Friday, November 30, 2012

Witchcraft '88




Sometimes we wax nostalgic for the days of the VHS rental stores and how midnight viewing on HBO and Cinemax featured a lot of variety, now consumed by mainly mainstream studio stuff with kiosks sitting outside Walmart and Walgreens, along with Netflix (although, what we once could rent on dvd here has fallen victim to Long Term Wait and Save, with films we once could get very easily not as accessible as in the past) providing dvd rentals. Now you can “instant stream” instead of driving to a rental store or staying up late while the parents are asleep to catch the “naughty movie” that mommy and daddy forbid. I have to admit that I’m not at all familiar with the Witchcraft series of films that started in the late 80s and continued for (count ‘em) 13 (!) films! 13 of these movies. The mind boggles.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sorceress




You’ll never be rid of me.

Like the naughty big-bosomed bad girl she is, that vixen, Julie Strain is naked, rubbing baby oil over her body, and calling out a revenge incantation in a sort-of witchcraft ceremony against Edward Albert for scoring a Vice President gig at his law firm over her man portrayed by Larry Poindexter.


There’s this sex scene that bugged the stew out of me due to its continuity problem. Close-ups show Strain with her panties on while long shots have them off. Yeah, I was so aroused by the scene a continuity problem was bothering me. It’s all nice and soft and short, without really looking authentic, even as another woman gets involved, a birthday gift from Strain to him. A little kiss, Strain looking at him, and Larry realizing that her presence even after death still haunts him.

It seems Strain’s “bewitched” Larry with a love spell and even after he propels her from their balcony accidentally, she claims, upon dying breath, that she’ll never leave him. Don’t worry, all because Strain dies in the opening scene doesn’t remove the eye candy..no sir. Rochelle Swanson steps right in, blond wig and all, and is a delicious substitute for  when Strain is absent.


The convoluted plot has Howard (Albert) getting a fat promotion, put under a pain spell by witch Erica (Strain), nearly dying in a car wreck. Howard is paralyzed, tended to by his wife, Amelia (Linda Blair), who herself is a practitioner in witchcraft. Erica’s husband, Larry (Poindexter), will reap the benefits of this paralysis when Howard decides to not return to the firm. Amelia is pissed, and rightfully so because Erica caused all the shit and isn’t alive to pay for her use of witchcraft for the wrong reasons (Erica was using a protection spell and love spell but was not allowed to cast one against Howard). So Larry is the victim-by-default. As is Howard’s new lover, lawyer Carol (Swanson), who will be influenced to act bad, with Amelia’s grand design to see her husband’s “replacement” get seriously dead thanks to Erica’s behavior. Included are Blacula himself, William Marshall (as John Geiger, the made-man of the firm Larry works), Toni Naples as a “friend” of Erica and Larry’s, and Michael Parks as the tormented victim of Amelia’s, his family murdered, with a spell cast for him to kill Larry.

Linda Blair is, of course, the member of the cast with the juiciest part and gets to go all Dirty Harriet, putting bullets into Parks who invites himself into their mansion, waving a gun around of his own, and put down execution-style. Blair with that cold stare, not even blinking, just pulling the trigger, is laying on the unstable mastermind of witchcraft quite thick. It is cold-blooded in the grand tradition of the movie sociopath. She has snapped while watching her once promising law firm star husband reduced to a melancholy cripple in a wheelchair as Larry “takes his place”, his Erica responsible. 

You see, Howard finally realizes what Amelia is up to, tries to stop her the best a near-invalid without the use of his legs and lower torso can, tied to his chair, but freeing himself eventually. Meanwhile Amelia goes into her Devil Worship room, with the symbol of the demon she bows to while spellcasting on her knees, not knowing that her hubby has plans to put bullets in her before Carol is forced into killing Larry and his firm friends (a married couple helping him re-paint his condo).

Wielding a nice, shiny butcher knife found in the kitchen drawer (I like how directors never fail to get the light just right so that the knife emits a sparkle), not long after bopping one of her victims on the head with a hot rock before trapping him in the sauna, afterward clunking another over the head with a candlestick while she’s bathing in the shower, Carol, while under Amelia’s influence, sets her sights on plunging it into a wounded/bloody Larry. A necklace with the specific demon’s image inscribed (provided by Amelia, as it was on Sparks’ neck before it come off during a struggle to stab Larry, Carol finding it, picking it up, and wearing it) is Amelia’s way of controlling Carol. Anytime Carol wears it (which seems to be all the time..), Amelia has freedom to dictate how she’ll behave. Amelia’s causing Carol to act like Erica obviously freaks Larry out and he whines and laments to his best friend about it.

This is a Jim Wynorski film and so you know that plenty of beautiful women with big, fake busts will remove their clothes or be featured in fantasies removing their clothes/tops/gowns, showering/bathing their naked bodies, and a trio of them (Strain, Naples, and Swanson) gravitate towards Poindexter. Poindexter, to me anyway, never seems comfortable in his role, probably wanting to be elsewhere. I guess the idea of being the object of desire for hot naked women isn’t particularly his comfort zone. His character is trying to remove himself from the mere memory of Erica, a clinging, “no one can have you but me” kind of girlfriend who made his life miserable. The film ends with his waking up to Erica, her smiling at him wondering “if he was having a bad dream”. Wink, wink.

Edward Albert, for me, comes off best from the cast in regards to characterization. He even gets to be the hero at the end, crawling with all his might across a floor, pulling the dead legs, dragging the weight detrimental to his movement with a fierce determination, knowing that innocents are in trouble if Amelia is allowed to practice her black magic. His character doesn’t hold a grudge against Larry, supporting the replacement, and once he understands what Amelia has done and plans to do, Howard first tries to appeal to any humanity that might still exist, before having to use harsher methods to assure that Larry isn’t stabbed repeatedly.

What amuses me is that despite its less than stellar rating on imdb, Sorceress could be Wynorski's best film. It may have a plot that's busy, at least it isn't minor dialogue scenes that lead to screw sessions or girls fondling each other while staring directly at the screen giving their attention, their eyes to the audience, to us. It might have actors like Albert and Blair that may be frowned upon as B-movie jokes that have little relevancy (I don't look at them that way, but actors that show up in a Wynorski film normally are porn stars who aren't taxed with remembered very many lines, cast more for their looks than providing any sort of development of characters; so Blair involved in a tits and ass flick as a vengeance-seeking crackpot doesn't exactly endear her to those folks who judge Wynorski's work as unsatisfactory (to put it mildly)), but at least they're pros who can hold together a scene without getting undressed.



Swanson goes from bland blond with a radiant smile to feisty raven-haired, nonchalantly malevolent psychopath like the flick of the switch which didn't bother me one bit. That blond wig was laughable. Larry not happy with the change makes sense considering he's such a griping pussy; just poo-poo on you, Larry.

This was the title this version I watched was under.

Strain does sex kitten really, really well. It’s about all she knows how to do, but Strain knows why she’s cast in films and tries to live up to the expected nudity and soft-core sexcapades. She even licks and sucks on Swanson’s toes at one moment; God, I love such dedication to craft.



As you can see, that blond wig doesn't do her justice.
____________________________________________________________________


The opening scene was rather amusing to me because of how Erica is sent flying from the balcony. She is unable to just let whining Larry walk out (it isn't like she couldn't easily land a hundred guys just like him if not with a little more personality..), but must insist he stay with her. He literally hurls her out the window (it is established as "Oh, no! Oh, my God! I didn't mean to!!!" but when you see him practically throw her overboard, it doesn't look as accidental as he sounds) and then races to her body in horror. It is so badly performed and executed for dramatic effect saying two different things. My curiosity wonders if its intentional or unintentional in how the film shows how Larry pushed Erica over that balcony. Was it that he subconsciously wanted her out of his life and that resulted in propelling Erica over the balcony or was it just lousy acting by Poindexter and execution on Wynorski's part?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Night of the Living Dead 2006




Sometimes I agree with the majority, a hell of a lot of times I don’t. But, I’ll tell you right now that I am among the crowd when it comes to this pitiful pile of dung that dares take the name Night of the Living Dead. What a dull, lifeless, stupid mess. I won’t waste too much time.

Barbara is left by her piece of shit brother in the graveyard, driving away as she must fend for herself against the walking dead, the results of a mortician (Sid Haig, sadly misused and I feel bad that his face causes many like me to rent this shit) who isn’t able to cremate their remains as he was supposed to. This movie plays off the scandal involving the Georgia crematorium that didn’t do its job in rendering the corpses of loved ones to ash. Haig quotes bible and likens himself to Jesus in how the dead are seemingly resurrected thanks to his handiwork. Yes, that’s how poor the writing is for this movie. Barb (as she likes to be called), was visiting a cemetery, attending the funeral of aunt at the request of mom (who was bitten, turned zombie, and tried to take a bite out of Barb), and now runs like a bat out of hell, making it to the local mortuary owned by Haig who wards her off. She is rescued from being a zombie meal by drug runner Ben who motorcycles her to a farmhouse ran by Henry. Henry grows pot, has a hired helper who smokes some of the stash (and is the very first one bit while stoned), a recently new wife, and a daughter from a previous relationship. The daughter gets it first, his hired help is bit next, and eventually Henry gets the big bite (from his turned daughter no less) on his throat. Barb and Ben, along with Haig’s mortician (who soon joins the group and urges those willing to accompany him to his mortuary) leave the farmhouse. Haig is operating under sinister intentions (which make little-to-no sense), we get a look at his father (in rotted corpse form) duck taped to a chair, and Barb must evade him or else service as food for the walking dead. Ben will try to rescue her. That’s it in a nutshell.

Tedious, with stretches that lack a lick of tension or development, and the zombie activity is hardly extraordinary, Night of the Living Dead 3D (in 2D form for the dvd release) is about as exciting as a trip to the dentist. And the zombies have yellow skin and most that are rotten aren't that particularly spectacular. I’m fucking tired of writing about this.

Hitchhike to Hell




Howie seems on the surface to be just a likable, clean-cut, hospitable, polite, seemingly amiable, All-American boy, a young man who drives a delivery van for a dry-cleaning business. He has this trigger that snaps him into a total psycho when he picks up hitchhiking girls who dislike their mama and have left home for “wherever”. Howie loves his mama, but what truly pokes his bear is the reminder of his sister, Judy’s leaving home and never returning. Never returning has always tormented his mama so Howie gets really mad at those ungrateful girls who talk candidly rotten about theirs. When you see him batting those eyes and getting bothered, a killing is on the horizon. Calling these wicked girls Judy while pouncing upon them, slapping them a bit before strangling them (even using a wire hanger once), dumping their carcasses (or just leaving them limp) on the ground at whatever dust stop he decides.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Night of the Hunted






La nuit des traquées


I look at you…you are there in front of me. We belong to this world. The only one that exists for me. The world of the present moment. Please don’t leave. You are the only memory I have right now.

Who is Elisabet? And where did she “escape” from? Picked up by a stranger, a motorist who damn near runs her over with his car, Elisabet, in a gown with no memory of where she belongs or lives, decides to ride with him into Paris. People are following them, needing to get Elisabet back. Is she important to some people? Oh, and who was that red-headed naked chick beckoning for Elisabet, left to her own devices?

Elisabet’s memory comes and goes. Details as quick as seconds vanish, yet she can remember a girl named Veronique (the naked chick?) and not even her own name. She goes on and on about how her mind is blank, and her new friend, desperately desiring to help her, gets so frustrated he shakes her in some impulsive attempt to perhaps rattle some remembrance into her, soon realizing it’s no use.



Move within me. Gently.
Look at me so you will never forget me.

There is a prolonged, very erotic, and passionate sexual encounter between Elisabet and Robert, utilizing her amnesia problem for extra motivation in making the entire experience extra potent. I have to say that Brigitte Lahaie in this movie cast a spell of arousal over me that was quite palpable. What an incredibly sensual and desirable woman. She totally loses herself in this scene, as if her character had become enraptured, just letting go and accepting Robert’s embrace.
To say I'm a little transfixed with Dominique Journet would be an understatement

Stay inside me. Again. I will never forget you. It’s impossible. Look at me. I want to die with each breath so I will never forget you.

But Elisabet does and her doctor (and his assistant) insist she return with them to the hospital. When returned to the hospital, stuck in a room (oh, but not against her will, though, as the doc is always certain to remind her) with another aloof patient named Catherine who suffers the same amnesia-constant memory loss problem. Seems the doc is helping to gradually restore memory function. Catherine’s so bad she has a hard time remembering to use her spoon to scoop up some lobster soup. An older female patient complains to Elisabet about not knowing what happened in her whole past, as if all her life was wiped from the brain with a stroke of a brush.

The tragedy of not knowing who you are, your identity, your past, it is all laid out here by director Jean Rollin, as we see these blank faces and bewildered eyes, trying hungrily to summon any memory at all that might give them an indication, just a whiff of a past memory that might provide a clue as to their name, a loved one, some detail of an event or spark of history. Catherine likes to make up details about a possible past, as if make-believe, if just to soothe their tormented souls (“Even if it’s false, it’s true.”). Catherine even has a hard time getting her dress off.


I think this is a sad era of films for Rollin. Living Dead Girl, made around the same time, also has a sense of tragedy running through it. When Catherine believes Elisabet has left her and will never return due to forgetfulness, she puts a pair of scissors in her eyes, gouging them in suicide. This is Rollin at his darkest period to me. Catherine’s body laid out as Elisabet mourns her loss; this was really eerie to me. Veronique proposes her own theory: stuck inside their long tower, patients are the victim of Dr. Francis who may be causing their memory “disease”. A second attempt at escape may be their only option.



When the night comes, all that’s left is the anxiety for those who are lost in the world of the tower blocks.

Later one of the *zombies* stuck in the hospital has went from anxiety-stricken to homicidal, bashing the head in of an orderly (once a patient who claims to have memories that remain, taking sexual advantage of female memory-loss patients), telling another patient that he pleads for no more injections, no more drugs. He later strangles her while they are having sex in the swimming dress area.



You can’t escape from the black tower that easily.

When the patients’ brains are “emptied”, devoid of what made them human, denied their individuality, their identity, Dr. Francis considers them *dead*. What I like about Night of the Hunted is that Dr Francis and his assistant, Solange, inform Robert that there’s a reason by what looks like sinister science, explaining the homicidal reactions that seem to spurn from anxiety attacks which might (or might not) be the answer as to everything so strange and odd that occurred to the patients in the hospital. It is for us to decide how accurate or inaccurate this diagnosis is. Are the brain cells dying because of a strange illness or Dr. Francis’ own experiments?


Rollin establishes once again his attraction to train cars (Iron Rose shows this, also), with the conclusion set at a sleepy station where the patients are herded together like lifeless walking corpses. I think his film casts enough doubt towards Francis just in the way this character is so cold and emotionless, not much more alive than his patients. Solange is the same way as Francis. One scene shows one of the patients taken out of the train car, moved to a little room, injected with a liquid drug in a hypodermic, stretchered to a crematorium, and burned. Is this to get rid of evidence of their experiments or to keep this supposed epidemic from infecting others?




Interesting to me, since the other explanation to Robert from Francis was presented, is how we are just prone to hope (unless you just don’t) for those imprisoned (that seem innocent victims held captive against their will) to escape the captivity for freedom, but then we are asked if these very characters (preferably Elisabet and Veronique) should be able to roam about unabated.


For some reason, I didn’t find anything that remotely interesting upon my first viewing of Night of the Hunted, but I found it quite fascinating and compelling this time around. I guess, though, Rollin will always be judged by his pace and resistance towards moving the story along at a quicker pace. He isn’t Godard, and it’s clear he’d prefer to let Elisabet and Veronique walk all the way down a hall in an extended take than cut through all this “unnecessary excess” and get on with it. I think Rollin cares about the backdrop, the location that exists around the characters. A cemetery (or, in this movie’s case, the long tall towers) is just as much a character (yeah, I know, I’m getting all “Roger Ebert analytical”, but it is what interests me) as Elisabet.


But I’m not of that group that believes he doesn’t care about the characters as much as the composition of their setting. I think Night of the Hunted proves Rollin indeed places an emphasis on the plight of his characters, their terrible situation, and how they are so disposed of, like diseased cattle. I think those that say Rollin thinks nothing about characterization is ludicrous as seen when the crematorium docs can see that Veronique is flashing back to when her and Elisabet were walking together in a park, jovial with life ahead of them, letting her go. She could just leave but instead returns to the car to get Elisabet, is spotted by one of the gun-toting goons in charge of keeping them held captive, shooting the young lady in cold blood (a smile on his face), as she stumbles with the last remaining life within her. 




There’s another scene, the very end, where Dr. Francis is convinced he must stop Robert from taking Elisabet into Paris alive, shoots him, yet allows the two to walk onward, knowing both are “dead”. Holding hands as their walk becomes troubled by their conditions, the screen fades to black, and Rollin further establishes himself as a dark romantic at heart. He allows them to walk together even though they’ll not be doing so for long.





Rollin allows Francis to spell the whole reason behind the illness--the whole radiation from power plant that infected anyone in the area idea--and on this we get our reason why he must shoot Robert and keep Elisabet from re-entering society. This is just provided to accompany his vision of the characters, the black tower, and tragedy of unrequited love denied by a fatal illness.

linnea

linnea

Nlc

Nlc
Old Skool Nostalgia

Amer

Amer
Taste of metal
"There is no terror in the bang, only the anticipation of it."
--Alfred Hitchcock

Sus

Sus

The h gang

The h gang

Hp

Hp

Bs

Bs

Smoke

Smoke
Got a smoke?

h1

h1
Look behind you!

Strek

Strek
Live long and prosper

Sbut

Sbut
Snip. Snip

Ahs

Ahs

Edc

Edc
Blog's Dead all Over

Hill

Hill
"Do not enter the city...It belongs to the dead now."

Edfen

Edfen

SRW

"This seems to be the place where the plot begins to thicken..."
--Spooks Run Wild (1941)

Castle

Castle

Frere and dummy

Frere and dummy

WZ

WZ

Mlove

Mlove

The Scarecrow Blogspot

Horror
Cult
Erotica &
Pro Wrestling Entertainment

Yep, the Prolific Madness of a Headcase Blog
"... perhaps we invent artificial terrors to cope with the real ones."

--host, Donald Pleasence, Terror in the Aisles (1984)

Alone/dark

"There are no crazy people, doctor. We're all just on vacation."

--Alone in the Dark (1982)

Translate

Lips

Lips

Care to Read Further?

When you see posts with this question, you can click on it to further read the review or blog post. I include this so that I can include more posts on one page and take up less space.

wb

Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.

Fhz

Fhz

Search This Blog

Ph

Ph

The Boogens - Intro

While I must admit that as a monster movie, The Boogens (1981) doesn’t quite measure up (its monsters aren’t particularly menacing ...