Tuesday, March 31, 2015

stars in their eyes.



Starry Eyes (2014).
Dir: Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer.
Cast: Alex Essoe, Amanda Fuller, Noah Segan, Fabianne Therese, Shane Coffey, Natalie Castillo, Pat Healy, Nick Simmons, Maria Olsen, Marc Senter and Louis Dezseran.




Skinny kneed wannabe actress Sarah (Essoe, a taller, skinnier, more highly strung version of Unwell fave Sally Hawkins) dreams of movie fame and fortune whilst spending her days waitressing (in what looks like a pair of painted on leggings) at a frighteningly depressing potato-themed restaurant named Big Taters.

Her scarily spud-headed boss Carl (the always great Healy from The Innkeepers) is slowly losing patience as more and more of her work-time is taken up with phoning and attending auditions as opposed to making potato-type puns and jutting her breasts out whilst her friend Erin (John Dies At The End's Therese) appears to be channelling Dynasty era Joan Collins, constantly trying to with her general bitchiness as she tries to undermine Sarah's confidence at every opportunity and attempting to steal any role she goes up for.

Saying that, she is really cute so I guess we can let her away with it.

You'd Fabianne her Therese. Probably.


The rest of her friends aren't much better seeing as they consist of a group of wannabe artsy types banding together thru' a shared love of interesting haircuts and tramps trousers.

Saying that tho' they're all  so painfully hip it's a wonder the can find any tramp trousers that fit.

In fact, the only decent folk amongst them is Sarah's hamster-cheeked roommate Tracy (Fuller, a kinda less toothy more American version of Billie Piper) and struggling writer/director cum Erin's fucktoy Danny (Days of Our Lives Conner Lockhart himself, Segan).

But he lives in a van so he doesn't really count.

You see whilst our American cousins may think this is really cool, in the UK we just call people like that Pikeys.

Before setting fire to their shoes obviously.

"Spuds in mah mooth!"


Good fortune (and the plot kicking in good and proper) appears to smile on our heroine one day when she's call up to  audition for a brand new horror epic entitled The Silver Scream, a new project being made by the world renowned  production company Astraeus Pictures.

A company that, due to it's name has either spooky mythological overtones pertaining to the Greek god of dusk and change (and father of the four wind deities) or was set up by a fan of Iron Maiden star Bruce Dickinson's much missed budget airline.

Tho' there's nothing stopping them being a fan of both I guess. 

With this information boosting her confidence Sarah excitedly attends the aforementioned audition only to have her (to my mind anyway) perfectly acceptable reading met with a wall of total apathy and boredom by the creepy casting director (genre favourite Olsen coming across like a scarier real life version of The Incredibles Edna Mode crossed with a shark) and her vaguely camp assistant (smooth chinned Senter).


"Hello French polishers? You may have just saved my life!"

 Sent home with a sigh, Sarah does what anyone would in that situation (if you're a mentalist obviously) would do and strops off to a nearby bathroom before proceeding to pull her hair out whilst screaming.

Which apart from being vaguely reminiscent of my nans stroke (in a totally non sexy way obviously....oh go on then it was a wee bit sexy) is enough to move the casting director to give her another chance.

Sarah that is not my nan, who's a bit too old to audition for a horror movie.

And probably a bit too dead as well.

Returning to the audition room Sarah begins to tear at her hair whilst pulling an 'I'm having a massive poo" face before passing out in a heap.

Not unlike a big bag of potatoes.

Cinematic symmetry eh?

She awakes to find she's been offered a callback to a second audition.

But this one will be slightly different in the fact that she wont need any of her clothes.

She needn't worry about feeling uncomfortable tho' because there'll be a huge fuck off strobe light in the room to help Sarah open up her potential to 'transform' whilst the casting director take pics.

Hmmm....sounds legit.

A pre-stroke, non dead gran yesterday.


Surprisingly Sarah is OK with this and is soon swaying provocatively to the click of the camera before finally entering a trance-like state of euphoria not seen since pill-popping posters 808state, A Guy Called Gerald, Ceephax Acid Crew and Mantra (possibly) last shared a make-shift stage in a deserted warehouse just outside Coventry.

Which to those readers who are too young to remember 'acid house' would be very euphoric indeed.

And probably result if the police driving a van into the speakers and arresting everyone.

But I digress.

Higher than your dads voice and feeling full of confidence Sarah quits her job at Big Taters and begins to prepare herself for soon to come stardom by acting mildly annoying around her friends and taking the piss out of them when they trip over.

Which would be OK if the fall in question didn't result in the groups most inoffensive member Ashley (Castillo) landing head first on a poolside and breaking her nose.

Called back to meet the films leathery necked producer, Peter Pervington (Dezseran), Sarah is shocked to find the saucy old goat attempting to pop his hand in her pants whilst explaining the plot and realizes, too late that she's expected to have some of 'the sex' with him to secure the role.

Balking at the idea of letting someone who looks like your dad put it in her (she doesn't know what she's missing, just ask your girlfriend) Sarah runs (well totters, her heels are quite high) home where she tells all to Tracy who, as friends do tells everyone else.

"It's a film about love, action, romance and maybe a wee bit of mooth shite-in..."


Feeling slightly humiliated by this turn of events Sarah has no choice but to beg for her old job and hope that Erin will soon find someone else to take the piss out of.

But seeing as none of her other pals are forced to wear leggings printed up like french fries on a daily basis I doubt this'll happen.

Everything comes to a head (quite literally) one night when, after a heart to heart with Danny, Sarah decides to bite the bullet (so to speak) and returns to the producers house where she apologies for running off before and offers to make amends by taking his flaccid member in her perfectly rouged mouth.

Which is nice if a little disconcerting when a group of black cloaked masked men appear from behind the curtains.

With her dignity gone and her friends alienated by her increasingly erratic behaviour, Sarah first loses her job before losing herself in increasingly fevered visions of her as a glamourous movie idol with the producer at her side.

Suffice to say she's not a well girl.

But that's not the worst of it as just as she thinks things can't get any worse, she's woken one morning by horrendously painful stomach cramps and blood oozing from every orifice as the pungent smell of ripe onions emanates from her underwear.

Physically and mentally collapsing Sarah's life becomes a living nightmare as she realizes what she must sacrifice to see her dreams of stardom come to fruition....


...Talking of sexual favours for fame...



Inspired (consciously or not) in part by the Freddie Francis portmanteau Torture Garden and with hints of Rosemary's Baby thrown in, Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer's reversal on the well worn Faustian pact tale may not be the horror classic it's been hailed as and it's true that the films overt policy of showing and telling (the producers is wearing a pentagram and talking about having to sell things! What could he mean?) almost scuppers the genuinely uncomfortable atmosphere generated in the films first half when the mundane reality of Sarah's life intersects with the mysterious auditions but on the whole Starry Eyes is good solid entertainment.

Which is always nice to see.

They just need to realize that somethings are better left imagined.

Case in point is the build up to meeting the producer. The aforementioned performance by Maria Olsen is just the right side of creepy as to remain perfectly straight yet increasingly uncomfortable as she hints at what fame will cost Sarah, the visions of what a Satanic casting couch could involve racing thru' your head as Sarah becomes deeper and deeper involved in Astraeus Pictures plot.

What vileness could be in store for the poor girl?

Well, disappointingly the casting couch is just that, she actually has to blow an old bloke and after all that build up it's a wee bit of a let down.

For us obviously, no doubt he loved it.

"He did WHAT in his cup?"

I might sound harsh but it's only because the rest of the movie is so damn enjoyable.

Newcomer Alex Essoe is fantastic as Sarah, flicking effortlessly between put upon victim and psycho-bitch badness without a hint of panto villainy whilst remaining vulnerable on both counts, giving the film a real world heart that plays nicely against the uncomfortable schemes unfolding around her.

As ever Pat Healy is as watchable as ever as are the rest of the cast who give a genuine likability to what could have been a group of annoying cyphers, Noah Segan especially shines as Danny giving a real warmth to what is a tiny, yet important role.

Best of all tho' is Fabianne Therese who nails the bitchtastically evil Erin to perfection.

Hopefully Kölsch and Widmyer have got enough incriminating evidence to keep this cast together for their next project.

Or at the very least leak any pics featuring Therese drunkenly dancing in the bear suit.

Therese...Bear suit not shown.

With a touch of William Lustig as well as nods to classic John Carpenter in both Jonathan Snipes' pulse pounding synth score and Adam Bricker's lush Cinematography coupled with some great production design from Melisa Jusufi (who also worked on one of my favourite movies, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore), Starry Eyes is an old school shocker - in the best sense of the word - and well worth 90 minutes of your time.

I for one am looking forward to the directing duo's next movie.


Recommended.

Friday, March 27, 2015

sex and violins.

Pop music, the fashion, killings and a helluva lot of permed hair today in an Arena tribute to Zayn Malik.

Who says this blog isn't down with 'the kids'?

Paganini Horror (AKA The Killing Violin, 1989).
Dir: Luigi Cozzi.
Cast: Jasmine Main, Maria Cristina Mastrangeli, Pascal Persiano, Donald Pleasence, Pietro Genuardi, Giada Cozzi, Elena Pompei and Dame Daria of Nicolodi.




Somewhere on one of the many canals in Venice (or it might be the dirty old stream behind the producers house, who knows) a fright haired, scarily Victorian styled child (the directors daughter, Giada Cozzi) is heading home aboard a row boat cum taxi after a hard day of violin lessons and working part-time as a Railway Children lookie-likey.

Arriving at her palatial abode she happily bolts upstairs to see her mum (who is currently having a soak in what can only be described as a cheap Parisian brothel themed bathroom), stopping only to grab what looks like a glam rock Skeletor doll from her bedroom before skipping into the aforementioned bathroom (it must have cost a bomb to decorate so they have to get their moneys worth) and chucking a hair-dryer into the bath.

Ouch.

Frighteningly I can imagine one of my beautiful twin podlings doing exactly this but I'm not saying which one.



"Jam in mah tombstone toothed mooth!"


Jumping forward God knows how many years (around seventy odd by the state of the wee girl and her mum I'd wager) and top poodle haired popstrel Kate (Main AKA Jasmine Maimone, the harsh faced star of Demoni and The Black Cat) and her 'rawk' band are busy recording a new single whilst not wearing trousers (less Jem and The Holograms more Jim and The Whorishgrans) and whilst these crazy chicks (and studly drummer Daniel) seem to be enjoying murdering what sounds like a Karaoke cover of You Give Love A Bad Name their monkey browed manager Lavinia (star of the Italian hit Breakdance, Mastrangeli) however is suitably unimpressed.

Basically she thinks it's shit.

Which, if I'm honest it is.

She reckons that to become the top of the pops the band needs something new, something unexpected and maybe a wee bit dangerous and Daniel (Persiano from Demoni 2 and Voices from Beyond) thinks he may have just the thing.

Less Donald where's yer troosers
more Donald where's yer dignity.


Taking a boat to a deserted industrial estate and armed only with a ladies satchel full of dollar bills and a nipple revealing silk shirt he meets up with the mysterious and suavely hatted Mr. Ralph Pickett (Pleasence, one step closer to death and Fatal Frames, poor sod).

Swapping the money for a (fake) leather briefcase (just like the one your geography teacher had) with the spooky lock combination of 666. Daniel excitedly opens the case, revealing a hither to unseen piece of music written by 19th century Italian violinist, violist, guitarist, composer and owner of the most luxurious sideburns in Christendom , Mr. Niccolò Paganini.

"Baby baby baby!"


Time for a wee history lesson methinks.

Paganini, as we all know got into a bit of bother whilst lying on his deathbed, as he was convinced that he just had a mild dose of the Flu, so decided not to bother his local priest with regards to giving him his last rights.

Which would have been OK had he not popped his clogs within minutes of this decision.

In true News of The World fashion, the gossip columnists of the time took this as a sign that the poor guy had sold his soul to Satan.

This is of course total bollocks.

But when has fact ever gotten in the way of a good story?


One direction?...Hmmmm and we all know which way that'll be.


Well, it seems this particular piece of music was written specifically for Old Nick himself and is said to have unearthly, nay evil powers tho' Lavinia is more concerned about any copyright/royalty issues.

Daniel puts everyone at ease by Tippexing out Paganini's name and putting his own on there instead (in joined up writing and everything) meaning Kate and co. are free to pick some spooky outfits to wear on stage whilst Lavinia is so impressed that she even hires world famous horror film director (and star of 'V') Mark Singer (Genuardi from Cemetery Man and Gates of Hell) to shoot a 'music clip' for it at Paganini's old villa, which is now owned by the strangely attractive - in a senior librarian kinda way - Sylvia (the gloriously gorgeous Nicolodi, who needs no introduction), who is more than happy to welcome a band of talentless half naked, no talent sluts into her home for a few days (oh and for a shed load of cash obviously).

"Laugh now!"


Anyway, we've yet to hear the group play this great song (now entitled Paganini Horror) so let's cut to Kate wandering around the mansion in a white wedding dress like some clap ridden council estate Madonna wannabe whilst Daniel (decked out in a frill fronted shirt and velvet suit that not even Jon Pertwee would be seen dead in topped of with a huge felt fedora, a gold painted poppy eyed skeleton mask and brandishing a gold violin) as Paginini chases her about for a bit before stabbing her in the stomach.

Director boy Mark can hardly contain himself as he shouts "Cut!" whilst Lavinia jumps up and down on the spot like a gin soaked chimp, rubbing her hands together with glee at the thought of all that lovely money she's going to make.

Sylvia on the other hand just stands in the corner holding a tray of tea and biscuits looking incredibly saucy in an Uber-MiLF kinda way, tapping her feet and nodding her head in time to the music.

Which frankly is enough excitement for any red blooded male.

"Boiled onions!"


Obviously needing to pad the movies meagre running time Kate and her pals perform the song again, only this time wearing boob tubes, braces, tiny black skirts and a selection of cocktail waitress outfits (yes even Daniel), luckily Kate's insistence on staring straight into camera, all wild eyed and puckered lipped helps stop the men watching from having any impure thoughts of any kind.

Which is one up to the feminists watching methinks.

Anyway all this sexiness is way too much for foxy, firm of tummy bassist Rita (Ravegnini; imagine a youngish, cheaper Joan Collins stinking of gin and holding her shoes at a bus stop and you're halfway there) who, throwing continuity to the wind decides to change out of her electric blue bunny girl outfit into something a wee bit more sensible for the final scenes of the video.

However unknown to her the real demonic violinist (wearing an exact copy of Daniels frankly shoddy Paganini outfit) is hiding behind the coat rail in her dressing room.

"And when I have a stroke I pull this face!"


Thinking it's Daniel up for a bit of a laugh, Rita light heartedly tells him to stop looking at her (fairly firm I must admit) breasts and get back to work, totally missing the fact that the violin he's holding has a huge blade attached to its bottom that's pointing straight at her toned flat stomach.

With one graceful move our golden pal plunges the blade into poor old Rita ending any dreams she had of playing bass in a Robert Palmer video (or getting paid) in an instant.

Uncomfortably shuffling and attempting to make small talk whilst waiting for Rita to return, Lavinia makes an incredible leap of logic and deduces that she has, in fact fucked off home after tiring of the whole rock 'n' roll lifestyle and orders Mark to replace he with a shop window dummy in a joke shop wig with a guitar round it's neck.

"No-one will notice" she says.

And on that bombshell Daniel excuses himself and heads off to the toilet where he comes across Rita, resplendent in a soaking, nipple revealing tissue paper dress with wild frizzy hair, lurching around like a (very attractive I'll admit) piss stained tramp.

Holding in his wee, Daniel decides to follow her thru' the cobwebbed corridors at the back of the house and into a small (and unfortunately empty) wine cellar where he's promptly stabbed to death by the violently vicious violinist.

Jade Goody: The Return.

Trapped in the mansion and with a killer on the loose, Kate, Lavinia, Mark and Sylvia can only pray that they'll survive till morning (or at least till Sylvia remembers where she's put the front door key).

Or is there more to the killings than meet the eye?

"Shite in mah mooth!"


From the mind of Italy's third (or is that fourth?) best director named Luigi comes this fantastic tale of music and mentalism topped off with an arse clenchingly bad Eurotrash score, the kind of non-acting usually reserved for prison productions of Chaucer and enough cheese to keep Domino's Pizza in business till the end of time.

Yes dear reader, the film is really that good.

Famous for directing (and writing) some of Italy's most enjoyable movies (oh, and Demons 6), including such classics as the Caroline Munro sci-fi epic Starcrash, the alien egg based thriller Contamination, the Italian re-edit of Toho's Godzilla (or Cozilla as it's widely known) and a couple of Lou (Hulk) Ferrigno Hercules adventures, Paganini Horror is the last movie (to date) that this great man has directed.

But if you want to finish your career on a high then you could do much worse than this.

Like all of Cozzi's work the plot may be nonsensical and the production values cheaper than your mum but it doesn't matter as his genuine love for the horror genre oozes like the movies bright red fake blood thru' every frame and the enthusiasm he has for the material infects the actors much like a zombie outbreak.

Everyone involved seems to be having a great time and the audience can't help but be swept along for the ride.

And surely that's what good cinema is all about?

"Put it in me!"


Speaking of the cast, Donald Pleasence seems to be having a ball (probably not a leathery one) in his cameo as the sinister Mr. Pickett, all twinkly eyes and dodgy accents whilst the goddess that is Daria Nicolodi is at once sinister, sexy and motherly in a role that would fade into obscurity had it been played by a lesser actress, she even manages to look good in an outfit that even Lady GaGa wouldn’t be seen dead in.

The woman is a legend and should be worshipped frankly.

Even the worst members of the cast are great; Jasmine Main's manic eyed performance seems to consist mainly of teeth, a bubble perm and the ability to screech whilst not looking good in a skimpy outfit (which must take real talent judging by the outfits) but it's pitch perfect for a film where everyone else appears to be just wandering around in a badly dubbed haze of harsh red and blue lighting waiting to be offed by what looks like a giant child's home made puppet monstrosity made flesh.

Which is no bad thing.

Some cinema somewhere should be brave enough to organise a Cozzi weekender so that the great man's work can be foisted on an unsuspecting public brainwashed by crap commercial horror fare and lowest common denominator action pants.

The fuckers wouldn't know what hit them.

The campaign begins here people.

Let the world's first Cozzi-Con become a reality.

Monday, March 23, 2015

childline.

It's almost the Easter holidays so time for something for the whole family.

Quien Puede A Un Nino? (AKA Death Is Child's Play, The Killer's Playground, Island of the Damned, Who Can Kill a Child?, Would You Kill a Child? 1976)
Dir: Narciso Ibanez Serrador.
Cast: Lewis Fiander, Prunella Ransome, Antonio Iranzo and the cast of Byker Grove.


  "Do you think the other children will start playing the way we do?"
"Oh, yes...there are lots of children in the world. Lots of them."


A pair of  particularly posh English love birds, the mightily moustached Tom and the pountily pregnant poppet Evelyn (Doctor Who's drug dealing tinker Tryst from The Nightmare of Eden Lewis Fiander and victim of the Silurian plague Prunella Ransome) are enjoying a well deserved break from drinking Pimms, watching cricket and abusing the staff with a holiday in sunny Spain, taking in the local lifestyle (letting your hair get greasy, not washing, seducing underage girls etc - possibly) and travelling to various festivals buying carpets and the like.

Whilst ordering food in English and sniggering at the locals trousers like all Brits abroad obviously.

After much saucy fun,bikini clad frolicking, vast amounts of el cheapo Vino and a fairly serious chat about abortion (Tom wanted Evelyn to have one, she refused - see it's a kinda child killing thing isn't it? I see what they did there), Tom decides to finish the holiday with a visit to the beautiful island of Almanzora (these days frequented by such luminaries as Ian Botham and Daley Thompson fact fans) and the small village of Shi'moo where he had many a magical holiday as a small (non moustached) boy.

Hmmm...another child reference. 

This  Serrador bloke is good.

But the couple get a shock on arriving at the island, the town is abandoned, the hotel is empty and the local restaurant is deserted. 


Worst of all tho' is that all the TeeVee's are broken and the corner shop is out of Take A Break magazines.
 

What has happened to this island paradise?


"Look! It's Fred Titmuss!"



Tom, being a hunky hero type  decides to play detective whilst  Evelyn, being in the fat lady pudding club, rests her swollen feet.


No sooner has Tom jauntily skipped down the road than a young girl pops up at a window and waves merrily at Evelyn before slowly creeping over and obsessively stroking our plump pals mummy tummy before smiling and running away.

Weird.

Returning to Evelyn empty handed save for a kiss me quick hat the pair, in a horror movie first decide to explore together, soon coming across an old man sitting at the roadside.


But I suppose that being heavily pregnant has put Evelyn off the sex so Tom has to get his jollies where he can.
 
But before the old fella can wipe himself down or even grunt "Aye son!" a small girl appears from nowhere and bludgeons him to death with his walking stick.
 

Kids eh?


Luckily the local kids fear the Bri-Nylon.


Finding the situation a wee bit strange and probably worthy of a bit of Scooby Doo style investigation Tom and Evelyn decide to follow the girl further inland, passing deserted cars, discarded teeth and many a battered skull along the way.
All belonging to adults.
Well obviously the cars belong to adults (they aren't toy ones) but I'm trying to build tension so stick with me.
It's not long before our dynamic duo have uncovered the terrifying - if fairly obvious - truth behind the killings....the children have become possessed by mentalism, murdering all the adults on the island to death!

Front bum, back bum, shitey mooth....three for a full hoose!


After school activities on Almanzora now include using dead peoples as piñatas, not brushing your teeth, skewering tourists and staying up all night to play Call of Duty on the PS3 whilst listening to Pixie Lott or something.
Yes, it's every adults nightmare.
Pixie Lott: Tunnel or funnel?
Tom and Evelyn, obviously au fait with the killer kiddies genre, decide it'd probably be for the best if they attempted to escape from these wannabe ASBO's by making their way to the up-market bit of town which - luckily - is populated by posh ex-pats (with even posher kids obviously), none of this council scum they keep finding around the streets where they are now.

See? 

Even more of that socio-political stuff, the director's a genius.
Just when everything seems like it's going to be OK (isn't that the way?) Tom makes a disturbing discovery, it appears that it only takes a sly look from those perishing pre-teens in the general direction of another child to pass of the madly murderous mentalism.
Tom and Evelyn are left with no choice but to fight back, the fate of their unborn child in their hands.
Well in Evelyn's tummy but you know what I'm getting at.

Pedants.

Begging for a mooth shite-in.



Unfortunately Tom's idea of fighting back is to lock himself and his wife in someones spare room and hope they can stay quiet enough to not attract any attention till the police turn up.
Which as far as escape plans go is up their with "Let's split up and search the woods for a way out alone!"
Hal Delrich would be proud.
Settling down for a well deserved rest (and maybe, just maybe a quick fondle of Evelyn's glorious globes) Tom's top seduction technique ("Oooh Evelyn I've got a pure steamer on!" probably) is interrupted when a blond small boy brandishing his large weapon bursts in on them.
Tom jumps into action, bitch-slapping the little shite before reluctantly shooting him in the arse, giving us a chance to not only see Fiander's Oscar calibre grief acting but to answer the question poised by the film's title.
This is getting all meta-textual init?
But this tearful wank and Pot Noodle moment brings only a brief period of calm for our cooped up couple as, without warning Evelyn starts leaking piss, shit and shame as her by now infected foetus murders her from within the womb. 
Which I'll admit I didn't see coming.
As the sun rises on a new day, a weary Tom is left completely alone. 
Apart from a handy assault rifle that is.

And an obvious dislike of children.

Shallow: Hal.

Violently grabbing the rifle, Tom decides (albeit a bit late in the day) to prove his worth as a  real man by running down to the harbour whilst firing indiscriminately into the crowds of kids and steal a boat back to the mainland.
Cue primal screams and comedy kid dancing as the bullets rip thru' row upon row of mad mini-people as Tom gingerly runs down the street before finally managing to cut the boat loose and head toward the open sea.
Wading into the water in an attempt to stop him leaving the children try desperately to overturn the boat as Tom valiantly tries to maim as many of them as he can.
Unfortunately (for him) Tom's world recording breaking infanticide attempt is cut short by the arrival of a Spanish police patrol boat, and the greasy crew mistakenly thinking that Tom has gone mad, shoot the poor sod dead.
Docking at the harbour, the officers begin tending to the wounded and asking the poor ickle children where their parents are.
One of the kids points toward town whilst the officer in charge asks no-one in particular the age old question "Who Can Kill a Child?" .
Which is a wee bit silly seeing as the answer is the guy he just shot obviously.
As the three officers begin the short walk to the shops (it's thirsty work killing tourists) one of them notices a small group of children sharing out the guns on the boat, turning to stop them the trio are confronted by a small moonfaced girl who waves them  Goodbye just before one of the boys shoots the three dead.

As the sun begins to set the children split into small groups, all the easier to infiltrate the mainland...



Murphy's Mob: the ASBO years.

The bastard offspring of Village of The Damned and daddy to every kiddie based horror flick since (and no doubt where Stephen King ripped Children of The Corn off from),
from it's opening montage of true life atrocities committed against children to it's downbeat ending Who Can Kill a Child? is as disturbing a movie today as it was at the time of release.

Thinking about it in these child safety obsessed modern times tho' it probably comes across as even more so.

Which makes the fact that a remake not only got green-lit but actually made even more disturbing.

But it's not just  the subject matter - or the haircuts - that makes this film an unforgettable and fairly harrowing experience.


No it's more to do with the leisurely pace at which Narciso Ibanez Serrador unfolds his story, unafraid as he is to build the tension slowly as he works quietly toward the movie's climax with an ever growing sense of dread. 

Filmed completely in broad daylight, Pedro Almodóvar's cinematographer of choice, Jose Luis Alcaine adds a sense of growing isolation whilst avant-garde composer Waldo de los Ríos' soundtrack of suitably soothing lullaby style songs gives a spooky Twilight Zone vibe to the proceedings.

But that's not all it has in it's favour, the small (in number as well as height) cast are unusually good for Spanish genre flicks of the time (casting English speaking ex-Doctor Who actors probably helped) and the Kiddie cast admirably pull of the task of going from sweet to shit scary in the bat of an eyelid.


A wee bit like my own podlings then.

Finally getting the love and care it deserves after years of being butchered, redubbed, retitled and generally pissed about,  Serrador's masterpiece can now proudly take it's place as the missing link between the horrific excesses of Jorge Grau's Manchester Morgue and Paul Naschy's Werewolf series.


Well we all know how much I like my little boxes, plus it makes it easier to put on your shelves this way.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

get me to the greek.

Noticed a total lack of nudity on the blog recently.

Hope this makes up for it.

Emanuelle’s Daughter Queen of Sados (AKA Black Emmanouella, Emanuelle the Seductress, Emanuelle's Daughter, Emanuelle: Queen Bitch, Emanuelle: Queen of Sados, 1979)
Dir: Ilias Mylonakos (Yup,THE Ilias Mylonakos you lucky people!)
Cast: Laura Gemser, Pantelis Agelopou, Haris Tryfonas, Gabriele Tinti, Vagelis Vartan, Nadia Neri, Livia Russo and Gordon Mitchell.

Photobucket
...and suffering from leg
cramp by the look of it.


Imagine this.....Laura Gemser in a nude film NOT 'directed' by Joe D'Amato but still playing the role she became famous (sort of) for.....so how does Ilias Mylonakos' vision compare to that of the god-like D'Amato?

Let's begin with a quick synopsis (yes, there is a plot....this time focusing on revenge and murder as well as 70's breasts and hairy arses).

Gladys Emanuelle (dusky beautie and your dads first Nat West Laura Gemser) hires a hit-man to kill her abusive (and incredibly kinky) husband, the devil bearded and mightily man-titted Victor alongside his two evil business partners, Robert and Ilona after suffering years of abuse, weird sexual rituals and rough bum love.

Even on Sundays.

Trying everything from putting bromide in his tea to ringing Jeremy Kyle our heroine has no other option than to hire the mysterious hitman Mario (Tryfonas AKA Harris Stevens AKA my real dad sporting the biggest - and brightest - pair of polyester flares ever committed to celluloid) to take him out for the agreed price of £37.80 and a quick shag.

Bargain.

"Suckle mah man tits!"


Mario comes thru' and kills the dirty blighter in a plane crash meaning that our olive skinned heroine inherits not only his successful orange growing empire and high waist trouser collection but also gains custody of his virginal teenage daughter Livia (dirty bird Russo).

Emanuelle finally free from all this death, dodgy deals and sex sees her new found freedom as a great opportunity to not only have some girl bonding time but also a good excuse to get away from all suspicious coppers skulking about her house so decides to book the pair on a package holiday to Greece.

What?

Has she not seen Island of Death?

Your mum licking piss off John Nettles yesterday.


Unfortunately (for them that is, for the entertainment of the viewer this man is a godsend) sleazy sex god Mario is in hot pursuit.

It would appear that the hunky hitman has begun to feel that his big wad (of cash) wasn't big enough.

He wants more.

Much more.

And not just money.

You see, he's taken a shine to young Livia's hymen for one thing.

The filthy rotter.

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"Ooh Vic...I've fallen".

Turning up at the depressingly off season holiday camp with some tacky gifts in tow (an arse plug for mum and a bag of sweets for the wean) Mario soon ingratiates himself with the normally shy Livia, much to her step mum's disgust.

And as Gemser enthusiasts know, if our heroines disgusted it must be bad.

The swarthy, handbagged faced lothario tho' is enjoying the awkwardness of the whole situation lifting Livia onto his lap and rubbing coconut oil into her smooth, milky virgin flesh with his big sweaty sausage fingers before inviting her swimming at a local secluded beach.

Emanuelle is raging which means that she storms out of the chalet looking for someone to stick it in her.

Obviously.

"Wahey Janet! I'm spunking buckets!" cried Peter Duncan as he announced the Blue Peter appeal total.

Luckily for all involved, whilst at the beach Livia ends up getting chatting with a geeky bowl haired local guy named Aubrey (Vartan), who although blessed with having a face like a wart riddled testicle is at least her own age (which according to various sources was about 14 at the time of shooting which doesn't make the beach front sex scene a wee bit uncomfortable to watch at all, no sir).

Staying out way past her bedtime in order to catch Aubrey's fantastic display of table top disco-dancing (to the Village People's “YMCA” - unfortunately overdubbed with mind numbing bouzouki music on the DVD release) in the nite spot from Bloody Moon, Livia's romantic night comes to an end with her bashful beau walking her home along the sands before stealing a goodnight kiss.

But unbeknown to the young lovers Mario is watching from behind a bush, angrily masturbating as he stares silently at her admittedly peach arse as it jiggles in the moonlight.

But if that wasn't enough, lurking behind a slightly bigger bush further up the beach are Robert and Ilona, trying to uncover the truth behind Victor's death while also planning to get Livia to side with them.

All this because it appears that she's the true heir to her late father's fortune.

And you thought it was all about the shagging.

Anyway, back to the, ahem, plot.

Whilst all this sinister subterfuge is going on, Emanuelle decides the best course of action is to meet up with Robert for a wee bit of bollock tickling (watch him sweat! Touch his warts!) before arguing about orange growing with a stubborn factory foreman (see him growl!) before finally going shopping for pants.

Edible ones of course.


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If you sit close enough to the
screen you can smell the yeast.

Feeling a wee bit left out at this point, Mario (in between staring at Livia whilst licking his lips and wearing bri-nylon swimming trucks) has been spending his time shagging every woman with a pulse on the island.

This includes a naked-cooking fetishist he met on the flight out and Emanuelle's wonky faced, cod eyed and bulldog faced 'assistant'.

Obviously having some taste and a slight grasp of foreplay techniques, he began this sordid little liaison by first forcing her head down a toilet (no doubt in an attempt to straighten it up or at the very least wipe of some of the industrial make-up she was caked in) before cheekily forcing it up her (massive doughnut like) shitter.

And they say chivalry's dead.

Feeling on a roll (and after first wiping his shit encrusted cock on the squinty woman's curtains) Mario heads down to the beach and after a half-hearted attempt to generate some tension with a chase, he finally catches up with Livia and tosses her into a muddy puddle before stripping her naked and violently breaking down the gates to her lady garden and putting it in her.

The swine.

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"Nah....still squint".

Will Emanuelle get her revenge on Mario?

Will Livia survive the dirty puddle or ever walk again?

Will our heroines new technique for battery farming oranges prove a success?

Frankly, who cares.

Not me that's for sure.

"IT'S CCCHHHRRRIIISSSTTTMMMAAASSS!"


With Queen of Sados, director Mylonakos manages the impossible by making a low budget Laura Gemser skin-flick that scarily induces bouts of boredom and apathetic yawns from it's audience as opposed to the normal reaction of involuntarily releasing torrents of cum and tears.

Clumsily acted, plotted and directed it's about as erotic as a swingers party in an old peoples home and twice as leathery, featuring a cast of has beens and never wills including art house lunk Gordon (Fellini's Satyricon) Mitchell and the never seen again (outside Childline ads) Livia Russo.

I mean honestly, you know it's bad when Gemser's real life beau Gabriele (Bava's Lisa And The Devil) Tinti even looks bored when shagging his missis on film.

At least  Haris Tryfonas (and his cock) seem to be enjoying themselves tho'.

But unfortunately unlike Tryfonas and his overworked penis the story is reed thin and the characters seldom rise (snigger) above the lightweight plot, many of them coming and going throughout the movie with no other motivation than to stick something in somebody or get something put in them.

Livia Russo: I guess it's OK now seeing as she's probably old enough to be your mum. Or dead.


Lacklustre, insipid and uninspired, the only things in it's favour is the movies historic importance as one of the first films made to cash in on the success of Bitto Albertini's Black Emanuelle series (a series that grew from strength to strength under the milky eyes of Joe D'Amato and Bruno Mattei, taking in cannibals and horses along the way) and the fact that it's marginally more watchable than Mylonakos' other foray in the series, the frankly mad as pants Divine Emanuelle (AKA Love Camp) with it's free love cult and floating overdubbed Gemser.

Oh yes, and it does give us a chance to admire Haris Tryfonas fantastic collection of 70's fashions, from garishly vomit inducing leisure wear to tiny cock bothering Speedo's.

Still doesn't stop it from being half cocked and rubbish tho'.

A bit like your dad.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

mummy dearest.

If The Pyramid had any pleasant side-effects whatsoever it was making me realise how much modern cinema is missing the genius touch of producer/directors such as the frankly fantastic (and non-money laundering) Frank Agrama, the man behind probably the best (and possibly only) zombie mummy movie ever made.

Ladies and gentlemen it's time to revisit.....

Dawn of The Mummy (1981)
Dir: Frank Agrama.
Cast: Brenda King, Barry Sattels, George Peck, John Salvo, Ibrahim Khan, Joan Levy, Ellen Faison, Diane Beatty with the 'lovely' Laila Nasr and her dancing teeth.


It lives! It kills!
And it smells of old man wee!

or

“If ever this tomb is disturbed, Safiraman will rise and kill. His armies will rise and kill.”

Take yer pick.


Welcome everyone to sunny and sandy Egypt in the year 3000 B.C. (Before Continuity), it's a Tuesday afternoon just after 3.20 and the evil Pharaoh Safiraman (who does whatever a Safira can allegedly) is up to his normal weekday tricks raiding local villages for hunky teen boys to abduct, shave and used as 'slaves'.

Which is nice work if you can get it.

But unfortunately for those who enjoy a wee bit of sticky teen action - Dad, social work said to stop coming round the house by the way) - all this oiled boy kinkiness is skipped over in favour of jumping forward in time a few years to Safiraman's funeral.

Well it is an actual horror movie we're watching as opposed to say, a sweaty gay porn film pretending to be one.

Which is nice for a change.

Anyway, we join this obviously sad day just as his mysterious, tombstone toothed high priestess (one hit wonder Nasr) is ranting and raving about Osiris (the Egyptian one, not the shop that does cheap nose piercings in Glasgow city centre) and how fantastic and bloody a tyrant Safiraman was to crowds of nearly a dozen of his followers.

Yup, the budget could stretch to that many.

Knowing that it's best to stop on a high she finishes her speech with a saucy wiggle of her ample old lady arse before muttering an obligatory curse over the mummified body and locking six leather pant clad slaves into his burial chamber to keep him company.

Oh yes, then she fills the whole place with toxic gas.

But not from her arse obviously because she's a nice lady.


Beware! This van is NOT full of sweeties.

Cut to the 'modern' day where a trio of sexy grave robbers led by the hunky blond bad boy Rick Cannon (the easy going co-star of Zoolander and Starsky and Hutch, Owen Wilson acting here under the pseudonym Salvo) have just uncovered Safiraman’s still sealed back passage and, after a quick chat and chin stroke decide to blow the bugger open with handy dynamite sticks.

You never get that on Time Team.

Noticing the noxious stench of sweat, spunk and gravy emanating from Safiraman’s cracked entrance, Rick reckons that the burial chamber may have been booby trapped to prevent anyone doing what he's attempting to do, therefore it'd probably be safer to wait for the poisoned gas to dissipate before stealing all of the Pharaohs trinkets.

Brains, beauty and man-boobs, this guy has it all.

Telling the hired help Iain and Jeanette to stay on guard, Rick jumps into his jeep and prepares to head back to town to buy some crisps and pop for everyone.

Or something.

But as our hero guns his throttle (as I assume you drivers say) he's accosted by a dog blanketed old harridan stinking of piss shouting obscenities at him from the depths of her tar covered toothless mouth.

That'll be Laila Nasr back then, only this time caked in shit and wearing a comedy Cher wig.

Zena (for it is she) angrily spouts and spits at poor Rick, telling him and his team that they're about to desecrate a holy site, and if they're not careful, the mighty Safiraman an his (six man) army of the dead will be forced to “rise from the tomb and kill the infidels!”

Which is nice.


Rick tho', being a rascally type of guy just shrugs his manly shoulders and laughs the threat off before driving to the local shops, leaving his buddies tanking crates of Carling at the tombs entrance.

"Hows this for a Pharaohs entrance Gary?"


Pissed up and passed out on the sands Iain and Jeanette fail to notice the couple of boorish Bedouin neighbourhood watch members skulking behind a nearby cactus and licking their lips at the sight of Jeanette's ample thigh.

It appears that Zena has paid the pair (not in kisses I hope) to keep an eye on the grave robbers but, being foreign and therefore untrustworthy, the bearded bozo's  have decided to steal the treasure for themselves.

Bad, bad Bedouins.

"Nick it!"


Unfortunately the sinister smell of Zena must have affected their noses (and memories) as the pair walk straight into the still gas filled chamber and after a wee bit of dribbling and coughing drop down dead.

Which is actually quite lucky because it leaves the tomb fresh and smelling of daises the next morning just in time for Rick and co. to enjoy a death  trap free day of looting.

Result.

Meanwhile over in New York (well that's what it says on the grainy footage), that top selling women's mag Fashion Monthly has decided that the time is right to send a team, consisting of (camp as pants) photographer Bill (Peck, not Bob), makeup lady Jenny (Levy, tho' not Jane) and sexy 'models' Lisa (King not Steven), Melinda (Faison, Bless you), Joan (Beatty not Ned) plus not forgetting gorgeous Gary (Sattels) over to Egypt for a sexy new fashion shoot.

You can see where this is going can't you?

What all the two-bit whore's will be wearing next summer, go on ask your mum.


The magazines Egyptian correspondent, Norman has decided that the little town of Barqa would make a suitable backdrop for a few days of clothes based shenanigans, especially the sand dunes overlooking the tomb of some guy named Safiraman.

Who'd have guessed?

Fairly unsurprisingly (it's that kinda movie) the fashion glitterati almost immediately bump into Rick and his band, seemingly hitting it off (as opposed to having it off) with our hero right away.

Tho' that could have something to do with the fact that they're all clean(ish) and good-looking - well I say good looking - laydees from the good old US of A, unlike the buck-toothed local women that keep trying to get to grips with his newly recovered Pharaoh staff.

By which I probably mean his penis.

They get on so well that, after a little persuasion Rick even agrees to let them use the tombs interior for the fashion shoot.

As you can probably imagine, this is possibly going to be a very, very bad idea.

"Fuck me! It's Vic Morrow!"


OK so you're thinking to yourself 'so far so horribly clichéd' but surprisingly for a film so threadbare it does have the distinction of adding a new piece of lore to the mummy genre.

And that's a brilliantly unique reason for the mummies resurrection that I'm amazed no other movie since has stolen.

Can you guess, dear reader what actually causes Safiraman to finally rise from his sandy grave?

Is it the messily dynamiting of his sacred burial chamber?

Is it when one of Rick's buddies (not Ben Stiller) steals his golden walking stick before snipping away at his bandages?

Or is it the fact that the heat from Bills arc light is a wee bit too warm for him?

Go on, guess.
"Sand in mah mooth!"



Yup that's right, Safiraman gets all hot and bothered by the lights, waking up in a  strop of Tyra Banks proportions and ready to kick some model arse.

Imagine classic era America's Next Top Model but with more eating disorders but without the hunksome Nigel Barker.

Summoning his zombie slaves, who, in the intervening years appear to have moved out of the tomb and set up home amongst the dunes, Safiraman prepares for his revenge.

Only not right away.

"You wore hotpants in my tomb!!??!!"

After what seems like months of planning (look there are only so many times I can watch underfed wannabe models pose in hideous chiffon dresses before I want to force a pie into the screen - or up someone's arse) Safiraman finally gets up and decides on a plan of action.

Firstly he makes a surprise visit to Jeanette's butcher shop and sticks a meat cleaver in his head before sneaking up on the lovely Melinda whilst she's swimming at the local oasis (but not the one of the zombies) and kills her too.

Luckily for the viewer - if not the poor cast, once Safiraman and his zombie minions get a taste for blood there's no stopping them as they chow down on Gary, enjoy a main course of beefy Bill in a basket before quickly following that with a juicy  Jenny dessert.

Yum.

Jimmy Savile...The Return.


All this blood-letting, burping and general badness seems to be just what our undead chums have been missing all these years and, not wanting to be seen as lightweights they decide to vote on who or what to do next.

Democracy in Egypt?

Who'd have thunk it?

Noticing the sound of riotous laughter and rocking good music in the distance,  Safiraman and his horde reckon it'd be a bit of a laugh to head right into Barqa town centre and crash local drug dealer Steve Hamid's wedding party for a wee dance and some good natured banter.

Oh and to eat the guests whole of course.

Tho' they may spit that bit out.

Dave's Dalek impression was always a hit at kids parties.


It's not too long (or too well shot) before Safiraman and co. have managed to eat their way thru' the aunts, uncles and cousins until only Lisa, Joan, Rick plus a few other folk I've already forgotten are left.

With the undead slowly closing in on them our heroes become embroiled in a battle for survival.

And more importantly against crushing tedium.

Will our heroes escape?

Will Safiraman and his greedy pals ever be full?

And will Rick possibly use the handy stash of dynamite sitting nearby to blow Safiraman up?

Patrick Stewart: the face AIDS years.



The worlds first (and only) joint Egyptian/Italian/American production to feature both flesh eating mummies and high fashion, Frank Agrama's Dawn of The Mummy is a laugh a minute, schizophrenic thrill ride of cack handed dubbing, bad teeth, Lego hair and a cast so unclean you'd swear you could smell the stale urine oozing thru' your Teevee screen.

I had to mop up after sitting thru' it but then again that may have been my excitement showing.

Owen Wilson, up the casino, Cairo, 1982...YESCH!


A big name in the Egyptian film industry (yes it has one) Agrama - the man who brought Super Dimension Fortress Macross to the English-speaking world, a thing that we are eternally grateful for - had already produced and directed over 40 movies before deciding to turn his hand to the horror genre.

Looking to Italy for his inspiration, he (unfortunately) skipped the films of Agento, Fulci and (Mario) Bava and went straight to the shelf containing the complete works of Bruno (Zombie Creeping Flesh) Mattei and Andrea (Burial Ground) Bianchi, delivering a movie of such appalling tardiness that’s only claim to fame is its frightening ability to appear to last even longer than its relatively short 97 minute running time.

It's as if you enter a spooky slow dimension that quietly eats away at your soul whilst watching it.

As this is coming from a man who once sat thru' the entire celluloid abortions that are Cradle of Fear and Little Deaths in one sitting.

But, if self harm appeals to you and you still feel compelled to view this movie you can at least look forward to the amusing (and possibly arousing) delights of sweaty Egyptians whipping small boys, John Salvo's hair and Laila Nasr's teeth, not to mention the cheap market stall fashions and the gore-tastic climax.

Which beats a good plot any day really doesn't it.

Doesn't it?

Plus it gives you a warm glow inside knowing that the director was cleared of all charges of alleged tax fraud after a nine year case and is sitting happily by his pool in LA counting his cash as you watch, not being bummed by a bin man in prison whilst counting his teeth.

Which I guess is an enduring an image as anything on screen here.