Thursday, July 20, 2017

Mountain of the Cannibal God

Mountain of the Cannibal God (Prisoner of the Cannibal God, Slave of the Cannibal God) Starring Stacy Keach, Directed By Sergio Martino (1978).

So let me tell you a little story about when I worked at Goodwill, one of the most miserable places on earth! I was there one day at 8 in the morning and I always take a gander at the videos and DVDs to see what exciting things will be available at the end of the day, but the bullshit rules were that you have to wait until the shift is over to buy anything. This was one of those days when I swear to God, I saw the Blue Underground DVD of the film in question. After the end of a typically brutalizing day, I checked again to see if my prized pigeon was still there but it wasn't! I was crushed that it mysteriously disappeared, no one I knew had their eye on it and swiped it under my nose either! So what happened? Did some elderly perv get his grubby mitts on it and decided to add it to their offensive collection? On a regular basis, people would snatch up racist memorabilia like golliwog dolls and shit that should be locked away in the Black community vault never to be bought by white people.

Apparently, I wouldn't shut up about it because that Christmas, Skunkape unbeknownst to me, sent me a copy and I was overly excited! Yada, yada, yada a lot of shit happened and I forgot to review it but here we are, better late than never.

Cartoon leaves absorb the guilt.

At TOG headquarters we always poke fun at the director, Sergio Martino, as the "monkey tied to a javelin guy" and this is where that reference originated. Normally, I hate Cannibal films, (although come to think of it, I've reviewed too many of them), but this one is a very special case because it's got a bunch of famous people interacting with nobodies along with vile and disgusting animal antics. We've got Stacy Keach in a Beatles wig & scruffy beard combo. James Bond heroine Ursula Andress, who has so much pancake makeup on, it looks like her features are disintegrating. Andress was a 60's Playmate, dated James Dean in the 50's and even hooked up with Harry Hamlin when they met on the set of Clash of the Titans. So yeah, this little dirty secret apparently didn't hinder her career or anyone else's involved like so many other mondo films have done to lesser famous actors. Mountain was also placed on the Video Nasty list and its poster for (Prisoner of the Cannibal God) was featured in the episode "Dirty Movie" for The Comic Strip Presents with Jennifer Saunders and Rik Mayall.

the kitchen is ablaze but at least that poster is OK.

Oliver Onions handle the majestic score aka Guido & Maurizio De Angelis. The first time I heard of this movie was when I saw the shitty bootleg with Japanese subs that Skunkape probably bought from his dealer of choice Threat Theatre. It took a while for this film to grow on me, but I'm pretty sure I saw the cut version the first time I watched it, once you see the midget cannibal and the pig fucking scene it's hard to forget and it sort of becomes etched into your subconscious.

suck on my spinning starfish shithead!

Everyone for some reason wears tan or beige or cream colored, Duh, because it's the 70s obviously. The first poor animal to go on the chopping block is an iguana. They peel it like a banana and eat it's guts. Anyway, the "scary cannibals" are just regular dudes in Brillo pad wigs. That's one complaint I always have about these jungle misadventure flicks is that they never interview the poor fuckers who had to eat the murdered animals or chew on the raw innards dripping in kayro syrup. I'm sure they had a rough time choking them down.

brother if you only knew the bullshit we've put up with!

The locations are really cool, very tropical and nobody looks as sweaty or uncomfortable as they usually do in say Cannibal Ferox. I've never read anything about Stacy Keach's experience during this film and he never mentioned it in the Shock Cinema review. The monkey scene is so fucked up because there's literally a guy shoving the creature into the snake's mouth and his hand is covered up by some optical cartoon leaves. In the extras, Martino tries to come up with some bullshit and say that it just happened naturally, but he's a moron. I don't understand how they allow him or Deodato to just lie through their teeth about the production. Sergio mentions how terrible he feels that Claudio Cassinelli was killed in a helicopter crash during one of his other films Hands of Steel (aka Atomic Cyborg) in Colorado. That I believe though, he seems sincere enough.

 I love the Cannibal's jagged teeth helmets, they're very creative and original. Antonio Marsina, the actor who tags along with Keach and Andress looks kind of like a more haggard version of Cary Elwes, the guy from The Princess Bride, only more sinister.

If I were Cheech or Chong, I would've been asking every question about this movie to Sgt. Stedenko and nailed him to a chair Serpent and the Rainbow style until he talks, (Keach just after this appeared in Up in Smoke). There is an awesome crocodile attack scene but then again this is the director of Big Alligator River. He mentions in the DVD extras that this, Big Alligator and Island of the Fishmen were in the imitation genre or linked films that were capitalizing on successful American films (not sure which ones however--Jaws possibly)?

I was only pretending to be stoned and I hate pizza.

There's a crazy Ewok trap that oozes gore as it crushes this guys feet & rib cage. Can you imagine if the Ewoks decided to just eat C-3PO or Han Solo, I would've died laughing. During the second act they run into Manolo (Claudio Cassinelli), he's smitten by Andress' character and she kind of strings him along.

One positive aspect among the sleaze is that there's not a lot of dominating other cultures or the racist connotations found in most jungle cannibal fests. No one is from the media, trying to exploit anyone or murdering people in the name of some ridiculous cause that's the difference between this and other cannibal films. The savages just like all the other white males in the audience are lusting after those Andress titties. When they smear her with orange paint and dress her up for the sacrifice, she looks like 70's era Bob Mackie did the design. The yellow rotting corpse of her lost husband is down in the caverns and they've fashioned him into a ghastly idol with a Geiger counter heart.

milk milk lemonade, round the corner artisanal fudge is made.

In the Bay Area horror host TV show "Creepy Kofy movie time", they showed this all edited for television, but it was still entertaining to hear what they had to say. I definitely miss that show, although apparently here in Nashville they have a Svengoolie clone but I never see him, since I don't have cable and stream everything. One girl spits into a bucket, which reminds me that episode where Anthony Bourdain had to drink fermented saliva booze and piranha sandwiches--it was pretty horrifying. The same girl that makes a loogy drink gets topless but it doesn't end well for her. Whenever I see the stone age weapons that the savages use it reminds me of the Flintstones. The last 20 mins gets off the chain nutzo! It's mandatory that you stick around for that!



Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Forest

The Forest. Directed by Don Jones. Starring Gary Kent.

Review By Mike Hauss

For this film being one of the worst films ever made, it’s actually not too laborious to sit through! I was shocked at how quickly the viewing experience was over. Then it slowly dawned on me, that when I review films, I always make notes. Sometimes these notes are rather extensive and it takes a ninety minute film, more like two hours or more, to get through, with all the stops and starts to jot things down. This god-awful flick never needed to be paused to make notes, because it was so inept... most of the movie is spent following people walking through the woods and nothing really ever happens between the few kills in it, and the plot is amazingly stupid and simple!

I am the Wicker Chair man!

Two married couples decide to go camping in the woods, but decide to leave at different times, in a little battle of the sexes, when the men think, that the women can’t survive camping without them. The girls, Teddi and Sharon arrive first and the men, Steve and Charlie, who are to follow them up before dark, are halted in their attempt, while a radiator is repaired. The girls make camp, waiting for the guys, but darkness falls first and as it does, they are visited by a mother and her two children, not of flesh and blood, but, ghost? Sharon freaks out and runs from the camp. A man wielding a knife accosts Teddi, and when she pleads for him not to hurt her, he says, “I don’t want to hurt you… but, I’m starving- I haven’t had anything to eat for days.”

Clan of the Cannibal King

The men arrive right at dusk and start out to find the girls, but become lost and wander to a cave where the man who killed Teddi, is sitting, in his large wicker chair in the middle of nowhere... he offers them a bit to eat and a place to stop to wait for the rain to stop. The same ghost children who  had appeared before the girls, also visit the men, but quickly disappear, and when asked if the children belonged to the man, he says they used to be his kids. After trying a bit of the meat roasting on an open flame, which unbeknownst to Steve is his wife Teddi, Steve has a strange sensation come over him as he chops down on Leg-o-Teddi. The cannibal king in his chair recounts to the men, how he became a loser in the middle of nowhere, and why it’s great to be king. Something to do with his wife fucking every guy in the local area, and he too stupid to realize she was screwing around on him, until he comes home early from work, to find her in bed with the man repairing the fridge. When he asks her why? She calls him damn near impotent, and she says that she got something from the other men, that he could never give her… P L E A S U R E! He does not reveal to the men, that he had strangled his wife and for good measure, smashed her fucking head into the night stand killing her off, and that he planted the face of the refrigerator repairman's face into an old, rusty saw.
Broke Back Mountain: Deliverance Style!

Charlie and Steve fall asleep and the cannibal king, instead of killing them for food, wakes them politely the next morning so they could be on their way. They find the camp the girls set up, but, the girls are nowhere to be found, so they set out scouring the area for them. After not find any trace of the girls, its decided that Charlie should head back to find help, while Steve waits for the girls. Just a few minutes into his trek for help, Charlie falls, injuring his leg, and sheds tears like a fucking baby, or an actor seeing his career flashing before him, as he makes like forty feet in a few hours span. The kids try and warn Sharon of their father and help her survive, but poor Steve is attacked by the Cannibal king and dies after a valiant struggle. As Charlie blubbers away in the woods, his wife Sharon is set on by the cannibal and if not for the ghost kids (the ghost kids killed themselves because they had to live in a cave), threatening to go away forever, leaving him alone, she would also have been killed. The Cannibal king eventually spies Charlie sobbing in the forest and goes in for the kill, but, Sharon saves the day after Cannibal king had in a tussle with the prone Charlie, dropped his knife. As grabs the knife, she attacks the cannibal king, he thinks it’s his wife attacking as Sharon plants his blade into his throat. The reunited couple fall into each other’s arms, sobbing of course!

*Sob!* There goes my fucking acting career!

The continuity issues abound throughout this film, and most of the dialogue, seems as if it was recorded in an echo chamber. All the acting is hideous, except, Gary Kent, who doesn’t turn in a bad job, even while delivering some cheesy lines. My guess, would be, that the director saw the box office returns of the film Friday the 13th, and figured what the hell, I can make a horror film in the woods, just as good. Wrong! The scenery is not bad to look at  (filmed at Sequoia National park) and the cinematography is also at times, well handled, when not over shadowed by the continuity issues. 

Now its confession time! I have to admit, that i own multiple copies of this film on various media. I know it's bad, but, i cant help myself from watching it again every few years. I guess to a point it mirrors my life story, a story of a man lost in the wilderness, whose life is full of continuity issues and bad dialogue!


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer

Joe Coleman's poster that appeared in The Horror Handbook.

Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer. Starring Michael Rooker, Directed By John McNaughton (1986).

Even though I love this film, I’ve avoided it for several years. It’s extremely depressing, disturbing and generally unpleasant. I decided to revisit it the other night while drunk as a skunk and it’s still a brilliant and harrowing independent film with guts to spare. The violence is ugly, unrepentant and disgusting but for some reason it picked up a buzz from some high-brow critics like Siskel and Ebert. That’s actually where I first saw a clip of it and couldn’t wait to check it out. My dad actually freaked out at me for wanting to see it, years later I taped it off Cinemax. It really resonated with the thumbs up, down guys—they defended it against the tide of irrational censorship and convinced others to watch it. These same critics, who demanded their audience boycott slasher movies in the 80’s, it seems were major fans of this John McNaughton film. They saw it as not exploitation but delivering a message more so than the typical brainless exploitation and it doesn't glorify the violence. Once the ultra- conservative Bush/Reagan era bit the dust in the 90s, it seemed as if these types of gritty realistic horror films were given more of a chance under the context of an artsy film. Of course, now it’s a billion times worse in the current society and political climate but that’s irrelevant to this review.

I'll have you know Amerikkka is great again!

In the Deep Red Horror Handbook, Chas spoke about this film in his chapter “I Spit in Your Face: Films that bite”. Balun placed it among what he categorized as “drano enemas” like Nekromantik, Deadbeat and Dawn and Last House on Dead End Street, all films that were impossible to find at time in 1989 for the average video junkie. They were the kinds of movies that got inside and ripped out your guts. He praised its low tech, high caliber acting and was unsettled by the fact that McNaughton makes Henry so fucking likeable and never indicts him.

all the girls want to know, who's the cutest boy on death row?

The two main characters are based on actual murderers like Florida’s Ottis Toole, who killed and ate Adam Walsh and even had a cannibal BBQ sauce that was listed in Mike Diana’s sick zine Boiled Angel. Also, Henry Lee Lucas and Otis’ sister Becky existed but she was significantly younger. They took these true crime figures and gave them their own spin, even though it’s biographical most of the details are rearranged or fictionalized, like the fact that in reality Henry and Ottis were gay lovers.

See I'm straight, I got a Jesus shirt!

It begins with the aftermath of different murder victims, we hear the disturbing audio of their last moments as Henry (Rooker) goes about his day. Tom Towles is in my opinion the most frightening aspect of this entire film, he’s a pervy, learing sexual predator who constantly is on the verge of a conniption fit over nothing. He doesn’t have the concept of “dial it down” and at one point kicks in a T.V., when he can’t get the rabbit ears to work. I like Siskel's theory about this scene, where Otis equates people as objects and only knows to deal with them thru savage violence or screaming at them until they comply. This leads to one of my favorite cinematic characters possibly ever, the fat-assed television salesman played by Ray Atherton. He looks like a mutant, deformed version of the Comic Book guy from The Simpsons. Atherton was not an actor but a producer of sleazy movies like FART: The Movie and Death Scenes 2, I can’t make this shit up folks!


Henry (the film not the character) acts as a scared straight for the dangers of buying pot from some scumbag dealer, instead of going the dispensary route. The scene where Otis, sells dope to a high school kid and tries to molest him was most likely shown to legislatures as a reason to enforce these new pot laws—yeah right!   

The part that was seriously effective and unnerving to me occurs when Henry (Michael Rooker) and Otis (Tom Towles), “go out for a beer,” which is code for let’s go out to assault and murder an entire family in the burbs. That moment, which they capture on a camcorder is played endlessly on a loop as the slobby, perverted sister rapist Otis snoozes in his grundies in front of the boob tube.


This movie was shot in 1986, but remained unreleased for 3 years because of hypocrisy and censorship. There’s something viciously organic about the mutilation and graphic violence that really turns up the gas on the nightmare fuel. That aspect was why I haven’t revisited it since high school. Even though, the film is very uncomfortable, it is worth re watching and carries the fury that most serial killers movies wish they could accomplish. Rooker of course went onto super stardom with The Walking Dead and Guardians of the Galaxy. Towles played a guy who's dog had rabies and bit Elaine on Seinfeld, he appeared in a few Rob Zombie movies then died tragically from a stroke a few years ago. This director never made a film that impressed me all that much sadly, this however is his finest moment.

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