Thursday, December 29, 2022

cut it out.

Woke up this morning to the sad news that director Ruggero Deodato had died.

Remember meeting him way back in 2009 at a rare big screen showing of his classic drug-fueled actioner Cut And Run so reckoned I'd revisit that (very old) review today.

Godspeed sir!


 

 

Cut And Run (Inferno in Diretta, 1985).
Dir: Ruggero Deodato.
Cast: Lisa Blount, Leonard Mann, Carlos de Carvalho, Willie Aames, Richard Lynch, Richard Bright, Michael Berryman, Eriq La Salle, Karen Black, John Steiner, Valentina Forte and Gabriele Tinti.





Our story opens with a group of sweaty drug runners (or it could be rogue cake makers?) doing interesting things with loads of white powder (flour?) on a makeshift pier whilst a fantastically 'wah-wah' Simonetti synth score frugs away on the soundtrack.

The pound shop Miami Vice vibe is soon shattered tho' when this fantastic free market commune comes under attack from genre god Michael Berryman (clad in tiny green pants), what looks like Moby in a sarong and a squad of Beatle wigged natives who within minutes have violently murdered all the drug types and nailed all the ladies present to the floor.

Oh but not before fiddling with and then beheading them obviously.


"Need any scissors sharpening?"


Meanwhile in sunny Miami, a harsh faced South American woman cradling a crack filled doll has arrived at the airport to be met by two shady foreign types (are there any other sort?) who drive her to a rundown apartment.


Unbeknown to these hoodlums, ace cable news hound Fran (the late, great Lisa Blount who was in everything from Dead And Buried to Prince Of Darkness via An Officer And A Gentleman) and her tight trousered, tussle haired cameraman Mark (The Humanoid's Leonard Mann who, no doubt does whatever a Leonard can) are hot on their trail, looking for a scoop on the rising drug problem facing America.

Keeping tabs on the building from afar, our heroic duo soon get bored waiting for the police to arrive and decide it'd be a good idea to just wander in and ask the drug dealers for an interview.

Sneaking inside, Fran is just about to knock the door and shout "Oi! drug dealers NO!" whilst Mark waves his camera at them menacingly when she notices a pool of blood on the lino.

Nervously pushing the door open they find the apartment has been ripped apart, the bodies of the swarthy men are lying in piles of their own intestines, whilst the stony faced woman is stripped naked, her throat slit and her frighteningly unkempt bush on show for all to see.

Seriously it's so overgrown it'd cause heart palpitations in the public gallery at Holyrood.

Not wanting to waste the opportunity tho', they record a hard hitting (for Newsround) report amidst the carnage before Fran rifles thru' the dead woman's purse and legs it back to the studio.


"It's CCCCHHHRRRIIISSSTTTMMMAAASSSS!"




Intrigued by a photo that the dead, nude woman had on her, Fran heads over to her informant - the groovy strip club owner and part time pimp Barry Fargas (future star of ER LaSalle, wearing one of Jon Pertwee's old suits and by the look of it the one he was buried in) to let him have a wee gander at it.

Being a man with his ear to the ground (and from the way he walks a pole up his arse) he recognizes not only her bosses missing son Tommy (Aames, creator of Bibleman) in the pic but also one Colonel Brian Horne (insectoid like genre stalwart Lynch), Vietnam War veteran, and former right-hand man to the notorious cultist and fizzy drinks magnate Jim Jones.

Obviously Tommy's parents (doe eyed genre goddess Black and the permanently tearful Bright, he of all three Godfather movies and The Sopranos fame) are delighted to know their son is still alive (seeing as he told them he was only popping out to buy some sweets) and eagerly send Fran and Mark off to the Amazon to find their son and interview the illusive Horne.




"I'm sorry, I have my women's period."




Whilst all this is happening Tommy is having a fairly bad time of it in the jungle. 

Forced to wear a kiddies Mickey Mouse t-shirt and dodging getting shot (for being white apparently, which is a surprised cos I thought it'd be for having ginger pubes for hair), he spends most of his days getting kicked and pissed on, unlike his only friend Ana (Blastfighter's Forte) who spends all her time being bullied into having 'the sex' with various pock marked Italians.

Just like your Nan during the war.

Being a strong feminist type Ana soon gets bored with all the forced sex, public showering and wipingTommy's tears and figures out a way for them both to escape (and no, it doesn't involve her hiding Tommy up her ample arse). 

You see she plans to sneak aboard a plane that's due to land shortly.

And can you guess whose plane it is?


This is how I felt watching this movie.



But best laid plans and all that because as soon as Ana and Tommy start to light the runway fires guess who comes a calling? 

Yup it's Berryman and his pants revealing posse out for justice.

From here on in it's action all the way (well, kinda) as Ana and Tommy are separated in the attack (by separated I mean Tommy runs away crying) and Fran and Mark's pilot is killed by a pygmy cosplaying as one of The Beatles.

Phew.

Hiding in a bush for most of the night, Fran and Mark relay a live report to the news station before exploring the makeshift camp and finding Ana jammed sideways in a cupboard begging to be taken home. 

The duo agree to help her and after collecting a bag of tinned peaches and Vimto for the journey head out into the jungle in the hope of finding a taxi or something.

Tommy, meanwhile, is wandering through the bushes crying and snottering everywhere until he stumbles across his nasty, pube bearded boss (Sole Nudo's de Carvalho), tied to a couple of trees and being slowly pulled apart whilst begging Tommy to kill him.

It's obvious that he is not a happy chap.

Instead of helping the poor sod on his way, Tommy stands about with his face screwed up and watches as his boss is ripped to pieces.

Then he shoots him.

Tommy, as you can tell, is a complete arse.

Don't be like Tommy.


"Aya mah BCG!"


Back with the cool posse and Mark, Fran and Ana are busy traipsing down river and getting ready to send another report home to Tommy's anxious parents along the lines of "It's dead hot in the jungle and we think your son went this way due to the trail of empty Pot Noodle cartons and discarded stiff tissues". 

Frustrated at the lack of progress, Tommy's dad (also crying, you can see who he gets it off) decides to go visit Fargas himself, partly for more info on that Horne fellow but mostly to get a lapdance off the fairly hot barmaid.

Which is fair enough I guess.

Nearing the local boating lake (next to the shop selling 'kiss me quick' hats) Mark and Fran take a well deserved rest whilst Ana wanders off for a tinkle in the bushes.

Her wee is cut short by Berryman tho' who stabs her violently up the arse and ties the poor girl to a tree before giving chase to our heroes.

Faining mild concern for Ana when she doesn't return the pair just shrug their shoulders before carrying on towards the boats where they find Tommy hiding under a dirty sheet (yup, you got it) crying.

Dodging balsa wood crocodiles and Tommy's never ending streams of snot the trio make it onto a boat and head in the direction of a nearby friendly tribe only to be captured in big butterfly nets by Horne and his team....


"Put it in me!"




But help is coming in the corduroy clad form of Tommy's dad and a helicopter full of gun toting soldier types, the question is will they arrive in time?

 


 


They always say start as you mean to go on, and Ruggero Deodato's fantastically violent exploiter does just that.

Drug dealers, sexy sweaty ladies, topless poison dart firing natives and bad toothed cokernee's getting torn in half, this film has it all, plus about seven opening sequences and a rocktastic Claudio Simonetti score.

Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Playing out like an ultra-violent episode of Miami Vice (on budget that wouldn't pay for one pair of Don Johnson's deck shoes) drunkenly gene spliced with liberal helpings of Heart of Darkness and the directors own Cannibal Holocaust, Cut And Run so wants to be a serious adult crime drama Ala The French Connection but comes across more like a secondary school video club version of Apocalypse Now with added breasts.

And frankly it's much better for it.

"Put it in me!"


From the 'hard bitten' female reporter to the purple hatted pimp via the Nam vet gone native, every single character is a comic book cliche made flesh, the ramshackle plot stopping only for even more bloodshed or needless nudity. 

The plot (what there is of it) moves so quickly (only stopping for a beheading or a quick glimpse of lady parts) that you happily forget that none of it makes sense and just sit back, switch off and enjoy.

And the reason it works so well is all down to Deodato's direction, his jovial personality and sheer entertainer-like persona seeps into every scene and every performance be it good or bad.

Except, of course where Willie Aames is concerned that is.

Which in it's own perverse way is one of the most enjoyable things about it.

Cinematic gold from a cinematic genius like whom we'll never see the likes of again.

RIP.


Saturday, December 24, 2022

merry christmas....

 ...to all you readers at home!



Tuesday, December 20, 2022

hp source.

T'was my birthday on Thursday 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?

Monday, December 12, 2022

peachy keen.

 In tribute to Angelo Badalamenti…Pour yourself a coffee, cut a slice of cherry pie and relax with 90 minutes of Badalamenti beats, sinister soundbites and toe tapping tunes.

 

Monday, November 28, 2022

mad about apples.

 

Worth a rewatch seeing as it was released in Italy on this very day in 1974, Jorge Grau’s amazing The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue (aka Let Sleeping Corpses Lie)







Not only is it frankly fantastic but in a bizarre turn it was originally meant to be filmed in my adopted home of Glasgow (Grau was on record saying that the city looked like it had already begun to devour itself, which was nice).

Actually a few years ago I think I found the corresponding locales- petrol station, waterfall, village etc. Around Aberfoyle near Stirling (round about the David Marshall Lodge) but never heard back from Jorge Grau before he died.

Which is kinda sad but at least we can imagine what it would have looked like.

Probably.










Anyway, on with the show.....

Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (AKA The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue, Don't Open the Window, Breakfast at the Manchester Morgue, No profanar el sueño de los muertos 1974).
Dir: Jorge Grau.
Cast: Christina Galbo, Ray Lovelock, Arthur Kennedy, Jeannine Mestre, Jóse Lifante, Fernando Hilbeck, Giorgio Trestini and Isabel Mestres in a pair of sexy spectacles.

"You're all the same the lot of you with you cheap clothes and faggot hair and you hate the police....You make it easy."



Hip 'n' happening antique shop owner cum mustachioed mum magnet George (the always fantastic Lovelock), needing a break from the cut-throat world of cleaning dead mens clocks has planned a well deserved weekend away at a cottage with friends.

Quickly leaving a rainy - and scary stripping housewife filled - Manchester astride his funky moped he soon hits the quiet country lanes of Mummerset where he comes across (you know the drill) the ravishing readhead Edna (dream queen Galbo) when she accidentally runs over his bike at a petrol station.

An (overly if I'm honest) angry George demands a lift to his destination and Edna, being one of those simpering types only found in Eurohorror of a certain age agrees but only if they can go visit her poppy eyed, junkie sister Katie (Mestre latterly starring in the hit TV epic Tornarem) first.

As far as first dates go I've been on worse.

Meanwhile in a nearby field, well meaning - and jaunty hatted - scientists are busy testing a brand new patented radiation emitting device intended to destroy the nervous systems of insects and therefore revolutionize farming.

Unfortunately it also has the fairly surprising effect of bringing the recently dead back to life.

A wee bit like Brexit.

The first to re-animate is local celebrity tramp and (maybe) Benefits Street star Guthrie (the sinister beard wearing Hilbeck) who attacks Edna in her car whilst George is away asking directions.

Fortunately Edna manages to scare him away by brandishing a bar of soap in his general direction before George returns, tho' this has the effect of making our hero think that Edna is a wee bit mental.

Mental and a redhead?

What's not to love?


Bad science at work
outside Manchester earlier today.


Anyway, over at their remote cottage crack fiend Katie is in the middle of a particularly drug-fueled row with her frighteningly ferret faced  photographer husband Martin (Panic star Lifante) regarding Edna's impending arrival.

Obviously he just doesn't like ginger birds.

Fool.

Storming off to a nearby waterfall in order to take some 'pictures' moaning Martin leaves Katie wallowing in a pool of tears and snot on the kitchen floor.

Luckily (for us that is) this scene of domestic drama is rudely interrupted by Guthrie who bursts into the house and tries to bite Katie on the arse.

Which kinda proves that if a dead man can't bear to look at your face you must be in trouble.

Boiled onions!

Running screaming to the waterfall to find her husband, things go from bad to very bad when ghoulish Guthrie kills poor Martin, leaving Katie no alternative but to run all the way back to the house.

Which at least means she'll have sweated all the shite out of her system by the time her sister turns up which can't be a bad thing really.

Falling into her sisters arms Katie tells the newly arrived pair the whole sorry story.

George, being a fairly imagination free type of guy is unimpressed but heads off to check out Katie's story anyway, reasoning that if nothing else he can probably get a few quid for Martin's camera in his shop.

What a guy.

Unfortunately it's a pretty cheap model so instead George pockets the film, probably in the hope of it containing some nude 'readers wives' style shots of Katie.

Well beggars can't be choosers.

Edna meanwhile has phoned the police, which would usually be a sensible thing to do but unfortunately the local law enforcement team is led by the booze soaked bigot Inspector Barry B'stard (Kennedy, giving a scarily accurate portrayal - in hindsight - of self proclaimed 'God's cop' James Anderton follow the link for more info about this frankly terrifying man fact fans) who immediately accuses Katie of murdering her hubbie before criticizing the length of Edna's skirt and calling George a girlie barnetted faggot.

And for these reasons alone B'Stard orders an understandably annoyed George and a teary eyed (yet still hot as fuck) Edna to book into the local hotel whilst he investigates the murder and find/fake evidence of their involvement.

Possibly involving one of them innocuously tying a Suffragette ribbon to a tree.

So not at all like the real police then because there's no way that would ever happen.

A literal act of violence yesterday.



Meanwhile in the middle of all this shouting Katie finally has a total meltdown and is sent to the nearest hospital where, it turns out that all the newborn babies have started biting (well gumming) the nurses.

Could this be in any way related to all this science that's going on?

Arriving in town George, in full James Bond mode, secretly takes the roll of film from Martin's camera to a local chemist to have it developed.

Look, who knows how long he's going to be stuck in his room so he might have well have some fun, I mean given the circumstances it's not like Edna's going to be giving out any time soon.



"Oh beggorah! ya wee tinka! you
touched up dem burds to be sure you did" - Dave Lee Travis is questioned by Eamon Andrews regarding Operation Yewtree.



Rising early next morn to collect the photos, George is upset to find that not only are there no - tasteful - nudes of Katie but also no sign of the man who allegedly killed Martin so George, not one to get turned on by random pics of trees hands them over to B'stard.

Annoyed with the police's patent bastardness and bored with staring at the local duck pond, our hero decides to take matters into his own hands (but not his sexy bearded mouth unfortunately) and persuades Edna to join him on a search for the elusive Guthrie.

Unbeknown to the pair, B'stard has sent one of his officers, PC Craig (Four of the Apocalypse and The Beast star Trestini) Fairbrass, to trail them.

Following a mysterious fishy smell that's been permeating in the air of late, the pair find themselves in the local graveyard where following a noise - and their noses - coming from crypt  they discover Guthrie lunching out on the vicars ample thighs.

If that wasn't scary - and disturbing - enough it seems that the terrifying tramp has acquired the power to reanimate the dead by simply stroking their eyeballs.


He really should audition for Britain's Got Talent.

Trapped by an even increasing undead army (OK, there are three of them but hey, who's counting) George and Edna desperately try to climb out of a convenient hole in the wall as Guthrie and co. slowly (and stinkingly) advance.





You would, I would, your dad probably did. Twice.

 
The pair finally manage to scrabble thru' it and into a freshly dug grave where luckily PC Craig just happens to be standing having a sly fag.

Helping them out of the grave the trio quickly flee, locking themselves in a nearby storeroom but are soon surrounded by Guthrie and his ever growing entourage of recently revived pensioners.

Realising that he's dropped his radio outside - and knowing that a film of this ilk only has room for one facially haired hero, Craig makes a dash to retrieve it but is soon caught by the unwashed undead who make quick work of tearing his chest open and eating his kidneys.

Wiping his chin on Craig's flapping chest Guthrie soon turns his attention back to George and Edna (will he eat her whole or spit that bit out?) but George is now prepared to fight back and launches an oil lamp at him.

Luckily he was sensible enough to light it first and the zombies quickly burst into flames - tho' not, alas song - giving the pair enough time to escape.

Edna, still being the sensible type, heads off to inform the police of all this undead activity whilst George uses Craig's car to head off to the farm to inform the science folk of their machines unfortunate side effects.

It says a lot for George as a stand up heroic type that we're all inclined to believe his leap of logic regarding the cause of the zombie outbreak without even the merest hint of evidence.

Yes he's that super cool.

There is no such thing as a straight man, just guys who've never seen Ray Lovelock.


Arriving at the farm it'll come as no surprise to find that dear old Barley Moe (for it is he) and the two scientists think he's talking bollocks leaving George no alternative but to smash the machinery before quickly driving away whilst giving the chasing trio the vickies out the back window.

What a guy!

Meanwhile back at the main plot B'stard has found (what's left of) Craig alongside a pile of burnt bodies and using his fantastic detective powers deduces that George and Edna are, in fact, devil worshipers before issuing a 'shoot to kill' order on the pair.

The news that George has deliberately wrecked a piece of government property only adds to his annoyance.

Whilst all this slightly fascistic posturing is going on Edna has decided to head back to Katie's house first in order to reapply her make-up or something (look she's a girl and therefore impossible to understand) but her preening is cut short by the surprise arrival of her undead brother-in-law.

Luckily he's as useless in death as he is in life and is soon dispatched by Edna who nonchalantly runs him over.

It's almost as if she hasn't realised that it's her bad driving that started this whole mess.

Reunited with George (who manages to persuade her to let him drive) the pair go to the local garage with the sole intention of staring at the spooky disabled child that works there.

Oh yes and to buy a huge can of petrol so that George, confused as to what else he can do, can set fire to some stuff.

Magnificent as this plan is, it's cut short when George is caught by the police who were on their way back from picking up Martin's body.


Inspector B'stard standing proud as a freshly sucked cock watches with almost unbridled glee as George is bundled into the back of a van and Edna is whisked away to hospital.

Whilst all this Sweeney-esque behaviour is going on Tony and Dean Scientist are busying themselves repairing their machine in order to kill even more bugs.

Oh yes and reanimate even more corpses, the majority of which are stored in the (non Manchester based) morgue at the nearby hospital.

The same hospital where Edna is being taken.

Will George escape from police custody and save Edna?

Will Inspector B'stard get bored hounding our hero and turn his attentions to immigrants and Gypsies?

Will Euro-hottie Isabel Mestres turn up in an ill fitting pair of bottle-top NHS specs before getting her ample breasts eaten?

And more importantly how will they explain all this to my nan?



Is it wrong to find this poster arousing?



Fright permed Spanish shock-meister Jorge Grau's magnificent take on the zombie genre is frankly a delight to behold and those expecting a trashy exploitative Eurohorror will be in for a surprise as Corpses is a well crafted, well acted and at times well terrifying shocker.

From it's wildly experimental synth score (courtesy of Giuliano Sorgini - who also scored The Beast In Heat showing that no-one's perfect) and pitch-perfect performances via Grau's skewered outsiders view of 70's Britain; scenes of George leaving a grey and grimy rain swept Manchester - encountering traffic jams, bored commuters and an unattractive streaker on the way - thru' to the eerie desolate Lake district shot woodland scenes, give the film an almost dreamlike - nay nightmarish - quality and an overriding sense of foreboding and doom that seeps thru' every shot.





Gory Guthrie discovers that the
UK doesn't have any blood banks....



Grau isn't afraid to give the film a slow, almost leisurely build up either, taking time to introduce us to the characters whilst his fluid direction keeps your attention on the unfolding story, even if it at times falters as far as logic is concerned.

A prime example of this is the nature of the zombies which can't be photographed giving them an almost supernatural, not man made presence during the films first half as does the almost magical way that Guthrie can transform other corpses just by touch which is at odds with the 'scientific' reason given for the outbreak later.




....but it does have a Liverpool!


None of that matters tho' as the films second half picks up a frantic pace, the undead vs. the living plot line revs up a notch and the movies horror factor intensifies as first the recently deceased then new born babies become affected by the radiation. 
Corpses builds to a surprising climax and suitably downbeat ending and all praise to Grau for taking this route.

It's CCCHHHHRRRIIISSSTTTMMMAAASSSS!


It's sad that in his 40 plus years as a film-maker, Jorge Grau only ever directed two films in the horror genre but luckily the other is the quite fantastic Elizabeth Bathory based Legend of Blood Castle (available from Mya Communications - or it was - if anyone's interested).

Released in 1972 and featuring the to die for Lucia Bosé as the infamous Countess, Bloody Castle is well worth searching out if you fancy an evening of blood, sex and scares that doesn't involve your mum.

Plus it makes a great double bill with Mark of The Devil which features a nice bit of Udo Kier for the ladies.

Movie dates a good 'un then.

Thank me later.

Or at least invite me to the wedding.


Lucia Bosé: No amusing captions just sheer lust (for a vampire obviously).



You have to wonder tho' what other horrific delights Grau could have brought to the screen had his career taken a different path.

An essential for any self respecting film fan or anyone with eyes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

time and relative dimension in sound.

 Celebrating 59 years of Doctor Who with these masterful mixes of Mondasian music, Cyber sounds and Bok beats!

 

Friday, November 18, 2022

having a butchers.


 

Ended up watching this (again) last night.

You see my train was over an hour late so I stumbled home in a daze and needed something to help me relax and realising it was Ian McCulloch's birthday today I thought a wee bit of grumpy Scottish man-love was in order plus we'd recently rewatched Zombie Flesh Eaters and remembered that after filming they'd left McCulloch behind on the island with no cash to get home but luckily Marino Girolami was staying at the same hotel so Ian persauded him to make a movie using the left over sets and employing him as the lead.

True story bro.

As the kids say.

Zombi Holocaust (AKA: Doctor Butcher M.D: Medical Deviate, Island of the Last Zombies, Queen of the Cannibals, La Regina dei cannibali, Zombie Holocaust, 1979).
Director: Marino Girolami (or if you prefer, Frank Martin).
Cast: Ian (the kids school fees are how much?!!?) McCulloch, Sherry Buchanan, Alexandra Delli Colli, Peter O'Neil, Dakar and Donald O'Brian.


"You nearly succeeded in ruining my life's work! I could easily kill you now. But I'm determined to have your brain!"





In a rain sodden (and badly lit) teaching hospital deep in the heart of New York City - the home from home for 80's lo-fi Italian movie makers, well at least for their films openings in order to convince folk that they're watching an American production - someone has been helping themselves to various body parts belonging to the cadavers marked for use in the daily anatomy class, much to the chagrin of the grumpy surgeon who uses the incidents as an excuse to shout "You've all failed!" at his students before fucking off down the pub.

Possibly.

"Fuck me! A wasp!"




The gorgeously glamorous (in an Kay's catalogue way) Lori Ridgway (the frighteningly fish lipped Delli Colli) and her colleagues are baffled by this spate of icky thefts and reckon that the answer must be prank playing students.

But lo, the truth is far more sinister - and it has to be said, oh so slightly racist - when they discover the token, bowl haired Asian doctor (who looks disturbingly like a porn movie version of Erik Estrada) is caught sitting in the dark eating a corpses heart.

Spooky.

Erik decides the best course of action is to evade capture by throwing himself out of a window then cunningly turning into a shop window mannequin before he hits the ground.
 
With a satisfying plastic echo it has to be said.
 

Noel Edmonds discovers his hand twin.




After a leisurely trip to street level in the lift Ridgway bags the body and returns to work to start her examination.


Of the corpse that is, she's not taking her driving test or anything.


And it's whilst examining the aforementioned corpse, that Ridgway — who also happens to be a student of anthropology, lucky that - recognizes a strange (for strange re: shite) tattoo on the dead man's chest.

A tattoo that just happens to be (are you paying attention?) exactly the same as a symbol found on a ceremonial dagger she was given on her sixth birthday by the family housemaid when she lived on the tropical island of Kitkatoo.


Which by a strange coincidence is also where the heart eating doc was from.

Phew!

And if that wasn't plot contrivance enough it turns out that the dagger has recently been stolen!

I mean what are the chances of that?



"This outbreak of cannibalism could
be related to the killing moon".





Feeling there's more to this than just an isolated incident, Lori decides to ask famous scientific 'investigator' and generally suave stud muffin Dr. Peter Chandler (genre god and owner of the worlds best ginger comb-over McCulloch) for help in solving the macabre mystery.

After much ooing and aahing, Chandler reckons the best way to get to the bottom of things is to organize an all expenses paid holiday, sorry expedition, to the island alongside a crack team of experts - and by experts I mean Lori, her assistant George (the credits say Peter O'Neal but I swear it's a pre-Dead Ringers Jon Culshaw) and tough tomboy reporter Susan (the lank haired, boy trousered but infinitely bonkable Buchanan from Starcrash II and Tentacoli).

Non-entities one and all but infinitely more charismatic than anyone featured on I'm A Celebrity or Love Island.
 
Mooooosssshhhhiiiiiiiii!!!!






Deciding to visit the big island next to Kitkatoo (Dogpoochone?) first our fantastic foursome spend a few days staying with the trampish Dr. Jeff Obrero (screen legend O'Brian, looking like Wilfrid Brambell's buffer brother), a piss stained and poo breathed gone to seed medical researcher with a great line in open neck shirts and too tight trousers who's been living among the natives for years.


Well in their bins by the look of him.





"Aye son!"





Although stinky as hell, Obero still has some manners and after tea, cakes and a severed head (tho' it may have been a moldy potato) in Laura's bed he offers not only the use of his boat but a trio of Beatle haired native bearers and his big cravated 'man friend' Terry Moloto (Dakar, essaying his role in Zombie Flesh Eaters but in a cheaper outfit), as their guide.

As is the way in such movies tho', nothing goes according to plan.

The boats engine overheats stranding the group not on the isle of Kitkatoo but on the smaller, slightly less dangerous and more like a playpark behind the director's house island of Kitkatoow...or so Moloto claims.


"Look at the dog!"





Chandler however is beginning to suspect that Moloto isn't being entirely honest about the situation but as he goes to confront the guide a loin-clothed band of scary cannibals jump out of the bushes and attack our heroes.

The native bearers are the first to fall (but isn't that always the way?) giving Chandler and co. time to leg it into the trees.

Contacting Dr. Obrero, the survivors are told to make their way to a handy abandoned church further inland and to lock themselves in whilst awaiting rescue.

Bunnet.






As Chandler and his merry (if slightly smaller than earlier) band make their way through the jungle - well, the producers garden - they seem surprised to find that the cannibals have been following them so react the way anyone would in that situation by standing around screaming as they wait for them to attack again.

After a particularly threadbare and school playground like struggle George ends up eyeless whilst slinky Susan (being the most attractive woman in the movie) is carried away by the arse bearing natives.

Suddenly (almost as if the director has remembered the films title) a gaggle of shuffling zombies turn up and scare the natives to buggery (not literally mind) and the survivors make it to the church - on time - to find Obrero waiting for them.



"Put it in me!"






Convincing the survivors that Susan is probably actually enjoying the attentions of the sausage fingered cannibals and that they should just forget about her, he hands Lori and Chandler a map showing the quickest way to New York and points them in the direction of a handy rubber dingy left on the beach and even tho' Chandler's suspicions of foul play are getting stronger by the second he decides that it probably would be safer to just head home and forget about everything.


Plus he realizes that it'll just be him and Lori in the dingy for weeks...the dirty wee dog.


His sinful thoughts of hot sea-based sex are interrupted tho when a zombie attacks them on the beach, leaving an angry (and no doubt sexually frustrated) Chandler to dispatch it with a handy outboard motor.

With a look of grim determination usually only seen in Sheepdogs our hero slowly realizes that the only way he's ever gonna pull Lori is to solve the island mystery so with a heavy heart – and a raging horn - Chandler heads back to the church to confront the mad doctor......











Available with - and in - more cuts than Richie Manic, Marino Girolami's cult classic is probably the only Italian gore-arama to feature not only cannibals but also zombies and a mad as a lorry doctor too, so you effectively get three movies for the price of one.

It's just a pity that none of them are any good.

On the plus side, Ian McCulloch is in it and as we all know he would never appear in anything too shady, so it's a pity that he's utterly wasted - as in they do bugger all with him, not that he's pissed - standing around in a selection of hand me down safari suits looking worriedly ginger (or is that gingerly worried) for most of the running time.

 But let's be honest, he could stand around in his undies painting a wall and he'd still be infinitely watchable.


McCulloch: Ginger.




Donald O'Brian on the other hand is the complete antitheses of McCulloch's subtle acting style, a perfect example of an eye rolling, scenery chewing and wee stained madman. His fantastically realized Dr. Obrero is an utter joy, so convincing is his performance that you can almost taste his fishy breath.

Tho' luckily not his cheesy Doritos.

Of the other cast members, the plump mouthed star of Fulci's New York Ripper Alexandra Delli Colli is only there to look good in her cream suspenders whilst pouting, her most difficult acting scene being when she's required to look vaguely scared whilst a group of Filipino tramps smear her naked body in face paint and strap her to a big paper mache wheel.

Tho' Mrs Unwell was convinced it was a rape table and that the natives diddled her (off screen).

I disagreed tho', reckoning that if there was any diddling to be done it would be up there on film in all it's glory.

Actually the discussion got rather heated and I ended up in the shed writing this on my phone.

The thing we did actually agree on tho' was the fact that Delli Colli managed all this table-based business with great aplomb and should be very proud of herself.

As should Sherry Buchanan, who comes across as a dirtier (but less mental and with more teeth) Margot Kidder, wearing her dads clothes and with hair that hasn't seen shampoo for about six months she still manages to exude an air of clumsy back alley sexual hi-jinks.

Even - well especially if I'm honest - when strapped to a table after being scalped which would be a tall order for most actresses.

The rest of the cast are kinda just there really, which is enough I guess.




Buchanan: Just wait till the shampooing starts.





As for the cannibal tribe, well it's the first time I've ever seen scary natives dressed only in thongs fashioned from rashers of bacon and mop top wigs but who's to say this isn't a realistic depiction of an ancient civilization?

Not me that's for sure.

Now to the zombies hordes (well I say hordes but there are only five of them, one of which is the directors mum) who, with make up that is a triumph for the seven year old hired to produce it using only the contents of the class arts and craft cupboard and accompanied at all times by a synth score that consists mainly of samples of a small boy farting whilst a dog with throat cancer barks backwards these undead terrors are guaranteed to strike mild apathy into the hearts of even the most hardened viewers.

Plus it's nice to see what the sets from Zombie Flesh Eaters would look like if shot by a myopic, hook-handed child.

Essential viewing.