Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Bloodlust Zombies, The Office meets the Zombie Apocalypse

Discovered working at a college bar, Alexis Texas would proceed to have an extraordinarily successful adult film career.  She would appear in over 200 scenes.  However, in 2011, Ms. Texas starred in today's film, "Bloodlust Zombies."  Perhaps one third an episode of "The Office" and two thirds a gore-fest zombie picture, our scream-queen will deal with a harassing boss, office politics, moody A-V equipment, and mutant fiends craving human flesh.
A bio-lab, contracted by the military, has just developed VC-42.  This invention causes people to turn into mutant homicidal fiends bent on killing anyone they see.  The military plans to drop this stuff behind enemy lines and let the enemy take care of themselves.  Celebration ensues, as the project succeeded under budget and before deadline.  Bobby Lee (Robert Heath), the old geyser who heads this firm celebrates by having wild, rough role-playing sex with the sexy A-V girl, Andrea (Texas). Accidentally the intercom is knocked on and their wild screams and moans are broadcast through the entire building, causing a distraction in the lab.  As a result, some VC-42 gets loose and the first infected are two lab-techs.  The project lead, Judy (Janice Marie) knows the consequences of the outbreak and immediately arms herself.
The building is now on quarantine lock-down.  As more and more employees get turned into murderous mutants, Andrea emerges as more than just a gold-digging skank.  As she and Judy have a philosophical spat regarding each of their roles in the company, Andrea decides to man-up.  As Judy races to fix things (....what exactly that means? Who knows.), Andrea grabs an ax.  Also surviving are the nymphomaniac jerk, Darren (Adam Danoff), and Libby the Temp (Lauren Todd).  Both of these characters are terrific and cause us to pause and the human race worth saving?  Then Andrea comes back into the scene and the answer is an enthusiastic yes.  Will Judy be able to 'fix things,' and will the 'fix' be more harmful than the outbreak? Does pretty skank.....I mean A-V tech, Andrea have a prayer in her tight skirt and high heals?
Bloody and only mildly tongue-and-cheek, "Bloodlust Zombies" is an  entertaining and fast-paced film.  Though hardly Rated X, Ms. Texas' performance is quite provocative.  As "Z Nation" and "The Walking Dead" are about to begin their next seasons, and "Fear The Walking Dead" has taken over Sunday nights, be sure to to lighten up the zombie apocalypse a bit with "Bloodlust Zombies." This film is reasonably priced on 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Soulmate, Love and Death in Wales

As Halloween approaches, let us delve into a classic type of ghost story.  When romance mixes with horror the risks are numerable.  Will horror fans be turned off as relationship issues begin to dominate? Will romance fans turn it off if a suave ghost starts acting like a character in a horror movie?  Find out by tuning into 2013's "Soulmate," filmed beautifully in Wales.  One may be reminded of the film (.not TV show) "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" with Rex Harrison.  A fair comparison, but a word of warning for romance fans.....this does turn into a horror tale, as opposed to "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" which starts out a horror tale and moves into to the love story genre.
Audrey (Anna Walton), a beautiful violinist, attempts suicide as the film begins.  She cannot get over the sadness and grief of losing her husband in a car crash.  She is saved, her wrists bandaged, and runs off to the country for some solitude and deep thought.  She rents an old cottage and almost immediately starts hearing noises emanating from a room which has been locked up for 30 years.  Her grief continues to eat at her.  Her landlords, Theresa (Tanya Myers) and Dr. Zellaby (Nick Brimble) are disturbed to find out Audrey is hearing noises.  The noises get louder and more pronounced and when Audrey tells them to go away, a spirit manifests.  Enter Douglas (Tom Wisdom)...resident ghost.  To his surprise, Audrey can see him.  The two develop a relationship as it appears Douglas is the only one who can understand her.  As the two get closer, Douglas is able to become more tangible.  Eventually, Douglas is able to move objects and touch Audrey.
With Douglas' inspiration, Audrey is able to pick up her violin again and regain her desire to live.  Uh oh....Theresa was sweet on Douglas 30 years ago when he committed suicide and she is jealous of Audrey.  Double uh-oh...Douglas wants to be with Audrey forever (...guess how that can happen).  Unfortunately for Douglas, her will to live is restored.  No spoilers here, but suffice it to say this turns into a horror film, leaving romance fans at the altar. Ms. Walton is terrific as the tortured and haunted protagonist. Axelle Carolyn directs masterfully.
Will the will to live win over the desires from beyond the grave? Can the dead ever be happy in a world ruled by the living?  Those of you who have relationships with ghosts may want to ask yourselves those questions.  Available on Netflix, watch "Soulmate" and treat yourself to a neat ghost tale.  

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Monster of London City, Jack the Ripper German Style

Shot in Berlin, set in modern day London, 1964's "Monster of London City" (aka "Das Ungeheuer von London-City") is a stylish and graphic horror story.  The lighting will remind you of "The Third Man" and the neat musical score is right out of a 1960s Jazz club. It is a different century but Jack the Ripper (...or someone with incredible knowledge of the 19th Century fiend)  is murdering beautiful ladies of the night in fog strewn alleys of Whitechapel.  Directed by Edwin Zbonek, this horror story is also a fine mystery with no shortage of suspects which will have you changing your mind every few minutes as to who the killer is.
Prostitutes are being strangled and mutilated in London the same way Jack the Ripper disposed of them.  Coincidentally, in it's sixth month of sell-outs, the play "Jack the Ripper" is all the rage. The star, Richard Sand (Hansjorg Felmy) went to great lengths to study the Ripper's methods, including the exact way he cut up his victims.  Sand's GF Ann (Marianna Koch) is beautiful and the daughter of Sir George (Fritz Tillman).  George is the Tipper Gore of London and wants to ban the play because the sex and violence it poses unhealthy influences for his constituents.  Uh-oh!  George has a secret compartment in his study in which he changes into a black cloak every night a murder occurs.  Is he the ripper?  Or is that too easy? Ann and Richard fall deeper into love. displeasing Sir George.  Richard's best fiend, and Ann's old BF, Michael Dietmar Schonherr) is none to happy about losing Ann, and is also the police doctor/coroner.
The murders continue, each lady strangled and cut from the head all the way down to the {CENSORED}. Eek! It appears Richard has a history of drug addiction and spent some time in a sanitarium.  Furthermore, Richard begins having black-out spells instead of alibis as the murders occur.  Ann stays by Richard, though her choice may get her dissected. Scotland Yard is quickly putting clues together, and develop Richard as their #1 suspect.  In a fury of madness and murder, the last 30 minutes will send you reeling. With plenty of pretty damsels in great distress, mutilated corpses, and a plethora of suspects, "Monster of London City" is a must see.
In the same year as this film was made, Ms. Koch would also star in "A Fistful of Dollars" with Clint Eastwood. Euro-horror all the way with a touch of eroticism that probably permeated the world of the real Jack the Ripper, this film gets an A+ for atmosphere.  Hard to find but I purchased the DVD at a reasonable price through Amazon.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Literature Review #15, Roses are Red

2011's "Roses are Red" is a nifty trio of horrific stories from Carrie Green.  After reading the set, it occurred to me that if O'Henry had been a horror writer, his stories would have read much like Ms. Green's.  Irony and terror will compete in the task of leaving a lasting impression on you after finishing these stories.
All three stories are hard hitting and quick to terrify.  In her opening story, "A Long Distance Relationship," we meet a monster, Allan.  This fiend proves to be a vicious murderer and misogynist. Killing humans is less stressful to him than daily traffic.  Is there any stopping him?  Yep....and his past may end up tormenting him for eternity.  Next, Ms. Green gives us a scifi/horror tale of a scary future that may not be that far down the road.  In a voyage through the solar system, Ms. Green shows us where we may be headed in this increasingly computerized world.  Unlike the previous story, the creatures are relationship starved computers.

I have to confess that my favorite story may be one that is not, on the surface, a horror story.  In "Cash Only," we meet a bounty hunter on the trail of a bank robbery suspect.  As the story ended, the images created by the final sentence are brutal.  Whatever journeys our human conditions take us, harsh reality may nullify any chance of redemption and atonement.  Though the story appears to have a good guy and a bad guy (lady actually), the line separating good and bad is erased in a conclusion that doesn't worry about leaving you with the warm and fuzzies.
I repeat, these stories are hard hitting and brutal.  Enjoy them on your next airplane flight or morning train ride by ordering "Roses are Red" from Amazon .  Also avail yourselves to Ms. Green's other works, "Violets are Blue" and "Sugar is Sweet."

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Raiders of the Lost Shark, A Canadian Shark Film

I love Canadian horror!  The original "My Bloody Valentine" is one of my favorite slasher films.  "Visiting Hours" may be the most underrated slasher film of all time.  Hence today's entry, 2014's "Raiders of the Lost Shark," filmed in Ontario. Low budget all the way, for this...there is little doubt, but a most spirited fish-eats-man (mostly women, actually) story. In addition to lots of shark eating bikini babe carnage, Director Scott Patrick also feeds on Ontario's deep seeded hatred for Quebec in a very biting sub-theme of this work.
Professor Carly Reynolds (Candice Lidstone) is haunted.  Something awful happened on Murphy's Island (which isn't actually an island) that took the life of her sister...but what?  Uh-oh!  It's happening again.  Big and weird sharks are eating beach goers.  The island is off-limits as some evil corporation is drilling and conducting genetic experiments.  I guess the Canadians have zoned genetic-mutation labs onto islands...or peninsulas.  Two of the island's security guards sneak a couple of skanks onto the beach for some making out and swimming.  The four are summarily eaten.  Send more security guards!  This time two female guards arrive and one gets eaten.  Back on the mainland, Carly is conducting a class on prehistoric monsters that are probably still roaming the earth.  Her class is inspired...and have heard the legend of Murphy's Island.  The schmucks decide to charter a boat to the forbidden death trap.  May (Jessica Huether) seems to be the smart one, and she will prove that she is.

As the shark attacks increase, there is much cause for panic.  The big buggers can fly!  As we will see, this will have a chilling affect on airline flights.  Carly is summoned to the island by the corporation boss...referred to as the Dragon Lady (Catherine Mary Clark).  Carly is told that her help is needed to rid the waters of this flying, toothy menace...but does the Dragon Lady have an anterior motive?  Surprises will await as the pretty May and statuesque Carly will have to fend off the monster shark, whatever the Dragon Lady has planned, and a very mad scientist.  Will May's brains and Carly's knowledge be enough?
Will this film's hostility toward Quebec limit it's release in Canada?  Are 50-foot flying sharks that attack beach goers and airplanes a larger metaphor for many of today's uncomfortable questions?  Many of you may ask if this is a true story as it stays cutting edge on what most of us care about in our daily lives.  The DVD is reasonably priced on Amazon. To hear this review on podcast

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Exeter, The Evil Dead meets The Exorcist performed by partying teens!  I love those films which build up the ominous tension, and all of a sudden, halfway through them, we're screaming in horror.  I also love films like 2015's "Exeter," in which the carnage, scares, and evil hits with a smashing thud a few moments after the credits.  Throw in a cast of great looking nymphomaniac teens, lots of drug use, underage drinking, and bloody possession and we have a perfect film for this blog.  Shot in Rhode Island, writer/director Marcus Nispel keeps the action and gore going for the entire film.
As our film begins, a naked teen dancer blows her head off with a shotgun.  Of course, this scene will be revisited, but not before some high school seniors hold a party at an abandoned asylum for disturbed children.  Patrick (Kelly Blatz) is against the shindig as he doesn't want to disappoint his mentor, Father Conway (Stephen Lang).  He warms up to the idea when he sets sights on the beautiful Reign (Brittany Curran), a girl with a past.  The teens know that weird stuff occurred at this former asylum, so naturally, one of the teens, Amber (Gage Golightly) performs some occult ritual...always a good idea.  Immediately, Patrick's little brother, Rory (Michael Ormsby) is violently possessed and the other teens tie him up. Straight to YouTube on an iPad for exorcism ideas, the teens perform the same rite Fr. Merrin performed on Regan in "The Exorcist." This of course backfires.
The carnage continues and our teens are willing to try anything.  Reign and Amber join forces to contact the spirit...or demon with a makeshift Ouija board.  This backfires, as Amber is turned into a deadly demon with an appetite for her friend's faces.  Fr. Conway races to the location, but is killed by panicked teens trying to drive away....but he'll be back.  Now the force locks down the facility and Patrick and Reign emerge as the two most capable of finding a way out of this asylum.  Toothbrush, lawnmower, shotgun, and table-top soccer game carnage will menace our teens, and their body count will rise.  What or who is this demon preying on our partying teens?  Does Reign's mysterious past have anything to do with what's going on?  
Lots of twists abound in this very busy film, so watch closely.  The acting is great and one-liners are classic.  Available on Netflix, be prepared for some stomach turning gore f/x.  Oh yes, watch this film past the closing spoilers, here. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Beach Girls and the Monster, Surfer Beauties Clawed to Death

A confession.  I watch Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes...for the movie!  If you are like me, 1965's "The Beach Girls and the Monster" is a film for you.  Directed by John Hall, who filmed many of the scenes in his house, our film today has lots of bikini clad surfer beauties dancing and jiggling.  Add music by Frank Sinatra, Jr., and an extremely campy seaweed strewn creature, and we are ready to party.
As Bunny, fresh from jiggling to a lot to surfer music, frolics on the beach, she wanders away from her friends.  Clad in a polka-dot bikini, she is attacked and torn apart by a sea monster.  Her friends are momentarily depressed, but soon will jiggle and dance some more.  The cops bring a foot print mold to Dr. Otto Lindsay (Jon Hall) who tells them the culprit is a mutant South American fish..but the tramps in bikinis deserved their fate.  The prude that he is, Otto is married to the skank and gold-digger, Vicki (Sue Casey).  Vicky is sultry and even tries to seduce her stepson, Richard (Arnold Lessing) and his best friend, Mark (Walker Edmiston). Actually everyone in the film has a motive to kill Vicky.  Even when Richard's GF Jane (Elaine DuPont), clad in a leopard  skin bikini, arrives, Vicky keeps playing the seductress.  
Otto, dislikes the surfer/bikini crowd as he sees their culture taking his son, Richard.  Otto always hoped Richard would become a scientist and help out in the lab.  The cops are searching for the culprit, but they are seeking a man.  As the parties on the beach continue, a surfer gets shredded.  Not believing in monsters, the cops blame Richard's friend Mark for the killings.  Richard and Jane then embark on their own investigation and find the creature's lair.  Meanwhile, Otto catches Vicky in infidelity.  We know that Vicky's fate will be a bloody one, the only question...which is will she be killed by a person or a sea monster?  Unusual plot twists manifest, though they never take away from the jiggling and bikinis.
Lots of fun indeed, and one may say "The Beach Girls and the Monster" is a guilty pleasure.  There are some terrific musical numbers that will bring you back to the more pristine days of the 1960s.  Beach damsels in great peril, hunks unable to save them, a mad scientist, and a plotting seductress is an all too ignored recipe in modern cinema.  Available on YouTube, enjoy this classic as the summer ends.

Friday, September 18, 2015

App, Delete it or Die Trying...

From Holland, a stark warning to eschew our smart phones and reconnect to the human race.  I'm the number one violator of entertaining my computerized companion instead of real human loved ones. Quite correctly, at times, my wife confiscates the device from me.  Hence 2013's "App," a techno-horror story that will cause you to distance yourself from your hand-held....for at least  30 seconds. Playful at times, always horrific, and full of energy, "App" will have you out of breath by the end credits.
  As our film opens, the very beautiful Liesbeth (Liza Sips) drives home.  She is obviously stressed out, and puts her Samsung device on to check her voicemail as she drives home.  She stops her car, gets out and walks in front of a speeding train....splat!  Deader then Julius Caeser....but don't worry...she'll be back.  Two years later, Anna (Hannah Hoekstra) and Sophie (Isis Cabolet), BFFs..attend a wild party and wake up hung-over.  Uh-oh....Anna's Samsung Galaxy was violated and has a mysterious app on it...Iris.  Iris is a personal assistant and answers any question.  Iris is also a voyeur, taking candid shots of our girls engaging in nakedness and pre-marital sex.  Double uh-oh...Iris moves to any device Anna's phone comes in the vicinity of.  Iris is capable of all sorts of mayhem.  If something is controlled by a computer, Iris takes it over.
Oh yes, Stijn (Alex Hendrickx) is Anna's brother and has just had a micro-chip placed on his spinal cord in order to cure his paralysis from a bike accident. guessed it...controlled by a computer.  As people in Anna's life begin dying in freak accidents....Anna tries to rid her phone of the evil app.  Iris reminds Anna that doing this could be fatal to Stijn.  Rather than assuming the role of a frail victim, spunky..and now, very angry, Hannah fights back.  The war between device and woman will be a bloody one, and casualties will pile up.  Street lights, elevators, security systems, etc. all controlled by Iris.  Oh yes, remember Liesbeth?  Died two years ago? She is trying to call Anna on the phone, but Iris cuts the conversation short.  Has technology gone psycho?  As Anna fights back, she discovers some startling truths about the people in her life who have not yet assumed room temperature.  
No spoilers here, but the ending is wild, and of course...ominous.  This film will unnerve you and cause you excruciating speculation about the dominance technology has in your life.  Ms. Hoekstra is intense as a besieged college student driven to desperation.  2013 moviegoers were invited to download the Iris app before the film and enjoy extra scenes and pictures as the film hit the movie screen.  Available on Netflix...consider this one a warning.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Camp, Japan Spits on your Grave

Rape/Revenge Exploitation from Japan is on tap today.  2014's "Camp" will be compared with both American films of "I Spit on Your Grave."  The comparison is a fair one, though this one has some neat twists.  Directed by Ainosuke Shibata, "Camp" will not leave you with the warm and fuzzies.  These types of films play with us all too well.  We know what our humiliated heroine must do and we cheer her on.  However by the end of the film, we're aghast and asking...did she have to do it so well?
As the film opens, something horrible happened to the pretty nurses at a weird hospital....but hold that thought.  Fast forward, Kozue (Miyuki Yokoyama) and her sister Akane (Rei Ayana) are driving to a camp site.  Tension is thick between them.  Akana believes she caught Kozue doing her BF, but Kozue doesn't have the heart to tell her that the BF actually was raping her when Akane saw them together.  Crash!  Their car now disabled, the sisters find shelter in a supposedly deserted cabin for the night.  Deserted?  Yeah right!  A seeming Prince Charming named Thanatos walks in and offers them food and blankets.  Uh-oh!  Thanatos' two totally looney pals join them.  When Kozue realizes the guys spiked Akane's tea with the intention of raping her, she attempts to escape.  The girls are caught, beaten and stripped to their undies by two more loonies.  When the girls are brought back to the cabin, now five men drool over them.
The ghoulish quintet humiliate the women.  Sensing Kozue's sense of responsibility, they painfully rape Akane in the most awful ways while restraining Kozue.  Each fiend takes his turn at Akane with his version of a sick rape game.  Akane's fate?  You can guess.  With Akane gone, Kozue is next, and the mysterious psychos start their games with her.  Kozue escapes and meets Misaki (Peach Momiya).  Misaki is planning to hunt and kill these monsters, and trains Kozue to help her.  The two women then begin the hunt, and you can guess the gory carnage that follows.  Exactly who is Misaki? What exactly happened to the nurses at the aforementioned hospital?  Who are these five creeps?  All those questioned are answered in a vengeance filled blood bath of a film.
The Japanese have taken the "I Spit on Your Grave" concept and ramped it up five levels.  The degree of depravity of the five antagonists pales the ones in the American films...if that is possible. Watching what happens to Kozue and Akane will cause some to turn their heads.  Not for everyone, and certainly not a film to discuss in polite company, lovers of really dark movies will enjoy "Camp." 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Through the Looking Glass, Human Madness or an Evil Deity Awoken?

Halfway into Craig Griffith's "Through the Looking Glass," the artist (Paul McCarthy) is painting a life model (Roz Povey) in a pose that is supposed to suggest purity reaching up to the gods in search of meaning.  Unfortunately, the model just doesn't embody any of this.  Her demeanor suggests routine, her conversation is mundane, and her aura is of a throw-away existence.  This scene is key, as we are able to peg our artist's desires and current location in his voyage into madness.  In absolute  frustration, he eschews everything the model represents, and his bond to an evil deity is cemented.  Today we look at 2006's "Through the Looking Glass," written and directed by Mr. Griffith.  However irrelevant my initial take on the movie was, my first comment was the musing, "If Edgar Allan Poe had run with the Dorian Gray idea, this would be the story." Or perhaps a Lewis Caroll story after some opiates.
Set in a run down mansion in rainy Dorset, a struggling artist discovers a mysterious gift left at his front door. A mirror!  He is instantly captivated by it.  His guest arrives, a struggling author (Jonathan Rhodes).  Both are battling.  Our author has just failed at his marriage, and our artist is running from the commercialism that seeks to corrupt his artistic pangs.  In his studio, the haunted artist seems to slowly wind down the path of madness with every glance into his foreboding mirror.  Suddenly, all of his surroundings...human or inanimate, become his tormentors.  Watch closely, as this film is steeped with symbolism and metaphor, as the beautiful peacocks with their piercing and twisted cries suggests.
Is our artist having a bout of intense introspection, or a dive into madness?  You'll see.  Has the mirror opened a gateway into some ancient pagan evil, or is it a true reflection of an inner self ready to explode onto the screen?  As the artist is consumed, the movie turns quite horrifying.  What started out as a psychological thriller, also turns into a bloody horror story.  With his allegiances quickly attached to something ominous, the artist begins to act out at what he believes is an unworthy force...the meaningless existence of the irrelevant  lifestyle most of us have adopted.  If it is too late for him to turn back, the outcome will be......well let's just say the blood will flow bright red.  In harm's way are his buddy the author, and the model he is supposed to paint.   However mad the artist is, these two supporting characters are likable and we have no trouble identifying with their plights.
In an odd combination, "Through the Looking Glass" works well as a film that could be studied at UCLA's film school, or as a horror film at a horror film convention.  Tragic at times, suspenseful most of the time, bloody, and thought provoking....enjoy the ride.  Be warned, this is one you'll want to see again.  A second viewing will cause you to say, "Wow! I missed that the first go-around."  This film is available at   

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Death Bed: The Bed that Eats, Shocking Gothic Horror

As we endure tumultuous times here in 2015, it is comforting to draw on the wisdom of a film that touches our heartstrings.  1977's "Death Bed: The Bed that Eats" speaks to all of us and satisfies our hidden....and perhaps taboo desires.  With the feel of a Gothic romance novel, this film inspires us to get out of bed and run!  This film is so powerful, it would be the only one ever written or directed by George Barry.
As our film opens, a young couple desiring pre-marital sex finds a four poster in the cellar of an abandoned mansion.  As they get down to their business, the bed consumes them.  Loud chomping noises can be heard and the acidic saliva of the bed dissolves their flesh.  Behind the wall is the ghost of an artist (Dave Marsh), who was consumed 70 years previous.  This artist tells the backstory.  The bed inflicted it's carnage in New York City, but after consuming thousands, including the mayor, it needed to escape the scrutiny.  Hence it ended up at a country mansion where delicacies (humans) are rare.  Nevertheless, Diane (Demene Hall), Sharon (Rosa Luxemburg), and Suzan (Julie Ritter) arrive (....don't ask why). The bed desires to eat them, but the appearance of Sharon conjures up an image of an old love. Through flashbacks, our walled-in artist tells of some of the bed's history. In the mansion's grounds it was used as a sex rejuvenator...consuming lots of copulating couples.  It also downed an orgy, and some gangsters  
The bed demon now turns it's attention to our three girls, as Suzan and Diane are digested.  Hark!  Why is the four-poster hesitant to do the same to Sharon?  As Sharon's brother (William Russ) races to find and save his sister, our heroine seems to be in some trance.  The artist begins a telepathic communication with Sharon in order to help her destroy the furniture piece and escape....but will the diminutive young lady be able to muster up enough courage and strength to succeed?
Heart pounding and haunting, "Death Bed" will stay with you as you turn in tonight.  Resist the temptation to sleep on your sofa, this is only a movie.  Gothic in tone, we are tempted to feel for the bed as it's history is violent and sad.  A demonic evil, or a lover enduring eternal heartbreak....our antagonist will elicit a reaction from you.  Available on YouTube, enjoy "Death Bed: The Bed that Eats."  

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Curse of the Faceless Man, Love Never Died in Pompeii

Washington, DC....New York,..Detroit....Philadelphia... formerly great American cities.  As America plunges into mediocrity and political correctness, it is safe to say those four cities are dead and never coming back.  Their demise hardly strokes the imagination as Pompeii does.  2000 years ago, Mount Vesuvius exploded, burying everything and everyone in volcanic ash.  Those trying to flee the flaming ash dove into the sea, the modern day Bay of Naples, only to be boiled by scalding water. Unlike the large cities of today, Pompeii's destruction occurred as the city thrived.  1958's "Curse of the Faceless Man" tells the story of a gladiator, buried in ash and stone, but kept alive by a taboo love.
Dr. Fiorillo (Luis Van Rooten) and his beautiful daughter, Maria (Adele Mara), are called in when a man encased in stone is found during an excavation at Pompeii.  The curious find is clutching a box of jewels and is transported back to Fiorillo's lab.  Uh oh...on the way to the lab, the stone man re-animates and kills the driver.  When authorities arrive, our stone friend is once again inanimate.  Dr. Paul Mallon (Richard Anderson of "The Six Million Dollar Man" fame) is called in, though I'm not sure why.  Double uh-oh....Paul and Maria used to be quite the item.  Triple uh-oh...Paul is now engaged to the ravishing Tina (Elaine Edwards).  Quadruple uh-oh....Tina is actually the reincarnated love of a slave/gladiator, known now as the stone man.  It seems the two were going to flee together when Vesuvius dealt it's fatal hand.
Meanwhile, Tina begins having strange dreams.  She has visions of the mysterious deaths that begin to occur whenever someone is alone with the stone man.  She also has visions of ancient Pompeii, and her frolics with her gladiator beau.  Paul, a skeptic, will try anything to save his girl from the apparent spell that has overtaken her.  As Paul, Maria, and the doctor research the black arts of ancient Egypt, the stone man gets more powerful and makes a bee-line through the streets of modern day Pompeii to find his long lost love. 
As the fiend embarks on a murderous trek to reclaim his ancient love, our trio must act fast as they are already a few steps behind.  What does the stone man ultimately have planed for Tina?  Is the stone man an avenue for Maria to get Paul back?  As the election season begins you will hear a lot of talk on how to rejuvenate our lost cities....ignore it, they ain't coming back.  Gone for 2,000 years, Pompeii has come back....though strictly in our imaginations.  In "Curse of the Faceless Man," love surviving after death is Pompeii's legacy.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Assault of the Killer Bimbos, Before there was Thelma & Louise...

We should never call a woman a bimbo....though some merit the description.  In 1988's "Assault of the Killer Bimbos," three so-called bimbos are much more.  In this straight-to-videocassette classic, we have a super 1980s sexploitation tale starring the ever talented Elizabeth Kaitan ("Slave Girls from Beyond Infinity," see my review last April 11th on this blog).  Oh yes....the opening score, and a great number in which the bimbos...excuse me....dancers...strip halfway through the film, "I've Been Watching You," by the great free-style pop-band, New Aristocrats, enhances this film to a level over similar films in this genre.
So!  Two dancers are fired from a sleazy club.  On their way out they witness a mob hit on the club manager and are subsequently framed for the murder.  Now, Lulu (Kaitan) and Peaches (Christina Whitaker) are on the run and speed toward the Mexican border. For you youngsters, Go-Go dancing is interpretive dance in a Rock 'n Roll format...done in bikinis.  Running from the police, they duck into a truck stop where they meet Darlene (Tammara Souza), a stunning waitress in the coffee shop.  They also meet three surfer dudes led by Wayne-O (Nick Cassavetes). Lulu and Wayne-O are instantly sweet on each other.  When the cops arrive, Lulu and Peaches escape by taking Darlene hostage at gunpoint.  Turns out, Darlene was done with truck stop waitressing and elects to join our dancers...on their sojourn.
Now a trio, our girls must avoid the cops and make it across the border.  This won't be easy as their great looks put them in peril from some seedy man types.  Even when they make it to Mexico, seemingly free, they find you cannot escape your past and their dangers are compounded.  Fortunately for Lulu, the surfer dudes happen to be at their same seedy motel and Lulu and Wayne-O engage in a very syrupy courtship.  So cute!  Now our three damsels are in much peril as the mob has also arrived in Mexico.  They devise a plan to thwart their nemesis which will involve some very provocative behavior and wardrobes.  Gun fights, cat-fights, and lots of bedroom activity will ensue.
The actresses in this film are all stunning and do a fine job.  This film knows it is sexploitation and plays to it's strongest assets.  Again, I can't talk highly enough about the band New Aristocrats...treat yourself and follow them on YouTube and other social media.  So as the summer ends, avoid the moody "Straight Outta Compton" and have some fun with three dancers. The DVD is reasonably priced on Amazon.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Infini, Yep...Man is the Warmest Place to Hide

From Australia comes a wonderfully ambitious and gory scifi/horror work.  I may be the only one to make this connection, but 2015's "Infini" is kind of like "John Carpenter's The Thing" taken in a bit of a different direction. The plot will grab you, take you on a wild ride...then will leave you thinking long after the final credits.  With great f/x and cast (includes some of my favorites like Grace Huang and Daniel MacPherson), get ready for a voyage to the outermost dive of the universe.
OI Infini is a mining colony at the farthest end of the universe.  A new element is mined there....but ain't really an element. Something awful happened there...everyone died a most grizzly death.  The tactical team sent there to investigate did not fare well ( say the least), and another team is sent to recover the lone survivor, Whit (MacPherson) and divert a payload being sent to Earth.  With some Einstein type time bending technology, the trip there is almost instantaneous.  The team arrives to a frozen base of corpses, weird experiments, and blood-splattered walls. Barricaded in a control room is their mission objective, Whit.  Finding Whit alive is the good new, but what he has to tell the rescuers won't make their day. The team is able to restore the electronics and as the heat is turned back on, all the blood and gore thaw does something else.
That ore being mined?  Not ore, but a life form just waiting for a thaw.  The newly defrosted menace takes over humans, changes them, and turns them into violent mutated fiends. Unfortunately for our tactical team....other survivors exist...and they're not human anymore. Now the team members are getting infected (..if that is the right word), and Whit must survive and stop the payload of alien ore from reaching Earth.  Grace Huang plays the team medic and her fate will be most disturbing, I'm afraid...or will it?  As each member of the team gets infected, we the viewer are expecting an ending like "The Thing" where Childs and MacReady had their stand-off.  But no!  What we get is something way more complicated and philosophical.  No spoilers here.
Does good have a chance against evil?  Can an alien life form even begin to understand it's human prey? We'll see. Masterfully directed by Shane Abbess, the imagery in "Infini" conjures up memories of "Event Horizon."  All scifi and all horror, "Infini" has just hit Netflix.  This is the type of film that will give you nightmares, but if you're like me....that's a good thing. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Diabolical Doctor Z, The Subduing of Miss Death

Estella Blain, a sultry Parisian actress, had a modest film career spanning almost 30 years.  After her divorce, she drove to a beautiful beach and blew her brains out at the age of 52.  I'm sure her life could be a fantastic book or movie, but today we will look at one of her most erotic roles...Miss Death in Jesse Franco's "The Diabolical Doctor Z," from 1966.  Originally titled "Miss Muerta," giving Ms. Blain the title role, "The Diabolical Doctor Z," a joint France/Spain venture, is heavy on the eroticism, and some classic Euro-horror.
Psycho and sexy mad-scientist, Irma Zimmer (Mabel Karr), takes over her dad's experiments after he dies pleading with fellow neurologists to allow him to experiment on humans.  His colleagues are aghast...and unaware that he has already undertaken this macabre course of action.  Dr. Z charges Irma to continue the experiments.  Irma....more mad than dad...agrees, but not before taking vengeance on the neurologists she blames for her father's death.  Her diabolical plan?  Fake her own death.  She does this by picking up a babe from Holland, taking her for a swim, and running her down clad in a bikini.  She burns the dead beauty, fixing it so the authorities believe Irma is the corpse.  Next, find a seductress.  Not as hard as you would think.  Irma's wannabe BF takes her to see an exotic dancer, Miss Death...or Nadia (Blain).  Her act captivates both Irma and her BF.  Nadia dresses in a body-suit and acts as a spider in a web to ensnare her conquest.  One of her body-suits has an arachnid emanating from her {CENSORED}.
The beautiful Irma abducts the all too trusting Nadia...who has stolen Irma's BF.  With her mind control device, she turns the erotic dancer into a killing machine.  Unable to break Irma's spell over her, the now drone Nadia is sent to seduce...then murder the aforementioned neurologists.  As she attempts to regain self-control, Irma imprisons her, whips her, and administers more treatments.  Uh oh....Scotland Yard is hardly inept and begin to close in on this series of murders.  As our seductress struggles more, Irma begins a plan to incinerate her.  Will Nadia be able to break the spell and cease her murders?  Will Irma realize that she enjoys whipping Nadia too much to just kill her? 
Ms. Blain's Nadia, however alluring she was to Irma, will surely seduce you.  From erotic goddess, able to snare men (...and probably women), Nadia is turned into a submissive drone...a mere tool for the evil Irma.  Her spider performance is quite memorable, and we pull for her to shake the figurative chains that Irma has bound her with.  This hard to find film may only be available on DVD, but perhaps, someday, will be picked up by Netflix. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Monster of Piedras Blancas, Love and the Sea Creature

CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON!!!!! Yeah...this isn't it.  However, 1959's "The Monster of Piedras Blancas" may be called the poor man's version of that Universal classic.  We are poor men, so what's the harm?  A seven foot tall gill man (looking a lot like the 1954 creature), damp caves, a beautiful damsel who likes to swim (naked), and lot of guys with rifles and nets (...most will die) are elements of this campy B movie.  Directed by concert pianist and dialogue coach, Irvin Berwick, this chilling tale will keep you entertained.
Something is ripping the heads off the fishermen of a quaint coastal town. A boat propeller?  Dr. Sam Jorgenson (Les Tremayne) believes it is a sea creature as scales were found near the corpses.  The town constable, George (Forrest Lewis) believes the town storekeeper, Kochek (Frank Arvidson) and the lighthouse keeper, Sturges (John Harmon) know more than they are letting on.  Oh yes, Sturges' daughter, Lucy (Jeanne Carmen, who dated mobsters, Elvis, and Frank Sinatra) who is the only babe in the town, and she likes to skinny dip.  Even though the men of the town are losing their heads, Lucy finds time to skinny dip by the moonlight.  While performing the freestyle, the creature fondles her undergarments (see picture above).  
Though legends have existed about a beast from the sea for the past 30 years, now it is wandering into town.  After it kills the town weirdo (see above picture) and a little girl, a posse is formed.  Led by Sam, George, and Lucy's BF Fred (Don Sullivan) the fiend goes through the gang like crap through a goose.  Now our trio concocts an unlikely plan to combat the creature.  As the trio plot, the fiend wanders through town and spies Lucy through a window.  Watching Lucy undress is too much for his hormones, and now the thing is in love.  Bent on abducting Lucy, our trio may not have time to put their plan in motion before coming face to face with their nemesis.  
Will these episodes of carnage convince Lucy to keep her clothes on?  What information is Sturges holding back that may shed some light on our creature's motives?  This film came out five years after "Creature from the Black Lagoon," but it is still a lot of fun.  Our gill-man is menacing and Lucy is shapely...does anything else matter? Available on YouTube as part of a "Dumpsterpiece Theater" episode, don't miss it.