“I fell in love with a Video Nasty.”
Back in the early 80s, the British government made a pretty radical and VERY conservative decision: they decided to ban or heavily censor movies before they were released on video.
You see, before then, anything that was released in the theatre could be released on video. And those videos were getting into the hands of children. And we couldn’t have that, now could we?!
IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN!!!
It all actually started in 1982. The makers of The Driller Killer took out a full page ad for their video featuring the rather graphic box art. (There was a man getting drilled in the head with lots of blood spewing everywhere.) Then, right after that, Go Video sent an anonymous letter to Mary Whitehouse of the National Viewers And Listeners Association. They wanted to drum up business for their new movie, so they sent this letter to complain about the horrible violence and sadistic scenes of sexual torture featured in it. Their idea was that word would get out and people would run to see this crazy new movie.
The movie was Cannibal Holocaust. And the idea was terrible. It backfired on them and got the video banned. It and The Driller Killer were offenders number one and two for Mrs. Whitehouse and Conservative MP Graham Bright. Between the two of them, the Video Recordings Act Of 1984 was passed on September 1, 1985. Now the government could do all the censoring it wanted, cutting violent bits out of any film at any time. All movies released on video after this date had to be submitted to the committee and any film released before had to be re-submitted within three years.
IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN!!!
For the most part, only really low-budget horror films were really affected. Of course, The Exorcist ran afoul of the law and was pulled from shelves, as was Straw Dogs…which was filmed in England and wasn’t really horror at all!
The funniest thing about all of this was the fact that the police were in charge of pulling videos that they thought were bad. That means that the police could raid a video store and pull, oh, say, Best Little Whorehouse In Texas because they thought it was porn. (This actually happened.)
Basically, a video is pulled from the shelves and then prosecuted. They bring charges against not only the store/owner, but also the production company and the distribution company. And God help you if you were caught giving an unclassified movie to a minor.
IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN!!!
The whole list thing has been pretty much relaxed by now, although it took a long time. The Evil Dead was just recently (2001) re-released in England completely uncut.
In all, there are 74 Video Nasties. These are films that were banned under the Obscene Publications Act. The list was made public in 1983 (which probably boosted their sales worldwide) and they were prosecuted thereafter. In all, 39 were successfully prosecuted. (Most of these have been released in cut versions since then.) The other 35 had troubles, but were released because of bad prosecutions.
Why do I bring all of this up? Well, I have taken it upon myself to see all 74 of these films. Some I’ve seen already. (Hell, The Evil Dead is one of my favorite movies!) Some are very hard to find. Most, though, can be found on Netflix, which is kinda funny, huh?
I’ll try to keep the movies in alphabetical order so you can find them. Check back on this page frequently because I’ll update it with new reviews as I see the movies. They will, hopefully, all be here at some point in the future.
I can’t wait.
(For a much fuller and more accurate version of the Video Nasty story, check out wikipedia’s page.)
A group of friends (one of whom is pregnant) go on a boat trip off the coast of Italy. They find a deserted village on an island that no one ever goes to. Horrible, nasty, filthy, bloody, disgusting chaos ensues.
I gotta tell ya, for the most part the Nasties have really been completely ineffective in their quest to scare me. Sure, they’ve been pretty disgusting. Some have even bee kind of disturbing…but more in the “I can’t believe they made this” sort of way.
So, when I popped this into my dvd player, I was ready for a shock ride that would keep me up all night.
Well…that’s not really what I got. The first hour of the movie is these stupid characters roaming around the island figuring out that there might be something evil there, but not really believing it. (Their first clue is when the Death card comes up in a deck of Tarot cards. Of course, anyone who knows anything about Tarot knows that Death does not mean “death.” It’s actually not one of the bad cards. I’m a little tired of this cliche being used all the time. It’s just wrong.)
The only shock is the nearly clever “real scare after the fake scare” trick. A loud noise scares a couple of the people and they find out that it’s a kitten on a piano. They laugh and laugh and then FUCKING SCREAM when a young, blood-soaked girl pops up out of nowhere brandishing a big fucking knife and screaming her fucking head off!
Other than that, the first hour is pretty boring.
Then, FINALLY, the guy on the coverbox shows up in all of his bald, slimy glory. AND HE’S HIDING BEHIND A FUCKING BEDROOM DOOR!!!! AUAUAUAUAUAGHGGGHGHGHGH!!!!!
Yeah. THAT was pretty frightening. After he dispatches one of the guys (pretty easily, too…he must have venom in his teeth), he disappears and all is boring again.
Really, the movie only comes alive (so to speak) when the slimy guy shows up. He is pure evil and incredibly disturbing. Even after giving him a semi-sympathetic backstory he’s creepy. Unfortunately, like Phantasm’s Thin Man, this reaper of the not so optimistic variety is a much cooler creation than the movie he’s attached to. Director With A Thousand Names Joe D’Amato (real name Aristide Massaccesi) figured out what scares us, but then he dropped the ball on the rest of the movie. Not even Tisa Farrow could save this one.
And watch out for that opening music. Wow, it’s godawful.
But I do have a question for you: Does anybody know where I can get a copy of his Porno Holocaust?
LOW POINT: The fetus eating scene. Yeah. Not so much pleasant.
A young girl is raped by a group of killers running from the cops. They hide out with Lisa and her paralyzed grandfather, taking advantage of them in every way possible. But the rape was too far. She starts to get her bloody revenge with the titular implement.
You know, I’ve seen Last House On The Left. Did I need to see another one? And did it need to seem really, really long even at an hour and eight minutes? There’s some gore here, but not very much. (They barely had time!) Hardly worth the “Nasty” reputation. And boring as all hell. There’s a five minute scene with Lisa shaving her father…but he still has a beard! I don’t know. Maybe she was shaving his neck. I had kind of lost interest by the third minute.
Last year (2007), Harry Potter fucked a horse. But fans of the Nasties know that bestiality in pop culture has been around for many years before Dan waved his wand around on stage. (Hell, it was even around before this movie. Ever heard of the Romans? I digress.)
This movie actually opens with horses fucking in spewingly graphic detail. And it’s all downhill from there.
The story, as best I can figure it (the subtitles stopped about half an hour in and then tried to play catchup during silent scenes about 45 minutes later), is about a young lady coming to the French countryside to marry into the aristocracy. The house she’s going to is falling apart and the owners are hoping that, by marrying this nuevo-riche girl, the family will be back on top. But the only man they have to offer is the son, who likes to watch horses fucking and has his hand bandaged up for some reason. And he’s never been baptized. Shock!
By the way, this all takes place in modern times. (Even though the black driver for the girl and her aunt has to sleep outside in the car.)
Meanwhile, the butler is having an affair with the daughter of the family who only seems to visit when she needs a deep dicking. Sometimes she brings a couple of kids along! (Don’t worry. They put the kids in the closet when they fuck.)
So, they shave the guy, baptize him and all should be right…right?
Well, maybe not. The girl starts to have dreams about a beast. These dreams, which all happen in one night, get more and more erotically charged. The woman in the dream starts off running from the beast, who has a killer and constantly streaming hard-on. But, eventually she settles down and fucks him silly. In fact, she fucks him so much that he dies. She cleans all of the sploo off of herself, buries the beast and runs away, covering her naughty bits.
Then the real girl wakes up, finds that she’s been ripping her very sheer “nightgown” off and masturbating with it and quickly slinks into the bedroom of the guy she’s supposed to marry, finding him dead. She screams, wakes up the whole house and forgets that she’s completely naked. (The two boys with the priest pay no attentions because…well, they’re two boys with a priest.) Her aunt inexplicably rips all of the clothes off of the dead man and finds a tail and a beastly arm. (Hence, the bandage.) Why would she suspect this? Not a clue. If it was explained, it was done so in words, so I never would have known. Fucking subtitles.
That’s when the running around starts. And the pie fight. Ok, maybe no pie fight, but there should have been one. It certainly seemed to be going that way.
This is one of the more divisive of the Nasties. People either hate it, thinking that it’s completely sick beasty porn or love it, saying that it really shows the sexual awakening of a young girl. Apparently it’s an erotic version of Beauty And The Beast. (Although, the “beast” bit is really only the last 20 minutes.) Well, I think that Jean Cocteau and Disney have nothing to fear from Walerian Borowczyk (director of Immoral Tales and a couple of Emmanuelle flicks). His version not only doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but it’s barely erotic in any sense that a non-furry would be into. Oh, sure, the girls are pretty hot. (Especially the lead, Lisbeth Hummel. The scenes where she’s lying in bed “dreaming” were pretty hot.) But the fact that one of them is doing it with a dude in a monster suit and said monster suit has what one guy on imdb called a “big black prosthetic spunking beast todger” pretty much takes any eroticism out of it. It would have been sexier to see Ron Perlman donking Linda Hamilton. And THAT, my friends, would not be pretty.
The girl doing the beast-fucking sure does seem to be having a great time, though. Even when she’s running from him, she seems to almost be enjoying herself. (Although, when she’s hanging from the tree kicking and screaming, the beast can’t have been having too much fun. How many times did she kick his dick?) Then she’s all into giving him foot jobs and rubbing the constant geyser of spoo all over herself. It’s the kind of relationship that every man wants when he’s about 16. Just without all the hair.
If all of this sounds like your cup of spunk, then check it out. If not…then stay far, far away.
I was a little disappointed in the DVD version that Netflix has. Not that it’s cut in any way. (Although, the theatrical trailer has some interesting editing. Let’s just say that they didn’t do such a great job of covering the box with the box.) But I had read that some DVD version has one of the more interesting shorts from Immoral Tales on it. And, since that isn’t available on DVD yet, I kind of wanted to see it. That’s not this version, though. Damn.
By the way, I know that there is no actual horse sex in Equus. But it’s funnier to say “fucked a horse” than, “Harry Potter got naked and blinded horses.” Am I right?
Ah, the movie that Christopher Lee reportedly walked out of because he was so disgusted by the violence. He must walk out quite a bit these days.
Although Mario Bava really did beat John Carpenter by seven years, many people forget about this movie when talking about the first slasher flick. (Ok, Psycho could almost be considered the first…but it’s almost too good to be considered a real slasher.) Complete with crazy, fornicating teenagers (driving a yellow dune buggy, no less!), an even crazier card reader and a mysterious peeping tom, this movie has everything a good slasher movie should have.
Except, of course, thrills, chills and excitement.
The movie starts off with five minutes of an old woman in a wheelchair looking around her house and remembering her life with swelling music playing on the soundtrack…only to be hanged a foot from the floor by her husband. When the killer is killed…OOOH, THE SUSPENSE!!!
That’s when the kids show up. They frolic in a random house only to be killed by the same killer as her husband. (The killer beats Jason to the “two young lovers speared in bed” gag.)
Soon enough, the dead couples’ daughter shows up to start claiming her inheritance, which includes the bay. No one knows that he father is dead since his killer hid the body, so they think that her mother killed herself. But she and her reluctant friend start finding bodies and the secret starts to come out.
The card reader and her bug loving husband seem to be helpful all the way, but the husband hated the old couple because they wanted to build a resort in his bug paradise. And then there’s the octopus man who happens to be the crazy illegitimate son of the old woman. Did he hate them enough to kill? He seems to hate everyone else. (And his boat is where they find the father’s body. Hmmm…..)
Suspects abound. And then those suspects start getting bumped off one by one, mostly by the daughter and her reluctant husband.
The plot does eventually start to come out as everyone starts to kill everyone else. No one is innocent. And when I say no one, I mean no…fucking…one. (Agatha Christie beat Bava to this one by quite a few years.)
All this just for the deed to a fucking bay. A bay of BLOOD!
The violence is actually pretty good and goes throughout the film. The characters are killed off in lots of different ways, some of them fairly bloody. By today’s standards, of course, it’s almost tame…almost. There’s still quite a bit of blood flowing.
I think I liked this movie a lot more this time than that last time I saw it. I guess I was expecting something more fast paced last time, so I was pretty disappointed. This time, though, it worked a lot better. Yes, the characters were still stupid and completely hateable, but I think that was the point.
As for the non-Argento Italian movies, this is one of the better ones on the list. And I can see why it would have influenced an entire generation of horror filmmakers.
And that closing music is amazing.
LOW POINT: The final kill. I won’t say anything about it because it actually is kind of a shock. But it’s a low point, too, in a way.
That and the point where they decided to not call it Twitch Of The Death Nerve. That’s the greatest title in the history of great titles.
I’ll go ahead and say it right here for everyone to see, even though I’m sure I’ll get flames from everyone in the horror community who happens by this site:
Lucio Fulci is a horrible director. Maybe not quite Uwe Bohl horrible…but close. There’s a scene in The Beyond where a woman goes into a morgue to dress her dead husband. She turns, sees something out of the camera’s eye and screams bloody, terrible murder. We finally see what she’s screaming at and it’s (SHOCK!!!) a small beaker full of acid boiling over. She screams and screams and screams. By the time her young daughter runs in to see what’s going on, the woman is laying down under the now turned over beaker where gallons upon gallons of acid are pouring onto her head. The little girl stares at it for about 10 minutes before deciding that it’s time to move because the acid (now pink with blood) is coming towards her. Instead of going out the door she came in, which is right behind her, she runs to the opposite side of the room where she will be trapped by the evil, apparently sentient liquid.
This scene makes absolutely no sense at all. It has very little to do with the rest of the movie. The main character hired the dead guy to do some plumbing at the New Orleans hotel she just inherited. (which, unbeknownst to her, was built on top of one of the seven doors to Hell.) She had never met the guy. Near the end of the movie, she knew his daughter. Knew exactly who she was even though she had never been in a scene with her and didn’t know her father more than 10 minutes before he was squished by a zombie.
The acting in this movie is abysmal. Everything was shot without sound and dubbed later, but it was filmed with English and American actors, so they’re all speaking English. Then they themselves dub it. But it sounds like it was dubbed by the same people who dubbed the Shaw Brothers movies. “I just don’t know…………..what happened at the hotel…………….yesterday.”
But there’s something about this and other Fulci movies (of which there are at least two others on this list) that keeps gore-hounds like myself coming back: the fucking gore! Fulci was nothing if not a complete and utter gore-hound. He loved to poke out eyes (at least three in this movie alone), melt peoples’ faces, blow childrens’ heads off and generally cause total, bloody mayhem. The gore is beyond perfection. It makes even a gore-hound like myself look away occasionally.
And maybe it’s the fact that this story makes absolutely no sense at all that makes the movie a classic of its genre. I saw this movie years ago with a buddy of mine who had seen it before. We went to the Dobie on UT campus to see it with an audience who knew how to watch it: we laughed through the entire thing. When the “hero” kept shooting zombies in the chest even though he KNEW that it wouldn’t kill them, we laughed our asses off. (This time it was just irritating. This guy must be the stupidest man in the universe. He must have killed about 6 zombies with headshots, but he kept on trying shooting their arms and chests…just in case. He was absolutely aiming for their chests.)
So, yeah. Even after all of that complaining, I still love this movie. It was one of the first true gore films I ever saw and was pretty much my introduction to Italian horror. It’s amazing in its awfulness. And, against all better judgment, it made me a Fulci fan for life.
A young brother and sister, Willy and Lacey, kill their drunken mother’s abusive boyfriend one night. Years later, the sister breaks a mirror and frees the spirit of the boyfriend. It goes on a rampage.
Or something like that. Basically it’s just an excuse for people to die almost bloody deaths (including a 10 or so year old kid).
The premise is almost interesting. The mirror keeps falling apart and every piece of it seems to possess someone or something to kill. The problem is that the execution is awful. At under 90 minutes, its still too long and boring. There’s a scene where the mirror gets stuck to the bottom of a little boy’s shoe. The sun shines off of it possessing a knife to stab a (30 year old) teenager across the lake. Lacey’s husband goes from believing her about the mirror to not believing her and back in a matter of seconds. The acting is terrible. The music is worse. The end is like The Exorcist on Quaaludes. And the death scenes aren’t even as good as Terror Train.
This is a pretty poor excuse for a Nasty. Not just because it’s bad, but because there are two gore scenes and they’re not very gory. I can’t wait to see the sequel. (Sarcasm.) It’s a Nasty, too, you see. So, unfortunately that’s the next one I watch.
With a story written and created by themselves, Bob and Harvey Weinstein started their film careers (this is the first Miramax feature) with this movie that seems to be a take off of Friday The 13th. In fact, it was written before the more famous movie and, in my opinion, it’s better.
A camp groundskeeper is accidentally burned by a group of boys who hate him. When he is let out of the hospital five years later, he plots his revenge by killing them Jason style. Of course, there’s only one at the camp nearby. Todd is now a camp counselor and has a whole new group of kids under his care. (Including Jason Alexander, Fisher Stevens and Holly Hunter–look quick for her.)
The kids here are more well-written (and actually funny) than the kids in Friday The 13th and the killer kind of makes more sense. Tom Savini did the effects here, turning down Friday Part II for this. (According to him, Jason was dead before the first movie, so he shouldn’t have been coming back in any sequels.) And he did a pretty amazing job on them. Fingers cut off, heads sliced open, over the top burn effects…all great.
Actually, I’m not really sure why this is on the Video Nasties list. It’s no worse than Friday The 13th as far as gore is concerned. Not really. Was it just that it was an independent film? Maybe. It did seem a bit darker than a lot of American slasher flicks. More like an Italian horror film, maybe. Or maybe the British had it in for Tom Savini? I don’t know. But there it is, and it’s probably one of the better films on the list. It’s finally been released on DVD, so check it out.
A virtual remake of Cannibal Holocaust, but without the subtext. More animal death and intestine eating. Instead of a pole up the vagina coming out of her mouth, though, we get a girl being lifted up by hooks in her boobs. This is one that I own for some reason. I watched it a few years ago. I’m done. I will probably never watch it again.
CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1979)
Saw this one once back in 2001. That was enough. I don’t really have any urge to see it again. So, here’s my old review of it.
A couple accidentally kills a cab driver who didn’t want them re-enacting Paradise By The Dashboard Light in his cab. When the older man makes up his mind that he and his younger girl aren’t going to the cops, he won’t let anything get in his way…including her. Now, what does he do with the body? Well, he goes to his brother for help. That help, though leads to a third body on his conscience.
The bodies pile up and are soon in much smaller pieces than they once were. And those pieces end up mixed in with the beef at the slaughterhouse that the man works at.
Meat pie, anybody? God, that’s good!
One thing you never count on when you’re collecting body parts is the smell. Poor guy has to go through about 100 cans of air freshener just to keep the dogs away.
Then there’s his creepy relationship with the next door neighbor. Are they friends? Lovers? Creepy peep lookers? I dunno, but they seem to have a good time showering together in the waterfall by the pool. Maybe they’re just kindred spirits.
When the waitress who is in love with him comes by to take care of him, things get even messier. Nothing says “Trust me” like a bloody axe, a room you don’t want anyone to go into, a mysterious bag and an inexplicable smell!
Actually, let’s get into all of the reasons why we shouldn’t trust this guy.
1) He listens to cheesy porn music while watching young, shirtless boys playing outside.
2) He works at a slaughterhouse.
3) He has girly pictures on his living room wall. (If he had married his girl, would she have let him keep them up? Italians are weird.)
3) His girlfriend is supposed to be very young, but she’s not. “You know how my father feels!” That you’re way too old to be living at home?
4) When she asks if there was anything in the paper about the murder they committed, he says, “No. Nothing. Oh, there was one thing: The man died.” Well, that’s fucking something, isn’t it!
Yes. So many reasons to trust this asshole.
Eventually, the neighbor tells him that he knows and then the melodrama really begins…just as it ends. And really that’s what this movie is: a melodrama. It just happens to have a little bit of gore in it. Not a whole lot, actually. Just enough to be a bit Nasty. It certainly doesn’t add up to a very good movie. Kinda boring, actually. Not the worst of the Nasties, but just not good, either. Maybe if it was more of a horror film and less of a morality play it would have been…
Aw, who am I kidding? It’s an Italian horror movie from the early 70s. It’s pretty fuckin’ bad. And the guy isn’t even a cannibal!
LOW POINT: The fact that he keeps the bodies in his bedroom. All of them. And he uses it to lure people to their deaths. I never knew that a bedroom could be so dangerous!
I really wish that I could tell you more about this movie than I can. It was so absolutely uninteresting and unmemorable that I lost all interest within about 20 minutes and started doing other things while I was watching. Counting the lines on a piece of notebook paper was WAY more interesting than this piece of crap.
Basic rundown: a model gets kidnapped and taken to a South American country where a cannibal tribe ties her up and tries to bring out their cannibal god. (Not only this, but within 10 minutes she gets sliced, molested and raped. That’s the great thing about these old European horror flicks: they don’t care what happens to their lead victims.)
Meanwhile, the titular hunter comes to South America to save the model and be a mercenary hero.
In addition to not caring about the victim, director Jesus Franco (who directed about 14,698 other movies in this same vein) also doesn’t care about consistency or accuracy. There is a white dude playing bongos in the native village. Seriously? What’s he doing there? Is he supposed to be a native? Or is he just kind of aligned with them? Is he a former victim?
The one thing that was kind of interesting about the movie was the constant equating of celebrity to cannibalism. It’s a bit trite, but it’s at least a point, which many of these movies don’t ever seem to have.
The acting, direction, dubbing and writing were all atrocious, but it was a special kind of atrocious here. It was the kind of atrocious that makes me not care what the fuck is going on in the movie or out of the movie. I was just kind of sitting there with spittle running down my face as horrible and boring things happened on the screen in front of me.
Fuck you, Franco. You did this to me. And it’s time for me to move on.
LOW POINT: I could just say “The whole fucking movie,” but I think I have to go with when the bad guys cut a tit off of the victim and then raped her. I think that’s what happened. My brain has melted.
Amateur acting? Check. Plot that moves in dog years? Check. Music that cuts off mid-note with each edit? Check. Killing young children in brutal ways and eating their entrails on screen? Double check.
This is one of the strangest and worst Nasties I’ve seen so far. (For those of you counting, it’s my 15th.) It involves two ancient people who have had a curse put on them: they will never die, but always age. In order to maintain their youth, they must kill and eat the innocent. The innocent, of course, being young kids. The first victim that we see is about 13 or so. And there are younger ones after that.
Then we find out that the male killer (Crackers Phinn…Crackers. Fucking Crackers. That HAS to be a fake name to keep SAG off his back…but I can’t imagine that SAG would have let him in) has to have a child in order to break the curse. He meets a woman (Linnea Quigley from Return Of The Living Dead) and has a little girl who turns 16 all in about 10 minutes. (The “courting” bits are pretty hilarious. She’s scared of this strange guy who bursts into her bathroom while she is taking a shower. Then she hardly sees him until he shows up while she’s checking out the room that he’s renting from her. Then they’re married.)
Writer/director Lawrence D. Foldes and co-writer Linwood Chase don’t give kids an easy time of it. One kid, Nick (Meeno Peluce who was in the pilot for “W*A*L*T*E*R”…and no one else remembers that Radar spin-off, either) runs away from his mom towards the park screaming that he’s never coming back. The mom just gets in her car and drives off! Of course, he’s picked up by the female killer (Barbara Monker) and, strangely, taken in as a kind of foster son. She also has a kid named Cowboy (Chris Riley) there. Don’t ask.
The daughter, Bondi (Tamara Taylor who made a living being an extra after this…usually a reporter of some kind), is as dumb as the day is long. She gets in a van with the Bang Brothers expecting to not get raped. Then she just inherently trusts fucking EVERYONE!
The end of the movie has some voodoo shit going down, including Zod-like laser beams coming from eyes (!), Bondi swallowing a pendant that’s twice the size of her mouth (lucky for Cowboy that she can do it) and, of course, child zombies. And then the kids are saved by a creepy dude who has taken a strange interest in young Nick. He just happens to know exactly where they are.
A less convincing horror movie I haven’t seen in a long time. The gore effects are pretty awful. (That first 13 year old victim apparently has the most wrinkled chest of anyone under the age of 60.) The writing is subpar even by Nasty standards. And the acting is the worst community theatre style. And there’s a dog named Starshine!!
For extra nudity, check out the extended/extra scenes. Including one scene that basically makes the whole bit about Bondy needing to be a virgin a moot point. Whoops!
This is pure MST3K stuff. In fact, if they had done R-rated movies, I’m sure this would have been one of them. Highly recommended for people who love to make fun of movies.
Foldes, by the way, is still working. He directed a couple of movies with Exorcist alums (including Jason Miller’s last film, Finding Home, in 2003) and an Ernest Borgnine/Richard Roundtree movie called Young Warriors. Why? Why?! WHY?!?!
Now, when you have a movie with a perfectly good title like The Dorm That Dripped Blood, why in the FUCK would you change the title to something lame like Pranks?! I just don’t understand. Even the production company name, Death Dorm, would be a better title than Pranks.
Really, there’s little to recommend here. First off, I’m sure that the only DVD release of the movie (the one retitled Pranks for no obvious reason) is VERY heavily cut. There’s little to no gore in this version, so there’s no reason for it to be on the Nasties list. If I ever see an uncut (and originally titled) version, maybe I’ll rent it and revise my review.
The story is an old one. It’s the beginning of Christmas vacation (although, you wouldn’t know it from the obviously warm climate…must be Texas) and only four people are left to close down a soon to be demolished dorm. (The one who isn’t going to be left is Princess Vespa herself, Daphne Zuniga. She is going home earlier than she planned…in a BODY BAG!!! And without her hair dryer!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!)
But there’s someone else here. A creepy Art Garfunkel looking dude who…seriously isn’t very scary. He’s a little creepy because he doesn’t talk, but everyone acts like he’s an escaped lunatic…even before they know that anyone is dying. And who the hell is this dude who seems to be after the main character? He gets out of the bed he’s sharing with his creepy, white-trash girlfriend to call our heroine at two in the morning. Then acts like his girlfriend shouldn’t be suspicious.
There’s all kinds of problems here, not just in plot and writing, but in just plain observations. First off, in the first scene, there are obviously two killers unless the killer has three arms. And, later, his shoes don’t match up.
Crap all the way through. Only a semi-interesting ending saves this one, but not quickly enough. At 81 minutes, it was too long. A wake movie in every sense of the word. Every Friday The 13th sequel was better than this.
A young, big breasted Southern girl is wondering where her older sister is. Turns out that she’s in South America stuck in a slightly cannibalistic, Jim Jones-style cult. Oddly familiar castrations and animal cruelty ensue.
This is absolutely just another Italian cannibal movie with the same lame-ass plot and same lame-ass acting as all of the others. (It also co-stars the same hottie as most of them, Me Me Lai, who sings “Glory Glory Hallelujah” while topless. THAT’S classic.)
The movie actually starts with a novel twist: the natives go all over the world to kill some defectors. (At least one of them helpfully looks at the camera and then DIES! All caps means it’s an emphatic death.) Then we get the horrible disco theme music. If there had been lyrics, they would have been “Eaten Alive, YEAH!”
Then we get the typical scarification, hanging people by hooks and disemboweling of different animals. There’s absolutely nothing new here at all. There may be a bit more decent nudity, but that’s probably because there’s a much larger European cast than usual. All of the women are actually willing to bare their breasts, and nice ones they are.
There is also the fact that the main girl, the one who had to find her sister, actually becomes beholden to Jim, I mean, Jonas, the leader of the cult. She drinks the Kool-Aid, gets painted gold (are you kidding?) and then says that she “belongs to Jonas.” Fuck it. Leave her. I don’t care how nice her tits are.
It pains me that I have to watch at least two more of these stupid movies to finish up this project.
LOW POINT: Me Me and the older sister get cut up and eaten by the real cannibals. The sister gets her tit cut off. When Hero finds them he socks little sister in the jaw so she won’t see what happened to her sister.
Ok. More awesome than really low. No, I’m not into girl beating. But there was a reason for it and it was pretty awesome. It was just: Turn. SOCK! Down.
THE EVIL DEAD (1983)
Still one of the best low-budget modern horror movies, it has a sense of humor as it grosses you out. It’s hard for me to believe that Sam Raimi’s first movie (that took him something like six years to make) is on the Video Nasty list. It’s probably for the pencil-stabbing scene alone.
I have a full review of this here, along with reviews of the other two in the series. Check ‘em out.
Computers are bad. And Satan is worse. So, if you put them together, they are EVILSPEAK! Or, at least that’s what writer/director Eric Weston and his writing partner, Joseph Garofalo (no relation to Janeane…I think), would have us believe.
Stanley Coopersmith (Clint “I hope you relish it as much as I” Howard) is a dork who can’t play soccer. And for that all of his classmates at the military academy make fun of him and give him no end of torment. So, when he finds an old book with a funny star on it, he starts to find the powers of Satan…and some guy named Esteban.
The movie actually started with some promise. It appears that some old world Tarantino lookalike is on trial in the only area with no modernity that filmmakers could afford: the beach. He’s a Satan worshiper who wants to (of course) bring Satan to our world and end the world. Within the first five minutes there are boobs and a beheading…not to mention a great edit from the head flying off to a soccer ball flying through the air.
Then…nothing happens. Clint gets terrorized by his classmates and finds a book. That’s about it. I’ve seen hentai with the same plot that had more action. I mean…what’s hentai?
Of course, there’s what may be the first instance of pigs trying to eat a human on film. They finally do succeed in eating someone. And she has the strangest boobs ever.
Almost an hour in, things finally start to work for Clint…and what is it? AN EVIL FUCKING COMPUTER!!!! Stanley is using the computer to summon the devil I can’t tell if he’s using some really early form of the internet (the military developed it in the 60s or so) or just typing random things on a computer and getting messages about blood and sacrifice. I vote for the latter. Either way, it’s pretty lame. The computer starts to control him and the building…and other peoples’ bodies. (It twists an old man’s head completely around. Oro?!)
At some point, the gore finally starts. And while it’s ok gore, it’s pretty mundane. Clint rampages with a sword and muppet pigs eat some dudes. One kid gets his heart ripped out. This all happens in the last 10 minutes. So, yeah. There ya go. Fucking awful movie with some decent gore at the very end. Nothing special except for the fact that it started Clint on his long string of horror films that no one ever watches…like Ice Cream Man and Carnosaur.
Oh, and Clint flies at one point.
LOW POINT: The naked chick getting eaten by pigs. Seriously? Seriously. Whatever. Apparently there’s a longer version of it somewhere that Clint and the director can’t find. Too bad. It may have made the movie slightly more interesting.
Larry! What are you doing?!
Back in the 70s, there was a film movement called “blaxploitation.” Everybody knows that now thanks to people like Quentin Tarantino. A lot of black people actually hate these movies. Most of the black heroes in these films are pimps, drug dealers and prostitutes. (Except for Shaft. He was actually a good guy.)
What a lot of people don’t realize is that there was another side of blaxploitation. A dirty, ugly side that only reared its head in movies that were rarely seen outside of The Deuce in New York City. Fight For Your Life was one of those movies. It’s the kind of movie that really was an excuse to have white people say some of the most degrading, racist things that they can to black people.
A group of escaped convicts led by Kane (William Sanderson–Blade Runner and Larry of “Larry, Darryl and Darryl” fame) take a black family hostage. Even though one is white, one Hispanic and one Asian, all three seem to hate black people and they use this as a chance to take out their frustrations on the entire black race. Especially Kane. The entire movie is basically Kane putting the head of the family through the most torturous and degrading things that he can think of. At one point, he makes him dance a jig. Then he makes him sing. He calls his wife “Aunt Jamima.” He calls him names I dare not print.
And, of course, it all ends with a blood bath where the family has their revenge on their oppressors. By then, though, it’s too little, too late. The daughter has already been raped by all three convicts and two friends have been killed. And the audience has already squirmed enough to wear a hole in their seats. According to the book Sleazoid Express, this movie even shocked the audiences of The Deuce. In an interview in the same book, Sanderson talked about how embarrassed he was by the movie. I mean, he was seriously going to kill a baby! How could you NOT be embarrassed by playing that role?!
At least Kane is the only bad white guy in the movie. Everyone else is perfectly friendly to the family. Both friends who were killed were white and a white police officer understands the actions of the family at the end of the movie. But the damage is kind of done. This is one of the most uncomfortable movies I’ve seen since Harpo danced with the enormous black family in A Day At The Races.
Just to make sure that we get that this was a divisive movie, the DVD has two different trailers on it: one black and one white. The white one talks up the racial violence and how “we live in violent times! We need to do something about it!” The black one (where it’s called Stayin’ Alive) shows the family getting their revenge and carving whitey up. There’s an announcer saying, “Get ‘im, Momma! Get ‘im, Poppa!” Characters shout “Black Power!” at each other.
Sigh. I guess there’s a place for reprehensible cinema. And that place is on this list. Funny that it turns out that the first non-horror movie I see from the Nasties list is the most horrific of all.
I did like Gramma, though. She was pretty awesome.
Four kids go to a creepy traveling carnival. It’s the same one that went through another little town when they had “some trouble.” That, apparently, is code for a couple of little girls being found dead after the carnival left town.
The kids just want a good time. Chaos ensues. Chaos….and MURDER!
Amy (Elizabeth Berridge from Amadeus) is our young protagonist and she starts the movie off naked and scared. In a scene that recalls both Psycho and Halloween, her little brother bursts into the shower with a rubber knife and a clown mask. Not a bad way to start a movie off. Unfortunately, my first thought was “Is she supposed to be hot?”
Actually, that’s a lie. My first thought was, “Why are we watching a 12 year old girl get in the shower?” Then she took off the robe to show her large, slightly saggy boobies. Well, I knew she wasn’t 12. But I also wasn’t particularly aroused.
Then, after she took off for the carnival with her future boyfriend, her little brother snuck out behind her and headed to the carnival on his own. At the carnival, the four teenagers decide to stay the night in the old Funhouse. They witness the murder of the fortune teller by one of the young carnival workers who doesn’t speak and won’t take off his Frankenstein mask. (Hmmm…I wonder what’s under the mask.)
That’s when I knew that things would get…um….sigh.
The rest of the movie is the five kids running from creepy, inbred carnies and freakshow denizens. And, of course, they die one by one.
The main problem with this movie is that it takes about an hour for them to get to the action. We’re subjected to a LOT of set-up of characters that we really don’t like and aren’t made to care about. Sure, that may not really be why we’re here. But if we’re going to spend that long with them, we should care a LITTLE bit about them. There’s an hour of blah, blah, blah and then about 20-30 minutes of pretty mediocre kills and screams.
But where’s the grue?! Well, here’s the deal on that: The Funhouse was put on the Nasty List by mistake. Whoops! Did we ban your movie from an entire country because we confused it with Last House On The Left, which is known as The Fun House in some circles of Hell? Yarp. And did director Tobe Hooper get an apology? Narp.
Wait…Tobe Hooper? Of Texas Chainsaw fame? Yep. This is the movie that made him too busy to direct ET for Spielberg. Instead, he did Poltergeist with The Beard and then moved on with his life of silly, mediocre horror flicks made with no budget. Before this one he did one great film (Texas Chainsaw, of course), on pretty good TV mini-series (Salem’s Lot) and one ok flick (Eaten Alive). After he did Poltergeist, one of the scariest films ever made. Then…he really did nothing. Not a sausage. Sure, he’s directed a LOT of movies. But name me one. Go ahead. I’ll wait. No, you’re not allowed to go to his IMDb page. That’s cheating. His movies have been crap for 25 years.
Oh well. I will give him one thing in The Funhouse. The creepy “kid” in the Frankenstein mask is genuinely frightening under that mask. That’s probably more of a factor of Rick Baker’s makeup than Tobe Hooper’s direction, though. And I almost think that he reveals him too early.
A Nasty in name only, this one is really kind of missable. It’s better than some, but it’s just not particularly good, either.
It did kind of make me miss the old dark rides of yore. Whatever happened to those things?
LOW POINT: This is a pretty mainstream movie, so it doesn’t have much of a low point. Maybe when one of the girls is trying to ply Frankenstein with sexual favor so that he won’t kill her. “I’ll make you feel good! Please don’t kill me!” That’s pretty low.
Three daughters are sent to their parents’ home to live “in marital bliss that the house never knew” so that they can collect their inheritance. (They are always naked when they get the letter calling them back home. Funny, that.) What they don’t know is that there’s a killer on the loose at the house.
That’s all there is. Honestly. That’s the whole plot.
There’s more to the story of the writer/director Andy Milligan. He was a regular at the 42nd St. theatres in Mid-Town Manhattan. He was also a regular at the St. Mark’s bathhouse in the East Village. In fact, his first film, Vapors, was all about that particular gay hangout.
But Andy’s films were typically gore-filled sex-fests. Vapors was kind of an anomaly. They were usually filmed in or around his Staten Island Victorian mansion. How he afforded this mansion, I have no idea. He was always broke and his movies were shot on ultra-low, home-movie budgets. In fact, they were ALWAYS home-movies. Stephen King called The Ghastly Ones “the work of morons with cameras” in his study of the horror genre, Danse Macabre. I can totally see that. It’s pretty awful.
Here’s just a bit of the lunacy in this rather boring trash:
The girls never figured out that there was no love in their parents’ marriage…even though the couple only saw each other five times in their entire marriage.
The opening kill scene is so shaky and so dark that you can’t tell what the fuck is going on. Is it a mannequin that he’s hacking up? Or is it a dog? Or is it a tree? There doesn’t seem to be any blood at all.
There’s a really bizarre rape scene between a and wife. What makes it especially bizarre is the fact that they had just found the body of one of the other husbands!
The sound is so bad that you can hardly hear anything that’s going on.
The final kill scene would have been good had it been shot by anyone with even an ounce of talent. Unfortunately, it was inept and stupid. It looked like the guy was reaching into a body-shaped cake and pulling sausages out.
Bloody awful from beginning to end, but it’s almost captivating…ALMOST. Which means that it’s ALMOST the worst move ever made, too.
The Something Weird Video DVD has one of Milligan’s other opuses, Seeds Of Sin. This is basically a black and white softcore flick with some murders thrown in for bad measure. The sex is badly shot and the blood is even worse. There are a few attractive people, but it seems like most of the shots are of dudes’ pimpled asses…go figure. (The most attractive people are actually in the credits sequence orgy…then they are never seen again.)
The movie has something to do with a crazy family (again) that all gather around their drunk-ass mother. Some of them want her to die just to get her money. Then again, I wanted her to die. She was an annoying bitch.
How inept is THIS one? The girl who lives with mommy undresses, gets dressed again, rubs a muscle mag all over her clothed boobs (and not in a sexy way…she just kind of moves it across her breasts), undresses and fubs herself to the magazine. What the fuck?!
Neither movie is really worth it. Not unless you’re some kind of Andy Milligan fetishist, which there are some out there.
LOW POINT of Ghastly Ones:
Man: “Where did you pick up that word?”
‘Cause you’re a woman and you’re too stupid to know a word over two syllables long!
No, this isn’t the crappy Jamie Leigh Curtis movie from the late 90s. In the 80s even she would have turned this one down.
A military task force goes into New Guinea to find out what’s going on with the Hope Project. Apparently, it’s making zombies. We know that from the first scene, but no one else does. All the task force (led by a guy who looks a bit like Lee Majors) knows is that a group of terrorists asked for it to be shut down. Now they’re stuck in the jungle with a hot reporter and her assistant (James Taylor?).
There’s the story. That’s it. No more. It’s zombie shooting gallery from then on.
Director Bruno Mattel (who has at least one more movie on the Nasty list) obviously had NO CLUE what he was doing. Even Ed Wood would have slapped him around a bit. First off, I don’t think flamingos gobble like turkeys. Just sayin’. He then uses so much stock footage (including the flamingos) that it probably would have been cheaper to recreate some of it. They certainly had enough extras. It would have been more realistic if they had. Instead, we have a mishmash of stock footage and a girl obviously walking around an empty village that is supposed to be teeming with mourners. There’s even a scene at the UN where dialogue is “spoken” by the stock footage. That’s fun.
Italians have always been pretty notorious for not caring about child characters, but ol’ Bruno decides to not even SHOW the only kid in the movie until about seven minutes into his scene. We see the top of his head and a wound on his stomach, but never a full shot of him. Everyone’s talking about him. We hear him breathing. But we don’t really see him. He’s a plot device, not a character.
My favorite scene (besides when James Taylor finally gets it) is the Barbara Bush zombie with a kitty surprise. Supposed to be scary and gross? I dunno. I laughed my ass off. And there’s always the scene where the hot reporter (who lived with the natives for a year) says, “I have to go ahead…alone.” Then she immediately takes off her top. The next shot she’s leading Steve Austin and his men to the village dressed only in a few leaves and paint.
Sigh. I can’t wait to see SS Extermination Love Camp. Could it be worse than this?
I will say this for Hell Of The Living Dead, though. It’s probably more enjoyable than movies like Cannibal Holocaust or Cannibal Ferox just because it’s so inept that it’s laughable. The gore is alright (except where it obvious that they’re holding a piece of raw meet against someone’s leg), but the comedy is better.
And…um. The last bit of gore inflicted on our main characters is just a bit unnecessary. I mean REALLY unnecessary.
“This house is so strange! Sure, I can deal with a graveyard next door, but to live with a tomb in your hallway?”
“It’s just something you’ll have to get used to.”
What the fuck?!?!
Lucio Fulci does it again. He creates another nearly incomprehensible mess of a movie with gore so amazing that us gore-hounds just can’t seem to see the crap that is the rest of the film. A little New York family move into an old house outside of Boston. What they don’t know (maybe) is that the house has a history.
Now, Fulci seemed to be going one way with it. It seemed like this was his version of Gaslight. There was the creepy husband who had lots of pregnant pauses and glances towards the medication that he really wants his high-strung wife to take. (He stands idly by while his wife is attacked by a bat. That’s fun.) There’s a creepier housekeeper who barely says a word to the wife. And there’s the kid who keeps seeing a young girl all over the place, all the while voiced by a 40 year old woman who thinks that 5 years old=whiny. Unfortunately, Fulci took the low road and made it more of a monster movie with a monster that I’m sure del Toro was thinking of when he directed Hellboy.
There’s gore here, but not as much as you would think. There’s a bit at the beginning (along with some boobs), two very short scenes about 45 minutes later and then a fairly gory ending…that made no sense at all! And it showed that Italians just don’t care about their kids. This kid is shown all kinds of graphic gore and has axes thrown all around him. It’s just weird. But it did make the last 20 minutes more intense than the rest of the movie.
DAMN, I wish Fulci had been a better writer/director. It would have made his gore so much more watchable.
Rose (Irene Miracle) is in New York looking for the legendary Mother Of Shadows, sister of the Mothers of Sighs and Tears. She learns a bit too much and starts to hear strange noises and feel strange feelings. She sends a note to her brother, Mark (Leigh McCloskey), in Rome. She thinks that his school is run by the Mother Of Tears. When a friend of his reads the letter before he gets a chance to, she is killed by a strange person with a melted hand. (Ok, it’s really director Dario Argento…the freak.)
And things just get worse from there.
The second in Argento’s Three Mothers Trilogy, Inferno is…well…not his best work. It’s still stylish as hell and brilliant in places (especially a really fucking painful looking beheading), but the story is just kind of all over the place. For that first 45 minutes, I really kind of didn’t know what the hell was going on. It basically involves Mark getting the letter, seeing a hot-ass witch with a cat and getting sick. A couple of key people get killed. Mark goes to New York. This is seriously all that happens in the 45 minutes.
One thing it does have, though, is that ol’ Agrento flair. The murders are, of course, amazing and that first fright scene underwater is pretty much a killer. (She held her breath for, like, 10 minutes.)
And I also quite liked the Dr. Phibes character.
Just keep in mind that Argento’s strong point has never been dialogue. It’s probably for the best that this one doesn’t have a whole lot of it. It’s mostly the screams of his victims.
For the other two parts of the Mothers Trilogy, check out 1977′s Suspiria (one of the greatest horror movies ever made) and 2007′s Mother Of Tears (which I still haven’t seen, dammit).
Not nearly as frightening or cool as Suspiria, Inferno is still worth seeing for Argentophiles and definitely gory enough to be a real Nasty.
LOW POINT (besides Mark’s mustache): A woman being killed by flying cats. And I’m not even kidding. There’s also a couple bags of cats. Still not kidding.
It don’t get much nastier than this, folks.
Christopher and Celia (Robert Behling and Jane Ryall) are just a young couple in love. They decide to go to a small island off the coast of Greece to get their heads on straight. When Celia wards off Christopher’s advances one morning, he goes out into the garden of the house that they are renting and fucks a goat.
Then he kills it.
And it never comes back up from these depths.
Turns out that the two young love-birds are actually serial killers who kill anyone they think is perverted. They are that worst of all animals, Christian Fundamentalists who are worse than any of the so-called perverts that they are so against. They knock off a married gay couple, a middle-aged hooker, a Frenchman…anyone they don’t agree with, basically.
And they do it in pretty horrible, nasty ways. The middle-aged hooker doest just get beheaded. No, that would be too easy. They take her out to an empty parking lot and take her head off with a fucking bulldozer.
Every perversion you can think of is here. And, honestly, that’s what director Nico Mastorakis set out to do. He was a second time director and had just seen Texas Chainsaw Massacre. He was pretty appalled, but he knew that they made money. So he decided to make the most perverse and violent film ever, just to make money. He didn’t agree with anything in the film. He just wanted something outrageous that lots of people would want to see. He was asked if he would let his kids see it. He has one daughter who, in 2001 when the DVD was released was a mature woman. He does not want her ever seeing the film. Not that he’s not proud of it. It made him the money he wanted and allowed him to do many more films. He just figures that he doesn’t want his daughter to think of her old man making that movie.
If I were him, I would probably say the same thing. The movie is pretty awful. Not just because of the content, but because of the quality. At the beginning, the two antagonists go into a little gift shop run by one of the gay men they end up killing. Celia picks up a red journal and tells Christopher that he needs it. “No! You know red books always bring me bad luck!”
The fuck you say?! Is this a new superstition I’ve never heard of?
The kids then run to a phone booth to call his mom…while having sex. “Guess what I’m doing, mom! Ugh! Ugh! UGH!!” He tells her almost exactly where he is, too. Then they’re surprised when a cop comes around who has been following them halfway across the world. “How did he know how to find us!?!?”
I dunno. Maybe because you told your mom while you were fucking?
The acting is just about the worst I’ve seen in any of the Nasties (and you KNOW that means something) and the writing is almost worse.
Would I recommend it, though? Oh, you know. If you’re a sick individual, maybe. It’s fun in a “what the fuck are they doing?!” sort of way, actually. I would certainly show it to some of my more Nasty-lovin’ friends. It’s probably one of the more entertaining of the bad Nasties. And certainly among the most offensive.
And THAT, my friends, is saying something again.
LOW POINT: HE FUCKS A FUCKING GOAT! Do I need to say it again?!
When you’re a small-time director and have a rape fetish AND a revenge fetish, what do you do? Well, make a rape/revenge movie, of course!
Meir Zarchi (who has hardly any other films to his credit except for a movie with an equally great title, Don’t Mess With My Sister) dressed his rape/revenge fantasies up in I Spit On Your Grave, a movie that pretends to be feminist while just exploiting everything that femenists really stand for. (Something I like to call “femsploitation.”)
Jennifer (Camille Keaton from Raw Force and the giallo classic What Have They Done To Solange?) is a writer on sabbatical in a small backwoods town. Unfortunately, she finds the three most rape-obsessed men in town and their retarded friend, Matthew. They, of course, violently rape her, even talking Matthew into doing it. Then, when they decide that they can’t leave her alive, they send Matthew back to kill her. Matthew! Who’s dumber here?
She, of course, comes back for revenge. Painful, bloody, sexy revenge.
Wait…sexy? Yep. She seduces three of them into thinking that she actually LIKED the rape and that she wants more! Remember what I said about this being femsploitation? Need more evidence? Within 6 minutes of the beginning of the movie, Jennifer is buck-ass naked.
Now, I’m not complaining. She’s a 70′s beautiful woman. But if you’re going for real feminism, you probably shouldn’t lovingly exploit every part of her body. Just a thought.
And then, when the woman is holding a gun on the rapist and he starts to tell her how it was all her fault for being so sexy, don’t have her start to believe it!
It’s a pretty awful movie, but entertaining in a really sadistic and creepy sort of way. These three guys are pretty much dumber than a bag of rocks. They have a conversation about whether or not women shit. Jesus. Really? Then, when they’re actually raping Jennifer, one of them appears to never have had sex before. And I’m not talking about Matthew. I’m talking about the guy who does more screaming and head-bobbing than actual thrusting.
Just as a kinda crappy 70s violence flick it’s not bad. I wouldn’t say that it does everything that it says that it’s trying to do. But, even though they said that they were, 70s flicks weren’t known for being very feminist, even if they pretended to be.
LOW POINT: “That’s so sweet it’s painful.” And then the bleeding from the crotch and the screaming.
If you ever wanted to see Anita Ekburg go through withdrawal, this is the movie for you.
Former sex-symbol Ekburg stars as Sister Gertrude, a nun who is having a crisis of more than just faith. Something happened to her that made her want to take revenge on all men. Since then she has been telling the doctor at the hospital she works at that she is deathly ill and that she needs more morphine.
But, of course, she’s really just an addict.
Add to this the fact that young Sister Mathieu (Paola Morra, who was only in movies for two years, but managed to make 150 movies) is in love with her and Sister Gertrude has the world on her shoulders.
Basically, Gertrude goes on a bit of a rampage, killing people all over the place and being more of a bitch as time goes on. And young Paolo proves that nuns sleep in the nude. Hey, director Giulio Berruti had to use what he had. Anita was a bit past her prime and Paolo had just been a Playmate in Playboy Italy.
Then, suddenly, there’s a mysterious entity in the hospital. Hmmm…wonder who that could be!
Blah, blah, blah. Bitch goes crazy, people die. We’ve seen it a hundred times. This time out, it’s nunsploitation, but it’s really nothing new. And the “twist” ending is barely a twist.
Why is this a Nasty? There’s some violence, but it doesn’t seem THAT extreme. There’s a weird dream sequence with brain surgery. But that’s not why. Apparently, it’s because of a scene where an old broad gets stabbed in the face with needles. It’s not overly gory, really. It’s needles. And they don’t show eye-juice or anything. Weird.
But is it a good movie? BWAH-HA-HA-HA! Of course not, you silly fool! It’s a bad Italian nunsploitation flick. What do you expect? The best things about it are Paolo’s breasts. And they are pretty nice.
Oh, yeah. It’s very loosely based on a true story. “From the secret files of the Vatican!”
LOW POINT: A party with nuns dancing with each other. Surreal without being truly interesting.
Probably one of the most disturbing films on the Video Nasty list, this is Wes Craven’s first film and, while it shows, it’s a pretty damn effective film. Based on Bergman’s The Virgin Spring (if you can believe that), this is the story of bloody revenge. Two young girls are brutally raped and murdered by a gang of thugs. (Of course, the girls were pretty stupid. “Let’s go with these weird guys for some weed!”) These thugs then end up at the house where one of the girls lived. The parents figure out what happened and who did it and then take their revenge…and end up possibly being worse than the thugs themselves.
Certainly not a Great Film, but it works really well for what it is. It’s dirty, disgusting, hard to watch and absolutely essential for anyone who loves horror films. It’s probably the beginning of the “torture porn” genre. (Since I don’t think “porn” is a dirty word, that phrase kind of works for me.) This is not a film to watch while you’re having dinner. The scenes with the girls getting tortured and killed are among the most disturbing that I can remember and they pull no punches. But this only sets up the scenes with the thugs getting their just desserts. We can identify with the parents and want them to do their worst to these guys. Although…this is pretty uncomfortable, too.
The acting is kind of rough, but it works in a weird sort of way. The best performance is probably from David Hess as leader, Krug. (He was named after an old school bully who used to beat Wes up. A later Craven character was, of course, named after this same bully.) He is so evil and hateful that you can believe him to be the kind of man who would tell his own brother to shoot himself.
Don’t watch this movie unless you’re ready for it. It will fuck you up if you are at all sensitive. But, if you aren’t at all sensitive to this sort of thing, then you should probably get yourself to a therapist.
LOW POINT: Pretty much the whole damn thing. This is a pretty deeply disturbing movie that never truly lets up, so, yeah. I think the whole thing counts as a low point.
So many titles, so little time.
Spanish director Jorge Grau brings us a little film about zombies on the English countryside. Very Night Of The Living Dead (in fact, the producer wanted NOTLD in color) and, actually, almost as good. A woman backs into a guy’s bike and they end up going into the small town nearby together. She is attacked by a corpse which, conveniently, disappears before anyone else sees it. Eventually, the guy believes her, but the cops don’t. When other corpses end up popping up (including one cop) it looks like the young not-couple did it…even though most of them are killed in horrible, nasty ways.
It takes a while to really get going, but once it does the gore flies all over the screen. It’s a very good movie that I think has been forgotten about. The story is good, the reason for the living dead is different and the acting is actually pretty decent. I’ll be looking for more Grau films after this. He says that he was only in the horror world for about 2-3 years, but that’s long enough to have made about 60 movies in those days.
Umberto Lenzi (Cannibal Ferox) brings us a movie for folks who thought that A Man Called Horse wasn’t racist and savage enough.
An English man named John Braley (Ivan Rassimov) and his Thai guide are sailing on the river between Thailand and Burma when the guide is killed and John is captured and forced into slavery. The tribe who caught him have possibly never seen a white man before. But when he says, “They must think I’m some kind of fish because of the wet suit I had on” you figure that he’s never been around anyone outside of his own country before.
Soon enough, a young native named Maraya (the beautiful Me Me Lai) falls for him (of course) and her mother, who speaks English, is revealed to have been found by the tribe. The old woman tries to help him escape to no avail. But after his escape attempt, he is made a member of the tribe through a rather brutal ceremony.
This film is meant to show these people as they really are. It unflinchingly shows all of the tribal customs, no matter how violent they seem to us, whether it be shooting John with small darts to make him a member of the tribe, cutting traitor’s tongues out or cutting the top of a monkey’s head off to eat its brain. But by the time we are shown every man in the village fuck the wife of a fallen comrade, we figure out that this is just as exploitive as any of Lenzi’s films. It’s not meant as education. It’s meant to disgust, titillate and disturb. Sure, John eventually learns to love the tribe and even marries the beautiful young lady who tried to help him in the beginning. (She chooses her man by sitting naked against a wall. Each tribesman puts his hand through and is allowed to feel her up. She gives a garland to the one she wants to marry.) But you still get a feeling that he thinks these people are savages. (“No, Maraya, you think you love me. But you haven’t yet learned what love really means.” Fuck you, dude.) He remains a condescending bastard throughout the movie.
And, in turn, we are allowed to be condescending towards the natives. We seem them as only savages without full use of their brains. They can only understand things that they instinctually know, like violence and sex. And eventually, he “devolves” into one of them, cutting the tongue out of an enemy.
I’ve never liked the word “savage.” It’s a word to describe animals, not humans. “Savage” connotes no brain power. But that’s how Lenzi saw these natives. What they are is a complex society with rituals and practices that we, as white people, will never understand. We are not better or worse then them. Only different. And Lenzi and his lead character obviously had no idea that this was true. He made a film that exploits only the violent aspects of this particular culture.
Five years later, Lenzi was asked to make a sequel of sorts to this film. He was busy on another films, so Ruggero Deodato (Cannibal Holocaust) took over. The movie ended up being Jungle Holocaust and starred both of the stars of Man From Deep River. With that film, Deodato was called the father of the cannibal film. But Lenzi takes exception to this because there is a very definite theme of cannibalism in THIS film, although it’s only in one scene.
Whatever. Night Of The Living Dead beat both of them to it.
LOW POINT: Right after John finds out that Maraya is pregnant he says, “It’ll be a boy! My little black, savage!” Asshole.
Mexico had it’s own little horror camp going on in the 60s and 70s that no one really knew about. What with all the Coffin Joe movies and Mexican wrestling, how could they not?
So, writer/director Rene Cardona and his son, Rene Cardona, Jr., decided to obliterate two birds with one shotgun. Although, what this movie really has to do with wrestling I’m still kind of…um…wrestling with.
We open on a pair of lady wrestlers going at it in the ring. When one of them is thrown over the side, she gets knocked out. (The other wrestler’s boyfriend yells out the completely unhelpful, “She’s been hurt!” No shit! You mean, she was wrestling and got hurt?! Oh nos!) She’s carted off to the hospital, unconscious for the rest of the movie.
Meanwhile, on the moon, a man is worried about his son. He has cancer and it appears to be inoperable. Whatever shall he do?! Well, he’s a pretty brilliant surgeon, so maybe…just maybe…if he steals a gorilla from the zoo in broad daylight with a hulking, limping Stacy Keach impersonator, he can do a heart transplant! (Because, of course, a gorilla’s blood is obviously stronger than a human’s, so it can kill the cancer. OF COURSE!)
This he now does.
The footage of the heart transplant is real. Of course, it pretty much told me that I will never go to Mexico for any kind of surgery. They handle the heart like it’s jello and the surgeons seem to have Parkinson’s. Not to mention that they kind of rip the heart out almost with no scalpels. Careful with that! It’s kinda my heart!
The kid goes from being a hairy mannequin to a hairless ape in just three overlay shots. That’s when he breaks out of his licorice rope bonds, breaks through a window and starts the killin’.
Oh yeah, the lady wrestler goes on rasslin’ and is all conflicted about her career. Her boyfriend gets on the case of the missing gorilla (the zoo noticed about three days later–and why does the zoo’s director have the Fiji Mermaid on his desk?) and consoles her as much as possible. Throughout the movie, she wears either her red wrestling uniform or nothing at all. She seems to shower a lot.
The gorilla man (whose name is Julio, but his dad seems conflicted on the pronunciation) rampages through the little town, gouging out eyes (which looks like cake being squeezed through a mask) and ripping the clothes off of young ladies (which, curiously, looks like cake being squeezed through a mask…ok, not really.) Hey, if you were a gorilla man, wouldn’t you do the same?
At some point, the good doctor and Stacy Keach decide that the boy needs a new heart. They spirit away the unconscious wrestler (ah-HA!) and do another transplant. But, by their own logic, if the ape heart turned him into an ape, wouldn’t the woman’s heart turn him into RuPaul? Actually, it would be awesome if they kept doing transplants from different animals and people and he just kept collecting body parts on his own body. At the end he looks like Tetsuo.
At some point, the cop finds a Scottish beat cop (!) and his chief decides that the killings are because of violent images….like the ones in this movie. He follows a trail to the doctor’s home and is told “Take a look at this” by one of his men. Then we don’t get to see, so I have no clue what he was looking at.
Of course, it all ends in a barrage of bullets and a young Gigolo Joe is dead. Then the cop tells a couple of young, hot nurses to take the doctor away. Apparently, that’s what you get when you cause multiple murder in Mexico. It’s their version of a deus ex Machina.
All the while, we occasionally get some weird Jackson Pollack by way of the Batman tv show transitions between some of the scenes. Any help here?
For a movie with a lot of nudity and gore, this movie was pretty bloody awful. I understand, it’s a movie made by a second world country in the middle of revolutions and all that…but wow. It’s like they didn’t even try. Something Weird Video put some outtakes on the disc and I think it was all the rest of the film that they used. It amounted to about five minutes worth of footage. Their filming ratio was just about 1:1, I think.
And all that wrestling stuff? Completely useless. I mean, sure it gave us a reason to have an unconscious girl around. But there are MANY explanations for that. (Hell, I come up with three pretty damn good reasons every other weekend. And they don’t involve worthless subplots.)
The dvd has another feature on it (the absolutely boring Feast Of Flesh) and four shorts. The only really interesting one must have been shot in the 20s or earlier. It’s called “Artist’s Paradise” and involves four or five young naked girls splashing around by the side of a river, showing us their goods. They frolic in the static shot for about three minutes. Then an ape shows up, falls out of a tree and scared all of the girls away. Never once are the girls and the ape in the same shot.
That’s how all movies should end. And then an ape comes along and scares Rick and Ilsa out of Morocco. And then an ape comes along and scares Lawrence out of Arabia.
As far as an MST3K experience, this movie is great. A buddy of mine watched it together and we had no end of fun coming up with most of the lines I just used in this review. As far as thrills, chills or gore…meh. For 1969, the gore is pretty out there. And there’s a bit more nudity than I expected. But I’ve seen worse of both on the two episodes of “CSI” that I’ve seen.
LOW POINT: The doctor explaining why the operation wasn’t a success. You gotta love when 60s movies try to explain away their crap “science.” After a while, I stopped listening because the pretzel logic just became too much.
“You can say to yourself, ‘It’s only a movie,’ but it won’t help.”
Nice tagline. And nice list of alternate titles. Jesus.
We start off with a Tim Buckley-esque song and a Santa beating. Then two very stupid young girls (Irene Miracle from Midnight Express and Laura D’Angelo) get on a train to go home to Italy from school in Germany during Christmas break. Too bad for them, they end up on a train with a couple of violent stowaways (Flavio Bucci and Gianfranco De Grassi). Even more unfortunate, those two stowaways end up crossing paths with a middle class woman (Macha Meril who looks like an older Kirsten Dunst) who is even more depraved than they are.
The girls change trains…to a train with no lights. And no one else on it. Uh…ok. What the fuck?!
Anyway, they get on this seemingly abandoned train and fall asleep. Of course, the three evil folks show up and torment the girls.
Meanwhile, one of the girls’ parents (Enrico Maria Salerno and Marina Berti) are having a Christmas party where they discuss the influence of society and how it creates violence. Little do they know the violence about to be inflicted upon their daughter and her friend.
And, actually, that’s where the whole thing turns into Last Train On The Left. Director/Co-writer Aldo Lado says that he never saw Last House, but the producer had and wanted a movie like that. And, boy, did he ever get one. This movie is, beat for beat, a remake of that film…just on a train. We get a little more time with the girls. (Get to know them. Get to know just how stupid they are.) And we get less time with the actual revenge, which was the whole point of the original.
But the torture/rape scenes are almost more disturbing here. Slightly less graphic (and shot in nearly total darkness so we can hardly see anything except what the blue light wants us to see), but slower and more drawn out. Just a bit, but enough to notice. And the killers almost show a tiny bit of remorse. Even the woman who was kind of the perpetrator of the whole thing.
Certainly not a good movie, but a decent one. And miles above a lot of the other Nasties. And the score by Ennio Morricone (WHAT?!?!) is probably the best thing about it. (Although he seems to be aping himself with the harmonica going throughout.)
One little quibble about details: they usually don’t release the names of victims (especially young ones) until AFTER the family has been contacted. A family would never find out that their daughter is dead from the fucking radio. At least, they shouldn’t unless everything has broken down.
Low point: “Deflowering” one of the girls with a knife. Yeah. That’s how dark this fucking movie gets. “She’s as tight as a frightened asshole!” BLECH!!
SEX WITH THE HEADLESS CORPSE OF THE VIRGIN ASTRONAUT (1984)
One of the most vile pieces of shit I’ve ever seen, this is absolutely amazing. There is blood all over the screen in ever scene. And the actual corpse raping is done with such class that you almost forget that it’s a rape scene. The corpse kind of seems to like it.
Ok. I’m totally fucking with you. This is the title that “The Young Ones” came up with to be a Nasty in their episode called “Nasty.” But I would love to see a movie with this title, wouldn’t you?
This one has the distinction of being the only (as far as I know) Asian film on the list. Certainly the only Samurai film.
But really it’s TWO Samurai films. Sword Of Vengeance and Baby Cart At The River Styx (the first two Lone Wolf And Cub movies from 1972) were edited together to form Shogun Assassin in 1980. They tell the story of a Samurai who was betrayed by his master during the Tokugawa Empire. His wife was killed and he was left to care for their young son, who narrates this version of the film. But, instead of going into hiding and taking care of the boy, the Samurai goes on a bloody rampage of revenge.
And blood there is. An amazing amount of it. Blood fills the screen with severed limbs and heads being cleaved in twain. It’s actually pretty awesome. And the kid gets in on the action, too. He probably isn’t much older than three, but he knows how to get the blades going on his cart to cut off the legs of his rivals. And the blood splatters on him, too.
The story is as old as time (and, in fact, was originally a manga), but the violence is what makes this movie, really. Not a great film by any means, but a lot of fun for gorehounds like me. And awesome for Samurai fans…also like me. One of the best of the Nasties.
Oh yeah, the music. Not so great. Not so great at all. But it was written and performed by Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere And The Raiders. And THAT is the craziest fact on display here, folks.
Just so you don’t think that Cannibal Holocaust was the first big cannibal movie to come from Italy, the folks who gave us this list threw this one on there. Susan (the ever lovely Ursula Andress, sometimes wearing less clothes than she did in Dr. No) has lost her husband. He has run off to New Guinea to find out about some lost tribe. So she drags her brother along and finds a guide named Edward (Stacy Keach, known by most as Mike Hammer and some as the hare-lipped, racist asshole leader of the kids in American History X). They run around the jungle, find the tribe, find her dead husband and some of their group are randomly killed and eaten.
This movie is not good. Even from a standpoint of thinking that Cannibal Holocaust is good, this is not good. It’s slow, boring and not a whole lot happens that doesn’t include blood. Even then, most of it is animal blood. The natives kill a lizard as a sacrifice and we see the whole thing. A monkey is thrown to a boa constrictor and we see the whole thing. (Yes, it was thrown by a member of the crew. They just had to get that footage.) There’s no real reason for any of this, but there it is in full, living-dead color.
Unfortunately (?), I have gotten a hold of a cut version. The version on my DVD stand (yes, I own the damn thing) is 96 minutes long, while the full movie is a little over 100 minutes. I can see where the cuts were, though. Some of the monkey footage was cut. There was a lot cut from the final scenes with the cannibals eating one of the group and castrating one of their own for trying to rape Ursula, who was thought of as a goddess. (Natch.) But there’s no way that this was as violent and shocking as Cannibal Holocaust.
I guess my main problem with this little subgenre is that the movies are just boring. There are a lot of shots of the characters walking through the jungle. Like, 10 minutes of walking. Fuck that. There should be something going on. Talking, story, character development…something! But there’s nothing. Just walking. And bad music. And cutting of trees. The only thing to break up the monotony is the occasional killing of an innocent animal.
Whatever. Skip this one. It’s not really worth it. If you’re into this brand of “horror,” watch the more famous ones. They’re still crap and pretty boring, but at least they have more gore.
This one does, however, have a naked Honey Ryder tied to a post. Pick your battles.
In 1971, Michael Findlay (hero of The Deuce in NYC and creator of such grindhouse “classics” as The Touch Of Her Flesh and A Thousand Pleasures) directed a film called The Slaughter. It was inspired by the Manson family murders, depicting a cult that killed young, beautiful people.
Five years later, he decided that he wasn’t finished with The Slaughter. And he needed more money for very little work. So he reworked the footage a little bit and filmed a bit more for a new film called Snuff. Again, it was about a cult of beautiful women following a man called Satan. (Pronounced Sa-TAWN, natch.) This time, though, there was a HUGE difference at the end.
Ya want me to tell ya? Huh? Do ya? If ya don’t, you’d better skip to the next movie.
They actually kill a girl on screen at the end.
That’s right. They have the Big Scene between the cult members and the actress who is, of course, pregnant. (Don’t ask…the plot is so fuckin’ convoluted that there’s no way anyone but Findlay could actually follow it. But there are some pretty creepy parallels to the Manson murders.) Then the camera crew, which we haven’t seen for the entire movie, cuts. A couple decides that they’re turned on by the final scene and start to make out on the bed just outside of the scene where the pregnant actress was just “killed.” When the girl realizes that she’s being filmed, that’s when the shit hits the fan. The guy start cutting her, chopping off body part and eventually disembowels her. He holds up her insides, screams and the camera cuts. We then hear the crew saying, “Did you get it?” “Yeah!”
“A film that could only be made in South America, where life is cheap.”
Yeah, whatever. The special effects are pretty good for a movie made on $5 in upstate New York, but they no fool anybody. The girl didn’t die. No one killed anyone. The blood was FAR too red. Blah, blah, blah.
But this movie started a pretty big controversy in 1976. People really believed it! They started looking at other movies to see if anyone had died during filming. Could there be an underground film community that actually kills in their films?!
No. Not at all. There has never been a proven case of someone being intentionally killed on a set for a commercial film. No matter what Charlie Sheen says.
But it makes for pretty good propaganda. And if you can look past the horrible acting, worse dialogue and obvious “Born To Be Wild” ripoff playing throughout the movie…well, it’s still a pretty awful movie with no redeeming qualities. Ok, there are a lot of boobs in it. That’s kinda cool. But they’re 70s boobs, so they’re kinda weird shaped. I think Findlay just put out a call for any girl willing to take her top off for the camera. He didn’t actually audition the boobs. But at least they’re real and none of them make me want to pluck my eyes from my skull.
After Ilsa, She Wolf Of The SS was such a huge hit in 1975, everyone wanted a taste of the Nazi pleasure machine. It was a pretty disgusting sub-set of the torture/women in prison genre. I mean, it’s bad enough that it’s almost always women getting tortured. Now it Nazis doing the torturing. (They never actually say that the women are Jews, but there are certain implications…besides the fact that it’s Nazis and that pretty much equals Jewish torture.)
This one is about a concentration camp that uses women for sexual experiments. Of course. Theres also some slicing and dicing, but it’s mostly women running around naked and being forced to have sex with Nazi soldiers, one of whom seems to be having some moral difficulties with the whole thing. Helmut is a reader, not a killer. And he’s constantly being made fun of by his bunkmates…who all hang out together in their underwear. No homo-eroticism here.
He’s also falling in love with one of the prisoners. They’re forced to have sex early on, but she tells him that she wouldn’t have to be drugged to do it. “Do what you must.” This they now do.
There’s also a side story about a Jewish doctor (he is actually Jewish) who has been passing as gentile and is now working as a surgeon at the camp. He’s found out pretty early on, but the director of the camp doesn’t care. Just so the old man knows he’s being watched, everything should be fine, right?
He is forced to do some pretty horrible experiments throughout the film, including using air pressure to see how much the human ear drum can withstand. (It ain’t much, by the way.)
The acting and writing (and filmmaking in general) is about on par with your typical Nasty…which means it’s pretty inept. And the transfer is obviously taken from a crappy video. There’s occasional video roll and the picture is often dark and murky. (It was released by Exploitation Digital, if you’re curious.)
If, for some reason, you like watching women getting tortured…well, seek help. But this movie was made for you. It wasn’t made for me, though.
The movie came under fire again recently because England let it pass in 2006 with no cuts saying that the movie wasn’t illegal, only tasteless. Suddenly, about a year later, there was a short burst of outcries about it. I think the government has ignored it. Whatever. It’s a crappy movie, but there’s nothing particularly “Nasty” about it. It’s a bunch of naked women having sex with dudes they don’t want to have sex with. Sounds like a typical night at a frat bar, just with more female nudity.
Low point: The Jewish doctor being forced to transplant Helmut’s balls (in a very graphic fasion) to the colonel. When he tries to have sex with his woman, he goes insane. “AUAUAUAUAUAGGHHH!!!! I’m not able to make love to you!!!!!” When he walks in on the colonel having sex, he says, “How have you been doing with my balls?”
The poignant story of a group of freedom fighters working from within to bring down the Nazi death machine. With heartbreaking scenes of Nazis killing young children, this is an important work of touching vibrance.
Ok, I’m just kidding. It’s actually a movie made in the wake of Ilsa, She Wolf Of The SS. It was made specifically to exploit sadism. They may have said at the time that it was made to call attention to the evils of the Nazis, but no one was really fooled. It’s all about crazy, uncomfortable sex scenes, shooting babies while throwing them in the air and shooting pretty young women in the cooch. (And there was actually a shortage of pretty young women in this movie, so that was a real shame. No shortage of nudity, though. *shudder*)
Just a few examples of how the filmmakers JUST DIDN’T CARE!
How is it that Nazis manage to shoot people with machine guns without hitting the people behind the victims? Physics be damned!
There are very obvious stock footage scenes…or are they scenes from another movie? All I know is that sometimes the print suddenly becomes VERY scratchy and we don’t see anyones’ faces. Hmmmmm….
Actual line from a priest: “The Lord won’t betray you. He’s the best!”
Actual line from a torture victim: “AAGH! You’re hurting me.”
About half an hour in, the crew’s shadow is in the shot. And I’m not talking, like, a split second, only a film geek would notice. No, this is a full 15 seconds of crew shadow moving across a giant red swastika. You can even tell what the focus puller is doing! It’s almost as if they wanted to make a cameo.
Those model planes are dangerous! They keep bombing innocent people!
Fuck this movie. Yeah, maybe it belongs in the “so bad it’s good” category. But it’s not exactly a movie you can rent for a party to laugh at. I mean, there’s all that torture and baby killing…and that’s actually really fucking disturbing!
Low point: Mongo pulling a woman’s pussy out and eating it…literally. The female commander of the camp and her lesbian lover get off a little bit.
A sicko masked murderer is killing tenants at an apartment building with tools from his toolbox. Is the the creepy old handyman (veteran actor Cameron Mitchell looking like a cross between Shatner and Brian Cox)? Is it the boy (Nicolas Beauvy) with the missing sister (Pamelyn Ferdin–the voice of Fern in Charlotte’s Web)? Is it just some random douchebag trying to pile up the ladies? Do we really care?
The best death scene is Marianne Walter getting nailed to the tune of a song called “Pretty Lady.” It is apparently Stephen King’s favorite death scene in a slasher flick…according to Marianne in the interview with her. Yes, it’s so good that it gets its own special feature. And it mainly involves her running around naked for about five minutes…and before that, she masturbates in the tub.
(In case you were wondering, Marianne later went into porn. Now she’s a makeup artist for legit and porn films.)
This is basically a Scooby-Doo mystery with gore. The slightly accused brother and his weird buddy, Creepy Handyman’s nephew (Wesley Eure–Will from “Land Of The Lost”) try to solve the crime on their own. The cops are still looking at the kid, but have no leads at all. Mainly because they’re complete idiots who can’t believe that the killer might have a key to all of these apartments.
The first 10 mintues of this movie was basically just a montage of kills set to really terrible music being played on victims’ radios. I started off wondering if there was going to be any dialogue in the movie. Then I wondered if there would be any plot. Then if there were going to be any characters.
I was pretty much right in thinking that it would have none of these. Once I figured that out, I was able to enjoy it a lot more…which is to say I barely enjoyed it at all.
There were some ok kills at the beginning and then about an hour of blah, blah, blah with the characters either being really creepy or being really scared. It’s all so banal that, by the time you find out that Creepy Handyman is, indeed, the killer and has the girl locked up in his dead daughter’s bedroom (which is pretty fucking early on, actually), you’re really not surprised at all. When the incest is brought up, you just figure that it’s par for the course of this weird-ass community.
The final scene is pretty fucking rediculous. Not only does Eure kill his buddy to protect his uncle, but he finds his uncle with the girl, tells him that he and his cousin “made love,” kills his uncle and then FUCKING BECOMES HIM!!!
Through all of this, the girl just sits in the bed, not making a sound. Her eyes just keep getting bigger and bigger.
As brutal as the beginning of the movie is, the end makes it look like a Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks romp. Not as gory as the beginning, but psychologically more harrowing. And the disclaimer at the end saying that it was a true story…well, it’s obviously not. I mean, really? Would these guys really get the rights to a true story?
Just to prove that point, the trailer (included on the DVD) has a different date for the “actual” crime. Whoops.
Director Dennis Donnelly came from tv and went back to tv, never looking back at his only film. (He actually did some pretty A-list tv. “Hart To Hart,” “Simon And Simon,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “Vega$.” Oh yeah, and “Supertrain.” Can’t forget that one…no matter how much we want to.) His last work was as the first assistant director of the aerial unit on the Charlie Sheen/Nastassja Kinski flick Terminal Velocity in 1994. So, yeah. Horror doesn’t really get you anywhere, I guess. (Unless you’re Peter Jackson. Or Sam Raimi. Or Stephen King.)
There’s really not much to recommend here except for that nailing. Other than that, this is a pretty depraved flick without much merit even as z-grade slasher flicks go. It’s better than a lot on this list, but not nearly as good as others. It’s just kind of…mediocre. Which, in this genre, is the kiss of a bloody death.
LOW POINT: The creepiest moment occurs when Fern is trying to escape from the bed she’s tied in. She looks up into a mirror and sees her captor looking at her through the window right above her. It kind of sent a shudder down my spine. A bit like The Tall Man looming over the boy in the bed in Phantasm. Then Creepy Handyman comes in the room and starts singing “Motherless Children” to her. Then I got shudders for a completely different reason.
“We are going to eat you!” explained the posters for this gut-muncher. Simple. Silly. But, ultimately effective. (So was the “barf bag” promo.) This is Lucio Fulci’s answer to Dawn Of The Dead. In fact, in Italy where DOTD was called Zombi, this was its sequel, hence Zombi 2. He was asked to cash in on the success even though he was kind of a pariah at the time.
There’s a story here, but like all Fulci films, it’s secondary to the gore. A reporter and the daughter of a doctor (Tisa Farrow–Mia’s sister! I guess Woody couldn’t save ‘em all.) go to a small Caribbean island to try to find the good doctor. He boat was found floating in the East River and a zombie killed a cop. She just had to find out what the fuck was going on.
Lots of zombie action ensues. In fact, lots of extremely gory zombie action ensues. Possibly more gory than Dawn Of The Dead. The zombies are certainly dirtier and more disgusting than Romero’s. These are a LOT more decayed.
There are lots of famous scenes here: the shark/zombie fight, the woman getting her eye slowly pierced by a spike of wood, a zombie being brained by a cross (my personal favorite)…but they all add up to one thing: Fulci’s best film. Not only is the gore amazing (as it always is in his films), but the acting isn’t thoroughly terrible and it doesn’t move like molasses. It’s still not a GOOD film, but it’s a decent one that is a whole helluva lot of fun. I mean, who doesn’t like zombies in New York? (LOVE the last shot!)