Monday, May 21, 2012

Evil Come, Evil Go (1972)

Directed by:
Walt Davis

Director Davis' previous hardcore / gore film SEX PSYCHO (1970) included such delightful moments as a brother and sister having sex on top of a coffin containing the body of the woman's husband (whom they just murdered) and another woman getting hacked with a meat cleaver while giving a blow job, causing her to bite off the dick and choke to death on it! It's hilarious to imagine what the audience's reaction to that may have been back in the day. I'm sure most went in expecting to see a simple porno film and ended up seeing something tasteless, gory and completely unerotic instead. I had about the same reaction watching Evil Come, Evil Go. It is also a sex film (albeit softcore) with bloody scenes, but this one deals with a religious fanatic psycho and has bible hymns sung during many of the sex scenes! Seeing how the last thing most people want to think about watching a sex flick is religion (and what hypocrites many religious folks are, including much of the audience for this film!), I'm sure this may not have went over too well. Still, I have to give Davis major props for making movies that stand out from the crowd. This one in particular is very entertaining and frequently hilarious (granted you have a sick sense of humor).

Sister Sarah Jane Butler (Cleo O'Hara) is a hypocritical religious fanatic who thinks she "was sent by the Good Lord himself to rid the world of pleasurable sex." And by ridding the world of pleasurable sex, I mean she wants to rid the world of all "evil men," which is basically any man with a sex drive. Sister Sarah picks up a sleazy man in a bar and brings him back to a hotel. During sex she hums Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, leaving him wondering "Why are you singing hymns while I'm trying to give you head?!" She kills him while he's climaxing then heads off to Los Angeles to spread the word. 

Broke, Sarah is forced to perform her accordion preaching act on street corners for money. Penny (Sandra Henderson) stops by to give her ten dollars, then later invites her to come stay in her home. Turns out Penny is a lesbian who has been disowned by her parents, though her folks are kind enough to give her a monthly allowance and rental properties so long as she stays away from them! Naïve and lonely, Penny renounces her sexuality ("I'm a lesbian... but I'll stop!") and becomes Sarah Jane's disciple and helper. During her initiation into "The Secret Order of Complete Subjugation" she's tied to a bed, stripped, has a knife run along her nude body and sings along to Glory Glory Hallelujah.

Sarah Jane - who wants her new friend to finance her televangelist TV show (!) so she can reach the masses with her message - and Penny interrupt a couple (Rick Cassidy and Margot Devletian) having sex outside by singing hymns and dancing around them until they get up and leave. Deciding something more extreme is in order, Sarah finally convinces Penny to bait a man and then bring him home from bar. She does and during sex, Sarah Jane pops in with a knife and stabs the trick ("Harold Groves" aka Norman Fields) until he's a bloody mess. Penny's lover Junie (Jane Tsentas) eventually shows up to try to convince Penny to get back with her and is strangled to death with a scarf while having sex on the couch. Bodies are wrapped up in sheets and disposed on in the woods. And just when things can't get any weirder, there's a topless rendition of Onward, Christian Soldiers.

I've gotta say, I quite liked this one. Though the film fails to come up with a satisfactory conclusion, the overlong sex scenes (which are pretty graphic and feature plenty of full male and female nudity) bog things down at times and some of the audio is heavily damaged, most of the humor is on target, it's in very bad taste and O'Hara is hysterically funny as the deranged Southern Belle. The amusing theme song is from Jim Wingert, who also may be the guitarist who pops in from time to time throughout the film. Porn legend John Holmes has a cameo and was also the assistant director! Gerard Broulard (who starred in Ray Dennis Steckler's horror porn SACRILEGE along with Tsentas) and the director have small roles and producer Bob Chinn can be seen in the bar scene.

The DVD is from (who else?) Something Weird, who have paired this up with TERROR AT ORGY CASTLE (1971) and THE HAND OF PLEASURE.


Video Violence (1987)

... aka: Video Violence... When Renting Is Not Enough

Directed by:
Gary P. Cohen

"One of the best SOV horror flicks" proudly proclaims the DVD cover... and that's actually no lie when you compare this directly to other 80s shot-on-video horror flicks, though admittedly you can't set the bar much lower than that! Still, some of these regionally produced cheapies do have their own unique charms and this is no exception. Video Violence is quite likable, boasts a fun premise, is fairly well made within its limits, has a non-professional cast who give it their best shot and, ultimately, rises above most of its competition simply by being watchable. Twenty-five years after its initial home video release, it also now has the benefit of being pleasantly nostalgic, at least to anyone who remembers the now-almost-nonexistence video rental business in its heyday. After a prologue (where a couple of store employees watch a woman in the dressing room on video monitors and then beat her to death with a baseball bat) we cut to the meat of our story. New York City natives Steven Emory (Art Neill) and his wife Rachel (Jackie Neill) have just moved to the small community of Frenchtown looking forward to a simpler, quieter and less stressful small town life. As they'll soon realize, they couldn't have picked a worse place to settle down.

At Steven's rental store, The Video Studio, he and his assistant Rick (Kevin Haver), who is also new to the area ("Just because I'm new in this town, they treat me like I got AIDS or something."), start picking up on strange behavior from nearly all of their customers. Why are the townspeople so secretive and unfriendly? Why do they all own VCRs and rent tapes constantly? And how come they only rent horror and slasher flicks? A mysterious tape shows up in their drop box one morning. Upon watching it, Steven and Rick discover its a homemade snuff video of the local postmaster getting beat with a hammer, having his hand cut off with clippers and then getting decapitated with a machete. Steven immediately goes to the police to report it but finds the chief of police (William Toddie) smarmy and uncooperative. He's able to convince to at least look at the video, but when Steven returns Rick is missing and the snuff tape has been replaced with another home movie. The police chief tells him to "lay off the monster movies" and then goes his way.

Meanwhile, two of the townies - obese, cackling cameraman Howard (Bart Sumner) and sadistic psycho Eli (Uke) - are busy at work making their own snuff tapes for "Basement Videos." They kidnap a woman, tie her up in the basement, pour bear on her chest and cut off her tank top, then Eli carves his name into her chest and stabs her through the heart with an ice pick. The duo were also responsible for killing the postmaster and several others, and eventually send a tape to Steven's video store of them killing Rick (which is promptly erased by the sheriff when Steven takes it to him). But Eli, Howard and the Police Chief aren't the only three in on this... nearly the whole town is! At a deli, the two owners poison a couple's lemonade, decapitate the woman with an electric carving knife and then make soup out of her head and then cut the guy's hand off and run it through the slicer ("Give me a half pound of arm!"). Seems most of the population is into making their "own brand of down home snuff movies."

It was filmed in New Jersey and originally distributed by Camp Motion Pictures on VHS (the director claims they were the only company who offered to create a poster for it); a revived Camp also handled the recent DVD release. It was first paired with the silly follow-up VIDEO VIOLENCE PART II: THE EXPLOITATION (1988) and features a commentary tracks as well as an interview with the director. A new box set from Camp (released in 2011) contained both Video Violence films as well as the director's barely released CAPTIVES (which had a shoddy and brief video release under the title Mama's Home) and THE BASEMENT, an unreleased SOV effort from 1989 making its belated debut.

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