Monday, December 31, 2018

Alien Lockdown, Lip-Gloss and Toothy Monsters

No one has ever worn lip-gloss better than Michelle Goh. This actress from Vancouver via Singapore smears it on with much allure as she fights a horde of slimy and toothy creatures in a mountain laboratory. Goh's character is perfect for fighting the creatures as she survived the Brisbane operation. What is the Brisbane operation? Not important in this film but surfeit to mention, Goh's portrayal has inspired the idea I have come up with for my next novel. So until I publish Ghosts of Brisbane, let us chat about the 2004 made for SciFi Channel film "Alien Lockdown" (aka "Creature").
Skipping the first ten minutes, let us begin at a secret laboratory hidden in the mountains. Dr. Woodman (John Savage) has gone rogue. Instead of creating a monster organism to replace human soldiers on the battlefield, he commandeered the experiment for more selfish reasons. His goal is to let it loose and wipe out mankind. Because our lip-gloss clad heroine survived the Brisbane operation she is sent with a team to take-out Woodman and his creature...and anyone else who happens to be there. Talon is our lip-gloss clad tactical commander and she looks great in a black tactical suit...and lip-gloss.
The team enters the facility and the war begins. The creature seeks to feed on all the soldiers and it will. Talon finds Charlie (James Marshall), Woodman's IT guy. Charlie is the only survivor and knows everything that Woodman plans. Meanwhile the thing goes through Talon's men like crap through a goose and then hundreds of mini-creatures emerge...bad news. Talon, still sporting some mean lip-gloss, tries to save her men while seeking to kill the monsters and Woodman. Uh oh...Talon and her lip-gloss find out she may have been sent on this mission because she is the only eyewitness from the Brisbane operation and her superiors find witnesses inconvenient. The lip-gloss beauty alters the goals of her strategy and an explosive and monstrous finale await.
Michelle Goh is ravishing in this and when she peels off the black tactical suit revealing a nice tight blue jump suit (still smacking her lip-gloss), we want to cheer. Will the slimy creatures ruin Talon's beautiful face and interfere with her application of more lip-gloss? Are there any more surprises or betrayal in store for Talon or her lip-gloss? Why aren't more action-heroines clad in exaggerated lip-gloss applications in today's new releases? Great creature f/x and lots of creatures enhance this made for SciFi Channel does Michelle Goh.  Do yourself a favor and eschew "Welcome to Marwen" in favor of the far superior "Alien Lockdown."

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Three on a Meathook, Chop Up the Pretty Girls

Oooooh!!! What an ending! Classic to the max! When the very pretty an nubile cocktail waitress Sherry (Sherry Steiner), clad in a very tight sweater and tight white short-shorts, runs into....whoa! Oops...almost gave it away. Suffice it to say Sherry will be a damsel in so much distress, you will think Janet Leigh had it easy in the shower. The last seven minutes of 1972's "Three on a Meathook" ranks up there as one of the greatest endings of all time.
As the film begins we meet four very sultry women (Linda Thompson, Kiersten Laine, Carolyn Thompson, and Marsha Tarbis). As the first few minutes roll we see them in the throes of passionate pre-marital sex and some gratuitous skinny dipping. Skinny dippers don't fare well in these films, so when the babes break down on a lonely road, late at night, we know they are making a mistake accepting a ride from Billy (James Carroll Pickett). He seems nice enough, and he brings the damsels to his farm where he lives with his grouchy dad (Charles Kissinger). Pa is not happy and warns Billy to get rid of his new friends and reminds him what happened the last time he was in the company of babes.
The four beauties will die most horribly, presumably by Billy's machete, knife, and rifle. So sad. Pa is angry and cleans up the mess, apparently like he always does when Billy has one of these episodes. Billy goes into town, gets wasted in a bar, and wakes up nude with the nude her bed. The two fall in love. Billie then asks Sherry to his farm and she!!! Yes, Sherry doesn't see criminal insanity even if it bites her on the...well, never mind. She brings her BFF Becky (Madelyn Buzzard) along, and she is a blonde beauty.  Uh oh...they will also spend the night. As Sherry and Billy fall in love, Pa pleads with his son to get rid of the two babes.  Uh oh...what happens next is sadly predictable, but then the ending...and you won't believe it.
Do Sherry and Becky have any chance of surviving? Is Billy really a homicidal maniac, or is there something else going on here?  Why are all the sexy babes meeting such lurid fates? You'll find out, and it is shocking. Directed by William Girdler, "Three on a Meathook" is some gratuitous drive-in, horror/exploitation that will deliver gore and shock.

Friday, December 28, 2018

House Call, Beware of Knocking

Mormons...Jehovah's Witnesses...those damn burglar alarm companies...the volunteer firefighters...Boy Scouts selling wrapping paper...and you can think of dozens more. They knock on our door, uninvited, and ask to be let in. Then they want money. Many of us won't open the door, and some of us fantasize about what we'd like to do to these buggers. Open the door brandishing a shotgun...or maybe, just maybe, have something in our basement lab waiting for them. Hence a 12 minute horror short by Joseph Sorrentino (writer) and Daniel Brown (director), "House Call."
Forget about "NO SOLICITING" signs. They don't work and everyone knows it. George (Kerwin Gonzalez) knows this and his job requires him to knock on doors and sell homeowners on methods to make their homes more energy efficient. George has never read this blog, because if he did he would know that one-third of the human race is totally insane. Enter a homeowner (Barry Tangert)...he'll invite George in to hear his spiel. Uh oh, our mysterious homeowner isn't interested in ways to make his house more energy efficient.
What happens next? Hah! Total horror! You'll divert your eyes and pray that the aforementioned filmmakers won't show everything...they will. At this point we need to give credit to the special make-up f/x dame, Lisa Sorrentino. George Romero had Tom Savini, and Daniel Brown has Mrs. Sorrentino. As the plot quickly spirals into extreme horror, we are treated to some classic one-liners. For example, when George calls the homeowner insane, the response is, "My dear departed parents called me insane once...just once...then I put them in canning jars." Poetry!
This 12 minute film that will have you covering your eyes will also have you laughing as some witty and comical dialog is extolled, especially by our antagonist. If you intend to allow your children to knock on doors collecting for their travel baseball them a favor and watch "House Call" first. Shocking and extreme will fill the screen for 12 minutes, so if you are into subtlety and symbolism...well, watch this film anyway, its a goody.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Comedown, Psycho in a High-rise

I know...we all have them. We all have the 'playing cat and mouse with a psycho while wasted' story. From London, we have a nice one of these set in a condemned high-rise. The protagonists, are hardly sympathetic characters...but we'll pull for them as they meet a foe which will hunt them down and inflict torture and disembowelment. As London, a once great city, continues its fall into an abyss of ruination, we have characters that symbolize its ever increasing hopeless youth population in 2012's "Comedown."
Gang-bangers, led by recent ex-con Lloyd (Jacob Anderson) have a chance at a big money score. We gather Lloyd desires going straight and eschews drugs and violence...this won't last. His very cute GF, Jemma (Sophie Stuckey), is pregnant with his child. The two will be joined with their gang cohorts in breaking into a condemned high-rise where they used to live and install an antenna for a pirate radio station on one of the top floors.  Breaking in is easy and to celebrate, they all get wasted on pills and beer. Uh oh...some rival gang members are also in there. Double uh oh...someone still resides there. The abandoned derelict building is spooky and our wasted protagonists miss a lot of bloody hand-prints and carnage inside the security guard's shack...all poignant clues.
Okay...our psycho begins asserting his property rights. One by one he goes after the gang-bangers. The deaths will be tortuous and gory. Nail guns, surgical tools, and hunting knives will be only a few of the murder weapons. He also abducts Jemma. He puts Jemma in a cage and torments her and makes her witness the dissection of some of the victims. Now Lloyd and his gangsters begin a mad search for the pregnant damsel, but our psycho has the advantage. As eyes are shot out, internal organs are pulled out, and unfortunates are engulfed in flames, Lloyd and some survivors get close to the monster's lair and the discovery of who this guy actually is.
Will Lloyd rescue Jemma and her unborn baby? Will any of the other gangsters survive? Is this film an accurate metaphor for the hopelessness and bleakness of the existence of today's London youth? Plenty of gore, some neat kills, and a shocking ending are all thrown at you in this Menhaj Huda film, "Comedown."

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Teenage Zombies, Can Teens Save America?

Toward the end of the Eisenhower Administration, the dreaded East (Soviet Union I guess...maybe China, too) continued their efforts to conquer America. 1959's "Teenage Zombies" is the best film that documents this effort. As a paranoid U.S. Government bumbles its way to thwart the East's efforts, some great looking teens will be asked to step up and serve. Directed by Jerry Warren, this B flick is required viewing for all U.S. counterintelligence agents. (Okay...maybe not)
Four great looking teens, Regg (Don Sullivan), Skip (Paul Pepper), Julie (Mitzi Albertson), and Pam (Brianne Murphy) stumble upon an uncharted island while on their way to water-ski. As they investigate, they spy slavish zombie-like people. Soon, a mad-scientist, Dr. Myra (Katherine Victor), will take them prisoner. The sultry Dr. Myra hangs around her compound in revealing evening gowns and works for the dreaded East. Her plan...create an airborne substance that will turn all Americans into slavish zombies, controlled by...well...I guess the Soviets...or Chi-Coms.
As agents for the East arrive, Dr. Myra is asked to speed up her experiments. Meanwhile, two friends of the captured teens, Dottie (Nan Green) and Morrie (Jay Hawk) desperately try to get the corrupt sheriff to look for their friends. Back on the island, the boys get out of their cage and waste the opportunity by doing nothing. Both Regg and Skip prove that chivalry has died and abandon Pam and Julie. Uh oh...Dr. Myra is ready to proceed and starts her plan to experiment on Pam and Julie. If the experiment works in turning Pam and Julie into slavish-zombies, the East will then be ready to drop the gas on the entire country.
Will Skip and Regg man-up and return to rescue their girl-friends? Will Dr. Myra, clad in a sleek evening gown, engage in a cat-fight with one of her test subjects? Are millions of zombie-like Americans really a burden the Soviets want to take on? This film is lots of fun and...spoiler alert...yes Dr. Myra will engage in a most entertaining cat-fight that will see her stylish gown ruined...yes! For some fun that the whole family can watch (no gore or nudity), see "Teenage Zombies."

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Lurking Fear, Graveyard Monsters and Mud Wrestling Babes

H.P. Lovecraft! Enough said. How about Jeffrey Combs? Yep, I got your attention. Didn't Thomas Wolfe write something to the regard of, 'you can't go home again'? Our anti-hero should've paid attention to that maxim, as returning to one's hometown to rob a graveyard...well...what could go wrong? Today we take a gander at 1994's "Lurking Fear."
An isolated Massachusetts town has a problem. Creatures living under the cemetery feed on townspeople and especially like to rip unborn babies out of wombs as hors' d oeuvres. Enter the beautiful but heavily armed Cathryn (Ashley Laurence). Unable to protect her sister and nephew from the beasts, she has sworn vengeance on the vermin. Now she has teamed up with the town doctor, Haggis (Combs), to protect a pregnant woman and kill the things. They are holed up in a church at the cemetery and intend to blow it sky high at nightfall.  Not so fast, ex-con John (Blake Adams) has arrived at the graveyard looking for stolen loot buried by his dad. But wait! There's more! Bennett (Jon Finch) arrives with his gang which includes the sultry, often leather clad, Marlowe (Allison Mackie). They are on to the stolen loot and arrive to dig it up. The teams won't get along I'm afraid, and Marlowe and Cathryn will endure a series of cat-fights.
As Bennett's team disarms Cathryn's bombs and hold everyone at gunpoint, the creatures prepare to attack. John teams up with Cathryn and Haggis as Bennett has them all at gunpoint. The tactically minded Cathryn and John will put up a great fight and Bennett won't be in control long. No matter, the real boss is the monster leader who will unleash a creature attack on the humans above ground. Oh yes, the cat-fighting Marlowe and Cathryn will have an epic one in the mud beside the grave of Cathryn's sister. Uh oh...the mysterious John might have an ungodly connection with the creatures. As nightfall rapidly arrives, a war will break out which will pit three teams against one another.
Who will prevail in the mud wrestling cat-fight between Marlowe and Cathryn? Will the creatures finish them all off before the end of round one? Just who is the mysterious John, and can Cathryn trust him? This is a good one from Charles Band and the creatures are hideous. For some great H.P. Lovecraft fun, enjoy "Lurking Fear."

Friday, December 21, 2018

Demon of Paradise, Hawaii...Filipino Style

No movie captures the ethos of Hawaii better than 1987's "Demon of Paradise." Set in Hawaii and culminating in the United States' greatest battle, our film today has caused much controversy since its release decades ago. The director, Cirio H. Santiago has been dodging Polynesian goon squads since its release as the Hawaiian peoples are furious that this director filmed this one in The Philippines using a largely Filipino cast. Even the very seductive hula dancers are Filipino. Before the term 'cultural appropriation' was invented by the PC crowd, Mr. Santiago was labelled the greatest offender of this PC crime. {This opening paragraph has been greatly embellished}
As a reaction to maniacal fishermen using dynamite to catch fish, a monster is unleashed in the Hawaiian surf.  The thing looks like a cross between the gill-man from "Creature From the Black Lagoon" and a fiend from "Humanoids From the Deep." After killing some of the fishermen, Sheriff Keefer (William Steis) teams up with reptile scientist, the nubile Annie (Kathryn Witt). These two don't make a good team and actually aren't very successful at anything. Even when they fall in love their kiss is so awkward we just want to vomit. No matter, the creature is cool and kills a lot.
Then we get lucky, bikini model Gabby (Leslie Scarborough) arrives with her photographer. We will see her in gratuitous photo shoots, a skinny dipping scene, and being chased by cocaine thugs and a reptile monster. Her fate'll see. The only brains in this film is the sultry owner of a luxury resort, Cahill (Laura Banks). She is determined to keep her hotel open even though the absent minded sheriff wants to close it because of monster attacks. As the beast keeps killing, the U.S. Army comes to clean up the mess our sheriff and his reptile-scientist main squeeze couldn't. All out war, rivaling the D-Day invasion ensues.
Will our bikini babe fall victim to the claws of the creature, or become its love slave? Will the sheriff and Annie learn how to kiss and have pre-marital sex? Does the cultural appropriation, committed by the Filipino film industry against Hawaiians necessitate legislation to mandate reparations from The Philippines to be paid to ethnic Hawaiians? The is a cool monster film with gratuitous bikini and nude shots and a great creature. For some South Pacific fun in the surf, take a look at "Demon of Paradise."

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Dinner Party, An Awkward and Haunting Meal

As we ready ourselves for some holiday dinner parties, there doesn't seem a lot that can go wrong. In this season of joy we are thankful for beautiful families, wonderful jobs, beautiful (...or handsome) spouses, and dear friends. However, how many of us actually live The Hallmark Channel existence? In reality...are our kids that good, and are our existences really that fine? After all, no matter how many blessings are perceived to come our way, a bit of paranormal interference and underachieving offspring can slap some cold reality into us.
Everything should be going Ryan's (Ryan Carl Rowley) way. He has a beautiful wife (Heather Alyse Becker) and fawning friends (Corey Wilson and Juliana Labarbiera). On this particular night, Ryan and his wife Heather are throwing a small dinner party to celebrate his new promotion. Uh oh...Joel (Joel Wetterstein) is home from school...and he has...well...issues. He is the proverbial glass of cold water thrown on this warm occasion. As Ryan's disappointment and anger seep out, the long-haired, maggot infested Joel has a surprise or two for his dad. In a horrific episode, Joel confronts his dad...or is it Joel? Ghostly haunting takes over this party and a new dynamic is thrust on Ryan's reality and home-life.
This seven minute horror short is a subtle horror story that packs a message we can all learn from. Are our disappointments given to us in life by unrealistic expectations? Are voices from the grave still controlling us in an unhealthy manor? Exactly what are our responsibilities to those we should be showing unconditional love to?  Written and directed by Ryan Carl Rowley, "The Dinner Party" is an uncomfortable and haunting tale of the monsters our selfish egos and hateful criticisms can birth.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Karate Kill, Karate and Snuff

Today we look at another Kurando Mitsutake film, 2016's "Karate Kill." Revenge...spurting blood...limbs flying...swords...martial arts...naked babes (and some soaked in blood). A revenge drama in which forces from the East delve into the seedier sides of the West. Sure...Presidents can drop atomic bombs on the Land of the Rising Sun, but screw around with the sister of a karate will probably die....horribly.
Kenji (Hayate Matsuzaki) arrives in L.A. to find his missing sister. The stunning and clean-cut Mayumi (Mana Sakura)...who will be nude much of this film...came to L.A. to be an actress. This didn't go well....which is a surprise because usually it does...unless Harvey Weinstein gets a hold of you. Trying to earn money she takes a job at a 'Hostess Club' and is kidnapped there by a sadistic cult who runs a web-site featuring babes being murdered for real. The cult is run by Vendenski (Kirk Geiger), a cult leader hybrid of Charles Manson and David Koresh. With much carnage, Kenji is now onto them and heads to Texas to rescue his sister who is slated to be snuffed on camera.
Kenji, a karate master, realizes bringing a chop to a gunfight may not be a great idea, joins forces with a one-armed gun beauty named Keiko (Asami...yep, her). She is the only escapee from the cult and teaches Kenji firearm techniques. Together they will try to raid the compound, kill everyone in it, and free Mayumi and the other captives. Easier said than done and Vendenski isn't as wasted as he comes across. Our hot duo walk in with attitude...but they will be expected. As Mayumi is groped, tortured and humiliated for the pleasure of perverts, Keiko and Kenji are her only hope...though they will be underdogs.
Nudity, blood soaked nude babes, and a sadistic misogynists are the antagonist here. Gore and gratuitous exploitation scenes will be thrown at you as is blood shooting out of jugular veins. Kurando Mitsutake's latest revenge epic will surely please fans of these types of films (such as me). Will Kenji save his sister? Will Keiko and Kenji engage in pre-marital sex? If the rescue is successful, will our three good guys remain pure? For a great, bloody good time, see "Karate Kill."

Monday, December 17, 2018

Mesa of Lost Women, Blonde Babe vs Spider-Babe

It was such a beautiful thing! The sultry Doreen (Paula Hill), smartly dressed in a white suit with a slightly tight skirt and some three inch heels...and in the other corner, Tarantella (Tandra Quinn)! Tarantella may look like a sultry babe...brunette...very shapely...exotic and a blouse well off her shoulders, but is actually a super-human spider monster-babe. Before 1953's "Mesa of Lost Women" concludes, these babes will grab each other, pull hair, scratch, in a fight to the death. You just don't get this kind of drama in modern films.
We'll skip much of the plot, but I will tell you that in the Mexican desert lays a 600 foot mesa. In the mesa is the secret lab for Dr. Aranya (Jackie Coogan). In 1953 his experiments would be considered horrifying, but to all of us amateur mad-scientists, they are tame and old-hat. Aranya abducts beautiful women, injects their DNA into tarantulas, and then as the tarantulas grow into giant arachnids, he injects their DNA into the women, turning the babes into spider-women monsters. Or something like that. His plan? World domination...good luck with that. The spider-babe monsters are all sultry, until they sprout spider legs...and all are deadly.
The plane crash leaves a bunch of survivors on top of the mesa. The spider monster babes are dispatched to kill off the survivors. All are expendable except Doreen...the sultry babe mentioned in the opening and her new boyfriend, the handsome pilot Grant (Robert Knapp).  The two fall madly in love and will exchange much spit. Aranya's plan for the blonde is to make her a spider babe and for Grant...well...he is slated to be made into a dwarf-drone. One by one the surviving passengers fall victim to the huge tarantula monsters. Aranya may seem to have the upper hand, but when Doreen sees Tarantella, and her flattering figure, and Tarantella sees Doreen's blonde hair and elegant features...a war begins which Aranya did not foresee. Typical women!
Will Doreen and Tarantella's cat-fight derail Aranya's plans for world domination? Will Grant's machismo serve as a vehicle to save the planet from spider-monster domination? Haven't we asked that question a lot lately? Pure 1950s B film schlock...but oh, so much fun. For a horror film with an epic cat-fight, and a plot of gritty reality, enjoy "Mesa of Lost Women" and ignore IMDB's rating, as they only give this film a 2.1/10.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf, Spaghetti Western With Samurais

Sarah McCarthy, Jennifer Mullaney, and Chikako Omura don't get top billing in today's feature, but their portrayals warms the heart of everyone who enjoys this blog. The three dancers, clad in shiny bikinis and black go-go boots is a plot device that Kurando Mitsutake utilizes to draw all of us fans of 1970s exploitation in. Sure they're gratuitous, and eventually they will die in equally as gratuitous fashion. So let us take a peak at 2009's "Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf"...part spaghetti western...part Kung Fu epic...part 70s exploitation...all fun!
In a vicious backstory, a loving husband must witness the brutal murder of his family. He will also be forced to blind himself. Seven years later, our left for dead dad is now Blind Wolf...sworn to avenge the murder of his family. The fiend? Nathan Flesher...sadistic psycho. Flesher is due to get out of jail and Blind Wolf is determined to kill him on the spot. Not so fast! Flesher hires seven of the most colorful assassins ever put on film. The aforementioned dancers are merely henchwomen for one of the assassins. Their death by skewering is such a beautiful thing.
As Blind Wolf treks toward the jail he is eventually joined by a drifter (Jeffrey James Lippold). This bloke has his own tragic backstory and together they go through assassins like crap through a goose. Don't fret...our three bikini dancers may have assumed room temperature, but other babes will also enter the plot...and you will love Mariko Denda as the hypnotist assassin. These assassins aren't just thugs with guns, each of them has a great story straight out of 70s exploitation. Quentin Tarrantino would be proud. Beware...betrayal and carnage awaits our duo.
Will Blind Wolf  make it through gauntlet of assassins and deliver sword justice to Flesher? Just what did Blind Wolf go through in the seven years since his family's demise that made him the world's greatest Samurai swordsman? Can we look forward to the aforementioned bikini babes in future Mitsutake films? If not, I'm going to steal them and make them characters in an upcoming novel. The gratuitous nature of "Samurai Avenger: The Blind Wolf" speaks to the heart of those of us who enjoy gratuity in our films. For spurting blood, bikini babes, and Samurai justice, see this Kurando Mitsutake masterpiece. Oh yeah...did I mention the zombies?

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Creeper, Cat People-Lite

World War 2 had just ended. President Truman dropped two atomic bombs on Japan and Germany's Third Reich was shredded by ally forces. All was good again...or was it? Celebrations in every major city displayed a temporary exuberance. With victory also came fear. Was the Third Reich really gone? Would there be more nuclear wars in the near future? Post-war fear enveloped America as the greatest generation may have won the war to end all wars, but the ominous fear of cats and Chinese restaurants would haunt this country for decades to come. Hence 1948's "The Creeper."
The very pretty Nora (Janis Wilson) catches a fever in the West Indies. In delirium and hallucinating for months she is beset by nightmares of cats. Coincidentally, the West Indians believe the dead return to us as felines. She is in the West Indies with her dad, Dr. Cavigny (Ralph Morgan) and his sultry assistant Gwen (June Vincent). The trio return home to work on a mysterious serum with Dr. Bordon (Onslow Stevens). Nora and her dad are horrified at what this serum will do and try to destroy all notes of the experiments. Gwen and Bordon feel the opposite. Uh oh...Nora starts behaving strangely and going into trances. The trances usually find her doing something that would suggest she is homicidal.
Dr. Reade (John Baragrey) arrives. He used to love Gwen, but now he loves Nora. This doesn't make the sultry Gwen very happy. The murders begin. Nora's dad is shredded to death in his study and a lab aide is also shredded. Both murders coincide with Nora being in a trance. Dr. Reade courts Nora and brings her to the same Chinese restaurant he used to bring Gwen to. This won't end well as Nora sees a cat and runs out screaming. Gwen will confront Nora and call her a paranoid-schizophrenic. Nora will ignore her. As the police focus on Nora, our pretty damsel comes up with a few theories herself and seeks'll see.
Is Nora really the psycho killer, perhaps under the spell of a cat demon? Will Gwen and Nora engage in a...well...a cat-fight over Dr. Reade? If Nora is the killer, will the sultry Gwen have a prayer in the aforementioned cat-fight? Spooky and mysterious, "The Creeper" has some chills that were not in the budget of the original "Cat People." For some great horror from the 1940s, see "The Creeper," directed by Jean Yarbrough.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Monsters Don't Get To Cry, Predator or Prey?

I remember it. The late 1980s in Baton Rouge. Two U.S. Marshals at the airport are escorting a convicted  child molester off a plane and through the terminal. The video shows the trio walking past a bank of payphones. Then, from one of the payphones a man whirls around and at point blank range, blows away the child molester with a handgun. The two marshals are shocked. The gunman? The father of a boy molested by this fiend. The dad was convicted but a Louisiana judge would not give him jail time. Hence we look at a Kurando Mitsutake film, 2007's "Monsters Don't Get To Cry."
Our story begins after a school shooting in which Russ (Kyle Ingleman) kills 10 classmates and teachers. The 18 year old is then busted out of police custody by Jim (Dean Simone). Uh oh for Russ, one of his victims was Jim's daughter. Like the bloke at the airport in Baton Rouge, Jim believes the American justice system isn't mechanized to inflict justice on the creep who killed his baby girl. Our setting is an out of the way warehouse where Jim intends to interrogate and torture Russ. Jim's ready, he has a briefcase filled with saws, knives, pliers, duct-tape, etc. First...Jim wants answers. Why? Russ is an unrepentant monster and the questioning won't go the way Jim desires.
Russ may be tied up, bloodied, and undergoing horrific torture, but who is in control? Jim, unintentionally, becomes the mouse in a cat-and-mouse game. The interrogation of the monster seems to be going nowhere, but in a sense, Jim ends up interrogating himself. After all, how do you get reason from a soulless fiend? Jim's journey will be dark and headed into an abyss of torture for himself. The torture scenes will cause you to avert your eyes, but the dynamic in the room will change into something many of us will be uncomfortable with.
Just how depraved will Jim get in his search for answers...and do we blame him? Is there anything inside Russ that can provide answers we will provide us closure or satisfaction? Is this a statement of the failed US justice system, or a warning where we might be headed if we don't cling to an imperfect system? "Monsters Don't Get To Cry" is a beautiful one-act play that completely reveals two beings who might meet in Hell...and also allows us to pose some important questions to the image looking back at us in the mirror.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Naked Massacre, Richard Speck in Northern Island

Yeah, Yeah! We've heard it all before. It was said so many times that people believed it. The violence we see everyday on the television and in the streets around us just breeds more violence. Supposedly the Vietnam war bred millions of psycho killers, and to our European friends...the violence in the streets of Belfast between the IRA and anyone they came into contact with, did the same. Excuse me for yawning. In 2018, we can look at 1976's "Naked Massacre" as violent exploitation and not the tired old social commentary it was intended for.
Richard Speck broke into an apartment and mutilated and murdered (and raped one) eight student nurses. Our film purports to tell this story, moving the carnage to Belfast from Chicago. American Vietnam war vet Cain (Mathieu Carriere) is on his way home from Nam and steps off the boat in Belfast (don't ask, just go with that). Instantly he is almost killed as the IRA bombs a church. Machine-gun fights permeate the urban landscape and our soon to be psycho, Cain, is captivated by eight beautiful nurses sharing a flat. With knife in hand, Cain makes his move.
What happens next is lurid and ominous. As the angels in white sleep the invasion begins. He ties them all up and picks up on the lesbian tendencies of Christine (Christine Boisson) and Jenny (Leonora Fani). After strangling the senior nurse, the beautiful Amy (Carole Laure), Cain orders Jenny and Christine to perform sex on each other. Very humiliated, they do and Cain will reward them with a brutal knifing and another strangulation. The nurses are indeed helpless and nothing suggests they will fare well. They beg, they cede to his perverted demands, and they die. Yep, this is a hard one to watch as eight lovely nurses, all depicted as noble and heroic, will meet such an ugly fate at the hands of a psycho vet.
Defenders of this film will claim it is full of powerful social commentary...but its not. Violent exploitation is a better description. All the actresses do a fine job and we do pull for them which makes their demises very sad. Will any of the beauties in white survive? What are the odds of finding eight nurses who are all beautiful...or do only psychos have that privilege? Does this film tell us more about society or the perverseness of the people who made it? Violent and unforgiving, for hardcore horror and sexploitation fans, "Naked Massacre" is for you.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Maria's Tale, The Demise of a Web Show

A funny thing happened on the way to the insane asylum... Actually, funny isn't the, horrific! Yep, the insaniacs are no longer locked up in these draconian institutions. The more crazy among us dwell among us...or if you watch slasher films, in the woods and the cabins in those woods. Hence 2018's "Maria's Tale." Again, not the feel good film of the 21st Century, and an early twist will seal a most terrifying fate for three members of a popular paranormal-web show.
Recent high-school grad Maria (Saorise Stuhr) has a web TV show called "Old New Expeditions." Her and two buddies, Mario (Zachary Chase) who is also her lover, and Jake (Joel Hair) find abandoned places to explore and document paranormal activity. Our hostess is well liked and we are told she is genuine, kind, and sincere. The web show enjoys heavy viewership. Uh oh, as the story begins we are told we are watching the last broadcast and the tone is of a eulogy. Yep...on the way to an abandoned insane asylum our trio meets up with the ultimate irony. Perhaps a maven on paranormal entities and haunted locations, Maria's judgment of the living proves to be unfortunate.
Enter George (Michael Ciesla)...who will eventually be'll see. He's weird, anxious, and overly friendly and domineering. George is interviewed by the trio about his knowledge of the asylum. His motives are obviously (at least to us) twisted when he invites the trio to spend the night. They accept...fools! What follows is a twisted (there's that word again) slasher film in which our trio is beset by an evil that probably would blow anything that ever happened at the asylum away. Ironically, the found footage film we believed we were watching changes in tone when it spoilers'll see.
What does the twisted and anxious George have in store for the nubile beauty and her two mates? Other than George, do any other surprises and humiliation await Maria, Mario, and Jake? Is the abandoned and haunted asylum a mere metaphor for the world we live in and work in? This may look like an amateurish horror film, but remember, the web TV show it presents is done by amateurs, too. Enjoy a dark and ominous found-footage film, "Maria's Tale," directed by Robert A. Trezza and Zachary Chase.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Literature Review: Salvage

We've seen it all before, and each time we love it more. That plot where a cavernous old mansion in the moors holds an unspeakable secret. Better yet, there is a locked laboratory...or bedroom...or basement...or attic! Oh yes, a cryptic warning from the mansion's master, "Don't go near that room." Then a beautiful damsel looking like Veronica Carlson or Ingrid Pitt finds a reason to sneak into that room. Of course there will be some ungodly fiend waiting. Hence the 2018 graphic novel "Salvage." Pure scifi/horror set in space in the future, far from the Gothic settings we love so much (or is it?). My buddy Martin Greene, one of the creators crafted the story, but kudos also to Mike Lynch (script), Neil McClements and Anthony O'Neill (artwork), Nikki Foxrobot (lettering), and Aidan Courtney (sketch gallery).
With much homage to the "Alien" franchise, a survey ship, Noland, with a tired crew falls victim to exhaustion, human error, and a space storm. Now adrift in space and losing air, The captain, Arkel, is ready with desperate measures to do what he has to. Fortunately, space-babe Grace, Arkel's ensign, picks up a signal from a Titan class ship, the Ridley. The Ridley is responding to the S.O.S. call. Does anyone believe this will go well? The beset crew has little choice. Oxygen is just about gone and crewman Yuri has a serious head injury. You'll see why but Arkel has the heebie-jeebies about the Ridley. Maybe he saw "Alien."
This cavernous ex-warship will hardly be a safe haven for our beset crew. No spoilers here but some truly horrific artwork will take us through the rest of the story. Arkel's hesitation will be replaced by pure lust for Mary Celeste (those of you who know the fate of the Mary Celeste will understand this is a bad omen), the daughter of a mad scientist. The sultry Grace isn't seduced by the space-vixen Mary, thus she will go exploring and what she finds will show up in an orgy of horrific images that will chase you into nightmare-land. The Ridley will emerge as a fiendish laboratory in space'll see.
Will our space-babes survive the unspeakable horror aboard the Ridley so they can engage in a cat-fight? Will Arkel stop thinking with his groin long enough to realize the danger he and his crew are in? Just what has the mad-scientist, who now commands the Ridley, turned this Titan warship into? Total horrific action will flood out of the pages of this graphic novel with images that will blow anything in the "Alien" franchise out of the water...or solar system, I should say. Kudos to the fine artists listed above for delivering us a graphic horror story in their graphic novel. To order "Salvage," click on the link below.
order SALVAGE on Book Depository

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Blood of Ghastly Horror, Al Adamson Epic

Two mad-scientists! Lots of beautiful damsels in much distress! Zombie creatures! A very merry Christmas season is upon us as we take a look at 1967's "Blood of Ghastly Horror" (aka "Psycho-a-Go-Go"). A complicated plot, no doubt, but unlike "Jupiter Ascending," this one is so much fun. Al Adamson fans will love this film, and his critics will term it a C film. Unlike Mila Kunis, Al Adamson actually gives us a cast we want to see, like John Carraddine as a mad doctor and Regina Carrol as a buxom damsel.
Here goes, but don't pay too much attention to t he plot description. As the film starts out a zombie murders a couple of beautiful women and three cops in an alley. Meanwhile a trio of misogynist thieves rip off a jewel store. The getaway goes bad and Joe (Roy Morton) kills a fellow thief and a beautiful secretary. The jewels get misplaced onto the pick-uo truck of schmuck of a construction worker. Oh yes, Joe used to be a good guy until a brain injury left him in the care of Dr. Vanard (Carradine), who put an electronic device into his skull to re-animate dead brain tissue. All of us who have tried this at home could have told Vanard this wasn't going to work. Now Joe is an evil thug bent on knifing and raping beautiful women.
Okay, Joe tries to get his jewels back which results in him kidnapping a beautiful nightclub singer, Linda (Tacey Robbins). Joe's dad, Dr. Corey (Kent Taylor) is also a mad-scientist and seeks revenge against Vanard for turning his son into a psycho.  Dr. Corey is into voodoo, and has created a homicidal zombie to strangle anyone involved with Vanard's experiments. Susan (Regina Carrol) picks a disastrous time to return to town, and now Corey's fiend is sent to collect her. The sultry Susan is now slated to be turned into a fiendish zombie herself. Okay, that's get the picture.
Will the buxom Susan escape the vengeance of mad-scientist Corey? Will the beautiful Linda escape the evil desires of the homicidal Roy? Will the two mad-scientists end up in the ring for a fight to the death match? Enjoyable and fun, "Blood of Ghastly Horror" will warm your souls this holiday season. For fans of Al Adamson, this may not be a must-see, but its close. In fact, you know this is a winner when IMDB rates it a 2.1/10.