Tuesday, August 30, 2016

sick squid.

Bizarrely enough this is one of those movies that I'd never gotten around to seeing until, well today actually. I remember seeing clips of it on Clapperboard with Chris Kelly (as in he hosted it, he wasn't babysitting me or anything dodgy) and thinking it looked sensational tho' in my defense I was 7 at the time.

"Clap mah board you magnificent wee bastards!"

Tentacles (AKA Tentacoli, 1977).
Dir: Ovidio G. Assonitis (AKA Oliver Hellman).
Cast: John Huston, Shelley Winters, Bo Hopkins, Henry Fonda, Delia Boccardo, Cesare Danova, Claude Akins, Alan Boyd, Franco Diogene, Marc Fiorini and
Sherry Buchanan.

 "Will, I've heard the suckers on a tentacles are like the claws on a tiger."
"Compared to suckers on a tentacle, claws are nothing Mr. Turner."

Welcome to the hip n' happening saucy seaside resort of Solana Beach where men are men and the women are hideously overdubbed in an makeshift shed to hide their Italian origins.

One such woman is busy adjusting her lippy as her frighteningly chubby baby bounces in it's buggy.

How sweet.

She soon however sees her best friend pull up on the opposite side of the road and in a move that even the McCann's would baulk at abandons her baby at trots off for a wee chat.

As the pals happily natter away we can only watch as the baby bounces happily in the background (tho' to be honest he's huge so wouldn't be that hard to spot) before promptly disappearing as a bus goes by causing a bout of mild indifference in the parent.

Meanwhile over at the docks we're introduced to 'salty' Stan the sailor man and his shiny peg leg as he, alongside his tight-shorted sidekick Erasmus prepare their boat for a wee fishing trip.

But all this dockside polishing is hard work (ask your mum) and Erasmus soon wanders of for a sandwich leaving poor Stan to get tugged overboard by an unseen assailant.

Don't worry tho' he soon turns up (well bits of him do) bobbing about in the ocean as a fat lady in a tiny red bikini attempts to get a greasy rat-like guy to put it in her.

Who says romance is dead?

"Laugh now!"

Enter (gently tho' he's 71 and may hurt his back) top journalist type 'Newsworthy' Ned Turner (cinema god Huston, wishing he hadn't bought that second holiday home) who's convinced that the recent deaths are somehow related to the massive tunnel being dug out at sea by the amusingly monikered Trojan Tunnels PLC.

The local sheriff (Akins from loads of stuff, go look him up if you like, I'll still be here when you get back) agrees.

His reason?

"That tunnel that they're building is using equipment Buck Rogers couldn't dream up!"

Which seems fair enough.

Fuck the deaths and discussions where are the old men in dresses? I hear you cry, well don't worry as the next scene features Huston wandering around the house in a christening gown smoking a cigar, his ickle fin legs sticking out of the bottom like stubbly matchsticks as his sister Tillie (Winters....how the heck did Assonitis get this cast?) poses provocatively around the house for his amusement.

One tearful wank and a Pot Noodle later (well I'm only flesh and blood) and we're back to the plot good and proper with an autopsy of the unfortunate Stan.

It appears that whatever killed him tore of most of his flesh before chowing down of his cartilage and finally guzzling all his marrow, leading our heroes to phone an underwater expert to see if he has any clue as to what's going on.

With Richard Dreyfuss busy in rehab it's left to famed oceanographer and whale trainer Will Gleason (Teevee stalwart and father of Anthony, Bo Hopkins) to step into the fray.

Unfortunately it looks like he'll only be able to assist from afar seeing as a recent case of the bends has left him unable to even dip his toes in water without fear of exploding.

As a plus point it does mean that he and his sharp-faced wife Vicky (Boccardo from the classic Secret of the Sahara Teevee Mini-Series) will get a free holiday out of it so it's not all bad plus being so well renowned he can easily send two no-mark extras out to sea to have a nosy around in his place.

Which means more food for whatever's munching its way thru the cast so everyone's a winner really.

"Hello French Polishers? You might just be able to save my life!"

Not everyone is so happy at the thought of Gleason's arrival tho', especially the head of Trojan (and purveyor of Buck Rogers style drilling equipment) Mr Farley Whitehead (Fonda, Mel Ferrer was busy).

Could chemicals/radiation/out of date peaches released by his sinister multinational be to blame for the recent deaths?

In any other movie the answer would be yes but in a bizarre twist of logic (and due in all probability to dear old Henry only being available for a single afternoons shooting) the only thing they've done wrong is forget to forward the paperwork to head office to say that they've started drilling a week early.

But who cares about dead Italian extras when there's a regatta to organize?

Especially when Tillie's son Tommy and his urine obsessed pal Jamie are entering.

The race that is not each other.

"How much for a mooth shite-in?"

Meanwhile back at the main plot Will is pining for his whales so decides to attempt to woo his wife into indulging his animal passions instead, unfortunately she has a sailing trip to go on (alongside her sister, a hunky man with high hair and bizarrely enough a fat Mexican played to comic perfection by the fantastic Franco Diogene, who after sporting cinema's biggest underpants ever in Andrea Bianchi’s Strip Nude For Your Killer is rewarded here with the world's tiniest swimming trunks) so leaves our hero dazed, confused and with his meager erection in his ladylike hands.

As luck would have it she gets stuck in the toilet and misses the boat leaving it up to Sherry Buchanan (she of Zombi Holocaust fame) to supply the bikini clad sexiness (alongside some top racist fatphobia) for a few minutes before the three are eaten whole.

Well not the fat guy obviously, that takes a few more bites.

Whilst all this sea-based tomfoolery is going down, Will and company make a startling discovery.

And it's not that they're stuck in a terminally dull Italian Jaws rip-off with delusions of entertainment value.

Which would be quite nice if I'm honest, I mean the rest of the film could be taken up with the American cast desperately calling their agents whilst the yumsome Buchanan lounges about in a tiny bikini.

But alas it's not that interesting or arousing.

But it is fairly funny.

Turns out that the drilling is so loud that it's annoyed an octopus that lives near by causing him to lose sleep and go a wee bit mental, killing anyone he thinks is related to the project.

Just like octopi are known not to do.

Well glad that's settled.

Here come the Belgians!

By this point you can tell that the movie is beginning to hurtle (lurch?) toward an action packed climax as a few more folk are quickly munched by the monster whilst the Sheriff runs around in a vain attempt to shut off the coastline before anyone else dies.

Unfortunately in all the excitement he appears to have forgotten to cancel the regatta.


So the scene is set for an ocean-based blood(less) bath as the boats set sail, everyone aboard clutching walkie talkies specifically tuned to an octopus-baiting frequency (how lucky is that) whilst the rest of the town sit on the beach and watch a shit clown tell even shitter jokes totally oblivious to what's going on.

But best of all tho' is the fact that all of this plays out to a big band remix of  Stelvio Cipriani's theme from What Have They Done to Your Daughters? on an almost constant loop.

No really.

I mean when the composer can't be arsed coming up with some new music for a movie what chance do the rest of us have?

To be fair tho' he was kinda busy at the time scoring such classics as  The Great Alligator and Piranha II: The Spawning.

I almost expected the octopus to burst out of the water on a motorbike, slashing at the competitors with a huge knife whilst taking candid pics of underage girls in bikini's.

Saying that it's a thought I often have anyway.

Buchanan: Gallery.

Will our heroes be able to stop the octopus and it's reign of rampaging revenge before the race has finished?

Will our heroes wife be stupid enough to go out to sea to look for her missing sister only to be eaten in a scene directly riffed from Jaws?

Will John Huston vanish from the film entirely after realizing it's beyond saving leaving poor old Bo Hopkins to face the creature alone (apart from a couple of Killer Whales that is)?

Will Henry Fonda ever forgive his agent?

And Will Shelley Winters please stop showing her arse?

Most famous (around here anyway) for 'co-directing' the best sequel James Cameron ever made - the aforementioned Piranha II: The Spawning, Ovidio G. Assonitis takes Jaws as a template for his octo-based 'orror but decides (wisely or unwisely depending on your tolerance to pain) to replace that movies taunt pacing and genuine scares with endless shots of people chatting behind shrubbery, inappropriate kazoo use and Shelley Winters in a variety of ever lager hats intercut with scenes of a baby octopus nonchalantly nudging a toy boat in a bath.

Genius or madman?

You decide.

But (try to) ignore all that and stick with it to the bitter end and you'll be rewarded by the awesome sight of a visibly drunk (and somewhat aroused) Bo Hopkins tearfully flirting (via radio mike) with a couple of whales before sending them off to do battle with the films titular terror and all this is (frighteningly realistically) achieved by attacking a baby octopus with two handmade felt rod puppets.

But probably only because it was too much hard work to catch the real thing.

Oh yes and find a bath big enough to film it in.

Essential viewing for fans of Shelley Winters in hats.

Monday, August 22, 2016

toy story.

Bootleg bollocks from around the world.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

i don't (french) fancy yours much.

Been searching thru' the Arena archive for reviews of zombie movies featured in The UnDeck playing card set in order to have a handy mini-review of each of the films therein for folk who care about such stuff.

I'm not sure which is harder tho', trawling thru' pages of my barely literate ramblings or having to cut out all the mooth shite-in/laugh now comments to make them readable.

So taking a break from such endeavors last weekend I took a trip into old Glasgae toon (that's Scotland, in England near to Buckingham Palace and Europe for our American readers) to take a look around a place called 'The Barras'.

For those of you who aren't local, try to imagine a market stall version of Mos Eisley selling everything from knocked off pork to car doors and you're a third of the way there.

Whilst there I came across (not literally mind) a bearded old woman selling clothes pegs, country and western CD's and old VHS tapes.

Not being able to resist varicose veined vixens I just had to take a quick peek at her ample wares, so imagine my surprise when I found this:

Yup, a copy of tit-tastic La Revanche Des Mortes Vivantes on dusty old VHS and for only £1.

It was then that I realised that it wasn't featured in the UnDeck on account of being far too shite.

Imagine that.

Needless to say I had to buy it, unfortunately it also means I have to rewatch it and share my thoughts with you.

And possibly show my distinct lack of French language skills.

Apologies in advance.

Revenge of The Living Dead Girls (AKA La Revanche Des Mortes Vivantes. 1986)
Dir: Pierre B. Reinhard.
Cast: Véronique Catanzaro, Kathryn Charly, Sylvie Novak, Anthea Wyler, Laurence Mercier, Patrick Guillemin, Gábor Rassov and Christina Schmidt (not Christian Schmidt from Neighbours).

The time: the late seventies by the look of things, the place: a rainy, overcast road somewhere in the arse end of France, a blonde bimbette hitchhiker (wearing the cross country regulation outfit of stiletto heels, fishnets, suspenders and fur coat) is picked up by a pube haired man in a big jumper driving a milk van.

So far, so foreign porn like.

Pretending that she's sprained her stick-like ankle getting into his cab she persuades the driver to carry her to a deserted barn where our hitch hiking whore slowly lifts her skirt to see if driver Dan can see any bruises.

Whilst all this is going on a mysterious biker arrives and pours a bottle of Fairy Liquid into the milk.

Tho' God only knows why.

Fearing the audience may blow their load too early, the director sensibly cuts to a hideously decorated kitchen where an old lady is chatting to a transparent lingeried young girl who's busily glugging milk from a bottle like a bairn clamped onto it's mothers breast.

Within seconds of finishing the bottle she keels over.


Liquid in mah milk!

This mysterious death is swiftly followed by a shockingly bespectacled, larged hipped bird in a pub and another girl who is so plain as to make her instantly forgettable.

It seems that a trio of bad men (and a bad lady) were blackmailing somebody rich (I don't know/care who) regarding the toxic waste that their evil lemonade mines were producing.


Unfortunately the cash-grabbing plan started to unravel and given the choice of dumping the waste in a bin or pouring into the local milk supply, one of them bizarrely chose the latter.

If that wasn't enough excitement for you it now seems the very same chemical waste that killed the girls has somehow turned them into spud faced, massive bushed (yet completely normal bodied) zombies out for revenge (hence the title) and maybe, just maybe a wee bit of four way zombie girl on girl action along the way.

We can but hope.

"laugh now!"

I'm assuming the plot makes a bit more sense if you speak French, but frankly I'm too embarrassed to give it to any of my French friends to find out.

But as we all know, it takes more than gratuitous sex and mindless violence to make a great movie (well, most of the time) and frankly no number of lesbian zombies, penis munching, vagina/sword interfaces (at the moment of orgasm no less, well it is French) and scary plasticine undead babies can save this film from being complete and utter tedium from start to finish.

Yup, 'director' (and I use this term under duress) Reinhard (the man behind such classics as 'Outrages transsexuels des petites filles violées et sodomisées', 'Fantaisies anales' and 'La perverse châtelaine dans l'écurie du sexe' amongst others....ask your dad) manages the impossible by taking a plot involving nude zombie girls shagging people to death and turning it into one of the most boring film ever made.

How your mum could afford all those
holidays she took you on as a kid.

It even makes the directors cut of Oliver Stone's Alexander seem a good proposition for a Friday night.

OK, well maybe not that bad.

Featuring as it does, the most unattractive bunch of freaks and misfits since Joe D'Amato stopped making horror porn hybrids, piss poor effects, a camera and lighting crew that appear to have been blinded with sharp sticks minutes before production began and the clumsiest editing ever committed to celluloid and all of this still can't elevate Revenge of The Living Dead Girls to anything other than the motion picture equivalent of weeping arse sores.

And you can trust me when I say I know a thing or two about those.

The sexiest women in Cradley
strip for your pleasure!

But is there anything about this film to recommend to fans of zombie nonsense (or even fans of Unshaved European girls?), well the aforementioned undead lesbian orgy between a prostitute (don't be too harsh, that's someones mum and she had bills to pay) and the three female zombies is unique enough to have you reaching for the remote with your free hand to rewatch it at least once and the fact that the zombies have a habit of ringing folks doorbells to gain entrance into their houses rather than just sneak in does have a certain polite charm to it but other than that it's to be avoided at all costs.

No doubt tho' that there'll be some pasty skinned, expensive shirted and novelty bearded behemian type sitting in a cinema bar somewhere loudly pointing out that La Revanche Des Mortes Vivantes is a serious study of perversion and the breakdown of common values in society, it's refusal to adhere to the shackles of linear storytelling prefering to confront the audience head on with visualisations of mankinds darkest thoughts puts it on par with Lars Von Treer's Antichrist and how the uneducated movie goer will miss these subtleties, concentrating on the sex and breasts instead.

No idea where I was going with that but it's late here and I felt like I should get it off my chest.

But in a totally non nude lesbian zombie way of course.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

kiss kiss bang bang.

Frankly terrifying adverts for guns.