Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Zombie Croc, Monster Croc and Voodoo

Picture this! Grouchy, wheelchair-ridden Mildred is celebrating a birthday.  Her sultry nurse wheels her to the table, and Mildred nearly goes hysterical because the clown has yet to arrive. On cue, a 35 foot monster croc invades the festivity, vomits the clown's head on Mildred's cake, and eats her sultry nurse.  Oh yes...this is all done in grainy, 1970s drive-in, film fashion.  The scene, of course, continues. If this appeals to you, see 2016's "Zombie Croc."  This film is so good, it has escaped the notice of IMDB.
A weird voodoo rite awakens a 35 foot zombie croc.  Our monster gets right to business, tearing a hitchhiker and her three would be rapists to pieces.  Deputy Abby Rivera (Crystal Howell) comes across the crime scene and takes charge.  The mayor wants to blame the carnage on a boating accident, but the town's backstory suggests something more lurid.  The sheriff's office is in the midst of evicting some ancestors of slaves from their swamp-side property so a developer can build a mall on the land.  Yep...that's when the carnage begins.  After a clown and the aforementioned party revelers are pureed, three scientists come to town to trap the croc.
 Abby tries to assist them and Ranger Sam (Apryl Crowell) has a pretty good plan.  Unfortunately for the pretty Sam, she will be turned into a zombie, and will team up with the croc to ruin the scientific endeavor.  Seemingly powerless to fight the voodoo fiend, Abby is graced with the appearance of the one handed, hook clad Crocodile Jack (Tony Jones). This salty croc hunter knows what they are up against and how to kill it.  Uh oh....killing the thing will not be easy as an army of human zombies are unleashed on the swamp land.  As our croc goes through deputies, scientists, and other swamp schmucks like crap through a goose, Abby and Jack make a desperate bid to end the carnage.
Will Abby and Jack be successful and create a new Cajun dish?  Does Animal Planet have a new inspiration for a prime-time TV show?  This blog loves monster crocodiles (who doesn't), and this film satisfies that love.  Nicely directed by Robert Elkins, good luck finding this one except on Amazon where the DVD is reasonably priced. By way of trivia, one of the first films ever done on the blog was "Crocodile 2: Deathswamp," in which a beautiful stewardess does battle with a 35 foot monster croc.  To see the review of that film click on this link Crocodile 2

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Space Master X-7, Space Microbes Pursue Blonde Beauty

Lyn Thomas is not a household name, but during a short period over a half century ago she was a terrific B- movie actress.  Never landing a role on any Hollywood blockbuster, Ms. Thomas would appear in TV classics such as Dragnet, Border Patrol, and Wagon Train.  Today we examine her most famous film...1958's "Space Master X-7."  Filmed like a Film Noir piece, or a 1950s detective film, the beautiful blonde plays a woman on the run.  From an abusive husband?  From the police?  From a jealous beau? No!  Deadly space microbes that consume you like primordial ooze feasting on a lab rat.
Satellite, Space Master X-7, successfully returns to Earth.  On it is a canister of space microbes.  These microbes are an experiment of Dr. Pommer (Paul Frees).  Pommer's canister has captured some microscopic life form, and he unwisely brings them back to his lab.  Now we all know never to mix deadly space microbe experiments with women, but Pommer....well...he's a guy.  The cad, while feeding the microbes, fends off his latest paramour.  Laura (Thomas) has dumped the brainiac in favor of returning to her husband in Honolulu.  After a tiff, Laura runs out, but Pommer returns to his microbes, which have grown, busted out of their jars, and now dine on Pommer like Haystack Calhoun at a Western Sizzlin buffet. Uh oh....Laura didn't flee alone...she has some alien microbes joining her.
John (Bill Williams), from government security, and Private Rattigan (Robert Ellis) respond and find the liquefied Dr. Pommer, still being feasted upon by the space fungus.  They realize he had a female visitor who is now leaving these alien microbes wherever she goes.  Unbeknownst to the lovely Laura, everywhere she treads, and everyone she meets must either be burned or decontaminated.  As more saps are consumed by the deadly fungus, Laura's trek will take her to places that put millions in danger. Can John and Rattigan find her before all of Los Angeles is infected?  May this explain L.A.'s plight in the AMC hit TV show, "Fear the Walking Dead"?
A minor B scifi/horror piece from the 1950s, "Space Master X-7" is a lot of fun.  Flawed? Sure.  However, this is a much better film than the recent Christopher Nolan scifi idiocy, "Interstellar." Directed by Edward Bernds ("Return of the Fly," "The Three Stooges"), treat yourself to some good old fashioned 1950s schlock and cheesecake.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Zombie, Lucio Fulci does Zombie Apocalypse

In 1978 "Dawn of the Dead" was released in Italy as "Zombi."  A year later, hoping to capitalize on the success of George Romero's film, the Lucio Fulci zombie movie was released in Rome as "Zombi 2."  Quickly, this "rip-off" made its way to the U.S. and hit theaters and drive-ins as "Zombie." In 1978 I sneaked into the Rated X (NR actually) Romero classic and saw what I believed was the perfect film, with no need for elaboration.  A few years later, still a minor, my dad and I saw the Fulci classic at the drive-in...and wow!  Zombie vs. shark!  Just as good as "Dawn," was the Italian version...at least in my mind.
A derelict yacht arrives in New York Harbor. The cops who board it are attacked by a hulking zombie, which kills one of them and falls into the water.  Anne (Tisa Farrow) is summoned by the police, as the yacht belongs to her dad.  A note on the yacht, from her dad, reveals that an epidemic has hit the island of Matool. Desiring to find her dad, Anne teams up with handsome reporter, Peter (Ian McCulloch), and the two fly to the islands.  In St. Thomas, our duo team up with Brian (Al Cliver) and Susan (Auretta Gay), who have a boat, and the quartet set sail for Matool (an island the natives say is cursed).  Just shy of Matool, Susan decides to go SCUBA diving...nude!  Never a good idea. In a classic zombie film scene, while avoiding a tiger shark, a zombie appears.  The zombie and the shark then engage in a battle to the death.  No big deal, the team then continues to the cursed island.
Oh yes...on the island, Dr. Menard (Richard Johnson) is battling a zombie epidemic outbreak. Menard's hot wife (Olga Karlatos) is spooked.  She should be...as her death scene (big splinter through the eye) may be the most memorable death scenes in zombie film history.  Oh yes, this death scene will follow a gratuitous shower scene.  Uh oh...more and more zombies destroy Matool's tourism hopes, and our quartet arrive.  Anne wants to find her dad...that won't happen, and Peter wants a story for his paper...that might happen.  As the zombie population quickly grows, escape becomes the order of the day.  Can our foursome escape and make it back to New York?  Will Matool's epidemic spread?  Was Cuba's national healthcare system crafted in fear that Matool's carnage would spread?
Filmed in Rome, New York City, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico (the shark scene), "Zombie" still pleases audiences today.  Many claim Fulci is a flawed director, but so is Romero.  No matter, both are masters of the zombie in the zombie genre. Like "Dawn," "Zombie" is ambitious....even by today's standards.  With more gratuitous scenes than "Dawn," Fulci's film, to many, is the best zombie film ever made.   If you're curious, "Zombie" is available on YouTube.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Hellmouth, The Common Man vs. Hell

..okay, maybe not the common man. Our protagonist, a groundskeeper at a spooky old cemetery is hardly common.  He is a loner.  He is dying from a brain malady.  He has memorized all the residents of his cemetery. No capes, no sleek costumes, no babes in waiting....nope...Charlie (Stephen McHattie) is that weird old guy children fear, and who has spent his life avoiding other human beings.  But an epic battle will need to be fought, and guess who will be asked to fight it. Let us look at 2014's "Hellmouth."
Charlie, the cemetery groundskeeper, is retiring in a few days and moving to Florida. He will die of a disease soon, and wants human companionship in his sunset.  Not so fast. The creepy cemetery director, Fred (Boyd Banks), forces him to hang on for six more months and be the caretaker at an even creepier cemetery. Oh yes....Fred gives Charlie an old key and instructs him never to be more than 10 feet away from that key.  Suffering from a brain malady, Charlie drives to the other cemetery. On the way he meets Fay (Siobhan Murphy), a sultry and mysterious babe.  After meeting Fay, Charlie begins going through a transformation in which his terminal illness vanishes.  Fay also implores Charlie to keep close to that key.
Once at his new digs, the weirdness increases.  Through his meeting with the sheriff/demon, Charlie learns the morbid fate of the past groundskeepers.  Uh oh, after some killings, Charlie learns that Fay is captive in a netherworld (...that sounds a lot like Hell). With some vague instructions from the only love he has ever had, Charlie embarks on a quest to free the fair Fay.  He will battle demons and monsters in order to reach the arena of a final conflict that could tip the balance between Earth and Hell.  Is Fay worth it?  Is her victim status accurate, or is she a demon in disguise? Is Charlie a capable hero, or is he merely playing the poor schmuck?
Directed by John Geddes, this is a very nice looking horror/fantasy yarn. The visuals in this film are amazing.  The creatures and demons are neat, but so is the artistic look of this film.  Black and white captures Charlie's existence, but as heroism and humanness seep into Charlie's ethos, color is introduced in the frames. Mr. McHattie is terrific, and this film serves as a salute to the individual that each of us can tap into.  A bit different, and not afraid to delve into the epic and exaggerated, "Hellmouth" is a horror film you will not want to miss.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Undying Monster, 20th Century Fox' Werewolf

From Dracula to the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Universal Studios capitalized on monsters during the 1930s, 40s, and 50s.  As these classic creatures have been revived by Universal over the past few years, it is easy to forget that Universal didn't have a monopoly on monsters.  Of course we remember Lon Chaney, Jr. as "The Wolf Man" in 1941, no one remembers 20th Century Fox' werewolf.  In 1942, that other studio released "The Undying Monster."  Ignored by modern audiences, this atmospheric horror film is action-packed and fast moving.
The Hammond family is cursed.  Ancestors were all killed by a mysterious monster.  As Oliver Hammond (John Howard) makes his way back to his mansion at midnight, he is attacked, and a female companion is killed by something.  Helga (Heather Angel) hears the howls and carnage and grabs a revolver and races to the cliffs to save her brother.  The police are immediately on it.  Christy (Heather Thatcher) is an eager detective....that is, eager to discover the supernatural.  She teams up with a scientist, Curtis (James Ellison), and they head to the mansion.
Christy knows the legend.  An ancestor sold his soul to the devil and lives in a secret room in the mansion.  But is that true?  Curtis and Christy develop many angles as to what's going on.  While Christy looks for ghosts or satanic ancestors, Curtis uses science to develop suspects.  But wait...some of Curtis' scientific discoveries defy the science we know.  Secret rooms, the family crypt, and corpses will be examined as the next frost approaches (Universal had a full moon, 20th Century Fox uses a frost to beckon the creature).  As more and more suspects appear, all signs point to the monster returning to do away with the remnants of the Hammond family.
More of a detective story than 1941's "The Wolf Man," "The Undying Monster" pleases with a genuine horror movie conclusion.  Will the fair Helga be carried away by the beast? Will Christy be able to convince Curtis to look beyond science for answers? Forgotten over the decades, this film is available in great quality on YouTube.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Nightmare Weekend, Beautiful Women turned into Monsters

IMDB was not kind to 1986's "Nightmare Weekend."  On that site, this film is described as "...a deadly turd of a film," and "....worthless pile of maggot ridden filth." Despite that harsh criticism, this is a much better flick than Mila Kunis' "Jupiter Ascending." Though the aforementioned quotes may not be inaccurate, "Nightmare Weekend" gives us a man's face eaten off by some silk panties, a woman seducing a tarantula, gratuitous pre-marital sex with bloody consequences, and a puppet trying to explain love to a beautiful woman.  This film is available on Troma's YouTube channel.
Plot?  If you insist. Julie (Debbie Laster), a mad scientist, has stolen an invention that is supposed to suppress aggression in impulsive and violent people.  The experiments have worked on animals, and now Julie desires to try it on humans....coed skanks, actually.  She invites three beautiful women to a mansion where they will be asked to seduce a trio of unsuspecting hunks. Of course, Julie will put the damsels under the control of her computer device.  Oh yes, Julie stole this machine from Jessica's (Debra Hunter) dad. Unbeknownst to Julie, Jessica's hormonal voyages are intertwined with the machine,  To Jessica, the machine is George, a puppet that guides Jessica's affairs of the heart.
 As Jessica falls in love with Julie's ex-lover, Ken (Dale Midkiff), Julie begins her experiments. The amorous babes don some sexy outfits and seduce three guys.  The consequences for the guys will be deadly, especially for the one that sniffs Linda's (Andrea Thompson) lace panties (picture the scene from "Alien").  Uh oh....the suppression of violence and mania doesn't seem to work with these babes.  They turn into homicidal monsters.  As Jessica seeks to win over Ken, Julie then attempts to do her in as well.  As Julie sends Jessica to the mansion of the experiment, the three lovely fiends are waiting for her.
Will beautiful and pure Jessica survive the trio of monsters? Will Jessica's libido, sparked by Julie's ex-lover, be her ruination? There is gratuitous pre-marital sex.  There is gratuitous nudity and gore.  There is gratuitous 1980s aerobics.  There are decapitations and exploding heads.  By all means, take the IMDB reviews seriously (this film earned a 2.6 rating on IMDB), but if those above noted elements are what float your boat, catch "Nightmare Weekend" and see a much superior film than anything Mila Kunis has done lately.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Fraulein Devil, The Sinful Train of Pleasures

1977's "Fraulein Devil" may be said to be a seedy remake of the great Burt Lancaster film, "The Train." After all, there is a train, there is French resistance seeking to blow it up, and a lot of German soldiers shooting machine guns.  Our feature also has a sultry, but evil SS officer and seven of the most attractive female German soldiers from WW2.  Made in France, "Fraulein Devil" teeters between a Euro-Trash piece and a campy war movie.
Elsa (Malisa Longo) is the aforementioned SS officer put in charge of a diabolical plan to raise morale of the troops and uncover Germans sympathetic to the French resistance. After a rigorous screening process, she selects seven German military babes to act as women of pleasure on a train.  The girls will provide pleasures to German officers on the front lines and also try to ascertain their loyalty to the Fuhrer.  If during pillow talk, an officer expresses non loyal sentiments to the Third Reich, he will be executed.  Liselotte (Patrizia Gori) is one of the selected babes.  Unbeknownst to Elsa, she is also a spy for the resistance.
 As our women do their jobs, traitors are weeded out and shot.  Elsa is good at her job and soon suspects one of her girls is a traitor.  Uh oh, Lisolette falls in love with Elsa's boyfriend, Major Frantz (Olivier Mathot). The pretty spy recruits Frantz to assist the resistance. With Elsa's jealousy and paranoia, it is only a mater of time until she is wise to Liselotte.  The allies are getting closer and the resistance is making great strides.  Elsa's days of evil queen over occupied France are dwindling. Sensing the end is near, Elsa is bent on inflicting excruciating torture on those betraying the father-land.
 Will the heroic Liselotte become a play toy for the sadistic Elsa?   Will the romance between Frantz and Liselotte survive the final days of German occupation? Will "Fraulein Devil" make French film audiences forget about "The Train"? Seedy and exploitative, for sure, our film today works nicely as a minor war film touching on our prurient tastes.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Cannibals and Carpet Fitters, The Working Class vs. a Monster

Elite military tactical teams.  Genius scientists working in super secret labs.  Beautiful heroines in tight black leather body suits.  Yep....we've all seen these well equipped peeps save the world from monsters and the un-dead. Appealing on film, but unlikely in the world we actually live in.  Hence, "Cannibals and Carpet Fitters."  This 19 minute short (view it on Vimeo by clicking this link Cannibal ) utilizes real people that we are likely to meet in our daily lives to fight the evil foes that torment us.
By way of plot, Mrs. Hanning (Jenny Stokes), a sweet old dame, lures unsuspecting saps into her house.  Once inside, Hanning delivers them to the clutches of a monstrous cannibal (Darren Maffucci) living in the basement.  This fiend then eats them and then Hanning chomps on the remaining fingers and eyeballs.  Enter two carpet fitters, Colin (Darren Sean Enright) and Dean (Richard Lee O'Donnell, who also penned the screenplay). These schmucks aren't tactically trained, have no superpowers, are a bit dumpy in stature, and only armed with carpet fitting tools.  Once trapped, they will have to do battle with the creature, escape, and deal with the sadistic old lady. Can they prevail?  If they lived in Atlanta, would the whole zombie apocalypse that befell our planet and spawned "The Walking Dead" been avoided?
This witty, semi-comedic, gory, and horrific tale hopes to develop into a feature film someday.  Judging from this short, the gore will be piled pretty deep.  If you are desiring some gore and a few laughs today, click on the link above and watch "Cannibals and Carpet Fitters," brilliantly directed by James Bushe. Oh yes!  If you would like to be a part of this project, click this link ( Cannibal Kickstarter ) to see how to do more.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Damnation Alley, World War 3

With the European Union on the verge of collapse. both Russia and the U.S. have predicted World War 3.  Excuse my yawn.  What would a third world war look like?  The answer is in today's film, 1977's "Damnation Alley." A post apocalyptic horror/scifi tale, this film capitalized on the world's fear of nuclear war which extended through the 1980s.  Whether it's scientifically accurate is secondary to the fact that we get to see giant scorpions and radioactive, armor plated cockroaches causing much  havoc.
The Soviets fire theirs....we fire ours.  Good-bye planet as we know it.  The Earth has been jolted off it's axis causing weird skies and weather.  Two years later, a surviving California air force base blows up in a freak accident, and only Major Denton (George Peppard), Tanner (Jan-Michael Vincent), and Keegan survive (Paul Winfield).  Denton believes that Albany, NY has escaped the carnage, and the survivors pile onto a Landmaster (built for this film at a cost of $350,000) vehicle equipped with weapons and able to survive any radioactive mess.  Avoiding 10 foot scorpions, our crew makes it to Vegas where they play the slots in Circus Circus and pick up a showgirl wannabe, Janice (Dominique Sanda)...and she is a sight for radiation burned eyes.
The trek gets progressively more difficult as our team arrives in Salt Lake City for  fuel.  There, they have to beat a hasty retreat after Keegan has his face eaten by the aforementioned cockroaches.  As in most of these films, even more dangerous than the monster are other humans, and our party must also survive some mutant rednecks.  After picking up a boy (Jackie Earle Haley), the quartet must brave some apocalyptic weather in order to reach Albany.  Is Albany really a safe haven?  Will Tanner and Janice begin to repopulate the planet?
A fun movie with monsters and pretty good acting, "Damnation Alley" never saw a decent review.  Many saw this film at a drive-in, looking for a respite from the serious drone of those warning against nuclear weapons.  As the end of the '80s saw peoples' fear of nuclear war wane, perhaps the perilous state of the EU may rekindle the relevance of "Damnation Alley." Available on YouTube, as Germany loses control on Europe's monetary system, enjoy "Damnation Alley."

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Knife of Ice, Sexual Psychopath and the Helpless Damsel

Umberto Lenzi the Italian director that brought us "Cannibal Ferox" and "Eaten Alive!" also brought us a cutting edge (no pun here) murder mystery, "Knife of Ice" from 1972.  The title is derived from an Edgar Allan Poe quote, which is appropriate as this film utilizes many Poe themes. Like Poe works, this Lenzi film has lots of dead beautiful women.  Carroll Baker ("Giant" and "Baby Doll") was more than 40 years old when she starred in this film, though her appeal as a sex object was still in full force.  Ms. Baker would then turn in a striking performance as a mute damsel, quite helpless, and in much peril.
Martha (Baker) has been mute since a little girl when she witnessed the horrible deaths of her parents. She lives on an Italian estate with her eccentric Uncle Ralph (George Rigaud), who is into the occult and Satanism...but a sweet guy, otherwise.  Her sultry cousin, Jenny (Ida Galli) arrives for a visit..and the fun starts. First we meet the really strange people in Martha's life.  Her driver, Marcos (Eduardo Fajardo) looks like he enjoys torturing puppies.  Her housekeeper, Annie (Silvia Monelli), who is grouchy and perhaps having an affair with Martha's doctor.  Oh yes....Martha's handsome doctor!  Dr. Laurent (Alan Scott), who loves examining buxom young women.  He is smooth, and has bad alibis for everything that is about to happen.
First pretty Jenny is knifed.  We learn that pretty young women have been murdered recently in the area.  The only clue is that Martha remembers a weird guy spying on her and Jenny in the fog.  The police find him later, and guess what...he's a Satanist!  Case solved....right?  Not so fast.  As some of the suspects are murdered, others develop.  Remember this is a weird Italian horror film.  Martha's beloved niece, a little girl, comes across as sickeningly weird...might she be the killer?  Inspector Duran (Franco Fantasia....I love that name) is on the case, and unlike a lot of Italian horror films, he is portrayed as a very capable detective.  His discoveries are shocking.
No spoilers here.  Yep, the ending is hardly routine and very shocking.  At times, Inspector Duran reminds us of Columbo, and his methods assist us in trying to figure out who the killer is.  Watch very closely and you'll figure it out.  Ms. Baker is fantastic as the helpless damsel, and all the suspects look really guilty.  Will the beautiful Martha be the next victim of some satanic sex-fiend? How much squirming will the ending of this Italian horror film cause us?  Available on YouTube, see "Knife of Ice."

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Prowler, A Tom Savini Bloodbath

Most of you are not familiar with Lisa Dunsheath.  After a stint on the soap opera "Santa Barbara," this lovely actress left acting, got married, and departed New Jersey for California. However, thanks to some Tom Savini magic, Ms. Dunsheath's death scene in 1981's "The Prowler" is one of the most memorable slasher film murders ever (Janet Leigh step aside).  Yep, she was the nude woman in the shower who got pitchforked by the maniac in today's film.
In 1945 a pretty coed is pitchforked, with her beau at a graduation dance.  Does her murder have anything to do with a dear John letter she previously wrote to a G.I.? Fast forward to 1980. For the first time since those murders, the college is having a graduation dance.  Uh oh, a masked, and heavily armed psycho has entered the picture.  Pretty Pam (Vicky Dawson) is helping run the dance with her overly amorous room-mates.  As the gals get all dolled up, Sherry and her beau meet a most gory demise (as referenced above).  Pam sees the killer and is chased by him, only to be saved by her BF, Deputy Mark (Christopher Goutman).
Well, you get the plot. Honorable mentions to Cindy Weintraub. She only made two films in her brief career.  Both times she met with fates worse than anything imaginable.  She was abducted by the creatures in "Humanoids from the Deep" and in this one, is subject to the longest throat cutting scene in movie history, as she swims in her underwear.  As our killer continues to go through horny coeds like crap through a goose, he shines in his ability to use his sword and machete. Who is our maniac? What is his connection to the murders in 1945?  Is he merely a morality crusader driven to insanity by college kids desiring pre-marital sex?
Directed by Joseph Zito ("Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter"), "The Prowler" (filmed in Cape May, NJ) is one of the best slasher films of the 1980s.  Tom Savini may be considered the biggest name attached to this film, providing the gore-f/x a couple years after he did them for "Dawn of the Dead."  Available on YouTube, catch "The Prowler." Even the most seasoned horror fans may have to turn their heads at some of the killings.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Terror Train, All Aboard and All Die

Charles and Diana were not married when this film came out, but the British tabloids reported that their favorite date was when the two sneaked into the 1980 film "Terror Train."  The love-birds laughed and laughed and fell in love (I made all this up, actually).  Following 1978's "Halloween," any slasher film would be excoriated by the critics. Jamie Lee Curtis quickly cemented her status as queen of the scream queens with "Halloween," "Prom Night," and "Terror Train." A careful examination of these three films reveals that "Terror Train" is the one she has the best screams in.  Oh yes, for fans of the 80s, enjoy the performances of David Copperfield and Vanity.
Three years ago, some stupid pre-med fraternity kids play a sick prank on Kenny the virgin (DerekMcKinnon). They convince the dweeb that Alana (Curtis) wants to de-virginize him and send him to Alana's bed. Uh oh, Alana is behind the bed beckoning him and when Derek enters it, he is med by a rotting, torn up corpse.  Off to an insane asylum Derek goes. Three years later, our obnoxious pre-med students rent an excursion steam locomotive for a night of wild partying.  Carne (Ben Johnson) is the conductor, and he will have to keep the kids in line. Oh yeah, it's a masquerade party.  Uh oh, someone else has arrived to party, but this guy has homicide in mind.  Before the train pulls out of the station, our maniac begins his spree.
Oh yes, for entertainment, a magician (David Copperfield) is on the train. But wait....no one remembers hiring him.  Double uh oh, Kenny the virgin, now Kenny the insane virgin, was a magician. Coincidence?  Babes and hunks clad in costumes, or naked, and some engaging in pre-marital sex begin getting chopped up. Everyone who participated in the prank three years ago is in danger.  Alana better watch out, the magician is trying to seduce her. Is Kenny the virgin the killer? Will Alana escape the carnage because she is played by Ms. Curtis?  Does anything positive ever come out of masquerade bashes?
Lots of gore and seemingly an endless amount of corpses keep this slasher film fresh.  Directed by Roger Spotiswoode and filmed in Quebec, "Terror Train" is a lot bloodier than either "Halloween" or "Prom Night."  Available on YouTube, go back and visit the 1980s and enjoy "Terror Train."

Monday, May 9, 2016

Paradox, Zoe Bell in the Future

...actually, only about one hour into the future.  What waits for us an hour from now? Some maniacal killer right out of "My Bloody Valentine."  But wait....he's here.....now!  An hour from now he will kill everyone....but that's a whole 60 minutes from now.  Can our protagonists stop what will happen an hour from now if they know it will happen?  Oh yeah....Zoe Bell is in this...did I mention that?  Intrigued? Let us take a look at 2016's "Paradox."
Project 880 is ready!  A time machine, created by Mr. Landau (Malik Yoba) and his team.  A mysterious figure, Landau is worried that the NSA will figure out what he is doing and try to infiltrate his team.  Too late....Gale (Bell), the only lady on his team, just so happens to be an NSA secret agent.  Time for the test.  Jim, Gale's beau, is sent one hour into the future.  Uh oh....Jim (Adam Huss) arrives to find all his team mates are either dead or dying.  He returns and desperately tries to convince his team to change the past in order to avoid a deadly future.  How easy is that?
Uh oh...someone else has come back.  A homicidal maniac is bent on wiping out the whole team  The team panics and bickers.  Our gas-mask clad killer embarks on carnage that would make Jason Voorhees proud, and our scientific team dwindles.  Double uh oh, the team figures out that Landau is...well....let's not go there in order to avoid some neat spoilers and twists.  In fact, I will leave out much of the plot as that would ruin some neat mystery and surprises for you.  Take my word for it, this science fiction story has just as many slasher elements as scifi plot devices.  The gore is piled high with one of the most interesting decapitations since "The Omen."
Who exactly is Landau?  What came back from the future?  Can the future be altered? As Gale tries to survive with her boyfriend Jim, she must also fight the paranoia of the remainder of the team. Directed by Michael Hurst ("Hercules" and "Xena" TV shows), this film is a lot more complex than my verbiage above.  Fear not, you'll get it all before the end credits.  Available on Netflix, see "Paradox."

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Zoombies, Giraffes Eat Zoo Interns

Man-eating giraffes! Demented Koala bears! Dive-bombing parrots! Perhaps a metaphor for the direction mankind is headed in if we keep abusing and exploiting the animal world, today we take a look at The Asylum's "Zoombies." Released earlier this year, with bad CGI, great acting, and lots of gore, this film takes the zombie apocalypse to the zoo.
When pretty veterinarian Robin (Jennifer Titus) has her eyes ripped out of her face by a zombie-monkey, the game is on.  After monkeys kill all the vets, the Eden Wildlife Zoo, just short of their grand-opening, begins a horrific downward spiral.  Dr. Ellen Rogers (Kim Nielsen) is the zoo director, and she is conducting an orientation for some college interns.  Uh oh....she has brought her little girl, Thea (LaLa Nestor), to work.  After the monkeys escape, and run afoul of half Ellen's security team, the humans are now hunted by a zombie zoo population.  Zombie-giraffes pick apart a couple of the naive college kids who thought they were running from zombie-warthogs.
Securirty guard Rex (Marcus Anderson) and his intern, Lizzy (Ione Butler) become heroes in order to save Dr. Ellen and the other interns. Uh oh, this zoo has the largest aviary in the U.S. and if the birds become infected, they will fly over the fences and infect the world.  As Ellen strategizes to blow up the aviary, Rex and Lizzy valiantly try to save the other interns and escape. They'll have to go through Kifo, a no longer playful giant gorilla and a demented Koala before they can breathe easy.  Will our infected animals get out and infect the world?  Will zoo director Ellen, turned pyromaniac, be able to save the world?
Directed by Glenn Miller, "Zoombies" is pure fun.  The characters are attractive, and many will meet most gory fates. A scene when zombie-monkeys explode out of the torso of an unfortunate veterinarian will have you hollering. Available on Netflix, enjoy "Zoombies."

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Beneath, Hauntings, Grave Robbing, and Insanity

2007's "Beneath"is cursed with an unfortunate title.  Not an irrelevant moniker, however, in recent years, lots of good films have come out with the same title.  I even did a blog entry on another "Beneath" last August.  Back to this "Beneath," a fine film with crypts, cockroaches, hidden passages in a cavernous old mansion, evil forces lurking, and a homicidal malignant force all grace our feature today. Because the current title may cause some confusion, I suggest this 2007 film be re-released as "Naked Space Babes vs. the Tentacled Menace."
Seven years ago, Christy watches her older sister, Vanessa (Carly Pope) die in a fiery car crash. Present day, Christy (Nora Zehetner) is removed from nursing school because she is mentally unstable.  After the crash, our protagonist was institutionalized, and is still seeing weird visions. Christy has horrific visions of her sister scratching at the inside of her coffin, trying to get out.  See, Vanessa lived another six months after the burning, and at the funeral little Christy heard her big sister inside the coffin. Now she returns to her home town to attend the funeral of the family's caretaker, Joseph (Don S. Davis, Twin Peaks).  Uh oh, the visions of her sister increase, and Christy begins snooping.
Christy is greeted coldly by her deceased sister's husband, John (Matthew Settle), and his mom (Gabrielle Rose).  However, her niece, Amy (Jessica Amlee) is happy to see her.  Amy tells her aunt that a dark force lives inside the mansion and prowls around at night. Believing her sister was buried alive, Christy finds out the body was never embalmed and the doctor who declared her dead was her husband, John. Now more deaths occur and all of them point to a mysterious specter inside the house.  As Amy and Christy seem to be imperiled by this force, John wants her gone.  Was Vanessa buried alive?  Is John a murderer?  Is Christy the real whack-ball; here?  Seasoned horror film fans may be able to guess at the conclusion, but the voyage there is a wild one.
Masterfully directed by Dagen Merrill, this film has the same feel as "Twin Peaks."   Ms. Zehetner is terrific as a determined and unstable Christy.  Don't worry, as much as everything is explained, the supernatural is still a large part of this plot.  Available on Netflix, see "Naked Space Babes vs. the Tentacled Menace"......er....I mean "Beneath."

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Shark Lake, Man-eaters vs. Sultry Sheriff Deputy

Sara Malakul Lane, a Thai-English model, has emerged as a terrific B movie actress, appearing in lots of horror films of late.  In 2015's "Shark Lake," she steals the show, portraying a beautiful sheriff deputy trying to save a resort town from sharks and Russian mobsters.  Oh yes, also excelling here is Dolph Lundgren...as a struggling ex-con with an unusual talent.  Okay...bad CGI and perhaps Syfy Channel quality, but our two protagonists are terrific and some of the kills are really nice.
Deputy Meredith Hernandez busts Clint as the film opens.  Clint catches exotic animals and sells them to really rich mobsters.  He is put away for five years, and Meredith adopts Clint's little girl, Carly (Lily Brooks O'Briant).  Uh oh...five years elapses in no time, and Clint heads back to Alpine Lake to see his daughter. Meredith doesn't intend to let him see her adopted daughter.  Oh yes....mauled tourists begin turning up by the lake.  At first the cops believe it is a bear, but after a skinny dipping couple seeking pre-marital sex (...I know, don't they ever see these films) wanders into the lake, only to be attacked by a Bull Shark, the authorities figure it out.  A shark in a fresh water lake?
Lots of tips of the hat to "Jaws" are contained in this film.  Such is Peter (Michael Aaron Milligan), an oceanographer, the proverbial Hooper character, who assists Meredith.  Meanwhile, a BBC reality show crew is chowed down on by a bull shark family and now Meredith and Peter decide to kill the beasts, themselves.  But wait! Russian mobsters blackmail Clint.  The head mobster wants the shark for his collection, and will kill Carly unless Clint captures the man-eater for him.  As Clint seeks the shark, and a reunion with his daughter, Meredith and Peter also head onto the same lake which will contain many more dangers other than those of the toothy variety.
Will Meredith and Clint hook-up (...even though Dolph is old enough to be her grandfather)?  If so...what of the handsome young Peter, will he have to get eaten for this to happen?  Will Meredith ultimately need a bigger boat? Plenty of kills and even more jiggling bikini babes in much peril, "Shark Lake," with all it's faults, is so much fun.  Ms. Lane is terrific and her character, and looks, steal the show.  As the beach season fast approaches, take a look at "Shark Lake" on Netflix.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Embalmer, Preserving the Beauty of Italy

...with embalming fluid! 1965's "The Embalmer" (aka "Il Monstro di Venezia") is another Italian horror film which utilizes a sex-maniacal killer who preys on beautiful young women. Edgar Allan Poe believed there was nothing more beautiful than a dead, beautiful woman.  The fiend in our film obviously agrees.  With a jazzy musical score and a tip of the hat to the beatnik culture, today's film plays out like a Poe tale.
Beautiful 18 year old Italian damsels are grabbed by a SCUBA clad madman and dragged into the canal.  These women are then pulled into an underground lab, and embalmed, thus preserving their stunning looks forever.  Who is our monster?  Andrea (Luigi Martocci), a handsome investigative reporter, is on the case.  The cops haven't any clues, and no bodies have washed up, but Andrea figures a monster from the canals is responsible.  Lucky Andrea, he befriends Maureen (Maureen Brown) who is chaperoning a dozen 18 year old beauties from Rome.  Maureen and Andrea get quite close and the students are eager to see Venice.
As more gals are abducted, and added to the monster's macabre harem, the students catch the eye of our killer. As Maureen valiantly attempts to keep a watchful eye on her gals, Andrea dives into the canals looking for the killer's lair.  A dozen sultry college students from Rome frolicking through the canals are just too much for our killer's hormones and he makes a bold move for one of them.  As Andrea reacts to that, the fair Maureen stumbles onto a macabre secret deep underneath the streets of Venice.  The ending will be frightening, fast-moving....and rather surprising.
Directed with style by Dino Tavella, this film never feels obliged to make us feel good.  As Venice slowly is consumed by the water, the evil from an underground/water lab bubbles up to the surface in shocking fashion.  Will Maureen's naive beauties be spared unimaginable horror and torture?  Will Andrea and Maureen kindle a love affair amidst the carnage?  For some quirky and semi-erotic horror, enjoy "The Embalmer" from Italy.