Sunday, March 26, 2023

spank the monkey.

As regular readers may know I bought yet another copy of Zombie(s) Lake and Oasis of The Zombies t'other day because quite frankly they're magnificent examples of horror cinema at it's best (plus I needed change for the train home) but what you may not know is the film I left behind on the shelf.

You see it appears that Black House have been releasing the big guns on a budget conscience world without telling anyone.

And to be fair seeing it out in the wild after all these years was a scary experience that caused me to turn tail and run.

Plus it's one of those movies you actually only need one copy of.

I originally rented this beauty (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.

We both now work in illustration and graphic design so take from that what you will.

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

Interestingly the main reason for watching it at the time was because Howard Vernon was in it and we both loved him in the aforementioned 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 auntie) 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.


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 women's 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 crew-member 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.


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.


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 stupefyingly 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.

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