Saturday, May 31, 2014

Cafe Flesh

Writer:Jerry Stahl, Stephen Sayadian
Director:Stephen Sayadian
Starring: Andy Nichols, Michelle Bauer, Paul McGibboney, Marie Sharp
Availability: DVD Available from VCA

    Wait, you might be saying to yourself.  Is that a perfect score for a porn flick?  Indeed, fellow readers.  Cafe Flesh is one of a handful of porn films that actually qualifies as simply a great film.  Films like Behind The Green Door, The Opening Of Misty Beethoven, The Devil In Miss Jones, Femmes De Sade also belong to this group.  These are movies that go beyond just being stroke material, and are willing to push the boundaries and create a certain type of transgressive art that challenges the mind as well as stimulates your John Thomas.

    Stephen Sayadian (otherwise known as Rinse Dream) was one of the few porn pioneers of the 80s who used the medium as a way to express some pretty radical views.  Novelist/junkie/Alf scribe Jerry Stahl joined him on this journey.  Together, the two created films that almost dared you to masturbate.  They were surrealist nightmares, feeling like something Salvador Dali would have experienced in his wildest wet dreams.  Nightdreams, Cafe Flesh, Party Doll A Go Go, and Dr. Caligari are all essential titles in any adult film library.  Dr. Caligari was his only non-porn, but it is still very much a sexual movie.  There is no underground director who made movies like this guy.

    This, of course, brings me to tonight's flick, Cafe Flesh.  This is easily Sayadian's most well known work, and also a classic in the midnight movie circuit among non-porn fans as well.  This movie echoes a more hardcore version of Liquid Sky at times.  It's a film that just screams new wave, but it doesn't feel dated.  Stephen has such a keen visual eye and an absolute love of the absurd, that the movie becomes not of any time.  It's just an absolutely brilliant vision.  At times it resembles dadaist theater more than anything resembling a true movie.  In fact, I'd love to see a stage version of this movie.

    Cafe Flesh takes place in a post-apocalyptic society where people are divided between Sex Positives and Sex Negatives.  The Sex Negatives are unable to have sex, so they take out their sexual frustrations by going to Cafe Flesh, a place where Sex Positives are forced to perform sexual acts for the Sex Negatives.  They turn the sex scenes into real performance art, though.  In one sex scene, you have three grown men in high chairs dressed as babies.  In another, you have a man dressed like a pencil, and in another, a man is dressed as a rat milkman.  Probably my favorite is the naked secretary who just keeps repeating "Would you like me to take a memo?"  It's the epitome of a non sequitur.  Add to this the neon-colored backgrounds, and you have a movie that tackles sex in ways that were never touched on before.

    Cafe Flesh does seem like a natural extension to the previous film Stephen worked on, Nightdreams.  While that film was pretty much wall to wall sex, Cafe Flesh took the surrealist ideas explored in Nightdreams and made a much more plot-driven film.  Most of the sex scenes are quite short, so you never feel like they get in the way of the story.  Andrew Nichols as Max Melodramatic, the MC of Cafe, gives one of the best performances I've ever seen in an adult film.  He's perfectly slimy, and he delivers his lines in a way that just oozes charisma.  Michelle Bauer is another familiar face here (credited as Pia Snow.)  She is quite strong in her role, and though there are rumors that a body double was used in her sex scene, that doesn't detract from what is an otherwise exceptional performance.

    One unfortunate thing about the Cafe Flesh DVD is the omission of a scene that was trimmed because VCA felt it was too violent (though it was never cut from the VHS release.)  It involves the fate of Max Melodramatic, and honestly, the violence is more implied than anything.  There are some overseas copies that have the original ending, but the transfers are so awful, you're better sticking with this one.  Unless you are familiar with the movie, you're not going to miss anything.  It's still a satisfying viewing for all cult film aficionados.  There were a couple sequels made several years later that are also worth checking out, though they don't match the artistry of the original.

    It's truly hard to put the experience of watching Cafe Flesh into words.  It's a deliciously weird movie, which is even more shocking when you realize this was put out by a major distributor.  I can't really recommend it as a true porn flick because the sex scenes are short, and they really aren't the focus of the film.  Stephen Sayadian wanted to make his films challenging.  He didn't want to be stuck doing these types of movies, so he liked to fuck with his audience.  He was a true artist, and Cafe Flesh is nothing short of a true art film.  It's a true masterpiece, and one that bears my highest of recommendations.

    Until next time, my fellow freaks and weirdos...

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Future Justice

Director - Richard Griffin (The Disco Exorcist, Normal)
Starring - Nathaniel Sylva (Dead Bounty, Murder University), Aaron Andrade (Accidental Incest), and Steven O'Broin (Accidental Incest, The Sins of Dracula)
Release Date - 2014
Genre - Sci-Fi/Thriller
Tagline - "In a future gone to hell, one man will bring justice to the world"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection)

Rating (out of 5):
     There are certain filmmakers out there that can still announce a film and make me giddy.  These filmmakers have been at it for years and have built an amazing catalog of films that never fail to entertain.  One of those directors is Richard Griffin.  Griffin started making films in 2000 with Titus Adronicus and followed that film up with Feeding the Masses, Raving Maniacs, Creature from the Hillbilly Lagoon, and so many others.  His horror films are unrivaled but recently he announced he was working on a post-apocalyptic sci-fi flick in the same vein as Escape from New York and 1990: Bronx Warriors.  This excited the shit out of me and I had to see the film.  I contributed to the crowd funding and waited patiently for my film to arrive and when it did I waited no time to watch it.  
     The film follows a military garrison as they prepare to transport a dangerous prisoner from deep space storage back to Earth.  However, on their way back they lose radio contact with Earth.  The trip takes months and when they arrive they discover that a terrible accident has wiped out half the Earth resulting in martial law and anarchy.  The military group meet up with a small group of survivors who have been hiding in an underground bunker but they accidentally lead a para-military unit of survivors to them.  This para-military unit attacks the group killing several of their members and force them to barricade themselves inside.  They then use an illegal laser to punch a hole through the ground to get them.  When the military troupe and survivors think all hope is lost they quickly learn that their attackers are not their real enemies but the radiated mutant living in the pipes is.
     What I really like about Griffin's movies is that he refuses to follow modern trends.  Many of today's directors try to follow trends to make a quick profit but Griffin makes films that pay homage to films that have been forgotten with time.  That is one of the many reasons I watch his films like a kid watching Saturday morning cartoons and may God have mercy on your soul if you disturb me while one of his films are on.  I honestly did not know what to expect from Future Justice but I knew Griffin would not let me down...and I was right.  The film has everything I love about the late 80s surge of post-apocalyptic flicks but with fewer flaws that plagued so many.  You could easily see the love Griffin and team had for these kind of flicks.  The acting in this one is spot on with the entire cast performing perfectly.  The film was well casted and that is something I expect with all Griffin's films.  With that being said, I have a bit of a problem with the look the film's bad ass has.  When you think about flicks from the past you automatically think about the film's hero and his look.  They always have that something that makes them stand out and it almost becomes their trademark.  Snake Plissken has his eye patch, Cobra has the cobra logo on his pistols, and so forth.  However, our hero has a tank top?  A little more thought in his appearance would have helped a lot in my opinion.  The story for this one is one that has been told before but not in the same film.  The story of the prisoner being escorted back to Earth is very similar to John Carpenter's Ghost of Mars.  That similar story is then mixed with almost every other post-apocalyptic story from the late 80s to the early 90s.  Combining them make a pretty fun film.  Finally, the film has a slew of on screen kills and special effects.  Where this is a sci-fi thriller and not an actual horror flick we get mostly gun shots and visual effects.  The visual effects are great and look amazing at times and the few non-gun shot kills we do get look just as good.  Overall, Future Justice is a a fucking superb futuristic action flick that is beautifully shot and crafted by a real fan of this style of film.  The film got everything right and left no room for error.  Check it out because you will not be disappointed.  

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Legend of Six Fingers

Director - Sam Qualiana (Snow Shark: Ancient Snow Beast)
Starring - Sam Qualiana, Andrew Elias (Return to Nuke 'Em High Vol. 1), and Lynn Lowry (Basement Jack)
Release Date - 2014
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "The woods want blood"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     At the end of 2012 I discovered a local filmmaker that lived just a short distance from me.  At that point he had been making indie horror flicks for almost a decade and I was a little pissed that I was just now learning about him.  That filmmaker, Eamon Hardiman, had created a number of films that starred Sam Qualiana.  I befriended Sam on Facebook and learned that he, himself was a director.  At this time he was currently working on what I thought was a cryptozoological horror flick called The Legend of Six Fingers that was being produced by Gregory Lamberson.  Lamberson is the man responsible for the 1988 splatter flick Slime City (read my review here).  This kinda excited me and I waited patiently to see it.  I reached out to Sam and he was nice enough to send me in the right direction to get a copy to review and for that I thank you!
     The film follows a documentary filmmaker and a camera man as they visit a rural community to interview the locals about a rash of small pet murders.  The two have a hard time working together but force through their shortcomings to finish the project.  The two visit an elderly couple and learn some about the local legends.  It is here that they learn about a creature the Native Americans call Six Fingers.  The two venture deep into the woods where they cross paths with two hitchhikers and then soon after set up camp.  They head back out to investigate and come across the creature.  They film the beast and head back to camp where they find the carcass of one of the hitchhikers.  The two flee from their camp only to cross paths with Six Fingers again.  However, Six Fingers does not attack the two and simply follows them.  The two panic and run away only to discover they are now lost.  The two rush through the woods and after 24 hours they stop and attempt to force the beast to run away.  This backfires and the documentary filmmaker is killed by Six Fingers.  The cameraman runs away and after several hours is able to escape the woods and finds the elderly man whose wife told them about Six Fingers.  He then learns a dark and horrible secret about the elderly couple and Six Fingers
            I personally have a soft spot for crypto horror.   I have seen more movies about killer sasquatch and yetis than I care to count.  Most of these films are the same in story when compared together.  A group of people in the woods get brutally slaughtered by the beasts.  Simple as that.  These films never try to reinvent the legend for fear of a backlash among crypto fans.  That is what I really liked about The Legend of Six Fingers.  The film did not set out to give us another bigfoot/yeti/skunk ape flick.  Instead, Qualiana gave us an entirely new legend and expanded it from there.  I also feel that he set himself up with what could be a basis for a series of films.  The acting in this one is solid by the entire cast but I have a hard time judging this sort of thing when it comes to a found footage film.  It is hard to really get a feel for the acting talent when the characters are speaking directly to the camera.  The story for this one is great.  The fact Qualiana is able to create his own cryptid with it's own mytho that has the power to grow even bigger is nothing short of genius.  I wish more creature features would take this route.  Hell, I wish the indie horror scene had more creature features.  Finally, the film does have a few on screen kills and a ton of special effects but they are not that great.  The beast looked a little on the goofy side but if we saw it less it would have been more effective.  However, if that was the case then horror fans would have bitched that we didn't see it enough.  The kills were bloody but the special effects for those were on the same page as the beast itself.  A little better kill scenes and a better costume would have went a long way.  Overall, The Legend of Six Fingers is a bold creature feature that has the strength to become an indie series franchise.  The film has a strong back story and Qualiana is able to actually create a great myth.  Check this one out because it is worth a watch.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Evil Head

Director - Doug Sakmann (The Xxxorcist)
Starring - Joanna Angel (Fuckenstein), Tommy Pistol (The Gruesome Death of Tommy Pistol), and Kleio Valentien (The Walking Dead: A Hardcore Parody)
Release Date - 2012
Genre - Horror
Format - DVD (Personal Collection)

Rating (out of 5):
     Horror and boobs go together like horror and blood.  Boobs have always been apart of horror beginning in the 60s with the sexual revolution.  However, the late 70s saw the beginning of the erotic horror that had it's rise in Europe.  Erotic horror would later mesh with extreme horror to create what I call "gornos."  These films still tell a horror tale but use graphic sex scenes that usually involve unsimulated sex.  Neither of these are on the same level as real porn.  The porn industry is booming and this has lead to porn production companies to lampoon, or parody, popular films and television shows.  Sadly, these companies tend to stay away from the horror genre but one company in particular has the balls (and tits!) to parody horror.  That company, Burning Angel, has took a stab at several horror related films and television shows with their films Re-Penetrator, The Xxxorcist, and The Walking Dead: A Hardcore Parody.  Last year I reviewed Re-Penetrator and The Xxxorcist and was curious to see what other films they have made when I discovered they made a film parodying my favorite horror flick of all time, Evil Dead.  The film, Evil Head, looked fucking awesome and I had to see it.  Sadly, my porn buying skills were lacking and I was unable to score a copy until now!
     The film follows two couples as they venture into the woods to stay in an abandoned cabin.  They find an old recording and play it aloud unleashing an ancient evil.  The two couples ignore this and the two men double team one of the beautiful young women.  This upsets the other girl and she runs from the cabin.  While in the woods, the woods themselves come alive and double penetrate her.  She is now possessed and returns to the cabin where she stabs the other girl in the leg with a piece of wood that was hidden in her cooter.  The other girl becomes possessed and we get some demonic girl on girl action.  Ash (Pistol) tries to sneak a finger in and it possesses his hand forcing him to lob it off at the wrist.  Now, armed with a chainsaw, he must stop these possessed women or die fucking!
     Before I continue I have to admit that I am not an avid porn viewer.  In fact, if these films were not parodying my favorite horror flicks then I would never watch them.  Not because I find them vile or disgusting because I don't.  It's more because I have an addictive personality and would give myself carpel tunnel.  Anyway, early last year I reviewed Re-Penetrator and The Xxxorcist and was not a fan of either one of them.  They had some small bits of humor to break up the bloody and puke filled sex scenes.  I still watched the trailer for Evil Head and it looked like something I could dig so I searched high and low before a good friend sent me in the right direction to order the stag flicks.  After finally watching it after waiting over a year I have to say it was well worth the wait and then some.  The acting in this one is what you would come to expect from a porn.  The cast was not here to show off their acting talent.  That is to be expected when dealing with a straight up porn.  With that being said, they all show some talent they just have not learned to harness it for a film outside of porn.  The story for this one is what you would expect when you think about Evil Dead meeting the hardcore porn industry.  The film is the same story but with sex strung throughout.  It was actually a pretty fun film regardless and the sex wasn't as bodily fluid filled as the other films.  The production team was also able to craft the same atmosphere and setting as the original film and sequel which is actually impressive.  Finally, the film does have a lot of blood but no real on screen deaths.  The kills take place off screen and this limits the special effects.  If you are watching this for special effects and not to see Joanna Angel and Kleio then you are watching this for the wrong reasons anyway.  Overall, Evil Head is a fun porn parody that is strong in spirit and hardcore fucking.  Fans of the original Evil Dead and sequel must watch this because you are truly missing out.  

I Heart U

Writer: Devin O'Leary
Director: Billy Garberina
Availability: DVD Available at


    So, I've been battling a nasty bit of depression this month, so I apologize in advance for not being more productive lately.  I'm getting back on track, though, and I figure what better film to cover than this nasty bit of black comedy.  Billy Garberina is a funny fucking dude.  I first became aware of him through the film he co-directed with the always great Richard Griffin, Necroville.  I had a blast with the movie, and Garberina was definitely the highlight of the film.  A little later on, after finally digging into the works of Chris Seaver, I started to see him pop up there as well.  It was like he belonged in that demented universe, and it was then I realized that this man is just a wonderfully gifted performer.

    Recently, I discovered he started directing a few solo projects.  Thanks to the folks over at Alternative Cinema, his latest opus I Heart U arrived at my doorstep.  I've wanted to see this movie ever since I first became aware of it.  I'm happy to say the movie did not disappoint.  Billy plays Walter Fletcher, a mild mannered man stuck in a dead end marriage with Liz Fletcher, played by the always fetching Raine Brown.  How does one have a dead end marriage with someone as beautiful as Raine Brown, I'll never know, but that's a discussion for another time.

    As a way of coping with his marriage, Billy starts finding solace in murder.  It feels good, and it becomes a sort of release for him.  Little does he know that Liz is also a cold-blooded killer herself.  The two start competing with one another, upping the body count so that they can get more coverage in the papers.  This whole time, neither one is aware of what is going on.  Their day to day lives remain just as drab and plain as ever.  I don't think it's too much of a stretch to tell you that once they discover each other, rather than being shocked, it actually becomes something for them to bond over.  

    This is a movie that I enjoyed immensely.  Devin O'Leary's script is high on wit, and never takes the easy way out, keeping the movie entire unpredictable until the final frame.  Credit must also be given to Billy and Raine.  They play their parts to perfection.  I've never seen Raine stretch her comedic muscles like this before, and I certainly hope she does it more often.  Garberina also has a strong handle on the material behind the camera.  The movie moves at a whip-fast pace, and he captures the dullness of suburban domestic life perfectly.  

    I also need to give a special mention to the kill sequences.  Even though the movie's emphasis was on humor, the actual kills were quite grisly and well done.  Sometimes movies like this find it hard to achieve this balance, but even the kill scenes had a bit of nasty humor in them.  I should also point out, though I'm sure it's no secret, that the movie was obviously shot on an incredibly modest budget.  So, if microbudget cinema is something that turns you off, well what the fuck is wrong with you?  I live for this type of cinema.  It's not perfect, but goddamn it, it has heart.  Sometimes that's all that matters.

    Once again, I would like to thank Alternative Cinema for the opportunity to review this movie.  I've seen a lot of people compare it to the likes of Natural Born Killers and the like.  I'd say it's more of a domestic bliss version of American Psycho.  However you approach it, you're sure to have a good time with it.  It's funny, it's nasty, and you get to see Raine Brown in all her loveliness.  Okay, Billy Garberina's not so bad either.  I'm definitely interested in seeing the other films Billy has directed, and will be looking forward to more in the future.  Bravo.

    Until next time, my fellow freaks and weirdos...

Monday, May 26, 2014

Captain Z & the Terror of Leviathan

Director - Steve Rudzinski (Super Task Force One)
Starring - Steve Rudzinski, Zoltan Zalai (Super 8), and Madison Siple
Release Date - 2014
Genre- Comedy/Action/Adventure/Fantasy
Tagline - "An epic of idiotic proportions"
Format - Streaming (Online screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     I have always loved horror.  This was an obsession that I picked up at a very young age that came to fruition when I started visiting the mom and pop video store when I was in elementary school.  I will always love horror but I am still open minded when it comes to other genres but most of my money will always be spent on horror.  With that being said, I am a fan of a select number of filmmakers and will always buy their films regardless of what genre they dabble in next.  That brings me to indie director and actor Steve Rudzinski who is responsible for the 2013 film Super Task Force One.  Rudzinski is a director that has bounced in and out of horror with his horror efforts including Slasher Hunter, Wolfster, and Everyone Must Die!  He has talent behind the camera and that is evident for sure but Rudzinski's non-horror efforts are fucking amazing.  Super Task Force One is a stroke of pure indie genius that begs to have a sequel.  Since viewing that film I have waited patiently for Rudzinski to step outside the horror genre with another film and I finally got my wish with his newest flick Captain Z & The Terror of Leviathan.  Rudinski reached out to me about reviewing the flick and I calmly (girl squealed) accepted his offer.  Thanks Steve for hooking me up with the screener link!
     The film begins in 1714 with a handful of locals that are now possessed with an ancient evil as they try to perform a ritual involving a girl with crimson hair to resurrect the evil leviathan.  At the last moment a swashbuckling pirate, Captain Z (Zalai), saves the day with his trusty chicken Rosa.  Unfortunately, this causes a vortex and Captain Z is sucked in along with the possessed townsfolk.  We then jump 300 years and the local community still talks about the exploits of Captain Z immortalizing him as an urban legend.  There is even a museum dedicated to the scalawag.  This draws the attention of paranormal researcher and author Glen Stewart (Rudzinski).  Glen wanted to search the local river for the amulet used in the ritual but he is too late.  A father and son pair found it earlier while fishing and accidentally re-open the vortex releasing the demon and Captain Z.  The demons possess the redneck family (inbred and undead!).  They once again set their sights on unleashing the leviathan using the amulet but Captain Z intervenes and grabs it.  He is able to run away with them hot on his tail.  He eventually makes it to the river where he finds Glen, the museum curator, and an employee, Heather (Siple).  Now this rag tag team must stop the demons from unleashing the leviathan before they fully "cook."
     Growing up I visited the local video store, Dewey's Home Video.  Dewey was a mullet wearing 80s glam rock kinda guy but his video store had movies from all genres.  Looking back I am actually impressed by some of the more obscure films he had considering he was a small rental store in one of the poorest counties in the country.  It was here that that I crossed paths with the fine films of Full Moon and their family friendly label Moonbeam.  I fell in love with both labels but Moonbeam stole my heart with a film that became a staple of my childhood.  The film, Prehysteria, was fucking amazing.  I loved the look, score, story line, and overall appeal of the film.  As soon as I started watching Captain Z I quickly realized that this film had a lot of the same traits as Prehysteria.  This is the kind of film I would have loved as a child and will show my children when they are old enough to enjoy good movies.  The acting in this one is top notch and by far the best I have seen in a Rudzinski flick.  Rudzinski himself should really get more gigs acting because he really does have the charisma needed to hold the audiences attention.  The remainder of the cast did great as well with Zalai stealing the show every time he enters the scene.  The story for this one is fun as hell.  The best way to describe it is Moonbeam meets Evil Dead.   The film is low in horror elements but is perfect if you are looking for a fantasy adventure.  In fact, aside from a few sex jokes, this film could easily pass as a flick for children.  Finally, the film has a slew of visual effects.  These effects are not that great but they fit the film perfectly.  Overall, Captain Z is one hell of an indie flick.  It has action, adventure, and cheesy on liners.  If you watch one movie this year that I recommend then let it be this one!


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys

Director James Cullen Bressack (Hate Crime, To Jennifer)
Starring - Zack Ward (Freddy vs. Jason), Shannen Doherty (Witchslayer Gretl), and Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future, Pirahna)
Release Date - 2014
Genre - Horror
Format - Television

Rating (out of 5):

     Director James Cullen Bressack is a director that I have to say has some balls.  His films either push the barriers or goes against the norm to give his viewers something new.  His film Hate Crime is one that left me feeling uneasy and really showed me that indie films are far from dead.  His follow up film, To Jennifer, was the first horror flick to be filmed completely on an iPhone which only shows how far he will go to make a movie.  After I watched those two flicks I followed them up with Bressack's first film for The Asylum, 13/13/13.  13/13/13 was one brutal fucking film that I thoroughly enjoyed.  Since watching those three flicks I have waited for him to hit me up with a new film and I received word several weeks back that his newest flick for The Asylum would be a made for television movie called Blood Lake: Attack of the Killer Lampreys.  The movie was made for Animal Planet and looked fun as hell.  So I waited until tonight...
     The film follows a fish and wildlife expert as he travels to a small Michigan town to help with a small outbreak of lampreys.  They start to investigate the dam and quickly learn that these lampreys are anything but ordinary.  These lampreys are starving and are now looking for an alternative food source...humans.  The lampreys start to work their way through the water supply and kill everyone they can.  It is now up to the fish and wildlife expert and his team to stop the lampreys before they make it to his family and turn them into lamprey shit.
     The Asylum is a mixed bag for me.  This small film company is able to come up with some of the greatest stories ever told in cinema but somewhere between writing it down and the finished product they tend to lose their way.  The Asylum has given us so many movies with amazing story lines like Sharknado, Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies, and The Hitchhiker.  The biggest criticism that The Asylum's films get is their campiness.  I, for one, love campy horror flicks and will watch everyone I can.  The acting in this film is amazing.  A majority of the cast is well known so it is no surprise that the acting was so good.  This is something I have come to expect from Bressack and his films.  With that being said, this is actually a little unusual for an Asylum flick.  Most of their films tend to be on the bad side when it comes to acting.  The story for this one is nothing new.  In fact, this story is the same as the 1978 film Piranha.  Which is kinda funny since Christopher Lloyd had a role in this one along with the Piranha remake.  Finally, the film does have a great deal of on screen kills but the visual effects and CGI are horrible.  This is something I have come to expect from The Asylum.  Even though I expect it, it still doesn't help my movie viewing experience.  Overall, Blood Lake is a fun 'when animals attack' flick that has the blood but skips on the special effects.  Check it out, it deserves at least one watch!