Archive for the 'B-movies' Category

Jun

Deep Red

Dario Argento, also known as the Italian Hitchcock. Not because he is a white, overweight, sexual deviant harassing his stars, but because he understands what makes a horror/thriller really good: suspense. The man really knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat (or in my case, a cheap, broken futon) and when it builds up until it can’t build up anymore, it knocks the breath out of you and kicks you back, but you come back for more. It’s a rush. Furthermore, both Hitchcock and Argento’s stories focus on a protagonist who is trying to solve a murder on their own. There’s something people don’t do anymore. Nowadays people just call the police. Boring.

I thought it would be appropriate if we took a look at the film that put Dario Argento on the radar, Profondo Rosso a.k.a. Deep Red or The Hatchet Murders (yeah, Italian films usually had at least eight or nine different titles). The movie starts off heartwarmingly terrifying enough with a struggle between two characters we can’t see, until one of them is stabbed to death and we hear a child scream, over a creepy child’s tune. It’s a familiar set up, but it’s Dario Argento’s execution throughout the film that makes this shocking and unique.

The LampThat was just the title credits, by the way. The film follows pianist (tee hee) Marcus, who one day heading home after visiting his friend Carlo, who has some rather odd jokes about rape and is involved with a transvestite (because, why not?), witnesses the death of a medium, Helga Ulmann. Earlier that day, Helga was using her sweet Professor X type powers (ok, they weren’t that cool) and begins to hear that child’s tune we heard at the beginning. Upon reading into this, she fingers a dark and twisted mind in the audience and then in a very stylish (and later to become Argento’s trademark) POV shot, that person gets up and leaves the lecture to kill Helga for being ousted. Or maybe they really had to pee.

Anyway, Marcus fails to save the medium and remembers a painting of several faces missing from the apartment, which will come into play later. But for now, we are introduced to what is probably the Italian film industry’s favorite occupation, reporter. This reporter, Gianna, is played by Daria Nicolodi, who will go on to collaborate with Dario Argento in many other films. She’s one of those no nonsense, women’s lib kinda girl (by the way, we here at The Lost Highway are down with the whole Women’s Lib thing…). Marcus can’t let go of this mystery. He searches for Carlo to ask him what he remembers from the night of the murder and we meet Carlo’s mother, who makes Angela’s Aunt from Sleepaway Camp look subtle and sane. Later, Marcus hears that same tune, only he is able to save his own skin. He and Gianna decide to look into this tune with the help of psychiatrist Dr. Giordani, who was an associate of Helga’s. This brings them to writer Amanda Righetti, who is murdered before Marcus can talk to her, but she leaves a very clever message written on her bathroom wall that is uncovered when Girodani later visits the crime scene and steams up the room (I just read how bad that sounds…)!

The LampThis turns out to be unfortunate for him, however. He basically put a giant bullseye on his back and partakes in what is one of the creepiest scenes to involve a doll. Perhaps influencing the Billy puppet from Saw, a two-foot-something puppet runs out from behind a curtain scaring the poop out of him! His reaction is that he is quite startled, but I think I would have screamed and ran around setting fire to the room. Meanwhile, Marcus and Gianna continue their end of the investigation in a deserted house, with plenty of close calls and thrills, tying all the previous clues together, bringing them to more clues. Only this time, the clues seem to point at Carlo as the culprit, who stabs Gianna and holds Marcus at gunpoint… but he couldn’t have been the killer, could he? Marcus was talking to him when Helga was killed. Hmm, further and further down the rabbit hole… It’s now in the final act that Marcus remembers what was in that painting he saw: The face of the killer! But who could it be? So many odd, colorful characters that it could be.

The movie concludes nicely, tying up all loose ends while making it look good, all in a grisly, gory, good old fashioned death scene with plenty of blood and gore. Deep Red doesn’t skip in that department, so all you sickos can get your fix here.

All of this stretches out over a two hour run time, which does seem a bit long for this. Being one of Dario Argento’s earlier works, as good as the suspense and tension is, it can feel drawn out. Deep Red definitely takes it time getting from one point to another, which can turn off some viewers (although they certainly would be missing an excellent movie). And if you are watching the Director’s Cut that Blue Underground put out back in 2007, the dialogue goes from English dubbed to Italian dubbed with English subtitles, since a fully dubbed Director’s Cut does not exist, it can be distracting to those who don’t want to read their movie during certain scenes.

Deep Red is intense, shocking and violent. It’s a mystery that will keep you guessing and you’ll get excited with each clue toward to reveal of the killer. No matter how many times I see this, sometimes I forget who the killer is and it’s like I’m watching it for the very first time. So, turn off the lights and lock the doors, and watch one of the more suspenseful movies from the 70’s. But, get the hell out of there if you start to hear any creepy children’s music.

roadside attractions

  • Take a shot every time you hear that children’s tune.
  • Take another shot every time there is atrocious dubbing.
  • Shaved with Glass!
  • Tranny Troubles.
  • Dolly Dearest.
  • Steaming up the bathroom.
  • Elevator Decapitation!
  • Pianist.
totals

9

blood

BLOOD

For a giallo, you see plenty of hacking, slashing and even a decapitation!

4

blood

BREASTS

Closest we get is a tranny and a psychic in robes.

8

beast

BEASTS

A tranny, a psychic, a pianist, a reporter and a crazy killer.

7 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the entire movie here.

trailers

dripper
Jun

posted by Barry Goodall | June 24, 2013 | 80's b-movies, 80's movies, B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Review by Barry Goodall

The Outing

At what point in history did the Genie become a giant smurf clown with the voice of Robin Williams?  According to middle eastern legend, the genie or Jin is supposed to be a mischievous demonic spirit that would trick you into taking a salt bath with a pack of cobras or get your friend to pee on a electric fence all due to a poorly worded wish, not some wise cracking Jack Nicholson impersonator with a talking parrot. Sure there’s been truly horrifying genies before like Sinbad or even Shaquille O’Neal in Shazaam but none have really captured that  level of creepy factor. Thankfully, movies like The Lamp aka The Outing bring us that more traditional Jin, a demon full of hate and evil… just like Barbara Eden did back in the 60’s.

Being an ancient genie trapped in a lamp for thousands of year gives a Jin a lot of pent of anger and cramped legs so when one is accidentally released by some burglars in an old lady’s house, it’s got a lot of killing to catch up on. Once free, the genie chops down two of the crooks pool party style while giving an axe to the noggin’ of another. Their hopes for finding the old lady’s treasure are pretty much nixed at that point. The cops show up, find the magic lamp with a matching bracelet and give them to the local museum…. yet another missed Antique Road Show opportunity. The museum curator puts them in an office supply room while his kleptomaniac daughter snags the bracelet to accessorize her flashdance sweatshirt. The jewelry is obviously cursed with the demon’s spirit, a sort of extreme friendship bracelet that causes Amy to become possessed herself. We know it’s demonic possession denoted by the glowing eyes and her deep man voice. Her friends don’t seem to notice or care and she easily convinces them to stay the night at the museum for some free after-hours tours and gruesome death and the hands of an ancient demonic spirit.

The LampThe genie starts offing her friends one by one. Not even a opera singing security guard can stop the carnage nor would we want it to really. There’s spear impalement, snake bites in a bathtub, death by a mummy, and a particularly gruesome twitch inducing neck twister. Up to this point the demon we see is mostly just smoke and red Kool-aid vision but It finally makes an appearance just as the budget runs out appearing to be a green alien puppet on roller blades. The Genie can snap guys necks but can’t seem to open doors (door opening obviously not covered in the genie handbook.) It pursues Amy’s dad whom she accidentally wished dead earlier during an argument and Amy must try to stop it before it kills him and possibly takes over the world through badly worded wishes. Birthday wishers everywhere best beware!

Barry Goodall says to give the Lamp a good rub down and always make sure your evil lamps are properly sealed from demonic leakage. This is really the film “Night at the Museum” should have been.

roadside attractions

  • Double axe to the noggin’
  • Locker room-fu
  • Opera singing security guards
  • Snake bite bath
  • Spear through the gut
  • Mummy-fu
  • Headcrush fu with optional rotation
  • Antique Roadshowing
  • Levitation and strangulation combo move
totals

8

blood

BLOOD

Plenty of carnage but only during museum after hours.

8

blood

BREASTS

What the film lacks in a cohesive plot is made up for in gratutious nudity.

5

beast

BEASTS

1 mean-lean genie machine.

7 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the entire movie here.

trailers

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Jun

necronomicon

Women, am I right? They always be shopping! I mean, how many purses do you need, lady? I have one wallet and that works just fine. But I guess it’s the consumer mentality of having the latest and greatest. In Slink, it’s these fabulous designer handbags that people are just dying to get their hands on!

Meet Dale, who runs the local tanning salon. Only at this place, the only memberships they have are lifetime… which isn’t very long! After a patron shows interest in applying for a job, Dale talks it over with his wife Joan, who decides it’s probably best to murder her instead. “We could offer her a free tan first!” exclaims Dale, before her head is belted in with a hammer, showcasing the film’s subtle dark humor.

Cut to our protagonist Kayla, discussing with her friend Lindsay that Lindsay’s sister has the hots for Kayla (sounds like that would be quite an interesting sub plot…). Further in the discussion, we learn that Kayla’s uncle Arlo has recently passed and she travels to the small town of Wickenhaven to gather Arlo’s ashes from probably the most odd funeral home directors who seemed like they escaped of the set of Twin Peaks. Upon inquiring where she could buy a charming local gift (damn Yankees), she is told to try the nearby Virgin Leathers, which happens to be owned by Joan and I’m sure you can guess what kind of material those purses are made from…

brainstormKayla, along with her dope smoking friend Courtney, arrive at Uncle Arlo’s only to find that someone else is there… someone claiming to be their Aunt May, who looks might fine for being an Aunt (Peter Parker, eat your heart out!). Trying to connect with the girls, Aunt May reveals that Uncle Arlo may not have died from natural causes, but instead he was murdered. Now it was at this point, I noticed that the characters all talk with that ‘Valley Girl’ accent, which I found to be a bit annoying, but not distracting. Just a personal opinion, but not one to hinder my viewing experience.

Anyway, this is when Kayla heads over to the tanning salon, where Dale, who just killed a young girl and cleaned it up just in time, is friendly enough to let her tan for free. Of course, I’m sure she wouldn’t have agreed to it if she had known he’s in the backroom taping the sessions and giggling to himself. Always read the fine print, sister. This is when Courtney gets a phone call from her father who tells her that they don’t have an Aunt May and he’s coming to get to the bottom of everything! It doesn’t take long for him to arrive and confront her, but his accusations may be premature and Aunt May tells him that she is Arlo’s half sister (uh, you buying that?). Well this is when all the crazies come out, as Aunt May calls Dale and talks about a “big surprise” for the girls.

This is where the movie throws in some real dirty, but welcomed, sleaze. While Courtney is sleeping, Aunt May, barely dressed, climbs on top of her and suffocates her with a bag. There goes the film’s only stoner. But the intensity doesn’t stop there. Kayla goes back to the tanning salon the next morning for another session. He tricks her into rubbing this poison all over herself by telling her it’s a new tanning oil, which I’m sure something like that in no way smells viciously toxic. Once Kayla passes out, she is handed off to the skilled Aaron, in charge of skinning all the girls. By now you’re beginning to see this family come together and true characteristics shine, reminding one of the Sawyer’s from Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

Well if you’re going to be a villain, you should damn well play it good. Aunt May stops by the house in the morning, telling the girl’s father that they turned Arlo into a purse. Then what ensues is a silly, but short fight, resulting in him getting stabbed. But what of Kayla? She wakes up in time, saving her own skin right before she is, um… skinned. Fighting for her survival, she runs from Aaron, who puts up a pretty good chase and I have to say, it looks like both actors take some abuse during this chase. Will she escape? Will she survive?

This brings the film into its finale, which I have to say kind of ends abruptly. It doesn’t exactly resolve itself, but instead sets itself up for a sequel or it just ends with no intention of concluding or continuing. Or perhaps the filmmakers wanted to intentionally leave it that open for the sake of ‘just because’ and instead make the viewer think that true evil is always out there.

Slink is without a doubt one of the better independent films out there. It’s dark and violent, with a little bit of humor, but not too much to make it come off as silly. The music is very well done and pretty catchy. There are solo, creepy synths, dance-pop and almost orchestral music. However, as nice as these songs are all done, at times certain types of music don’t seem to fit. But, that’s a minor gripe and in no way will remove you from the movie.

If you are looking for a film with that 80’s sleazy video store rental vibe to it, then Slink is for you. Everything from the dialogue, drug use, bizarre characters, sexual overtones, T & A and even the premise is never too much or overbearing and distracting. You’ll feel reminiscent of smaller films like Unhinged or Deranged. Even with a few flaws, Slink is greatly entertaining for the 80 minute runtime. So, watch this throwback that I dare call a ‘modern day grindhouse.’

Be sure to check out director Jared Masters other work at the official Frolic Pictures website!

roadside attractions

  • Hammer time.
  • Bag Hag.
  • Comb-over Creep.
  • T & A Buffet!
  • Swinging Sounds of Survival.
  • Tanning Tape Sessions.
  • The Skinning Son.
totals

6

blood

BLOOD

Plenty of victims filleted.

9

blood

BREASTS

Plenty! Whether they are breathing or not is another story.

8

beast

BEASTS

It’s like a Bevery Hills version of The Manson Family.

7.7 OVERALL
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Watch the trailer for Slink!

trailers

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Jun

necronomicon

Jeffery Combs plays HP Lovecraft, the infamous horror writer that just learned a bunch of shape shifting Hari Krishnas have a copy of the famed Necronomicon. It’s a first edition, mint condition, so he rushes to their monastery and finds it stashed in a secret library ontop of a grated fish tank. Yes, a fish tank that holds non other that Cuthulu…possibly…or could just be a very large Koi fish. It’s hard to tell. These  guys have some weird food fetishes. HP quickly starts copying some of the stories from the pages onto his notepad to give us his 3 tales of cliff notes terror.

The first installment revolves around Edward De LaPoer (Bruce Payne) who just inherited a creepy ocean front hotel. Despite having never seen the Shining he travels there with his realty agent while reading a letter about his uncle Jethro tragic death. Years ago Jethro’s wife and son were both killed in a boating accident near the hotel, or the idea of being married to a man named Jethro was simply too much for his wife to bear.At the in-home funeral Jethro  throws a bible into a fire and the mourners flee his house Necronomiconnevering getting to sample the free buffet. A fish person in a Gorton fisherman raincoat shows up and gives him the necronomicon muttering how “he wasn’t alone” and then slips him some Long John Silver Coupons before disappearing into the night. Jethro figures out one of the zombie spells in the book reanimating his wife and kid but this time they’re squid face demon fish with glowing eyes. Distraught he throws himself off the balcony killing himself and thus ending what must have been a really long letter. Back in the present, Edward wants to revive his dead wife Clara too so he finds the Necronomicon hidden in the wall and performs the same ritual as his Uncle tried. Because if it don’t work right the first time, try ,try again. While resting in his bed Clara shows up later that night, creepy, drenched, and a little horny. she tries to do the nasty with him but then goes all sea demon monster on him so he cuts off her tentacles with a sword ending the worst date night ever. This ticks off a sea monster she was attached to which slowly crawls up from the basement just in time for Eddie to drop a chandler on it’s eyeball. And somewhere Aquaman sheds a tear.

After this little fish tale, we get stuck with a story about a reporter who’s investigating some unsolved murders near an apartment building. He meets a residents who tells him the story of Emily Osterman, an abused woman on the run from her slacker boyfriend or possibly that cop that played in Alien Nation. The old boyfriend shows up to smack her around some more and a pale mad scientist (David Warner) pushes him down some stairs and sucks his spinal fluid out like a milkshake. Turns out, Dr. Madden has been using hobo’s spinal fluid along with a bit of black magic from the Necronomicon to keep himself alive and kicking. The side affects are that he can’t go into the sun, talks with an accent and can’t eat real food, so obviously he’s turned British. The old doc does the nasty with Emily on the lab table and we finally witness the real “shocking horror” described on the back of the DVD cover. “my eyes! my eyes!!!”

Emily flees the next day from the house since the jealous and psychotic maid threatens to kill her. Months later Emily returns with news of her pregnancy from Dr. Madden whom she gets to see one last time before he melts into a big pile of melted goo from his lack of spinal Gatoraid. David Warner’s hair still stay perfect the whole time he’s melting, now that’s acting.

Necronomicon

The 3rd and final tale goes for the jugular when a police officer goes in search of her partner who was just kidnapped by a murder called “The Butcher.” She discovers a married couple living in a nearby warehouse who claim to know his location but the husband also claims his wife’s an alien so not sure she should really count on them as “reliable witnesses.” They trap the officer in a pit where she fends off a bunch of Mynocks from that cave in the Empire Strikes Back. One of the wombats sounds just like her missing partner’s voice which we know just can’t be because he just showed up as a gooey zombie right next to her. The classic ”take my brain and put it a bat so my body can be a zombie” switcher-roo! She wakes up later in the hospital and that freaky couple are still there hanging around claiming to be her parents. This might make sense if the mom wasn’t missing her eyeballs and sporting a fetus tummy tucker. Yikes, yeah it gets weirder folks. Bone marrow sucking aliens, amputations and walking corpses make this the best of the 3 stories, or at least the goriest.

Barry Goodall says checkout Necronomicon: Book of Dead for some cheap thrills, but be sure to bring it back before the overdue fees kick in. Cuthulu knows where you live and he’s bringing sushi.

I can’t believe they haven’t made the necronomicon into an e-book yet.

roadside attractions

  • Hari Krishnas cotorntionist
  • extreme lip pulling facelifts
  • tentacle fu
  • jacuzzi morgue storage
  • melting faces
  • squid face family time
  • talking wombats
  • fish demon eye impalements
  • alien Amputations
totals

8

blood

BLOOD

You’re gonna need a mop

2

blood

BREASTS

Do squid breasts count?

8

beast

BEASTS

Cuthulu, squid people, fish faced mutants, wombats. This movie practically has scales.

8.7 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the entire movie here!

trailers

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Jun

Often called “pink films” (another term for soft-core Japanese porn… think Cinemax after 12 a.m. in Asia), the Nikkatsu Roman Porno series put out over 700 titles between 1971 – 1988! Proof the porn industry was certainly booming! Although, calling these titles “porn” is like calling circus peanuts “candy”. These pinky films were called “thrillers” for a reason; often having a dark or twisted plot, while throwing in some sex and sleaze to keep them “pink”, while censoring the man’s junk. On a side note, I realize the subject of rape isn’t a joke and it’s very touchy and can be difficult to write about. So when you see I’m making a joke, please know that it’s about the characters or a reference, not on the actual subject itself.

Let’s take a look at Female Teacher Hunting. If I had heard the title, I would have figured this to be an 80’s Linnea Quigley flick about some backwoods, hairy guy hunting down a school teacher in the Deep South. However, the tale is a little more complex than that (but I did get the 80’s part right). Two high-schoolers, Midori and Daisuke, enjoy a little skinny dip in the school’s pool, but when Midori’s uniform is found in the pool the next day, Daisuke’s teacher Sakatani accuses him of rape. His defense is by telling her that rape isn’t as easy as she think… not the best defense, but he means someone would have heard her scream.

It instantly elevates to uncomfortable levels when Daisuke, ashamed, storms off to find Midori, and forces sex on her in the radio room with the microphone on for the whole school to hear (where’s the FCC when you actually need them?). He then drops out of school and that’s about as much school as you see. Sakatani spends some time on the coast having an affair with a married man, who happens to be writing a report about rape, taking a break from his wife and daughter. Ah, a vacation from all responsibilities.

blackbagWhile this is going on, Daisuke just so happens to be at the same coastal town, taking refuge with a bar owner after accidently spilling some drunkards bottle and getting pummeled. Not only does the bar owner take him in, he shares his girlfriend with him, in which the film shares with us the saddest threesome in history. Ladies, you know those stories you hear about a three-way being every man’s dream? Well, let this prove you wrong.

But this film isn’t necessarily supposed to be erotic. The three main characters come off as troubled convincingly, especially Daisuke. You feel sympathetic toward him during the film and then you feel disgusted toward him at the end. Sakatani seems to be the one you despise the most, accusing Daisuke of rape and having an affair with a married man. She comes off as the film’s villain, but she really isn’t all that bad. As I stated earlier, the sexual element of the movie is not necessarily for arousal, but to actually support the emotions of characters and move the plot along. You get a sense of wrongness while it’s going on and as the before mentioned three way, it’s supposed to come off as sad and pathetic. I guess that only leaves Midori as the film’s only innocent character that you feel terrible for, since she is mixed up with these other hooligans.

Female Teacher Hunting is a short ride, just a little over the one hour mark, but in that time it does get its story across and remain erotic. The DVD transfer from Impulse (the erotic driven division of the great Synapse Films) looks very good, given the films thirty year old age. Edges look smooth, colors look nice. Nothing looks washed out or soft, unless it was done intentionally. Although, the only audio option is 2.0 mono Japanese, English subtitles are provided with no distraction. However, if you are looking for extras, you’ll find this one is pretty bare, only including a theatrical trailer and some liner notes from Jasper Sharp.

As far as the “pink” movies go, you’ll find Female Teacher Hunting to be different that what’s expected of this genre of film. It’s more drama driven, using the sex scenes as a sad and depressing display of character development as they spiral down into their own self destruction. Fans of this genre looking for hot and steamy sex scenes may want to resort to going to the curtained rooms in your video stores, since you won’t find what you’re looking for here.

Check out other flicks in Impulse Pictures catalogue.

roadside attractions

  • -Sex Scene Shot Game!
  • -Also, take a shot every time you feel depressed for trying to get aroused.
  • -Think happy thoughts.
  • -Did this ruin the ’sexy teacher’ fantasy for you?
totals

3

blood

BLOOD

Very little after some fighting, but this isn’t a gore flick.

9

blood

BREASTS

Lots, although most of the time not in the context you want.

6

beast

BEASTS

No monsters, but the characters themselves are somewhat monsterly.

6 OVERALL
dripper

Check out the trailer for “Female Teacher Hunting”

trailers

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