Tuesday, January 31, 2017

another undeck plug

yo gabba baba!

Someone once asked if I ever watch any good movies.

The answer is yes.

Tho' I rarely review them as it's really difficult to take the piss.

Case in point.....

Onibaba (鬼婆, 1964).
Dir: Kaneto Shindo.
Cast: Nobuko Otowa, Jitsuko Yoshimura, Kei Satō, Taiji Tonoyama and
Jūkichi Uno.

I'm not a demon! I'm a human being!


The place: Japan, the time: round about the Battle of Minatogawa during the Nanboku-chō period - and probably around lunchtime on a Wednesday by the look of it.

And yes I can tell that just by the height of the reeds and the angle of the sun I'm that good.

Anyway rushing thru' the aforementioned reeds are two wounded warriors fleeing from a group of soldiers on horseback in a scene so well staged that Franklin J. Schaffner would steal it wholesale from Planet Of The Apes four years later.

Hiding in the big bushes till their hunters have passed our unlucky twosome are fairly surprised when out of nowhere - well out from behind some tall grass but you know what I mean - two women spear the pair to death and stealing their armour and weapons before dropping the bodies in a nearby hole.

Which is nice.

The women - fright-browed Brenda (movie star cum mistress to the director Otowa) and her boyish and bouncy daughter-in-law Betty (Pigs and Battleships and Dodes'ka-den star Yoshimura) return to their tiny, ramshackle hut and settle down for the evening.

Well cold blooded killing does take it out of you.

"私は彼らのうちの1人が私のお尻を泳いで欲しくない!"
The next morn the pair take their ill-gotten booty to the local tomb-toothed merchant Jeff Ushi (Tonoyama star of almost every Japanese film made between 1939 and 1989 including the fantastic Katsushika Hokusai biopic Hokusai Manga) to trade for food.

Tho' not soap or washing powder judging by the black rings round their necks.

Seriously you can smell the stale sweat, egg and yeast thru' the screen.

Offering them a measly two bags of rice for the lot the pair begrudgingly accept, complaining as they pack their bags about his lack of compassion and general greediness.

Ushi agrees that he's maybe been a wee bit tight so offers an extra bag if he's allowed to touch Brenda's thighs.

Unimpressed she angrily storms off in a huff.

Which is a shame because they're quite breath-taking for an old girl.

Heading home the mismatched maidens pass the time by discussing the war raging around them, it seems that Brenda's son Tony left to fight years back so the pair have been looking out for each other ever since.

But all that is about to change with the return of their next door neighbour - the local wide-boy and best pal of her son, Brian Hachi (Satō, star of Kuroneko and Seven Samurai) who after scoffing most of their supper informs Brenda that her son is dead.

But the food isn't the only thing he has his - milky- eye on for it seems he has a soft (oh go on then semi-soft and getting harder) spot for Betty.

And it appears that she may feel the same.

Saucy.

あなたは緊張を感じることができます....または、チーズとタマネギのモンスターが狂っていますか?
One day as the ladies are washing their pants in the stream as Brian lazily catches fish a pair of angry samurai (are there any other kind?) ride by having a massive fight.

In any other movie this would be unusual but not here.

Oh no.

Leaping from their horses and into the water the pair continue fighting, oblivious to the trio watching them from the river's edge.

As one of the shouty samurai approaches them for help, Hachi drops his fishing rod and violently stabs him with his spear whilst the ladies drown his adversary, taking the still wet armour to sell to stinky Jeff.

Whilst Brenda is away cutting a deal tho' horny Hachi finally seduces Betty and from then on the young woman sneaks from her hut every night to indulge in 'the  sex' with him.

Lucky sod.

It's not long before Brenda learns of their relationship and begins to formulate a plan to keep Betty for herself.

あなたは2回...
Unfortunately the plan involves standing astride him as he's trying to sunbathe and licking her lips whilst gyrating wildly to One Direction which has the effect of Hachi telling her in no uncertain terms to "性交する".
 
Despondent, depressed and feeling tres dowdy Brenda heads home alone.

私はあなたを愛しています...それは魔法でもいいですか?
That  night, while Hachi and Betty are together, a lost samurai (Tora-san's Sunrise and Sunset's Uno) in a terrifying Hannya mask appears at Brenda's window, threatening to kill the woman if she refuses to guide him safely thru the reeds.

Walking at swordpoint (well it's the nearest she's gonna get to having a guy stick something in her) thru' the swaying reeds Brenda becomes bored with the samurai's constant chat and tales of how handsome, daring and bold he is so in a fit of pique tricks him into falling into the pit where her and Betty dispose of their victims.

Climbing down herself she steals his armour and possessions before attempting to remove his mask.

Tugging and pulling away (well she is very lonely) it finally comes free revealing the fallen samurai's hideous scarred visage.

Returning home with her spoils Brenda sits alone gazing at the mask and suddenly realizes it may come in useful if she wishes to 'save' Bettie from Hachi's lustful embrace.....

 



No idea what to say about Onibaba that hasn't been said a thousand times before and by folk who can actually write but fuck it I'll do my best.


One of the greatest - and most influential - movies of all time, Kaneto Shindo's Onibaba is a beautifully shot, starkly realized waking nightmare of a movie that's as darkly disturbing as it is icily erotic.


Based on a Shin Buddhist parable the director heard as a child, Shindo transforms the tale from one of Brothers Grimm-style child-based cannibalism into a darkly disturbing story of sex, death and random acts of violence that spiral uncontrollably to a climax laced with supernatural tendencies and a foreboding, ever more suffocating sense of paranoia.


Cast to perfection and with cinematography to die for from the genius of longtime Shindo collaborator Kiyomi Kuroda, Onibaba is one of those rare films that transcends mere cinema to become a work of art.


A wee bit like Zombie Lake obviously.


Onibaba's richly ravishing darkness can be seen in everything from Nagisa Oshima's In The Realm Of The Senses to Takashi Miike's Audition via the aforementioned Planet of The Apes, Hideo Nakata's Ringu, David Lynch's Blue Velvet and even The Force Awakens (Rey's occupation on Jakku, her 'awakening' - as a Force user as opposed to sexually when confronting Kylo Ren in his 'demon' mask for example) amongst others, cementing it's place as quite possibly the greatest - and sexiest - psychological horror not just to come out of Japan but probably of all time.


Utter unadulterated genius.


Oh yeah and Nobuko Otowa gives probably the most scarily sexual eyebrow based performance ever captured on celluloid.


Just saying.


Don't worry I'll be back to watching shite before you know it.



Monday, January 30, 2017

the undeck rises.





Beware of the UnDeck!


The website dedicated to this frankly fantastic deck of playing cards is now live, a real labour of love, the set harks back to the glory days of VHS, video nasties and classic Zombie films.

C'mon what's not to love?

The cards are available to buy RIGHT NOW so go treat yourself.

Or treat a loved one.

Living or dead.
Follow this link for order details.

End of plug. 





Saturday, January 28, 2017

in living colour*.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Super 8 and Spanish style!

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket








*That's 'color' for any American 'readers'.

a fistful of argento

A blast from the past.....presenting a - very - brief, slightly condescending yet incredibly bizarre interview conducted by the tartan temptress herself 'kinky' Kirsty Wark, showcasing Argento's painful lack of fluency in English, his infamous home haircut and his fantastic use of the 'errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr' noise in interviews.
 

Can you spot Luigi Cozzi skulking around the shelves of Profondo Rossi obviously searching for the remains of his career?

He'd be better off rummaging thru the bins.

spank the monkey.

Been preparing art type stuff for Glasgow Frightfest the last few weeks so not really had time to watch anything new (I get distracted easily) but whilst looking for Tip-Ex t'other day this beauty fell out of a cupboard and I realised that not viewed it since September 1985 .

It was rented as far as I remember from Happy Shopper - now Londis - in Sedgley alongside Demons, a film on which Arena stalwart Mr Jamie Letrasetted 'El Cheapo Films Present' on the label and no-one noticed so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

Londis: Where dreams came true and pre-certs were rented to the underaged...Oh and you could buy single fags for 10p.





The main reason for watching it at the time was because Howard Vernon was in it and we both loved Zombie Lake.

Plus Jamie had read somewhere that it featured nudity.

Look, we were 15 OK?

Saying that tho' it's not like I can use that excuse for owning a copy now can I?

Orloff And The Invisible Man (AKA Orloff Against the Invisible Man, Orloff Against the Invisible Dead, The Invisible Dead, Dr. Orloff’s Invisible Monster, Love Life of the Invisible Man and so on, 1970).
Dir:  Pierre Chevalier (Yes that Pierre Chevalier).
Cast: Howard Vernon, Brigitte Carva, Fernando Sancho, Evane Hanska, Francis Valladeres and Isabel del Río.







Don't let the 70s porno theme put you off as we head back in time to the late 1800's (tho' the sideburns scream 1970s) where the poodle-haired pretty boy Dr. Brian Garondet (dubbing king Valladeres in his only on-screen film role outside those dodgy ones he made with your pals daughter) is rudely awakened from his fireside slumber by the sound of his haggered housekeeper arguing with a wee boy on the stairs.

It seems that the boy (in reality a 30 something homeless person forced into a pair of obscene shorts on the promise of a sandwich) has arrived from the dreaded Castle Orloff (now) because someone there needs help of some kind.

Probably.

Anyway, bored with staring at the housekeepers haunted visage Garondet grabs his cape and heads off to the local in order to procure a ride.

As is the way in such movies nobody at the inn wants to give him a ride, except that is for one driver who needs the cash for a charisma transplant.

And acting classes.

And to buy some better fitting trousers seeing as the ones he's wearing appear to stop suddenly right above the ankle.

This doesn't stop him grunting and grumbling all the way thru' the woods tho' as he complains to Garondet about everything from Brexit to bloody foreigners via womens lib (some things don't change, especially the directors underpants) so it comes as a blessed relief when the  carriage jerks to a halt after becoming lodged in mud.

Having second thoughts about taking our pompadoured ponce to the castle the driver plays a fantastic wheeze on Garondet, telling him that he needs to get out and push in order to get them unstuck.

As Garondet gets out of the carriage  the driver shoots away giving the vickies to the poor doctor as he does, leaving him stranded in the park behind the directors house sans his luggage as an underpaid crewmember pours a watering can on him from a well concealed ladder.

Luckily, he soon manage to find the castle, only to have Tobias the hulking manservant slam the door in his (pretty) face after telling him in no uncertain terms to get to fuck.

Realizing that the movie only has a 75 minute running time and that the majority of it so far has been taken up with aimless - and endless - shots of a badly lit man walking around a wooded glade, Garondet forces his way in and demands to be taken to Professor Orloff.

Tobias just shrugs his shoulders and wanders off leaving Garondet shuffling uncomfortably in the corner as buxom Brenda the scullery maid (ginger princess Hanska - be still my beating heart) furiously polishes the silverware.

I'd just like to point out that this is by far the most erotic thing that happens during the course of the film.

"Ooh Vic....I've fallen!"


After a few minutes of uncomfortable fork fiddling and fire poking Brenda finally informs Garondet of the Professor's whereabouts before begging him to take her away with him when he leaves.

It seems that something untoward is afoot at Castle Orloff.

Pressing her for more information Brenda explains that the Professors waif-like daughter Cecile (the frighteningly bird like Carva in her one screen appearance - there's a pattern forming here) actually sent for Garondet and only she can explain why.

And with that Brenda hands him a lantern and points him in the direction of Cecile's bedroom before warning him to be careful as the cameraman scarily (crash) zooms onto Brenda's blotchy face.

which strikes him as odd. Since everything has been so normal up until now, of course.

After a few more minutes of aimless meanderings and fire stoking Garondet finally comes across (but not like that) Cecile who quickly - and very woodenly -  explains that, yes, she did indeed send for him due to the fact that something odd is going on in the castle.

It appears that Cecile has become aware of some invisible force at work in the castle, quite literally it seems - she's had a feeling that someone or something has been walking beside her but can see no-one and when she looks into her mirror she senses that someone else is there yet sees no reflection.

Plus there have been footprints in the butter.

Garondet reckons she's just mental and begins to make his excuses to leave but Cecile begs him to stay and at least have a quick chat with her dad.

Never being one to turn down a shot to fuck Anorexic in a sheer polyester nightie Garondet decides that he might as well stay and try to figure out the mystery.

Of the invisible thing that is, the mystery of why anyone would watch this shite is beyond understanding.

Adele: The wilderness years.


Upon entering her father's lab, Garondet is - fairly - surprised to see a book floating above a table before slowly lowering onto it and slamming shut of it's own accord.
With barely a second to digest this wacky wonder Garondet is suddenly confronted by a gun wielding Orloff (Vernon, the reason we are here)  demanding to know who he is.

Garondet does his best with the little talent he has to explain himself before appealing to Orloff's vanity by asking how he made the book move without touching it.

Orloff gleefully announces that he's created an invisible man.

Seems legit.

As if to hammer home the point Orloff orders his see-thru servant to serve some drinks.

This is more than enough to convince Garondet who pulls up a chair and listens intently as Orloff waxes lyrical about creating a superior race of limitless potential as a means of revenge on his unbelieving colleagues at the mad doctor academy.

Which is fair enough I guess.

Garondet being a man of morals is worried that an artificially created invisible superman may be dangerous (you think?) but Orloff assures him - and us - that the creature is in fact a really well rounded individual with no violent tendencies at all.

Phew, well I'm convinced.

Fairly hitting his stride (whilst subtly rubbing his member against a shelf) Orloff continues explaining that his creation is the culmination of more than 20 years of research into invisibility but that the experiment was only successful due to a perfect guinea pig being found 6 years previously.

Tho' he probably doesn't literally mean he used a guinea pig because the fucker would be huge.

"You ain't seen me right?"


According to Orloff's continued ranting the test subject was a local 'subhuman' he found sleeping behind the bins whom he took home and killed him before restructuring his brain enabling him to become invisible subhuman.

Garondet is horrified by Orloff's confession so the professors offers him some wine and decides to tell the whole story behind its creation - in wobbly flashbackovision - in order to justify his actions.

Unfortunately the story that unfolds has fuck all to do with the experiments.

What we do get however is the story of how 6 years earlier (my that was a busy year) Cecile had a heart attack and died (or something) and after being taken to the family crypt two of Orloff's servants - the dirty pillowed Marie (tomb-toothed Del Rio famous for playing 'girl in a car' in the classic Le Chat) and her wannabe lover Ron (Zombie Lake's Claude himself Sancho) head to the tomb in order to steal the jewelery that Cecile was buried in.

But not before a totally gratuitous scene of Marie getting undressed then dressed again, pausing only to jiggle her ample arse at the camera in that way your mum does when she's tipsy.

As they attempt to prize the rings from Cecile's fingers regains consciousness freaking Marie out and causing Ron to stab the poor girl before running away.

You can imagine Orloff's reaction when his evening of deep contemplation is disturbed by his - now living - daughter stumbling back into the house announcing that she was attacked by Ron whilst he was stealing her stuff.

Putting her to bed with a nice cup of cocoa and a digestive biscuit Orloff storms to Ron's room and beats him about the head with a riding crop before dragging him off the the cellar and locking him in a cell.

Begging for his life Ron confesses that it was all Marie's idea and that he only went along with it because she promised to let him touch her bum but Orloff is unimpressed.

To be honest after seeing her arse in the last scene I'd be unimpressed too.

With a curt goodbye Orloff heads off to confront Marie but she's already skipped town with the jewels.

Grabbing a discarded pair of Marie's shite-encrusted underwear from off the radiator Orloff instructs his huntsman to have his dogs hunt her down and the soon find her sitting by a lake admiring her booty.

An angry Orloff beats Marie till her blouse falls of and drags her back to the castle.

Before Garondet can ask what the fuck this has to do with the main plot Orloff interrupts him by telling our hero that the whole ordeal sent Cecile mad and on that bombshell he offers Garondet his hospitality for the night and with the invisible man helpfully opens the door and carrying a lantern for them, Orloff leads his guest to his room.

Bidding his host goodnight Garondet soon discovers that the room features nothing but a broken fireplace and an old flea-bitten three-piece sofa so in an attempt to keep warm he wraps himself in a dog blanket and settles into a chair.

Meanwhile Orloff has ordered Brenda to his laboratory, she must be punished  for bringing the doctor to the castle.

As he lectures the poor girl on the rule pertaining to house calls the invisible man becomes more and more agitated hurling cups and saucers across the room, Brenda becomes more and more terrified (probably to me she just looks bored) begging Orloff not to let the invisible man 'punish' her before fleeing to the cellar.

You can tell where this is going can't you?

"Juliet Bravo!"

Garondet is rudely awakened by Brenda's screams as we cut to Orloff standing over her prone body as he sinisterly whispers "She's yours!" to his see-thru pal.

Stripping her naked we're now treated to a hideously protracted (if not unintentionally amusing) scene where poor Hanska is made to roll around naked whilst the cameraman randomly zooms in on her massive unkempt bush and ruddy arse stopping occasionally to linger on her confused expression as she gamely throws herself around a dirty cellar floor.

I'm surprised she ever decided to make another movie.

Eventually Brenda is left exhausted on the straw as Orloff's transparent terror wipes his cock on the remains of her skirt before making his excuses to leave.

Realizing he might be missing out on some (any?) action Garondet uses a fan (as in the cooling down your face type not someone who admires his work) to retrieve the key to his room and hurriedly heads to the cellar to investigate the screams, being utterly useless tho' he ends locked in a dungeon with only a dribbling and incoherent Big Ron for company.

It seems that Ron is responsible for the series of disappearances blighting the area that up until now no-one has mentioned, collecting as he does waifs and strays in order to supply fresh blood for the doctor to feed his creation with.

And it seems that Garondet is the next donor.

Yes I know none of this makes any sense but I didn't write it, you can blame Chevalier and co-writer Juan Fortuny for that.

Tho' seeing as both of them are dead you'd need to hold a séance first.

So it's really not worth the effort is it?
 
In a move that would make The A Team proud Garondet uses a handy torch to burn thru' the plank holding the door shuts and escapes into the catacombs before getting into an altercation with a rubber bat and finally getting locked into yet another cell by the invisible man.

He really is shit isn't he?

Luckily Cecile, armed with a big bag of flour comes to his rescue.

The flour it seems is to throw around randomly in order to make sure the invisible man isn't following them.

Genius.

Heading back to her room in order to pack an overnight bag the dynamic duo are surprised when the door bursts open and footprints suddenly appear in the flour.

Garondet gallantly hurls himself in front of Cecile to protect her honour only to trip and bang his head giving the invisible man ample opportunity to drag Cecile into her bedroom and strip her naked.

There's been an elephant in the fridge again.


Luckily Cecile is quite skinny and easily wriggles free of the creatures grasp and hide behind a chair.

Garondet comes to his senses and runs to her aid throwing the remaining flour in the direction of the grunting revealing an obvious double exposure of some poor sod in a manky ape suit looking confused.

Advancing menacingly on Garondet and Cecile - but especially Cecile - the by now visible beast lets out a - fairly lackluster - ROAR! before our medical man on a mission hurls a poker at him rendering the creature unconscious.

Feeling like the big man after beating some underpaid extra in a poundshop Halloween suit Garondet holds Cecile in a manly embrace before handing her a cloak to cover her modesty and heading for safety as black noxious smoke billows all around them like a cut-price nightmarish version of Stars In Their Eyes.

Making their way thru' the smoke filled corridors the pair soon bump into Orloff who in a bizarre twist of fate and character development hugs his daughter tightly whilst apologizing for all the trouble he's caused.

It seems that after introducing his creature to the pleasures of the flesh that the invisible man has gone girl crazy, refusing to obey the Professor and has set the castle on fire in a fit of pique.

And it seems he did all this before trying to stick his carroty member in Cecile.

He must be shattered.

No wonder he fell over when the poker hit him.

Taking the Professors advice (but not his collection of late 70's porn magazines) Cecile and Garondet rush outside the castle, stopping only to watch it burn as they wonder how much the crew paid the owners to let them start so many fires in the windows.

Insurance job anyone?

As a visibly aroused Garondet gazes lustfully at Cecile our hero mentions that he hopes that her father's creation has been destroyed in the fire too.

As do we.

Imagine the surprise then when footprints - accompanied by cries of "OOOH OOOH!" - suddenly appear in the mud moving menacingly (well as menacingly as stop-motion footprints can - toward the toothsome twosome.

Don't get too worried tho' as the dogs from earlier are still around and it appears that they haven't been fed.

Cue 5 minutes of crash zoom canine close-ups as the hungry hounds tear the invisible man limb from limb.

Probably.

I mean you can't see him so I'm having to guess.

Tho' from the sounds coming from him it's sounds like the dogs are having sex with the hairy fella.

As the noise fades and the dogs disperse Cecile and Garondet turn back toward the castle smiling.




Created by Jess Franco for the 1962 classic The Awful Dr. Orloff (ofte noted as Spain's first 'proper' horror film tho' anyone who's seen the Super 8 footage my granddad took whilst doing his National service there may disagree, it's only proper that after playing fast and loose with other peoples creations over the years that someone would do the same with Franco's titular villain - played as ever by the freakily fantastic Howard Vernon.

Enter (not literally he's been dead since 2005 you sick fuck) Pierre Chevalier, director of the classic Good King Dagobert - as well as another 28 titles I can't be arsed listing - who manages to take all the things we love about Franco (cack -handed dubbing, excessive nudity, 70s bush and threadbare production values) throwing them into a rusty pot before stirring it with a shite-encrusted spoon and serving up something so stupifyingly silly that even Franco himself would think twice before putting his name on it.

And from the man that gave us Oasis of The Zombies that's saying something.

Fernando Sancho: Insert cock here.


The entire Orloff 'plot' (what there is of it) seems to have been put in place purely to save Vernon the indignity of signing on that week and anything remotely interesting that happens during the films scant running time is in place purely to justify the director's almost unhealthy obsession with harshly lit breasts and massive, unshaven pubic hair.

Which is nice but a wee bit distracting.

Especially in the previously mentioned - and fairly offensive it must be said (tho' not by me obviously) -  invisible monkey rape scene which forces an obviously confused Evane Hanska to wriggle about on a shit covered barn floor biting her lip, occasionally thrusting her ample breasts at the camera whilst jiggling her red raw, gravel covered arse.

At least Franco would have had bongo drums playing on the soundtrack.

"Laugh now!"


No time, no money, no mercy -  just one of these things in itself is a serious crime against cinema but if anything the most terrible thing that Chevalier did with this movie was give Paul Verhoeven the idea for Hollow Man.

And that is unforgivable.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

it'll be alright on the fright.


Yup it's that time of year again when hundreds of horror geeks plus half dozen sweaty, high waisted folk who live at home with their mums (who will never die!) descend on my fair city ready to soak the streets (and seats) with the unmistakable smell of sweat, shame, semen and tears.


And when I cut and paste the previous paragraph from the year before.


And the year before that.


Add to that the fact that this is the only time I can copy wholesale from PR handouts makes me wonder why it takes as long as it does.



Oh yes, that's right it's because I'm fucking useless.

Thanks to all of you who email this blog to remind me of that fact.

It means a lot.

Anyway back to the matter in hand which is that our lovely pals at Frightfest have announced the 2017 line-up for sunny Glasgow.

Kicking off with not one but two Thursday night pre-fest films (especially for all you soft southern shites who are too feart to go to the pub) before starting good n' proper on Friday afternoon, this years fest promises a dozen cinematic delights covering everything from ancient Chinese myths to savage shark action via city stomping lizards all from the wipe-clean seats of the comfy as fuck Glasgow Film Theatre.

Which by the way is a posh word for cinema.




So without further ado here's the list of treats in store for you lucky, lucky people.


A Cure for Wellness (USA 2017)
Dir: Gore Verbinski.
Cast: Dane DeHaan, Mia Goth, Jason Isaacs and Celia Imrie. .

From the director of The Ring remake (but don't let that put you off) comes this Twilight Zone-ish tale of an ambitious, slick haired young executive sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious 'wellness' centre at a remote location in the Swiss Alps.

But as is the way with such things (especially in horror movies) all is not what it seems and our brylcreem-bonced beau is soon battling bright lights and bizarro dreams within dreams after coming across a room of giant test tubes filled with old men in nappies.


Expect spooky scares, well styled hairs and big-chinned, button-nosed babe Mia Goth (soon to be seen in the Suspiria remake) writhing around naked in a bath of eels.


Which works for me if I'm honest.


"Put it in me!" - Mia Goth in a bath of eels yesterday. Fair enough.


Phantasm: Remastered (USA 1979)
Director: Don Coscarelli.
Cast: Michael Baldwin, Bill Thornbury, Angus Scrimm and Sir Reggie of Bannister.

Look.

It's fucking Phantasm.

Remastered in 4K.

And on the big screen.

What more do I need to say?


If you don't adore this movie you can fuck off right now.

Cinematic genius.

"CHILD!"


The Warrior’s Gate (France/China 2016)
Dir: Matthias Hoene.
Cast: David Bautista, Sienna Guillory, Ni Ni, Uriah Shelton, Tom Baker, Lalla Ward and Matthew Waterhouse (possibly).

Steve Gallagher's classic tale of Time Lords, time-winds and time sensitive man-lions gets the big screen treatment from Luc Besson and Cockney’s vs. Zombies Matthias Hoene.

They seem to have changed the plot a wee bit tho', transporting the action from E-Space to ancient China and replacing The Doctor with a hapless teenager named Jack who, instead of freeing a time/space fairing group of lions from slavery must  use his awesome video gaming skills to bring peace to the warring kingdom.

Hang on, I have a feeling it might be a different thing altogether and just have a similar title to the 1981 Doctor Who story.

Hmmm...We shall have to wait and see but I can probably say with some certainty that the lovely Ni Ni (star of the 2011 film The Flowers of War) wont appear naked in a bath of eels at any point.

Which is a shame but heyho.

As Jimmy Nail would say..."Crocodile Shoes!" - Sorry I meant "He's Lion!"




It Stains the Sands Red (USA 2016)
Director: Colin Minihan.
Cast: Brittany Allen, Juan Riedinger and Merwin Mondesir.

From Colin Minihan and Stuart Ortiz, who brought you Grave Encounters and Extraterrestrial (not that one) comes the story of  party hearty Molly who, after a horrendous flesh-eating apocalypse - as opposed to a non-horrendous happy one - finds herself stranded in the desert with only a ravenous and relentless zombie for company.

With nary a bath of eels or weapons to hand our heroine must attempt to outrun a stalker who has no need of rest.

Or even to stop for a wee.

In a world gone mad Molly begins to realize that this creeping cadaver is now her only link to reality.

"Keep those eels away from me!"



The Transfiguration (US, 2016)
Director: Michael O’Shea.
Cast: Eric Ruffin, Chloe Levine and Aaron Moten.

Orphaned African-American teen Milo in an attempt to escape his depressing life has drenched himself in vampire lore gleaned from such horrors as Nosferatu,  Let the Right One In, The Lost Boys and Near Dark, and has taken to sublimating his morbid fantasies bloodsucking on strangers.

But it’s when he befriends the equally troubled Sophie (whom he discovers in a bath of eels....hopefully) that a clear course of action presents itself providing liberation and tragic redemption. 

Or so the official write-up says.

Director Michael O’Shea’s film has been described as "A nihilistic meditation on millennial angst and the defense mechanisms needed to protect the vulnerable spirit." by someone quite possibly a lot cleverer than me so I'll just say
expect a modern version of Romero's Martin but on an even smaller budget.

If that were possible.

Just in case you'd forgotten.


Shin Godzilla (Japan 2016)
Dir: Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi.
Cast: Hiroki Hasegawa, Yutaka Takenouchi, Satomi Ishihara and Gojira.

The first Japanese Godzilla movie since 2004's Godzilla: Final Wars, Shin Godzilla (the 31st film in the Godzilla franchise, the 29th Godzilla film produced by Toho, and Toho's third reboot of the franchise fact fans) sees The King of the Monsters majestic return to the big screen (but not alas in a bath of giant eels) with his fire-breathing, stomping sights once more set on Tokyo once more.

Excited?

You should be.

"If you're happy and you know it clap your.....oh."




Happy Hunting (USA 2016)
Dir: Joe Dietsch and Louie Gibson.
Cast: Martin Dingle Wall, Ken Lally, Kenny Wormald and Connor Willimas.

When piss-stained drifter Warren turns up in the small town of Bedford Flats looking for a bed and a bath (no doubt full of eels) he's surprised to discover that the locals enjoy nothing better than rounding up drifters and hunting them as part of an elaborate sporting event.

Which is nice.

It's Turkey Shoot meets The Most Dangerous Game via The Purge and your mum in what promises to be a blood soaked battle royale.





"She did WHAT in her cup?"

Cage Dive (Australia 2017)
Director: Gerald Rascionato.
Cast: Joel Hogan, Josh Potthoff, Megan Peta Hill, Suzanne Dervish-Ali and some sharks.

Deciding to film an audition tape for submission to an extreme reality game show - and realizing that someone else has already done a tape of them wriggling naked in a bath of eels -  three friends from California travel to Australia in order to document themselves taking part in a wee bout of shark cage diving.

But while on the dive, a catastrophic turn of events leaves them in baited water full of hungry Great White Sharks and turns there audition tape into a survival diary.

Which lets be honest sounds much more fun than if everything had gone without a hitch.

Plus there's a chance that one of the stars of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader may get ripped limb from limb which is worth a quid in anyones book.

"What do you call a shark with no eyes?" "Blind."


Fashionista (USA 2016)
Dir: Simon Rumley.
Cast: Amanda Fuller, Ethan Embry and Eric Balfour.

After Red, White and Blue and Johnny Garrett’s Last Word comes mighty bearded director Simon Rumley’s third  Austin, Texas based shocker.

This De Palma-esque nightmare is a hypnotic and bracing exploration of identity, body image and transformation via the wacky world of vintage clothing where hipster shop owners April and Eric find their marriage on rocky ground when she begins to suspect her husband of having an affair.

No doubt she finds incriminating pics of him sharing a bath with a beautiful blonde.

And some eels obviously.

When her suspicions are confirmed, April seeks sexual validation with the mysterious and kinky Randall setting off a chain reaction of stylish fever dream madness, fantasy role-playing ("Juliet Bravo!") and chic ultra-shriek.

Oh and possibly some vintage action slacks of the kind worn by Chuck Norris in the 70s.

Less Blue Velvet more Blue Broderie Anglaise Dress Fabrics but with a hint of savage bumming, if nothing else the fashions will look nice so that's me sold.

"Can you smell petrol?"


Bloodlands (Australia/Albania 2016)
Dir: Steven Kastrissios.
Cast: Gëzim Rudi, Emiljano Palali and Suela Bako.


The first ever collaboration between Australia and Albania (is you don't count the sordid back alley sex session my Uncle Brian from Queensland had with an exchange student in the 80s) comes a bizarre Balkan-based bloodbath written and directed by Steven Kastrissios, the man who gave us the genuinely disturbing The Horseman.

If you've not seen this little gem go see it now, I'll still be here when you get back.

To be honest I'll probably still be typing.

Rooted in the very real phenomenon of blood feuds still plaguing Albania (think Govan but with fewer pikeys) a struggling Albanian family, wrestling with traditions and superstition, must unite against another mysterious mountain clan’s aggressions.

I predict beard-based bloodletting and a variety of sweaty vests.

Fear the Shtriga!


Detour (UK 2016)
Dir: Christopher Smith.
Cast: Tye Sheridan, Emory Cohen, Bel Powley and Stephen Moyer.

This 'tense, deftly constructed noir thriller' (it says on the production notes) from Christopher (Creep, Severance, Black Death and Triangle) Smith finds law student Harper suspecting his stepdad Vincent of causing the car crash that landed his mother in a coma so when a chance meeting with a tough, tattooed  redneck and his girlfriend gives him an opportunity to discover the truth our student pal begins a terrifying road trip of revenge and random violence.


Which is probably what it's like for folk traveling up from London for this.

Raw (France/Belgium 2016)
Dir: Julia Ducournau.
Cast: Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf and Rabah Nait Oufella.

Shy vegetarian Justine (who looks uncannily like Cécile Fournier*) whilst attending her first year at veterinarian college is forced into eating raw liver in a bizarre initiation ceremony by the older students.

But soon she develops an unhealthy taste for meat and her new carnivore persona drives her to commit acts of increasing savagery as her unquenched sexual urges turn into an appetite for human flesh.

Which is exactly like the aforementioned Ms Fournier if I remember correctly.

"Sniff my finger!"

Hounds of Love (Australia 2016)
Dir: Ben Young.
Cast: Emma Booth, Ashleigh Cummings, Stephen Curry and Susie Porter.

We head back 'Down Under' now for a true (sorta) life tale of torture and touches (of an inappropriate kind).

Which sounds like a normal Saturday evening in Glasgow.

It's the mid 1980s (an era which still haunts me if I'm honest) and 17 year old Vicki Maloney has just been randomly abducted from a suburban street by a disturbed serial-killing couple.

A disturbed serial-killing couple with very bad hair.

Look that kinda shit is important to me so cut me some slack.

Anyway as she observes the dynamic between her captors she quickly realizes that in order to survive she must drive a wedge between them.


As in turn them against each other not fashion a huge triangular piece of wood from a discarded table and run at them with it.


Tho' saying that I've not actually seen the film so it might happen.

"When I was a child
Running in the night
Afraid of what might be
Hiding in the dark
Hiding in the street
And of what was following me
Nowget in the back of the car or I'll fucking chib you ya cunt!"
 
Night of the Virgin (Spain 2016)
Dir: Roberto San Sebastián.
Cast: Javier Bódalo, Miriam Martín and Víctor Amilibia.

At a New Year’s Eve party, nerdy and naïve Nico sets out to lose his virginity after 'striking out' (no I don't know what that means either) with some drunken 'babes' comes across (not in that way, well not yet) uber MiLF Medea.

Who let's be honest is probably younger than me.

Before he knows what’s happening he’s back in Medea’s filthy apartment where sinister Asian artefacts adorn the shelves, cockroaches crawl the floors and an ancient prophecy rears its head.

And if that wasn't enough there's a rowdy party of homosexualists next door and a very jealous ex-boyfriend waiting in the wings.


"Shite in mah....well shite anywhere you like actually."



Unfortunately for those who were looking forward to it there's still no showing of Evil Bod which has been turned down (again) by the organizers for being shit.

Oh well, there are plenty of DVD's still available for anyone who's interested.
 
But other than that it looks set to be a magnificent weekend of movie mayhem.

Frightfest Glasgow runs from Thursday 23 to Saturday 25 February and tickets can be bought here.

 See you there.



























*Who? I hear you cry. Well if you're really that interested (and you wouldn't have scrolled all the way down if you weren't) you can find out more here. I'll warn you tho' you may need tissues - and not just for the Zombie Lake review

Thursday, January 19, 2017

people you fancy but shouldn't (part 66).

In tribute to the inauguration of Trump and the end of civilization as we know it let's hark back to simpler - and way sexier - times.

Ladies and gentlemen I present  Alice Roosevelt. 

Daughter of Teddy Roosevelt and the first princess of America.







Tuesday, January 17, 2017

roy castle.

Not one but two Barbara Steele's.

And one is in a blonde wig!

What's not to love?

Apart from the nonsensical plot obviously.

Nightmare Castle (AKA The Faceless Monster, 1965).
Dir: Mario Caiano.
Cast: Barbara Steele, Paul Müller, Helga Liné, Marino Masé, Rik Battaglia

and Giuseppe Addobbati.

You, I will kill you, you tart, you. You and your filthy friend. But death, my dear, must come to you only after I've torn from your bodies all the suffering and pain a human being can stand, and you don't know yet how long it takes to die of pain!



Full-time mad scientist cum part-time street dancer Dr Stephen Arrowsmith (Surrealist horse-visaged Müller from Vampyros Lesbos)  and the stunningly beautiful - and filthily rich - Lady Muriel (Genre Goddess Steele, no introduction necessary) are trapped in a loveless marriage, their bouts of arguing and sniping punctuated by long, uncomfortable silences and knowing looks from their geriatric (tho' she may just be maid of Plasticine it's hard to tell) maid Solange (the luscious Liné from The Loreley's Grasp).

Reminds me of my childhood.

Without the hot German help obviously.

Ours was Swedish.

And a man as I found out on my 15th birthday.

But I digress.

Obviously then our high-cheeked hottie is very happy to find that her horrid hubbie is going away to Edinburgh for a week long mad scientist conference giving her plenty of time to indulge in copious amounts of 'the sex' with David the hunky gardener (billiards-derived indoor table game and star of Yellow Emanuelle, Battaglia).

Which is nice.

As Stephen heads off to Edinburgh Muriel excitedly - and quite saucily for the early 60s - slips into her best flowing nightie and makes her way to the greenhouse to await for David to work some of his green-fingered magic on her lady garden.

Well it does look like her bush needs pruning.

Sorry.

Stills don't get more erotic than this.



Unfortunately neither Muriel nor David realize that Stephen suspects their indiscretion and has been secretly hiding behind the bins waiting for a signal from Solange and catching them In flagrante delicto (which I'm assuming is a fancy word for a greenhouse) springs his trap.

In a metaphorical way that is, it's not like he has some huge Heath Robinson contraption rigged up behind the rose bushes tho' given his bizarre torture methods later I wouldn't be surprised.

Chaining the couple up in the basement (ah memories) an angry Arrowsmith proceeds to beat the couple with a riding crop whilst waxing lyrical about the nature of love pain and death for what seems like hours before finally tying Murial to a bed before dripping acid onto her favourite dress.

The scoundrel.

But Muriel is defiant to the last, taunting her husband with the fact that she has left her entire fortune to her insane step-sister Jenny.

If she dies then sinister Stephen is out on his ear and penniless.

Unfortunately (for Muriel and David that is) Stephen doesn't care and happily kills the adulterous couple.

His excuse?

He needs their blood for his anti-aging experiments and his supply of frog plasma has run out.

This is important because he's promised to rejuvenate Solange as a thank you for spying on his wife.

Sounds legit.

Here come the Belgians!


But what about the will I hear you cry/type?

Stephen has it all in hand as within a few days of his wifes death he's gone to the local asylum and taken Jenny's hand in marriage.

Tho' seeing as she too is played by the lovely Babs (in a fetching blonde wig) he'd be a fool not to want the rest as well.

Solange is obviously not happy about this - you see she reckoned that now she's all young and sexy again that she’d have the doctor all to herself.

But Stephen is playing the long game.

As in he has a fairly complicated plan not that he's re-watching the rather insipid Christopher Eccleston Doctor Who episode where Simon Pegg takes his orders from a roof mounted CGI shite.

Mixing up a powerful hallucinogen in his lab (as you do) he instructs Solange to pop it into Jenny’s bedtime brandy, hoping that this little mix will kickstart her mentalism sending her screaming back to the funny farm whilst he laughs all the way to the bank.

Give him his dues as a doctor tho' because the homemade druggy draught appears to have the desired effect, as that night poor Jenny has nightmarish visions that would put William Burroughs (or Micheal Barrymore) to shame as the deafening sound of heart beats echo around the castle walls our maid of mental illness 'wakes' to find herself trapped in a stone sarcophagus only to be 'rescued' by the ghostly figure of Dave the gardener who then proceeds to ravish her with soft kisses.

Just as you think there might be a chance of a quick peek at Bab's slender thigh tho' a scarily stocking faced man with a riding crop appears and begins to beat David around the head.

With the strength of a woman possessed  Jenny attacks this masked menace only to wake suddenly with her hands clamped around Stephen's scrawny bird-like neck. throat.

Quickly slapping some sense into her Stephen heads off to his lab, pleased with the effect of the drug on Jenny.

Tho' in my experience if he'd have wanted to make a woman act like a total fruitcake he'd have been cheaper just buying her a bottle of cooking sherry and 10 Silk Cut before taking her to the local kiddies playpark for the evening.

As a teen this scenario always ended with me tied to a swing whilst my date flicked matches at me.

Which explains a lot.

"Brexit means Brexit!"


Discussing the previous nights madness with Solange, Stephen is shocked to discover that the mucky maid - being female so obviously unable to follow simple instructions - actually gave Jenny a totally harmless sugar solution by mistake  so the drippy doc deduces that just being married to him and living in her dead sisters house may be enough to trigger her breakdown.

Jobs a good 'un as they say.

But this is a spooky ghost type mystery and we're only half an hour in so - against all laws of logic and common sense - Stephen for reasons best known to himself and director Mario Caiano and writer Fabio De Agostini (he of the expensive partwork fame) immediately summons the suave science guy Dr. Derek Joyce ( Masé AKA Lawrence Clift whom you may remember as John in Tenebrae), who is not only a dead ringer for Matt LeBlanc of Friends/Top Gear fame but also  Jenny’s old psychiatrist, to the castle in order to observe her condition.

Oh and hopefully strip naked and cover himself in chip fat whilst dancing provocatively.

No?

Just me then.

"Aye son!"
But with Stephen being a (mad) man of science and Solange being, well a bit fick the pervy pair totally fail to grasp the fact that  Jenny’s descent into madness may in fact be caused by the ghost of her sister and her lover.

But to be honest if I was in their situation I probably wouldn't see that coming either.

Tho' if I were married to Barbara Steele beating her to death with a poker would be the last thing on my mind.

Before long, Dr. Joyce too is witnessing strange phenomena in this nightmare castle - from blood dripping from the pot that holds Muriel's ashes to the dual heartbeats echoing thru' the walls via badly dubbed laughter echoing down the corridors and strange shadowy figures behind the gooseberry bushes.

Throwing caution - and science - to the wind Joyce is soon convinced that someone or something has supernatural designs on Jenny.

But to what end?

As all these supernatural shenanigans are going down (as the kids say) Stephen and Solange have altered their plans, deciding to kill Joyce as well as Jenny and as our hero prepares for a long hot soak before bed Stephen is busy electrifying the bath.....

Will Joyce save Jenny or will he fry like a massive man-titted haddock?
 
Will Stephen explain how he manage to discover that frog blood can make ladies younger?

And will anyone asked about the double heart family crest that Stephen is so keen to show everyone?

Laugh now.


Mad, bad and dangerous to view (especially in the aforementioned truncated version, writer/director Mario Caiano (AKA Allan Grunewald) has everything required to produce a top-notch Eurohorror - a sexually charged plot festooned with vengeful spirits, a mad scientist attempting to hold back death, an insane hottie in a sheer nightie and a big scary castle.

And all shot in glorious black and white.

Add to this a cast that includes the frankly fantastic Barbara Steele at her otherworldly best ably supported by the camp as pants Paul Müller alongside the gorgeous Helga Liné and topped off with a lush Ennio Morricone score and you should have an instant classic.

But whilst enjoyable enough in its own way Nightmare Castle lacks a certain something in its execution, the direction is flat, the script is nonsensical and the air of kinky menace the film teases us with disappears almost as quick as Helga Liné's comedy 'old lady' make-up.

As a plus point it does feature Babara Steele stripping down to a magnificent corset before donning a blonde pound shop wig only half as ludicrous as the one Asia Argento sports in The Stendahl Syndrome so it's not a total loss.

Which if I'm honest just about sums up my life in a nutshell.

Be seeing you.