It Does A Body Good

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It’s pretty difficult to come up with a truly original take on the vampire mythos but this Australian picture did, blending cold, clinical, frightening science fiction and nightmarish Gothic horror. Kate (Chantal Contouri) is abducted by Dr. Gauss (veteran heavy Henry Silva, Alligator, Chained Heat) and Dr. Fraser (David Hemmings, Blow-Up, Deep Red, Barbarella) who are part of the Hyma Brotherhood, a cult of aristocratic, elitist bloodsuckers who run their own “blood farm” where “inferior” humans are herded like cattle and “milked” for their blood, which is packaged in cartons and drunk by the Brotherhood. They tell her she’s a descendant of Countess Erzebet Bathory, that she’s destined to marry their leader and try to convince her that it’s all for the betterment of mankind…and not nearly as horrible as it sounds…

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White Lace & Strange

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Mario Bava’s visual brilliance shines despite a lackluster, amateurish script in this picture which concerns a fashion designer specializing in bridal gowns who is married to the wife from hell, who hates him so much that she refuses a divorce just to torture him. Luckily, he has hobbies to help him unwind: trying on veils, making out with mannequins…and murdering brides with a meat cleaver on their wedding night. Just until he figures out why he’s doing it, of course. How’s that for a radical course of therapy? 

 

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Put Yo’ Weight On It!

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Standup comic Rudy Ray Moore (Dolemite) is Tucker, a cop-turned-disco Dj who hits the streets with a vengeance after his nephew Bucky flips out on angel dust. He learns that there’s an epidemic of this going on and traces it to a pusher named Stinger Ray. You know what time it is: time for Tucker to kung some fu and whup some bellbottomed ass. Moore, certainly one of the more eccentric figures in blaxploitation cinema, with his rhymes, esoteric non sequiturs and gonzo fashion sense is always a joy to behold. The opening scene where he dances in a powder blue glitter rock jumpsuit that would’ve made Vegas era Elvis blush is worth the price of admission. “See if you playas can ball that!

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Parental Guidance Suggested

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The suicide of a high school girl sheds light on a group of disaffected youths…including Sally, who acts like a gun moll…the terminally perky bubblehead Betty…the more level-headed June and their boyfriends, who all hang out at a joint called Merry Go Round. It’s run by a shady character named Nick and his gal Mimi (who sports a ridiculous faux French accent) who give the bored teens something to do: crimes. With the lousy, neglectful, abusive parents these kids have, they need somebody to look up to…”Oh, that old lemon-squeezer? Is that all that’s biting you?” 

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Inconceivable

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A young married couple struggles to have a baby and turns to artificial insemination. Hard to believe this was a controversial, taboo topic…even in the 1940’s. The picture is loaded with saucy innuendo, though…and hot  half-naked horny housewives. And a catfight. (I assure you, it’s totally crucial to the plot. ) Timothy Farrell (Glen Or Glenda) is their creepily deadpan doctor…

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The Name Of The Game Is Co-operate

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Continuing our exploration of those crazy, Hays-y days of roadshow, here’s one from a member of the illustriously infamous 40 Thieves, Dan Sonney…A cute little rube named Nancy (Joy Reynolds) follows her big sister to Hollywood with dreams of stardom. Big sis Paula (Lisa Rack) tries to warn her to turn tail and get the hell home while the gettin’s good…but the kid’s starry-eyed. Nancy scores a gig as an artist’s model, then is offered a job at “The Colony”, a private resort for rich men where the fellas can have their pick from a stable of babes. Will Nancy escape with her virtue intact? Great performances by Joy Reynolds, Lisa Rack and Geri Moffatt as the embittered, used up “Easy”…and whoever the hell played Joker, keep what could’ve been completely bleak sleaze light-hearted. “These guys come down here for a ball, not a ball and chain.

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The Crooked Wheel

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A housewife (Martha Chapin) arrested for murder recounts how she was conned by a gambling club that’s a front for a white slavery operation…Beautiful women are swindled into debt by rigged games and coerced into “taking it out in trade”. Compelling setup, eh? Of course it’s all just an excuse for chorus girl butt shots and to get pretty women down to their lingerie. In the 30’s nudity was a risky proposition, even for roadshow pictures operating outside of the Hays Code…but occasionally they could sneak in a little whisper of skin…and the greater the “societal ill” they were tackling, the more debauchery they could get away with. Ms Chapin is totally gorgeous (see the pic below) looks sexy as hell in lingerie and almost gets naked in one scene…She begins to strip off her silkies…but before we can see anything tasty there’s a jump cut that makes it look as if she teleported to behind her dressing screen. So if there were any shots of Ms. Chapin in the alltogether, they were most likely excised by some conscientious censor…perhaps consigned to some private archive to protect the public eye from being sullied…The fear and outcry over nudity has constantly boggled my mind…The adoration of the female form has always been an integral part of cinema, art, everything…Walk into the earliest cave-dwelling and you’re sure to find a stick figure with boobies scrawled on the wall…

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