Page II : DE HONDENKOEKJESFABRIEK to KETTLE
CADAVER - A TASTE OF BLOOD
Dutch arts collective
De Hondenkoekjesfabriek (apparently Holland’s
equivalent of France’s Le Dernier Cri) has been making
art and noise for a long time now, and with readily available DVD technology it was high time to put it all together for a
massively perplexing line-up of bizarre performances.
DJs and site-sound installations are all brought forth for Truck Van Rental’s musical noise presentation; Mayoman is
a performance art dictator slathered in, yes, mayonnaise and well-armed with buckets of the stuff (which you just keep waiting
for him to unload on the audience, but the fucker never does!); Total Security is…well, I don’t know what the
fuck that is, but it’s kinda gay; Spermatak is a two-man terror squad in light goggles and gas masks making noise in
the dark to mirror-image film loops of gynecological examinations; Les 1 is a short animation-enhanced film blending sex,
drugs and butchery; Pidpi is the most psychedelic of the bunch, opening with colorful multi-layered film loops before the
performers come on, strange beings decked out in dried mucosal shells like some sort of microscopic flotsam tottering about
to queasy drones and backwards moaning; Monobrain-Headhunter is a rapidly paced collection of gore clips featuring exploding
heads shown over and over again to the sounds of violent feedback; PIEDIEPIE features a freakish ensemble of large skeleton
frameworks that threaten the live audience with dancing and screaming (and includes a goodbye from the sewer); The Weak-End Quizz is a nightmarish and nonsensical game show blending live action and animation; Civic
TV/Planet Art is a lot like Total Security; Monobrain does some sort of twisted HR Pufnstuf-on-acid routine; and Bastaman
and Dr. Drek play us out through the end credits.
Very bizarre and
freakish stuff, if you put this on because you were too stoned to go outside it may very well make you afraid to stay inside.
A collection of effects, stylistic approaches to filmmaking and performance, and production values are brought to the table
here in what is overall an entertaining, if somewhat bemusing, anthology. I don’t know what region this is coded for,
all’s I know is that it played out just fine in my cheap-ass region-free DVD player. Nor do I know how much this bizarre
little gem is, but if you get in touch with the good folks at DHK I’m sure they can help you out. Wait, I’m not
actually sure, but it might be a good place to start…
Directed by Howard and Jon Ford
The dread zombie curse is sweeping through Africa, as villages fall to the hunger
of their undead populations and soldiers desert their posts fearing for their families or their lives. The Americans are fleeing
like proverbial rats, but the last plane to leave is nearly overwhelmed on the runway and a premature departure ends in the
ocean just off the coast. Of the few who survive the drop in the water, the fewer still who make it to land, and the two who
get off a beach already swarming with zombies like ants drawn to honey, our protagonist, Flight Engineer Lt. Brian Murphy
(Rob Freeman), is the sole survivor. Alone and perhaps the very last American on a foreign continent literally blanketed with
zombies, he is FUCKED.
In his possibly hopeless wandering across a hostile landscape in a desperate search
for a way back home to his wife and daughter, Murphy's life is saved by an African soldier, Sgt. Daniel Dembele (Prince David
Osei). Dembele is also on his way to find his family, and the two travel together, for awhile, enduring a great many monstrous
encounters along the way. When he's forced to go on alone, Murphy wanders through an amazing and damned landscape until he
finds a fenced compound protecting a handful of other survivors. And a radio. The news? Bad. The compound walls? Weak. The
Throughout, there is a palpably oppressive aura of horror,
one that is remarkably effective in creating a feeling of claustrophobic terror even in relatively wide open spaces. The dead
are literally EVERYWHERE, an aspect of the story that lends a definite gravity to the classical aspect of the 'heroic' quest.
The acting, by an almost completely unknown cast, is at
times less than stellar; it's amazing how little the characters emote when faced with unspeakable horror. (Maybe they're in
shock...) But there is violence aplenty to be found here, in all of the genre's traditional over-the-top permutations: disembowelings,
crushed skulls, severed heads and limbs, multiple gunshot wounds to the face, and, of course, people being gruesomely eaten
alive. The gore FX are generally very strong, as brutal as one might expect and sometimes even shockingly violent. And while
some of the dead don't appear quite as ravaged as one might expect the reanimated victims of cannibalistic attacks to look,
others are missing limbs and otherwise convincingly mangled.
The African locales, filmed in Ghana and Burkina Faso,
are alternately bleak and exotic, and even the tribal/Middle Eastern soundtrack by Imran Ahmad is both melodic and unsettling
at the same time, all lending to the atmosphere of absolute other-worldliness.
It's at once different from and similar to other big-screen
zombie epics; and like many of them the ending is left open, ambiguous, and not entirely satisfying. Then again, if you're
a fan of the genre you're not especially out for the perfect three-act play, you're hungry for the guts of the picture. And
The Dead has them. By the bucketload.
DEAD LIKE ME: LIFE AFTER DEATH
Directed by Stephen Herek
a four-letter word for disappointment? THIS. I truly enjoyed the first season of Dead
Like Me that aired on Showtime back in 2003. I liked the morbid premise, I liked the consistently black humor, and I just
liked watching cute little gremlin-faced Ellen Muth run around. But this belated 2009 feature-length release does all it can
to turn the quirky, wicked cable series into a tearfully bad soap opera suitable only for the Lifetime Channel.
It’s so bad in fact that it would just be painful for everyone to provide a play-by-play synopsis. So instead
I’ll just list some of the reasons why this sucks Tijuana donkey balls.
- Dead Like Me title reworked into cartoonish high school haunted house logo.
- Cheap-ass “graphic novel”
approach to multiple scenes, replacing live action with colored comic book panels.
- Spotty flashbacks: either
in “graphic novel” form, too-brief excerpts already seen throughout the series, or scenes chopped to remove players
who have dropped out over time.
- No Mandy Patinkin, goddammit!
In his place we get some sleazy limey, Cameron Kane (Henry Ian Cusick), who instead of Rube’s fountain of wisdom is
a selfish and conniving twat. And a long-haired air biscuit on top of that. Big mistake.
- Sarah Wynter replacing Laura
Harris as Daisy Adair; not quite.
- Working in an early product
placement for a P.D.A.
- Petty high school cliques
and clichés. It may be an integral part of the plot, but come on; why am I spending time watching spoiled weepy brats?
- Speaking of plot, it’s
a thin one: the struggle grim reaper George (Ellen Muth) goes through when her little sister Reggie’s (Britt McKillip)
high school crush Hudson Hart (Jordan Hudyma) goes into a coma.
- Cheap death: choking on a
pebble? Not too innovative there, buddy
- Yuppie accoutrements: where
is a borderline case such as George going to be picking up surreal designer watches and vintage Ford Mustangs?
- Man, is that Henry Ian Cusick
a fucking wanker.
- Awkward teenage love scenes.
- An almost total absence of
intrigue and excitement.
- The sick cat drama with Delores
Herbig’s (Christine Willes) dying feline Murray just drags on and on.
- What’s with the drunken
mess of Daisy’s Lady MacBeth performance?
- Lousy pacing; this is just
- The cardinal rule of the reaper
not being allowed contact with their past life is broken, and not necessarily to good effect.
- Really bad dialogue and emotional
wrap-ups; did I mention Lifetime Channel?
- Ellen Muth is framed so badly
that in some shots it looks like her name should be Ellen Mumps.
- The emotional showdown between
the two sisters over the comatose Hart, and the feebly dramatic life lesson imparted thereafter.
- Closes on that fucking Enya
song, playing over the image of our heroine being showered with sticky notes while wearing an expression of profound Down’s
On the tiny hairless ‘plus’ side you’ve
- A single ingenious Rube Goldberg-style
- Jasmine Guy still playing
Roxy, and still mean as hell.
- Callum Blue returning as Mason,
ridiculous, unstable and smart-assed (sometimes).
- Britt McKillip has grown into
a fine-looking young woman in the six years the franchise has been around.
- Um…that’s it?
Basically, it’s just sappy as hell. The filmmakers
have made a chick flick out of a funny and fucked-up series that, maybe, didn’t get as much notice as it should have
because it coincided with the airing of HBO’s Six Feet Under. Who is this
marketed toward, anyway? High school kids who were nine when the first season aired? High school kids who think Twilight is the shit? High school kids with emo attitude and prescription drug habits fostered by their step-parents’
Speaking of high school mindsets, although the film is
rated R (apparently for language only) it really could have stretched itself a little. We’re missing some seriously
adult situations here: Mason’s twin prostitutes never get naked, there’s only a single noteworthy Graveling-assisted
death, and even the chainsaw dismemberment scene is reduced to a pile of legs.
Bonus features include “Back from the Dead: Resurrecting Dead Like Me”
in which the actors and executives talk about the characters and their third chance (after season one and 2005’s season
two); not really worth the fourteen minutes.
Director Stephen Herek’s output has been hit-or-largely-miss over the years. After questionable favorites in
the Eighties with Critters and Bill and
Ted’s Excellent Adventure he went on to helm Disney fare such as The Mighty
Ducks and 101 Dalmatians before taking on winners like Rock Star and Young MacGyver. So, maybe a film about grim reapers and
funny death was a little out of his range.
Says Herek in the bonus section:
It looks and smells very much like what the series was, but me, as a director,
was trying to bring something a little bit fresh to the table. An element that I always thought could be more there is to
be a little bit more mysterious, a little bit darker. And not necessarily rely on comedy. The film version of Dead Like Me has a lot of the same black humor, you know, but also it’s not afraid of going after the emotional.
Well, that formula failed. Enough said. Buy the first season, rent the second, and stay far, far away from this entry.
Can I give something a rating of minus-zero? ‘Course I can; it’s my rating system. And I say this sucks.
Directed by Mariano Baino
I’m a sucker for anything Lovecraftian, or even anything vaguely cthonic. Arcane books and carvings pointing toward
eldritch gods guarded by half-castes spawned by lost races . . . it’s a rich and fertile field, and Baino plumbs these
depths and more in Dark Waters.
prophecies, shattered icons, animal skulls, and a beautifully desolate island ghost town setting open up Dark Waters on a promising note of enigmatic atmosphere. The cliffside religious ritual, staged by nuns overlooking
the waves with tall crucifixes, only adds to the island’s air of mystery. The dark and stormy night to come does the
same, bringing with it a priest’s furtive examination of an ancient manuscript written in an unknown tongue. Suddenly
floodwaters come washing through the chapel, tearing down the cross and submerging the priest, who within seconds has the
life torn from him by some unseen force.
next morning a lone nun hides out along the rocky cliffside, clutching a circular iconic plaque. As she moves to a peak overlooking
the island’s craggy shoals, another unseen force approaches her from behind with dizzying speed, knocking her from her
perch so that she and the amulet shatter on the rocks below. Later the nuns collect the remants of the plaque, placing each
piece in a separate reliquary and hiding them about their grotto-like convent.
years later, beautiful young Elizabeth (Louise Salter), severely out of place among the coachload of inbred villagers in which
she’s riding, travels toward the abbey, summoned from London by a letter from her friend Theresa (Anna Rose Phipps).
Studying at the convent Theresa is less than pleased with her surroundings, and as her friend makes her way past a fiery midnight
procession Theresa is exploring the candle-lighted recesses of the convent’s nethermost regions. Spying her sisters
absorbed in mid-flagellation Theresa creeps down to retrieve one of the pieces of the amulet, only to be viciously stabbed
to death by an unseen assailant. Her cries echo throughout the caves along with the sounds of the flagellants’ whips,
but her body is left unattended to bleed down a waterfall that washes over the life-size crucifix where it came to land twenty
the last mainland port in the middle of a rainy night, Elizabeth attempts to buy passage to the island convent. The only boat
she can find is piloted by a creepy old sea captain with a morbid disposition and his geek of a deckhand, a subhuman who perches
on deck eating raw fish guts as a gruesome scarecrow who “keeps the whores and pigs away.” Arriving upon the island
Elizabeth is greeted by a cloaked young member of the mysterious order, Sarah (Venera Simmons), and quickly reveals that her
mother was from the island but died giving birth to her. Not long afterward Elizabeth is taken before the Mother Superior,
a blind old crone who speaks through a younger nun. Elizabeth explains that she’s on the island as a result of her father’s
death, and as the inheritor of his estate she’s following up on his commitment of regular payments made to the convent
over the past twenty years. As the matter of the donations was a rather secretive and mysterious one, Elizabeth wants to know
why they should be continued. Told that she will understand everything “in time,” Elizabeth is offered the use
of the convent’s grounds and library for study in the meantime. She’s also told that her friend Theresa left for
London two days before . . .
the library the next day Elizabeth comes across a book filled with arcane symbols accompanying a grotesque illustration of
a deformed creature bearing animal, human, and reptilian characteristics. Other literature speaks of “The Beast”
in Biblical terms. The movement of strange lights distracts Elizabeth from her research, and creeping through the abbey’s
fissure-like passages she watches and follows another one of the nuns’ processions, this one bearing a shrouded body.
Quickly getting lost among the maze of rocky corridors Elizabeth comes across a cavern filled with bizarre religious paintings,
including one depicting Theresa’s murder. The artist is a blind hermit-like creature, but as he approaches her Elizabeth
is pulled from his pit by Sarah. Elizabeth shares her feelings that Theresa has been murdered by the nuns, and Sarah promises
to help her get to the bottom of the mystery. Later, as she studies other paintings shown to her by Sarah, Elizabeth is attacked
from behind by one of the sisters with a chain garrote. She manages to push her attacker out of a cliffside doorway just as
Sarah returns to comfort her, and the two share a scene of bonding as they talk of childhood and destiny.
dreams, which have had an increasingly nightmarish quality since her arrival at the convent, grow ever stranger. One night
an infant’s sobbing leads her through dark passages toward a pair of prepubescent acolytes standing in the presence
of a truly gruesome crucified nun, whose bloody-mawed screams awaken Elizabeth in terror.
the island’s rocky beaches the next day in the hopes of finding a way off the island, Elizabeth comes across a blind
old woman embroidering the image of the Beast seen in paintings and on the amulet earlier. From the island’s dockmaster/mortician
Elizabeth also retrieves a letter to her from Theresa, warning her to stay away from the island as her father had wished her
to, and reporting that the nuns are attempting to restore the shattered amulet. Walking back to the convent Elizabeth is suddenly
overcome by a sudden urge to eat raw one of the countless dead fish washed up along the island’s shores, and as she
does so images of a bloody-mouthed little girl holding a small animal flicker across her mind. Regaining her senses Elizabeth
vomits and rushes back to her room, only to be plagued by even bloodier nightmares.
Elizabeth returns to the blind seamstress’ shack, where she finds photographs indicating that her mother didn’t
die giving during childbirth at all. As the old woman speaks of Elizabeth’s family in riddles, one of the nuns storms
up with a flaming crucifix and hurls it into the cabin, setting it and the old woman ablaze. The flaming crone runs down the
shore and dives into the ocean, crawling out a hideously burned and delirious wreck who can only scream in pain and call out
to someone called Ninotchka.
in even greater fear for her life, Elizabeth hides from the nuns by slinking through the convent’s hidden passages until
she comes to the chamber holding the old crucifix. There, peering over Christ’s shoulder, is the lost central portion
of the amulet bearing the face of the Beast. As Elizabeth retrieves this the artist and Mother Superior both suddenly become
agitated, and does the rattling of the sealed door from behind which strange sounds have been emanating throughout the picture.
Instantly the door bursts open, the attending nuns screaming in terror at what lies beyond.
wandering the halls Elizabeth is again attacked by one of the nuns, this one bearing a wickedly curved blade. After a bloody
fight Elizabeth manages to smash the nun’s head in against the floorboards, then wanders past the nuns’ broken
bodies to enter the mysterious chamber. Sarah waits for her there, with a new look and more than a single revelation about
her past. These of course involve the Beast, who makes its appearance with a blood sacrifice and the reconfiguration of the
amulet. And it all works out in a way none of the characters could have quite expected . . .
not entirely unexpected by some members of the audience, I’m sure. There wasn’t quite as much monster mayhem here
as I was hoping for, though the constant aura of mystery and murder throughout goes far toward compensating for this factor.
As does the impressively creepy atmosphere imparted by the tainted religious order and their vast subterranean catacomb of
a convent. The bizarre rituals, unidentifiable accents, mysterious paintings, dripping statuary, shadowed grottoes, secret
passageways, religious iconography, and the constant play of firelight and shadow throughout the primitive, almost atavistic
setting of the convent’s caverns all contribute massively to the film’s fine stylized look and associated ambiance,
which is admirably captured by cinematography utilizing the scenery of locations in Odessa, Kiev, The Crimea, Rome, and Moscow
to concentrate on the haunting, moody themes building toward the climax. Said climax, as mentioned above, could have been
somewhat more grand and exciting, but as all of the film’s threads are tied together in an ending befitting of the Lovecraftian
style of mythos it’s difficult to complain. (A most appropriate gothic soundtrack by Igor Clark further serves to accentuate
the air of mystery pervading the film.)
The quality is that of a good VHS dub, as sharp and free of distortion as any cult video
you’ll be likely to rent, and in fact this is one of Video Search of Miami’s better reproductions. (Each transfer
is rated as to print quality, with Dark Waters earning an A.) Video Search of Miami
is a duplication service (all films in their library can be dubbed in either VHS or DVD format), so is more of an aid to those
seeking out the strange and bizarre in the immense world of cult/import/obscure video than a resource for the avid collector
of new reissues, but for those who just have to have the original VSoM’s sibling company, Oasis Video Miami (www.oasisvideomiami.com), can supply equally strange and sought-after viewing in the more collectible pre-recorded
* * *
#13523: $25.00 + $4.00 shipping from Video Search of Miami – www.vsom.com – P.O. Box 16-1917, Miami, FL, 33116
DEATH IN HOLLYWOOD / WHEN THE APPLAUSE DIED
Directed by Nick Bougas
We begin this SRS Double Feature with Death in Hollywood. This nearly bloodless
autopsy of the sad ends of living legends begins with a look at the curse of Rebel
Without a Cause: Nick Adams’ suicidal overdose, Sal Mineo’s stabbing death, Natalie Wood’s drowning,
and of course James Dean’s infamous race into immortality. Easily outdoing the Poltergeist
legend, the aura of tragedy surrounding this film even extends to Dean’s girlfriend Pier Angeli, who would go on to
commit suicide some years later.
Other tales of disintegration quickly follow, downplaying the legendary last moments of notable suicides the likes
of Lupe Valez, Superman George Reeves, “supreme character” Albert Decker, and numerous others.
Celebrity homicides are given their fair share of the limelight, the Manson Family murder of Sharon Tate and friends
in particular being covered for the umpteenth time. The corpseless crimescene coverage of this mass murder fits the pattern
of the film’s ‘all tease no sleaze’ program, making a later shot of the body of the Black Dahlia murder
victim a surprise only in that it’s the single nude cadaver to be found in a film that clearly fancies itself a centerpiece
of sensationalism on the unbeatably exploitative topic of death in Hollywood. (Although further on in the picture viewers
are treated to a nude Jayne Mansfield and later photographs of her fatal car wreck.) A film, by the way, that offers no new
theories in the as yet unsolved case, a treatment also afforded Bob Crane’s kinky and curious end.
Other murders follow, both solved and unsolved, including those of Dorothy Stratten, Ramon Novarro, Thelma Todd, Marvin
Gaye, Bruce Lee, and, of course, Marilyn Monroe.
The on-camera ends of Tyrone Power and Vic Morrow are covered as well, with a surprising number of angles of Morrow’s
death being provided – right down to the cell showing his head, and that of one of the children he was carrying through
The Twilight Zone, flying through the air.
The sweep of AIDS through Hollywood
is briefly touched upon with the demise of Rock Hudson and Liberace, although the death of John Holmes is completely omitted.
(Guess he’s just not ‘Hollywood’ enough.)
It’s all wrapped up neatly with the sentiment that, while it’s almost shocking that screen legends are
mortal, at least their work will live forever. In tired documentaries such as this one.
The stripped-down stock footage opus of When the Applause Died doesn’t
waste any time before reveling in the damages wrought by alcohol and drugs across generations of the Hollywood elite, with
Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle’s unfortunate encounter with Virginia Rappe and Maude Delmont at an illegal San
Francisco drinking party, John Belushi’s meteoric speedball habit, and Bela Lugosi’s overindulgence in wine and
morphine all being headliners in this look at final curtain calls.
Unfortunate child stars such as Anissa “Buffy” Jones, Bobby Driscoll and Our Gang members Carl “Alfalfa”
Switzer (famous last words: “I’m going to kill you, you motherfucker.”) and Scotty Beckett are shown as
prime examples of downfalls due to drugs, alcohol and/or the general misfortune of growing up.
The alcoholic excesses of John Barrymore, Errol Flynn (during whose rape trial the phrase “in like Flynn”
was born), W.C. Fields, Spencer Tracy and William Holden are given time, as are controversial and suicidally drug-fond comedians
Lenny Bruce and Freddy Prinze (with special mention to Lenny’s bathroom O.D. and Prinze’s anal cocaine intake).
Other inebriated Pagliacci figures follow, the likes of Bing Crosby, Stan Laurel and Buster Keaton.
A montage of gravestones and publicity photos accompanies a litany of other fallen stars, fatally grounded by drink
and dope. This ncludes celebrities of both the film and music worlds, with one crossover of special note being Judy Garland
and her unstable pill-popping rollercoaster of a career.
While it ends on a note of appropriately sorrowful curiosity as to how those who have it all could throw it all away,
the point is clear: the rich and famous, and their lives, aren’t really so great after all.
With a double feature on one disc you’d think you’d be getting quite the bargain, but in fact it’s
just a waste of twice the time. Throughout the program cheesy touches abound, such as bad computer graphics mixing with bad
canned music, and the bulk of the material is so mild as to be tantalizing only to the most backward and closeted, those who
don’t have access to the Enquirer or Weekly
World News. (Let alone the Internet.) On the flipside, anyone else can walk in to a public library and check out a copy
of Hollywood Babylon (I or II) and be treated to as much dirt as they can swallow.
In fact Kenneth Anger’s work seems to be a primary inspiration for this pair, but the few truly violent, perverse and
graphic images that Sub Rosa affords us could be found in a couple of pages of either book. These are, for the most part,
cheap shots of and at Hollywoodland that simply fail to deliver the graphic sleaze they promise. There is an abundant lack
of autopsy photos, crime scenes with victims in situ, and gruesomely deviant revelations,
all things that the target audience (meaning depraved voyeurs with a lust for schadenfreude) is led to expect; instead we’re
treated to a scrapbook of scandal sheets, many of which have been read before.
The most startling aspect of this double feature is the director’s name, found only in the final credits of each
film. That noted author, artist, archivist and filmmaker Nick Bougas would be backed into this lousy bargain basement double
billing is the real applause killer; the soul of the man who brought us the epic and immortal The Goddess Bunny is nowhere to be seen. Here’s hoping this was churned out for rent money, but even if
that is the case it’s still a true disappointment. There’s much better material than this doubtlessly just lying
around Nick’s home, and it is hoped that the lack of its inclusion here is due more to the restraints of Sub Rosa (yet
another bad mark against a company that continues to rack them up ceaselessly) than to lack of effort. It all could have been
so much better, but as it stands this is just a fucking shame.
(Thanks to Exploitation Retrospect
DEATH OF A SNOWMAN
Directed by Christopher Rowley
grindhouse exploitation! Check it out!
A fight is being fixed tonight in Johannesburg,
despite one boxer’s reluctance to take a dive. “Persuade him…Ask him how he’s gonna box without any
fingers,” bossman Lefty Malangu tells an underling. But as Lefty gets into his pink Cadillac with his hoochie mama and
a bottle of hooch, a tow truck drives up and rams his car multiple times. Trapped inside the battered vehicle, Lefty and his
squeeze are sitting ducks for the cat who steps out of the truck with a rifle and pumps multiple rounds into the car.
Old friends Lieutenant Ben Deel (Nigel Davenport) and local reporter for the World
Steven Choko (Ken Gampu) show up at the crime scene to survey the damage and trade bad one liners, and shortly afterwards
a manifesto from a group calling themselves War on Crime is delivered to the World
news desk. True to their word, the publicity-hungry vigilante group calls Choko to inform him that their next target is one
Styles Kwala, pimp and extortionist. And sure enough, Styles soon gets blown through a shop window by a shotgun pointed out
the window of a passing muscle car.
Choko is all over the story, and he catches some shit for it from the police who, finding his advance knowledge of
the hit suspicious, begin to think he’s some kind of militant sympathizer. But he also catches a lead: while drinking
at a bar one night he’s approached by an anonymous stranger who offers the reporter an exclusive on the War on Crime.
Choko takes the bait, meeting with the group’s shadowy leader “Mr. X” (Madala Mphahlele) for a lecture on
The Cause. Not wanting to be seen as indiscriminate killers, these “outlaws in the service of the law,” as Mr.
X puts it, aim to divert resources currently being wasted through drugs, extortion and the like into improving the quality
of life in the black community. To prove his point, Mr. X advises Choko to be at Beverly
Airport the next day. And with that, the meeting is over.
Choko shows up at the airfield, but not before transmitting a sketch of Mr. X that he’s had worked up to some
associates in an attempt to get a make on the mystery man. Joining the reporter is Deel (seemingly unperturbed about facing
some potentially heavy criminal activity with only a journalist for back-up), and disguised as mechanics the two men dick
around, eat fried chicken and drink beer as they stake the place out. It’s not long before a small plane flies in for
a landing, met by a station wagon on the ground as the Seventies soundtrack kicks into high gear. Bags are exchanged, and
the cop and his reporter partner swing into action. Deel whips out his gun and starts blasting away as Choko goes after the
plane, trying to physically prevent it from taking off even as it taxis down the runway. In a matter of seconds you’ve
got dead bodies, a car wreck and a fuel drum explosion…but the plane gets away.
Choko’s just finished writing the article covering these daring exploits when he receives another self-serving
call from Mr. X. This time the call is traced, leading Deel to an abandoned warehouse in the countryside. Where he finds nothing
but an old building, empty except for some trash and a couple of telephones. Visiting an officer of the phone company, a Mr.
Alcock, Deel is told that these are dormant lines, the use of which isn’t monitored. It appears the corporate dick doesn’t
have dick to offer the investigation, but the moment the Lieutenant leaves Alcock is on the phone to Mr. X, his white ass
shaking with nerves as he finds himself caught between the cops and a harder place.
“The Chinaman” is next on War on Crime’s hit list, and his dope shipment is bloodily intercepted
on a country road outside ‘The Farm’. (“Now, let’s see what we have: one dead policemen, two dead
Chinamen, about three sacks of grass, and a lot of chickens. Clear as day,” says Deel as he tallies the score later.)
And it looks like Alcock may be headed for the same end, as he makes the mistake of telling Mr. X that, having been braced
again by Lt. Deel, he may have to spill everything to the police. Somehow Mr. X convinces Alcock to meet with him first, and
when Deel tails the phone man to the designated spot he watches as Alcock is gunned down with a sawed-off shotgun wielded
by Tullio, the same W.O.C. soldier who blasted Styles the pimp. A high-speed dirt road car chase ensues, followed by a running
gun battle through the woods and gardens of outlying country estates. It comes to a showdown across the yard setting of a
little girl’s tea party…but of course Deel shoots the assassin and the little girl is unharmed. (It’s a
feel-good crime drama.)
Choko and his hang glider collars step out to feed the ducks, during which time the reporter stews over the current
situation. Realizing the police department feels that he’s a little too sympathetic towards the militants, Choko pays
a visit to Deel to straighten things out. But the police Captain has declared Choko a liability, a potential leak who could
sabotage the investigation, and Deel is thus unable to pass along any new leads. This doesn’t stop the two men from
trading a few ideas however…
Later Choko is braced in a restroom by gangland figurehead Chops, who is under the mistaken impression that Choko is
the unofficial front for the War on Crime. He wants Choko to arrange a sit-down with the organization, but when he realizes
Choko can’t swing this Chops backs down and instead pleads with the reporter to run a story saying that the gangster
is retiring from his life of crime and leaving the country.
Choko does so, but it’s a little late for evasive tactics: Craig, the hippie-lookin’ W.O.C. hitman who
took out The Chinaman, blasts his way through Chops’ stronghold and wastes the man himself. This displeases Mr. X, as
he had gotten the message that Chops was leaving the picture voluntarily. But more infuriating is the fact that Craig’s
out-of-place girlfriend Heather was about to leave the city alive after accidentally learning of the War on Crime’s
clandestine drug-smuggling operation; it appears that the militants may actually be using the “War on Crime” as
a cover-up for taking down the competition, allowing more free reign for their own criminal enterprise. As this knowledge
would sway public opinion away from The Cause, not to mention drawing even more attention from the authorities, this is information
that Mr. X simply cannot afford to have floating around.
So, Craig goes to the airport (which, oddly, is completely empty except for he and Heather), and shoots his old lady
twice in the belly. Returning to Mr. X’s mansion hideout, Craig is himself taken out, one less volatile loose end in
what is turning out to be a rather massive international criminal conspiracy.
Choko’s contacts at the international police bureau have by now somehow managed to track down the real name and
background of the increasingly interesting Mr. X: he is really an American expatriate formerly associated with the Mafia named
Luther Daniels, AKA Martin King, AKA Snowman, AKA Mr. Clean.
The pieces fall into place and Choko hits the street, hard on the prowl for the con artist formerly known as Mr. X.
The wily crime reporter stakes out one of Daniels’ dealers, shakes down a junkie barmaid, and before long finds himself
doing the nighttime creepy-crawl outside of Daniels’ mansion. Not being quite as sly a detective as he thinks he is
however, Choko is nabbed and forced at gunpoint to escort a gang of hoods back to the offices of the World to retrieve the file he’s assembled on Mr. X. In the darkened newsroom Choko seizes the opportunity
to make a run for it, and after a brief skirmish he manages to get away, hotly pursued by the enraged gangsters.
A violent cat-and-mouse game plays out in the warehouse/parking lot complex nearby, with the body count rising toward
the film’s inevitable bloody conclusion.
Tough-ass, no-nonsense, and custom-made for the drive-in, this 1978 re-release is packed with action as well as vintage
threads and sounds. The story itself is simple yet clever enough to be engaging, what with its reveling in the age-old theme
of gangland betrayal and murder, and contains a sufficient number of incidental characters being stripped away through violence
to keep things moving at a brutal pace. Could have used some titties, though.
As a foreign Seventies crime film with a predominantly black cast, Death of
a Snowman can’t help but bring another gem to mind, The Harder They Come.
Granted, Snowman doesn’t have as good a soundtrack or quite as colorful a
setting, and Mr. X is no Johnny Too Bad, but still, it’s pretty fucking cool.
The lighting’s not always so good, and the sets are pretty low rent, but in a way this just adds grit rather
than detracting from the picture’s style (low budget as it may be).
Not too heavy on the bonus features, but then again you can kind of expect that when the novelty of “Chapter
Selections” is listed as a “Special Feature.” But you do get the original theatrical trailer, plus cover
art by Wes Benscoter.
(Thanks to Exploitation Retrospect – www.dantenet.com)
GITANE DEMONE: LIFE AFTER DEATH
is a beautiful thing: a deluxe limited edition (2,500 copies) fold-out three-disc set comprising two DVDs of various performances
between 1989 and 1998, along with a ten-song bonus CD of unreleased cover demos and an autobiographical 12-page illustrated
Disc one begins with the 1991 VPRO, Dutch Television special “The Dark Side of Life,” in which Gitane recounts
her life to date from birth in San Francisco, 1958. This includes coverage of her influences such as dead musical performers
of the Sixties and Seventies, voodoo and witchcraft, the glory and disillusionment of sex (“the best escapism yet”),
and her involvement with the band Christian Death. A period of more independent personal growth followed her gothic/death
rock performances, including the birth of two children and a movement to Amsterdam and subsequent involvement with some of the many artists and musicians
there. Although very staged in places, the brief documentary is informative and serves as an excellent prologue to the pieces
There follows a jazzy black & white set from Amsterdam’s Mazzo Club, 1989, in which Gitane is accompanied
improvisationally by upright bassist Bert Schott on songs such as “Strange Fruit” and “(This is) A Man’s
A live 1992 stage performance for AT5, Dutch Television, features “Sound of War,” while the following year’s
appearance on Holland’s VPRO Radio includes the mournfully glorious “Golden
Age” and the falling, soaring “Little Birds,” joined only by Pieter Rekvelt on piano.
At an ISC Club show in Bern, 1993, Gitane is backed by a full jazz quartet in a wailing set that includes a cover of
the sorrowful classic “Gloomy Sunday” as well as the rolling “Eye to Eye” and the aptly titled “Lullaby
for a Troubled Man,” all the while studiously ignoring the titters and chatter of the club crowd around her.
Appearing on an outdoor stage during a 1995 tour stop in Querfurt Gitane belts out “I Only Have Eyes for You,”
the breathy “Manic Depression,” and the crashingly gorgeous “Despairosity,” among others, in a set
that ends in “My Death.”
Disc two begins with the 1991 video “A Heavenly Melancholy,” directed by Gitane’s long-time partner
Nico B., in which Gitane portrays alternating roles as streetwalker and diva who finds a home in the fetish community.
The second chapter is a Skin Two “Videomagazine” from 1994,
a brief visual equivalent of the noted high-end UK fetish
magazine of the same name. Various individuals in outlandish costumes parade around a club, but just as a blindfolded Gitane
begins to sing and things get interesting the segment ends.
Steen Schapiro’s 1995 Danish documentary Fetish Generation features
excerpts of B&D themed exhibitions, staged to accompany Gitane’s singing and interspersed with brief interview clips
in which the performer discusses her transition from goth to fetishism and the corresponding lifestyle, sex practices and
At the Zillo Club in Hamburg a 1994 stage show finds Gitane and her band
performing the tribal fetish ritual “Tongue of Fire,” the stroboscopically-lighted and strapped-on “Perv,”
as well as the rollicking “Loveless” that has an appealing Bad Seeds beat to it. It all calls to mind a scene
from a Genitorturers show, albeit with better vocals. (But do we really need to see the big bearded bass player in rubber
The next stop is Zwischenfall in Bochum, 1995, on Gitane and Rozz Williams’
Dream Home Heartache Tour. Opening with Rozz covering Bowie’s “Time,” as he continues with “Pope’s
Egg Hat” Gitane provides a crooning back-up to his spoken word. An accordion is introduced for an old-world European
cabaret feel, while “Flower” is a “favorite sad story.” All take place on a stage dressed for a romantic
candlelit dinner, although it must be said that, as with Christian Death, Dream Home Heartache seems to be very much a project
of Williams’ as Gitane sits out a good portion of the set, seated at the little table looking as if she’s about
to cry. She rises for a wailing harmony or the occasional chorus, but Rozz is definitely the lead singer here.
One highlight of the collection is the 1996 reincarnation of Christian Death, with Rozz and Gitane both performing
in the band together again. Filmed at the Astoria II in London, these clips constitute classic Christian Death tracks and
are in part a return to the angry anti-Christ death punk of the band’s early roots as indicated by the opening “Spiritual
Cramp.” Gitane joins Rozz on “Cervix Couch,” takes center stage for the Germanic vocals of “Lament,”
and truly shines on “Luxury of Tears” and “Ashes.”
The final performance is Gitane with a three piece at Kato, Berlin,
in 1998. It begins with the tribute “I Lost a Friend to Heroin,” a punky memorial that sets a cacophonous tone
for songs such as “Speed” before Gitane performs the closing a cappella
rendition of “What Now, My Love?”, also a eulogy to a departed friend.
Throughout it all Gitane explores the ranges of jazz, punk, blues and gothic stylings in an experimental but often
satisfying way, creating black- and red-lighted torch songs that defy expectation in the tradition of a performer who has
traveled a long, jagged, but very colorful road. Granted, some of the material is hit-or-miss, but that’s part of the
experience, isn’t it?
Blonde-haired and elegantly dressed in evening gowns or fetish attire, Gitane has been compared to Madonna but in a
certain light also projects an outlaw Debbie Harry sexuality, while her passion for costume and throaty vocals also brings
Annie Lennox to mind. Never having had a penchant for fashion myself, fetish or otherwise, some of the ‘dress-up’
segments didn’t really send me, and do come of as pretentious at times. (There’s not much ritual drama to pretending
to strap-on fuck a rubber-clad slave shackled to a plastic chair.) But they do serve as an intriguing counterpoint to the
supper club appearances found elsewhere on the collection and add to the well-rounded atmosphere of the project.
The audio CD opens on grand note as operatic vocals introduce
a silken version of “Somebody’s On My Mind,” includes the graceful “In My Solitude” and “Trust
in Me,” and even a surprise interpretation of “When I was a Child” (“Somewhere Over the Rainbow”).
The album ends with the simply beautiful instrumental version of “Trust in Me.” Absolutely perfect evening music,
this selection allows the listener to hear exactly how clear and true Gitane’s voice is in a private studio setting
as compared to the noisy live venues in which many of the DVD excerpts take place.
On the whole, as I said before this is a beautiful thing.
(Thanks to Exploitation
Retrospect – www.dantenet.com)
Directed by Andre Perkowski
Not having read
Ed Wood, Jr.’s Devil Girls, and as the hand-lettered promo disk came in a
simple plastic slip cover with a single press sheet, I wasn’t at all sure what to expect from this flick. But, as “Criswell
Predicts,” it purports to be “The true story of juvenile delinquency and its horrible consequences.” Which
in this case means a lot of found footage, hyperbole, token transvestism, rubber masks, dope and spastic ‘youngsters’
running amuck. Oh yeah, and a lot of phony moralizing amidst a heap of grossly exaggerated scenes and stereotypes (“The
sins we do one by one are paid for two by two,” etc.) And believe me, the forced mincing narration gets old in a hurry,
especially against the two-dollar production values.
The actual ‘plot’ is too ridiculous and convoluted to detail, but the film suggests that ol’ Ed really
wasn’t much of a writer. Basically a bunch of young punks and old authority figures run around in circles and talk trash.
Some of them get high, some of them die. The end.
Points for digging up a character actor with a remarkable resemblance to Tor Johnson, and the ‘Salami Mommy’
character was kind of amusing. However manufactured kitsch is never as honestly entertaining as the genuine article, and in
fact the genuine article itself is never guaranteed to be a good time. (Plus, I was all out of acid so I just didn’t
‘get it.’) Shot in grainy black and white for that retro-sleaze look, the overall effect is much like some drunken
pseudo-hipster’s Halloween party. Not entirely unlike a really poorly executed version of The Beatniks. Not entirely amusing, and not entirely deserving of a 71-minute running time.
Girls comes with a short film, To Kill a Saturday Night, also based on an Ed
Wood, Jr. story and adapted by Perkowski. In it a pair of old stew bums (Conrad Brooks and Ted V. Mikels) are working on a jug and talking about killing
some whores on a Saturday night. This goes on for a bit too long before the bums pass out and the film comes to an end. Reminds
me of a painfully bad rendition of a Bukowski story in the awful French experiment Love
Is a Dog From Hell.
(Thanks to Exploitation Retrospect – www.dantenet.com)
From the land
of www.chicagostonerrock.com comes this harsh psychedelic headfuck, aptly subtitled “One Nation Under Doom.”
Featuring videos from premiere doom/sludge/grindcore bands, this DVD is the very embodiment of anti-MTv – no softcore
commercial faggotry or music for fat little girls here, this is just good, good shit. (Even for the non-chemically enhanced.)
Some of the sonic
assault you’ll be bearing witness to herein includes Fistula covering “Cocaine,” some Fast Times with 16’s
bitchin’ “Damone,” the Black Sabbath stylings of Sleep, the modern biker rock of Smoke’s “The
Mark of Brahma” (the video for which contains an awesome visual loop), songs from Indian, Rwake and more. And after
about 45 minutes of riotous sights & sounds there’s 5 minutes of static before the DVD equivalent of the hidden
track kicks in with a bonus monster-mashing video and a public service message from Robbie Conal.
The music is heavy
and low-down, dirty with noddingly-catchy grooves and bongwater-stained themes. Most of all it’s all mastered LOUD AS
HELL, just the way they oughta be. The videos themselves are quite accomplished for non-mainstream acts such as those mentioned
above, with visuals including live footage, studio sessions, video effects, and appropriately fucked found footage that incorporates
riots, warfare, biker gangs, nuclear fallout and Charles Manson. In between segments you’re treated to some weirdo vintage
cartoons and snippets of random weirdness.
Best of all I
think this fucker is free, “Free with a purchase of our twisted propaganda.” So log onto the site below and see
what other weird shit these stoner rock fuckers are up to. You’re gonna like it. And look for volume two this summer/fall.
For fanciers of death porn and stoner rock this program of shock and awe will be a wet dream: horror
film blood and gore mixed with atrocity footage all playing behind a variety of noise/thrash/metal/grind/doom sessions by
the likes of Indian, Sunno)), Rabies Caste, Hopscotch, Ramesses, Buried at Sea, and Lair of the Minotaur. Standing out among
the audio-video onslaught are Weedeater’s brand of crusty doom (including the ode to bourbon, “For Evans Sake”),
Test-Site’s “Men Behind the Sun” video that perfectly integrates graphic scenes from the film of the same
name, and the eerie Japanese horror film-style videography of Church of Misery’s Down-style murder ballad “Filth
Bitch Boogie.” Between videos there are lots of random additions such as Cult of Bakula animation, psychedelic effects,
more gore, Venomous Concept propaganda and a rare shot of George W. giving a TV audience the one-finger salute. The quality
of the music varies (you can practically smell the bong rips oozing out of your television speakers), but if you’re
of a like mindset with the dope thrash crowd you’ll be copping it sweet. Definitely not for peaceniks and PETA people.
May not be quite as groovy as the first issue, but it’s a grand idea so get in touch with the wild fuckers at www.doomednation.com and see when volume three is coming. (Cover art by yours truly.)
THE DRILLER KILLER
Directed by Abel Ferrara
from the moment of its release, The Driller Killer is a standout film in a number
of respects. It’s an early slasher picture by a noted and prolific director, it’s a ‘power tool massacre’
film, and it takes place within a uniquely vibrant scene, that of the New York arts community in the 1970s. And, as it says
onscreen before the credits even roll, “This Film Should Be Played LOUD.”
Miller (director Ferrara, billed as Jimmy Laine) is the archetypal starving tortured artist. Living in near poverty in an
NYC apartment with his bisexual girlfriend Carol (Carolyn Marz) and their young playmate Pamela (Baybi Day), he struggles
daily to finish his latest masterpiece, “The Buffalo,” a painting he hopes to sell for big gallery money. But
Reno’s also working against a number of personal and domestic issues, including artistic insecurity and the demands
of his uptown girlfriend, not to mention the jarring distractions of NY streetlife.
Already somewhat on edge at having to deal with bills, rent, the bitchy gallery owner,
the noise and madness from the street, and a pair of female roommates, the last thing Reno needs is every tenant’s nightmare
– the punk band that moves in downstairs. Rhodney (Douglas Metro, billed as Tony Coca-Cola) and the Roosters are a large
and lousy ensemble, complete with entourage. And what they lack in talent they more than make up for in volume, rehearsing
at peak level at all hours.
Beset on all sides as he is, Reno soon begins experiencing headaches and violent blood-soaked
visions. (Right around this time his lady friends, drifting farther and farther away from him, share a warm encounter in the
shower.) These nightmarish hallucinations soon drive Reno to the streets, where with an electric drill and the battery-powered
“Porto-Pak” (as seen on TV!) he vents his mounting rage by murdering a sleeping wino. Viciously drilled to death
in a doorway, the man is gouged away at until he lies motionless, left in a broadening pool of his own blood.
Somewhat eased by this cathartic murder, Reno is coerced by Carol into going to see the
Roosters play at Max’s. This event only serves to push him even further over the edge, and driven out of the club by
the music and his girlfriend’s questioning Reno again takes to the streets and slaughters his second, third, fourth,
fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth indigent victims in a relentless massacre of frustration. Some of these are homeless
passed out in one location or another, some are winos approached in a state of drunken loquaciousness; some are found hidden
away in dark corners of the city, while some are caught and dispatched right out in the open, on streets or sidewalks awash
in nighttime illumination. One schizophrenic and/or stoned individual is seen harassing people at a bus shelter before Reno
walks up and drills him in the back once the commuters have caught the late night bus. (“New York Wins!” declares
the shelter’s brightly-lit signage.) Another unfortunate is a sleeping bum who awakens as Reno drills directly into
his forehead – blood gushes as the drill bit spins in close-up right above the man’s eye. Throughout the massacre
Reno takes great pleasure in revving the drill at different speeds, as if playing it as his instrument of death in his own
one-man concert of destruction in reaction to the music that’s helped drive him out of his mind.
After the slaughter Reno returns to the apartment, his mad bloodlust temporarily sated.
His appetite has been aroused however, and he consumes a half a can of Budweiser and a leftover Big Mac with the gusto of
a man who’s just survived an exhausting jungle ordeal. But Reno’s victory feast is cut short, by none other than
Rhodney himself. Through his wasted rock & roll rhetoric the singer makes it known that he wants Reno to paint his portrait,
and inspired by the $500 Rhodney is willing to pay Reno gets started right away. Working through the musician’s awful
guitar playing and his bedding Pamela, Reno finishes the panting almost overnight. He celebrates with the particularly brutal
murder of the deranged bum who sleeps in the alley beneath the studio window.
The Buffalo has been finished as well, and is ready for a viewing by prissy gallery owner
Dalton Briggs. But instead of showering Reno with praise and money, Briggs instead angrily condemns both the art and the artist.
“No, no, no, no. This isn’t right . . . This is nothing! This is shit!” Reno and Carol, dressed up in their
Sunday finest for the visit of their esteemed patron, are crushed as the gallery owner continues to rail away in his critique
before finally storming out of the apartment in a pissy huff.
Carol takes this defeat particularly hard – having been supporting Reno and Pamela
in the hope that the sale of the painting would turn things around for all of them, in spite of Reno’s increasingly
angry and distant behavior, she’s now had enough and decides to move on with her life. Throughout the film Carol has
been in contact with her ex-husband Steven, lured back in touch with a fond note containing a $100 bill, and the very next
morning she packs her suitcase and leaves.
Unable to stop her, Reno is crushed. With his life a violent failure, and tormented by
another bout of brutal hallucinations, Reno deals with the situation the only way he knows how. Playing to Briggs’ homosexuality
Reno lures him back to the apartment, and as Pamela parties with the Roosters below Reno paints himself up, puts on his best
suit, and affixes his longest drill bit. When Briggs enters the apartment, Reno lets him have it. When Pamela comes home and
discovers the body, Reno greets her violently as well. Then he slips out to pay a visit to Carol and her husband. “Steven
. . . come here . . .”
A bit crude, yes, and violent, absolutely. And therein lies the beauty and the passion
of The Driller Killer. The story of a man pushed over the edge by the mounting
pressures of the world is a timeless one, but never before has the man fought back with a power drill. Come on, a failed artist
going shit nuts through the streets of New York with a giant drill? You’ve gotta love it. Not only does the movie satiate
the gorehound’s appetite, but it also paints in red a poignant portrait of frustration and failure that all too many
can identify with. (The fact that mass murder became ever more common as the millennium waned says it all.)
But the film does a lot more than simply put a blood-crazed guy on the street with a dangerous
weapon; it takes violence in a number of its different forms and passes them through the filter of Reno’s experience
to provide a look into the broad spectrum of personal horror. While unexpectedly grotesque gestures such as the super’s
slaughter of his pet rabbit, and his presentation of the skinned animal to his favorite tenants as a dinner gift, accentuates
the inescapable and surreal nature of the film’s all-encompassing violence, Reno’s savage treatment of the bloody
carcass is both an indicator of and a primer for his later behavior. Even small conflicts take on a more brutal aspect in
the scope of the film, such as when a dismissive comment by Reno leads to Carol smashing him in the face with a greasy slice
of pizza, leaving him almost as shocked and violated-looking as any of his victims. Gruesome newspaper stories help illustrate
the film’s violent tension, as they later would in the work of NY author Madison Smartt Bell, and these along with the
behavior of the inebriated and disenfranchised citizens exemplify the distraught, desperate and debaucherous personality of
the city. It truly looks at points as if everyone within it is going mad, and The Driller
Killer is just one chapter of a much larger and more tragic story.
And as the star of such the young Ferrara, with his Quest
For Fire face, perfectly typifies the violent and primitive young dude from the streets. Invoking the muse of art in the
hope that it will enable his shamanic transformation into something more than a grimy nobody, elevating him from the daily
grind and into the high life he sees others enjoying all around him, Reno is literally a subhuman in the eyes of society.
It’s not at all surprising that he goes crazy, even before his simple dream is not only shattered but shat upon and
what’s left of his life falls apart along with it.
Granted this uncut edition includes perhaps too many scenes of Rhodney and the Roosters;
in fact the footage and noise of the abominable band is almost relentless in this presentation, and so pervasive as to actually
carry the attendant irritation and frustration Reno feels right off the screen and into the viewer’s experience. One
of The Driller Killer’s greatest faults may lie in Reno’s neglecting
to gouge Rhodney to death before the film’s conclusion (an act which would have been additionally symbolic, given the
fact that Ferrara based his character in large part around his friend Metro, who played Rhodney). And given the emphasis on
punk music in the film, it’s a shame that The Driller Killer neglected to
include cameos by local or touring acts playing around NYC in 1977, something that would have upped the punk + gore equation
in a way that Troma could never hope to do.
But all of that can be easily overlooked; the film is given the gritty widescreen presentation
it deserves, one that impressively showcases a film melding the nihilism of violent city streets with the prime of punk’s
equally nihilistic heyday – junk-fueled music and murder, all in full bloody color. And the Italian gothic horror soundtrack
by Joseph Delia, loaded with the piercing notes of a church organ, accentuates not only the murders but also the themes of
romantic and interpersonal anguish that run through the film (not to mention providing a subtle counterpoint to the raucous
noise produced by Rhodney and the Roosters).
This first DVD in the limited edition double-DVD set comes with a brief psychotic trailer
for the film, the movie’s silent B&W commercial for the infamous “Porto-Pak” ($19.95!), a filmography
listing Ferrara’s numerous shorts, features, pilots, TV episodes and music videos, and the option of subtitles in French
or Spanish. It also comes with a director’s commentary, which in this case is an interesting and unusual feature. In
mumbling NY City lingo Ferrara rambles away in a hit-and-miss fashion that’s initially a little disconcerting to hear
from such an accomplished director (dotted repeatedly as it is with the interjections “UP-sy daisy!” “Wake
up! Time to die!” And my favorite, “Uh-oh, Spaghetti-os!”). But this patter quickly grows on you, as not
only is it loads better than some pretentious litany of method and motif but it provides the feel of watching the film with
the director participating more as an audience member than a guest lecturer. Ferrara comments more on the film than about
it, talking more about what’s happening on screen than what happened behind it, while still interjecting appropriate
commentary about particular shots, personal recollections, and choice observations. Throughout Ferrara seems to enjoy the
film as much as any filmgoer, cracking jokes and laughing with glee at the murders and with embarassment over certain aspects
of his performance and his directorial choices. (“I forgot how funny this movie was!”)
The second DVD contains three of Ferrara’s early short films, along with a trailer
for his first feature-length picture. This one, Nine Lives of a Wet Pussy, is a
1976 porno directed under the pseudonym “Jimmy Boy L,” and from the hardcore trailer it looks like this 35mm feature
would stand up to any number of other films in the era. Sex, violence, rape, pimps, monster & money shots, the works.
Could This Be Love, from 1973, stars Nadia Von Loewenstein (who also provides one of the optional commentary tracks to the short) as
Jacky, Dee Dee Rescher as Renee, and Casandra Cortez as Cathy in a Greenwich-meets-Manhattan love story. Sort of. Painter
Jacky, wife of well-to-do department store manager Stephen, and model girlfriend Renee meet bar whore Cathy while out for
a drink, and the three of them strike up a fast and fond ‘working’ relationship. When the pseudo-bohemians take
Cathy to one of their artsy high class dinner parties, the true feelings of the upper crusts come out.
A not-so-subtle or incisive look at how the snooty and urbane look down upon and exploit
the less fortunate, the film is shot on grainy 16mm with a handheld camera and is as full of close-ups, dark or out-of-focus
shots, and abrupt cuts as you might expect from an early effort. But it does have a soundtrack by The Rolling Stones and Dennis
The Hold Up is an earlier B&W short from 1972. In it Johnny, a long-haired new parent, is busy juggling domesticity and a
lousy factory job when some buddies of his introduce him to the world of crime. There’s been a round of layoffs at the
factory, but while Johnny’s been spared thanks to his position as son-in-law of “The Old Man” he’s
still offered a role in a stick up gig. Perhaps out of guilt, perhaps out of boredom Johnny joins the crew, and when the novice
gang fumbles the gas station holdup the lot of them get popped. But the Old Man gets Johnny off, and his pals stay in prison
and serve their time.
Poorly dubbed and shot in a style crossing student films with bad television commercials,
The Hold Up really isn’t much of a watch. The story, a rather tepid fable
of class difference, is poor, and taken from a videotape original the quality of the film is none too great either. Still,
this may be seen as an essential for true fans of Ferrara as an early entry into the director’s passion for crime and
The earliest of Ferrara’s films on record, Nicky’s
Film, is the director’s 1973 “silent exercise in paranoia and surrealism.” Apparent drug neuroses cause
disassociation and nervousness for an aimless unidentified character during the winter season. Black and white, just over
six minutes in length, this apparent student film doesn’t have even a commentary track to help justify it.
in all, a great cinematic experience. Do yourself a favor and pick it up.
* * * *
DVD023: $29.95 from Cult Epics – www.cultepics.com – P.O. Box 291395, Los Angeles, CA, 90029
EAGLES OVER LONDON
(aka BATTLE SQUADRON)
Directed by Enzo G. Castellari
been much of a World War II film fan, so I admittedly put this one on the back burner when it came in the mail. (Despite its
glowing cover recommendation as being “From the Director of The Inglorious Bastards.”
No, not Tarantino, you fuck, the original director.) But when I actually sat down to watch this I enjoyed the hell out of
it. What you got here, friends, is nearly two hours of two-fisted action: guys punching each other out, shooting each other
down, blowing each other up, and just generally giving the other fella hell. You got aerial dogfights, you got secret Nazi
agent tail, you got, you got…
May 1940. After months of awaiting war the Nazis launched their blitzkrieg. Their armored divisions with air support swiftly
invaded Holland and Belgium
on May 10th. By May 25th General Von Kleist’s troops had reached Bologna
and Calais. On May 28th, Leopold, King of the Belgians, surrendered.
The Sixth German Army was only 30 miles from Australia. The
British, with the remnants of the Belgian and French armies, were cut off in a narrow coastal zone reaching from Valdine to
Nupois. (I’m not entirely sure on these last two locations; there are no subtitles available.) General Lodkop (?), commanding
the British Expeditionary Forces, gave the order to begin ‘Operation Dynamo,’ the withdrawal of British troops.
Admiral Ramsey ordered all available vessels and boats: the Royal Navy, the merchant fleet, tugs, fishing boats, lifeboats,
launches and pleasure craft to sail to Dunkirk to pick of members of the British
Expeditionary Force and bring them home. May 29th: the evacuation of the British from Dunkirk
As this narration takes place British troops are busy burying mines in the dirt road along which even now German tanks
are traveling in their direction. When the armored vehicles reach the target area, Captain Paul Stevens (Frederick Stafford)
gives the order, and the mines detonate beneath the tanks with near perfect accuracy. A tremendous firefight ensues as Nazis
start popping out of tanks with machine guns, defending themselves against bazooka rockets and fire from multiple heavy machine
gun emplacements. A number of the tanks are still mobile, and they turn their guns and turrets against the British foxholes
and begin blazing away in return.
The Brits are victorious on this front, but even as Squad Number One sets about destroying the tanks that are still
functional a Nazi Stuka fighter plane is strafing a retreating column of civilians and allied soldiers on a nearby road. Once
Squad One completes the destruction of the Nazi war machines they head through a forest to rendezvous with their fellow soldiers.
Upon hearing other voices approaching the Squad quickly takes cover, and from behind the trees they watch as a group of soldiers
clad in British military garb begin to travel past them on the same trail. With relief Squad One emerges from the woods to
join their brothers – who, as it turns out, aren’t English at all, but Nazis disguised in British uniform. The
Germans immediately turn their weapons on the unsuspecting British and gun them down, taking the identity disks and personal
papers from the bodies. In an area crawling with the intrepid English, the small band of Germans knows that their best bet
at passing through, and making it on to London, is to infiltrate the various British
units as they evacuate Dunkirk. They move on, the body of the single German killed
during the slaughter left lying next to the other corpses.
British Squads Two and Three meanwhile are setting explosives underneath a major bridge so that the retreating French
won’t be surrounded. As the demolition charges are set, Cpt. Stevens goes back to look for Squad One, who should have
joined them by now. He finds them, slaughtered, crumpled heaps stripped of their identities just as the Nazis left them. On
the uniform of the dead German soldier left behind Stevens finds some curious patches, and he pulls these from the body for
Back at the bridge the fuses are being lit, Stevens having given the order not to wait for him. But German soldier
Martin (Francisco Rabal), disguised as a British Captain, has been trailing the English units and only begins to cross the
bridge once the charges have been ignited. Sergeant Donald Mulligan (Renzo Palmer) tries to warn him away, with machine gun
fire, even, but Cpt. Stevens reaches the bridge at the same time and urges the imposter to make a run for it. Together they
race across the mined bridge, Stevens tackling Martin at the end and rolling him down the opposite embankment mere seconds
before the bridge collapses under a series of mighty explosions.
Martin is appropriately grateful, for both his life and his disguise. All join the line marching toward the beach at
Dunkirk, but even upon their arrival their safety is not assured: German fighter
planes bomb and strafe the crowded stretch of sand beyond which lies the rag-tag assortment of rescue vessels. As the legitimate
soldiers man anti-aircraft guns and fight back, Martin takes advantage of the chaos to relieve a commando’s body of
its paybook, an important identification document.
Eventually driving the attacking planes away, French and English fighting men pack the few available watercraft, standing
room only, and all sail off for Dover. Safety is reached, and while the waiting
canteen stations are overwhelmed by hungry and exhausted troops Martin meets up with his own personal Mata Hari, the lovely
Sheila (Teresa Gimpera), who nimbly passes on the address of the safe house where the other undercover Nazi agents will be
meeting. Stevens has a lady waiting for him as well, Meg Jones (Ida Galli [as Evelyn Stewart]), and they share a brief joyful
reunion before their respective duties call them away from each other again.
At a Chiefs of Staff meeting elsewhere it becomes obvious that the element of aerial assault will be increasingly critical
throughout the war. Air Marshal George Taylor (Van Johnson) is pushing the newly developed radar system, and it is agreed
that more radar positions will be established for greater air defense against the escalating Nazi air raids.
At the safe house on St. Agnew Street, Major Krueger (Luigi Pistilli),
Sheila, and the remaining handful of German agents are discussing the development of Britain’s
new “Warning system.” Martin soon arrives, and after a flash of jealousy from Krueger when he embraces Sheila
it is decided that the radar installations must be destroyed. All agree upon the next appointed meeting time, and they leave
the safe house one by one.
Said radar is being put to use at that very moment, as multiple Stuka squadrons are reported approaching various target
cities. French and English pilots climb into their planes and prepare to meet the threat head-on, in what can only be assumed
is a tremendous aerial battle over the English Channel. (We don’t actually get to see the battle, only formations of
aircraft flying in different directions.) The Germans suffer heavy losses and are forced to retreat, and London
lives another day.
Sheila has secured herself a job at a pub favored by Allied servicemen, a position which allows her to eavesdrop and
gather sensitive fragments of military intelligence. (On top of the information she gains from shagging Captain Alfred of
the Military Police.) When she tells Martin that it’s Air Marshall Taylor who’s in charge of the radar program,
Martin’s wheels start spinning.
Cpt. Stevens has been following up on the insignia he pulled from the uniform of the disguised German at the site of
the massacre of Squad One; higher officers confirm that it’s from a Hampshire regiment, the 43rd Infantry
Division, and it is determined that the man wearing those patches definitely “could not have reached this vicinity without
crossing enemy territory.” The jig is up: the British now know for certain that a number of disguised German agents
slipped over during the evacuation of Dunkirk and are even now operating in the
streets of London. “Operation Valiant” is immediately launched, under
which Cpt. Stevens’ company will team up with the Military Police to initiate damage control by seeking out the imposters.
Sheila isn’t the only one sleeping with the enemy however: Martin has been staying with Stevens since their arrival
in London, and this intimate setting, along with the inside information he obtains freely wandering around as a British army
captain, leads the Germans to realize that they will have to change tactics. “We must make frequent changes of identity,”
Krueger decides. “For that we must kill.”
Soon the first bodies of British soldiers killed for their paybooks and identity disks start turning up. It’s
not difficult to recognize who is responsible, but it doesn’t make it any easier for the British to identify the individual
enemy agents: even the dead men’s uniforms have been stripped away so that it is impossible to tell which unit they
were with. Even a French soldier is assassinated for his identity.
As more corpses are discovered, Martin invites Meg out for a drink at, of course, the pub where Sheila works. As Martin
plays the sympathetic ear to Meg’s relationship woes (she and Paul are just so busy, they never have time for each other,
etc.) he stealthily removes her paybook from her handbag and slips it to Sheila. Mata Hari photographs every page, barely
managing to get the document back to the table before the MPs come through the bar on one of their routine identity checks.
Since only one French soldier has been found murdered so far, Cpt. Stevens suggests the temporary confinement of all
French military personnel to quarters; this way, if anyone is seen walking the streets in French uniform, chances are good
that he is a Nazi imposter. The French, of course, disagree with this strategy, and take to the streets en masse. And, of
course, when Sgt. Mulligan’s patrol squad comes across an errant gang of Frenchmen, a full-scale street brawl erupts.
Cpt. Stevens’ plan has not been entirely fruitless however: in another part of the city when a ‘Frenchman’
was asked to halt, he immediately started shooting and ran. He’s now lurking about along the rooftops of bombed-out
buildings, trying to hide from the British troops closing in upon him. Gunfire is traded, and Stevens boldly takes to the
rooftops himself and tackles the German, knocking hell out of him before hauling him in for interrogation. Unfortunately for
the British Empire, the agent had a cyanide capsule tucked away under his tongue and he swallows this
before military intelligence can get any information out of him.
The radar station at Portsmouth has already been compromised by the infiltration
of one German agent, something which Cpt. Stevens immediately suspects when several German bomber squads somehow manage to
evade detection when they fly through that sector. Major Krueger, knowing that it’s only a matter of time before the
imposter is discovered, decides that their small group must go ahead and demolish the station entirely.
A group of agents, guided by their inside man, manage to make it onto the grounds of the station, and while one team
provides a diversion by running around and shooting up the place, another sets bundles of dynamite at critical points beneath
the radar tower. But even the fighting Germans have backpacks loaded with explosives, which allows them to take out smaller
targets as they fight. Or explode spectacularly when shot. (Sometimes both.)
Inside the base of the radar tower Cpt. Stevens and his men are seconds late in preventing the Nazis from lighting
the fuses. They gun down the saboteurs, but the only thing they can do after that is run. The control center is blown to pieces,
leaving the entire base in ruins.
After this victory Martin takes on a new identity with the goal of infiltrating the Main
Control Center of the radar system. Of course this
could cause problems with his good buddy Paul, as he has been keeping close quarters with the Captain. Major Krueger has the
obvious solution however: kill him. “Objections?” he asks. “No,” says Martin. Everything must go perfectly,
and quickly, as the Luftwaffe is preparing a major strike and the radar must be down before then.
As Martin burns his former identity papers, Sheila arrives at the safe house with some bad news: the bar has been raided,
and while one agent was captured Sheila managed to get away. Although she is sure that her identity has now been compromised
as well. Krueger knows what it means for all of them if Sheila is caught, and without thinking twice he orders an agent to
execute her. But Sheila wants Martin to do it: and as they kiss through the center of a swirling 360-degree camera shot, Martin
shoots her dead.
Shortly thereafter British officials find their way to the safe house and discover Sheila’s body, along with
an unburned portion of Martin’s fake ID papers – papers showing his picture. Word spreads quickly, even as Main
Control receives word that 200 bombers and 400 fighter planes are heading toward London.
All aircraft are ordered up immediately, and a battle in the sky begins. (Albeit one that doesn’t really convey the
scale of the aerial combat taking place: only one or two planes are seen at a time.)
As planes fall into the sea, back at home Paul is surprised by Martin – who he finds holding a gun on him. Stevens
dares him to shoot, but Martin hesitates: he still remembers how Paul saved his life at the bridge. Paul takes advantage of
Martin’s moment of sentiment and decks him, and the two soldiers start a house-wrecking fistfight.
Now the scope of the air battle becomes more clear, as we see more planes lifting off and greater formations flying
through the sky. (It still doesn’t quite pull off a completely accurate depiction of over 1,500 aircraft shooting it
out over the English Channel, but remember this was shot back in 1969, before CGI and $300M budgets.)
Some of the German bombers manage to make their way through the fighting and over London,
and when they do the bombing is so fierce that even Paul’s apartment begins to fall down around the fighting men. And,
amidst the fire and the chaos, Martin manages to escape and run away.
Martin is soon seen again however, trying to drive a truck through a checkpoint at Main Control. He’s identified
by the guard, as his picture has been distributed widely by now, but the guard is killed before he can alert Central Operations.
Martin drives the truck straight through the guardpost, gunners inside the vehicle mowing down sentries posted outside the
base. The Germans execute a truly daring raid on the Main Control
Center, rapidly moving through the base and killing everyone they see. It doesn’t
take them long to reach the heart of the center, Base Operations, where they kill off half of the staff and hold the rest
His war wheels churning, it doesn’t take Cpt. Stevens long to figure out that the Main Control Center is exactly
where the enemy would strike next for maximum effectiveness. As dogfights still rage through the sky, Stevens and his team
race to the Control Center, even as the
Nazis begin to set explosive charges throughout the base.
Will Stevens arrive in time? And will he and Martin have the opportunity for a final showdown? Will he and Meg patch
things up? Will Britain be able to summon enough air power
to prevent the further destruction of London? Will you watch the movie for yourself
and find out?
I say, do it. Grab some popcorn and check this one out. Dating back to the Sixties, Eagles Over London is a good old-fashioned WWII flick that’s got all the elements required for an action-packed,
intrigue-filled war picture. As has been mentioned numerous times before, the colossal air battles aren’t quite as colossal
as they could have been but, again, it is a film from a different era. And oddly, Captain Stevens has a much thicker accent
than does Martin; this is explained away in a brief line about Stevens’ heritage, but it does seem strange. All of this
is simple nit-picking however: this is a solid and entertaining picture. Even if it is overly championed by Quentin Tarantino…
Speaking of which, bonus features include “A Conversation with Enzo Castellari & Quentin Tarantino, Part
2.” Man, that Quentin fellow manages to weasel his way in everywhere, doesn’t he? I’m not a fan of the guy,
and I’m not watching this. Besides, I missed Part 1 so I’d just be totally lost throughout. (Yeah, that’s
Another extra is “Eagles Over Los Angeles”, a “Featurette from a very rare screening at The Silent
Movie Theatre.” And what do you know, this starts with Quentin up on center stage as well. Fast forwarding through the
gushing, director Castellari finally comes up and takes the mike for a minute before the film is presumably shown. More Quentin
on stage with Castellari, more fast-forwarding on my part.
Finally there’s a 32-second deleted scene, wherein the Nazis plan for the total destruction of London
while ‘Heil Hitler’-ing in a ceremonial swastika-draped setting.
(Thanks to Exploitation Retrospect – www.dantenet.com)
Directed by Some Douche (aka James Watkins)
be hard-pressed to find a film more objectionable than this lime-fed bowl of shite. A couple of yuppie twats on holiday are
bullied and torture-porned by a gang of shit-assed brats so obnoxious you want to see their ugly little faces smashed in within
five minutes. Which is about the length of time you can stand to watch what essentially amounts to a bunch of foul-mouthed
little cunts running wild and injured people crawling around in the mud. But like any dung heap, it just gets worse and worse
the more you pile it on.
Much like Frontiers, there really is no reason to watch this at all (excepting
the two examples further on below). Unless, that is, you’re a sadistic little pissant who gets off watching children
burned alive and women trapped in septic tanks. Inside of the first third of the film’s running time (again, if you
even make it that far) you really start to wish that everybody would just go ahead and die already so the film will be over
and the pointless agony will be minimized. And you really don’t care about the revenge element of who gets out alive
in the end, because the fewer survivors the better.
Speaking of the ending, I’m going to spoil that right here: after ninety minutes of misery, the woman who’s
been tortured throughout the entire film, and who has watched her fiancée killed and burned, gets raped and murdered by a
pack of backwoods limey sucks while the little daddy’s boy bully who started all the trouble in the first place gets
off scot-free. As do a number of his little bully pals. If you want to torment yourself by sitting through this though, go
right ahead: I guarantee you’ll come out feeling like someone has rubbed shit in your eyes.
The only value of the film is miniscule, and that is that it does serve as an excellent contraceptive. That, and it
would also be useful in ridding yourself of an undesirable date: just take someone home and put this filth on, and they’ll
be out of your space faster than gay porn at a San Fernando Valley estate sale.
Colossally awful in every way, I had actually summed up an appropriate response to the people who put together this
deliberately wretched muck. But upon reflection, that would be the kind of thing that I could get arrested for. So I’ll
leave it to your imagination. I’m still thinking about it, though. Save yourself
the time and effort: if you’re really looking for a bad time, pull an Albert Fish and just stick a few sewing needles
into your taint.
EMANUELLE AND THE LAST CANNIBALS
(aka TRAP THEM AND KILL THEM)
Directed by Joe D'Amato (Aristede
so cannibal movies may not be as good as zombie movies (not as many exploding heads), but there are so many of them that the
style is a cult unto itself. In fact, these flicks might even be considered progenitors of the loathsome torture porn genre.
At any rate they’re gnarly as hell, and this 1977 installment in the Em(m)anuelle franchise guarantees that not only
will you see ‘natives’ scarfing down live guts but there will be a boatload of softcore porn as well. So get out
your snack food of choice (might I recommend the Spam and pruno this evening? or perhaps some red vino and Chef Boyardee straight
out of the can?) and prepare to get stupefied.
By the way, there will be a spoiler here. Hey, the movie’s over 30 years old; if you really gave a shit you would
have seen it by now.
This entry finds the dusky Laura Gemser (“Black Emanuelle”) playing the titular lead inaugurated by Sylvia
Kristel in the original 1974 outing. The story begins in New York, where we find Emanuelle working undercover as a journalist for The Evening Post. Her current assignment has her posing as a patient at an unnamed
asylum (that isn’t actually in New York City, as signs in the halls reading
“Farmacia” indicate). Taking shots of the doodlebugs and their warders with the camera secreted within her toy
doll, Emanuelle wanders the hallways of the madhouse in search of her next big scoop. And she finds it: a nurse covered in
blood comes screaming out of one of the patient’s rooms, the remaining shreds of her right breast visible through her
torn whites. Inside the room a girl sits on the floor, gnawing away at the nurse’s teat as if it were a piece of fried
The fine young cannibal is promptly straitjacketed and sedated, during which time a nurse is heard to say, “She
was found on the edge of the Nacho Grosso (or some other such outlandish place) – she’s a real savage.”
After hours, when the commotion has died down, Emanuelle sneaks out of her room and pays a visit to the girl. Now awake the
patient snarls at the intrusion, until Emanuelle puts her most professional interview techniques to use: sliding up the girl’s
hospital gown Emanuelle pets her pussy until the “savage” calms down. But the wild white girl still can’t
seem to speak at all, especially not of the ordeal that brought her from the jungles of the Amazon to the jungle of New
Back at her editor’s office, Emanuelle speaks derisively about the mangled nurse’s “homosexual inclinations”
and her abuse of the patients as they pore over Emanuelle’s photographs. “Look Rod,” she points out, “Look
what a funny tattoo she’s got above her pubic region.” (Speaking of jungles - hey now! Well it is the Seventies,
you know.) Showing the picture to a co-worker, Emanuelle and her editor are told that the tattoo is, “The symbol of
the Tupinambas – they’re an antique tribe of cannibals now completely extinct.” Upon hearing this Rod immediately
suggests that Emanuelle contact a Professor Mark Lester, “A most famous anthropologist (who) carried out several expeditions
along the Amazon River.”
Intrigued, Emanuelle goes to visit Lester at the City’s Natural History Museum. And, after sidewalk bowls of
fruit at a “little Italian restaurant” he knows of (with ketchup on the table?!) and some laughably highbrow flirting,
Lester invites Emanuelle back to his place. To view some “Complete and full documentation on cannibalism,” of
course. And for a little afternoon delight, of course. Oh, wait, almost forgot about the foreplay: to get Emanuelle in the
mood Lester shows her some black & white film footage from Tanzania
in which an adulterous couple is killed and partially eaten. The cheating woman’s head is hacked off and the eyeballs
eaten by a relative of the husband’s, while the man’s penis is sawn off (in grisly slow motion) and devoured by
a grinning tribesman belonging to the wife’s family. (Hey, it tastes just like alligator!)
And although the delicate Emanuelle finds the pictures “terrible,” Professor Lecher is so aroused that
he accepts Emanuelle’s offer to lead an expedition to the Amazon in search of the Tupinambas’ descendents the
Apiacara, paid for in full by the Post. And then they go to bed. Directly afterward
as Emanuelle is preparing to leave, Lester asks her if she’s going to meet another man. “You can’t possibly
think that I’ve been waiting for you all my life,” the self-appointed high priestess tells him haughtily. “I’m
a free woman and I behave as such.” (Cartman voice: “Oh-hoh!”)
After arranging to leave the next day (because weeks-long voyages through the jungles of the Amazon always happen overnight),
Emanuelle gets picked up by her boyfriend in his crappy yellow hatchback. The journey is news to him, but Emanuelle cools
him out with a standup quickie fuck down by some dilapidated pier in the Harbor. “And good luck, baby,” he tells
her as he dumps her off at the apartment afterward.
In the morning Lester picks up Emanuelle and her two bags (two bags), and as he makes a pit stop to send a telegram
to his buddy Wilkes in-country she relives their nooner of the day before. In no time at all they’re in the air, and
seconds later they’re relaxing on some jungle patio speaking with Wilkes, the man who called the Red Cross about the
crazy gringa. They’re joined by Wilkes’ blond young daughter Isabelle
(Monica Zanchi) and a Sister Angela (Anne Marie Clementi), both of whom will accompany them in the morning when they set out
for the mission of Father Morales, the priest who actually found the girl savage.
In the meantime Emanuelle and Lester take the time to fuck some more. Isabelle happens by their door while they’re
making it, and so turned on is she that as she stands there peeping at them she pulls aside her skirt and blouse and masturbates
right there in the hallway.
The next day the crew gets an early start upriver with the help of their native porters Manolo and Phillipe. And at
the very first stop they make Emanuelle and Isabelle strip down and jump into a pool by a waterfall, bathing each other sensuously
as a monkey sits on the bank smoking a cigarette (no kidding). As they emerge from the pool the chimp applauds and scampers
off, and it’s back to the boats.
Arriving near the mission the group pulls their boats ashore and heads inland. Where Emanuelle is promptly attacked
by a great snake. From out of the rainforest comes a great white hunter, who somehow manages to blast the snake away from
her neck with his high-powered rifle. Introducing himself as Donald McKenzie (Donald O’Brien) the hunter leads the group
back to his camp, and along the way drops the news that the mission is no more: “some savages” destroyed the church
and killed most of the nuns and children there. What happened to Father Morales is unknown.
Sister Angela takes the news hard, but soon they arrive at McKenzie’s camp and are introduced to his alcoholic
wife Maggie (Susan Scott, aka Nieves Navarro) and their burly guide Salvadore. Maggie drinks, Angela cries, Emanuelle asks
questions, Lester talks about cannibalism, and McKenzie rambles on about his lust for killing things in the jungle as Salvadore
hacks pieces of flesh from an unidentifiable animal carcass hanging over the fire and passes them around. As this party is
taking place some foreboding foreshadowing comes in the form of JungleVision, the ‘native’ point of view from
behind clumps of foliage as electronic effects back what sounds like a drunken ritual incantation. (Bad, mojo, bad!)
Soon the campsite settles down for the evening, and we’re staring
directly between Maggie’s legs as she kicks off her sheets. And, with her husband asleep right beside her, she begins
to finger herself from behind as she watches el Salvadore polish McKenzie’s hunting rifle. When she’s good and
hot and bothered Maggie throws on a blouse and struts out of the tent: “Come with me,” she orders Salvadore, and
without a word the brawny servant puts down the gun and follows her into the forest. Donald wakes up a few moments later,
and after listening to Mark and Emanuelle talk of calling off the expedition he wanders into the jungle to watch his wife
sucking Salvadore’s cock before the man takes her from behind.
Instead of making a scene McKenzie creeps silently back to camp, where he peeks into the ladies’ tent to get
a good look at Isabelle’s bare ass and Angela’s bush. He’s declining Mark’s offer to return to base
with the rest of the party when Maggie and Salvadore emerge from the jungle. Now McKenzie follows his wife into their tent:
“I asked you where you’ve been.” “To get a breath of fresh air.” “Is that how you call
it now? You’re just a tramp!” “And you’re an impotent!” (Ah, it’s like A Fairy Tale of New York right there on the banks of the Amazon.) But the argument dies down abruptly as the couple
agrees that they can’t go back with the others. There’s something “at stake”…
In the morning the group is disturbed by Phillipe’s running into camp with the news that “!Manolo es muerto!” Sure enough, as they run down to the riverbank they find the porter’s nude and
eviscerated carcass lying there in the mud, covered in blood and snakes. “It’s the work of the Apiacaras!”
And not only that, but the little fuckers ran off with their boats and provisions too. (“Damn bastard savages!”)
Lester’s astute summary of the situation: “This place is dangerous!” Well no shit, bastard offspring of
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
With this new setback the McKenzies agree to travel with the Professor’s party, at least for the time being,
and they all set off into the jungle on foot. But even now Donald and his wife are planning on ditching the group and continuing
their “search” on their own. At the moment however their trail has its own perils: “God damn it, if I just
had something to drink!” Maggie complains after being bitten by a snake (“!Muy
peligroso!”) and tended to with Phillipe’s switchblade. Shortly after that they come across the decomposing
remains of Father Morales, hardly a good omen. After the requisite encounter with quicksand the group takes a breather, and
cue JungleVision again to let us know that they’re all being watched.
As most of the party grabs a siesta McKenzie sits up to keep watch. On Isabelle’s sweet ass, that is: sneaking
over to the sleeping girl he slides up her long shirt and slips a hand right into her panties. He’s just gotten in deep
between her legs when she wakes up and cries for Mark; the Professor comes running, and when he sees what’s going on
he throws a punch at McKenzie. But of course the outdoorsman handily thrashes the curator of the big city’s Natural
History Museum, and there are bad feelings all around.
A little while later Sister Angela wanders off for a squat and disappears. The crew sets out to look for her, and after
narrowly avoiding one native trap of a swinging branch lanced with sharpened stakes Phillipe catches the next one right in
the belly. Deciding it’s too dangerous to go any further the group turns around to head back to camp, just as we see
Sister Angela again: the screaming nun is tied to a tree, surrounded by cannibals who tear off her clothes and greedily slice
off one of her nipples. Said nip is shared around like a dripping red pizza roll before a knife is plunged into her chest
and she’s opened up wide so the hungry fellows can all reach in and help themselves to giblets & chitlin’s.
All the while the nun’s companions mill around helplessly out of sight, generally useless in their fear and confusion.
Come daylight and Sister Angela’s friends decide it’s safe to go looking for her. Even if the odds of finding
her alive are slim: “Ah, it’s useless going on,” says McKenzie diplomatically. “By now Sister Angela
will have been well digested by those cannibals.” And yet, when he and Maggie spy “a piece of the plane”
on the forest floor they continue traveling with the rest of the group. Even after they come across Phillipe’s head
on a stick (cue multiple zooms).
That night, as everyone else sleeps, McKenzie leaves his guard post and wakes up Maggie. Together they leave camp and
trek through the jungle until they find the downed plane they’ve been looking for all this time. And the two bags of
uncut diamonds it was carrying when it crashed. So turned on is the couple at this good fortune that they strip down and start
making it right there on the jungle floor, forgetting all about the fact that they’re in cannibal country. Said cannibals
obligingly show up and capture Maggie, stabbing Donald in the chest when he resists.
The couple’s screams alert the rest of the group, and rushing to the crash site they find McKenzie seriously
injured but still alive. After his wound is dressed the crew locates the island that serves as home to the Apiacara, and believing
that the cannibals won’t sacrifice Maggie until dawn they start making plans for her rescue.
Using an inflatable life raft found at the plane the dwindling group rows out to the island and splits up. Emanuelle
and Lester creep up on the village and find a tribal festival in progress, centered around Maggie who is now being held captive
in a tiny bamboo cage. McKenzie, Salvadore and Isabelle however are set upon by the natives as they hike through the jungle:
Salvadore is speared to death right away, while Isabelle and Donald are taken prisoner. Emanuelle and the Professor watch
helplessly as the new captives are brought into the village, with Emanuelle dispassionately taking photographs of the atrocities
As Isabelle is made to drink some potent jungle concoction, Maggie is pulled from her cage and strung up between two
wooden posts. Donald is forced to watch, impotently, as the cannibal chief approaches his wife and unhesitatingly stabs her
right in the snatch. Literally carving out the shrieking woman’s vagina the chief reaches in and pulls her guts out
from between her legs, handing out choice bits to the rest of the tribe. The now-dead woman is taken down and Donald strung
up in her place: a tightly wound cord is wrapped around his waist, and on either side of him the natives play tug of war until
the man is cut completely in half.
Isabelle, now heavily drugged, is stripped naked and laid down in the center of the clearing. It’s time for the
fertility ritual, which means, you guessed it, a dirty jungle train. The cannibals form a circle around the girl, and one
by one they line up to stick it into the blond sacrifice.
“Let’s get away from here,” says Lester as the orgy progresses. “Let’s try to do something.”
The Professor explains that Isabelle, now something of a sacred fertility vessel as she’s surely pregnant after the
ceremonial gang bang, will be sacrificed to the Goddess of the Waters in short order. Thinking fast, Emanuelle gets naked
and paints the same Tupinamba symbol worn by the asylum inmate above her own pubic region. As Isabelle is carried down to
the riverbank and laid before the sacred stone, Emanuelle pops out of the water and surprises the shit out of the cannibals.
At the same time Lester starts launching flares into the air, and as the natives stand spellbound Emanuelle takes Isabelle’s
hand and leads her into the river. A little way out and, “Run as fast as you can!”
Lester pulls up in the stolen boat recovered from the village, and as the women climb in he desperately tries to restart
the outboard motor. As the cannibals give chase in their fishing boats Emanuelle picks them off one by one with a shotgun,
and soon the survivors are free and clear.
“I didn’t think I was capable of shooting at a man,” Emanuelle says as they speed downriver. “Then
they say that a journalist will do almost anything for an article. I should be satisfied to have collected enough material
for a really sensational scoop.” What about all the people who died, bitch? Oh yeah, she briefly mentions them as well.
After all, they helped. A little. Even Maggie and Donald, “with their shabbiness.” Cue disco music, roll credits,
and we’re out of here.
Emanuelle is the very definition of the modern woman: hero, whore, and all around bitch. But is it the…bad dubbing…that…makes
her talk…like…she has a brain…injury? Little touches like that make the film pretty amusing, and along with
all of the sex and violence being served up you have a pretty wild piece of exploitation here.
Zanchi is a particularly enticing dish, looking something like a cross between Liv Ullman and Jacqueline McKenzie.
She’s often naked throughout the film, boasting some delicate golden hairs peeking out from her underarms, and the scene
where she watches Emanuelle and Mark going at it is pretty highly charged for a softcore sequence. Speaking of which, some
of the other sex scenes are also rather arousing for soft-serve fare, which only makes them that much more disturbing in the
context of all the penis and breast eating going on. The gore effects may be cheap and dirty, but they’re still nasty
enough to be effective.
And of course no jungle drama would be complete without stock wildlife footage, although here we’re spared such
scenes as those found in Mountain of the Cannibal God in which monkeys are killed
by boa constrictors and the ‘natives’ vivisect and eat living reptiles.
So if you’re in the mood for a little sex, sickness and savagery, this might be just the flick for you.
Bonus features consist of trailers and a stills gallery.
* * *
Media Blasters / Shriek Show / Rare Flix
EROTIC NIGHTS OF THE LIVING DEAD
Directed by Joe D'Amato (Aristide Massaccesi)
Like any red-blooded film fan I prefer my movies full of sex, violence, and zombies. And
if you put them all together, hell you just can’t lose! This rare DVD does just that, presenting Joe D’Amato’s
hardcore porno zombie film Erotic Nights Of the Living Dead (AKA Sexy Nights Of the Living Dead) in all of its uncut unrated glory. Yeah, baby!
It all begins at the island Hospital Psiquiatrico Provincial. The camera pans around as
the credits play, looking at the variety of inmates kept therein but coming back time and again to a tall bearded fellow at
the edge of the fence. In short order he’s met down in the hospital basement by a nubile young nurse, and without any
preliminaries he picks her up and they start banging away.
Cut to a sailboat out on a deep sea fishing jaunt. Larry O’Hara (George Eastman)
is the skipper, taking a fatcat tourist and his lovely young island wife out for a sunny afternoon cruise. Larry and the girl
have been trading small intimacies all day, and that night she leaves her husband at the gambling tables to join Larry for
a little midnight delight. As they say their goodbyes in the morning they see a disfigured man-like creature in the water
by the dock, and when the startled Larry hits the thing in the head with a large gaff the body is soon on its way to the coroner’s
office. There an MD, ignoring the advice of his assistants to be careful around the body, peels back the shroud to expose
a gruesome close-up of the thing’s decayed maggot-riddled face. From there it takes the creature only seconds to revive
and tear out the doctor’s throat. Rising from the autopsy table, the thing gets to its feet and slowly shambles away.
In one of the island’s hotels, architect John Wilson (Mark Shannon), having just
made an arrangement to lease all of Cat Island with the aim of developing the deserted isle into a luxury resort, is cavorting
with a pair of prostitutes. The camera watches closely as the ladies undress, then follows them into the shower for some lathering
up. Soon the three of them are in bed together, and after Wilson goes down on them they return the favor with a slow and steamy
double blowjob (not at all seeming to mind the warts on Wilson’s marble bag). It’s a good one, so good in fact
that when one of the girls finally mounts him Wilson blows his wad in less than twenty seconds. (Which the second girl is
right on hand to catch.)
Elsewhere a local fisherman, warned by an assistant that “it” has been seen
down around the docks again, prepares a magic circle of candles and places a small idol at its center. This does him no good
however, as a ragged figure stalks up behind him and rips blood-gushing bites out of either side of his neck.
Back in Wilson’s hotel room everything’s rosy, but when he invites the ladies
along on a trip to Cat Island they beat it out the door so fast they don’t even stop for their pay. Upon hearing Wilson
out in the hallway shouting, “Wait a minute you dumb whores, you forgot your money!” another dumb whore, I mean
sexy young lady, comes out of her room and makes a play for him. In no time at all they’re the best of friends, naked
friends, and in the morning she (Dirce Funari) accompanies Wilson as he approaches Larry about taking them to Cat Island.
Despite “a legend about zombies led by a cat” the price is right and Larry is willing, and arrangements are made
to set sail the next day. But first a little preparation, which in Larry’s case involves taking in a private nightclub
show by another island beauty. After a little dance and striptease the lady produces a champagne bottle, which she gradually
squats over and gyrates upon until the cork pops right off inside her. After which the champagne is served with a smile. (“I
really go for your number,” Larry says.)
Next morning the group heads out to sea. After a leisurely cruise accompanied by a little
beer, dope, and sex, they reach the island and begin surveying the site of the future hotel. It’s not too far from the
island’s cemetary, which is perpetually haunted by the black cat that gives the place its name. As Wilson expounds upon
his plan to turn the graveyard into a heliport the landing party is met by a striking young beauty (Laura Gemser) and her
grandfather, who warn the brash businessman against any development or habitation of the island. Not long after this meeting
a mysterious wind blows up, driving the crew back to the boat. Which is where Wilson discovers that the native girl doesn’t
appear in any of the photographs he took earlier . . .
The next day when they return to the island the natives aren’t so restless. As Wilson’s
girlfriend sunbathes naked, as she frequently does, she’s approached by the island girl and soon the two of them are
involved in some heated frottage. On the other side of the island Larry seeks out the old man and asks him a few earnest questions
about the island. Grandfather is short on answers, but he does give Larry a protective fetish, telling him, “It may
save you.” When Larry comes across the granddaughter swimming naked by the beach she expresses the same sentiments.
A little spooked now, Larry takes his passengers back to the boat. But that night as Wilson and his girlfriend are occupied
with a little anal sex, Larry returns to the island and the mysterious girl. As they make love in the waters just offshore,
a crowd of zombies slowly gathers on the beach. Suddenly the girl disappears, leaving Larry alone with the creatures, but
the moment he brandishes the charm they turn and begin to walk away.
In the morning Larry is found passed out on the beach by Wilson and the girl, and as he
takes her back to the ship Wilson goes inland and attempts to bribe the old man. The rudeness he displayed before seems to
get him no further this time, until he makes a pass at the man’s granddaughter and she agrees to meet him later: “Not
during the day . . . I like it by moonlight.”
In the meantime the engine trouble Larry’s boat has been experiencing has forced
him to place a call for assistance to the Coast Guard. As the group waits in frustration tempers begin to rise, and after
a near fistfight Wilson takes the dinghy to shore for his moonlight encounter, leaving his girlfriend on board to seduce Larry.
Searching for the girl Wilson comes across an old fishermen’s shack, and within it a circle of candles surrounding another
amulet. When he throws this to the ground in disdain it immediately turns into the black cat, which leaps screaming at his
face before running away. Immediately zombies begin to appear, and Wilson is forced to destroy several of them in order to
escape the shack. Finding the girl alone on the beach he approaches her and is told that she has something for him; unzipping
his pants the beautiful woman leans in and . . . bites his cock right off! Within moments the zombies have him, and Wilson
is nothing more than a grisly buffet.
More and more of the creatures are rising from the ground as Larry and the girl go looking
for Wilson, and by the time they find him he has become a zombie as well. Larry puts him down with a shot to the head, but
as they run back to the dinghy to leave the island for good several of the creatures rise up out of the waves and force them
back inland. Blowing the heads off zombies as they go (until one lays ahold of the rifle) Larry and the girl run for the shelter
of the fishermen’s shack. The creatures follow, and a climactic head-chopping ghoul-burning showdown commences. Will
the pair escape a horrible cannibalistic fate? Will they ever make it off the island? And if they do, what then . . .?
Now there’s an epic picture! Sex, gore, black magic, gorgeous naked women, zombies,
and the champagne trick, all taking place in beautiful seaside settings. Sure the “legend of zombies led by a cat”
is a little off, and the picture could have used more guts (being spilled, that is) and a little less back-and-forth with
the running around between the boat and the island, but all in all Erotic Nights .
. . is a very good-looking zombie picture that goes the extra mile-and-a-half with its inclusion of graphic sex. While
the film does contain more sex than violence, in fact including more sex scenes than scenes of zombie killings and zombies
being killed combined, the only real XXX scene is the one in which Wilson parties with the two hookers. Most of the rest of
the action is somewhat less than hardcore, but the perpetual nudity, especially from the petite and nearly always naked Funari,
goes a long way toward making up for this.
And it’s given the perfect format in which to do so - the picture, in glowing widescreen,
is crisp and beautiful, coming off as brilliantly big-screen as possible on a television set. The Dolby Digital sound is mastered
at a rather low level, but this is nothing that a little volume control can’t fix. As an NTSC Region 1 English language
release, the whole package is just tailor-made for red-blooded movie fans on this continent.
The DVD comes complete with a handsomely formatted chapter selection menu, as well as extras
such as a collection of alternative footage entitled “Erotic Sunny Afternoons of the Living Dead.” Although these
segments look very similar to the scenes used in the film, they do include the cock-chomping “Love At First Bite”
scene as well as a choice shot of a zombie getting his face blown off. There’s also a great collection of production
stills, as well as a healthy and arousing gallery for featured actress Laura Gemser, the dusky beauty from Black Emmanuelle, Emmanuelle and the Cannibals, Violence In a Women’s Prison, Die Nonne und das Biest, the Italian
Playboy, and more. (Is that a shot of her with Orson Welles?) Also included is
a very explicit trailer for the film, along with fascinating trailers for Fulci’s Zombi
2 (special 25th anniversary edition), D’Amato’s Emmanuelle
and the Last Cannibals, Nightmares Come at Night, and Slaughter Hotel (La Bestia Uccide a Sangue Freddo, starring Klaus Kinski).
FEAST II: SLOPPY SECONDS
Directed by John Gulager
One of the most
amazing and disgusting films in years. That said, SPOILER WARNING! If you don’t want too much information about the
plot detail but are a big fan of guns, titties, monsters and Mexican midget wrestling, check it out on your own. But if, like
The Pest, you “love to read,” by all means carry on. I think I set a personal record for long-windedness here,
but I was stuck home with a cold so here you have it. Also some of the movie is really fucking disgusting, albeit in a great
way, so if you’ve got a weak stomach you might want to think about it before you see it. Monster jizz, that’s
all I’ve got to say.
Picking up the leftovers of Feast, Sloppy
Seconds watches the first film’s surviving Trans Am burn rubber off into the sunrise. Staggering down the desert
highway after it comes bloodstained Honey Pie (Jenny Wade), still clutching Harley Mom’s .45 pistol.
Just riding into Canyon Country, the region whose denizens and visitors were recently decimated by a horde of savage
monsters, is a member of the Bleeders Motorcycle Club. Biker Queen (Diane Ayala Goldner – “I’m built to
last. I’ll die when I damn well please.”) dismounts with her 12-gauge and promptly fires four shells’ worth
into a German shepherd she catches running off with a human hand. Pulling the hand from the dog’s dead jaws she grips
it handshake-style and we can see that the tattoos on Queen’s hand and the severed appendage line up perfectly to spell
out “SISTER.” The Acherontia styx tattoo on Queen’s throat quivers with rage as she flashes on a memory
of her sister, Harley Mom, then turns toward the wreckage of the tavern looking for answers.
The closest thing she finds is another hand, reaching out to her from beneath an empty trailer rig. Grabbing the hand
Queen hauls out Bartender (Clu Gulager – “Little son-of-a-bitches, they left me. They left me for dead.”),
and when he doesn’t cough up an explanation for the “crispy stump” quickly enough she drags the injured
old man over to her bike and sears his hand on the exhaust pipe. With his face lined up to fry next, Bartender provides an
explanation that we see in a flashback from the first film when a critically injured Harley Mom was used as explosive body
bait by “That goddamned bastard Bozo! BOZO!”
Biker Queen wants to know where that son-of-a-whore is right now, and Bartender points her toward the little city of
(Plain Dealing) right across the bridge. By way of thanks Queen mercilessly clocks him with her own .45 and trusses him up
on the back of her bike.
“16 Hours Earlier” we see blond Maria moaning away as she takes a boning. In the other room sits the diminutive
Thunder (Martin Klebba), drinking a beer and watching TV as he listens to the springs bounce. “Hurry the fuck up in
there!” he shouts toward the bedroom. “We gotta pick up Grandma before the match.” Suddenly Maria’s
screams take on a different pitch, and a rumbling noise outside makes Thunder get up and look out the front door of the trailer.
Upon seeing giant pink and red shapes running back and forth, growling, he immediately slams the door and runs to the bedroom.
Where he finds his equally tall brother Lighting (Juan Longoria Garcia), naked except for his Mexican wrestling mask, playing
tug-of-war with Maria’s body as something big and hungry tries to tear the bleeding girl head-first out of the window.
The monster wins, running off with the head as Maria’s decapitated corpse drops to the trailer floor.
Midget (“That’s little people, motherfucker!”) wrestling brothers Thunder & Lighting (“I’m
Thunder. This is Lightning. I bring the rumble, he brings the pain. Not politically correct to kill a little person. Let alone
two.” “Chingamos,” adds Lighting with a sigh.) beat it out the door and amscray out of the trailer park,
Lightning’s brown tube sock of a penis flapping back and forth along the way as bodies of other park residents pile
up behind them.
In the Smalltown Police station jail cell a filthy Hobo (William Prael – “I’m dyin’ soon, and
I’m dyin’ horribly. Who wants to get fingered?”) paces back and forth. The Sheriff promises him no food
or water until Hobo coughs up the location of his hidden school bus meth lab, but even a wad of spit in the eye can’t
get Hobo to do anything more than act like a brain-addled vagabond. Hobo’s position doesn’t seem so bad however
when chaos erupts inside the station as some vicious beast tears into the building and brutally dispatches the Sheriff. Narrowly
avoiding a mauling himself, Hobo thinks quickly enough to grab his jailor’s key ring before the body is towed away and
Meanwhile, at Slasher Auto Barn, a distraught gin-swilling Slasher (Carl Anthony Payne – “I’m so
bad, you know it’s good. Suck a dick everyone! I slash prices.”) is on the phone with Dale, insisting that his
wife Secrets is cheating on him and equally insistent that Dale bring him some ‘hard evidence’ of said indiscretion.
“Some soiled panties or somethin’, some errant pubes. Fuckin’ used condom, I don’t care, gimme some
hard evidence.” Here Slasher pauses to hand the keys to a second-hand station wagon to a couple waiting with their baby.
“I fuckin’ slash prices! Remember that!” he yells out the door after them as they leave in visible distaste.
Slasher stands in the doorway, still talking to Dale on the phone while he watches in disbelief as people run amok in terror
and an ugly Teen Wolf-style car surfing incident plays out. Hearing a noise at
the rear of the office Slasher goes to take a look, only to tear ass screaming out the front as one of the growling beasts
comes charging through the building after him.
Leaping into his Cadillac Slasher guns it, reversing directly into the panicked mob. (“Shit, there goes a lawsuit!”
he says as bodies bounce off of his rear fender.) Rolling over one of the creatures causes the car to jounce wildly, eliciting
new noises from the backseat. Where Secrets (Hanna Putnam – “I wish for good things to happen. To me. Thought
becomes thing.”) and Slasher’s number one salesman Greg Swank (Tom Gulager – “I’m a ne-er-do-well.
And, I have a moustache. This doesn’t happen overnight.”) were makin’ bacon. So disturbed by this development
is he, and so busy making promises of death, that Slasher runs the car up onto a fire hydrant, disabling the vehicle.
“The Next Morning” Biker Queen, with Bartender still hitched to her saddle, and her gang of Bleeders surveys
the wreckage of Smalltown. Vehicles are still burning, and bodies and body parts litter the streets. As the gang looks around,
the used car crew hides out in a barricaded office building watching the bikers and thinking that the jail may be the only
really safe place in town. Secrets and Swank want to call out to the bikers, but Slasher sees that as a bad idea. The ensuing
struggle between Slasher and Swank draws Queen’s attention and she bursts into their hiding place, shotgun first, demanding
to know whether either of these two bozos is the Bozo she’s looking for. Bartender assures her that they are not, at
the same time trying to cool her down on all of the “fucking vendetta bullshit.”
Most of the Bleeders are still out on the street, with one blond standing in the crossroads amidst the assembled motorcycles.
Hearing a noise like a jet engine she looks up, to see a sky-blue Pontiac come
spiraling down almost on top of her. As the smoking vehicle crashes and burns the monsters come out running, and most of the
gang piles into the office with the other survivors. Blondie doesn’t make it however, and those inside are forced to
watch as she’s ripped apart right in front of them. “That wall’s comin’ down,” Slasher warns
as the blonde’s carcass batters the building’s façade, right before the rear wall detaches itself from the structure
and falls flatly to the ground.
Everybody runs away through the alleys and back lots of the town, the used car crew going one way and the bikers &
Bartender another. Still under pressure Bartender leads the Bleeders to Bozo’s apartment, where Queen kicks in the door
without hesitation. As the group moves through the empty apartment the door across the hall behind them silently swings open,
and a voice tells them to hold up and turn it around. Two men with shotguns and a young lady with an oversize revolver are
covering the biker clan, and one of the fellows tells the group that this is their hiding place and the newcomers should head
on down to the jail if they’re looking for a safe house.
Guns are cocked on all sides, but the showdown ends almost before it begins as the Bleeders mercilessly cut down the
hideaways. For emphasis, red-headed biker Tat Girl (Chelsea Richards) steps up to one of the wounded, lifts a pair of ball-peen
hammers over her head, and brings them together inside his skull. Just then, creeping out of the back bedroom and begging
the bikers not to shoot, comes Honey Pie. “Oh crap,” she says upon seeing Bartender. Who promptly slugs her, knocking
her into the bathroom and bashing her head against the toilet bowl over a dozen times (with brogan in situ). “You left
us for dead, you fraulein twat!” Bartender says as he continues to kick her ass all over the apartment. “Forgive
and forget, huh, old man?” Queen says as she and the Bleeders watch impassively.
For the finale Bartender bites off Honey Pie’s ear, at which point the girl pulls Harley Mom’s engraved
.45 out of the back of her pants. Biker Queen, recognizing the pistol, takes it easily out of Honey’s hands. “Where’d
you get that?” she asks coldly. “Oh, fuck me!” is about all Honey Pie can manage. “And fuck you too!
She deserved it!” Honey shouts, snatching the piece back just before Bartender knocks her right out of the second story
window. Having survived this long however Honey is nothing if not resilient, and she picks herself up off of the pavement
and quickly disappears.
Slasher, Secrets and Swank are still running around when Slash gets a call on his cell phone from Thunder. The brothers
and their grandmother, Abuela, are ensconced in the local metal shop, and Thunder guides the wandering trio around a huge
pile of monster shit marking the entrance. “Look out!” Thunder says, as Slasher turns around and gets a rifle
butt in the face from Queen. Together the survivors head into the shop, where Thunder locks up and leads them into their “Fort,”
a tented soundproof enclosure on the shop floor. “I can’t believe it!” Lightning shouts in Spanish, catching
sight of the tattooed and leather-clad biker chicks. “You saved the pussy!”
Thunder’s plan is to lay low until they’re rescued by the army convoy that’s supposedly been moving
from town to town picking up survivors. Another 15 hours or so ought to do it. The shop isn’t as secure as the jail,
now the territory of the increasingly amped-out Hobo, and the power supply has been cutting in and out, but they’ve
got drinks and they’ve got cards so things could be worse.
From her hiding place in one of the local residences Honey Pie hears a woman screaming and begging in the street. Peeking
out Honey sees a lady crawling along the pavement, covered in blood. Right behind her is one of the rapacious beasts, who
picks her up and hauls her away, her screams becoming increasingly more desperate. Night falls, and the creatures run rampant
throughout the streets.
Under cover at The Fort Thunder advises the group to keep quiet, telling them the monsters don’t eat where they
shit – and with the ginormous mound outside they ought to be all right for some time. Bartender thinks differently,
and advises Biker Queen that the meth fiend holding down the jail, the most desirable room in town at the moment, is Bozo’s
uncle. Queen places a cell phone call to Hobo, telling him to unlock the door because they’re coming in. “Uh…nope.”
“For the last time, I’m gonna ask you nicely,” offers Queen. “Lady, tell me if this sounds like I’m
hanging up.” And what do you know, it does.
Ideas for getting into the safety of the jail are tossed around, until the concept of just making a key to the front
door comes up. Thunder and Lightning just happen to own the only key-making shop in town, Tiny Keys, and with Queen’s
spyglass they just might be able to see across the street well enough to identify the make and model of the front door lock.
Outside Honey Pie is also looking to upgrade her hideout. The general store would be ideal, but it of course is locked
up tight. Acting under the influence of the ECW, Honey Pie pulls a ladder out of nowhere and climbs up to the roof, shimmying
through an air duct and falling through a ceiling tile to land flat on her back. Aside from a half-eaten corpse the store
appears to be all hers.
Back at The Fort Los Hermanos have identified the jailhouse lock, and with Slasher watching their back the brothers
book across the alley to their key shop. As they grind away at a key every time the generator kicks in, Swank is thinking
that this effort might not be sufficient. Inside The Fort is the body of one of the monsters that the wrestlers killed (by
stabbing it through the ass deeply enough to penetrate its heart); and Swank is one of ‘those guys’ who firmly
believes that, “We need to know the enemy from the inside out.” Which essentially means cutting the fucker open
from face to crotch with an acetylene torch and digging around in its guts. “How does dissecting it make any sense?”
Secrets asks. “Don’t worry about it babe,” Swank tells her, “I’m pretty sure it does.”
The creature’s wormy innards are exposed and pulled away until Professor Swank thinks the time is right to delve
a little deeper. Picking up a tire iron he gives the thing a solid poke in the gizzard and…a loud fart expels a visible
cloud of noxious gas. The Bleeders cough, gag and back away, while Secrets vomits. Abuelita (Linda MacKinnon) wants no part
of that nasty action, and she picks up her drink and hightails it to the other side of the shop.
As the beast’s guts continue to bubble and squirt, Swank reaches in with his hand and starts jabbing away blindly.
Suddenly green bile erupts from the remains of the thing’s face, spattering everyone in proximity. The bulk of the vomit
finds its way unerringly across the room, drenching Abuelita in monster puke. Swank’s answer to this is to start pounding
away wildly at the exposed organs: “Bear with me people. We’re on the verge of a discovery.” This time when
the creature farts it unleashes a load of wet shit, catching Secrets right in the face (“Shit! Shit! Shit!”).
Now the biker chicks and Bartender are vomiting right along with her.
Why nobody has stabbed Swank in the neck by now is a mystery, but Biker Queen gives him a stern warning: “Quit
touching the motherfucking organs, asshole!” “This is science,” Swank snaps back. “Shut up!”
And then he goes in for another dig. Now he’s done it: the beast’s yam-like penis rears its pointy head and begins
to shower the gals with great gray gobs of greasy grimy gargoyle gunk. Fueled by the thing’s cantaloupe-sized scrotum
the jism sprays out as if from a firehose, somehow managing to aim itself right into each girl’s screaming mouth. Much
more vomiting ensues, and even Biker Queen hurls this time. “All right, all right. I’m done, I’m done,”
Swank tells her as she cocks her shotgun in his face.
In the grocery store Honey Pie now decides that she wants to get back out. Seeing a sign by the door reading “Warning!
Silent Alarm Systems – All Doors Lock Down – Unbreakable Glass” Honey sets about trying to break the glass.
She eventually finds a set of keys on the half-corpse, but as she attempts to negotiate the lock one of the beasts suddenly
appears right outside the window and she tumbles back in fright, cracking her head and passing out.
As the lights come back on the group can’t help but look inside the monster again. And this time, right in the
center of the beast’s belly, they see a giant lidded eyeball rolling around above a toothy vaginal maw. Slowly a tongue-like
appendage extends from the opening, quickly accompanied by a piercing shriek that deafens even the brothers in the key shop.
Queen puts a quick end to this with a close-range blast of the shotgun, but the “monster alarm” has been set off.
Thunder and Lightning come running back into the shop, and upon seeing Abuelita covered in monster barf they start
to get a little pissed. When Bartender unhesitatingly points out Swank as the culprit, the violent insults begin to fly. (“I
shit on the mother who gave you birth!”) Payback will have to wait however, as the other beasts are drawn to the shop
and begin to assault it so violently that the walls begin to shake. Thinking of heading up to the roof to make their standoff
the brothers go to help their grandmother, but as they do the skin peels off of her gams like a set of leg-warmers. Loading
her into a burlap sack the wrestlers lead the way upstairs, followed by the others. Swank is at the tail end of this parade,
and as he climbs the stairs Slasher spins around on the landing and puts his foot squarely in Swank’s face. “Got
you, motherfucker!” he says triumphantly as Swank tumbles backwards down stairs.
Reaching the top floor the group climbs a ladder to the roof, the sounds of the beasts below them growing ever louder.
Abuelita is dumped out of the sack, and we can see that the creature’s bile has taken an even greater toll: she’s
little more than a moaning, pus-dripping mummy at this point. Her grandsons do the best they can to comfort her, but it really
doesn’t look good. Secrets suddenly realizes that her lover isn’t with them, and when Slasher tells her that Swank
didn’t make it, she collapses into his arms. He’s making all the right moves to win her back, right up to the
point where Swank comes stumbling out of another access stairwell. In a second Secrets pushes her husband aside and runs to
her oily boyfriend. “It’s an honest mistake,” Slasher says, just before Lighting hurls himself at Swank.
“You are an anus!” he shouts in Spanish, tackling the guy. Thunder pulls him off, and Bartender asks the only
sensible question in some time, that being whether the brothers managed to get the precious key made. The good news is yes;
the bad news is, “Lot of fuckin’ good it does us up on the roof.”
The Bleeders gather at the edge of the roof, looking down across the street at the police station. Hobo stands behind
the shatterproof glass, giving them the finger while tugging at his crotch. On an equally unattractive note Honey Pie, still
out cold, seems to be dreaming of a really bad acid trip about making love with her tubby boyfriend Beer Guy (Judah Friedlander).
When it gets to the part where he starts eating his own wormy nipples against a flower child background, Honey is jolted awake.
Just in time to look out of the front window and watch as one of the beasts catches a stray cat and violently cornholes the
thing. When the beast lets it go the cat runs off, demonic life already squirming inside its belly. In moments something bursts
out of the animal, only to scamper back in the direction of the grocery store.
Inside of which Honey Pie locates another stepladder and drags it over to the hole made by her abrupt entrance. She
begins climbing, only to slip and fall to the floor once again as she misjudges a step on top of one of the shelves.
On the roof of the metal shop Slasher is telling the group that there’s an access door on the roof of the jail.
If they can just get over there, getting down into the jail should be no problem. This logistical discussion is interrupted
by the sound of a baby crying in the distance, a sound somehow more disturbing than the roaring of the beasts in the streets.
Dawn finally comes, and with it the rooftop survivors are able to pinpoint the location of the baby – the cries
are coming from the wrecked station wagon Slasher sold to the new family right before all hell broke loose. As everyone else
stares at the bloodied vehicle, the parents’ bodies still lying half-in, half-out, Swank gets up and tests a power line
lying across the roof. It’s not live, and as he pulls it loose the rest of the survivors look at him incredulously.
Brushing aside their questions and comments, Swank lines himself up. “This is how you save a life, people,” he
says, taking a running start and leaping off the edge of the roof. Cable clutched tightly in hand, Swank swings Tarzan-style
down to the street and makes his way cautiously to the station wagon. Everyone, even Honey Pie, watches in admiration and
amazement as Swank pulls the baby from the vehicle – just as the beasts close in. Tucking the baby underneath his arm
Swank makes a run for it; he hits the wire just right, and in complete defiance of gravity swings up to the rooftop one-handed.
And, not being able to get a firm grip on the edge of the roof, or a helping hand from any of his cohorts, he falls back to
the ground. “He’s fucked,” is a smiling Slasher’s best effort to help.
Babe still in arm, Swank gets up and runs back and forth across the street like a footballer, dodging the increasingly
angry beasts. But the monsters are gaining, despite the torrent of gunfire the Bleeders are pouring down upon them. Still
in mid-run, Swank holds the now-smiling baby up in front of his face (“Sorry, baby. I’m sorry”) and launches
it straight up into the air. Organ music swells as the child flies up into the sky, silhouetted against the clouds and their
bright blue background. In slow motion the baby, growing increasingly less happy as he watches Swank run away, soars higher
and higher. Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird…it’s a plane…no, it’s DEAD MEAT! The infant reaches
the apex of its unhappy trajectory and hovers there for a second before crashing back down to earth with a sticky splat. And
is promptly snatched up off the street by a mouthful of monster teeth as everyone, even Hobo, watches in horrified disbelief.
Biker Queen sums it up best: “You piece of shit!” “Wow, that’s bad,” says Bartender. “Even
for this group.”
As the rooftop clan looks down at the puddle of blood and guts, a tiny baby’s arm being the only identifiable
remains, one of the Bleeders screams in agony. The beasts are mounting the roof, and one of them has its jaws clamped around
the biker babe’s midsection. “Whack-a-mole! Whack-a-mole!” shouts Slasher, springing into action and beating
another creature in the head with a pipe. Bikers, wrestlers, everyone joins the fray, whacking hell out of the invading horde.
Even Secrets has a shovel raised as she sees Swank come scrambling up a ladder to regain his spot on the rooftop, but instead
of cracking his sleazy skull she clocks the creature climbing up right behind him.
With the first wave beaten off the group realizes yet again that they really have to get over to that fucking jail.
Slasher’s got an idea, but it’s one that will ‘require a sacrifice.’ At a nod from Queen the remaining
two uninjured Bleeders step away from the body of the injured biker girl and, ignoring her screams of protest, Slasher and
Bartender pick her up and heave the ho right off the rooftop. Spitting blood, guts falling out, the Bleeder pulls out her
pistol and takes a shot at her rooftop buddies before picking herself up and limping off into the distance, drawing the bloodthirsty
creatures after her.
Honey Pie, meanwhile, is still working away fruitlessly at the front door (hey, wait a minute, didn’t she have
a set of keys a little while ago?) when something falls to the floor behind her. As she creeps around backwards, looking for
trouble, a half-pint-sized beast comes lurching across a shelf and launches itself down upon her. Honey’s still got
Harley Mom’s big gun, but evidently still doesn’t know how to use it so instead she throws a box of tampons at
the thing. And with that a flailing, squealing, all-out fight to the death begins.
Outside the roof crew has taken advantage of their kamikaze comrade’s distraction to wheel Queen’s bike
all the way up to the rooftop. (Because simply running across the street and using the key in the lock of the police station
at this point would just be too easy.) There they work with parts from the machine shop, along with a few odds and ends, until
they’ve assembled something like a trebuchet, a catapult-like siege engine powered by the engine of Queen’s chopper.
And what do you know, the machine also utilizes the leather bras and short-shorts of the remaining Bleeders, who now stand
around the rooftop bare-breasted and bare-assed (hey now!). “Looks dangerous,” opines Secrets. “It’s
perfectly safe for midgets,” Slasher states. “Let’s go.” “That’s little people, motherfucker!”
says Thunder, stepping up. “What the fuck ever. Come on!”
The plan is to catapult one of the brothers onto the roof of the Smalltown Police station (because, again, going through
the front door instead of hauling a motorcycle upstairs would just be too easy). Then all he’ll have to do is deal with
another access door that, most likely, has a different lock than that of the front door, take care of a cranked-out Hobo who
now has access to police artillery, and still lead a half-dozen survivors safely across the street and into the granite bulletproof
Thunder begrudgingly accepts the role of space monkey, but he insists upon a safety test first. Bartender hasn’t
moved in a while, so the suggestion is made to use “the dead guy.” But the moment he’s touched Bartender
comes to life, vehemently protesting that he’s not dead yet (“Don’t grab the dick!”). “Fine,”
says Slasher, “Grab the old lady. She’s practically dead, anyway.” But Lightning isn’t having any
of that, not with his Abuelita, and Thunder’s on the same side.
This argument is put on hold by a new commotion down in the street. “I can do it! I will win this!” Looking
down the group sees a lone man stumbling around in the middle of the street, surrounded by growling monsters. It’s Puker,
from the first film, and having suffered the monsters’ vomit drop himself he now looks a lot like Grandma, just more
mobile and with a better sense of humor. But this intermission is short-lived as he collapses, returning focus to the testing
of the catapult.
Thunder finally accepts the notion that Grandma’s got to go into the bucket. Lighting however is still not having
it, and in short order the two brothers are engaged in a rooftop grudge match, knocking each other across the impromptu arena
until Lightning relents and agrees to let Abuelita go. “I sure as shit seen everything now,” Bartender says. Biker
Queen goes to help the old lady up, but in the process inadvertently tears off an arm. No, it just ain’t Grandma’s
Down in the grocery store Honey appears to have won her own midget wrestling match, as she pounded the little fucker’s
head into the shatterproof glass until its skull popped. Noticing afterward that the thing’s fearsome claws actually
managed to puncture the shatterproof glass, picking up the creature’s limp paw Honey chips away at the small hole and
gradually enlarges it bit by bit.
Atop the roof Grandma’s carcass is loaded into the catapult. After carefully balancing the weight to match Thunder’s
(meaning removing parts of the old lady until the operators guestimate that she’s just right) goodbyes are said and
Abuelita is ready for lift-off. Queen kick-starts her bike and guns it, and somehow this acts as a ripcord that winds up the
counter-weights and sends the sack of Grandma sailing across the street. Where it lands perfectly atop the jailhouse with
a wet green splat. “Whoo-hoo!” cries Slasher as the audience gets a final shot of Abuelita’s wormy, dripping,
misshapen and still-moaning head. “That is fuckin’ American ingenuity right there!” Now for the real test:
“All right, which one of you fuckin’ pygmies wanna be rocket man?”
Honey has made progress as well, having chipped away the entire upper half of the grocery store door. Stepping out
of her jeans Honey lays them over the jagged edge of the glass and begins to squirm over, just as more of the beasts come
smashing through the ceiling behind her.
Thunder positions himself reluctantly upon the catapult. “Hey,” Swank says to him. “A coward dies
a thousand deaths, but a hero dies just one.” “Yeah,” Thunder says back to him, “That doesn’t
help, baby-killer.” The plan is that Thunder will land on the roof, bolt through the door, “Lay that motherfucker
(Hobo) out,” and unlock the front door where the rest of the gang will be within seconds. Queen guns it, Thunder is
up, he’s airborne…and he comes crashing down in a belly flop in the middle of the street. “You fuckin’
assholes!” he yells, just before a group of the beasts disembowels him.
“Hey,” says Swank, taking a look at the still-running motorcycle. “Should we turn this off?”
Too late, as a piece of piping from the assembly breaks apart and flies off, driving itself through Swank’s lower jaw
and partially emerging from the top of his skull. Swank staggers around the roof, looking like something from The Weekly World News, as down below Thunder’s lower body is completely torn away.
Hustling to the rescue, Lightning heads downstairs and ventures out into the street under the protection of an upended
garbage can. He sneaks over, cartoon-style, and picks up the key that Thunder dropped on impact. Thunder meanwhile is crawling
away backward on his hands, a trail of his intestines stretching out before him. (“Fuck! Where’s my fucking dick!”)
Honey Pie takes full advantage of these distractions to stumble unnoticed toward the railroad, aiming for the edge of town
Having retrieved the key Lightning, still under the protection of the garbage can, inches toward the police station.
“Fuck you, you fuckin’ little goddamn slippery midget!” Hobo curses, watching Lightning’s approach
as closely as the hopeful survivors on the rooftop. As Lightning reaches the door Hobo runs to the police locker and comes
back with a stick of dynamite. “Special delivery, Tattoo!” Hobo shouts, slipping the lighted dynamite through
the mail slot. “Abuelita!” is all Lightning has time to cry, just before the explosion sends his can sailing across
Honey Pie is just crossing the train tracks, crying with relief and exhaustion, when one of the jailhouse door hinges
comes whipping through the air and slicing through her throat. She goes down with a wet gurgle as the beasts overwhelm the
rooftop, and the only other thing we see before the screen goes black is the looming, toothy face of a snarling monster.
Fading back in we look up from beneath Honey’s face, watching as her blood fills the sky and drowns the ants
crawling around her head. As the credits play out the camera moves in to focus on one ant, trapped in the blood like an insect
in amber. But don’t stop watching just yet…
And there you have it, monster jizz and all. Far superior to the original Feast,
in fact I couldn’t even tell you much about the first film except that it was about monsters attacking a bar, people
getting torn to pieces, and it had one of those punk rockers-turned-weightlifters in it.
The film does suffer from a touch of influence syndrome however, despite its attempts at uniqueness. Taking absurdly
durable shit-talking characters with absurd names and putting them into absurd situations, it’s almost as if Barry Gifford
had written a sequel to From Dusk Till Dawn. But that’s not entirely a bad
thing, not at all. Even if some of it is downright ridiculous I’m more than happy to engage in the willing suspension
of disbelief in this case.
There are some other flaws, one being that the viewer is deprived of an actual showdown (you have to watch Feast III for that). Secondly, although it looked like the filmmakers were setting up for a midget monster vs.
midget wrestler event, this never happened. Bummer. And you know, Swank really deserved some sort of midget monster rodeo
gangbang for being the biggest piece of shit in recent film history.
Fortunately absent here are the character summaries found in the first and third outings. We really don’t need
baseball card stats for a group of doomed meals on wheels.
The creatures are still pretty fierce, something akin to well-hung anthropomorphic versions of the Deadly Spawn with
heads that are little more than bony lumps from which oversized teeth protrude in every direction. The body suits however
aren’t so detailed, resembling foam rubber airbrushed the color of raw meat. The overall effect is like watching GWAR
or The Berzerker overrun a Midwestern pimple town; fun and scary.
Special features include a seven-person commentary track (yow!) as well as behind-the-scenes featurette, “Scared
Half to Death Twice: The Making of Feast II.” In this mini-documentary various
cast and crew members discuss aspects of the film; says production designer Ermanno DiFebo-Orsini, “The whole vibe was
Kill Bill meets Gilligan (sic) Island.” Tom Gulager explains his method of preparation: “I
did a lot of research for this role by subscribing to Swank magazine.” An
incredibly old (hell, he was old in 1985 during Return of the Living Dead) and
slightly pompous Clu Gulager talks about how difficult it will be to duplicate these films, seeing as how they’re both
incredibly cruel and incredibly humorous at the same time (“And this is of course in the nature of the man/animal…”).
They and other personnel agree that the film’s edge is at once sarcastic and outlandish, a reaction against the pile
of recent ‘serious’ cookie cutter horror movies.
The origin of the monsters is also addressed: per Diane Goldner, “Where do the monsters come from…Well
it’s just so obvious, the monsters come from up Marcus and Patrick’s (writers Dunstan and Melton) ass.”
And then of course there’s “the monster junk…” Rather disappointing however is that the short does
jump in and spoil the illusion by showing you just how many scenes were shot in front of a green screen. Granted, you can’t
have a bevy of topless biker chicks just wandering around a downtown rooftop in broad daylight, but still…
Another bonus is “Meet the Gulagers,” a short which looks at the three generations of the family appearing
in the film: 1) veteran actor Clu, 2) director John and wife (?) Diane Goldner, as well as brother Tom, and 3) Tom’s
son Clu Mosha Gulager (the unfortunate Baby, as himself). And now you’ve just
got to see it for yourself, don’t you?
* * * *
Dimension Extreme Pictures
FEMALE TEACHER: DIRTY AFTERNOON
(Onna kyoshi: Kegareta hokago)
Directed by Kichitaro Negishi
Sakiko Kurata (Yuki Kazamatsuri), a teacher at Municipal
High School #1, is interrupted during sex by a phone call from the Youth Officer at City Hall; he has some questions about
a student of hers, Sueko Nomuto. It seems young Sueko was caught with a group of students “smoking marijuana and huffing
paint thinner.” So, Sakiko puts down the phone and finishes taking it from behind. Say, this might get pretty good…
goes down to the police station to pick up Sueko (Ayako Ota), who she really doesn’t know very well, she finds out in
the process that the girl has also been charged with prostitution. “It wasn’t prostitution,” Sueko explains,
“I didn’t take any money.” Casual sex is just kind of her thing. ‘Man-aholism,’ she calls it.
And she will demonstrate this affliction more than once.
It turns out
that Sueko is from the same mountain mining prefecture that Sakiko is from. Sakiko fled to the city after a violent sexual
assault; oddly enough, Sueko’s father Suekichi had lost his job at the mines after an “incident” involving
sexual assault. It develops that Sakiko had at the time accused Sueko’s father of assaulting her, as despite the assailant
wearing a nylon stocking mask at the time she identified him by the smell of paint thinner on his body. Sueko informs Sakiko
that her father was not her attacker, he simply worked in a paint shop when not at the mines; a call to the police station
confirms that a vagrant, a “thinner addict,” was caught and arrested during another assault shortly after Sakiko’s
ordeal. As a result Suekichi has become a borderline vagrant himself, now a thinner-huffing janitor barely making it in the
relates this series of unfortunate events to her lover, instead of being supportive he instead becomes resentful of the fact
that she is burdening him with her trauma and guilt. Even when they try and move forward to maintain the relationship on a
purely physical level, he asks her in the act, “Who was better? Him or me?”
In an attempt
to make amends, with Sueko’s help Sakiko tracks down Suekichi and insists that he accept some token cash. He is reluctant,
claiming that it is all in the past and he holds no grudge over the both of them becoming victims of misfortune. But eventually
he does accept the money, and even joins Sakiko for lunch. During the meal, which is accompanied by a fair amount of alcohol,
Suekichi postulates that Sueko’s problems stem from the time he fed her her pet rabbit in a pot of sukiyaki… (“Killed
by a weasel,” he tells her. “I couldn’t let it go to waste – we hardly ever got a chance to eat meat
back then.”) Somehow, Sakiko’s mind is not set at ease.
Sueko and Sakiko
begin to bond, and oddly begin to adopt each other’s roles: Sueko seems to mature, speaking frankly to Sakiko and even
returning the money given to her father, while Sakiko, disturbed and confused by recent events allows herself to be picked
up by a stranger for sex. After witnessing Suekichi, now unemployed after being caught huffing on the job, attack an apparently
random passer-by with a rock, Sakiko takes him to the train station and runs away with him. Only to watch as he convulses
and collapses on the train out of the city.
period of recovery in the odd setting of a traveling theatrical troupe, Suekichi becomes distraught at the prospect of the
company moving on and carrying Sueko with it. He attempts to hang himself, and upon seeing this Sakiko tries to join him.
But the suicides are thwarted by chance and Sakiko consoles the broken man, sexually, underneath the pier he tried to hang
himself from. Sueko, witnessing this, quickly goes to make herself available to one of the actors playing a role as a criminal
And then there’s
a somewhat unexpected plot detour – which, I suppose, makes for something of a happy ending. Except for those of us
who were looking forward to some sort of violently depraved sexual denouement…
Were I a more
cultured and academic self-styled critic, I might play up the wildly dysfunctional cast of the apparently damned seeming to
seek some sort of existential redemption through misplaced ideals of love and honor in a randomly French or even Flemish manner,
citing Bataille, Geeraerts, Dogme 95… But then again, I might not. There is definitely a more dark and murky cloud bubbling
beneath the surface of this DIRTY AFTERNOON, one considerably more substantial than the kinky schoolgirl genre implications
of the title and cover. Talk of dolls with cracked eyes, odd addictions and liaisons, random violence, the eating of pets;
there’s even a shade of faded BLUE VELVET to the scene in which Suekichi, huffing from his bag of thinner, fogs the
window through which he’s watching his wife being groped by her boss in the supermarket storeroom. Sure, you’ve
got the nekkidness, the simulated sex acts and aggression, the schoolgirl pissing, all of that, but there’s much more
at play here. I still wish the ending had been more in keeping with the course of the film, but FEMALE TEACHER is still a
much more intriguing watch than one might at first suppose.
(Thanks to Exploitation Retrospect – www.dantenet.com )
FILTH ON 42nd STREET
Grindhouse Triple Feature
resurgence continues to spurt sluggishly along with this limp collection of blue movies, The
Sex Deviates (2008), The Apartment (1971) and The Girl Next Door (1971).
We begin with The Sex Deviates. That is, after one of the Trash Brothers,
goofed out and going by the name Elliott Forbes, provides some awful narration to trailers for Sex Slaves of the S.S. (“Sleaze Heil!”) and Factory 2000’s Vampire
Strangler. By way of ‘scientific research’ Elliott continues to intervene by awkwardly setting the stage for
Mary Jo Brown (Biafra Bayne) and Tina (Tracie Hayes), who waste no time in undressing and kissing one another. After some
finger-fucking and oral sex Mary Jo, the thin dark-haired girl, proceeds to toy her fair-skinned friend’s chubby pussy
before they share a double-header. Afterward the leering perv who’s been spying on them the whole time comes in with
the threat to tell Mom and Dad, and after a spanking Mary Jo quickly agrees to do whatever he wants. This includes the double
blowjob with a happy ending. Oh, wait, it’s actually a fake release, followed by a phony cumswap.
In the next segment Tina takes a bubble bath, relaxing and enjoying her voluptuous self. She gets out of the tub to
answer and door and invites some sleazy bible salesman inside, and somehow they wind up playing carrots and cucumbers (not
sexy). He says something stupid, and she kicks him out.
The third and thankfully final chapter in this sadly sordid presentation takes place at a “swinger’s party”
where a bunch of kids sit around watching Seventies stag films and drinking light beer (woo-hoo!). Mary Jo and Tina dance
a little and take off some clothes before trotting off to the spare bedroom for a cuddle, and newcomer Penny Nichols strips
down in slow motion with a bewildered ‘What am I doing here?’ expression on her face. Penny takes the fat perv
from the first segment into the back room to join the other girls, and everybody fingers Mary Joe.
Mastered to show lines and scratches on the screen as if this were some kind of lost and restored loop of nasty lovin’,
The Sex Deviates is about as cheap as they come but nowhere near as sleazy. There’s
nothing wrong with a bunch of amateurs having a little fun, but lacking the hardcore element means that the discriminating
pervert will most likely pass this up in favor of something truly filthy.
Disc One includes the ‘DVD Extras,’ which aside from an interview with Biafra (who can’t even get
the title of the picture right, much less provide a coherent perspective on the film or sex in general) largely consists of
advertisements for After Hours Cinema.
Disc Two opens with The Apartment, which doesn’t waste any time getting
down to the skin; in an apartment building on Wacker Drive a slim young thing strips down and jumps into the bathtub to wash
some of her delicates. Wait, make that all of them; she soaps herself up good with a pair of black nylon hose, then sitting
on the edge of the tub she combs through her nether foliage with her fingers and the handle of a hairbrush.
She’s interrupted by her Wolverine-haired boyfriend, who coincidentally is passing himself off as her brother
(for some unexplained reason). After a very little bit of small talk they’re doing the nasty, masturbating each other
and moving into a heated sixty-nine before she climbs up and slides him inside of her. No condoms here ladies and gentlemen
– it’s 1971! A little moaning and groaning later, the couple remembers that they were gonna smoke some cigarettes,
so she rolls off and, seemingly right in the middle of everything, trots out to buy another pack.
The minute she’s out the door the horny, nosy, more mature lady next door invites herself into the apartment
for a cup of sugar, AKA a little hot caulking. Right away she’s stripping down and begging for a slice of some young
stuff, and our boy goes after her as hungrily as he did his pretty little girlfriend, with the matron keeping up a running
commentary the entire time. But before they can really begin bumping uglies the girlfriend comes back with the cigarettes
and is none too pleased to find some old bitch polishing her man’s knob.
Kicked out of the apartment, the frustrated older woman goes running to her young lesbian friend, a guitar-playing
cutie with short black hair. Soon they’re signing a duet, and Mama’s signing the ‘all men are the same’
blues into her girlfriend’s pussy. “Ah, Goodness!” She then produces a black vibrator and gets her lover
off. Some clumsy frottage and an ungainly sort of sixty-nine later and the two fall asleep in each others’ arms.
In yet another room, one that actually appears to be a hotel room in a completely different building, a Mary Ann type
gets a confidential surprise delivery – a black vibrator. Without hesitation the horny gal goes to town with the thing,
licking it and massaging her breasts. Soon she’s licking her own boobs and running her hands down her flat stomach and
into her corduroys, and she’s almost naked when her crass neighbor knocks on the door.
For some unknown reason Mary Ann invites the jowly dude inside, and he helps her use the “groovy” massager.
Used sex toys and middle-aged used car salesmen types really turn her on, because she gets up on him for a minute or two of
sloppy sex before faking an orgasm. He moves around behind her for some simulated rear-entry before stopping so she can answer
the phone, but upon hearing that the caller is her husband Mr. Carlot chickens and runs. And on that abrupt and unceremonious
note the film ends.
No money shots, two scenes featuring a doughy middle-aged broad, and repeated coitus interruptus? Gee, this one must
really have sent ‘em running for the glory holes during its ‘theatrical’ release.
In Girl Next Door we’re treated to a brief pan of the San Francisco
cityscape before being led into an apartment where a trim and pale girl wearing nothing but a choker and crotchless panties
is sitting on the couch sucking on a pink vibrator and moaning loudly. Some time later the young woman is still so heated
up that she opens the door for a salesman, still nearly bare-ass. When it turns out that his sample case contains sex toys,
“Oh, that looks like fun. Let’s try it out!” But after a few moments of play the salesman declares, “You
don’t want this, you want the real thing!” He goes down on her from behind and they move into a sixty-nine, but
just as she finally gets his limp dick hard and starts working it inside herself, wouldn’t you know it but someone knocks
on the door.
Salesman bails out, and the new visitor turns out to be a sexy young black-haired chick who wants to know if her girlfriend
would like to make a few bucks for banging some dude. And while she’s there she might as well help her friend break
in the vibrator… Completely naked the ladies are much more… ‘real’ than the porn vixens of today.
Not a bad thing, but our little hooker friend is considerably “roomy” in the downstairs area and her pimpette
pal has a startling pair of pendulous dugs with pancake nipples. (Mrs. Butterworth’s, anyone?)
Shortly thereafter some bum comes by toting a bottle of whiskey and a wad of cash, looking for some cheap and easy
sex. He’s come to the right place, as the lady of the house promptly goes down on him. “Oh, my member!”
It comes as no surprise that our boy has a hard time getting it up, and the hooker doesn’t help much; despite the number
of times his floppy dick slips between her lips he can never get fully hard, much less actually work one out. In fact, he
doesn’t so much fuck her as he does pass out on her.
Skip to Pimpette, all alone but for pinky. As she plays with herself the naked vibrator sales guy pops out of her closet,
dick in hand (what the shit?). “Excuse me – can I help you?” Apparently he can, as she offers no resistance
when he takes the sex toy and draws it down her body. They fake some missionary-style action, then he rolls her over and they
fake that too. No, wait, it actually looks like he got it in that time, and he pumps away until moving into the titty-fucking
Salesguy is faking it on top one more time when the drunk comes in with the hooker; salesguy blows the scene yet again
and a lazy softcore threesome takes place. Feeling left out while Drunky tries to plow her “sister” the hooker
resorts to playing with pinky again, and her moans accompany the action when the souse finally gets his toy soldier into her
sister. He humps away like a wounded penguin for far too long before dripping a load into her naval, and thankfully that’s
As a brief review, please listen for the sound of the buzzer of failure.
According to the DVD box, “There you go. Three dirty movies that fully supply the filthy feeling we all crave
every now and then.” Unfortunately the ‘filthy feeling’ I’ve got now is one of being cheated. Which
is really too bad; a double DVD set of vintage and modern porno, with trailers and full-color insert booklet, should be a
thing of dirty joy, not a mound of absolute crap. But some films really ought to remain buried, and others ought not be made
at all. All told a pretty sad package, one that promised a lot more than it delivered.
(Thanks to Exploitation Retrospect – www.dantenet.com )
THE FLESH RIPPERS
Compiled by Alpha Blue Archives
From the bottomless vaults of the impressive Alpha Blue Archives comes a new 120-minute DVD compilation in The Sadistic 70’s
Series, The Flesh Rippers. Tune in as “Our most bizarre collection ever features
films which cross the line from lust to insane savagery!” (Note: if this looks like your kind of thing you may not want
the ‘surprise’ of each sex & violence segment revealed, so here as a teaser is a list of the chapter titles:
The Barbarian Girls, Branded, Come Deadly, Black Ritual, Diversions,
Sex Psycho, The Vampire and Charlotte,
and the closer-to-feature-length Wet Wilderness.)
“a cast of insane asylum escapees,” this orgy of depravity begins with The
Barbarian Girls as a hit & run car accident leaves one of two bewigged hookers down and bloodied by the side of a
dirt road. (We know they’re hookers because of their uniform of red spaghetti-strap blouse, panties, and Nancy Sinatra
boots.) The red-wigged working girl drags her blonde companion to a deserted barn, and instead of administering first aid
decides instead to strip her down, tie her up, and maul her breasts. Moving south the redhead roughly examines her friend’s
vag, then takes her own clothing off, squats down, and pisses all over her partner’s belly. Decaying emulsion flickers
as Blondie is hauled upright for a cat-o-nine tails whipping, doing a little go-go dance of pain as lash marks begin to appear.
Then Red picks up a rusty knife and rams it home right between her friend’s legs, twisting it nastily as the filmstock
itself appears to bleed along with Blondie. Red keeps working away as the blood pours down, finally pulling out a gory fistful
of entrails. When Blondie finally passes out from the pain, Red unties her and hacks into her groin, disemboweling her with
the detached bliss of a Manson girl.
was The Barbarian Girls, Branded is
accompanied by a contemporary soundtrack of agonized doom metal that provides a fittingly haunting accent to the on-screen
torture. Opening on a nude teenage girl, shackled and crotch-whipped, the setting is one of a B&D/S&M parlor attended
by a mistress and a pair of male slaves/accomplices. After forcing one of the men to eat her out the mistress goes down on
her sweet young captive, and with this pleasantry out of the way she inserts a speculum; in the background a brazier of coals
has been burning away, and branding irons are now applied to the girl’s breast before being pushed . . . right into
the canal. Bucking and writhing the girl passes out, only to be revived so that the mistress can sit on her face and give
head to a slave. When he comes the mistress rubs it into the girl’s chest, and the scene switches to:
hippie chick’s apartment, where the flower child is being interviewed by a census taker in Come Deadly. When he finds out that Miss Evans is a marijuana user he chloroforms her, strips her down to bra
and panties, and slaps on the handcuffs. When she awakens he shows her a “Sex Slaying” newspaper headline. “Maniac
Killer – that’s a pretty impressive title for someone as insignificant as I am!” he happily tells her. Cutting
off her underwear and holding a gun to her head Maniac Killer suggests that Miss Evans do as he says, and presents his cock
with the advice she do a good job. Just as Maniac Killer seems to be enjoying himself, hippie chick’s hippie boyfriend
barges into the apartment. “You have the worst timing in the world, Mr. Colback!” Mr. Maniac Killer says, and
shoots him. Miss Evans’ wailing earns her a couple of pops too, bloodying the books containing Mr. Killer’s rape
census and causing him to bemoan the wasted day. (This is one of the ‘cleaner’ scenes in the collection, as not
only is the film quality better but the dialog track is fully intact and there is no on-screen penetration.)
Black Ritual we move to a darkened ceremonial setting, where an older hippie cult
guru-type is praying to the Mother of the Universe for wisdom. A swank and slightly out-of-place couple watches as a hefty
Earth mama steps up to the altar and strips, laying down in preparation for what appears to be a full-scale cult orgy. But
just as the nearly naked devotees get started, in charges some candle-bearing broad who accuses the swank chick of being a
traitor. With a bit of hocus-pocus the formerly-ritzy blonde ages about forty years, does some theatrical moaning, and stabs
herself in the belly with a machete. “Oh my God – oh my God” says her shell-shocked date. He takes her home
so she can do the Linda Blair thing, puking up pea soup and speaking of forthcoming doom, but his declaration of love drives
the demons right out of her and sappy music begins to swell. Just as it looks like we’re in for some hardcore post-exorcism
fucking, there’s a cheap message about love being as strong as death and the scene comes to an end.
most graphic chapter so far, Diversions starts off right away with a man and a
woman going at it on a leather divan. Throughout the sex act she seems to be experiencing hazy flashbacks of a gang-rape,
and whether her date is one of the molesters or just some anonymous sap unlucky enough to get caught between her man-hating
legs this particular evening she pulls a knife from beneath the couch and sticks it between his ribs again and again. The
murder sends her into a fit of ecstasy, writhing around on the divan rubbing blood over herself and masturbating with the
dagger, and upon climaxing she licks the blood from the knife, rolls off onto her date, and cuts his cock right off. After
licking away at her severed trophy the woman showers off, gets dressed in her finest black leather biker/bondage gear, and
takes her leave.
a scene from Sex Psycho, two guys with mutton-chop sideburns are in bed humping
away when in walks some dame and a guy carrying a meat cleaver. Loverboy number one, Marshall, holds his buddy’s hands
down so the Andy Kaufman lookalike can bury the blade in his throat for a very bloody murder. After which Marshall takes some
cash from the woman, who turns out to be his sister, and the wife of the dead man, and goes out to fetch a coffin. Meanwhile
she strips down and takes Andy right there on the body of her dead husband. After applying some lengthy warm-up head to his
pudgy cock she climbs aboard, and in her excitement she even starts going down on the dead body. Andy busts a nut, just as
Marshall comes in toting the coffin, and we jump to a scene of Andy at home, getting a job from his wife. As she sucks him
dry Sis and Marshall creep in with the cleaver, and when Wifey sees the big blade she chomps down hard on Andy’s choad,
biting it off and choking to death while he bleeds out. Justifiably freaked the hell out, Sis and Marshall turn and run the
hell away. (On a side note, the full-length presentation of Sex Psycho features
none other than Big John Holmes, although in the version I saw the performance was less than impressive. “Hey everybody,
let’s all get into a Round Robin!”)
The Vampire and Charlotte is from the same feature as Diversions, and finds our homicidal harlot stabbing away at a fellow in the midst of his post-coital ejaculation.
His response is to bare his vampire fangs and dig in. This segues into a scene of backyard molestation, as a naked man and
woman’s wrestling match ends up with her pistol going off and shooting another woman through the breast. “You
silly bitch, you killed her!” Angry at the girl for blowing away his meal ticket, the man penetrates her with a stick
then rapes her until being shot by a geeky rifle-toting passerby.
the next dreamlike sequence tribal drumming provides a hypnotic soundtrack as a woman with an eye patch leads a young man
into the scene at gunpoint. He’s forced to receive head from and then have sex with another woman, as everybody is cut
with a knife for some ritualistic bloodflow. Young one-eye joins the action as the guy receives more head, apparently climaxing
into the bit’s shadowy finish.
last is the hardcore feature Wet Wilderness, directed by Lee Cooper and starring
Daymon Gerard, Alicia Hammer, Raymond North, and Fay Little. It begins appropriately enough with the Psycho theme (music by “Melvin Devil”) as the credits play through and a family (mom, son, sis &
her friend) arrives at an out-of-the-way location in the woods for their lovely vacation. So lovely, in fact, that right away
the girls pair off for a photo session that turns into a lesbian romp. As the voluptuous brunette daughter works away between
the thighs of her hairy Italian friend, a man wearing floods, blackface, and an orange ski mask with “Love” scribbled
on it strolls up toting a huge machete. So involved are the ladies that they don’t notice him at first, but he quickly
interrupts and lets himself in on the action with the demand of a double blowjob. Soon the girls are going down on one another
as Ski Mask takes the Italian from head to tail, and as she finishes him up her friend gets up and sneaks away. As Sis runs
to fetch the others Ski Mask stabs his victim in the guts and lies in wait for the family to come running.
Which they do; Ski Mask immediately orders Mom to give him head, and the girl to do the
same to her brother. Ski Mask then rapes Mom in the ass, popping his load (“You liked that didn’t you?”
“NO!”) and watching Sis bring her brother off and lick the sperm from his stomach. Mom is next made to suck off
her boy (“I’m sorry son!”), and while this is taking place Sis runs off again. Sonny tries to screw his
Mom, but his pecker’s not up for it and it takes a bit of shoving to get it in there. Finally he gets going, and very
quickly shoots a heavy load over Mom’s chest and belly.
Meanwhile Sis has come across some black guy tied up between two trees (“Oh my God,
what are you doing here?”), and as she struggles to free him Ski Mask leads a tearful Mommy on a frenzied dash through
the trees (after presumably killing her son). They catch up to Sis just as she unties the guy, and you know what’s coming
next – yes, soon Mom is sobbing and burying her face in her hands as her daughter gives head to the black man. Twice;
once to get him off, and again to get him up for a fucking (“Yeah! Ha-ha!” cheers Ski Mask). Pretty soon Mom’s
down there helping her out, then even stripping down and mounting up herself. Ma finishes him up with a blowjob, and a jealous
Ski Mask hacks into him with a hatchet for daring to come, showering the ladies in blood.
After a quick dunk in the river Ski Mask demands yet more head, and while Mom is performing
her daughter grabs his machete and . . . THE END.
Incest, rape, murder, and miscegenation; just another day in the woods in the Sadistic
region-free NTSC DVD includes a gallery of sex & violence pictures as a bonus, collected from out-of-print magazines specializing
in the rape/murder fetish. Men and women alike are brutalized here, whipped, bound, threatened with knives, and generally
tortured to death, making for some interesting screen-saver material for your less-sensitive friends. Also present are trailers
for the hardcore roughie Come Deadly, Bit
Tit Superstars, and a brief run-through of other titles in the Sadistic Seventies series, “The rarest, most brutal
and bizarre films of the 70’s on VHS and DVD!” (Hogtied Hookers! Brutal Lesbians! Tit Torture Enforcers!
DVD menu itself is a little hard to read, in a punk rock flyer kind of way that matches the accompanying song fragment. The
quality of the loops contained herein does vary somewhat, and some entries can be quite dicey in their clear display of every
scratch, blur and watermark. But Alpha Blue makes certain to qualify this in their statement, “Due to the rarity and
age of our film masters, some films will show lines and other glitches. This is normal.” And in fact not only is the
less-than-digitally-perfect film quality excusable in this case, but in places it actually adds to the sleazy bad trip aura
playing out in these little vignettes of degradation. Sex and life are made to look pretty cheap here, matching the decidedly
low budgets of the pictures and providing a no-frills step into strange and savage territory. What’s most curious about
this collection is not that these are clips of rape-murders with no shortage of occult themes and bloody torment, but that
they all come from thirty years ago. What the fuck were those people on? Oh, yeah . . . Of course the level of realism varies
from clip to clip, but for those in the mood for vicious snuff-porn, the fetish this collection is catering to, the illusion
ought to be sufficiently wicked.
* * *
DV65: $39.95 + $5.00 shipping from Alpha Blue Archives – www.alphabluearchives.com – P.O. Box 16072, Oakland, CA, 94610
FRIDAY THE 13TH (2009)
Directed by Marcus Nispel
for this latest entry in the decades-old franchise put me off right away; the cuts had Jason bouncing around like some sort
of retarded ninja, straying from the killer’s undying reign as a cold and unflinching mongoloid killing machine. He’s
not at a fucking nightclub, he’s mowing down nubile campers like weeds! Like he’s got a job to do! So I didn’t
bother seeing this in a theater, but now that it’s on DVD it’s fair game. Psycho tard killing spree, away! (And
to be fair, in the film Jason doesn’t actually jump around that much, he stays much truer to the methodical slow and
being said, SPOILER ALERT. Well, sort of; you pretty much know how this is going to play out.
13th, 1980. A scantily-clad female stumbles shrieking through the nighttime woods in the rain. And who
should she run into out there but Pamela Voorhees (Nana Visitor, taking Betsy Palmer’s place), pitching a homicidal
fit over her drowned son Jason. For her trouble Ms. Voorhees has her weathered head lopped from her shoulders; afterwards,
in the dark, somebody collects her locket and the machete that decapitated her.
Cut to Crystal Lake, present day. A bunch of clueless kids are wandering
around the woods looking for a mythical marijuana crop. And where should they stop to camp for the night but right next to
the condemned Camp Crystal Lake. (Butchering
a well-known American classic of a line about Pabst Blue Ribbon in the process.) Crippling dialogue, shiny plastic titties
and “Sister Christian” yield to the four-eyed GPS-wielding guy, Wade, stumbling across the fabled plantation.
Which in turn leads to him getting butchered by a hulking sack-headed psychopath. (Interesting premise here: Jason as pot
At the same time a couple from the group, Whitney and Mike, go wandering around in the dark. Coming across a wreck
of a cabin filled with decaying food and furniture they proceed to poke around. Among other curious things they find a collection
of camp counselor whistle necklaces…
Back at camp another couple, Amanda and Ritchie, is making the beast with two backs when they hear someone creeping
around their tent. When Ritchie goes looking for their peeping friend he finds the crop too, along with Wade’s carcass.
Running back to the campsite Ritchie sees his girlfriend strung up in a sleeping bag suspended directly above the campfire,
screaming her fake boobs off. As he goes to help her his leg is shattered by a bear trap, and he can only watch as Amanda’s
smoking and now-silent corpse falls limply to the ground.
At the cabin Whitney and Mike have discovered an altar built around Mrs. Voorhees’ desiccated head. This comes
only moments before they’re discovered by Jason, who from underneath the cabin proceeds to pound his machete up through
the floorboards to inflict crippling injuries upon Mike. As Mike is dragged down to his death he urges Whitney to run, which
she does, straight back to the campsite. Upon finding Ritchie still caught in the jaws of the trap she attempts to help him,
but Jason steps up behind her and splits the boy’s head like a melon. As Whitney scrabbles away backwards in terror,
Jason takes a running swing at her and the screen goes black with her screams.
“Six weeks later” another mixed bag of fresh young meat is farting around in the countryside. As they stop
for gas alpha douche Trent (Travis Van Winkle) brushes up against biker boy Clay
(Jared Padalecki) who’s in the area looking for his missing sister Whitney (Amanda Righetti). Moving on to Crystal Lake
the brats settle down at Trent’s daddy’s lakeside cabin and start partying, while Clay goes on to have a number
of further dispiriting run-ins with the locals.
After Clay talks to one hillbilly woodchipper he comes across the partiers at the cabin, and manages to lure Trent’s
girlfriend Jenna (Danielle Panabaker) away for a ride on his motorcycle. Meanwhile the weedeating redneck he just spoke to
gets sliced up by Jason, appearing from nowhere in all of his backwoods elephant man unglory. (“That shit ain’t
fuckin’ right, dude!”) In the junkpile of the barn Jason finds a discarded hockey mask and takes the opportunity
to replace his burlap sack with the iconic item. Pausing momentarily to admire his reflection in a shattered mirror, Jason
There are brief respites for topless waterskiing and beer pong. But when Nolan, the throwback piloting the motorboat,
gets an arrow through the head he runs right over his blonde girlfriend Chelsea in the lake. Contrary to retro-slasher fashion
she doesn’t get chopped up by the propeller (as she well might if this were a remake of Sleepaway Camp), instead just receiving a bump on the noggin. She begins to struggle toward shore, but when she
sees Jason waiting for her with his machete she changes direction in a hurry. He gets her anyway, right through the dock and
the top of her skull in one of the film’s better death scenes.
It’s dusk by now, the perfect time for Clay and Jenna to find themselves at Camp
Crystal Lake. After dicking around in one of the creepy old cabins they’re
alarmed to hear Jason returning, bearing a headless body with him. (For what, exactly?) When he finds Clay’s backpack
the hunt is on, and cranking on the lights Jason begins tearing the camp apart in his search. Frustrated at not being able
to find additional prey, Jason picks up his body and the backpack and stalks off.
The kids, cowering in the shadows until now, jump up and begin to run the moment the killer is out of sight. In the
darkness Jenna takes a spill over a tripwire, and we can see that this leads to a primitive system of alarm bells in a dungeon-like
complex somewhere underground. Where Clay’s sister Whitney is being held captive, chained up in a corner. Upon hearing
the bells Whitney begins to scream for help, that is until Jason enters carrying his bundles. Dropping the backpack Jason
takes the body further underground, leaving Whitney to forage through the bag that she quickly realizes belongs to her brother.
Finding Wade’s broken GPS device that Clay picked up earlier, Whitney opens it up and attempts to use a piece
of its workings to unlock her shackles. She’s stopped by Jason, who with the previously-seen locket makes it mutely
clear that he’s keeping the girl alive only because she resembles his dead mother.
Clay and Jenna make it back to the lake house in a panic, seriously ruining pothead Lawrence’s
moment alone with himself. Regarding the other vacationers, Trent is busy upstairs
in the bedroom banging Jenna’s friend Bree in his most passionate rich boy fashion (“Your tits are fucking just
so juicy, dude.” [Seriously.]) while pothead Chewie is getting stabbed in the throat out in the tool shed.
In no time at all the phone line is cut and the power goes out. Which is the perfect time for Lawrence
to wander outside alone looking for Chewie, armed with only a wok and a fireplace poker. Lawrence
finds his dead friend, and Jason finds him and makes a bad joke out of him.
Trent gets wise and goes for daddy’s gun, but Jason is already in
the house. Bree gets a coat hook through the back of the skull, just before a lone police officer shows up to investigate.
And gets a knife in the eye, nailing him to the front door.
Trent starts popping off with the pistol, messily clearing the way to the
police car parked outside. But when Bree’s body comes crashing down onto the windshield he screams like a girl. The
survivors flee into the woods, where Trent is immediately skewered and pinned
alive (barely) to the bed of a passing truck.
Alone now, Clay and Jenna head back to Jason’s lair. This time they hear Whitney’s cries, and descending
into the makeshift prison Clay at last finds his sister. After a brief and tearful reunion he breaks her bonds and the three
of them run through the warren of underground tunnels in search of escape. When Jason arrives and finds that his missing mother/pet
has gone missing, he furiously sets out after them.
In the frantic escape attempt that follows Jenna gets stabbed through the heart and Clay and Whitney manage to start
a roaring subterranean blaze (the potential dramatic effect of which is never really explored). Jason uses Clay’s face
to break a number of windows, and with the boy stunned the killer proceeds to go after his prize. Whitney fights back, Clay
recovers, and together they head for freedom.
It’s not as easy as that however; there’s a knock-down drag-out fight between Jason and Clay in which Jason
does his best to feed Clay into the woodchipper. (Kind of amazing how all of these locations, including the one in which a
serial killer has been keeping live and dead bodies in stock, are all just a skip away from each other.) Whitney stops Jason
in his tracks with the dead mommy act, giving Clay the opportunity to blindside him and wrap a noose of chain around his neck.
The end of the chain is thrown into the chipper, and although this literally drags Jason all around the barn it doesn’t
manage to kill him. It does hold him in place long enough however for Whitney to plant Jason’s own machete right into
Instead of hacking up the body and feeding it piece by piece into the woodchipper, Clay and Whitney drag him down to
the dock and roll his remains into the water. They don’t even bother with rowing him out to the deepest park of the
lake, wrapping him in chains, etc. Which, of course, makes it that much easier for him to come back…
This one doesn’t have anywhere near the cult potential of 1984’s Friday
the 13th – The Final Chapter. No Crispin Glover, no Corey Feldman, no Tom Savini, no close look at Jason’s
real face. And it’s nowhere near as Satanically fucked up and great as Nispel’s 2003 Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake (nor does it have chicks as hot). It’s not as graphic, it’s far too
self-consciously dark and ‘atmospheric’ to see many details, and with something like ten chapters already in existence
you would think that they might have been a little more inventive with the parcel of homicides on the plate. If you’re
going to remake a classic, modern taste dictates that you really have to amp it up a notch. Or three. And that really didn’t
Produced by original Friday the 13th producer and director Sean
S. Cunningham, along with Michael Bay
and a host of others, the production values really should have been higher. (A truckload of throwaway garage sale set dressings
doesn’t quite cut it.) As it is, this seems like little more than a remake of a remake. Which it is, essentially, and
not just because it attempts to cram the first two chapters of the franchise together into one film. Not only does this blur
into the morass of other imitations, but it also appears to mimic them in some cases: the sister-saving aspect of the story
resembles the House of Wax remake, whereas Jason’s dungeon lair could come
from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 or any of the countless recent torture-porn outings.
A point for gratuitous violence, and another for gratuitous nudity. Oh wait, and a point off for ruining the PBR line.
Really nothing that you have to run out and rent or buy. This DVD edition of Friday the 13th came with no special features, and did not appear to be
the unrated director’s cut.
Directed by Xavier Gens
a complete piece of garbage. Nearly two uber-depressing hours of the inbred, redneck, Nazi, pig-fucking, and worst of all,
Frenchified, version of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I’ll save you the time
and torment: don’t bother. And if you do, be sure to punch yourself in the nuts for me.
The film takes the premise that widespread rioting has turned Paris into a temporary war ghetto (big surprise), and
a handful of punks and Muslims take advantage of the passing anarchy to loot and steal their dirty French asses off (big surprise).
Having scored a bag of cash the young thieves start out on the road to Holland, but end up getting lost in the no-man’s land of the “frontiere,” a desolate rural area of abandoned building complexes and backwoods
peasants afflicted with a rapacious bloodlust.
Chief among these backwoods peasants is a clan of deranged neo-Nazis who divide their time between pig farming and
victimizing any sorry critter unlucky enough to come wandering through their territory. Being subnormal pig herders however
the Nazis are just not very good at being Nazis: they live like the pigs they keep and somehow never seem to have enough women
for their little white trash Joy Division. This last detail could be due to the fact that most of the women they come across
end up chopped up in their freezer room, so when the leader of the tribe catches sight of Yasmine (Karina Testa), the single
female member of the fleeing gang, it is decided that she will be the new birth-giver for their superior race. Never mind
the fact that she’s not “pure”; she’s young, healthy and sexy, and the plan is for her to start shitting
out semi-Aryan piglets in short order. (Because, somehow, most of the children birthed at the place haven’t really turned
out that well…) Of course her male companions are of little use except as food, so much unpleasantness ensues and poor
Yasmine is left to fend for herself.
Essentially you’re constantly subjected to an endless barrage of low-grade ugliness and brutality, and in the
end nobody really wins. And honestly, do you care? Thieves vs. Nazis: fuck ‘em all. A shame really, because the opening
sequences of gunfights and Paris in flames really had some potential. But instead
of coming across as apocalyptic, the end product is one that simply points out, again, what a bunch of sick fucks people are.
End of story.
Along with the constant grimy ambiance of torture-porn you’ve got some token cannibalism, rooms full of dead
bodies, and buckets full of filth and gore to color the whole outing with. In short, it’s a brief lifetime of unpleasantness
crammed onto DVD for death fags to cream over when they’re tired of jacking off to suicide photos on the Internet.
Again, what a complete piece of garbage. If you want depressing foreign film, rent The
Passion of Anna instead. Fuck this noise.
GIRL SLAVES OF MORGANA LE FAY
Directed by Bruno Gantillion
Opening on the alluring note of the trial of a naked blond found guilty of violating the covenants of her sect and led away
to some unspeakable torment, Girl Slaves… promises to be sheer exploitation
in the forbidden Seventies tradition. From this sensationally seedy introduction we move to another setting, to find a pair
of coeds driving through mountain scenery en route to a bit of a university holiday.
Stopping at an archaic and uninviting pub for coffee and mulled wine, the girls are warned away from the nearby village
by the pub’s owner. Ignoring him the girls proceed through town, and somehow find themselves lost along the nighttime
roads. Forced to bed down in an abandoned barn, no sooner have they literally hit the hay than Anna (Michele Perello) seduces
her younger friend Francoise (Mireille Saunin) and we’re in for a very brief bit of erotica before morning.
But in the morning Anna is nowhere to be found; the only person about is the effeminate little hunchback who’d
been giving them the stink-eye in the pub – and presiding over the opening trial. Scampering through the woods the hunchback
leads Francoise to the coastline across from which an island castle stands. He then disappears, leaving her alone with an
unmanned rowboat. She steps into the small boat, and as if waiting especially for her it carries her across the water to the
island where maidens in pastel gowns escort her inside the castle.
In one of the castle chambers the hunchback, Gurth (Alfred Baillou), directs a softcore lesbian orgy, while in another
part of the castle Francoise is toyed with by a mysterious woman who seems to have the run of the citadel, not to mention
the young damsels within it. Morgane (Dominique Del Pierre) subjects her young guest to much vague circular speech, and after
bewildering her with her ramblings stuns her even more by breaking out the wine and a hookah. When she passes out, Francoise
is carried away to bed. (But that’s all we see of that.)
Elsewhere in the castle, down in the dungeon, we find Anna kept in silken bondage, stubbornly refusing the girl cult’s
offer of immortality and eternal life in the castle of ageless women despite the pressures applied to her. Hearing Anna’s
cries Francois awakens and wanders around the castle chambers in her nightgown until she finds a way out of the palace. But
she cannot find the boat that she arrived upon, so braving the icy water she swims to shore and begins running through the
forest, only to find Morgane waiting for her with flowers, wine and candles wherever she stops to rest. As if fated to do
so, Francois returns to the castle.
The other ladies of the citadel, jealous of Morgane’s intentions of having Francois join the fold, conspire with
Gurth to allow the girl to escape during the great celebration planned for that evening. Led through the castle by Morgane
on their way to the festival Francois comes across Anna, only to learn that she’s already pledged her soul to Morgane
and is content to remain there for all eternity. Together they all take in a pageant of sorts, with Morgane’s many women
performing poetry, dance and erotic acts in a great underground meeting hall.
Later, as the party continues, Francoise gets it on with a member of Morgane’s inner circle, then makes away
with two of the three magic talismans the circle holds; an enchanted tunic renders her invisible and an amulet gives her control
over the boat, but without the topaz globe she won’t be able to leave the surrounding forest (smell enough like a fairytale
yet?). Slinking about invisibly, Francoise listens to Morgane rave at her pending escape and sentence Gurth to a horrible
fate for his complicity.
When Gurth has been tied up and left alone Francoise seeks him out, whereupon the hunchback gives her his magical “ring
of life” that, once she reaches the forest, will summon an enchanted stallion to carry her “across the border
of the real and the imagined.” Of course, by giving away the ring Gurth gives up his life, but as he’s been pining
for Morgane for centuries it’s by now pretty clear he’s never going to master the old witch and so would gladly
thwart her instead.
Francoise makes it out of the castle and lets the magic boat guide her to the opposite shore, touches the ring of life
to the mystical log, summons the horse and rides back to the human world. But having seen what she’s seen of both worlds,
will she really decide to stay?
of Erotic Horror” was easy enough to get behind at first; lesbian witchcraft, bondage, soul-stealing… But from
the less-than softcore copout of the early barn scene you can tell that this film is going to be more tease than titillation.
Frankly, from a much-hyped unrated ‘cult classic’ I’d hoped for a little more. What you get with the promising
title Girl Slaves… is an inexplicit unexplainable fairytale – which
is rather boring, actually. The girls are sexy enough, even if a couple of them are somewhat hatchet-faced, but they don’t
get naked nearly often enough. And when they do, very little happens. A very fancified and somewhat tedious European production.
Presented in anamorphic
widescreen, in French with English subtitles, Girl Slaves… comes with several
bonus features. There’s a bit of production history by noted cult cinema author Pete Tombs, an interview with director
Gantillion, theatrical trailer, stills gallery and background information on cast and crew, and some ‘rare’ deleted
and lost scenes.
also a bonus short film, Gantillion’s first effort Un Couple D’Artistes
(An Artistic Couple). 20-year-old Catherine takes a room and a position as caretaker
at a kindly old couple’s home, only to be gassed and transformed her very first night. Brief and well-executed, the
short is marked not only by its surprising twist ending but by clever cinematic touches like the nightmarish hallucination
sequence wherein the grotesque masks of her hosts leer over Catherine as the drug first takes effect.
A good effort,
however not quite good enough to salvage the rest of the package. Definitely a ‘rent-before-you-buy’ type of deal
(Thanks to Exploitation Retrospect
GRIND HOUSE TRASH COLLECTION
is quite the pile of celluloid sleaze, albeit in print & DVD format: two discs and a full-color photo-illustrated booklet
loaded with cheap smut from the grimy era of the late Sixties.
‘Grindhouse Film Historian’ 42nd Street
Pete opens this top-heavy program with a colorful “Grindhouse History” and an introduction to our low-rent triple
feature, and then the reels start rolling with Uta. This titular character casually
introduces herself with the statement, “I make my living from sex,” but don’t go thinking she’s some
whore; she explains the difference while applying perfume during her bath in preparation for her big date with Carl. At a
Hollywood burlesque house, no less; for a while they watch a “farm fresh” hippie chick
writhe around on stage scratching at her scabies, and this lackluster strip show goes on for some time. When they’re
good and ready Uta and “Carl the Slob” head home and hit the sack for a failed attempt at some lackluster lovemaking.
In between tricks Uta lolls around, counting the moments
until her lover gets back from a business trip. One such trick is Bradley, a ‘kink’ who digs leather clothing.
Lying around yet some more, Uta waxes philosophical about her lifestyle of choice: “I’d been laid, relayed and
parlayed before I reached my eighteenth birthday. Uta was no small town chick virgin; she was sophisticated. A chick who dug
cities. One who knew her way around…I wanted to turn on, and I had.” In fact, she spends much of the rest of her
day contemplating her own coolness (“Uta had what it takes,” “Uta was the grooviest”; Uta talks about
herself way too much in the third-person) and preparing for her darling’s return.
Baby finally comes home, and what do you know; the sugar
daddy we’ve been expecting is really a doll – Uta’s flame is a butch. (Uta likes the ladies.) The welcome-home
softcore sexplay is as clumsy and unappealing as it is unending, but when it’s finally over the black and white film
goes red, Uta’s voice is heard talking backwards, and, SPOILER!: Both ladies are found dead in what we’re left
to believe is a car accident. The End. (What the fuck was that all about? Some kind of morality play? If you’re a lesbian
whore you’ll never get into heaven, that kind of thing?)
Disc one wraps up with the Secret Key Trailer Vault, a
collection of previews of naughty films the likes of Topless Tapioca Wrestling,
Sex Hex, The Breastford Wives, The House on Hooker Hill, etc. Most of which appear to be softcore lesbo flicks starring Darian Caine.
Disc two jumps us right into a double feature, starting
with The Pimp Primer. Lovingly unrestored scratched-up filmstock missing cells
takes us into the boudoir of just such a player, even now tending to one of his stable in softcore fashion as the narration
provides a fitting definition: “In the dictionary of life a pimp would perhaps be described as one of the lower forms
of vermin akin to the rat or snake. A person who feeds their ego, wallet and genital desires upon the bodies of emotionally
weak young girls.”
Pimp Carl embodies the role right away, kicking his gal
Jerri out of the sack and into her next trick so he can line up some new meat. As Jerri arrives for her date with John and
the two have chubby red-headed sex, Carl picks up Sherrie the waitress and plies his greasy trade. A sweaty roll in the hay
and some sleazy sweet talk later and, bingo, Sherrie’s a ho; she’s easily convinced that “slinging her ass”
is a better way to make it than “slinging hash.” Even if it will involve handling a little bit of “the les
When Jerri comes home she comes face to face with Sherrie’s
muff – literally, as Carl puts on the tough guy routine and forces the gals to “practice” for their big
scene at tomorrow’s party. A party that boasts a half-dozen swingers, including Uschi Digart and a young John Holmes
(in a nearly cock-free scene). Pretty soon a soft orgy is going down, and none too pretty it is. The narrator drags us out
in that cautionary and condemnatory way (um, I think some of them died, or went to prison, or something), and that’s
closes out our triple feature, and begins with a hot slutty blond inviting her demure brunette neighbor out for a swinging
weekend with their husbands. To sweeten the pot Marsha strips out of her towel and begins playing with herself right there
on the couch in front of Betty. When Marsha finishes a somewhat shocked Betty stumbles out the door with an, “I’ve
got to be going…” But not before taking a last look at her lusty neighbor and promising that she’ll be back
for the weekend. When she gets home Betty takes a cold shower, but realizing she’s still pretty hot she starts exploring
her body in the mirror and is soon bringing herself off.
The weekend arrives, but as it’s too rainy for the
sunbathing party they’d planned Marsha’s husband Bill breaks out a board game – a stripping game. And although
Betty’s hubby Jim won’t take a drink during the day he’s got no problem at all letting his wife lose her
pants in front of their hosts during the very first round. Betty gets a little weirded out by this turn of events, hiding
in the patio changing room and complaining that, “We came here to sunbathe, not to play a game,” when Jim comes
looking for her. Jim agrees to take off, but when they return to the rumpus room they find Bill and Marsha going at it right
there on the floor.
As they’re kind of doing it right on top of their
clothing Jim and Betty just have to wait until their hosts are finished screwing, Betty looking on with the same expression
of pained surprise that she had when Marsha first started diddling her beaver.
Yet the very next weekend Jim and Betty are again partying
with their neighbors, this time joined by another lusty couple. And when the nekkid go-go dancing begins, Jim jumps right
up and gets in on some of that action. It’s all too much for Betty, who is laid thoughtfully to bed by Marsha. Just
in the nick of time too, because out in the living room the strobe light comes on and the swinging kicks in – meaning
that Jim’s getting a piece of strange. Back in the bedroom, it’s, “Why don’t you take your clothes
off – you’ll feel better,” and with Marsha only too willing to lend her young friend a hand there’s
soon a sighing 69 taking place.
A very relaxed Betty is carried back to the party and laid
out on the pool table in the game room, to be (SPOILER) viciously raped with a pool cue; when Jim intervenes he’s savagely
beaten as Marsha continues to lick Betty’s bloody snatch. Sirens wail, and thus endeth Lusty Neighbors.
Sleazy, yes, trashy, for sure; but aside from the all-but-lost
slice of a bygone era factor there’s not a whole lot of satisfaction to be found here in the Grindhouse Trash Collection.
Not for lack of trying; this is an impressive package, and if Secret Key / Alternative Cinema keep it up they could develop
an impressive library encompassing the golden age of trash and exploitation. (That is, if Something Weird doesn’t have
the distribution rights already locked up for the majority of recovered Sixties/Seventies smut.) But simply put, these films
are absolutely terrible; they’re cheap all right, but not nearly dirty or vile enough to satisfy a 21st Century
audience who can find cheaper thrills in many, many places. It is kind of interesting to see just how lowbrow these things
are, but it’s an interest that quickly wanes. If you’re drawn to a title with ‘grindhouse’ in it,
chances are you may already have better in your home collection.
(Thanks to Exploitation Retrospect – www.dantenet.com)
H.P. LOVECRAFT'S THE TOMB
Directed by Ulli Lommel
Well if that doesn’t
just suck a steaming hot wad of buffalo mung; you’d think filmland would have learned by now that attaching some useless
whale louse of a project to this particular author’s good name just does not equate with success. Especially in light
of all the standout failures in the past. (You can count the successes on the fingers of a crippled hand: Re-Animator, From Beyond, O’Bannon’s underrated The Resurrected… all right, Call of Cthulhu wasn’t too
shabby, but come on; two words: claymation Cthulhu.) But, as auld H.P. is more popular then ever now, it appears the screwing
of his hallowed and moldy old corpse must continue.
As an aging hack churning out true crime busters on the tail of big-budget Hollywood versions of the same (Black Dahlia, Zodiac) Lommel’s an old hand at the take-off. And this time he manages to kick a little more shit across
Lovecraft’s grave. Let’s watch, if we can…
Some very unlucky broad (Victoria Ullman) wrapped in a plastic tarp is dumped into The Tomb. Well, it’s not really
a tomb so much as a warehouse/storage space, its discount storage racks and unfinished plank shelving dressed up with candles
and, holy shit am I seeing this right? candles and gothed-out baby dolls, K-Mart Halloween props and fake human skulls. Fucking
spooky. Awakening and struggling out of her plastic cocoon our gal finds that she’s got some huevos rancheros on her arm; well, maybe it’s supposed to be a compound fracture, it’s kind of hard
to tell. She’s been worked over pretty good by the makeup artist, and as she examines her new environment she comes
across another equally fucked-up unfortunate (Christian Behm).
Each of them wears a toe tag bearing a past date on it, and as they struggle towards comprehension the anonymous figure
who’s been writing their names on a list in permanent marker comes on over the funhouse loudspeaker and begins to taunt
them. It seems there’s a little game being played in “The Witch House,” and only one of them will get out
alive (great; so now we’re watching a rip-off of Saw). Additional victims
are discovered, some near death, others who have to be pushed in that direction. When one of the lucky ones dies their body
is dropped into a pressboard coffin spraypainted black with a poorly-rendered pentagram stenciled on the lid (not the symbol
of the Necronomicon, because that’s too hard to draw!).
More poorly-plotted mindgames follow, the befuddled captives trying to piece together the moves that landed them in
their current predicament as laughing boy taunts them over the loudspeaker. When brought to light their ‘crimes’
against their captor are discovered to be rather petty offenses, all things considered, and names from Lovecraft’s work
keep popping up in meaningless ways. It is kind of funny watching the two lead prisoners (I didn’t bother learning their
names) wander around the storeroom with candles pretending to be hopelessly lost, when windows and skylights can clearly be
seen throughout. But for the most part the exercise is pointless: lots of redundant shots of the novelty shop ‘horrors,’
badly whispered dialog, piss-ass drama and unsympathetic characters. And in the scene that contains a flashback to the childhood
‘trauma’ that supposedly caused our MC to go so fucking nuts, they use the same set and props as our modern day
protagonists. Suck! It’s like a bad stage play, horribly realized; I could practically hear people walking out during
the entire 81-minute running time.
You know, I bought a new brand of cereal the other day, and this film was so painfully tedious I actually pulled the
box and read the ingredients again in order to distract myself. Lots of whole grains in there, that’s supposed to be
good; naturally sweetened, well we’ll see how that goes. The serving suggestion on the box features blueberries; I bet
that would be good. Maybe I’ll take this to work and pick up some dried fruit to throw in there. Some banana chips or
some shit like that.
Oh, wait; the two main characters are fighting; looks like the whole bonding and sticking together thing didn’t
quite pan out. The fat guy’s dead, so it looks like the messed-up blond chick may be the winner. The garage door of
the storage unit opens up, and our lucky contestant walks out to find a brand new convertible chock full of cash! And away
she goes! All right! It’s over! Superbowl party song! Peanut butter jelly time!
Oh fuck me sideways in a wheelchair; it’s not over after all. In her motel room the lady is surprised by Mr.
Laughs, and more useless theatrics abound. There’s a senseless dramatic climax not worth detailing, and NOW we’re
out of here. What a total fucking waste.
In a word, I am fucking disappointed. Hell, I’d feel gypped if someone sent me a promo of this thing for review,
but at least then I could recycle the DVD box. As it is I just dirtied a spot on my Netflix queue. If you were one of those
unwise enough to buy this just because it sported Lovecraft’s name on the packaging, go punch yourself in the nuts.
This time-waster was so sad and boring that while it was playing I actually re-read the story upon which it is based.
Lovecraft’s 1939 12-pager is about a young outsider who falls under the spell of an isolated family tomb and begins
absorbing arcane secrets from the long-dead inhabitants; not some dope killing people off in derivative scenes because they
sold him a lousy used car or broke up with him because he was a jerk.
Still, you’ll notice that no matter how far this
strays from the source material Lovecraft’s name gets dragged up there front and center. Almost as if the filmmakers
are saying it’s his fault for this irredeemable shitpile. But let us make no mistake; the fault is all writer/producer/director
Ulli Lommel’s. In fact, for the sake of clarity and justice let’s just call this Ulli Lommel’s Screwing of The Tomb.
If he’s going for an underground Mordum / Murder Set Pieces gutfest Lommel missed his mark and landed
ass-first in a pile of suck. There’s some token blood and gore FX and a couple cheap tit shots, but nothing worth the
waste of quality time this feature offers. The bad set dressing has been touched upon more than once, but it’s so lame
that even the executioner’s axe that makes its way into several scenes is a plastic dummy.
And what the fuck is with the Eurotrash touch of throwing
in repeated shots of some guy in a cape and mask on horseback? Lommel must be related to Jean Rollin; and I think I smell
Me, I’m waiting for the dream project:
Edward Norton and Peter Weller in David Fincher’s At the Mountains of Madness.
Set design by H.R. Giger, creature FX by Rob Bottin. Natch.
THE HAUNTING IN CONNECTICUT
Directed by Peter Cornwell
needs another pseudo-Amityville remake like it needs another strain of bird flu. And while this technically isn’t an
Amityville Horror retread, it is one of those dead-people-haunting-the-house efforts,
“Based on the true story,” that covers a lot of ground that’s been covered before. (Albeit with a few interesting
twists.) And, yes, it’s a PG-13 horror movie, so you can’t expect the gore factor to cover up any glaring flaws
in the story or acting.
We begin with Sara Campbell (Virginia Madsen) doing the “Why do bad things happen to good people?” schtick
on videotape. Her story goes back to June 19, 1987, and her concern for her dying son Matt (Kyle Gallner), currently
being treated for cancer. (We get to see him vomit right away for emphasis.) Because of the painfully long commute between
their home in New York and the cancer treatment ward at St. Michael’s Hospital in Goatswood, CT, Sara and husband Peter
(Martin Donovan) decide to go ahead and just rent a place in Connecticut. (First mistake.) Peter will commute down from his
contractor business on weekends, staying at the New York home the rest of the time; this will leave Sara to take Matt to the
radiation therapy trial that he’s taking part in, sparing them both the regular 300+ mile round trip.
Sara begins house hunting, and in no time at all comes across a grand old mansion-style home. “It’s spacious
and affordable, and…I’m just wondering where’s the catch,” Sara tells the owner. “Well,”
he says, “It does have a bit of a history…” We don’t get the full explanation, at least not right
away, but later on the phone with Peter Sara tells him that the place, “Just wasn’t right.”
However on another long trip back from the hospital Matt’s pain causes Sara to make a nighttime pit stop at the
house, graciously allowed by the owner, so that they can both get some rest. (Second mistake.) And, despite a nightmare of
Matt’s, they go ahead and decide to stay. (Third mistake.) The two of them begin exploring the next day, and Sara is
disturbed to find an old stack of framed photographic death portraits. Meanwhile Matt has chosen as his room the creepy space
down in the basement, the one with locked doors that lead who knows where.
The rest of the family, Peter, younger children Billy and Mary, and Wendy, the hot niece/nanny, join them shortly and
all begin to settle in. Right away Matt starts having hallucinations, and objects begin to move by themselves. In one illusory
nightmare sequence Matt flashes back to watch the prior owner of the home conducting a magical ritual on a dead body. As the
man’s young assistant watches, he carves a series of arcane characters into a nude corpse from head to toe. And then
cuts off its eyelids.
Of course, in the interest of the medical study, and of maintaining the appearance of sanity, Matt keeps his experiences
of visual and auditory hallucinations a secret. One night the locked door in the basement opens, revealing a mortuary lab
complete with bizarre surgical instruments. Peter is less enthralled by this discovery than are Matt and Billy, and when confronted
Sara admits that she knew the place was a funeral home when she rented it. Which makes for some interesting dinner conversation
that evening. Especially when Matt has another vision, this time of the funeral director and his assistant, Jonah (Erik Berg),
conducting a séance for a gathering of clients.
At his next visit to the hospital, after hallucinating crawling crabs, Matt meets a fellow patient, the Reverend Nicholes
Pogescu (Elias Koteas), who has a few wise words for Matt before their meeting ends. Shortly thereafter, during a game of
hide-and-seek at the house with the kids, Matt starts seeing things again. Locked in the mortuary room he is suddenly surrounded
by walking cadavers, all covered with incised incantations, their dead lidless eyes staring right through him. Matt flips
out, only to find that the only ones around him are Wendy, Billy and Mary. Who have already begun to be alarmed by his strange
and unstable behavior, and who now retreat to the safety of the upstairs to leave Matt alone with his many problems.
Not knowing what else to do, Matt calls the Reverend and the two of them get together and talk. Reverend Nick speaks
about the world of the dead, and advises Matt to find out what it is that the spirit haunting him wants. Matt has a chance
to do this right away, when a charred entity surprises him in his room, but the only answer he receives is a vision of fire.
Shortly thereafter he freaks the family out again when they find him in the kitchen, cowering behind an uneven stack of furniture,
bloodied from scratching at one part of the wall with his fingernails.
Dr. Brooks is none too pleased about the fact that Matthew and his family have been concealing his hallucinations and
odd behavior; it could mean that his brain is becoming affected by the cancer. But Matt’s brain tests come back clear,
and he’s still a valid subject for treatment, so the expensive therapy will continue as planned.
During another unpleasant game of hide-and-seek Mary nearly falls through a rotten portion of the flooring. Hidden
under the floorboards Matt finds some occult objects: inside an old metal box are a collection of photographs of the dead,
along with a smaller box containing their eyelids. There are also photos of séances, complete with ectoplasm, magical symbols
and other strange papers. In the photographs Matt recognizes the boy from the séance; “I though that I was hallucinating,”
he tells Wendy, “But I have seen this kid almost every day since we’ve been here…Then I wake up in the middle
of the night and it feels like he’s been inside me.” Well that ain’t good. Oh wait, he’s not done
yet: “Looking out through my eyes.”
After doing some sleuthing at a local library, Wendy comes back with a newspaper article on the mortuary’s previous
owner, Ramsey Aickman, entitled “A Case of Materialization: Local Man Conducts Psychical Research.” There’s
also a piece on the boy, Aickman’s assistant Jonah, who served as a medium through whom the dead could be contacted.
The séances, of course, were held right there in the funeral home. That is until all of the members of one ritual, Aickman
included, were found dead. Jonah himself was never seen or heard from again. Several years later however, during a highway
expansion through the Goatswood cemetery, it was discovered that over a hundred bodies were missing from their graves. To
this day it is generally presumed that Aickman had something to do with the grave robbing.
Matt and Wendy call Reverend Nick out to the house, where he looks over the eerie contents of the mysterious box. He
recognizes the eyelids right away, stating that they’re used in the practice of necromancy, “Seeking power through
control of the dead via relics of their bodies.” As the Reverend leads them in a prayer for the souls of the desecrated,
Matt again jumps back to visit one of Jonah’s séances and is forced to watch as the boy vomits up living ectoplasm (which
manifests as a sort of spiritual diarrhea of the mouth).
When Sara arrives home she’s alarmed to find her son in the midst of an apparent seizure in the presence of some
creepy stranger. Sara promptly rousts the right Reverend, leaving the family in the dark and up for grabs once again. Whereupon
Sara and Wendy both begin seeing scarred corpses lurking about. Not helping matters much is that dear old dad has fallen off
the wagon; Peter comes home late at night, ripped to the tits and in a rage because everyone is asleep with all of the lights
are on. This he fixes by waking them all up with a screaming fit, then pulling a bucketload of lightbulbs from their sockets
and feeding them down the sink. For his trouble Peter gets a lecture from Sara (just what every drunk wants to hear in the
middle of a bender) and wanders away somewhere to sleep it off, leaving the rest of the family to experience some frightening
electrical poltergeist activity.
Suddenly Reverend Nick doesn’t seem like such a bad guy; not knowing what else to do, Sara calls him back to
the house. The Reverend begins searching for the source of the evil dwelling in the home, and quickly heads down into the
basement. His attentions only appear to increase the threatening nature of the paranormal activity, but he does collect some
remains from the funeral home’s crematorium that he believes are the last vestiges of Jonah. If he can remove these
from the home, he reasons, the evil influence will go with them and the family will finally be left alone.
Matt would disagree; he awakens later that night covered with incisions identical to those of the dead. At the same
time Reverend Nicholas, driving the ashes and bone fragments away for proper consecration, is disturbed by the visage of the
charred boy appearing in his backseat. A boy the Reverend now recognizes as Jonah. Now at the hospital, Matt relives a scene
from Jonah’s final moments in which the medium discovers the burned carcasses of those attending the last séance. Aickman
is among them, still barely alive, and he warns Jonah to get out of the house, saying that the spirits will now be coming
after him. But the boy doesn’t stand a chance: doors slam and lock everywhere around him, and when Jonah desperately
climbs into the dumbwaiter to escape he finds that it leads in only one direction – down into the crematory vault.
Reverend Nicholas experiences the same vision, and with a new understanding of events he desperately tries to contact
the Campbell family with some disturbing news. But his phonecall goes unanswered,
and by all appearances the funeral home is still very much haunted.
Before the film ends things get worse and worse as the family faces additional bad news and increasing vehemence on
the part of the spirits. Not to mention some unsettling discoveries and erratic behavior. And a whole lot of dead people.
Me, I’m of the school of thought that if the dead are returning it should nearly always involve the eating of
brains. None of that slamming doors and causing flashbacks and shit. Some of the haunting effects were kind of cool, and the
Aickman house is a maze of weirdness, but you can’t help but want a little more. Even if it is only PG-13. Barfing up
ectoplasm may look pretty neat, but it’s not nearly worth the price of admission. Especially with the weepy quasi-religious
ending that the film has. And there really is a lot of praying going on throughout the movie; I guess it’s essential
as balance in the context of a story about evil spirits, but it doesn’t make the picture move any more quickly. And
frankly, I think it might take more than a few Hail Marys and some pyrotechnics to rid a house of decades of evil.
Speaking of which, the idea of mutilating corpses for necromantic purposes is an intriguing one, yet beyond the séances
the purpose of this practice is rather murky. It is mentioned that they are intended as guardians, but guardians of what?
The other dead? Their master’s own charlatanry?
On top of being forced to endure the always-uncharismatic Martin Donovan, somehow Gallner’s long-suffering Matt
comes off looking more like a sickly self-indulgent poet than a cancer patient. (But at least it’s better than having
to look at Shia LaBoof.) There’s some childish behavior on the part of both of them that’s kind of awkward to
watch, all just barely kept in check by supermom Vadge Madsen. As for Koteas, he’s simply underused in a weak, almost
The DVD comes with a number of special features, one of which is “Two Dead Boys: The Making of The Haunting in Connecticut.” This makes it clear that the story is completely separate from the Amityville
saga, but still very much based on true events. Also covered are special effects and set building, interspersed among interviews
with cast and crew. The filmmakers also manage to work in a subtle disclaimer regarding why the film isn’t more violent,
pointing out that this is a “character driven” story. Meaning that the actors’ roles were meant to outweigh
the effects of the haunting.
Expanding upon the story is the two-part documentary “The Fear is Real: Reinvestigating the Haunting,”
which actually utilizes the participation of the Snedeker family, the ones who underwent the original haunting in Southington,
CT. (After moving their four kids into a house that had served as a working mortuary for about 50 years.) Family members and
friends recount bizarre visitations in the house, and you can tell that the haunting had a particularly negative effect on
the original Matt because he copied lyrics from “Code Blue” into his notebook. Not long after this Matt’s
mother Carmen had him institutionalized, after which the paranormal activity became even more manifest. (Although the documentary
does make it seem that the haunting centered around his mother.) Demonologists became involved, and the story was eventually
made public, which only ended up making things worse for everyone. Finally the Catholic church got involved and an exorcism
was performed in the house, with apparent success, and the family moved away to start over again anonymously somewhere else.
Another feature is “Anatomy of a Haunting,” which looks at the phenomenon through the eyes of such self-styled
experts as a parapsychologist and a psychic/PSI researcher. Neither of whom know any more about what happens when we die than
anyone else does.
Finally, “Memento Mori: The History of Post-Mortem Photography” is an interesting and unusual ten-minute
look at the art. The disc also includes deleted scenes and trailers.
THE HOOKER CULT MURDERS
aka THE PYX
Directed by Harvey Hart
so maybe it’s The Pyx aka The Hooker
Cult Murders. But come on, which is a more intriguing title? I mean, who wouldn’t want to see something called The Hooker Cult Murders? It does arouse the curiosity more than ‘The Eucharist
Holder.’ (What would that be anyway, the latest Mel Gibson sinking ship?)
There will be a spoiler, due to the nonlinear nature of the constantly changing timeframe, and some of the continuity
in the review won’t exactly match the film scene-for-scene: as the end draws near the flashbacks and flash-forwards
sometimes trade off so rapidly as to be almost stroboscopic. (Almost.) Anyway…
Fuzzy nighttime traffic winds through city streets to the melancholy strains of folk music (“Songs composed and
sung by Karen Black”). The camera catches a white-draped object falling from a high-rise window, and as traffic screeches
to a halt we catch a vague glimpse of a female form lying in street.
At the crime scene there’s a lot of French-Canadian gibberish spoken (I mean, a lot: “Filmed entirely on
location in Montreal,
Quebec”), and this continues as a couple of CID dicks show up. One of them, Detective
Sergeant Jim Henderson (Christopher Plummer), bends down to remove a rosary from around the neck of the dead woman (the crucifix
of which is hung upside-down from the string of beads), and in the process finds an unidentifiable golden object clutched
in her right hand. Henderson’s partner, Detective Sergeant Pierre Paquette
(Donald Pilon), recognizes the deceased as a hooker; according to the building superintendent (Jacques Godin), the penthouse
apartment from which she fell was vacant, leased by an unnamed company as an open party pad for its executives. And party
girls are part of the standard package. Dragging the surly super up to the rooftop suite to investigate, as the detectives
make with the theories we flash back to the life of the dead woman, Elizabeth Lucy (Karen Black). Lying nonchalantly in bed
next to some sweaty old john, it looks like Elizabeth is indeed a hooker. And
apparently a very talented one, at that.
Back to the present, the Canuck dicks pay a visit to Elizabeth’s
“roommate” Nora at her pad at the Mount Royal Apartments. The blonde girl is already shaken up, but being presented
with a photo of her friend’s death scene is almost too much for her. The ladies’ “manager,” Meg Ladderman
(Yvette Brind’Amour), who calls the girls “entertainers,” lives in the apartment complex as well, and the
cops interrogate her too. Rather harshly. Paquette stays behind with the madame while Henderson
takes Nora with him as he goes through Elizabeth’s room. “Was she
on smack?” the detective asks. “Yeah,” the girl says. But Nora doesn’t recognize the religious objects
Henderson retrieved from the corpse; according to her, Elizabeth
wasn’t even a practicing Catholic.
As Paquette busts Meg for running whores and having a bad attitude, we see Elizabeth
entering the halls of a church. She waits until after communion, then pulls one of the sisters aside and asks if she can see
someone named Sandra. Sandra (Louise Renfrit) looks as if she could be Elizabeth’s
little sister, but up in her room it becomes clear that she’s in the life. She’s being kept among the nuns for
her own well being, seeing as how she was previously “doing ten grains a day.” Elizabeth’s habit is only
half that, but in the sobbing After School Special scene that follows it’s made quite clear that both girls have a serious
Elizabeth flees the church, while back in the now, at the police morgue,
Meg is confronted with Elizabeth’s corpse. She identifies the dead girl,
but has nothing else to say.
After ducking an invitation from her creepy drunken landlord, Elizabeth
pays Meg her share of the night’s take and then heads straight for the dope. But Meg sends her away from the Mount
Royal, telling her to go to her own apartment to take her fix. Alone at home, the first thing Beth does is light
the little can of Sterno and draw the curtains…
Henderson crawls out of bed and makes excuses to some dame as Elizabeth
shoots up and falls back into orgasmic bliss. She dreams of romantic horseback rides with some mutton-chopped chappie while
Henderson gets the drop on the dicey apartment super from before. An ugly struggle
takes place, with the dick coming out on top. (Wait a minute, that doesn’t sound quite right…)
Elizabeth’s roommate, a young gay lad named Jimmy, brings home some
groceries. His nagging quickly drags Beth out of her scratching, slurring high, but even worse than his bitching is the ringing
of the telephone. Worse still, it’s Meg, and she’s not happy. One of the reasons she rushed Elizabeth
out of the Mount Royal so quickly that morning was that her early callers weren’t her average
clients; they were “very special people.” And they’re very interested in her little girl Liz. In fact, one
of them, a Mr. LeFram, is on his way to see Elizabeth, at her home, even as they
speak. This would be the same Mr. LeFram that Henderson caught the superintendent
talking to when he popped him in his flat. “These people are very, very heavy,” Meg explains when Elizabeth
starts to protest the imminent home invasion. “You should be flattered.”
In the present, following up on the past, Henderson lets himself into the
Mount Royal and immediately notices that something is amiss. Maybe it’s the black cat nailed
to the inside of the front door with a steak knife. Maybe it’s the obvious signs of a struggle throughout. And the bloodstains
that lead him to Nora’s room, where the young prostitute has been butchered, Manson Family-style. He finds Meg in a
similar condition, upside-down in a stairwell with her throat cut.
Elizabeth is anything but flattered by the attentions of Meg’s very,
very heavy clients. Getting Jimmy to take her for a drive they leave the city for a while in an effort to dodge the unwanted
appointment, but the car following them makes them head back downtown. Ditching Jimmy on a traffic island, Beth continues
Henderson and the entire CFCF are crawling all over the Mount Royal. Up the manager’s
ass, through the trash, all over. According to the drunken letch of a building manager there was quite a lot of coming and
going on the night of the murders. Including the presence of a Mr. Herbert LeFram, whom the police recognize as having the
alias Szandor Banzini, a fellow with quite an extensive criminal record.
On the scenic rooftop garden of the Mount Royal, Elizabeth’s
confrontation with Meg is interrupted by LeFram. Taking Beth aside Meg asks if she knows where Sandra is; Elizabeth
denies any knowledge of the girl’s whereabouts, but for some reason she agrees to go with LeFram.
Elizabeth is escorted by LeFram aboard a luxury liner where she’s
greeted by some ginger old dandy named Keerson (Jean-Louis Roux). Keerson is the man LeFram works for, and with few formalities
he asks her to take her clothes off. She does so (we only get an ass shot), and an uncomfortable interview/interrogation follows,
during which Elizabeth reveals some details about her childhood and the fact that she does indeed believe in God. Satisfied
for the time being, Keerson releases her, telling Elizabeth that they’ll
be calling for her soon. LeFram sucks a chocolate and stares at Elizabeth as she
Henderson and his partner, questioning some French Canadian at some gay French Canadian bar, learn that the ornamental
object Elizabeth was holding is a ceremonial article called a ‘pyx,’ a carrier for the host when taking communion
to a follower outside of the church walls. Returning to the station, the cops sift through photos looking for clues. The super
is dragged in, and against a reel-to-reel tape recording of a Latin Mass he’s questioned and beaten until a phonecall
drags the dicks away to another scene.
Elizabeth is scheduled to be carried away to Spain
on Keerson’s ship that evening, but before she does so she places an impassioned call to her friend Dr. Cassandra Hildebrand.
She’s got a feeling, a bad feeling, and she wants the good Doctor to hold onto some things for her. Giving the now ever-present
LeFram the slip, Elizabeth makes a rather nifty rooftop getaway (in a pantsuit,
yet) and heads straight to confession – where she refuses to confess, but passes the priest the insurance policy and
cash she wants Dr. Hildebrand to hold. As she leaves, LeFram catches up with her and with a thinly veiled threat against Sandra
and Jimmy he takes her back to her place to “rest up for tonight.” “And stop making me work so hard,”
he tells her coldly.
The detectives stake out the gay tavern they visited earlier, and in time Henderson
picks up Jimmy and gives him the bad news. The boy is devastated by the loss of his only true female friend, Elizabeth; Henderson
takes him for a walk, and as they reach the apartment Jimmy is just about to finger LeFram when he’s suddenly shot in
the chest by a hidden assassin. Henderson gets a shot off, but is knocked unconscious
before he can get a good look at the killer.
Elizabeth is waiting at Meg’s, already high, when the madame comes
home. Meg won’t give Beth another hit, but she does fix her a drink. Plus. When the call comes in, Beth finishes her
drink and resigns herself to her fate.
When Henderson comes to, Jimmy is cold and the killer is long gone. As
police sirens wail outside, the detective finds an upside-down cross painted in blood across a picture of Jesus that has fallen
to the floor. Henderson’s police pager tells him that the cops have found LeFram, and as the detective dials in he notices
another inverted cross smeared in blood across the inside of the front door.
Henderson follows the call to the port, to Keerson’s ship, where
there’s a shootout taking place between Keerson’s henchmen and the cops. LeFram is wounded, but he’s holding
an officer hostage and demands a doctor. Paquette agrees to play that part…
Elizabeth is led into a darkened candle-lit room, the background music
being the Latin Mass. The drug Meg put in her drink to ‘get her in the mood’ is kicking in, and as Elizabeth
starts to get The Fear the speed of the now-multiple soundtracks begins to change. Adding to this psychedelic effect are flashes
of religious icons at odd angles, animals live and dead, and blasphemous imagery, all racing across the screen as Elizabeth
is dressed in a white ceremonial gown.
As Paquette climbs the ladder to the upper deck of the luxury liner LeFram is perched on, he’s covered by LeFram’s
sawed-off shotgun as well as another rifle from a nearby crow’s nest. As the detective carefully sets a medical bag
on deck he makes the mistake of reaching inside his coat, and in the barrage of gunfire that follows everybody on the boat
In gown and veil, Virgin Mary-style (except for the nipples poking through her see-through robe), Elizabeth
is brought before Keerson, who himself is all dressed up in Roman Catholic finery. To Elizabeth’s
outfit he adds the inverted rosary, then leads the woman directly into a black mass: a congregation dressed in black or wearing
outlandish animal costumes awaits, and upon the alter is an upside-down cross on which a rat has been crucified. Elizabeth
is laid upon a large low alter, and as she’s groped by the followers Keerson opens the pyx in front of her. “The
Host,” she says. “Yes Elizabeth. It has been consecrated. And now
we must desecrate it.” Grabbing the pyx Elizabeth leaps up from the altar,
and before anyone can stop her she wolfs down the wafer. When Keerson comes after her Elizabeth
runs out of the room, and upon finding herself on the rooftop edge of the high-rise she becomes severely disoriented. Keerson
grabs her, and…
Henderson drives away from the port, straight to Keerson’s penthouse.
Keerson himself lies on the altar now, breathing heavily as if wounded or in a trance. But Keerson is not his name, he says:
“You know my name. You know it, Henderson, you know it better than anyone.
When your wife died in that accident – you were happy. You felt liberated. My name touched you then. You went to confession
but it didn’t help. You couldn’t forget. You didn’t want to. You too felt the hypocrisy of the church.”
Anti-Keerson dares Henderson to kill him; and he does.
Despite the slightly anti-climactic ending, The Hooker Cult Murders is a
great cult horror period piece, one good enough to give you the creepy-crawlies. Karen Black’s eerie hippie folk songs
are actually very accomplished, and particularly evocative once the Helter Skelter action kicks in.
Despite all of the jumping around, timeframe-wise, the transitions are generally very smooth. In fact, in one scene
Henderson, in present time, drives out of frame as the camera pans across to Elizabeth’s
window in the recent past, a rather effective phase shift.
The St. Clair Vision version of The Hooker Cult Murders that I watched is
a decidedly low-budget DVD release. Although the insert in the half-sized DVD cover promised that the film had been “Carefully
re-mastered for best possible picture quality,” right away the thing looked like somebody had sneaked a camcorder into
a theater and digitally videotaped a grainy old print of a grindhouse matinee feature. Scratched filmstock, soundtrack skips,
bad coloration and all. All that’s missing is the sound of empty bumpers rolling down the aisles.
Still, for a bargain bin DVD this really did remind me of going to the aforementioned matinees. You know, the grimy
downtown triple features playing in theaters that had long since lost their luster and now, in the brief period before they’re
demolished to make way for the multi-level parking structures intended to support the new Japanese shopping centers next door,
serve as a haven for punks and bums who just want a dark place to drink in peace. Step back into the past, Pyx-style, bring your own malt liquor and pork rinds, avoid the bathrooms and the piss-soaked seats of those who
have done the same, settle in, and feel the sleaze.
THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED
Directed by Narciso Ibanez-Serrador
There’s a great line in “Devil’s Whorehouse” that goes, “Come alive in the house that screams
/ COME ALIVE IN THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMS!” Now you can see for yourself exactly what that’s all about, and cut yourself
in on a little piece of the action that inspired the original Misfits, with this 1969 gothic horror chiller.
La Residencia is a strict boarding school located in the French countryside. Run with an iron hand by tight-laced Madame
Fourneau (Lilli Palmer), the house is both cultural and correctional facility for what they called “wayward girls”
back in the late 19th Century (the time period in which the film takes place). The dry lessons and rigid discipline
are meant to batten down the urges of unruly lasses of ‘difficult character,’ and it is this environment into
which teenage Teresa (Cristina Galbo) is brought by a ‘friend of the family.’
As she’s given a tour of the facilities and M. Fourneau lays down the law to Teresa’s temporary guardian,
the glimpse of something creeping around the grounds watching her unsettles Teresa right from the start. As does the sadistic
leer of one of her new school chums over dinner. But even as Teresa enters what seems to be the more jovial sorority house
atmosphere of the girls’ dormitory, another girl, Catalina, who has been branded a “bad influence” is being
brutally stripped and beaten in an upstairs chamber. These acts take place under the watchful eye of M. Forneau, who stays
behind afterward to bathe the girl’s wounds.
The cast of La Residencia’s peculiar characters quickly grows; Madame has an adolescent son in the house, Luis
(John Moulder Brown), who has a little girlfriend among the inmates and who peeps at the others at every opportunity. There’s
also Henry, the creepy old letch of a handyman, and a “Woodsman” who comes around once in awhile and takes one
of the girls (who all vie for his attentions) out to “the shed.” And then there’s Elaine, the one with the
cruel bedroom eyes at the dinner table and the heavy hand in the torture chamber. She’s the wicked warden of the reformatory,
and tells sweet Teresa that she can make life very, very nice for her there. “All you have to do is obey me –
obey me in everything I tell you.”
One night Luis
manages to slip some keys to his girlfriend Isabelle. Sneaking out of the darkened hallways and making her way across the
misty grounds Isabelle reaches the greenhouse – and is stabbed to death in bloody slow-motion by an unseen assailant
as a music box winds down to a dying end. Upon learning of Isabelle’s disappearance M. Fourneau flies into a rage, and
it is assumed that the girl has run away, as apparently have a number of others.
and disturbing behavior continue to flourish, chief among them being when Elaine and her coven force Teresa to wear her prostitute
mother’s undergarments and sing her cabaret songs. This last act spurs Teresa’s final decision to escape the school.
On a dark, stormy and Theremin-filled night she roves through the house looking for a way out; but with all of the disappearances
the windows have been nailed shut and the doors double-locked. Finally, she manages to break open one of the dining room windows
and make her way into the night…
The film moves
through a further series of confrontations and chases as it spirals toward its grisly finale; it’s one that you can
almost see coming, but when you get to it it’s so far beyond anything you were expecting that well, to put it bluntly,
it is just completely fucked. But only in the best of ways; think the very best of the old EC stories. Think Arnold
crossed with (reference deleted).
filled with classy visuals and a perfect soundtrack, the downright eerie atmosphere of the picture is very elegantly realized.
And then you have the fact that the entire film simmers with lesbian eroticism; from the domineering B&D of Elaine to
the Sapphic drawings seen in the background of the girls’ drawing studio. When mixed with the haunting nature of the
film’s mysterious murders it all makes for a most edgy and entertaining horror film.
The film is given
a widescreen presentation on a PAL DVD that is otherwise region-free, and contains no special features aside from the astounding
film itself. Well, there is the fact that it will appeal to those with a fetish for watching scenes of girls between the ages
of fifteen and twenty-one having Victorian-era slumber parties. And the very strange but somehow sexy scene in which the girls
take a shower – wearing their nightgowns…
Episodes 123 & 132
Brought to you by Staten Island Community Television, industrial TELEVISION is a late night grab-bag of vintage video oddities. Film clips
concentrating on tits, chop-socky and gore, wacky commercials, animated snippets and the like pack themselves around exploitation
trailers (End of the Road, The Touchables,
Night Call Nurses, Fugitive Girls, etc.)
and shorts such as Trouble in Paradise (an insightful retro cartoon fable about
inflation and taxation) and Case Study: LSD (DON’T EAT HOT DOGS ON ACID!!!).
Each episode also contains a small feature film, the first being The ABC of Sex Education
for Trainables (yes, they do mean the handicapped; think Pink Slip) and the
second being Kwaheri: Vanishing Africa (yes, looks like Africa’s all fucked up).
by a pair of middle-aged potheads, industrial TELEVISION is very much like paying
a visit to the basement of a pair of crass couch potatoes with too many roaches in their ashtray and way too many VHS tapes in their collection. Oh, and a talking cardboard cutout of Chuck Bronson (“Chuck
likes tits.”). Mildly entertaining fare for local late-nite cable television, but not necessarily something you really
need to own on DVD.
JOHN DIES AT THE END
Directed by Don Coscarelli
Simply a great midnight movie. A lot of cheap crap has been shunted off onto the glazed viewing
public as fodder for instant cult classic status, but this is a flick that actually puts forth the effort to make a thought-provoking
and entertaining film while finding new ways to explore the unexplained. Concerning the encounter a pair of questionable ne’er-do-wells,
Dave Wong (Chase Williamson) and John (Rob Mayes, working a Rob Lowe/Val Kilmer-kinda look), have with the enigmatic “soy
sauce,” a substance that could very well be Cthulhu’s designer drug and which warps time and dimensions, the film
travels across multiple lattices of coincidence and reality, slipping off more than a few times into almost BRAZIL-ian territory.
As one might expect from the master of PHANTASM and BUBBA HO-TEP, in Coscarelli’s world strangeness abounds. And while
definitely not in the ‘cheap crap’ category, neither is this is a mega-budget picture. At times visibly cheap
and messy (perhaps purposely so?), JOHN DIES AT THE END is occasionally unnecessary (coulda done without the music video for
Three Arm Sally, apparently serving as much as a spot for son Andrew Coscarelli as anything else), sometimes insightful, often
very funny, inappropriate and irreverent, and frequently quite gory (cartoonishly so, literally, at times). Paul Giamatti
is a welcome surprise as an investigative black journalist, there’s a great use of phantom limb syndrome, and…that’s
about all I can say. Except for just a wee bit of a spoiler here: this is not one of those films for which you need to sit
through the credits. Yes, that is The Tall Man, and yes, the story is by David Wong. But the little bonus follow-up scene
that accompanies the credits is just a disappointing damper, one that has nothing to do with the title or story at all, really.
I was lucky enough to catch this at an old-school non-multiplex theater, one that served beer, yet (cheers to Portland’s
Hollywood Theatre, http://hollywoodtheatre.org/ ), and would recommend you do the same.
Sucks Retarded Turtledick
I fucking hate
French film. Knife in the Water? It’s like a knife in my ass trying to sit
still through that shit. Repulsion? Fuck you Polanski, you child-raping midget.
Caged Virgins? Keep away from my pet turtle Boxcar you frog-eating sack of shit!
Rollin is best known for churning out ‘cult classics’ that really aren’t. Sure, if you were on cheap acid
back in the Seventies and looked up from your girlfriend’s hairy bush to see a couple of hippie sluts parading around
pretending to be vampires you might have thought, “Cool,” and then gone back to catching a beardful of crabs.
But the bottom line is that Rollin’s films are every bit as tiresome and terrible as his overrated dog-blowing Spanish
contemporary Jess ‘Jesus’ Franco. (Believe me, if you saw the shit Franco was doing now, shit like Red Silk, you’d find a way to travel back in time, and you’d actually choose to kill him over Hitler.)
In short, Jean Rollin sucks retarded turtle dick. Like a pro.
Why am I so steamed
at this limp sack of lily-scented toilet water? Well I’ll tell you why. Aside from the fact that he’s probably
pulled a Chipmunk Slide on a whole troop of cub scouts, as occasionally happens in the modern world I got taken. Conned. Screwed
out of my valuable free time by not one but two of this needle-dick’s ‘cult classic’ celluloid miscarriages.
an idiot. And I’m taking it out on you.
Now, most days
of the week I’m a pretty simple man; I work 8-10 hours a day, come home, work out, beat off, grab a shower, wash some
fucking dishes, and the rest of the evening is all mine, man. And when not drafting architectural plans for the new Sydney
Opera House I like to kick back and catch a bit of fillum. Like most assholes too lazy to go around the corner to the video
store I’ve got a Netflix subscription, and I can get pretty click-happy when filling up my queue. So what do I find
in my box one day after work but Zombie Lake and Grapes of Death. And that, I found, is literally like working all day for nothing at all.
to start with Zombie Lake, because that’s the one I saw first. And that
really pissed me off. Not only did I go to bed pissed, but I woke up pissed. Fucking Zombie Lake. And this is coming from a guy who’s seen many, many, many shitty films.
We begin with
some slut hanging out at a lake house. When the guys from the local gas station don’t show up to gangbang her within
eleven seconds she strips off her clothing and sunbathes for a bit next to the stagnant lake. She’s trim, tan, fit,
has a nice little bush and all, but her face looks like she caught a few elbows in the cargo hold on the way over. Either
that or she had her cock removed and her tits done first and was saving the face for last. Anyhow, she’s butt-ass nekkid
right away. A fair enough start alright, I’ll give you that. After a time she wades into the fucking lily pad-floating
pond (which today would probably provoke tetanus, dysentery and encephalitis) and swims around for a bit. There’s some
rather decent underwater footage of a naked chick swimming around, but yeah, okay.
Right on time,
here comes the first ‘zombie.’ Some underwater hairdresser in a vintage coat, greasepaint, and the ass-end of
an egg-carton stuck to one eye, its tadpole trail of the director’s jissom leaving a slimy trail through the swamp.
He’s as scary as…as scary as…as scary as a fucking Frenchman. Anyway, he drags the dumb cooze underwater
(I’m sorry, did I forget to mention that she crassly tore down a ‘No Swimming – Dead People’ sign
just before jumping in? Well she did!) and that’s the end of her.
of the village nearby are no help at all; they saw her go out to the lake, they know she’s fucked, but the best they
can do is, “In the morning, if she isn’t back, I’ll go see the mayor.” The mayor is equally helpful:
“If she doesn’t turn up by tomorrow I’ll call the police.”
one-eye leaves the pond for his next meal, a washerwoman and her wheelbarrow. He takes her down, smears her with makeup, spits
up blood all over her neck and leaves her for the villagers to find. (And oh yeah – this is a good time to point out,
again, the shit-ass makeup work: aside from the uneven greasepaint, this guy’s got a piece of fucking masking tape hanging
off his face, spray painted fluorescent green. That is some frightening-ass shit right there.) When the villagers do find
her corpse they dump her body on the mayor’s doorstep, and he doesn’t do dick about it except put his hands on
a couple little boys who claim to have seen some freaky shit out at the lake earlier.
Soon a worn-out
Angie-Bowie lookin’ bitch from the city paper shows up and announces that she’s writing a story about the “Lake
of Ghosts.” Visiting the mayor our reporter, Kathryn, hears a story about
an episode that took place during World War II. Flashback to a time when all of the buildings and townspeople look identical
to the way they do today: a Nazi soldier saves the life of some dizzy wench during a bombing raid, he gets wounded, and she
gets pregnant in a cheesy softcore roll in the hay (literally). Fast-forward nine months: hausfrau Hildegard has already shat
out her kid, dying soon after, and the villagers stage a very staged ambush on the retreating Germans, killing them all including
Into the lake
go the dead krauts, only to resurface decades later when lured out by the spontaneous skinny-dipping of a whole vanload of
female basketball players. They all get eaten but one, who runs topless into the village screaming, “The lake! The lake!”
NOW the mayor
calls the bureau of police, who send over a pair of cynical dicks who refuse to believe there’s any kind of supernatural
nonsense taking place. As the cops listen to the superstitious ranting of the townsfolk, the crappy green zombies go wandering
through the village like a bunch of gay Hulks with AIDS. One of them, the soldier who knocked up the hausfrau, recognizes
her house and goes inside to find their dimwitted lovechild. The girl isn’t scared by some wet creep painted green just
shambling on into her bedroom, partly because she’s a dummy but partly because he’s wearing the same thrift store
necklace she’s seen her mother wearing in a photograph.
Wait a minute,
time the fuck out; this little girl is maybe eight years old, tops. And while she was conceived in the Forties, she’s
obviously living in the realm of the Seventies (1980, actually). What the shit?! Way to maintain continuity and plausibility
there Jean. Dick.
Anyway, like I
said, the police inspectors are having a hard time swallowing the shit they’re being fed by the villagers about hungry
ghosts eating people. But soon enough they too fall prey to the angry green menace, in a scene that looks more like the uncomfortable
beginning of some gay sci-fi porno than a zombie attack.
Said gay zombies
now parade through the town, wrecking the bar, scaring underage topless chicks bathing outside in washtubs, and being generally
obnoxious before wading back into the pond.
With the wrecking
of the bar the mayor finally springs into action: “We’d better face the fact that zombies have declared war. We
must find a way to safeguard our town from the mad murdering zombies!” The drunken inbred villagers all grunt their
approval and, instead of just dynamiting the goddamn pond already, set out to ambush those nasty Germans one more time.
That night the
zombies crawl out of the lake to attack, and the ensuing firefight is horribly pathetic; not only do the zombies easily withstand
the mismatched gunfire of the villagers, but one old sweater-wearer shooting at them actually holds up one hand to mince frightfully
with as he fires a small pistol at the creatures with the other. A whole lot of nothing takes place, and the Dead Nazis (equal
parts Jaegermeister, Rumpleminz and Goldschlager) stumble away to fight another day.
With the rising
death toll the little girl, Helena, finally agrees to trick her dead father into
leading all the zombies into the old mill for a final massacre. Along the way the undead horde eats the ugly-ass reporter,
but once lured into the mill with a handy bucket of tomato bisque the zombies are set upon by the villagers. The motley crew
is now armed with a vintage flamethrower, a half-assed contraption spitting out a fiery discharge that randomly sputters and
goes limp as if it’s got an intermittent case of the clap. But it does do the trick, and many costume jackets and surplus
manikins go up in flames. Dummy fondles her costume jewelry, stumbles over her lines, cries a little bit, and, “FIN.”
Well that sucked.
Nothing like spending an hour and a half in a small shitty world populated by unattractive subnormals. Hell, if I wanted to
do that I could take the bus. And don’t even start with any of that ‘camp value’ bullshit. The zombies don’t
sing, they don’t dance, and only a couple of them wear funny hats. Camp is for people too timid to watch horror films
and too stuck up for lowbrow comedy, people who are just biding their time before coming out of the closet. Ninety-nine percent
of the time camp=boring and gay; I’d just as soon be locked out of my house and forced to watch a boring gay pride parade.
For fucksake, even on fast forward this thing is too long. And you know that ain’t good.
Oh, and by the
way, no horror movie, ever, should say “FIN.” at the end. That’s like the waitress offering you a choice
of french fries or fruit salad to go with your porterhouse, and you picking the fruit salad. You’re a dick, and so is
Next up I get
the fucking ringworm of all crackerjack prizes, Grapes of Death. AKA Raisins of Death. Again: AKA Raisins of Death. “AKA my dick,
Uncle Salty;” unless it’s a Will Vinton on crack production this thing is fucking doomed. And I do not see Mr.
Vinton’s name anywhere near this atrocity.
A bunch of frogs
are spraying some blue shit all over the vineyard. It’s supposed to be a new variety of pesticide, but it’s making
the workers sick. The foreman doesn’t give a tiny rat’s ass about that though, as far as he’s concerned
they’re all a bunch of lazy pricks who can just get the hell back to work.
One of the sick
workers however, a big dope named Kowalski, is starting to come apart at the face so he jumps a train and scares hell out
of some French chick named Elizabeth. Who gets even more scared when she finds
that he’s murdered her friend. Elizabeth pulls the emergency cord, bringing
the train to a shrieking halt, and instead of looking for a conductor or policeman Elizabeth
bolts into the countryside.
a ramshackle farmhouse Elizabeth lets herself in and pleads with the owners to
help her. They give her a glass of wine, but then start acting a little strange by throwing her into a room with a dead woman.
The lady of the house quietly comes in and explains that the dead woman is her mother and her crazy father is the one who
killed her. He’s got some kind of creeping rash that’s driving him fucking nuts; so nuts that when the girl tries
to help Elizabeth escape the farmhouse he goes batshit and nails his daughter
to the dinner table with a pitchfork.
runs outside, crushes the old man with his own car, and makes her way past one villa populated by runny-faced geeks and into
another. After meeting up with a blind woman, Lucy, Elizabeth is led to her village
only to find the inhabitants now deceased. Except for the really fucked-up ones, who are tripping around unhappily with what
looks like fried cheese falling off their faces. Lucy is desperate to find her husband Lucas and she goes running blindly
out into the night to search for him, only to find that he’s now a gibbering omelet-faced moron. Who promptly strangles
his wife, crucifies her to the door of their house and hacks off her head with a hatchet.
catches sight of that last part, and the horrified girl is then chased around the village’s decaying architecture by
the horde of freaks. (I don’t know if they’re technically zombies, but they look like hell and they stumble around
like idiots, so they’re fucking close enough.) Suddenly she finds herself in the bedroom of some lesbian, who offers
her a safe place to hide and a warm cup of vagina. Whoops, spoke too soon; nothing like that warm cup of vagina part ever
really happens. Damn. Anyway, the lady is shit nuts too, and when Elizabeth convinces
her to try and leave the village with her the lady grabs her and tries to feed her to the creeps.
Just in the nick
of time a pair of gun-toting strangers show up and start blasting zombie ass. The lesbian goes down to try and lure them away
by stripping naked to prove that she’s all right, but Elizabeth’s screams bring them deeper into the village where
they shoot more ghouls and throw dynamite into people’s houses.
tearing ass Elizabeth goes to their car to have a brief catfight with the lesbian,
which ends with Elizabeth beating her in the face with a flaming stick. The strangers,
Paul and Francois, come back to the car ready to leave, only to see the lesbian get so pissed at having her carpet cleaner
steamed that she sets off the dynamite in their back seat, blowing herself and the car to shit in a really badly-filmed explosion.
and Francois set off for the nearby vineyard of Rabelais, the very place Elizabeth
has been trying to reach this entire time in order to visit her fiancé Michael. On the way there Paul and Francois put it
together that last week was the grape harvest festival, where everybody drank a lot of wine and wound up “crazy and
diseased.” Except of course for Paul and Francois, who only drank beer. And Elizabeth, who’s from Paris,
and is therefore already crazy and diseased.
When they reach
the vineyard they find it deserted, but at least the phone works and Francois is able to reach the police. The cops are aware
that there’s an epidemic of strange behavior resulting from the drinking of contaminated wine, and are even now in the
process of rounding up the ill so they’ll be able to send a helicopter for the survivors shortly. This is good news,
and Paul and Francois break out the champagne (“Not this year’s vintage!”) while Elizabeth
goes wandering around alone looking for Michael.
She finds him,
and not only is he sick too but he admits that it was his pesticide that polluted the wine and drove everybody crazy. His
brain is rotting away this very minute, but Elizabeth tells him she loves him
anyway and his head starts crying yellow pus. They are together again at last, at least until Paul shows up and shoots Michael
with his shotgun. As he examines the body Elizabeth shoots him, and when Francois
comes around looking for them she shoots him too. Then she stands underneath a ladder and lets Michael’s crazy diseased
blood drip down all over her face. Roll credits.
And what a pantload
of foolishness that all was. Moral of the story here: don’t go to France,
and don’t drink French wine. Done and done. So a bunch of Frenchies drink some bad wine, turn into whackjobs and run
around like idiots; big deal, it happens all the time.
You can tell that
this was supposed to be a ‘real’ horror movie for Jean Rollin, driving at the heart and soul of French culture
with a sharpened warning of environmental awareness. Note to Jean Rollin: just go braid the underarm hair of your jailbait
girlfriend, you pate-licking donkey knob, and leave the filmmaking to the professionals and pornographers.
With a little
bit of atmosphere and care this could have been a fairly effective “Vineyards Have Eyes” kind of production. What
with the dilapidated rural setting, the poisonous insanity of the native population and the naïve outsider up for grabs and
all. But instead this is just a fucking frog stomp. Thank you very god-damned much, Jean Rollin. Now I know what the nightmare
of an eleven-year-old French hick looks like.
So fuck you Jean
Rollin, you snail-sucking dog. I hope you’re dead. And if you’re not, I picture you bent over in a dirty bathtub,
unwashed foreskin between your teeth as you jingle a handful of francs at the halfwit delivery boy who’s brought your
cheap wine, trying to get him to toss your moldy salad. You fucking old colostomy hole you.
THE JOHN HOLMES COLLECTION
42nd Street Pete's Signature
Thanks to the
increasingly unsatisfying mechanization of modern pornography, what with the overwhelming fondness for steroidal ex-cons spitting
all over and ass-fucking homeless 19-year-old bag-chasers, at least the discerning adult film fan can rely upon the ever-burgeoning
market of re-releases. Particularly those from the bushy golden era of the sleazy Seventies. Which brings us to this compilation,
The John Holmes Collection. What can one say about Johnny “Wadd” Holmes?
I mean, aside from the fact that he’s generally recognized as a freebasing serial killer with a big dick? A performer
almost completely lacking in finesse, and one who would practically fuck anybody for a coke marble? Well, there is the fact
that if you don’t think about all of that too much, regardless of your sex or orientation it is pretty impressive to
watch him wield that thing. Hosting a literal baloney pony and just flinging that thing around, well, it’s kind of like
the adult version of a clown doing balloon animals. So, let’s watch some of that, shall we?
After some trailer action (Sylvia, Busty
Superstars of the 1970s, and The Grindhouse Occult Collection featuring The Sins of Reverend Star and Night of Submission)
42nd Street Pete talks a bit about the history of the legendary Holmes, pulling no punches as he bluntly calls
him a scumbag and talks about his cocaine habit, the Wonderland Avenue murders, Holmes’ death from AIDS and his widespread
dishonor. Following this brief and informative lecture Pete introduces the feature film on disc one, Dear Pam.
Dear Pam opens with advice columnist Pam Slanders being discussed by the
highbrowed Decency and Morality League, who have just decided to bestow upon her their highest honor, “The Most Moral
Woman of the Year.” Because, after all, “Her advice is always quite moral.”
Making their way up to Pam’s office the League engages in an upper crust circle-jerk, patting each other on the
back over how much publicity their nomination will garner.
Meanwhile, Pam (Crystal Sync) is engaged in stuffing herself with a large pink dildo. When the League is shown in by
her secretary, Miss Klug, Pam tucks this a little deeper, where it stays hidden until an orgasmic coughing fit blows the thing
out onto the carpet. Passing it off as an enormous eraser, Pam consents to an interview.
What the League wants to do is to pick one of her readers’ letters at random and see what advice she can give
on the spot. With Pam’s consent, League figurehead Rose Cummings (Jennifer Jordan) plucks a letter from the daily mail
at random and begins to read.
The writer’s problem is that he’s lost his good luck charm, a fertility necklace shaped like a cock ring.
Harry Phallis (Eric Edwards), the author of the letter, is seen interviewing a potential secretary, Gladys Mygrain (C.J. Laing),
during lunch at Gaston’s. As an appetizer to the Tuesday Special Mr. Phallis begins to “Check (her) qualifications”
by stripping the both of them down to the tune of “Harry Fuck Me” (performed by the band Slim Pickens). Gladys
demonstrates her skills at dictation by going down on him, then submitting to a doggy-style deflowering.
Over a mixture of pleading for him to stop and begging for more, the pale, small-breasted Gladys succumbs to Harry’s
lack of charm, loving it when he creams down the crack of her ass. And although she seems sorrowfully confused over the fact
that she’s not a virgin anymore the young lady perks up considerably when she learns that she’s got the job. So
buoyed are her spirits in fact that she decides Harry has to marry her.
“Oh no,” says Harry to the camera. “Another bright one.”
Rose is, of course, appalled by the contents of the letter. But she continues to read despite the obvious “depravity”
of the writer.
After lunch Harry pays a visit to the home of his good friend Norm. Who is conveniently not at home, so Harry is instead
entertained by Norm’s statuesque wife Jean (Beverly Bovy). The two of them start by taking a bath together, and soon
Jean’s taking Harry’s cock into her mouth. She then takes it from behind, and Harry washes the fuzzy cleft of
her ass. “Harry, you’re really quite spectacular!” So spectacular in fact that Jean tells him she’s
pregnant, and he’s the father. “Norm had a vasectomy over a year ago.”
Harry’s generous response: “Oh shit.”
The letter, and its depravity, continues. “Listen to this,” says Rose. “This is the worst of all.”
And the worst conveniently finds Harry’s stepdaughter Sandy (Ginger Snaps) sleeping in his bed. She’s having
a wet dream about “Bobby,” and Harry doesn’t need much convincing to play along. After all, he wouldn’t
want to wake her up: “After all, children need their sleep.”
“I’d forgotten how tight a 14-year-old could be,” he says (Yes, maybe that is the worst of all…),
as in no time he’s balls deep in statutory country, afraid to stop for fear of waking the girl. It’s after he’s
watered her rose bush and continued to fuck her that his fertility symbol necklace falls off and gets lost inside of her.
“I cannot believe the morality in this country has fallen to such a low point!” exclaims Rose. At this
point the League refuses to believe that the letter is authentic, and they decide to investigate by interviewing the parties
Barton Fartblow (Tony “The Hook” Perez) pays a visit to the Phallis household, but finds only Sandy at
home. She invites him in, and under the pretense of examining his wardrobe for gift ideas for her father she begins undressing
him. Yammering on like a grade-school Brooklynite Sandy is soon tasting Barton’s massive meat “banana,”
despite his very feeble protests, then climbing on top of him for a dirty-talking fuck. Leaning back she coaxes a wad out
of him, and when she climbs off Harry’s necklace is now wrapped around Barton’s cock.
“This is terrible,” says Barton in the throes of post-orgasmic guilt.
“It’s not so bad,” Sandy tells him. “All we need is a little more practice!”
Mortified with himself Barton runs back to League headquarters and confesses to Rose that he was just seduced by a
14-year-old girl. Rose wants to hear all about it, and in the process the two begin reenacting the scene.
Rose ends up tasting Barton’s banana too, and in very short order he’s slipping it to her right there in
the office of the Decency and Morality League. Rose’s proper façade drops away as soon as she finds that she can actually
accommodate Barton’s manhood, and by the time he splashes down on her belly he’s left the necklace inside of her.
Rose gets dressed and hustles off to the Spurtover Oil Company in search of Harry Phallis. (By the way, nice attention
to detail with the raised relief plaque of the company.) Harry is out to lunch, but Gladys is holding down the fort and Rose
confronts her with the contents of the letter. Gladys shamefully admits that it’s all true: “He fucked me between
the soup and the main course!” When Gladys tells Rose that she’s still sore, Rose sits her down, removes her skirt,
and proceeds to examine the poor girl. Orally, that is.
After a bit of kissing-it-and-making-it-better, Gladys asks to see Rose’s pussy so that she can compare the two
and make sure hers is all right. After a little more licking the ladies engage in a grinding session of frottage. When they’ve
finished Rose takes her leave, inviting Gladys to the League dinner that evening, of course. She also leaves the necklace
tucked away inside of her new friend.
Blissfully worn out, Gladys
eases back to take a nap on the couch, still nude from the waist down. It’s at this moment that the League’s Richard
Grandik (John Holmes) arrives. He admires the sleeping girl, and after a very brief moral struggle (“I wonder if I dare?”)
decides to slip it to her, thinking she might not even notice. But of course she notices a foot of cock, and wakes up right
away at the shock of being entered by Holmes’ cyclopean sea monster. Grandik splits her in half, despite her pretending
to object, and quickly comes on her stomach.
“Richard,” asks Gladys in the afterglow, “Will you marry me?”
Pam is masturbating in her office again when her secretary barges in to tell her that a Mr. Richard Grandik has arrived
to see her. “Doesn’t anyone the fuck ever knock around here?” Pam asks icily. But seeing as how her orgasm
has already been ruined she consents to an audience with Richard.
Richard tells her that he believes the letter is authentic, and also that he wasn’t fooled by her eraser gag
that morning. The conversation turns to size, and soon Pam is trying him on. “I’m only doing this in the interest
of science,” Pam tells him a moment before taking his gigantic member in her mouth. Or at least the head, which is about
all she can take.
And by the way, Pam is one sexy performer: black-haired, pale-skinned, with small shapely breasts and completely unshaved
she is a very real porn star, absolutely unlike the manufactured fuckdolls of today.
Grandik begins laying pipe, and despite the running conversation between he and Slanders he’s soon frosting her
right above the garter belt. And wouldn’t you know it, now Pam’s got the necklace.
That night, at Rose Cummings’ house, everything seems to be shaping up nicely for the League’s big promotional
party. Except for the fact that Harry Phallis is more than a little miffed about his dirty letter getting spread around town.
Unable to reach Pam by phone Harry threatens Miss Klug with legal action, and upon learning of the publicity party he grabs
Gladys and heads straight for Rose’s place.
Meanwhile, backstage at the promotional gig, Pam and Richard are laying low while waiting for the television cameras
to arrive. Pam is eager for another crack at Grandik’s monumental member, and in a rather artfully staged shot she pulls
down the top of her dress and tries to outdo her previous attempt at swallowing his pork sword.
Onstage Rose begins her fancy hypocritical speech on behalf of the Decency and Morality League. When she reaches the
moment of presentation for the Most Moral Woman of the Year the curtain is drawn and the audience is treated to the view of
the Most Moral Woman of the Year chugging a mouthful of horsecock. On national television, yet. Barton Fartblow jumps onstage
to try and assuage the situation, but Pam just pulls his cock out of his pants and starts blowing him too.
Even Harry’s anger is defused by this point: “Oh boy! I didn’t know it was that kind of a party!”
Soon a full-scale orgy is taking place, and amidst the blowing of giant cocks, double penetrations, lesbianism and money shots,
Rose comes to the conclusion that, “It’s much more fun to do it than to try and stop other people from doing it.”
As the orgy progresses Harry finally comes face to face with Pam Slanders. He vents for a minute, then asks her what
she’s got to say for herself.
“Fuck me, Harry. Fuck me!”
“Oh,” he says. And he does.
In the process Harry gets his necklace back. “Hey everybody, hey look! Pam Slanders did it again! She solved
my problem. She’s the greatest! Look, look she found my cockring!”
“Hooray for Pam Slanders!” is the cheer of the day, as the orgy continues right into “The End.”
The sex scenes are all short and sweet, not at all like the industrial training-style sexual marathons of today’s
porn. Which not only keeps the pace lively, but provides for a wide variety of scenarios and performers. Which, in keeping
with the film’s defined intention as a sex comedy, works rather well. And unlike many modern adult features this one
even has multiple plotlines: between the League’s hypocritical shenanigans, the running necklace gag, and the relationships
between the characters it’s evident that somebody actually put some thought into this film. Certainly more than the
current standard of, “All right, put the chick in the middle of the floor and she’ll blow these four guys for
20 minutes until they all come in her face.” Hell, there’s even some keen-looking tribal art featured in the background
of several sets.
Holmes actually manages to act in this one, adopting a posh Ivy League accent. True, he doesn’t whip out the
table leg until about an hour into the feature, but there’s plenty to keep the viewer occupied until then. It’s
been said that “The Hook” could give Holmes a run for his money any day, and it’s true, that cat is endowed.
Also on this disc are previews for 8mm Madness volumes one through seven.
Disc two of the John Holmes Collection consists of a set of ten loops from
among the thousands the Waddster is reputed to have made. All are hosted by 42nd Street
Pete, who is accompanied by the ghost of John Holmes’ penis. No kidding. Silent and grainy, these pre-coke era shorts
have been lovingly collected and transferred to DVD, most likely for the first time.
First up is the black & white Dancin’ Fool, which opens with a
slim topless girl doing what appears to be her best Mick Jagger impression. Holmes walks in, also shirtless, and looking like
a bit of a dirtbag with shades and ‘stache. The girl chases him into the bedroom for some cunnilingus and cocksucking,
after which Holmes takes her from behind. They finish up missionary style, and he splashes down on her chest.
In Holmes 2 Johnny starts making out with some suburban hippie chick, and
the action quickly moves into the bedroom. She works on him with both hands and her mouth until he erupts in her face.
Rough Stuff and Two Blondes is one of those loops cobbled together from
two different films. The first section has Holmes tying up a hapless blond and threatening her with a knife, but once she
starts blowing him he cuts her loose and slips it to her, finishing with a facial. The second part cuts to an office where
some roughly-used women await an audience with Johnny, and of course everybody gets laid.
John to Go finds a pair of businesswomen unwinding after a hard day of work
by calling for a male escort. Their hired dick turns out to be none other than Big John Holmes: “Kee-rist, it’s
the whole meatloaf!” one lady’s subtitles say upon releasing John’s trout from his trousers. The girls give
him the double blowjob, then the black girl blows him while he goes down on the white chick. John shoves the head of his cock
into the white girl’s ass (“YAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” go the subtitles), then gives the black chick a reverse
cowgirl ride as the white chick licks her pussy. It ends with a creamy double BJ.
Hosed Down doesn’t waste any time, as John and his lady of the moment
are both naked and performing sexual favors on each other right away. This quickly moves into the screwing, and after they
move through several positions the pretty lady finishes him off and gets, you got it, Hosed
Deep Throat 2 finds John whispering sweet nothings to a slutty-looking redhead,
who strips down and actually manages to swallow the better part of Holmes’ enormous cock. After this impressive display
she climbs up and puts him inside her, and after another position or two she finishes him off orally.
Big John Part 2 jumps in mid-lay as John’s going at it with some young
dame outside by the pool. So heated up are they that they break mid-fuck and go for a swim, after which of course the fucking
continues. He finishes in her face, and she looks happy to have the whole thing over with.
Big Dick 2 also features a redhead, who also wastes no time in getting out
of her dress for the camera. It actually takes a couple of minutes for John to show up onscreen, but when he does he’s
nude with dick in hand. With some trepidation the lady goes down on him, and he returns the favor for a fleeting moment before
pushing it into her. After some missionary and doggy style she drops to her knees and drains him.
The sequel, Big Dick 3, starts with champagne but it’s John’s
cock the little honey in the nightgown wants. They go to town on one another, then the young girl gamely takes in as much
of him as she can before Holmes gives her a facial.
John’s Orgy is the final chapter in the loop collection, featuring
six girls and three dicks. They all know what they’re there for, and the gang-bang gets started right away. With many
a monster shot before the triple culmination, after the guys have largely blown their wads the ladies break out the toys and
keep the party going.
A dozen Storefront Feature Series trailers complete the package, including a number of Grindhouse titles and films
such as Sex on Wheels.
Pete sums it all up by saying that, love him or hate him, John Holmes was a legend. And you cannot argue with that.
Pete’s introduction to each film does kind of interrupt the flow, if you know what I mean, but with the only sound for
each loop being the flicker of the film through the projector, captured during the mastering of the DVD, the collection really
does convey a low-down dirty grindhouse ambiance.
Perhaps deliberately omitted are Johnny’s ventures into gay porn. But, given the history of the genre and the
performer it’s probably okay that we don’t get to witness what could be considered snuff. According to 42nd
Street Pete’s liner notes, “He did do one gay film, but he was pretty desperate at
that point.” However the Internet tells multiple stories and provides a number of interesting rumors, from Holmes’
consorting with transsexual prostitutes to being paid off by jailhouse screws to rape troublesome inmates while being held
as a suspect in the Wonderland Avenue murders. And in the early Nineties
there was at least one hardcore magazine devoted to “John Holmes The King,” going “Man to Man.”
Without a doubt,
one of porn’s most colorful characters, if not the most honorable. As Pete mentions, those further interested in the
legend of John Holmes can check out the Hollywood features Boogie Nights
and Wonderland Avenue.
(Thanks to Exploitation Retrospect
A Taste of Blood
No warm-up, no backstage chit-chat, just a close-up of a face that looks like an autopsy of the Shroud of Turin; all of a
sudden there’s this big tattooed fucker in a mohawk, a crown of barbed wire and bondage gear onstage with hooks and
syringes poking out all over his face and torso as he stomps around screaming out the blood metal song “Pumpkin Man”
and nailing his cock and balls to a piece of plywood.
That’s all in the first two minutes of A Taste of Blood, and for those
who haven’t shut down your DVD player in horror yet, that’s entertainment! A bit of prep work for the show is
seen, including the breaking of bottles over the head, the application of numerous pins and hooks, and staple-gunning of the
face before we’re taken on a brief tour through singer E. Borsheim’s home, a haunted mansion filled with various sinister implements and macabre fixtures.
Then it’s back to the action with “Coffin Bangers,” enhanced with violent audience participation,
smashed sheep heads, chainsaws and police; there’s also a home-wrecking, a fist fight and some behind-the-scenes footage.
The next video assemblage, for “Horrornomicon,” begins with the band playing underwater and quickly shifts
into a frenzy of mutilation, vomiting, dead animal carcasses, blood drinking and stage wrecking.
The final piece is a sepia-toned Halloween nightmare for the uber-metal track “Blood,” complete with fiery
A Taste of Blood collects barbaric footage of the band from 1995 to 2002,
and while this is all intermingled it does chart the band’s progress from young punk metal hooligans to a more violently
disciplined corps of death rock engineers.
Which leaves the
nagging sensation that there’s something simultaneously frustrating and well-played on the part of the band in their
decision not to have any real interview footage or explanatory background material included in A Taste of Blood. Questions asking who the fuck are these guys and what the fuck is going on down in Temecula
aren’t answered, but then again neither is the viewer forced to sit through a display of too much information or petty
philosophy. In the end Kettle Cadaver does the wise thing with this brief ultra-violent format, shocking and perhaps scaring
viewers while ultimately doing what every good act should – leave them wanting more.
Those looking for something that can be most easily described as a combination of the Misfits and GG Allin would do
well to check this out, and if said fans are truly brave they’ll catch Kettle Cadaver live on tour later this year…