Thursday, June 21, 2018

plug!

Velvet Glove, Iron Fist: The Female Protagonist in Contemporary Fantastic Cinema Available now from Amazon....featuring 34 brand new full colour illustrations by me and lots of really cool text from Andy Ross.....well worth a punt! Available as an E-Book too.

End of plug.





Wednesday, June 20, 2018

just because....

Here's English historian, author, curator, television presenter and Arena favourite Lucy Worsley in control of a nuclear missile launch site.

Enjoy.

 

Friday, June 15, 2018

double trouble.

Shite movie, vaguely amusing back story.

Prepare yourself dear reader for the truth behind... 

Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971).
Dir: Al Adamson.
Cast: Anthony Eisley, Regina Carrol, Russ Tamblyn, Jim Davis, Angelo Rossitto, Greydon Clark, Anne Morrell, Forrest J Ackerman, John Bloom, Lon Chaney, Jnr, J. Carrol Naish and Zandor Vorkov.




“She used to have fantasies about being a freak…
Two heads, an eye missing, elongated spine.
Anything that was grotesque turned her on.”



Somewhere in California - the Oakmoor Cemetery to be precise - world famous lord of the undead Count Dracula (disguised by the look of things as an almost AIDS thin pedo with pubes for hair and played to almost cardboard perfection by 'Zandor Vorkov' AKA Roger Engel) is busy unearthing the remains of Doctor Frankenstein's monster.

What? You mean to tell me you skipped the part of the book where the creatures remains are secreted to the US to be experimented on?

Surprised to see a black satin clad sex offender digging around in the middle of the night the cemeteries lone security guard (the directors dad) comes to investigate, getting his neck nibbled for his trouble.

Pay attention at this part, as it's the only vaguely vampiric thing Dracula will partake in during the whole movie.

Meanwhile under Brighton pier a fairly foxy girl is nervously feeling her way thru' a fog of what can only be cigarette smoke before being suddenly - and unconvincingly -  attacked by an axe-wielding, alcoholic Lon Chaney, Jr. (who distressingly looks close to death).

The axe cuts short her scream.

And cuts off her head.

We cut too but fear not, for it's only a cinematic phrase meaning the action (well, I say action) is moving to somewhere else.

And that somewhere else is glorious Las Vegas, where glamorous grannie Judith Fontain (director Adamson's wife, the late Carrol, star of Satan's Sadists and official pin-up girl of raunchy rockers The Sleepfarmers) is performing her groovy nite-club act to a packed audience via the wonders of stock footage (well, takes up a couple of minutes running time) before retiring to her dressing room to let the air out of her breasts and check her fan mail.

Alongside the final demands, STD test results and court summonses is a letter from one Sergeant Martin Martin (Dallas star Davis) of the Californian Police Missings Persons Bureau (yup, that's the name on the envelope), informing Judith that her wee sister Jodie has gone missing.

Dracula, up the casino, 1973.....Yesch!


Judith, being a concerned sister and desperate to get the plot moving rushes to California (I'm assuming it's just down the road) in order to help with the police investigation much to the chagrin of the permanently scowling Sgt. Martin.

"Hey lady, the world is a dark place," Martin informs her as he switches off his desk lamp in order to batter the point home "If you have any wool I suggest you get knitting!" he suggests usefully before heading off to beat up some students.

Left to her own devices, our heroine wanders innocently into the dangerous hippie neighbourhood where her sister was last seen.

Entering the famous Hippie Hilton (500 McLaughlin Dr. Santa Cruz, CA 95064-1084, families welcome) Judith tries to ingratiate herself into the whole hippie thing by asking for a coffee whilst showing pictures of her sis to all and sundry but this only succeeds in getting her mistaken for a cop, leaving the owner no alternative but to spike her drink with LSD.

Smart.

Cue much hair tugging, indiscriminate crash zooms and Judith writhing on a platform whilst wearing a white fishnet body stocking to a frantic bongo beat.

Far out.

Luckily she's rescued by nice guy hipster Clive Strange (hard working Clark, best known - to me anyway - for Without Warning) and his mousy girlfriend Samantha (Morrell, you may remember her as the floating harem girl in John Goldfarb, Please Come Home! or maybe not).

Lon Fancies a wee mooth shite-in....are you man enough for the challenge?


Meanwhile at the local chamber of horrors conveniently located on the end of the pier next to the bingo hall, the wheelchair-bound scientist and former member of NWA Dr. Drea (Naish, desperate to pay his medical bills) is busy attempting to perfect a special formula that will enable mankind to live forever and have perfectly coiffured  hair even after a heavy night out.

Unfortunately he can only make this formula by beheading people then bringing them back to life before finally lobotomizing them.

But if it means I only ever have to style my quiff once a month then I'm game.

Aided by urine stained imbecile Groton (that'll be Lon then, poor sod) and professional little person Grazbo (Rossitto famous for everything from Freaks to Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome via Galaxina), who've been promised physical and mental superiority once the formula is perfected, this dynamic duo find suitable candidates for experimentation via Grazbo's job at the box office, leaving Groton to chop them up.

"Laugh now!"

After one particularly heavy night of lobotomy-based fun, Dr. Drea is surprised when a strange man steps out of the shadows and demands to talk to him.

Examining the strangers ring (snigger) Drea identifies the visitor as Count Dracula, and Dracula not to be outdone, identifies Drea as the last of the Frankenstein family.

With Drea realizing that his Colonel Sanders disguise is fooling no-one and Drac just relieved that he's finally met someone who doesn't piss themselves laughing whilst looking at him they pair settle down for an excruciatingly bad chat that although meant to fill in an important bit of back story just careers off on bizarre tangents.

None of this is helped by the fact that Dracula appears to have been dubbed by someone standing in a well.

"Ahm sorry hen....ave pished mahsel again!"


Anyway, from what I can gather (after rewatching the movie a few times) is that  Drea was adopted (which is why he's not known as Frankenstein and more importantly why he's considerably less hip than other Def Jam stalwarts) and that his work in monster construction was discredited by three evil doctors, one of which caused the accident that crippled him.

This man whom we shall call simply Dr. Bill Beaumont (because that's his name) added insult to injury by stealing the Frankenstein monster and burying it in the graveyard from the films opening.

Luckily for all concerned the infamous Zornov Comet is rapidly approaching the Earth, heralding the beginning of the monster's second life cycle.

Look I'm just typing what was said.

Meanwhile junked up Judith suddenly wakes up in the bed of aged hippie Mike Howard (Eisely from Knots Landing), a local middle-aged guy who looks after the disenfranchised yoof in the area whilst dressed like a teenage rent boy.

Nope, nothing sinister about that at all.

Taking a shine to Judith (he's obviously bored with failing to score at the school gates so he's decided on someone nearer his own - old - age) the pair begin to discuss Jodie's disappearance, eventually coming to the conclusion that, being disabled Dr. Drea is behind it.

Cue hours of wandering around aimlessly back and forth to the house of horrors exhibit intercut with dozens of unnecessary appearances  by a chubby, pube bearded Russ Tamblyn playing an evil rapist biker named Rico.

Truly the man has no shame.

Or a fucking huge rehab bill.

Heath Ledger farted....and it was an eggy one.


Skipping forward a few chapters (look I'm only human) and finally Judith and Mike (after admitting their love for each other and having a wee kiss and cuddle) have decided to take one last look at Drea's horror show.

Only to make it more interesting they've turned up in the middle of the night.

Wandering around in the 'dark', they pair of wannabe investigators completely fail to see or hear Rico and his pals trying to rape Samantha and also miss Groton's subsequent slaughter of the bad boy bikers but, and give credit where it's due, Mike does manage to hear Groton quietly pull a chain that opens a trapdoor to Drea's lab.

Trying to find the source of the noise, the pair also manage to miss the three hacked to pieces bodies at their feet but do spot a teeny tiny locket belonging to Samantha buried in the sand.

I'll be honest, even I've stopped caring at this point.

"Fiona! Where's mah lunch?"

Drea, lying in wait behind a shady model of a giant monkey catches the pair as they sneak around the exhibits and manages to lure our loved up losers into the dank, dark basement below his lair.

If you could take a minute now to consider the layout of Drea's Chamber of Horrors.

If you've been paying attention you'll remember that it's built on a pier over the beach to give Groton easy access to the sands to kill women.

So how (and more importantly where) does the stone clad gothic basement fit in?

I have to be honest and say that at the time I totally accepted this without question showing the true extent of the films almost supernatural mind numbing powers.


It was only the following day that I realized that the whole thing was complete and utter shame trousered shite from start to finish.

Anyway, Drea explains the plot, Judith finds her naked sister in a big jam jar and Mike, being an all American hero type picks a fight with the dwarf, causing Groton's pet cat to fall down the trapdoor.

I kid you not, cinema hardly ever gets as exciting as this baby.

Tosser.


Much infant school slapping and grimacing ensues culminating with wee Grazbo falling onto an axe giving Judith time to escape to the roof.

Of a factory.

Not a pier.

Mike however is trapped behind some boxes as an ever more excited Drea take potshots at his arse with an air pistol before giving chase in what must be modern cinemas slowest wheelchair versus middle aged man race ever.

All looks lost until Mike in a rare flash of intelligence, hides behind the monkey exhibit and shouts "BOO!" as Drea wheels by causing the scientist to shit himself, the runny consistency of which makes Drea slide off his seat and onto a prop  guillotine exhibit, which decapitates him.

Back on the roof Groton, pulling his best sex face, is closing in on Judith but just as all seems lost who should turn up but Sgt. Martin and Clive Strange back from discovering the three bodies under the pier.

Strange spots Judith running across the roof and Martin, desperate to shoot someone, opens fire on Groton.

"Put it in me!"

Running to the roof to comfort Judith, Mark seems to have forgotten one tiny thing.

The title of the film.

For waiting in the shadows Dracula is plotting a terrible revenge on those who have thwarted his plans.

A revenge that will at some point involve him bitch slapping a potato-faced monster whilst Judith's breasts look on in terror....


"I fang you!"


Where to start when it comes to the late king of exploitation Al Adamson and his work?

Director, producer, actor and writer Adamson directed an impressive (in quantity if not quality) thirty movies between 1961 and 1983 before retiring from films and getting involved in real estate.

Tho' probably not beach-front piers with stone basements.

Back to his movies tho' and whilst Dracula vs. Frankenstein is nowhere near one of his better efforts it does have the most comically convoluted stories behind it's journey to the big screen.

Beginning production in 1968 as The Blood Seekers with much the same plot and cast Adamson was reported as being unhappy with the finished product, feeling it lack a certain something and consequently shelved the entire movie, putting all his efforts into the other seven (!) he had in production at the same time.

Jump forward a few years and Al's producer pal Sam Sherman, is panicking into a bottle of Rum.

It appears that he foolishly signed a contract to deliver a brand new full colour Frankenstein film to the drive-in theatre crowd and, after spending the cash on crisps and fizzy pop has only days in which to find one before he gets his legs broken.

In an attempt to cheer his pal up, Adamson took Sherman to the cinema where the pair found themselves watching Paul Naschy's debut film La Marca del Hombre Lobo (AKA The Mark of The Wolfman) alongside Holiday on The Buses.

It was at this point Sherman hatched a cunning plan.

He would buy the rights to the movie and change the title to The Something of Frankenstein therefore filling his obligation and make a few bob on the side.

Unfortunately tho' Holiday on The Buses was too expensive (Hammer wanted £18.60 for the worldwide rights) to purchase so instead he ended up with Naschy's movie which he quickly retitled Frankenstein's Bloody Terror (despite it not featuring Frankenstein) before releasing it onto an unsuspecting audience.

The plan worked and to celebrate Sherman took Adamson out for a baked potato and a pint of cider and it was during this meal, as Adamson looked down on the cheese melting across his lumpy spud that the director realised what was missing from the Blood Seekers footage.

A monster with a potato for a face.

With a cry of "Eureka!" Adamson jumped from his seat causing the man sitting behind to accidentally spray tomato sauce of his wife's heaving bosom.

Noticing the red liquid dripping seductively down her swan-like (if a little too hairy) neck the film making duo looked at each other before both shouting:

"Dracula!"

And thus a legend was born.

"Wahey Blakey! I'm spunking tenners!"


But who had the gravitas to play such an iconic roll?

And who was brave enough to bring the Count kicking and screaming into the 1970's?

Sherman wanted genre veteran John Carradine, thinking that the actor would bring a noble gravitas to a portrayal of an older, more desperate Dracula, out of time and thrust into the modern world for one last attempt at immortality.

But Adamson had other ideas, he wanted someone young and sexy but more importantly he wanted someone with a beard.

A beard fashioned from pubic hair.

With this in mind he called upon his stockbroker Robert 'pubey' Engel who accepted the part on the spot.

Funnel or tunnel?


Renamed Zandor Vorkov (a partial anagram of Talentless tosser), his voicebox replaced with that of a bass-heavy transistor radio slightly off-tuned to medium wave and his skin bleached with ammonia, Engel's was ready to begin shooting.

All that was left to do now was to find and purchase a really big potato and find someone willing to put it on their head.

This job fell to the massive, slack jawed 7 foot, 4 inch bulkily hulky John Bloom. Known as Johnny 'Horsecock' Bloom to his friends, the actor had already appeared in such greats as The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant and Up Your Alley before Adamson came a calling and he too had unique ideas as to how the infamous monster should be portrayed.


As a club-footed tramp obviously.

And how did it all turn out?

Well I would usually say see for yourselves but frankly I'm not that much of an unfeeling bastard.

If you have already seen it there are groups out there to help you adjust back into normal life life.

And if not?

Just memorize this review and kid on that you saw it.

It's for the best.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

head the ball.

Rewatched this last night so thought I'd share.


Well that was to the point wasn't it?


Horror Rises From The Tomb (1973).
Dir: Carlos Aured.
Cast: Paul Naschy, Emma Cohen, Helga Liné, Cristina Suriani, Julio Peña, Montserrat Julio, Betsabé Ruiz, Elsa Zabala, María José Cantudo, Juan Cazalilla and Vic Winner.

Bloody Hell my spellcheck has had a breakdown after that.









It's sometime in the late Middle Ages in a playpark somewhere in France (played in this case by Madrid doing a passable impression of a shit-covered French field) where a pair of French nobletypes -  Armand du Marnac (Naschy, nuff said) and his pal Andre Roland (Winner from Count Dracula's Great Love) are busy leading a group of soldier types who are in turn taking a black-clad duo to their deaths via an old cart pulled by cows.

Obviously the films budget would only stretch to two horses and the stars have those.

Turns out that the two prisoners are Armand’s brother, Alaric (Naschy again but this time in a comedy beard) and his girlfriend Mabille de Lancre (Liné, who appears in this blog so often I really should just name it after her and be done with it) both of whom have been convicted of not only crimes against fashion but also of cannibalism, blood-drinking, drawing penises on pictures of the mayor, buggery, false promises of 350 million quid to the NHS post Brexit and human sacrifice.

Which is nice.

After cursing his brother and his descendants Alaric is quickly beheaded (mainly so as you don't see the cut 'tween Naschy and the shop window dummy with a hastily painted balloon head) whilst Mabille is stripped naked, hung upside down by her ankles and whipped a bit to a spooky organ soundtrack.



Maybe she's born with it?


With all this breast-based scene setting out of the way we're off to 70s sunny Paris (or at least a wee bit of Naschy's holiday Super 8 footage) where dumpy descendant Hugo du Marnac (yup it's Naschy yet again) has just popped round to tell his artist friend Maurice (Winner back for more) that his girlfriend, the council estate Elle Fanning Paula (Experiencia prematrimonial’s Suriani), has returned from Germany and is staying with Hugo's squeeze, the frightbrowed Silvie (Return of The Blind Dead and The Loreley's Grasp star Ruiz) and that the boys have been invited round for some Aldi booze based fun.

Unfortunately Silvie has also invited the séance obsessed, professional oldsters  Gail (The Blood-Spattered Bride's Julio) and Sean (Satanik's Peña) over for the evening and they soon dominated the proceedings with chat pertaining to the spooky psychic medium Madam Irina Kormorova (high Scrabble scoring Zabala from your granddad's bed) and her ability to converse with the dead.

Sean and Gail suggest that they all go and see her and the gang excitedly agree.

Maurice however being sensible (and having a painting to finish) declines the invitation and goes home for a tearful wank and a Pot Noodle whilst the rest of the gang grab their jackets and head of to Kormorova's house.

Obviously being a legit psychic she'll know that they're coming.

In both cases.


"Hands on mah table!" - Trump's nightmare.


Hugo, being skeptical about all things paranormal (so it's a good thing he hasn't taken a look at his wig in a mirror then) cheekily suggests that Madam  Kormorova should attempt to contact the spirit of the aforementioned Alaric du Marnac in order to find out if it’s true that his head and body were buried in separate graves on the family estate.

You'll not be too surprised to find that Alaric does indeed appear and not only confirms the facts of his burial but also gives the precise location of where both body and head will be found.

Meanwhile, Maurice too is receiving a visitation from the vengeful spirit in the form of a possessed painting session that climaxes in him producing a picture of Alaric holding his severed head.

Shocked at how shite the actual piece is Maurice quickly destroys it.


I made this.


As you can probably guess the next day our groovy foursome excitedly pack their bags and begin the long drive over to Hugo’s ancestral estate.

Being a Paul Naschy movie tho' nothing is that simple (or logical) so it's not long before the group are attacked by bandits on the road (obviously bored by the lack of British beef to burn) giving our hero a chance to show off his fighting skills before a local lynch-mob arrives and kills the ruffians to death.

Most upsetting tho' is the fact that the bad men have totaled Hugo’s car, forcing him to buy (in the films most exciting scene) what looks like a cheap Chitty Chitty Bang Bang knock off in which to complete the journey.

And this my friends is the kind of thing that made people vote leave*

Finally arriving at the estate Hugo and co. are greeted by Terry Gaston the family butler (giant atomic monster Cazalilla) and his dishy daughters, Elvire (button nosed uber-babe Cohen, who later found fame as Gallina Caponata - the Spanish counterpart to Big Bird in their version of Sesame Street) and Chantal (Cantudo, who's bound to have been in loads of stuff but I can't bother checking) who busy themselves taking the luggage upstairs whilst gazing dreamily at Hugo.

But then again who wouldn't?

"Hello madam....Do you require any scissors sharpening?



As dawn breaks Hugo - alongside Maurice, Gaston and a couple of local ne'er-do-wells are busying themselves digging for Alaric's remains, well the plebs are - Hugo is just standing around like a club-footed catalogue model smoking a fag.

Suddenly Maurice is struck by a bizarre premonition of where Alaric (or at least bits of him) is buried and hurriedly starts to dig up the tomato patch soon uncovering a rusty box that's just about the right size for a human head.

Hmmm.

Ordering the hired help to take the box back to the château, Hugo announces that he'll head into town for a blowtorch (I'm pretty sure that's what he said)  to open the box but not until tomorrow as right now there is booze to be drunk and fags to smoke.

Oh and doe-eyes to make at Elvire behind Silvie's back.

Which is fair enough I guess.

Unfortunately the hired help reckon that they’ve uncovered a box of valuable treasures so decide to wait till nightfall and open it themselves but as they burn it open Gaston appears in the doorway brandishing a rolling pin which is kinda unfortunate for him seeing as the now released head of Alaric is free to extend its evil influence onto one of the thieves who picks up a handy sickle before striking Gaston - and his pal - down.

Wiping the bloodied weapon on Gaston's best shirt he picks up the head and carries it away to the crypt in order to reunite it with its body.

Emma Cohen: You would, I would, your dad probably did. Twice. That's why him and yer maw never talk about that holiday to Benidorm they had in 1973.


Meanwhile back at the château the friends game of Twister is interrupted by the appearance of a blood and snot soaked Elvire and Chantal who have just discovered their dead dad.

Hugo quickly grabs his jacket and alongside Maurice ventures out to find the killer ordering the ladies to go to their rooms and lock the doors until they return.

All except Chantel that is, I mean there's washing up to do and it's not going to clean itself.

As she starts work on removing those stubborn stains that just wont fade (the remains of Hugo's runny egg on toast obviously) the possessed pikey prowls into the kitchen and strikes her down before abducting poor Paula and heading back to du Marnac’s crypt.

Maurice, being slightly fitter - and considerably less portly than Hugo - heads off to look for her leaving his pal to console Elvire over the death of her dad and sister by sticking his engorged member in her.

Which, admit it, we'd all do.

Meanwhile Maurice has ended up hypnotized by Alaric and is ordered to bring Sylvia to the crypt where her life-force will be used to resurrect Mabille de Lancre but not before he's helped attach Alaric's head to his body and removed Mabille's skeleton from its resting place.

And if you thought things couldn't get any worse (either in front of or behind the camera) Alaric has torn out the tramps heart and scoffed it.

Returning with Sylvia (wearing a bri-nylon babydoll nightie that even your nan would balk at for being too whorish, Maurice is forced to look on as Alaric strips her naked and stabs her to death before having a sneaky feel of her boobs and locking her in a coffin where - in an amazing show of quick cuts and sloppy editing Mabille appears in her place looking for all the world like she's set for a night frugging away at Studio 54.

Or at the very least the Astoria in Nottingham**.

The Astoria Nottingham: sequined boob-tubes and wet t-shirts not shown.



The devilish duo waste no time in wreaking their vengeance, mysteriously materialising around town in a puff of purple smoke to have sex with various non-speaking extras before tearing their hearts out and - as an encore - sending an albeit small group of zombies (including Gaston) to attack Hugo and Elvire who by this time have discovered an ancient talisman - cunningly hidden behind the toilet cistern -  that has been in the du Marnac family for centuries and kept just on the off-chance that the evil pair ever returned.

Which is lucky if you think about it.

"Put it in me!"

As the pervy paranormal pairs powers grow it's left to Hugo and Elvire to save the world (well OK the local town) from a deadly plague of sex-based brutality and harsh buggery.

Probably.

Will Maurice regain his free will or at the very least change out of his baby pink shirt?

Will Hugo stop nailing anything that moves?

Will Helga Liné cover up as she looks like she may catch her death of cold?

And will Paul Naschy - after a 10 year wait - end up making a sequel starring the lovely Julia Saly which is just like the original but with more gore and better wigs?




 Paying homage to - OK totally ripping off - the Will Cowan 1958 American black-and-white 'classic' The Thing That Couldn't Die, Paul Naschy's first collaboration with director Carlos 'The Jackal' Aured (they would later go on to make El Retorno de Walpurgis, Los ojos azules de la muñeca rota and La venganza de la momia together) features nearly everything we know and love about the Naschy oeuvre except werewolves, tho' the stars naturally hairy back and arse near enough makes up for this omission - I mean what other movie can you name that features spooky séances, cannibalism, zombies, random acts of nudity and a lead who changes his outfit almost every scene?

 
You ain't seen me right?



Whether he's punching perverts or putting it in pretty ladies - Naschy is - a ever - totally watchable as both the hero and villain of the piece, admirably aided by genre stalwarts Vic Winner (AKA Víctor Barrera) and the ginger goddess that is Helga Liné working from a script that makes just enough sense as to make the whole absurd thing vaguely plausible.

If you don't think about it too much obviously.

As with most (all?) of Naschy's output what the film lacks in budget, logic and half-way competent dubbing it more than makes up for in sheer chutzpah and if you can switch off your brain and accept Naschy as a love god whom women find irresistible then you'll have no bother accepting (and enjoying) everything else the movie has to offer.

Except maybe some of Paul's more interesting fashion choices obviously.

And I must admit in some scenes it does look like he's applied his foundation with a trowel.   

No matter how hard he tried Jeff Beck just couldn't tune his Ronco Lady0gram to 6 Music.


But let's be honest, there's not much I can say - I mean if you read this blog chances are you'll already be a fan of the great mans work (except if you're one of those folk that only come by to look at the nudity and leave me abuse) but if you've chanced across this by accident then strip down to your pants and excitedly dive into the world of Naschy.

You can thank me later.

Just wash your hands first.
































*Well that and the very English pastime of hating foreigners obviously - thank fuck I live in Scotland as we only have rickets to worry about.



**Or, to give it its proper name, Barry Noble's Astoria.

Barry (now famed for owning most of the UK's penny arcades as well as for owning one of the countries biggest Cyberman memorabilia collections) bought what had earlier been the Astoria Ballroom and then the Sherwood Rooms from Mecca (the bingo hall company not the religious place), turning it into one of the defining clubs of the 80s  - coining the phrase 'Is That Alright Fyuzs' along the way.

Noble: Prize.



On a slightly more sinister note its most famous DJ, Graham Neale (who also did the Castle Rock show on Radio Trent) committed suicide in prison after trying to murder his wife with a hammer.






***Indeed he will and that film shall be called.....


Monday, June 11, 2018

licence to il.

On the eve of the historic - and hysteric - meeting 'tween the tango-tanned tin-pot Trump and the cheese-loving champion of triple chins Kim Jong-un I thought It time to reshare the frankly freaky tale of one of the world's greatest monster movies and probably the best thing to come out of North Korea since James Bond in Die Another Day..

I'd happily be the filling in this sandwich....tho' I'd be queuing behind Mike 'Penetrator' Pence.


And if there's only a little bit of truth in this tale then Trump's fucked.

Comrades, I give you...

Pulgasari (1985).
Dir: Shin Sang-ok, Chong Gon Jo and most probably Kim Jong-Il.
Cast: Chang Son Hui, Ham Gi Sop, Jong-uk Ri, Gwon Ri, Gyong-ae Yu, Brian Blessed (possibly) and Geoff Pulgasari as himself.


"I can't just sit here and cry all the time!"




The time is somewhere between 918 and 1391 AD (that's the Koryo Dynasty fact fans - who says this blog isn't educational?) and the evil bearded governor of the Korean province of, um, West Bromwich has decreed that all the iron in the area is to be confiscated and used to fashion all manner of pointy, sharp weapons.

Not for fashion weapons tho' that would be silly.

Pretty soon all the men folk are sick and tired of having to live off Pot Noodles and take-aways so decide the time is right to stage a revolution.

Right on!

Takse (Ri), the local blacksmith and calm man wanders around urging everyone to just get on with it and stop complaining but his bowl headed apprentice Inde (someone else) has other ideas and sets him self up as a self styled revolutionary leader.

After a couple of weeks of grumpy disagreements and interminable political rhetoric between the two friends, the governor decides to claim Taske's iron too and, surprise surprise the blacksmith then decides that maybe Inde had the right idea.

Takse's plan is stunning in it's simplicity; he gets up in the middle of the night and stashes all his iron under the bed before telling the governor's men that a legendary beast named Pulgasari (as himself) snuck in and ate it all during the night.

"Raugh Row!"





The governor, not being a small boy, thinks Takse's story is utter bollocks and promptly throws him in jail along with Inde and his stinky band of angry peasant followers.

Score one for justice and law abiding folk!

Not having any iron spare to make cutlery, microwave ovens or chairs means that the prisoners all end up sitting in their own shite on hard stone floors (probably catching piles) with nothing to eat but beetles, so Takse's two annoyingly twee children, Ami (Hui) and Ana (Ri, the other one listed, it's not like he plays two parts) decide to throw scraps of food to their father through the window of his cell.


"Ah fell aff mah beanstalk Ian!"



But rather than eat it (or even share it with the others the selfish bastard) Takse fashions the food into a little troll - like doll before dying of (you guessed it) starvation.

So far, so depressing.

Ami, being the favourite child (and having the less amusing haircut of the two) ends up inheriting the doll, carrying it around with her and occasionally chatting to it but one day whilst sewing a revolutionary bedspread accidentally cuts herself dripping blood all over it.

Frankly I'd slit my wrists if I was in her position too but that's neither her nor there because, believe it or not the blood causes the doll comes to life!

Not only that but it starts to eat any scraps of iron lying about!

Could this be the legendary left wing monster and hero of the people Geoff Pulgasari?

Um, yes.


Seems legit.



Geoff, thanks to a diet of old tin cans and spoons grows bigger and bigger (well big-ish, about the size of an average toddler) everyday and is soon ready for his first mission as an heroic communist kaiju, heading off to save Inde from the executioner's chopping block.

The daring (if not incredibly comically, seeing as the entire scene consists of watching a grown man with a stick on beard wrestle a stiff rubber doll) rescue is a success and Inde and his band of pikey layabouts head off to the mountains to hide.

Back home, Ami and Ana are busy celebrating the fact that a small child in a knobbly gimp suit is going to lead Korea and her people to freedom and how he will save them all from, um bad stuff.

Well, I've heard worse.

Time passes and Geoff is now the size of your average Korean stuntman in a suit and has begun to get those typical big monster kick arse urges, so he persuades the local farmers to start a fight with the kings men offering to help win the battle if he can eat all their swords and amour etc.

Which sounds an OK plan to me.

After a few more battles (well half a dozen folk in fake beards running at each other yelling "Aaaaiiieeehhh!") and a few more metal meals, the Pulgasari grows to a gigantic 100 feet tall.

Yet scarily still looks like a man in a mold covered gimp suit.


"I can see your house from here Peter."




Everything is going swimmingly until Korea's most evilly bearded general (Blessed) offers to take out Geoff and company.

It seems that General Brian has discovered Pulgasari's secret, that our big beast buddy must protect Ami at all costs.

A fact he plans to use to his advantage.

This ingenious plan involves kidnapping Ami whilst she's out collecting water for the rebels then tying her to a pole behind a big wooden shed (disguised as an all the metal you can eat buffet) so that when Pulgasari goes inside he can set fire to the beast.

The fact that our big boned pal is made entirely of metal (as opposed to bits of rotting food as you'd imagine) doesn't seem to worry Brian one bit.



"I'm fucking your mum!"



Which is probably why he looks more bored than shocked when Pulgasari start glowing white hot and with anyone who goes near him bursting into flames.

Never one to give up, General Blessed moves onto plan two (firing rockets at Geoff) and finally plan three (digging a big hole) but he can only watch in mild apathy as Pulgasari continues his journey toward the kings castle, stopping only to squash the aforementioned monarch under foot.


"Foot in mah mooth!"



Celebrating their freedom and the birth of a new socialist state the peasants prepare a huge banquet but the festivities are soon put on hold when they realize that poor old Pulgasari just can't just stop eating iron and it's not long before he too is demanding that everyone has to give him all their iron farming and cooking implements too.

Can you see what they've done there?

Luckily for the workers, Ana (being a girl and therefore untrustworthy) has been secretly getting advice from Bernard Majin, AKA Mr. Monster of Terror and he has a plan to defeat Pulgasari once and for all....



"Pulgasari, up the casino, Tenby, 1984....Yesch!"




Pulgasari is a film born out of legend and hearsay that is, quite possibly much more entertaining than the movie itself.

Directed (kind of) by famed South Korean director Shin San-Ok after he'd been kidnapped by the Northern regime on the direct orders of leader in waiting and well known monster movie fan Kim Jong-il, the director manage to escape a matter of weeks before it was completed leaving hack for hire Chong Gon Jo to finish the job.

All this became immaterial however when the illustrious leader realized that the completed film was utter pants from start to finish and refused to release it.

Which just goes to show that world dictators, whilst being well versed in crushing uprisings and keeping the workers under control, know next to nothing about what makes a great historical monster movie because Pulgasari, in my humble opinion is probably one of the greatest and most heart warming films ever made.

Walking that fine line between entertainment and historical drama, in much the same way as Schindler's List, Pulgasari may not be as rib-ticklingly funny as Spielberg's opus but it's a darn sight more factually accurate and miles more entertaining.

Frankly it's a must see, especially if you have any interest in world affairs, history, big rubber monster and 'the politics'.

Or comedy hats.
 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

coffin jo(k)e.

Currently in that limbo land 'tween work stuff at the moment and desperately trying to amuse myself in a way that doesn't involve tidying/heavy lifting/social interaction.

Dr. Blood's Coffin (1961).
Dir: Sidney J. Furie.
Cast: Kieron Moore, Hazel Court, Ian Hunter, Kenneth J. Warren, Andy Alston, Gerald Lawson and Fred Johnson.

Yup, THAT Fred Johnson.



'This is something from hell!'


Our story begins in an almost Lynchian manner as two men - a tall masked surgeon and a tiny shocked haired Austrian pensioner argue medical ethics as the camera unflinchingly focuses on a cadavers feet.

The old man instructs his younger charge to stop playing God before telling them to (politely) fuck off before he calls the police.

Now I'm intrigued.

Meanwhile something strange is afoot in the small Cornish village of Spent where local doctor's surgeries are being ransacked and various folk are disappearing without a trace.

Who or what could be behind this?

Being Cornwall the locals are blaming foreigners and demanding some kind of Brexit 50 odd years early not realizing that the danger is much closer to home.

Well closer than Brussels anyway.

You see both the myriad of stolen medical supplies and the - by now drugged up - missing people have been taken to the local disused tin mine and placed in a makeshift laboratory by persons unknown.

Spooky.

Enter (roughly from behind) the hunkyily squared jawed Dr. Peter Blood (actor cum activist Moore) who has recently returned home to Spent to spend time with his father Robert - the local doctor (Mott The Hoople frontman Hunter) after spending 3 years studying advanced biochemistry in Vienna.

Hmmm.....

And maybe get to know his recently widowed nurse, Linda (Hammer horror babe Court), a wee bit better.

Easy tiger.

Hazel Court with her hands in the till.



Thankful for the appearance of someone who's not either senile or drunk, local police chief and boiled egg-alike Sgt Peter Cook (Warren, best known as Z.Z. von Schnerk in The Avengers episode Epic and for his portrayal of General Frank in Digby The Biggest Dog In The World) excitedly asks Peter to help find all the missing stuff, little realising that he's actually behind it all.

Peter is more than happy to help seeing as it'll help prevent Cook and co. from discovering his secret mine-based lab so heads off to the caves announcing that he'll go in first cos he knows his way around them from when he used to hide in there as a kid with a bottle of Thunderbird and a copy of Men Only (incorporating Lilliput) magazine.

And to prove it our scientist pal points to a moldy pile of tissues in the mine entrance.

Your Auntie Jean - ask your dad.



It's actually quite lucky - or just lazy plotting - that Peter turns up when he does, seeing as he's no sooner ventured into the mines than he finds local fish monger and latest kidnap victim Ian Beale desperately trying to crawl to freedom.

Unfortunately Sgt Cook is close by and it takes all of Peter's cunning (he picks up a crumpled centre spread featuring Veronica Carlson and says "Feast yer eyes on this!") to lead Cook away from the poor fella and therefore keep his hidden lab, um, hidden but as the pair search for even sexier pics of Ms Carlson 'tween the rocks and shale Beale manages to crawl his way to freedom.

Luckily (again) being the only person there with a medical background the search party call on Peter to give some doctorly assistance and as Beale mumbles incoherently, our mental medic injects him with a secret sauce before pronouncing him dead, taking the body to the local undetakers cum morgue for 'tests'.

As the group lift Beale's body (he's a big bloke) a broken syringe falls from his pocket which Robert scoops up to take to Plymouth for tests.

This may be important. 

But first there's some romancin' to be done with the lovely Linda who, thanks to the BluRay transfer has the most terrifying shade of peach lipstick I have ever seen.

Seriously it's retina burning in its intensity.


Lipstick round mah mooth.


By romancing I actually mean an uncomfortably stilted chat about her dead hubbie (this may be important later) and Peter's time in Vienna before Linda admits to being scared of caves - all whilst pretending to drive against a scarily mismatched backscreen projection plate.
 
It turns out that Peter came home because of an argument he had with his professor regarding a controversial medical procedure he'd created and arrogantly informs Linda that 'no-one will hold me back now'.

As you can tell the rest of the journey is about as comfortable as the one's you had as a kid after your mum had caught your dad kissing her sister at Christmas.

Just me then?

Back at the village and Peter busies himself with Beale's autopsy as the local undertaker Morton Rolls (Lawson, he's probably been in loads of stuff but I really can't be bothered looking) wanders around in the background drinking.

When the coast is clear (and Morton has passed out) Peter gets on with the real job at hand - removing Beale's still beating heart in order to place it in a dead person and bring them back to life.

Stumbling into the room looking for some Ajax to sniff dear old Morton interrupts Peter's macabre experiment and our deranged doc begins to rant about how Beale was a drunken oaf who never amounted to anything - which is a fair point - and so he's going to put Beale's heart into someone dead to give them a second chance.

Fair enough.

Morton, thinking Peter is a bollocks spouting mentalist, tries to stop him but in the ensuing struggle (I say struggle but it's more like the kind of pushy, pushy fight two posh schoolgirls would have) Peter kills the poor old fella.

Not only that tho' but being left on the kitchen table for so long, Beale's heart has died too.

'Now I'll have to find another one', says Peter angrily.

But first there's a wee bit more romancin' to do.

So Peter takes Linda up the tin mine.

Something that would probably be illegal today.

Insert cock here.



Enjoying a picnic amongst the rocks and, er, tins outside the mine Peter excitedly takes Linda's hand and leads her into the dark where he regales the nice nurse with amusing tales from his youth.

And by amusing I mean a wee bit freaky as it seems that as a boy he'd often go deep into the mine and pretend to be dead, just lying there listening to the drip drop of water.

And then he'd pretend to come back to life.

Linda, as you can imagine, is a little disturbed by this, luckily the tension is dissipated by the timely arrival of self-employed tin miner and part-time Wurzels tribute act Trevor Tregaye (Johnson) whose bizarre conversation regarding mining for gold and neck scarves completely destroys the mood so the pair make their excuses and leave.

Annoyed at having his chance of touching the hem of a ladies skirt scuppered Peter later returns that afternoon and drugs Tregaye before heading back into town for Beale's funeral, arriving just as the ceremony begins.

As the coffin is lowered into the ground Peter notices that Linda has gone missing so he goes to look for her, soon finding the poor girl staring doe-eyed at her husband Steve's grave.

Poor lamb.

That evening Robert returns from Plymouth with the news that the syringe contained traces of a paralysis causing drug only found in The Amazon (or was it on Amazon? - really can't remember) just around the place where Peter's best friend went on holiday once, a fact that Linda vaguely remembers Peter mentioning.

Peter shuffles from foot to foot before trying to deflect to deflect suspicion away from him by saying that she's talking shite and must have a women's period or something but as Linda starts to confront him Sgt Cook arrives to inform them that Tregaye has been found dead before asking Peter to perform the post mortem.

Peter excitedly agrees.

Look into my eyes....not around my eyes but into my eyes....then shite in mah mooth!

 As Peter gets to work tho' Linda storms in to confront him and hopefully discover that he's not really a mentalist but after giving his "I put the  hearts of drunks into the dead bodies of those who deserve to live" speech she soon realises that she's onto plumbs pointing out that he may be able to restore 'physical life' but that the results will create an 'evil being'.

Peter counters this by randomly announcing that Linda only loves Steve's memory - and not what he is now, which he describes as being pinned down by a gravestone.

Which is nice.

Linda being a girl runs off sobbing.

With it almost being the end of the movie, Sgt Cook and Robert have both come to the conclusion that it's Peter who's behind everything (except Diana's death obviously cos that hasn't happened yet) and decide to go look for him.

Peter meanwhile is in the cemetery digging up Steve Parker's body.....

You can see where this climax is heading can't you?








Famous for being (allegedly) the first ever zombie movie filmed in colour and for having Nicolas Roeg as its camera operator, Doctor Blood's Coffin plays out like a low-rent British version of Re-Animator that replaces all the good stuff (gore, violence, black humour and Barbara Crampton's milky smooth tummy) from that movie with endless shots of fields, high waist trousers and bad teeth.

Oh yes.

And

lots

of

talking.

Sidney J. Furie's direction is adequate tho' it never gets as exciting as his work on The Ipcress File or even Superman IV and his tiny cast do what they can with the threadbare script but when even Hazel Court in a nurses outfit (and a lemon cardie) can't pique your interest you know something is terribly wrong.

Even thinking about a sly titwank she'd kill you.



Neither cheap and cheerful as The Earth Dies Screaming or as fun as Island of Terror, Dr Blood's Coffin is the horror equivalent of a brightly coloured blunt pencil - great to have on in the background if you can't sleep but ultimately pointless with a splash of gore and a walking corpse that's too little too late to save it from flatlining.

See it just to say you have so as to impress girls, or alternatively just memorize this review and pretend you have.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

bungle bonce.

With the cinematic abortion that was Star Wars: The Last Jedi taking a massively mis-judged piss over all we hold Holy (namely Luke Skywalker) and the actually quite brilliant Solo: A Star Wars Story bombing at the box office I reckoned it was time to take a look at where the saga could go next.

Then I thought fuck it and decided to revisit this classic homage to George Lucas' original movie from way back in 1978.

Enjoy.

Os Trapalhões Na Guerra Dos Planetas (AKA The Bunglers In The War Of The Planets, Brazilian Star Wars 1978).
Dir: Adriano Stuart.
Cast: Pedro Aguinaga, Renato Aragão, Carlos (The Jackal) Bucka, Wilma Dias, Carlos (The Kettle) Kurt, Tereza Mascarenhas and some other folk I've never heard of.






Opening with a huge car chase that would put the makers of Top Gear to shame, the 'heroes' of Os Trapalhões Na Guerra Dos Planetas (top urine-stained Brazilian comedy tramps 'the Bunglers') are on the run from what looks like a ton of disgruntled Pikies suffering from narcolepsy, seeing as a huge number of them appear to be driving their cars into rivers for no reason.

It seems that one of the bunglers (the oldest yet least stinky one that wears the piss yellow sports jacket and pervert hat) amusingly named Didi, has slept with the head pikies missis and his friends/family/cousins are in hot pursuit looking for revenge.

After about twenty minutes of 'wah wah' guitar and exploding dune buggies the bunglers hide behind a convenient rock and wait for the bad men to get bored and leave.



"sniff mah coat hen".


That night, whilst the bunglers are sleeping, a turtle with a candle glued to its shell shuffles thru their camp and, in a stroke of comedy genius two of the bunglers think it's a ghost!

Oh how we laughed!

But just as you think it can't possibly get any funnier, the turtle manages to set light to the third, fattest bungler!

While he’s running around in circles going "Woo! woo!" whilst slowly (and probably very painfully) burning alive a passing spaceship touches down near their campsite.

Aboard is the handsome Prince Flik (no doubt referring to his almost Farrah like locks) who tells the four comedy legends (but not the turtle) that he needs their special 'talents' to retrieve a vital part of the fabled 'brain computer' and stop an evil space tyrant named Zuco from destroying his home world.

What? were Torchwood busy? I mean it's not like the plot was too far fetched for them.



A spaceship yesterday.


Our heroes, given the choice between jail time for forcing themselves on old ladies or a trip into space quickly agree and jump aboard Flik's starship where they meet his Red Setter-like, new romantic styled co-pilot Chewbacca (or Dave, I'm not sure).

He (it?) and Flik have an in depth chat in reverse Portuguese before Dave blindly stabs at a few buttons and prepares for take off in a blaze of coloured lights and sweet wrappers not seen since the heady days of Crackerjack.


"Hello Dave?"


Touching down on Flik's home planet, they immediately encounter what looks like an army of hooded midgets attacking a group of desert dwelling Arabs outside a series of stone portaloos.

It's like Disney does ISIS but with fewer beheadings.

Possibly.

Spoiling for a fight the comedy quads rush in and beat the shite out of anyone within punching distance in hyper-slow motion that makes The Matrix 'bullet time' look like the cheap trick it is.

Every time one of our heroes kicks, shoves or stumbles the same clip is shown again and again, accompanied by a hellish 'doo doo' disco score.

It's like mind melding with Jimmy Savile.


Runner up of the Lindy England lookalike contest (ask your mum).


About three days into the slo-mo spectacular the villain of the piece, the evil Darth Zuco appears from nowhere and drags the beautifully big hipped blond bombshell Princess Myrna (who?) from out of one of the portaloos before legging it across the dunes to what looks like a waiting gold vibrator (with wings).

Whilst this is going down (phnar), the warring aliens get bored and leave but not before blowing up one of the toilets with a painted air freshener cum grenade (as in an air freshener disguised as an explosive, not a grenade filled with man yoghurt, tho' that would be interesting) possibly as a political act lost on British viewers.



"Touch my big black helmet".

What isn't lost on viewers from dear old Blighty tho' is the effect that the explosion has, causing as it does four fairly attractive (in a cruise ship entertainer way) Lycra clad ladies to come running out of the smoke like a cheap(er) version of Benny Hill's Hill's Angels.

If that were at all possible*.

The bungling buddies start rubbing their filthy hands with delight but spoilsport Flik starts shouting about having to rescue the princess.




Relax girls....they're single.
And old enough to be your granddad.


Agreeing with Flik (and obviously fancying a wee bit of manass) Didi attempts to drag the others away from the babes with a promise of letting them borrow his hat.

Seriously, why would I make this shit up?

Things get very tense before a compromise is reached and the ladies offer to go with them to the local space disco to look for clues.




Let's be honest tho'...it's still more entertaining than this shite.



Arriving at the local nite-spot (which looks to all intents and purposes like Barry Noble's in Nottingham circa 1985) the bunglers manage to persuade the DJ to stop polluting the airwaves with farty sci-fi warblings and play some hi-energy disco instead but when the alien clientèle begin to 'get down' to the hot tunes the jolly jokers start beating them up.

Just like Dudley then.

For Didi this seems a step too far, he leaves the disco to buy a space laser gun, accidentally murdering five innocent bystanders in cold blood whilst 'testing' it and blowing up Flik’s landspeeder along the way.

If that wasn't enough, in a fabulously misplaced piece of slapstick he finds he has no money to buy the gun so he shoots the salesman dead and steals it.

Ha ha ha.



A normal Saturday night in Dudley.


Now the film begins to unravel and self destruct into an almost unwatchable display of violent comedy, giant birds and poverty row effects as our merry band decide to hit the trail in search of the princess and the evil Zuco.

All manner of random threats are thrown at the group from invisible monsters to flying oranges (yep....killer fruit......oh my sides) via a badly matted 'giant' spider and the aforementioned bird beast.




"Pluck off!"


Every time they encounter a new peril everyone throws their arms in the air, jogs on the spot whooping then runs away.

And I do mean every time.

Every.

Single.

Bloody.

Time.

For around half an hour.


Eventually (and obviously bored waiting for our heroes to discover his lair) Zuco sends them an open invitation to his house to exchange their half of the computer (admit it, you'd forgotten about that hadn't you?) for the captive Myrna.

What follows is a series of bluffs and double bluffs that would confuse even a very unbluffable (is that even a word? cos it should be) man.

The outcome is that Didi ends up in a box (not a coffin unfortunately) and Flik is left holding a green painted dwarf in a frighteningly lifelike Myrna mask.

Everything is now set for the final battle.

Thank fuck.

Didi scores first blood by freezing Zuco and then spending twenty five minutes dancing with his frozen body, popping a selection of funny hats on him, booting him up the arse etc. whilst his buddies fight for their lives against an elite squad of enemy shock troops.

Seriously tho' it's not as exciting as it sounds.

Just as the good guys break thru' the enemy ranks Zuco thaws out and tells everyone that Myrna is dead.

Laugh now.




It seems that whilst Zuco's scientist were making the mask for the dwarf to wear they accidentally disintegrated her.

No seriously.

Flik just shrugs his shoulders and sighs before pointing out that under his planets laws Didi’s squeeze, the seductive Loya must take Myrna’s place as Flik’s betrothed.

She leaves Didi’s side and gets straight down to business with Flik, leaving poor Didi to travel back to with nothing to look forward to but a tearful wank and a Pot Noodle.

Which is a wee bit depressing really.

Duck off.



What can one possibly say in regard to the almost perfect example of high brow Brazilian comedy that is Os Trapalhões na Guerra Dos Planetas?

As an introduction to the many fascinating aspects of Brazilian culture the film is a Godsend, featuring as it does the countries three major obsessions; dancing badly, awful polyester jackets and fighting.

Which is three more than Belgium is famous for.

And what of the comedy greats that are/were The Bunglers? 

Well believe it or not these comedy cnuts starred in over 15,000 films in the 1970s and 1980s, becoming Brazil's biggest export (outside STD's and child labour that is) before being hunted down by the UN war crimes committee in 1997 and sentenced to death by firing squad  in late 1995.

So if you enjoyed their hi-jinks in this, their biggest grossing (and most expensive) movie and don't mind laughing at dead folk, there should be enough online to keep you going for a few months at least.


The Bunglers: They've got something to put in you.



The rest of you can sleep soundly knowing I watched it for you.

You lucky people.





















































*Obviously I don't count the wonderful Nola Hayes in this blanket statement because as a 12 year old watching Benny Hill she was by far the least scary of the bunch and not at all cheap.