Sunday, October 23, 2016

river deep, mountain eye (son).

Just got in after a terrific night seeing the genius that is John Carpenter live in good olde Edinburgh town and remembered I'm still doing that whole 31 days of horror nonsense.

Nothing like a huge comedown is there?

So it's 3 in the morning and I've decided to do the first movie that comes to hand, luckily it's not too long so I can go to my bed soon.

The Trollenberg Terror (AKA The Crawling Eye, Creature from Another World, The Creeping Eye, The Flying Eye. 1958).
Dir: Quentin Lawrence.
Cast: Forrest Tucker, Laurence Payne, Jennifer Jayne, Janet Munro, Warren Mitchell, Frederick Schiller, Andrew Faulds, Stuart Saunders




"Cute little things, aren't they?"
"Yeah. I'm gonna throw a bomb at that one. 
You watch on the screen, see what happens".



Enjoying a week of mountain climbing, tea-bagging and forced buggery before heading back to university, three studenty types, clad in children's hats and a collection of second hand overcoats are attempting to scale the north face of Mount Trollenberg in Switzerland (or more realistically a painted and polystyrene effigy of it hastily constructed on the backlot at the world famous Eros Studios, Darlington).

Everything is going swimmingly (or climbingly if you like) until the slick-haired  Toby Deadsoon - the lead climber who's decided to forge ahead onto the next ledge - gives out a terrible shriek before going limper than his nearest colleges wrist and toppling of the mountain.


Realizing that he has the hotel room keys one of his companions attempts to drag him back up the cliff-face but soon recoils in horror when he notices that the poor sods head has been torn straight off.

Blimey.

A painting of a mountain yesterday.


Meanwhile world famous mind reading cabaret stars The Pilgrim Sisters are halfway to Geneva and the start of a much needed holiday.

Obviously bored with watching the same bit of grainy footage go past the window time and again, older sister Sarah (the sternly teacher-like Jayne from Doctor Terror's House of Horrors) decides to cheer herself up by flirting outrageously with their fellow passenger, American 'investigator of the strange', the demi-waved sex god  Alan Brooks (the 'original' Ghostbusters Jake Kong himself, Tucker).

Sexy younger sister Anne (yummy Munro, Disney's very own Katie O'Gill and the girl who fueled my teenage sweaty girl fantasies in The Day The Earth Caught Fire)), jealous of her sibling getting all the attention faints on Brooks' lap as they pass Trollenberg Mountain before starting to drunkenly rant about the recent deaths that occurred there and how she must visit.

Creepy.

Tho' not as creepy as the sight of an old mans visible erection forcing itself against his trousers as a girl young enough to be his granddaughter lies prone on his lap.

Luckily Alan is heading to that very place to meet up with his old pal Professor Chris Crevett (Mitchell with an abysmal comedy foreigner voice) and offers to get them cheap rooms at the local (only?) hotel.

What a kind gent.

Well it's either that or he fancies a wee bit of young fluff.

You decide.


"You're 14? So am I! Now get your webcam on and your clothes off!"


Heading to the hotel to change into a sexier sports jacket before meeting the professor,  Big Al is introduced to a fellow guest, the proto-Marc Almond (in a good way) Philip Truscott (Doctor Who's Payne) who attempts to ingratiate himself with Brooks by following him into his room and fondling his baggage before sneaking off to make a phone call to his boss in order to get every last bit of info on our hero (that's Brooks by the way in case you hadn't figured it out).

Must be an English thing.

Discovering his room has no drinks cabinet (or a porn channel), Alan makes a trip to the hotel bar to get a quick drink and to check out the competition, breathing a sigh of relief when he realizes that besides himself and Truscott the only other guests are a fat geologist named Dewhurst (the sweaty pedo-like Saunders) and his overtly fey climbing partner Brett (Faulds).

This unlikely pair are about to climb Trollenberg to see if unsettled geological plates are to blame for the numerous accidents on the mountain.

Or so they claim but I'm sure that by the way they keep looking at each other Dewhurst just fancies a wee bit of rough.

But then again don't we all occasionally?

Heid in mah sack!

Brooks, hoping to show the Pilgrim sisters he's a modern guy who's comfortable with his sexuality joins the pair in the cable-car on his way to visit Crevett's high tech (if MDF and cardboard were state of the art) - and top secret - Observatory.

I have to interrupt this frankly magnificent synopsis now to point out that never before in my years of watching sinematic shite have I ever witnessed such a blatant disregard for security than here, I mean for a special and secret project the white coated scientists on show must be the most unobservant people ever.

Characters, whether they be normal humans, possessed killers or even giant eyeballs wander in and out of this top secret facility without so much as a raised eyebrow or a hello.

Sorry, rant over.

Now back to the plot. 

Crevett, overly excited about finally having something to do that doesn't include pushing chunky buttons whilst chewing on a pencil is more than happy to fill Alan in (ooeer) on all the recent gory happenings.

Which is great for the viewer cos it means we can finally get the story moving.

It seems that despite the frightening amount of accidents that take place on the mountain that there are never any bodies found and, if that wasn't enough there's a spooky radioactive cloud that sits menacingly on Trollenberg's south side.

Brooks looks stunned (or he may have just passed a kidney stone) remarking how similar the situation is to something that occurred in the Andes three years earlier that he blamed on aliens attempting to rarefy mist.

As you would.

Unfortunately by the time he'd reported it to the UN's special alien defense league these extraterrestrial visitors had gone home, leaving Brooks looking like a bit of a tit.

So you can see why he's a wee bit nervous about calling them up again without at least a smidgen of evidence.

Fuck the alien-influenced plot tho' what this movie needs is more scenes of folk drinking in a hotel bar.

"Is it really meant to bend in the middle like that?"


And that's just what we get as Brooks invites Crevett back to the hotel for drinks and a chance to check out the talent.

But it's not all drinking for drinkings sake as everyone is soon celebrating the fact that the sisters have offered to put on a private show in the bar.

Don't get your hopes up too much tho' because as a deflated Brooks discovers it's of their mind reading act and not a free for all bukaki bash.

The event starts off with a bang as Anne correctly recognizes Truscott's Fleshlight and Crevett's false teeth before taking a sinister turn when she starts describing events happening to Dewhurst and Brett on the mountain.

And it's not sex based shenanigans either.

It seems that whilst Dewhurst is sleeping off his big meaty feast from earlier, Brett has taken the (sinister) urge to go walkabout in the mysterious fog that's descended from the south of the mountain but before it gets any juicier Anne faints.

Again.

Alan quickly calls the climbers hut to find out what's really going on and a sleepy Dewhurst answers.

Checking the bottom bunk (and his own bottom) he confirms that Brett has indeed gone missing and opens the door to see if he can spot him, Alan can only stand and listen as hideous screams fill the room before the phone goes dead ruining the happy atmosphere that the sisters had tried so hard to bring to the hotel.

Ungrateful cloud-based bastards.

A rescue party is hastily put together from various crew members hanging around on set and with a mix of good luck, stock footage and back-screen projection they soon spot Brett skulking around on a plateau.

Meanwhile Alan and the main cast members have arrived at the climbers hut to find Dewhurst's headless corpse stuck under the bed.

Back at the hotel Anne is shouting at anyone who'll listen (her sister) that they should all stay away from the hut and under no circumstances should the y fiddle with Brett's leathery sack.

Whilst all this excitement is (finally) happening the first rescuer has reached the plateau only to find that Brett has vanished leaving only his rucksack. Slowly opening it he is shocked to find that it contains Dewhurst's big jowly severed head.

He has no time to scream tho' as without warning Brett appears from nowhere and sticks an icepick in him before beating the second rescuer to death with the aforementioned decapitated head.

"Put it in me!"

After a school playground like scuffle Brett is overpowered and dragged back down the mountain and into the hotel lobby where he instantly lunges at Anne.

But not in an "I've got something to put in you!" way.

Alan, determined to get the first shot at the young girl beats Brett with a heavy ashtray before tying him up and locking him in the cellar.

It's all gone very Evil Dead hasn't it?

Just considerably cheaper.

And frightfully British.

Alan and Crevett are now even more astounded by the similarities to the Andes case now, remembering how a man killed an old woman who had similar powers to Anne.

Tho' her breasts weren't as pert.

She might look worried now but just wait till the tentacle fucking starts.


Realizing that the film is three quarters of the way thru', Brett kills his guard with a spoon and escapes from the cellar to make another attempt on Anne's life as outside the scary cloud begins to move slowly toward the village.

Now it's Truscott's time to shine as he bravely shoots Brett in the back from upstairs (who says chivalries dead?) giving Alan enough time to round-up the villagers and take them all up the observatory (matron!) which is heavily fortified and has hot and cold running water.

And a freeview box.

Sorted.

Waiting for the cable car to safety, Alan notices a distinct lack of tension onscreen which is luckily alleviated when a small child runs back to the hotel to fetch her ball, giving good old Al a chance to look heroic (and get a quick feel of the wee lassies arse) and the audience it's full glimpse of the monster in all it's big bulbous and veiny Japs eyed glory, it's slinky tentacles slowly curling and probing at the child's knee socks.

The beast is no match for Alan's chopper tho' and the pair escape to the cable car.

"Stop! Maddie Time!"
As the bouncy beasts begin to advance from all sides and various possessed people try to off Anne, ours heroes suddenly realize that they have less than an hour to stop the creatures invasion of Switzerland.

Well a bit of Switzerland.

Ok, a small(ish) Swiss hotel and mountain.

We all have to start somewhere.

Armed with only a few homemade petrol bombs (no idea that there was an Irishman in the group) and with an air-strike imminent, tensions aren't exactly running too high if I'm honest but the thought of some late fifties tentacle on totty action is enough to keep me watching.....

"I wouldn't want one of them swimming up my arse....TOO LATE!"


Originating as a six part 1956 television serial of the same name, director/producer (and bizarrely part-time physicist, holding patents for improvements in both nuclear reactor control rod and television imaging technology) Quentin Lawrence had a dream to bring writer Peter (The Adventures of Robin Hood, Armchair Theatre, Phoenix Nights) Key's mountain-based monster mash to the big screen where, free of the constraints of censorship, low budgets and good taste their true vision could finally be realized.

Either that or they only had one decent idea between them.

With a script by Hammer legend Jimmy Sangster (who's written everything from Dracula, Prince of Darkness to BJ and The Bear), re-using the cheaper members of the original cast and adding an American lead for those pesky overseas audiences, this cut price thriller seems to have taken on a life of it's own and, unlike it's featured monsters and closest relatives (hands up if you remember Stranger from Venus anyone?) refuses to die, turning up everywhere from Stephen King's 'It' to having The Misfits write a song about it (Crawling Eye on their seminal 1999 album Famous Monsters, fact fans).

"Do you think it's too late for Penicillin?"
"Eye son!"


So what does this penny pinching, studio bound oddity have that others of it's ilk don't?

Apart from perky Janet Munro and the bloke that played Dastari in 'The Two Doctors?' that is?


I mean the plot's not that original, the sets are smaller than a very small cupboard and the whole thing is cheaper than your sister so it must be something pretty damned special that enables this silly little film to tap into those primeval feelings of fear hidden deep within mankind's psyche.

Either that or it's the fact that the monsters are really fucking scary.

And that we actually get to see a couple of headless corpses which for 1958 is pretty unusual.

Except for viewers in 'The States' obviously who were deemed too sensitive to be exposed to an uncut version of the movie.

Even the title had to be changed for our frightened Yankee cousins.

Bless.

Honestly if you've never seen this you need to do so now but don't forget that afterwards you may never look at a circumcised penis leering over you at the foot of the bed the same way again.

Uncle Pete take note.

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