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Ercole l'invincibile (1964)
A Solid Sword and Sandal, Despite The Negative Reviews
Sword and Sandal films are perhaps the most nerve-wracking movies to try and track down. They usually have numerous different titles, versions and edits. This one is a prime example. Many of the reviews here trashing it for "stealing scenes" from other flicks (including the iconic 1958 Hercules starring Steve Reeves) are actually reviewing the more commonly available US TV Edit by Joseph E Levine which did in fact replace scenes from this flick with that previous one, which he also did US distribution for. In such a case when you are literally viewing half the movie, not just the edits but the chopping off of half of the screen to get a cinemascopic picture to fit to a 4x3 TV, one's assessment can be unfairly ravaged because you are only seeing fragments of what a movie is meant to be! I was fortunate enough to catch the original and superior Italian version which is likely to please anyone who finds a title like "Hercules The Invincible" tantalizing enough to merit a watch in the first place. Although the Italian version is missing the groovy narration added to the US Version - guaranteed to take you back to your childhood living room floor in front of the old TV set - it is an overall better viewing experience.
Insanely Funny Smutty "SYBIL" Parody
I felt the need to add a review to this really cool flick since it has only one review here on IMDb which pretty much trashes it. Now, I will agree - if you are looking for a movie to get turned on by, you might want to look elsewhere (at the virtually endless supply of "normal" porn"). But if you have trashy cinematic taste, this one just might do the trick!
Sylvia is a dowdy, God-fearing spinster who lives alone, praying to the religious shrine in her living room. That is, until any man (or woman) enters her vicinity upon which she transforms into one of the various smut-spewing, sex-maniac multiple personalities inside her. Complete with cheesy transformation effects and even cheesier musical accompaniment.
Coming in straight-off-the-heels of Sally Field's schizophrenic drama "Sybil", Sylvia takes the premise, rips all the cloths off of it and swirls it with hysterical over-the-top shenanigans. If you enjoy these crazy porn-horror hybrids that could only have come from the wild and wooly 70's, I'm pretty certain you will enjoy SYLVIA!
Snowy Plot less Creepfest
The wintery Canadian mountains which provide the desolate setting are only slightly snowier than the plot, which finds withdrawn, teetering-on-the-edge-of-crazy Jenny, her rotten boyfriend and their slutty blonde chic friend stranded at a shuttered snowbound inn. Seemingly abandoned, it isn't long before they realize they aren't the only ones there. "Ghostkeeper" is a textbook example of how much a movie can be made or broken by its soundtrack. Many long, inactive treks through this abandoned ski lodge would be unbearable if not for the sinister score - which will ring familiar to most horror-nerds as nearly identical to the one from fellow 1981 Canadian horror film, Prom Night - both done by the same guy. If you need a movie with a cohesive plot, you certainly should look elsewhere. But if you can enjoy a spooky, hazy film which is heavy on dreadful atmosphere and creepy music while remaining non-existent on gore and nudity - you've met your match. It certainly is an odd duck, especially for the time period in which it was made. It's reputation as a hidden gem is well-deserved and it will come as a nice surprise to jaded horror fans who think they've seen it all.
An Exotic Movie Carried By Beautiful Music
I cannot understand the reviews here on IMDb for this film but I imagine its from those Joe D'Amato fans who just want hardcore sex and gore - the stuff he basically did for paychecks in between the movies he put his heart into, like this one which is absolutely lovely, fun, thought-provoking and sexy. Laura Gemser stars in her second foray as "Black Emanuelle", this time heading off to Bangkok for more sexual and social exploration, hopping from one adventure to another, and one person to another, but remaining rather tame in the pornographic sense. If that's your game, just go rent a porn. But if you are looking for a soft-core adventure with plenty of carefree mentality, this is it. Joe D'Amato pleases the eyes with stunning cinematography and lush tropical locales. But surpassing even all these merits is the mesmerizingly beautiful score from Nico Fidenco - it is absolutely breathtaking and makes all the images on screen melt together with the music for a rare cinematic experience. Well done!
Love, Sidney (1981)
I remember watching this show when I was a kid. Me and my sister would make fun of it the whole way through. From the corny opening song to the cheesy stories to Swoozie Kurt's awful hair and outfits. It was just really lame and pathetic. Truly one of the worst theme songs from a television show ever! I never "got" that Tony Randall's character was supposed to be gay, so I guess that part was REALLY toned down. All the stories were disgustingly sickeningly sugary sweet and idiotic. Regardless, I still "blame" this show for being the inspiration for "Punky Brewster" which had a very similar premise, but with a sassier child and a crankier stepdad. Although both were probably the result of "Diff'rent Strokes" which was a runaway adopted child hit. It beats those other two shows by a longshot.
Tourist Trap (1979)
THE Creepy Mannequin Flick!!!
Ever notice how often the earliest flicks by horror directors, before they go on to bigger and higher budget-productions, are usually the ones that are the coolest and creepiest? Having budget restraints forces a talented director to utilize everything they've got to bring us a story that "wows" us, without taking the easy ways out! Four decades later and TOURIST TRAP is still effective, still creepy, still able to make store mannequins scare the @#$! out of you!
Chuck Conners is the ghoulish remnant of his shuttered roadside "tourist trap" - a wax museum/gift shop - along with his plethora of mannequins. Five unlucky young adults have the unfortunate experience of having their car break down in the middle of nowhere and getting a personal tour of this closed down roadside attraction. Gritty and unpolished, but never succumbing to over-the-top shenanigans that plague so many horror movies, Tourist Trap slow burns with a nightmarish tone, and a very effectively eerie score courtesy of Pino Donaggio.
Many mannequin horrors have come since, but none are as effective as this low-budget classic from 1979. A must for Horror Fans who prefer the macabre and disturbing over the shocking and gory.
The Oblong Box (1969)
Stylish Gothic - Needlessly Complex, Questionably Vague
Ahhh - The Gothic Horrors of American International Pictures. While they did their best to copy the look of the winning formula employed by Hammer Films, and rather successfully at that, they generally did not "get" what made those films from across the pond so compelling and endearing. "Oblong Box" is a prime example, coming very close to a gratifying cinematic experience, but ultimately failing. The story is jumbled and confusing. Too many elements are thrown into the mix, with even the most vital plot points never fully, or even half-heartedly for that matter, explained.
The film opens with a man being tortured in some voodoo ritual. Soon we learn that he has survived, albeit horribly disfigured - both physically and mentally, and is being cared after by his brother, played by Vincent Price. For reasons unknown, he plots with an unscrupulous acquaintance to have himself appear dead and buried so he can be taken to a witch doctor. He ends up being buried alive but his coffin is stolen by grave robbers and sold to a local doctor for experiment, played by Christopher Lee. He winds up hiding out at Lee's house while he enacts revenge on whoever he feels wronged him - taking a few breaks for sex with housemaids and hookers - all while keeping his face covered with a Crimson Mask. His face is kept hidden until the end of the film, and when it is finally revealed it is a big let-down, as are all of the "special effects" in the film - which are pretty lamely executed, even by these kinds of films' standards. However, there is an excellent cast of actors here, thank goodness, who manage to at least keep things interesting. The Gothic scenery, sets, castles, graveyards are all nicely done as well and rather pleasing to the eye. A more straightforward approach would have been most definitely beneficial, with motives and actions better explained.
Anyone hoping to see Lee and Price battle it out on screen will be sorely disappointed as their screen time together amounts to just one scene, and a few seconds at that. Neither one can rightfully be called the star, popping in and (mostly) out of the picture - with poor Lee's role seeming as though it were shoehorned in at the last moment, just to give him something to do. Fans of these Hammer Horrors will certainly find a viewing worthy, but repeated viewings will most likely remain undesired and even more frustrating.
The Seduction (1982)
Lip Gloss Commercial
This movie is really bad. I mean really really bad. Morgan Fairchild struts her stuff, tosses her hair, gets stalked by some idiot, and tosses her hair some more. Seriously, every shot is just Ms Fairchild looking sexy, swimming in a pool naked, taking a bubble bath, making sexy faces in the rearview mirror of her car, combing her hair!! She never stops combing her hair!! No matter who's stalking her. Breaking into her house, killing her boyfriends (in the most ridiculous way possible) - she doesn't even get upset!!! She just makes more sexy faces in the mirror, pouts her lips, combs her hair some more, gets into her satin sheeted bed. It's absolutely outlandish! Then suddenly at the last 15 minutes of the film she tosses around a rifle like its a hairbrush, still making sexy faces. If you are a fan of hers, you will probably love this flick. She looks absolutely 80's stunning in every scene. But if you want to watch a movie - you're out of luck!
Anita Sizzles but the Fight Scenes Fizzle
"Zarak" gets off to a roaring start - with us entering the Arabian village where Anita Ekberg's character lives with her old husband, being acquainted with her lusty relationship with his son (Victor Mature) and the father catching them in the act and sentencing them both to death - all within the first ten minutes of the film!!!! After that, it sort of delves into non-stop rebel war fighting scenes, which aren't that engrossing or all that well filmed - only momentarily catching up with Ekberg and her turgid relationship with Mature here and there. There are some very "American" touches of humour which clearly separate this US sword and sandal flick from the much more common Italian ones. But Anita Ekberg's scantily-clad dances, and sizzling seduction scenes are reason enough to seek out this title and sit through the yawn- inducing battle scenes which make up most of the movie.
Terrible Film Proves ANYTHING Can Have A Cult Following!
I love old horror movies. The sleazy, underground B-movies that have more people seeing them today in the anything-goes digital era than they did decades ago when they were released but had trouble finding their audiences. I also love Udo Kier. He is one of my favorite actors with a unique and beautiful voice to match his unique and beautiful face. Linda Hayden is a lovely Brit actress who starred in sexy roles in horror films like "Taste The Blood Of Dracula" and "Blood On Satan's Claw". However, this meritless hunk of trash is a blemish on all three of those categories. Pretty much one trashy sex scene after the next joined together by stupid dialogue and a few kills, but nothing that even comes close to entertaining. AND they used another actor to dub in Udo's voice! - Blasphemy! If you wanna see a porn rent a porn. If you wanna see a vintage sleazy horror film, there are many great examples out there, but this incoherent mess is certainly not one of them. Udo is a book writer who goes to a secluded cottage to write his next book. He has disturbing nightmarish visions, hires Linda Hayden to come be his secretary. Then people start getting killed. And having sex. And getting killed. And having sex.