Friday, December 7, 2018

and the answer is.....




No.

slay ride.

A festive film favourite with the kids for you now.....

Black Christmas (AKA Silent Night, Evil Night, Stranger in the House 1974).
Dir: Bob Clark.
Cast: Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, John Saxon, Michael Rapport, Lynne Griffin, Marian Waldman and Andrea Martin.


If this movie doesn't make your skin crawl... It's On Too Tight! (is that even physically possible?)




Tis the season to be jolly, there's snow on the ground, love in the air, the smell of chestnuts roasting and in a sorority house at the world famous Baldpate University of Clever Clogs, many of the female students - including badgirl Barb and the virginal Jess - (a pre-mentalism Kidder and the pony faced Hussey) have been receiving a series of obscene phone calls from a strange perv nicknamed The Moaner.

You'll probably remember that's why your dad got sacked from The Samaritans.

Being a horror movie tho' no one takes his calls seriously, with a few of the saucier students (hands up Barb - tho' not literally, a couple of fingers would suffice) - actually looking forward to his nightly messages, that is until the night when Jess hears the screams and gasps of a woman in the background.

Calling her friends to listen in it's not long before Barb is threatening The Moaner with a severe buggering only to have him reply that he's going to kill her to death and with that he hangs up and the girls go about their business.

Which in this case is packing for the Christmas holidays.


Which as slasher fans will know is as good a cue as any for the bad murders to start.

"Try and shite in mah mooth now you bastard!"




And start they do when cutesy Co-ed Clare Harrison (Griffin from the brilliant Curtains which I'm sure I'd reviewed once but it seems to have been deleted which is a pity as I remember it being a lot better written than this) becomes moaners first victim, a plastic bag wrapped around her head as shes dragged to the attic and sat in a rocking chair.

Obviously the killer knows a cool poster image when he sees one.

The following morning, Clare's dad George arrives to pick up his daughter but she doesn't show up he quickly heads over to the sorority house to, if not find her then at least get a glimpse of Lois Lane's stocking tops.

Well it is Christmas.

Unfortunately the only thrill he gets is a peek at housekeeper Mrs. MacHenry's (world's shittest superhero Waldman) infeasibley large hat.

And that is worth the R rating alone if I'm honest.

Meanwhile Jess is meeting up with her neurotic musician boyfriend, Peter (2001's Dullea saddled with really crap hair) to tell him that she's pregnant and thinking about having an abortion.

Which is nice and festive.

Peter, being a 70s type of guy gets a wee bit angry and shouts at poor Jess before stomping off in a huff giving us an excuse to see what good old Mr. Harrison is up to in the search for his daughter.

Well him, Barb and Phyllis (Kim Possible voice-over actress Martin, who also appeared in the remake too don't you know) are busy at the police station try to get tough as nails cop Lieutenant Kenneth 'Horse Cock' Fuller (Saxon - nuff said) to form a search party and look for the missing girl.

John Saxon receives a call from his agent

offering him the lead in Cannibal Apocalypse.


Unfortunately he's a wee bit busy as another girl, Janis, has also vanished while walking home from school and seeing as she's much younger (and cuter) the police would rather look for her.

Which is fair enough I guess.

Barb, overly upset by her friends disappearance, gets drunk leaving Mr. Harrison, Jess,and Phyllis free to visit the local park where Janis was last seen.

Adding even more stress to the situation is the fact that Mrs. MacHenry can't seem to place her pussy and between that and packing to go to her sister's for Christmas is causing all manner of problems for the housemates.

It's great to get your priorities right isn't it?

Luckily after following a faint 'meowing' noise she finds her precious moggy in the attic, unfortunately she also finds the killer, who promptly wedges a hook in the face.

Which is nice.

Obviously on a gore-filled frenzy after seeing how great the face stabbing effect looked, it's only a matter of time before Janis' mutilated body is found, upsetting Jess to a point where she has to go home to bed.

Poor lamb.

"Hallo? French Polishers?

you might just save my life!"


As the others continue their search continues for Clare, Jess receives yet another obscene phone call and this time decides to report it to the police but as she does Peter turns up to beg her to marry him.

Jess refuses and Peter storms off in a huff just as Lieutenant Fuller arrives to bug the telephone.

As in put a recording device on it, not hassle it over unpaid bills etc.

With the movie rushing (albeit leisurely) toward its climax, Fuller pools all his resources in an attempt to stop the moaners reign of, er..moaning, unfortunately this appears to involve standing around in the street looking tough whilst holding a megaphone whilst eyeing up carol singers.

"Boiled onions!"

And it's the dulcet tones of these carol singers - who just happen to be visiting Jess' house at the time) that the mysterious killer decides to use as cover as he continues his reign of terror, firstly stabbing Barb to death with a handy statue before murdering Phyllis too.

But Fuller is hot on his trail and has managed to trace the moaners calls.

And they're coming from inside the house.

It seems that Fuller had totally forgotten that there was an extension built onto the sorority house and that the killer could happily hide there, listening to peoples conversations and phone calls.

It's like a nightmare version of Homes Under The Hammer.

Ringing the house Fuller warns Jessica to leave immediately and wait for him outside but, being a girl she gets lost on the way from the living room to the front door and heads upstairs (armed with a poker at least) instead where - surprise - she is jumped on by the killer.

Managing to escape she runs back downstairs completely missing the front door (again) and heads into the basement where she bumps into her grumpy boyfriend Peter, whom she is convinced is the killer for no other reason than he wants to marry her.

What a bastard.

And as he approaches her to talk Jessica bludgeons him to death with the poker.

Ouch.

The lights are on.




The police arrive to find her hunched over Peters body and decide that the case is closed - It's possibly their Christmas night out so understandably they want to get everything down as soon as - so you can imagine the conversation between Fuller and his men; "Aye, that Peter was a wee bit angry with his girlfriend not wanting to marry him so he must be the killer and the fact that we've found his aforementioned estranged girlfriend leaning over him holding a bloody poker means it must have been him! Right! mines a Babycham!".

Sorted.

They pack up the bodies, clean up the blood and bid their farewells to Jess, leaving her alone (in a major crime scene) to sleep off the excitement of her friends being murdered and killing her boyfriend.

But as we cut to the attic one last time we discover that there are two dead bodies that have yet to be found and as a man's voice whispers out thru' the darkness the phone begins to ring.....




Possibly the first of the modern 'slasher' cycle made famous by Halloween and Friday The 13th, the late, great Bob Clark's genre defining Black Christmas is unfortunately overlooked by all but the most rabid horror fans and Clark himself is better known for his seminal holiday classic A Christmas Story and Porky's than for this and the fantastic Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things.

Which is a shame as Black Christmas has much to offer, not just of historical interest but as a darn good frightener in its own right.

Featuring a decidedly eclectic cast—from Superman's Margot Kidder to cult stalwart John Saxon via the Star Child himself Keir Dullea as well as many shots and set ups that would become genre mainstays, Clark's movie deserves to be sought out by any self respecting film fan if only to see where the stalk and slash genre started.

As well as to have a bloody good laugh at the haircuts and trousers obviously.

It's not too late to rush out and buy it to watch on Christmas Eve, tho' make sure you don't pick up the shite 2006 remake by mistake.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

warlock homes.

Our story tonight opens in an - amateurishly lit - school corridor with sound recording that appears to have been done in - and on - an eggbox where an unnamed girl (Zerrienis...bless you) is wandering around in a tiny skirt whilst clutching the worlds brightest candle before being brutally slain by a weirdy beardy with an axe.


And cue spooky music cos it's time for.....


Warlock Moon (1973).
Dir: William Herbert.
Cast:  Laurie Walters, Joe Spano, Edna MacAfee, Harry Bauer, Joan Zerrien, Charles Raino, Ray K. Goman, Steve Solinsky and Richard Vielle.

"It's an old family recipe. I call it hunter's stew. It'd spoil all the fun if I told you how I made it."



Cutesy college student Jenny Macallister (The 'Slim, pretty, and appealing' Walters - well that's how IMDB describes her - who once appeared in a bathtub with Don Johnson in “The Harrad Experiment”, they were both naked fact fans) is wandering the campus minding her own business after spending a busy morning studying deviance's such as homosexuality and cannibalism when she's approached by an bowl-haircutted wannabe newshound wearing a creepy mask and a flasher mac named John (Spano from top TV tec trailblazer Hill Street Blues looking for all the world like John Amplas with a Greggs fetish).

By the way I mean he's named John, not the coat.

Following her around campus - in a totally non-freaky way obviously - whilst regaling her with amusing jokes in a variety of comedy accents is enough to wear her down enough to accept a picnic date with him and the pair are soon driving off thru' the countryside ready for a slap up feast of egg sandwiches, fizzy pop and pickled onion Monster Munch.

He's a smooth operator and no mistaking.

"Do you wanna come sit in me motor so I can bite you?"


After a lovely afternoon snacking n' chatting and being stuffed to the gills and drunk on fun the pair decide to call it a day and head home but a wrong turn leads them to an eerie old rundown spa.

As in a health club cum holiday camp, not the supermarket.

Which is actually spelled differently.

Anyway being a horror movie they decide to explore it.

As they wander thru' the dilapidated buildings they soon come across (in a non-sexual way obviously) an old woman by the name of Agnes Abercrombi (creator of that anti-virus software and star of Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, MacAfee) who still lives in the abandoned spa.

Sounds legit.

Not you.
 

Being a total and utter not at all sinister old lady, she invites the young couple to stay for tea and biscuits but as soon as Jenny takes a sip she begins to feel unwell and has to lie down, leaving John and Agnes to take the tour of the building alone whilst the poor girl lounges on the sofa, grabbing her tummy and farting.

Which if I'm honest sounds like a normal night in.

As the pair rummage around in the old ladies rooms Jenny amuses herself by cheekily rifling thru' Agnes' drawers where she discovers a shed load - well drawer load - of medical paraphernalia including syringes and vials of 'special' medicine.

Which is nice.

As she continues raking thru' a strangers possessions (and a stranger that's been dead nice to her seeing as she was caught wandering around her house, how's that for grateful?) Jenny is suddenly shocked - well as suddenly shocked as a very thin person can be -  to see the ghostly apparition of a woman in a wedding dress float passed the window below.



"Would you like to put it in me?"


Say what you want about the overall quality of this movie (yup, it's crap) but they're not skimping on the plot points.

Despite all the weirdness going down, John manages to persuade her to return the next week as his editor thinks an interview with dear old Agnes might be of some enjoyment to the readers.

Or at the very least some - tasteful - snatch shots.

Say what you want about John's fright-fright and piggy eyes, his persuasive pulling powers are second to none so I reckon he could convince her.
 
Arriving before him (hey he let the lady come first, what a guy) Jenny decides to go and find Agnes but is surprised that there's no sign old woman or of any of her belongings.

Even the faint smell of piss and gin has gone.

Suddenly an old man with a shotgun pops out from behind a tree and introduces himself, he's local postman cum part-time hunter Bernard Sexington (Bauer, I can't be arsed checking if he was in owt else sorry) who - in a stunning infodump -  informs Jenny that the resort was closed down in the 1930s in tragic circumstances.

It seems that the owners had decided to host a ball for their newly married daughter but she went missing just before the party.

Presuming that she was away having 'the sex; with her new hubbie the guests started the party without her and proceeded to enjoy the slap up nosh served by the (female) chef.

It was only much later (well around the cheese board) that everyone realised that the chef was in fact a mentalist who had killed the bride and used her body as part of the main course.

Obviously they didn't eat her whole as they spat that bit out.

I thank you.

Noticing how upset the story makes Jenny he decides to tell her it's all bollocks, bids his farewells and leaves.

Only to be killed by a mad axeman a few minutes later safe in the knowledge that his job of filling in the backstory of the spa is done.

"Blood in mah mooth!"


 Jenny misses all of this tho' as she's finally found John and Agnes who has reappeared alongside all her stuff.

 Confused by this and after John convinces her that she's imagining things Jenny meekly sits down for a cup of Mrs. Abercrombi's tea,  only to start feeling a wee bit woozy again almost immediately after.

Hmmmmm.

As John and Agnes retire to the garden to conduct the interview Jenny suddenly hears the spooky voice of the ghostly bride calling to her, she follows and is led  to a room with a creepy sacrificial altar laid out in its centre.

You know, just like the one in your Auntie Jean's basement.

That's not all tho' for as she's examining it closer who should appear but the scary bearded bloke form earlier, swinging his mighty chopper around with gay abandon as he tries to stick it in poor Jenny.

Much chasing ensues and what sounds like the noise of a tortured cat is played on the soundtrack before Jenny - being a mere girl - faints.


Inside Theresa May's mind.



 Mrs. Abercrombi and John soon find her tho' (well it is nearly the end of the film) and are shocked to hear that there's a mad bloke running around killing folk but when they go to investigate there's no sign of anyone else around.

Jenny tho' is convinced but both Agnes and John put it down to her feeling unwell, insisting that the best thing for her is to stay overnight in Mrs Abercrombi's house.

But first it's time for dinner.

And another cup of her sweet smelling tea......





From writer/director/producer William Herbert comes this little seen lo-fi classic of creepy cults and cannibalism that belays it's pound shop roots with some (slightly over the) toptastic performances and a general air of menace not usually found in what would normally be the bottom half of a drive-in double bill.

And whilst it is admittedly  a wee bit shaky at times with sound quality verging  on the indecipherable the performances from the leads pull it back from the brink and make it such a joy to watch with some great (semi) improvised stuff that's as hypnotic as it is bizarre.

Take for instance the scene where John - in an attempt to woo Jenny - performs a one-man horror movie of the mind where he plays both monster and hero, defeating himself before planting a kiss on Jenny's lips and then, without warning flips again as he menacingly stalks Jenny armed with nothing but a big stick and a scary stare.

On paper this sounds ludicrous whereas on screen it's electrifying.

Your Nan's cum face (trust me I know).


Also worth the admission price is Edna MacAfee's almost Warholian non-performance as Agnes Abercrombi.

All pursed lips and pinched cheeks it's almost as if they just plucked a mad bag lady off the streets and let her loose.

Similar in ideas - if not in execution - to it's - slightly - more famous contemporary 'Folks At Red Wolf Inn' (release a year earlier), Warlock Moon straddles that fine line 'tween B movie drive in fodder like Blood Feast and the oncoming storm of cinema-verite violence ushered in by the likes of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and it's influence can be seen everywhere from the Ti West Classic House of The Devil to most of Rob Zombies output.

Which is a shame but there you go.

Well worth a looksie.