Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Blood Beast Terror, Frankenstein meets the Moth Woman

Fan's of the British TV series "U.F.O." will find 1968's "The Blood Beast Terror" most enjoyable.  In Gerry Anderson's "U.F.O." Gabrielle Drake (as Lt. Gay Ellis) and Wanda Ventham (as Col. Virginia Lake), two very shapely heroines, provided much sex-appeal as they saved Earth from alien hordes.  Just before that show hit the telly, Ms. Ventham starred as the creature in our feature today.  So, as far as monster moths go, if "Mothra" didn't shock you, and that stupid Richard Gere film left you wanting, the lovely Wanda Ventham will tantalize you in a movie which Peter Cushing called his worst film ever.
The plot: We have a mad scientist (etymologist), Dr. Mallinger (Robert Flemyng...a last minute replacement for Basil Rathbone) who is really into flying insects.  As he gives his usual dull Thursday night lecture to his university students at his home, two men are killed by a giant moth creature in the woods by his mansion.  As the lecture ends, the evil doctor's beautiful daughter (creation), Clare, brings in some refreshments and cleavage.  Inspector Quennell (Cushing) responds to the killings and brings the corpses to Mallinger's house where they are pronounced dead.  A closer examination of the poor schmucks reveals weird facial wounds and a loss of large amounts of blood.  As the Inspector turns up more clues, his attention turns to Dr. Mallinger, who seems to be hiding a great deal.   
Meanwhile, Clare is pressuring Mallinger to continue his experiments.  The moth woman is becoming a nuisance as she begins to eat Dr. Mallinger's guests.  Feeling the heat, our elusive etymologist flees to his mansion/laboratory in the country, hoping to shake the curious Inspector. Clare's ability to wait for the experiments to conclude wanes and presses the mad doctor to hurry his pace.  Unfortunately for the gardener and many other tourists in the village, the experiments are not moving quick enough. As Clare feeds on more unfortunates, the doctor asks for a young woman's blood as the last stage of creating...well...whatever he is creating in the lab.  Clare abducts the Inspector's beautiful daughter (Vanessa Howard), and now the Inspector must race against a very speedy clock to save his daughter before the doctor can unleash unimaginable horror on England.
Exactly what is the doctor creating in his lab?  Why is Clare so eager to see the experiment's completion?  Will the Inspector be able to save his daughter from a most gruesome fate?  Peter Cushing and Robert Flemyng were grouches regarding their roles in this film, but both do a terrific job.  Wanda Ventham as the beautiful Clare is captivating (...until she turns into the monster, of course).  Not a classic as many of the Hammer horror films of the same period, but fun, nevertheless. Available on Netflix, "The Blood Beast Terror" is a terrific film to experience during a rainy week-end afternoon or evening.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Bonus: Glen or the Bride of the Night of the Plan 9 from Outer Space, a homage to Ed Wood

In a special Black Friday edition of this blog, I've decided to look at a creation of Jesse Berger.  Mr. Berger has taken films of Ed Wood, Jr. (primarily "Plan 9 From Outer Space" and "Glen or Glenda"), spliced them up, and sewn together a mishmash of scenes to present a story worthy of the 1950s B Movie genre.  Fans of the unique Ed Wood, Jr, and his films, will enjoy this tribute.  Choppy, uneven, and ridiculous, this DVD has captured the essence of Ed Wood, Jr.
The plot:  Perhaps the plot of Ed Wood, Jr.'s films is secondary, but let's give this a try. Glen (Edward D. Wood, Jr.) is tormented by his evil, mad-scientist, father (Bela Lugosi). The dad has ominous plans for his son, who he despises.  Glen seems to be under the spell of this lunatic which causes him to commit unspeakable crimes and live an alternate life, secret from his beautiful fiance.  Desiring to romance his beautiful blonde main-squeeze, his dad's spell dooms Glen to a loop, doomed to repeat weird behavior.  Oh yes, the evil dad has his lab on a fleet of space ships....of course.
After several crimes, the police get involved.  Inspector Clay (Tor Johnson) heads up the investigation.  Empowered with evil forces, and trance-like, Glen proves a formidable foe for law enforcement.  In a move of genius, the cops consult a psychologist in order to profile Glen.  What the shrink is able to tell them is shocking....  Armed with this new knowledge, a strategy is developed to help Glen free himself from his evil father.  At least, that's my take on the plot.  Like Ed Wood, Jr. and Jesse Berger, their films invite your own imagination to fill in blanks.  
Ed Wood, Jr.was a very interesting man, and his films are still enjoyed six decades after their creation.  Fans of these films will enjoy Mr. Berger's tribute to this cult icon.  To purchase this as a Christmas gift for the B Movie fan, check out this address . This 25 minute film is accompanied by some interesting supplemental features on the DVD.  Congratulations to Jesse Berger for keeping Ed Wood, Jr.'s spirit alive, especially as we look for unique gifts this holiday season.   

Friday, November 28, 2014

Cheerleader Massacre 2, GRATUITOUS NUDE SHOWER SCENE Cinema

Ben (Michael Addison) sums it up best in 2011's "Cheerleader Massacre 2."  The hunk extols, "I have two words for you...INCREDIBLY HOT CHEERLEADERS."  All mathematics aside, Ben has a point.  Unlike "Cheerleader Massacre" (reviewed on this blog on Sept. 1st), the sequel adds a bit of science fiction  into the plot of this horror film.  After all, what would a GRATUITOUS NUDE SHOWER SCENE be without robotic insect creatures thirsting for cheerleader blood?  Like it's predecessor, this film is a throwback to the 1980s slasher film, with the usual suspects; a babe who did not make the cheerleading squad, a creepy maintenance man, a perverted camp director, his jealous babe girlfriend, a screw driver wielding babe-psycho, and killer NSA-created-blade-wielding drones run amok.
As our film begins a really shapely cheerleading team is on a bus headed to a camp to compete in a competition.  Insert a GRATUITOUS CONTORTION SCENE.  The bus never makes it as it is attacked by a blade-wielding drone.  This drone chases down each cheerleader and slices them into little pieces.   Here we cut away for a GRATUITOUS CHEERLEADER IN THE BATHTUB SCENE. The other team actually makes it to camp.  The cheerleaders are all conceited b@#%$ except for Anna (Julia Lehman).  Anna holds down a part time job and needs the competition to win scholarship money.  Her best friend is the lovely, but embittered Janice (Michele Boyd) who drives her to the camp.  Insert a GRATUITOUS CHEERLEADER SHOWER SCENE (see photo below).  Janice did not make the squad.  At the camp they meet their coaches, college cheerleaders who will judge their routines.  Then more killings occur.  A shapely coach is electrocuted in the shower.  Another coach is killed during a GRATUITOUS SEX SCENE, and so is her boyfriend, by a robotic scorpion.
As the cheerleaders, and their beautiful coaches are disassembled by maniacal insect drones, their boyfriends arrive.  These dweebs are cut up pretty quickly but not before some GRATUITOUS MAKE-OUT SCENES.  With phone lines cut, vehicles disabled, boys pureed, Anna and a few survivors flee through the woods with the mechanical monsters on their tails.  As the evil force behind these murders is revealed ("No cheerleader is innocent" is the mantra), Anna begins to fight back.  Will Anna be able to defeat the homicidal menace?  What are the motives for murdering these lovelies?  Jealousy?  Misogyny?  Eliminating competition? World Peace?  The answer is finally revealed, and it is a shocking one.
All of the actresses are stunning.  Julia Lehman is terrific and so is Jennifer Titus who plays an investigative reporter.  From a strictly "guilty-pleasure mindset" this film succeeds.  Not for everyone, but as the Christmas season approaches, and you get ready to watch "Miracle on 34th Street" a dozen times, "Cheerleader Massacre 2" may serve as needed therapy.  This film is available on Netflix.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Skinwalkers, Rhona Mitra vs. a Werewolf Motorcycle Gang

An automatic weapon weilding werewolf motorcycle gang.  Rival lycanthrope packs.  A pistol packing grannie.  A cat-fight between Rhona Mitra and Natassia Malthe.  Lots of fangs.  Largely ignored by critics and moviegoers, 2006's "Skinwalkers" is a film that you need to move to the top of your watch-list.  This straight to DVD masterpiece marks the second time Rhona Mitra has been featured on this blog (see my review of "Doomsday" over a year ago, November 23, 2013).  Natassia Malthe is making her fifth appearance, in addition to a couple of the "BloodRayne" films, see my review of "Vampire Wars" (also over a year ago, November 15, 2013).
As our story commences, a pack of shapeshifters led by Varek (Jason Behr) is seeking a boy about to hit his 13th birthday.  Legend has it, if this half human/half lycan boy reaches that birthday, a curse will be removed.  This curse means an entire race of people become werewolves during full moons.  However, to Varek, and his gang.....they enjoy becoming werewolves and hunting humans.  Thus Varek endeavors to kill the boy before the birthday.  He is joined by a motley crew, including Sonja (Natassia Malthe), who is his main-squeeze.  The pack rides into town with a mission.  Interestingly enough, the small town is mobilized to protect the boy.  Though all the townspeople know what is about to happen, the boy, and his mother, Rachel Talbot (Rhona Mitra) are clueless.  A war erupts, and an epic battle commences.  Rachel and her son are whisked away by some relatives in a werewolf truck.  On the run, Rachel's kinfolk let her in on the secret...which she doesn't handle all too well.  Go figure.
Now on the run, Varek and Sonja, and their compadres, are closing the gap.  Rachel's son has an asthma attack and she has to bring him to the hospital.  At the hospital, the very beautiful Nurse Sally (Ramona Pringle) cares for him.  Unfortunately for Nurse Sally, clad in a nifty white nurse's outfit, Sonja (pictured above wearing Nurse Sally's whites) arrives and murders her.  As Sonja dons the nurse's outfit, which Sally no longer needs, and makes a move on the boy...she gets in a fight with Rachel.  Rachel and the boy escape, but now Varek and company are right on their tails.  Varek is able to pick-off  Rachel's protectors, one by one, setting up a final showdown.  Startling revelations are revealed regarding Varek's identity which make killing Rachel a priority for Sonja.

Will the boy reach his 13th birthday, thus removing the werewolf curse?  Will the beautiful Rachel and the luscious Sonja meet in a rematch?  Of course!  What are Varek's true intentions?  "Skinwalkers" has neat battle scenes, exciting chases, sexy characters, vicious werewolves, and some neat twists.  The acting is terrific, as Ms. Mitra portrays a caring and frightened mother perfectly.  Fans of Ms. Mitra and Ms. Malthe will not want to miss this film.   

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sorcerer, From The Exorcist and Jaws to the Cesspool

This shouldn't be a B movie....but discontent foiled a would-be blockbuster.  William Friedkin, the director and producer, had just done "The Exorcist" and "The French Connection."  The star, Roy Scheider, fresh from "Jaws" would be cast in Bob Fosse's, "All That Jazz."  Success should have been easy for 1977's "Sorcerer."  Not so.  Mr. Friedkin, not an easy man to get along with, feuded with the studios prior to this film's release.  Both Universal and Paramount had joined forces to make this can't-miss epic.  When the finished product was delivered to them, these studio's were aghast, and cut a half hour off the final product, releasing a 90 minute B movie.  Mr. Friedkin was furious, but today we have the 121 minute epic, available on DVD.  A remake of 1953's "Wages of Fear," this is one of the dirtiest movies ever made (literally).
The plot: Three evil schmucks.  1) Jackie (Scheider) is a small time Irish hood who rips off a big time Italian mob boss in a New Jersey poker game.  He has to leave town. 2) An Arab terrorist has just blown up innocents at a Jerusalem bus stop.  The Israeli police pursue and kill his cohorts.  He has to leave town.  3)  Victor is a banker at one of Paris' most prestigious banks.  He has just embezzled 15 million Francs from them and is about to be arrested.  He has to leave town.  Where do these bozos go?  A cesspool of a banana republic in central America.  The only country in existence that not even the lowliest of the low will visit.  Muddy streets, tropical rains, naked kids, ugly prostitutes, and a dictator seeking to quell any potential for revolution highlight this Hell hole.

Our three protagonists hold menial jobs, and scheme on getting new identities and escaping their cursed new home.  Lucky for them an oil well explodes and catches fire.  As long as the well isn't producing capital, no one works...making the atmosphere ripe for civil war.  Our trio then are offered lots of dinero to transport some unstable dynamite 217 miles through the jungle.  This dynamite will blow out the oil well fire, restoring production.  Desperate and grizzled, the three are joined by a couple more shady characters and piece together rickety old trucks for the trek.  If the ride gets too bumpy...BOOM!  No one expects them to succeed.  What follows is a harrowing ride through storms, jungle growth, rivers, unstable bridges, homicidal rebels, and eroding roads.  The scene when Jackie maneuvers his truck across a rope bridge has been termed by some critics as the most tense three minutes ever put on film (see above picture).
Mr. Friedken successfully captures the desperation of his characters, and the grittiness of this fictional country.  Can these three losers really escape their past?  Do they have any chance at delivering the dynamite without being blown to bits?  Would more effective conflict resolution strategies have helped Mr. Friedkin negotiate a more positive release for his film?  There is so much mud, rain, sweat, oil, dirt, dust, and whatever else in this film that you will want to jump in the shower after it ends.  Ignored by the public and critics in the 1970s, this is actually a terrific movie.  See "Sorcerer," and treat yourself to a well-acted, finely directed near-miss masterpiece.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Hell, Nena...99 Luftballoons...Cannibalism

NASCAR fans will remember Carl Edwards' feeble attempt to revive the popularity of Nena's "99 Luftballoons."  However noble of an attempt, Mr. Edwards misread the NASCAR culture.  NASCAR fans usually have a...shall we say, "louder" taste in music.  Nena's magnum opus is destined to endure, as this 2011 film from Germany takes "99 Luftballoons" into the apocalypse.  Post-apocalyptic landscapes are perfect for B movies, and tend to keep our attention longer than spring afternoons in Paris.  In "Hell," director Tim Fehlbaum introduces us to 2016 Germany, where social order has collapsed.  Many will see "Hell" as a "The Walking Dead" episode without zombies. However, like TWD, the perils in "Hell" are the survivors.
The plot: Intense solar storms have upped world temperatures 10 degrees.  Crops and water have evaporated.  Social order has collapsed quickly.  Bands of survivors have turned to foragers....and other things.  Marie (Hannah Herzsprung), her teen-aged sister Leonie (Lisa Vicari), and a coward Phillip (Lars Eldinger) are headed to the mountains in a Volvo.  Rumors persist that rain still exists above the tree line.  While foraging for supplies at an abandoned gas station, Tom (Stipe Erceg) tries to rob them.  He isn't a good robber, but because he knows cars, he is invited to join our trio.  Now a quartet, they head to the mountains with gas, water, and one CD (you guessed it...."99 Luftballons"). Halfway up a mountain, they drive into a trap.  Leonie is abducted and the Volvo is stolen.  Tom and Marie are bent on finding Leonie, and Phillip displays his yellow belly.  
After finding those invaders, the trio attempt to rescue Leonie.  This plot fails largely because of Phillip's lack of manhood.  Now Tom is also a captive...but of who?  Marie then goes it alone, as she is determined to find her sister, and possible new love interest.  Uh oh! Can you say TERMINUS? You TWD fans can.  Our invaders are a very moralistic band of cannibals, and Marie realizes she needs to work fast.  I won't deliver any spoilers here, but Marie turns into quite the warrior.  Even though she is outnumbered, and outgunned, Marie's new attitude will make the odds just about even as she prepares to battle her new nemesis.
Will Tom and Leonie be served up next to the wiener schnitzel?  Even if Marie is successful, does an oasis exist at the mountaintop?  Is there any truth to the rumor Nena is about to record "The 100th Luftballoon"?  Marie's evolution from a forager to warrior is very appealing.  She leaves no one behind, especially her sister, and nobly sets her sights on post-apocalyptic bully-gangs.  Available on Netflix, this is a perfect movie for TWD fans who can't wait for the next episode. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Le Fear 2: Le Sequel, Orson Welles would have been Proud

I love old movies, especially Film Noir films.  The 1940s and 1950s were a fascinating era in Hollywood.  In making "Citizen Kane" and "The Lady From Shanghai," Orson Welles faced obstacles that bordered on the ridiculous.  Never mind the weather, or budget overruns...Mr. Welles had to battle the studios, his ego-maniacal cast, and the unions.  Even after completing his masterpieces, one ponders if this great movie-maker wondered if it was all worth it.  Hence today's entry, "Le Fear 2: Le Sequel."  This film, about the making of a film will hit the screen in here is a preview.  Jason Croot has put together a film, that if alive today, Orson Welles would 100% be able to identify with.
The plot: Carlos Revalos (Kyri Saphiris, pictured above) seeks funding for his dream project.  He desires to make a Film Noir/horror film with vampires, gremlins, ghosts, UFOs and aliens, and other creatures...sounds good to me.  He gets swindled into putting up his life savings for the project (a half million pounds).  The day comes to commence filming and immediate bumps in the road occur.  His set consists of a small caravan (trailer) at the edge of a parking lot.  His crew?  Nollywood (Nigerian film industry) cast-offs.  Efi (Seye Adelekan) is his producer, and he enlists the help of many of Nollywood's less than finest.  Revalos has a dream, and dammit.....he's gonna make a movie.  Efi assures Revalos that all will be fine as Efi is best buds with Michael Jackson, who made "Lord of the Sting" and William Shakespeare used this same caravan.  Key in any horror film is the special FX, and Efi hires Africa (Roxy Sternberg).  Africa gets all the FX at the Dollar (pound if you live in the UK) Store (note the above pictured alien).
Let's be fair...not all is bleak.  The female lead (Denise Moreno, pictured above) is very seductive...but she quits halfway through the film. Her replacement is Japanese actress Lucy Lou (Aiko Horiuchi), who does not speak English.  Throw in a nymphomaniac make-up artist (bisexual, I might add), a witch doctor who wonders into camera shot (he's also from Nigeria) trying to sell phone cards from the Nigerian National Telephone Company, an actress (stripper?) playing a vampire straight out of an Ed Wood film, and the great B movie actor Dr. Strange.  Revalos' luck cascades downward as we progress through this film.  We feel sympathy for Revalos, as his goal was a noble one.  Can he salvage a film out of this mess?  Will his Nollywood cohorts ever attempt to get on the same page as their director?  Oh will also be treated I call it, an alien exorcism scene.
This movie is hilarious, but we all can feel a bit of empathy toward Revalos' plight.  In our increasing multicultural societies, it is clear that we definitely are not marching to the beat of the same drummer (I think I said that right).  To give Revalos credit, he knew his dream was slipping away....unlike the makers of "47 Ronon" or "The Man With the Iron Fists."  In failure, there is comedy, and you will be laughing hysterically at the plight of Carlos Revalos in filming "Le Fear 2: Le Sequel."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Event Horizon, Hell and Back

Before Paul W.S. Anderson (Mr. Milla Jovovich) gave us the "Resident Evil" movies, he directed the best sci-fi/horror film of the 1990s.  1997's "Event Horizon," like "Alien" mixes two genres, introduces us to a gritty crew, is set on a spooky and cavernous space ship, and is over-the-top gory.  The man with the extra initial takes us on a voyage that will cause nightmares.  Unlike "Alien," the antagonist in this film'll see.
The plot:  It is the year 2047.  Seven years previous the space ship Event Horizon set course to explore the outer reaches of the solar system....or so the public was told.  Secret NSA files indicate the mission was a bit more far-reaching.  While in orbit around Neptune (see picture above), the Event Horizon disappeared without a trace ( we are told).  Now, seven years later, the Event Horizon is back.....but from where?  The mysterious Dr. Weir (Sam Neill) joins a search and rescue crew on the space ship Lewis & Clark to meet up with the Event Horizon.  After some hyper-sleep, the Lewis & Clark rendezvous with our creepy ship in Neptune's orbit.  The grouchy crew, led by Captain Miller (Laurence Fishburne) demand Weir level with them.  Weir advises them the Event Horizon is equipped with a reactor (see photo below) that can move the ship faster than the speed of light by folding space.  Now the crew sets out to find survivors (there are none) and figure out where the Event Horizon was for the past seven years.
As the crew boards the space ship the creepiness intensifies.  Human guts are splattered all over the walls.  Some corpses are found and their eyes are gouged out.  Occasional human appendages float by.  Peters and Lt. Starck (Kathleen Quinlan and Joely Richardson) are able to get the Event Horizon back on line.  Meanwhile, Weir seems to be increasingly possessed by the ship.  As the crew uncovers the mystery of the fate of the Event Horizon's crew, Starck realizes the ship is alive.  Cryptic log entries indicate an orgy of blood-shed felled the former crew.  When the reactor mysteriously turns itself on, a burst of energy from the Event Horizon destroys the Lewis & Clark, thus everyone is now aboard our monster ship.  Each character is visited, through hallucination, by horrific episodes from their past, and the possession of Weir intensifies.  The death scenes are incredibly graphic, and pure evil has never been captured better on film since "The Exorcist."
As Weir joins forces with evil (....Satan?), the crew realizes where the Event Horizon has been for the past seven years.  Miller and his crew set out on a plan to destroy Weir, the reactor, and to save themselves.  They undertake incredibly heroic measures for the ultimate battle in space.  The entire movie is intense and highlighted by a pounding musical score (Michael Kamen).  Exciting and horrific, this is not a film for the squeamish.  The revelations uncovered by Miller and his crew are even more terrifying than the kills and warned.  Available on Netflix, DO NOT MISS "EVENT HORIZON."

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Snake With a Human Tail, not from Italy...but Fulci-esque

The most uncomfortable Lucio Fulci film is 1972's "Don't Torture a Duckling."  The beautiful heroine, in this film, desires sex with little boys....and she's the good guy!  Our film (short) today is a short (31 minutes) made by Spencer Gray, "Snake With a Human Tail."  Mr. Gray delivers a most uncomfortable story, which might have been labeled gratuitous and obscene in the 1990s, but with the church molestation scandals of the last decade, this film is relevant and interesting.  Fans of Lucio me....will key on the razor and thick red blood....and a plot that causes us to squirm.
The plot (without giving too much away):  Father Fulci (Marv Blauvelt) is undergoing court ordered therapy for molestation.  Our priest is "confessing" all to Dr. Bloom (Billy Blair).  Our good doctor patiently leads Fulci through a description of the molestation, and Fulci's philosophies.  The ick factor is maximized here.  Also, a prostitute, Karma (Sheri Davis) is at a diner with her lover, Kennedy (Melina Lyon).  Karma has problems and Kennedy is worried about her.  Karma services Fulci, and Fulci likes to cut her up, and humiliate her.  Karma calms Kennedy by assuring her that she feels no pain.
Also introduced in the plot, by flashback, is a little boy named Henry.  Fulci has fond memories of this boy, who Fulci molested many years ago...while he romanced Henry's transgender mother.  Are Bloom's treatments helping Fulci? Yeah right!  Fulci emerges, not only as a pervert, but a violent murderer straight out of a Fulci movie.  All of the above mentioned plot devices are on a collision course, and will meet in bloody fashion.  Seedy and dark, one must remember the plot of "Snake With a Human Tail" is all too real for many of the molestation victims we've heard about over the past several years.
Mr. Gray's direction keeps the entire film intense and uncomfortable...appropriate for this plot.  Mr. Blauvelt and Ms. Davis take on incredibly difficult roles, and excel.  The portrayals of these characters in "Snake With a Human Tail" could not merely be mailed in. The actors here needed to put their all into their parts.  You'll need a shower after watching this film, but one may call this production a voice for so many victims who will never be heard. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

5 Dolls for an August Moon, If Mario Bava did Agatha Christie...

The comparisons to Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians" will be inevitable, but Mario Bava's signature on today's film is clear.  From Italy, 1970's "5 Dolls for an August Moon" is a fascinating film.  However mannered an Agatha Christie mystery is, we can be sure Mr. Bava will deliver some psycho-sexual message which will earn a hard R rating.  Orgies, nymphomaniacs, lesbian relationships, and gore do separate this film from a rated PG adaptation of a Christie story (remember, this film was made in Italy).  However perverse, this movie serves as a "whodunnit" in the truest sense...albeit...with a seedier subtext than mere greed.
Without getting too detailed, here is the plot.  Businessmen have been assembled on an island owned by George (Teodoro Corra).  Also invited is an altruistic scientist, Fritz, who has discovered a new formula for an industrial resin.  This discovery would be worth millions to the company who can produce it.  The businessmen want to seduce Fritz to sell them the formula.  Fritz wants to give the formula away at a conference in Geneva, so every company can benefit from it.  Each of these businessmen brought their wife along.  The wives are all nymphomaniacs, desiring sex with everyone who walks...including the other women.  Oh yes, Isabel (Ely Galleani, see photo below) is the young daughter of George, and she appears to be a free-spirit with bizarre behavior.  As Fritz rejects any offer for his formula, the murders start.
One by one, guests are stabbed or picked off by a sniper rifle.  As bodies drop, lesbian trysts abound, and each wife engages in sexual activity out of their marital circle.  The businessmen are more interested in obtaining Fritz' formula than they are surviving.  As the corpses mount, and all communication with the outside world is cut off, the bodies are hung in a meat locker.  Sweet, beautiful Isabel emerges as a suspect (at least for the viewer), but is that too easy?  Every character comes across as ruthless, and the maxim "no one is innocent" prevails.  The ending is both predictable, and a surprise.
Mario Bava didn't set out to create a morality tale, but here we have one.  Those engaging in orgies and intimacy outside of marriage meet bloody fates.  Is sweet Isabel actually a devious monster?  Is one of our businessmen merely eliminating competition?  Is jealousy at play, here?  This is a good one, and available on Netflix.  Next time you think of experimenting outside your current family unit, remeber the fate of many of the characters in "5 Dolls for an August Moon."

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Crimson, Sadism and Brain Transplants

Horror from Spain has been popular on this blog, of late.  We've looked at Jesus Franco and Amando de Ossorio films, but to really appreciate Spanish horror, we must also chat about Paul Naschy.  Later this month will be the fifth anniversary of Naschy's death.  Born in Madrid, this muscle bound writer, actor, and director molded horror in his country for 50 years.  His films often included eroticism, as well as creatures.  1973's "Crimson" (aka "The Man With the Severed Head" or "Las Ratas No Duermen de noche") is a minor classic.  Gun fights, brain transplants, sexual sadists, hints of lesbianism, and mad scientists highlight this film starring Naschy (see picture below).
The plot:  A botched jewel heist results in a chase, as the cops close in on an  incompetent gang. During their eventual escape, the beloved gang leader, Jack (Naschy), is shot in the head.  The gang take Jack to Dr. Ritter (Carlos Otero), a drunk quack.  The head wound is above Ritter's pay grade, so naturally he suggests bringing Jack to his mad scientist pal, who specializes in brain transplants.  The "experienced" Ingrid is summoned, Jack's hot main squeeze.  Ingrid will do anything for Jack, and will soon be asked to.  Uh oh, the gang has arrived at the mad scientist's isolated mansion (equipped with a lab, of course) and find our Professor with disabled hands.  But wait!  The Professor's hot wife, Ana (Silvia Solar) can operate, guided by the professor's instructions.  The gang abducts their eight year old daughter to force Ana to do the operation.  The professor advises our miscreants that he needs a fresh brain in order to transplant a frontal lobe into Jack's head.
The idiots come up with a brilliant idea....use the brain of Jack's arch enemy...a man referred to as "The Sadist."  As Ingrid seduces the Sadist, the gang abducts him. They then lay him across some train tracks, and let a train decapitate him.  Ana is then able to successfully effect the transplant.  Our gang gets cocky, and send the remains of the Sadist to Barbara (Evelyne Scott), the Sadist's main squeeze.  By the way, Barbara and Ingrid used to be lovers.  Now the Sadist's gang is out for revenge, and after abducting Ingrid, Barbara is summoned to torture her.  Meanwhile, Jack recovers, but the part of the Sadist's brain in his skull slowly takes over.  Now Jack is bent on raping and strangling every woman who comes within 500 yards of him.  As Jack becomes a danger, not only to his cohorts, but to Ana's virtue (see photo below), Barbara and the Sadist's gang close in.
Crime drama/Mad scientist movie....a combo we don't see much of anymore.  Paul Naschy, an incredibly creative sort, and very expressive actor, was inspired at an early age by adventure comics and movie serials.  He saturated himself in these mediums at a young age to mentally escape the horror of the Spanish Civil War.  The wars that have dotted history for us all have given way to innovation, invention, medical breakthroughs, and really fine horror.  Will Ana be able to sustain her virtue and keep her family alive?  Is there a future for Ingrid and Jack, or will the jealous Barbara turn Ingrid into a piece of Swiss cheese?  Will Paul's new frontal lobe spell the end for attractive virgins in Spain?  Available on Netflix as "Crimson, The Color of Blood," this film will entertain, and arouse.  

Monday, November 10, 2014

Wer, Human Rights for the Werewolf Community

Whoever thunk that the newest, so-called disenfranchised community would be the lycanthropes among us?  Some malevolent hairball with fangs eats a family and all of a sudden the U.N. adopts their cause.  Hence today's film, from 2013, "Wer."  Set in Lyon (France), and filmed in Bucharest, "Wer" is an attractive murder mystery, courtroom drama, and horror flick.  The gore is piled on, reality is suspended, and one heck of a thrill ride ensues.
An American family vacationing in the woods near Lyon is attacked by......someone?  The little boy and his dad end up half eaten and the mom would later die in a hospital.  Before she died, the mom gave a description of a werewolf to the police.  The story attracts media from around the world, and an arrest is soon made.  The suspect, Talan Gwynek (Brian Scott O'Connor) is a massive (over seven feet) and very hairy human being who resides with his mom two miles from the murders.  Enter Kate (A.J. Cook of "Criminal Minds"), an international human rights lawyer.  She arrives in Lyon confident that our monster of a man is innocent.  As with most "well meaning" dweebs who are ashamed that they came from privilege, Kate hates the police and loves the accused.  Her desire to champion the rights of the the socially oppressed will soon get dozens of good people pureed.  Kate's two helpers are an old beau, Gavin (Simon Quarterman), and an investigator, Eric (Vik Sahay). Together they poke massive holes in the prosecution's case.  Their defense is quite effective until Talan actually turns into a monster while undergoing tests at a hospital (see photo below).
After killing doctors, lab technicians, and lots of cops, Talan escapes into the city.  Kate actually admits to an error in judgment, but soon will have more problems.  Now determined to assist the cops, she finds out that Gavin was wounded by the lycanthrope and is starting to change into something hairy and powerful.  As Talan goes through cops guessed it...crap through a goose, Kate and her cop friends close in on him  Kate is hopeful that some form of humanity remains in Talan so that she can talk him into giving up peacefully....right!  Our peacenik turned monster hunter is given a gun by Gavin with his instructions. "If I do anything, use the gun..."  Whatever Gavin is becoming, it ain't good.  
The last half hour is incredibly bloody, and dozens will be pulled apart by the above pictured fiend. Will Kate's desire for peace and understanding make her need for a firearm disappear?  Will Gavin's change from an intellectual, pacifist do-gooder into a violent, maniacal beast make him more attractive to Kate's id?  See "Wer" during the next full moon, and watch the carnage as the police and defense lawyers decide to put their differences aside in order to achieve a common goal (gag me with a spoon!).    

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Hunted, Bow Hunting Season for the Paranormal

Ahhhh, the fall! I love it. Cool, invigorating temperatures! The World Series!  Hockey Season! Plenty of parking at my place of employment!  Hunting season has commenced and half my office has taken to the woods of Pennsylvania, Virginia, or West Virginia. They'll probably all return relatively unscathed....probably.    Caution must prevail, however, as Robert Frost reminds us that those woods are "beautiful, dark, and deep..."  What could go wrong?  How about a screaming, malevolent, lunatic of a ghost who probably hates men.  This brings us to 2013's "The Hunted," a film written by, directed by, and starring Josh Stewart (see photo below).
As our film begins, we meet Jake (Stewart) and his family.  Two beautiful children and a lovely, adoring wife (Nikki Deloach)....who is fine with him going on a three day hunting trip without her! A sense of desperation can be detected in our hunter.  This is not just a routine excursion into the West Virginian woods.  Apparently Jake has risked it all to follow a dream, and a passion.  Providing for his loved ones is at stake.  Fully equipped with the best bow, and a sponsor, Jake will attempt to film the pilot of a hunting show during this bow hunt.  If all goes well, he will sell it to a cable channel, and all will be good with life.  Also, his loyal friend, Stevie (Ronnie Gene Blevins, see photo below) will join him.  Stevie believes in Jake, and quit his job as a TV news cameraman to attach himself to Jake's dream.  Our duo then heads to the hunting grounds.....but not just any woods.  Jake has scored a coup.  A previously forbidden patch of woods has just been purchased by Tony (Skipp Sudduth). Tony is allowing Jake to be the first hunter ever to hunt deer there.  Is there a catch?  Is there something about those woods Tony is concealing?
Also included with this patch of woods is "Movie-Star."  No, not a beautiful Hollywood starlet, but an enormous and elusive buck.  Bagging "Movie-Star" would ensure Jake's pilot would be picked up by some network.  Uh oh!  The weird begins!  At first, Jake's knife mysteriously disappears, then reappears in a menacing manner.  Their equipment is sabotaged, including their tree stands (placed 20 feet above the ground).  Cameras are knocked off their trees.  Jake and Stevie look at the camera footage, and see stuff that just doesn't make sense.  Then the scream.  A blood curdling, angry scream.  A bobcat?  Yeah, right.  Now Stevie begins to get unhinged.  Jake's desperation to film this show, sell it, and provide for his family get in the way of him realizing that something in the woods means them harm.  Back at the lodge, Stevie finds out that these new hunting grounds have a gory and homicidal history.  With what's on the line...Jake convinces Stevie to return to the grounds to complete the show.  
The subtlety of the haunting escalates, as our hunters become the hunted.  The conclusion (no spoilers here) is horrifying.  Where "The Hunted" succeeds is not only in the scares, but in the characters.  Unlike "The Blair Witch Project" or "Paranormal Acivity," we actually like Jake and Stevie.  These are good guys who mean well.  Jake's love for his family is touching. Though this is technically a found footage flick Stevie is a great cameraman, and his equipment is first class....thus eliminating any shaking and grainy video.  Do yourselves a favor this hunting season, join Jake and Stevie and venture into this horror story.  See "The Hunted." 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Female Vampire, She Bit Him WHERE?

Okay, okay, okay!  Yes, this film is Rated X.  Before we can talk about it, we need to get a few points out of the way.  ONE:  The opening scene. Lina Romay is nude, except for some alluring leather boots.  As the credits roll, she walks toward the camera....and yes, the credits end as her face collides with the camera.  TWO:  As she meets the farmer, and seduces him, she does bite him, in the tally-whacker (..there's that word again).  And THREE: "Female Vampire" might not be the most colorful title, but it beats "Male Vampire."  So, with all of that out of the way, lets take a look at this 1973 Jesus Franco film.  With our censors in mind, grab your [CENSORED] and lets take a peek at "Female Vampire."
Countess Irina Karlstein (Romay, pictured above) is an erotic vampire.  She bites her victims in their sex organs, males on their [CENSORED] and females on(or in) their [CENSORED], and then sucks their hormone juices.  She has arrived on the island of Medeira, where her ancestors used to ply their vampirism.  Karlstein is mute, and is approached by a reporterette, Anna (Anna Watican), clad in a pink bikini.  After a short interview, Karlstein puts this inquisitive damsel under her spell, and eventually [CENSORED] and turns her into a love slave.  Our final shot of Anna, is as she is clad only in white go-go boots, following Karlstein through the woods.  In fact, most of the movie has our alluring fiend dressed only in leather boots and a leather belt.  After sucking out [CENSORED] from her victims, she then has traditional (bad choice of words] sex with the corpses.  This movie is Rated X and nothing is implied.
Dr. Roberts (Jesus Franco, pictured below), the coroner cannot convince the police that a vampire is responsible for the rash of grisly killings.  He joins forces with a blind Dr. Orloff (Jean-Pierre Bouyxou) to track down Karlstein.  Karlstein is very hungry, and in one unforgettable scene visits a dominatrix. Succumbing to a whipping, Karlstein turns the table on the dominatrix and [CENSORED] a threesome.  Then there is the Baron Von Rathony (Jack Taylor).  He is the worst poet in Europe and likes to trim his nose hairs.  Rathony knows what Karlstein is.  Nevertheless, what a way to go he figures and endeavors to arrange a tryst with our hormone-juice sucker.  Orloff tells Roberts that tracking down Karlstein might be difficult, as the victims probably believe the ecstasy they feel in their final moments is worth death to them.  Orloff' endeavors to converse and understand Karlstein, as Roberts has homicide on his to-do list.
Everything Karlstein does in this film, is not only done nude, but has penetration and orgasm in mind. She has sex with not only men and women, but also inanimate objects.  In one weird scene, Karlstein longingly approaches a bed-post [CENSORED] and then with a cushion [CENSORED].  A final confrontation is inevitable, as Roberts enters Karlstein's bathroom, and finds her [CENSORED] lots of blood.  I must give Netflix credit for recommending these types of movies to me.  For your most guilty pleasure, I submit to you, "Female Vampire" (aka "La Comtesse Noire"), available on Netflix.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Literature Review #4: Who Is Evelyn Dae?

....the question at hand; however, not the most important one stimulated by this work of Sarah LeFleur.  Should parents keep secrets from their children?  Easy one, of course!  Will your off spring find them out?  Yep!  When entrenched deep in adolescence, will current angst mold who we become in adulthood?  "Who is Evelyn Dae?" might be termed a novella for young adults, or teens, but will work best if read by parents and their children, simultaneously.  Our protagonist is noble and likable, and caught in a mystery which will have extraordinary results....if she is able to solve it.  As with most solved mysteries, they tend to birth a host of uncomfortable questions....
Evelyn is a good kid.  Smart, cute, and social.  Unlike many a teen, she initially demonstrates wisdom so rare in those impulsive teen years.  Her early dating awkwardness spurred a set of rules to live by.  To give Evelyn credit, as parents, we advocate many of the same rules she has instituted for herself.  They concern dating, kissing, boys (eek!), and protecting ourselves from being vulnerable.  What would a good story be without a protagonist who breaks the rules?  A boy from across the pond has arrived at Evelyn's school for the year.  After some awkward dating history, Evelyn is determined to ignore the new arrival.....but he has an English accent!  You guys out there, fear not.  Though it might seem that this prose is headed in the direction of a sappy teen-love drama, Ms. Lafleur cascades this story into mystery, intrigue, and perhaps a hint of the fantasy world.
Whatever Evelyn's unique outlook toward her teen predicament yields, the story takes some complex turns.  At first, Evelyn seems to be at odds with her most teens are.  However, this relationship takes on an intrigue that tell the reader, "something weird is also going on here."  Who exactly are her parents, and what have they done?  What are they hiding, and why are they gone so much?  When Evelyn turns detective, we see that the answers to those questions are anything but routine.  As Evelyn nears shocking revelations, we the reader drop our jaws in amazement.  I'm so tempted to pass along spoilers, but I'll stop here with my plot description.
This work is available on in Kindle or printed format.  However, at a most reasonable price, this novella is also sold with "Who Is Evelyn Dae 2."  After reading the first one, you are definately going to want to plow through Part 2.  Sarah LaFleur will take you for a ride, and hopefully it is a ride you will undertake with your parents...or children.  Also, lovers of the sea will appreciate the symbolism and metaphor used by the author.  As we delve further into this story, Ms. LaFleur's writing will open your senses, and you will smell the sea air and feel the salt water on your face.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Blood Beach, Carnage and Castration in Santa Monica

Jeffrey Bloom was a magician in the 1950s and 1960s.  In the 1970s he wrote several "Columbo" episodes.  In 1980, Mr. Bloom directed "Blood Beach."  A true B Movie classic, this film is highlighted by a creature dwelling under a California beach, and Burt Young's ("Rocky") performance as Sargent Royko of the LAPD.  A former Chicago PD cop, Royko brings his tough Chicago mindset to La-La land.  Sensitivity and brevity are not Royko's strengths, but his one-liners are priceless.  So here goes, enjoy this entry chronicling a masterpiece from the final days of the Carter Administration (...a horror story in itself).
The plot:  On the beach near the Santa Monica Pier, something is living underneath the sand.  When a woman, walking her dog, is pulled under in the opening scene...the carnage begins. Harry (David Huffman), a member of the harbor patrol is on the case.  Harry is a dimwit.  He is living with a hot, international stewardess, Marie (Lena Pousette), who likes to cook for him and have lots of sex for dessert.  Our tool isn't satisfied.  He ends up romancing the daughter of the above mentioned victim, Catherine (Mariana Hill, "Schizoid").  Catherine is a horrendous artist who just graduated off of stick figures.  She can't cook and masters the art of sending mixed signals.  Fortunately for Harry, he doesn't have to dump Marie, as she is later pulled to her torturous demise when she walks on the beach.  After the aforementioned canine is decapitated on the beach, the SPCA demands action. Royko immediately blames the American Nazi Party, and his Captain (John Saxon) blames tax cuts.  In one of the more excruciating scenes, a would be rapist has his tally-whacker pulled of as he crawls toward an intended victim....ouch! (see bottom picture).
When a rich teenager (see photo above) has her legs chewed up by the creature, politicians and influential Californians put more pressure on the LAPD to solve the case.  Finally, a break in the case!  A survivor.  A schmuck wearing a t-shirt stating "Need Gas, Eat Beans" is pulled under, but ends up crawling out of the sewer.  Uh oh...mentally he's gone.  Royko characterizes this dweeb's mental state the best as he points to his head and utters, "Vegetable soup."  The idiot Harry racks his pea-sized brain to figure out what's happening.  He is confused that there is no pattern to the killings. Not that the location of all the killings is on the beach near the pier is a pattern...or the fact all the victims were a stone's throw away from an abandoned carnival building...nah, that's probably not a pattern either...  As Royko and his Captain move in on whatever dwells in the sand, Harry mourns the untimely death of the Ursula Andress look-alike girlfriend by romancing the grouchy, so-called artist. 
As the lair of this horrendous thing is discovered, everyone is shocked when it finally makes an appearance for the camera.  With every weapon west of the Mississippi at their disposal, eliminating this monster will not be so easy.  The proverbial scientific mind wants to proceed slowly, with caution.  Royko and the LAPD want to blow the @3$& out of it.  Available, in blurry quality on YouTube, "Blood Beach" is a must see, and a member of the B Movie Hall of Fame.  Hopefully a good quality DVD of this film will soon be available, or perhaps Netflix will pick it up.   

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Fascination, Seduction Masquerades as Death

Once again, with 1979's "Fascination," we examine a Jean Rollin film (See my review of "Killing Car" from October 7th).  If Hammer's "Vampire Lovers" (reviewed here on October 25th) was a playful film about lesbian vampires, "Fascination" is a risque trek into surreal eroticism, a la Jean Rollin.  Every single line or movement by Brigitte Lahaie (Eva) or Franca Mai (Elisabeth) oozes of seduction and want.  This is a vampire story that will stay with you, not only in your dreams, but on your way to a cold shower.
The plot:  Marc (Jean-Marie Lemaire) has just ripped off his gang after a heist.  Pursued by his angry cohorts, he finds refuge in a mysterious, Gothic castle in France.  As he invades the castle, he captures Eva and Elisabeth.  These two women, pictured above, are lesbian lovers, so when Marc locks them in their bedroom, these two vixens engage in some pretty steamy sex with each other.  They are also smarter than Marc, and get loose and begin a battle of wits with the handsome thief.  The women conspire and Eva seduces him while Elisabeth gets the gun.  As Elisabeth goes for the gun, she becomes most jealous when she notices that Eva is having too much ecstasy with Marc during passionate intercourse.  Uh oh, Marc's cohorts, who he betrayed, bust in, and they want the loot.  Eva brings them into the stables where she seduces them, and then neutralizes them.  Eva is not only adept at sex, but also with a scythe (see photo below).  After seeing the two babes engage in homicide, Marc wonders what he has gotten himself into.  Because they have lots of sex with each other, and him, he doesn't think too much about it.
Elisabeth is falling in love with Marc, and now Eva is jealous.  Unfortunately for Marc, the two women have plans for him.  It becomes apparent that they are keeping Marc at the castle, as they distract him every time he attempts to leave.  The seductresses mention to him that some female friends are arriving after dark (clue).  The sultry guests do arrive and prepare for a midnight ritual.  So taken with the beauty and erotic behavior of the women in the castle, Marc ignores a myriad of clues that hint at his doom.  As the after dark festivities get underway, Marc is lulled into a false sense of security as the women act as his sex slaves.  He looks at them with lust, and the femmes look at him as a doberman views a lamb chop.    
The finale has some neat surprises.  Does Elisabeth love Marc or Eva?  What weird rite will occur at midnight?  Does the street wise Marc have any hope of survival against these hungry lovelies?  The scenes between Eva and Elisabeth are steamy, and so are the scenes with Eva and Marc, and Eva with her unwitting prey.  Though Marc is warned by Helene (Fanny Magier), one of the guests, "Beware, death sometimes takes the form of seduction," he can't tear himself away from an evening of erotic delight.  Available on Netflix, submit yourself to the spell of some very sexy vampires.