BLOOD AND LACE (1971)

BLOOD AND LACE (1971)

Director: Philip S. Gilbert

Starring: Gloria Grahame, Melody Patterson, Len Lesser, Milton Selzer, Vic Tayback

Shout! Factory DVD/Blu-Ray

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Do not confuse this movie with the stylish slasher Blood and Black Lace from Mario Bava (reviewed elsewhere by Nate Wilson). There is nothing stylish about Blood and Lace at all. It’s very straight forward in being a movie that’s not afraid of getting down and wallowing in the muck with child abuse, lecherous men, and murder. Broken adults lording power over damaged young people, and reveling in destroying any potential of a future all for a paycheck.

The movie begins with a POV shot of the killer holding a claw hammer walking through a suburban home at night. Upon entering the bedroom of a sleeping middle aged couple the claw end of that hammer is put to use bashing their heads in before setting fire to the place. We then hear a scream, and we’re now in the hospital with Ellie Masters (Melody Patterson, F Troop, The Cycle Savages) waking from a nightmare. The murdered woman was her mother with a lover. She tells Harold Mullins (Milton Selzer), the social worker who’s getting her ready for placement in the Deere Home that she’s wanting to find her real father. In the course of the conversation it’s revealed that her mother was the town floozie, before turing professional, and “every drifter, traveling salesman and school boy over 16 knew my mother.” An interesting note about this scene is that Ellie is voiced by June Foray, the voice of Rocky from the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon series which adds another somewhat creepy level to this movie. She feels she has no need to go to the Deere Home, but Harold points out that whoever murdered her mother is still free and may be coming after her.

In the heat of the moment, and against court orders, Ellie leaves the hospital with suit case in hand and heads out, walking along the train tracks in hopes of finding her father. Not even a mile into the journey she meets Calvin Caruthers (Vic Tayback – Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, and Mel Sharples of Alice fame), former employee of the Bijou Theater, and now a detective for the county sheriff. His deep interest in Ellie is a bit strange and borders on creepy. It’s during a conversation with Harold Mullins in a bar, he’s asked why he has such an intense interest in Ellie, he says when men get to be his age “you start sniffing around for some good breeding stock.”

Harold delivers Ellie to the Deere Youth Home where it’s obvious it’s not a place safe for anyone, no matter their age. Our first introduction to the home is when a teen attempts escape and is chased by the alcoholic handyman Tom Kredge (Len Lesser, Shack Out on 101, Truck Stop Women, and best known as Uncle Leo from Seinfeld). The frightened teen foolishly attempts to hide behind a tree when one of his hands is chopped off by the meat cleaver thrown by Tom. This is also the most graphic scene in the film, and sets us up for the insanity that lays in store.

The Deere Youth Home is run by Mrs. Deere (Gloria Grahame, It’s a Wonderful Life, The Todd Killings, Mama’s Dirty Girls), who is cold hearted and manipulative to the core. She runs the home like a prison camp, reminding the kids that if they don’t work they won’t be around much longer, and she’s always ready to slap any of them for the slightest of what she sees as transgressions towards her authoritarian rule. She’s someone you want to see get her comeuppannce. With the help of Tom she keeps the corpses of all the dead children in a meat locker in the basement to later be placed in the infirmary when county officials drop in for headcount. Harold, the world’s sleaziest social worker, is well aware that Mrs. Deere runs a crooked operation, but looks the other way with the promise of sex as part of the unspoken agreement.

There’s some great dialog throughout the movie, such as when Ellie is looking to escape, and lecherous Tom says he will show her how only if she does something for him. He pulls a bottle out of his back pocket, leans into her face and growls, “The way to escape? Whisky!” and begins groping her. There’s also the the conversation between Ellie and Walter (Ron Taft) the orphanage heart throb (read that back, yes, such a thing exists in a movie like this), when he tells her to give up on trying to find her real father, “The only thing she ever said was the first man that ever made love to her got her pregnant and ruined her figure. The only feelings she ever had for me was blame!”. You have to love the exchange between her and Bunch (Terri Messina) as they fight on the bed:

Bunch: Tell us about your mother!

Ellie: We don’t know anything about yours, except that she has four legs and barks!

A disfigured man with a claw hammer finally shows up at the orphanage for the final act and brings this to a close with some light violence. But none of that is as good as what happens at the very end. While not tilting into full on sleaze due to the lack of nudity, sex and excessive graphic violence, Blood and Lace does deliver on the shocks promised in the poster art. This is worth repeated viewing, especially the second or third time where the movie becomes even more interesting and slimy when you know how this all ends up. (MA)

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Nate Wilson: NW  Devon Cahill: DC  Heath Row: HR  Matt Average: MA

LONG WEEKEND (1978)

LONG WEEKEND (1978)

Director: Colin Eggleston 

Staring John Hargreaves, Briony Behets, Mike McEwen, Cricket (the dog)

Australia

Streamed on Prime- Great Transfer

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Well this movie seems a lot longer then the hour and thirty it clocks in at.  It  takes a while for stuff to really get moving.  The last 30 minutes are when things really get good, and the last 20 practically have no dialog at all.   Make sure you watch this with the subtitles on, because you don’t want to miss anything.  The accents throw me sometimes. 

This is a story of a suburban couple who are super easy to just be disgusted by.  Its easy to hate on them. They are just awful people, and I actually don’t find myself feeling sorry for them at all at any point in the film.  They “disrespect” and destroy nature for literally no reason… and Mother Nature gets her revenge.  The couple go to the beach for a weekend and along the way kill numerous animals, carelessly start a fire on the side of the road,  throw beer bottles in the ocean, chop down trees for absolutely no reason, etc.  They continuously argue and fight with one another throughout the story.  It really is sort of clever and helps build things up for the cool ending.  I won’t spoil the film to much for you, but the ending is really cool, and to for me it was worth it all.  As my buddy Mark said to me about the film “Its grueling, but worth the watch”.   I’d tend to agree.  Its not a movie you will soon forget.  (NW)

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NW: Nate Wilson    DC: Devon Cahill   MA: Matt Average

SEIZURE (1974)

SEIZURE! (1974)

Director: Oliver Stone

Starring: Jonathan Frid, Martine Beswick, Mary Woronov, Hervé Villechaize, Joseph Sirola, Christina Pickles, Troy Donahue, Richard Cox, Henry Baker, Anne Meacham

seizurebox

“Don’t ask us who we are, or where we come from. We are without beginning or end, and our purpose, our only purpose, is death.” – The Queen

The poster for this was so promising: a hooded man with an axe, a scantily dressed woman, and a bearded dwarf with a dagger, along with the tag line, “You cannot run from them… You cannot hide from them… Their only purpose is the breath-stopping panic of Seizure!” I was expecting something violent and possibly strange, but then I discovered this is a PG rate film, but had to keep hope alive, as this was made in 1974, and standards were a bit different back then: tougher, less concerned about who was offended. But nope, this is a definite PG movie, almost safe for prime time movie of the week.

Jonathan Frid (Barnabas Collins, Dark Shadows) is Edmund Blackstone, horror writer who has reoccurring nightmares that are weighing heavy on him, and effecting his family life, compounded by the difficulty of finding an ending to the novel he’s working on. He and his wife, Nicole (Christina Pickles) are also having a few absolutely unlikable friends over for the weekend.

As the night comes on three uninvited guests begin making their presence known, The Spider (Herve Villechaize), The Queen (Martine Beswick), and Jackal (Henry Baker). These three (as seen on the ever so promising poster) start picking off the friends, and bringing (much deserved) hell into their lives. Villechaize steals the movie as The Spider. When he’s on screen everyone else tends to disappear, or get in the way. The Spider is cold and remorseless, carrying out orders from The Queen without hesitation,and almost with glee. It’s as though his whole reason of existence is to cause suffering for others. When he leaps through the window into the Blackstone home he is clearly in charge of the moment.  Even The Queen, who is running the show is nowhere near as interesting as The Spider, and Jackal is nothing more than a strong man who lumbers through the scenes killing and crushing when told to.

The guests are forced to participate in various contests (foot race, knife fight, etc) with each other, loser getting killed, and this is where the PG rating really hurts the movie. All kills are off camera, and quickly cut to another scene. Even if they just showed it going down in shadows, or had the sounds of struggle it would have ratcheted things up with a needed intensity to make the viewer uncomfortable. You sometimes see the aftermath, but baby, I wanted to see more. Even the knife fight between Jonathan Frid and Mary Woronov could have been golden, but alas, it was not meant to be. The best is when one guest has their head crushed. Though you don’t see it happening, you do see the gruel in the aftermath. But again, it could have been so much better.

Seizure is not a terrible movie, but the poster is far more interesting than the actual film, and had this been decidedly aimed at an exploitation audience it could have been pretty damn awesome. There’s some good ideas that could have been expanded on, such as Eunice (Anne Meacham) communicating with her dead husband through The Spider, and willing the three killers to the house, and maybe have gone down that storyline instead of the one Stone ultimately chose, as it was more sinister and creepier seeming.  But as it is, it’s nothing that I would say you must see, and no wonder that Oliver Stone reportedly wants to pretend like it was never made. (MA)

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NW: Nate Wilson    DC: Devon Cahill   HR: Heath Row   MA: Matt Average

BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (1964)

BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (aka 6 Donne per L’Assassino) (1964)

Directed by Mario Bava

Starring: Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok, Thomas Reiner

Streamed on Amazon Prime

Transfer Quality is great.

bloodandblacklace

This is a beautifully filmed horror thriller that I’m just now seeing for the first time.  Its hard to fathom how I’ve slept on this one for so long.  It spawned an entire genre of Italian film.  The colors, and lighting are magnificent.  The transfer quality is great for Amazon Prime.  

The story is sort of complex…. but boils down to a masked murderer who is killing off models at a fashion house in Rome.  The killings are pretty brutal for the time period, and very scary mainly due to the killers appearance (wears a stocking of sorts over the face, with a hat and long jacket). 

 The movie starts right off with a slaying that happens within the first five minutes of the picture.  There are well over a dozen characters that keep you wondering who the killer is. Many of them are junkies, and just straight up odd acting characters that keep the viewer confused and constantly guessing who the evil one might be.  It really could be anyone based on a diary of a dead model, drugs, sex, etc.  

This film must have been completely shocking for people to see in 1964.  Don’t sleep on this one.  (NW)

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NW: Nate Wilson    DC: Devon Cahill   MA: Matt Average

 

Who we are*

whoweare

Who we are: A bunch of punk rock hasbeens/neverwasbeens. At the point in life where we go to shows and stand in the back, watching the clock as much as watching the bands, hoping the whole thing is over by midnight. Whereas, when we go see  movie, it generally starts on time and ends at a decent hour. We are fans of genre cinema and sounds from the underground (if such a thing even exists anymore). We cover what we like, and sometimes do not like. What we do like is: Henry Silva, Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, Barbara Bouchet, Edwige Fenech,  Carpenter, Fulci, Argento, Sergio Martino, spaghetti westerns, Black Flag, Judas Priest, Brainbombs, noise, hardcore punk, metal, Iron Maiden, Mob 47, Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, doom, Pam Grier, Sid Haig, Robert Forester, Rudy Ray Moore, Tank, Italian prog, Can, Ash Ra Temple, The Offenders, Articles of Faith, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Crossed Out, Totalitär, Mads Mikkelsen, Corman, Landis, Godzilla, kaiju, Seijun Suzuki, samurai, Kenji Fukasaku, Dick Miller, Amarok, Roberta Collins, Chuck Connors, Ancient Altar, Pagan Altar, Karen Black, Richard Stark, Anitra Ford, and on and on and on…

 

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