The Lost Highway's B-movie Reviews and Cult Films
Jun

posted by deadman | June 19, 2014 | B-movie Reviews, B-movies, modern horror, Reviews by Deadman

Comments Off on Big Ass Spider

big ass spider

Welcome back to another review from me, the Deadman. Before I begin I want to thank all the elders of losthighway.com for picking me to be an official reviewer. And now that I’ve proudly served my time in the dungeon battling radioactive weasels with nipple tasers and spartan shields I’m ready to get to it!

This time I’ll be reviewing another monster movie. Oh, cable. How you love to put out things that we can sit back and make fun of. This movie is proudly known as “Big Ass Spider.” Before I start ripping into this marvel I’d like to take a second and actually acknowledge that I LIKE this movie! Yeah. I actually ENJOYED this little run into the B-flick. I’ll give you all a moment to retrieve your collective jaws from the floor. Okay. Here we go.

One of my biggest problems with the usual big monster fodder is simple: these movies take themselves seriously. As if a bigfoot movie starring Donnie Bonaduci will surprise everyone and win an academy award or be nominated for an oscar. Yeah. However. This movie does what it’s cousin “Sharknado” does and that’s not take itself seriously. At all. The cliches are played up. The humor is there. The director lets the actors have fun with the rolls and allows the movie to be exactly what it should be: a fun little romp.

You gotta love a movie where one of the roles credited is “Girl With The Rack”. Now this whole movie is about….you guessed it. A big ass spider. Escaped from a military base and hidden away on a corpse of some guy we’ll never care about. Now that we got our premise let’s get to the rest of the cast. Though the movie, itself, revolves around three main characters, it does give us a plethora of people to wish a spidery death upon. The protagonist is a self-employed exterminator named Alex Mathis, who in his first few minutes of film gets bit by a spider. Clever, writer, clever. Thus prompting him to end up in the same hospital as our escaped killer arachnid. Convenient!

After escaping and biting some random guy EVENTS HAPPEN! Soon our main star is pressed into service to kill the eight-legged monstrosity in order to clear his hospital bill. I didn’t know healthcare worked that way. Hmm. Next time I wind up in the ER I’ll take my zombie hunting gear and try to strike a bargain with the mortician. But I digress. After picking up his sidekick, a mexican security guard with a lot of personality, our hero takes after the murderous creature. Several fruitless encounters later leads the third main character to be introduced. Her name is Lieutenant Karly Brant. AKA The love interest.

As you’ve guessed the love interest gal is part of the military and now we have set the stage! LET THE B-FLICK ACTION COMMENCE! At this point is where most of these movies lose steam, falling into failed character development or trying to set up a climax in long, drawn-out process. Big Ass Spider fights that web and fang! Instead of focusing on characters we will never find deep it lets the title character go completely Godzilla! First we trash a park, filled with delicious people, of course, next is a platoon of army folks! And our hero actually does prove his worth by rescuing Lt. Karly Brant. Where you’d usually go “Why didn’t he save anyone else?” this movie answers that by actually having him try to! Yeah! A B-Movie that covers plot holes!

There go those jaws again. Again where there should be boring character development we have the director using his best tool: IMPROV! There are more than a couple of scenes between Alex and Jose (The security guard) that actually made me laugh! I kept watching and thinking that there was no way this was scripted! Their humor is effortless and not forced at all. Which kept me in the film, I am not ashamed to say. Uh. Type. After a huge chase, exploding cars and a wrecked exterminator truck included, we find our climax at the heart of Los Angeles. The arachnid has now reached huge proportions and is now climbing a building while capturing humans to feed her soon to be hatched eggs. That’s right! Purpose to the destruction! I love little things like that. You know, plot points.

But lo, all is not well as Lieutenant Love Interest has gotten herself captured! With her own military unit threatening a nuclear strike to contain the incident Alex and Jose are now her only hope! As I said the cliches are played up. Ticking clock until nuke strike, a final battle between our heros and the hatchlings, and a boss battle to end all spider boss battles, the movie ends with a happy ending. I don’t want to give away any spoilers because I really do recommend this movie for a good night to have some laughs. It gets my thumbs up.

So there you have it. A B-movie movie worthy of being checked out. While it suffers from the same bad CGI that most others do it’s more than forgivable. The humor flows naturally, the spider takes the main stage, and it does a bit of a Tarantino at the beginning. I can’t stop giving kudos to the attitude the flick takes versus others of the same nature. B-Flick fans will have fun.

roadside attractions

  • Spider ass
  • Improv humor
  • Girl with the rack
  • Scream cam
  • CGI blood everywhere
totals

8

blood

BLOOD

While CGI there’s plenty to be had as well as other ooey gooeyness.

4

blood

BREASTS

10

beast

BEASTS

Spiders and spiders and more spiders! Who knew they could roar?

9.0  OVERALL
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Jun

Comments Off on Xtro

I’m starting to doubt this whole “aliens are among us” conspiracy theory going around lately. Sure, back in the day when ET was on lunchboxes and Alf was eating cats, I was more inclined to believe such nonsense, but now I call shenanigans. Occasionally we get a “credible” witness like a Walmart manager who is abducted in the parking lot or and old lady with glaucoma who saw blurry lights out by her woodshed. To me it seems like it’s mostly just drunk deer hunters in pickup trucks. Kardishains are actually aliens? Yes that’s believable, but drunk deer hunters who may have just shot their buddies in the face aren’t the reliable witnesses as you would’ve originally believed. They have consistently lied about deer they shoot and how many other hunters in the process (the averaged is 3). Why would I ever believe them if they claim to be probed by a 8 ft albino? So now whenever I’m approached by a old beat up pick up truck with a gun rack in back, I know that someone is about to tell me a lie. I say to that fellow, “Whoa there bearded stranger, you best sober up and we’ll talk about your alien encounter over a hot cup of joe.” and we share a good flavored coffee and laugh about the ridiculousness of it all. So remember, don’t trust drunk deer hunters when it comes to alien conspiracies but do trust sober pheasant hunters with bigfoot stories. They are most trustworthy people you can meet and will never steer you wrong. (except Dick Cheney)

xtroSpeaking of alien abductions, Xtro is yet another movie that further destroyed any extraterrestrial credibility left. Tony and his dad Sam are out in their backyard playing fetch with their dog when the fetch stick suddenly explodes in mid air and the dad is sucked up like a vacuum cleaner into a vortex of light leaving Tony wondering what happened to his stick.

Years later, Tony is still having nightmares about the abduction and rightly so. His mother Angela seems to be coping well, since she’s shacking up with a photographer named Joe and hiring a French live-in maid played by Maryam Dabo. That life insurance must have paid off nicely. Things are all set up for a outrageous romantic comedy, but then a meteor falls in the woods and some hairless alien dog oozes out of it. The gooey mutt finds a woman in a nearby English cottage and attaches to her face with an alien vacuum hose depositing mutant DNA into her womb. She awakens hours later with a hangover and a tummy the size of a Volkswagen which she spontaneously gives birth to the recently abducted Sam as a full grown man!!! Whoooaaa! No hot water, no warm towels, no epidermal. This could be the best pro abstinence video ever.

Sam is a bit bewildered also a bit colicky, so he steals some clothes after killing a tourist and tracks down Tony and his mom back in town. Rachel his wife smacks him upside the face, but he explains how he had amnesia for the past 3 years and is ready to be a dad again. She totally buys his story letting him move in and kicking Joe to the curb in no short order. So take note cheatin’ boyfriends, just claim amnesia and everything works out fine.

Things seem like old times with the family back together, but Tony catches his Dad eating his pet snake’s eggs and is chased into the street and given an alien hickie. Seems that Sam wants to turn Tony into his own alien hell spawn. Days later, Tony seems his normal bland self, but suddenly develops psychic powers to conjure midget clowns and giant GI Joe dolls to go on killing sprees. At one point, he even creates a black cougar. Yes that’s right, aliens love cats, Alf lied to us! After Tony kills his neighbor, he strings up his live-in French maid as a giant cocoon to lay gooey alien eggs in the bathtub. She’s a sort of inverted pez dispenser. xtroWhile all this is going on, Rachel and Sam have run off to a cottage to make the sign of the 2 humped back whale. Sadly in mid love making, Sam’s skin starts falling off which really destroys the mood. Rachel freaks and Sam runs into the woods to meet up with his alien peeps to talk about his crazy times as a Englishmen. Joe the ex-boyfriend shows up hauling Tony along for the ride but ends up getting his brain melted away by Tony’s alien sonic attack. Rachel runs screaming after Tony, who meets up with his dad who is now full on alien and they disappears into a beam a light abandoning his mother and thus ending the weirdest Pink Floyd video ever.

Not too shabby for an alien film if you ignore the midget clown and random black cougar attacks. I’m thinking the movie might have been actually made by real aliens but we may never know. The truth is out there. *fade away with x-files music*

roadside attractions

  • Exploding fetch stick
  • Frog tongue lashing
  • Snake egg eating
  • Mutant hickies
  • Snake smashing
  • Killer midget clowns
  • Killer giant GI Joe dolls
  • Random black cougar attack
  • Jello molds gone bad
totals

6

blood

BLOOD

Lots of alien goo and ickiness to go around.

8

blood

BREASTS

Maryam Diabo, enough said.

9

beast

BEASTS

One crazy alien mutant with optional mutating son. midget clown, a giant GI-Joe, a snake, and a panther. Sounds like a late night L.A. party.

8 2 OVERALL
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Jun

Comments Off on Madman

Madman
1982 – R – Code Red
Starring – Gaylen Ross, Tony Fish – Directed by Joe Giannone

Ah, summertime. I believe Will Smith said it best when he said, “Every moment frontin’ and maxin’, chillin’ in the car they spent all day waxin’. Leanin to the side, but you can’t speed through, two miles an hour so everybody sees you.” This has nothing to do with this review, but man wasn’t that a good song? Especially in the summer?

Alright, now that the joke is out of the way, summer holds a special nostalgic place in most of our hearts. For me, going to camp was one of the most exciting parts. Getting together with all the other kids to play games, learning survival skills and telling spooky stories around the campfire. And let’s be honest, you felt so accomplished when they would slap a badge for that on your shirt, but instantly demasculate you with a baking badge. Nonetheless, I love the old feeling I get when I’m up late watching horror movies based around summer camp. Brings me back to a time when it was okay for adults to scare the living pee out of children.

One such tale is the legend of Cropsey. An actual story I’m familiar with since it was most popular in the upstate New York area, where I lived when I was young and went to camp. In a nutshell, the story is about a man returning to his familiar grounds and murder anyone who dares to camp there. Of course, this all depends on who is telling the tale, since, as with most legends, there are several versions of it, but this one seemed to be the most popular. So popular in fact, that someone decided to make a movie about and call it The Burning. However, another movie using the same tale was being made around the same time, but the good ol’ Weinstein’s beat them to the punch, so a small rewrite later, writer/director Joe Giannone unleashed Madman.

mm_2It’s the last day of camp as a group of kids are being horribly scarred for life by a ghost story that camp counselor sings to them as he prances around the fire. Chuckling at his amateur kid frightening skills, head counselor Max decides to one up him and calmly tells the children in the most trusting and soothing voice a supposedly true legend that will make sure no amount of therapy will ever help these children. That tale is the legend of Madman Marz, who murdered his wife and child with an axe, where he was shortly hung for his crimes (this was back in the day when lynching was encouraged… or the South), but his body had disappeared! Concluding, his name is never to be said above a whisper or else he would return to his sacred grounds and kill anyone who is present. So of course, the first thing the mouthy little punk Richie (who must’ve been a top contender for Mouth in The Goonies) does is scream his name and unnecessarily throw a rock an unknown amount of distance, which I’m guessing is at least half a mile away, judging by his solo march there later on, smashing out a window on a vacant house. This house seems so far off, it may as well have been Jenny’s house from Forest Gump. All have a good laugh as Max says his goodbye and goodnight to the kids, but Betsy (played by Dawn of the Dead‘s Gaylen Ross) disapproves of the story frightening the children, forever spoiling spooky campfire stories for everyone everywhere.

Betsy has a thing for TP and your guess is as good as mine as to why, since he snuffs her affection before they all return to their cabin. He quickly apologizes to the group about his outburst and to Betsy since it’s probably his last opportunity to hook up, as Max leaves to head into town to get supplies… and beer. Can’t forget beer.

But that’s not why you’re watching this movie. Camp cook and professional whiskey drinker Dippie is the first to fall victim, as Marz tears out his throat. I know we are all attached to this character and you’ll be in disbelief when you see him die, like when you saw Steven Segal die in Executive Decision. Still brings tears to my eyes.

What follows next is perhaps one of the most drawn out, semi-underwater, slow motion love scenes between TP and Betsy and lemme tell ya, you will be reaching for that fast forward button. It seriously drags out for several minutes, which normally wouldn’t be a bad thing, but Gaylen Ross keeps her puppies well hidden the entire time, while TP flexes his cheeks before climbing into the hot tub. While these two are contaminating the water, Madman Marz watches from outside. It’s about this time TP realizes he should probably check on the boys and notices that Richie is missing and goes out looking for him… alone… in the dark woods. Betsy offers to come with him, but he declines, as she sees a lumbering, shadowy figure darting around, but shrugs it off. I’m sure TP will be fine…

Did I say fine? I meant strangled and hung up like a pinata. To the actor’s credit, he really pulls of the excruciating pain that one must go through when being hung, as he actually choked himself by tying a rubber band around his neck! Now that’s “dead-ication.” Meanwhile, Betsy is back at camp complaining to Stacy that TP only wants sex when they realize he’s been gone for quite some time. Dave volunteers to go out alone into the woods to get killed next, bumping into TP’s body along the way and manages to dodge a few of Marz’s axe attacks before one finally manages to decapitate him. He was way in over his head anyway…

mm_3So now Stacy think TP is playing a joke (cause that’s what you did back then, play ineffectual pranks) and takes the car down to find everyone. Investigating something going bump in the night, she bursts in on the other two counselors, Ellie and Bill, about to bump uglies. She leaves them to their session of foreignication and has either very keen senses to where the others may be or this is the smallest wooded area in the world. She literally stumbles on Dave’s headless corpse (you starting to see a pattern here?) and runs back to the truck, but unfortunately the she has fallen victim to horror cliche #14: the stalling vehicle. Using all her mechanic knowledge, which I’m guessing is about none, she sticks her head right under the hood so Marz can cleverly jump on the hood to take off her head. That’s yer problem right there!

Bill and Ellie are hot on her heels searching for her when Ellie spots Marz standing over his trophy, which immediately sends her dashing toward Bill where she pleads with him to do the most rational thing; LEAVE! But what good is that? Bill suggests the most facepalming idea in history, to go check it out. Yes, go right toward the lumbering, superhuman maniac with an axe. Stacy’s body and Marz are gone when they reach the truck and oddly enough, neither of them see the blood splashed all over the front of the truck and decide to drive it back to camp, but if you recall, the truck does not start. Daves finds Stacy’s head in the engine and tosses it aside like an unwanted soggy melon and the truck starts (that’s got ‘er!) and they start to speed back to camp, but not before Marz rips Bill out of the driver’s side and snaps his back like a twig. After the truck crashes into a tree, Ellie runs back into camp and very cleverly hiding in the fridge. Seriously, if I were a killer (I’m not, I swear!), I would never in a million years think to check the fridge for my victims. Fresh ones anyway. That’s where you keep the leftovers. Unfortunately, it’s all for nothing. Once the noise quiets down, Ellie pokes her head out and checks the place out, only to be stabbed. The scene is really well paced and actually made me nervous!

Cut in between all this is the adventures of our young hooligan Richie, who has now stumbled upon the house he threw a rock at, which happens to be the home of Marz. After poking around a bit, he finds the dead bodies of all of the counselors in the basement. Good luck with therapy, kid!

So, if you’re doing your math correctly, this leaves lonesome Betsy, who is unaware that her friends have been brutally butchered. She’s making her rounds like a prison guard, which I’m sure all campers are familiar with that feeling, when she spots Ellie’s body and dashes off to grab a shotgun. Seems like the only smart characters in this movie are gossipy girls. Guys take note; just because your girlfriend talks constantly about makeup and their friend’s current boy toys, doesn’t mean she can’t properly load your hunting rifles and outgun you. Just ask Ellie, who managed to survive her stab wounds and creeps up to the door, who Betsy mistakes for Marz and blasts her friend’s face off. Whoops.

Betsy loads all the kids onto the bus and tells the eldest to drive the rest into town as she searches for her friends, which, remember, she has no idea are already dead. It’s probably a good thing a panicked woman who just emptied a double barrel 12 gauge shotgun at her friend’s head, probably isn’t in the best condition to drive a bus full of scared, jumpy children. Marz attacks the bus before they can leave, but retreats once the non harmful, padded door is shut on his hand and Betsy knows she has to end it once and for all, chasing him down to the house from before that Richie somehow managed to bust a window out from several miles away. After some creeping around, Marz attacks her, slashing her face open and impaling her on a hook Texas Chainsaw Massacre style, but happens to be packing a hunting knife, stabbing Marz who accidentally knocks over a candle, setting the place ablaze. Who knew her inner-pyro would come in handy? All for nothing though, as Marz escapes into the night.

mm_4Coming back from a long night of drinking, Max who is surprisingly not swerving all over the road spots Richie who is riddled with fear. Max asks the Richie what’s the matter, to which he exclaims, “Madman Marz… he’s real!”

To the movies credibility, it does pace the tension and build up very nicely. The scenes that build up to a characters death are drawn out to the point where you will be on the edge of your seat just waiting for something to happen and when it finally does in a glorious, blood splattered death, it pays off. Unfortunately the same can’t be said about the scenes of the counselors interacting with one another. I would say it’s too close to real life, since they don’t really discuss anything interesting, but that’s what it is. Just conversations about things I don’t think people actually talk about or girls going on about guys and blah, blah, blah. Mostly, they serve as an excuse for one character to head out into the dark woods alone to find the previous character who went off into the dark woods alone, so at least at times it does get the plot moving along.

Also, for being a low budget horror film of the early 80’s, it does have some of the best atmosphere you can get out of a slasher. The scenes are dark and often backlit, filled with the wood’s cold fog that can make something as open as the outdoors feel claustrophobic and making Marz feel larger than life. Speaking of, Marz is a pretty interesting killer with a well developed back story. Some horror flicks take several sequels to build a character’s backstory and can’t even do as good of a job as this movie did in just a few minutes. I’m looking at you Saw! A sequel was actually planned, picking up shortly after the events of the first film, wherein Richie would be in a psychiatric ward and he and Max return to the camp ground to try and stop Marz, but sadly the movie was never made, most likely due to Madman‘s obscurity or maybe studios didn’t want to take a chance on a lesser known flick, since Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm St. sequels were the ticket.

Madman
I like to find any reason I can to talk about this film, as I mentioned Madman is one of my favorite slashers. Sure it’s filled with a number of cliches, but it’s fun. Heck, I even did a video review of it, which you can check out here. So join me next time around the campfire to tell more chilling ghost stories… and bring S’mores!

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • The legend of Madman Marz, as told by the most trusting man ever.
  • Riche, all star quarterback.
  • Dippie.
  • Girl talk.
  • Hanging around.
  • Car trouble.
  • She was shooting her mouth off!
  • Gaylen Ross is Drew Berrymore in Firestarter.
totals

8

blood

BLOOD

Decapitations, bone snappings, mutilations and throat rips that even Patrick Swayze would be proud of.

3

blood

BREASTS

Two sex scenes and no boobs… something is wrong here.

9

beast

BEASTS

Shove off Jason, make room for Marz!

6.6 OVERALL
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Jun

posted by Barry Goodall | June 9, 2014 | B-movie Reviews, B-movies, Bad movie, Guest Review

Comments Off on The GreensKeeper: A guest review by HMMadness

After seeing how many bad movies, remakes, reboots, and SCIFY Channel movies were coming down creating Anarchy, I realized you couldn’t beat them, so I watched them, and now hunt them down and watch what others won’t or can’t. Its my own way of either spreading the Anarchy or keeping a lid on it. Take your pick, its Madness…and as a large number of them consist of horror that is the name I choose, Horror Movie Madness or just HMMadness.

Holy Crap, this movie is stupid. I get B movies should be goofy and this one is even trying to spoof other movies like it and itself even, but it just does not work, as the acting and style is awful.

It had three directors and maybe that’s why it is as bad as it. We have Kevin Greene who gave us just this as a director, he was an actor/producer/writer on a movie called The Sorority.

Adam Johnson who who was also a director on a documentary called Train Days. Finally we have Tripp Norton who only has a director credit for this but was in the art department of movies like X-Men First Class, Anchorman 2, Zombieland, and many others…weird.

We open up with Allen Anderson(played by Allelon Ruggiero) dreaming, or is he. Then maybe another dream…Who knows. This leads into some of the lamest credits ever, the names are spaced between shots from the movie, like a bad sitcom or Soap.

We get some poor dialogue between Allen and his girlfriend Mary Katherine(played by Allison Kulp) about how he is just an assistant greenskeeper and doesn’t even have car, as he sold it to visit Morrison’s grave for inspiration in his screen writing? It tries to explain his dreams using Close Encounters mashed potato scene but his dumb pot smoking friends don’t get it.

We met some of his Allen’s friends, Rain Drop, Muffy, and Helmet Boy? They don’t really matter so we are not going to focus on them. At the country club we meet spoiled rich girls and some guys named Chaz, Chad, and Champ. We also met the head greenskeeper, Otis. The kids were to have a party at one girls house but her parents could not go on vacation but they have booze and crack already…what to do. They decide to sneak into the country club after hours to have the party, we get the back story of a greens keeper who was badly burned and seeks revenge on the club, he lives in a old shack in the woods and had maybe killed a man named Old Man Rivers…

We get some shots of what greens keepers do, planting flags, cutting grass, boring and not needed. We see that some of the guys of the club are both stupid and homophobic. One of them talks about how public television is full of “gay seeds” Look at Bert and Ernie and how Ernie eats cookies in Bert’s bed? Then the fact they wear saddle oxfords and turtlenecks. Plus look at Snuffleupagus? Thats all they say…

Some country club young, arrogant jerk is out golfing, talking on his cell phone and steps in a huge thing of water. He gets killed with a 4 iron by a greens keeper. We go back to the storage area where we see Otis taking off a greens keeper helmet and see what looks like red stuff on his shirt…

Then we see the rich kids again, this time in a car, out in public, with the windows rolled down, snorting coke….Wow….

Lets speed this up. I am not going to do every lame joke and tired thing. There is a sort of ongoing joke as different groups at times are watching a horror movie on tv that I think is called The Milkman, Allen comments on how yes you can make a few bucks on a original killer in a Milkman, with T&A, some weird kills and c list actors making 10 minute cameos but where is the ART! Sigh…

We meet the rest of Allen’s family at his birthday dinner, his mom who is a nagging know it all and his stepfather who runs the country club since Allen’s father died. Even marrying his mother but Allen can’t stand him. We learn next to nothing about him.

So the party happens and lot of people show up. Some of the guys are sitting around and the homophobic one says that of course Hendrix was guy, “Excuse me while I kiss this guy” That is gay”. The tennis pro also sneaks in while the gate is open with a young girl but head to the tennis court?

Allen tries to break up with Mary K but she says that would be dumb as their are guys who would walk across deserts just to eat the corn out of her waste(she uses a much stronger word) . Seriously?? Really?

Finally the Greens Keeper starts to make their move, killing the tennis pro by putting nails in the automatic ball shooter, driving a nail into his head. Drags the girl out out a bathroom stall and kills her. Other guy was drowned in the pool while blindfolded, another couple have sex on a golf cart even though her bathing suit is on the whole time.

Guy gets killed taking a leak, using a golf ball washer, girl killed by a thrown weapon of some kind and then maybe run over with golf cart, not really sure. Then we get more sexual stuff, out on a green, he swears to pull out and asks who is your daddy, they are offed by a post hole digger.

We see a guy climbing down off a lifeguard tower, with the Elena girl waving. Then we see shots of the pool and then the guy is just sitting on the tower again. Turns out to be a dead guy…so how he started to climb down is curious. We find Mary K tied to a tree with golf tees in her head, guess that killed her. Then we get the only non cliche, a girl escapes and hides while the killer runs past her, losing her. That,s unusual…

This leads to Allen, Elena, and a dude in a greens keeper outfit in the maintanice building, when the real killer shows up and gives their reason for doing it all. Its contrived and stupid, and we see what happens to everyone and why…

Avoid this movie, it really has nothing redeeming about it, it is not clever. It thinks it is but really it’s stupid and the jokes fall flat pretty much every time, I didn’t crack a smile even once. Some of the deaths were different or unique but they took forever to get there and the reasons behind everything was pointless. They tried to lead you one way and swerve you but if you pay attention you know that is not what is going on.

I hope they had fun making this movie as I had zero fun watching it. The hour and 20 minutes felt like forever.

Jun

Comments Off on Countess Dracula

Countess Dracula
1971 – PG – Synapse
Starring Ingrid Pitt, Nigel Green – Directed by Peter Sasdy

When hearing the title Countess Dracula or upon a viewing of the box art, thoughts of traditional vampire imagery may flood your mind; fangs and drinking of blood, capes, widow’s peaks, sparkling… but none of that is actually in the movie. The film is more about the supposedly true story of Hungarian Countess Erzsebet Bathory who would be responsible for 600 deaths of virgin girls, through torture and mutilation, in her time, 1560 to 1614. This is, of course, all speculation, but possibly inspired the tales of Dracula and his thirst for blood to remain immortal. Wow, the more you know.

It’s Hungary in the late 17th century, so if it’s not the plague killing someone, it’s war, which has taken the life of Count Nádasdy. He was a well respected man, so of course his will reading is filled with bottom feeding friends and family dividing up his fortune and estate. Countess Elizabeth (played by the gorgeous and late Ingrid Pitt) is none too pleased about having to share her late husband’s estate with her daughter Ilona. Guess someone should have taught her that sharing means caring, but caring isn’t exactly Countess Elizabeth’s strongest feature, as we see when she talks with Captain Dobi, who has been in love with her for a very long time, she often uses him to gain what she wants.

cd_2If she wanted to stiff her daughter on her inheritance, you can deduce how she treats her chambermaid, constantly scolding and belittling her. All this poor woman needs to do is lay down so that Elizabeth may wipe her soles on her, but something tells me that the Countess is the type of woman who likes to grind her soles. If she were a smoker, I can guarantee she would call in her chambermaid to put her cigarettes out on her. But worse things can and will happen, as the chambermaid accidentally cuts herself, splattering her blood on the Countess’ face. But as cruel fate would have it, the blood from this young woman smooths Elizabeth’s face and removes wrinkles. If a little bit of blood can make her look ten years longer, how do you think every drop of blood in the chambermaid’s body would make Elizabeth look? After a morbid brainstorm with her with maid Julie, they seal the young chambermaid’s fate and use her blood to restore Elizabeth’s youth and she is ready to par-tay!

But how would you explain her sudden youthful look to the public? Not even Maybelline could cover that all up, even if she was born with it. Well, remember when I said she wasn’t the most kind or caring parent? Using Captain Dobi (thinking with his “head”), they carry out a plot to kidnap her very own daughter, so that the Countess may pose as her. Geez, Elizabeth makes Alec Baldwin look thoughtful and compassionate in comparison. With Ilona out of the way, Elizabeth is free to make googly eyes with the young studs.

cd_3Hey, even older people have a libido and need to bump and grind from time to time. Before medication like Viagra, people would have to bathe in the blood of virgins. It’s common knowledge. Having inherited the stables from the recently departed Count, Imre, whose father was a close friend and soldier of the Count, Elizabeth falls for his Errol Flynn like mustache and she manages to seduce him just as her age is returning. She manages to flee, but realizes she needs more blood to restore her youth again. Time to put out a Craigslist ad looking for young blood!

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work with hooker blood as our hooligans discover when Captain Dobi tries to frame Imre for sleeping with a common streetwalker, which Elizabeth murders her and drains her blood, realizing that she hasn’t reverted in age.

cd_4It doesn’t take long for the nosey librarian to discover what’s going on and Captain Dobi is ready to snuff him out of the equation until the Countess realizes his knowledge of spells could be useful. Fortunate for him, his vast knowledge and newly inherited library that contains books on youth incantations will keep him alive, but for how long? As Countess Elizabeth transforms into her slamming young self again, who should finally arrive (unbeknownst to her), but her daughter Ilona, who has finally escaped from her captors after like the thousandth try. Seriously, you could make a montage of all her escape attempts, sync it to the Benny Hill music and it would be pure comedy gold. After all, Ilona isn’t the most nimble creature on Earth. She is quickly introduced to Imre who learns that she is the Countess’ daughter, but if Ilona is the real daughter, then who is… wha… woah. Someone isn’t who they are claiming to be, but we already know who.

Everything boils down to a dark ending that you see coming, but it’s still pretty gripping, being a Hammer Film and all. What, you were expecting a happy ending? Once a dead body is found inside the castle, the police, or whatever you would call them back then, evacuate all the help, but leave the residence, believing that no harm will come to them as they hunt for the killer in town. Our cast, however, know better and realize they are trapped inside this castle like a prison and must come up with a plan to reveal the Countess and escape.

This Hammer Horror release is sometimes forgotten or overlooked, as it’s a departure from the regular tales of Frankenstein and Dracula that the company is widely known for, but it still captures the same sleazy, gothic atmosphere (if not more so), which is captured phenomenally on Synapse’s Blu-ray release, which is a newly high definition transfer. If you’re a screen junkie or just happen to notice bad transfers, you may recall the previous DVD release from Carlton Visual Entertainment had a noticeable muddy colors and was obviously stretched to make it appear widescreen. Needless to say, it was an eyesore, but not here. Colors feel right, meaning that thing appear how they should and I should mention that Ingrid Pitt’s aged makeup looks pretty well done and this new transfer doesn’t show any weaknesses in it. I did find the audio to be loud at time, mostly with music stings, and quiet during others, but like with most cases, it will in no way ruin the experience for you. Dialogue isn’t muted or muffled, it’s nice and sharp, but seem to dip in levels from time to time. Overall, Countess Dracula has never looked more youthful.

Countess Dracula
There is plenty of deception, murder and betrayal to go around for every sinister feeling fanatic. The countess goes as far as to have her own daughter kidnapped for an indefinite amount of time and who knows, after some time, what her fate would be. It’s a dark plot is that will leave you satisfied, even if you were in it for the usual Hammer violence that isn’t as intense here as their previous films (did I mention there is plenty of sleaze?). And ladies, don’t try this at home (believe me, I tried)!

Check out this review and plenty others at Goon Reviews.

roadside attractions

  • Ingrid Pitt looks good, even under all that makeup.
  • Virgin Blood by Revlon.
  • Is there a Necronomicon in that library?
  • The Great Escape, starring Ilona.
totals

4

blood

BLOOD

These virgins may be drained of their blood, but there isn’t very much.

8

blood

BREASTS

Ingrid Pitt, some dead virgins and a hooker. Everyone wins.

7

beast

BEASTS

Looks can be deceiving. Ingrid Pitt is one nasty mother!

6.3 OVERALL
dripper

Watch the entire movie!

trailers

dripper

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