Dec

Christmas Evil
“Better Watch Out… Better Not Cry… Or You May DIE!”

1980 – R – 100 Minutes – Vinegar Syndrome
Starring Brandon Maggart, Jeffrey Demunn, Dianne Hull – Directed by Lewis Jackson

The idea of Santa Claus is pretty creepy once you start to think about it. I mean, a man who wears the same suit every day of his life and shakes like a bowl full of jelly watches kids and everything they do every single day of the year, then if they are “good”, he breaks into their home to leave them gifts. And we actually let children believe this! That’s pretty horrific, but perhaps something more horrific than that would be a man driven so insane by the cheerfulness of jolly ol’ Saint Nick that he starts to believe his is Santa Claus!

Oh yeah, there’s a movie for that. Christmas Evil or as the title card would suggest, You Better Watch Out. Actually, that’s the title of the film. It was later changed before release to Christmas Evil to seem more appealing to the slasher crowds that were booming at the time. This debately only hurt the film over time, but luckily due to Synapse putting the DVD out a few years ago and now Vinegar Syndrome just recently releasing it on Blu-ray, it seems to be finding a bigger audience every year. It’s what John Waters calls “the greatest Christmas movie ever,” so let’s check it out.

On a totally unrelated note, star of the film, Brandon Maggart, is the father of Fiona Apple. Remember her?

ce_2Late Christmas Eve in 1947, young Harry sneaks from his room to see Santa, which is really his father dressed up, licking his mom’s leg like a lollipop. This sight is so traumatic that he smashes a snow globe open and gouges his hand with a shard of the broken glass. Cut to (non pun intended) present day 1980 and Harry is obsessed with Santa. You know those older guys that still collect toys (guilty) or are so obsessed with Spider-Man or something and they still wear the pajamas, watch the cartoons all day and hum the little jingles? That’s Harry. Thankfully, the guy doesn’t go around in public wearing his Santa jammies. He does, however, wear them inside his all year around Christmas decorated home. It’s kinda like the Cracker Barrel if they decorated for Christmas every single day of the year.

Harry also happened to land himself a supervisor position at the toy factory he works at, Jolly Dreams. It’s a non-union job, so nobody listens to him, treat him like crap and look down at him for taking the position, like he betrayed the other workers. But he’s still a good guy that he even takes crummy worker Frank’s shift for him that evening. Luckily, he has his hobbies to take his mind off things, like spying on the neighborhood kids from the rooftop with binoculars, jotting down who’s being a good or bad boy or girl in his naughty or nice books, of which he has several. Oh yeah, he’s been doing this for a long time. You may want to take a break from the film to scrub yourself clean right now.

Heading home from a long day at work, he spots Frank, the co-worker who shift he covered, getting nice and drunk and calling Harry a shmuck. Harry heads home in a hurry for some therapeutic squeezing a toy soldier until it breaks while humming a Christmas tune as he increasingly becomes more anxious doing so. Ah, doesn’t that feel better?

ce_3Thanksgiving passes, Harry blows off his brother Phil (played by Jeffrey DeMunn) and his wife and two kids, and his company’s Christmas party is in full swing. And brother, is it swinging! White people be getting drunk up in there! Through a televised announcement, Harry learns that Jolly Dreams will be donating toys to less fortunate kids, but only if profits increase. Harry asks his supervisors about how many toys are being donated and if all of the kids will receive something, but they don’t seem to care. But what of the little children and their toys? Harry decides to step in and take action! While the party is still in full effect, he marches right on down to the assembly and steals toys to give to the good boys and girls. Call the guy a shmuck all you want, but he has a good heart.

But if you are gonna play the part of Santa, you may as well become Santa. Harry finally melts down, making toys down in his basement, gluing a beard to his face and dressing in full Santa garb. He packs the toys in his van and does what would be considered the most charitable thing a man could do, if you didn’t know he was totally bonkers, and drops off toys to Willowy Springs State Hospital. It’s actually a very heartwarming moment to think those kids were just given a Christmas by a total stranger who cares about their well being, but then you start to dial that thought back once the night further unfolds.

Stopping by at a nearby church after mass where a few of his supervisors are attending, Harry waits outside for the place to empty with a glare Jack Torrence would shudder at. As the crowd exits, Harry starts to make a move toward his bosses, but is stopped by some yuppies, none of which are Patrick Bateman. They taunt and tease Harry, but he has more than toys in his sack! Jabbing one of their eyes out with a toy soldier, he then proceeds to hack them to death with a rather festive looking Hatchet and darts off into the night, taking cover in a Christmas party and giving the most chilling Santa speech to some children. Good thing Billy from Silent Night, Deadly Night was someplace else.

ce_4The night is still young and Santa’s work isn’t over. Harry stops by Frank’s house, first by trying to squeeze through the chimney, further validating his insanity and giving a claustrophobic like me anxiety. Realizing that won’t work, he breaks into Frank’s home like a normal person, through the door, dropping off some toys for his children under the tree… then paying a visit to Frank himself, who is tucked in bed, fast asleep next to his wife. Harry gives another dark speech, then tries to smother him to death with a pillow, but ultimately slashing Frank’s neck with a Christmas ornament, which is more fitting. Tis the season afterall.

Phil knows something is wrong when Harry (who is busting up toys at Jolly Dreams) is absent on Christmas day and comes to the realization that his brother is the psycho-Santa he heard about on the news. Later in the evening, Harry’s van breaks down on the wrong side of town… the kind where apparently they have frequent Frankenstein’s monster problems as he finds himself being chased by a torch carrying mob after his cover is blown. He manages to escape and seeks help from Phil, who greets him by strangling Harry over what he’s done and drags him back into his van. However, Harry isn’t dead and knocks his brother down with a punch and speeds off just as the lynch mob is catching up. Phil chases on foot only to witness what is debateably among fans either a miracle or a tragedy; Harry swerves to dodge the mob, only to have his van crash off a bridge as it soars into the sky as he recites the final lines ‘To All a Goodnight’. Did his van crash off the bridge, killing Harry or did he actually become Santa and soar into the sky? The sound certainly sounds like a crash, but the look on Phil’s face says otherwise… that is left up to the viewer, which ultimately makes for a better ending.

Christmas Evil is kinda like the Taxi Driver of Christmas. You watch as a man being bullied by coworkers, surrounded by greedy people who don’t care about the less fortunate, basically completely overwhelmed by the scum of the Earth as the needy are laughed at, loses his mind. He goes so far over the edge to actually believe he is Santa, much like Travis saw the same atrocities and believed himself to be some sort of equalizer or cleanser. Brandon Maggart’s performance as Harry is downright unnerving, as you watch a normal man who isn’t all there, be pushed over the edge to the point of no return. You feel sad for him, but your feelings are put to question once you begin to realize how sick he is and what he is doing is wrong. You want to help him, then he murders a few people and you aren’t sure how to feel. But that’s what the filmmaker was going for. This is more of a character piece than it is a slasher. And that’s a common misconception most people have with this film and as I stated earlier, it could be due to the way the movie was marketed, is that it’s viewed as a slasher, when it really isn’t. Sure it has slasher like elements and he slashes a few people, but the overall arch is about Harry’s fall into madness.

Christmas Evil
It’s a great film, swimming with two kinds of mood; the kind that gets you geared up and excited for the holidays and the other kind that sends shivers down your spine and cautious of anyone that is dressed like Santa Claus. The festive Christmas lights against the dark sky as Harry stands in the cold night, breath visibly exhaling from his body, in a dirty Santa suit is one of the scariest images I can think of. Although the pacing itself is slow and there isn’t much gore, there is still a chilling and shocking story to find here. Give yourself a gift this year and watch what is probably the best Christmas movie of all time. Eat it, A Christmas Story!

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • A Travis Bickle Christmas.
  • Fiona Apple’s dad.
  • Crazy-Claus
  • Eye see toy soldiers.
  • Hatchet induced migraines.
  • Christmas star throat slashing.
  • Full size van sleigh.
totals

6

blood

BLOOD

The eye gouge and hatcheting are heavily cut, but there is still some there to be enjoyed. Someone’s on the MPAA’s naughty list.

2

blood

BREASTS

No bewbs this Christmas, but a little leg.

10

beast

BEASTS

You better be good or else Santa will come for you.

6 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the trailer!

trailers

dripper
Dec

Its still alive

Expectant parents everywhere should breath a sigh of relief. Sure, you’ve been worried your kid will come out purple with a cone-shaped head or be dumber than that uncle that jumped off his roof, but that’s only natural. Maybe your family tree really doesn’t fork much. Despite all the things, you probably won’t have to worry that your newborn will eat the nursing staff or go on a murderous rampage across the city. But that’s exactly the type of thing that happens in a Larry Cohen film and with the sequel to “It’s Alive”. He shows us once again just how important prenatal vitamins are.

In “It Lives Again”, Baby Davies is no longer the only mutant kid on the block. Another expectant couple, Eugene and Jody Scott, are about to give birth to a killer toddler and the government is out to stop it. Pro-lifers/choicers, start your writing campaigns. Terrible tykes are popping out everywhere and Frank Davis (John P. Ryan) is hoping to save a few, especially after shot-gunning his own in the sewer a few years back. Creepy Frank crashes their baby shower and arranges to have a mobile baby delivery truck pick them up. Unfortunately, Jody goes into labor early so Frank has to kidnap them at the hospital and take a doctor hostage along for the ride. Just think of the medical bills. While in a car chase, Jody gives birth and the mutant slices up the interns just before they can get it caged it up. Somehow they switch cars and Eugene sneaks the baby out to a isolated retreat to meet up with some other mutants kids in the basement. Maybe they can start a band. It’s been a stressful week so Eugene takes a dip in the pool and gets attacked by a escaped baby mutant who latches onto his neck. It’s like a club med for the deformed.

It's Still alive

The cops find the hideout from a giant tracking device that they put in the mom’s purse and all the babies bust free tearing across the hillside and ruining a perfectly good birthday party. Necks are torn out, faces are gouged and presents are ruined which is all pretty typical for a kids party. The cops kill most of them, but the Scott’s baby escapes into the woods. Jody and Eugene hangout at a hotel and hope to lure their own kid back to teach it about letters, using the potty and not ripping out people’s throats when it has had “mad” feelings. Lessons plans don’t go well when it shows up and they have to shoot it instead. Homeschooling class dismissed.

As far as killer mutant baby movies go, this is one of the better ones. Check it out but keep your baby monitor set to stun. Also, don’t forget to also see the equally gruesome “Island of Alive”, a great film when you need your mutant baby movie to have a more “tropical” flavor.

roadside attractions

  • 9 dead bodies.
  • Neck chomping.
  • Face eating.
  • Extended car chase with roadblock action.
  • Loitering cops.
  • Incubator prison cell.
  • Mutant pool frolicing.
totals

6

blood

BLOOD

These mutants go for the arteries. You’d think you see more gushers.

0

blood

BREASTS

No scenes of mutant breast feeding? Is there no justice?

9

beast

BEASTS

Lots of little mutant ankle bitters.

8 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the trailer to  ”It Lives Again”

trailers

dripper
Nov

Burial Ground
“The earth shall tremble…. graves shall open…. they shall come among the living as messengers of death and there shall be the nights of terror…. “Profecy of the Black Spider”

1981 – Unrated – 86 Minutes – Shriek Show
Starring Karin Well, Gianluigi Chirizzi, Peter Bark – Directed by Andrea Bianchi

If there is one thing I love about Italiansploitation films (that’s Italian made exploitation films, which I’m sure you were able to figure out), it’s that they would take a preposterous idea seriously while having fun with it. Sometimes without even knowing that’s what they are doing. The producers tell them that the Dawn of the Dead movie is popular, so crank out a zombie flick as fast as you can. Someone writes a script over a lonely, drunken weekend, turns it in and the first director that says they can make it on the lowest budget wins. The gore is ramped up, a few quirky and disturbing character traits are added and the film is cast. Everything is turned up to ten. The actors take their roles very seriously and put their heart and soul into it. Of course, sometimes it’s hard to notice once these films are atrociously dubbed. The film is then haphazardly cut together in a short amount of time and released to your local grindhouse theater the next day for your viewing pleasure. Nethertheless, once those credits start rolling, you aren’t sure what the hell you just experienced, but you loved it.

I have no evidence to back this up, mind you. It’s something I’ve gathered from watching bonus features, reading stories and the overall impression I’m left with once the film is over.

Burial Ground comes to mind as a perfect example of this. Everything about this film is poorly executed, so why do I love it so much? I should hate this film by all accounts, but I don’t. It’s a film that you can’t really talk about or review without putting it under a microscope and fully analyzing it. So hunker down, this is gonna be a long review. I know what you are thinking, “Didn’t you already review a movie called Nights of Terror?” Well, no. That movie was Rats: Night of Terror. This movie’s subtitle is Nights, with an ’s’, plural, which is actually quite stupid since the film only takes place during one night. But seeing as how Night was already taken… or maybe they are being extremely technical since the opening of the film does take place on the evening before, but I don’t think they took that into consideration.

bg_2Mall Santa by day, back up ZZ Top member by night, Professor… ? (they just call him Professor or “the” Professor if they are being polite or perhaps in some cruel ironic ploy, his name actually was Professor) has just discovered the secret! A secret so secretive that it will be never be revealed what it is or even brought up by anyone again. He then wanders out to some tomb not to far from his mansion where zombies begin to rise and immediately eat him and by eat him I mean they rub identifiable lumps of gore all over their faces to mimic eating, even after his pleas that he is their friend.

First thing you are gonna notice about these zombies is that there seems to be a mix of pretty decent zombie makeup and some of the worst looking zombies you’ve seen. The makeup job can get so bad, that you can see the actors eyes and lips through the masks, even on a low quality VHS. The second thing you’ll notice is how slow they are are. And when I say slow, I mean S-L-O-O-O-O-W. Crawling doesn’t even define it. These zombies move so slow, you’ll think you’re watching a scene in slow motion. You have to wonder how they ever catch their victims to eat, but luckily we have a smorgasbord of daft idiots for them to feast on and I’m not sure where any of these people are in relation to the Professor, since it’s never really addressed (maybe as colleagues in passing, but I can’t recall). The stand out character from this group is Michael, played by Peter Bark, for a reason that will become glaringly obvious the split second he is on screen; he’s a dwarf in his mid 20’s with a bad toupee playing a ten year old. And if that isn’t creepy enough for you, he also has sexual feelings toward his mother.

Anyway, this evenly matched man to woman crew has returned after six months and what’s the first thing they do? Sex! Yeah, the film certainly knows how to maintain your attention, as you watch each of the three couples foreplay, until Michael interrupts his mother, Evelyn’s. She stands there totally nude, inquisiting the young lad about what he is doing, which I’m sure is in no way sexually confusing to the already sexually confused deviant. Without getting to far ahead of myself or psychoanalyzing the character, Evelyn seems to be sexually confused about her son as well, but it’s (surprisingly) more subtle.

The useless blonde archetype of the group, Janet, can’t help but feel that they are all in danger and wants to warn the others, but is discouraged by her lover Mark. The good ol’ ‘Prophet of Doom’. Most of these Italian films had them, even if they don’t fit into the story, like why is she suddenly getting these feelings? It’s never explained, so let’s move on to the next morning, where after some finely placed J&B Scotch product placement, we are finally giving a brief, but not open ended explanation as to why the zombies have risen.

bg_3The Professor was studying ‘the black arts’. There ya go.

And this is why all of the characters are here. This is what the Professor wanted to tell them. A simple phone call or letter would not do. Well, we needed a reason to group a bunch of dimwits together for a zombie, gut munching gore fest, so now we have one.

Now that all (and I do mean all) of the exposition is out of the way, we can move on to more exploitation! Each of the couples separate to do their own hobbies, like sketching, photography or George teaching Evelyn to fire a handgun (which, again, never comes back in the film, so take that, Chekhov’s gun!) Ultimately, all of these activities lead to heavy petting, leaving these fools to be distracted as the zombies emerge from the tomb and attack the profusely stupid and conveniently distracted couples. Janet and Mark are the first two to be attacked and although they aren’t sure what to make of the creatures, Mark intelligently states that, “Whatever they are, they aren’t human!” Thanks Mark, I wasn’t able to figure that out. As they escape, Janet runs around screaming and flailing, making Olive Oil look dignified, manages to get herself caught in a bear trap. Wait, why the hell is there a bear trap randomly placed there. Did I say bear? I mean’t nimrod trap.

Meanwhile, George is trying to seduce Evelyn, even while Michael is in the room (which I’m sure seeing random dudes grind on his mom is in no way adding to those sexual feelings toward her…). In a disturbing turn of the scene, Michael manages to gain his mother’s attention by finding a cloth, commenting that it smells like death, then showing George how to really seduce a woman as he kisses his mom’s hand all over while staring right into George’s eyes as if saying, “Yeah punk, let me show you how it’s done. I know what my mom likes!” I can’t believe I had to write that. This movie is making me feel ill.

Luckily before things go any further and turns into some weird fetish films, the zombies attack, killing George leaving Evelyn and Michael to defend themselves by throwing paint on the zombies and setting them on fire. James and Leslie, the other couple (sorry, that’s the best description I have for them) manage to save them in time, as they also previously saved Mark and Janet. They group takes shelter inside the house, with what looks like very helpful stage direction from a zombie who points for them to run in a certain direction. Finally inside with the butler and maid, Nicholas and Kathleen, they decide it’s best to check out the rest of the house to make sure it’s safe. Mark heroically volunteers defenseless Kathleen to go search the entire house by herself. Sorry lady, but we can’t spare any of these several people sitting around. After searching the house for a bit, Kathleen finds an open window to close on the second floor, but that doesn’t stop these zombies. These zombies are ninja like experts with their precise accuracy as one throws a tent spike right into her hand, pinning her in her spot and leaving them time to slowly cut off her head with a scythe, making this what could be the best zombie kill in a movie.

bg_4These zombies may look laughably stupid, but they know how to organize. Arming themselves with weapons from a nearby and conveniently placed tool shed, they march to the front door and begin smashing on it with tools. However James, who inexplicably now has a shotgun, starts blowing their heads off from an open window. Even these zombies aren’t that stupid, as after about a dozen of them have their brains reduced to mush, they begin to retreat. The group feels they are now safe for the night and Leslie heads off to find some bandages for Janet’s wounded leg, only to be jumped from a zombie outside as she passes a window, who uses a broken shard of glass to push through her brain. This calls for all the other zombies to infiltrate like a SWAT team and attack helpless Janet in a scene that feels like it goes on forever, until the others reappear and fight back.

That was pretty tense! I think everyone needs a break. As they all sit around and rest up, Michael uses this time to make a move on his mom by kissing her and groping, adding a whole new definition to breastfeeding, which she sickly seems to be going with, but snaps out of it and slaps him across the face and immediately apologizes. Yeah this kid is gonna be messed up for the rest of his life, which coincidentally isn’t too much longer. He darts off only to have his arm devoured by a zombie Leslie, who I thought had glass stabbed through her brain (but, how did she turn if she wasn’t bit?). Evelyn finds the now dead Michael and bashes zombie Leslie’s head up against a bathtub, leaking all kinds of grossly colored juices.

No time for mourning your weirdo son, lady. The zombies have made a homemade battering ram (holy moly, they are resourceful) and have broken down the door! If only they were really slow moving and weak, then maybe they would have a chance of escaping… instead the remaining survivors hide until morning when Janet spots what looks like a monk heading inside the tomb. Monks? Sure why not! I’m sure they are down right neighborly and will offer shelter and help or, as it turns out, they are zombies and kill James upon seeing him, who almost immediately rises from the dead.

So what are the qualifications for becoming a zombie in this movie? Do you or don’t you have to get bit? How long does it take? Who cares! Zombies, right?

The final three realize they are locked in the tomb’s… workshed? Yeah, why does this place have a workshed? I guess when monks and the Professor aren’t studying the black arts, they are heavy into home repair. I’m sure a workshed is in no way a setup for the final act and our remaining victim’s fate (wow, I am using a lot of sarcasm in this review). Michael returns as a zombie, with a whole new arm somehow and a nipple bite later, Janet and Mark are being surrounded and being pushed headfirst into saw blades. The movie closes on a freeze frame, telling of a “profecy” of a “nigths” and that’s not a typo on my part.

So the movie ends about as well as you thought it would. With obviously glaring typos over the survivors’ demise.

bg_5If it weren’t for the time that this movie was made, I would have sworn this is a spoof, otherwise there would be no explanation as to how bad things are in this movie. Complaints about some of the terrible and revealing makeup aside (at least during the close ups), these zombies are incredibly slow moving and weak. In order to make them a menace, the characters in this film are written to a point of stupidity so insane, that it is fiction. Nothing anyone does is something anything with a pulse would do. They stand around looking puzzled as zombies slowly shuffle toward them, then while escaping, they run head first into the undead, even though they have plenty of space to run around them. Of course, most zombie films are guilty of this, but here it’s overplayed. Thankfully, it plays for laughs and sheer entertainment. With the exception of Michael, I can’t say anything positive about the other characters. There is simply nothing to them, except to be a meal for the zombies. I’m not expecting deep character development, but literally all of these characters are the same. The guys are all faux masculine and the women just cry. In some sort of sick ironic sense, if it weren’t for Michael, there wouldn’t be any reason to watch these buffoons.

Playful jabs aside, the film isn’t horribly directed. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t consider it to be beautiful like a Mario Bava film or something like Fulci’s The Beyond, but mood is well established and the shots frame everything well to capture what is going on. The soundtrack is… interesting to say the least. It’s no Harry Manfredini score, but it’s odd keyboard ‘pokes’ and tense violin strings do accompany the film extremely well. And the gore. Oh yes, the gore. There is more than enough here to satisfy any like minded horror fan as these poor chumps are ripped apart and have their guts devoured, body parts torn or cut off and even the zombies themselves get their head smashed to bits. Also, I know I joked about some of the makeup looking pretty bad and it can be, but there are some good looking zombies thrown in, complete with maggot covered faces and all. And I do have to say, it’s refreshing to see zombies use some tools for a change and instead of mindlessly lumbering around, these zombies actually had something of a plan and did what they could to do it. I was often reminded of the first zombie encountered in Night of the Living Dead who uses a brick. There are very few breaks in between the carnage for you to sit back and relax, as something is always out to get you. Even the dubbing is fitting for the film. It’s as atrocious as you would expect (especially Peter Bark’s voice over) from an Italiansploitation film, yet it somehow fits into all of this.

Ever hear the phrase ’so bad it’s good?’ Well, this is what the are referring to when they say that. This is a movie that by all accounts (the special effects, acting, directing, etc.) should be a bad film, but it isn’t. Everything that is bad is what makes this film good. Laying beneath its serious demeanor is a smirk of devilish charm, a film that is (or at least it must be) self aware and having some fun with you. Underneath all the layers of cheese is a delicious blend of fun and hokiness. Burial Ground is what I consider to be the definitive example of the Italian zombie genre of the 80’s. It’s not revered as a classic in the way that George Romero’s earlier zombie flicks are, but the film is looked as a classic in terms of what to expect from an exploitation film of this genre.

Burial Ground
I really could go on forever about Burial Ground, but I think it’s easiest, and probably the best, to say you need to see it. I don’t think you can consider yourself to be a zombie fan or Italian film fan until you do.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • ZZ Top devoured.
  • Michael.
  • Sexy sexiness sex.
  • Bear trap troubles.
  • Maid decap attack.
  • Better Home and Garden, zombie edition.
  • Mother lover.
  • Home improvement, monk edition.
totals

10

blood

BLOOD

Guts are eaten, heads are cut off, limbs are devoured, flesh is rotten… has the world gone mad!?

7

blood

BREASTS

Lots of nudity and sex… and the most uncomfortable breastfeeding.

5

beast

BEASTS

Slow moving, but not entirely braindead.

7.3 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the trailer!

trailers

dripper
Nov

Werewolf Woman
“A true story so brutal and horrifying it was kept from the public for over a century!”

1976 – NR – 79 Minutes – Raro Video
Starring Annik Borel, Howard Ross, Dagmar Lassander – Directed by Rino Di Silvestro

You know what I think of when I think ‘werewolf’? Freakishly long nipples. That’s right, the kind you can hang coat hangers from. Yeah, Werewolf Woman isn’t your typical werewolf movie in the slightest. For starters, there isn’t really a werewolf in it or anything that would really qualify being of lycanthrope, definitely nothing you would consider especially by today’s standards. No hunky, shirtless teen dudes that travel with a pack of other shirtless hunky dudes battling for the love of an emotionless plank of wood (my apologies to planks of wood everywhere). Instead, what is presented here is a woman out of her gord, biting the neck of just about everyone she encounters for the first half of the movie. The movie has plenty of throat rips that put Patrick Swayze to shame. Then it becomes an odd amalgamation of other genres and goes back to kind of being a werewolf movie.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me tell you all about it!

Daniela can’t stop having feverish dreams of an ancestor she believes to be a werewolf. She believes this, because in her dreams she sees her (or herself) dancing, fully nekkid, in a way that can only be described as losing your balance while trying to avoid a bee. She then transforms into a werewolf! Or at least what $20 worth of cheap Halloween store makeup and dog shavings will get you. Seriously, the werewolf effect here is passible for the world’s best Chewbacca costume on the smallest budget. As the narrator goes on about how a werewolf hunts during the full moon, as she pounces on a torch carrying villager and bites his throat. The rest of the villagers capture her and torch her at the stake. Was that the answer to every problem back then? Just burn it on a stake?

ww_2Daniela’s father, Count Neseri, is keeping a close eye on her since she was traumatically raped and she happened upon an ancestor’s journal, detailing the previously told events and believing herself to curse. Daniela, in her shocked state, believed every word of it. You see, back then, reading something in a journal was like believing everything you read on the internet.

As if believing you are a werewolf wasn’t a big enough problem, her sister Elena (played by Dagmar Lassander, the grouchy real estate lady from The House by the Cemetery) and husband Fabian visit from school where she studies nuclear physics. Seriously, that’s what she says. At first I thought she was going to turn her sister in to some sort of radioactive werewolf monster, but I’m going to crush that dream for all of us right now and tell you that doesn’t happen. That evening, Daniela flashbacks to the villagers burning (and iguanas… because it all ties together?) her at the stake and one of them looks just like Fabian. Daniela peeks in on the Elena and Fabian knocking boots and becomes aroused by it and takes care of ‘business’.

So at this point, you’re watching a woman masturbate while she watches her sister have sex. Feeling dirty, yet?

Fabian catches her and darts off to find her, which I have to wonder what kind of questions he has for her or do you think… no, that would be gross! He finds her outside where she successfully seduces him, taps into her werewolf ancestry and bites his throat out!

ww_3Daniela’s constant hallucinations land her strapped to a bed in the looney bin, where a nymphotic patient wanders about trying to mount everything that walks by. Well, even if it doesn’t walk. I guess it just needs a pulse (which is a good thing, because I just reviewed NEKRomantik) as she begins groping and kissing Daniela, who manages to convince the patient to unstrap her from the bed and repays her by biting her throat out.

The film wanders into slasher territory for a moment when she spies on a young couple then kills the girl by (would anyone like to guess?) biting her throat. Later, police begin to see a connection between this murder and Fabian’s, along with Daniela’s escape and the murdered patient, making these police look more competent than Chief Wiggum. Knowing that someone would notice a woman covered in blood a mile away, Daniela steals some clothes only to get spotted a moment later and murdering a few other sleaze bags that try to pick her up. Well, so much for that plan!

But not all guys are sleazy, as friendly Luca offers her a home cooked meal and a bed to sleep in without sex, which is odd considering he is played by Howard Ross who played the sleaziest character of all time, Mickey Scellenda, in The New York Ripper. As it turns out, this is just what Daniela needs to overcome her trauma, as she and Luca fall in love and do romantic things like laugh, eat dinner and reenact getting shot on a bell tower and falling on a crash mat… oh, I forgot to mention that he’s a stuntman, so it makes sense.

She realizes she can never leave Luca or their quaint little home, so she calls her father and apologizes for the murders and is never coming home. Since she apologized, I guess that means it’s okay to move on with her life, but history has a tragic way of repeating itself. A group of greasy, disgusting mean have been following her around, breaking into her home at night while Luca is away, raping her and killing Luca upon his return while trying to fight them off.

ww_4Being that it’s the 70’s and the rape/revenge genre is popular, Daniela doesn’t take this sitting down. She tracks her tormentors down, not unlike a feral creature would do and gives them their comeuppance. Maybe that’s the werewolf tie-in to this section? At first I was rooting for her to get her revenge, but then I remembered this was the woman who murdered innocent people by biting them to death. I’m not saying what she did here isn’t justified nor was what happened deserved, but it’s hard to see her as an anti-hero instead of a murderer. The police put all of this together and finally track Daniela down and things end rather, eh, anti-climatically, leaving you without a bang, but not exactly a whimper. It just doesn’t feel like it was all paid off.

So, you may have some questions. The main and most obvious one being, why was this called Werewolf Woman when it didn’t predominantly feature said werewolf? To possibly offer an answer, because it’s an Italian exploitation film that wanted to exploit several genres so it could be marketed to several different audiences. It feels like the same story is being told through several different genres that doesn’t blend well together. It starts off as a werewolf movie, moving on to slasher, then adds a rape/revenge element. Heck, there are even possession type elements thrown in (after all, The Exorcist was popular at the time). It doesn’t become a mess or incoherent to the point where it’s unwatchable or not understandable, which is odd since it does seem to be able to tell the same story without making it confusing, although at times you will have the thought, “wasn’t this a werewolf movie?” from time to time. The plot about her ancestor being a werewolf is enough of a story to base an entire film on, but this movie tends to overcompensate that, leading into several other side plots that, honestly, it could do without. It’s like the filmmakers wanted to exploit several of the exploitation genres at once, instead of making several different movies. The Howling or An American Werewolf in London this ain’t. Although instead of Sybil Danning dancing around a fire nude, you get Annik Borel, which is a fair trade.

Raro Video offers this new Blu-ray transfer, which does look pretty dang good, but not the best a transfer could be. Some parts still are quite noticeably grainy and scenes look dull at times, but luckily the cinematography is really nice to distract you from that. The audio, however, is nicely cleaned in 2.0 Mono in both Italian and English. Believe it or not, this can offer you two different viewing experiences, since the dubbing in English is laughably atrocious, it’s best to watch in Italian with the English dubs. There isn’t much in the way of bonus features, just about a twenty minute interview with director Rino Di Silvestro in Italian, but dubbed in English and a theatrical trailer.

Werewolf Woman
This is a film with just enough sleaze to make only make you feel uncomfortable when you stop and think about it. It’s a very well told story, even if it can’t decide which genre it wants to be. Maybe that was the way to go about it though. It leaves several different impressions in my head, all of them pretty good. I should also point out that the foxy Annik Borel spends a good amount of time in the movie completely nekkid. It’s the right kind of Euro-trash that’s got enough nudity, blood and a bizarre storyline that never reaches a ludicrous point, but just enough to make it satisfactory. However, this makes it unappealing to your average movie goer, since they now all expect werewolves to be shirtless, hunky dudes tied up in a love triangle (well, this story offers some of those).

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Werewolf on a were-budget.
  • Dirty sister secrets.
  • Lunatic throat lunging lycanthrope!
  • Never a never-nude.
  • Patrick Swayze Throat Rip Fan Club.
  • Werewolf revenge.
  • Naked fire dancing.
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

Teeth marks, chunks of flesh ripped and a man set on fire, but no mangled corpses.

9

blood

BREASTS

Annik Borel fully nude for a good portion of the film is more than enough for any creep.

6

beast

BEASTS

Sure that werewolf is laughably silly, but Daniela is a woman scorned with a deadly bite.

6.6 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the trailer!

trailers

dripper
Nov

posted by Barry Goodall | November 9, 2014 | 80's b-movies, 80's movies, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Review by Barry Goodall

Seems you can’t swing a dead cat and not hit a dwarf in a b-movie these day….or toss a dwarf and hit a dead cat. It really depends on your upper body strength. Don’t get me wrong, I love the little people, the elves, dwarfs, those vertically-challenged and consider myself an outstanding midgetarian. I even know all the lyrics to the lollie-pop gang song and think Tom Cruise is actually quite statuesque. It only makes sense that I’d really dig the movie Troll which features not one but two midgets! It’s probably the most dwarf friendly movie since Return of the Jedi.

Troll is the story of a family that moves into an apartment where a devious troll name Torok has been co-leasing their laundry room. Torok  possesses the body of their their annoying daughter Wendy when she loses her toy ball in the basement. She starts acting like a overdosed crack head in front of her family and the parents just think she needs to ease off the Godzilla movies. They don’t realize she’s started a door-to-door campaign of turning everyone into giant avocados by stabbing them with her Green Lantern ring. Sonny Bono in his finest wife beater shirt ends up being the first victim when he gets turned into a potted plant. Then Julia Louis-Dreyfus morphs into a forrest nymph who runs around half naked in an ivy swimsuit (Jerry would be appauled.) Wendy’s brother “Harry Potter Jr.” becomes suspicious when she flings him against the wall like a rag doll. House of Slytherin may be involved until he learns from a neighbor witch, Eunice that his sister is actually a troll in disguise.

Meanwhile, Wendy becomes friends with a real dwarf, Malcolm, and invites him over for dinner to keep her company at the kid’s table. His refusal of chocolate milk confounds the parents who don’t seem to understand their daughter’s behavior or her choice in friends with mustaches. Wendy-Troll feels sorry for Malcolm who’s been dying of a bone disease and out of sympathy turns him into a frolicking Disney elf instead. Death would have been better. Meanwhile Harry Potter Jr. gets a magic spear from Eunice who has changed into a younger version of herself to go troll hunting but gets zapped into a talking tree stump instead. B-Movie violation…too many shapeshifter on the field! She tells Harry to find his sister deep inside the apartments which have now turned into a magical fairlyland.

Harry frees Wendy from an action figure display case with his Antique Roadshow spear when a giant winged troll shows up and attacks them. Torok has a change of heart and throws a steel pipe in the giant’s chest killing it instantly and helps them escape. Harry and Wendy find their parents and move from their greenhouse apartment complex to some place with fewer plants and much taller people. New Jersey probably. Turok takes a bit role in the Wolf of Wall Street and is currently living in Soho.

Troll isn’t a great movie, heck I’m not even sure you can classify it as a film but it sure grows on you. Check it out, and don’t forget to keep your Sonny Bono tree watered daily.

roadside attractions

  • Chia-pet apartment dwellers
  • Extreme Indoor plant growers
  • Epileptic seizure dancing
  • talking stumps
  • Spear-fu
  • Dwarf-fu
  • Troll puppets
  • mushroom table lamps
  • giant bean pods
  • Harry Potter copyright lawyers
totals

6

blood BLOOD
There’s about 2 quarts of the red stuff and lots of green fertilizer goo.

2

blood BREASTS
2 breasts, but only Jerry Senfield can see them.

9

beast BEASTS
plenty of icky sock puppets left over from the FX guys filming Ghoulies.
8.2 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the trailer to “Troll”

trailers
dripper
Scream Prints
join our mailing list
* indicates required

About the Highway

Lost Highway is your satirical detour down the twisted back roads of b-movies and cult films reviews. learn more >>