Friday, February 25, 2011

Another Triumph of Science

"Let Sleeping Corpses Lie" is the flick that answers the question "Wouldn't it be great if government scientists could barge around the countryside beaming rays into things?"

Some geniuses from the Ministry of Agriculture have developed a gizmo that zaps bugs. It doesn't just wipe 'em out, it turns the bugs into raving lunatics that kill each other.

Alas, this boon to agriculture has a slight downside — the ray also reanimates the corpses of the recently deceased. And these zombies don't emulate the insects and take it out on each other — nooo, they feel a deep-seated need for human flesh. Living human flesh.

So this snotty hippie type gets his motorcycle clipped by a nitwit in a Mini at the gas station, and since the bike won't be ready until Monday they set off together.

And of course they get lost so they stop at a farm where the hippie gets his first look at the Death Ray truck and the gal gets her first look at the Wet Zombie.

Then there is a whole lot of plot revolving around the Inspector (Arthur Kennedy) who says terrific things to the hippie, like "You're disgusting, the lot of you, with your drugs and your sex."

In the DVD's interview with director Jorge Grau he relates how the producers kept bugging him to make something like "Night of the Living Dead." He resisted at first but when he finally decided to rip off the ur-zombie movie, he did it very, very well.

I'm talking gut-eating, eyeball-sucking, foot-grabbing, gunshot-resistant zombie action, in the finest Romero tradition.

Also in the Romero tradition is the heavy-handed social commentary, without which these kinds of movies would be simply creative displays of anatomy.

One breast, ripped. Four gallons of blood. Consistently wet zombie. Heroin addict. Bad photography. Incestuous zombie attacks (two). Many exciting scenes shot in the dark. Great zombie noises. Two "Oh I don't have the keys to the car and the zombies are coming" moments.
Stupid scientists with even stupider machine.

Very interesting interview with the director.

I don't know how I overlooked this gem. Straight to the all-time list. Four coils.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

So Many Cliches, So Little Time

I found a two-fer DVD at the Stop & Shop a few weeks ago — "The Howling", installments V and VI. Oddly enough, V's release date is two years after VI.

VI has got most of what you want in this type of film, except breasts. (There is one, but it's attached to a hermaphrodite nightclub singer.)

Now I don't expect great writing, but can't we do a little better than this roster of stereotypes? Sheriff who is automatically suspicious of foreigners; peckerwood pol in polyester three-piece suit, even when it's obviously 98 degrees; preacher/weirdo; preacher's daughter, anxious to get a little sinning in; evil villain who might or might not be Satan and dresses like a roadie for Rush.

OK then. We're talking cat swinging. Supernaturally evil villain in charge of a circus. Tight pants and checked frock coats on same, which for some is the true horror. Stupid fat mayor. Stupid fat mayor's stupid fat wife. Alligator boy. Malevolent midget. Lycanthropic transformation scenes shot on a very tight budget. Werewolf who looks like Michael Jackson after a long night in the Magic Kingdom. Cute girl who fails to get nekkid. Yokels. Guns. Some blood. One breast, sort of. Exceptionally stupid. A grudging two coils.

Bite Me

Tell the truth — would you throw her out of bed for eating crackers, or small animals?

"My Mom's a Werewolf" (1989) is a perfectly foul made-for-TV (and/or straight-to-VHS) flick that has very little to recommend it except for the presence of Susan Blakely as Mom.

No nekkidity, alas, but who wouldn't take a shot at her? (Assuming you can get around that hair and fangs deal.)

Working out the angles is always the toughest part of home dentistry

Imagine inquiring about lycanthropy in addition to sexually-transmitted diseases, prior to jumping in the sack with someone?

I used to date a girl who looked like this — on purpose.

High 1980s hair. Bad pleated acid-washed 1980s jeans. Toe-sucking. Toe-biting. John Saxon taking a break from harassing Jim Rockford. Ruth Buzzi chewing the crystal ball as a gypsy fortune teller. John Schuck wearing an expression that says "I would rather be doing summer stock."

One coil.

Friday, February 11, 2011


"I hate this effing snow" — Mike V.

Temperature reading in Lakeville, Conn., 7:05 a.m.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


While we're in catch-up mode, here is a quick how-de-doo to Ellie Laveer and The Cordial Churchman bow tie deal.

Ellie sent this along about a month or so ago and I finally wore it last week. Or was it the week before?

She also sent me a spring tie to try out, and if spring ever gets here I will report then.

In the Queue

Neither of these people are named Boris Lugosi, but they do appear in "Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks."

I have a big pile of scrawled notes that will be turned into movie reviews shortly — three regular films by Jean-Pierre Melville and a load of caca that has erupted from the depths of my NetFlix queue.

That list includes Tod Browning's "Freaks," which I haven't seen in a decade, and "Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks," featuring Boris Lugosi as "Ook, the Neanderthal Man."

I fell asleep in the middle of the latter so I must fire it up again. But thus far we've got: one necrophiliac midget; uneasy transition between guys in Sta-Prest slacks and windbreakers subduing Ook the Neanderthal Man in the opening scene and the Victorian era setting of the rest of the film; one nekkid scene with no goodies; one full breast (dead); four partial breasts (living); girl in polka-dotted top hat, for no apparent reason.

Update: This is a tough movie to watch, it's that bad. One full breast in the grotto scene. The police inspector rides one way along the path; then he rides back. Some of the most hapless dubbing in cinematic history. One pint blood, unusual for a mad scientist with freaks and corpses everywhere. (Maybe they blew the budget on the inspector's horse.) A consistent and frankly splendid disregard for continuity. Utter crap. One coil.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Snow Style

Viyella bathrobe, Brooks Brothers pajamas, LL Bean slip ons, Stormy Kromer cap. Coffee and cigar optional.