Monday, November 15, 2010

"The Ghastly Ones"(1968)d/Andy Milligan

We're in the midst of the biggest week o'hits ever here at yer favorite one stop Wop shop,I'm pleased to announce.Pass the good word on to all yer genre pals,and above all,keep reading!I'll never stop throwing my two hundred lira into the pot,offering up exhilarating exploitation,captivating cult,and the most horrendous horror reviews,from the critical eye of a genreholic of the highest/lowest order for nearly forty years running.Burning a fresh one,sipping an AMP,and cueing up some obscure gem while kicking back on a comfy sofa,you kiddin' me?If there's much choicer than that,I still haven't discovered it(save for a good old school circle pit,the adrenaline rush after dusting somebody the fuck off,or the old in-out,in-out with a righteous fuck kitten.Those are given.).I gave it the ol' schoolboy try writing for fanboy rags years ago,but shady dealings with serpentine editors stifled my growing megalomania,and thus,Wopsploitation emerged from a puddle of primordial hate-dripping ooze,to rear its sexy head in the shadow of the dying drive in projector light,oft-imitated around teh vast interwebs,but never duplicated.Onward.
After three years of genre reviews,we're finally taking a look at one of Andy Milligan's films here at the Wop.I humbly apologize to the readers...for not waiting another three years at the very least,but there you go.I first encountered tonight's review,Milligan's first of many increasingly feeble attempts at horror,in a colorful video box roughly the size of Delaware,on a shelf at General Radio in Wilkes-Barre,which I snatched up on my brand spankin' new membership card they issued me when I bought a Betamax and my infamous Betamovie camera.Even as a young horror-starved creep,I was bummed the fuck out when I slipped it in back home.There are some inept directors,and then,there's Andy Milligan.I've had less grainy nights a fifth of Everclear in,blacked out on my feet in South Jersey,screaming bloody murder.How about the editing.Looked like someone fired on the film with a Kaiser Wilhelm Geschutz Long-Range Gun from close range.Acting?Nearly every line of dialogue carried out by a caucophany of coffee house thespians is either completely over-the-top or so muddled it sounds like it's occurring two floors below you.You may never want to see characters bicker amongst each other ever again.You certainly won't wanna watch another Milligan movie,and if you do,seek professional help right away.
Honestly,doll,you're a little too happy in the flappies for someone in a Milligan movie.
Oh there's an annoying couple in Victorian garb traipsing through the weeds outside an estate in Staten Island with a torn parasol at the outset.There's a couple of on-screen kills clumsily executed by a bug-eyed goon in a cabbie with a meatcleaver,choppily edited(you can hear directions being shouted at one point)and so amateurish they'd end up on H.G. Lewis' cutting room floor(if he even had one).You don't have to strain much to pick out Milligan's shadow in some of the shots either.Roll opening credits.Cut to three daughters and their husbands(Richard Romanus is in there somewhere,doesn't matter,they're all tear-inducingly bad.)as they're read their father's final will and testament by Lawyer Dobbs,who must've taken a wrong turn off the stage during a collegiate production of "A Christmas Carol" somewhere.His final wish is for his three children to spend three nights at his mansion in sexual harmony(Every dying father worth his "Number One Dad" coffee mug would expect no less from his little girls),after which Ebenez...umm,Dobbs will return to the estate,and tell them what fabulous prizes they've earned themselves.I dunno,sounds a little squirrely to me.When Colin,the resident handyman/goof with protruding teeth(a recurring cheap effect in Milli-flicks),introduces his big-assed chompers to the tender underbelly of an outstretched hare,all bets are off.Or at least they should have been.
Attention kids:Easter's been cancelled this year.Love,Colin.
A lot of bickering between the couples transpires under circumstances murkier than swampy bottomland in Fouke,Arkansas at midnight.Such is the case when a fifty-watt lightbulb takes your project over budget.There's some implied sex,more bickering,more implied sex,and then a mysterious figure starts picking these randy rascals off one by one.A better director with a grasp on filmmaking might have done justice to mean-spirited and brutal ideas like a man mounted to a cellar I-beam by pitchfork through the neck,then disembowled with a knife,but this is Andy we're talking about here,ferchrissakes.There's what looks like a wax midsection,and perhaps some red kool aid.A dead rabbit in one of the girl's beds.An X marked in blood on one of the bedroom doors.Two servant women drone on about Colin being committed to an institution years ago(what about the director?).Then Elizabeth's head is served for dinner.Forced screams.More mysterious murky death.Finally,Hattie the servant fesses up to the killings in a long-winded,overacted speech peppered with forced maniacal laughter,interrupted by Colin,who she thought she dispatched in the last scene,only to have Toothy plant the signature meatcleaver clumsily in her head,forcing her to slide down the stairs,unconvincingly screaming,and squeezing the blood packet,which sprays the ugly wallpaper like a ketchup squeeze bottle at Jack in the Box,before falling dead.The survivors are met with a knock at the front door.Why,it must be Lawyer Dobbs.Zoinks,Scoob.
Signature Andy:A relatively brutal idea,shoddily carried out with shaky camerawork, under shabby lighting.
It blows my mind to think that a high-profile actor of the silver screen and television such as Richard Romanus cut his acting bicuspids in a pile of shit like tonight's entry.I guess something positive came out of this snoozer,afterall,eh.Still,it must torture the cazzies off the poor guy,having to list Ghastly on his imdb page.I know it'd fuck with me.So why bestow one Wop upon such a cinematic mess,you may wonder?As hopeless as Milligan was,as the eternal stink off of his legacy of crap will forever attest to,the guy never gave up.That's gotta count for something,right?I think Bob Martin's with me on that.He may have renegged his position since,and who would blame him.And his "films" got progressively worse as the years passed,believe it or not.By the time he took his embarrassing show on the road to Hollywood from Staten Island,each successive production suckled at the teat of incoherency to the point that Andy deserved a new classification for his efforts.When something is Milligan-bad,that ain't good,kids.
Whoa.A disembodied head in a pot.Didn't see that coming from a marathon away.


Nick Cato said...

Nice review----I live 5 blocks away from Milligan's old mansion here on Staten's a semi-squat/crack house now. He'd be proud!

beedubelhue said...

Thanks Nick,

That's TOO funny,bro.Somebody should look up his "actors" from the old 60's/70's productions and see what THOSE people are doing now...


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