Heckled Jekyll

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This 70’s 16mm schlocker is both a throwback to the I Was A Teenage…monster movies of the 50’s and a prototype for the nerd revenge movies that flourished in the 80s…with a twist of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde. Science geek Vernon Potts (Pat Cardi, who looks like a cross between Mike Nesmith and one of the Hanson Brothers)…

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…is tired of being hassled by bullies and hateful teachers. When his latest chemistry experiment turns his cute li’l guinea pig Mr. Mumps into a vicious critter, it’s not long before he takes a taste himself and commences kicking jock and faculty ass. Apparently there was no money in the budget for monster makeup…So they just turned off the lights, combed his hair over his face and had him walk like Lon Chaney Jr.’s version of the Mummy. If you dig ginger chicks, check it out for Rosie Holotik (Don’t Look In the Basement). She’s a cutie…and plays the only character who’s kind to the beleagured geek. I wish I’d had a babe like her to star in the nerd-rage fueled home video camera horror flicks I made as a teen…but then if I’d had a girl like her I would’ve probably forgotten all about movies…

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Cannes You Dig It?

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Shortly after the successful sickie Maniac starring Joe Spinell and Caroline Munro came this kinda-sorta-not-really sequel produced by Caroline’s husband Judd Hamilton (the guy in the robot cowboy suit in Starcrash, which also stars Spinell and Munro) and directed by David Winters (the guy who played A-Rab in West Side Story) which completes the Joe/Munro trifecta. The Last Horror Film is the Horatio Alger-esque tale of cabbie Vinny Durand (Spinell) who dreams of becoming the world’s greatest director and making a movie with his favorite actress Jana Bates (Munro). He follows her to Cannes to make his pitch. Given the brush-off by her producer and agent, Vinny remains undaunted, determined to do absolutely anything (including stalking, murder…and ridiculous fashion choices) to get Jana onboard for his movie. There are a few nasty, splattery moments reminiscent of Maniac but this movie is much more of a black comedy and showbiz satire. At times it reminded me of King Of Comedy. Joe’s natural eccentricity really shines through in this role. Are you sold yet? No? Two words: gratuitous nudity. Still not sold? Four more words: Joe Spinell in drag.

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Reflections Of A Vampire

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Oh, where to begin listing the charms of this movie…the obvious rubber bat? The ooo-WEE-ooo theremin? The total disregard for vampire lore? (People hang wolfsbane by their window rather than garlic. Drac walks in the daylight. And apparently he left his coffin back in Transylvania…along with his accent.) For me, the most priceless bit is that right before Drac puts the bite on someone, his face turns beet red like a cartoon character…I kept expecting steam to come out of his ears. The best way to experience this movie is back-to-back with Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter…which is how they were originally shown…and shot. They were the last two movies by William “One Shot” Beaudine, whose career began in the silent era, spanning 50 years and hundreds of quickie films including many relatively good B-Westerns, a W.C. Fields comedy and some howlingly funny exploitation films such as the roadshow classic “Mom And Dad”. Ted Newsom was speaking of the special effects in Ed Wood’s Plan 9  but I think it applies well to Beaudine’s career too, when he said “They may not be very good but by God, there’s alot of ’em.”

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All The Sudsy Powers Of Hell

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O.K., so this is a modern movie, not a drive-in classic but it’s obvious from Rob Zombie’s movies and music that he’s a lifelong B-movie geek. Much of the fun of his stuff is catching all the homages to horror, sci-fi and exploitation films. And this cartoon allows him to explore his obsessions at a rapid-fire pace. The animation style immediately reminded me of Ralph Bakshi and John K. El Superbeasto (Tom Papa) America’s answer to Santo, is a wrestler/superhero who, along with his uberbabe sister Suzi X (the ultrafoxy Sheri Moon Zombie) and her lovestruck robot Murray (Brian Posehn) must foil Dr. Satan’s (Paul Giamatti) diabolical plot to…marry a stripper…a foul-mouthed, gassy stripper (Rosario Dawson) with prehensile breasts…which will fulfill some biblical prophesy and give him super-Satan powers. And there’s the pesky threat of zombie Nazis. And Hitler’s head. This flick is a blitzkrieg of filthy ridiculousness…

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The Soul Of Godfather

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Young law student Ike (Glynn Turman, Cooley High), out nightclubbing with his lady to celebrate their anniversary, participates in a hypnotist’s act as a goof (which never bodes well in movies) and soon he’s seeing freaky visions and acting like an asshole. Somehow he’s become possessed by the spirit of murdered 40’s gangster J.D. Walker, whose soul cannot rest until he’s scrambled the yeggs who bumped him. Although J.D.’s Revenge falls into that curious subgenre, the blaxploitation horror film, it’s not as campy as Blacula and at times is genuinely unsettling, closer in spirit to Bill Gunn’s Ganja And Hess. Glynn Turman does a great job of schizing back and forth between innocent Ike and vicious J.D. You’ll really feel for the guy as he goes through hell. Arthur Marks is fast becoming one of my favorite filmmakers…here’s a guy who directed the first 100 episodes of Perry Mason, then went indie, using his Hollywood chops to transcend B-movie budgets and expectations to create solid entertainment…

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I Don’t Wanna Go Down To The Basement

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You’ve heard the phrase “The inmates have taken over the asylum?” Well somebody (S.F. Brownrigg) turned that premise into a movie…quite possibly the most psychotically illogical movie ever made. Nurse Charlotte (pretty ginger Rosie Holotik, also seen in Horror High) just scored a sweet new gig at Stevens’ Sanitarium…a sort of psychiatric halfway house with only two doctors (well, one after about the first five minutes) no orderlies, no security staff…and no locks on the doors. Oh and did I mention that most of the patients are violently psychotic? There’s the Judge, who literally believes that he’s judge, jury and executioner…a soldier with a war inside his head…a young mother with soft monkey syndrome (look it up)…a clingy nympho…a creepy young Larry Fine lookalike who loves to irritate everyone around him…and a lobotomized manchild. A little old lady tries to warn Charlotte that all is not what it seems and that she should hightail it out of there, not letting the doorknob hit her in the ass. But who’s gonna believe a crazy old broad, right? Soon the inmates begin to either bond with Charlotte or terrorize her or both. Then someone starts bumping everyone off in nasty ways. Whodunnit? Who cares?! You’ll spend the whole time screaming “Get out! Run you dunce! Go!” Seriously folks…this movie is cheesier than a 4-cheese pizza with extra cheese…

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Some Are For Loving…Some Are For Killing!

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Clement Dunne (Andrew Prine) is a man on a mission. His mission? To rid the world of a terrifying menace: pretty girls who get naked for girlie mags. “I just want to help.” he says. His quarry? The Centerfold Girls: Jackie (Jaime Lyn Baxter) Charly (Jennifer Ashley) Glory (Ruthy Ross, a real-life Playmate and Bunny.) Sandi (Kitty Carl) and Vera (Tiffany Bolling). The cast is a veritable exploitation all-star team. There’s Francine York (The Doll Squad) as Melissa, the publisher of Bachelor magazine, Ray Danton as a sleazy modeling agent, Teda Bracci (The Big Bird Cage)…as (what a stretch!) a kooky hippie…Talie Cochrane (Fugitive Girls. “Good Christ…a lesbian!” ) and good ol’ Aldo Ray as a not-so-innocent bystander. They all have fun with Arthur Marks’ cynically pithy dialogue. The girls are not just gorgeous and sexy but intelligent and ballsy as well…no two-dimensional bimbos here. Prine is subtly creepy as the fastidious killer. The film hits all the psycho-thriller bases but still feels original and has great tension-building cinematography. And Tiffany Bolling, as always, is the toughest one in the picture. “Displaying your body is filth!” 

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