Got a little carried away typing things up, so I've got a bunch of reviews for ya'll this time. I tried to focus on some more obscure titles, so most of these will probably be new to ya. I like to alert people to the presence of previously-unheard of things. Even if you don't ever see the film, it's fun to know that out there, somewhere, are films such as The Amazing Mr. No Legs. (I've never seen that, but was giddy with stupid glee the day I discovered that such a film exists). So, hopefully this'll turn ya on to something.
Black Cat, The (B&W, 1966) Low-budget early gorefest inspired by Poe’s story. A pretentious bastard named Lou (who looks sort of like a weird morph between Steve Martin and George W. Bush) collects exotic pets and feeds them champagne. His wife gives the crazy bastard a black cat, which he names Pluto. After hanging out at a club and dancing (the word “ASSHOLE” should flash across the screen during the shot of him smoking and taking his jacket off), Lou comes home in a mean mood and just can’t get enough of being a jerk, so he cuts one of Pluto’s eyes out with a pocketknife. Sleeping deeper into insanity, he goes out drinking again... and everybody’s wearing an eyepatch. Frenzied, he comes home and lynches the cat, and electrocutes it. Later there’s a housefire and Lou’s left with no money and lots of insanity. He gets some therapy, acts cured, then comes home and puts an axe in his wife’s head and some other Poe-story stuff happens. Pretty gory and sleazy for its day. A still of the woman with the axe in her head was used as the cover for an Angry Samoans LP.
Blood Mania (C, 1970) Robert Vincent O’Neil, director of the 80’s exploitation classic Angel, practiced up on this cheap, sleazy psuedo-horror about a blackmail scheme gone too far. A young doctor is visited by his friend Larry, who wants $50,00 in two weeks or he’ll tell the cops about some illegal abortions he performed. To help him come up with the money a girlfriend of his kills her weak-hearted father by giving him amyl nitrate. But he leaves all his money to his other daughter. Oops! So the doctor -- in an overlong renaissance fair/beach/pool/fireside montage, seduces the rich sister, while the evil one paints crazy paintings. In the “shocking last 15 minutes” you get one rather mild bludgeoning murder and that’s it. Very slow going. Try to just watch the trailer instead, it’ll show you everything you’d want to see.
Clownhouse (C, 1989) There’s an old saying: “A clown is not so funny in the moonlight.” And here you have three of them. Three teenaged brothers live in an all-American town and the youngest (Casey has a bed-wetting problem... and an extreme clown-phobia. And a circus is coming to town. They go to it, and a fortune teller predicts doom and clowns named Cheezo, Bippo, and Dippo scare the hell out of Casey. Then some escaped lunatics sneak into the circus, kill the clowns, and take their places. Then, o’ course, they end up going after the brothers (who, by the way, are pretty good little actors -- the oldest one is great, he has this Rod Serling kinda thing going), after a bizarre murder where they try to make a balloon-animal out of a guy. To calm down, the kids watch Dementia 13 on TV! Until the clowns cut the power... and come into the dark house... and then it’s full-throttle from there on out, with imaginative and creepy bits. This movie works perfectly and has no gore at all, which proves the power of characterization and atmosphere. Despite being a well-done film, though, the director’s work is not recommended, because he - Victor Salva -- is a convicted child-molester, who raped the 12-year-old star of this film. So if you want to see this film (or Jeepers Creepers, Powder, or any other film made by this miserable shitcake, I’d say try to find some way to steal them somewhere so the dirtbag won’t make any money and will hopefully starve. Why anybody still agrees to work with Salva is beyond me, even though he does have talent.
Watch it free on YouTube starting here.
Deranged (C, 197?) Very, very obscure (it’s not even listed IMDB) nonsensical, plotless film in which a hippie girl named Nina sits around her apartment while boring ‘60’s news reports play and doorknobs rattle in split-screen. She calls her dad, who is annoyed with her for being a flake. By day (apparently) she does puppet shows for kids. There are weird projection effects with puppets and distorted babble, and she sees people in the hall and in her apartment, but they don’t do anything. She makes art with fragmented mirrors and cut-up photos, which is supposed to be schizo. People deliver food she didn’t order. She talks to a psychiatrist, talks to her landlord, calls her grandma on the phone, and sits around reading or petting her dog. There are some creepy dolls and a hand that comes from under the bed. Her grandma dies and she can’t go to the funeral. Then there’s more sitting around. Apparently she’s just schizo, but doesn’t actually do anything because of it. Some of it is slightly creepy just from the weirdness, but nothing scary (or non-scary, for that matter) happens. But I guess it’s supposed to be like Repulsion or something, just with no payoff. I’ve never found a record of this film anywhere, and the only place I ever saw it was on the late, lamented Caribbean Super Station on my satellite dish in the 80’s. Has nudity, weird visual effects, and seems to be shot on some kind of tape.
Devil Fish (C, 1984) aka Monster Shark, Red Ocean, Shark: Rosso Nell’oceano, Devouring Waves, Shark: Red On The Ocean. Really bad Jaws wannabe with a giant hybrid sea monster terrorizing the Italian part of Florida. It’s kind of a prehistoric shark with a dolphin’s intelligence and the tentacles of an octopus, and it’s pretty fake-looking, although the giant gagged-toothed mouth is kinda scary... when you can get a decent look at it amidst the too-close close-ups and bad editing. It’s the usual blah mayhem, with the only real complication stemming from the fact that monster can reproduce itself from torn-off shreds of flesh. What’s most unbelievable about the movie is the identity of director “John M. Old, Jr.” That’s Lamberto Bava, Mario’s son. I know he’s not quite in his dad’s league, but he’s better than this.
The MST3K version of this is online, starting here.
Dungeon of Harrow (C, 1962) aka Dungeons of Horror. No-budget gothic horror, surreal in its cheapness. After a storm, a certain Mr. Fallon is shipwrecked with the captain of the ship (which, from the looks of it, was in a bottle on someone’s mantel prior to its screen debut) on some beach, presumably near San Antonio. They find themselves the guests of the Count Lorente De Sade, who’s been isolated with his crazy family a little too long. He’s visited by evil spirits of madness... and he’s right at home with his family and servants, a big Black man named Mantis, a girl whose tongue was cut out by pirates, and the Countess, who is insane, plagued with leprosy, and still wears her wedding gown even after rotting away for twenty years in a dark dungeon. The crazed Count tortures people on racks as Fallon plans his escape... but the best-laid plans don’t always work out, especially in weird movies that take themselves seriously and are working hard to give you the creeps, even if that’s not in the budget. This is so low-budget I’m amazed that it’s in color, and it plays like a missing story Edgar Allan Poe could have written, with a morbid fever-dream atmosphere, mixed with unintentionally-silly pretentiousness. Very strange and unique, and the twist ending will leave you with a chill.
This is a weird clip that has other stuff mixed in with the Dungeon of Harrow footage:
Enter the Devil (C, 1972) aka Disciples of Death. A really bad country song about “everything’s turning green” plays while a rock-hunter has a blow-out while driving through a Texas desert. Some robed torch-bearing devil-cultists sacrifice him in a cave, using a cross-shaped stone knife (a picture of a cultist holding it up appeared in an old issue of Famous Monsters, and that’s all that keeps this movie from being a complete obscurity). A nonconformist (he has a mustache) deputy is sent out to find this missing person, but when he finds the body the sheriff (worried about being re-elected) tries to cover up that it was a murder. Soon deer hunters are being jumped by the cultists and thrown into rattlesnake pits. Turns out they’re not really devil-worshipers, they’re penitentes, reenacting the crucifixion of Christ, but it’s just as bad as devil-worship (what with barbed-wiring people to poles and burning ‘em alive, which didn’t happen to Jesus in the Bible I’ve got). Our rough’n’tumble deputy tries to put a stop to it, but doesn’t get too far until a lady researcher and a rancher give him some help. Tepid horror/action flick that’s almost completely unseen these days... and that’s no major loss, really. Still, it was a lot more fun to be up at 3 a.m. catching something like this instead of A League of Their Own or Matlock re-runs.
Flesh Feast (C, 1970) aka Time Is Terror. Veronica Lake was sickly (liver problems, I think - it wrecked her teeth) and working as a waitress in Miami when she returned from over 20 years of obscurity to star in and co-produce this cheap, bad gore flick, in which she plays a mad doctor who uses maggots to revitalize the aged. She raises maggots from sawed-up cadavers and uses them to eat old skin tissue; there are lots of close-ups of larvae, and much screen-time is spent watching Veronica move meat around in trays, all in preparation for the climax, where she uses them to torture Hitler to death! It’s all pretty dumb and poorly made, with boring stretches aplenty, but ya still gotta love it. The “bombshell” had long since rubbed off Veronica, but she was a good sport about the whole thing, appearing when she wasn’t at her best and doing it with enthusiasm, and even speaking of the film semi-fondly in her autobiography, saying it was just supposed to be a fun little scare-flick, and talking about a blooper that cracked everyone up, where an actor flubbed a line and said, “Oh, shit on a bicycle!” Some of the dialogue that made it into the film is nearly as bad, such as the one girl’s immortal line, “I don’t understand why you got mixed up in all these things. I don’t even know what things I’m talking about, but I wish I did.” The acting’s bad, the filmwork is poor, and the gore is silly, but it’s endearing somehow.
This is the end of the movie, so you can see the Hitler part ("I had nothing to do with it! It was Eichmann, und Goebbels!"):
Ghastly Ones, The (C, 1968) aka Blood Rites. Incredibly cheap, completely talentless gore film by the Staten Island director who makes Ed Wood look like Fellini: Andy Milligan. Several couples visit their ancestral home for the reading of a will. To make the film “timeless” so it could be released over and over again, Milligan made it a period piece. Even with the costumes it looks just like 1968. The script is so muddled and the sound so crappy that there’s not much sense in even trying to deal with the “plot,” so here are the gory highlights: a guy gets stabbed in the eye and has what appears to be an onion torn out of his head (the director decided to use a Hostess Snowball as an eyeball, even though it’s about 3 times as big), a rubber hand (apparently a baby doll’s) is amputated, and some rubber legs are hacked up (which actually does look fairly gross). A deformed lunatic picks up a live rabbit and starts eating it, a guy gets pitchforked, disemboweled, and attacked with a saw (looks like modeling clay was used for this effect), plus there’s a meat-cleaver-to-the-head that you can barely see in the darkness. Any effectiveness is caused by the snuff-film quality of the camerawork, which is dark and jerky. Amateurish in every possible way, but, oddly enough, if was remade by Milligan (as Legacy of Horror in 1973) and ripped off by Legacy of Blood in 1973. Curse of the Living Corpse was probably a source of inspiration for all of ‘em -- some of the music from it is even used here. For some reason, this film really disturbed Stephen King, who railed against it in Danse Macabre (which, frankly, made me even more eager to see it).
"The Stomach-Shocker of your life!"
Graveyard of Horror (C, 1971) aka Necrophagus, Butcher of Binbrook, Necromaniac, El Descuartizador de Binbrook. Weird Spanish horror in which a man travels home to see his new baby, only to learn that his wife died in childbirth and his scientist brother has gone missing. Suspecting something's being hidden from him, he digs up some graves in the cemetery and finds them empty. So he can't reveal what he's found out, a couple of robed cultists in monster masks attack him, and a lizard man apparently kills him. His in-laws sneak around, trying to maintain the monster, which stays buried in a mount of earth into which IV drips (coming from what look like catsup and mustard bottles) are inserted. The monster (which is unfortunately goofy-lookin', like a refugee from a Larry Buchanan film) also apparently eats corpses, and the cemetery's ogre-ish caretaker sells bones as anatomical specimens... which one guy sits around blowing cigarette smoke into. The monster is the missing brother, whose experiments in transformation have gone too far and produced nasty side effects. Pretty clumsy, with long stretches of scary-nonsense footage that may just be there to pad out the running time, and unfortunately it doesn’t live up to the cool title or corpse-eating-monster potential. There’s hardly any blood, and most of the few drops that are there drip from a suitcase in which an old woman is absurdly carrying a dead pig. The oddball dialogue and strange behavior of all the characters make this a pretty strange film.
Hallucinations of a Deranged Mind (C, 1978) aka Delirios de um Anormal. Kind of a “greatest hits” package from extremely twisted Brazillian director Jose Mojica Marins, making a new story from footage (much of it banned) from his other films... which means you’re going to be bombarded with imagery that would make Ken Russell, David Lynch, John Waters, and Alejandro Jodorowsky jump back and scream “DAMN, what’s WRONG with this guy?!” Suffering through demented black mass orgies of insane freaks and sick violence, a man becomes possessed by Coffin Joe’s megalomania. He sees people eaten by spiders, staircases made of human bodies, frantic wind-up toys, knick-knack devils, floggings, and other things that look like outtakes from an asylum inmate’s worst off-the-meds nightmares. He thinks Coffin Joe wants his wife, so, after some psychoanalysis, they turn to director Marins himself for help... but only after more weirdness (some of it black and white, and some some of it color -- often it looks like something from a Bava film) with necrophilia, spider women, masks, walls of bodies, weird puppets, lab equipment, and Coffin Joe presiding over all sorts of debauchery. There’s not a lot of plot, but you won’t find a weirder film (although Lucio Fulci did something similar with Cat In The Brain), and, like all of Marin’s sick fantasies, it comes across as a disturbing personal statement by an egomaniac filled with personal demons. A must if you like soundtracks full of screaming and crazy laughing, or want to see how close a film can come to a Bosch painting. Gets overwhelming (and, to be honest, a bit dull) after a while, just because of the oversaturation of freakness.
The whole thing's online starting here.
House of Dreams (B&W, 1963) A writer named Lee (director/writer/producer Robert Berry, who's a dead ringer for Jurgen Prochnow in Das Boot) is suffering from a bad case of writer's block and has eerie nightmares about a derelict house in the neighborhood. In the dreams he wanders through the crumbling house and sees things like his wife hanging from a rope, a corpse floating in a well, floors that fall away under him, and himself trying to climb a wall. His distraction with his problems (including a friend who dies in a car accident) leaves his wife feeling neglected and tempts her to return to the drinking problem she's been struggling with. A sinister fate awaits them both. Incredibly low-budget and crude experimental film by one-man-show Berry, this film has an atmosphere that has invited comparisons to Carnival of Souls and Eraserhead (and I'd throw in Daughter of Horror, too). It's got leaden pacing, awkward dialog, stiff acting, and the framing sometimes makes you wonder if the cinematographer was a blind man, and yet it's got some powerful creepiness going on, thanks in no small part to location shooting in that rotten old house. Worth a look for those with patient dispositions, as well as nerves of steel, since part of the film's method of keeping you on edge is to assault you with endless sonic attacks of annoying repetitive noises, like Chinese water torture. The discordant organ score will double-down on the cinematography and make you think it was scored by a deaf man. Available from Sinister Cinema.
Image, The (C, 1975) aka The Punishment of Anne, The Mistress And The Slave, L’image. Radley Metzger SM porn that has a strange atmosphere to it; it’s so weird and dark that I look at it as a psychological horror film more than porno, because it disturbs as much as it titillates, and it’s extremely well-shot and classily directed, like a gothic horror film. A writer named Jean runs into his old friend Claire and finds that she has a pretty model friend named Anne, who is strangely subservient to her. Jean learns that Anne is Claire’s slave and that Claire wants to include him in the relationship, so Anne gets whipped, humiliated in public, and performs oral sex on Jean (and a shopgirl), lets them watch her pee, gets condiments stuffed in her vagina in a cafe (she informs the waiter, “I’m full”), pricked with needles, and enjoys all of it... even though she seems rather insane for doing so, often staring like a lunatic. It’s possible Jean and Claire are taking advantage of her mental illness, rather than just engaging in sex games. I saw it in a cut-for-cable version and thought it was creepy; the DVD with the hardcore sex scenes is even spookier. I’m not sure it’s really supposed to turn you on, despite the high erotic content, because menacing music plays during all the sex. Definitely not for everyone, but fans of erotic horror may want to try it out for its dark messages about dependence and who’s really in control in a power-exchange relationship; the master or the slave?
Invasion of the Blood Farmers (C, 1972) This thing’s so amazingly awful you’d almost think it was a spoof, but fortunately they seem to have been serious. Spoofs suck, but bad movies rule! A group of “sangroid Druids” who dress like members of a jug band go around abducting people and hooking them up to milking machines to drain their blood, which they need to revive their queen. This usually involves a tube stuck conveniently under someone’s shirt while someone sucks a cherry Slurpee through it, while amplified fish-tank noises are played. The leader of the Druids is an effeminate cretin who is -- pointedly -- named “Creton.” Meanwhile, a local scientist is trying to deal with a self-replicating blood sample that threatens to flood his lab. Most of the Druids have fake-looking grey in their hair. Their first victim is a guy named Jim Carrey. Repeatedly hearing people talk about how Jim Carrey died so horribly does add a certain charm to the proceedings, I gotta admit. The movie has a strange colorfulness to it, kind of like an old Hershel Gordon Lewis film. The acting’s about H. G. Lewis caliber, too. Too bad the gore’s not -- the film’s only PG-rated. Tons o’ fun for bad movie fans, but ten miles of bad road for anyone else. Brought to you by some of the same “talent” that gave us Shriek of the Mutilated.
Jaws of Satan (C, 1981) aka King Cobra. The standout point of this horror cheapie is that it’s Christina Applegate’s movie debut, at age 10. Her mother, Nancy Priddy, is in it, too. A huge king cobra escapes from a train and starts biting people. A pathologist gets alarmed by the appearance of the bites and calls in a snake expert, but one of the other pathologists tries to cover things up because a rich guy in town is opening a dog track and won’t want snake-scares running people off. Meanwhile, a priest is being warned by a witch that a great evil is after him. Pretty soon snakes are showing up all over the place, led by the king cobra, which turns out to not just be any ol’ snake -- it’s Satan himself! He must be -- he gets a rattler to bite 10-year old Christina, and you’d have to be the evilest creature in the universe to do that. The preist has to go into a cave to try to exorcise the demonic serpent. Yep, it’s damned ridiculous, but at least it’s a different approach than all those other snake movies, and it’s entertaining enough in a bad-movie way.
Whole movie's online starting here.
Maze, The (B&W, 1953) Odd horror in which a woman’s fiancé breaks off their engagement with no explanation, so she goes to visit him at his old mansion, where there have been strange killings, and something mysterious moving around a big maze on the property. She sees something happening out there one night (after braving a stairway populated by bad rubber bats that sound like whelping puppies). She’s a perfectly silly dolt and invites a bunch of silly friends over to “cheer up” her fiance, but they bore and annoy him and he insists they all go to bed and lock their doors. The silly woman decides to meddle some more, despite the weird footprints and seaweed in the halls and odd splashing noises from the pond in the maze, and she discovers... a giant frog! It’s both hilarious-looking and strangely grotesque. It crawls/hops through the house, making trumpeting elephant noises, and then jumps out of a tower window. Turns out he was actually a 200-year-old man named Sir Roger, who was deformed by being stuck at the frog-stage of human development! Is that ridiculous enough for you? I hope so, because I don’t think we’re likely to find anything to outdo it. Pretty frickin’ funny, even though the rest of the film (despite being dull) is great-looking and classy. Originally in 3D.
Or, if you have 3D glasses:
Monster Maker, The (B&W, 1944) aka The Devil’s Apprentice. Pretty sick (by 40’s standards, anyway) PRC horror in which a mad doctor (J. Carrol Naish) gets a serious crush on a pianist’s daughter, because she looks like his dead wife. The doctor gives the girl the creeps, though, so her dad tells the doc to get lost. In revenge, he injects dad with acromegaly, a disease that causes grotesque, deforming swelling of the extremities. Rondo Hatton, who wasn’t in this film but who starred in several others around that time, actually had this condition. The pianist grows deformed... and angry. He wants to kill the doctor for infecting him, so the doctor has to chain him up, and then tries to force a marriage on his unwilling daughter. There’s also a rampaging gorilla and some powers of hypnotism to keep things moving. One of the better PRC films, with more bad taste than was usual in the timid 40’s. Glen Strange (who was weird-looking in his own right; he was Sam The Bartender on Gunsmoke) has a small role as Naish’s assistant.
Whole thing online starting here.
Moonchild (C, 1974) Odd, experimental student film made as a film-school thesis project by Alan Gadney. It was good enough to get a theatrical release and end up on late night TV once in a while, back in the good ol’ days when there was still a market for odd films on TV. A sketch artist in the 1920’s meets up with John Carradine, who philosophizes to him about an old mission he’s painting, while a strange one-eyed homunculus and ninja-looking monks watch. The artist thinks he sees gold in a fountain and is overwhelmed by the architecture, so he decides to stay. Victor Buono is a sinister priestly figure who thinks the artist may be evil (“You don’t look blessed to me, boy!”) The artist has flashbacks from knowing these people in past lives. Everyone he meets is a sage, full of mystical philosophy (“insane riddles”). Everyone’s goal seems to be the search for perfection. He keeps seeing weird, creepy visions (possibly flashbacks) of kings and popes and devilish monks chasing him. Victor Buono and the mission’s proprietor (who Buono says is a demon) fight over the artist. For dinner they tear apart a bloody skinned horse head, and the homunculus serves as an extremely sloppy waiter while they talk about what death is. Then there’s a creepy montage of robed figures running down smoky stone corridors as past and present intermingle, as do reality and nightmare. Gradually he understands that the deja vu he’s feeling is because this all really has happened before. He remembers killing and being killed, bizarre rituals, and some kind of inquisition, and finally the movie is one big inquisition montage with odd camera angles and distortion effects, with the earlier incarnation of the artist trying to escape with his girlfriend while monks chant “The bells of mankind won’t save you, let alone love” over and over. Turns out that he goes through the same thing every time in different incarnations, because he doesn’t achieve perfection the first time. This is an extremely weird, pretentious, nearly-plotless experiment that is deliberately obscure in meaning -- kind of like if the first chapter of The Sound and the Fury was a film. There’s some gore and plenty of creepy scenes, and I can imagine few experiences stranger than turning on the late show and finding this without having some foreknowledge of what you were about to get into. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, and this isn’t necessarily a bad film, just bogged down in the cerebral, and a bit dull and goofy. Director Gadney apparently didn’t put the degree this earned him to use, ‘cuz unless he changed his name, I don’t think he ever made another film. Too bad, because while this isn’t a masterpiece, it is ambitious and does show promise.
Night Nurse (C, 1978) Made-for-Australian-TV suspense film that's like an adaptation of some "nurse" romance novel. A young nurse named Prudence takes a job caring for an old, wheelchair-bound opera star called The Diva. The Diva's housekeeper, Clara, is extremely unfriendly (even going so far as to pour gelatin into Prudence's goldfish bowl), but Prudence refuses to leave because she thinks Clara may be slowly poisoning the Diva to inherit her money. Plus, Prudence's boyfriend is a starving artist who wants to do a portrait of the Diva, since nobody's seen her in decades. As things go on, Prudence discovers that the Diva isn't as innocent as she looks, and in the last ten minutes the gothic melodrama finally makes up its mind to be a horror movie. Pretty engaging even if it's very cheaply made and mild, and has an overuse of corny sting music that sounds like a piano practice exercise. Anytime anything happens in the movie, you hear "tingaling-te-ting!", like it's a sinister-in-it's-implications event. "Prudence, did the dog do that?" Tingaling-te-ting! Available from Sinister Cinema.
Satan’s School For Girls (C, 1973) When Pamela Franklin’s sister is found hanging, she doesn’t accept it as a suicide and enrolls in her sister’s private college to find the truth. Two of her classmates at Salem Academy are Charlie’s Angels -- Kate Jackson and Cheryl Ladd. More girls end up as “suicides” and the co-eds start suspecting that something weird is going on, possibly involving a mean-spirited teacher who likes to “break the wills” of lab rats so they can be controlled. But it’s actually a Satanic witchcraft coven that’s running the school, and needs sacrifices. Interesting, semi-creepy, but not too surprising old made-for-TV movie, the kind they still try to make but aren’t able. It’s kind of like a TV version of Suspiria, or maybe an update of Horror Hotel.
Watch the whole thing online starting here.
Strangeness, The (C, 1985) Years after the Golden Spike Mine closed because miners got too scared to go into it anymore, a group is sent in to see if there’s still enough gold ore around to make it worth re-opening. As they wander around the dark tunnels they become prey to weird, tentacled creatures that kinda resemble the female reproductive tract. The monsters can eat people outright, or can dissolve them with acid, and our explorers get trapped in the caves with them. Very low-budget and not completely effective due to too much time spent fumbling around in the dark, but the monsters (or maybe just monster - you can’t really tell) are unique. They’re done by stop-motion animation that leaves a little to be desired, but it’s still better than CGI, and even though the cave walls are homemade and they don’t seem to have really had a huge stretch of tunnel space, it doesn’t look bad for what it is. A similar movie, The Boogens, came out around the same time.
Track of the Vampire (B&W, 1966) aka Blood Bath. Jack Hill was making a crazed-artist horror film for Roger Corman, who fired him and passed the footage he’d shot to someone else, along with a Yugoslavian vampire film. More footage was shot (or borrowed) and it was all edited together into this weird artistic flick. A guy named Antonio Sordi paints disturbing pictures of murdered women and other morbid-themed things. He meets a pretty ballerina and takes her back to his studio, which is in a bell-tower his family has maintained since the 11th century (which ain’t possible since it’s in California, but anyway...). His ancestor was charged with sorcery for painting brilliant, creepy things, and Sordi is haunted by an evil woman. Women seem to flock to this guy, even though he looks like Liberace. Too bad, since he ends up boiling them all in wax as a way of posing them for his “dead red nudes” paintings. He apparently turns into a vampire some of the time, too, and chases several women, then gets chased around himself. It’s hard to tell exactly what’s going on at any given time, but there’s still some weird, creepy, artsy moments. The disjointed, unexplained fracture of the narrative structure makes this play like some kind of nightmare, and you’ll be best off approaching it as such. Unjustifiably hard to find on video; a pretty bad, edited copy was released on a really cheap double-feature DVD with an edited version of Nightmare Castle, and you can still find some of those from used dealers, but somebody really needs to release a complete, cleaned-up version of this one.