Sunday, September 22, 2013

"Filmgore" (1983) d/ Ken Dixon

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Growing up as an avid horror nut in the pre-Blu ray eighties, few things rivaled a glorious big box VHS tape glaring out at you from your shelves of video-based mania, and by the time tonight's review was released, I was already familiar with the Force Video label from the big boxed 2,000 Maniacs(1965) that'd I'd mail ordered off of the back of an ish of Fangoria. Force also distributed stuff like Jess Franco's Female Vampire (1973) and 1986's Zombiethon compilation, both of which we'll eventually get around to looking at here, I'm sure.  That this was a compilation of clips from various effective (and not so effective) genre hits of the day, hosted by the screamiest of dreamy brunette scream queens, Elvira (who I'd always preferred to look at over schlocky hosts of the era like Commander U.S.A. and Zacherle for reasons that should be obvious to anybody that's male and alive), only hastened the time between fumbling with the video tape and popping it into the ol' Panasonic top loader in the parlor...

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Elvira's(Cassandra Peterson) always been a top log in my pile of "Would."
After several rapid fire miss and miss Forry-styled puns from the Mistress of the Dark, with her trademark neckline that dips like Dallas Cowboy Walt Garrison used to in chewing tobacco commercials of the seventies, we're treated to a twenty minute edit of H.G. Lewis' Blood Feast (1963), from Ancient Weird Religious Rites to a fitting death for garbage. Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) follows, with twenty minutes of grainy VHS glory, then Elvie graciously googly eyes us into Abel Ferrara's Driller Killer (1979) before 1976's Drive-In Massacre is inventively edited around Elvira's flirty cut ups. Ted V. Mikels' Astro Zombies (1968) comes next, with machete-wieling Astro-men, John Carradine filling laboratory beakers with dry ice, and Tura Satana filling a cocktail gown with...well, Tura, naturally. And we're only halfway home.

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"So...what do you want to do on our next date?" asks Fuad Ramses (Mal Arnold).
Next comes 1970's Carnival of Blood, with it's H.G. Lewis-styled eye gougings on the ultra-cheap, and Rocky Balboa's brother-in-law. Even a twenty minute edit is too long for this. The murky Dr. Jekyll's Dungeon of Death (1979) follows, with it's basement of martial arts cat fights-in-velour jogging pants and then it's the micro-budgeted charm of Don Dohler's Fiend(1980) which segues into H.G. Lewis' 2,000 Maniacs!(1964), and finally, we see the lowlights of Snuff(1980), which include the updated inserted mutilation ending that's really the only reason anybody'd ever wanna see the movie in the first place. Hasty video titles scroll over a shot of Elvira holding a candle in front of an oversized demonic prop. Two hours?? Where does the time go.

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Tura firma: Dig the peerless pins on that deliciously dangerous dish.
Director Dixon would churn out a handful of these clip compilations (thinly disguised as documentaries) throughout the early eighties, like Wizard Video's big box The Best of Sex and Violence (1981), Famous T & A (1982), and the aforementioned Zombiethon (1986), before helming Slave Girls From Beyond Infinity the following year. Cassandra Peterson would score big with Movie Macabre, which ran from 1981 to 1984 and showcased her Elvira character doing much of the same; cracking jokes, and flashing cleavage, between commercial breaks in B-movie action. The series would be resurrected for one season in 2010-'11. She would also star in her own cult movie vehicles, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark in 1988, and Elvira's Haunted Hills (2001).  Tonight's review could have used a whole lot more Elvira, and a lot less B-sleaze, most of which hardcore fans have seen multiple times before, and in my opinion, the reason it merits a lone Wop on the ratings scale.

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Another victim falls prey to Orange Cruel-lious.
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