Friday, May 31, 2013

"Demoni 2" (1986) d/ Lamberto Bava

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Remember how much fun you had the first time you saw Lamberto Bava's schizophrenic cult classic, Demons(1985)? Well, Team Dario wasted little time in banging out a sequel, hoping to cash in on the international success of their original effort, and that's almost never a good sign, right out of the gate. Sure, there's contagion-spreading demoniac mayhem at every juncture, as crafted by the maestro Stivaletti, and fan favorite Bobby Rhodes returns in an almost identical capacity, and Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni lends her inimitably adorable pouty persona as teenaged catalyst to the on-screen madness, but the results fall well short of the first film's vigor in the end. Still, you could do a lot worse...

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"Fix this earring for me, I'm gonna do the Molly Ringwald all goddamned night!"
Sally(Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni) ducks out of her Sweet 16 birthday party only to get caught up watching a documentary on television about that big outbreak of demons a few years back, you remember that, don't you? A group of amateur thrill-seekers scales the high security wall of 'the forbidden zone', where the contagion had been contained, but, after stumbling upon a frozen demon corpse while inside, the investigators unwittingly reanimate the homely fellow, who takes it upon himself to kill the lot of them and dramatically break out of the television screen, infecting Sally, who's too startled to resist, in the process. Naturally, she spreads the evil to her party guests through her fingernails, letting them know that the 'floppily dancing  around her high rise apartment to The Smiths and Peter Murphy' segment of her get together has officially ended.

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"She watched that documentary on television in a highrise apartment building, GET IT?!!?" barks Tony th-errr, I mean, Hank the Personal Trainer (Bobby Rhodes).
The newly-transformed demons spill out of the young girl's apartment, rushing to infect the entire populace of the building after a collective bleed burns through the floor Alien(1979)-style and knocks out the power, leaving salvation this time around to George (David Knight) and his pregnant spouse, Hannah ( Nancy Brilli), as they join with Bobby the Pimp's identical twin, Hank (Bobby Rhodes), who's been pumping iron in the building's gym and also quite adept at battling back the belligerent baddies.Little boys turn into bloodthirsty demons, hell, even family dogs transform into demons here. An embarrassing winged imp puppet with visible strings  terrorizes the expectant mother-to-be. A little girl (Asia Argento, in her debut) watches helplessly as her father is swarmed by demons as the struggle moves to the parking garage. George and Hannah decide to make their way to the roof, finally infiltrating the mysterious self-sufficient television station that started the epidemic, but demonic Sally does her best to stop the couple from escaping. She fails and eats half-blinded impalement death. Hannah gives birth. The baby isn't a demon. Is it finally all over? Of course not.

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They grow up right before your eyes, don't they?
Lino Salemme ( the unforgettable coke-snorting 'Ripper' from the original ) makes a nice cameo here, playing a security guard this time around, and Virginia Bryant is on board as a classy call girl. The soundtrack is handled by Simon Boswell, with a few memorable cuts, but for me, the Simonetti metal score of the original wins out, hands down. Michele Soavi's La Chiesa (1989), originally intended as a second Demons sequel, would follow, and Bava would helm the made-for-tv The Ogre in 1988, which would be known as Demons III: The Ogre stateside, and even Umberto Lenzi's Black Demons(1991) was released as Demons III in several countries. This entry earns itself two wops, a flawed but enjoyable effort.

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"Don't post that one to FB, you missed our collective sideways peace signs and duckfaces!"
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

"Drive-In Massacre"(1977) d/ Stu Segall

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Forget any visions of  half-dressed, Flowbee-coiffed Farrah lookalikes getting claret-splashed in the back of  customized vans or terrified drive-in patrons screaming against an outdoor screen playing fifties sci-fi classics as a backdrop that the deceptive one sheet for tonight's review may have invoked in you during your first glance. You won't get any of that here. If you're in the market for nerve-wracking synthesizer scores, line-flubbing detectives, stuttering sideshow geeks turned janitors-in-Pinocchio hats,  anti-social drive-in managers decked out in polyester leisure suits, or murky lighting, muffled sound, and establishing shots that go on and on like Uschi Digart's buh-hubbas and make seventy or so minutes feel a lot more like two and a half hours, then you'll probably dig this one for the sheer ineptitude of the thing.

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It's what's playing tonight, and also, what's happening. You see what they did there?
Couples are getting whacked by a sword-wielding fiend after burping dialog unconvincingly at each other in a darkened drive-in theater that's run by a miserable, mouthy bald prick in his polyester pimpiest, if we're to believe the cut n' pasted one-sided newspaper headline pointed at the camera by one of the two mostly sedentary detectives on the case. Who the fuck could it be?There's quite a few one dimensional suspects to choose from: The unseen drive-in/carnival owner with a suitcase full o' swords? Austin, the aforementioned abrasive chrome dome manager who swallowed swords previously?  Germy, the stuttery one-time bite-offer of snake and bird heads und sword swallower in the carnival that formerly employed him? Orville, the local pervo who just wants to beat his meat? One of these squarish cops is gonna have to embarrassingly pose as a woman at the drive-in to draw the killer out, I know that much about cinematic crime investigation techniques.

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Do you remember where you were when you first saw the fake headlines?
Just when you're sure you've pieced together the plot, you're treated to twenty minutes of a police standoff with a babbling machete-gripping stranger('Buck' Flower, no less) in a warehouse that ends up having fuck all to do with the ongoing nightly 'massacre' at the drive-in as he ends up having only escaped the nuthouse that same day. So who was the killer? None of the above! The cat is on the loose at your drive-in, as a hasty voice over tells us after a sloppy freeze of the harmless janitor fellow's corpse, looking to add you to his admittedly unimpressive body count thus far! Like anybody'd still be paying attention to this crap in a car with a hot broad at the drive-in...

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Funky boss, funky boss, funky boss, funky boss, funky boss, funky boss, funky bald-ass boss (Newton Naushaus).
Segall's early slasher has the feel of a latter day J.G. 'Pat' Patterson or H.G. Lewis clunker minus all the red stuff, and with classic lines like "I just wanted to beat my meat!" and "She's in pretty bad shape... she's been murdered with a sword.",  it's easy to confuse it as such at first glance. I much prefer his later porn fare, like 'Up n' Coming"(1983)( starring the late Marilyn Chambers, Loni Sanders, and Johnny Wadd himself!). You'll instantly recognize 'Buck' Flower from his numerous cameos in John Carpenter's films throughout the era; George also co-wrote the movie with Segall, before moving on to better things like 'Devil's Ecstasy'(1977) and 'Capture of Bigfoot'(1979).A lot less fun than it coulda/shoulda been, and therefore, one wop on the scale.

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Gettin' a little head at the drive-in was never like this!
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Sunday, May 26, 2013

"Blood Cult"(1985) d/ Christopher Lewis

The first time I saw this image staring back at me from a clamshell VHS on the shelf of a mom n' pop joint ( that probably had a zeroxed sketch of me behind the counter that read "Do NOT rent to...") at a point when I was also exploring the possibilities of translating genre fare on Beta video(spoiler: it doesn't very well at all.), and seeing that someone had actually gotten their work on the shelves right next to Fulci, Argento, Romero, and the rest of my favorites had proven to be very reaffirming to me. My expectations for the flick weren't bad out of the gate, either, the giallo-esque black glove and meat cleaver on the sleeve promised me I wasn't in for a cookie cutter slasher padded out with mile upon depressing mile of dialog delivered by line-flubbing amateurs and hacked prop limbs spattered with stage blood, all shot with the ambience of a vintage Ginger Lynn DP scene. One would assume that was the case, and that night in front of the big floor model tv in the parlor, I discovered that it couldn't be farther from it.
"Alright, alright ! Maybe we could use a fine set of encyclopedias ! "
Some hacked n' slashed sorority gash has the local small town sheriff(Charles Ellis) baffled in his investigation into the mysterious black gloved fiend, who isn't the least bit opposed to ktfo meddling roommates with severed eighties bimbo heads when he feels so inclined, leaving as always, a cryptic dog's head medallion at the scene of the crime in place of heisted body parts. Luckily, the sheriff's daughter happens to sort out the card catalogues at the college library, and with a little effective Nancy Drew-age, turns up an antique book on the occult that illustrations of the medallion appear in, and may even tie the recent slayings to a coven of eighteenth century witches.
And then, the only military service that would have her was the arm-y. Sorry...
After what seems like at least ten more dialog scenes than in real estate nail biter, Glengarry Glen Ross, the Dean of the school sends the sheriff out to respond to alleged poachers making a racket and setting fires in the nearby forest disturbing the evening's peace, and he brings along his daughter's bookworm-esque boyfriend(James Vance) for reasons only he could explain, knowing full well it couldn't be the blood cult out there, sacrificing future Saved by the Bell extras in diabolical black rituals, and more importantly, the whole infernal occurrence would never end in a ludicrous twist, like so many slasher copies before and since, would it? To cut to the chase, the correct answers in this case are : "Why, yes, yes it could" and "It most certainly would". Just the way you like it!
This broad's neck has just experienced what the newsmedia would probably refer to as 'a brief moment of political unrest'...
You might also remember the director's other release the same year, as covered right here at the Wop. Despite how snore-producingly bland and un-great this one no doubt is, in comparison to later SOV genre efforts like Cannibal Campout and Wally Koz's  555, it may as well be a Leone epic. Retro videophiles and crap cinema enthusiasts alike will be able to dig more merit out of it than I have just now, I'm sure. Still, it deserves a place in genre history as a victory for independent filmmakers everywhere, turning significant home video profits that were once reserved for the studio giants alone. One wop.
He especially likes the part of the song where Glenn Danzig says, "We are 138" eight times in a row. Almost knows all the words, now.
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Saturday, May 25, 2013

"The Life and Death of a Porno Gang"(2009) d/Mladen Djordjevic

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Any comparisons between tonight's movie and 'A Serbian Film' beyond their mutual country of origin should be readily dismissed by discerning film buffs straight away. Serb tackles unspeakable atrocity with strokes of flair and dark wit, while Djordjevic's effort plays like a clumsy 'Multiple Maniacs'(1970) clone with heaping gross-out dollops of explicit gay sex, rape, bestiality, and faux snuff in place of the subversive black humor of the aforementioned cult fave. I often thought about breaking the frame around my vintage Mark of the Devil earl bag and putting it to good use during this one, kids, and that doesn't happen too often, believe you me.
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Auntie Slavna's gonna cream you when she sees what a mess you've made of her raspberry preserves...
Marko(Mihajlo Jovanovic) dreams of directing a horror/fantasy genre piece but settles for the next best thing, which in Serbia, is taking to the dreary countryside in a tacky-looking bus full of ugly, misshapen drug-addled sex-freaks to put on live porn shows in front of small crowds of  grinning, toothless rural folk, apparently. Where else was he gonna find the young transvestite that'd would, besides causing a lover's spat between the two gay performers,  fellate a horse dick on stage? The theatergoers had grown quite weary of the dirt-fucker, fat chick, and even he and his gal pal horizontal boppin' , as evidenced by the gang rape-by-posse that follows, but hell, even that gets the porno gang laughing hysterically, mid-rape. Oh, the wacky adventures these guys are having!
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"SMILE! You're on Rancid Camera...."
Unfortunately, heroin costs more than the admission of a live porn show, and Marko soon turns to snuff movies to pay the pusher. Luckily for him, in Serbia there's no shortage of miserable suicidal fucks willing to let him gruesomely whack them on camera in exchange for monetary security for their families, post-mortem. A cutter tears into himself with a straight razor, then a shell-shocked soldier gets dome-mugged by a giant mallet, and  a rapist gets his top piece removed with a chainsaw(not complaining here, all of the gore looked the shit). Pretty soon, the porno gang is dropping faster than its many victims; getting shot by the cops, hanging themselves, car accidents, really, you fuckin' name it. If it's gross, it probably happens here. In the end, it's even too much for Marko and his girlfriend, as they open their veins to die in a nice scenic place together. Flush...
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" Cervical vertebra! Errr, ummm Timber, I mean. Timber."
The film may have succeeded if the director gave me characters I could relate to on some level, but all I saw on the screen was a miserable Mystery Machine full of miscreants that I not only didn't give a shit about("Oh, I hope the horse-blowing transvestite goat killer ends up okay," said nobody ever, including not this guy),  I couldn't wait for every last one of them to die horribly on camera for subjecting me to such a disgusting mess.  The only two things Porno Gang really handled effectively were the ultra-realistic gore pieces(the grainy war atrocity vid looked pretty straight up at certain points), and also,  moving Serbia further down towards the bottom of the list of places that I'd ever grace with my presence. Not for all the Newport's, petite brunettes, and Green Crack you could muster up. Solo wop-o.
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With a resounding crash, Pavle knew the world's record for juggling hula hoops and red paint while nude, wrapped in X-mas lights, and attempting a Superman seat grab, had just slipped through his fingertips.
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"Up in Smoke"(1978) d/ Lou Adler

Examining the debut effort from counterculture comedians, Cheech and Chong(Happy belated 75th birthday, maaaaan), 1978's Up in Smoke, brings back a whole mess o' memories for me, not all of which involve hallucinogenic high-jinks, surprisingly enough. I first encountered the movie as a nine or ten year old kid who'd yet to even smoke a cigarette to that point, but I still managed to secure myself  kicks a plenty with it, regardless of what a little fucking square I was at the time. You don't have to be a hardcore doper to get most of the gags, but a few crispy bong hits later, you'll relate to the goofy absurdity of it all like never before, maaaaan, as your mother tries to talk to you, telling you how to live, with your newly sieve-like head. Along for the ride are genre regs like Tom Skerritt, Strother Martin, Cheryl "Rainbeaux" Smith, Louisa Moritz, and perhaps most memorably, Stacy Keach as a starchy drape of a narc who couldn't catch mononucleosis playing 'Spin the Bottle' with Madonna.
Puffing a hog's leg fulla Labrador like this while driving leads to excessive low riding.
Man (Chong) cuts out on his nagging folks (Strother Martin, Edie Adams) for greener pastures in his convertible VW Bug, and is forced to impersonate a hitch hiking chick with big chachabingos to secure himself a ride with Pedro(Cheech), the low rider nearsighted/baked/stupid enough to pick him up.After smoking a fatty bomber packed with Maui Wowie and dog shit, the duo get arrested for parking the 'Love Machine' on a traffic median, but beat the charges when Man accidentally chugs the judge's vodka(!) in court. While trying to score some smoke from Pedro's 'Nam vet cousin, Strawberry(Tom Skerritt), the place is raided by the local narc unit, led by Sgt. Stedenko(Stacy Keach), and the pair find themselves deported to Tijuana with most of Pedro's family, who called La Migra on themselves to get a free bus ride home for an upcoming wedding. Meanwhile, a chick blows shneezers of Ajax and Strawberry wigs out on one of his crazy 'Nam trips and shoots his own Mynah bird. Sounds like one of our old parties...
"I wasn't lookin' at his neck, man."
In Tijuana, the fellas pick up the wrong van for delivery back to Los Angeles, and it just so happens to be one fabricated entirely from 'fiberweed' whose leaky exhaust provides for some spirited munchies from a highway patrolman later on, after the boys pick up two hitchhiking doper chicks on their way to the Battle of the punk Bands at the Roxy later that evening. Stedenko and his associates arrest and search a carload of nuns, shoot out their own tires, and manage to set the weed van on fire after finally arresting the responsible dealers outside the venue. The hallucinogenic vapors travel into the gig through the vents, where the boys' band, Alice Bowie, is too wasted to even set up their instruments after Man gets slipped a 'lude before their set. Naturally, the once angry crowd gets the instant munchies and begins to groove on the makeshift band's immortal classic, 'Earache My Eye'. The victorious duo sets off on the highway to ponder the future and burn a frags chunk o' hash, when it drops in Pedro's lap and sets the seat on fire, as they swerve off the road, a smokestack billowing from the windows. Alright, let's all go get high.
Bathsalts?? In our day you had to blow shneezers of Ajax to trumpet like an elephant at parties. 
Ellen Burstyn(!) made an uncredited appearance here, while Harry Dean Stanton's contribution ended up on the cutting room floor. C & C would follow this one up with Next Movie(1980), Nice Dreams(1981), and Things Are Tough All Over(1982),  Still Smokin' and Yellowbeard (both 1983), not to mention 1984's massive flop, Corsican Brothers, after which the seventies icons would pursue separate interests until the late oughts saw them reconcile and reunite for a comedy tour, and innumerable cameo appearances in commercials and television thereafter. It's gotta be in Amanda Bynes' Top Ten, I'm thinking. I dunno, I'd blow some kgb with her, wouldn't you? Tonight's review is a cult comedy of the highest/lowest order, one that seemed more dated before the current advent of cannabis-related culture and late seventies style, and for that, I bestow upon it three wops; a raucous laugh-filled party blast that only drug-free wet blankets won't enjoy, and especially apt since ol' Dub's previous three attempts to tackle this one this week all went up in a massive head-cloud of the titular stuff, of which I foresee another about to be expelled any minute now. Bubblebubblebubblecoughcoughrighteous.
"I'm so bloody rich! And I only know three chords! Watch me burnnnnn!!!"

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"Guts of a Virgin"(1986) d/ Kazuo Komizu( aka/ Gaira )

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When most of  Europe and America grew tired of/desensitized by gore in the mid to late eighties, Asia more than compensated, even upping the ante by creating the "erotic/grotesque" sub-genre along the way, mixing goopy violence with fogged genitalia in just the way we've come to know and enjoy ever since. This 72 minute offering from Komizu, under his favorite pseudonym,  Gaira, certainly classifies as such, if not blowing the lid off the proverbial cinematic wok in the process. The envelope doesn't get pushed here, it gets tied to a boulder and catapulted headlong into a granite wall, with absurdly humorous results(if your sense of humor is as out there as mine is sometimes, that is).
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He's drilling her so deeply that the Gorbuses of Pellucidar have declared war on his bag.
After a countryside softcore shoot(complete with obligatory cutout rainbows, just the way  you probably like 'em),  the crew and models shack up in a deserted house at night when the dense fog proves the country roads impassable. Here they indulge in power trips and sex games of every type, while a monster(translation: naked mud-caked Japanese guy with enormous rubber hard-on)rises from a swamp and converges upon them. Taking a cue from punk band, The Exploited, sex and violence( ...and for some unknown reason,  wrestling) are soon the orders of the day. First comes the contorted sex, seasoned with sadomasochism, squirting ejaculate, standing 69's into piledrivers, and much Eirin censorship fogging, which, believe it or not, prevents the seedy affair from degenerating into a Z-grade videotaped stag loop. Then ol' Muddy makes the scene...
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And with a sudden "BONNKK!", Shimizu realized too late that he'd picked the wrong cartoon coyote to buy dynamite from.
Pretty soon, one by one, our cast is crossed out by the mud-covered monster with mating on it's mind. One guy gets skewered by a javelin (the fact that the murder weapon is obviously chucked by a real javelin thrower isn't concealed too effectively here), while another gets his peepers popped out with a well placed  lump hammer head-dooge, while yet another is decapitated, causing the female wrassler, our titular 'virgin'(if oral sex doesn't count, will someone not named Clinton vouch for that?) and object of the wet dirty one's desires, to go mental; making out with his severed skull-piece, stumbling around the foggy woods, licking her lips and rolling her eyes around, before masturbating with a disembodied arm and finally, receiving a fisting that ends up a full-scale evisceration via the vaginal orifice. Amidst billowing fog, we catch a glimpse of the couple's 'love child'. And just like that, the brief and bizarre ride comes to a close.
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Insert stereotypical "those crazy Japanese and their cameras" joke right about here.
You can pretty much guess exactly what you're in for with this one, if the screenshots are any indication, right? If you haven't seen any of these films, Guts is a good/bad introduction, and I'd recommend it for the hardcore gorehounds out there, the sick things on cartridge tapes that whet my appetite, who dig their splatter and sex like they like their Ramen noodles... with some oriental flavor. If your idea of horror is a couple of pale, anorexic sparkly teens making googly eyes at each other in front of a greenscreen winter landscape, you might not be ready for this kind of vibe just yet.Out-friggin'-rageous. Two Wops.
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Geisha goo-gobbler pukes Yakuza-tadpoles at the sight of horrible turquoise socks.
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Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Bukwas Stops Here: My Favorite Bigfoot Movies

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Whether or not you believe in some hidden race of yet undiscovered nine foot tall wood-boogers is irrelevant when it comes to the bossman of the forest's varied silver screen appearances over the years, providing viewers with both shocks n' shlock in everything from half-baked mockumentaries to vintage porn. Whatever your preference in cinematic bipedal crypto-primates may be, there's probably something you'll enjoy here. Or laugh hysterically at, in some(most, really) cases.

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16) Legend of Bigfoot(1976)

"That's not Bigfoot! That's my wife!" might sound like the punchline to a joke, but it could also double as the synopsis for this mockumentary by legendary outdoorsman and hoaxer, Ivan Marx.

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15) Beauties and the Beast(1974)

"Hey Mack, would you mind telling that leg-jacked bimbo underneath you that your bag is slappin' off of to roll slightly to the right? She's on top of my leaf pouch and my magic berries are in there..."

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14) Bigfoot(1970)

D-cupped go-go girls get lugged off by libidinous mate-starved monsters(translation: phony-looking monkey suits) while John Carradine enlists teenaged dirtbikers to help him blow off dynamite on even phonier-looking sets.

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13) Capture of Bigfoot(1979)

Forget about the embarrassing white Bigfoot suit that belongs on a Lost in Space set chasing Dr. Smith around some foam boulders for a minute, and realize that this movie houses one of the most ridiculous dummy shots in cinema history.

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12) Snowbeast(1977)

'Jaws'(1975) in the made-for-tv snow; tough guy Bo Svenson hogs eighty-six minutes of screen time, the Yeti gets two.

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11) Sasquatch-The Legend of Bigfoot(1977)

A mid-seventies mockumentary with more padding than payoff, but if baggy gorilla suits silhouetted against the skyline, staged animal attacks, and encounter dramatizations are what socks it to you, then here you are. The much scrutinized Patterson/Gimlin Big Suit footage also figures prominently, as one would expect in this type of thing.

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 10) Mysterious Monsters(1975)

That mask-uatch bears a striking resemblance to Rene Auberjonois Peter Graves also says "Ah."

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9) The Untold(2002)

Lance Henriksen and pals search the dense forest for his missing daughter and his company's missing DNA sequencing technology and are, in turn, hunted down, one by one like animals by what's tantamount to the live-action version of this guy right here.

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8) Yeti - il gigante del 20. secolo(1977)

Whatsa mattah you, Italian Disco-Yeti, why you change-ah you size right-ah before my very eyes-ah?

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7) Curse of Bigfoot(1975)

This movie is undeniable proof that Bigfoot doesn't exist, because, if he did, he'd surely lumber down out of the wilderness and put his colossal skunk apey foot up the asses of everybody that was still alive that had a hand in making this one. Pure rotten enjoyment.

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6) Abominable(2006)

Bigfoot bites a guy's head in half like a goo-filled chocolate easter bunny. Do I really need to add anything to that?

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5) Shriek of the Mutilated(1974)

The greatest global-networking-cannibal-cult-uses-yeti-as-a-cover-to-eat-groovy-collegiates movie ever made.

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4) Creature From Black Lake(1976)

A hippified conscientious objector named Rives and a 'Nam vet  named Pahoo who hates fried chicken, on an Bigfoot investigative grant from college, drive to the bayou and encounter amorous hillbilly girls, Jack Elam in his long johns, and are serenaded by Dub Taylor's countrified warbling. Bigfoot is not amused.

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3)The Legend of Boggy Creek(1972)

John Chesna knows every word to this movie and sings all the songs, you don't even have to ask him to, most of the time. I hear Smokey may even make him an honorary Crabtree in a ceremony someday down there in the lonely bottoms.

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2) Horror Express(1972)

When an ancient brain-sucking alien intelligence inhabits a suddenly unfrozen 'squatch on a passenger train, you'd better make sure Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing are on board. Cossack Telly cracks a mean interrogative lash, too. Old school late night television delight.

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1) Night of the Demon (1980)

Anyone who's seen this one knows full well, this movie lost it's footing during the pre-credit sequence and plunged headlong into a fifty-five gallon vat of crazy, from which some good egg threw it a towline comprised entirely of insane gore set pieces, but despite game rescue attempts, it drowned in the fucking crazy, any ol' ways.

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