Monthly Archives: October 2013

Halloween Giveaway

So I have always wanted to do a Halloween Giveaway for those people who actually follow and support me. I know I’m not the best writer, and I don’t consider myself a reviewer, I just enjoy writing. Still it’s nice to be acknowledged, and this is my way of acknowledging YOU. Full disclosure, this Halloween giveaway will also bring traffic to my site, but unless it really, brings a shit ton of traffic (not likely), it wont make me a profit. Or as prophet. Funny how those words sound so much alike
Back on track. Details will be released later on how exactly to win, but if you are interested the prize is….

Halloween Giveaway Byzantium

Byzantium by Neil Jordan

If you just want to buy it and support me that way, see below

Sushi Girl

Sushi Girl

I’m blessed with having a cool group of friends. In several ways, but with regards to movies, they usually lead me to some good choices. Sushi Girl is one of those great choices. The shout out has to go to my friend Kelly, who mentioned it on Facebook. He said it was reminiscent of Reservoir Dogs, and starred Tony Todd and Mark Hammil. Yep, Luke Skywalker himself is a major player in Sushi Girl, but you will be hard pressed to recognize him from his Tattoine days. In fact, if you didn’t know going in his unmistakable Joker voice would likely be the giveaway. It’s on full display in Sushi Girl.

Besides Todd and Hamill, the cast includes James Duval (Donnie Darko, Mad Cowgirl), Noah Hathaway (Troll, original Battlestar Galactica), and legendary martial artist Sonny Chiba. Also look out for genre favorites Michael Biehn, Jeff Fahey, and Danny Trejo in small roles.

Fish, played by Hathaway, has just been released after serving six years for a botched jewelry heist. Upon release he is summoned by Duke (Tony Todd), the leader of the hold up, to a celebration dinner. Dinner is served on a naked “Sushi Girl”, and the rest of the gang, including Hamill and Duval are there. But is it a celebration or a inquisition? Fish was the only member of the gang caught, and he was also the last one holding the jewels. The fact he has refused to name the other members, means little to men who have lost their share of a huge heist.

The band of criminals take turns, one on one, trying to extract the information from Fish. Meanwhile the naked sushi girl, played by Cortney Palm, forbidden to move or talk, bears silent witness to the torture. Now if you think I’m going to spoil this one, guess again. I’m going to try not to anyway.

Right from the start the botched heist, torture, and multiple flashbacks are reminiscent of Reservoir Dogs. Tarrantino is definitely an influence to director Kern Saxton. Like QT’s work, Sushi Girl has a lot of dialogue, but it’s not nearly as talky as Quentin tends to get. He also isn’t afraid to get ultra violent, and there are some major squirm moments. If you have a low tolerance for tooth torture, be warned.

I loved Sushi Girl and I’m not going to say a lot bad about it, and going to try my damndest not to spoil any of the major points. James Duval is one of the most underrated, and under utilized actors in Hollywood. He consistently gives a solid performance and Sushi Girl is no different.
Tony Todd is likewise his regal classy self. No one, except possibly Doug Bradley can make being evil sound so elegant. In Sushi Girl, he’s so cold blooded, he would make the Candyman flinch.

Mark Hamill in Sushi Girl

Hamill nearly steals the show and tells everyone else to take a sick day though. With long stringy hair, and a psychotic laugh, he was finally getting to play the Joker he has voiced so well. Well not the Joker, but damn close. His character of Crow, manages to out psycho the rest of the gang combined. If I can’t convince you to watch Sushi Girl for any other reason, watch it for Hamill. He’s that damn good.

Then there is Cortney Palm, the sushi girl herself. Her role is a bit bigger than you might expect, and she is more than just a naked body. Oh, what a naked body she is though, and that’s all I will say about that.

The film is pretty non stop from beginning to end, but still we get a smart film with a lot of dialogue. The dialogue is wonderful and helps add a bit of a balm to the gory torture scenes. We get to know a little about all of the characters before the end of the movie, but there is still mystery about the group. Duke’s fascination with the Orient, the ties between Duke and Crow, what caused Frances (Duval) to do what he did, all this adds a realism to the film. It’s like we just dropped into the middle of their lives on this fateful night.

There are a few twists in Sushi Girl, and you may see some of them coming, especially as it climaxes, but I bet you wont guess them all. This is surely a cult movie in the making from a new director, who looks like he might have the goods. He likes his movies bloody, shocking and beautiful, and he assembles a good cast, and gets the gold from them. What else could you ask for? Check out Sushi Girl today

Courtney Palm the Sushi Girl

Dario Argento’s Dracula

Dario Argento's Dracula

The master of the Italian Giallo has fallen on hard times with a lot of fans lately. While he still has his die hard fans, many people have been severely under impressed by his recent body of work. While I enjoyed his two Master’s of Horror episodes, I was let down by Giallo and Mother of Tears. So it was with a mixture of excitement and low expectation that I felt when I heard he would be doing his version of the Transylvanian Count. The initial report and first leaked footage of Dario Argento’s Dracula seemed to bode evil fortunes for this 3-D version of Dracula.

Argento’s camp ad supporters claimed it was unfinished footage that was illegally leaked, and demanded the film not be judged by it. So I waited. Then I saw the “official” trailer  for Dario Argento’s Dracula and my heart sank. It looked horribly bad. Still when it was released, I gave it a chance. Trailers aren’t always a fair judge of a film. With Rutger Hauer and Asia Argento, it couldn’t be all bad could it?

In fairness, it wasn’t all bad. But it was pretty damn bad. The sad part is it could easily have been a lot better. Argento is famous for doing it his way, and damn detractors or conventions. There is a lot to be said for that, but it can be a handicap. Kind of like Rob Zombie’s continued use of Sheri Moon as a leading lady. Some of those quirks, like having his cast over emote to the point of silliness, can be put off as just Dario’s style. Other decisions, I just have to shake my head at.

One of the biggest contentions among fans was his decision to have Dracula transform into a giant Praying Mantis and kill a victim. Yes, Dracula can take the form of insects in the book, and yes a praying mantis is deadly to victims it’s own size, but it’s still visually silly. Also it does not fit with Dracula being a being of darkness. When Dracula turns into a owl, it makes sense. Owls are nocturnal hunters, they are dark (mostly) and they are vicious. When Dracula turns into a wolf, it’s OK. Wolves are feral creatures, they hunt at night, they are specifically mentioned in Stoker’s book.

The mantis is green, for blending in with foliage, so changing into one in the middle of a house makes no sense. Changing into a six foot mantis outside makes no sense unless the grass is six foot high. Come on, Dario this was just beyond a silly move. Turn him into a spider, or a fly, and it all works out. The fly effect in the film looked awesome and it fit with him being an undead creature.

Another problem with the trailer was the special effects. The CGI looked awful, and I hoped it would be cleaned up before release. It wasn’t. Some of the effects really looked cool, but most of them looked really bad. The good scenes included the fly scene. In it flies start to gather until suddenly there is a swarm, they eventually coalesces and form Dracula. The few remaining flies disappear into his face Likewise when Dracula transforms from an owl to vampire, the effect is simple and it works.

When he transforms from a wolf, it’s another matter. The scene looks cheap and fake, little better than a sci fi original CGI effect. Another particularly bad, almost funny scene is where Asia’s character is set on fire. The fire doesn’t even look the right color, and you can easily tell it’s a computer effect. I understand not wanting to use real fire, and the fact that the safety measures would prevent you from seeing her face due to safety equipment, but it does no good to see the face if the whole effect just looks like shit. It looked like shit, and it went on forever.
The bad effects look even worse due to the decision to keep the camera on the effects for far too long. the most successful ones, we see only for a short time. The owl transformation, the neck slashing, and while the fly scene lasted a bit the actual transformation was almost instantaneous. In both the fire and the wolf scene the shot seems to go on for minutes, showing way to much.

Speaking of showing too much, one high point of the film was the beautiful Asia willing to bear even more of her body. The fact that her father seems intent on showing more of her nude body with every film, may be disturbing to many people. While it is definitely a, um, different father/daughter dynamic, if she’s getting naked on film for daddy you might as well enjoy it. I guess.

While Asia is definitely gorgeous, she does not quite seem right for the role. Lucy Westerna was a young, single, eligible girl. Asia is just a little too old, and changing her name doesn’t change the whole character. She was still unmarried and courting suitors, which would imply the late teens in the Victorian era. Plus her acting was really subpar, and in all honesty her acting seems to suffer when she is working with her father. Still she is pleasant eye candy.

Marta Gastini, as Mini was just forgettable. I’m sorry but I never felt any investment in her character. She was bland, and for the most part I could have not cared less what happened to her.
The real female star of Dracula was Miriam Giovanelli as Tania. She was stunningly beautiful, and I found her a more sympathetic character than either of the two leads. Her dialogue was limited, and like most of the dialogue borderline silly. I would have loved to seen her as Mina, except it probably would have meant she had to keep her clothes on. It would be a push at best.

Dario Argento's Dracula

Rutger Hauer did his usual great performance. Was it his greatest ever? No, but he, like the rest if the cast was weighed down by the direction and at times inane dialogue. Dialogue and plot always come secondary to style though in Italian cinema. So what if the story sucks, as long as it looks good. Hauer made a very adequate Van Helsing, although he look a bit tired and lost at times. I would love to see him assay the character under a better director, I know I just dissed Argento, blah, blah, blasphemy and all that, but I’m standing by that. Let’s have Christopher Nolan do Dracula, how’s that sound?

Dario Argento's Dracula

For the lead role, Thomas Kretschmann made a very impressive Dracula. It’s not his fault that he turned into a giant mantis, or made these weird hand gestures, that Bela would have been embarrassed to be caught doing. That over acting is totally Dario, and I’m only shocked Rutger got away from it. Still for the most part he was believable in the role, and carried himself with a swagger befitting the Prince of Darkness.



Visually the film looked like a mix of old school Argento and Hammer films. The outside shots were well composed, and looked like the villages and cities in the best Hammer Dracula films. Even the acting of the support cast seemed to mimic, the movement, and speech patterns of the extras in a hammer film. The interiors had interesting color schemes, that reminded me a bit of Suspiria, only much more subdued and subtle. I think if he had stuck to filming the entire film in the Hammer style, with touch of garish light and color, this film could have been a huge success. I can look over the Argento acting style, but giant mantis’s an twilight lycanthrope transformations have no place in Dracula,

Dario Argento’s Dracula is a weird little film. Even though this is a blog for weird little films, I can’t really recommend it. Maybe at some point in the future, we can enjoy Argento’s Dracula. In the same way we enjoy Billy the Kid vs Dracula, but not as a horror classic. For now, unless you are a die hard Dario fan, or a die hard collector, or maybe you have just never saw Asia naked, you probably will want to give it a pass,


Billy the Kid vs Dracula

No, I’m not joking. This is a real movie about the meeting between the infamous Billy the Kid and the mythical Dracula. I had heard about this film long ago and was never able to track it down until the magic of Netflix. This is a film for those that enjoy a bad movie. The fact that everyone took this film completely serious is what makes it enjoyable. Be prepared for silly dialogue, sillier violence and a few major WTF moments. Then enjoy Billy the Kid vs Dracula.

The story centers on Dracula, played this time by John Carradine, who was no stranger to the role. He had played the immortal count back in the mid 1940s in Universal’s House of Dracula and House of Frankenstein. It might be noted that for an immortal he died in both films. Twenty years is a long time for a moral actor though and Carradine seems ill fit for Dracula. He seems much a threatening villain, and more a cantankerous senior citizen who has just found out casino night was canceled. I have a lot of respect for Carradine and his work in horror, but this wasn’t the right casting for a serious film. For fans of bad cinema though, it’s brilliant but sad casting.

For some ungodly reason  Count  Dracula is traveling on a stage coast out west.  In another weird move on of the fellow passengers, decides to show the leering old man a picture of her nubile young daughter. Dracula’s face turns red and his eyes bug out. Seriously, this is his “I’m a vampire face.” Ignoring this “I’m a perv with a hard on” look from the stranger, she goes on to tell him about her ranch and the cave full of bats nearby.

Billy the Kid vs Dracula with John Carradine

Since Dracula is an elderly immortal and apparently not much for conflict, he arranges for a group of Indians to attack the stage-coach. Killing everyone on board except him (he failed to get on at the last stop). After the slaughter, he pops in and assumes the identity of the ranch owners brother.  Did I mention he did all of this in the bright sunlight ? In fact throughout the movie Carradine’s Dracula moves about freely in the daytime without so much as a sparkle.

Now we cut to the ranch where, the nubile object of Dracula’s elderly erection, Betty, is target practicing with Billy the Kid. Now it seems that Billy has reformed and is living under the assumed name of William Bonney. Yeah, yeah, well that’s the way I understood it. Facts, smacks, we’re talking Hollywood baby.

Billy has settled down and now spends his days courting Betty, running the ranch, and beating the shit out of his pudgy ranch hand plated by Harey Carey Jr. Though usually Billy has to resort to pulling his gun and threatening to kill him. He is reformed ya know.

Billy the kid vs Dracula

Dracula shows up and moves into the ranch in order to woo Betty. Which with him pretending to be her uncle should be easy. This brings him into conflict with Billy. Billy begins to believe “Mr. Underhill” is a vampire. Why? Because a couple of Germans told him so. It might seem hard to belive but the townspeople are reluctant to belive Billy, a former cold blooded killer, when he tells them the kindly gentleman is a blood thirsty immortal demon. A blood thirsty immortal demon with wrinkles and a few grey hairs.

Billy the Kid vs Dracula vamping out

Battle lines are drawn between Billy, the Sheriff, and the local female doctor on one side, and Dracula, the mesmerized Betty and fatty the cow wrangler on the other. The climactic battle takes place in the abandoned silver mine. Where Billy shoots Dracula to no avail (Bullets wont hurt a vampire, you have to drive a stake through his heart) and then throws his pistol at him. While bullets had no effect, the thrown pistol knocks Dracula on his ass. He lays stunned long enough for Billy to stake him.

Billy the Kid vs Dracula

Staking not only kills Dracula but sends a bat flying out of the cave to crash and die, while Dracula lies inside wilting away. Once he is gone, Betty revives, and that’s pretty much it.

Billy the Kid vs Dracula is one you seriously have to see to believe. There are so many scenes that will leave you laughing. Most notably for me was the “vampire face”, which was simply a red light shown on Carradine while he bugged his eyes out, and Dracula getting floored by a thrown pistol. It’s stupid, silly fun. It does drag as a lot of these cheapos do, and it’s one of the things that hurt these so bad they are good films. Bad acting and bad plot add to the fun at times, but boring and slow takes away from that fun.

Also the girl playing Betty, was really boring. If I was Dracula, I would have nailed the Indian hottie that he drained and left to piss off the war party. Carradine was fun to watch but probably not in the way he hoped. Watching him move across the screen, you wanted to give him a hand more than run in terror. Carradine played Dracula again in the 70s, and I would love to see that when I get the chance. I really do love the old gent, and he’s a true horror icon.

So final verdict? If you can’t enjoy a bad film, don’t bother. But if you can, and you want to see a piece of Americana on film, check out Billy the Kid vs Dracula

Dario Argento’s Dracula on VoD

Just finished Dario Argento’s Dracula a few minutes ago. It wasn’t nearly the cluster fuck that I was afraid it would be. I’m probably going to watch it again before a review, which might be posted her or possibly on Lord Dixie’s Dark Domain. I think this film would fit in here, although some might argue it’s too new to be a cult film, or Argento’s track record makes this mainstream. My opinion, nothing of Argento’s is mainstream, but maybe that’s just me. You can catch it now on VoD if you want

Linda and Abilene (1969)

Linda and Abilene

Herschell Gordon Lewis is widely considered the Godfather of Gore, and with good reason. With movies like 2000 Maniacs, Wizard of Gore and Blood Feast, he has earned that title. What a lot of people might not have realized is that H.G. Lewis didn’t only direct horror movies. On fact Lewis seemed to dabble in a bit of everything. I was mostly a horror fan, and while I can’t say I have seen all his horror films I have seen several. I knew he had directed and been involved in some early nudies, but like most fans mostly considered him a horror director.

Then one day I came across a film directed by H.G. Lewis billed as an “erotic western”, Linda and Abilene. Well it was too good to pass up so I had to take a chance on it. Well, I definitely wasn’t disappointed. Linda and Abilene is a fun little romp that will have you laughing your ass of most of the film. Don’t be expecting high production values, or an extremely sensible script. This is H.G. Lewis we’re talking about. You have seen Blood feast haven’t you?

Linda and Abilene starts out with Abilene and her brother Tod burying their parents. This leaves the brother and sister all alone on their ranch in the middle of nowhere. We watch as right out of the Blue Lagoon, Abilene starts to discover her sexuality and become attracted to her hunky brother Tod. Tod, for his part, spends his time spying on Abilene bathing, spying on her sleeping, spying on her masturbating while thinking about him.

Linda and Abilene siblings churning

The siblings fight their unnatural urges for what seems like an eternity, an eternity of peeping tom and masturbation. Finally they can take no more and they give in having wild, all in the family sex in the bedroom, in the river, in the butt. OK not in the butt, as far as we know, but the point is they did a lot of screwing.

Tom eventually comes to the realization that there’s no future in poking his sister, and heads off to town in search of some strange. Strange meaning not his mothers daughter. Abilene, deeply in love with her brother, and afraid of being alone, begs him not to go, but he’s determined, and reluctantly pulls away.

Once in town Tod heads into town where he meets tough as nails cow poke Rawhide, and saloon girl Linda. Tod explains how his parents died last week and he and Abilene have been all alone at the ranch. Wait, hold up. His parents died last week. So basically Tod and Abilene fought off their carnal urges for around four to five days at most. Talk about will power.

Tod takes an interest in Linda, attracted to the fact she seems to be the only woman in town, and intrigued a woman who hasn’t breast fed from the same tit as him. They of course hook up and more rowdy late 60s sex ensues.

Rawhide, apparently growing tired of poking cows and Linda, decides to pay a visit on lonely Abilene for some wholesome raping goodness. He rides out to the ranch, where he introduces himself to Abilene, and has a nice dinner of beans before he gets down to the raping. The next morning, he bids farewell to Abilene and heads back to town. If all rapes were as polite, and non violent as this one, the world would be a better place. Before anyone complains, no rape is never funny, but this came damn close. If you are looking for a disturbing, violent, realistic, hard to watch rape scene, try Irreversible, or seek professional help, but don’t look at Linda and Abilene.
Tod, after getting his fill of Linda lovin, heads back to the ranch, most likely passing Rawhide along the way. I’m betting Rawhide even tipped his hat. He gets to the ranch to find Abilene in tears. Whether she is crying because of the rape, or because Rawhide ate all the beans we will never know. When Tod finds out about the rape, he goes into a rage. He feels guilty for leaving Abilene alone, leading to the moral of the story. If you don’t fuck your sister, someone else will.

Abilene begs Tod, not to go looking for revenge. She knows full well that Tod is a pussy and can never take on a bean eater like Rawhide. As Tod rides out, Linda rides in, looking to get a piece of Abilene as well, as either Tod or Rawhide have been telling bedroom tales. She manages to quickly get into Abilene’s petticoats, which makes me wonder why this wasn’t called “Everyone nails Abilene” which would be a more appropriate title. Their roll in the hay, well actually in the ranch house, is one of the highlights of the film. Shame it takes so long to actually happen.

While the two girls are bumping honey pots, Tod finds Rawhide in town and challenges him to a fight. Well Tod is a pussy, but he holds his own until Rawhide shoots him. The film ends as Linda and Abilene bury Tod and ride off together. Umm, they ride off on a stage not on each other.

OK, so what makes Linda and Abilene worth watching? Well there is the lesbian sex of course, but that’s readily available on the Internet now, plus you don’t have the burden of wondering what the two girls would look like making out today. EWWWW. If that turns you on, there is granny porn out there, by the way. The fact is, Linda and Abilene is fun to watch. The incestuous scenes may turn some off and the sex between Tod and Abilene is pretty silly, but they are both very attractive, so there is eye candy for both genders. There’s a lot to laugh about and I’m sure some good drinking games could come out of this.

H.G. Lewis

The setting all look like authentic western film fare, which does add a touch of class. Linda and Abilene was filmed on an actual ranch, which helps the look immensely. However there are a few curiosities that make Linda and Abilene a must see for movie fans. H.G. Lewis fans will be interested because for a long time it was incredibly hard to find. It has just recently been released on DVD as part of the “Lost Films of H.G. Lewis”.

An even bigger selling point for fans of history, and especially for those interested in famous murder cases is the filming location. Much of Linda and Abilene was filmed on the infamous Spahn Ranch. If that name sounds familiar, it was the headquarters of the Manson family, and Linda and Abilene was filmed there just a few weeks before the Manson murders.

Charles Manson

Probably the biggest knock against Linda and Abilene is the pacing. It really drags when there is no sex or fighting. It’s around 30 minutes in before the brother and sister start getting it on, and it’s really tedious. Abilene’s several nude scenes do help, and her fevered masturbation is worth a few laughs, but realistically the film could have been cut by several minutes. I’m sure that the idea was to show how isolated, and lonely the pair were, isolated and alone just a short ride from town, mind you, but it really kills the pace of the film, and makes it tempting to abandon.

Still for fans of H.G. Lewis, and cult films, or those interested in historical crime this is a must see. It’s as close as you will ever get to being on the ranch with Charlie himself. Do yourself a favor and click the link below, before Linda and Abilene goes missing again.

Smash Cut

Originally posted at Lord Dixie’s Dark Domain

Smash Cut is former porn star Sasha Grey’s first venture into the world of horror film. In fact that’s one of the reasons I avoided it when it first came out. Other than Traci Lord few porn stars have really made the leap from adult to mainstream entertainment. Ginger Lynn Allen has had some success but mostly in small roles, but Jenna Jameson’s jump into horror in the horrible Evil Breed (which also featured Ginger Lynn) was what stuck in my mind whenever I saw Smash Cut on the video shelves.

Sasha Grey from Smash Cut

However I kept hearing good things about Smash Cut. Sasha’s other endeavors, such as her role on entourage, and her volunteering to read to school children, and resulting controversy, made me see her in a better light as well. Thus I went in search of Smash Cut. Unfortunately it was gone from the video shelves. I finally knuckled under and order a copy on Blue Ray. It was definitely not what I was expecting.

Smash Cut also stars the late David Hess, which any cult horror fan worth his salt will immediately recognize as the evil Krug from Last House on the Left. I am really sad I never got to meet David before he passed. Smash Cut was the perfect film for him, because he harkened back to a style of filmmaking that’s no longer around. In fact it’s nothing less than homage to the glory days of Hershel Gordon Lewis. While there is a huge stylistic difference between Craven who directed Hess in Last House and Lewis, both films were grindhouse splatter favorites. A lot of the criticism of Smash Cut comes from those who have no clue about HG Lewis, and have never seen one of his films.

David Hess from Smash Cut

The acting in Smash Cut is almost universally bad, so bad in fact that it has to be bad on purpose. The characters are almost carbon copy of Lewis and the dialogue made me think I was watching “Gore Gore Girls again.” The same with the effects, they are totally unbelievable, and have been shocked to see people attacking the special effects and then bringing up Lewis as an example of better filmmaking. Drop your nostalgia and watch one of HG Lewis films again and tell me how great the effects and acting are. Not to say that Lee Demarbre is as good (or as bad) as Lewis but he effectively channels and pays respect to him.

Jesse Buck could be a dead ringer in attitude and personality, from the intrepid investigator Abraham from Gore Gore Girls. He gives off that same vibe, and you are never really sure whose side he is on. His acting is probably closer to good acting than anyone else in the film, but it’s still bad as it should be.

Sasha Grey’s acting was laughably horrible. So horrible that her acting was wonderful, the blank stares, the painful pauses, the ridiculous lines she delivers so flat and deadpan. Ever her slightly off cue screams were all marvelous. Now I have seen Sasha act, both in Entourage, and in porn and I know she can act better than in Smash Cut. It was either a brave move or a brilliant move making this near spoof her first mainstream film. Brave in that many will assume this was her doing her best, or brilliant in that she can deflect any criticism to “acting bad on purpose.” Personally I think it takes talent to act that bad and Sasha has talent.

Despite all the attention to Sasha Grey, you can’t talk about Smash Cut without mentioning David Hess. Real horror fans were dealt a harsh blow when David passed, all too soon last year. He began, and made his career with a cult film, so it’s fitting that one of his last films is homage to cult films. Like the rest of the cast David’s performance will be criticized by those who don’t “get” Smash Cut and that’s very sad. David delivered the performance the film needed. Watching him in Smash Cut is pure joy, only tempered by the fact that he is now gone. He will be missed by those who knew him and respected his work.

Visually Smash Cut is a 70s film but with better technical quality. The colors are all intense and garish , with no muted tones. Everything is out there, watching Smash Cut is like walking into a strip joint on retro night. Either that or imagine a bomb going off in a day glow paints factory.

I read an online review where someone decried the music of Smash Cut as 70s porno music. The reviewer is right, but really what other music would fit. Watching and listening to this film was like being back in my giddy high school years and sneaking a forbidden VHS into the recorder while my parents were asleep.

The only thing missing was nudity, but I’m not going to tweak it for that. The film is actually better without nudity (bet you NEVER thought you’d see me type that didya?) Anyone who has never saw Sasha Grey naked probably doesn’t want to, and if they do all it takes is a Google of her name with “safe search” off.

Keeping her clothes on was probably a calculated, wise move to distance her a bit more from her porn past. It also harkens to those older films where there was more tease than tit. Sure HGL loved to show some nudity, but for the most parts those films promised way more than they actually show. C’mon who didn’t expect to see Sasha at least topless? I did till I was roughly half way through. What got me was that seeing the lovely Ms. Grey in a white sweater, sans bra, was so titillating despite all of her I have seen in the past. And yes, I have seen all of her.

The effects while gory are so unbelievable that only the faintest of heart will be disturbed. More than likely you will find yourself laughing at the death scenes unless you really do some suspension of disbelief. Like the rest of the movie you will either get it and enjoy it or hate it, and probably turn it off.

So final verdict? If you are a fan of Sasha Grey, and I mean real fan not just a fan of her sex games, you should enjoy it. If you are a real fan just get past the bad acting and lack of nudity and support Sasha. Fans of David Hess should likewise enjoy Smash Cut. His fans will also be more likely to “get” the film. Fans of HG Lewis and the gory cult days should also enjoy. Some may balk at the shoddy effects and weak plot, but most will get that it’s part of the charm of this film.

Smash Cut

People looking for a film that makes sense and has great acting should avoid it. Most of them simply won’t get the charm of Smash Cut. Sasha Grey’s fans from her porn days will probably be disappointed, some even angry. Tough shit, get over it, people move on in their careers and lives, let’s give Sasha a chance to shine in real films. So if you can deal with a film that has bad acting, horrible plot, bad effects and 70s porn music then pop in Smash Cut. If you are looking for the next Silence of the Lambs, keep looking, nothing to see here. All this and you get Michael Berryman in a Jewfro wig to boot!

Werewolves on Wheels

Werewolves on Wheels
Werewolves on Wheels

Werewolves have long been a staple of horror films, just like bikers have long been a part of exploitation cinema. So like a Reeses Cup, it was only natural that these two great flavors come together. Right? Right. Well it happened way back in 1971 with Werewolves on Wheels. Biker movies were all the rage, and horror was a hot property so it was a sure thing. For fans of exploitation films it is a little known gem today. With the Sons of Anarchy making bikers and gangs popular again today, it’s time for people to look up Werewolves on Wheels and give it a view.

The Devil’s Advocates are as tough as they come. The movie opens with them beating up a group of rednecks who were, not to wisely, harassing them. Then they head to a gas station, where they engage in more mayhem with locals. This includes torturing the attendant by insulting him, shoving him around, and having one of their girls show him her tits. They were merciless.

Finally tiring of this, they decide to try something more hard core. Possibly crossing the street without looking, I mean these guys are tough. One of the members tells the gang about a church he knows about where monks perform satanic rituals. Well now that sounds right up The Devils Advocates alley. So as dusk approaches they head to the temple, and upon seeing the monks begin to insult them and call out to Satan. All seems to be going great until night falls, the monks serve them wine and bread and they club passes out. Personally I think it’s sad if you cant trust a group of Satanic monks who you were just insulting not to slip something in your drink, but that’s apparently what happened.

Werewolves on Wheels

The leader’s old lady (see how cool I am using biker lingo?) wakes up and heads to the temple where a black magic ceremony takes place. Then one of the highlights of the movie happens as she starts dancing and winds up bare ass naked. The bikers then rouse from their slumber grab the girl, slug the monks and take off on their bikes.

Not fully understanding what happened, they seem to wander the desert drinking, fighting, and playing grab ass like all tough bikers. Then suddenly they start disappearing and dying each night. After more driving, and drinking, and fighting, and dying they finally discover that their president and his old lady are werewolves. This leads to a fight scene where there actually are “gasp” werewolves on wheels. This may be the coolest scene in the film, other than the naked dancing girl, when the wolfed out gang leader is chased by the other bikers carrying torches.

They finally manage to subdue and kill the werewolves, and the gang, now eager for revenge, head back to the monastery. Or maybe they just want to wrestle and play grab ass with the monks for a change. Even though they have wandered for days they make it back to the monks in record time. They charge in ready for some non gay, man on monk action, only to stop when they realize……(ready for it?)…the monks are actually the bikers. Cut to end credits.

You will probably get tired of me saying this but, like a lot of old exploitation films, it’s hard to call this a “good” film in any technical sense. The acting, at least of the leads, is really not that bad for a film of this budget or genre, the sound track is actually excellent and the filming is adequate, but that’s about it. The story is about as silly as you would expect from a movie called Werewolves on Wheels, the pacing is beyond tedious at times, very little blood and gore, and the effects are also about what you would expect.

The magic in cult and exploitation films though, is that little of this matters. There is just something about them that makes them fun to watch. Sometimes that fun is in laughing at the silliness on screen, but that’s OK. I’d much rather spend an hour watching Werewolves on wheels, be that motorcycles or even scooters, than an hour watching Tom Cruise smile into the camera.

With a film like this you are also allowed a glimpse into another time. It’s more than just “wow this is how bikers dressed in the 70s”, but more of “wow this was what was acceptable in the 70s to be shown on film.” Films in the 70s were becoming less restrictive, and a film like Werewolves on Wheels was bound for the drive in, or grindhouse anyway, so they got away with things you might not see in a big budget film.

It came out 2 years before the Exorcist enraged Christians with it’s demonic plot, and four years after Rosemary’s Baby did the same with a much tamer plot. So Satanism was a hot movie topic, and it shows in Werewolves on Wheels with it’s mixing of lycanthropy and Satanism. The satanic references in the film surprised me until I looked at the time frame of these other two movies.

Still it’s interesting that the film contains the overt references to devil worship, quite a bit of nudity, and almost no profanity. Apparently a fully nude (although only her breasts and butt were shown, no full monty) woman was acceptable, “Hail Satan” was acceptable, but no cursing please. Maybe it’s me but one of the funniest things while watching the movie was seeing these tough bikers NOT curse. Plus for bikers, the level of violence was really low. Lots of fighting, but very little killing (except by the werewolves) or extreme violence. Another taboo of the setting.

dancing girl from Werewolves on Wheels

Werewolves on Wheels is one of my favorite finds in recent years. It really was just as much fun as I imagined it to be. While the mid point of the movie gets a bit tedious and slow, it’s not insurmountable, and worth sitting though for the payoff. Do yourself a favor, if you are feeling nostalgic, or just want to dive into the biker genre of the 70s, check out Werewolves on Wheels

I also need to add, that after a long wait, the sound track is now available from Amazon. If you watch the film, and want the sound track, I would appreciate you buying from the link below and supporting my blog. It’s not expensive to blog, but it isn’t free.

Werewolves on Wheels was directed by Michel Levesque. It stars Severen Darden, Donna Anders, and Steve Oliver


Mad Cowgirl

Mad Cowgirl definitely ranks up there with the weirdest films I have ever seen. It’s one of those movies that really defies being placed in a genre. I consider it a horror film due to it’s copious amounts of blood and gore, but it has elements of action, drama, romance,martial arts, exploitation, and really a little bit of everything.

Mad Cowgirls centers around Therese, played by Sarah Lassez (Lo), a meat inspector who MIGHT have mad cow disease. Or possibly she might just be going insane, or maybe she’s imagining everything. Her brother Thiery, played by James Duval (Donnie Darko, Sushi Girl) runs a meat-packing company. It’s the height of the Mad Cow scare and Therese finds out her brothers beef is contaminated.

This is when she becomes convinced she is infected with Mad Cow Disease.. We’re never sure exactly, but she does appear to have some type of brain disease. Since her doctor is from Sri Lanka and never speaks to her in English, honestly I was never really sure what he was telling her. There did appear that she had some disease, but there is always the chance she was just going insane and everything was from her fevered brain.

Walter Koening

One fact we know is that her love life is in shambles. Her husband has left her, and she s having a secretive affair with televangelist Pastor Dylan, played by Walter Koenig (Star Trek), which ends in a bad breakup. All the men in her life become her enemies, in a set of flashbacks that might or might not be real. She imagines battling them as in Hong Kong martial arts style scenarios, labeling them the “Ten Tigers of Kwangtung”. She also engages in an incestuous affair with her brother.

If all this seems weird, it’s because it is, and I am barely scratching the surface, and trying to be somewhat spoiler free. To be completely honest, I almost turned off Mad Cowgirl several times, but I just couldn’t. The weirdness kept me hanging on, during a few points when the films story really lagged. There were a few times when the weirdness just made me wonder why I was sitting though this, but I could not turn it off. Just like grabbing an electric wire, I could not ;et go even though I wanted to at times.

Mad Cow Disease or just insanity

The weak points are that the strangeness at times is overwhelming. Scenes seem random and thrown together. That and at times the story does drag. It takes a sense of the absurd, and a bit of patience to enjoy Mad Cowgirl. But if you can sit through it there are some gems.

Sarah Lassez

Sarah Lassez is wonderful as Therese. She is beautiful, and plays the part in a sad and tragic way that makes you feel for her, even in scenes that are disturbing. You really hope she is going to make it, even though you know she is doomed from the start. One of the most WTF moments for me was after her breakup with Koenig, when she lies back and spreads her legs against her big screen television while the Pastor is on the screen. As the camera zooms in for a close up she moans in ecstasy. It’s virtual head, with Chekov’s giant head on-screen. It’s more sexual than the head scene in Re animator, which was mostly played for laughs. The scene in Mad Cowgirl is just beyond surreal.

Probably the most controversial story line in Mad Cowgirl is the relationship between Therese and her brother Thiery. In all honesty, it is probably the best handling of incest I have ever seen in a film. It’s not gratuitous or explicit, and while it is shocking by it’s very nature, it’s mostly sad and desperate.

It’s no Game of Thrones, and you have to feel that this would be much closer to what would really happen in a relationship of this matter. You don’t feel her sickness drive them together, but something deeper, something that could be the root of her insanity. There would have to be something sad, and deeply painful to drive people into breaking that taboo.

With all the warped insanity of Mad Cowgirl, the scenes between the two was the most low-key, honest parts of the movie. The films doesn’t play it up or justify it, it just states it is a fact. It’s so matter of fact, that I had to rewind to convince myself they really were siblings.

Believe me I have only touched the surface of Mad Cowgirl’s weirdness. A lot of people won’t be able to handle the almost nonstop, and sometimes random insanity. But underneath the strangeness, there is a great little story with great acting and direction. It is underrated beyond my ability to measure. It deserves much more praise heaped upon it. Is it perfect, no. but for a low-budget film, with a cast of mostly unknowns, it accomplishes a lot. With all the mindless drivel out there, this gem of original insanity is refreshing.

So take a chance with this little morsel of fresh meat and don’t worry about the Mad Cow disease



Cannibal Holocaust

My original review of Cannibal Holocaust originally post on Lord Dixie’s Dark Domain a few years ago

A lot of films lay claim to the most disturbing movie of all times, even more are labeled that by fans, the media or groups protesting violent or disturbing films. Many times the label is applied by the films marketing team in hopes of stirring up interest, since any publicity is good publicity. While many films vie for this title and many deserve mention here there is one film that is generally agreed to by all that have seen it and many who haven’t, as the king of all disgusting films.

It’s a film so disturbing that the director has apologized for parts of it and said he would never make a film with that content again. It was a film so controversial that the director was arrested and the film has been banned in many countries from one time to another. The movie was Cannibal Holocaust.

Cannibal Holocaust was released in 1980 and the basic plot centers on a group of journalists who disappears into the wilds of the Amazon to film the natives who are suspected of practicing cannibalism. The group disappears and a New York. Anthropologist, Professor Monroe, goes into the jungle to locate them and find out what happened. With the help of local guides he finds the bodies near the encampment of the feared cannibal tribe. He is at first feared but eventually the tribe welcomes into their camp and invites him and his guide to a feast. He bargains for the film canisters and has to take part in the feast that involves him participating in cannibalism in order to get them. He returns to New York with the recovered film.

The bulk of Cannibal Holocaust  is this film, showing the film crew’s journey into the jungle and their descent into depravity and eventual torture and death at the hands of the natives they sought to film. Monroe brings the film back to New York where the local television station wants to broadcast the footage. Monroe insists on watching the film first after hearing that the film crew had a reputation of brutality toward locals and also a reputation of “setting up” atrocities so they could film it. After seeing the footage he recommends it be burned. At this point we watch along as he screens it for the execs and watch as the brutality unfolds.

We watch as the three men and woman embark in the Amazon and begin the trek into the “Green Inferno” as the locals call it. Almost immediately bad luck befalls them as their guide, Felipe, is bitten by a poisonous snake and dies soon after. The team continues on eventually encountering a group of the Yacumo, one of the tribes they set out to find. Deciding the best way to find the tribes camp is to follow them, they callously shoot one of the tribesmen in the leg to slow him down so they can follow. Arriving at the camp they resort to intimidating the tribe and set fire to one of the main buildings filled with tribesmen in order to film an “attack” on the peaceful tribe by cannibals. The leader of the team is so aroused by his murderous act that he roughly has sex with the female member, Faye, in front of the surviving tribesmen , while the last member, Andres, secretly films it.

Leaving the tribe they come upon a forced abortion by the side of a river and the ritual stoning of the women. They comment that it is most likely a ritual punishment for adultery. At this point we switch back to New York and Professor Munroe. He has seen the last reel of the film, that details the groups death. Once again he argues that the film should be destroyed, but the executives will not agree until they have seen the footage. Munroe again starts the film and we are thrust back into the jungle.

Several days have apparently passed since they left the Yacumo and the film crew states that they are in a different part of the jungle. They are in search of the feared Yamamomo tribe who they blamed the slaughter of the Yacumo upon. Suddenly they come across a young female member of the tribe and for unknown reasons they attack her and take turns raping her while filming the attack. Unknown to them another tribe member is watching from the tall grass as the scene plays out.

Faye tries to protest the rape but she is held back. It’s not clear if she is upset more about the rape or about her boyfriend Yates taking part. The film cuts and we see the team surrounding the young woman who has been impaled on a large stake with the end protruding from her mouth.. Yates is seen smiling at first, then strikes a concerned look for the camera as he explains that the girl was probably killed for a violation of the tribes sexual taboos. While it is not clear who killed the girl, we are strongly led to believe it was the film team. We then cut to the team once again in the jungle. They find themselves surrounded by natives in apparent anger over the attack on the girl. The team fights back as the tribe attacks but one by one they are caught and brutally killed. Yates, the last one killed keeps filming, seemingly taking more interest in the film than his friends lives. In the final shot Yates is speared and drops his camera, then falls dead in front of the lens.

Back in New York the executives are shocked and disgusted. They agree with Munroe that the film should never be shown. The tapes are destroyed. As Monroe walks out of the building and down the street, the last words of Cannibal Holocaust were “ I wonder who the real cannibals are.”

The brutality of the film crew on the natives and the filming of the crews death are disturbing enough. What really sets this film apart and causes it’s notoriety though is the animal slaughter. Throughout the film several animals are brutally killed for the film. It is real, it is not fake and it is brutal. The animals include a snake, a spider, a monkey, a pig, a turtle and a ferret. The turtle killing is especially is hard to watch as the team pulls it from the water, and viciously slaughters it. The scene goes on for several minutes.

Another scene involves a monkey. It is reported that the director actually had a fake monkey, but that the natives insisted on using a live monkey, since monkey brains were considered a delicacy. The scene took two takes so two monkeys were killed.  Director Ruggero Deodato now says he regrets the animal slaughter. They are the reason the film is still banned and considered  controversial.

Ironically the director was arrested for the scenes involving the human actors. Apparently because the animal scenes were so real some authorities believed that he actually had the actors killed for the film. He had the entire cast sign non disclosure agreements and non publicity agreements as a way of gaining publicity for the film. The apparent disappearance of the actors lead fuel to rumors of their death. Deodato was forced to break their agreements and summon them to appear or face charges of murder. Like wise the young girl who was impaled was compelled to appear . The director also had to explain exactly how the scene was done, which involved her sitting on a mounted bicycle seat and holding the point of the spear in her mouth.

What is interesting to me is that none of the human death scenes in Cannibal Holocaust look particularly real. I think the unrelenting reality of the animal deaths simply made the human deaths look more real. What is not known to many people who have watched the film is that there is actual footage of humans being killed in the film.

At one point a “documentary” is shown that has supposedly been shot by the film team before their journey to South America. The film shows actual executions from Africa and South East Asia. Professor Munroe is told that the film crew apparently set up these atrocities. This gives us insight into Yates character before we see his actions in the jungle.

Deodato has said he was making a film purely for shock value. If this is true than he accidentally made a film with deeper meaning . I can in no way condone the animal slayings, and while I have seen it once, if I ever watch it again it will be a censored version. Still the slayings add a rawness that otherwise would not be there. I think the human killings would look silly without them.

It is interesting that the “cannibals” are not guilty of as many atrocities as the “civilized” film crew, at least on-screen. Also since the sickening animal slayings almost all come from the film crew, we have little sympathy at watching their obviously fake deaths.

Deodato effectively points the camera at us and says we are the true savages. We go about our everyday life taking no concern over the brutality all around us. We automatically assume that anyone not as civilized as us has no worth. Who are we to judge our lifestyle as superior to theirs? True we don’t practice cannibalism but we have devalued human life to the point that death no longer affects us. We routinely step on others to get where we want to go and never consider those we harm in the process. In our race to civilization have we lost our humanity? Maybe we all need to get back to the jungle .

Cannibal Holocaust is available in R rated and Unrated versions. It contains graphic male and female nudity, sex, scenes of violence including rape and other sexual violence, profanity and actual animal slayings. Be warned though, t is not for the squeamish.