HK and Cult Film News's Fan Box

Sunday, September 30, 2018

HOLY HELL -- DVD Review by Porfle

Writer-director-star Ryan LaPlante's stated goal in making his debut feature HOLY HELL (2015) was to "take on 60's and 70's B-Movie and Exploitation film tropes" as did such fairly recent grindhouse parodies as "Machete" and "Hobo With a Shotgun." 

But while those two movies were derived from mock trailers that were fleshed out to feature length, the opposite might've been preferable in this case since HOLY HELL would probably work better as a mock trailer than a full-length film.

That way, it wouldn't have to try so desperately hard to be funny for such an extended period of time that you can almost feel the veins bulging in its sweaty cinematic forehead. 

Things start out on a chipper note as happy priest Father Bane (LaPlante) goes about his business serving the Lord in the midst of the city's most vile denizens going about their own sinful deeds, including mugging and beating the good priest himself. His happy-face faith keeps him going, however.

This all changes when he visits the Bonner family to help with their rebellious daughter Amy (Alysa King), just before another family, the murderous MacFarlanes, burst in guns blazing, killing and defiling almost everyone in sight (including the baby) in the most horrible ways.   

This gives director LaPlante a chance to start piling on the kind of shock stuff he set out to gleefully wallow in with this film, with over-the-top characters Daddy Dokes, he/she Sissy, bad girl Trisha, and trigger-happy thug Buddy dishing out gouts of fake blood and prosthetic body parts while screaming profanities at the top of their lungs.

Naturally, the grievously wounded Father Bane renounces his faith after this incident and buys a pistol which he dubs "The Lord" and begins to worship as he hunts down not just the MacFarlanes but all sinners and blows them away with the help of surviving but now-crippled Bonner daughter Amy as his horny accomplice. 

What follows is scene after scene of the most strenuous attempts to shock us with violence, gore, and perverse sex that's supposed to be both hyper-edgy and funny.  The humor didn't work for me since most of it is composed of non-stop screaming "F bombs", tranny jokes, wacky depictions of oral and anal sex, and flashes of blasphemy, all delivered by actors with little or no comic finesse.  (Shane Patrick McClurg as "Sissy" comes the closest.)

Along with the numerous bloody killings are stabs (so to speak) at spaghetti-western parody and mock tough-guy dialogue. But rather than trying to emulate "Machete" and "Hobo With a Shotgun" with an artless imitation that barely comes close, perhaps it might've been better to create an actual deliberate mockery of such films. Being genuinely funny as well as profane and gross would've helped.  

As it is, HOLY HELL's fevered attempts to break down the bounds of decency should be shocking only to those who have never seen those other two movies or anything by John Waters, or heard people curse stridently and at length like Tourette's-stricken sailors, or seen really hardcore gore movies.

Tech Specs
Runtime: 89 minutes
Format: Full frame
Sound: Dolby Sr. Sound
Country: USA
Language: English
Captions: English
Extras: Outtakes and director's commentary, trailers

Cast & Crew
Directed by: Ryan LaPlante
Starring: Ryan LaPlante, Alysa King, Michael Rawley, Luke LaPlante, Shane Patrick McClurg, Rachel Anne Little, Reece Presley


All The Crab Monster Scenes From "Attack Of The Crab Monsters" (Roger Corman, 1957) (video)

Here, gathered for what is certainly the first time anywhere...

(or not)

...are all the crab monster scenes from Roger Corman's "Attack of the Crab Monsters."


I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


Saturday, September 29, 2018

MORE Lesser Known Stop-Motion Animation Monsters (video)

The most famous stop-motion animators are Willis O'Brien (KING KONG)…

...and Ray Harryhausen (JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS).

But other animators have given us their own interesting creations throughout the years...

The Lost Continent (1951)
The Black Scorpion (Willis O'Brien, 1957)
The Giant Behemoth (Willis O'Brien, 1959)
Dinosaurus! (1960)
Planet of Dinosaurs (1978)
Caveman (1981)

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


Friday, September 28, 2018

Is That A UFO Behind John Wayne In "Rio Grande"? (1950) (video)

Many believe that during this scene with Duke and Maureen O'Hara...

...the camera accidentally caught a distant UFO in the upper left corner.

Viewers still disagree over whether the scene was shot on location...

...or on an indoor soundstage with a painted backdrop.

What do you think?

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


Thursday, September 27, 2018


With the third entry in their "Joseph W. Sarno Retrospective Series", Film Movement Classics brings us another highly enjoyable sampling of the celebrated director's earlier work.

This time it's the triple-header CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE/SIN IN THE SUBURBS/WARM NIGHTS HOT PLEASURES, the first two titles complete with commentary tracks by both film historian Tim Lucas and the director himself.  (CONFESSIONS also comes with deleted scenes.)

Even more than the previous entries, this Sarno collection is an intoxicating indulgence for fans of his unique visual and storytelling style, capturing the tawdry essence of the nudie cuties and "roughies" and fashioning it into something of a roughhewn art form that culminates here with his colorful, seriocomic 1974 work, CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE.  


[This is an altered version of my original review of an earlier release.]

After seeing trailers for some of Joe Sarno's 70s sexploitation flicks, along with a brief retrospective of his work, I was eager to see one of them for myself. I got my wish when CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE (1974) fell into my hot little hands, and I wasn't disappointed.

It's a prime example of good filmmaking on a low budget, displaying a certain class and style that transcends the cheap sleaze this genre is often known for while still generously indulging our more prurient interests.

The simple storyline involves a pretty young housewife named named Carole (Rebecca Brooke) and her husband Eddie (David Hausman), who have a wide-open sexual relationship that includes their ultra-horny neighbors Anna (Chris Jordan) and her hubby Pete (Eric Edwards).

When Carole's straight-laced, widowed mother Jennifer comes to visit, the young swingers are immediately fascinated by the gorgeous blonde mature babe whose repressed sexuality is just waiting to explode.

As the initially-shocked Jennifer lets down her inhibitions and begins to take part in her daughter's free-love lifestyle, each participant is so deeply affected by her that their relationships with each other are threatened. Not only that, but Carole herself is dangerously close to giving in to long dormant incestual feelings and going ga-ga for her own mom.

Complicating things even more is the fact that Jennifer is forming her own relationship outside the group with a handsome young grocery delivery guy who is yearning for love after being abandoned by his wife.

They may not be great thespians, but the actors are appealing and play their characters well. Rebecca Brooke is a fresh young presence as Carole, while David Hausman plays her husband Eddie as a grown-up version of Greg Brady. As Anna, cutie Chris Jordan (Eric Edwards' real-life wife at the time) keeps things light with her comedic performance; aside from her sexual voracity, Anna is constantly stuffing herself with food without gaining an ounce and swooning over Jennifer's baked goods. Eric Edwards, of course, is a familiar face to 70s porn fans, one of those rare examples of the X-rated actor who can really act.

The main attraction here, though, is the stunningly gorgeous Jennifer Wells. Not only a skilled actress, she's also a first-class knockout, and it's easy to understand how the others could be so helplessly attracted to her. Voluptuous and natural (no plastic, no tattoos, no shaved pubes), her transition from apron-wearing mom baking pies in the kitchen to hot-blooded sexual animal is pretty exciting.

This is how you do softcore without making it boring. The sex scenes are hot and the actors are convincingly passionate and enthusiastic. Chris Jordan in particular seems to be literally having orgasms out the wazoo in some scenes. Sarno directs the sex sequences as logical extensions of the dramatic scenes instead of just letting the camera roll while actors boff each other.

This looks like one of the better hardcore films of the 70s (without the more graphic shots, of course) when directors like Gerard Damiano were still trying to make actual movies instead of just extended sex scenes linked by minimal dialogue.

The fact that these sequences don't go on forever with endless, numbing closeups of ping-ponging genitalia sustains our interest and arousal levels while maintaining our awareness that a story is taking place. As film gave way to video in the 80s and porn became more of an assembly-line product churned out by increasingly lesser talents, such concerns were either minimalized or abandoned altogether, as shown in Paul Thomas Anderson's BOOGIE NIGHTS.

Joe Sarno's script keeps the melodrama moving along while delighting us with some occasionally kooky dialogue. After their initial meeting with Jennifer, Eddie remarks to Pete, "You know, her tits intrigue me...she never wears a bra" and Pete responds "Yeah, we were sitting there and her old tits were crying for my mouth." Later, while coming on to Jennifer for the first time, Pete gushes, "Your tits drive me outta my bird!"

Sarno makes the most of his $25,000 budget, giving the film a distinctive look with its soft-hued, color-saturated cinematography and artistic lighting. The print used here is fairly good, though there are quite a few patches that have that choppy, scratchy look commonly associated nowadays with "grindhouse" films. (I grew up watching battered film prints in theaters and on TV, so I hardly notice such things myself--in fact, it gives me a nice nostalgic feeling.)

If you're into this kind of stuff, then chances are you'll enjoy CONFESSIONS OF A YOUNG AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE as much as I did. I'm looking forward to seeing more of Joe Sarno's films.

[End of original review.]

Film Movement Classics' Blu-ray release of CONFESSIONS is, like the other two films on this disc, a new 2K restoration that probably looks as good as it gets.  Which in this case is a vividly colorful and clear picture with the inevitable imperfections that sometimes come with the best available print.  For me, the old-school grindhouse feel that this gives the film is a nostalgic plus.


SIN IN THE SUBURBS (1964) is writer-director Joe Sarno continuing to come into his own as a filmmaker who takes the genre of naughty, softcore sex potboilers and invests it with an unusual dramatic heft and interesting characters who trade dialogue that's sharp and fun to listen to.

Not to say that the obligatory sleaze and tawdriness of such films are missing here--it's the sort of world Sarno's characters exist in, whether they be conniving lowlifes using sex for gain or well-to-do hypocrites posing as model citizens while indulging forbidden sexual perversions behind closed doors.

The term "when the cat's away" really fits this normal-looking 60s suburb in which lonely, sex-hungry wives, feeling neglected by their working husbands, have it off with various neighbors, workmen, or, in the case of Mrs. Lewis (Audrey Campbell, THE SEXPERTS), her teen daughter Kathy's high school friend.

Meanwhile, we see local sex-bomb Yvette lounging around the house in lingerie and paying the furniture bill by seducing the collector.  Yvette lives with her supposed "brother" Louis (W.B. Parker), and together they're hatching a scheme to start an illicit sex club which they hope will have frustrated neighbors shelling out hundreds of bucks for.

What starts out a bit like a sex comedy (the bill collector guy is funny) soon veers toward the dramatic as the sexual vortex so many of the characters seem caught in starts to spin out of control.  Lisa, left alone while husband Henry is at work, starts guzzling booze and luring abusive workmen into her home. Mrs. Lewis has daytime swingers' parties with friends in her own house, one of which is walked in upon by a her shocked daughter Kathy.

Kathy, it seems, has the wildest life of them all when she's molested by her would-be boyfriend and then seduced into a hot lesbian affair with Yvette. Judy Young plays her with just the right balance between still just a kid and becoming a troubled, sexually-confused young woman.

It's almost the stuff soap operas are made of, but it's all so edgy (for its time) and starkly compelling that we're constantly transfixed by what's going on and eager to see what happens next.  Sarno's evolving as a director with an instinctive talent for staging interesting shots and bringing out the best in his cast.

The story content is strictly adults-only for 1964, with elements such as adultery, attempted rape, lesbianism, and other sensitive subjects that were still taboo.  It feels like we're watching something on the shady side, getting a voyeuristic glimpse at these desperate sinful lives.

Sarno's screenplay goes beyond simple sexploitation and builds to an emotionally jarring ending after one of Yvette and Louis' illicit sex parties, which is staged remarkably and with lasting effect.

Sarno's black-and-white photography is crisp, noirish, and constantly interesting to look at.  The print used for Film Movement's Blu-ray edition is very good, even with the occasional scratches, specks, etc. which, for me, give it a nostalgic feel that recalls the well-worn prints we used to see at the local theater or on late-night TV.

Having just watched the original Star Trek episode "I, Mudd" the night before, I was surprised to see the actor who played the android "Norman", Richard Tatro, as the dangerous guy Lisa foolishly opens her front door to.

Yvette is played by none other than Dyanne Thorne (billed here as Lahna Monroe) of "Ilsa, She-Wolf of the S.S." fame, looking almost unrecognizable with her jet-black bouiffant hairdo. The film's one bit of actual nudity is a fleeting glimpse of her bare breasts.

SIN IN THE SUBURBS ends with a shadowy, poignant shot that looks like it might be straight out of early David Lynch.  And with it continues my fondness for Joe Sarno's exquisite black-and-white early films, which are unlike anything else I've seen.


Another of Joe Sarno's delectable early black-and-white melodramas, 1964's WARM NIGHTS HOT PLEASURES is the torrid tale of three smalltown girls who drop out of college and head to the Big Apple with fervent (but slim) hopes of making it in showbiz.

Of course, the road to success is littered with just this kind of roadkill.  But singleminded Cathy (Marla Ellis) is too determined and blinded by ambition to be deterred even when every lead she follows turns out to be just one more horny, sleazy con man telling her to "show me what you got" before leading her to the casting couch.

Meanwhile, prim Vivian (Sheila Barnett) hooks up with Paul, a seemingly decent man who claims to have connections and assures her there are no strings attached.  (Paul is played by SIN IN THE SUBURBS's Richard Tatro, whom original-series Star Trek fans will recognize as the android Norman in the episode "I, Mudd.")

Paul's frustrated wife Ronnie (Carla Desmond) befriends simple, down-home girl Marsha (the cute-as-a-button Eve Harris) and offers to teach her some of the tricks to becoming a showgirl.  Ronnie will also develop a tragically one-sided infatuation with Marsha that adds to the story's substantial emotional gravitas.

The idea of a trio of naive girls striking out on their own into a world of fast sex and deceptive strangers seems a comfortably familiar one, and Sarno's lean, colorful screenplay, in addition to his endlessly inventive direction and expert handling of actors, allows us to settle back and enjoy the ride from one dramatic turn to the next.

Things get sleazy right away when Cathy's first surrender to a repugnant talent agent's sweaty sexual come-on leads only to one two-bit producer after another as she struggles to make her way up the food chain. She ends up dancing and hustling drinks in a bar run by Dick (played by familiar character actor Joe Santos in his film debut under the name "Joe Russell") who drags her sense of self-worth even further into the mud by also demanding dirty sex from her.

Welcome comedy touches enter the picture when the girls rent a room from a sassy, sultry nudie model who's constantly posing for fetish photos down the hall, in the apartment of a young Irving Klaw-like photographer.  While the big lug's constantly trying to get Marsha to pose nude for him, he's all business and becomes a valuable ally.

Fans of familiar vintage nudie model Alice Denham will be delighted to see her in the flesh (so to speak) as the landlady, who's equally adept at single-girl glamour pics or the kinkier bondage and S&M stuff.

As usual, the black-and-white photography is exquisite as the camerawork and staging consistently bring out the best in Sarno's typically expressive cast. The musical score is a cacophony of hepcat jazz, like one of Fred Katz's scores for Roger Corman, and I recognized at least one cue from the same library music used earlier in THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE.

Sarno admirers should scarf up this concoction of illicit sex, brief nudity, drama, tragedy, despair, debasement, disillusionment, and betrayal, with occasional bits of lighthearted fun to keep things from getting too heavy.  At least one of our our heroines will find a glimmer of hope that may lead to success, while the other girls' luck goes bad in ways that play heavily on our sympathy without ever getting maudlin.

The print used by Film Movement Classics has the usual wear and tear of these early Sarno films which we're lucky to have in any condition (this one has been lost since 1964) despite being cleaned up as much as possible for this Blu-ray release.

I think it looks great, and any imperfections only give it that unique grindhouse feel which, as I've stressed on numerous occasions, only adds to my nostalgic enjoyment of older films.  (I like a print that looks like it's been around the block a few times.)  No extras this time, but the film itself is its own reward.

WARM NIGHTS HOT PLEASURES finds the director continuing to wield his keen story sense and artist's eye to give us a nudie sex flick that feels as substantial and worthwhile as many Hollywood potboilers, but a lot more naughty, taboo-twisting fun.

Sin in the Suburbs -- Commentary by Tim Lucas, Commentary by Joe and Peggy Sarno, Michael Vraney and Frank Henenlotter
Confessions of a Young American Housewife -- Commentary by Tim Lucas, Mini-commentary by Joe Sarno, Deleted scenes  

Type:  Blu-ray/DVD
Running Time: 234 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
Audio: Stereo
Captions: None
Street Date: October 2, 2018
BD/DVD SRP: $39.95/$29.95


Lesser Known Stop-Motion Animation Monsters (video)

The most famous stop-motion animators are Willis O'Brien (KING KONG)…

...and Ray Harryhausen (7th VOYAGE OF SINBAD).

But other animators have given us their own interesting creations throughout the years...

Three Ages (Buster Keaton, 1923)
Beast of Hollow Mountain (1956)
Monster From Green Hell (1957)
Jack the Giant Killer (1962)
Equinox (1970)
The Crater Lake Monster (1977)

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


"THE BEST OF THE THREE STOOGES" Brings Together their Biggest Nyuks in One Exclusive Time Life Collection, AVAILABLE NOW!



DVD SRP: $99.95

Across 13 Hilarious Discs, Lovers of the Three Stooges Will Find Over 45 Incredible Hours of Content, Including All of the Columbia Pictures Shorts (1934-1945), Four Feature Films, Vintage Animated Cartoons, the 9-Part Documentary Series "Hey Moe! Hey Dad!," a Collectible, Full-Color Memory Book and More!


"Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk...Why I Oughta..." 

For over 50 years, The Three Stooges presented a brand of pie-throwing, eye-poking and head-bonking routines that cracked up multiple generations. They were the masters of mirth, merriment and mayhem, turning slapstick comedy into an art form. And, with a body of work including over 300 films, television, stage shows, cartoons and more - they're forever ingrained in popular culture. Now, one of the greatest comedy troupes of all time is here to poke, smack, slap and bonk their way onto your screens with THE BEST OF THE THREE STOOGES!

With this riotous DVD set, Time Life has brought together the Stooges greatest hits in one exclusive collection, priced at $99.95 and available only at Across 13 uproarious discs, viewers will yuk it up with over 45 hours of knee-slapping content brought together for the very first time, including:

THE BEST OF THE THREE STOOGES: COLUMBIA PICTURES SHORTS 1934-1945 -- These two volumes feature 87 hilarious short films from 1934 to 1945. Witness the rise of these comedy icons in this high-spirited collection containing the first of the iconic Columbia Pictures Shorts. Watch as the Stooges hit their stride and began to settle into their definitive roles- Moe as boss, Larry the middleman, and Curly as their foil -- and experience what has become regarded as the high point in the Three Stooges career - the Golden Age! (8 Discs; 1496 mins) 

THE BEST OF THE THREE STOOGES: SHORTS, CARTOONS, & FEATURE FILMS -- From feature-length films to rare cartoons and vintage shorts - this collection is sure to leave a smile on your face and a bump on the back of your noggin! It includes Shemp Howard Comedy Shorts (14 classics from the '30s & '40s); Joe Besser Comedy Shorts (10 side-splitters from the '40s & '50s), Joe DeRita Comedy Shorts (4 smackers from the '40s), Feature Films (The Three Stooges (2000, biopic); Have Rocket, Will Travel; The Outlaws Is Coming and Rockin' in the Rockies; The Three Stooges Cartoons, inludingBon Bon Parade (1935), Merry Mutineers (1936), A Hollywood Detour (1942), as well as the bonus 9-part documentary series "Hey Moe! Hey Dad!," which takes fans behind the scenes with the family of The Three Stooges as they share never-before-seen footage and photos. (5 discs; 1309 mins)

About Time Life
Time Life is one of the world's pre-eminent creators and direct marketers of unique music and video/DVD products, specializing in distinctive multi-media collections that evoke memories of yesterday, capture the spirit of today, and can be enjoyed for a lifetime. TIME LIFE and the TIME LIFE logo are registered trademarks of Time Warner Inc. and affiliated companies used under license by Direct Holdings Americas Inc., which is not affiliated with Time Warner Inc. or Time Inc.


Type: DVD/13 Discs
Running Time: Approximately 2805 mins.
Genre: TV DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 & 1.78:1
Audio: Stereo & Dolby Digital 5.1


Wednesday, September 26, 2018

3 Stooges Mocked Hitler Before Chaplin ("You Nazty Spy!", 1940) (video)

Charlie Chaplin's famous anti-war film "The Great Dictator" was released in October 1940.

In it, he plays a ridiculous caricature of Adolf Hitler.

But in January of that same year, the Three Stooges released "You Nazty Spy!"

In it, Moe became the first screen actor to lampoon Adolf Hitler...
...almost two years before America's entry into World War II.

In 1941, the Stooges followed this up with "I'll Never Heil Again."

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Shemp's Ad-libs Delight Christine McIntyre In "Of Cash and Hash" (3 Stooges, 1955) (video)

"Of Cash and Hash" was Christine McIntyre's final appearance with the Three Stooges.

At the end, Shemp gets to demonstrate the boys' affection for her as a leading lady.

Although the shot is over, Shemp continues to ad-lib...
...much to Christine's obvious surprise and delight.

By the fadeout, Christine's genuine fondness for Shemp is apparent.

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


Monday, September 24, 2018

ANTHROPOPHAGOUS -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

Italian goremeister Joe D'Amato does it again with the 1980 proto-slasher/thriller ANTHROPOPHAGOUS (aka "The Savage Island").  Like ABSURD, which he directed the following year, this bundle of blood-soaked chills doesn't pour on the gore non-stop, but when it does, it doesn't fool around.

Tisa Farrow (Mia's sister) stars as Julie, who's traveling to an island off the Italian coast to help care for a vacationing couple's blind daughter Henriette (Margaret Donnelly) in their opulent villa. 

She hitches a boat ride with a group of twenty-somethings out for some island-hopping fun themselves, but once they stop over at Julie's island to drop her off, things start going wrong.  And I mean really, really, gore-splatter-cannibalism wrong. 

It's strangely prescient of the 80s cliché of the group of young partiers cavorting off to some isolated location to be stalked and slashed by a psycho killer.  (A cliché that's still going strong today.)

Here, however, the premise hasn't yet become a tired trope, and the characters are mature enough so that their interactions, and later misfortunes, have a dramatic heft that makes them more than just subjects for fun gore effects.

D'Amato (BEYOND DARKNESS, EMANUELLE AND THE LAST CANNIBALS, THE ALCOVE) takes his time establishing all of this and letting us get to know such characters as the nervously expectant Maggie and her equally nervous husband, amorous Daniel who takes a liking to Julie right away, and brother-and-sister Andy and Carol, the former a level-headed good-guy type and the latter, a Tarot-reading flake whose unpredictable actions will eventually make a bad situation worse.

The bad situation in question, which they discover upon setting foot on the island, is an empty village in which (as we already know but they don't) the local population has been wiped out by a mysterious killer whose handiwork we saw in an earlier scene of a young couple getting meat-cleavered on the beach.

Taking up temporary residence in the villa of Julie's missing friends, the group makes a shocking discovery in the wine cellar that gets our own blood going as the story continues to build at a leisurely pace. 

More unrest within the social unit leads to creepy scenes within the big, dark house and its environs, including a crypt and a spooky foray into the shadow-strewn streets of the deserted village.  And before we know it, there's a sudden, cannibalistic attack that leaves one of them dead. 

To make a long story short, the character described in the title (if you can figure out what that title means, that is) finally makes himself known and proves a terrifying, stomach-churning force of un-nature with a voracious appetite for human flesh and one of the ugliest mugs in monster-guy history. 

Played by co-writer Luigi Montefiori (as "George Eastman"), who would portray a much less hideous killer in ABSURD a year later, the "Anthropophagous" dude is like something straight out of a nightmare, one of the most repellant stalkers ever to stalk. 

Blood 'n' guts sequences are few, but striking--the fetus scene alone is the stuff theater walkouts are made of. And D'Amato shows some style in unfolding the "dark, scary house", "deserted village", and "burial catacombs" scenes as well, giving us some genuine chills between the gouts of gore.  

The Blu-ray from Severin Films features a really nice-looking 2K scan from the original 16mm negative.  The film can be viewed either in Italian with subtitles or in English.

Severin doesn't disappoint with its usual ample menu of bonuses, here offering interviews with writer-star Luigi Montefiori, actor Saverio Vallone ("Andy"), FX artist Pietro Tenoglio, editor Bruno Micheli, and actress Zora Kerova ("Carol"). Three trailers for the film are also included.  The cover art is reversible.

ANTHROPOPHAGOUS has a simple, uncluttered plot that sets out to scare, startle, and sicken us, and it does exactly that with a singleminded determination.  It also boasts one of the ickiest cannibalistic creeps I've ever seen, whose final horrific act sets a standard of "WTF?" of which goggle-eyed gorehounds may never see the equal.

Special Features:
Don’t Fear The Man-Eater: Interview with Writer/Star Luigi Montefiori a.k.a. George Eastman
The Man Who Killed The Anthropophagus: Interview with Actor Saverio Vallone
Cannibal Frenzy: Interview with FX Artist Pietro Tenoglio
Brother And Sister In Editing: Interview With Editor Bruno Micheli
Inside Zora’s Mouth: Interview with Actress Zora Kerova
Reversible Wrap

Buy it at Severin Films


Shemp Gets Slapped Silly For Real In "Brideless Groom" (3 Stooges, 1947) (video)

A case of mistaken identity gets Shemp in trouble with Christine McIntyre.

The script called for her to lay into him, but she was afraid of hurting him.

Several takes with Christine's tentative slaps were wearing Shemp out.

So he finally told her to go for it without holding back, and get it over with.

Which she did!

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


Sunday, September 23, 2018

ABSURD (aka "Rosso sangue") -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

Italian director Joe D'Amato's work ran the gamut from steamy sexploitation (THE ALCOVE with Laura Gemser) to graphic gorefests (ANTHROPOPHAGOUS, BEYOND DARKNESS and EMANUELLE AND THE LAST CANNIBALS, the latter also with Gemser).  But while his 1981 horror thriller ABSURD (aka "Rosso sangue") features an ample number of gory sequences, it has as much in common with John Carpenter's HALLOWEEN as with the usual wall-to-wall splatterfest.

The story begins with a family being menaced by an escaped madman (Luigi Montefiori, aka "George Eastman") who, as a result of a scientific experiment, is now both maniacally homicidal and practically indestructible.  Somehow making it from Greece to the U.S. with a priest (Edmund Perdom) hot on his trail, he suffers a serious injury and ends up killing a nurse before fleeing the hospital. 

"Absurd" is definitely the word when rumpled police detective Sgt. Engleman (Charles Borromel) finds out that he can't get anyone to help him look for the rampaging killer on the loose because there's a big football game on TV. Thus, in his words, the only people available to join the hunt are "a priest, a cop on the verge of retirement, and a rookie." He then gives the priest, whom he has just met, an unmarked patrol car and a gun.

The aforementioned family includes a mom and dad with a young son, Willy Bennett (Kasimir Berger) and a teenaged daughter, Katia (Katya Berger), who is confined to bed in some kind of highly-restrictive spinal traction.  When the 'rents run off to watch the football game at a friend's house, the kids are left alone with babysitter Emily (Annie Belle) until you-know-who shows up to turn ABSURD down the same alley where HALLOWEEN took us some years before.

The killer is even named Mikos after Michael Myers, but aside from that he has no distinguishing characteristics (mask, razor glove, personalized killing weapon) and is just a big, glowering crazy guy who's driven to homicide in a big way.  The priest character is similar to HALLOWEEN's Dr. Loomis, although once Mikos makes his way to the Bennett house the priest and cops pretty much disappear until the end of the movie.

Till then, D'Amato alternates the film's slower scenes with a nicely-wrought suspense that builds to some genuine thriller-level moments.  Again, the "babysitter protecting the kids from the madman" stuff is reminiscent of HALLOWEEN--some of the music even sounds as though John Carpenter might've written it--and when things get going nice and proper the tension is well maintained.

As for the more splattery moments, D'Amato doesn't let the gorehounds in his audience down.  While not quite Tom Savini quality, the effects are adequately effective when a nurse gets a power drill through the skull, a hapless janitor has his noggin pushed through an electric saw, and a nanny has her head fricaseed in a blazing oven. 

Various other blood 'n' guts moments pop up here and there as well, but not enough to qualify the film as a non-stop gorepalooza. (Still, ABSURD was one of the original 74 video nasties banned in 1984.)

The adult actors range from passable to good (prolific actor Purdom is a venerable presence), and the two kids deliver as well.  Much of the early action centers around Kasimir Berger as Willy, who's up to the challenge with his energetic performance.  Later, his real-life sister Katya comes through when the story hinges on her character's ability to tear off her restraints and struggle out of her sick bed. 

The 2-disc Blu-ray from Severin Films contains the film in two versions: the 94-minute English cut and the 88-minute Italian cut with English subtitles.  The amount of gore seemed about the same in both to me, so I couldn't really discern the differences between the two.  Both are 2K scans from the original negatives.

Bonuses include a new interview with Luigi Montefiori ("Mikos"), an archive interview with Joe D'Amato himself, an interview with filmmaker/extra Michele Soavi, and a trailer.  Disc two is a CD containing the film's score by composer Carlo Maria Cordio (first 2500 copies only).  The cover insert itself is reversible.

Although you won't mistake it for a Hitchcock flick, ABSURD has its share of chills and suspense along with the more giddily gruesome stuff.  It's D'Amato wielding his filmmaking abilities in fine form and entertaining us horror fans right up until the wickedly delightful fadeout. 

Special Features:Rosso Sangue: Alternate Italian cut (with optional English subtitles)
The Return of the Grim Reaper: Interview With Actor / Writer / Co-Producer Luigi Montefiore (George Eastman)
D’Amato on Video: Archive Interview With Director Aristide Massaccesi
A Biker (Uncredited): Interview With Michele Soavi
First 2500 copies includes Bonus CD Soundtrack
Reversible Wrap

Available Sept. 25, 2018

Buy it at Severin Films


Criswell's Nuttiest Moments From Ed Wood's "Orgy of the Dead" (1965) (video)

This bizarre 1965 horror/sexploitation film was written by Ed Wood.  

Famous faux psychic Criswell stars as the Emperor of the Night.

"Monsters to be pitied! Monsters to be despised!"

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


Saturday, September 22, 2018

MOLLY -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

One thing zombie flicks and post-apocalyptic dystopia movies have in common is that, thanks to templates such as NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and MAD MAX, there's very little need for exposition. We're just suddenly there in these established worlds, and all that's required is to learn the specifics of the individual storyline being presented for us to follow.

This is true for the post-apocalyptic dystopia action-thriller MOLLY (Artsploitation Films, 2017), which comes to us by way of the Netherlands and brashly shoulders its way into the ranks of the best, or at least most brashly entertaining, films of that genre. 

An earlier trailer might've gone like this: "In a world...where society has been replaced by anarchy...and the innocent are injected with a drug that turns them into savage beasts pit-fighting to the death as gamblers cheer them girl...with special powers and a fierce will to survive...fights to bring down an evil dictator while protecting an orphaned child she found alone in the wasteland...etc...etc..."

The girl with "special powers" (which I won't spoil here) is Molly (Julia Batelaan), who's like a cross between a myopic valley girl and Velma from "Scooby-Doo" (complete with glasses).  She looks like a normal teenaged nerd-girl all weighed down by a huge backpack and other gear, but circumstances have forced her to become a wandering warrior who must keep her guard up 24/7 against those who wish to either rob, kill, or capture her.

Local big-wig Deacon (Joost Bolt) wields the aforementioned drug and runs the pit fights, turning captives into vicious drug-fueled maniacs called "supplicants" and staging death battles during which he cleans up on the gambling front (with bullets as the main currency).  With Molly having become something of a legend in those parts, he orders his warriors to hunt her down and capture her for his fighting pit.

It took a while for me to settle in and "get" this movie.  At first, it looks like it's just going to be another mildly entertaining genre offering at best, albeit one with an intriguing main character.  The fight choreography seems a bit off at times, and the story seems a bit lean.

Gradually, however, the imagination and skill behind this above-average effort began make themselves more and more apparent until, by the second half, I was getting swept up in what was fast becoming a dazzling feat of modestly-budgeted filmmaking.

As soon as Molly befriends the little orphan girl Bailey (Emma de Paauw), who is then kidnapped as bait to lure Molly into the clutches of Deacon and his band of rough boys, our heroine's rescue mission in the bad guys' rusted-metal offshore lair becomes a dizzying non-stop assault of blazing action and breathtaking filmmaking.

Earlier fight scenes had a choppily edited shaky-cam look to them in order to convey Molly's fear and disorientation during sudden surprise attacks that came out of nowhere.  But during the extended finale, which takes place on several levels of iron walkways in a harsh industrial setting, the direction and cinematography suddenly shift into sort of a cinematic overdrive that had me goggle-eyed with amazement.

Fights still lack finesse, but this gives them the dirty, messy, awkward feel of real life-or-death battle. And when this mass of sweaty humanity starts plunging into fierce conflict in close quarters, directors Colinda Bongers and Thijs Meuwese shoot it all in amazing long takes with disguised edits that give the illusion of one unbroken action scene lasting a good 20-30 minutes or so.

(Molly's set-to with Deacon's main assassin Kimmy, played by Annelies Appelhof, is a real highlight, as is her final showdown with the Deacon himself.)

It's especially impressive in that the filmmakers don't have quick edits and jerky camerawork to use as a visual crutch.  The sequence boasts beautiful photography and camera moves (no shaky-cam, lens flares, etc.) and precision choreography that must've required both exhaustive practice and multiple retakes.

This is, to be honest, some of the best action filmmaking I've ever seen.  I was constantly reminded of a previous fave, HARD REVENGE MILLY, which this actually surpasses in my estimation.  Which, for me, is no small thing.  The hallway fight scene from OLDBOY also comes to mind.

Through it all, the character of freckled, bespectacled Molly is enigmatic but likable, and human enough to panic when she loses her glasses during a fight.  Where the heck did she come from, we wonder, and how did she become this fabled bow-wielding warrior who defeats opponents twice her size and ferociousness, with nothing more than a sort of frantically puckish resolve to survive? (Plus those special powers, of course, but I won't go into that.)

The Blu-ray from Artsploitation Films is in 1.78:1 widescreen with English 5.1 surround sound and optional English subtitles.  Bonus features consist of a directors' commentary, a half-hour "making of" featurette, and a trailer. 

I had a great time watching MOLLY, especially since so many films of this genre have been both blatantly derivative and inescapably dull.  Okay, this movie is sorta blatantly derivative too--but dull it ain't.  Following the satisfying resolution, there's an epilogue which promises a possible sequel, and, for once, I'm actually looking forward to it.



If you grew up watching "The Carol Burnett Show", you know why so many people regard it with such warm nostalgia.  It was funny in a smart, yet comfortingly lowbrow sort of way, with a cast of likable and often brilliant performers we enjoyed spending time with. 

It has now been half a century since the show premiered, an occasion marked last year by a CBS-TV retrospective now available on DVD as THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW 50TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL (Time-Life). 

The most likable castmember of all, of course, is Carol herself, one of the brightest, funniest comediennes of all time and a genuine television icon.  Her famous rapport with her studio audiences is hinted at with some amusing exchanges that demonstrate how unassuming and down-to-earth the comic superstar has always been.

The show whisks us through a series of montages that give a hint of her versatility with brief snippets of skits in which Carol plays such characters as Scarlett O'Hara, Norma Desmond, and the ever-popular Eunice.

Likewise, the rest of the cast each gets the spotlight briefly with their own highlight clips.  Vicki Lawrence, who got her start on the show, appears in person to reminisce with Carol as we see some of her best moments as "Mama."  A white-haired Lyle Waggoner also drops by to bask in the shared nostalgia for these wonderful old times.

Some serious laughs come when the show focuses on the contributions of Harvey Korman and Tim Conway.  In addition to cracking each other up, these two had studio audiences in convulsions on a regular basis with such classic bits as "The Dentist", the "Family" (the infamous elephant outtake is shown), and the recurring sketch in which Conway played the befuddled Mr. Tudball to Carol's screamingly funny inept secretary Mrs. Wiggins.

Coming as a welcome sight are visits from some of Carol's old friends, including Steve Martin, Steve Lawrence, Martin Short, and Bernadette Peters, along with longtime costumer Bob Mackie.  (Tom Selleck and Pat Boone are in the audience.) Clips from past shows offer more familiar faces such as Jim Nabors, Eydie Gorme, Dick Van Dyke, and Jimmy Stewart.

Unfortunately, the roster of more current personalities assembled to help Carol celebrate her anniversary is hardly as stellar.  Getting things off to an icky start is Stephen Colbert, who introduces the show and later returns to, of all things, duet with Steve Lawrence. 

Jim Carrey shows up to creep everyone out.  Jay Leno and Harry Connick, Jr. are merely bland.  Various ex-SNL regulars and other mostly uninteresting personalities also parade past to amp up the show's "yawn" factor. 

Bonus features for the disc includes some red carpet footage, backstage interviews, and anniversary wishes from some of Carol's celebrity friends.  There's also an illustrated booklet as well. 

Carol Burnett's many fans can't help but derive some degree of pleasure from THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW 50TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL.  But I would like to have seen more of the classic performances in their entirety and less yakkity-yak from a bunch of  talking heads.

Type: DVD Single
Running Time: 95 mins.
Genre: TV DVD
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 (16 x 9)
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1/Stereo 2.0



Mirror POV Trick in "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde" (Fredric March, 1932) (video)

How do you shoot a POV mirror shot without showing the camera?

The camera lens represents Dr. Henry Jekyll's first-person point of view.
The "mirror" is actually a clear-glass window in the wall.

On cue, Fredric March (Jekyll) approaches it from the far side... a reverse-duplicate room. 
Then his butler Poole (Edgar Norton) joins him in the mirror-room "reflection."

Later, the same window technique is used to give us another POV "mirror" view of Jekyll...
...and then, of his savage alter-ego, Hyde.

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


Friday, September 21, 2018

Opening Scene: "The Flesh Eaters" (1964) (video)

"The Flesh Eaters" is a low-budget horror flick starring Martin Kosleck.

The gore FX for this lurid thriller were pretty horrific for 1964.

But the first scene kicks the film off in pleasantly goofy (yet morbid) style.

I neither own nor claim any rights to this material.  Just having some fun with it.  Thanks for watching!


Thursday, September 20, 2018

EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC -- Blu-ray Review by Porfle

I have to agree with the Medveds that EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC (Scream Factory, 1977) is one of the dumbest horror films ever made.  And yet that's what makes it so watchable--the fact that it's so incredibly, entertainingly dumb.

It's also one of the worst-ever sequels to a classic film.  The nightmarish original from director William Friedkin (THE FRENCH CONNECTION, TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A., THE BOYS IN THE BAND) was considered by many upon release as the most terrifying film of all time.  Even a lot of first-time viewers nowadays tend to agree.  But for its hapless follow-up, reactions are largely negative.

Linda Blair is back as "Regan", this time several years older than the little girl we first met.  Still suffering the after-effects of her previous ordeal, Regan is undergoing unorthodox treatments from super-shrink Louise Fletcher which are intended to isolate and solve her "mental" problems.  This involves a flashing mutual-hypnosis machine called a "synchonizer", which connects their minds and adds a sort of sci-fi element to the story.

Meanwhile, there's a new priest in town--the great Richard Burton as Father Lamont, a troubled holy man ordered by the Cardinal (Paul Henried) to investigate what happened to Father Merrin (Max Von Sydow) leading up to his strange death.  This eventually leads him to Regan, and then to Africa for an encounter with mysterious locust expert James Earl Jones.

What follows is a strange mishmash of conventional horror, sci-fi, African mysticism, and leftovers from the original story that alternates between either dull and meandering, and just plain fascinating as an ill-conceived screen artifact.

At times it feels sort of like one of those soupy 70s-era Dino De Laurentiis or Carlo Ponti productions.  (The overcooked score by Ennio Morricone doesn't help.) Hard to believe it was directed by John Boorman, the same man who gave us DELIVERANCE and EXCALIBUR but has none of William Friedkin's knack for pulling off this kind of horror.

To be fair, Friedkin had much better material to work with.  The weak script was rewritten multiple times, with tepid echoes from the first movie interlaced with such elements as locust attacks (an odd parallel to the evil invading our world) which can only be repelled by that rare someone with a special spiritual power.

This figures very importantly in the wildly bizarre finale as locusts descend on Regan's crumbling old Washington, D.C. townhouse like something out of an Irwin Allen disaster flick (sort of a cross between EARTHQUAKE and THE SWARM), while Father Lamont wrestles furiously in bed with Regan's evilly seductive doppelganger.

As for me, the sequel's undisputed highlight is the infamous tap-dancing scene.  Few examples of unintended hilarity are as sublimely funny as seeing Regan, stricken by the old evil spirit again during a school talent show, valiantly struggling to finish her tap-dancing routine (top hat, tails, cane--the whole works) to the tune of "Lullaby of Broadway" as her body is wracked with violent spasms.

Linda's fans will naturally enjoy seeing her again as an older Regan.  Unfortunately, this was made during that awkward teen phase when Linda wasn't all that convincing in anything beyond the likes of ROLLER BOOGIE or SAVAGE STREETS.  Her chirpy demeanor and weak line delivery constantly work against Boorman's attempts to build realistic tension.

Louise Fletcher (ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, DEAD KIDS) and Richard Burton (THE KLANSMAN, THE WILD GEESE) both do what they can with the tepid material. Burton, one of film's greatest actors when given the chance, is especially watchable even though the last act mostly requires him to wander around in a trance.  Kitty Winn returns from the first film as Sharon.  Ned Beatty and a very young Dana Plato are also on hand.

The 2-disc Blu-ray from Scream Factory contains both the original 118-minute cut and the 102-minute reedited version, which was released after the film failed to meet audience expectations first time around.  Both are 2k scans from the original film elements.  Image and sound quality are very good.  English subtitles are available.

Each disc contains ample bonus material, including three commentary tracks (one with director John Boorman) and a revealing interview with Linda Blair.  Also included are trailers and still galleries, plus a reversible cover insert.

EXORCIST II: THE HERETIC is a somewhat exhilarating experience at times--not because it's good, but because it's so flamboyantly bad.  Once you've seen the full version, you'll want to watch the edited cut just to see what they did in the way of damage control.  Either way, it's one of 70s cinema's most interesting failures.

DISC ONE (118 Minute Cut Of The Film):

NEW 2K Scan From Original Film Elements
NEW Audio Commentary With Director John Boorman
NEW Audio Commentary With Project Consultant Scott Bosco
NEW What Does She Remember? – An Interview With Actress Linda Blair
NEW Interview With Editor Tom Priestley

DISC TWO (102 Minute Cut Of The Film):

NEW 2K Scan From Original Film Elements
NEW Audio Commentary With Mike White Of The Projection Booth Blog
Original Teaser Trailer
Original Theatrical Trailer
Still Galleries Including Rare Color And B&W Stills, Behind-The-Scenes, Deleted Scene Photos, Posters, And Lobby Cards

Buy it from Shout Factory