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334 reviews in total 
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Gums (1976)
Sophomoric spoof you can't take your eyes off of, 5 October 2015

When penises start washing up on the beach at Great Head, Long Island, Sheriff Coxswain realizes he's up against a murderous mermaid who gives new meaning to "thar she blows" with her fatal fellatio...

This Triple X-rated riff on the previous year's JAWS has very little missionary but plenty of oral with everyone either giving or getting, even Deputy Dick who pretends to be the mermaid at one point. The "she devil" may not have a tail but she wears a little crown, has a phallic underwater lair, and knows quite a few tricks, including lethal muff-diving and popping up in toilet bowls. Add Nazis, blow-up dolls, vagina sock puppets, a claymation (?) vulture that squirts, and human sex with marionettes and you've got a sophomoric spoof you can't take your eyes off of. Which isn't always a good thing, especially when it flirts with bestiality. You don't see sh!t like this every day, that's for sure. Impossible to rate ...and beware the softcore cut.

Stark Fear (1962)
Another low-budget "shocker" influenced by PSYCHO, 16 September 2015

Ned Hockman's STARK FEAR is yet another obscure low budget "psycho- thriller" heavily influenced by PSYCHO and not just because B-movie babe Beverly Garland resembles Marion Crane while looking at herself in the rear view mirror on her way to a sleazy motel. Husband Skip Homeier (who took over directing when Hockman quit) is a sadistic "pervert" (read homosexual) with a mother fixation and Bev's a plucky masochist who blames herself for everything that happens. When Skip goes missing, she looks for him (God only knows why) in an Oklahoma hometown just this side of DELIVERANCE where she's raped in a cemetery by his childhood friend. Unbeknownst to his ravaged wife, her husband's secretly watching in the shadows of his mother's grave and keeps her bloody bra as a souvenir. He's later holed up in a motel room with her rapist and no explanation's given (connect the dots) as Garland goes home and throws herself into her work where her boss (genre fave Kenneth Tobey) falls in love with her ...but he's got a secret, too, of course. There's no end to this woman's woes.

The IMDb Trivia on the film says it was Beverly Garland's least favorite of all her movies but I don't know why since she gives it all she's got and turns in a sincere performance in a film that's equal parts sleaze and hokum. Bev's best friend actually tells her to stay with her abusive husband rather than end up a spinster like herself and after Garland is raped, she, of course, blames herself and not her attacker. And although she loves him, she won't go all the way with her boss because she's (gasp) still married. Geez Louise. A truly bizarre "shocker" that looks like it's trying to say something, I just don't know what.

Fallguy (1962)
No good deed goes unpunished, 16 September 2015

A teenager becomes the FALLGUY when he speeds away from a malt shop in his hot rod and sees an accident happen on the road ahead. He stops to help but the car wreck was actually a syndicate hit and because the police chief, a prominent doctor, and the city editor are all crooked, they plan to smear the kid in the papers, have him arrested for murder, then shoot him when he tries to "escape". No good deed goes unpunished, indeed.

Like FEAR NO MORE (another film in SWV's "Weird Noir" DVD six-pack), the break-neck speed of FALLGUY precludes any pondering of possible plot holes and it's kind of exciting in a cheap-jack way, from the PSYCHO-esque opening credits to the corny conclusion. The body count's high with almost everyone either dead or wounded at the end and as another IMDb reviewer so succinctly puts it, I "couldn't take my eyes off it".

Not half-bad if you don't examine it too closely, 16 September 2015

Mala Powers mistakenly thinks she can FEAR NO MORE when Good Samaritan Jacques Bergerac finds her lying in the middle of the road after she escapes the policeman who arrested her for the murder of a woman on a train. He takes her to her place where there's another dead body and the couple get an even bigger surprise when they go to her employer's house and find the cop and the "murdered" woman there, insisting she's insane. Jacques doesn't know what to think when he's told Mala is also an escapee from a mental institution after having killed her previous employer. WTF?

Jacques Bergerac, handsome star of stage, screen, and tabloid scandal, was like a suave, Gallic version of Mike Henry whose thick French accent made him hard to understand half the time but it never mattered much since he was usually just eye candy anyway. As luck would have it, Jacques is called upon to react instead of act in this "twisty mystery" that's not half bad if you don't examine it too closely and, in its defense, you don't get the chance. Bottom line: it's a fast-moving B- movie held together by Mala Powers, a pretty good little actress, something I never noticed before.

The best masochistic potboiler Hugo Haas never made, 16 September 2015

In the Bible, THE SEVENTH COMMANDMENT is "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (I think) and if it weren't broken, there'd be no movie but I certainly wasn't expecting anything like this. College grad Ted Matthews is out on a date with slinky Terry James when he crashes the car and kills her. He gets amnesia and becomes a soul-saving preacher who can heal crippled kids but his world implodes when he finds out Terry didn't die and she's out get him any way she can. Revenge, sexual obsession, moral degradation, alcoholism, and murder follow in the best masochistic potboiler Hugo Haas never made but could have. Ted & Terry even look like Hugo and his muse, Cleo Moore, and there's an ironic, twist-laden ending Haas would have been proud of. And it's all wrapped in religion, to boot. Yikes.

This is the most "noir" in SWV's "Weird Noir" DVD six-pack with its dark and dirty hotel rooms lit only by neon lights flashing outside with a bottle of whiskey on the nightstand -not to mention a femme fatale (hard-bitten Lyn Statten, a psychotronic's dream) who sashays into a room to the strains of "St. Louis Woman" and delights in having sex with a man who's not the groom on their wedding night. When she's not knocking back the booze or loving the bitch-slapping her pimp daddy gives her, that is. There's quite a bit of SCARLET STREET to the story as well and it's ably helmed by director Irvin Berwick whose previous effort was THE MONSTER OF PIEDRAS BLANCAS. The "Weird Noir" set is definitely worth the price of admission for this humdinger alone.

It'll talk the pants off ya, 16 September 2015

"Unbelievably-Fantiscally TRUE! The brutal facts behind the expose of the so-called PUBLIC RELATIONS racket!"

Despite that titillating tagline, the only thing exploitative about THE NAKED ROAD is its title and what a missed opportunity it is, too, considering the storyline. A young model (Jeanne Rainer of YOU'VE RUINED ME, EDDIE! fame) who won't put out for the married ad man she's out with is held as collateral when they're pulled over for speeding and fined by a corrupt Justice Of The Peace. Another motorist is hauled in for the same reason and he pays both their fines but the erstwhile Good Samaritan later drugs the girl's coffee and kidnaps her, intending to make her work for his public relations firm as an escort girl. If she doesn't, he'll turn her into a drug addict...

Although rife with possibilities, the movie's all talk and very little action until the end when an escort girl gets thrown out a window and the cops chuck tear gas at the bad guys' hideout. Unfortunately, the only one home is the kidnapped model. The lethargic cast acts like they're under water and the whole thing looks like it was filmed for about a buck ninety-eight in an endless succession of living rooms and bedrooms. The same room with different furniture is probably more like it. Still, I can't say I didn't like it and why I don't know.

Threadbare "carnival noir", not without interest, 16 September 2015

GIRL ON THE RUN is actually a young couple on the lam from a phony murder rap who hide out in a two-bit carnival run by a cigar-chomping midget who looks a bit like Jack LaRue, she as a midway "chorine" and he as a boxing shill. The story takes place over the course of a night and I wasn't too sure what was going on other than the place being the nexus of local political corruption involving the murder of a "vice crusading" editor or somesuch. It's the kind of movie where the walls shake when a door slams but although it's far from THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH, it's not without its tawdry charms, especially the less-than-lovely kooch dancers who have no business being on stage (although Renee De Milo was oddly fascinating) and they're on stage often. The only cast members I recognized were Frank Albertson as a sideshow barker and an uncredited Steve McQueen in among the carnival "crowd". I'm predisposed to "carny noir" however threadbare it may be so you reely can't go by me.

Score (1974)
Metzger's "hip happening" goes pretty far, 9 September 2015

Radley Metzger's THE SCORE is a "hip happening" where THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW's "Brad & Janet" meets WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF? without all the sturm-und-drang as a couple of swingers set out to seduce a pair of naive newlyweds. It's about the furthest I've ever seen a (sort of) mainstream movie go for its time and if Metzger had lingered a moment longer on those fellatio shots (both male and female), this would be XXX. Way gayer than I thought it would be with lots of fetish foreplay (a cowboy, a sailor, a nun) but the director's hypnotic way with material like this should keep just about anyone riveted. Lynn Lowry's looks ("elfin", and then some) get on my nerves but I quite liked Claire Wilbur. The guys (Cal Culver aka Casey Donovan and Gerald Grant, who would both die of AIDS) not so much for some reason. Sylvester Stallone, like Wilbur, was in the Off-Broadway play but Metzger passed on him because he didn't like Sly's "Brooklynese". The film's loss, for sure.

Mario Bava's entertaining eye candy, 9 September 2015

"Maestro of the Macabre" Mario Bava's psychedelic '60s comic strip is akin to an episode of TV's BATMAN on acid. If Adam West's caped crusader were a Robin Hood-like super-villain, he'd be John Philip Law's DIABOLIK, lolling about his futuristic cave plotting heists capable of toppling governments and confounding Scotland Yard at every turn. He's super cool and, like his literary inspiration, Fantômas, he kills, too, whether he has to or not. The imaginative sets and the director's penchant for colored lighting make this tongue-in-cheek fantasy as flashy as any Bond film and almost as much fun. Gorgeous Marisa Mell, scantily clad through-out, plays Eva, Diabolik's "boy wonder", who's anything but. Entertaining eye candy all the way around.

Rogue Cop (1954)
The weakest of the "Big Heat" trilogy, 9 September 2015

Robert Taylor stars as a crooked cop who's caught between a rock and a hard place when racketeer George Raft tells him his idealistic kid brother, rookie Steve Forrest, must recant his testimony in a murder investigation...

Big city police corruption and the Kefauver TV hearings on organized crime were hot-button headline-making issues in the early 1950s and they were inspiration to writer William P. McGivern who turned all the hoopla into a topical roman-à-clef trilogy: THE BIG HEAT, ROGUE COP, and SHIELD FOR MURDER. This one's the weakest of the three thanks to the MGM gloss given to an ageing star's "vehicle" and what could have been hard-hitting and gritty became something of a velvet glove with no iron fist beneath, unfortunately. It was distracting to notice how pristine the inner city streets were and even the lowliest character had a spacious and well-appointed abode. It was nice seeing Vince Edwards in an early role but the stand-out is Anne Francis as Raft's tipsy moll, a "sister under the mink" to Gloria Grahame in THE BIG HEAT. Not bad but it could have been much better as a UA or Columbia B.

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