Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Jail: The Women's Hell, Sadistic Guards, Menacing Lesbians and Rampant Nudity

....so says the description on the back of the DVD case for 2006's "The Jail, The Women's Hell," directed by Bruno Mattei.  Actually that description is quite tame compared to the actual gratuity and carnage in this film.  Picture Women's Prison Massacre on steroids.  In order not to offend the more pure among us, I will refrain from describing the gratuity, however, I will offer it up in a more subliminal manner. This was one of Mattei's...GRATUITOUS WHIPPING...final films, and one of the bloodiest. Extreme Euro-Sleaze, shot in the Philippines, ...GRATUITOUS MUD WRESTLING...let us begin.
Jennifer (Yvette Yzon) is delivered to an island jungle prison for women.  The inmates are...GRATUITOUS SHOWER SCENE...constantly whipped, even after they die.  The warden (Odette Khan) is a sadist and so are her guards. Jennifer....GRATUITOUS FIRE-HOSE HUMILIATION..is selected to be a whore at a local brothel. Her and the more attractive girls are turned into exotic dancers who are offered...GRATUITOUS LESBIAN SHOWER SCENE...to slimy grunts.  Jennifer's new existence is now to be tortured and brutalized during the day and licked, raped, and groped at night.  Our protagonist...SNAKE RAPE...begins to plot escape.  Refusing the governor's advances...BONDAGE...has only gotten her into trouble, she decides to fake a desire to be the governor's personal whore.
One night, the governor rents Jennifer and her friends out to some rowdy Filipinos...RAPED, HUNG, AND QUARTERED...but Jennifer has a plan.  She and her girls will get everyone drunk and then run away after....SPIKE CARNAGE...the men pass out.  Now Jennifer and her babe friends are fleeing...SHOTGUN CARNAGE...through the....IMPALEMENT....jungle.  Uh oh! The governor anticipated this and sets loose horny natives and psycho gangs to hunt the escapees. Not all...DECAPITATION...the girls will survive, but Jennifer is very....TONGUE AND @#&%!* CUT OFF....clever.  Will any of our gals survive?  Will the Philippines ever enact penal reform? 
This is a brutal and gory film....ORGY AND DRUGS....and not for everyone.  The InterVision DVD presents this sexploitation epic uncut, so...HUNGRY RATS... be warned.  Even for the seasoned pro, some of the scenes will be difficult to watch.  High in energy, not ten seconds ever go by when we are not reminded that we are watching an extreme, sleazy, exploitation film shot in Asia. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Viy, Soviet Horror

In this blog's never ending quest to span the world, today we visit one of my favorite countries...Russia!  Actually, "Viy" was made in 1967, hence, technically it was the Soviet Union.  Also known as "Spirit of Evil," we have a horror film, with some comedic elements, pitting evil against the faith of a hapless monk.  In an age old tale, put onto the screen by directors Konstantin Ershov and Goergiy Kropachyov, we learn that even in the Soviet Union, horror and good humor were alive and well. Though this film was made in Moscow, it is set in the outskirts of Kiev.
On a break from the rectory, Khoma (Leonid Kuravlyov) gets lost in the countryside.  He takes refuge at an old farmhouse.  Uh oh....it's a witch's abode.  The witch, an old hag, commandeers him and she soars into the sky with a horrified Khoma.  As the witch lands, Khoma beats her senseless.  While he is slugging her, the witch changes into a beautiful young girl.  Khoma flees back to his rectory, determined not to share his story. Once back at the rectory, the Rector summons Khoma.  It seems a very rich donor to the rectory has a beautiful young daughter who was left beaten by the side of the road and will die very soon.  The young girl's last words to her dad were to summon a monk named Khoma in order that he could pray over her corpse for three days. Khoma is horrified and tries everything to get out of this assignment.  No dice.
The dad seems to be the only one who thinks his daughter was pure as the driven snow. The townspeople all know Khoma will be in for the ride of his life.  For three nights Khoma will be locked in the church to say prayers.  Each night, the beauty rises out of the coffin and attempts to get at Khoma.  During the day, Khoma diets on vodka, but during the night he sinks into the Bible and prayers in order to ward off this unholy entity.  Each night the torment gets more intense as the beautiful witch summons forces from Hell to include vampires, werewolves, skeletons, and other monstrosities to beset Khoma.  As Khoma's will and faith seem to crack, the third night will prove to be an epic battle, when our pathetic monk will meet Viy.
Will Khoma's faith remain intact and strong enough to ward off the evil that seeks him? What is Viy? Made in 1967 by the Soviets, perhaps Viy is a metaphor for President Lyndon Johnson's inability to craft a foreign policy which understood the needs of the Soviet people (...yeah, probably not). Or perhaps, this is just a classic horror story. Lots of great monster f/x take over in the final 15 minutes of this film.  For tons of fun, take in this classic tale from an era that is fading from our memory.   



Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Cruel & Unusual, Atonement for the Worst of Us

Fantasy.  In a weird way, 2014's "Cruel & Unusual" can be fit into that category.  Not a feel good film, but even in the purest evil, perhaps there is some sort of redemption for the vilest of mankind. Director Merlin Dervisevic will take you on a voyage through a brutal murder and perhaps a journey into your own psyche.  Some may compare this film to "Cube" or perhaps to the loop film "Triangle," but those comparisons may be too simplistic.

Maylon (Bernadette Saquibal) has been murdered...or has she?  The beautiful Filipino mail-ordered bride of Edgar (David Richmond-Peck) has died violently...her windpipe was crushed...by Edgar.  Uh-oh! Edgar's fate will be far worse than death.  Mysteriously he appears in some facility in a group meeting.  His group?  They all brutally and violently killed their families.  One soul, Julien (Michael Ekland) drowned his little children.  Edgar is adamant.... he doesn't belong there.  He is then sent to relive the murder....over and over.  Each time, new facts are made clear. Initially we are on Edgar's side.  Maylon was a flirt planning on dumping him and shacking up with a better looking guy.  Or so that is the story Edgar clings to.  Get this, Edgar accidentally killed her after Maylon poisoned him.  Surely...Edgar doesn't belong with the rest of these fiends.  Or does he?  This therapy will be painful, physically and spiritually as Edgar ever nears the truth.
Through the constant loop, we are able to see Edgar's point of view....then Maylon's.  Now we're confused.  Which one is true?  By the time we see Maylon's son's, Gogon (Monsour Cataquiz), point of view, we are heartbroken. How awful!  Perhaps Edgar does belong in this group.  We are not left at confusion, however.  The film continues with a journey.  Could Edgar be a victim of a misunderstanding or is he a vile monster...or both?  If both, is it too late for him to leave a noble and virtuous imprint on this entire bloody affair?  What is this mysterious place he is confided in?  Hell, perhaps?  Mr. Dervisevic does a fabulous job at displaying Edgar's insecurity matched against Maylon's isolation.  No spoilers here, but the ending is wonderful.  I won't say happy, but very fitting and appropriate.
We do sense Edgar is different from the psychos he has been matched up with.  Edgar wants to make things right, even though it may be too late (...or is it?).  Contrast that to William (Richard Harmon), who carved up his mom and dad and looks as though he would do it over and over if he could.  Available on Netflix, this is a weird one which will keep you thinking long after you have put on the next film.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

The Sand, Bikini Babes vs. The Tentacled Menace

This is exactly what we have all been waiting for, a companion piece to 1981's Blood Beach . Hunks with abs, and babes clad in bikinis await us in our look at 2015's "The Sand." You gals will love seeing Dean Geyer ("Glee") and all his abs, and us guys will focus on Brooke Butler ("All Cheerleaders Die") in her swimwear for the entire film. Everyone in this film, except a couple of beach patrol schmucks, are clad that way...though most will be eaten.
After partying all night, hung over college students wake up hung-over on the beach.  Actually, the dozens of them that actually slept on the sand are gone (...eaten), leaving several to wonder what happened.  Kaylee (Butler) wakes up first and soon realizes there is something in the sand eating anything that moves.  She tries to warn her friends, but pretty Marsha (Nikki Leigh), clad in half a bikini and Vance (Hector David, Jr.)...a great looking duo...don't heed her wisdom. Tendrils come out of the sand with an acidic touch and take these two lookers.  Kaylee and Mitch (Mitchell Musso) are trapped in a lifeguard house, and Ronnie (Cynthia Murell), Chanda (Meagan Holder), and Jonah (Geyer) are trapped in a convertible.  Oh yes..Jonah is Kaylee's ex, and Chanda's current BF.  Oh...one more, Gilbert (Cleo Berry) is a 300 pound football player stuck in a metal trashcan....it was quite a party.
Unfortunately Vegas rules applied at this party...no cell phones were allowed.  Now our hunks and damsels must plot to either escape or try to figure out what this creature is exactly...without ever touching the sand.  I have to give these peeps credit, they come up with some ingenious plans....too bad for them that the monster is also pretty smart.  We'll see arms ripped off, faces pulled off, the pretty and handsome die horribly, and eventually a really cool jellyfish creature.  Does the fact that Kaylee and Jonah still love each other spell doom for Chanda?  Does the fact that Ronnie gives us some very gratuitous poses (see picture above) secure her fate as jellyfish lunch?
The acting is terrific and so is the scenery.  Despite the stereotypes attached to blondes in bikinis, hunks who surf, and jocks, the characters are actually intelligent and work together nicely.  Some of the appeal to "The Sand" may be gratuitous, but this film is so much fun. Filmed in Valencia, California and directed nicely by Isaac Gabaeff, Enjoy some great beach drama (....horror, actually) before the winter hits and get a copy of "The Sand," which is reasonably priced on Amazon.


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Bound to Vengeance, A Bitter Justice System

The American justice system.  Not perfect.  Sometimes it seems that all the rights are in favor of rapists and murderers.  Other times, the privileged of our society are above the law, or so it seems.  The fault may not be in our system, but the fallible people who administer it, and we ourselves, for not holding them accountable.  This is part of the reason why films like "Dirty Harry" and Death Wish" are received so well by us.  Fantasy is nice.  Even us more sordid viewer will also lump "I Spit on your Grave" in that group.  Bad guys get what they deserve. Today we will meet Eve (Tina Ivlev) as we take a peek at J.M. Cravioto's  "Bound to Vengeance" which premiered earlier this year.
Pretty 21-year old Eve is abducted.  As the film begins, she has been captive for quite some time. Chained to a rotting cot in a dirty basement cell, she is no longer the bright girl with a wondrous world beckoning her.  Tortured and humiliated, Eve has plotted.  Her captor, Phil (Richard Tyson) is a major league creep, and all evil.  As he comes into the cell for Eve's feeding, BANG!  The plotting Eve conks him numerous times with a brick.  Eve gets the keys, unlocks herself, chains up Phil, and now the roles are reversed.  At first Eve thinks escape, but when she finds Polaroids of other girls, she decides to interrogate Phil.  Now in control, and slightly demented, Eve has a plan.  Phil will lead her to the other captive girls which Eve will then set free.
What could go wrong?  Phil tries to warn her that her plan will have some twisted consequences. Eve is in no mood for Phil's warning.  Fitted with a choke collar, Eve orders Phil to drive to the other houses where girls are imprisoned.  Phil's cooperation is secured at gunpoint and with a serving of some painful torture at Eve's hands.  Uh oh....as we are filled in on Eve's backstory, it is apparent that something more sinister awaits our protagonist other than captive girls.  Just who are these other girls?  What did Phil have planned for them?  What is Eve's ultimate plan for Phil?  No spoilers here but the answers to all those questions will not make "Bound to Vengeance" the feel good film of 2015. Violent, gritty, and gory....this will not be an easy film to watch.  
Eve plots a fate worse than death for Phil.  Watch the ending very closely.  You'll see what I'm talking about and then attempt to dismiss what you just saw.  However horrific this film is, the very end will stick with you in an uncomfortable manner.  Available on Netflix, see "Bound to Vengeance."

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Avalanche Sharks, Hungry for Bikinis

Scott Wheeler, the Bostonian who brought us the visual effects for "Sand Sharks" and "Xena: Warrior Princess," directs today's entry, 2013's "Avalanche Sharks."  Hold on folks, there is a lot here...most of it is clad in a bikini.  For those of you who have been demanding a companion piece for Snow Shark here it is.  In fairness to "Avalanche," the women are a lot hotter than "Snow." Unfortunately, for those women, the skimpier the bikini, the gorier their demise....life's like that.
Do you love me?
Plot? Fine, if you absolutely need to know.  Mammoth Lakes ski resort has a problem.  Snow sharks!  Where did they come from?  Some say an Indian deity...but actually they are from an alien world and came to Earth in a shark spaceship. Yep...ripped right out of today's headlines.  They go through spring break skiers like crap through a goose.  Pictured above is Barb (Erika Jordan)...so pretty...so sad. She was trying to get her BF to tell her he loved her. Fat chance!  Anyway, Kate Nauta plays a hot marine biologist who's parents were feasted on by these fiends.  She knows what they are up against, but no one will believe her, except Wade (Alexander Mendeluk) and his GF, Madison (Kelle Cantwell).  
Marine Biologist
Of course the mayor and the owner of the ski resort try to suppress any discussion of avalanche sharks...bad fore business, you know.  Babes in hot tubs will fall, and ski patrol will be mobilized. But wait, Hiro (Amy Ninh) is ready to hit the slopes.  This mysterious Japanese extreme skier will factor heavily into the conclusion...no spoilers here.  Oh yes, Gina Holden plays a very kinky nurse, and it is through her we are told this epic tale.  Lots of gore, lots of fun, lots of bikini scenes and carnage.
Ski Patrol
Beware, anytime you see an actress in this film that you fall instantly in lust with....she'll be eaten. Will our pretty marine biologist avenge the deaths of her parents?  Will the ski patrol get bigger snow mobiles?  This film is appearing now on EL REY Network (Ch. 253 if you have DishTV), and available on DVD at a reasonable price from Amazon.  For a great looking cast, lots of blood, and intense drama...catch "Avalanche Sharks."

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Death Race 3: Inferno, Fast Cars, Violent Men, and their Women

From Executive Producer Roger Corman, and featuring a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model, today's feature is 2012's "Death Race 3: Inferno."  On the surface, this would appear to be a shoot-em up, blow-em up romp through South Africa.  Throw in some cat-fights between babes in leather bikinis, flame-throwers, machine guns, roving gangs of hoodlums, and tons of horsepower and we have a real winner.  So don't be a wuss, and leave off your seat belts as we delve into an explosive action flick.
Plot?  If you insist.  Lucas (Luke Goss) is an inmate who races cars in a futuristic prison's race circuit. If he wins five races, he earns freedom.  Each driver is some psycho inmate, and accompanied by a buxom babe, female inmate as navigator.  16 navigators, but only 10 drivers, so the vixen-warden devises a contest in which the babes are clad in leather bikinis, given flame-throwers, hatchets, or knives and told to fight until six are killed.  Fortunately for Lucas, who wears a mask and is referred to as Frankenstein, his GF, Katrina (Tanit Phoenix, our SI model) survives.  Oh yes, an evil corporation headed by York (Dougray Scott) puts these races on pay-per-view.  Here is another really neat thing, Lucas' crew-chief is Goldberg....played by DANNY TREJO! Yes!
The cars are fitted with weapons, such as machine guns, more flame-throwers, and rocket launchers and the racers are encouraged to kill their opponents. The citizens of the neighborhoods...or slums...in which the race course goes through are hostile warlords, who also want to kill the racers.  Frankenstein is the big ratings draw, and York doesn't want him to win.  If Frankenstein wins, that would be the fifth win for him, entitling him to freedom.  A freed Frankenstein also means future races won't have him as a ratings draw.  York advises Frankenstein that he will blow him up if he wins.  Does Frankenstein have what it takes to throw a race?  Or...does Frankenstein have a plan of his own? ...of course he does!
Here are some tips for you when you watch "Death Race 3."  Pay very close attention.  Frankenstein makes lots of deals and devises some creative plans....but you'll have to figure out what they are.  What, on the surface, appears to be a total action blow-out, ends up being a well thought out battle of wits between Lucas (Frankenstein) and York.  Also watch rival navigator, Amber (Tanya van Graan) very closely.  She's a total knock-out, enjoy her.  Available on Netflix, treat yourself to all the pleasures of "Death Race 3: Inferno."

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Beowulf, ....the one with Rhona Mitra

An epic poem, written over 1000 years ago, "Beowulf."  Re-told many times, especially on film. Michael Crichton even took his turn with his book "Eaters of the Dead."  True horror, this tale has monsters, gore, and epic battle.  Today we look at Graham Baker's 1999 version of "Beowulf" which stars two of my favorites, Christopher Lambert and Rhona Mitra.  Throw in a loud synthesizer-rock score, and some great one-liners, and oh yes...a mean monster, and some great sexual tension between Lambert and Mitra, and we have a perfect entry for this blog.  Set in Scandinavia, filmed in Romania, this "Beowulf" prioritizes the horror aspect of this ancient tale.
Beowulf (Lambert) arrives at an outpost under siege.  An invading army wants everyone in the place dead, but will not enter it as something evil is doing the job for them.  With some neat armaments, Beowulf decimates half the army to reach the outpost.  The outpost is headed by Hrothgar (Oliver Cotton), and the inhabitants are suspicious of their new guest.  Every night, a fiend manifests and murders the residents inside this stronghold.  As it turns out, Beowulf seeks this creature, and is bent on destroying it.  Kyra (Mitra), Hrothgar's daughter, is initially hostile to Beowulf, and informs the protagonist no man can kill the thing.  Beowulf informs her, "I am not like other men."  Her response, "...that, you'll have to prove."  
By the way, he will prove this....in a few different ways...which pleases Kyra.  Initially, the plight to kill the monster does not go well, but Beowulf is clever.  The monster seems to have a method to it's madness which is connected to the sordid pasts of the residents of the outpost, especially Hrothgar. As Kyra and Beowulf's relationship gets increasingly steamy, the monster increases his attacks and the casualty count skyrockets.  But wait!  Is the monster really the biggest threat to Beowulf and the outpost? Who is the really sexy seductress (Layla Roberts) who haunts Hrothgar? Will Beowulf have time for some pre-marital sex with Kyra?
No staleness or dull moments here, even though this tale is based on a poem written over a millennium ago.  Fast moving, and quite alluring, the 1999 version of "Beowulf" is a lot of fun and very witty.  As Kyra tells Beowulf, after he tells her that she is not evil, "...maybe not, but tonight I'm full of magic."  Available on Netflix, watch this magical tale. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Song of King Solomon, The Book Mel Gibson did not make into a Movie

I have endured adult Sunday school classes.  Romps through the Bible were usually complete and detail ridden.  Through the Old Testament we went...Proverbs....Ecclesiastes....Isaiah.... Wait!  Did we skip something?  Oh yes.  The Song of Songs (aka The Song of Solomon). In fairness to Sunday school teachers and pastors that skip this book, I have seen many turn the lessons of The Song of Solomon into irrelevant drivel.  To us corrupted souls, we see pornography, eroticism, and lust.  In God's eyes (which we are far removed from), we are given something divine.  Whether this book is meant to be an allegory of God's love for Israel, or a literal tale of a man's pure love for a woman...either way...this is fine drama.  Directed by Stephen Southouse, and Produced by Jason Croot, 2011's "Song of King Solomon" is a faithful adaptation of an Old Testament book that many find taboo. Oh yes, the entire film was made from a 4,000 Pound budget.
King Solomon (Croot) has it all.  A kingdom, lots of beautiful wives, great looks, and wealth are true blessings from God.  As God's angels peer down from Heaven, a discontented king is about to meet the woman of his dreams, Shulamith (Ifeoma Oboko).  His current queens are mere possessions, tools for pleasure, but Solomon feels true (God's) love for the first time.  He courtships her, respects her, and fantasizes about her.  Shulamith is also quite taken by Solomon.  She is coy, shy, and also deeply in love.  Solomon and Shulamith embark on a relationship in stark contrast to the king's current lifestyle.  
Much to the chagrin and jealousy of the queens, Solomon elevates Shulamith over all the other women.  Shulamith is not a conquest, nor does she seek wealth.  In a world rife with polygamy, war, and slaves, our lovebirds have challenges in nursing along a relationship that is blessed by God.  Beware, Solomon is hardly a saint, and a full biography of him would expound on some nasty episodes.  However, Shulamith is a refuge for him, and Oboko and Croot play this so well.  This adaptation is true to the biblical text (the entire text is sung in Hebrew, throughout), in fact I followed on in my Bible as I viewed this film.
Filmed in England and Greece, the cinematography takes us deep into the Old Testament.  An uncomfortable film for a Sunday school class to view (...after all, we view it through the eyes of sinners), but an important story in comprehending God's gifts to us of love and sexual intercourse. I also need to give praise to vocalist Yael Claire Shahmoon, as the music so wonderfully captures the setting, plight, and journey undertaken by Solomon and Shulamith.  Be warned, this film contains nudity, though none of it is gratuitous.  Enjoy Song of King Solomon available on Amazon, and currently available for download, just click on Song of King Solomon  

Friday, November 13, 2015

Stung, Wasps not Bees

Lance Henriksen! Gore galore! Cool creatures (puppet and CGI). Attractive cast!  2015's "Stung" is our feature today. Ignore the tepid reviews that have met this film, and get yourself ready for a fun film.  Made in Germany, but set in New York state, beware of really big wasps which give way to really, really, really big wasps.
Paul (Matt O'Leary) and Julia (Jessica Cook) make up the Country Catering company (both are pictured here).  Julia is the boss and her and Paul battle sexual tension on their way to a ritzy job.  Some rich schmucks are having a party at their mansion in which the mayor (Henriksen) will attend.  The two start off doing a fine job, impressing the mayor and their host, a hunchback weirdo named Sydney (Clifton Collins, Jr.).  Uh oh!  Wasps the size of a fist begin menacing the party.  Their stingers are a couple inches long.  As the tame and boring shindig begins to die....a swarm of these buggers attacks.  Quickly the casualties mount, but they just don't die.  No....after being stung, wasp eggs inside them instantly hatch giving birth to wasps the size of rich people.  Paul takes charge, and leads the survivors inside the mansion.
The new mutant wasps are smart and seem to have some human traits.  Of course they get in and our caterers become a two man insect-wrecking crew in order to save their employer and surviving guests.  The over-sized wasps have their sights set on the mansion as their next hive...or nest, I should say.  To make more of these monster bugs, the queen must inject her larva inside a human host.  This all sets the stage for some really icky gore.  Uh Oh, again....hunchback Sydney is stung and now his hunchback takes on a different form.  He becomes a two headed fiend, one of Sydney and the other a mutant wasp thing.  Paul and Julia will find bravery and valor in their battle against the mutations, and also fall in love...so nice.
Will Paul and Julia survive to have human babies, or are they doomed to carry mutant wasp-babies? How will this affect the mayor's re-election chances? Many will die horrible deaths in "Stung," but there is a tongue-in-cheek tone to it that will relieve some of the scares.  Both O'Leary and Cook portray very likable characters and we do cheer for their survival. Director Benni Diez never lets up, and at no point in his film are we bored.  Available on Netflix, this one is total fun and gore. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Harbinger Down, The Thing on a Crab Boat

Even a poor rip-off of "John Carpenter's The Thing" is better than anything George Clooney or Harrison Ford have done lately.  Though a rip-off, 2015's "Harbinger Down" is not a poor film.  In fact, the monster is really slimy and cool, Lance Henriksen does a fine job, and the eerie setting on the Bering Sea is perfect for a horror film. Throw in some post-cold war intrigue and we have a surprisingly effective film.  Don't get me wrong, a tentacled thing that morphs into crew members and friends is always a great plot device.
Never a good idea....bring your granddaughter to work day! That's exactly what Cpt. Graff (Henriksen) does on the crab boat Harbinger. Sadie (Camille Belsamo)  is the attractive granddaughter, who is completing a graduate school project seeking to prove arctic ice is melting (Yawn!). Her and a few classmates (monster bait) board the ship and must share space with veteran crabbers (...a great subject for a sit-com).  Uh-oh!  The crabbers haul up an unexpected catch....a Soviet space capsule which crash landed on 1982.  Surprise, it was a secret cold-war mission in which this craft was returning from the moon.  Double uh-oh....something on the moon snuck onto it.
As the craft thaws, a slimy thing crawls out and instantly enters the faculty adviser, Stephen (Matt Winston).  His transformation will be quick, and very public.  As everyone else witnesses this tentacled menace disappear into the drains, a storm sets in preventing the ship from moving.  Instead of a flame thrower, the crew arms themselves with fire extinguishers loaded with liquid nitrogen.  As more and more hands are taken over, Svet (Milla Bjorn) emerges as a sultry crew member who knows more than she is letting on.  As the thing gets larger, angrier, and develops an attitude, it seems unstoppable.  The crabs in the hold have also been taken over making the thing even uglier.  As the survivors battle the ticked-off monster, and the mysterious Svet, Cpt. Graff and Sadie formulate a long-shot plan to kill the fiend and survive.
Who is Svet and what does she know about our slimy friend?  Has the crabbing industry's desire to become more family friendly enabled the carnage that unfolds before us?  Is "Harbinger Down" a thinly veiled film history of Sig Hansen and the men of the Northwestern? Great monster and Lance Henriksen as a crab boat captain.....what more could you ask for?  See "Harbinger Down" on Netflix.

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Legend of Hell House, Get Out!

No, not "Planet of the Apes," but 1973's "The Legend of Hell House" is Roddy McDowall's best film. Remember what happened in Amityville, New York?  Well, what happened in Hell House is 1000 times scarier.  Where else can you combine seances and electroplasmic reversers in your combat against the other-worldly?  Written by Richard Matheson, recent popularity with paranormal films make this a ripe time for this film to hit Netflix.
Previous attempts to rid Hell House of evil ghosts failed.  All died except physical medium Benjamin Franklin Fischer (McDowall), but he emerged a bit loony.  Now a dream team of paranormal investigators has been assembled to go into Hell House and figure out what is going on.  Emeric Belasco (Michael Gough), who was into vampirism, sadism, bestiality, perversion, cannibalism, etc (not that we're being judgmental)...built the house and still haunts it.  Dr. Barrett, a physicist leads a team which includes Fischer, a mental medium Florence Tanner (Pamela Franklin), and Barrett's hot, tending toward nymphomaniac-wife, Ann (Gayle Hunnicutt).  The cavernous mansion, which has had the windows bricked up, awaits our team.  Instantly, Tanner is able to contact the spirits in the house, and they are angry and deceptive.  
Violent episodes follow, and Barrett is almost killed.  Both Tanner and Ann become possessed and turn into seductive vixens.  Barrett maintains his new invention, an electroplasmic reverser (...I want one!) will be able to cleanse the mansion of evil.  Tanner and Fischer are appalled...a scientific machine in a paranormal investigation? Never!  As the team members are bruised and scarred, evil forces go in for the kill. Vicious black cats, possessions, violent ghosts, Ann's sex drive, and dissension among the team seem to indicate no one will survive.  But wait. Fischer who has experience in this house, has begun putting two and two together and just might have an answer.  Is it too late?  Will Barrett's adherence to scientific measures prevent him from listening to Fischer's theories? Is Ann's proclivity to sexual sadism a statement on her boring husband's ability to satisfy her?
This is a good one, and will have lots of scenes that make you jump.  The acting is superb, and so is the direction by John Hough.  The conclusion is shocking and will surprise you.  Richard Matheson obviously did not follow a standard script when he wrote this story.  Netflix has a PG rating on "The Legend of Hell House," but it should be Rated R as there is nudity and gore here (Yes!!!).

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Kristy, Satanic Cult picks Wrong Gal to Victimize

Ahhhh, the perils of being in a satanic cult.  Yeah, there are lots of stupid people just waiting to have their babies kidnapped for sacrifice, or having their hearts ripped out on an altar, or even willing to sell their souls.  However, there is a risk of running up against someone who actually has brains.  In 2014's "Kristy," a vicious cult, preying on over-privileged young women, chooses the wrong victim. Like the New York Jets, this cult is gonna wish it had better scouting.
Justine (Haley Bennett) is the only student hanging back at the dorm during Thanksgiving break.  She doesn't have the money to go home and needs to complete her financial aid forms and study.  Borrowing her room-mate's BMW, she heads to a convenience store for Mountain Dew and snacks.  There she meets Violet (Ashley Greene).  Uh-oh, Violet and three hooded fiends choose weak women to abduct and carve up.  This cult calls their victims, Kristy.  They see their young lady victims as weak and of undeserved blessings.  After an unpleasant confrontation, the cult follows Justine back to the dorm where they kill off the security staff and engage in a hunt.  Of course the cult jams the wi-fi, cuts the phone lines, and all other means of communication with the outside world.
The hunt is on!  Violet and her thugs are not used to their  "Susie Debutante" victims fighting back.  But Justine is not that.  She is smart and feisty.  She is a competitive swimmer and a chemistry whiz. She has a jock BF, but values her independence.  At first she is terrified, but when some really decent folks are sliced up....well....Justine gets ticked off.  As the cult, armed with long knives, tire-irons, and satanic allegiances step up their pursuit, Justine begins her own hunt.  Not as well armed, except in the brains department, Justine intends to wreak her own havoc on the evil quartet.
Will Justine's voyage into homicidal aggressiveness change her from a chemistry major to a political science major?  Is it possible to feel sympathy for a satanic cult?  Are these four fiends all that Justine needs to worry about?  The acting is terrific and so is Oliver Blackburn's direction.  This is a great modern slasher film for those awaiting their Thanksgiving breaks from college.  See "Kristy," which is available on Netflix.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Apartment 1303, Apartments don't Kill People...People Kill People

...so The Detroit Police keep telling Mischa Barton.  How about ghosts?  Do they kill people?  In 2012's "Apartment 1303" (...filmed in 3D), that is exactly what happens.  A lurid ghost story, perhaps not too original, but with a very attractive cast.  Mischa Barton, Julianne Michelle, and Rebecca DeMornay all star as a dysfunctional mother-daughter-daughter trio. Set in Detroit (...no, that's not the scary part) but filmed in Montreal, this Michael Taverna film is a modest but effective horror story.
Lara
Pretty Janet (Michelle) finally leaves home and moves into Apartment 1303.  She avoids the warning of the creepy little girl bouncing a ball in the hallway.  The warning was leave and don't come back. This of course spells doom in these kind of films, which is very sad as Janet seemed like a nice sort.  However, just like previous tenants, she is beat up by an angry ghost and thrown off the balcony. Lara (Barton) is anxious to leave home, as well, as her mom (DeMornay) is a violent drunk who writes weird songs. Bad move, Lara moves into Apartment 1303, also ignoring the warnings of the creepy little girl bouncing a ball in the dark hallway.
Janet

Lara claims she wants to get to the bottom of her sister's death, convinced it wasn't suicide.  The ghosts of Apartment 1303 quickly introduce themselves.  They want Lara gone.  Perhaps there's hope...there is now one additional ghost....Janet!  Not only does Lara ignore the sage advice of the creepy little girl, she ignores her dead sister's advice to get out.  Also an unwise move. Lara learns the dark history of the apartment and the identity of the malignant spirits who have defined their turf.  The ghosts are adamant, but so is Lara.  A horrific final showdown will result, which will end up on the balcony.
Ghost
Will Lara prevail even though her ability to heed warnings leaves much to be desired?  What are the secrets of the apartment?  Are the neighboring tenants (including the creepy little girl) ghosts, too? Can someone hire Rebecca DeMornay a voice coach?  Available on Netflix, for a light but ominous ghost story, enjoy these very pretty actresses in "Apartment 1303."


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence): Safer Schools, Better Roads, and Affordable Healthcare

Why do we watch "The Human Centipede" films?  I have always said, 'there's no way I'm gonna watch that.' Then, guess what...I watch.  For the biting social commentary perhaps? No.  After all, no one really watches a Romero zombie film for his dull opinions on consumerism or the horrors of the American military establishment. This question deserves an answer...so here is mine.  As we get ready to attend holiday parties, a desire to be interesting is key with someone like me.  When boring John says, "I really loved 'Bridge of Spies,' I'm sure it will win an Oscar," I can respond, "Never heard of it, I just saw 'The Human Centipede 3-Final Sequence."  Warning, what follows will offend sensibilities..do not feel compelled to read on.
Warden Bill Boss (Dieter Laser, mad doctor from HC1) runs a sadistic prison.  He tortures, mutilates, and executes prisoners at will....rapes his secretary Daisy (Brea Olson) at will (...her ultimate fate will be much more grim, I'm afraid)...eats fried clitoris (....yep, you heard me) all leading up to a final lurid act.  His accountant, Dwight (Laurence R. Harvey, the crazy from HC2), is trying to get the prison within budget.  The governor (Eric Roberts) has threatened to fire Boss unless the human rights abuses cease, and the costs are brought down.  Under the guise of fiscal responsibility, affordable health care, more money for schools and roads (....sound familiar), Dwight comes up with the perfect final solution.
Dwight and Boss bring in Tom Six, who directed all three of these movies to consult on a plan to attach all the inmates, mouth to anus.  Hence, only one meal will be required for the entire inmate population and no one will riot. Meanwhile, Boss' sadism knows no bounds, and in one scene....well...never mind, but it concerns colostomy bag carnage.  The prisoners are getting restless, and an unsuccessful riot ensues.  Though Dwight and Boss survive it, Daisy is brutally raped and beaten (her ultimate fate will be much more grim, I'm afraid....er...did I already say that?). With the rebellion put down, Boss and Dwight grab some sedative rifles and commence their ultimate social program for the good of America.  I have always believed that one can perpetuate any horror on mankind as long as he claims it is for affordable healthcare, better roads or good schools..what follows doesn't matter.
Don't be fooled by the tame pictures above, HC3 will show you everything.  Surgeries, tortures, kidney death-rape, and flying feces to name just a few plot devices. Tom Six' biting commentary about where America is headed will probably be ignored by audiences, and that is a shame.  When our grandchildren look back at 2015, will they be horrified at what we have done with this country? I hope so, the alternative is they may be even more sadistic than us.  Available on Netflix, "The Human Centipede 3 (Final Sequence)".....you have been warned.




Monday, November 2, 2015

Pump-King & His Buddies, Comic Book for Kids

Those of us who grew up reading comic books long for yesteryear when "Tales from the Crypt" or Sgt. Rock" enhanced our creative juices.  Good, smart stories with dramatic illustrations did wonder for the left sides of our brains.  Perhaps a bit too violent and lurid for our parent's tastes, many of us sneaked them into our houses and hid them in predictable hiding places. My friend, Attila Kiss has started a Kickstarter campaign to bring some very entertaining and dynamic comic book characters to us and our youngsters in the form of Pump-King & His Buddies .  These stories will bring us back to the Old West, explore the desires of our pumpkin community, and also please our Anime fans.
Attila has done something genius in setting up this campaign to get Pump-King started.  He is appealing to real people, who work for a living.  This isn't a project akin to building a state-of-the-art mega stadium off Interstate 95.  This project has set goals that enable fans like me, who haven't made their first million yet, to claim sole responsibility for it's success. Grants from G.E. or Exxon/Mobil won't take any ownership of Pump-King, rather us real people giving a dollar, or five or twenty (...don't get me wrong, give more if you want) will be primarily responsible for Pump-King's birth.
Whether it is a child's fascination with cowboys, or a pumpkin's study of humanity, our kids and us will be stimulated by these comic books.  Click on the link above and visit Attila's Kickstarter sight. Don't worry, unlike most of the other entries on this blog, you won't find spurting blood, decapitations or pre-marital sex....your children will be safe in Attila's comic book world.  One last note, the artwork, which you can sample on the Kickstarter page, is masterfully done by Byron Fong.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

The Alligator People, See a Gator wear Pants

Beverly Garland, though she graced the silver screen before the term was born, was one of Hollywood's greatest scream queens.  In the 1950s, she appeared in "It Conquered the World," "Swamp Women," and "Not of this Earth."  Today we will examine one of her finest, and most famous works....1959's "The Alligator People."  This classic also boasts of a great cast which includes Lon Chaney, Jr. ("The Wolf Man"). Oh yes, long before Dick Smith won an Oscar for his make-up work in "The Exorcist," he worked on make-up f/x for "The Alligator."
Joyce (Garland) is on her honeymoon with Paul (Richard Crane).  About to consummate their marriage aboard a train, Paul runs away after receiving a telegram.  Distraught, Joyce spares no effort in finding her missing hubby.  She finds his last known address, creepy bayou mansion in Louisiana. At the mansion, she meets a stand-offish matriarch, Lavinia (Freida Inescort) who claims she does not know who Paul is....obviously lying.  Also at the mansion is handyman, Manon (Chaney, Jr.).  He has a hook for a left hand, and forever blames gators.  Overnight, Joyce is beckoned to the parlor where a mysterious man plays the piano.  When Joyce enters, the man runs away, leaving swampy footprints and damp keys.
As Joyce chases this figure through the swamp, she nearly is killed until Manon saves her.  Uh-oh, Manon then tries to rape her, and after he knocks her out, the mysterious figure comes in and saves her.  Who is this specter? Realizing that Joyce will not leave without answers, Lavinia confides some horrific truths to her.  Joyce is then brought to a secret bayou lab where a mad scientist (GeorgeMacready) is using radiation and alligators to help people regrow severed limbs.  Yep....an experiment that is now suffering horrible after effects.....Paul!  Can the strange doctor cure Paul? Do Joyce and Paul have a future?  
Beverly Garland (1926-2008) is beautiful and screams so well.  This is a fast-paced horror flick that has a really weird ending.  If you have never seen "The Alligator People," the full length version, in great quality, can be found on YouTube.  Complete with much peril for our scream queen, snakes, quicksand, gators, and a deranged rapist, in this film, Beverly Garland was put through the ringer.