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

Whole movie starting here:

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.

Whole movie starting here:

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.

Whole thing starting here:

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.

Whole movie starting here:

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:


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.


I'll Be Your Destroyer, Your World's Great Annoyer

Here's the Naked Raygun song that'll justify me using that cool quote as a title, because it won't really apply to anything else in the post but I still wanted to use it.

And, before I get down to business, I'd like to plug another blog that's been giving me a lot of good reads this week. It's Wrath James White's blog. He writes some truly depraved, extremely graphic horror fiction, and I like that stuff, but I like it even better when it has a point to it, which his does. He also does some really intelligent blog posts (living in the deep south, I'm always happy to find another atheist), so you should check them out.

(He also seems like a cool, funny guy - here's a YouTube interview some guys did with him - and there are more out there you can look up)

Now... movie reviews!


Amok Train (C, 1991) aka Beyond the Door III, Dark Train, The Train, Death Train, Winds of Evil. As the Italian horror boom was drying up, a few cheap, last-gasp movies trickled out, and this one was one of the last. It was marketed as a sequel to Beyond the Door, possibly because producer Ovidio G. Assonitis was the director of that classic (and I don't care what anyone says, Beyond the Door is a fucking classic). In reality, though, it's completely unrelated, other than having a demonic storyline. Professor Bo Svenson (sporting a Lee Press-on goatee) takes a group of college students to Yugoslavia to watch a religious ritual that's performed only every 100 years. One of the girls, Beverly, has a birthmark shaped like a sacred pagan symbol on her stomach, and all the creepy people they meet seem very, very interested in her. Almost as soon as they arrive, one of them dies in a fire... which only seems significant to the kids because it almost makes them miss their train. Which would have made them lucky, because the train is possessed by the devil! We know this because the train talks to Beverly and tells her its master is Lucifer. To prove it it starts killing off its crew and passengers. The students team up with a tough female thief to try to survive, but ridiculous (but gory) supernatural events keep happening. A guy vomits confetti as his girlfriend tears her own face off. At one point the train goes off its rails and runs through a swamp, just to kill a couple on a boat! The special effects are decent but pretty silly anyway, given the idiocy they're surrounded by; the movie is a marvel of misuse. For instance, Bo Svenson is the only professional actor in the cast, and he's given moronic lines about hot soup ("I must have... HOT SOUP. It is very nice with hot soup. Whould you like some... HOT SOUP? I think you WILL like some... HOT SOUP!") It's utterly brain-dead, but it does keep moving and at least is entertaining stupidity. You can see why Italian horror died off, though...

Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll (C, 1973) aka House of Psychotic Women, Los Ojos Azules de la Muneca Rota, The House of Doom. Spanish take on the giallo genre has Paul Naschy as a migrant worker traveling through France, who takes on a job looking after a farm for three sisters. One is in a wheelchair, one has a plastic hand, and the third is a malevolent slut. Naschy has a troubling past in which he choked a girl to death... but is he behind the murders that start soon after he comes to town? Whoever is doing the killings targets blue-eyed girls, because he or she likes to gouge their eyes out and put them in water. It's all accompanied by an inappropriately-peppy music score that'd fit pushing a shopping cart around an A&P more than it does a bloody horror-mystery. Naschy tries to seduce every woman who gets within a hundred yards of him and gets in a knife fight with the guy who previously held his job. The song "Frere Jacques" is also played a lot. The film's pretty good, although the style is way too much the typical Naschy to ever be mistaken for a real giallo. Some of the gore is mild, but a few bits are pretty icky, with the real slaughtering of a pig being the worst of it. The solution to the whole thing manages to be hilarious and revolting, simultaneously.

Dream No Evil (C, 1970) aka Now I Lay Me Down To Die, The Faith Healer. Bizarre, incoherent horror about an unbalanced woman who grew up in an orphanage and is obsessed with searching for her father. She has a job with a traveling revival preacher, which involves her diving off a high ladder onto a mattress. She also has a boyfriend who she hopes to marry. She goes looking for her dad in a retirement home and finds out he died recently and is on a slab at the mortuary waiting to be embalmed, but he suddenly comes back to life and kills the mortician. She takes her father home and dances an embarrassing Irish jig while he plays a squeeze box, then she makes out with the preacher and her father kills him, too. Even though she's starting to think her dad may be some schizophrenic imaginary friend, she hides the body at the garbage dump and her father's murder spree continues. One guy hilariously responds to an axe attack by frantically rolling up the car windows. There are some dull stretches and it's all pretty technically crude (an awkwardly-placed narrator pops up every now and then to clarify the messy narrative), but it does have a weird cumulative effect that makes it worth sticking out. Part of the "Psychotronica" DVD box set. Unique.

Mortuary (C, 2006) aka Six Feet Under. The back of the box made this one sound really really good. The back of the box LIED TO ME! A widow and her two kids buy the old Fowler Brothers funeral home with the intention of fixing it up and reopening it. It needs more than a little fixing up, though; the septic system's clogged and left a putrid lake of god-only-knows in the front yard, and veins of slimy black fungus grow all over the place. Basically it's in grimy enough shape that ominous music plays whenever anyone goes anywhere in the house. The town is scuzzy and full of hoodlum kids who all believe the funeral home is haunted by a deformed monster named Bobby Fowler. Some of them get infected by the fungus and puke black gunk. It also infects dead bodies and makes them walk and also puke on people, who then become crazy. And about then the movie loses all coherency, because it doesn't even know what it's supposed to be about anymore, or what it's trying to scare us with: icky fungus, walking dead, crazed townspeople, the legendary Bobby Fowler, or what. Director Tobe Hooper reinforces the idea that his good days as a horror director are long behind him with a bunch of tired chase scenes, menace-free scare scenes, and a great deal of visual info lost to bad lighting. It's not boring and it's got a few interesting moments, but it's so stupid an ineffective as a horror movie that you wonder if they aren't going for comedy instead (especially during the amazingly awful "bungled embalming" scene.

Psycho Lover, The (C, 1970) aka The Loving Touch, The Lovely Touch. This one's pretty hard to sit through. I had to make dozens of attempts over the years before managing to stay awake enough to make it. A rapist in a stocking mask goes around strangling women. A sleazy psychiatrist figures out the maniac is one of his patients, a guy named Marco. Marco doesn't know he's actually committing the rapes and murders, though; he thinks he's just having dreams about them. The psychiatrist, meanwhile, is having an affair with a girl and trying to get his wife to give him a divorce, but she won't. After his girlfriend tells him about seeing The Manchurian Candidate on the late movie, the psychiatrist decides to program Marco into killing his wife for him. He incites nightmares in Marco of girls with painted faces and includes hypnotic suggestions telling him to kill. The only problem is that the wife gets wind of the scheme.... Director Robert Vincent O'Neil directed the exploitation classic Angel, which is not a dull film, and also Blood Mania, which is on the dull side, but this one somehow manages to reach a new level of stultifying. I'm not sure how, since the movie's got a decent enough plot and lots of sleazy assaults going on, yet there's still just some very off-putting lifelessness to the way it plays out that makes it very hard to stay interested in. Maybe the psychiatrist is a little too effective at hypnosis and is putting the audience into a deep sleep. By all rights it should be disturbing, but instead it's video Valium, with an utterly predictable "twist" ending.

Scream Baby Scream
(C, 1969) aka Nightmare House. Some hippiefied art students get stalked by their art professor, who likes to kidnap girls to pose for his morbid, grotesque paintings. The problem is, even though he's a surrealist, he likes to paint them from life, so he does radical plastic surgery on his models, turning them into crazy Picasso-esque monstrosities. It's all because he has some weird degenerative disease, the treatments of which left him looking ghoulish (partially because he was crazy enough to fool around with his doctor's wife, which is one of the world's all-time worst ideas). Meanwhile the art students are arguing a lot and having one of the most half-hearted acid trips ever filmed. When one of the girls goes missing, her pissy boyfriend goes looking for her and finds the professor's weird little hell. No budget and artless horror obscurity is mostly tedious, but it does have its moments. The crazy artist would have made a good Batman villain.

Scream Pretty Peggy (C, 1973) One of those 75-minute made-for-TV horror movies that came out in the 70's, this one directed by Gordon Hessler, who was behind some of AIP's Poe films, and with a guest spot for Bette Davis. Not-terribly-pretty but darn spunky Peggy is an art student who takes a part-time job housekeeping for Bette and her son at their big house on the outskirts of town. Peggy soon learns that the previous girl who worked there is now a missing person, and there's someone mysterious living in a room over the garage: her boss's completely insane sister, supposedly. Peggy proves too curious about the crazy sister and her boss's sculptures, and doesn't heed Bette's repeated warnings that she should leave the house. There's some suspense but you'll figure out what's going on way before Peggy does, mainly because this is a mashup of two much-better-known horror classics... but if I told you which two that'd be really giving everything away. Needs a DVD resurrection even though it's not one of the major classics among TV horror, due to its derivativeness.

Whole movie starting here:

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Not past the expiration date

More movie reviews, all for films of recent vintage, so you weird people who don't like older movies, yee-ha.


American, The (C, 2010) George Clooney is a burnt-out operative for some secret agency, and he's sent to an Italian village to construct a custom-spec rifle, which will be used in an assassination. He's a lonely guy who's haunted by the results of some of his previous actions, and is seeking some kind of redemption. His life is all business; he tries not to make friends, and his relationships are all business transactions with whores. But as he puts the weapon and its supressor (handled realistically) together, he is befriended by a local priest, and a prostitute likes him and starts seeing him off the books. Their romance leads him even further toward wanting to give up the life he's been leading... but in his business he may not be allowed to quit. Great-looking film that takes its time and aims to be much more than just an espionage/action film; it's short on action but Clooney maintains the intensity through his acting, and there's always a sense that something could start going off at any time. The film reminds me a bit of The Conversation. Rewarding.

Death Race 2 (C, 2010) aka Death Race: Frankenstein Lives. Dumbed-down straight-to-video prequel to an already-pretty-dumb movie explains how the motorized mayhem got its start. A comparatively-honorable bank robber (he tries to avoid anyone getting hurt) is sentenced to a maximum security prison which -- being a private-sector enterprise and geared toward making a profit -- uses convicts to fight to the death for the cameras in a reality show run by an evil bitch. Seeking higher ratings at the cost of all else, she comes up with the death race, pitting drivers of armed cars against each other. There's not as much auto-action as the first film and it's not even close to being as well done, and the cast isn't nearly as good (except for Danny Trejo, who's always a welcome presence even if they only use him as part of a pit crew), and the filmmakers don't know what's cool -- the sound effects are especially bad, with farty-sounding cars and weak gunfire. But I like the concept enough that even a half-assed handling of it is pretty entertaining, so if you like the first you'll find this worth watching, if inferior. This seems more aimed at pleasing dumb teens, but it's fun if you don't expect too much. Good enough where I'd show up for a third, anyway.

Can't be legal, but the whole thing's online starting here. Someday people are gonna learn that you can't have everything for free, but until that time comes... knock yerself out, I guess.

Drag Me To Hell (C, 2009) After disgracing himself with Spiderman 3, Sam Raimi comes slinking back to the horror genre... but still doesn't quite get it right because he can't let go of his love of the Three Stooges. Essentially taking Stephen King's Thinner and changing a few things, the story involves a Reese Witherspoony bank official whose ambition leads her to treat a repulsive old gypsy woman with less compassion than she might've in a foreclosure deal, and she ends up cursed. The curse dictates that after three days of supernatural torments she'll be dragged down to hell by a lamia, which here - for some reason - is a goat-demon instead of a snake-woman. Our not-terribly-likeable heroine (the movie tries but she still comes across as a shallow nothing) and her boyfriend (who cloned David Schwimmer? And why?) try everything to get rid of the curse or turn it around, but there's not much luck. Raimi was aiming for that PG-where-all-that-teen-money-is sweet spot and that's why this Goosebumps-type story doesn't have a whole lot of violence, but he still throws in as much gross-out as possible in the form of corpses vomiting worms or embalming fluid, out of control bloody noses, or I'd've-happily-lived-without-that close-ups of diseased old ladies coughing up wads of phlegm or taking out their dirty false teeth. Total look-at-my-chewed-up-food stuff. There are a couple of creepy bits (the shadow of the goat-thing) but mostly he goes for the teen-pleasing jump scares; try doing a shot every time that old lady's face is suddenly thrust into the camera and you'll get a symptom known as "Drag Me To Hell elbow," just before your liver falls out your ass. It's not completely terrible for a "comedic horror film, but that's a genre and a concept I despise, so I'm an admittedly harder sell than most. It too often plays like a cartoon (some of the stuff that happens is very slapstick) so it's unsteady on the fence, but it's not boring. But if you didn't guess that "surprise plot twist" at the end, you're pretty gormless.

Expendables, The (C, 2010) Experiment in action movie supremacy brings together most of the genre's headliners and gives them plenty to do. It's simple, but so's a hammer, and what works better for its intended purpose than a hammer? Sylvester Stallone (who has no trouble making you forget how damn old he is, but paid for it in injuries) leads a commando team (consisting of Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, and a couple of UFC guys who aren't bad actors) which - more out of a sense of nobility in trying to save a girl than for money - take on a mission against a South American dictator who's teamed with an American drug lord (Eric Roberts). Roberts has Steve Austin as a sidekick just to add even more beef to the stew. There is a plot, but really only enough to chain together the action scenes, which are always frequent and, eventually, constant. It's totally a BDAM (Big Dumb Action Movie) but it's better than I expected, because it does include some characterization and motivations, rather than just completely coasting the way it could have afforded to, and it's also not played for laughs, which would've screwed it up; there's humor, but it comes from the interplay of the team rather than from the business of shooting and blowing stuff up. Mickey Rourke's also on hand as a former member of the team turned tattoo artist, and there are cameos for Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger just for completeness's sake.

Orphan (C, 2009) Kinda like a Bad Seed twist on The Stepfather. A family with some troubles (the wife became an alcoholic after a miscarriage, the husband has a history of infidelity) decides it would help matters if they adopted another kid. They find Esther, a nine-year-old girl from Russia, who's very smart and artistically-talented, and she seems a little bit odd because of her advanced maturity and the old-fashioned clothes she likes to wear. but she's actually a whole lot odder than that -- she's capable of murder, and an expert manipulator. Soon she's controlling her new little sister Max (who's a deaf-mute; the kid who plays her, Aryanna Engineer, is one hell of an actress for 8 year old, especially in a silent role), waking her new brother up in the middle of the night to inform him that if he ever tells on her she'll "cut off his little hairless prick before he even knows what it's for," pushing mean girls at school off the sliding board, setting her parents against each other, and - oh yeah, hammer-murdering a nun (the brilliant CCH Pounder). The mother soon figures out something's wrong with the new addition to their family, and Esther does not like being figured out, and does some pretty extreme things in response. But being a murderer isn't even Esther's biggest secret. Surprisingly good little horror movie boasts some impressive acting and takes the hard route to its scares -- using plot instead of gore or jump effects.

Town, The (C, 2010) Ben Affleck co-wrote, directed, and stars in this top-notch crime film based on the Charlestown section of Boston, where armed robbery is a profession handed down from generation to generation. Affleck is part of a crew that knocks over banks, armored cars, and even Fenway Park. During one bank robbery they take a female manager hostage and they're worried that she may have picked up information that could implicate them, so to find out how much she knows, Affleck starts a relationship with her. The relationship turns real, though, and since one of his partners has been becoming more violent (which isn't Affleck's scene), Affleck decides he wants out of the life. Some higher ups have too much use for Affleck's skills, though, and they threaten to hurt his new girlfriend if he doesn't do their bidding. But the feds are after her, too, so Affleck has to find a way out of the situation, for her and himself. Very nicely-done, action-packed crime drama. Usually I don't push Blu-Ray because I think it's an overhyped format, but in this case you should probably go for Blu-Ray, since it includes an extended cut of the movie that's about an hour longer.

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