Monday, October 16, 2017

mummy dearest.

If the Tom Cruise starring Mummy remake had any pleasant side-effects whatsoever it was making me realize how much modern cinema is missing the genius touch of producer/directors such as the frankly fantastic (and non-money laundering) Frank Agrama, the man behind probably the best (and possibly only) zombie mummy movie ever made.

So with that in my (tho' not in mah mooth) ladies and gentlemen todays 31 days of horror is a timely revisit to.....

Dawn of The Mummy (1981)
Dir: Frank Agrama.
Cast: Brenda King, Barry Sattels, George Peck, John Salvo, Ibrahim Khan, Joan Levy, Ellen Faison, Diane Beatty with the 'lovely' Laila Nasr and her dancing teeth.


It lives! It kills!
And it smells of old man wee!

or

“If ever this tomb is disturbed, Safiraman will rise and kill. His armies will rise and kill.”

Take yer pick.


Welcome everyone to sunny and sandy Egypt in the year 3000 B.C. (Before Continuity), it's a Tuesday afternoon just after 3.20 and the evil Pharaoh Safiraman (who does whatever a Safira can allegedly) is up to his normal weekday tricks raiding local villages for hunky teen boys to abduct, shave and used as 'slaves'.

Which is nice work if you can get it.

But unfortunately for those who enjoy a wee bit of sticky teen action - Dad, social work said to stop coming round the house by the way) - all this oiled boy kinkiness is skipped over in favour of jumping forward in time a few years to Safiraman's funeral.

Well it is an actual horror movie we're watching as opposed to say, a sweaty gay porn film pretending to be one.

Which is nice for a change.

Anyway, we join this obviously sad day just as his mysterious, tombstone toothed high priestess (one hit wonder Nasr) is ranting and raving about Osiris (the Egyptian one, not the shop that does cheap nose piercings in Glasgow city centre) and how fantastic and bloody a tyrant Safiraman was to crowds of nearly a dozen of his followers.

Yup, the budget could stretch to that many.

Knowing that it's best to stop on a high she finishes her speech with a saucy wiggle of her ample old lady arse before muttering an obligatory curse over the mummified body and locking six leather pant clad slaves into his burial chamber to keep him company.

Oh yes, then she fills the whole place with toxic gas.

But not from her bottom obviously because she's a nice lady.


Beware! This van is NOT full of sweeties.

Cut to the 'modern' day where a trio of sexy grave robbers led by the hunky blond bad boy Rick Cannon (the easy going co-star of Zoolander and Starsky and Hutch, Owen 'Lightning McQueen' Wilson acting here under the pseudonym Salvo) have just uncovered Safiraman’s still sealed back passage and, after a quick chat and chin stroke decide to blow the bugger open with handy dynamite sticks.

You never get that on Time Team.

Noticing the noxious stench of sweat, spunk and gravy emanating from Safiraman’s cracked entrance, Rick reckons that the burial chamber may have been booby trapped to prevent anyone doing what he's attempting to do, therefore it'd probably be safer to wait for the poisoned gas to dissipate before stealing all of the Pharaohs trinkets.

Brains, beauty and man-boobs, this guy has it all.

Telling the hired help Iain and Jeanette to stay on guard, Rick jumps into his jeep and prepares to head back to town to buy some crisps and pop for everyone.

Or something.

But as our hero guns his throttle (as I assume you drivers say) he's accosted by a dog blanketed old harridan stinking of piss shouting obscenities at him from the depths of her tar covered toothless mouth.

That'll be Laila Nasr back then, only this time caked in shit and wearing a comedy Cher wig.

Zena (for it is she) angrily spouts and spits at poor Rick, telling him and his team that they're about to desecrate a holy site, and if they're not careful, the mighty Safiraman an his (six man) army of the dead will be forced to “rise from the tomb and kill the infidels!”

Which is nice.


Rick tho', being a rascally type of guy just shrugs his manly shoulders and laughs the threat off before driving to the local shops, leaving his buddies tanking crates of Carling at the tombs entrance.

"Hows this for a Pharaohs entrance Gary?"


Pissed up and passed out on the sands Iain and Jeanette fail to notice the couple of boorish Bedouin neighbourhood watch members skulking behind a nearby cactus and licking their lips at the sight of Jeanette's ample thigh.

It appears that Zena has paid the pair (not in kisses I hope) to keep an eye on the grave robbers but, being foreign and therefore untrustworthy, the bearded bozo's  have decided to steal the treasure for themselves.

Bad, bad Bedouins.

"Nick it!"


Unfortunately the sinister smell of Zena must have affected their noses (and memories) as the pair walk straight into the still gas filled chamber and after a wee bit of dribbling and coughing drop down dead.

Which is actually quite lucky because it leaves the tomb fresh and smelling of daises the next morning just in time for Rick and co. to enjoy a death  trap free day of looting.

Result.

Meanwhile over in New York (well that's what it says on the grainy footage), that top selling women's mag Fashion Monthly has decided that the time is right to send a team, consisting of (camp as pants) photographer Bill (Peck, not Bob), makeup lady Jenny (Levy, tho' not Jane) and sexy 'models' Lisa (King not Steven), Melinda (Faison, Bless you), Joan (Diane Beatty not Ned) plus not forgetting gorgeous Gary (Sattels) over to Egypt for a sexy new fashion shoot.

You can see where this is going can't you?

What all the two-bit whore's will be wearing next summer, go on ask your mum.


The magazines Egyptian correspondent, Norman has decided that the little town of Barqa would make a suitable backdrop for a few days of clothes based shenanigans, especially the sand dunes overlooking the tomb of some guy named Safiraman.

Who'd have guessed?

Fairly unsurprisingly (it's that kinda movie) the fashion glitterati almost immediately bump into Rick and his band, seemingly hitting it off (as opposed to having it off) with our hero right away.

Tho' that could have something to do with the fact that they're all clean(ish) and good-looking - well I say good looking - laydees from the good old US of A, unlike the buck-toothed local women that keep trying to get to grips with his newly recovered Pharaoh staff.

By which I probably mean his penis.

They get on so well that, after a little persuasion Rick even agrees to let them use the tombs interior for the fashion shoot.

As you can probably imagine, this is possibly going to be a very, very bad idea.

"Fuck me! It's Vic Morrow!"


OK so you're thinking to yourself 'so far so horribly clichéd' but surprisingly for a film so threadbare it does have the distinction of adding a new piece of lore to the mummy genre.

And that's a brilliantly unique reason for the mummies resurrection that I'm amazed no other movie since has stolen.

Can you guess, dear reader what actually causes Safiraman to finally rise from his sandy grave?

Is it the messily dynamiting of his sacred burial chamber?

Is it when one of Rick's buddies (not Ben Stiller or even Mater) steals his golden walking stick before snipping away at his bandages?

Or is it the fact that the heat from Bills arc light is a wee bit too warm for him?

Go on, guess.

"Sand in mah mooth!"



Yup that's right, Safiraman gets all hot and bothered by the lights, waking up in a  strop of Tyra Banks proportions and ready to kick some model arse.

Imagine classic era America's Next Top Model but with more eating disorders but without the hunksome Nigel Barker.

Summoning his zombie slaves, who, in the intervening years appear to have moved out of the tomb and set up home amongst the dunes, Safiraman prepares for his revenge.

Only not right away.

"You wore hotpants in my tomb!!??!!"

After what seems like months of planning (look there are only so many times I can watch underfed wannabe models pose in hideous chiffon dresses before I want to force a pie into the screen - or up someone's arse) Safiraman finally gets up and decides on a plan of action.

Firstly he makes a surprise visit to Jeanette's butcher shop and sticks a meat cleaver in his head before sneaking up on the lovely Melinda whilst she's swimming at the local oasis (but not the one of the zombies) and kills her too.

Luckily for the viewer - if not the poor cast, once Safiraman and his zombie minions get a taste for blood there's no stopping them as they chow down on Gary, enjoy a main course of beefy Bill in a basket before quickly following that with a juicy  Jenny dessert.

Yum.

Jimmy Savile...The Return.


All this blood-letting, burping and general badness seems to be just what our undead chums have been missing all these years and, not wanting to be seen as lightweights they decide to vote on who or what to do next.

Democracy in Egypt?

Who'd have thunk it?

Noticing the sound of riotous laughter and rocking good music in the distance,  Safiraman and his horde reckon it'd be a bit of a laugh to head right into Barqa town centre and crash local drug dealer Steve Hamid's wedding party for a wee dance and some good natured banter.

Oh and to eat the guests whole of course.

Tho' they may spit that bit out.

Dave's Dalek impression was always a hit at kids parties.


It's not too long (or too well shot) before Safiraman and co. have managed to eat their way thru' the aunts, uncles and cousins until only Lisa, Joan, Rick plus a few other folk I've already forgotten are left.

With the undead slowly closing in on them our heroes become embroiled in a battle for survival.

And more importantly against crushing tedium.

Will our heroes escape?

Will Safiraman and his greedy pals ever be full?

And will Rick possibly use the handy stash of dynamite sitting nearby to blow Safiraman up?

Patrick Stewart: the face AIDS years.



The worlds first (and only) joint Egyptian/Italian/American production to feature both flesh eating mummies and high fashion, Frank Agrama's Dawn of The Mummy is a laugh a minute, schizophrenic thrill ride of cack handed dubbing, bad teeth, Lego hair and a cast so unclean you'd swear you could smell the stale urine oozing thru' your Teevee screen.

I had to mop up after sitting thru' it but then again that may have been my excitement showing.

Owen Wilson, up the casino, Cairo, 1982...YESCH!


A big name in the Egyptian film industry (yes it has one) Agrama - the man who brought Super Dimension Fortress Macross to the English-speaking world, a thing that we are eternally grateful for - had already produced and directed over 40 movies before deciding to turn his hand to the horror genre.

Looking to Italy for his inspiration, he (unfortunately) skipped the films of Agento, Fulci and (Mario) Bava and went straight to the shelf containing the complete works of Bruno (Zombie Creeping Flesh) Mattei and Andrea (Burial Ground) Bianchi, delivering a movie of such appalling tardiness that’s only claim to fame is its frightening ability to appear to last even longer than its relatively short 97 minute running time.

It's as if you enter a spooky slow dimension that quietly eats away at your soul whilst watching it.

As this is coming from a man who once sat thru' the entire celluloid abortions that are Cradle of Fear, Lords of Salem and Little Deaths in one sitting.

But, if self harm appeals to you and you still feel compelled to view this movie you can at least look forward to the amusing (and possibly arousing) delights of sweaty Egyptians whipping small boys, John Salvo's hair and Laila Nasr's teeth, not to mention the cheap market stall fashions and the gore-tastic climax.

Which beats a good plot any day really.

Doesn't it?

Plus it gives you a warm glow inside knowing that the director was cleared of all charges of alleged tax fraud after a nine year case and is sitting happily by his pool in LA counting his cash as you watch, not being bummed by a bin man in prison whilst counting his teeth.

Which I guess is an enduring an image as anything on screen here.


Sunday, October 15, 2017

beast wars.

15 films into 31 days of horror and just realized that there's been absolutely no classic D'Amato.

Till now.

Picked this for a rewatch partly because it's brilliant but mainly because this is what Cassidy's hair most resembles at the moment seeing as he 'forgot' to comb it whilst he was away on his residential.

Anthropophagous: The Beast (AKA The Grim Reaper, The Savage Island 1980)
Dir: Joe D'Amato
Starring: Tisa Farrow, Serena Grandi, Margaret Donnelly, Mark Bodin and Sir George Eastman.



Our tale of 'terror' opens on a grey and overcast Greek beach where a pair of unattractive German tourists are relaxing on vacation.

Whilst the girl (in a horrible 70's style bikini that leaves either way too little or far too much to the imagination - I can't decide) swims out into the choppy and obviously freezing - as in it's overcast, what other reason would there be? - waters, her boyfriend lies sprawled out on a towel (probably not his) listening to his unfeasibly large 'Walkman' and posing in his tiny Speedo's.

Nice.

Within seconds tho', someone (or something) pulls her down beneath the surface amid an enormous cloud of blood.

Unaware of his girlfriends murder the young man carries on frugging away to whatever it is German tourists listen to only to be rudely interrupted by a hatchet in the face.

Gruesome.


"Aya! my BCG!"




With a shower of scratches and amateurish dissolves the movie flashes forward a month or so (trust me, it feels longer) where we come across (we wish) the delightful American broad abroad Julie (a bored looking Farrow) eavesdropping on a group of badly dressed, big haired holidaymakers talking about a boat tour of the Aegean they're organizing.

This motley crew consists of hunky medical student Alan/Andy (depending on the dub), his sister (or maybe his ex girlfriend, again depending on the dub but to be honest  I don't really care) Carol - a new age tarot reading nutter, Italian stud muffin for hire (is there any other type?) Danny' Mister 'no character traits' Arnold alongside his pregnant wife Maggie plus the boat owner and open necked shirt man Stephis.

Julie being brash and American rudely interupts the chat to ask if they could take her over to one of the nearby islands.

Which surprisingly isn't a casino-based euphemism.

You see she’s supposed to be visiting some friends there, but she’s running a wee bit late and managing to miss the last boat (what? no water taxi's? or phones?) is stuck.

The group think "The sister of Mia Farrow and star of Zombie Flesh Eaters on our boat? Coolio!" and invite her along.



Farrow: floppy fringed and bored senseless. I/you still would tho'.



As they sail away, kooky Carol foresees disaster for Julie in her tarot cards.

You see, the mystic ones future reading came out as an unintelligible load of old bollocks, which means (to us in the tarot know) that Julie has no future!

The others, however, just think she's barmy and chuck the cards overboard.

But if we take a look at her career we can see that it's actually spot on.

Arriving at the island Maggie 'trips' and twists her ankle so decides to stay on board with sweaty Stephis while the others explore but with this being a Joe D'Amato movie nothing is that sedate and it's not long before a mysterious figure kills the open necked shirted one, kidnaps a screaming (and probably really dangerously hormonal) Maggie and sets the boat adrift.

Meantime, as the others explore the deserted island, Carol thinks she sees a figure at a window, but when they go to look no one can be found.

With all the horror tropes suggesting badness ahead - broken windows, a sign saying 'go away' and a score that sounds like a drunk ex-squaddie bumming a cat - the preening posse soon stumble upon a horribly mutilated body proving Carol's carping on about creepiness was absolutely correct.

Not too surprisingly, everyone decides it's time to go.

Laugh now.



With darkness quickly descending and a storm brewing on the horizon they take refuge in Julie's friends' deserted house (remember the folk she was going to visit? - cos the director hasn't until now) where the friends decide on a course of action....snuggle up together quietly till morning or split up and explore with only a match to light their way.

Julie and Andy decide to take the exploring option.

It all actually goes quite well under the circumstances up until (in one of the films only genuine jump moments) a sweaty blind girl jumps on Andy screaming "I can smell him… I'm the only one who knows when he's coming. And I'm never wrong. He smells of blood…"

Which doesn't say much for the killers choice of aftershave.

Julie recognizes the girl as her friends daughter Ariette, so the threesome decide to head back to the house together.

Aw sweet.



She's lucky....at least she can only hear the bloody film.




Unfortunately Ariette's ramblings send Carole over the edge (probably because there's only room for one mad woman in the house) and she runs away sobbing like a big girls blouse.

As Julie follows in hot pursuit, Ariette senses the presence of (or just smells) the killer in the house.

Our not so merry band soon realize that the infamous Andy Anthropopagous (AKA The Beast) is loose and he's feeling a wee bit mental.

Will anyone survive to tell the tale?

And will anyone watching stay awake long enough to care?


Can't decide what's more terrifying...
the neck wound or the hair.




Anthropophagous: the Beast is famous for three main reasons; it's genre God Joe D'Amato's first foray into 'straight horror' (after his 'gore porn' hits like Erotic Nights of The Living Dead), it has one of the best titles ever and was banned as a 'video nasty' during the 80's in the UK.

But more on that later.

D'Amato regular (and the movie's co-writer), the great George Eastman stars, alongside his colossal mantits as 'the beast' of the title, a shambling monosyllabic Max Wall gone to seed with a taste for human flesh, all trampy mullet, tight trousers, yellowy scalp and unbuttoned shirts.

It's so well realized that you can literally smell the piss and nob cheese thru' the screen.



Eastman: sorted for gin and piss.


Like all of D'Amato's movies there are some moments of quality, the suspenseful chase through the woods, where Julie's face is illuminated by brief flashes of lightning showcases the directors (usually unnoticed) skill as a cinematographer to the sequence exploring the beast's shabby almost pathetic lair via the disturbing flashback explaining the beast's origins – shipwrecked with his family, he accidentally kills his wife whilst trying to calm her down after suggesting the eat the body of their dead son to survive - but these little touches of greatness do nothing to help save the rest of the film from being a shoddily made, boredom fest of a movie.

And the movie's most notorious scene - and it's reason for appearing on the DPP banned list?

Well that comes late in the film where, after killing Arnold, the beast proceeds to tear the fetus from a still screaming Maggie's belly and then eat it.

This caused uproar amongst MP's and journalist's alike in 1984, when (incredible as it may seem) many were convinced they were witnessing an actual snuff movie.

I will admit it took me over 20 years to finally view this scene, not I hasten to add because I was concerned by the graphic image of infanticide I would undoubtedly see, but because the rest of the film leading up to that bit is so arse numbingly boring I'd given up way before it actually happened.

Most of it is either shot in the dark or on what looks like out of date off-cuts of cheap market stall film stock, the cast's acting style is almost totally non existent (you know it's a lost cause when even Tisa Farrow is in a film for the money) and when the most terrifying thing in a film is an actresses almost obscenely hairy armpits (take a bow Ariette! I know you're blind but you could of at least had a feel under there...it's like a forest) you know you're in big trouble.



"Did you get me a Drifter?"




Anyway, I digress.

Back to eating babies and the infamy surrounding this scene (which is still missing from the UK cut of this film), when you finally summon up the courage to view it you can plainly see that Eastman is chowing down on a (dead) baby rabbit wrapped in bacon rashers.

How can anyone get a baby and a rabbit confused?

And confused enough to take it to court on obscenity charges?

I mean:


Fluffy bunny wabbit (sans bacon).




Small child
(also sans bacon).


If you make it that far tho' you're rewarded with a classic final scene where Eastman is stabbed in the stomach with a pickaxe and, not letting a cannibal trick go by, proceeds to scoop up his intestines and shove them back into the wound.

When this fails he decides it's easier to just eat them.

See? told you it was a quality movie.



Tisa Farrow is shocked to discover
no-one eats a baby in her DVD copy.


Luckily Anthropophagous: the Beast is available in the UK for those brave souls that fancy it.

You're cheapest option is to search your local pound shop (no, really) as it's available on a double disc (but renamed The Grim Reaper) with Mario Bava's Daria Nicolodi starrer Shock (called Beyond The Door II on the packaging).

Unfortunately this version (and surprisingly the last US release) is missing the fetus eating scene and, it must be said most of the plot.

Thankfully tho' our German cousins* (God bless 'em!) released a fully uncut version and it's in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio too.

As a downside it looks like it's been transfered from an old nth generation video copy meaning large amounts of the movie appear to be filmed in utter blackness.....

Well you win some you lose some.

































*Bizarrely enough 'the Germans' appear to have something of an unhealthy obsession with this movie which came to a head in 1999 when Violent Shit director Andreas Schnaas remade the film as Anthropophagous 2000.

Utter pants from start to finish (tho' the bikini worn by the girl at the start is an improvement) it's lead actress* Cornelia de Pablos retired to take up painting soon after its completion.

Unfortunately if her work online is anything to go by she shouldn't have bothered.



















































*Unlike Tisa Farrow who went on to pose for Playboy, nude on a Merry-Go-Round horse wrapped in streamers.




Be seeing you.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

got wood.

Bizarrely enough I found this in Cassidy's rucksack whilst tidying up after his school residential which seems kinda apt.

Exists (2014).
Dir: Eduardo Sánchez.
Cast: Chris Osborn, Dora Madison Burge, Roger Edwards, Denise Williamson, Samuel Davis, Brian Steele and Jeff Schwan.





Big faced brothers Brian and Matt (Osborn and Davis from lots of stuff not worth mentioning), Matt's - non explorer - girlfriend Dora (the button nosed Burge from Dexter) alongside their friends Todd (Circus of The Dead's Edwards) and his skimpy shorted beau Elizabeth (Killer School Girls from Outer Space babe Williamson) are on their way to the 'uncle Bob's cabin' (which surprisingly isn't a euphemism) for a weekend of fun, frolicking and BMX banditry.

All to be documented on a variety of hand-held cameras and groovy head-mounted Go-Pros.

Which is lucky seeing as this is a found footage movie, I mean imagine a 90 minute retelling of this scary tale using the medium of chalk pastels.

Doesn't bear thinking about does it?

Stopping only to buy some fireworks, their journey is remarkably uneventful (save an amusing beard burning incident) until they accidentally run over someone or something and decide to stop and investigate.

Discovering that whatever they hit has smashed a light and covered the bumper in red paint the brothers decide to search for whatever could of caused the damage in order to exchange insurance details and whatnot.

This plan is soon abandoned however when a strange noise (rather like the one your mum makes at the point of climax) is heard emanating from the woods and the dippy duo quickly decide to get back in the car and drive  on.


Insert amusing caption here.


From this point on things seem to go from bad to worse. Not only is there a big tree blocking the road meaning that they have to continue on foot but upon reaching the cabin they're slightly disappointed to find that it's not only covered in dust and animal shit but that a wild pig has taken up residence in the bathroom.

To be honest tho' there are folk in Glasgow that'd sell their kids for a house that nice.

Heading back to the relative comfort of the car for the night, Matt is kept awake by the same vaguely sexy noises he heard earlier and, obviously not wanting to be the only grumpy fucker the next morning shakes Brian awake to discuss it.

Tugging at his beard enigmatically Brian is convinced that the noise is being made by Bigfoot who, according to Uncle Bob lives just over the next hill.

Matt, being the clean shaven sensible one accuses his brother of talking 'the bollocks' and quickly goes back to sleep.

Arse attacked by Bigfoot?...that'll be 250 quid from Harry Hill then!


Rising bright and early the next morning the group decides to ignore the tufts of bloodied hair embedded in the car radiator and head down to a lake for some aforementioned fun leaving Brian to waste precious screen time attempting to video Todd and Elizabeth having sex.

Luckily for them (but not for fans of outdoor interracial action obviously) Brian's perving is interrupted when a big hairy man runs passed, causing him to drop his camera and scream and Todd to accidentally ejaculate in Elizabeth's eye.

Much shouting and accusations of sneaky masturbation ensues culminating in Brian heading off into the woods alone to set up some cameras whilst the others go back to the cabin to get pissed and play ping-pong.

That night Brian, who in a fit of pique has decided to sleep in a hastily constructed hammock is suddenly awoken by even more of the mysterious sex noises and decides to investigate only to come across (not in that way) Matt and Todd, who've been lying in wait with a pair of paintball guns ready to cover our bearded bro' in sticky balls of goo.

Have they never seen the episode of Byker Grove where PJ (or is it Duncan?) is blinded during such a jape?

There's no time to discuss the safety aspects of paint balling tho' as our intrepid trio are soon running back to the cabin as the air is filled with scary noises, this time closer than ever.

Once safely inside Brian decides to tell every that he thinks it's Bigfoot.

Cue much laughter and piss-taking until a large shadowy figure, accompanied by the smell of old shoes is spotted outside attempting to pull the walls down.

"You were meant to shite in mah MOOTH!"

After surveying the damage the next morning, our merry band decide it'd probably be for the best if they leave but, unfortunately upon reaching the car, they find that the night-time visitor has other ideas, particularly one pretty unique idea of planting a tree in the middle of the car.

Which is nice if a wee bit unexpected.

Returning to the cabin Dora, being the sensible shoed one, suggests that they should just wait until Uncle Bob turns up and leave with him, which would be a great idea if the brothers hadn't actually stolen the key and borrowed the cabin without asking.

The reason?

Because Uncle Bob doesn't let anyone borrow it in case they upset the local Bigfoot.

This, understandably angers the others.

Tho' not half as angry as it makes a certain Mr Foot.

Matt, being the heroic...well sporty type reckons that if he peddles his BMX really quickly he can probably zoom passed Bigfoot and find a spot where he can get reception on his phone and call for help.

With much oohing and ahhing the others, having neither a plan as goofy or ridiculous are forced to agree, quickly waving a camera-hatted Matt off into the trees before settling down to an afternoon of looking glum.

Whizzing thru' the trees and looking to all intents and purposes like a really cheap fan remake of the speeder bike scene from Return of The Jedi, Matt does in fact manage to find a spot where his phone works only to have his call interrupted by Mr Foot who, after giving chase swats him from his bike causing some nasty chafing, a serious fracture and a large brown stain down the back of Matt's shorts.

How's he gonna explain that to his Gran?

Back at the cabin, the pumped up pals have busied themselves by moving all the furniture to block the windows and doors, inadvertently discovering a basement - and a gun - as they do.

Their congratulatory backslapping is short lived tho' as no sooner have they figured out where to put the shells when Bigfoot arrives outside huffing and puffing like John Leslie on an oilrig, destroying the cabins generator before bursting in thru' a cupboard and banging poor Elizabeth's head off a shelf.

The swine.

Eye son!


Todd - overcome by the similarities between their situation and Night of The Living Dead - decides to go all Duane Jones on Bigfoots ass and shoots it thru' a gap in the door before leading a retreat into the cellar in the vain hope that the hairy horror attacking them is scared of stairs.

Cowering under a table the friends try their best to stay quiet, unfortunately Brian's nerves get the better of him and he lets rip a massive - possibly eggy - fart that alerts the beast to their presence and only Todd's action stance and shooting skills save them from a fatal shelfing.
 
As morning breaks the by now terrified trio, realizing that the movie is way passed the halfway point and reckoning that after a night of smashing stuff that Bigfoot will be sleeping, decide to leave the by now destroyed cabin and walk home.

With Brian volunteering to lead them to safety it's not long before they get lost and end up sheltering under a bridge for the night. As darkness falls the ominous noise of the beast can be heard from the forest which (understandably) annoys  the recently single Todd a wee bit, causing him to go all 'street', firing the shotgun into the air and whilst threatening to 'pop a cap' in Bigfoots ass.

Bigfoot replies by hurling large polystyrene rocks at the friends until they run away.

Which in the whole scheme of things ends up being a great idea, otherwise they'd have never heard Matt screaming for help from underneath an old tree that doubles as the beasts lair.

Now it's time for Brian to play the hero as he bravely crawls thru' the bracken, Bigfoot pooh and dead leaves to rescue his wounded brother, surprisingly not making an arse of it and managing to shoot the beast on the way back, giving the group ample time to rest up in an abandoned caravan they spotted earlier.

"Spice Girls number one for Christmas....MONSTA!"

Setting Matt down on the bed and searching the cupboards for biscuits Brian is surprised to receive a call from his uncle who, shocked at turning up at his holiday home to find a dead ginger in the basement is intrigued to find out what's been going on.

Oh and where his pigs gone obviously.

Remembering that they purchased a huge bag of fireworks (at a massive expense to the budget) Todd reckons that they should let them off so as to alert Uncle Bob to their position so heads out to do that very thing.

Would you believe it tho' that the fireworks also have the effect of alerting Bigfoot to their location?

Well they do so there meaning that Todd has to leg it up a muddy path with the beast in hot (tho' with all that hair he must be boiling) pursuit.

Before too long (well there is only 15 minutes left) Todd - in true Doctor Who companion style -  trips over an imaginary twig and is caught by the beast, thrown at a tree and finally held up against the caravan window like a sock puppet.

And who says Bigfoot doesn't have a sense of humour?

With Bigfoot determined to push the caravan down a conveniently placed hill it's a race against time for Brian, Matt and Dora.

Will Uncle Bob turn up in time to save them?

Will Bigfoot get bored and wander off?

Is Uncle Bob really Bigfoot or is Bigfoot really Uncle Bob in disguise?

And most importantly is Brian Steele that portrays the beast the same Brian Steele that played Harry in all 22 episodes of TV version of Harry And The Hendersons?

The answer to at least one of these is yes.

Michael Foot....related?

As formulaic and clichéd as Exists is, it's a quantum leap in quality from the last Bigfoot movie I had to sit thru', the arse numbing Willow Creek, a film so misguided that its director (ex Police Academy actor Bobcat Goldthwait) managed to convince himself that the one thing that's been missing from modern horror movies is a 30 minute night vision sequence of two people cowering in a tent whilst the crew whistle and throw bricks at them.

Exists may also feature scenes of rock throwing but it at least shows us the monster responsible if nothing else.

And for that I remain grateful.

It's plot may be threadbare and it's lead a dead ringer for Alan Ormsby circa Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things (which is a little off-putting to say the least) but Blair Witch co-creator Sánchez makes things just interesting enough to keep your watching, you know exactly what's going to happen and when but the whole thing is inoffensive enough for you to not mind going along for the ride.

The films scant 86 minute running time doesn't hurt either. 

Like a pair of comfy slippers waiting by your favourite armchair after a long day brutalizing pensioners, the film appears to exist solely because it can do, almost as if everyone involved had a spare weekend and an old ladies fur coat lying about and decided it'd be a laugh to make a movie with it.

And at least in this case they let us in on the fun too.

Inoffensive, short and to the point.

Just like your mum.



Friday, October 13, 2017

crystal tits and all this gore.

It's actually Friday 13th and it's the middle (kinda) of 31 days of horror so what better way to celebrate than with probably the best Friday 13th movie ever made.*

Friday the 13th (2009)
Dir: Marcus Nispel
Cast: Jared Padalecki, Aaron Yoo, Danielle Panabaker, Amanda Righetti, Nana Visitor, Travis Van Winkle, Ryan Hansen, Willa Ford, Julianna Guill, Nick Mennell, America Olivo, Arlen Escarpeta, Caleb Guss and Derek Mears.




It's a wet and wild Friday June the 13th way back in 1980 and a hysterical, tight t-shirted camp counselor is being chased thru' the mud by a mad middle aged woman in a turtle neck sweater and a pound shop Beatles wig.

It would appear that little ms. counselor and her pals were way too busy shagging, supping booze and smoking 'the reefer' to notice that this mentalist mum's ball headed son, Jason Voorhees (Guss), had fallen into the water and drowned, leaving an (understandably) distraught Mrs. Voorhees (Visitor in a blink and miss it cameo, well to be honest it's too short for a cameo, more of a cam or just an eo) to take the camps complaints procedure a wee bit too far and kill everyone using a huge machete.

Before moving in for the kill, Mrs. V decides to rant at the sopping wet poor girl a bit more, giving our plucky heroine an opportunity to wrestle the machete from her and behead the raving middle aged loon instead.

As she wanders away into the woods, her ample bum cheeks glistening in the rain, a stooping, huge head boy emerges from the bushes and takes the dead woman’s weapon....

Guss: Bawheid.



Flash forward to 'the present day' and a group of annoyingly quirky teen buddies, including the high hairlined, sensitive Whitney (Righetti, star of the hit teevee show The Mentalist) are enjoying a weekend vacation getting away from it all and camping in the woods.

As in pitching tents and the like, not wearing pink sweaters and skipping about in a limp wristed manner ala Duncan Norvelle.

Two of the pals have their own agenda however. You see rumor has it that there's a huge crop of Marijuana hidden somewhere in the woods and they plan to find it and sell it, becoming richer than a fairly rich man who sells dope along the way.

Whitney, feeling even more sensitive than usual due in part to her mum having cancer (what? character development?) heads off for a walk with her equally as sensitive yet unfortunately pube haired beau Mike (Mennell, from the cinematic abortion that was, and still is Rob Zombie's Halloween remake). It's not long before they come across the battered and ramshackle remains of an empty summer camp; the name plate says Camp Crystal Lake.


"Put it in me!"


Meanwhile back at the campsite the party atmosphere is hotting up, there's much flashing of stone-like fake boobs and some heavy boozing whilst the non-cool teen, Jeff Hashman tells the spooky story of the beheaded mum out to avenge her sons death and and how her son was actually still alive, watching silently as she was killed, and that he still roams these very woods.

And on that note he decides to head off (alone) to look for the Marijuana grove.

Jeff has no sooner stumbled into slacker heaven when he finds himself face to chest with a huge, hulking figure of a man, clad in filthy denim, an old pair of orthopedic shoes and wearing a recycled canvas shopping bag on his head before being impaled on a tree.



"Steven!"



Whitney and Mike are still busy exploring the summer camps dilapidated cabins when they discover a child's bed with the name 'Jason' engraved in the headboard, a collection of whistles and small locket with a photo of a huge headed wee boy and a lady in it.

Mike remarks how similar Whitney looks to the lady and places it around her neck.

Good job he didn't compare her fairly large brow to the kids melon sized head tho', I'd have found it difficult not to mention it myself.

Over at base camp the tents are swaying to the sound of sweaty shagging and even more close-ups of America Olivo's frankly terrifying fake breasts swaying solidly in the wind like two breeze blocks tied to some old, vinegary rope.

We're saved from this evil vision (which is possibly the reason for the films R rating) when the young lovers hear a rustling noise from outside.

Could it be Hashman having a sly Barclay's in the bushes?

Or is it Mr. Baghead getting ready to slaughter some teens?

Take a guess.

Wanting to impress his girlfriend the brave boy heads outside to look, quickly stumbling across the marijuana crop before discovering his pal pinned halfway up a tree.

Running back to the camp he comes a cropper in one of Jason's makeshift booby traps, surviving just long enough to see the bag-headed one lift his girlfriends sleeping back and drop it into the campfire.

Again and again, stopping only when she's well done.



"Just coming!"




While all this senseless violence is going on, Mike and Whitney are still exploring the cabin (it must be like the TARDIS in there), coming across a unique (if not slightly strange) bathroom feature guaranteed to be the talk of any dinner party.

You see, just above the sink in a candle filled shrine they find the remains of Mrs. Voorhees head.

And you complain about buying a mothers day card.

Without warning the cabin door slams shut and Mike is stabbed by a mystery man poking a machete thru' the floorboards.

Whitney can only look on and scream.....


Olivo: Fake breasts,
ickle pointed witch chin.




Cut to a few months later and there's yet another group of expendable college kids heading to the lake for a weekend break, this time at the family cabin of curly topped, snub nosed rich 'kid' (although he looks around forty) Trent (Van Winkle).

Tagging along are his cutesy girlfriend Jenna (Panabaker, famous for playing Julie Stark in the James Woods teevee hit Shark and having ginger hair and pigtails whilst appearing opposite King Kurt Russell in Sky High), their friends Nolan (Owen Wilson-alike Hansen), the square jawed, shelf arsed Chelsea (former 'bad girl of pop' Ford) and cheesy Bree (Guill) alongside token minority pals Lawrence (Escarpeta fresh from the Frankie Muniz HoopLA Celebrity Basketball Event) and geeky stoner Chewie (Yoo).

Stopping for petrol, crisps, milk and a Lion Bar they come across chisel chinned biker bad boy Clay Miller (Padalecki, Sam Winchester from that show Supernatural that everyone seems to rave about), who's in town to look for his missing sister (that'll be Whitney then). The local townsfreaks have been less than helpful, telling him that she probably fell in a big hole or ran away to join the circus and even the police seem intent on getting Clay to leave town.

Do they have something to hide or are they just pissed off with him blu-tack-ing 8x10 glossies of his sis everywhere? I mean, for fuck's sake he's even pinning them onto dogs!

Feeling his place as the movies testosterone fueled 'manly man' being threatened, Trent faces off to Clay in an exciting manbreast to manbreast showdown in the middle of a corner shop.

The winner gets served first.

Someone, anyone just kill them now and have done with it.



Ford: Somewhere to park your bike at least.




Anyway, Clay moodily rides off on his bike (but not before he and Jenna have cut each other a few smoldering looks) whilst Trent, his bullet shaped nipples and his rent a pals continue on to his dads cabin for an enjoyable weekend of 'the sex', boozing, getting stoned and possibly getting butchered by a mad bloke with a machete.

Arriving at the cabin and getting ready to 'party on' as you young things say, Jenna soon excuses herself and takes a walk outside (probably to escape from her boyfriends eggy breath) whilst Chelsea and Nolan decide to borrow Trent's boat for a wee bout of water sports down by the lake.

They may look happy now but
just wait till the mooth shite-in starts.

As Jenna is enjoying a moment of quiet calm who should come a riding past but Clay. You see he's heard that there's a tree a few miles down the road that isn't covered by pictures of his sister so he's off to sort that out right away.

Thinking he could use a drink she invites him into the cabin but as he's about to enjoy a cool glass of weak lemon drink Trent appears in the kitchen, his eggy breath instantly turning the drink sour and sending Jenna and Clay hurrying out into the garden.

Sitting in the porch listening to Clay chatting away about his recently deceased mother, bad lad past and missing sister (don't knock it, as a chat up line it seems to work), Jenna offers to help him have one last look around the woods suggesting that they should probably have a closer look at the abandoned summer camp (you remember, the one with the ball faced, bag headed mentalist living in it) too.

I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

Meanwhile Jason has gone to the local corner shop for some provisions (and maybe a new bag) but mortally offended by the distinct lack of king sized Snickers on the shelves (and the buck toothed bumpkin owners habit of licking porn mags - talk about knowing your target audience) decides to kill him instead and steal a hockey mask....

Chelsea (stripped down to a rather impressive pair of big granny pants and an ill fitting bra) and Nolan (remember them?) meanwhile are enjoying a bit of water ski-ing on the lake, oblivious to the hulking figure watching from the shore.

Well, oblivious that is till he fires a dirty big arrow thru' Nolan's head causing poor Chelsea to fall off her ski's and cry a lot.

Swimming to shore and hiding under a pier, she fails to notice that her arse is sticking out a good three foot at the side, giving Jason an easy target to aim at.

The mask obviously restricts his vision tho' as he stabs her in the head instead.

Back at the summer camp compound (try typing that when you're drunk), Clay and Jenna seem to have made a day of it as it's now gone all dark, mist enshrouded and spooky. Wondering why the police never bothered to check the place for his sister he's just about to phone and ask when a lumbering figure shambles out of the bushes carrying a corpse inside a bin bag.

Clay and Jenna hide behind a tree as the hockey-masked madman dumps the body down a trapdoor before legging it back to Trent's to warn everyone that there's a killer on the loose.

A killer with a ginormous bonce.


Jason's romantic gesture of taking a lady up the
casino failed to get the result he hoped for.




Things are also hotting up back at the party tho', Trent and Bree have retired to the bedroom for some hot (re: sweaty arses, stroke victim faces and cries of 'do me bad boy') lovin', Chewie is sitting around getting stoned and Lawrence is attempting to have a wank over a copy of TV Quick (unfortunately tho' Lorraine Kelly isn't on the cover).

Luckily for him, Clay and Jenna arrive just in time to stop him cracking one off over a picture of the cast of The Golden Girls (it's a tribute issue), Jenna follows the stale smell upstairs to Trent whilst Clay goes to phone the local sheriff.

Unsurprisingly the phones are dead and it's not long before the power goes and the body count starts a-rising...

It seems Jason doesn't take too kindly to people messing around in his bush....

Amelia's initial reaction to news of a
Friday the 13th remake.



After dry heaving up the cinematic bile that was 2003's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (and don't forget he also made the video for Cher's cover of Walking In Memphis among other classics) Marcus Nipsel surprises us all by remaking a great film for the evil that is Michael (I might be rich but my shit stinks like no-one elses) Bay's Platinum Dunes company and it turning out not to be (too) shite.
Yep, after making such an arse of the aforementioned Texas Chainsaw Massacre, managing to make The Amityville Horror remake even more awful than the original and defiling the memory of The Hitcher as one would the body of an elderly relative they seem to have struck gold with this one.
Only problem is that it doesn't actually feel like a Friday the 13th movie till way past the halfway mark. True the cast is adequate, it's nicely shot and the kills are pretty good but it has something missing.

Yep that's it.

Jason Voorhees.

What was wrong with the lumbering, bawheided bonkers boy with the mommy complex we've all come to love and cherish over the last three decades? And whose idea was it to replace him with a reject from The Hills Have Eyes (quite literally), all quick and nimble with a thing for booby traps and underground lairs?

That'd be writers Damien Shannon and Mark Swift then, and as much as I'd love to shout heresy at the pair and accuse them of not knowing/caring about the mythos established in the previous movies it's pretty difficult seeing as they were responsible for the pretty fantastic Freddie Vs. Jason.

And more importantly doing that would make me look like a friendless, greasy horror geek.

Interestingly tho' whereas they seem to be happy enough to completely re-invent the character traits of Jason Voorhees (what? I used the words character traits when reviewing a Friday the 13th movie - spooky) for a new audience the movie is also littered (almost to breaking point) with so many references to the past as to make it look like a condensed, greatest hits package.

Which is all well and good if you're cribbing from parts one and two but gets a wee bit worrying when you're stealing wholesale from Part 3 (and not even the 3-d bits).


I hope he washed his hands.



Like I said earlier tho' it's not all bad, there are stand out performances from Arlen Escarpeta and Aaron Yoo who manage to make a stoner and a chronic masturbater genuinely likeable characters whilst Danielle Panabaker deserves a special mention for having such a cutesy button nose.
As for Derek (the big baldy tongue mutant in The Hills Have Eyes 2, what do you mean you couldn't sit thru' it?) Mears portrayal of Jason, well as an actor he makes a great stuntman. He has the size and the build but absolutely no screen presence, turning the scary as hell man in the mask into, well, just a man in a mask.

Photobucket
Iggle Piggle's not in bed....


Still it's a darn sight better than Rob Zombie's Halloween and, if you can get past the (mainly chav-tastic) teen audiences shouting "No fookin' way man" at every oportunity that seem to congregate in cinemas these days and forget you're meant to be watching the relaunch of a horror classic then there are worse ways to spend a few hours.

Or you could stay in and watch the fantastic Crispin Glover's dance moves and death by corkscrew in Part 4.











*Ever made in 2009 that is.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

plug,

See Sergio Martino's classic giallo film complete with a performance by The Agents of Evolution and live VJ set and groovy tunes by myself and the enigmatic Doctor Peyton Alucard Reed III all under the banner of Profondo Mondo...

Tickets available here.


lake flaccid.


This time last year for 31 days of horror I reviewed a film with a big fish in it so decided in a fit of symmetry to do another one.

As an aside has anyone else ever wondered what Creepshow 2‘s 'The Raft' would be like if it were stretched out to feature length and populated by the cast of 'Rivers Edge: The Next Generation'?

Well thanks to writer/director Larry Fessenden we need wonder no more.


Beneath (2013).
Dir: Larry Fessenden.
Cast: Daniel Zovatto, Bonnie Dennison, Chris Conroy, Jonny Orsini, Griffin Newman, Mackenzie Rosman, Mark Margolis and a big fish.




 To celebrate finishing high school, rebel without a clue Johnny (Zovatto channelling Winona-phase Johnny Depp, well his hair at least) has arranged to spend the weekend on 'the lake' (well pond) with a group of, I'd say his friends but to be honest they all seem to hate each other so I really can't see why they'd spend any time together at all except if someone had a gun to their heads.

But we're not that lucky and anyway I digress....

Ah but Johnny's true love is going, the low-rent Renée Zellweger alike - albeit with a better arse - Kitty (Stake Land's Dennison), a girl he kissed once last summer but who is now going steady with the sad faced renta-hunk Matt (Conroy).

With me so far?

Also along for the ride/paddle is Matt's sporty brother Simon (Orsini), who may or may not also have a thing for his brothers beau as well as button-nosed Deb (7th Heaven survivor Rosman) who is still silently lusting for Kitty after the pair shared a lesbian tryst at summer camp a few years previously.

Last but not least is the bespectacled rat-like ginger cinema geek Zeke (Newman) who constantly films everything on his massive wrist mounted camera.

In a surprising plot twist Zeke has absolutely no interest in Kitty.

Which is good news for him but bad news for the penicillin business.


Germs.

 Between Johnny's pining, Zeke's filming and everyone else's hormones you'd be forgiven for thinking that things couldn't get any more uncomfortable but you'd be wrong as no sooner have our pals arrived at the lake when a scary old man (screen stalwart Margolis) pops up from behind a bush to tell the group that they're all doomed.

Which is nice.

And not at all cliched.

Johnny does his best to diffuse the situation by explaining that yes, they will respect the lake and whatever is in it before attempting to give Kitty a plastic shark toothed pendant in a totally natural and absolutely non suspicious way whilst telling her that it's 'to keep her safe'.

From what pray?

Unwanted pregnancy and genital warts?

I think it may be a wee bit late for that.

"Look I'll just open a wee bit...just enough for you to shite in it."



Anyway, a wee bit of paddling, a few bitches asides and a quick swim later the whole weekend is thrown into chaos when a massive rubber carp appears from nowhere and attempts to eat the teens causing mass panic, Kitty's arse to wobble in her tiny wet denim shorts and finally everyone to look at Johnny in an accusing manner usually reserved for when your dog shits on the carpet.

Don't worry tho' Deb hasn't got that far.

Yet.

"Laugh now!"


Wet, wild and with the willies well and truly up them (no change for Kitty then) Matt - or Simon - I honestly didn't care by this point, decides that the best course of action would be to wait for the fish to reappear and throw an oar at it.

Luckily for Kitty no-one misheard him in the panic otherwise she'd be screwed.

Snigger.

Luckily the tension is broken when Deb decides to retrieve the aforementioned oar from the water only to find our fishy friend waiting to give her (but alas not the audience) a big surprise kiss.

Unfortunately his unwieldy Chipsticks teeth get in the way causing Deb not only much chafing but also a nasty salt and vinegar infection that leads to her going all wobbly before bleeding out and eventually dying on the back of the boat.




The surviving friends have but two options:

A. Quit the bitching and paddle to the shore (which, if I'm honest is no more than 30 feet away).

or

B. Break the oar by trying to kill the fish with it then bitch a bit more before eventually tossing each other off.

The boat that is.

Go on, guess which they choose.

"Fuck me it's Daryl Hannah!"



It's almost as if the director is making a subtle comparison 'tween the danger below the waters surface and the hatred and mistrust bubbling under the surface of the groups relationships.

And here was me just expecting a big fish film, I mean this has got metaphors, social commentary and stuff.

Unfortunately all this is slightly - OK totally - marred by the cack-handed way the whole thing is handled.

Oh yep, and by the big fucking plastic pike obviously.

I'll be honest and say that at times I thought that the fish was some sort of self aware joke being played on the audience that I was just too thick to get but the longer the film went on the more I began to realize that the whole thing was taking itself dead seriously.

By this point I just let the entire thing wash over me and continued watching in the vain hope that they'd manage to escape thanks to Kitty offering to have sex with the fish to distract it.

Will it spoil the movie's outcome to say that I was disappointed?

Johnny Derp.



Good old Larry Fessenden, the horror genre's equivalent to Harvey 'Two Face' Dent from Batman, a fella who when not producing top quality fayre like The Innkeepers and Stake Land or appearing in such winners as You're Next! and The Battery is happy to foist such arse numbing inanity as Wendigo and the N is for Nexus bit of ABC's of Death 2 on us.

For the love of God Larry why?

Just because you've produced and appeared in so many great movies it doesn't mean you have to personally redress the balance by churning out so many bad ones.

Surely Eli Roth can manage that on his own.

Mackenzie Rosman: What a whopper!, check the tasty catch!, can you smell fish? etc.


Larry Fessenden
In it's favour tho' and just like that video you once found of your mum and dad having sex in the garden, Beneath is, in some perverse way infinitely watchable and genuinely enjoyable.




Just possibly not in the way the director intended.

Plus it does feature that fish which in fairness is probably the greatest fresh water fearmonger to hit the big screen since 'John Old Jr.' brought us the classic Shark: Rosso nell'oceano way back in 1984.

So not all bad then?