Thursday, November 25, 2021

bin raidin'.

Released on this very day in 1983, Ruggero Deodato's disco-tastic dystopian epic doesn't get a quarter of the love it deserves so I'm rewatching it right NOW and then reposting this review to see if I can change that.

Which is fair enough.

I mean I don't need to explain myself to you, you're not my dad.



The Raiders Of Atlantis (AKA Atlantis Interceptors, Atlantis Inferno, I predatori di Atlantide. 1983)
Dir: Ruggero Deodato.
Cast: Christopher Connelly, Gioia Scola, Tony King, George Hilton, Ivan Rassimov, Mike Miller, Bruce Baron, Michele Soavi, Giancarlo Prati, Maurizio Fardo, Mike Monty, John Vasallo, Lewis A. Cianelli, James Demby and Audrey Perkins.

"This don't look like no advanced civilization
to me - just a bunch of trees!"




Rough and tumble, pastel clad heroes for hire Mike Smith (mottle skinned Connelly from Manhattan Baby) and Geoff 'Mohammad' Washington (King AKA Malik Farrakhan from Cannibal Apocalypse and BJ and the Bear), make ends meet by chloroforming then kidnapping old men on the orders of the US government for $50,000 a shot.

Which is nice work if you can get it.

Having delivered an old fella to a mysterious colonel whilst wisecracking about Vietnam and Washington's conversion to Islam, the pair decide to set sail to the Caribbean for a well deserved holiday.

By some strange coincidence, a secret Navy project is getting under way in the same bit of ocean and the tiny faced, 80s council estate Ashley Judd-alike science type, Dr. Cathy Rollins (Desirable Teacher and Until Death 'star' Scola of whom, it must be said, I had a huge crush on in my teens to a point where I actually wrote her a fan letter*) has been - forcibly - drafted in to help decipher an ancient, skull embossed plaque discovered on the ocean floor.

The projects head, the bespectacled and knee length shorted Professor Peter Saunders (Hilton from such classics The Case of the Bloody Iris and Holy God, Here Comes the Passatore!) explains that they came across it (not literally) whilst trying to raise a Russian sub that had sunk a few months earlier.

Being an expert on pre-Columbian dialects of almost Daddy Pig proportions, Rollins has absolutely no trouble in translating the strange markings on the plaque and announces that it tells the whereabouts of the fabled lost city of Atlantis.

"Bbbbbbzzzzzzzzzz!"




Meanwhile in a mysterious Caribbean isle hotel room, a spooky man in his granddad's suit slowly opens a wall safe and removes a joke shop plastic skull mask from it, gazing lovingly at it before popping it onto his tiny head.

I'm just relieved that he didn't force it up his arse.

Talking of tiny heads - and anal insertions, it's action stations all the way back on the government submarine stealing base as Rollin's takes a break from transcribing ancient inscriptions (and a sell out spoken word tour) to peer at a grainy black and white monitor showing superimposed images of a child's bath toy slowly rising to the surface of a fish tank.

Suddenly the whole place goes haywire as indoor firework style sparks shower the set and the light fuses blow.

As the crew run around like small girls being chased by a wasp it's left to the director of Delamore Dellamorte to lead everyone to the lifeboats.

But what's happening back on that island with the skull-faced man I hear you cry?

Well so far nothing seeing as we've cut to a garishly clad couple, Arthur and Maude who, upon leaving their house are shocked and frightened by the amount of grainy stock footage of thunderstorms in the distance.

Maude is understandably upset and wants to go back into the house but as she turns to enter the porch plastic skull face turns up (surrounded by a motley assortment of leather clad and mohawk headed pikeys) and shoots her in the throat before parking his bike up Arthur's arse .

Finally some bum-based action.


Boris Johnson reveals his true form.




Mike and Washington, alongside their oiled Filipino cabin boy Manuel (Vasallo in his only credited screen appearance - shame) are having problems of their own trying to guide the boat thru' giant waves whilst dodging the huge domed city that's appeared out of the ocean in front of them.

The trio are surprisingly nonchalant about the whole thing which is quite refreshing for this type of movie, well at least they are until the outboard motor explodes and the last crate of beer falls overboard.

Luckily the films fades to black before it can get too exciting (or expensive) and next thing we know it's the following morning.

Phew.

The sea is calm and Washington and Manuel seem to have forgotten about their earlier ordeal and are busying themselves rescuing the survivors (including Italian cinema's sexiest man, Sir Ivan of Rassimov in the pivotal role of daredevil pilot Bill Cook) from the base whilst Mike makes googly eyes at Cathy.

Who it appears seems young enough to be his daughter but let's not dwell on that.

Mercifully for the viewer this uncomfortable display of old man lust is cut short when Manuel suddenly becomes a mentalist and grabs Cathy by her scrawny throat, threatening to kill anyone who gets in his way.

It appears that Manuel has received a psychic message telling him that 'Cathy is needed'.

It mustn't be that important tho' seeing as he's happy enough to jump overboard without her.


"To me!" "To you!"




With everyone just standing about staring at each other trying to figure what just happened, nobody notices that the boat has run aground on a deserted beach until Cathy decides to go skinny dippy, jumps overboard and grazes her knee on a discarded Irn Bru bottle.

Mike being the oldest (by about seventy years) takes charge and decides that they should head inland and try to find a phone.

Or at least find the guy who runs the donkey rides across the sand.

Approaching the nearest town our intrepid (or is that tepid?) band are shocked to find the whole place in ruins with buildings ablaze, cars overturned and corpses hanging from every telegraph pole.

Mike mistakenly thinks that they've arrived in Manchester and whilst desperately trying to score some skag of an illiterate inbred on a street corner bumps into his old pal Manuel, still nutty as squirrel shit and here to warn them to get Cathy back to the boat before 'they' arrive to take her.


Top Gear's gone a bit shit.




But it's a warning too late as the infamous 'they' (plastic skull face and his merry band of homo-erotic bikers) arrive and start shooting at things whilst showing their oiled nipples to all and sundry forcing Mike and co. to take shelter in a church.

All that is except the resident ginger man who runs towards the leather clad gang shouting “They’re human! They’ll listen to reason!” before being shot in the face and nailed to a tree.

Which is fair enough I reckon.

Waiting till nightfall and the bad boy bikers going home to bed, Mike and Bill lead the survivors to the (relative) safety of a nearby warehouse packed with cases of rifles, unlimited ammunition and a big box of napalm.

Which is pretty damn lucky if you ask me.

On a less interesting note the warehouse is also hiding place to a balding camp man in a tuxedo (Fardo from The Bronx Warriors 2 and Demons 6 which I must admit sounds like the best football result ever), his fairly unattractive daughter and his very unattractive wife.

Don't worry tho', they'll be dead soon.

It's not long before the barking bikers return to torment and taunt Mike and his pals whilst handily standing still on top of walls within easy shooting distance.

“We have returned!” shouts plastic before sending his men into the warehouse to snatch Cathy, leaving Mike no alternative but to give chase.

What a guy.

Running around the backlot, his turkey neck glistening with sweat Mike chances upon a hefty German man (Mike Miller, not this one I assume) in a fetching headband who goes by the name of Klaus.

Being a typical German he's been wandering around for days spoiling for the chance to fight someone.

Or at the very least find somewhere to place his towel.

Not too surprisingly he jumps at the chance to join Mike's quest.

Returning to the warehouse and reading thru' Cathy's notebook (in the hope of finding some nude pictures of her obviously) Mike discovers that Atlantis sank as a consequence of a big civil war culminating in the use of a nuclear bomb, ergo the radiation leaking from the downed Soviet sub is what must have caused the island to rise again.

Obvious really.

There's a downside to all this domed city and psychic nonsense tho' as it seems that the radiation has caused all the surviving Atlanteans to become forgetful which is why they need Cathy as it seems only she knows how to raise  Atlantis for good.

And yes, I know it's all bollocks, I've just had to type it.



Scola: Nice shoes, shit sofa.




But Mike, being brave and desperate for a shag has a rescue plan which involves commandeering a bus to travel to the local airport and steal a helicopter to fly to Atlantis, kill everyone there and leave with Cathy over his shoulder.

Yup, works for me.

After an exciting bus journey and a few more killings they do indeed steal a helicopter and fly toward the bubblicious Atlantis where, upon landing they kill a few more leather-clad Atlantean types whilst Professor Saunders (yes, he's still alive and wearing shorts) decides that neutralizing the radiation from the submarine may indeed cause Atlantis to sink again, saving everyone from being over-run by plastic skull wearing mentalists on motorbikes.

Or something.



Stance.



Whilst all this killing and science is going on Cathy has had time to dress up in a seventies disco-whore outfit and have a conversation with some old men projected onto a wall.

Her lack of any visible acting ability makes me think that she's either drunk or under hypnosis seeing as she's not only readily agreed to help the Atlantean's take over the world but seems to believe all the frankly techno-bollocks chat that's being banded about.

Saying that tho' her legs to look particularly nice in those glittery tights so it's not all bad.

But time (and the viewers patience) is running out.

"Shite in mah Atlantean mooth!"




Will Mike be able to rescue Cathy in time to take her out for the promised spinach supper?

Will the Professor be able to turn off the nuclear radiation?

Or will the plastic skull man take over the world?

Go on, guess.


What film are we talking about?





The controversy courting king of the cannibals Ruggero Deodato's little seen action epic Raiders of Atlantis is a majestically mental mix of gruesome gore, mystical mumbo jumbo and post-apocalyptic thrills, riffing Indiana jones and the Hong Kong classic Fantasy Mission Force along the way before mixing the entire thing to a tepid disco beat courtesy of the fantastic Guido De Angelis and Maurizio De Angelis under the alias Oliver Onions.

I'll give you a second to take all that in and then ask....

What's not to like?


Gioia Scola: Ask your dad.



For better or worse, Deodato will probably only be remembered (by all but the most devoted film enthusiasts) for his infamous mockumentary shocker Cannibal Holocaust (and possibly House on the Edge of the Park but for all the wrong reasons) which is a shame really, as his most enjoyable (and accessible) works are the ones that no-one seems to have seen.

And if they have they rarely seem to talk about them.

From the sexy swashbuckling Lucretia love starring comic book adaptation Zenabel to the sublime crime thriller Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man (AKA The Terminators) via the lo-fi Airport: 79 rip off Concorde Affaire '79 (AKA Concorde Inferno '79), Deodato is a director whose genuine love of cinema (and more importantly an appreciation of the sheer enjoyment that films can give) shines thru' even the most threadbare and nonsensical plots.

And much like the great man's drug busting actioner Cut And Run, The Raiders Of Atlantis might be total bollocks but you can't deny that it's utterly enjoyable.

And you can't say fairer than that can you?


Scola: Any excuse.







































*She never replied.

Monday, November 22, 2021

time and relative dimensions in sound.

 Over 3 hours of masterful mixes, Mondasian music, Cyber sounds and Bok beats celebrating 58 years of all things Doctor Who!

 

 

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

scared stiff.

Noticed the distinct lack of films on the blog of late and thought I'd remedy that by actually watching one for a change as opposed to just posting my rather lackluster music mixes (not my description by the way) so last night I decided to rewatch the classic Buster Crabbe starrer The Alien Dead, partly because I'm a sucker for Fred Olen Ray but mostly because I've always loved the cover still from The Evil Dead publicity shoot and try to watch all the films that have ever used it.*




Unfortunately I didn't have my glasses on so I accidentally picked this up instead and by the time I'd popped the cassette in (yup, I can be old school as the kids say sometimes) and sat down I really couldn't be arsed getting up and going thru' the whole thing again.

That'll teach me.

Alien Zone (AKA House of The Dead, Zone of the Dead, Last Stop on 13th St. 1978).
Dir: Sharron Miller.
Cast: John Ericson, Ivor Francis, Judith Novgrod, Bernard Fox, Charles Aidman, Burr DeBenning and Richard Gates.


“After they’re dead, I get them. That’s my work.”


Welcome to Stillwater Minnesota on a wet Wednesday night where successful plumber Jeff Talmudge (Ex-Playgirl Man of the Month and creator of the Sony mobile phone, Ericson) is busy laying pipe of a totally different kind before attending the plumbers convention held in the local town hall.

No really.

Finishing up his romantic liaison with a quick wipe of his cock on the curtains he hails a cab back to his hotel only to be dropped off on the wrong street leaving him lost, confused and soaking wet.


Wandering around in the rain he soon comes across the white haired weirdo Mr Vic Sinister (Francis, who just happens to be - or was - Jonathan 'Star Trek' Frakes' father-in-law) who invites him into his house to dry off.


As they sit chatting about plumbing and stuff Mr Sinister informs Talmudge that he's the local mortician and - if he fancies it - is willing to show him a couple of dead bodies and tell him how they died.


Which I'm sure is a wee bit unethical.


Tho' I'm not a mortician so wouldn't really know for sure so if any are reading please write in a tell me.

Anyway it turns out that he's not just any old mortician but the mortician who gets to hand pick the most interesting cases so each one of the four deaths he's about to talk about are sure to be belters.




With nothing better to do Talmudge follows Mr Sinister to the morgue.....

Your mum's cum face.....trust me I know, your uncle Peter told me.



Opening the casket closest to hand Vic begins his macabre tales with the life (but mainly death) of the harsh-faced harridan Miss Sibiler (Bare Knuckles star Novgrod) an angry, control freak type teacher with a risk assessment obsession (probably) who harbors a deep hatred for children.**

You can tell this because as she's heading to her car after doing a wee bit of shopping she stops to shout "I hate you children!" at some kids in the street before driving away.

Arriving home she resigns herself to a frozen meal for one and some copyright free music on the radio but as she busies herself preparing for an evening alone with a half-frozen chicken and a bottle of cheap Aldi gin she begins to hear noises around her apartment.

It soon becomes clear that someone or something is attempting to mess with her little pin-like head so she decides - as you do -  to take a shower giving the director ample opportunity to do something a wee bit creepy Ala Psycho but alas all we get is a cardboard cut out shadow and a close-up of hideous shower cap.

Realising that this is an anthology (or portmanteau if you prefer) film poor Sibiler screams like a girl (obviously) and runs downstairs to find her house full of children clad  in hellish 70s bri-nylon fashions and a collection of poundshop Halloween masks.

For those of you about to say that this all sounds a bit shit hold on, because the director has an ace up their sleeve for as the children slowly remove their masks it's revealed that they're all wearing fake teeth.

And dribbling.



"come in the back of me car and let me bite you!" - The fucking state of this, honestly.

Cue 5 minutes of bizarro disco lighting and Top of The Pops style FX as Sibiler retreats into a corner looking slightly worried before we're back with Vic and Jeff, the mortician explaining that no-one really knows who bit the poor woman to death.

So he's actually just making this shit up then?

Before Talmudge can comment we're onto corpse number 2 which belongs to (as in it's actually his body, he hasn't bought it on Ebay or something) the infamous murderer Alan Growski (70s TV stalwart and star of The Incredible Melting Man DeBenning).

"Is it in yet?"


Played for sinister (PG friendly) laughs the murders are intercut with footage of Growski being lead away by the police whilst being asked if he really did kill them, which is kinda redundant if you think about it.

Realising that this tale is utter toffee we're soon back with Mr Vic who says that after him feeling famous for doing all the bad murders the authorities refused to film him in the electric chair.

So I guess that's the twist then.

Marvelous.

Shuffling uncomfortably and checking his watch Talmudge looks on as the morose mortician approaches (yet another) coffin whilst beginning the story of top 'tec Malcolm Toliver (Aidman who was once nominated for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Music And Lyrics, fact fans) who has recently been voted America's Best Criminologist (Ever!) by - um - American Criminologist Magazine.

Or was it Titbits?

Anyway whilst solving a gay love tryst hanging (as you do) who should turn up but the famed Inspector Andy McDowell (Dr. Bombay from Bewitched and Colonel Crittendon in Hogan's Heroes himself, Fox) who just happens to have been voted Britain's Best Criminologist (Ever!) thanks to Simon Cowell, David Walliams and the lovely Alesha Dixon, beating a tap-dancing dog and a comedy giant ex-policeman with rickets who used to shout "Moldy bread!" when arresting criminals.

Their rivalry is well known and the pair enjoy (well someone has to) a few moments verbal sparring - as opposed to a sword fight in a ladies mouth - as they give the reasons as to why they will end up crowned The World's Greatest Detective.

I always assumed that was The Batman but heyho.

Dixon: So far out of my league there's no point even thinking about it (or so my other half says).

Whilst out for a meal one night to celebrate the solving of the hanging case (it was a Mexican what done it....bad people, knife, knife, knife  etc.) the pair are intrigued when a note arrives for the Toliver saying (well obviously it doesn't really 'say' it as letters can't speak, this is just a turn of phrase) that someone he knows well will be murdered in three days so with McDowell in tow it's a race against time - and tedium - to solve the case.

Well I say solve the case but let's be honest it's pretty obvious who's behind it isn't it?

Lucky for us then that the performances on show are so good.***

Hannibal: The Pikey Years.


As the evening continues and the audience begins to slip into a coma we're introduced Mr Vic approaches the penultimate casket and begins to recount the tale of hard-nosed businessman Dirk Cantwell (Gates who according to a quick look at Wikipedia is either an American former Olympic sailor in the Star class who competed in the 1972 Summer Olympics together with Alan Holt or an American former political consultant and lobbyist who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy against the United States and making false statements - he may be someone else entirely but I really can't be arsed checking****) who lives for profit and hates everything else.

After being rude to his secretary and knocking back the chance of a night out with his workmates at the famous Nobby's Burger Joint (They serve 23 kinds of burgers) he heads out to lunch (alone) and after slagging off a shopkeeper for not selling chewing gum he proves his 100% patent bastardness by telling a homeless man to "Get a job!"

What a rotter.

"I love you....could it be magic?"


As he walks down the street he notices that the local Primark is having a sale so pops in on the off chance that he can buy some cheap shorts for his holidays but imagine his surprise when upon entering he finds the place deserted.

And the doors locked preventing him from leaving.

Exploring the shop in the hope of at least finding a pair of Jesus sandals going cheap Cantwell stumbles on a discarded coathanger and falls down a liftshaft where he's attacked by a wall of nails.

As is the way of these things.

Trapped in the rubbish filled hole and fed nothing but booze by an unseen assailant hours seem to turn to days and days into weeks (or that maybe just how I felt watching) when, out of the blue, he’s finally released.

Stumbling into the sunlight he grabs a passerby for help but the guy just yells at him to "Get a job!"

See what they did there?

Hmmmmm.....donuts.


Obviously bored to tears by all this sub-Twilight Zone bollocks Talmudge makes his excuses to leave but not before Mr Vic points mysteriously to an empty coffin and announces that this one is waiting for an adulterer.

As you do.

Running from the mortuary Talmudge looks up to see that it is - in fact - the hotel (whit?) and scared shitless he legs it into an alley only to bump into the husband of the woman he was having 'the sex' with at the films beginning who shoots him dead.

And would you believe that when the ambulance turns up it's driven by Mr Vic himself?

Scary biscuits.


Just not that one.




Dubbed "Stillwater's own monster hit!" by someone who didn't get out much, writer David (Dark Honeymoon, Fatal Instinct, The Boogens - yup everyone a winner) O'Malley's horror opus began it's life as a TV script entitled "Five Faces" and then to "Five Faces of Terror" before producers realised that the film actually feature more than five faces.

I counted at least 18. 

Upon release it was entitled "Alien Zone" by the distributor to cash in on the scifi trend of the time before ultimately changing again to "House of the Dead." for it's VHS debut.

And why am I telling you this?

Because the whole title thing is by far the most interesting - and exciting - thing about the whole sorry affair.

Director Sharron (Cagney & Lacey, Homefront, The Trials of Rosie O'Neill) Miller may have gone on to carve out a prolific directing career on TV - being as she was the first woman to win the Directors Guild Award for directing a dramatic (non-documentary) film for the Afterschool Special, "The Woman Who Willed a Miracle" in 1983 fact fans - but there's none of that skill on show here as the camera just points at the actors as the slowly go thru their paces.

I'm not saying the film is slow but a 3 hour video tape actually ran out before even 10 minutes of the film had played out.

And my children who are 17 and 15 respectively had all gotten married and had kids by the time it had finished.

No, really.

"Mask on mah face!"


It's not all mind numbing tedium tho' as the clothes are quite funny and the Burr DeBenning segment is kinda kooky enough to hold your interest.

Plus the first lady he kills is doing enough 'acting' for the rest of the cast.

Trust me, she deserves if not a film of her own then at least the bumps in the playground.

Plus I'm pretty sure that Ryan Spindell, director of the really rather fabulous The Mortuary Collection is a fan, seeing as that movie has practically the same basic plot.

To be fair tho' Spindell actually does something brilliant with it.

 

Harmless enough I guess but then again you can say that about anything till someone loses an eye.





















































*Which to be honest is two.



 **I think I know who this may be based on but for legal reasons I really can't say.


***For any Americans reading (Americans? reading? ha!) this is what we 'Britfags' call sarcasm.



****I've just found out that he's actually neither of those people and was in fact once married to Veronica Cartwright.

teevee times.

 Had an excited chat on our Radcliffe and Maconie group t'other day regarding TeeVee themes of our youth which culminated in me staying up all night to mix this.

Enjoy.


Saturday, November 6, 2021

stranger sounds.

Can't believe that it's 38 years today since Will Byers went missing.....Remember the day with 60 (very) odd minutes of strange sounds from the upside down: 


Wednesday, November 3, 2021

happy birthday big g!

 Celebrate Godzilla's 67th birthday with 60 plus minutes of Gojira grooves, Kaiju cuts and massive monster mixes.

 

 

Sunday, October 31, 2021

happy halloween!

 


hand shandy.

 

 


 

So it's here!

The final day of this years 31 Days of Horror spooktacular!

And which film is worthy of finishing it off?

Well it was going to be Black Candles* as someone had emailed me to see if I'd ever reviewed it, I took a quick look thru' the archives - tho' why they couldn't search for it I've no idea....what is this a library? -  and bizarrely this popped up instead.

Checking it seems that only 3 folk have ever read the review which is sad really.

Or a sign of good taste.

Who knows?

But the thing that clinched it for me it reminded me of the time I got asked to contribute to a comic book sequel.

This never came to fruition (or maybe it did and my work was deemed too shit to include - it happens) as an added treat I thought I'd share some of the work here.

Enjoy.







Manos: The Hands of Fate (1966)
Dir: Harold P. Warren.
Cast: Tom Neyman, John Reynolds, Diane Mahree, Harold P. Warren, Stephanie Nielson, Sherry Proctor, Robin Redd, Jackey Neyman, Bernie Rosenblum, Joyce Molleur and William Bryan Jennings.



"Manos, God of primal darkness. As thou has decreed so have I done. The hands of fate have doomed this man. Thy will is done".


The somewhat sickening Felcher family; dad Michael (writer, director, actor, spy, salesman and inventor Warren), mum Margaret (Mahree - bless you), Hellish girl child Debbie (Curse of Bigfoot star and only person to be paid for the movie, Neyman) and the family dog, Peppy are heading for a well deserved (if arse-numbingly dubbed) holiday at Butlins in Skegness.

So far so so.

Luck (and let's be honest looks) obviously aren't on their side tho', as not only are they stopped by the police due to a cracked tail-light but also get lost somewhere near the A1 turn off to Smethwick.

Smethwick, twinned with your gran.

Bored, cold and tired, Michael and his family decide to pull over at a the first house they come across to ask directions.

But being Smethwick, there aren't any houses as we know them, just a few broken down sheds and a burnt out Burger king.

Oh and a car on bricks with the words 'GRASS' sprayed down the side in excrement.

Finally, just as their hope of finding any signs of civilization is fading the family reach a rickety old house looked after by a big hatted, bow legged backward arsed butler named Torgo (Reynolds, allegedly wearing a home-made bondage suit to aid his performance), who, as it happens is house-sitting for "The Master" (no not that one) whilst he's away on business.

Togo: He's got something to put in you.


Repulsed yet oh so slightly aroused by the smell of boiled onions permeating thru' Togo's beard, Michael and Margaret ask him for directions to Butlins; Torgo simply (and stiffly) replies that "There's no way out of here....It'll be dark soon...." 

Spooky.

Michael, totally nonplussed by the terrifying Torgo and his trampy beard demands that he and his family be allowed to stay the night and orders Torgo to fetch their belongings from the car.

Being a woman Margaret's concerns go unheard by her husband who's too busy booting Torgo up the arse as he attempts to balance a variety of cases on his hips.

Once inside, the family are disturbed to see that there are not only a distinct lack of carpets but that the walls are crammed full of pound shop voodoo shite with a child’s finger painting of a dark eyed, grey skinned moustachioed man and his anorexic greyhound as a stunning centrepiece.

The man it depicts is The Master.

The dog, well that's just a dog.

I've spunked prettier things.

When an amusingly scratched sound effect of a wolf howling puts the willies up poor Margaret and sends lil' Peppy running outside, macho Michael decides to investigate.

Grabbing a flashlight - tho' a fleshlight would probably be more appropriate for a pile of wank this big - and revolver from his car he wanders around in the dark (making sure not to step off the set obviously) before finding Peppy, by now cunningly played by an old coat lying dead in the desert dust.

Back at the house Torgo is busying (and arousing) himself by rubbing his legs and attempting to stroke Margaret's hair as he admits undying love for her, warning our moaning faced MiLF that she is doomed to become a bride of The Master, tho' Torgo wants her for himself.

 Dirty boy.

Obviously offended at only being able to pull square faced bores and bandy legged bums Margaret threatens to tell Michael about Torgo's frankly ludicrous seduction attempts but our bearded buddy convinces her to stay quiet by promising to protect her from stuff.

Look the script isn't that specific so why should I be?

Luckily for all concerned Michael re-enters the scene at this point with some bad news.

And it's not that the film is almost over.

It seems that on his travels he's discovered that not only is the dog dead but the car has broken down and little Debbie has wandered off.

Good news tho' is that the local Tapas bar still has tables available.

Unfortunately there isn't a phone in the house to ring for a reservation so with great reluctance the family decide to stay the night, if only to find out where Debbie has gone.

 Which is nice.

Tunnel or funnel?

Worry not dear readers, Debbie is only outside playing with the devilish greyhound from the painting.

Let's be honest tho' it's not like anyone would've abducted her anyway seeing as she has a face that would make a horse sick, I mean any pervy pedo that could maintain anything remotely like an erection around her would deserve a medal.

But I digress.

Unlike the director obviously who seems to be under the impression that the film doesn't have enough stilted, dialogue free scenes of badly made up (and in some cases just plain ugly) actors staring at each other for no reason than to highlight the many continuity mistakes on show.

Make it stop.

Or at least get a wee bit interesting.

Please.

Debbie: Not even With Jonathan King's.


Which after what seems like an eternity it actually does with the arrival of The Master himself (Neyman, unfortunate father of the fearful she-child Jackey, actual owner of the featured greyhound and the man who painted the portrait mentioned earlier...so many jobs so little talent) who is first seen sleeping in a barn surrounded by several ex-strippers clad in translucent dresses and oversized girdles.

Without warning Torgo ties Michael to a handy pole as The Master and his many 'wives' suddenly spring to life before indulging in a short (yet downright bizarre) argument over what to do with the Felcher family.

Is it just me or would you assume that a secret polygamous devil cult would already have contingency plans in place for such an event?

Batman: the mooth shite-in years.

Anyway, The Master (still not that one) after a wee pause decides to sacrifice Torgo and his first wife Mavis to the evil God of facial hair (and hands) Manos before taking Margaret and (ye gods no) Debbie as his new wives.

With this decision The Master makes his farewells and heads off for a power shower and a poo, leaving his wives to engage in some impromptu wrestling.

Phwoar! Wahey! etc.


Upon his return and using a potent post poo hypnotic spell The Master stops the fight before ordering his minions (not those ones) to tie Mavis to the pole in order to be sacrificed whilst Torgo awaits his fate from a handy stone bed.

And what a fate it is, as the remaining wives jump on the poor sod and pretend to eat him before The Master, using his mysterious hairy lipped powers severs Torgo's hand before setting fire to it.

Or at least to a crudely made wax replica.

Torgo, hoping to still be around for the planned sequel (seriously) escapes into the darkness, waving his burning stump as he goes whilst The Master laughs uncomfortably as he sinisterly approaches his first wife.

Whilst all this burning, blundering and back stabbing is going down, Michael and family have managed to barricade themselves into the pantry in the hope of either hiding till morning or that The Master might get bored.

But alas, The Master is a, um, past master at hide and seek (and from what I've heard the double entry) and he's soon looming over the family, a tin of peaches in one hand and a corncob in the other confronting Michael.

Being a true American tho' Michael has no time (or concept of) conversation and promptly empties his weapon into The Master's face at point-blank range but alas to no avail.

The screen fades to black.

The viewer loses the will to live.

And bladder control.

Jamiroquai, up the casino, Tenby, 1997....Yesch!


Time passes and much, much later two more travelers arrive at the house to be greeted by Michael, clad in Torgo's shit stained suit and 'kiss me quick' hat.

Her turns to camera and says - well someone does and from the dubbing it ain't him - "I take care of the place while the Master is away."

And so it goes.






Let us, dear reader, travel back in time to the mid 60's and to El Paso, Texas, where Hal Warren, manager of the American Founder's Life Insurance Co. came across (tho' not in a sexual way) famed screenwriter Stirling (In the Heat of the Night, The Towering Inferno, The Poseidon Adventure, Shaft in Africa and The Swarm amongst others) Silliphant, who was visiting the town to scout out film locations.

After several meetings (and even more booze), Warren decided that this movie making lark seemed a piece of piss and after a few more drinks reckoned he could do as good a job himself.

Within a week he had a script (The Lodge of Sins), a few boyscouts to be his crew and the local theatre group, alongside and a few 'hand' models to be his cast.

Armed with a third hand 16mm Bell and Howell silent camera, a garden shed, some Hula Hoops and 60 Woodbines a legend was born.

The 16mm Bell & Howell silent camera: Witness to more porn and real life atrocities than your granddad during the war.

Shot within 4 hours, edited in 2 and dubbed over a quiet Bank Holiday weekend, Manos (as it was now known) premiered at the El Paso Odeon on 15 November 1966 to non-stop audience laughter and howls of derision that prompted a shell shocked cast and crew to escape from the cinema via underground tunnels dug during the interval.

A chilling footnote to this is that the cleaning woman who's job it was to bin the Coke cups and burrito packets after the show discovered that the audience had laughed so much that over 13000 gallons of piss had been unwittingly released into the main auditorium causing the cinema to collapse killing 47 people and spraying urine into the local fields, killing farmer Morton J Blithe's prized heard of bullocks as well as his lame son, 12 year old Morton Jnr, who was found drowned in a gully 2 weeks later.


Lying on it's back stinking of piss....and no it's not your mum surprisingly.

But forget the tales of deaths, suicide and heartache for a moment and just concentrate on the movie then ask yourself; Is it really the worst movie ever made or some proto-Lynchian work of subgenius trading on mans darkest fears as witnessed thru' the prism of Barthesian semiotics?

I mean you have to admit that certain aspects of the film invoke both intertextuality and Bertolt Brecht's theories of estrangement to explore the metafictional or parodic aspects of the idea of polygamy (or polygyny as is truer the case here).

Possibly.

Diane Mahree: Barthesian semiotics or terrifying tit wank?


And to all those naysayers, yes the editing is abysmal, the myriad of continuity flaws are an abomination to modern cinema and yes the soundtrack and visuals are so out of synchronization as to lead us to believe that they are being beamed from different parts of the world.

But surely, a friend of mine once asked of Manos; if viewing the film thru' the lens of intertextuality, taking onboard Freud's idea that the repression of fear and desire is the main cause of 'dream work' then the film's seriously tedious pacing, frankly terrifying non acting and  inexplicable inclusion of scenes and characters either disconnected or totally redundant from the actual plot begins to make sense.

Or does it?

Manos: The Hands of Fate: good shit or bad shit?

Who really cares tho' because when you get around to it a shit is still a shit and either way it's still gonna stink your house out.

Which, if I'm honest is fairly profound for this blog.

Be seeing you.






























*I've been informed by my solicitors to add that I did in fact receive a phone call this week from longtime reader Dissolved Paul informing me not to bother as it was utter shite.

As is the blog in general.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

rowdy mole.

Had an email yesterday pointing out that there was far too little John Agar in this years 31 Days of Horror countdown.

Which is fair enough.


 


The Mole People (1956).
Dir: Virgil W. Vogel.
Cast:  John Agar, Cynthia Patrick, Hugh Beaumont, Alan Napier, Nestor Paiva, Phil Chambers, Rodd Redwing, Robin Hughes and Dr Frank Baxter.


"Archeologists are the underpaid publicity agents for deceased royalty."





Let's be honest, any film that opens with a video essay from the late, great American TV personality, educator and former professor of English at the University of Southern California Dr. Frank Baxter, has to be worth a look.

As regular readers (just regular readers in general, not of this blog obviously) will already know, Baxter was famous for his appearances as "Dr. Research" in the Bell System Science Series of television specials that ran from 1956–1962 becoming a staple of American classrooms right thru' to the 80s.

Which kinda explains a lot if you think about it.

With Baxter acting as a genial and affable host, the specials combined scientific footage, live action and animation to explain complicated concepts (like space travel, radiation and why you shouldn't elected tangerines to the office of President) in a lively, entertaining and simple way and to thousands of Americans young and old these programmes became the 'go to' for all science minded folk, making a star of its trusted host.

So when Baxter rocks up in the prologue to the film chatting about various hollow Earth myths and theories you have to sit up and listen, for what follows must be true.

And so must the film we're about to see.

Spooky.

Patrick Stewart shooting hoops with one of Mark Shannon's genital warts yesterday.



After what seems like hours of flipcharts and children's drawings we're into the movie good and proper with a title card that informs us that we're in Asia, although to be honest it looks like Egypt from the stock footage tho' the painted backdrops features snow covered mountains so we could actually be anywhere.

I'm going for South Wales.

Anyway, geography aside it's time to meet our heroes for the next 70 odd minutes and they are the dashing  Dr. Wes Bentley (Rhythm Ace and former Mr Shirley Temple, Agar) and the slightly less dashing  Dr. Paul Stuart (Chambers) who are busily digging up bits of stone whilst attempting to look intelligent.

And interested.

Suddenly one of the local workers appears with a stone tablet which Stuart notices is engraved in a language "not of these parts".

Bentley excitedly grabs the ancient artifact and, after blowing the dust away (which makes a change from blowing his agent for roles) announces that the text is Sumerian and tells the tale of a city that disappeared from the face from the Earth.

And with that the camera starts to shake whilst the actors pretend to be slightly concerned as the stone tablet falls to the ground and smashes into pieces.

Bloody hell how exciting is this?


"Is it in yet?"


As a new day breaks (fuck they're clumsy) Bentley and Stuart decide a conference is in order so invite Doctors Jud Bellamin (Beaumont) and Geordi Lafarge (Paiva) over for beer, crisps and a quick chat regarding the broken tabley before rounding the day off with a quick game of soggy biscuit.

LaFarge, as ever, wins.

As they're cleaning up a wee native boy approaches them carrying a bit of market tat cunningly disguised as an ancient artifact whilst motioning toward a crudely painted mountain.
"The mountain was the epicenter of the earthquake!" exclaims Dr. Stuart and with that our fabulous foursome decide to go and explore it.

Cue endless stock footage of snow-covered mountain climbing which I'm pretty sure is exactly the same as the stuff used in The Abominable Snowman.

No really, I'm gonna cut it all together and upload it so you can see for yourselves.

Probably.

After what seems like days of scratchy out of focus snow trudging our merry band finally arrive at the ruins of a Sumerian temple, cunningly disguised a an old set left over from a local pantomime, where Bentley is excited (some would say too excited) to find an old shop window dummy head lying in a pile of polystyrene snow.

"It's the goddess Ishtar!" he exclaims!

And as he does poor Dr. Stuart steps on a cracked bit of concrete and falls thru' a hole into a deep, dark chasm.

Obviously he has the team wallet as Bentley a co. decide to climb after him, giving the viewer the exciting prospect of watching the cast carefully tie ropes, hammer hooks into walls and slide down a spooky shaft all very, very slowly.

Seriously the scene seems to go on for days, the only relief being a long lingering shot of Hugh Beaumont gently easing a rope between his thighs.

One tearful wank and cold shower later and the group are finally at the bottom - tho' not rock bottom, not yet - and crouched over Stuart's corpse, riffling thru' his pockets for photos of his wife in the nude.

The sheer excitement of seeing something so hot raises the temperature in the cave causing the shaft to collapse leaving Bentley, Bellamin and Lafarge no other choice but to press on ever deeper into the dark tunnel ahead.

But as they do a sinister pair of clawed hands appear in the dirt behind them.

That's your Nan that is.


After much walking and waving a torch around he tunnel eventually opens into an underground cavern housing an entire city.

Or at least a painted approximation of one.

Which would probably be OK if the matte artist in question hadn't decided to illustrate the whole thing in really thick Sharpie.

You drew this.

Deciding that they've had enough adventuring for one day the tired time team lie down on the cavern floor to get some sleep.

As you do.

As the trio snore and fart away their troubles a group of the mysterious Mole People (I'm assuming) begins to dig their way up from the under the ground, popping canvas sacks over the shocked archeologists’ heads and dragging them kicking and screaming underground.

Tho' seeing as they're already underground surely that should be underground the underground?

Or more undergrounder?

John Agar is coming for tea? Aaah Lovely!


Waking in a makeshift dungeon resplendent with creepy cobwebs and hanging Halloween style skeleton decorations, Bentley, Bellamin and Lafarge sit around twiddling their thumbs and spouty psuedo-science bollocks till a wall opens and they're motioned to walk forward by a couple of visibly embarrassed extras covered in greasepaint and decked out in children's nativity costumes carrying plastic swords.

Sorry, I meant to type they're motioned to walk forward by a couple of scary  Sumerian warriors.

My bad.

The archeologists are escorted to an ancient - is there any other kind? -  Sumerian temple where a mysterious ceremony, which seems to involve Elinu, the high priest (Alfred the butler himself, Napier looking visibly embarrassed even under a 6 inch layer of white face) shaking a giant cardboard Star Trek badge at a group of 'sexy' dancers, is taking place.

It appears that this is the dance of Ishtar.

Fair enough.

Concluding the ceremony Elinu approaches King Rollo (you can tell he's the king because he appears to be wearing a cardboard hedgehog on his head) and announces that there are 'intruders among them!"

Tho' to be honest from the look of them I'd be less worried about intruders and more concerned about latent arse banditry.

The fucking state of this.


Eyeing them up (and down) with a suspicious gaze the King stands erect and regal before pronouncing that the archeologists are to be put to death via the "Fire of Ishtar" so Bentley and Bellamin, not waiting to wait to find out what this entails,  punches the guards and steals their swords before fleeing into a convenient tunnel with resident oldster Lafarge lagging behind.

As the guards draw ever closer the poor old guy falls to the ground calling on his buddies for help and when Bentley hears Lafarge’s calls he spins around, shining his flashlight into the faces of their pursuers which not only temporarily blinds them but scares them into submission as they shout about Ishtar's light.

Bizarrely tho' the torch isn't actually as bright as the  lights in the city they live in.

Maybe it's actually circles that they're scared of.

Or it might just be shit film-making.

Who knows?

Leaving Lafarge leaning against a cardboard wall (he's tired the poor lamb), Bentley and Bellamin continue to explore the cave eventually reaching the slave quarters where the skirted Sumarian guards spend their days whipping the poor Mole People for some reason or another.

Realizing that nothing exciting has happened for a few minutes one of the mole folk attacks the archeologists and attacks them, alerting the Sumarian guards to their presence.

Cue more pointless running around in the dark till  Lafarge is killed by one of the beasts due to the torch jamming.

No really.

The surviving pair just shrug their shoulders and move on.

Confession time: This scene gave me strange feelings in my tummy as a child.


As the pair continue into the cave system who should pop out from behind a wall but the high priest, it seems that the king has changed his mind about the strangers and wants to invite them around for tea to say sorry.

Sounds legit.

All that hot torch action has convinced the king that the archeologists are actually holy messengers rather than B-movie actors trying to earn a buck and to this end he's organised a party for them that includes fizzy pop, music and scantily clad maidens serving paper plates full of mushrooms.

Standing out from the sexy slaves tho' is the wistful Adele (Patrick strangely credited as Adad in the titles) who is constantly beaten and abuse because unlike everyone else she has normal skin colour and blonde hair.

Obviously she will become Bentley love interest for the remainder of the film.

Meanwhile, whilst all this scoffin' 'n' romancin' is going down the high priest is busily plotting behind the scenes to overthrow the king.

It's almost like that after so many boring scenes of endless cave wanderings and climbing that the writer has decided that what the film needs is an actual plot.

Unfortunately rather than anything remotely involving action this involves lots of forgettable characters in silly hats sitting around talking about stuff.

Case in point as to achieve control of the city the priest sits on a garden chair and slowly orders his co-conspirators to steal Bentley's torch.

The king however has other ideas and demands that Bentley and Bellamin use the magic fire to control the mole people and stop their plans to take over the city.

Bentley however is more interested in Adele and her skills at playing the banjo.

No really.


They look how I feel.


Anyway, more stuff happens, a few mole people get whipped and Bentley continues to gaze wistfully at Adele whilst all the time him and Bellamin are fed mushrooms by sexy albino chicks like the gods they've been mistaken for.

But the film is almost over so it's time to ramp up the action.

Or at least have the priest come across (who are we to judge? it might be a religious thing) LaFarge's corpse proving that our heroes are just mere mortals and deserve to die.

But first there's just time for a fucking terribly choreographed dance routine to accompany three 'sexy' maidens who, one by one disrobe and enter the sunlit room thru' a huge cardboard door and into Ishtar's Flame.
Yup that's right, the high priest is effectively threatening our heroes with death by sunroof.

I mean what if it's raining?

Or cloudy?

Or nighttime?

What your Mum, Nan and Auntie Jean get up to when they say they're at bingo.



Well the guards - after a few minutes waiting - go and retrieve the now burnt remains so their must be a scientific reason for it working.

Oh that's right, Bentley explains that because they've lived underground sunlight is deadly to them.

Well that's OK then.


Anyway some more stuff happens* that leads to Bentley and co. starting a mole man revolution that culminates in the titular beasts attacking the city.

Having stolen the torch the king waves it frantically at the mole men but the batteries are dead which allows the beasts to murder everyone in cold blood, opening the doors to fry the survivors in the blazing sunlight.

Which isn't at all extreme.

Luckily Adele - being a freak with normal skin - is immune to the sun and survives.

With the palace littered in corpses and drenched in blood Bentley, Bellamin and Adele leave the city via Ishtar's flame and climb up the rock face to freedom.

Your sister's wedding night.




"It’s warm…and beautiful," Adele exclaims as she limbs out of the hole and onto the studio set.

Bentley gazes at her lustfully and laughs.

For those of you who think they know how films of this ilk end the makers of The Mole People have an ace up their sleeve.

Or more accurately no idea what constitutes a satisfying ending because 
suddenly as the trio start their journey down the mountain to home an earthquake rocks the mountain causing  Adele to be crushed by a falling stone pillar.

No, really.







Amazingly for a film with such a short running time The Mole People seems to go on forever. 'Directed' (and I use that term in it's loosest possible sense) by Virgil Vogel - the man behind such classics as Space Invasion of Lapland and The Kettles on Old MacDonald's Farm - and 'starring' lug-headed 50s sci-fi icon (as in he was cheap) John (Zontar the Thing from Venus, Attack of the Puppet People, The Brain from Planet Arous, Women of the Prehistoric Planet - top quality one and all) Agar, The Mole People is the cinematic equivalent of a really unsatisfying toilet trip, you know what I mean - you settle down, trousers round your ankles with a good book ready to let slip the (poo) dogs of war and then nothing.

Just painful pushing and grunting followed by a wet fart (if your lucky) 25 minutes later and culminating in a streaky stain on the bowl glistening sadly in the harsh light of the naked bulb.

Just me then?

See that? That's  your film that is.  

 

Ploddingly paced, stiffly acted (if you can call it acted) and as engaging as watching someone nail bent nails into an old piece of wood - which if anything would be a better use of it's cast - The Mole People is so inexcusably horrendous that its only redeeming feature and the only interesting thing about it is the fact that footage from it was reused in a film ever more shite than this one, Jerry Warren's 1966 shitfest The Wild World of Batwoman.

A film so arse-numbingly bad that it even managed to steal the non-sexy bits from a Swedish porn film.**

Avoid.

Unless you have trouble sleeping that is.



Not even with your Dad's.











































































*All of which is frankly way too boring to even consider typing, tho' it does involve poisoned mushrooms, beast beating and (even) more vaguely erotic dancing whilst John Agar looks on with that smug, punchable expression on his face.

Agar: Punchable.













**In certain establishing shots there's a sign reading "Livsmedel", the Swedish word for grocery store.