Juvie Blues

borninnocent1

 

Linda Blair was already an icon after her performance in The Exorcist…but it was this infamous T.V. movie that set her on the path to becoming one of the all-time greatest B-movie queens. She plays Chris, a teenage runaway who escapes her abusive home only to end up in juvie hall, surrounded by hardened delinquents such as the violently psychotic Denny (Janit Baldwin, Gator Bait, Ruby). Sure she was born innocent…but for how long? 

 

borninnocent2

Advertisements

Down On The Street

savagestreets1

 

Teenage street gangs have been a staple of exploitation cinema almost from the beginning. In the 80’s, Savage Streets took the genre to the nth degree. The legendary Linda Blair (The Exorcist, Chained Heat) is Brenda, leader of the foxy Satins gang. Their rivals are the Scars, one of the most depraved gangs of all time. How depraved? We’re talking Clockwork Orange/Mad Max/I Spit On Your Grave depraved. The rivalry escalates quickly…and when the Scars brutally assault Brenda’s innocent, deaf-mute little sister Heather (scream queen Linnea Quigley in one of her finest performances) Brenda becomes a one-woman hit squad and sets out to make Death Wish look like Gidget Goes Hawaiian….

 

savagestreets2

Queen Of The Night

vamplez1

 

This is my fave Jess Franco movie. Perhaps because it was the first one I saw. Perhaps because it stars the breathtakingly beautiful Soledad Miranda, who made a handful of films before dying in a car crash at the tragically young age of 27. Perhaps I’m just a sucker for a good lesbian vampire movie…but I truly believe this is Franco’s masterpiece. He was incredibly prolific and his films varied wildly in quality, depending on the budget, time constraints and whether it was his personal vision or he was just a hired gun. I think this one was a labor of love and he put his all into it. It’s filled with beautiful visuals, smoldering eroticism…and an entrancing psych-jazz soundtrack. And did I mention the lesbian vampires?

 

vamplez2

This Ain’t No Love-In

livingdead1

 

Hard to believe I’ve been doing this blog for almost half a decade already…Equally unbelievable is the fact that  it took me this long to get around to Night Of The Living Dead…considering that this movie is the starting point for many sickies’ obsession with B-movies. It certainly kicked off mine. You never forget your first time. It scared me out of my tiny little mind when I was a kid…and it’s held up through dozens of viewings, on cable and crappy public domain vhs (and now it’s finally getting the Criterion treatment) and it still packs a visceral punch and aura of inevitable doom. Sure, the gore fx are primitive…we’re talking mannequins, wax and butcher shop guts here…but such fx were in their infancy back then. Tom Savini had yet to hit the scene. And there are such great characters. Barbara (Judith O’Dea) who pendulums between hysterical and catatonic…Many find her irritating, as one would in real life…but she helps underscore just what a desperate and terrifying situation this is. Johnny (Russ Streiner) the smartass brother who provides a moment of comedy…and the movie’s most famous line. Harry (Karl Hardman) the selfish, beligerrant asshole you just know voted for Nixon. But it’s Duane Jones as the level-headed Ben that anchors this flick. Before Ben, African-American characters in horror films tended to be bug-eyed comic relief, not the hero. His performance is so real that we easily empathize with Ben…and thus the mistakes he makes become all the more tragic. Whether you see Night Of The Living Dead  as a political allegory, a work of folk art, or a dirt-cheap monster movie, you can’t deny its power… 

 

livingdead2

To The Shore Of Your Insanity

angelangel1

 

Poor little rich girl Tara (folk singer Holly Near) has a closet-case dad and a former pornstar mom. She’s lived in denial her whole life and is pretty miserable all around…until the night obnoxious rock star Bogart (Jordan Christopher of the Wild Ones, who performs some great tunes in this film, such as the eponymous Angel, Angel, Down We Go and Mother Lover) plays at her coming-out party…and decides to hang around awhile, to seduce Tara and razz her parents, making everyone question their whole scene. Bogart’s bandmates are played by Roddy McDowell (Planet Of The Apes, Lord Love A Duck) and singer Lou Rawls. Angel, Angel, Down We Go AKA Cult Of The Damned, the only film directed by screenwriter Robert Thom (Wild In The Streets, Bloody Mama) is a trippy little slice of 60’s zeitgeist, rife with viciously witty dialogue and psychedelic eyeball kicks…

angelangel2

Train Kept A-Rollin’

frauleindevil1

 

Fraulein Devil AKA Fraulein Kitty AKA Elsa Fraulein S.S. is a bit of an anomaly, as the lion’s share of 70’s Nazisploitation flicks were Italian…This one was French. Its female lead is Italian though. The delectable Malisa Longo plays Elsa, a street prostitute turned S.S. Colonel who runs a rolling brothel on a train…which is really a front to weed out any and all subversives amongst the Nazi officers. Ironically, the most subversive soldier in the movie is Elsa’s ex-lover Franz. This flick is less sick than a lot of its goosestepping ilk, less concerned with torture (although there’s a bit of the requisite whipping) than with softcore sex…the hottest scenes featuring Ms. Longo herself. All you kinksters out there are sure to get a kick out of the scene where Elsa straps on a pair of thigh high black leather boots and brandishes a riding crop. And I can assure you that Fraulein Devil is totally devoid of any socially redeeming value…

frauleindevil2

The Torture Never Stops

barbedwiredolls1

 

Grindhouse auteur Jess Franco was so amazingly prolific that I’ll probably not be able to see all of his films during my lifetime, but I’m making a valiant effort to do so. Franco’s boundlessly kinky muse Lina Romay stars as Maria, the lead inmate in a prison which seems to have lifted its disciplinary tactics from Salo…And Barbed Wire Dolls heaps dollops upon dollops of sleaze that even the most jaded raincoater won’t be expecting. This flick is twisted as a hairpin and loopier than a crazy straw…

 

barbedwiredolls2