsmart her evil foes? Arrows, poison, pistols, spades, and rope will all serve our munchkins well.
With some gore, lots of gratuitous nudity, and taboo murders, writer and director Ed Hunt has put together a fine slasher film.  Shocking in many places, no character here is too big to get cut down by our children.  Available on YouTube, see "Bloody Birthday."

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Case of the Scorpion's Tail, The Beautiful Die Italian Style

Lisa Leonardi, aka Annalisa Nardi, is a beautiful Italian actress who had bit parts in seven films from 1971-74. Though she has a bit part in 1971's "The Case of the Scorpion's Tail," her portrayal of an international stewardess is a perfect Italian exploitation plot device. In her most limited time on the screen, she is usually nude in a bed, fresh from the throes of pre-marital sex, or a damsel in much danger clad in a glamorous stewardess garb. The blood, gore, and sex included in her scenes is a good metaphor for the entire film.
Nude stewardess in bed
Bad news, Lisa's (Ida Galli) husband is killed when his plane explodes over the ocean. Good news, she hated him, cheated on him often, and is due to collect a million dollar policy upon his demise. Because the explosion is a suspicious event, the insurance company contracts handsome hunk Peter (George Hilton) to follow Lisa. Lisa must go to Athens to collect the money and as soon as she does she is cut up by a misogynistic psycho. Even worse, the psycho gets away with the million dollars. Now Peter must find the money and figure out who killed the sensuous Lisa. He'll have help. Agent Stanley (Alberto de Mendoza) from INTERPOL and Insp. Stavros (Luigi Pistilli) from the police are also hunting the killer, and suspect Peter.
The unfortunate Lisa
Ah, a lead! Lara (Janine Reynaud), a beautiful Greek skank, was blackmailing Lisa. Lara was the mistress and believes Lisa plotted her husband's demise. As soon as Peter and the other cops are on to her, she is sliced and diced. But wait! Peter now has a friend and ally. Reporter Cleo Dupont (Anita Strindberg) wants to help Peter solve the case, and thereby getting a scoop for her paper. Cleo is beautiful and has a lot of pre-marital sex with Peter. As Peter gets closer to finding answers, Cleo is targeted by the psycho. Oh yes...our stewardess friend. She'll be seen naked, in bed, and whoever she just had sex with might hold the key to this macabre mystery.
The unfortunate Lara
Who killed Lisa and took her million dollars? Why do the cops suspect Peter, and why is Cleo really helping him? Will our beautiful stewardess survive (...after all, this is an Italian horror film)? Experienced horror fans will guess the shocking ending to this film. Lots of beautiful damsels will die horrible deaths and the knifed victims will be a very gory display. Directed by Sergio Martino, for some neat EuroTrash exploitation/horror, see "The Case of the Scorpion's Tail."

Friday, December 15, 2017

Animus, Unresolved Horror

You're just not the same. It happened so long ago but recovery hasn't followed. Horrific and humiliating, the sordid and bloody event from your past has left literal and emotional scars that are affecting your current state.  All you want is to be whole again. An intense desire to be the charming and fun-loving being you were before it all went south. Beware! Becoming whole again may have its pitfalls. Today we take a peek at a new horror short (26 minutes) from Meosha Bean. Directed by Ms. Bean and Markisha Fernando, "Animus."
It was horrific! When you watch "Animus," you'll know what I'm talking about. Fear not, the very skillful direction by Ms. Bean and Ms. Fernando will have you imprisoned in that car just as Jasmine (Fernando) was. The abduction by a knife wielding maniac will result in a lot of blood and memories that will never go away. By the grace of God, Jasmine survives the least physically. Now she wrestles with the awful remembrances of what happened a year ago. Uh oh, the desire to be whole again has also made Jasmine a bit vulnerable. Her desire for recovery has her taking concrete steps to be the old Jasmine. This vulnerability and desire'll see. Can her new beau Edward (Kenneth Dean)...and he is a real her?
This horror tale has a poignant message. That desire to be whole again may lead us into places we shouldn't go. We take to Jasmine and want her to be all right, which only heightens the terror that unfolds for us on the screen. A+ for all involved in the making of "Animus." For a nightmarish half hour, that may speak to your own experiences and desires, see "Animus" by clicking on this link.
Animus on YouTube

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Horrible Sexy Vampire, Tight Sweater, Short Skirt, and Boots

Ah, German women! How do we describe those frauleins? According to 1971's "The Horrible Sexy Vampire," they all wear very tight sweaters, short skirts, and alluring go-go boots. These European babes are also adept at undressing, taking showers and baths, having pre-marital sex, and slipping into see through least, that is what we learn from this film. As far as vampire films are concerned, without those German vixens, this could have been a pretty lame effort.
As our film begins, a redhead and her lover check into no-tell motel for extra-marital sex. They'll both be killed by Count Winneger, the vampire. This carnage will occur after our beauty undresses and takes a bath. The cops are on the case, but when they get too close to Winneger, he will strangle them. See, every 28 years, Count Winneger comes back to life to feed on women. As another police inspector (Luis Induni) takes on the case, he traces the mystery to Winneger's old castle. Meanwhile, a couple of German barmaids, clad in tight sweaters, short skirts, and boots will be sucked dry by Winneger as they undress, take their baths or showers, await pre-marital sex with their boyfriends, and don some lingerie.
Winneger indulges
Meanwhile, Count Oblensky (Wal Davis) arrives in Germany to claim the castle. As Winneger's heir, he inherits the place and Winneger begins to communicate with him. Finally, Oblensky realizes that Winneger is back and killing these tight sweater, short skirted, clad in boots vixens. Quickly, Oblensky researches vampires and decides he must put an end to Winneger's wrath.  Uh oh! Oblensky's main squeeze, Susan (Susan Carvasal) arrives from London to have lots of pre-marital sex with him. Double uh oh, this very pretty blonde is wearing a tight sweater, a short leather skirt, and boots. Because she is naked a lot, and likes to have pre-marital sex, Winneger sets out to make this nubile fraulein his bride.
Susan takes a bath
Will Oblensky figure out how to kill Winneger? Is the perky tight sweater, short skirted, and booted Susan too pretty to die?  Is this Spanish film, shot in Germany, a mere statement of condemnation against promiscuous and scantily clad women? Also known as "El Vampiro de la Autopista," "The Horrible Sexy Vampire" would be a horrible film without the very alluring female victims, who indeed put on a show.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Psychopath, Italian Horror from the UK

Everything about this film exudes Italian horror. A weird and twisted psychopath and some sultry damsels in much distress (not all will survive) are pulled out of the plot lines of these erotic scary tales from Italy. But wait! This one is from England. From 1966, we take a peek at "The Psychopath." Consistent with Italian horror, everyone is a suspect in this film...and every beautiful woman seems doomed to be gutted.
Inspector Holloway
Some weird murders are occurring in England. The corpses are found, usually mangled, and a doll with their likeness nearby. The gruff Inspector Holloway (Patrick Wymark) is on the case. Ah, the victims seem to be connected. They were all members of an allied war crime commission that prosecuted some Nazi named Von Sturm. Von Sturm's estate in Germany was then seized. Uh oh, Von Sturm's wife (Margaret Johnston) and eerie son Mark (John Standing) now live in England and Mrs. Von Sturm collects, and talks to dolls. Members of the commission continue dying and now anyone who may have an idea about the case also assumes room temperature. In a heartbreaking plot device, the sultry Gina (Gina Gianelli), who works at a doll shop, is gutted in an alley, and a doll with her likeness is found nearby.
Oh no! Not Gina!
As Holloway pursues both Von Sturms', he becomes a target of the psycho. Uh oh...could someone else be doing the murders? The lovely Lousie (Judy Huxtable) has a fiance with lots of debt. Louise's dad was on the war crimes commission. Now she may be a target, and her fiance now has a motive as Louise's dad hated him. As we get more insight into Mrs. Von Sturm, she is indeed angry at the commission's findings and buys many doll bodies from the store Gina worked, and is adept at making dolls, which she considers part of her family. Is this too easy?
Louise meets the dolls
This mystery/horror whodunit is a lot of fun, and Patrick Wymark is fantastic as the driven detective. In Italian horror fashion, will the lovely Louise follow Gina's example, and die horribly? Are the Von Sturms' responsible for the carnage, given they have the best motive? The answer to the mystery is secondary to the extreme creepiness of the conclusion which goes way beyond merely identifying the killer. For some alluring horror, catch "The Psychopath," directed by Freddie Francis.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Extinction, Burn Notice in Winter

I usually avoid TV shows, but I do admit that I had a fondness for "Burn Notice." Jeffrey Donovan played the hero, disgraced secret agent Michael Westen. Fans of that show will also remember Bruce Campbell and Gabrielle Anwar rounding out a very dynamic and entertaining trio. So where does Mr. Donovan go after the show ends? The zombie apocalypse! I know, the mention of the phrase 'zombie apocalypse' draws a yawn from us.  However, 2015's "Extinction," though keeping many of the pitfalls that ruin modern zombie apocalypse films, does have some interesting and visually appealing elements.
Nine years previous the world ends. Zombies! Jack (Donovan) survives with his nine year old daughter, Lu (Quinn McColgan). Also surviving is Jack's former best friend Patrick (Matthew Fox). Former is the key word.  Something happened at the apocalypse which spurred an intense hatred by Jack toward Patrick. Don't worry, a back story will fill in the blanks. Now Patrick and Lou live in their fortified compound/house, and wouldn't you know it, Patrick lives next door. With no signs of life, this uneasy trio live in a frigid, snow-covered wasteland where no man or monster tread. Patrick is determined to reach more survivors on his shortwave radio, while Patrick home-schools Lu.
Years have past since monsters have been seen and Jack believes they are all dead. Oh yes, those zombies of nine years ago? They evolved into grotesque, super-human monsters. Bad news...while foraging for food, Patrick barely survives a monster attack. Not only are the monsters still around, they now know where the trio live.  Indications are that the creatures are coming and Patrick wants to flee. Unfortunately, his status with Jack is still in the dumpster, and Jack and Lu intend to stay put. A final war will take place, but not before some tense moments between Jack and Patrick...and more monsters.
Are Jack, Patrick, and Lu the only three survivors of the zombie apocalypse? What did Patrick do to Jack that inspired this intense hatred? Just how clever have these monsters become in the nine years since the apocalypse? One of the best aspects of "Extinction" are the snowy sets and desolate city wastelands in which Patrick and Jack forage in.  Some critics may argue that much of this film is unrealistic, but then again, what about zombie apocalypses are realistic? Shot in Budapest, Hungary, enjoy "Extinction," especially as "The Walking Dead" continues its painful decline.

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism, Nubile Virgins Sacrificed

Karin Dor was the first German Bond Girl when she appeared in 1967's "You Only Live Twice." That same year, she played the nubile virgin with impressive and lively cleavage in "The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism." Her attractiveness blows Christopher Lee's performance away in this German made Gothic horror film. Also, this German film comes very close to mirroring the style of the horror films made by Hammer.
Count Regula (Lee) is drawn and quartered for murdering 12 beautiful virgins. He was caught before he could torture to death the 13th. Unfortunately for Regula, if he had succeeded, he would have been granted eternal life by the devil. 35 years later, Lilian (Dor), the descendant of the 13th virgin is summoned to Regula's castle. Also summoned is Roger (Lex Barker), a descendant to the magistrate that sentenced Regula to death. Unbeknownst to these two, who will of course fall in love, Regula is no longer in the grave and is eager to pick up where he left off 35 years ago.
As Roger and Lilian journey through a dark forest, with corpses hanging from trees, they both realize their pasts are intertwined. Babette (Christiane Rucker) is Lilian's buxom servant, and she is also along for the ride. Uh oh, Lilian and Roger are immediately hounded and harassed by Regula's undead servant Anatol (Carl Lange). Babette is strung up in torture devices and the two lovebirds discover a dozen dead beaties who have been tortured to death. As Regula returns, he begins his quest to make Lilian the 13th virgin. But get this! It is not enough to just murder Lilian, she needs to die in the throes of extreme horror. As Anatol separates Roger from his new love, Regula begins his quest to frighten Lilian to death in order to receive eternal life.
Can square-jawed Roger save the sultry Lilian? Is the buxom, blonde Babette a virgin? Just how does Regula plan to scare Lilian to death? Lots of torture device carnage, snake-pits, and buzzards picking apart corpses will enhance this Gothic tale. This is a good re-imagining of Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum," and the beautiful Karin Dor makes this film so worthwhile. For some almost-Hammer horror, see "The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism," directed by Ms. Dor's husband, Harald Reinl. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tomb of Torture, Gothic Horror from Italy

An old haunted castle!  Ghosts!  Deformed ghouls! A torture chamber!  A pretty damsel in much distress!  From Italy, today we take a look at 1963's "Tomb of Torture." Perhaps a pretty standard tale of ghosts and possession, but that doesn't mean this film doesn't work. Spooky and atmospheric, this movie will please horror fans.
Countess Irene (Annie Alberti) mysteriously disappeared 20 years ago. Uh oh, Anna (also Annie Alberti) is a spitting image of this beauty and also has weird dreams suggesting she is Irene's reincarnate.  Anna's dad (Adriano Micontoni) is worried about Anna's preoccupation with an unrelated, long missing countess, and decides to bring Anna to the castle to help cure her. This doesn't work. Living at the castle is Irene's weird sister, Elizabeth (Flora Carosello). Homicidal antics permeate this old castle as the film begins when two nubile Italian babes trespass into the castle, are captured by a weird ghoul, strung up in various states of undress and tortured to death in a secret chamber.  Will this ultimately be Anna's fate?
Anna's dreams of Irene continue and now she is even seeing Irene's ghost. To take her mind off this eerie circumstance, Anna goes skinny we all would, I'm sure. While naked, reporter George (Marco Mariani) comes across her and falls in love with her. Anna also falls in love with George, so sweet. George is trying to investigate the death of the two aforementioned beauties and has linked the carnage to the castle. Oh yes, Elizabeth is not happy to see Anna arrive and wants her out of the picture. Of course, this all leads to a mysterious force leading Anna to the castle and the torture chamber.
What happened to Countess Irene, and why is Elizabeth so hostile to Anna? What secrets does the hidden torture chamber hold, and why were the two babes strung up there?  Will Anna also end up strung up in that chamber, and will her fate differ from the two beauties who have assumed room temperature?  This is an eerie damsel in much distress ghost story, directed by Antonio Boccaci. For some frivolous fun that includes babes being tortured, ghosts, and skinny dipping, see "Tomb of Torture."   

Monday, December 4, 2017

House of Blood, Vampire Monsters vs. Convicts

In the age old battle between vampire monsters and convicts, the vampire fiends will win again. No surprise there, but in 2006's "House of Blood" (aka "Chain Reaction") this conflict isn't really what the film is about. Too bad, the real story is hardly as dramatic. Don't fret, this film is still a worthwhile take. Whatever the themes and plot of this work are, the appeal of "House of Blood" is some great gore.  Decapitations, severed limbs, internal organs pulled out, and some amputations will warm your heart. Oh yes, one more point of introduction. Critics pan this film because of the acting. I guess that's fair, but keep in mind, this film was made in Austria with Austrians trying to act like hardened American criminals.
A doctor is in a head on collision with a prison bus. In the ensuing carnage, four prisoners dis-arm the guards, execute them in gory fashion, and take Dr. Madsen (Christopher Kriesa) hostage. The four psychos tell the doctor that they will let him live if he keeps a wounded prisoner, Spence (Luca Maric) alive. Madsen agrees but lets the gang leader, Arthur (Simon Newby) know that Spence's arm needs to be amputated. The four, plus the doctor, head toward the Canadian border and find a weird house in the wilderness.
Now, more fun begins. Yep, the convicts invade the house and find eight really weird people. The doctor enlists the help of Alice (Martina Ittenbach) to amputate Spence's arm. After the residents eat the severed arm, Arthur goes crazy and the convicts execute the residents. The peeps don't stay dead and return to life as vampires and pull off the heads and rip out the internal organs of the convicts, and Alice helps Madsen escape. Guess what! We aren't even half way through the film. What follows is more of the same and a hint that the doctor may have some connection to the house and the monsters inside. More decapitations and people being ripped apart, and oh yes...more amputations await.
What is the doctor's connection to the monsters? Why is vampire-monster Alice so eager to save the doctor? Does this film represent Austria's far right movement's ideas for criminal justice? Gory and interesting, this film has a lot of detractors. As far as the assertion that the acting is horrible in this film...well...the acting here is better than any effort given by Megan Fox or Ben Affleck. For some great gore and mean vampire fiends, check out "House of Blood" (directed by Olaf Ittenbach).

Saturday, December 2, 2017

The Villainess, Hot Asian Chick Wipes Out Korea

Hot Asian chick, clad in a leather jacket and some kinda attitude, using a semi-automatic pistol, a knife, and a rope, kills 54 South the first seven minutes of this film. Merry Christmas! From 2017 we take a peek "The Villainess." A love story, really. Don't fret, if you thought that opening scene was cool, the closing scene is similar, except an axe instead of a gun, and a leather body suit instead of just a jacket.
Sook-hee (Ok-bin Kim) is an assassin. From the aforementioned opening scene, we see that she is a really good one. Uh oh, after that carnage she is arrested as a mess of cops arrive...or are they cops? They aren't! Nope, they are from The Agency. Who is The Agency?! They break her like a cowboy does a bronco and then fine tune her. Sook-hee is taught to act, cook, sew, and even has a child. Now she's ready. The Agency will implant her in society as a single mom, actress. Once a week or so she will be asked to assassinate various peeps who probably deserve what they get.
Sook-hee is very valuable to The Agency and they send in their best man, Joong-rang (Ha-kyun Shin) to fall in love with her and marry her. The vulnerable killer falls for this and has no clue her new beau is also a trained assassin working for The Agency. Uh oh...Joon-rang really does fall for her. They do make a cute couple even though Sook-hee has to fake going to the restroom all the time in order to assassinate various schmucks. I have not mentioned the back story, and I won't, but it bubbles up in this story and threatens Sook-hee's new life as a wife and mother. Explosions, gunfights, knife-fights, and bloody car chases then take center stage as we are left questioning just who are the bad guys.
I know this all sounds kind of confusing, but I really didn't want to deliver too many spoilers by giving more of the plot. This is a wild one and the final scene is an orgasmic voyage into carnage and bloody revenge. Our sultry villainess (or should I say heroine?) will kill about a hundred Koreans before the final credits roll. The blood will spurt, severed limbs will fly, and lots of stuff will be blown up in the heartwarming tale of romance and death. For a tender Christmas film, watch "The Villainess," directed by Byung-gil Jung.