Oh no, it's the prophecies!

Actually, it's just more movie reviews, but two of 'em are for movies called "The Prophecy." These are really old reviews so the style's a bit cruder than the crap I currently turn out, but I left 'em pretty much as-is just for variety. And if you don't like that, you can fuck right off and read my Twitter feed instead. Almost as many people read that as read this blog, 'cept some of them are bots, and I doubt any bots read this blog, because, why would they?



Angel (C, 1984) Popular exploitation flick that at one point was my favorite movie. It was probably the charm of being one of the first things I saw when we got our satellite dish in the mid-80's because it's not really that outstanding or anything. Donna Wilkes (from forgotten TV series Hello Larry) plays 15-year-old Molly Stewart -- street name Angel -- who's been turning tricks on Hollywood Boulevard since she was 12. Her parents left and she had to pay for an expensive private school so she could get out of the life someday (that's exploitation-flick logic for ya). She has an eccentric family of street people, including other hookers, a yo-yo man, an old cowboy named Kit Carson (Rory Calhoun), transvestite Dick Shawn, and Susan Tyrell, who's having a field day as a foul-mouthed lesbian landlord. Cliff Gorman, a Cop Who Cares, tries to get her off the street, but a psychotic necrophile hooker-killer who poses as a Hari Krishna is trying to take her off... permanently. Eventually Angel chases him through the streets wielding a .44 magnum that's way too big for her. It's surprisingly non-sleazy for the material (most of the nudity is in high-school shower scenes that seem tagged on as an afterthought, and Wilkes keeps her clothes on), and it even has a strange sort of Afterschool Special feel to it. It's kinda hokey but the damn thing's still pretty entertaining even though I've seen it a bajillion times. Obscure exploitation-movie fans will recognize Gene Ross (the axe-swinging judge from Don't Look In The Basement and other S.F. Brownrigg films) in a bit part as an undercover vice cop, and director Robert Vincent O' Neil is also responsible for that ol' sleaze-flick, Blood Mania.

Trailer here

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Bodyguard, The (C, 1976) aka Karate Kiba, Viva Chiba The Bodyguard. Quentin Tarantino is a big Sonny Chiba fan, and you'll immediately see where he got Samuel L. Jackson's Bible-quoting scene from Pulp Fiction when you watch this hyper-violent Chiba epic. Sonny -- who's supposed to be playing himself -- stops a plane hijacking (tearing off the front of one guy's jaw in the process) and seeks out drug smugglers. He also serves as a woman's bodyguard, amidst much admiration from everyone in the film (the puff-piece nature of this really gets in the way sometimes). Some Mafia goons knock his sister out, carve "Cosa Nostra" on her arm, and leave her in a crucifixion pose in a church's shadow. Some assassins who were hiding in a couch get Chiba-cized, and Sonny reaches through a door, compound fractures one of 'em's arm, and tears it off through the hole in the door. Other gangsters abuse whores and eat raw pieces of a pig's head... but with Sonny around they don't have to worry about living long enough to die of trichinosis. Slow in spots but sparked by ridiculously extreme violence, even if it's rather ordinary plotwise. Featuring a brief cameo by Aaron Banks and Bill Louie.

Day of the Nightmare (B&W, 1965) aka Don't Scream, Doris Mays. A sexually-warped artist who likes to tie his models up and take a belt to them tries to kill his girlfriend (named Doris Mays), because she's trying to kill his wife. He kills her and stuffs her in a trunk... but she's soon back on the case, stalking his wife, who is a bit neurotic anyway. She suspects her husband of the murder (especially since detective John Ireland (what the hell's he doing in this?) keeps coming around asking questions) and nearly gets knifed by Doris, who's pretty weird-looking; she has a terrible hairstyle and always wears sunglasses. Meanwhile, her husband keeps paying girls to make out with each other while he watches and cries over his traumatic childhood. It's not too hard to guess what's going on here, especially when you keep in mind that this is basically a Psycho ripoff, but it's entertaining nonetheless, mainly for the cheap sleaze factor (they fit about as many topless women into the plot as they can get away with). Quirky obscurity.

Dirty Ho
(C, 1979) aka Lan Tau He. I know what you're thinkin'... but this ain't a porn flick, it's classic Shaw Brothers kung fu that has a comedic slant that by no means gets in the way of the fighting. A prince who's in hiding to keep from being killed by one of his brothers falls in with a thief named Ho. The prince has to hide the fact that he's a martial artist through clever deceptions. He promises to fix a poisoned wound on Ho's head if he'll work for him. In one masterpiece of subtlety, the prince fights an enemy under the pretense of wine-tasting -- each wine introduces another kung fu style, and they keep it secret so no one else in the room even knows it's a fight. Then a guy with knives in his shoes tries to kill the prince while "looking at antiques." When the prince is laid up with a leg wound, Ho takes over, facing such weirdness as a creepy group of feminine men. Eventually it all comes to a big showdown. The fight choreography is much better than usual, and these are considered some of the best fighting sequences in the whole genre.

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Fiend (C, 1980) aka Deadly Neighbor. Low-budget B-horror in which an animated glowing red evil spirit (or maybe it's just a stretched-out cotton ball lit with a red light) beams itself into a grave and raises a corpse, which proceeds to kill people by grabbing them around the neck and draining their life energy, via extremely cheap superimposed red special effects. It has to do this often, or the body it's in starts to rot. The inhabited corpse moves into a small-town neighborhood, gets a cat, and starts teaching violin lessons... which is what I guess evil spirits want to do, and that's why they need bodies. It seems like half the guys in town look just like him -- puffy face, big hair, and a mustache, like they're all gonna team up to take on Donkey Kong. The film's very leisurely-paced, a lot of shots of people wandering around, and everything they do takes for-fuckin'-EVER. There's a lot of the repetitive non-event, non-gory killings until the running time is up and the Avery Schriver-with-Brylcreem "monster" gets his. There's a little atmosphere, mostly due to being filmed in backyards for around $18, but overall it took me about a half-dozen attempts before I managed to stay awake through it.

Hell House (C, 2001) Documentary about one of the "Hell Houses" (around here they call them the even-less-fun term "Judgement Houses" ) put on by Christian churches to try to turn Halloween fun into a joyless propaganda tool, and scare you into their lifestyle of joy and contentment. Yay! The filmmakers use their cameras nonjugementally, so you'll be able to view it from the confines of your own parameters; if you're from a church like this it'll look like a sincere portrait of heroic soul-savers. To most people, however, it'll come across as an alternately hilarious and disturbing expose of some seriously out-of-touch goofs who mean well but are just a wee bit mad. Young girls vie for coveted roles like "abortion victim" while others want to be in the "domestic violence" or "rave party date-rape-drug" scenarios. Each room in the Hell House shows a different scene from a very hostile world of sin, with controversial and bad-taste recreations of school shootings, botched abortions, a homosexual dying of AIDS, drunk driving accidents, suicides, and more, all presided over by taunting death-figures in skull masks. The unsaved end up trapped in an aluminum-foil-and-red-gel-light Hell with goth kids tormenting them forever... just like the prom! And at the end, of course, all visitors are offered a chance to top off their night of Halloween fun by giving their lives to Christ with the aid of prayer counselors. Depending on your mood and personal outlook, watching these people enact their own fears for a sometimes-unamused audience (a few punk kids take exception and cuss out one of the guys working security) is funny or just depressing. In any case, it's not likely to inspire many people to want to join up.

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Phantom Planet (B&W, 1961) After way too much time sitting around in a rocket making the kind of senseless talk that sci-fi fans get all creamy about, an astronaut crash-lands on a planet of tiny people. Because that's too "interesting" he promptly shrinks to their size, reducing the novelty factor (and effects bill) to nothing. He's a pretty lousy guest, showing no interest in being among aliens, constantly bitching that he wants to get back to his ship. In the meantime he has to help defend the fried-chicken-breast-looking planet from some ridiculous aliens who want their gravity controls. The invaders' costumes are so awkward that the actors in them stumble around while just trying to walk. Their heads look like Munch's The Scream as performed by a basset hound, topped with broccoli and a vacuum cleaner hose. Lots of talky tedium.

Whole movie here:

Prophecy, The (C, 1979) A doctor and his wife (Talia Shire) go to the Maine woods to do some ecological research that will hopefully end a land dispute between some Indians and a logging company. One of the Indians (Armand Assante, who I thought was Italian) gets in an axe vs. chainsaw fight, but there are scarier things than chainsaws out there. The doc soon sees a giant salmon, then they're attacked by an evil raccoon and are shown a giant tadpole. Turns out a papermill upriver is dumping mercury, which is causing the mutations. Something slaughters some campers, and the doctor goes looking for evidence and finds a mutant bear cub that looks kind of like the cheese on a pizza, but with an eyeball and teeth. The wife is upset because she's pregnant and ate fish from the river and may be giving birth to a mutant. There are bigger problems, though, because mama bear -- ten feet tall and superdeformed -- shows up in a bad mood because they took her cub, and she's ready to do the full Gorgo on their asses. Critics didn't like this movie much when it came out, but I think time has been pretty good to it; after all the lame direct-to-video idiocy and Puppetmaster movies and Freddy sequels and such lowered the standards for horror in the thirty-some years since this was made, it's not so bad. Maybe people just expected too much since director John Frankenheimer is a big name, and because it was from writer David Seltzer, who had brought you The Omen. No classic, but it's not as bad as its reputation suggests. One of Stephen King's favorites, even though he knows it's no masterpiece; he sees it as a throwback to 50's monster movies, and that's pretty accurate.

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Prophecy, The (C, 1995) Simon (Eric Stoltz) is an angels sent to Earth to help a cop named Thomas, who had been training to be a priest when a vision led him to law enforcement instead. Stoltz kills a demonic being by throwing him out the window. The demon is a hermaphrodite with the body chemistry of an aborted fetus, and also has no eyes. He also has a copy of Revelations with extra chapters, about a second war in Heaven. Turns out the "demon" was actually the angel Uziel, who served under the Archangel Gabriel (Christopher Walken), who's now giving the ol' Lucifer bit a shot. A little girl (named Mary) helps Simon out while Gabriel gets favors from junkies and assembles an army of the damned. He burns Simon up, then hangs out at a school, letting kids blow his trumpet and doing the whole Christopher Walken thing. Mary begins talking about the Korean war and is slated for a Native American exorcism, but Gabriel shows up first, wanting to tear her apart because she contains a soul that he needs. Then Lucifer shows up and things are set for a big good vs. evil confrontation. It's a little screwy and too fantasy-filled for me, but it's not bad, and Walken is always worth watching. But this is a perfect example of how a decent movie can be cheapened by a weak music score; the lame, unimaginative drum-machine keyboard bits sound like something from some direct-to-video dreck, and the film would've been helped immeasurably by something stronger. The director wrote Highlander and Backdraft.

Purlie Victorious (B&W, 1963) aka Gone Are The Days, The Man From C.O.T.T.O.N. USA. Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis star in this strange comedy, which was Alan Alda's film debut. Purlie Victorious, a black preacher (who rhymes like Jesse Jackson) brings out a coffin draped in a rebel flag and mockingly celebrates the deceased - one Stonewall Jackson Cotchapie - and then we go into a flashback where Purlie shows up on a cotton plantation where he was born, in a county owned by this Stonewall guy (Sorrel Brooke, a.k.a. Boss Hogg from Dukes of Hazard). Purlie adopts a girl named Ludie Bell Gussie May Jenkins as a project, because she's cute and not terribly bright, and she's easily impressed. Purlie's determined to be a great black leader, but he has crazy ideas (like boycotting mules). Stonewall is a cartoonish old Confederate (I kept expecting him to yell "Belvedere, come heah, boy!") and his son (Alan Alda, faking a moronic accent) is in favor of integration, which keeps him in trouble, especially with Stonewall, who blusters about the Old South. Purlie plans to take his plantation. Very broad and whacky satire has a few laughs, but is pretty overblown and hard to keep up with, with stereotypes flying back and forth at ninety miles an hour.

Surgeon, The (C, 1994) aka Exquisite Tenderness, Terror Clinic. A woman on dialysis is poisoned by a psychotic surgeon (she dies of massive internal hematoma, looks like), and a female doctor is blamed for malpractice. With the help of an intern, she investigates and finds this crazed surgeon is at it again, killing off controversial surgeon Malcolm McDowell before he's caught. He was fired a couple of years before for doing unauthorized research, and she's the one who busted him, and he'd been paralyzed in an escape attempt, but now he's getting around fine, somehow. Using a really sick method of escape (I admit, I cringed), he gets loose again and starts sneaking around the hospital, jamming needles into people's brains to siphon off their pituitary extract. When he has a quiet moment he does some minor surgery on himself, dies for a while, then comes back perfectly healed. Then it's on to more mayhem, sewing people's lips shut so they can't scream while he harvests more brain-goo, scaring them to make it more potent. And the lady doctor is next... Better-than-usual mid-budget horror with good gore effects, and it capitalizes on that whole fear-of-hospitals thing. The psycho doctor is convincingly menacing. No major classic, but you wouldn't have to try hard to do worse.

(B&W, 1960) aka Eye of the Dead, Tormented... By The She-Ghost of Haunted Island! A jazz pianist is about to be blackmailed by his Marilyn-Monroe-lie singer ex-girlfriend Vi, but luckily for him she falls off a decrepit old lighthouse and is lost in the sea. Or perhaps it's not so lucky, since she starts haunting him. Footprints appear on the beach, record players (playing Vi's records) turn themselves on, then apparitions start showing up, including disembodied hands and heads! Some - okay, all - of the special effects are really goofy, but the hauntings are so constant that the movie keeps on humming along. Besides being bothered by the ghost, he's also hassled by a sleazy beatnik boatman who tries to blackmail him, getting him in even more trouble. Funny (or even spooky if you approach it with the proper mindset) and fast-moving B-horror produced and directed by Bert I. Gordon, who brought you a whole lot of films even shlockier than this one.

Vampyres (C, 1974) aka Daughters of Dracula, Vampyres - Daughters of Darkness, The Vampyre Orgy, Satan's Daughters, Blood Hunger. A pair of bisexual women (Marianne Morris, Playboy playmate Anulka) living in a dark, decaying mansion have a craving for blood and sex. Hitchhiking in long black cloaks, they lure men home and take them to bed, then slash them with knives and drink their blood. They dump the drained bodies in faked car wrecks. A couple camping in sight of their mansion become intrigued with the girls while they're keeping one guy around for a couple of days. He has a cut on his arm that he doesn't remember getting and suspects that something freaky is happening, but he's just not sure what. The wife of the camping couple also suspects that something crazy is happening, but she's not sure what, either. During the orgies the guy - drugged or hypnotized - lays in a stupor while the girls suck and gnaw at the cut on his arm. They keep him alive but kill several other guys who visit, with plenty of blood and softcore sex run rampant. The violence is strong even though there's more blood than gore, and there are some very lyrical, beautiful scenes, and the ending throws a whole new, darker shade on it and ties it all together nicely. It plays kind of like a cross between a Hammer film and something by Jean Rollin. Great atmosphere. The DVD contains a commentary track with producer Brian Smedley-Aston and director Joseph Larraz that's worth listening to; it's informative, and Larraz is hilarious with some of his earthy observations -- "Jesus Christ! I see the pussy of Anulka! How long that I don't see the pussy of Anulka! Fantastic!" (In his defense, it is rather an attractive pussy...)

Werewolf in a Girl's Dormitory (B&W, 1962) aka Lycanthropus, I Married a Werewolf, Bei Vollmond Mord, Monster Among the Girls, The Ghoul in School, Ghoul in a Girl's Dormitory. Don't let the horrible title song - "The Ghoul in School" - fool you; this ain't a comedy. Well, not an intentional one, anyway. The song was inserted by the American distributors who thought they were soooo clever. A boarding school for girls is stalked by a bestial killer, and one girl (who'd been picking up some extra money by whoring) decides to investigate what really killed one of her friends, and she's almost killed by the wolfman... who's not the usual type. He has hairy hands, but none on his face... he basically looks like a fanged maniac. Suspicion falls on several people -- a new teacher, a caretaker who looks like Peter Lorre (he almost gets in a fight in a bar when someone stands up, points at him, and yells, "Look at that man! His right arm isn't functioning!") and a couple of other people. The monster's decent and the movie has its moments... but the dubbed dialogue is as bad as it gets.

Whole movie here:

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