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.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Haunting Desires (2003)

Directed by:
"Nicholas Medina" (Fred Olen Ray)

Many blame Jim Wynorski, David DeCoteau and this film's director, Fred Olen Ray (using the alias "Nicholas Medina" here), for turning the low-budget horror industry into one big, dull, plot less soft-core sex romp. All three have some enjoyable flicks under their belt, but this one's unfortunately a prime example of their detractors' gripe; a vampire movie with awful acting, lame writing and a tired, boring plot about bloodsuckers working out of a strip club.

Beverly Lynne, a short-haired blonde who used to be a pro football cheerleader and frequently acts in these things, is Jill, a struggling reporter for "Crime Beat" magazine. She goes undercover in the club to investigate a murder. Jay Richardson virtually replays his HOLLYWOOD CHAINSAW HOOKERS part as an aged detective who calls everyone around him "kid." The owner of the exclusive "Underground" strip club is played by long-haired Fabio-esque porno actor Evan Stone, who proves he's an old-fashioned kind of vampire by keeping his pants on during his sex scenes. He talks softly, wears a frilly shirt, mascara and black fingernail polish, is seen for about two seconds as a winged monster, claims to be two-thousand years old and presides over a live sex show where everyone wears masks. One evening, he shows up at Jill's place and tells her to "give into the darkness," which results in an aerobic sex romp that seems more like a professional wrestling bout than a piece of erotica. Jill is bit (on her breast), but never becomes a vampire.

There are at least half a dozen time-devouring topless strip sequences and just as many sex scenes. We also get some S&M, a threesome, two token lesbian scenes, some awful computer effects (the slow-motion bullet is hilarious), typical Ray movie in-jokes and a supporting cast (Jenna West, Maya Divine, Eric Masterson) drafted in from the hardcore industry. The ending is as mundane as they get. I've also seen enough of these things by now to recognize that the music itself was even reused scores from HAUNTING FEAR (1989) and SORCERESS (1994). The composer of those scores is a guy be the name of Chuck Cirino, who has been contributing great, catchy theme music to B films for twenty years and deserves some recognition for it. He's given a "special thanks" in the end credits, along with B-film regulars Gail Harris (the great star of Wynorski's 'Hard to Die' and 'Sorority House Massacre II') Richard Gabai and George Stover.

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