Sunday, April 17, 2022

cod only knows.

Preparing for tonights Doctor Who Easter special (featuring the return of everybodies favourite fishy foes The Sea Devils) by totally ignoring this once proud - and brilliant - show as it drunkenly stumbles further and further into utter shite-ness and rewatching this classic instead which, if I'm honest will probably be much more entertaining.


L'Isola Degli Uomini Pesce (AKA The Island of the Fishmen, Screamers, Something Waits in the Dark, 1979).
Dir: Sergio Martino (and the enigmatic Miller Drake).
Starring: Barbara Bach, Richard Johnson, Bobby Rhodes, Claudio Cassinelli,  Joseph Cotton and depending on what version you watch maybe even Cameron Mitchell, Mel Ferrer, Tom J. Delaney, and Olympic sprinter Eunice Bolt.

Be Warned: You will actually see a man turned inside-out. Only you wont unless you're watching the trailer for the Corman recut.

It's a Johnny Depp free Caribbean Sea sometime in 1891 (tho' it's more like 1981 by the cut of the trousers) and we join our story as a bobbity boat approaches a mysterious fog enshrouded island that looks uncannily like Bronson Caves in Griffith Park in Los Angeles from a distance.

That can't be right tho' seeing as this is a cheap n' cheerful lo-fi Italian monster flick.

Oh right, this must be the bits Roger Corman did to beef up the running time/quality for a more sophisticated audience.

Anyway back to the plot where aboard the aforementioned steamer is the bubble-pipe blowing salty sea dog Captain Blacken Decker (professional scenery chewer Mitchell) who's been hired to bring failed gambler - both onscreen and off - Daniel Radcliffe (Mel 'my illustrious career' Ferrer) and his 'beautiful' wife Samantha (Bolt) to search the island for a fabulous buried treasure fabled to lie in the spookily monikered Cave of the Dead.

Which is nice.

Wandering into the dark opening Daniel and Samantha soon stumble across some shite-encrusted pound shop skeletons clutching a big bag of chocolate coins and excitedly head back to the boat.

Which makes you think that if the treasure was so easy to find why has no-one else bothered getting it before now?

Well that might have something to do with the killer fishmen (hidden in the shadows to make it easier to match them to the original costumes later) that are currently ripping the heads off the crew before getting to work on our three guest stars.

It might only be a cameo for Ferrer but don't worry too much, Nightmare City awaits.

"Is it in yet?"

A new day dawns on different film stock (and in a totally different location, we're now in the Philippines, where permits are cheap) as we start the film good and proper - and as the original director intended -  with ships doctor Kemp De Ross (the late, great Claudio Cassinelli) and some criminal types drifting ashore on the same island (honest) after the prison ship they were traveling on ended up  sinking during a typhoon.

Waking on a pleasant Club 18-30 style beach De Ross is unnerved by the discovery of the dead body of one the prisoners, I've no idea why tho'...seeing as he's just been thru' a typhoon and a boat smashing but hey perhaps he has a fear of damp corduroy who knows? anyway he soon comes to his senses and heads off to look for survivors.

From the shipwreck that is not episodes of the hit 70s Terry Nation show.

Tho' Ian McCulloch turning up probably wouldn't do this movie any harm.

Almost immediately he runs across a small group of drip drying criminals who've decided to pass the time shouting 'I'm going to kill/bugger/eat/pick on you!' at the only other surviving authority figure whilst shaking their fists in a fairly comical manner hoping among hope that the dubbing director does them justice.

No chance really but they can but dream.

Luckily for the viewer the palatable air of community drama group tension is soon dissipated when slimy French crim Francois (probably one of the paparazzi responsible for Princess Di's crash) is ripped to pieces by a large half man/half Cod with big stick on finger nails.

Laugh now!

The convicts react as anyone would in this situation and run screaming and shouting into the trees and straight into an ancient tribal burial ground full of empty graves.

By this point I was sure that they run aground on the worlds most clichéd - and cheapest -  haunted house attraction.

All that's missing is a few rubber snakes draped on the branches.

Jose (a nice criminal), in what is probably the films best scene starts shouting about how the whole thing "reeks of that voodoo shit....reckon that the island is full o' zombies getting ready to eat our asses!"

Which if it did happen would make this an altogether different and probably much more entertaining film.

Maybe a wee bit like this one.

Unfortunately no zombies (ass eating or otherwise) show up but a rubber snake - which is indeed hanging of a tree -  does but any slithery shenanigans are cut short by the shooting skills of the 70's breasted, fluffy haired Amanda (The Spy Who Loved Me, The Humanoid and Caveman star Bach) who then - either quite enigmatically or quite woodenly) wanders off into the undergrowth.

My head is in a spin
My feet don't touch the ground
Because you're near to me
My head goes round and round
My knees are skakin' baby
My heart it beats like a drum

It feels like
It feels like I'm in love....with a huge cod.

Being deprived of any female contact for months our motley crew follow thru' the 'jungle' (OK it's a garden centre but at least they're trying) to a big house - a very big house in the country possibly - guarded by fierce looking natives.

Well I say fierce natives but the cruel reality is it's guarded by some obviously uncomfortable extras - probably the local jobseekers group) hastily facepainted and forced into tiny leather pants and a collection of feathery festooned hats.

It's a living I guess.

Turns out that the house belongs to a rich bad man named Edmund Rackham (Zombie Flesh Eaters star Johnson) who purchased the island on Ebay and is busy working alongside bubbly Babs, her kindly scientist dad (B-movie stalwart and father of Ferne, Cotton) and the chicken killing Voodoo priestess cum maid Shakira (the slinky-hipped pop princess herself  in her first film role) on some project or other that will upon completion benefit the whole of humanity.

Or at least his wallet.

You know my hips don't lie. ... Oh I know I am on tonight my hips don't lie. your fingers smell of salt and vinegar chipstiks.

Invited to lunch De Ross (and by default us) soon learns that the island is in fact all that remains of Atlantis - and no I didn't see that coming - and Rackham is planning to steal all of the fabled Atlantean gold in order to fund a worldwide chain of hat shops catering for the larger headed man.

It appears that as a child Rackham was cruelly taunted at school for having an overly large brow meaning that his school cap didn't fit so he had to wear a discarded pair of his fathers pants instead.

Trust me I know what that can do to a child.

Realizing that this might be too big a job for just the four of them - and the fact that the treasure is lying within a temple two thousand feet below the surface - Rackham has decided to employ the local fish men - on zero hour contracts obviously - as a labour force.

Obviously he's never visited The Cave of the Dead, that place is full of the stuff.

Maybe he's been too busy to take a stroll along the beach?

Or maybe, just maybe the continuity between the original film and Corman's footage is just shit?

Answers to the normal address.

But Rackham has a secret.

It seems that the drug addicted fish folk working for him are not, as De Ross thought, the survivors of a long forgotten race but something much more sinister....

Well I say sinister but let's be honest how sinister can a man in an oversided mackerel mask actually be?

Same shit, different smell.

Best known for his Giallo work (oh yes and the star studded spleen sucker  Mountain of The Cannibal God) director Sergio Martino, for his first foray into sci-fi pays tribute to H G Wells (specifically his novel The Island Of Dr. Moreau)  and luckily for us it's way more entertaining than the big budget Moreau movie starring Burt Lancaster that was released two years previously.

Which sounds like damning with faint praise but heyho.

And at least with Martino's vision we're spared the sight of Richard Basehart dolled up like an albino Care Bear and Michael York in an ill fitting set of Austin Powers style teeth.

In its favour tho' it does have Barbara Carrera pretending to be a slinky cat whereas Martino is stuck with Barbara Bach attempting to emulate (and failing) a large piece of plywood.

And bizarrely enough both Johnson and Lancaster appear to be wearing the same costumes - and fake facial hair - perhaps there was a sale on?

So swings and roundabouts really.

Barbara Carrera: hairy back and arse.

But back to The Island of the Fishmen (or Screamers or is it Something Waits in the Dark? Fucked if I know) where whatever the film lacks in budget (or good sense) it more than makes up for in pizazz, the monster suits aren't too shoddy - in a sort of community panto way that is, the island location is stunning and the sets look fairly sturdy whilst the cast (Bach excepted) seem to be taking it seriously enough.

Which is nice.

Martino regular Cassinelli is his usual reliable self and makes a likable hero whilst 'B' movie stalwarts Richard Johnson and Joseph Cotton battle to see who can soar the highest without the use of drugs or wings, chewing the scenery like giant Godzilla's and filling the screen with menacing ticks, large hats and mad eyed stares.

It's like watching a Euro-horror face off between an evil Chuckle Brothers.

Just slightly sexier obviously.

"I can see your house from here Peter"

Talking of sexiness it's at this point that Roger Corman steps into the picture - not literally mind but take a moment to imagine the great man himself turning up halway thru' and fighting an army of fishmen, cinema gold I'm sure you'll agree - when his New World Pictures acquired distribution rights to the film.

Thinking the original cut lacked a certain something (gore and an appearance by cinema slut Cameron Mitchell), Corman hired his teaboy Miller Drake to write and direct a new opening for the film alongside some new gore FX from
his paperboy at the time Chris Walas.

Enjoying his experiences so much Walas gave up delivering newspapers and took up special make-up effects full time, going on to work on such movies as Gremlins, Return of The Jedi and, um, The Fly II.

Which just goes to show that nobodies perfect.

He was also charged with beefing up the half man/ half cod reveal near the films climax which saw the originals frankly terrifying Giger-esque paper mache  monstrosity replaced with a far more subtle - and slimier - Creature From The Black Lagoon tribute.

It was upon seeing these changes at a Halloween showing given by John Landis that gave George Lucas the idea for the Star Wars special editions and so he began to retool and reimagine his movies in the hope of achieving the same stunning realism that Walas did all those years ago.

And for only 30 quid.

And so in the summer of 1980 and with its title changed to Something Waits in the Dark the film was finally unleashed on the American public.

Unfortunately no-one bothered to go see it.

Probably in part to having the worst fucking poster design this side of Rick Melton's deranged, tit-fueled scribblings.

Oh and that wibbly-wobbly blood font didn't help.

Undeterred (and not wanting to waste any cash) Corman called his gardener 'Jungle' Jim Wynorski and asked him what he would do to make the movie a hit.

After a brief pause Wynorski suggested replacing the fishmen with a collection of flesh-eating conifers (he'd just bought a job lot and had them lying about in his shed), retitling the film Screamers and adding a scene where a man gets turned inside-out.

This latter part was due to him suffering from organophobia (a fear of internal organs) an affliction he'd suffered from since he was a child and meant that he always wore paper suits in public.

Unable to afford treatment on a gardeners salary Wynorski decided that by featuring such a scene in the movie he could face his fear and hopefully cure himself.

And by default others too.

The thought of being able to help sufferers of such a terrible condition was too great an opportunity for Corman to pass up (as was the chance of some cheap trees for his garden but that's another story) but there was a major problem.

The film had already been booked for a re-release the following week so there was only time to change the title card before it shipped to the cinemas.

Undeterred Corman allowed Wynorski to shoot the inside out man specifically for the trailer thinking that even if folk didn't go to see the actual movie - either because their phobia may stop them or just that they thought it looked shite - the fact that it would be in the preview might even reach and maybe even cure more people.


The title changed seemed to do the trick and within a month of its release in June 1981, it became the biggest ever box office hit to be named Screamers and starring Barbara Bach ever released.

A record it still holds to this day.

And what of Jim Wynorski?

Luckily the film not only cured his organophobia but cemented his love of directing with him going on to direct such classics as Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre, The Hills Have Thighs, Busty Cops 2 and Vampirella.

And for that we should be eternally grateful to Lord Roger.

Actually they don't....the girl standing in front of the hills does. Plus if you want to be precise about it that's a mountain range.

As a curious aside back in 1995 (ask your mum) Sergio Martino returned to his magnum opus and directed a straight to TeeVee pseudo-sequel entitled The Fishmen and Their Queen featuring the Romanian-born Italian actress, singer, model and politician Ramona Badescu (as the Queen obviously).

Under the sea and inside my mooth.

Taking it's cues (and a shit-load of footage) from his 1983 hit 2019: After the Fall of New York, the 'plot' (what there is of it) follows the adventures of a couple of grubby teens as they escape from a post apocalyptic New York in the hope of finding a better life.

Tho' what life could be better than living the Italian movie dream is beyond me.

After a few so-so adventures that unfortunately don't feature either of them selling their arses for food they happen across an old tramp named Jeff  Socrates (Alien 2: On Earth's Mr Raymond himself Donald Hodson) who offers to take them to the island from the first movie because rumour has it that it's the only place on earth untouched by the nuclear fallout released during World War III.

Tho' by the state of the fishfolks massive green heads you'd be hard pushed to tell.

As you can probably guess it was utter shite, 

Tho' Badescu does wear a pretty crown in it, coming across like a council estate MiLF version of Ariel from The Little Mermaid.
Which is nice but probably not reason enough to bother searching for it.

My that's a bit of a sad way to end isn't it?


Thursday, April 14, 2022

stand by for action!

Celebrating the genius of Gerry Anderson on his birthday with 60 minutes of Spectrum Sounds and  Terrahawk tunes in one mighty Mysteron mix.....



Saturday, April 9, 2022

beat surrender.

After revisiting the Naschy-tastic Horror Rises From The Tomb t'other night I thought it was only fair to rewatch the (semi) sequel.

Not just because it's bloody brilliant but because the last time I watched/reviewed it no-one noticed.

Which is fair enough I guess.

Panic Beats (1983).
Dir: Paul Naschy.
Cast: Paul Naschy, Julia Saly, Lola Gaos, Frances Ondiviela and Silvia Miró.

It is the ye olden times somewhere in the French countryside (again) and top TeeVee weathergirl Carol Kirkwood (or a very convincing lookie-likey) is running naked and blood spattered thru' the fog enshrouded trees in an attempt to escape an unseen assailant.

Well either that or she's late for work.

Stumbling thru' the mist and dodging a collection of plastic joke shop skulls she soon stumbles to the ground, turning to face her tormentor - a clanking, wide-hipped knight carrying a blood stained mace.

Behold the stare of the evil Alaric de Marnac - last seen being bested by button nosed uber-babe Emma Cohen in the afre-mentioned Horror Rises From The Tomb.

Yup, that'll be Paul Naschy then.

Lifting his helmet visor our bearded badman raises his mace (which surprisingly for Naschy isn't a euphemism) and begins to strike down on the poor presenter.

Your mom after bingo night.

No sooner has this blood drenched big bushed beating begun than we're transported - thru' the power of shitey synth score and clumsy dissolves - to 'the modern day' and the city of Paris to be more precise where we meet the portly - yet clean shaven - Paul de Marnac (Naschy again, you know the drill), another distant relative of the evil Alaric who is busy discussing how best to deal with his fur coat wearing and possibly knicker-less wife Geneviève's (vacant eyed Naschy regular and Night of The Seagulls star Saly) fragile health.

Yup the poor woman suffers from a weak heart and 'the nerves', so the family doctor advises Paul to take her up the de Marnac ancestral house (which is in fact a house, a very big house in the country which used to belong to General Franco in real life fact fans) to recuperate.

As with the last film the pair are accosted on their journey by a pair of ragamuffins giving Paul a chance to show off the karate skills he learned filming The Beasts' Carnival in Japan three years earlier before getting back in the car and heading off to the house.

No matter how hard she tweaked Frances Ondiviela just couldn't tune her full size Ronko Naschy Radiogram to 6Music.

Arriving later than planned the pair are greeted by the a pound shop Mrs Doyle the almost mummified Maville (The Legend of Blood Castle's Gaos) and her naughty niece Julie (Ondiviela, a dirty minded dream in denim obsessed with Dexy's Midnight Runners last seen in Un refugio para el amor), who takes an instant dislike to poor Genevieve, thinking herself more worthy of some Naschy nuptials.


As the weeks go by tho' Genevieve and Julie grow closer, taking long walks in the woods whilst the minx-like maid regales the wobbly wifey with tales of the infamous Alaric and how he rises from the grave every hundred to murder unfaithful women with a mace.

This all began when he discovered his own wife being bummed by a binman all those years ago and his reputation grew from there.

Surprisingly tho' there's absolutely no mention of the cannibalism, blood-drinking, drawing penises on pictures of the mayor, buggery, false promises of 350 million quid to the NHS post Brexit and human sacrifice that he was accused of (alongside what we must now assume was his second wife) in the earlier film.

Which is kinda frustrating for those of us with a hard on for continuity fests.

Not to worry tho' as no doubt Naschy will appear topless at some point giving us at least something to spill our seed over.

"Chase me now!"

This knowledge seems to trigger something in Genevieve's muddled mind and it's not long before she's seeing snakes slithering across tombstones, scary suits of armour wandering around the drawing room and skulls in the butter dish, causing her health and her mind to grow ever more fragile.

Meanwhile Paul is making more and more frequent trips to Paris due, he says, to 'work commitments' tho' in reality he's off visiting his mistress Mireille (bird-faced, perm-headed Miró) whose first appearance, sprawled across a cheap motel bed resplendent in a skin-tight leopard print cat-suit (and tiny skirt) ranks as probably the most erotic scene ever committed to celluloid.

Even the bright pink bedside lap looks rude.

"Easy leopard!" - I really didn't think that one thru' did I? Should have really made a pussy joke and be done with it.

But that's not the only girl trouble Paul has, as you see he's also actually in love with Julie and it transpires that she's been feeding Genevieve all these horrific stories in order to give her a heart attack so she can have Paul (and his massive girth) all to herself.

Well she's only flesh and blood.

It's not like a man of Naschy's stature would write in all those scenes of younger and younger women throwing themselves at him for any other reason than to forward the plot is it?

Bored with playing second fiddle to the by now shot to fuck Genevieve, Julie hatches the ultimate plan to rid herself of her love rival and with the help of the two robbers from earlier (whom Paul has said have been killed by the police), the always present armour and a handy pound shop skeleton mask and with poor Maville drugged into unconsciousness the pair finally rid themselves of Paul's pesky wife before jumping into bed together to celebrate.

Little do they realise tho' that Maville is watching.

Heading off to Paris to oversee the funeral Paul is shocked to find Mireille lounging in his flat naked and with a big cigar in her mouth and a plan to marry him herself.

With no other option left to him our hero indulges in 'the sex' with her before attempting to strangle his lover in her sleep with a silk stocking.

Unfortunately his almost constant breaking wind wakes Mireille up and the pair have breakfast instead.

Just like your parents used to.

Stressed to fuck and feeling flustered Paul returns home (his other home obviously) only to be confronted by Maville who demands that he be a good boy and dump the evil Julie.

With no other choice left to him he sets up an elaborate trap which causes the old lady to fall down the stairs and, um bang her head leaving Julie no option but to strangle her aunt.

As they attempt to hide the body tho' who should turn up unannounced but a thigh-booted  is interrupted Mireille wearing what looks like the cast of The Lion King on her back and demanding sex from her boss.

The request is met by an axe in the stomach and head by Julie. 

Frances Ondiviela: you would, I would, your dad did. Twice.
Tidying away the bodies and scrubbing the floors clean the pair are soon wed and enjoying almost constant sexual shenanigans.

Well Paul is because it seems that Julie is playing a longer game.

You see she's been in contact with the mysterious 'Maurice' - her ex pimp cum drug dealer cum lover with whom she's been planning to kill Paul and inherit his cash.

What a rotter.

...And here's Carol with the weather....and it looks like damp patches all round.

Will Paul get wise to his wife's wicked ways or will he did an embarrassing death by nude electrocution in a tiny bath tub?

Will Julie actually succeed with her plan to inherit the de Marnac fortune or will the evil Alaric (who's been conspicuous by his absence) actually turn up to extract revenge on her for abusing his family?

And will Julie ever put on the saucy maid outfit again that she wore for one scene earlier or will I have to just screengrab it for posterity?

Written and directed by Naschy himself as well as being produced by star Saly,  Panic Beats is a bizarro follow up cum remake of the aforementioned Horror Rises from the Tomb (1973) but this time with an added dash of Les diaboliques (1955) and Hitchcock's Rebecca (1940) for good measure.

Look if you're gonna steal then steal from the best.

But those unaccustomed Naschy's oeuvre who might be expecting a straight sequel may be a little confused as, much like the great man's Daninsky Werewolf movies, Naschy eschews the whole formula of a continuing story arc, preferring instead to re-use characters and situations within a completely unrelated story giving the whole thing a sense of deja vu at times, especially when Paul and Genevieve are accosted by robbers on the road.

Good job then that viewers never tire of Naschy - quite literally - throwing his weight around.

Luckily for the most part the movie does it's own thing and Naschy plays the whole idea of Genevieve's faltering mental state at a slow, almost funeral pace occasionally throwing in some shocks or nudity to keep the viewers interest as the double crossing deals are uncovered.

And it's this part of the plot if anything that falls flat seeing as the cast is so tiny (and Naschy such a showman) that it'd be a surprise if it were anyone but him (and Julie) behind the murder plot.

It's a wee bit like the revelation in Count Dracula's Great Love that the mysterious Doctor Marlow is, in fact, the bloodsucking Count.

I mean Paul Naschy has spent the last 40 odd minutes wandering around in a cape avoiding sunlight....who else is it going to be?

Luckily once the revelations and back-stabbings are revealed there's enough of them to keep you interested.

And it's almost as if Naschy knows that at points the plot gets maybe a wee bit too ludicrous so every now and then he gets Frances Ondiviela (or Silvia Miró or even Naschy himself) to strip naked and take your mind off it.

Which is very thoughtful of him, if only Rian Johnson had done this with The Last Jedi then it might have just been watchable.

"Hello are you the blind man?"

Talking of watchability the cast on show here (in more ways than one) are all top notch, from Julia Saly's waif-like Genevieve to Frances Ondiviela's bad girl antics via Silvia Miró's fantastically frightening fashion choices every one's a winner - mad, bad and dangerous to know but all linked by their unearthly (some would say ungodly) attraction to Naschy.

Tho' they're only flesh and blood. 

 As are we all when it comes to the great mans movies and as with most (all?) of them, Panic Beats is a thoroughly enjoyable experience that's a heady mix of gloomy gothic horror and gory giallo.

Yes it's true that the mystery aspect is more Agaton Sax than Agatha Christie but this just adds to its charm.

Scarier than your dad drunk and sexier than your wee sister on smack Panic Beats is a must see.

No, really.

Friday, April 8, 2022

peachy keen.


Pour yourself a coffee, cut a slice of cherry pie and relax with 90 minutes of Badalamenti beats, sinister soundbites and toe tapping tunes to celebrate all things Twin Peaks.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

head the ball.

Rewatched this last night.

Well that was short and to the point.

Horror Rises From The Tomb (1973).
Dir: Carlos Aured.
Cast: Paul Naschy, Emma Cohen, Helga Liné, Cristina Suriani, Julio Peña, Montserrat Julio, Betsabé Ruiz, Elsa Zabala, María José Cantudo, Juan Cazalilla and Vic Winner.

Bloody Hell my spellcheck has had a breakdown after that.

It's sometime in the late Middle Ages in a playpark somewhere in France (played in this case by Madrid doing a passable impression of a shit-covered French field) where a pair of French nobletypes -  Armand du Marnac (Naschy, nuff said) and his pal Andre Roland (Winner from Count Dracula's Great Love) are busy leading a group of soldier types who are in turn taking a black-clad duo to their deaths via an old cart pulled by cows.

Obviously the films budget would only stretch to two horses and the stars have those.

Turns out that the two prisoners are Armand’s brother, Alaric (Naschy again but this time in a comedy beard) and his girlfriend Mabille de Lancre (Liné, who appears in this blog so often I really should just name it after her and be done with it) both of whom have been convicted of not only crimes against fashion but also of cannibalism, blood-drinking, drawing penises on pictures of the mayor, buggery, false promises of 350 million quid to the NHS post Brexit and human sacrifice.

Which is nice.

After cursing his brother and his descendants Alaric is quickly beheaded (mainly so as you don't see the cut 'tween Naschy and the shop window dummy with a hastily painted balloon head) whilst Mabille is stripped naked, hung upside down by her ankles and whipped a bit to a spooky organ soundtrack.

Maybe she's born with it?

With all this breast-based scene setting out of the way we're off to 70s sunny Paris (or at least a wee bit of Naschy's holiday Super 8 footage) where dumpy descendant Hugo du Marnac (yup it's Naschy yet again) has just popped round to tell his artist friend Maurice (Winner back for more) that his girlfriend, the council estate Elle Fanning Paula (Experiencia prematrimonial’s Suriani), has returned from Germany and is staying with Hugo's squeeze, the frightbrowed Silvie (Return of The Blind Dead and The Loreley's Grasp star Ruiz) and that the boys have been invited round for some Aldi booze based fun.

Unfortunately Silvie has also invited the séance obsessed, professional oldsters  Gail (The Blood-Spattered Bride's Julio) and Sean (Satanik's Peña) over for the evening and they soon dominated the proceedings with chat pertaining to the spooky psychic medium Madam Irina Kormorova (high Scrabble scoring Zabala from your granddad's bed) and her ability to converse with the dead.

Sean and Gail suggest that they all go and see her and the gang excitedly agree.

Maurice however being sensible (and having a painting to finish) declines the invitation and goes home for a tearful wank and a Pot Noodle whilst the rest of the gang grab their jackets and head of to Kormorova's house.

Obviously being a legit psychic she'll know that they're coming.

In both cases.

"Hands on mah table!" - Trump's nightmare.

Hugo, being skeptical about all things paranormal (so it's a good thing he hasn't taken a look at his wig in a mirror then) cheekily suggests that Madam  Kormorova should attempt to contact the spirit of the aforementioned Alaric du Marnac in order to find out if it’s true that his head and body were buried in separate graves on the family estate.

You'll not be too surprised to find that Alaric does indeed appear and not only confirms the facts of his burial but also gives the precise location of where both body and head will be found.

Meanwhile, Maurice too is receiving a visitation from the vengeful spirit in the form of a possessed painting session that climaxes in him producing a picture of Alaric holding his severed head.

Shocked at how shite the actual piece is Maurice quickly destroys it.

I made this.

As you can probably guess the next day our groovy foursome excitedly pack their bags and begin the long drive over to Hugo’s ancestral estate.

Being a Paul Naschy movie tho' nothing is that simple (or logical) so it's not long before the group are attacked by bandits on the road (obviously bored by the lack of British beef to burn) giving our hero a chance to show off his fighting skills before a local lynch-mob arrives and kills the ruffians to death.

Most upsetting tho' is the fact that the bad men have totaled Hugo’s car, forcing him to buy (in the films most exciting scene) what looks like a cheap Chitty Chitty Bang Bang knock off in which to complete the journey.

And this my friends is the kind of thing that made people vote leave*

Finally arriving at the estate Hugo and co. are greeted by Terry Gaston the family butler (giant atomic monster Cazalilla) and his dishy daughters, Elvire (button nosed uber-babe Cohen, who later found fame as Gallina Caponata - the Spanish counterpart to Big Bird in their version of Sesame Street) and Chantal (Cantudo, who's bound to have been in loads of stuff but I can't bother checking) who busy themselves taking the luggage upstairs whilst gazing dreamily at Hugo.

But then again who wouldn't?

"Hello madam....Do you require any scissors sharpening?

As dawn breaks Hugo - alongside Maurice, Gaston and a couple of local ne'er-do-wells are busying themselves digging for Alaric's remains, well the plebs are - Hugo is just standing around like a club-footed catalogue model smoking a fag.

Suddenly Maurice is struck by a bizarre premonition of where Alaric (or at least bits of him) is buried and hurriedly starts to dig up the tomato patch soon uncovering a rusty box that's just about the right size for a human head.


Ordering the hired help to take the box back to the château, Hugo announces that he'll head into town for a blowtorch (I'm pretty sure that's what he said)  to open the box but not until tomorrow as right now there is booze to be drunk and fags to smoke.

Oh and doe-eyes to make at Elvire behind Silvie's back.

Which is fair enough I guess.

Unfortunately the hired help reckon that they’ve uncovered a box of valuable treasures so decide to wait till nightfall and open it themselves but as they burn it open Gaston appears in the doorway brandishing a rolling pin which is kinda unfortunate for him seeing as the now released head of Alaric is free to extend its evil influence onto one of the thieves who picks up a handy sickle before striking Gaston - and his pal - down.

Wiping the bloodied weapon on Gaston's best shirt he picks up the head and carries it away to the crypt in order to reunite it with its body.

Emma Cohen: You would, I would, your dad probably did. Twice. That's why him and yer maw never talk about that holiday to Benidorm they had in 1973.

Meanwhile back at the château the friends game of Twister is interrupted by the appearance of a blood and snot soaked Elvire and Chantal who have just discovered their dead dad.

Hugo quickly grabs his jacket and alongside Maurice ventures out to find the killer ordering the ladies to go to their rooms and lock the doors until they return.

All except Chantel that is, I mean there's washing up to do and it's not going to clean itself.

As she starts work on removing those stubborn stains that just wont fade (the remains of Hugo's runny egg on toast obviously) the possessed pikey prowls into the kitchen and strikes her down before abducting poor Paula and heading back to du Marnac’s crypt.

Maurice, being slightly fitter - and considerably less portly than Hugo - heads off to look for her leaving his pal to console Elvire over the death of her dad and sister by sticking his engorged member in her.

Which, admit it, we'd all do.

Meanwhile Maurice has ended up hypnotized by Alaric and is ordered to bring Sylvia to the crypt where her life-force will be used to resurrect Mabille de Lancre but not before he's helped attach Alaric's head to his body and removed Mabille's skeleton from its resting place.

And if you thought things couldn't get any worse (either in front of or behind the camera) Alaric has torn out the tramps heart and scoffed it.

Returning with Sylvia (wearing a bri-nylon babydoll nightie that even your nan would balk at for being too whorish, Maurice is forced to look on as Alaric strips her naked and stabs her to death before having a sneaky feel of her boobs and locking her in a coffin where - in an amazing show of quick cuts and sloppy editing Mabille appears in her place looking for all the world like she's set for a night frugging away at Studio 54.

Or at the very least the Astoria in Nottingham**.

The Astoria Nottingham: sequined boob-tubes and wet t-shirts not shown.

The devilish duo waste no time in wreaking their vengeance, mysteriously materialising around town in a puff of purple smoke to have sex with various non-speaking extras before tearing their hearts out and - as an encore - sending an albeit small group of zombies (including Gaston) to attack Hugo and Elvire who by this time have discovered an ancient talisman - cunningly hidden behind the toilet cistern -  that has been in the du Marnac family for centuries and kept just on the off-chance that the evil pair ever returned.

Which is lucky if you think about it.

"Put it in me!"

As the pervy paranormal pairs powers grow it's left to Hugo and Elvire to save the world (well OK the local town) from a deadly plague of sex-based brutality and harsh buggery.


Will Maurice regain his free will or at the very least change out of his baby pink shirt?

Will Hugo stop nailing anything that moves?

Will Helga Liné cover up as she looks like she may catch her death of cold?

And will Paul Naschy - after a 10 year wait - end up making a follow up starring the lovely Frances Ondiviela which is just like the original but with more gore, lots more front bums and better wigs?

 Paying homage to - OK totally ripping off - the Will Cowan 1958 American black-and-white 'classic' The Thing That Couldn't Die, Paul Naschy's first collaboration with director Carlos 'The Jackal' Aured (they would later go on to make El Retorno de Walpurgis, Los ojos azules de la muñeca rota and La venganza de la momia together) features nearly everything we know and love about the Naschy oeuvre except werewolves, tho' the stars naturally hairy back and arse near enough makes up for this omission - I mean what other movie can you name that features spooky séances, cannibalism, zombies, random acts of nudity and a lead who changes his outfit almost every scene?

You ain't seen me right?

Whether he's punching perverts or putting it in pretty ladies - Naschy is - a ever - totally watchable as both the hero and villain of the piece, admirably aided by genre stalwarts Vic Winner (AKA Víctor Barrera) and the ginger goddess that is Helga Liné working from a script that makes just enough sense as to make the whole absurd thing vaguely plausible.

If you don't think about it too much obviously.

As with most (all?) of Naschy's output what the film lacks in budget, logic and half-way competent dubbing it more than makes up for in sheer chutzpah and if you can switch off your brain and accept Naschy as a love god whom women find irresistible then you'll have no bother accepting (and enjoying) everything else the movie has to offer.

Except maybe some of Paul's more interesting fashion choices obviously.

And I must admit in some scenes it does look like he's applied his foundation with a trowel.   

No matter how hard he tried Jeff Beck just couldn't tune his Ronco Lady0gram to 6 Music.

But let's be honest, there's not much I can say - I mean if you read this blog chances are you'll already be a fan of the great mans work (except if you're one of those folk that only come by to look at the nudity and leave me abuse) but if you've chanced across this by accident then strip down to your pants and excitedly dive into the world of Naschy.

You can thank me later.

Just wash your hands first.

*Well that and the very English pastime of hating foreigners obviously - thank fuck I live in Scotland as we only have rickets to worry about.

**Or, to give it its proper name, Barry Noble's Astoria.

Barry (now famed for owning most of the UK's penny arcades as well as for owning one of the countries biggest Cyberman memorabilia collections) bought what had earlier been the Astoria Ballroom and then the Sherwood Rooms from Mecca (the bingo hall company not the religious place), turning it into one of the defining clubs of the 80s  - coining the phrase 'Is That Alright Fyuzs' along the way.

Noble: Prize.

On a slightly more sinister note its most famous DJ, Graham Neale (who also did the Castle Rock show on Radio Trent) committed suicide in prison after trying to murder his wife with a hammer.

***Indeed he will and that film shall be called.....

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

horsing around.

As a teen the cover for this was the second most terrifying piece of pre-cert VHS art ever (after Zombie Creeping Flesh obviously) so for years I stayed away from it due to total fear and worries over my mental health.

Mainly because of the really odd angle of the girls head.

But in part because it didn't feature any of 'the horror' tho' it did feature ladies kissing each other which frankly the thought of terrified my tiny 12 year old mind.*

But seeing as the twin engines of destruction (alongside Mrs Lamont) are away in 'The London' to celebrate their upcoming 18th birthday leaving Cass-man and myself home alone I thought I'd throw caution to the wind and use it as an excuse for a dads 'n' lad(s) film night.

Plus it's under a different title with totally different art now which made it easier.

The Coming of Sin (AKA Visita del vicio, Violation of the Bitch, Sex Maniac
Sodomia. 1978).
Dir: José Ramón Larraz.
Cast: Patricia Granada (As Patrice Grant), Lidia Zuazo (As Lydia Stern), Rafael Machado, David Thomson, Lea Candle, Daisy Jules and Montserrat Julió.

Somewhere in the lush Spanish Countryside, the fairly harsh faced but extremely wealthy painter Lorna's (Manchester-based TV studio and star of the classic Más allá del deseo, Granada) quiet life creating those pictures of dogs playing poker and drinking gin is rudely interrupted when her pal Doris asks her to look after her 17 year old orphan house maid, the thinly mustached and illiterate (it's like character cliche bingo here) Triana (Zuazo from Consultorio sexológico and your dad's bed) while Doris and her husband head off on holiday to Tenby for a fortnight.

Bored with having no-one to talk to (or to clean up the mess) Lorna excitedly agrees, happy to take Triana under her wing but as she begins to prepare the guest bedroom Doris warns her that the sultry gypsy girl is a wee bit mental and suffers from recurring dreams about being bummed to death by horse riding binmen.

Lorna - being either a nice lady or totally self absorbed - doesn't seem to mind and welcomes Triana into her home.

But not her bed.

Well not yet.

But you can kinda tell that will happen later.


The pair hit it off almost immediately tho' with Triana expressing admiration for Lorna's painting skills and Lorna enjoying her guest's guitar playing prowess and arched eyebrows but although things seen to be going swimmingly, Triana is still dreaming of a naked (bin) man astride a big (in every way) black horse stalking her around Lorna's estate.

And by that I mean the countryside and not her lady garden.

Scarily Triana soon realises that the topless man is real (I knida figured that she already knew that horses exist) when she comes across him one day whilst she's emptying the bins.

As anyone would do in this situation, Triana grabs a rifle and tries to shoot him much to Lorna's chagrin and our artsy pal angrily tells Triana that it's bad manners to shoot at random people on horseback and not to do it again.

Which is Brexit in a nutshell really.

As the pouting pair share long lingering looks over the spaghetti meatballs their relationship takes a turn for the - slightly - Sapphic when Lorna takes Triana into town to buy her a pearl necklace obviously to make up for the fact that she can't furnish Triana with a homemade one herself and the pair excitedly head home for crisps, fizzy pop and a movie.

Later that day tho' when she's sneaked out for a crafty fag Lorna too spots the naked man on a horse and immediately becomes transfixed by him and in an attempt to cool her ardour Lorna dresses up in her dads suit and gets Triana to pencil in her mustache so the pair can go out flamenco dancing together without raising any suspicions of lady love amongst the god fearing locals.

 Fuck me this is convoluted.

Bardo have let themselves go.

Returning home the pair enjoy a nice cup of hot chocolate (and a Kit Kat) before retiring but Lorna's sleep is interrupted when Triana appears naked at the bottom of her bed allegedly to clean Lorna's shoes.

Realising that as excuses go that one sounds a bit shit Triana jumps into Lorna's bed where a wee bout of big bushed 70s style sexiness does indeed ensue.


The next day and in order to clear her head after such a marathon shagathon, Triana decides to go for a leisurely stroll in the local woods but who does she find standing by the stream?

Only the horse man.

And this time he's stark bollock naked.

And he has a massive erection**.

A massive erection that he's determined to put in Triana whether she agrees or not.

What a rotter.

Luckily she's stronger than she looks (plus her massive grey granny pants appear to be welded on) and she easily fights him off, finally subduing him by beating him around the head with a handy polystyrene rock.

With his cock in one hand and cradling his bleeding bonce in the other he wanders off to the lake giving Triana ample time to run home and into Lorna's arms.

Lorna seems unconcerned tho' and tells Triana to grow up and stop snottering on her shoulder before brusquely heading into the kitchen to prepare lunch as they're expecting a guest.

It comes as no surprise to find that the guest is in fact the rapey young bloke himself.

As he sits down on the sofa (whilst thankfully keeping his penis in his trousers), Lorna explains to Triana that Chico (council estate Michael Brandon, Machado)  lives in a shed near to her property (as in her house not her lady parts) and has helpfully offered to give Lorna horse-riding lessons.

Obviously unable to resist his charms - or his horse -  Lorna eagerly agrees and is soon ordering poor Triana around the house to fetch cakes and coffee as she (stiffly) flirts with Chico.

Triana is not a happy bunny.

As night falls Triana heads of to bed where her Chico-centric dreams take a more sinister (if that were possible) turn as she imagines herself strapped into a big gold horse with her ares hanging out as a naked Chico circles her on a (naked) horse.

I think this may be symbolic - or sort of sexual - but I can't be sure.

Answers to the usual address.

And with that the scene is set for 40 odd minutes of knowing looks, creepy fortune tellers, drunken threesomes, huge amounts of 70s bush and a wee bit of rough sex that culminates with a very sweaty Triana hiding in a bush wielding a shotgun.

Just like your mum and dad's 25th wedding anniversary party.

Yer ma's taking the divorce well.

Hot off the heels (well not that hot seeing as it was 4 years later but heyho it's just cliched review speak) of his saucy 1974 leg-twitcher Vampyres, José Ramón Larraz presented us with another nice hot pie slice of eroticism - this time swapping the damp English countryside for a sun-bleached Spain and replacing the girl on girl bloodletting for girl on girl flamenco dancing before adding some obsessively erotic equestrian action years before My Little Pony made it mainstream to lust after horses.

For its miniscule budget the film looks very nice tho' I'm never sure if that's due to Fernando (Cannibal Apocalypse) Arribas' soft-focus camerawork or the fact that the DVD transfer I watched was oh-so slightly out of focus (tho' not having my glasses on probably didn't help), either way I challenge you to find another film where a gypsies arse looks so peachy and sun-burnt whilst still maintaining an air of mystery.

Your mum and your Auntie Jean getting ready for bingo.

As another plus point the cast (what little there is) are great - Lidia Zuazo is all dusky and mysterious (or is that bored?) and raffish Rafael Machado comes across like an evil Jacko from Brush Strokes but with sharper nipples whilst Patricia Granada plays the beige-clad brush wielding Lorna to perfection.

A pity then that the dubbing director decided to use the cast of the Jim Davidson comedy classic Up The Elephant And Round The Castle to supply a couple of the voice artistes.

I mean there's nowt like someone shouting "Jellied eels!" at the point of climax to spoil your enjoyment of a movie.

Still if you're really bothered about being put off your stroke by the sound of bow bells you can always turn the volume down.

Recommended for fans of 70s front bums and Black Beauty.

*By that I don't actually mean just ladies kissing but kissing in general. What can I say? I was a shy child.

** Seriously it looks like someone has strapped a babies head to a hosepipe.