Thursday, February 23, 2017

Bloody Pit of Horror, Torturing the Impure

The benefits of being the BFF of the Marquis De Sade are numerous.  In the case of The Crimson Executioner, the most notable perk is an endless supply of nubile young lasses.  See, if you're the Crimson Executioner, you have your work cut out for you.  The impure must be cleansed and removed from the general population.  Oh those problematic young beauties...flaunting their bodies and spreading immorality throughout society...yep...The Crimson Executioner is just the guy to restore morality and purity throughout Europe.  Today we look at an Italian horror film from 1965, "Bloody Pit of Horror."  Oh yes!  This cinematic masterpiece is filmed in PSYCHOVISION!!!
For centuries The Crimson Executioner's corpse has been locked in an iron maiden in the dungeon of an old Italian castle.  Enter a photo shoot featuring four super-models to be photographed for pics in a book of pulp murder stories.  Unaware that a strange man, Travis (Mickey Hagerty) resides in the castle, the team enter and explors.  Uh oh, accidentally the seal of the iron maiden is knocked off, releasing the spirit of The Crimson Executioner.  This will begin a downward spiral for the nubile super-models. As Travis meets his unwanted guests, he invites them to stay after eyeing Edith (Luisa Baratto), the secretary.  Even worse, the spirit of the executioner seems to possess him.
The models, posing in various shots of homicide featuring torture equipment, start falling.  The stunning Hawaiian model, Kinojo (Moa Tahi) will be forced into a huge spider web and we witness her very slow and painful death as a huge spider messes up her face.  Walter Brandi plays Rick, the hero, and he tries his best to save the girls....actually, he is very slow and lacks any sense of immediacy...but he is a hunk.  As Rick plods along, the fiend captures the remaining girls and begins doing awful things to their bodies and well being with the assistance of awful torture devices.  The scantily clad models are just too much for The Crimson Executioner's hormones, and he is in rare form, even for a centuries old monster.
Will Rick be able to speed up a bit and save any of the lovelies?  Does The Crimson Execution have valid points we can take away from this film concerning the virtues of modesty and purity?  Directed by Massimo Pupillo, "Bloody Pit of Horror" is a gratuitous exploitation, Euro-horror film relying on scantily clad, sweaty women in much peril.  Of course, what else can we expect from a film featuring the Marquis De Sade's main man?

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Phantom Light, Eerie Doings in Wales

Ghosts! Murder! Sabotage! Insanity! Conspiracy!  Oh yes, a good one today.  Set in an old lighthouse off the coast of Wales, we have 1935's "The Phantom Light." Dark nights, raging seas, claustrophobic settings highlight this horror/mystery tale.  Throw in a ditzy blonde, who may know a lot more than she is letting on, and plenty of nefarious lighthouse staff folk, and we're ready to go.
Sam (Gordon Harker) is a sharp and witty lighthouse master.  As the film begins he arrives in Wales to take over at a mysterious lighthouse. Mysterious may be an understatement.  The previous lighthouse masters have disappeared, presumably murdered.  Oh yes, the lighthouse's torch extinguishes at most inconvenient times, as a phantom light illuminates the night sky leading ships to their rocky doom.  Uh oh...or oh boy, depending on your outlook, also arriving at the same time as Sam is Alice (Binnie Hale).  She's beautiful and apparently nubile and vulnerable.  Who is Alice?  A psychic investigator?  A cop? An actress?  Her ability to be truthful is lacking.  She teams up with a square jawed reporter, Jim (Ian Hunter).
Sam wants to get to work and has no time for Alice and Jim.  This duo wants to investigate hi-jinx at the lighthouse.  Sam arrives for duty and finds a weird staff.  One of his men has been driven totally mad...but by what...or who?  As weird events commence, the safety of everyone in the house is jeopardized.  In a small rowboat, Jim arrives with Alice.  On cue, the insaniac gets loose and carnage begins felling the staff.  Uh oh again...a plethora of events knock out the light and the mystery light illuminates the sky.  Is it ghostly forces playing havoc with the ships, or is it something more sinister. Just who is Alice, and why is she half naked?  Is Jim really a reporter?
The incredibly witty dialog between Alice and Sam highlight this story.  As alluring as Alice is, Sam never trusts her...but should he?   This film, directed by Michael Powell,  is incredibly atmospheric and borders on being part-comedy.  For an effective chiller, with a terrific mystery, see "The Phantom Light."

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Pigs, Men are Pigs...Women are Psychos

Ahhh, pigs and the psychos who love them. We will avoid dissecting a 1970s drive-in film for the social commentary and take a literal look at 1972's "Pigs."  Who among us hasn't scrambled for a quick and easy way to get rid of a corpse?  As our friends in the 4H Club will tell us, feeding human remains to pigs is the only sure fire way to do just that. So, in cities or suburban areas, we still rely on vats of acid, but in rural areas...well...you use what you have...pigs!
Lynn (Billy Bob Thornton's ex-wife, Toni Lawrence) murders her dad when he tries to rape her.  This violent reaction lands her in the state mental hospital (the 1970s, such a judgmental decade). She is certifiable as she still has imaginary conversations with the fiend.  Like all good asylum inmates, she escapes.  She ends up at Zambrini's (Marc Lawrence) place.  This old man runs a diner and pig farm. This weird guy robs cemeteries and morgues for corpses, as his pigs only eat human flesh.  Zambrini hires Lynn as a waitress and lets her live in a back room.
The only young women in 100 miles, Lynn draws immediate attention from the roughnecks working in the oil fields.  Ben (Paul Hickey) is the first to come calling. He sees Lynn as fresh meat, and she sees him as her dad.  During pre-marital sex, she castrates Ben and then continues to slash away. Un phased, Zambrini takes Ben's remains and feeds him to his animals.  Sheriff Cole (Jesse Vint) starts coming around and asking questions about missing corpses and Ben.  He is suspicious of Lynn and Zambrini's desire to protect her.  Lynn will keep on killing and the pigs will get fatter.  Zambrini better watch out as any man, in Lynn's unstable mind, becomes her dad.
As the mental hospital and law get closer to unraveling Lynn's secrets, she gets bolder.  Is Lynn a victim giving men exactly what they deserve?  Or is Lynn just plain insane?  What exactly are the pigs a metaphor for? Okay, that's an easy one.  The ending will have us all screaming "Ouch!" Perhaps "Pigs" is the film that "Charlotte's Web" would have been if Tobe Hooper had been the director.  Either way, for some nice, gory 1970s drive-in fare, see "Pigs."

Friday, February 17, 2017

Winterbeast, Clay-mation Terror

How can a 1992 film utilizing clay-mation and stop-motion f/x  for the creatures be bad?  Exactly!  "Winterbeast" may be low-budget and suffer from sub-par acting and writing, but it is so much fun. In an age of overused CGI, this Massachusetts made horror film is so refreshing.  Fans of Ray Harryhausen will love the effort by film-maker Christopher Thies.
The first 30 seconds of "Winterbeast" will grab you.  A little monster jumps out of someone's gut and a mangled park ranger begins pulling off his own flesh.  On a mysterious New England mountain, ancient Indian curses are causing havoc.  Park ranger Bill (Tim. R. Morgan) has been having nightmares (premonitions?) about the evil doings and wants to find one of his rangers who is missing on the mountain.  His sidekick, ranger Stillman (Mike Magri), who loves whiskey and porn, is hardly capable of assisting him.  Uh oh, a totem pole comes to life and grabs a nude woman from her cabin.  Double uh-oh, a huge bear-like creature comes out of the ground and mangles two babe hikers.
The local resort lodge is owned by a demented Malcolm McDowell type figure, Dave (Bob Harlow). He is upset at the rangers because they are scaring away his customers.  But wait!  This proprietor may be hiding something very sinister.  As more creatures take shape and more rangers and hikers get ripped apart, Ranger Bill realizes he needs to confront Dave.  Will Dave be able to convince Ranger Bill that boating accidents killed the hikers?
 Filled with gratuitous gore and nudity, "Winterbeast" is the perfect film for a cold winter's night. The above mentioned f/x are corny and over-the-top, but that's how we like them. Sure the plot is choppy but true horror film fans will have no problem following the ominous evil story-line.  Instead of paying over ten bucks to see the new "Fifty Shades" film, go to YouTube and see something fun.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Witchboard, Ouija Board Havoc

The very beautiful Tawny Kitaen has a ferocious side.  In 2002 she kicked the daylights out of her husband, Major League pitcher, Chuck Finley.  15 years previous, in the 1986 film "Witchboard," a possessed Kitaen would do the same to actor Todd Allen.  I'm not saying that playing around with a Ouija board in that horror film doomed Finley's fate, but one never knows about that paranormal stuff.  We can say that no one has ever used a Ouija board and later remarked, "...gee, I'm so glad we thought of using a Ouija board, that worked out well."
The sultry Linda (Kitaen) isn't too bright. As our film opens, she is hosting a party in which she has invited her current beau, the loser Jim (Allen) and her ex-main squeeze, the arrogant Brandon (Stephen Nichols). What could go wrong? Funny you asked...Brandon pulls out his Ouija board and contacts the spirit of a little boy, David, with Linda.  David is quite taken with the shapely redhead and the excitement begins.  But is Linda's new friend really the spirit of a boy?  The spirit gets possessive and tries to kill Jim, resulting in the death of Jim's friend.   Uh oh, the diminutive Linda begins to change and exhibits some anti-social behavior.
As Linda continues to fall under the spell of the increasingly malignant spirit, Jim and Brandon team up to save her.  They bring in a weird medium, Zarabeth (Kathleen Wilhoite) who determines that whoever Linda is communicating with is dangerous.  Zarabeth will soon be impaled, leaving our two boyfriends ill equipped to handle this otherworldly threat. As bodies begin to pile up and Jim and Brandon unravel the mystery of David and the spirit possessing Linda, our damsel now becomes a threat.  Will the spirit kill either Jim or Brandon, making Linda's decision on who to marry an easy one?
Directed by Kevin Tenney, "Witchboard" inspired many sequels, as well as more low-budget Ouija board films.  Todd Allen is terrific and presents himself as someone we'd all like to have a beer with. Kitaen is beautiful and does have some gratuitous shower scenes for you more juvenile fans of slasher films.  So...next time the party you're at gets a bit slow, and some idiot pulls out a Ouija board...RUN!!!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Iced, A Naked Wednesday

She's all grown up!  America's favorite macabre kiddo...Wednesday (Lisa Loring) from the 1960's hit show, "The Addams Family."  In 1988's "Iced," Lisa Loring delivers a mostly nude and very bouncy performance before meeting an icy demise...also in the nude.  Like skinny dipping, nude romps in hot-tubs are never survived.  In this slasher film, set at a ski resort, will anyone survive?
Jeff (Dan Smith) is fresh out of a lunatic asylum.  I guess we can all relate to that...there are those voices again!  At a ski week-end with his buds, he tries to make advances on the lovely Trina (Debra De Liso).  Go figure, Trina is into sane men and rejects Jeff for the hunk Cory (Doug Stevenson). This leads to the unbalanced Jeff hitting the ski slopes in rage and getting himself killed....or so it seems.  Now, four years later, all these friends are lured back to this resort by a property company.
Now Cory and Trina are married.  Jeanette (Loring) is on the outs with her boyfriend, who was mowed down by a snow plow in an earlier scene.  Diane (Elizabeth Gorcey) and John (John C. Cooke) are also married (unfortunately, they are pictured above).  Oh yes, Carl (Ron Kologie) is a rich coke-head.  Uh oh, subtle clues are scattered through the ski chalet that indicate Jeff may not be dead.  The very handsome real estate guy arrives, Alex (Joseph Alan Johnson).  Alex informs our gang that Jeff was sent an invitation and accepted.  How can that be, unless he's not dead.  This sends our party into panic mode.  On cue, they start dying horrible deaths.  Icicles, bear-traps, a knife, and an outdoor heater are all used to dispatch these peeps.
As the lovely Trina, without pants, is chased through the snow, someone (...could it be Jeff?) has extra special plans for her.  Is anyone left alive who could help this half nude damsel?  Could Jeff have survived his death four years ago?  Does the frigid setting of a Utah ski resort have any bonuses for slasher film fans during the plethora of gratuitous nude scenes?  For some winter fun, and some nice kills, see "Iced" (aka "Blizzard of Blood").

Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Bleeder, Death of the Rock Cats

They're beautiful. They're blonde. They wear tight satin pants, high-heeled boots and leopard print tops. They will make you forget about ABBA and Roxette.  The Swedish all-girl band Rock Cats! Uh oh, these damsels will be put in great distress and might not survive a Swedish slasher.  Today we peek at a slasher film from Sweden, 1983's "The Bleeder" (aka "Blodaren").
On their way to their next gig, the bus carrying the Rock Cats breaks down in a Swedish forest.  In costume, as mentioned above, and carrying guitars, they seek a nearby village.  Eek...it's a ghost town inhabited by the bleeder.  This unfortunate insaniac has a blood condition that causes blood to constantly drip from his eyes.  His backstory?  It's a gruesome one. This fiend loves pretty women, and the Rock Cats send his hormones off the chart.  Unbeknownst to our babes, the bleeder begins following them through the ghost town.  Maria (Maria Landberg) will stray off the path and...well...take a gander at the below picture. Eva (Eva Danielsson) will be next, and to her dismay, the bleeder plays with her before offing her.
As a benign wilderness officer (Danne Strahed) gets word of the psycho, he heads to the ghost town. In the mean time Axet (Sussi Ax), Mia (Mia Hanssen), and Nulle (Agneta Ohlund) will have a difficult time, in their heels and tight pants, eluding our fiend. Does the bleeder want to kill all the babes?  Well, the opening scene of the film suggests he has something more nefarious, and perverted in mind.
The gals are very pretty and we pull for them, though our affection for them will be futile. Who among the Rock Cats will be the final girl?  Does the bleeder desire to be the breeder?  Will the resurgence of this film revive the popularity of Swedish all-girl bands?  Are the Rock Cats a cheap Swedish rip-off of Shonen Knife?  This film inspires so many deep questions, but just enjoy this as a slasher chases babes film from the 1980s.