miércoles, 17 de marzo de 2010

Luchadores De Las Estrellas

If you know me or have seen my blog in any way, you know that I have an undying passion for Mexican wrestling movies. I love the fantasy stories, I love the superhero aspect to them, the romance, the monsters, the wrestling movies, everything. After the death of El Santo in 1984, the films began to go down heavily, but once in a while they would come back, not exactly in their old way. In the 90’s, the wrestling films became grittier, more realistic, such as Lucha A Muerte and other films like that. But one of them decided to go against the mold, and try to be a family-friendly kiddie fantasy. It didn’t really work.
The story concerns a female wrestler named Larossa, played by Gloria Mayo, who is an alien princess in disguise. One day, an alien spaceship arrives containing a huge intergalactic vampire and three alien midgets who are on the search for this woman, probably to kill her. With the help of two athletic wrestlers, Misterioso and Volador, she fights against this evil creature. That’s the basic plot. Sadly, it wasn’t enough. The problem with this movie isn’t that it’s a badly made film. After all, when you watch a Mexican wrestling film, you’re not expecting Ben Hur or anything like that. The problem with it is that it’s boring, very very boring. The heroes are bland and dull, carrying no personality whatsoever. When Blue Demon made a cameo, all I could wish was that he had been the lead wrestler, because he’s so damn cool. Misterioso and Volador are just not up to par with the classic wrestlers, and the bad guy, played by the gigantic Nitron, over-acts like hell and is as scary as Grampa on Halloween.
The movie does have one thing where it shines, and that’s in the wrestling sequences. In the old movies, these where some of my least favorite scenes, but not here. They’re shot with a lot of energy, and the wrestlers display their movies quite well,, doing high-flying stunts and kicking ass all over the place. Even the lead, Gloria Mayo, does a good job wrestling, unless it was a double. It reminded me of the TLC matches between The Dudley Boys and The Hardy Boys back in the start of the millenium: just a lot of cool moves and stunts. But as I said, those are the few rays of light in a very dull film. Maybe it’s not always good to be in the fantasy world. Maybe once in a while, you should be more realistic, like in the fighting sequences. Pass on it.

martes, 16 de marzo de 2010

Emanuelle In America

Laura Gemser stars as Emanuelle, a black version of the famous literary sex icon, and an investigative reporter and photographer who lives in New York. When she’s not working on photographing naked women, she goes to investigate different sex rackets all over the world. When she poses as a high-class hooker (basically), she discovers a home where rich people go and have sex, and realizes that these people are actually working on a network of snuff films. Now it’s up to Emanuelle to put the lid off this network of evil, no matter who might get pissed off, or who she might have to fuck.
This was directed by Joe D’Amato, one of my favorite directors in the exploitation genre. His movies range from the awesome (Buio Omega), to the mediocre (Porno Holocaust), and everything in between, including high-class porn. Emanuelle in America is probably his best film, as it features everything that the guy truly made great. He really hit gold when he found Laura Gemser, a tall, black, nubian goddess with an incredible body and a very interesting face, and willing to do everything short of hardcore. Here we see her in full glory, having sex with everyone, including the hot as hell Lorraine De Salle (Cannibal Ferox). Gemser would go Around The World, into the White Slave Trade, to an island of Lost Cannibals and into a Women’s Prison Massacre, and she always managed to get naked and have sex.
There is a lot of explicit, pornographic sex in this film, and boy do they do it with gusto. This isn’t like Porno Holocaust, where we see a woman sucking on a flaccid penis, here it’s pure hardcore and shot beautifull, by the way. We have interracial threesomes, s&m/abuse, just a lot of kinky sex. The king scene of course, is the woman masturbating the horse. You’ll either be grossed out, or aroused. That woman sure haves fun playing with that gigantic pink and black dick!
The movie gets really good when the snuff subplot pops in, and are the best sequences in the film. Gemser’s reaction to watching a snuff film are really interesting, as she seems to be both being repulsed, and being aroused at the same time. It makes for more interesting watching, instead of seeing Nicolas Cage in 8mm groaning and making faces and showing us yet again why he’s such a bad actor. The snuff film itself looks surprisingly realistic, with lips being ripped apart, backs and bodies being mutilated, and more disturbing of all, a woman being impaled by a giant, spiked dildo. Ouch! The makeup is incredible and disturbingly realistic, and even made me cringe. Sadly, the movie goes downhill when the snuff subplot ends, and the ending is completely ridiculous. Still, this is a great exploitation movie, one of the best, and is D’Amato’s best.

Robot Monster

The 1950’s was the Atomic Age, a period in cinema where we were afraid the governments were going to blow the shit out of each other and the fear of nuclear war. Since people didn’t know much about nuclear power, the shit could manifest itself in any way possible, including the arrival of an alien race that has a power that is superior to nuclear power. That superior power came on film, in 1953, thanks to one particular movie by a young eccentric named Phil Tucker. That monster is the Ro-Man, and that film is Robot Monster.
The story is simple: the Ro-Man wipes out most of the earth’s population, with the exception of a small group of people. Hiding out in Bronson Canyons with his television/interstellar phone, and a bubble machine, this creature terrorizes the family until he realizes he has the hots for the young woman in the group (played by Claudia Barrett, who looks a lot like Lynn Carlin from Cassavettes’ Faces). Why do all the monsters get the hots for women? Oh well. This movie gets a lot of flack as being one of the worst science fiction films of all time, and if you judge it as a sci-fi film, then yes I agree, this movie is terrible. But as a monster movie, this is really damn fun. The acting isn’t that bad, and the music score, by Elmer Bernstein, is really impressive. Bernstein would go on to make the soundtracks for The Great Escape and The Magnificent Seven. Technically speaking, the film has a lot of bizarre elements, particularly with it’s editing and use of special effects. You can see the black-gloved hand in the plane sequences, and the inter-cutting with dinosaur movie footage really makes you say ‘what the fuck’. I guess the bad reputation this movie has comes from the titular monster, the Ro-Man. Besides having a ridiculous name, he has a ridiculous look, akin to a gorilla with a diving helmet on. John Brown performed as the beast, and most of the time the film features the guy either coming in and out of the cave, or going up and down a mountain, cut in between his bizarre ravings (“Fool humans! There is no escape!”) and occasional murders. Poor John really seems to have been very tired on this thing, as once in a while he looks like he’s about to fall on his face. But to it’s credit, the monster is very memorable and I doubt that the movie would be this entertaining without it. So stop with the Ro-Man hate, discover this little monster movie gem and you’ll find yourself laughing and having fun at something really unique. Phil Tucker, there was no reason to try to kill yourself.

Blaze Starr Goes Nudist and Nude On The Moon

Doris Wishman was a very peculiar filmmaker. She was this nice little old lady who would also make these sexploitation movies, going from your innocent nudie cuties/nudist camp films, to the roughies, and before making her most notorious work in the 70’s with Deadly Weapons, The Amazing Transplant and Let Me Die A Woman, merging into the porn business and then ending it all with the surrealistically horrible slasher film, A Night To Dismember. But she is mostly remembered for her nudie cuties, and we’re going to talk about two of the most famous of her films. Blaze Starr, the “famous” burlesque/striptease artist from the 50’s and 60’s, stars as herself in this particular production, where Blaze is supposed to be a famous actress who is truly stressed about her job. She decides to get away from it all and join a nudist camp, where she finds true happiness with a true love, while still able to hold a career. Nude On The Moon features a more ambitious plot. A duo decide to finance a trip to the moon by themselves and when they arrive, they discover that the moon looks like a Florida nudist camp, and is populated by male and female nudists. Hey, why the fuck not? Both films are very interesting, to say the least. They are romantic fairy tales, as we now know that they were made by a sad and mournful filmmaker so that she could escape the sadness of her husband passing away. You can see in these films the fact that she was trying to recuperate from something very sad, as they are both about escaping some sort of complacent, conformist universe and being able to find a better life, and a better love. But who am I kidding? The only reason you have an interest in this film is nudity, and there’s plenty. But this nudity is surprisingly unsexy. Blaze Starr is very beautiful and has a very voluptuous body, aka big tits and big ass, but other than showing it off, there is really nothing sexual about it. It’s the same for the rest of the camp. They do things like play volleyball, shoot arrows, row on a boat, swim, and dance, all in the nude, and all in positions where we don’t get to see any of the downstairs areas. So in many ways, it’s very innocent. It can also get very boring, like most nudist camps are. But the two films have interesting stories, even with it’s budgetary flaws and obvious lack of direct sound. My personal favorite would have to be Blaze Starr Goes Nudist… but I blame Blaze’s figure on that.

Requiem For A Vampire

Categorizing the films of Jean Rollin are a true waste of time. He is one of the most unique filmmakers working in horror, doing his own artistic way and being different from what the genre expects, whether you like him or not. He mostly dealt in the erotic vampire genre, although he did deviate once in a while, in some cases good (Grapes of Death, Night of the Hunted) and in some cases bad (that awful, awful nazi zombie film Jess Franco had to complete). This is one of his best films, and it’s not hard to see why. The movie begins with three robbers, one man and two women, who are being chased by the cops after what we believe to be is a botched robbery. The two girls, dressed as clowns, escape and roam around the countryside, stealing food, avoiding getting raped and escaping being buried alive, until they find an abandoned castle. After a night of lesbian sex (of course), they find that the castle is inhabited by vampires. The vampires turn the young girls into the living dead, but soon their vampirism starts getting in the way of their friendship, and it’s up to them, with the help of an elder vampire, to be able to keep that lesbian friendship while at the same time not getting eaten alive by the older female vampires. As you can see, the erotic and horror angles are well balanced. There is also a lot of great production design. The castle looks gothic as all hell, mirroring anything that Hammer could have made, while at the same time looking less fantastic and more down-to-earth. We know this is mostly because of budget restrains, but still. The actors here are very natural, particularly the two leading girls, who act as if they were real lovers. There is a lot of sex appeal between the two and it transfers well outside the screen. That’s actually as far as I can say when it comes to a Jean Rollin film. It’s like junkfood: it can’t be recommended, you have to taste it yourself and tell me what you think. But if you like the mix of the erotic, the surreal, and the gothic horror, I doubt this will disappoint.

La Endemoniada

We all love Amando De Ossorio here in the Grimly Fiendish blog. After all, he gave us the Blind Dead films, one of the best of the horror series, as far as I’m concerned. We even love his shitty monster movie from the early 80’s, The Sea Serpent, which was reviewed recently, right here on this blog. But even the people you love do pieces of shit once in a while. For every Brazil, Baron Munchausen and Time Bandits that Terry Gilliam puts out, there is also The Brothers Grimm, and for every Alien, Blade Runner and Legend that Ridley Scott puts out, he also puts out crap like, well, everything after those three. So yes, every filmmaker makes a bad movie once in a while, and De Ossorio did one of his bad movies in 1975 when he decided that the best way to go to deviate from his Blind Dead films was to release a truly terrible Exorcist rip-off. The story involves a young girl who gets possessed by an evil gypsy, who wants to kill everyone in the family after being accused of killing a child in a satanic ritual. The problem is not that this is an Exorcist ripoff. After all, I’ve seen many of them and they’re pretty sleazy, like Antichrist from Italy and Exorcism from Spain. The problem with this particular film is that it doesn’t go far enough. Sure, there are some things that might make you giggle once in a while, like when they sacrifice a baby (offscreen, sadly) and the young girl possessed castrates a guy (offscreen, again). You never see them because of Ossorio’s unusual restrain, but jus thinking about them sure made me grin. Sadly, because De Ossorio decided to use a young girl instead of a beautiful woman like most of the ripoffs do, we don’t get enough perverse sex and violence, which is what we look for in these kinds of films. You get a lot of cursing, but if you saw the first one, it’s nothing new. Along with all this, we get a pretty dull cast of nobodies, and by nobodies I mean that you don’t remember any of them as the movie goes along, their faces and performances are as bland as it gets. The production design, which is where this movie should have shone, is pretty flat and looks more like a catholic school’s rendition of what a satanic ritual might look like. Add to that the boredom of the story and lack of sleaziness, and you got yourself a pretty forgettable, dull movie. I don’t know what happened to De Ossorio, considering how sleazy his Blind Dead films are, and Night of the Sorcerers is, but I guess he needed to pay the lights, because this movie has zero creativity, and zero scares. Pass on it.

sábado, 13 de marzo de 2010

Yes, I know, Corey Haim is dead...

But at least Corey Hart is still alive.

Don't mess around with the main in the shades, oh no... oh no

Naked Blood

Some movies are cool because they are genuinely good, others because they have a certain atmosphere. Others however, are just cool because of how far they are willing to go, and will show you things that you have never seen before. Naked Blood is one of these movies. Directed by Hisayasu Sato, the film deals with a young scientist named Eiji (Sadao Abe) who develops a new vaccine that creates pain into sexual pleasure. She injects this new vaccine into three willing test subjects. And while two of them react to them violently, one doesn’t seem to be affected by it at all. Eiji investigates, and soon discovers there is something darker than he might have liked to find find out. The story is obviously a little more complicated than that, but I can’t really say much without revealing what makes this movie so damn special. Director Hisayasu Sato was one of the filmmakers that re-introduced the Pinku Eiga genre into a new generation of Japanese filmmakers, but with this film, he stretches out the themes of the pinku into darker places. Yes, the elements of nudity, obsession and dark sexuality are still in there, but the violence is taken to levels that most Pinku films would never dream of. The characters who mutilate themselves, the two women, do so matching their own personalities. For example, the girl who loves to eat decides that nothing is good enough anymore, so she decides to eat herself. First she fries her hand and eats it off, then her nipple, her vagina and finally, her eyeball. She literally eats herself to death, and we see it in all it’s explicit glory. The other girl, a model, begins to see imperfections all over her body, so she decides to destroy herself by stabbing and piercing herself, mutilating her body until it has no more blood. Again, we see it all in all it’s explicit and gory detail, and it’s really fucked up. But not as fucked up as the third act, where the third girl, Rika (played magnificently by Misa Akika), reveals her deepest secrets about who she is to our young scientisst. I won’t give it away but it’s deeply disturbing and made me lose my lunch when I first saw this at the beginning of the millenium. This is a movie that should not be missed by anyone, a perfect blend of sex, violence and gore, with a story that would have made Hitchcock proud. Instead of wasting your money on that horrible new Alice in Wonderland movie, go watch this.

King Of The Lost World

Oh, The Asylum, will you ever learn? This movie has the balls to say it’s based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic adventure story, The Lost World. Yeah, and I’m a Japanese anorexic albino. Truth is, this is The Asylum’s answer to Peter Jackson’s King Kong, which I happen to like less than this particular film (worship the original, though). A plane crashes in the middle of a dense tropical island, where the survivors are forced to live from the land and try to survive, not only from each other, but from different dangers such as giant animals and a giant gorilla.
As you can imagine, this movie doesn’t take just from King Kong, but is also inspired by Jurassic Park and the tv series, Lost, which I’ve personally never seen an episode of. The story is not that different from your typical adventure yarns from the 30’s and 40’s, so if you enjoy those like I do, there is no reason why you shouldn’t like this movie. Acting wise, the movie is populated by the familiar faces, if you’re familiar with the films from The Asylum, such as Jeff Denton, Christina Rosenberg (who was in The Telling) and the beautiful Sarah Leaving, who was in such ‘classics’ as 666: The Child, The Hitchhiker and Invasion of the Pod People. They are all good-looking and they all do a good job. Steve Railsback also shows up, and again, he looks like he’s on coke. Sadly, the movie has one huge flaw, and that’s the monsters. It's CGI all the way. And not good CGI. We get a big spider, some big scorpions, some flying dragons, and of course the giant gorilla. The CGI critters are all pretty unconvincing and detract from the film. Also, there's just not much monster action, and most of what little there is takes place in the third act. The CGI gorilla, which we don't see much of at all, doesn't so much look like a CGI gorilla as it does a CGI man in a gorilla costume. Pretty disappointing, but still, the overall film is not that bad, I mean, it’s The Asylum. I’ll take their movies over Roland Emmerich’s any day.

Truth Or Dare double feature

I am a big fan of Tim Ritter’s films, in particular his ‘masterpiece’, Killing Spree. It’s one of the movies that has inspired me more than any other, and these are also pretty famous, as far as his filmography is concerned. I was able to track down some copies for the first two films in the series, and I have to say I found them surprisingly interesting, in more ways than one.
The first Truth Or Dare deals with a man named Mike Strauber (John Brace), a mentally disturbed man who goes over the edge when he finds out his wife is having an affair with another man. He reverts to his youth where he would play perverted games in truth or dare, and so he becomes a cold-blooded insane psycho killer who ends up in an insane asylum. There he scars his face (again, playing truth or dare) and escapes with a gold mask, and starts killing people again.
This is essentially a slasher film, but I have to give it some credit for being more ambitious than most. It takes it’s time to be very psychological, really letting us get into the psyche of our character and showing how rejection can turn a normal man into a monster. The deaths are very original as well, although on a very small budget. John Brace is really good in the role, and I actually ended up giving a crap about the guy, even if he was something of a psycho.
A few years later, Ritter made the sequel, Truth Or Dare 2: Wicked Games, or as my copy says, simply Wicked Games. Again, the film explores the theme of rejection as it’s main driving force, this time featuring three different characters: a guy with a badass mullet who loses his wife, a policeman, and a doctor. People around them, including random sex workers, get themselves violently murdered by a psychopath wearing a modified gold mask, similar to the one worn by the original killer. Is it the original Mike Strauber, back to kill some more, or is there something more sinister going on?
The movie’s death scenes are sadly more disappointing and generic compared to those of the original, with the exception of the sprinkler death scene. Yes, the sprinkler death scene, something so ridiculous I give credit to Ritter for having the balls to film it in something that takes itself so seriously. The women look like skanky porn stars, which isn’t a bad thing in my book, but their acting talents are not very interesting. Neither is the acting talent of our three leads, who don’t shine nowhere as much as John Brace.
There is a third film in the series, but I haven’t seen it yet. In the end, however, both movies are very good, very interesting and very original slasher films. Sure, they have some faults, but most of these are budgetary, not in it’s imagination, and they come highly recommended.

Cindy & Donna

Cindy (Debbie Osbourne) & Donna (Nancy Ison) are two very attractive sisters with two very different mentalities. You see, Cindy is the virginal type, afraid of sex and what it changes it gives to women. Meanwhile, Donna is a full-blown whore who will sleep with everyone with a pulse, and does. Cindy keeps watching Donna up to the point where she even sees her having sex with their teenage-starved father. Now that’s what I call loose! Donna, being the good sister that she is, introduces Cindy to sex, and all kinds of kinky sex, from posing in photos to having group sex. As you can imagine, everything ends in tragedy. Yes, this is your typical moralistic sexploitation movie you seem to get in the late 60’s and early 70’s, showing how sex can turn families into skanks. So that angle gives it a more hilarious angle. I also have to give it credit for the cinematography. For a movie that was made in 1970, I was surprised by how good this film looks, as it looks more like it was shot in the late 70’s. Sadly, there’s not much to recommend in this movie. The acting is atrocious for the most part, done by actresses who were never able to get out of the sexploitation genre. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but considering Nancy Ison’s other movie is the dreadful The Stewardesses, I’m not surprised. Thankfully most of the young actresses get naked, a lot, and very explicitly short of showing us her vagina. Speaking of nudity, there’s a young actress who plays a 17 year old stripper who has sex with the girl’s father. Who is this woman? She is incredibly hot! So yes, this movie is good if you need to pull your pud, but it’s got no energy our soul, but you’ll definitely get entertainment value from it’s high moralistic tone.

Malibu High

Jill Lansing plays Kim, an attractive high schooler who looks surprisingly in her 20’s who lives your typical high school girl’s life. In other words, it’s a pain in the ass. Her mother nags her all the time, her grades are going down, she has no money, and worse of all her boyfriend has left her for a rich girl. What’s a girl to do? Why, turn into a hooker, of course! At first she gets hired by a lower-ring pimp, but her oral and sexual talents move her on up into a top prostitution ring. But soon her talents are used to less reputable uses, such as blackmailing her teachers into giving her good grades for sexual favors. It’s no surprise that her interests turn her into a contract killer.
This movie is one of the most famous sexploitation movies of the 1970’s, and it’s pretty easy to see why. It’s a very sleazy film, and it’s hilarious in a very good way. What makes the film so interesting is the story, which is ludicrous in most ways possible. You get your teenage prostitution ring subplot, and you get your weird third act change, where the lead turns into a trigger-happy contract killer. It kind of reminded me of a cheesier version of The Cheerleaders, a recent film that just came out. The title, however, is incredibly misleading. The film should have been called “I Was A Teenage Thrill-Killing Prostitute”. Hey, that’s a good title! I should copyright it and make a movie with that title.
Jill Lansing’s performance carries the film. She’s sexy and has some down-to-earth good looks, with tan lines that could kill a cow. It’s too bad she never seems to have done anything at all, before or after, at least based on the Internet Movie Database. Does anybody know what happened to this trigger-happy whore? I’d love to know. This movie is pretty memorable and very fun, and comes highly recommended. I hope it gives you as many boners as it gave me.

martes, 9 de marzo de 2010

Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus

There have been many unanswered questions about life, great mysteries that are never going to be resolved. Where is the Ark of the Covenant? Will we ever find the Holy Grail? And of course, what would win in a fighting death match, a giant octopus or a megalodon. The real answer is, who gives a shit? And of course, it’s those good old boys from The Asylum who decided to give us the answer. Now, unless you live under a rock, the Asylum is a direct-to-DVD video company which basically rips off popular films and make unabashed ripoffs on a lower budget. In their defense, this kind of exploitation filmmaking is as old as film itself, hell Hollywood does it all the time, and not all of the Asylum’s films are crap. And this one has it’s moments of greatness. The story involves a nuclear explosion that frees the two prehistoric beasts from a frozen glacier and unleash them onto the world. They go around killing people and destroying cities, until scientists composed of Americans and Japanese make a plan to get the two beasts together and have them have their ultimate death match, and finally kill each other off. The casting is pretty interesting, and inspired to say the least. Debbie Gibson, or shall I say, Deborah, plays our lead scientist. You might think this is silly, considering the last time I heard of her she was singing Shake Your Love. We also get Lorenzo Lamas, aka Renegade, as a government guy. Neither of them are particularly great, but they do their jobs finely.
But who cares about the actors, when we have two gigantic, prehistoric monsters? The two are mostly made of CGI, but it’s such terrible CGI that you just have to marvel at the balls the studio had in the making of this film. Both creatures have their center pieces of disaster, with the giant octopus taking out the oil rig, but sadly for the octopus, the shark gets the best scenes. We have all seen the photos of the shark taking out the San Francisco Bridge, but nothing compares to the awesomeness of seeing the mega shark jump out of the water, more like the great whites do these days, and take out a plane. This sequence is worth the price of the film alone. So yes, it’s cheesy, derivative, and full of cliches, but it’s hugely entertaining and has cool monster sequences. Why wouldn’t you want to watch it?