Friday, July 31, 2009

New Zealand Horror Part 3

I'm so out of touch that I almost forgot that Alexis Arquette is now a woman. I was writing my review for Jack Be Nimble and I was all like "hey, I wonder what Alexis Arquette is up to these days" and then it hit me: my connection to pop culture is actually quite tenuous. If I didn't watch "The Soup" every Friday night then all would be lost. Anyway, here is my dang review of Jack Be Nimble.

No trailer but here's a cool clip:

Even more New Zealand horror trailers

Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Zealand Horror Part 2

I can't for the life of me remember when I first saw Kitchen Sink. But I do know that it freaked me the fuck out. I'm pretty sure that is the proper response. Anyway, I had no idea it was from New Zealand. Canadian born director Alison Maclean cold rocks the Lynchian freakiness with her black and white short film. And of course, sweet, sweet Youtube has the whole thing.

More NZ trailer madness!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New Zealand Horror Part 1

I've been doing some thinking about New Zealand horror lately. Those crazy Kiwis are always up to something bizarre, aren't they? Well, aren't they? After Peter Jackson's essential horror films Bad Taste and Braindead, I discovered Death Warmed Up. And yeah, I freakin' love Death Warmed Up. Read my review right here.

Some New Zealand horror trailers:

I will continue rocking the NZ this week so stay tuned for more good stuff.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tony: Another Double Game

Tony: Another Double Game
AKA Tony, L'Altra Faccia della Torino Violenta
Directed by Carlo Ausino
Released: 1980
Starring Emanuel Cannarsa, Giuseppe Alotta, Paul Teitcheid, Nicole Flori, Rino Maggio, Tonino Campa
Running Time: 88 minutes
DVD Studio: NoShame

Tony (played by Emanuel Cannarsa) is shiftless goof who wanders around doing odd jobs and putting as little effort into life as possible. His family (especially his father) is ashamed of him and his friends are pickpockets and street people. Tony's friend on the police force, Santini (Giuseppe Alotta), tries to help keep him out of trouble. When Tony nearly gets killed attempting to stop a kidnapping, he becomes the target of a vicious gang and must fight to stay alive.

There is something pathetic yet endearing about this sequel in name only to Carlo Ausino's Double Game. The first film's budget problems are even more apparent here as Tony: Another Double Game is anything but a lavish production. While George Hilton is not on board this time, the entire supporting cast of the first film is back for better and for worse.

Aside from the cheapness and some stiff performances from homely actors, the film suffers the most from its pacing. The action slows to a crawl at the hour mark and I wish Ausino had repeated the rushed feeling of Double Game. However, this film has better characterization and a more complex story than the first so I can forgive the watch checking moments. Elements of comedy and melodrama are mixed in with the crime storyline to keep things interesting.

While working in a generic genre, Ausino does have a unique (and perhaps even eccentric) voice and I can't help but wish that somebody would have thrown some cash his way. Tony: Another Double Game (I hate that title) may only be for Euro crime completists but with a little patience, this genre bending title pays off.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ladies of Giallo # 5 (and more)

The weekend is over and I am not pleased about that. However, I am please to announce that Ladies of Giallo #5 is up at The Daily Tourniquet. It is about Marilù Tolo and Carla Brait. Check it out and report back as soon as you can.

Bluebeard Trailer

My only regret is not watching Bluebeard before I wrote this one just so I could see Marilù Tolo kick Richard Burton in the balls. Amazing! Too bad about all the dang animal violence. It was pretty much the most gratuitous bunch of bullshit I've ever seen (except for the wild boar (that thing freaked me out)). Other than the hunting scene, I pretty much loved Bluebeard.

Yesterday, the wife and I watched Topper starring Cary Grant and Constance Bennett. I have vague memories of trying to watch this as a kid and being bored out of my skull. Boy, was I a dumb kid or what? Topper is awesome. I have no idea if any of the sequels are worth checking out.

We did our bookstore hopping this weekend and visited Borders, Barnes & Noble and Mojo Books & Music. I picked up the new Rue Morgue and the seventh volume of MPD Psycho at Borders. Neither of us could find anything at Barnes & Noble so we headed home by way of Mojo where I picked up a used copy of Marvel's Essential Tales of the Zombie (for $8.99) which looks promising.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fridays Suck

I really think Fridays are the worst day of the week. After heating up my morning mug of tea, I couldn't help but notice that the microwave in the breakroom smells like vegetable soup. This is not a smell I want to smell at 7:00am. I wish it was raining.

This weekend, I have a couple of Something Weird DVDs I want to check out: The Child and The Mad Butcher. I'm also on a Euro crime kick. Maybe I'll watch The Big Racket or Street Law. Or perhaps I'll just stick with horror and watch something old and creaky like I Walked with a Zombie. I don't know.

It has come to my attention that some of you don't have Doomed Moviethon stickers. They are free to everyone except me so if you want one please email your name and address here:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Double Game

Double Game
AKA Torino Violenta
Directed by Carlo Ausino
Released: 1977
Starring George Hilton, Emanuel Cannarsa, Giuseppe Alotta, Annarita Grapputo, Franco Nebbia, Laura Ferraro
Running Time: 85 minutes
DVD Studio: NoShame

Police Inspector Ugo Moretti (played by George Hilton) and his partner Danielle (Emanuel Cannarsa) have a lot on their hands as their beloved city of Turin is overrun with crime. There is a vast network of blackmailers, pimps, and thieves running rampant and the situation is made worse by a vigilante who has decided to rid the world of these hoodlums himself. Ugo is no help catching this 'avenger' because he himself is the vigilante. He is staying one step ahead of the criminals at large and the police who haven't a clue that one of their own is taking justice into his own hands.

Working under some obvious budget constraints, Double Game does have a few weak action setpieces but nothing too embarrassing. The cinematography is nicely shot and the soundtrack by Stelvio Cipriani is excellent even with a dash of bad disco. The story has some pretty obvious ties to Death Wish but the similarities aren't so glaring as to make this a full blown rip off. The most annoying part of the film is the pathetic Kung Fu skills of Danielle who kicks some ass in one scene and then gets laid out with one punch in another.

Double Game does not represent the best that Italian crime films have to offer (far from it actually) but the story is intriguing and George Hilton is always a safe bet. The plot has the prerequisite drugs, violence, sex and shady business all over it that every fan of the genre will crave. Director Ausino went on to make a sequel (in name only) to Double Game* and Don't Look in the Attic, a horror film I have yet to read anything good about.

* The sequel, Tony: Another Double Game, which I'll be reviewing soon is an extra on NoShame's Double Game DVD.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Knock Knock

Knock Knock
Directed by Joe Ariola
Released: 2007
Starring Nicole Abisinio, Chris Bashinelli, Kat Castaneda, John Cipriano Jr., Jarett Del Bene, Jeremy Drew, Stephanie Finochio
Running Time: 92 minutes
DVD Studio: Lions Gate

About a week ago, I opened a package from my sister Lora and inside there was a copy of Knock Knock. She said the movie was a bad b-movie and that I would love it. She was wrong but I still appreciate the gesture. In fact, I hope everyone in my family starts sending me terrible movies. This could be the start of something good.

We meet a gang of dumb teenagers that are amazingly generic but the writing saves the day by making them really irritating too. My head feels like it is getting kicked in by the jarring editing. Somebody decided to remove some frames and fade to white a whole bunch because that is what makes a movie interesting and fun to look at.

The camerawork is actually good and Knock Knock looks really nice in both daytime and night scenes. Too bad it is wasted on this junky story. I will call the killer Paper Mache Face. He looks like a Slipknot fan. So far, the film is bloody, gory and features a bit of nudity but good luck giving a shit about any of the characters or the plot. Guh, I fell asleep several times. Nice going, Lions Gate!

Some dialogue:

"Come on, Nicole! Can't grandpa do anything for you?"


"She looked like she'd seen a ghost. A big one."
"Let's go inside and I'll show you a big one!"

Knock Knock trailer

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Profoundly Erotic

Why am I reading a dirty book? But I'm not! Profoundly Erotic: Sexy Movies that Changed History is a (relatively) clean book about dirty movies by Joe Bob Briggs. Even after his awesome Profoundly Disturbing book, I was still skeptical of this examination of the sordid history of films such as I Am Curious (Yellow), The Shiek, and Looking for Mr. Goodbar. Once again, Briggs examines one film each chapter, how it was critically received as well as short but thorough biographies of the life and careers of the folks involved in the production.

As you may have guessed by now, I don't really like sex movies. While I was making my way through Sleazoid Express, I was much happier reading about and not watching the sleazy crap playing on the old grindhouse screens. The same thing applies for Profoundly Erotic though I will be seeking out The Miracle of Morgan's Creek and Kitten with a Whip which both sound like a lot of fun. Speaking of fun, the chapter on Russ Meyer's The Immoral Mr. Teas is my favorite of the book just because the personalities behind that flick were fascinating and very, very weird. And that's what makes this book so great, it is a very entertaining read, especially for film history buffs and it will definitely turn you on (hey o!) to films you've probably never heard of.

The Joe Bob Report

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Weekend

In case you didn't notice, it is Monday. Instead of relating my totally not interesting experience of seeing the new Harry Potter, I thought I'd ramble on about some of the movies I watched this weekend. Okay, one thing about the Potter. We had a pretty good crowd on Sunday; no crying kids, no idiots talking through the movie, etc. However, right when the closing credits came up this old chicken bag about two rows behind the wife and I goes, "Well they SCREWED UP another one of the books!" And I couldn't help but feel pity for this friggin' idiot. I've never read the books so the movies are a magical wonderland for me and I never feel cheated. Heh heh, sucker.

Friday night

I had been hearing a lot of good things about Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer and I certainly wasn't disappointed. This Canadian horror film has great pacing, atmosphere, and a big old chip on its shoulder. And the monsters were incredible. Looks like there is already some plans for a sequel. Awesome.

I never give Matilda a fair shake. I had decided to call it an early night so LeEtta picked this one to watch. As I was wussing out, I couldn't help but sit and watch at least some of this surprisingly dark and hilarious flick. The first time I watched this film all the way through I was kind of embarrassed by some of the schmaltz which has since stopped bothering me. I also have an aversion to Danny DeVito. The duder bothers me. Sure I loved him in Throw Momma from the Train but then came the whole Penguin thing and Jack the Bear. Anyway, I'm starting to like the guy again. The funniest part of Matilda is how cynical and horrible most of the adults are.

Saturday night

The crazy Pang Brothers directed Re-cycle, a fine fantasy horror flick. While it was a little overlong at 108 minutes, the film is so beautiful and strange that it is easy to forgive the length. I did doze off a little during this one but I think the Pang Brothers wanted it that way.

I might as well out myself right now and confess my love for musicals. Now this is not some unrestrained love where I squeal in delight at the thought of sitting through South Pacific or Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I am actually quite picky and they have to be at least a little off in some way. Maybe I'll do a list of my favorites one of these days.

Anyway, neither LeEtta nor myself had seen Love Me or Leave Me starring Doris Day and James Cagney and we were both surprised. This is one depressing ass musical and neither of us ever want to see it again. While it is beautifully filmed in CinemaScope and lushly designed (some shots looked like they were out of a Mario Bava flick), the story (partially biographical account of the life of Ruth Etting) was a total downer and an emotional roller coaster. However, all of the songs are great and I don't think Doris Day ever looked sexier than in this flick.


(Some nudity in this here trailer.)

Whoa, What a perfect way to follow up Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince! Lady Terminator is an Indonesian piece of complete trash from the same director responsible for the nutty Mystics in Bali. Though it has a supernatural spin on things, this film shamelessly rips off The Terminator even going so far as to lift much of the plot and even dialogue from the 1984 film. The dubbing is so dang terrible that it actually makes the brainless script funny as hell. Highly recommended.

I still can't believe that Venus in Furs, a Jess Franco jazz, horror and kinky sex freakout showed up on Turner Classic Movies last week. This was sitting on my DVR and I was very impressed by how languid and strange this movie is. It moves along and its own pace (SLOW!) and delivers the Euro-trash vibe that my weekend had been missing. I'm not a huge Jess Franco fan and being very choosy about which of his nearly 200 films I watch has been very beneficial.

Last but not least, the amazing Zorro the Gay Blade graced our TV once again. LeEtta picked this one and while I really wanted to shower, shave and head off to bed, I just had to catch as much of this friggin' perfect flick as I could. Everyone in the world needs to watch this George Hamilton classic every day of the week.

Before you all make fun of me for being such a pussy going to bed early all the time, I have to let you know that I am reading before I go to sleep. And what am I always reading (besides Henry Miller and horror Manga) before nodding off? Horror and cult movie research materials! That's right, while you all are out playing Bar Golf, I'm in bed reading about zombie movies. This is my sacrifice to the world. Thank you.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Legend of Blood Castle

Holy shit, it's Friday! Aside from watching a lot of Gene Kelly and Bing Crosby movies lately, I have also been hitting the horror pretty hard. My review for The Legend of Blood Castle is up and you should totally read it right here, please. I have been waiting for this dang movie to come out ever since I saw the director's zombie masterpiece Let Sleeping Corpses Lie. That is it from me. Have a great weekend, you crazy kids.

The trailer (some nudity, I think):

Thursday, July 16, 2009

An American Giallo

I forget where I first heard it but supposedly John Carpenter was influenced by my favorite genre when he wrote the screenplay for Eyes of Laura Mars, released in 1978. The other night, I decided to watch the film again and make a list of how the film resembled a giallo. Here's what I came up with:

1. Shots of the killer wearing gloves (brown in this film) and wielding their choice of weapon (an icepick) in a lurid and fetishistic manner.

2. An Ennio Morricone-like soundtrack (courtesy of Artie Kane in this case).

3. The main character (Laura Mars) has a gaudy apartment which went out of style the day after the film was released.

4. At least one stereotypically gay character (Laura's best bud Donald Phelps played by Rene Auberjonois).

5. Models as victims (the more catty and vacuous the better).

6. Gratuitous nudity.

7. Psychic phenomenon that makes everyone think the main character is crazy.

8. Lots of red herrings.

9. Eye violence!

10. Characters who have just met and yet fall into a deep and meaningful (serious boning) relationship.

There's ten. And now... A couple more!

11. A sleazy and kinky storyline (though we are talking about the 70s here).

12. The killer's POV (though it is part of the plot and would become standard in slasher flicks very, very shortly after this was released (and by the same writer no less)).

Well, there you go. I think that says it all right there. Eyes of Laura Mars is both an effective thriller and a great American giallo (though not quite as good as Dressed to Kill) with a great ending. Hell, I'm even tempted to include it in a Giallo Meltdown.

My biggest criticism of Eyes of Laura Mars (besides that loathsome Barbara Streisand song) has to be Faye Dunaway's hilariously overwrought portrayal of the title character. It's almost as if she's doing a caricature of herself. The funniest scene is when she goes for a drive and then has a vision of the killer claiming another victim. Instead of pulling over to the side of the road, I think she tries to go and save the person. This results in a comical calamity of her driving like a maniac and crashing into a warehouse. Silly woman, it is illegal to drive under the influence of your telepathic abilities.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Horror Express

Horror Express
AKA Pánico en el Transiberiano
Directed by Eugenio Martín
Released: 1972
Starring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Alberto de Mendoza, Sylvia Tortosa, Julio Peña, Ángel del Pozo, Helga Liné
Running Time: 88 minutes
DVD Studio: Image Entertainment

After discovering an ape-like creature frozen in the ice, Professor Alexander Saxton (played by Christopher Lee), plans on returning to England via the Trans-Siberian Railway with his find. As people start dying in a mysterious fashion (their eyes turn white and bleed and their brains lose their wrinkles), Saxton and his colleague Dr. Wells (Peter Cushing) realize that this new discovery may be a deadly creature beyond their understanding. Trapped on the train with the body-hopping, parasitic creature, things actually get worse when Captain Kazan (Telly Savalas) and his band of Cossacks board the train and he starts dishing out his own brand of mad justice. Throw in a Russian Countess (Sylvia Tortosa), a Rasputin-like monk (Ángel del Pozo), and a sexy spy (Helga Liné) and well, the shit gets real complex, yo.

The plot of this film is so confoundedly preposterous and filled with so much pseudoscientific balderdash that I can't help but love it. Eugenio Martín (The Fourth Victim) directs this Spanish and British co-production with an amazing cast. Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing are always good together and this is no exception. Plus, Telly Savalas as a loony Cossack! It doesn't get much better than that. Giallo regulars Alberto de Mendoza of The Case of the Scorpion's Tail and George Rigaud of Eyeball are on board. Don't forget the super sexy Helga Liné of Horror Rises From the Tomb. She is in this one as a spy who doesn't live very long.

I have the out of print Image DVD which is widescreen and wonderfully pretty but this film is easily available on numerous budget versions (or I'm sure you could just watch it online somewhere). The film has some genuinely creepy moments, a staggering amount of foreshadowing, and a great score by John Cacavas. So yes, Horror Express is pretty much an essential Eurohorror title. You will marvel at how Telly Savalas tries to steal the show (and succeeds, of course) and you will revel in your own insanity and/or brain melting as you try to put together all the pieces of the maddest plot ever penned (or made up on the fly). My friends and I never could figure out how the creature manages to whistle without any lips.

"There's the stink of hell on this train; even the dog knows it."

More info:

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ladies of Giallo # 4: Anita Strindberg

Hello, folks. I hope you had a phantasmagorical weekend. Aside from watching too many movies (I'm not even sure what that means), playing some guitar, smoking cigars and eating an amazing BBQ pulled pork sandwich (which I ended up regretting very, very much), things were pretty quiet. On The Daily Tourniquet another one of my explorations of the lovely vixens of them there yellow films is posted. You can read it right here. Let me know what y'all think. I'm hoping I have done Miss Strindberg some justice. She's a mysterious lady.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Yet Another Notebook

(My reaction to Evilenko.)

Once again, I have filled another composition book with notes for film reviews, articles, moviethons, book reviews, etc. I started this badboy on June 14th, 2008 when I wrote some notes while watching Machine Gun McCain. This was not a great film but it does contain John Cassavettes saying the line: "I'm here, Baby Booby." I never did get around to reviewing this film. The notebooks I keep are shameful reminders of just how many flicks I watch that don't get their day in the sun. The notebook ends on July 5th, 2009 with the terminally bland Ally Sheedy vehicle: Fear.

Of course, I adorn each of my little cinema diaries with photocopies of horror posters or stickers which is why I have such a hard time parting with these things. I also have vital clues of information like the code to turn my DVD player into a region free machine. Forget laptops, this is where it's at, yo. Okay, I must get going so that this dang weekend can start and I can begin a new notebook (college-ruled this time).



Thursday, July 9, 2009

Crypt of the Vampire AND MORE!

First of all, I never promised you a rose garden! Secondly, here is my review for Crypt of the Vampire starring Christopher Lee. So what else is new? Well, I feel guilty for neglecting the dear old Doomed Moviethon. You see, I've been focusing so much on this blog and my articles for The Daily Tourniquet that the site has been feeling a tad forsaken. Well, I spent several hours trying to fix that last night.

You see, when you're a neurotic jamboree like I am, your website goes through some ill-fated and ugly format changes usually about 2 or 3 times a year. So I spent several hours last night changing fonts, adding links and moving crap around. All of this is due to poor planning, short sightedness and my general lack of web-designing skillz. But when I started the site 4 and a half years ago, I didn't give a double goddamn how it looked so long as I got the beast started. Then as the site progressed, I kept tinkering with it, making the shit more and more complicated. Now I'm kicking myself for not keeping things simple. So yes, I have reformatted the last 100 or so reviews to at least look like they belong to Doomed Moviethon. Unfortunately, the first 175 still need attention. I've got a long way to go.

Also. My beard is gone and I just have a mustache now:

Is any of this even remotely interesting? NO!

Here's a clip from Crypt of the Vampire:

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Fear (not that one, the other one)

Directed by Rockne S. O'Bannon
Released: 1990
Starring Ally Sheedy, Lauren Hutton, Michael O'Keefe, Stan Shaw, Keone Young, Pruitt Taylor Vince
Running Time: 90 minutes

Ally Sheedy plays a psychic who tracks serial killers with her powers and things are going pretty frickin' great for her until she runs up against a killer who also happens to be a psychic. Boy oh boy, it is hard to get jazzed up about this one. Fear manages to be bad, mediocre and good; all in the space of 90 minutes. The screenplay has some interesting ideas and a couple of cool scenes (thanks to atmospheric lighting and good cinematography) but most of this film is pretty dull.

The characters are underwritten and the acting is pretty bland all around. Both Ally Sheedy and Michael O'Keefe have been better in other things and Lauren Hutton (Zorro, The Gay Blade) doesn't get much to do. Spoiler: The psycho is played by Pruitt Taylor Vince (the quivery-eyed loony from Identity) who turns in the only interesting performance in Fear.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Say Uh... Phenomena!

Life sucks but that's okay. Dario Argento can help. Bing Crosby can help too. He taught me to go to sleep counting my blessings. Oh yeah, I finally stopped being a super wuss and wrote about my favorite horror movie of all time. It is Phenomena and you can check out my piece right here. I hope you like it. If not, there will be death in my brain forever.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Candyman Memories

In the fall of 1992, it was imperative that I go see Candyman. My mom drove my friend Vick and I to the theater and I believe she had to buy us tickets since we weren't quite old enough to get into an R rated film. We bought candy (I got Skittles) and sodas then settled in our seats and had the bejeezus scared out of us. Candyman is gory for sure but more importantly, it has an inescapable tension and fucked up atmosphere that pervades throughout the entire film. Hats off to British born director Bernard Rose (Paperhouse) for kicking ass and taking names on this one.

There is a funny scene buried in all the freakiness which comes after the lovely Virginia Madsen is assaulted by a guy posing as Candyman and his gang of thugs who don't want her snooping around in their neighborhood. The cops snag a bunch of dudes matching the description of her attacker and have a lineup where they have to say the line: "We hear you're lookin' for Candyman, bitch." To Vick and myself, who were 16 at the time, this was the funniest moment in film history. I found the clip online (posted below) and it is nowhere near as amusing as I remember it.

Skip to around 6:35