director Roberto Rodríguez
“All the people that live in the witch’s house are really weird.”
Little Red Riding Hood and the Monsters was apparently a sequel to a couple of other Mexican children fantasy films, and so, it starts out running wild. The “Queen of Badness” as she is dubbed in American has a bevy of henchpeople from robots to Frankenstein and a vampire and even a pinhead. And she is ready to punish the wolf and the ogre for having helped Little Red Riding Hood (María Gracia) and the dickish Tom Thumb (Cesáreo Quezadas) in previous times. So those two heroes must come to her creepy forest and rescue the captives, with the help of Stinky, the skunk.
Little Red Riding Hood and the Monsters is demented and sublime with is mixed bag of knock-off villains and aesthetics and its nonchalant heightened danger. The evil witch prays to Satan. One of the generic villains is a kidnapper with a huge net. And on the more ribald side, the skunk farts in the kidnapper’s face.
Oh my goodness, I loved this.
director Joe D’Amato
The things we do for love…
Joe D’Amato’s Beyond the Darkness takes several elements of Hitchcock’s Psycho to their logical(?) extremes. With a few twists and turns. And a dead baboon.
Unlike fellow taxidermist Norman Bates, Frank Wyler (Kieran Canter) had a real life love. But she is killed via voodoo by Iris (Franca Stoppi), his housekeeper-cum-wet nurse. Frank and Iris’s relationship is far more wrought and perverse than Norman and his mother’s. Iris understands when she finds that Frank has uninterred his dead wife, pulled out her guts, has eaten her heart, and taxidermied her. She’s also cool with the killing and dissolving of other women Frank brings home.
At heart, Beyond the Darkness is a love story, or a twist of two love stories, mixed with hatred, jealousies, retributions, and an inevitable dance toward mutual death.
director José Ramón Larraz
Director José Ramón Larraz’s 1980 horror flick Stigma is a walking ghostly bad dream. Actually, it’s Sebastian’s (Christian Borromeo) bad dream, psychic visions, or past life recollections.
Are his incest obsessions fantasies or tricks of repressed memories of a prior existence?
Larraz surprises at times with genuinely eerie images, somewhat surreal. Inflected as it is with a confused and violent sexual maturity, Stigma winds up being pretty interesting and evocative, even with a rough dubbing and a print in need of restoration.
director Ferdinando Baldi
Texas, Adios isn’t necessarily a vital Spaghetti Western. It’s an adequate one.
It does have prime age Franco Nero going for it. But this is no Django.
It does, as others have noted, feel at times more Hollywood than other Italian Westerns. But it shifts around in vibe, at times more typical of its Spaghetti brethren. But that shifting also denudes it of feeling particularly compelling as well.
I don’t know what else to say.
director Eddie Romero
The Twilight People is a Filipino Dr. Mureau featuring a panther woman (Pam Grier, no less), an ape man, a wolf woman, an antelope man, and a pretty awesome bat person.
And whatever this is supposed to be:
As the 1960’s crept into the 1970’s, the Filipino film industry became more and more inundated with American production money and personnel. Even though this is an Eddie Romero picture featuring stalwart John Ashley, the only Filipinos on screen are extras with maybe a little dialogue and Eddie Garcia in an all too truncated role.
The production values are there, and the picture looks great. And it’s pretty fun stuff, too. Especially the bat guy.
But this isn’t the much more satisfying and unusual stuff that Romero and Gerardo de Leon were putting out in the years prior. Not to discredit The Twilight People, just to give perspective.
Take me back to Blood Island, Eddie!
director Ho Meng Hua
My first thought while watching 1975’s Black Magic was “Not very sanitary putting that blade in your mouth when flaying a corpse.”
Oh but Black Magic is all kinds of unsanitary. And plenty of that weird and wacky Hong Kong sleaze and mysticism that delivers imagery more incongruous and odd than expectation could allow.
For my money, Tien Ni steals the show as the conniving (and connived upon) Luo Yin, millionairess who gets what she wants, and by that token, I suppose, gets what she deserves in the end. The love potions bought and sold here are indeed costly affairs.
Thoroughly enjoyable and influential but not as out-and-out crazy as others to follow.
director León Klimovsky
The Vampire’s Night Orgy is light on orgy, but is a pretty solid Spanish horror flick.
When their bus driver croaks suddenly, a group of people on their way to employment at some hacienda instead find themselves in the village of Tolnia, a town not to be found on any map. This is because the village is under the sway of the Countess (Helga Liné), a vampire. She rules the roost over all the villagefolk, who seem to all be cannibals or undead? Interestingly, they are cannibals that have to sacrifice their own limbs to feed these stranded travelers.
There is also a ghost boy(?) who befriends the little girl of the group. But with friends like these, who needs enemies?
It’s not as eerie as Amando de Ossorio’s Blind Dead films, but works along with that sort of vibe. The townfolk never speak, which is especially eerie when they descend on their victims.
As noted elsewhere, the soundtrack is unintentionally dissonant and annoying, but otherwise León Klimovsky’s The Vampire’s Night Orgy is a pretty intriguing slice of early 1970’s Euro horror.
director Edward D. Murphy
Raw Force is The Karate Kid‘s older brother who took a lot of PCP, hung out with the wrong crowd from the Burbank Kung Fu Club in a room covered with posters from girly magazines while scarfing Filipino junk food. And dabbled in human trafficking and cannibalism.
Also, monks and zombies? A Nazi villain? And the most unflappable exotic dancer of all time.
“God forbid we should run out of liquor.”
Truly, one for the ages.
director Sergio Grieco
Cinematography is the star in Beast with a Gun (aka Mad Dog Killer). It’s brutal and somehow quaint at the same time (The Italy of the time and all those little cars and mopeds!)
Occasionally I picked up a sort of A Clockwork Orange vibe, maybe just in the rampant sadism rather than the film style.
“Have you any money? These are all false, all counterfeit. Only good for the movies.”
director Bernard Launois
For those who traffic in the weird and odd, obscure and awful, bizarre and sublime of dreck cinema, Devil Story is a dream come true. Or at least a dream somehow assembled into movie form.
It is indeed as if a Jean Rollin movie crash landed and all the mangled elements that survived somehow reconstituted itself in the least coherent manner.
I say this lovingly.
It can be described. As it has by many and well so. But it must be experienced to be comprehended, if comprehension is even possible.
It’s the most disorienting movie I’ve ever seen. Which way did that horse go? Bang! And bang again.
Highly recommended to weird lovers everywhere.