Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Black Belly Of The Tarantula

"The Black Belly Of The Tarantula" (1971)

Director: Paolo Cavara
Starring: Giancarlo Giannini, Claudine Auger, Barbara Bouchet
Review by: "Machine Gun" Kristin 

We meet again, Barbara Bach! I reviewed another film of hers here at TOG, "The Unseen" which you can read right HERE. I knew she looked familiar (she's very pretty, yet strange looking). I randomly chose "The Black Belly Of The Tarantula" because I know the Giallo (Italian for "yellow", referring to the covers of mystery/thriller books) genre can be sometimes tiresome to watch because there's so many, yet so few that are actually solid films. I think the other reviewers of TOG were a bit put off by Giallos in general because frankly, they're just not as much fun as Italian Horrors, even though both genres sometimes blend together simply because of their geographic origin. I think I unintentionally gave myself a spelling test with this particular film because I don't think I've "Tarantula" correctly on my own once while typing this out. haha
Giancarlo Giannini hugging a stray kitty

Here we have beautiful scenery, some good looking people, but mostly chase scenes and a disconnected plot line. I find films like this purely fun to watch since they're a great study in early 1970s European style, like a living breathing "Better Homes And Gardens" book from 1971. The hyper-sexualized soundtrack by Ennio Morricone makes the film seem more disturbing and sexual than it really is. It's more or less window-dressing. 

Here's two examples of songs that includes lots of moaning as well! 

"Black" is one of many Giallo mystery films, not so much horror since there's little gore and more thriller type scenes therein. Also, there are a bunch of these types of films that have much more interesting titles than the actual movies themselves that mostly include animals or insects. Similarly, Fulci's more successful Giallo, "Lizard In A Woman's Skin" uses this same device to give the film a more strange aura to it that may not have been so present in the first place. The visuals in that film are definitely more substantial though. In both "Lizard" and "Black", the title is referenced in only scene, as if it was completely an afterthought. In "Lizard" it's randomly spoken by Los Bravos lead singer, Mike Kennedy. Here, its used as a metaphor for the style of murders that keep occurring with a nasty battle between a wasp and a tarantula. I'd be hard pressed to believe that the title was not created before the film's first line of dialogue was even jotted down. I think if you asked the killer of this film about the tarantula theory, he'd probably disagree. DVD company, Blue Underground though says in their summary, that the killer is "injecting beautiful women with the poison of a rare wasp". I don't remember that at all. 
weird "mannequin hands"

who's hands are who's? 

This is just an okay movie, and I admit the second time I watched it, it was better. A young police detective (Giancarlo Giannini) is trying to figure out a suspect in a serial murder case. The victims are all young, beautiful women who are paralyzed by a large acupuncture needle, then disemboweled. The gore level here is low, but I definitely flinched at stabbing scenes of the needle held with gloved, mannequin like hands. That's always a horrifying scene for me personally in more extreme Italian horror; that otherworldly large floating appendage hacking away at some poor girl. The large hairy arm in "Suspiria", "House By The Cemetery" and "Tenebre" all have that similar killer's body off camera style that always creeps the hell out of me. The actual disemboweling here is a bit weak though, appearing more he's painted their stomachs instead of slicing into them. 

I had a hard time figuring out who was who the first time I watched it because there's at least 3 women with red hair. It was a bit frustrating. Also the overabundance of young guys with blockheads and dark hair was a bit confusing. I'm guessing this helps aid the "surprise ending", but I spotted the killer pretty quickly although when they were revealed him, I wasn't sure if I had the right person. hahaha. 
From L to R: The "friend" seemingly overdubbed by a gay man, the salon manager and the wife

poor Barbie!

I rate "Black Belly Of The Tarantula" 
☆☆ and a 1/2

You can watch it HERE

Here's the trailer:

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Devil's Woman

Devil's Woman Directed by Norman "Otto" Chan Hok-Yan, Starring Elvis Tsui Kam Kong  (1996).

Thanks to porn site XVideos, I can watch this Cat III film (pardon the screen shots with that fucking annoying logo in the left corner). Chas claims in the catalog that this features Asia's tallest actor and babies being blown out of a pregnant women's belly, Woah lot's of craziness to look forward too right? 

It all starts off on the set of a movie with May, a poor abused actress played by Cammy Choi Mei-Lan, whose teeth are knocked out during a stunt. This seems realistic from what I've seen in most HK productions, the actors involuntarily perform stunts like it or not. She even makes a thinly veiled Jackie Chan joke. The director goes all Kubrick on her ass and cackles as she almost drowns "for the sake of art". 
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when's Rush Hour 12 coming out?

Penis head or Elvis Tsui Kam Kong the actor from a film I just reviewed (Eternal Evil) shows up as a guy named bald head. He's joined by Ben Ng, another actor from "Evil." calling Elvis bald head instead of dick head is not much of a stretch and he has psychic premonitions to boot. He's on a SWAT team that infiltrates a barn, where a dude who has no qualms about machine gunning a pregnant woman and said baby does indeed get bullet propelled out of the womb and smacks baldy right in the upper lip! Anyone excited to see this needs major therapy, but OK don't say this film didn't deliver its wretched promise! Happy Pappy?

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Yeah that baby might grow up to be Donald Trump, on second thought abort it!

Although there was no indication that the fictional film has stopped, so maybe we're still in fantasy land? Strike that, the tortured actress from the start is back again and given more torture to deal with. There's no establishment of anything in the land of Cat III, everything is hurled at you super fast and you are forced to deal with it immediately, instant gratification some might say!

A warlock or something (not sure, it happens so fast) poisons her with a spider that causes her to puke and than writhe around, this will somehow give her fame? According to HKMDB this is the moment she sells her soul to Satan. First off, I'm not even sure this woman wanted to be famous--but OK-- I'll play along subplot, I mean I guess it worked for Cassavette's character in "Rosemary's Baby".

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Hail Satan, I mean Sedan!

Bald head starts to lose sleep from the stress of being splattered by the dead baby and begins to have nightmares. He sees a pretty psychiatrist played by Marianne Chan Miu-Ying (who was also in "Ebola Syndrome"), who seems totally crazy and keeps a mirror on her desk as a test and stands over it with a short skirt to see if people will check out her vagina. Pretty wacky shit right? that's what you get with this kind of HK film.

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And if my cranium was still a penis I'd beat it into submission

Nothing is really all that hardcore, only suggested at and there's certainly no reason to find this on a porn site! Dr. Cheung (John Cheung Chan-Sang), a horny surgeon bonks May, who wears a cute new wave style haircut, the sex causes him to sprout facial veins, mutate then quickly die. I get the feeling though that he's on a time release and may spring back to life "Alien Nation" style.

There's a MST3K moment where Officer Baldhead gets a bottle smashed over his noggin and utters the profoundly confusing line "It's peanut"! I have to let that settle for awhile before I comment, I can only gather that the translation made no sense or is that a thing Chinese people say like "Meh, it's peanut, no Biggy", very confused! Maybe I'll start that trend of saying things are totally peanut and be helmed as a genius wordsmith, probably not though, let's just move on!

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Madam look more presentable, you're in a Cat 3 film for fuck's sake!
The storyline is pretty much thrown all over the place and it's hard to figure out if it's at all linear. Witchy sources are a foot in the background though and every so often they rear their ugly heads. An eyeball popping cat is on the attack and gets tossed in a microwave (Alf would be licking his greasy lips during this scene I'd imagine).

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That Elm Street Johnny Depp mattress claims another victim!

In Siskel & Ebert's review of Hellraiser 2, they whined about how nothing was linear and you could walk in on any random scene and have no connection to the storyline, I think they were talking about Devil's Woman and wandered into the wrong theater! Oh yeah I have to mention there's a scene where Baldy's dick actually hiccups, I shit you not!

This film is pretty infuriating if you try to follow along, but if you want a gruesome spectacle then just throw it on and turn your brain off, because it hardly made any logical sense to me, it's definitely out there though.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

Demon Lover (The Devil Master)

Demon Lover (The Devil Master, Coven, Master of Evil), Directed By Donald G. Jackson 1977.

I wouldn't say I'd call myself a fan of Donald G. Jackson, but his early work has such an endearing scuzzy quality that I find it irresistible beyond all comprehension. Mind you, I had zero information venturing in that this film had such an extensive history and every movie nerd had already seen the making of documentary "Demon Lover Diaries" besides me. Everything I knew about Jackson was through his attachment to Troma ("Frogtown" and "Nukem High 2" respectively?), plus awhile ago I reviewed his wrestling doc from 74 (and released in 85), ''I Like to Hurt People". 

Faster than you could subdue your worst enemy into a sleeper hold, that flick was yanked down from Youtube (Demon Lover Diaries which was also streaming for a brief time period is also gone). So I blindly started to review this flick having no idea that it had any connection at all to the banned PBS doc about racism and teen age dope smokers "Seventeen", which I'd just watched on Fandor and dug like a madman. Joel DeMott and Jeff Kreines made that brilliant film a few years after "Demon" in 1983 and went onto critical acclaim and infamy, whereas Jackson directed a film with Joe Estevez called "Baby Ghost" in 1995 that made me want to claw my own eyes out with a butterknife! So be prepared to have your eyeballs punched out especially if you like inept Satanism and dopiness because you're about to reach the epitome of stupid! Here's what excitement awaits you, adventurous viewer, if you stick it out through the film in question.

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I'm Farting soo hard with all my might!

Some dirt farmer named Laval (Jerry Younkins), to use an outdated grunge term to describe a metal dude from the 70's with dead hair growing out of his scalp, awakens a pretty blonde with some black magic at his castle. On a totally sad and predictable note, Younkins is yet another demented Right Wing nutjob currently on FB (look him up for some mind-blowing hilarity)!

Here I was all ready to re-enjoy the antics of Scott Valentine from "Family Ties," but instead I got more than I bargained for with this dank VHS pick that had more notoriety than I could've imagined. The blueish tints and blacks mingle so much that it looks like a negative at times. Laval (who I thought at first was named Lavar, as in the guy from "Reading Rainbow") is busy controlling lost souls with his hokey demonology.

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The Cowardly Lion and Bobby Liebling of Pentagram mated and had me

According to legend, the actor deliberately sliced off his finger at his factory job to collect the insurance money to finance this very project, if that's not bat-shit insanity I'll eat a delicious baked Alaska then take a long nap!  

Next we're violently tossed into an eyesore of wackiness so abrupt that it took a few rewinding just to register the gloryiness of the awkward people dancing and carousing. Let's see, there's the Zappa guy with a top hat, a Ramones reject named Damian, a pudgy midget and a Brad "two BBQ's" Delp looking bearded fellow. Lavar, the hesher with the dried out crispy hair (which is obviously a bad fright wig) and Toki Wartooth/ Fu Manchu type facial hair, bullies a poor blonde into partaking in a satanic orgy. His demeanor, shouting and cheesy leather gloves and grandstanding makes him look like a WWF wrestler (Don G. is definitely connected to all sorts of pro wrasslers but Younkins isn't one of them, he just comes off that way) My eyes were feeling a little too bleary but after watching just 15 minutes of this flick, I was hooked like a fish-- I mean its that insanely fun and clunky. After all the party goers bail, The devil dude finally gets his satanic wish and an ugly naked chick lies on the alter and assists him with some abra cadabra. He intones nonsensical shit like "Lingerama, Calga, whatever".

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care for a Burnt Weeny Sandwhich?

This is the perfect movie to discover late at night at the crack of dawn by accident on TV, but don't get me wrong I'm grateful it's the future and I found it on YT. It's incredibly fun and dopey, the score is pretty good too--I mean that is if you like shitty casio ala-"Don't Answer The Phone" style noodling. 
A mustachioed cop named Frazetta pulls up to a donut shop and questions the counter girl about that Satanic cult (maybe everyone in town is in on the conspiracy). The characters and vibe of this film reminds me of the opening of Buddy G's "In The Name of" video, just metal dudes everywhere drinking, partying and having a total blast! People prattle on and on about how much better the real story behind this one was and I'm inclined to believe them, since I have yet to watch it. If you like dumb trash and obviously you do, otherwise you wouldn't be here, then trust me, this one is essential viewing!

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This dude is the best!

The donut girl mysteriously kills her own mother in a car crash and then runs smack dab into a goofy cartoon devil! The devil looks similar to the Dio mascot and has glowing red eyes, it looks like that sub-creature would pal around with the plastic demon from Thor's "Rock and Roll Nightmare". Damien the denim wearing hooligan is against all the carnage that comes with worshiping the Devil and wants to stop Laval. He's a total sell out, sort of like the boyfriend character who breaks away from Horace Bones and his gang in "I Drink Your Blood". I realize that I'm giving this film a lot more credit than it deserves but truth me on some primordial level it's immensely entertaining.

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Bought at a Dollar Tree half price!

Back at the station more fried dough eating authority figures with droopy staches and hideous glasses clumsily push pencils and make phone calls.   
One cop is so dumb that he has to look up levitate in the dictionary (I'm guessing he missed "The Exorcist"). It's time to get even more ecstatic because guess who shows up in full 70's fro playing a paranormal psychiatrist, it's Gunnar "Leatherface" Hansen! The headcheese eater plays a Dr. named Peckinpah, so clever aye? 
Hansen is so iconic for his signature role that he never really had to ever appear in anything else but whenever he did it's usually in a throw-a-way part. I've never seen "Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers" because I don't want to get Fred Olen Ray-bies but imagine Hansen just kind of shows up and collects the check, which is fine good for him.

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Would you kindly direct me to the nearest meathook

Frazetta confronts Lavar at his "castle, where there's no hassle". Next we're abruptly tossed into a karate training match (the pudgy ponytailed main star wears one long leather glove at all times, even under his robe while fighting). He tries out his new moves in a bar where foamy yellow suds are poured and vicious punishment is doled out. There's a pudgy Dan Clowes looking character who always hangs out with the stoners, maybe he's their designated driver. I felt really bad for the Frank Zappa stunt double dude who gets an arrow shot through his crotch (Laval is in the background pulling the puppet strings). It all ends on a messy note with no survivors. I'm not sure how I can recommend this film any more, it's incredibly retarded and genius! The Onion put it on their list of movies where the poster is more impressive that the finished product (which is sort of true), but the movie was so fun it made my week!


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is this to be the untimely end of Dan Pussey?

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Sky Has Fallen

The Sky Has Fallen Directed By Doug Roos, Starring Carey Maclaren (2009/2015).

I was blindly approached by the filmmaker/editor/make-up artist one man wrecking crew Mr. Doug Roos on FB and holy shit am I glad! It's hardly ever that I'm immediately impressed by a new independent gore film (this one opens with torrents of artery juice sputtering all over the forest trees). During the credits a rampant infectious disease ala-Nightmare City or ebola (the plague, not the film) has turned the population into walking meatloaves. The music is seriously effective and the splatter effects are inspired (Roos over amps the fact that these are "practical" not CGI, which I'm over joyed at)! Lance, the main protagonist played by Carey Maclaren is a samurai sword wielding stoic who also uses guns to battle the plaid wearing infected former humans. He's obsessed with stopping the leader who caused the plague. In the woods, where the film is primarily centered he finds a girl named Rachel played by Laurel Kemper.

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Batter Up!

The snapping and breaking of bones and bloody muscles is ear splitting as the black skeleton hand tears through human flesh. The film handles the carnage in a grimly serious way, none of it is all that amusing (the overly serious music sets that tone for sure). Rachel and Lance find a diary of a priest whose daughter and the foreboding menace has convinced him that there's no reason to keep his faith. Technically the movie is brilliant, but the only flaw I can see is that the two main actors are very stiff and a little too reserved in such a dire situation. It's hard to notice though because the style and gore make up over shadow the acting.

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If you try to connect the dots on my face with a Sharpie, I will shoot you!

One standout barbecued creature (who wears different severed heads as trophies on his belt) attempts to over power Lance, as he hacks and slices causing the red stuff to shower the green forest. There's also these cool faceless ghouls in hoods who silently show up, these are the ones that possibly started the world wide infection. Their ominous presence is left to your imagination. The dripping gory infected humans sort of bumble around and get split open by the sword or shot at by the main characters. Critics have accused Roos of imitating The Walking Dull or some other rehashed flavorless zombie trend currently bobbing toward the surface but in an interview with Horror Galore, he mentions how he was influenced by the Japanese cinema of Kurosawa and Ryuhei Kitamura.

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Help! I can't breathe under this make-up

Even though this is a film about a plague and we've seen this theme recycled before, the movie manages to use the "zombies" (or infected people aspect) in a very original and creative way, making it not a typical film at all. I enjoyed this independent horror flick, even with its short comings (the monotone acting slightly irritated me), but I expect more quality projects from this film maker and feel that it's worth checking out. The DVD, which has cool special features showcasing the creature makeup is available on     

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