Sunday, April 26, 2015

Movie Review: Medusa (2015)

"THE ENCHANTRESS COMETH!" bellows auteur Jorge Ameer, as Kao.

Directed by Jorge Ameer, Starring Jeff Allen (2015).

Review By Greg Goodsell

Director-writer-Actor Jorge Ameer’s last horror/science-fiction project, D’Agostino (2012) was set in Greece. His latest feature, Medusa, based on the Greek legend of the Gorgon, is set in Southern California. Huh? That’s just one of the many things that don’t make an awful lot of sense in this horror thriller that combines minimalism, ad-libbed dialogue and claustrophobic settings for a most unique viewing experience.

Dr. Jack Peruci (Jeff Allen) is an academic specializing in mythology. He’s on his way to claim a magical mirror, which as one character puts it, “looks like a clock.” Disregarding warnings from his girlfriend Lana (Britt Rose), Peruci drives out into the forest to an isolated cabin. Meeting the flamboyant Kao (played by Ameer), the thobe-dressed mystic – recalling equal amounts of Boy George and the kind of TV horror movie host that one encounters on public access TV, offers to sell the mirror for $5,000. Peruci makes away with the mirror Scott free, in what can only be called a “Thrift Score” of the most deadly kind.

Candles, set the mood, don'tcha think?

Returning to his cramped, claustrophobic apartment – your reviewer has had walk-in closets that were more spacious. Things start to turn sour for Peruci. He falls ill with a high fever and has nightmares about the Gorgon goddess, Medusa. Peruci’s best friend, psychologist Steven Craig (Tom Struckhof) is skeptical. “Why do you believe in the myth of Medusa? That’s why they call it a myth!” he opines over lunch one day. Peruci is dead set that his recent find is authentic and offers a gateway to a new realm of human understanding.

Now, tell me about your initial misgivings during your latency period while you were seven years old ....

In the meantime, academics at the unnamed college where Peruci teaches want to pull his funding. They’re understandably upset: They’ve been stringing him along all this time and all Peruci has to show for himself is distressed, Victorian mirror to show for himself! (Believe it or not, there are lots of true-to-life academic funding and government grants that have produced far, far less!) These three gentlemen are likewise rendered in a stark, minimalist fashion. Three folding chairs in a dark room EVEN SMALLER than Peruci’s apartment. A projector shows a twirling Zodiacal sign to add an appropriately occult atmosphere.

More supernatural shenanigans at Peruci’s place ensue. Telephones ring, and distorted voices are heard on the line. Tremors shake his modest apartment, and yet Peruci’s knick- knacks fail to fall from the table. Sounds just like a quiet night in Southern California’s Earthquake Country to us: Being pestered by robo-callers with a sudden, run-of-the-mill temblor to jar the evening’s quiet.

Jorge Ameer also appeared as the Buttinski neighbor in D'AGOSTINO.

In one benighted night at Peruci’s apartment, Steven is pulled into a spare bedroom by a glowing video effect but later emerges none the worse for wear. There is a final confrontation where Ameer and company reach into the cheap, in-camera special effects bag-o’-tricks and then it’s all over.

Things are going to hit the fan very shortly in MEDUSA.

Ameer is a lot of fun as the flamboyant Kao, mugging hysterically for the last row in the opera house, giving a necessary burst of energy that’s gone all too quickly. Overall, Medusa features punchy jump scares and is extremely entertaining. Give this one a spin.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Gone With The Pope

GONE WITH THE POPE (Kiss the Ring) Directed By Duke Mitchell, Starring Duke Mitchell (1975/2010).

Had Duke Mitchell been only known as "Mr. Palm Springs", the singing voice of Fred Flintstone and a close personal friend to "Old Blue Eyes", exploitation film fans would've been totally unaware of his legacy. I don't know what possessed Duke to make "Mafia Massacre Style" (aka The Executioner), but I'm so grateful that he decided to because it's one of the craziest, ballsiest Wopsploitation films ever. Mitchell is not a trained actor by any means, but his presence and natural ability is so genuinely infectious, that it never matters in the slightest and you even root for him. Mafia Massacre Style is a complete film and the reason Gone With The Pope is here for the world to watch is because Duke's son Jeff Mitchell (who also contributed a fuzzed out rock number for Pope) met with Bob Murawski and Bill Lustig (who were major fans of MMS) and they were delighted to find that this lost film was available.

Then years and years went by and many exclusive midnight screenings were presented by Grindhouse Releasing until finally this jam packed Blu-Ray/DVD became available, is it any good, was it worth it . . . kinda.

If you are a fan of homespun grime or just want to see more adventures with Duke Mitchell, then you will eat it up like Manicotti smothered in copious levels of mozzarella and cigarette butts. There's something magical about non actors (no one can claim that this choice was due to Neo Realism unfortunately however). Duke's buddies were just that, his real pals fucking around on film, which chugs along in an odd way, too many ideas were spit balled and tried out, they kind of work and even if they don't, it's all sublimely entertaining!

How do I work this Fuggin thing anyway?

Duke does a Biblical soliloquy during the credits that ends in a joke. We dissolve into cartoony Dick Tracy style gangsters who are nervous about the FBI. It seems as if we're off on the same track as Massacre, but hold on a minute because this movie switches gears a lot. You have to just ingest the weirdness, don't try to bottle it up, let it evolve and maybe you'll be on board with the strange pacing of this unfinished flick.

real Mafia guys are probably burying someone in the desert right now

Mitchell is Paul, a "nice" wise guy who everyone in jail is sad to see go, he wants to hop on a boat where there are no laws (Ahem what about Maritime laws, you mook)?! On the sea, Paul thinks he'll be free from all the oppression. Next he goes to see his wooden acting wife Jean, who's the cleanest thing in his life--just call her "Clean Jean". Why can't he be content with his straight laced wife and dog named Hamlet, possibly because the ocean is calling his name and he has to extort all the Catholics in the world. I mean that's the premise of this film, he's going to hold the Pope for ransom until all his followers pay a dollar. Had this film never come out, the trailer alone would've remained legendary (just like another one of my all time favorite previews that never emerged; Shock Tilt). The erroneous dialogue about "guys getting wacked, drifts over prime vintage Vegas footage" and the musical stylings of Frankie Carr & The Novelettes, who were obviously a real club act they just decided to film to bring color to an already saturated 70's Ambrosia salad of delights.

musical barf!

Pope comes off like a glorious home movie, man those casino lights just shine like crummy evil diamonds! You sense the frenzy of top notch editors behind the scenes, furiously trying to make some semblance of this lost film. And I am glad this DVD exists, even with all its exposed boils and warts, it's very surreal.

Paul guns down Papa Georgio with his "italian sausage" buddy as Jeff Mitchell's crunchy "Jack Knife" song blasts away in a James Gang doom-rock sort of way.

my cousin Miguel Angel Fuentes was in The Puma Man

The racist vibes start reaching an uncomfortable level as Paul dances with a black hooker, then they screw. He mentions that her pubes look like Brillo, which is hilarious because the hair on his head matches her crotch. You can't really get politically correct in an exploitation film, but it's seriously uncomfortable when he racks up the "fried chicken watermelon or do the windows jokes". The way she giggles as he says venomous shit, makes it seem like it's their fetish role-play!

This ain't affirmative action

After some ugliness, a boat is chartered and Paul and his cronies hit the high seas (he maps everything out like a Sicilian Steve Zissou). There's almost no character establishment, things just occur and you're constantly aware that Mitchell probably never intended for this to ever come out. And yet, as dopey and stuck together with sticky tape and bubblegum it is, it's actually endearing and a fun time.

The Life Moronic with Salvatore Zissourelli

It turns out Mitchell's character is the only non Religious one, out of his frightened buddies, who feel that it's a sin to steal the Pope. It's a good thing one of their pals looks exactly like the famed Padre and they can dupe Rome into thinking their Holy Father is still in the Vatican. Just before the whole kidnapping goes down though, this ginormous fat woman is stripped and almost gang banged by the two elderly gagootz! In the extras they mention how John Waters was an influence and they found her at a crummy all night diner. I have severe doubts about whether this girl wants to be seen this way, it's pretty offensive and humiliating.

Fatliners 3 : The Search for more meatballs

The Pope boards the boat and works his magic on all of Paul's scumbag friends, successfully converting all, accept their leader of course, it's a touching scene. Mitchell's speech to the Catholic father is actually moving and one of the best moments in the film. Maybe he should've checked to see if his cronies were Atheists, because they all turn against him and want to leave in peace, absolved of all their sins. Then they all split up and go their separate ways as Paul celebrates Christmas with his wife and dog. After that scene, it gets so random and bizarre that it seems as if a bunch of inserts were spliced together, he's at the racetrack in a Spaghetti Western get-up, stabs some guy, then sees an eyeless vision of the holy Mother, finally running toward the screen in super slo-mo. What was Duke's original intent for the ending--I guess we'll never know. The finale we're left with is silly and uneven, the editors worked overtime trying to fix it and did the best they could with what little source material was available and it's commendable.

Give us some credit Crank! 

From what cinematographer Peter Santoro says in interviews, everyone had tons of ideas and he busted his ass to get it on screen in a sloppy way (and he didn't ever see the dailies as it was happening). My advice is to see Massacre Mafia Style and if you aren't won over by it's charm, don't bother watching this or Bela Lugosi and a Brooklyn Gorilla, because you won't enjoy yourself. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Flesh Feast

Flesh Feast Directed By Brad F. Grinter, Starring Veronica Lake (1970).

We're getting to the scrounging point of the VHS catalog. But everytime I think we've reached the bottom, more goodies rise to the surface. This was also featured in Mad Ron's Prevues From Hell, so it's doubly important. This one is considered Miami-sploitation and has "actors" we've talked about before like the Anti-Marijuana, chainsmoking fellow recently mentioned in Charles the Alien's review of Bloodfreak. There's Harry Kerwin, the brother of minor H.G. Lewis celebrity Bill Kerwin. There are a lot of these exploitation films from Miami that were not made by Italians and this one is clearly trying to dupe people into thinking it's some how related to Bloodfeast or H.G.
So here we go with a version special episode of Dragnet involving Veronica Lake and a Nazi conspiracy, also there's maggots! Sound fun? The stirring library music is exceptionally loud (which I was fine with) but the excruciating office typing is very annoying. Dr Frederick (played by Lake) and her boyfriend Carl Schumann, a flat topped morgue attendant looking goon are busy conducting secret experiments in their swinging pad. Everyone has a monotone tin sounding dubbed voice. A pissed off cop figures those pesky Nazis are responsible and heads out of the office to follow them.

I come to the Arby's walk-in to clear my thoughts

Psychedelic primary colors flash over slithering maggots, as the two unlikable people talk in code and keep their dialogue all so elusive. Paranoid nurses are nervous and don't trust their bosses, they work at her house. Lake constantly wears a bonnet on her head for some reason (maybe her brain is exposed). She sets up four tubs full of maggots that are used to reverse the aging process--which makes about as much sense as the fly larvae storm scene from Lucio "maggot king supreme" Fulci's Gates of Hell did. Maybe the Real House Wives (or any of the Botox junkies on Bravo should try maggots instead of facelifts)!

Get Andy Cohen on the phone, those tubs of barf need their own reality show!
Make sure you suspend all logic and don't pick on the film's ineptitude or it will be a difficult time, you could just fall asleep and wake up at the last five minutes and you'd be fine.

No one can say "Lake was confused or senile and had no idea what she was doing, because she produced this schlock!" I say good for her, she knew exploitation horror was money in the bank.

When is this film over so I can buy some more booze!

Carl looks like one of those walking corpses from Carnival of Souls and has a robotic voice. Him and Dr. Elaine spend a lot of time lounging on the couch and drinking. This film is only an hour and change but it feels like three! YAWN, man this thing is slow, I was hoping Mike and the Bots might emerge from the bottom half of the screen but they never do.

OW! I just got lockjaw!

Two girls in curlers wonder what experiments are going on down in the lab and see a mortician saw through some bones (in the most PG friendly way possible). Some ambiguously foreign men in suits and a hippie show up at the house and stir up trouble. They talk about a revolution, which made me think about the lyrics of that Beatles song, didn't they mention Flesh Feast in their somewhere?

The hippie is accosted by one of the girls who just showed up and they still haven't established if she's the Dr.'s daughter or what?

This film attempts to invent some kind of conspiracy but is way out of its league, the scriptwriter has no clue, he doesn't attempt to explain anything or establish the motives of the characters. From what I can piece together, the (fill in the blank) foreign agents, hippies and crypt kickers are all involved in a second wave of The Third Reich, but I'm basically giving the writer more credit then he deserves.They show a withered Hitler in the grand finale, I'd flash the ((SPOILER ALERT)) sign, but every description of this film gives it all away. I guess that's the only reason to watch this one is for the creative ending. It's a hilarious concept that she brought back Hitler only to humiliate him by putting maggots on his face and the switcheroo ending is kind of E.C. comic-esque. This film is hard to take and you'd be better off firing up another viewing of Frozen Dead, which has similar Nazipoitation and 60's Disney looking characters and a talking severed head but is insanely better than this dreck (check out my review of this gem over at Kindertrauma).

DON'T BOTHER! DRINK ANOTHER ORANGE FANTA INSTEAD (The Only Soda invented in Nazi Germany).

Hey it's the guy from Taste of Blood, thanks for stopping by

AGONY AAA-GONNE-EAAYY (in Bugs Bunny voice)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

VASE DE NOCES The Pig Fucking Movie

-Reviewed by Skunkape-
Directed by Thierry Zeno-1974
Ever since I saw the title "Pig Fucking Movie" in Todd Tjersland's Threat Theater International catalog, it was always on my must see list. (I’m pretty sure Deep Red didn’t ever carry this one.) I have no interest in bestiality, well some obviously, but as young VHS collector and a John Waters fan it was all about the shock. Having a video called Pig Fucking Movie on my elite rack of cult films seemed like a necessity. Twenty bucks was pretty steep at the time, especially when I was buying up more high profile titles like Make Them Die Slowly, Meet the Feebles, and an un-subbed Porno Holocaust. The title was bookmarked, however, no purchase was made. I did come close when placing an order by phone at T.T.I. but the lovely gentleman warned me of the pain and boredom that would ensue upon watching. So, with the demise of tape trading and the rise of DVD I never quite forgot about the film but where would I ever find a copy? What distributor would even consider releasing this film under the title Pig Fucking Movie? I never saw a trace of this movie at any video store or convention, the quest of obtaining this art house shock fest seemed hopeless. Seriously though, a title that starts with the two words PIG FUCKING can't exist, it has to be a nickname that it earned based on the content? Right?
Harry: I went to the pictures last night!
Tina Marie:  Whatcha See?
Harry: You know, that “Pig Fucking Movie.”

That pretty much sums it up!

The Belgium film's true title is Vace De Noces which translates to Wedding Trough. It’s also known as A Boy and his Pig or even One Man and his Pig. The one man in the film is Dominique Garny as the Pig Porkin' Farmer. Whatever title you decide to use, you'll never forget it!
God only knows what Charlotte would write in her web, if she was a resident on this F'd up farm!

Filmed in Black and White and accompanied by an amazing score, the film starts with a lonely farm boy trying to screw a baby doll's head onto a bird. You wanted art house, you got it! After several failed attempts, he sets the bird free from an upstairs window in the farmhouse. You see, this is symbolic of, well, uh, how the hell am I supposed to know! Need I remind you that this is the Pig Fucking Movie! After that, we see and hear the pig eating while lover boy fondles the pig’s nips in a nice close up shot.
Shortly after, the pig does her job plowing the garden while we watch some shots of the other farm animals.  After about a minute of some normal farm life, things start to get twisted again. The farmer wears a blind fold trying to find the pig, as if they are playing some sort of weird catch me if you can game. When Ms. Piggy is caught, it becomes time for the farmer to drop his drawers but before we see any real action, the director cuts away. Oh Mr. Zeno you’re such a tease. Dinner Time! The farmer gets hungry, says his prayers, and chows down. It’s no surprise that he eats just like a pig, slurping and stuffing his mouth.

I don't think that's going to stay on genius!
Cold Day!

"Marco!" "Porko!"

The film suddenly steers away from it’s unique high brow artsy fartsy approach regarding the taboo subject matter and gets all Troma. The farmer sits on his outside bucket toilet and takes a shit. We hear the pushing, straining, heavy breathing, and of course the extreme flatulence. A cut away of the pig pissing and dropping a deuce is also shown. I did laugh out loud because after one extremely noisy fart, there was a reaction shot of two ducks who looked rather offended.
"We should have a threeway with Arnold Ziffel!"

It’s only been twenty minutes but I feel like of been watching this for an hour. Witnessing the strange relationship of this man, this pig and all the other strange happenings get very tedious. After all, there's not a single word of dialogue, just snorting.  The snorting gets louder and louder when the pig gets chased and groped by the naked farmer, it’s all to real and very uncomfortable. With the foreplay over, it’s finally time to go hog wild and the pig gets fucked full force in a simulated sex scene.(thank God) Sadly the sex scene isn’t even the most shocking part of the film, the pig gives birth on camera! Is the farmer the Dad? I sure as hell didn’t see any other pigs around.
"Lets hit the hay!"

"You put the oink in B-oink"

 So now with three brand new little piglets to take care of, you would think they would all be one big happy family and live happily ever after. That is soooo not the case! The little oinkers interfere with Old McDoofus's sex life, so what does he do? He hangs the piglets! I don’t know if the pigs in the film were killed but there are definitely three real dead pigs hanging from nooses. Mom pig goes mad and dies when she sees this. A real dead pig is tied to ladder is dragged to a shallow grave and the farmer out of respect, sadness, remorse (you pick one) climbs in the dirt pit and buries himself up to his head. He climbs out only when it’s time for him to take a dump.
"Your Mom's a P.I.L.F."

"Oh no he didn't!"

4 legs good! 2 legs bad!

Pig Pen's Dad

Now, all alone, he takes down the hanging piglets and puts them in jars. He also removes poop from the toilet and puts that in jars, For the next 15 minutes we have to sit and watch this guy eat poop! I "shit" you not! After he runs out of feces, he barfs, climbs a ladder and hangs himself. Good riddance and fuck you movie.


Pukin' Up Poop!

So, am I glad that I saw this? Yes! It feels like a weight has been lifted off my chest for getting through the whole thing. I really hated seeing the dead pigs though. Nobody likes dead animals in films, especially terrible films. Chickens died in John Waters’ films, Italian Cannibal films spare nothing that moves but those films are so entertaining that I can’t help but let it slide, no matter how depraved. I know it's shitty. 
This film clearly embraces the idea of man and animal and really showcases it in a serious manor. I don’t recommend this to anyone. But if you are looking for a good movie about animal humping I suggest Revenge of Billy the Kid and Dog Lay Afternoon.

This has been one of the hardest thing I’ve ever had to watch, much like Victor Salva’s Powder. So if you’re like me and you just have to see everything for yourself, go ahead watch it, I won’t judge. (You sick mother fucking freak!)

In May 2009 Camera Obscura released this film!

There's even a bonus disc that could actually even answer all the questions- about the symbolism, the dead pigs, and why this film was ever made! If anyone has it let me know!

• OF PIGS AND MEN documentary (16:9; 72:30; in French with optional English and German subtitles)
• Intro by director Thierry Zéno and co-writer Dominque Garny (4:3; 0:38; in French with English and German subtitles)
• Outro by director Thierry Zéno and co-writer Dominque Garny (4:3; 0:13; in French with optional
• English and German subtitles)

It still gets a
6/10 On the CULT-0-METER
For it's overall sickness, quite frankly, it's unforgetable and will have you thinking about it for weeks to cum!

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If anyone has the bonus features for this film with english subs and wants to share please contact me!
Thank You!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Psychopath

(ad taken from

The Psychopath (An Eye for an Eye) Directed By Larry G. Brown, Starring Tom Basham (1973).

This film is legendary in the grindhouse circuit, experts like Bill Landis (who mentioned its effectiveness in Sleazoid Express) and Rick Sullivan were completely weirded out by it, I guarantee you will be too! Gore Gazette head honcho Sullivan described Tom Basham, who plays the demented kiddie show host as "without a doubt one of the sickest cookies he's ever seen on film and his retarded performance is the sole reason to brave the sticky scum ridden floors of the Selwyn theater to catch this mutant." 

Years later, Joe Spinell in a drugged out haze or drunken stupor (who knows for sure) "borrowed" this concept for another legendary short film Maniac 2 : Mr. Robbie directed by Buddy G. I love that short film and am not implying that Spinell owes anything to the 1973 original, I mean ideas are floating around in the ether and should be utilized in such a creative way, right? If anything, it brings attention to this rare film designed for weirdos only. 
Spinell as Mr. Robbie (not Rabbey)!

What I love about this movie is that it clearly wants---even demands that you take your family along and and learn something from this deranged cautionary tale! Otherwise, why the fuck would they rate it PG? People's faces are smashed in with baseball bats, children discharge firearms, more faces are assaulted by lawnmovers  and gleeful carnage is doled out (but all implied to hover under the radar of showing actual gore or nudity). Just check out how this rare ad up top celebrates murder! 

EEEEK! It's Mr. Rabbey!

The production quality is total shit and the sleazy vibe is on par with I Dismember Mama, so lets all dive into this slime pit of abusive parents and vigilante puppet wielding justice!
It opens with some Hard Days Night credits font and two strange looking parents who cant wait to beat their child into submission. The fat mother has an afro and looks like a white Shirley Hemphill from What's Happening! The radio news mentions that some unsolved murders concerning missing parents have been occurring--hmm I wonder who may be responsible? 

from the all Caucasian version of What's Happening (or What's The Dilly-Yo?)

Meanwhile a Scorsese looking Kiddie Show director is bitching at Mr. Rabbey (Tom Basham), who looks sort of like Anthony Perkins in a Moe Howard wig. He also reminds me of Stuart, this Mad TV character with excessive pancake makeup on played by Michael Mcdonald.   

Man child Stuart, seems very much influenced by this film

As Mr. Robbey peddles his frustrations away on his ten speed (shades of PW Herman), we hear a fake "Stairway to Heaven" song, which just about caused me and Skunkape to spit beer all over the keyboard from laughing. The 70's were so demented, this "fun for the whole family" flick makes it seem as though sadistic parents are everywhere spanking their kids, just asking to be slaughtered. 

My close personal friend Francis Coppola is gonna hear about this

Some of the dumbest cops show up, one of them is played by non other than Beverly Hills Cop balding officer Taggart (played by John Ashton). This is actually his first role, he would later play this identical cop character throughout his entire career. 

Where's my buddy Judge Reinhold, or Axel Foley? 

Mr. Rabbey, who is so incredibly creepy, goes to visit sick kids in the hospital (shades of Patch Adams, man The Psychopath spawned so many copy cats, right)? Or maybe I'm totally wrong. 

Martin Short as Clifford in The Burning

One seemingly catatonic kid named Jefferson, who was abused makes the same exact face every time they show him. At his house later on next to his parents, I expected his features to be frozen in that exact pose! 

HELP, my face got stuck like this!

There's this really inappropriate drum beat and funk bass line that shows up periodically (Hey chalk it up to the 70's again) as they zoom in on Mr. Rabbey's eyeballs. The manchild, stalks the fat mother and smashes her face in with a baseball bat! Directly after down at the TV studio he plays a maudlin tune on the piano and weeps like the emotionally unbalanced creep he is in the dark.  

Cue that funky Seinfeld bassline!
Next, he hangs out with his producer/mother (who knows?) and eats his favorite treat CHOCOLATE CAKE! 

Basham's performance comes off like a perverted Anthony Perkins with brain damage. During the table scene, they give him the same eerie eyelights like Angelica Huston in The Addams Family movies. The authority figures in this film are totally clueless and take up space (their scenes add up to little or nothing). 

What do you mean we're out of chocolate cake?

He calls his producer/ manager, again hasn't really been established "Mommy" and they look to be about the same age. This is one of the shortest, most satisfying creep-fests in recent memory, even though the cops threaten to drag the film down, it's still totally captivating on so many levels! For one, who was this film made for, the tone suggests comedy, but there's nothing funny at all going on, it's bleak and unintentionally campy. It makes you feel dirty and yet it's all presented in a sunny daylight, just before the finale, when it gets real dark. Just an incredibly weird oddity that demands to be re-released, Come on Vinegar Syndrome, this one is calling your name, do it right now!  

You made a wrong turn at Jack in the Box Skip!

BUY HERE  (Available from J4HI.COM) 
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