In Florida, there was a convenient store that played a huge part in my journey from adolescence to manhood. It all happened at the corner news stand, where I used to purchase all my porn mags. This was in the dark ages or possibly the last thread of sanity before every chucklehead had a social media soapbox to blab about their opinions on the Internet and everyone craved their dopamine fix on a second by second basis plus no internet porn yet. Ahhh--how I long for a massive unplugging, me being a die hard Luddite and all (who typed this out on his labtop,SHHHHH). Corner News stand had a little video store section of big box videos like the H.G. Lewis ones, random Eurotrash and that’s where I first saw the cover art for this Jess Franco turd, this may have been the beginning of my repulsion or accidental enjoyment of this director’s catalog. Franco and Naschy fans have the same kind of touchy sense of humor and take this shit waay too seriously. I mean it's goofy monsters and lesbian vampires, lighten up people! The Deep Red catalog had a couple of titles featured and usually they were begrudgingly recommended in a snickering way, which I totally understand.
There was an article in Fango most likely penned by Tim Lucas that peaked my interest, mainly because there were some scantily clad babes and that magazine kept it pretty squeaky clean. This was back in the days where you had to really be an underground hardcore trader to see his work and pay a shit load for a VSOM copy or get super lucky to have an off the beaten path video store that served your cult movie needs. I was in none of these categories and come to think of it still too young to buy adult reading material, but years later I would return.
|the grill marks mean extra batin'.|
The first time I laid eyes on this Jess Franco pile of shit with an epic big box cover art showing a gruesome assortment of horn dog corpses that looked Bernie Wrightson-esque (RIP Bernie) and Michael Jackson’s "Thriller" as well. They were all exploding with lust to defile one chick! Now even Weng’s Chop or Tim Lucas (aka Thee Franco-fanatics) would be hard pressed to tell you that what’s inside lives up to this cover art! Actually they most likely will but I’m not convinced. According to VHS Collector Paul J. Zamarelli, the Wizard box cover art was done by Spataro. I couldn't find that much on the subject of this artist but I did notice Charles Band is selling autographed posters of the Wizard artwork, what gives him the right to claim ownership over something he didn't paint? What else is new with that guy though?
Franco's work gives me that feature of opening a can of SpaghettiOs and thinking for nostalgia's sake that I might enjoy this and sometimes it happens, but I immediately regret this decision. Nothing in my mind has lived up to his witch burning sacrilegious shit like Love Letters or The Bloody Judge. I use this site as a PSA against "the unwatchables" (to coin the Greg Goodsell term), so you don’t have to bother suffering. If you're a Franco-holic though you are a glutton for punishment.
|you know I added the horse meat balls to Franco-American Spaghetti in a can, right?|
Instead of Lina Romay and her fuzzy vagina, we get to see Christina von Blanc's pubic hair in see through panties--excited yet? She takes a little road trip to a creepy castle where Uncle Howard Vernon (starring as himself apparently) is banging out tunes on a piano. He's rocking a 70's coked out disco shirt and mussed hair look. Britt Nichols is pretty hot though as the perpetually smoking blond, she has that greased up look of the Fassbinder James Mansfield-esque actress Barbara Valentin, who was also in Horrors of Spider Island.
|I'm so ganked up on krell!|
After lots of zoom ins of people smoking and one girl keeling over and dying, von Blanc takes a dip in a lily pad covered pond that looks like the one featured in Zombie Lake (I'm already feeling the effects of PTSD from that shit flick). A bunch of old pervs drool over her and seem to be geriatric zombies or cannibals. If she was surrounded by old dudes on the cover leering with their pants down I wouldn't be in this mess in the first place, I blame that god damn video cover art that drew me in like a stupid moth to a bug zapper. Some of the cemetery villagers are played by Paul Muller, who later showed up in Dog Lay Afternoon and Antonio de Cabo who has the hugest unibrow I've ever seen. This actor later showed up in Mandingo Manhunter and stopped acting in 1983.
|I love our new urban forest cannabis dispensary.|
I get the feeling that they gave Franco the skeleton key to a cool castle, he suckered some babes to roll around in melted crayon blood splatter and he cobbled this into some incoherent sleaze. For some reason it works for me when Jean Rollin does it. I wasn't expecting much from the lucky chicken egg director (don't know what I'm talking about read my review for Faceless http://www.theaterofguts.com/2014/06/faceless.html).
The score is pretty uneventful by the usually superb Bruno Nicolai, it sounds like the Tobe Hooper Chainsaw pots and pans over the quiet noodling parts of Moonchild by King Crimson.
There's some hideous looking dudes to look forward to, snaggly teeth, caterpillar brows--a regular fugg-fest! Interested? Go on get out of here ya weirdo!
AVAILABLE ON SHUDDER.