Monday, June 29, 2020

titan!

Remembering the genius of Ray Harryhausen, Master of The Titans - born 100 years ago today.


Saturday, June 27, 2020

looney tunes.

As mentioned earlier, been spending the last week or so of lockdown working our way thru' as many portmanteau horrors as we can.

Well someone has to do it.

Asylum (AKA House of Crazies, 1972).
Dir: Roy Ward Baker.
Cast: Peter Cushing, Britt Ekland, Robert Powell, Herbert Lom, Barry Morse
Patrick Magee, Charlotte Rampling, Barbara Parkins, Ann Firbank, Sylvia Syms, James Villiers, Megs Jenkins, John Franklyn-Robbins and Geoffrey Bayldon.


Working with the mentally disturbed... can lead to a breakdown. ”



The slight of hip and pretty of lip former boot maker Doctor Martin (onetime Jesus and father of Enoch -  Powell) has been invited to the famed Cleftpate asylum for an interview regarding the job of head of mentalism.

Which I've been told is an actual medical term and not something I randomly made up.

After acing the first round of questions and nailing the team-building exercise Martin's prospective boss Dr Paul Rutherford (screech-voiced 70s stalwart Magee, who appears to come with his own wheelchair, which probably saved Stan a few quid when they made A Clockwork Orange) has decided that in order to make sure he's the right man for the job he must take one more unusual test.

You see, it appears that Rutherford's associate, Dr Freddie Starr, has developed a dual personality after being hit on the head with a swingball during garden time and is now housed upstairs alongside all the 'proper' mentalists.

“If you can recognise who is - or was - Dr Starr, I’ll give you the job” announces Rutherford as Mark O'Toole plucks a funky bass-line in the background.


Barbara Parkins was unimpressed by the size of Richard Todd's chopper.



Making his way to the Wacky Wing - and admiring some badly drawn pictures showing the history of mental health along the way - he's soon greeted by the hospital's chief  orderly Max (Catweazle himself, Bayldon), who quickly introduces him to the first of the four patients he must interview in order to find the disturbed doc, a wild haired woman named Bonnie.

It seems that Bonnie (Valley of The Dolls star Parkins) was having a torrid affair (tho' not as torrid as his wallpaper it must be said) with a slick-haired, middle aged banker named Walter (Dambusters and Doctor Who star Todd), whose love for nipple revealing shirts and camp cravats is only matched by his hatred of his well to do wife Ruth (screen legend Sims, who's been in loads of stuff that I frankly can't be arsed typing).

When not busy reminding Walter that she's rich and that he'd be nothing without her Ruth keeps herself busy studying voodoo with “a black charlatan” (not Tim Burgess then) at the local community centre - as you do - and has decided that today's the day to show of her new magical bracelet to her husband.

Which is pretty bizarre seeing as today is also the day that Walter has decided to rid himself of Ruth once and for all.

As opposed to twice and for a bit obviously.

Your dads cum face - trust me I know.


And how does he plan to do this? I hear you cry.

Well by taking her down to the cellar to show her the new chest freezer he’s bought (from Glens, Hutchison. Robertson and Stepek no doubt) before surprising her with an axe to the face, then chopping her up, wrapping the body parts in brown paper and finally popping them in the aforementioned freezer - alongside the spooky voodoo bracelet obviously.

Everything seems to be going swimmingly but as Walter heads upstairs to pour himself (another) large brandy he notices that his wife's - still parcelled - severed head has followed him up the stairs.

Spooky biscuits.

Some time later Bonnie arrives at the house and noticing the smell of fresh gammon emanating from the cellar goes to investigate.

Slowly opening the freezer lid she's - fairly - shocked to find her beloved tucked in behind the carrots.

Which is nice.

As she turns to leave tho' Bonnie is confronted by the horrifying (well I say horrifying but I mean ludicrous) sight of Ruth's paper wrapped body parts trundling menacingly toward her.....


Doc Martin - not this one.


Back in the real life Dr Martin is convinced Bonnie was talking bollocks (as the medical professionals say) and hurries along to see the next patient, an elderly tailor named Bruno (Space: 1999s Professor Bergman himself, Morse) who spends his days sitting on a table pretending to sew trousers for celebrity game show contestants.
Cue a wibbly wobbly dissolve that that's us from the asylum to a dreary backlot at Shepperton where the aforementioned Bruno is struggling to keep his business afloat as his uncaring landlord Stubbins (Franklyn-Robbins who was in lots of really good stuff during his career but we know as the jester-hatted Timelord that sends The Doctor on his mission in Genesis of The Daleks) keeps turning up and demanding the rent.

Bastard.

Enter (gently after a long bout of sweet foreplay) the enigmatic Mr Smith (Cushing), who offers to pay Bruno a small fortune to make a special shiny suit for his son who, by the look of the material is about to start touring as a Nik Kershaw tribute act.

However, there are certain rules that Bruno must adhere to in order to get paid - he must only work on the suit after midnight and stop at dawn and he must do it whilst wearing his wife's underwear.*

“I happen to believe in astrology” exclaims Smith in the way of an explanation.

And with that he leaves the shop.


Sapphire and Steel investigate Brexit.

Starting work on the suit right away, as his wife Anne (Firbank - most famous around here for turning up at the end of The Rise of Skywalker to ask Rey who she is) dutifully brings him copious amounts of coffee and biscuits (Rich Tea, thanks for asking) he almost immediately breaks Smith's rules and carries on sewing after the deadline only to prick his finger on a needle - looking on in mild horror as the blood mysteriously disappears into the fabric.

Don't worry tho' as contrary to Smith's wishes this will have absolutely fuck all effect on the outfit.

Or the climax of the story.

Finishing the suit in record time he excitedly takes takes a cab to Smith's house, rubbing his knees with glee at the thought of all that lovely money but alas everything is not how it seems as Smith is actually totally skint - spending his fortune on the magic pattern book in order to bring his (very dead) son back to life.

This has actually happened to me with art commissions so I can totally understand why Bruno gets a wee bit annoyed and refuses to hand over the suit.

Smith counters this by pulling out a gun and screaming “Give me that suit!”at Bruno and a (very slow) struggle ensues climaxing in Smith accidentally shooting himself and Bruno (not accidentally) stealing the magic book.

As you would.

Nigel Mansell: He's got something to put in you.

Returning home Bruno explains the whole sorry situation to his wife before instructing her to burn both the suit and the book but Ann has other ideas and decides to dress Brian, the shop window dummy she chats to everyday (which is news to both us and her hubbie as it's never been mentioned before) in the smart new supernatural togs....

With absolutely no loin-stirring at the sight of Barry Morse's bouncy manboobs Dr Martin stands dejected, wondering if he should have just applied for a job at Wimpy Burgers instead but his spirits are soon lifted by the smell of sophistication and strawberries emanating from the next room, so with an added spring in his step he heads off to investigate the next patient.

And it's in that room that Martin comes across (not in that way, well not yet - she's a classy lady who would probably want dinner first) the lovely Barbara (the even lovelier Rampling - ask your granddad) - a young and with it woman with a dark secret....

Peter's stiffie.




You see (well you would be if you were watching) after being locked away in Shady-nook for the last year due to suffering from 'the mentalism', Barbara is traveling back to her family home alongside her sharp-suited brother George (Villiers from For Your Eyes Only and Crown Court amongst other classics).

 Although happy to be home she's not too enamored at the thought of having a nurse tell her what to do and when to go to bed and has no sooner sat on her bed than is planning her escape.

A plan that may or may not involve poisoned tea, multiple scissor stabbings, ladies in 70s style suits and split personalities....

Strawberries.


Finding that he's in desperate need of the toilet, Martin makes his excuses ("You're talking bollocks hen!") and proceeds to the final room where his next patient, Doctor Byron (Pink Panther star and former Star Wars bounty hunter Lom) sits busying himself making slightly shady looking wind-up tin robots in which, he claims, he can capture peoples souls.

Starting with his own.....

Tunnel or funnel?

Will Dr Martin choose the right patient and get his dream job?

Will Byron end up marketing his tin toys to unsuspecting kids and start the Transformers range 15 years too early?

And will there be a spooky twist ending that begs the question 'who is the real mentalist?'





From those genre stalwarts at Amicus Films (and sometimes AARU Productions if the Daleks - or more importantly Joe Vegoda and his cash - were involved), the late great Milton Subotsky and Max Rosenberg comes another classically creepy portmanteau horror that is less about scares and shocks and more to do with being a Saturday night rite of passage for those of us (just) the wrong side of 50.

And let's be honest our appreciation of all things horror is much better because of them.

Between 1965 and 1974 the pair released a cornucopia of creep filmed classics including the sublime Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965), the carnie-courting Torture Garden, The House That Dripped Blood, the original Tales from the Crypt, Vault of Horror, From Beyond the Grave and Asylum cementing the companies reputation as the perfect pair for part-work horrors featuring the cream of British - and sometimes American - talent (oh yes and Robert Hutton).

And you can't get much bigger than casting the son of God in the headlining role can you?

OK so this is a pre-Jesus (but just post-Doomwatch) Robert Powell but he's still pretty good, as is the ever twitchy Patrick Magee who alongside  Geoffrey Bayldon make the wraparound story watchable for their performances alone.

The rest of the cast ain't too shady either with the likes of Barry Morse, Richard Todd and Herbert Lom, alongside the likes of Britt Ekland and Charlotte Rampling and the ever present Peter Cushing, seriously it's worth watching for them alone.
Sorry, can you tell I'm a fan?

Well it's either that or lockdown has mellowed mea wee bit.




What sets Asylum apart from the rest tho' is it's unrelenting bleakness and distinct lack of (intentional) comic book style humour that permeates thru' the majority of Amicus' output, Asylum, alongside Vault of Horror and From Beyond the Grave, are the companies attempts at 'serious' horror with nary a giggle on show.

Well except for Richard Todd's way too tight shirt obviously.

Oh yes and bits of a shop window dummy wrapped in brown paper 'menacing' Barbara Parkins.

And maybe the living mannequin.

And those pound shop soul robots.

Other than that it's fucking terrifying.

Mostly.

"Fiona! Look at me! I'm from Dudley!"


Written - like everything else Amicus released at the time by one-shock pony Robert (I wrote Psycho) Bloch at his pulpy best and with a score that utilities every loud piece of music Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky ever composed, Asylum is a by the book (and damn near perfect) example of why when it came to anthology 'orror - Amicus were king.

Don't worry, I'll be back to slagging stuff off next time.





























*This last bit is a lie, sorry.

Friday, June 19, 2020

hobly city.

Noticed that quite a few folk are just discovering this classic via Amazon Prime then saw that my rather well written review had originally been posted way back in 2015 and that no fucker had read it.

So I thought I'd drag it into the light, add a few more 'laugh nows' and pass it off as a new one.

I've kinda given the game away now tho.

Horror Hospital (AKA Computer Killers, Frankenstein's Horror-Klinik, 1973).
Dir: Anthony Balch.
Cast: Michael Gough, Robin Askwith, Vanessa Shaw, Ellen Pollock, Dennis Price, Kurt Christian, Barbara Wendy, Kenneth Benda and Skip Martin.

"Now make a clean job of it, Frederick, the car was washed this morning."



It's a grim, grey day in 1970s England, empty Smith's Crisps salt n' shake bags drift across an untidy bit of unkempt woodland as a couple of blood covered 'teens' fashionably decked in dirty, egg stained bandages run from an unseen assailant.

Or from someone attempting to wash their hair.

Meanwhile perched on a nearby hill snug in his shiny Rolls-Royce is the enigmatic (re: camp as pink pants) Dr. Christian Storm (the late, great Gough dressed as your nan) and his delightful dwarf assistant Frederick (genre stalwart and one time owner of Yorkshire's best stocked tobacconist Martin).

But why?

Are they dogging?

Taking in the scenery?

Or just taking it generally?

I mean I can never tell these days.

Noticing the car our dirty duo attempt to run for the hills  but as the Rolls-Royce approaches, huge plastic blades extend from the bodywork and slice off the unfortunate couples heads.

Which means they were either very short or the car is very tall.

"That’ll teach them to try and run away from us," says Frederick in a voice that suggests that the disc must be running at the wrong speed, pushing the heads into a Sainsbury's bag for life as he goes.

Cue the titles and a blast of the DeWolf library music used in Dawn of The Dead.

Which is fairly disconcerting if I'm honest.

"Oi Dom, are you sure this is the quickest way to Barnard Castle?"


Leaving Grimsville for swinging London, we soon come across (which makes a nice change seeing as it's usually him doing the coming) an angry young man with a lion's mane of hair, the sexy songwriter Jason (The great god that is Sir Robin of Askwith) who's decided to spend his evening drunkenly shouting (fairly) homophobic abuse at top prog-rock band Mystic (or are they actually just a mystic prog-rock band?) in revenge for them stealing one of his songs.

But not this one.

Unfortunately (for Jason) the 'silly red faggot' of a lead singer is actually hard as nails, answering the heckles by giving Jason a bloody good kicking.

Now even angrier and with a bloody nose to boot, Jason decides what he really needs is a break and noticing a flyer for Hairy Holidays - Sun and Fun For The Under 30s, decides to book one the very next day.

Visiting the local travel agency - run as it happens by the enigmatic Mr Jackson Pollack (an incredibly, ahem,  merry Pryce) - Jason excitedly rummages thru' the brochures for anything that tickles his fancy.

Jackson tho', being a totally non clichéd predatory old homosexualist is more interested in eyeing up our blond babe-magnets trouser area than sorting out a suitable break but after realizing he's backing a loser - as opposed to backing slowly yet steadily on his engorged member - in Jason, he packs our hero off to the world famous (it says here) Doctor Storm’s well-being clinic in the aforementioned Grimsville (see how it's all coming together? clever eh?) for a week of drizzle, grey skies and school dinners.

Being integral to the plot Jason agrees and is soon traveling to the clinic via some grainy British Rail stock footage.

It's not all bad weather and bad fashions tho',  as during the journey Jason meets up with the fantastically thighed Judy (button nosed beauty Shaw in her only starring role, tho' she does a great dance in the 1969 Yul Brynner thriller The File of the Golden Goose) and, after announcing that he isn't going to rape her, settles down to a nice chat and a chunk of cheese.

Chatting up 'the burds' was so much simpler in the 70s.

Judy explains that she’s going to the clinic to visit her Aunt Harris (a fantastically thin lipped performance from stage star Pollock) who originally ran a brothel in Holland but is now her sole relative.

No idea why or how these things are connected but there you go.

It seems that poor Judy was conceived out of wedlock causing her mother and aunt to fall out.

But the creepiest revelation is yet to come as it appears that Harris isn't even her aunts real name, yup she actually gets called that due of her love for Harris tweed.

No, really.

A pair of smooth Lilly white knees yesterday. No I'm not obsessed.



Anyway, arriving at Grimsville railway station (it's the stop just after Little Rimming and just before Cleft) they're greeted by a morose station master by the name of Linda Carter (the amusingly monickered Benda, best known as the minister in the Pertwee Who classic The Claws of Axos) who begrudgingly gives them directions to the clinic.

Halfway up the bumpy country road tho' it begins to rain but luckily two motorbikes bearing the number plates Storm 1 and Storm 2 - and complete with black, leather-clad riders - arrive to carry the delectable duo the rest of the way.

Greeted at the front door by a bemused (or is that just drunk?) Frederick, Jason and Judy are ushered along to the front desk where Aunt Harris issues the pair with a key to the only room available.

You can almost smell Jason's joy at this news.

And my jealousy obviously.

Introductions out of the way and it's back to more time consuming filler material as Frederick slowly takes them upstairs (ooeerr) with the haunted look of a man trying to remember his lines.

Cut to an open door and a blood soaked bed.

And an uncomfortably long silence before our tiny chum mutters "Nothing to worry about here, I mean we all have our little accidents, you know."

Which is fair enough I suppose.


"It's my anti-mooth shite-in helmet!"



So far we've had gruesome gore, groovy tunes and some top comedy turns.

Unfortunately there's been no nudity so it's lucky for us that the shapely Judy has decided to take an incredibly soapy shower.

But before you can make a grab for the pause button on the remote control, Jason appears clad in only a pair of  Y fronts and a knight’s helmet.

Despite all this cringe inducing helmet based malarkey (or maybe, shudder, because of it) Jason does, in fact get to have 'the sex' with a still visibly wet Judy.

First Liz Fraser then Linda Bellingham and now the voluptuous Vanessa Shaw.

How can us mere mortals ever compete?

"Is it in yet?"



Feeling a wee bit peckish after such hot lovin' the couple head down for dinner where Aunt Harris seats them at a huge table alongside about a dozen bowl haired, bright blue 'teens' resplendent with plastic scars stuck haphazardly to their brows.

"These are our advanced students". explains a helpful Harris. "Don't worry about the dribbling and farting, they won’t speak properly until they've been totally cured."

Before Jason can ask what the fuck she's on about the only other girl at the table, a Ms. Millie Peed (the Erika Blanc alike Wendy from Sex and the Other Woman) starts screaming (badly) before being carried out by a couple of bikers.

Five fingers - never touched the sides. The Matt Hancock lookalike failed to win any fans at the orphanage Christmas party.


Deciding to skip dessert, Judy and Jason he upstairs to retire to bed (and maybe a bit more sexiness) but any amorous thoughts are soon shattered when the tap starts gushing blood.

Judy screams as the door opens finally revealing the wheelchair bound form of Doctor Christian Storm, MD, BSc, RAC and Tufty Club member no. 465.

It seems he's made a special effort to come and meet his associates niece but can hardly disguise the anger he feels for poor Frederick who, it seems has not only stashed a couple of rotting heads in the cold water tank but he's also failed to post a letter to Judy telling her to stay at home.

"Women can be terribly troublesome, but then so can little men!" he creepily informs Jason just before he slaps Frederick in the face with his riding crop.

And with that he squeakily leaves the room.

Michael Gough: Tunnel or funnel?


As night descends upon Storm Manor Jason decides to go and explore leaving Judy alone in bed.

But not for long tho' as she's soon up and about giving it her best Nancy Drew impression, until that is she stumbles across a dormitory full of lobotomized youngsters clad only in greying Marks and Spencer vest and pants combo's.

Escaping this underwear nightmare our screaming sex kitten is suddenly overcome by what appears to be a man made from Plasticine skulking about in a corridor.

Hearing her screams, Jason jumps to the rescue but is soon overpowered by those shiny helmeted leather boys from earlier.

Your nan's cum face. Trust me, I should know.


Obviously there's not enough plot going on at the moment so let's welcome back the sleazy Mr. Pollack who turns up out of the blue in an attempt to blackmail Storm for more cash and a pair of Jason's undies.

Dirty man.

Unfortunately our bum fun loving chum finds himself on the wrong end of the blade wielding Rolls Royce (actually it's the right end if you think about it) adding not only a new meaning to the phrase 'giving head' but also giving Jason the rudest awakening he's had since he did Linda Bellingham in a sandpit.

His only choice now?

To grab little Frederick and attempt to pump him for information.

The Price is right.


Luckily (for both Fred and viewers of a nervous disposition) Doctor Storm arrives in the nick of time with the offer of showing Jason his army of lobotomized muscle men in the gym.

Homo-erotic subtext anyone?

That's not all tho' as within minutes of unveiling his creations, Storm is proving their might by punching them in the stomach as they do star jumps and making them do back flips by remote control.

Jason, no doubt feeling confused by all the male flesh on show makes a break for the woods followed by two of Storm's biker gang, a very slow fight ensues, ending when one of the leather boys falls into a convenient swamp.

Must admit I never saw that coming.

A wee bit like our hero who manages to not hear two more leatherette’s  squeaking up behind him ready to administer a fucking good kicking.


Confessions of a dangerous mind.

If getting beaten up by two members of The Village People wasn't enough of an indignity, Jason is thrown into the cellar and gassed to sleep, giving us the chance to see a recap of what's happened so far.

Which is very considerate of the producers if you think about it.

Meanwhile back in the main plot, Storm is sticking a kebab stick into the skull of one of his patients, trying not to be too upset that Aunt Harris has decided to go back to running a brothel.

You never get this kinda stuff on The Archers.

Realizing that there is in fact a distinct lack of bona fide male tottie on screen (as much as he tries Askwith can't manage alone), the producers introduce us to a funky young traveler named Abraham (Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger's Christian) who, by the way he's walking has sold more than his soul to be in this movie.

It appears that our exotic pal is looking for his girlfriend Millie (you remember) but before he even has a chance to flutter his cow-like eyelashes at Harris the poor sod is taken from behind and thrown into the cellar alongside a slowly recovering Jason.

"excuse me...I have a women's period".


Tired of seeing so many young men beaten off by Storm's henchmen, Aunt Harris goes back to packing her collection of market stall dildos and Russian dolls but is rudely interrupted by the plasticine man who appears to rub her face to death, whilst back in the cellar Abraham is explaining his character motivation to Jason.

Clicking seamlessly into Shatner mode - but without the hatred of Autistic folk obviously - Jason deduces that their only hope of escape is if Frederick has had a change of heart and decided to become a good guy.

Which, bizarrely enough is exactly what happens because at that very moment our pint sized pal is busy cooking our heroes some hearty porridge whilst spiking the guards’ Limeade.

Cue scenes of knockabout comedy gold that'd shame David Lynch as lil' Fred has to drag the comatose guards around before piling them up so he can reach the door handle, totally ignoring the handy bucket on the wall right next to him.

Escaping the cellar our buff boys (and Frederick) race to the gym to free Jenny (hands up if you'd forgotten about her too) only to bump into Doctor Storm (again) who appears to have been sitting there all night waiting patiently for our heroes to turn up so he can explain his motivation to them.

Nah....that'd be too silly even for this film.

Wouldn't it?

Cue even more flashbacks only this time they're in order to give us a wee bit of background on the doc.

She might look uncomfortable now but just you wait till the Karaoke starts.



Surprisingly he wasn't always a camp cripple but used to be a handsome womanizer with the dress sense of Peter Wyngarde, the hair of Martin Fry and a pair of working legs.

Tutored by Pavlov (but not alas his dog) and employed by Stalin, Storm soon became obsessed with the idea of raising an army of remote controlled circus performers and gymnasts in order to entertain - then maybe even take over - the world.

As one would.

Unfortunately a passing gypsy accidentally burned his laboratory down forcing him to move to the UK.

Illegally.

UKiP would have a field day.

Actually they probably wouldn't care because he's white.

Tho' he does sound a wee bit Polish so maybe they would.

But I digress.

Unimpressed with all this mindless small-talk and random footage of an ugly couple attempting to fuck in a kiddies sandpit Storm orders his men to give Jason and Abraham another kicking before locking them up, this time alongside Frederick.

That's the look, that's the look, the look of love.



But our by now terrific threesome, bored with the constant running away, getting captured and frightful beatings, reckon that enough is enough and decide that this time they're gonna fuck some shit up.

But first they need to escape.

If only they could find someone small enough to crawl out of the window, crawl along the ledge, climb in thru' the catflap, beat the guard and let them out.

All eyes on Frederick then.

Again.

Believe it or not he does indeed make his way thru' the window, round the ledge and back in the catflap, even beatings the pesky guard to death with an axe before freeing the boys.

His heroism is short lived (as well as short arsed) for no sooner have they started down the stairs when a sneaky leather guy throws the poor little sod over the balcony to his doom.

One Direction...and we all know where that is.


After rescuing Judy from the operating table, Jason and Abraham set out to find Millie but alas it's too late to save her seeing as whilst all this fighting and escaping has been going on the poor girl has been totally brainwashed by Storm.

And if that wasn't enough the pervy plasticine man from earlier has just sneaked into her room and fucked her to death before making his escape out of a window just as Jason and Abraham burst in.


But he's left something behind.

Lying on the bed covered in egg, sweat and semen stains is the remains of Doctor Storms full body latex suit.

Turns out he burned more than his fingers during the lab fire.

Abraham obviously upset by the fact that his girlfriend has been murdered starts to smash stuff, stopping only to piss in the doctor's filing cabinets and torching the place before getting chased away by the remaining staff.

Stealing the Rolls Royce Jason gives chase to the doctor, hoping at last for a wee taste of revenge...

Or at least a cheeky squeeze of his Playdoh-like man boobs.




After years in the cinematic wilderness, the release of Horror Hospital on shiny Bluray (quite) a few years back means that this lost gem from a talent hardly mentioned in serious film tomes will - hopefully - and deservedly take it's place in the annals of classic British Horror.

Quite possibly the first post-modern horror movie ever made, coming across as it does like Acorn Antiques directed by Sam Raimi or Casualty produced by David Cronenberg.

Yes it's that good.

Made at a time when British horror was floundering as it tried to match it's American counterparts after years of Hammer house based costume chills Horror Hospital perfectly encapsulating everything that's great about the genre at the time.

I mean what other country would counter the fearsome sight of Leatherface wielding a chainsaw with doddery old dear Sheila Keith brandishing a Woolworth's bought Black and Decker drill as the legendary Pete Walker did in Frightmare?

It's just a pity that unlike Walker, director Anthony Balch never became a household horror name.

Well apart from in our house anyway.

And for those of you scratching your collective heads here's a wee bit of background info on the great man.

But not too much obviously I mean you're not reading Sight And Sound.

Well if you're on this blog chances are you're struggling with the words and just looking at the pictures.

Anyway, a legend within the industry, Balch was well known for snapping up European arthouse and exploitation movies at cut down prices before re-releasing them in the UK with sexed up new titles.

What a guy.

Häxan: a load of old arse.



If that wasn't enough he was also the man behind the infamous sound version of Benjamin Christensen's brilliantly batshit documentary Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages (1922), getting his old pal, the drug, lemur and arse obsessed genius William S. Burroughs (with whom he made two short movies in the early 60's) to write and record the commentary.

Suffice to say it's well worth finding a copy of.

Unfortunately Balch only ever completed two full length features in his career.

But luckily for us film aficionados the other one was the frankly bonkers Secrets of Sex (AKA Bizarre, 1970).

But it's Horror Hospital, unloved for years by all but the chosen few that shows what a loss not just to the horror genre but to cinema in general that Anthony Balch's death (and laziness when it came to making films) was.

Secrets of Sex: She's got something to put in you.



The movie has everything, from dwarves to death dealing melted cheese men via the casting of soft core comedy king Askwith in the role of a hero, coming across for all the world like a proto-Bruce Campbell from The Evil Dead saga.

More famous for his comedy turns that his horror heroics Askwith is a revelation as the put upon Jason and it's a pity he only made three excursions into horror.

Tho' the fact that the other two were the brilliant Tower of Evil and Pete Walker's classic Flesh And Blood Show (both alongside the sublime Candace Glendenning) should be enough for anyones CV.

I mean it's three more than I've starred in. 

I like to think that in some bizarro other dimension the movie was such a huge hit that an entire series sprung up around the character of Jason as he travels the country (and Europe - stock footage permitting) uncovering various vile plots and mad doctors as he attempts to enjoy a well deserved holiday, each time his vacation is interrupted by more outlandish monsters and dishy dolly birds.

As horror fans we were robbed.

But at least we have Horror Hospital to allow us to imagine what could have been.

Running the gamut from bloody body horror to out and out comedy caper without even stopping for breath whilst wearing it's ever more surreal plot and smartly self aware performances like a bold and shiny badge of honour this is everything Nicolas Winding Refn has ever wanted to achieve.

And so much more beside.

Burroughs: more cock than your sister.



One of the greatest British horror movies ever made?

Definitely.

One of the greatest films ever made?

Most certainly.

And if you don’t believe me, try it for yourself.

You'll soon come round to Doctor Storm's way of thinking.

              


  

Thursday, June 18, 2020

holy she-it.

It's about this time of year that I'm busy planning my yearly jaunt to the motherland so seeing as that's not going to happen any time soon I decided to watch a film about holidays to cheer me up.

The She Beast (AKA Il Lago di Satana, Revenge of the Blood Beast, Satan's Sister. 1966).
Dir: Michael Reeves.
Cast: Barbara Steele, John Karlsen, Ian Oglivy, Mel Welles, Jay Riley, Richard Watson, Edward B. Randolph, Tony Antonelli, Peter Grippe, Lucretia Love, Kevin Welles and Woody Welles.


"What's troubling you? For running over a chicken
you won't get more than two years."




It's sunny Transylvania in the year of our Lord 1765 (probably around teatime) where the Secretary of State for Health of the United Kingdom Matt Hancock (or at the very least a passable lookalike, poor sod) is stumbling thru' the bushes towards the local church.

It appears a wicked witch (with eyebrows that even angel voiced mentalist Susan Boyle would die for) has kidnapped his sister.

Goaded on by a pervy priest and a dwarf in what looks like a pound shop Santa suit, a squad of gypsies decide to confront the aforementioned witchy woman at her house.

By house I mean cave obviously.

No idea why I'm typing all of this, I could have just go back and deleted 'house' and replaced it with 'cave' and you'd be none the wiser of my mistake would you?

Anyway, Vardella (for it is she), is - quite rightly - bloody furious at having the Government Covid updates interrupted by a bunch of pikeys so decides to teach them a lesson by attempting to bite their faces off with her scabby, shite filled mouth.

But one - albeit crap-encrusted woman can only do so much.

Fighting a losing battle, our hairy eyed chum is dragged kicking and screaming to the local lake where she's tied to the unholy Seat of Chastisement (Ikea, $649) before having red hot nails hammered into her hands and finally being dunked repeatedly into the dark, icy water until she drowns.

A wee bit like Noel's House Party but funny.

But before she breaths her last, Vardella curses the villagers.

And their descendants.

Spooky.

And quite possibly fairly important later.

Oh go on then...."Shite in mah mooth!"


Jumping forward two hundred years (it's cheaper for the costume department) we join the newlywed groovers Veronica (Steele - meow) and Philip (Ogilvy - easy tiger) who are enjoying a honeymoon driving holiday in the by now evil Communist-controlled Transylvania.

A little bit of politics...right on!

A country if Veronica is to be believed is "full of weirdies and werewolves." tho' from the evidence on show it appears to be chock-a-block with old men riding bicycles.

Badly.

Studly Philip, feeling a steamer coming on decides that they should rest up at the local hotel - Veronica insists on this at least, she still has grass burns on her knees from the last lustful pit stop - and soon arrive at the world renowned - it says here -  Kereszteződésénél Motel.

Whilst Veronica carries the luggage to their room Philip gets chatting to the incredibly lecherous and slightly alcoholic motel owner, Mr. Ladislav Mortimer (Welles of The original Little Shop Of Horrors and Lady Frankenstein), asking those obvious holiday questions like what are the best local places to sight see, which of the town teens are the easiest to get drunk and molest plus what the motels dish of the day is.

Which any sane - or slightly sexist - reader will know is obviously Barbara Steele.

Suddenly the bar door bursts open and the whole place is overcome by the stale smell of egg, sweat and failure as the famed demon hunter and faded aristocrat Count Von Helsing (a pissed Karlsen) makes his grand entrance.

Taking a break from hanging around the local kiddies play park he spotted the car outside and decided to introduce himself to the holiday makers in order to regale them with tales of vampires and the like.

Well it's a living I guess.

Insert cock here.

All this talk of sex and violence (but mainly violence) is fairly entertaining but only goes to make Philip realize how long it's been since he experienced the real thing (3 hours but who's counting?) and, making his excuses drags his wife back to their room for a wee bit of the old in/out.

The romantic dog.

Cue dozens of luscious close-ups of Barbara's milky white and incredibly smooth topside of breast as he jiggles on the corner of the bed.

Unfortunately Philip and Veronica's sexy shenanigans (and ours) are rudely interrupted by Mortimer sweatily - and noisily - wanking outside their window.

Barbara Steele, up the casino, Wigan, 1967......YESCH!


Furious, Philip asserts his manliness by kicking the shite out of the hotel owner and leaving first thing the next day without paying the bill.

Driving along the deserted country roads and enjoying a giggle after seeing the funny side of someone sneakily cracking one off over a half dressed Barbara Steele (look we're all guilty of it) the couples Volkswagen inexplicably goes out of control, weaving from side to side before narrowly missing a lorry full of chickens and ending up in a lake.

The very lake that the angry villagers drowned Vardella centuries before.

Double spooky.


Steele: Your granddad did. Twice.


Philip, with the help of the lorry driver, manages to make it to shore, but Veronica is nowhere to be seen (hint: try the passenger seat or behind the sofa, that's where I usually find stuff) leaving Philip to pass out whilst sobbing like a wee lassie.

Aw bless.

Taken back to Mortimer's and put to bed, Philip is unaware that a second body has been dragged from the lake and is currently dripping all over the sprouts in the kitchen.

And it isn't Veronica.

Can you hazard a guess as to who it is?

Yup, it’s Vardella, back from her watery grave and all set for her revenge.

And a fair amount of mooth shite-in.

I can dream can't I?

Luckily schoolyard stalker and ghost buster Von Helsing (remember him?) is quick on the scene to fill Philip (phnarrr) in on the back story and point out to anyone who'll listen (which is no one frankly) that "Vardella has returned and she's chosen to possess Veronica's spirit".

Crikey.

"Put it in me!"


If this wasn't drama enough, back at the hotel Mortimer is drunkly attempting to molest his niece (Love, from the Pam Grier classic Naked Warriors in a blink and miss it cameo) whilst Fred the chicken van owner is worried the police will arrest him for causing the accident with the car in the first place.

Remembering that this is, in fact a horror movie and not the Archers the Count has a plan that will not only restore Veronica’s identity (and shapely figure) but also lift the witch’s curse once and for all.

All he has to do to accomplish this is stick his pinky finger in her eye which will  release the maggots trapped in her skull and therefore bring Veronica back to life.

Or something.

Honestly I couldn't really follow the plan partly because I was still recovering from the sight of a dripping wet Babs.

Anyway if the Count can manage this feat it means he can then chase her around town and hopefully persuade her to sit back on the big chair to get redunked in the lake.

Look I didn't write this shite so don't email me that it doesn't seem to make any sense whatsoever.


Savile: The return.



But with the local fascist (OK Communist) boot boys on their tail and Mortimer hungry for ass (man or otherwise) will our heroes be able to destroy the witch and repair the trusty VW before before Vardella does any bad stuff?


Some really shite artwork yesterday.



The first movie from boy genius director Michael (Witchfinder General, The Sorcerers) Reeves, The She Beast may look like a slipshod low budget shlocker but peel back the thin net curtain of shoddiness and there's a real gem underneath.

Unfairly dismissed by arsey Reeves fans and the type of folk that talk loudly about film in cinema foyers, it's true that the film is crudely made and cursed with a (occasionally misjudged) vein of comedy that is in danger of capsizing the whole proceedings at any moment, but as far as debuts go, it's gloriously watchable and hideously silly at the same time.

Steele: No excuse needed.



Shot on the cheap - and on the sly - in Italy after the wily producers had managed to convince the local authorities that they were making a documentary (therefore enabling them to apply for the lowest location rates) and with a screenplay (of sorts) written by Reeves but under the alias of Michael Byron (to make the crew look larger) the director cast his best mate in the lead role and shot all of Steele's footage in a single 22-hour-long period as to reduce the actress's cost, you must admit that it takes a director of rare talent to produce something as enjoyable as it is under those conditions.

And enjoyable it is, from it's camp as pants cast to it's moments of sly humour and gore that culminates in a 15 minute (!) car chase tribute to the Keystone Cops The She Beast never outstays it's welcome and, like the awkward best friend you only used for sex when you were younger or the local Tesco home shopping van, never fails to deliver.

Plus it's fairly short which is always a bonus.

Unlike lockdown.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

looking back.

RIP Alex Taylor - Shop Assistants.




uphill gardening.

Been whiling away the lockdown nights here by gorging ourselves on a variety of 60s/70s portmanteau horror movies to recover from endless days weeding in the garden.

Somehow this seemed apt for a rewatch.

Torture Garden (1967).
Director: Freddie Francis.
Cast: Burgess Meredith, Michael Bryant, Maurice Denham, Beverly Adams, Barbara Ewing, John Standing, Jack Palance, David Bauer, Robert Hutton, John Phillips, Clytie Jessop and Peter Cushing.

Did you know that there are ways to raise the dead?



Cabbage reeking carnie 'Doctor' Dave Diablo (Meredith, dressed in his - unwashed - Penguin hand me downs) has a frightening exhibit to share with the few lucky punters that can fit inside his frankly embarrassingly studio bound tent, an exhibit that fully exposes the depths of man's inherent inhumanity and badness and is guaranteed to make even the bravest of souls fill his trousers.

But all of this fades into insignificance when compared the terrifyingly piss poor waxworks that anyone unlucky enough to enter his tent has to endure first.

Five B-list celebs are persuaded to enter his den of delights of which the centrepiece is, disappointingly a dining chair with some wires attached to the base upon which sits a scabby shop window dummy in polyester flares.

Luckily for Diablo either they're all easily amused or there must have been nowt on the telly that night because the crowd are utterly captivated by his over the top musings, marvelous hat and homemade 'electric chair' and are more than happy to part with a fiver each for the once in a lifetime chance to travel up his dingy back passage and experience (as Dr. D puts it) the most horrific thing they will ever see.

Which it turns out is a rather harsh faced, pendulous breasted wax gypsy wielding a pair of gardening shears (the fantastically named actor, painter, gallerist and film director Clytie Jessop who also features in The Innocents and Hammers 1964 snoozefest Nightmare alongside big screen Doctor Who tottie Jennie Linden).

Each to there own I guess.


"Come clap the goat!"




But, the Doc explains, this is no ordinary waxwork pikey oh no, because it can in fact predict the future.

But who will be brave enough to face it's blades?

Leather jacketed beige bad boy about town Colin (Brit Teevee stalwart Bryant) is the first to volunteer, and after a mysterious dose of sweaty sex face and crash zooms finds himself outside the cottage of his ailing, wheelchair bound and urine stained Uncle Roger (alcoholic Time Lord Azmael himself, Denham).

It appears that Colin is your typical ne'er do well; jobless, skint and obsessed with pub lunches, fondue parties and tottie whose only interest in his uncle is to get his smooth, almost ladylike hands on the old man's inheritance.

Uncle Roger has other ideas tho' and is insistent that money isn't everything and all Colin needs to do to be happy is to live his life more considerately and maybe even get a job.

Tho' being a rich old sod he would say that wouldn't he?

Desperate for the cash, our Colin starts to stamp his feet and shout a bit, causing poor Roger to clutch his chest whilst making vaguely erotic (for an old man that is) 'love you long time five dollar' sucky mouth movements.

Seems poor Rog has a weak heart (but fantastic rectal muscles) and is trying to get his nephew to give him his medicine but Colin, either thru' badness or thru' being hypnotised by the sight of an elderly cripples blow job face just stands there and watches him die.


A sexy old man
(possibly named Roger) yesterday.


Even more angry than normal plus now sexually frustrated after his uncle's impromptu sex show and still desperate for the money, Colin starts to ransack the house looking for the hidden loot.

After what seems like an eternity of watching his smash china tea sets, rummage thru' hundreds of pairs of skid marked big pants and empty old copies of Razzle onto the floor Colin comes across a hidden cellar entrance under his uncle's bed.

Descending into the darkness he finds a dirty spade lying across a fresh mound of earth taking this as a sign of where the cash is hidden Colin begins to dig, soon finding a battered old coffin.

With pound signs ker-chinging in his eyes and thoughts of silk cravats filling his head Colin excitedly pries open the lid expecting to find a massive wad of money inside. Imagine his surprise then when out pops a boss eyed black cat called Raymond (or something).
 

But this is no ordinary cat, turns out this moggy has devilish mind powers (no, really) and has a proposition to make to Colin.

It seems that Uncle Roger was employed by the cat to do certain tasks for him in return for money (it's not what you think, unfortunately) and offers Colin the same deal.

All Colin has to do is murder a few passing punters to keep the cat supplied with his food of choice....

Human heads!

And no, I am not making any of this up.


"Suck mah Werthers!"





Intrigued by what Colin has experienced, bullet breasted wannabe actress Carla (one time arse revealing Dean Martin co-star Adams) stands before the dirty wax lady to see her future....

Cue that crash bang cum face effect.

Carla it seems will do anything to achieve fame and fortune in Hollywood, even if it means destroying her bubbly blonde flatmates party dress minutes before she's due to meet slick haired yet flaccid manbreasted director Mike Charles, and them going on the date herself.

He's about seventy so a lucky escape for her mate me thinks.

Arriving at the restaurant they immediately (well it is an anthology movie, time is of the essence) bump into movie God Bruce Benton (
pencil 'tached cousin of Woolworth heiress Barbara Hutton and star of Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness? Robert Hutton) and his producer pal Eddie Storm (Phillips from The Onedin Line) and, seeing as it's Hollywood a big bitching session ensues between Storm and Charles over a few glasses of Babycham, leaving Bruce and Carla to get better acquainted.



"Let's get naked and play ping pong!"



Charles wants a new picture deal but Storm thinks he's past it (which is a wee bit rich seeing as he's about seventy three himself) but Charlie boy has an ace up his sleeve, you see he knows the secret of Bruce's success in the movies and he's threatening to tell anyone who'll listen.

With that he flounces off to a seedy bar to get drunk.

Predictably Charles is soon 'silenced' by a rat faced barman on orders from Eddie whilst Carla's luck seems to just get better and better seeing as she get's cast as the female lead in leathery Bruce's new movie without having to let an old man stick it in her.

Finding herself falling for the old fashioned charms (and wobbly turkey neck) of Bruce she becomes suspicious when he seems to cold shoulder her every attempt at seduction with a reply of "I'm not like other men....it's how I stay on top" before sneaking off for meetings with Eddie.

Now you or I might take that as a subtle way of him saying he's gay, but remember that this is the sixties, long before homosexuality was invented leaving Carla no alternative but to follow him home one night.

She only makes it as far as the car park tho' before some butch looking bruisers bundle Benton into the back of a car and drive off, stopping only to shoot him in the head and dump his body on a grass verge.

Yikes.

Eddie persuades Carla to help him get Bruce to a special hospital where he can get the best treatment but Carla isn't too sure that'll help. Maybe it's the huge fuck off hole in his temple or the fact that he's not breathing that has convinced her that he's actually dead.




Scab.




Imagine her surprise the next morning when he turns up to work on time and with no visible signs of injury.

Carla is determined to discover the bizarre truth at any cost....*

Excited by her friend Carla's sweaty face, doe eyed, chisel chinned yet strangely attractive Dorothy (posh totty Ewing) is next to stare into the shears of fate.

A plummy journalist for a high brow music Dorothy finds herself interviewing famous concert pianist and professional fop Leo Winston (Standing last seen in The Shadow in The North alongside Jared Harris and Phil Cornwell of all people).

Falling for his fey charms and smooth, ladylike hands, she soon has Leo tickling more than just the ivories, much to his butch managers chagrin.

Oh, and then his piano starts to get jealous culminating in possibly the most bizarre stalk and slash scene ever committed to celluloid when it leaps out on poor Dorothy after hiding behind a door then pushes her out of the window.

Whilst playing Chopin's Funeral March.

Honest guv.

"Roll up! Roll up! and give the Gypsy a
mooth shite-in she'll never forget!"




Lastly professional sexy bitch and rabid Edgar Allen Poe fan Ronald Wyatt (the mighty Sir Jack of Palance) approaches the stand (where the gypsy is situated, not the Stephen King book obviously).

Finding himself at a special viewing of rival Poe nut Lancelot Canning's (Cushing) private collection, all he can do is sweat over the books and fawn at Canning's feet (or is it the other way around?) whilst managing to wrangle an invite to Lance's house to get pissed and maybe if he's lucky, steal some stuff.

What follows is an incestuous tale of two middle aged men sitting in big comfy leather armchairs knocking back Sherry like there's no tomorrow, with each hoping the other gets sweaty and naked first.

Possibly.

After some top quality drunk acting from Cushing (who manages to make even a cravat and cable knit jumper sexy) Wyatt, high on love and cheap booze can't believe his luck when Canning allows him access to his secret chamber and thrusts something long and leathery into his sweaty sausages hands, an unpublished manuscript written by Poe.

On modern writing paper.

Confused, yet strangely aroused, Wyatt is determined to find the source of the text.

Could Poe still be alive, locked in a secret room just out of shot?




"Put it in me!"




Master of the threadbare anthology Freddie Francis brings his usual deft touch to this, the second (and little seen) of the Amicus horror cycle which, tho' lacking the flair (and budget) of the later Dr. Terrors House of Horrors or Tales From The Crypt is still an enjoyable way to waste an evening.

Which is nice for those of you who are easily pleased or enjoy the sight of an actor like Jack Palance sweatily leering over Peter Cushing's arse everytime he bends down, buxom posh birds being attacked by string instruments or tramps being run thru' with pitchforks for a laugh.

The script, knocked together in a few drunken hours by horror hack Robert Bloch skips along at such a pace, cramming in enough totally bonkers idea's into it's two hour running time that you can forgive the odd lapse in acting, effects or storytelling (of which there are many) and just go with the flow whilst the poverty row studio bound feel of the production actually add to it's dreamlike quality.

Except the Hollywood segment which frankly is just bollocks no matter how drunk you are.

Admit it tho', if you're reading this then you already own it don't you?








*They're all robots if you're wondering.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

beast wars.

Last looked at this way back in 2016 for that whole 31 days of horror thing that no-one ever notices I do and recently discovered that it had only gotten 4 views.

I reckon this was because:

A. It's not horror.

B. It's shite.

Tho' it may be because my blog is utter rubbish.

Nah, can't be that one.

La Bestia nello spazio (AKA Beast in Space, The Beast of Space 1978)
Dir: Alfonso Brescia (AKA Al Bradly....like that makes any difference)
Cast: Sirpa Lane (as Shirpa Lane), Vassili Karis, Lucio Rosato, Venantino Venantini, Marina Hedman and Maria D'Alessandro.


Please note: the costume is not this convincing (and Shirpa's arse isn't that big).


Sometime in the far, far future and somewhere in the inky blackness of space in a place where swimming caps are de rigeur and droopy facial hair is the law what appears to be a Petits Filous pot with a few bendy straws attached gracefully drifts thru' the heavens towards Space Station Gerard.

Well, that's what it sound like on my scratchy 5th generation VHS copy.

Aboard is the Tefal headed, pube haired John Holmes alike Captain Larry Madison (Karis, wearing Gianni Garko's hand-me-downs from the directors other SciFi opus Sette uomini d'oro nello spazio), ready for some much needed rest and recreation.

Slinking into the station bar like a tiger in heat he zero's in on a bubble permed space babe with an out of this world plunging neckline propping up the corner of the bar, with teeth like tombstones he smiles sexily before ordering "A bottle of Uranus".

The plot (?) screeches to a standstill allowing us to marvel at Madison's chat up techniques and gaze in awe at the spacey costumes on show but luckily - after what seems like 17 hours - a bar room brawl breaks out (which I guess gives it the edge on The Next Generation), giving Captain Studly the excuse he needs to drag the space babe off for some interstellar lovin'.


Fuck yeah.

"Is it in yet?"

Obviously fast-forward thru' these sausage-based shenanigans to get to the plot (look I haven't got all day) where it transpires that during a wee bout of post-coital snoozing the nameless perm headed lady begins to have vivid (and very saucy) dreams about a woman in a toga being chased thru' a forest by a hairy monster with a massive erection.

Or it may be a horse seeing as they only show its hooves.

By that I mean the creature, the woman most definitely has feet.

Tho' if any women are reading this that are afflicted with a condition that gives them hoof-like feet please don't worry, I'm sure everything will be fine.

But I digress.

It's not too surprising that she awakes screaming with terror and leaps straight into the arms of Madison for comfort who, after a wee bit of concerned face acting and a few back pats, makes his excuses and jogs away to 'space captain headquarters' to report for his next exciting mission.


Inside Theresa May's mind.

Busily discussing space and stuff with his man-breasted colleagues Madison quickly tires of of the endless chats regarding time factor warps and the moons of Uranus so quickly changes the subject by mentioning the Christmas tree a bauble he, um 'found' during the pub fight, excitedly showing it to his pals he's amazed to discover that it is, in fact a piece of Entalium.

Admit it, you never saw that coming.

It appears that this ultra-rare element is crucial to the construction of the space fleets weapons or something, so Madison is ordered to retrieve more from a mysterious planet ASAP as the safety of the universe relies on the missions success.

Tho' surely it'd be easier just to ask the crewman he stole it off if he has any more?

Nah that'd be silly plus we still have 60 odd minutes of sexy space adventure to fill.

Madison accepts the challenge but explains that he's got to return to the bar first to shag, sorry recruit Lt. Sondra Richardson (harsh faced Euro soft core babe Sirpa Lane) an expert in Entalium extraction before raiding the dressing up box in the hope of finding enough bri-nylon romper suits for everyone and blasting off into the unknown.

"Are you looking at my bra?"

Minutes into the journey tho' things start to get a bit strange as Sondra too begins to have saucy dreams about the petrifyingly penised predator.

Could it be linked to the spooky glowing Entalium?

To be honest no one seems to care, so they continue on towards the planet where, upon landing the crew are confronted by its enigmatic alien leader - possibly named Geoff or something, I too was past caring by this point - and his followers.




Ask your mum.


It seems that he's been telepathically sending saucy messages to Sondra in the hope that she'll shag him.

He must be a fan of her early work.

But hopefully not Papaya Of The Caribbean tho' seeing as it really is utter shite.

Understandably curious as to how Geoff would think that transmitting beast-based bonking across time and space would in any way be helpful in attracting the attentions of a passing spacecraft our brave crew members are surprised to find Geoff not guilty.

Being both beefcake-like and brainy, Madison  - alongside Geoff and his horny horde - soon realize that someone or something else on the planet is responsible for the spate of phantom fanny fiddling currently affecting the ships female crew members.

But to what ends?





Peow!

Will the crew escape with the Entalium before they're forced into an alien sex orgy?

Will Sondra end up shagging both the centaur and the alien leader?

Will the alien leader then be revealed as a shite cardboard robot who has taken human form in order to truly understand the human condition of love?


Will any of the shoddily inserted sex scenes actually feature the pervily puffy-lipped MiLF Marina Frajese - the star of Play Hotel - seeing as this is one of the reasons I purchased this.


Look I've been a huge fan of hers since she absolutely nailed the role of the first girl at the audition in the 1978 classic How to Lose a Wife and Find a Lover, so sue me.

But more importantly will there be a pound shop light saber fight?

The answer to the last one is yes by the way.


I wouldn't want one of them swimming up my arse.


Part Italian Star Wars rip-off, part re-make of Walerian Borowczk's erotic masterpiece La Bete, part unedited glimpses into the mind of a madman - La Bestia nello spazio transcends not only genre pigeonholing but all boundaries of good taste and coherent storytelling in one fell swoop.   

Which is pretty good going seeing as up until this point director Alfonso Brescia was best known (feared?) for such threadbare fantasy epics as The Terror of Rome Against the Son of Hercules and The Magnificent Gladiator.

Like most folk at the time tho' he decided to make a - drunken and clumsy sausage fingered - move into the space opera genre after seeing Star Wars (tho' from his work I'd be more inclined to believe it was after seeing Bleep and Booster) bringing us the classics Battaglie negli spazi stellari (Cosmos: War of the Planets) and the cleverly titled sequel War of the Robots as well as giving us the robot invasion movie Star Odyssey.

Always one to save a bit of cash (usually by employing non-actors and getting his kids to write the scripts) Brescia often utilized the same sets and costumes in every one of his space epics, giving an (unintentional) uniformity to his visions of the future that lesser films such as the Star Trek franchise failed to deliver.

Saying that they also failed to deliver scenes of Lt. Uhura rubbing one off whilst watching a couple of horses copulate in a field but heyho.

But whilst his earlier works are (kinda) kid friendly action packed - well I say packed -  romps, La Bestia nello spazio plays out like a kinda cheap (and much dirtier) Italian version of Torchwood.

Albeit a version that's been totally lobotomized rather than just beaten around the head a few times.

Tho' the fucking abysmal Cyberwoman episode comes close.






"...And if you pop this jar of liver in the microwave for a few minutes it'll feel just like fanny!"


Saying that tho' if Torchwood had attempted a Gwen Cooper/alien donkey sex episode (rumour has it that it would have been the opening episode of series 4 before they canned it for Children of Earth) you know for a fact the beast would have been slightly more convincing than the one on show here.

Plus let's be honest, Eve Myles has a much nicer arse than Sirpa Lane.

And not just because Lane's been dead for over 17 years.

Shite in mah....oh that's not shite is it?


Talking of Sirpa Lane (which I must admit is quite often) how does La Bestia nello spazio compare to Walerian Borowczk's aforementioned - and better known - Euro-tic shagfest and is it worthy of comparison?

For those of you who've never experienced the joy of Borowczk's take on Beauty and The Beast (as in the film, your dad drunkenly coming into your room and fondling you under the covers doesn't count)  here's a wee bit of background.

Filmed in 1975 it tells the story of the nutty Esperance family, whose financial stability depends on a marriage between their nuckle dragging son, Mathurin and young English girl Lucy Broadhurst.

Here come the Belgians!


When she arrives arrives at the family home she becomes obsessed with their most (in)famous ancestor, Romilda (Lane in a huge powdered wig and a lacy undies), whose torn corset - bizarrely enough -  has pride of place in the family living room.

This is after all European so we should embrace such things.

With nothing to fill her time (her betrothed is poorly) Lucy comes across - not in that way, at least not yet - Romilda's diary and soon begins to experience feverishly erotic dreams about her sexual encounters with a huge hairy beast in the woods.

Cue much Chuckle Hounds-based buggery and the like.

Now as great as La Bete is (especially if you like seeing ladies in 18th century garb being chased thru' woods by men in crap bear suits with big black rubber cocks attached and let's be frank about this - who doesn't?) no-one in their right mind would think it'd translate into a great (or not even a fair to middling) Science Fiction movie no matter how drunk they were, but it seems that director Brescia wanted to prove us all wrong showing that you can mix soft core porn and Sci-Fi for a family audience.

Which if nothing else you should at least admire the balls of the guy.

If not the hastily painted paper-mache ones on the space beast.

What your girlfriend really gets up to on her girls nights out.


Worth a look if you're an Italian Sci-Fi completist, Shirpa Lane fan or if you have an appreciation of pantomime animal costume sex romps.


And if you tick all three boxes tho' this'll be your favourite movie of all time.

Scarily there will be someone out there that this'll apply to.

God help them.



Next time something good.


I promise.