Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Ghastly Ones, RIP Mike Vraney

With the recent death of Mike Vraney (at the age of 56), founder of Something Weird Video (SWV), today's selection is one of my favorite movies re-released by that company.  SWV made it possible for all of us B Movie enthusiasts to find DVDs of classic exploitation films of the fifties, sixties, and seventies.  1968's "The Ghastly Ones" is one such work.  Directed by Andy Milligan ("Bloodthirsty Butchers" & "Legacy of Horror"), this film is heavy on gore and doesn't risk character development if there is an opportunity for dismemberment, instead.
The plot:  Three attractive couples are summoned to Crenshaw Island (near New York City).  The three wives are sisters, Victoria being the eldest.  Victoria and Richard (see above) are the most interesting couple.  These two love having sex, even though Richard is concealing a homosexual relationship with his own brother.  You gotta like this plot device; the three couples are being summoned to the secluded island estate for the reading of a will.  The will states that the three sisters will split the fortune if they spend three nights in this house while enjoying sexual harmony....and they get right to work.  Mr. Crenshaw (now deceased) put the aforementioned clause in the will after revealing that his wife (the mother of this trio) was frigid and domineering.  A final matrimonial jab, I guess we can say.
  Adding to the drama are three lunatic servants, highlighted by the creepy Colin (see above picture) who captures small animals and eats them raw (anti-social behavior, even in 1968).  As happy as Victoria is to see her sisters again, she reveals to Richard, "I want more than my share....I'll do anything to get what I want."  So when the carnage begins, we have plenty of suspects.  In the midst of the aforementioned sexual harmony, we are treated to hatchet jobs, pitchforks in the neck, serving dish carnage (see picture below), decapitations, and a disembowelment or two.  With their husbands assuming room temperature first, the nymphomaniac sisters must band together to survive.
Which sister will survive to claim the Crenshaw fortune?  This is a fast moving and gory movie.  The opening scene draws us right in as two trespassing lovers are torn apart on the island.  Fans of the Exploitation genre will love this work, and many other Andy Milligan films.  Before your next family reunion, see "The Ghastly Ones."   

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