Generic Movie Review Post number whatever-number-we're-up-to-now

Thousandth verse, same as the first, a cappella version and ten times worse...

Bat Without Wings (C, 1980) aka Wu Yi Bian Fu. Hard-to-follow Shaw Brothers swordplay drama that’s mainly of interest as a probable attempt at Kiss-spoitation because the bad guy wears Gene Simmons makeup. This villain, known as the Bat Without Wings (even though he can still fly around) is believed to be killed early in the film, but keeps reappearing. Is he being impersonated, or did he actually survive, or both? A lot of martial artists with colorful names like “Venomous Wuxie The Stun-Dude” and “The Grim and Bewitching Xu Fang” and “Broken-Hearted Sword” are out to find the Bat and capture his legacy, which may be a couple of kung fu manuals or a cavern full of treasure. On the way there’s a lot of fantastical stuff such as a ghost girl dropping her head off at her dad’s house. There’s a lot of swordfighting but the plot gets overly complicated, with people getting poisoned right and left until it’s almost nonsensical.

Whole thing online starting here.

Christina's House (C, 1999) Cute 17-year-old Christina lives in a house with her video-game-junkie little brother and her weird, moody, incestuous-desire-filled dad (John Savage). She has an insanely-jealous boyfriend who's pressuring her to have sex before she's ready, and a meek handyman who keeps hanging around. The house makes weird noises, but things get worse when one of Christina's classmates is found dead in the ditch in front of her house, and someone gives Christina a dead rat for her birthday. Then they end up locked in the house (they can't even escape through the windows because they're shatterproof) with whoever or whatever's behind all the strange happenings. This one starts out so mild that I thought it was going to be some made-for-TV teen horror flick, but it gets more intense and twisted in the second half, and has a few creepy moments. Not bad overall.

Disciple of Death (C, 1972) another of British disc jockey Mike Raven's attempts to be Christopher Lee, this plays like a bizarre cross-pollenation of a Hammer film and one of Andy Milligan's costume dramas. Way back in not-so-merry Olde England, a couple of lovers cut their thumbs to form a blood bond, but a drop of this blood lands on the gravestone of a Satanist suicide, who returns to life and starts gathering slaves for his unholy master. The girls he sacrifices return as pale zombies. One victim's boyfriend joins a hilariously-fakey parson and a mystical rabbi in a quest to gather enough magic to defeat the undead evildoer. They engage a war of wizardry with an evil dwarf in a pilgrim hat and endure torture devices, and Bach's Toccata in D Minor and other less-appropriate public domain classical works are played a lot. Has a certain degree of morbid atmosphere and some effectively-morbid bloody scenes, but it's still pretty hard to stay interested in because the dialogue is especially blah, and the story often doesn't make much sense.

Face of Terror (B&W, 1962) aka La Cara Del Terror. Yet another variation on the plastic-surgeon-experiments-on-girl's-scarred-face tale, this one Spanish. This time the doctor's not mad or evil; the patient is. The surgeon agrees to restore a girl's face (scarred by an oil lamp explosion) using his experimental plastic surgery techniques. Two problems arise: one, he discovers the girl is an escaped mental patient who has no intentions of going back to the loonie bin, and two, the plastic he uses for the surgery has a tendency to dry out and become horrible if exposed to wind. The now-normal-looking girl attacks the doctor and escapes, but then a fateful ride in a convertible makes bad things happen. Good of its type.

Feast Of Satan, The (C, 1971) aka Las Amantes del Diablo, Feast for the Devil, Night of the Devils. Low-rent Spanish horror in which a pretty girl named Hilda gets in some trouble investigating what happened to her sister, who was found running through some woods, terrified into catatonia. Hilda tracks her sister's movements to a weird Professor Nescu, a playboy who practices Indian magic and hypnotism. She ends up at Nescu's mansion with a lot of other girls, and she falls in love with him despite being warned by various people that he's a killer and maybe even the devil. Eventually she uncovers some pretty ordinary black magic rites. This comes across as perhaps a script Paul Naschy rejected for being too slowly-paced, and somebody else tried to produce it anyway using a guy who looked a little like him. Stiff and artless direction robs it of any real atmosphere, and a lack of gore further hampers it. Eurohorror completists only, even though Hilda does make for appealing eye-candy.

Glass Cage, The (B&W, 1964) Very odd experimental film mixing film noir and psycho-horror elements into a stark artistic blend. A troubled young lady named Ellen shoots an intruder and kills him. One of the detectives working the case is drawn to her, but has a hard time getting romantically involved with her because she's usually cold and withdrawn, and apt to switch moods suddenly if certain things are mentioned. Her snooty sister is also involved in the case, and Ellen has a weird father-fixation. Her slobby neighbor is an artist and keeps trying to seduce her, but she's even crazier than he is... and getting crazier. Still, the detective is haunted by this fragile girl and wants to save her from what seems an approaching doom. Elisha Cook is a man with a cane who knows secrets about her. Expressionistic sequences and moody low-budget black and white photography make this one play like a bridge between Blast of Silence and Carnival of Souls, with a little Night Tide thrown in, and a bit of Daughter of Horror. A very interesting, impressive, nightmarish little obscurity you'll have to seek out from Sinister Cinema.

Honeymoon of Horror (C, 1964) aka Orgy of the Golden Nudes, The Deadly Circles, The Golden Nymphs. “Honeymoon of Tedium” would have been a lot more accurate, but probably wouldn’t have sold as many tickets... not that it was swamped anyway. A no-budget horror film made by people who were more comfortable with skin flicks, this is the uninvolving story of a woman who marries an artist and soon believes that he or one of his pretentious friends is trying to kill her. Who’s behind the knives in keyholes and the phone calls where no one talks? Is it her new husband? One of his snotty ex-girlfriends? The Hindu manservant? The blind sculptor? The guy who’s crazy about circles? Somebody else? I promise you that you won’t care. Slow and has no payoff.

House in the Woods, The (B&W, 1957) Novelist Michael Gough and his wife rent a cottage in the back country from a moody artist, so Gough can work on a murder mystery. Gough becomes suspicious that the artist is telling a lot of lies and attempting to cover up something he's done. He thinks the artist may have murdered his wife and buried her in the woods, but Gough's wife thinks he's too wrapped up in the plot of his own novel and is projecting it. Gough thinks it's the other way around, and he's been writing something that actually happened... and that the artist is planning another killing or two. A little stiff but not bad.

Killer’s Delight
(C, 1977) aka The Dark Ride, The Sport Killer, Dark Rider. The 70’s was filled with sleazy hitchhiker-killer movies, and this is a contender for sleaziest. A disguise-wearing sex killer scopes out his victims at a city pool, then picks them up as they’re hitchhiking home. He rapes them and does other horrible things, like breaking their fingers. Sometimes he dresses up as a headband-wearing hippie, and sometimes has an afro and a mustache, and always drives a Ford van, which he sometimes repaints. A determined cop (whose partner looks like Al Pacino) ignores all kinds of civil liberties in trying to track him down. The cops finally take a very dangerous gamble in trying to catch the creep. Scuzzy locations, some really twisted nastiness, and an authentic 70’s atmosphere elevate a familiar storyline. INspired by the crimes of Ted Bundy, before he was caught, this would fit nicely on a shelf with Vice Squad, 10 To Midnight, and Don’t Answer The Phone.

Low Blow (C, 1986) Amazingly stupid (yet entertaining) low-budget action idiocy from the makers of the similar Killpoint. Leo Fong is a shabby low-rent detective with a pretty secretary (she looks a little like Theresa Russel) and a beat-up, malfunctioning car that hampers him during getaways. I guess as a Chinese-are-bad-drivers joke, he’s constantly running over curbs. To keep the story moving, he gets in some no-tension-level altercation about every five minutes. Troy Donahue hires him to get his daughter out of a Jonestown-style cult commune run by Cameron Mitchell, playing a blind guru named Yarakunda who wears a hooded robe and has little Stars of David painted on his face. He seems deluded but sincere, but his helper, a black girl named Karma, is power-mad. If you can watch her fiercely repeating “Yarakunda! Yarakunda!” until she works herself into a giggle fit without laughing your ass off, then you have a will of iron. Fong (who somehow manages some charisma despite being the blandest, woodenist guy imaginable) leads a team of mercenaries (which he puts together by staging a “tough man” pit-fighting contest) to take down the cult in some very-standard action scenes. Nothing special on any level, but not boring even though it offers no surprises, and that’s kind of an achievement. I’m not sure where they came up with the title, but Fong does get punched in the groin a couple times.

Yarakunda! (You cannot watch this without cracking up)

Mako: The Jaws of Death (C, 1976) aka The Jaws of Death, Killer Jaws. Richard Jaeckel is a mentally unbalanced skin diver who has a special affinity with sharks. They don't attack him, and he feeds and protects them. When shark hunters go around killing his friends, Jaeckel throws them overboard so the sharks can eat them. He has a soft spot for a girl who dances underwater as a bar attraction, so he loans her a shark for her act. When he finds out it's being abused, though, he goes into a rage and declares war on mankind, throwing his enemies to his friends. Fairly simple combo of Jaws and Willard, but Jaeckel does a good job of acting tormented, and the shark attacks are well done (no gore beyond blood in the water, but pretty amazing since they used real sharks).

And this guy can't pronounce the title...

Mind Snatchers, The (C, 1972) aka The Happiness Cage, The Demon Within, Brain Control. Troublemaking soldier Christopher Walken's incorrigible behavior gets him sent to a remote institute where brain experiments are being done, in hopes of curing psychosis and alleviating pain. Walken is understandably resistant to getting electric wires strung through his brain, especially after seeing how previous such experiments have affected subjects. One guy screams all day from stomach pain, while obnoxious rapist Ronny Cox ends up completely deranged from pressing a buzzer that gives him orgasms on demand. Since there's no escape from the compound, though, Walken may not be able to escape fate. Often sold as a horror film, this is more of a serious (and even possible) sci-fi film, with Walken and Cox given ample room to create their characters. Nicely done.

Whole thing online starting here:

(C, 2003) aka Ski Weekend. Neo-slasher flick set on the slopes as a ski-masked killer carries out a grudge against snowboarders. The film sets the bar high at the beginning with a very nasty half-decapitation gore effect, then never tops it as most of the following murders are less nasty and simple (offscreen screwdriver in the head) or even silly (icecicle impalement, a ski-lift hanging that’s played for laughs). There’s a lot of downtime between stalking and slashing crowd-pleasingly filled in with softcore sex with some very pretty girls. This is too tongue-in-cheek to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with most of the films from the original slasher flick cycle, but it does stay entertaining throughout, and it’s a likeable and decently-made little flick.

Viva Django (C, 1968) aka Get The Coffin Ready, Django Get the Coffin Ready, Preparati La Bara! One of the many non-related "sequels" to the Corbucci classic, this one has Terrence Hill in a welcome non-comic role as another guy named Django, who at least dresses pretty much like the original. When a ruthless would-be senator who was a friend of his has Django's wife and friends killed in a raid on a gold shipment, Django, left for dead, recovers and plots revenge. After leaving a grave with his name on it, he takes a job as a traveling hangman, but secretly fits his victims (who've been unjustly accused by the senator's corrupt administration) with a vest-rig that lets them fake being hanged. He forms a small army of the men he's "hanged" and, with their help, takes on the senator and his gang of evil bandits, led by the hulking George Eastman. Slows a bit for subplots and lacks the flashy style that distinguishes the best spaghetti Westerns, but does have some brutal action scenes, and Terrence hill is always cool, and it's good to see him playing it straight instead of clowning. He gets beaten up a lot in this one, but a machine gun in a coffin does make a surprise appearance and makes it all worth it.

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