Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sex Roulette

Director - Alan Vydra (Golden Girls: The Movie)
Starring - Christina Baer, Desire Bastareaud (Teenager in Love), and Anita Berenson
Release - 1978
Genre - Exploitation/Erotic
Tagline - ", lets see how well you play this game"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     After a couple horror films it was time to switch it up a little and review one of the newer releases from Blue Underground.  The film, 99 Women, is a women in prison film that I typically don't enjoy with this film being the exception.  It was fun for the most part but left a lot of room for improvement.  After I watched that one I decided to sleaze it up and venture to an Impulse Pictures release for a little sexploitation.  The film, Sex Roulette, was a new one to me but the title definitely stirred my imagination.  I received this one some time ago but never really had interest in it to be honest.  However, after expecting a sleazy film and not getting it I found it fitting to only toss it in.
     The film follows the niece of a wealthy man.  She does not find sex interesting and prefers to play roulette at different casinos throughout the country.  Her uncle is the complete opposite of her.  He loves sex and indulges in it several times a day with different partners.  He quickly realizes that his daughter will gamble him out of house and home if he doesn't find a way to get her to enjoy sex but this is a much bigger task than he expected.
     I wasn't expecting much from Sex Roulette.  I was expecting some sleaze with little story but I was wrong.  Surprisingly, the film had a very interesting story that had plenty of twists and turns.  The acting in this one was surprisingly well done considering it was a porn flicks of sorts at heart.  The cast shows a lot of enthusiasm with their characters and really makes them enjoyable.  I have seen so many of these films where the characters are flat, one dimensional representations of stereotypical people that people have seen before in countless films.  The cast does a great job breaking the cycle.  The story for this one is not your conventional sexploitation film.  The film actually has a story that it follows thoroughly while splitting each segment up with sex that still fits the plot to one extent or another.  This is rare among sexploitation films.  Most sexploitation films has the sex first and tries to make a story flow around it.  This makes this oddball film a lot more entertaining than the average porn with a plot flicks.  Finally, no blood and gore as you might have figured.  Instead, it is full of sexy women that hate wearing clothes.  Overall, Sex Roulette was more entertaining than I expected.  The story really hooked me and kept me guessing.  If you want a sexy film with a good story then check this one out from Impulse Pictures.

99 Women

Director - Jess Franco (Bloody Moon, Hellhole Women)
Starring - Maria Schell (Superman, King Thrushbeard), Herbert Lom (The Dead Zone, River of Death), and Mercedes McCambridge (The Exorcist, Killer By Night)
Release Date - 1969
Genre - Exploitation
Tagline - "Behind bars - without men"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     The whole "women in prison" sub-genre of exploitation has always been one that I had little to no interest in.  How can a film following women in prison be entertaining?  I've always wondered that.  My father, on the other hand, enjoyed them and would often watch them late at night on skinimax.  They just seemed overly boring to me so I never really looked into them.  Once I started writing for Horror Society I started to notice that a lot of horror fans were also fans of these films and a result of that was that a lot of the companies that catered to horror fans would randomly release one of these films.  A little while back my friends over at Blue Underground released the film 99 Women which is the 1969 Jess Franco directed "women in prison" film.  This was a new one to me and my love for Blue Underground and Jess Franco drove me to see it.  Thanks BU for sending a review copy my way!
     The film follows Marie who is being taken to an all female prison on an island for a crime she did not commit.  The prison is ran by a womanizing lesbian warden who is known for torturing women to the point they die.  She gets her hopes up with a new minister is appointed over the prison but when they fail to reopen her case she escapes from the prison only to find the horrors of the island jungle waiting for her.

     I can remember growing up and seeing my dad watch westerns like a religious nut watches Benny Hinn.  He loved westerns but if a women in prison flick was on he would break his neck to check it out.  I could see how some would find them sexy and alluring but they were boring as fuck to me.  I don't know how many times he would start one and I would quickly fall asleep.  I was afraid that 99 Women would have the same affect on me.  Luckily, it did not.  The acting in this one is not the best.  The cast shows on screen experience and charm but they lack believable characters.  Most of the women in the film act as if they are all portraying the same character.  It gives the viewer very little to separate them other than appearance.  Who is the bad guy, good guy, the bitch, and so on?  The story for this one is simple.  It follows a woman wrongfully convicted of a crime and forced to an all female prison where the women are stripped of their identities and used to flesh out the fantasies of several of the staff.  This could have been sexy, in a way, but the characters, wardrobe, and setting of the film quickly distances itself from any idea of sexy.  The story is a bit of a slow burner with several scenes added in just for filler to get the running time up.  If these scenes were cut the film would have moved at a much better pace and flowed a lot better.  Finally, no blood or gore in this one for you.  If you want beautiful women in rags while being mildly tortured then you may enjoy this one.  If you want blood and gore then I would suggest you check out one of the many other films in the Blue Underground catalog.  

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Plague

Director - Emir Skolanja (The Butcher, Fester)
Starring - Joshua McDonald (The Butcher), Devon Metzger (The Butcher), and Rich Ruiz (Fester, The Undead)
Release Date - 2016
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "From toxic past, the undead will come to life"
Format - Streaming (Online Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     I've been playing a butt load of 7 Days to Die.  For those of you that don't know what that is let me take a second to explain.  7 Days to Die is a video game that mixes elements of State of Decay with Minecraft.  Though I have never played Minecraft I can easily say that State of Decay is my favorite zombie game to date but I am currently addicted to 7 Days to Die and after playing it for days I was feeling up for a zombie movie.  Sometime back director Emir Skolanja reached out to me to review his newest film The Plague, not to be confused with the 2006 horror film starring James Van Der Beek.    The film was online and my internet sucked so I told him I would as soon as possible.  After fighting with my local internet provider for several months I was able to get decent speeds.  I still had to let the film buffer but it wasn't that bad of an experience.  Once again I want to thank Emir for allowing Horror Society and myself the opportunity to check out his film!
     The film follows a brother and sister who are out for a jog when the stumble upon a mercenary bleeding near the road.  They stop to help him and learn that the area they are in is the site of a chemical dump and now it is bringing the dead back to life.  He forces them to shoot him before they are forced to rush off when the undead arrive.  They flee and eventually run into a young couple also fighting for their lives but when they learn they moonlight as hit men they must determine who is more dangerous - the undead or the survivors.
     I have a lot of respect for Emir and his films.  Sure, one of them did not set well with me but the others were fun no budget films that was able to capture what so many try and can not.  His films tend to be dark, bleak, and gruesome which is why I'm shocked by how character driven The Plague is how it seems like a departure from the gruesome films we are accustomed to.  The acting in this one is big improvement over Emir's last film, Flesh of My Flesh.  I respect Emir but Flesh of My Flesh was not for me.  George A. Romero has Bruiser, Dario Argento has The Card Player, and Emir has Flesh of My Flesh.  My biggest complaint with the film is the acting and dialogue.  The Plague is a vast improvement over FoMF.  The cast, though inexperienced, was able to deliver some natural conversations that does not come off as awkward and forced.  These conversations feel authentic and you really think the two are a couple and the other two are in a relationship.  The delivery is off at times but that is minor in comparison to other films with similar budgets.  The story for this one is nothing new.  We have seen countless zombie flicks following a government chemical spill, drop zone, disposal site, and so on that turned the locals into the living dead.  Nothing knew in that aspect but what it lacks in originality it more than makes up for with character development.  The film offers up enjoyable characters that quickly takes me back to Night of the Living Dead.  The characters are not there to be liked but to help move the story along.  Finally, the film has some blood and a little gore.  I'm not one of those weird horror fans that wants gore with no story.  I love gore if it fits the film.  The Plague would have been the perfect film to shower the viewer in gore but it does not.  We get some blood here and there with one quick scene of gore but that is it.  The effects we do get are great but we don't get enough to truly enjoy.  Overall, The Plague is another fantastic horror film from Emir Skolanja.  The film is very character centered with the zombies taking the back seat.  The film may not be that gory but it still delivers so check it out!

The Ladies of the House

These Beauties Have Killer Appetite and They're Dying To Have You For Dinner!

A birthday "guys night out" turns into a bloody fight for survival when three men become trapped in a house of malevolent women with gorgeous dresses, sinister minds and cannibal appetites.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Le Prince Des Cieux

Director - David Thouroude
Starring - Abidou M. Bodji
Release Date - 2016
Genre - Horror
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     I'm an idiot.  I'm not intelligent and never claimed to be.  I don't write reviews because I feel enlightened or because I know I'm very articulate.  I write because I enjoy writing.  I like watching horror and forgotten films and then sharing my thoughts on them.  However, I do come across movies that leave me scratching my head and making me mutter "what the fuck" out loud.  A few months back a friend of mine let me know about a filmmaker who was giving away copies of his experimental arthouse horror film from France.  I was extremely curious about the film Le Prince Des Cieux so I searched for the director and discovered that I was actually friends with him on Facebook.  I reached out to him and he was kind enough to send a copy my way as long as I promised to take a picture of the film once it arrived.  Thanks for sending it my way!
     The film does not have a linear story but it is a collection of scenes and imagery featuring a young man portrayed by Abidou M. Bodji as he experiments with drugs, death, and the question of mortality.

     I didn't know what to expect when I was first told about the film.  Was it going to be a gore filled film with no story and little entertainment value or was it going to be a beautifully shot film that offers up story?  The answer is simple, neither.  The film does have some beautiful shots with morbid subject matter but it does lack a story that someone can grab onto.  The acting in this one is non-existent.  We follow Abidou as he does random things like jumping fences and putting needles into a mannequin.  No real acting or staying in character which is a bit of a disappointment.  The story for this one, like the acting, is not there.  The film does dance with the idea of drug use, death, and mortality but does not follow a conventional story that most movie lovers enjoy.  Finally, if you are looking for gore then you will be very upset.  The film does lack carnage but has some well shot scenes that show some disturbing imagery.  Overall, Le Prince Des Cieux is not my kind of film.  Is it bad?  No, but not entertaining in a way that I find entertaining.  I like imaginative stories and unusual characters with a story you can follow.  If you like experimental horror and arthouse films then check it out.  If not, skip it.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Howard Lovecraft & the Frozen Kingdom

Director - Sean Patrick O'Reilly (Pixies, Kagagi)
Starring - Kiefer O'Reilly (Legends of Tomorrow, Red Sonja: Queen of Plagues), Alison Wandzura (Van Helsing, The X-Files), and Christopher Plummer (Priest, Rock-A-Doodle)
Release Date - 2016
Genre - Horror/Children's/Adventure
Tagline - "For Howard, things are about to get R'lyeh crazy"
Format - Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):

     Not many people have left their mark on horror like pulp horror author H.P. Lovecraft.  Lovecraft's stories has inspired, frightened, and mesmerized readers for over 100 years.  His imagination and creations still strike fear and madness into his readers after all these years and some of his creations can be found everywhere in pop culture.  A good portion of his stories have now been adapted into films and television shows but very few films mention Lovecraft himself.  I have seen a few documentaries over the years that were very short and the comedy Last Lovecraft which is based on a distant relative of Lovecraft but no many has been made about his life and what inspired him to write the things that we know him for.  Recently, Scream Factory released the animated film Howard Lovecraft & the Frozen Kingdom.  I reached out to them and they were kind enough to hook me up with a review copy.  Thanks guys!
     The film follows little Howard Lovecraft (O'Reilly) who visits his father in the sanitarium.  His father tells him about a book he wrote and how it needs to be destroyed.  He then gives him a coin and his mother takes him home.  She then gives him a book that his father had written in a strange language.  He reads the world aloud and is sent to a frozen world where he befriends a giant creature and a family but is forced to search for another book with promises of thawing the frozen land and being sent home by an evil woman.  Howard does as asked and accidentally awakens Cthulhu who happens to be his friend Spot.  Howard and his new friends must come together to stop the evil woman and bring Spot back.
     I went into this one with little expectations.  I am a huge fan of Lovecraft, as most of you know, but an indie animated movie about Lovecraft as a child just sounded like it was set up to fail.  With that being said, it was actually pretty fun.  The animation was not the best but the overall film was rather entertaining.  The voice acting in this one is somewhere in the middle.  Some of the voice actors are spot on - most noticeably Ron Perlman and Christopher Plummer with a surprise performance from young Kiefer O'Reilly.  All three match their characters perfectly and make the scenes worth the watch while the rest of the cast feels out of place which makes their characters fall flat.  Not everyone is on the same level which does affect the overall film.  The story for this one is very imaginative and full of adventure but it does feel like so much more could have happened.  Lovecraft's mythos are so rich in story and mystery that this take on his childhood for children misses a lot of opportunities to incorporate so much more into it.  Finally, the animation for this one is not that bad but I have seen a lot better especially in an indie film.  Indie films have a lot of obstacles in front of them and the biggest is budget.  It will always be budget and this affects the final product.  I get that and for what the film is, it looks good but I have seen better in no budget cinema.  Overall, Howard Lovecraft & the Frozen Kingdom is a fun film and a great introductory film for any child interested in Lovecraft.  It has a decent amount of adventure and a little action.  Check it out.