Monday, July 27, 2020

saxondale.


John Saxon

5 August 1935 -
25 July 2020


Sunday, July 26, 2020

feastenders.

Sad to hear of the death of genre god John Saxon today so thought I'd (re)post this review as a way of tribute.

A fairly interesting story about this movie by the way, you see I was in the charity shop a few years back and found it in a bucket by the door for a quid.

I already owned it on VHS but thought what the hell so bought it anyway.

Partly because the VHS player being in the bottom of a cupboard meant that I'd not been able to watch it for years but mainly because I needed change for the bus.

You can tell how much effort I'm putting into this tribute can't you?

Cannibal Apocalypse (AKA Apocalypse Domani, Invasion of The Flesh Hunters, The Cannibals Are In The Streets, Cannibals In The City. 1980).
Directed by Antonio Margheriti.
Starring John Saxon, Elizabeth Turner, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, May Heatherly, Tony King, Wallace Wilkinson, Cinzia De Carolis and Ramiro Oliveros.

"Charlie can you hear me?" "I can hear you. Shitface" 




Welcome to Vietnam (OK it's really the local nature reserve at the bottom of Antonio Margheriti's street), where war is Hell and shooting permits are cheap but more importantly where the evil Viet-Cong force captured American soldiers to sit in puddles of dirty water and poke them with sticks until they turn into cannibals.

Or something.

Stumbling into this jungle madness is the heroically hatted figure of Norman Hopper (the late, great Saint John of Saxon and the reason we are here), who has been given the task of rescuing his fallen (and now soaked to the skin and slightly damp smelling) comrades.

After an obligatory fire-fight our hero manages to free the prisoners only to to bitten on the arse - sorry, arm, by the googly eyed madman and famed author Charlie Bukowski (Italy's favourite whipping boy, Giovanni Lombardo Radice credited here as John Morghen), who, unknown to Hopper has turned into one of those aforementioned cannibals.

And all that's within the first five minutes.

Inside Jeffrey Epstein's mind.

Attempting to adjust back to civilian life Hopper is plagued by nightmares regarding his 'Nam man munching, waking every night in a cold sweat and suffering from an uncontrollable fear of bearded blokes in Ford Capris whilst his flaxen haired and smooth of skinned wife Jane (Turner from Fulci's The Psychic and the possession panto Beyond The Door) can only sit with her head held slightly askew in a concerned manner offering her man hugs and biscuits inbetween sly flashes of her milky cleavage.

Which is nice. 

John Saxon realizes in horror that the script requires him to perform oral sex on a bubble-permed hamster.

As it happens Hopper receives a phone call from Bukowski the very next day, it seems that he's just been released from psychiatric care and fancies catching up with his old wartime buddy over a glass of J&B or six.

Hopper, trying to forget the whole Vietnam thing declines the offer, preferring to spend the day flying kites with his son before finally giving in to the advances of his hamster-cheeked, big barnetted, barely legal neighbour Mary (De Carolis who once released the hit single Perché sei mia madre, fact fans).

But don't worry about Hoppers honour tho'....from the amount of chins she has it's more Pie-dophilia than pedophilia.

Never more so than when our hero comes face to, um fanny with her springy bush, straining as it is to escape over the top of her tiny white panties.

Overcome with grief at what has happened to his career the poor sod ends up biting her.

I mean if the saying 'you are what you eat' is true then John Saxon's going to spend the rest of the film looking like a right fanny.

Or a poodle/pound shop Barbie hybrid.

Luckily Mary's aunt calls her home before Hopper can start on dessert saving  him (and us) from what could have been the single most disturbing scene in cinema history.

Hammy the hamster, up the casino, Brighton, 1978....Yesch!

A rejected and forlorn Charlie, still reeling from being knocked back for a fat lass decides to spend his afternoon in the local 'art' cinema, taking in a few subtitled movies and, if lucky getting a wee gobble off a crack fueled whore during the Butterkiss ads.

Ah memories of being a teen and visiting the Plaza cinema Dudley in the 80s.

Alls going swimmingly until halfway thru' Jacques Rivette's classic Jane Birkin starrer Around a Small Mountain when Charlie notices the couple in front of him having a bit of 'the sex'.

The sight of Birkin back on the big screen coupled with the overpowering aroma of yeast is too much for our Charlie who, after a bit of thigh rubbing leans forward and bites the woman on the neck.

This small social faux pas on Charlie's part soon escalates into a full blown riot with the poor guy accidentally knocks over a motorbike on his way out and getting chased by a gang of Hells Angels before finally getting trapped in the middle of a shoot-out in the kids section of Marks and Spencer with the whole thing being shown live on the news.

Which if I'm honest is a pretty normal day in Glasgow.

Luckily Hopper just happens to watching and - in tribute to Paul Gascoigne grabs a can of lager, some chicken and a mobile phone and quickly heads down to the shops in order to help out his old buddy.

Shite in mah mooth!

Tempting Charlie out of hiding with the promise of a Kinder egg, Hopper is soon accompanying his friend to the hospital where they come across fellow vet and long-pig fan Tom Thompson (King from Shaft) who, alongside Charlie has the sudden urge to bite both the police and nursing staff before getting bundled into a cupboard and locked up.

Hopper's embarrassment and worry about what he's going to tell his wife is soon put into perspective when everyone who's been bitten or scratched by either Tom or Charlie start rampaging around possessed by a crazed hunger for human flesh.

Luckily Helen (Heatherly from the classic Pieces), the fairly hot nurse who gotten nibbled earlier is actually fairly sympathetic to our heroes plight and sets the former soldiers free to escape into the sewers.

Hopper feeling partly responsible for his men decides to follow.

Cinzia De Carolis: There's a snake in her boots...possibly.






Back at the Hopper house, Jane is having a wee bit of trouble using the telephone - the receiver keeps slipping thru' her sausage fingers - so she heads over to whorish Mary's house to use hers.

And her telephone if she's lucky.

Greeted at the door by an even more freakish than normal Mary and her spooky brother Radcliffe, the kids are more than happy to help, apologizing for the lingering smell of dead old lady in the house and explaining that their aunt has had to leave suddenly.

Hmmm....suspicious much?


 John Saxon mulls over his career choices to date.

Anyways, back in the stinky sewer our heroes hope of escape is dashed when Helen gets bitten on the bum by a rat, her screams leading the police straight to the cannibal chums who then politely shoot her in the face.

Mad with rage, shame and hunger Charlie goes mental only to get his stomach machine gunned out whilst Tom, annoyed at seeing his pals and the most attractive woman on screen get slaughtered in front of him attacks the police before getting torched with a handy flamethrower.

Ouch.

Only Hopper survives - just about - and then only after being shot in the leg destroying his chances of ever entering Strictly Come Dancing.

Or Tess Daly.

Tess Daly: Cut up like a pig in a market.

Crawling out of the sewer he steals a car and heads home for a tearful wank and a sweet n' sour Pot Noodle.

Meanwhile with her phone needs sated, Jane  decides to head back home for an afternoon of gin, chocolate and Price Drop TV but as she settles into her favourite chair she hears a strange scraping noise from the spare room.

Slowly opening the door she finds her husband, decked out in his smartly ironed - yet slightly bloody - dress uniform.

Saucy.

Begging his wife to stay away Jane informs him that she's gotten in touch with their friend and family physician Dr. Phil Mendez (Oliveros) and even as they speak he's racing over to help.

Which would be all well and good if he too wasn't infected.

With barmy bloodlust on both sides and a sweaty handed housewife trapped in between the outlook for a happy ending looks grim.

And that's without mentioning the crazed cannibal kids across the road....


"Is that a gun in your hand or just a strange shaped erection?"

With the enigmatically - oh go on lazily - unexplained cannibal virus becoming shorthand for the effects of the Vietnam war on the American psyche and the repercussions of said war on the general populace,  Arena hero Antonio Margheriti's foray into the mind of a post war USA and the effects of a repressive society  still haunted by their unspeakable acts is as relevant today (if not more so) in this post 9-11 world as it was on release.

Each character has a lust or urge that society deems must be controlled, from Hopper's lust for his teen neighbour to Charlie's violent breast obsession via Jane's romantic feelings toward Mendez, they are all fighting against their base primal instincts.

And when these instincts take over what better form to represent them than cannibalism?


And who says Japanese cinema design isn't subtle?


Or is it just a low budget horror movie featuring blood, guts gore and some jailbait T&A given a cheap and cheerful Vietnam opening because Apocalypse Now had just been released?

If you check out the directors other projects I think the question answers itself.

Cast wise the movie is blessed by stand-out performances by the always watchable John Saxon, aided and abetted by the brooding king of cinematic bad luck, the incredible Giovanni Lombardo Radice, a man that  made his mark playing nasty lowlifes who meet vicious ends in a handful of 80s Italian splatter flicks and who, remarkably isn't a fan of the genre, his main love being opera (a world in which he's renowned as a director).

Strange but true.

Saxon, in one of his many 'it's a shame for me' outbursts has all but disowned the movie, saying how he was drugged/tricked/blackmailed into making it.

To that all I can say is Blood Beach.



I could go on for pages trying to persuade you how great a movie this is and how it defies genre pigeon holing but the bottom line is that:

A. I really can't be bothered.

and

B: Let's be honest here, any Vietnam war movie featuring such quality actors giving it their all, cannibals, war is hell flashbacks and dumpy seductresses in tiny pants has to be at least twice as entertaining as one that doesn't.

Grab this, some beer and a copy of L’Ultimo cacciatore and your Saturday night will be complete.

Monday, July 20, 2020

scared stiff.

Last night I decided to rewatch the classic Buster Crabbe starrer The Alien Dead, partly because I'm a sucker for Fred Olen Ray but mostly because I've always loved the cover still from The Evil Dead publicity shoot and try to watch all the films that have ever used it.*




Unfortunately I didn't have my glasses on so I accidentally picked this up instead and by the time I'd popped the cassette in (yup, I can be old school as the kids say sometimes) and sat down I really couldn't be arsed getting up and going thru' the whole thing again.

That'll teach me.

Alien Zone (AKA House of The Dead, Zone of the Dead, Last Stop on 13th St. 1978).
Dir: Sharron Miller.
Cast: John Ericson, Ivor Francis, Judith Novgrod, Bernard Fox, Charles Aidman, Burr DeBenning and Richard Gates.


“After they’re dead, I get them. That’s my work.”


Welcome to Stillwater Minnesota on a wet Wednesday night where successful plumber Jeff Talmudge (Ex-Playgirl Man of the Month and creator of the Sony mobile phone, Ericson) is busy laying pipe of a totally different kind before attending the plumbers convention held in the local town hall.

No really.

Finishing up his romantic liaison with a quick wipe of his cock on the curtains he hails a cab back to his hotel only to be dropped off on the wrong street leaving him lost, confused and soaking wet.


Wandering around in the rain he soon comes across the white haired weirdo Mr Vic Sinister (Francis, who just happens to be - or was - Jonathan 'Star Trek' Frakes' father-in-law) who invites him into his house to dry off.


As they sit chatting about plumbing and stuff Mr Sinister informs Talmudge that he's the local mortician and - if he fancies it - is willing to show him a couple of dead bodies and tell him how they died.


Which I'm sure is a wee bit unethical.


Tho' I'm not a mortician so wouldn't really know for sure so if any are reading please write in a tell me.

Anyway it turns out that he's not just any old mortician but the mortician who gets to hand pick the most interesting cases so each one of the four deaths he's about to talk about are sure to be belters.




With nothing better to do Talmudge follows Mr Sinister to the morgue.....

Your mum's cum face.....trust me I know, your uncle Peter told me.



Opening the casket closest to hand Vic begins his macabre tales with the life (but mainly death) of the harsh-faced harridan Miss Sibiler (Bare Knuckles star Novgrod) an angry, control freak type teacher with a risk assessment obsession (probably) who harbors a deep hatred for children.**

You can tell this because as she's heading to her car after doing a wee bit of shopping she stops to shout "I hate you children!" at some kids in the street before driving away.

Arriving home she resigns herself to a frozen meal for one and some copyright free music on the radio but as she busies herself preparing for an evening alone with a half-frozen chicken and a bottle of cheap Aldi gin she begins to hear noises around her apartment.

It soon becomes clear that someone or something is attempting to mess with her little pin-like head so she decides - as you do -  to take a shower giving the director ample opportunity to do something a wee bit creepy Ala Psycho but alas all we get is a creep cardboard cut out shadow and a close-up of hideous shower cap.

Realising that this is an anthology (or portmanteau if you prefer) film poor Sibiler screams like a girl (obviously) and runs downstairs to find her house full of children clad  in hellish 70s bri-nylon fashions and a collection of poundshop Halloween masks.

For those of you about to say that this all sounds a bit shit hold on, because the director has an ace up their sleeve for as the children slowly remove their masks it's revealed that they're all wearing fake teeth.

And dribbling.



"come in the back of me car and let me bite you!" - The fucking state of this, honestly.

Cue 5 minutes of bizarro disco lighting and Top of The Pops style FX as Sibiler retreats into a corner looking slightly worried before we're back with Vic and Jeff, the mortician explaining that no-one really knows who bit the poor woman to death.

So he's actually just making this shit up then?

Before Talmudge can comment we're onto corpse number 2 which belongs to (as in it's actually his body, he hasn't bought it on Ebay or something) the infamous murderer Alan Growski (70s TV stalwart and star of The Incredible Melting Man DeBenning).

"Is it in yet?"


Played for sinister (PG friendly) laughs the murders are intercut with footage of Growski being lead away by the police whilst being asked if he really did kill them, which is kinda redundant if you think about it.

Realising that this tale is utter toffee we're soon back with Mr Vic who says that they refuse film him in the electric chair.

So I guess that's the twist then.

Marvelous.

Shuffling uncomfortably and checking his watch Talmudge looks on as the morose mortician approaches (yet another) coffin whilst beginning the story of top 'tec Malcolm Toliver (Aidman who was once nominated for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music And Lyrics, fact fans) who has recently been voted America's Best Criminologist (Ever!) by - um - American Criminologist Magazine.

Or was it Titbits?

Anyway whilst solving a gay love tryst hanging (as you do) who should turn up but the famed Inspector Andy McDowell (Dr. Bombay from Bewitched and Colonel Crittendon in Hogan's Heroes himself, Fox) who just happens to have been voted Britain's Best Criminologist (Ever!) thanks to Simon Cowell, David Walliams and the lovely Alesha Dixon, beating a tap-dancing dog and a comedy dwarf with rickets who used to shout "Moldy bread!" when arresting criminals.

Their rivalry is well known and the pair enjoy (well someone has to) a few moments verbal sparring - as opposed to a sword fight in a ladies mouth - as they give the reasons as to why they will end up crowned The World's Greatest Detective.

I always assumed that was The Batman but heyho.

Dixon: So far out of my league there's no point even thinking about it (or so my other half says).

Whilst out for a meal one night to celebrate the solving of the hanging case (it was a Mexican what done it....bad people, knife, knife, knife  etc.) the pair are intrigued when a note arrives for the Toliver saying (well obviously it doesn't really 'say' it as letters can't speak, this is just a turn of phrase) that someone he knows well will be murdered in three days so with McDowell in tow it's a race against time - and tedium - to solve the case.

Well I say solve the case but let's be honest it's pretty obvious who's behind it isn't it?

Lucky for us then that the performances on show are so good.***

Hannibal: The Pikey Years.


As the evening continues and the audience begins to slip into a coma we're introduced Mr Vic approaches the penultimate casket and begins to recount the tale of hard-nosed businessman Dirk Cantwell (Gates who according to a quick look at Wikipedia is either an American former Olympic sailor in the Star class who competed in the 1972 Summer Olympics together with Alan Holt or an American former political consultant and lobbyist who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and making false statements - he may be someone else entirely but I really can't be arsed checking****) who lives for prifit and hates everything else.

After being rude to his secretary and knocking back the chance of a night out with his workmates at the famous Nobby's Burger Joint (They serve 23 kinds of burgers) he heads out to lunch (alone) and after slagging off a shopkeeper for not selling chewing gum he proves his 100% patent bastardness by telling a homeless man to "Get a job!"

What a rotter.

"I love you....could it be magic?"


As he walks down the street he notices that the local Primark is having a sale so pops in on the off chance that he can buy some cheap shorts for his holidays but imagine his surprise when upon entering he finds the place deserted.

And the doors locked preventing him from leaving.

Exploring the shop in the hope of at least finding a pair of Jesus sandels going cheap Cantwell stumbles on a discarded coathanger and falls down a liftshaft where he's attacked by a wall of nails.

As is the way of these things.

Trapped in the rubbish filled hole and fed nothing but booze by an unseen assailant hours seem to turn to days and days into weeks (or that maybe just how I felt watching) when, out of the blue, he’s finally released.

Stumbling into the sunlight he grabs a passerby for help but the guy just yells at him to "Get a job!"

See what they did there?

Hmmmmm.....donuts.


Obviously bored to tears by all this sub-Twilight Zone bollocks Talmudge makes his excuses to leave but not before Mr Vic points mysteriously to an empty coffin and announces that this one is waiting for an adulterer.

As you do.

Running from the mortuary Talmudge looks up to see that it is - in fact - the hotel (whit?) and scared shitless he legs it into an alley only to bump into the husband of the woman he was having 'the sex' with at the films beginning who shoots him dead.

And would you believe that when the ambulance turns up it's driven by Mr Vic himself?

Scary biscuits.


Just not that one.




Dubbed "Stillwater's own monster hit!" by someone who didn't get out much, writer David (Dark Honeymoon, Fatal Instinct, The Boogens - yup everyone a winner) O'Malley's horror opus began it's life as a TV script entitled "Five Faces" and then to "Five Faces of Terror" before producers realised that the film actually feature more than five faces.

I counted at least 18. 

Upon release it was entitled "Alien Zone" by the distributor to cash in on the scifi trend of the time before ultimately changing again to "House of the Dead." for it's VHS debut.

And why am I telling you this?

Because the whole title thing is by far the most interesting - and exciting - thing about the whole sorry affair.

Director Sharron (Cagney & Lacey, Homefront, The Trials of Rosie O'Neill) Miller may have gone on to carve out a prolific directing career on TV - being as she was the first woman to win the Directors Guild Award for directing a dramatic (non-documentary) film for the Afterschool Special, "The Woman Who Willed a Miracle" in 1983 fact fans - but there's none of that skill on show here as the camera just points at the actors as the slowly go thru their paces.

I'm not saying the film is slow but a 3 hour video tape actually ran out before even 10 minutes of the film had played out.

And my children who are 16 and 14 respectively had all gotten married and had kids by the time it had finished.

No, really.

"Mask on mah face!"


It's not all mind numbing tedium tho' as the clothes are quite funny and the Burr DeBenning segment is kinda kooky enough to hold your interest.

Plus the first lady he kills is doing enough 'acting' for the rest of the cast.

Trust me, she deserves if not a film of her own then at least the bumps in the playground.

Plus I'm pretty sure that Ryan Spindell, director of the really rather fabulous The Mortuary Collection is a fan, seeing as that movie has practically the same basic plot.

To be fair tho' Spindell actually does something brilliant with it.

 

Harmless enough I guess but then again you can say that about anything till someone loses an eye.





















































*Which to be honest is two.



 **I think I know who this may be based on but for legal reasons I really can't say.


***For any Americans reading (Americans? reading? ha!) this is what we 'Britfags' call sarcasm.



****I've just found out that he's actually neither of those people and was in fact once married to Veronica Cartwright.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

coffin jo(k)e.

Still stuck in the limbo land of lockdown at the moment and desperately trying to amuse myself in a way that doesn't involve tidying/heavy lifting/online social interaction.

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

Yup, THAT Fred Johnson.



'This is something from hell!'


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

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

Now I'm intrigued.

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

Who or what could be behind this?

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

Well closer than Brussels anyway.

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

Spooky.

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

Hmmm.....

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

Easy tiger.

Hazel Court with her hands in the till.



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

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

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

Your Auntie Jean - ask your dad.



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

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

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

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

This may be important. 

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

Seriously it's retina burning in its intensity.


Lipstick round mah mooth.


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

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

Just me then?

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

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

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

Fair enough.

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

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

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

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

So Peter takes Linda up the tin mine.

Something that would probably be illegal today.

Insert cock here.



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

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

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

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

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

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

Poor lamb.

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

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

Peter excitedly agrees.

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

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

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

Which is nice.

Linda being a girl runs off sobbing.

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

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

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








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

Oh yes.

And

lots

of

talking.

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

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



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

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

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

mental as anything.

Over a hundred days into lockdown and with a month before the schools go back (probably) the trio of terror are well and truly knackered giving Mrs Unwell and myself a rare evening free of screams and fire starting.
So what better way to celebrate than with a nice romantic movie.

Doom Asylum (1987).
Dir: Richard Friedman.
Cast: Micheal Rogen, Patty Mullen, William Hay, Kenny Price, Harrison White, Kristin Davis, Ruth Collins, Dawn Alvan, Harvey Keith, Steven Menkin and Farin.

“Yes, I am mad, mad with hatred and revenge!”



Welcome to generic country backwoods USA where divorce lawyer extraordinaire  Mitch Hansen (Basket Case 2 star and father of Seth, Rogen) along-with his client/squeeze Judy LaRue (Frankenhooker herself and one-time Penthouse pet of the month, the milky thighed Mullen) are celebrating her divorce/his trial win with a high speed, champagne fueled trip along the winding roads (with it must be said, gay abandon and to a really shite MOR soundtrack to boot), racing home in order to pack off her daughter Kiki to boarding school so that they can indulge in some of the sex.

But we're not here for a legal-eagle drama or love story we're here for some copious amounts of blood and gore (with a couple of breast shots thrown in too probably) so within minutes of this romantic scene playing out the couples car swerves out of control and crashes into a tree.

I assume it's a tree because the films budget is so low we only get some out of focus camera swirling and a scratchy sound effects LP in lieu of some actual stunt work. 

Luckily they kept a few quid back to show us the aftermath which features poor Mitch covered head to toe in strawberry jam with the arse ripped out of his trousers cradling a dirtied up and dying Judy as her severed hand lies in the grass.

Rum, sodomy and the lash.


Thanks to some top quality cutting we're suddenly at the local morgue where the studly and shaded Dr. Bob (stuntman for hire Keith obviously trying to hide his identity) and his assistant Barry (producer Menkin in a cash saving cameo) are preparing to perform an autopsy on a naked and badly burned Mitch.

But as Dr. Bob instructs Barry to start cutting away at Mitch's face the lacerated lawyer wakes up screaming and without further ado - or any reason whatsoever - proceeds to kill the pair with their own instruments before donning a labcoat and disappearing into the hospital basement where he will spend the next ten years watching old copyright free Todd Slaughter movies whilst caressing Judy's severed hand.

And wanking himself off with it.

Possibly.

Look we've all been there.

Especially those of us self isolating.

Anyway a lot has happened in ten years, including the hospital closing down and Judy's daughter Kiki growing up to be the spit of her mum (which is lucky as they can use the same actress) and she too is now driving along the same road accompanied on the journey by her indecisive beau Mike (Hay in his only film role - why am I not surprised?), geeky, trading card obsessed manchild Dennis (non-hit wonder Price), token black cool kid Darnell (White who actually went on to have a career working with such luminaries as David Fincher and Kermit The Frog), and the bespectacled beauty Jane (button-nosed Sex In The City babe and Stuff magazine's no. 42 in their 102 Sexiest Women in the World survey 2002 Davis in her film debut).

It seems that the group are retracing Kiki's mothers final journey on the anniversary of her death, first stopping off next to the tree where she died (where Kiki finds her mums broken mirror) before heading off for a picnic at the by now abandoned hospital.

Each to their own I guess.

"How'd ya like dem apples?" - and by apples I think they mean breasts.



Approaching the hospital the group can't help but notice the strange sounds emanating from within so Darnell decides to investigate, soon coming across (not in that way tho' I'd seriously consider it) local punk legends - and real life Pizzazz And The Misfits -  Tina and the Tots rehearsing.

Not being a fan of female based industrial post-punk Darnell sneakily unplugs their sound system much to blonde bombshell Tina's (Collins, producer of the William Shatner TV show Moving America Forward) chagrin who loudly vows revenge on these musical philistines.

Before laughing maniacally.

For around fifteen minutes.

Probably THE greatest fictional band since DeJour, the incredible Tina And The Tots - emanating so much girl power that even the thought of a sly titwank would kill you.

But as Tina issues threats from the hospital roof (where the only real threat is that of her breasts escaping from her studded bikini top) the bands keyboard player Godiva (the pixie-like Alvan) gazes dreamily at Darnell and in a sequence as brilliant as it is misplaced fantasizes about the pair running thru' wheat-fields and kissing to the cheesiest library music this side of a Cheddar ad.

Rapunzel (the mysterious Farin) the Russian drummer is less impressed tho' as she stomps about shouting about politics and stuff in an accent so thick it's as if the soundtrack had been dipped in treacle.

She does have a very pretty skirt tho' so I guess that makes up for it.

Meanwhile our teen pals are busying themselves dishing out the crisp sandwiches and bottles of Tizer as the prepare their picnic and with this being an American movie the picnic also involves Kiki and Jane stripping down to their swimsuits in order to 'soak up some rays'.

Which probably wont be as absorbent as the tissues grabbed for by the audience of horny teen boys on release at the sight of Davis looking incredibly uncomfortable in probably the highest cut all in one blue swimsuit ever committed to celluloid.

It's obvious that she picked this costume - rather than the flimsy red number worn by Mullen - in order to retain some semblance of modesty, unfortunately from the camera angles used the director had other ideas.

And I wonder why she never talks about this movie during interviews?


Somewhere to park your bike at least.


But as the group settle down for some salty snacks and excited chat a strange figure is lurking in the bushes watching them....

Cue 50 minutes of fag end gore, sexy 80s goth boots, Kristin Davis' terrifying bubble perm, punk on preppy punch-ups, condom water balloons, some quick and unnecessary nudity and a running joke regarding our heroine calling her boyfriend 'mom' that drunkenly stumbles toward a climax of pure nonsensical joy.







Shot over 8 days for $168* by ex- Goldman/Sachs banker, biblical scholar or the guy behind Phantom of the Mall: Eric's Revenge depending on which Wiki entry you click on Richard Friedman in an actual abandoned hospital, Doom Asylum is at once the nadir and the pinnacle of lo-fi 80s horror from it's non-acting cast who all appear to have only recently discovered the power of speech to it's Blu-Tak make-up effects held together with piss and vinegar the whole exercise reeks of desperation and shame - and that's even when you ignore the look of utter embarrassment on poor Kristin Davis' face as she's forced to wander aimlessly around a hobo-paradise glad in an arse splitting swimsuit and a pair of wee boys trainers.

"Boiled onions!"





But at points it manages to transcend the limitations of its budget/editing/general cack-handedness to become something if not competent at least entertaining.

Especially when Ruth Collins is on-screen coming across like the results of an unholy union 'tween Tracie Lords and Tura Satana as she throws our hunky lead off a roof, attacks picnickers with condoms and beats the shite out of the villain with a big metal pole - all whilst laughing like a drain and clad in a studded bra.

Feminine perfection.

Thank fuck Linnea Quigley was too expensive for this movie.

Which is a terrifying thought in itself if I'm honest.


It's cheap and tacky with more holes than a crack addled whores duvet but to those of us of a certain (old) age  Doom Asylum is a guilt free way of reliving our teen movie watching years, peering closely at the flickering portable TV in our bedroom waiting for a glimpse of gore, our free hand on the cabled remote control as we awaited a flash of lady parts or a sexy 80s style swimsuit.

Just me then?

A must for anyone the wrong side of 40, tho' everyone else will probably think that it's just utter shite from start to finish.

































































*The extra $100 was paid to actress Ruth Collins when she agreed to flash her breasts.

True story bro.


Thursday, July 9, 2020

shafted.

Realised t'other night that Mrs Unwell had never seen this classic.

Had to put her right obviously.

The Beast Must Die! (1974).
Dir: Paul Annett.
Cast: Calvin Lockhart, Marlene Clark, Charles Gray, Michael Gambon, Ciaran Madden, Tom Chadbon, Anton Diffring and Peter Cushing.


“This film is a detective story — In which you are the detective. The question is not ‘Who is the murderer?’ — But ‘Who is the werewolf?’ After all the clues have been shown — You will get a chance to give your answer. Watch for the werewolf break.”



Welcome to the world of multi-millionaire, big game hunter, international playboy and pound shop John Shaft Tom Newcliffe (a very shouty Lockhart) who, it seems, likes nothing better than to spend his weekends clad in shiny black plastic suits and being chased around his country estate by a load of heavily armed muscly white guys in helicopters and Land-Rovers whilst sweating profusely as a camp Polish bloke named Pavel (Brit-cinema rentaNazi Diffring) captures it all on videotape.

Look if that's what he enjoys then who am I to judge?

There’s a legitimate reason for all this wannabe race-baiting tho' (other than to give the film an intriguing - if in this day and age slightly disturbing - credit sequence obviously) as Tom is actually busy testing his estates newly installed high-tech security system.

And why is that? I hear you ask.

Well it seems that he's invited a group of folk to spend the weekend with him - and his wife Caroline (Clark from Night of The Cobra Woman, Ganja & Hess, Slaughter and Billy Dee Williams marital bed) - to not only indulge in a wee bit of drinking, chatting and dining but also to find out which one of them is a werewolf.

Oh yes and then kill them.

No seriously.

You see, according to Tom in all his big game hunting adventures this is the one animal he's never hunted.

Which begs the question as to which ones he has.

Vampires?, sea monsters? the Yeti? Katy Hopkins?

We need to know.

"I wouldn't one one of them swimming up my arse!"

And who is this motley band of would be werewolves?

Well there's distinguished diplomat Sir Arthur Bennington (genre stalwart and lifelong bachelor Gray), problematic pianist Jan Gilmore and his ex-protege cum wife Davina (the legend that is Dame Michael of Gambon and Madden who I'm sure was in some other stuff) alongside the hairy handed artist and part-time cannibal Paul Foote (Doctor Who's Duggan himself Chadbon) and the eminent lycanthropy expert Prof. Dolph Lundgren (Cushing).

It seems that at some point or another each of the five has been somewhere where a bad murder has been committed.

By a werewolf.

Probably.

And with the whys and wherefores out of the way our merry band of might be murderers settle down to an insult filled dinner followed by a vaguely threatening game of pass the silver candlestick before retiring grumpily to bed as Pavel records their every move.

Imagine a really angry edition of Big Brother but with more Bri-Nylon.

"And for my next trick I will levitate this table without using my hands!"



Being quite a short film with a really bare-bones plot it's not long until the werewolf (played by a tie-dyed sheepdog) shows itself giving Tom ample opportunity to sweatily run around the woods - clad in a shiny plastic coat no less - randomly pointing a gun a trees whilst Pavel shouts random directions at him.

Little do the pair know tho' that the beast (who remember must die) is sneakily making its way to Pavel's office in order to kill him.

This turn of events understandably makes Tom even more obsessed with killing the creature much to his wife's chagrin and that night after dinner he forces the group to grab the candlestick (again) whilst waving a pot of Wolfs-bane around like a demented Morrissey tribute act.

Unfortunately none of this works because - as Prof. Lundgren helpfully points out, if the werewolf is fairly new to the whole transforming game they'll be able to hold on to their humanity a bit better than an old werewolf.

Or your dad after a drink.


Jacket.



It's during this plant-based outburst that Tom notices that Paul doesn't seem to be taking the situation as seriously as he should so our hero decides that this must be because he's a werewolf and not the fact that the whole premise is fucking ludicrous so to this end he decides to target the poor bloke with a barrage of insults and dirty looks.

Because sarcasm kills werewolves obviously.

And with that Paul heads of to bed, being careful to show his hairy back and arse to camera as he gets undressed.

Well it's another night and another full moon which means that we're about to experience some top quality day for night footage as Tom - this time in the BBC weather helicopter - flies around the English countryside randomly shooting at shadows before coming to land outside his greenhouse where it's been reported that a large dog is digging up the roses.

Bursting in all guns blazing Tom is surprised to find that the reported dog is, in fact, his actual pet dog, taken out for a nighttime poo by his Caroline.

The guffaws soon turn to screams tho' as out of nowhere (well from behind a bush) the werewolf appears, first killing the helicopter pilot before savaging Tom's pet pooch.

And with that they all skulk back to the house only to find poor Arthur Bennington dead in his bed and Paul missing.

Hmmmm.

Don't worry too much tho' he soon turns up saying he missed the drama as he was having a massive poo.

Which is fair enough.

Tim Martin farted....and it smells of yeast.

With the surviving guests all in one place and the movie hurtling drunkenly toward it's conclusion there's only one thing for it.

No not a brilliantly choreographed action sequence but a totally unexpected appearance from a childs version of the Countdown clock to herald the 'Werewolf Break' - a chance for viewers to weigh up the evidence given so far (which is a bit rich as let's be honest, there hasn't actually been any) and guess who the beast - that must die obviously - is.





And with that out of the way it's back to the film good and proper, where after a swift drink Tom pulls out a box of silver bullets (no idea where from as his trousers are really tight) and orders each of the guests - and his wife - to pop one in their mouth.

You can imagine his surprise then when the only person affected by the silver is his wife Caroline who almost immediately starts to sprout hair and fangs.

As the group look on in horror (OK mild disbelief) the crew quickly replace her with a dog who - on cue - leaps at Tom leaving him no choice other than shoot her/it (pronouns are important according to the kids) in the face.

This turn of events leaves Tom understandably confused so it's left to good old Lundgren to explain that Caroline must have gotten infected whilst taking care of her dog's wounds after the werewolf attack in the greenhouse, noting that she had a cut on her hand from earlier that evening.

Seems legit.

With dawn fast approaching and the remaining guests accounted for it's a race against time for Tom to find the beast and kill it.....

Because the beast must die.

Obviously.




A rare break from the portmanteau horror genre from the mighty Amicus, The Beast Must Die mixes sub-Avengers plotting with a very British take on Blaxploitation all hastily wrapped in the plot of "The Most Dangerous Game" (which was first filmed in 1932 so by this point was starting to creak a wee bit) and handed to a director whose claim to fame seemed to be bringing a variety of TV shows in under budget and on time which all in all may be seen as a recipe for if not disaster then at least a bit of a turgid mess.

Scarily tho' despite all of this (or maybe because of it) The Beast Must Die is actually pretty enjoyable for something that is to all intents and purposes utter cringe-inducing shite and mainly that's due to the talent on screen.

I mean anyone that can convincingly look terrified as the directors sheep dog dyed black and wearing a comedy ruff  prances about with its tongue out deserves at least a little respect.

And yes I'm looking at you Tom Chadbon.


"Sausages"


Saying that tho' everyone else is pretty impressive too, it's just a pity that after getting together a cast that includes the likes of Charles Gray, Michael Gambon, Anton Diffring and Peter Cushing the writer/director decided to do fuck all with them except have them sitting around drinking wine in a collection of really horrible trousers.

And all while our heroic 'lead' Calvin Lockhart stands around shouting dressed in an approximation (if your nan was involved in the costumes) of what Shaft would wear had he been born in West Bromwich.

Talking of Shaft, if you've ever wondered what that classic movie would sound like if scored by a Tubby Hayes tribute band more used to working on 70s fag adverts then you're in luck.



No disrespect to Douglas Gamley - who scored shedloads of Amicus productions with great success, I mean his score for From Beyond the Grave is bloody phenomenal - but in this case it just sounds like it's trying way too hard, a wee bit like a musical version of your uncle Peter trying to pull that bridesmaid at your cousins wedding.


"Quick! Here comes Uncle Peter!"


Damning with faint praise I reckon the best thing you can say about The Beast Must Die is somewhere in that there's a really great grindhouse style actioner in there somewhere desperate to get out.

A wee bit like the beast itself.


Monday, July 6, 2020

farewell maestro.

Ennio Morricone,  

10 November 1928 - 6 July 2020