Saturday, December 25, 2021

tis the season.....

 Merry Christmas dear reader.

Yes, I assume there's only one of you.



Friday, December 24, 2021

slayer-rific.

This is on the Horror Channel in the UK today at 4:00 PM - a proper Crimbo banger as the kids say.

Enjoy.

And Merry Christmas ya lousy bums.

Hawk The Slayer (1980).
Dir: Terry Marcel.
Cast: John Terry, Jack Palance, Bernard Bresslaw, Morgan Sheppard, Annette Crosbie, Shane Bryant, Ray Charleson, Peter O'Farrell, Patricia Quinn and Catriona MacColl.


I am no messenger. But I will give you a message. The message of DEATH!



It is a time of darkness (around 3:30 in the afternoon by the look of the sky) when evil walks the land.

Witches wander the woods whilst common folk sit on tree stumps wearing tights and tidy beards whilst every bad man possesses a shiny helmet.

One such chrome hatted horror is the wicked Steve Voltan (human handbag Palance in a performance so over the top he's almost in orbit) who, after a huge argument with his dad (probably over not paying his board or being out too late), kills the old fella before doing a runner.

It's like the late lamented Jeremy Kyle show but with more tooled leather.

Enter from stage left the luxurious locked nice son Hawk (John - not the footballer - Terry) who's just turned up to see if his dad needs any shopping done.

Cradling his dying father in his arms (but luckily not in his mooth) our hero listens intently (tho' from Terry's acting he could have constipation) as the old man mutters on about the kids of today having no respect and the price of bread before finally bestowing the mysterious 'Mind Sword' on his son.

A magical bladed weapon with bizarre powers represented by a kids torch stuck to the hilt.

As dad breathes his last Hawk turns to camera and vows to avenge his death.

But not before he gets his hair blow dried and his eyebrows done obviously.




"Don't touch the hair."


Meanwhile Voltan's evil ways have eclipsed the entire kingdom; his followers appear to have stolen all the buildings and replaced them with paintings, night time has been outlawed and replaced with a nicotine filter and the whole country has been reduced to the wooded bit next to the play park behind the directors house, just ever so slightly redressed between scenes in an attempt to confuse the locals.

Luckily there's at least one real building left in the land, a convent run by Victor Meldrew's missis and a last shining beacon of hope in an otherwise dark world.

And currently limping bravely towards this beacon is the bearded and bashed Ranulf (genre stalwart Sheppard), sole survivor of one of Voltan's massacres.

Arriving at the front door he's quickly ushered into the dining hall and in between mouthfuls of egg and cress sandwiches and crisps helpfully informs the nuns  - and by default the viewers - of just how evil Voltan is.

It appears that the evil one attacked Ranulf's village without reason or warning, hacking the women and children to pieces and digging up the adventure playground before twisting the swings around so high that no-one could use them and sitting on the slide.

I shudder as to what he did to the men folk tho' as their fate is never mentioned.

Maybe he sent them to work in his secret licorice mines?

Hel-met.





Luckily for Ranulf he's a fucking good runner  - who seems not too bothered to lose his family, perhaps they weren't speaking?-  and managed to escape before things got too bloody.

Tho' he does appear to have left most of his hand behind and what's left of it is beyond saving,  so the nuns wrap a scarf around it and send him to bed.

On the other - only?- hand his beard and crooked teeth are perfectly fine so it's not all bad.

It's not all saucy young nuns and snacks tho' as before long Voltan appears at the convent intent on bad deeds, first he roughly takes Annette Crosbie to his lair (dirty boy), before demanding 'all the gold!' as a ransom.
 
Understandably pissed off at all these naughty shenanigans Ranulf, blaming Voltan for cutting short his promising career as a professional knitter decides to challenge him to a duel but unfortunately falls for the villains taunts of "I can fight you with one arm behind my back" (probably) which results in our bearded pal getting a damn good kicking.



"You should really see a doctor about that son."


Left battered, bruised and surrounded by crying nuns, Ranulf quickly rides off - he's getting good at this legging it lark - to the Abbey for a meeting with the High Abbot (unfortunately not Russ), who after much chin stroking sends Ranulf off to search for one who can help defeat Voltan.

A man named Hawk.....The Slayer.

Obviously everyone else was busy.

Ranulf quickly begins his quest to find Hawk but is almost immediately  accosted by some gypsies and after refusing to buy some pegs is locked up in a cage.

Come on, how unlucky is this guy?

Help is at hand tho' when Hawk just happens to come riding passed - with his sexy blind sorceress companion (the raunchy redhead that fueled so many teen fantasies thanks to Rocky Horror, Patricia Quinn) that he rescued from being burnt as a witch a few scenes earlier - and kills the dirty criminals using his 'Mind Sword'.

Which it turns out is exactly like a normal sword apart from the fact that it can float into its owners hand as if carried - just out of shot - by a member of the crew.



Spock: The Pikey years.


After listening to Ranulf's tale of woe, Hawk decides to help rescue Ms. Crosbie  and begins to round up his posse from 'the mystic hood' as they probably said in the olden days to kick Voltan's arse.

Contrary to what you might be thinking this isn't as heroic and selfless as it sounds seeing as he was on his way to kill Voltan anyway, it just means that now he'll be getting some readies for doing it so it's not long (well the film has a fairly short running time) before our hero has got his merry band (The Slayerettes?)  together.



"'Ere Sid! This is a real carry on!"

This (slightly) super six consists of Hawk himself, Ranulf, the aforementioned sexy sorceress, a seriously short mallet wielding 'giant' named Gort (Carry On star Bresslaw), an elf dressed in a knitted tracksuit Cameron Crow (Charleson, famous for playing the Bishop in London's first multi-racial production of Jean Genet's 'The Balcony' fact fans) and Alec Baldin (professional short-arse O'Farrell) an overly tall dwarf with a bullwhip, pointy shoes and a fish fetish.

Voltan must be shitting himself.



"Trout in mah mooth!"


Heading back to the convent, our heroes soon get to work protecting the nuns, eating sandwiches and trying to work out how to get enough gold to lure Voltan into a trap.

You see, they've figure out that it'd be impossible to literally get 'all the gold' seeing as no-one is quite sure where it's all kept but reckon that some - mixed inn with some chocolate coins and old Ferrero Rocher packets would probably be better than none.

I mean Voltan only has one good eye so it's not like he'll be looking too closely.

After much deliberation and deciding that whoring out the nuns for pennies would be a bad idea, our heroes decide the easiest way to get the gold is to head out into the woods and relieve Tony Trafficker, the local news agent cum slave trader of his stash.

Oh yeah and free his slaves too obviously.

Surprisingly this all goes without a hitch and our merry band are soon back at the convent celebrating with crisps and lashings of ginger beer.

There's always one miserable git who manages to sour any celebration tho' and in this case it's Hawk himself.

Seems he's beginning to have second thoughts about trusting Voltan to keep his side of the bargain.

Seeing as he's already killed their dad and - in a soft focus flashback sequence - Hawk's wife Eliane (the legend that is Catriona MacColl) you can kinds see where he's coming from.

Pissed up on Buckfast and spoiling for a fight our heroes grab their weapons and head out to Voltan's castle in order to rescue Annette (and no doubt keep the gold for themselves) and hopefully persuade Voltan to change his ways and therefore avoid any unnecessary bloodshed.

Or any prohibitively expensive action sequences obviously.

It'll come as no surprise when I say that this plan fails abysmally and the dirty half dozen end up retreating back to the abbey with bruised ego's and slightly ruddy arses.

From having them kicked that is.

Minds like sewers you lot.

It's not all bad tho' as during the botched rescue, Hawk did manage to run his nephew Drogo thru' with a sword.

Which is nice.



"Buns you say?!?"


Obviously this doesn't go down too well with  Voltan, who on hearing the news of the death of his son goes completely mental and after throwing a dinner service at his trusty servant decides to attack the abbey, kill everybody in it and just take 'all the gold' for himself.

Which if you think about it is much more in keeping with his evil image.

With the help of a well-meaning (yet ultimately misguided) nun he breaks into the abbey whilst everyone is sleeping/hungover and captures our motley crew, tying them up in the basement ready for a wee bit of torture porn.

And he's going to start by introducing his brother Hawk to a red hot poker.

All looks lost but can the sorceress use her magical powers plus her seemingly unending supply of glowing ping-pong balls and silly string to rescue our heroes from evil?


Five go mad on meth.

Before I go any further can I just say I fucking love this movie and nothing - or no-one - will ever change my mind.

It's sad but true that Terry (co-writer and producer of Norman J. Warren's Prey- see? this blog's not just chucked together randomly) Marcel's vastly underrated British entry into the early 80's sword and sorcery genre is often ridiculed for it's poor effects, lack of budget, pseudo-disco score and the varying quality of the performances but if you can look past that lot you'll find a gem as bright as the one in the 'Mind Sword' just under the surface.

Well maybe not that bright otherwise you'd probably go blind but you get the point.

OK I'll admit that the cast are, on the whole as stilted and wooden as the trees surrounding them, but this almost high arch delivery evokes a less sophisticated age.

Take John Terry's performance as Hawk, who's to say that medieval noblemen didn't speak in broad Yankee accents and I've never read anything in history books to say that they had to move their upper bodies whilst talking.

Who knows, it might be that seeing as the 80's was the height of the toy tie-in, Terry might just be the greatest actor of them all, choosing to play Hawk as a living, breathing full size Palitoy action figure.

Now how's that for post modernism?

Luckily the late, great Jack Palance appears to be compensating for everyone else's lack of energy, spitting and snarling every single syllable like some huge brutish bull terrier with it's balls being slowly squeezed by a fresh smelling Emma Thompson whilst Air's Sexy Boy plays in the background and all the time whilst wearing a swing bin on his head.

C'mon, what's not to love?



"Touch my ring!"


Of the other cast members Ray Charleson's portrayal of Crow the Elf, whilst seemingly spookily mysterious to me as a child now just comes across like a whispering pikey peadophile bedecked in his mums best PJ's, which I admit says more about me than him whilst Bernard Bresslaw is basically having a dry run for the same character in Krull a few years later.

Only in that they could afford to give him some built-up shoes and a mask.

Tho' in all honesty it doesn't make it any less a bind to sit thru', at least with Hawk the cast look like they're at least enjoying themselves, unlike Krull where half the budget seems to have gone on inserting poles up the casts arses.

Talking of arses, Patricia Quinn is as sexy/scary (tick as applicable) as she was in The Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Hammer House of Horror episode Witching Time (the first full frontal nudity I ever saw) even tho' she's forced to wear a headband with an eye chalked on it and an old sleeping bag but let's be honest here, can you imagine any other actress managing to pull that off and still look sultry?

Thought not.

Patricia Quinn: You would (and your dad probably did. Twice).


Of the rest of the cast, the fantastic Morgan Sheppard is all hangdog looks, world weary sighs and muscular thighs (well maybe not the last bit) whilst O'Farrell gives it his all, which seeing as he's stuck wearing a pair of child's black ballet tights, winkle-pickers and a hoodie with a plastic mackerel in the pocket is pretty damn good if I'm honest.

Talking of plastic joke shop toys, any film that makes no apologies for using silly string, glowing ping-pong balls, pound shop spiders and hula hoops stolen from the set of Superman II as a serious replacement for a lack of effects budget deserves all the praise you can muster.

I mean you have to at least admire the crews balls for even thinking about attempting a movie of this scale on a budget that wouldn't even begin to cover the cost of Lena Headey's tattoo camouflaging cream on Game of Thrones.

Headey: No reason.


And what of the high energy synth score by ex Six-Five Special and Oh Boy musical director Harry Robertson I hear you ask?

Well it's nothing short of genius, giving Claudio Simonetti a run for his money and perfectly evocative of a spooky age of sorcery, swords and magic.

Albiet one where holiday resort discos are all the rage obviously.

Just give it a listen now and see if you're not transported back to a time of mucky maidens and medieval mayhem.

Or at the very least overtaken by the urge to give your evil sibling a damn good hiding.

Had there been any justice in the world someone would have penned lyrics to this and given us another Eurovision hit thereby ushering in an age of Hawk-based fashions and films.

Instead we got Prima Donna: Love Enough For Two and the cementing of Thatcherism.

Bastards.


But then again, I may be just a sad, sad fan boy who needs to get out more.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

fog on the rhine.

We had fish and chips last night which gave me the urge to rewatch this.

Enjoy.

Las garras de Lorelei (AKA L'abbraccio mortale di Lorele, The Loreley's Grasp, The Night the Screaming Stopped. 1974). 

Dir: Amando de Ossorio.
 

Cast: Tony Kendall, Helga Liné, Silvia Tortosa, Ángel Menéndez, Josefina Jartin, Loreta Tovar, José Thelman, Luis Induni, Betsabé Ruiz and Francisco Nieto.

“Send her back into the legendary night from which she has come.”



Welcome to the small town of Cleftplate nestling on the banks of the river Rhine, a town where nylon action slacks and porn mustaches rule supreme and where a green-gilled beast is doing it's best to eat thru' the entire neighbourhood in it's search for fresh hearts, somewhat destroying the fairly easy going nature of the movie with scenes of pretty violent - and somewhat unnecessary - breast tearing.

Which to be honest gives it the edge over Emmerdale.

But not The Archers obviously.

Every night dozens of angry, polyester-clad villagers gather at the local pub to debate who or what is terrorizing the town.

Luckily there's an expert in their midst, the local doctor, one Terry Von Lander (Der Todesrächer von Soho star Menéndez) and according to him the town is being stalked by a mythical beast.

Sounds plausible.

The Cleftplate men's club annual game of spin the bottle was always popular with the Colonel.


It transpires (I love that word it's second only to ottoman) that many years ago a beautiful lady, named Lorelei who spurned by her lover after he tricked her into a bout of the bum sex, tossed herself off the cliffs and into the murky waters of the Rhine.

As you would.

Well ever since then it is said that she returns every number of years (he's not that specific) in order to feast on human flesh for some convoluted reason.

I must have missed that bit.

Anyway fearing for the safety of the pupils at the local all girls boarding school, the sternly saucy headmistress Elke Ackerman (top tottie Tortosa from Horror Express) hires local he-man and open shirted sex god Sigurd (Italy's very own John Barrowman, Kendall, most famous for his role as PI Jo Louis Walker in the Kommissar X movies) to patrol the grounds in the hope of keeping the pupils safe.

Frankly if I had to choose between a fishy monster or Sigurd's obscenely large bulge I know which I'd probably need more protection from, it's almost as if he has a babies arm down there.

A baby bodybuilders arm.

A baby bodybuilders arm holding an apple.

A really, really big apple.

With one huge weeping eye.

Arriving the following day astride a huge motorbike, Sigurd and his trousers cause quite a stir (and a hell of a lot of dampness) amongst the students as well as a feeling of complete loathing from Elke.

I doth think she protests too much but let's wait and see.

You would, he would, your mum did. Twice.


Patrolling the grounds every night with his massive weapon cocked and ready to fire, our he-man hero alleviates the boredom by leering and winking at the girls whilst they get ready for bed.

And being dolly burds they fahkin' love it.

Obviously.

Unfortunately (or fortunately if you prefer stalking barely legal girls to killing monsters) the beast appears to be more interested in killing the townsfolk.

Which, if I'm honest doesn't seem to bother anyone until the creature murders the local homeless musician cum rent boy Tobias that is.

With no-one left to cuddle up to on those cold winters nights when their wives have locked them out, a mob of the towns most mustachioed men march on the mayor's cottage and demand action.

Back at the school shifty Sigurd is having some trouble of his own after being caught masturbating in the pupil's private pool.

Ms. Elke, still not swayed by his manliness, sends our hero off into the countryside for a swim in a nearby lake in the vain hope of cooling his ardor.

"Ere! Can you smell Mackerel?"

Wandering around like a lost child (albeit a lost child with a massive hard-on), Sigurd comes across (I'm not even going to type it) a ravishing redhead in a green fringed bikini lounging nonchalantly on a rock trying her best not to appear too cold.

Having not seen a female for nearly fifteen minutes Sigurd gives chase but the mysterious woman gracefully glides thru' the rocks, her ample arse gently bouncing hypnotically as she goes before disappearing from sight. 

Bewitched by this ginger siren Sigurd begins to hang around the lake on a daily basis in the hope of seeing her again and luckily (with the movie only being ninety odd minutes) this happens fairly quickly.

But not as quickly as Sigurd's smooth moves seeing as within minutes he manages to get his mysterious Ms. into a saucy clinch on a dirty mattress in a broken down fisherman’s hut.

The romantic devil.

Unfortunately (for him and us tho' I reckon the lady had a narrow escape) just at the point of entry a big bearded man appears and reprimands Sigurd for keeping Lorelei out for so long.

But wait, isn't Lorelei the name of the flesh-feasting beast?

Sigurd thinks for a moment before remembering that one Lorelei is a big green monster whilst the other is a curvaceous sex kitten played by Berlin born Liné, from the equally fantastic La orgía nocturna de los vampiros.

Without another word beardy scoops her up into his muscled, well oiled arms and proceeds to walk straight into the lake.

Sigurd is intrigued to say the least.

"Hey Senorita! How'd you fancy coming in the back o' me car and letting me shite in your mooth?"

Dazed, confused and still aroused Sigurd is wandering aimlessly thru the woods when he discovers a shifty Von Lander skulking in the bushes during what appears to be an impromptu dogging session.

The doctor, however, obviously horrified at the thought of being outed as a sex fiend begins to confuse Sigurd with his utter bollocks theories.

You know the type of thing; much mention of the moons rays, waffle regarding photo-chemical stuff and theories on the molecular structure of things.

And to prove all these theories and how on earth they relate to the monster he invites Sigurd back to his Victorian style knocking shop cum laboratory where he makes a severed human hand grow green and scaly.

He's even created a radioactive steak knife in case he gets close enough to stab the creature.

Or for if he ever has a radioactive steak obviously.

Sigurd is impressed.

Unfortunately before a town meeting can be called Von Lander is violently murdered (is there any other kind?) by Lorelei and his lab burnt to the ground.

Every cloud has a silver lining however (except mushroom clouds, their linings are Strontium 90 based) as this only increases Sigurd's acceptance of the idea that his new squeeze Lorelei could in fact be the same Lorelei that's killing everyone.

Thinking the whole situation over for several seconds he decides that even tho' she can be a wee bit grumpy, Elke is probably better sex material and so heads off to the beach wearing his tiniest shorts and carrying a big bomb.

Ickle finn leg not shown.



Persuading a local fisherman to take him out onto the lake, our horny hero plunges into the waters just below the infamous rocks from where Lorelei originally jumped and soon discovers an ancient underwater cavern festooned with jewels, gold and bikini clad ladies.

Which is nice.

But for once Sigurd is not to be distracted by such things, he's here on a mission, not only to blow the place to Govan and back but to also inform Lorelei that he's breaking up with her due in part to her habit of eating people but mainly cos she stinks of herring.

What a guy.

Jeremy Beadle: The Revenge.



After a few minutes of inconsequential dialogue and slow fighting Sigurd manages to fight off the bikini girls advances and set the charges before swimming to safety and leaving poor Lorelei to die under a collapsing hill.

Or did she?

Back on the mainland Elke is enjoying a midnight walk around the grounds when she hears a rustling in the bushes followed by the faint aroma of fish...

Lorelei is alive and well and out for revenge on Sigurd's 'other woman', jumping out from behind a tree and indulging in a spot of girl on fish wrestling.

Which frankly isn't as exciting as it sounds.

Luckily Sigurd arrives in the nick of time and plunges his radioactive blade into Lorlelei who then, not too surprisingly dies as the lovers gaze into each others eyes.

Aww, how sweet.

Yup, someone was paid for designing this.




Not only taking liberties with the Lorelei myth but kinda taking the piss a wee bit too, Blind Dead creator Amando de Ossorio takes the traditional tale of a beautiful siren who lures sailors to their deaths by enticing them into the rocky cliffs of the River Rhine and crafts it into one of the most terrifying monster movies ever made.

By that I mean one of the most terrifying monster movies ever made by someone named deOssorio and titled Las garras de Lorelei obviously.

Glad that's out of the way.

The real Lorelei yesterday. Well a dramatic (and incredibly hot) statue of her anyway. Here's hoping it's wipe clean.


Although never hitting the heights of The Blind Dead, Las garras de Loreleiis a near perfect blend of tight storytelling, great locations, seventies breasted woman, shoddy (and sometimes overtly misogynistic, unfortunately) gore and frankly bonkers characterization all mixed in with some fantastic Carry On style sauciness and topped off with a career best performance from Tony Kendall's trousers.


A must see for any self respecting fan of fish-based romantic horror or just those who enjoy staring at a (very) well endowed man for an hour and a half.

Perfection.

Monday, December 20, 2021

dead sexy.


Rewatched the rather splendid (if not a wee bit kinky) Nightmare Castle t'other night, for those who've never seen it it's gloriously gory tale of sex, blood and Barbara Steele featuring Paul Müller as a dodgy doctor doing weird things with his new wife whilst his dead former spouse wanders around breaking stuff.

Obviously I had to follow it almost immediately with The Horrible Dr. Hichcock, another Barbara Steele shocker that spookily has the very same plot that was made a scant two years earlier.

The only difference is this time it's in colour and with the added bonus of a wee bout of necrophilia.

What's not to love?*

The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1963).
Dir: Riccardo Freda.
Cast: Barbara Steele, Robert Flemyng, Silvano Tranquilli, Maria Teresa Vianello, Harriet Medin and Al Christianson.


His secret was a coffin named DESIRE!





Ginger prince and owner of the biggest sideburns this side of Noddy Holder, Bernard Hichcock (Flemyng, best known for The Blood Beast Terror and dating your nan) is a successful Victorian doctor and pioneer of an experimental new anesthetic for use during surgeries.

The new technique is a roaring success and the doctor alongside his swarthy assistant Dr. Kurt Lowe (Tranquilli from The Legend of Blood Castle) quickly celebrate their medical breakthru' before Hichcock heads home to his spooky mansion, where his wife Margaret (Vianello from The Giants of Thessaly and not much else) is throwing a piano party that very evening.

Paddington.


Arriving home to the dulcet sounds of Margaret’s piano plinking, Hichcock spies a quick glance at his wife's admittedly breathtaking cleavage and almost immediately sneaks off to his bedroom where he instructs their maid Martha (Blood and Black Lace's Medin) to send the guests home and to inform his wife that he's "off to bed".

Heading into the drawing room, Martha gives Margaret the kind of saucily knowing look only found in 1960's European cinema causing her to immediately stop playing and send her guests home.

Margaret then excitedly makes her way to sumptuously silk lined chamber and lays down on an exotic canopied bed, awaiting her husband who soon turns up waving a massive syringe about.

Filling it with a special potion he injects Margaret, waiting until she falls unconscious before jumping onto the bed and giving her an injection of a totally different kind.

And by that I mean he pops his erect penis into her smooth vagina.

Blimey.

"You may feel a little prick".

This seems to be a regular occurrence in the Hichcock household as the following night they're at it again, only this time - for some unknown reason - Hichcock decides to up anesthetic dosage causing Margaret to start convulsing (which in itself is fairly sexy reminding me as it did of Helen Daniels stroke in Neighbours) before dropping dead.

Sinking deep into depression - and wracked with sexual frustration probably - Hichcock orders Margaret to be laid to rest in his laboratory (which he's conveniently converted into a tomb - thank fuck for Habitat) before leaving his mansion in order to 'find himself'.

Twelve years pass before Hichcock returns to his old homestead, bringing with him his exotic new wife Cynthia (Steele), a onetime patient of his that he met whilst moonlighting at a sanitarium just outside West Bromwich.

Cynthia's nervous demeanor and latent mentalism isn't helped by the decrepit state they find the mansion in upon their arrival  (the spooky storm blowing outside doesn't help much either) add to this Martha's thinly veiled hostility and the revelation that the maid’s psychotic sister is living in the house too and it's no surprise that poor Cynthia ends up all a jitter.

Bizarrely enough tho', the thing that tips Hichcock's new bride over the edge and into shaky hand land is the full-size portrait of Margaret (and her cat Jezebel)  that still hangs over the fireplace.

 Deciding it best not to make a fuss tho' Cynthia tries to ignore it and instead concentrate on a spot of redecorating whilst her hubbie goes back to work at the hospital much to the joy of young Dr. Lowe, who was sure he'd be relegated to walk on status and therefore not get to share any screentime with Ms. Steele.


A mooth you'd never tire of shite-in in.


Surprisingly everything seems to be going swimmingly until that is Cynthia begins to have the uncomfortable feeling that someone is creeping around the mansion at night.

Asking Martha if she's allowed her scary sibling to roam around after dark Cynthia is unnerved to discover that she has been sent to an asylum - meaning that either our heroine is going loopy or that someone is indeed stalking her.

Her husband thinks it’s just her mentalism returning but Lowe (having a wee soft spot for the precious porcelain doll that is Barbara Steele but then again, who doesn't?) thinks she's telling the truth.

With the movie at the halfway point at not much having happened (save some nice shots of ghostly boots tiptoeing around the staircase) Cynthia decides to do some investigating of her own.

Her hubbie doesn't really notice - or care - tho' seeing as he's way to busy trying not to shag any corpses of freshly deceased young girls in the hospital morgue.

Yup seems the lack of necrophiliac-based nookie is driving him to distraction.

No childish captions just feminine perfection.

It's not long before Cynthia discovers comes across Martha looking after what she assumes is her sister in an annex just of the old laboratory and confronts her husband with the news.

Imagine her surprise then (but not ours as it's kinda obvious) when he reveals that Martha doesn't have a sister.

Yup, the woman that she’s been caring for is none other than Margaret herself, dazed, confused but very much alive.

You see the overdose that Hichcock administered wasn’t lethal, merely putting her into a deep coma for a few weeks and Martha, whilst hoovering one afternoon whilst the doctor was away discovered her clawing at her coffin lid covered in shite and egg.

Which is nice.

Strangely enough Martha has decided to keep this a secret a secret from the doctor, only confessing the truth when he happens across her one night whilst skulking around the garden one night whilst looking for badgers.

Aroused by Margaret's new corpse-like look, Hichcock follows the only sensible course of action open to him so decides to trap Cynthia in an airtight coffin before draining her blood and injecting it into Margaret.

No, me neither.

Will his vile plan succeed?

Or will Dr. Lowe arrive just in time to save the day?

And will we come across yet another movie in the next few months with this very same plot?



From director Riccardo Freda (the man behind the 1948 version of Les Misérables fact fans) comes a deliciously deadly drama of dodgy deviants, dastardly doctors and damsels in distress which mixes nightmarish gothica, necrophilia and natty lighting with the ultimate scream queen in the perfect form of Barbara Steele.

With a script by Eurohorror stalwart Ernesto Gastaldi - who wrote everything from The Long Hair Of Death to Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion via Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key and 2019: After the Fall of New York, see how many you've seen - the film attempts to marry Mario  Bava inspired visuals with the "explained supernatural" storytelling style of the 18th century author Ann Radcliffe in a highly enjoyable -  if a rather silly - way.

This is due in part to the myriad of production problems that beset the film, giving director Freda no choice but to cut many of the scenes that offered any explanation (or logic) to the doctors actions leaving us with visually stylish movie with fag packet motivation and nonsensical reasons for what we see on screen.

Which frankly adds to the general bizarreness of the proceedings no end.

Harsh.

With a top notch cast (is Barbara Steele ever anything other than perfect?) and a vivid over the top style and delivery usually reserved for Christmas pantomimes The Horrible Dr. Hichcock is a gem of a movie that not only deserves to be seen but demands a big budget remake with Eva Green and Richard E Grant.

The campaign to make it happen begins here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Your sister obviously.

Sunday, December 19, 2021

people you fancy but shouldn't (part 101).



American half-blood witch Porpentina Esther "Tina" Scamander (née Goldstein) as portrayed by Katherine Waterston in the Fantastic Beasts saga.










roy castle.

What would make a better Christmas gift than a movie featuring the lady legend that is Barbara Steele?

 A film featuring two Barbara Steele's obviously.

And one is in a blonde wig!

What's not to love?

Apart from the nonsensical plot obviously.

Nightmare Castle (AKA The Faceless Monster, 1965).
Dir: Mario Caiano.
Cast: Barbara Steele, Paul Müller, Helga Liné, Marino Masé, Rik Battaglia

and Giuseppe Addobbati.

You, I will kill you, you tart, you. You and your filthy friend. But death, my dear, must come to you only after I've torn from your bodies all the suffering and pain a human being can stand, and you don't know yet how long it takes to die of pain!



Full-time mad scientist cum part-time street dancer Dr Stephen Arrowsmith (Surrealist horse-visaged Müller from Vampyros Lesbos)  and the stunningly beautiful - and filthily rich - Lady Muriel (Genre Goddess Steele, no introduction necessary) are trapped in a loveless marriage, their bouts of arguing and sniping punctuated by long, uncomfortable silences and knowing looks from their geriatric (tho' she may just be maid of Plasticine it's hard to tell) maid Solange (the luscious Liné from The Loreley's Grasp).

Reminds me of my childhood.

Without the hot German help obviously.

Ours was Swedish.

And a man as I found out on my 15th birthday.

But I digress.

Obviously then our high-cheeked hottie is very happy to find that her horrid hubbie is going away to Edinburgh for a week long mad scientist conference giving her plenty of time to indulge in copious amounts of 'the sex' with David the hunky gardener (billiards-derived indoor table game and star of Yellow Emanuelle, Battaglia).

Which is nice.

As Stephen heads off to Edinburgh, Muriel excitedly - and quite saucily for the early 60s - slips into her best flowing nightie and makes her way to the greenhouse to await for David to work some of his green-fingered magic on her lady garden.

Well it does look like her bush needs pruning.

Sorry.

Stills don't get more erotic than this.



Unfortunately neither Muriel nor David realize that Stephen suspects their indiscretion and has been secretly hiding behind the bins waiting for a signal from Solange and catching them In flagrante delicto (which I'm assuming is a fancy word for a greenhouse) springs his trap.

In a metaphorical way that is, it's not like he has some huge Heath Robinson contraption rigged up behind the rose bushes tho' given his bizarre torture methods later I wouldn't be surprised.

Chaining the couple up in the basement (ah memories) an angry Arrowsmith proceeds to beat the couple with a riding crop whilst waxing lyrical about the nature of love pain and death for what seems like hours before finally tying Murial to a bed before dripping acid onto her favourite dress.

The scoundrel.

But Muriel is defiant to the last, taunting her husband with the fact that she has left her entire fortune to her insane step-sister Jenny.

If she dies then sinister Stephen is out on his ear and penniless.

Unfortunately (for Muriel and David that is) Stephen doesn't care and happily kills the adulterous couple.

His excuse?

He needs their blood for his anti-aging experiments and his supply of frog plasma has run out.

This is important because he's promised to rejuvenate Solange as a thank you for spying on his wife.

Sounds legit.

Here come the Belgians!


But what about the will I hear you cry/type?

Stephen has it all in hand as within a few days of his wife's death he's gone to the local asylum and taken Jenny's hand in marriage.

Tho' seeing as she too is played by the lovely Babs (in a fetching blonde wig) he'd be a fool not to want the rest as well.

Solange is obviously not happy about this - you see she reckoned that now she's all young and sexy again that she’d have the doctor all to herself.

But Stephen is playing the long game.

As in he has a fairly complicated plan not that he's re-watching the rather insipid Christopher Eccleston Doctor Who episode where Simon Pegg takes his orders from a roof mounted CGI shite.

Mixing up a powerful hallucinogen in his lab (as you do) he instructs Solange to pop it into Jenny’s bedtime brandy, hoping that this little mix will kickstart her mentalism sending her screaming back to the funny farm whilst he laughs all the way to the bank.

Give him his dues as a doctor tho' because the homemade druggy draught appears to have the desired effect, as that night poor Jenny has nightmarish visions that would put William Burroughs (or Micheal Barrymore) to shame as the deafening sound of heart beats echo around the castle walls our maid of mental illness 'wakes' to find herself trapped in a stone sarcophagus only to be 'rescued' by the ghostly figure of Dave the gardener who then proceeds to ravish her with soft kisses.

Just as you think there might be a chance of a quick peek at Bab's slender thigh tho' a scarily stocking faced man with a riding crop appears and begins to beat David around the head.

With the strength of a woman possessed  Jenny attacks this masked menace only to wake suddenly with her hands clamped around Stephen's scrawny bird-like neck. throat.

Quickly slapping some sense into her Stephen heads off to his lab, pleased with the effect of the drug on Jenny.

Tho' in my experience if he'd have wanted to make a woman act like a total fruitcake he'd have been cheaper just buying her a bottle of cooking sherry and 10 Silk Cut before taking her to the local kiddies playpark for the evening.

As a teen this scenario always ended with me tied to a swing whilst my date flicked matches at me.

Which explains a lot.

"Brexit means Brexit!"


Discussing the previous nights madness with Solange, Stephen is shocked to discover that the mucky maid - being female so obviously unable to follow simple instructions - actually gave Jenny a totally harmless sugar solution by mistake  so the drippy doc deduces that just being married to him and living in her dead sisters house may be enough to trigger her breakdown.

Jobs a good 'un as they say.

But this is a spooky ghost type mystery and we're only half an hour in so - against all laws of logic and common sense - Stephen for reasons best known to himself and director Mario Caiano and writer Fabio De Agostini (he of the expensive partwork fame) immediately summons the suave science guy Dr. Derek Joyce ( Masé AKA Lawrence Clift whom you may remember as John in Tenebrae), who is not only a dead ringer for Matt LeBlanc of Friends fame but also  Jenny’s old psychiatrist, to the castle in order to observe her condition.

Oh and hopefully strip naked and cover himself in chip fat whilst dancing provocatively.

No?

Just me then.

"Aye son!"

 

But with Stephen being a (mad) man of science and Solange being, well a bit fick the pervy pair totally fail to grasp the fact that  Jenny’s descent into madness may in fact be caused by the ghost of her sister and her lover.

But to be honest if I was in their situation I probably wouldn't see that coming either.

Tho' if I were married to Barbara Steele beating her to death with a poker would be the last thing on my mind.

Before long, Dr. Joyce too is witnessing strange phenomena in this nightmare castle - from blood dripping from the pot that holds Muriel's ashes to the dual heartbeats echoing thru' the walls via badly dubbed laughter echoing down the corridors and strange shadowy figures behind the gooseberry bushes.

Throwing caution - and science - to the wind Joyce is soon convinced that someone or something has supernatural designs on Jenny.

But to what end?

As all these supernatural shenanigans are going down (as the kids say) Stephen and Solange have altered their plans, deciding to kill Joyce as well as Jenny and as our hero prepares for a long hot soak before bed Stephen is busy electrifying the bath.....

Will Joyce save Jenny or will he fry like a massive man-titted haddock?
 
Will Stephen explain how he manage to discover that frog blood can make ladies younger?

And will anyone asked about the double heart family crest that Stephen is so keen to show everyone?

Laugh now.


Mad, bad and dangerous to view (especially in the aforementioned truncated version, writer/director Mario Caiano (AKA Allan Grunewald) has everything required to produce a top-notch Eurohorror - a sexually charged plot festooned with vengeful spirits, a mad scientist attempting to hold back death, an insane hottie in a sheer nightie and a big scary castle.

And all shot in glorious black and white.

Add to this a cast that includes the frankly fantastic Barbara Steele at her otherworldly best ably supported by the camp as pants Paul Müller alongside the gorgeous Helga Liné and topped off with a lush Ennio Morricone score and you should have an instant classic.

But whilst enjoyable enough in its own way Nightmare Castle lacks a certain something in its execution, the direction is flat, the script is nonsensical and the air of kinky menace the film teases us with disappears almost as quick as Helga Liné's comedy 'old lady' make-up.

As a plus point it does feature Barbara Steele stripping down to a magnificent corset before donning a blonde pound shop wig only half as ludicrous as the one Asia Argento sports in The Stendahl Syndrome so it's not a total loss.

Which if I'm honest just about sums up my life in a nutshell.

Be seeing you.

Friday, December 17, 2021

excellent.

 Came for the saucy singalong, stayed for the cybernetic giant from Earth's twin planet....Turkish popster Aleyna Tilki duets with one of the Mondas massive.

Nuff said.



Tuesday, December 14, 2021

hp source.

Tis the day before my birthday so I thought "fuck it" I'm starting my Christmas holidays as of now.

Sort of.

Beginning with rewatching this beauty as it's become a wee bit of a tradition that we watch it every Chrimbo.

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


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

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

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

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

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

Barbara Steele: Ask yer granddad.

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

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

Sounds reasonable I guess.

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

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

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

Lucky that.

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

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

Which is thoughtful of him.

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

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

Except maybe abusing the local mentally unstable man by tying ribbons to trees..


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


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

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



Tonight live on stage....One Direction!


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

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

Even Christopher Lee would have been tempted.

Probably.

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

Will bubbly Barbara pop out of her gravity defying dress?

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

Five miles...roughly speaking.

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

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


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



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




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

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

Wetherell: Nip slip and side shed.


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

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