Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Narrowly Avoiding the K

Three discs arrived from Netflix last week. It was grim.

First up, "Dracula Rising," a tedious piece of fermented curd starring Christopher Atkins, whom moviegoers of a certain age will remember from his pond work with Brooke Shields in "The Blue Lagoon," a film that elicited howls of laughter at college.

No such luck here. This is strictly a fast-forward film. Way too much plot getting in the way of the story. Big 1980s hair on the girl; gratuitous 1980s feathered modified Italian wind tunnel on Chris. Brief moment of aquatic nudity, utterly unredeeming.

Half a coil.

Next, a two-fer from Jess Franco that cements his reputation as the World's Worst Filmmaker. Not that these are films. They are videos — shot on video, edited on video, with a videographer's eye (i.e. amateurish).

Although you'd think something called "Mari-Cookie and the Killer Tarantula in 8 Legs to Love You" would have something going for it.

It doesn't. The flick on the flip side is even worse, and apart from two women with shaved genitals is utterly unremarkable.

No coils. So bad even I couldn't take it.

I was able to scratch out a weak single with the final disc — a Hammer film from the end of that studio's run, "Lust For a Vampire," a re-telling of the Carmilla story. This one has the Karsteins — that darn vampire family with the wild daughter — taking advantage of the fact that some nitwit has opened a girl's finishing school nearby, making a useful addition to the supply of beautiful virgins (although the town has a bunch too).

About an even dozen breasts and the obligatory Hammer scenes inside the village pub. Also the obligatory leaden dialogue and the hero in pants so tight the audience knows which side he dresses on, if you get my drift.

Two coils, mostly for the hootage.

Mari-Cookie and the Killer Tarantula in 8 Legs to Love You

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Red Riding — Northern England Noir

The three TV films comprising the "Red Riding" trilogy are as brutal and unpleasant — and riveting — as anything to crawl out of the fevered brain of James Ellroy.

Like Ellroy, there are multiple plot lines revolving around a corrupt police department. And like Ellroy, there is a central event — a shooting at a nightclub — that serves to unify the three episodes.

Midway through the second installment it seems like the good guys can never win. Not that there are a lot of good guys to choose from.

Great stuff — although the north of England dialect is strong enough that American viewers will be glad of the subtitles.

"Red Riding" is available as a three-fer DVD.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I watched about two-thirds of The Vampire Lovers (1970) last night, and to my disappointment Peter Cushing hadn't said "ee-ville" by the time I realized I needed to go to bed.

But I was struck again by the immortal Ingrid Pitt, who for a while there was about the best example of female pulchritude in the B-movie world.

Here she is putting the moves on one of a succession of upper class twit-ettes in The Vampire Lovers, and doing her patented Dance of the Obscure Fertility Cult for an incredibly stoic cop in The Wicker Man.

Note: Alert reader "The Blogs etc." correctly points out the fanny in question is Britt Eklund's. I should have known that. I'm leaving the photo anyway, it's too good.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"A Dirty Shame" is Filthy Farce

A typically understated moment in "A Dirty Shame"

I haven't spent much time delving into the works of John Waters, mostly because his brand of hideous movie is deliberately so.

He also has enough clout to afford something by way of production values, a luxury not enjoyed by the auteurs of most CACA classics.

In the world of "A Dirty Shame," concussion causes hypersexuality in ordinary citizens, including housewife Sylvia Stickles (Tracey Ullman).

And there's an entire underground of mega perverts, just waiting to break free of the shackles of convention.

We're talking onanists, mad dookifiers, baby fetishists, plate dancers, and whatever else the fevered imagination of Mr. Waters can summon.

It's funny, up to a point. Then it turns into a weird variation on the sort of film where all the cool people dance around and have a great time, like "School of Rock."

High points: Caprice Stickles (Selma Blair), aka "Ursula Udders," and her two assets. Sylvia picking up a bottle with a delicate portion of her anatomy while dancing the Hokey Pokey. Ray Ray (Johnny Knoxville) doing his Bruce Campbell imitation while uttering the film's theme — "Let's Go Sexing!"

Low points: Ham-handed attempts at satire and social commentary, and the fourth (or fifth) repetition of "Let's Go Sexing!"

Terrific soundtrack, by the way. Somebody went and found every dirty song released since 1948 for this one.

Three coils.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nobody Does It Better

Nobody said "evil" better than the late Peter Cushing.

In 1958's Horror of Dracula (the U.S. title for the first Hammer Dracula picture) Cushing's Van Helsing uses the word "evil" three times.


Other characters use the word too, but in a very humdrum manner.

Other actors have pronounced "evil" this way too, but none with the earnest cheesiness of Peter Cushing.