Thursday, September 22, 2016

family ties.


Greetings readers!

In between work at the moment so keeping out of trouble by randomly picking films off the shelves and watching them whilst getting slowly drunk.

Quite a short one for a change with a distinct lack of 'laugh nows' mainly due to the fact that the kids are due home soon and I've still to sort their snacks.

Luckily I'm not feeling totally dejected as I've had a few review requests (well one) so I shall get to that ASAP.

But first.....
La notte dei diavoli (AKA Night of the Devils, 1972)
Dir: Giorgio Ferroni.
Cast: Gianni Garko, Agostina Belli, Roberto Maldera, Bill Vanders, Cinzia De Carolis, Maria Monti, Teresa Gimpera and Umberto Raho.




Well we're back in Europe and back in the woods (probably just around the corner from where Annik Borel is writhing around naked) where we're introduced to the tragic traveling wood salesman, Lesley Manhorn (played by the mightily mustached Maldera) who is passing his time wandering thru' the undergrowth clad only in a dirty sweater and torn Action Slacks.

Discovered by a concerned shepherd our poorly pal is quickly carted off to the local mental hospital, tho' probably not to be stripped naked and tied to a bed.

Instead he's viciously prodded and poked by the concerned (or constipated, I couldn't tell) Dr. Tosi (Enter The Devil's Raho) as his terrifying tale unfolds through the medium of dance (oh go on then, flashbacks), leaving him - and us - horrified to discover that he's become embroiled in yet another remake of the (one halfway decent) Leo Tolstoy novel, The Family of the Vourdalak.

But this time not one directed by Mario Bava or starring Boris Karloff.

"You ain't seen me, right?"


It transpires that during his trip home from a particularly successful building conference Lesley, after drinking far to much of the local brew and taking a wrong turn managed to wrap his car around a tree leaving him stranded in the Yugoslavian countryside.

The whole situation is a wee bit like being stuck in Dudley in the West Midlands but with less chance of getting your arse felt by a tramp.
Or catching crabs from a beer glass.

Luckily (for the viewer obviously otherwise it'd be a really crap horror movie) he finds shelter for the night in the home of the Ciuvelak family, headed by grumpy patriarch Gary (Vanders).

All seems well, until day turns to night that is, when our hero (if you can class someone who self MDF and hardboard for a living a hero) is kept awake by strange noises emanating from the woods.

Questioning his host the next morning he's told not to worry as it's just a bloodthirsty witch that lives in the trees.

Which is nice if a little unexpected.

I was expecting rats.

After running out of strawberry jam, Madeline McCann made a stunning reappearance.


It seems that the witch killed Gary's brother a while back before deciding that it'd be a wee bit more fun for everyone to resurrect him as an exotically monikered Vourdalak, a mythological Russian vampire with a penchant for time keeping, fact fans.

Anyway back to the plot where Les seems to be taking all this gypsy gossip in his stride, which might be because he's fallen head over heels in love with Gary's busty redheaded daughter Sdenka (button nosed beauty Belli), either that or the constant bowls of oxtail soup and bread are beyond compare.


Agostina Belli: Your grandad did. Twice.

Either way he doesn't even bat an eyelid when Gary decides to don a big furry hat and heads out into the woods to confront the witch once and for all.

Number one son Terry (Garko) tho' is prepared for the worst, fearing that his poor dad will get vamped and return home the next day at precisely 6 o'clock and wreak havoc on the household.

See?

Told you there was time keeping involved, I don't make this shit up you know.

Well, not all of it.

Beware! He's going to put his big chopper in you!

Suffice to say that Gary does indeed return at the allotted time the next day looking a wee bit greener than normal (which he blames on trapped wind) but insisting that he has in fact killed the witch and isn't a vampire.

The family (being a bit fick) believe him.

It won't come as too much of a surprise when I say that he's lying thru' his pointy teeth, leading to 60 minutes of death, depravity and dodgy trousers.

"I'm sorry, I have my woman's period."


Criminally under-rated and hardly seen by anyone outside the directors immediate family, Giorgio (AKA Calvin Jackson Padget) Ferroni's penultimate picture is a slow burning supernatural shocker that's a joy to watch from it's starch slacked start to it's devilish denouement. 

Whilst it never reaches the giddy heights of the directors earlier Mill of the Stone Women it's well worth the effort to track down, if only to compare how two totally different film makers (t'other being Mario Bava with his classic Black Sabbath) approach the same source material.

"Shite in my gorgeous Italian mooth you wood loving bastard!"


Whereas Bava's vision is all clinging atmospherics, subtle lighting and and knowing nods from Karloff, Ferroni decides to go straight for the jugular from the start, the film’s opening minutes featuring as they do a barrage of blood and boobs before quickly settling down into a more sombre state as the story begins good and proper.

With a pitch perfect cast playing the whole scenario as straight as Chuck Norris,
Ferroni is free to let his camera camp up the proceedings as it treats both gore and nudity with glee abandon.

And it's this freewheeling style, aided by Giorgio Gaslini's sinister score that enables the film to flip from gothic chiller to frantic chase movie almost without warning as it builds to it's climax.

Plus Agostina Belli really pulls off those early 70s fashions.


"Is it in yet?"


T'is a pity then that such a great movie is lumbered with such a generically piss-poor title, which probably hasn't helped it's availability (or reputation) over the years, which is almost as much a shame as the fact that Ferroni made so few horror movies.

That and the fact that his best known work, Le baccanti (AKA Bondage Gladiator Sexy) is rubbish.



Well that's a bit of a downer to end on isn't it?





fog on the rhine.

After rewatching The Vampires Night Orgy I've found myself obsessing over the sublime Helga Liné.

Which is nice.

And, I may add a good enough excuse to revisit....

Las garras de Lorelei (AKA L'abbraccio mortale di Lorele, The Loreley's Grasp, The Night the Screaming Stopped. 1974).
Dir: Amando de Ossorio
Cast: Tony Kendall, Helga Liné, Silvia Tortosa, Ángel Menéndez, Josefina Jartin, Loreta Tovar, José Thelman, Luis Induni and Francisco Nieto.

“Send her back into the legendary night from which she has come.”



Welcome to the small town of Cleftplate nestling on the banks of the river Rhine, a town where nylon action slacks and porn mustaches rule supreme and where a green-gilled beast is doing it's best to eat thru' the entire neighbourhood in it's search for fresh hearts.

Beats Emmerdale any day.

But not The Archers obviously.

Every night dozens of angry, polyester-clad villagers gather at the local pub to debate who or what is terrorizing the town.

Luckily there's an expert in their midst, the local doctor, one Terry Von Lander (Der Todesrächer von Soho star Menéndez) and according to him the town is being stalked by a mythical beast.

Sounds plausible.

The Cleftplate men's club annual game of spin the bottle was always popular with the Colonel.


It transpires (I love that word it's second only to ottoman) that many years ago a beautiful lady, named Lorelei who spurned by her lover after he tricked her into a bout of the bum sex, tossed herself off the cliffs and into the murky waters of the Rhine.

As you would.

Well ever since then it is said that she returns every number of years (he's not that specific) in order to feast on human flesh for some convoluted reason.

I must have missed that bit.

Anyway fearing for the safety of the pupils at the local all girls boarding school, the sternly saucy headmistress Elke Ackerman (top tottie Tortosa from Horror Express) hires local he-man and open shirted sex god Sigurd (Italy's very own John Leslie, Kendall, most famous for his role as PI Jo Louis Walker in the Kommissar X movies) to patrol the grounds in the hope of keeping the pupils safe.

Frankly if I had to choose between a fishy monster or Sigurd's obscenely large bulge I know which I'd probably need more protection from, it's almost as if he has a babies arm down there.

A baby bodybuilders arm.

A baby bodybuilders arm holding an apple.

A really, really big apple.

With one huge weeping eye.

Arriving the following day astride a huge motorbike, Sigurd and his trousers cause quite a stir (and a hell of a lot of dampness) amongst the students as well as a feeling of complete loathing from Elke.

I doth think she protests too much but let's wait and see.

You would, he would, your mum did. Twice.


Patrolling the grounds every night with his massive weapon cocked and ready to fire, our he-man hero alleviates the boredom by leering and winking at the girls whilst they get ready for bed.

And being dolly burds they fahkin' love it.

Obviously.

Unfortunately (or fortunately if you prefer stalking barely legal girls to killing monsters) the beast appears to be more interested in killing the townsfolk.

Which, if I'm honest doesn't seem to bother anyone until the creature murders the local homeless musician cum rent boy Tobias that is.

With no-one left to cuddle up to on those cold winters nights when their wives have locked them out, a mob of the towns most mustachioed men march on the mayor's cottage and demand action.

Back at the school shifty Sigurd is having some trouble of his own after being caught masturbating in the pupil's private pool.

Ms. Elke, still not swayed by his manliness, sends our hero off into the countryside for a swim in a nearby lake in the vain hope of cooling his ardor.

"Ere! Can you smell Mackerel?"

Wandering around like a lost child (albeit a lost child with a massive hard-on), Sigurd comes across (I'm not even going to type it) a ravishing redhead in a green fringed bikini lounging nonchalantly on a rock trying her best not to appear too cold.

Having not seen a female for nearly fifteen minutes Sigurd gives chase but the mysterious woman gracefully glides thru' the rocks, her ample arse gently bouncing hypnotically as she goes before disappearing from sight. 

Bewitched by this ginger siren Sigurd begins to hang around the lake on a daily basis in the hope of seeing her again and luckily (with the movie only being ninety odd minutes) this happens fairly quickly.

But not as quickly as Sigurd's smooth moves seeing as within minutes he manages to get his mysterious Ms. into a saucy clinch on a dirty mattress in a broken down fisherman’s hut.

The romantic devil.

Unfortunately (for him and us tho' I reckon the lady had a narrow escape) just at the point of entry a big bearded man appears and reprimands Sigurd for keeping Lorelei out for so long.

But wait, isn't Lorelei the name of the flesh-feasting beast?

Sigurd thinks for a moment before remembering that one Lorelei is a big green monster whilst the other is a curvaceous sex kitten played by Berlin born Liné, from the equally fantastic La orgía nocturna de los vampiros.

Without another word beardy scoops her up into his muscled, well oiled arms and proceeds to walk straight into the lake.

Sigurd is intrigued to say the least.

"Hey Senorita! How'd you fancy coming in the back o' me car and letting me shite in your mooth?"

Dazed, confused and still aroused Sigurd is wandering aimlessly thru the woods when he discovers a shifty Von Lander skulking in the bushes during what appears to be an impromptu dogging session.

The doctor, however, obviously horrified at the thought of being outed as a sex fiend begins to confuse Sigurd with his utter bollocks theories.

You know the type of thing; much mention of the moons rays, waffle regarding photochemical stuff and theories on the molecular structure of things.

And to prove all these theories and how on earth they relate to the monster he invites Sigurd back to his Victorian style knocking shop cum laboratory where he makes a severed human hand grow green and scaly.

He's even created a radioactive steak knife in case he gets close enough to stab the creature.

Or for if he ever has a radioactive steak obviously.

Sigurd is impressed.

Unfortunately before a town meeting can be called Von Lander is violently murdered (is there any other kind?) by Lorelei and his lab burnt to the ground.

Every cloud has a silver lining however (except mushroom clouds, their linings are Strontium 90 based) as this only increases Sigurd's acceptance of the idea that his new squeeze Lorelei could in fact be the same Lorelei that's killing everyone.

Thinking the whole situation over for several seconds he decides that even tho' she can be a wee bit grumpy, Elke is probably better sex material and so heads off to the beach wearing his tiniest shorts and carrying a big bomb.

Insert cock here.



Persuading a local fisherman to take him out onto the lake, our horny hero plunges into the waters just below the infamous rocks from where Lorelei originally jumped and soon discovers an ancient underwater cavern festooned with jewels, gold and bikini clad ladies.

Which is nice.

But for once Sigurd is not to be distracted by such things, he's here on a mission, not only to blow the place to Govan and back but to also inform Lorelei that he's breaking up with her due in part to her habit of eating people but mainly cos she stinks of herring.

What a guy.

Jeremy Beadle: The Revenge.



After a few minutes of inconsequential dialogue and slow fighting Sigurd manages to fight off the bikini girls advances and set the charges before swimming to safety and leaving poor Lorelei to die under a collapsing hill.

Or did she?

Back on the mainland Elke is enjoying a midnight walk around the grounds when she hears a rustling in the bushes followed by the faint aroma of fish...

Lorelei is alive and well and out for revenge on Sigurd's 'other woman', jumping out from behind a tree and indulging in a spot of girl on fish wrestling.

Which frankly isn't as exciting as it sounds.

Luckily Sigurd arrives in the nick of time and plunges his radioactive blade into Lorlelei who then, not too surprisingly dies as the lovers gaze into each others eyes.

Aww, how sweet.

Yup, someone was paid for designing this.




Not only taking liberties with the Lorelei myth but kinda taking the piss a wee bit too, Blind Dead creator Amando de Ossorio takes the traditional tale of a beautiful siren who lures sailors to their deaths by enticing them into the rocky cliffs of the River Rhine and crafts it into one of the most terrifying monster movies ever made.

By that I mean one of the most terrifying monster movies ever made by someone called deOssorio called Las garras de Lorelei.

Glad that's out of the way.

The real Lorelei yesterday. Well a dramatic (and incredibly hot) statue of her anyway. Here's hoping it's wipe clean.


Although never hitting the heights of The Blind Dead, Las garras de Loreleiis a near perfect blend of tight storytelling, great locations, seventies breasted woman, shoddy gore and frankly bonkers characterization all mixed in with some fantastic Carry On style sauciness and topped off with a career best performance from Tony Kendall's trousers.


A must see for any self respecting fan of fish-based romantic horror or just those who enjoy staring at a (very) well endowed man for an hour and a half.

Perfection.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

horrorday on the buses


Quite possibly one of the greatest bus-bound bloodsucking sagas ever released, for years I've had to put up with watching a horribly chewed VHS copy of the movie seeing as no-one could be arsed giving it a proper DVD release.

Until now that is.

Was out shopping for pants t'other day when I found this little beauty lurking on a shelf just behind a copy of Night Train Murders.

And for only 3 quid too.

Bargain.

Trackings dodgy mate!


Well it would have been had, upon watching, it'd not become obvious that Fusion Media Sales had in fact broken into my house and just transferred my copy onto disc.

Via an old sock.

It's even got chews on it.

Oh well, as good an excuse as ever to revisit....

La Orgia Nocturna de los Vampiros (AKA The Vampires Night Orgy. 1973) 
Dir: Leòn Klimovsky
Cast: Jack Taylor, Dianik Zurakowska, Charo Soriano, Helga Liné, José Guardiola, Manuel de Blas, David Aller, Indio González, Luis Ciges, Antonio Páramo, María Vidal, Sandalio Hernández, Fernando Bilbao, Alfonso de la Vega, Rafael Albaicín, Reg Varney, Fernando E. Romero and Sarita Gil.


”The Countess says you can continue your work, with one arm!”



It's a sunny day in seventies Spain, Stan Butler anxious to get away from Blakey's constant complaining has decided to get a summer job driving a motley band of agency employees to their new jobs at a huge country estate and hopefully pull some dolly birds along the way.

Unfortunately whilst still 110 km from their destination, Stan suffers a massive heart attack and without his buck toothed pal Jack to perform a complicated heart massage procedure dies.

"Ere Jack...I can't feel my fingers!"



Luckily the passengers manage to stop the bus before anyone else is killed, regaining their composure and calling a meeting over what action to take.

Ferret-like gardener Terry Godo (former governor of Santander, Ciges) volunteers to take little Violet Smallgirl (Gil, later to grace our screens in the fantastic Esposa y amante) off the bus (as opposed to up the casino) whilst the rest of the passengers hurriedly carry poor Stan to the back seats before draping a dirty blanket over him.

Oh the indignity of it all.

Whilst all this stiff shuffling is going down Violet heads off to explore the local rocks where she bumps into a bowl haired, snub nosed little boy named Jeremy (star of Profesor Eróticus and director of Dawn of The Dead Romero) who invites her to play with him in the nearby quarry.

Until he gets bored and vanishes into thin air that is.

Some scary titles yesterday.

After much discussion and flailing of arms the passengers decide to head to the nearby village of Tolnio in order to find food and more importantly dispose of Stan seeing as the Brylcreem from his quiff is now dripping down the seats and staining the floors.

On arrival tho' our reluctant travelers realize that the entire place is empty, save for internationally renowned brush salesman Luis (Taylor from Polanski's The Ninth Gate), who instantly takes a liking to the harsh faced yet pleasantly breasted Alma (Scrabble scoring Zurakowska, star of such quality fare as Dracula, the Terror of the Living Dead....yes I know it's bizarre but these folk did indeed go on to have careers).

Helping themselves to the local hotels supply of crisps and booze it's not long before everyone is passed out, either draped across chairs in the bar or sprawled across the beds in one of the rooms.

Brits abroad eh?

Although to be honest they're not Brits they're Spanish.

And in Spain.

I didn't really think that thru' did I?

Let's just forget about it and move on.

Thanks.

Anyway back to the action where lecherous Luis has discovered that not only his is room right next to Alma's but there's a spy hole in the wall giving him (and us) ample opportunity to ogle her frighteningly conical breasts.

Ding dong.

Not everyone of the bus is a sex pest tho', there are a couple of honest-to-goodness alcoholics too, including the pie-eyed plumbers mate Ernesto (former Looney Tunes star Gonzálezis) who is too preoccupied with finding more booze to think about sleeping (or shagging) and wanders off into the village in the hope of finding an off-licence or 24 hour garage.

Imagine his surprise then when instead he finds every resident of the village having a party in the local graveyard.

And if that wasn't enough to tingle your spine imagine his reaction when he discovers that they're all vampires.

Now how's he gonna explain that to my nan?

"Hello there hen....fancy a wee bit o' mooth shite-in?"

Next morning and our heroes are woken by the shock haired local mayor, Boris Van Johnson (Guardiola), who helpfully explains the village's earlier emptiness was due to them all attending the town librarians funeral but not to worry because they're all welcome for as long as they wish to stay and that their bills will all be paid for by the Countess (the utterly gorgeous Liné from the classic Las garras de Lorelei) who lives in a house, a very big house overlooking Tolnio.

No, nothing sinister here at all then.

But for the mayor there are more important things to worry about, like what to feed everyone with seeing as the whole village appears to be devoid of shops.

"Can we fix it? No it's fucked!"


Turns out that he actually has a plan for such an occurrence (can you imagine the town meeting? "First order of the day, what to do if a bus  load of non vampire tourists turn up unannounced")  and soon has the town giant (Drácula contra Frankenstein star and uncle of Frodo, Bilbao) chopping off various bits of townsfolk to serve to the travelers.

Which is kinda sweet if you think about it.

But let's not forget that this is a horror movie not some feel good community caper so to add an air of uncomfortable menace to the proceedings (that doesn't involve Bri-Nylon slacks) who should reappear unannounced - and without having a wash the stinking bastard - why only Ernesto, all grey-faced, poo stained and scabby necked.

Exactly like your dad after his works Christmas party.

And his excuse for staying out all night?

Well according to it he's been busy burying Stan, tho' his pal Marcos Tandy (Paranormal Xperience 3D's de Blas) jokingly reckons from the size of his stomach he's probably eaten him.

If only he knew eh?

Invited to dine with the Countess our merry band enjoy a polite evening of stilted chat, sloppy dubbing and vaguely human shaped meat until the clock chimes midnight when she bids them farewell.

All that is except wannabe actor and stud for hire Cesar (Aller from Krakatoa: East of Java, the film not the place ) who after shoddily reciting a wee bit of Shakespeare gets to shake his own spear in the Countess' bed.

By that I mean they indulged in the sex.

Rather than a post-coital cuddle and a fag tho' the Countess leaps on the poor fella, biting his neck before tossing him out of the window to the awaiting mass of hungry villagers below.

Usually when that's happened to me I just get given a false telephone number.

"Is it in yet?"


As day makes way to night, more and more of the travelers succumb to the villagers vile curse and with Luis no longer content to just crack one off whilst spying on Alma undressing, our peephole pal must find a means of escape for him and his squeeze to be...

Will they fix the car and escape?

Will the hotel ever replenish it's stock of pork scratchings?

Will Luis get his end away or be cursed to a life of furtive masturbation at bus stops?

And what is the secret ingredient of Boris' ‘special drink’?

Well I'm not telling.

Whoever designed this cover, I hope your parents are proud.


From the late, great Leon Klimovsky, the man behind the Paul Naschy starrers The Werewolf Vs. Vampire Woman and Dr. Jekyll Vs. The Werewolf comes this frankly bonkers tale of fangs, fiends and migrant workers that plays out like Carry On Abroad as envisaged by Jean Rollin.

There may not be any actual night orgies and only one true vampire but when a movie features so many close-ups of slobbering gypsy mouths, crooked European teeth and unkempt seventies bush as this you really can't complain.

Well obviously you could but I for one would ignore you.

And so what if the plots been done to death a thousand times before by the likes of 2000 Maniacs and The Grapes Of Death, it's rarely done with so much flair and grace by a cast that scarily decides to play the whole thing totally straight.

And I for one are grateful.

Plus it features Helga Liné in a set of comedy pound shop vampire teeth and a chiffon nightie, take from that what you will.


Hook, Liné and tinker.



A masterpiece of holiday horror from start to finish, like Withnail And I stumbling drunkenly into the plot of I Am Legend, La Orgia Nocturna de los Vampiros should be on the top of every bodies top ten Spanish Vampire films set in towns and featuring trapped bus passengers lists.


Well it is in mine.


For a film that cost tuppence to make  the locations are surprisingly creepy, the luscious ladies are perfect Euro-vamps personified and the script is just the right side of dream-like, never wandering into the 'dubbed into incomprehensibility' badlands that many lo-fi Euroshockers end up in.

Glorious.

Unlike the DVD transfer.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

hairy nips and side sheds.

Just been chatting to the infamous Mr. Stu, the man behind to sinister synth combo' Agents of Evolution about classic werewolf movies.

Obviously An American Werewolf In London, The Howling and The Beast Must Die! came up meaning that all this talk about hairy scares made me want to go back and revisit one of my personal faves.

So ladies and gentlemen let me present probably THE best werewolf movie ever made featuring not only the wonderful Dagmar Lassander but a star turn from that blonde woman who you might remember from bit parts in Truck Turner and Blood Orgy of The She Devils.



La Lupa Mannara (AKA Daughter of a Werewolf, Naked Werewolf Woman, She-Wolf , Werewolf Woman, 1976).
Dir: Rino Di Silvestro.
Cast: Annik Borel, Howard Ross, Dagmar Lassander, Tino Carraro and lots of other folk that I can't be arsed listing, except for the amusingly monikered Felicita Fanny for obvious reasons.




The place: a cow-pat covered field somewhere in Europe.

The time: Ye olden days - probably the early 70s by the state of the bush on show.

And I don't just mean the overgrow fauna circling the flaming pentagram that's been hastily drawn on the damp, muddy grass.

Obviously if you're a regular reader of this fine blog you'll know I'm making a childish reference to lady gardens.

In particular the one belonging to the top-lining (and topless) Annik Borel, who's currently dancing about in the all together and jiggling her lady parts like her life (or at very least her next mortgage payment) is counting on it.

But she is not alone.

Watching from the woods is a bunch of evermore nervous of tinker types armed with flaming torches and pitchforks gazing in a mix of awe, terror and mild apathy as our buxom babe slowly transforms from a totally naked blonde 70s sexbomb into a blonde 70s sexbomb who appears to be wearing bits of carpet stuck to her body.

And black olives on her nipples.

Obviously.

The group surge forward, their weapons held tightly as Borel attempts to growl menacingly at the moon whilst dribbling thru' a set of comedy pound shop dentures.

In case you hadn't guessed this is indeed the naked werewolf woman of the title.

And unfortunately the only time we get to see her in all her hirsute glory, which by the state of the make-up isn't such a bad thing if I'm honest.

Obviously not wanting us to get too excited at the thought of a hairy woman eating a group of tramps (or spend any more money than he can get away with)  we abruptly jump forward 200 years (as in the movie does, it's not like some bizarre interactive Back To The Future style interactive performance piece) to find a very sweaty (but thankfully clothed) Borel (as the very rich but oh so slightly mad Daniela Neseri) suddenly jump up in bed with a squeak.

You see, the poor girl suffers from a recurring nightmare caused by the fact that she believes she's the reincarnation of her ancestor who was burned at the stake for being a werewolf.

Which sounds a pretty legit if not really badly constructed bit of background story.

Not all of her family agree tho' especially her dad Count Tony Neseri (Carraro from Argento's The Cat o' Nine Tails) and sister Elena (Raven-haired Giallo goddess Lassander, obviously she had a new swimming pool to pay for) who think that the whole mentalist thing could be caused by her memories of being diddled by a dustbin man as a child.

Being a wee bit stubborn Daniela refuses their offers of help preferring to 'self-medicate' her violent desires by hiding in a wardrobe and fiddling with herself whilst watching her sister and hubbie having 'the sex'.

Tho' lets be honest, do you really need a reason (medical or other) to want to watch Dagmar Lassander getting naked?

"Laugh nowwwwwooooooooohhhhhh!"


Being the cuddly and caring types her family are all very supportive, occasionally nodding in a concerned manner whilst muttering that everything will be OK whilst scrubbing the stains off the woodchip wallpaper.

And to be honest everything's actually fine, until that is Daniela decides to lure her brother-in-law into the woods, start humping his leg then tear his throat out before tossing him off a cliff.

Oops.

With the Jeremy Kyle show fully booked till Easter 2019, the family decide that it'd probably be for the best if they had Daniela committed to the local hospital, where seeing as she spends her days stripped naked and strapped to a bed, I'm assuming isn't BUPA affiliated.

It's not all nude bondage and bed-baths tho' as Daniela often passes the time shouting "whore" at her still mourning sister and hiding scissors under her pillow in case the mad lesbian patient from two doors up tries to sneak into her room for cuddles.



Sounds a brilliant place for a break if I'm honest.

I don't know what that is in her mooth but it's definitely not shite.


Daniela obviously doesn't think so because after a week she decides that she's cured and proves this by plotting a totally non-mental escape plan that involves hiding in a doctor's car, waiting for him to leave the hospital then smashing his face repeatedly against the steering wheel before driving off into the countryside to start a new life.



Which is nice.


Unless you're that poor doctors wife and kids obviously.

It's at this point that the movie bizarrely turns into a sleazy version of the old Michael Landon TeeVee show Highway To Heaven, only this time featuring a mad woman coming across (quite literally in some cases) the damaged dregs of society and killing them in a rage of sweat, screams and howls rather than that guy from Little House On The Prairie helping club-footed kids and single mums with shingles.

Tho' I can't imagine that it would have run for 12 seasons had it followed Rino Di Silvestro's storyline can you?

But our writer/director has another twist for us because just when you think the whole film has descended into poorly made - albeit fairly unique - (moderately) hairy woman kills tramps flick our heroine bumps into a hunky stunt-man (Howard Ross AKA Renato Rossini) named Luca and everything changes again.

Except her underwear obviously which by this point I could actually smell thru' the screen.

God may want you for a sunbeam but I just want to use your mouth as a toilet.


Picking up a hitch-hiking Daniela in his patented stunt-mobile, lovely Luca wins her over with his sensitivity, charm and respect for women, hairy or not.

Oh and with his ability to fall off tall burning buildings whilst dressed as a chicken obviously.

Prepare for a romance montage like no other as we see our beautiful couple frolicking on the beach, running thru' parks and gazing into each others eyes intercut with scenes of our stuntman hero crashing thru' windows, getting bottles broken on his head and the like before setting up home together on the actual movie set.

Which I'm sure is against union rules.


Anyone?

Somewhere to park your bike (and reuse old captions obviously).






Our lovers soon realize tho'  that a fake western town isn't the best place to raise a family so Luca pops down on one knee and asks Daniela if she would mind if he took her up the village.

To live that is.

She smiles (which frankly is much more terrifying without her false choppers in) and cries "Yes!" before falling into Luca's massively muscled arms for another wee bout of the love-making.

You see it appears that it only takes the love of a rugged, sensitive stunt-man to cure any woman of her latent lycanthropy.


Which kind of explains where I've been going wrong the last few years.

Doggy style.






At long last it looks like things could finally work out quite nicely for Daniela but you forget that this is a cheaply made Italian exploitation movie (albeit one with delusions of high art) so it wont come as too much of a surprise when I tell you that one day, whilst Luca is out buying a pint of milk and various Veet hair removal products from Superdrug a gang of very bad lads turn up at the studios looking for cheap booze and evil sex.

Will the Luca return in time or will Daniela - after getting roughly bummed by the bad men - become a werewolf and hunt down her three attackers like a (hairier) Charles Bronson?

Or will true love prevail?

Dagmar Lassander: Ask your granddad.

Thank you Rino Di Silvestro (AKA Axel Berger, Cesar Todd, R.D. Silver and your 'Uncle' Pete) for not only giving us such classic calls for tolerance and love as Deported Women of the SS Special Section, Women in Cell Block 7 and The Erotic Dreams of Cleopatra but for following your dream and bringing this unique (yet oh so tedious) tale of love, sex, mental illness and furry nipples to the big screen.

A film that even after more than 30 years since my first viewing still holds a place in my heart as well as teaching me a valuable lesson in life.

When I was 12 years old I naively swapped a copy of the Video Network big box Betamax edition of Harry Novack's Axe for a dodgy VHS copy of La Lupa Mannara after being told that not only was it utterly terrifying but that it featured some top nude lady werewolf action as well as a scene where two girls stroked each others hair in a barn.

And I fell for it, hurriedly handing over Axe and excitedly running home, stopping only to buy crisps and Vimto ready for an evening of sheer terror.

And maybe, just maybe a glimpse of lady front bum, something at that point I'd only heard whispered about.

My friend Jamie had yet to obtain a copy of The Mad Foxes so the idea of men and women being different down below was pure hearsay.



But how was I managed to be duped so badly I hear you cry.

Well it's all down to the title the movie was released under in the UK.

You see over here it was called Naked Werewolf Woman.

Says it all really.

Bizarrely enough tho' the title change actually upset Di Silvestro more than the movies scathing (and in most cases hostile) reviews ever did seeing as he favoured the title The Lycanthrope, feeling that this was more in keeping with the movies serious arthouse aspirations.

No. really.

So imagine my disappointment, dear reader when what I ended up with wasn't actually the greatest, sexiest and hairiest movie ever made but a naked werewolf flick that singularly failed to deliver much in the way of either nakedness or werewolfism.

Ok I'll admit that it has an abundance of everything else you can think of; discussions on reincarnation, pseudo-scientific psycho-bollocks regarding lycanthropy as a side effect of sexual molestation, horny 70s Italian guys, revenge, tragedy and of course a stuntman years before Colt Seavers made it cool.

But that wasn't the point.

I don't think my 12 year old self ever recovered.



Come to think of it I'm still quite upset now.

I hope you're happy Rino.


Bastard.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

skinny deeping.

Was chatting with Mr. Paul earlier this week re: The Shallows (and sharks in general) when he asked why I hadn't done a wee review of In The Deep, a great little movie we'd both seen a few weeks earlier.
I scratched my head and said the dog had eaten the review and that I had a letter from my mum to prove it.
Unfortunately Paul called my bluff so I had to admit that the only letter I had was the one disinheriting me.
So, to make amends here's a very (for me) short review (don't want to give too much away) plus a wee bit of background first to set the scene.
Earlier this year at Glasgow FrightFest director Johannes Roberts popped along to show us his terrifying tale of totems, terror and antique tables, The Other Side of The Door as well as giving us a sneaky peek of his upcoming shark shocker 47 Meters Down.
The footage to hand promised an old school cinematic scareathon with some really nice shark effects and a taut, tight premise. 

Excited at sharks being taken seriously again we awaited its release with baited - and slightly eggy - breath.

Not this one.



Flash forward (and then forward again if you're reading this today) to the beginning of August when In The Deep (as it was now titled) was listed to appear on DVD and VOD.

Then suddenly, like a great white swimming away into the dark it disappeared.

And the reason?
Well, thanks possibly to the success of The Shallows, the movie was rescued from DVD obscurity by Freestyle Media who plan to release it in around 2,500 theaters sometime in 2017.
How bizarre - but great for film fans - is that?
Especially since In The Deep was actually completed first.
And truth be told a better film.
And with that let's go.....
In The Deep (AKA 47 Meters Down, 2016).
Dir: Johannes Roberts.
Cast: Mandy Moore, Claire Holt, Sir Matthew of Modine, Santiago Segura, Yani Gellman, Chris J. Johnson and Axel Mansilla.



Sugary sweet sisters Lisa and Kate (Moore and Holt) are on holiday in beautiful Mexico (which by this point should be named shark attack capital of the world), partly to get pissed and eye up the local talent (who are by the by really nice people and not these rapists and drug dealers that Donald Trump keeps shouting about) but mainly to help Lisa mend her broken heart after being dumped by her vile fiancé Chad Mantits.
And why am I taking her side?
Well he must be a total shit to dump Rapunzel from Disney's Tangled.
Nuff said.
Enjoying a few drinks in the hotel pair our cutesy twosome end up 'partying' (as you youngsters say) with local hunksters Louis and Benjamin, who offer to take the girls shark diving the next morning.
Which bizarrely enough does actually mean diving with sharks and not indulge in some kinky south of the border sexiness.

And by south of the border I mean Mexico, not something anal based.

Glad that's out of the way.
Lisa, being the shy sensible type (with a fear of water to boot) is unsure but is soon persuaded to join in by her more boisterous sister so off they go to sea alongside the boys and the salty sea dog Captain Taylor (Modine).
Their mission?
Get (wet) suited and booted and jump into a cage where they’ll be able to get up close and personal with the great white circling down below.

What could possibly go wrong?
In the midnight hour she cried Moore, Moore, Moore!
Worried, excited and aroused - I mean come on it is Matthew Modine - in equal measures the girls quickly jump into the cage and prepare to enter a magic and dangerous world under the sea.

Lisa soon relaxes, even attempting to stroke the shark at one point and admits to her sister that her fears were unfounded.

Which is nice.

With shark selfies taken the girls signal the boat to return to the surface but the cage cable snaps sending the pair crashing to the bottom of the ocean - which is 47 meters down fact fans - not only that but the massive iron pulley system has gone overboard too and is currently resting atop the cage.

Which is never a good sign.

As the scared shitless sisters struggle to save air and stay calm, the shark, obviously intrigued as to what an ex-Disney star will taste like, swims ever closer...

What do you call a fish with no eyes.....a fsh. (that doesn't really work written down does it?


As mentioned previously, you can't help but make comparisons 'tween this and
​The Shallows, both feature female protagonists taking on one of mother natures nasties and both have our leads cut off from help but for sheer claustrophobia and tension, In The Deep wins hands (fins?) down.
Although much location work was filmed in the Dominican Republic nearly all of the underwater scenes were shot in a (broccoli filled) water tank in Blightly which I'm only pointing out because you would never tell otherwise, the films (relatively) low budget in no way hindering or cheapening the overall feel or aesthetic of the film.
During his onstage Q and A at Frightfest Roberts jokingly apologized that the shark on show may look a bit ropey due to it not being completely rendered in the showreel, he needn't have worried then or now as the beast looks magnificent, I'm assuming that real sharks were composited into some shots alongside CGI equivalents but to be honest I really couldn't tell.
Nor did I care as I became totally involved in the plight of the characters onscreen as their predicament unfolded almost in real time, each character (even those sketchily drawn ones on the surface) seemed to react as real people not thriller movie cliches just there to forward the plot.

Which is a pleasant surprise.
Oxygen in mah mooth!
Roberts alongside, cinematographer Mark Silk do a fantastic job of making the most out of what is essentially a pitch black environment, their measured use of various lighting techniques (flares, hand-held torches etc) give a real sense of depth (excuse the pun) and menace to an alien world where (wo)man is just so much meat.
Lean, mean and peachy keen, In The Deep is a probably the best man vs. nature movie since Adam Green's chairlift chiller Frozen, which if you haven't seen do so now, then beg, borrow or steal a copy of this for a fantastically fearful film double bill.

No to find some shite to review, I appear to be enjoying myself way to much at the mo.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

lest we forget.


Haviland Morris as Marla Bloodstone in Gremlins 2: The New Batch.

Nuff said.










mexican wave.

The Shallows (2016).
Dir: Jaume Collet-Serra.
Cast: Blake Lively, Óscar Jaenada, Brett Cullen, Sedona Legge, Angelo José Lozano Corzo, José Manuel Trujillo Salas, Pablo Calva and Diego Espejel.


Are you ready to get wet, Dr. Adams?




It's a sunny day in downtown (and pre-Trump terrorizing) Mexico where a small boy (almost Benetton like in his cuteness) is nonchalantly kicking a 'soccer' ball (as our American cousins call it) along an idyllic beach.

Coming across one of those fancy helmet mounted action cameras lying discarded in the sand he does what any small Mexican child would do and hurries off to sell it for drugs.

Only joking.

He gingerly turns it on and sits back to watch the video, hoping for some sand-based porn or the like.

Unfortunately (for him obviously, the rest of us are hoping for some shark munching action) the video consists of shaky footage of a moustachioed man struggling to climb onto a rock only before being gobbled up by a big shark.

Sorted.

But how did we get here?*

Taking a break from her studies in order to cope with the grief of losing (as in she died not fell down the back of the sofa) her mother, skinny hipped medical student Nancy (Carol Ferris herself, Lively) has decided to travel to the very same beach her mother surfed at right after finding out she was pregnant.

Tho' not being a surfer - or pregnant - I'm not too sure if that was safe.

Anyone?

Getting a ride to the beach from friendly local handyman Carlos T. Jackal
(Jaenada, star of 2010s The Valdemar Legacy II: The Forbidden Shadow), she soon arrives at the fabled beach - which is lucky cos the movie only has an 86 minute running time and we really don't need all this touchy, feely stuff if I'm honest, I just want to see a skimpily swimsuit lady fight a shark -  joining a couple of surfer dudes (one of which is wearing a camera on his hat....this maybe - or already is important so remember it) in 'hanging ten' and 'being tubular'.


Somewhere to park your bike at least.


It's not all Big Wednesday shenanigans tho' as Nancy takes a break to video-call 
her baby sister, the chinny Chloe (Legge, daughter of Eastenders GP Harold) in order to not only let her know that she has arrived at their mother's beach but also to begrudgingly chat to her dad (Cullen) as to remind the audience about her dead mum and her decision to drop out of school for a bit.

C'mon, it's only been five minutes since it was last mentioned so we may have forgotten.

With all this family drama stuff out of the way Nancy hangs up in order to 'catch' one more wave before heading back to her hotel.

Splashing about in the water without a care in the world Nancy is surprised to see the carcass of a humpback whale bobbing about just ahead of her, totally ruining her view and ultimately reminding her of her mums death.

Which is a wee bit unkind seeing as the actress playing her mom in the flashbacks (Chelsea Moody fact fans) was actually fairly hot.

Even (oh go on especially) when wearing a headscarf with her eyebrows shaved.

And played by Janelle Bailey.

Anyway back to the plot where Nancy, currently riding her last wave of the day back to the beach is suddenly thrown into the water by a huge great white shark that has decided, inconsiderately it must be said to head-butt her surf board, causing her to hit her head on a submerged rock.

Swimming to the surface and reaching for her board the shark reappears and bites her leg, pulling her below the waves.

Luckily Nancy manages to punch her way free and hurriedly swims toward the dead whale before crawling atop it to relative (if not fairly stinky) safety.


"You ain't seen me right?"

Lying atop the blubbery dead beast (exactly like that time you found your dad and your cousin at your sisters wedding) Nancy scans the area for a safer spot as the shark attempts to overturn the creature in order to eat her whole.

Tho' shark experts watching will know that they usually spit that bit out.

Noticing an isolated rock not too far away our blood spattered babe tosses herself off the whale and into the sea, swimming as fast as she can whilst the shark circles the whale playing scary mind games with Nancy like some sea-based Rob Titchener.

Clambering onto the rock and soak in sea, sweat and blood (it's not important but does make for a fairly erotic mental image whilst reading) Nancy uses her medical training to fashion an improvised tourniquet from her surfboard strap, her earrings and the sleeve of her wetsuit to stop the bleeding before attempting to attract the attention of the two locals who were surfing earlier.

Unfortunately due to her messy appearance and lack of make-up the pair fail to notice her driving away and leaving Nancy to spend the night on the rock with only a wounded seagull - whom she names Stephen, after the late Boyzone singer Stephen Gately - for company.

Waking the next morning covered in tiny crabs (we've all been there), Nancy notices a fat drunk passed out on the beach and begins waving her arms about in the hope of getting his attention.

He must be totally rat arsed tho' (but probably not as drunk as that fucker in the Blair Witch showing) as the sight of Blake Lively in an tiny bikini drenched in blood does nothing for him save alerting him to the fact that her bag must be on the beach somewhere.

Upon finding it he decides to steal her phone and wallet before wanking into her dry clothes.

Stumbling off home he soon notices her surfboard floating in shallow water so  wades out to steal that too.

Bastard.

Good job then that the shark was nearby and fearing his award for nastiest beast in the film is in jeopardy bites the guy in half.

"They'll be no shite-in in mah mooth you pointy toothed bastard!"

Realizing that she can do nothing but wait - and hope - for help Nancy passes the time teaching the Seagull the words to No Matter What, which is an uphill struggle seeing as birds don't have lips.

Luckily - for us and her -  the two locals return for another days surfing, which is a good thing if they can rescue Nancy without getting eaten first.

So, do you reckon that's going to happen?

Well it wont really spoil the movie if I say that within minutes of entering the water both are killed by the shark.

Don't worry it's not all bad as the dorsal-finned fiend decides not to eat the helmet-mounted camera one of them was wearing giving Nancy a chance to retrieve it and therefore record a goodbye message to her dad and sister before throwing it (rather craply it must be said) toward the shore.

"Put it in me!"

Dehydrated, losing blood and with high tide approaching, Nancy knows the rock will soon be submerged leaving her at the sharks mercy.

But she has a cunning plan.

Not too far away from the rocks is a rusted old buoy that may offer more protection (and maybe a flare gun or something) so,  after sending Stephen out to sea on a broken bit of surfboard in order to time the sharks circling from the whale to the rock, Nancy decides to swim for it.

Narrowly avoiding being eaten by swimming thru' a school of colourfully rendered CGI jellyfish Nancy clambers aboard the buoy and does indeed find a flare gun which it turns out is a bit shit failing as it does - in a fairly spectacular manner - to draw the attention of a passing ship.

It does however wind up the shark a fair bit and not being very good at communicating its frustration decides to try and eat the buoy instead.

With night falling and only a handful of wet flares for company Nancy is trapped on an ever more chewed buoy as the shark circles closer and closer.


Will she escape unscathed?

And more importantly did Stephen make it to shore?



From the man who gave us the video for "Esperanza" by Enrique Iglesias and the hypopituitarism-based potboiler The Orphan (which if you haven't seen is worth it just for the frankly bonkers reveal) comes a surprisingly taut little thriller that makes the best of its small cast and big threat.

Collet-Serra's Euro-centric pop video vibe gives the proceedings a nice arty feel, whether it be shots of text messages and times popping up in mid-air, the genuinely chilling first shot of the shark, silhouetted in the wave on which the Nancy is surfing or the aftermath of the first attack where the sea gradually turns for bright blue to a shade of red usually reserved for Argento movies, his visual stylings never overpower what is, in essence a simple little (wo)man vs. nature story.

I wouldn't want one of them swimming up my.....no hang on.

Sure the bog-standard relationship/grief/tragic backstory is a wee bit unnecessary - it's (lucky) enough that she's in med school, let's just have her out surfing and the shark turns up, nothing else matters - and the helmet camera seems a little bit too convenient but Collet-Serra and star Lively manage to pull it off.

Talking of Lively she's actually great as Nancy, giving a pretty strong and level headed performance, thankfully not going the usual shivering wreck to superwoman route that these movies usually take and for once someones job description is actually useful, her almost nonchalant A-Team attempts at fixing her wounds are one of the high points of the film.

The Shallows may not re-invent the killer fish genre but it's an entertaining enough way to spend 90 minutes mainly due to the fact that after being trapped in the cinematic crapper of Sharknado and it's Sy-Fy shite-hole siblings for years it's nice to finally have the shark back on the big screen - and being treated with the respect and fear it deserves, not just in this film but also in Johannes Roberts' Mandy Moore starrer In The Deep, a similarly Mexican set shark shocker that, to my mind is the more claustrophobic and affecting of the two.

But don't take my word for it, go see them both.

Because if you don't the studios will think we don't want nice things and before you know it we'll end up with Deep Blue Sea II: The Deepening or something.











*Usually via a search engine (Google or the like) or because you subscribe to this page or - and this is the most likely judging by the type of comments I get - you did an interweb search for 'Blake Lively naked'.