Archive for the 'Drama' Category

Oct

Comments Off on Extinction (2015)

Welcome to another review, folks! It seems the world can’t get enough of zombies: TV shows, movies, dolls, video games, books, it doesn’t matter. So film studios depend upon the word “zombie” to get attention, or some kind of segue into the more mainstream focus. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, and sometimes it should. “Extinction” is one that should get some recognition. Now, before you get your pretenses in place, let’s get a good look at this little movie that could.

This movie began with so much camera shake, I tried to put my seat belt on. Note to directors: Shaky cam is bad. And if the movie DOES call for it: Less is more! A man, his wife, their infant daughter and his best friend are trying to get away from the oncoming zombie apocalypse, that started well before the movie did. They’re on a bus with a large amount of people, and two army guys, all just as terrified as the next person, for good reason: The zombies have caught up! Now the bus is just a meal in a box, as they wait for the inevitable. The first military guy exits the bus, gets eaten, and the second one doesn’t fair any better. One of the gentlemen (who will be a main character later on) takes the lead, and tries to retrieve weapons from the land of jump scares. The first part of this movie is filled with jump scares, so get ready for that, along with neck-breaking shaky cam. For those with a weak stomach, skip this part altogether.

More tragedy strikes! The main characters are in all sorts of trouble; the wife is injured, the baby is covered in blood. Whose blood is it? Tune in next time to find out! Same undead time! Same undead channel! And now that the pulse-pounding beginning is over, prepare for something truly intense: FAMILY BONDING. Here’s where things grind to a halt, changing the pace so hard an airbag would deploy. One minute there’s running zombies, army guys firing guns everywhere, screaming, blood, and violence, and the next it’s father-daughter bonding time in a winter wonderland. While none of this is explained outright, hints are dropped. Get used to this domestic scene, because it lasts longer than most sequels do.

After cycling through survival set-ups, how they’re surviving, and what they’re doing to stay sane, we finally delve into the characters, themselves. It seems the family plus one have made themselves a little outpost: Two houses in a northern climate. across the street from the other, sharing resources, but that’s about it. We see few interactions between the men, as the environment paints the relationship between the two as less than hospitable. The ex-best friend has let all hygiene go, as he’s transformed into Rob Zombie’s crazier and dirtier cousin: Scruffy McCrazyDude, who spends his evenings broadcasting to any survivors out in the frozen wasteland, and getting blind, stinking drunk. Meanwhile, Angry McHostileDad spends hours with his daughter, and all seems right with the end of the world.

But, hey, this is a zombie movie! Where are the zombies? This question is the one I pondered, about the same time everyone else does at this point. The director must have foreseen that, and decided to give us a reminder that it is, indeed, a zombie movie. Scruffy McCrazyDude goes on a supply run to an old haunt, to not only get the little girl a birthday present, but to top off on end of the world stuff. A local piece of wildlife alerts him that things can still live. Then the same piece of wildlife gets eaten like a piece of cake at a two-year-old’s birthday party. Scruffy follows the shadowy creature back to their homestead, where Angry McHostileDad is showing his daughter how to shoot a gun, which attracts the beast.

The zombies at the beginning of the film are typical runners who chase their prey and eat them. The zombies at the second half are completely new: white skin, blank eyes, nude, and they hunt by sound. I like this change, making the creatures evolve with their natural environment, changing the way they hunt. I’m impressed by the switch from Play Doh-caked faces to this new super zombie. But you can’t have zombies without making them a threat. Scruffy defends the little girl from the first attack on the homestead, but gets bitten while Angry leaves him to fate to save his daughter. The three prepare for the worst: Scruffy becomes part of the legion of the undead. But days go by, and nothing happens. It seems these zombies have a glitch: their bite doesn’t turn you. This fortunate, or unfortunate, event leads Angry and Scruffy to make up and be friends, even to the point of going on a supply run together, daughter included.

During their little family trip to the grocery store, we begin to learn about what went down between all the adults in the movie, giving some background to the drama. It’s kind of hard to follow if you haven’t been paying attention, but the gist is there. While the family is shopping, they find a young woman, frozen in terror and ice. They take her back to the honeycomb hideout to find out her story, while discovering that Scruffy didn’t finish off the new zombie. Instead he took a note from “The Walking Dead’s” Michonne and disabled it, chaining it to his house for research. This decision doesn’t sit well with Angry, and things really go downhill. But, as always, no spoilers here, folks. But I will end with this: There’s a hell of an ending.

With the pace a lot slower than most modern horror movies, “Extinction” may be harder for younger audiences to grind through, but old schoolers enjoy the massive character development. There are typical “Why would you do that?!?” moments that every horror movie suffers from, but, show me one that doesn’t. There’s plenty I left out of this review, and for good reason: I want you guys to check this one out. Top-notch gore, acting, creatures, and setup, but it’s a shame it suffers from such a generic name. I recommend this movie, available on Netflix, with a big bucket of popcorn and the lights out. Thanks for reading, folks! And, as always, Stay Tuned!

roadside attractions

  • What did you think would happen?
  • Did you forget how doors work?
  • Run! Run! You can stay still.
  • Winterwonderland of Death
  • Who wrote that?
  • THAT had to hurt!
totals

7

blood

BLOOD

The blood flows, the body parts rain down, it is awesome!

0

blood

BREASTS

None. None at all.

8

beast

BEASTS

Cool new design to a tired genre!

8.5 OVERALL
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Aug

Comments Off on Unfriended

Welcome to another review, folks! Now, I’ve covered a lot of different kind of horror movies in my reviews, so it makes me kind of proud to say that this is a first in this genre: Cybernatural. Now, I’m not saying anyone else on this wonderful site hasn’t done it, just me. As I’ve said before, anything can be a scary movie, just add the right elements. And in this review we have all the right elements to give us a pretty interesting setup. Let’s get to Unfriended.

This movie begins with a Skype call between two teenage kids, a boy and girl, of course, sharing some intimacies that will make you uncomfortable. I mean, seriously, I’m aware that countless other horror movies have used naked teenagers in them, but this is borderline voyeurism. Why is it so intimate? Because the movies perspective is from the laptop screen of one of the teens. We find out that this is the anniversary of the suicide of a friend, caused by cyberbullying. After we see the appropriate video, detailing the events that happened prior to this setup, all of the couples friends are suddenly summoned to the private moment. Mood killer, I know.

They all begin to question why they’re there, like the rest of us, and begin to converse, only to notice there’s a user in the Skype call that is not registered. Mystery begins! This setup, thus far, is pretty boring, I know, but stick with me, folks, this ride gets bumpy. Once the user is attempted to be hung up on, removed, deleted, and all but given to the Spanish Inquisition, the mystery steps up a notch. I have to warn you, though, as you watch this movie you will be tempted to close all the tabs and windows the character has open, searching for your mouse the whole time. And while annoying, it does give a very real feel to the movie, and I like that.

Soon after they begin to poke and prod the mysterious presence equally mysterious messages begin to appear, everyone in the chat thinking that the others are sending them. A scene from the trailers makes its way in and then things start to get weird. The disembodied chatter wants to start playing games. I think the folks that wrote this watched Saw a few too many times. But not before pictures, that were previously unpublished, make their way to several of their Facebook pages, exposing one girl and her partying ways. Tempers flare, words are exchanged, and here’s where the tension begins to build.

The incriminating pictures are removed from one account, only to appear on another. More tempers! More words! More incoherent shouting! And the game begins. No, there’s no Jigsaw voice employed. I’m disappointed, too. Seems the person terrorizing our little group of teens doesn’t like being hung up on. The nerd of the group finds a program to remove the user and the infected files they believe is causing the anomaly, freeing them. Though the fix is just temporary. Our resident nerd is now on the chopping block.

Now that the threat has been established as real the rest of the gang is now all on board with playing the malevolent being’s series of games. The ghost must be a teenager, as it favors the game ‘Never have I ever’. Another teen is offed in the process as the tension in the movie begins to build. This, I have to say, is probably the highlight of these young actors. The scenes and their behaviors are all very, very genuine, and easy to believe. I was very impressed with the fact that they were able to make ME feel on edge with their performances.

As we learned earlier in the movie, but I have yet to detail, the reason for the grizzly deaths and the haunting, is the dead teen wants to find out who shot and uploaded the video that pushed her to meet the business end of a handgun. The fact that the perspective is limited to just one laptop is very helpful to convey the genuine terror that is going on for the other teens, each with their own fates shown through a Skype window. The ghost begins to force secrets out of each of the callers, exposing them, for what she believed, to be their true colors.

We tackle everything from cheating, to betrayal, and even rape. The remaining teens begin to oust each other, either in an emotional tirade, or to circumvent their own demise. Either way it doesn’t end well for any of them. As our number of participants in the ghosts game begin to dwindle we reach the last scenes of the movie. No spoilers, folks, but I can at least say: They didn’t go into the woods.

Unfriended is a title, I believe, that has brought a new breath of life to the Cybernatural genre. Though some of the deaths could’ve been done better, or been elaborated on more, the few that we got clear shots of were pretty interesting. I love the social commentary about cyberbullying, and its consequences. The ending can be either fantastic, or a let down, depending on your view of the movie. But the rest is certainly a ride that most viewers should take. Thanks for reading, folks! Stay tuned.

roadside attractions

  • Salsa in the bedroom.
  • What’s that bottle for?
  • Have these kids never seen Saw?
  • Unrealistic idea of Chatroulette.
  • What happens if your wifi fails?
totals

5

blood

BLOOD

There isn’t a lot of gore, but rather some interesting ways to die.

0

blood

BREASTS

There are none. There’s a preview. That’s it.

4

beast

BEASTS

It’s a ghost. So not much. Malevolent intent, however, is good.

7.0 OVERALL
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Jan

Comments Off on The Long Hair of Death

The Long Hair of Death
1964 – NR – 100 Minutes – Raro Video
Starring Barbara Steele, George Ardisson, Halina Zalewska – by Antonio Margheriti

Anytime something bad is happening in the world, it’s probably because of a witch’s curse and to get rid of it, you have to burn her on a cross. If she cries out for her maker and dies, she wasn’t a witch after all, but if she shrieks out hexes and curses those who wronged her, she is a witch, but she is burning, so the curse is gone! Everybody wins. Except the witch. These are all scientific facts.

But you better hope that witch doesn’t curse you and cry out for vengeance upon her execution. It will haunt you for the rest of your life, which will come to an end unexpectedly, just as you think you are on top of the world. The Long Hair of Death is such an example. It’s dark and shadowy trip down a cold, chilling hallway of treachery, murder and revenge from Antonio Margheriti, the director of cult classics like Castle of Blood and Yor, Hunter From the Future. Ok, that last one maybe not so much, but the guy knows how to create mood and tension.

lhd_2And what way better way to open up a movie? Count Humboldt and his rather douchy son Curt are burning a witch at the stake, but this isn’t your regular kind of tie-them-to-a-cross burning. It’s some sort of torcherous haystack maze that is set on fire! As the accused witch is trying to escape the hellfire, her hot daughter (no pun intended) Helen, played by the gorgeous Barbara Steele, is attempting to plead with the Count to save her by any means necessary… any, if you catch my drift. So while the Count is grinding on her, he promises her that her mother will be safe, but then Curt sets a torch to the maze and the old woman catches fire while her youngest daughter watches and she shouts curses on her tormentors. Jeez, the guy couldn’t even wait til morning to break his promise. Helen vows that she will have her revenge, but there may be a change of plans. The Count tosses her off a cliff and into a river, leaving her younger sister Lisabeth as the sole survivor. Helen is buried with the old witch’s ashes, which you know is going to be a combination more deadly than peanut butter and chocolate.

Some years pass and Lisabeth is now a young woman, being stalked by the even creepier Curt, who basically forces her into marriage. Of course, this is back in the day when you could just say you’re going to marry someone and claim them. That’s basically what happens, but even though she’s his wife now, he will never have her heart. He doesn’t truly love her and she hates him and they spend a good amount of time loathing each other and staring daggers as she plots her revenge against Curt while avoiding him. So, it’s your basic run of the mill marriage. Lisabeth begs for vengeance and vengeance she shall have!

lhd_3As the plague is claiming the lives of the villagers, Curt and his father stay safely in their castle until an old, familiar face returns! Could it be Helen? She certainly looks like her, but doesn’t act like her… The woman says her name is Mary and has been separated from her group. Upon seeing her face, the count dies from guilt and Curt greaves in Helen’s magnificent bosom. But don’t think Lisabeth doesn’t notice some other floozy making moves on her man! She soon becomes jealous and suspects Curt of adultery and she should, because he is totally hitting that behind her back. Even as Helen tries to leave, Curt goes as far as to poison a messenger sent out to find her party. Now, if that isn’t the sign of someone who loves you, I don’t know what is.

Deceit, treachery and murder are all part of this marriage (I guess each couple has to keep their relationship “fresh”), as Curt plots Lisabeth’s death and she patiently awaits for revenge, but will she ever get it? And why is it hard to advert my eyes away from Helen’s cleavage? Curt soon brings Helen into the mix, turning her against Lisabeth and soon paranoia sets in and there is nobody they can trust, not even the priest! Well, if you can’t trust the priest, then who can you? It’s a devilish story about getting even that leads up to an ending that will ring of The Wicker Man.

Talk about an exciting, little murder mystery! There are plenty of moments in the film where anything seems possible and you aren’t sure what’s going to happen, but you’re certainly there, wide eyed in anticipation waiting for it. Sure, you’ve seen this plot probably about a dozen times and maybe it’s the way it’s presented here, but it doesn’t feel old. Those Italians sure do know how to create some genuine suspense. It does take some time getting to the revenge, but everything is a slow build, so you have enough time to get to know these characters and despise them enough so that any type of revenge is justified, no matter how cruel and unusual it may be. And boy, does it get cruel and unusual.

lhd_4But that’s just the start. There is a lot of sexualization in the film and dealing into darker matters with rape and abuse, which may seem unheard of for films from the 60’s, but this is when European Gothic horror films were really starting to become just what they were meant to be; dark. Yes, there was a time when goth was more than whatever was trending down at the Hot Topic and The Long Hair of Death represents that. Presenting the spousal abuse, adultery, death and plague is some beautifully lit set pieces, highly contrasting the lights and shadows within the castle, something Italian filmmakers seem to have a knack for. The film has some seriously beautiful images.

And I have to give praise to the performances in the film. Curt is that villain you love to hate. He’s always up to something that will only further his desires while hurting someone else. Everything he says seems to be there to shine light on his greed, selfishness and his treacherous scheming. Even against his own father, who starts off as the most detestable person in the film, but later accepts his own fate. I did find it odd that Curt would later come to mourn his passing, especially after Curt admits to the reason behind the Count’s brother’s disappearance. Countering that is Lisabeth, the sympathetic female unwillingly caught in the middle of all of this. At times she seems a little weak, because you want her to extract the revenge, but that is lent a more supernatural hand. I also felt that her jealousy was a bit unwarranted, since adultery was met with execution back in the day and that could have solved her problem right there, but I guess she wanted to do it herself. And of course we have to mention the gothic bombshell Barbara Steele in a dual role. This woman does the unimaginable in an attempt to save her mother’s life as Helen and as Mary, she flaunts was she was born with and expresses what a sexual beast she can be.

For those of you always looking for the greatest quality out there, Raro really came through for you. The picture is sharp and smooth, although sometimes too smooth, delivering a pretty crisp picture with little leftover scratches. The same can be said about the audio, which seems to be flawless here. That score will get stuck in your head for days and both Italian and English dialogue tracks are here. I recommend the Italian track with the English subs, since the English dub seems to be a bit sillier and some of the dialogue is omitted, like an inner voice speaking to Lisabeth.

The Long Hair of Death
Sure, you could choose from one of the many Hammer Horror films if the mood strikes you for something gothic, but I say reach a little further for The Long Hair of Death. Something about it feels more natural than something in the Hammer series (not saying anything bad about Hammer), especially within the scenery. It’s a dreary good time that is remarkable to look at and will keep you in suspense as wave after wave of tension keep slamming into you.

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Barbara Steele will steal your heart.
  • Curt, lord douche.
  • Murder, deception and betrayal! Oh my!
  • Gothic interior decorating.
  • Man, The Wicker.
totals

3

blood

BLOOD

Nuttin’ but a rotten corpse.

6

blood

BREASTS

Two words. Barbara and Steele.

7

beast

BEASTS

Curt needs a mustache to twirl while lightening strikes behind him.

5.3 OVERALL
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Dec

Comments Off on Christmas Evil (aka You Better Watch Out)

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
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Nov

Comments Off on Werewolf Woman

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

About the Highway

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