Tuesday, October 25, 2016

death by stereo.

Just in time for Halloween, over 4 hours of killer beats, psychotic sounds and sinister samples for your aural delight.


then turn off the lights, play loud and enjoy.

boys will be boys.

What would 31 days of horror be without at least one movie featuring William Shatner?

Don't answer that.

The Devil’s Rain (1975).
Dir: Robert Fuest.
Cast: William Shatner, Tom Skerritt, Ernest Borgnine, Joan Prather, Eddie Albert, Ida Lupino, Keenan Wynn, John Travolta and Anton LaVey.

"Corbis, you want the Devil's Rain, I want Tom & Julie Preston. I do not underestimate your powers, nor do I overestimate them".

Ladies and gentlemen let me introduce to you the Preston's.

They make look like an ordinary family (albeit one obsessed with lumberjack shirts) but behind their normal facade lies a dark secret.

And it's not that one of them was lead singer with The Ordinary Boys and married minor celebrity cum-bucket Chantelle Houghton for 15 minutes either.

Oh no, it's much worse than that.

Some ordinary boys yesterday.

You see the poor family have been cursed for all eternity by the potato faced Satanic high priest John Corbis (the legendary Borgnine).

Yup, it seems that generations ago the Preston family were members of Corbis' Satanic church but after deciding that virgin killing and goat shagging wasn't for them, they stole his magic book and sold him out to the Christians.

Since then a never ageing Corbis has vowed revenge.

Which kinda makes you wonder what he's been up to the last hundred odd years seeing as he only lives about ten minutes away.

Perhaps he's been redecorating his church?

"I wish I knew how to quit you Bill."

Luckily for the film viewing public Corbis has chosen this very night to begin his plan of action, firstly he jinxes Samuel Preston's first solo single "Dressed To Kill" so that it fails to chart before kidnapping Dad Preston for a wee bit of terrible torture, finally letting Dad escape in order to warn his wife and young(er) son about the true extent of Corbis' wrath.

"Give Corbis the book" gurgles bubbly Dad "Or all will suffer!"

And then, as if to hammer home the point he proceeds to melt into a pile of wax before his families very eyes.

That's not all tho' as for a final trick Corbis kidnaps dear old Mum.

"Shite in mah mooooooooooooooth!"

Finally having enough of Corbis' constant curses (which actually would make a great teevee show, Channel 5 take note) and with no-one to cook him dinner, the aforementioned son Mark (Shatner, nuff said) takes the book to Corbis in the hope of defeating him.

Well c'mon, it is Shatner.

After what seems like eight hours of desert driving scenes the pair eventually meet up in a ghost town in the desert, and in a scene of such homo-erotic power as the world has ever seen, Corbis cheekily offers Preston a drink of hand pumped water from his old water spout.


Shatner takes a huge gulp then spits it out, proclaiming the water to be too salty or something.

Corbin gives a cheeky grin and replies, "Sweet way to end a thirst, though." before pulling out his massive horse cock and challenging The Shat to a sword fight in the directors mouth.


Nope sorry, I must have fallen asleep and imagined that cos what actually happens isn't half as interesting; Preston talks about God, Corbis talks about the Devil and finally Preston challenges Corbis to a battle of faith whilst waving a gun about.

Ho hum.

"Now you stop thinking about shooting dat bad man and just think about shooting onto my tits instead!"

Being a polite kinda Satanist, Corbis invites Preston to join him for morning worship which if I'm honest Preston seems to be enjoying until that is his mum turns up with a face like a bag of spuds and big black holes where her eyes should be.

It's at this point that poor old Preston starts shouting Holy stuff whilst shooting the place up like a disgruntled, beer-bellied post-election Trump supporter.

Look, you know it's going to happen.

Corbis follows our hero outside asking, "Is that your faith?" before turning Preston's ginormous gold Godly medallion into a snake.

Shitting himself at such a long slimy thing being so close to his mouth, Preston throws it away before being promptly captured by a gang of hooded hoodlums.

"If you're scared now just wait til the fucking starts!" whispers Corbis.

I imagine.

"And remember guys for the best results this one's for her arse and the others for her fanny....now get fiddling!"

Meanwhile in a big city, Preston's scientist older brother, Tom (Skerritt channelling early seventies George Harrison) and his insectoid wife Julie (Big Bad Mama's Prather) have just received word that Mark has gone missing and decide - with top psychotherapist Dr. Sam Richards (Albert) in tow - to go look for him.

And then some excitingly scary stuff happens possibly.

I say possibly cos I fell asleep only to be rudely awakened by the booming sound of thunder on the soundtrack, falling off the sofa to be confronted by the image of Ernest Borgnine transforming into a silver wigged goat whilst a topless, sweat covered former starship captain, his man-breasts undulating softly in the wind, wriggles suggestively on an inverted cross.

I've not been right since.

William Shatner's cum face yesterday (go on, ask your mum).

Meanwhile Tom, not knowing whether to laugh or cry, is watching all this from behind an old piano only to be discovered by one of the Satanists who've sneaked off for a pee.

Legging it towards the church (which surprisingly isn’t being used for the ceremony - perhaps the new paint isn't dry yet) Tom meets up with (an until now useless) Richards (no idea where he's been, probably looking to punch fuck out of his agent for agreeing to him appearing in this shite) and begins to rummage thru' Corbis' dusty drawers.

Beside the ancient issues of Razzle, fluff covered mints, a crusty sock and old VHS copies of McHale's Navy our terrific twosome come across a porcelain chamber alleged to contain the souls of Corbis' followers and the secret of his powers.

And the name of this pot?

The Devil's Rain.

Clever eh?

"Laugh now".

There's no time for celebration tho' as crazy Corbis and his sinister Satanists have tracked Tom and Sam back to the church, threatening all manner of vile torturers if they don't hand over the paranormal pot.

Luckily Richards, being a man of science, reckons all these goat headed goings on are utter bollocks and quite calmly smashes the pot causes all of Corbis' followers to melt in the ensuing rain storm.

Thank fuck the Devil never set up base in Glasgow, the poor bastard would never have been able to leave the house.

"I can see your house from here Peter!"

As Sam and Tom beat a hasty retreat thru' sticky remains of Corbis' followers, our moustachioed hero notices his wife standing in the distance (I think she might have been captured at some point) ands runs to embrace her.

As the pair hold each other we (the audience, well the ones still awake) realize that Tom is in reality hugging Corbis.

Yup, the evil fella has swapped bodies with Julie, whose soul he has trapped within a new improved paranormal pot.

On a downside it does mean that until his strength has returned, Ernest Borgnine is going to get roughly shagged by Tom Skerritt on a daily basis.

Hang on, did I say downside?

Best remembered for totally destroying the film career of ace director Fuest (the man who gave us  The Abominable Dr. Phibes, Dr. Phibes Rises Again and The Final Programme), The Devil's Rain suffered from such a critical mauling that Fuest was immediately placed on the top of the FBI's most wanted list and his family imprisoned.

The story doesn't end there tho', for after years of living in exile on the isle of Shetland (eking out a pittance making dire teevee fodder) he was ordered to direct the soft core stinker Aphrodite (1982), a movie that's only memorable feature was it's lead actress, Valérie Kaprisky's massive bush.*

Kaprisky: hairy minge.

It's not all bad tho' as not only do we do get to see a pre-Trek comeback Bill Shatner topless but also get to experience the joy of watching a young John Travolta being seduced by an evil cult from which he can't escape.

Something that wouldn't happen in real life obviously.

But with it's (probably) unintentional homo-erotic subplot, scenes of Mexican extras covered in chip fat in an attempt to make them look melty, a constantly angry Tom Skerritt (remember he chose to do this yet almost knocked back Alien)  and the sight of a shirtless Captain Kirk being tongued by an almost mummified Ida Lupino, The Devil's Rain has something for everyone.

If that person is criminally insane with no self worth obviously.

*Due to the fact she was an avid - and award winning amateur gardener in her spare time.

Monday, October 24, 2016

mum's the word.

It's day 24 of 31 days of horror and I've suddenly realized that I've not covered any babysitters in peril yet.

And not in that way obviously.

Tho' I've always said I'd make an exception for Nancy Loomis in Halloween.

Or just Nancy Loomis in general if I'm honest.

Loomis....no reason other than she's absolutely lovely.

Babysitter Wanted (2008).

Dir: Jonas Barnes and Michael Manasseri.
Cast: Sarah Thompson, Matt Dallas, Bill Moseley, Bruce Thomas, Nana Visitor, Monty Bane and Kai Caster.


The sensibly shoed and incredibly cute Christian college newbie Angie Albright (Thompson from teevee's Angel) is leaving home - and her God bothering mum - for the first time ever in order to study art history at the community college in the next town.

Excitedly setting off on her long car journey to freedom she's soon hit by a wave of disappointment when upon arriving at her new digs she discovers that her roommate is a short-skirted stoner, the floor is covered in a scary mix of egg, sweat and semen stains and that someone has sold her bed.

Oh and less importantly local girls have been going missing.

But at least she still has the Lord.

And a really peachy arse if I'm totally honest so it's not all bad.

She might be sleeping now but just wait till the communion starts.

After a long hard chat to Jesus, our holy heroine decides to get a job to pay for a new bed and lo and behold there just happens to be a babysitting position advertised on the college notice board.

What are the chances eh?

Unfortunately tho' Angie can't get to excited seeing as it appears that she's being stalked around campus by a tall woolly hatted man in scruffy work boots with an uncanny (and frankly unnerving) ability to make art history slide show pictures appear on his face at random.

Which if nothing else should secure him a spot on the Britain's Got Talent finals.

Or at the very least in your mums bed.

Tho' just being male with a pulse should do that.

At least that's what your Uncle Ted said.

Laugh now!

Luckily she's got a new friend to chat to about it, the cool Catholic hunk Rick (Kyle XY star and former 80's super soap Dallas) whom she keeps bumping into around campus.

When he's not skulking around confessional boxes that is.

After a quick phone call and a couple of Hail Mary's Angie drives out to meet the couple in need of a sitter; the farm-working and plaid loving Stanton's (Birds of Prey's Batman himself Thomas and Dead Zone regular, one-time Ms. USA and former Bond Dalton) along with their girlie haired cowboy obsessed son, the monosyllabic Sam (pretty lipped Caster last seen in Children of the Corn: Genesis, tho' that isn't really his fault).

Chatting to Mrs Stanton whilst enjoying a glass of homemade lemonade, Angie weighs up the pros and cons of the job (Pros: it pays well, cons: Sam's a freak and the house is in the middle of nowhere) before deciding to take it.

I mean what's the worse thing that could happen?

"You're my favourite Deputy....of love!"

On returning to her room Angie's mood is dampened a little when she finds someone has helpfully stuck pictures of the missing local girls to her dorm door leaving her no choice but to whine at Rick (who just happened to be passing) for a bit before heading to see the local sheriff (genre god Moseley in a scene stealing cameo) who assures her that everything is fine.

But if by some strange quirk of fate a mad mentalist does try to kill her he suggests that she should call him.

Which is nice.

The Amanda Knox bikestand was sure to be a big hit this coming Christmas.

The babysitting day soon comes around and wouldn't you know it Angie's car has broken down but never fear as Jack of all trades Rick is here to save the day, not only offering to spend his Saturday night fiddling with her tubes and pumping her engine but also promising to take her over to the Stanton's house too.

Obviously this does mean that if there is someone stalking our gospel lovin' gal and he does strike tonight that she's stuck in the middle of nowhere alone.

Well alone apart from sinister Sam who just happens to be the freakiest movie child this side of Tommy in Manhattan Baby.

I mean not content with wandering silently round the house like some mini Woody sex doll the little sod insists on eating only raw meat.

Without a fork.

How common.

"Hey kids! Let's round up a posse and have ourselves a spit roast!"

Everything is going smoothly (well for about 10 minutes, the movie's not that long, it only feels it) until Angie begins to hear noises from upstairs and banging at the front door.

Luckily the suspense is soon broken by Sam who wakes up mumbling "I'm hungry" before helping himself to some of the aforementioned meaty bits left in a bowl by the door before promptly running away leaving an oh so slightly panicking Angie torn between trying to find him, cleaning up the blood from the kitchen floor and avoiding the big bald fucker with the knife who's suddenly appeared from nowhere and is currently skulking about the porch.

Kids eh?

So who is the mysterious stalker?

Will Rick fix Angie's car?

And what has Sam been asked to "keep under his hat?"

From the former personal assistant to Neal H. Moritz on such hits as Fast & The Furious, SWAT and 2 Fast 2 Furious via a breakthru performance as the scary Irish Henchman in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, writer/director Jonas Barnes and fresh-faced actor turned director Michael Manasseri comes this charming if lightweight addition to the babysitter botherer genre.

And frankly it's not too shady at all.

Suffering somewhat from being released around the same time as Ti West's modern day classic The House of The Devil, Babysitter Wanted, after a fairly serious pre-credit murder plays out the rest of the plot with a slightly more tongue in cheek feel, more Tales of The Unexpected than Hammer House of Horror with it's heady mix of horror clichés and instantly recognizable ciphers, all lovingly crafted into an obvious homage to a genre the pair obviously love.

Either that or I'm getting to a point where I've watched so much shite this month that as soon as something non offensive and halfway decent comes along I'm that relieved that I try to marry it.

Only time, and my analyst truly knows the answer to that.

How I met your mother.

Yes I know bits of it made no sense and it's about 20 minutes too long but it's heart was in the right place.

Plus it boasts a really good cast, led by the yummily librarian-like Sarah Thompson; all big eyes and tight sweaters whilst both Bruce Thomas and Kristen Dalton are equally as lovable as the friendly farm folk in need of a sitter for scary Sam.

Thompson: luscious librarian love.

Which brings me to Kai Caster, who with the face of an angel, the lips of a Parisian whore and the haircut of '80's horror legend Giovanni Frezza is destined to go far.

Even further if his folks keep their food bins at the bottom of the yard unlocked.

It's inoffensive, it's harmless and it features Bill Moseley in a rare 'nice guy' role and a bowl haired wee boy chewing lumps of flesh like his life depended on it.

You could do worse.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

tall in the saddle.

2016 has been an utter cunt of a year so far....now we've had Steve Dillon taken from us.

Fucking gutted.

river deep, mountain eye (son).

Just got in after a terrific night seeing the genius that is John Carpenter live in good olde Edinburgh town and remembered I'm still doing that whole 31 days of horror nonsense.

Nothing like a huge comedown is there?

So it's 3 in the morning and I've decided to do the first movie that comes to hand, luckily it's not too long so I can go to my bed soon.

The Trollenberg Terror (AKA The Crawling Eye, Creature from Another World, The Creeping Eye, The Flying Eye. 1958).
Dir: Quentin Lawrence.
Cast: Forrest Tucker, Laurence Payne, Jennifer Jayne, Janet Munro, Warren Mitchell, Frederick Schiller, Andrew Faulds, Stuart Saunders

"Cute little things, aren't they?"
"Yeah. I'm gonna throw a bomb at that one. 
You watch on the screen, see what happens".

Enjoying a week of mountain climbing, tea-bagging and forced buggery before heading back to university, three studenty types, clad in children's hats and a collection of second hand overcoats are attempting to scale the north face of Mount Trollenberg in Switzerland (or more realistically a painted and polystyrene effigy of it hastily constructed on the backlot at the world famous Eros Studios, Darlington).

Everything is going swimmingly (or climbingly if you like) until the slick-haired  Toby Deadsoon - the lead climber who's decided to forge ahead onto the next ledge - gives out a terrible shriek before going limper than his nearest colleges wrist and toppling of the mountain.

Realizing that he has the hotel room keys one of his companions attempts to drag him back up the cliff-face but soon recoils in horror when he notices that the poor sods head has been torn straight off.


A painting of a mountain yesterday.

Meanwhile world famous mind reading cabaret stars The Pilgrim Sisters are halfway to Geneva and the start of a much needed holiday.

Obviously bored with watching the same bit of grainy footage go past the window time and again, older sister Sarah (the sternly teacher-like Jayne from Doctor Terror's House of Horrors) decides to cheer herself up by flirting outrageously with their fellow passenger, American 'investigator of the strange', the demi-waved sex god  Alan Brooks (the 'original' Ghostbusters Jake Kong himself, Tucker).

Sexy younger sister Anne (yummy Munro, Disney's very own Katie O'Gill and the girl who fueled my teenage sweaty girl fantasies in The Day The Earth Caught Fire)), jealous of her sibling getting all the attention faints on Brooks' lap as they pass Trollenberg Mountain before starting to drunkenly rant about the recent deaths that occurred there and how she must visit.


Tho' not as creepy as the sight of an old mans visible erection forcing itself against his trousers as a girl young enough to be his granddaughter lies prone on his lap.

Luckily Alan is heading to that very place to meet up with his old pal Professor Chris Crevett (Mitchell with an abysmal comedy foreigner voice) and offers to get them cheap rooms at the local (only?) hotel.

What a kind gent.

Well it's either that or he fancies a wee bit of young fluff.

You decide.

"You're 14? So am I! Now get your webcam on and your clothes off!"

Heading to the hotel to change into a sexier sports jacket before meeting the professor,  Big Al is introduced to a fellow guest, the proto-Marc Almond (in a good way) Philip Truscott (Doctor Who's Payne) who attempts to ingratiate himself with Brooks by following him into his room and fondling his baggage before sneaking off to make a phone call to his boss in order to get every last bit of info on our hero (that's Brooks by the way in case you hadn't figured it out).

Must be an English thing.

Discovering his room has no drinks cabinet (or a porn channel), Alan makes a trip to the hotel bar to get a quick drink and to check out the competition, breathing a sigh of relief when he realizes that besides himself and Truscott the only other guests are a fat geologist named Dewhurst (the sweaty pedo-like Saunders) and his overtly fey climbing partner Brett (Faulds).

This unlikely pair are about to climb Trollenberg to see if unsettled geological plates are to blame for the numerous accidents on the mountain.

Or so they claim but I'm sure that by the way they keep looking at each other Dewhurst just fancies a wee bit of rough.

But then again don't we all occasionally?

Heid in mah sack!

Brooks, hoping to show the Pilgrim sisters he's a modern guy who's comfortable with his sexuality joins the pair in the cable-car on his way to visit Crevett's high tech (if MDF and cardboard were state of the art) - and top secret - Observatory.

I have to interrupt this frankly magnificent synopsis now to point out that never before in my years of watching sinematic shite have I ever witnessed such a blatant disregard for security than here, I mean for a special and secret project the white coated scientists on show must be the most unobservant people ever.

Characters, whether they be normal humans, possessed killers or even giant eyeballs wander in and out of this top secret facility without so much as a raised eyebrow or a hello.

Sorry, rant over.

Now back to the plot. 

Crevett, overly excited about finally having something to do that doesn't include pushing chunky buttons whilst chewing on a pencil is more than happy to fill Alan in (ooeer) on all the recent gory happenings.

Which is great for the viewer cos it means we can finally get the story moving.

It seems that despite the frightening amount of accidents that take place on the mountain that there are never any bodies found and, if that wasn't enough there's a spooky radioactive cloud that sits menacingly on Trollenberg's south side.

Brooks looks stunned (or he may have just passed a kidney stone) remarking how similar the situation is to something that occurred in the Andes three years earlier that he blamed on aliens attempting to rarefy mist.

As you would.

Unfortunately by the time he'd reported it to the UN's special alien defense league these extraterrestrial visitors had gone home, leaving Brooks looking like a bit of a tit.

So you can see why he's a wee bit nervous about calling them up again without at least a smidgen of evidence.

Fuck the alien-influenced plot tho' what this movie needs is more scenes of folk drinking in a hotel bar.

"Is it really meant to bend in the middle like that?"

And that's just what we get as Brooks invites Crevett back to the hotel for drinks and a chance to check out the talent.

But it's not all drinking for drinkings sake as everyone is soon celebrating the fact that the sisters have offered to put on a private show in the bar.

Don't get your hopes up too much tho' because as a deflated Brooks discovers it's of their mind reading act and not a free for all bukaki bash.

The event starts off with a bang as Anne correctly recognizes Truscott's Fleshlight and Crevett's false teeth before taking a sinister turn when she starts describing events happening to Dewhurst and Brett on the mountain.

And it's not sex based shenanigans either.

It seems that whilst Dewhurst is sleeping off his big meaty feast from earlier, Brett has taken the (sinister) urge to go walkabout in the mysterious fog that's descended from the south of the mountain but before it gets any juicier Anne faints.


Alan quickly calls the climbers hut to find out what's really going on and a sleepy Dewhurst answers.

Checking the bottom bunk (and his own bottom) he confirms that Brett has indeed gone missing and opens the door to see if he can spot him, Alan can only stand and listen as hideous screams fill the room before the phone goes dead ruining the happy atmosphere that the sisters had tried so hard to bring to the hotel.

Ungrateful cloud-based bastards.

A rescue party is hastily put together from various crew members hanging around on set and with a mix of good luck, stock footage and back-screen projection they soon spot Brett skulking around on a plateau.

Meanwhile Alan and the main cast members have arrived at the climbers hut to find Dewhurst's headless corpse stuck under the bed.

Back at the hotel Anne is shouting at anyone who'll listen (her sister) that they should all stay away from the hut and under no circumstances should the y fiddle with Brett's leathery sack.

Whilst all this excitement is (finally) happening the first rescuer has reached the plateau only to find that Brett has vanished leaving only his rucksack. Slowly opening it he is shocked to find that it contains Dewhurst's big jowly severed head.

He has no time to scream tho' as without warning Brett appears from nowhere and sticks an icepick in him before beating the second rescuer to death with the aforementioned decapitated head.

"Put it in me!"

After a school playground like scuffle Brett is overpowered and dragged back down the mountain and into the hotel lobby where he instantly lunges at Anne.

But not in an "I've got something to put in you!" way.

Alan, determined to get the first shot at the young girl beats Brett with a heavy ashtray before tying him up and locking him in the cellar.

It's all gone very Evil Dead hasn't it?

Just considerably cheaper.

And frightfully British.

Alan and Crevett are now even more astounded by the similarities to the Andes case now, remembering how a man killed an old woman who had similar powers to Anne.

Tho' her breasts weren't as pert.

She might look worried now but just wait till the tentacle fucking starts.

Realizing that the film is three quarters of the way thru', Brett kills his guard with a spoon and escapes from the cellar to make another attempt on Anne's life as outside the scary cloud begins to move slowly toward the village.

Now it's Truscott's time to shine as he bravely shoots Brett in the back from upstairs (who says chivalries dead?) giving Alan enough time to round-up the villagers and take them all up the observatory (matron!) which is heavily fortified and has hot and cold running water.

And a freeview box.


Waiting for the cable car to safety, Alan notices a distinct lack of tension onscreen which is luckily alleviated when a small child runs back to the hotel to fetch her ball, giving good old Al a chance to look heroic (and get a quick feel of the wee lassies arse) and the audience it's full glimpse of the monster in all it's big bulbous and veiny Japs eyed glory, it's slinky tentacles slowly curling and probing at the child's knee socks.

The beast is no match for Alan's chopper tho' and the pair escape to the cable car.

"Stop! Maddie Time!"
As the bouncy beasts begin to advance from all sides and various possessed people try to off Anne, ours heroes suddenly realize that they have less than an hour to stop the creatures invasion of Switzerland.

Well a bit of Switzerland.

Ok, a small(ish) Swiss hotel and mountain.

We all have to start somewhere.

Armed with only a few homemade petrol bombs (no idea that there was an Irishman in the group) and with an air-strike imminent, tensions aren't exactly running too high if I'm honest but the thought of some late fifties tentacle on totty action is enough to keep me watching.....

"I wouldn't want one of them swimming up my arse....TOO LATE!"

Originating as a six part 1956 television serial of the same name, director/producer (and bizarrely part-time physicist, holding patents for improvements in both nuclear reactor control rod and television imaging technology) Quentin Lawrence had a dream to bring writer Peter (The Adventures of Robin Hood, Armchair Theatre, Phoenix Nights) Key's mountain-based monster mash to the big screen where, free of the constraints of censorship, low budgets and good taste their true vision could finally be realized.

Either that or they only had one decent idea between them.

With a script by Hammer legend Jimmy Sangster (who's written everything from Dracula, Prince of Darkness to BJ and The Bear), re-using the cheaper members of the original cast and adding an American lead for those pesky overseas audiences, this cut price thriller seems to have taken on a life of it's own and, unlike it's featured monsters and closest relatives (hands up if you remember Stranger from Venus anyone?) refuses to die, turning up everywhere from Stephen King's 'It' to having The Misfits write a song about it (Crawling Eye on their seminal 1999 album Famous Monsters, fact fans).

"Do you think it's too late for Penicillin?"
"Eye son!"

So what does this penny pinching, studio bound oddity have that others of it's ilk don't?

Apart from perky Janet Munro and the bloke that played Dastari in 'The Two Doctors?' that is?

I mean the plot's not that original, the sets are smaller than a very small cupboard and the whole thing is cheaper than your sister so it must be something pretty damned special that enables this silly little film to tap into those primeval feelings of fear hidden deep within mankind's psyche.

Either that or it's the fact that the monsters are really fucking scary.

And that we actually get to see a couple of headless corpses which for 1958 is pretty unusual.

Except for viewers in 'The States' obviously who were deemed too sensitive to be exposed to an uncut version of the movie.

Even the title had to be changed for our frightened Yankee cousins.


Honestly if you've never seen this you need to do so now but don't forget that afterwards you may never look at a circumcised penis leering over you at the foot of the bed the same way again.

Uncle Pete take note.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

that thing you do.

By the time you read this I'll be off to see the great god John Carpenter* so I'm doing day 22 of 31 days of horror in advance.

And I really couldn't let my loyal readership down by missing a day could I?

And it's in tribute to the man himself that I've decided to revisit todays movie, the straight to DeeVeeDee delicacy that is Harbinger Down.

Unless you live in the UK where they retitled it Inanimate.

As opposed to just calling it Spooky Shite in the Snow and have done with it.

I mean what do you expect when the man famous for making the 'Predalien' and trying to attach hoover pipes to the back of the monster suit in Alien 3 = much to the affront of David Fincher - decides to direct a threepenny remake of The Thing which promises absolutely no CGI effects.

Well maybe a few.
Well, what could possibly go wrong?

Harbinger Down (AKA Inanimate. 2015).
Dir: Alec Gillis.
Cast: Lance Henriksen, Camille Balsamo, Matt Winston, Reid Collums, Milla Bjorn, Winston James Francis, Mike Estime, Edwin Bravo and Giovonnie Samuels.

It's June 25th, 1982 around 8.30-ish in the morning (you can tell by the lighting) and a (non-CG, honest) Soviet spacecraft is racing toward the Earth’s atmosphere in a vain attempt to return home in time for the first screening of John Carpenter's The Thing.

Yup, always good to start your film with a nice in-joke to keep the interweb geeks happy.

Obviously the unnamed astronaut has already seen that movie's pre-credits teaser tho' seeing as he's thrown caution - and originality - to the wind by trying to copy that spacecraft's trajectory in a kind of airborne tribute not seen since the heady days of the Red Arrows.

It'll come as no surprise then when the poor sod crashes into a barren, icy landscape.

Lance Henriksen wonders where it all went wrong.

Jumping forward 33 years later and the much maligned on release movie is now considered one of, if not THE best monster movies of all time and John Carpenter's finest work.

As much as I love it tho' I did recently come across what I think is the reason for its lack of success at the box office.

The films title which is frankly nonsensical.

John Carpenter's The Thing?

No he's not.

Plus there are no characters that go by that name - or anything similar - in the whole film.

Audiences were probably put off by thinking that the title gave away who the monster was so didn't bother going to see it, those that did where probably confused looking for this mysterious John Carpenter character during the movie and missed all the good bits.

With hindsight perhaps a better title would have been 'Director John Carpenter wants to remake the title sequence from the Howard Hawks/Christian Nymby original film but has taken his inspiration from the original short story about a shape-shifting alien'. 

Tho' that would have left less space for the artwork.

But I digress.

Anyway, it's still 33 years later - from the films opening, not from the last time I typed 33 years later because that would now be 66 years....or 99 if you count the 33 years in the explanation....hang on I've typed it again - and woolly hatted college student Sadie (Balsamo from TeeVee's Murder in the First), her big haired buddy Ronelle (The Suite Life of Zack And Cody's Samuels) and their creepy professor Stephen Merkin (John from Cincinnati's Barry Cunningham himself, Winston) are all set for a nice cruise aboard the  crabbing vessel Harbinger in order to stick some GPS trackers to a group of beluga whales.

As you do.

The best thing about the trip is that it's absolutely free, thanks in part to the ship being owned by Sadie's granddad, the salty seadog Captain Steffi Graff (Henriksen), which means that professor Merkin can blow the allocated travel budget on giant sized bottles of Just For Men, tubes of Pringles and cherry fragrant lube.


Camille Balsamo desperately searches for an original idea...or halfway decent special effect.
After the obligatory meet the crew bit - yup all the cliches are here and accounted for including the sexy Kurt Russell wannabe Bowman (Collums), grumpy man mountain Big G (Francis), wise-cracking black dude Dock (Estime) and saucily secretive Soviet sexpot Svet (Bjorn, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal was busy - or has a mediocrum of taste, obviously) - the whale watching fun begins.

Luckily the film is quite short so it's not long before the Harbinger crew have dragged the crashed Russian spacecraft from out of the icy depths and on board the ship.

Originally mistaking it for a Ferguson Videostar VHS machine due to it's size and abundance of big buttons they elect to store it in the hold and thaw it out in the hope that it will still work, therefore enabling them to sell it on Ebay and all retire as rich men.

Except Svet who'd be a rich woman obviously.

If you concentrate you can still hear the CLUNK.

Upon further investigation its true nature is revealed, along with a freeze-dried cosmonaut and a box of worms.

Worms that for some reason or another have been genetically altered to assimilate DNA and and kill stuff.

As to why this is never made clear but most likely because it looks cool.

Or it was at least meant to.

Once thawed the wacky worms mutate into a massive day-glo monster hell bent on devouring both the students and the Harbinger’s crew, messily absorbing them into an ever-growing nightmare of latex, KY Jelly and headache inducing lighting effects.

With only a few flame thrower-like liquid nitrogen guns for defense, Sadie, Captain Graff and the rest of the crew must band together before the creature can complete it's plan of total domination of the worlds crabbing industry.

Or something.

Let's be honest do you really care?

Really truly?

"Put it in me!"

Way back in 2010, the Academy Award-winning character effects studio Amalgamated Dynamics (look them up, they've done loads of stuff including Starship Troopers, Death Becomes Her and AVP) or ADI as they are much more sexily known, were hired to create the practical monster effects for the abysmal 2011 'prequel' to The Thing.

Yup, we're back to that movie again.

Unfortunately much to ADI's annoyance and to general viewer apathy, the studio decided to replace all their practical effects work with an incredibly shoddy amount of cheap CGI of the kind not seen since the days of the Playstation 2 for no other reason than that's how Hollywood works.

Given the choice between swallowing it down (I'm assuming that they still got paid) or burning down the Universal backlot, Alec Gillis and his pals sensibly decided on a third option.

They would use crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to raise money for their own monster movie which they would make using only practical creature effects created through the use of animatronics, prosthetic makeup, stop motion and miniatures.

The beauty of this idea was twofold, firstly there was already a huge audience clambering for a return to the 'real' effects based films of yesteryear plus - and most importantly if it turned out shit then ADI wouldn't be out of pocket.



Frighteningly realistic effects from the 2011 version of The Thing.

Well their hearts might have been in the right place but unfortunately Gillis appears to have left his directing skills down the back of the sofa.

A sofa that was then covered in petrol and set light to.

And to make matters worse all the original ideas for the screenplay were in a folder behind the cushions when he did it.

Alongside a post-it note with the names of a halfway decent cinematographer, an editor with two good eyes and a competent lighting guy.

On a brighter note he at least had Lance Henriksen's number stored in his phone.

As well as all those dodgy photos of him shagging a goat that he was going to use to blackmail him with.

Because to be honest I can't imagine any other reason for him wanting to appear in this.

I mean he can't be that skint surely?

Shite in mah mooth? Shite fucking everywhere more like.

It's to Henriksen's credit tho' that he, alongside the rest of the cast manage to breathe any life at all into the paper thin characters on show but even then it's an uphill struggle thanks to a piss-poor script that desperately attempts to recall the heady days of 80's body horror but ultimately just leaves you longing for a re-watch of George P. Cosmatos' Leviathan instead.

And not just the scene where Amanda Pays has a shower in her undies.

Kudos especially to Milla Bjorn, who fights valiantly against one of the most ludicrous character arcs I've ever had the misfortune to sit thru' and to poor old Reid Collums who thanks to being forced to wear a stick on beard whilst carrying around a toy fire extinguisher looks for all the world like a small boy cosplaying Kurt Russell as Macready.

At least if they'd written the whole thing as a self-aware black comedy none of this would have mattered.

But they didn't and it does.

Amanda Pays...no explanation needed.

Neither good enough nor bad enough to be truly enjoyable, Harbinger Down seems happy enough to settle for just being average and when you stop and think about the talent involved it's a crying shame.

I bet John Carpenter live is fucking brilliant tho.

*Unless you're reading this at any other day except Saturday 22nd October 2016 obviously.

Friday, October 21, 2016

flesh gore-dom.

Before we begin let me just get my favourite quote from this (any?) movie out of the way:

"She may not know much about chemistry, but in bed, her reactions are terrific!" 

Good, now we can begin.

Day 21 of 31 days of horror and we're bringing out the big guns.

And by big guns I mean Magrit Evelyn Newton's breasts.


Tho' I may actually be referring yo the M-16 assault rifles carried by Frank 'Garfeeld' and José Gras during the film.

You decide.

Zombie Creeping Flesh (AKA Apocalipsis caníbal, Zombi 5: Ultimate Nightmare, Hell of the Living Dead, Inferno dei morti-viventi, Virus, Cannibal Virus 1980)
Dir: Bruno Mattei (AKA Vincent Dawn)
Cast: Magrit Evelyn Newton, Frank 'Garfeeld', José Gras, Josep Lluís Fonoll, Gabriel Renom, Bob Carolgees and Selan Karay.

This cover scared the living shite out of me as a kid. Fact.

Somewhere (cheap to film) in sunny Papua New Guinea lies a top secret research facility called The Hope Centre where armies of underpaid and overworked Italian extras spend their days dressed in ill-fitting lab coats and children's Bob The Builder hats whilst ooh-ing and aah-ing over a variety of flashing lights and diode meters.

Which if I'm honest is possibly the best job in the world.

Well it would be if it weren't for the scary puppet rat that takes a fancy to one of the poor supporting artistes (who looks way too much like Harry H. Corbett for my liking) nostrils and in a vain attempt to have nose sex with him causes a gas leak that turns the entire staff into flesh-eating zombies.

Is there any other kind tho?

"There's a rat in the kitchen Albert....you dirty old man!"

Cue the Goblin score to Dawn of The Dead coupled with some felt-tip titles that take us half way across the world - or 15 miles down the road - to some unnamed banana republic where the heroically chinned and scarily hairy backed Lt. Mike London (José Gras, the star of Mad Foxes) and his Quick Fit overalled four man anti-terrorist squad are being deployed to eliminate a group of sweaty, bearded working class types who've taken the directors family hostage inside the local council offices.

These tinker terrorists are demanding the closing down of every Hope Centre in the world due to them being a cover for something bad (probably), which of course both the government and the military deny.

Well they would wouldn't they?

Bored with sitting about looking manly, London and co. fire tear gas into the building before bursting in and machine gunning all the bad guys.

In the face.

Fuck yeah.

Children beware, their Jeep is not full of sweets.

Once the mission is completed and the bodies bagged our heroes receive an important communiqué from whichever fascist police state they work for informing them that all communication with Hope Centre has been lost and, seeing as this wannabe A-Team is a far as the budget can stretch when it comes to supplying a small army, they've to head out to New Guinea right away.

On arrival our oddly hatted he-men take in the scenery and wildlife as they drive aimlessly around what looks like a kiddies sandpit, failing totally to notice that a number of animals they encounter are all moving in slow motion on differentiating qualities of film stock whilst others just stand in the background as tho' stuffed.

An effect of the chemical leak surely?

There's unfortunately not enough time to discuss this because it's about now that we meet bubble haired journalist Lia Rousseau (Newton from Hunter of the Apocalypse) and her cameraman Barney (ex-Tiswas star Carolgees), who're busy chasing the same story.

I mean the Hope centre one by the way, not the actual film plot because that would be a waste of time and effort on all parts.

Anyway, London (the character not the city obviously), realizing that Rousseau's breasts will probably be the most entertaining things we're going to see in the next 90 minutes offers to take them along for the ride.

Magrit Evelyn Newton's tits yesterday.

As their journey takes them ever closer to the facility (encountering amongst other things, even more grainy and scratchy stock footage of animals and even grainier stock footage of African tribes plus a few - none stock footage - zombies), London's crack team come across (not in that way tho' it'd brighten things up) a native village that's been recently attacked by persons unknown.

No chance it could be zombies then?

Our haircut dodging heroes desperately need information on the attack if they're to stand any chance of completing their mission and as luck would have it, Lia not content with being the video nasty equivalent of Anne Diamond is also a trained anthropologist, specializing in the tribes of New Guinea.

How convenient is that?

As we all know, the best way to communicate with a primitive tribe is to strip stark bollock (or in this case boob) naked, cover your breasts and face in poster paint and then just waltz on into town.

Frank Sidebottom always enjoyed judging the annual Ms. Timperly competition.

You may laugh but it seems to do the trick, as the team are all invited for dinner and the chance to sit thru' some stock footage (surprise) of various tribal burial rights before rounding off the evenings entertainment with a wee bit of a dance.

Luckily some zombies turn up (finally) giving our heroes a chance to quickly drive away whilst the defenseless villagers are violently massacred.

Which is nice.

Stopping a short while later (far enough away that they can't hear the screams) London and his boys decide to rest up in a deserted plantation where hopefully they can find some supplies and maybe even a ballet tutu or two (too).


It seems that the bald pated Lt. Oswald Osbourne (Fonoll) has gone a wee bit fruit loops due to the intense heat and is desperate to find his feminine side.


Rooting around the building in search of some old ladies underwear to change into, Osbourne discovers whom he takes to be the plantation owner, a wrinkly old woman, asleep in a rocking chair.

Moving slowly closer (well your hole is your hole after all) our lewd Lieutenant is shocked to find that the uncomfortable hardness of his throbbing manhood isn't the only thing stiff in the room...the old biddy is dead and the rocking motion is due to an ickle pussy cat eating its way thru' her chest.

Gah indeed.

And just when you thought things couldn't get any more uncomfortable, the Zimmer using zombie stands up and slowly totters towards a visibly repulsed Osbourne whilst pulling a terrifying cum face.

It's like waking up with your gran's face buried in the damp muskiness of your crotch.


What your dad really gets up to on his darts night.

Screaming like wee lassies at a Gary Glitter concert the team barely make it out alive, in fact poor old Osbourne doesn't, he's unfortunately killed whilst wearing a top hat and a green ballet tutu as the house is quickly overrun - well as quickly as zombies can totter - by the undead.

Eventually, Rousseau, her bullet-like nipples rubbing against her rough yet functional cheesecloth blouse and the remains of London's team battle their way to a local boating lake cum kiddies paddling pool where, after commandeering a dingy begin the final leg of their journey to the Hope Centre.

And it's about fucking time if I'm honest.

Inside Michael Barrymore's mind.

Paddling ever nearer to the complex it soon becomes apparent (thanks to even more stock footage, this time of what looks like a school PTA meeting) what the Hope Centre project actually entails.

It seems that their top secret plan to alleviate world hunger actually involves harvesting the bodies of the dead as a cheap food source.

Soylent Green anyone?

Ironically tho', with the chemical leak causing the dead to rise the worlds starving will now devour us.

Hang on, that's a wee bit serious for this kind of film isn't it?

"Laugh now!"

Suffice to say that when they finally reach the centre things go from bad to very bad via a quick trip to badsville; the scarily Argento fringed Zantoro (Frank Garfeeld AKA Franco Garofalo AKA The Nipples from Naples) - after spending the rest of the film turned up to eleven finally blows - going so far over the top that his performance can only be viewed from the Hubble telescope whilst good old Mike London appears to suddenly gains 2 stone (pesky reshoots) which he then takes out on poor Lia.

If anything she should be angry seeing as his tits are now bigger (and considerably juicer) than hers.

Whilst all this sweaty arguing is going on, literally dozens (OK a few) zombies randomly jump out of lifts and cupboards (but obviously don't shout) picking off - and pissing on - the survivors one by one, leaving the zombie hordes to take over the world and Lia's head being used as a novelty bowling ball.

"Aye hen!"

Nothing like finishing on an upbeat note eh?

Different title, same movie, scarier cover.

Once again the late (as in dead, not that he's terrible time keeper) great Bruno Mattei proves to the world that a lack of budget, imagination and common sense are no boundary to producing a rip-roaring, terrifyingly taunt movie.

Unfortunately it just wasn't with this one, I must have been thinking of The Tomb.

Only joking.*

Working under the pseudonym Vincent Dawn - in a thinly veiled tribute to George Romero - Mattei would continue to use this moniker till the end of his career and what a career it was seeing as it took in everything from Lovecraftian mummies, Nazisploitation, saucy Roman epics, women in prison, combat shockers and big rats as well as the undead.

Plus in his later years he introduced the world the gloriously button-nosed Yvette Yzon in his Dawn of The Dead/Alien mash-ups Island of The Living Dead and it's confusingly titled sequel Zombies: The Beginning

Indeed this man achieved everything you could ever wish for basically.

Including bedding your mates attractive mum.


Bruno and his very own Ripley, the fantastic (and fantastically smooth thighed) Yvette Yzon.

Anyway, back to the movie in hand.

Lets be frank here, it's rare to get such a bad film that actually delivers the entertainment factor so perfectly - everything about it screams train wreck - from barely adequate gore effects, ludicrously stiff dialogue and stilted dubbing - "You're beginning to bug me, kiddo - just don't break my balls!" - unnecessary nudity, dodgy face-painting, a stolen score, stock footage pilfered from such places as Nuova Guinea: Isola Dei Cannibali and the directors holiday films via a fantastic collection of ill fitting hats.

This film has all this and more besides.

But despite (because?) of all this the whole sad affair actually works.


Scarily enough tho' the film was originally envisioned as a big budget ecological horror thriller - it's original draft features the entire third world becoming zombies taking on the armed might of the industrialized nations - think Soylent Green with zombies and the budget of Avatar, but - as is always the way with these things - when the producers discovered that between them they could only scrape together £6.80 and that Charlton Heston hadn't returned their calls they realized that a major rethink - and rewrite - would be needed.

Enter Mattei (not literally you sick bastard he's been dead for over 5 years) who alongside the hack-tastic master of the macabre Claudio Fragasso soon had the entire project re-jigged to more suit the more, um, modest budget assigned to it.

And more importantly got a cast that would work for food.

Or in José Gras' case cheap cooking sherry.


And from such problems a work of true cinematic genius was born.

An average Daily Mail headline yesterday.

The films troubles didn't end with it's budget problems, sub-literate cast and lack of suitable head wear tho' as upon release in the UK Zombie Creeping Flesh was quickly pounced on by the evil forces of the DPP and unfairly (and messily) tarred with the 'video nasty' brush before being bundled into a box next to an ex-rental copy of Night Train Murders.
Night Train Murders: A little bit of chicken in a box.
But like the zombies it portrays so realistically, the critics found Zombie Creeping Flesh hard to kill as over the years, it's somewhat tarnished reputation as a perfectly formed end of the pier style, totally craptastic shocker has grown to a point where it's fans now number in the dozens.
And what other movie has the balls to feature a ending where a zombie pushes its fist into the heroines screaming mouth, forcing its fingers up through her face before poking out her eyeballs?

Not Finding Dory that's for sure.

Top quality entertainment for all the family.

 *Or am I?