Monday, July 26, 2010
Daughters Of Darkness (AKA Blood on the Lips, The Promise of Red Lips. 1971)
Dir: Harry Kümel
Cast: Daniele Ouimet, John Karlen, Delphine Seyrig and Andrea Rau.
After enjoying a lovely honeymoon in 'The Europe', the newly-wed couple, mousy Valerie (Ouimet from the instantly forgettable The Possession of Virginia) and her husband, the grumpy (but tres manly) Tom Skerrit-alike Stefan (Cagney and Lacey's Karlen) end up stuck in a dodgy, off season hotel on their way home to dear old Blighty to begin a new life of cricket, cream tea and houseboy buggering.
Vowing to make the best of the situation, the pair unpack their belongings and head down for dinner where they come across (not in that way, well not yet) the hotel's only other guest, a beautiful (in an old ladyish way) countess named Elizabeth Bathory (the late, great and fairly legendary Seyrig) and her drop dead sexy servant, the luscious, librarian-like Ilona (my first ever Barclays, Rau, measurements 35-22-35 fact fans).
whatever a sexy man can!
"I can't tell you how completely happy I am to have you here tonight. You are both so perfect. So good-looking. So sweet." The countess purrs as she eyes Valerie up over the cheese board.
Ilona meanwhile, just gazes at Stefan, licking her full blood red lips.
I don't know about you, but if I was stuck in a rundown Bed and Breakfast with only Countess Blood, Elizabeth Bathory herself for company I'd make my farewells and leave.
No matter how hot her 'companion' was.
But then again, I'm not the wife beating, closet bisexual Stefan, who after spending his first weeks of wedded bliss thrashing Valerie with a belt in between ringing his secret male lover (whom he calls 'mother') whilst wanking into a soiled tissue before tearfully scoffing a Chicken Chow Mien Pot Noodle is looking for a break from his routine.
Valerie, it has to be said, doesn't help matters, seeing as she passes the time just nodding at her hubbie and occasionally trying to unzip his trousers whilst staring into space, her head tilted at a strange (yet not unattractive angle).
But the cold, barren emptiness of the surrounding area (and the fact that the waltzers are shut and that they can't buy any candyfloss anywhere) means the couple have no choice but to hang about with countess and Ilona (well, it's either that or sit playing cards with the toothless concierge all night) and when not lunching together, Stefan is shouting at Valerie or looking lustfully at the countess, not realising it's Valerie she has in her sights.
"Patience," whispers the Countess as she strokes Ilona's ample thigh. "Patience."
Just when you think the movie has forgotten it's actually a vampire film (and you begin to think that it's slow build up to vamp on housewife action is just there to tease you) a bicycle riding wannabe Van Helsing turns up at the hotel looking for vampires and almost immediately deduces that the Countess is one of the bloodsucking undead.
Did her name give her away perchance?
Unfortunately not, it was the fact standing in front of a huge mirror whilst chatting to him casting no reflection as she did so that blew her cover.
The Countess, obviously worried that this badly dressed interloper could spoil her chances of some readers wives style action plots a cunning way to get rid of our vamp vanquishing pal.
But alas, that must have been to complicated to set in motion seeing as the next day she decides to just run him down whilst he's riding his bike.
Why Chris Lee never thought of doing this to Peter Cushing I will never know.
Unfortunately Ilona has forgotten to mention that being a vampire she has an uncontrollable fear of running water (in Stefan's defence, it's not something you think about asking a new girlfriend is it?) and begins screaming and struggling in absolute terror as he tries to tickle her with the loofah.
Managing to break free from Stefan's manly grasp she slips on a bar of soap before accidentally falling onto an open razor.
With her long-time companion dead (and killed by a man to boot), how will the countess react?
And given the choice between cock and quim, what will Valerie choose?
Harry Kümel’s Daughters of Darkness is a great example of a film you sneakily watched as a kid (phwooar...breasts! girl on girl action! etc.) when Channel four showed it in the 80's but then, as you got older you can pretend to appreciate in a totally different way and on a more intellectual level.
Obviously that means you can still love the girl on girl stuff as well as Andrea Rau naked and wet but with more mature eyes, less sexist eyes.
Back to the movie and it's a credit to cinematographer Eduard van der Enden (he of Het huis, Op de Hollandse toer and De werkelijkheid van Karel Appel fame) that Daughters Of Darkness never once betrays its (incredibly) low budget, full as it is of sweeping vistas, perfectly framed stark lonely locations, the eroded, gothic splendour of the hotel mirroring the old worldiness of the countess.
Oh and of course he makes Andrea Rau's perfectly formed arse look magnificent.
Almost as magnificent as the acting from the four leads, from the aforementioned Andrea Rau as the perfectly curvaceous Louise Brooks-alike Ilona; all wistful looks, fluttery eyelashes topped off (tho' not literally mind) with a pair of frankly magnificent breasts to John Karlen's sadistic bastard of a hubbie, Danielle Ouimet's doe eyed wife on the verge of a breakdown and the amazingly seductive Delphine Seyrig as Bathory, a performance that mixes icy European charm, breeding and wit with an underlying air of almost animalistic menace and an unmovable hair-sprayed bouffant.
Stylishly sexy and hip without trying, Daughters of Darkness pre-dates the cultural 'Vampire revolution' started by movies like The Hunger and Teevee fare like Ultraviolet by almost 20 years, and the lack of accepted 'vampire lore' (fangs, shape changing and the like) just adds to the movies unique feel. It's almost as if the (very real) couple have stumbled into a nightmarish Grimm fairytale for adults; where the gingerbread is twice as nice and the evil stepmother is far hotter than the virginal Snow White.
Tho' not as hot as her maid tho'.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
From our man in Havana, Mr. Dissolved Paul comes this beautiful example of 1970's publishing.
"Only 40p son. I was in W.H Smith but they dinnae have it. I said "Well gies a subscription then". They said that "wasn't possible" and they cannie put that kind of stuff oot anymore and that the publishing house burned down in the 70's in some kind of "Mysterious" fire. Well it wasn't a publishing hoose, it was just a cottage in Kent with a wee mangle and some ink. I said "Well have you got somethin' that's a bit dark and mental like this" and they said "Well, we've got a special deal on Top Gear Magazine just now". I said 'but there's nae swingin' witches in that is there ya bam?" bought a Yorkie and walked oot".
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Yup, it can only be...
Dir: Nimród Antal.
Cast: Sir Adrien of Brody, Alice Braga, Topher Grace, Oleg Taktarov, Danny Trejo, Walton Goggins, Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, Louis Ozawa Changchien and Laurence Fishburne.
"Hmm... 5 O'clock... Bitch rapin' time."
Enjoying an afternoon kip on the sofa, beak-nosed bad ass mercenary Ross Royce (the magnificent Brody, star of some of the greatest movies of all time, oh and Splice) is woken by a cold draft down his back and is fairly surprised to find that he's no longer sitting in his conservatory listening to Radio 4 but plummeting to earth with a kiddies lunchbox strapped to his back.
Normal start to the day then.
Luckily the lunchbox contains a groovy glider cum parachute and soon enough Royce is rolling about in the mud, looking all mean and moody whilst trying to recover his dignity.
Within seconds landing tho' Royce is even more surprised (there's a lot of it about) to find himself being machine gunned by a mental Hispanic drug dealer named Cuchillo (the legend that is Danny Trejo), who also seems to have mysteriously parachuted in to this strange and exotic jungle.
Well, I say strange and exotic but it just looks as if they went down to the local park, if you look closely you can actually see the swings in the background.
Being hard nosed bastards the pair indulge in a wee bit of manly bitch slapping before being attacked (hmmm....there seems to be a pattern forming) by a brick-built Russian soldier named Nikolai (Taktarov, star of loads of stuff that I haven't seen and Bad Boys II which I have) carrying what looks like a giant hedge trimmer that spits bullets.
More manliness ensues.
All this slapping and scuffling tho', plus the smell of sweat and piss has attracted the attentions of another military type stuck in the jungle.
Enter (from behind roughly if you're that way inclined) the sexy Israeli sniper Isabelle (button nosed Braga from City of God), whose calm demeanour and smart fringe almost instantly calms the situation and soon enough the merry band are traipsing towards the petting zoo looking for other recently arrived folk.
Knowing that we're here to see some top monster vs. Brody action and not just to watch a bunch of sweaty folk walking thru' a country park it's not long before the rest of the cast are assembled, including Mombasa (Ali) a Sierra Leone bad lad, cool bare foot Yakuza Hanzo (Changchien), death row rapist Stans (Goggins) plus clumsy comedy doctor Edwin (Grace).
As each are introduced they're allowed a few minutes of swearing and of flexing their muscles in an attempt to define their characters.
All except Edwin that is who gets to fall out of a tree in a vaguely amusing Chuckle Brothers manner.
Being the only Oscar winner amongst the cast Royce soon takes charge, deciding that if they walk far enough in the same direction they'll find the park gates or at the very least a climbing frame to stand on so they can shout for their mums.
Everyone agrees and dutifully follows our hero past the rockery (with water feature) along to a big clearing where they're all shocked and stunned to see, not the sky but a huge toddlers drawing of some planets and stuff shoddily hung in front of them.
Are they in an alien adventure playground or are the FX team fucking with the movies budget?
There's unfortunately no time to discuss this as out of nowhere (well the bushes) some spiky headed CGI Shetland ponies appear and start to chase our heroes in a terrifying frenzy of pixelated bloodlust and computer game level tie-in madness.
Seemingly impervious to bullets (sometimes) it's down to Brody's patented five knuckle fist-fuck to render the beasts unconscious.
Putting two and two together (then dividing by monster horsedogs before subtracting originality) Royce figures out that they been kidnapped by aliens then deposited on some kind of intergalactic game preserve to be hunted down like wild animals.
Albeit wild animals with big guns and balls of steel.
And that's just Isabelle.
From now on in it's a battle for survival as Earth's meanest mutha's take on the fanny faced ferocious Predators in a fight to the death.
Or a reheated rehash of the original with a skinny Oscar winner in the place of the pug faced Austrian oak.
Hired by behatted producer Robert Rodriguez (because he was cheap and because Paul WS Anderson was busy probably) to bring his boyhood dream of a halfway decent sequel to the 1987 Schwarzenegger original to the screen, Nimród (Armoured, Vacancy and Kontroll) Antal's boy's own, big(gish) budget 'B' picture is as inoffensive as it is at times annoying.
Looking like it was shot in the producers garden with Playstation quality special effects, Brody seems to be under the impression that he's in Saving Private Ryan whilst a bizarro cameo from a drunken, bloated Laurence Fishburne seems to have been edited in from a completely different draft of the script.
And if you're gonna put Danny Trejo in a movie for fucks sake don't kill him off twenty minutes in.
And then off screen.
Luckily Alice Braga pitches her performance as the hard bitch with a great arse perfectly but you know that when Topher (Venom/Eddie Brock from Spider-Man 3) Grace gives a movies best performance that you're in trouble.
Thankfully tho' before the entire thing falls apart or you start to think too much about the script, Adrien Brody takes his top off, smothers himself in mud and has a fist fight with a tall man in a rubber suit and a string vest.
It's then that it somehow makes it all seems worthwhile.
"Go on, go on, go on".
Pedestrianly directed, pantomimely acted and with special effects as rough as your mum, Predators is far better than the cinematic quagmire that is AvP (1 and 2) but never scales the testosterone and piss stained epicness of the original.
But did anyone honestly think it would be?
Bizarrely enough tho' Predators is still a must see.
And not just for the sight of Adrien Brody's serious actor persona nosediving quicker than the character of Royce in the films pre-credit sequence.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Still working away on a superhero styley strip that needs finishing by end of June (damn having to do paid work, you'd think the kids could live on fresh air for a few months) but didn't want you to all think I'd forgotten you so here's a wee French fancy for your reading pleasure.
Seven Women for Satan (AKA Les week-ends maléfiques du Comte Zaroff. 1976).
Dir: Michel Lemoine.
Cast: Michel Lemoine, Nathalie Zeiger, Howard Vernon, Joëlle Coeur, Sophie Grynholc, Robert Icart, Stephanie Lorry, Patricia Mionet, Emmanuel Pluton, Maria Mancini and Nathalie Zeiger.
Sexy businessman Boris Zaroff (writer/director and general show off Lemoine) is a sexier French version of Sir Alan Sugar, a self made millionaire whose success is all down to hard work and a good dose of old fashioned morals.
Sounds a barrel of laughs that one.
Luckily for us (and the movie) his family history is far from boring and conservative.
You see his dad, the late (as in dead not crap at time keeping) Count Zaroff was a sexually corrupt mentalist who liked nothing better than to hunt unfortunate ladies around his vast estate before torturing them in his deadly dungeon of, um, death upon capture.
If that wasn't enough the family butler Karl (Jess Franco regular and human rodent, the late great Vernon) made a blood pact with the Count on his deathbed to teach young Boris about the pleasures and pain of 'the flesh'.
Well it would be if Boris wasn't such a prudish old sod.
You have to feel for poor Karl, spending his days continuously inviting large breasted burds to the house in the hope that his master will stick something in them.
By this point you can tell he wouldn't mind if it was his cock, a knife or a hamster.
But Boris just can't get the hang of it, sitting as he does in a dribbly, hypnotic state at the first sign of a decent pair of bristols.
All this embarrassing sexual failure is about to change tho' when Boris whilst out for one of his early morning drives, picks up Stephanie (Mancini, probably not the one that was one of Cardinal Mazarin neices or the type of cigar), a young, voluptuous hitch-hiker and invites her back to his castle for an evening of champagne fuelled sexiness.
And surprise surprise he manages it!
Stuck for conversation (and stuck to the sheets) the next morning, Boris offers to escort his new beau around the castles grounds.
Aw what a sweetheart.
Well he would be if halfway round the cabbage patch he didn't try to strangle Stephanie then feebly attempt to convince her that she had a wasp on her neck.
Panicking that he may have made a wee faux pas Boris decides to break the uncomfortable atmosphere by punching his new love in the face, pinning her down an attempting for force feed her dirt.
Which as you can probably guess doesn't impress Stephanie too much, so she decides it'd probably be best to leave.
Boris, rightly worried that he's messed up his one chance of true love gives chase to apologise but Stephanie, being used to running after lifts is too quick for him so Boris (with a confidence that only French men have when seducing ladies) decides to catch her up by using his car.
By catch her up I really mean run her down like a dog and hide her body in the boot.
As you do.
Karl, after standing in the shadows and witnessing the whole sorry event can't believe his eyes. After years of trying to get Boris to follow the family traditions he's overjoyed to see his hard work finally pay off.
Cue ninety minutes of picking up busty babes, sleaze-filled shagging, chasing then torturing them in a variety of sleazily eurotrash ways.
And if you think that's not enough to entertain you there's also a heart breaking love story between batty Boris and a sexy lady ghost.
What's not to love?
Orson Welles wannabe Michel Lemoine's naively heartfelt yet still intellectually challenging discourse on humanities eternal struggle to reconcile the wants of the family with the needs of the individual is quite possibly one of the best movies with the words seven, Satan and women in the title ever committed to celluloid.
Lost for decades after the French authorities (who were probably too busy burning British beef, sinking Greenpeace boats and worshipping at the altar of Jerry Lewis at the time to truly appreciate it) banned the film for being 'too bouncy', Seven Women for Satan has never received the praise or cult standing it truly deserves and is only available now thanks to Lemoine himself having a not too knackered copy lying about in his cupboard just waiting for someone to have the vision to release the thing onto an unsuspecting public.
Which means we can finally forgive Mondo Macabro from punting the terrifyingly bad Queen of Black Magic onto us a few years back.
With it's deceptively linear storytelling, Lemoine's film comes across as a kind of junior Jess Franco aimed at the under 12's (Cassidy will testify to that), especially the one's who like their victims a wee bit more on the curvy (and not to say massively bushed) side.
Any of your kids got a party coming up soon because that's the only excuse you need to get this.
And trust me, little Jimmy or Jennifer's friends will love it too.