Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Vampire Hunter D

Vampire Hunter D. Directed by Toyoo Ashida (1985).

Yoshitaka Amano illustrated the novels since 1983 also worked on some of my absolute favorites like Gatchaman (Kagaku ninja tai Gatchaman, 1972-74) and Speed Racer (1966). The setting of VHD is a nuclear wasteland and the creatures, demons and nobility vamps are all that's left after the atomic holocaust. Vampire Hunter D (which stands for Damphir)’s left hand is another character in the mythos and there are 53 books in the series. 

This is one of those Animes that every kind of mouth breathing geek tries to shame you into watching by saying “Why haven’t you seen it”? The main reason I’ve avoided this one is that I think most big-eyed cartoons from Japan are interchangeable but let me tell you folks, this is one of the more impressive ones! It’s very brief too and packs a lot in, but it’s no Akira (1988). It’s more like a vampiric Fist of the North Star (Kagaku ninja tai Gatchaman. 1984). I did have a short Anime phase, but honestly, I prefer shit like Kamen Rider (1971) or Johnny Sokko (Jaianto robo. 1967-68) to this. 

The setting is a futuristic wasteland with dinosaurs, one gets his face blown off by Doris Lang (voiced by Michie Tomizawa). Doris is a laser whip totting big-eyed cutie in an obscenely short shirt (what else). 

Vampire Hunter D has intense eyes (that are painted black) and long flowing hair with a floppy hat. It’s unusual to see Japanese kids wear Christian crosses but you know protection again the unholy immortal. Dan and Doris are the main siblings who tag along w VHD. 

No Stakes or Steak-um jokes Crank!

There’s a camp for those bitten by the Count. VHD gives Dan some hurtful advice about suppressing his emotions around his sister who may end up quarantined. She has worse problems however we later find that Count Lee plans to make her his undead bride. The animation is super inventive and gory. 

Bloody wolf bite!

Some Billy Idol looking creep named Rei Ginsei stabs VHD but it has no effect on him. When they go to battle there’s a web of action lines surrounding the characters. The version I had was in English and I find it hard to focus on the action while reading.I think the original language is the best the way to go for authenticity. In this case where you’re dealing with frenetic action and lush animated backdrops, it's hard for me to read and see all that's happening. The big cowboy hat with duster look VHD has reminds me of the band Fields of Nephilim or Richard Stanley. 

Once we get to the castle there are so many beasties and ghouls lurking. Biting ghost beasts also. There are a couple of film sequels and many books, so I reckon there’s monster manual that catalogs each goblin. 

After I saw Akira I went through a brief phase with anime. I used to rent them from "Videowaves", a store I later would exclusively rent porn at—that’s right I went beyond the saloon doors. I liked the rape tentacle one (Chôjin densetsu Urotsukidôji. 1989) and Golgo 13 (1983) but most were forgettable and I think that kept me away from this subgenre. That’s probably why I avoided this one for so long. I’m willing to check more out, the older I get the more I try to open my mind. 

Biting beasties

There’s a really cool scene with 3 snake sisters who drain VHD and subdue him. Not for long though as he bites his way out and they melt into a puddle of blood! 

Joanna Newsom sucks

I forgot to mention VHD has a face on his hand (this voice performed by Ichiro Nagai totally grinds on his nerves). At least it’s helpful though and slices up a horde of ginormous monsters plus a golem like figure. Nagai has been working as a voice actor since 1960 and was in Wicked City (1987), Crying Freeman (1988-1994) and tons of others. 

Chili cheese Frito breathe!!

Down at a local hotel, a bunch of sordid jealous characters of “The Hunter” try to trick him. They bait him by using Dan. 

Billy Idol ends up w a chopped off appendage and can’t stop bitching about it. 

Ahem, I'm dancing with myself if you know whatta mean.

Doris constantly threatens suicide at almost any opportunity. She says I’ll just bite my tongue off and kill myself”! She might need mental help. The world she lives in pretty much sucks! Good thing she doesn’t commit the sin because VHD bails out both her and Dan again. Keiko Toda performs the voice of the male child in the tradition of Charlie Brown. Or like how Bart Simpson is voiced by Nancy Cartwright. 

I'll just bite my boobs off and kill myself.

VHD gets tempted by Doris’ sexy shower scene and almost bites her neck. I keep forgetting he is also a nocturnal being. There are lots of franchises connected to this series so I’m betting their relationship will bloom in those. There are 3 films and a series, not to mention all the books, breakfast cereal, fidget spinner and butt plug!

merchandising merchandising.

The Big Daddy vamp character is based on Christopher Lee/Hammer Films rendition of Drac, he rips the hell out of Rei Ginsei, the character who resembles Billy Idol. The beginning of this saga all ends with a triumphant stabbing battle as the black fortress sinks beneath the earth. Some reviewers like this one even more than Akira, which I don’t understand. I did however read up on his folklore and sadly I never read any of the Katsuhiro Otomo comics. 

I give it 2 Richard Stanley Duster Hat combos out of 5.

ouch that smarts!

Friday, March 24, 2023

Black Candles

Black Candles (Hot Fantasies, Sexual Rites of The Devil) (1981). Directed by Joseph Braunstein/ Jose Larraz 

After I saw Vampyres (1974) I knew I had to watch more from this Spanish maestro. It starts off with some graphic sex between a Matt Frewer clone and a lusty babe who uses an unseen voodoo doll pin push to murder him for betraying the coven. His sister Carol (Vanessa Hidalgo) and her untrustworthy partner Pablo (Jeffrey Healey) are on their way to visit his grave. Man, they sure buried him fast! 

Next, it’s a dark and rainy night where we see the titular objects—"black candles". Do only sorcerers have these items, probably. You could also pick those up at most Spencer’s Gifts. We see some ghastly occult art on the walls. One picture of the devil on the toilet is a masterpiece that an old roommate of mine used to have a black velvet painting of this. 
Carol and Pablo suspect Fiona the sister in law is a voyeuristic witch as we see her stare at them Anthony Perkins peep hole style. Vanessa Hildalgo’s character fucks with her boots on and has giant titties, her incessant moaning causes Fiona played by Helga Line’ to furiously masturbate. This is one horny Eurotrash flick! In a nightmare scenario Carol gets humped in various locations as the witch participates briefly. The Reverend played by Manuel Gomez-Alvarez and Fiona are the ones responsible for the death of Carol’s brother Drew (Anastasio de la Fuente). They visit his grave and her brothers voice warns her to leave now. A witch from the coven and her greazy grumpy husband are concerned about being lynched for their religious practice of Satanism. They’re more coven members, these people are all around us, we’re surrounded! 
She's totally watching you jerk off

One witch, mentions how bestiality is on the menu for this evening’s black magic ceremony. Wait, is Joe D’Amato ghost directing this---"what’s happening?” On Imdb it says the director disowned the film (was it this scene that motivated him). Own it man, you’re the one who gave birth to this atrocity you’re responsible. 

According to “The Satanic Screen” by Nikolas Schreck Franco’s death unleashed a wave of reaction to this conservative acestetic. They were deliberately crushing taboos much like directors Nagisa Ōshima and Dušan Makavejev did as a reaction to their own country’s censorship laws with their overly perverse masterpieces In the Realm Of The Senses (1976) and The Sweet Movie (1974). The hippy dippy gal from the beginning gets boned by the goat as the Rev. eerily calls out to her in an inhuman voice tone. Man is this unsettling! In a Gorezone (017/Spring) interview Larraz said this about the goat scene “The shock when I showed this was terrible, I mean the goat has the right to enjoy itself too”! 

the safety word is "Mutton"

But with this move, they now have control of his brain and give her severe migraines from afar. Fiona (who has a gigantic 70’s bush) humps Carol’s boyfriend Robert/Pablo by the fire. She keeps spying on both of them. They should definitely not stay there, this is the worst Airbnb experience I can think of. There are a few nods to Rosemary’s Baby (1968) here. I wonder why the big conspiracy against one insignificant girl like Carol or her brother however. The coven all conspire to kill both of them eventually. I forget to mention the Rev has one long ass Cocaine nail. Carol calls it an evil bird of prey. 

stop being so cheeky Carol!

There’re so many repulsive and yet titillating sex scenes. Maybe the humping was just too good to pass up because Carol’s man Robert/Pablo joins up with the cult willingly. Carol by the way has an amazing body and is no prude, so what’s the deal? I like how she always wears her long-legged boots even at night. The amount of sex in this movie is pretty obnoxious, although if I were a 12-yr. old watching this on Skin-a-Max I’d feel like I won a prize. One of the first Eurotrash movies I’d seen was The loves of a French Pussycat (1972) with Sybil Danning. I give this 4 out of 5 blood drenched merkins, it’s Satanically majestic!

Both posters for this film are astounding!

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Murder Clinic (1966)


Murder Clinic Dir by Elio Scardamaglia/ Lionello De Felice (1966). 

This film is a part of the infamous triple bill “Orgy of the living dead” I mean just look at that snazzy poster! The film I’m reviewing here Murder Clinic went under the title of Revenge of the Living Dead and good ole Skunkape took a gondola trip to Sicily to procure this very copy for me. If you were curious, Kill Baby Kill- Mario Bava is the other “Living Dead” flick in the triple bill. Be sure and check out the straight jacket tongue wagglin’ trailer, which I first saw in Mad Ron’s Prevues from Hell (1987). This one won’t put you in a straight-jacket as advertised but it might make you drowsy if you despise this film subgenre. This begins with some spooky music in an ultra-gothic setting. I used to think Giallos were boring and wretched but lately I’ve been enjoying them more. I’m not even gacked up on some neck tension inducing sativa or my 18th cup of Folgers crystals.

So, if you can find it, check this one out. The typical Giallo black cloak/straight razor motif used later by Hitchcockian devotees like Brian DePalma and Dario A. is present. We’re trapped in a gaunt mental home with a cruel old carved apple faced female named Sheena (she looks more like a Hagatha). This character is played by Harriet Medin, who has quite a resume! She’s been in lots of Italians Horrors like Black Sabbath(1963), Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1962) but then in her mature years The Terminator (1984), Fresh Prince (1993) and Quantum Leap (1984)! Yowza! 

I taught the Fresh Prince how to sucker punch

This movie has the eerie late-night vibe of a creature feature hosted by your fav horror host. Just picked one, there are so many—Dr. Gangrene from Nashville perhaps.

The surf guitar chugging peppers the score. The women in this mental home are very unsafe. Dr. Vance a ghoulish Victorian chap lies to a blonde nurse named Mary. Barbara Wilson who plays the newbie nurse literally never acted again after this role. William Burger plays the aforementioned Dr. Vance. Burger later on was in Devil Fish (1984) and a Lou Ferrigno Hercules (1983) flick. Dr. Vance’s wife has a hideously mangled face. Ooh---it's gruesome. It looks like a soggy Morlock or a mop that swept up a pile of chop-meat with a dangling oyster. 


Dr. Vance sometimes reminds me of Peter Cushing but utterly more unpleasant. He feels up the Giselle, a girl he finds lying in the forest by saying “I’m a Doctor”. He has something devious up his sleeve for sure. There’s a mental ill elderly lady with a big stuff white cat. The wooden paneled institute holds all kinds of unstable and fragile people. When they get jumpy, there’s a primitive medieval looking injection awaiting them, OUCH! There’s a seriously fucked up scene where a dude getting dragged under a horse carriage. Since it’s the mid 60s they darken the screen and we don’t see guts. Unless there’s a Corruption (1968) type uncensored cut I’m not aware of. 

insert pussy joke here

Giselle and Mary chat for a few mins and seem like opposites. Françoise Prévost was in Spirits of the Dead (1968) with Jane Fonda and The Possessor aka Return of the Exorcist (1975). 

We find out through his partner (maybe his nurse, I was never clear ) that Vance is a female killing creep who got away with his crimes. They’re obviously trying to make him look like the killer. One inmate named Fred tries to slice a Blonde’s throat with a glass bottle but Mary somehow gets him to come out of his hyper-manic episode. I hate this scene because this is supposed to be a hospital that treats mentally ill patients. There’s just the right dose of meds around the corner for Fred! Fred (Massimo Righi) was in two Bava movies Blood & Black lace (1964), Black Sabbath (1963) and a couple Spaghetti Wests. 

Fred will get the proper meds one day, just not in this insane asylum.

Anyway, Dr. Vance is busy shaving a Hamster, so me thinks medicine is too primitive if that shit is going on. It’s actually for a skin graft on his ugly wife’s face! 

There’s a late-night hallway encounter where Giselle takes one look at ole hemorrhoid Chewbacca (by that I mean Dr. Vance’s wife’s mug) and faints as the witch emits laughing guttural sounds. 

These boots are made for blackmail

Giselle, who looks a lot like Nancy Sinatra blackmails Vance because she saw him bury a corpse and thinks she has some leverage. Cut to she was attacked by the straight razor wielding maniac (who they pretty much give you the answer early on). 

poster for another film in the triple bill

This one leans very heavily on spooky Goth atmosphere and Victorian bullshit which is fine. Didn’t love it, didn’t hate it. This one reminds me slightly of Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism (1967). Out of the triple bill I enjoyed it more than Kill Baby Kill (1966)or Fangs of the Living Dead (1969) directed by the same man who created The Blind Dead. There’s another film titled Revenge of the Living Dead (La revanche des mortes vivantes 1987) from France that is epic! I give this Giallo pudding 3 sprays of whip cream/
cheese in a can. Diabolik has and all region blu-ray.

Sunday, March 12, 2023



As many of you folks know by now, I spent my formative teen years growing up in a Midwest landlock. Living in the 80’s. Overweight, misunderstood and glued to a TV, long before the home stereo ever factored in. Sports did not exist. Uncle Don’s Terror Theater and the Son of Svengoolie did. These silly local horror hosts, along with the glory days of video rental brought me new visions of terror weekly. When I wasn’t staring at the tube, drawing monster cars or sitting alone the dark, I was feeding my brains on whatever horror film magazines I could get my chubby/grubby hands on. Too young to hit the first wave of tween scream periodicals like Famous Monsters or the early hands-on/how-to digest Cinemagic; I sprouted up just in time to find Fangoria fresh and bleeding on the shelves. From this I learned the wonders of the straight up gore flick. Local mom-n-pop video stores may have been my temples for grue blasting creature features and slasher worship, but it wasn’t ‘til I picked up that Fango (sometime around the summer of ’83) that I got taught a little bit of history. And even then, I barely respected it. 

Inside these issues were the review columns of a certain "Dr. Cyclops". Mostly the Doc went on about old B&W flicks from Universal, Roger Corman produced drive-in schlock and Hammer-style imports. I would briefly glance over them, linger on the box art images for a minute, then move on to the more important stuff…full color pages of dripping entrails and zombie head explosions. Man, how well I remember the cover of issue #25. The first NEW copy I ever picked up. It had the Videodrome television on the front: guts strewn out, dangling like candy from a rotten and smashed piñata. A TV set, so engorged on this bloody organ buffet, it had burst open from the wet girth. Delightful. Dee-lish. This was what mattered. Who cares about that classical-class or the psychological horror? Not the plus-sized, sweat panted youth of America…that was for damn sure. 
 Dr. Cyclops (whereabouts unknown)

(issue 25, TV With GUTS where TOG stole their banner from)

 There was a local comic and games shop (called Tomorrow is Yesterday, for those who care) that I’d force my family to drive me to twice a week. Religiously. A ritual I continued to do solo, well into my college years. Here I snagged up the better digests that existed in the fantasy film realm. Stronger stuff than what mall shop booksellers could offer me. Not just magazines proper, but overzealous rants on xerox (or even mimeographs…remember them, grandpappy?) written by psycho-babbling nutbags like myself. Only older. And with better typing skills. Or at the least, with nicer penmanship. 

Zines enter my picture HERE. Not with music. Not with punk. But with horror and sci-fi fandom. The idea of music rags didn’t rattle my feeble brain ‘til my twenties. No stock pile of Touch N Go, Search and Destroy, or Forced Exposure in my cupboard. No sir. Not yet. It was all film related in the lame “Frankie Says”-era. Most importantly, these new cut-n-paste-ups were studies in the ghastly world of gore. I started to branch out into some classier fare (Midnight Marquee, Demonique) and nerdish lost film worship (Video Watchdog and Psychotronic) as time passed, but these early guts n’ gravy mags always found the soft spot between my ribmeats. And during these fruitful times, one scribe’s pen spoke to me and these vulgar interests more than any other. A big bear of a man, always pictured with disheveled hair and an evil glint in his eye. A man who looked uncannily as rabid as Gunnar "Leatherface" Hansen himself. That man was Charlie “Chas” Balun.
Chas at Fango's Weekend of Horrors.

He was the demonic bruiser behind such sweetly sick pages as Deep Red and The Horror Holocaust, whose writing expressed such glee (and sometimes full-tilt hatred) for these trashy, often forgotten efforts, that it single-handedly jumpstarted my quest for certain holy grails and gutter flicks. A quest that has not ended, even to this day. There was no Leonard Maltin pussyfootin’ around in Deep Red. Films reviewed had accurately been said to “suck farts out of a dead cat's ass” from time to time. That is a direct quote. Look it up. I, as an impressionable youth, wholeheartedly agreed. Don’t mince words. Deliver the groceries. And his black and red offset printed pages did just that. Delivered these goods...in a bodybag. I still have my well thumbed Gore Score review guide. Battered, thumbed and hi-lighted to the point of being illegible. It’s going nowhere. 

 (The illustrious Gore Score (zoom in for clarity)

He taught me many things: Herschel Gordon Lewis was KING. The Italians could do ANYTHING better, and on even less of a budget. Dr. Butcher MD was a high bar that all must match in trash cinema. (Well, until I Drink Your Blood finally made its bootleg rounds). And so on. 

Looking back now, I can see we didn’t always gel in agreement. I’m pretty sure he’d rather carve up his own scrotum with broken glass shards than watch any Andy Milligan flick. Shit. Most would. He also burned some bridges with the folks over at Film Threat and the like, selling off unauthorized copies of rare J. Buttgereit films (Nekromantik, Der Todesking, etc.), but it didn’t faze me. I’m no businessman. I’m a fanboy. He wrote novels (Ninth & Hell Street) and screenplays (Chunk Blower) and as time charged on he even put in some hours at the Fango HQ, along with their upstart mags like GoreZone. From what I recall, this did not tame him. He was a frothing zealous creature who stuck out like a sore thumb in the clinically pure Q&A trappings of a national publication. His throw-it-all-in-yer-face style and attitude was so PUNK at the time for horror film reviewing. Or maybe metal. Crossover? Hard to remember these days. Drug out of the 42nd Street sewers and shoved into yer Kroch’s and Brentano’s shopping center mugs, horrifying parents of impressionable kiddies everywhere. Warped me fer good.
 (RF delivers the guts)

Chas - along with real punk/film buff extraordinaire, Chris D. - are really the only reason I sit here today blathering about movies, music, etc. Balun was an honest to God hero to me. One of the very few. And sadly, no longer with us. 

Just shy of a year by the time you’ll be reading this, Chas finally caved in on his battle with cancer. I was never even aware he was sick. I’ve been out of the loop with these mags and related zines for most of the past decade. I rarely even troll the proper websites ‘cept for when I wanna find out what’s hitting the DVD market. I was casually reading a mid-year issue of the Goth-horror digest Rue Morgue (on the toilet no less…where else?) when I saw his passing mentioned in the editorial. I felt sickly. Like when I found out Ed “Big Daddy” Roth had died. I never met him either, but both were so formative and integral to the genetic make-up of what I am today (not much, but still…). I was heartbroken. Another year has withered away and yet another of my idols had passed. Just like the lame mid-lifer I’m slowly becoming, I cling dearly to my fondest memories. This past that I don’t wanna let go of. I think back to sitting around in high school art rooms photocopying (or cutting up) these magazines for disgusting locker decoration. I think back to standing in the snow, waiting for Pittsburgh metro buses, thumbing through bent issues of Deep Red during my Art Institute years. Reading about the latest Tom Savini f/x blowout or some uncut Japanese laserdisc that offers seconds more splatter to a lost cannibal flick. Hoping to be interviewed by the main Chas-man himself one day. Sorry kid. Ain’t gonna’ happen. Very little effects work for me in these times. And now, worse yet…no Charlie to chat with tomorrow. So I guess this is just me saying goodbye (a year late) to a muse, of sorts. From an unknown friend, fiend, fanatic and follower. To a lesser-scale celebrity whose demise has been grossly overlooked. It’s totally understandable. A lot of genre related greats went down in recent times. Bill Landis of Sleazoid Express for one. Ugh. Ray Dennis Steckler too. Etc… Getting old is tragic and sad and not nearly as gory and violent as most of us gut-busters would have hoped for. I went and dug out the old Deep Red issues and stacked ‘em in the bathroom reading pile. To the left of the commode. Right where they belong. 

Cinema = Sewer.

Just like old times. 

Here’s blood in yer eye. 


Chas Balun is a legend.

Vampyres (1974)

Vampyres Directed by José Ramón Larraz (1974)

I believed before that I’d seen this film but probably confused it for a Jean Rollin/ Jess Franco joint.

But no, it’s the groovy cryptic bloodthirsty stylings of José Ramón Larraz. I’ve seen three of his other films Rest In Pieces (1987), which I loved, it was enjoyably demented. The others were Edge of An Axe (1988) and Deadly Manor (1990).This film is technically brilliant. It’s all here, the mood, mystery and beauty of the vampiric females and the cryptic countryside. The two uber sexy women are Fran (Marianne Morris) and Miriam (Anulka Dziubinska). According to Femme Fatales (vol. 5 #3) Anulka was nervous during the Lesbian make-out scenes and downed half a bottle of Scotch to loosen up. In the same interview Marianne mentions how most of the populous of Britain know her from a sexy jeans ad and she retired from acting to run her own business.

During a scene with a Brit couple, I spotted Sultana Bran which looks like a British version of Raisin Bran but enough about breakfast.

Just two scoops of Bat guano in your flakes

This Ted character played by Murray Brown looks like one of the borstal teachers from the movie SCUM (1979). He’s our main protagonist. Ted and Fran the vampire lady start bonin’ in the most intimately disgusting fashion. Where is this relationship going anyway, nowhere pleasant that’s for sure! 

Ted first noticing something is freaky with Fran

Next Ted wakes up with hideous gash and seems severely weak and hung over. But bloodsucking Fran is missing because it’s daylight and vampires or “vampYres” hide from the light, or do they? And how do I explain the scenes before during the day where the female vamps are hitchhiking in broad daylight, well I cannot! Maybe the film makers just discovered vampire lore or maybe “vampYres” are exempt from Bram Stoker shit like when Seinfeld’s girlfriend talked her way out of a speeding ticket. At any rate Ted is gonna turn, spoiler alert he doesn’t and his suffering just gets worse. Now it’s night again and Fran throws a party w Miriam her girlfriend and Rupert. So, it’s starting to get kinky, hopefully not Fred and Rose West serial killer kinky. 

Rupert didn't get the naughty fun orgy he wanted.

There’s a Brit couple I haven’t mentioned (the Raisin Bran folks) they sort of watch everything and pontificate. The blood scarfing gets icky to gnarly as both women (Miriam and Fran) slurp up a knife victim. This reminds me of Daughters of Darkness and would fit in the Eurotrash encyclopedia book “Immoral Tales” by Pete Tombs. 

Draining your veins for our pleasure makes us laugh.

The gals are once again able to walk in the sunshine like that Roger Miller song goes. Perhaps just after a fresh blood slurpee , it gives them protection from flame combustion by the Sun’s rays. Let’s go with that!  

Roger Miller will devour these chickens and drink their blood.

The vaginal wound spurting sex-o-delic fuel for Miriam and Fran made me wince a little. Squirmy squirm. 

The vamp ladies toy with a snotty wine critic and we see some ancient reds in the cellar. They play a wine guessing game with this fellow. This movie is one distinctive and original vampire flick. If you can handle the vampire mythos bent and reconfigured and the classy or overt sexual nature then check it out. I heard the film recently reviewed on one of my fav podcasts Necromaniacs and thought I would check it out. I watched it on Tubi and Arrow released the Blu-Ray.

3 1/2 out of five Lesbian vampire fangs.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

TOG Returns!


Hey TOG readers I’m back after a long-needed sabbatical from the Interwebs. Well---- at least a break from performing as Lester Bangs, Rex Reed or Janet Maslin in the guise of a snarky film critic douche or punk legend. I don’t really know why I had to stop blogging. It started with Orange Combover Hitler than dissolved into laziness, I already ditched FB after I got wind that they were all Nazis, but then again fascism is super trending on Tik Tok like nobodies biz. I mean have you heard? Everything is really 

Plus, shit like Possession and Reflecting Skin are currently on Shudder now for you to gather round the glow of your pristine HD Television and enjoy, crack open a Hazy microbrew and cackle like a lunatic. Every Average Joe lunch-pail is able to see these incredibly rare flicks that we had on our site as hard to find sometimes in the form of VHS gems only (the attribute not corporation). Anyone with a microphone has a podcast that covers rare horror flicks now. So why does this threaten me? I guess I was paranoid that if every messed-up art house/ grindhouse movie became common knowledge the fabric of the space time continuum would erode. But it already has, I just didn’t know it. By this I mean the literal Earth’s core is going in reverse and no one even noticed. So, I’ll live with it, throw away my silly protective grasp I have on these films that I owe so much of my sanity to. Heck, I’m ecstatic that Mad Foxes is gonna show up on Shout Factory next to Cannibal Apocalypse any day now! Once I saw LHODES showed up on Tubi for any toddler to start up, I knew the Apocalypse was Nigh! But it’s fine and I have more movies to cover that were in the Deep Red Catalog (SEE??, that crudely stapled together artifact is fuggin prophetic!) 

Bring on the FILTH

These films are special to my formative years and bring me solace and I genuinely love the hell outta them. I’m not sure if everyone should watch them however. But I am happy they are available for all to view because fuck censorship. I fear it makes them disposable but maybe I have to accept the fact that we live in a disposable culture and the underground eventually rises to the top and becomes mainstream and we all become enslaved by its ignorance, some of us choose to let it affect us. One fear of mine, which we are all living through currently in 2023 (5 Years after 2019: After the Fall of NY) is that the fringe (you know Q-turds, Nazis, brainwashed rednecks, UFO peeps, Meatball Ron) will rise up and they surely have. I guess it’s just me getting old and my culture drizzling down the reservoir like Janet Leigh’s eye socket drainpipe. But I am back for now and plan on sticking it out at least for now. Look forward to USA UP ALL NIGHT WEEK Returning. If you missed the snarky reviews or wanna shout out anything nice in general. Hit us up in the comments. PEACE!
-Crankenstein/ EROK

Thursday, March 9, 2023

JOIN THE ORDER OF GREEN BLOOD: Mad Ron and his Prevues From Hell

                                             (Mad Ron comic by Erok Hell zoom in for clarity)

“It’s no good, but it’s the first of its kind” – H.G. Lewis on Blood Feast 

By Rob Fletcher

(Erok here. Rob is a great friend of mine who graciously sent me some of these reviews that were originally going to be over at TERMINAL BOREDOM, which was a legendary site that recently decided to shuffle off this mortal internet coil. So now they will reside here, more to come later, stay tuned).
If it was Chas Balun who got me lurking the VHS isles for unknown pleasures, it was this early find that glazed my eyeballs with the shock horror royalty. 

(Chas at Fantacon 1988)

The elder father of all trailer tapes - Mad Ron’s Prevues from Hell. Released in 1987 on an unknown Virgil Films/Off the Wall label, Mad Ron’s tape was (as far as I know) the first legit trailer compilation to make the rounds. No longer were you sitting through credits and color bars of Media tapes waiting for that final spool, just to catch a brief glimpse of Funeral Home or the teaser for The Gates of Hell. Now there was a video cassette available, chock full of every worth while horror pop-off you could dream of. An hour and a half of them, ready n’ aching to be dropped in yer top-loader. Other clip compilations and teaser vids co-existed at this time (Zombiethon, Terror on Tape), but everything was pale in comparison to my budding degenerate mind. Those others were edited together label-bests and brief scenes. These were actual theatrical trailers. The real artifact. Damaged celluloid and voice-overs intact. Mad Ron, shown chained to his projection booth, frothing from the mouth and brandishing a machete, hosts alongside a completely stupid (yet somewhat enduring) horror host/comic nerd named Nick …and his zombie puppet sidekick, Happy Goldsplatt. All try to satiate us fans with boobs-n-blood while the theater buckles under an attack by the film craving undead. Lame stabs at humor and shot-on-video spookshow wraparounds aside, the guts of this compilation pack quite a wallop. At a time when the film trailer was seen as just trash to jettison off at the end of features or a reason to show up late at a marquee showing, it was mind-boggling that these goons had such a staggering collection.

  (Mad Ron Hosts Nick and his zombie puppet Happy)

At home. For a lot of folks back then, this was the only time you got to see the snippets of such fine filth as Deranged, I Drink Your Blood, Three on a Meathook, etc. Oh and yeah…those were just in the first ten minutes! It was like the gore-met grocery list of the what-to-find and gotta-have. Mad Dr. of Blood Island? One of the greatest things that could happen to my ninth grade mind. Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things? I bought it the next day. Cannibal Girls? Still searching. Andy Milligan’s homespun atrocity, The Ghastly Ones? I spent 20 years trying to track that fucker down. Because. Of. This. Tape. Since the Nineties brought on a resurgence of cinematic slime, fellas like Mike Vraney over at Something Weird Video one-upped the ante with his collections (and with skywards of a hundred or so different volumes), and now DVDs are popping up all the time with even tastier selections as well (42nd Street Forever, Shock Festival). It’s like everyone in the know now has a mighty pile of chill and thrill worthy trailers. I’m sure I’m sitting pretty on thirty plus hours of the little beaten bastards myself. But for a lot of the hounds out there, this Mad Ron pile of puke was ground zero. Like the H.G. Lewis quote up above, it wasn’t the best…but it was the lift off pad for the scum to come. Hell, even one of the best comps available on the “grey market” was just an edited down-to-the-goods (sorry Happy and Nick) version of the Prevues From Hell tape, updated with bonuses to pad out the running time. Did the makers find out? Unsure. I do know it was tragically deleted from a certain label's catalog not long after it hit the streets. And that was moons ago. But now, dear friends, the time has arrived. This is available on DVD. Sure, its enclosed teasers have been seen on many legit and semi-legit releases over the years now, and there’s very little to offer of the “un-comped and obscure” variety…especially in this age of Tarantino fanboys and the YouTube savvy. But YOU still have to have that first Nuggets LP, right? Holding on to Pebbles Volume 1? Same sorta thing. Consider this the original BFTG, only replace Tim Warren’s snarky liner notes with a lisping dumbo corpse puppet. With enough Wild Turkey, they even might become one in the same. And what about the makers? Nick Pawlow: Hopefully not doing the Atlantic City comedy circuit. Surely he has come to terms with his flat jokes and laid Happy to rest. Mad Ron: probably still rolling around naked in his tattered filmstrip atrocities. I know I would. The guy who designed the gore and SOV zombie f/x? Well he was Jordu Schell…who happened to go on and make a career for himself out of slingin’ latex and resin (from Bride of Re-animator all the way up to Hellboy, and belched up computer cesspools like Avatar). So this is where the hunt began, for me and a lot of like-minded youths. If ya wanted to delve into the wonderful land of the lost, this was a damn good place to start. Ripe with two minute payoffs, title swipes and savage hucksterisms. 

 (snarkity snark snark)

  (Drooling Ron)

You’ll never forget the day you hear “A guy went berserk down at the Bijou Theater...” routine from The Blood Splattered Bride/I Dismembered Mamma double bill. And you shouldn’t. It’s just THAT good. A lost art form, born out of carny ballyhoo. There’s a sucker born every minute, says P.T. Barnum…why not be a sucker too? Now the BAD news. All initial reviews of the DVD’s transfer say it looks ass-worse than the original tape. I bought it and I gotta agree. It has a lot of distracting video strobe and light trails that bring it down quite a few notches on the must-have list for the holidays. Which is a shame, but really…again with my artifact schpeil…this oughta be on VHS. You can’t make those shot on video puppets look any better (but Troll 2 just hit the Blu-Ray disc world, so what the hell do I know…). The original tape still floats about in the collectors market and eBay sewers. Here’s the original VHS trailer for thee original VHS trailer tape.
(we need a globe sized Upchuck Cup)

Yeah. Soooo good... Run to a nearby flea market and dig it out of the dollar box grave. And here’s something for all you people who need lists ('cause I know yer out there). This is my top five (or so) trailer comp round up. These are the ones that I consider the best or at least merit some value and importance. Some may be a hassle to come by in this digital day and age. Others are probably streaming on Netflix for all you hi-tech junkies…just don’t ask me to figure it out. Happy hunting! 

1. Cinema Wasteland/The Bride of Cinema Wasteland – VHS (Video Wasteland) Here it is. The first Volume is the culprit I spoke of above. Cinema Wasteland, the once crazy Cleveland tape traders, have gone on to become genre expo-giants. But first they did horror film buffs a solid (unless you were Mad Ron) and released these gems. Their original tape was actually a beefed-up/edited-down to the bare bones variation of the Prevues From Hell tape. Those out there who can’t stomach bad gong show-style zombie ventriloquism might want to hunt this down. All the Mad Ron archive is represented (including the Wildcat Women in 3-D porno trailer that seems missing from the new disc. Go figure...) as well as another two dozen trailers. The makers continued with their “art” of borrowing for the second volume, The Bride Of Cinema Wasteland. Most of the reels that time out seemed culled from laser discs and Anchor Bay re-issue tapes, or I’d assume from the high quality and remastered feel of most. Still, ethics aside…it’s pretty sweet having all these in one handy package. Beat that with a stick. 

2. Blood-O-Rama Shock Show – VHS (Something Weird) You can always expect a few carry-overs from comp to comp, but the remainder of the oddities that spring forth from this tape claw and tear at yer throat with the best of 'em. Sadly, like most SWV horror trailer collections, this seems to have been be deleted from their catalog. What ya get if ya find it is 5O great gut busters, including a ton of Andy Milligan (big fan here) and classicks like Shriek of the Mutilated, Mansion Of The Doomed and Night of 1000 Cats. A serious gaggle of H.G. Lewis rarities are featured bumpin' up against Jean Rollin’s French vampire epics and Ilsa war atrocities. It even has J.M. McCarthy (director of The Sore Losers, Teenage Tupelo, etc) illustrated box art. Bad Ass-itude! Well worth the effort.

3. Shiver and Shudder Show / Super Horror-Rama Shriek Show! - VHS (Something Weird) Sorry to hit you with more hard-to-find and outta print shit, but the goods don't get any gooder than these deleted SWV titles! And on top of that, I couldn’t choose just one. Shiver and Shudder Show offers up a lot of international frights and it's quite an impressive collection to behold. Mexi-wrastlin’ vampires vs. mummies, Italio sci-fi sleaze and rural American drive-in trash like The Giant Leeches and Feast Of Flesh come together under one clamshell. Super Horror-Rama starts things off with some Fifties b&w matinee fun, and treks its way through some mean spirited Seventies sicko-sexual romps, and even a few Blaxploiter titles as well. It all unspools in chronological order that grinds the decade to a halt with the Friday the 13th teaser. Thirty years of terror all in one compact tape case. Something Weird does still offer up many sexploitation collections (the Twisted Sex and Harry Novak Box Office Trailers volumes are all worthy and in abundance), so you might wanna take on a sleazy slice of those before they’re gone as well... 

4. Shock Festival - DVD (Bloody Earth Films/Shock-o-Rama) Here's an actual title you can get yer hands on! Shock Festival the DVD is based upon a “novel” written by screenwriter Stephen Romano. The book is a fictional mind-bender telling the false history of a group of exploitation film makers. Its chock full of mock interviews, phony poster art, and staged production stills for films. Learn of entire production teams, cast and crews…that never existed. Quite a feat really, and somehow it all ties together in a sordid tale of murder, mob and other Deuce related sleaze. What you get for Shock Festival the movie is a 2 DVD collection of trailers and an MP3 disc full of radio spots for films that do and don't exist. Seven impressive hours worth. To be honest, the fake film trailers in the mix are pretty bland and they ain't fooling anyone. The Grindhouse "intermission collection" available now (on Blu-Ray only) has no worries. BUT WHO CARES. You still get six plus hours of great exploitation to gawk at! Disc One consists mostly of action and sci-fi titles, but it ends with a quality selection of the Sam Sherman produced Independent International Pictures' grinders and horror schlock. I'm down for this, since his Al Adamson film trailers (Satan’s Sadists, Blood Of Ghastly Horror, etc.) were some of the best of their time. Disc Two serves up a steaming pile of Seventies/Eighties horror and gore followed by even more retardedness in the form of old television adverts. And let’s not forget that radio spots CD included as well. So exhaustive in size and scope that the good outweighs the bad tenfold. There are even a couple of commentary tracks for you to bop between, to help make this a learning experience as well. 

 5. 42nd Street Forever Vol. 5: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema - DVD (Synapse Films) And to wrap this up all tidy-like, I’m just gonna’ say the last few 42nd Street... discs have just gotten better and better. They’re still just as varied as ever, running the gamut of horror, comedy and the usual sexplo-blaxplo-slut-fu-a-go-go, but all the while intertwining them with drive-in adverts and fast food cheap sells. The trailers always look pristine (when compared to the red hued, gone-to-vinegar joints elsewhere on this list), if that’s the deal-sealer for you cinephiles out there. There’s been some great commentary tracks on the last couple outings (Tony Timpone of Fango on volume 4), but what really digs into me with this edition is the running dialog with the folks behind the Alamo Drafthouse theater programming. These guys know their shit well and obsess over it down in Austin. A goldmine of off color stories and sick laffs. It doesn’t hurt that I used to work with one of the monkeys involved (Zack Carlson)…or that he’s one of the powerhouses behind the recent punk on film book I’m shamelessly gonna’ start plugging any
day/hour/minute now…
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