Monday, March 15, 2010

boab's full hoose.

Glasgow has turned into a veritable Stella Street of scares recently, what with the Fest of Fright and the almost obscene amount of horror stars gracing our streets over the cold winter weeks.

Only last week the title star of John Carpenter's The Thing was seen wandering Sauchiehall Street looking for a taxi.

But all that fades into insignificance this weekend when compared to the surreal feeling I got from watching the original 1972 version of Last House on The Left in the company of Krug himself Mr. David Hess during the GFT's fantastic 'Don't Go In The House!' night.

And before you ask, no he didn't touch me up.

Well, not too much.

But I'm getting ahead of myself because before the audience were treated to ninety odd minutes of rape, sweaty men and torture we were treated to a rare big screen showing of Ti West's soon to be classic The House of The Devil.

For those of you with short memories and tiny hands the full review of the home based horror is here but if you're too lazy to click on the link, here's a quick cut n' paste synopsis from my earlier review for you (unfortunately not written by Paul Alaoui who seems to have become the DVD box equivalent of the Homer at the moment).



I still spy Norman Price's handiwork.


Button nosed and boyish hipped beauty Samantha (Jocelyn Donahue, last seen covered in dirt in the JT Petty classic The Burrowers) is just a normal, everyday college girl trying to make her way in life, juggling with her coursework and saddled with a man-faced whore of a room mate whilst trying to make ends meet.

But an end to her flatmate troubles may be in sight when Samantha finds a perfect house for rent. It's homely and the landlady (the fantastic Dee Wallace in a blink and miss it cameo) is desperate to give Samantha a chance.

The only problem is that she can't afford to pay the rent.

Aw, it's heartbreaking I know.

Heading back to campus with a heavy heart (and a nice line in knitwear) Sam notices a flyer advertising for a babysitter pinned to the notice board.

It doesn't pay much but it'll help towards her dream house (note: dream house, not devil house) so Sam calls the number.

The phone is answered by the softly spoken Mr. Viv Ulman (genre giant Tom Noonan from The Monster Squad, Manhunter and Robocop 2 amongst others) who quickly accepts her offer and arranges to pick her up so she can get acquainted with the wee bairn within the hour.

Nothing like being keen I guess.

Rushing excitedly to the front steps of the building Samantha sits and waits.

And waits.

And waits.

Being nice but dim it takes our heroine about 4 hours to realise that she's been stood up by the mysterious Mr. Ulman but being a sassy kinda gal, Samantha cheers herself up by sharing a pizza with her best bud Megan (indie chick type Greta Gerwig who, for once is fully clothed and not playing the trumpet in a bath).

Heading back to her smelly, semen encrusted room and prepared for a night of study and soda, Samantha is surprised to find that Ulman has left her a message apologising for the earlier mix up and is wondering if she's still free for babysitting.

That very night.

It seems that Mr Ulman and his long suffering wife Tracy (Amazonian uber-MiLF Mary Woronov) have some very important business to attend to that can only be done during that evening lunar eclipse. Their regular babysitter has let them down and they'd be more than happy to double Samantha's pay if she'll say yes.

To the job that is, not just say yes randomly on the phone.


"Hat on mah heid!"



Samantha quickly phones Megan for a lift (the Ulman's live in the middle of nowhere, what a surprise) and seeing as she has no pressing nude scenes that night, she agrees to take her pal to the Ulman residence.

Once at the house the girls are met by the peg-legged Viv who, after some stilted small talk about pizza and the price of cheese makes a strange admission.

You see it appears that when Mr. Ulman said he needed a sitting for his wee baby what he really meant was that he needed someone to sit in the house and listen out for his mother in law who, after a stroke (of the non sexual kind obviously) has been left bedridden (sort of) and occasionally requires a cup of tea taken up to her (probably).

"But don't worry" coos Viv, "you won't actually have to make her drinks because she's asleep, so you can spend the night watching teevee and eating pizza".

And on that bombshell he offers Samantha 400 bucks and a Kinder Surprise from the attic.


Beard of evil.


Hesitating whilst she weighs up the pros ($400, free pizza) and cons (this bloke's a nutter, he's insistent that Megan goes home) Samantha is finally persuaded to take the job when Mr. Ulman starts crying and jigging about on his good leg.

Pushover.

But saying that, what could possibly go wrong?

Fantastic.

See it.

Just don't sit down the front next to the stinky man eating a family size bag of Monster Munch.

After a well deserved ciggie break, a non apologetic whoring of my limited edition Fulci postcard set (only £5, a few still available) and quick cup of weak lemon drink, our illustrious host, the gorgeous Calum Waddell entered stage left to introduce the evenings big treat, Wes Craven's lo-fi revenge flick Last House on The Left and it's scary star Sir David of Hess.


It's actually not over the very centre of Hell
but in a cul de sac near Newport....
Estate agents eh? Who'd 'ave 'em?




But for those of you who haven't seen it.....


Mousy turtle-necked teen Mari Collingwood (Sandra Cassel, AKA Sandra Peabody AKA Liyda Cassell from the fairly rude Voices of Desire) is all set to celebrate her seventeenth birthday at a popular music concert (as you youngsters say) with her friend, the even mousier (yet slightly cuter) Phyllis (one hit wonder Lucy Grantham).

Her middle aged and brightly coloured jumpered parents, John and Estelle (the fantastically monikered Gaylord St James - last seen battling Chesty Morgan's Deadly Weapons and Cynthia Carr) are mildly concerned not only with their daughters taste in long haired hippie music but also her friendship with the slightly common Phyllis.

You see, John is a doctor with a fondness for plaid action slacks whilst his wife's hair appears to be constructed from straw which, in early seventies movie parlance means that they're both very posh.

For Americans obviously.


Wait for it.....
"Shite in mah mooth!"


Anyway being a pair of pushovers they decide to let her live her life her way (well, what's left of it), even giving her a market stall peace symbol necklace to show that they're still 'with it' before she leaves.

This may be important later.

As the pair drive to the concert chatting excitedly about make-up and the like a news story regarding a group of mentalist murderers is reported on the local radio station.

It seems that the mad as a bag of spanners Krug Stillo (David Hess), his wee boy Krug Junior (former Charles In Charge writer Marc Sheffler), sleazy Sadie (Divine lookalike and ex-missis Richard Dreyfuss, Jeramie Rain) and Fred Podowski (Friday 13th part 2's very own Uncle Merlin, Fred J. Lincoln) have gone on the rampage, bursting small boys balloons and tearing the 'do not remove' tags from the bottom of mattresses.

Bastards.

Still groovin' to the free love and peace vibe from the concert, Mari and Phyllis decide to let it all hang out as those beatnik types and attempt to purchase some of that marijuana that all the young thing smoke.

The girls soon come across (not like that you dirty sod) Junior, who takes them to the apartment where the rest of the baddies are hiding out.

Surprisingly the don't actually get the promised drugs but instead are subjected to a couple of violent beatings and a protracted rape.

Meanwhile, whilst all this sexual violence is going down, Mari's folks are busily putting up 'happy birthday' banners round the house.

Oh the irony.


This could have been me....



Next morning, the girls are bundled into the boot of a car to accompany Krug and co. as they head toward the state line and freedom.

Unfortunately the car breaks down in the woods right behind Mari's house (what are the chances?) so the fearsome four, whilst waiting for the RAC man to arrive, decide to have a wee bit more fun with Phyllis and Mari.

Yikes.

Dragged into the bushes, the poor girls are forced to urinate (tho' not in each others mooths unfortunately) and 'touch' each other before Phyllis is subjected to the ultimate humiliation when she's untied and ordered to sing "I'm A Little Teapot".

With the actions.

Much hilarity ensues giving Phyllis and opportunity to run into the woods and Mari chance to escape but being lasses you know they'll both make an arse of it.

Sadie and Fred give chase, while Junior stays behind to guard Mari, who in an attempt to win the boy over gives him her peace symbol necklace.

Being a thick inbred he fails to reciprocate this act of kindness by giving her a pearl one in return.

Meanwhile, Phyllis is cornered by Fred (tho' how you can get cornered in a forest is beyond me) who quickly sets about torturing her with a bread knife before cutting off her hand and gutting her like a (fairly attractive) fish and heading back to Krug.


Director Craven checks his shopping list.


Presenting Mari with Phyllis' still warm severed hand as a birthday present, Fred and Sadie sit back and enjoy the sight of Krug carving his name into Mari's chest (and yes he can spell it) before shite-ing in her mooth (possibly) and shooting her in the back as she wanders away dazed.

Not bad for an afternoons work.

Changing out of their blooded clothes the gang decide to see if any of the nearby houses have a phone they can use to get the car repaired and after looking up tand down the street (and discovering that there's no one in at the first house on the right, next to the letterbox and bookies) head towards the last house on the left.

By a bizarre quirk of fate (or scriptwriting) this house belongs to Mari's mum and dad.

Being nice folk John and Estelle are more than happy to invite Krug and his buddies in, offering them a slap up meal and a bed for the night but things take a sinister turn when Estelle recognises Juniors necklace as the same one owned by her daughter...


David Hess demonstrates the fine art of punching
to broadcaster Jon Ronson (probably).


A modern day retelling of Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring (which is itself based on a 13th century Swedish ballad named 'Töres dotter i Wänge'), I doubt there's anyone reading this hasn't already seen the movie at least once, making any kind of review redundant.

Whether you love it or hate it, you have to admit that when viewed with a twenty-first century audience, it still has the power to shock.

Which for a thirty eight year old lo-fi shocker is pretty damn good.

Tho' trying to explain this to the flat-capped and overcoated eighty year old who left the auditorium tutting and muttering "Whit wis that filth?" under his breath was a wee bit difficult.

And no, he didn't buy a postcard set.


"Whit?!"

It was then that the audience were joined by 'killer' Kruge himself as the legendary Sir David of Hess (in Scotland for the first but hopefully not the last time) walked on-stage to regale a rapt audience with tales of a career that has encompassed everything from pro-rugby to pop stardom via suffering broken noses with Franco Nero and being left for dead by Lee Marvin.


Banging your own drum:
This portrait (especially
commissioned to celebrate Hess' visit)

is now hanging in the actors own personal
torture chamber in the basement
beneath his Colorado home.



A man of rare warmth and talent, Hess certainly delivered the goods and promised that his return appearance the following evening (alongside his House At The Edge of The Park co-star Giovanni Lombardo Radice) would be something extra special.

But I'm jumping ahead of myself as before then (and after a nightmare filled sleep) the brave Glasgow audience - minus the squad of old biddies who'd inadvertently turned up the night before mistakenly expecting Little House on The Prairie) - had a little trip planned.

A trip to The City of The Living Dead.




Paura nella città dei morti viventi (AKA City of The Living Dead, The Gates of Hell. 1980).
Dir: Lucio Fulci.
Cast: Christopher George, Catriona MacColl, Carlo De Mejo, Antonella Interlenghi, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Daniela Doria, Fabrizio Jovine, Luca Venantini, Michele Soavi and Venantino Venantini.

Welcome to the dank and dull town of Dunwich, where the depressed and fright-fringed priest, Father William Thomas (Jovine, famous for his portrayal of Yuri Andropov in the 2005 Italian teevee bio-pic of Pope John Paul II) is walking through the local cemetery lost in thoughts of death.


Your dads cum face.


Meanwhile in New York a small group of high society types are attending a séance organised by the famed psychic medium Mary Woodhouse (the lovely Catriona MacColl), expert on all things ghostly and owner of a rare hardback edition of the best-selling Book of Eibon.

It gets around that thing doesn't it?

Anyway, scary Mary begins to have visions of the poor priest, watching helplessly as he proceeds to hang himself from a big tree in the cemetery whilst inadvertently opening the very gates of Hell (well one lot but more on that later) in the process.

Another, more surprising result of this Holy hanging is that Mary, whilst attempting to free herself from this ghastly and ghostly experience dies.

Of death.


And no, not even I would shite in that.


Her companions seem fairly calm (taking all things into consideration) with regards to her sudden demise, taking the time to make a coffee and share a few biscuits before calling the police and (bizarrely) a local down at heel reporter by the name of Peter Bell (American teevee stalwart and the Exterminator's Detective James Dalton, George).

Bell (for no other reason than to further the films freak factor) visits Mary's grave only to discover that she's not, in fact dead, merely sleeping off the effects of the séance.

Now I'm no coroner but that must be one hell of a mistake to make, I mean thank fuck they never performed an autopsy It'd be a field day for Claims Direct.

Digging her out of her coffin (well, I say digging her out but he actually just attacks the wood with a pickaxe almost blinding the poor woman in the process) the pair head of to Dunwich for an appointment with destiny.

Oh and some zombies obviously.

Meanwhile back at the town some mightily strange shit is going down, the locals are being picked off one by one by the now undead priest, the village idiot Bob (Italian horrors favourite whipping boy Radice) has been head-fucked (literally) by some girls dad and most importantly the local pub has started to collapse.

As you can guess, the townsfolk can't help but think that these things may all be related, worried as they are about how this will affect the tourist trade in the upcoming winter months.


"Put it in me!"


Luckily for everyone involved (but especially the laydees watching) tidy bearded town psychiatrist and wannabe stud-muffin Gerry (horror veteran and star of Emanuelle in Prison, De Mejo) is on the case and soon finds himself teaming up with Bob and Mary who helpfully explain that the world is set to end on All Saints Day if the now thoroughly evil (and urine smelling) Father Thomas can't be stopped from doing whatever it is he's actually doing.

It's never actually explained but we can assume it's not nice.

With the clock ticking (metaphorically that is, it's a big digital one) our heroic trio are in a race against time to find the hidden grave of Father Thomas and finally put his tormented soul to rest before Dunwich literally becomes a city (well town) of the living dead.

The beginning of Fulci's Lovecraft inspired golden era that continued with The Beyond and House By The Cemetery, City of The Living Dead gives us the directors trade mark moments of starkly realistic ultra-violence but this time drops them into a dreamlike non-linear world of ghosts and magic creating a world where set pieces, imagery and co-incidence are more important than coherent storylines or logic with the actual 'concept' of horror being the prevailing point of the film, rather than an end to the means.

Frankly I reckon I'm preaching to the converted here, it's Fulci and it's fantastic and no doubt you all already own at least six various versions of it.

Which doesn't mean that you should pre-order the brand spanking new Arrow DVD release which is coming soon.

I've had a sneak at the extras and honestly it's the dogs bollocks.

I would go as far as saying that the only thing that could possibly be better than it would be the
dream of a big screen showing of City of The Living Dead and then have someone like, um Catriona MacColl and maybe even Giovanni Lombardo Radice popping on stage for a wee chat about it afterwards.

What?!!? You mean to say I didn't dream it?

Frankly I'll be surprised if the GFT can get the seats clean in time for next week.

The audience, by this point lying sweaty and spent across the seats had little time to recover tho' as within minutes of our horror duo leaving the stage Mr. Waddell appeared as if by magic (or dimensional portal) to introduce the final treat of the weekend.

A film that goes beyond madness.

Beyond terror.

Beyond our ken.

It can only be....

Zombie Creeping Flesh!

No actually, it's The Beyond!

To save you any unnecessary clicking I've deleted the old review and popped a new(ish) one here.

You're welcome.

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The Beyond (AKA L'Aldilà, And You Will Live in Terror: The Beyond, Seven Doors of Death 1981)
Dir: Lucio Fulci.
Cast: David Warbeck, Catriona MacColl, Cinzia Monreale, Al Cliver, Antoine Saint-John and Mr. Giovanni De Nava.

Louisiana 1927, Tuesday week, 19:38 hrs.

As the sun begins to set and the mists linger in the cool air, an angry group of torch-bearing, Italian looking villagers are sailing towards the Seven Doors Hotel where well-known 'ungodly warlock' (and painter) Mr. Terry Schweik has been found to be residing.
When the villagers arrive they quickly make their way through the lobby (not even stopping to wipe their feet) and stride up the stairs to Room 36, busting down the door and dragging the aforementioned Terry (Antoine Saint-John) to the cellar (which is pretty clever seeing as Louisianan houses don't have cellars seeing as they're built below sea level).

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"Aya! mah BCG!"
Punched and kicked to the floor, beaten with chains and crucified to the wall (as in the bit holding the house up, not the Pink Floyd album) the merry band decide to melt off his face as a final punishment for his badness (or his crap portrait skills).

But unknown to them they've just happened to kill a warlock over one of the seven gates of Hell mentioned in the (New York Times bestseller, probably) Book of Eibon.

Which is a bad thing.

Well, kinda.

Zoom forward to 1981, Liza Merril (the scrumptious Catriona MacColl) has recently inherited the old hotel from a deceased uncle and decides to move in, hoping for a change from her world of grizzly Italian horror opposite Ian McCulloch and maybe a wee bit of financial security.



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MacColl: Pensive.
Hiring local hot shot Joe 'the plumber' (Dr. Jacob A. Freudstein himself, Giovanni De Nava) and co. to begin renovations, it's only a matter of time before strange things start happening...A painter falls from the scaffolding after seeing a set of spooky eyes peering out at him and Joe is murdered when he 'accidentally' opens the doorway to Hell (as one would) only to return as a pasty faced zombie.
His resurrection in the local hospital is just the beginning of a series of bizarre (and frankly unexplained) events; a really freaky ginger school girl accidentally spills acid on her mothers face and (most upsetting) a librarian falls off his ladder and is attacked by googly eyed home-made spiders left over from Cbeebies favourite Doodle Do.

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"Aye son...ave got sum shite in mah mooth".
If all this spookiness wasn't enough to make Liza think of selling up, the body of the melted faced painter is found upstairs, crucified to the bathroom wall in room 36 (how he managed to drag himself from the cellar and re-crucify himself in his room is never explained-pity really as there's a whole film in that puzzle alone). More and more visions (including those of a mysterious blind girl with a dog) and deaths occur before Liza turns to hunky Dr. John McCabe (David Warbeck) for help.

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Relax girls, he's a homosexual (and dead).

McCabe, obviously gagging for a bit of top British totty like Macoll after being stuck in Italy for so many years jumps at the chance to be of assistance and, if that wasn't enough, the scarily sexy blind girl, Emily (Cinzia Monreale, the sexiest corpse ever to appear on screen, go check out Buio Omega if you don't believe me) with the bizarre past (and a dress like your Grannies) actually appears to warn of the dangers of Eibon.

Eibon?.....hmmmmm, sounds familiar.

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Aye hen!

Just as Warbeck starts rubbing his (sweaty) hands together with glee at the thought of all these hot babes chucking himself at him Emily reveals that she is in league with the denizens of Hell...."I won't go back" She pleads to an unseen presence "I've done as I was asked...."Just before her throat is ripped out by her drooling mutt.
Trapped in a world being slowly enveloped by Hell itself our heroes head to the (relative) safety of the hospital (if full of zombies counts as safe I guess) armed only with a cap gun and a copy of Eibon John and Liza are the only ones left who can save the whole of creation being dragged to THE BEYOND......

But is it too little too late?

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Joe the plumber: leatherier than Sean Connery's balls. Yesch.


Although a (semi) remake/reworking of his earlier City of The Living Dead with it's continued use of surreal themes and bizarre imagery, The Beyond boasts vastly superior direction, acting, effects and a fantastic score from Fabio Frizzi, making it by far the definitive Fulci movie.

Sure Dardano Sacchetti's script is a wee bit clunky at times, there are obvious gaffes with regards to where the film was shot (Italy) and where it's set (the good ol' USA) most notably being the hospitals 'Do Not Enrty' warning sign plus those spiders but Fulci oversees the proceedings with so much conviction that it's impossible not to get completely drawn into this tale of a world gone mad.

Especially if it's star is sitting nearby.

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Ziggy, playing guitar yesterday.

The movie is well served by it's lead actors, horror veterans Catriona MacColl and especially the late, great David (I'd have been Bond if it weren't for these fluffy pink slippers) Warbeck, who gives a particularly child-like performance as the city doctor trapped in a living nightmare he can barely understand.

Watching the movie again you can see the hardly contain glee in his eyes and scenes that Fulci obviously missed in editing (Warbeck loading his gun thru' the barrel whilst MacColl looks on, stifling a laugh) show how much fun the actor must have had on set.

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Dempsey and Makepeace: Euro-style.


Catriona MacColl is as wonderful (and beautiful) as ever, effortlessly going from cool and aloof to shot to fuck without so much as a bat of her eyelids, coming across as a posh country librarian stuck in an Am Dram production that she has no intention of understanding but freely admits to enjoying all the same.

Horror will always need more actresses of this calibre and I for one, miss her.

It's a pity that she never got to team up with Tisa Farrow at some point, I can just imagine the pair mud wrestling in skimpy bikini's for Ian McCulloch's attention whilst baying zombies looked on from behind razor wire as Al Cliver, clad only in a toga dances a merry jig.

Or maybe that's just me.


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Can you see the dog? She can't.


Kudos also to the enigmatic Cinzia Monreale as the milky eyed dog fancier (and sensible shoed agent of Hell) Emily.

As a kid I found her the most terrifying thing in the movie and would gaze at the colour pic of her in Starburst for hours trying to, um, exorcise my demons....luckily as an adult you begin to appreciate the need for tall, plainly dressed, flat heeled and blind spooky ladies from beyond in horror films and it's a travesty that there aren't more of them.

Italian effects maestro Germano (Profondo Rosso) Natali provides the expected scenes of blood and mayhem, complementing Fulci's then obsession with the eye as a window to the soul with popping, squeezing and poking as many on screen as possible.

Pity his (aforementioned) spiders were shite tho.

But it has to be said that the true make-up genius on the movie was whoever decided to get local homeless drunks to play the naked, undead inhabitants of 'the beyond' for the films frankly bonkers finale. Knowing that these derelict damned for all eternity shadows of men are being portrayed by old, piss stained jakeys, fortified by cheap wine and the promise of a pizza brings a smile to my face every time.

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"Can you smell cabbage?"

And somewhat appropriate for Glasgow.

Kudos to everyone involved in organising the weekend but especially big thanks to everyone who parted with their hard earned cash for a postcard set!

Normal, less syrupy posts will return as soon as possible.

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