Friday, December 20, 2013

Suckling, The (1990)

... aka: Sewage Baby

Directed by:
Francis Teri

Given the potentially outrageous set-up and decent write-ups in several genre publications, this turned out to be something of a let-down for yours truly... Rebecca (Lisa Petruno) is pregnant, wants to have the baby and then give it up for adoption. Boyfriend Phil (Michael Logan) isn't too thrilled about any of this and wants her to immediately terminate the pregnancy. Somehow he's able to coerce her into going to see an illegal abortionist just to "check it out." They arrive at a run-down old building owned and operated by Big Mama (Marie Michaels), which doubles as both a whorehouse and a secret abortion clinic. Unbeknownst to Rebecca, she's actually being set up; Phil and Big Mama have arranged for her to be drugged and go through the procedure whether she wants to or not. Everything starts out going as planned. Rebecca passes out after being given some tainted fruit punch and Big Mama aborts the fetus with a clothes hanger. She has her assistant Bertha (Antoinette Greene) dispose of the fetus the way she always taught her to, i.e. by flushing it down the toilet. The baby goes down into the sewers where it meets up with some toxic waste leaking from a discarded barrel up above. It's revived and then begin to mutate it into a big, hideous wrinkly creature.

After Rebecca awakens, finds out what's happened and demands to leave, she and Phil realize they can't. Some weird kind of pink glob is now covering all of the windows and doorways, trapping about a dozen people inside. Along with those already mentioned, there's Sherman (Tim Martin Crouse), an army vet who now works as Big Mama's doorman and bodyguard, Big Mama's hot-tempered, violent and unpredictable thug son Axel (Frank Rivera), Axel's obnoxious hooker girlfriend Candy (Janet Sovey), who nonchalantly confesses in the clinic that she's up to her third abortion by now, a bunch of other hookers and a couple of customers, including a jerk businessman (Gerald Preger) who likes having dildos shoved up his ass. The monster, which uses sharp tentacles and its huge teeth to kill, thrives in moist places and travels primarily through the pipes, then begins to kill everyone off. Well, when they aren't killing each other... One of the girls shoots a customer dead just because he pisses her off, another girl can't handle the hopeless situation and blows her own brains out and, when Axel gets his hands on a gun, pretty everyone's in trouble.

While this sounds like a good, tasteless romp in concept, it's unfortunately not as much fun as it could have been. After setting up a wonderfully tasteless premise, the director then refuses to go many creative or humorous places with it. Instead, this deteriorates into a bunch of tedious, repetitive scenes of loud, obnoxious people sitting around arguing. The characters themselves may sound like a colorful, eccentric bunch, but almost none of the actors (with the possible exception of the actress playing Candy) are good enough to bring their roles to life or milk their scenes for the obvious intended sick humor. Something like this really would have benefited from actors with the charisma and enthusiasm of - say - John Waters' early troupe of stars. It's also poorly edited and has a really grainy low-budget look (some scenes - like a stop-motion reanimated hand - are horribly blurry). Though there's a decent amount of blood and gore (including an exploding head), none of the death scenes are really memorable or all that inventive. In fact, a good number of them actually take place off-screen.

All that said, there are some genuinely amusing moments in here from time to time (just not enough of them) and the filmmakers clearly tried to put on a good show within their limited budget (though they're ultimately not quite successful). The best thing this has to offer is its creature design, which is truly excellent. I suppose that's where they spent most of their money, but it was a wise investment. Fangoria Magazine editor Michael Gingold inhabits the costume. The DVD is from Elite.


Curse of Her Flesh, The (1968)

... aka: Curse of Her Passion, The
... aka: Curse of the Curious, The
... aka: Curse of the Flesh, The

Directed by:
"Julian Marsh" (Michael Findlay)

Entry number 2 in the Findlay "Flesh Trilogy," preceded by THE TOUCH OF HER FLESH (1967), again mixes gratuitous nudity, off-color, raunchy and sometimes hilarious dialogue, Vaseline-smeared camera lenses and violent scenes of mayhem and murder. Along with scribblings like "What ever happened to Gigi Darlene?" and "A man and a woman from Krelly, spent the night belly to belly. Because in their haste, they used library paste, instead of petroleum jelly." the title and credits amusingly show up on strip club restroom wall where a guy is taking a leak. It's always nice when filmmakers are cheeky enough to understand just what kind of audience they're catering to. Things open with a brief flashback recap of the first film to get us up to date. If you recall, weapons expert Richard Jennings ("Robert Wester" / Michael Findlay) had walked in on his wife Claudia (Angelique) with her lover Steve (Ron Skideri, as "A. Dick Feeler") in the throws of passion. Frantic, Richard ran out into the street, was struck by a car, lost an eye and then went crazy and started taking out his frustrations on women he deemed "filthy sluts." After killing numerous other women, he decapitated his wife with a table saw and then, if I recall correctly, was shot dead with an arrow by a would-be victims. I guess we're going to have to overlook that little detail because he's back in action here once again.

Richard goes to a theater where Adele (Jane Bond) and some other lady do a lesbian-themed stage show wearing thongs made from 10 dollar bills and dance to a song called "The Right Kind of Lovin" while a strobe light flashes. Afterward, Richard (posing as another club owner named "Joe Davidson") goes home with Adele, dips her cat's paws in poison and gets it to scratch her. She keels over dead after he leaves, but not before the two have the following conversation about her kitty...

 Richard: "That's a nice little pussy you have there."
 Adele: "Thank you. Everyone who sees my pussy likes it."
 Richard: "Is it friendly?"
 Adele: "Oh yes, sometimes I play with it for hours."
 Richard: "Does it ever get tired?"
 Adele: "No it never gets enough. Sometimes the girl next door comes over and brings her pussy and puts it with mine."

With Adele out of the way, Richard then goes after "Red Hot Scandals of 1968" star Stella ("Lena Brice" / Linda Boyce), whose credo is "I never object when I'm getting paid." After Stella performs in a long S&M-themed show where she whips a woman (an uncredited Uta Erickson), cuts off her clothes with a switchblade and then lick the blood off her body, she meets "Joe" backstage. After messing around a bit on the couch, he quickly kills the mood by informing her that "One piece of fish smells the same as the next" and then tells her he wants her to incorporate a strap-on into her next stage performance. Stella ends up trying out the dildo on her lesbian neighbor Maura ("I once had a girlfriend who said my big toe was better than any man") first, and accidentally kills her with it (Richard hid a knife inside). After Stella tries to blackmail him for five thousand bucks, Richard puts poison all over her and her stage partner's g-strings so they die from "something they ate" during her next stage performance.

What Richard is really wanting to do is get revenge on his dead wife's former lover Steve, who got off quite easy - no pun intended - the first time around. He starts by murdering Steve's brother Terrence (fellow erotica director and frequent Findlay collaborator John "Ellie" Amero) with a samurai sword. He then learns Steve's girlfriend Paula (Eve Bork) is a huge whore who lost her virginity at age 12. Knowing that Steve won't marry her if she's not a virgin, Richard agrees to help her out by sending her to an unscrupulous doctor who surgically rigs up a fake hymen inside of her (!!) After the wedding, Richard then sends Steve some home movies starring his "virginal" new bride; one called "Squash Crazy" where she gets pleasured with a huge vegetable, and another detailing her operation. Once Steve learns his wife has tricked him, he immediately shoots her dead with a harpoon gun, but then Richard shows up armed with a machete hoping to "chop the ugly penis from your body!" Which man will come out on top?

Since this was made primarily to cater to the sex film crowd, all of the nude scenes go on for what feels like forever and take up the majority of the 80 minute running time. which is par for the course. However, this does go that little extra mile to be outrageous and entertaining, which puts it a notch above other similar films from the time. It's amusingly twisted, the dialogue is often hilarious and it's actually pretty fun; a slight improvement over the previous film actually. Roberta Findlay (using her usual "Anna Riva" alias) was the co-producer, co-writer and cinematographer and also provided the voice of a radio announcer. The trilogy concluded with The Kiss of Her Flesh (1968). All three titles are available through Something Weird.

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