Thursday, June 29, 2017

Devils of Darkness, Vampire Cult vs. Dullard

Peter Cushing was never boring. As Van Helsing in those great Hammer vampire films, he was classy, sophisticated, and genius.  When taking on Dracula, he was capable and wise beyond a single lifetime.  1965's "Devils of Darkness" is not a Hammer film, but one might hazard to say that it influenced the direction of Hammer vampire films. Made in England, and directed by Lance Comfort (sounds like a porn star), this film was set in contemporary France and England as opposed to a more Gothic time. Though we have a suave and mysterious vampire, the hero is...well...boring.
Tania the gypsy girl
Buried alive in the 16th century for crimes of the occult, Count Sinistre (Hubert Noel) can't be kept down.  In modern day Brittany the erotic and gratuitous tambourine dance by sultry gypsy Tania (Carole Gray) awakens him. He breaks out of his coffin and turns Tania into his vampire bride. Vacationing in Brittany is Paul (William Sylvester). He sits around and does nothing and the people at the inn desperately want him to leave.  Instead of leaving, he just sits around some more. The boredom he festers is just too much so Count Sinistre abducts Paul's girl Anne (Rona Anderson). She is also boring and a perfect 10...well, maybe a five, actually. So boring, the count burns her alive instead of turning her.
Sinistre prepares Karen to be his new bride
Paul is mad! Okay, perhaps mad is a strong word, slightly perturbed. Paul begins investigating and discovers the occult and witchcraft are rampant in Brittany.  He meets Karen (Tracy Reed) at a hippie orgy, though he doesn't partake in the festivities. As Paul's investigation, most of it in a boring library, annoys the count, he sets his sight on both Karen and anyone who hangs out with Paul. Paul's friends begin to die horribly and Sinistre abducts Karen. Uh oh...Paul may be boring but the gypsy beauty/vampire bride Tania is not. Tania is now a vampire woman scorned and she desires revenge against Sinistre's new object of desire and the vampire himself.  Will vampire beauty Tania join forces with the very ordinary Paul?
Sinistre on the run with Karen
Despite Paul's lack of vitality and passion, this film has a lot of energy and intrigue. Betrayals and an ominous death cult run rampant across France and London, and the vampire brides are stunning. Karen is a fascinating character. She is a pseudo Goth model, and then a sultry vampire babe. Perhaps her turning into a subservient vampire bride from a fiercely independent liberated woman is a metaphor for western civilization's hostility toward true feminism. Yeah...or maybe this is just a neat vampire film with a suave and debonair count and his sultry brides. In any case, enjoy "Devils of Darkness."

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Gimme Head: The Tale of the Cuyahoga Valley Bigfoot

He is elusive. The enigmatic beast has kept us guessing since the founding of these great United States. A weird skunk-ape? The product of an overactive imagination? Or a monster stalking campers and outsmarting hunters? Bigfoot! As secretive as this fiend is, there are no shortage of Bigfoot sightings.  All 50 states (...well, I'm not sure about Hawaii) have witnesses to this thing. Bigfoot has also captured the imagination of horror film makers. Many Syfy Channel films, and even "The Six Million Dollar Man" has used Sasquatch as the subject of their movies and episodes. Can you imagine what Ed Wood, or Maryland's own Don Dohler would have done with the Bigfoot legend? Wonder no more, hence Logan Fry's fabulous horror short, "Gimme Head: The Tale of the Cuyahoga Valley Bigfoot."
The beautiful Annie loses her head
Okay, picture Barry Levinson's "Diner" meshed with "Plan 9 from Outer Space." Sasquatch (Gary Moon) is terrorizing Ohio, pulling off the heads of anyone who roams too far into the woods. A group of five diner patrons are captivated by the legendary monster and seek to find him. This quest will have bloody results and the quintet will quickly shrink in number. Anne (Bailey Jursik) will be the first diner to lose her head.  But wait!  A plan...and it concerns breasts. Sonja (Meghana Lynn) has the largest among the group, so she is set up to take the point and lead the now quartet to the hairy thing. But will the rather large assets of Sonja soothe the savage beast?
The elusive Bigfoot
Campy, rough, and amateurish, "Gimme head..." is hilarious and fast paced.  If you loved "Plan 9 from Outer Space," or Don Dohler's "Nightbeast" you will instantly take to "Gimme Head..."  Still being fine tuned, Logan Fry's interpretation of the Bigfoot legend remains less preachy and stiff than that "Six Million Dollar Man" episode.  Furthermore, no slow motion in this one!  In the spirit of Ed Wood film-making, this horror short is not quite finished, but Mr. Fry will let you see his work just by clicking on the link below.  I have kept lots of hilarious plot elements up my sleeve to avoid spoilers, but rest assured, there is a lot here in this less than 20 minute short.
Gimme Head
Gimme Head on IMDB
Gimme Head Trailer

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Monster that Challenged the World, Mollusk Carnage

A snail? Yep...don't laugh. Take a half dozen of these mollusk things, add a bit of radiation, and...well...kiss the planet goodbye. Yes...when escargot goes completely mad we are left with 1957's "The Monster that Challenged the World." So remember, next time you dine at a ritzy French restaurant, as you sip on some Chablis and nibble on your little shelled friends, that if the radiation levels in the kitchen elevate just a little, the mollusk entree could be nibbling on you.
The monster reveals
An earthquake in California's Salton Sea opens up an underwater cave filled with monster, giant snails. Three sailors aboard a navy launch are the first to have their juices sucked out by the fiends. No nonsense navy commander Lt. John Twillinger (Tim Holt), call him Twill, is on the case. He is mystified and enlists the help of navy doctor Jess Rogers (Hans Conreid). With a heart of stone, Twill meets the pretty secretary of Rogers, Gail (Audrey Dalton), and now has two missions....find out what killed the sailors and woo this exotic widow. Uh oh, the sultry Jody (Barbara Darrow) and her BF decide on a midnight swim in the Salton Sea. Jody strips off her dress revealing a white swimsuit that would make Julia Adams ("Creature from the Black Lagoon") proud.  Yep, both this white clad bathing beauty and her beau will have their juices sucked out.
Jody, snail bait
As Gail tells Twill all about the hardships of widowhood, he intensifies his goo-goo eyes. A break! Divers recover a monster egg sack and bring it back to Rogers' lab. Also, while recovering the formerly stunning Jody, the monsters attack revealing themselves to Twill and Rogers, while sucking dry another diver. Now Rogers and Twill know what they are fighting. No matter, Twill takes a break from saving the world and takes Gail on a romantic dinner in Mexico.  After a cold shower, Twill enacts a plan.  See, the Salton Sea has hundreds of canals. If the sea beasts get into the canals and reach civilized Dr. Rogers says...the planet could be wiped out. As the deaths pile up, the monsters find a way onto land and a path to the vulnerable Gail.
Gail in much peril
Will our creatures make it to population centers?  Will Twill's plan succeed to kill the monsters and also hook the nubile but sultry widow? Is that last question a metaphor of the plight of most of the world's male population?  Just what is it about babes in white swimsuits that captured the imagination of monsters and horror film makers?  "The Monster that Challenged the World" is a good one and the acting is first-rate. Though made in 1957, the horror of the giant snails is ripped right out of today's headlines.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals, Eroticism in the Amazon

There is no better way to do this than to just describe the opening scene. A sultry blonde nurse tries to rape a beautiful girl patient in an insane asylum.  The girl bites off the nurse's breast before she is strapped to a cot. Also in the asylum is Emanuelle (Laura Gemser) who is an undercover reporter doing a story on insane asylums. To get more information from the cannibal girl, Emanuelle sneaks into the girl's room, pulls off her hospital robe and satisfies her sexually.  Pure sexploitation Italian style. If this appeals to you...then read further regarding 1977's "Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals."
Emanuelle interviews cannibal girl
After her asylum assignment, Emanuelle recruits anthropologist Mark Lester (Gabriele Tinyi) for an Amazon expedition...then has pre-marital sex with him.  Off to the wait, Emanuelle has to have sex with Peter first. Who's Peter? Who knows?! Now off to the Amazon to have sex mean, do a story on the tribe which the aforementioned cannibal girl emanated (...after more sex with Mark). Arriving in the Amazon, Emanuelle meets the nubile blonde Isabelle (Monica Zanchi). On the expedition, she'll have lesbian sex with her as a chimp smoking a cigarette watches (don't ask).
Emanuelle and Isabelle
The expedition, now underway, includes Sister Isabelle, a shapely nun and future cannibal food, and the McKenzies (Donald O'Brien and Nieves Navarro). Mrs. McKenzie will be ...well you'll see. As they trek through the jungle, one by one, they are eaten by cannibals.  Lots of pre-marital sex will dominate this adventure, as Emanuelle will satisfy male and female alike.  Lots of cannibal carnage will interrupt passionate sex scenes and in the end, Emanuelle and Mark will have to rescue the survivors from the cannibals.  Emanuelle's plan to rescue them from a deadly fertility festival will be unique and quite erotic and utilize her nudity and lesbian tendencies.
He had it coming
When last we met Emanuelle in this blog, Laura Gemser was being raped by male and female in Women's Prison Massacre . In this cannibal film, Emanuelle is the sexual aggressor and she uses her eroticism to conquer a jungle full of cannibals. There will be a lot of breasts bared in this film, though many of them will be eaten. In fact, every sex organ (male and female) is on the menu in this masterpiece. For sexploitation at its maximum, see "Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals."

Friday, June 23, 2017

Autopsy, The Naked Coroner

Remember the TV show "Quincy"? Jack Klugman played a medical examiner who went around solving murders. Fortunately Klugman kept his clothes on during that show. Today we look at 1975's "Autopsy" where the sultry Mimsy Farmer is cast as a medical examiner in Italy who keeps taking off her clothes to have pre-marital sex. When she doesn't take them off, some odd guy does it for her. Even the corpses in her morgue seem to be excited by her sex-appeal. Nothing says "Naked Raw Passion" like a babe with a corpse on her slab. Was "Quincy" inspired by "Autopsy"? You be the judge.
As our film opens we see several grisly suicides. It is August in Italy and sunspots might be causing these suicides. Simona (Farmer) sees many of these victims in her morgue and begins seeing visions of these corpses rising and either beckoning her or engaging in sex. Distressed, Simona goes home and has a chance meeting with her dad's young GF (Gaby Wagner). Simona next meets this vixen when she appears on a slab in her morgue with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Simona becomes suspicious that perhaps these suicides aren't suicides but homicides. On cue Father Lenox (Barry Primus) storms into the morgue and announces that the girl on the slab is his sister and she did not commit suicide. Father Lenox was a former Grand Prix driver and was responsible for 11 deaths during the "Massacre at Le Mans" (...don't ask).
Lenox and Simona team up, but really don't get along. Simona's beau, Ed (Ray Lovelock) appears and the two try to have lots of pre-marital sex. Simona pulls away each time as visions of corpses invade her mind. In fact the only way she can have sex is to imagine it is with her new priest friend. As more of Simona's friends, acquaintances, and relatives commit suicide, Simona makes a startling discovery in her morgue which puts her life in danger. As the sunspots continue, our babe coroner becomes unhinged causing us to wonder if she may be responsible for the deaths.
Is Simona the killer or the next victim? Just how is someone able to make dozens of suicides appear as murder? Is this film a thinly veiled metaphor for humanity's subconscious desire to have sexual intercourse with the dearly departed? Wait...where did that come from!  Erotic and creepy, enjoy this horror yarn from Italy, "Autopsy."

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Strangeness, Sequel to The Boogens

I bet you didn't know The Boogens had a sequel. I guess it doesn't, in an official sense. However, when we speak of a toothy, tentacled, slimy creature dwelling in an abandoned mine which was closed a century ago because miners kept dying mysteriously...we think of "The Boogens." Today's feature, with similar plot devices, 1985's "The Strangeness." Much maligned and very low-budget, this feature has a really cool creature that grabs you, spits acid on you, then eats you slowly as the acid melts you down. Poetry!
America's newest widow...Cindy
The gold mine was abandoned after dozens of miners met with strange demises. Hemmings (Rolf Theison) buys it and accompanies a team to explore it and see if gold can still be mined. The couple he sent to open it?  Monster food! Joining the team is head miner Geoff (Dan Lunham) who has a penchant for leading his people to sure death. Dan Flanders (Mark Sawicki) is a writer chronicling the history of this cursed cavern. Cindy (Terri Berland), a sultry blonde, dressed in a very snug outfit, is Dan's wife and team photographer. Morgan (Keith Hurt) an English miner who drinks a lot and chews tobacco. And a few more that hardly merit a mention.  The team descends into the mysterious veins of this mine.
Hemmings meets the creature
Angela (Diane Borcyckowski), the team's geologist, will be the first team member, partially dissolved, ripped apart, and eaten. A cave-in then occurs trapping our team in this god-forsaken death trap. Still hungry the monster stalks the miners one by one. The survivors find the remains of their buddies and realize they are dealing with a monster. After tasting blood, the fiend gets really aggressive. Cindy screams a lot and is slapped around a bit after her husband gets it. Meanwhile, Hemmings grabs the now-available Cindy, leaving everyone else to die, and runs for an exit. Cindy fights back and gets her clock cleaned, but Geoff and the boogen-like thing pursue.
Morgan being digested
Will the shapely, and new widow Cindy find love in those mines? Will Geoff stop being a failure, save Cindy, kill the creature, and get him and the damsel to the surface? Directed by Melanie Anne Phillips, "The Strangeness" boasts of a cool monster, some excruciating death scenes, and a babe damsel...what more can we ask for. Instead of wasting your time on the newest "Wonder Woman" (Yawn!), see "The Strangeness" free on YouTube.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Spine, White Clad Victims

Nurses! Such noble souls. However, in the 1980s, these saints suffered unimaginable torture and carnage in slasher films. In "Halloween 2," the prettier the nurse, the more vicious her death. Who can forget when Michael Myers dunked Pamela Susan Shoop's face in a scalding hot tub? I'm sure this sequel to a slasher classic inspired the makers of the 1985 straight-to-VHS "Spine." Like "Halloween 2," we'll meet a lot of beautiful nurses, clad in white, who meet such bloody demises at the hands of a psycho with a knife....and a grudge.
 As our story begins, a pretty nurse (Kathy Rose) has been stripped of her white uniform and hogtied. A mysterious killer then stabs her 57 times, exposing her backbone and writing "Linda" in blood on the wall.  Who is Linda? Part of the mystery I'm afraid. The cute and perky Louise (Abby Sved) is next. She'll meet the same fate, I'm afraid. The cops are baffled as more nurses fall to this mysterious psycho. On the killer's radar is the beauty in white, Carrie (Janus Blyth). This pretty nurse has just invited another pretty nurse, Leah (Lisa Romanoff) to room with her. Now Leah is on the same demented radar. Both these ladies are spooked by the newspaper accounts of the killings.
The psycho and Carrie
Working his way closer to Carrie, our killer visits the hospital she's plies her trade. In the basement of the facility, our fiend grabs Lori (Marie Dowling), strings her up, cuts her clothes off with a knife, tortures her with the same knife, but is interrupted by Carrie before he can finish the job. Now the killer is determined to finish off Carrie and Leah and the police still have no clue. As Leah takes a shower (...oh yes, gratuitous is an adjective that describes this film well) and Carrie goes for a run in short-shorts, our fiend arrives for an orgy of blood. The two nubile nurses will soon be subjected to a very humiliating and tortuous fate...or will they turn the tables on our fiend? What does the killer have against nurses, and who is Linda?
The psycho and Leah
The killings are cruel and hard to watch and the nurses seem defenseless against this devil. The ending is weird, and many of you may not like it, but rest assured, it will be highly gratuitous. The acting? Well, it is straight-to-VHS quality, but better than any Megan Fox performance. For some vicious sexploitation and horror, take a look at "Spine" and remember not to discuss it in polite company.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

We Love Selfies, our own peril

Do you ever wonder what the creators of those classic urban legends, or those creators of the classic 1980s slasher films would have done with the concept of selfies from smart phones? If Laurie Strode had an iPhone, would Michael Myers have acted differently? How about all those camp counselors at Camp Crystal Lake? Would Jason have had any goodwill toward the frolicking teens taking selfies of themselves in bikinis or making out? In Joseph Sorrentino's "We Love Selfies," those questions are answered. In gory and horrific fashion, the smart phone selfie is introduced into that old classic slasher film plot.
With a tip of the hat to "Halloween," and "He Knows you're Alone," and a few other memorable horror classics, we meet a very pretty babysitter, Dylan (Corrie Graham). Her charge is to tend to the very cute Brittany (Jordan King) as her parents are out for the night. Jordan's a good kid and the evening should be an easy one for Brittany.  Of course, in 2017, pretty babysitters have smart phones and don't only have to rely on UHF horror films for entertainment. Dylan has a smart phone in which she can still be connected to her boyfriend...or whoever is on the other end of the messaging stream.
No more of the plot, but "We Love Selfies" brings up a great questions for all of us in an age of texting and smart phones. Oh yes...there is a third major character in this short...Giggles (Barry Tangert). Yep, Giggles is no comedian, but an escaped serial killer who likes'll see. Directed by Roger Glass, this 11 minute horror short will give you nightmares especially if you babysit. Fans of urban legends and 1980s slasher films will love the modern plot device inserted into those terrifying morality tales that keep us up at night clutching a flashlight.
For more information on "We Love Selfies" check out these links:
YouTube Trailer
We Love Selfies on Facebook
We Love Selfies on LinkedIn

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Parallel, If you meet yourself...RUN!!!

Have you ever looked in a mirror and hated what you saw? Hence 2016's "Parallel." Do you remember that very deep scifi hit from 1969, "Journey to the Far Side of the Sun"? Terrific film that left you wanting more explanation as it abruptly ended.  Well "Parallel" is that elaboration. A word of warning, however, as many unanswered questions that are answered, this film may leave you with many more deeper queries. However fascinating the possibility of alternate universes are, perhaps this film is more about the potential of our own souls to sink to nefarious depths or rise to goodness, and what may trigger that voyage.
Aren't they cute?
Oh so cute! Neil (David Magowan) and Heather (Faye Sewell) meet at a party. The vulnerable Heather lets her guard down and the insecure but determined Neil hones in. The two bond and soon they move in together and engage in pre-marital sex. Uh oh...heaven forbid the lovebirds leave well-enough alone as they meet a strange but alluring old man in the park. Michalis (Brian Carter) is a medium, and guess what his gig is. futures and no mind-reading. He can take you into a parallel existence and show you what you are up to in that alternate universe. Neil is skeptical but Heather is game.
You don't want to know what Heather is about to do.
Let us stop short of spoilers, but the other side is quite similar and quite different. The safe and satisfied Heather finds that her behavior, plight, and decision-making on the other side is colorful and say the least. Neil eventually dabbles in this alternate universe and what he discovers about himself'll see. Guess what happens when our Romeo and Juliet see a side of themselves that might be possible but for different circumstances.  It won't be all seashells and balloons as both undergo major angst at who they could become. Are they repulsed?  Curious? Jealous of their twins?  You will gasp at the plight of these two (...or should I say these four).
Michalis takes them on a journey
Is Michalis legitimate or a skilled con-man? Is Heather's desire to see her alternate-self merely an admission of dissatisfaction with her safe existence? Shocking and thought provoking, "Parallel" will have you question your own psyche. I are a good person...but is that written in stone? Or, are you merely a fiend just waiting for the opportunity to break out of your conformist shell? I know, we all have a dark side as Alexander Cooper (who acts and produces this film) reminds me. Most of us keep that dark side hidden, to some degree, but given the opportunity to set it free...would you? You'll be thinking about "Parallel" long after the end credits roll, and not all of that thought will be comfortable. See "Parallel," (directed by Ieva Makselyte) a terrific and provocative thriller.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Kiss of the Vampire, Blood Sucking Honeymoon

A Hammer Films vampire tale! No, not a Christopher Lee one. No Dracula and no Van Helsing in this one. Steaks through the heart? Not here. 1963's "The Kiss of the Vampire" is just a little different than most Hammer vampire films. Don't panic. We still have a ravishing damsel in much distress and a very charming and exotic vampire in an old castle. In fact, we have lots of handsome vampires and their very stunning vampire brides. Oh yes...bats! Oh, you'll love the bat carnage in this one.
Marianne gets dolled up for party
Honeymooners Gerald (Edward de Souza) and Marianne (Jennifer Daniel) break down on a remote country road. I guess the beach wasn't an exotic enough location for their honeymoon. The lovebirds check into the town's only inn, They are the only guests as vampires have pretty much scared everyone away. The gentlemanly Dr. Ravna (Noel Willman) is quite taken by Marianne's beauty and invites the newlyweds to his castle for dinner. Dr. Ravna charms them and has his vampire son, Carl (Barry Warren) performs his piano compositions for them. Marianne is almost hypnotized by the scores. Still trapped at the inn Gerald and Marianne accept an invite to Dr. Ravna's castle for a large gala.  The vampires are excited about these two as Dr. Ravna plans on changing Marianne at the party and his two babe vampire daughters, Tania (Isobel Black) and Sabena (Jacquie Wallis) will distract Gerald.
Gerald becomes Tania's dinner
The plan goes flawlessly and Gerald awakes back at his hotel. Only the weird Professor Zimmer (Clifford Evans) is willing to help Gerald get his wife back. Zimmer's daughter was turned by Ravna many years ago and he has put together quite a plan to destroy his nemesis. As Gerald is content on charging the castle, which he does, Zimmer's plan is probably wiser, but has so many moving parts. As the beautiful Marianne falls further under Ravna's control, Gerald and Zimmer act.
Zimmer confronts Tania
Exactly what is Zimmer's plan to rid Europe of vampires? Will Gerald get Marianne back from the charming, but deadly, Ravna? If our newlyweds survive will they consult a travel agent for their next vacation? The final scenes are ambitious and carnage-filled. Directed by Don Sharp, "The Kiss of the Vampire" is a visually pleasing Hammer vampire film.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Black Sea, The Darkness Comes

Brian Padian, writer and director of 2015's "The Black Sea" told me that I might be disappointed in his film as it wasn't so much a horror movie but a dark existential drama. Perfect! My first thought was "..what's the difference?" Whether Jason or Freddie are coming after you, or the darkest elements of our own soul or some unseen, but present evil, both are fine with me. It looms, and it is getting closer...or has it been inside us all along?
A very un-existential description of our film would state that six friends at a beach house face awful truths after their friend Allison's (Corrina Repp) disappearance. Three couples plan a week-end getaway at an Oregon coast beach house. The wind is howling, waves are crashing, and the weather radio blurts out ominous storm forecasts. many applicable metaphors. On the surface, which is a centimeter deep, our great looking couples look like normal people. Then again, who is normal among us? Charlotte (Erin McGarry) and Paul (Bill Sebastian) are the only married couple. Lainie (Cora Benesh) and Michael (Joe Von Appen) are an item, more like two locomotives rumbling toward each other on the same track than a pair of lovebirds. Then there is Allison, a dark artist, with doom oozing from her every pore. Her beau Eli (Matt Sipes), for a yet unknown reason has decided not to partake in the getaway...don't worry, he eventually shows.
Initially the unraveling is semi-harmless. Some bickering, hints of infidelity, and frustration at life. Uh oh! What did Paul just say? Is his sanity in question? His wife Charlotte, as beautiful as she first seems, may also have sanity problems. Then Allison goes missing. We'd think she just took off in a depressed state, but did something more sinister happen? Is someone a murderer? One of our gang exhibits some anti-social and violent tendencies.  The artist's diary doesn't present any cause for optimism, just more suspects in what may not even be a murder. Allison's disappearance brings out a very dark side of who these people really are.  As the storm nears, the film turns darker, and the fate of everyone one in this film starts to ooze the same doom which Allison was stricken with.
Allow me to be arrogant here. The ending?  Don't complain about it...just pay attention! Steeped with metaphor and symbolism, "The Black Sea" will unsettle you and quite possibly stick with you for a few days. A few years ago I recommended Kate Beckinsale's "Snow Angels" to a student of mine. She caught up with me a few days later and said "...thanks a lot, I saw I need therapy." I'm not saying "The Black Sea" will drive you to a psychologist's couch, but may cause you to come to terms with your frustrations, disappointments, and fears.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Axe, Little Lady...Big Ax

The trailer for our film today compares it to "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre."  Not a bad comparison, but decades later I would compare this gory gem to a cross between Roman Polanski's "Repulsion" and "I Spit on Your Grave." 1974's "Axe" (aka "Lisa, Lisa" and "California Axe Massacre") has a diminutive young lass put upon by a trio of sadistic thugs.  Yep...who do you think will prevail?
Our three antagonists are a sadistic bunch.  Led by Steele (Jack Canon), as the film begins we witness their homicidal ways.  Accompanied by Lomax (Ray Green) and Billy (Frederick R. Friedel, also the director) they are getting out of Dodge after a murder or two.  The evil trio ends up at a secluded farmhouse where they intend to lay low for awhile.  At the farmhouse we meet the sweet, diminutive Lisa (Leslie Lee).  As we examine Lisa it is apparent she is elegantly deranged.  She is just a little too comfortable with'll see. In what may be a fatal mistake, our fiends mistake her for a weak damsel.
Lisa runs a chicken farm all by herself.  Her grandpa (Douglas Powers) is a total invalid, and she must feed, bathe, and dress him.  This extra care has obviously played on Lisa's sanity.  When the scoundrels take over the farmhouse, we get a pretty good sense they are in dire trouble.  When Lomax tries to rape Lisa...the blood starts flowing.  Axes, razors, and Lisa's insanity will spell a very painful and deadly fate for the monsters.
 Who is the real monster in this film? Does Lisa have anything else in mind other than revenge? Does our trio of inaniacs have any prayer of surviving Lisa?  Lisa is very adept at slicing arteries, but be warned, she also has a talent for disposing of corpses.  Without saying too much, after watching this film, you may never want to taste Campbell's tomato soup ever again.  For a nasty, and fast paced drive-in shocker, see "Axe."

Friday, June 9, 2017

Tentacles, Jaws with Eight Legs

"An animal disturbed by man's stupidity." This quote taken directly out of 1977's "Tentacles." In 2017, our companions on the planet Earth are used to human stupidity, but in was enough to drive a sane and cerebral giant octopus totally schizoid.  Our epic stars Bo Hopkins, Henry Fonda, Shelley Winters, Claude Akins, and John Huston.  Enough said about the A-list cast, as their portrayals are largely inconsequential to the plot.  I will admit that Shelley Winters elongated scene in which she sports a sombrero may scar anyone viewing this film.
A giant eight-legged beast goes berserk.  It grabs a baby in a stroller off a levee, and proceeds to do the same to a one-legged boat captain.  What drove this monster mad?  Radio frequencies...don't ask. Diver and orca trainer, Will (Hopkins) sends two other divers into the inky depths for answers. Both are eaten.  Now Will brings his really hot wife (Delia Boccardo) to town so they can see the carnage for themselves.  Very sad, Will's sultry bride will endure the most tortuous death of the film at the hands, all eight, of the octopus.
As the tentacled menace keeps feeding (the death count towers over the one in "Jaws"), Will now has revenge on his mind.  Uh oh, the very popular Solana Beach Yacht Race (sailboat race, actually) is at hand.  As hundreds of youths in boats hit the open ocean, Will enacts a crazy plan to kill his nemesis. What is Will's ambitious strategy to kill the monster?  Does man's inhumanity to the noble creatures of the sea serve as a legitimate motivation for turning beach-goers into a buffet?  Did this film so terrify Detroit hockey fans causing them to go on a genocide against octopus?
After "Jaws" hit the silver screen in 1975, rip-offs soon followed.  "Orca," "Barracuda," and "Tentacles" were the three most notable.  Other than the A-listers in our film, "Tentacles" has the feel of an Italian exploitation flick.  In 1977, this Shelley Winters masterpiece was ignored in the theaters but did reasonably well at drive-ins.  In 2017, "Tentacles" has aged well and is available on YouTube.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Bloody Origin, Evil's Beginnings

Before I retired as an FBI agent, I often visited the little known Evil Minds Museum. This museum was located in the basement of the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Maintained by the Behavioral Science Unit, this vessel of evil displays is closed to the public. Haunting and vicious are the displays which feature the artwork, possessions, letters, and other correspondences of serial killers such as John Wayne Gacy, Dennis Rader, and the Green River Killer to name just a few. These monsters are of the same species as you and I, but obviously have been tempered and molded in such a way that very little about them seems human. Tapping into this alien mindset,  Andrea Merchak did a fantastic job at defining who these devils are and what motivates them in her book Bloody Legends .
Bloody Legends tells the story of a serial killer, and it is extreme horror times ten. Now, Ms. Merchak has published a prequel to that tale, "Bloody Origin." The monster that kills dozens, maybe hundreds, of good people in "Bloody Legends" had a beginning. Believe it or not, the incarnation of evil and gore was actually a child once. He had parents, privilege, and most of all....opportunity. The beast in "Bloody Legends" was just as evil as a boy.  No spoilers, but Ms. Merchak tells the story of a serial killer's childhood, upbringing, and evolution.
Though Ms. Merchak's serial killer slays hordes of people in his adulthood (read Bloody Legends), this prequel is blood-spattering gory as well. Everything about the young boy coming of age in "Bloody Origin" drips of evil and blood.  His thoughts, perceptions, fantasies, and his ultimate actions lead to slashed arteries, disembowelment, and a promise for the slaying of hundreds more. This prequel will be unsettling, as was "Bloody Legends." The evil are indeed among us, Ms. Merchak is correct about that, and they are opportunists.  As society increasingly protects the evil and ill-willed, perhaps Ms. Merchak's works should be taken as a warning.
A prequel to ""Bloody Legends" and a step away from extreme horror, "Bloody Origin" sets up the most deadly and vicious story you will ever read. A word of warning, a sequel to "Bloody Legends" will follow, and our killer won't be as mannered as he is in these first two stories. Ominous in nature and psychologically accurate, as far as psychopaths go, "Bloody Origin" is a story you won't be able to look away from...much like an accident with lots of bloodied corpses.
To get "Bloody Origin" on Kindle click on this link Bloody Origin Kindle
To order "Bloody Legends" click on this link Bloody Legends

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Blood of the Vampire, Mad Scientists and Vampires

Yesterday's mad scientist is today's genius. Alas, this film takes place yesterday...or 1880 to be precise. We may pat ourselves on our backs for reviving road kill in our basement laboratories, but a hundred years ago, society would have frowned on these efforts. The prudish outlook of polite society didn't want corpses dug up from graveyards and dead relatives to be re-animated.  Today we make sitcoms about that stuff. Oh, how far we've come. 1958's "Blood of the Vampire" is a horror tale about a more draconian era.
The roaring 1880s
As our story begins it is 1874 Transylvania. An executioner hammers a spike through a vampire in the cemetery. Uh oh, a ghoul, Carl (Victor Maddern) kills the gravedigger and absconds with the vampire.  He brings the carcass to a mad scientist who revives it using a transplanted human heart. Carl then kills the mad scientist. Six years later, the dashing Dr. John Pierre (Vincent Ball) is sentenced to life for performing abominable practices in his medical profession. Pierre, before anyone knew anything about blood, performed blood transfusions in order to save lives.  His sultry fiance, Madeleine (Barbara Shelley) is helpless to save him in the courtroom. Uh oh, again, Dr. Callistratus (Donald Wolfit) arranges for Pierre to be sentenced to the criminal insane asylum he runs. Callistratus desires to tap into Pierre's knowledge of blood to further his own experiments.
Dr. Callistratus and Carl
Pierre is hesitant to help his mad scientist warden, but the food is better if he does. It seems Callistratus has a blood disorder which requires constant transfusions. Guess where our mad scientist gets his donors.  As patients at the asylum disappear, and corpses are dug up from the institution's graveyard, Pierre plugs along with his research.  But wait! It appears that the bureau of prisons has rescinded Pierre's sentence. Not wanting to lose his top scientist, Callistratus advises them Pierre died while trying to escape. Unable to accept the death of her handsome fiance, Madeleine masquerades as a housekeeper and gets a job at the asylum in order to figure out the true fate of her beau. Soon, Madeleine will be found out and Callistratus will chain her up and attempt to drain her blood.
Housekeeper's demise
Can Pierre save Madeleine from a fate worse than death? What connection does Callistratus have with that vampire from six years previous? Would modern society view Callistratus as a pioneer in affordable healthcare?  "Blood of the Vampire" will have a shocking ending in which everything is tied together. Creepy graveyards, ghouls, mad scientists, elaborate sub-basement laboratories, and a beautiful damsel highlight this vampire film that many may mistake as a Hammer Studio product.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Lady Vengeance, When the Deranged get Even

Can we get our sympathies behind a deranged psycho? If she is really good looking we can.  From South Korea 2005's "Lady Vengeance" is our dish today, and it will be served chilled. Operatic in its delivery, this revenge flick is a beautiful tale about a whole bunch of sordid and ugly people and events.  For those of us quick to stereotype and generalize, "Lady Vengeance" is a bloody reminder that the vicious and deranged among us aren't always the bad guys.
The beautiful Geum-ja (Yeong-ae Lee) has just served a 13 year sentence for the brutal kidnapping and murder of a little boy. Released for good behavior, Geum-ja may have put one over on the parole system. Sure, she cheerfully took care of the Alzheimer's patients in the pen. Sure, she gave wonderful Christian testimonials about faith and prayer to other inmates. Oh yes, she lovingly fed the sick in the prison hospital. Now 32, and still quite stunning, Geum-ja is free to enact a complicated plan for revenge. See, Geum-ja didn't really murder the boy, but took the wrap because of a blackmail scheme that saw her own daughter kidnapped. The culprit? A school teacher, Mr. Baek (Min-sik Choi). 13 years of planning created a plot that goes further than kidnapping Baek and torturing him until he dies.  What could be a worse fate than that?
Here is the complicated part of the plan...actually no. No spoilers here, but it becomes apparent that vengeance and revenge are not Guem-ja's only motives. An interesting plot twist in this film has Guem-ja finding her daughter after having to give her up 13 years previous. As she travels to Australia to visit the adoptive parents she is able to bond with her offspring, and we do get indications that little Jenny (Yea-young Kwon) is just as deranged as her birth-mother. The introduction of Jenny into the plot provides quite a conflict for us as we now know Geum-ja isn't the devil we thought she was...or is she?  As for Baek?  Just wait, he'll get it real good.
What fate awaits Baek at the hands of Lady Vengeance?  If not revenge, what else motivates our anti-heroine? Don't jump to conclusions as this film isn't really about revenge. Bloody, vicious, and unrelenting, "Lady Vengeance"  is a thought provoking horror flick.  As beautiful as she is, Geum-ja is terrifying in every frame of film she is in.  For an unsettling good time, from South Korea, take a peek at "Lady Vengeance."

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Hell Comes to Frogtown, Dance of the Three Snakes

What is 'The Dance of the Three Snakes'? Lets just say that in an apocalyptic wasteland after several nuclear wars, the mutants that grew out of a radioactive ooze are well endowed in the tally-whacker department.  The sultry and long legged Sandahl Bergman will be put in much peril to be violated by the multiple appendages in 1988's "Hell Comes to Frogtown." As the beautiful blonde arouses the mutants, can the incomparable Roddy Piper save her?
Sam and Spangle
After nuclear war, Sam Hell (Piper) is a rare commodity...he's potent.  The government commandeers him to impregnate fertile women and assign him to the very tough Spangle (Bergman). First things first as the mutant frogs have kidnapped a bunch of beautiful women and dragged them to the Frogtown reservation to be love-toys for the frog king, Toty (Brian Frank). Spangle straps an explosive chastity belt on Sam forcing him to accompany her on the rescue mission.  Spangle has a plan but on the way to Frogtown develops a sexual attraction to Sam's potency. The leggy officer gets a bit jealous when they find a fertile woman and Sam plies his trade on her while Spangle longingly watches.
Spangle doing the Dance of the Three Snakes
Spangle enacts her plan as she dons leather undies and a dog collar and allows Sam to lead her into Frogtown on a leash. Sam will masquerade as a trader looking to sell Spangle to Toty, thereby finding the location of the harem.  Uh oh, Toty is one step ahead of them and knocks out Sam and takes Spangle. The frog king has his harem of vixens arouse Spangle so she can perform the aforementioned 'Dance of the Three Snakes.' Thinking of Sam's potency, Spangle performs the dance arousing all three of Toty's tally-whackers. As the mutant king advances on the nubile Spangle, Sam grabs a shotgun and seeks to rescue his woman...and the harem.
Mutant frog men
What rewards wait for Sam if he is able to rescue Spangle and the harem? Where does Toty plan to plant each of the tally-whackers if he is able to pin down Spangle? Are the mutant frog creatures a metaphor for the deterioration of chivalry and manners in modern society? This is a fun one and Sandahl Bergman, and her dancing abilities, shine...usually in some state of undress.  As for Roddy Piper? Well, let's just say it is always good to see Roddy Piper! For some mutant arousal, enjoy "Hell Comes to Frogtown."