It's been a minute, but we have returned with genre goofiness from the Boot just for you, as promised. Does this mean we won't be doing an Italian-themed month of reviews in Wop-tober? Hardly the case. This mutt, a Joe D'Amato produced sequel to Umberto Lenzi's La Casa 3 aka/ Ghosthouse (1988), unrelated genre fare rebranded as "House" movies to coincide with Sam Raimi's legendary Evil Dead movies, which just so happen to have been distributed as La Casa and La Casa 2, respectively, in Italy, at the time. Laugh all you want, there were several more to come after this one. Vidmark unleashed it upon unsuspecting American home video enthusiasts as "Witchery" in 1988. I'm pleased to report that nothing works in this movie, from the direction, to the pacing, to the special effects, right on down to the acting. Buckle up...
"T' ain't a finer stewing onion in all of London than this!"
In my best estimation, it would seem that Gary (David Hasselhoff) is a horny, young photographer who's taken his writer/girlfriend Leslie (Leslie Cumming) to a remote Massachusetts island and a run-down resort hotel where she can research famous witch lights...or gates to Hell...or something paranormal or other, as it's incredibly difficult to anybody to understand most of her dialog. Hard to tell if she's drunk, handicapped, or just affecting the most puzzling portrayal ever committed to celluloid, on purpose. Either way, when she's not emotionlessly mumbling her lines and pacing the hallways, she's denying Gary access to the poontang like some kind of virgin. The hotel formerly belonged to an old German woman (Hildegard Knef) with an all-black wardrobe who may have turned her toes up decades earlier as the result of a potent witch hunt, as she was tragically pregnant with child (cue: slo-mo flopper out upstairs window). Only she seems to be still flitting mysteriously about the old place, and she's likely plotting a course for gruesome, bloody retribution, as these witch-types usually are.
"Dis is a message from Aquaman to yer pal Jeremy Wade. 'E sez knock it off or else."
Meanwhile, with Mater Rose (Annie Ross) having designs on buying the property, her Brooks clan is arriving with a pair of horny realtors (including Hasselhoff's then wife, sultry blonde soap opera star, Catherine Hickland) via boat to assess the purchase, restoration costs, etc. There's her husband Freddie (Bobby Chanpagne), and their two children, the adult Jane (Linda Blair), who's very pregnant and having weird visions, and bashful young Tommy (Michael Manchester), who looks authentically petrified to be in front of the camera. Naturally, things go sour in a hurry, and in a most graphically violent and innovative manner, if not always (okay, ever) a coherent one. The lady in black and her spinning jeweled pin unlock a very seventies tele-visual effect-laden doorway to another dimension, where taunting witch-bullies eat still-born fetus parts, old women get hung upside down in a roaring fireplace, unable to scream with their lips sewn shut, and puffy nippled virgins lose their hymen to a yuck mouthed, leering Satan. You can assuredly bet that Linda Blair's character will be possessed and lip syncing gibberish with a cock metal hair do before the end credits roll, as well. That's a given...
Bert was the last Cockney chimney sweep she'd ever cross...
With confusing and inept fare such as this being exported from Italy in the late eighties, it isn't hard to see that the earlier Golden Era for the genre was shrinking rapidly in the rear view mirror, and an inevitable flat line was on the horizon. Claudio Fragasso's La Casa 5 aka/ Beyond Darkness (1990), also produced by D'Amato, would come next. Nobody's any good in this one, with Leslie Cumming of Zombie 5: Killing Birds (1987) fame cementing her position as the worst on screen, scene after laughable scene, and perhaps Hasselhoff delivering the only cringe-less performance, albeit a pedestrian one. Despite the constant flow of negativity that's just been bellowing out of me concerning Witchery, and the inevitable single Wop I've got to lay upon it, you might just have a blast taking this one in with your buddies, if rotten fun is occasionally your fancy. You know what I'm saying. Scream Factory will be releasing it as a Blu-ray on a double bill with it's predecessor, Ghosthouse, in June, so look out for that.
"Rock and roll crazy naaaaaaaaht! You are the hero toniiiiiiiiiiiight!"
Just a heads up here, O Woprophiles, as it's been a minute since we last examined any films. I really haven't sat down to watch too much lately, and the way I see it, I'll probably hold off until I've done so, again. Shouldn't be too long, though, so fret not, little droogs. Maybe I'll tackle a few more favorite lists if anybody's got a request. In the meantime, here's a few random thoughts I've had recently that I'll share with you.
When I sat down to add my thoughts on the latest wave of announced horror remakes, I caught myself slipping into old, familiar, snobbish territory, sharpening my tongue in anticipation of the outrageous elitist shit that would surely flow off of it once more. And I'm not even promising that it won't in the end. Knowing me, it probably will. Honestly though, let the remakes get made, all of them, every last one. Even when your expectations going in are set lower than an earthworm's icing bag, there's always the chance that somebody gets it right and produces this generation's equivalent of Carpenter's Thing. Unlikely, as the pungent stench of recent Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Black Christmas, The Fog, Wicker Man, Wolfman, and countless other failed genre remakes will confirm, but even if a hundred more rotten movies are produced, with profit solely in mind and no thought of art or creativity, it's still a hundred more rotten movies we can take the piss out of right here.
Speaking of rotten, I'll probably skip Jeepers Creepers 3 altogether unless they give director Victor Salva the chop. Some people don't seem to mind that the guy is a convicted nonce, citing other film buffs' love for Roman Polanski, another notorious kiddie fiddler, as reason enough to be excited for the upcoming movie, allegedly in pre-production at the time of this writing. Hell, Francis Ford Coppola is on the list of producers at this point. To each his own. Personally, I pass on both of their collective bodies of cinematic work if at all possible, but I'm only judge and jury over my own choices, nobody else's. Do what thou wilt.
The original Ghostbusters, which I went to see in the theaters upon release, was fucking stupid. Switching out the males in the lead roles for women won't make this new re-imagining any less stupid. No patriarchy, no male chauvinism, no sexism or institutionalized misogyny, the whole idea is just fucking insulting and ridiculous to begin with. The new trailer confirms my opinion.
I refuse to watch tv shows like Game of Thrones or Walking Dead (I caught the first season, it was good, and I left it at that, as fucking sick and tired of zombies as I was, even then). I regularly watch episodes from my numerous made-for-tv horror anthology box sets, and I try to catch a few episodes of Law and Order: SVU during the Saturday marathons on Antenna TV, as that show happens to be pretty cool. TV-wise, that's about it. Emilia Clarke is a pulse-raiser, to be sure, but I can't deal with the Ren Faire-level dialog at this point in my life, I just can't.
I'll confess to being a console peasant here. Picked up Mortal Kombat XL for my PS4 a few weeks ago, too. The draw of playing as Leatherface or the Xenomorph from Alien, or even Jason Voorhees, well, that's irresistible to a guy like me, who helped Yar get his Revenge all those years ago. I go back like a La-Z-Boy recliner, that's right. My gaming currently fluctuates from mild outbreaks to rabid marathons during creative droughts, and lately I've been immensely enjoying Godzilla, Witcher 3, Saints Row IV, GTA Online, and Madden '16 on the current gen system.
See you soon,
You need to treat yourself like number one, do you need to be reminded?