Sunday, February 19, 2017

Pigs, Men are Pigs...Women are Psychos

Ahhh, pigs and the psychos who love them. We will avoid dissecting a 1970s drive-in film for the social commentary and take a literal look at 1972's "Pigs."  Who among us hasn't scrambled for a quick and easy way to get rid of a corpse?  As our friends in the 4H Club will tell us, feeding human remains to pigs is the only sure fire way to do just that. So, in cities or suburban areas, we still rely on vats of acid, but in rural areas...well...you use what you have...pigs!
Lynn (Billy Bob Thornton's ex-wife, Toni Lawrence) murders her dad when he tries to rape her.  This violent reaction lands her in the state mental hospital (the 1970s, such a judgmental decade). She is certifiable as she still has imaginary conversations with the fiend.  Like all good asylum inmates, she escapes.  She ends up at Zambrini's (Marc Lawrence) place.  This old man runs a diner and pig farm. This weird guy robs cemeteries and morgues for corpses, as his pigs only eat human flesh.  Zambrini hires Lynn as a waitress and lets her live in a back room.
The only young women in 100 miles, Lynn draws immediate attention from the roughnecks working in the oil fields.  Ben (Paul Hickey) is the first to come calling. He sees Lynn as fresh meat, and she sees him as her dad.  During pre-marital sex, she castrates Ben and then continues to slash away. Un phased, Zambrini takes Ben's remains and feeds him to his animals.  Sheriff Cole (Jesse Vint) starts coming around and asking questions about missing corpses and Ben.  He is suspicious of Lynn and Zambrini's desire to protect her.  Lynn will keep on killing and the pigs will get fatter.  Zambrini better watch out as any man, in Lynn's unstable mind, becomes her dad.
As the mental hospital and law get closer to unraveling Lynn's secrets, she gets bolder.  Is Lynn a victim giving men exactly what they deserve?  Or is Lynn just plain insane?  What exactly are the pigs a metaphor for? Okay, that's an easy one.  The ending will have us all screaming "Ouch!" Perhaps "Pigs" is the film that "Charlotte's Web" would have been if Tobe Hooper had been the director.  Either way, for some nice, gory 1970s drive-in fare, see "Pigs."

Friday, February 17, 2017

Winterbeast, Clay-mation Terror

How can a 1992 film utilizing clay-mation and stop-motion f/x  for the creatures be bad?  Exactly!  "Winterbeast" may be low-budget and suffer from sub-par acting and writing, but it is so much fun. In an age of overused CGI, this Massachusetts made horror film is so refreshing.  Fans of Ray Harryhausen will love the effort by film-maker Christopher Thies.
The first 30 seconds of "Winterbeast" will grab you.  A little monster jumps out of someone's gut and a mangled park ranger begins pulling off his own flesh.  On a mysterious New England mountain, ancient Indian curses are causing havoc.  Park ranger Bill (Tim. R. Morgan) has been having nightmares (premonitions?) about the evil doings and wants to find one of his rangers who is missing on the mountain.  His sidekick, ranger Stillman (Mike Magri), who loves whiskey and porn, is hardly capable of assisting him.  Uh oh, a totem pole comes to life and grabs a nude woman from her cabin.  Double uh-oh, a huge bear-like creature comes out of the ground and mangles two babe hikers.
The local resort lodge is owned by a demented Malcolm McDowell type figure, Dave (Bob Harlow). He is upset at the rangers because they are scaring away his customers.  But wait!  This proprietor may be hiding something very sinister.  As more creatures take shape and more rangers and hikers get ripped apart, Ranger Bill realizes he needs to confront Dave.  Will Dave be able to convince Ranger Bill that boating accidents killed the hikers?
 Filled with gratuitous gore and nudity, "Winterbeast" is the perfect film for a cold winter's night. The above mentioned f/x are corny and over-the-top, but that's how we like them. Sure the plot is choppy but true horror film fans will have no problem following the ominous evil story-line.  Instead of paying over ten bucks to see the new "Fifty Shades" film, go to YouTube and see something fun.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Witchboard, Ouija Board Havoc

The very beautiful Tawny Kitaen has a ferocious side.  In 2002 she kicked the daylights out of her husband, Major League pitcher, Chuck Finley.  15 years previous, in the 1986 film "Witchboard," a possessed Kitaen would do the same to actor Todd Allen.  I'm not saying that playing around with a Ouija board in that horror film doomed Finley's fate, but one never knows about that paranormal stuff.  We can say that no one has ever used a Ouija board and later remarked, "...gee, I'm so glad we thought of using a Ouija board, that worked out well."
The sultry Linda (Kitaen) isn't too bright. As our film opens, she is hosting a party in which she has invited her current beau, the loser Jim (Allen) and her ex-main squeeze, the arrogant Brandon (Stephen Nichols). What could go wrong? Funny you asked...Brandon pulls out his Ouija board and contacts the spirit of a little boy, David, with Linda.  David is quite taken with the shapely redhead and the excitement begins.  But is Linda's new friend really the spirit of a boy?  The spirit gets possessive and tries to kill Jim, resulting in the death of Jim's friend.   Uh oh, the diminutive Linda begins to change and exhibits some anti-social behavior.
As Linda continues to fall under the spell of the increasingly malignant spirit, Jim and Brandon team up to save her.  They bring in a weird medium, Zarabeth (Kathleen Wilhoite) who determines that whoever Linda is communicating with is dangerous.  Zarabeth will soon be impaled, leaving our two boyfriends ill equipped to handle this otherworldly threat. As bodies begin to pile up and Jim and Brandon unravel the mystery of David and the spirit possessing Linda, our damsel now becomes a threat.  Will the spirit kill either Jim or Brandon, making Linda's decision on who to marry an easy one?
Directed by Kevin Tenney, "Witchboard" inspired many sequels, as well as more low-budget Ouija board films.  Todd Allen is terrific and presents himself as someone we'd all like to have a beer with. Kitaen is beautiful and does have some gratuitous shower scenes for you more juvenile fans of slasher films.  So...next time the party you're at gets a bit slow, and some idiot pulls out a Ouija board...RUN!!!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Iced, A Naked Wednesday

She's all grown up!  America's favorite macabre kiddo...Wednesday (Lisa Loring) from the 1960's hit show, "The Addams Family."  In 1988's "Iced," Lisa Loring delivers a mostly nude and very bouncy performance before meeting an icy demise...also in the nude.  Like skinny dipping, nude romps in hot-tubs are never survived.  In this slasher film, set at a ski resort, will anyone survive?
Jeff (Dan Smith) is fresh out of a lunatic asylum.  I guess we can all relate to that...there are those voices again!  At a ski week-end with his buds, he tries to make advances on the lovely Trina (Debra De Liso).  Go figure, Trina is into sane men and rejects Jeff for the hunk Cory (Doug Stevenson). This leads to the unbalanced Jeff hitting the ski slopes in rage and getting himself killed....or so it seems.  Now, four years later, all these friends are lured back to this resort by a property company.
Now Cory and Trina are married.  Jeanette (Loring) is on the outs with her boyfriend, who was mowed down by a snow plow in an earlier scene.  Diane (Elizabeth Gorcey) and John (John C. Cooke) are also married (unfortunately, they are pictured above).  Oh yes, Carl (Ron Kologie) is a rich coke-head.  Uh oh, subtle clues are scattered through the ski chalet that indicate Jeff may not be dead.  The very handsome real estate guy arrives, Alex (Joseph Alan Johnson).  Alex informs our gang that Jeff was sent an invitation and accepted.  How can that be, unless he's not dead.  This sends our party into panic mode.  On cue, they start dying horrible deaths.  Icicles, bear-traps, a knife, and an outdoor heater are all used to dispatch these peeps.
As the lovely Trina, without pants, is chased through the snow, someone (...could it be Jeff?) has extra special plans for her.  Is anyone left alive who could help this half nude damsel?  Could Jeff have survived his death four years ago?  Does the frigid setting of a Utah ski resort have any bonuses for slasher film fans during the plethora of gratuitous nude scenes?  For some winter fun, and some nice kills, see "Iced" (aka "Blizzard of Blood").

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Bleeder, Death of the Rock Cats

They're beautiful. They're blonde. They wear tight satin pants, high-heeled boots and leopard print tops. They will make you forget about ABBA and Roxette.  The Swedish all-girl band Rock Cats! Uh oh, these damsels will be put in great distress and might not survive a Swedish slasher.  Today we peek at a slasher film from Sweden, 1983's "The Bleeder" (aka "Blodaren").
On their way to their next gig, the bus carrying the Rock Cats breaks down in a Swedish forest.  In costume, as mentioned above, and carrying guitars, they seek a nearby village.  Eek...it's a ghost town inhabited by the bleeder.  This unfortunate insaniac has a blood condition that causes blood to constantly drip from his eyes.  His backstory?  It's a gruesome one. This fiend loves pretty women, and the Rock Cats send his hormones off the chart.  Unbeknownst to our babes, the bleeder begins following them through the ghost town.  Maria (Maria Landberg) will stray off the path and...well...take a gander at the below picture. Eva (Eva Danielsson) will be next, and to her dismay, the bleeder plays with her before offing her.
As a benign wilderness officer (Danne Strahed) gets word of the psycho, he heads to the ghost town. In the mean time Axet (Sussi Ax), Mia (Mia Hanssen), and Nulle (Agneta Ohlund) will have a difficult time, in their heels and tight pants, eluding our fiend. Does the bleeder want to kill all the babes?  Well, the opening scene of the film suggests he has something more nefarious, and perverted in mind.
The gals are very pretty and we pull for them, though our affection for them will be futile. Who among the Rock Cats will be the final girl?  Does the bleeder desire to be the breeder?  Will the resurgence of this film revive the popularity of Swedish all-girl bands?  Are the Rock Cats a cheap Swedish rip-off of Shonen Knife?  This film inspires so many deep questions, but just enjoy this as a slasher chases babes film from the 1980s.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Blood Drinkers, Vampire in the Philippines

It wasn't called color-rama, but it should have been.  The film technique where a red filter is used every time a vampire has feeding on his mind.  Perhaps the "Underworld" franchise was wise to discard that technique, but for 1964's "The Blood Drinkers," color-rama flourished.  Made in the Philippines, this weird bloodsucker film, despite being quirky and experimental, is still a classic vampire themed horror story.
Marco and Katrina
Marco (Ronald Remy) is a sad vampire.  He has a voluptuous vampire bride, Tanya (Eva Montes), but of course, one is never enough.  Lying in repose is Katrina, on the brink of death.  Marco wants this beautiful blonde Filipino babe as his main bride.  One might imagine this will cause some friction with the sultry Tanya later in the film.  To keep Katrina alive, Marco attacks and absconds with the blood of young women in order to feed her..  He needs to go further.  Marco must surgically take the heart of Katrina's sister, Charito (both played by Amalia Fuentes).  The brunette has no idea that her sister Katrina exists.
Charito
  Thanks to a vampire bat named Basra, Marco puts Charito under his spell.  Fortunately for Charito, the handsome hunk, Victor (Eddie Fernandez) has fallen in love with her.  Victor carries a gun and fights well.  As Victor is engaged with Marco's ghouls, Marco makes his move for Charito.  Marco has ghouls, vampire babes, and bats to help him.  Charito has Victor, the church, and eventually the police.  When the screen turns a shade of red, beware!  That means Marco is coming for blood.  Who will prevail?
Tanya and Katrina
Will Marco cut out Charito's heart and give it to Katrina?  Will Tanya put up with any of this nonsense?  Will Victor ever  figure out he needs to trade his gun in for a wooden stake?  Remember, wooden stakes don't kill people, vampires do (...er, or something like that).  Weird in plot and in cinematic technique, "The Blood Drinkers" (aka "Blood is the Color of Night") is available on YouTube...in COLOR-RAMA!!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Girls Nite Out, The Bear vs. Cheerleaders

In 1977, Marquette, a heavy underdog to Dean Smith's North Carolina Tar Heels, stunned the sports world.  Coached by Al McGuire, the Warriors upset the heavily favored UNC.  In poetic fashion, the final television shot of the game was a tearful, but victorious Coach McGuire. Shortly after this championship game, knowing he could not top this feat, McGuire retired.  He and Billy Packer would then be a staple on NCAA basketball telecasts for years to come.  Today we take a peek at 1982's "Girls Nite Out," in which beautiful cheerleaders are sliced up by a puritanical bear...starring Al McGuire.
In a nail-biter, little DeWitt College, coached by Al McGuire, advances to the championship game.  McGuire is ecstatic and so are his players.  Enjoy the victory, then get ready for the championship is McGuire's charge to his players.  Enjoying, to the players, apparently means pre-marital sex with cheerleaders.  Lots of this occurs, as does a really awkward sorority party.  As the party ends, the cheerleaders, representing their respective sororities, engage in a scavenger hunt.  Oh yes, something weird just happened at a lunatic asylum and a maniac might be on the loose.  As the hunt begins, the team mascot is pureed by a fiend who absconds with the bear costume.
Lynn (Julia Montgomery) is the cheerleader we are pulling for.  A bit more clean-cut than her cohorts, and too tolerant of a cheating boyfriend, she seems to have virtue on her side.  As the other cheerleaders find objects for the scavenger hunt, the maniacal bear is there to end their nights.  Jane (Laura Summer) is first to be cut up, and Kathy (Carrick Glenn) is next.  Poor Kathy, she was butchered in "The Burning" the previous year.  As the cheerleader death-count mounts, Lynn and her rival, the vixen Dawn (Suzanne Barnes) are apparently next on the bear's radar.  But wait!  College security cop Mac (Hal Holbrook) may have a connection to the killer.  What in Mac's past and the recent goings on at the local asylum have to do with the demise of the DeWitt cheerleaders?
Can Al McGuire pull another miracle out of the jaws of mayhem? Is a bear shredding cheerleaders a mere metaphor for the misogyny faced by young ladies on America's college campuses? Gratuitous and weird, "Girls Nite Out" is a quirky slasher film. Cheerleaders plus sororities plus a slasher is a can't miss formula for a great American film, and our feature today follows that sure fire recipe.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Final, When High School is Torture

No cute puppies frolicking with chubby babies here.  No seashells or balloons, either. Fields of flowers or little girls in blue satin dresses?  Nope.  Wrong blog for that.  Today we have brutal and bloody torture.  In 2010's "The Final" we have an ominous dark tale of high school.  In an age when anti-bullying is the latest celebrity cause (God help us!), we take a look at some high school dweebs who put an end to the bullying in a most gory way.
A mysterious masquerade party is planned and all the cool kids received invitations.  Uh oh...it's a trap set up by the geeky kids who are commonly picked on by the in-crowd.  The geeks are led by sadist, Dane (Marc Donato).  Part religious freak and part Dr. Phibes, Dane has plans.  With several other un-cool classmates, they lure some really attractive kids to the party and knock them out with spiked punch.
After chaining up several cool jocks and cheerleader types, our fiends go to work.  What happens next is either a sadistic view of high school, a fantasy of those not in the in-crowd, or an orgasmic wish harbored by many who weren't able to get rid of their acne before college.  Fingers will be clipped, beautiful faces will be marred, and bear traps will be sprung.  As the torture and carnage increases, ask yourself if you are now pulling for the cool kids.  As Dane gets increasingly more sadistic, there might be a crack in his ranks that could helps the cool kids escape.
No humor in this film and the ending won't be comfort you.  "The Final" may be a warning, but for what?  Don't bully?  Or perhaps a bullying crowd is merely a horde that seized opportunity.  Might we all have evil bully inside us?  This one is hard to watch and contains very ominous scenes of torture and disfigurement.  In an  Oscar season that will shove scenes of "La La Land" at us at a non-stop pace, "The Final" may provide just the right balance. Directed by Joey Stewart, "The Final" has a message for each one of us...or perhaps a warning.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Neon Maniacs, Ghouls Conquer San Francisco

Lailani Sarelle! Rivaling Phoebe Cates famous pool scene in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High," this actress delivered some of the best swimsuit scenes of the 1980s.  Not in a sex comedy, however, but in a horror film.  What do two very sensuous swimsuit scenes have to do with a story concerning bloodthirsty cannibalistic ghouls?  Nothing, but they certainly did not hurt the plot. Today's feature is 1986's "Neon Maniacs."
Beautiful virgin Natalie (Sarelle) survives a massacre in which her non virgin high school pals are cut up by ghouls that drip neon green goop.  One unfortunate non-virgin is decapitated while giving oral sex to her non virgin boyfriend.  Like many of us, the ghouls don't like to leave any witness alive.  Unfortunately for the virgin Natalie, the cops don't believe her story.  The virgin Natalie then dons an alluring swimsuit and takes a sensual moonlight dip, as the ghouls begin pursuing her.  Enter Steve (Clyde Hayes), a nerdy classmate of the virgin Natalie, and an aspiring rock musician.  He believes her...or at least sees this as an opportunity to devirginize the virgin Natalie.  Also, enter Paula (Donna Locke).  Paula is a little kid who makes amateur horror films, and she wants to track down these ghouls and film them.
As our trio attempt to prove the existence of the ghouls, the fiends fight back.  In her investigation, Paula finds the lair of the neon maniacs. This brings Paula face to face with one of the maniacs. In the encounter, she finds a way to kill it.  Now armed with knowledge on how to fight the things, our team comes up with a scatter-brained plan to wipe them out.  They better hurry as the maniacs pursue them everywhere, even on buses and trains.  The last half hour will be total war in which limbs will go flying as the maniacs use crossbows, machine-guns, swords, knives, and axes.  The good-guys? You'll see their weapons and wonder if they have even a slight chance to emerge victorious.
Will a resurgence of "Neon Maniacs" enhance the sales of Leilani Sarelle posters? Will Steve's understandable pursuit to have pre-marital sex with the virgin Natalie put her in danger of being cut up by maniacs?  Lots of great looking teens will die horribly and you'll be cheering for our virgin heroine.  Enjoy this 1980s defense of abstinence and take away any lessons you choose from this horror flick.  

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Fatal Games, Violent Opposition to Title IX

In the 1980s, women's athletic programs at colleges were second fiddle to male athletics.  To counter this injustice, Title IX would eventually be enforced.  This federal law guaranteed female teams would receive equal funding than the male teams (football was excepted from this rule).  Opposition to this step of equality, or perhaps unnecessary government intrusion, could have taken a couple of different avenues.  First: Mobilize critics of Title IX, lobby congress, run expensive ads on TV, and change hearts and minds one by one.  This strategy would have been time consuming and expensive. A less expensive option: Stalk nubile female athletes, follow them into the shower or steam-bath, wait for them to strip, then chase them all wet and nude through hallways and skewer them with a javelin. Today we take a peek at 1984's "Fatal Games."
Really great looking athletes at sports academy are headed to Olympic try-outs. Seven athletes continue to work hard, but some fiend with a javelin seems to be working just a bit harder.  The lovely swimmer, Nancy (Melissa Prophet) will be the first damsel to fall as she is skewered in the weight room.  Sue Allen (Angela Bennett) is next and she will be slaughtered as she is chased from the steam-bath, naked and wet, through the halls and finally impaled.  Who is doing this?  Suspects galore are introduced to us.  The beautiful swim coach (Spice Williams-Crosby) is upset her sultry lesbian lover (Lauretta Murphy) was beaten out by other beautiful team-mates (they will all die horribly) may be the killer...or perhaps Diane (Sally Kirkland), the nurse/trainer is our monster.  She loves giving sensual massages to nude female athletes...or perhaps it is Joe (Nicholas Love), a javelin athlete very high on steroids.
Uh oh, these athletes are being juiced with steroids by a nefarious academy doctor, thus all of them are capable of violent deeds.  As the remaining female swimmers are cut down, and track and field stars start falling, Annie (Lynn Banashek), a gymnast, finds herself in mortal danger.  If Annie can keep her clothes on, at least for the remainder of the film, she might stay alive, and avoid Diane's advances. Do the steroids have anything to do with the murders?  What are Diane's true intentions in feeling up Annie?  Is this all a mere distraction from the corruption of the International Olympic Committee's corruption scandal?
"Fatal Games" will give you lots of gratuitous nudity, shower scenes, steam-bath scenes, some nice gore, lesbian love, and some napkin drama (don't ask).  Perhaps a statement of the carnage faced by female athletes before the enforcement of Title IX...or a film warning us of the dangers of steroids...or just a gratuitous slasher film, "Fatal Games" works as a horror film and an exploitation film.  "Fatal Games" may be considered the anti-"Chariots of Fire" film of the 1980s, but let us not delve too deep into the movie-maker's motives.