Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Teachers' Day, A Psycho and Lots of Girls in Underwear

Neo-Sexploitation....I think I have coined that term today. Today's feature, 2014's "Teachers' Day" (aka "After School Massacre") is just that.  30 years ago this feature would have graced the drive-in theaters...today, straight to DVD.  A slasher film, no doubt, but the strength of "Teachers' Day" is the alluring qualities of the actresses.  The actresses portray 17 year old high school nymphomaniacs who dance around in sexy underwear, confess to naughty deeds, make-out a lot, take showers together, have pre-marital sex, and have food fights.  Oh yeah, in between all all of that...many of them get sliced and diced.
History teacher, and hunk, Mr. Anderson (Bruce Kade) is fired for chatting on social media with his babe student, Devon (Nikole Howell).  Devon and her BFF Jess (Savannah Matlow) have both had relationships with Anderson.  Upon being fired, Anderson murders the principle and his very beautiful and buxom secretary (Mindy Robinson).  Unfortunately for Devon and her friends, Anderson is aware of their slumber party that evening, and dons a ski mask and heads over there.  The girls arrive and quickly strip to there underwear (see photo above).  The party begins with the girls confessing naughty deeds to each other, and some will shower together.  Lots of gratuitous underwear shots ensue, and stud Luke (Andrew Phillips) is present for some gratuitous make-out and bed scenes.  Then Anderson arrives, and the nubile teens start turning into lukewarm corpses.
Anderson has no mercy for the girls, as he blames them for his firing.  An electric carving knife, a mailbox, garden clippers, and a curling iron are just some of his tools for murder.  One unfortunate babe is even drowned in a barrel as she bobs for apples....clad in underwear, of course.  There will be GRATUITOUS SEX SCENES, GRATUITOUS SHOWER SCENES, GRATUITOUS RUBDOWN SCENES, and a GRATUITOUS UNDERWEAR FOOD FIGHT SCENE.  These cinematic treasures will all be interspersed with bloody murder scenes.  Oh yes....did I mention the backstory?  Erica (Abby Summers) committed suicide at Devon and Jess' last slumber party, and her ghost appears.  In one weird scene, Erica's ghost has a near lesbian tryst with one of the gals.  As you can see...there is a lot here...in addition to babes in underwear.
For some very gratuitous cinema...see "Teachers' Day."  This might be the finest film chronicling the plight of our public school children since "Blackboard Jungle."  Except this one is much more titillating.  Oh yes....stay tuned for the credits and see Nikole Howell rap...she does a fine job.  Terrific acting, and I should mention Jared Masters, the director.  It was apparent that the cast had so much fun during the making of this film.  The DVD is reasonably priced on Amazon. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

23:59, Full Metal Jacket Meets The Ring

Delving into Asian horror does not often take us to Malaysia, or into army barracks, but here goes.  2011's "23:59" is a creepy ghost story set on a Malaysian island where army recruits are training.  Unlike most ghost stories, the protagonists are not young attractive women or suburban families...but brave young men vowing to serve their country.  Complete with ghosts, possessions, mutant monsters, exorcisms, and superstitions..."23:59" may not be the most original plot, but if you're looking for a neat ghost story...here it is.
Army recruits, late one night, exchange ghost stories; however, one appears to be true.  People dying one minute before midnight are condemned to haunt the living...and in these barracks, strange suicides have taken place at 2359 hours (11:59 pm).  Tan (Tedd Chan) is a wimpy recruit, teased and bullied by his company.  He has seen the ghost of a woman and fears he will be killed by her.  Most of the company thinks he is just weak-minded, but his best friend, Jeremy (Henley Hil) will come to believe him.  Wouldn't you know it....Jeremy has "the gift."  You know "the gift,"...that ambiguous ability to see and communicate with the dead.  Enough of that, back to the plot.  Living on the island at one time was a medium who gave birth to a mutant child..who may be a demon.  The whereabouts of these two are unknown, but their fate was intertwined with the army camp.
One night on a training exercise, Tan mysteriously dies.  His death spooks his company. Jeremy, upon finding his body, also spies the ghost of the medium.  The spooked company must then deal with Tan's ghost and the possession of another recruit, Chester (Josh Lai).  After an exorcism, Chester is back to normal, but his fate is far from safe.  As the ghost keeps appearing, more deaths occur and Jeremy realizes that he must examine his own past to figure exactly what is going on.  Jeremy's past and the haunted history of the island will collide in a very dramatic and chilling conclusion.
The rigidity of a military mindset played against superstition and ghosts is the conflict explored by writer and director Gilbert Chan.  Of course, as in most of these movies, the superstition and ghosts win out.  Most of us have ghosts from our past, but in "23:59," the ghosts are malicious and homicidal, with vengeance on their mind.  Available on Netflix, enjoy this Asian ghost story. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Alyce Kills, Girl gone Homicidal

Battered, bloodied, and bruised....but alive! Hence Tamara Feldman's ultimate fate in the original "Hatchet" film.  She may have survived the ultimate slasher, but can she survive her BFF?  2011's "Alyce Kills" (aka "Alyce") will deliver a more fatal outcome for the beautiful Ms. Feldman.  Be warned, unsettling is the keyword for today's film.  If you were freaked out by AnnaLynne McCord in "Excision," or Catherine Deneuve in "Repulsion," then Jade Dornfeld, as Alyce, will certainly give you nightmares.  Sorry for this next sentence, but I quote, from this film, "...lesbo-necrophile, f***ed up s**t."  Yep, this one will make you squirm.  However psychological much of the horror is here, "Alyce Kills" also has plenty of gore.
Alyce (Dornfeld) returns to her social clique after not being able to make it on her own in the financial world.  Carroll (Feldman) is all too happy to have her BFF back, and the two go out on a night of misbehaving, ecstasy, drugs, and perhaps some lesbian sex.  Accidentally, Alyce pushes Carroll off the roof, beginning a mental degeneration...which may have begun well before the reunion.  As Carroll's ghost keeps visiting and accusing Alyce, our protagonist revisits acquaintances of Carroll's recent past who may have really been responsible for her demise. Carroll's two-timing boyfriend, the chick who replaced her, and a couple of drug suppliers all earn Alyce's attention.  As Alyce's mental state, fraught with guilt and failure, becomes homicidal....Carroll's old "friends" are in for a most painful and torturous adventure.
No one just dies in this film.  The death scenes are elongated and will cause you to wince.  Alyce will utilize hacksaws, knives, baseball bats, blenders, microwaves, and guns to complete her demented goal.  Which begs an important question, what is her goal?  Even Carroll's death is more complicated than falling off a building....which may have contributed to Alyce's downfall.  The beautiful young lady that is Alyce quickly becomes a sweet talking monster.  As Alyce goes through Carroll's recent past with the finesse of a drunk butcher, her connection to reality seeps away.  However incapable Carroll is to deal with the angst of her life, Alyce sees atonement in doing those dealings for her.
Fans of "American Mary" will love "Alyce Kills."  Look close and see references to Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland."  Dark, gory, and witty...this film will definitely deliver on the blood and guts (literally).  Perhaps a touch of feminist ideology keeps Alyce likable to the viewer, but do not be afraid to lose the metaphor and enjoy this film as a horror story. Available on Netflix.  

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Exit to Hell, Tiffany Shepis and Kane Hodder

Yep!  A can't miss combo.  A horror Hall-of-Fame of the 21st Century would absolutely include Kane Hodder and Tiffany Shepis.  I first saw Ms. Shepis in "The Hazing," and then "Abominable." Then, gradually dozens of other horror films. Kane Hodder, coming up on 60 years of age, is the most famous monster of all time.  He has played Jason Voorhees and Hatchet, and is responsible for the murders of perhaps hundreds of, semi-deserving victims in slasher films.  Today, we examine 2013's "Exit to Hell," a Grindhouse offering from Robert Conway. Be warned....this is a film starring Kane Hodder and Tiffany Shepis.  Gore, nudity, disembowelment, and more gore will prevail.  This dark film will show no mercy, just as Mr. Hodder's best characters are created.
As our film begins, we are briefly introduced to Redstone, Arizona.  The worst vermin of mankind seem to end up there.  Two drug dealers, having just ripped off other drug dealers, run out of gas there.  Sheriff Sickle (Hodder), armed with....a sickle...disembowels them.  Fast forward...a strip joint run by the Russian mob, featuring Electra, aka Jenna (Shepis), is the main event there.  Her and a babe bartender, Tasha (Taryn M. Dafoe), along with two other club workers, Travis (Dustin Leighton) and Randy (Owen Conway) rip the joint off one night.  The robbery is vicious, as our quartet kill just about everyone in the place.  Jenna even uses her stiletto heel as a weapon. The press labels the carnage as "The Silicone Massacre."  Uh oh....Yakov (Jason Spisak), the mobster/owner wants his loot, and pursues.
Driving toward the border, our miserable quartet runs out of gas in....Redstone.  After dealing with a disgusting restroom, and a creepy gas station attendant (Dan Higgins) our killers quickly find themselves on the run from Sheriff Sickle.  Armed with a cop cruiser fitted with a rocket launcher, and some features that would impress Mad Max, the chase is a short one.  First captured is Tara (pictured above), and her fate is most gruesome.  Sickle is all killer...and all cannibal, as Jenna will find out when she is captured and forced to dine with Sickle and his cannibal family.  No spoilers here, but every character we meet maxes out in either the evil or creepy category.  No one will emerge unscathed....but will anyone survive? The ending is quirky, and the acting is perfect.  Not for the squeamish, but lovers of Grindhouse and dark horror will love this action flick.
Stomach turning and energetic, "Exit to Hell" is a good elixir if you have small children and have just viewed several episodes of "Veggie Tales" or "Thomas the Tank Engine."  Chainsaws, butcher tools, guns, and big knives are all featured prominently in this film.  Available on Netflix, enjoy Ms. Shepis and Mr. Hodder...two stalwarts of modern horror.   

Monday, June 22, 2015

Late Phases, The Veteran vs. The Werewolf

As a society we are all too quick to many of the more noble among us into the attic.  The elderly, disabled, and veterans of old wars are just too inconvenient to value and give the praise they deserve. The proud and stoic among those classes are never comfortable in today's world of celebrity deification and technological innovations.  As in the film "Mulberry Street" (see my review on March 4, 2015), our protagonist in 2014's "Late Phases" is just such a person.  Nick Damici portrays a veteran of the conflict in Vietnam.  He is proud.  He is stoic.  He is blind....and society has no patience for him.  Perhaps he is a reminder of how shallow we have become, and how noble men once were.  When evil calls, it takes a man like this to fight it...as today's men just aren't up to the task.
In a heartbreaking scene, Ambrose (Damici) is moved into an old folks community by his son, Will (Ethan Embry).  The blind Ambrose has become an inconvenience to Will, who has his own life to live.  Proud, and coming to terms with failing health and blindness, Ambrose is a grouch.  When a trio of old ladies, including Tina Louise from "Gilligan's Island," welcome him to the neighborhood, our protagonist sends them on their way in a rude fashion. That night, he hears his neighbor (Karen Lynn Gorney of "Saturday Night Fever") ripped to shreds by a werewolf.  Knowing no one will believe him, and that as a witness, he will be the next intended victim, Ambrose does what he does best...prepares for battle.  The police are confident that the death was an animal attack, but Ambrose knows better.  During the attack, the monster attempted to eat Ambrose, but he was saved by his service dog, who died in the battle.

In the 28 days until the next full moon, the blind Ambrose listens, smells, and pays attention to his surroundings.  Horrifying his neighbors by handling firearms, hoarding ammunition, and using a menacing, sharpened spade instead of a cane, the old fogies of his community begin to shun him. Ambrose is a man of war, and he has been attacked...the sensibilities of the weak are of no consequence to him.  As Ambrose comes to terms with his own mortality, and sins of his past, he believes himself ready for the next full moon.  Bad news! The werewolf sees that Ambrose is preparing and it also prepares for a battle.  The next attack will not resemble the previous one, and Ambrose will have to improvise, adapt and overcome if he wants to prevail.
Ambrose will fight the final battle alone, just as he is living the twilight of his life.  With mortality closing in, a late surge of emotion will have our hero trying to form a more tender relationship with his son.  As the next full moon hits, the carnage is maximized, and Ambrose's survival and combat skills will be put through horrific tests. When the identity of the werewolf is revealed, though Ambrose knew all along, fans of 1980s horror films will gasp.  Available on Netflix, "Late Phases" may be a metaphor for the carnage we all face when we discard our noble elders.  

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Cyborg 009-1: Japanese Cyborg and Cat-Fights

Clad in a leather mini-skirt, thigh high red boots, and a top containing machine-gun breasts, Cyborg 009-1 is ready to save the world.  The seductive Mayuko Iwasa has the title role, and before the film is over, she will be challenged by other hot cyborgs, beautiful Japanese femme fatales, mad-scientists, covert evil government organizations, and a helicopter gunship.  Samurai swords, machine guns, bombs, and military weapons all play vital roles in our film today.  Oh yes, let's not forget about the army of undead mutants.  Of course, since this film is from Japan, the proverbial envelope will be shoved, as our beautiful cyborg will also be lesbian-raped by another babe-cyborg.
Undercover (..not much cover, actually) in a strip club, 009-1 captures the attention of Stinger (Ryohei Abe), a crime lord.  He beckons her to a back room, where they engage in pre-marital sex.  After soliciting secrets out of him, Stinger realizes she is a spy and attempts to shoot her.  Bad idea!  A machine-gun battle erupts, and 009-1 mows down all the criminals letting Stinger's GF, Butterfly (Shizuka Midorikawa) escape after their first cat-fight.  009-1 is a government cyborg working for the west, as the eastern bloc attempts to gain a cold war advantage.  The human side of 009-1 has no memories of her past, and is tasked to find her creator, Dr. Klein (Aya Sugimoto).  Klein, kidnapped by the east, has important secrets, and 009-1 finds her quickly.  During the rescue of Dr.Klein, 009-1 will have some great cat-fights with three babe eastern spies.  Uh-oh...Dr. Klein treats 009-1 as an inanimate object, and appears to be more evil than the eastern enemy.
Bad guys in the west are capturing refugees from the east and harvesting their organs...and Dr. Klein is the recipient of the organs.  009-1 raids the warehouse where this is taking place, getting into another cat-fight with the hot Butterfly, and rescuing the refugees. A mysterious refugee, Chris (Minehiro Kinomoto) hums a melody which triggers childhood memories for 009-1.  The two grow close, and engage in pre-marital sex and vow to find her memories together.  After several double-crosses, 009-1 realizes that even her own organization is bent on her destruction.  On her own, 009-1 seeks out Dr. Klein, whom she believes has the answers to her past.  More battles ensue, and Dr. Klein captures 009-1, unleashing another hot cyborg (Nao Nagasawa) on her.  Chained to a table, with her breast guns deactivated, the evil cyborg rapes 009-1.  Of course, 009-1 escapes and must battle an army of undead mutants before finishing her trek of discovering her past.
 The ending will be wild, as 009-1 reactivates her breast guns.  As 009-1 comes upon shocking truths about her past, and endures a myriad of betrayals, her fight becomes personal.  This film is fun, and shocking at the same time.  Ms. Iwasa is stunning as the cyborg, and her sex-appeal is one of this film's many strengths.  Her cat-fights with Butterfly, the eastern spies, and the evil cyborg, alone, are worth the price of admission.  Available on Netflix as "009-1: The End of the Beginning," fans of Japanese exploitation will not want to miss this feature.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Demon Resurrection, Satanists on Long Island

When visiting Long Island, beware!  The supernatural is not confined to Amityville.  Shot in Long Island, 2008's "Demon Resurrection" is an over-the-top, gory horror film written and directed by William Hopkins. Inscribed on the backside of the DVD, in describing this movie, "H.P. Lovecraft meets Night of the Living Dead."  A good description, no doubt.  However, my catch-line for Mr. Hopkins' flick is "Inseminoid meets The Devil's Rain."  Gore, nudity, disembowelment, a monster baby, and a neat Necrominocon-like book.....a perfect movie for this blog.
An archaeological dig on Long Island unearths a mass grave, 200 years old. The dig is funded by Toth (Will McDonald, pictured below), who has a special interest in the grave's occupants...all buried wearing nooses. Fast forward....John (Damian Ladd) brings Grace (Alexis Golightly) home.  Grace is suffering from a mysterious malady (....if you call being pregnant with Satan's child a malady...let's not be judgmental).  Awaiting them are several of Grace's friends....zombie bait...who plan an intervention.  Over the past year, Grace has not been herself...in fact, she joined Toth's cult.  At first, all was serene in the cult, but that changed when they stripped her, tied her to a tree, and had her raped by a demon from the underworld.  As one might imagine, this soured Grace on this cult. 
Miffed that John rescued Grace from his compound, Toth pays them a visit.  John orders Toth off his property.  Toth does leave, but not before warning the friends to leave before sundown...or else.  Oh yes, using satanic powers, Toth causes John to have a heart episode.  Toth then does a short ceremony out of his magic book and the unearthed corpses re-animate.  Obedient to Toth, the dead-army sets its sight on the house where Grace is giving birth.  Now Grace, who's water has broke, and her friends must fortify their house and defend against a horde who rip out vital organs and intestines for their dinner.  Many of the friends will die horrible deaths at the hands of these hungry creatures, but can Grace and some of her mates survive the night?  Don't sell Grace short...she has her own copy of this magic book.  As Toth is determined to abduct Grace, and the child (Satan's child, actually), Grace will have some very uncomfortable decisions to make.
William Hopkins' direction reminded me a bit of Lucio Fulci.  In some ways, this film resembles that great Italian horror of the 70s and 80s, and in some ways, it resembles Japanese horror in that some of the scenes push that proverbial envelope.  Not for the squeamish, "Demon Resurrection" will deliver on scares, gore, and surprises.  Ms. Golightly is terrific as a woman, seemingly defeated, who pulls it together to do anything she has to in order to save her and her friends.  Find this film and add it to your DVD collection. Available on Amazon.com (DVD and Instant Video).

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Living Ghost, Wise-Cracking Private Eye Meets a Zombie

Today we will delve into a jewel from 1942, "The Living Ghost."  This is a creepy story within the classic medium of 1940's private eye films.  Complete with a wise-cracking private eye, sultry damsels in distress, a dozen suspects, and a spooky deserted asylum, "The Living Ghost" has all the elements of a fine B movie. The sexual tension between our hero (James Dunn) and the very sharp damsel (Joan Woodbury) is most enjoyable..and a bit risque for 1942.
Very wealthy Mr. Craig (Gus Glassmire) is missing.  His best friend Tony Weldon (George Eldredge) and Craig's secretary, Billie (Woodbury, pictured below), want him found.  The two attempt to hire the best P.I. there is, Nick Trayne (Dunn).  Trayne is done with that lifestyle and has opened a business in the seedy part of the city.  His new vocation?  A sympathetic ear.  For two dollars an hour he puts on a swami costume and listens to people's problems...doesn't solve 'em..just listens.  Captured by Billie's statuesque beauty, Nick takes the case.  As he begins by interviewing all the family members, he realizes they are all suspects.  Mr. Craig's beautiful daughter, Tina (Jan Wiley) is mad that he married her evil stepmother. Cedric, the butler, is really strange and looks like he kills kittens. The Phillips' are family friends, and Delia Phillips (Minerva Urecal) has plunged into cults and magic. Tony Weldon is even a suspect, as he has money problems.  But wait!  During Nick's first night in the mansion, Mr. Craig mysteriously returns. 
The only normal being in the large house is Billie, and together they will endure some scary adventures.  Mr. Craig is non-responsive.  Physically he is fine, but appears to be in a Haitian trance. But how?  The zombie is unable to answer any questions and is put to bed.  Billie and Nick get close which is fortunate for Nick as during the night, murders start.  One of the guests is found stabbed to death in the garden as Mr. Craig is standing over the corpse.  Could he have done the crime in his condition?  Then Mr. Craig goes after Nick with a knife, barely saved by Billie.  As Billie and Nick do some swell detective work, they venture to an isolated abandoned, and apparently deserted asylum where nasty experiments are conducted.  If they survive this visit, perhaps Mr. Craig will be saved...and more importantly, Nick may be able to marry Billie.
Who put Mr. Craig into this condition?  How did it happen and why?  Who stands to gain Mr. Craig's fortune in the event of his demise?  Will the budding romance between Billie and Nick interfere with solving this mystery? Available on Netflix, this is a fun film.  The interplay between Billie and Nick (which includes spanking and other politically incorrect acts, referred to today as misogyny) rivals the creepiness as the strength of "The Living Ghost."  A perfect mystery with elements of horror, this film is a perfect way to spend a Friday night. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Self Storage, Organ Harvesting for God and Country

As we eagerly await Eric Roberts' new film, "Human Centipede 3," let's enjoy this gem that has flown under the radar.  2013's "Self Storage," is a gory horror flick starring both Roberts and Michael Berryman...and some great looking young actors and actresses...most of whom will be dissected. Like many great horror films, our hero (Tom DeNucci) is a loser...stuck in a dead end job as a security guard at a storage facility.  "Self Storage" also has the distinction of the greatest film ever shot in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
Walter (Roberts) runs a self storage lot.  He is actually quite industrious, and the lot is just cover so he can continue his mad-scientist activities.  A former Major in battle campaigns in the middle-east, Walter was a surgeon in the war.  Currently he abducts people, hauls them to a make-shift operating room in one of his units, and dissects them..selling the organs for big money.  Trevor (Berryman) was his former Sargent, and now his top security guard and accomplice.  Jake (DeNucci) is a loser, and the night watchman at this facility.  What Jake does not know, when he invites some really sexy friends over to the unit after hours, is that Walter is responsible for lots of missing people in the area. Thinking Walter and Trevor are gone for the evening the sex crazed teens arrive with weed, booze, and inflated libidos.  The clean cut chick, Sara-Marie (Gillian Williams) falls in love with Jake during the party.  
Uh oh...Jake, unbeknownst to himself, accidentally destroys (with an acid shower) Walter's stash of victims and organs.  Walter's contact is on his way to the facility where Walter is supposed to sell the harvested organs which will go to soldiers in the middle-east.  Furious, Walter and Trevor begin to prey on the teens to resupply his organ stash.  Pre-marital sex, pot smoking, drinking, and bongs are occupying all the teens, making them easy kill, except for Jake and Sara-Marie who are off on their own engaging in pre-marital sex and laser tag.  The kills are gory, and lots of organs are exposed.  One killing is done with a high-heeled shoe.  Adding to the teens' angst is the fact that Walter removes their organs and body parts while they are conscious.
Will Jake's new love, Sara-Marie, inspire him to become a hero?  Is Walter's desire to support the troops (...with fresh organs) justification for the horror he is inflicting?  The acting is terrific, and Jake's transformation from loser to potential hero is fun to watch.  Gillian Williams is terrific and captivating as the smart, semi-clean cut babe. For gore, scares, and a neat surprise ending, find "Self Storage" on Netflix.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Wheels of Fire, Rape in an Apocalyptic Landscape.

Lynda Wiesmeier, the July 1982 cover, and centerfold model in Playboy will grace this blog today. With the opening of "Mad Max: Fury Road" last month, "Wheels of Fire" from 1985 is a perfect selection.  Sort of The Philippines version of "The Road Warrior," our film today is a violent look into a world where roving, motorized gangs rule the planet.  Clad in black leather hooker boots, black leather short-shorts, and nothing else, Ms. Wiesmeier comes through with a difficult portrayal of a post-apocalyptic beauty.  Unfortunately for her character, she probably sets the record for the number of times being raped, of any movie character.  Lots of nudity, machine guns, flame-throwers, mutant cannibals, and gang rapes grace our cinematic masterpiece.
As our film begins, Trace (Gary Watkins), a Mad Max type figure, is on the run with his sister Arlie (Wiesmeier) and her BF.  They do pretty well destroying their pursuers until they decide to split up.  After taking different roads, Trace does a nice job finishing off his pursuers by utilizing a machine-gun and flame-thrower.  Meanwhile, Arlie and her BF stop for pre-marital sex in the middle of the desert and are captured.  The gang has no interest in the BF, who is all too happy to cough Arlie up to the fiends.  Arlie is stripped, and tied to the hood of a futuristic hot rod and driven to the compound of the warlord, Scourge (Joe Mari Avellana). The defiant Arlie is then held down by two biker chicks while Scourge rapes her.  Scourge hands her to his right-hand man, who also rapes her.  Still defiant, our playmate is then tossed to the soldiers who then gang-rape her.  Eventually Arlie is broken, and we next see her begging to be raped in order to get food.
Trace eventually gets an urge to rescue Arlie.  He continues to mow down Scourge's men, and rescues another blonde damsel, Stinger (Laura Banks). These two take their time getting to know each other, while Arlie continues to get raped.  Then they engage in pre-marital sex in the desert...and Arlie continues to get raped.  The clumsy Stinger then falls in a hole and is captured by mutant cannibals.  Because Stinger is good for pre-marital sex, and Arlie is merely his sister...Trace mounts a rescue operation for Stinger..while Arlie continues to get raped.  After more adventures with Stinger, Arlie finally heads to Scourge's compound, where Arlie continues to get raped.  Machine-guns, flame-throwers, cool hot-rods, and motorcycles will all be part of a final epic battle.
Will Trace be in time to save his sister?  Is the post-apocalyptic landscape merely a metaphor for the treatment of women by modern, organized civilization?  From Arlie's perspective this is a brutal film. SPOILER ALERT [her demise will rival that of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid]. Made in Asia, budget wise, "Wheels of Fire" is impressive.  Lots of neat souped up car battles and chases, hair spray, and body make-up separate this film from your average low-budget film.  Available in great quality on YouTube, this is a great companion piece to the new "Mad Max" film.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

[REC]4: Apocalipsis, An Info-Babe Saves the World

From Spain, comes the newest installment of the [REC] franchise...and it is the most exciting one!  Fans of Kate Beckinsale will love Manuela Velasco.  In fact, if Ms. Beckinsale ever stops portraying Selene in "Underworld" films, Ms. Velasco would be a perfect replacement.  Back to our movie, "[REC]4: Apocalipsis" is a proverbial roller-coaster of thrills, scares, and gore.  Set immediately after the original [REC] ends, the fourth installment is all horror (...no comedy, like in the third one).  Lots of twists will keep you guessing, and the ending may surprise you (no spoilers here).
A team enters the original apartment building from the first [REC] film to plant bombs.  Most of the team is wiped out, but two firefighters, Lucas (Crispulo Cabezas) and Guzman (Paco Manzanado) manage to extract Angela (Velasco) an apparent uninfected info-babe. In the next scene, this trio wakes aboard a cargo ship off the Spain coast, with no knowledge how they got there.  The team of doctors (mad-scientists?) caring for them determine that none of them are carrying the virus (or so they think).  This medical team headed by Dr. Ricarte (Hector Colome) are up to something.  The ship has had it's lifeboats immobilized and radio communications with Spain cut off....but why? Uh oh, these doctors are also working on an anti-virus, but somehow the host to the virus has escaped...or was it let out?  
You can imagine, this hyper-rabies virus goes through the ship like crap through a goose.  As the non-infected population of the ship decrease, and monster population grow, Dr. Ricarte makes a fascinating discovery.....Angela is the carrier.  Now the surviving crew is tasked with tracking her down.  Angela insists she is fine, but the proof seems insurmountable.  With no friends, Angela, if she is right, must survive the hunt (...and the infected) and figure out who the carrier is.  With the help of Nick (Ismael Fritschi), a drooling fan and the ship's IT guy, the two fight off ominous forces which include mad-scientists, Lucas and Guzman, rabid monkeys, and a self-destruct system activated by Ricarte.  With harpoons, spears, an ax,  and an outboard motor, their defense will be a gory one. In one scene, a dozen charging, rabid monkeys are pureed by the aforementioned outboard motor.
Is Angela infected? However unlikable our mad-scientists are...are they right in wanting to terminate our info-babe? If the uninfected survive, what condition will Spain be in after a couple of known outbreaks?  This movie will keep you guessing, and in many places, your guesses will be wrong. All action!  All gore! Terrific acting!  See "[REC]4: Apocalipsis," which is available on Netflix. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Ten Zan: The Ultimate Mission, Kim Jong Il Makes a Movie

Sabrina Siani, an Italian actress best known for her roles in Italian horror and exploitation films, may be the most beautiful actress of the 1980s.  Jesus Franco called her the second worst actress he ever met and said that her bare butt was her best asset.  After watching 1988's "Ten Zan: The Ultimate Mission," an action flick made in North Korea, I would have to disagree.  I can name dozens actresses worse than Ms. Siani, and I must say, a great looking rear end is not an irrelevant aspect to assessing actresses.  Kim Jong Il contracted an Italian crew to come to his worker's paradise to film this movie.  Surprisingly, this is a pretty good film...definitely better than the recent George Clooney/Disney piece of trash.
Here is the plot, though not important.  Mad scientists have created a drug that will engineer the master race.  A mercenary team, headed by Lou from Long Island (Frank Zagarino, who was arrested during filming by the North Koreans for being an American spy) is hired to destroy this gang.  In their spare time, this evil gang kidnaps Asian babes...just because they can.  Jason (Mark Gregory) heads this gang and often sends his babe, Glenda (Siani), to do his dirty work.  Whenever Glenda is on the screen, she is a vision of show-stopping beauty.  Her attempts to sidetrack Lou are all foiled, and to her chagrin, Lou falls for a North Korean babe, Mavi (Jinny Rockers...yeah, right!).
Mavi is also a secret agent, on the good side, but is pretty incompetent.  Eventually she is abducted and groped by Jason, causing Glenda to become violently jealous.  After her abduction, Lou finds a sense of urgency to actually get to work and destroy the evil entity...and Jason.  Lots of explosions and machine gun battles ensue....and then more explosions and machine gun battles...and then more explosions and machine gun battles.  As Glenda, clad in some leather pants, loses affection for the two-timing Jason, she approaches Lou with a deal he can't refuse.  Will this be enough for Lou to finally get the edge on his rival?
Say what you want about Kim Jong Il and the worker's paradise of North Korea, but "Tan Zen" is a better movie than the American "Ordinary People." This was Ms. Siani's last film, as her acting career ended when she was 26 years of age.  From Rome to North Korea....Ms. Siani can say she traveled to the extremes of movie-making venues. It is most unfortunate Ms. Siani did not write a book of her experiences in North Korea; however, if I ever get a travel budget, I would love to interview her about her experiences there and write that book.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Shocking Dark, Aliens....in Italy

Ah, Venice!  Canals...romance...gondolas...covert, underground, bio-genetics labs...the beauty that is Italy! 1989's "Shocking Dark" (aka "Terminator 2") is considered a complete rip-off of James Cameron's "Aliens."  In fact Mr. Cameron was quoted as saying "...I'm so happy my film came out first, as the Italian version blows 'Aliens' away in every aspect." [CREATIVE EMBELLISHMENT]  In fairness to the Bruno Mattei film, the last five minutes are slightly different than the second installment of the "Alien" franchise. Instead of taking place on a far-off planet, this film is set in Venice after toxic waste has killed the city.
The Tubular Corporation has set up a secret lab in the bowels of Venice after toxic waste spills. When the scientists in the lab are killed off by an unknown force (monsters), the evil company sends a team of marines in to find out what happened.  Accompanying the doomed squad is Sara (Haven Tyler), a genetic scientist, and Fuller (Christopher Aherns), a corporate hack, who merely seeks to preserve the firm's interests.  Once in the facility, the soldiers are under instant attack from slimy monsters, and some of them are carried off and put in slimy cocoon things.  Hark!  A survivor! Samantha, a little girl, and daughter of a scientist, has been living in the ruins of the lab since the initial attack.  Sara adopts, as a duty, the task of caring for Samantha.  As the marines continue to fall to the slime creatures, Sara discovers the fiends are former humans who have undergone horrific gene alteration by the Tubular Corporation.
After Sara's discovery, Fuller attempts to eliminate her and Samantha.  First, he dumps a creature into the room the girls are resting in, and shuts off the monitor.  Of course, Sara is able to fight off the things long enough for the remaining marines to come to the rescue.  Now Fuller is in all out war with the marines too, and because he is not your average human, the odds are in Fuller's favor.  You can guess the remaining aspects of the plot, especially if you have seen "Aliens."  The creatures are slimy and scary, and the soldiers are cliche...including the tough, ethnic chick marine.
Is Bruno Mattei attempting to deliver a metaphor for nature reclaiming our structural achievements? Was "Shocking Dark" a response to a population's demand for more elaboration to some unanswered questions from Mr. Cameron's "Aliens"?  Don't be offended that Italy came out with a plagiarized version of an "Alien" movie....rather be thankful they decided to plagiarize "Aliens" and not "Ordinary People." This film is available in good quality on YouTube.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Art Critique, Berk Balkac does Frankenstein

I have thought much of the themes of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" lately. Perusing the news, a big mistake I might add, one cannot help but be discouraged.  We are our own worst enemy. Humanity is embracing the evil and tearing down the good. In "Frankenstein," the brilliant doctor believes man can replace God. Victor Frankenstein pushed this point home in creating life.  The results? Deadly. Today, any deity that  has correction or criticism for us, in order to make us better and more loving, is savaged.  The horrors of today's world stem from our belief that we do not need God....in fact....humans are beings carrying God inside them.  Enough of this preachy sermon, let's get to Berk Balkac.  From Istanbul, Turkey comes the next great comic book (...or graphic novel) artist.  My good friend has created some Frankenstein art, which merits all of our attentions, today.
With a hint of Boris Karloff, and a lot of his own interpretation, Mr. Balkac creates a monster with contemporary and classic horror.  The green face and scars, created in the classic "Frankenstein" film of the 1930s are present, but the blank eyes suggest an emptiness that some may argue is present in the souls of today's mass humanity. The piece of art above is haunting and menacing, and in some weird way presents a warning to us...perhaps a warning of the consequences of playing God.
The gray, black, and slight bit of blue shades in the second sketch transcends our creature from the classic horror to a more surreal scare. Though brought to life by a mad doctor, the life isn't one that we recognize.  Despite a beating heart and brain activity, when the being approaches, we see the once rotting flesh, and a corpse-like hue.  Though the mad scientist is the real monster in "Frankenstein," our materialistic lifestyles blame the creation, instead of the root cause...allowing the real monster to fester and grow.  Mr. Balkac, again, in his sketches, brings out the real horror of his monsters.
The third sketch serves as the greatest warning.  Man-made miracles?  Take a look at what that miracle is likely to look like.  However great, or however the achievement of our magnificent intellects, evil is part of the creation.  Victor Frankenstein's experiments embody these warnings.  The black shiny eyes transcend intentions, and indicate death.  Not murder...that already happened when the thing's heart started beating.  A look into the eyes of the creature, captured above, is a death which walks, and seeks all of us out.  This concludes our macabre art show, but please remember the name Berk Balkac, and visit oluklu.deviantart.com for more of this young man's work.  Those of you needing an illustrator for your graphic novel, or comic book, search this man out.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sorceress, Twin Playboy Playmates in Much Peril

Toward the end of 1982's "Sorceress," scores of sacrificial virgins in white togas are carried off by an army of the undead and de-virginized.   Yes...a Roger Corman film is our feature today.  Fans of "Deathstalker" and "Hundra" will love this film, set in a mythical world, long, long ago.  Of course, the main appeal of this movie are Playboy Playmate twins, Leigh and Lynette Harris.  Though neither of these ladies ever succeeded at the acting profession, their performances in "Sorceress" were exactly what was called for in any Roger Corman Film.  Naive, but shapely damsels with swords, attitude and no tan lines deliver much excitement and guilt pleasure in this lost classic.
When we first meet Mira and Mara (Leigh and Lynette Harris), they are...of course...skinny dipping.  These twins were rescued from their village long ago when Traigon (Robert Ballesteros) slaughtered their mom.  Prophecy indicates that if Traigon sacrifices the twins to the god Calgara (...ancient Chinese secret), he will rule the universe...or maybe it was just the planet.  The twin babies are now shapely young women, and Traigon's men find their village....and destroy it.  Upon their return from skinny dipping, our twins fend off the invasion and befriend a Viking warrior, Valdar (Bruno Rey) and his man/beast Pando (David Millbern).  The twins are fascinated by Pando's [CENSORED], as he has a rather large one.  Furious that their village has been wiped-out, Mira and Mara embark on a quest to take the fight to Traigon.
As Valdar and the twins enter the village, they are also joined by hunk Erlick (Roberto Nelson).  Traigon is smart and with the help of the Princess Delissia (Ana De Sade, pictured below), set traps for the twins and capture them.  Delissia, an impressive piece of royalty herself, is jealous of the twins, as she wants 100% of Traigon's affections.  Valdar and Erlick assist the twins in their escape, but Traigon is able to recapture Mira.  Uh oh, Delissia and Traigon plan to sacrifice Mira on an altar to Calgara (..ancient Chinese secret).  Now Mara and Valdar must mount a counter-attack in which they will battle extraordinary odds.  An army of the undead, an army of the not-so dead, snakes, catacombs, evil magic, and aroused beasts will all be hindrances to rescuing our nubile Playmate.  The plotting Delissia and emerging sexual desires of the twins won't make matters any easier.
Will Traigon's evil plans come to fruition?  What fate awaits our blonde beauties?  Will the virgins still be considered virgins if they are raped by soldiers who died centuries ago?  Isn't it just like Roger Corman to provoke the important questions of our time?  This is the second time this blog has featured twins appearing in Playboy (see my review of "Twins of Evil" from May 8, 2014). I'm guessing if Playboy Playmate twins appear in any other film in the future, I will also get that movie on this blog.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Literature Review #11: G.O.D.- Original Screenplay by Brandon M. Wyse

Listening to Brandon M. Wyse on the Ron Shaw radio show a couple of weeks back proved a most fascinating way to spend an evening.  Mr. Wyse's story is way more intriguing than any fiction...however his screenplay "G.O.D." may be more than just fiction.  The journey embarked upon by our featured screenwriter has obviously lit an eschatological flame in his creative engine.  Saying Mr. Wyse has a checkered past may be a bit of an understatement.  He grew up in Chicago...lost both parents at an early age...Joined a gang...Led a gang...went to jail....Transformed!  Religion is a great transformer, however most will credit the portions of the gospels in which Jesus speaks of love and forgiveness.  Perhaps this is a stretch on my part, however, after reading "G.O.D.," Mr. Wyse seems to have been quite affected by John's book of Revelation.
"G.O.D." begs for a movie studio to buy into it and turn it into an epic for the Christmas movie season.  Not an evangelical work, but it has the power to speak to those hostile to divine messages. Science fiction/horror and epic adventure on a massive scale...who can want more?  After reading just a few pages, the names Rod Serling, Ray Bradbury, and J.J.Abrams came to mind.  As the tale begins, a massive war scene is underway which is guided by some weird twists of technology and detente.  Out of a battle of massive proportion, evil forces embodied by a mad scientist type figure head out into our world of manicured lawns, little league baseball, and normal existence.  Not with bombs or EPT devices, but an item we have come to worship...the cell phone...is the tool of evil here.  In no time at all, our planet's survival is in question. Like any great fiction tale, some regular guys, who we can relate to, become reluctant heroes and embark on an unlikely trek to save humanity...but from what, exactly?
Horrific and gory scenes leave no doubt to the evil that has beset our comfortable homes.  Torture, machine guns, and some downright taboo scenes will shock the reader.  Mr. Wyse masterfully manipulates us to dwell upon larger questions as we witness the carnage.  Who is the real enemy...or has the evil scientist been enabled by our desire to replace God?  Mary Shelley shocked the world when she asked the same question in her "Frankenstein" novel. However powerful and wise we believe we have become in 2015, have we merely taken steps closer to ruination and disaster? Battle scenes ensue, none more horrifying than the ones we witness in the homes of families like ours.  Sure, tanks, rocket launchers, and great armies will have their say, however cathedrals of sanity and love we rely on to keep us human (our spouses and children) will also be the source of great horror.
When the story ended, I was exhausted.  The action and fast pace of the story ensured that.
 Immediate questions were inspired in my consciousness, such as, "..can I look at myself and see that I have replaced God with my own ego and technological toys?" If you want action, suspense, horror and gore..."G.O.D." has it....actually, in just about every scene.  I encourage one to find "G.O.D." as a vehicle to self reflect on important questions about who we are and what we have become.  Our belief that we can know what God knows may be our undoing...however, in Mr. Wyse's "G.O.D." is perhaps a more encouraging message.  In each of us...we have the power to eschew evil and turn to good. For more information, go to Mr. Wyse's website brandonwyse.com

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Extraterrestrial, They're Here...and They're not Nice

They're here!  Been here since Roswell, back in the 40s. Our government has a treaty with them, as we all know.  We allow them to suck some of us up into their ships for experiments (you know...probing and mind control stuff), and in turn, they let us run around as if we own this planet. Or so explains Travis (Michael Ironside) in 2014's "Extraterrestrial" (aka "The Visitors").  This is of course total fiction!  We all know our government has our best interests in mind, and would never do anything to harm us.  The government we know would never join forces with evil for a supposed bigger good.  If you don't believe that, perhaps some re-education might benefit your attitude.
As our film opens, a woman (Emily Perkins) on the run, is sucked out of a phone booth while on the phone to 9-1-1. Surveillance footage will show she was pulled up into the sky.  Now five great looking young people are driving into these woods to spend some time at a cabin (..I love when that happens).  Pot, loud music, and drink...and oh yes...pre-marital sex are planned.  April (Brittany Allen) is planning to break up with Kyle (Freddie Stroma), and Kyle is planning to propose to her. Here come the ETs.  Melanie (Melanie Papalia) and April accidentally come across Travis and his weed-farm.  Travis is a pot-head/survivalist, convinced UFOs are here.  Soon our quintet will know he speaks the truth.  During an awkward pre-orgy (April has just rejected Kyle's proposal), a UFO arrives.  The scared kids find a shotgun and April shoots one of the ETs.  Don't fret, these aliens did not come to foster intergalactic understanding.  On the run, Lex (Anja Savcic) is sucked up into a ship, sending our group running to Travis.  
 Now this film gets quite busy.  Many will complain that too much is going on, but I disagree.  This film tries to be science fiction/horror/love story, which I believe it succeeds at.  An all out war between our quintet and the aliens ensues.  A subplot plays out in which the town sheriff (Gil Bellows) investigates the abductions, which will prove most heart-breaking.  As the ETs begin subjecting our friends to gruesome fates, April's anger comes out and she turns in to quite the warrior. As the monsters appear to be invincible, and all hope appears lost, April's new found love of Kyle inspires her to defeat a foe which our government could not.  Will she have enough to save her friends? Will our own government prove to be a bigger threat than the space visitors?
The acting is terrific, and so are the effects and gore for the budget in which this film was made. Director and writer Colin Minihan is ambitious and does not hold back.  We do get to see inside the spaceship and witness an alien probing of one of the quintet, and it is horrifying.  If you, like me, were put off by the corniness of "E.T." and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," then this film is for you.  Available on Netflix, don't forget to watch the skies.