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.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Surrogate, The (1984)

... aka: Blind Rage
... aka: Infidélité fatale (Fatal Infidelity)
... aka: Mielipuoliset murhat (Insane Massacre)
... aka: Schizophrenia
... aka: Split Person

Directed by:
Don Carmody

Pretty much anyone who grew up in the 90s into the early 2000s should be pretty familiar with the erotic thriller. After all, these things helped get many of us through puberty. They were playing every single night on cable channels like Showtime and Cinemax. They were filling up video store shelves; not that you could necessarily rent them if you were of a certain age, but they were there. Since 1980, North American soft erotica has become increasingly more explicit to where now it's about as close to hardcore as you can possibly get without actually being hardcore. In the 90s, the sex scenes were still mostly on the very soft side of things because these mainstream features had to cut it as actual movies with plots, production values  and attention paid to the photography, score, etc. After all, these had budgets and were shot on film, not on smart phones or with 200 dollar digital cameras like they do it today. These movies even had their own stars and many of these ladies became fairly well known and could sell a film all on their own. Nowadays, there really aren't soft or hardcore porn stars, at least not like there used to be. Skip back to the 80s and the sex scenes in soft-core were even less explicit than the 90s (or even the 1970s for that matter). Oftentimes in 80s erotic thrillers there wasn't even any sex at all, just a good amount of nudity, as is the case with this one.

The biggest name in soft-core during the 90s boom was undoubtedly Shannon Tweed, who seemed to star in every other erotic thriller made that decade. Tweed was involved in beauty pageants and modeling in her native Canada before posing for Playboy magazine and becoming their Playmate of the Year in 1982. With her star on the rise, she landed a recurring gig on TV's prime time soap Falcon Crest and moved on to feature films (mostly B movies) and numerous TV guest spots from there. She stayed busy enough throughout the 80s that by the time she made a real name for herself in late night erotica, she was well into her 30s and continued in the genre well into her 40s. The Surrogate was one of her first major film roles and also the very first erotic thriller for the actress. Of course this kind of erotic isn't the erotic of the 90s and it certainly isn't the erotic of today. This is a psycho-thriller / mystery first and foremost that just happens to have some sexy scenes thrown in.




Too much boozing, late nights at work and other stresses and insecurities are taking their toll on Frank Waite (Art Hindle), a luxury car salesman, and his wife Lee (Tweed), who's living off of inherited riches. As far as sex is concerned, forget about it. The two haven't been intimate in quite some time because Frank's having a hard time with his hard time. Or as Lee so compassionately tells him “I'm ready and willing... when you're able!” Frank's anger starts boiling over not only at work but at home. He stabs his desk with a knife and screams at Lee, “I could break your God damn neck!” It's getting so bad that he's having rage-induced black out periods where he can't remember what he's done. All of that seems to coincide with a serial killer's murder spree being investigated by tired detective George Kyber (a very disinterested acting Michael Ironside). Someone's running around gouging out eyeballs and making victims look like pincushions and Frank just so happens to emerge from several of his black out episodes near the crimes scenes.







Frank's psychiatrist, Dr. Harriet Foreman (Marilyn Lightstone), has run plenty of physical tests but nothing is coming back that would explain Frank's extreme anger, so she chalks it up to Lee making him feeling inadequate and hands the frustrated husband the business card of one Anouk Van Derlin (Carole Laure), a sex surrogate / fantasist, to help them sort out their sex life. Anouk shows up at the Waite's one evening dressed in all black leather and manages to turn on both Frank and Lee with simple sex talk in her soothing French-accented voice and light touching, but the repressed Lee feels “dirty” after the experience and wants no more of it. Unfortunately, Anouk isn't quite done with them yet. While the wife's away, she shows up unannounced and uses her alone time with Frank to seduce him into some violent, kinky sex that makes a complete mess of their condo. She shows up again several more times to terrorize (and attempt to blackmail) the couple, but is she also the killer?






Another chief suspect is Lee's flamboyant best friend Eric, an antique dealer who's seen in full drag snooping around at many of the crime scenes and is referred to as a “lunatic faggot” by Frank, who hates that his wife spends so much time with him. Since Eric is played by Jim Bailey, a top female impersonator back in the day, we're also treated to such scenes as him dressing up as Bette Davis and stabbing a melon with a butcher knife. The cast also includes Gary Reineke as Frank's backstabbing lawyer friend, Barbara Law as one of Frank's flirty customers, Vlasta Vrana and Ron Lea. Jackie Burroughs also has a bizarre, amusing cameo as a kinky older lady who likes to dress up like a little schoolgirl and wants to get spanked with a giant lollipop (!)






Even though this is classed as an erotic thriller, the audience has to get their kicks mostly with sex talk and three Tweed nude scenes. Laure, a multi-talented beauty who not only acts (she's perhaps best known for the genuinely shocking SWEET MOVIE) but is also an award-winning writer and director and has a successful music career, has just one very brief topless scene. Though not as edgy now as it probably seemed back in 1984, this is competently made with good production values, has (mostly) passable acting and an OK mystery script (by the director and Robert Geoffrion) with some amusing dialogue and a pretty decent twist at the end. This is the only directorial credit for Carmody, who is now a major Hollywood producer, to date. He started out working on David Cronenberg movies.







This was shot in the winter of 1983 in Montreal under the title Blind Rage. The budget was around 1.5 million dollars. After its initial VHS release (on the Fox Hills label in the U.S. and on the Medusa label in the UK) and some TV airings, this one vanished for awhile until a Real 3-D version (!!) turned up on Amazon in 2012.

★★1/2

The 2015 Orloks - 1964 Results

Started many moons ago by Prof-Hieronymos-Grost, the Orloks were a yearly poll on the IMDb horror boards where users submitted Top 5 lists of their favorite horror movies for each year. All of the results were then tabulated to come up with a definitive list of the year's most-liked genre offerings. Alas, when the good Professor decided to depart the boards years ago, the awards went with him... that is until now. IMDb-er seth_yeah - taking on responsibilities as both host and calculator - has decided to bring back this long-standing tradition in 2015, and now the awards will have a permanent place right here on this blog. Scoring is rather simple and done on a weighted system where first choice receives 5 points, second choice 4 points, etc., with a +1 bonus then awarded to the #1 selection on each list. IMDb release years are being used, but it is left up to voters to determine what they may or may not consider horror (which may be in conflict with IMDb's genre labeling system). If you'd like to participate, head on over to the IMDb HORROR BOARDS to vote! So without any further ado, the results...

_________________________________________________________________________________

1964
Top 5
* * * * * * * * * *
1. The Masque of the Red Death
UKUSA / 56 points / Roger Corman
* * * * * * * * * *
2. Onibaba
Japan / 50 points / Kaneto Shindô
* * * * * * * * * *
3. Sei donne per l'assassino (Blood and Black Lace)
France, Italy, Monaco / 40 points / Mario Bava
* * * * * * * * * *
4. Kaidan (Kwaidan)
Japan / 32 points / Masaki Kobayashi
* * * * * * * * * *
5. The Last Man on Earth
Italy, USA / 26 points / Ubaldo Ragona, Sidney Salkow

_________________________________________________________________________________

Making the Top 10:

6. Gorgon, The / UK / 15 points / Terence Fisher
7. (tie) Tomb of Ligeia, The / UK, USA / 12 points / Roger Corman
7. (tie) Two-Thousand Maniacs! / USA / 12 points / Herschell Gordon Lewis
8. Danza macabra (Castle of Blood) / France, Italy / 11 points / Sergio Corbucci, Antonio Margheriti
9. (tie) À Meia Noite Levarei Sua Alma (At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul) / Brazil / 9 points / José Mojica Marins
9. (tie) Flesh Eaters, The / USA / 9 points / Jack Curtis
10. Strait-Jacket / USA / 8 points / William Castle

_________________________________________________________________________________

Others receiving votes:

- Black Torment, The (Estate of Insanity) / UK / Robert Hartford-Davis
- Devil Doll / UK / Lindsay Shonteff
- El extraño viaje (Strange Voyage) / Spain / Fernando Fernán Gómez
- Hakujitsumu (Day-Dream) / Japan / Tetsuji Takechi
- Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte / USA / Robert Aldrich
- I lunghi capelli della morte (The Long Hair of Death) / Italy / Antonio Margheriti
- Kulay dugo ang gabi (The Blood Drinkers) / Philippines, USA / Gerardo de Leon
- La cripta e l'incubo (Crypt of the Vampire) / Italy, Spain / Camillo Mastrocinque
- Lady in a Cage / USA / Walter Grauman
- La strage dei vampiri (Slaughter of the Vampires) / Italy / Roberto Mauri
- Maeui gyedan (Devil's Stairway) / South Korea / Man-hui Lee
- Nightmare / UK / Freddie Francis
- Night Must Fall / UK / Karel Reisz
- Night Walker, The / USA / William Castle
- Seance on a Wet Afternoon / UK / Bryan Forbes
- Strangler, The / USA / Burt Topper
- Witchcraft / UK / Don Sharp

_________________________________________________________________________________

Links here will be connected when the time comes.

<  Back to 1963                          Continue to 1965 >

The 2015 Orloks - 2001 Results

Started many moons ago by Prof-Hieronymos-Grost, the Orloks were a yearly poll on the IMDb horror boards where users submitted Top 5 lists of their favorite horror movies for each year. All of the results were then tabulated to come up with a definitive list of the year's most-liked genre offerings. Alas, when the good Professor decided to depart the boards years ago, the awards went with him... that is until now. IMDb-er seth_yeah - taking on responsibilities as both host and calculator - has decided to bring back this long-standing tradition in 2015, and now the awards will have a permanent place right here on this blog. Scoring is rather simple and done on a weighted system where first choice receives 5 points, second choice 4 points, etc., with a +1 bonus then awarded to the #1 selection on each list. IMDb release years are being used, but it is left up to voters to determine what they may or may not consider horror (which may be in conflict with IMDb's genre labeling system). If you'd like to participate, head on over to the IMDb HORROR BOARDS to vote! So without any further ado, the results...

_________________________________________________________________________________

2001
Top 5
* * * * * * * * * *
1. Session 9
USA / 47 points / Brad Anderson
* * * * * * * * * *
2. Frailty
Germany, USA / 42 points / Bill Paxton
* * * * * * * * * *
3. El espinazo del diablo (The Devil's Backbone)
Argentina, France, Mexico, Spain35 points / Guillermo del Toro
* * * * * * * * * *
4. The Others
France, Italy, Spain, USA33 points / Alejandro Amenábar
* * * * * * * * * *
5. Kairo (Pulse)
Japan25 points / Kiyoshi Kurosawa

_________________________________________________________________________________

Making the Top 10:

6. Jeepers Creepers / GermanyUSA / 22 points / Victor Salva
7. Trouble Every Day / France, Germany, Japan / 18 points / Claire Denis
8. Dagon / Spain / 17 points / Stuart Gordon
9. Koroshiya 1 (Ichi the Killer) / Japan / 15 points / Takashi Miike
10. Mulholland Dr. / France, USA / 14 points / David Lynch

_________________________________________________________________________________

Others receiving votes:

- August Underground / USA / Fred Vogel
- Bijitâ Q (Visitor Q) / Japan / Takashi Miike
- Black Witch Project, The / USA / Velli
- From Hell / USA / Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes
- Ghosts of Mars / USA / John Carpenter
- Hannibal / UK, USA / Ridley Scott
- Hip Hop Locos / USA / Lorenzo Munoz Jr.
- Hung bou yit sin ji Dai tao gwai ying (Horror Hotline... Big Head Monster) / Hong Kong / Pou-Soi Cheang
- Jason X / Canada, USA / James Isaac
- Jisatsu sâkuru (Suicide Club) / Japan / Shion Sono
- Kakashi (Scarecrow) / Japan / Norio Tsuruta
- Katakuri-ke no kôfuku (The Happiness of the Katakuris) / Japan / Takashi Miike
- Le pacte des loups (Brotherhood of the Wolf) / France / Christophe Gans
- Mermaid Chronicles Part 1: She Creature / USA / Sebastian Gutierrez
- Mr In-Between / UK / Paul Sarossy
- Non ho sonno (Sleepless) / Italy / Dario Argento
- Plaga zombie: Zona mutante (Plaga Zombie: Mutant Zone) / Argentina / Pablo Parés, Hernán Sáez
- Soft for Digging / USA / J.T. Petty
- Soulkeeper / USA / Darin Ferriola
- Stacy (Attack of the Schoolgirl Zombies) / Japan / Naoyuki Tomomatsu
- Swimming Pool - Der Tod feiert mit (The Pool) / Germany / Boris von Sychowski
- Thir13en Ghosts / Canada, USA / Steve Beck
- Valentine / USA / Jamie Blanks
- Wendigo / USA / Larry Fessenden
- You ling ren jian (Visible Secret) / Hong Kong / Ann Hui

_________________________________________________________________________________

Links here will be connected when the time comes.

< Back to 2000                         Continue to 2002 >

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