Reviews

357 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Livide (2011)
7/10
Stylish but sedate compared to Italo-horror
2 December 2016
A young home health aide finds out her new patient, a comatose old woman in a dark, gloomy mansion, was once a famous ballet instructor who's said to have a fortune hidden somewhere in the house. That night, the girl tells her beau about it and together with a friend they go back to rob the place -on Halloween, no less. Once they break in, the nightmare begins...

A less garish blend of Mario Bava's "A Drop Of Water" (BLACK SABBATH) and Dario Argento's SUSPIRIA with a stately, "sedated" sort of style that gives the rural landscape, crumbling estate, and supernatural happenings a weird kind of MASTERPIECE THEATER vibe. The budget wasn't bad and the FX were pretty good but overall a 7/10. It would have been nice if whoever did the subtitles actually knew English.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Not bad in the right frame of mind
2 December 2016
Mexican comedian Clavillazo stars as a funeral parlor employee who comes to the aid of a penniless girl burying her last relative but their budding romance is interrupted when she's kidnapped by a mad scientist and Clavillazo must enter the monsters' castle to get the damsel in distress back. Once inside, he battles Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman, the Mummy, and even the Creature from the Black Lagoon as he dodges all sorts of mayhem in what's basically a south-of-the-border ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN with "everything but the kitchen sink" thrown in. "Mexico's Christopher Lee", Germán Robles, guest stars as the vampire, a signature role for him. I fully expected "painfully unfunny" but it wasn't that bad if you're in the right frame of mind for this sort of nonsense and I guess I was. Otherwise, it's strictly "kiddie matinée".
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Third Eye (1966)
8/10
Pretty good at capitalizing on a craze
2 December 2016
A troubled young Count (Franco Nero), living in a crumbling villa with his domineering mother, takes comfort in taxidermy (sound familiar?) until he falls in love with a girl (Erica Blanc) his mother naturally doesn't approve of. The old battle ax tells a servant she treats "like a daughter" that she'd be forever grateful if the girl would make her son's fiancée disappear and not only does the servant kill the son's intended, she offs his mother, too. The Count takes his mom's death hard but not as hard as his fiancee's, whose body he stuffs before he starts strangling strippers. The servant tells him she'll help cover up his crimes if he'll marry her and he agrees but when his dead fiancee's look-alike sister (also Erica Blanc) shows up looking for answers, complications ensue...

To say THE THIRD EYE was inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's PSYCHO would be an understatement but it does go off on a crazy tangent of its own and was obviously capitalizing on a spate of Hammer "mini-Hitchcock" thrillers popular at the time (MANIAC, PARANOIA, HYSTERIA). In black & white with cool-looking red subtitles, the damn thing was never dull, that's for sure. Cult director Joe D'Amato "unofficially" remade this as BEYOND THE DARKNESS in 1979.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Canevari's second giallo wasn't worth the wait
2 December 2016
I was blown away when I saw Cesare Canevari's UNA IENA IN CASSAFORTE (Hyena In The Safe 1968) a couple of years ago, thinking if Radley Metzger had made a giallo this would have been it, so I was very much looking forward to the director's second stab at the Italian horror sub- genre and boy what a letdown it turned out to be. I've seen this film compared to sleazy gialli like GIALLO A VENEZIA, PLAY MOTEL, and THE SISTER OF URSULA but that would be a disservice to those venerable video nasties since there's no plot, mystery, violence, or gore to speak of when a posse of pretty people gather at a hotel to await the funeral of an uncle and pass the time having sex even after a couple of bodies turn up. So do the police to ensure they all stay right where they are so everyone's more than happy to keep on coupling and the killer, when revealed, is even more ridiculous if such a thing is possible. That said, the talented director knows how to compose a shot and the soft lens does give the film a dreamlike quality but wow, what a wasted opportunity. The epitome of "there's less to this than meets the eye", CRIMES OF THE FLESH is a plot less soft-core sex film that's not very explicit and a little too whitebread (except for some lesbianism) so even voyeurs get shortchanged. Future XXX star Moana Pozzi's in this but I don't know who she was since there's no character names next to the actors on the film's IMDb page.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
A multitude of juvenile sins...
2 December 2016
A former geisha girl returns from the grave to take revenge on the servant who drove her to suicide, married her husband, and is trying to kill her son...

It starts out like an episode of the old TV series THE NAKED CITY with a deformed narrator telling us there's a million stories in a public cemetery and this in one of them. He says he used to narrate silent films (an old Korean custom?) and his tale plays like one too, laying old-time melodrama on with a trowel. There's murder, revenge, adultery, drug addiction, a girl driven to become an "entertainer", a prison break, eye-gouging, acid to the face, and a vengeful ghost whose grave splits in two so she can ascend to heaven when she's done. I don't know what was going on politically at the time but the ghost's husband was tortured by the police and sent to prison for protesting the Japanese government. It's lunatic sh!t on a low budget with lots of Mario Bava-style colored lights trying to cover a multitude of juvenile sins.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Kwaidan (1964)
7/10
Slow-moving and surreal
2 December 2016
Four tales of the supernatural drawn from Japanese folklore: in the first, an ambitious samurai returns to the wife he abandoned many years before only to find she hasn't aged in all that time; in the second, a beautiful vampire makes a young man promise never to mention an encounter they had or else; in the third, a blind balladeer has fans from beyond the grave; and in the last, there are reasons why some authors never complete their stories...

Slow-moving and surreal, the hypnotically beautiful mis-en-scene kept me watching even if a couple of the stories weren't exactly riveting. My favorite was "The Woman Of The Snow" which was reworked in a segment of TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE: THE MOVIE called "The Lover's Vow". Ironically, when KWAIDAN was released in the U.S. this segment (the best, IMO) was left out ...and folks still liked the film (even the NY Times' usually clueless Bosley Crowther). Nominated for an Oscar as "Best Foreign Film".
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Unbelievably bad ...and not in a good way
2 December 2016
A milquetoast whose only friends are his plants gets a chance to come to the rescue of the pretty neighbor he's been spying on when he catches her boyfriend beating her up. He begins a masochistic relationship with the cruel girl but when she pranks him in a greenhouse, they both turn into plants and start bickering like George & Martha in WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLFE? They soon tire of each other and try to lure new mates to the greenhouse through telepathy.

And this isn't a comedy.

What starts out as a Spanish updating of Fritz Lang's film noir classic SCARLET STREET goes completely off the rails once the pair enter the greenhouse and honestly, I don't know what to say. Nothing good, that's for sure.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
An '80s "splatterfest" that made Santa Claus a controversial cause
1 December 2016
A kid who sees his parents get butchered by a maniac in a Santa suit grows up to be a killer Claus himself in another '80s gorefest with a sense of humor and Linnea Quigley.

After HALLOWEEN, Friday THE 13th, MOTHER'S DAY, and MY BLOODY VALENTINE, it was only a matter of time til Christmas rolled around and when it finally did in November 1984, the film even out-grossed A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, which opened the same week. I actually remember the tidal wave of backlash which soon followed, making SNDN one of the more controversial films of the decade, along with William Friedkin's CRUISING.

Outraged by TV & print ads showing Santa with a bloody ax, "the PTA fought to have this film removed from theaters" and "large crowds (mostly angry families) formed at theaters and malls around the nation to protest the film". Siskel & Ebert read off the filmmakers' names on their TV show, saying "shame, shame" and the film was soon withdrawn from theaters for awhile. (The free-wheeling '70s were a lot more chill - when I saw BLACK Christmas at the drive-in back in December 1974, there wasn't an uproar in the press or anywhere else.)

SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT was eventually re-released with cuts and without the offensive ads that scared so many kids and the DVD I have is "the most complete version" spliced together from two different film elements -one crisp and the other dark- so it was interesting to see just what had been cut (mostly lingering or explicit shots of the more gory murders). No better or worse than most '80s slasher films, the low budget didn't hamper the decent kills and Linnea Quigley as a randy babysitter helped make this something of a cult film over the years.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
The epitome of '80s "splatterfest" fun
1 December 2016
A bunch of teens hold a Halloween party in an abandoned mortuary with a grisly past. They get possessed ...and you can guess the rest.

NIGHT OF THE DEMONS is the epitome of an '80s tongue-in-cheek splatterfest with good FX and a "Through The Looking Glass" motif with the heroine dressed as Alice encountering a possessed mirror. The demons are cool and the kids get divested of eyes, tongues, and arms all in good fun. I didn't even mind the decade's hideous fashions and hair, maybe because my copy was "The Unrated Version Featuring Additional Gore & Violence!"

A buddy gifted me with the DVD along with a personally autographed photo of petulant sexpot Linnea Quigley (who sort of reminds me of Gloria Grahame) inscribed with a line from the movie: "To ___, I just wanna look good for the boys". Don't we all.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Dark Purpose (1964)
6/10
It may be "Hitchcock Lite" but a giallo? Not quite...
1 December 2016
Art expert Ray Fontaine (George Sanders) and his assistant Karen Williams (Shirley Jones) travel to the Amalfi villa of Count Paolo Barbarelli (Rossano Brazzi) to appraise his collection and the unworldly Karen soon begins to fall for the suave Count's Continental charm. Unfortunately for their budding romance, Paolo's got a jealous mistress who doesn't want to be discarded and a crazy daughter who insists she's his wife. Obviously someone's lying about something but for what dark purpose?

Troy Haworth's new book on the Italian giallo, SO DEADLY SO PERVERSE, contains an entry for this film but Adrian Luther Smith's "giallo bible", BLOOD & BLACK LACE: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO Italian SEX AND HORROR MOVIES, doesn't so is it or isn't it? Well, like Mario Bava's THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, it's got an American abroad free-falling into a vortex of mystery, intrigue, and murder but that alone shouldn't be its only qualification. If it were, then why isn't Doris Day's MIDNIGHT LACE or Jean Seberg's MOMENT TO MOMENT considered gialli as well since they also use European locations as a scenic backdrop for a "Hitchcock Lite" mystery from an American director using actors just past the cusp of their Hollywood stardom. As entertainment, DARK PURPOSE is the weakest of the three and capitalizes on Rossano Brazzi's SUMMERTIME romancing of tourist Katharine Hepburn but with completely different results this time out.

Despite an Oscar, Shirley Jones isn't much of an actress but handles her "lady in peril" role as well as can be expected and George Sanders has little to do besides wander around the villa dispensing caustic comments. Sophisticated Micheline Presle is also on hand but doesn't have a whole heck of a lot of screen time, either. 6/10 ...and giallo geeks beware.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Not much horror here (but lots of lesbians, at least)
1 December 2016
Yet another sapphic blood cult's on the loose in an old castle as the female descendants of a sixteenth-century vampire get together to receive their sanguine inheritance. There's also a brother & sister whose car break down, a Mrs. Danvers-type housekeeper, garlic crosses, puncture wounds on the neck, and other familiar horror trope in this CARMILLA-esque yarn that's short on hetero coupling and long on lesbianism and incest. Sarno borrowed Mario Bava's colored lights as well as the plot of BLACK Sunday (more-or-less) to spotlight a castle full of T&A, mostly from a naked coven, and even has a woman getting her clothes torn off by bats. From an American director who filmed in Germany to make the very essence of Eurotrash.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Not bad ...but not reely "horror/giallo", either
1 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
A motorcycle drifter pulls into a ramshackle garage for some new spark plugs and is soon followed by a rich old man and his young mistress who need a water pump for their Lincoln Continental. While the misogynistic mechanic fixes their vehicles and his mute wife serves beer and sandwiches, each of them fantasize about raping, murdering, and/or rescuing the others (the titular "demon in the brain", no doubt). When the repairs are completed, the kept girl decides she likes the drifter better than her elderly benefactor and off they ride into the sunset (or sunrise, whatever).

WTF???

The only reason I can think of as to why this film's IMDb genre is listed as "horror" is because it's probably being confused with Sergio Sollima's 1972 giallo IL DIAVOLO NEL CERVELLO (A Devil In The Brain). My first clue this wasn't what I was expecting should have been the fact that it's not listed in Adrian Luther Smith's "giallo bible", BLOOD & BLACK LACE: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO Italian SEX AND HORROR MOVIES but for all that, it's not a bad little movie (it's even got a catchy title tune, "The Revenger") and I suppose the characters' daydreams do contain elements of horror but that's reely stretching it a bit. Consider this a public service announcement and buyer beware.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Beloved (1971)
7/10
A faithful adaptation, at any rate
1 December 2016
A very faithful adaptation of Emile Zola's THERESE RAQUIN set on a remote Greek isle and quite ambitious if not entirely successful. Raquel Welch plays a rural peasant who's extramarital lust leads to murder but her contemporary beauty (flared nostrils, lustrous mane, and blindingly white teeth) end up a barrier to the suspension of disbelief and the lady's histrionics aren't always up to the task, either -especially when clinging to the legs of her dead husband's paralyzed mother, begging for forgiveness. On the plus side, there's able assistance from such experienced thesps as Flora Robson, Jack Hawkins, and Richard Johnson to keep things moving in the right direction. Not half as bad as I thought it would be.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Bloodbath (1979)
6/10
Psycho-delic silliness a decade too late
1 December 2016
An American junkie (Dennis Hopper) living on the coast of Spain hallucinates a series of fatal sexual fantasies for himself and a motley group of expatriates that include a has-been movie star (Carroll Baker), a former WW II pilot (Richard Todd), his neurotic wife, and a flamboyant homosexual. An interesting idea got lost in a vague, rambling story that might have played better back in the psychedelic 60s and even though it all comes together (sort of) in the end, it reely isn't worth the wait. Unless, of course, you're as crazy about Carroll Baker Eurotrash as I am.

Raquel Welch's Eurotrash SIN (1971) and BLOODBATH both take place in European coastal towns far removed from civilization and the primitive villagers are a sinister, symbolic presence in each. There's food for thought when, dressed in black, the "townies" in both movies practice bizarre pagan rituals that include animal sacrifice and also serve as an eerie Greek Chorus/comeuppance for the protagonists. Definitely a demented double feature for Eurotrash aficionados everywhere!
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Tinseltown time capsule from the Golden Age (of TV movies)
1 December 2016
In a quest for ratings, the producer (Don Murray) of an early morning TV talk show heads to L.A. to find out whatever became of a half-forgotten movie queen and inadvertently sets off a string of killings...

Confusing TV murder mystery set in Hollywood with voice-over narration, nubile females, and even a detective's trench-coat for Don (why didn't he just call COLUMBO?). Veteran actors Gloria Grahame, John Ireland, Van Johnson, Yvonne Decarlo, Ralph Meeker, Cameron Mitchell, and "special guest star" Walter Pidgeon pop up in small roles. Grahame was probably the titular mystery woman because the makers, Columbia Pictures, could use clips from old movies Gloria made at that studio free of charge.

I've come to enjoy the rhythmic narrative flow of these TV movies (the action regularly builds to a crescendo with a quick fade-to-black where commercials were inserted) and I also love the credits that invariably include "guest stars" galore and at least one "special guest star". I'm looking forward to tracking down more.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Ganja & Hess (1973)
7/10
A cerebral allegory on black identity in a horror film?
1 December 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Even though it got a standing ovation at Cannes, the independent producers were appalled when they hired playwright/director Bill Gunn to make a blaxsploitation horror film a la BLACULA and he turned in a cerebral allegory on black identity. They cut about 40 minutes and released it in the U.S. as BLOOD COUPLE where it sank without a trace. Gunn's original vision remained "lost" until recently but because the negative was cut, the MoA had to reconstruct the film from various 35mm prints and it's now being appreciated as an artistically innovative contribution to black cinema's history.

The story, such as it is, is slight: wealthy anthropologist Hess Green's unstable assistant stabs him with an ancient African sacrificial knife and he becomes a "vampire", although not in the traditional sense; there's no fangs and the good doctor can go out in the daylight and even attend church. He satisfies his craving for blood by killing pimps, hookers, and stealing plasma bags but complications arise when Ganja, his late assistant's avaricious wife, arrives at Hess' mansion looking for her husband. She and Hess bond despite her finding her husband's body in the freezer and Ganja & Hess soon marry. Hess "turns" her and, finally finding redemption in love, wants them to stand in the shadow of the Cross (the only thing that can kill "vampires") but because of the life she's had, Ganja actually prefers her new one and has no intention of giving it up.

Culture clash, assimilation, colonialism, "Uncle Tom", pagan African religion vs the Baptist church, and "the new black woman" all come into play in what's basically the antithesis of "blaxsploitation" but because I've never lived the "black experience", I didn't connect with all of it (if anything, I saw feminism with Ganja reversing what happens to Lot's wife in Sodom). That said, one would have to be blind not to see there's a lot bubbling just beneath the surface and like Masaki Kobayashi's KAIDAN, I was carried along by the film's visual style even if the tale was rather slow-moving and not as horrific as I'd like. Still, the film stayed in my mind for a couple of days after watching it. Spike Lee remade it as DA SWEET BLOOD OF Jesus.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
"It's bad enough you went snooping around..."
1 December 2016
There was a time when a deformed or "loony" relative was kept locked up in the house never to be spoken of except behind the back and the once wealthy Lavignes keep one on the top floor of a mansion that's seen better days. Young Laura, home from boarding school, is determined to finally get a glimpse of the half-brother who's been confined upstairs for twenty years but when she does, she discovers a completely different relative under lock and key and, as her aunt tells her, "it's bad enough you went snooping around but now you've gone and put your hand in the trap"...

Family honor and the dark secrets of a provincial Argentinian town propel this perverse variation on JANE EYRE with a heroine not unlike Jean Seberg in BONJOUR TRISTESTE and although it's not exactly horror, the downbeat ending comes close enough as "those who can't learn from the past are condemned to repeat it". Director Nilsson was nominated for a Palme d'Or for his gloomy, black & white adaptation of wife Beatriz Guido's novel.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Fairly grisly giallo ...in more ways than one
30 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Manhattan-based director Alex Ritt (Rick Gianasi) travels to Rome to film a music video with Italian singing sensation Stefania Stella (herself) and witnesses a series of gruesome slayings that mimic the still-at-large serial killer who murdered his wife back in New York...

Former music video director Al Festa's flashy thriller does double duty as both an MTV-style homage to classic Italian gialli and a shameless vanity project showcasing his wannabe pop star wife Stefania Stella, Italy's answer to Pia Zadora. There's plenty of Argento trope (was that him in an uncredited bit?) from the American abroad up to his eyeballs in murder to the trench-coated killer adept at decapitation along with a heaping helping of Mario Bava's swirling mists and colored lights. Red herrings abound and so do a sh!tload of psychotronic guest stars (Alida Valli, Ciccio Ingrassia, David Warbeck, Angus Scrimm, Linnea Quigley, Rossano Brazzi, Donald Pleasance) propping up a clever but improbable plot that blends PEEPING TOM with MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.

Stefania Stella's one scary looking lady, let me tell ya- when Ritt meets her he says, "You've got a European look" which is kind of an insult to Continentals since Stefania (speaking her lines phonetically like Vera Hruba Ralston did) looks more like a transgender who sounds like Bela Lugosi than a desirable woman. The film's a good forty-five minutes longer than it should be, thanks to a Cook's tour of the Eternal City and Stella's four awful songs that all sound the same but, nevertheless, I couldn't take my eyes off her. The film won the "Lucio Fulci Award" at the 1996 Fantafilm Festival.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
The Mask (1961)
6/10
Low rent horror that's a little too slow moving for its own good
30 November 2016
A psychiatrist doesn't believe an ancient sacrificial mask is causing one of his patients to commit murder but when the guy mails it to him before killing himself, the good doctor gets a chance to find out...

What would have been just another low budget black & white horror film almost rises to the occasion once it switches over to 3D whenever someone dons the mask to experience surreal, nightmarish visions that must have scared the pants off kids at the time, judging by the film's many IMDb reviews. The cheesily avant-garde visions are ambitious, I'll give them that, but the rest of the film is a little too slow-moving for its own good and the low body count doesn't help, either. That said, I'm a sucker for ancient artifacts that still possess the power to wreak havoc in the present day and the mask in question, found during a South American archaeological dig, was once used for human sacrifice just like the horrific Aztec ceremonial cloak in the classic Cornell Woolrich horror yarn, "I'm Dangerous Tonight". Tobe Hooper turned that tale into an OK TV movie and I also liked "The Cheaters", an episode of Boris Karloff's THRILLER, where a pair of antique bifocals cause wearers to see things as they really are.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
An Italian giallo take on an American film noir classic
30 November 2016
Warning: Spoilers
An insurance investigator (Philippe Leroy) tailing an enigmatic young woman involved in a possible insurance scam seduces her to get information but the hunter soon gets captured by the game in Luigi Comencini's somber yet romantic variation on the film noir classic ANGEL FACE, greatly enhanced by a moody Ennio Morricone score.

Although it's not mentioned in Adrian Luther Smith's "giallo bible" BLOOD & BLACK LACE: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO Italian SEX AND HORROR MOVIES, the film wouldn't have been out of place there since it's reely no different than the ones Umberto Lenzi liked to crank out in the late '60s with Carroll Baker. These psychological (or "bloodless") gialli usually revolved around an inheritance scheme with heirs resorting to homicide and it's a major plot point here as well but despite the murder and suicide involved, the body count remains low until the shocking conclusion (which you might see coming if you're familiar with Simmons & Mitchum's end in the American film noir that obviously inspired it). Pretty good.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Die Weibchen (1970)
8/10
A cautionary satire on "Women's Lib"
1 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Before she became famous for 15 minutes after shooting Andy Warhol in 1968, militant feminist Valerie Solanas penned "SCUM Manifesto", which "argues that men have ruined the world, and that it is up to women to fix it. To achieve this goal, it suggests the formation of SCUM (Society For Cutting Up Men), an organization dedicated to overthrowing society and eliminating the male sex." Was it satire or dead serious? Many thought the latter -which made it ripe for lampooning- and who better than Andy Warhol's factory crowd in 1971's WOMEN IN REVOLT which turned the feminist movement into PIGs (Politically Involved Girls)?

"Women's Lib" was a shock to the status quo and ridiculed on screen almost from the get-go; the year before Warhol et al had their way with it, there was Gore Vidal's MYRA BRECKINRIDGE and Zbynek Brynych's CARNIVOROUS FEMALES which was set in the scenic town of Van Maren where, at Dr. Barbara's all-girl clinic, Eve goes for a rest cure. The cure includes LSD which could account for the male corpses she keeps seeing but after reading a book on the preying mantis, Eve's not so sure...

The film starts out seriously enough but a copy of Valerie Solanas' "SCUM Manifesto" on display in the local library and a bra-burning rally in town are in-your-face indications things are about to go off the rails. I thought for sure I'd be heading into SOYLENT GREEN territory but no, men are ground up for cat food (beating Ted Mickels' THE CORPSE GRINDERS by a year) and body parts of the particularly stupid are kept as souvenirs. The CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI-esque ending was a satisfying way to wrap up a cautionary tale meant to scare the soon-to-be "weaker sex" and seen in the context of its times, the damn thing was actually kinda fun.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Embrujada (1969)
Supernatural sex on passion plantation
1 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
A sadistic ranch owner marries a Guarani Indian girl (even though he's having an affair with his foreman) only to learn "you can take a girl out of the jungle but you can't take the jungle out of the girl" when he can't give her the blond baby she so desperately craves. She runs off to a whorehouse to find a man who can but her husband reclaims her and she begins an affair with a handsome blond ranch-hand. She also gets raped by the Amazon demon Pombero while swimming nude so it looks like she's finally gonna have her baby after all

***spoiler***...but not before she's possessed by the demon and kills her husband, her lover, and some other guy she tries to screw in the jungle. WTF?? ***end spoiler***

If Russ Meyer and Jess Franco had collaborated on a low-budget jungle horror flick, it might look something like Armando Bo's batsh!t crazy tale of supernatural sex on passion plantation with buxom, raven-haired Isabel Sarli standing in for Edy Williams. In her birthday suit half the time, "Miss Argentina 1955" was also married to the director and together they made a series of psychotronic softcore "porn" that earned her the title "Ambassador Of Popular Culture" in 2012 with the country's president saying, "Isabel Sarli is considered a true representative of the national culture, as much for her acting skills in films as for being considered a popular icon of her day and an emblematic figure of Argentine cinema." Wow. She's also a favorite of John Waters and anyone who's seen one of her movies can see why. I loved it, cheap special effects and all. 10/10 in demented entertainment!
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Jaguars and Aztecs and Love, oh my
1 December 2015
MGM stalwart Albert Lewin's last film is a bizarre romantic fantasy as lush and scenic as his PANDORA AND THE FLYING DUTCHMAN, only twice as bonkers. "A girl's adventure in reincarnation" begins when her father's archaeological expedition discovers a jaguar idol in a secret chamber of an Aztec pyramid which so frightens Juanita (Liliane Montevecchi) she flees the ruins, getting blue smudges on her white dress in the process. Blue pigment is what the Aztecs painted their human sacrifices with so you know exactly where the movie's going from the get-go. After her father gets crushed by a stone monolith depicting the jaguar god devouring a human heart, she goes into an understandable funk and her worried fiancé (Steve Forrest) thinks marriage is the answer but the girl's new guardian, Dr. Alfred Stoner (!), is convinced the jaguar god has stolen her soul. In order to get it back, he befriends a jaguar ("the living idol") in a zoo, sets it free, and sics it on his ward...

WTF?

Val Lewton's CAT PEOPLE (Juanita mesmerized by a caged jaguar at the zoo) and THE LEOPARD MAN (said jungle cat prowling the night streets of Mexico City) were obvious influences only this time they get MGM gloss, Eastmancolor, and Cinemascope which also gives the film something of a colorful Mexican travelogue feel. I would have loved to have heard all of Dr. Stoner's university lecture on human sacrifice which still goes on in the form of capital punishment (with blindfolded Justice the latest goddess) and the subject obviously fascinated Lewin as well since he adapted his own novel. Filmed on location at Churubusco Azteca Studios, Mexican horror icon René Cardona is credited as assistant director and if THE LIVING IDOL had been made a few years before, MGM would no doubt have assigned it to Ava Gardner or even Lana Turner, who also visited "Leo The Lion La La Land" in THE PRODIGAL two years earlier. Instead we get ballet dancer Liliane Montevecchi who would later find real renown on Broadway but at this point, she's more-or-less another Anna Maria Alberghetti or Pier Angeli -and just as hard to understand. Rarely seen and a reel find for me but obviously mileage may vary. 8/10
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
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.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Stark Fear (1962)
7/10
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.
6 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

Recently Viewed