Sunday, January 1, 2017

stage shite.

New year, classic movies, same old catchphrases.

Welcome to 2017.

Finally caught up with this gem last night (yup we really know how to celebrate Hogmanay here in Unwell Towers) so thought I'd share.

I wont give to much away tho' seeing as from what I can gather only about six people have ever viewed it.

Yup it's that good.

The Killer Reserved Nine Seats (AKA L’ Assassino ha riservato nove poltrone, 1974).
Dir: Giuseppe Bennati.
Cast: Rosanna Schiaffino, Christea Avram, Eva Czemerys, Lucretia Love, Paola Senatore, Gaetano Russo, Andrea Scotti, Eduardo Filipone, Luigi Antonio Guerra, Howard Ross and Janet Agren.

"It looks like Dracula's Summer house!"


During a birthday bash for cheese-chested silver fox Patrick Davenant (Star Odyssey's Avram), one of the guests (doesn't matter who - it's all back story) suggests that it'd be a good laugh if they all drove to a deserted theatre in the middle of the English countryside (fantastically played by a country road somewhere outside Rome) for some reason or other that isn't worth mentioning.

I mean come on we've got killings and lipstick lesbianism to get to.

Accompanying the birthday boy on this merry jaunt is his harsh-faced fiancĂ© Kim (genre regular Agren), his sister Rebecca (Czemerys who doesn't appear to be wearing any pants) and her lover Doris (evil pixie Love), his frighteningly ginger daughter Lynn (Senatore) alongside her creepily camp - tho' that just may be the dubbing - boyfriend Duncan (Russo), the sexily bearded Doctor Albert (Scotti) alongside his wife (and Patrick’s former flame) Vivian (council estate Faye Dunaway Schiaffino) and the big-haired bastard Russell (Werewolf Woman's Ross, looking for all the world like a childs photofit picture of Robert Davi).

But what would a giallo be without a mysterious man in a Nehru-collared suit  and a massive 'world of the strange' gold medallion?

Probably a wee bit more entertaining - and a lot less clichéd but heyho.

This nameless man (portrayed with all the charisma of a shoddily constructed wooden sex toy by the Lego-haired Eduardo Filipone) seems to have been to the theatre before, being as he is quite familiar with his surroundings.

And all this despite the fact that the place has been closed for a century.

The cast really should have figured out things were going to go tits up when he announces in that deadpan way reserved exclusively for cut-price Eurohorror actors "I spent a night here once.....100 years ago."

Being the way in these movies the rest of the cast just shrug their shoulders and cut daggers at each other.

Me?

I'd have given him a round of applause for delivering the line with such a straight face.

I didn't give him this....but I did give your mum a pearl necklace on Christmas Eve.


Tho' to be honest when he turns to camera and slyly announces that "The actors are present and now the play may start…" I was all set to punch him in his smug supercilious face.

Right on cue a pair of black gloved hands drop a large piece of wood from the rafters that almost kills Patrick setting in motion a series of terrifying events and random breast shots as the cast of almost-weres and has beens are bitching, kissing and cursing their way thru a variety of more and more elaborately style murder set pieces.

In between bouts of uncomfortable lesbianism, big panted perving and - thanks to an impromptu performance by Kim - a wee bit of Romeo and Juliet as she acts out the heroine's death scene.

Who says horror movies can't be educational too?

Decked out in a handy Edwardian bodice Kim gives it her all during Juliet's death scene before slumping to the ground with a dagger in her back.

Which makes a change from her usual habit of taking it up the arse from all comers.

Allegedly.

As our frightened friends crowd round Kim's prone body (obviously hoping for a wee bit of boob spillage) dykey Doris spots a black-clad figure running  backstage and heads off in hot pursuit.

Well as hot as a 70's style middle-aged, polyester clad secretary can be I guess but each to their own.


...And there it is.


Whilst Doris plays Nancy Drew the rest of the of the cast are beginning to panic.

Not only have they discovered that no-one save the director is getting paid but also that the theatre's doors have all mysteriously locked from the outside leaving them trapped.

And in Lynn and Duncan's case desperate for a quick shag.

Tho' given the choice Lynn would rather it be her dad sticking it in her.



Cue ten minutes of uncomfortable nipple nibbling and scary stroke faces as Rebecca gazes lustfully at her niece from a nearby cupboard.

Meanwhile Doris has caught up with the killer and in an attempt to stop him killing her decides to flash her tits at him whilst purring like a cat.

Temporarily blinded by the glare from her milky white chest the killer stumbles giving our man-haired maiden time to escape.

Unfortunately she soon trips over one of her nipples and is  quickly dispatched by the mysterious mentalist via a sliding door cum storage box.

With the surviving cast - and let's face it the audience - at a loss to what the fuck is going on Patrick helpfully explains that the theatre is cursed.

Which is nice.

You see exactly a hundred years ago this very night a group of party-goers visited this very spot for a wee bout of shits and giggles only to find themselves locked in and, when the doors were finally opened they were all found dead.

And mutilated.

And covered in egg, blood, sweat and semen.

Well probably not the last bit.

Dog blanket.


As the body count rises our groovy group realise that there may be more to the curse than meets the eye and that a painting found in the theatre library (?) depicting the horrific events of the night before they happen - and in glorious Crayola colour to boot - may hold the key to the mystery at hand.

Tho' not the mystery of how the fuck this thing got greenlit with such a threadbare and nonsensical script.

Don't worry too much dear readers as the fairly graphic killings (well one of them) and the copious amounts of flesh on show more than make up for it. 

Probably.





From Writer/director Giuseppe Bennati - the man who directed the TV movie adaptation of Italo Calvino's BattleToads and the teen temptress teasing Red Lips, The Killer Reserved Nine Seats is an oft overlooked late entry into the Giallo cycle that blatantly steals the basic plot of Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians before hitting the bottle and introducing more and more wildly bizarre plot twists and turns -  everything from spooky ghosts, family curses to incest and luscious lesbians are randomly throw into the mix in the hope that some of it will stick to the (paper thin) walls of the plot and cover the cracks.

And scarily it almost succeeds.

Let's be honest you know a film is doing something right when you're more concerned whether Eva Czemerys is wearing underwear beneath her frankly terrifying togs than if the plot makes sense.

And for this alone we salute your courage Mr Bennati.

If not your sanity.

Eva Czemerys - Feeling a little horse.

And what the film (admittedly) lacks in logic, cohesive plotting and convincing performances it more than makes up for with its fantastic location and set pieces which no doubt went some way to influence the setting of Dario Argento's Opera and at least one of the kills is copied wholesale inMichele Soavi’s Stagefright.

Sure on reflection the films plot makes absolutely no sense but who cares when it looks as lovely as it does thanks to Giuseppe Aquari's lush cinematography.

Kudos too to composer Carlo Savina for his groovy score that bravely replaces normally expected shock cues with a rumba beat and wah-wah chase music.

As an aside it was Savina's - stock - scores that were used for the majority (79 episodes) of The Phil Silvers Show which is bizarre in itself.

See? You wont find nuggets like that on the BFI site.

But their well written articles about films that folk actually care about probably makes up for it.

Pants.

Worth looking out for just to impress girls with the knowledge that you've seen it, The Killer Reserved Nine Seats deserves to find a wider audience than it currently has.

As a bonus I've set 2017's bar so low that I'll be surprised if I'm disappointed by any movie this year.

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