Symptoms (1974)

Symptoms (1974) movie poster

director  José Ramón Larraz
viewed: 07/09/2018

Symptoms, a slow boil psychological horror-thriller from director José Ramón Larraz seems to have fallen between the cracks before being rediscovered somewhat recently.

If for no other reason, Angela Pleasence delivers a sublime performance as Helen, a woman with a haunted aspect, who brings home a friend, Anne (Lorna Helibron) who has recently split up with her guy for a long weekend at her country estate. Only, it seems that Anne isn’t the first young woman to come to Helen’s estate, and what ever did happen to Cora who was here before?

A very dreamy atmosphere pervades, inside and out. Larraz paints England as pissing down rain, grey, and dreary, sleepy. A somnolent undercurrent of desire emanates from Helen, but what is really going on between her and Anne? And what about the creepy handyman?

I was also brought to mind of Larraz’s Vampyres (also 1974). Is this the same building in both movies? The two films both share as well, lesbian protagonists, haunting an isolated English manor. Norman J. Warren’s Prey, also came to mind for similar connections.

The blood in the butter was a nice touch. Angela Pleasence, excellent.

The Burning Hell (1974)

The Burning Hell (1974) movie poster

director Ron Ormond
viewed: 07/06/2018

“My subject is hell.”

300 zeroes hell.

Ron Ormond and Estus Pirkle’s The Burning Hell is like a Chick Publication brought to life.

It’s even more preachy (if that is possible) than If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do?, their prior outing is Exploitation Christian Propaganda.

I could totally imagine Ted Cruz in this movie.

As psychotronic as anything I can imagine. Seriously, some of the craziest fucking shit. And much more tedious a mindfuck.

From a weird movie perspective, it’s solid gold.

And also, fuck you Estus Pirkle.

If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do? (1971)

If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do? (1971) title screen

director Ron Ormond
viewed: 07/05/2018

Communism will destroy the United States. Sex Ed, cartoons, and television can be your moral doom. Mississippi Baptist Christianity is the only thing that can save us, according to Estus Pirkle in Ron Ormond’s If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do?  Also, “Dancing is the front door to adultery.”

So massively crazy is this Christian scare film cum Exploitation sleaze. What’s even more frightening is how fucking amazingly and terrifyingly relevant this red hot bowl of shit is even today. I thought to myself, if this was made today it would be a YouTube video (Ironically enough, I watched this on YouTube).

Hilarious and atrocious, If Footmen Tire You is some pretty wow stuff. Frankly, the DSM-5 should classify this kind of religious fervor is a psychological abnormality.

Estus Pirkle was 41 in 1971, and looking into this psycho prism is like a glimpse back into its own type of hell, one ruled over by Pirkle as Satan himself. Only crazy crap of a similar order may be just as alive and well today.  Lucky for us Pirkle died in 2005.

A incredible artifact.

Cheerleader Camp (1988)

Cheerleader Camp (1988) movie poster

director  John Quinn
viewed: 07/02/2018

Welcome to Camp Hurrah. Firecracker! Firecracker! Sis Boom Bah!

1988’s Cheerleader Camp could well utilize an alternate definition of camp. It’s equal parts pervy camp comedy and slasher, the former annoying the latter genre fans.

“Lighten up! We’re looking at naked women here!”

So, yeah, nekkid ladies.

Vickie Benson as Miss Tipton is the tops, while the hijinks of Leif Garrett and his Rubenesque comic foil, most painfully in a rap sequence, leave much to be desired.

The movie’s qualities recede as fast as Leif Garrett’s hairline.

The band playing (Sounds of Suksexx) is so incongruous with the environment.

But yeah, that poster is something special.

Don’t Go Near the Park (1981)

Don't Go Near the Park (1981) poster

director Lawrence D. Foldes
viewed: 07/01/2018

Joy.

I bet if Herschell Gordon Lewis ever saw Don’t Go Near The Park he would have been proud and/or envious. Ray Dennis Steckler would have loved it.

“My mom got pregnant all by herself.”

“Brothers don’t go around feeling up their sisters.”

Cannibals and cavemen, runaways and Aldo Ray.  And incest. All in and around late 70’s Los Angeles for a story spanning 16,000 years.

Lawrence D. Foldes dreamed it up. Lawrence D. Foldes filmed it.

So accidentally brilliant, Don’t Go Near the Park transcends levels of general badness cracking through to the sublime.

Night of the Demons (1988)

Night of the Demons (1988) movie poster

director Kevin S. Tenney
viewed: 06/27/2018

Night of the Demons is superior late Eighties fun. what with your Goth demon stripper dance to Bauhaus, your panty-flashing sex object (Linnea Quigley!), or just that total end of the Eighties vibe.

It would be a good double feature with Evil Dead 2, I thought.

Great nonsequitur ending, too.

The Devil’s Messenger (1961)

The Devil's Messenger (1961) movie poster

director Herbert L. Strock
viewed: 06/26/2018

Extracted from the Swedish television series, 13 Demon Street, which was created by Curt Siodmak and starred Lon Chaney, Jr., The Devils Messenger comes as an anthology horror film of odd pedigree. A Swedish Twilight Zone prototype.

Chaney is Satan himself in the wrap-around, sending Satanya (Karen Kadler) back to Earth to bring back more of the wicked for eternal punishment.

Each of these stories play like little tales of misogyny.  It’s notable that even when women’s boobs were shaped like nosecones of airplanes, the Swedes were explicit about rape. Though men do seem to get punished for their evils, this doesn’t do the women any good?

The most interesting story is the middle one, in which a woman trapped in an ancient ice is released, though through the process mesmerizes one of the scientists behind the scheme.

La nave de los monstruos (1960)

La nave de los monstruos (1960) movie poster

director Rogelio A. González
viewed: 06/01/2018

Women are from Venus; men are from the rest of the galaxy, in La Nave de los Monstruos (The Ship of Monsters en Inglés.) The is a Mexican horror-sci-fi-Western-comedy absurd and good-natured, weird and fun.

Yes, two Venusian babes show up on Earth, looking for men to help the Venusian cause. They’ve picked up characters from Mars and elsewhere, all brought back to re-seed Venus. Only when they set eyes and ears on Earthling Lauriano (Eulalio González), they fall into a squabble over who lands the singing vaquero. And it turns out that Beta (Lorena Velázquez) is actually a vampire from Uranus.

That’s right, a vampire from Uranus.

The other monsters are a variety of oddities, under the sway of she who wields that belt of power. Unfortunately for Beta, Lauriano’s heart is given to Gamma (Ana Bertha Lepe) and so Beta’s quest to take over the Earth is set to failure.

Initially, the comic aspects seem disappointing. But Eulalio González is funny and charming, giving the movie just the right verve in its tone and style. I’m not sure how good the translation was in the version I saw but it had some genuinely funny moments.

At the end of the day, Tractorr, the robot doesn’t just fall for a jukebox, the robot gets the jukebox in the end. The kind of happy ending they just don’t write enough of nowadays.

 

Terror on Tour (1980)

Terror on Tour (1980)

director Don Edmonds
viewed: 04/30/2018

“Send in the clowns
Don’t bother, they’re here”

These Clowns are a horror rock group, looking more like a reject gang from The Warriors than a KISS wannabe band. The real band, The Names, from Rockford, IL, is actually kinda good, sporting a sort of power pop sound rather than the metal you might guess they’d play. And the band members actually act in the film, too?

Terror on Tour is more a murder mystery than a slasher. It all starts when someone dressed up like a member of the band starts killing chicks. And since the band isn’t actually on tour, nor is the terror, all this is going down in a seedy old, but cool-looking, theater, and the detectives come in to solve the crimes.

The detective pulls in a a drug bust prostitute girl and coerces her into going undercover. Kinda cool that she’s semi-heroic, though, as in real life, the cops put her in danger and she has no power to choose.

Not the best, and not the worst.

Creating Rem Lezar (1989)

v

director Scott Zakarin
viewed: 04/29/2018

I’m late to the game on the Creating Rem Lezar funfair. But better late than never.

Apparently, in earlier times of ye olde internet, people had to post clips from this direct-to-video children’s odyssey oddity, because back then you couldn’t get the whole thing on YouTube. Well, nowadays, you can see the whole thing there, in its ripped from VHS glory and its astounding astoundingness.

Is there anyone who has watched Creating Rem Lezar who didn’t think “stranger danger”?

I don’t have much to add to the Creating Rem Lezar dialogue, other than to wonder if there was anyone who actually saw it back in the day, as a target audience kid, and what they thought at the time.