Monday, August 19, 2019

family ties.

Greetings readers!

In between work at the moment so keeping out of trouble by randomly picking films off the shelves and watching them whilst getting slowly drunk.

Quite a short one for a change with a distinct lack of 'laugh nows' mainly due to the fact that the kids are due home soon and I've still to sort their snacks.

Luckily I'm not feeling totally dejected as I've had a few review requests (well one) so I shall get to that ASAP.

But first.....

La notte dei diavoli (AKA Night of the Devils, 1972)
Dir: Giorgio Ferroni.
Cast: Gianni Garko, Agostina Belli, Roberto Maldera, Bill Vanders, Cinzia De Carolis, Maria Monti, Teresa Gimpera and Umberto Raho.

Well we're back in Europe and back in the woods (probably just around the corner from where Annik Borel is writhing around naked) where we're introduced to the tragic traveling wood salesman, Lesley Manhorn (played by the mightily mustached Maldera) who is passing his time wandering thru' the undergrowth clad only in a dirty sweater and torn Action Slacks.

Discovered by a concerned shepherd our poorly pal is quickly carted off to the local mental hospital, tho' probably not to be stripped naked and tied to a bed.

Instead he's viciously prodded and poked by the concerned (or constipated, I couldn't tell) Dr. Tosi (Enter The Devil's Raho) as his terrifying tale unfolds through the medium of dance (oh go on then, flashbacks), leaving him - and us - horrified to discover that he's become embroiled in yet another remake of the (one halfway decent) Leo Tolstoy novel, The Family of the Vourdalak.

But this time not one directed by Mario Bava or starring Boris Karloff.

Which is a shame but lets not be too hasty.

"You ain't seen me, right?"

It transpires that during his trip home from a particularly successful building conference Lesley, after drinking far to much of the local brew and taking a wrong turn managed to wrap his car around a tree leaving him stranded in the Yugoslavian countryside.

The whole situation is a wee bit like being stuck in Dudley in the West Midlands but with less chance of getting your arse felt by a tramp.
Or catching crabs from a beer glass.

Luckily (for the viewer obviously otherwise it'd be a really crap horror movie) he finds shelter for the night in the home of the Ciuvelak family, headed by grumpy patriarch Gary (Vanders).

All seems well, until day turns to night that is, when our hero (if you can class someone who self MDF and hardboard for a living a hero) is kept awake by strange noises emanating from the woods.

Questioning his host the next morning he's told not to worry as it's just a bloodthirsty witch that lives in the trees.

Which is nice if a little unexpected.

I was expecting rats.

After running out of strawberry jam, Madeline McCann made a stunning reappearance.

It seems that the witch killed Gary's brother a while back before deciding that it'd be a wee bit more fun for everyone to resurrect him as an exotically monikered Vourdalak, a mythological Russian vampire with a penchant for time keeping, fact fans.

Anyway back to the plot where Les seems to be taking all this gypsy gossip in his stride, which might be because he's fallen head over heels in love with Gary's busty redheaded daughter Sdenka (button nosed beauty Belli), either that or the constant bowls of oxtail soup and bread are beyond compare.

Agostina Belli: Your grandad did. Twice.

Either way he doesn't even bat an eyelid when Gary decides to don a big furry hat and heads out into the woods to confront the witch once and for all.

Number one son Terry (Garko) tho' is prepared for the worst, fearing that his poor dad will get vamped and return home the next day at precisely 6 o'clock and wreak havoc on the household.


Told you there was time keeping involved, I don't make this shit up you know.

Well, not all of it.

Beware! He's going to put his big chopper in you!

Suffice to say that Gary does indeed return at the allotted time the next day looking a wee bit greener than normal (which he blames on trapped wind) but insisting that he has in fact killed the witch and isn't a vampire.

The family (being a bit fick) believe him.

It won't come as too much of a surprise when I say that he's lying thru' his pointy teeth, leading to 60 minutes of death, depravity and dodgy trousers.

"I'm sorry, I have my woman's period."

Criminally under-rated and hardly seen by anyone outside the directors immediate family, Giorgio (AKA Calvin Jackson Padget) Ferroni's penultimate picture is a slow burning supernatural shocker that's a joy to watch from it's starch slacked start to it's devilish denouement. 

Whilst it never reaches the giddy heights of the directors earlier Mill of the Stone Women it's well worth the effort to track down, if only to compare how two totally different film makers (t'other being Mario Bava with his classic Black Sabbath) approach the same source material.

"Shite in my gorgeous Italian mooth you wood loving bastard!"

Whereas Bava's vision is all clinging atmospherics, subtle lighting and and knowing nods from Karloff, Ferroni decides to go straight for the jugular from the start, the film’s opening minutes featuring as they do a barrage of blood and boobs before quickly settling down into a more sombre state as the story begins good and proper.

With a pitch perfect cast playing the whole scenario as straight as Chuck Norris,
Ferroni is free to let his camera camp up the proceedings as it treats both gore and nudity with glee abandon.

And it's this freewheeling style, aided by Giorgio Gaslini's sinister score that enables the film to flip from gothic chiller to frantic chase movie almost without warning as it builds to it's climax.

Plus Agostina Belli really pulls off those early 70s fashions.

"Is it in yet?"

T'is a pity then that such a great movie is lumbered with such a generically piss-poor title, which probably hasn't helped it's availability* (or reputation) over the years, which is almost as much a shame as the fact that Ferroni made so few horror movies.

That and the fact that his best known work, Le baccanti (AKA Bondage Gladiator Sexy) is rubbish.

Well that's a bit of a downer to end on isn't it?

*Tho' saying that I've a feeling it's just been released on Blu-Ray in 'The States' - which would be good if I could actually play US Blu's.....oh well maybe a fan will buy me a new player.

Or not.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

root it oot.

Just back from my yearly trip to the motherland which you'll be interested to know has trees in it.

Hence I viewed this upon my return as it too has trees in it.

The Forest (1982).
Dir: Donald M. Jones.
Cast: Dean Russell, Gary Kent, Tomi Barrett, John Batis, Ann Wilkinson, Jeanette Kelly, Corky Pigeon, Becki Burke, Tony Gee, Stafford Morgan, Marilyn Anderson Jean Clark and Donald M. Jones.

'If you go down to the woods today... You might never get out alive.'

Somewhere in the American great outdoors an unnamed couple of the type you only get in early 80s horror movies that have only relatives and neighbours to cast from - you know the types, long, horse like faced women with Farrah flicks and middle-aged guys with stud beards grey chest hair poking thru' an open necked stonewashed shirt a size too small for him - are having fun hiking thru' the woods whilst attempting to chat in a non-stilted manner as an instantly forgettable MoR rock track plays in the background.

Everything is going smoothly, well as smoothly as two non-actors trying to recite dialogue whilst not slipping down muddy banks can go, until that is the lady (Anderson whose post Forest career peaked with an appearance as a Receptionist in a 1983 episode of Dynasty*) gets a feeling of impending dread and a notion of them being watched from the trees.

Her husband (Morgan, best known for his spot on portrayal as an engineer in Die Hard 2: Die Harder), being that kind of guy, poo-poos the idea but in order to placate his missis (in the hope of some tent based todger tickling later) allows her to walk ahead of him so she'll feel less threatened.

No me neither.

"I'm sorry, I have my woman's period."

We don't have to much time to worry about such trivialities tho' as the pair have soon been dispatched by an unseen assailant with a big knife as an even more forgettable MoR track with lyrics about spooky forests blurts out over the credits.

Which I have to admit feature one of THE best home made fonts of all time.

And here it is:


Anyway we're soon with the plot good and proper where best buds - handsome hunk Steve (mustached macho man and council estate Tom Selleck, Russell) and the ferret like Charlie (Batis who I think went into Christian-based arts as far as I remember, I'd check but to be honest I can't be arsed) are busy planning a boys weekend away camping in the woods much to their girlfriends - Teddi (Poundshop Cheryl Ladd, Wilkinson - and the thin lipped Sharon (Ex stunt person Barrett) - chagrin.

It seems that the laydees are a wee bit pissed off at the fellas constant digs at women's lib and the like so the pair decide to play them at their own game and go camping by themselves.

Or is it with the guys?

It's kinda confusing if I'm honest.

Anyway the next morn the girls drive off toward the forest but as they chat it becomes increasingly apparent that neither of them have any idea about camping and were only saying they did in order to come across as equal to the men.

Because feminism.

Or a glib generalization of what feminism is according to the (male) director obviously.

Meanwhile the boys are running late due in part to the car breaking down but mainly because it took Steve and hour and a half to fit into his crotch revealing denims so by the time they arrive at the campsite the girls have already set off into the woods, failed to put up a tent, broken a nail and been visited by two mysterious kids and a woman.

Oh and been attacked by a portly tramp named John (Kent, stuntperson and hubbie of Barrett) who murders Teddi before carrying her off to his cave to eat.

Which is nice.

Sharon, in case you're interested escaped by jumping off a (small) cliff into a lake by the way.

Which is probably why they cast a stunt type person.

"To me!" "To you!"

Anyway as night (and the rain) continues to fall Steve and Charlie are still frantically searching for their lady friends but decide that because it's so wet to hide out in a cave till morning and it's here that they too come across (but not in a sexual way, well not yet) the weirdy beardy John who's just finished cooking Teddi and offers the pair a nibble, proclaiming that it's actually a deer.

As the trio tuck in, John begins to tell his tragic tale of woe and how he came to be living in a cave in the woods stinking of piss, you see it seems that a few years back when he worked as a traveling rubber nipples salesman, his - nameless because this film has a really healthy view of women - dear wife (Kelly in her only film role - surprise) spent her days shagging anyone who passed by the house.

Repair men, post men, the paperboy - you name it she let them put it in her which wasn't until one day John came home early to find her in bed with the refrigerator repairman who, bizarrely enough and after an uncomfortable scene reminisce of when my mum got caught with the Jehovah's Witness in the conservatory by my uncle Peter actually pulls on his trousers and does indeed proceed to fix the fridge.

That's your mum that is.
This wanton display of multitasking masculinity sends John over the edge and after beating his wife to death with a table lamp chases the fridge guy around the garden brandishing a variety of sharp edged gardening tools (and a bicycle) before gutting him on a lathe as his children - John Jr. (Pigeon who scarily went on to have a huge career and is best known for playing Freddy Lippincottleman in the hit teevee sitcom Silver Spoons as well as drumming with top pop combos MXPX and Reel Big Fish) and Jennifer (Burke, who may now be working as a customer Account Manager at Aaron’s Sales and Lease Corporation in Texas) look on in apathy.

From there on in he's been holed up in a cave with only his baseball cap and by now very stiff pants to his name.


And on that note the boys unpack their sleeping bags and quickly fall asleep.

Which is what I wanted to do at this point thanks to the films 'leisurely' pace.

Less Grizzly Adams more slightly peeved Pete.

As morning dawns the pair wake to the sight of John standing over then licking his lips as he gently cradles his man package so making their excuses Steve and Charlie quickly pack up and head of to find the ladies soon finding their destroyed campsite and discarded belongings.

Because lets be honest, it's quite a short film.

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

Deciding that something terrible must have happened to cause the girls to leave their make up bags behind the pair split up to continue their search.

Meanwhile down on the riverbank Sharon is busy finding out more about the plot from the pair of spooky kids she met earlier, who it transpires are ghosts.

Fair enough.

It seems that getting bored with living in a cave with their deranged dad and living solely on wild berries and hikers  the pair killed themselves but are now trapped in limbo being chased by the ghost of their mother.

And this, coupled with marrying a whore caused John to turn cannibal.

No, really.

Man murders folk?

Blame a woman.

Or if that doesn't work blame his kids.

"Is it giro day?"

Realizing that the film is almost over the director decides to add a wee bit of excitement so to this end Steve falls down a hill and hurts his leg whilst Charlie stumbles around getting steadily sweatier and more simpering as he goes.

Just when all thought of absolutely anything entertaining happening is forever destroyed who should pop out from behind a tree but the ghost of the dead wife   who - quite politely for a dead slapper I reckon - asks him where her children are.

But as he goes to answer John too jumps out the bushes and attempts to stick his chopper in Charlie, causing ghost mum to vanish and our hero to experience a wee bit of chafing round the thigh area.

As the pair (slow) fight to the death John explains that he's not really a mentalist and only kills campers during the winter when it's too difficult to get to Asda to buy pork, which is OK then I guess.

And with that he drowns poor Charlie in the river.

Which given the state of the film so far is a mercy killing.

Dollar - The Pikey Years.

As John attempts to carry Charlie's body back to his man cave who should arrive but Sharon who, being a girl is quickly is overpowered by John (tho' it may have more to do with his onion breath than his strength) but just as he lunges in for the kill his ghostly weans turn up and beg him to let Sharon live.

And with that he lets her escape.

Will Sharon find Steve or will John go a bit mad again at the thought of lunching out on her tender thighs?

Will anything happen in the scant running time remaining to make watching this anything other than an utter waste of time?

Who knows/cares.

Not director/writer/tea boy Don Jones that's for sure.

From the man behind The Love Butcher, Sweater Girls and Schoolgirls In Chains (oh and who also did the sound on Switchblade Sisters and The Swinging Cheerleaders) comes probably one of THE most incoherently plotted, woodenly acted and crappily directed movies if not ever then definitely of the 80s.

But saying that at least it's in focus and does feature David Somerville 'singing' the fantastically cringe inducing "The Dark Side of The Forest" (with lyrics by Stan Fidel who wrote "Best of Friends" for Disney's The Fox And The Hound fact fans) over the credits so you win some, you lose some I guess.

But if you fancy 80 odd minutes of barely bargain basement gore effects, ghostly kids with haircuts that'd make even Jimmy Savile think twice, bizarro voice overs, a woman who looks like your auntie whoring it up on a camp bed and what seems like hours of footage of two guys arguing in/about traffic then The Woods may just be the film for you.

But I doubt it somehow.


It's almost like Jones is purposely trying to scupper any chance the film has to shine, whether it be the almost DOA pacing, aimless wide shots of trees or just the entire nonsensical nature of the plot, at every turn just when you think something interesting might happen the film, like some drunken bloke stumbling home from the pub with a greasy kebab in hand,  just fumbles and staggers across the road before dropping meat onto its shoes and collapsing in an alley.

Probably to get bummed by a tramp in the early hours of the morning.

Only Jones wouldn't show that bit, he'd cut to an empty taxi rank round the corner.

Tho' he'd probably dub the sound of foxes playing in a garden over the footage just to stop you falling into a coma.

Scarily according to the cast he actually remortgaged his house to pay for this so either he was really fucking delusional or he really hated the wallpaper and reckoned that losing his home to the bank was a better option than just burning it down.

Put it in me!

But who knows perhaps the film is actually really meta and is in fact just playing with our preconceptions of what makes a good slasher - I mean we all accept Jason wearing a hockey mask or Leatherface wearing your mums mug so why not a terrifying mountain-based cannibal in a child's baseball cap and a mantit hugging T-shirt?

And sure after The Evil Dead we were spoiled with Raimi's patented 'shaky-cam' and wall to wall grue but who's to say that overexposed static shots of random trees and stock footage of traffic jams isn't the next leap forward in tree-based terror?

Plus after axes, chainsaws and fingerblades what's stopping a jam covered pen knife being a terrifying weapon of death?

Indeed maybe this film is actually cinematic genius and it's me who's wrong.

What the truth is we'll never know for sure cos I'm fucked if I'm going to lose any more sleep thinking about it.

Good day.

*And I only know this as I own the entire run on DVD.....sad but true.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

people you fancy but shouldn't (part 86).

Maybe it's that pesky midlife crisis looming but I've been reminiscing over the halcyon days of Channel 4's Brookside and how, as a spotty Smiths loving youth I would watch avidly in the hope of a glimpse of Karen Grant's scuffed Doc Martens.
Ah....young love.


stryke it lucky.

Noticed that the human haunted cave that is Catherine Blaiklock has been tweeting about all the stuff she's not allowed to talk about today when it struck me that not once have I heard her mention her love of Claudio Fragasso's seminal shocker Zombie 4*.

Y'know the thing about Catherine Blaiklock, she's got... lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eyes. When she comes at ya, doesn't seem to be livin'... until she bites ya. And those black eyes roll over white, and then... oh, then you hear that terrible high-pitch screamin', the country turns red, white and blue and spite of all the poundin' and the hollerin', her an' Nigel come in and they... rip you to pieces.

Bizarre as it seems it was her love of this movie that got her to team up with ferret-faced uber-racist and part-time hand model Nigel Farage to form the Brexit Party as it's his favourite movie too.

Obviously this shouldn't come as too much of a surprise when you realise that Zombie 4 is actually about immigration and foreign types and the like but under the guise of being an Italian zombie film.

Clever eh?

Oh plus it features Jeff Stryker and as we all know Nigel never says no to a wee bit of man-cock.

You can ask Catherine Blaiklock about that too.

Anyway on with the review.

Zombie Flesh Eaters 3 (AKA Zombie 4: After Death. 1988)
Dir: Claudio Fragasso.
Cast: Jeff Stryker, Candice Daly, Don Wilson, Massimo Vanni, Nick Nicholson, Adrienne Joseph, Jim Gaines, your mom and some tramps.

But no immigrants obviously.

Touchin' our bane will feel our rain on the gain. It's a nightlife, whoa! Runnin' hard if you want it or not! It's a wild life, whoa! You can't stop. You must go on! I'm living after death! Living after death! I'm living after death! Living... Living... LIVING AFTER DEATH!

Somewhere on a remote South Pacific island (or more likely in the kiddies play park behind the directors house), a scientific research team have been working on a cellular regenerative thingy in the hope of finding a cure for ingrowing toenails and bad breath.

In an attempt to get the local (glam rock frocked) natives onside, top science bloke Dr. Godfrey Soontodie has offered to use this frankly bollocks scientific discovery to help cure the voodoo witch doctor's daughter of her terrifying bunions.

As is always the case in these situations the wee girl unfortunately dies.

It's off screen tho' so it's not that upsetting.

"Get your clothes off and your lips puckered....these babies aren't gonna suckle themselves!"

Not too surprisingly the witch doctor takes offense to this news and decides to put the famous 'curse of the dead' on the island, its visitors and inhabitants.

Which is understandable if not a wee bit annoying for the rest of the tribe.

With a wave of his mighty (and very beefy) arms and a flash of homemade fireworks (but not alas a flash of old man thigh) literally all hell breaks loose.

Well it would if hell consisted of an old lady in an ill fitting Halloween mask and a pair of Austin Powers teeth seemingly faking an orgasm whilst dancing like Ian Curtis (post suicide) on crack.

It's your nan at Christmas basically.

Laugh and indeed now!

It's not too much of a spoiler to say that the dead rise and kill everyone.

Well everyone that is except the lead scientists blonde moppet daughter, Jenny who survives the carnage thanks to a magic amulet given to her by her mother.

Well it's either actually magic or so cheap and nasty as to repel any self respecting zombie that sees it.

You can decide.

Flash forward 15 years later and a rescue team, led by the hunky Chuck (porn idol Stryker in a rare 'straight' role - ask your dad) is finally dispatched to discover why no-one has been returning their calls.

Well they took their time didn't they?

Also on the island (by some strange quirk of fate) is a by now all grown up Jenny (the late, great Daly from The Young and the Restless and Hell Hunters) accompanied by the slightly less attractive Louise (Joseph, mother of Birds of a Feather's Leslie), rentalunk Rod (Nicholson) and a couple of dirty mouthed gypsies.

Our Nige seen here reenacting his favourite scene from the movie. No, I didn't realize that it featured a bit where a bigoted halfwit almost gets garotted by a biplane either. Must have been cut in the UK.

Sod all this character stuff tho' we want to know what Team Chuck is up to.

Well, whilst wandering around in a polystyrene cave left over from Michele Soavi's 'The Sect' (no really) our hero comes across the mysterious Book of the Dead.

Which is a change from my boyhood years watching him coming across a variety of buff arses whilst pulling a face not too dissimilar to the one your grandad pulled when he had that stroke.

But enough of the homemade erotica you want to know how Chuck knows that it's the real Book of the Dead and not a shoddy knock-off one from down the market.

Well it does have the words BOOK OF THE DEAD printed on the cover in big bold letters so I guess that clinches it.

You can see why Mrs Unwell doesn't trust me to buy stuff off Ebay can't you?

"Shite in mah tramp bearded mooth!"

Anyway back to the plot (for want of a better word) where Chuck, in a vain attempt to prove he can read unaided - but alas proving that he's never seen a horror movie - begins to shout random passages from the book (intercut with him shouting "Yeah baby! You're so fuckin' tight!" and pulling his cum face - well in my dreams it is) not realizing that the words, when read aloud are capable of bringing the dead back to life.

This'll be the same living dead that have actually been wandering around aimlessly for the past decade and a half from when that witch doctor read the same book, remember?

The writer obviously doesn't.

Some immigrants stealing our jobs and benefits yesterday.

Within minutes our heroes (well the folk on screen) are running for their very lives as hordes (I say hordes but I mean dozens) of foul looking refugees and illegal Eastern European immigrants (possibly) begin to rise slowly from their shallow graves intent on tasting the legendary Jeff Stryker's ample meat.

Or something.

Meanwhile in the grassy bit behind the bike sheds, jumpy Jenny and co. have problems of their own (discounting the obvious ones like lack of acting ability and bad breath) when a lone, maggot covered tramp (obviously symbolizing Remainers) falls on them from behind a tree covering a hapless member of her party in sick.

Running away screaming they soon stumble across the deserted medical research facility (in reality the directors local scout hut) once run by Jenny's folks where they're soon joined (c'mon, the running times not that long) by Chuck who has managed to escape the scary flesh eaters by leaving his team to die whilst he sneaked away sobbing like a baby.

What a guy.

Bobby Davro, up the casino, Penrith 1985.....YESCH!

Luckily for the survivors this peaceful medical centre is chock full of weapons  giving the male cast members ample opportunity to pose in a topless sweaty manner whilst firing a variety of semi-automatic weaponry indiscriminately at various unpaid extras who are then expected to fall off roofs and be set on fire in the vain hope of securing a work permit or at least a new pair of shoes for their kids.

Ain't capitalism grand?

But the humans are fighting a losing battle as one by one they are overcome by the advancing dead.

Deciding the blow up the centre in an attempt to convince the zombies it's Bonfire night and thus giving the humans a chance to escape (plus they reckon it might add a wee bit of much needed excitement to the movie), sole survivors Jenny and Chuck make a break for the woods only to find themselves back in the very cave where the spooky witch doctor started the undead plague to begin with.

With the zombie army closing in and Chuck down to firing blanks, Jenny clutches the magic amulet, praying for a miracle.

Well it's either that or she's cursing her agent.**


Will our toothsome twosome escape?

Will the UK rise up and actually take back control?

Will the zombie hordes attack Jenny and eat her whole?

Or will they spit that bit out?

Or will Chuck die whilst something slight and fairly incomprehensible happens to Jenny?

Go on, guess.

Best known for it's frightening amount of alternate titles (After Death being the most common and Zombi 4 being the easiest to spell) as well as being shot on sets constructed for Michael Soavi's 'The Sect' and filmed entirely using camera's and equipment 'borrowed' from the set of Bruno Mattei's 'Strike Commando 2' (which was filming nearby), Claudio Fagrasso's -AKA Clyde Anderson - Zombie Flesh-Eaters 3/4 is the near pinnacle of bad movie making made flesh, a cinematic black hole so dire that not even light can escape from it's spiny celluloid fingers.

Imagine the most dangerous and sordid unsafe sex act you could ever indulge in with the most foul, STD ridden, crab-panted person - or animal - you can, then imagine that as you're about to cum (against your better judgement) you look down and realize that this pock marked, toothless crone you've payed £5 to probably catch sex death from is, in fact, your Gran.

You know...the dead one.

This is the effect After Death can have on a normal cinema goer.

But saying that, imagine how amusing it would be if you saw this happen to a friend.

And you just happened to have a camera handy.

So I guess you pays your money you takes your chance.

Funnel or tunnel?

Wise men say that you can't choose who (or what) you fall in love with tho' and like the three legged dog you should put down but decide to nail to a skateboard, After Death stays with you long after the DVD has been ejected, just like Hepatitis C or the feeling of shame you get after watching your parents home made porn.

Obviously just before realizing halfway thru' that you're actually the star, propped up on top of the wardrobe, drugged up to the eyeballs and wearing a dress.

But if like me you're one of the special few that actually enjoys Fragrasso's work - especially his top notch collaborations with Bruno ('Zombie Creeping Flesh' and 'Rats : Night of Terror') Mattei  - then jump in and enjoy.

I know I did.

But to be honest I really think that I should get out more.

And by that I mean out of the house not out of Europe obviously.

We wouldn't have stuff like this film if that were the case.

*If I'd actually asked her that is but if she's reading this then get in touch and I'll review the real one.

**Tho' obviously not as much as she was after she left The Young and the Restless, when after being unable to find work ended up OD-ing in a rundown Los Angeles apartment on December 14, 2004, which kinda put the dampers on my 35th birthday I can tell you.

Monday, August 12, 2019

it's alive!

The James Whale memorial in Dudley....Just because.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

true story (bro).

I was in my local Morrison's the other day and was in line to buy some ham at the deli counter there for a friend who is ill so therefore couldn't shop.

The meat serving man asked me what kind I wanted, and, being a vegetarian and knowing fuck all about meat I had to reply "I have no idea what different kinds of ham there are, please help!"

I'd not realised that I'd been really loud - and fairly stimmy - and soon saw that the guy behind me in line had burst out laughing.

I turn around.

It was top 80s funster David Copperfield from Three of A Kind.

He half leaned over and said "Honey glazed my good man!" to the server whilst I just kinda stared at him for a second before smiling and saying thank you.

I was about to pay for it when he said "No way this one's on me" and handed over his platinum American Express card.

I was shocked and amazed, all I could think of to do was reply with one of my favourite David Copperfield quotes.

"I am a lone lorn creetur... and everythink goes contrairy with me!"

Once again he cracked up and asked me if I had any idea how long it had been since someone said that to him.

I said "a year?"

He replied "try twenty mate".

We ended up having a coffee at the newly opened Costa drive-thru opposite, where I found out that he'd bought a house in Knightswood and has been living there a while.

We talked and talked for about 45 minutes before he said he had to leave because his shopping was defrosting and with that I shook his hand and said he made my day.

As he stood up to leave I noticed a shiny object glinting in his hand.

it was a chrome ice pick.

He smiled stabbing violently and randomly at me with it.

I dropped to the floor and into a pool of my own blood and as I lay there I could just make out a blurry image of the madcap entertainer hoisting a breeze-block above his head.

Thru' the ringing in my ears I could just about hear his his acclaimed version of Classical Gas* as the breeze-block came crashing down, ending my life.

*Classical Gas is an instrumental musical piece composed and originally performed by Mason Williams with instrumental backing by members of the Wrecking Crew.

Originally released in 1968 on the album The Mason Williams Phonograph Record, it has been re-recorded and re-released numerous times since by Williams.

One later version served as the title track of a 1987 album by Williams and the band Mannheim Steamroller.

Copperfield often performs it for his encore.

Friday, July 26, 2019

our cousin vinny.

Been an eventful and very hot few days here culminating in the skin on my head splitting and my ear pouring blood.

The docs reckon it's dry skin but I reckon my head is rebelling due to watching too much shite.

Speaking of which...

The Last Horror Film (AKA Fanatic. 1982).
Dir: David Winters.
Caroline Munro, Joe Spinell, Judd Hamilton, Devin Goldenberg, David Winter, Susan Benton, Glenn Jacobson and Sean Casey.

"I've seen enough fake blood to 
know the real thing when I see it!"

Sweat covered NYC taxi driver and part time pock-marked testicle Vinny Durand (the late, great cult God Spinell) is scarily obsessed with the fantastically sweet smelling cult scream queen Jana Bates (the very first Barclay's of any self respecting child of the seventies and first lady of fantasy, the yumsome Munro), spending all his spare cash on every piece of Bates merchandise available.

Oh and tissues obviously.

But Vinny isn't planning being a taxi driver (or chronic masturbator) forever because he has a dream.

A dream of making the ultimate (and by default last) horror film with his heroine.

And when he yells cut he really means cut.

As in "I'll cut you up!" not "finish filming that scene" obviously.
That all sorted?


Now I can get back to the plot.

Returning home to the cramped, shame tinged apartment he shares with his mum, Vinny announces that he's off to the world famous Cannes Film Festival (that's in Paris, France near London, Europe for our American readers) in the hope of meeting Ms. Bates in the flesh and persuade her to appear in his aforementioned dream project, the aptly titled 'Death Wears a Second Hand Thong'.

After listening to her son's heartfelt dreams and plans, and being a normal mum she slaps him around the head and calls him a mentalist layabout with personal hygiene issues before making him a meatball sandwich and helping him to pack his case.

Matt Smith: The Pikey years.

Arriving in Cannes Vinny tries in vain to get a meeting with Jana but instead only meets with failure and general snobbery at every attempt, knocked back by everyone from her manager and ex-husband Master Bret Bates (Jacobson from Operation: Petticoat) as well as Jana's boyfriend, the famous film producer Alan Cunningham (Munro's ginger 'tached ex hubbie Hamilton).

On a plus side he does meet up with a bona fide 'American cowboy' and gets to stroll along the streets looking at film posters whilst the cameraman does his best to try and film someone (more) famous leaving a hotel.

It's like watching Friday 13th intercut with your mum's old holiday snaps.

But minus the nudity and body modification obviously.

The final straw tho' is when a stringy French bouncer knocks him back from a happening disco-party being held in Jana's honour, finally breaking Vinny's tenuous link to reality and destroying his beliefs regarding acceptable party fashions.

Angrily phoning Bret to complain about his treatment and to pitch his thong thriller, Vinny gets even more annoyed when the miserly manager hangs up on him, preferring to spend his time snorting cocaine from between the buttocks of a smooth skinned Albania boy child than talk 'the horror'.

Or was that me whilst I was watching this?

Attending an afternoon press conference to promote her new movie 'Scream' (not that one)  Jana is fairly perturbed to receive a bunch of garage forecourt flowers and a hand scrawled note that reads, "You've made your last horror film." 

Spooky eh?

Hopefully whilst all this flower based creepiness is going on no-one has murdered the ferret-like Bret lying dead in his bathrobe cos that'd be really embarrassing for the poor guy.

Too late, as after arriving at his hotel room Jana comes across Bret's bloodied remains, his little thin legs sticking out over the bath like a couple of discarded twigs.

Like any modern, strong willed woman in the same situation she runs away screaming.

But on returning with Alan and the local police, the body has vanished.

Who saw that coming?

"That reminds me...I must order a turkey for Christmas."

Luckily this lurch forward in the plot doesn't stop the director from continuing to indulge in his travelogue fetish as we're soon back to endless footage of Jana wandering in and out of hotels intercut with crash zooms into movie posters.

He's not totally lost the -literal- plot tho' as Vinny (resplendent in a top hat and cloak) is still stalking Jana, sneakily filming her at every given opportunity before retiring to his hotel room to sweat.
After indulging in a tearful Pot Noodle obviously.

Realising quite late on that he's in a film about movie making but he hasn't met a single clichéd and oh so slightly offensive Jewish mogal yet, Vinny calls Marty Bernestein (Hollywood Blue writer Goldenberg) to ask if he'd be willing promote 'Death Wears a Second Hand Thong'.

Maybe by wearing a second hand thong.

Or a t-shirt bearing the title.

Alongside a thong.

Marty, putting taste before profit declines before heading off to an important meeting with Scream director Stanley Kline (the films real-life director and former West Side Story gang banger A-Rab, Winters, honestly you couldn't make this shite up or make it any more confusing) and his 'personal assistant' Susan Archer (the covergirl of the May 1970 issue of Playboy - Vol. 17, Issue 5, pg. 137-141 for anyone interested - and star of the fantastic Boy and His Dog Benton).

It appears that all three of them have received the same note as Jana and Bret.

But more upsetting that the note is the fact that they didn't receive any nice flowers with it.

In my eyes the only thing worse than a murdering psychotic bastard is a tight  murdering psychotic bastard.

Phew, I'm glad to get that off my chest finally.

The reason I know so much about that issue? I own it. 

With all the threatening notes, murders and obscene amounts of unnecessary   footage of topless starlets going about Marty decides to head down to the local police station and ask for some help.

Unfortunately all the police in France are foreign and show no interest in doing an honest days detecting, preferring to blame Marty for Bret's disappearance, accusing it of being a cheap publicity before snubbing their noses and such unworthy cinema as the horror genre then going home to burn British beef, watch Jerry Lewis 'comedies' and await the next chance to surrender to someone.*

Some French police yesterday deciding who should surrender to the wee boy first.

Heading back to his hotel to count his money and train a group of Victorian pick-pockets, Marty is (fairly) surprised to find a letter from Bret on his doormat.

It seems the alleged dead man wants to meet him at a local screening room to watch a film.


When Marty shows up tho' it's all revealed to be a crazy misunderstanding as instead of Bret being there to meet him, he's greeted by a hooded figure wielding an axe.

Nice firm tummy, stunning breasts, fanny made from bananas.

With Vinny getting angrier by the minute and shouting at strippers whilst more and more of Jana's companions are being threatened in a variety of bizarre and brutal (well, just brutal really) ways, nervous (but still bouncy) Susan begs Stanley to leave Cannes with her that very night but Stan (being either immune to her charms or gay) convinces her that it'll be safer to stay a while longer.

Or at least until they've attended the premiere of For Your Eyes Only, as Stan has heard that it's a throwback to the old style of Bond movies before the gadgets took precedence over plot.

Bond: Back to basics.

Neither of them have the chance to find out tho' as that evening Stanley is stabbed to death by the hooded figure (well technically he's stabbed to death by a knife but you know what I mean) whilst a fleeing (and still very bouncy) Susan falls off a hotel roof after being shot in the arse by a pellet gun.

Every death twitch and scream filmed by the killers hidden camera.

Meanwhile across town, Vinny has stopped sweating for just long enough to buy a bottle of cheap plonk and break into Jana's hotel room, hoping this surprise gesture will win her over to appearing in his movie.

Stepping out of the shower (her golden thighs glistening in the harsh light of the uncovered 70 watt bulb), Jana is - not too surprisingly, a phrase that's been banded about a lot during this review, unlike the phrase 'utter fucking shite' which I'll no doubt get to later - none to impressed to find a pencil mustached pock faced perv sitting on the edge of her bed vigorously rubbing a champagne bottle so politely asks him to leave.

"Put it in me!"
This brush off, whilst fairly acceptable to us normal folk annoys the buggery out of the by now quite understandably fractious Vinny who, in retaliation smashes the bottle and threatens poor Jana with the jagged edge.

Is this really how Hollywood contracts are made?

Luckily the doorbell rings and scares Vinny momentarily (he obviously only has a knocker at home), giving Jana enough time to kick him in the happy sacks and leg it down the hotel corridor clad only in a towel.

Let's take a moment to picture this enduring image.


Vinny, not content with taking "Fuck off you mentalist!" as an answer gives chase and is only stopped from catching the wet one when a group of photographers get him to pose for some photographs.

By this time Jana has come across (easy tiger!) Alan and after she explains the situation, our ginger prince offers to take her to a remote castle owned by his musician 'friend' Jonathan (Casey, the films associate producer) where she'll be safe from any mentalists lurking around.


But the next day, as Alan drives Jana to the castle of relative safety in the French countryside who should be following them but dear old Vinny.

You know that someone is going to 'accidentally' cop it in the next ten minutes when Vinny (who's gone from scary stalker to real-life Mr. Bump) breaks in hoping to get five minutes with Jana don't you?

Yup, alas poor Jonathan we hardly knew you.

Or cared if I'm honest.

Well the rest of the cast don't because as soon as they realisinge that they've been nominated for the coveted 'Scariest Picture of The Year' award for Scream (still not that one) our debonair duo return to Cannes for the ceremony, putting their lives on the line in the hope of winning the gold (plated) statuette, £75 spending money and two nights in Saltcoats.

On the way into the hastily decorated bingo hall being used to host the ceremony however they fail to notice the pock faced, sweaty policeman standing at the front door.

"You'll never shite in mah mooth ya bastard!"

Waiting outside the gents whilst Alan has a particularly painful bowel movement, Vinny manages to chloroform Jana before bundling her into the back of a car and driving all the way back to the castle.

It seems he has a final scene to film for his ultimate horror movie....

But from the shadows a mysterious hooded, camera carrying figure is watching quietly as the events unfold...

Multi-faceted Director/writer/producer/dancer David Winters (alongside co-writers Judd Hamilton and Tom Klassen) took Cannes by storm way back in 1981when they made the (fairly) bold and undeniably cheap decision to film The Last Horror Film without permits and guerrilla style on the towns streets actually during the festival.

And hats off to them for it because despite the low budget, pants dubbing and community halls posing as top range screening rooms they managed to produce quite a nifty little thriller with enough twists to keep you watching even when your brain is yelling turn it off.

Re-teaming the munchy cult starlet Munro and the criminally underrated Spinell from the murkily mucky William Lustig murder frenzy Maniac whilst populating the rest of the movie with various real life members of the crew adds a an almost surrealist quality to the film, aided as it is by the snatched footage of 'real life' stars arriving at screenings and on red carpets.

This blurring of reality and fiction is nowhere near as obvious as in the movies opening scenes where Spinell is seen reading an issue of Starburst Magazine that has a cover feature about the film he's actually acting in at that very moment.

It's like a lo-fi Charlie Kaufman slasher that seems to have popped thru' a crack in space/time from that weird alternate universe where Doctor Who was never cancelled, someone with a smidgen of talent illustrated the original Arrow DVD release of Inferno and where The Last Jedi wasn't shit.

Yes, it's that strange an experience.

But one I urge you to search out if you haven't already.

I'll be the first to admit that yes, it might be cheaper than your mum and tackier than your bed sheets but The Last Horror Film has a special kind of eighties charm that perfectly encapsulates the time and place wherein it was made.

Plus you get to see Caroline Munro in a towel.

And that's gotta be worth a quid of anyone's money.

*I'd just like to point out that this is a JOKE. I actually love our French cousins and apologize wholeheartedly for Brexit. 

Tho' I've still not forgiven Cécile Fournier obviously.