Sunday, January 5, 2020

New York Centerfold Massacre (1985)

... aka: Starlet Blue Massacre, The

Directed by:
Louis Ferriol

The 80s slasher movie boom gave us such household names as Jason, Freddy, Chucky, Michael Myers and Pinhead... but who cares about those losers? What about Alma Vinelli? On the outside, a devoutly-religious old crone who likes to sit around all day reading bible passages, singing "Yes, Jesus loves me. The bible tells me so" over and over again and watching Kenneth Copeland and Jimmy Swaggart's televangelist shows on TV, Alma (Jane De Leeuw) proves herself a formidable opponent to her more-famous brothers-in-crime in this camcorder-shot Vidimax mail order video from hell.

Alma's frizzy-headed 20-year-old niece Carla (Paula Weckesser) likes to wear (gasp!) short-shorts out in public. If that isn't bad enough, she's hanging out with a girl who makes her money posing in lingerie for a sleazy Soho photographer, with only a surgical scar keeping her from showing her full glory. Regardless, the friend suggests to Carla that she go to the same photographer and become a nude centerfold model ("You mean nude, as in naked?") so she can afford her own place and get away from her religious nutso aunt. Alma knows her niece is being led astray, but what's a 70-year-old God-fearin' Christian woman to do? Well if you're Alma, you throw a pillowcase over your head, put on your finest Christmas sweater and start hacking up nude models. Hey, it might discourage your loved ones from flashing their goodies for quick cash if other models who do the same thing get chopped to pieces, right? I mean, if both the photographer you were going to model for and all his models died before you even got there, you might not even show up, right? Well, if you're Carla you won't let the death of the person who died before you even had a chance to set up an appointment keep you from showing up anyway, ready to drop your drawers.

Detective Lawrence Sorenson (Lawrence Lubiner) and his Jheri curl-sporting sidekick Williams (Jamel Elam) are on the case. At first they think the killer might be "greaseball" mafioso Tony Martino (Dick Biel - SPLATTER UNIVERSITY), since he previously was involved in child porn and likes to stage bogus auditions so he can drug and rape the starlets who show up. But nah, he's nothing more than your garden variety serial rapist and pedophile, not the actual killer. Try again. Some woman named Marnie (Norma Sparno), who I think is related to one of the victims or is someone's roommate or something, gets fed up waiting for the police to apprehend the killer, so she decides to hire a psychic named Flavian to help her.

Meanwhile, Darlene (Elizabeth Gardner) and Cassie (Francine Robin Cuff), who suggests her friend wear clean panties to their centerfold audition, show up to the (already-dead) photographer's loft studio for an "interview." Cassie can't find a bathroom, so she decides to look for a dark corner where she can relieve herself. While her friend is off pissing on the floor somewhere, Darlene ends up encountering the psycho, who promptly clubs her over the head with a tripod and then sticks a hair dryer in her mouth. I'm not sure what happened to Cassie. She kind of just doesn't come back. During a collage of clips featuring Tammy Faye Bakker (ack!) singing, another model (Leslie Duncan) lying around in her panties is attacked. The killer grabs a bottle with a plain white label with the word "acid" written on it with a ballpoint pen and pours it down her throat.

Lordy. I don't even know where to begin with this one. For starters, it's definitely in the Top 5 of the worst slasher movies I've seen, but since it's about as obscure as they come you won't be likely to stumble across this one unless you're actively looking for it. To be fair, what I saw was a 39-minute composite of re-edited surviving footage made from ancient video sources. According to the director, part of the footage was accidentally erased during production and then the warehouse the original masters were stored in burned to the ground. What we're left with is a copy-of-a-copy and it's awful on every conceivable level.

Even though the people who reassembled what is being presented here didn't have much to work with, this is incredibly hard to follow. Often they'll show a brief flash of something that has absolutely nothing to do with what's going on, leaving you sitting there scratching your head and thinking, "WTF was that?" To make matters worse, there are about a half dozen actresses in this with the same bad 80s hairstyle and same exact hair color and I had a hard time telling them all apart. Because the remaining footage lacked nudity, newer shots of several girls stripping down to their thongs, which are entirely unrelated to the rest of the story, have been spliced in here and there. Seeing how one of the girls is wearing a Hollister t-shirt, this stuff had to have been filmed sometime in the new millennium (Hollister didn't even exist until 2000).

This was first advertised in horror mags as The Starlet Blue Massacre before the title change. The opening credits boast about "guest stars centerfolds" Cheryl Lee and Kandi Barbour. I had to look them up to see who they were. Lee later moved on playing "The Leggy Blonde" in the Macauley Culkin vehicle Getting Even with Dead (1994), while Barbour was a porno star.


Toxic Slime Creature, The (1982)

... aka: Slither, The

Directed by:
Kenneth Zollo

With the advent of the internet came the advent of Youtube and suddenly anyone could upload anything they wanted, including their very own homemade horror movies that may have played on a public access channel or two back in their day but seldom received an actual home video release. This is that type of film, though it did actually receive a release of sorts. The end credits have a logo for Carlson International and ordering information for Vidimax, which was a small mail order company out of West Caldwell, New Jersey. Vidimax was best known as the original U.S. distributor of the notorious Japanese gore-fest GUINEA PIG: FLOWER OF FLESH AND BLOOD (1985), back then called Slow Death, which was rumored to be a real snuff tape and was subject to an actual police investigation. The company's other big acquisition was A Certain Sacrifice (1979), an 8mm student film which also happened to be the film debut of 21-year old Louise Ciccone aka Madonna. Once this title surfaced and it was revealed the star appeared topless in it, Madonna attempted to get the video banned but was unsuccessful. Vidimax / Carlson Int. also made a handful of their very own horror films that were shot either on video or Super 8. These included THE NECROTIC (1978), TENDERLOIN (1985), NEW YORK CENTERFOLD MASSACRE (1985) and others you've probably never heard of before. Tape masters for all of these were destroyed in a fire at the furniture warehouse where they were being stored so only poor-quality (and sometimes incomplete) dupes still exist.

I actually tried calling this number. No one answered.

Warehouse workers get behind on their work and are forced by their asshole boss Mr. Bronk (Ron Bolo) to stay late doing inventory. Right at dinner time, a train hauling hazardous materials crashes out back. One of the workers runs outside to check out the damage and gets a little too close to the wreckage. An explosion occurs and sends some kind of acidic chemical directly into his face. The crash has knocked out the power and telephone lines and punctured tanks leak more toxic chemicals onto the ground and into the air; trapping everyone inside. The workers, plus deli deliveryman Joe (Robert Zollo), do their best to fortify the building and make sure all cracks are sealed but there are just too many windows in the main part of the building so they're forced upstairs into some easier-to-seal-off offices. As they try to get a transistor radio and generator to work, some strange things are happening outside... and about to make their way inside.

Radio broadcasts reveal that the area they're located in has been mostly abandoned but the released chemicals are so thick that the air is both unbreathable and burns the skin. In other words, exposure to it means instant death as young stock boy Jimmy (Richard Butler) eventually finds out. Everyone is ordered to stay indoors. However, that's easier said than done under the circumstances, especially when Ralph (Leo Guabello), who was off trying to fix the generator, is found dead lying in a puddle of mysterious slimy liquid. The crew, including Paul (Charles Ward), the fragile ("Oh my God, we're all going to die!") Laura (Mela Silvestri) and older accountant lady Doris (Elizabeth Carmen), split up to investigate and Joe the deli man has an encounter with a being he describes as "the size of a horse" and "brown and wet and, like, slimy, ya know?" Whatever it is, it starts picking the workers off one by one.

It's not that this thing isn't without some low budget charm with the enthusiastic bad acting and technically crude do-it-all-yourself amateurism, it's just that this same exact thing has already been done a lot better elsewhere and, if you haven't already seen it, you certainly don't want to see it here first. In lieu of action, we get characters washed out by overbearing white light endlessly walking around the warehouse with flashlights and the cast sitting in an ugly office with wood paneling bickering or planning what to do for an hour. What little we see of the creature is relegated to flash cuts of something that would look more at home floating in a toilet, and is just as threatening as it sounds. There's no blood or gore, no real special effects, a general lack of creativity and nothing to satisfy either creature feature or exploitation movie fans.

This was filmed in Morristown, New Jersey at the Tech-Art Plastics Company, who specialized in custom molds for plastic products, particularly in the organ and piano industries.

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