Wednesday, March 31, 2021

more mooncup.

After rewatching the frankly fantastic The Man From Planet X I immediately (well almost immediately, I had a wee first) went online to see if there had ever been a sequel or the like and to find out who owns the rights because let's be honest it deserves a remake.

In a bizarre bit of (fearful) symmetry - seeing as it was rediscovering my Robot Monster strip that made me watch it - I discovered that Fawcett Publications actually produced a comic adaptation of the movie in 1952 (which actually ain't too shady).




Not only that tho' but after even more digging I found that way back in 1975 top scribe Hunter Adams (AKA Jack Lancer, AKA Jim Lawrence) penned a three book series chronicling the further adventures of The Man From Planet X.

Excitedly I scurried to Ebay to find the books and after a few weeks (and a large part of the kids college fund) they arrived at Unwell Towers.

So imagine my surprise upon reading them when I realised that they had absolutely fuck all to do with the film but were actually a series of sexy stories about some bloke named Peter Lance,  who although looking human was in fact an alien from the planet Tharb named Pritan Lansol, sent to Earth to study our customs and learn more about us before his race finally announce their presence.

Obviously being aliens they have absolutely no concept of sex so to discover more about it the alien leader, Dr. Kraag, sends Lansol to Earth to look into it.

Obviously this involves him bedding as many beautiful women as possible and all in the name of science.


Sounds legit.

Invariably he ends up involved in spy rings, human trafficking and the like  forcing him to  use his amazing physical prowess, telepathic abilities, and alien technology to defeat the bad guys and save the damsel.

Before having some more of 'the sex' with them obviously.

And whilst this may seem a tiring proposition to us mere mortals, it turns out that the planet Tharb is actually the size of  Jupiter (tho' not alas Uranus) with a similarly immense gravity meaning that the muscles of its people are tremendous compared to Earthlings.

Obviously this means that Lance is able to 'perform' for hours and hours.

If all this wasn't manly enough Lance also freelances for the CIA on a part-time basis, investigating such mysteries as:

The She-Beast.



An exciting sexcapade involving an old hag who needs an experimental drug called Novitol in order to continue to look young and beautiful, therefore being able to continue having sex.
 
Unfortunately the company that manufactured it has just been bought by a rich industrialist who wants to cease its production so the old hag attempts to kill him.

Luckily Lance is shagging the guys daughter so steps in to help.





Tiger By The Tail.



When Lance rescues a beautiful young (nude) woman from a tiger attack - as you do - he finds himself in the middle of an attempt by a cabal of bad men trying to acquire a secret weapon known as C.O.D. AKA Crack of Doom.



The Devil To Play.




A rash of muggings and rapes in Manhattan can be connected (as is usually the way) to a group of Satanic worshipers who intend on controlling the oil industry by kidnapping a woman who has created a synthetic oil formula.



Unfortunately, on account of them being utter shite, Lawrence (who for years scripted the James Bond newspaper strip, eventually creating more adventures than any other writer including Ian Fleming) called it a day after book 3 and returned to writing Tom Swift Jr. (as Victor Appleton II) and The Hardy Boys Adventures (as Franklin Dixon) before going on to co-create two highly complex adventure games for the Infocom series in the 80s.


Shit! That means this computer is made entirely out of your dad's arse!

 

As an aside, all this talk of the 80s got me thinking, does anyone else remember/care that the 1962 classic Creation of The Humanoids was bizarrely feature on the inside sleeve of the Bronski Beat album Age of Consent?

This was quite possibly due as much to it being Andy Warhol's favourite SciFi movie as well as it's plot regarding forbidden love and the like.

Caught up with it again recently and surprisingly it still stands up well.

Tho' that's probably because all the sets are really thick cardboard.

Creation of The Humanoids (1962)
Dir: Wesley Barry.
Cast: Don Megowan, Erica Elliot, Frances McCann, Don Doolittle, George Milan, Dudley Manlove and David Cross.


Was She One Of The Green-Blooded People?



The place: A future Earth.

The time: Just after lunch where a nasty (let's be honest,is there any other kind?) nuclear war has resulted in the total extermination of 92% of the human race and left the remaining survivors riddled with radiation poisoning, scabs and bad teeth meaning the prospect for humanity surviving via the medium of having 'the sex' looking very grim.

To keep civilization ticking over smoothly, the remaining humans go into overdrive building over a billion robots to handle all the everyday jobs (bin men, STV voiceover announcers, working in the off licences, saying "In a world...." at the start of trailers etc.) and over the years these automatons have been constructed to emulate humans more and more, eventually becoming sentient and possibly even more human than their human 'masters'.

As is usual in situations like this, a nasty group of bad men (somewhat kinkily) named the “Order of Flesh and Blood” push for a ban on these human looking machines (know bizarrely as 'clickers') insisting that any new robots must be bald, blue and dressed in boiler suits left over from Brian Tilsley's garage.

Which is fair enough I guess.

The situation goes from bad to worse tho' when one such clicker goes a wee bit mental, killing his creator Dr. Mike Raven (Doolittle, best know for his sterling performance as a DA in a 1971 episode of Hawaii Five -O) to death.

Robot hater, founder member of the Order and all round rugged tough guy Kenneth Cragis (Blazing Saddles gum chewer himself, Megowan) suggests a solution to the problem.

Kill all the clickers.

Kill them a lot.

Which is nice.




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



The rest of the group think this may be a wee bit extreme and start to distance themselves from 'crazy' Cragis, who decides to go visit his sister Esme (McCann from fuck all else) for a few days of bitching and badness.


Unfortunately upon arriving at her house our racist rebel-rouser is surprised - and oh-so slightly annoyed - to find that Esme has become 'involved' in the state of 'rapport' with a robot named Pax (The Magic Swords Sir Pedro of Spain himself, Cross).

And what, you may ask, is 'Rapport'?

Well 'Rapport' occurs when a robot and a human begin to share the same mindset and the humans every desire is instantly understood by the robot partner and immediately fulfilled.

Which if I'm honest isn't as rude as it sounds really.

Sorry.

Shocked and upset Cragis storms off to his fantastic plastic bachelor pad for a tearful wank and a pot noodle.

Probably.



Hanson have let themselves go.


Even this small solace is interrupted tho' when the beautiful (and very 60s breasted) Maxine Megan (Elliott from, um, Peter Gunn) appears out of the blue and falls into his arms.

Hmmmm.

After a whirlwind romance - plus shedloads of cheesy B-grade SciFi dialogue - Cragis and Maxine stumble across a secret that will shake their beliefs to the very core and my explain the terrifying secret of the Creation of The Humanoids...



Looked at from a purely production point of view Creation of The Humanoids is a cheaply made, warehouse bound 'B' flick populated by bald-pated, blue toned men with acting as stilted as the wooden slats pretending to be a futuristic laboratory and talky to a point where you can imagine that writer Jay Simms originally envisaged this as a stage production, the whole threadbare endeavor is  topped off by a particularly lurid poster design and not much else.

But look passed all this and you'll find a quirky and intelligent lo-fi movie that's ideas pre-date many of the themes and concepts that would go on to dominate books and movies under the 'cyberpunk' banner more than two decades later.

Yup, it's basically Blade Runner 2049 but with sturdier underwear.

I'd better stop now before someone mistakes this for a real film blog.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

mooncup.

A few years back I was commissioned to draw a comic sequel to the fantastic Robot Monster for a now defunct space-based magazine and recently came across the first draft of the art for it (you can see it in all it's glory here).



It was this find that made me realise that I'd not actually sat and watched any  50s sci-fi for what seemed like forever so with that in mind I dived into the DVD slushpile and pulled out the first thing that came to hand....


The Man From Planet X (1951).
Dir: Edgar G. Ulmer
Robert Clarke, Margaret Field, Raymond Bond, William Schallert as Dr. Mears
Roy Engel, Charles Davis, Gilbert Fallman, David Ormont, June Jeffery and Franklyn Farnum.


To think - a fantastic gnome like you had to hurdle out of space to put this power in my hands. Well, now that we've made contact, I'm gonna tear out every secret you've got!


Famed astronomer Professor Billy Elliot (Bond who bizarrely also played an astronomer in Flight to Mars - did he own his own telescope?) is excited to discover a new planet that just happens to be hurtling thru space toward the Earth.

Exactly as planets don't.

Although there's no evidence that the two planets will actually collide (that'll be a totally different movie) “Planet X,” as Elliot has so originally named it, will come close enough to cause a wee bit of bad weather and maybe a few tremors and the like.

Probably.

Using 'the science' Elliot works out that the closest the mysterious planet will come to Earth is the small island of Bury just off the coast of Scotland - which is in England near Paris, Europe for all our American readers.


"What did you do with the trumpet you found buried in your garden?" "I root it oot.”"

And with that the professor alongside his foxy - in a kinda part-time librarian way - daughter, Enid (Sally Field's mum Margaret - no really) heads off to the island to await its arrival.

Enter - roughly and from behind -  an old friend of the professors, the American journalist and general stud-muffin John Lawrence (Clarke from The Hideous Sun Demon),who's been invited along to cover the story.

But what he's going to cover it in we're never told.

Anyway it seems that the pair met during 'the war' when Elliot was working as a meteorologist, supplying Lawrence's 8th Air Force squad with information regarding the weather conditions they could expect during their bombing missions, which is way more back story than either of them deserve.

Arriving at/on the island John is met by Enid, giving us plenty of time for that old "Oh you were just a child last time I saw you but I'd shag you now!" type chat you used to get in movies before the pair drive up to the old keep the professor has taken over in order to start this alien visitor plot good and proper.

When they - finally - get there (after a wee bit more of what passed for flirty bantz in the 50s) Lawrence is surprised to find another scientist, the creepy Dr. Ray Mears (Tobor The Great and Trouble With Tribbles star Schallert) ingratiating himself with the professor, no-one actually admits why he's such a bad man or what he's done but the lank hair, sinister beard and ill-fitting suit mark him out as a bad yin and the character most likely to abuse an alien during the course of the story.

Ah things were so much simpler back then.


"Please don't jump we've just let all the water out"


With John visibly seething at Mears very presence Enid decides to take him up the moors to calm him down so away they trot.
Yup, the films pace could be generously described as leisurely.
And it's while out on the moors that the pair come across a strange metallic object that looks suspiciously like a toilet roll rocket painted silver embedded in the side of a nearby paper-mache rock.
With it only being about 30 inches long and weighing just a few pounds (you can see Enid is impressed by the way she's licking her lips)  John gingerly pockets it and the pair hurry back to the keep where an obviously excited Dr. Mears’s sweats in anticipation of the profits he'll make as soon as he:
A. Figures out what the fuck it's made of.
and
B. How to make it himself.
As Mears gently strokes the cylinder as he coos away to himself, Elliot sits stroking his chin and surmises that the object must be of extraterrestrial origin and has arrived on Earth from the rapidly approaching Planet X. 
Enid on the other hand just stares at it whilst crossing and uncrossing her legs, the heavy woolen skirt she's wearing gently brushing against her milky smooth calves.
"Look at the dog!"
 
 
John, realising that he's left his re-usable sheath back at the hotel makes his excuses and gets ready to leave hoping that the cool night air may calm his amour but Enid has other ideas and offers him a lift in her car, accidentally brushing his leg with her Lilly white fingers every time she grabs for the gear stick.

Probably.
Stiffly - in more ways than one, phnarr - saying their goodnights Enid begins the lonely drive back to the keep but on the way she gets a burst tire, well her car does, I mean she doesn't have any wheels for one thing so has to walk the rest of the way.
It's not too far tho' seeing as the whole thing is totally studio bound.

Well I say studio bound but I'm pretty sure it was shot in someone's shed.
 
 
"Get in the back of my car and let me bite you!"



On the way, she sees a strange glow out on the moors, which on closer inspection appears to be emanating from what looks like a giant menstrual cup (painted silver obviously) with cardboard fins attached.

Stealthily sneaking toward it (well as stealthily as you can be when you try to walk across polystyrene in heels), Enid moves ever closer before peering into the window coming face to face with a midget in an old lady mask wearing a fishbowl on its head.

Or it might actually be a very tiny old lady.

Wearing a fishbowl on her head obviously.

 Who can truly say?*

Scared shitless Enid hurries back to her father (and Dr. Mears) to tell them all about it and her father excitedly grabs his jacket to go look for himself.

Unfortunately as he's peering at it from behind a rock the alien turns on his secret weapon (cunningly disguise as a high wattage porch light) - a mysterious  ray that hypnotizes people into obeying his every will.

The fact that he chose to shine it on an old, balding man rather than the narrow-hipped vixen that is Enid says more about the alien creature than I ever can.

Luckily for the professor - and humanity - spaceman X totally fails to give him any orders so the pair just shrug and head home leaving a very sweaty Mears hiding in a bush rubbing his hands together.

The next morn, John arrives to find the professor chomping at the bit to get back to the alien ship to try and find the pilot and to this end the pair hurry off across the moors.

Again.

Luckily for them - and us - the pilot (whom we shall refer to as Mr X from now on) is actually present this time, cutting a dashing figure as he flails around outside his spaceship gingerly pointing at a bathtap attached to his suit before falling over.

Which is a kinda unique way of revealing yourself it must be said.


Mooooooooooooooooooonhead.


 John, being a strong man, easily helps the little invader turn the tap on his breathing equipment and a grateful Mr X gives them a wacky thumbs up before following them home for tea and biscuits.

Tho' seeing as it's Scotland it's more likely to be a deep fried pizza, some Irn Bru and a yeast infection.

Attempting, rather unsuccessfully, to communicate with him thru' the medium of interpretive dance Mears hits upon the idea (as opposed to hitting on wee boys) of using geometry and maths to communicate with him and lo the rest of the gang trundle off for more biscuits and leave him to it.

Unfortunately for everyone involved Mears is a bit of a mentalist and no sooner have they left than he's making Mr X hit himself in the face and drawing pictures of cocks on his nice shiny space helmet in order to learn his 'secrets' and become rich.

Because that's how it works.

Obviously Mr X is a wee bit upset by this so decides to feign sleepiness, wait till Edin turns up to check on him then kidnap her.

No doubt in order to use his hypno-ray to make her dance wearing only a teatowel.

Just me then?

With Mears admitting to being a bit bad and in light of Enid's disappearance John gets set to head into town to inform the local police but as he goes to leave the town constable, the potato-like Tommy McSporran (Zombies of the Stratosphere star Engel) drunkenly bursts in demanding to see the professor.

And some crumpets.

It seems that over the last few nights that a couple of the local farmers have gone missing too so it must all be the fault of the foreigners that have recently arrived.

Luckily John manages to convince him that it is in fact a totally different type of alien by taking him across the moors and showing him the spaceship, thereby totally ending what ever drama this scene may have been building to almost immediately.
Meanwhile Mr X has been busy, firstly re-hypnotizing the professor before doing the same to Mears and a dozen or so townsfolk in order to have them build a wall around his spaceship to protect it from attack.

Sounds legit.

With the clock counting down to Planet X's arrival (and to rationing ending too possibly) John and Tommy must race against time to stop Mr X from doing whatever it is he has planned (because it's obviously bad) and rescue the townsfolk.




From the golden age of sci-fi and Edgar G Ulmer - the director of such classics as the Lugosi/Karloff caper The Black Cat and the little seen The Amazing Transparent Man (I thank you) - comes a threadbare tale of extra-terrestrial terror that's actually quite high on concept if not on budget, winning it's place in cinematic history not for being a good film but for being in all probability the first alien invasion film ever released.

And because of that we should be a wee bit kinder.

So let's not mention how none of it makes any sense storywise, I mean early on Mr X asks our heroes for help and only turns mental when Mears attacks him (which is fair enough) tho' as the film heads toward its climax everyone decides out of the blue that the wee fella is the scout for an invasion force and should be wiped out.

And no, having your female lead looking wistfully into the middle asserting her belief that Mr X was just misunderstood doesn't make this any better.

Even tho' she's wearing a kilt.


"Hello Dave?"


Talking of kilts I'd love to know what American audiences made of its 'exotic' locations, tho' thinking about it  they probably all came away with the idea that 'The Scotchland' is a place completely made up of painted scenery where everyone speaks in a mix of farcical French accents and Unwinese.

But most likely they'd be under the impression that it only exists in someones shed.

Which if I'm honest is scarily close to the truth.

"Are you the farmer?"



Whilst never as arse-numbingly boring as that other genre first, the terrifyingly tedious Dr. Blood's Coffin (it's considerably shorter for one thing) The Man From Planet X actually has a fair bit about it to enjoy, especially if like me you decide to view it when drunk.

And if that's not a recommendation I don't know what is.








































* Rumour has it that the alien was (terrifyingly) portrayed by either Pat Goldin,  an actor best known for Jiggs and Maggie in Court (1948), Jiggs and Maggie in Society (1947) and Bringing Up Father (1946) or the ex-vaudeville performer Billy Curtis.

"Can you get me a Drifter?"


Popular opinion it must be said goes with Goldin as it turns out that Curtis was about 6' 4" or something.

Bizarrely tho' when interviewed (by my Nan) about the film in the early 80s star Robert Clarke could only recall that the actor was 'Jewish'.

Friday, March 26, 2021

jl eh?

 Rewatching the Snyder 'cut' and still can't get my head around this scene:

"What are your super powers again?"
 
"I'm Rich"
 
But I thought his name was Bruce, is Rich his middle name or is it Bruce his middle name and he just prefers it? 
 
Or is Rich his other alter ego? 
 
Was he born Bruce, became the Batman and then realize he was Richard all along. 
His name Rich being his superpower in a kind of an homage to the Superman/Kal-El/Clark trichotomy?
 
Anyone?
 

 

Friday, March 12, 2021

party like it's 1985.....

Just because folk have said I need to make this blog way more teen/child friendly and to show that my finger is on the pulse, enjoy this blast from the past.

'Your' 1985 fashion and beauty horoscope.













Thursday, March 11, 2021

terrorvision.

So sad to hear about Norman J Warren's passing, had a brilliant time looking after him at an event years back...really funny and knowledgeable guy...he cheekily placed me in the audience to ask questions he thought would lead into interesting answers!, got to return the compliment on the Cine-Excess poster a few years later.

 


 

So if you've not already, sit back and enjoy three of the best in my tribute to the unsung hero of British horror.


Terror (1978).
Dir: Norman J Warren.
Cast: John Nolan, Carolyn Courage, James Aubrey, Sarah Keller, Glynis Barber
Tricia Walsh, Patti Love, William Russell, Mary Maude, Peter Mayhew, Michael Craze, Chuck Julian and Elaine Ives-Cameron.


Have You Ever Felt An Evil Presence All Around You ... ?




Welcome one and all to the olden days (or is it West Bromwich last week?) where a dirty faced - and even dirtier pillowed - woman (Love from The Long Good Friday) is fleeing thru' the forest from an angry mob of torch-bearing peasants who want to burn her (to death) on account of her being a witch.

Which is fair enough I guess tho' to be honest I'd be more than tempted to set fire to her for having a poodle perm but there you go.

Finally brought down by a handy bear trap she's dragged before the local squire Lord Hawhaw Garrick and his wife Angela (Ian Chesterton himself, Russell alongside Crucible of Terror star Maude) who shout something at her before flouncing off to their stately home leaving the egg stained woman at the mercy of the mob.

Luckily for her tho' she is actually a witch and as the local vicar attempts to read the Bible at her she screams something vaguely sinister at him and the entire mob start running around in terror before accidentally setting fire to themselves.

And as if that wasn't enough she spookily materializes at Lord and Lady Garrick's house, cursing all of their descendants before murdering Lord Garrick and dropping his still warm, blood stained corpse on his wife.

"FIONA! Where's mah lunch?"



Don't worry tho' none of this is real as we are in fact watching - alongside the cast, meta much? - the exciting finale of the latest horror epic from independent producer/director/sexy posh man James Garrick (Nolan, uncle of director Christopher and husband of Helga from 'Allo 'Allo), which he's based on the old family legend that, although he doesn't really believe is true reckons might get him a few quid from the horror crowd.

Especially seeing as he's cast his cameraman, Gary's (Craze AKA Doctor Who's Ben Jackson) beautiful actress girlfriend, Carol (Dempsey and Makepiece, Blake's 7 and more importantly Invaders of the Lost Gold legend Barber) in a main role.

At this point I started to get confused.

You see in the movie (with a movie) was William Russell actually playing Lord Garrick or was it William Russell playing an actor playing Lord Garrick?

Because if it were the former then why is another former Who actor pretending to be a cameraman named Gary?

And more bizarrely is the actress playing the witch really a witch or just an actress?

Because (spoilers) she's gonna turn up as a real witch later.

Anyway before I can figure any of this out there's a wee bit of hypnosis to throw into the plot when Gary proposes to entertain everyone attending the screening by putting Carol into a trance and making her eat an onion.

James, being a mean and moody type thinks it's a bit shit and suggests soggy biscuit instead but is outvoted by his fresh-faced editor, Philip (Aubrey, Gavin Sorenson from Bouquet of Barbed Wire) and James' mysterious cousin Anne (Courage from, um, stuff).

Fringe.



Anyway after much amusement with Carol pretending to be a rabbit and stripping to her pants (probably) Anne decides it'd be a weeze if she had a shot, even tho' Gary has explained that it's actually all bollocks and that Carol just likes the attention.

Nevertheless Anne insists and plonks herself on the sofa to await Gary's hypnotic commands.

Bizarrely - and much to everyone's surprise - she actually does end up in a trance and as a by now fairly freaked out Gary tries to wake her Anne slowly rises from her seat and slowly advances toward a handy wall-mounted sword, taking it from it's resting place and trying to stab her cousin with it.

Luckily she only grazes his arm and after a quick slap round the face she comes to alas but too late to rescue the party atmosphere and everyone fucks off home, except Carol that is who decides to have a wander around the grounds before getting stabbed.

To death.

"Knock knock!" "Who's there?" "Kissap" "Kissap who?"



Meanwhile  Anne - who can't remember any of the sword shenanigans -  has just woken up in bed with no memory of how she got there or as to why she's covered in blood.

Which sounds like a normal night out if I'm honest.

Even her chisel-chinned roommate, Suzy (Keller - look her up yourself) hasn't a clue what's going on.

James has an inkling that something might be wrong tho' after coming across (but not in that way) Carol's still warm body stuck to a tree with the sword and begins to wonder if his mysterious cousin may be behind his friends death.

Tho' bizarrely because he actually owns the sword he reckons the police may blame him for the bad murders so reckons the best way to allay their suspicions is to start acting like an utter shite.

Tho' just starting to act may have been a better choice but heyho.


"Where's the soap?" - "It's next to the sink!"



And the first person to be on the receiving end of his brutish behavior?

Only poor porn director Jeff Beck (TV stalwart Peter Craze but not alas Peter Glaze) who has rented James' studio to make the epic Busty Brenda Takes A Bath and who James chucks out on his ear telling him that he's double booked the space to record an episode of 2Gs And The Pop People.

Not arf.

To add a wee bit more meta-confusion to the plot, Brenda is actually the stage name of Anne's pal Viv who not only works as a hostess at the same strip-club but also lodges at the very same boarding house.

As an aside she's played to perfection by the rather wonderful latter-day playwright, actress, singer and sexagenarian sauce pot Tricia Walsh whose hit pop tune Be Careful Dear (written about her divorce from the head of The Shubert Organisation Philip J. Smith) has to be heard to be believed.



Walsh: Sauce pot.


Anyway back to the plot where, a few nights later, a anal sex obsessed regular at the club known to the girls as Phil the Greek (Julian from Scream for Help and your mums bed) is found viciously murdered (to death) the very same night as he was chucked out for sticking his finger up Anne's arse.

Not too surprisingly most of Anne's workmates reckon that she did it and Viv calls the police.

Cue a myriad of mental murders as anyone who crosses Anne's path (or who even walks by in the background) is killed in a variety of ever more gruesome (and sometimes fairly implausible) ways.

From the policeman squashed by his own - possessed - car to poor Jeff Beck is squashed by a studio light and Brenda/Viv is garotted by her own suspender belt.


How will she explain this to her gran?


Is Anne responsible or is their something more sinister - and supernatural - afoot?

And more importantly in the cold light of day will any of it actually make any sense?


Pants.



From the unsung genius behind Inseminoid and Prey, the fantastic Norman J Warren comes this (very) British, shot on a shoestring (tho' not Eddie) take on Suspiria albeit one that replaces the originals exotic and alluring cast with tubby cockneys and it's dance school shenanigans with a crop-haired stripper with nipples like bullets (Yes I'm looking at you Tanya Ferova*) fellating a whip to a cheesy sub-Kenny Lynch disco track as pot-bellied punters rub their thighs menacingly.

Which is fair enough I guess.

The cast are great, playing it just right - never too campy and just serious enough to make it believable whilst Carolyn Courage is a perfect quivering lipped heroine/victim who shows vulnerability and spooky in equal measure despite having what looks like a Lego wig on her head.

Talking of wigs tho' the entire film is almost stolen by the frankly fantastic Elaine Ives-Cameron as ex-actress Delores Hamilton, owner of the lodging house in which the girls reside.

Coming across like a Benefits Street Fenella Fielding I swear I could taste the gin fumes thru' the screen, honestly their aren't enough performances like this in horror.

Writers take note. 

Breaking Glass? - More like touching cloth.
  

As much as all this is nice tho', let's be serious for a minute because when it comes down to it Terror is really nowt more than an excuse to show a series of ever more violent murder set pieces loosely-connected by a paper-thin plot involving witches, revenge and the troubles besetting low budget porn directors which covers it's multitude of cinema sins by offering copious amounts of furtive nudity and gore (plus top 70s fashions) in place of anything resembling a coherent plot.

And I for one salute it.

Plus it's really short which is always good.
 

And if that hasn't convinced you then the bit where a second hand Rover P6 floats about in a park for no reason during a thunderstorm might.

Still not sure?

Well - slight spoilers here - Poor Gary is killed when boxes of damaged prints of Saturday Night Fever fly off the shelves and cause a bathtub to ignite.

Now tell me another film that features something as terrifying as this.

Genius.

A wee bit like this.....

 
 
Prey (AKA Alien Prey. 1977).
Dir: Norman J. Warren

Cast: Barry Stokes, Sally Faulkner and Gloria Annen.


"Do you take sugar?
I should think so, most men do!"






The day after a weird green light is seen in the English sky, luscious lesbians Jessica (cutesy Annen, best known for her spot on performance as 'Midvale Protestor' in Supergirl) and the bullish, lantern jawed Josephine (knicker flashing, boy haired, Cyberman stomping sixties strumpet Faulkner) are shocked to find not only three dead bunnies in the local woods but also a strange, polo necked young man with a gammy leg and a nice line in Burton's 'action slacks' hiding in the apple tree.

Being friendly, non men hating lesbians the pair decide to take him home.

Wahey.



Some quality knitwear yesterday.


Oblivious to his fairly odd behavior, his even odder name (Anders Anderson, short we find out later for Kator, go figure) and the fact that he appears to be the only Englishman in the world who doesn't drink tea, the ladies fawn over their new house guest as if he were a stray moggie they'd found in the rain.

Which, bizarrely enough is very close to the truth.

kind of.

The next morning whilst wandering around the scene of the mysterious rabbit massacre, Anders is accosted by two of the local constabulary who are busy investigating the crime.

It appears that one of the rabbits was seventies teevee star Hartley Hare's nephew and they desperately want to keep it out of the papers.

Panicking that he'll be uncovered as the phantom rabbit slasher, Anders morphs into his terrifying true form and kills the coppers dead.

Can I just take a moment to say that Anders' 'alien' make-up does, in fact border on pure genius.

Imagine if you will a kiddie forcibly face painted as Tigger by a tipsy Salvador Dali at a local funfair before having an Elvis wig plonked violently onto his tiny head and finally being made to wear a pair of pointy teeth cut from orange peel to complete the outfit.

Then imagine this very same child - high as a kite on E numbers - launching himself out of a garden bush at a policeman accompanied by a terrifyingly tune defying synth score.

I really don't have the words it's that bloody scary.



"Laugh now!"


Returning to the house for a light lunch (all that killing does take it out of a man/space-cat) Josephine suddenly announces that "Jessica and I are lovers," whilst Anders is tucking into a fondant surprise, causing him to vomit all over the cucumber sandwiches completely ruining the afternoon.

Far from being a scary lesbian hating bigot tho' it's due to the fact that he can only digest raw meat.

I guess that's alright then.

All this sick and sarnies seems to have a very strange effect on Jessica tho', who whilst licking her lips and stroking her neck admits to Josephine that "Anders is very attractive....for a man".

Crikey.

And if that wasn't enough, the constant talk of man lust has sparked our luscious ladies passions meaning only one thing, yup it's time for a wee bit of big pants, seventies's style lesbo loving.

All shot in brightly lit blackhead (and black bush) revealing close-up, our only relief (apart from the obvious) is when it cuts to Anders watching silently thru' a crack in the door.

Reminds me of boarding school.

Josephine's public hare on
show for everyone to see.


Returning to his room Anders has a quick conversation with the alarm clock before bed.

"Have made contact with human life forms, new identity established." he intones menacingly.

Well as menacingly as he can for a man clad in a nipple revealing sports shirt and arse hugging polyester slacks.

Waking the next morning to the dulcet tones of Josephine screaming, Anders and Jessica quickly head downstairs to find that a crafty fox has eaten all the chickens.

Obviously shocked by the senseless chicken choking, Anders heads off into the woods whilst Josephine buries her disturbingly large head in Jessica's fluffy pillow-like cleavage.

Gloria: pillows.


Slightly annoyed at the chicken massacre, Josephine decides to spend the entire day busily (and huffily) setting all manner of traps for the fox (including heat seeking missiles and bear-pits) but to no avail, luckily tho' Anders has kindly gone out and slaughtered the wee fella for her and returns home proudly carrying it's furry body aloft.

He'll be a Tory then.

Overcome with joy, Josephine decides to celebrate with a dead fox party.

As you do.

This involves (as if readers of the Arena need telling) Anders getting dragged up like a butch(er) Liza Minelli with the sole purpose the evening gazing seductively at Jessica whilst tapping away to a Foreigner tribute band on the stereogram.

Which we've all done at some point if we're honest.

And if that wasn't enough excitement for one night the evening culminates in a marvelously mind-bending game of hide and seek in which Josephine inexplicably arms herself with a flick knife and hides in a wardrobe.

But not before attempting to beat the keyhole at a staring competition.

"Blood on mah chest".


Scarily things get stranger still when the next afternoon (fuck, how long did she spend in the cupboard?) Josephine finds the half eaten remains of Mr. Fox under Anders pillow (sounds like a song title).

Slightly concerned by this turn of events she runs out of the house before coming across Jessica (you can tell she's a squirter) and begins to rant wildly about how Anders is a mentalist and no better than an animal himself.

Typical man then really.

Jessica, God bless her just stares at her lover with a look of mild apathy and the vague hope of a quick knicker fiddle in her eyes.

As do I most afternoons.

There's - unfortunately - no time for any sapphic fumblings tho' as the sexual tension is cut short by the sound of Anders screaming.

It appears he's fallen into a muddy pond whilst stalking a duck.

At this point I must warn readers of a nervous disposition that the scene that follows is frankly unparalleled in the history of mental movie moments, featuring as it does Jessica, Josephine and Anders erotically rolling about in mud - in slow motion - to the accompaniment of a truly terrifying tonal track of the kind not usually heard outside Wendy Carlos' gin fueled night terrors.

Probably.

Shite (quite literally) in her mooth.


The result of all this mentalist mayhem coupled with Jessica's hitherto hidden mud fetish and Anders' creepy conversation regarding needing a good duck has the effect of curing the by now jolly Jessica of her lesbian tendencies leaving her free to attempt to seduce Anders.....

Will Anders succumb to Jessica's ample charms and (quite literally) lunch out on her womanly thighs?

And whatever will Josephine do when she finds out?

What the French call 'Prey' yesterday.



When a film's credits include the names Norman J. Warren, Terry Marcel (director of the Legendary 'Hawk The Slayer'), Handyman hunk Barry Stokes, Confessions cutie Sally Faulkner and writer Max Cuff you know you're going to get something that's a wee bit different from the norm.

Obviously followed by a shameful wank and a hot 'n' spicy Pot Noodle.

The isolated locations (the splendidly imposing country house, the directors garden and a big muddy puddle) and the sparsely populated cast work to make this movie an uncomfortable powder keg of lustful emotions, strange undercurrents, market stall knitwear and disapproving looks ready to explode at any moment.

And that's before you add a talking parrot, Gloria Annen's incredibly sexy stretched polkadot knickers, a cake with a tiny iced fox on it and Sally Faulkner's vertigo inducing portrayal of a trackie sporting mad dyke with a flick knife to the mix.

Put it all together and you know you're in the presence of greatness.

It's like a post watershed version of the 70's sitcom Butterflies as reimagined by David Lynch with make-up effects by a group of particularly disturbed - yet scarily talented - hook-handed demons and scored by Karlheinz Stockhausen.

And you can't get higher praise than that.

Well you probably can if you visit a proper film site but not here.


Sally Faulkner and your dad yesterday.



Like most of Warren's output, the movie's tone veers wildly from the just plain sinister to fairly bizarre to bizzarely sinister via the ever popular 'What did I just see?", lulling us into a false sense of security by appearing to peak early with Anders alien reveal but sneakily managing to keep getting better and better.

And madder and madder.

It's then, just when you think the surprises can't get any more freakish that muddy lake scene appears from nowhere.

Why Warren was never knighted (or at least given the bumps in a playground) is a crime against cinema.

The fact that one of our greatest genre directors was so unheralded for years should be made a crime.

Fuck Shakespeare (tho' not literally seeing as he's been dead for nearly 400 years) it should be Warren's back catalogue on the school curriculum.

Especially this one....

 

'Inseminoid' (aka Horror Planet. 1981)
Dir: Norman J. Warren.
Cast: Judy Geeson, Jennifer Ashley, Stephanie Beacham, Dominic Jephcott, Steven Grives, Victoria (sister of David) Tennant, Heather Wright, Rosalind Lloyd, Robert Pugh and Kevin O'Shea.









Somewhere in space (OK it's Chislehurst Caves in Chislehurst, Kent. Obviously Wookey Hole in Somerset was overrun with Cybermen at the time) a British led scientific/mining/archaeological mission is busy digging up rare alien artefacts and even rarer colourful rocks.

You can tell it's a British mission because whereas the Yanks have shiny rockets, jetpacks and lasers, this bunch here have buckets and spades, Kwik Fit overalls and a chainsaw amongst their equipment.

Oh, and big 80s hair.

Imagine Alien remade with the cast of Hi-De-Hi and you're halfway there.

Digging about in the tunnels one day the team come across a shiny plastic rock much like the type you get on fireplaces which immediately explodes directly in front of the blond beefcake of the group, Dean (Brit teevee stalwart Jephcott) Gaffney's face, causing some nasty chafing and more importantly a serious case of mascara based alien possession.

This possession manifests itself when Dean begins to run around the base in his pants and socks around trying to strangle his fellow team members before escaping into the tunnels.

But not until he's pushed payload specialist Gayle Tuesday (Lloyd who was once in Doctor Who) over so violently that she gets her foot stuck in a hole.

Bastard.



"Laugh now!"


If that wasn't enough to ruin her day her life support system heater has run out and she hasn't got any spare coins for the meter.

Obviously worried by this turn of events she breathlessly radio's the base for help.

Pity the groups resident sponge-bob, Gary is on communications duty that day.

Rather than waste valuable preening time going out and rescuing her, Gary suggests that she pulls the air pipe off her spacesuit, stick it in her tiny, bird like mouth and suck on it whilst hacking at her ankle with a blunt nail-file.

The following scene is no mooth shite-in but it does come close.

As did I.


"Pipe in mah mooth!"

It comes as no surprise to the viewer that the poor cow dies from a mix of blood loss and septicemia due to putting a dirty hoover attachment into her gob.

But this is only the beginning of the horror that is Inseminoid.

You see whilst all this limb lopping and pipe moothin' is going on sexy button nosed biologist Sandy (English Rose Judy - I have never done a nude scene honest - Geeson) has been busy scraping algae off some rocks with her equally bookish pal Roy (Pugh possibly, it's dark and he's wearing a goldfish bowl on his head).

After passing some particularly eggy gas in her suit Sandy passes out and just as Roy scrambles to help her he's violently decapitated (but is there any other kind of decapitation?) by an unseen alien menace.

Could the day get any worse?



"Mooooooooooooooooooooooooon!"


Well Sandy awakes to find herself stark bollock naked and spread-eagled on a pool table as a moon headed alien attempts to impregnated her using a length of hosepipe, 4 litres of Fairy washing up liquid and a carton of green painted free range eggs, so the answer is probably yes.





Beware the binmen!

After what seems like an eternity (well, just long enough to have a fag and make a cuppa) the surviving team members find the poor woman fully clothed (yet strangely fresh smelling) and resting against the slain body of Roy so decide to take her back to the base for a hot chocolate and a Rich Tea biscuit.

It's not long tho' before Sandy is experiencing sticky egg based nightmares, reliving (in glorious, sweaty close-up) every detail of her Venusian vaginal violation (as in the creature was from Venus, not that she has a bizarre, Giger-esque fanny tho' never having seen it she might. Judy?) which culminates in the cold blooded murder and cock eating of one of her hapless buddies.

Walking into the bathroom for a quick pee, the mumsy Barbra (Tennant) is taken aback to see Sandy, giggling away to herself as she sits astride a corpse, covered in blood and with a testicle hanging from her lips before uttering the immortal line: "Sandy! what's wrong?"

Well, that's the understated British for you.

Jumping to her feet and snarling like fairly vicious tabby, Sandy chases after Babs (in that faintly embarrassing way that girls run) who locks herself in the teevee room before pressing a load of buttons and declaring a state of emergency.

The rest of the crew, being hardened space veterans all shite themselves simultaneously.




"I'm sorry, I have a woman's period!"


Imbued with supernatural strength, a mad glint in her (boss) eyes and a frightening ability to wave her arms around like deadly windmills, Sandy will stop at nothing to protect her unborn babies which means sixty minutes of her stomping around a collection of spacey Portacabins killing everyone she meets using a collection of items you'd be surprised to find on a high-tech space mission including a nail gun, a rusty shovel and one of those long lighter things you use to start a barbecue.

Will the surviving crew find a way to defeat this mentalist mum to be or will they all die leaving the alien offspring to sneak aboard a passing rescue ship heading for Earth?

Go on, guess.



More or less tasteful?


From the unsung hero of British horror cinema, the frankly fantastic Norman J. Warren - he who gave us such classics as the dog nosed predator potboiler Prey, the slightly saucy Satan's Slave and the spooky Terror comes a bloodier, bad taste British version of Alien, filmed on a budget of £12.50 and using props and sets stolen from the Blake's Seven production office, Inseminoid is the epitome of true Brit, lo-fi sci-fi at its most entertaining.

Plus any film that gets banned in Iceland must be worth at least a few minutes of your time.


It may be rougher than your mum but what it lacks in polish it more than makes up for with bloody violence,typically British nihilism and a fantastic cast that includes such luminaries as the mega-MiLF Victoria Tennant and the yummy Judy Geeson who manages the magic monster movie trick of morphing from frumpy mum to schizo-sex-kitten the more shot to fuck her character gets.

Remember I first saw this film as an impressionable 11 year old so it kinda explains my taste in girls.

Damn you Warren.





"Put it in me!"

Even the minimalist electronic score by jazz guru John Scott, commissioned when Warren discovered that he couldn't afford a full orchestra is an asset rather than a hindrance, the retro-Radiophonic workshop style sonics gently adding a final freaky feel to the lo-fi ambience permeating the rest of the film.

 

Sexy Sci-Fi: British style!



From skimpy pants to dodgy model work via paper mache space sexbeasts, Inseminoid truly has something to offend everyone....and if that hasn't convinced you, then try to think how many other films allow you the pleasure of seeing an ex Carry On girl strapped naked to a table with a hosepipe stuck up her fanny in a vain attempt to suggest extra-terrestrial rape.


That'll be none then.


God Bless you Mr Warren, you will be missed.

 
 
 
Norman John Warren.
25 June 1942 - 11 March 2021

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
*And if you like her performance here then feel free to check out Derek Ford's The Sexplorer (AKA The Girl From Starship Venus) the heartwarming tale of a  A young Venusian girl (obviously) who comes to Earth in order to research 'the sex'.

It's basically Under The Skin but with (slightly) better teeth and bigger collars, oh and before you ask Tanya Ferova does indeed play a stripper.

But stick to what you're good at that's my motto.