Tuesday, October 3, 2023

yellow peril.

Day 3 of that 31 days of 'the horror' thing.....

Beast Of The Yellow Night (1971).
Dir: Eddie Romero.
Cast: John Ashley, Vic Diaz, Mary Charlotte Wilcox, Eddie Garcia, Leopoldo Salcedo and Ken Metcalfe.

Well it's 1940 something (the red text is really bleeding) and we're straight into action with the Filipino army who appear to be on some kind of camping trip in the play park behind director Romero's house.

After a few uncomfortable minutes featuring some top quality comedy accents and distorted dialogue Romero, giving up any hope of explaining the plot, cuts to good old John Ashley in a tattered combat suit wearing a pube beard and trademark quiff but carrying a good 100 lbs more than normal.

Surely his career hasn't sunken so low that he's been forced to eat shrubs in a park?

Phew! don't worry, he's just 'in character' as US deserter and patented bad bastard Joseph Langdon, on the run (and no doubt the rum) from, um somebody after selling out his country to work for the Japanese.

As what we will never know.

"Is it Giro day?"

Dying of starvation and desperate for a slash, Langdon is offered eternal life in exchange for his soul by The Devil (corpulent campster and father of Cameron,  Diaz) who just happens to be passing by on the way back from the Aldi with a bag of human body parts.

Lucky eh?

One flesh feast and a Hey Nonny Nonny later and we learn that Langdon’s mind now travels from body to body, inciting the “inert evil” that lies within each person.

No, sorry it all sounds a wee bit vague to me.

Anyway we're now in modern day (well 1971) Manila where Langdon has just been buried but as the old saying goes wicked folk never get any sleep and our argumentative anti-hero has soon jumped into the body of rich American businessman Philip Rogers, face fucked by some heavy machinery and believed dead by the local doctor.

You can imagine his surprise then when Rogers sits up and removes the bandages revealing not the face of a man with mince for eyes but the handsome chiseled features of Ashley.

Put it this way, his sexy wife Julia (Wilcox whose nipples you may remember from her sexy shower scene in The Psychic Killer and being Playboy playmate of the month in October 1974) isn't complaining.

Unlike his ball headed brother Earl (the frighteningly Formica Metcalfe, best remembered as the fantastic gazelle man in The Twilight People) who seems a little annoyed - or is that constipated - at the thought of his big bro coming back to rule the roost.

"Three kiddy kidneys and an old mans cock for a fiver! Sorted!"

Anyway, apart from being the embodiment of ageless evil itself and being able to live forever in any body, Langdon/Rogers/Ashley also has the power to peer into even the blackest of souls, literally smelling the most impure of intentions and making people act on them.

Which is nice if a little obscure a super power to have, tho' saying that, the ability to make anyone act in this movie would be a Godsend right now.

So with his new found wealth and power he goes about calling board meetings, shagging his wife and, um, trying to get her to run away with his brother before shagging her again.

This may not make any sense cinematically but it does give the director an excuse to indulge in some frankly hyper-erotic shots of Wilcox's arse superimposed over random scenes of Ashley squeezing her left tit.

And all to a sexy rhumba beat.

"Shite in mah mooth or suckle mah man tits.....you decide!"

Well, we're halfway in and still with no clear idea as to why anything is happening but none of this will soon matter as one night, whilst walking off a particularly heavy Vindaloo, Langdon turns into a werewolf.

No, seriously.

It seems that the pesky Devil has cursed the poor bugger with some form of trapped wind induced Lycanthropy.

A messy trail of mutilated bodies and squished internal organs follows with a bloody shirted (which does make the pattern a wee bit easier on the eye) and battered Langdon awakening in a blind man's shed.

Luckily tho' his Englebert Humperdick quiff is still perfect.

Laugh now!

More murders (and sexy stuff) follow leaving ace detectives Jeff Santos and Barry Campo (Salcedo and Garcia) to track down this monstrous mutilator.

Which, if I'm honest isn't that difficult seeing as there's only one 6ft, high haired American with a line in such tasteless shirts wandering around Manila.

But will our police pals managed to arrest Langdon before he's able to initiate the Devil's evil plan to do stuff?

Will Julia ever change out of that hellish powder blue babydoll nightie?

And will Earl's head continue expanding until it exerts it's own gravitational force and drags the rest of the cast kicking and screaming toward it?

Regular readers of the Arena will no doubt already know of my love for Eddie Romero’s Filipino frighteners, his cinema cohort, the 50's teen star turned horror hero John Ashley and their frankly magnificent 'Blood Island' trilogy, produced alongside Sam Sherman.

But all good things must come to an end and it was with Beast Of The Yellow Night; originally envisaged as a fourth Blood Island film that Sherman and Romero parted company.

Sherman went on to produce the Grant Williams starrer Brain Of Blood (directed by the legendary Al Adamson) whilst Romero took his film to Roger Corman and his recently created New World Pictures.

"Is it in yet?"

Much more talky and, for such a simple plot, much more confusing than the duo's earlier work, it still successful enough for the duo to continue working with King Corman for the rest of the early 70's bringing us such classics as The Woman Hunt and Savage Sisters alongside the aforementioned Twilight People and the Patrick (Sinbad) Wayne fantasy fest Beyond Atlantis before the entire Filipino fright film industry collapsed on it's arse.

No, it's not for sale.

Which is a sad note to end on really.

I'll try better tomorrow.

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