Saturday, January 31, 2015

Torture Ship, Human Experimentation on the High Seas

Something a bit different today...a film from the 1930s.  Not called B movies back then, but that is exactly what they were...the second string of cinematic achievement.  No Clark Gable or Carole Lombard, these films relied on terrific actors and actresses who needed to work to make a living.  These films were often showed during matinees, as part of double or triple features.  "Torture Ship" from 1939, directed by Victor Halperin ("White Zombie"), based on a story by Jack London, is our object of desire today.  If re-made in 2015, this film would include zombies, and exploding torsos.
The plot:  Dr. Stander has just been indicted for illegal experimentation on humans.  Our mad scientist is insistent that his experiments must continue, though the justice system seems bent on shutting him down.  No worries!  Dr. Stander has a contingency plan.  His experiments?  He is tinkering with the endocrine gland in order to make heinous criminals into model members of society.  The fiend collects these reprobates, such as: a Blue Beard, who has killed nine brides, Poison Mary (Sheila Bromley) who has poisoned several husbands to collect their life insurance, a machine gun slayer who committed a massacre at Union Station, a bomber, a strangler, a razor killer, and Joan (the beautiful secretary of Poison Mary, who is believed to be in cahoots with her).  The doctor gathers all these charmers on a ship and steams for open water outside the borders of any legal system.
Fortunately for the beautiful and pure Joan (Julie Bishop), Lt.Bob (Lyle Talbot) is second in command.  This hunk falls instantly in love with Joan, but she is slated to assume the fate of a lab rat.  The criminals plot escape, but the doctor is always one step ahead.  As each criminal is muscled into the lab to receive the experimental serum, the passengers get more desperate.  The effects of the formula are hideous.  If the subject doesn't die, they become zombies, or even more maniacal and violent.  In addition to the doctor, the passengers must also defend against each other.  Murderers are still murderers.  At one point, Poison Mary tries to kill Joan...hence a nice cat-fight ensues (pictured above).  As Lt. Bob pleads for Joan, the doctor realizes that he is not a team player.  As Bob is tied up, and the doctor comes at him with a syringe, Joan makes her move to save her new beau.
Is Dr. Stander on his way to winning the Nobel Prize for medicine?  Will Bob and Joan live long enough to consummate their love for each other, and perhaps earn a cruise on the Love Boat?  Are the experiments on humans in "Torture Ship" merely a foreshadowing of the experiments done on human subjects during Franklin D. Roosevelt's Administration, such as Tuskegee, and the USS Eldridge?  This movie is a lot of fun, and one wonders why a modern film-maker hasn't remade it. Instead of remaking "Ordinary People" (oh! Heaven forbid!), hopefully someone will find "Torture Ship" more worthwhile.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Lust in Hell, A Very Erotic Ghost Story from Japan

Mari Sakurai is a beautiful Japanese actress who graces this blog today.  During this 85 minute film we will now look at, she seems to be doing passionate love scenes for about 30 of those minutes.  2009's "Lust in Hell" is a strange tale that seems to connect carnal passion with the netherworld in what proves to be an alluring experience.  Either nude, or wrapped in an ornate kimono, Miss Sakurai dominates the camera, even when horrific ghosts appear.

Let's begin:  A year after an awful accident on a highway overpass (..which killed her dad), Koto (Sakurai) escapes from a psyche ward, clad in a colorful  kimono and wooden sandals. Her most vivid memory of her dad was when he told her ghost stories when she was a child (...but were they mere stories?). Koto ventures to the sight of the accident, which she survived but her dad was killed.  Also at the overpass is Shinji (Ryo Ishii).  Shinji was in the other car, survived, but his girlfriend died.  Koto is there to mourn, but Shinji is there to commit suicide.  Koto stops him by telling him he will go to Hell if he ends it all.  The two recognize each other from the hospital and go back to his place, where she tries to seduce him.  Shinji is an asassin for a Japanese crime lord who has not worked since the accident.  On their first night together, Shinji is horrified to see his girlfriend's ghost (see photo below), though Koto is not.  Koto can exploit a rift between Hell and life and bring the dead back....but as what?
As Shinji continues to grieve, and Koto continues to seduce him, another danger emerges.  Shinji's boss wants him dead.  Since Shinji is no longer a killer, he is useless to the gang.  The plan: Shinji is invited to the boss' home for dinner, and there, Shinji will be killed.  A fly in the ointment, Shinji brings Koto.  Revised plan, the boss' nymphomaniac girlfriend will seduce Koto, which she does, and as the two women are in passion, the boss will kill Shinji.  Uh oh....whenever Koto is in throes of passion, someone returns from the other side.  Unfortunately for the boss, and his hot gal, a vengeful spirit from their past comes over.  Now Shinji and Koto are on the run, but the boss still wants them dead.  As the boss pursues Koto and Shinji, the ghost of his murdered brother pursues him.  Will Shinji and Koto stay alive?  Will Koto use her "gift" to conjure up spirits, or ghosts in order to keep thwarting the boss' efforts.

There are several really steamy sex scenes in this film, including one between Koto and Anko (the boss' girlfriend).  The ending is heartfelt, and tender.  Koto will have to reach into the rift to save her new beau.  There is a lot in "Lust in Hell" which is easy to miss, so watch closely, even between the love scenes.  Available, with it's sequel, on Netflix....enjoy and treat yourself to a cold shower, afterwards.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Contamination, Organs-Exploding-Out-Of-Chest Cinema

An Italy/Germany co-production from 1980 is our feature today.  Written and directed by Luigi Cozzi ("Starcrash", see my review of this from May 24th), "Contamination" is a B movie, badly dubbed, with tons of exploding organs.  Set in New York City and the jungles of Colombia, and complete with a beautiful damsel and square jawed hero, this film never forgets what adds ooomph...torsos exploding.  Definitely a man's movie, if made in 2014, many of the scenes would have ended up on the cutting room floor.
The plot:  A derelict freighter sails into New York harbor.  The NYPD board the ship only to find crew members who seem to have exploded.  After pulsating green eggs are found in boxes that purported to contain coffee from Colombia, the ship is quarantined and a crew of health department officials in containment suits then board.  After an incredible inedible egg pops open, spurting green slime on our health department peeps, they all their innards are flung all over the walls of the cargo hold.  The beautiful and icy Colonel Stella Holmes (Louise Marleau) from a top secret government agency arrives and takes command.  She has the eggs frozen (just like her demeanor) and studied.  The eggs are determined to be from an alien civilization, and very much alive.  Uh oh!  It appears the frigid Stella had an astronaut named Hubbard (Ian McCulloch) committed for stating that he saw pulsating eggs on Mars which seemed to be alive.

The cold Stella shows up at Hubbard's apartment to enlist him in tracking down the eggs.  It seems the eggs were sent from a coffee plantation in Colombia.  Hubbard refuses, as he is a drooling drunk, now.  Stella the ice queen questions his virility, then Hubbard slaps her around a bit, and now she is real sweet on him (Hubbard must've read the NFL's dating guide).  Together they head to Colombia with a NYPD Lieutenant.  Immediately someone tries to kill the now hot Stella, who just happens to be in the shower, by placing an egg in her hotel bathroom.  Hubbard saves her.  Hot Stella and the Lieutenant head to the plantation and are immediately taken prisoner by the sexy, but deadly coffee magnate, Perla de la Cruz (Gisela Hahn).  This plantation, in fact, harvests the alien eggs which serve a cyclops monster who turns earthlings into it's drones.  Now the amorous Stella and the Lieutenant are sent to the cyclops to be eaten.  Their only hope...Hubbard, who crash landed in the jungle.
Will Hubbard reach the plantation in time to save the beautiful  Stella?  Who is the mysterious man helping Perla de la Cruz, and what are their plans in shipping these eggs all over the world?  Is the exploitation of Colombians by the cyclops a metaphor for the exploitation off the third-world by the industrial powers?  The DVD from Blue Underground is reasonably priced.  Feel free to tell your arrogant friends that you don't want to go to the movies with them to see any of the Oscar nominated garbage, and stay home to watch this horror/scifi gore-fest.     

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Scream Park, The Slasher that Ate Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh and horror!  The bar was set high when George Romero created "Night of the Living Dead" in 1968.  Then a decade later, "Dawn of the Dead" renewed the Steel City as one of the horror capitals.  Even George Romero has seemed to abandon this great city.  The new "Dawn" takes place in fictional Everett, and "Survival" heads to an island off Delaware (....Delaware?).  It's about time that Pittsburgh generated another scary film, hence today we will look at 2012's "Scream Park."  Written and directed by Cary Hill, "Scream park" was largely shot on the campus of the University of Pittsburgh, and is very comparable to Tobe Hooper's 1981 neo-classic, "The Funhouse."  So grab your seats, and let the roller-coaster ride begin...although in this movie, being disemboweled is a prerequisite to riding.
Fright Land is closing for good.  This amusement park has been operating at a loss for too long.  On the final day of operation, the teen staff (all really good looking) are summoned to Marty's (Steve Rudzinski) office (the manager).  Jennifer (Wendy Wygant) loves her job, and making people happy.  Of all the teens employed by Fright Land, she is the only one not obsessed with pre-marital sex, alcohol, or marijuana.  The other teens see the closing as an opportunity to have a party (...orgy) at closing time.  After Allison (Alicia Marie Maracucci) practically seduces him, Marty reluctantly agrees.  Uh oh..... someone else is in the park after closing.  Double uh oh....Jennifer's boyfriend is missing.

The murders begin.  First the security guard gets it.  Then Carlee (Kailey Marie Harris, pictured above) sneaks off with her boyfriend for pre-marital sex and drugs.  After some gratuitous nudity, these two lovebirds assume the fate that most nymphomaniac teens assume in these kind of films.  At this point, the killings get really gory.  The killers seem to be having a lot of fun, and unfortunately for pretty Allison, also have rape on their minds.  As the bodies pile up ( pieces, of course), Jennifer plots escape.  She, Allison, and Marty must work together, but is Marty in on it?  He seems to know more than he is letting on.  Clean cut Jennifer has made up her mind to survive, but will she be able to survive and save her less than moral friends?
This film is a lot of fun, and will remind you of "The Funhouse."  However fun, there are some intense scenes.  After Allison is captured by one of the masked men, her fate is tortuous.  In another scene, we the viewer see death through the eyes of a dying teen named Missi (Nicole Beattie), who has just had her throat cut (see above photo).  Doug Bradley ("Hellraiser") has a terrific cameo as the creepy owner of the park.  Ms. Wygant is terrific as the noble protagonist who must turn bad a** to fight the evil intruders. For a low budget slasher film, the acting is all fantastic.  Kudos to Cary Hill, for a fine film.  I understand he is working on a sequel.  Reasonably priced on, depressed Steeler fans can take heart that great horror is again being forged in their city.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Turnpike Killer, Horror from New Jersey

There is nothing low-budget about the New Jersey Turnpike...unless we are speaking of the expectations of the motorists who travel on it.  Today we look at a low-budget slasher film from New Jersey, 2009's "The Turnpike Killer" (written and directed by Evan Makrogiannis and Brian Weaver).  Heavily influenced by by the Son of Sam killings, this film will remind the viewer of Lucio Fulci's "The New York Ripper." Complete with a psycho who follows the guidance of the voices in his head, those who lived through David Berkowitz' carnage will be reminded of the reign of teror that engulfed The Big Apple during the Billy Martin-George Steinbrenner feud.  Filmed in a grainy style, this work also has the feel of a late 1970s drive-in horror yarn.
As our story begins, Jon (Bill McLaughlin) is in the midst of butchering several young women in his basement.  After the deed, he will decapitate the bodies and dump the bodies and heads in separate locations.  As we get to know Jon, he is a typical Jersey, working-class hump with the build of a Rutgers linebacker, and a cute charm.  He then meets (stalks?) the beautiful Michelle (Alia Lorae), pictured above.  In a vicious segment of the plot, he breaks into Michelle's home.  As Michelle is involved in a gratuitous shower scene, Jon pummels her fiance.  Our fiend then fetches the naked Michelle from the shower, forces her to beg for their lives, then slits her throat in front of her tied-up boyfriend.  Jonthen guts both of them, draping her organs on the fiance.  The voice inside Jon's head orders these killings for the sake of the purification of society.  The unstable monster sees his women victims as whores and teases.

After some more brutal killings in which Jon initially charms his female victims, he meets Jen (Lyndsey Brown).  The lovely but naive Jen is clean cut, beautiful, and according to the voice..."the chosen one."  Jon has to have her...but for what?  Meanwhile,a wiry NYPD detective (Edgar Moye) is finding the heads oh the women in New York City.  Detective Lloyd believes the Turnpike serial killer is at work....killing in New Jersey, and dumping the carnage in New York.  As Jon closes in on Jen, Detective Lloyd gets closer to solving these murders.  Will Lloyd discover the true killer before Jon makes his move on Jen?
Gory, brutal and hard to watch, all the characters capture the essence of the Jersey persona.  Whatever affection "The Jersey Boys" may have accumulated for The Garden State, Jon dumps it in the river with the heads of beautiful women.  Though much more charming than Governor Christie, Jon is a monster that will horrify.  Reasonably priced on, "The Turnpike Killer" is a jewel for those seeking an ominous, low-budget slasher film.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Quarantine 2: Terminal, Can a Stewardess Save the World?

We haven't looked at a heroic stewardess film lately (see my review of "Loaded Guns" on Nov. 24, 2013 or "Crocodile 2: Death Swamp" on Nov. 14, 2013), so let us do so now.  The "Rec" franchise, from Spain, is a grim set of movies in which the human race does not fare well.  The American counterpart to those films are the "Quarantine" films.  In the first film, human hyper-rabies sweeps through an L.A. apartment building.  A firefighting crew and a TV reporterette are the casualties.  Picking up where the original left off is 2011's "Quarantine 2: Terminal."  In this, just as grim story, pretty Jenny (Mercedes Mason) is one bad-a** stewardess who is determined to take care of her passengers.
As our story begins, pretty stewardesses (pictured above) Jenny and Paula (Bre Blair) are changing into their uniforms in the back seat of a cab.  Rushing to catch their flight after attending a rock concert, they have no idea what terror awaits them.  On a half filled flight from LAX to KCI some lab rats have been snuck aboard...and a really fat passenger is bitten.  The guy develops rabies and pukes on pretty Jenny and bites pretty Paula (now not as pretty) on the face.  Uh oh...the co-pilot is showing symptoms and the fat fiend wrecks havoc before being semi-contained.  The FAA orders the plane to land immediately, which they do.  An army medic treats the increasingly less pretty Paula, and pretty Jenny tries to get everyone off the plane once they land.  Unfortunately for Paula, her good looks will abandon her in a very short time (see photo below).  Mysteriously, the terminal this flight is directed to is abandoned.
With several infected passengers munching on anyone in sight, pretty Jenny takes charge (..don't even ask about the pilot's fate).  Once in the terminal the CDC sends soldiers in containment suits to "treat" the surviving passengers.  Unfortunately, the treatment isn't an antidote, but something else.  No matter, the containment suited soldiers don't fare well, and now it is up to pretty Jenny to lead the survivors to safety.  Some plot twists unfold as pretty Jenny must not only battle rabid ex-passengers, but discover how the rabies entered the plane in the first place.  Pretty Jenny, in order to protect her peeps, ends up fighting off just about every infected monster, one by one.
Will pretty Jenny be able to stay pretty or suffer the same fate as Paula?  Who is pretty Jenny's more menacing foe, the rabid or the military which is quarantining the terminal?  Are the human rabies, and attacks upon pretty Jenny merely a metaphor for the abuse the Flight Attendant Union has been receiving over the past couple of decades from unfair labor practices by big U.S. airlines?  Effective and fast-paced, Q2 also fills us in on what exactly happened to set off the epidemic in the first film.  The acting is terrific, especially Ms. Mason's portrayal of heroic (and pretty) Jenny. Available on Netflix, buckle up, as the turbulence and gore of Flight 381 will take you for quite a ride.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Billy Club, Field of Dreams goes Slasher

The Milwaukee Brewers have had a frustrating couple of years, but Wisconsin baseball fans can take heart.  2013's "Billy Club" fans America's past-time in the land of Robin Yount, Gorman Thomas, and Ryan Braun.  Unlike the wholesome "Field of Dreams," this film piles on the gore, dysfunctional characters, uncomfortable relationships, and the obligatory insane-asylum escapee to form a weird horror yarn.  Just as no movie containing hot air balloons has ever been movie with an escaped-homicidal-lunatic has ever been lacking.  Written and directed by Drew Rosas and Nick Sommer, "Billy Club" is a noble slasher film with an unusual edge.
The plot: Bobby (Marshall Caswell) returns to 2 Rivers, Wisconsin after being away for many years.  He walks into a bar and meets his childhood chum, Alison (Erin Hammond).  Alison is a career girl, she tends bar and is proud of her breasts.  The two make instant goo-goo eyes at eachother.  Quckly two more of his childhood pals walk in, Kyle (Sommer) and Danny (Max Williamson).  The four form an awkward quartet with some even weirder sexual tension.  Uh oh...someone else has returned.  The quartet were all on the same little league team that lost in the playoffs 15 years ago.  The loss was blamed on Billy, an insecure kid who was humiliated by his team mates after the loss.  Billy has been in an insane asylum for the past 15 years as his reaction to the humiliation was to murder the coach and two of his team mates.

Unbeknownst to our horny quartet, a fiend (Billy?), dressed as an umpire, using a spike laced bat, is murdering the rest of that little league team.  The murders are brutal and very bloody.  Alison and Bobby get closer, engaging in pre-marital sex, which disturbs Kyle.  Now Billy focuses his efforts on these final four surviving team mates.  As our strange foursome go to a cabin in the woods for a week-end (...haven't they ever seen a slasher film?), Billy follows.  As this story progresses, we are let in on the back story of what exactly happened 15 years ago, and it is weird and uncomfortable.
Will Alison and Mike's love grow in this bloody setting?  Will Danny and Kyle ever realize they are the fifth wheel?  Is the character of Billy merely a metaphor for Major League Baseball's exploitation of American culture under the protection of the government sanctioned Anti-Trust Exemption?  The DVD is reasonably priced on  For a squirming good time, see "Billy Club."

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Gore, Quebec, Ax Wielding Maniac in the Great White North

Hats off to my new favorite Canuck (, not Henrik Sedin), Jean Benoit Lauzon (co-writer and director).  The rookie film-maker gives us today's film, 2014's "Gore, Quebec."  Filmed in Ontario, the wonderful fall scenery of the Canadian wilderness is part of this movie's attraction.  However, the attractions that will interest us today are a great looking cast, lots of bloody carnage, and a deranged Canadian.  Though unpolished, this slasher film has a charm to it, and a purity that matches the white snow which falls on our neighbors to the north.
Lets start with the first 16 minutes of the film.  Some really annoying, however attractive, young adult Canadians are at a small party.  Some twerp is videoing everything.  Oh no!  A found footage film chronicling the social lives of really boring people!  But wait.  The film footage captures Katie (the very pretty Kate Elyse Forrest) scheming to fix single Mike (Blake Mawson) up with her chum, Amanda (Myrthin Stagg).  Exciting.  The plan, a week-end getaway in a cottage near a lake in Quebec where all the friends will gather, and Amanda will be invited.  If this isn't thrilling enough, we see the found footage of Katie convincing Amanda to accept the invite.  Whoa!  Because of work conflicts, Amanda will be driven up to the lake by Katie's fiance, Brandon (Lauzon).  Now 16 minutes into the movie, we the viewer are saying "..the only thing that will save this film is if a slasher invaded the house and axed all these twenty-somethings."  Guess what.  On cue, that is exactly what happens.  Now 17 minutes into the on!
The next day, not knowing his fiance and friends are in pieces, Brandon drives the bickering Mike and Amanda to the cottage.  The grouchy couple take a boat on the lake and quickly find Kate's corpse.  Still bickering, they rush to shore to find Brandon with this tragic news, but Brandon is kind of busy (see picture above).  Running through the woods, continuing to annoy each other, our mismatched duo can't help tripping over the corpses of their, now room temperature, fiends.  Now there is a killer after them, and his ax is menacing.  On the run, Amanda and Mike make some really dumb decisions, setting up a bloody final confrontation with their new nemesis.  Who is this fiend? Apparently this fellow committed a mass murder about ten years ago, but somehow was not sent to prison.  A statement on Canada's justice system?  Ask Mr. Lauzon.   
Will Amanda and Mike survive this psycho...and each other?  Is Mr. Lauzon's portrayal of a homicidal Quebecor a statement on the increasing alienation of conservative Franco culture from the rest of Canada?  I eagerly await Mr. Lauzon's next film.  No big names in "Gore, Quebec," but these young actors and actresses will definitely be seen in future films.  The reasonably priced DVD is available from     

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Devil's Kiss, Frankenstein meets Satan

In a Biblical sense, no one fictional character is more satanic than Dr. Frankenstein.  In a Biblical sense, the torment of Hell, apart from fiery metaphors, is man's separation from God.  In Mary Shelley's classic novel, Dr. Frankenstein sets out to prove God is obsolete, and man is capable of assuming the role of "Creator."  So today we look at 1976's "Devil's Kiss" (aka "La Pervesa Caricia de Satan"), a film written and directed by Jordi Gigo.  From Spain, this work resembles a Frankenstein story, but mixes in generous amounts of devil worship.  Like all of the horror yarns from Spain, that we have examined, this one also mixes scares and eroticism.
The Duke de Haussemant (Jose Nieto) has summoned Claire (Silvia Solar) to his castle as entertainment for his party.  Claire speaks with the dearly departed through seances, and the Duke wishes to chat with his deceased brother.  Claire blames the Duke for her husband's suicide and her current poverty, and has vengeance in mind in accepting the invite.  Our median bring a guest of her own, Professor Gruber (Oliver Mathot).  Gruber is a master of telepathy, and together with him, Claire has plotted a twisted scheme.  The party starts off with an avant garde fashion show with many French models, who we'll eventually see undressing.  Then the fun begins, Claire contacts the Duke's dead brother (see photo above).  So impressed with Claire, the Duke invites her and the professor to stay at his estate as they perfect their art...provided they, in turn, teach the black arts to him.  Oh yes...Loretta (Evelyne Scott).  This buxom lass is the Duke's French maid, equipped with a naughty French maid outfit...which fits her personality.  Loretta's character sets a record in cinematic history for stripping off all her clothes (..this action repeats itself, it seems, every six minutes).
Don't get too attached to Loretta (pictured above) as a fate worse than death is reserved for this poor schmuck.  Securing a laboratory in the Duke's basement, Claire and Gruber go to work.  Needing help, Claire seduces a mute dwarf (...don't ask), and make him their Igor.  Then the three rob a grave of a strongman who had his head crushed.  Gruber puts the corpse's head back together and resurrects him with a serum he invented.  Then Claire conjures up satanic forces to make the zombie a killer. Under Gruber's telepathic powers, the zombie is set loose in the Duke's castle to secure the vengeance sought by Claire.  As with any experiment that brings the dead back to life, complications arise bringing some unexpected consequences. As the bodies pile up, and Loretta's stripteases continue, Claire and Gruber realize their grand plan isn't without consequences.
Are Gruber and Claire destined to assume the same fate that Victor Frankenstein suffered?  Is Loretta's fate a metaphor for the treatment of the proletariat in western Europe by the Bourgeois? Like the films from the "Tombs of the Blind Dead" series, full figured damsels running from evil beings is a staple of this movie.  Available on Netflix, for scares and arousal, see "Devil's Kiss."

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Pinocchio's Revenge, ..That Pointy-Nosed Little Slasher...

Critics of the horror genre are quick to remind us that our favorite movies scar children with horrific images, causing nightmares and dysfunction.  Horror enthusiasts retort that popular nursery rhymes told to children by their loving parents deliver even more horrific imagery than vampires or werewolves.  After all, won't an inquisitive child wonder what may have happened to Snow White if the dwarfs were malevolent?  ...or, what exactly did Rumpelstiltskin have in mind in his abduction of Repunzel.  Actually asking mommy or daddy for those answers would draw some stern looks.  So today, we look at a nursery inspired slasher tale from 1996, "Pinocchio's Revenge."
Vincent Gotto is arrested after a patrolman comes across him burying his 10 year old child.  Gotto strangled his son to death...but why?  The only clue to the motive is that Gotto (Lewis Van Beigen) buried his son along with a wooden Pinocchio puppet.  Five years later, Gotto is headed to the chair. His defense lawyer, the beautiful Jennifer (Rosalind Allen), is trying to get the courts to overturn the sentence.  Jennifer believes Gotto is innocent, though Gotto insists he is not.  No matter, the switch is pulled.  The alluring Jennifer accidentally brings some evidence home after the execution, including the Pinocchio puppet.  Jennifer's ten year old daughter, Zoe, falls in love with it.  Oh yes, Jennifer works long hours and has a voluptuous, Italian nanny (Candace McKenzie).  The nanny is terrific and likes to take long showers for the camera.  Unfortunately, she will assume the role of a pummeled corpse before the end of the film, so we will not mention her again.  
To Jennifer's alarm, Zoe will not part with her new friend.  The stunning divorcee is even more alarmed when she finds Zoe's other dolls and stuffed animal friends smashed and torn to pieces.  Uh oh...Zoe is observed conversing with Pinocchio, and some of her nemesis school friends have mysterious accidents.  After Jennifer's lover (Todd Allen) has an unfortunate accident on the stairs, she gets really suspicious.  Corpses start accumulating, and suspicion focuses on Zoe.  Zoe and Pinocchio have now become inseparable and  Zoe is being wooed by him.  Uh oh (again!) Pinocchio the killer?  With the lover and nanny disposed of, only one person stands in the way of Zoe and Pinocchio being together forever...yep...the lovely Jennifer.  
Though the first half of the film is mild 1990s horror, the second half turns dark and gory.  When the final credits roll, you will be saying "Whoa..what the F@#&."  A slasher puppet is scary enough, but the idea of a sweet little child turned we're really getting scary.  As children, we know what monsters look like and we stay away from them.  What children do not defend against are those sweet images that are put into their brains during bedtime stories.  Those same sweet tales ferment in minds that are still developing, mix with some id, and create really dark dreams.  Gimme vampires, slashers, zombies, and werewolves any day of the week, and you can keep your cute puppets.  "Pinocchio's Revenge" is available on Netflix.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Lust of the Dead, Gang Rape...Lesbian Sex..Castration...

The newest horror franchise (this one out of Japan), is the "Lust of the Dead" films (also known as "Rape Zombie: Lust of the Dead").  I believe there are three of them now.  Sexploitation and J-Horror, complete with spurting blood (..usually after castrations and decapitations) grace the silver screen to warm our hearts.  Highly offensive and almost pornography, 2012's "Lust of the Dead"is our film today.  If anything above offends, please stop reading now.  In a world where men die when their testosterone levels rise, and turn into rapist zombies, a beautiful virgin, an Asian schoolgirl, a nurse, and a housewife (who survived rape attempts by her husband and child) band together to survive this perverted apocalypse.
As our story begins, beautiful Japanese women are being gang raped all over Tokyo.  The attractive TV info-babe, while reporting from the center of the city, is also gang raped to a nationwide audience.  This is a worldwide phenomenon and surviving women band together with machine guns and swords. To survive, they take vengeance on a world that used to be dominated by men.  Fleeing from Tokyo, a hot nurse leads one of her patients to apparent safety.  The nurse saved the virgin from a raping fiend (pictured below). The ejaculation from the zombies is toxic and kills the female victims.  Now the two, armed with a samurai sword, stumble upon a holy shrine in the country.  There they meet two other survivors; the schoolgirl and the housewife.  These two believe the virgin has been infected, but the nurse assures them no ejaculation took place.  The nurse and the virgin then fall in love and engage in demonstrative lesbian sex.
Uh oh, our babes are not alone.  A low testosterone priest who has a fetish for female anime characters also occupies the shrine.  His collection of anime costumes suits the babes just fine and they are able to shed their blood soaked garments.  Our schoolgirl takes a liking to our priest who desires to remain celibate.  She desires lots of sex with him, and he is horrified by the nymphomaniac's desires.  Uh oh again, the virgin seems to be pregnant...but is it by a zombie, or something more spiritual?  An inevitable epic battle will occur as the male population of Tokyo will converge on the shrine.  Swords will fly and machine guns will rat-a-tat as tallywhackers are severed (unlike the traditional zombie, these fiends can only be killed by castration).
Will all four of the babes survive the zombies and their own sexual desires?  Be warned, there is lots of violent gang-rape scenes which come within an inch of earning this film an X rating.  I haven't even mentioned the nuclear war with North Korea, there is just so much here.  Only from Japan, perhaps, but aficionados of Japanese Horror/Exploitation should thoroughly enjoy these "Lust of the Dead" films, which are all available on Netflix.

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Feeding, Lycanthrope Carnage in Virginia

The holiday season is finally over. You endured Jimmy Stewart in "It's a Wonderful Life." Tom Hanks' "Polar Express" nearly drove you homicidal.  "Rudolph" and "Frosty"....whoa boy, put down that ax!  Let us get back to real movies....ones that uplift the soul.  Yep, ones that speak to us, where hunks and babes play spin-the-bottle and skinny-dip...and then get shredded by a monster.  2006's "The Feeding" (available on Netflix) is just such a film.  Filmed near Bedford, Virginia (home of a neat D-Day memorial), writer/director Paul Moore has given us a cure for the holiday malaise.
Deep in the woods, a creature has eaten all the deer and moved on to humans.  After two hunters are eaten, Jack Driscoll (Robert Pralgo), super ranger, shows up.  He organizes a posse of other rangers (werewolf food), and outlines a strategy to hunt whatever is out there.  Also arriving, Aimee (Dione J. Updike), babe-ranger, a specialist in animal behavior...she will have to be to deal with Jack.  Jack is brilliant and explains why an animal is feeing in this manner, "..animals are like people, every now and then they lose their mind."  Uh oh, guess who decides to hit those same woods.  You guessed it, the obligatory babes and hunks (seven of them), who get naked a lot, and kiss a lot (see picture below).  Each one of these schmucks has had relations with everyone else in this camping party.  The posse hits the woods, and Jack and Aimee team up.  Alas, Jack has a plan.  Jack will sit in a tree, while Aimee presumes the role of bait, on the ground.  Jack leaves her with this guidance, "...just sit there by the fire, show some'll show up."
Meanwhile, after much skinny dipping and pre-marital sex, our nymphomaniac youths settle down for a night of more pre-marital sex.  Unfortunately for our septet, they don't know the rules of these types of films, as this behavior ends in lots of carnage.  The werewolf attacks and pulls apart a few of the campers.  Aimee and Jack arrive and save the survivors.  Now on the run, the werewolf pursues, hungry for dessert.  Aimee and Jack, insufficiently armed, must either hunt this thing (which Jack does), or get the campers to safety in a fortified shelter (which Aimee attempts).  Aimee (pictured below) and Jack realize that this is no ordinary werewolf ( if there are ordinary werewolves).
Will Aimee, Jack, and the surviving nymphomaniacs survive the night?  Where did this creature come from, and is it really a lycanthrope?  Will the sexual tension between Aimee and Jack lead to pre-marital sex? The conclusion is filled with great gore, axes, rifles, arrows and fire.  This is a fun movie, with lots of gore and great looking actors and actresses.  If you don't have the heart to tell your sophisticated friends that you have no desire to see "Selma" with them, lie and feign a headache.  That way, you can stay home, and watch "The Feeding" on Netflix. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Dead Sleep, Linda Blair in Hospital Terror from Down Under

We haven't heard from the one-time Queen of the Exploitation genre, Linda Blair (See my review of "Savage Island" from April 22, or "The Chilling" from February 21) in awhile, so let's do so today.  1992's, Australian made "Dead Sleep" casts one of our favorite actresses as a perky and inquisitive Aussie nurse who finds herself in deep peril.  Perhaps a minor film, but over two decades after it's release, "Dead Sleep" is both nostalgic and interesting.  In Australia, this film is considered Ozploitation (a term for Australian exploitation), though much milder than the raunchy and hyper-sexual U.S. genre.  No longer a possessed pre-adolescent lass, Ms. Blair turns in a heroic performance as an idealistic angel in white.
The plot:  Arriving in Brisbane from Perth, Maggie (Blair) finds a job as a nurse in a private psychiatric hospital.  After surviving an interview with the head nurse (Christine Amor), who is a naughty nun, she is taken under the wing of "The White Knight of Australian Psychology," Dr. Hackett (Tony Bonner).  Hackett is suave, sophisticated, charming, and glib.  This is quite a contrast to her drug addicted main-squeeze who keeps stealing her rent money.  Hackett has pioneered "deep-sleep" therapy and claims it is 100% successful.  At first Maggie is impressed, but is unsettled to learn that it is merely electric-shock therapy done under sedation.  Our curious nurse then witnesses patients, who appeared to be improving, involuntarily given this new treatment.  The results are horrifying, as the patients have digressed into suicidal zombies.  With a bit of snooping Maggie finds out that scores of Hackett's patients have either committed suicide or died of "natural causes."
With suspicions aroused, Maggie takes her concerns to the government health administration...only to be summarily ignored.  When the deaths hit closer to home, many of the patients under her care, Maggie ramps up her investigation.  Alas, Hackett is more than a murderer, he also has a ward of buxom-vixens under deep-sedation therapy, which he uses as his sex slaves.  Not stupid, Hackett (pictured below) senses that Maggie is on to his game.  Knowing that he is above suspicion, the prestigious doctor plots a terrible fate for his favorite nurse.  
Will Maggie's idealism and persistence bring Hackett to justice?  ....or will Maggie be added to Hackett's cadre of zombie sex slaves?  The acting is superb, both by Ms. Blair and her nemesis, Mr. Bonner.  Though not often credited as being a terrific actress, Linda Blair has again turned in a fine performance as a vulnerable, but strong pretty nurse.  Available on Netflix, treat yourself to a fun, suspense-filled thriller from the land Down Under. 


Monday, January 5, 2015

Sweatshop, The Rave Party Massacre

After watching "The Human Centipede 2" (see my review last Dec. 8) I figured years would elapse before I saw a gorier film.  Not so.  That brings us to today's blog entry, 2009's "Sweatshop."  Unlike HC2, "Sweatshop" is IN COLOR!  Before we get to the film, where scores of ravers are turned into ground beef by an over-sized meat tenderizer, lets chat about the acting.  In this extremely energetic gore-fest, hats off to all the actors and actresses that made it possible.  My favorite was Julin (see my review of "Cherry Bomb" last Feb. 17).  She played Miko (pictured below), and I nearly cried when she got poisoned/hammered to death.  Ashley Kay (this being her first movie, in which she was also the make-up supervisor) and Krystal Freeman both had challenging dual-roles.  Under the direction of Stacy Davidson, all the actors/actresses turned in top performances.
Now, to the movie:  As the show opens, Ghost and Brandy (ViVi Sterling, see below picture) are scouting an abandoned steel mill for a rave party later that night.  In a most ironic scene, Brandy is killed.  Flash forward to the night, the organizers arrive and begin setting up.  Of course, the abandoned mill...isn't really abandoned.  Charlie (Ms. Kay) seems to be the supervisor.  She, and her "staff" have brought lights, sound systems, drugs, alcohol, a disco ball, their piercings and tattoos for a raucous evening.  As Kim (Danielle Jones) tinkers with the lights, she sees the face of a ghoul-girl (one of many inhabiting the mill).  Then Lolli (Ms. Freeman), while practicing her talents in a make-out both, is ripped apart by a beast of a man wearing a welder's helmet.  Her intestines and jaw go flying.  It becomes apparent that this mill is occupied by a beastly fiend wielding a giant hammer and his minions of mutant ghoul-girls.  DON'T YOU LOVE IT!!!
As in many of these films, the still-living are slow to realize that their friends have been mashed.  The death scenes are all intensely gory, many of the head and body crushing fashion.  Remember the skit in which Gallagher mashes watermelons with a sledge-hammer?  This film will remind you of that. Both Miko (Julin) and Lolli have elongated erotic dance numbers...which is unfortunate for them.  In every slasher (..or masher) film, pretty actresses who do erotic dances, end up discombubulated.  As the staffers are crushed, one by one, the revelers arrive.  Dozens of ravers are now dancing their last dance, as in this abandoned steel-mill, there is no safety in numbers.  As the ghouls and the beast start pursuing Charlie, they realize that this raver will not go down without a fight.  No longer a surprise to their victim, the dysfunctional dwellers now must hunt a gal with a will to live.
Will anyone survive this rave party alive?  Who are these creatures that are preying on the dancers?  Is western-civilization's close-mindedness regarding alternative arts an enabler to this massacre?  Not for the owner of a weak stomach, "Sweatshop"is available on Netflix.  Kudos again to stellar acting, direction, and gore-f/x, this is a first-class slasher (...or masher) flick.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

The Deadly Bees, Petula Clark battles an Apian Horror

Every year, 40,000 Americans are killed in Texas and Florida by swarms of African killer bees (EMBELLISHMENT!!!).  Hence today, we look at a much maligned bee horror flick, 1966's "The Deadly Bees."  More than a decade after this film, Michael Caine starred as a know-it-all and annoying etymologist, in "The Swarm."  Unlike that Irwin Allen, near classic, the protagonist in "The Deadly Bees" is the sultry pop-singer Vicki Robbins (Suzanna Leigh).  Where Caine wore a frown and a smirk, Ms. Leigh dons some nice under-garments, slightly tight pant-suits in her battle with the stingy pests.  Set on an island off of England, this film mixes horror with some mystery.
As our story begins, the government patent office in London receives a letter from a mad bee scientist on Seagull Island (every island off of England is teeming with either druid cults or mad scientists, as we know).  The deranged bee man demands England take his experiments with killer bees seriously, or he will unloose them on the citizenry.  The bureaucrats laugh, and then ignore him.  Also, the very lovely and talented pop-star, Vicki Robbins collapses while recording one of her hit songs on the set of a television show (see above photo).  Her doctor prescribes three weeks of rest, and sends her to convalesce with his old friend, a bee-keeper on Seagull Island.  The bee-keeper, Ralph Hargrove (Guy Doleman) is a grouchy sort, but we can understand this, as his wife (Catherine Finn) is homely and more grouchy.  To get ready for Vicki's arrival, Ralph hires a beautiful bar-maid, Doris (Katy Wild) as a servant for the duration on Vicki's stay.  Doris (killer bee bait) is more interested in getting intimate with Ralph, than serving Vicki, but will get along with her anyway.  
In order to get away from her grouchy hosts, Vicki befriends a charming and witty bee-keeper, Manfred (Frank Finlay, pictured below).  Hargrove warns Vicki to stay away from Manfred, as the two are rivals and bitter enemies.  Then the attacks start...and all signs point to Hargrove.  First, Hargrove's annoying dog, Tess is stung to death.  Then the homely and grouchy Mrs. Hargrove  gets turned into an organic pin cushion.  Manfred convinces Vicki to snoop around for clues that would prove Hargrove the culprit.  After she begins playing detective, the killer bees converge on Vicki. Clad only in lacy, seductive underwear, Vicki fights off the apian pests.  Horrified and desperate, Vicki then makes some eerie discoveries. 
Is Vicki's trust in the suave Manfred misplaced?  Is the grouchy Hargrove Vicki's real nemesis?  Will Vicki's misfortunes ultimately assist Petula Clark on England's pop-charts?  Suzanna Leigh is quite enthralling as the damsel in distress.  In every scene she is in, her sex-appeal is pulsating...which is quite contrasting to the dreary Seagull Island and it's bees.  Available on Netflix, this is a great "really sexy damsel in distress" movie.   

Friday, January 2, 2015

Literature Review #6: At Hell's Gates

We love horror.  Horror is an escape from the mundane.  Horror strokes our imagination and creativity.  In horror stories, people like us can save the world.  In real life, our tormentors are not easily identified...but in horror, they are the monsters.  We understand the evil in horror fiction.  In the daily grind we exist in, evil lurks in undiscovered lairs.  Yet, for so many heroic brave men and women that have sacrificed for the free world, horror and real life have merged.  Most of us share a luxury that horror will be confined to films or books.  The brave soldiers who defend our freedom have ventured into a new reality.  Explosions, death, mines, PTSD, burns, amputations, and paralysis aren't confined to fiction, but have become staples in the reality of so many who have sacrificed for us.  Today's literature review will focus on "At Hell's Gates," a horror anthology edited by Monique Happy and James Crawford. 100% of the profits will be sent to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. This noble organization assists soldiers who have been wounded defending our freedoms, and the families of those soldiers who have paid the ultimate price for us to live free.  
Zombies (the living dead) are horrific enough without a built in appetite for living flesh.  "At Hell's Gates" has put together several zombie stories that have set new limits on how far zombie fiction will go.  If you thought "The Walking Dead" had pushed the limits when Carol shot a 10 year old girl in the back of the head....well...this anthology will mock you in chanting " haven't seen nothing yet!"  Though we are presented with 18 different stories, I came away from my reading experience feeling I had read one epic novel.  All the fiction in this collection meshes in such a way as to contribute to one huge end-of-the-world spectacular.  Devan Sagliani's "Black Crow Laughing" opens the anthology with a story young lovers entering into a post-apocalyptic world in California. Subsequent stories chronicle the downfall of some neat cities such as Harrisburg, Lansing, or Fort Myers (..this one by Shana Festa had me moaning and nearly to tears).  In Stevie Kopas' "Nefarious," a mother's love for her children proves even more horrific than the hungry dead.  In "No Shelter," by Lesa Kinney Anders and Matthew Kinney, we are introduced to a hint of where the zombie apocalypse began.  This clue is flushed out by S.G. Lee, in "Journal of the Undead: The Beginning."  In this story, we are introduced to a setting that is best explained by imagining the TV shows "MASH" meeting "The Walking Dead."     
The zombie apocalypse, and price of war, are worldwide, and in a most haunting story, as told through the eyes of a child, Paul Mannering introduces us to a New Zealand perspective of the apocalypse.  A quick change of pace, and ghosts, cults, and demons are introduced into our reading experience.  Though the majority of AHG utilizes the walking dead, other nightmares are utilized. Sharon Stevenson's "Welcome to Hell" concludes the anthology with one of my favorite plot devices, vampire hunters (I've always thought Van Helsing to be the greatest literary character of all time).  
This anthology can be ordered on  More important, you may contact the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund at
Also, visit for more information on AHG, or to contribute to the next volume, already in the works.  All the stories in this book will please the horror fan.  More important, God Bless the authors for giving their talents for the noblest of causes.  Each of these authors attaches a short account of their personal appreciation for this great charity.  Go to now and treat yourself to a terrifying anthology...and at the same time, honoring our real heroes. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Kill List, Why Americans think the UK is Weird

Most Americans believe that outside of London, the UK is teeming with druid cults.  After all, we saw "The Wicker Man."  It is also comforting to believe that our sophisticated allies also have ominous problems, which are more refined than ours.  We have ruthless uneducated gangs in America.  In the UK, at least as far as we Americans believe, the arrogant elite form cults and sacrifice poor saps so the crops grow.  Reality is irrelevant...demonstrated by the belief that recycling will save the planet.  So today, we look at the horror/crime film from 2011, "Kill List."
The plot:  Jay (Neil Maskell) is an out of work assassin.  His hot, Swedish wife. Shel (MyAnna Buring) is feeling the pinch. Bills need to be paid.  She inspires him to go back to work by hitting him a lot, screaming at him, and hitting him some more.  That's okay, did I mention she is pretty hot.  Shel is a former Swedish James Bond type, and is also great with a gun.  The strong arm tactics work, Jay gets back together with his buddy Gal (Michael Smiley) after a dinner party in which Gal introduces them to his witch girlfriend, Fiona (Emma Fryer), who spreads STDs and magic (no one knows this about her).  Enter a mysterious client who lives in a mansion, and a list of schmucks to be assassinated...and off we go. 
Gal and Jay are good.  Both these guys are former army, and had some traumatizing episodes in Iraq. Among the schmucks on the list are a priest and a librarian.  Our duo knows better than to ask questions, but Jay notices something strange about these jobs.  When he looks the victims in the eye, before pulling the trigger, the schmucks give him a warm smile and say "thank you." Back at home, Shel and Fiona are getting chummy.  Also, someone has killed their cat and hung it up at their home's front door.  Did I mention Shel is pretty hot?  A British MP is the last fellow on Jay's list, but when he and Gal get to this guy's estate, the weirdness intensifies. 
Exactly what do these patsies on Jay's kill list have in common?  Are the unusual happening at Jay's home related to his mission? Why is Fiona taking such an interest in Shel (who is pretty hot)?  All these questions will be answered in quite shocking fashion.  Directed by Ben Wheatley, "Kill List" is available on Netflix.  This is a weird one, or did I already say that?  Be warned, the material in this plot intrudes on the taboo, and it does get pretty gory.  Hopefully, the makers of this film will also craft a film about secret-agent Shel, the Swedish babe (did I mention...never mind, I guess I did).