Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cinesludge Returns with a Double Bill of Hairy Hijinks!


The Evil Monks of Cinesludge Abbey have extracted themselves from mounds of snow and paperwork to return with an all new episode!

This time out it's a double dose of hairy hijinks from Fred Olen Ray that come under the spooky spotlight – the mutant-wolf-on-the-loose gorefest of DIRE WOLF aka DINO WOLF (2009) and the T&A horrorshow featuring Paul Naschy known as THE UNLIVING (2004), recently unleashed on an unsuspecting public like Waldemar Daninsky attacking some grubby peasants.

So sit back, crack a brew (or two) and enjoy!

If you want to watch first, DIRE WOLF and THE UNLIVING are both available at Amazon.

You can listen to the latest episode at Cinesludge or iTunes.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Digging Out With TOP MODEL

David Z and I have both been buried lately... he under 95" of snow and me under an avalanche of catalog work for a client. But we've both emerged, albeit briefly, in order to share Z's look at the recent DVD of L'ATTRAZIONE (aka TOP MODEL) from One 7 Films, featuring an appearance from Geretta Geretta of DEMONS fame!

Mario Gariazzo is a director who produced some extremely odd films during his career, ranging from UFO conspiracy and sexploitation such as EYES BEHIND THE STARS and VERY CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND to Spaghetti Westerns like ACQUASANTA JOE and the infamous WHITE SLAVE, not to mention PLAY MOTEL, a thriller on the distinctly hard end of the "giallo" shaft of celluloid.

So, it was quite intriguing to see TOP MODEL, a latter day sex film that features such top of the bill talents like Florence Guerin and Martine Brochard hobnobbing with Marino Mase and a bunch of stock players that include Geretta Geretta – Rosemary from DEMONS – lounging in lingerie.

Sandwiched between his hot streak and the utterly bizarre THE BROTHER FROM SPACE, L'ATTRAZIONE (aka TOP MODEL) has enough odd flourishes in its short running time that you can tell it's Gariazzo's work, but only upon close inspection. With a Blu Ray of his EERIE MIDNIGHT HORROR SHOW recently released by Code Red, it's a shame this one isn't quite as bizarre. But, if you like 80s softcore, TOP MODEL is certainly worth watching.

Nadine is a fashion photographer out for shoot with a rich couple, and even as things wrap up it's clear the man of the house – Victor – is smitten by her. How could you not be, as she is frequently naked and was being being groped about and rubbing lustily against a stranger (Florence Guerin)?

Marino Mase and Guerin end up in a strange battle of wills, desires, chess with a handgun (you need to watch that bit to believe it) and a whole lot of nudity. Victor's wife, played by Martine Brochard, wobbles between anger and fascination as the scenarios play out. It's all good dirty fun with lots of dramatic dialog and references to literature mixed with tits and Mase's not-so-sensual ass... though I would take one for the team and shoot those scenes, too!

Gariazzo probably gets a bum rap at times, mostly because his films are so damn weird that they tend to feel almost like berserk parodies of the genre he's working in, but he has visual flair at times, and even in the 80s glut of films that would shimmy to cable around the world he presents work as stylish as Filmirage's output. Go ahead, you can snicker, but I do so love the Filmirage sexploitation catalog.

This, as with many of One 7's releases, is definitely a completist item and this particular Italian Skin Film obsessive was charmed by the film. It's not exactly loaded with tension, but the star is beautiful and the scenarios are just odd enough to keep it compelling.

One 7 does not shock in the visual department. The flick is not great looking, but I haven't seen it any other way and most likely we never will again on the US shores. The picture is soft looking (and yes, many European Sex Films were "shot that way" but I'm not referring to the cinematography) and in mono Italian with English subtitles.

Hardly a landmark, but Guerin's performance and sex appeal will draw you in. I just can't believe the retitling at One 7 (as per usual) since TOP MODEL is the cable and VHS name for Joe D'Amato's Filmirage presentation also on DVD as 11 DAYS, 11 NIGHTS PART 2.  Cheeky!!  Wait, that is the name of a Tinto Brass film, so... that could end up as the title for a Peter Bark movie where he plays a boy scout (yep, it exists, I've seen it). Best not give them more ideas!! – David Zuzelo

TOP MODEL is available from Amazon.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

This is Almost Enough to Make Me Subscribe to the PLAYBOY Channel!

Did you love John Waters' commentary track on the CHRISTMAS EVIL DVD and Blu-Ray?

Wouldn't you love to sit down and watch a bunch of movies with the PINK FLAMINGOS director and get his take on them?

The PLAYBOY Channel – which I didn't know still existed – is going one better and has hired Waters to host screenings of a series of vintage porn films that will air on Saturday nights beginning this month. (Unfortunately, this received so little press that we've already missed the first week!)

Waters is slated to host screenings of such groundbreaking and legendary skin flicks as DEEP THROAT, THE DEVIL IN MISS JONES, CANDY STRIPERS, TELL THEM JOHNNY WADD IS HERE and DEBBIE DOES DALLAS.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Vinegar Syndrome Goes Digital... And You Can Help Make It Happen

We've come a long way from walking into the video store and mulling over the mangled boxes lining the shelves, hoping that the likes of GRADUATION DAY or RAW FORCE would be available to rent.

Help the fine folks at Vinegar Syndrome get their streaming channel off the ground and get some sweet rewards in the process.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Last Minute Holiday Horrors with TO ALL A GOODNIGHT (1980)

2014 has been an interesting year for ballyhooed video releases of less heralded slasher flicks. And while I was thrilled to see GRADUATION DAY get its due thanks to the folks at Vinegar Syndrome, I must admit to being somewhat underwhelmed by lovingly restored versions of both PROM NIGHT and CURTAINS. Unfortunately, you can add the David Hess-helmed Holiday Horror TO ALL A GOODNIGHT – out now on Blu-Ray and available from Amazon – to that list of so-so slashers.

Opening with a genre trademark pre-credit "accidental death" at a girls school, TO ALL immediately jumps ahead two years as a half-dozen or so students stay behind during Christmas vacation. One girl invites her rich boyfriend and his pals to fly up – thanks to pilot Harry Reems! – so she can spread, uh, some Christmas joy and drink some PBR while the filmmakers pad the list of victims.

From here on out it's a largely plotless endeavor as the killer knocks off students, Ralph the Red Herring Gardener, a horny cop sent to protect the girls – and by "protect" I mean "screw" – and so on until the "ah, what the hell" ending that feels more pulled from thin air than usual.

Granted, these same complaints about plotlessness (is that even a word?) and half-assed endings can be leveled at scores of mindless horror outings to which I've been much kinder. I get that. But TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT commits a far greater sin than simply being moronic (a trait I am definitely willing to overlook)... it's downright tedious.

Sure, HOSPITAL MASSACRE (aka X-RAY) may be as dumb as a post, but at least Boaz Davidson fills the hospital setting with freaks and weirdoes spouting insane dialogue while Barbi Benton runs around in her undies. In other words, I was never bored by it.

What came as the much bigger surprise was how tame TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT ended up being. While I've never been a huge fan, director Hess' filmography as an actor features sleazy turns in such flicks as Wes Craven's THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and Ruggero Deodato's trashy HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK. In his first – and only – feature behind the camera, Hess fails to deliver anything memorable from a sleaze/gore standpoint and the flick is largely remembered – aside from a killer in a Santa suit – thanks to the appearance of Jennifer Runyon as milk drinking sometimes peeper Nancy.

Runyon, who made her debut in this flick, would go on to a film and television career highlighted by a recurring role on 'Charles in Charge', stepping in as Cindy Brady on the tv movie A VERY BRADY CHRISTMAS (co-starring Jerry Houser of SLAP SHOT fame as brother-in-law Wally), and appearing in drive-in fare like UP THE CREEK and CARNOSAUR (exec produced by uncle-in-law Roger Corman).

Successful as neither a slasher nor a holiday-themed horror, TO ALL A GOODNIGHT deserves a big ol' lump of coal in its stocking. If you want holiday-themed sleaze that delivers the goods, treat yourself to the likes of SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT or DON'T OPEN TILL CHRISTMAS. – Dan Taylor

Dan Taylor is the editor of Exploitation Retrospect and the food and drink-themed zine/website The Hungover Gourmet. A contributor to such publications as Weng's Chop and Monster! (both available at Amazon) he is also the co-host of Cinesludge: A Mangled Media Podcast with David Zuzelo.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Holiday Horrors Returns with HOME SWEET HOME (1981)

Be careful what you wish for this holiday season, my friends.

Longtime readers of ER are well aware of my love for "holiday horrors" – heck, a screening of the original SILENT NIGHT, DEADLY NIGHT over Thanksgiving weekend in 1984 is what set co-founder Lou Goncey and me on the wild and crazy path to zine publishing/blogging/podcasting.

And while you can't swing a dead elf without hitting a half-dozen Christmas-themed horror flicks, other holidays – like Thanksgiving – aren't quite as well represented. Oh sure, there's 1987's classic BLOOD RAGE (aka NIGHTMARE AT SHADOW WOODS) in which a Thanksgiving meal touches off a killing spree as an escaped mental patient tries to clear his name, but there's not many more.

The most well known example of on-screen Thanksgiving slaughter is probably 1981's HOME SWEET HOME, long unavailable on domestic video in any legit form and the subject of a lengthy flea market and thrift store hunt by yours truly. Thanks to Cinesludge's very own Evil Monk #2 I was able to get my hands on a copy for Thanksgiving Eve viewing.

Uh... thanks?

For those of you that loathe any kind of set up, HOME SWEET HOME will be right in your wheelhouse as a pre-credit radio bulletin alerts us to the presence of a homicidal maniac – yep, that's BIG BROTHER JAKE star Jake Steinfeld – who has escaped from a home for the criminally insane eight years after bludgeoning his parents to death. As if the sight of the ripped, curly-haired, hulking "Body By Jake" pitchman isn't enough to strike terror in your hearts, well, he might also be on PCP.

After stealing a station wagon and running over an old woman TRUTH OR DARE style, Body By Jake finds himself in the vicinity of the home of Bradley, a failed record executive played by Don Edmonds (yes, the same Don Edmonds who brought us ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE SS and ILSA, HARMER KEEPER OF THE OIL SHIEKS). With friends and family gathered for a Thanksgiving meal, Bradley and Co. make easy pickings for Body By Jake (billed as The Killer) as he crushes, strangles and bludgeons his way through the guest list.

Unfortunately – like some Thanksgiving recipes I've encountered over the years – HOME SWEET HOME sounds much better on paper than it does in reality. The presentation certainly doesn't help as the transfer is dark-bordering-on-incomprehensible while cars break down, people walk around the woods and Body By Jake cackles like, well, a lunatic on PCP as he thins the herd.

As for the Thanksgiving setting, I'm not even positive the holiday is actually mentioned. There's a turkey on the table and one guest is incensed when the power goes out, thus limiting his access to the big game he has a bet on, but for all the talk of the Thanksgiving theme it could really be any weekend during the fall.

But no review of HOME SWEET HOME would be complete without a nod to Peter De Paula as The Mistake – simultaneously the best and worst thing about the flick. Dressed like a new wave mime (?!), the cruelly nicknamed Mistake bops around the proceedings playing riffs on his portable electric guitar and doing magic tricks to amuse Angel (a young Vinessa Shaw who would go on to a lengthy career in film and TV including Stanley Kubrick's EYES WIDE SHUT). The Mistake – who seems to be Bradley's son from an earlier marriage? – even gets pegged as the killer when bodies start piling up. You can't wait for him to get killed but when he's not on screen you'll be begging for him to relieve the boredom.

And that may be HOME SWEET HOME's most egregious sin. Like a bone-dry Thanksgiving turkey, HOME SWEET HOME takes the high concept of a Thanksgiving murder spree and dumbs it down to the level of your most generic slasher.

Do yourself a favor... if you're truly in the mood for a Turkey Day terror treat yourself to the truly whacked out BLOOD RAGE instead. You'll thank me later. – Dan Taylor

Dan Taylor is the editor of Exploitation Retrospect and the food and drink-themed zine/website The Hungover Gourmet. A contributor to such publications as Weng's Chop and Monster! (both available at Amazon) he is also the co-host of Cinesludge: A Mangled Media Podcast with David Zuzelo.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Batter Up! Slash, Dash and BILLY CLUB Bash with the Evil Monks of Cinesludge

Baseball may be over but it's always Slasher Season for the Evil Monks of Cinesludge!

In the latest episode, David Zuzelo of TOMB IT MAY CONCERN and I wax nostalgic about our discovery of and love for the much-maligned slasher genre and even offer up a list of some of the genre faves we return to again and again and again. (Hint: None of them are HALLOWEEN flicks and at least three include Edmund Purdom... THREE!)

Plus, we take a largely spoiler-free look at the newly-minted-but-feels-like-the-90s baseball-themed slasher neo-classic BILLY CLUB, in which a tormented tween comes back to wreak havoc on the Little Leaguers whose hijinks landed him in the loony bin. Where they appear to have no intramural baseball team.

So grab some stale popcorn, an overpriced beverage and your nail-filled Louisville slugger and listen in as two HorrorDads take a break from their daily routine to chat about their favorite cinematic comfort food.

Cinesludge: The Mangled Media Podcast is available via Cinesludge.podbean.com as well as on iTunes.

If you have any questions for the Evil Monks, comment below or drop us a line at editor@dantenet.com and we'll be happy to answer them in an upcoming episode.

For the latest Cinesludge news and giveaways, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter via @CinesludgeMedia.