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, August 31, 2018

Updates and Visitor's Choice

Note: The June / July / August recommendations part is now filled up, so anyone who wants anything else added to the extras list (even if you've already picked one film for the first part) rec away and that'll be added as back-up if I make it past 20 this summer.

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Greetings friends!

First off, a huge thanks to all who've contributed and helped out thus far. Things are starting to get a little better on our end. Been waiting for what seems like forever for some paperwork to go through in regards to expensive medication so recently finding out we'll at least be getting a significant rebate is one big "Whew!" right now. Still got a ways to go getting this mess straightened out but any little thing that helps definitely keeps the hope alive. Second, even though I've not updated much the past few months, I have been watching what I can and been working on bits and pieces of reviews as time has allowed. I have - gasp! - an entire free weekend coming up so I'll be using that time to screen cap and finish up as many mostly-done reviews as I can. And I'll start posting them on Friday. So in the meantime I've done a list of whats to come the rest of this month. After that, we're going to try a visitor's choice type of thing, so please keep reading...

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MAY

- Chivalric Tornado (Xiao xia long juan feng) (1989; Chih-Cheng Wang) Taiwan
- Dragon Against Vampire (1985; "Lionel Leung") South Korea
- Hellgate (1989; William A. Levey) South Africa
- Night Has a Thousand Desires (Mil sexos tiene la noche) (1984; Jesus Franco) Spain
- Official Exterminator: Kill for Love (1987; "Raymond Woo") Hong Kong / Taiwan
- Poor White Trash Part II (Scum of the Earth) (1974; S.F. Brownrigg) USA
- Putri Kunti'anak (Kuntilanak Daughter) (1988; Atok Suharto) Indonesia
- Takers, The (1971; Carl Monson) USA
- Tanha Nam Man Phrai (Lust of Corpse Oil) (1990; director unknown) Thailand
- Trhauma (Trauma) (1980; Gianni Martucci) Italy
- Wanita Jelmaan (Woman's Transformation) (1990; Sofyan Sharna) Indonesia

^ All of the above are mostly done. I'm going to start posting these on Friday after I have a chance to do the final edits. For three of these, the reviews I'm posting will be the first in-depth English reviews you'll find anywhere.

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After that? Well, I have a pile of stuff and a list of things I've been meaning to watch for a few years now but haven't gotten around to. And since I'm so indecisive and will sometimes spend an hour trying to pick out what to watch, I've decided to let you dictate what that will be starting in June. So view the list of 200 films below, pick out any movie you'd like to see reviewed or would like to learn more about and I will prioritize it and get it done sometime this summer.


SUMMER HIT LIST

- Adam (1973; Yona Day) Israel
- Aftermath, The (Zombie Aftermath) (1982; Steve Barkett) USA
- Alapaap (Clouds) (1984; Tata Esteban) Philippines
- Al Ta'awitha (Talisman) (1987; Mohammed Shebl) Egypt
- A Menina do Sexo Diabólico (The Girl of Diabolical Sex) (1987; Mario Lima) Brazil [X]
- American risciò (American Tiger) (1990; Sergio Martino) Italy
- Amore e morte nel giardino degli dei (Love and Death in the Garden of the Gods) (1972; Sauro Scavolini) Italy
- Aquella casa en las afueras (That House in the Outskirts) (1980; Eugenio Martín) Spain
- Attic, The (1980; George Edwards) USA
- Autopsia de un fantasma (Autopsy of a Ghost) (1968; Ismael Rodríguez) Mexico
- Ban Phi Pop (The House of Pop) (1989; unknown) Thailand
- Bayi Ajaib (Miracle Baby) (1982) Indonesia
- Bedroom Eyes II (1989; Chuck Vincent) USA
- Berenak dalam kubur (Birth in the Tomb) (1972; Awaludin, Ali Shahab) Indonesia
- Big Snatch, The (1971; Byron Mabe and Dan Martin) USA
- Bimbos B.C. (1990; Todd Sheets) USA
- Bin mei (Marianna) (1982; Pak Tong Cheuk) Hong Kong
- Black Panther, The (1977; Ian Merrick) UK
- Blade Violent - I violenti (Women's Prison Massacre) (1983; Bruno Mattei) Italy
- Blood of Fu Manchu, The (1968; Jesus Franco) Spain / UK / USA / West Germany
- Bôkô honban (Pleasure Kill) (1987; Hisayasu Satô) Japan
- Bôkô Kirisaki Jakku (Assault! Jack the Ripper) (1976; Yasuharu Hasebe) Japan
- Brain, The (1988; Ed Hunt) Canada
- Caller, The (1987; Arthur Allan Seidelman) USA
- Caltiki, the Immortal Monster (Caltiki il mostro immortale) (1959; Mario Bava, Riccardo Freda) Italy / USA
- Castle of Fu Manchu, The (1969; Jesus Franco) Italy / Liechtenstein / Spain / UK / West Germany
- Catacombs (Curse IV: The Ultimate Sacrifice) (1988; David Schmoeller) Italy / USA
- Cazador de demonios (Demon Hunter) (1983; Gilberto de Anda) Mexico
- Chiller (1985; Wes Craven) USA [TV]
- Click: The Calendar Girl Killer (1990; Ross Hagen and John Stewart) USA
- Cold Light of Day (1989; Fhiona-Louise) UK
- Così dolce... così perversa (So Sweet... So Perverse) (1969; Umberto Lenzi) France / Italy / West Germany
- Couch, The (1962; Owen Crump) USA
- Crimes of Passion (1984; Ken Russell) USA
- Crystal Force (1990; Laura Keats) USA
- Cui hua du jiang tou (The Magic Curse) (1975; Chin-Ku Lu, Wen Po Tu) Hong Kong / Philippines
- Curse of the Alpha Stone (1972; Stewart Malleon) USA
- Da se (Lost Souls) (1980; Tun Fei Mou) Hong Kong
- Dark Romances Vol. 2 (1990; Rodd Matsui, Patricia Miller, four others) USA
- Davitelj protiv davitelja (Strangler vs. Strangler) (1984; Slobodan Sijan) Yugoslavia
- Dead Sleep (1990; Alec Mills) Australia
- Deep End (1970; Jerzy Skolimowski) UK / West Germany
- Der Mönch mit der Peitsche (The College Girl Murders) (1967; Alfred Vohrer) West Germany
- Der Nackte und der Satan (The Head) (1959; Victor Trivas) West Germany
- Desu pawuda (Death Powder) (1986; Shigeru Izumiya) Japan
- Devil Woman (She yao jing) (1970; Felix Villar, Chi-Lien Yu) Hong Kong / Philippines
- Diabólica malicia (What the Peeper Saw) (1972; James Kelley, Andrea Bianchi) Italy / Spain / UK / West Germany
- Die xian (Haunted Tales) (1980; Yuen Chor, Tun Fei Mou) Hong Kong
- Dolls (1987; Stuart Gordon) USA
- Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (1973; John Newland) USA [TV]
- Draugasaga (Ghost Story) (1985; Viðar Víkingsson) Iceland
- Du zhou (Curse) (1985; Ling Pang) Hong Kong
- El asesino está entre los trece (The Killer Is One of Thirteen) (1976; Javier Aguirre) Spain
- El bosque del lobo (The Ancines Woods) (1970; Pedro Olea) Mexico
- El carnival de las bestias (Human Beasts) (1980; Paul Naschy) Japan / Spain
- El siniestro doctor Orloff (The Sinister Dr. Orloff) (1984; Jesus Franco) Spain
- El violador infernal (The Infernal Rapist) (1988; Damián Acosta Esparza) Mexico
- Estigma (Stigma) (1980; José Ramón Larraz) Italy / Spain
- Estupro (Perversion) (1979; José Mojica Marins) Brazil
- Eugenie (Historia de una perversión) (Wicked Memoirs of Eugenie) (1980; Jesus Franco) Spain
- Evil Clergyman, The (1988; Charles Band) Italy / USA [short]
- Fei tou mo nu (Witch with Flying Head) (1982; Jen-Chieh Chang) Hong Kong / Taiwan
- Fireworks Woman, The (1975; Wes Craven) USA [X]
- Five Desperate Women (1971; Ted Post) USA [TV]
- Fright House (1989; Len Anthony) USA
- Gabi ng lagim (1960; Tommy C. David, Larry Santiago, two more) Philippines
- Ganja & Hess (1973; Bill Gunn) USA
- Gorgo (1961; Eugène Lourié) UK
- Gorilla at Large (1954; Harmon Jones) USA
- Gui yu (Avengers from Hell) (1981; Pei-Chuan Li) Hong Kong
- Hana to hebi: Kyûkyoku nawa chôkyô (Flower and Snake 5: Rope Magic) (1987; Masayuki Asao) Japan
- Hanging Heart (1983; Jimmy Lee) USA
- Hanno cambiato faccia (They Have Changed Their Face) (1971; Corrado Farina) Italy
- Hard Rock Nightmare (1988; Dominick Brascia) USA
- Haunted Strangler, The (1958; Robert Day) UK
- Holocaust 2000 (1977; Alberto De Martino) Italy / UK
- Hooray for Horrorwood (1990; Ray Ferry) USA [doc]
- Howling, The (1981; Joe Dante) USA
- Hu gui xi chun (Come Haunt with Me) (1971; Chun Hsieh) Hong Kong / Taiwan
- Humongous (1982; Paul Lynch) Canada
- Huo zhu gui (Burning Sensation) (1989; Wu Ma) Hong Kong
- Hyôryu kyôshitsu (The Drifting Classroom) (1987; Nobuhiko Ôbayashi) Japan
- Idi i smotri (Come and See) (1985; Elem Klimov) Soviet Union
- Il demonio (The Demon) (1963; Brunello Rondi) France / Italy
- Inquisición (Inquisition) (1978; Paul Naschy) Spain
- Iodo (Io Island) (1977; Ki-young Kim) South Korea
- Island, The (1980; Michael Ritchie) USA
- Jekyll and Hyde Portfolio, The (1971; Eric Jeffrey Haims) USA
- Jian yu bu she fang (Jail House Eros) (1990; Sai Hung Fung, Jing Wong) Hong Kong
- Jin nígu (Golden Nun) (1977; Tien-Yung Hsu) Taiwan
- Kaidan semushi otoko (Ghost of the Hunchback) (1965; Hajime Satô) Japan
- Kaidan zankoku monogatari (Cruel Ghost Legend) (1968; Kazuo Hase) Japan
- Katarsis (Sfida al diavolo) (1963; Giuseppe Veggezzi) Italy
- Killer! (1989; Tony Elwood) USA
- Killer Inside Me, The (1976; Burt Kennedy) USA
- Killing Spree (1987; Tim Ritter) USA
- Kiss Daddy Goodbye (1981; Patrick Regan) USA
- Kyôfu kikei ningen: Edogawa Rampo zenshû (Horrors of Malformed Men) (1969; Teruo Ishii) Japan
- La casa de las siete tumbas (House of the Seven Tombs) (1982; Pedro Stocki) Argentina
- La grande trouille (Tender Dracula) (1974; Pierre Grunstein) France
- La muerta incierta (The Uncertain Death) (1973; José Ramón Larraz) Italy / Spain
- La noche de los mil gatos (Night of a Thousand Cats) (1972; René Cardona Jr.) Mexico
- Lao you gui gui (Friendly Ghost) (1985; Chuan Chen) Hong Kong
- La pelle sotto gli artigli (The Skin Under the Claws) (1975; Alessandro Santini) Italy
- La rossa dalla pelle che scotta (The Red Headed Corpse) (1972; Renzo Russo) Italy / Turkey
- L'assassino è ancora tra noi (The Killer Is Still Among Us) (1986; Camillo Teti) Italy
- Le foto proibite di una signora per bene (Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion) (1970; Luciano Ercoli) Italy / Spain
- Leonora (1984; Derek Strahan) Australia
- Le porte dell'inferno (Hell's Gate) (1989; Umberto Lenzi) Italy
- Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971; John D. Hancock) USA
- Lin tou jie (Revenge of the Ghost Tree) (1988; Shan-Hsi Ting) Taiwan
- L'orribile segreto del Dr. Hichcock (The Horrible Dr. Hichcock) (1962; Riccardo Freda) Italy
- Lung hei bik yan (The Occupant) (1984; Ronny Yu) Hong Kong
- Macchie solari (Autopsy) (1975; Armando Crispino) Italy
- Marley's Revenge: The Monster Movie (1989; Jet Eller) USA
- Meng gui fo tiao qiang (Bless This House) (1988; Ronny Yu) Hong Kong
- Misterio en la isla de los monstruos (Mystery on Monster Island) (1981; Juan Piquer Simón) Spain / USA
- Monsters & Maniacs (1988; Ted Newsom) USA [doc]
- Monstrosity (1987; Andy Milligan) USA
- Murder à la Mod (1968; Brian De Palma) USA
- Naked Vengeance (1985; Cirio H. Santiago) Philippines / USA
- Nest, The (1988; Terence H. Winkless) USA
- O komis... Tsakonas (Count Dracula and His Draculettes) (1989; Takis Simonetatos) Greece
- Orca (1977; Michael Anderson) USA
- O Segredo da Múmia (Secret of the Mummy) (1982; Ivan Cardoso) Brazil
- Otra vuelta de tuerca (The Turn of the Screw) (1985; Eloy de la Iglesia) Spain
- Our Mother's House (1967; Jack Clayton) UK
- Passi di danza su una lama di rasoio (Death Carries a Cane) (1973; Maurizio Pradeaux) Italy / Spain
- Phantom of Hollywood, The (1974; Gene Levitt) USA [TV]
- Piranha (1978; Joe Dante) USA
- Pituitary Hunter (1990; Dan Pan) Hong Kong
- Poslední lup (The Last Theft) (1987; Jirí Barta) Czechoslovakia
- Predator: The Quietus (1988; Leslie McCarthy) UK
- Quatermass 2 (Enemy from Space) (1957; Val Guest) UK / USA
- Rage - Furia primitiva (Primal Rage) (1988; Vittorio Rambaldi) Italy / USA
- Rats - Notte di terrore (Rats: Night of Terror) (1984; Bruno Mattei) France / Italy
- Ravager, The (1970; Charles Nizet) USA
- Redeemer: Son of Satan!, The (1977; Constantine S. Gochis) USA
- Ren pi deng long (Human Lanterns) (1982; Chung Sun) Hong Kong
- Ren she da zhan (Calamity of Snakes) (1982; Chi Chang) Hong Kong / Taiwan
- Return of Dracula, The (1958; Paul Landres) USA
- Robowar - Robot da guerra (Robowar) (1988; Bruno Mattei) Italy
- Rock n' Roll Cowboys (1987; Rob Stewart) Australia
- Salinma (A Devilish Murder) (1965; Yong-min Lee) South Korea
- Sangue negli abissi (Deep Blood) (1990; Raffaele Donato, Joe D'Amato) Italy
- Scalps (1983; Fred Olen Ray) USA
- Serpent Warriors (1985; John Howard, Niels Rasmussen) Hong Kong / USA
- Sien nui yau wan (A Chinese Ghost Story) (1987; Siu-Tung Ching) Hong Kong
- Sien nui yau wan II yan gaan do (A Chinese Ghost Story II) (1990; Siu-Tung Ching) Hong Kong
- Spine (1986; John Howard, Justin Simmonds) USA
- Spook (1988; David Anthony Hall) Australia
- Stick, The (1988; Darrell Roodt) South Africa
- Suo ming (Spirit of the Raped) (1976; Chih-Hung Kuei) Hong Kong
- Sweet, Sweet Rachel (1971; Sutton Roley) USA [TV]
- Tales of the Third Dimension (1984; Worth Keeter, Earl Owensby, 2 others) USA
- Terror at London Bridge (1985; E.W. Swackhamer) USA [TV]
- Terror in Teakwood, The [Thriller series] (1961; Paul Henreid) USA [TV]
- 3D Saamri (Satan) (1985; Shyam Ramsay, Tulsi Ramsay) India
- Tiempos duros para Drácula (Hard Times for Dracula) (1976; Jorge Darnell) Argentina / Spain
- Threads (1984; Mick Jackson) Australia / UK / USA
- Tien ling ling, di ling ling (Abracadabra) (1986; Tai Kit Mak) Hong Kong
- Top Sensation (1969; Ottavio Alessi) Italy
- Tosui yugi (Bondage Ecstasy) (1989; Hisayasu Satô) Japan
- Trapped Alive (1988; Leszek Burzynski) USA
- Trasplante de un cerebro (Crystalbrain) (1970; Juan Logar) Italy / Spain
- 2019 - Dopo la caduta di New York (2019: After the Fall of New York) (1983; Sergio Martino) France / Italy
- Ulvetid (Time of the Wolf) (1981; Jens Ravn) Denmark
- Un bianco vestito per Marialé (Spirits of Death) (1972; Romano Scavolini) Italy
- Upír z Feratu (Ferat Vampire) (1982; Juraj Herz) Czechoslovakia
- Vampire Lovers, The (1970; Roy Ward Baker) UK
- Vengeance of Fu Manchu, The (1967; Jeremy Summers) Hong Kong / Ireland / UK / West Germany
- Victims (1982; Tony Vorno) USA
- Violent Midnight (Psychomania) (1963; Richard Hilliard) USA
- What's the Matter with Helen? (1971; Curtis Harrington) USA
- Wu gong zhuo (Centipede Horror) (1982; Keith Li) Hong Kong
- Xiang Gang qi an 5: Jian mo (The Criminals 5: Teenager's Nightmare) (1977; Chih-Hung Kuei, Tun Fei Mou) Hong Kong
- Xiao sheng pa pa (Till Death Do We Scare) (1982; Chia Yung Liu) Hong Kong
- Xie luo ji (Blood Ritual) (1989; Yuen Ching Lee) Hong Kong
- Xie mo (The Devil) (1981; Jen-Chieh Chang) Hong Kong / Taiwan
- Xie ying wu (Bloody Parrot) (1981; Shan Hua) Hong Kong
- Xtro II: The Second Encounter (1990; Harry Bromley Davenport) Canada
- Yellow Wallpaper, The (1989; John Clive) Canada / USA
- Yuan Zhen-Xia yu Wei Si-Li (The Seventh Curse) (1986; Ngai Choi Lam) Hong Kong
- Zeder (Revenge of the Dead) (1983; Pupi Avati) Italy
- Zombie Rampage (1989; Todd Sheets) USA
- Zuma (1985; Jun Raquiza) Philippines


So here's how this is gonna work. The first five people to chime in will have their pick put on the June list, which means it will be reviewed no later than June 30th. The next five will be put on for July, which means it will be done no later than July 31st, though if I have time I may get to it sometime in June. The next five will go on for August to be done by the end of the month, if not sooner. Then I'm going to pick five to do whenever. If I receive any other selections after that, they'll go on the "extra" list, which means I won't be touching them until after I get the first 15 done. This way you'll help me out by making most of the decisions for me and giving me a goal to reach, plus getting some reviews you may like to see. I'm not going to go any higher than 50 total because, as of right now, even promising 30 will be pushing it. If I'm in the position to do more than that, I will.

Anything from the above list that's not selected will go on the leftovers list at the very bottom. If this goes over well, I'll repeat it in September. Everything from the extras list not reviewed will carry over along with randomly selected movies from the leftovers list up to 100. I'll then add 100 other films not on this list that I have in my collection to make up another list of 200 and we'll repeat what we did here. Yes, I have far too many movies.

You can either leave a message here with your pick, send it on Twitter @bloodypit or send it to my email at thebloodypitofhorrorblog@gmail.com. I'll start listing them all below once they come in.


VISITOR PICKS (JUNE)

01. Turkey Shoot (Escape 2000) (1982; Brian Trenchard-Smith) Australia (thanks Andy)
02. She sha shou (The Killer Snakes) (1974; Chih-Hung Kuei) Hong Kong (thanks The Fiend)
03. From Hell It Came (1957; Dan Milner) USA (thanks Dinane)
04. Der fan (The FanTrance) (1982; Eckhart Schmidt) West Germany (thanks Anonymous)
05. Anyab (Fangs) (1981; Mohammed Shebl) Egypt (thanks Stjepan)

VISITOR PICKS (JULY)

01. Dr. Satán y la magia negra (Dr. Satan vs. Black Magic Woman) (1968; Rogelio A. González) Mexico (thanks Jeremy)
02. La morte accarezza a mezzanotte (Death Walks at Midnight) (1972; Luciano Ercoli) Italy / Spain (thanks Carolina)
03. Jû jin yuki otoko (Beast Man Snow Man) (1955; Ishirô Honda) Japan (thanks Bishop)
04. Ye jing hun (He Lives by Night) (1982; Po-Chih Leong) Hong Kong (thanks spookyx3)
05. Purani Haveli (1989; Shyam Ramsay, Tulsi Ramsay) India (thanks C. Wickham)

VISITOR PICKS (AUGUST)

01. Brain Eaters, The (1958; Bruno VeSota) USA (thanks Anne-Marie)
02. Death Ship (1980; Alvin Rakoff) Canada / UK / USA (thanks Christopher)
03. Draugasaga (Ghost Story) (1985; Viðar Víkingsson) Iceland (thanks Oliver)
04. This House Possessed (1981; William Wiard) USA [TV] (thanks Terri)
05. Yuan Zhen-Xia yu Wei Si-Li (The Seventh Curse) (1986; Ngai Choi Lam) Hong Kong (thanks Ellory)

MY PICKS

01.
02.
03.
04.
05.

VISITOR PICKS (EXTRA)

01. Caltiki, the Immortal Monster (Caltiki il mostro immortale) (1959; Mario Bava, Riccardo Freda) Italy, USA (thanks Kyle)
02. Funhouse, The (1981; Tobe Hooper) USA (thanks Anonymous #2)
03.
04.
05.
06.
07.
08.
09.
10.

(I'm going to max out at 30 here if need be)

LEFTOVERS

--

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In addition to the above, I'm going to be re-editing, re-formatting and re-posting some of my older reviews. The photos, spacing and / or formatting on some of these have gotten screwed up somehow. Why? You got me! But my OCD ass cannot stand for that, so I'll be fixing some of these and then will re-post the newer versions below. Also going to be adding new photos / info to some of these.


FIXED

- Alone in the Dark (1982; Jack Sholder) USA
- Horror Hall of Fame, The (A Monster Salute) (1974; Charles Braverman) USA [TV]
- Victims (1985; Jeff Hathcock) USA


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Trhauma (1980)

... aka: Démence (Dementia)
... aka: Trauma

Directed by:
Gianni Martucci

I often forget that disco didn't actually die with the 70s and was still lurking around afterward. It was in its death throes, for sure, but was still trendy enough in the first few years of the 80s to be popping up even in some places you wouldn't necessarily expect. Like horror films. The famous example most turn to when discussing disco horror is the Jamie Lee Curtis vehicle Prom Night (1980), which was so disco that it wasn't so much infused with it as it was informed by it. Then there was Don't Go in the House (1979), which capped off its grim, depressing story of a traumatized psycho torching nude women with the upbeat "Struck by Boogie Lighting" over the end credits. And who could forget (I'm still trying) the horror-comedy-erotic-musical Nocturna (1979), which basically existed as a showcase for disco dancing, disco fashions and disco music and boasted having a soundtrack from "Disco Queens" like Gloria ("I Will Survive") Gaynor and Vicki Sue ("Turn the Beat Around") Robinson right on the poster?

While the three titles above probably represent the most extreme end of the spectrum, disco had a funny way of weaseling its way into isolated scenes in many other films, whether that be the modeling session where Joe Spinell ogles potential victims in Maniac (1980) or vampire George Hamilton showing off his moves to the disco hit "I Love the Nightlife" in Love at First Bite (1979). Not just a North American phenomenon, disco also featured heavily in numerous European and Asian genre films. And it's even all over the soundtrack of this obscure, low-budget Italian slasher flick. Credits in need of music? Disco! Models posing for the camera? Disco! A man pulling up a driveway in his car? Disco! So even though it doesn't really fit the tone of the rest of the film, you're gonna have to endure the soundtrack occasionally giving you a little "Whoooooooo! Come on dance! Dance!" with scenes like a stuffed kitten getting its head lopped off.



The kitty slayer in question is called L'essere ("The Being") in the credits. No real name. That's it. As a young boy, "The Being" was teased by another boy for having a messed-up, all-white eye and then fell out of a tree. Now, as an adult, to say "The Being" is not very well-adjusted qualifies as a massive understatement. We can assume his tree fall stunted his mental growth as he still loves to play with Duplo blocks, but his other hobbies and interests are strictly adult in nature. That is, if the adult also happens to be a sick-o into strangling German Shepherds with their bare hands and having necro relations with bloody female corpses in sheep waste. But I think I'm getting a little ahead of myself here.






After meeting "The Being," we're then introduced to a bunch of other characters so underdeveloped they can only be measured on a mild-to-severe scale of how unlikable they are. Much to his wife's chagrin, Andrea ("Ronny Russ" / Gaetano Russo) has just recently purchased a large, old hillside villa. It's a beautiful home but it's also a fixer-upper, which is exactly why wife Lilly (Dafne Price) is frustrated with him. Since she inherited a bunch of money, he's done nothing but blow through it buying cars, yachts and property all over Europe. Lilly is not the least bit interested in his plans to sink even more money into renovating this new place he's just purchased either, but she's there all the same to wet blanket his greedy ass. Joining the couple there are half dozen friends.






Demanding photographer and budding blackmailer Paul (Timothy Wood) takes model Olga (Anna Maria Chiatante) out into the woods to shoot some nude photos. After she strips and bares all while a disco singer one-up's Andrea True by virtually having an orgasm on the accompanying track, he chews her out for not living up his high expectations. Angry, she storms off. The next time we see Olga, "The Being" is being his pervy self all over her dead body.






As night falls, and with Olga nowhere to be found, everyone grabs a lantern, split up and start searching the grounds. After Silvia (Silvia Mauri) is attacked, the gang do the usual horror movie routine of trying to call the police (phone lines have been cut), trying to drive away (tires have been flattened) and then, after finding the lone functioning vehicle on the property, sending just two people out to get the police instead of having everyone pile in and leave together. This naturally enables "The Being" (Per Holgher) to intercept and kill the police-fetchers after they stop to open the gate and then return to the home immediately after to bump everyone else off as they're waiting.






During the first 20 minutes, I thought this was going to be some unheralded sleazy classic. It comes charging right out of the gate with an one-eyed kid, a guy fighting a dog, a murder, nudity, a giant Lego castle, necrophilia, a stuffed animal decapitation and, yes, even that amusingly-at-odds-with-everything-else disco music. Problem is, nothing that occurs after all that is anywhere near as entertaining. The plot isn't very interesting, there's little suspense and lots of bickering and characters aimlessly wandering around. Even worse, the murder sequences are bland and most of the killings are either bloodless or occur completely off-screen. That's a big no-no for a flagrantly unoriginal film with as little story as this one has. Multiple strangulations, off-screen stabbings and people just falling out of frame as the killer approaches don't really cut it.



Gripes aside, this isn't the worst thing you'll ever see either. At least it's not as boring as the same director's other foray into the genre, THE RED MONKS (1988). It's watchable. It's tolerable. It runs only 78 minutes. And if you don't care so much about originality and prefer the "stalk" to the "slash" in your stalk-n-slash flicks, you may like this a bit more than I did. Co-star Russo co-wrote the screenplay with Alessandro Capone (WITCH STORY) and the cast also includes Roberto Posse (who has a pretty good trash film resume) and Franco Diogene (who was acting for Fellini and in movies like Midnight Express around the same time he appeared in this).

Though this was released on VHS throughout Europe, it was never released in the U.S. and is still not officially available in English, though fansubs are available. I still can't figure out if the title is intentionally misspelled or not!

★★

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Mil sexos tiene la noche (1984)

... aka: Night Has a Thousand Desires
... aka: Night Has a Thousand Eyes
... aka: Night of 1,000 Sexes

Directed by:
Jess (Jesus) Franco

Rubenesque psychic medium "The Grand Irina" (Lina Romay) is one half of a popular nightclub act where her partner "The Great Fabián" (Daniel Katz) blindfolds her, puts her in a trance and then goes around the audience getting various things from them and having Irina identify them in detail. After accurately naming off key chains, rings and cards right down to their inscriptions, Fabián approaches a shady-looking, chain-smoking man and his two female companions. The man hands him a white piece of paper with some writing on it. Irina identifies that writing as "You have only a few hours to live." The audience gasps, but nothing comes of it... at least not right away. Later that night in their hotel room, Fabián confesses that he's sick of traveling around Europe from club to club and staying in hotel rooms. Despite the fact Irina saved him from the streets prior to them developing their act, he's now over her too and ends their relationship.






After a sex dream involving her with the nightclub mystery man (Mauro Rivera) and his female friends (Alicia "Pedreira" / Príncipe and "Mamie Kaplan" / Mari Carmen Nieto), Irina wanders out of her hotel room the following morning. A deep male voice calling out her name and telling her to "Obey!" leads her to the lobby, where Lorna (Carmen Carrión) awaits. Lorna, who appears to be some kind of witch, then sends her out to do a little favor, which involves seducing and then stabbing alcoholic jazz pianist / singer Jamal (Albino Graziani) to death during sex. Jamal was previously seen arguing with the club manager about wanting out of his contract. That may or may not have anything to do with his murder. When Irina wakes up, she's back in her room thinking everything that transpired was only a nightmare. Maybe it was. Maybe not.






Despite their previous conversation about breaking up, Irina and Fabián still share a bed, still sleep together naked and kind of act like they hadn't even had the earlier conversation. Irina complains that he's been sexually neglecting her as of late and asks him to make love but they're interrupted by a mysterious phone caller who insists Fabián leave to tend to "business." Irina is then back to having sex with the same three people in her earlier "dream" while they pass a joint around and we hear echoing, distorted moaning in an incredible scene that's the highlight of the entire film. These are the moments Franco fans patiently slog through the more tedious moments to get to.






Receiving mixed signals from her boyfriend and no longer able to tell the difference between reality and fantasy, Irina begins seeing psychiatrist Dr. Karmen (played by the director). He ends up not being of much help and Irina soon finds herself seducing a young man (José Llamas), luring him back to her room for a little balcony sex and then castrating him. Or did she? I wish I could say the final explanation for Irina's troubles was a shocking revelation but, unfortunately, Franco decided it was a good idea to reveal exactly what was going on at an earlier stage of the film. That results in a narrative that's painfully predictable, though he finds some other stylistic ways to surprise us.






In between the sex and nude scenes (which aren't quite as crudely shot as in many of the director's other sex films), we get endless shots of Romay writhing in bed naked, riding around in a car or wandering the hotel corridors and gardens in a daze in scenes very reminiscent of CARNIVAL OF SOULS, right down to the music. There are countless shots of the coastline, pretty flowers, trees and some pastel stained glass windows Franco seems enamored with. The camera shoots blood splatter on a window for several minutes; close-up and far, sometimes in focus, sometimes not. It also keeps zooming into eyeballs and pans or tilts up to the sky for seemingly no reason at all. At times, some bizarre sound effects are added, like a train whistle when water is shown and what sounds like geese honking (!) while showing a helicopter flying around.






Often times Franco's flourishes are self-indulgent and laughable. Every once in awhile they're brilliant. But they're distinctive and almost always at least interesting if you appreciate such things. If you simply don't care, you'll likely just find this vacant, padded and insufferably slow-paced. The entire film feels like Franco got some money together, invited a bunch of his friends to a picturesque beach resort for a week and then decided to play around a bit with his camera. He also wrote it, did the morose music score (as "Pablo Villa"), shot it (as "Joan Almirall") and edited (sans credit).


The shrink word association scene and Fabián keeping a copy of the Necronomicon as bedtime reading material allude back to Franco's Succubus (1968), though this is actually a partial remake of the director's Les cauchemars naissent la nuit (1970; Nightmares Come at Night). It was given a long-overdue DVD and blu-ray release in 2016 by Mondo Macabro.

★★1/2
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