Saturday, May 29, 2021

potato potato.

Rewatching this classic as part of our not-at-all sad Twitter Horror Club Tweetalong tonight so thought I'd reshare this stunning appraisal in the hope of getting a few new readers.


Nightmare City (AKA City of the Walking Dead, La Invasión De Los Zombies Atómicos, 1980).
Dir: Umberto Lenzi.
Cast: Hugo Stiglitz, Laura Trotter, Francisco Rabal, Mel Ferrer, some bouncy breasts and a few other body parts usually attached to people.

Dr. Anna Miller: Why don't you face it. There's no place for us to go.  I don't want us to die I don't want us to but there's nothing we can do. They're everywhere...
Dean Miller: [Dean slaps his wife and then kisses her] Stop it...

In a nameless city somewhere in 'Europe' (tho' from the state of the haircuts and trousers it looks like the West Midlands circa 1985) a terrible nuclear accident has sent the populace reeling into panic.

Bouffanted and bearded ace reporter Dean Miller (Stiglitz from Alcoholics Anonymous and that film where the boat capsizes and they eat a dog) is assigned to interview eminent scientist Otto Hagenbach (bless you) who just happens to be flying in from the accident site that very morning.

Lucky eh?

But when the plane arrives it contains not only the grey haired boffin but a cargo hold full of scum-faced tramps dressed in their grandad's old suits.

Sorry, I mean bloodthirsty, potato faced 'atomic zombies'.

'Atomic zombies' intent on murder!!

And a fair bit of tittie touching if the rest of the film is anything to go by.

"You chase me now!"

Whilst all this scary shite is going down (as you kids say) Mrs. Miller (Trotter from Only Fools and Horses) is busy making her rounds at the local hospital.

Don't worry, she works there. It's not like she's skulking about chasing ambulances.

But things are a mite strange there too as she realizes when visiting a young patient named Phil.

When our bubble haired heroine, trying to pass the time, innocently asks him "Well, how are you feeling today?"

His frankly worrying reply is "I feel like somebody who's waiting for the hatchet guy to chop off his head, doctor."

Which is nice, if delivered a little stiffly.

Perfect for your mum then.

To make matters spookier, another patient, this time a broken legged football loving wee boy, has been having nightmares about bad men cutting his leg off.

Could this be related?

Mel (not Kim).

Well there's no time to worry about such trivialities as meanwhile at a top secret army base, military top brass Major Holmes (Rabal, all rugged with a silver quiff and a sexy sculptress girlfriend young enough to be his granddaughters fetus) and General Murchinson (Mel "I was married to Audrey Hepburn and the alimony bill is forcing me to appear in utter shite for the remainder of my career" Ferrer) are discussing the breaking emergency.

Please join us for a fantastic piece of choice dialogue as the body of one of the attackers is being examined :

Murchison (obviously reading from cue cards): Your autopsy categorically excludes an extraterrestrial being. It's molecular structure clearly establishes him as a member of the human race. A paradox when you consider what they've been doing....

Donohue (a 'scientist'): The examination of the various tissue samples that we have taken from the body reveal a high level of radioactivity, far superior to the level normally tolerated by the human organism. In addition we have found more or less recent hyper-tissue regeneration.

Murchison (bored now): Can you make that a little simpler Colonel? Some of your colleagues may not have the same technical or theoretical background...

(what? a technical background in talking bollocks? does that exist?)

Donohue (he's making it up now): In other words this individual and others like him have been subjected to strong doses of atomic radiation which increase their physical capacities beyond the norm.

Holmes (in a way only a man of a certain age can): How far beyond the norm?

Donohue (he's on a roll!): It's impossible to say. But it is a fact that these cells, subjected to almost every treatment we know, have proven to be almost indestructible.

Holmes: In short it's a kind of superman…?

Donohue (very excitedly): Much more than that… the victims of these creatures are contaminated even if they only suffer minor injuries.....

Murchison (losing the will to live): Then they can reproduce themselves… say indefinitely?

Donohue (jumping up and down waving his hands like a loon): That more or less… is correct!

I'm not saying the dialogue is bad but my computer kept crashing in an attempt to stop me typing it.

Look at it....really LOOK AT IT, it's so banal that if you concentrate hard enough the words actually appear to melt into mush before seeping into your eyes and attempting to rot your brain.

And the whole fucking film is written in this 'style'.

It's like the celluloid equivalent of a prison buggery.

Minus the biting obviously.

People died for this.


Anyway, still with us?

Good because after this fantastically written exchange Murchison elects to put plan 'H' into effect (no idea what's wrong with A thru' G), giving his men the unforgettable order to "Aim for the brain".

The race is now on to save humanity.

And enough cash to get Stiglitz some cheap wine after shooting finishes.

Mr. Potato Head need love!

Can Dean persuade the station heads (and their bodies too) to cancel the pop hits and bouncy tits TV show 'Dance Party' and broadcast his warning to the city and still have time to rescue his wife?

Will Sheila the sculptor survive in the coal bunker?

Will Mrs. Miller (not the cult recording star, the doctor remember?) ever stop waxing philosophically about the situation or will Dean just slap her (and slap her and slap her) until she starts crying in the horrific realization that she's surround by a cast and crew of highly disturbed sociopaths and alcoholics whose only concerns are keeping their star sober and filling the screen with as many inopportune breast shots as possible?

But most importantly will the once great Mel Ferrer have to spend his twilight years in the hell that is the Italian 'B' movie industry?

No idea why but this artwork terrified me when they published it in Starburst.

Director Umberto Lenzi's warning against the dangers of science gone mad was (according to the great man himself) based on 'true events'.

That's right! Lenzi reckons this really happened and is actually proud of this film, hailing it his 'masterpiece' comparing it's plot to that of Jonathan Demme's Philadelphia for it's portrayal of the effects disease has on the populace.

The joke was on us, we thought we were watching a cheap and cheerful zombie movie, when Lenzi has actually produced an amazingly existential docudrama that could change lives and save our planet.

I mean we're not laughing now are we?

His off screen battles to complete his vision are well documented, from producer Luis Mendez refusing to let him cast a 'name' actor in the lead role of Dean Miller (Lenzi favoured either Franco Nero or Fabio Testi whereas Mendez insisted on a Mexican lead to appeal to the movies co-funders who eventually cast alleged lush and professional hairy woodsman Stiglitz) to what appears to be an imaginary 'female executive' forcing him to tone down the films many gore scenes and berating the director for the finished film not being as good as Dawn of The Dead.

"Oi Umberto! NO!"

Unfortunately (for Lenzi), by his usual cinematic standards the finished film is in fact utter shite.

But for us it's one of the greatest pieces of art ever produced.

Just ask Robert Rodriguez, he allegedly based his Planet Terror on this movie and we know how great that is.

From the moment the film begins echoes of Waiting for Godot reverberate around the whole production as the imagination of the director crashes headlong into the crushing reality of the films budget with Hagenbach's arrival celebrated by covering the screen with a crimson hue only a cheap blood substitute can supply and characters just hang around, unable to do anything but await their final indignant ends.

"Touch my hairy face!"

The rampaging 'atomic zombies' are a triumph of crap over cash, looking for all the world as if their heads have been covered in PVA glue and then dipped in a bowl of potato peelings mixed with a liberal amount of dried shite and burrowing below the surface like some sleeping beast Lenzi's latent misogynism regularly bursts forth onto the screen as female character after female character are forced to trip over, whimper and lose their tops before being killed in a variety of increasingly sexualized scenes.

Fair play to the writers tho' who even when faced with the plot screaming to a halt halfway thru' bravely carry on by having Stiglitz and Trotter run aimlessly around the countryside with no other purpose than to occasionally bump into a group of infected killers then run away again.

But not before Trotter has been given (another) bloody good slap obviously.

It's like a horror version of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead but with more arse shots.

Trotter (a doctor don't forget) persuades the hairy one that a church is the best place to hide because the virus/plague/whatever won't enter the house of God.....Much to her (but not the audiences) surprise the church is full of spud-faced loons out for blood.

Mulder and Scully: the pikey years.

Exciting subplots include General Merchinson trying to get his daughter to the (relative) safety of the base whilst she'd rather go camping with her fella and the silver fox that is Major Holmes attempting to save his (almost pre-teen) girlfriend.

If I'm honest then the sight of the mahogany tanned and leathery faced Francisco Rabal running his tongue over the chest of someone young enough to be his (grand) daughter is probably the most unsettling and nightmarish thing in the whole movie meaning this image (and the sight of him in a scoop-necked too tight green 'army' t-shirt proudly displaying his curvy man-breasts) will stay with you long after the film has ended.

A leathery man yesterday.

And oh boy what an ending.

After everyone else seems to have died, the Millers escaped to a seemingly deserted fairground.

Suddenly they are surrounded by the infected....Dean and Anna head for safety atop a roller-coaster (?) the bad men in hot pursuit.

A helicopter appears on the horizon lowering a ladder the pair climb to safety, only for Mrs. Miller to lose her grip (on the ladder, not reality) and plummet to her death in a kind of floppy way only a shoddily made dummy can.

Dean screams and suddenly.....

Like I'd spoil it for you.

You'll just haveta go out and buy it.

And I know you want to even if you don't you filthy animals.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021


Britbox have released a new crime series with this very title so I reckoned that if I reposted my review I'd get some new - or any - readers who might not realise that this s a totally different beast.

That must die obviously.

You're welcome.

The Beast Must Die! (1974).
Dir: Paul Annett.
Cast: Calvin Lockhart, Marlene Clark, Charles Gray, Michael Gambon, Ciaran Madden, Tom Chadbon, Anton Diffring and Peter Cushing.

“This film is a detective story — In which you are the detective. The question is not ‘Who is the murderer?’ — But ‘Who is the werewolf?’ After all the clues have been shown — You will get a chance to give your answer. Watch for the werewolf break.”

Welcome to the world of multi-millionaire, big game hunter, international playboy and pound shop John Shaft Tom Newcliffe (a very shouty Lockhart) who, it seems, likes nothing better than to spend his weekends clad in shiny black plastic suits and being chased around his country estate by a load of heavily armed muscly white guys in helicopters and Land-Rovers whilst sweating profusely as a camp Polish bloke named Pavel (Brit-cinema rentaNazi Diffring) captures it all on videotape.

Look if that's what he enjoys then who am I to judge?

There’s a legitimate reason for all this wannabe race-baiting tho' (other than to give the film an intriguing - if in this day and age slightly disturbing - credit sequence obviously) as Tom is actually busy testing his estates newly installed high-tech security system.

And why is that? I hear you ask.

Well it seems that he's invited a group of folk to spend the weekend with him - and his wife Caroline (Clark from Night of The Cobra Woman, Ganja & Hess, Slaughter and Billy Dee Williams marital bed) - to not only indulge in a wee bit of drinking, chatting and dining but also to find out which one of them is a werewolf.

Oh yes and then kill them.

No seriously.

You see, according to Tom in all his big game hunting adventures this is the one animal he's never hunted.

Which begs the question as to which ones he has.

Vampires?, sea monsters? the Yeti? Katy Hopkins?

We need to know.

"I wouldn't one one of them swimming up my arse!"

And who is this motley band of would be werewolves?

Well there's distinguished diplomat Sir Arthur Bennington (genre stalwart and lifelong bachelor Gray), problematic pianist Jan Gilmore and his ex-protege cum wife Davina (the legend that is Dame Michael of Gambon and Madden who I'm sure was in some other stuff) alongside the hairy handed artist and part-time cannibal Paul Foote (Doctor Who's Duggan himself Chadbon) and the eminent lycanthropy expert Prof. Dolph Lundgren (Cushing).

It seems that at some point or another each of the five has been somewhere where a bad murder has been committed.

By a werewolf.


And with the whys and wherefores out of the way our merry band of might be murderers settle down to an insult filled dinner followed by a vaguely threatening game of pass the silver candlestick before retiring grumpily to bed as Pavel records their every move.

Imagine a really angry edition of Big Brother but with more Bri-Nylon.

"And for my next trick I will levitate this table without using my hands!"

Being quite a short film with a really bare-bones plot it's not long until the werewolf (played by a tie-dyed sheepdog) shows itself giving Tom ample opportunity to sweatily run around the woods - clad in a shiny plastic coat no less - randomly pointing a gun a trees whilst Pavel shouts random directions at him.

Little do the pair know tho' that the beast (who remember must die) is sneakily making its way to Pavel's office in order to kill him.

This turn of events understandably makes Tom even more obsessed with killing the creature much to his wife's chagrin and that night after dinner he forces the group to grab the candlestick (again) whilst waving a pot of Wolfs-bane around like a demented Morrissey tribute act.

Unfortunately none of this works because - as Prof. Lundgren helpfully points out, if the werewolf is fairly new to the whole transforming game they'll be able to hold on to their humanity a bit better than an old werewolf.

Or your dad after a drink.


It's during this plant-based outburst that Tom notices that Paul doesn't seem to be taking the situation as seriously as he should so our hero decides that this must be because he's a werewolf and not the fact that the whole premise is fucking ludicrous so to this end he decides to target the poor bloke with a barrage of insults and dirty looks.

Because sarcasm kills werewolves obviously.

And with that Paul heads of to bed, being careful to show his hairy back and arse to camera as he gets undressed.

Well it's another night and another full moon which means that we're about to experience some top quality day for night footage as Tom - this time in the BBC weather helicopter - flies around the English countryside randomly shooting at shadows before coming to land outside his greenhouse where it's been reported that a large dog is digging up the roses.

Bursting in all guns blazing Tom is surprised to find that the reported dog is, in fact, his actual pet dog, taken out for a nighttime poo by his Caroline.

The guffaws soon turn to screams tho' as out of nowhere (well from behind a bush) the werewolf appears, first killing the helicopter pilot before savaging Tom's pet pooch.

And with that they all skulk back to the house only to find poor Arthur Bennington dead in his bed and Paul missing.


Don't worry too much tho' he soon turns up saying he missed the drama as he was having a massive poo.

Which is fair enough.

Tim Martin farted....and it smells of yeast.

With the surviving guests all in one place and the movie hurtling drunkenly toward it's conclusion there's only one thing for it.

No not a brilliantly choreographed action sequence but a totally unexpected appearance from a childs version of the Countdown clock to herald the 'Werewolf Break' - a chance for viewers to weigh up the evidence given so far (which is a bit rich as let's be honest, there hasn't actually been any) and guess who the beast - that must die obviously - is.

And with that out of the way it's back to the film good and proper, where after a swift drink Tom pulls out a box of silver bullets (no idea where from as his trousers are really tight) and orders each of the guests - and his wife - to pop one in their mouth.

You can imagine his surprise then when the only person affected by the silver is his wife Caroline who almost immediately starts to sprout hair and fangs.

As the group look on in horror (OK mild disbelief) the crew quickly replace her with a dog who - on cue - leaps at Tom leaving him no choice other than shoot her/it (pronouns are important according to the kids) in the face.

This turn of events leaves Tom understandably confused so it's left to good old Lundgren to explain that Caroline must have gotten infected whilst taking care of her dog's wounds after the werewolf attack in the greenhouse, noting that she had a cut on her hand from earlier that evening.

Seems legit.

With dawn fast approaching and the remaining guests accounted for it's a race against time for Tom to find the beast and kill it.....

Because the beast must die.


A rare break from the portmanteau horror genre from the mighty Amicus, The Beast Must Die mixes sub-Avengers plotting with a very British take on Blaxploitation all hastily wrapped in the plot of "The Most Dangerous Game" (which was first filmed in 1932 so by this point was starting to creak a wee bit) and handed to a director whose claim to fame seemed to be bringing a variety of TV shows in under budget and on time which all in all may be seen as a recipe for if not disaster then at least a bit of a turgid mess.

Scarily tho' despite all of this (or maybe because of it) The Beast Must Die is actually pretty enjoyable for something that is to all intents and purposes utter cringe-inducing shite and mainly that's due to the talent on screen.

I mean anyone that can convincingly look terrified as the directors sheep dog dyed black and wearing a comedy ruff  prances about with its tongue out deserves at least a little respect.

And yes I'm looking at you Tom Chadbon.


Saying that tho' everyone else is pretty impressive too, it's just a pity that after getting together a cast that includes the likes of Charles Gray, Michael Gambon, Anton Diffring and Peter Cushing the writer/director decided to do fuck all with them except have them sitting around drinking wine in a collection of really horrible trousers.

And all while our heroic 'lead' Calvin Lockhart stands around shouting dressed in an approximation (if your nan was involved in the costumes) of what Shaft would wear had he been born in West Bromwich.

Talking of Shaft, if you've ever wondered what that classic movie would sound like if scored by a Tubby Hayes tribute band more used to working on 70s fag adverts then you're in luck.

No disrespect to Douglas Gamley - who scored shedloads of Amicus productions with great success, I mean his score for From Beyond the Grave is bloody phenomenal - but in this case it just sounds like it's trying way too hard, a wee bit like a musical version of your uncle Peter trying to pull that bridesmaid at your cousins wedding.

"Quick! Here comes Uncle Peter!"

Damning with faint praise I reckon the best thing you can say about The Beast Must Die is somewhere in that there's a really great grindhouse style actioner in there desperate to get out.

A wee bit like the beast itself.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

lordi lordi hellelujah.

It's Eurovision weekend and Lordi are back rocking out on a roof.

Somehow the world now seems a better place.

So what better excuse to look back at the brilliantly bonkers Autism-based horror movie they made back in 2008.

Because quite frankly it's fucking amazing.

A wee bit like them.


Dark Floors (2008).
Dir:  Pete Riski.
Cast: William Hope, Leon Herbert, Philip Bretherton, Ronald Pickup, Noah Huntley, Dominique McElligott, Skye Bennett and the mighty Lordi.

There is only one Hell.

It's a dark and stormy night at Baldpate Hospital where the spookily Autistic - or is that Autistically spooky? - Sarah (Bennett - Steven Seagal's daughter from Shadowman and the voices of Pyra / Mythra in the hit game Xenoblade Chronicles 2) is undergoing an MRI scan to cure her obsession with red crayons or something.

Look it's all very complicated and I'm not a real doctor.

Unfortunately the storm causes the machine to short circuit and burst into flames much to the doctors - and it must be said her dad Bens (former Emmerdale hunk Huntley) dismay.

Between the electrical fires and the idea that you can cure Autism with an MRI scan (plus the fact that the hospital is greasier than your Uncle Pablo's trousers) Ben decides to take Sarah home only to be informed by caring sharing nurse Emily (McElligott from House of Cards) that they thought it'd be a laugh to start the wee girl on some experimental epilepsy drugs (without his consent obviously) and that to take her home without them may kill her.

As a plus point they do point out that her liver is OK so swings and roundabouts really.

At this point I was getting a little upset, not at the way that Sarah was being treated but by the fact that no-one ever offered me any drugs after my diagnosis, all I got was this badge:

Tight NHS bastards.

Thinking it over for a few minutes Ben decides to fuck the drugs and attempt to sneak her out of the hospital in the middle of the night, cunningly disguising her Autism by placing her in a wheelchair so folk will think she's got a club foot instead.


Surprisingly the plans seems to work, until they reach the (packed) elevator that is when - as they bump over the edge of the door to enter - Sarah drops her crayons.

Rushing to leave Ben grabs them off the (dark) floor and thrusts them back into her hands not realising that he's inadvertently mixed the reds in with the blues.

And the yellow.

Which as we're all aware is the Autistic equivalent of someone shitting in your favourite teacup.

Noticing the error Sarah can do nothing but scream in dismay and as we all know if an Autistic scream* is left unchecked it can open a portal to a scary netherworld of fear and terror which is kinda annoying for the other folk - smarmy briefcase wanker Jon (Aliens Gorman himself Hope), creepy tramp Tobias (Pickup from loads of stuff) and stoic security guard Rick (Herbert channeling every Ving Rhames horror performance ever) - in the lift when the doors open out onto a bloodstained, spunk covered corridor of doom.


"Excuse you require any scissors sharpening?"

As our - not so - merry band nervously edge their way out of the lift they soon discover that they seem to still be in the hospital only a darker more nightmarish version of it, which for anyone who's ever been stuck in A and E on a Saturday night will realise must be fucking terrifying.

They soon come across (not in that way) Emily who's been passing the time since the space/time slip popping paper towels over the faces of dead pensioners and who - in a scene of total jobsworthness - begins to lay into Ben for attempting to sneak Sarah out of the hospital.

 Remembering that he has a child with him Ben plays the dutiful dad and goes to see if she's alright (as opposed to alt. right obviously) only to find that she's too busy drawing all manner of scary creatures to notice what's going on.

Hopefully she's not drawing the beings that occupy this dimension seeing as she appears to be linked to it.

Nah, it'll never happen.

Atomic Kitten have let themselves go....

The group really don't have time to ever think about such things tho' as they're suddenly attacked by a spooky ghost woman which gives Jon an excuse to quickly fuck off back to the elevator leaving the others to indulge in a wee bit of what looks like drunk dad dancing as they try to dodge the imaginary spectre that will be no doubt added on later at great expense.

Entering the lift (in a violent manner usually reserved for your dad after a few drinks) Jon frantically presses the buttons in the hope of escaping this waking nightmare only to hear a sinister scratching at behind the floor panels....

Escaping the ghost and locking themselves in a supply room is enough to wake Tobias from his drunken stupor and give him an opportunity to explain the films plot.
It seems that Sarah is indeed linked to the strange happenings around them and that the only way to return home is to kill the child.

And we thought the whole MMR debacle was bad news for Autistic folk, this guy makes Andrew Wakefield look positively sane by comparison.

Tho' I must say that at this point anyone who actually believes the whole Autism/vaccines bollocks deserves a fucking good kicking.

Rant over.

Laugh now!

 Thinking it over for a few minutes Ben realises that not only would this course of action not go down too well with Sarah's mum (even tho' she's dead) but more importantly would probably stop him scoring with Emily so he decides to call Tobias an arse before heading off to find the hospital exit.

But something is hunting our heroes, hungry for fresh souls.....

Yup, Lordi are coming....

The brainchild of singer/songwriter Mr Geoff Lordi (AKA the Scrabble high scoring Tomi Petteri Putaansuu) as a new outlet for his shock-rock combo Lordi, Dark Floors holds not only the distinction of being one of the most expensive films made in Finland but also of being quite possibly the best Silent Hill adaptation ever made that's not actually a Silent Hill film.

Oh yeah and it features an Autistic lead so really what's not to love?

Well your sister if I'm honest but let's not go there.

Formed in 1992 the group had always experimented with horror imagery and by 2004 had already completed a short movie - The Kin - a Lovecraftian tale that follows a young writer who after losing her mother in a train wreck finds the creatures from a horror book she is writing (all played by members of the band) become flesh bending time and space to ensure the tome is published.

With the short establishing the band members/creatures origins it was only a matter of time before they would make the leap to the bigscreen and after winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006 the world stage beckoned.

And by world stage I mean cinema screens obviously.

World stage is just a phrase.

Kin Hell!

Surprisingly tho' given the bands appearance and musical influences this is no KISS style romp but a straight-laced, old fashioned horror movie with a dependable cast playing it straight down the line and whilst not as gruesome as it wants to be it still packs some genuine chills.

True the plot makes fuck all sense and indeed the science on show is a wee bit dodgy but you can't help but get dragged in by Mr Lordi - and director Pete Riski's - obvious love of the horror genre.

Dr Andrew Wakefield desperately tries to convince a young mum that shooting yourself in the head cures Autism....(If only he'd done this....sigh).

Worth a look if you're a fan of hospitals, Autism and/or orthopedic shoes (and let's be honest you wouldn't be here if you weren't) Dark Floors is a perfect Friday night moviethat whilst not re-inventing the genre does provide some (sensible) chuckles and a couple of nice scares along the way.

And yes I know the ending makes fuck all sense but they're foreign so what do you expect?

*Which is why all my kids are ball-gagged.

As am I.

And that's why I sound so muffly when I podcast.

And now you know.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

it's not just the water that's dirty....

Tonight our Twitter Horror Club is watching what is possibly the greatest pond-based undead Nazi movie of all time.

Don't expect me to be too critical of this unsung masterpiece of the macabre tho' cos it's abso-fucking-lutely brilliant.

If you don't believe me then you're a fool.

And that's a fact.

Now that's out of the way let's start as we mean to go on.....with a wee bit of gratuitous nudity.

 Beware! Zombie Lake!

Are you sitting comfortably?

So let us begin...

Zombie(s) Lake (AKA Le Lac Des Morts Vivants, 1981)
Dir: Jean Rollin and/or Jess Franco (as J.A. Lazer)
Cast: Howard Vernon, Annouchka, Rene Douglas, Youri Rad, Nadine Pascal, Gilda Arancio, Pierre-Marie Escourrou, Alain Petit, Pascale Vital, Jean Rollin, some zombies and a lake.

Welcome to 1970's exploitation Europe and an oh-so-slightly scummy lake somewhere in France, the sun is glistening over the discarded condoms, fag boxes and pop cans as an incredibly buxom beauty (Vital from Come Play With Me 2 - like it matters) is frolicking thru' the trees and gaily throwing her clothes behind her.

Stripped naked and enjoying the sun (unless you're watching the 80's UK 'Modern Films' Betamax edition where she's sporting big grey granny pants) she suddenly notices a 'danger' sign near the waters edge.

Tossing it aside she dives into the welcoming waters of the lake.

Little does she realize that it is, in fact, a lake of death.

Or more correctly a lake of zombies.

A 'zombie lake' if you will.

Swimming fun - death (or at the
very least a huge dose of the shits) to follow.

Sexily splashing away to a frankly fantastic Europorn organ soundtrack and making sure to keep her ample breasts in shot at all times, our wet 'n' wild wench doesn't notice the shadowy figures lurking just below the surface.

Well she wouldn't would she, seeing as all those shadowy figure bits have been filmed miles away and weeks later at a disused public swimming baths.

Anyway, back to the action where without warning - unless you count the sudden burst of 'spooky' organ music that is - a green hand grabs for the girls leg and pulls her below the surface to her doom.

Which is quite scary if I'm honest, tho' not as scary as the loud pops and scratches that constitute a smooth transition to the next scene which appears to be made up of someone's holiday Super 8's of a quaint (if not a little seedy) public house somewhere in Normandy.

Most probably the town of Domfront* if I'm not mistaken.

Inside this marvelous example of early 19th century Orne architecture another, totally different buxom lady (she's blonde for one thing) is serving huge jugs (snigger) of beer to the locals who are busy eating snails and gossiping about the sheer amount of young girls who go missing near the local lake.

"She probably met some young stud eh?" remarks Claude (Rad - best known for his fantastic portrayal of 'the barman' in The Panther Squad), the big burly Brian Blessed alike as his drips piss weak French lager down his plaid shirt.

His rat-like companions twirl their mustaches in agreement before deciding to go see the Mayor if she hasn't shown up by closing time.

I mean come on, those tables aren't going to clean themselves.

Domfront: Local.

Morning dawns and the Mayor (who it appears is played by Ren Hoek from The Ren and Stimpy it's genre god Vernon working to pay off his parking fines) is rudely awakened from his garlic-fueled fantasies by Claude and his chums loudly banging on his door.

It seems that after much frantic searching there's been no sign of the girl except her discarded clothes, so Mayor Ren decides to call in the police from the next village - his town being so small that they don't have any of their own.

Meanwhile, out near the (zombie) lake another busty young woman is busily spending her day pushing a milk churn in a wheelbarrow across a bridge whilst wearing orthopedic shoes.

Which if I'm honest was reason enough to vote remain when we had the chance.

Unfortunately she is so deeply involved in her obviously important job that she totally fails to notice the fact that a shadowy green figure is watching her from the lakeside.

A shadowy figure which is revealed to be a one-eyed zombie in a Nazi uniform.

Well I say Nazi uniform but it's really a pair of moldy Quick-Fit overalls with Swastikas painted on them topped off with a pair of Wellington boots but at least the thought was there.

If not the budget.

The hideous Hun quickly grabs the woman and grapples her to the ground before clumsily exposing her hideous brown bra to the world and finally messily nuzzling her neck.

She screams kicking off her horrendous clogs in the struggle as the zombie dribbles poster paint over her throat in a cacophony of hisses, scratches and pops that suddenly cut to her prone body being laid (but not in that way, tho' I wouldn't put it past the French) on the Mayor's patio by an ever sweatier than earlier Claude.

Check the shoes (and the milk
churn in a wheelbarrow).

"I know how you feel about your daughter," Mayor Ren tells her distraught dad as he shuffles about his daughters corpse desperately trying to cover her big white pants.

Which is nice.

"No son, I ordered semi-skimmed."

As the fumbling father heads off into the bushes for a tearful wank and a garlic frogs leg flavoured Pot Noodle the gathered crowd (all six of them) stand motionless gazing longingly at the Mayor for what seems like an eternity.

Before it gets too uncomfortable tho' there's another cack-handed cut and we're suddenly watching Ren sitting on a bridge, his sinewy wrinkled arms wrapped around two obviously terrified young boys as he slowly drags them ever closer to his quivering, sweat covered lips.

"Is it in yet?"

It turns out that the boys have witnessed something strange near the lake and the Mayor wants all to know all the facts straight from their pretty mouths.

And probably a 'special ' cuddle too.

"Fuck me! It's Jon Pertwee!"

Meanwhile back at the pub ace reporter Janet Ellis (Arancio from Pourvu qu'on ait l'ivresse and your granddad's bed) has arrived in town determined to uncover the mystery of the 'ghostly lake' and heads over to Claude's table to pump him for information.

"You call it the Lake of Ghosts." Announces Janet.

Claude grunts, strokes his droopy mustache and lets loose a very eggy fart before realizing that this would probably make a better title for the film.

So impressed by Janet's use of words - and her hairy back and arse - he quickly offers to take her up the Mayors house.

Which is sadly not a euphemism for field based bare-backing tho' it really should be. 

Once there, Janet wastes no time (OK maybe a minute or so) introducing herself before explaining that she's working on a story regarding the legends of the lake and surrounding area for a local TV show called Zombing About.


Ren tells her she's talking bollocks, which she counters by whipping out a huge book detailing the legends of the lake (and other stuff) from her tiny handbag.

"Now I'm intrigued!" a visibly aroused Ren exclaims, rubbing his boney hands together with glee.

His pleasure is soon curtailed when he begins reading thru' the tome tho' deciding that it's too vague to be of any use.

"The book is too out of date to be useful" he cries.

You heard it here first kids, any books not written within the last forty minutes must be obsolete and should therefore be burned. 

Janet, not being an inbred hick, argues that legends and folktales like these are usually based on fact.

"But they are the very stuff of books." Ren cryptically (and nonsensically) replies, before launching into a tale from the heady days of the second world war.....

What your granddad really did during the war.

Thru' the magic of the 'wobbly dissolve' (that's the actual technical term for it, go on check) we're quickly transported back to the 1940's where a crack squad of German soldiers are battling an (unseen) airplane with pellet guns whilst yet another busty blonde (Pascale, who it turns out actually worked again appearing in everything from Ópalo de fuego: Mercaderes del sexo with Lina Romay to Sechs Schwedinnen im Pensionat with professional sauce-pot Brigitte Lahaie) stands screaming at the chaos and bloodshed going on just out of shot.

Noticing how the sunlight glistens on her ample breasts, Klaus, the sexy blond Nazi-boy (is there any other kind?) in charge (Escourrou - bless you) runs thru' the ensuing explosions to save her, grappling her to the ground as a 'huge' (ahem) bomb goes off.

Later that evening she shows her gratitude by having sex with him in a barn to the strains of romantic choral music.

As morning breaks the lovers prepare to go their separate ways - her to explain to her dad why she's having sex with a Nazi, him to slaughter some more Jews, the disabled etc. - she gives him a huge pendant to remember her by.

Which begs the question who knew they had pound shops in 1940's France?

Anyway, after what seems about 3 days worth of footage of the Nazi's fighting in the snow against (invisible) Russians and driving around aimlessly in a badly painted milk float, Aryan boy returns to the village to find that his 'lady friend' is heavily pregnant.

On discovering this fact - and being a blackclad badboy - he kisses her goodbye and leaves almost immediately to rejoin his jackbooted buddies for a bit more killing.

Cue even more shooting at imaginary foes and driving down deserted country lanes to a slightly sinister soundtrack.

Fear not tho' because before too long - probably due to the rocking motion in the back of the van - the crack troops are all desperate for a toilet break and a quick ciggie.

Just like the audience.

But, unlike the said viewer the soldiers joy is cut short by Claude and his buddies who leap out of the trees and shoot them all dead before dumping their bodies in the local lake.

See? it's all coming together now.

"Not the face luv!"

In a case of spooky coincidence - or plot contrivance take your pick - blond boy's squeeze dies at exactly the same moment.

Tho' this may have more to do with the fact that she's giving birth to a ball headed baby than some supernatural quirk of fate.

Janet, unable to hide her disappointment at such a shite story makes her farewells and heads back to the pub with only an evening of cheap drink and the chance of Claude pawing at her underwear with his sweaty sausage fingers for comfort.

Which, if I'm honest sounds a pretty good night.

Meanwhile back at the lake a local all-girl volleyball team have decided to stop for a picnic followed by some nude cavorting to a jaunty Hammond organ score.

As groups of women together are known to do.

Giggling, combing each others hair and throwing a ball around (in glorious boob bouncing close-up) they're all blissfully unaware of the evil lurking nearby.

And I'm not talking about Claude.

A nude volleyball team frolicking in a lake earlier today.

As is always the way in these situations there's usually one person for whom jiggling about in the nude is never enough, so a cry of "Let's all go for a swim in this inviting and zombie-free lake!" is soon heard and the ladies cheerfully dive in for more ball based, giggly fun.

But down below the zombies are on the move.

Not too quickly tho' as they appear to be enjoying the underwater shots of the girls swimming, doing star jumps and kicking their legs wide open as much as we are.

I don't have the words.

The zombies soon remember that this is meant to be a horror film tho' and soon enough decide to attack, fondling the ladies soft thighs as they drag them to their doom at the bottom of the lake.

Luckily one of the team has been sitting on the banks painting her nails so manages to run screaming and wobbling towards the village clad only in a big (and I mean BIG) pair of blue pants.

Claude and his posse are enjoying a quiet beer or three (now there's a surprise) when she bursts into the pub screaming before promptly collapses on their table.

Obviously impressed by the service and totally enamored by her choice of underwear Claude orders his pals to take her 'up the stairs' (I don't know if this is a particularly French sexual activity but we never see her again) whilst at the same time top 'tecs Spitz and Moran (played by a shaved ferret and Rollin himself, fact fans) arrive on the scene, stopping by the pub to ask directions to Mayor Ren's residence.

It's all go in this town isn't it?

"Waitress! this gammons off!"

Mayor Ren cracks under the good hair/bad hair double act and reveals the full sordid history of the 'Lake of the Damned' and how it's evil has stretched back as far as the middle ages and maybe even earlier.

Tho' probably not as far back as lunchtime tho' because that would be silly.

Spitz and Moran unfortunately think he's talking complete shite and decides to go back to the pub to, um, 'interview' people.

As all this is going down (as the yoof say) our favourite Aryan zombie has taken a break from all the killing and decided to go and visit his now grown up (well 12 year old) daughter Helena (Anouchka - star of White Cannibal Queen and daughter of producer Daniel Lesoeur, which if nothing else meant she knew exactly who to fuck to get out of the movie).

Surprisingly she takes his re-appearance quite well, seeing as he's now a green skinned, undead beast in a (possibly very damp smelling) German uniform.

The lack of surprise is only equaled by the films lack of logic, I mean it's now the 'modern' (well the 1980's) day, so how come she's not in her early 40's?

Ignoring this vexing plot point they exchange knowing glances and he heads back to the lake.

But what of Europe's greatest detective duo?

"Where's mah hoosekeepin'?"

Well Spitz and Moran, now bored with getting pissed and annoying the locals elect to go and investigate the disappearance of the basketball team everyone's talking about, especially upon hearing that they were nude.

Heading out to the lake the dynamic duo soon come across an abandoned camper van and piles of ladies clothes.

"Do you think it's foul play?" asks Moran as he wipes his now flaccid member on a discarded t-shirt.

"It beats me," Spitz replies, "There's no clue to what happened." 

Save the bloodstained shoes and claw marks on the benches obviously.

Shrugging at each other in a manner usually reserved for impatient waiters the pair proceed to rifle thru' the team's discarded handbags no doubt in order to pocket lipsticks, blusher etc. to give to their wives.

But as this blatant abuse of police power continues the zombies are slowly rising from their watery graves and preparing to attack killing the detectives.

But this is only the beginning of their lust for vengeance (and lust for blood and possibly big pants too) as the unstoppable zombie horde starts to shuffle towards the village.....

Your can't imagine the sheer ecstatic pleasure I feel every time a young film fan inadvertently discovers the joy of Jean Rollin/Jess Franco's infamous no-budget zombie 'epic', directed under the frankly fantastic pseudonym 'J.A. Lazer' and starring Rollin regular, the frighteningly ferret like Howard Vernon - what Zombie Lake lacks in budget, plot, effects, editing, coherent storytelling etc. it more than makes up for with lots of long, lingering nude scenes (not found in the original bulky boxed betamax UK Modern Films release) alongside scenes of such mind numbing bizarreness that you'll be flicking back to make sure you really did see them.

And then just flicking away in general.

Seriously it's that good.

Experience the crew forgetting to turn the lights on till halfway through a scene!

Recoil in horror as Nazi zombies in green emulsion stomp about in a swimming pool!

Swoon as grannie-haired Gilda Arancio sits in the pub with a sweating mustached man!

Go open another bag of crisps as the unnecessary love story subplot (complete with soft focus ‘lurve’ scenes) unfolds in bum numbing detail!

Strain your ears trying to decipher the almost Lynchian dialogue and get a headache attempting to figure out how it relates to the action on screen!

Get slightly uncomfortable as you watch the antics of the nude female basketball team unfold to a cheesy 'europorn' score and much more besides!

Your mum and dad drunk at Christmas.

You know you’re onto a winner when you realize that Rollin was in fact using a completely different script to the one his actors had (he admitted as much in a 1981 interview in Starburst Magazine number 48…go find it out, it’s the special Zombie issue fact fans) meaning that for the majority of the films shoot people were just looking at him blankly as he barked out directions at them.

If only  Jennifer Kent had have had the same problem during The Babadook we might have had a halfway decent movie.

Plus when Jess Franco has dropped out of a project due to it being utter shit you know you're in trouble.

That's not me on the cover BTW....Everyone knows that I was the small boy in Suspiria.

Usually at this point I spend ages ripping a film apart and making puerile jokes at the crews expense but in all honesty I can't do it with Zombie(s) Lake because it's so damn wonderful.

No, really.

If it wasn't then why did Jess Franco remake it a few years later as Oasis of The Zombies?

Seriously, same plot, villains and structure.

Oh yes, and the same script.

Essential viewing for fans of Eurotrash horror, anyone who thinks they've already seen the worst movie ever or those who really enjoyed 'Bloody Moon'.

Sheer genius.

* Domfront is a very pretty hilltown in the south of Normandy full of ancient ramparts and a quaint old town centre with half timbered houses, an historic church and a breathtaking castle.

There is also a popular - and cheap - market on Friday mornings.

More importantly I was once taken advantage of by a much older girl from there (her name was Cécile Fournier and she smelled of chocolate orange) in the ZigZag toilets in Birmingham back in 1986 who I then proceeded to follow around for 6 months like a lost puppy.

Every single week.

She eventually gave in and asked me to move to France with her to live on her family farm but being really young and nervous I declined, tho' I've no idea if that's a reason to love Zombie(s) Lake or not.

Answers to the usual email address.

Nuff said.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

(bloody) moonhead.

Celebrating Jess Franco's birthday with a look back at his greatest film.

Yes I know everyone should have seen it but who knows there may be a wee boy reading who has never experienced the sheer joy of....

Bloody Moon (1981).
Dir: Jesus Franco.
Star: Olivia Pascal, Christop Moosbrugger, Nadja Gerganoff and some other folk with made up names.

It's almost the witching hour, the moon is full and the night is as quiet as the grave.

Suddenly the deathly silence is broken by the squeak of a wheelchair trundling thru' the dark shadows and a woman's angry voice: "Miguel!... I'm your sister, don't look at me that way!"

The pudding bowl haircutted and facially fucked Miguel (Moosbrugger wearing what looks like a bucket of dried horse cum on his cheeks) stands in the moonlight dribbling as his sexy (in a 70's breasted way) sister Manuela (the local nosed Olivia Pascal) continues to berate him before ordering him back to the local dance club in the hope that all that jiving will make him far too tired to start wanking in her underpant drawer later.

Wandering among the hip 'n' happening party goers he picks up not only a pound shop Mickey Mouse mask but a sexy disco diva to boot and the pair soon head back to her chalet for some steamy and sweaty sex.

Well it is a short film.

Unfortunately at the moment of climax she pulls off his mask to reveal the aforementioned heavily scarred (and atrociously haircutted) Miguel leering over her like Jimmy Savile in a creche.

Annoyed at the fact that she finds his face scary (especially after the intimate moments they've just shared) he decides that rather than sort the misunderstanding out over a nice cup of tea it'd be easier to stab her to death with a pair of scissors.

As one would.

Hilarity unfortunately does not ensue.

Years later he is released from 'hospital' into his sister's care, allegedly cured and ready to return to society.

Just one thing the doctor's warn her, "...avoid references to that unfortunate night. He might not be that cured."

Which is nice.

Obviously the best thing to do is to take Miguel back to the scene of the murder, (now open as The International Youth-Club Boarding School of Languages, run by Miguel's wheelchair bound mum).

So dear viewer let's sit back and see what happens.

Luckily for those of us who like to take the piss out of those less fortunate than ourselves the school is populated by the biggest collection of freaks this side of a Todd Browning convention.

Or Govan on Giro day.

Well on any day really.

Admit it, Glasgow girls are best.

There's the grunting handyman, Paco, a beast of a bloke obsessed with hitting sign posts randomly with hammers whilst rubbing his crotch; a slug murdering gardener; a twitchy, ferret like head professor and a South American studly tennis tutor with a permanent hard on and a never ending line of ladies willing to sit on it.

Good job then that all the students are female and decked out in crotch splitting hot pants, Farrah flicks and skin tight tee's, coming out with such quality lines as: "The best way to learn a language is in bed!"

There are actually a few more quality lines but to be honest my computer was sick as I typed them.

"Put it in me!"

Miguel meanwhile, has become obsessed by the raven haired (yet shark toothed) Angela (Gerganoff), a girl he sat opposite on the train journey to the school and begins to follow her around like a lovesick (and bowl-head) puppy.


Feeling sexually renewed (alright just downright horny) by these pangs of young love and realising that it will come to nothing, our scarred sibling decides to ask Manuela if they can continue their incestuous relationship (as you would), even going as far as to attempt a sexy seduction by licking the grit from between her toes.

Pascal: Pig in a market.

After taking a minute to think about it (and no doubt about what happened last time) she refuses.

Miguel is heartbroken (and maybe, just maybe a teensy bit mad): "Only if we could get rid of everyone, then things could go back to the way they were." He cries.

Then the fun really begins as Angela's friends are dispatched one by one.....oh and someone cuts a grass snake in half.

Unfortunately for our heroine, nobody believes her story of a killer on campus.

But we know better obviously.

Don't leave me hanging!

The killer even goes so far as to hang one of Angela's pals in her cupboard but spitefully removes it before she can get help.

Confused and scared, Angela finally looks to Miguel's mum and sister for support - well, obviously not the mum, she can't support herself without sticks let alone Angela.

Will the killer be caught before it's too late?

Laugh now!

Bloody Moon is the mad, bad and dangerous to know idiot offspring of a sleazy late night kebab fueled shag between your average American slasher movie and a lonely homesick Italian giallo it's met in a dive bar and took back to a dirty hotel after first spiking it's drink.

A totally screwy mix of sex, violence and cack handed dubbing from Spain's busiest exploitation maestro, the great Jesus Franco, a man who would've filmed his elderly mother suffering a stroke if he thought there was a market for it.

"Blood in mah mooth!"

Franco spent his career churning out everything from sordid women in prison flicks to sordid lesbian vampire ones and who holds the record of being the 'director' with the most movies on the DPP ‘video-nasties’ list in the UK during the 80's.

The confused tone inherent in the film isn't helped by the fact that most of it is German financed but with a bizarro mix of (horrendously dubbed) Italian and Spanish actors whilst Franco appears to be nonchalantly working to his own agenda.

The money men obviously wanted a cheap and cheerful disco dancing, gory, mentalist murders teens flick whilst Franco has decided this was to be his homage to John Carpenter and (ye gads) Brian DePalma.

Everyone (except Jess, God love him) appears to be embarrassed by the whole thing, especially Olivia Pascal who doesn't even mention it on her resume (it's becoming a habit on here, dredging up serious actors shameful pasts).

The fact that she's done more dodgy porn than Robert Kurman and puts that on her CV says a lot about her experiences here.

Olivia Pascal:
we know where you live.

But saying that, any movie that's paid homage to by Pedro Almodovar (the death by circular saw scene is "quoted" in his laugh a minute Matador) is OK by me.

Trust StevieDee collection is complete without this movie.