It's all fun and games 'til somebody gets possessed by Pazuzu...

"How ya doin', all right? Yeah? Okay, we'll soon fix that." - Lemmy from Motorhead.

That show-opener, and the fact that the Marshall stack behind him was labeled "Murder One," is why Lemmy will always be cooler than you or I. He's also funnier than you or I. And more of an icon than you or I, can outdrink you or I, has slept with more women than you or I, and has a bigger dick than you.

Anyway, that has nothing to with anything, because, as usual, I'm gonna dump more movie reviews on ya, including (but not limited to) a lot of movies that have to do with THE DEVIL, who is a real guy who's interested in eating your tasty soul, so b'lieve that shit, no matter what logic and smart people say.


Blood on Satan's Claw
(C, 1971) aka Satan's Skin, The Devil's Skin. The bones of a "fiend" are unearthed by a plowman in rural 17th century England, and soon the village is beset by diabolical maladies. One girl goes insane when her hands turn into hideous claws, and anyone scratched by them soon sickens and dies. Her boyfriend soon hacks his own hand off in the middle of a nightmare, and the local officials figure out that they're under a plague of witchcraft. The town's teens become promiscuous and start playing sinister games, forming a cult (led by a hottie named Angel Blake) that kills other kids. Some of them develop furry patches on their skin, which have to be cut off. Some demon is apparently trying to rise by putting itself together piece by piece... Effectively atmospheric and relentlessly morbid British horror has been woefully hard to see for years; Elvira's Movie Macabre showed it and finally it's been showing up on Turner Classic Movies, but a stateside DVD release really ought to be some company's top priority, because this is one of the greats, inventive and serious horror with no compromises.

Whole movie here (even watching it online's better'n nothin'):

Burning, The (C, 1981) aka Cropsy. A prank on a mean camp counselor named Cropsy goes wrong, leaving him completely covered with very severe burns. After five years in the hospital and countless failed skin grafts, Cropsy is released, monstrously deformed and crazy with vengeance and hate. After pausing long enough to murder a hooker, he makes a beeline back to the summer camp, determined to take it out on some campers with a pair of gardening shears. He skulks around and waits until the campers go on a canoe trip, and then he steals their canoes, strands them, stalks them, and kills them. There are a few good gore effects by Tom Savini, but the speed of the editing isn't kind to them, keeping you from getting a really good look. At the time this was a rather mediocre slasher, but time has been kind to the genre and it looks better nowdays. The massacre on the raft, where five killings take place in the space of about 30 seconds, is a standout scene in the slasher flick genre.

Raft massacre:

Devils Daughter, The (C, 1973) Made-for-TV horror inspired by Rosemary's Baby. The devil kills an old woman as payment for a deal made long ago, where she promised her daughter to the devil. At her mother's funeral, the unwittingly-sworn-to-Satan daughter, Diane, meets Shelley Winters, supposedly and old friend of her mom's. Shelley insists that Diane move into her house, with mute butler Jonathan Frid and some creepily-friendly neighbor ladies next door. Diane soon finds that she's the "princess of darkness" and is destined to marry Baal, the Demon of Endor. Diane thinks this is nonsense but weird things happen; a friend dies, and a little boy almost wanders into traffic. Then Diane meets a man she wants to marry, and unless you're a dullard of some sort, you can spot the gimmick here. Has plenty of good ol' 70's TV-movie charm, but isn't one of the scarier examples. There's a lotta-star cast, though, including Joseph Cotten, Abe Vigoda, Diane Ladd, Robert Foxworth, and some familiar-faces-you-can't-put-names-to.

Exorcist II: The Heretic (C, 1977) This sequel by John Boorman is notoriously bad and disliked, but once you get over the disappointment on your first viewing (part of the problem is that it's nothing like the first film, which guarantees a letdown), it's actually pretty interesting. I didn't say good. I remember the first time I saw it (on network TV), all I got out of it is that Linda Blair is pretty cute, but watching it now there's a little more to it... albeit ridiculous and full of quasi-mystical spiritual mumbo jumbo. Blair, now 18, seems fully recovered from being possessed by a demon and is mainly still seeing a psychiatrist (Louise Fletcher, aka Nurse Rached) to pacify her mom. Father Lamont, a priest suffering a crisis of faith (Richard Burton, proving that he's a truly terrible actor) comes around investigating the death of Blair's exorcist, Father Merrin. Through the use of a mind-reading machine, Burton and Blair get in synch, and Burton travels to Africa to try to confront Pazuzu, the demon who had possessed Blair. There are lots of good visuals (mostly of locust swarms) and a spooky (and sometimes badass) Ennio Morricone score. Ned Beatty has a small part (Boorman surely owed him something after what he did to him in Deliverance) and at one point James Earl Joes shows up, and he's possibly the only human on the planet who has enough dignity to maintain a career after appearing in that grasshopper costume. Boorman took the film back and tried recutting it to fix it after test audiences hee-hawed it, but it's just not fixable; too much goofy psychoanalytical claptrap and superficial spiritual hogwash cripples it. Max Von Sydow appears in flashbacks that fit about as well as Bruce Lee inserts in a Brucesploitation film. It ends up not making a lot of sense, and Burton's bad acting and everyone's attempts to play this all straight-faced ends up turning an utterly humorless film into an unintentional comedy... but you can tell they were trying, and no movie is truly bad in my book unless it's boring. And this stays pretty captivating. The final confrontation is pretty silly, though, and Burton comes across as a deranged moron who'd probably be spending all his time calling The Psychic Friends Network if the church hadn't given him a mission. And Linda Blair's been in some really bad movies, but I don't think I've ever felt as embarrassed for her as I did watching her spin an imaginary bull-roarer over her head. Very easy to bag on, but worth watching.

Tell me the music in this trailer isn't the most badass stuff you've ever heard:

Iron Rose, The (C, 1973) aka La Rose de Fer, Rose of Iron. I got interested in this artsy Jean Rollin film after seeing it show up on several "creepiest movie ever" lists, so when it finally came out on DVD I jumped on it. Turns out it's not really all that creepy (it's a little too pretty and pretentious), but it is interesting... which is still a pretty big achievement for a film in which nothing really happens. A girl and a guy meet and decide that a large old cemetery would be a romantic place for a walk. They wander around and make out in an underground crypt as a few strange people (including a clown and a guy dressed as a vampire) wander around. When night falls the boy and girl can't find their way out of the overgrown cemetery, and they wander around all night, finding only more and more graves. They slowly go insane, the growing more desperate and the girl getting a little too comfortable with being among the dead. Even though it's uneventful, the movie is so well made that it holds your attention. It's an incredible-looking cemetery and the cinematography capturing it is top notch. It's believable that someone could get lost - and go crazy - there. So, it's a slight disappointment if you expect something uniquely chilling, but it's a very well-made film with a decent amount of spooky weirdness. Don't look for any kind of adrenalin-fueled thrill ride, though.

Magdalena, Possessed By The Devil
(C, 1976) aka Beyond The Darkness, Magdalena Vom Teufel Besessen, Devil's Female. A trashy hooker finds an old man crucified to a city gate. The police investigate the killing and discover the victim had a granddaughter named Magdalena, living at a boarding school in Munich. Magdalena is such a goody-goody that her friends scornfully call her "the vestial virgin" behind her back... but after her grandpa is murdered she starts hearing buzzing fly noises and acting strange. She has convulsions and froths, makes dogs growl, hallucinates, makes furniture fly around, says obscene things, tears Bibles in half, and cock-teases every guy in the general vicinity, usually by shedding all over her clothes and shaking her pelvis around like she's working an invisible hula hoop. If any guy gets anywhere, she screams rape. There's not much in the way of special effects, but they compensate by having lots and lots of nudity (and, since the actress appears to have breast implants, I guess that still counts as special effects). At one point a snake does come out of her mouth, but that's about as close as you get to an effects budget; pea soup costs money, but you can get titties for free! The dubbing is pretty bad and some of the dialogue is awkward ("Did she tear off her straightjacket?" "No, she ripped it open!") but you do get terms like "nunfucker," which is pretty cool and would make a great band name. More unintentionally funny than scary, but all 70's Exorcist rip-offs are trash-movie gold and must be treasured. This is one of the most obscure ones, now available on DVD doubled with Abby. The DVD starts with Japanese subtitles that soon disappear.

Satan's Black Wedding (C, 1975) Very low-budget horror (it looks shot on 8mm) in which a young actor named Mark goes from L.A. to a creepy small town to investigate his sister's supposed suicide. He discovers that she'd been working on a manuscript about a Satanic vampire cult that had been in the area a hundred years previously... but the cult is still operating and her studies had made her part of it A vampire priest who looks a little like Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath has turned his sister into a vampire, and she and her new friends are busily attacking others. Mark and one of his sister's friends investigate, have a love scene, and do a lot of "I think I saw something" stuff until Mark is supposed to marry his vampiric sister so they can bear Satan's child. This movie tries really hard to build a morbid atmosphere, and it succeeds to a certain extent despite its silly-looking Wal-Mart-Halloween-sale fangs and cardboard sets. The vampire attacks are also nice and excessively bloody (it was directed by the guy who did Criminally Insane, and whatever else you can fault him for, he was generous with the red stuff), but the movie is undone by wooden acting, too little story (which really starts falling apart in the second half, becoming nonsensical), unintentional humor, and turgid pacing. Still, it only runs an hour, and may be worth checking out just for the atmosphere.

Trip With The Teacher (C, 1974) aka Deadly Field Trip. A busload of college girls head out on a camping trip with their female teacher, but they have bad luck. Their bus breaks down and they get "help"
from a trio of bikers. One of the bikers is a nice enough guy who hooked up with the other two while giving them some roadside assistance, but the other two are ex-cons, one of whom is a complete psychopath. He's a David Hess type who does a lot of inappropriate snickering and wears bug-eyed sunglasses that - given his big nose and weak chin - really don't do him any favors. The bikers take the girls out in the boonies and hold them hostage The crazy one commits rape, stares sullenly, throws tantrums, and rolls around holding his head when the craziness gets to be too much for him. Meanwhile his brother (who looks like just about anybody in Foghat) chases the runaway good-guy biker across the desert. Then it's back to more terrorizing. Somehow it all stays a lot milder than anything in Last House On The Left, even though our main psycho does put on an impressive, all-stops-pulled-out performance. it's still fairly nasty, though, and qualifies as an obscure sleaze classic.

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