Tuesday, October 31, 2017


"At Spookers, an enormous haunted house in a shuttered New Zealand mental hospital, a merry band of amateur actors spend their nights scaring the pants off visitors. One night they might be clowns in a creepy carnival, the next night fearsome fairy tale figures. But the brilliance of this delightful documentary goes beyond the ins and outs of haunting, as director Florian Habicht shows how transforming themselves into monsters helps many staff members deal with their own traumas and phobias. Step into a place where fear is a family business - if you dare...A SHUDDER EXCLUSIVE."

This was an excellent little documentary. Not only does it cover the behind the scenes of the spooky little haunt in New Zealand and show the effect the players have on the attendees - some funny, some very sad, it also looks at the effect it has one people that used to work at the closed mental hospital and what people who have had issues with mental health think, too. I loved this aspect.

They also do a rather interesting thing where they look at the dreams and inner workings of the players with little music video like plays to accompany them. Many of the people working the haunt have interesting back stories that are discussed which added to the overall grade the doc for me. It was really rather interesting.

Well worth a viddy.

Their site:

Monday, October 30, 2017

Feast of Flesh

Feast of Flesh (Placer sangriento aka THE DEADLY ORGAN :::grin:::) from 1967 is a creepy, wonky little film from Argentina. I'm going to call it a giallo and include it in our GIALLOctober celebration.

The story involves a strange, masked man who injects women with heroin and controls them in a zombie-like way with the use of an organ. Police detectives try to figure out what's going on with these overdose fatalities and who's behind them while strange groups of...college age people...maybe...frolic on the beach and drink in this bar/club place on the beach.

The masked man is interesting. He has a strange face and odd, claw hands. He drives a really sweet sports car around and seems to have escape routes mapped out in the area.  Spoiler - it turns out it's not just the organ that controls people, but the musical piece itself.

The 60s nature of the film is painfully apparent. Lot's of "groovy" dialogue and little musical interludes are sprinkled in with the investigation. The dubbing is rough as well. It seemed like the English was hard to get in in the same mouth moves as the Spanish. It's odd seeing dark, brooding, Argentine actors and actresses with bubbly, chirpy voices. However, I'm pretty sure the main detective's voice was done by the same voice actor that did voices for SPEED RACER, so that was fun to hear. :)

The 70 minute run time zips along and the giallo mystery side of things is fun to watch play out. And, yes, parts of the film are rather painful to watch, but it has a 60s charm that I really enjoyed.

Worth a viddy.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Case of the Scorpion's Tail

I'm returning to Sergio Martino for more tales of corruption, betrayal, and murder - The Case of the Scorpion's Tail. It's turning out that I'm really digging Martino's films overall. He's becoming a go-to director for me. With films like Torso, Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key and Blade of the Ripper, he's rapidly becoming one of my fave giallo directors.  Here, he brings us another police procedural style giallo and I thought it worked rather well.

A woman finds out that her cheating and now deceased husband had a rather large insurance policy on her to the tune of a million dollars. But, his mistress knows this as well. And so begins the series of events that have us going round and round wondering "who dunnit?" in this epic little tale. I really don't want to say a whole lot more here. There are mystery elements that I don't want to spoil.

We have many of the standard gialli tropes represented and you know that I love counting them up! hehehe We have the classic killer in black, a man and woman duo trying to investigate a crime they've been sucked into, a hard boiled police detective who...for some reason...is willing to work with the duo on the case, many twists and turns, tons of characters floating in and out of the story, and lots of J&B whiskey flowing. heh

The film is well shot and the pace is constantly moving along. The locations are exotic and fun as well. Spain, Greece, Italy - always wondrous to see. The dialog is snappy and things make sense for the most part. It really is a tight little mystery and it's fun to follow the actions as they play out.  There are murders in here, but nothing as brutal as the likes of Torso, so if you are wanting more detecting and less vicious stabbing, you're safe here. However, there are some rather nasty moments as well, so everyone should be happy one way or another. :::grin:::

We see some of our familiar gialli faces as well. George Hilton from "The Case of the Bloody Iris"and the awesome Anita Strindberg and Luigi Pistilli from "Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key". Sadly, no Edwige Fenech. :::sigh:::  It turns out Hilton is still working. I'd like to check out some of his more recent films.

The Case of the Scorpion's Tail is super solid and well worth a viddy.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Blade of the Ripper

Blade of the Ripper aka The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh is a 1971 giallo film directed by Sergio Martino and staring the fabulous....Edwige Fenech. :::sigh:::

Ok, now that that's out of the way. :::grin:::

When the film started, I had a bit of an eye roller moment. A woman is killed horribly with a razor and I wasn't sure I wanted to see another TORSO-like hack and slash film. This film was directed by Sergio Marino of TORSO fame, so I wasn't sure if it was in the same arena. Then, poor Edwidge gets slapped around and her dress ripped off and I did another eye roll. However, once that business is out of the way, things started getting rather interesting.

Edwige plays Julia Wardh - the wife of a diplomat. They get along, but are not fab together. Not as well as she gets along with George Hamilton - her lover George Corro. She plays the game of being the good wife and even better lover, going from one man to the other in a kind of dance. When her old lover resurfaces, she's scared of just what he's capable of. As more murders happen around her, she starts to think that one of these men may be madman with the blade. But, which one?

I don't want to say much more about the plot here. It would be rather easy to spoil.  Suffice it to say that this is a great offering and well worth a watch. It's shot well, there are some fun set pieces, and there is a lot going on.

This film really turned around for me. I was half paying attention through much of the first act, but as things start to shift, I got a happy little smile on my face. "Ahhhh...I see what you're up to, movie. I see." I loved the shifts through the film and it's definitely a new gialli fave.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Double Feature Rant - RAW and BITE

I just had a brief rant for the blog. Like my other posts, this will be short, sweet, and to the point.

RAW (2016 aka GRAVE)
A fantastic film about a vegetarian vet school student that undergoes a series of dietary changes after some hazing. The thing I found most horrifying in this film is the hazing of the new students. It seemed way over the top and made me curious about if this is really a thing in France. Super solid direction and screenplay from Julia Ducournau. A wondrous, "coming of age" ish drama story with some horror elements, but I can't say that I saw it as strictly horror. I found it to be far more drama, but it was very engaging.


BITE (2015)
A fun ride of a film about a bachelorette party gone horribly wrong on several fronts, the main one being the bride being bitten by an exotic insect that changes her genetic being. Lots of gross-out horror elements tossed into the mix with not much more going on. It's almost a one set film - the majority taking place in an apartment. However, the nastiness is fun and the gore and makeup makes for an interesting watch.

But....here is the rant. 

These films were both heralded as some sort of bile inspiring, nasty bit of business only meant for the strong of heart and stomach. Barf Bags were being passed out due to the graphic and disgusting nature of the films.  People were said to be passing out cold from the shock and horror of it all.

No. Just stop. Knock it off.     heh

I have to say that all this BS kinda took these films down in my head a bit. I fell for the hype, but it had negative results. I thought these might be INSIDE or MARTYRS level films. Films that really messed with you. However, RAW was just a really good film with some gross little moments here and there and BITE was just an above average creature feature. Even the gross out levels where minimal. So, I got my hopes up WAY too high and ended up walking away feeling a bit cheated.

I guess it's really my own fault for listening to the HYPE MACHINE® and it's ranting and raving. I recently saw something that was being compared to something like JAWS meets STRANGER THINGS and it was nothing of the sort, but I also didn't fall for it because....come on. Jaws? Stranger Things? Both fantastic, but if something came out that was like a combination of the two, I think the broader stroke of the media would be discussing it in great detail! hehehe

And, I get it. This goes back through the ages.  There has always been a Hype Machine overselling what we're going to be seeing.

So, don't believe the HYPE MACHINE. Hell, don't even place too much on what people say about films in general. Try to fly into a film blindly if you can. You know what they say about opinions. :)

Live Evil

HOT DAMN, I loved this movie! heheheheh   It's just a ton of fun.

Let's start off with the bad and get it out of the way. The film's ending came on rather abruptly and was not as strong as I had hoped it would be. It was solid, but just not as dazzling as the rest of the film. Now that that's done....

Deputy Hancock is due to pack it in for the night on Halloween, but one more call sends her to a mansion where someone....or something...very evil is. When she brings it back to the station, everyone there seems to see some "BIG BAD" from their past in Hancock's prisoner and they want to blow it away. They finally get a hold on the situation, but what are their small forces able to do against....Evil? Deputy Hancock and Sheriff Pete need to figure something out before time runs out on the world.

I'll say no more about the plot. :::grin:::

Like I said, this film is a ton of fun and a great watch. It's set to be released on AMAZON October 31st and I think it'd be a great Halloween Eve watch. Wish they released it sooner, really, but....what'r'ya gonna do?  The film has great dialog, fab music, and a peppy pace. A majority if it is presented in black and white with these fun, full color vision scenes mixed in that I loved. They also have a few comedy elements that play rather well for the most part. It's a tricky one - they play around with various horror elements and the humor has a placement that is more natural than forced. Hard to do that successfully with smaller films.

I believe that one of the main reasons the film works so well is the actors attached to it. They are all super capable and help to get the viewer invested in the film. Bad acting or a bad script can kill a film in minutes. (As I found out with another film earlier today....whew.)  Everyone in LIVE EVIL carried their own and really came off as believable.  Charlene Amoia's portrayal of Hancock could have sunk the whole venture if she came off as cardboard, but she was far from that. She was spunky, sure of herself, and tough without coming off as "I'm putting on my MAN costume and being tough."  Prague born Vladimir Kulich was fab as the Sheriff as well - again, for from a caricature.

LIVE EVIL had an Italian horror feel to me - like a take on Fulci's THE BEYOND. It had a great look and feel to it that seemed well thought out and which worked within the budget they had without over extending itself. For instance, there are masks used in the film which can be a bit distracting and..."meh". But, here they dolled things up and made the masks the overall stylistic look for the dead in the film, spicing things up with some visual effects work that was well executed. As a matter of fact, the visual effects bits were friggin spot on. Glowing eyes, muzzle flashes, strange dreamy sequences, and general "spice" peppered in perfectly. And, just when you think you've seen all the visual nuggets they have to offer, they switch things up and add some other cool scene that does another series of cool effects visuals.

I clapped and said, "HA! I love this F#$%*&^ film!" out loud. (Sadly...all by myself, as usual.)

There was a nice little Day of the DEAD reference in here as well that I smiled a big, wide smile at. Very cute.

And...TONY TODD!  Yeah, you can never have enough of Mr. Todd.

I'll be owning this film in the near future. I want to support this effort from Ari Kirschenbaum and Team. Kirschenbaum's writing and directing was a ton of fun and I want to see more.

Now...odd thing about this film. I think it might have been held in some sort of HORROR GULAG - IMDB has it listed as a 2015 film. However, we all know this can happen for sure. (TRICK 'R TREAT) I really should set up and interview - I'm just at a loss as to what I'd actually ask. I don't want to get on a call and just gush about how much I love someone's movie. While I'm sure they wouldn't mind hearing it, it's probably not the best use of their time. Heh.

I've seen a bunch of screeners over the past few months and this has to be one of my A LIST picks for sure. I highly recommend that you grab a few friends and give this a viddy this Halloween! 

The Fox with the Velvet Tail

The Fox with the Velvet Tail aka  In the Eye of the Hurricane was another film I went into blind. I love doing that because it really is a wonderful surprise to watch things play out. I really enjoyed this film. The overall look and feel was interesting and beautiful and the story itself was very interesting. There were so many little twists and turns that I stayed engaged through the whole of it. The actors were a lot of fun to watch as well. Beautiful men and women doing awful things to each other. heheheh   NOTE: Little to no gore.

If you like romantic mysteries and complex relationship based storylines, you're going to want to check this film out for sure.

Now, this film review needs to be a little spoilery, so if you don't want to know anything more about it, move along. Move along. :)

Still with me? Good.

Ruth and Michel (or Miguel, evidently, depending on the translation) are going through rough times. Ruth wants a divorce and Michel wants to try and hang on, but Ruth wants nothing more to do with him. In fact, she already has a new man - Paul. She decides to get away and Ruth and Paul escape to her seaside villa. Everything is wondrous. Kissing, making love, and exotic gifts abound. Then, things start going wrong, putting Ruth in harms way more than once. Ruth suspects her ex, especially after he appears at their door one night. Paul invites him in and things start to get even more complicated. And, who's that lovely woman who is hanging around the villa? And who is the man that Paul knows from his army days who seems to be a crack shot with an interesting past?

At first, I thought this was going to be a rather run-of-the-mill "if I can't have her, no one will!" kind of plot, but it's SO much more than that. Things just keep getting more and more complex and cruel as the film rolls along. Analía Gadé Ruth character seems rather lost and Jean Sorel plays the perfect Prince Charming. As characters were woven in and out of the story, I became more and more interested in exactly what was going on. I love the way things kept shifting and changing all the way through to the film's final credits.

This is a fantastic little romance mystery that is a must watch. Especially to see the fantastic 1970's eye camera zooms! :)  Check it out!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Night Train Murders


I picked up the KILLER THRILLERS COLLECTION a while back to get a copy of STRIP NUDE FOR YOUR KILLER - a favorite of mine. I figured I get the film I want and two others I have not seen before. Maybe I'd like them. I love STRIP NUDE, though the title is still cringe-worthy. :)

Baba Yaga was a ton of fun as well, so I was way up on my purchase.

Then...I watched NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS and HATED it. I thought it to be mean spirited and cruel. Yes, I understood that it, too, was based on the Ingmar Bergman classic The Virgin Spring like Last House on the Left (also mean spirited), but I had not stomach for it and just wanted it to end.

Later I posted this on the DARK DISCUSSIONS PODCAST PAGE (a great podcast, by the way!) and one of the leaders basically said that he loved it and thought that I would as well. I thought I missed something - stuck on the violent aspects instead of the story, perhaps. I made note to return to it at some point in the future. Seeing as this is GIALLOctober at the Horror Show, it seemed like a good time to do a re-watch. And, I was pleasantly surprised.

The story is very "Virgin Spring". Two girls are heading home to visit and run into some bad folks. Very bad folks. Blackie and Curly are scoundrels. They are train hopping and avoiding the ticket master when they run into the girls and "The Lady on the train". The girls are friendly enough with them and the Lady is VERY friendly with them - having sex with Blackie in the lavatory in a heated rush.

The girls jump trains when a delay threatens to hold them back from their destination and the dastardly trio also hops trains.  Now, all five of them are in a train car in a rather deserted train and the girls lovely holiday dinner goes horribly wrong. They are raped and defiled and eventually - sadly - killed.

In Virgin Spring fashion, the evil trio ends up at the same house as one of the girls parents after the Father sees them at the train station as he's trying to pick up his daughter and her friend. After the parents figure out that these people have hurt their daughter,  revenge is dealt out by the Father and his shotgun. I found this to be very satisfying indeed. heh

Simple plot well executed. But, on this viewing I found several things that I found to be very interesting. Namely the Lady and her arc.

Now, the two men are very cartoon-like. We see them stealing from people and bashing things and scooting around trying to avoid paying for their train trip. Curly (with curly hair)  plays a harmonica and is a little creep while Blackie (with black hair) seems to have a BIT of a heart, but not much. But, the woman is a far deeper character. 

When we first see her, she's wearing a veil on her hat. A bag of hers falls and naughty, sadistic photos are hurriedly pushed back into her the case quickly. Then, at one point, she lifts her veil - maybe sometime around meeting the evil duo.  From that point on, she's as evil as the two men. She's mean and a full sadist with the two girls. She eggs on the men and even holds the girls for them at one point. She's loving the mean spirited games and is all in.

When they get to the girl's Family Home and things go sideways for the trio, she quickly says that she was also taken advantage of by the two men and that she tried to help, but couldn't. The parents assume that she must be telling the truth. I mean, another woman wouldn't do that to two college girls - right?

The men are dispatched and she stands there like a grim statue, then she lowers her veil again as if to tell the viewer, "I've had my fun and now it's time to replace the mask I wear in society."  I loved that aspect of the film. It was grand.

On the whole, I don't think I'll be returning to this as often as I return to Strip Nude for your Killer of Baby Yaga, but I don't hate it like I did on my first viewing. It's well worth a watch even if you only watch it once.

If you loved and return to Last House on the Left, you'll love this film. Check it.