Archive for May, 2010

Week 30

by on May.22, 2010, under 365 Schedule

Yet another week of randomness. Some newer stuff this week.

  • Voodoo Lagoon
  • A Crack in the Floor
  • Carriers
  • Thirst
  • Hills Run Red
  • Ponty Pool
  • Trick r Treat
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by on May.22, 2010, under Daily Review

This is one of Jesus Franco’s finest moments, a stunning film which flows well and has all the usual charm of a Franco flick, although this time with quite a substantial budget which he uses well and gathering a brilliant cast of 80’s stars. Helmut Berger, Brigitte Lahaie, Telly Savalas, Caroline Munro Anton Diffring and Howard Vernon. Scortcha.

The plot is reinvention of Eye’s Without a Face. A scientists wife is disfigured, resulting in his crazed actions to kidnap women from his plastic surgery  clinic in order to rebuild her beauty. When a model (Munro) goes missing, her father, a rich NY business man (Savalas) employs a detective (Chris Mitchum) to find her.

This is all a bit glossier, more professional and coherent to Franco’s usual films: The budget is seriously used well. It looks great, with real characters with great dialogue. The effects are also very impressive. A surgical scene of a face being removed is very good, although, later a scene with a head being removed by chainsaw is not too bad, but improved by the perversity of the weapon wielder lift the decapitation for a kiss. Classy. Another great scene, and one which the film is probably most famous for is the needle inserted into an eyeball by a nurse. A glorious effect. Also, a stunning power drill in the head is of equal kudos.

This is not up to the usual arty standard of Franco’s greats, but it has a real solid feel and a proper story with great actors rather than being carried by nakedness, violence and artistic camera work.

One final word, look out for the bloke at the bar, about 20 mins in. A shifty looking bloke who sniffs his glass rather than drinks it. What’s that all about?

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by on May.21, 2010, under Daily Review

This is an odd little film from the obscure vaults. Directed by Freddie Francis whose other work includes the prestigious  films, Evil of Frankenstein, Torture Garden, Dracula has Risen from the Grave and The Ghoul to name a few. Here, he shoots something quite different and unlike many films which you’ll ever see really. I suppose this is closest to Spider Baby in feel, and it’s quite a disturbing piece. Of cause, Spider Baby was really the birthplace of Hills Have Eyes, Chainsaw and eventually House of 1000 Corpses, so here with Girly, we have an early missing British link.

The film follows a single parent rich family. A Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny and Girly (as the alternative title suggests). Sonny and Girl are teenagers, who spend their days looking for tramps in the park, giving them alcohol in exchange for playing children’s games in the park, before inviting them back to the mansion for tea. Brutal murder ensues. They up the stakes and lair a rich bloke to their home which leads to all sorts of dangerous depravity.

I knew I’d like this film before watching it and really hoped it would offer all I was expecting. This is a real gem of British cinema which will disturb as well as entertain any viewer. Vanessa Howard’s performance as Girly is impeccable. It’s a shame her career never took off. Michael Bryant as the rich new friend is also very good here, a quality British actor.

Groundbreaking in some ways, as we have tramp killing, ala Clockwork Orange, (1971) and breaking through a bedroom door with an axe very similar to Shinning (1980), with Sonny’s face popping through the destroyed door. This was 1970!

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The Reincarnation of Isabel

by on May.20, 2010, under Daily Review

30 minutes of the sacrifice of two women as an offering to the Vampire type woman goddess, Isabella, conducted by a bunch of freaky lookin’  

blokes in red leotards. One girl gets a stake through the heart whilst being burned alive, although seems to quite enjoy the whole thing. The other is sliced on the slab in the usual fashion. Quite a slow beginning to the film, but after that, Christ knows what’s going on.

There seems to be women dying and returning from the grave, shifting from the middle ages to the swinging 60’s with the main focus on a castle owned between two brothers, I’m guessing one in favour of sacrifice, the other against.

I don’t know. This is kinda like a Jesus Franco tribute, shot with 3 different scripts and 5 women who all look the same. Renato Polselli is the director here. I’m lost with this one. Defeated? Relieved by the end credits.  Although quite enjoyable in a surreal kinda way.

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Let’s Scare Jessica to Death

by on May.19, 2010, under Daily Review

This is something of a special movie and one which should really be experienced by all who enjoy a good movie. There’s a slow build up something terrible which you know is about to happen. There are moments of true dread and a real aerie creepiness to the cinematography which really helps the film build to one of the most remarkable climaxes I’ve ever seen. But from the opening scene, you, the viewer knows something is coming.

The plot follows Jessica, recently out of a mental institute, escaping the big city for country living, moves into a huge spooky looking house with her husband and friend. They meet up with Emily who moves in with them, but the rest of the locals in the village are a bit strange. They they hear tales of the old owners and a water end to the residents and tales of a vampire girl how lived there. All the time, Jessica has this voice in here head, warning and guiding.

Zohra Lampert is stunning as Jessica, offering a real top quality performance which gets under your skin. The rest of the cast reinforce the films credence. Barton Heyman, Kevin O’Connor and Mariclare Costello. As I have mentioned, this is a slow burner, and it’s a joy to watch the story build and Jessica playing with her mind as to reality or nightmare, but the ending is astonishing and one which should be held as one of the finest in the genre. One of my favourite lines in the film, from the mind of Jessica is, ‘Nightmares, dreams, madness or sanity. I don’t know which it is.’

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Werewolf and the Yeti

by on May.18, 2010, under Daily Review

In the Himalayas, a team of adventurers are attacked by a great hairy beast. Back in England, after hearing the news, Waldemar (Paul Naschy) prepares for the trip of a lifetime, to track and find the Yeti. He becomes lost from his party and seeks shelter in a remote Buddhist temple, but finds himself trapped by female vampires who use him as a toy, performing ritual acts which result in a shocking transformation into a wild beast, a werewolf! This is just the beginning. There are rival tribes fighting in the hills and a evil warlock queen out for power with a dungeon full of girls dressed in furs.

Plots like this are brilliant. It takes a stunning mind to conjure a wild plot like this. It’s a roller coaster of craziness without reason. Naschy is great and always is. He’s a huge actor in Spain and was probably the sole reason for the continued growth of the countries film industry. There isn’t really much else to say here about this as what else can you expect? The wolf transformation is dreadful but the final makeup is quite good, the big finale, the fight scene between Yeti and Wolfman is a bit tricky as they both have the same suit on. This was (and still is) actually banned in the UK! Why? I have no idea. There’s nothing really shocking or offensive which wasn’t present in any of the Hammer flicks. The BBFC were a funny bunch back then though and obviously, our great nation needed protecting from this production.

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Orgy of the Dead

by on May.17, 2010, under Daily Review

Shirley (Pat Barrington) and Bob (Bill Bates) head off on the road in search of inspiration for Bob’s latest novel, a spooky cemetery is their goal. After a car crash, they find themselves at their destination, but what they didn’t expect to find was a spooky ghosty bloke, The Emperor (Criswell) who rules the cemetery with his Elvira styled assistant Black Ghoul (Fawn Silver), worshipped by naked dancing women, who each perform one by one for his pleasure.

Well, that’s it. Ten different women perform in various different dancing styles with various props. A cheep studio setup has dry ice blasted out whilst the various girls perform. It’s quite good actually, in a kitsch burlesque kinda way. Ed Wood wrote the screenplay for this film, although there is little in the way of dialogue. It’s also often branded as an Ed Wood film, but the bloke in charge is one Steve C. Apostolof and although it has a look of Wood about it, it doesn’t have the real spark which Ed  brought to his films.

I actually enjoyed this film quite a bit. It’s from a time and place and although there is nudity in abundance, its and innocent film with a desire to outrage. Dancing girls include, Barbara Nordin, Bunny Glaser, Lorali Hart and Dene Starnes. There’s also an appearance of the Wolfman and the Mummy as they team up under the Emperor’s rule, which is quite good too, especially the chat they have whilst watching the Snake dance with Mickey Jines. This whole scene is just brilliant and has to be seen to be believed. I think you need to know what you are getting yourself into before watching a film like this. It’s not gonna win any Oscars but it’s made from dedication and enthusiasm for the genre. Finanly, a brief mention of the brilliant 50’s score that the girls dance too, from xylophone, Sax and keyboard. Real charm.

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Castle of Creeping Flesh

by on May.16, 2010, under Daily Review

Strange film this. Jess Franco inspired with a mix of gothic horror, sex and violence surrounding taboo subjects, especially from this time, 1968. Directed by Adrian Hoven, who also produces, writes and acts in this flick.

A group of socialites get lost in the woods after a party in  a lodge. Elena runs off after talks of a bear ripping people apart, but is found by Graf Saxon, a local land owner, living in the Castle. He friends soon arrive at take hospitality, only to find Saxon is a bit weird with tales of his ancestors, which reflect his own gruesome situation a raped dead daughter. His ancestor slayed virgins in order to perform a blood transfusion, and so, it looks as though he’s heading down the same crazy route. He’s basically a madman after young girls for blood, all very Eyes without a Face actually.

The cast are great. Howard Vernon as Saxon is spooky, (Is it just me, or does Vernon look the image of Trigger?) whilst Janine Reynaud (A Franco Regular) is beautiful as the sister of Elena (Elvira Berndorff).

Where this film fails is its script which is bloody terrible. A conversation across a dinner table almost put me to sleep rather than the desired effect of terror. There is also a strange sequence which slips into the past in this film as apart of Vera’s dream which depicts a shocking rape of the daughter of the old ancestor of the castle, a scene which is relentless and twisted in its focus. The surgery scenes drag on and are also not very pleasant, but the highlight is the bear, a bloke in a big fury suit. This and of cause, the delightful Reynaud as Vera who keeps the film alive.

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Week 29

by on May.15, 2010, under 365 Schedule

Another week of random films here. Some look good, others bloody awful. Lets see.

  • Castle of Creeping Flesh
  • Orgy of the Dead
  • Werewolf & Yeti
  • Lets Scare Jessica to Death
  • Reincarnation of Isabel
  • Girly
  • Faceless
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Black Kiss

by on May.15, 2010, under Daily Review

Beautiful looking, and very well shot Japanese thriller which reflects the work of Hitchcock and DePalmer in charm, style and essence. Although, nothing to do with the great comic from Howard Chaykin.

A young girl, Asuka moves to the big city with the plan to become a model. After hooking up with Kasumi she witnesses a bizarre sex murder from her bedroom window, taking place in an adjacent apartment. From this point, the two girls are surrounded by a string of similar murders, the killer leaving a calling card in the form of a Black Lipstick Kiss.

It’s a nice plot with great characters, actors who seem very comfortable in their roles. The plot is quite deep and winding, although it seems a bit slow in parts, it’s excusable through it’s great direction and cinematography.  Macoto Tezuka does a fine job here directing this glamourous thriller. My only quibble really is the lack of murders and violence which would have slipped right in here very well and could have brought it up alongside the ranks of Audition.

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