Thursday, May 31, 2018

drac attack.

Just back from a week in Spain with my youngest and his class where - as well as taking in the local scenery, delicacies and practicing our Spanish - I managed to get everyone to visit the castle where they filmed Return of The Blind Dead.

Where I stole some rocks to bring home.



I'm now worried that I'm gonna get knocked up in the middle of the night by a team of undead Templars ready for revenge.

Anyway, what better way to take my mind of that - and celebrate the trip - than with a wee bit of Paul Naschy.

 
Count Dracula's Great Love (AKA El gran amor del Conde Dracula, 1973).
Dir: Javier Aguirre.
Cast: Paul Naschy, Rosanna Yanni, Haydée Politoff, Mirta Miller, Ingrid Garbo and Víc Winner.



"The only thing you can think of is men. You'd sleep with a broom if it had pants!"




It's a cold dark night (is there any other kind?) in the backwoods of Transylvania (beautifully portrayed by the forests between the towns of Dénia and Xàbia in the eastern Spanish province of Alicante) Where comedy tramps and general ne'er-do-wells Geoff and Brian are busy delivering a huge wooden crate (that is to be fair not as wooden as either of them) to the local abandoned sanatorium cum creepy castle.

Reckoning that they're not getting paid enough to drag crates around assorted shrubbery at night the pair decide instead to open the crate and steal whatever trinkets are stored inside, unfortunately all it contains is the skeletal remains of a lady in a bad pound shop wig so - being a wee bit depressed at this - the pair excitedly explore the castle in the hope of finding something of value to steal.

Unfortunately for the dodgy duo they're being stalked by an unseen assailant who, after suddenly jumping out of a wardrobe bites Brian (to death) before planting an axe in Geoff's skull.

Which is nice.

Thanks to the wacky world of the shoddy dissolve and even shoddier titles we're quickly off to meet the studly Imre (Winner from Vengeance of the Zombies) who alongside a quintet of lovelies including the cute as a button Karen (the practically perfect Politoff), blonde bombshell (well more like a bombsite really), the seriously severe Senta (Fangs of The Living Dead's Yanni), pouty Elke (Naschy regular Miller) and his secret sexy squeeze Marlene (the terrifyingly chinned Garbo - no not that one - the one that was in that 'saucy' football comedy Las Ibericas FC) is traveling via coach to the nearby town of Cleftplate to take up residency as a professional bassoon player.


Admit it, even a sly tit wank would kill you.

Whilst regaling the laydees with daring tales of pub gigs and life on the festival circuit he realizes that they are about to pass thru' the exact spot in which  Jonathan Harker and Doctor Van Helsing killed Count Dracula and not one to miss a trick - or the chance of a quick glance at a heaving bosom - excitedly tells his companions the areas full gory story.

You see it wasn't only Dracula who caused terror in these parts as a few years after his (un)death a Doctor Terry Kargos bought the sanatorium and opened a men only gym cum sauna which it turns out seemed to be a cover for something a wee bit more sinister.

It appeared that many of the folk there died due to anemia and the doctor was suspected of harvesting their blood and using it in bizarre experiments.

Obviously he was hounded out of town by the locals and the place left abandoned.

Until recently that is when a Doctor Philip Marlow (Naschy channeling Liberace and The Count from Sesame Street via a drunken old uncle) paid a princely sum of £28 for it in order to open a drive-thru' garden centre.

Sounds legit.


"I fang you!"



All this talk of blood and gore spooks the horses causing the coach to lose a wheel and the driver getting kick in the face by a pony, killing him (the driver that is not the horse) instantly, leaving Imre and co. little choice but go to the castle and see if Doctor Marlow is at home.

Luckily he is (it would be a short film if he weren't) and graciously offers the group a cup of tea and a biscuit as well as a bed - or five - for the night.

After a quick snack and a plot-filling chat the group retire to bed (as opposed to retiring to the Costa Del Sol like your granddad) where sometime after midnight - probably - Karen is woken by a spooky noise and goes to investigate where she comes face to face with a now undead Brian who is now a vision of comedy fangs and ketchup.

As he moves in to bite her smooth, swan-like neck (as in it's long not covered in feathers) he is quickly chased away by a camply cape clad figure who then carries her back to bed.

"Put it in me!"



As our merry band head down for breakfast the next morn they are surprised to discover that their generous host is nowhere to be found, instead he's left a note explaining that he's off checking his traps* in the woods and to help themselves to Rice Crispies.

Hmmmm.....do you think he may actually be sleeping cos he's really Dracula?

Whilst Imre and Marlene head off into the woods to 'look for help', Karen, Elke and Senta decide to entertain themselves by having a poke around the castle's nooks and crannies which is kinda disappointing as I was hoping that they'd indulge in some nude volleyball but dem the breaks I guess, so the audience has to make do with them happening across Marlow's library where the find
- alongside a complete collection of Razzle and a dog-eared copy of The Book of Sex – the fabled diary of Van Helsing.

Senta, being the least thick begins to read aloud from the diary much to the chagrin of Elke who find it a wee bit too scary (no really) and begs her to stop.

Something I guess she doesn't often do seeing as how unconvincing she sounds.

Karen however seems fascinated by the tale of Dracula and his dead daughter and steals the book away for later.

...And they still can't get it tuned to 6 Music.


With not much else to fill the running time with we jump forward to lights out where after tuck  (sorry my public schoolness is showing) Karen curls up in bed to continue the terrifying tale, which is presented to us in groovy negative - presumably to hide the identity of the actor playing Dracula, which is a wee bit odd seeing as we can all guess that it's Naschy.

It does look nice tho'.

Pity the diary is utter drivel then, seeing as it appears to say that Dracula, although resurrected on an almost monthly after being slain is never 100% complete and can only regain his full unearthly powers by having sex with a virgin that has fallen in love with him for his personality as opposed to falling for him via the power  of spooky supernatural seduction.

Give that a try next time you're out on the pull lads and see how far that gets you.

Not only that but if this ever happens then Dracula can use his new found loves blood to then resurrect his daughter Sharon.

You remember, the skeleton from earlier.

See? They're not just making this shite up, there's a purpose for everything.

Insert cock here.


Whilst all this psychedelic flash-backery is going down Imre is wandering the hallways looking for the toilet when he's viscously attacked by Brian and given a bloody good biting, turning him into a vampire who then, in turn, messily attacks poor Marlene turning her too.

Phew, it's all go.

Marlow, tho' is too busy to notice as he's taken to following an oblivious Karen around like a lost puppy.

Albeit one with a huge nob and a really hairy back and arse.

Senta meanwhile has decided that she fancies a wee bit of naked Naschy herself so plans to seduce the doctor by falling into a bear trap, have him carry her to her room then expose her ample breasts and jump on him.

Who says romance is dead?

Unable to resist Senta's charms (OK tits) Marlow indulges in a wee bit of 'the sex' with her only to discover (disappointingly) that not only wasn't she a virgin but that he'd been thinking of Karen all the time.

Obviously the only course of action is to turn Senta into a vampire and go try his luck with Karen.

However as he's wiping his cock on his cape and scrubbing the blood from his mouth who should turn up but Imre hungry for blood.

And the only person with any left in the castle is Karen.

Much slow-style stage fighting ensues as Marlow tosses Imre out of the window and onto a handy spiked gate.

As he turns to dust Karen comes to realize that vampires are in fact real and that the king of them is standing infront of her professing undying love.

Will Karen and Draculabegin a romance to rival Harry and Meghan?

Will there be a wee bit more uncalled for - yet very welcome - nudity?

Will Paul Naschy ever shave his back?

It takes a special talent to get a still from a totally different movie on the poster. Fair play to him whoever it was.


From the fevered mind of Paul Naschy and the 70s busiest director (and official wrath of God) Javier Aquirre comes (quite literally) this supernatural tale of femmes, fangs and fancy  shirts all wrapped up in a blood red bow of sex and violence of the kind only found in Eurocinema of a certain age.

True the dubbing is ludicrously done, the effects are of a quality usually reserved for Christmas panto's and none of the lead actresses dresses fit but that just adds to its charm.

And talking of dubbing, if you think Naschy sounds familiar that's because he's using the voice of cult Eurohorror actor Jack Taylor whose CV reads like a must watch of quality cinema taking in everything from The Ghost Galleon to Pieces via The Vampire's Night Orgy (perhaps that's where the poster mix up came from) and Conan The Barbarian.

And he's still working.

And you think your mum is at bingo.


 Anyway back to the film at hand (before you start thinking this is a proper film blog) and while the obvious Spanish settings are in no way convincing as Transylvania the movie is so endearing as to make such trifling details irrelevant - we're here to see blood, babes, boobs and the big man himself take on the role of Dracula and whilst he may not hit the dizzy heights of Udo Kier (or Jack Palance) Naschy's vaguely puppy-like love lorn count is a fair extension of his more famous portrayal of the melancholic Waldemar Daninsky and is all the better for it.

It's just a pity he never donned the cape and fangs again.


Rum, sodomy and the lash.


But what of the rest of the cast I hear you cry.

Well whilst Víc Winner is all bushy sideburns and chiseled good looks his 'acting' style veers wildly from flat-packed shelf to homemade drinks cabinet the ladies do their best to walk and talk at the same time as they vainly attempt to stay inside their dresses that whilst looking very pretty appear to have been handed out at random.

Rosanna Yanni seems to spend the entire film hunched over in an attempt to get the obviously child sized communion dress to cover her breasts.

Poor lamb.

But at least Haydée Politoff looks yumsome.

As always.
   
But none of this matters as what we have here is a piece of pure Paul (Naschy) perfection that promises a veritable volcano of violence, sex and death which it delivers it in buckets and with a sneaky side helping of too-tight corsets and odd accents to boot.

If not cinematic gold it's at least a nice bit of terrifying tin.

























*As in things to catch animals in, not young guys dressed as sexy anime-style laydees for the sexual gratification of others - thought I'd clear that up.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

oh bee-have.

'Logged on' to the interweb this morning and noticed this:





World Bee Day eh?

Well I have just the thing for that.

Excuse the brevity of the review as frankly it's a Sunday morning and I have a shocking hangover and really can't be arsed.

But then again no fucker ever reads this blog anyway.

 
Invasion of The Bee Girls (AKA Graveyard Tramps, 1973)
Dir: Denis Sanders.
Cast: William (wicki wah wah) Smith, Anitra Ford, Victoria Vetri, Cliff Osmond, Wright King, Ben Hammer, Stan Williams and Sid Kaiser.


They'll Love The Very Life Out Of Your Body! - Just like a normal girl then?



When a government research scientist is found naked (apart from his socks) and dead in a roadside motel just outside Peckham (a different Peckham, so don't worry that Nicholas Lyndhurst's gonna turn up) the US State Department sends tough guy special agent Neil Agar (William Smith, not the one from Bad Boys and Men in Black, but the one from Chrome and Hot Leather and The Swinging Barmaids) to investigate.

Agar’s first stop is at the home of the the sultry head of the dead scientist’s research department Julie Zorn (the always fabulous Vetri, fresh from messing up pavements in Rosemary's Baby and playing Gary Seven's sexy humanoid cat in Star Trek), who was, in fact the last person to see the scientist alive.

Nowt suspicious there then.

"Aye hen!"


At first evasive and blunt with Agar about what she was doing in the scientist's company that night, Agar eventually - and quite literally, well it is the 70s - shakes the information out of her as she delivers the Oscar worthy dialogue:

“Alright! We balled! And we balled and we balled and we balled some more, until finally he dropped dead!”

Investigating further (and with Zorn in tow) Agar makes a horrific discovery, an epidemic of fatal heart attacks linked only by the fact that the men involved all popped their clogs while engaged in the 'sex' act.


The other Prince of Bel-Air.


As is always the way, misinformed Joe Q. Public start blaming the local science lab whilst erstwhile local 'sex researcher' (and closet S and M fan) Henry Murger (King) reckons it's a new disease so begins to try and convince folk to stop shagging for a bit till it's sorted.

Unfortunately there appears to be nowt else to do in the town except have sex, so the death toll continues to grow.

If only that would happen in America in real life.


"It doesn't matter how hard I twist I just can't seen to find 6 Music!"

As the stiffs get stiffer and the beds remain unmade the real cause of the sex deaths is gradually revealed.

Tho' not too gradually as it's a fairly short film.

But not as short as your mum obviously.

It appears that a group of shapely, sexy and sunglasses clad ladies are behind (and on top of obviously) the mounting pile of corpses.

Which is actually quite an erotic image.

The big question now is.....how?

And why obviously but that would be two questions.



What your mum really gets up to on bingo night.



Enter (roughly from behind whilst wearing a horse mask - just me then?) nutty as squirrel shit entomologist Susan Harris (Original Price Is Right girl Ford) who, whilst studying bees and stuff has discovered that it's possible to merge bee DNA with that of a lady.

For what purpose I have no idea.

Anyway, Harris has a secret lab in the basement of the research centre as well as an army of semi-nude, bisexual, female helpers all decked out in groovy Jackie O sunglasses that answer to her every whim.

And luckily for the viewer her main whim appears to be getting her posse to smother captive naked women in custard, subject them to bursts of radiation then locking them in a cupboard full of bees, transforming them into sex crazed 'Bee Girls'.

Again, I have no idea why.


But let's be honest do you really care?


Spunky Brewster.


So it's left to an angry Agar and gruff police captain 'big' Jim Peters (Osmond from the fantastic Hangar 18) with the help of 'scientists' Stanley Williams (Kaiser) and Herb Klein (Ben 'Beast Master' Hammer) to discover the truth behind the epidemic.

But they better hurry, as Harris has kidnapped Zorn and she's next for a wee bout of oily bee-based nakedness....

Some real life farm-type ladies yesterday who may - or may not be genetically spliced with bees.



From the obviously bad break up fueled minds of Denis Sanders, the writer of the fantastic Creature from the Black Lagoon and Nicholas Meyer, later to co-write and direct Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan as well as the HG Wells/Jack The Ripper mash-up Time After Time, comes this bizarre tale of sexy girls, fist-fights, pervy sex, violence, hairy backed old men getting naked and erotically charged nude motorbiking.

Oh, and bees.


Lots of bees.




But what's copious amounts of sex and violence without a good cast?

Possibly fairly entertaining but not as entertaining as seeing 'B' movie hardnut William Smith punching insect infected laydees that's for sure.

And if that's not enough our resident stud muffin is ably abetted by pouty ex-Playmate Victoria Vetri in her last film role before she retired to raise chickens in Idaho and the spellcheck defying Anitra Ford who at that point was on the cusp of becoming a permanent 70s exploitation fixture with roles in everything from The Big Birdcage to Messiah Of Evil via the first Cathie Cosby starring version of Wonder Woman.

Which is a good thing.

No, really.



Any excuse for a Victoria Vetri pic.




But it's not all sexy females on show oh no as for the ladies watching there are top notch appearances from mustachioed lard lord Cliff Osmond, Black Belt Jones' Sid Kaiser and Halloween II's Cliff Emmich.

Hmmm....now you think about it it basically is just sexy women on show.

Tho' there is a wee bit of girl on girl action too so that's OK.


As an interesting aside it does feature the only on screen role of Mary Sweeney - David Lynch's ex-wife and one time editor which gives you an excuse to watch it from a purely film connoisseur I guess and not just look like a sad lonely man who gets turned on by wanton nudity, lipstick lesbianism and mindless violence.

You're welcome.

Forgetting all that tho' the big question we have to ask is Invasion of The Bee Girls a satire of 70's sexual attitudes or an incredibly sexist exploitationer relying on copious amounts of T and A to film it's meager running time?

Who cares?

it's got nude ladies being smeared in honey by other nude ladies to a wonderful 'Ooooow wooooo woooo' spooky scifi soundtrack.


What more do you want?










Friday, May 18, 2018

mr. blobby.

Picked this lil' gem up in Fopp for a meager 6 quid t'other day (I was meant to be buying stuff for my school trip but heyho) cos I'd never seen it before.

Shocking I know.

Caltiki the Immortal Monster (1959).
Dir: Riccardo Freda (and some bloke named Mario Bava, yeah me neither).
Cast: John Merivale, Didi Sullivan, Gerard Herter, Daniela Rocca, Daniele Vargas, Vittorio André, Giacomo Rossi Stuart and Arturo Dominici.

The garden is filled with monsters!




Somewhere in the jungles/deserts of Mexico (or at least a pretty good studio approximation of them) a crack team of archaeologists are busy trying to find out why the local people up and left all those centuries ago.

Obviously the active volcano in the background has nowt to do with it.

All this hard work is disturbed when one of the team -  Dr Barry Nieto (Dominici from Black Sunday) stumbles sweatily into the basecamp dribbling and ranting about something called 'Caltiki'.

Enter (not literally mind, tho' he does have the air of a bonier David Tennant about him so I'd be tempted) Professor John Fielding (Circus of Horrors Merivale) who alongside his grumpy colleague Dr Max Gunther (Herter...yes he probably did) vainly attempt to find out just what the fuck Nieto is rambling about.

Sick of having his spittle sprayed over them and almost vomiting from the smell of boiled onions permeating from his unwashed manbreasts the pair leave Nieto in the care of Fielding's wife Ellen (the big-haired Perego) and Max's squeeze - the 'half-breed', pigtailed ex-prostitue Linda (Rocca, covered in gravy browning).

No idea why they're there - perhaps it was a 'bring your spouse to work' week, whatever the reason is tho' Ellen is not too happy about it and isn't afraid to tell her hubbie this.

Almost constantly.

Max - having no social skills as well as a head shaped like a pencil - mistakes all this complainy chat for a come on and seductively offers to put it in Ellen who politely rebukes his advances leaving him to start bitching at poor Linda.

Being the 50s she just stands there meekly and takes it.

The verbal abuse that is not his warty cock.

Glad that's sorted.

Harsh.

Meanwhile chubby man-boob Bob (Vargas from Spirits of the Dead not the one that draws the saucy lady pics) is busying himself filming the local girl(s) taking part in a seductive ceremonial dance that they hope will placate the aforementioned Caltiki, as is they way with men he's far too busy drooling over the dancers smooth thighs (and massive grey pants)  to think about asking them what the fuck Caltiki actually is.

The locals soon spot his massive girth hiding behind a bush tho' and angrily warn him that filming such things will bring the wrath of Caltiki down upon them all so a crestfallen Bob heads back to his tent for a tearful wank and a Pot Noodle.

The next morn John, Max, and Bob set out toward the cave that Nieto was exploring in the hope of finding out not only what sent him mental but also their still missing pal Brian - who it turns out took the rucksack with all the sweets in when the pair went exploring.

Unfortunately all they find tho' is Brian's camera, lying on the bank of an underground river watched over by an ancient statue which John cleverly identifies as the fable Caltiki.

Shit...Gene Wilder has let himself go.


 Heading back to the camp the trio quickly develop the film and settle down, popcorn in hand, to watch because if nothing else there may be a few lighthearted comedy pratfalls captured which means at least 50 quid from You've Been Framed which will pay for half the drinks budget.

Well beggars can't be choosers*.

It turns out that whilst jumping about and posing on the statue the pair were attacked by an unseen assailant so armed with this information the three brave archaeologists head back to the cave for another look and a better examination of the lake.

OK it's a pond.

Well more like a kids paddling pool stuck in the middle of the set and hastily decorated.

Luckily for them Bob is a qualified diver (tho' not I'm afraid a real welder) and he's soon squeezed himself into his wet-suit in order to take the plunge into an underground lake cleverly played - thanks to some smart editing - by the local swimming pool where he discovers a veritable underwater graveyard.

John informs the others - and us -  that the locals used to offer human sacrifices to Caltiki by throwing them into the water alongside all their jewelry, which means that there's loads of ancient treasure for the taking.

Imagining how many whores (and pies) he could buy with all that loot, Bob quickly starts to gather it up in his Aldi carrier bag but is soon attacked by an unseen assailant.

Noticing that something is wrong Max and Paul haul him to the surface only to find their portly pal dead, his flesh somehow removed totally from his bones.

You'd assume that after eating Bob whatever did it must be stuffed but no the mysterious creature - which has the appearance of a huge binbag filled with shite - emerges from the lake and attacks John and Max.


Jimmy Savile: The return.



The pair run for cover only for Max to turn back in order to grab the treasure from Bob's corpse which as far as plans go is a wee bit of a silly one seeing as the beast lunges at him with a big soggy cock-like appendage and envelopes his arm.

Luckily John has a handy axe and succeeds in cutting the creepy cock enough to free his pal but not save the arm.

As the pair head toward the camp John notices the terrifying testicle beast lumbering (can testicles lumber?) toward them but thanks to some quick thinking he drives the expedition’s truck into the entrance of the cave where it explodes destroying the monster.

Phew.

We're only 20 minutes in tho' so either this is a really short film or the bits of beast still stuck to Max's rotten arm are going to be re-animated at some point.

Can you guess which it is?

Arriving back home John tasks himself - alongside famed Professor of otherworldy bollocks Rod Rodriguez (André, star of Riusciranno i nostri eroi a ritrovare l'amico misteriosamente scomparso in Africa?) and his assistant Beaker (Last Man on Earth's Rossi Stuart) - with finding a way to counteract the poisons the creature injected into Max while it was digesting his arm.

Which kinda makes a change from growing mold in petri dishes and inhaling helium for a laugh I guess.


Daphne and Celeste: Sausage up a close.


After much study - and even more chin stroking they soon discover that not only is the creature, despite it's size a single cell organism but that it is, in fact, at least twenty million years old.

An immortal monster if you will.

An immortal monster that thrives on radiation.

Well I'm impressed.

Unfortunately they seem to have become so preoccupied with studying Caltiki that they've completely forgotten about curing poor Max who is - even as we speak - slowly going mad (and very scabby) due to the monster muck coursing thru' his veins.

Friends eh?

Spice Girls number one for Christmas.....MONSTA!




Anyway it's immaterial as Max - bored with bedbaths and doctors sticking things in him - breaks out of the hospital and heads to John's house in the hope of persuading Ellen to let him put it in her.

To confuse things even further it appears that Linda is staying with the family and comes across Max skulking in the basement, seeing as she loves him she offers to help him in his quest and sneaks him bottles of milk and egg and cress sandwiches whilst no-one is looking.

It isn't going to go well for her is it?

If that wasn't enough drama for one movie it appears that Professor Rodriguez has discovered that according to legends pertaining to Caltiki,there's a spooky prophecy that tells of a 'mate' for the goddess that supposedly came  from the sky.

Research shows that this refers to a passing comet whose radiation awoke the beast.

And wouldn't you know it that same comet is even now rapidly approaching Earth causing the remaining bits of Caltiki to begin stirring....







Coming across as the unholy lovechild of Quatermass and The Thing From Another World, director Ricardo Freda's Caltiki The Immortal Monster is a satisfying slice of sci-fi shock mixed with a smidgen of the kind of gothic horror in which Mario Bava excelled.

Often ignored when it comes to the history of Italian horror, the movie is finally getting the love it deserves and not just because of the involvement of the legendary director.

Re-teaming with Freda two years after they collaborated on I Vampiri - the first Italian horror film with sound fact fans - Bava was the films second unit director and lighting technician as well as creating the special effects on show and his trademark style is evident from the get go, from his signature cut and paste matte style to some quite graphic (for the time) make-up effects via long lingering shadows and pin-sharp compositions the film screams Bava from every sprocket hole.

But whilst we go all fanboy over Bava let's not forget Freda, who it was alleged purposely walked off the production in order to give Bava his directing break.

If this is true then that's something for which we should be eternally grateful.

And the fact that it's scary comet scenes obviously influenced LifeForce is another reason to love it.

What was it called again?



Gorgeously shot and with believable - if not too flashy - performances and some fantastic effects Caltiki is a gruesomely grand little movie that simply wants to thrill - and frighten - it's audience, a job which it does brilliantly.

Recommended and far too great a film to be sullied by being featured on this blog.

Probably.






















































*Except the one outside Central Station that is who, when I went to give him a pound the other day asked if I could just hand over the fiver from my wallet instead.

Cheeky bastard.

Aye Son.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

misterio!

Welcome to the world of sexy Spanish language photostories!

Jacinda the lad need not apply.











At least I know what my Euro's are getting spent on next week.

lady gah gah!

A wee break from all that Spanish stuff I've been posting - what can I say? I get easily distracted.

Purchased this yonks ago as part of a 4 film DVD release alongside Grotesque, The Velvet Vampire and Time Walker.

That'll teach me to shop whilst drunk.

Anyway the lovely folk at Nucleus Films are releasing a fully restored, cleaned up and uncut version of it this year so thought I'd give the old one a final watch before I bin it in favour of theirs*.

Fickle? Me?



Lady Frankenstein (AKA Madame Frankenstein / Daughter of Frankenstein / La Figlia di Frankenstein. 1971).
Dir: Mel Welles.
Cast: Rosalba Neri, Joseph Cotten, Paul Müller, Peter Whiteman, Herbert Fux, Mickey Hargitay, Marino Masé AND Renate Kasché.

"I've been up all night with my husband. He's resting now."


Somewhere in deepest, darkest Europe sometime in the 1870s (or it could be the 1970s by the look of the sideburns) a terrifying trio of ghoulish grave robbers led by the evil Kenny Lynch (the brilliantly monikered Herbert Fux) are busy delivering a dead body (obviously) to Baron Brian Frankenstein (a scarily pissed up Cotten wearing so much foundation that he's beginning to resemble an Issac Asimov trilogy) and his camply pube haired assistant Dr. Marshall Cavendish (Famed rice maker, star of Nightmare Castle and father of Robert, Müller) for the purpose of their nefarious experiments.

So far so clichéd.

Yet still very, very comfy.


Does he now?


But it's not all re-animated corpses and pulsating pop bottle tho' as it seems that the good doctors daughter Tania (council estate Rachel Weiss, Neri) is coming to stay after recently graduating from scientist school.

Greeted upon her arrival by the visually stunning yet mentally impaired handyman cum Poundshop Udo Kier Thomas (Contamination's Lt. Tony Aris himself Masé) whose job it is to look after the ickle aminals that the Baron uses for his transplant experiments, Tania heads to her room to get changed into a new more exotic outfit.

Something she will do between every scene.

Seriously hair continuity alone must have been a nightmare.

Anyway, it transpires that all this animal husbandry is, in fact, a cover for the real experiments and Tania soon reveals to her dad that she has always know about his plan to create a creature entirely from dead bodies and is eager to help.

The Baron begrudgingly agrees before heading off to a hanging to celebrate.

It seems a sexy man is to be executed for crimes against fashion and Frankenstein can't wait to get his hands on his body.

Meanwhile local police Captain, Harris Tweed (Jayne Mansfield's ex and father of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit star Mariska, Hargitay - see? who says this blog isn't in depth?), is paying a visit to Lynch's house in order to warn him that he knows he's a bad man and just in case we hadn't realised this ourselves the director helpfully shows him drunkenly pawing a prostitute as he defiantly tells Harris to sod off.


The overwhelming smell of chives was just too much for Leslie Dixon.



Back at the main plot and the locals are busy cheering and jeering as the prisoner is transported to the gallows and not wanting to be accused of being lax at his job Harris arrives in order to hassle Lynch (again) about the amount of empty graves in the cemetery as well as to ogle Tania whilst imagining ski-ing down her milky white cleavage.

Or was it the other way round?

As night draws in Lynch and co. successfully steal the bad mans body and sneak it over to the Baron who alongside Marshall  manages to pop its brain into an already constructed body - and thanks to a handy electrical storm - re-animate it.

Unfortunately the lightning causes the bandages to catch fire leaving the poor sod with boss-eyes and a head that looks like a half-chewed caramel penis (Whiteman in what was unfortunately his only film role outside those super 8's he made with your gran).

"Shite in mah mooth ya undead bastard!"


As Marshall heads off to the cellar to fetch some booze to celebrate the creature stiffly rises from the operating table and grabs the Baron and hugs him to death (no really) before stomping off into the woods as Tania watches in horror from behind the laundry basket.

The next day Tania and Marshall decide - for some reason that escapes me -  to contact Captain Harris to say that a robber broke into the house and killed the Baron before stealing his prize pottery pig collection.

Maybe they're gonna put an insurance claim in?

Using his detective powers Harris deduces that from Marshall's description the police should be looking for a seven foot giant in a ladies blouse and with a head like a novelty condom.

Which say what you like about this movie that at least gives it the edge over The Bill.

As this is a classic of European cinema it's not too long before the screen is filled with a wee bit of tasteful (female) nudity as the creature comes across (not in a gooey off-white mess way obviously) a fairly unattractive couple having sex by a river.

Squashing the mans head the beast nimbly picks up the lady before tossing her into the water only to be found later by two fishermen who the creature then proceeds to kill.

Which is nice.


Remember when your girlfriend said she was going camping with her pals?


As the bodies keep piling up Harris is left no alternative but to shout at everyone whilst angrily stomping about in a nice cape as all the characters we've come to know and love (Lynch and his grave robbing pals) and some we've never met before (a farmer and his - way too young - wife) are all butchered by the bald-headed beast.

Back at the castle there's something else stirring as Tania goads Marshall into admitting that he loves her and would like to have some of 'the sex' with her.

Being a typical attractive lady she responds by saying that she'd allow him to put it in her if he had better hair and was about 20 years younger (tell me about it, it's almost like the director was copying parts of my life) but not to worry as she's found a solution.

You see it seems that Tania thinks Thomas is a bit of alright so persuades Marshall to help her kill the handyman so she can them place his brain in the Thomas' young studly body.

Sounds legit.

Marshall agrees so Tania seduces Thomas before suffocating him at the moment of climax.

Which if I'm honest isn't that bad a way to go.

Everything is going swimmingly until Thomas' sister Julia (Kasché whom you may remember as Zenzi in Kurt Nachmann's 1970 classic Naughty Knickers) arrives looking for him.

Tania says that he's gone on holiday to recover from the Barons death but Julia doesn't trust her so heads over to see Harris and after a good bitching session both decide that Tania is guilty.

Of what tho' neither are sure but it looks like Harris may be in with the chance of a shag so to hell with evidence.
 

Your mums cum face....trust me I know and so does your uncle peter.


Working from her fathers research and some hastily scribble lipstick notes written on the back of an old tampon packet and with time against her, Tania somehow manages to successfully transplants Marshall's brain into Thomas' body with little or no trouble at all and as a bonus Marshall now possesses super strength and the ability to speak with both his own and Thomas' voice, which will probably come in handy when Harris turns up in a minute to ask him about the robbery and if in fact it was committed by a monster him and the Baron had made in the basement.


Your mum and dads wedding photo.


Meanwhile (it's always meanwhile) the creature/beast/oh go on then Frankenstein's monster has finally arrived in town and is busying himself smashing everyones plant pots much to the towns-folks chagrin leaving them with only one option....

Torch Frankenstein's castle!

Which seeing as they have absolutely fuck all evidence that anything has happened there.

If anything the whole (over) reaction is based on nothing more than Julia saying she doesn't like Tania because she wears too much make-up.

Chasing the creature to the castle it is confronted by an axe-wielding  Marshall/Thomas/Thomshall and the pair engage in an almost homoerotically charged fight that culminates with the creature getting its arm chopped off and Tania stabbing the pair of them with a sword.


Dollar have let themselves go....



Marshall/Thomas/Thomshall although seeming a wee bit peeved at this decides to forgive Tania for sticking something in him and the pair strip naked and indulge in a sweaty bout of sexy stuff as the castle burns around them.

As Harris vainly tries to get the villagers to leave the burning castle Julia notices the glistening spunk encrusted form of her brother entwined around Tania like a bright pink fleshy snake violently thrusting his manroot into her freshly trimmed lady garden as an inferno rages around them, shouting his name she watches in horror (and it must be said slight arousal - or was that me?) as Marshall/Thomas/Thomshall slowly and methodically chokes Tania as the pair are engulfed by the flames.....




Although released in 1971, clinical psychologist, radio DJ, actor, writer and film director Mel Welles' Lady Frankenstein harks back to a simpler age coming across as a throwback to Roger Corman's 60s Poe output gleefully mixed with all the nudity and horror you'd expect from a Hammer film via the look of the best (and sometimes worst) Eurotrash classics of the time.

And that's no bad thing.

Whilst the plot - save for the slightly ahead of its time theme of female empowerment that was most likely accidental - is no great shakes and the make-up and effects border on the poundshop side of Halloween it's the performances that make the movie with Rosalba Neri** (credited here as Sara Bay) epitomizing everything we've come to know and love with regards to EuroHorror starlets.

Dusky, raven haired and with a touch of saucy sadomasochistic menace she dominates every scene (and every wardrobe change) in the movie and is worth the price of admission alone, the only person that comes close to matching her is the great Paul Müller, all crap-hair and poppy eyes coming across for all the world like a slightly fey, crack addled ferret/man hybrid made flesh.

Rosalba Neri- You would, I would, your granddad did. Twice.
  
 To be honest tho' it's a good job that the pair are so good as everyone else involved appears to be either drunk or sleeping - or in Joseph Cotten's case both - whilst rent-a-lunk Mickey Hargitay bravely stumbles about as if he's in a community centre production of Columbo where the entire cast has been dressed in market stall Elvis hand-me-downs whilst the sensational Herbert Fux makes us wonder why he didn't become a movie mega star or at the very least got to appear in panto, it takes a brave man to pull of skin-tight beige leggings and still look tough.

And if all that's not enough to convince you name another film where the supporting cast are so flimsy that you begin to notice the actors headwear?

Seriously at about the 30 minutes mark I realised that quite a few of the cast were sharing a green trilby, go watch it - it's true.

We then played a game of counting how many times and on how many different heads it appeared.

You try it too and write in with your results, there's a prize for the winner.

"I can see your house from here Peter!"

Despite - or because - of all that Lady Frankenstein is still a fantastically entertaining movie, at once a work of erotic genius with an added taste of nightmarish medical drama draped in comfy gothic trappings that are juxtaposed by an air of overall shoddiness that somehow adds to its charm and went some way to explaining why it became the biggest money-making female-based Frankenstein movie released in 1971.

Pre-order that BluRay now.





















*Plus I'm hoping they used my artwork for it, cos it's rather good even if I say so myself.






**If you're interested in seeing more of her work may I recommend Ottavio Alessi's 1969 erotic thriller Top Sensation that not only features Ms Neri playing a bikini-clad nympho but also stars Edwige Fenech as a pervy prostitute.

You can thank me later.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

childline.

Going away to Spain with the Cassman and his class next week so thought it'd be good to get him up to date with some quality Spain-based cinema before we go.

See? 

This is parenting done right.

Quien Puede A Un Nino? (AKA Death Is Child's Play, The Killer's Playground, Island of the Damned, Who Can Kill a Child?, Would You Kill a Child? 1976)
Dir: Narciso Ibanez Serrador.
Cast: Lewis Fiander, Prunella Ransome, Antonio Iranzo and the cast of Byker Grove.



  "Do you think the other children will start playing the way we do?"
"Oh, yes...there are lots of children in the world. Lots of them."


A pair of  particularly posh English love birds, the mightily mustached Tom and the pountily pregnant poppet Evelyn (Doctor Who's drug dealing tinker Tryst from The Nightmare of Eden Lewis Fiander and victim of the Silurian plague Prunella Ransome) are enjoying a well deserved break from drinking Pimms, watching cricket and abusing the cleaner with a holiday in sunny Spain, taking in the local lifestyle (letting your hair get greasy, not washing, seducing underage girls etc - possibly) and traveling to various festivals buying carpets and the like.

Whilst ordering food in English and sniggering at the locals trousers like all Brits abroad obviously.

After much saucy fun, bikini clad frolicking, vast amounts of el cheapo Vino and a fairly serious chat about abortion (Tom wanted Evelyn to have one, she refused - see it's a kinda child killing thing isn't it? I see what they did there), Tom decides to finish the holiday with a visit to the beautiful island of Almanzora (these days frequented by such luminaries as Ian Botham and Daley Thompson fact fans) and the small village of Shi'moo where he had many a magical holiday as a small (non mustached) boy.

Hmmm...another child reference. 

This Serrador bloke is good.

But the couple get a shock when they arrive as the town is abandoned, the hotel is empty and the local restaurant is deserted. 


Worst of all tho' is that all the TeeVee's are broken and the corner shop is out of Take A Break magazines.
 

What has happened to this island paradise?


"Look! It's Fred Titmuss!"



Tom, being a hunky hero type  decides to play detective whilst  Evelyn, being in the fat lady pudding club, rests her swollen feet.


No sooner has Tom jauntily skipped down the road than a young girl pops up at a window and waves merrily at Evelyn before slowly creeping over and obsessively stroking our plump pals mummy tummy before smiling and running away.

Weird.

Returning to Evelyn empty handed save for a kiss me quick hat the pair - in a horror movie first - decide to explore together, soon coming across an old man sitting at the roadside.


I suppose that being heavily pregnant has put Evelyn off the sex so Tom has to get his jollies where he can.
 
But before the old fella can wipe himself down or even grunt "Aye son!" a small girl appears from nowhere and bludgeons him to death with his walking stick.
 

Kids eh?


Luckily the local kids fear the Bri-Nylon.


Finding the situation a wee bit strange and probably worthy of a bit of Scooby Doo style investigation Tom and Evelyn decide to follow the girl further inland, passing deserted cars, discarded teeth and many a battered skull along the way.
All belonging to adults.
Well obviously the cars belong to adults (they aren't toy ones) but I'm trying to build tension so stick with me.
It's not long before our dynamic duo have uncovered the terrifying - if fairly obvious - truth behind the killings....the children have become possessed by mentalism, murdering all the adults on the island.

To death!

Front bum, back bum, shitey mooth....three for a full hoose!


After school activities on Almanzora now include using dead peoples as piñatas, not brushing your teeth, skewering tourists and staying up all night to play Call of Duty on the PS4 whilst listening to Pixie Lott or something.

Yes, it's every adults nightmare.
Pixie Lott: Tunnel or funnel?
Tom and Evelyn, obviously au fait with the killer kiddies genre, decide it'd probably be for the best if they attempted to escape from these wannabe ASBO's by making their way to the up-market bit of town which - luckily - is populated by posh ex-pats (with even posher kids obviously), none of this council scum they keep finding around the streets where they are now.

See? 

Even more of that socio-political stuff, the director's a genius.
Just when everything seems like it's going to be OK (isn't that the way?) Tom makes a disturbing discovery, it appears that it only takes a sly look from those perishing pre-teens in the general direction of another child to pass of the madly murderous mentalism.
Tom and Evelyn are left with no choice but to fight back, the fate of their unborn child in their hands.
Well in Evelyn's tummy but you know what I'm getting at.

Pedants.

Begging for a mooth shite-in.



Unfortunately Tom's idea of fighting back is to lock himself and his wife in someones spare room and hope they can stay quiet enough to not attract any attention till the police turn up.
Which as far as escape plans go is up their with "Let's split up and search the woods for a way out alone!"
Hal Delrich would be proud.
Settling down for a well deserved rest (and maybe, just maybe a quick fondle of Evelyn's glorious globes) Tom's top seduction technique ("Oooh Evelyn I've got a pure steamer on!" probably) is interrupted when a blond small boy brandishing his large weapon bursts in on them.
Tom jumps into action, bitch-slapping the little shite before reluctantly shooting him in the arse, giving us a chance to not only see Fiander's Oscar calibre grief acting but to answer the question poised by the film's title.
This is getting all meta-textual init?
But this tearful wank and Pot Noodle moment brings only a brief period of calm for our cooped up couple as, without warning Evelyn starts leaking piss, shit and shame as her by now infected foetus murders her from within the womb.
Which I'll admit I didn't see coming.
As the sun rises on a new day, a weary Tom is left completely alone. 

Apart from a handy assault rifle that is.

And an obvious dislike of children.

Especially mental foreign ones.

A wee bit like all those folk who voted Brexit.

Shallow: Hal.

Violently grabbing the rifle, Tom decides (albeit a bit late in the day) to prove his worth as a  real man by running down to the harbour whilst firing indiscriminately into the crowds of kids and steal a boat back to the mainland.
Cue primal screams and comedy kid dancing as the bullets rip thru' row upon row of mad mini-people as Tom gingerly runs down the street before finally managing to cut the boat loose and head toward the open sea.
Wading into the water in an attempt to stop him leaving the children try desperately to overturn the boat as Tom valiantly tries to maim as many of them as he can.
Unfortunately (for him) Tom's world recording breaking infanticide attempt is cut short by the arrival of a Spanish police patrol boat, and the greasy crew mistakenly thinking that Tom has gone mad, shoot the poor sod dead.
Docking at the harbour, the officers begin tending to the wounded and asking the poor ickle children where their parents are.
One of the kids points toward town whilst the officer in charge asks no-one in particular the age old question "Who Can Kill a Child?"
 
Which is a wee bit silly seeing as the answer is the guy he just shot obviously.
As the three officers begin the short walk to the shops (it's thirsty work killing tourists) one of them notices a small group of children sharing out the guns on the boat, turning to stop them the trio are confronted by a small moonfaced girl who waves them Goodbye just before one of the boys shoots the three dead.

As the sun begins to set the children split into small groups, all the easier to infiltrate the mainland...



Murphy's Mob: the ASBO years.

The bastard offspring of Village of The Damned and daddy to every kiddie based horror flick since (and no doubt where Stephen King ripped Children of The Corn off from),
from it's opening montage of true life atrocities committed against children to it's downbeat ending Who Can Kill a Child? is as disturbing a movie today as it was at the time of release.

Thinking about it in these child safety obsessed modern times tho' it probably comes across as even more so.

Which makes the fact that a remake not only got green-lit but actually made even more disturbing.

But it's not just  the subject matter - or the haircuts - that makes this film an unforgettable and fairly harrowing experience.


No it's more to do with the leisurely pace at which Narciso Ibanez Serrador unfolds his story, unafraid as he is to build the tension slowly as he works quietly toward the movie's climax with an ever growing sense of dread. 

Filmed completely in broad daylight, Pedro Almodóvar's cinematographer of choice, Jose Luis Alcaine adds a sense of growing isolation whilst avant-garde composer Waldo de los Ríos' soundtrack of suitably soothing lullaby style songs gives a spooky Twilight Zone vibe to the proceedings.

But that's not all it has in it's favour, the small (in number as well as height) cast are unusually good for Spanish genre flicks of the time (casting English speaking ex-Doctor Who actors probably helped) and the Kiddie cast admirably pull of the task of going from sweet to shit scary in the bat of an eyelid.


A wee bit like my own podlings then.

Finally getting the love and care it deserves after years of being butchered, redubbed, retitled and generally pissed about,  Serrador's masterpiece can now proudly take it's place as the missing link between the horrific excesses of Jorge Grau's Manchester Morgue and the Paul Naschy's Werewolf series.


Well we all know how much I like my little boxes, plus it makes it easier to put on your shelves this way.