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.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Leák (1981)

...aka: Balinese Magic
...aka: Mistik
...aka: Mystics in Bali

Directed by:
H. Tjut Djalil

American journalist Catherine Keane (Ilona Agathe Bastian) is researching a book, which leads her to Indonesia; supposedly the home of the world's most powerful form of black magic - Leak. She hooks up with a friendly man named Hendra (Yos Santo), who knows all about local customs, and takes her deep into the jungle to meet an old sorceress (Sofia W.D.) rumored to possess magical powers. The witch - who can change into a sexier younger version (played by Debbie Cinthia Dewi) if need be - agrees to take Cathy as her pupil if she'll bring her fresh blood to drink. But instead of teaching her the Leak ways, the witch is actually tricking naive young Cathy into helping her regain her youth by terrorizing and drinking the blood of villagers. And that of course involves Cathy's head sometimes popping right off her shoulders (complete with an attached spine and internal organs!), flying around town and sucking unborn fetuses out directly from the womb!
.
A cult following is basically assured thanks to atrocious acting (the extremely wooden lead actress was in fact not an actress at all, but a German tourist visiting Bali who was plucked out of a crowd by the producers), ridiculous dubbing and dialogue (the witch's non-stop cackling sounds like it would be more at home coming out of a Muppet's mouth), the bizarre premise and lots of strange, cheesy special effects. The witch has a long flexible tongue she uses to slurp blood from bottles and at one point she and Cathy even transform into bloated pig people.
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W.D. Mochtar (BLACK MAGIC) co-stars. The director also made THE WHITE CROCODILE (1982), SATAN'S BED (1983), LADY TERMINATOR (1985) and others. The Mondo Macabro DVD release is a fairly nice print (and clearly the best one available), though every time the head comes off it seems to have been sourced from a VHS source. Still, the disc itself comes with an outstanding and well-researched documentary on Indonesian exploitation films that makes the film well worth purchasing.

★★

Updates

If you've ever checked out the index here, you'll realize there are quite a few films I have listed but haven't gotten around to writing reviews for. Well, I've been trying to catch up on these here recently with some rewatches. The latest reviews I've done playing catch-up are...
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- Abby (1974)
- Evil Spawn (1986)
- Hausu (1977)
- Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (1987)
- Humanoids from the Deep (1980)
- Silent Scream (1980)
- Spookies (1986)
- Three on a Meathook (1972)
- Zombie 3 (1987)
- Zombie 4 (1988)
.
Seems like every time I think I'm close to getting the index licked, new films I was previously unaware of keep popping up right and left. These rare titles will be added to the index eventually...

- Bakeneko: A Vengeful Spirit (Kaibyo noroi numa) (1968)
- Black Pit of Dr. M, The (Misterios de ultratumba) (1959)
- Bloody Sorcery (Xiong zhou) (1986)
- Bride from Hell, The (Giu xin niang) (1972)
- Corridor (1989)
- Count Tsakona and His Draculettes (O komis... Tsakonas) (1989)
- Dead Beat, The (1990)
- Dead of Night: A Darkness at Blaisedon (1969)
- Dwarf, The (Issun-boshi) (1955)
- Evil in the Woods (1986)
- Experiment in Evil (Le testament du Docteur Cordelier) (1959)
- Force of Darkness (1985)
- Ghost-Cat of Arima Palace (Kaibyo Arima goten) (1953)
- Ghost Nursing (Yang gui) (1982)
- Ghost Story of the Snow Witch (Kaidan yukionna) (1968)
- Inappropriate Behaviour (1986)
- Leech Wizard (Dunkun Lintah) (1981)
- Magic Amethyst, The (Mo huan zi shui jung) (1990)
- Mansion of the Ghost Cat (Borei kaibyo yashiki) (1958)
- Night of the Dribbler (1990)
- Obsessed, The (Ling mo) (1975)
- Occupant, The (Ling qi bi ren) (1984)
- Pact with the Forces of Darkness (Perjanjian dimalam keremat)
(1990)
- Resurrection of Michael Myers, The (1987)
- Resurrection of Michael Myers Part 2, The (1988)
- Seven Coffins, The (Qu mo nu) (1975)
- Sexual Devil (Yan gui kuang qing) (198?)
- Torticola versus Frankensberg (Torticola contre Frankensberg)
(1952)
- Vampire Partner, The (1988)
- White Crocodile, The (Ratu buaya putih) (1982)
.
More to come, I'm sure...

Trampa infernal (1990)

...aka: Hell's Trap

Directed by:
Pedro Galindo III

Mexi imitation of American slashers comes complete with the usual ugly 80s aesthetic (we're talkin' neon, mullets and stone-washed here) and derivations from a whole host of then-popular genre films. Nacho (Pedro Fernández) seems to best Mauricio (Toño Mauri) at everything, with the former usually coming out on top. Their friends are getting sick of the rivalry, so Mauricio comes up with the ultimate final challenge to determine who's the best; a hunting/camping trip in search of an elusive, vicious bear that has apparently just massacred five men. Also deciding to come along are Nacho's girlfriend Alejandra (Edith González) and best friend Charly (Charly Valentino = fat guy = comic relief), as well as Mauricio's friend Javier (Armando Galvan), and their girlfriends Carlota (Marisol Santacruz) and Viviana (Adriana Vega). Scoffing at warnings from a local (Alfredo Gutiérrez), the gang sets up camp near a lake and instead of running into a four-legged fiend, they end up running into a two-legged one named Jesse (Alberto Mejia Baron), a deranged American Vietnam vet who hunts them down one by one.

Things go down basically as you expect them to, with the main characters setting up a brainless scenario just so the lesser characters can behave like idiots and get killed off. Still, this is a fairly efficient example of its type that takes place primarily outdoors in broad daylight and is certainly no worse than the majority of films it copies. In fact, the 77 minute run time is actually an asset, as this cuts right to the action with little filler. One of the best things it has going for it is the presentation of the killer; one of those wacko survivalist types in an expressionless white mask and curly blonde wig (!) who sets up various booby traps and is armed with both a machine gun and a razor clawed glove with perforated blades! Other than the Elm Street Freddy glove swipe, you'll see ideas pinched from FRIDAY THE 13TH (campers getting killed by a masked maniac), THE ZERO BOYS (woodsy war games), THE PROWLER (war vet killer), THE FINAL TERROR (survivalist slasher setup) and many others.

The film (finally available with English subs) was part of the 2007 BCI/Eclipse box set Crypt of Terror - Horror from South of the Border, Volume 1, which also contains CEMETERY OF TERROR (1985), THE DEMON RAT (1991), DON'T PANIC (1989), VACATIONS OF TERROR (1989) and VACATIONS OF TERROR 2 (1991; from this same director). Looking forward to watching the rest of those.

★★1/2
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