Ratings Key



★★★★
= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
★★★
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Student Bodies (1981)

Directed by:
Mickey Rose

Review coming soon.

1/2

Stuff, The (1985)

Directed by:
Larry Cohen

Review coming soon.

★★

Steel and Lace (1990)

Directed by:
Ernest D. Farino

An attractive classical pianist (Clare Wren) is so distraught after being brutally gang raped that she decides to end it all by leaping to her death. Her brother (Bruce Davison), a scientist who used to work for NASA, decides to get revenge by reconstructing his dead sister as a killer cyborg specially equipped to teach her attackers a lesson. This film is pretty dark and depressing, but it's not bad as far as these things go, with decent effects work and acting. More review coming soon.

Score: 5 out of 10

Spookies (1986)

...aka: Goblin
...aka: Twisted Souls

Directed by:
Thomas Doran
Brendan Faulkner
Eugenie Joseph

TWISTED SOULS was filmed in upstate New York in 1984 by Faulkner and Doran and was about finished with post-production by early 1985 when the film was seized from the filmmakers by executive producer Michael Lee. After some legal wrangling, Lee hired a new director (Ms. Joseph) to scrap about half of the original footage, shoot brand new stuff and then cobble it all together in the editing room. The result (which is about a 50/50 split of footage from both shoots) is basically a cluttered and confusing monster movie hodgepodge, but there are still plenty of fun moments that manage to shine through for fans of 80s horror.
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Young runaway Billy (Alec Nemser), who's upset his parents forgot his birthday, ends up making his way to a large country mansion at about the same time two car loads full of friends show up looking for a place to party. All end up trapped inside and face myriad monster terrors, which are all controlled by a creepy zombie-like man named Kreon (Felix Ward). Kreon wants to resurrect his perfectly preserved wife Isabelle (Maria Pechukas) and needs to kill off the home's new visitors to do so. At least that's what I made of the newly structure plot. What's left is a mixed bag of special effects that are sometimes hokey, but usually excellent, and they're the primary reason to check this one out. Included are tons of zombies, a clawed cat boy, a green-faced zombie kid with oversized plastic teeth, a witch dummy prop, an EVIL DEAD-like demon, flatulent "muck men" monsters that are dissolved by wine, little GHOULIES-like critters, a giant lizard like thingy with electric tentacles, a hulking Grim Reaper and a truly excellent spider monster. The effects from the older version (which were created by Gabe Bartalos, Jennifer Aspinal, Vincent J. Guastini and others) are superior to the stuff we see in the newer footage.
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For the record, the scenes of the kid runaway, Kreon and Isabelle, the graveyard zombies, the cat boy, the green zombie kid and the witch puppet were all shot by Joseph, while the rest is from the original shoot. Some of the people involved with this one (Faulkner, Doran, some of the actors) were also involved with IGOR AND THE LUNATICS (1985).

★★

Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

Directed by:
Jack Clayton

Review coming soon.

★★

Lisa (1989)

...aka: Candlelight Killer

Directed by:
Gary Sherman

Review coming soon.

★★

Stepford Children, The (1987) (TV)

Directed by:
Alan J. Levi

The third in the series, following the theatrical hit THE STEPFORD WIVES (1975) and the forgettable made-for-TV effort REVENGE OF THE STEPFORD WIVES (1980), is a silly and somewhat dull (though watchable) telefilm from the director of the Frankie Avalon "horror" BLOOD SONG (1982) and countless TV movies. Two big city teens (Tammy Lauren, Randall Batinkoff) move with their parents (Barbara Eden, Don Murray) to a small town where the sinister adults have perfected making robotic "model" teenagers who do exactly as they are told. With Ken Swofford (BLACK ROSES), Sharon Spelman (THE BLOB remake), former pro football linebacker and sports commentator Dick Butkus, Richard Anderson (THE NIGHT STRANGLER), James Coco (a bright spot as a cooking teacher), a young John Cameron Mitchell and Judith Baldwin (who had appeared in the original film). At least this one never polluted our video shelves here in America since it was never released on tape (and has yet to receive a DVD release either). It was followed by yet another TV "sequel" in 1995 (which was made for cable) called THE STEPFORD HUSBANDS and then Frank Oz's 2004 abomination starring Nicole Kidman. The original is the only one of these that's really worth watching.

★★

Supernaturals, The (1986)

Directed by:
Armand Mastroianni

The tiny subgenre of "zombie soldier" flicks includes the fairly good SHOCK WAVES (1975), the notoriously awful French film ZOMBIE LAKE (1980), the equally bad Spanish effort OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES (1981) and a couple of others. Here's another to throw on that pile. It's American and involves confederate Civil War zombies. Just because the costumes are different that doesn't make this any better than others of it's ilk. In fact, it pretty much blows. "Yankees" make some confederate POWs walk through a field of land mines. Everyone dies but a little kid who turns around and clinches his fist, which then glows. Many years later, some young military recruits show up at a training camp and the vengeful ghouls kill them off. Star Trek fans might enjoy seeing Nichelle Nichols (Sgt. Uhura) in a rare lead role as the tough drill sergeant and the zombie make-up in decent, but the photography is terrible, the movie is too dark, nothing of much interest really happens and the whole thing is dull.
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The cast includes British schlock/horror movie hunk Maxwell Caulfield, Talia Balsam (Martin's daughter, who also starred in CRAWLSPACE), LeVar Burton (Reading Rainbow), Bobby Di Cicco and Scott Jacoby. The director also made the wedding slasher HE KNOWS YOU'RE ALONE (1981) and writer/producer Joel Soisson went on to make direct-to-video sequels to MANIAC COP, THE PROPHECY and PULSE.

1/2

Redneck Zombies (1987)

Directed by:
Perciles Lewnes

Review coming soon.

1/2

Lord of the Flies (1990)

Directed by:
Harry Hook

Review coming soon.

★★

King Kong Lives (1986)

...aka: King Kong 2

Directed by:
John Guillerman

Director Guillerman, executive producer Dino De Laurentiis and special effects man Carlo Rambaldi, the team behind the lame 1976 KING KONG remake, didn't leave well enough alone and returned with this belated sequel. It was critically panned (deservedly so) and was a flop, failing to match even half its budget in theaters. Linda Hamilton (is this the best she was offered after THE TERMINATOR?) and Brian Kerwin play scientists who give the giant simian an artificial heart after his disastrous fall off the World Trade Center. Then they decide to mate King with the amply-chested Lady Kong, who is of equal size and demeanor, resulting in the super-cute Baby Kong. The government wants to destroy them all. I would rather have the Divine role in a PINK FLAMINGOS remake than watch this moronic piece of trash again. From the failed DEG. Contains flashback footage from the '76 film.

Kiss, The (1988)

Directed by:
Pen Densham

Polish-born model/actress Joanna Pacula (a one-time Roman Polanski ‘discovery’) contributes a menacing performance as the sexy and mysterious Felice. Five months after her sister Hilary (Pamela Collyer, from EVIL JUDGMENT) dies in a shocking "accidental" car crash, she goes to live with her widowed brother-in-law Jack (Nicholas Kilbertus) and his teen daughter Amy (Meredith Salenger) in Albany, New York. Amy knows something isn't right when people start dying, Felice starts slapping on the seductive charm for dad and she witnesses her auntie performing a topless black magic ritual. It turns out that Felice is some sort of evil sorceress who wants to pass on the old family curse to her niece by a woman-to-woman smooch. The Kiss is pretty silly overall, has a ridiculous, over-the-top climax that's impossible to take seriously and shamelessly borrows elements from THE OMEN (sporadically placed creative gore murders), THE HIDDEN (monster coming out of the mouth) and CAT PEOPLE (the whole basic plotline), but still manages to make it all entertaining. Especially nice here are the performances from Pacula and Mimi Kuzyk, who plays the supportive next door neighbor who acts as a mother figure to Salenger. There's also a memorable escalator-mangling-a-face scene that plays on a popular fear.
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Also in the cast are Jan Rubes, Vlasta Vrana as a bishop, Peter Dvorsky as a priest and future director Shawn Levy, who appeared in this and ZOMBIE NIGHTMARE (1986) before becoming one of Hollywood's top directors of family-friendly films (CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM, etc.). Co-scripter Stephen Volk returned with the similar film THE GUARDIAN (1990), which involved a mysterious and sexy druid nanny offering up human sacrifices to some tree God.

★★

Konga (1961)

...aka: I Was a Teenage Gorilla

Directed by:
John Lemont

Review coming soon.

Score: 4 out of 10

Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)

Directed by:
John 'Bud' Cardos

Review coming soon.

★★★

Kindred, The (1986)

Directed by:
Stephen Carpenter
Jeffrey Obrow

Review coming soon.

★★

Junior (1984)

...aka: Cut Above, A
...aka: Hot Water

Directed by:
Jim Hanley

After being released from prison, tough broads K.C. (Suzanne DeLaurentis) and Jo (Linda Singer) buy some lakeside property and plan to open a bar there. Junior (Jeremy Ratchford), a chubby, manic, psychotic wannabe rapist/ killer is spurned by the girls and plots revenge. In badly edited insert scenes he talks to his cackling, grinning mother, who is very obviously played by a man in drag. Junior rips a guys hand open with a hook, puts worms in a piece of fish, attacks a pretty houseguest with a chainsaw and kills, while whining and complaining. Technically speaking it's pretty dismal (especially the boring opening and the extremely sloppy editing), but I enjoyed a few of the gore scenes, the pseudo-feminist angle (which is curiously downplayed by exploiting some of the women involved) and the plentiful laughs (many of which are unintentional). The two leading ladies are appealing and try their best, but this MOTHER'S DAY/ TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE hybrid will probably only appeal to fans of cheap, sleazy exploitation movies. Viewing it in that context alone, it's mindlessly entertaining.

★★

Judgement Day (1989)

...aka: Nacht der Teufel
...aka: Third Hand, The

Directed by:
Ferde Grofe, Jr.

Two college buddies (David Anthony Smith and Kenneth McLeod) who must not have seen AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON decide to backpack their way through Mexico after their tour bus breaks down. They end up in a very small village that's filled with strange, superstitious inhabitants and an even stranger curse. To save themselves from the plague back in 1689, the villagers made a pact with the dark lord below, who in return for his favor was promised the chance to return to the same town three hundred years to banish souls to hell for all eternity. Now it's 1989 and when you do the math, you realize the two amigos have obviously picked the wrong day to end up in this town. Not that I'd want to hang around in a town called "Satana" for very long, anyway. Throw into the mix some demon-possessed townspeople, a dual crucifixion, some excellent and extremely atmospheric location work in an old, crumbling Mexican village and a personal appearance from Satan himself (in a pretty interesting make-up job), and you have JUDGEMENT DAY.
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Unfortunately, even with the busy plot and all that great south-of-the-border atmosphere, this film drags a lot, is confusing, dreary, nearly gore-free and has highly variable acting and dialogue. There are some topless scenes and whippings, but the Magnum video (which is long out of circulation and difficult to find) is still rated PG-13. The cast includes a few familar faces - Cesar Romero, Monte Markham and Peter Mark Richman, plus Gloria Hayes.

Score: 4 out of 10

Jack the Ripper (1958) (TV)

Directed by:
Frank P. Bibas
David MacDonald
George Waggner

Episodes from the unreleased series The Veil were mixed and matched to create three different feature-length anthology films, which then played on late night TV before landing on video and then DVD. Episodes from JACK THE RIPPER include "Food on the Table," "Genesis," "Jack the Ripper" and "Summer Heat." The other two "films" were DESTINATION NIGHTMARE and THE VEIL. Review coming soon.

★★1/2

Journey to Midnight (1968) (TV)

Directed by:
Roy Ward Baker
Alan Gibson

Hammer’s short-lived supernatural series Journey to the Unknown (produced by Anthony Hinds) only lasted about four months. 20th Century Fox acquired the hour-long episodes for American release and paired two together for several TV feature releases. This one contains “Poor Butterfly” by Alan Gibson and “The Indian Spirit Guide” by Roy Ward Baker. For some reason original series hostess Joan Crawford has been dropped from the proceedings and instead we get pudgy, bearded charmer Sebastian Cabot, who briefly pops in to warn us, "You'll pray for morning!" In Butterfly (scripted by Jeremy Paul from a William Abney story), Steven Miller (Chad Everett), an American businessman in London, receives an invitation for an unknown source for a costume party out in the county. He can’t figure out who invited him or why, but travels to Measham House, a secluded manor that seems to be stuck in some kind of time freeze. There he falls for Rose (Susan Broderick), a young, frightened beauty dressed in a butterfly costume. She wants him to take her back to London with him, but various guest say “I don’t think they’ll let her come with you.” The next morning, Steve can’t find the house; the locals claim it burned down in the 1920s and killed everyone inside. The predictable story involves romance, jealousy, an attack with a croquet mallet, ghosts and reincarnation. With Fay Compton and Edward Fox.
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The better segment is Roy Ward Baker’s “The Indian Spirit Guide,” which was scripted by Robert Bloch. Jerry Crown (Tom Adams), a hard up private eye having a hard time paying the bills, gets hooked up with wealthy, grieving widow Leona Gillings (Julie Harris), who wants to contact Howard, her late husband of fifteen years. Jerry specializes in uncovering bogus psychics, such as a man in drag (!) using tape recorders and lighting tricks and a turban-wearing Oriental mystic at “The House of Chandu,” who uses a floating trumpet on strings gimmick. Seeing an easy, vulnerable target in Leona, Jerry decides to romance, marry and then kill her for her money. But there’s one more psychic that needs to be defrauded; Sarah Prinn (Catherine Lacey), one of Howard’s close friends, who works through an Indian spirit guide called Bright Arrow (Julian Sherrier). Will Bright Arrow be able to warn Leona in time that she’s in grave danger? Tracy Reed and Marne Maitland co-star.
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Both tales are entertaining and would be suitable for kids (they received a TV-G rating on cable). The other three TV films in this series were JOURNEY INTO DARKNESS (featuring the episodes "The New People" and "Paper Dolls") JOURNEY TO MURDER (featuring "Do Me a Favor - Kill Me!" and "The Killing Bottle") and JOURNEY TO THE UNKNOWN (featuring "The Last Visitor" and "Matakitas is Coming.") None of these have seen the light of day on video or DVD in the U.S.

★★1/2

Just Before Dawn (1981)

Directed by:
Jeff Lieberman

Review coming soon.

★★1/2

It Came from Hollywood (1982)

Directed by:
Malcolm Leo
Andrew Solt

And it can go right back to Hollywood, dig a hole, jump in and bury itself. When reviewing compilation movies put together simply to showcase clips from other movies, there are just two areas that are really important. The first are the clips themselves. Is there a consistent theme? Did they select good ones? Do the clips play into an overall theme? Second, and most important of all, is the quality of the original footage shot to bookend all the clips. Are those scenes funny? Insightful? Informative? Well written? While ITFH does feature plenty of amusing clips from vintage horror and science fiction films (as well as juvenile delinquent films, drug pictures, musicals and other genres), overall it's a complete failure. The one area the film does do right is categorizing the clips. It's broken down into ten sections - "Gorillas," "Musical Memories" and "Monsters" are hosted by Gilda Radner, "Aliens," "The Brain" and "Troubled Teens" are hosted by Dan Ackroyd, "A Tribute to Ed Wood" and "Technical Triumphs" are hosted by John Candy and "Giants/Tiny People" and (surprise, surprise) "Getting High" are hosted by Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong.
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So what went wrong? For starters, in a film supposedly celebrating awful Grade Z movies, is it really a wise idea to include clips from classic films like THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951), THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (1953), CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON (1954), THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN (1957), THE FLY (1958) and HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (1959)? Yes, all of those films are "dated." But they're also landmark genre films that don't deserve to be pissed on simply because special effects technology has improved since they were made. And none of them deserve to be senselessly grouped together with notoriously awful bombs like ROBOT MONSTER (1953), THE CREEPING TERROR (1964) and MARS NEEDS WOMEN (1967).
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The worst part of this production are the new "comic" vignettes; which are irritating, painfully unfunny and horribly written. Often times the narration looks down upon the featured movies with disdain and contempt; cynically mocking them while completely losing sight of the fact that the films they're making fun of are often charming and uniquely entertaining and that's why people enjoy watching them. There's little actual love for schlock/Z grade productions in this film. It's just a cheap opportunity for some usually-funny people to spit out a bunch of woefully written pun-laded one-liners that aren't the least bit funny. And as far as our famous comedian hosts go, all I can say is that you'd be half-tempting to start pelting them with tomatoes if they hadn't already proven their talents many times over elsewhere.

Hard Rock Zombies (1985)

...aka: Rock Zombies

Directed by:
Krishna Shah

Would-be cult flick finds four members of a heavy metal hair band descending on a small town and disrupting the peaceful lives of the old-fashioned citizens. They end up getting themselves murdered and (thanks to an incantation one of the band members recorded before dying) come back as zombies to get revenge on the Neo Nazi baddies responsible. There's a werewolf creature, an evil blonde seductress who gets naked, a dwarf, Hitler and frequent breaks made for musical numbers. The makeup effects are laughable, the acting is terrible and it could (and should) have been funnier, but the climactic cheesy love song ("Cassie") belted out to a shy, young, seemingly mute, wide-eyed groupie has to be some sort of stupid classic. American Drive-In (1985), by the same director featured this movie as the main attraction.

1/2

Hider in the House (1989)

Directed by:
Matthew Patrick

Review coming soon.

★★

Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1987)

...aka: Hollywood Hookers

Directed by:
Fred Olen Ray

Cheerfully cheap, infamously-titled B horror/comedy (filmed in just five and a half days) hits most of the right notes if you like this kind of stuff. Sleazy, wisecracking private eye Jack Chandler (Jay Richardson, who also narrates) is hired to locate runaway Samantha (Linnea Quigley) by her mother. While hanging out with some cops investigating a rash of mysterious dismemberment murders, Jack swipes a matchbook with the name of a hooker, Mercedes, written on it, as well as her phone number. He calls, arranges to meet her (Michelle "McLellan"/ Bauer) at a local bar, shows up and is immediately drugged. When he comes to, he finds himself knee deep in a cult of chainsaw-worshipping prostitutes who seduce and then chainsaw hapless saps to pieces to please the ancient Egyptian God Anubis. The cult is presided over by "The Master" (TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE's "Leatherface" himself, Gunnar Hansen) and Jack learns that Sam has infilatrated the group to get revenge on the death of her friend.
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HCH is every bit as silly and aggressively campy as one might expect from the title and delivers precisely what is expected of it. It's loaded with nudity and there are plenty of amusing scenes featuring cartoonish amounts of blood and rubber body parts flying all over the place when the hookers cut their clientel down to size. Aside from the horror content, the film also effectively takes aim at noir and TV detective shows with Richardson's dry, almost nonstop and often very funny narration track (conceived with a playear for wordplay and puns by the director and T.L. Lankford).
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No one's expecting top flight acting from one of these things, they're expecting good-natured, enthusiastic camping, and that's precisely what most of the cast deliver. Richardson does a fine job in the lead role (one of his firt), though the character he's playing is so unlikable and sleazy it's tough to really take to him. Quigley - introduced at a later junction in the film - and Bauer both look like they're having a blast playing their respective parts. Better yet, both ladies get their very own memorable dance sequence. Quigley's - "Virgin Dance of the Double Chainsaws" - has her emerging from a sarcophagus clad only in a thong and some body paint with two mini- chainsaws in hand. Bauer's - the best scene in the entire film - has her stripping, dancing to some imitation Elvis and prepping her room (covering her painting of The King in plastic and putting on a shower cap!) before making a mess of her trick (Jimmy Williams). Dawn Wildsmith (as a chainsaw hooker in custody during the opening scene) and "Jerry Fox" / Fox Harris (as a customer who wants to make a topless little league calendar) have memorably amusing smaller roles. The only real disappointment is with Hansen, who seems like he's not even trying. Also with "Dukey Flyswatter"/ Michael D. Sonye as a bartender, Dennis Mooney as a cop and Gary J. Levinson.
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It was selected as the #4 coolest B-movie by Maxim Magazine not long ago and is one of the director's best films. Ray's company Retromedia released a 20th Anniversary Edition in 2008 which includes a commentary track from Ray and Lankford and a "making of" featurette with Ray, Quigley and Bauer.

★★★

House IV: Home Deadly Home (1990)

...aka: House IV
...aka: House 4: The Repossession

Directed by:
Lewis Abernathy

People were understandably confused when, after HOUSE (1985) and HOUSE II: THE SECOND STORY (1987) were released, Part IV suddenly reared its ugly head on home video, but there is an explanation. An awful (and completely unrelated) horror-comedy called THE HORROR SHOW (1989) here in America had already used the HOUSE III moniker for its European release, so the distributors here took that into account so they wouldn't fall into the same confusing, overlapping hell trap that befell the Demons and Zombie series'. But it's really all for naught, as none of the four films in this series (all of which were produced by Sean S. Cunningham) are all that good. After her husband Roger (William Katt) is killed in an automobile accident that also crippled her daughter Laurel (Melissa Clayton), Kelly Cobb (Terri Treas) is determined to hang onto the big new house she gained in the inheritance. People warn her to get out because they think the house is haunted, and she soon realizes they are right. Or could it be that someone actually wants her out of the house for their own greedy benefit? Blah sequel attempts to make its characters sympathetic, but still has crappy special effects, a derivative and predictable storyline and uneven performances. Attempts at comedy are also lame and out of place. Though Katt has the same character name he used in the original film, he seems to be playing a different character here. Treas used a body double (Ellyn Dawn Humphreys) for a nude scene in a blood shower, and watch for an uncredited Kane Hodder as "the human pizza." *smirk*
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The cast also includes Scott Burkholder as the shady brother-in-law, Dabbs Greer as the grandpa, Denny Dillon (from the Dream On TV series), Ned Romero as a helpful Indian neighbor and Ned Bellamy. It's based on a story co-written by Jim Wynorski and three other people. The director had previously worked on the special effects for WITCHBOARD (1986). Not released until 1992.

Score: 2.5 out of 10

High Desert Kill (1989) (TV)

Directed by:
Harry Falk

Review coming soon.

★★1/2

High Spirits (1988)

Directed by:
Neil Jordan

Review coming soon.

Score: 3 out of 10

Ghost and Mr. Chicken, The (1966)

Directed by:
Alan Rafkin

Review coming soon.

★★1/2

Tokaido Yotsuya kaidan (1959)

...aka: Ghost of Yotsuya, The
...aka: Ghost Story of Yotsuya
...aka: Yotsuya Ghost Story in Tokaido

Directed by:
Nobuo Nakagawa

Review coming soon.

★★★1/2

Godzilla 1985 (1984)

...aka: Godzilla: The Legend Is Reborn
...aka: Gojira
...aka: Return of Godzilla, The

Directed by:
Koji Hashimoto
R.J. Kizer

Well-publicized update (coming at the 40th anniversary of the fire-breathing lizard) has Godzilla awakened by nuclear submarines and descending on/demolishing Tokyo in typical fashion. Raymond Burr (in footage added by the American producers) returns as the only American to witness Godzilla's original stampede of destruction. Burr was also in the 1956 American release of GODZILLA, KING OF THE MONSTERS. A new updated Godzilla series was made in Japan starting in 1989, and we finally got our own fully American version in 1998, which was pretty awful. This failed outing (which was a deserving box office flop) has the usual bad dubbing and cheesy effects, but completely lacks the campy charm of the original series.

Gothic (1986)

Directed by:
Ken Russell

Russell's fictional account of one night that will forever change the lives of famed horror authors Mary "Frankenstein" Shelley and John "The Vampyre" Polidori is a wild (and interesting), but highly uneven ride. It's 1816 and the two authors (played by Natasha Richardson and Timothy Spall) are joined by Mary's poet fiancé Percy (Julian Sands), stepsister Claire (Myriam Cyr) and Polidori's ex-lover Lord Byron (Gabriel Byrne), at a picturesque Swiss villa for an evening of scares, sex swapping, and hallucinations brought on by opium and laudanum. It plays almost like a nightmarish version of the prologue from BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935), done in typically outrageous, excessive Russell fashion. HAUNTED SUMMER dealt with the same idea (with the events moved to Italy for some reason), and may actually be more enjoyable to those who get annoyed by Russell's filmmaking style. Now in the public domain, so it's easy to find, cheap to buy and can be viewed many places online for free.

★★

Graduation Day (1981)

Directed by:
Herb Freed

Review coming soon.

★★

Green Man, The (1990) (TV)

Directed by:
Elijah Moshinsky

Originally a BBC production before being picked up by the cable channel A&E. Review coming soon.

★★1/2

Ultimo squalo, L' (1980)

...aka: Great White
...aka: Jaws Returns
...aka: Last Jaws, The
...aka: Last Shark, The
...aka: Shark

Directed by:
Enzo G. Castellari

Just like most other popular movies, JAWS (1975), the second highest grossing film of its decade, was followed not only by its own official series of sequels, but also quite a few rip offs from various countries. And here's another one; an Italian production filmed in the States. Originally called L'ULTIMO SQUALO (THE LAST SHARK), this was released in the U.S. under the title GREAT WHITE but had to quickly be pulled from theaters when Universal Pictures filed a successful lawsuit claiming this movie was too similar to their film. Since JAWS already had a sequel several years before this one was made, in some countries it was released as JAWS 3. I haven't done a whole lot of research but I actually don't think this was ever officially released to video or DVD here in America, though it has been in many other countries. More review coming soon.

Score: 5 out of 10

Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)

Directed by:
Joe Dante

Review coming soon.

★★★

Guardian, The (1990)

Directed by:
William Friedkin

You can't totally hate a movie where leather clad biker rapists are decapitated by a possessed tree, but this confused movie is equal parts dreary and absurd, yet seems to completely lack a sense of humor. Jenny Seagrove is fine in the role of Camilla, a Druid priestess who signs on to be the nanny for a yuppie couple's newborn baby. Little do they know, she plans on sacrificing the tike to that aforementioned bloodthirsty tree! Some gore (by Steve Johnson, et al), rabid wolves, high production values and the good central performance help things along, but it's nearly impossible to take this as seriously as was intended.

★★

Ghostbusters II (1989)

...aka: Ghost Busters II
...aka: Ghostbusters II: River of Slime
...aka: Last of the Ghostbusters, The

Directed by:
Ivan Reitman

Review coming soon.

★★1/2

Ghostbusters (1984)

...aka: Ghost Busters

Directed by:
Ivan Reitman

Review coming soon.

★★★

L'ultima orgia del III Reich (1977)

... aka: Bourreaux SS
... aka: Caligula Reincarnated as Hitler
... aka: Gestapo's Last Orgy, The
... aka: Last Orgy of the Third Reich

Directed by:
Cesare Canevari

Cashing in on the Nazisploitation craze sparked by the success of the ILSA films is one thing, but making a compelling film out of the material is quite another. This one manages to be both exploitative trash in questionable taste and, because it takes itself seriously minus any camp, a harrowing little drama all at once. It's pretty nasty at times and gives fans of this kind of trash exactly what they want while simultaneously illustrating some of the real-life horrors that went down in Nazi Germany during WWII. Things begin as a car drives down a winding road. We hear audio of court proceedings as a woman recounts what happened to her and her sister at a concentration camp where nearly all of the 4600 female prisoners had died on orders from the commandant. It's now five years after the war and the overthrow of the Nazis, and the commandant of the female internment camp - Conrad von Starker ("Marc Loud" / Adriano Micantoni) - has already been through the Nuremberg trials, imprisonment and "rehabilitation" back into modern Germany. He was able to skirt stronger punishment thanks to a confession given by Lise Cohen (Daniela "Levy" / Poggi), one of the prisoners. Lise has gotten into contact with Conrad since then. She wants to meet up with him again for a reunion of sorts. And she wants to have the meeting at the now vacated prison camp; a bunch of crumbling old buildings in an overgrown field.






As memories from the past quickly flood back we flash back to prison camp Naugen as Lise first arrives there. The guards weed out the useful women from the ones they immediately want to dispose of. And by "useful" I mean the ones who are attractive enough to fill up brothels and be used as sex slaves. One woman who gets upset when the guards take away her child has her face beat in with the butt of a rifle. A group of young soldiers brought on as staff are shown a slideshow of depraved human behavior including a starved woman getting raped and not even realizing it because she's so hungry, a mother and daughter tied nude in a 69 position and left to die that way and a woman who loves eating excrement and rubbing it all over her body. The soldiers are then "rewarded" by having their pick of a female prisoner, who are all lined up in the nude in front of them. Commandant Conrad says they can have sex, but it cannot be pleasurable for a Jewish woman so the men must make them suffer while raping them. Elsewhere in the camp, all of the pregnant, old and / or unattractive women are led to their death in a giant oven.







Lise proves to be one of the toughest females at the camp. She never shows fear or sadness despite whatever situation she's put in. In fact, she'd prefer to die than be tortured, raped and degraded on daily basis, plus she's already lost the will to live because she feels responsible for the gestapo finding her family. When Konrad threatens her with a gun and she doesn't even flich, he laughs "What fun would it be for me to kill you when you have no desire to live?" He then makes it his personal mission to break Lise using a variety of tortures. He wants to destroy her body and her mind until she's finally afraid of death and then he'll kill her. Commandant Conrad's sadistic, demented bitch assistant Alma (Maristella Greco) takes time to help him reach his goal when she isn't busy feeling up the prisoners looking for a menstuating girl to feed to her rabid Doberman Pinchers. Alma shows Lise her collection of silky panties made from the hair of dead prisoners and her soft gloves made from newborn baby skin. She threatens to skin Lise alive but doesn't get her desired reaction. The whole spectacle makes Conrad get off. Literally. In his pants. Yes, the sick-o Commandant gets really turned on by torture, humiliation and death. He even likes to be humiliated himself and Alma is quick to oblige. She whips him, berates him, acts like she's his mommy and then sticks a riding crop up his ass (!)







Conrad strips Lise naked, ties her up and whips her repeatedly, but doesn't get so much as a scream. She's then hung up over a cage full of flesh-hungry mice and punched in the stomach until she pukes. One of Lise's friends has sex with a guard who's been after her for awhile in hopes that he can somehow help Lise, but she ends up being strung up and slowly dipped into quick lime. After witnessing her death, Lise has a complete mental shutdown and is taken to the clinic where a compassionate doctor (Fulvio Ricciardi) tries to help her snap out of it. The doctor is disgusted by what Germany has become and tries to help whichever girl he can get away with helping. He's letting the young Lia (Antiniska Nemour) get away with pretending like she's ill just so she can avoid the barracks. The doctor discovers that Lise's family is actually alive and relays the information to her, which helps her snap out of it. Unfortunately, she's still got to eventually return to the camp only this time she actually *wants* to live. And it all begs the question, how is Lise able to survive her ordeal and why, years after her concentration camp experience is over, is she wanting reunite with Conrad after he made her life a living hell.






Filled with violence (though little actual gore), full frontal nudity, sex, rape and various sadistic tortures, this will certainly click all of the right boxes for fans of this stuff and it has the added bonus of being reasonably well-made on what is clearly a very low-budget. There's a memorable theme song called "Lise" on the soundtrack which combines vocals (by Myriam Del Mare) and German spoken word passages (by Ingeborg Jordy). It was a Video Nasty in England and remains banned there to this day.

Exploitation Digital and Shock-O-Rama Cinema have both released DVDs in the U.S. The director also made the original Emmanuelle film Io, Emmanuelle (1969) starring the gorgeous Erika Blanc and the very rare sleazy giallo Killing of the Flesh (1983).

★★★
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