Friday, August 31, 2018

Inn of the Frightened People, Perverts Judging Perverts

We've seen it before.  Schmucks with a fool-proof plan to pull off the perfect crime.  They may have logic and probability on their side, but as we know, chaos and Murphy's Law rear their ugly heads. If the perfect plan is intended to get away with torture and murder, the consequences of something going very wrong can be fatal.  Today we take a peek at a gritty Joan Collins film, 1971's "Inn of the Frightened People" (aka "Revenge").
After Jim (James Booth) and Carol's (Collins) little girl is abducted, raped. and murdered by a slimy pedophile, they have a hard time grieving.  Then, Jim and his son Lee (Tom Marshall) join forces with their friend Harry (Ray Barrett), who's daughter was also murdered by this fiend,  in a plot for revenge.  The police have released the killer, Seely (Kenneth Griffith) for lack of evidence, and our trio intend to grab him and torture a confession out of him.  What could go wrong? They do grab him in a very sloppy display of criminal activity and secure him in the basement of Jim's pub.  Soon Carol discovers the men in the pub's basement and has to be restrained.  Now what?  This is a good question which Jim, Lee, and Harry hadn't given much thought to.
After severe beatings, Seely is on the brink of death.  Uh oh, friction is in the ranks as Harry, Lee, and Jim disagree about what to do with their pervert.  Double uh oh...Lee and Carol, his stepmom, have a sexual relationship unbeknownst to Jim.  The plot gets more complicated when the police haul in another suspect for the murders of the girls. As the men come up with complicated and way-out ideas for what to do with Seely, doubt as to Seely's guilt starts playing on them.  As Carol's relationship with Lee explodes into the plot, and the police begin looking for the missing Seely, desperation guides our ill-equipped criminal enterprise.
Is Seely the murderer?  Will Jim find out about his wife and son's sexual betrayal?  Will Jim, Lee, and Harry's incompetence get anyone else killed?  This is a fast-paced murder mystery that will not make any feel-good film lists. Directed by Sidney Hayers, "Inn of the Frightened People" is a shocker with some stellar performances and dire warnings to good people who are thinking of becoming criminals.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Lower Level, A Hillary We are Cheering For

Unlike many battered, bruised and humiliated women in the 1990s, Elizabeth Gracen's sex with Bill Clinton was consensual. Unbeknownst to Hillary, the then Governor of Arkansas was enjoying extra-marital relations with former Miss America, Ms. Gracen. Hardly a sympathetic victim, Hillary didn't earn sympathy or affection from the beauty queen turned actress. In 1991 "Lower Level" would be released. Elizabeth Gracen would star in this thriller and portray a sultry architect beset by a sex-crazed psycho (, not Bill Clinton). Can you guess what Ms. Gracen's character is named? Yes! Hillary!
Sultry architect Hillary and her unsatisfying boyfriend Craig (Jeff Yagher) are the last to leave the building late at night. Our beauty designed this structure and she also loves to write her deepest most intimate thoughts in her diary. Enter security guard Sam (David Bradley). Entranced by Hillary and the thought of loving her he traps her and Craig in the parking garage. Hillary and Craig stop bickering and engage in pre-marital sex as Sam watches on surveillance cams. Afterwards, Sam makes sure Craig has an elevator accident and moves in on his object of desire. Oh yes, Sam is eager to be alone with Hillary and when he finds another amorous couple in another elevator, he turns homicidal.
It doesn't take Hillary long to figure out she is in danger. As Sam starts quoting her diary entries and shoots to death a pair of maintenance men, Hillary realizes she needs to run for her life. Sam is unrelenting and pursues his love interest all over the skyscraper. Unbeknownst to Sam, he failed to kill Craig who is now conscious again and determined to rekindle the spark with the former Miss America. With several kills under his belt in the pursuit of Bill Clinton's mistress, Sam will stop at no carnage to keep Hillary from Craig and also any other man. Guns, shards of glass, paper-cutters, elevators, and a bear-trap will figure prominent in the war between  damsel and madman.
Will Sam ever make Hillary believe that he is the only man for her? Will Craig pull himself out of the bottom of the elevator shaft in time to save Hillary's virtue?  Is the sexual-psycho Sam merely a foretelling of the the eight years of the Clinton reign? This is a pretty good thriller and whenever Sam or Craig yell "Hillary," we thank our lucky voting ballots that Elizabeth Gracen starred in this film rather than Hillary Clinton! Directed by Kristine Peterson, enjoy "Lower Level."

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Vineyard, Wine plus Human Blood Equals Eternal Life

A moody Merlot...some aged brie...blessings from a Mayan wind god and a bit of voodoo. That's all we need for achieving eternal life. The quest for eternal life, at least on this side of the grave, usually doesn't go well. Living long doesn't always translate to wisdom, sometimes it is only an opportunity to royally screw things up and make bigger mistakes. In 1989's "The Vineyard," we will meet a man who seems to have attained eternal life...but with some catches.
Dr. Elson Po (James Hong) operates a vineyard on his California island. Uh oh...he's been around for centuries. In his basement (dungeon, actually), he has a lot of beautiful women strung up as he utilizes their blood for a potion that keeps him young. Enter a group of great looking young actors and actresses. Po is also a movie producer and lures the talent to his island under the guise of making a film. In reality, he needs the blood of the beautiful. Wouldn't you know it, a sultry blonde, Jezebel (Karen Lorre), just happens to be the anointed bride-to-be- of the Mayan wind god. After the group arrives, Po wines and dines them, charms them, entertains them, then hits the voodoo and Mayan magic.
 This will be unfortunate for much of the talent. In her underwear, Claudia (Cheryl Lawson) will have spiders crawling out her orifices. Her room mate Celeste (Sherri Ball) will be grabbed and strung up in the dungeon. A couple hunks will either be decapitated or have some acupuncture mishaps. Now Po goes after Jezebel. He puts her in some spell and gets her agree to eternal life. Jezebel doesn't understand that a dagger to the heart will be part of this process. Oh yeah, some magical force is controlling dozens of zombies buried in shallow graves among the grapes. As Jezebel falls deeper and deeper into Po's spell, her surviving friends mount up an offensive. Uh oh, some unseen force secreted within Po's mansion has summoned the zombies.
Even with eternal life, will Jezebel age well, or will Po likely tire of her? What of the beauties strung up in Po's dungeon, and do they have a chance at revenge? Just who...or controlling the zombies and will the undead creatures feast on the surviving talent or on Po and his men? This is a fun one which was directed by Mr. Hong and William Rice. The cast is great looking and not all will fare well, I'm afraid. For some zombie/voodoo/Mayan deity/ red wine fun, see "The Vineyard."

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Death Walks at Midnight, Fashion Model Beset by Psycho

Ah, the ravishing Nieves Navarro. Because of her proclivity to jiggle in the right places, she lights up Giallo. Sadly, her fate in "Death Walks on High Heels" was death by drowning. Two years later, with much of the same cast and husband director Luciano Ercoli, we have 1972's "Death Walks at Midnight." Instead of an exotic dancer, Ms. Navarro plays a super-model in much peril. Beacause she is so stunning, we are pulling for this Euro-babe to survive a most brutal killer...and some misguided relationships.
In a major league judgment error, super-model Valentina (Navarro) agrees to be injected with HDS (think LSD). Gio (Simon Andreau), a pulp reporter has paid the beauty $300 to capture the event for an exclusive news story. The vixen is injected and trips out. Uh oh, Valentina doesn't see bright colors jumping, she sees a murder. Her vision is of a weird looking man with a spiked glove pummeling the face of a beautiful woman, leaving more holes in it every time he throws a punch. When she comes back down to earth, she is assured her visions were merely drug induced. Double uh oh, Valentina begins seeing the killer in her visions stalking and pursuing her. Still, no one believes her.
Enter the equally ravishing, but not entirely sane Verushka (Claudie Lange). She abducts Valentina and tells her about a murder which occurred six months ago that matches her hallucination. She brings Valentina to an asylum where the killer is incarcerated, but this is not the man in her visions. When Verushka ends up with a knife through her sternum, the Police Inspector Serino (Carlo Gentili) suspects our desperate beauty of the carnage.  As Gio seems to be Valentina's only friend, she struggles to get even him to believe her.  As bodies pile up, and more babes meet tortuous fates, the menace closes in on Valentina. Wearing a spiked glove, the monster has very nefarious plans for our super-model's face.
Was Valentina's drugged out vision a psychic experience? Are Valentina's boyfriends, including Gio, psychos? I know...aren't they all. Is the answer to this mystery at that insane asylum that may have triggered Verushka's demise? Ms. Navarro is excellent as a beautiful damsel in much peril. Knowing her fate in "High Heels" makes us all really pull for this Euro-beauty. After all, in Giallo, no one is too beautiful to die. For some neat horror and mystery thrills, see "Death Walks at Midnight."

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues, Sea Monster and Uranium

Dr. Ted Stevens (Kent Taylor) says it best, "Nature has many secrets that man must not disturb." We all know what will happen if we disturb nature's secrets. Yep! Sea monsters will come and eat swimmers...happens all the time. At first glance 1955's "The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues" appears to be a standard scifi/horror B movie. Directed by Dan Milner, our film today has a lot of likable plot devices that make it a very enjoyable watch. Beautiful damsels, square-jawed hunk heroes, and a sultry femme-fatale all add to this flick's allure.
Okay, Professor King of the Pacific College of Oceanography is our mad-scientist that has activated a uranium deposit just off the California coast. This is bad news for several divers and fishermen. Enter Dr. Stevens and G-man William Grant (Rodney Bell). They have picked up on the radiation and begin investigating Prof. King. Meanwhile a sea creature guards the uranium and kills any diver or fisherman who gets close. Ah yes, the Soviets want Prof. King's secrets on radiation experiments. Enter the sultry spy Wanda (Helene Stanton). With one seductive glance Wanda can get any man to kill for her. She has seduced George (Phillip Pine), Prof. King's assistant. With a trusty spear gun, George kills people in search of Prof. King's secrets.
Enter Prof. King's nubile daughter Lois (Cathy Downs). Ted will fall in love with her, but her inclusion in the plot is unnecessary...other than she is very pretty...and that's okay. As the vixen/spy Wanda, the feds, and Ted Stevens close in on Prof. King's secrets, he grows desperate. Soon Prof. King's experiments begin to cause death on a wider scale and he realizes the thing is out of control. As Wanda puts on a very revealing white swimsuit, George is tasked to become more homicidal. As for Lois...well, we'll be treated to her trying on a number of alluring sun dresses.
Will Prof. King's Uranium experiments lead to a Pacific Ocean filled with monsters and radiation? Will Wanda and Lois engage in a cat-fight in the interest of the cold war between the Soviets and the U.S.? Were the 1950s swimsuit and sun dress fashions influenced by this film? For a lot of fun as the summer comes to an end, enjoy "The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues." 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Metelitsa: Winter of the Dead, Zombies in Russia

Great quotes from Russian Cinema? Here is the one that we have all heard, "F#@K! There are zombies! That's Resident Evil...everyone dies at the end." Yep, the keynote oration from "Battleship Potemkin." Er...actually, it is from 2012's "Metelitsa: Winter of the Dead." True poetry on film! Filmed in Belarus, directed by Nikolai Pigarev, this zombie film may be a metaphor of Vladimir Putin's crusade against a grouchy all-girl band and all free thinking Russians...but probably just a bloody zombie flick from a land with a fast-growing sense of humor.
Summer in Russia...and its snowing! Constantine (Michael Borzenkov) is a Moscow reporter sent to an unidentified Russian city to cover some protest. Uh oh, the summer snow isn't the only messed up phenomenon. The dead are coming back to life and within hours the entire population are zombies except for a motley crew of Russians. Constantine immediately joins up with teen rollerblader, Iskra (Tatyana Zhevnova) who kills zombies with a nail gun. Also, Khan (Sergey Shirochin) oil industrialist who is running for governor. He takes the occasion of a zombie apocalypse to film a campaign add promising to restore the region to normal. As Khan and his bodyguards (who will all be eaten) fight for their survival, Constantine and Iskra (who is also Khan's daughter) seem to be trapped.
Enter Igor (Dmitriy Kozhuro), the last surviving soldier...and his machine guns. He saves our duo, but then he'll need rescuing. Enter Dariya (Yuliya Yudintsova) who is taking on the zombie apocalypse in a little black dress and stiletto heels. This is Khan's trophy wife and Igor is her lover. Iskra sees her as a mortal enemy, but this motley crew of survivors will have their hands full killing the undead and surviving an inconvenient apocalypse. As the snow gives way to a night fog, decapitated zombie heads fly through the city as Father Michael (Aleksandr Abramovich) and his axe joins the survivors. As all looks hopeless our gang come up with a plan and perhaps a theory of why all this is happening.
Will Khan's election chances depend on American meddling? Will Iskra and Dariya put there differences aside and work together to defeat the horde of undead, or will they engage in a cat-fight? Will the snowy apocalypse spread to Moscow and all parts west? Fast-paced and bloody, this Russian gore-fest is a neat little zombie flick that looks big-budget. For some neat zombie drama from the land no longer behind an 'iron-curtain,' see "Metelitsa: Winter of the Dead."

Monday, August 20, 2018

Down By Kontact, The Living Dead Live

Recently, one of the godfather's of horror was taken from us. George Romero! Appropriately, even in death he lives in the hearts of every horror fan who has been shocked by his zombie films. Fortunately, unlike his zombies, he isn't eating our hearts. My good buddy Matthew Myers has given us a nice homage to Mr. Romero. In a terrifying comic book, "Down By Kontact," Mr. Myers has used influences of "Night of the Living Dead," "Dawn of the Dead," and I maintain a tip of the hat to "Shaun of the Dead" in this work.
 This is a comic book (okay...graphic novel, if you must) and hits us in black and white (Dixie Filloy does some great work here). What is important here is the use of the black and white medium. To say it is a reference to "NOTLD" is an over-simplification. Mr. Myers and Dixie Filloy utilize it to seduce us into a false sense of security. Don't be fooled, the reds...deep reds, may not be present, but the detailed artwork activates our minds and allows our own minds to enhance the experience in all its gore, real and imagined. As our story begins, all is good. Like all zombie will deteriorate quickly. This is extra sad because Mr. Myers introduces u to some likable blokes who could be us. Too bad for these chaps they missed the opening scene (you'll see). They sleep late, drink a lot of beer, smoke, and behave like the age of 54...I can still relate. They also pick up a sultry barmaid and go party in the woods.
Boom! Isolated in their own forest party they miss the start to the end of the world. They'll emerge to a Romero-esque zombie apocalypse. However immature our boys....and barmaid are, the end of the world does something to the good-at-heart. The flesh ripping horror that besets them will take its toll on our quintet, but a plot device from Mr. Myers will change their priorities. Amidst the sacrifice of life and limb, our schmucks turned hero-wannabes will have a chance at redemption (albeit, a lot earlier in life than they would've liked). Okay, the world was good...the world ended...then...well, you'll see.
No spoilers for the ending but when you get there it will take you a couple days to figure out what exactly happened. Sure, the story ended with a gut-wrenching, blood soaked finale. However, the very last page not only wrapped up this story, but if you look real close, perhaps Mr. Myers meant it to be a salute to Mr. Romero. George Romero won't be climbing out of his, at least I don't think he will...but Mr. Myers has put together a comic which pays great homage to much of his work. In that respect, George Romero lives on in the minds of all of us horror fanatics. "Down By Kontact" is a zombie story you need to read...and experience. To order this work click on the link below:
Down By Kontact

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Green Inferno, Frolicking in the Amazon

Every theologian now agrees, true Nirvana is when "...our ashes are scattered in the river and gathered by the spirit of the Anaconda of Peace." There, some straight forward theology for all of us simple-minded souls. Hence today's feature, 1988's "The Green Inferno" (no, not the Eli Roth one). Heavy on anaconda and shrunken head carnage, and light in the 'cohesive plot' department, our feature today wasn't messing around in its quest for an audience, as it is sometimes titled "Cannibal Holocaust 2." Just add 'cannibal' and/or 'holocaust' in your title, and this will make people like me watch it, even if it is a sitcom chronicling the relationship between Gretchen and Miles.
Professor Korenz has been missing in the Amazon jungle (rain forest for you enlightened souls) for a long time. Enter Jemma (May Deseligny). She hosts a TV show, "Beyond Fantasy." Unlike Josh Gates and Darrel Miklos on the Discovery Channel, she intends to solve her mysteries. Believing the old geezer is still alive she enlists the help of three losers; Pete the anthropologist (Pio Maria Federici), Mark the surfing hunk (Fabrizio Merlo) and Fred the pilot (Marco Merlo). These three blokes steal a plane and join Jemma in Colombia where she has just been given a graphic lesson on shrinking heads...that'll make fine TV. Down the river they go following clues.
Our quartet make friends along the way as they save monkeys, pull cannibal fish out of anus' of natives (really), and eat maggots. Uh oh, they run afoul of the efforts of river pirates looting gold from the jungle. These fiends demonstrate a method of castration in which snakes bite off the tally-whackers of the formerly virile and potent. We'll meet boars, big spiders, lots of anacondas, piranhas, bats, and other various very poisonous jungle fiends. As our three guys sashay their way through perilous adventure, the nubile Jemma must fend off the advances of headhunters and even have to act like a woman at times. As they get close to finding the professor, the evil river pirates and headhunters close in on them.
Will the Amazonian headhunters subject Jemma to the whims of the anaconda god? Will our three hunks eschew their surfing and skiing culture long enough to avoid snake-castration? Is the drippy old professor even worth their efforts? All in the effort of good TV, "Beyond Fantasy" looks like a show we would actually enjoy. So listen up Josh Gates and Darrel Miklos, before going on your next hunt for mysteries, watch Jemma in "The Green Inferno" and see how it is done. Directed by Antonio Climati, this Italian horror film, shot in the Colombian jungle, is worth a view.

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Legend of Spider Forest, Nazis and Arachnids

When the heart does the thinking, the brain turns to peanut butter. To be more specific, the blood coagulates causing clots, eliminating oxygen to the brain. Paralysis sets in as the nervous system goes haywire. Adrenaline levels spike to unhealthy amounts and if you can keep consciousness, well you will suffer a most tortuous death. Hence 1971's "The Legend of Spider Forest" (aka "Venom"), directed by Peter Sykes.
A man and a woman frolicking through the forest. The lovebirds come to a lake and engage in passionate skinny-dipping. Then to shore where the woman seduces and passionate pre-marital sex occurs. Skinny-dipping is never a good idea, especially if your partner is some sort of spider-goddess. Yep, the boy will die horribly during the mating. Okay, Paul (Simon Brent) comes to this small German town to paint. Upon painting by a brook, he meets the lovely Anna (Neda Arneric). The joke may be on him as he doesn't know she is a spider-goddess. After she disappears into the woods, he returns to the town pub and inquires. This gets the attention of Ellen (Sheila Allen). This is a very mediocre film, so let us chat about Ellen. She is an exclamation point clad in leather.
Ellen wants to know what Paul knows about Anna. To get this information she will engage in very passionate and rough pre-marital sex with him. She will later rape Paul in the forest...though Paul will enjoy it. Ellen is sent by her dad, Frau Huber (Gerard Heinz) to figure out who Paul is and why he's asking all sorts of questions. Meanwhile, our spider-goddess seems to be falling in love with Paul and keeps finding him. Ellen will follow Paul around with a riding crop and a leather outfit and engage in a few whipping scenes. Ellen warns Paul to leave town, but Paul is infatuated with the nubile goddess. Whatever secrets Paul wants to know about, Ellen is in on, but she's not talking. Uh oh...we are let in on a secret germ lab in the spider-goddess' home, run by a Nazi.
What relationship is Anna to the Nazi mad-scientist? Is Anna really a monster? Will Ellen, clad in leather, clutching a riding crop, engage in a cat-fight with the spider-goddess? Ellen is the highlight of this film as our protagonist Paul just annoys us with his arrogance.  For some interesting British horror see "The Legend of Spider Forest," and enjoy Ellen's violent persona (Paul certainly did).

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Lift to Hell, The Ghost of Revenge

From China, a ghost story! Yeah, yeah, we'll have our obligatory references to ancestors and water, but we can ignore those. Ghost stories from Asia are always so spooky. Throw in a really old hospital, hunk doctors, beautiful nurses and we have a demented 'General Hospital' type plot. Okay, maybe not, as the plot in this one is hardly standard soap opera, but one that lends itself to murder and carnage. Hence 2013's "Lift to Hell" (aka "18 Floors Underground"), directed by Jingwu Ning.
Nurse Ma (Qing Yang) is a haunted soul, that much is ascertained from her facial expressions. She'll leave her shift late at night, hop into the elevator and it all begins. Exactly what happened to this veteran nurse is not so clear, at least in the early part of this film. The elevator will drop to sub-level 18 (a neat trick, as this hospital only has two sub-levels. Her body will be found as the lift then returns to the lobby. Uh oh, the old and insane former doctor, Hu (Hongxiang Cai) will be next. Both these unfortunate souls received correspondence stating "Today it is your turn." The very dashing Dr. Lin (Blue Cheng-Lung Lan) is curious. He has seen a ghost while spying on  his sultry nurse girlfriend, Bai Jie (Chrissie Chau). The very educated peeping-Tom witnessed a ghost follow Nurse Ma into the elevator.
Lin begins asking questions and investigating. Vengeful ghosts are not amused by the curious. The beautiful Bai Jie emerges as a stunning damsel in much distress as indications suggest the ghost has a connection with her. But wait! Is she a damsel in much distress or is her relationship with the ghost something more conspiratorial? It doesn't take Lin long to trace the victims back to an awful incident at the hospital back in 1985. Doctors and nurses who were in on the decades old travesty aren't faring well, as you can imagine. As Lin plows further into the past he realizes that those he is most close to are in mortal danger. As we visit the past through flashbacks and the creepy sub-level 18, our ghost friend closes in on more of the guilty.
Will Lin end up on the ghost's list of enemies? Is the beautiful Nurse Bai Je in mortal danger, or is she someone to run away from? What did happen in 1985, and is there a connection to Dr. Lin...even though he was only an infant back then? Dr. Lin and Nurse Bai Je make a very attractive couple and we desire them both to survive the malicious specter. Yep, it is a 'sins of the past will come back to kill you' type plot.  Fans of Asian horror may find this one a bit tame, but the plot may creep you out next time you visit a hospital. 

Monday, August 13, 2018

Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan, The Death of Grizzly Adams

Give them diversity classes, anti-bullying lectures, and psychotropic drugs...good luck. At risk youths (aka juvenile delinquents) will most likely get worse and become adult maniacs. The only sure fire cure is to send them out into the wilderness and let them battle deadly monsters. Then if they survive (a big if), they may rehabilitate. We've seen this of late in Ticks and Sabertooth . Today we look at 2013's "Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan." This horror tale is sure to make all you folks in Minnesota wince.
As our story begins it is 1864 and Paul Bunyan (a monstrosity of a man, played by Chris Hahn) takes Grizzly Adams (Dan Haggerty) and shreds him on a logging table saw. He also rips apart the inhabitants of a Minnesota logging camp. Present day! Ms. K (Kristina Kopf) is a social worker who will bring five 'at-risk' yutes into the wilderness. Also tagging along is the drill sergeant-like corrections officer Sgt. Hoke (Thomas Downey). The at-risk gang features some great looking kids including the amorous Trish (Jill Evyn) and hunk Zack (Jesse Kove). These two will waste little time getting naked and attempting pre-marital sex...can you guess their fates? Not long after reaching the woods and beginning a hike, the kids find a bull's horn, not realizing it was Paul Bunyan's memorial to Babe the Blue Ox.
With the memorial desecrated, Paul Bunyan, now 25 feet tall, grabs a large axe and starts hunting down the yutes and Ms. K. Oh yeah...Sgt. Hoke will be cut in half (east to west) and Trish will be cut in half (north to south) too. Now on the run, Ms. K must figure out how to survive and battle a monster. But wait! CB (Amber Connor) is one of the at-risk kids and she is a spitting image of Paul Bunyan's old sweetheart, Marybelle. However homicidal, old Paul still has a soft spot for this beauty. Whatever affection he may hold for Marybelle, Paul and his axe continue to menace and dice the teenagers.
Will Paul Bunyan reclaim his lost love after over a century and a half? Will Ms. K, a diminutive social worker, be able to turn herself into a ruthless monster hunter? Will CB's refraining from pre-marital sex on this hike save her from being cut in half? The gore and creature effects highlight this film which many of you might have seen on the Syfy Channel. Directed by Gary Jones, "Axe Giant: The Wrath of Paul Bunyan" is a neat monster flick with some great looking, albeit doomed, characters.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Contamination .7, Emanuelle vs. The Trees

Laura Gemser mesmerized men...and the exotic beauty 'Emanuelle.' Her allure and beauty seduced many a man...and her films. Alas, when her husband died Ms. Gemser left acting and emerged a costume designer. One of the first films she designed wardrobes for was 1993's "Contamination .7" (aka "The Crawlers"). Though filmed in Utah, this is really an Italian horror film, directed by Fabrizio Laurenti and Joe D'Amato. Perhaps not the best film ever made, with some sub-par acting, but this movie is better than "Ready Player One" and every actor in it is better than Mila Kunis.
The beautiful (okay, she's kinda mousy and her facial features are too big for her face) Josie (Mary Sellers) returns home to her small mountain community from the big city. Obviously a failure, she runs back to her old beau, Matt (Jason Saucier), a failure who didn't leave town. Oh yes, the nuclear power plant is dumping waste into the woods. Oh, the trees are soaking it up. By the way, the workers at the plant and townspeople are smartly clad in an assortment of colors and styles. The nubile Susan, fleeing a rapist runs into the woods and is grabbed by tree roots who squeeze her to death and infest her formerly beautiful body. Dr. Taylor (Bubba Reeves), the smartly dressed drunk power plant scientist, tries to warn the power plant officials about the radiation and realizes he has run into a major cover-up conspiracy.
The roots continue to attack. They entangle two smartly dressed assassins, a dapper woman feeding her horses, a sophisticated clad drunk, and a handsomely clad deputy in a graveyard. The mousy Jodie, in a very cosmopolitan looking wardrobe, teams up with an appropriately clad Matt. The two find an investigative reporter, who is also smartly dressed, and Dr. Taylor and this quartet will lead a rag-tag, but well dressed, posse of townspeople against the monster tree roots. All out war will break loose, and even Paula (Jaymzlinn Saxton) the town whore, modestly clad in prostitute garb, will grab a shovel and help out. Many will die, but the effort will be heroic.
Will Josie and her enlarged facial features be able to lead the smartly dressed mountain community against the radioactive monsters? Will the radioactive tree roots spread out of Utah and infest all of the Pacific Northwest? Could this film have ever been made but for the expert costume design of our favorite 'Emanuelle,' Laura Gemser. In defense of this film, though the first hour is slow and awkward, the last 30 minutes are fast-paced and filled with stylish shirts, blouses, and trousers. Enjoy Ms. Gemser's wardrobe efforts in "Contamination .7."

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Heart, Presented by Movie Massacre

Horror comics have a burden not easy overcome. The story must be scary and so does the artwork. Sure, one needs great talent to draw a horrific fiend or some gratuitous gore, but the exact shades of color, almost surreal quality of the figures, and a backdrop that enhances the spooky surrealism must all be meshed to add the exclamation point to the horror experience.  My buddy Attila Kiss is one such artist that delivers all of this in horror comics. With the assistance of Marie Philippova and Greg Woronchak, the short (20 page) story "The Heart" is delivered in a style that will give the weak of heart nightmares. In this blood curdling tale, irony will be delivered in blood soaked story-telling, not for the faint-of-heart (Ha, there, I mentioned  'heart' again).
The story spirals into horrific terror from page one. Deep in the German wilderness, Daniel has committed a murder of biblical proportion. The results will yield a secret criminal society bent on preying on anyone who wanders into their domain. Throw in some gratuitous homicides...perhaps some ritualistic abominations, and then the dame. Ah Susanne! Daniel is in love, and Susanne is all too willing to...well, you'll see. In horror, marital bliss and love often take unexpected turns and when babies are spoilers here, but we'll skip ahead.
Years later, the Nazi horror is moving through Europe. An evil goddess/seductress needs a heart for...well, you can figure that one out. Her schmuck Lothar, who desires sex with her, is just the guy for the assignment. Now on a mission for a heart, our schmuck seems to be an eternal failure. He is an opportunist, and now he may have a line on a heart which he can dig out of its rightful owner and bring to his deity/love. Murder for ritualistic and courtship purposes never goes smoothly and our homicidal, cultist Lothar may have some uncomfortable surprises in store for him. What results is a horrific ending to a terrifying story, taking place in setting gone mad.
 The artistic effort in this comic book, matched with an extremely horrific story makes "The Heart" a must read. Every frame is relentless in delivering scares. For more information on "The Heart" presented Movie Massacre  visit the below listed link:
Movie Massacre
The Heart book on Amazon

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor, Mutants and Foreplay

The 1990s was a dreary decade for films. The only saving grace for movies lodged in straight-to-VHS spectaculars. Hence today's film, 1990's "Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor." Okay...this film is set forth with some great quotes. First, as the sultry Dr. Nancy (Katherine Romaine) rubs up against handsome geneticist Dr. Michael (George Gerard) in a lab full of space mutants, he gets amorous...and she tells him "Please dear, not in front of the mutants."  What happened? Well a few minutes later, explaining what happened in the lab to a 'clean-up' crew, her quote is "He was working on one of the mutants and it bit him." Rule number 7 in a genetics lab containing space-mutants, and we all know it, is never make-out while mutants are not secured. Let us not be too hard on the very pretty Dr. Nancy, as this is a lesson we have all learned the hard way.
The Talos Corporation is experimenting with alien DNA from another planet. The aforementioned scientists, Nancy and Michael, believe their experiments will cure all disease and enable the world population to live together in harmony and peace (yawn!). The evil Dr. Viallini (Marcus Powell) has a better idea...create a weapon that will kill whole populations (yes!). While feeling each other up, Michael gets bitten by a toothy mutant and his metamorphosis quickly begins. In no time at all, Michael will be a slimy, fanged creature with tentacles that spits out alien balls which bite and urinate on earthlings. The new Michael, not as amorous as the old Michael, then starts eating Talos employees including a security guard. Uh oh, that unfortunate security guard has two beautiful daughters, Sherry (Tara Leigh) and Kim (Dianna Flaherty). These nubile babes head over to Talos when their dad doesn't come home.
In cover-up mode, Dr. Viallini calls in two henchmen to kill everyone, everything, and get rid of evidence. This will be a daunting task as the former Michael gets loose as do the other toothy mutants. As the two daughters sneak into Talos, the facility goes into quarantine one gets out. In no time at all, the creature is hunting the two damsels and even the henchmen...and everyone who remains in the building. The creature is slimy, big, and will remind you of the fiend in "John Carpenter's The Thing." Oh yes...Dr. Nancy? Well, you'll see, but it will be very sad. As the two perky and attractive daughters run from the mutants, they become very resourceful, and...well, again, no spoilers here, but a war will be fought that could determine if we survive as a species.
Will the amorous Dr. Nancy put her hormonal needs aside for a few minutes and join the war against her former boyfriend-turned-mutant? Will our toothy creature seek intimacy with Dr. Nancy, just like it did when it was Michael the handsome geneticist? Will the cheerleader-like Sherry and Kim be able to craft a battle plan that will save Earth from mutant creatures? This is a good one and may be one of the best films ever to come out of the 1990s. Directed by Glenn Takakjian, "Metamorphosis: The Alien Factor" is a powerhouse scifi/horror epic.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Playing With Dolls: Bloodlust, Metalface Goes Reality TV

This is the sequel to "Metalface." Yep, where "Metalface" was the experimental phase... 2016's "Playing With Dolls: Bloodlust" has moved the insaniac to the exploitation phase...reality TV! Sadly Cindy (Natasha Blasick) from the original film is nowhere to be found. The beautiful Ukrainian had an ambiguous fate in "Metalface," but her absence in this one suggests she was torn to pieces. No worries...the sultry Swedish/Latvian actress, Karin Brauns, graces this Rene Perez film. Will she survive a fiend and her 15 minutes of fame in reality TV?
Saved by the bell...or cell phone. Just before Stina (Brauns) accepts a job exotic dancing at a strip club (while her four-year old child waits in the car), her phone rings offering her a gig on a reality show. She accepts, as does the ultimate skank Nico (Elonda Seawood) who is anxious to show her breasts to America, the dimwitted ex-soldier Magnus (Colin Bryant), and the intellectual-wannabe Rodrigo (Andrew Espinoza Long). The show? Survive a slasher film. Uh oh...not really a show but pure reality. Brought to a remote wooded location, Metalface awaits. Controlled by an evil rich guy, the watcher (Richard Tyson), he sets his fiend loose on the quartet. Nico is so happy to dance around, tease the camera with promises of nudity, and shower. Can you guess how long she will last or the chances of her dying with her clothes on?
Stina, our buxom exotic dancer (are there any other kinds?) emerges as our favorite and best candidate for final girl. Uh oh for Metalface, Magnus shows an ability to realize what is really going on. Nevertheless our monster uses sledgehammers, hacksaws, and other logging equipment to inflict pain and torture before death. He already has a collection of nubile babes who he has reduced to dissected torsos. Seemingly outmatched by the evil hulk, Stina plods on...screams a lot, does some gratuitous dancing, and plays the damsel in much distress really well. Now Metalface falls in love with her, but his way of showing it may be worse than a tortuous death.
Is Stina really the only survivor? WIll Stina be impaled and loved by creature and displayed on several different trees? How about Magnus, will he emerge as a hero, or foil to the evil Metalface? If Stina does survive, will she have to answer to Social Services for leaving her toddler in the car while she goes into a strip-joint? Receiving only a 2.5/10 rating om IMDB, "Playing With Dolls: Bloodlust" is a fine horror/slasher film with a terrific antagonist team. After all, this low rating should be considered a badege of honor by Rene Perez, as his films are far superior than Spielberg's dreadful "Ready Player One" or Mila Kunis' disaster "Jupiter Ascending."

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Metalface, Naked and Afraid

A sultry super-model type women runs for her life through a snowy forest, clad only in a glamorous, white negligee.  Chasing her is a psycho, clad in blood stained clothes and a leather mask attached to his head with barbed wire...oh yeah...he's wielding a sledgehammer.  Who says there is no great writing in the movies anymore? This beautiful scene, which would have sent Siskel and Ebert to a madhouse, highlights 2015's "Metalface" (aka "Playing With Dolls").
As our films begin a nubile lass (Alanna Forte) is chased through the woods by the above mentioned Metalface (Charlie Glackin). She'll be caught, tied to a tree with barbed wire, and tormented with a jagged knife before being impaled by a crowbar. Her limbs and head will be separated from her torso and her'll see. Uh oh, these remote woods are teeming with cameras and some weird rich guy (Richard Tyson) is watching all these festivities. As the beauty is carved up, the rich guy orders "we need another girl." Enter Cindy (Natasha Blasick). She is down on her luck big time and everyone in her life wants to have sex with her for money...she is a beauty. No matter, when a mysterious job offer arrives she jumps all over it...big mistake.
Victim #1
Cindy has taken a job as a caretaker over an abandoned luxury cabin deep in the California mountains. No cell vehicle. She has no clue that the fate that befell the above mentioned beauty waits for her. As she relishes her solitude by trying on sexy clothes, dancing provocatively, and taking baths, she is unaware that Metalface is in the house watching her. Our fiend is on orders not to kill her...yet. Metalface watches and fantasizes about her. Metalface has plans for her and may not be able to resist temptation to wait. As Cindy dances some more, takes more baths, gets drunk and gives us gratuitous nude hot tub action, Metalface's hormones just can't be controlled. When a cop shows up our rich evil guy gives Metalface the order to kill everyone!
Cindy in an alluring negligee
Who is this rich guy and why is he watching beautiful women get cut up by Metalface? Where did Metalface come from and will he find the love that has so eluded him throughout his existence? Cindy will run through the Shasta Mountains clad in a sexy white negligee...will this inspire The Discovery Channel on a new survival show? Ms. Blasick as our damsel in much distress is striking but she shares the limelight with the horrific Metalface, who rivals Jason as an unrelenting and menacing fiend. Don't be fooled by the 2.6/10 IMDB rating, as "Metalface" (directed by Rene Perez) is a much better film than "Jupiter Ascending" or "Ready Player One." 

Friday, August 3, 2018

Tenebre, Razors, Axes, and Other Tools of Impalement

What is Giallo? Two sultry Italian women...lesbian lovers...Tilde (Mirella D'Angelo) and Marion (Mirella Banti). After a lover spat which concluded with Marion bringing a stud home for wild pre-marital sex, Tilde is angry. After the stud departs, Tilde and the wet and naked Marion argue. Then slash!!! Tilde is sliced up by a maniac's razor, most notably in the throat. The wet and naked Marion is then chased down like an animal and also shredded. The dying Marion's limp body falls and is impaled by a pane of glass. Giallo! Hence 1982's "Tenebre," directed by Dario Argento.
Leaving a psycho fiance, Jane (Veronica Lario), in New York, best-selling author Peter (Anthony Franciosa) heads to Rome to promote his new work, Tenebre. Just prior to his arrival, the very sultry Elsa (Ania Pieroni) shoplifts Tenebre from a book store. She will then be slashed (after she starts undressing...this is Giallo, after all) with a razor as the killer stuffs the torn out pages of said book in her mouth. The film is a few minutes old and already there are about 30 suspects. Then our sultry lesbians get it, as mentioned above. Peter arrives and is matched up with a beautiful secretary, Anne (Daria Nicolodi). The cops come to visit Peter and inform him of the murder. Oh yes, Jane has shredded the contents of Peter's suitcase before his plane departed New York. More suspects!
The razor killings continue...all Italian babes. But when Italy runs out of nubile babes...the guys will have to fill the bill. Now our maniac kills anyone related to Peter and his new book, and has introduced an axe to the plot. As the police, including sultry Detective Inspector Altieri (Carola Stagnaro), are stumped, Peter attempts to solve the crimes. This won't go well. Another uh-oh...psycho Jane has also flown to Rome'll see. More killings and more suspects. The pretty fall rapidly in pools of their own blood and the killer seems to be some moral crusader fighting sexual perversion and evil.
Will Anne or the beautiful Inspector Altieri survive this massacre? Who is this moral crusader and why has he picked Peter to victimize? Could Peter also be on the killer's extensive 'who to kill' list? Vicious and unrelenting, "Tenebre" may be considered the epitome of misogyny and Euro-trash. However gratuitous and violent, this gore-fest is considered classic Giallo, and perhaps Dario Argento's magnum opus. Oh yes...the ending? LOUD!!!