Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Angel



Angel. Directed by Robert Vince O’Neill, starring Donna Wilkes (1984).

Image Entertainment/ New World pictures put out an amazing DVD that includes all Angel films in the series on one disc for a small price, I and Mrs. Crank were stoked to find this out, all for 9$, it's a steal I tells ya!

The first time I saw the sleazy cover of a Jekyll and Hyde-esque hooking Donna Wilkes on the cover, I was sold. “High School student by day, Hooker by Night”, what a top notch tagline that was! I saw the VHS tape most likely at Q video (a long defunct chain that was half record store and partial rent out video store). This is also the first place I saw Color Me Blood Red and George Romero’s Martin. I was middle school age at the time and was trapped in adolescence. I seem to remember seeing a clip of Dick Shawn in drag on WDZL in Florida, the same channel I watched the women in prison flick Vendetta on, man what a glorious time, when you could jump stumble face first into high grade sleaze accidentally on TV between reruns of My Three Sons or The Jetsons. That channel really destroyed my fragile mind and turned me into the obsessive gore-nerd that I am today.

psychedelically speaking, I'm talking about blowjobs.

Robert Vincent O’Neill (not to be confused with Vince Neil or the former buffoon of Motley Crue, who’s Vegas restaurant currently offers a margarita served in a toilet bowl).
O’ Neiil cut his writing chops on SWV classics like The Mighty Gorca, Psycho Lover and one of my all time favorite scummy flicks, Vice Squad!


We’re back in the thick of desperation and terror or the streets of mid 80’s Hollywood Blvd. Right off the jump start, one obvious flaw here is that Craig Safan (who’s usually a competent score writer, tries to ape Bill Conti with a syrupy “after school special theme”. I mean we get it—ramp up the sympathy for the main character. I guess it worked for Bad Boys with Sean Penn, perhaps the producer figured it would work here.

I wonder how many of those Danish butter cookies I could fit in my mouth?


Shrimpy Molly (Donna Wilkes), who you may remember from such classics as Jaws 2, Grotesque with Linda Blair (which I reviewed for Monster #31 or Schizoid is the title character. There’s some prime "West Coast Deuce" footage on par with Vice Squad. Molly (aka Angel)'s surrogate family is a cowboy (played by Motel Hell’s Rory Calhoun), Dick Shawn in drag (or LSD from The Producers) and Susan Tyrell (as Solly the punk landlord with a heart of gold). There’s a preverbal fly in the ointment of our drama though, an egg sucking mommy fixated serial killer played by John Deil, who a few years later ended up on Miami Vice and played a corporate psycho in Mo' Money. His type of wacko registers somewhere in between the police lineup of the dude from 10-Midnight or the ninja psycho from Fear City. There’s even some off screen necrophilia, highlighted by a jaunty “summer place knockoff” theme! Why, who the fuck knows? 

my spirograph formed into a mugshot somehow.


I like how even though the main character was interchangeable (they replaced Molly, 3 times), Susan Tyrell and Rory as Solly and The Cowboy returned for their paychecks in each sequel. I should also mention that Tyrell’s dykey character looks almost exactly like Susan Lowe’s from Desperate Living.

there's no toilets in Mortville or in this apartment complex either.


When the serial killer character strips down and gets in a washtub and scrubs the blood off his nude body, it’s really funny if you play Yakety Sax over that segment. Cliff Gorman plays a helpful cop who has sympathy for Angel and her pals. The only movie I’ve ever seen him in was Boys in the Band, a William Friedkin melodrama, where he plays a screeching over the top effeminate gay character.

Farmer Vincent? You must have me confused with someone else, I'm a cowboy.


The scene where the three high school boys abduct Molly and threaten to rape her is pretty surreal, one guy squeals “let’s see that whisker biscuit” and they all proudly boast that they will all get her pregnant. The story arc takes all sorts of winds and turns and it's basically leading up to her becoming a cop and getting off the streets. Go out of your way to see, this flick though, I never get tired of watching it and each sequel gets more ridiculous. Betsy Russell, the girl they replace her with in Avenging Angel is pretty foxy too.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Mondo Cane 2 (AKA Mondo Pazzo)

Mondo Pazzo
Directors: Gualtiero Jacopetti, Franco Prosperi

Reviewed By Machine Gun Kristin




My first impression of "Mondo Pazzo" came from a trailer tacked onto an episode of USA network's, "Reel Wild Cinema". It was almost a companion series to TNT Monstervision, which in its later years was hosted and written by Joe Bob Briggs. "Reel..." however had the Something Weird catalog behind their cinematic choices. "Mondo Cane" the first in the series of these Italian exploitation documentary films in the early 1960s. "Cane" even has a soundtrack that can somewhat easily be found in thrift shops next to usual, endless cast-off records such as the discography of Ray Coniff. Even more bizarre is that "Cane" is considered a "hit" at the box office with a theme ("More") that's been sung by pop music giants Frank Sinatra and Andy Williams among many others. Riz Ortolani, was the go-to mondo film guy and of course handled the electro-stress freakout score for Cannibal Holocaust.



The film opens with a dry-voiced (courtesy of Stefano Sibaldi) explanation as to why the first film ("Cane") was banned in England. The narrator reads on about how they've decided to use its scene cruelest to animals in the very beginning so that censors basically don't screw up the tone of the film. The deadpan vocal delivery of this is almost mocking while we see real dogs having their vocal cords altered to reduce their barking. It's a very upsetting visual. From there, we view more dogs being unnaturally colored to match dresses for a fashion show. Most bothersome is the literal dragging of one dog that refuses to walk down the runway. The scenery is basically British Pathe fashion videos on acid.

Cringeworthy Kisses For Sale


We see the earlier days of drag, seen not so much as a modern art form, but a terrible secret kept from their children. There are cakes made to resemble full dead bodies that are devoured by kids. Tortillas with a light splash of salsa, are then filled with live bugs and quickly eaten. The diners even take a moment catch the escaping flying bugs and toss them back in their mouth. Bleecchhh. They only slightly explain this as basically a revenge killing to these flies that are dangerous to Mexican crops. Even early in this film, I'm already saying out loud to myself, "what the hell is going on?!" Then my eyes are assaulted by old men paying for kisses while air purifying their mouths and unhinging their dentures.

Yay! It's fake! 

There's actually one non-disturbing segment that shows photos being created and set with scenes of fictional horror. It's pretty fascinating and fun to look at it. The models are sprayed with fake blood, and phony knives protruding from their chests playfully.  It was great to have a nice break for a few minutes. Then, we're roasted once again on the fires of the "awesome panorama of human behavior". Followed by scenes more dog torture, Italian guys ramming their heads into a garage door, and an insane scene of an artist in flames painting a portrait of half naked Satan and his entourage.

Satan's entourage is a bit like Vince and the gangs, accept not on HBO.


I'm sure "Pazzo" is small potatoes compared to other notorious "is it real or not?" style shockumentaries such as "Faces Of Death" and others. "Cane" is considered of the first shockumentaries and from what I was reading actually harder to watch than "Pazzo". One of the filmmakers, Gualtiero Jacopetti (who also is responsible for the unsettling "Africa Addio"), admitted though to recreating the scene of a monk lighting himself on fire, despite how horribly realistic it appears. The rest of the chilling scenes I can't say for sure if they're real or not. Phony gore is much easier to handle, we know that the actors can be healed again once the scene is complete at filming. Their blood isn't really shed across the wall, an artist created that fluid using their creativity and ingenuity. When you know it's real, your stomach begins to turn, your brain casts a shadow of sadness but thankfully you can look the other way in your own home.

This about sums it up

You can buy "Mondo Pazzo" HERE

Check out my website HERE

Friday, July 28, 2017

Dr. Gore



The Body Shop/ a.k.a. Doctor Gore. Written, Produced and Directed by J. G. Patterson.

Reviewed By Herbert Strock.

(Crank here, so we did it, we sent the call out for new writers and one person sent in a response-- soft clapping sound. This film has become an overly priced SWV DVD, which has been lampooned on Reel Wild Cinema, Cinema Snob, every other schmo with a YT channel's account as dreadful. The director apparently killed himself directly after this release but this is according to Chas Balun. Beyond the DVD extras you'd be hard pressed to find any info on the "greatest magician's demise of Don Brandon). So let's welcome our newest film critic (who also writes under a pseudonym like me), take it away Herb. 

I remember seeing the big box VHS at video stores back in the 80's and 90's.  J.G. Patterson, a former magician and TV horror host wrote, produced and directed this interesting low budget gem. The basic plot is Dr. Don Brando (J. G. Patterson under the pseudonym Don Brandon) loses his wife Anitra in a car accident, so he and his hunchback assistant Gregory start experimenting with reanimation of corpses, but when this doesn’t work out, they resort to murder. The Dr. begins luring young women with his hypnotic powers to their death. Procuring various body parts from these victims in order to rebuild the Dr.'s version of a perfect mate--a new Anitra.

It's a full bird stuffed with ham, topped with gorgonzola.


J. G. Patterson worked for the great Herschell Gordon Lewis on a few films such as Moonshine Mountain (actor / asst. director), She Devils on Wheels (asst. to producer) and The Gruesome Twosome (associate producer). Patterson's time with Lewis definitely shines through in this film.  The gore scenes are extremely similar in execution and style to any of H. G. Lewis gore film. Dr. Don's use of hypnosis on his victims recalls Fuad Ramses from Blood Feast (1963) and especially Montag in The Wizard of Gore (1970). The showmanship style of the film also seems very much a holdover from Patterson's time working for Lewis. The film's humor is similar, as well. A scene has the Dr. running his finger along the blade of a scalpel seeming to test the blade’s sharpness, then he suddenly begins using it to clean out dirt from under his finger nails.  Another scene has the hunchback Gregory cleaning up around the lab, he decides to take a break and opens a cold storage unit used to preserve the victim's body parts and reaches into it. Instead of pulling out a body part, he pulls out a bottle of booze, which he proceeds to take a drink from.

Zack Galafinakis and Meathead made love and produced me.

Despite what some reviews have stated about the camerawork consisting of the point and shoot variety, I have to disagree. There are some very interesting shot compositions throughout the film including a shot from inside a woman's arm as the Dr. slices it open with a scalpel. This shot reminded in Lucio Fulci's New York Ripper, where the shot is made to appear inside the victim's throat as it is slit open. The eye removal scene has some inventive compositions with the Dr. looking down towards the camera lens, plucking an eye ball from the left side of the screen, and holding the container for the eye on the right side of the screen.  The romantic montage between the Dr. and his new creation has some very artfully framed shots, one with a light post, a few others with various trees composed like a painting within the frame.  

Reynolds Wrap seals in the juices.
    
Underneath all the gore and absurdist humor is a film about mistaking control for love. A film about controlling another human being under the illusion of love. The desire to make someone into who you want them to be. Throughout the film, the Dr.'s interactions with females, victims or otherwise, has a feeling of cold emotionless detachment. The Dr. has a narcissistic, “all about me”, view of relationships / love, as expressed by the lines he says to the newly created Anitra , " You will have every desire to follow my every bidding. Your pleasure will come from doing what I ask you, things that will make me happy."   He seems totally unconcerned about what his mate wants, thinks, or feels.  He is, as he says, " Excited to be able to teach her how to think."  Total control is the name of the game.  The DR. tells his assistant Gregory that he will isolate his new creation from other people, even the assistant himself.  Gregory eventually is killed by Dr. Don, when Anitra comes onto him.

I took the PHYSICAL CHALLENGE!

It is in this latter portion of the film that the Dr. and the new Anitra's relationship takes on a controlling parent and overly compliant child with strong and disturbing incestuous overtones. Using gender stereotypes, rigid gender roles and expectations, he attempts to indoctrinate the new Anitra to do whatever he wants.  The final moments of the film where Anitra hooks up with a variety of men comes across as a cautionary tale.  The compliant child, the new Anitra, has become like her controlling parent, Dr. Don, cold and emotionally detached, using others to fulfill her selfish desires.  An over the top gore fest with an interesting subtext, I highly recommend The Body Shop / Doctor Gore.  That is my opinion, yours may differ.

our dressings tonight are vinaigrette and contempt for the human race.

Did you ever suck the jelly out of a jelly donut--simply marvelous.



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

DEEP RED CATALOG LIST

Toe Tag Joe tape that William Wilson of Videojunkies alerted me to.

This is just a promo post for those not on all the social media brain tendrils bullshit circuit (aka smart people). I added practically all 507 titles of the bootleg catalog for everyone to enjoy and seek out. There are a few I couldn't figure out how to add like Endurance (which is available here), the comp tapes that only Skunkape can find, the real autopsy videos and The Devil (Hong Kong 1981). We'll be back with the usually wackiness in a few days, in the mean time check out this list!
https://letterboxd.com/goofygrapeape/list/list-of-films-in-deep-red-bootleg-catalog/

Obvious Men Behind The Sun fan.

Monday, July 24, 2017

House of the Living Dead



House of the Living Dead, Starring Mark Burns Directed By Ray Austin (1974).

The triple bill ghoul also appeared on the cover of Liquid Cheese #28.
This film is like an endurance test of excruciating patience, it kept making me scream at myself, "JUST TURN IT OFF AND GO TAKE A NAP" or get those chores done that've been bugging you. The worst part is, I already completed them and had no choice but to suffer through this dreck, poor me, right? Shudder offers the Vinegar Syndrome version on a double feature with another turd I'm afraid to watch, CRYPT OF THE LIVING DEAD. They got it all wrong though, it's the ORGY OF THE LIVING DEAD triple bill trailer that's supposed to drive you mad, where one is guaranteed free internment to the state mental hospital for the rest of their life according to the Mad Ron trailer. They should've recreated the triple feature of REVENGE (or MURDER CLINIC (1966) /CURSE (AKA Mario Bava's KILL BABY KILL) and FANGS (or Malenka by Amando De Ossorio), not HOUSE AND CRYPT. Get some insurance for this film however, just in case you zonk out from boredom and crack your head on the coffee table--it's that insufferable!

COME ON FEEEL THE NOIZZZZEE, GIRLS ROCK YOUR BOYS!

Shudder has House and Alien Zone, which is also aka House of the Living Dead. How do you decide between two shitty films, it's as if someone handed you a maggot eaten apple fritter and another stuffed with razor blades. Which one must you choose Gozer the Gozerian? Be forewarned, if you are an animal rights person or like me and don't want to see a poor drugged ape. This film is all shades of harsh red and diarrhea brown with South African accents. The baboon that the mad scientist captures and experiments on is the real deal, I hope when the sedatives wear or off, it ate his face off. Why Chas had this available to watch is confusing, it has zero redeeming qualities. The film punishes you with inept lighting as well. Mark Burns, the lead actor looks kind of like Terrence Stamp or Willy Wonka.

stop with the fucking Willy Wonka Memes already!



I hate this movie but I'm going to power through because it's literally the fifth time I've tried to sit through it. There is a witch and a gypsy subplot that was pretty weak, but then again, I think I've hated every film about a gypsy I've ever seen, THINNER is one bad example that comes to mind. 

The background score sounds kind of like Twilight Zone stock music. It's cinematic Klonopin, I could drink 50 cups of coffee and I'd still be lethargic. There's an old lady who reminds me of Great Expectations but I only know this reference from the South Park. The Terrence Stamp clone wears jockey pants and it's really gross and unnecessary. Sometimes the film greasiness reminds me of an S.F. Brownrigg production, only this is less interesting. I will put it in that section of terrible movies just lying around that would be worth making a few quick beer money dollars off of for the Balun fund. It seems very Victorian, what the fuck am I watching?

Aunt Jemima brings the Quaker Oats man his lunch

At 22 minutes this movie feels like it's five hours. I wish I could say, the ending was worth all the trauma, but it's only mildly interesting. The Doctor has trapped souls in glass jars (similar to the one in that Tales from the Darkside episode) and once they escape, a freaky deaky sound rings out and starts attacking people. The funniest part was a picture of a horse (who's soul, I guess, has now escaped), runs rampant and they zoom in Laugh-In style. My advice is to just fast forward to the ending and try to figure out what exactly they're trying to accomplish.

No Sir, I don't like it.

There's actually a couple of other Houses of the Dead films. The most famous version is the videogame based movie dud and one called Alien Zone that is also on Shudder. I should mention that I gave this job to Richard Glenn Schmidt of Doomed Moviethon and Giallo Meltdown fame and he couldn't stick it out. Some say he's at the mental hospital with the poor sap from the Orgy bill.

CINEMATIC BARF!


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