Sunday, December 29, 2019

dave alien at large.

Getting set for not only a drunken new years eve (or 'The Hogmanay' as they cry it up here) but also the return of Doctor Who to our screens (hence the alcohol) so thought I'd prepare myself with some top quality sci-fi.

Unfortunately it appears that it's in my other jacket so had to make do with this. 

Shocking Dark (AKA Terminator II, Aliens 2, Aliennators, Contaminator. 1989).
Dir: Bruno Mattei.
Cast: Cristopher Ahrens, Al McFarland, Haven Tyler, Geretta Giancarlo Field, Tony Lombardi, Mark Steinborn, Dominica Coulson, Clive Ricke, Paul Norman Allen, Cortland Reilly, Richard Ross, Bruce McFarland and
Al McFarland.

"It's not alive until it finds something to live in... something to reprogram on the basis of its own genetic program — a chromosome databank."

The place: The late 70s clad fashion hell that can only be someone's scratchy home movies from a family holiday to Venice, hastily edited and with a morose voice-over quickly added in order to make the film that is to follow look at least a little bit expensive than it really is.

Or that a bit of thought went into it.

As a variety of overweight plaid-clad tourist feed the pigeons the aforementioned voice-over informs us that due to it's polluted algae filled waters and toxic badness polluting the air that the city is doomed.

And as if to prove this the image cuts to a group of men in bootleg Power Rangers suits, BMX helmets and gas masks guarding a homemade sign that reads:


Hastily drawn in Sharpie and placed on the edge of the duck pond in the directors local park.

Job done.

As the credits play out over even more stock footage - this time of bombed out and derelict buildings, well it's either that or footage of the poshest housing estate in West Bromwich - we're suddenly transported to the local electricity board power station where the stoic Colonel Barry Exposition (McFarland in his only screen appearance) is busy watching an important video transmission from the deserted (sort of) city featuring three blokes in muck encrusted Kwik-Fit overalls running down a corridor and screaming.

Which is nice.

To add to this already exciting scene the group split up with two of them being overcome by a vaguely threatening shadow obscured by some smoke whilst the other - a man named Towers (like that's important. I really only mentioned it to prove I was paying attention)  shits himself when yet another guy pops out from behind a pipe and gently taps him on the shoulder.

Luckily he recognises the newcomer as assistant researcher Charlie Drake (actor and composer Ricke, best known for Rome - as in the TV show not shagging your mum when she was on holiday there) whom it seems is an old friend.

Unfortunately Drake appears to be completely insane  and suddenly strangles poor Towers whilst guffawing like a mentalist of the kind only found in - badly - dubbed Eurohorror.

You know the drill.

Shocked by the appalling lack of any discernible talent on show Colonel Exposition calls a staff meeting in what looks like the local school IT room to discuss the situation with the hunky military type - wait for it - Captain Dalton Bond (Steinborn) and a slightly less hunky science type named Sara (ex-Aerosmith frontman Tyler probably) in the hope of finding out what the fuck is going on.

Shifting uncomfortably on the child-sized seats our amazing trio sit in stunned silence as the tape plays out.

It seems that one Professor Ralph Raphelson (another McFarland, probably the dad of the other guy) whilst working on a top secret project to restore Venice to its former glory has inadvertently created a device that can turn people into monsters.

Monsters with massive paper mache heads.

As you do.

His assistant, the aforementioned Drake, upon discovering this went mad and decided that he alone could communicate with the creatures.

And on that bombshell the tape ends.

"Sorry Miss, the dog ate my homework!"

After sharing a few knowing - and vaguely erotic - looks with each other Colonel Exposition orders Bond and Sara to head to Venice to rescue any survivors and to retrieve Raphelson's diary - as opposed to his lab notes, am I being picky?), to this end they'll be accompanied on their mission by the mysterious Samuel Fuller (not the director unfortunately but some guy called Ahrens) from the rather quite radical sounding Tubular Corporation who I assume from the name - and from Fuller's Sun-In style locks are a surfing company.

So far so Aliens.

All we need now is a squad of gung-ho hard-bitten marines.

Unfortunately the budget can't spread to this so instead we get a handful of non-actors in market stall shellsuits.

And a few kiddies skateboarding helmets with masking tape stuck on them.

Oh yes and the fabulous friend of The Arena Geretta Giancarlo Field (AKA Geretta Geretta) carrying a big gun so it's not all bad.

Koster (for that is she) is joined in this elite fighting team - dubbed 'The Megaforce' (tho' not this one) - by the cleanliness obsessed Kowalsky (Allen from What Would Jesus Buy?), ponytailed pretty boy Caine (Reilly - Ace of Spies) and the slick-quiffed Franzini (Lombardi who actually went on to have a career appearing in such quality fayre as Heaven - but not the gay nitespot - Blue Tornado and Vita di Antonio Gramsci) as well as a few other folk I can't be arsed listing who all excitedly polish their weapons whilst chatting about the mysterious 'Operation Delta Venice'* that they're about to embark on.

So without further ado it's off into the tunnels below Venice (played here by an underground car park just outside Rome) where literally within seconds everything goes to pot.

You see deranged Drake has found a machine gun and is currently firing it in the general direction of our crack squad of soldiers whilst shouting random shite like "I CAN SEE YOU......I KILL YOU NOW!" at whoever is listening.

Which unfortunately is the viewer.

Luckily Bond stays cool under pressure - well it's either that or he just can't act - and orders Kowalsky and some other guy (look if the director can't be arsed why should I?) to "Take him from behind!" which obviously leads to a bumsex joke and a classic bit of playground rolling before Drake is apprehended but as the team attempt to question him he starts to laugh maniacally before letting out a high pitched scream that leaves the squad holding their heads in agony and Drake enough time to escape with Private Stevie Soontodie as a hostage.

"He did WHAT in his cup?"

 Slowly recovering from the ear onslaught Bond counts the number of soldiers (twice) before realising that they're a man down so quickly sends everyone off to look for him giving the film a chance to copy the spooky motion tracker scene from Aliens only this time using a desk calculator and a pinging egg timer.

Being the only two cast members with any ounce of acting ability (well one of them does) it's Caine and Koster who finally find Stevie, who by this time is covered in what looks like dried whale spunk and glued to a wall alongside the remains of the base scientists.

Begging for death (most likely as he knows the film is utter guff rather than for any other reason) Koster can only look on in horror - well I say horror but it's actually mild indifference and slight annoyance - as a shoddily painted glove puppet bursts forth from Stevie's chest just like the one in Alien.

If Alien had been directed by a blind, hook-handed child that is.

To say the effect is underwhelming is an understatement.

It's just shit.

Luckily the film cuts to Koster and Caine reacting giving the crew just enough time to replace this affront to visual effects with something slightly less crap to wrap itself around Koster's neck.

Unfortunately it's still not good enough to look like anything except a stringy green scarf.

A stringy green scarf constructed from condoms.

Never mind tho' as Caine quickly shoots it and the pair run away.

 quick reaction-shot cutaway, a slightly more dignified prop wraps around Coster's neck, until Kane fires a few rounds into what was once his fellow-Marine.

Meanwhile the movies answer to The Chuckle Brothers, Franzini and Kowalsky have problems of their own seeing as they've rounded a corner and literally bumped into the shadowy monster from the films opening.

Being proper tough guys the pair start screaming and run  back to where Bond and Sarah are currently busying themselves hypnotically staring at the flashing light on their motion scanner.

It's almost as if they're standing about doing fuck all just waiting on their cue to start recycling even more of the dialogue from Aliens and this time it's the whole "The tracker's off scale, man. They're all around us, man. Jesus!" bit delivered so fantastically by the late great Bill Paxton only here it's spoken in the manner of a recently woken child who's only just discovered the power of speech.

As tensions rise - well as everyone stands around looking bored if I'm honest - Fuller suggests that they all beat a hasty retreat to the relative safety of Zone 14.

It's all just words isn't it?

Let's be honest, it's not even worth typing 'Laugh Now' on something this shit.

Arriving in/at Zone 14, Sara's calculator prop is soon pinging again and the group this time decide to follow the ping rather than running away which is quite lucky as it's not a big slimy monster they come across but a small disheveled girl named Newt.

Sorry I mean Samantha (Coulson in - again - her only film role tho' I think she didn't suffer too many after effects of being in this movie and now lives in Maine and enjoys drinking coffee if the interweb is correct**).

Five fingers - never touched the sides.

As you've guessed the entire Newt plot from Aliens will now play out in it's entirety.

Just with worse costumes.

Well worse everything if I'm honest.

Luckily for Fuller It just so happens that Zone 14 is actually where Raphelson's lab is located so he gets to work looking into kids microscopes and flicking thru flipcharts whilst Caine and Koster sneak off for a crafty fag.

It's almost as if he knows more than he's letting on.

Wanking himself silly at his discovery he announces that Raphelson had created an enzyme that has similar properties to DNA and the ability to reprogram on the basis of its own genetic level.

Or something.

As all this high-tech nonsense is going down, Caine and Koster are also getting a violent tossing - off a walkway by a beast that is.

Samantha - being about 12 - is old enough to realize that the whole thing is utter bollocks and is desperate to get the whole thing over and done with announces that her dad, Raphelson if you hadn't guessed - it's easy to tell as they both have odd shaped ears and a limp, suspected that the Tubular Corporation was experimenting with enzyme-DNA type stuff in order to take over the world or something which annoys Fuller no end.

Which makes me think who Raphelson (you know head of a project funded by Tubular) actually thought he was working for in the first place.

We have no time to think about that tho' as  the power suddenly goes out.

"They cut the power!" exclaims Sara.

"What do you mean, they cut the power? They're animals!" Answers Bond.

And that whirring noise in the background?

That's James Cameron spinning in his grave.

Yes I know he's not dead*** but he got so angry he actually dug one just to spin in.

And with that the group hurriedly make their way toward the Tubular Corporation headquarters in the building because as Samantha puts it "It is very safe".

Well I'm sold.

This gives us time to sit back and enjoy 10 minutes of various cast members shouting loudly whilst pretending to shoot homemade  fireworks at some poor sod in a big green rubber gimp suit growling as he waves his little thin arms around trying to pretend that there's more than one monster suit.

Tragic doesn't begin to cover it.


Saying that something exciting (sort of) does occur when one of the beasts attacks Fuller and slightly scratches his arm revealing not blood and bone but printed circuits and tin foil....Yup Fuller is a robot!

But there's no time to waste on that plot revelation as Sara is getting confused as to how doors work.


I'll admit now that by this point any goodwill I had for the film had evaporated so I sneaked off to get some crisps and by the time I returned Sara and Samantha seemed to be sitting in a leisure centre office watching a badly dubbed public information film with no signs of any monsters or any other members of the cast.

Checking it was still the same movie I sat down, began to weep and carried on in the hope that it had nearly finished.

Instead of an exciting pulse pounding climax tho' I re-entered the film to see a bleach-blonde Barbie doll in a hideous 80s power suit attempting to explain the films plot via a bunch of cue cards.

Unfortunately they appear to have been written in a language she couldn't understand seeing as what should have been a 3 minute scene descended into 9 minutes of uncomfortable pauses and mispronunciation where we discover that Tubular, although originally contracted to clean up the toxic environment in and around Venice actually planned to release the mutating virus thing into the city in order to turn everyone into monsters so that they could loot all its famous art and antiques.

No me neither.

Noticing that everyone now knows the companies evil plan Fuller goes into full Terminator mode (if the Terminator was a slightly fey guy with a home hi-lighting job) and proceeds to kill the remaining soldiers before activating the big 'DESTROY VENICE' device and shouting "You have 30 minutes to escape....if escape were possible! Ha! ha! ha!" before watching Sara and Sam run leisurely  up some stairs.

It's then he remembers that Samantha has the diary he was sent to retrieve so gives chase.

"Shoot me now!"

As the evil robot bloke gets ever nearer all looks lost until that is Sara rounds a corner and finds a time machine parked in a corridor.

A time machine with what looks like an old Major Morgan toy as a controller.

No, really.

Pressing all the buttons randomly the pair travel back in time as the whole of Venice explodes.

Surely this must be the end? both Samantha and Sara must be thinking as they stumble into a children's playpark.

I know I was.

But alas no, you see there was a second time machine hidden just behind the first one and it was set for the same point in time and space.

And Fuller found it.

Stepping out of his time machine he advances menacingly on our terrific - and toothsome - twosome, stopping only to throw a tramp off a bridge which gives Sara time to reprogramme the Major Morgan toy and toss it to him sending it and Fuller back from whence he came.

Which I assume is an exploding future Venice and not his mother's womb.

Regular readers will already know how much I love dear old (and dead) Bruno Mattei as well as writer Claudio Fragasso - I mean come on, between them they gave us the fantastic Zombie Creeping Flesh as well as the fur-tastic Rats so you can kinda forgive them most things.

Except this film that is.

For Shocking Dark is bad.

And not just bad, I mean arse-clenchingly, shite-curdlingly bad.

It's almost bad beyond words, taking everything you love about not just the film it copies but everything wonderful about 80s Italian cinema then proceeds to piss on it before sticking a rusty knife in its heart and finally setting fire to it creating a celluloid inferno from which no-one will survive unscathed.

Especially not the viewer.

Insert amusing caption here.

Unlike most (all?) Italian - and sometimes Spanish - 'homages' - OK rip-offs - of major Hollywood films and themes that were commonplace during the 80s Shocking Dark lacks that sense of fun that everything else from the aforementioned Zombie Creeping Flesh to Panic via the Alien-baiting Contamination with the entire film played so straight as to become deadly dull, you can't even snigger at the lo-fi effects because you know that no-one save the director is ever going to get paid and that everyone else is going home each night full of broken dreams and with an empty stomach.

Tho' in Cristopher Ahrens case that's probably not a bad thing.

Smug git.

And why should I put the effort in if the folk behind the camera aren't?

Not wanting to end on a downer it seemed at least Mattei realised the error of his ways and attempted to make amends later on in his career with his - actually brilliant - second attempt at ripping-off Aliens, Zombies: the Beginning, a film that has everything Shocking Dark lacks from naked Filipino children covered from head to (tiny) toes in green house paint wearing  joke shop Austin Powers-esque teeth and a paper mache headpieces pretending to be the undead to a sexy, charismatic lead in local swimwear model cum 'Hotgirl of The Week' and former electrical company receptionist Yvette Yzon.

Bizarrely Yzon after becoming something of a muse for Mattei in his later life she retired from acting upon his death, becoming an accountant and working on Argento's Dracula 3D.

Now that is scary.

*Which is not to be confused with Delta of Venus, the saucy short story collection by Anaïs Nin published posthumously in 1977.

The short stories that make up this anthology were written during the 1940s for a private client known simply as "Collector".

This "Collector" commissioned Nin, along with other now well-known writers (including Henry Miller and former Doctor Who editor Terrance Dicks) to produce erotic fiction for his private consumption.

Which in layman's terms means wank fodder.

A bit like how people see this blog.

His identity has since been revealed as your mum's cousin Jim, remember the guy that always used to hug you too tightly at Christmas whose keys always dug into you back?

**I say that because from what I can gather she attended the Maine Restaurant Week event that was hosted by Coffee By Design last year where guests tried coffee in many forms paired with sweet and savory treats created by local bakers and pastry chefs.

"They mostly come in cups....mostly!"

The lineup included: Baristas & Bites; Cakes by Babbs; C-Salt; Dean’s Sweets, Foley’s Cakes; Frisky Whisk; Landry’s Confections; Stones Cafe & Bakery; Tin Pan Bakery; TIQA Pan Mediterranean and Walter’s.

Tho' Walter's what we shall never know.

***Unless you're reading this in the far future when he is.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

krampus kapers.

"He knows when you are sleeping...." 
it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

Stay safe and have a good one!

Sunday, December 22, 2019


We're officially on holiday so plenty of time to indulge my Christmas tradition of only watching quality cinema.

The Spawn of The Slithis (1978).
Dir: Stephen Traxler
Cast: Alan Blanchard, Dennis Lee Fault, Judy Motulsky, J.C. Claire, Steven J. Hoag, John Hatfield, Rocky Fumarelli, Mello Alexandria, Dennis Falt, Hy Pyke, Wendy Rastattar and Win Condict.

“Why is it called Slithis?”  “For the same reason your parents named you ‘Jeff’.”

Our story begins with a sub-Jaws style score and a shaky pan across what looks like one of the rougher areas of Dudley (that's in the West Midlands in Englandshire for any Americans/thick people reading) settling - luckily before any of us vomit from the drunken camerawork - on a couple of kids playing frisbee.

In slow motion for some reason.

Thinking about it it's probably as one of them is morbidly obese so it's a good excuse to focus on his wobbling mantits as he runs about which, if I'm honest is about as exciting/erotic as this movie gets.

Anyway, after a particularly long toss from the fat lad his small ginger pal comes across a pair of mutilated dogs lying by the canal.

As the pair disinterestedly ride away in search of cakes the local radio news announces that there has been a spate of dog attacks around town and as if to prove this to the audience we abruptly cut to evening time where a yappy mutt is busy barking at a camera with a plastic cup sellotaped to the lens in order to give us an 'otherworldly' point of view of the proceedings that just makes it obvious that we're looking thru' a kids tumbler.

At least the thought was there.

If not the budget.

Or the imagination to come up with anything better.

Oh well.

His owners are woken by the noise and head downstairs to investigate only to be cruelly dispatched by the unseen intruder.

By dispatched I mean killed obviously, not packaged up and posted.

Pink ball straight in the pocket.

The police are convinced that the spate of bad murders are the work of a Manson style cult but rugged high school journalism teacher and ex-reporter for the Baldpate Advertiser Wayne Connors (Blanchard who left acting to sell insurance in the Merrimack Valley area of northeastern Massachusetts fact fans) has other ideas.

Mainly about acceptable fashion choices for heterosexual men by the look of his outfits but each to their own.

Anyway Wayne decides that if he alone cracks the case and writes the story (as well as writing and singing the theme tune obviously) it'll safe him from a turgid life teaching scantily clad cheerleader types how to spell, so much to the chagrin of his wife, Jeff (The Big Bus and Idaho Transfer star Motulsky, who was also once married to top Star Trek villain Charlie X himself Robert Walker Jr.), he heads off to the home of the two most recent recent victims for a wee nosy around.

Breaking into the house and having a quick rummage thru' the drawers it's not long before he's accosted by a sneezing policeman whom he placates by giving a cough sweet before leaving with a handful of dried shite he scraped off the carpet which he excitedly takes to be analyzed by the school biology teacher, Doctor John Leslie (Claire in his only film role) before returning home for an evening of snacks, soda and scrabble with his missis.

"Is it in yet?"

Their romantic night is interrupted tho' when an overenthusiastic Dr. John turns up at the door eager to share the results of his tests.

And by that I mean the ones he did on the shit not that he's about to announce that he has Hep B.

Tho' he does have a yellowish pallor to him, which in fairness may just be the lighting.

Anyway John grabs a beer and begins his big scene, explaining that the scraping is a wee bit radioactive and is a - little - piece of organic and inorganic stuff that he's never before encountered.

Tho' the fact that he looks like he's even never encountered a real woman before let alone anything remotely scientific dents the authenticity of the claim somewhat.

All this talk of radiation and shite tho' does remind him of something he read in GetWell! Magazine once when he was in the dentist waiting room.

Get Well Magazine: Get in the fucking sea you uneducated showers of shites - Reversing Autism? I would trust the writer to reverse a fucking go-kart. Wankers. And breathe.

You see nearly twenty years ago, the very first nuclear power plant opened for business in Wisconsin, everything was hunky dory till one afternoon a tipsy cleaning lady accidentally lent on an important lever causing a radiation leak to mutate the mud at the bottom of a nearby lake and made it sentient.

Aye, sounds legit.

This was discovered after a wee boy became ill with sickness and diarrhea after inadvertently drinking some of the water and his mum took him to the doctor for treatment for his explosive poo - or 'shitils' as the boy called them.

Hence the scientists named the organism Slithis as shitils sounded silly and not at all realistic.

True story bro.

But John is quick to point out that mutant mud doesn't have legs or eats folk so this version of the Slithis would have to absorbed a person or something.


And with that he bids his farewell and we cut to a pair of homeless men drinking cheap wine and gazing at each other far too intently whilst sitting next to a boat.

Actually it could be behind the scenes footage of the director and writer, who knows?

Anyway as the pair sit, sup and talk bollocks - in order to boost the running time - some spooky music kicks in and we're back with the plastic tumbler as someone - or something, OK we know it's something - watches them from afar in a totally non-pervy manner.

Well I assume it's non-pervy tho' I may be mistaken.

I mean imagine a movie where a mutated pile of shite furtively masturbates over tramps before eating a dog or two.

The fucker would be box office gold.

So the beardy tramp named Bunky and played to piss soaked perfection by John Hatfield who I assume isn't the American professional baseball player from the 1860s and 1870s - decides that after all this imbibing that he really needs a piss so off he trots to find a bin to go behind but just as he's about to unleash his engorged, pock-marked member the Slithis jumps out from the shadows and scares him so he runs away.

His friend and ex Ordinary Boys frontman Preston (Fumarelli, kissy lips and stinky trainers) meanwhile has fallen asleep so sees or hears nothing.

Fuck me that was exciting.

Rolf Harris is taking the divorce well.

Whilst attacks on dogs and fat folk seems to be the norm it appears that attacking the transient community is a step too far as we're now treated to exciting footage of various law enforcement types looking in bins and pushing tramps as the desperately try to find the person responsible for the killings cum piss spying.

Unfortunately everyone they meet is dressed as tho' they were auditioning for an off-Broadway stage musical version of Midnight Cowboy so the film takes an unexpected turn into camp territory as we're subjected to more and more shots of stubbly topless men in a variety of ever shorter - and tighter - cut off denims.

Even Wayne gets in on the act when he heads downtown to pump a few of them for information, decked as he is in a navel revealing cheesecloth shirt and a jaunty panama hat.

Heading over to the boatyard our hero indulges in a vaguely homoerotic chat with Preston - all long lingering looks and lip-licking as they discuss homeless drinking habits and how best to keep warm at night - regarding the whereabouts of Jethro before heading into town to offer cash to a variety of semi-dressed young men lounging on statues with their legs spread and finally turning up at a rundown motel where Bunky is slouched in a chair looking for all the world like an abused beanbag cosplaying Tom Savini.

Which is nice.

"My film."

Offering him a cash incentive to talk Wayne finds out that Bunky did in fact see the beast whilst trying to have a wee but due to outstanding fines for public urination can't go to the police but does give Wayne a pretty good description of the creature.

And a wee hug before he leaves.


After a tearful wank, a Pot Noodle and a shower Wayne and Dr. John decide to visit the scientist behind the original Slithis outbreak, the caramel faced human testicle Dr. Erin Burick (voice actor Falt who's done everything from Silent Hill to Castlevania) to see if their idea that the Slithis can now walk about and eat stuff is true.

He reckons so and suggests that they collect some mud samples from the river where the creature originated not only to be 100% certain but to also add a Jaws dimension to the film seeing as that was quite popular and anything that will help this monstrosity to be seen must be a good thing.

S obviously they're gonna need a (bigger) boat.

Enter (roughly from behind whilst indulging in a frantic reacharound) Captain Chris Alexander (Alexandria famous for Psychic Killer and playing a naked dancing hologram in THX 1138) who offers not only the use of a boat and crew but throws in some vaguely stereotypical 'jive-talkin' black dude' dialogue for good measure.

He must be related to the cleaner cum housemaid Elsie in Mausoleum, yo dig?

"So how much for a wee mooth shite-in boys?"

Heading out to sea - OK heading onto the lake, albeit a fairly big one but still - aboard the good ship Creation, they 'anchor' the boat just offshore enough to not need filming permits and Chris scuba dives down in order to get the samples.

Obviously we have to take his word for this seeing as the film's budget wont stretch to any underwater scenes so to make up for this Wayne sits on the boat looking into the water for what seems like days whilst every so often Chris pops up and hands him a jar.


Anyway all this bobbing up and down is tiring work so the boys all head home and after a sweet late night phone chat 'tween Wayne and Dr. John regarding the lack of consistency  between the samples (?) our hero decides it's time to shower Jeff with some of the attention he's been paying to the local tramps.

Unfortunately it goes all soft focus before the good bits.

But Wayne isn't the only person feeling a wee bit amorous this eve as we're suddenly in the towns most happening bar where the swarthy sex obsessed Doug (ex catalogue model and documentary producer Hoag) is busying himself betting on a turtle race - no really - whilst keeping a lookout for any under-aged talent that may wander by.

And he doesn't have to wait too long as the bubble gum popping, cousin visiting  Jennifer (David Cassidy - Man Undercover co-star Rastattar) soon catches his slightly less milky eye.

Checking if she's 'old enough'? ("Does it matter?" is her reply - zoiks!) Doug takes her up the marina where he's parked his boat a seductively tells her to go onboard and pour a drink whilst he has a piss.

The smooth talking devil.

Cue what seems like hours of lecherous small talk and illegal lolita lust as Dug plys Jennifer with more and more cheap wine before inviting her to his bedroom for a nude massage.

Luckily the Slithis turns up and kills Doug before he can get naked but just to make things even more uncomfortable than they already are we're treated to a 5 minute scene of the Slithis tossing Jennifer around the boat in slow motion - with the cameraman making the effort to show her pants as often as possible - before the beasts clumsily tears her blouse (which is a shame as it was smashing) for a much needed breast shot* and then biting her to death.

Just in case you thought I was taking the piss.....

The thing that haunts you about this (totally unnecessary) scene tho' isn't the dubious sexual politics or latent misogyny or even the fact that Doug has a framed photo of himself - surrounded by candles - on his bedside table.

Nope, it's the fact that during the monster molestation bit the photograph is replaced by a shoddy drawing.

No, really....just look:

Sexy portrait.

Shit sketch.

And they thought we'd be too busy looking at some poor actresses breasts to notice?

Well they obviously didn't count on someone with Autism powered super pedantry watching it did they?

With the blatant sexism out of the way it's back to the main plot and Wayne and Dr. John have gone to the police station to explain who all the bad murders have actually been committed by a human sized bit of radioactive sea shite.

And it's during this scene that we find the movie's one saving grace.

Ladies and gentlemen I give you - no fucking take him, please - Hy Pyke as police lieutenant Jack Dunn:

"Is it Giro day?"

In a - slightly shy of - 4 minute performance that bares absolutely fuck all relation to the plot, Pyke delivers one of the greatest - and most terrifying performances ever committed to celluloid, coming across like the bastard child of Joe Spinell and a Fraggle he eye rolls and screams thru' a page and a half of nonsensical dialogue with all the warm, humour and charm of a man with his hemorrhoids trapped in an infants mouth.

They really should have just had him play the lead and have done with it.

Or at least feature him getting his shirt ripped off in slow motion by the beast.

Suffice to say he's tells our dynamic duo to get to fuck leaving them no alternative but to deal with the creature themselves.

After much chat Wayne figures out that the Slithis must be using the water lock to enter the canal from wherever it is he spends his days so to this end decides to close it off leaving it no way to get into town.

And I thought the public transport here was shite.

Anyway as night falls head over to the locks only to find the gate padlocked but luckily Dr. John has the key as his best friend who works at the water authority is really forgetful and hands out keys to folk he trust so he wont lose them.

Shutting (locking?) the, um, lock the pair head over to Captain Chris' boat and armed with some handy sonar equipment from the high school lab set sail to find and kill the Slithis once and for all....

Shot in just twelve days over the long hot summer of  1977, Slithis is a no budget, lo-fi fleamarket 50s throwback that comes across as cheap and downtrodden as the hobos the beast feasts on, with precious screen time taken up with dozens of (non) actors stumbling thru' banal dialogue wearing a succession of more and more uncomfortable charity shop outfits rather than with gruesome killings and when the titular creature finally appears in all his rubber glory you'll be more concerned about how it can manage to walk with such oversized (albeit womanly) hips rather than elicit screams of terror.

But don't worry as there's some underage nudity and murder on a houseboat to keep the audience happy.

Said no director ever.

Talking of directors, the man behind this one, Stephen Traxler, is fairly interesting.

He first got the movie bug - as opposed to a tummy one - whilst serving in  Vietnam and upon his return home got straight to work on creating the greatest monster movie he could.

Unfortunately he was short of time - and money and nearly everything else - so made Spawn of the Slithis instead.

Not too surprisingly it was another 21 years till he directed again but scarily he didn't slack off in the meantime as he stuck by his dreams of film success, ending up becoming an industry renowned production supervisor with stuff like Waterworld, Gleaming The Cube and Windtalkers under his belt.

But not literally obviously.

Scarily he also co-produced Legally Blonde 2: The Crackdown.

Which let's be honest is more than I'll ever achieve sitting here typing shite that no-one reads so fair play to you Stephen, at least you're living the dream as opposed to wanking for coppers at the bus station like most of the cast ended up doing.

"Aya mah BCG!"

And it's this obvious love of cinema - but possibly loathing for the audience - that stops you turning the movie off and setting light to it as soon as a fat lad bouncing in a too tight T-shirt appears or when various local homeless guys are forced into ever more revealing Daisy Dukes.

Seriously it's actually fairly enjoyable despite itself.

Especially if you have a few bottles of wine handy.

And you haven't eaten.

Which is quite possibly the bizarrest recommendation I've ever given.

"You chase me now!"

True there's way too much exposition, many of the scenes drag on for what seems like an eternity and the editing/effects/acting can only be described kindly as utter bollocks but it's heart is in the right place.

It's just a pity it's brain isn't.    

*This is what we call sarcasm.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

people you fancy but shouldn't (part 90).

Seeing as it's Star Wars week let's take time out to raise a glass of blue milk to the really rather wonderful Lt. Kaydel Ko Connix.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

lego lass.

Our youngest has just gotten back into Lego in a big way and - after hours of building, bashing, rebuilding and general tinkering it got me thinking.

Why are so many lady Lego characters so damned attractive?

Just me then?

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

hp source.

In the middle of doing some 'proper' work for some legitimate clients leading up to Christmas which means I don't really have enough time to watch and review the usual rubbish on here.

Be thankful for small mercies.

I have to make an exception for this beauty tho' as it's become a wee bit of a tradition that we watch it every Christmas.

Curse of the Crimson Altar (1968).
Dir: Vernon Sewell.
Cast: Christopher Lee, Boris Karloff, Michael Gough, Rosemarie Reede, Virginia Wetherell, Barbara Steele and Mark Eden.

"It's like Boris Karloff is going to pop up at any moment!"

 You have to feel sorry for square jawed antique dealer Robert Manning (Marco Polo himself and latter day Corrie mad man Eden), not only has his better looking brother Peter gone missing - kidnapped by a pervy tea towel wearing Satanic cult led by a turquoise breasted witch named Lavinia (swinging sixties sex goddess Steele), we got to see this amazing spectacle in the pre-credits teaser - after sending him only one of a matching pair of candle sticks but, and this is much more important, his attempts at flirting with his assistant Esther (Reede) have all the erotic pulling power of your dad pissed up and trying it on with a bridesmaid at a wedding.

The mighty man tits don't really help either if I'm honest.

With only a hastily written note detailing Peter's last whereabouts - which if you think about it is more than most folk have to go on - Robert heads off to the typographically odd Craxted Lodge in the quaint English village of Greymarsh, which by some bizarre twist of fate and plot convenience is where his family originally hails from, for some answers.

And maybe even a shirt or two that fit from the local tailors.

Barbara Steele: Ask yer granddad.

Driving into town in the middle of the night Robert is welcomed by the sight of a nearly naked young girl being chased by two mob filled cars and with him being an heroic type he pulls over, leaps out of his car and to her defence.

Wouldn't you know it tho', it's all a huge misunderstanding and the group are actually playing a grown up version of hide and seek possibly called run and ravish .

Sounds reasonable I guess.

Making his apologies for trying to punch everyone involved our hero is surprised to find himself invited along to the annual whacked-out witch party - of the type that only exist in the minds of middle aged film producers in the late '60's - being held at the Lodge.

Cut to ten minutes of saucy body painting, exotic types pouring cheap Cava over their overripe breasts, besuited Brylcream boys smoking dope and girls timidly touching each others thighs whilst licking their lips.

Robert, realizing that with all the drinking going on he might actually pull immediately grabs a large one and proceeds to fire into the first girl he sees, blonde bombshell Eve (Weatherell, best known for playing dishy Dyoni in the first Dalek story and waving her breasts at Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange) who just happens to be the niece of J.D. Morley (Christopher 'the kids school fees are how much?' Lee), the man he's there to see regarding his missing brother.

Lucky that.

Christopher Lee tries out Mark Eden's new Ronco anti-mooth shite-in mask.

Escorted by Morely's monosyllabic manservant Elder (the shameless Gough) to the drawing room, Robert is informed that Morley has never met his brother and has absolutely no idea who he is but does offer to let him lodge at the house until he either finds him or nails his niece.

Which is thoughtful of him.

Thanking his host before heading off for a quick Pot Noodle, Robert is waylaid by the arrival of the wheelchair bound local witchcraft expert Professor John Marsh (Karloff, nuff said) who, armed only with a bottle of home brewed tonic wine and a back of torture instruments proceeds to regale our hero with the tale of the luscious Lavinia Morley, a witch burned by the towns folk a hundred years ago that very night.

The party it seems is the locals way of celebrating the event because nothing says community spirit like a good burning.

Except maybe pedo baiting.

How your mum earns the money for all your Christmas presents.

Now that the entire cast have been introduced we can get on with the plot good and proper.

And my word what a plot it turns out to be featuring as it does a Joe Orton style mute manservant with a gun fetish, LSD fuelled dream sequences full of middle-aged men in bondage gear alongside tassle-titted butch babes in animal masks, horrible bri-nylon Kung Fu style pyjamas and, most disturbingly a bizarre sixties style revolving lamp that communicates from beyond the grave using Barbara Steele's voice.

Which is weird seeing as not even he appears to be using it in this film.

They must have secretly recorded her answer phone or something.

Tonight live on stage....One Direction!

It's not all breasts, booze and beasts tho' as Robert is soon dragged headlong into an hallucinogenic hellhole of soul selling and rare silverware that even Bargain Hunt's Tim Wonnacott would be wary of.

Tho' saying that he'd have had absolutely no problem bedding at least half of the party goers by now.

Even Christopher Lee would have been tempted.


So, will Robert find his brother and manage to get a good price for the candlesticks?

Will bubbly Barbara pop out of her gravity defying dress?

And most importantly will Robert's frankly over aggressive pulling technique of attempting to force himself upon Eve culminate in a kissing session or a restraining order?

Five miles...roughly speaking.

Executive produced by Tony Tenser, the man who gave us Witchfinder General, The Sorcerers, Cul-de-sac, Repulsion and Frightmare amongst others, written by Mervyn Haisman and Henry Lincoln of Doctor Who fame, based on a story by HP Lovecraft and with a cast to die for (oh and Mark Eden), Curse of The Crimson Altar should be one of the Greatest British horror movies ever made.

I say should be because what we end up with is a gloriously cliched and convoluted pot boiler of a 'B' picture that's so simplistic in it's plotting as to make Scooby Doo look like Eraserhead.

Barbara Steele: She'll have plenty of energy left for me long after you've crawled into a corner for a cry.

That's not to say it isn't still wildly entertaining and worth a look tho', if only for the legendary Karloff and Lee sharing screen time.

It's just a pity we don't get to see more of the magnificent Ms. Steele in all her technicolour glory which frankly would be far more attractive than a topless Mark Eden grubbily pawing at Virginia Wetherell's flimsy nightie with his massive sausage fingers.

Erotic as that maybe for your grannie I'm sorry but it does nowt for me.

Wetherell: Nip slip and side shed.

Adequately directed in a workman-like manner by 'B' movie stalwart Vernon Sewell, director of The Blood Beast Terror - the film that Peter Cushing decried as his 'worse ever' - Crimson Altar isn't necessarily bad or unwatchable it's just that with hindsight and seeing the film as the last gasp of the whole Roger Corman led/Hammer following gothic horror cycle of the fifties and sixties before gruesome realism and grittiness took over that both the audience and the actors deserved a wee bit better.

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