Wednesday, August 31, 2016

blue is the warmest colour.

It's one of those weeks where I'm awaiting will they/wont they? work news so thought I'd pass the time catching up with a few old friends.

By friends I mean films and by catch up I mean watch and (hastily) review.

I don't have any real friends.


I mean come on, you've probably been out for the night having fun and I'm stuck in watching this.

Blue Sunshine (1977 - or maybe even 78 no one seems sure).
Dir: Jeff Lieberman.
Cast: Zalman King, Deborah Winters, Robert Walden, Bill Cameron, Ann Cooper, Mark Goddard, Brion James, Adriana Shaw and Charles Siebert.

There's a bald maniac in there, and he's going bat shit!

You know it's the 70's when your movie for the evening opens with a grainy shot of a massive full moon whilst and synthesized kazoo soundtrack blares in the background before finally settling on a hideously flock wallpapered corridor resplendent with brown, bell-bottomed extras.

But it's not all flares and flammable fabrics as we're soon introduced to a diddy doctor named David Bloom (Walden) who's spending his evening eying up cancer stricken old ladies with a look of either mild concern or just plain confusion.

Don't worry tho' because before we can get bored with all this caring stuff we're suddenly taken to a gorgeous n' groovy 'pad' (ask your granddad) where Lego haired homebody Wendy (Cooper, a kinda council estate version of Adrienne Barbeau) is uncomfortably reading a bedtime story to a couple of children.

I'm assuming that they're hers and that she hasn't just kidnapped them but with low budget 70's horror you can never be sure, as it happens she's babysitting for her neighbour in order to take her mind off her impeding divorce from local congressman Ed Flemming (Lost In Space star Goddard).

I'm sorry, I appear to have inadvertently popped a daytime soap in my player in place of a cult 70's classic...

Your mums cum me I know.

Not too surprisingly she's feeling quite tender as well as prone to upsetting headaches so as you can probably imagine that when halfway thru' the kiddies bedtime story (it's Rapunzel by the way) the small girl child tugs on her hair pulling a handful out that Wendy gets a wee bit upset.

Meanwhile across town the big-binned wife of potato-faced beat cop (sounds groovy) John O'Malley (Cameron, father of the former British PM) Barbara (Shaw who's probably been in other stuff but I can't be arsed checking) is busy crying/flirting on her neighbours shoulder in regard to her hubbie working late/never being home/loving his parrot more then her etc - plus the fact that since hs hair has been falling out in clumps that she doesn't fancy him much - typical marriage then really.

Suddenly John returns home and just stares blankly at his wife and pal for a few seconds more than necessary.


Jumping around even more than your mum on speed we're suddenly at a hip n' happening party where the bush-barnetted beefcake Jerry Zipkin (latter day erotic thriller god and former Jesus, King) is getting down with his lady love Alicia (Winters) whilst Blade Runner star Brion James squats on the arm of a chair pretending to be a budgie.

No, really.

Savile: The Return.
But that, believe it or not is the most embarrassing thing to happen at the party.

That'll be when check-jacketed pube-haired Frannie Packet (Crystal, brother of Billy) decides to impress the group with an impromptu Tom Jones impression whilst fondling the buttocks of one of his pals girlfriends.

Which is nice.

Playful scuffling ensues with culminates in the aforementioned lady accidentally pulling of Frannie's wig which not only reveals his massive shiny head but causes his eyes to bulge like massive eggs.

Eggs with pupils drawn on them obviously.

He legs it out of the front door with his (bloke) buddies - and Jerry's girlfriend, well she is the female lead - in hot pursuit, the ladies staying in the warm and get pissed which really sums up how they must feel about the whole thing if I'm honest.

As Jerry and Alicia start rifling thru the bins for any sign of their follically challenged chum and the other buddies drive around in circles Frannie sneaks back into the party and starts drooling over the dinner table, much to the ladies disgust.
Which wouldn't actually be so much of a social faux pas if he didn't then batter one of them to death with a mop handle before throwing one into the open fire and finally punching the last girl standing in the face.

Capt. Jack Sparrow: The Bri-Nylon years.
Hearing the screams Jerry hurries back to the party only to come across (not in that way) a blood spattered Frannie legging it into the darkness.
Being our hero for the evening Jerry gives chase and in a fight scene that would do Blakes Seven proud pushes Frannie under an oncoming truck.
Pity that the trucks occupants are very happy with losing their no claims bonus and decide to shoot our hero as he tries to explain what's happened.
Americans eh?
Thinking fuck this for a game of darts, Jerry jumps in a car and drives away desperately trying to think how he's going to explain the whole sorry situation to his gran.
Nutted but still sucking.
Back at the house party cum bloodbath the police are already busy questioning Alicia whilst across town Jerry makes his way to see his old pal Dr Bloom for a sticking plaster and cold coffee enema for his gunshot wound.

That stuff earlier wasn't just filler.

Meeting up with Alicia the next day Jerry is shocked to see a newspaper headline (or he may have just been admiring the pretty lips of the old man reading it) regarding a recent spate of killings involving - wait for it - a bald man.
But not just any bald man.
You see it looks like  John O'Malley may have gone crazy and murdered his family.
And his neighbour.
And his neighbours dog.

Could the headaches and hair loss be related?
Go on, guess.

Leslie Dixon: Still fears the chives.

As is the way with such tales Jerry decides to take it on himself to prove his innocence at to this end breaks into the  O'Malley house to search for clues.

Oh yes and to also have an almost proto-Will Graham flashback/vision of the crime being committed as the ex-cops pet budgie squawks the words 'Blue Sunshine' from a nearby wardrobe.

If that wasn't freaky enough it seems that  O'Malley was something of an amateur photographer and has photos of many of the main cast pinned on his wall, the words 'Blue Sunshine' written below each of them.

Heading back to Dr Blooms office (look the running time isn't that long) Jerry discovers that ten years previously, when they were all students at the local tech they'd all bought doses of acid (named....wait for it....'Blue Sunshine') from Bloom himself.

Luckily (for him) he was a good guy and never tried the stuff himself.

His bald spot is fortunately quite natural.

It's now left to Jerry (and Alicia) to find the other ex-dopeheads and warm them of their condition before it's too late, which in Wendy's case is probably about now seeing as she's quite literally just flipped her wig and started chasing the kids around the house with a bread knife.

Tho' this might just be a 70's parenting thing who knows?

"Put it in me!"

 It's not all slapheaded stabbing tho' as there's still the matter of convincing sleazy senator Flemming that he's somehow in danger too (possibly) so Alicia using her feminine charms (either that or she hypnotizes him with her massive glasses) to persuade his ex-quarterback (whatever that means) college pal turned  bodyguard to meet her 'for drinks' at a political rally cum puppet show cum disco at the local mall.

Which sounds brilliant even if all these killings weren't going on.

Unfortunately Mr Beef had also indulged in a wee bit o' Blue in the past and that coupled with the pint of Babycham he orders caused him to lose his mind (and his hair) and go batshit crazy to a grooving disco score as polyester clad cool people dive for cover.

Will Jerry be able to convince everyone that bad drugs - and not he - did the bad killings or will there be (mass) murder on the dance floor?

 Will Flemming manage to hold onto his election?

And will the talented talking budgie turn up to save the day?

From genius Jeff Lieberman, the man behind Squirm, Just Before Dawn and the frankly fantastic Satan's Little Helper comes this psychedelic slice of 70's pill popping paranoia that plays out like an episode of Columbo as scripted by Larry Cohen.

Albeit when he was a wee bit busy and could only manage a rough first draft.

Solidly directed, tightly edited and played with just the right amount of stoic conviction from it's cast, Blue Sunshine may unravel a wee bit toward the climax but the plots sheer delicious deliriousness more than makes up for any hiccups along the way

Sophie Ellis Bextor: Stolen groove (and clothes) not shown.

Plus it has the added bonus of being genuinely creepy in parts thanks in no small way to Charles Gross' sinisterly scary score and the casts really big eyes.

Even the featured song Disco Blue by the fantastically named Humane Society For The Preservation Of Good Music is a winner.

And talking of music any film that's good enough for Steve Severin  and Robert Smith to name their collaborative album after is good enough for me.

And by default you too.

Good day.

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 ( 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.