Due to the overwhelming sales/rental success of the "Faces of Death" series, the mid to late eighties saw the release of a gaggle of direct-to-video death-related shockumentaries, most being detritus of the fifth generation ghosts variety, padded with staged sequences, stock WW2 concentration camp footage, and unthrilling primitive tribal ceremonies.That is, until Wavelength Video entered the sweepstakes at the end of the decade with its 'Death Scenes' series, and raised or lowered the bar, depending on your personal perspective of the admittedly ghoulish sub-genre.The pioneer effort enlists the persona of one Anton LaVey, of The Church of Satan fame, as host/narrator, as the camera peruses vintage crime scene/morgue table photographs from a morbid scrapbook kept by a retired LAPD homicide detective.That the snapshots are black and white does not lessen the visceral impact on the viewer in the slightest.Like a visualization of the most explicitly brutal goregrind song titles one could fathom, the worst crimes humanity could possibly commit unflinchingly pass before the lens.I gotta tell you, no matter who you think you are or how insensitive you might think you are towards real death, there are some images here that'll send your very soul running for the dry cleaners.For serious. The Devil = Crabby Appleton. An intro monologue about death given by host Anton LaVey, trying his best to look ominous in a foppish chapeau in front of what looks like the same stone finish wood paneling my mom had up in her kitchen in the seventies leads us into the tattered catologue of crime scene and morgue table photographs dating as far back as the 1920's and finishing up in the 1950's.LaVey kicks the tour all off with some nice suicides.One to the temple from a handgun.As we move into post-depression Los Angeles, we're shown countless shotgun headwounds(and a few where there isn't much head left to wound).Young and old alike seek refuge from the tribulations of daily life with a well-placed bullet or scattershot cartridge.We then move to hangings, both self-imposed and backwoods justice-style, as evidenced by one particularly powerful shot of a lynched black some twenty feet off the ground and what looks to be an entire town of people underneath to coldly bear witness.Then there's ritual disembowelment(Harakiri), opened veins, ingested rat poison, and starvation.Murder-suicides are examined next with several examples of crimes of passion followed by grief-stricken self-murder.Blood splashed cadavers in the bathtub.Faces blown off by point blank shotgun blasts.Bodies chucked into the ocean and drowned.Wives eviscerated by carving knives and mothers-in-law beaten to death with meat tenderizers.An ex-law officer kills and dismembers his unfaithful wife, hiding her severed head and hands in his own home to look at them whenever he liked.One woman dices her best friends up and ships the body segments across the country via train in steamer trunk and luggage(and is later released back into society, wow.)."Bluebeard" Watson kills twenty-five of his forty wives(!), douses them with flesh-eating acid and buries or tosses them into nearby rivers, and is later discovered to possess both male and female genitalia(!!), a true hermaphrodite(!!!).Death comes to the Latino community as several husbands cite marijuana usage as the reason behind slaying their wives in domestic disputes(c'mon now!). Medical prognosis: Wind knocked out. A woman's throat is slashed and her powerful assailant drives a carving knife into her trunk with such force, her body is nailed to the hardwood floor.Guttings by broken wine bottles.Coroners piecing together dismembered corpses.A dead pimp on a morgue slab reveals an endowment like a length of black garden hose.Axe murders.A montage of brutal violence against women.The bloodless gunshots of Hollywood westerns.Celebrity death.Thelma Todd, Jean Harlow's husband's suicide( her own death would come as a result of his vicious cane beating on their wedding night when she found out he possessed "the genitals of a small boy"!), the rasor bissection of the "Black Dahlia" murder, Marie Provost(partially eaten by her dachshund!), Lupe Velez's secanol slumber, Three Stooges straightman Ted Healy's deadly drunken brawl, and a sampling of mugshots of the day, with the crimes etched underneath: child neglect, sodomy and carnal abuse(!), "sale" marijuana(I prefer HG nuggs myself), attack "sex", and even... mental case(!).A man's entire skin found at the city dump.Bloody shootouts between gangsters and coppers.Gangland executions.Dillinger.Bonnie and Clyde."Pretty Boy" Floyd."Babyface" Nelson.Death by elephantiasis.Accidental gas leaks.Car accidents, plane crashes, and fires all see some lens time.Sex crimes and despicable child slayings.The Lindbergh baby kidnapping/murder.More unspeakably ghastly remnants of the murder of children follow.When you're sure it couldn't get more savage, the crime scenes of rape-murders are depicted.Finally, we end with the casualties of war.Phew, that wasn't easy. The handiwork of "Steve the Ripper".Don't look at me, I wasn't even born yet. Bougas, who dropped vocals on LaVey's 'Satan Takes a Holiday' cd(personal fave of mine), as well as copping a research consultant credit on Nikolas Shreck's Charles Manson, Superstar(1989), went on to helm the equally gross-but-far more entertaining 1992 follow up, the cleverly titled 'Death Scenes 2', which boasts(?) of color Manson crime scene and morgue table photography, frame-by-frame Vic Morrow death, and super slo-mo R. Bud Dwyer footage, as well as the third installment the year after.And if that weren't enough, a coffee table book of the same name featuring all the same grim photography was collaborated upon by Katherine Dunn and retired detective Jack Huddleston and released by Feral House in 2000.I've held the thing in my hands with intent to purchase about five times since, but the selection of dead infants and children always seems to put the kibosh on that.I've always prided myself on my titanium constitution when it comes to any type of gore, real included, but brutalized kids of any age is a fucking drag and not high on my list of favorite things to see.Still, Scenes is unparallelled in its delivery of the shockumentary goods(and bads) and remains a necessary puzzle piece in the oft-gruesome subgenre.Four wops. Stewed, screwed, and tattooed.
Although the thought of luscious Kate Beckinsale slinking around in a latex catsuit makes my underwear evolve into a tent, I avoided seeing any of her real life husband Len Wiseman's vampire v. werewolf franchise for quite a while, until one of my girlfriends pressed me into an impromptu screening (through pleading and sexual blackmail) that I found surprisingly entertaining despite the obvious fluffy silliness within.Even further into the realm of the implausible then, was my discovery that Underworld Evolution, the follow up installment, was an improvement upon the first effort.Wiseman astutely adds the immeasurable talents of Derek "I, Claudius" Jacobi to the cast, and trims away much of the jerry-built gothy vampire mincing and clumsy-looking blockheaded cgi "lycans" in favor of much choicer winged vampire dominant hybrids and Wile E. Coyote-esque first gen werewolves.What's more, the plot is assuredly more complex this time around, making for an enjoyable bloody gothic soap opera packed with wall-to-wall action and well-executed stunts(although I've been over the whole Matrix super slo-mo compu-assisted mamajahambo for quite some time now, thanks).I've dug Beckinsale's non-genre work for a few years, especially the titular "Emma" on ITV and Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing(1993).The fact that she's an adorable little brunette is just Thai peanut sauce slathered on a grilled hunk o'poultry.Forwards. Kraven(Shane Brolly) learns too late of Markus'(Tony Curran) affinity for the comedy stylings of Gallagher. We commence with a flashback vision of vampires in medieval armor on horseback(ya don't see that very often, huh) led by Markus(Tony Curran), Viktor(Bill Nighy), and Amelia(Zita Görög) through a village that's been decimated by lycans where they ride upon William, Markus' brother, the original, ominpotent werewolf, and capture him; Markus' pleas for leniency fall upon Viktor's deaf ears, and the vampire elder condemns his sibling to imprisonment for all eternity.We fast-forward to Selene(Kate Beckinsale) as she speeds Michael(Scott Speedman) to a safe locale so she can return to the estate to deal with current head haunt-cho of the fangfaces, Kraven(Shane Brolly).Remember that Michael is of the cursed Corvinus bloodline, and has already been transformed into a lycan-vampire hybrid(translation:black hairless werewolfishness) and Kraven plans to snuff Markus' candle before he can be ressurected from his tomb, not knowing that Singe's blood has seeped through the intricate gratework above the technocasket, transforming Markus into an uber-powerful vampire-dominant hybrid, complete with fully functional bat wings that sprout from his back.Kraven's men get brutalized and his head gets pulverized before Markus sets out in search of Selene and her one-of-a-kind companion, cueing a dazzling battle with Markus flapping around their flat bed truck on a winding mountain road like a moth to a streetlamp.After they give the wingman the slip, Michael hides Selene from the deadly sunlight in an abandoned warehouse, where she gives up the vampire trim.Lorenz Macaro(Derek Jacobi)-who's-really-Alexander-Corvinus-the-first-immortal sends in a crew of cleaners to do some blooddrinker csi work at the carnage and consequence of the lycan lair, finding a duplicate of Sonja's pendant in Viktor's chest(!) during a makeshift autopsy.Huh? Would you need to know your motivation to hook this scene up?Me neither. It turns out that both are keys to William's eternal prison, and very high on Markus' "Must Have" list, as he intends to find out the whereabouts of his brother's encarceration by drinking Selene's blood, and therefore tapping its 'memory'(yeah, even your blood holds memories, apparently) so he can finally free him so that as hybrids they can rule the earth.Simple enough.Selene and her boy toy travel to meet with Tanis, an exiled historian vampire, about the pendant's true meaning, and after some slo-mo hijinks he reveals that Markus, not Viktor, was the very first vampire, and that he had only planned to capture and tame his destructive, furry brother by propositioning an aging general(Viktor) with immortality if he and his army complied with his wishes.Of course, they didn't, and William ends up imprisoned forever due to the double-cross.Tanis also informs Selene that her father was commisioned to build the werewolf's prison, and her family's subsequent slaughter at the hands of Viktor's vamps was due to their knowledge of the location and tells them where to find Macaro.Markus flaps in and roughhouses the exilee', drinking his blood to get the bead on Selene and Michael.At Macaro/Corvinus' pad, Markus seemingly stakes Michael, mortally wounds his own father, collects both halves of William's prison key, and sups on Selene to locate his brother.Afterwards, a dying Corvinus orders her to partake in his blood and transform herself into a super-powered hybrid for the final showdown with his two sons, then blows himself to smithereens.Selene loads one of Corvinus' helicopters with cleaners (and Michael in a body bag) and they head for the prison, where Markus has already turned William loose.The action-packed conclusion, I'll let you discover and enjoy for yourselves. Selene(Kate Beckinsale)'s handgun is no match for Markus' close quarters (bat)wing chun. Normally, I'd never review a sequel before covering the original, but in this case, I really liked the sequel more, so there you are.I'm as surprised as you are that I'm sitting here telling you that Underworld is as rad as it is, not being much of a mainstream-minded gent as you might have guessed by now.The inclusion of Jacobi in the cast has much to do with it, I'd think, as his expressive features act out more effectively than a room stuffed full of would be thespians shoulder-to-shoulder.Also, I love the foreboding, overcast, stylized look of these movies.Simple as that.I've yet to screen the third Beckinsale-less installment, Rise of the Lycans(2009), but I'll get around to it, dammit.Don't rush me, effers.On the scale, two big ones isn't too bad a score for a movie with a fifty million dollar budget, when you think about it, all mediocrity aside.Check it out, for real, you'll probably have a good time, too. A tempestuous Wile arrives at the Acme warehouse, looking to exchange a faulty catapult.
Fifty-seven years after F.W. Murnau's silent classic, Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens(1922), German conductor of cinema, Warner Herzog, who felt the landmark expressionist film was the unequivocal Dracula film of all-time, set out to pay homage to it in his own nonpareil style, with the finished product being one of the most stylish, atmospheric vampire films ever made.He enlisted his favorite tantrum-throwing shot-dresser in the role of Count Dracula in five time collaborator, Klaus Kinski, who gives an entirely singular intrepretation of the blood drinker; free of the romance and nobility trademark to other actors' portrayals, instead delivering a miserably lonely predatory wretch who's ultimately undone by the desire to steal a longer embrace in the busom of a woman.His performance here is one of the best he ever gave, arguably the best work he'd done with Herzog.In the female lead as Lucy Harker is Isabelle Adjani(Joyeux Anniversaire, mon cherie!), who gives an alluring performance full of prurience and tenacity, as always.Bruno Ganz, who would later give one of the most amazing portrayals of Adolph Hitler(and most playfully re-subtitled on YouTube) ever seen in Hirschbiegel's "Downfall"(2004), is Jonathan.The atmospheric soundtrack was supplied by Krautrockers extraordinaire, Popul Vuh; a prominent aspect of the film, due to the sparse dialogue in both the German language and English prints.Herzog's camera, though, is the real star, advancing the story through imagery, using distortion, shadows, and elongated cuts to set the disquieted mood throughout.Those looking for explicit sex and gore will be dually disappointed to find instead this beautiful expression of terror that will no doubt be remembered as one of the best of its ilk.Ian, this one's for you, brother! After 146 years the children realized they'd probably won this round of 'Hide and Seek'. After a fascinating montage of Mexican mummified choleric victims, we meet real estate agent Jonathan Harker(Bruno Ganz) as his chuckle-happy boss Renfield(Roland Topor) assigns him to a four week trip from Germany to Transylvania, to meet with a nobleman named Dracula(Klaus Kinski) who's interested in buying a property in Wismar.After bidding his young wife Lucy(Isabelle Adjani) adieu, he embarks on his journey, which brings him to the obligatory village of superstitious fools who forewarn him of the perilous evil ahead of him.He laughs off the tales of vampirism and continues on to the castle alone, where he meets the blueblood, who resembles a forlorn hairless rat.Dracula is instantly agog at a portrait of Jonathan's spouse, and unhesitatingly signs the property contract.During his nights at the castle, Harker is repeatedly haunted by terrifying avowals of Dracula's lust for claret, while concurrently back in Wismar, Renfield, now inexplicably crackers, has bitten a cow(!) and bought himself a comfy padded cell at the asylum, and Lucy suffers from nightly Eschatonist visions of terror herself.Harker discovers the Count slumbering in his coffin during the day, corroborating the peasants' superstitions.After the sun sets, Dracula sets off for Wismar by boat, bringing caskets full of his native earth on the journey while Jonathan finds himself helplessly left behind and locked in the castle.He attempts escape through a high window by makeshift rope but plummets to the ground and gravely injures himself in the process.He awakens to the strains of gypsy violin played by a young peasant and ends up in a local hospital, rambling incoherently about coffins to the medics. Renfield(Roland Topor) has some pretty flies for a white guy. Meanwhile, a ghost ship docks in Wismar, packed with a bloodless crew of corpses and a billowing sea of diseased rats that flood the town's streets.Abraham Van Helsing(Walter Ladengast) discovers the ship's log, which tells of a spreading plague that seals the fates of all seamen aboard.Before long, death is visited upon the people of Wismar in the same manner, with parades of coffins on the desolate streets.Plague-affected citizens greet their impending demise with an outdoor feast amidst a swarm of rats at their feet.Jonathan finally returns home, perilously ill, and unable to recognize even his own wife.Lucy encounters the inert, pale aristo, who demands that she capitulate her love to him but she adamantly abnegates his horrific advances to his astonishment.Suddenly conscious of a greater threat to the populace of Wismar, she vainly tries to persuade the discerned townsfolk before devising a plan of attack of her own.Using the Count's adulation for her, she lures him to her bedchamber and allows him to noisily sup at her throat, diverting his attention to the coming dawn.The sun's rays paralyze the vampire in a crumpled heap on the bedroom floor, where Van Helsing finds him, adjacent to Lucy's lifeless form on the bed.He hammers a wooden stake through the monster's heart, dispatching him for keeps, when Jonathan arises from his sickness, now tranformed into a member of the undead himself.Harker calls for Van Helsing's subsequent arrest on charges of murder.He cryptically states that he has much to do, before galloping off on horseback. "If I coult only train zees plague rats to bite Werner!" thinks Dracula(Klaus Kinski). Nine years later Kinski would reprise his role of Dracula(sort of) in an unofficial Italian sequel to the Herzog film, entitled "Nosferatu a Venezia", directed partially by Augusto Caminito(and according to Kinski's biography, several others including Kinski himself in spots).Kinski, true to his difficult nature, refused to shave his head for the role or wear makeup other than the signature fangs, instead displaying long blond hair this time around.His trademark shouted insults sent Mario Caiano, the original director, running for the front door.We'll check that one out here in the future, for sure.As for Nosferatu, it's a visually breathtaking and profound experience you really need to check out for yourselves if you've never managed to catch it.On the rating scale, perfection.Highly recommended. Lucy(Isabelle Adjani) gets blood-drained and squeeze-titted all at the same time.
By 1987, the 'stalk and slash' era of horror was in serious need of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, most of its pulpy gore having been extorted to barrenness by opportunistic studios throughout the first half of the decade.The splattery sub-genre that had proved wildly popular to horror fans the world over was now mostly subjected to criminal disregard in favor of thewless fare like The Lost Boys and Ghoulies 2 with an indecorous, premature burial seemingly just around the bend.It certainly might have gone that way were it not for synthetic opioids of Mediterranean cinematic origin as delivered by familiar genre medicos like Dario Argento, Ruggero Deodato, and the directorial debut of Michele Soavi, as evidenced in tonight's review.Up until now, Soavi had been receiving credits as assistant director on films by Argento, Aristide Massaccesi(Joe D'Amato), and Lamberto Bava, as well as helming the excellent 1985 docupic, Dario Argento's World of Horror, but it was clearly time for this Milanese to begin to reveal the enormous talents he brought to the director's chair for himself.Deliria, which was released under a host of alternate titles such as "Aquarius", "The Bloody Bird", and "Stage Fright", would be produced by Massaccesi, and scripted by Luigi Montefiori under his 'Lew Cooper' pseudonym, not to mention showcasing the screen presence of genre vets like Barbara Cupisti, who honed her skills in movies by Fulci and Argento and would go on to appear in Soavi's La Chiesa(1989) and Dellamorte, Dellamore(1994), David Brandon, who debuted in Derek Jarman's art-punk Jubilee(1978), and went on to appear in cult favorites by Massaccesi(Emperor Caligula:The Untold Story) and Bava(Le foto di Gioia), and the always tragic Johnny Morghen, who might have momentarily put aside his increasingly vocal disdain for orrore e gialli here, in playing an actor in a theatrical troupe just as he actually was, prior to his cinema debut for Deodato in 1979.Despite being somewhat anchored in mediocre waters by familiar subject matter, a passe' eighties soundtrack full of annoying synth-jazz(you all know how much I despise jazz) by the normally outstanding Simon Boswell, and mired by a sloggish midsection, Deliria is a beautifully shot(what else would you expect from Soavi?) slasher/giallo hybrid that boasts of several inventive and explicit kills that help it to rise above most of its more lemon peers.Onward! "Don't look to me for protection, I get paid to traipse around in tights!" minces Brett(Johnny Morghen). A troupe of struggling young actors rehearses a small new production about a mass murderer known as the "Night Owl" late one evening, when the leading lady Alicia(Barbara Cupisti) unwittingly twists her ankle and is forced to sneak off with Betty(Ulrike Schwerk), the wardrobe mistress, to seek medical attention away from the dictatorial eye and vitriolic tongue of Peter(David Brandon), the play's director.It just so happens that the nearest medical facility is the area's mental hospital, and not just any mental hospital, but the one that happens to house Irving Wallace, an actor who abruptly flipped his wig and snuffed twelve unlucky cats before gettin' boxed up in the squirrel farm.While the actress's peg is tended to by the resident psychiatrist, Wallace, now overbrimming with hatred for actors, takes out an orderly with a syringe and breaks out of the asylum, hiding out in the back of Betty's car.When the girls return to the rehearsal, Peter sassily serves up walking papers to Alicia for leaving the theater, but after packing her stuff and returning to Betty's car in the torrential rain outside, she stumbles upon the wardrobe mistress's dead body, her yap bifurcated by a pickaxe.The authorities station two officers(Mickey Knox, Michele Soavi) outside the theater to guard the premises when the director, acting on artistic urge, rewrites the script and gives the theater's door key to an actress to hide, so that nobody can leave the building.Let's recap, shall we?Actor-hating psychopath locked in a dark theater with troupe of catty actors working on a pretentious play about a murderer(now named "Irving Wallace" by the foppish Peter) who wears an ominous owl head mask(and a Marilyn Monroe clone blowing sax in the "Seven Year Itch" dress, for some unknown reason).I can only imagine what's gonna transpire next... "Do you ever get tired of hearing how much you look like Michele Soavi?" asks 'Old Cop'(Mickey Knox). First Wallace dispatches the actor who would be portraying him in Brett(Johnny Morghen), then, decked out in Strigiformes-head, takes his place on stage and, upon shouted cue from Peter, strangles and shanks up one of the actresses for serious in front of everyone's disbelieving eyes.After Peter is informed that the phone line's been cut, and tries to grill a dying Corinne about the whereabouts of the key, he starts to realize which odorous creek he's up without a paddle.Pretty soon, Irving is going through frantic, terrified dancers in the dark faster than me with an AMP four pack.One particularly sorry bastard gets power drilled through the labonza while clutched through a door.Peter remarks that the survivors might have better luck sticking together as they stumble upon Brett's corpse amidst synths that wouldn't be out of place in a Level 42 track, and one female dancer, pulled through the wooden walkway in the rafters, is sheared in two.When one of the boys vengefully jumps through the hole in the floor to face the maniac, he's dissected by a chainsaw for his troubles.Peter whimpers, "You leave me alone, and I'll leave you alone...alright?" and gets his arm sawed off, with his own fire axe ripped from his disembodied arm and used to decapitate him.With the oblivious cops outside in the rain comparing themselves to Brando and Dean(!), Alicia, awoken by a single feather landing on her face, finds a bloodied half-conscious Laura in the showers when Irving shows up to shiv her in the labonza and drag her off.Wallace morbidly dresses the stage with all the lifeless corpses of his victims and sits among them with the key to the outside precariously lodged in one of the floorboards at his feet.Will this be Alicia's final curtain call? Will Irving roost in a barn at sunrise? How this pot boiler wraps up, I'll leave to you to find out.Disappointment is unlikely. Impressed by the size of Irving's drill bit, the ladies are soon on him about contracting some private handiwork... Helping to keep the slasher subgenre alive was all in a day's work for Soavi, whose films only got better from here.As it stands, Deliria has got enough going on to merit a look for gore freaks, and a permanent spot on the shelves of genre collectors.It's a fairly standard affair with moments of flair provided by the unmistakable style of the director beginning to surface.Most of the pretentious tights-leapers are of the stereotypically acrimonious type, so you'll be cheering on the graphic murders here once they start dropping like dysfunctional genitalia.Of course, I'm slightly biased towards Soavi, my favorite genre director since Chile got turned on to free elections, but there you go.A little sidetracked with a harbinger of Sunday night partying permeating the air, so I'm just gonna go ahead and wrap this one up by slapping three wops on it as a seal of approval and recommending it to all of you out there.Now let's boogie... That's how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, bitches.
Though we're a month late for official Vincentennial celebrations(you never met me in St Louie, ya mamaluccos), covering campy cult classics starring the late genre king is never untimely, especially when they're produced and directed by the legendary showman William Castle, who dusted off one of his greatest theatrical gimmicks for the film, in "Percepto!", where he had certain seats in larger theaters wired up with small buzzers from leftover WW2 surplus that vibrated upon cue from the projectionist when the titular Tingler breaks loose in the film.In some instances, Castle even hired planted moviegoers who'd faint and scream, and even faux nurses and ambulances to gurney off the phony vertiginous victims.The uncredited actor portraying the projectionist was Dal McKennon, the voice of familiar green claymation icon, Gumby.The movie, released as a 40th Anniversary Special Edition dvd in 1999, also boasts of an ahead-of-it's-time color sequence, a wonderfully rotten rubber spinal loberstail/centipede combo creature, and Vincent Price trippin' face on acid.Really, how fucking great is that? Trippin' balls, Dr. Chapin(Vincent Price) suddenly gets The Strawberry Alarm Clock. After a historic three screaming disembodied head prologue by Castle himself, we're introduced to Dr. Warren Chapin(Vincent Price), on hand to perform the autopsy for a state execution by electric chair; a sideline for pathological studies into the very nature of fear itself.While cracking open the ex-convict up like a gruesome pistacchio in front of the man's brother-in-law, Ollie(Philip Coolidge), Chapin discovers vertebrae that have been pulverized by tremendous pressure, which the good doctor surmises must have originated in the power of fear.Makes sense.After driving him home to the movie theater he helps his deaf mute wife run, the doctor accidentally cuts himself which sends Martha(Judith Evelyn), unable to scream and release her expression of hemophobia, into a psychosomatic coma.He revives the theater's owner/moneyhandler, who immediately rushes to the safe nearby, ensuring her money is still all there.Oh, it's one of those marriages.Suffering a toxic union of his own, Chapin's wife Isabel(Patricia Cutts) is a philandering floozie who not only conspires against her sister Lucy(Pamela Lincoln) and her main squeeze David(Darryl Hickman), who works as Warren's lab assistant, but also poisoned her pops for her legacy.After peeping the bold bitch's latest indiscretion tangling tongues with her in the street, Chapin puts a hot lead one in Isabel's labonza, afterwards throwing her on an x-ray slab and exposing a few plates.He then revives her, revealing that he merely plugged her with blanks as part of his latest research experiment.The frazzled harlot remarks that when she turns the tables on her husband, it won't be an experiment.Whoa.The next day, Warren shows David the photographic fruit of his labors, evidence of a creepy-crawlie that exists in all human spinal columns, absorbing fear and growing along the vertebrae, only shrinking back to its original microscopic size when the feeling subsides.Chapin proudly remarks that he's dubbed the beastie, "Tingler"(how scientific!). "Forty bucks worth of hardshell Maine lobstertail!Papa's chowin' like an Ottoman suzerain tonight!" To further research his findings, Chapin jabs himself with 100 micrograms of a new experimental drug, lysergic acid diethylimide 25(sigh....cue the stomach butterflies of love), cartoonishly freaks out on a bad trip, screams like a girl, and passes the fuck out.Later he gives Ollie a script for sleepers for his troubled mate, who comes off her dose only to see self-opening and closing windows and doors, a disfigured fiend with obligatory shiv in her bed, and in the bathroom, a tub full of claret from which an arm rises ominously.The mute, unable to scream and pushed to the brink, collapses dead.Ever the opportunist, Warren hurriedly autopsies the bitch, extricating the fear-eater which overpowers the doctor, wrapping its pincers around his arm until his pain-laden yelp freezes the thing.Isabel, confessing she's been unworthy, suggests a celebratory drink to his astounding find, that contains a mickey her husband ironically drinks after switching glasses with her as a safeguard against just that.She unleashes the "Tingler" on his throat, but Lucy arrives screamingly before the scare-sucking lobster can kill him.Warren, unwilling to further play God after discovering the creature is virtually indestructible, decides to replace the "Tingler" in Martha's corpse from whence it came...only Ollie hasn't contacted the authorities or a funeral parlor as of yet.Chapin stumbles in on him as he's packing for an abrupt get-outski,and while confronting him about his criminality, the "Tingler" breaks loose from its steel box and into a packed theater.Cue:Percepto.Warren announces to the audience:"The Tingler is loose in the theater! Scream! Scream for your lives!"as the screen goes dark amidst ad libs from the crowd.The chill-chewing crustacean latches onto the projectionist whose scream immobilizes it long enough for Chapin to subdue it and place it back into Martha's dead body before he leaves to alert the authorities.Ollie tries to make a break for it, but his attempt is met by windows and doors slamming shut on their own, and the shrouded corpse of his dead wife rising from the table and walking towards him, his face twisted into an inaudible scream... Martha(Judith Evelyn) regrets her thrifty switch to Mr. Plasma from Mr. Bubble. Despite the obvious stretches-in-basic biological principles this classic's plot be-nudgingly asks the viewer to accept with or without sodium chloride, this, like most of Castle's work during his period of theatrical carny exploits, is highly enjoyable fluff of the campiest order.Price, as always, purveys more emotion with his eyes alone than a dozen of Hollywood's current upper eschelon could with full bodies.Revisiting movies like this only reinforce what an irreplaceable force he was on the silver screen.As a memorial to genre icons like Castle and Price, Tingler is a must for the shelves of horror fans of any generation to enjoy, and well-deserving of the three wops it receives on the rating scale.Highly recommended. Insert comic book scream here.You know, something like..."YEEEEEAAAAARRRGHHHH!!!"
ca·tas·tro·phe/kəˈtastrəfē/Noun 1. An event causing great and often sudden damage or suffering. Usually, when a sequel fails, it's because it serves up a whole lot more of the same things the first movie provided to an audience who believed they wanted more of those things after enjoying them the first time round, then discovering that the familiarity that has replaced the excitement they originally felt has left them, more often than not, kinda flat.Duplicating all the wonderful, horrible things that make The Exorcist a genuinely terrifying box-office smash and one of the greatest horror movies of all-time apparently wasn't an option in John Boorman's sequel four years later, as Heretic not only avoids them completely, it seeks an identity all its own:a deliriously overblown, badly acted, perplexingly scareless, heavy-handed, putrid disaster full of unintentional laughs.The producers seemingly ignored the fact that William Peter Blatty and Billy Friedkin walked away from a creative pow-wow convinced that an effective sequel wasn't in the cards, and went ahead and evacuated their cinematic bowels anyway, with dollar signs in their eyes, resulting in shame and embarrassment for anyone foolish enough to put their name on this picture.Every aspect of this movie is effectively ineffective:Linda Blair balked at appearing in possession makeup of any kind, opting instead to reveal her teen chunkiness and inability to act worth a lick to the world, forever damning herself to roles in driftwood like Roller Boogie(1979) and Zapped Again!(1990).Never to be out-hammed, the oft-sozzled Richard Burton shouts every line and sweats like John Wayne Gacy if he guest starred on Xusa.James Earl Jones looks rightfully humiliated in his giant locust suit.Director Boorman(who hated the original!!!), normally on point, has nothing to work with here.Even maestro Ennio Morricone's soundtrack is a mishmosh of suspenseless bromidic disco rock that the Solid Gold Dancers wouldn't boogie to.The punchless story is farther from coherence than a Turkish Star Wars(Haven't reviewed that gem yet, have I? Hmmmmm)script as written by Ted Geisel.The MPAA must have imposed their R rating on the film out of pity since there's no nudity, sex, profanity, or violence either.In fact, I'm of the belief that the phrase "epic fail" was coined at a Heretic screening. Wait.What. A sweaty, loud priest named Lamont(Burton) is assigned by the Cardinal(Paul Henried) to the Church's investigation into Father Merrin(Max Von Sydow)'s mysterious death while performing an exorcism four years earlier at the MacNeil's residence.His inquiries first lead him to Regan(Blair), who only seems to be possessed these days by a slow metabolism and a burning desire to spend the whole running time wearing little else but unflattering sequined tap costumes and low cut nighties and says airheadedly, "I was possessed by a demon.Oh, but it's okay, he's gone now!".Seriously.While her actress mother is somewhere "on location"(translation:Ellen Burstyn wisely passed on this one), Regan has been roughing it in a lush Manhattan penthouse, still cared for by Sharon(Kitty Winn, who wasn't as wise as Burstyn it would seem) and treated by a psychiatrist named Tuskin(Louise "Cuckoo's Nest" Fletcher, who should have known better), who straps the girl's ample forehead and her own into what looks like an old wood grain eight track player with a lightbulb to travel into each other's subconscious via hypno-telepathy where the original exorcism plays out between Merrin and an obvious Regan stand-in (who didn't refuse to wear possession makeup) that causes Tuskin's heart to "fibrillate"(translation:heave suggestively and make inappropriate lusty noises) in the same manner that Merrin's did.Lamont, who's never seen or used this contraption before, mind you, exclaims "I know where she is! Help me to find her!" and goes under himself, prepared to hypnotize her heart back into beating normally. Later, Regan dreams of Pazuzu, who has taken the guise of a swarm of locusts(huh?) when he isn't possessing people with healing powers, preventing man's inevitable cerebral evolution where he will have achieved oneness with God, after Lamont later hypno-raps with the demon about it.He approaches the Cardinal with the idea of a Church-funded(!) trip to Africa(!!) to seek a man named Kokumo(James Earl Jones) who had survived Pazuzu's onslaught of hungry grasshoppers as a boy, and thus, might be able to teach him how to show Regan to oust the dormant do-badder. I suppose this'd be terrifying if you were an unsprayed cabbage leaf. In Africa, Lamont admits to tribesmen that he knows the circumstances behind their holy man's untimely plummet-to-death years earlier by flying there with Pazuzu during a trance(!!!), getting shelled with rocks by the nubians while a sequined Regan feels his pain at an embarrassing interpretation of "Lullaby of Broadway" thousands of miles away, taking a flopper off the stage.The combo priest/human sweat sprinkler system flies to the village of Jepti with the aid of Ned Beatty(what I said about Winn and Fletcher earlier?The same goes for you, Ned) and through telekinesis uses Regan(who's not hooked up to the contraption btw) to get the demon to help him track down the one man who'd defeated him in the past.Yeah, makes sense.Kokumo first appears to Lamont as a disgruntled tribesman-in-a-giant-locust-suit(think A Christmas Story's Ralphie-in-the-bunny-jammies uttering gems like,"If Pazuzu comes for you I will spit a leopard", and by "leopard", he means a sloppy cherry tomato) then as a scientist researching..drumroll... the damaging effects of locust swarms in Africa(what else).Lamont sweatily queries,"When the wings have brushed you … is there no hope once the wings have brushed you?"(verbatim btw, no exagerration) and Kokumo shows him a new breed of female "good locust" that has a calming effect on the evil swarm.A stroke of symbolism as artistically painted by a roller, methinks.After a cheap mixture of phony and real harrowing airplane sequence obviously thrown in to cash in on the disaster craze so popular at the time, Lamont and Regan end up at the Georgetown residence only to be pelted by packing-peanuts-painted-brown-to-resemble-locusts as thrown in front of a wind machine by production assistants, and confronted once again by Regan's possession double who morphs into what-shoulda-been-a-horny-slut-temptress-but-only-comes-off-as-a-gussied-up-busty-chipmonk and tries to seduce Lamont, who sweatily mauls the scantily-dressed teenager(!).Finally coming to his senses, he rips the impostor's heart out of her chest, signalling another locust/packing peanut swarm, which the real Regan dispatches by swinging an imaginary bullroarer over her head like a lasso while spinning in place.Wait.What.Then Tuskin, who's been outside chaotically battling a possessed Sharon the whole time while the building literally cracked open for some reason, turns Regan's guardianship over to the priest.Huh?If you're confused reading this, just wait 'til you actually watch it. "You are gonna march yourself down off of that altar, and you are gonna call Aunt Mbvotu and thank her for your adorable new locust jammies, young man!" Also deserving of embarrassment here is an uncredited pre-Diff'rent Strokes Dana Plato as a young autistic stutterer(really!).Well, let's let the poor girl rest in peace, instead.Then there are the names(Walken, Fonda, Carradine, Ann-Margret, Sarandon, Segal, Voight, Nicholson, Kubrick) who either turned down the movie outright, or wisely disappeared pre-stench.During the notorious premiere, the audience laughed and even threw things at the screen at a Hollywood Blvd. theater.Don't listen to the sparse few advocates kicking around the notion that Heretic "isn't as bad as all that", woprophiles, it's that laughably bad and worse.One wop. You should be swinging that imaginary bullroarer at your agent's head, Linda.
I went headlong into tonight's review blind, having avoided most of the hub-bub about this South Korean exercise in 'torture porn' and screened it relatively free of outside influence, but with hopes high, as always.As far as the recent genre trend goes, I'm not the most hardcore fan here in my late summer years, but I'm not publicly campaigning against it like Troma's Lloyd Kaufman either.I love ultra-realistic gore effects and sadistic serial killers as much as the next cat, I'm just starting to mellow out a little now that my goatee is peppered with stray greys, I dunno.It's not like I'm ever gonna queue up at the theater for girlfriend-sating flotsam like Something Borrowed(2011)(unless she asks really, really nicely, that is.), I just require more substance than seeing some innocent teenage waif getting her titties blowtorched off in a dirty cellar for ninety minutes(apart from when my "rare moods" grab me, of course).That said, Kim Ji-woon's effort hardly qualifies as such, anyway.Despite all its splattery fishhookin', head choppin', neck shankin', achilles gougin' splendor, Devil is actually an original, beautifully shot, well-acted film with a compelling story.Hell, it's not even all that misogynistic, with most of the wince-worthy violence in front of the lens actually befalling men for a change; a torture porn that gals gone gonzo for gore can get behind.My only real complaint is the arduous 144 minute running time, which could have and should have been chopped by about twenty, for serious.I'm just relieved I caught it on disc and not in the theater, where my multiple smoke breaks woulda surely pissed whoever I was with well off.Let's make it... col·lect·i·ble: n. (k-lkt-bl)things considered to be worth collecting (not necessarily valuable or antique) Joo-yeon(Oh San-ha), pregnant daughter of a retired police chief and fiance to a top tier secret agent named Soo-hyun(Lee Byung-hun), is mercilessly abducted, abused, and posthumously parted out by a sadistic sociopath named Kyung-chul(Choi Min-sik),a serial rapist/murderer whose trail of bodies has the constabulary baffled.After a chunky kid finds her disembodied ear in a shopping bag near the river, a massive search party uncovers her severed head lodged in the rocks.Amidst a swarm of police and press, a forensics agent stumbles through with the disembodied dome in a cardboard box, dropping it and letting the macabre evidence roll past the bilious onlookers.After much mourning and tear-shedding, Soo-hyun vows to bring the barbarous bastard responsible for the crime to justice in his own special way, using his bereavement leave from work to hunt him down from a handful of possible suspects.He beats on a perverted netporn addict with a powerstrip cord after busting in on him wagging his wand to a clip of censorship-fogged fucking on his computer.Relax guys, that won't happen to you.One by one, he brutalizes the suspected perps until he's faced with the last, Kyung-chul, who's just snared his latest young victim by promising her a ride in the blustery night, and braining her with a length of pipe instead.We then watch Kyung apply some aftershave and strum an acoustic guitar.Hey, maybe he's not such a bad guy afterall.Soo investigates Kyung's pad, discovers his secret torture chamber, and finds Joo's blood-crusted ring in a drain on the floor.Meanwhile, Kyung is about to ravage a bound n' gagged schoolgirl in an earthen ditch in a greenhouse floor.Okay, maybe I was wrong earlier.Soo makes the scene and performs rapeus interruptus, bashing the living fuck out of Kyung and breaking his wrist before sinking a special tracking pill down his unconscious gullet.Kyung groggily comes to, alone with an envelope full of money on his chest. "Yeahhhh, that's it, you hot little slut!Take it all... right in your censorship fogging..." After viciously shanking up a pair of guys foolhardy enough to give him a lift(that happen to have a dead body of their own in the boot), Kyung gets his arm set at a medical center, unaware that Soo is now tracking him and tuned in to every word he says via headphones.The agent foils his attempts at adding an innocent young receptionist to his list of victims mid-blowjob, again beating the snot out of the killer, and this time, gouging his achilles tendon with a scalpel.He comes to in the back seat of his plundered cab, his leg wrapped in a cast.Soo follows him to the abode of a comrade-in-carnage named Tae-joo(Choi Moo-sung) who's half-mad from eating the human meat of his victims(!), where he bursts in as the cannibal is about to prep another whimpering meal-in-a-nightie and beats Kyung, Tae, and his psychotic girlfriend unconscious after a blood-soaked cat n' mouse throughout the house.At the hospital where the battered killers have been taken, Soo mistakenly mentions the tracking pill to a fellow agent within earshot of Kyung, who heists a handful of laxatives from a chemist and abruptly shits out the bug and plants it in another lavatory patron he's just walloped unconscious.Off the trail, Soo returns to the hospital and grills Tae about his friend's whereabouts, and when Tae reminds the agent that Kyung most likely raped his dead fiance before killing her, Soo fish hooks him right then and there(!!) for laughing about it.Kyung notifies the authorities that he'll be turning himself in that day,(but not before exacting some vengeance of his own against Joo's father and sister) leaving Soo in a mad dash to get to the killer before he can hurt any more of his loved ones and before he can safely deposit himself in the hands of the police.The wild final reel, not without its own cringe-worthy moments, I'll leave you to experience for yourselves. Soo-hyun(Lee Byung-hun) is tendin' to Kyung-chul's achilles.Ba-dum-bump.I'm here all week, folks. I'm a little embarrassed to say I haven't caught any of Kim's other work yet; from 1998's The Quiet Family, his segment of Three Extremes II(2002), A Tale of Two Sisters(2003), and The Good, the Bad, and the Weird(2008), I fully intend to right that wrong ASAP.Kim's obviously got a firm grasp on the art of filmmaking, and apparently transitions from genre to genre with relative ease.Apart from a mountain of roles in Korea, Lee Byung-hun can be seen in Hero(2007) and 2009's G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.Choi Min-sik has worked for Kim as well as scoring roles in Oldboy(2003) and 2005's Lady Vengeance.If you prep yourself for the lengthiness, you should be pleasantly surprised by Devil, as I was.On the scale it earns three solid big ones.Track this one down. You know me, I never pass up the opportunity to screenshot a decent severed head.
Tonight's entry, a made-for-television event spanning two nights back in April of 1976, is perhaps the most famous of the films concerning the Tate/LaBianca murders, based on the bestselling 1974 book by Curt Gentry and Vincent Bugliosi, who was prosecutor in the historic trial itself.Nominated for three Emmys, it had a theatrical release overseas with additional nudity and violence, as evidenced by the choice blood red Aussie daybill that creeped out my ex-wife until I finally tucked it away in a closet, pictured above.Despite the poster's place in my collection and my insistance to stay up late both nights when Skelter originally aired(I pulled it off, somehow, too), the Gries-helmed vehicle isn't my favorite take on Charlie and pals by a long shot, due to the talky, investigation/courtroom approach it favors, focusing on Bugliosi's victorious Beatles-driven race war motive from right field, instead of the barely touched upon far out lifestyle and psyche of the hippie kooks at the center of the bloody slayings.What is exceptional about the production to me, are the performances of George DiCenzo as Bugliosi, and more so, Steve Railsback as the pint-sized prophet himself.As I've stated before, Manson isn't an easily recreatable character for the screen, as proven by the failure of films like The Manson Massacre(1972) and The Helter Skelter Murders(1970) in conveying that twinkle of pure hallucinogenic lunacy the magnetic little guy is blanketed in, to audiences.Railsback completely fucking nails it right off the bat, but isn't given enough of the nearly two hundred minute running time to truly shine.Also notable here are performances by Nancy Wolfe as an extra sexy Sexy Sadie, and scream queen extraordinaire Marilyn "TCM" Burns as "Darling" Kasabian, who turned state's evidence.Hell, you can even find Eileen(Pazuzu's spectral grillpiece in "The Exorcist")Dietz, Robert(Sam from "Quincy M.E.")Ito, and even Bart(Binzer from "Vega$")Braverman among the cast if you look hard enough.Forwards. Somebody stick a fork in Leno(Al Checco), I think he's done. Gunshots cut through the silence during the early morning hours, signalling the death of the Age of Aquarius and the beginnings of one of the most bizarre criminal trials in American history, as partially narrated by prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi(George DiCenzo).One of Tate's neighbors is called in by the police later that morning to i.d. the brutalized bodies that had been shot, stabbed, roped, and/or beaten(in some cases, all four).The gore is brief and understated, but he hurls his guts in the bushes anyway after seeing Sharon's lifeless, pregnant body on the floor.The LaBiancas, returning to town by car, read the shocking headlines in the newspaper then become the next morning's headlines themselves.Cops pursue the dope angle and remark at the similarity between the Beatles White Album song titles and messages written in blood at the crime scenes.A boy finds the pistol used in the killings and his father turns it in to the authorities, where it sits in evidence for months unnoticed.They raid the Spahn Movie Ranch, arresting a skein of dirty hippies for Grand Theft Auto(the charge, not the game, youngbloods.).In jail, Sadie(Nancy Wolfe) grooves on the sounds of a transistor radio and gleefully relates all the gruesome details of the murders to Ronnie Howard(the petty criminal, not the flameheaded kid who sings "Wells Fargo Wagon" in "The Music Man"(1962), mind you).Bugliosi is named the new prosecutor, and tries to work a deal in exchange for testimony with Straight Satans biker Danny DeCarlo(Rudy Ramos).Ronnie tries to spill her guts but no one seems too interested.Bugliosi grills Family gals for candy, and finds out that Charlie is love.Bugliosi watches Manson(Railsback) being led in by deputies on charges he set fire to an earth mover, and makes Christ jokes.DeCarlo tells of Manson's desire to kill pigs, blame it on the niggers, and start a race war.Leslie Van Houten has selective amnesia under questioning.Tex Watson's fingerprints from a prior drug bust match ones found at the crime scenes.Warrants are issued for Watson, Kasabian, and Krenwinkle. "...Do you feel like wolf kabob Roth vantage? Gefrannis booj pooch boo jujube; bear-ramage. Jigiji geeji geeja geeble Google. Begep flagaggle vaggle veditch-waggle bagga?" Sadie tells all(sex with Charlie,"the infinite", murder details), then later denies it.Accomplice Linda Kasabian(Marilyn Burns)agrees to testify and Atkins' plea bargain is dropped.Bugliosi's watch stops in court as Manson stares at him.The discarded murder scene clothes are discovered in a canyon, and the pistol that's been in limbo is finally matched up as Bugliosi notices the Beatles tie-in.Ex-Mansonite Paul Watkins helps cross the t's and dot the i's for the young prosecutor, then almost dies in a suspicious fire for his troubles.Manson girls gather outside the Hall of Justice as the trial begins.Kasabian details her introduction to the family and later, the details of August 9th and 10th to the jury.The female defendants laugh, giggle, and respond in unison.Manson flips his lid in front of everyone then tells that his father is the jailhouse and he is simply a reflection of what everyone else has made him, and the girls tearfully cheer him on, shouting out loud until all defendants are removed from the courtroom.Bugliosi wraps his arguments and pushes his 'Helter Skelter' motive.The jury finds them guilty of all charges.Manson and the girls shave their heads("I'm the devil! The devil always shaves his head!" exclaims Charlie) and carve X's between their eyes as they're all given the death penalty.Charlie takes a moment to congratulate Bugliosi on a job well-done, and remarks that jail is just fine for him, supplying meals, sex, and time to play his guitar.The prosecutor chillingly ponders the possibility of more like Manson as Charlie sings "Garbage Dump" from his cell.That sums it up in one big lump, so to speak... Linda(Marilyn Burns)arrives in court;Leatherface could not be reached for comment. Director Gries worked primarily in television, even helming several episodes of Batman(1966) along the way.The amazingly intense Railsback would go on to portray another famous killer, Ed Gein in 2000; also appearing in Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects(2005).Native Pennsylvanian Marilyn Burns went on to score roles in Tobe Hooper's Eaten Alive(1976),Future Kill with Chainsaw co-star Ed Neal in 1985, and most recently Kim Henkel's 2012 project Boneboys, also with Neal.DiCenzo, who died in 2010, was once assistant to the producer on House of Dark Shadows(1970).The actual LaBianca residence was used in Skelter, but Polansky's home was not.The role of Manson was originally offered to Martin Scorsese(Wait.What.).Intense eyes, not eyebrows, ya knuckleheads.Tonight's entry scores three wops on the scale, an essential to any true crime buffs, Manson enthusiasts(!), or regular woprophiles out there.Always is still always forever, baby. C'monnnn, that's some mint Charlie(Steve Railsback) right there.
Ever have one of those optimistic weekends that you planned ahead of time for greatness, but every moment seems doomed to progressively worse failure and by the time the smoke clears you're looking back on three dismal days of sto cazzo, and you managed to piss off everyone around you in the process?Mark the first weekend in June as one of those.Between a nostalgia-free cruise through the shambles of what was once my old neighborhood(Beirut comes to mind), revisiting an old dvd of my ex-family that opened some forgotten wounds, and crossed wires/botched plans with the first girl I've truly grooved on in ages(for serious), I'm almost ready to cheer on the first rays of Monday morning sunlight over here.Almost.As terminally rotten as things were for ol' Wop, I'd still never leave you without your regular review to kick off the new week; hopefully a much better one. With a liberal dose of East Coast Hatecore segueing into some sixties calypso that's blaring in my headphones tonight, what better film to draw focus upon than Jamaa Fanaka's controversial pioneer 1975 effort, "Welcome Home, Brother Charles"(also known as "Soul Vengeance")?What Fanaka captured on film stands as a gritty, surreal extension of the eternal pissing contest between black and white males; an urban yarn o'vengeance handled with much artistic flair, a seldom-seen-yet-primo slice of seventies blacksploitation fare that has to be seen to be believed and a must for any genre collector's shelves.I first crossed paths with tonight's review back in the VHS trading days of the early nineties, a title I had heard mention of but never made much of an effort to screen for myself to that point.That all changed when I threw the tape in, instantly dumbfounded by the bleak, racist world painted in bold master strokes by Fanaka's urban brush.It ain't every day you see white bigots getting vengefully choked the fuck out by a killer black penis.Onward. "Quit ticklin' me, muthafucka! I will NOT give you my Rufus tickets!" We're introduced to Charles(Marlo Monte) as he sits on a high building wall, surrounded by cops, and threatening to swandive if they don't back off.His girlfriend Carmen(Reatha Grey) is brought in to talk him down, but instead, he reminisces about the weird events that led up to this stand off.Three years earlier as a street-level pusher, a botched hotel room drug deal left him in the cuffs of two cops named Jim and Harry, the latter being the crooked, racially frustrated bigot-type who decides to beat the stuffing out of Charles in the back of the squad car, nearly castrating him in the process(intentionally, mind you).On top of that, he receives a three year prison bed on which to stew upon directly after his day in court goes stereotypically(Seriously, a cop tries to cut your dick off, you might wanna bring that up in front of a judge.Just sayin'.).In the hoosegow, Chaz's wounds eventually heal as he develops a deeper spirituality, vowing to go straight amidst what sounds like a foghorn-based avant garde theme from Fanaka himself, and a montage of black and white shots of an anguished Charles brooding in his cell.Once he's on the outside again, he notices that all his old homeboys are immersed deeper in criminality than before he went in, and his former friend N.D.(Jake Carter) used Chas' incarceration to turn his girlfriend Twyla into a stripper.A prostitute named Carmen, who tried to help him as he was arrested, makes a soul connection with Charles that soon blossoms into love.But this ain't the same Charlie as before, baby. Rule of the streets #17: Never mess with a black man's junk. Charles's current adherence to the straight and narrow is frequently broken by the sad truth that his home has degenerated into a criminal underworld, an inability to return to productive society, and lapses of vengeance-fueled race hate against those who sought to oppress him in the beginning.And his dick grows to about twelve feet in length, strangling whitey constrictor-style whenever the feeling grips him, in a tongue-in-cheek nod to the old white racist myths about black slaves comandeering the slavemasters' wives with their enormous sex organs.So, yeah.He pleases the wives of his enemies after bedding them with Svengali-esque hypno-powers(jail was awfully productive for this guy,huh) then strangles the shit out of the honkeys-in-question with his ridiculously enormous johnson.I'll let you wrap your minds around that concept for a while, and suggest that you seek out the Xenon dvd for the exciting conclusion and potential answers to the film's eternal questions: Did Harry take Charles directly to jail, and if not, how did he skirt around the attempted castration at the hospital? Where was Chas' girlfriend Twyla prior to his prison sentence? Do undercover cops often double dip as bomb diffusal specialists? Does the sight of a giant, unfurling, black dick cause white folks to freeze up like a deer-in-headlights prior to strangulation? Once you draw your conclusions, send them off to me, ferchrissakes.I'm just as curious as you are. Boy, Scatman Crothers could sure throw a party... Brother Charles was one of Fanaka's three feature films he completed as student projects while studying at UCLA, the third, Penitentiary(1981), a prison boxing picture starring Leon Isaac Kennedy, was a top grossing independent film that year.Xenon's print is allegedly missing somewhere in the neighborhood of seven minutes of more shocking footage compared to other copies of the film.I actually can't remember whether the VHS I snared years ago was any more graphic than this disc.Eh, it matters little at this point.I recommend Brother Charles to any and all blaxploitation fans, and bestow three wops upon it.Hunt it down for yourselves! I exclusively choke chicks out with mine, but whatever fries your calamari, homepiss.