Monday, February 25, 2019

tales from the city.

1970s/80s New York.

plan your escape.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

box of delights.

I've posted classic VHS cover art on many occasions but never any classic VHS boxes so here goes.


Tuesday, February 19, 2019

sweet charity.

No idea who's been sending stuff to my local charity shop recently but it's suddenly become an Aladdin's cave of tat filled delights.

Boxes of He-Man and Turtles toys, first editions of the American Pinnacle Doctor Who novelizations for a quid and huge piles of 'top quality' DVD's starting at 25p each.

Just yesterday I picked up a sealed copy of the Singing Ringing Tree, the crazily entitled Vanessa Hudgens CD 'V', anther copy of the Bud Spence and Terrence Hill classic All The Way Boys (this time on the fine South African Impact DVD label - gotta catch 'em all), the French Doctor Who series 1 boxset and a bag of 70's/80's British comedy DVD's in cardboard sleeves that you usually find in Sunday papers.

Hudgens: with her cash you'd think she
could afford a matching bra and pants.

Sorting thru' the expected episodes of On The Buses, Hi-De-Hi and the like (which incidentally only cost a small donation seeing as they can't be resold) I was surprised (and a little aroused if I'm honest) to find not only a copy of the fantastic (and terribly underrated) Carry On Emmannuelle but also the Barry (cats face) Stokes starrer The Ups and Downs of a Handyman, a film I'd not seen since I sneakily watched it at a school chums house about 35 years ago and whose reputation seemed to be based more on the fact that Bob Todd had an on screen nervous breakdown whilst filming more than anything else.

So, would it live up to those hazy, Thunderbird fueled memories of spankings, huge bristols and hairy man-ass?

The movie I mean, not what happened when my mates parents came home.

Anyway, for those of you who haven't had the pleasure.....

Ups and Downs of a Handyman (AKA Confessions of a Handyman, Confessions of an Odd-Job Man and The Happy Housewives. 1975)
Dir: John Sealey.
Cast: Barry Stokes, Penny Meredith, Valerie Leon, Sue Lloyd, Chic Murray, Bob Todd, Ava Cadell and the brilliantly named Gay Soper.

Helmet haired, horse cocked newlywed Bob (Stokes) and his buxom blonde bird Margaretta (ex Hills Angel and star of the Pete Walker classic The Flesh and Blood Show Meredith) have decided to start their married life in the quietly quaint little haven that is Chipping Sodbury.

Enjoying a wee bit of do it yourself (shelf building and the like, not furious masturbation obviously) our hero sets up shop as the local handyman.

Cue loads of hilarious gags about the size of his tool - meaning his penis - whilst being asked by various 70's dollybirds to 'check their plumbing' - as in touch their vaginas.

Yup, welcome to the Hell that was 1970's British cinema, where behind every door there was a frustrated and bored housewife in a nylon babydoll nightie and furry heeled slippers (usually played by Liz Fraser, or in this case ex Hammer hottie Valerie Leon), a sexy schoolgirl with pigtails and NHS specs (Ava Cadell, former page 3 poppet, Hollywood star and currently a leading authority on Tantric sex), maybe an uptight twinset and pearls wearing school teacher (usually played by mole lipped Crossroads legend Sue Lloyd) or even the bored daughter of the local magistrate with an IQ of a housebrick but the body of a strip queen.

Oh, and the fashion sense of a clap ridden whore.

She might be enjoying the eggy chest now
but just wait till the mooth shite-in begins.

And if that wasn't entertainment enough, it seems that poor Bob is a bit fick himself, seeing as he never catches on to the fact that the small job that needs doing isn't, in fact putting up a spice-rack but ultimately involves his sticking his cock into the customer in question.

You have to feel for a guy who turns up to fix a broken tap, only to find the lady of the house stark bollock naked (apart from a huge rainforest like 70's bush), clutching a dry Martini in one hand and one of her ample breasts in the other lying on a bed winking at him whilst he mistakenly sees this as she's got something in her eye.

Yes, the script is that funny.

Luckily for us writer/director John Sealey and his partner in crime Derrick Slater (who later gave up writing in order to thrill us with his performance as an unnamed security guard in the classic Tom Baker Doctor Who story, The Seeds of Doom) had realized that it takes more than Barry Stokes bouncing arse to make a movie great, so decided to add a few eccentric British stereotypes to the fold in order to up the comedy ante.

"Why what a lovely shiny helmet you have".

Enter top Scots funnyman (not literally mind, he's been dead for years) Chic Murray as the clumsy PC Nick 'Nick' Knowles and balding bumbler Bob Todd as the spank happy Squire Bullsworthy.

Rumour has it that Todd - of whom it was widely known enjoyed the pleasures of corporal punishment in private - was so close to the edge as far as his mental state was concerned, that every day the director would send a car to pick him up from the local hospital where he was being treated just pop him in on set with a nude young actress and let him slap her arse until they had enough footage for that scene.

Which, frankly is nice work if you can get it.

But it's stuff like this that effectively sounded the death knell for the British film industry, whereas our American cousins had the likes of John Holmes and Ginger Lynn Allen strutting their stuff in grindhouse sexploitation epics we had to put up with bald manbreasted old men appearing all naked and pink like big wobbly perverted jellies and in some cases, like in many of the Dave Sullivan produced sex comedies burst into song and dance routines at the most inopportune moments.

A bit like having your Granddad walk in on you just as you're about to shoot your load over a picture of Caroline Munro when you were 11.


Your dad and your girlfriend last night.

To add insult to an already mentally scarred audience the film was later re-released as Confessions of a Handyman (and later still as Confessions of an Odd-Job Man), in an attempt to con poor viewers into thinking that it was an entry in the fantastic "Confessions Of ..." series starring Lord Robin of Askwith and written by Roger Moore Bond scribe Christopher Wood under the pen name Timothy Lea.

Avoid like a dose of crabs, unless the thought of Gay Soper (who voiced the classic kids teevee show The Flumps) getting taken from behind by the guy from Prey tickles your fancy.

Hmmm, just me then.

Thursday, February 14, 2019


Happy Valentines Day everyone!

 "Chief, listen to me. You have to go to the mine! We were having a party and Harry Warden started killing everybody!"*

My Bloody Valentine (1981).
Dir: George Mihalka.
Cast: Paul Kelman, Lori Hallier, Neil Affleck, Keith Knight, Larry Reynolds, Patricia Hamilton, Alf Humphreys, Cynthia Dale, Helene Udy, Rob Stein, Tom Kovacs, Don Francks and Peter Cowper.

My Bloody Valentine - fucking awful Photoshop.

It's February the 14th, 1960 and the small mining town of Valentine Bluffs (twinned with the village of Spent fact fans)  is having its annual (obviously) Valentine's Day dance; a tradition that the townsfolk have followed for the past century.

Hopefully they wash their pants in between tho'.

But whilst the assorted townsfolk are happily frugging away to hit pop tunes and tanking the local home brew, five poor miners are stuck digging away at the coalface having drawn the short straw and being forced to miss the party.

Well those secret Lemonade mines aren't going to dig themselves.

Their shifty supervisors tho', feeling particularly frisky and feeling slightly foolish decked out in dinner jackets whilst in a coal mine, decide to sneak away to join the celebrations leaving their colleges underground.

I mean it's not like anything could go wrong is it?

Well, nothing except a huge explosion caused by a build up of methane gas - see? who says films aren't educational? - leaving the five miners buried alive.

And more importantly, late for their dates.

After hours of digging (thru' rock, not the 1960's fashions) the towns rescue workers finally reach the trapped men.

Unfortunately all except Harry Warden (the films stunt coordinator Cowper) are dead.

And poor old Harry has gone a wee bit mental because of the ordeal, so the local townsfolk cart him off to the Shady Nook rest home for a while.

You can see why tho', you really don't want some dirt covered, piss stained fella crying about his dead buddies when you're trying to get into the vicars daughters undies do you?

Up the casino. Yesch.

Anyway after spending a year sitting in a pair of toweling pajamas and staring into space whilst dribbling, Harry is deemed fit for release and is sent home on the eve of the accident that sent him mental in the first place.

Which is nice of the doctors to take this into consideration when thinking about discharging him.

It should come as no surprise then to find out that the first thing he does on arrival is butcher the two supervisors who left their post early to go dancing and leave a chilling warning for the townsfolk that if they even think about having another Valentine's Day dance, he'll return once again to take bloody revenge on the town.

Which is a little extreme don't you think?

Jump forward to 1980 and, whilst the mine is still the town's main place of employment, there hasn't been a single dance or party held in town since that terrible night in 1960.

Until now that is.

You see, lovely old lady Mabel Osborne (Hamilton, star of The Fenn Street Gang and Upstairs, Downstairs - no, really) has decided that the town needs something to look forward and to forget about the mine disaster and wacky Warden.

To this end she spends her every waking hour decorating the town with Valentine's Day decorations whilst the younger residents begin to get all excited at the prospect of a night of dancing, drinking and shagging in bushes.


As Valentine's Day draws ever nearer the town's Mayor, Jeff Hanniger (Reynolds, better known as Judge Burton from the hit teevee show Street Legal) wakes to find a fresh human heart wrapped in a lovely Valentine's Day packaging has been popped thru' his letter box.

Which at least shows that the town has a damn good postal service, I mean I'm still waiting on a box of blank DVD's after three weeks.

Attached to the box is a warning to expect a few more killings if the town decides to go ahead and celebrate.

Heart in mah box!

If this wasn't enough of a warning the mysterious messenger has murdered poor Mabel as well, just to show he means business.

Hanniger calls off the dance, getting local police chief Jake Newby (Francks, the voice of Sabretooth in the X-Men vs. Street Fighter video game no less) to tell everyone that Mabel fell down the stairs and that it's being cancelled as a sign of respect.

But the hotheaded - yet deep and caring - miner (and son of the town's mayor) Jessie 'TJ' Hanniger (Ryan O'Neill alike, bollock squashing jeans wearing Kelman), who has recently returned home after failing to make it as an exotic dancer in the big city and is desperate for a drink as well as gagging for some of the sex with his ex-girlfriend Sarah (blond, sensible underwired bra wearing teevee stalwart Hallier) decides to throw his own special Valentine's party down in the mine itself.

You can tell that beneath his rough exterior that he's a nice guy tho' because along with Sarah and all the other hip young miners he's also invited Sarah's current beau, the uber-cool Axel (Affleck, better known these days as an animation timer on The Simpsons but not as Batman obviously).

Well, it's either that or he fancies a Sarah Spit roast.

All set for a wee bit o' mooth shite-in.

But can you guess who's already down the mine waiting for the young uns to turn up?

Yup it's horrid Harry Warden, all decked up in Kwik Fit garage overalls and a handy gas mask ready to slice n' dice his way thru' anyone who even remotely looks like they may start jiving or cutting a rug as the young folk say.

Unfortunately a couple of the miners and their girlfriends have decided to start the party early and head down into the mine for a little tour (and some kissing and stuff), giving Harry a head start to his killing spree and the chance to stick something unexpected into the ladies.

When Jessie and co. finally arrive to discover a pile of corpses they begin to realize that Warden is indeed back for vengeance.

Trapped in the mine with only a six pack of Bud and the homicidal Harry chasing them with a rusty pick axe, the remaining party goers must try and escape before they too end up having a very bloody Valentine....

"Are you my Mummy?"

George Mihalka's My Bloody Valentine is probably more famous for what it was missing rather than what appeared on screen, as nervous Paramount execs decided to gut the film of any and every gore scene before it's release way back in 1981.

They scarily left all the 70s style trousers in tho'.

Despite this the movie still stands up as a competent (if slightly pedestrian) little shocker with an interestingly dressed villain and slightly more rounded than usual characters, taking an essentially cheesy premise yet playing it totally straight.


Luckily back in 2009 some smart Alec decided to remake My Bloody Valentine as a high concept 3-D shocker (the rights must have been cheap) so, suddenly all that missing footage turned up and was quickly re-instated allowing for the directors original vision to finally be seen as intended.

Or to make a few extra bob of those punters too young to remember the original.

Take your pick.

Either way it made one helluva difference to the film, adding an extra dimension to the manic miners reign of bloody terror, the scratchy footage (it's been stuck in the directors loft for 28 years so what do you expect?) gave a much missed air of evil nastiness to Wardens revenge, making you wonder why this gas masked gimp was never taken to the audiences hearts as so many other slasher stars of the era were.

He's got something to put in you.

Competently acted, nicely shot and directed with a steady, workman-like hand (obviously the rest of George's body was OK too), My Bloody Valentine deserved a wider appeal than it ever got on release.

Plus the band are no bad too.

*Just in case you're wondering why the picture of Anne Hathaway is at the top of the review it's just because she once did a Valentine's style photoshoot for Harpers Bazaar in 2014 and I've never been able to think of a good enough reason to post it before.

Plus she's awfully pretty.


Saturday, February 9, 2019

snail of the century.

So I've obviously given up on that whole let's review every film set in 2019 thing for now (tho' it's not like anyone was reading it) and decided to just (re) watch whatever random movie I find when tidying the boys bedroom.


Aenigma (AKA Daemonia, Internado diabolico, L’enigme. 1987).
Dir: Lucio Fulci.
Cast: Jared Martin, Lara Naszinski, Ulli Reinthaler, Sophie d'Aulan, Jennifer Naud, Milijana Zirojevic, Ricardo Acerbi and Lijlijana Blagojevic.

"I may have a fat ass, but if you slap it one more time, I’ll slap your face!"

Pug eyed Cherie Blair alike Kathy (Zirojevic - bless you) is the friendless class freak at the bizarrely European Saint Mary’s College in Boston.

With her scary Lego hair, permanently surprised expression and ickle thin legs Kathy spends her days dreaming about the studly gym teacher Fred Vernon (slick quiffed sex god Acerbi) who -surprisingly - one day actually asks lil ms. mousy out on a date.

A date to the 'dancing' no less.

Stunned by this turn of events - and forgetting that she's in a horror movie - Kathy excitedly gets ready for the night of her life with the knight of her dreams (to the funky sound of the Euro-pop hit 'Head over Heels' by top popster Douglas Meakin no less) unaware of what is about to occur.

"(Pop) eyed son!"

After a night of funky frugging Fred offers to take Kathy home but on the way
pulls his Jeep over on a secluded wooded path, where he almost immediately - well it is a short film -  starts to work his manly magic on Kathy, whispering sweet nothings and working the poor lass into a wild unbridled frenzy of naughty thoughts and sweaty thighs.

Unbeknown to Kathy tho' the couple are surrounded by her evil classmates, their cars parked just out of sight and all tuned into the secret two way radio in Fred's car.

What a rotter.

Giggling happily to themselves as Kathy's breathing gets deeper and Fred's dialogue gets far cheesier than you would think possible, the band of baddies flash their headlights with a whoop just as Kathy thinks she's about to do the dirty with the vile Vernon.

Understandably humiliated (and a wee bit affronted by the turn of events) she leaps from the car and legs it back to the college with her cruel classmates in hot pursuit.

Chased onto a main road unlucky Kathy is hit by an oncoming motorist, bouncing across the bonnet and ending up comatose and in intensive care.


"Tubes in mah mooth!"

Confusingly cutting back to the school for no other reason than to introduce us to our lead actress for the evening, new girl Eva Gordon (Naszinsky; star of A Blade in the Dark and cousin of Nastassja Kinski no less) a button nosed blonde who has just arrived at Saint Mary's and is ready to settle in for a hard term of studying.

Or as she puts it "...a successful year means making out with as many boys as possible”.

Saucy minx.

But there's something very strange about Eva and not just the fact that the film keeps abruptly cutting to shots of Kathy as the new girl does something really normal like walking up some stairs but bizarre stuff like her not knowing where she was born, being unable to convincingly walk and talk at the same time and finding random lighters hidden in her underwear drawer.

Spooky biscuits.

Luckily for Eva her roommate Jenny (lantern jawed Reinthaler from Zombi 3 or is that Zombi 4?) thinks nothing of it and welcomes the new girl into the local bitch squad whilst Eva sets her lustful sights on Fred and his kick flared, stay-press jeans.

"Then I saw her I'm a mad Eva!"

Being a Fulci film tho' it's not long before some totally bizarre (but gorgeously shot) shit starts 'going down' as the youngsters say - Fred is the first to fall foul to the strangeness when, after an argument about buckets with hairy Mary the college janitor (and mother of Kathy) he's choked to death by his own reflection.

And that's even before he's had a chance to even think about touching Eva's hemline, poor sod.

Him that is, not her.

The local police led by what looks like a council estate Zane Lowe (alongside director Fulci in a cameo) decide that he died of a heart attack and leave it at that.

"Can you show me where he touched you on this picture son?"

Bizarrely, everything on campus continues as normal, the girls bitch, smoke and wear frighteningly short hotpants whilst the Super Nanny like headmistress Ms. Jones (Scrabble triple word scoring Blagojevic) wanders around the corridors in a disappointingly non-lesbian like manner unaware that there's a pretty good chance that Kathy's spirit has returned for revenge.

Could she be controlling Eva?


And thusly the weirdness continues, only coming to a head when Eva viciously beats Jenny with a stuffed Giraffe before collapsing onto her bed in a sweatily unconscious state whilst pulling what can only be termed her best cum face.

Which is nice.

Enter (roughly and from behind whilst engaged in a crafty reacharound) the sexy neurologist cum crime fighter and ex Blow Monkeys frontman Doctor Robert (pubed headed US teevee heart throb and star of Fantastic Journey and that 80's War of The Worlds series Martin) who appears to be the only character in the movie with any idea that something maybe, oh so slightly amiss.

You see he's noticed that there are rather alarming changes in Kathy's brainwaves during (and after) each mysterious death.

Mysterious brainwaves aren't the only thing of interest to the Lothario Doc tho' as he also seems keen on sampling a wee bit of underage totty, Eva being a case in point.

Dr. Robert: diggin' your scene.

No surprises then that before long Dr. Robert has entered (shit, I've already done that joke, just imagine it again but without the reachround bit) a full blow affair with Eva with tasteful sexy scenes intercut with Kathy making the hospital machines bleep loudly as her old classmates start dying in even more bizarre ways – including naked sex-based suffocation by snails and being hugged to death by a paper mache statue of Brian Blessed.

Obviously Eva is the main suspect.

Snails in mah...well snails everywhere really.

Whilst all this deadly death is occurring, Dr. Robert begins to suffer from nightmarish dreams where the glisteningly ample arsed Eva and himself indulge in sweaty sex that culminate in her biting off his nipples and tongue to a sub Goblin rock soundtrack courtesy of Carlo Maria Cordio, the man behind the soundtracks of Troll 2 and Shocking Dark.

But nobodies perfect.

Suffice to say that Rob is fairly relieved when Eva's folk decide to take her out of school and lock her up in a mental asylum, for one thing it means he can now starting shagging the class whore Grace (the slightly stocky Naud) without fear of losing his nips, bladder control etc and for another it means he can spend much more valuable screen time wandering aimlessly in and out of Kathy's room whilst tutting at the monitors.

Everyone's a winner then.

Tunnel or funnel?

Until that is late one night when Eva escapes from Shady Nook with the idea of being re-united with her true love.

Oh and to maybe commit some more murders.....

Fulci's little seen - and scarily little loved - psycho-babbling B-movie opus Aenigma, whilst not being his best works is at once totally bonkers and infinitely watchable; from the aforementioned slug scene (featuring as it does some fantastically kinky shots of said shelled beasties sliming across an erect nipple) to the scary Tom Cruise poster adorning the wall of Grace's room via the bizarre (and budget helping) use of the same beheading scene to show the whole college campus being murdered to quite possibly cinema's sweatiest and most unnecessary greased arse sex ever filmed there's so much here to enjoy.

The cast - in the main a mix of Italian and Yugoslavian actors - play everything straight and to the point, not only playing the whole thing deadly serious but also managing to convince us that they're actually in the good old US of A and not the city of Pristina in Yugoslavia where it was (probably) shot*.

I mean almost everyone on screen sports a St. Mary’s Boston T-shirt at some point whilst the girls’ dormitory rooms are choc full of posters featuring everything from an American flag (with a bald eagle on it obviously), Snoopy, Yoda and even Tom Cruise.

This poster seems to be a favourite of everyone involved tho' as it appears on screen almost as often as Jared Martin's arse.

Tom Cruise, the most effectual
Tom Cruise, whose intellectual
Close friends get to call him T.C.
Providing they don't mention Scientology!

Obviously influenced by Carrie and (at least visually) by Argento's Inferno, Fulci delivers his trademark oppressive atmosphere, over the top gore and saucy sleaze which makes up for the inane dialogue and muddy plotting that plagues the production at times but let's be honest as none of the negatives really matter seeing as Aenigma is - like the great man himself - a joy from start to finish.

And if that's not enough to convince you then just imagine - like I do - that the opening lyrics were actually written in tribute to Fulci himself:

“Put on your make-up, your eyes are blue enough, tonight is special for you... You’re true...” .

*I'm taking a wild geographical stab here seeing as Yugoslavia doesn't actually exist anymore** and more importantly I can't be arsed looking it up.

**A wee bit like your parents love for you doesn't.