Sunday, February 26, 2017

Night Has a Thousand Desires

Director - Jess Franco (Bloody Moon, Hellhole Women)
Starring - Lina Romay (Snakewoman, Helter Skelter), Daniel Katz (Oasis of the Zombies, Rest in Pieces), and Carmen Carrion (Black Candles, Alone Against Terror)
Release Date - 1984
Genre - Horror/Thriller
Format - BluRay (Personal Collection) (Screener)

 Rating (out of 5):

      My non-horror movie marathon continues.  After watching the comedy Jekyll and Hyde...Together Again and the sci-fi action film Counter Clockwise, I decided to sleaze it up a bit.  I decided that my next film would be Jess Franco's Night Has a Thousand Desires.  As most of you know, Jess Franco is hit or miss with me.  I want to enjoy his films but some lack substance.  The ones that I did not like felt like they were rushed, pieced together, and had no actual story.  They were sleazy but that was it.  Night Has a Thousand Desires was sent to me from my friends over at Mondo Macabro.  Thanks guys for allowing Horror Society and myself the opportunity to check it out.
     The film follows a night club performer who performs with her lover.  She also has the ability to read minds.  She receives a death threat and takes it very seriously but her lover pushes it off as a prank but when she begins to have dreams of death she is forced to visit a psychologist where she learns the murders were real.  Is she losing her mind or is she a bloodthirsty killer?

     I had no idea what this movie was about or how it would play out.  Honestly, the blu artwork gave me the giallo vibe, which in a way it kind of is, but the film did not go the distance.  It literally left me bored to tears and no amount of alcohol could save it.  The acting in this one is not bad.  The cast shows a lot of on screen experience and talent but their characters are not that well written.  They put a lot of dedication into their roles but the characters still fall flat.  Better writing and more direction would have went a very long way.  The story for this one is a sleazy fever dream that is a little hard to follow.  The film is very sleazy which is to be expected from Franco but the story is poorly written and painfully slow.  Finally, those of you wanting blood will find it here but it is bright red and gore is nowhere to be seen.  The effects for these kills are minimal which takes away from the overall effect.  Overall, Night Has a Thousand Desires was a big let down.  I really wanted to enjoy it but the film itself would not give me a chance.  I would recommend checking out one of the many other Mondo Macabro releases over this one.    

Counter Clockwise

Director - George Moise (The Madness of Phil Moise, Schuschgnigg)
Starring - Michael Kopelow (The Stoned Age, The People Under the Stairs), Kerry Knuppe (Voodoo Possession, Gnome Alone), and Devon Ogden (Silent Retreat, Lazarus Rising)
Release Date - 2016
Genre - Sci-fi/Action/Crime
Tagline - "To change the future he must change the past"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     And the reviews continue!  After checking out some Full Moon horror comedies and the outrageous Sexsquatch films I ventured into the darker side of horror with Confessions of a Homicidal Prostitute.  By this point I had some what overdone the horror and decided to step away from it a little so I checked out Jekyll and Hyde...Together Again which was sent to me from my friends over at Olive Films.  After checking it out I thought I would continue with another non-horror flick.  This time I set my sights on the Artsploitation Films release of Counter Clockwise.  I was very interested in this sci-fi action film centered around time travel.  I want to thank Artsploitation for sending this one my way.  Appreciate it.
     The film follows scientist Ethan Walker (Kopelow) has been working on time travel in his lab with his assistant for some time now.  He is now up to running trials on his dog but something happens during one trial and the dog never shows.  He goes into the machine to find it and finds himself somewhere in the future where his wife and sister are both found dead and he is the only suspect.  He sets out in motion to prevent their murders but discovers a web of lies that goes blood deep.
     Before I go any further I feel as if I need to profess my love for Back to the Future.  If I had to pick one movie to watch over and over until I die it would be one of the first two Back to the Future films.  I wouldn't say that I have an interest in time travel but watching these films on repeat as a child and staying up late at night fantasizing about what it would be like to time travel and repercussions that would follow.  I was hoping that Counter Clockwise would show the amount if imagination that Back to the Future does.  Sadly, it did not.  It was entertaining but was lacking certain qualities.  The acting in this one is solid but no one was striving for perfection.  Michael Kopelow has had a pretty solid career after appearing in People Under the Stairs and The Stoned Age so he knows a thing or two about acting.  However, he was not very convincing in his performance here.  Granted, most of the film is him running but his character was not very convincing and the dialogue was not that genuine.  I really wanted to like him and his performance but he wasn't able to pull me in.  The remainder of the cast does a solid job as well and are a little more convincing but the characters are not that enjoyable.  The viewer has no one to root for or to support.  The story for this one is simple but the way it was executed results in a rather complex film that is very bold for the budget.  The film is very repetitive and at the half way mark it starts to lose the viewers.  The story is great in theory but becomes stale by the halfway mark.  Finally, the film does have a few hitman style kill scenes.  The effects are great for the style of kill we get but for those wanting a body count will be disappointed.  Overall, Counter Clockwise is an ambitious film that could have been amazing but quickly finds itself in a loop that becomes very boring.  The film entertains for the most part but will try the viewer's patience.  

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Jekyll and Hyde...Together Again

Director - Jerry Belson (Cops, The Odd Couple)
Starring - Mark Blankfield (Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Sweet Evil), Bess Armstrong (True Blood, Tales from the Crypt), and Krista Errickson (The Paper Boy, Deadly Lessons)
Release Date - 1982
Genre - Sci-Fi/Comedy
Tagline - "The comedy that examines modern living through chemistry"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     I've watched some crazy ass horror films the last week or so.  I started my strange journey with the highly inconsistent Killjoy series which starts out horribly before blooming into a pretty entertaining horror comedy.  I followed up those films with the outrageous sex horror comedy Sexsquatch and the sequel Sexsquatch II: Teenape vs. Sexsquatch.  Both were fun in their own ways but the first film was leagues better.  When I finished with these films I decided it was time to check out the latest Emir Skolonja flick, Confessions of a Homicidal Prostitute.  It was intense and really made a social statement with the story.  After seeing CoaHP I wanted to see something funny again.  Wasn't in the mood for a sad or depraved movie.  I looked through my stack and saw that I still needed to review Jekyll and Hyde...Together Again.  This one was sent my way from Olive Films.  Thanks guys!
     The film follows brilliant doctor Jekyll who has a bright future but decides to step down from surgeon so he can work on a cure for all illnesses.  However, a very wealthy man is dying and wants Jekyll to save his life.  The stress of work and his future wedding affects his work and he accidentally creates a drug that, when snorted, transforms him into Hyde - a drug fueled sex crazed maniac.  Now, Jekyll must subdue his wild side or put his future in jeopardy.
     I didn't know how to approach this film.  Was it going to be a straight forward early 80s horror comedy or would it be a black comedy?  I had no idea.  Prior to receiving the review copy I had no idea that the film even existed but I am not glad that I took the time to check it out.  The film was pretty funny, wild at times, and gave us the tired and true Jekyll and Hyde story we know and love.  The acting in this one is not consistent.  Mark Blankfield was brilliant in his dual role.  He was funny and chaotic when he was Hyde while being withdrawn and awkward as Jekyll.  This was a great contract and gave Blankfield room to showcase his talents.  The remainder of the cast is nowhere near as bold or entertaining as Blankfield and his two characters.  The story for this one is true to the Jekyll and Hyde story we all know but set in the early 80s with drugs, sex, and punk rock.  The film was a little sleazier than I expected and we all know how much I love sleaze.  The humor was dated but that doesn't stop it from being funny.  It reminded me a lot of the blaxploitation films that I love so much.  With that being said, some of the characters were over-exaggerated but they were unable to give them personalities or properly develop them.  They fell flat and felt out of place.  Finally, those of you looking for blood and gore must have missed the part where I said this one was a comedy.  The laughs were a plenty but, as I said earlier, they are very dated to the time period.  Overall, Jekyll and Hyde...Together Again was a pretty damned entertaining film.  If you are looking for something different than Porky's and Animal House then this would be the one I recommend for you.  Check it out.  

Psychomania (Arrow Blu-Ray)
The United States gave motorcycle-mad cinemagoers Easy Rider, The Wild One and The Wild Angels. The United Kingdom gave them Psychomania, the tale of zombie bikers run amok is southern England. The Living Dead are a delinquent biker gang, fond of causing havoc on British roadways and making out in graveyards. Gang leader Tom (Nicky Henson) also has a Satanist for a mother, and when he discovers the secret of immortality, the name of his motley crew takes on a more literal meaning... Directed by Hammer veteran Don Sharp (The Kiss of the Vampire, The Devil-Ship Pirates) and co-starring Beryl Reid (Dr. Phibes Rises Again) and George Sanders (Village of the Damned), Psychomania is a wonderfully offbeat gem, outlandish and eccentric in equal measure.
Bonus Materials
2K restoration from preservation negatives
High Definition (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
Original 1.0 mono audio (uncompressed on the Blu-ray)
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard-of-hearing
Brand-new interview with star Nicky Henson
Return of the Living Dead, an archive featurette containing interviews actors Henson, Mary Larkin, Denis Gilmore, Roy Holder and Rocky Taylor
Sound of Psychomania, an archive interview with composer John Cameron
Riding Free, an archive interview with 'Riding Free' singer Harvey Andrews
Hell for Leather, a brand-new featurette on the company who supplied the film's costumes
Remastering Psychomania, a look at the film's restoration from the original 35mm black and white separation masters
Theatrical trailer
Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by the Twins of Evil
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet containing writing by Vic Pratt, William Fowler and Andrew Roberts

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Confessions of a Homicidal Prostitute

Director - Emir Skolonja (The Butcher, The Plague)
Starring - Kay Baun (The Butcher, The Plague), Michael Balch (Flesh of My Flesh, A Grim Becoming), and Adam Litton (The Plague)
Release Date - 2017
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "She is about to go down on you - as deep as the drill will go"
Format - Streaming (Online Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     Emir Skolonja is one busy man.  Most indie directors are able to release one full feature length film a year.  It takes a lot of time to make a movie which is something a lot of people don't understand.  With that being said, it seems like Skolonja releases a new film every 6 months and is an accomplished author with several novels under his belt.  Not long ago Emir asked me to check out his film The Plague.  I did and thoroughly enjoyed it.  A short time has passed since then and Emir has once again asked me to check out his newest endeavor, Confessions of a Homicidal Prostitute.  Thank you Emir for allowing Horror Society and myself the opportunity to see your new project!
     The film follows prostitute Lilith (Baun) who is sitting down with a young man who is interviewing her about her profession.  She thoroughly goes over how her abusive pimp would beat the shit on her on a daily basis, constantly struggling for money, and how all of her Johns were married.  She then proceeds to discuss how she started killing and why starting with a John that liked it a little too rough before making her way to the abusive pimp.  After she has spilled the beans to the young man she then learns he is not what he seems and a new struggle presents itself before her.
     Emir Skolonja has proven himself to be a very versatile filmmaker.  The first few films I saw of his were dark, bleak, and very savage.  However, his films have taken a more social turn and deals with the social commentary among different demographics.  His film Flesh of My Flesh began that journey away from the brutal and more to the horror living within us.  The Plague then put real people in an uncontrollable setting to see how they act with others not from their way of life.  Confessions of a Homicidal Prostitute further explores the depraved and wicked who have hit rock bottom before revealing true depravity.  The acting in this one is solid.  The entire cast shows a tremendous amount of dedication to their role but inexperience does rear its ugly head.  Most of the scenes are solid but a few of them were awkward to watch.  Once again, this is nothing bad on the cast but there was a few times where the conversations did not feel genuine and forced.  The story for this one reminded me a lot of one of those early 90s horror films that you would find in the video store or late at night on Skinamax.  Those are the kind of movies I grew up on and this one brought me back.  It was fun for the most part but was a rather slow burn.  There wasn't a lot of character development which makes it hard for the viewers to get into the characters but the unpredictability of the story is enough to hold your attention.  Finally, the kills in this one are typical for most torture porn, or as I like to call them "chair horror," but they fit with the style of the film.  The kills we get have some great effects and are executed very well.  They may not be that original but they still look good.  Overall, Confessions of a Homicidal Prostitute is a no budget horror film with a lot of heart.  It may not be perfect but it entertains which is all we can ask from any movie.  With films like this I hope to see Skolonja make movies for years to come.

Wild Beasts (Severin Blu-Ray)

                                                            By Mrparka
                Severin Films brings us the uproarious 1983 animals attack film “Wild Beasts” to Blu-Ray and DVD. A group of dangerous animals exposed to PCP break out and run amok in the city; eating, stomping, and tearing their way into anyone unlucky enough to cross their path.

                Franco Properi, the film’s director, manages to add in political and ecological messages into the film with some of these elements smashed in with violence, sex, cheese, and nudity. This is nothing new when you look at some of the other Italian films of the time, but “Wild Beasts” has a few more tricks up its sleeve. The animal scenes in “Wild Beasts” are executed very well; the deaths and scenarios put forth are truly mind boggling and come off as very dangerous. One scene in particular is the stuff that nightmares are made of: A Cheetah decides to chase a car down and try to eat the driver in the middle of the city, nothing quite as surreal as racing a Cheetah along street lights and sky scrapers. Another brilliantly executed scene involves a man’s faithful companion deciding to end their relationship while he unknowingly listens to a record oblivious to his fate, or that his Seeing Eye dog snuck a quick drink at the zoo. The score by Daniele Patucchi brings a lot of these scenes to life; its funky when showing shots of the city and paranoid when the attacks are ready to take place. The film's stuntman must be congratulated, there are dozens of scenes with men and women alike being torn apart and mauled by the beasts. The effects in these scenes are good, but the scenes work due to the animal and human performers more so than the splatter. Like other Euro Horror of the time, the dialogue is a tad painful as are the social messages; not that they are ridiculous, but just executed in such a ham-fisted way that one can't help but smile. Not every movie can be “Cannibal Holocaust” after all. Franco Properi does follow the approach as to shock the audience to get their attention; in fact he probably invented it, being half responsible for the shockmentary “Mondo Cane”. This is shown as he burns rats on film for real; this scene is pretty unpleasant but, again, a product of its time. We are made to believe all this violence toward animals is to send home a message about the infiltration of drugs, terrorist, and ecological disasters in the world, maybe, but doubts are abundant.  By the end of the film “Wild Beast” wraps up these pretty heavy questions without much subtlety, this is expected even from the opening when a pile of needles flashes across the screen amidst shots of a beautiful city. These social messages will leave you smirking, but it won’t stop “Wild Beasts”
from being a high energy, bat shit crazy entertaining animal attacks movie with a good score.

          The Blu-Ray looks and sounds great in English or Italian. The disc has a nice amount of features including interesting interviews with the director and editor, the latter of which even shows his old editing deck. “Wild Beasts” is a definite watch for any animal attacks enthusiast or Italian Horror film fanatic.

                                                                     Video Review 
For his final work, Godfather Of Mondo Franco E. Prosperi took on the Nature Strikes Back genre and delivered perhaps the most shocking movie of his controversial career: When PCP gets into the water supply of a city zoo, the drug-crazed beasts including tigers, lions, cheetahs, hyenas and elephants, as well as seeing eye dogs and sewer rats go berserk and rampage through the streets of Rome. What follows is a terrifying mix of actual animal attacks (supervised by professional circus trainers) and over-the-top 80s Italian gore that remains the greatest eco-revenge shocker in EuroCult history. Lorraine De Selle (CANNIBAL FEROX, HOUSE AT THE EDGE OF THE PARK) and Ugo Bologna (NIGHTMARE CITY) star in this disturbing urban bloodbath, now digitally remastered for the first time ever and bursting with all-new Special Features!

- Altered Beasts: Interview With Director Franco E. Prosperi
- Wild Tony: Interview With Actor Tony Di Leo
- Cut After Cut: Interview With Editor & Mondo Filmmaker Mario Morra
- The Circus is in Town: Interview With Animal Wrangler Roberto Tibeti's son, Carlo Tiberti
- House Of Wild Beasts: A Visit To The Home Of Franco E. Prosperi
- International Trailer


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Sexsquatch II: Teenape Vs. Sexsquatch

Director - Chris Seaver (The Weirdsies, Death O'Lantern)
Starring - Clint Kelly (Driven to Succeed, Evil Night)
Release Date - 2016
Genre - Horror/Comedy
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     I have preached the word of Chris Seaver for several years now after I first watched Filthy McNasty.  This was not something I expected myself doing after I initially watched Mulva.  A few years back I bought a box set from Brentwood.  The film had two Seaver flicks along with Ghoul School and a scream queen documentary.  I started with Mulva simply because the full title is Mulva: Zombie Ass Kicker.  Honestly, I was not a fan and decided to go ahead and review it.  My review was very honest and went over thoroughly why I didn't care for it.  I was hesitant to check out his other film in the set, Filthy McNasty.  I'm glad I did because I fucking loved it.  I immediately started searching for Seaver and his films.  Through several friends I was able to find the Warlock Home Video site (one of Seaver's several production companies) and ordered several more of his films.  I enjoyed Death O'Lantern and Die-B-Que but was not a fan of Werewolf from Ohio which I have come to understand was not actually directed by him.  Since then I have periodically collected several of his films and spread the gospel of The Weirdsies because it's fucking fantastic.  A few days back I checked out another Seaver sex comedy titled Sexsquatch.  I fucking loved it - almost as much as The Weirdsies which is saying something.  A sequel was sent to me not long ago from my friends over at MVD and SRS Cinema.  It only made sense to follow the film up with it's sequel.
     The film follows another sexsquatch who has come to Earth to rape and murder but heard that there is another beast known for his sexual conquests - Teenape.  The sexsquatch sets his sights on bringing Teenape down and showing him who is sexually dominate.  The opportunity presents itself when the teens from the first film, after being resurrected by a swinging necromancer, decide to throw a party and invite some new nubile young ladies and Teenape.  The sexsquatch makes his appearance by killing as many people as he can before cumming face to face with Teenape.  The two decide to have a competition instead of fighting to the death to determine who is the better sex machine.
     I was excited for a sequel.  I honestly was.  I really enjoy most of Seaver's films and Sexsquatch was a hit but Sexsquatch 2 just didn't go the distance.  It had the humor and was crash which are what made the first film so enjoyable but it literally gives the viewer the same story with most of the same characters - the same fucking characters that died in the first film.  I had heard that Seaver had no interest in this film but was asked for it by SRS Cinemas.  I can honestly see that with the final product.  The acting in this one is just as fun as the first film.  The characters are over the top and comical while the cast is not trying their best at acting.  This makes for a usually fun experience.  The story for this one is rehashing of the first film but with a more iconic Seaver's character tossed in.  Teenape has been around for years but one that Seaver has seemed to abandon in recent years for more ambitious projects.  Tossing him in randomly just made it feel cheap and lacked creativity.  The film was still able to toss in some laughs and just as iconic one liners but that alone could not carry the film.  Finally, the film has some pretty lame kill scenes.  The first film was similar to this but they still tried to make them relevant to the film.  Instead, we get boring kills.  In fact, a few were a parody of a porn that was parodying Steven Segal.  Overall, Sexsquatch II: Teenape vs. Sexsquatch was not the hit the first film was.  It had some laughs but the film makes no attempt at giving the viewer a story.  It was more like a remake in the style of Evil Dead II than an actual sequel.  I would recommend watching the first one and then moving on to The Weirdsies.