Sunday, June 24, 2018

coke zero.


With Velvet Glove, Iron Fist: The Female Protagonist in Contemporary Fantastic Cinema hitting Amazon this week I reckoned it'd be churlish if I didn't mention the fact that writer Andy Ross' previous opus DEAD FUNNY : THE RISE OF THE ZOM-COM is still available also.

Celebrating 30 years of the zombie-themed comedy, it re-traces the path that led to Edgar Wright's benchmark 2004 production, Shaun Of The Dead and features overviews of such classics as Return Of The Living Dead, BrainDead, Bio-Zombie, amongst others.

It's well worth a read and not just because I contributed a couple of reviews and pictures.

Tho' there is that.

Still not convinced?

Well as an added incentive here's a sneaky peek with a look at the piece I wrote for it concerning quite possibly THE greatest Jet Rock 'N' Roll film ever made.

Ladies and gentlemen (and all those in between) I give you.....

Wild Zero (1999).
Dir: Tetsuro Takeuchi
Cast:  Guitar Wolf, Drum Wolf, Billy Bass Wolf, Masashi Endô ,Makoto Inamiya, Sato Masao, Namiki Shiro, Kwancharu Shitichai, Nakajo Haruka and Morishita Yoshiyuki.


“Love has no borders, nationalities or genders! DO IT!”




The world's greatest Jet Rock 'N' Roll band, the frankly fantastic Guitar Wolf (Guitar Wolf, the late great Billy Bass Wolf and Drum Wolf - basically the holy trinity of Rock 'n' Roll greatness) have just finished playing a gig for the sinister shorted, pudding bowl haired, Karaoke obsessed 'Captain' (Inamiya from Zero Woman Returns) who being a bad man is refusing to pay our hard rockin' heroes on account of them stepping in when he was beating up a drugged lady a few scenes earlier.



Before the situation can escalate into mindless violence tho' (well just yet) the bands number one fan, the high haired Ace (Transformers: Beast Wars Metals Endô), stumbles into the office to ask for their autographs which gives the band time to pull out their guns and shoot their way out of the office.



As a thank you, the band's enigmatic front man, also named Guitar Wolf first becomes blood brothers with Ace before giving him a mysterious whistle which will alert the band if ever he needs their help.



And to think all I got last time I saw them live was a push to the ground when I tried to get my live DVD signed.



Rock 'N' Roll eh?


キャプテン私のキャプテン





And with that (and a loud howl obviously) the band disappear into the night.



The next day as Ace is heading to the next gig on his trusty moped mibding his own business when he realizes that he needs petrol. Being a do-gooding reluctant hero type it'll come as no surprise that when he's queuing to pay (and buy a Snickers for the journey he manages to inadvertently foil a robbery but also save the sweetly naive (obvious) runaway Tobio (the pixie-like Shitichai) in the process.



Obviously it's love at first sight.



Or it would be if Ace wasn't late to see his heroes.



So blowing Tobio a kiss Ace heads off to the concert leaving his true love to hitch-hike home.



Or to wherever she's heading.



Which is straight into our hearts obviously.




Across town the Captain's men are out looking for Guitar Wolf but instead of finding of musical maestros they come across (not in that way) a gaggle of recently reanimated corpses out for flesh.



It appears that the dead are rising, intent on devouring the living and no-one is safe as Ace himself finds out when he runs across a group of zombies feasting on an ice cream man in the middle of the road.



Realizing that Tobio is defenseless and alone Ace hurriedly heads back to the gas station to save her.



Meanwhile the Captain is busying himself auditioning wee girls in Sailor Moon outfits to sing at his Karaoke bar.



Which is fair enough I guess.


私はゾンビがあなたに穴を食べると聞いた....彼らはそれを吐き出すかもしれないが!

If at this point you, like me were wondering what happened to the would-be robbers from earlier then fear not as we're soon back with them as they too fight against zombies, group politics and their own feelings for each other before teaming up with a tattooed, Burberry clad hitwoman (don't ask) in a Humvee and trying to find a safe place to hold out till help arrives.



Which after some broomhandle vs zombie action is what Tobio and Ace find themselves doing, hiding as they are in a deserted basement.



Overwhelmed by his feelings Ace opens his heart to Tobio and explains that  finding his one true love under such bizarre and deadly circumstances has strengthened his belief in faith and humanity before swearing his undying devotion to Her.



Overcome by such and outpouring of love Tobio tells Ace that she loves him too but has a secret she must share.



It appears that Tobio is, in fact, a man.



Given his already slightly stressed demeanor, this news sends Ace over the edge and he storms of in a confused huff and boards himself up in a cupboard.



It's always darkest 'fore the dawn and the light that brightens this situation is a ghostly appearance from Guitar Wolf himself.



Explaing the situation to his hero Ace is soon brought to his senses by possibly the greatest speech regarding love and tolerance ever committed to celluloid as Guitar Wolf announces:






Beautiful.



Picking up a handy crow bar Ace screams out for Tobio as he heads off to save her.



Again.



Guitar Wolf meanwhile have problems of their own to deal with as the Captain angry at his minions incompetence has decided to take matters into his own hands and whilst using various members of the undead as (in)human shields is currently firing a grenade launcher at random objects in the hope of finding the band and destroying them.



I bet Bucks Fizz never had this trouble post Eurovision.



私が私を道に踏み出させたとき
私は乗るつもりです、乗る、乗るつもりです!
私が私を道に踏み出させたとき
私は乗るつもりです、乗る、乗るつもりです!
私が私を道に踏み出させたとき
誰もどこに行くべきか教えてくれませんか?いいえ!
私が私を道に踏み出させたとき
私は乗る、乗る、乗る、乗る、乗るつもりだ!
As the captain causes more and more property damage and loss of bladder control he hones in on an abandoned apartment block unleashing his entire explosive load into the building in one last attempt to crush the band.



Imagine his (and our) surprise then as out of the burning chaos leaps an unharmed Guitar Wolf , dropping to his knees and retuning his guitar as he lands before letting rip with some killer riffs.



Genius.



So the stage is set for a climactic battle between the forces of rock and rubbish fashions as the pair go head to head in a fight to the death.



As guns give way to fists our hero is fairly surprised when the Captain mutates into a bald super-powered mutant with laser eyes but just as Guitar Wolf looks about to be beaten Billy and Drum Wolf turn up with a handy bazooka, blowing the Captain to (ickle biddy) bits.

Phew.

Well it would be if suddenly from nowhere a fleet of UFO's didn't appear intent on destroying/enslaving the Earth......






A triumph of style, wit and substance over budgetary constraints, director Tetsuro Takeuchi's ode to true love, rock 'n' roll and high, high hair is quite possibly the greatest ever made.



Fact.



And whilst the audience may be drawn to the promise of zombies, aliens and rock 'n' roll the films true heart belongs to Ace and Tobio and the finest onscreen love story since Tony and Maria in West Side Story.



Tho' if I'm honest The Jets could probably give Guitar Wolf a run for their money if cornered.



And what of Japan's self proclaimed 'Greatest Jet Rock 'N' Roll Band'?



Well they're the leather clad, self deprecating glue that holds the whole thing together, part Elvis, part superhero team and all rock gods it's rare to see a bands energy and excitement actually captured on film so perfectly, artfully blurring the fine line 'tween reality and rocktastic fiction.


小さなギターのオオカミや巨人の足?



But for all the leather clad macho posturing and killer guitar breaks it's the love story at the films centre that really stands out.



Remember this film is from 1999 way before transgender issues were being discussed let alone accepted and whilst many films at the time would have gone for cheap comedy cock comments and double takes Wild Zero handles it in a genuinely touching way, skipping over any issues or fears Ace may have with Guitar Wolf's frankly magnificent speech on the subject.



Referencing everything from Night Of The Living Dead to Mars Attacks! via the very best rollicking Rockabilly-fueled tunes Wild Zero is as unique as Ace's quiff is high and the world is a better place for it.



Complete and utter fun-filled genius and I love it.



And so should you.



ROCK 'N' ROLL!!!!!!



mystery train.

Cassidy has rediscovered the joys of Thomas The Tank Engine so been searching online for some stuff he may not have...




Obviously a review to follow (might take longer than normal seeing as we're fighting over who gets to type it).

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.