Archive for August, 2010

Madhouse (There was a Little Girl)

by on Aug.31, 2010, under Daily Review

This was banned. Outlawed. You could go to prison for owning this film back in the early 80’s! It’s shocking… not the film. It’s shocking that this was so offensive back then that people could do time. Tame is the understatement.

The tale follows a young woman, Julia a teacher of deaf kids who has a secret twin sister, Mary (Allison Biggers) who is her alter ego, evil, disfigured and angry. She spends her time in the local madhouse, but niggles in the back of Julia’s (Trish Everly) mind. When Julia’s friends start going missing, she’s obsessed that it’s her evil sister out for revenge, but with a mysterious killer dog on the loose, it’s a question of whose really doing the murder’s here. The dog, Mary, Julia or some other bizarre reason.

It’s quite a good film, well shot with great performances all round. Every is cool and convincing with the difficult lead role here. Dennis Robertson plays the friendly supportive vicar at the madhouse, also offering a very challenging role to the audience.

This is not the usual nasty. It’s more like a mid afternoon drama with a bit of added suspense. Saying that, the opening 15 mins are pretty heavy going, very creepy and disturbing, but nothing to get all banned about.

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Don’t Ride on Late Night Trains

by on Aug.30, 2010, under Daily Review

I was expecting a surprise moment of genius here, a spark of creative magic, a pure hidden gem, but it’s not to be. I’ve heard things about this one for years and years. Good and bad and even though, branded as Last House 2, this one really doesn’t come near. At a first glance, the film looks good. It’s got a fine giallo look and feel, although none of the intelligence, mystery or fantasticalness which you’d expect.

The film follows two crazy bad guys who kill a Santa Claus in a German Christmas market, then rip a woman’s coat open. They get chased by some cops through a train station, making their escape on a train to Italy. At this point, the film shows some good signs of a classic film in the making. The train is full of some odd characters who offer a bit of intrigue, a great springboard for the plot to flow, but sadly, we get taken down an obvious route which allows the two thugs to meet up with two young girls who are heading home for Christmas. An original, although somewhat odd turn in the plot includes an older upper class lady who becomes significant in the thugs actions on the train, encouraging and promoting rape and violence.  It’s a strange combination allowing the interaction of class and education, obscene actions in a confined environment.

The film has a great look, and a good pace, which is slower than you’d expect for this type of film. The problem we have here though, is there is nothing to cling to within any of the characters, the bad guys or the victims. Unlike Last House and House on the Edge of the Park which both offer solid realistic characters, which show off the good and bad side of all, Late Night Trains has stale roles. The acting is not to blame here with good performances all round. The violence is all pretty nasty and some moments are impressive. The girl getting g thrown from the train is shocking and realistic and hits all the right points.

This one does not live up to the others in its class, saying that, it’s well worth a look. It was released in the UK in it’s fullest form for the first time a few years ago after sitting on the DPP list for years, but it still surprises me that this can be picked up in HMV.

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The Slayer

by on Aug.29, 2010, under Daily Review

The first thing which you notice about The Slayer is how good it looks. The lighting, cinematography and set are all beautifully designed. It’s a strange film too, with an odd feeling about it, pace wise and structure which make this one quite unlike anything else really.

The basic idea is focused on Kay (Sarah Kendall), an artist who is obsessed with her dreams. She and a few friends head off to a remote island together, only to discover a strange beast picking them off one by one. Kay has premonitions and dreams of each murder, but has been having these all of her life, building up to this final event.

It’s a good spooky idea which JS Cardone (writer & director) works with well, getting believable dramatic performances out of the cast of unknowns. The plot works due to the steady build up, tension and atmosphere which is created steadily. The murders are violent but captured lightly with mainly only the after shock shown, with some great results fro the effects department. The pitchfork through the back and out the chest is a brilliant effect. Also, check out the hanging headless body, dried, black blood stains down the arms. Pretty nasty stuff.  

This was one of the films banned in the UK back in 83, but I’m surprised by this as it’s not an overly horrific film, focussing more on a spooky dreamlike atmosphere. This really was one of the innocent victims in the whole witch-hunt. Another point, if ever a movie had been wrongly titled it’s this one. The Slayer really does not do this film justice.

This is a good quality film from the 80’s, well worth a look. Plenty of atmosphere to keep you glued.

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Week 44

by on Aug.28, 2010, under 365 Schedule

It’s about time i start mopping up some DPP goodness.

  • The Slayer
  • Night Train Murders (Late Night Trains)
  • Madhouse (There was a Little Girl)
  • House on the Edge of the Park
  • Funhouse
  • Axe
  • Women Behind Bars
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Help me… I’m Possessed

by on Aug.28, 2010, under Daily Review

I’m getting into the realms of bad cinema here, never have I sank so low, but why do I feel so good watching this trash?

A crazy scientist (Bill Greer) out in the Californian desert leads the way to the creation of pure evil in the form of a demon type beast which manifests as red dangling ribbons. His lab is a comical dungeon reminiscent of Hannibal’s cell in Silence of the Lambs. (I can’t believe I’m mentioning SOL in this review of this crappy film). The dungeon is home to a number of cells with loony crazy folk who are tortured by a henchman; one great scene has him cut off the legs of a beautiful babe in order to fit her into a box. The scientist also has a deranged sister (Lynne Marta) whom seems to be his inspiration, whilst his wife (Deedy Peters) is oblivious to his dastardly deeds.

The film really is a guilty pleasure. It’s bloody awful, but strangely enjoyable on a level which questions the enjoyment the team must have gotten out of making this film. Lynne Marta has a great look about her, I’ve no idea what she was thinking making this film, a regular in US TV at the time, Charlie’s Angels, Chips, Vega$ etc. I also enjoyed Greer’s poor acting too.

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by on Aug.27, 2010, under Daily Review

Paul Naschy plays a priest who investigates the strange behaviours of a young girl who has gone off the rails, whom he discovers is possess by her dead father. It’s a shameless Exorcist homage, to be kind, but it’s got a real nice feel about it. Naschy is a god when it comes to Spanish horror cinema and here, in this role he’s amazing, looking perfect in his vicars robes. For the most party, his presence alone carries the film, but the girl possessed, ‘Leila’ (The delightful Maria Perschy who actually looks more atractive in her possessed state) is also outstanding.

This is eurotrash at its finest. Nudity, possession, gore and blasphemy. It’s got a crazy art house feel about it too with director Juan Bosch focusing more on the feel and look rather than his poor actors who try their hardest to make this film a masterpiece. Bosch is a veteran of quality Spanish flair with titles ‘And the Crows Will Dig Your Grave’, ‘The Killer Wore Gloves’ and ‘The Killer With 1000 Eyes’ to his name.

Exorcismo put a smile on my face and entertained me for the duration. It’s good to clock up a few films like this in a week of ambitious Exorcist remakes, this one is just along for the ride. Good gore too, really liked the possessed make-up effects.

A final word to mention the beautiful Triumph Spitfire. They just don’t make cars like that these days.

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L ‘Ossessa (Sexorcist)

by on Aug.26, 2010, under Daily Review

This is by far the finest film of the week so far, thrilling and outrageous in it’s crazy blasphemous approach. It’s offensive yet beautiful in style and content.

Danila ‘Stella Carnacina’ becomes obsessed with an ancient statue of Christ on a cross, whom her friend is delicately repairing in their joint artists studio. After she witnesses her mother engage in some extreme fondling with a fancy man, being whipped with roses at a swingers party, she returns to her workshop only to find her mind drifting to a romantic scenario as Christ climbs from his cross. From this point on, Danila’s mind is not in the right place. Mood swings and self obsession are the order of the day, even to the point of trying to seduce her own father after he asks, ‘are you ok?’ as she is writhing all over a bed. The feuding parents seek medical help, only to be advised, ‘give her a warm glass of milk’, before they seek religious support in the form of an exorcism.

This is a great film, really good stuff. It’s shot so well with stunning acting. Stella Carnacina is a real superstar and here shows bloody amazing potential with a difficult and challenging role, she carries herself and makes the film stand out from the rest of the Exorcist style flicks. The script is a bit witty in places, but as a whole it’s an enjoyable 90 mins.

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Malabimba (The Malicious Whore)

by on Aug.25, 2010, under Daily Review

Andrea Bianchi’s erotic horror, demon possession event. This is a crazy film with a young girl who goes off the rails after witnessing a horrific Séance. The medium (Elisa Mainardi) at the séance shouting out all obscenity in a grand gothic house of a rich family. (Is this in the grounds of a convent? There seems to be an awful lot of nuns about) This is probably the highlight of the film for me. It’s beautifully shot and a powerful introduction. From here on in, the film slips into a more erotic film, with the young girl (Katell Laennec) witnessing encounters within the household but finding her own mind driving her crazy with lust and desire leading to outrageous acts of depravity and a strange scene with her obsessing over her own grandfather in very graphic detail. The final salvation comes when the sister (The brilliant Mariangela Giordano) at the convent soaks up the evil from the young girl after a lesbian encounter and throws herself off a tower, very reminiscent of the Exorcist.

Bianchi knows how to shoot a great looking film, which is dream like for the most part. An interesting take on the Exorcism theme which deals with inner obsessions and desires and what is good and evil, obviously questioned by society and the church. This film would have been shocking for it’s day, and still holds up even now with some scenes still maybe questionable with the UK censors.

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L’anticristo (Tempter)

by on Aug.24, 2010, under Daily Review

This is a big budget quality contender as a possible challenger to the Exorcist. It’s very well made with a well appointed cast and crew, very unlike the rest of the films this week.

Ippolita (Carla Gravina) is wheelchair bound but suffers from delusions. Undergoing treatment in the form of regression, she discovers a former life as a demonic witch. This soon fills her mind taking over her current life and the devil himself takes hold of her sanity and body.

This for me was too long, too big a film for what it had to offer although the budget looked huge, it didn’t capture any magic really. Gravina is a quality actress and here has her hands full with character and situations to fill out, but the film dragged and didn’t hold any real suspense or deadly intent or even dangerous taboo which is needed in this type of film. It dabbles, but seems to be trying too hard, but for a film like this work, the viewer needs some form of connection with the person being possessed otherwise, you just lose interest.

Director Alberto de Martino knows a thing or two about cinema and uses his skills to create a classic quality looking film, but there is little in the way of real heart here. He made another rip off type film too, one of my favourite films, Dirty Heroes, but here, for me doesn’t manage to hit the high level they were aiming for.

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Cries and Shadows (Naked Exorcism)

by on Aug.23, 2010, under Daily Review

This is a 1975 Exorcist clone, which is quite good despite it’s shocking script. The film follows a young chap, Mark (Jean Claude Verne) who becomes obsessed, or should I say, possessed by the spirit of a crazy naked woman (Mimma Monticello) he sees, dancing over a waterfall. She’s soon in his head and manifests real in the flesh in his bedroom which is all a bit too much for the poor lad which sends him over the edge. He’s tied to a bed, Regan style and spends a lot of time puking green gunk and shouting obscenities, although these are never too bad, ‘I spit on you and all of your mumbo jumbo’ is one and ‘You clown!’ is another. No real reason to get a nun in the house who later has a bit of a fling with the waterfall woman too. Next up, they call in the big guns, from the church to face the demon, Dick Conte. This is really where the rip off stuff comes into play. It’s quite shocking with some scenes shot frame for frame. Conte is good mind, but blatant in his character to reproduce the Father Merrin (Von Sydow) role. He does a great job at not laughing though with the most ridiculous lines in the whole film held out until the final 20 minutes.

The film looks great, very Italian and shot in a really nice looking remote village. Plenty of nudity and little, really in the way of questioning beliefs and no gore at all. Maybe the subtitled version would have been a better choice here. (is one available?)  The film was originally released as ‘Un urlo nelle tenebre’, The Naked Exorcism, but rebranded Exorcist part 3 in that famous Italian way.

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