Sham 69 is just a brilliant freakin' band

...but that has nothing to do with my post, because it's just more movie reviews.

Children, The (C, 2008) At a family Christmas gathering, several of the kids start getting sick. At first it just looks like flu, but then the kids start getting violent, causing horrible sledding accidents or attacking with knives or tricking parents into breaking legs. The winter-wonderland shit is out the window pretty quickly as the homicidal kids get down to business, and the adults are hesitant to accept what’s going on (preferring to blame gothy teenage daughter Casey at first) and even slower to properly defend themselves since that involves hurting their own kids. Weakness of characterization and general sloppiness to the storytelling keep this from being another Who Can Kill A Child?, but it’s still not bad at all, with some creepily-sick kids and some quality cinematography for its budget.

Frankenstein 1970 (B&W, 1958) Boris Karloff is an ancestor of the original Dr. Frankenstein. Scarred from Nazi tortures and embittered, he wants nothing to do with people, yet still allows a film crew to work in his castle because he needs the money to buy an atomic reactor. With it, and the brain of his murdered servant, he revives his ancestor’s creature, which is covered in bandages with a huge covering over its head; it’s like someone mummified guitar wizard Buckethead. Because Boris dropped a jar of eyeballs, the monster has to stumble around blind while it tries to catch girls for further experiments. It still manages to cause a good bit of trouble before the silly surprise climax. Boris is overacting in this one, but was doubtless aware that he wasn’t in any James Whale or Val Lewton production, so why not? Hokey but not terrible.

It! The Terror From Beyond Space (B&W, 1958) 50’s sci-fi/horror standout that basically serves as the blueprint for Alien. An expedition to Marks ends up stranded there with only one member of the crew surviving. A second ship is sent to rescue him and take him home to stand trial, because they think he murdered the rest to make the food stores stretch further. He swears they were all killed by a monster, but they don’t believe him... until they discover the monster has snuck about their ship and is hunting them for food. It’s seven feet tall, lizardy, and its claws can shed steel, and bullets, grenades, gas, and electrocution merely annoy it. They’re in a bit of trouble... Well done, more-intense-than-usual 50’s monster-suit flick (inside the suit, by the way, is Ray “Crash” Corrigan).

Love Me Deadly (C, 1973) Pretty young blonde Lindsay is a necrophiliac, driven to sneak into open-casket funerals so she can smooch the dead in their coffins. Fred, a mortuary worker who likes to pick up prostitutes (male or female) and embalm them alive, recognizes Lindsay as a fellow dabbler in the colder, darker side of erotica and tries to get her to join his little cult of corpse-lovers. She resists and tries to get over her perverse cravings by dating hunk Lyle Waggoner (from The Carol Burnette Show), which is chronicled in a long, dialogue-free montage (originally there was dialogue, but in many scenes the dialogue was considered so awful that they thought it was wiser to just play music instead). Her cravings are too strong, though, and soon she’s cheating on him with the deceased, even though they’ve gotten married. Her housekeeper reveals that part of her mania stems from an obsession with her dead father; she likes to dress like a little girl and then childishly frolic around his grave. Lyle figures out his new wife has a problem and discovers the necro-cult, which lands him in serious trouble. This should be a lot creepier than it is, given the subject matter, but the film looks too bright and sunny, and none of the corpses actually look dead. There are a few brief gory bits to spice things up (the “embalmed alive” sequence is pretty disturbing, due to the guy’s screaming if nothing else) but it could benefit from more atmosphere. Still, it’s a weird one and worth checking out.

Lucifera, Demon Lover
(C, 1972) aka L'amante del Demonio, The Devil's Lover, Ceremonia Satanica, The Demon Lover. Featherweight Eurohorror in which some silly and ill-mannered girls visit a castle rumored to be owned by the devil. That night one of them falls unconscious and the movie turns into a long flashback to an earlier century in which she was planning to marry a guy in a village where a sinister robed-and-hooded figure keeps appearing and disappearing. Because this figure sees her trying on her wedding dress (that's supposed to be bad luck) she goes to a witch-woman to break the curse. She's told to take two virgins out to the boonies, where they're abducted and ravished by some cave-dwelling weirdoes and then killed by a naked vampire woman. After that the robed figure reveals itself to be a demon, and she becomes obsessed with him, losing interest in her fiance to the point that she's willing to kill him. There's some very brief and mild witchcraft-inquisition stuff (which the opening credits claim is “gran guignol”) but the special effects are hilariously bad and there’s really no payoff to this timid, artless cheapie. You know you’re in for an underwhelming experience when the opening credits to a horror film are scored with bouncy grocery store muzak. To top it off, the increasingly-lousy MYA Communications has transferred the DVD from a choppy, digitally-flawed source.

Sweet Sound of Death, The
(B&W, 1965) aka La Llamada. Included as a free bonus feature on Troma’s Hanging Woman DVD, this old black and white Spanish horror film is interesting despite its artificiality and mild simplicity. A guy who looks vaguely like David Hemmings and his beautiful girlfriend (credited only as “Dianik”) are madly in love and won’t shut up about it (pausing only to make oddly-preoccupied observations about the differences between Spain, France, and Britain). The girl has an obsession with death and makes the boy swear a pact that if one of them dies they’re to return from the beyond and report to the other. Then the plane she’s on promptly crashes and he thinks that she’s the sole female survivor, but it eventually becomes clear that she died in the crash and has come back to keep her promise. And, what’s more, this returning-from-the-dead thing runs in the family. There’s not much that’s really horrific about this film -- no gore or morbidity -- and the dubbed dialogue is really silly and clumsy, but it still somehow manages to be intriguing, even if the plot is straight out of an old horror comic and there’s never much doubt about where it’s going. Interesting obscurity with some atmospheric photography.

Okay, okay, just so nobody's disappointed that there's no Sham69 material at all (I seriously do love this band)...

Every band who ever plays in a bar should cover this song:

Sorry, but I like Sham's version of this song better than the Clash's...

Hilarious, yet also oddly pretty...

Listen, for fuck's sake, he's sick of making speeches, a'ight?

And this is a powerful, simple little song...

Here's my Twitter thang. Please "follow" it so I won't feel like I'm posting all this stupid shit brilliantly hilarious material for just three friends and a bunch of bots who are trying to advertise something...

1 comment:

  1. You know I think you're hilarious, brother, but I refuse to join twitter... though I am able to follow your twattage via RSS feed. So there... edification! Murray Cripmus.