Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Django Kill (1967, Giulio Questi)

First Viva Django, now Django Kill. You are probably wondering when the hell I'm going to get around to reviewing the the original Django. Well, I don't know. When I get around to it. Until then, you are stuck with my reviews of the (in name only) sequels. This one I happened upon shortly after seeing the original Django. It was supposedly one of the best (aka one of the only watchable) of the many Django films. Like most Django films, this re-titled with the name Django so people would think it was a sequel (after the original's success) and see it. There are no characters in it named Django. Sounds stupid I know, but this film is far from just a silly ripoff.

Tomas Milian stars in Django Kill as The Stranger (odd name, but then again so is Django). He plays a half breed who survives the massacre of his group of bandits after robbing a bunch of gold. He is found by two Indians who think he has come back from the dead (or maybe he has, it's not very clear) and become his companions to retrieve the stolen gold. The Stranger stumbles into a town where the head of the gold thieves is being hunted by the towns people. Another group of bandits, who happen to be gay, hear about the gold and kidnap the mayor's son (Ray Lovelock), who kills himself after they make him their bitch. The Stranger decides to avenge the boy's death and get his gold back.

Django Kill (aka If You Live, Shoot!) is one of the strangest spaghetti westerns I've ever seen. It's as violent and gory as a horror film, depraved as an exploitation film and even has bits of psychedelia mixed in. The part with the "horse bomb" looks like something out of the acid freakout scene in Easy Rider. Overall, it's a very interesting film and very watchable for its weirdness. Unfortunately it's a little overlong at almost two hours, its only real drawback. Milian is great as the hero and the rest of the cast play their parts well. There are a few really gory scenes that are atypical for such an early spaghetti western but they just add something different to the whole experience. There was one scene that made me laugh involving super closeups of vampire bats and an iguana that are used to torture The Stranger, but even it's sheer absurdness didn't really seem out of place. Overall, a very original and jaw dropping film, unlike any other SW out there.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Murder Rock (1984, Lucio Fulci)

Yep, another Fulci film. The thought that this film came out just a year after Fulci's sword and sorcery film Conquest is pretty amazing. Where Conquest featured smoke machines, hazy lens filters and Goblin's Claudio Simonetti's trippy score to give the film a hallucinatory feel, Murder Rock is all about bright lights, flashy 80's dance numbers and Keith Emerson of prog forefathers Emerson Lake and Palmer's electronic disco score to make the film a contemporary (for the time) giallo.

Murder Rock follows dance instructor Candice Newman (Zombie's Olga Karlatos), who is working with a bunch of spoiled rich dance students to find the best of the best. However, someone is stalking and killing each student one by one. Is it another student hoping to narrow down the competition? Is it the man (Ray Lovelock) whom Candice dreamt murdered her? Is it a disco dancing Zombie? Didn't mean to get your hopes up, there are no disco dancing zombies in this film, but how much would it rule if old Maggot Eye from Fulci's Zombie came back to life wearing a leotard and legwarmers?

Now that you have completely lost your train of thought, Murder Rock is a decent giallo that is a fine addition to Fulci's collected works. Though not as gory as many of his other films, there is plenty of slow painful boob stabbing to keep Fulci fans happy. Some may be turned off by the dated score and dance routines, but I think it's a fine touch and is well executed. Also the use of blinking lights/pitch black excentuates the claustrophobic feel of the dancer's locker room, where most of the killings take place. Olga Karlatos, most fan's favorite Fulci victim, is a beauty to watch and plays the heroine role very well. Ray Lovelock is great too as the killer in Candice's dreams who seems to have something to hide. Though not perfect, the film is enjoyable and has all of the needed aspects for a finely crafted giallo.


Conquest (1983, Lucio Fulci)

Lucio, Lucio, Lucio. A barbarian movie? Actually, why the hell not? He's done everything from zombie movies, erotic comedies, poliziotteschi (Italian Cop movies), gialli and spaghetti westerns - so why not a barbarian movie? I didn't really know what to expect from this before I saw it. I figured it would either be really good or really bad. And it turned out being both.

Conquest is the story of Ilias (Andrea Occhipinti), a young man armed with a magic bow and arrow who sets out on a quest to destroy the evil, naked, golden masked, snake lovin' Ochran (Sabrina Sellers). He meets up with a barbarian named Mace (Jorge 'George' Rivero) and together they fight against Werewolves (actually more like Werewookies), Cobweb Monsters, (obviously robotic) bats, and of course Zombies on their conquest to destroy Ochran.

This film turned out to be exactly what I was hoping for. A silly, over the top barbarian film in which every woman in the film is topless and the gore rivals Fulci's bloodiest films. Who else would add a woman being ripped in half, decapitations, puss filled boils that pop ooze, a dude who gets the top of his head chopped off and multiple bloody arrow wounds? This film also has tons of fog, a bow that shoots laser arrows, heroic dolphins and some terrible dubbing. It is so fun however that none of that harms the picture, it actually makes it better. The hazy filter used on the lens throughout the film causes some scenes to be a little hard to make out, but it actually gives the film its own original look. I think if you are looking for a big budget Conan type movie, you may or may not be disappointed but if you are looking for a barbarian movie directed by Lucio Fulci, well...you know what you're getting into.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Starmummy's 5 Essential Greaser Flicks

I happen to be a lover of anything greaser. The music, the clothes, the hair styles, the lingo - everything. Though I can appreciate aspects of any decade since, there is something special about the 50's and early 60's - the Age of the Greaser - that I absolutely love. I decided to share with you hip cats my 5 Essential Greaser Flicks.

1. Rebel Without a Cause (1955, James Dean)

James Dean's character Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause is the quintessential cinematic rebellious teenager. He is misunderstood by classmates, teachers and parents and just can't seem to do the right thing, despite his good intentions. This film, also featuring Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Dennis Hopper and Jim "Mr. Magoo/Thurston Howell III" Backus and a young Dennis Hopper is one of the greats.

2. The Wild One (1953, Marlon Brando)

After Marlon Brando became well known in his role as Stanley Kowalski in Streetcar Named Desire, he became one of the first cinematic rebels in The Wild One. His leather jacketed biker outfit pretty much defined the greaser look and this film about two biker gangs terrorizing a town because they are bored is a classic tale of rebellion for the hell of it. Brando's character's line "Whaddya got?" when asked "What're you rebelling against Johnny?" sums up the film and the whole movement it inspired perfectly. The Wild One also starred Mary Murphy and Lee Marvin.

3. The Wanderers (1979, Philip Kaufman)

The Wanderers is about a group of teenage greasers trying to survive in a town over run by gangs. Though light hearted and seemingly a comedy at first glance, this film perfectly represents the gang mentality that greasers had and the trials and tribulations that they had to go through to express themselves. The Wanderers starred Ken Wahl, Karen Allen and Tony "Meat from Porky's" Ganios.

4. The Lords of Flatbush (1974, Sylvester Stallone)

Most well known for its stellar cast, The Lords of Flatbush is another coming of age comedy drama dealing with all the universal themes teenagers go through - teen pregnancy, inter-class relationships and career paths. Starring Sylvester Stallone, Perry King and Henry Winkler.

5. The Loveless (1982, Willem Dafoe)

The Loveless is the story of a group of ex-con bikers on their way to Daytona who stop in a nowhere town so one of them can fix his bike. While there they meet a colorful group of people who view the bikers as criminals. As it turns out, the bikers may be the normal ones. Starring Willem Dafoe in his first starring role, Rockabilly legend Robert Gordon (who also does the soundtrack) and Marin Kanter.

Friday, April 24, 2009

On the Horizon for B Movies and Beyond

Reviews Reviews and more Reviews. I've got a ton of films that I've watched and just need to write reviews and films that I plan on watching and writing reviews for soon.

Here are a few that you will probably (though don't quote me on it) see reviews for soon:

-Lots more Fulci films (Murder Rock, The Eroticist, Perversion Story, Conquest, Beatrice Cenci I'm sure I'm forgetting a few)
-Circle of Iron (David Carradine)
-The Loveless (Willem Dafoe)
-Tons of Mario Bava films (Shock, Blood and Black Lace, Kidnapped aka Rabid Dogs, House of Exorcism aka Lisa and the Devil, Black Sabbath, Black Sunday and many more)
-The Devil Rides Out (Christopher Lee and Charles Gray) and hopefully several more Hammer Horror films
-Jane's Addiction - The Gift
-Shivers (David Cronenberg)
-Cop in Blue Jeans and Emergency Squad (both Tomas Milian films)
-Unhinged (some crazy movie that my co-worker let me borrow and said it was the worst movie ever made)
-Tromeo and Juliet, Poultrygeist and Terror Firmer (all Troma films)

Lots more! Stay tuned and please give me recommendations. If anyone sends me a film (DVD-R, real DVD, DVD they made) I will definitely review it.

Zombie (1979, Lucio Fulci)

I will have to thank a friend in high school for introducing me to this film. Actually I am the one who introduced him to Zombie films in the first place (Night of the Living Dead) but it was through his immediate fascination with this genre that he sought out this film, which he had read was supposedly a classic. He actually couldn't find a copy of Zombie so he instead bought a copy of Zombie 2. Little did we know at the time that the films are actually the same. It was released in Italy as Zombie 2 (or Zombi 2) to cash in on George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead, which was released in Italy as Zombie (aka Zombi). I distinctly remember sitting in my room with two of my best friends watching this and being amazed by the incredible makeup effects (courtesy of the master Giannetto De Rossi). It was actually several years later when I finally saw the film again. My brother in law was into Zombie movies and he mentioned how he wanted to see Lucio Fulci's Zombie. I ended up buying him a copy for his birthday (which I may or may not have borrowed a few years ago and still have). Shortly after watching it again, I was blessed with the chance to see Zombie at the best movie theater in Massachusetts (The Coolidge in Brookline). It was one of the greatest movie going experiences of my life (probably tied with seeing Friday the 13th part 3 in 3D, also at The Coolidge). The crowd was totally into the film, making jokes, laughing at the silly dubbing and cheering at the non-stop gore. It was magic.

With a title as generic and simple as Zombie, you need to have a damn good film to back it up. Fortunately Lucio Fulci knows just how to do that. First the film starts with a seemingly abandoned ship floating into a New York harbor. When the local harbor patrol step on board to check out the ship, they find nothing but rotting food covered with worms and maggots...oh and a huge fat bald madman that rips one of the officers to shreds. Fatty is shot and falls overboard, leading the police and newspapers to question who the man was and where the boat came from. It turns out that the boat belongs to a scientist, who's daughter Anne (Tisa Farrow - Mia Farrow's sister) decides to investigate where he is. With the help of reporter Peter West (Ian McCulloch), they discover that his last notes say that he was on an island called Matool. They hitch a ride with a couple on holiday, Brian and Susan (Al Cliver and Auretta Gay), to find Matool. They soon realize something is wrong when Susan is attacked by a man underwater in the middle of the sea. They finally reach Matool and learn from the island's doctor (Richard Johnson) that Anne's father was dead and that something horrible is happening on the island causing the dead to come alive.

As I mentioned in my review of Fulci's The Beyond, that film and Zombie seem to be disputed among fans as Fulci's masterpiece. Though I would probably pick The Beyond as my favorite, Zombie is itself an inimitable classic and easily one of the greatest Zombie films ever made. Everything from the story to the makeup effects to Fabio Frizzi and Giorgio Tucci's musical score to the tropical locales are perfect. The film goes by at a very quick pace and features one of the most painful deaths ever filmed. It also features the greatest zombie fight scene ever (I'll give you a hint, it takes place underwater). Do yourself a favor and go rent this now or better yet, go buy the Shriek Show 2 disc 25th anniversary DVD. You can thank me by leaving a comment or mailing me cool stuff. I will name check you and you can share my fame!


Manhattan Baby (1982, Lucio Fulci)

After Fulci hit his apex with his Living Dead films (Zombie, City of the Living Dead, The Beyond and House by the Cemetery) and returned to the giallo genre that he explored in the early 70s (though this time in a much more violent and sleazy way with New York Ripper), where was he to go? His next film is almost like a continuation of his living dead films, though it was missing the main component of these films: Zombies. Instead, Fulci made more of a ghost/poltergeist type film, with mixed results.

Professor George Hacker (Christopher Connelly) travels with his young daughter to Egypt for work. The Professor accidentally unleashes an evil spirit while excavating a long lost tomb. His daughter becomes possessed by the spirit after accepting a medallion from a blind woman, who's eyes are glazed over in white like those in The Beyond. This is the film's only real connection with Fulci's past films other than the re-appearance of young Giovanni Frezza who played Bob in House by the Cemetery and this time plays Tommy, Professor Hacker's young son. Anyway, the Hackers travel back to their native Manhattan and people start dying at the hand of the unleashed spirit.

I had high expectations for this, really hoping it would be a good companion piece to Fulci's previous supernatural zombie films. I actually wish Fulci chose to add some zombies to this film as he did to the original zombie-less The Beyond. It may have actually given this film a reason to be watched. As it is, Manhattan Baby is a snoozefest. Other than a really cool death in the beginning of the film, this movie is really slow and uninteresting. The characters are bland and the story's pace would lose in a race with a dead slug. The movie doesn't completely suck, but overall it pales in comparison to Fulci's other similarly-themed films and even some of his experiments in other genres.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Sinful Dwarf (1973, Vidal Raski)

Dwarfsploitation? Is this really a genre of exploitation films? If it is, why do I have a feeling that this is the only film that fits in that category? I read a review of this film and I knew I was destined to see it.

The Sinful Dwarf (aka Dvaergen in its native Denmark) is the story of Olaf (Torben Bille), a dwarf who lives with his mother in her boarding house. They rent out rooms to pretty young women whom they kidnap, get them hooked on heroin and then use them as prostitutes in their white slave trade. Sounds interesting huh? A young couple Mary (Anne Sparrow) and Peter (Tony Eades) move in and Olaf kidnaps Mary to be his next money-making junkie hooker.

There is something about this film that is just wrong. Actually, everything about this film is just wrong. It's not the fact that Olaf is a dwarf, it's everything else. Olaf's mother frequently breaks into these long, vaudevillian songs with Olaf accompanying her on the piano, which are just completely random. Also there are plenty of (questionably simulated) sex scenes, many of which last way longer than a non-porno sex scene should. Lastly, the drug dealer, a white bearded man named Santa Claus who puts the drugs in teddy bears. It's just a fucked up movie. The only real redeeming quality of the film is the fact that it is just so unbelievably strange that you can't help but be mesmerized by it. Other than that though, its slow and just not very good.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Slaughter High (1986, Caroline Munro)

Here it is folks. One you've all been waiting for. Finally released on DVD for the first time in the US, Slaughter High. Gorehounds were all excited when we heard that this was finally coming to DVD. Originally it was expected to be released in its original theatrical cut but apparently while searching through the vaults, an uncut version was found. I actually saw this film back in high school around '96 or '97 and remember being a little disappointed by it. At the time I had just seen Maniac and The Last Horror Film, both starring Caroline Munro, which I really enjoyed and was hoping this film (which also starred Ms. Munro) would be just as good.

You all remember High School, right? The good times, the bad times, the pranks. Remember the time a bunch of jocks and preppy girls played a joke on Marty the school nerd and he ended up horribly disfigured and insane? No? Well that's what happened in this film. Five years after the incident, the ones responsible are invited to a high school reunion. Strange thing is though, their old school is abandoned and they are the only ones who showed up. Frankly, if this were to happen to me, I would get my ass out of there very quickly. We all know horror movies wouldn't happen if the victims were that smart, so they decide to break in and have their own party. Unsurprisingly, each of the preppy scumbags start dying gruesome deaths by an unseen killer. Is it Marty the nerd back to settle the score or does someone else out there want revenge?

Seeing this film again several years later, it is still not a masterpiece but it's not without its rewards. Caroline Munro (who you may also know from the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me or Adam Ant's Goody Two Shoes video) is very easy on the eyes which makes her " schizophrenia accentia" (Starmummian for an accent that constantly changes dialects, in this case American to British) forgivable. Oh and apparently she was 36 when this film was made. What is this, Beverly Hills 90210? The acting is actually pretty good all around here. Harry Manfredini's music score is decent too, though I swear there were parts pulled straight from his Friday the 13th scores. The main thing that impressed me about this film though was the makeup effects. I am not sure which scenes had been cut from the old vhs copy I saw, but there were some particularly gory scenes that were a welcome addition to this otherwise mediocre film. Actually, I really liked the ending of this movie too - it almost saved it from the crapper.

P.S. In retrospect, this film shares more than a few similarities to the Jamie Lee Curtis slasher Terror Train.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

5 Essential Soundtracks - Starmummy tested and approved

As you know, I love movies and watch a lot of them (see last post). What about soundtracks though? Surely there must be movies that I watch that I am blown away by the soundtracks. Then there are films that I actually find out about because of their soundtracks. Here is a list of 5 of my favorite soundtracks:

Return of the Living Dead soundtrack

Enigma Records

Track listing

1. Surfin' Dead
The Cramps
2. Partytime (Zombie Version)
45 Grave
3. Nothing For You
4. Eyes Without a Face
The Flesheaters
5. Burn the Flames
Roky Erickson
6. Dead Beat Dance
The Damned
7. Take a Walk
Tall Boys
8. Love Under Will
The Jet Black Berries
9. Tonight (We'll Make Love Until We Die)
10. Trash's Theme

Where Repo Man is pretty much the Holy Grail of Punk soundtracks, I actually like the Return of the Living Dead soundtrack better. Where Repo Man featured many of the great early California punk/hardcore bands, the ROTLD soundtrack has a much darker feel, with more of an emphasis on darker Goth-Punk bands.

Favorite Tracks: The Damned's Dead Beat Dance (unavailable elsewhere) and T.S.O.L.'s Nothing for You (from their criminally underrated Revenge album, this is the song that got me listening to them)

Phantom of the Paradise soundtrack

A&M Records

Track listing

performed by "The Juicy Fruits" (lead vocal - Archie Hahn)
vocal - Bill Finlay
performed by "The Beach Bums" (lead vocal - Jeffrey Comanor)
4. SPECIAL TO ME (Phoenix Audition Song)
vocal - Jessica Harper
5. PHANTOM'S THEME (Beauty & the Beast)
vocal - Paul Williams
6. SOMEBODY SUPER LIKE YOU (Beef Construction Song)
performed by "The Undead" (lead vocal - Harold Oblong)
vocal - Ray Kennedy
vocal - Jessica Harper
vocal - Paul Williams
vocal Paul Williams

The Phantom of the Paradise is a movie recommended to my friend and I in high school by his girlfriend because she knew of our love for horror movies. Though not really a horror movie, I fell in love with it instantly and ended up buying the soundtrack with said friend on a memorable "last hurrah" type trip before going out into the real world (whatever that is). The story is pretty much a mixture of Phantom of the Opera and Faust, with a little bit of Rocky Horror Picture Show thrown in for good measure.

Favorite Tracks: Goodbye, Eddie Goodbye (a great 50's style greaser anthem about a singer who commits suicide to become famous and pay for an operation for his sister) and Upholstery (Beach Boys-type song about the love a man has towards his woody - the car that is)

Repo Man soundtrack

MCA Records

Track listing

1. Repo Man (05:11)
Iggy Pop
2. TV Party (03:50)
Black Flag
3. Institutionalized (03:49)
Suicidal Tendencies
4. Coup D'Etat (01:59)
The Circle Jerks
5. El Clavo Y La Cruz (02:56)
The Plugz (Later formed Tito & Tarantula)
6. Pablo Picasso (04:01)
Burning Sensations
7. Let's Have a War (02:29)
8. When the Shit Hits the Fan (03:11)
The Circle Jerks
9. Hombre Secreto (01:46)
The Plugz
10. Bad Man (04:59)
Juicy Bananas
11. Reel Ten (03:09)
The Plugz

The Repo Man soundtrack reads like a best of from the early 80's LA punk/hardcore movement. Black Flag, Circle Jerks (who appear in the film as a lounge act), Fear, Suicidal Tendencies....all classics. It doesn't get much better than this.

Favorite Tracks: Institutionalized (fits the main character in the movie perfectly) and TV Party (another slacker anthem that fits great with the feel of the film).

The Harder They Come soundtrack

Island Records

1. You Can Get It If You Really Want (02:39)
Jimmy Cliff
2. Draw Your Brakes (02:56)
3. Rivers Of Babylon (04:15)
The Melodions
4. Many Rivers To Cross (03:00)
Jimmy Cliff
5. Sweet And Dandy (02:58)
The Maytals
6. The Harder They Come (03:39)
Jimmy Cliff
7. Johnny Too Bad (03:01)
The Slickers
8. Shanty Town (02:45)
Desmond Decker
9. Pressure Drop (03:40)
The Maytals
10. Sitting In Limbo (04:54)
Jimmy Cliff
11. You Can Get It If You Really Want (02:42)
Jimmy Cliff
12. The Harder They Come (02:42)
Jimmy Cliff

Not only one of the greatest soundtracks ever made but also one of the greatest reggae compilations ever made. All of the greatest groups of the early wave of Jamaican reggae are here.

Favorite Tracks: 007 (Desmond Dekker's classic rejected James Bond song) and The Harder They Come (when I first saw this movie the scene where Jimmy Cliff is recording this in the recording studio gave me shivers it was so good).

The Terminator soundtrack

Enigma Records

Track listing

1. The Terminator Theme (04:30)
2. Terminator Arrival (03:00)
3. Tunnel Chase (02:50)
4. Love Scene (01:15)
5. Future Remembered (02:40)
6. Factory Chase (03:50)
Last track of side 1 of LP
7. You Can't Do That (03:25)
Performed by Tehnee Cain and Tryangz. (Ricky Phillips)
8. Burnin' In The third degree (03:38)
Performed by Tehnee Cain and Tryangz. (Tahnee Cain, Mugs Cain, Dave Amato, Brett Tugge, Ricky Phillips)
9. Pictures Of You (03:58)
Performed by Jay Ferguson and 16mm (Jay Ferguson)
10. Photoplay (03:30)
Performed by Tehnee Cain and Tryangz. (Tahnee Cain, Jonathan Cain and Pug Baker)
11. Intimacy (03:40)
Performed by Linn Van Hek (Linn Van Hek, Joe Dolce)

This soundtrack is very memorable for me because it was the first compact disc I ever bought. It came in one of those huge longboxes that CDs used to come in and I bought it about 4 months before I even owned a CD player. I used to stare at this thing every day and even memorized the track listing in order and who performed each song, all before I had even heard the damn thing. Another great thing about this soundtrack is that the first half features the score from the film and the second half is filled with some (very dated) 80's rock songs.

Favorite Tracks: Photoplay and Burnin' in the Third Degree. These songs were both recorded by Tahnee Cain (the guy from Journey's wife) and Tryanglz. If you listen to them back to back they actually sound like the same exact song, but I still love them both.

First Quarter Review - 2009

Here's something that I want to start doing every quarter (I feel like I'm at work). Here is where I list all of the movies I've watched from January 1st through March 31st. You may be surprised (aka appalled) by some of the movies and I would be more than happy to discuss them with you face to face over a glass of Gofuckyourself. Well, here goes:

Shout (John Travolta plays an outlaw music teacher in the 50's)
Street Law
Rome Armed to the Teeth
Paul Morrissey's Flesh

East of Eden
Paul Morrissey's Trash
Rebel Without a Cause
The Wild One

Death Dimension
One Down, Two to Go
Black Caesar
Hell Up in Harlem

David Cronenberg's Crash

My Bloody Valentine

My Bloody Valentine 3D

Three the Hard Way
Big Bird Cage
Switchblade Sisters
Final Destination

Final Destination 2
Final Destination 3
Death Proof
Planet Terror

Urban Legend
I Know What you Did Last Summer

Stewardesses 3D

The Misfits (Marilyn Monroe)
Cruel Intentions
Cruel Intentions 3
Cry Baby

A Dirty Shame
Scream 2
Teaching Mrs. Tingle
Varsity Blues

Scream 3
An Evening With Poe (Vincent Price)

Pit and the Pendulum (Vincent Price)

Curse of the Werewolf (Hammer Horror with Oliver Reed)
Oblong Box
Black Sunday (Mario Bava)
Curse of Frankenstein

His Name Was Jason

Frankenstein Must be Destroyed
Evil of Frankenstein

Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell
Fall of the House of Usher
Witchfinder General
Shock Waves
Wicker Man (the original one)

Friday the 13th 2009

Clean and Sober
Cannonball Run

Hostel 2
I'm Gonna Git You Sucka

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2004)

Viva Django

Trip with the Teacher

The Descent
Rosemary's Baby
A Woman Under the Influence
The Faculty

Four Flies on Grey Velvet

Cat O' Nine Tails

Deep Red

Twitch of the Death Nerve
Prom Night
Bird with the Crystal Plumage


New York Ripper

Nightmare City
Billion Dollar Brain
American Psycho

Rules of Attraction


Krug and Company (Alternate cut of Last House on the Left)

Last House on the Left (2009)

Let the Right One In

Brown Bunny
Hard Country
Bad News Bears
Breaking Away
City of the Living Dead

Long Good Friday

Living Dead at Manchester Morgue

Bad News Bears in Breaking Training
Bad News Bears go to Japan
Team America World Police
Zombie Lake
The Beyond
House by the Cemetery

Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs
Dr. Detroit

Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead
Buffalo '66
Kiss in Attack of the Phantoms
Take This Job and Shove It
The Machinist

That's it. If there are any films listed that you'd like to see reviewed, post a comment and I'll get right to it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

B Movies and Beyond gets Splashed!

My new-found friend Mykal over at the great Radiation Cinema blog just gave me a Splash Award. A what, you ask? "The Splash award is given to alluring, amusing, bewitching, impressive, and inspiring blogs." I am honored and want to thank Mykal for the kind gesture.

As recipient of the Splash Award, I get to give out Splash Awards too! Here are the blogs that I chose to receive the Splash Award:

On the Fringe : Six String's fantastic movie blog features pretty much everything but the kitchen sink. He reviews a wide variety of movies, a lot of Asian and Exploitation...but that's not all. This blog also features recent purchases and announcements (DVD sales, etc.). I personally know Mr. String and he is a stand up guy whose love for movies is filled with both passion and obsession, something I can definitely identify with.

Basement of Ghoulish Decadence : I actually just discovered this blog the other day and started following it. I am hooked. I haven't even contacted them yet to trade links I figured this would be a great way! This site focuses on a lot of foreign and domestic lost/hard to find/OOP films, many of which are only available on VHS. There is a lot of content on this site and I am still going through it all, but so far I love it.

Check out these blogs. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Repulsion (1965, Roman Polanski)

I kept hearing about Repulsion and was eager to watch it. I have seen a few of Roman Polanski's other films (Chinatown, Rosemary's Baby, Ninth Gate and Frantic) and liked them all, so I figured I couldn't go wrong.

Well, wrong I went.

Repulsion is the story of Carole (Catherine Deneuve), a young woman who works in a beauty salon. She lives with her sister Helene (Yvonne Furneaux) who's late night whoopie sessions with her married boyfriend drive Carole nuts...no really. She starts spacing out at work and becoming anti-social. After Helene and her boyfriend go on vacation, Carole barricades herself in their apartment and hallucinates that someone is coming in and raping her, all the while a skinned rabbit sits on a plate (don't ask). By this point, Carole has gone completely batshit crazy and should anyone come to visit, they are fucked.

Sounds like it could be decent. This film is regarded by many as a classic tale of paranoia and insanity. I thought it just flat out sucked. I'll admit the beautiful Deneuve did a fine job in the lead role, but the film just dragged on and on with a bunch of unnecessary arty shots. I can see how this film could be seen as controversial at the time but by today's standards it's very tame. The other characters were lame and the climax was a let down. I guess this is one of those movies that just hasn't aged well. I won't write off Polanski since there are still some of his films I want to see, but this one won't be getting any repeat viewings.


The Psychic (1977, Lucio Fulci)

Lucio Fulci, the Italian Godfather of Gore. You may have noticed that I have already reviewed several of his films, but the thing about Fulci is that he made so many films in so many different genres. Some of his earlier films (particularly Lizard in a Woman's Skin and Don't Torture a Duckling) were strong entries in the Giallo genre. The Psychic fits in well with these films though made a few years later, before Fulci went all out and started focusing more on horror/zombie films. More than any of Fulci's other films though, The Psychic actually reminds me of an earlier Argento film.

The Psychic starts with a girl named Virginia having visions of her mother committing suicide. Of course since this is a Fulci film she can't just hang herself, she has to jump off a cliff and have her face ripped off by rocks on the way down. Years later, she has grown up into a beautiful woman (played by Jennifer O'Neill) and is married to a businessman named Francesco (Gianni Garko). While Francesco goes away on business, Virginia travels to his old house and decides to restore it. On the way there she has disturbing visions of someone being murdered in the house and sealed into one of its walls. When she gets there, she breaks open the wall and sure enough, finds a skeleton. The age of the corpse conflicts with the victim she saw in her vision so she seeks the help of her friend, Dr. Luca Fattori (Marc Porel) to try to decipher her vision and determine who the killer is.

As I said before, The Psychic reminds me a lot of some of Argento's 70's Giallos, so naturally I loved it. The story was well thought out, there were twists left and right and many tense parts. Fulci proves here that his films are most successful when he combines his trademark of gore with a good story. Though I wouldn't say this if Fulci's best film, it is well worth the watch.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Opera (1987, Dario Argento)

Back to Argento. I had heard some mixed reviews of Opera so I was curious to see how it compared with his earlier films that I had recently watched. Before I start though, I do have a big complaint about the Blue Underground dvd. Somewhere on the dvd's artwork (I won't say where to avoid spoiling it for others), the killer's identity is revealed. I couldn't believe it. I love Blue Underground too and I was very disappointed. So if you plan on watching this, don't look to hard at the dvd's artwork, just pop the disc in and enjoy.

Opera follows a young opera singer Betty (Cristina Marsillach), who gets the job of a lifetime as the lead in Macbeth after her mentor is hit by a car and can't perform. She soon finds out though that someone at the Opera wants to terrorize her. They tie her up in a way that she has to watch as they proceed to kill her boyfriend. Soon, the killer starts going after anyone close to her. Betty must find out who this killer is and what their motives are to put an end to the killings.

Opera is a fantastic film in every way. The story is well thought out, the acting is well done and the killings are some of the best I've seen in an Argento film. There are several tense scenes and enough blood to fill a swimming pool with, assuming you wanted to do that. The film is like a roller coaster ride you can't help but get sucked into it's beautiful production design and atmosphere. Just wish the damn dvd artwork didn't ruin the ending!


Sunday, April 12, 2009

H.O.T.S. (1979, Danny Bonaduce)

Back when I was a teenager, I was kind of a dork. I was too scared to talk to most girls so I used movies as a way to escape. I would imagine that I was in whatever movie I was watching. Obviously my favorite movies were movies about teenagers, mainly teen comedies and horror flicks from the 70's and 80's. I loved the Meatballs movies, Porkys, Pom Pom Girls..so many I am forgetting. One movie I looked everywhere for but couldn't find was a little film I caught bits and pieces of on late night HBO featuring Danny Bonaduce from the Partridge Family and a bunch of Playmates. Well folks, here it is about 10 years later, H.O.T.S.!!!!

H.O.T.S. (the letters stand for different things throughout the film) is the story of a bunch of college girls who are rejected from their college's sorority of hotties, PI. They decide to start their own Ecologically-friendly group called Help Out The Seals (get it, H.O.T.S.). They don't use the word sorority so they don't have to obey the college's rules that sororities do. After a string of incidents between PI and H.O.T.S., including a catfight between the two groups' leaders during a wet t-shirt contest, topless skydiving and tricking Richie Walker (Danny Bonaduce) into going to bed with a seal, they decide to end the feud once and for all with a game of Strip Football.

What can I say? This film is technically terrible, but at the same time brilliant. The acting and the story (including a subplot with a couple of bumbling crooks) are about as bad as it gets. But c'mon, who cares? If you take the time to watch a movie like this, you know what to expect. The movie is silly, fun and actually very watchable. I actually wish I was able to track this down when I was a teenager because I know I would have loved it. But you know what, I still love it. Way more than I should in fact. For the type of movie it is, it is perfect.


Beyond the Door (1974, Ovidio G. Assonitis/Robert Barrett)

So there's this horror film you may have heard of called The Exorcist. Never heard of it? Oh you have? Well, ruffle my hair and call me Franky. Seriously folks, everyone has heard of The Exorcist. There have been many ripoffs, sequels, prequels and films inspired by The Exorcist. How does Beyond the Door fit in with the Exorcist? Read on.

Juliet Mills plays Jessica Barrett, a mother of two who finds out she is pregnant again, even though she has been taking birth control. What she neglects to inform her record executive husband Robert (Gabriele Lavia) is that the child is not his, but belongs to an ex-boyfriend named Dimitri (Richard Johnson), who just happens to be in cahoots with Satan. Dimitri makes a deal with the devil that he will make sure that the baby is born in exchange for his life to be spared. The baby starts growing at an alarming rate and Dimitri explains to Jessica what is going on. Surprisingly, she takes the news fairly well but soon becomes possessed by the devil herself.

Though the plot is completely different from that of The Exorcist, there are many similarities, which is the film's main flaw. The blatant rip off of many key scenes from the Exorcist is unnecessary and actually a little embarrassing. There are many other things that Jessica could have done to show that she was possessed besides spin her head around and barf pea soup (actually in this film it was more of a darker green mud). Despite this, the film is actually really good and scary. The plot is interesting, Juliet Mills does a great job as the possessed mother of Satan's lovechild and the effects are all well done (well, except for the "animated" puke scene). You could tell that there was also some inspiration from Rosemary's Baby as well, particularly the mother coming to grips with the fact that she has the devil's baby inside her. Overall, I will be nice and judge this movie for what it is and not what it was trying way too hard to be.


Burnt Offerings (1976, Dan Curtis)

Have I mentioned how much I love Oliver Reed? Maybe, maybe not. He is definitely one of my favorite actors and I would watch pretty much anything that he is in. I actually got this movie out of the library 3 times over the course of probably 3 years and just never got around to watching it until now. I am sceptical of PG rated horror movies because most of the things I love about horror just isn't allowed in PG films.

Ben (Oliver Reed) and Marian Rolfe (Karen Black) have found the summer home of their dreams and for only $900 for the whole summer, how could they pass it up. They meet with the owners, Arnold - a creepy wheelchair bound older man (Burgess Meredith) with a fondness for little boys - and his sister Roz Allardyce (Eileen Heckart) who tell them that the only catch is that the Allardyce's mother will be staying in the house while they are there. They assure the Rolfes that she never leaves her room and all they'd have to do is prepare her meals. Ben and Marian decide to go for it and move in right away with their son Davey (Lee Montgomery) and Ben's Aunt Elizabeth (Bette Davis). Soon after moving in, weird stuff starts happening and the house begins to come alive and possess the Rolfes into doing terrible things.

Bold statement alert! Bold statement alert! Burnt Offerings is the best haunted house movie I've ever seen. Okay now, don't get your undies in a curl. I'll admit (and you may have noticed this by the films I have reviewed previously) that I'm not really huge on ghosts or haunted houses. Most of the films dealing with these topics I find boring and not very scary. Burnt Offerings is a big exception. Not only does it have a stellar cast, but the story builds a lot of tense moments and the film's nearly 2 hour running time goes by like the speed of light. I found myself almost entranced in the film, barely being able to wait to see the climax. The director Dan Curtis, who is best known for Dark Shadows, Trilogy of Terror and his adaption of Dracula (starring Jack Palance) creates a certain look all his own. It's sort of like Contemporary Gothic. Whatever it is, it's good and I recommend it to anyone who is looking for a great haunted house story and even folks like myself who usually can't stand them.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Sole Survivor (1983, Thom Eberhardt)

You may remember my reviews for a really great series of films called Final Destination. If not, they are basically about a group of characters who cheat death. Well apparently there was a film back in 1983 that had an eerily similar plot. Obviously some things were different but the idea of cheating death is pretty much the same.

In Sole Survivor, a woman named Denise Watson (Anita Skinner) is the only one to survive a horrible plane crash. After the incident, she is checked out by Dr. Richardson (Kurt Johnson), who tells her that many people in her situation often die soon after surviving a traumatic accident. She ignores the doctor and goes on with her life. She begins receiving calls from a psychic friend (Dionne Warwick...just kidding - it's actually Caren Larkey, who is also the film's co-producer) telling her that she is in danger. Soon, Denise starts seeing dead bodies coming for her. She continually escapes death as it seems that death has come for her. How long can she survive?

If you've read my Final Destination reviews you'll know that I thought they were great, clever and scary films. Whether they were inspired by Sole Survivor is questionable, but one thing is for sure that they are far superior. Sole Survivor is slow and the supposed scary scenes just aren't scary. The concept is really good but the film just doesn't really have anything else going for it. The characters aren't really likable, there isn't much action and the action is not in the least bit scary. The film wasn't bad, it just didn't have much to hold my attention. I'll stick with Final Destination, thank you.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Beast in Space (1980, Alfonso Brescia)

Ed Wood, eat your heart out! That about sums up this film. I kept reading about how terrible it is and after having no luck (until after the fact) finding the XXX version, I settled on the unrated version. I figured any film that is considered such garbage yet was re-released by the great Severin Films in two different versions must have something special about it.

Beast in Space is about ..............uh..............hmmm............crap............what was this movie about? From what I could pick up from severely muddled plot is that some lady named Sondra (Shirpa Lane) keeps having reoccurring dreams about a distant world where she is raped by a hairy beast with goat (or some sort of hoofed creature) legs. She meets up (and screws) the captain (Vassilli Karis) of some space ship at a "Uranium Milk" bar (so not making that up), who happens to have a really sweet mustache. After this random encounter, Captain 'stache meets up with a mercenary (Venantino Venantini - how cool is that name?) and retrieves a sample of the rare metal Antalium after the two get in a fight. It is discovered that the Antalium was brought back from the distant planet Lotrimin (that's not really the name, but it starts with an L) and 'stache is ordered to bring a crew there to retrieve more of it. Apparently it is super special and has powers or something. When the Capt. and his crew (which includes Sondra) reach the planet, they meet up with Onaph and all end up going their separate ways to do the horizontal tango. Sondra takes off with Onaph, who turns out to be the goat dude from her dream. He ends up raping her, as does a robot who rules the planet.

I would go on, but what's the point? You'd think a movie involving sex scenes with a dude with goat legs and one with a robot would be great, but unfortunately this film is not. Far from it in fact. Pretty much everything about it is laughable - and not a boisterous laugh but more of a nervous laugh. Kind of like a "laugh to avoid crying" type of laugh. The acting sucks, the sets are merely cardboard, there is a lightsaber rip off scene where the lightsabers look like cardboard swords wrapped in tinfoil. Then there are the sex scenes, which seem to be the real point of this movie. Like I said, I didn't see the XXX rated version, but the scenes in this were pretty boring and actually a little creepy. So unless you're (very, very, very) easy to amuse, you probably won't get much, if anything out of this film. I know I didn't