Archive for the '70’s b-movies' Category

Jan

posted by Doktor | January 4, 2017 | 70's b-movies, Feature, Holiday films, Horror movies, Review by Doktor

Comments Off on The Twelve Slays of Xmas: The Eleventh Slay

Season’s Grievings from your friends here at The Lost Highway. 2016 has been a difficult year. We lost Professor Snape, Admiral Ackbar, and even Alf. We watched as the United States of Earth was divided down the middle in a vicious election which still threatens to end in a nasty divorce. There were devastating natural disasters and Russians hacking. It’s been a real bummer.

And now to compound things it’s the holiday season, the worst wonderful time of the year. “While everybody else is opening up their presents, (others are) opening up their wrists” because “the suicide rate is always the highest around the holidays.” (Kate Beringer, Gremlins). In light of this year’s events, and the weight of the holiday season, what’s a mutant to do?

This Xmas we decided to put together a little gift to answer that question, a list of advice gleaned from the reel world of b-movies. We watched twelve Xmas themed movies and learned twelve valuable lessons to help navigate life.

The Lost Highway proudly presents: The Twelve Slays of Xmas.

The Eleventh Slay of Xmas: Black Christmas

The call is always coming from inside the house. It doesn’t matter if it’s some random Friday night or Xmas eve, when there’s a killer on the loose with a penchant for calling his victims to terrorize them, he is ALWAYS doing so from inside the house. Moreover, the prevalence of cell phones has only served to further help the Phone Call Terrorist Psycho. Now the call can be coming from the same boat, train, plane (so long as it’s not taking off or landing), or any other number of places which heretofore had no phone lines.

So beware. The killer is calling from very close by, which makes sense because if he was far away he wouldn’t be much of a threat as a killer, would he?

Be sure to come back tomorrow for The Twelfth Slay of Xmas: A Christmas Horror Story

Watch the trailer for “Silent Night, Deadly Night”

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Jan

posted by Doktor | January 2, 2017 | 70's b-movies, Feature, Holiday films, Horror movies, Review by Doktor

Comments Off on The Twelve Slays of Xmas: The Ninth Slay

Season’s Grievings from your friends here at The Lost Highway. 2016 has been a difficult year. We lost Professor Snape, Admiral Ackbar, and even Alf. We watched as the United States of Earth was divided down the middle in a vicious election which still threatens to end in a nasty divorce. There were devastating natural disasters and Russians hacking. It’s been a real bummer.

And now to compound things it’s the holiday season, the worst wonderful time of the year. “While everybody else is opening up their presents, (others are) opening up their wrists” because “the suicide rate is always the highest around the holidays.” (Kate Beringer, Gremlins). In light of this year’s events, and the weight of the holiday season, what’s a mutant to do?

This Xmas we decided to put together a little gift to answer that question, a list of advice gleaned from the reel world of b-movies. We watched twelve Xmas themed movies and learned twelve valuable lessons to help navigate life.

The Lost Highway proudly presents: The Twelve Slays of Xmas.

The Ninth Slay of Xmas: Silent Night, Bloody Night

It’s common knowledge that a death, especially one that looks like an accident, that happens on Xmas Eve, always curses the house and the family living there. Furthermore, if the death is of the home owner, be sure to honor his dying wishes, lest you incur the wrath of (insert name of curse here).

What isn’t as well known, but should be, which is why we’re presenting it here, is: one should never house criminally insane people in your mansion. No matter how spacious the house, no matter how soothing the grounds, housing the insane is a recipe for disaster, even more so when you are concurrently housing all the town’s decadent rich scumbags.

We understand how hard it is to believe what we are reporting, but it is a fact. In summation: housing the criminally insane is a bad idea; housing the decadently rich is a bad idea; and housing both simultaneously is Lovecraftian level madness that will bring down the fiery wrath of Hell.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for The Tenth Slay of Xmas: Silent Night

Watch the trailer for “Silent Night, Bloody Night”

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Apr

posted by Doktor | April 15, 2016 | 70's b-movies, foreign, Review by Doktor, Sci-Fi

Comments Off on Cosmos: War of the Planets

Canoodling

Have you ever been hit in the face with a brick? Cosmos: War of the Planets is exactly like that, but different.

How are they the same? First, it’s spaghetti sci fi, heavy on the cheese. That would be the brick. It was written and directed by Alfonso Brescia (Al Bradley). Brescia went on to make such classics as Battle of the Stars (1978), War of the Robots (1978), Star Odyssey (1979), and Beast in Space (1980), among others. Many of the aforementioned films reused footage, costumes, actors, and props from Cosmos: War of the Planets. Honestly, I would not be surprised to learn all five movies are the same film just recut and re-titled. Brescia would be the getting hit in the face.

Etor looking scaredThe difference? Getting hit in the face with a brick will eventually heal. Cosmos: War of the Planets will haunt you the rest of your days.

The movie opens in space, a vast blanket of darkness spotted with twinkling lights. It reminds us of how small we are, the sublimity… is interrupted by an annoying video game blip sound as one star blinks brighter and brighter.

Ho-kay.

Cut to a different shot of space. A spaceship, the MK31, floats by. Again the huge expanse dwarfs the insignificant craft. In such spanning possibilities how could these intrepid explorers make any difference? Who are these brave… Devo rejects? Inside the ship, the Devo Crewmen say vaguely science sounding words in some kind of futuristic space spell in order to pilot the ship. Or something.

Uhg.

Just as sleep was about to take me there’s a “stellar explosion.” Well, that’s what one of the Devo Crewmen calls it. What actually happens is a flash of light followed by a meteor hurtling towards them. Devo Crew jump into their seats and strap on their seat belts. They ask the computer for new coordinates in order to escape the “rays” of the explosion (i.e. the meteor). Funny thing, the computer does not register the explosion.

Wait, what?

Now Devo Crew is worried. There are lots of anxious looks. Each of the fifteen crew members gets their turn to look distressed. That is, all except for Rent-a-Center Tommy Chong, Marseille, who is more concerned with biting his nails. At this point I too was more concerned with his hangnail than the plot. Sadly, though, we never find out if he got it.

Marseille chewing his fingernailWhy stress? Just steer away, right?

Problem is the MK31 does not have a steering wheel. There are plenty of random buttons and blinky lights, but no controls. The MK31 is piloted by the computer, with no way to manually take control. (This is why you don’t let the Italians design your spacecraft.) So, with nothing else to do, there are more shots of Devo Crewmen looking on helplessly. The meteor is upon them and…

Never mind, it was nothing.

Seriously. In a move that makes M. Night Shymalan wet, the whole thing is unceremoniously dropped.

“That was a refraction of a cosmic explosion occurring 10 million years ago,” says the computer. Wait a minute. A second ago there was nothing there. Now the computer not only registers the event, but registers an event that happened 10 million years ago?

Whap! Brick right to the kisser!

Amazingly it is only three minutes into the film but it feels like several hours. There is still an hour and twenty-something minutes to go. (This is why you don’t let the Italians make your sci fi movie.) I felt like Ash in the laughing room scene of Evil Dead 2.

The credits roll as space granola floats around in the background, a kind of high colonic cleansing party for our mental palate.

Next we see Captain Devo, Hamilton—Captain Ham from here on—walking into command center Orion. He strolls up and punches some guy named Miller. Having completed his mission, Captain Ham leaves.

Captain Ham is supposed to be a no-nonsense, bucks authority kinda guy that movies like this call for. He’s more of a douche but, eh, close enough. Commander Bossman gives Captain Ham a talking to as punishment, then gives him command of a ship leaving for the Vega System. Or was it Space Vegas? Whatever. Commander Bossman is harsh, but fair.

Next we get some random scenes showcasing life aboard the MK31. In other words, a bunch of idiots barely able to handle mundane tasks without killing themselves. There’s a space walk to fix a space circuit. For some reason mishandled space circuits spit acid and, conveniently, this space circuit is mishandled. Captain Ham has to go out and rescue the Devo Crewman, thus showing how awesome Captain Ham is. Then we watch a couple of the female crew talk about how dreamy Captain Ham is. There’s some space hootchie-cootchie-lick-‘em-yum-yums in the Cosmic Love room. (Cosmic Love is two single beds with a model Death Star between them. Flip a few switches, watch the groovy light show, and you are getting your freak on.)

WIZJust as I was reaching for the remote to turn off Cosmos: War of the Planets a transmission comes in. By transmission I mean the grinding sound of an old Studebaker with a bad starter filtered through a Pac Man effects pedal. The message is never translated, but I’m pretty sure it went something like, “Get on with it already!”

Somehow the signal is interfering with Earth’s radio transmissions which has put Commander Boss Man’s butt is in the fire. WIZ, Earth’s most smartest super computer ever, recognizes that the signal is being broadcast by an intelligence that “knows all.” Being way smart and stuff, WIZ advises Commander Boss Man to seek  out the intelligence and destroy it. What a great idea. Launch an attack on some being that knows all. (This is why you don’t let the Italians design your super computers.)

As an unnecessary counter point, Captain Ham gives his theory about the mysterious signal, “radioactivity meeting a cosmic belt.” Take that you stupid blipping robot box. Who’s the damned fool now? Alien intelligence? Feh. In fact, Captain Ham goes so far as to say that the computer “must be drunk.”

Regardless, Earth is going to send a ship and the closest is…

The MK31!

Though Captain Ham is a terrible person, his deficiencies make him the perfect person to lead this mission. That is, if he fails no one is going to miss him or Devo Crew. Finally! The movie does something believable.

Being a jerk that bucks authority, Captain Ham refuses the mission. He’s already on his way home and he’s got a haircut appointment he just cannot miss. He’s rescheduled it twice now and if he backs out again he will loose his deposit. Because the script says otherwise, some random spaceships materialize and attack the MK31, crippling it and the oh-so-capable Captain Ham.

Somehow, despite being on their way home, this attack causes them to spin out of control and into orbit around the planet broadcasting the mysterious signals. A planet that is galaxies away. Though seemingly untenable, I have a theory. The MK31 is powered by Expositive Plot Drive. That is, in order for the MK31 to escape from the spin, Captain Ham tells the closest Devo Crewman to press the “auxiliary ignition button pump”, which makes no sense. This red herring, being another brick to the face, disorients the viewer. Some slow motion acting is mixed in to further befuddle the audience and viola, anything goes. Unicorn sphincters spitting skittles would have made as much sense as them abruptly being at the renegade planet.

The spinning gives way to another scene of no-stakes drama. The MK31 is going to crash, or blow up, or run out of Snickers bars in the cafeteria vending machine. There are looks of concern. And more looks of concern. And nothing happens. Brescia just needed stuff to happen in order to fill runtime. Captain Ham orders the separation of the command module from the body of the MK31. After which they land on the planet.

Cut to a rock quarry. You know, the planet surface. The Space Science Team (that’s actually what the call themselves) generally mill about, investigating the hell out of the first ten square feet of ground outside the ship’s door. That is, all but ONE guy.

Space StonehengeJack, the inquisitive one on Space Science Team, wanders off and discovers Space Stonehenge. It’s totally sweet because it is a teleporter to a random cavern. Well, not completely random. This particular cavern is home of Cavern Robot. Cavern Robot wobbles slowly towards anyone in its area. Jack calls for help on his wrist calcom (calculator/communicator of the HP35 variety). No one on Space Science Team pays it any mind. Yet, when he cries out, as Cavern Robot treads on his space bunion, Space Science Team hears his cry. From deep within the cavern at some remote location somewhere far away.

Pow! Another brick right in the mush!

Always on the ball, one of Space Science Team remarks, “I think I saw him go towards those rocks.” In a rock quarry. Sigh. Good job narrowing that down, Lt. Dipstick. Captain Ham must be so very proud of Space Science Team. As hard as it is to believe, they actually follow Jack’s voice, and Lt. Dipstick’s vague directions, straight to Space Stonehenge.

Once inside the cavern, instead of setting off Cavern Robot’s proximity detector, Space Science Team are jumped by a clan of Troglovulcans, bald guys in linen diapers, painted blue-black with pointy ears. Old Man Troglovucan tells the story of how his people used to be a great race. Unfortunately they used their great advances in science to make robots so they could laze about. The machines revolted, as oppressed automata are wont to do. Why the “advanced” Troglovulcans did not remove the emotion chip that allowed the robots to feel oppressed is a question the film leaves unanswered. My guess is they were jerks. Whatever the case, there was an atomic war and the Troglovulcans devolved.

There is some exposition by Etor, the only named Trogulvucan (hmm, wonder if there is any significance to that?), which boils down to the enemy of my enemy is my friend resulting in an alliance between the Troglovulcans and humans. The Space Science Team is allowed to return to MK31, but they have to leave Mila behind. The Troglovulcans may be cave-dwelling morons, but they are not chumps. Captain Ham agrees to Mila being used as collateral. Keep in mind Mila is Captain Ham’s girlfriend. Also keep in mind that Space Science Team are armed with disintegrator rays and the Troglovulcans are armed with snug fitted adult diapers. I might be reading too much into it, but I think this is Captain Ham’s ham-fisted way of saying things “just aren’t working out.”

Back on MK31 there is another scene of Cosmic Love. Normally in a 70s Italian film these scenes would have incorporated nudity. In a ballsy artistic move, Brescia makes Cosmic Love more akin to a visit to one’s therapist, except less erotic. Meanwhile, Captain Ham consults MK31’s computer—yes, Captain Ham, the one who hates computers—and it reports the enemy is a computer. To destroy it they will need to press a button. A red button. A big red button. (The computer has to break it down for them in simple terms that even a village idiot could understand, because, that’s what the Devo Crew are.) Captain Ham gets worked up into a tissy because the report is only 70% possible. What? He hates computers, even when they are 100% accurate. Why does he constantly consult them?

Ugh. Why am I even asking these questions?

While Captain Ham cleans the sand out of his crevices, outside MK31 Random Devo Crewman #89 is singing while he patrols the parameter. There are some thumps which Random Devo Crewman #89 completely ignores. Jump cut inside to more Cosmic Love. Cut back to thumping outside. At this point Random Devo Crewman #89 has noticed and is worried. There are long shots of him looking anxious. Cut back to Cosmic Love, which is interrupted by some unconvincing roaring. Back outside, Random Devo Crewman #89 is attacked by Cavern Robot, i.e. Cavern Robot wobbles at him. When the backup Devo Crewmen come out to investigate, Cavern Robot uses its Super Breath Attack to blow dust at them. Mildly irritated, the Devo Crewmen retreat to get their protective space suits.

And…

BLFNAR The Evil RobotJump to Space Science Team back in the cavern. Okay. I guess that was enough of that last scene.

There is much rejoicing to be back with Mila. Yippee. Hurray. Random Devo Crewman #193’s wristmotron goes off, reminding them that the plot needs to keep moving forward. Captain Ham and Holden head off. Somehow they know to walk over to a particular corner which houses another transporter. This one teleports them before Master Brain Machine.

Master Brain Machine delivers his villain’a monologue, the tale of  how Troglovulcans are bad and by extension so is all organic life in the universe. (Kill all humans!) Also, how he is all powerful. (Kill all humans!) And finally he commands Captain Ham and Holden to switch out a few circuits so he can initiate his final solution. (Kill all humans!)

One circuit fixes Master Brain Machine, which came as a relief, i.e. no extended looks or exposition for filler. With all his power restored, Master Brain Machine is strangely impotent when it comes to killing Captain Ham and Holden who are standing right in front of him. (This is why you don’t let the Italians design your evil Master Brain Machines.) Captain Ham MacGyver’s a sling shot out of his belt, which he uses to destroy Master Brain Machine David and Goliath style. Master Brain Machine’s roots are so intricately intertwined with the planet that as it explodes the planet starts to erupt.

Back at MK31, Marseille and Random Devo Crewman #43 are guarding the ship. Everything is quiet and chill. Suddenly Max’s body is there. So is Gretta’s. Who are Max and Gretta? Who cares? We will just call them victims of Cavern Robot. Whatever. Marseille and Random Devo Crewman #43 bring the bodies into the ship and deposit them in the infirmary. It turns out Gretta isn’t dead. As Marseille and Random Devo Crewman #43 leave, she opens her eyes. Then a couple Random Devo Crewmen are found dead.

Yeah, it would have been cool to see how they died, but at this point the movie is ready to be done. All continuity is thrown out the window in favor of ending this farce as quickly as possible. So again, whatever.

The planet remembers it was blowing up in a previous scene. There are stock footage shots of lava and volcanic eruptions. Captain Ham and Space Science Team make it back to the ship just in time. There’s some shaky camera shots of Devo Crewmen battening down the hatches, more volcano burbling, and intense talking about full power and the generators not having power and blah, blah, blah.

Big surprise, they make it out okay.

Only one Troglovulcan is saved, Etor. Heh, who would have guessed? No mention of the others left behind. No sadness. Just jokes about Etor being an instant officer because of the uniform he borrowed. (Thankfully once they got him on board they had him put on something more than the nappy.)

The End.

Wait. It isn’t?

Alka-Seltzer foaming at the mouth.The Master Brain Machine somehow possessed Random Devo Crewman #381, and in doing so made him impervious to disintegrator rays. While that is cool, it also made Random Devo Crewman #381 foam at the mouth and break out in a nasty rosacea. As Devo Crew looks around stupidly, Etor steps up like a champ to fight Master Brain Machine Guy #381. On the other hand, Captain Ham shows his true colors by grabbing his crew mate, leaving Etor to get beat down. Once safely in another room, Captain Ham ejects both Master Brain Machine Guy #381 and Etor into space.

All of everything is promptly forgotten when a happy message comes in from Earth. It’s a FaceTime call from Peter’s wife. His baby was just born. Ah! Who is Peter? Whatever. Shut up! It is almost over.

The end.

Nope. Brescia, channelling his inner J.R.R. Tolkien and the never ending ending, has another twist of supreme stupidity. The Master Brain Machine possessed the ship’s computer before Master Brain Machine Guy #381’s body was ejected into space. We discover the switcheroo when the computer’s voice changes to that of Master Brain Machine’s. Then there are some flashback scenes of the Cavern Robot and the stock volcanic eruptions (they paid for it and they are going to use, it by God) juxtaposed with the happy crew FaceTiming with Peter’s wife and baby.

Captain Ham looks around confused.

Indeed.

Now, FINALLY, the end.


Cosmos: War of the Planets

Tagline: Robot Terror from Space!

Year: 1977          Runtime: 89 min

DirectorAlfonso Brescia

Writer: Alfonso Brescia & Aldo Crudo

StarringJohn Richardson, Yanti Somer, West Buchanan


roadside attractions

  • WATCH! people look at the camera for long periods of time with vague emotions!
  • HEAR! special sound effects sampled from a Casio wrist watch!
  • WITNESS!  first contact with an alien race and then its utter  decimation, all without the slightest bit of concern!
  • FEEL! Cosmic Love, or what counts as intercourse in the space future!
  • BE AMAZED! by logic defying space science!
totals

4 blood  

BLOOD

No blood, but did have some nasty rosacea and mouth foam.

0 blood  

BREASTS

This is a classy Italian sci fi. None of that cheap stuff here.

 

10 beast  

BEASTS

Cave Robots. Super Master Robot, & Troglovulcans.

 

OVERALL 4.666
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May

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I Drink Your Blood
1970 – X – 83 Minutes – Grindhouse Releasing
Starring Bhaskar, Lynn Lowry, Jadin Wong – Directed by David E. Durston

If there are two problems tearing this country apart, it’s definitely rabies and LSD. And satanic hippie cults. Okay, so three things. And hippies, can’t forget them. But, who is going to inform us about these evils and the destruction they cause, leaving people’s lives in shambles? Who? I’ll tell you who! Director David Durston with his film I Drink Your Blood, although there is no blood drinking, except for the chicken’s at the beginning, but nothing that would imply “yours”. The title was actually thought up by the film’s producer in order to sell it as a double feature, as it played alongside I Eat Your Skin. I guess something like “I Accidentally Drank Rabid Dog’s Blood and Now I Have Rabies” isn’t nearly as catchy.

It’s a film that seemingly takes those things seriously during an era when we weren’t quite informed on what they are nor really had any scientific idea what they were, so it comes off as rather… hysterical. This is only reinforced by how absolutely bonkers things get throughout the movie as hippies and construction workers run amok, all because of tainted meat pies. I always knew that those would somehow be responsible for an outbreak resulting in many deaths. Never trusted a meat pie as far as I could throw it and believe me, I can throw one pretty dang far.

idyb_2A satanic hippie cult, led by the almost Cesar Romero-Joker-esque quality Horace Bones, who call themselves “SADOS (short for Sons and Daughters of Satan),” have to hole up in a Podunk little town with a tiny population to avoid any detection from the fuzz, you dig? You see, one night during the group’s little get together for one of their little rituals, which they do totally butt nekkid, local girl Sylvia is spotted watching the festivity. However, locals aren’t allowed on the scene and she is beaten (to which her new-found friend of the group, Andy, seems a little too casual about this). While trying to leave this little town, their van breaks down and they do the next logical thing, which is buy meat pies from the local bakery run by Mildred, who tells them that most of the town is abandoned and awaiting demolition. Ah, good thing they decided to get some food from the Exposition Bakery! The group decides to whole up in a hotel indefinitely.

Let’s talk about the group for a minute. As I mentioned, the group is led by the Native American Horace Bones. Andy is the sensitive one, who isn’t happy with the group. Then you have Rollo, the angry black man. Shelley is the questionable member, never sure what his intentions are. There is also Sue-Lin, the group’s mystical Asian woman, there is also a promiscuous groovy chick (whose name I forget) and then you have Molly, the overweight woman who is pregnant with Horace’s spawn and the cute mute Carrie, played by an uncredited Lynn Lowry in her screen debut! It’s a diverse group and everyone is here to stereo-typically represent everyone!

Sylvia’s brother Pete, who steals the show with his “gee-golly-educational film” performance, is rather unsettled by them and knows they are up to something… probably because Horace is a cackling madman and the group isn’t exactly subtle, even though the townspeople never really catch on to this. Pete’s grandfather, the veterinarian (don’t worry, this will make sense in a moment), decides to take action against Sylvia’s abusers, but his plan is easily foiled by Horace who just simply takes his shotgun away from him. Good going, pops. The old man is beaten and drugged with LSD and trips serious balls in one of the most laughable scenes to follow.

idyb_3So what is LSD? Well, don’t worry. The film seemingly pauses for a moment and switches over to ‘Educational Film Mode’ and lets Pete be the voice of the audience to ask what is that L.S… whatever you call it stuff and Sylvia explains what it is and the dangers it holds. Trust me when I say it’s going to take you out of the movie for a moment, but it’s going to leave you chuckling. And the best part is, the film hasn’t even kicked into high gear!

That night, a rabid dog is strolling around and making noise, so Pete puts the thing down with his granddad’s double barrel and devises genius plan. It’s so genius, I’m sure there are some twisted, evil kid tendencies with Pete that the film unfortunately doesn’t go into, but his family may want to have him checked out: He sneaks out with his granddad’s veterinary kit and uses a syringe to siphon the dog’s infected blood, injecting them into the meat pies the Sons and Daughters of Satan of been buying. Seriously, out of all the evil revenge plans in every movie ever, is that not one of the best? It’s unclear if Pete’s intentions were to kill them, make them sick or maybe he didn’t know what would happen, but you can definitely say he got more than what he bargained for!

The members of SADOS fall ill that night, sweating and gripping their stomachs in pain, until they start foaming out the mouth and becoming violent, even toward each other. Rollo severs the foot off another member with an axe and runs off, chasing the groovy chick after being thwarted by Horace and his sword, Molly and Carrie bolt and Andy heads off to hide at Sylvia’s since he was the only one who didn’t eat the meat pies. He takes shelter there and along with her, and no worries, Pete is there too to get in the way and do whatever it is that Pete does. Whatever is though is sure to make you laugh.

idyb_4Having a group of rabid, Satan worshiping hippies is bad enough to unleash on an unsuspecting town, but the groovy chick offers herself to all of the construction workers (yes… ALL twenty or thirty of them) in order to feel protected, but unbeknownst to her, she infects all of them! Every rabies infected psychopath sets their eyes on Sylvia, Pete, Mildred, Andy and even grandpa and the most bat-sh#t crazy finale ensues, accompanied by some outstanding, hectic psycho music to play along to enhance the chaos. The survivors try to defend themselves and survive as the town runs rabid, quite literally, and all kinds of violence ensues including an epic sword fight, a decapitation and plenty of shotgun blasts… and of course a PSA about rabies in the guise of an exploitation film that’s gone completely bonkers.

Now the film does end with an open question, one that will be blindingly obvious, so I recommend checking out the deleted ending that not only ties that loose end up, but also ends the film on a very dark and grim, but fitting, note.

I Drink Your Blood
If you were to ask me what an exploitation film is, I would point you to I Drink Your Blood as the prime example. This is without a doubt my favorite movie of all time. Everything about it is honest, meaning that it comes from a place of love for what it is. The filmmakers clearly loved horror films and wanted to tell an amazing story, no matter how wild or seemingly unreal things got it. It has that certain type of genuine feel to it that all of these movies that homage films of the 70’s and 80’s claim to have. Everything about this film works, right down from the comic-book bright red blood, the idea of a new disease and how little they knew about it at the time, making it more frightening, the groovy score mixed with some good old fashioned 70’s Satanic hippie cult fun, it’s not only educational, but it’s a pure bloody good time.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • SADOS; Sons and Daughters of Dumb.
  • Hippies! Hippies everywhere!
  • Rat hunt.
  • L.S… whatever you call it stuff.
  • Rabies Pie.
  • Need a “hand” making that sandwich?
  • Andy’s only trying to get a-head.
totals

8

blood

BLOOD

Blood and rabies go together like peanut butter and ladies.

6

blood

BREASTS

Plenty of dirty hippie boobs. And Lynn Lowry’s.

10

beast

BEASTS

Satanic Hippies!? Rabid psychopaths?! Rabid Satanic hippie psychopaths!

8 OVERALL
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Mar

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Leonard Nimoy is so not Spock in “Baffled,” a movie that probably should have a spoiler tag on its opening credits. And it does have opening credits. That’s because “Baffled” was actually a failed TV pilot, and why it failed, I’ll never know. A paranormal mystery show starring Leonard Nimoy paired with a smart blonde and medium-high sexual tension? Nothing on TV in the 70s was as good as that, not even when they were drunk on “Match Game.” Plus the opening theme is just so rockin’.

Nimoy’s star turn here is as Tom Kovack, a charismatic Indy race car driver who discovers he has psychic visions when one abruptly sends him skidding into a near-fatal accident on the track. The vision itself just consists of tracking shots of an imposing English estate, slo-mo Vera Miles screaming, a hay wagon, a girl walking down stairs, and a woman’s voice repeating, “It’s Wyndham in Devon, dear.” Sadly, Peter Cushing is not in his pit crew.

The next day, Tom reluctantly tells a TV interviewer about his vision, because they didn’t know about pre-interviews in the 1970s the same way they didn’t know about colors other than brown and orange. Rare book dealer and out-of-his-league blonde Michelle Brent catches the interview on telly and is intrigued. Destined to be the Mulder to his Scully, the Giles to his Buffy, and the Diane to his Sam, she visits Tom and suggests that they go fight the forces of Vague Menace from his vision together. Skeptical Tom refuses the call to adventure, although not before trying to hit on her a couple times, so he’s still clearly Not Spock.

Adventure is at telemarketer levels of persistence though and zings Tom with another vision, this time leaving him drenched in saltwater in the middle of his hotel room – a little something for the ladies. He follows up with Michelle and the two of them take a sabbatical from gainful employment and real lives to go Scooby it up at the manor house, also a vacation spot, Wyndham in Devon.

The manor house entertains several guests apart from our heroes, but the focus of mystery and the girls of Tom’s dreams, so to speak, are film star Andrea Glenn (“special guest star Vera Miles” ) and her daughter Jennifer. Andrea and Jennifer have arrived at Wyndham to meet with Andrea’s estranged husband and Jennifer’s dad, English actor Duncan Sanford. Now of all the things this movie presents as weird or uncanny, this is the only disturbing part to me, and it’s something we’re expected to just sort of roll with. The actress playing Jennifer is clearly old enough to drive, if not vote, but she’s playing a 12-year-old. That’s not the weird part. She’s also a 12-year-old who wears pigtails and carries around a stuffed animal and calls her mother “Mommy.” But that’s still not the weird part.

The weird part is this: Andrea has not seen Duncan in all that time, her daughter’s entire life, and Jennifer claims never to have met her – sigh – “Daddy.” I get that Andrea and Duncan are split up and she’s in America and he’s in England, but for a world-famous actress, hopping across the pond to visit the father of your child shouldn’t be that big a deal, should it? At least once? And if Duncan is such an ogre that he doesn’t want to meet his own daughter, why does Jennifer glowingly idealize him? She doesn’t even know what he looks like. How is that possible in the 20th century? And Andrea doesn’t seem to be protecting Jennifer from any other details of her rocky relationship with Duncan. Am I giving too much thought to this? Yes. Yes, I am. But it’s weird, right?

Then after all that, Duncan fails to show up to greet Andrea and Jennifer as planned anyway. Jerk.

As soon as he arrives, Tom of course recognizes Andrea and her daughter from his visions. He and Michelle then set about digging up information on them and the other guests, since the evil at Wyndham is still pretty ill-defined. All they’ve got is Tom’s vision of Andrea screaming. I mean, Andrea could have been screaming at anything – a spider, the minibar bill, a lunatic dressed as his mother with a butcher knife, anything. Could the vague menace be the groovy young newlyweds? Or maybe it’s the Italian guy? The standard issue English butler? And what’s up with the diffidently bitchy owner of the manor house, Mrs. Farraday? She’s de-aging like so much Cher. That’s not right.

Meanwhile, Jennifer secretly meets with her Dad, who insists Jennifer wear a gaudy medallion with a wolf’s head on it, but not tell her mother about it or him until he says so. So clearly nothing going on there.

Poor, stood-up Andrea tries to locate her husband, fails, and soon suffers the onset of Sudden Gothic Heroine Syndrome, with the usual hallucinations, gauzy nightgown-clad fleeing, and sudden, debilitating illnesses that keep you from grabbing your daughter and getting the hell out. Jennifer goes from Cindy on the Brady Bunch to the 70s equivalent of Miley twerking in the course of a couple days. Tom and Michelle Scooby hard, but the red herrings keep throwing up false positives for Tom’s untested psychic gifts. Plus they find themselves on the wrong side of the Vague Menace and have to save themselves over and over, although I do have to say having seen this, it’s less them saving themselves and more the Vague Menace not following through on its evil plans. You’ve got Michelle alone in the back of a truck and unconscious. Finish it! What, is this your first insidious Satanic plot?

The movie goes on, probably for about 15 minutes and 2 red herrings too long. It would have been a great TV episode though. I envision Roddy McDowall and Donald Pleasance as evil cultists in later episodes. Sadly, the only “Baffled” we got was this one, which is both too much and not enough, thanks to the meandering plot and extremely Vague Menace. It may still be worth your time with caveats: basically if you love Leonard Nimoy or you just want something on in the background to fall asleep to.

roadside attractions

  • A chase scene with no power steering
  • Wheelchair-based combat
  • Looking deep into Leonard Nimoy’s soulful brown eyes
  • Rear projection psychic projection
  • All the turtlenecks the 1970s had to offer
totals

0

blood

BLOOD

For all the foreboding, most violence stays offscreen and at Nancy Drew levels.

1

blood

BREASTS

There’s some dowager décolletage, but that’s less titillating than a 2-second glimpse of Nimoy’s treasure trail.

1

beast

BEASTS

No beasts to speak of, only surprisingly spry old ladies.

1.5 OVERALL But add 6 points if you have ever read Spock slashfic. 8 if you’ve written it.
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Watch the trailer to “Baffled”

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