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It Came from the Gutter, 22 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Young Rene (Ginnie Kindall) is kidnapped off a playground swing set. Right after flying into town, lesbian Lillian (Tracy Handfuss) is forced at gun point into the back of a truck. Housewife Colette ("Barbara Que" / Uschi Digard) is out watering the lawn in broad daylight when she gets swiped right off her front yard. Innocent 18-year-old virgin Bernice ("Rita Book" / Peggy Church) is snacking on Lays (foreshadowing?) chips when she's snatched off the street. And finally, leggy blonde party girl Pamela ("Nancy Nice" / Jane Tsentas) is abducted immediately after leaving a bar. All five girls don't know it yet but they've all fallen into the clutches of whiny long-haired perv Bart. Bart, who's played by the butt ugly "Harry Chest," who incidentally has no hair on his chest, drives them out miles into the desert to his remote home and then gives them the scoop on what's going on. They're to be his sex slaves and obey his every wish. They're to call him "master" while he calls them "pig." They'll eat... when and if he wants them to. They're to stick to a strenuous exercise routine to keep in good shape. If any of them try to escape they've been warned that the grounds are surrounded by trained, savage dogs who will eat them alive. And if they disobey or are caught doing something they aren't supposed to do, the girls will have to whip the disobedient one.

Bart is assisted by his bigger and perhaps even uglier mute sidekick Momo (played by Momo), who carries around a piece of hose to whip the girls with. Bart even bosses poor Momo around and refuses to let any of the girls have sex with him, causing the frustrated Momo to try to rape whatever girl he can get his hands on. Because he found Pamela at a nightclub and she's wearing a short skirt, Bart decides to "rape" her first but she goes along with it simply because she'll do anything to survive. The girls are then taken to a drained out swimming pool and are forced to do in-place jogging, push ups, leg lifts and topless toe touches. One girl is forced to get on all fours and is used as a step stool. While Bart is having his way with Colette, the lesbian takes the virgin out into the brush and helps her "relax" by rubbing her shoulders and then going down on her. When it's time for the virgin to give it up, she refuses so Bart has her tied to a running truck motor to "steam your clam open" so that he'll have "one well-basted bird."

After being raped, beaten and tortured for nearly an hour, the girls finally decide they've had enough and decide to get revenge. One of the girls seduces Momo, the others hold him down and then castrate him with a pair of vise grip pliers (!) They then manage to get the upper hand on Bart and then decide to give him a taste of his own medicine by forcing him to go through everything they went through. He gets his dick squeezed with the pliers, is forced to dance and exercise naked and is then beat with the hose. for an encore the girls decide to "sock it to him night and day nonstop" (i.e. screw him) until he's dead. I've got to admit, I've never seen a man gang raped to death by five women before. Now I have. Thank you Big Snatch for enriching my life.

There are trashy movies and then there are movies so trashy the sleaze goes right through the roof into the stratosphere. This is one of *those* movies. It looks extremely cheap (not surprising since the budget was just 11 thousand dollars), has awful acting and photography and much of the time the "rapes" seem a little too enjoyable for the "victim," but this is amusing enough to pass the time, most of the females look good and there's a mean-spirited twist at the end that's kind of good. Everyone was so embarrassed by this they used fake names and the credits are hilarious. The cameraman is "Otto Focus," the sound was done by "Less Noise" and the grip was "Jim Nasium." Something Weird distribute this on DVD-R and it's certainly worth a gander if you like this kind of stuff.

Weird, slow-moving psycho-sexual drama from Franco., 16 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In Paris, Marie-France Bertrand (Alice Arno) is looking for work and goes to an employment agency where she learns of an opening which will put to use her nursing, teaching and secretarial skills. Taking a train ride to the country, she goes to the seaside villa of wealthy Paul Radeck (Paul Muller), a secretive man who wants her to help care for his two adult daughters; Linda (Verónica Llimera) and Olivia (Lina Romay), who's actually an orphaned cousin he adopted. Olivia is lonely, virginal, sex-obsessed and lies in bed drinking champagne and making lascivious looks at anyone who walks through the door. Linda is a depressed, paralyzed woman-child who clutches her baby doll and likes to sunbathe naked on the terrace. Also living in the home is Abdul (Pierre Taylou), a servant who doesn't speak and only grunts like a caveman. Her first night there, Marie-France has immediate reason for concern as everyone acts extremely strange. Olivia moans loudly while she sleeps and likes to watch her new "teacher" shower, she catches the voyeuristic Abdul peeping in her room and the short-tempered Paul refuses to discuss Linda's condition and refers to her as "the fruit of sin."

Meanwhile, a female photojournalist (Catherine Lafferière) and a goofy private dick (Richard "Deconninck " / Bigotini) are spying on the villa from a nearby house with binoculars that somehow enable them to see right into all the bedrooms. Since the girls like to run around naked most of the time, she is hoping to get good photos for Playboy while he hopes to get evidence that Paul murdered his wife, which is the rumor around those parts. Olivia is troubled by nightmares / flashbacks of her uncle slashing his unfaithful wife Lorna's (Monica Swinn) lover's throat with a sword while the two were in bed. Paul is also haunted by visions of the tryst and takes it out on his daughters by beating and screaming at them all the time and caressing them while they sleep in the nude. When he catches one of his girls in bed with Abdul, he drags him off to a room, chains him to a wall and whips him while calling him a dog. There are numerous sexual tanglings all around that keep Abdul awfully busy and Olivia makes mention of wanting a key to a locked room her father always keeps guarded to see what's inside.

The pacing is extremely, almost insufferably lethargic at times and this has next to no narrative drive to propel the thin story forward. Sex, jealousy, madness, murder, child abuse, lesbianism, incest, suicide, ESP and voyeurism all rear their heads from time to time, but the story itself is rather aimless and uninvolving. The bulk of the film is spent on nude / sex scenes, but the film finally settles more in the horror-thriller territory in the last few minutes with one of the cast members going crazy and murdering numerous characters with a sword and battle axe. There's some minor comic relief in side scenes, constant zoom shots into eyeballs, a few nice visual touches and a cheeky twist at the very end that's kind of humorous. Of course, the primary reason this was made was to undress all of the female cast members, and this at least does that much, though it takes Franco a whopping 18 minutes to get one of the ladies naked, which may be a record for him. Looks-wise, Romay in her prime here, so that much is good.

Like most other Franco films, this was released in many different forms in many different countries over the years, though the run times all hover around 80 minutes. I first noticed this on the bootleg circuit under the title "The Burning Nights of Linda." An English dubbed print surfaced under the name "Erotic Dreams." The French release ("Les nuits brûlantes de Linda") contains some hardcore footage of oral sex as well as some banana play with Romay. The Italian version ("La felicità nel peccato" = "Happiness in Sin") contains a soft sex scene featuring Swinn not seen in any other version. The one I ended up watching was an 80m. cut packaged as "The Hot Nights of Linda" but with a title screen that calls it "But Who Raped Linda?" that was theatrically released by hack company Eurociné. It's in widescreen, is English-dubbed and opens by saying it's "a film by J.P. Johnson" and then goes on to list the director as Madeleine Quinquandon. Under any title, it's a middling and rather forgettable effort for the director that represents neither the best nor the worst of his work.

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Slow, dull, voodoo-themed soft-core set in Haiti., 26 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

During a pointless opening scene, a British narrator denies ties between voodoo and Satanism while we get to see a partially-clothed Haitian dance on a beach accompanied by a flute player and bongo drums. And so begins another Franco sexploiter for Swiss producer Erwin C. Dietrich. This was one of many sex films of the 70s set on a Caribbean island featuring voodoo as a flimsy plot device to link together a bunch of sex / nude scenes. One of the first of this type was Osvaldo Civirani's VOODOO SEXY (1975), while the most famous of these are probably the ones made by Joe D'Amato in the Dominican Republic like PAPAYA: LOVE GODDESS OF THE CANNIBALS (1978) and SEX AND BLACK MAGIC (1980). As was the case with most of these, the sex was filmed soft but the full frontal nudity was so explicit and rampant the films were never released in the U.S. during the whole 80s / 90s VHS era. And the ones that did often had hardcore insert shots spliced in later simply so they could be sold off as XXX porn.

VOODOO PASSION (or "Call of the Blonde Goddess") starts with a middle aged woman named Susan Haus (Ada Tauler) arriving in Haiti to meet up with her husband Jack (Jack Taylor), a British consul living there she hasn't seen in quite some time and doesn't even know very well. Susan's picked up at the harbor by a bizarre-acting Inès ("Vicky Adams" / Nanda Van Bergen), who works as a secretary at her husband's home. She then meets the even stranger Olga (French porn actress Karine Gambier), an extremely nosy platinum blonde nymphomaniac who claims to be Jack's sister and won't stop inquiring about their sex life. Olga lounges around in the nude and has lots of creepy things to say about her relationship with her special sibling like "He likes me to come sleep with him. I'm his baby doll. I always cuddle up to him for protection but I promise nothing happens between us." Well, THAT'S reassuring!

Not long after arriving, Susan begins to suspect she's the victim of a voodoo curse. She has numerous long nightmares where she joins in on voodoo rituals, watches a rhythm-deficient tribe do some REALLY awful nude dancing, has chicken blood dribbled all over her body, sees her husband screwing his sister, goes to her husband's colleague to seduce and then murder him and then joins another couple in bed, killing them as well. The star of many of these dreams is the housekeeper, who stashes a voodoo doll in the house and leads all the dances, but is she also the one causing Susan's horrific hallucinations / hypnotizing her to kill? While all that's going on, the slutty Olga pleasures herself with a wine bottle while listening to her brother and Susan and keeps trying to seduce her sister-in-law ("There's only one thing I don't know... have you ever had sex with a woman?")

I watched this back-to-back with Franco's SATANIC SISTERS (1977) and, truth be told, enjoyed that one a LOT more because it had a better plot, some amusing dialogue and a sense of humor to go along with the nearly non-stop nude scenes. This one on the other hand takes itself completely seriously and just comes off as dull in the process. The paper thin plot is uninteresting, slow-moving and barely enough to even string together all of the sex scenes and both the direction, with constant closeups of eyeballs and an almost clinical and detached eye for shooting female anatomy, and editing are pretty terrible. Despite the setting and lots of generic stock footage of some Caribbean island, this was actually filmed in Zurich so it doesn't get any extra points for travelogue footage either. A ridiculous unexpected twist is thrown out at the very end but even that's not enough to pump any life into this snoozer.

The only real positives are several very attractive actresses cavorting around nude nearly the entire time. Gambier, who's a delight even in something like this, and Van Bergen, who has very piercing hazel eyes to go along with her great body, are both worth a look... just make sure you have the fast-forward button handy for all the rest.

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Twisted Sisters, 26 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Raven-haired, sexually-aggressive Edna (Pamela Stanford) picks up a guy named Joe (Kurt Meinicke) in a club and takes him back to her oceanfront villa. There, things take an admittedly strange turn as she has her maid Sarah (Esther Moser) disrobe both on them on the living room sofa. But before things can get too hot and heavy, Edna excuses herself to the bedroom so she can have a word with her sister Millie (Karine Gambier). Millie turns out to be such a "dangerous nymphomaniac" she must be chained up to her bed in a room that doubles as a jail cell (!) where she writhes in agony until she can get some. Edna calls to her male visitor to come in and offers him up "a fantastic surprise" of her sister's body to use any way he wants. However, Millie has first instructed Edie to "...stay and watch us, the way you always do!" As Millie and the male visitor go to town, Edie hides behind a beaded curtain and takes care of herself with a candle (!?) No, this is not going to be your everyday run-of-the-mill sex film, folks.

Millie hasn't left her room in six long months and is on drugs that are supposed to help temper her schizophrenic delusions. She also has traumatic flashbacks to her childhood when she used to hide and watch all of her sister's kinky sexual proclivities. In an effort to pacify her, the live-in nurse Maria (Marianne Graf) gives her a vibrator and tries to do other *a-hem* nice things for her, while Edna doesn't help matters any by going into town, picking up a white-haired male gigolo (who also happens to be the same guy who raped her as a child!) and letting him have his way with her as long as he doesn't "leave any bruises." Edna seeks advice from world-renowned psychotherapist Dr. Milton Arcos, who recommends Millie be denied stimulants of any kind (including sex) if she's ever to make a recovery. However, there's the possibility some people don't actually WANT her to get better because there's a 12 million dollar inheritance the troubled girl is set to collect on her 21st birthday. Well, granted she's of sound mind when the time comes...

Though this sounds - and kind of IS - pretty twisted, there's something oddly charming about this one that I can't quite put my finger on. I think a lot of that has to do with the goofy English-language dub-over done by a group of cheeky people who obviously had a hard time stifling laughter saying things like "What a terrific tool!" And then there's the head-scratching exchange, "Have you ever seen how the fish make love?" "No." "Neither have I, but I can imagine how they would do it. If I were a male fish and you were a female I would want to make love to you." The story itself really isn't too bad (it's surprisingly coherent by the director's standards) though the ending falls completely flat. But hey, not many people are going to watch this for the story anyway, are they? The good news is that the entire cast - female and male alike - spend the majority of their scenes sans clothing and engaging in near X-rated sex and most of them look pretty good doing it.

Aside from the ladies, there are two male exploitation regulars of note on hand. The first is Jack Taylor as Millie's physician Dr. Charles Barnes, who gets to shove a thermometer up Millie's ass in his very first scene and basically lounge around in bed in the nude with several of the other ladies in all his scenes thereafter. The second is Erik Falk (best known for the kung fu biker rapist 'Stiletto' in the sleaze gem MAD FOXES) as one of the sleazy studs hired to service Millie. Being part of Franco's late 70s series for Swiss producer Erwin C. Dietrich, the photography, music and overall production values are decent for this kind of film. Even the villa interior has a cool decor, with blown-up black-and-white photos of cats gracing all the walls.

The DVD is packaged as "Sexy Sisters" but the on-screen title calls it "Satanic Sisters." Under any name, this is a decent Eurotrash flick.

Incomprehensible mess involving a silver super hero, drug lords, gamblers and hopping vampires., 23 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Large chunks of this movie were actually swiped from a 1979 Angela Mao Ying vehicle called THE CASINO GIANT (aka "City of Vengeance" or "Duel in a Gambling Den"), which currently is not even listed on IMDb, as well as a second Mao film called THE STUNNING GAMBLING, made in 1982. The rest is new footage made by Hong Kong 'cut-and-paste' master "Joe Livingstone" aka Godfrey Ho; most of which had previously already been seen in another of his earlier hack-jobs called NINJA, THE VIOLENT SORCERER (which is listed here as being released in 1982 but was probably slapped together sometime later). Yes, it's confusing as hell but such is the career of Mr. Ho. Speaking of confusing, all of the spliced together and re-dubbed footage boasts three completely different plots simultaneously running parallel to one another and all duking it out for our attention. Unfortunately, there's no winning this particular battle as none of this makes a lick of sense. There's lot of fighting and numerous WTF moments throughout, but this doesn't really cut it as a good bad movie. It's mostly just confusing, senseless and frustrating to sit through.

Using a voodoo doll, American drug lord Ronald (Richard Phillips) has managed to put a Taoist priest under his spell and forces the man-of- the-cloth to tend to four hopping, blue-faced vampires who become more and more powerful with each drop of human blood they consume. These karate- fighting bloodsuckers can appear or disappear at will and are only kept in check with a piece of spell paper attached to the forehead. Meanwhile, "gambling king" Steven Cox (Kuan-Hsiung Wang) has just been released after ten years in prison and has vengeance on his mind. Steven wants to get back at Madame Mary (Angela Mao) aka "the bitch who betrayed me," for not only getting him arrested but also helping to destroy his previous marriage and driving his wife and kids away. Either way, Mary is now engaged to a (apparently not very observant) policeman named Louie (Lau Seung-Him), has taken over his home and business (a casino) and is now known as "the queen of the underworld."

Elsewhere, a man named Alex (Suen Kwok-Ming) is living a double life as a crime fighter named "Shadow Warrior." Decked out in a baggy silver outfit, silver boots and silver motorcycle helmet, Alex battles not only the vampires, but also the evil priest, the American mob boss and their black-clad ninja henchmen, all of whom are working for Mary. So who IS Alex working for? Well, apparently a guy named Mr. Ivers (Chung Tien Shih), his yellow-robed Taoist "master" AND Steven Cox... I think. There's lots of double-crossing and even double-crossers being double- crossed, characters flipping allegiances and a bunch of people running doing things that don't necessarily make any sense. It's impossible to keep track of all of the characters and what they're up to. I'm not even fully convinced the people responsible for dubbing this understood what was going on.

Also thrown into the mix are a bunch of annoyingly-dubbed kids playing vampire games, a hidden case of gold buried on the beach that numerous characters want to get their mitts on, an "anti-sorcery mirror," long scenes of the Taoist cutting his hand, bleeding into a bowl, playing around with fire and sparklers (which I guess is the "Devil Dynamite" of the title) and conducing vampire training sessions, tons of random fight scenes and some laughable dialogue ("Do unto yourself what others want to do to you... CUT YOUR BALLS OFF!!") There's also one scene that is repeated in its entirety TWO times for no apparent reason. At the very end there's a fun fight sequence between some of the more colorful characters but it's too little too late by that point.

Police Baffled. 'Eye' Killer Slays 14th!, 22 November 2014

Before Kent Bateman started facilitating and personally financing the budding careers of his actor children Jason and Justine (subject of a 1988 People Magazine article questioning their reputation as "Showbiz Brats"), he made this ultra low-budget gore flick. It was also an early effort for producer Ronald Sullivan, who'd later go on to become a famous porn director under the name Henri Pachard. While attempting to rob a woman's apartment late at night so he can pay his rent, financially-strapped New York City artist Arthur Malcolm or just 'Mal' (Bo Brundin) ends up getting a big surprise himself when the woman gouges out his eyeball with a spoon. The traumatized artist loses his mind, spends some time in an institution and completely alienates himself from his emasculating rich lover Anna, who'd been carrying his expenses on her shoulders for years. Now free from all his constraints, Mal lurks around the city murdering anyone he can get his hands on and then removing their eyes, which are placed in blocks of ice in his freezer until they're ready to be added to his art pieces.

This is ultimately little more than a succession of stalking / killing vignettes just barely held together as a film with scenes featuring the killer giving over-the-top deranged monologues. After a drunk, bickering couple mock him, Mal follows them home and kills them with a hammer. He then follows a woman back to her apartment and stabs her through the throat after she tells him she's a hooker. Many others will die and part ways with their peepers in the process, including a woman hanging sheets on a rooftop, an old lady desperately wanting plastic surgery (and who makes the mistake of lifting up his eye patch), a plainclothes cop who stumbles upon him defiling a corpse in an open grave and a blonde would- be actress who takes her top off for a sleazy casting agent. Though this is somewhat amusing for a little while, the general lack of plot, repetitive kills and technical ineptitude soon catches up to it and it becomes tiresome.

After endless murder scenes, a female art student named Gigi starts hanging out at Mal's studio demanding to learn his 'technique' but this pointless character then abruptly disappears from the film after having done nothing of note. A lot of the dialogue seems improvised, the editing and photography are both pretty awful and it's evident by the end that this was never even completed. The very last shot is a freeze frame of the killer exclaiming "I am not finished!" over and over again after killing yet another of his victims... and the same applies to the movie itself! However, there are a few oddball scenes in here worth mentioning, especially one of the strangest 'funerals' in film history, which includes a newscaster conducting street interviews with spectators as a corpse of one of the victims is hauled out of her apartment already in a casket (?!) The lead actor sweats, cries, screams, goes on crazed nonsensical rants and I suppose deserves a little credit for putting his all into the role.

The Spanish poster ("Cabezas sin ojos") lists cast members "Mike Scott" and "Vicky Bateman," whose names are not in the credits of the film. Since Kent was married to a flight attendant named Victoria for a number of years it makes me wonder if that isn't her in one of the roles using a pseudonym. David DeCoteau's awful 1999 flick THE KILLER EYE re-used the Wizard VHS cover art for its release, which has caused some confusion between titles. And as bad as "Headless Eyes" is at times it's still way better than DeCoteau's movie.

Easy to "swaller" no budget hicksploitation., 22 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In 1956, Peter Graves starred in a swampland drama called BAYOU, which ended up tanking in theaters... that is until 1961 when M.A. Ripps got his hands on it and then re-released it under the new title POOR WHITE TRASH in 1961. What's in a title? A lot it seems, as the new moniker turned what was a bomb into a moneymaking workhorse that played Southern drive-ins for years as a second feature. Nearly two decades later the same marketing technique was applied to S.F. Brownrigg's SCUM OF THE EARTH. While "Scum" is a great title on its own, it was already used for a 1963 Herschell Gordon Lewis flick about a nudie photography racket and didn't quite pack 'em in on that name alone. To boost ticket sales for the reissue (and perhaps trick people into either watching it a second time or assuming it was a follow-up to the first), it was given the new title "Poor White Trash Part II." The film also retained that same title when it finally appeared on VHS and is pretty much solely known under the "Trash" title these days.

Soon after arriving at her vacation cabin, newlywed Helen Fraser (Norma Moore) finds her husband Paul (Joel Colodner) dead with an axe buried in his chest. Someone has also stolen their car keys so she's forced to flee into the woods. The first person she comes across is slovenly drunk Odis Pickett (Gene Ross), who claims he doesn't know anything about the murder and puts her mind at ease by informing her "I ain't killed nobody... lately." Having no other choice, Helen follows Odis back to his shack to call the police. When she gets there, she meets the rest of the Pickett clan: Odis' very pregnant wife Emmy (Ann Stafford), his hateful / slutty daughter Sarah (Camilla Carr) and his incredibly dumb son Bo (Charlie Dell), who talks kind of like Forrest Gump. Tensions are already high in the family for a variety of reasons and things get even worse when they discover the same psycho who killed Paul is lurking around outside.

This has all of the necessary ingredients for a good hillbilly horror flick: grubby rednecks in overalls spouting terrible grammar ("Looky here what I done brung home for supper!"), filthy living conditions, incest, moonshine drunk directly from mason jars, rape, possum for din din and a series of bloody murders including a neck pierced on an iron fence, a strangulation with barbed wire and a gunshot to the eyeball. If the director has one notable strength compared to his contemporaries, it's the ability to get good performances from his actors. He did it with his previous film DON'T LOOK IN THE BASEMENT (1973) and he's done it again here with a solid group of performers all well-cast in their roles. But what really puts this a notch above similar efforts is the low key and somewhat eerie backwoods atmosphere (achieved in part to the no budget minimalism and lack of location change) and the attention paid to characters. Quite a tasteless and tactless group we have here!

The Odis character is an immensely unlikable brute who guzzles 'shine the entire time and constantly berates his kids and poor knocked-up wife; justifying his eventual rape of Helen by telling his old lady that he "don't want to poke an old blowed-up balloon like you." I would call the daughter character a 5 dollar whore, but instead she's more of a 1 dollar whore who spreads her legs for all the local guys for pocket change so she can buy things like lipstick and glamour magazines. However, she's tight enough with her pa to give it to him for free! The son is a slow-speaking half-wit who talks like Forrest Gump and mostly elicits feelings of annoyance from the entire family. The big surprise is the unknown Stafford as Emmy the wife; a dumb but good-hearted door mat who was traded off to Odis by her own father to relieve a debt and who eventually becomes a bit motherly toward Norma. Stafford provides a perfect counter-balance to the over-the-top antics of the rest of the family and creates a surprisingly warm character.

On the down side, there's next to no plot, the music score is a little inappropriate and annoying at times and the surprise twist at the end is pretty ludicrous, but it's all entertaining enough and has a great cheap regional feel to it that Hollywood films frequently try and normally fail to capture.

Another Seduction Cinema lez-fest., 21 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In 1812, a sexually-charged woman named Helena Pottsworth decided to sleep with everyone (male AND female) in the small town of Bacchusville, New Jersey and was then brought into the woods by angry townspeople and left to die alone. Rumor has it that her ghost still haunts the land all these years later and that people who venture into the woods where she vanished are overcome with sexual arousal. Now in 1999, three college coeds - Katie ("Katie Keane" / Laurie Wallace), Darian (Darian Caine) and Victoria (Victoria Vega) - decide to take their cameras and camping gear out into the woods to see if the legend is indeed true. They make a vow of chastity beforehand; not a problem for Victoria, who's "not into sex and all that stuff." That soon changes once the girls set up their tent in the woods and are immediately overcome with uncontrollable lustful feelings that, of course, must be acted out on one another.

No one's really going to care much about the plot of this one, though it does try to parody THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT throughout complete with entirely hand-held videography, mock interviews with rednecks and poorly improvised dialogue. The most amusing bit is a raunchy twist on the famous "I'm so scared" scene. Instead of wooden idols left around there's a blow-up doll and there's also an escaped gorilla on the loose for some reason. The entire purpose of this one is the ladies though, who are nude and engaging in simu-sex nearly the entire time, so at least it delivers on that front. The best scene is a g-g-g in front of a campfire at the end, which has horrendously unflattering lighting but is pretty graphic for a non-hardcore film.

Seduction Cinema had a good run for about a decade starting in the late 90s when people were still buying this stuff on DVD, but have since pretty much closed up shop and stopped making new movies. In house star Misty Mundae (their biggest draw) leaving the company really didn't help matters but the final nail in the coffin occurred once more experienced directors like Fred Olen Ray and Jim Wynorski got in on the erotic spoof action and began monopolizing the late night cable market. SC just couldn't really compete and that was that.

Does what it sets out to do for the most part., 20 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Feminist scientist Dr. Jacqueline Stevenson (Julian Wells) has written a controversial new book called "The Repression Syndrome," which details how women are usually forced into two categories: the virginal ("pure") and the slutty ("lustful"). As a result, widespread sexual repression has run rampant and the doctor has created a new serum called "Euphoria" that she hopes will help to release women's inhibitions. Suicidal and sexually repressed Martine Flagstone (Misty Mundae in a black wig) shows up in Jacqueline's office and volunteers to be her first guinea pig, but the drug works TOO well on her and she ends up in an insane asylum, driven crazy by lust. Jacqueline reformulates the drug and ends up taking it herself, transforming into the insatiable Heidi Hyde. She picks up a Catholic schoolgirl / teen runaway named Dawn (Mundae with her normal hair) who's a dead ringer for Martine, and ends up falling for her. Meanwhile, Jacqueline's chauvinist pig husband Richard (Boz Tennyson) is keeping himself busy with their maid Paula (Ruby LaRocca). Things come full circle at the end.

This is an erotic spin on "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and really not bad by Seduction Cinema standards. All of the females in the cast (particularly the two leads) are attractive, frequently nude and there's plenty of soft-core girl-girl scenes throughout. I expected all that but what I didn't really expect was for this to be fairly well made and serious-minded. With an obviously tiny budget at his disposal, the director attempts to turn all of his limitations into assets. Care was obviously put into the screenplay (courtesy of Bruce G. Hallenbeck), editing and sound and, while the sets are all blank and vacant, they're also carefully lit to give them a bold, sort of 'color noir' appearance. It's minimalism in the extreme but it's also about as stylish as the budget would allow. And this is certainly no worse than a lot of more acclaimed erotica people like Jess Franco or Jean Rollin were cranking out in the 70s and 80s.

As per usual with these sort of films, the story often drags, but that's pretty much par for the course. The absence of much comedy (this is more a psychological drama despite the spoof-like title) also makes it stand out from most other Seduction Cinema offerings, as do the two leads, who deserve credit for adequately enacting out the scenario and taking their roles seriously. My favorite was Wells, who is really hot, especially with minimal makeup and in her business suit and glasses, and also a decent actress. There's also a pretty good - albeit grim - twist at the end.

Halloween Night (1988) (V)
Mildly entertaining direct-to-video trash., 17 November 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Amanda (Katina Garner) and Bill (Michael Potts) Drindle, farmers in a small rural town, have their hands full raising their three children. Little Vera is a whiny tattletale. Little Roger is showing a strange affinity for firearms and shouts "Trick or treat! Give me all your candy of I'll blow your head off!" while blasting his mom with his toy gun. As for Little Tommy, well, he's grandpa's special little boy and when you're grandpa's favorite in this family it means you also have to be chummy with the Devil since Gramps (Hy Pyke) is the leader of the neighborhood's Satanic cult. Concerned that his father-in-law is corrupting his son after Tommy blurts out "I like the taste of blood. Grandpa says it's good for me!," Bill decides to confront the cult, only to end up getting killed with a hammer. The cult then burn his body up in a barn fire to conceal what happened and go on their merry way.

Thirteen years pass. Mom is now depressed and miserable because she's been forced to run the family orchard all on her own with little help from her now-grown kids, who are all busy doing their own thing. Vera is your typical boy-crazy teen girl who's considering losing her virginity to her new boyfriend (Larry Coven), Roger (Jeff Brown) has become a cop and Tommy (Gregory Scott Cummins) still lives at home, where his obsessively lifts weights in the basement and has weird dreams featuring a six-armed black woman shooting green laser beams out of her eyes to dissolve a metal band (!) before decapitating him with a pitchfork. Tommy is also still in league with Satan and still hanging out with his evil grandfather, but is he also the same person donning a Devil mask and red cloak who's been running around killing people?

This is typical direct-to-video product of its day, with bad acting, a thin plot in need of serious padding and the requisite nudity and blood. What makes it slightly more entertaining than usual is how it goes about buffering its running time by including everything under the sun (including two scenes where bands perform whole songs and even a stand up comedy routine about strippers and turkeys!), as well as how pervy and sex-obsessed its bizarre characters are. Tommy seems in love with his sister and beats up her boyfriend when he catches them in bed together. Vera seems obsessed with her other brother's sex life and wants details (yuck). Even Roger the cop, the supposed "normal one," takes his sister's friend (Patricia Christie) to a cemetery and has sex with her on top of a freshly-dug grave mound containing the corpse of his sister's boyfriend! It's also revealed that the grandfather hypnotized and then raped his own daughter on her wedding night so he may actually be both Tommy's grandfather AND his real father. The grandfather also seems to have sexual designs on his granddaughter, whom he leers at and refers to as "a very temping young lady." Yikes.

There's some mild violence (stabbings, a shovel to the head, a hanging, etc.) but more time is spent trying to get the female cast members out of their clothes than anything else. The sister is naked in the bathtub, a woman strips completely naked at a Halloween party, a female Satanist takes it all off so she can get a pentagram branded on her ass, a victim's breasts almost pop out of her top when the killer grabs her and starts violently tightening her corset (!) and even the mom character (or her body double) gets in on the action during a flashback. The best known of the nude chicks is porno actress Jeanna Fine (credited here as "Angel Rush") who's around long enough to get naked twice before having some clawed stick stuck in her beck.

The director also made the slashers OPEN HOUSE (1987) and THE JIGSAW MURDERS (1989), but is best known for the numerous soft-core movies he made through the 90s starring the likes of Tanya Roberts, Shannon Tweed and Kathy Shower. I visited the webpage of one of the female stars of this one and she claims the budget was a million dollars and that it "has returned over one hundred million dollars in foreign and domestic distribution."

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