#MonsterMovieMonday: Mr. Sardonicus (AKA Happy Birthday, William Castle!)

How do you do, my revolting readers? It’s William Castle’s Birthday, so it’s time once again to ho-nor this master of movie mayhem.
Mr. Castle has no equal when it comes to ghoulish amusements. He was the man who turned theater seats into joy buzzers, unleashed plastic skeletons upon audiences, and gave us the ability to see ghosts through cardboard. Alfred Hitchcock (Castle’s friendly rival) may have made more “prestigious” pictures, but Castle gave us a circus. Castle was the merriest master of the macabre ever to live and he will forever be my “Hitch-cock.” 😉
Of his many triumphs, I think I am most fond of Mr. Sardonicus. Master Castle’s films usually dealt with contemporary terrors, but Mr. Sardonicus was, in the legend’s own words, “an old-fashioned story.” In its essence, this is a Universal Gothic done in Castle’s inimitable idiom. Mr. Sardonicus is a tale of castles and fog, of masks and madmen, and of graves and… ghouls. “Ghoul” is very popular word, but it’s seldom used in its literal sense. Take, for example, William Castle. He’s a “ghoul” in the sense that he revels in the macabre and gruesome, but he certainly didn’t dig up graves and feast on corpses. (It’s not in his autobiography. ;))

Mr. Sardonicus does play with the idea of a figurative ghoul vs. a true ghoul. The truth falls more towards the former, but the latter is alluded to heavily. The fact that the idea of a real ghoul is hinted at all is unusual for a horror picture, and it is fascinating to deal with even the potential of one. The “ghoul” in the film is the tit-ular Sardonicus, though he is less a “Mr.” and more a “Baron.” While digging up his father’s grave to retrieve a winning lottery ticket (if I had a nickle…;)), Baron Sardonicus is so frightened by the sight of his father’s grinning skull that it actual causes his face to freeze in a permanent grin! Because of the grave-robbing and the unnatural deformation that occurs, he refers to himself as a ghoul.

In truth, he owes a little more to The Man Who Laughs and The Phantom of the Opera than a traditional ghoul. Like the unusual gentlemen in those stories, Sardonicus is a mortal man with ghastly visage and a mask. The audience could feel a certain sympathy for The Baron, although he does test one’s capacity for mercy with his habit of torturing girls with leaches, not to mention his cruelty towards his servant. Really, it’s up to the individual to decide if Sardonicus is worthy of redemption or condemnation. Of this, Castle was painfully aware. Not missing the chance for a bit of fun, Castle came up with another ingenious gimmick: The Punishment Poll.
The Punishment Poll was classic Castle. Ostensibly, the audience could decide on whether or not they wanted to show the ghoul mercy by voting on one of two endings. Each theater-goer was given a glow-in-the-dark card featuring a hand with the thumb out. When instructed by Mr. Castle in the film, they voted by holding up the card with either the thumb up or down as to whether Sardonicus would live or die. The gag? There was only one ending filmed! In the film, Castle “tallies” the votes and announces the result immediately, with no break in the continuity of the scene. Like a great magic trick, the act was fake, but the fun was very real. Besides, the ending we got is deliciously nasty! It’s the perfect twisted punchline and I can’t imagine a more fitting way to end the story of Sardonicus. My lips are sealed when it comes to specifics, but it’s a fantastic note to end on.

In ho-nor of Mr. Castle’s birthday, we have provided Mr. Sardonicus in all its ghoulish glory, I cannot recommend this film enough. It represents everything that was fantastic about William Castle and is just about the most fun one could have being repulsed and lied to! 😉 For a bit of Castle’s carny brilliance, check out the film below:

Happy Birthday, Mr. Castle!

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Goon Review: Night of Something Strange (2016)

(Submitted by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks, you Ho-rror Heartthrob, you! 🙂 xoxo)

To me, horror comedies rarely work out. I’m sure I’ve talked about this before, but I feel that most of them fail at either being a horror or a comedy. Usually, the cast knows what kind of film they are in, so they tend to play it up and delivering each line as if they are winking at the camera. The characters are usually stock cliches and more often than not, they confuse blood and gore with horror. Now as nice as those things are, when put in the hands of someone who misunderstand what either a horror or a comedy are, the film comes off as inauthentic and, well, stupid. Not to mention, they seem to be poorly filmed. The shots aren’t well planned and it’s like the filmmaker has no idea where to point the camera. I get the feeling that most of the time they don’t.

Luckily, Night of Something Strange isn’t any of that. Sure, it falls into some of the cliches, but they are done right, if that makes sense. At first, even I was a little worried when the characters were being introduced, but as the film goes on, you understand why they are and how they play into the plot and some of them become likable. Maybe it’s due to the film’s low budget or how the cast has a connection to each other, but they come of as genuine in playing their roles. A lot of heart went into this movie, something you don’t see very often anymore. That’s another thing; it’s shot like a movie. The cinematography is impressive to say the least and the use of lighting is done to effect the overall tone of the film. Everything that most lower budget films seem to misunderstand and mimic are done right here. Indie filmmaking seems like it’s becoming a lost art, but every now and then you get something that restores your faith. Night of Something Strange did just that for me.

Night of Something Strange opens with a tall, brooding hospital worker named Cornelius (Wayne Johnson) who looks like he probably has some issues. Sure enough, he shows us what kind of issues he has when he wanders into a morgue and decides to bang a female corpse. You could say that Cornelius is getting lucky, but I would say he’s getting unlucky seeing as how this particular corpse seems to have a still active STD. Not just any STD, but something that causes a much more serious side effect; you turn into a sex crazed zombie. Cornelius heads home and as the virus takes effect, he pisses all over his bed and then rapes and infects his mother. Talk about starting your movie off with bang. Where else are you gonna find necrophilia, watersports and incest all within ten minutes? Well, the last one I’m only assuming is only incest since the relationship between the two characters isn’t established, but I get the feeling it’s mother and son. It’s easily unsettling and let’s you know what you’re in store for. You would think at this point, the film was only trying to set the bar for absurdity, but it’s only getting started.

With Cornelius now free to run amok, we turn our attention to our central cast of characters in a high school. Or college. I don’t know which. All I know is that I was surprised to see Brink Stevens appear as their teacher in a cameo. Regardless, these are the people you will be spending the run time with and like I said, at first they may seem like cliches and they are all kind of assholes in their own, but stick with them. You will come to like them. The core girl of the group is Christine (Rebecca C. Kasek) and is probably the least douchiest of them all. Her friend Carrie (Toni Ann Gambale), Carrie’s boyfriend Freddy (Michael Merchant) who is probably the biggest douche of the group, token stoner Brooklyn and chubby Jason are all headed for a little getaway with their friend Pam (Nicola Fiore) and her boyfriend Dirk (Trey Harrison) who has suspicions that his girlfriend is cheating on him when he takes a peek at her phone and notices a dick pic. Still, he hasn’t been laid in a while, so he’s gonna let this slide for a bit. At least until he gets laid.

No better place to do that than at the Redwood Motel ran by a rather creepy old man who feels like a runaway member of family from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Now that Dirk has had some time to relieve from sexual tension, he breaks things off with Pam and befriends Christine outside and the two have a rather nice bonding moment and the chemistry feels rather genuine. Freddy, on the other hand, is doing whatever it takes to get some ass, including berating and threatening his verbal punching bag, Jason. Even Brooklyn falls victim to Freddy’s pranks when Freddy attempts a frat, but sharts on his face. You have to wonder why these people hang out with him, but I’m assuming it’s through his association with Carrie. Or I’m over analyzing what doesn’t need to be. Freddy’s sexual conquest – or his attempt at sexual conquest – could be a Porky’s style comedy on it’s own. After being denied sex, Freddy heads outside to the dumpster where he reckons is a great place to rub one out. His realistic style commentary over his fantasy where Jason comes into the room while he goes at it with Carrie makes watching a character beat off a little more comfortable. And funny. Even when Freddy knocks himself out by hitting his head on the dumpster, do you think that stops him from finishing. Not a chance. The champ picks up right where he left off when he comes to.

Now it’s time for shit to really start hitting the fan. Cornelius and the few others he infected show up at the Redwood Motel and begin their rampage, infecting a few more others. Poor Freddy now has this and another situation to deal with; having mistaken Jason for Carrie, Freddy becomes stuck in Jason’s butt and not only has to avoid having the others see him and the mental scarring this will cause, but also battle the undead. Gotta give props to Michael Merchant for spending half of the movie with his bottom hanging out and pulling off stunts while being stuck inside an unconscious man. Hey, give the guy a break. It’s dark in that room. Meanwhile outside, Dirk finds himself fighting off these zombies alongside Christine and they learn that a simple gunshot to the head doesn’t quite work like zombie films have taught us. As the chaos ensues, what are they to do?

I can’t tell you how much I was impressed with Night of Somethings Strange, perfectly blending the horror and comedy genres. I was reminded of Return of the Living Dead while watching and that’s never a bad thing. I laughed at the parts I was supposed to and I ended up even rooting for Freddy, the biggest asshole of the bunch. Maybe I’m a little biased knowing the actor, but every time he was on screen, you were guaranteed a raunchy gag and a laugh and the film uses a lot of sick, gross out moments for laughs. One in particular that comes to mind is when Carrie falls into a blood and shit soaked toilet while trying to pee in it or later when she gets kicked in the crotch by Christine and her shoe gets stuck right in there. There’s also little things, like Freddy getting a bloody condom on his face and the aforementioned sharting scene. It’s a film that would feel at home alongside any given Troma film. I also felt Trey Harrison was a great lead, commanding every scene he was in and Nicola Fiore was a treat and I wish she was in more scenes.

Being a zombie film, it does have some pretty decent special effects for the most part, but at times you can notice a change in the quality. Most times, I thought the makeup was gruesome and disgusting, but then there were times when it looked noticeably different and not for the better, primarily when CG was used. This is due to problems with the previous effects people, as the film unfortunately had to go through a few of them, but I don’t fault the film or the filmmaker for that. After all, it’s about getting lost in the story and the characters and it’s quite easy to do that in Night of Something Strange. It truly was a breath of fresh air in the indie zombie horror sub genre. I can’t tell you how many I’ve had to sit through in the last few years, the majority of which are unbearable to say the least. To see something that has heart behind it made this a pleasure to see. Director Jonathan Straiton really made one of the best indie horror films I’ve seen in a long time. He demonstrated that you can play with the stereotypes and cliches of the genre while also showing how to play against them. He made what should have been a purposely foul and raunchy shlock fest that would have otherwise been ineptly made into something that’s outstandingly terrific and will be remembered (and possibly imitated) for years to come.

Happy Birthday, Roger Corman!

A very Happy 91st (!) Birthday to the Pope of Pop Culture, Mr. Roger Corman! 🙂

There’s just no way overstate how Fang-Freakin’-Tastic this audacious auteur of awesome really is! He brought credibility to eXXXploitation films, made indie film-making cool, brought art films like from the likes of Kurosawa and Bergman to the mainstream, and jump-started the careers of everyone from James Cameron to Martin Scorsese. This brilliant B-movie badass also directed the original Little Shop of Horrors, so he indirectly gave us the steamy, dreamy manly meatiness that is Rick Moranis as Seymour Krelborn! For this feat alone, this man is my hero!! 😉
To skullebrate his birthaversary, we’re providing you fright fiends with one of King Corman’s favorites from his own catalogue: 1964’s The Masque of the Red Death!

While Hammer was scoring big with their takes of European fright favorites, Roger Corman went to (vampire) bat for the U.S.A. with his technicolor terror tales adapted from the works of American spookster Edgar Allan Poe. As eXXXcellent as the other Poe flicks are, I think his Masque of the Red Death is the sharpest spike on this iron maiden. Vincent “The Price is Fright” Price is at his Vincent Priciest here, cackling and creeping around as the nastiest monarch this side of King Joffrey! (#timelyreferencesaretimely ;)) The atmosphere is chilling and the cinematograophy is so colorfully creepy, one might suspect that Dario Argento took notes on this flick before making Suspiria. (#thingsthatmakeyougohmm #eventimlierreferencesaretimlier! :))

The film didn’t do too well at the time, but is now seen as a shining example of Corman’s greatness as a director. We here at KH just love it to pieces. If Ingmar Bergman decided to be awesome and make a ho-rror film, he would have made something like this! 🙂

To see Red, click on the box below:

Happy Birthday, Mr. Corman! You rock our kollectively Kinky socks!! 🙂 xoxoxo

Ghost in the Shell (2017)

(Submitted by Mr. Dr. Anton Phibes…Thanks, ho-mie, bc I didn’t even wanna touch this one!! 😉 xoxo)

I think it’s only fair to state that I’ve been a fan of the Ghost in the Shell franchise for a considerable portion of my existence. Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 film was a haunting, cerebral film that completely went over my head when I saw it around the age of 7. It fascinated me, but I couldn’t articulate why until I was a little older. The older me view Oshii’s film as a poetic tale that deals with the nature of the human consciousness and the influence of technology, but my younger self saw a confusing sci-fi flick that delighted him nevertheless. Admittedly, that film was not the sort a 7-year-old should have watched, but it did stick with me for a long time after. The older I got, the more appreciated it. When it came to the US, I discovered Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, which maintained much of what I loved about the movie and quickly became one of my favorite anime shows. Masamune Shirow’s original manga didn’t find its way to me until later, but I enjoyed it as well. Over the years, I have collected wall scrolls, action figures, and posters for this franchise and I still love it dearly.

It is important to note this because I did go into 2017’s Ghost in the Shell as a fan of the source material, so I had certain expectations. Were those expectations met?  I’m pleased to report that they were, for the most part.   it does maintain much of the themes and questions of the franchise, although most of it is either simplified or handled with subtlety of a tank. I don’t think the 7-year-old me would have been quite as confused by this picture. However, he would’ve dug the heck out of the visuals and I’d agree with him. The world of this Ghost in the Shell takes the austere atmosphere of the 1995 film and adds a layer of colorful holographic madness that creates a future both frightening and inviting at once. Some scenes are recreated from the first film, and they do not disappoint. If you are any sort of fan of the Oshii picture, I urge you to see the film right now to experience them. Heck, I urge anyone who’s into film aesthetics to seem the film right now!

The basic outline of the original plot is intact: a machine with the ghost (soul) and brain of a human hunts for a cyber-terrorist who can hack the minds of other man-machines. From there, the plot frankensteins bits and pieces of various incarnations of GitS, along with some additions of its own. Frankly, it’s satisfying to watch a film that is comfortably familiar, yet still has a few surprises of its own. Fans of any version of GitS will recognize something from their favorite installment. In fact, the villain is a weird hybrid of The Puppetmaster from the original film and  Kuze from the TV series, bearing the name of the latter. Since there is much that is unique to this film, I won’t type another word of it. I’ll let the film unravel its mysteries for you.

Well, I suppose I should now address the elephant in the room… I think Scarlett Johansson was a rather excellent choice for The Major, and I don’t see the harm in casting her. Motoko Kusanagi (the protagonist in most versions of GitS) is a cyborg with very little of her humanity remaining. As originally conceived, Motoko’s body was a mass production model, so she has the same appearance as many others like her. Very little is known about her past and who she once was in most GitS-related material. In an episode of the TV series, Kusanagi confessed that she couldn’t remember what her real name was, suggesting that “Motoko Kusanagi” is only a pseudonym. Basically, Kusanagi isn’t even human in the traditional sense, so why should the race of the actress matter?  I thought Ms. Johansson looked the part and did wonderful job in the film. 

2017’s Ghost in the Shell is a worthy addition to the franchise. Sure, it’s never quite as clever as its source, but there is a human brain in this machine. The film isn’t doing so hot at the box office, so if you have any interest in it, I recommend you see it now. If you put aside any thoughts of “whitewashing,” you’ll likely find a highly enjoyable film that honors a true classic of animation. For Humans and cyborgs alike, this is a groovy time at the cinema.


Goon Review: RoboCop 2

(Submitted by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks, Your Gooniness! 🙂 xoxo)

RoboCop was the answer to everything wrong that was going on in the ‘80s, both with cinema and what was happening in the world and politics. It was a heavy-handed satire against violence, corruption and greed while being smart and entertaining about it, as well as an allegory about religion. It’s about a police officer named Alex Murphy who is gunned down in the line of duty only to be brought back to life in a cybernetic body to continue his fight against crime, but the real movie is a about a man lost in a machine trying to regain his human elements. Originally, it was supposed to be a Judge Dredd film, but an original idea was taken instead and it was a blockbuster. I remember having the toys, which is something else the ‘80s did; sell toys for kids based on ‘R’ rated movies! That’s right, I couldn’t watch it, but I could play with the toys. RoboCop was smart, incredibly graphic and fun. The film made a ton of money and in Hollywood that means there is going to be a sequel.

1990 rolls around and RoboCop 2 rolls out. Things in the world have changed, both for better and for worse that made plenty of fodder for the film’s writer, a comic book artist and writer named Frank Miller (ya know, the Sin City guy), to thrust Alex Murphy into and giving the film something to say. However, this time around it isn’t nearly as subtle and it may be trying to say a little too much. I liked the idea of a comic book writer penning the script. It makes total sense seeing as the first film is kind of like a comic book, but RoboCop 2 feels like it was written by a comic book writer if that makes any sense. It’s far more silly than the first film and there is more than enough a,b and c plots going around that arise in the film and are quickly resolved. Every fifteen minutes or so feels like an issue from a comic book series and the film has a more slapsticky sense of humor to it and even the colors are brighter, including RobCcop’s costume which has a very blue tinge to it. Even the dialogue has a very cartoony vibe to it. It’s like the film isn’t taking itself very seriously, at least not nearly as much of the first one, but does this make it better? No, but don’t discredit it as a bad film. RoboCop 2 is a tremendous amount of fun.

The film picks up about a year after the events of RoboCop and RoboCop 2 opens in familiar territory; with a satirical commercial and a Media Break news footage. The commercial is a for a product called Magnavolt that fries criminals who try to break into your car. This is made charming by a cameo from John Glover as the sales person. Now that we’ve opened with some violence and some chuckles, it’s time to get serious. There’s a new drug called Nuke destroying Detroit that seems to flooding the streets and with the police on strike, the Mayor is failing at his job. OCP has plans to overthrow the Mayor and take control of the city by creating a new, more luxurious Detroit called Delta City, thus winning the hearts of the concerned citizens. But being a corporation and coming from a comic writer’s angle, all corporations are evil and OCP plans to put the cops and other public servants out of jobs, citizens out of homes all for the sake of financial gain! Nothing really comes of these plans, but in a rather odd twist of a character, The Old Man (the CEO of OCP) played by Dan O’Herlihy, who seemed like a genuinely good dude in the first film, is now a greedy, backstabbing sonuvabitch. Honestly, it feels like Dan O’Herlihy is playing his Conal Cochran character from Halloween III. I almost expect OCP to sell masks that turn your head into mush and bugs when their commercials play. It’s a character change that kinda feels out of nowhere and for no reason other than the idea of a president for a large company must be evil, because all companies are evil.

There are a few cops that aren’t on strike, like Anne Lewis and her partner Alex Murphy or as you know him, RoboCop. RoboCop is focused on tracking down the Nuke operation and taking it down along with its ringleader, Cain. Tom Noonan, who I mostly remember from the Sega CD game Corpse Killer is a fantastic villain. He always seems like he’s in another world and plays Kane as someone who sees himself as the next messiah. Not to mention he’s very psychotic and calm about it. His partner in crime is a ten year old kid named Hobbs, who is foul mouthed and shoots at cops. Seeing something like this as a kid totally blows you away, like when Macaulay Culkin told Elijah Wood, “Don’t fuck with me,” in The Other Son. You can’t believe how vicious someone your age could be. Well, I should mention RoboCop is tracking Cain down when there isn’t filler to attend to. The first subplot that just as quickly brought up as it is dropped is Robo being a total creep and stalking his wife. I realize the scene was brought up to see that he’s Murphy, a human being and not a cyborg, but when his wife finally confronts him, he just shoos her away and none of this is ever mentioned again.

What other subplots should we mention and then never mention again? I suppose we could talk about some of them to get them out of the way since they are irrelevant to the main plot, like when RoboCop is turned into scrap by Cain and his gang. He’s rebuilt, but OCP wants to give him some new directives that make him more friendly, spends time teaching moral values and thinks about the beautiful day. Sure this scene is funny, but it’s a subplot that is taking a jab at all the complaints the parents had against the first film. One of my favorite scenes is when a kid’s baseball team is robbing an electronics store and even after the coach is shot, he still reads him his rights and then immediately trying to teach the kids why shoplifting is wrong, who in turn cuss at him and run away. It’s a great scene, but again, this subplot bears no weight to the actual storyline. Robo fries himself on an electric fence to reboot, thus deleting all of his prime directives (something RoboCop 3 retcons) and do you know what he immediately does? Rounds up the rest of the cops and goes after Kane, which is what the movie should have been doing all along. These subplots are nothing but padding the overall length of the movie. Sure, they’re fun, but ultimately you don’t need them.

Now we get a big shoot out and a chase scene with plenty of cool moments, like RoboCop stealing someone’s motorcycle and jumping onto a truck to catch Cain, but crashes the truck and Cain may not make it. Luckily for him, The Old Man at OCP has been shacking up with Dr. Faxx (more like Dr. Foxx, amirite?), who seems to be morally bankrupt, so she’ll fit right in. Even more important, she seems to have her own agenda, but what could it be? Well, we never fully find out, but a deleted subplot tells you that she was Cain’s Nuke partner. Her role now is to convince The Old Man to let her find the subject for a new RoboCop and she happens to know where to find the perfect brain… a recently nearly comatosed drug lord on life support should do the trick. After a cool effects scene of removing Cain’s brain, they slap it into the new cyborg body and Dr. Faxx sets him loose to kill the mayor along with Kane’s old crew. Oh yeah, Hobb’s wants to give the money to the Mayor to pay off OCP allowing the Mayor to keep his position in office in exchange for allowing Hobbs to continue selling Nuke, thus making him rich.

There’s too much going on in this movie. No wonder a lot of it was changed or cut. All you need to know now is that RoboCop ain’t taking it and it gonna destroy Cain once and for all in a goofy, Looney Tunes-inspired robot battle.

Essentially, it’s a mega budgeted live action cartoon, complete with wacky slide whistle sound effects (I’m not kidding) that leads up to a pretty badass robot fight. Robo seems to have more of an attitude this time, seemingly more aggressive and angry, but that’s because the world around him has gotten worse as you see through various subplots. I mentioned those in great detail and honestly, you could cut them to get the run time down, but they do offer a lot of entertainment value, so why would you? The humor in this sequel takes a much more cartoon approach and there isn’t as much subtle or satirical comedy, although RoboCop 2 still manages to have a dark sense of humor about everything. The violence is also still intact, but it appears less bloody on screen, but still manages to be visceral, mean and hard to watch at times, like when a traitor cop is slit from sternum to belly button with a scalpel.

Brought to you in a brand new 2K scan from Scream Factory, RoboCop 2 looks absolutely magnificent on Blu-ray. It’s sharp, it’s clean and the colors really jump out and for a comic book stylized movie, it’s exactly how you want to see it. There are some special features that include featurettes and interviews with some of the cast and crew, but glaringly absent from any of these is RoboCop himself, Peter Weller, so I’m left to wonder why he would decline or not be included. I would have loved his perspective on the making of this movie, although there are two new audio commentaries to offer some insight. Another missing would be writer Frank Miller even though one of the special features was how they went about adapting his screenplay that was deemed “unfilmable.” Of course, it’s rounded off with your usual trailers, still galleries and so on.

Seeing as how the first RoboCop made so much money, the studios wanted more of that and this time around you can feel more of their presence. With the nudity, swearing and violence toned down just a touch and the live action cartoon feel trying to reach the kids, it’s clear they wanted to market this for toys and so on for the kids to buy, but for the adults in the theaters, seeing as children would see this on home video anyway. Of course, this would come to bite them in the ass by the time RoboCop 3 comes around, but we’ll get there. It’s not as good as the first film, nor does it have as much to say, but it’s still greatly entertaining and a pretty decent sequel, although some of the subplots could have been dropped while the others could have been reworked a bit to add some more depth to characters and the plot to make it a better film. But hey, RoboCop 3 can’t be as bad, right?

Horror High: The “Urban Legend is Badass” Edition. ;)

Hiya, ho-mies! Here’s a dorky lil’ thing I did to celebrate the wonder and magic of Urban Legend…Ho-pe you like it as much as I love pop rocks and coke!! 😉 xoxo

A Smutmaster Review: Young, Wild and Wonderful (1980)

(And now for something a lil’ different…a full frontal review from Smutmaster Eric!! We know and love him from his frequent pictorials, but now we actually get to hear his thoughts on cl-ass-ic cinema. Thanks for bravely branching out this way, Smutmaster G. Looking forward to many more from ya!! 🙂 xoxo)

Directed by Jim Buckley (Debbie Does Dallas), Young, Wild & Wonderful is a funny X-rated comedy, that’s also a little educational. You’ll feel smarter after watching it! 😉

The adventure starts with a group of female high school students waiting for a bus to arrive that’s carrying a bunch of excited young men from another school. These horny young people then travel to the Museum of Natural History, where some of them screw and others just have sexual daydreams during a slide show/lecture on Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) and other renowned artists.

Shortly into the slide show, a raven-haired student (Arcadia Lake) has her first of two terrific sexual daydreams about the hard shaft of a staff member (Eric Edwards). In the first one, she is posing for a portrait that leads to the artist putting down his brush and running his hands over her canvas.


Another student (the lovely Merle Michaels) is off wandering through the museum on a quest to find a bathroom. She’s not having any luck with that, but does find the office of the curator. After talking for a little bit, she starts learning some useful things while face down, ass up, boning on his carpet. (The More You Know!)

In the 2nd daydream (Arcadia w/ Kandi Barbour) are Island natives (they’re not believable, but you won’t care) that help a shipwrecked sailor speed up his recovery in a bamboo hut.

There are other students that misbehave during this field trip, though not every sexual encounter is stroke-worthy. Being stuck in a museum for hours might be dull for some, but this movie is much more fun than a day spent staring at old paintings and statues that don’t have any arms.

Rating: Smiths, The 3.5 stars of

Goon Review: I Drink Your Blood (1970)

(Submitted by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thanks, ya big Goon! 😉 xoxo)

If there are two problems tearing this country apart, it’s definitely rabies and LSD. And satanic hippie cults. Okay, so three things. And hippies, can’t forget them. But, who is going to inform us about these evils and the destruction they cause, leaving people’s lives in shambles? Who? I’ll tell you who! Director David Durston with his film I Drink Your Blood, although there is no blood drinking, except for the chicken’s at the beginning, but nothing that would imply “yours”. The title was actually thought up by the film’s producer in order to sell it as a double feature, as it played alongside I Eat Your Skin. I guess something like “I Accidentally Drank Rabid Dog’s Blood and Now I Have Rabies” isn’t nearly as catchy.

It’s a film that seemingly takes those things seriously during an era when we weren’t quite informed on what they are nor really had any scientific idea what they were, so it comes off as rather… hysterical. This is only reinforced by how absolutely bonkers things get throughout the movie as hippies and construction workers run amok, all because of tainted meat pies. I always knew that those would somehow be responsible for an outbreak resulting in many deaths. Never trusted a meat pie as far as I could throw it and believe me, I can throw one pretty dang far.

A satanic hippie cult, led by the almost Cesar Romero-Joker-esque quality Horace Bones, who call themselves “SADOS (short for Sons and Daughters of Satan),” have to hole up in a Podunk little town with a tiny population to avoid any detection from the fuzz, you dig? You see, one night during the group’s little get together for one of their little rituals, which they do totally butt nekkid, local girl Sylvia is spotted watching the festivity. However, locals aren’t allowed on the scene and she is beaten (to which her new-found friend of the group, Andy, seems a little too casual about this). While trying to leave this little town, their van breaks down and they do the next logical thing, which is buy meat pies from the local bakery run by Mildred, who tells them that most of the town is abandoned and awaiting demolition. Ah, good thing they decided to get some food from the Exposition Bakery! The group decides to whole up in a hotel indefinitely.

Let’s talk about the group for a minute. As I mentioned, the group is led by the Native American Horace Bones. Andy is the sensitive one, who isn’t happy with the group. Then you have Rollo, the angry black man. Shelley is the questionable member, never sure what his intentions are. There is also Sue-Lin, the group’s mystical Asian woman, there is also a promiscuous groovy chick (whose name I forget) and then you have Molly, the overweight woman who is pregnant with Horace’s spawn and the cute mute Carrie, played by an uncredited Lynn Lowry in her screen debut! It’s a diverse group and everyone is here to stereo-typically represent everyone!

Sylvia’s brother Pete, who steals the show with his “gee-golly-educational film” performance, is rather unsettled by them and knows they are up to something… probably because Horace is a cackling madman and the group isn’t exactly subtle, even though the townspeople never really catch on to this. Pete’s grandfather, the veterinarian (don’t worry, this will make sense in a moment), decides to take action against Sylvia’s abusers, but his plan is easily foiled by Horace who just simply takes his shotgun away from him. Good going, pops. The old man is beaten and drugged with LSD and trips serious balls in one of the most laughable scenes to follow.

So what is LSD? Well, don’t worry. The film seemingly pauses for a moment and switches over to ‘Educational Film Mode’ and lets Pete be the voice of the audience to ask what is that L.S… whatever you call it stuff and Sylvia explains what it is and the dangers it holds. Trust me when I say it’s going to take you out of the movie for a moment, but it’s going to leave you chuckling. And the best part is, the film hasn’t even kicked into high gear!

That night, a rabid dog is strolling around and making noise, so Pete puts the thing down with his granddad’s double barrel and devises genius plan. It’s so genius, I’m sure there are some twisted, evil kid tendencies with Pete that the film unfortunately doesn’t go into, but his family may want to have him checked out: He sneaks out with his granddad’s veterinary kit and uses a syringe to siphon the dog’s infected blood, injecting them into the meat pies the Sons and Daughters of Satan of been buying. Seriously, out of all the evil revenge plans in every movie ever, is that not one of the best? It’s unclear if Pete’s intentions were to kill them, make them sick or maybe he didn’t know what would happen, but you can definitely say he got more than what he bargained for!

The members of SADOS fall ill that night, sweating and gripping their stomachs in pain, until they start foaming out the mouth and becoming violent, even toward each other. Rollo severs the foot off another member with an axe and runs off, chasing the groovy chick after being thwarted by Horace and his sword, Molly and Carrie bolt and Andy heads off to hide at Sylvia’s since he was the only one who didn’t eat the meat pies. He takes shelter there and along with her, and no worries, Pete is there too to get in the way and do whatever it is that Pete does. Whatever is though is sure to make you laugh.

Having a group of rabid, Satan worshiping hippies is bad enough to unleash on an unsuspecting town, but the groovy chick offers herself to all of the construction workers (yes… ALL twenty or thirty of them) in order to feel protected, but unbeknownst to her, she infects all of them! Every rabies infected psychopath sets their eyes on Sylvia, Pete, Mildred, Andy and even grandpa and the most bat-sh#t crazy finale ensues, accompanied by some outstanding, hectic psycho music to play along to enhance the chaos. The survivors try to defend themselves and survive as the town runs rabid, quite literally, and all kinds of violence ensues including an epic sword fight, a decapitation and plenty of shotgun blasts… and of course a PSA about rabies in the guise of an exploitation film that’s gone completely bonkers.

Now the film does end with an open question, one that will be blindingly obvious, so I recommend checking out the deleted ending that not only ties that loose end up, but also ends the film on a very dark and grim, but fitting, note.

Grindhouse Releasing presents I Drink Your Blood in a brand new HD transfer and holy moly is this print all nice and cleaned up for you. It’s how I imagined it must have looked during its drive-in theater run. There’s little damage, some and the colors are nice and bright, which makes a film of this nature really pop. There are more than enough extras to go around, most of which are carried over from the previous DVD release, but there is a new audio commentary from actors Jack Damon and Tyde Kierney as well as a new interview with David Durston. The big additions to this release is the inclusion of David Durston’s previous films I Eat Your Skin and Blue Sextet making this the perfect exploitative triple feature.

If you were to ask me what an exploitation film is, I would point you to I Drink Your Blood as the prime example. This is without a doubt my favorite movie of all time. Everything about it is honest, meaning that it comes from a place of love for what it is. The filmmakers clearly loved horror films and wanted to tell an amazing story, no matter how wild or seemingly unreal things got it. It has that certain type of genuine feel to it that all of these movies that homage films of the 70’s and 80’s claim to have. Everything about this film works, right down from the comic-book bright red blood, the idea of a new disease and how little they knew about it at the time, making it more frightening, the groovy score mixed with some good old fashioned 70’s Satanic hippie cult fun, it’s not only educational, but it’s a pure bloody good time.

Happy Birthday, Evil Dead II!

Thirty years ago on this very night, a force of evil beyond description was unleashed upon the human race and it continues to swallow the souls of the innocent to this very day… 

That force was Evil Dead II and it remains a favorite among lovers of the terrifically hilarious. Serving as both a sequel and a remake of sorts, Evil Dead II goes back the original and throws a pie in its face. With inspiration taken from both H.P. Lovecraft and The Three Stooges, this film is a freak show of cartoon violence, slapstick splatter, monstrous monsters, and surreal visuals… and still manages to be darn creepy! Evil Dead II is a ghost train through the warped minds of co-writers Sam Raimi and Scott Spiegel, the former also being the film’s director. In their cinematic funhouse, corpses dance in the night, furniture laughs in maniacal glee, the human hand turns against the body, blood sprays from any source, and madness is king. With very little money, Raimi and his team created a wonderfully nightmarish, visually brilliant,  and utterly strange film that rivals the sights and frights of any “A”  horror picture. On top of all that greatness, it also gave us the Bruce Campbell we all adore today, one-liners and all. After all these years, Evil Dead II is still… groovy.

Take a look behind-the-screams:

Sam Raimi thinks this film will “grab” you:

Goon Reviews: Firestarter (1984)

(Submitted by Mr. Andrew Peters…Thank you, hot stuff!! 😉 xoxo)

Stephen King movies. Just opening up a review with that sentence makes me think about fortifying my walls and wearing body armor. I understand he has a very strong and faithful following and for a good reason; the guy is a phenomenal writer. That being said, I don’t think his films have always been well adapted when it comes to the big screen. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, his films often follow the same plot structures, contain ridiculous, one note, cliched characters and often conclude with an ending that’s less than satisfactory. This is just my opinion, of course, but then he has those films that kinda fall in the middle of the road.

Let’s talk about Firestarter, for example. I know there are a ton of people out there who love this movie and rightfully so, but something about it just didn’t click for me completely. I didn’t hate the film, but I didn’t love it. I just thought it was okay, which I know is blasphemy to not adore a Stephen King adapted film, especially an older work, but just because I don’t absolutely love the film doesn’t mean I didn’t find the performances to be fantastic or the story to be pretty decent. It just wasn’t what I expected and I felt it dragged and repeated similar scenes.

A very young, post E.T., Drew Barrymore stars as the film’s titular character, Charlie McGee, who has the ability to raise the temperature and start things on fire, hence Firestarter. She also has one of the most buck-toothed, back woods, Stephen King character names of all time. Rather than the film be about her discovering her powers and causing havoc or going out for revenge, she is already fully aware of her powers, but is still learning how to fully control it. She’s on the run with her father Andy played by David Keith (not to be confused with Keith David) who are trying to escape from some government faction that likes to experiment on people called The Shop. You see, Andy met his wife Victoria (Heather Locklear in a very small role) during one of The Shop’s experiments that gave Andy telekinetic powers they oddly call “shove” or “shoving.” It’s kinda like how they had to make Danny’s powers sound more exciting by calling it “shining” in, um, The Shining. So for you X-Men fans, Andy is basically Jean Grey and Charlie is Sunspot.

After a long night of running from the suits and accidentally setting some jerk’s foot on fire, Andy and Charlie wind up at a small farm, ran by the friendly Irv (Art Carney) and his wife Norma (Louise Fletcher) where their cover is quickly blown, but Irv is rather accepting of the truth and we get a look back at what happened to Victoria and why Andy and Charlie are on the run. It actually feels like that part could have been written out and used as the movie, which honestly I would have rather seen. Soon, suits from The Shop show up by the dozen and seemingly multiply when the shoot Irv in the arm and Charlie begins setting them on fire and blowing up their cars. It’s quite an intense scene and referencing X-Men once again, reminded me of the scene from X2 where Pyro is attacking the police cars outside of Bobby’s house. When all’s said and done, the remaining survivors run away leaving quite an awkward situation for Andy and Charlie. Norma demands that they leave and this important for the ending when Charlie arrives to Irv and Norma welcoming her with open arms. Oh okay, I guess Norma had some time to blow off some steam? Why the sudden change of heart other than that the ending called for it to be happy. I’m getting ahead of myself.

With the two on the run, we meet the real driving force of the film, the evil that sends the events into motion, Captain Hollister played by a very scratchy throated Martin Sheen. Hollister was probably my favorite character of the film, because you aren’t totally sure of his intentions. He wants to capture Charlie and use her as a weapon, yet he seems to think they can only use her so much before she becomes totally dangerous and wants to destroy her. However, at other times, he seems like he doesn’t really want to kill her… so his hired gun John Rainbird offers to do it and seems happy to do so. George C. Scott disappears into the role of John Rainbird, complete with a classic villain look with scars, ponytail and an eyepatch. His character is absolutely insane, befriending Charlie so that he can gain her trust to kill her, because he wants to absorb her spirit and rid the world of the danger that she’s capable of. He seems very tragic and George C. Scott plays both sides perfectly. He’s threatening and violent and will frighten you into hiding, but he can lure you out and be totally trusting and seemingly caring. You’re never sure exactly where he’s coming form.

John and Hollister finally capture Andy and Charlie and separate them at The Shop, promising them both that if they do what they say they will be reunited. Of course, we know that’s not true and neither does Andy who’s being forced to take medication to dull his powers while his daughter is being pampered and given false promises if she uses her powers. At this point, I’m not exactly sure what it is they plan to do with the evidence of her powers… I believe it was to try and duplicate it with more people? Anyway, Andy devises a plan to escape and contacts Charlie while duping Hollister about his suppressed powers that leads to a fiery and explosive finale that ends pretty much how you think it will. Also, I forgot to mention the synth poppy soundtrack by Tangerine Dream that is damn good. However at time it may not always fit the context of the scene, it’s always welcoming to hear. I’ve always enjoyed their work, especially on Near Dark and although they didn’t record new music for Firestarter (the director was given pre-existing music they recorded), it’s easily one of my favorite soundtracks.

Although I stated that Firestarter was pretty middle of the road for me, I do have to say that the performances from everyone are fantastic. At a very young age, Drew Barrymore manages to handle a range of emotions, even crying and being vulnerable and then flipping that and becoming wily and dangerous. David Keith does a pre James McAvoy Professor X touching his temples, but mixing in a bit of that face and eyes intensity in Scanners whenever he used his powers. He plays Andy as a very protective father and a damaged man who is tired and stressed out from running and using his powers. You can see the toll it’s taken on him. I already talked about George C. Scott and Martin Sheen, which really concludes the majority of the characters that you spend time with. Heather Locklear is barely in the movie, but she’s adorable, so you can see how Andy would fall her. She’s not really given many scenes and doesn’t have any depth.

Scream Factory presents Firestarter in a brand new 2K scan that looks phenomenally sharp and clean. I can’t recall many dust or scratches and yet it’s not like it looks like a brand new film, but rather if the original print had no damage. Director Mark L. Lester offers a brand new commentary and is even interviewed in a new featurette, Playing with Fire, along with Actors Freddie Jones, Drew Snyder, Dick Warlock and even Johannes Schmoelling of Tangerine Dream. There’s actually a featurette on Tangerine Dream as well as a live performance of ‘Charlie’s Theme’, because they knew how good the soundtrack was to this movie that they had to include some features about it. The disc is topped off with the usual trailers, radio spots and still galleries.

Firestarter is one of the better Stephen King adapted films, boasting incredible performances and a killer soundtrack, but with a typical evil government/good guy on the run plot and it ends pretty much exactly how you think it will. Even though I don’t love the film, I like it just fine and think it’s well made, but it feels a bit underwhelming to me.