Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Carnosaur, When Dinosaurs Impregnated Women

Ahhh, where would we be without women? Depending on which venue this question is posed, the answers will vary quite a bit. Throw in a mad-scientist geneticist, dinosaurs, and an airborne virus and we have Roger Corman's "Carnosaur" from 1993. This film answers that question and the answer is quite horrific. No cute Barney type dinosaurs here, nope. When the Tyrannosaurus Rex appears in this heartwarming tale, you can bet some human is having his organs ripped out or leg bitten off. Oh yes, the women in this film will endure fates far worse than death all in the name of saving the planet.
Dr. Jane Triptree (Diane Ladd), a mad-geneticist has gone underground in order to continue her experiments. The Eunice Corporation has hired her to produce preservatives that keep food from spoiling. Suckers! When you hire a mad-geneticist (...and I know this from experience), the quack dictates what his or her experiments will be. Triptree creates a virus which in horrifying fashion starts spreading through the Nevada desert. At first, Triptree injected this virus in birds, producing eggs yielding dinosaurs. When chicken eggs are smuggled out of the underground lab, the hatch-lings start eating there way through mankind. A group of Earth-First types chain themselves to the heavy equipment at Eunice Corporation...and will be eaten.  All except for the lovely Thrush (Jennifer Runyon).
Meanwhile the virus infects all the women in the area and they mysteriously become pregnant. When dinosaurs burst out of their bellies, the U.S. Government gets involved. Thrush befriends a Eunice security guard, Doc (Raphael Sbarge), and after Thrush comes down with the virus, he sneaks down into the lab to find an antidote. As the T-Rex eats Eunice personnel and environmental activists, and as women keep popping out baby T-Rex', Doc confronts Dr. Triptree. This meeting won't go well and all the women in the underground lab birth monsters. Now on the run from dinosaurs in the lab, Doc must find the cure and race back to the nubile Thrush before she births a demented Barney.
Grim, ominous, and quite gory, "Carnosaur" would eventually spawn two sequels.  Over-the-top may describe this film. I gotta say, it was quite sobering when the government agents (no doubt all divorced men) realized they couldn't stop the virus. Instead of brooding over the grim fact, they quite cheerfully discussed Plan B...find an alternative to women. Misogynistic?  Perhaps.  True horror fans will have much fun with Roger Corman's "Carnosaur." 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Faceless, Love, Rape and Mutilation

Ahhhh! The love between a brother and sister. A great looking brother, a sultry sister, and a whole lot of sucking face and a menage a tres at every opportunity. I know, not the brother-sister love we are comfortable with. However, when Jesus Franco makes the movie...taboo and perversion will rule the day. Throw in the sizzling girlfriend of the brother, a bisexual sadist, and we have a wild one in 1987's "Faceless."
The beautiful Ingrid (Christiane Jean), her expensive plastic surgeon brother, Dr. Flamand (Helmut Berger), and his GF Natalie (Brigitte Lahaie) are returning from a passionate threesome. An irate ex-patient of Flamand throws acid in Ingrid's face and now the beauty looks like a monster. Fear not Ingrid! Flamand's clinic specializes in facial reconstruction. Bad news for cocaine-head supermodel, Barbara (Caroline Munro) is that Flamand uses the blood and skin of beautiful women to fix his patients. The sizzling Natalie abducts Barbara and deposits her in a padded cell. Natalie loves her job. As Flamand bleeds supermodels to death and uses their skin, Natalie is allowed to rape them just before they die.
Enter Morgan (Christopher Mitchum) He is a tough, but slow and incompetent private-eye. Barbara's dad (Telly Savalas) has hired him to find Barbara. As Barbara is tied up in her cell she will be beaten, stripped and raped at will by her guard. Meanwhile Natalie is sent out to seduce and abduct more beautiful women. As Natalie caresses and undresses the beauties, Flamand drugs them and cuts off their faces in the hopes of giving his sister a new one. Realizing his limitations, Flamand will enlist a monster from history in his quest to restore Ingrid's beauty. As Barbara gets weaker, Natalie envisions raping her, too.
Will Morgan gain an IQ and figure out where Barbara is?  Is there anyone in this film who won't be seduced by Natalie? Will Ingrid's beauty be restored, and if so, will she make love to Natalie or her brother first? Weird, gory, and very surprising, "Faceless" will give you a very uneasy feeling. Ms. Lahoie as the sizzling but evil bisexual nurse turns in one of the most seductive performances in film history.  Not for the squeamish, this Jesus Franco film will seduce and gross you out at the same time.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

A Catch in Time, The Third Reich Still Haunts

It has been several decades since we seemingly rid ourselves of Adolph Hitler and the Third Reich. But have we? The horror of that madness still permeates our horror fiction and films. Though the 1930s and 1940s, in some ways, weren't long ago, it is important to remember that how we communicated was completely different. Both Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt utilized radio to calm and inform a frightened citizenry. Entertainment was used the same way. The biggest stars enthralled Americans and the English with radio comedies, westerns, mysteries, and thrillers. Hence, it is only appropriate that a horror story depicting the greatest terrors of World War 2 be delivered in that same format. Christopher Alan Broadstone's A Catch in Time can now be enjoyed in that same format.
Most of us never connect Colombia to World War 2, or to the madness that swept Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. Sure the Nazis had an "outreach" in South America, fortunately for the free world, they were never able to exploit it. Tatiana is a beautiful young lady that may as well be European. Her glamour and allure seems more out of Paris than Colombia. Her life is not going in a direction she can accept and her future, to her, seems hopeless. She has no clue. Tatiana is about to get a lesson on the true meaning of hopelessness as realized by the European victims of the Nazi horror. Arriving at the same luxury hotel she is staying are Rudolf Hess and many SS cohorts. But why? Hess looks at this sizzling Colombian vixen and wants Tatiana no longer belongs to herself.
The fiercely independent young lady will now fight for her independence. No more of the plot, but it will quickly cascade down a whirlpool of horror and lurid surrealism. As opposed to the films mentioned above, Mr. Broadstone has crafted a horror story of the Nazis as seen through a young woman. What happens to Tatiana is a metaphor for what was happening in Europe at the same time. Staying above the fray, or minding your own business are strategies that Tatiana has no option for. Hess may just be a man, and Tatiana may be a woman of superior IQ and determination, but the Nazi movement is a monster, a seemingly invincible specter.
The serious and sweetly menacing voice that delivers this story is so appropriate to the seriousness and horror of what is taking place at this Colombian hotel. I'm reminded of E.G. Marshall introducing and hosting the CBS Radio Mystery Theater. Mr. Broadstone's voice, like Mr. Marshall's conveyed the terror and suspense that the story promises. Our storyteller exudes the same dread and concern that the nubile Tatiana endured at the hands of her Nazi tormentors. For an old school experience, enjoy Christopher Broadstone as your host as he takes you through a portion of his remarkable horror story of Nazi evils plaguing a beautiful damsel.
To hear Mr. Broadstone deliver his horror story, click on this link A Catch in Time

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Blood Dolls, A Shrunken Head and Black Leather Lingerie

Today we have a Charles Band spectacular. Fans of "The Puppetmaster" films will love 1999's "Blood Dolls." Gratuitous, loud, and not for the polite of heart, this film beckons deviates with weird fetishes...and fans of this blog. What kind of fetishes? A dominatrix clad in leather wielding a whip...if that is something your into. A sultry Asian beauty in lacy black undies in a torture device...gotta keep our Japanese businessmen happy. An all girl rock band clad in black leather, kept in a cage and electrocuted regularly to keep them singing...I swear this blog picks up more and more Japanese fans daily.
Cindy Agami (Naomi McClure) arrives at Travis' mansion sporting a sheen, slightly tight business suit. This will be an unfortunate day for the Asian vixen. After her partner's blood sprays all over her, and she is taunted by a caged all-girl band, she is stripped to her undies, put in a weird machine, tortured, and converted into an 18 inch homicidal doll, wielding daggers and clad in a Rising Sun mini-skirt. See, Travis (a hulk of a man with a shrunken head...don't ask) is upset that rival firms have successfully sued his corporation. To gain vengeance on this injustice, Travis has also converted the presiding judge and prosecutor into his homicidal dolls.  Now Travis sets his sights on his competitors.
Next up for Travis? His competitors. This will be too easy, almost too easy. His dolls go through his competition like crap through a goose, but wait! Moira (Debra Mayer), the wife of one of the competitors, is the real brain behind Travis' competition. She is a dominatrix, frequently clad in black leather, and always armed with a whip. She is smart and has crafted a sure-fire plan to turn the tables on Travis and his killer puppets. As Travis takes her bait, Moira takes charge. Now the killer dolls will be in a fair fight, and Travis will have to put aside his lust and mount a real offensive against his dominatrix foe.  As the hot girl band is tortured into singing about death and pain, our dominatrix' fiendish plan is revealed.
Just what does Moira have planned for Travis? Can the killer dolls really be kept prisoner? Will the once beautiful Cindy Agami, now a dagger wielding killing doll, have her shot at the scheming dominatrix? If this sounds like fun, it is. Unfortunately, this was the only film made by Naomi McClure, but her tortuous demise is one of the most alluring ones ever put on film. Have some fun this week-end, see Charles Band's "Blood Dolls."

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Crypt of the Vampire, Lesbian Vampire and the Karnsteins

Ahhh, that cursed European clan we have heard so much about in Hammer films...the Karnsteins. Vampirism and torment follow them through the centuries. But wait!  This isn't a Hammer film. Nope, this is another Italian horror film. Don't fret Hammer fans, we still have Christopher Lee and some really nubile and buxom lasses Directed by Camillo Mastrocinque, today we look at 1964's  "Crypt of the Vampire" (aka "Terror in the Crypt").
Count Ludwig Karnstein (Lee) hires Friedrick Klaus (Jose Campos) to stay at his castle and research the Karnstein volumes in his library. Ludwig is worried that his quite buxom daughter, Laura (Adriana Ambesi) is the reincarnation of a centuries old witch who has sworn vengeance on the Karnstein clan. Klaus' job is to confirm or disprove this horrifying theory. Bad news, a very beautiful Karnstein niece is drained of her blood nearby and Laura has a memory of being the culprit. Oh yes, a Satan worshiping housekeeper, Rowena (Nela Conjiu), who means well, attempts a Satanic ritual with Laura. Surprise...this doesn't go well. In fact, now it is apparent that the spirit of the witch has possessed Laura.
This is bad news for Klaus, as he has fallen in love with Laura. Meanwhile, Annette (Vera Valmont), a sulrty maid, and paramour of Ludwig spies on Laura for Ludwig. This won't end well for this blonde vixen. Oh, Ljuba (Ursula Davis) arrives mysteriously. Laura and her get close real fast. Bad news for Ljuba...Laura likes her as a friend, but the witch has a lesbian attraction to her. As the possessed Laura gets intimate with the buxom and nubile Ljuba, she bites her new love toy leaving fang marks on her neck. Now the shapely Ljuba is all into Laura. After Annette is murdered and other very gruesome killings occur, Ludwig and Klaus speed up their efforts to solve the mystery and save Laura from the curse of a centuries old evil hag.
The ending will be horrific and surprising. As the film progresses and Laura switches her affection from Klaus to Ljuba, that old Italian eroticism creeps into the story. Will Laura be saved by the apparently slow and incompetent Klaus and Ludwig?  Will Ljuba and Klaus engage in a knock down/ scratch your eyes out fight over the buxom and nubile Laura? What surprises are in store for us in this Italian vampire tale?  The actresses are quite alluring and it is always great to see Christopher Lee. Fans of Hammer films will eat this one up, just as Laura seeks to do with Ljuba. Enjoy "Crypt of the Vampire." 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Dead Wake Anthology, by Ellie Douglas

Take "Night of the Creeps," multiply it by "Jason X," then add in some "Dead Rising" mixed with "Dawn of the Dead." What a recipe...but not finished yet. Throw in a modest (or immodest) amount of eroticism and carnal behavior (the kind Hugh Hefner would've  drooled over) and now you start to have a pretty good idea of what The Dead Wake Anthology by Ellie Douglas can deliver. What, you don't want babes and sex in your horror, don't fret. There's family fun at the mall and cute kids aplenty, albeit soon to'll see.
Okay, there are cute kids and fun at the mall, but one thing this Douglas work has that the aforementioned titles doesn't come close to is the unending cavalcade of brutal gore that extreme zombie fiction can bring. Whether it be the little slimy parasite creatures emanating from the pores of astronauts in the opening tale, "Space Zombies," or a baby chomping his way into life in "No More Coochy Coo," the zombie horror is nicely over-the-top. As "The Walking Dead" wanes in intensity and drama, Ellie Douglas has saved the day for zombie enthusiasts with her collection of stories.
Yep the horror is extreme, though not as extreme as the gore...or maybe the other way around, but Ellie Douglas is not just your ordinary extreme horror writer. Nope, as the flesh is chewed and shoppers at the mall turn into the buffet, we see influences of Erma Bombeck and Louis L' Amour in her story telling. Neither of the aforementioned writers crossed into the taboo, especially with kids, family, and...well...yes babies, but if they did they would have resembled Ellie Douglas. A maternity ward was defiled in the shocking 1970s horror flick "It's Alive," but not to the extent as it is in one of the stories in this tome. Oh yes...I need to mention this...if you found Liam Neeson's latest film "The Commuter" underwhelming, well, just read "Flesh Eaters." Now that is a story and half about an unfortunate commuter.
I think Ellie Douglas is kinda like me. She walks into an ice cream store with her kids and immediately sizes up the surroundings just in case a zombie outbreak seizes the moment. Admit it, you do the same thing.  So instead of delving into a devotional you will not understand, or one of Oprah's boring recommendations, pick up The Dead Awake Anthology, as it is written by someone who understands you.  To order this horrific and quite satisfying work click on this link The Dead Wake .

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Welcome to Willits, Potheads, Aliens, and Dolph Lundgren

Right...I opens pathways and makes us more conscious. Marijuana. Oh sure, society has held on to puritanical laws in order to keep the more sensitive and experimental citizens down. Oh yeah...marijuana is actually good for us. Yep, eases chemotherapy pain and helps fight glaucoma. Never mind the carnage it has caused on AMTRAK or to the brains of many a student...nope, marijuana brings us closer to our god, or to Dolph Lundgren. Hence, 2016's "Welcome to Willits," directed by Trevor Ryan.
Courtney (Anastasia Baranova) has come back to her hometown to spend a week-end with her uncle Brock (Bill Sage) and his GF, Peggy (Sabina Gadecki). Bad idea. Brock's brain shows the wares of decades of pot use and also meth use. Call him more conscious than the common man, or call him a waste-oid. He has an extensive marijuana farm on his property and lets Courtney in on a little secret. See, he wasn't actually in jail for two years...nope. Brock was abducted by vicious aliens who fooled with his brain and gave him the ability to make super-meth. Courtney is skeptical. Oh yes, while this is happening, six nymphomaniacs looking for booze and drugs set up camp near Brock's pot farm.
These six druggies believe it is their fortune to be camped next to a marijuana crop. Big problem! Brock believes homicidal space aliens are about to launch an invasion of his farm...and he's ready. After locking Courtney in a closet, and arming the once beautiful meth-head Peggy, he goes on the offensive to kill the aliens. Of course, when you have had decades of pot use attacking the brain, nymphomaniac campers can look a lot like aliens.  Oh yes, and your god or alien-leader, he can look a lot like Dolph Lundgren.
There will be axe carnage...shotgun carnage...knife carnage...nail carnage...and bear trap carnage. Severed body parts will litter the entire second half of this film. Ms. Gadecki and Mr. Sage steal the show in their portrayals of pathetic marijuana farmers.  Will any of the nymphos survive our wasted duo? Will 'shrooms enter this twisted plot?  Wait!  May the alien invasion be real? Instead of a DARE program, showing "Welcome to Willits" in every school in the nation may be the best anti-drug strategy we can come up with.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Ritual, Wicker Man meets Predator

Surviving a horrific and bloody attack has its pitfalls. Sure, you're alive. Some others didn't make it, but you...well, you live to see another day. However, not all is seashells in balloons in the world of the survivor. Fear, anxiety, and guilt are now you're closest companions.  After all, what gives you the right to survive when other didn't?  A silly question, but one many survivors ask. Life now is different, and the realization that you will never be the same torments you.  Hence, 2017's "The Ritual," a new one on Netflix, directed by David Bruckner.
Luke (Rafe Spall) and four buddies plan their next man's getaway. After deciding on a hike in the Swedish wilderness, Robert (Paul Reid) and Luke head into a liquor store for some vodka. Bad idea as our duo walk in on a violent robbery. Robert will be slaughtered and Luke will survive, hiding behind a display. Fast forward several months, the quartet heads to Sweden with their dearly departed buddy heavy on their minds. Luke is wrought with guilt, feeling he should've done something during the robbery to save Robert. His buddies, well they are polite but secretly wonder if Luke could have done anything except hiding in fear.
After wimp Dom (Sam Troughton) injures his knee, the group takes a shortcut through the woods. Shortcuts, as fans of horror films know, are never a good idea. Soon, some monster, just behind the trees and out of sight, begins stalking them. As the fiend gets closer and the group realizes something is hunting them, the fright turns them on each other. After finding refuge in a mysterious cabin, our friends discover they are in woods occupied by pagan magic. All will have mysterious nightmares and in the morning, while running for survival, the pagan behemoth picks them off one by one and dissects them. Even spoilers here, but here's a hint...did you ever see "The Hills Have Eyes"?
The hard part about surviving a brutal attack is coming to grips with the reality that you will never be the same. That's okay. You have become someone else, or more accurately, you have grown into someone else.  How you handle this will decide if you are a better man now, or still a sniveling victim. When Luke comes to grips with this, the pagans and monster might wish they never messed with these blokes. Shot in Romania, "The Ritual" is a good one. My initial comparison to "Predator" and "The Wicker Man" may not be fair, but Luke's plight is one many can learn from.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Radius, Go Drop Dead!

We have all met people that seem to suck all the energy out of a room every time they open up their mouths. Take that to the extreme and we have 2017's "Radius." This is a good one filled with dozens and dozens of deaths, a myriad of plot twists, and a shocking ending.  Perhaps it is a modern day Grim Reaper tale, or a weird and lurid sci-fi offering. See, its not energy that is sucked out of a room in this new one that has just hit is life itself.
Bang! Crash! So we begin. A car wreck leaves a bloodied and battered Liam (Diego Klattenhoff) at the side of a road with amnesia. With no memory, our hunk desperately tries to flag down a car to  take him to the hospital. Uh oh...a car does come...occupied by a corpse.  As Liam continues his trek to find help he makes an ominous discovery. Anytime he gets within 50 feet of a living dies. Liam is a good soul, though an amnesiac, and this unsettles him. As half of Manitoba falls prey to this mysterious death, Liam secludes himself deep within his property, in a shed. Still with no memory, our protagonist is about to get a surprise. Another amnesiac, the sultry Jane (Charlotte Sullivan) finds her way to him. Here's the surprise...she doesn't die.
Is the torment over?  Of course not. What follows will be shocking and eventually very distressing. Some ungodly force of nature or of the cosmos (you'll see) has bound these two great looking peeps together. If they separate...well...death will return.  What caused this horror?  As the film progresses, this question doesn't seem to matter as much as what has connected Jane and Liam after the accident...and before.  As the cops hunt this pair, believing them responsible for some germ-warfare terrorism, these two desperately try to figure out who they really are and how to stop the death. Slowly their memories  return and what they'll eventually'll see.
Exactly what happened to Liam and Jane to cause this predicament?  Will they be able to stop the death that Liam emanates?  What terrifying facts will both these unfortunates remember regarding what brought them together?  The ending is...well, I won't say.  I will say a deep philosophical question will be posed, which you will ponder long after the final credits.  Directed by Caroline Labreche and Steeve Leonard, "Radius" will prove to be a horrific and quite unsettling sci-fi/horror tale.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Too Beautiful to Die, Not in Italian Horror

In Giallo (Italian horror), no woman is too beautiful to die. In fact, the better looking you are, the gorier will be your demise. Slashed with razors, impaled by pipes, carved up by a maniac...yep...the perfect 10s in Italy will usually be turned into hairy blobs of strawberry ice-cream as a demented fiend humiliates them. Today we take a look at some Italian super-models behaving badly and dying horribly, 1998's "Too Beautiful to Die" (directed by Dario Piana).
A bevy of gorgeous Italian super-models find themselves rubbing each other in a hot tub. Poor Sylvia (Gioia Scola), it is about to turn ugly for her. The clean cut virgin is then gang raped in the tub by her super-model friends and a crusty old Italian politician. She runs out humiliated, no longer a virgin, and will next be seen in all her charred remains in a car at the bottom of a ditch. David is upset, the director of the provocative videos which feature the babes, liked Sylvia a lot. The models must now keep a secret as they do not want to be implicated in Sylvia's death, as an Italian pol was also in the tub.
Needing a replacement, David finds the very hot Melanie (Florence Guerin). Melanie will be perfect for the current video in which the babes don skimpy leather gladiator outfits and misbehave with blades. This carefully choreographed video hits a bump when the steamy and sweaty Leslie (Nora Ariffin) dies in an Iron Maiden torture device.  The spikes were supposed to be phony. Now afraid, the surviving babes sense they are being hunted. Michelle (Helena Jesus) will get stuck with a medieval blade thing, and David seems clueless. Oh yes, Melanie has moved in on the now deceased Leslie...she has taken over her roles and apartment.  After all, the dead Asian beauty won't need them anymore.  Melanie also begins a relationship with David and the two will have some steamy pre-marital sex.
Is Sylvia really dead? After all, her body was burned beyond recognition. How about Melanie? As Sylvia's replacement, she has moved in nicely and the murders didn't begin until her arrival? Will any of these Italian lovelies survive the blade and medieval weapon wielding maniac? This film has gratuitous super-models in hot tub scenes...gratuitous super-model pre-marital sex scenes...gratuitous super-model dance scenes...and gratuitous super-model dying horribly scenes. All the actresses are quite stunning and in true Italian fashion, a nice surprise ending awaits you in "Too Beautiful to Die."

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Vulture, Half Man...Half Bird...Very Radioactive

Oh to be nobility in England.  Living in damp but spacious castles...being referred to as Sir or Lady...and having ancestors that ruled the empire...what can top that?  Of course, having kick-a** ancestors means they probably ticked a few people off centuries ago.  When that happens, the obligatory curse follows, proving to be a bane in the lives of modern day heirs. Fortunately nuclear science was invented, and from America comes hope.  Today we take a peek at "The Vulture" from 1966.
Alas the Stroud family.  In 1749 they declared a Spaniard a satanist, buried him alive in unconsecrated land, and shoved his pet vulture in the coffin to die with him.  I know, we all have done that as part of college pranks, but in the eighteenth century, this was a big deal. Enter Ellen (Annette Carell). She just doesn't listen.  This reasonable woman ventured across a graveyard late one night and witnessed someone...or something...rise out of that Spaniard's grave.  The shock of it turns her hair white overnight and her account convinces the authorities she is completely mad...but is she? Now it is apparent, whatever came out of this grave is a flying monster that rips apart descendants of the Stroud family with razor sharp talons.
Trudy, the librarian look
An arrogant American, Eric (Robert Hutton) arrives.  He is a nuclear scientist and married to Stroud descendant, the lovely...well...kinda plain actually...Trudy (Diane Clare).  Upon hearing of the killings, Eric believes science...nuclear science...can explain the monster.  After familiarizing himself with the particulars of the curse, Eric plays detective.  Brian (Broderick Crawford), the family patriarch, doesn't believe in any curse, and this will cost him dearly when the bird-monster hauls him away for dissection. With the frumpy Trudy next in line to be picked apart, Eric enlists the help of a very weird and suspicious Professor Hans Koniglich (Akim Tamiroff).  As the bird thing gets more aggressive, and Trudy is lured into the open, our scientist better hurry...and beware who he trusts.
An over helpful professor
Will the stunning...okay, so she's only a five at best...Trudy be able to escape a centuries old curse? Is a curse the real culprit here, or is nuclear science to blame? Remember, one nuclear bomb can ruin your whole day.  Directed by Lawrence Huntington, "The Vulture" starts out as a very reserved horror film and then explodes into an ambitious horror/scifi hybrid.  Filmed in beautiful Cornwall, a destination I must visit someday, "The Vulture" is a neat scare.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Teenagers Battle the Thing, No Not Acne

In the decades before smart phones, teenagers were actually equipped to save the world from monstrous invaders. Today, other than posting promiscuous pictures of themselves, high school kids are pretty useless. From 1958, "Teenagers Battle the Thing" reminds us that the acne faced dimwits of today are hardly the heroes their predecessors were. In a "Leave it to Beaver" sort of way, this film is a retelling of 1951's "The Thing From Another World."
Because of budget the classic "The Thing From Another World" left its creature (James Arness) as a tall but underwhelming monster. In our feature today, the gorilla suited fiend is toothy and menacing. Okay, very clean-cut teenagers join the museum's Dr. Wyman (Bill Simonsen) and their science teacher Roger (Bob Clymire) for an archaeological dig near Ivanpah (a quaint place that sells soda pop for a dime). By accident they come across a cave which contains a mummy. With no qualms of disturbing the burial grounds of native peoples, the happy team purloins it and hauls it to a shed in a neighborhood.
The grave-robbers put blankets over it and overnight the thing climbs out of its mummy bandages while the terrified teen Norman (Ken Koepfer) watches. Busting out of the shed, just as James Arness busted out of the Arctic research facility, the creature heads into the lemon grove. After coming across a neighboring home, the monster kills a housewife. Wrought with guilt, the happy team seeks to find the creature and put an end to its reign of terror. No spoilers here...well...maybe just figuring out how to stop this thing's reign of terror, it is clear the teens and their adult companions saw "The Thing From Another World."
Will the fiend be displayed prominently in the kids upcoming yearbook? Will the National Park Service prosecute Dr. Wyman for disturbing tribal lands? How about science teacher Roger, will the school board suspend him for...well...for whatever he did? This is a very low-budget B movie but a lot of fun. The creature was very neat and was scarier than James Arness. For some clean-cut fun and a nostalgic look at the good old 1950s, grab a soda pop and see "Teenagers Battle the Thing," directed by Dave Flocker.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Horror Castle, Torturer of Fair Maidens

One hour into the film, the very buxom Rossana Podesta finally gets dressed. Before she dons a very smart, if not slightly tight business suit, our Euro-babe prances through this flick in a loose, cleavage friendly, white negligee. Whether running through castle corridors, fleeing a 300 year old torturer, or trying to escape from a torture chamber, our damsel in much distress wears that negligee well. So, on to 1963's "Horror Castle," an Italian film, set in Germany and directed by Antonio Margheriti.
Ah, The Virgin of Nuremberg! No not our buxom protagonist Mary (Podesta). No, this moralist from the 17th Century is a torture device resembling an Iron Maiden. As a nubile Euro-babe screams from the inside of this device, Mary is woken. Her new  husband Max (Georges Riviere) is nowhere to be found, so the apparent damsel explores. She finds the The Virgin of Nuremberg with a very bloody corpse of a beautiful woman, who probably wasn't a virgin, inside. See 300 years ago, an ancestor of Max was a torture expert who loved plying his trade on immoral woman. Is he back? Mary will wake up in her room the next morning heavily sedated and assured by Max and a suspicious looking maid (Laura Nucci) that she dreamed the whole thing. Mary knows what she saw and when given more sedatives, fakes taking them.
As Max has apparently left for business, the negligee clad Mary sneaks out of bed to investigate. She finds a bag of surgical/torture tools in the office of Max' assistant, Erich (Christopher Lee). Erich has a scarred face and a creepy demeanor and tells Mary the bag belongs to Max' deceased dad. As Mary begins to be stalked by a masked torturer, she is now on the run, locked in the castle. She'll come across a nubile, but apparently immoral, Euro-babe in the torture chamber whose face was just eaten by a rat. She faints again and wakes in bed with Max assuring her everything is fine (oh yeah, why would anyone think otherwise?).  Knowing what she saw, Mary and her soon to be dead maid-servant attempt to leave the castle. NO ONE LEAVES! Because she has such impressive cleavage, the 300 year old torturer believes Mary to be impure...I guess. Now the fiend sets his sights on the red-headed beauty, but Mary is far from helpless.
Is Max really the torturer, or is it in fact a 300 year old monster?  Will the quite capable Mary give in to Euro-horror stereotypes and need a man to save her?  Is the fact that Mary faces her greatest peril once she has changed out of her negligee into professional attire a misogynistic statement about the role of women in modern western civilization? The answer to the mystery is revealed through a horrific and heartbreaking backstory which explains everything. For some very gratuitous, and very smart horror, treat yourself to "Horror Castle."

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Alien vs. Ninja, Japan Fights for Survival

Forget about the atomic bombs in 1945.  Forget about Godzilla, Gamera, and Mothra. Japan's most precarious moments in history occurred centuries ago when a fireball from space crashed in the woods. Kingdoms, who invaded and attacked with their armies of paid ninjas, were forced to put their differences aside as the ninjas joined forces to fight an alien invasion. Besides, those kingdoms were shredded by the aforementioned aliens. From 2010, the Japanese neoclassic "Alien vs. Ninja."
Fresh from a successful mission of carnage and mayhem a band of ninjas is given a supposedly simple assignment. Go into the woods and investigate a fireball that landed the previous night. Yamata (Masanori Mimoto) heads into the woods with his merry band of killers. There they meet another tribe of ninjas, which include the beautiful and deadly Rin (Mika Hijii). Clad in tight leather, she is constantly sexually harassed by her fellow ninjas...but she is great with a sword.  As the ninjas discuss the fireball a creature begins going through them like crap through a goose. Rin's colleagues are pulled into the ground and pureed. As ninja limbs go flying, and guts splatter on trees the surviving ninjas retreat, regroup and plan. Joining them is Nishi (Yuki Ogoe), a teenager who is the lone survivor of a beset village.
Our survivors set traps which work brilliantly but soon realize there are several aliens who capture ninjas and use them as warm places for their spawn.  More ninjas will be shredded but Rin and Yamata fight well. One alien is impressed with Rin's sultry appearance and desires sex with her. This won't end well for the alien rapist as Rin will eventually castrate it. As the surviving ninjas begin to have success against their tormentors a final confrontation is certain and now it looks like the ninjas have the edge. But wait! The aliens have surprises in store for Rin and Yamata.
Will Rin and Yamata prevail and finish off the invasion force? Do the aroused fiends have something more carnal planned for the nubile but deadly Rin? If the ninjas don't prevail, what will be the fate of Godzilla? This is an action packed horror/scifi flick blending the elements of "Alien" and "Predator." Rin is a most attractive protagonist and many of her ninja moves are quite...well...let us use the word 'alluring' again. Directed by Seiji Chiba, have fun with "Alien vs. Ninja." 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

The Spider Labyrinth, H.P. Lovecraft gives us Spider Monsters

Slimy, tentacled eel-like creatures is what we are used to when H. P. Lovecraft throws one of his monsters at us. Something about tentacled menaces that horrify, and in some cultures, arouse us. I guess a being that can penetrate many orifices at one time does hold some appeal, especially to Japanese nymphomaniacs or businessmen with fetishes. No allure today, at least from the creature community, as we look at 1988's "The Spider Labyrinth." This H.P. Lovecraft tale has been made into an Italian film set in Budapest. Many of you who loved "Dagon," will be up to speed on this one.
Professor Alan Whitmore (Roland Wybenga) is an American expert on Oriental languages. A weird cabal of business leaders and clergy hire him to go to Budapest to find out what happened to the INTEXTUS Project. Alan is afraid of spiders and this will be an important point as the film progresses.  All starts off well as he meets his guide, Genevieve (Paola Rinaldi). The nubile Euro-babe picks Alan up at the airport clad in a nice leather mini-skirt. Genevieve spends the whole film trying to seduce Alan, and often takes off all her clothes and dances. Enough of this frivolous rabbit trail...Alan decides to visit Professor Roth, who has made great strides on the INTEXTUS Project, but has stopped communicating with the aforementioned cabal. This meeting won't go well, as Roth appears to be a raving lunatic yapping about things invading our bodies and taking over.
Alan does collect some photos from Roth and an ancient tablet. Roth is then found hung, not by a noose, but a spider web. At this point Genevieve dances nude for Alan, who has  no clue.  After a hotel maid, the beautiful Maria (Claudia Muzii) tries to warn Alan, she is stabbed in the head by a spider-woman. Cryptic Hungarians then warn Alan that some monster sect that worships a spider god wants to make him one of their own. Everyone who can clear up Alan's confusion is then murdered by the spider-woman creature. As Genevieve steps it up a bit and gets friskier, Alan is put in more peril by a pursuing spider thing.  Then the final 15 minutes of this film, a wild and horrific ride which I will not spoil for you.
Will the sultry and mysterious Genevieve successfully seduce the cold fish Alan? What is the INTEXTUS Project, and does the cabal know more than they are letting Alan in on? Exactly what does this spider monster want with Alan? Weird, ominous, and cerebral "The Spider Labyrinth" (directed by Gianfranco Giagni) is a terrific Giallo Lovecraft flick. Icky and seductive at the same time, H.P. Lovecraft fans and Japanese businessmen will love this film.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Human Experiments, Woman Inmate Meets Mad Scientist

Ah, the best of two worlds. A deranged mad scientist in a women's prison. 1970s drive-in exploitation featuring nubile female convicts beset upon by butch-prison guards and a doctor experimenting in mind control. 1979's "Human Experiments" may seem a bit underwhelming at times, but a brutal beginning and a very icky ending will surely please B movie fans.
A sultry lounge singer, Rachel (Linda Haynes), comes across the scene of a bloody farmhouse massacre. Circumstances work against her and she is arrested and convicted for quadruple murder and given a life sentence. After being strip searched and hosed off, Rachel catches the eye of the evil mad scientist prison doctor, Hans Kline (Geoffrey Lewis). No one in their right mind believes Rachel is innocent, though she is. Hans begins experimenting on Rachel through therapy and drugs.  His goal? Turn a purely evil murderer into a mind numbed moral human drone. Oh yes, a drone who just so happens to follow his every command. Previous babes who have undergone Hans' experiments turned into animalistic fiends and were relegated to padded cells in the prison basement.
As the months progress, Rachel becomes more despondent and decides to attempt escape. But wait! Not all is as it seems. Betrayals, tarantulas, huge centipedes, and mind control drugs converge on our beautiful inmate.  Hans better be careful as he thinks Rachel is a murderer. However, just what happens when this therapy is used on a non-violent and innocent lounge singer?
Will the vulnerable and nubile Rachel be able to repel the advances of the warden and guards? What will Hans turn her into? It should be noted that Ms. Haynes also appeared in the Robert Redford prison reform film "Brubaker." Perhaps "Human Experiments" may be termed the female version of "Brubaker," but the addition of a mad scientist into the plot makes this a much more appealing film. See "Human Experiments," directed by Gregory Goodell.