Friday, November 23, 2018

Fool's Views (11/13 - 11/18) (with MORE Turkey!)

"You're going to watch THAT....?"

Happy Turkey Day, my friends!

Yes, it’s the day after Thanksgiving, which means I’m getting ready to head west to Aurora (yes, the “Chicago suburb” made famous in Wayne’s World) to partake in my 14th consecutive celebration of the best of the worst at Kitley's Krypt, amidst some of the finest people with the most questionable judgment. So, before we dive into the cinematic stuffing face-first, figured we should recap last week because oh, my, my, what a week it was. It was a glorious combo of good, bad, and ugly, capped by Jason Coffman’s 10-film gorgefest known as the Tomorrow Romance Halloween Marathon. (I only made it through six before tapping out, but I was happy to have been there longer than my schedule had ever allowed me before. Those half-dozen are designated with a (*).

Along with that, we tackled a quartet of Boris Karloff flicks (his final four, in fact), along with an additional Soderbergh and Argento flick each, taking our totals to six and four for the year, respectively.

Enough of my yakking – time to get on the road! Gobble gobble!



Housewife (2017) d. Evrenol, Can (Turkey) (2nd viewing)


Murderlust (1985) d. Jones, Donald M. (USA) (1st viewing)

With its sleazy title and hailing from the Intervision arm of Severin Films (who specialize in releasing no-budget and/or SOV features), I assumed the order of the day would be a fun and goofy slasher flick. Instead, we get a well-executed if thoroughly unpleasant character study of a sociopath (Eli Rich) who breezes through his days conning everyone in his social circle (landlord, brother, church group) and his nights murdering unsuspecting females, usually by strangulation. With every passing minute, we watch this monster in human form take advantage of his well-crafted illusion as an upstanding citizen, teacher, and youth leader and that’s not even taking his homicidal tendencies into account! Justice eventually prevails, but it’s an emotionally draining ride getting there. Available now on DVD from Severin Films.

Lake of Dracula (1971) d. Yamamoto, Michio (Japan) (1st viewing) (*)

Clearly inspired by Hammer’s output from the previous decade, Toho decided to put its oar in the Gothic waters for a trifecta of vampiric outings (released by Arrow Video as “The Bloodthirsty Trilogy”) all helmed with a great deal of style and verve by Yamamoto. This, the second of the bunch, focuses on a young woman (Midori Fujita) who recalls a childhood encounter with a tall, dark, fanged stranger right around the same time a coffin mysteriously arrives at the local boat rental shop. Soon, the bite is getting put on most of the eligible ladies in the area and the golden-eyed gent is never far away. Great fun.

Phenomena (1985) d. Argento, Dario (Italy) (4th viewing) (116 min)


Prey (aka Alien Prey) (1977) d. Warren, Norman J. (UK) (2nd viewing) (*)

A familiar premise (alien comes to earth, assumes human form, causes murderous mischief) is given a few twists in this low-budget but highly effective Brit flick that sees “Anders Anderson” (Barry Stokes), our not-so-friendly E.T., landing near the countryside abode of Jessica (Glory Annen) who is currently keeping house with her possessive (and potentially psychotic) lover Josephine (Sally Faulkner). The three create a tension-filled triangle of suspicion and distrust even as they try to keep up polite appearances (or in Anders’ case, human appearances), culminating in one of the more uncomfortable birthday party celebrations on film. The multitude of subtle tweaks of viewer expectations are impressive in their effectiveness, a trademark of Warren’s horror efforts (which also include Terror and Inseminoid aka Horror Planet). Well worth your time.

Summer Camp (2015) d. Marini, Alberto (Spain) (1st viewing) (*)

Inexplicably underrated infection flick set at the titular outdoorsy excursion site, with four saucy young counselors wrestling with a pollen-borne virus that sends its victims into a 28 Days Later zombie rage state… but only for 20 minutes at a time! The fact that no one has done a “temporary zombie” movie before now is somehow mind-blowing, considering how many undead shamblers have rambled across the screen in the past two decades, but if they already have, I missed it. Great fun, and hats off to Jason Coffman for introducing us to it (and shame on the distributors and/or platforms who failed to support it).

The Unnamable (1988) d. Oulette, Jean-Paul (USA) (1st viewing)



Blackenstein (1973) d. Levey, William A. (USA) (2nd viewing)


The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein (1973) d. Franco, Jess (Spain) (1st viewing) (*)

Reuniting several cast members from the previous year’s Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein for a sequel of sorts, Franco gets even livelier with his bent on the Universal classics, serving up a silver body-painted monster (Fernando Bilbao) as created by the titular mad scientist (Dennis Price), his daughter Vera Frankenstein (Beatriz Savon), a mystical goateed sorcerer (Howard Vernon), his half-bird/half-woman/half-vampire/all-crazycakes assistant Melisa (Anne Libert), and the super inquisitive Dr. Seward (Alberto Dalbes) all on a collision course with no one at the wheel. Nearly everyone gets naked and/or killed in spectacular fashion by the final reel, some by poisonous spikes, some by flagellation, some by electrocution, some by acid, and several at the toothy beak of Melisa. Franco’s camera zooms in and out, as is his wont, and even manages to focus from time to time. Your attention may have a similar journey.

Gorotica (1993) d. Gallagher, Hugh (USA) (2nd viewing) (*)

Taboo subject matter (necrophilia) combined with subtle black comedy and zero production value equals a WTF experience for the ages. Jewel thieves Dingo Jones and Bushrude Gutterman (think those are pseudonyms?) have their plans spoiled by a sharpshooting cop who kills Gutterman after he swallows a large diamond for safekeeping. Jones is forced to lug his partner’s corpse around, eventually ending up at dead-lovin’ chick Ghetty Chasun’s above, where she seizes the opportunity to make sweet, sweet music with the stiff. Zany and clumsy, but possessing a charming attitude of naughty rebellion, right down to the final credit: “These characters and situations are fictitious and any similarity with real persons living or dead makes me nervous.” The hour-long runtime is an added bonus.


Alien Terror (aka Incredible Invasion) (1971) d. Ibañez, Juan / Hill, Jack (Mexico) (1st viewing)
Isle of the Snake People (aka Cult of the Dead) (1971) d. Ibañez, Juan / Hill, Jack (Mexico) (2nd viewing)
Dance of Death (aka House of Evil) (1971) d. Ibañez, Juan / Hill, Jack (Mexico) (1st viewing)
Fear Chamber (aka Torture Zone) (1971) d. Ibañez, Juan / Hill, Jack (Mexico) (1st viewing)



Haywire (2011) d. Soderbergh, Steven (USA) (2nd viewing)

Real-world MMA fighter Gina Carano is a badass operative for hire, double-crossed on her latest mission and yes, yes, yes, we’ve seen this spy story before, but the fight sequences, ostensibly the main attraction, are realistically realized and dazzle beyond the fact that there are some familiar faces involved (Michael Fassbender, Ewan Macgregor, Channing Tatum) that we don’t usually associate with gymnastic ass-kicking. The patented “Soderbergh cool” seems at odds with the high calorie action thrill-ride this clearly wants to be, but it works better than you’d think.

The Possessed (aka The Lady of the Lake) (1965) d. Bazzoni, Luigi / Rossellini, Franco (Italy) (1st viewing) (*)

Dubbed a “proto-giallo” due to its country of origin and moody black-and-white cinematography, it’s much more a psychological “woman gone missing” thriller and an extremely satisfying one at that. Acclaimed writer Bernard (Peter Baldwin) takes a working holiday to the small lakeside village, where he has previously stayed to finish his novels, to escape his tumultuous romantic life and perhaps start something up with the attractive maid he met last season. Unfortunately, it’s soon revealed that Tilde (Verna Lisi) has committed suicide under very strange circumstances that seem to connect to nearly everyone in town. Gorgeous visuals and a twisted (on many levels) plot make this a treasure worth uncovering.

2018 Totals to date: 280 films, 179 1st time views, 136 horror, 39 cinema


No comments:

Post a Comment