Saturday, January 30, 2010

Big Doll House (1971, Jack Hill)

Ah, the good old WIP genre. What is WIP? Well any self respecting sleazy film auteur could tell you that WIP stands for Women in Prison, a self explanatory genre that most would say began in 1969 with Jess Franco's 99 Women. Roger Corman's idea to do his own WIP film came shortly after and Jack Hill was chosen to direct the film. Though originally written to take place in California, Corman chose to have it made in the Philippines to save money. Notable as being Pam Grier's film debut (not including a bit part in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls), The Big Doll House became one of the highest grossing low budget films of its time and further inspired many more WIP films to come.

The Big Doll House takes place in a women's prison in some tropical, third world country. A woman named Collier (Judy Brown) is imprisoned for killing her husband. She becomes cellmates with a lesbian named Grear (Pam Grier), her junkie bitch Harrad (Brooke Mills), revolutionary Bodine (Pat Woodell) and man hungry Alcott (Roberta Collins). They are frequently tormented by crooked warden Dietrich (Christiane Schmidtmer) and plan a jail break.

The Big Doll House was a fun movie and far less serious than I was expecting. Jack Hill has a knack of not taking his subject matter too seriously, which is usually a good thing. The situations and characters are so over the top that trying to take the film seriously would be a huge mistake. Though there is lots of humor, the film has other things going for it too. There is the obvious sexuality in the film, which includes showers, cat fights, mud wrestling and S&M/torture. Exactly what you'd hope for in a WIP film. The cast really makes the film though, with Pam Grier as hot as ever. Roberta Collins and Judy Brown are also quite sexiful and can actually act (not a necessity, but a plus). As usual in many of Jack Hill's films is Sid Haig, the other usual show stealer. He does a great job playing a delivery man who sneaks goods in for the inmates. Overall, The Big Doll House is a fun exploitation film that is full of what you'd expect from a WIP film but with comedic touches to ensure the audience doesn't take the film too seriously.

RATING: 7/10

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pom Pom Girls (1976, Joseph Ruben)

Pom Pom Girls is a film that really surprised me. Ever see a movie that wasn't at all what you were hoping for, but ended up being something way better...profound even? Yes, I am talking about a film called Pom Pom Girls. When I was a teenager, I loved horny teenage movies about the stuff in high school that I was too shy to experience first hand. Living vicariously through these wild and crazy teenagers was the next best thing. I first rented Pom Pom Girls when I was around 16, in hopes of another silly teen comedy. What I got was something more. Much more.

Pom Pom Girls takes place at Rosedale High. Summer has just ended and it's the Senior year for Jesse (Michael Mullins) and Johnnie (Robert Carradine). They are both trouble making, football players who like to drink and mess around with girls. They both have feelings for Sally (Lisa Reeves), who is going out with the (wannabe) tough guy of the school, Duane (Bill Adler). At the same time though, Jesse starts falling for nice girl Laurie (Jennifer Ashley). On top of their girl troubles, local Hardin High begins a rivalry with the Rosedale football players which starts to get messy.

In what seems to be a straight forward teen comedy, Pom Pom Girls ends up being one of the most realistic teen movies I have ever seen. Though I wasn't a football player or a ladies man in High School, when I saw this film back in my teens, I connected with the characters and the situations they faced. I envied what these guys were going through with girls and just teenage life in general. I wanted to be these guys. I wanted to be at their high school. Despite the fact this film came out 20 years before I was in high school, I could still relate to what was going on. It had been over 20 years since the last time I watched this film, but after seeing it again, I would still say that Pom Pom Girls is the best film about teen life ever made.

RATING: 10/10

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Anthropophagus: The Grim Reaper (1981, Joe D'Amato)

Anthro-po....Anthropo....What? Took me a long time of studying and saying different possibilities out loud before I could finally say Anthropophagus. Anthropophagy is the consumption of human flesh, so that pretty much let's you in on what the film is all about. Not that you'd really expect much else after seeing any of the movie posters/home video boxes.

A group of friends on vacation are asked by a young woman named Carol (Tisa Farrow) to tag along with them as they visit some tropical islands. She is babysitting a rich couple's kid while on vacation, which in turn means she gets a free vacation. When they stop at the island, they notice no one is around but soon find out something isn't right. The radio equipment is smashed and they soon start locating mutilated corpses. The girl Carol is to babysit, who we find out is blind, shows up in hysterics, claiming that there is a monster out there who smells of blood. Before long, they realize she is right and they must face their worst nightmare - a cannibal monster - Anthropophagus.

Anthropophagus was, above all else, a creepy movie. It just felt dirty and grimy and out of the ordinary. I also knew with Joe D'Amato and Italian B movie star George Eastman, that this film could be hit or miss, probably a miss. For the most part, Anthropophagus is actually a success, with a script by Eastman and D'Amato (under their real names). The only real drawback I noticed was the slowness of the script. Though these scenes were actually meant (and they were largely successful) to create tension, allowing the creature to pop out of nowhere and eat someone. Eastman does a great job as the monster and the rest of the cast are mediocre but serve their purpose. The real payoff for the film are a couple of really nasty scenes that add a lot to the creepiness factor. There are a few scenes where stuff/the monster pop out and are successful in startling you. Overall, a sick, twisted, gross and quite enjoyable horror film.

RATING: 7/10

Friday, January 1, 2010

Movies Watched 10/1/09 - 12/31/09

2009, where did you go? Very interesting year in many ways. It's hard to believe it's over. The past decade as a whole was pretty crazy. Though this is the first year I've actually kept a record of all the movies I've watched, it's a safe bet that I watched more this year than any year in the past. 2010 will promise to be a very hectic, exciting and scary year based on what I already have planned out so I'm sure the movie watching will be a little more erratic, but I'll try to keep the blog going as long as I can. You've probably noticed a lull in the blog for the past month or two, but stick with me and I'll do what I can to put up reviews as frequently as possible.

Anyhoo, Happy New Year!

Here's what I watched in the 4th Quarter. Feel free to comment about any of the movies or send me a message or whatever. I love hearing from you all:

Island of the Fishmen

Exorcism (Paul Naschy)

The Antichrist
Lisa and the Devil

House of Exorcism
Exorcist 2: The Heretic

Exorcist III: Legion

Trick 'r Treat

Hills Run Red

Paranormal Activity

Saw 2

Saw 3

Saw 4


Saw 5

Happy Birthday to Me

At Midnight I'll Take Your Soul
Tourist Trap

Pit and the Pendulum (Vincent Price)

He Knows You're Alone

Night of the Creeps

Fade to Black

Halloween III: Season of the Witch

House of 1000 Corpses

Saw 6


Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

Sleepy Hollow
Hell Night


Dawn of the Dead

Little Children

Love at First Bite

God Told Me To

Maniac Cop

Maniac Cop 2

Maniac Cop 3

The Thing Called Love

Rome Armed to the Teeth

Where the Day Takes You

High Crime



8 1/2

The Gate

The Orphan

Funny People

Three Musketeers (1993)
Revolutionary Road

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans



Darjeeling Ltd.

Royal Tenenbaums

L'argent de poche (Small Change)

The Hangover

Ladri di biciclette (Bicycle Thieves)

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

What We Do is Secret

District 9

It Might Get Loud


Fat City

Beach Boys: Live at Knebworth 1980

The One and Only

Helter Skelter (1976)

Baby Mama