Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Case of the Scorpion's Tail, The Beautiful Die Italian Style

Lisa Leonardi, aka Annalisa Nardi, is a beautiful Italian actress who had bit parts in seven films from 1971-74. Though she has a bit part in 1971's "The Case of the Scorpion's Tail," her portrayal of an international stewardess is a perfect Italian exploitation plot device. In her most limited time on the screen, she is usually nude in a bed, fresh from the throes of pre-marital sex, or a damsel in much danger clad in a glamorous stewardess garb. The blood, gore, and sex included in her scenes is a good metaphor for the entire film.
Nude stewardess in bed
Bad news, Lisa's (Ida Galli) husband is killed when his plane explodes over the ocean. Good news, she hated him, cheated on him often, and is due to collect a million dollar policy upon his demise. Because the explosion is a suspicious event, the insurance company contracts handsome hunk Peter (George Hilton) to follow Lisa. Lisa must go to Athens to collect the money and as soon as she does she is cut up by a misogynistic psycho. Even worse, the psycho gets away with the million dollars. Now Peter must find the money and figure out who killed the sensuous Lisa. He'll have help. Agent Stanley (Alberto de Mendoza) from INTERPOL and Insp. Stavros (Luigi Pistilli) from the police are also hunting the killer, and suspect Peter.
The unfortunate Lisa
Ah, a lead! Lara (Janine Reynaud), a beautiful Greek skank, was blackmailing Lisa. Lara was the mistress and believes Lisa plotted her husband's demise. As soon as Peter and the other cops are on to her, she is sliced and diced. But wait! Peter now has a friend and ally. Reporter Cleo Dupont (Anita Strindberg) wants to help Peter solve the case, and thereby getting a scoop for her paper. Cleo is beautiful and has a lot of pre-marital sex with Peter. As Peter gets closer to finding answers, Cleo is targeted by the psycho. Oh yes...our stewardess friend. She'll be seen naked, in bed, and whoever she just had sex with might hold the key to this macabre mystery.
The unfortunate Lara
Who killed Lisa and took her million dollars? Why do the cops suspect Peter, and why is Cleo really helping him? Will our beautiful stewardess survive (...after all, this is an Italian horror film)? Experienced horror fans will guess the shocking ending to this film. Lots of beautiful damsels will die horrible deaths and the knifed victims will be a very gory display. Directed by Sergio Martino, for some neat EuroTrash exploitation/horror, see "The Case of the Scorpion's Tail."

Friday, December 15, 2017

Animus, Unresolved Horror

You're just not the same. It happened so long ago but recovery hasn't followed. Horrific and humiliating, the sordid and bloody event from your past has left literal and emotional scars that are affecting your current state.  All you want is to be whole again. An intense desire to be the charming and fun-loving being you were before it all went south. Beware! Becoming whole again may have its pitfalls. Today we take a peek at a new horror short (26 minutes) from Meosha Bean. Directed by Ms. Bean and Markisha Fernando, "Animus."
It was horrific! When you watch "Animus," you'll know what I'm talking about. Fear not, the very skillful direction by Ms. Bean and Ms. Fernando will have you imprisoned in that car just as Jasmine (Fernando) was. The abduction by a knife wielding maniac will result in a lot of blood and memories that will never go away. By the grace of God, Jasmine survives the ordeal...at least physically. Now she wrestles with the awful remembrances of what happened a year ago. Uh oh, the desire to be whole again has also made Jasmine a bit vulnerable. Her desire for recovery has her taking concrete steps to be the old Jasmine. This vulnerability and desire will...well...you'll see. Can her new beau Edward (Kenneth Dean)...and he is a real cutie...help her?
This horror tale has a poignant message. That desire to be whole again may lead us into places we shouldn't go. We take to Jasmine and want her to be all right, which only heightens the terror that unfolds for us on the screen. A+ for all involved in the making of "Animus." For a nightmarish half hour, that may speak to your own experiences and desires, see "Animus" by clicking on this link.
Animus on YouTube

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Horrible Sexy Vampire, Tight Sweater, Short Skirt, and Boots

Ah, German women! How do we describe those frauleins? According to 1971's "The Horrible Sexy Vampire," they all wear very tight sweaters, short skirts, and alluring go-go boots. These European babes are also adept at undressing, taking showers and baths, having pre-marital sex, and slipping into see through lingerie...at least, that is what we learn from this film. As far as vampire films are concerned, without those German vixens, this could have been a pretty lame effort.
Winneger
As our film begins, a redhead and her lover check into no-tell motel for extra-marital sex. They'll both be killed by Count Winneger, the vampire. This carnage will occur after our beauty undresses and takes a bath. The cops are on the case, but when they get too close to Winneger, he will strangle them. See, every 28 years, Count Winneger comes back to life to feed on women. As another police inspector (Luis Induni) takes on the case, he traces the mystery to Winneger's old castle. Meanwhile, a couple of German barmaids, clad in tight sweaters, short skirts, and boots will be sucked dry by Winneger as they undress, take their baths or showers, await pre-marital sex with their boyfriends, and don some lingerie.
Winneger indulges
Meanwhile, Count Oblensky (Wal Davis) arrives in Germany to claim the castle. As Winneger's heir, he inherits the place and Winneger begins to communicate with him. Finally, Oblensky realizes that Winneger is back and killing these tight sweater, short skirted, clad in boots vixens. Quickly, Oblensky researches vampires and decides he must put an end to Winneger's wrath.  Uh oh! Oblensky's main squeeze, Susan (Susan Carvasal) arrives from London to have lots of pre-marital sex with him. Double uh oh, this very pretty blonde is wearing a tight sweater, a short leather skirt, and boots. Because she is naked a lot, and likes to have pre-marital sex, Winneger sets out to make this nubile fraulein his bride.
Susan takes a bath
Will Oblensky figure out how to kill Winneger? Is the perky tight sweater, short skirted, and booted Susan too pretty to die?  Is this Spanish film, shot in Germany, a mere statement of condemnation against promiscuous and scantily clad women? Also known as "El Vampiro de la Autopista," "The Horrible Sexy Vampire" would be a horrible film without the very alluring female victims, who indeed put on a show.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Psychopath, Italian Horror from the UK

Everything about this film exudes Italian horror. A weird and twisted psychopath and some sultry damsels in much distress (not all will survive) are pulled out of the plot lines of these erotic scary tales from Italy. But wait! This one is from England. From 1966, we take a peek at "The Psychopath." Consistent with Italian horror, everyone is a suspect in this film...and every beautiful woman seems doomed to be gutted.
Inspector Holloway
Some weird murders are occurring in England. The corpses are found, usually mangled, and a doll with their likeness nearby. The gruff Inspector Holloway (Patrick Wymark) is on the case. Ah, the victims seem to be connected. They were all members of an allied war crime commission that prosecuted some Nazi named Von Sturm. Von Sturm's estate in Germany was then seized. Uh oh, Von Sturm's wife (Margaret Johnston) and eerie son Mark (John Standing) now live in England and Mrs. Von Sturm collects, and talks to dolls. Members of the commission continue dying and now anyone who may have an idea about the case also assumes room temperature. In a heartbreaking plot device, the sultry Gina (Gina Gianelli), who works at a doll shop, is gutted in an alley, and a doll with her likeness is found nearby.
Oh no! Not Gina!
As Holloway pursues both Von Sturms', he becomes a target of the psycho. Uh oh...could someone else be doing the murders? The lovely Lousie (Judy Huxtable) has a fiance with lots of debt. Louise's dad was on the war crimes commission. Now she may be a target, and her fiance now has a motive as Louise's dad hated him. As we get more insight into Mrs. Von Sturm, she is indeed angry at the commission's findings and buys many doll bodies from the store Gina worked, and is adept at making dolls, which she considers part of her family. Is this too easy?
Louise meets the dolls
This mystery/horror whodunit is a lot of fun, and Patrick Wymark is fantastic as the driven detective. In Italian horror fashion, will the lovely Louise follow Gina's example, and die horribly? Are the Von Sturms' responsible for the carnage, given they have the best motive? The answer to the mystery is secondary to the extreme creepiness of the conclusion which goes way beyond merely identifying the killer. For some alluring horror, catch "The Psychopath," directed by Freddie Francis.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Extinction, Burn Notice in Winter

I usually avoid TV shows, but I do admit that I had a fondness for "Burn Notice." Jeffrey Donovan played the hero, disgraced secret agent Michael Westen. Fans of that show will also remember Bruce Campbell and Gabrielle Anwar rounding out a very dynamic and entertaining trio. So where does Mr. Donovan go after the show ends? The zombie apocalypse! I know, the mention of the phrase 'zombie apocalypse' draws a yawn from us.  However, 2015's "Extinction," though keeping many of the pitfalls that ruin modern zombie apocalypse films, does have some interesting and visually appealing elements.
Nine years previous the world ends. Zombies! Jack (Donovan) survives with his nine year old daughter, Lu (Quinn McColgan). Also surviving is Jack's former best friend Patrick (Matthew Fox). Former is the key word.  Something happened at the apocalypse which spurred an intense hatred by Jack toward Patrick. Don't worry, a back story will fill in the blanks. Now Patrick and Lou live in their fortified compound/house, and wouldn't you know it, Patrick lives next door. With no signs of life, this uneasy trio live in a frigid, snow-covered wasteland where no man or monster tread. Patrick is determined to reach more survivors on his shortwave radio, while Patrick home-schools Lu.
Years have past since monsters have been seen and Jack believes they are all dead. Oh yes, those zombies of nine years ago? They evolved into grotesque, super-human monsters. Bad news...while foraging for food, Patrick barely survives a monster attack. Not only are the monsters still around, they now know where the trio live.  Indications are that the creatures are coming and Patrick wants to flee. Unfortunately, his status with Jack is still in the dumpster, and Jack and Lu intend to stay put. A final war will take place, but not before some tense moments between Jack and Patrick...and more monsters.
Are Jack, Patrick, and Lu the only three survivors of the zombie apocalypse? What did Patrick do to Jack that inspired this intense hatred? Just how clever have these monsters become in the nine years since the apocalypse? One of the best aspects of "Extinction" are the snowy sets and desolate city wastelands in which Patrick and Jack forage in.  Some critics may argue that much of this film is unrealistic, but then again, what about zombie apocalypses are realistic? Shot in Budapest, Hungary, enjoy "Extinction," especially as "The Walking Dead" continues its painful decline.

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism, Nubile Virgins Sacrificed

Karin Dor was the first German Bond Girl when she appeared in 1967's "You Only Live Twice." That same year, she played the nubile virgin with impressive and lively cleavage in "The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism." Her attractiveness blows Christopher Lee's performance away in this German made Gothic horror film. Also, this German film comes very close to mirroring the style of the horror films made by Hammer.
Count Regula (Lee) is drawn and quartered for murdering 12 beautiful virgins. He was caught before he could torture to death the 13th. Unfortunately for Regula, if he had succeeded, he would have been granted eternal life by the devil. 35 years later, Lilian (Dor), the descendant of the 13th virgin is summoned to Regula's castle. Also summoned is Roger (Lex Barker), a descendant to the magistrate that sentenced Regula to death. Unbeknownst to these two, who will of course fall in love, Regula is no longer in the grave and is eager to pick up where he left off 35 years ago.
As Roger and Lilian journey through a dark forest, with corpses hanging from trees, they both realize their pasts are intertwined. Babette (Christiane Rucker) is Lilian's buxom servant, and she is also along for the ride. Uh oh, Lilian and Roger are immediately hounded and harassed by Regula's undead servant Anatol (Carl Lange). Babette is strung up in torture devices and the two lovebirds discover a dozen dead beaties who have been tortured to death. As Regula returns, he begins his quest to make Lilian the 13th virgin. But get this! It is not enough to just murder Lilian, she needs to die in the throes of extreme horror. As Anatol separates Roger from his new love, Regula begins his quest to frighten Lilian to death in order to receive eternal life.
Can square-jawed Roger save the sultry Lilian? Is the buxom, blonde Babette a virgin? Just how does Regula plan to scare Lilian to death? Lots of torture device carnage, snake-pits, and buzzards picking apart corpses will enhance this Gothic tale. This is a good re-imagining of Poe's "The Pit and the Pendulum," and the beautiful Karin Dor makes this film so worthwhile. For some almost-Hammer horror, see "The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism," directed by Ms. Dor's husband, Harald Reinl. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Tomb of Torture, Gothic Horror from Italy

An old haunted castle!  Ghosts!  Deformed ghouls! A torture chamber!  A pretty damsel in much distress!  From Italy, today we take a look at 1963's "Tomb of Torture." Perhaps a pretty standard tale of ghosts and possession, but that doesn't mean this film doesn't work. Spooky and atmospheric, this movie will please horror fans.
Countess Irene (Annie Alberti) mysteriously disappeared 20 years ago. Uh oh, Anna (also Annie Alberti) is a spitting image of this beauty and also has weird dreams suggesting she is Irene's reincarnate.  Anna's dad (Adriano Micontoni) is worried about Anna's preoccupation with an unrelated, long missing countess, and decides to bring Anna to the castle to help cure her. This doesn't work. Living at the castle is Irene's weird sister, Elizabeth (Flora Carosello). Homicidal antics permeate this old castle as the film begins when two nubile Italian babes trespass into the castle, are captured by a weird ghoul, strung up in various states of undress and tortured to death in a secret chamber.  Will this ultimately be Anna's fate?
Anna's dreams of Irene continue and now she is even seeing Irene's ghost. To take her mind off this eerie circumstance, Anna goes skinny dipping...as we all would, I'm sure. While naked, reporter George (Marco Mariani) comes across her and falls in love with her. Anna also falls in love with George, so sweet. George is trying to investigate the death of the two aforementioned beauties and has linked the carnage to the castle. Oh yes, Elizabeth is not happy to see Anna arrive and wants her out of the picture. Of course, this all leads to a mysterious force leading Anna to the castle and the torture chamber.
What happened to Countess Irene, and why is Elizabeth so hostile to Anna? What secrets does the hidden torture chamber hold, and why were the two babes strung up there?  Will Anna also end up strung up in that chamber, and will her fate differ from the two beauties who have assumed room temperature?  This is an eerie damsel in much distress ghost story, directed by Antonio Boccaci. For some frivolous fun that includes babes being tortured, ghosts, and skinny dipping, see "Tomb of Torture."