EVOL666

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Reviews

Trilogy of Blood
(2010)

Who Knew Killing Could Be This Much Fun???
My review of TRILOGY OF BLOOD is gonna be biased because I play guitar for THE DEADNEKS-but I'll be as honest in my review as I can. 

The idea for the film was originally conceived by DEADNEKS founder/singer Joey "Fangface" Broy several years ago. The concept was to showcase three of our songs in music-video form (as well as other songs of ours used as background-music) and tie them together into a short, exploit/horror type film.  We always had interest in doing it-but it never really went anywhere until we met Charlie Ruckus and the other guys who at the time made up Ruckus Productions (Rick Kelley, Brian Archambault, and Larry Smith) at a show and started kicking the idea around. They took a serious interest in it, understood our financial limitations-and signed on to film it. We had a few pre-production meetings, some casting calls, etc...and within a few months we started filming.

The plot revolves around three young ladies (Elyse Carr, Tisha Gardner, and B-movie 'starlet' Brenna Lee Roth)-who pick up a redneck hitch- hiker (Joey) in the backwoods of Virginia. The hitch-hiker offers for the girls to come to a barn-dance/BBQ and the girls accept-not realizing that this isn't your typical backyard BBQ...

The film was shot over a three-day weekend with virtually no budget. The entire cast worked for free with the exception of Brenna who was coming from Ohio and obviously needed travel expenses covered. Other than Brenna, the Ruckus guys, and a few of our FX people-no one had ever 'acted' or worked on a film before.  Everyone involved put in long hours for no pay and hopefully are all happy with the final results. 

Since Joey and I are big fans of old-school exploit/horror cinema-we definitely wanted a 'gritty' look to the film which we feel Ruckus captured very well. There are obvious nods to the films of H.G. Lewis (one of our favorite directors) as well as several other grindhouse-style horror films. We also caught a lot of good 'improv' scenes-mostly courtesy of our boys Tat and Cyrus that added a bit of comic-relief to the mix.  

As to the technical aspects of the film:  personally I think that the 'grainy' look of the film is exactly what we wanted and helps to keep it from looking like the average SOV no- budget film-another aspect that Ruckus captured well.  If I had any gripes about the technical end of things-it would be that some of the audio is a little obscured because we had to run a generator since we were shooting outside most of the time-so you get some generator noise. In most of the scenes it actually adds another weird 'layer' to the film- but there's a spot or two that it's a little overpowering. I also wish we would have had time/money to refine a couple of the gore FX-but overall I think they're really solid and funny and definitely stay in the vein of what we were looking to do. Part of the post- production issue is that we had to have it out in time for the premier of the film which put a lot of pressure on Charlie to get everything knocked out in time-a tough job that he single-handedly tackled and did a great job with-especially given the time constraints.  

TRILOGY OF BLOOD got it's big-screen premier at the Alamo Cinema Drafthouse in Winchester VA on April 3rd 2010 to a sold-out crowd and got a very good response. We're hoping to have it screened in some other areas soon-so keep your eyes peeled :)

If I were objectively rating TRILOGY OF BLOOD-given my tastes I'd probably give it a 7.5 or 8/10-but since we all put a lot of effort into it-I think everyone that had anything to do with it deserves a 10. 

Joey and I are currently working on the script for our next DEADNEKS film- DEMONIACAL-which will be longer, gorier, and overall 'bigger' in every way-so stay tuned...

Whiteout
(2009)

Ridiculous And Un-Entertaining 'Thriller'...
I had no previous interest in seeing WHITEOUT-the only reason I bothered at all was because it's about the only thing at Redbox I haven't seen yet. Shoulda waited for some new-releases. 

Kate Beckinsale plays a U.S. Marshall in Antarctica who gets caught up in some convoluted plot involving Russians and a mysterious plane crash from the '50s. The rest is downhill from there. 

There's plenty of things that are completely ridiculous in this film. So many in fact, that it's pointless to try to list them-others have done it on the board for this one. As for any 'positives'-the acting is passable and the Antarctic location makes a good, desolate setting for a thriller. And we get to see Beckinsale briefly in her underwear-but this is tempered by the fact that any actual nudity that we get to see is from a bunch of idiots who decide to go streaking in sub-zero temperatures with their dongs flappin' out. In all fairness, WHITEOUT isn't a horrible film per se, but it's completely unremarkable in every way, is pretty predictable, and takes itself far too seriously for all the holes in the details that it contains. Not the worst thing I've ever seen (by far...), but I wouldn't recommend this film to anyone. 3.5/10

The Graves
(2009)

Wow-This Film Reached New Levels Of Suckdom...
I got this one from Redbox the other nite cuz i'd seen pretty much everything else from there that I had any real interest in. I really should have saved my dollar. 

Two sisters take a road-trip to Arizona to see the world's biggest thermometer (?) because one of the sisters is moving to NY. They end up in some hick village and are stalked by the locals. Then what started as a sub-par 'deranged rednecks' film abruptly turned into a sub-par supernatural-horror film. I really have nothing else to say about the content of this mess...

Everything sucks about THE GRAVES. The storyline is stupid, the acting (while not the worst I've ever seen...) is pretty bad, and the FX (both the gore and 'supernatural' scenes) are atrocious. Bill Moseley does an OK job with the crap he's given, and Tony Todd is unmemorable in his role. Honestly, I can't think of anything I've ever seen Todd in since the original Candyman where his role stood out. A complete lack of nudity from the attractive female leads rounds out my overall disappointment with this dull, un-scary, poorly made garbage. The only thing I slightly enjoyed was the 10-seconds or so in the beginning that featured an over-dubbed 'live' performance from the band CALABRESE. I like them a lot so I'll give the film a pretty generous 2 points for their involvement, and for the passable performance by Moseley. If it weren't for the heavy narcotics that rendered me unable to take the disc out, I would've turned this off after the first 15 minutes...2/10

The Descent: Part 2
(2009)

Unnecessary But Entertaining Sequel...
THE DESCENT is the type of film that really didn't need a sequel. But with it's relative popularity-I wasn't the least bit surprised when one was announced. I really didn't know what to expect with THE DESCENT 2, and was honestly expecting the worst-but I'll admit that I was pleasantly surprised by this entertaining if not ground-breaking sequel. 

The film begins right after the first film ends. Sarah escapes the cave, is discovered by an old man on the road, and the taken to the hospital. Of course the local sheriff wants answers as to why she's the only one to return from the group of cavers, and what happened to the others. The sheriff puts together a small team to investigate the caves with an amnesiac Sarah in tow. The rest of the film plays out much like the first with very little difference in style or approach...

If you enjoyed the first one and don't mind a heavy dose of 're-tread'-then it's surprising to me if you don't like this one. There really isn't much to be brought in terms of originality to a storyline like this (unless you start getting into really retarded territory-like as one reviewer stated, 'flying crawlers' or some sh!t like that...)-so if they're going to force a sequel on the populace-then it may as well try to be as entertaining as the first, if not wholly original. And i believe this film succeeded. The action is still pretty hot and heavy, it's just as, if not more gory than the first, there's a few good jump-scares, and although not quite as claustrophobic as the first-still some of that as well. The acting, cinematography, gore FX, and score/sound-design are all up to par and in some cases quite good-so I don't have much to bitch about. There are some inconsistencies, like: if these creatures are supposed to hear/smell so well, why can't they sense someone that's RIGHT in front of them?!?!-but for a film like this I prefer to just turn my brain of and go along for the ride. Again-very derivative of the first (the only real reason I'm rating it a point lower than the original...), but I feel it could have been a WHOLE lot worse. An interesting twist or two, and an obvious set-up for a third film round out what I consider to be a solid pop-corn horror film and a better-than- average sequel. 8/10

Sick Girl
(2007)

Decent Low-Budget 'Shocker'...
Heard all the yap about how 'sick' and 'disturbing' this film is, so of course I had to see for myself. Oftentimes I'm utterly disappointed when I finally get around to watching these 'extreme' films-and every now and then I'm impressed. Though not a great film-SICK GIRL is definitely closer to the latter with me. 

The story revolves around a young woman named Izzy, and her little brother. Their parents died (no mention in the film as to how...), and their older brother (who Izzy has an unhealthy fixation on...) is serving overseas in the Marines, leaving Izzy alone to raise the pre-teen brother, with a little help from a friendly neighbor. Izzy is obviously a bit (understatement) off mentally, and it's made very apparent that she has some major anger-issues, especially towards a guy that tried to pick her up hitch-hiking, a nun, a catholic school-girl, her older brother's girlfriend, and a group of kids who bully the younger brother. The 'action' of the film revolves mainly around Izzy's revenge on those that f! cked with her and her family...

First off, from a technical standpoint-SICK GIRL is not a great film. It's obviously low- budget, the acting is hit or miss at times, the actress who plays Izzy has an annoying voice (though despite this I still liked her in the role...), and there's some audio issues at times where I couldn't  make out the dialog real well. That said-I feel that the film succeeds as a low-budget indie 'shock'-film. The storyline is decent and the characters are developed enough that you have some sympathy for them. I usually can't stand child actors but I think the younger brother did a decent job. The friendly biker/neighbor did a decent job as well. And voice issue aside, I liked the lead actress. She did a solid enough job throughout most of the film as being a believable sociopath. I also found that the semi-twist end-scene made the case for Izzy being a psycho a bit stronger. The often mentioned 'disturbing' scenes are decent enough. The FX are obviously cheap, but the gags are effective enough if not anything ground-breaking. I doubt anyone who has watched a lot of 'extreme' cinema will find anything in this film all that 'shocking'-but I will admit that there's one particular scene that I can't say I've seen in a film before. Overall, a solid film if you aren't terribly hung-up on film-making technicalities-and I'm pretty sure that most fans of low-budget 'shockers' will be entertained. It's probably too 'rough' (both in terms of content and from a technical standpoint) for the casual horror-viewer. 7.5/10 (loses half a point for lack of nudity-a film like this needs some...)

Drifter: Henry Lee Lucas
(2009)

Wow-This Film Sucks Giant Horse Balls...
I'm going to waste very little time on this particular take on the Henry Lee Lucas story.

The film is based on the life and of some of the supposed killings of disputably proficient serial-killer Henry Lee Lucas.

Virtually everything is wrong with this film. The casting is f!cking horrible. Sabato is neither creepy or in any way believable as a serial killer. The guy that plays Otis sucks too. And the woman who plays Otis' niece and Lucas' teenage female lover is ridiculously unbelievable and looks like exactly what she is-a 30ish year-old woman playing a 14 year-old. Even the soundtrack/score blew. I honestly couldn't tell if this film was supposed to be a comedy half the time. Avoid by all means, and watch either of the far superior HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER or CONFESSIONS OF A SERIAL KILLER for far more interesting and competent takes on the story. 2/10

Revenge of the Cheerleaders
(1976)

Silly '70s Sex-Comedy...
I'm gonna jump right into this one because there's not much going on in REVENGE OF THE CHEERLEADERS to waste much breath on.

This one involves a group of slutty  cheerleaders getting nekkid a decent amount and a barely-there plot about a developer that's trying to get the school shut-down in order to develop the land for a money-making project. There's also the requisite 'rivalry' between the main cheerleaders and those from another school, etc...

There's a decent amount of nudity in this one and pretty much all of the female leads are more than f!ckable. There are a few semi-humorous scenes but nothing that I found to be hilarious by a long shot. I must applaud the casting agent for being very 'PC' for this era of film-as most ethnic groups are represented in our heroine's cheer-leading squad: black, white, Hispanic, Asian-even a pregnant one. Very forward-thinking I must say. David Hasselhoff in a supporting role as a gangly basketball player aptly named 'Boner' is another high-point. A bunch of goofy dance sequences round this one out. I see some people hold CHEERLEADERS in high-regard as a sexploit classic-I found it semi- amusing but mostly dull and uninspired. Might have been a lot better if I was really drunk...5/10

Il coltello di ghiaccio
(1972)

Decent Giallo From Umberto Lenzi...
Despite the fact that KNIFE OF ICE was very tame in the sex and sleaze departments (virtually no bloodshed and no nudity whatsoever...) I found this one to be a decent enough entry in the genre. 

Martha is a mute who became that way after a train accident killed her parents 15 years earlier. Her cousin comes to stay with her and her father, and ends up murdered. This of course leads to all the typical giallo-style investigations and 'red herrings' that most fans crave...

I will say that I was disappointed in the lack of gore and nudity in this entry (especially coming from Lenzi who helmed such sleaze 'classics' as CANNIBAL FEROX and EATEN ALIVE) -but of the several giallo-films that I've seen lately-I was thankful that the pace was relatively quick, and the storyline pretty straight-forward. I tend to like gialli overall, but I find that many get caught up in such convoluted plots that they tend to weigh the film down. I will say that for me at least, I guessed the killer pretty much right off the bat- but that's not to say that the film is exactly 'predictable'. Overall a decent entry that I'd recommend to fans of the genre. 7/10

Le porno killers
(1980)

Misleading Title-Disappointing Film...
By the title-I was hoping for a sex-and-violence extravaganza. Needless to say, I was sorely mistaken. My copy of LE PORNO KILLERS has no subs/dubs-so I have no idea about most of the finer-points of the film. 

From what I could gather-two female hit-women are sent from NY to I guess Italy to kill somebody. As the story plays out, the girls get nekkid and have a fair amount of (un- graphic) sex with some men and each other...

The two female leads are hot and do show a good bit of skin-which is the only saving- grace at all in this one. Maybe if I'd have been able to follow the storyline I would have enjoyed it more-but I doubt it. And unfortunately-some decent nudity wasn't enough to save this one for me. Worth a look to rare sexploit completists-otherwise not worth the effort in my book. 4/10

San gau
(1980)

Noteworthy Pre-CAT III HK Rape/Revenge Film...
THE BEASTS is an entertaining (depending on your idea of 'entertainment') rape/revenge entry from Hong Kong that draws definite parallels from all the other 'rednecks vs. city- folk' films that came before it. 

A group of young-adults takes a camping trip into some backwater hell-hole, and is harassed by the local inbreds. One of the female vacationers is raped and her brother killed. When the hicks are let off the hook because the daughter is too traumatized to testify-her dad goes batsh!t and hunts down the clan of scumbags one-by-one...

Although completely derivative in almost every sense-I still quite enjoyed THE BEASTS. The storyline may not be original, but is pretty fast-paced and throws an Asian styling onto what could otherwise be considered a pretty tired concept. The group of rapists are suitably odd-looking, and are cast well for the subject matter. While by no means 'graphic' by today's standards-the sleaze is sleazy and the gore is gory-especially for a film that pre-dates the CAT III movement where ultra-sleaze became the norm in Hong Kong by a full 7 or 8 years. Although I can't rate this one too highly (mainly because I've just seen too much of this sorta thing...), I would say that THE BEASTS is as good or better than many of it's CAT III spawn-and though not technically a CAT III film itself-I would definitely suggest it to those that enjoy those types of films. Oh-and the (assumingly) lifted soundtrack featuring The Police, Genesis, and many others-along with the absolutely comical subtitling and some other oddly comedic moments, round this one out quite nicely...7.5/10

Eden Lake
(2008)

Good Chase Film...
I'd heard all the hype surrounding EDEN LAKE lately so I gave it a shot.  I'm always interested in any film where the majority of viewers find it 'brutal' or 'disturbing'-but I guess my thoughts on those types of labels are different than others. 

A young couple goes camping and is terrorized by a group of teen-aged trouble-makers. That's pretty much the whole plot until the semi-'twist' ending. 

Overall, I'd say EDEN LAKE is a good film. All of the cast shines in their respective roles, the settings and camera-work are solid, and the pace is quick enough to keep you interested. I guess my main problems with the film are the fact that it's really not nearly as 'disturbing' as I had been led to believe,there's nothing really original or interesting about the overall storyline, and the ending was foreseeable from a mile away. I guess 'disturbing' is relative to the eye of the beholder-but I didn't find this one to be any more disturbing than any other 'chase the prey through the woods' type horror/thriller. Same with the storyline. People get chased through the woods and evade capture until they're either caught or fight back. I will say that I liked the ending-but I saw it coming as soon as the first of the hooligans was offed.  Regardless of my issues with it-this one is solid for those that want to see a fairly typical chase-film. Nothing to cream about but worth a rent. 7/10

Humanoids from the Deep
(1980)

Attack Of The Fish-Rapists!!!
I hadn't seen HUMANOIDS...in years-and when I did, I'm pretty sure I saw a chopped copy-so it was quite the pleasure to revisit this Corman 'classic' in all it's salmon-people rapey goodness...

A small town is being plagued by a rack of mutated salmon who look like the creature from the black lagoon on steroids. The monsters have an affinity for killing dogs and raping women with big tits. What more of a plot do you need than that???

Honestly-I'm pretty surprised how well this one still holds up. The creature costumes are silly but pretty effective, the gore scenes are solid and actually quite well done for a no- budget B-movie from 1980, and you have fish-people raping a bunch of big-tittied sluts...it really doesn't get much better in terms of sleazy, silly schlock-cinema. Definitely not for all tastes-but for those that want a little more adult-oriented content in their creature-feature films-this one's a must see. 8/10

Camping del terrore
(1986)

Typical '80s 'Kids In The Woods' Slasher From Ruggero Deodato...
Although the fact that BODY COUNT was helmed by the notorious Ruggero 'CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST' Deodato-the film itself treads pretty much the same territory as any string of interchangeable '80s teen-slashers. 

Annoying group of kids go to a cabin in the woods...'scary back story' about haunted woods...kids drink and act stupid...tits...David Hess...people die...bad dialogue/acting...bad '80s-style music...worse '80s-style hair...more tits...more people die...'big reveal'...the end. 

Although this one brings nothing particularly new or fresh to the table-it's still fun enough if you haven't seen one of these types of films in a while. There's nothing standout to highly recommend this film-but it's worth a loom for slasher fans or Deodato completists. 6.5/10

Sôseiji
(1999)

Odd Bit Of Japanese Psychological-Horror...
I started watching Gemini several years ago but never finished it for some reason. As I'm making a point to go through my unwatched film collection, I decided to give it another go. 

The storyline concerns the eyebrow-challenged couple of Yukio and Rin. Yukio is a young doctor and Rin is his (supposedly) amnesiac wife. Things get really strange for the couple when a man that looks just like Yukio shows up...

I have very mixed feelings about this one. Overall I'd say that I liked it-but I felt it could have been much stronger if it wouldn't have veered off into weirdo-territory the way so many '90s era Japanese films seem to do. The storyline is actually pretty straight-forward by the time you get to the end-but the atmosphere of the beginning is lost with a bunch of weird and garish costuming that felt nearly comical to me. I personally feel the first third of the film is really quite fantastic. During that segment-there's a constant feeling of anxious, near-dread that is almost early Cronenberg-ish in nature. Problem is-that feeling of suspense and general 'creepiness' dies quickly because the film becomes, well...too 'Japanese' for lack of a better term. Don't get me wrong-I'm typically quite fond of Japanese films and their often peculiar style-but in this one, it felt forced.  I guess I shouldn't be surprised coming from the director of the TETSUO films-and he does show far more restraint in GEMINI-but it just wasn't enough. I honestly think this could have been a really fantastic film that just really misses the mark for me. Still a decent film-just not a great one. 6.5/10

Sodomu no Ichi
(2004)

Wow-This One's A Weirdy Even By J-Horror Standards...
SODOM THE KILLER is a very fun and whacked out horror/comedy that I can only describe as Japan's answer to a Troma film. 

It's the 18th century and Ichibei Sodom's wedding day. His soon-to-be-wife dies before the ceremony and it's blamed on witchcraft perpetrated by the wife's two maids. Ichibei has them buried in snow in a well-but the maids maintain innocence for the wife's death and put a curse on Ichibei. Turns out that the maids didn't in fact kill the wife-her death had something to do with an old woman's pin-cushion (?).  Ichibei's curse kicks in and he turns into a blind, bloodthirsty killer and kills everyone at the wedding. Skip 300 years to the present, and an ancestor named Ichiro is about to get married. Same sort of thing happens with the fiancé dying during the ceremony-but this time it's because Ichiro's jealous sister who wanted to marry him poisons her (??) - which unleashes the curse again and turns Ichiro into a likeness of his murderous ancestor (???)and becomes known as Sodom the Killer. He then goes around gathering recruits to help him drag a coffin along that holds the body of his dead wife by offering to buy them food. He gets into counterfeiting somehow (?????) and starts rolling around with his cohorts in a Benz with a flame-thrower mounted on the roof (??????). Sodom and his lackeys bust a doctor out of jail so that the two can join forces and rulle the world. Meanwhile, a female cop that has a knack for gunning down innocent bystanders (???????) is hot on his trail. A lot more weird stuff happens-but I think you can see where all this is going...

Honestly-I found SODOM THE KILLER to be a really fun and truly funny bit of J- comedy/horror strangeness. There's plenty wrong with the film-but it's obvious that all of it is intentional in order to boost the camp-level. The storyline-though completely whacked-out and often convoluted-at least shows a good bit of originality and wit for what is obviously a no-budget SOV affair. If you can stand zero-budget, schlocky Japanese weirdness-you may get a kick out of this one. These types of films are very hit- or-miss with me-and luckily this one was a lot more 'hit' than 'miss' in my book. Turn your brain off, drink a whole bunch (or whatever it is you do to get in the right mind-frame for this sort of film...) and give it a shot. 7/10

Nikutai no mon
(1964)

Interesting Pre-Pinku Historical Exploiter..
I had no idea what to expect going into GATE OF FLESH. It's yet another in a long line of discs that I've had lying around for ages that I acquired several years back in my film- trading days.  From the title I was expecting some sort of Euro art-house porn-what I got was something entirely different...

The storyline revolves around a group of hookers in post WWII Japan-where thieving, prostitution, black-markets, and overall abject poverty are the order of the day. The film is basically a snapshot of the women's lives and life in their little shantytown in general. Once the audience is brought up to speed on the women and their daily routines-a monkey-wrench is thrown into the mix, in the way of Shin-an ex-Japanese military man who invades their domain and becomes an object of admiration (and lust) to the hookers. The actual story of the film hits it's stride when Shin's involvement with the women begins to cause derision amongst them...

Although there doesn't seem to be many such films-I've always enjoyed the few that i've seen that mix true historical subject-matter with an exploitation-film style. Excluding more campy films that might fall into this genre (like pretty much the entire Nazisploit sub- genre...) the only others that readily come to mind were from Chinese director T. F. Mou with his films LOST SOULS, MEN BEHIND THE SUN, and THE NANKING MASSACRE. Though not nearly as blatantly exploitative as the aforementioned-GATE OF FLESH has a similar 'vibe'. There's obviously an air of authenticity that is felt throughout the film (the cramped, sweaty environments and layer of grime that literally seemed to coat the film), but the material is also handled in a somewhat off-hand way that was sure to also come off as 'shocking' to audiences at the time. I also found GATE OF FLESH to be an interesting, precursory look at what was soon to come of the actual pinku genre, once it hit in Japan a few years later. Although definitely not a pink-film by definition-most of the trappings were there-just not as blatantly and full-on exploitative as they would become in later films. I also am a sucker for a down-beat ending-and this one delivers on that front as well. The cinematography, sets, and acting are all very solid for what is obviously a low-budget film, even for it's time. Overall, I would say that this film may not necessarily be 'enjoyable' so to speak-but it's definitely an interesting and well-made look into both the subject-matter that it portrays, and the early roots of Japanese exploitation cinema in general. I will warn the sleaze-heads out there though-if you're looking for the typical nudity and rape-fueled  type of film that we all know and love-you'll definitely be disappointed. Although the way it's shot is cleverly done-there is no actual female nudity in this one. In fact-the only nudity we do get is a bit of man-ass. A shame- I would've rated it a little higher had we seen some goods-but I'll forgive that as much as I can given the 1964 time-stamp. Regardless-a solid film that I'd recommend for fans of this era of Japanese film-making. 7.5/10

Profondo rosso
(1975)

I Guess Giallo Films Just Aren't My Thing Anymore...
I recall seeing DEEP RED many years ago-but I couldn't recall much of it. I've watched a lot of horror and horror-related films in my time-so it's hard for me to remember them at times. I've had this one laying around for quite a while so I decided to throw it in. A good film for what it is (considered to be one of the best gialli by most...)-but either my attention span has worn thin from years of such viewing, or my taste in gialli just ain't what it used to be...probably both. 

A pianist witnesses a murder and decides to investigate on his own. He teams up with a female journalist to find out who the killer is, etc...etc...

Apparently there are several edited versions of DEEP RED, and also an uncut version. The one I saw was the uncut. And sorry fans-but at over two hours long-this one just drags too much. There is a lot of stylish camera-work, some decent killings, the acting is decent (if not particularly notable), and the basic plot is decent if a bit stale (the whole 'civilian gets caught up in a murder mystery and takes it upon himself to solve it' concept has been literally done to death in this genre...). Even so-with all these relatively good traits-DEEP RED still managed to mostly fall flat for me. I've found with most of the gialli that I've watched lately-they seem to be overly long and drawn out that by the time the big 'reveal' is made known-I no longer really give a f!ck.  I can understand why fans of the genre love this film-but stylish camera-work  and a few semi-gory killings just aren't enough to hold my interest anymore. But gripes and all-I still consider DEEP RED to be a decent film that is definitely worth watching for Argento and giallo fans in general. I just feel that given my personal taste, I can't heap the praise on it that others do. Maybe if it were a little more streamlined I would have enjoyed it more. That-or if I'd reviewed it 20 years ago...6/10

La spiaggia del desiderio
(1976)

Laura Gemser On Boring Island...
I've seen a solid handful of the Gemser 'Emmanuelle' films by this point, and I've had this one laying around for years-so I figured I'd finally give it a shot (even though it's an 'Emmanuelle' film in name only). Glad I watched it during a bout of insomnia-as it was just what I needed to put me to sleep. 

A junkie has a boating accident which leaves him on a semi-deserted island whose only inhabitants are an old man and his two children-one of which is super-smoker Laura Gemser. Of course the junkie falls for Gemser and her pops doesn't like it. Neither does the brother cuz he was getting tail off her til the junkie came along and cock-blocked him. A bunch of boring stuff happens and Gemser walks around with her tits out a lot... 

This snoozer plays out like a sluggish mix of THE BLUE LAGOON and that Tom Hanks movie where he talks to the volley-ball. As others have stated, Gemser, and the well- shot island locale are the only reasons at all to watch this film-but even her tits and some pretty beach scenes aren't reason enough to try to stay awake through this one. Recommended only to Gemser completists-and even then I'd just recommend re- watching EMMANUELLE IN America. Not a horrible film if you're in the mood for am extremely tame soft-core romance-but being that I don't have a vagina-it's pretty rare that I'm ever in the mood for such a film. 4/10

Chikan densha hitozuma-hen: Okusama wa chijo
(1994)

Had Some Potential As Either A Pinku Film Or A Drama-But Not As Both...
TANDEM is an odd slice in the Japanese pink genre-as it has the requisite sex-scenes and misogynistic tone that is all but required for these types of films-but also throws in a disjointed drama/dark-comedy storyline that seems like it'd have been better suited for a different type of film. 

The film starts with two lone guys at a restaurant-each daydreaming about a previous sexual encounter. One is a mutual subway groping, the other a pretty typical (for this type of film) semi-rape scenario. The two pervs meet and start talking after one lends the other a cigarette. They hang out for an evening and talk a bit about their respective sex- lives. The film is inter-cut with flashback scenes of both of the men's interactions with the women that are central in their lives. The two men have a falling out and the film ends on a weird but predictable note... 

I really don't know what to make of TANDEM. It sorta comes off as a soft-core, 'odd couple' type of anti-buddy-film, but doesn't really explore the subject-matter to any satisfying degree. There's also not much of the typical extreme sleaziness often so prevalent in these types of films-so I can't really figure out what the point was. I also cant quite tell if the film was supposed to be funny, depressing, or both.  I think that TANDEM could have had some potential as a more serious drama film with a dark-comedy edge- but as a soft-core sex film that tries to be too 'smart' for its own good-it just doesn't work.   Can't say I hated this one-but can't say there's anything notable about it either. 4/10

La sanguisuga conduce la danza
(1975)

Tits And Decapitation-And It's Still One Of The Worst Films I've Seen In Years...
Wow-this one sucks. I'm gonna sum it up as quickly as possible. 

A count invites 4 naive sluts back to his castle. A bunch of nothing happens for a long time. Some lame and un-erotic soft-core sex scenes happen. Some girls get their heads cut off (off-screen)-The End.

The only things going for this one are the decent looking sets and costumes, some bad dubbing which leads to some unintentionally funny dialogue, and a few brief nudie shots. And believe me-those things are not enough to redeem the 90-minutes of tedium that this film is. In fact-the best part is the tacked on beginning from the distributor that features some slutty goth chicks covered in blood and showing their tits-and again-this is definitely not worth the price of admission for this garbage. As everyone else has noted- the title of the film is completely nonsensical-as there's absolutely no bloodsucking, nor dancing of any sort in the film at all. It may as well have been called 'The Goat-Raper Leads the Circle-Jerk'-and at least then it would have had a better title that also pertains to nothing in the film. An accurate title would have been '90 Minutes of Torture'-another alluring title that would have at least been truthful...for the viewer. Honestly-the trailer that's on the disc shows all the best parts (and i use the term 'best' extremely loosely...) so I highly suggest watching that instead if you're still curious.  I can't imagine anyone liking this wreck of a film-please take my advice and leave this one on the shelf. 2/10

Phenomena
(1985)

Faulty But Entertaining Entry From Dario Argento...


I've seen PHENOMENA several times over the years-but for some reason I often forget the finer points as it's usually several years in between viewings. I decided to pop this one in again after ten or so years-so here's my take on it at this point:

Jennifer is the daughter of a famous actor and is sent to a Swedish boarding school where a killer is on the loose in the surrounding area. She suffers from sleepwalking and in her nocturnal travels-ends up meeting a paraplegic entomologist. Jennifer also has a psychic connection to bugs-so the two become friends and decide to use their combined knowledge to find the killer...

There's a whole lot more going on in PHENOMENA that you'll just have to see for yourself. The performances are decent and the sets and locations are particularly strong. My only gripe is that although the ending is wildly bizarre (including a pit full of dead bodies and filth, a mutated child-monster, and a monkey with a straight-razor, to name a few...)-I found the actual 'reveal' of the film to be actually pretty anticlimactic. Otherwise-I found this one to be a pretty enjoyable cross between a semi-typical giallo and a bizarre horror film. Personally, I'd rank PHENOMENA amongst the better Argento films-even if the concept is pretty far out in left field. I will also say that I can understand why many- even Argrnto fans-do not care for it. You really have to turn your brain off and just go along for the 'ride'-but if you are a fan of Argento's earlier style when it comes to the look and atmosphere of his films-I'd definitely say that this one is a must-see. 8/10

Kikuropusu
(1987)

Splattery Japanese Bizarrity...
Hard for me to rate a film like CYCLOPS (aka THE UNBORN as it's also called on my HK copy...)-because it's a Japanese film with no subs/dubs and I really couldn't follow what was happening at all. 

All I could gather (and even this little bit that I think I understood could be way off...)-was that some scientists are doing weird experiments on people that have something to do with implanting weird things in pregnant women. There's also this strange guy that's dresses like The Terminator who apparently is some kind of one-eyed freak mutant. I'm guessing he's the 'cyclops'. How any of this related into the grand scheme of the film-I'm honestly not sure...

I doubt that being able to understand the storyline of CYCLOPS would have made much difference to me-but I could be wrong, so I'm going to have to go with a middle-of-the- road rating. There were some decent slimy/splattery scenes towards the end-but even at a scant 53 minutes, it felt like the film went on too long. There's not much out there that I can compare this one too-except perhaps other weird low-budget J-splatter fare such as BIOTHERAPY or maybe ORGAN-two other films that also didn't do much for me. If you dig odd-ball Japanese splatter-you may get something from this one. It's not super-gory or anything-but it's got one or two weird scenes and also seems to be relatively rare as I can't seem to dig up a lot of info on it. My main suggestion would be to try to find a copy with subs/dubs so you can at least follow along with the story while waiting for the 'pay-off' scenes which come in the last 10 or so minutes.  Maybe worth a look to fans of weird/rare films-a definite 'pass' for anyone else. 4/10

Fräulein Leather
(1970)

Unremarkable Lesbian Porn-Film...
I'm gonna jump right into this one cuz there's really not much content in the film to speak of. 

The 63-minute run-time of FRAULEIN LEATHER consists of several explicit lesbionic sex-scenes that are the female star of the film's dreams that she has about munching carpet with some oddly clad women. She narrates the scenes in an all too serious tone which comes off as silly and comical...

As a '70s era lesbian porn film-FRAULEIN LEATHER isn't terrible. The girls involved are pretty attractive and the sex-scenes are pretty explicit, if filmed slightly more 'tastefully' than your average gyno-cam porn-film.  Regardless-there's really nothing stand-out about this one in terms of storyline (which is basically non-existent...), nor content. If you really like watching furry '70s chicks kiss and lick each other than you may really dig this...but those looking for some sort of sleazy exploit-film, or 'roughie'-styled sex-film will be disappointed. 5/10

Pervert!
(2005)

Enjoyable Russ Meyer Tribute...
Watched PERVERT! about a year ago and although I enjoyed it-I hadn't thought much about it until a friend mentioned it the other day. I originally added this one to my Netflix queue quite a while back, where it sat for a long time until I finally got around to it. Gotta say-I liked this one quite a bit more than I would've expected. 

James goes to stay the summer with his grizzled old meat-sculpting father at his desert ranch. James ain't apparently too good with the ladies, and Dad's girlfriend is a hot piece of ass (in the form of porn-star Mary Carey) who spends most of her time around the ranch (and the film in general) in various stages of nekkidness. James and the slut eventually start f!cking, and when the ol' man finds out-Mary mysteriously disappears. James thinks his dad has something to do with her disappearance-especially when other sluts who come around to help take care of pops start disappearing too. The real culprit turns out to be far more bizarre though, as James will eventually find out...

If you're looking for any sort of heady, meaningful, or otherwise 'enlightening' film-you will not find it in PERVERT!. But if you want a lot of tits-and-ass and soft-core sex, silly acting and ridiculous scenarios, a Nazi-redneck-wigger (no lie...), a voodoo- possessed female detachable penis (again-not even kidding...), and a bit of splatter to round things out-then PERVERT! delivers. I honestly had a lot more fun with this film than I would've ever expected-and it's obvious not only from the 'dedication' of the film- but of the overall whimsical style that the director's been studying his Russ Meyer films and was out to make the same sort of female-obsessed sexploit silliness. For my vote-he succeeded rather well. 8/10

Ninja Assassin
(2009)

Another Fun But Flawed Neo-Ninja Film...
I had pretty high hopes for NINJA ASSASSIN when I first saw the trailers. I saw it immediately after it came out-and although fun and entertaining in most respects-there's one big problem I had with it (more on that later)...

Raizo is a ninja-in-training who leaves his ninja-school after one of his classmates is executed for trying to escape. He becomes an assassin for higher-but when some European agents uncover the secrets of the ninja-clans...Raizo is forced into action to protect one of the agents, etc...

I had no problem with the sparse plot of this one. Going into something called NINJA ASSASSIN-all I wanted was an updated throw-back to the types of ninja films I dug as a kid. This one delivered on that front. Lots of ninja-y slashing/hacking goodness-and a high blood/gore quotient (although pretty much all of it being the poor looking CGI kind...) made it promising. My big problem with the film-is the fact that most of the fight scenes are filmed in the dark!  And I mean dark enough to not be able to tell what the f!ck is going on. I don't know if this was done to hide technical flaws or whatever-but it bothered the hell out of me...enough so to knock it down a few points. A good time if you dig these sort of films, but for my money-I think the very similar but lesser-known film generically titled NINJA that just hit DVD was better overall. 6/10 for NINJA ASSASSIN

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