Monday, May 30, 2011

Favorite Movie Character 01: Erma Birdwell

Bloodsucking Pharaohs in Pittsburgh (1991)
This voice box toting, chain-smoking gal is one of
my all time favorite movie characters!

A cartoonish personification of one's nicotine addiction
taken to a whole new absurd extreme.

One particular scene where Erma attempts to quit
her all consuming habit by attending a clinic with rather
violent and unorthodox treatments.
Is one of the of many hysterical scenes that occur in this underrated horror comedy.

"Would you inhale again please, Mrs. Birdwell?"


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Possession of Joel Delaney (1972)


Nora's beloved brother Joel's recent homecoming from Tangiers, initiates a succession of unfortunate events. Within days he is admitted to a psych ward for attacking the superintendent of his apartment building. Leaving Nora with no choice but to use her social connections to get him released into her care.

Since his arrival, Joel speaks of an acquaintance, Tonio. A troubled Puerto Rican youth and suspect in a series of murders committed the year prior. The victims were all female, found with their heads chopped off.

Even at the cost to her cosmopolitan lifestyle, Nora remains devoted to her brother. Who's increasingly erratic and violent behavior leads her to a Botanica in Spanish Harlem. One of the employees, Don Pedro, offers to assist in her plight, proposing that she attend a Santeria ritual. A practice that is only effective if the participant believes. Still skeptical, but desperate Nora attends the rite, bringing with her a piece of Joel's clothing.

After entering Don Pedro's home, she is introduced to Tonio's bereaved mother.
Nora then proceeds to ask the woman to tell her son to cease contact with her brother. Only to realize that Tonio has been dead for quite some time. Tonio's mother also suspects that her son's restless spirit now resides in Joel. And with his known inclinations for violence and murder, it is only a matter of time before his malevolent influence completely takes over.

Looks like it's time for an seance!


If not for the exceedingly cruel final 15 minutes, this film probably would have stayed completely under the radar. Which is a shame, because this underrated gem is quite a nasty little flick.

The ending garners the most notoriety for the the full frontal nudity of a minor, Nora's young son, Peter. The scene is still intact, but the young boy's privates are obscured for the DVD release (which is fine with me!) Regardless, what pans out is still really unsettling.

Another notable scenario that absolutely made my flesh crawl, was the Santeria seance. It starts off harmless enough, before it develops into a full on sensory assault, and watching Shirley Maclaine's visible unease as she is swept up into the hysterics is also undeniably chilling.

Availability:  The DVD is still in print. As for VHS versions, some of which are said to
have kept the adolescent nude scene completely uncensored. Is more costly to procure.
Of all the things to see, a few extra seconds of some young kids wiener, is not one of them.
But to each their own, I suppose.

Price: DVD (2-8$) VHS (24-44$)

Screen Captures: (No copyright infringement intended.)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Boxer's Omen (1983)


Chen Wai has been brutalized in a Thai boxing match, and is now paralyzed as the end result of his opponent's rage. While confined to a hospital bed, Chen Wai pleads for his brother, Chen Hung to take revenge for him by challenging his opponent, the Thai boxer, Ba Bo to a re-match.

Chen Hung finds Ba Bo gloating with a crowd of supporters. He reluctantly agrees to
another match. Giving Chen Hung 3 months to prepare for the event.

In addition, to the burden of having to defeat his brother's rival. Chen Hung is plagued by visions of a mysterious monk with extraordinary abilities. The magical apparition is found to be a well respected abbot, known as Quing Zhao.

The monk eventually leads Chen to a Buddhist Temple, where his arrival has been prophesied. Chen finds that he and the deceased Abbot, were twins in a past life. Destined to share a similar fate. Quing Zhao was killed by poisonous spiders conjured by a masterful black magician, Mai Gusu. Halting his exhaustive efforts to attain immortality.

Chen is given a chance to change fate by defeating the black magician, and is only given one option to reverse the damage already done. By becoming a Buddhist monk, infused with holy powers strong enough to defeat the evil magician. A feat that can only be attained after he renounces some of his favorite activities (I.E: sexy times)

Fun times, indeed.


It really is a shame that Chinese cinema is so frequently overshadowed. There is a delightful whimsy and derangement present in their exploitation and horror films that is distinctively their own. One minute your senses are assaulted with bloody violence that quickly crescendos to off kilter slapstick. And folklore inspired weirdness goes hand in hand with gross out, geek show exhibitions.

The possibilities for the fantastic are endless!

This film is a kaleidoscope of putrescence. Brain stews, eel vomiting and all manner of
regurgitated goodness litters the screen.With amazing sets and visuals combined with
a peculiar plot. This film is exceptionally entertaining. Definitely one of the more memorable viewing experiences I have had in the last few weeks.

Highly recommended!

Availability: In print

Price: 8-12$

Screen Captures: (No copyright infringement intended.)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Subspecies (1991)


Two young women, Michelle & Lillian, travel to Romania with intentions of researching
the local folklore. The girls meet up with a fellow classmate,Mara, who arranges for them
to board at an old bunker. A former historical site where peasants were able to fight off
an army of Turks, after making a covenant with vampires.

Not far from the bunker, rests the legendary castle Vladislas. With a centuries old family feud
contained within it's walls. Vampire brothers, Radu and his half sibling, Stephan, the progeny
of a union between their father, the king of the vampires and a mortal woman.  Both seek
possession of a legendary object, said to drip the blood of saints.
Currently the property of their father.

Radu has recently returned from exile, with vengeance on his mind.
Being that he is the eldest sibling, he believes that he is entitled to sample from the bloodstone.

While the three girls explore the ancient ruins around the Castle. They unintentionally
cross paths with the rival brothers. Stephan appears to have good intentions, along with
his feelings for Michelle.

His brother, Radu on the other hand, has other diabolical plans for them. Desiring instead
to pierce their flesh with his vicious bite, making them his consorts for all eternity.

Sounds like fun ;)


The mystical and romantic scenery compiled with the supremely haunting soundtrack by the Aman Folk Orchestra, are two reasons amongst many as to why I truly love this film.

The atmosphere is so welcoming and familiar. I want to be there amongst the ruins and
timeworn structures. I would dress as a gypsy in tattered garments and feed on
the peasants. Sharing dark catacombs with the taloned undead.

We rented this film often when I was a kid and I have not seen it since then. After picking it up for 5$ (as a triple feature with the 2 & 3 films) at Wally world. I really had to wonder how I could've gone for so long without them in my collection!

I am sure this is probably not the best incarnation of the films. The picture quality is not bad.
It's comparable to watching the original VHS tape. Which I really did not mind at all.
I am just elated to have the movies!

Very highly recommended!

Availability: A few weeks after I purchased the Echo Bridge triple feature. Full Moon
released a 20th Anniversary press for the first film, on both DVD & Blu-Ray. The sequels
also appear to be received the same treatments in the upcoming months. Which means I will
definitely be upgrading.

Price: 6-8$

Screen Captures: (No copyright infringement intended.)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Lucker The Necrophagous (1986)


Convicted serial killer, John Lucker is pronounced criminally insane, once the authorities
discover the disturbing details of his extra curricular activities with the decomposing corpses
of his female victims. After spending several months in various psychiatric facilities
before being temporarily admitted to a private clinic after a failed suicide attempt.
Lucker is given his chance to escape.

The medical staff seem convinced of his sedation after pumping him full of narcotics.
Yet make the fatal mistake of leaving him unattended in his room. Once the staff depart,
Lucker escapes, making sure to leave a few victims in his wake.

Now that he can enjoy his new found freedom, Lucker discovers that one of his
victims survived.With that notion, he begins to spy on his prey, waiting for the right moment
to finish what he started.

To pass the time, Lucker finds several female companions to play with, but they never seem
to fill the void.

It's always hard to forget the one that got away ;)


There are 2 versions of the film available on the DVD. A 68 minute Director's cut and rare 74 minute VHS print. I decided to view both versions, so I could compare them individually.

Both prints have a certain graininess to them that I sorta dig. It adds an underground mystique and atmosphere, but it also detracts with darkly lit scenes.

The 68 minute version was created by the Director using available materials. The sound is superior on this version, but I was immediately aware of a frequently distracting looped vocal track. Screams, sound effects and certain dialog is repeated ad nauseum. Footage is also recycled to extend the running time. In addition, all of the death scenes are often obscured by the poor picture quality.

The 74 minute version is my favorite of the two. Even with irremovable Dutch subtitles. There is a certain fluidity that the previous cut lacks since certain scenes that give supporting details were excised.
Thankfully, the annoying sound effects are absent with this version. And to me the picture seemed to be slightly better, despite a disclaimer before the start of the film, stating that the VHS version is of considerably lower picture and sound quality.

That being said, I still really enjoyed this movie. It's simple and effective. Plus, the lone scene of necrophilia would make this a worthy purchase for those with an affinity for corpse love films.

It's really, really gooey! :P

Availability: In print

Price: 3-14$

Screen Captures: (No copyright infringement intended.)