Book Review: Eaten Alive, edited by Jay Slater


If you were to ask me to recommend one book to someone who is looking for an introduction to the world of Italian horror, Eaten Alive is the book that I would recommend.

That’s largely because this book was my introduction.  Way back in 2006, I came across a copy at Recycled Books in Denton, Texas and I bought it.  I bought it because, at the time, I was already into horror movies.  However, after reading the reviews and the essays in this book, I discovered that I wanted to learn much more about Italian horror.  Outside of Suspiria and a few giallos like Blade in The Dark, the first Italian horror movies that I specifically tracked down and watched were the movies that I read about in this book.  If not for Eaten Alive, I would never have seen the wonderfully macabre and disturbing Beyond the Darkness.  This was book was also my first real exposure to Lucio Fulci.  If not for this book, I never would have seen Zombi 2.  I never would have discovered the Beyond trilogy.

In fact, considering that Arleigh and I first bonded over Italian horror, it’s doubtful that I would be writing for this site if I had not made that decision to buy Eaten Alive.

As for the book itself, it’s a comprehensive overview of Italian cannibal and zombie cinema.  Along with containing information about every Italian cannibal and zombie film released in the 20th Century, it also features interviews with stars like Ian McCullough, Catriona MacColl, and GIovanni Lombardo Radice.  (Radice even reviews one of the films himself.)  The majority of the films are reviewed by Jay Slater but there are also contributions from writers like Ramsey Campbell and Lloyd Kaufman.  (In fact, Kaufman writes a rather stirring defense of one of the more controversial films to be found in Eaten Alive, Cannibal Holocaust.  Campbell, meanwhile, thoroughly destroys Nights of Terror.)

Seriously, if you’re interested in learning more about Italian horror or if you’re already a fan, this book is a must!

Italian Horror Showcase: The House By The Cemetery (dir by Lucio Fulci)


Lucio Fulci’s 1981 masterpiece, The House By The Cemetery, begins as so many slasher movies have begun.

A teenage couple fools around in the basement of the deserted Oak Mansion.  Just from listening to them talk, we can surmise that the mansion has a reputation for strange events.  Suddenly, the boy vanishes.  The girl looks for him, telling him that whatever he’s doing stopped being funny a long time ago.  Suddenly, a knife is driven through the back of her head, the blade eventually exiting through the girl’s mouth.  Fans of Italian horror and Fulci films in particular will not be shocked by this grisly turn of events, mostly because the girl was played by Daniela Doria.  Doria appeared in several Fulci films and, in each film, her character was brutally murdered.  The House By The Cemetery was her third Fulci film.  She would later appear and get killed in Fulci’s The New York Ripper.

From that rather conventional horror movie opening, The House By The Cemetery goes on to become progressively more bizarre and surreal.

 

The Boyles — Lucy (Catriona MacColl), Norman (Paolo Malco), and their young son, Bob (Giovanni Frezza) — are to spend the next six months living in a mansion in New England.  It’s all so Norman can work on a research project.  His colleague, Peterson, previously stayed at the house and basically went crazy, killing his family, his mistress, and himself.  This doesn’t seem to particularly disturb Norman.  Before they leave New York, Bob stares at a picture in his father’s office.  It’s a black-and-white picture of a dilapidated house.   There’s a young girl staring out the window of the house.

Suddenly, we can see and hear the girl (Silvia Collatina) as she yells at Bob to stay away from the house.

In the small town of New Whitby, the girl — who is named Mae — stands on a sidewalk.  She’s clutching a doll and it doesn’t appear that anyone else can see her.  Mae stares into the window of tailor’s shop.  One of the mannequins has fallen over and its head has become detached.  Mae watches a dark blood oozes out of the plastic head.

Sitting in the back seat of his parent’s car, Bob watches Mae.  Mae turns to stare at him.  Despite the fact that there’s a road in between them, Mae and Bob are able to calmly speak to each other.  Again, Mae tells Bob that he shouldn’t have come.

When the family arrives at their new home, Lucy says that the Oak Mansion looks a lot like the house in the picture in Norman’s office.  Norman shrugs it off as a coincidence.  As for the house itself, it turns out to be a bit of a dump.  Yes, it’s big but the inside of the house is covered in dust and cobwebs and there’s a particularly nasty bat living in the basement.  However, what really upsets Lucy is the fact that there’s a tombstone in the middle of the front hallway.  Norman dismisses her concerns, saying that it used to be very common for people to be buried in their homes.

Much as how Jack Torrance was “always the caretaker,” everyone in town seems to be convinced that they’ve met Norman before.  Norman swears that he’s never been to New Whitby before.  Meanwhile, Lucy grows more and more anxious inside the house.  Sometimes, she thinks she can hear noises in the walls.  Are they alone or is there someone else living in the house?  Bob spends his time playing with his new friend Mae, who shows him a nearby headstone for someone named Mary Fruedstein.  “She’s not really buried there,” Mae tells him.

Things get stranger.  A mysterious young woman named Ann (Ania Pieroni, who has previously played The Mother of Tears in Dario Argento’s Inferno) shows up and says that she’s the new babysitter.  A real estate agent (played by Dagmar Lassander) comes by the house while the Boyles are out and is promptly murdered.  Lucy wakes up one morning to discover Ann scrubbing a huge blood stain and says nothing about it.

Norman’s research reveals that the house once belonged to a Dr. Jacob Freudstein, a Victorian-era scientist who conducted illegal experiments.  Could that have something to do with all of the strange things that have happened in the house?  Norman goes to New York to do further research and once again, he finds himself dealing with people who are convinced that they’ve seen him before….

In an interview, Lucio Fulci once described The House By The Cemetery as being his answer to Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of The Shining and there are some obvious similarities, from the ghostly girl to the little boy who appears to have psychic powers.  Fulci said that he didn’t feel The Shining was dark enough and make no mistake about it, The House By The Cemetery is a very dark film.  Even by the standards of Lucio Fulci, there is very little hope to be found in The House By The Cemetery.

As a follow-up to both The City of the Living Dead and The Beyond, it’s also the concluding chapter of Fulci’s Beyond trilogy.  When Mae offers Bob a chance to escape to a safe place, those who have viewed The Beyond will immediately realize that she’s talking about the same dimension that was visited by David Warbeck and Catriona MacColl at the end of Fulci’s previous film.  And while Mae may be offering Bob an escape from what’s happening the House, those who have seen the entire trilogy know that the Beyond is just as dangerous as our world.  The end of the film seems to suggest that there is no escape from the horrors of the world.  At best, there’s just a temporary delay to the inevitability of doom.

The House By The Cemetary is Fulci at his most atmospheric as he combines the gothic visual style of City of the Living Dead with the aggressive dream logic of The Beyond.  In much the same way that the The Beyond indicated that the price for discovering the truth about the world was blindness, The House By The Cemetery indicates that the longer the Boyles remains in the house, the more incapable they are of seeing the horror right in front of their faces.

And what horror!  When Dr. Freudstein does make his appearance, he’s a monster straight out of Lovecraft, a mix of Frankenstein, Freud, and the Great Old Ones.  And yet, the film’s real horror is not to be found in the monster but in the disintegration of the family living in the house.  In the end, Bob is stalked not only by the monster in the basement but also by his parent’s increasingly unhappy marriage.

Giovanni Frezza actually does a pretty good job in the role of Bob, though you might not notice because he’s been so atrociously dubbed.  (Far too often, in Italian horror films, children were dubbed by adults speaking in squeaky voices and that seems to be what happened here.)  Frezza would later appear in Fulci’s perplexing Manhattan Baby while Paolo Malco would play another arrogant academic in The New York Ripper.  And then there’s Catriona MacColl, appearing in her third and final Fulci film.  Fulci was often criticized for the way women were portrayed in his films but MacColl gave strong lead performances in The City of the Living Dead, The Beyond, and The House By The Cemetery and, most importantly, her instantly relatable presence helped to provide some grounding for Fulci’s surreal vision.  Even if the films didn’t always make perfect logical sense, audiences would continue to watch because they wanted things to turn out well for whichever character MacColl was playing.  (Of course, they rarely did.)

The House By The Cemetery was the third and final part of Fulci’s Beyond trilogy and one of his strongest films.  Lucio Fulci passed away in 1996 but, like the inhabitants of the Beyond, his films live forever.

 

Italian Horror Showcase: The Beyond (dir by Lucio Fulci)


David Lynch reportedly once described Eraserhead as being a “dream of dark and disturbing things” and the same description can easily be applied to Lucio Fulci’s 1981 masterpiece, The Beyond.

The second part of Fulci’s Beyond trilogy, The Beyond sits between City of the Living Dead and The House By The Cemetery.  With its portrayal of naive humans getting an unwanted look at the inexplicable reality that hides just a little beyond ours, it’s a film that very much calls to the mind the work of H.P. Lovecraft.  While insanity was often the punishment for gaining knowledge of Cthulhu and the Great Old Ones, the punishment for discovering the Beyond often seems to be blindness.

(Ocular damage was one of Fulci’s trademarks.  Starting with Zombi 2, almost every Fulci film seemed to feature someone losing an eye.  In The Beyond, a plumber played by Giovanni De Nova loses an eye while wandering about a flooded basement and, over the course of the narrative, several character are rendered blind, making them incapable of seeing the true horror of what they’re experiencing.  Fulci struggled with diabetes and the threat of blindness runs through almost all of his horror films.)

The Beyond starts with a striking, sepia-toned sequence that’s set in the year 1927.  While a young woman named Emily (played Cinzia Monreale) reads from a book, a mob attacks a painter named Schweik.  They believe Schweik to be a warlock and they view his grotesque paintings as being proof.  (In many ways, the mob is comparable to the critics who insisted on judging Fulci solely based on the subject matter of his films while ignoring the skill with which Fulci directed them.)  Schweik is tortured and left crucified in the basement of the Seven Doors Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Jump forward 54 years.  A woman named Liza (Catriona MacColl, who appeared in different roles in all three of the Beyond films) has inherited the long-closed Seven Doors Hotel and she’s moved down to New Orleans to reopen it.  Unfortunately, her efforts to renovate the place aren’t going smoothly.  It’s been one disaster after another, almost as if someone or something is trying to keep her from reopening the place.  The latest was the flooded basement and the plumber who lost both his eye and his life.  Of course, Liza would probably be even more concerned if she knew just what exactly it was that attacked the plumber in the first place.

While driving down one of Louisiana’s many bridges to nowhere, Liza is forced to come to a stop when she sees a blind woman and her guide dog standing in front of her car.  The woman is Emily, who doesn’t appear to have aged at all since we last saw her.  Emily is now blind.  She tells Liza that her hotel was once home to an evil warlock and she warns her to stay out Room 36.

Meanwhile, the plumber’s wife and his daughter visit the plumber’s corpse in the morgue.  This not only leads to the plumber and several other dead people coming to life but it also leads to an accident with a beaker of acid that was, for some reason, sitting on a desk.  Soon, the daughter is blind herself.  On the plus side, all of the drama at the hospital does give Liza a chance to meet Dr. John McCabe (played by the always welcome David Warbeck).

Fulci never got much credit for his work with actors.  (Some of that, of course, is due to the fact that most of Fulci’s film were atrociously dubbed for overseas release.)  However, The Beyond is definitely one of the best-acted of all of his films.  In fact, one reason why we stick with the film even when things start to get really, really weird is because we genuinely like Liza and John.  Warbeck and MacColl had a lot of chemistry and, in the midst of all the mayhem, they created two very real characters.  Cinzia Monreale is also impressive in the role of Emily.  Fulci made good use of her other-worldly beauty and Monreale keeps us wondering whether Emily is trying to help of Liza or if she has a secret agenda of her own.

(Towards the end of the film, during a zombie siege, there’s a scene where John and Liza get in an elevator and, as the doors close, Warbeck tries to reload a gun by forcing a bullet down the gun’s barrel.  MacColl sees what he’s doing and breaks character, laughing as the doors close.  The Italian crew apparently did not realize that Warbeck was playing a joke because this was the take that they used in the film.  Needless to say, it temporarily takes you out of the film and yet it’s such a charming moment that you can’t help but love it.  It’s nice to see that with all the grotesque insanity going on around them, Warbeck and MacColl were having fun.)

The Beyond gets progressively more bizarre as it continues.  It doesn’t take long for Fulci to abandon any pretense of traditional narrative and the film soon becomes a collection of vaguely connected, increasingly surreal set pieces.  A man goes to a library and ends up getting eaten by an army of spiders.  Ghouls suddenly roam through the hallways of the hospital.  Yet another person loses an eye, this time to a loose nail.  Another relatively minor character suddenly has a hole in her head.  A chase through the hospital’s basement leads to the characters somehow finding themselves back in the hotel.  And finally, we go to the Beyond….

This is going to be heresy to some but, as much as I appreciate it, The Beyond is actually not my favorite Fulci film.  Overall, Zombi 2 is my favorite and, as far as the trilogy goes, I actually prefer The House By The Cemetery.  That said, The Beyond is the film that best exemplifies Fulci’s cinematic philosophy.  Fulci called it pure cinema, the idea that if your visuals are strong and properly edited together, the audience will use them to supply their own narrative.  That’s certainly the case in The Beyond.  A lot happens in The Beyond and it’s not always clear how everything’s related.  But since every scene is full of Fulci’s trademark style, the viewers builds the necessary connections in their own mind.  The end result is a film that, perhaps more than any other Fulci film, capture the feel of having a dream.  It’s not a film that will be appreciated by everyone.  Fulci’s work rarely is.  Still, for fans of Italian horror, The Beyond is one of the key films.

Fulci followed The Beyond with one of his best-known movies, The House By The Cemetery.  I’ll look at that film tomorrow.

Italian Horror Showcase: City of the Living Dead (dir by Lucio Fulci)


In New York City, a group of people sit around a table, holding a seance.  One of them, a woman named Mary (Catriona MacColl) has a vision.  She sees a sickly, hollow-cheeked priest walking through a cemetery.  She watches as he hangs himself and, as the priest dangles from a tree branch, Mary lets out a piercing scream and collapses to the floor.  The police are called and they promptly declare that Mary has died.  Later, while a hard-boiled reporter named Peter Bell (Christopher George) watches as two grave-diggers walk away from her half-buried coffin, he hears something coming from the grave.  From insider her coffin, Mary is screaming and struggling to get out!

Peter grabs a pickax and smashes it down into the coffin.  Peter may be trying to free her but what he doesn’t realize is that, with each blow of the pickax, he comes dangerously close to hitting Mary in the face.  Somehow, Peter manages to avoid killing Mary.  Once he gets her out of the coffin, Peter and Mary go and see a medium to try to figure out the meaning behind Mary’s previous vision.

What they don’t discuss is why or, for that matter, how everyone was convinced that Mary was dead for at least a day or two.  Mary doesn’t mention that Peter nearly killed her with the pickax.  In fact, for two people who have just met under the strangest and most disturbing of circumstances, Peter and Mary seem to be getting along famously.  For that matter, they don’t appear to be too surprised when the medium informs them Mary’s vision indicated that the dead will soon be entering the world of the living.

And so begins Lucio Fulci’s wonderfully odd and surreal City of the Living Dead.  Reading the paragraphs above, you might think that I was criticizing City of the Living Dead but nothing could be further from the truth.  From the start, Fulci establishes that City of the Living Dead is going to fully embrace its own unique aesthetic.

The majority of City of the Living Dead takes place in a small town with the name of Dunwich, a name that immediately (and, I believe, intentionally) brings to mind the writing of H.P. Lovecraft.  Dunwich is a town that always seems to be covered in fog.  At the local bar, men talk about the recent suicide of Father Thomas and they discuss what to do about Bob (Giovanni Lombardo Radice), who the majority of them believe to be a a pervert.  Meanwhile, Bob comes across an inflatable sex doll in a deserted warehouse and, for the most part, just tries to stay out of everyone’s way.

(Bob was one of Radice’s first roles and, along with his turn as David Hess’s sidekick in The House On The Edge of the Park, the one that many fans of Italian horror continue to associate him with.  It’s a testament to Radice’s talent that he could make even a creepy character like Bob sympathetic.)

Even without the presence of the living dead, Dunwich doesn’t seem like the ideal place to live.  A greedy morgue attendant attempts to steal a dead woman’s jewelry.  A psychiatrist named Gerry (Carlo de Mejo) struggles to calm the nerves of his patient, Sandra (Janet Agren).  At one point, one man gets so angry with another that he drills a hole in his head.  That’s Dunwich, for you.  Who needs the dead when you’re surrounded by the worst of the living?

Speaking of the dead, that dead priest is still wandering around town.  When he comes across two teenagers making out in a jeep, he rips open the boy’s head while the girl bleeds from her eyes and proceeds to vomit up her intestines.  (Somewhat inevitably, the boy is played by Michele Soavi who, before launching his own acclaimed directing career, always seemed to die in films like this.  Even more inevitably, the girl is played Daniela Doria, who appeared in four Fulci films and suffered a terrible fate in every single one of them.)

By the time that Peter and Mary actually reach the town, the dead are already moving through the fog while storms of maggots crash through windows.  Even the sight of a seemingly innocent child running towards the camera leads to the sound of people screaming off-screen….

Even though it’s actually one of Fulci’s more straight-forward films (i.e., a character says that Dunwich is going to be overrun by zombies and then Dunwich actually is overrun by zombies), it still plays out like a particularly intense dream.  From the fog-shrouded visuals to the often odd dialogue, City of the Living Dead is a film that plays out according to its own unique logic.  The film’s surreal atmosphere may have partially been the result of a rushed production schedule but it also serves to suggest that, as a result of the priest’s suicide, the nature of reality itself has changed.

City of the Living Dead is not a film for everyone.  If I was introducing someone to Fulci for the first time, I would probably have them watch Zombi 2The Black Cat and Lizard In A Woman’s Skin long before I even suggested they take a look at City of the Living Dead.  That City of the Living Dead is a gory film should come as no surprise.  That was one of Fulci’s trademarks, after all.  Instead, what makes City of the Living Dead a difficult viewing experience for some is just how bleak the film truly is.  Even before the living dead arrive, Dunwich is a town the seems to epitomize the worst instincts of humanity.  There’s a darkness at the heart of the City of the Living Dead and it has nothing to do with zombies.

First released in 1980, City of the Living Dead is generally considered to be the first part of Fulci’s Beyond trilogy.  Catriona MacColl, who gives such a good performance here, appeared in the film’s two follow-ups, The Beyond and The House By The Cemetery.  (MacColl played a different character in each film.)  With each film, Fulci’s vision grew more and more surreal until eventually, he seemed fully prepared to reject the idea of narrative coherence all together.

Though initially dismissed by critics, The Beyond trilogy is today celebrated as one of the greatest achievements in the history of Italian horror.  City of the Living Dead is probably the most narratively coherent film in the trilogy, even if its ending raises more questions than it answers.  Personally, I love the ending of City of the Living Dead, even though it was apparently a last-minute decision.  (According to Wikipedia — so take this with a grain of salt — someone spilled coffee on the original work print of the ending, which led to Fulci having to improvise.)  It’s an ending that suggests that not only has the film broken apart but that the world is shattering right along with it.  In the end, the world falls apart not with a bang but with one long scream.

 

20 Horror Icons Who Were Never Nominated For An Oscar


Though they’ve given some of the best, iconic, and award-worthy performances in horror history, the actors and actresses below have never been nominated for an Oscar.

Scarlet Diva

  1. Asia Argento

Perhaps because of charges of nepotism, people are quick to overlook just how good Asia Argento was in those films she made with Dario Argento.  Her work in Trauma especially deserves to be reevaluated.  Outside of her work with Dario, Asia gave great, self-directed performances in Scarlet Diva and The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things.

2. Jamie Lee Curtis

“Prom Night!  Everything is all right!”  Did you know that Jamie Lee Curtis received a Genie Nomination for her performance in Prom Night?  That could be because, in 1980, there weren’t that many movies being produced in Canada but still, Jamie was pretty good in that film.  And, of course, there’s a little film called Halloween

3. Peter Cushing

The beloved Hammer horror veteran did wonderful work as both Frankenstein and Van Helsing.  Personally, I love his odd cameo in Shock Waves.

4. Robert Englund

One, two, Freddy’s coming for you…

5. Lance Henriksen

One of the great character actors, Lance Henriksen gave one of the best vampire performances of all time in Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark.

David Hess, R.I.P.

6. David Hess

In just two films — Wes Craven’s Last House On The Left and Ruggero Deodato’s The House On The Edge of the Park — Hess defined screen evil.  If nothing else, he deserved an Oscar for composing The Road Leads To Nowhere.

boris-karloff-1939-the-man-they-could-not-hang

7. Boris Karloff

As our own Gary Loggins will tell you, it’s a crime that Boris Karloff never received an Oscar nomination.  He may be best remembered for Frankenstein but, for me, Karloff’s best performance was in Targets.

8. Camille Keaton

Yes, Camille Keaton did deserve a Best Actress nomination for I Spit On Your Grave.

Kinski and Butterfly

9. Klaus Kinski

The notorious and talented Klaus Kinski was never nominated for an Oscar.  Perhaps the Academy was scared of what he would do if he won.  But, that said, Kinski gave some of the best performances of all time, in films for everyone from Jess Franco to Werner Herzog.

Christopher Lee Is Dracula

10. Christopher Lee

That the amazing Christopher Lee was never nominated is a shock.  Though he will always be Dracula, Lee gave wonderful performances in films of all genres.  Lee always cited the little-seen Jinnah as being his best performance.

 

11. Bela Lugosi

The original Dracula, Lugosi never escaped typecasting.  Believe it or not, one of his finest performances was in one of the worst (if most enjoyable) films of all time, Ed Wood’s Bride of the Monster.

12. Catriona MacColl

This English actress gave three excellent performances in each chapter of Lucio Fulci’s Beyond Trilogy, with her performance in The House By The Cemetery elevating the entire film.

13. Daria Nicolodi

This Italian actress served as a muse to two of the best directors around, Dario Argento and Mario Bava.  Her award-worthy performances include Deep Red and, especially, Shock.

Near-Dark-Bill-Paxton

14. Bill Paxton

This great Texas actor gave award-worthy performances in everything from Near Dark to Aliens to Frailty.  RIP.

15. Donald Pleasence 

Dr. Loomis!  As good as he was in Halloween, Pleasence also gave excellent performances in Roman Polanski’s Cul-de-Sac and a nightmarish Australian film called Wake in Fright.

Roger Corman and Vincent Price

16. Vincent Price

The great Vincent Price never seems to get the respect that he deserves.  He may have overacted at times but nobody went overboard with as much style as Vincent Price.  His most award-worthy performance?  The Witchfinder General.

17. Giovanni Lombardo Radice

The greatest of all the Italian horror stars, Radice is still active, gracious, and beloved by his many fans.  Quentin Tarantino is a self-described fan so it’s time for Tarantino to write him a great role.

HenryPortrait

18. Michael Rooker

To many people, this great character actor will always be Henry.

19. Joe Spinell

This character actor will always be remembered for playing the lead role in the original Maniac but he also appeared in some of the most acclaimed films of all time.  Over the course of a relatively short career, Spinell appeared in everything from The Godfather to Taxi Driver to Rocky to Starcrash.  He was the American Klaus Kinski,

20. Barbara Steele

Barbara Steele has worked with everyone from Mario Bava to Jonathan Demme to David Cronenberg to Federico Fellini.  Among her many excellent performances, her work in Black Sunday and Caged Heat stands out as particularly memorable.

black-sunday

Guilty Pleasure No. 21: Hawk the Slayer (dir. by Terry Marcel)


HawktheSlayer

Tonight was the season finale of Game of Thrones season 4. It was another great piece of storytelling that managed to juggle several subplots and giving each one their own time to shine.

The latest “Guilty Pleasure” is the 1980 epically mind-numbing fantasy film Hawk the Slayer starring the great Jack Palance in the the villainous role of Voltan the evil elder brother to the film’s title character, Hawk the Slayer. This film is in the other side of the quality spectrum of tonight’s Game of Thrones season finale.

Hawk the Slayer was part of the 80’s flood of sword and sorcery films that included such titles as Conan the Barbarian, Beastmaster and Ladyhawke. To say that this film was bad would be an understatement. Yet, I’m quite drawn to it whenever I see it on TV. In fact, it was on syndication that I first saw this when I was just a wee lad. I might have been around 9 or 10 when I came across it halfway through.

Maybe it was the fact that I was just discovering Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, but this film  spoke to me. It had that timeless story of brother against brother. The evil tyrant with legions of evil ne’er do wells against a small band of class-specific heroes and rogues. I mean this had it all. We had the hero of the film who I would probably place in the swordsman class. Then we had Ranulf with his repeating crossbow that would be the band’s rogue. Of course, there’s Gort the giant with his mighty hammer and Baldin the dwarf skilled in the art of the whip. But the one character that really shouted RPG for me throughout this film was Crow the Elf who could fire his bow as fast as any machine gun I’ve ever seen.

I think it’s very awfulness is why I keep returning to it whenever I see it on TV. The acting is atrocious with special effects that even in 1980 would be seen as laughable. The characters themselves were so one-note that one wonders if the person who wrote the screenplay was actually a trained monkey. Yet, the film was fun for all those reasons. It’s one of those titles that one would express as being so bad it’s good. Even now, with childhood several decades past, I still enjoy watching Hawk the Slayer and always wonder when they plan to get the sequel set-up and made.

Oh, the synth-heavy disco-fantasy-western soundtrack was also something to behold.

  1. Half-Baked
  2. Save The Last Dance
  3. Every Rose Has Its Thorns
  4. The Jeremy Kyle Show
  5. Invasion USA
  6. The Golden Child
  7. Final Destination 2
  8. Paparazzi
  9. The Principal
  10. The Substitute
  11. Terror In The Family
  12. Pandorum
  13. Lambada
  14. Fear
  15. Cocktail
  16. Keep Off The Grass
  17. Girls, Girls, Girls
  18. Class
  19. Tart
  20. King Kong vs. Godzilla

12 Trailers In Case of the Rapture, Part Two


Hi there!  It’s Saturday morning — are you still with us?  If you’re not, don’t worry.  You have all day to get raptured.  Until then, here’s the second part of this weekend’s edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse and Exploitation Trailers.

(And if you haven’t read part one, it’s right here.)

Anyway, let’s waste no more time because who knows how long we’ve got left.

7) Requiem for a Vampire (1971)

Seeing as this could very well be the last things that I ever post or that you ever read pre-Rapture, there’s no way I can’t start things out without including this trailer for Jean Rollin’s unique, twisted, and very French vampire fairy tale, Requiem for a Vampire.  One thing to note here is that when this film was released in the U.S., the American distributor felt the need to emphasize that the two girls were virgins and even went so far as to retitle the film Caged Virgins.  However, the original French print of this film makes no reference to whether or not the girls are virgins and, despite all that happens to them in the film, the girls themselves are never presented as being helpless.  Whenever I feel the need to explain the difference between American culture and French culture, this is one of the examples I always cite.

8 ) Kenner (1969)

Jim Brown is Kenner!  And that’s about all I really know about this film.  Well, that and small bundles of heroin are worth millions…

9) The Three Dimensions of Greta (1973)

I was recently reading about 3-D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy, a movie from Hong Kong that is apparently setting box office records because it’s being advertised as the first 3-D pornographic film.  And, as the linked article shows, a lot of people are reporting that claim as fact.  And they’re wrong.  3-D Sex and Zen might be the first recent 3-D porn film but it’s hardly the first.  There was a spate of 3-D porn films in the mid-70s and one of my favorite trailers (which I can’t post here because 1) it’s too explict and 2) I can’t remember the title of the film) features a stereotypical, curly-haired, guy with a mustache type of porno actor going, “Soon, my giant schlong with be hanging right over the head of that redhead in the 3rd seat in the backrow.”  And of course, I was all like, “Oh my God, can he see me through the screen!?”   Anyway, the 3 Dimensions of Greta was a part of this wave.  This is another one of those trailers that will probably be yanked off YouTube in a few more days (assuming there isn’t a Rapture first).

(By the way, why were so many porno films made about girls named Greta?  I mean, was that name a turn-on?  Were the films of the 70s exclusively made by guys named Hansel?  Seriously, boys are weird.)

10) The Violent Professionals (1973)

They’re violent alright!  Before the Italian exploitation industry devoted itself to cannibals and zombies, they devoted themselves to ripping off The French Connection and The Godfather.  This film from Sergio Martino actually features Don Barzini himself, Richard Conte.

11) Wonderwall (1968)

If I didn’t tell you this film was from 1968, you’d guess it just from watching the trailer.  The soundtrack was done by George Harrison.  Though this film was certainly not designed to be an exploitation film in the way most of the other films featured here were, it definitely is one.

12) The Beyond (1981)

Can you believe I went this long without featuring the trailer for Lucio Fulci’s best known (after Zombi 2) film?  Well, I love Fulci, I love this film, and I was waiting for the right occasion to feature this trailer.  And the end of the possible end of the world seemed like the right time.  Anyway, this is one of those love it or hate it films (and I know that one of our regular readers is not a huge fan of this film but I love him anyway).  At his best, director Lucio Fulci made some of the most visually stunning and dramatically incoherent films ever and never was that more apparent than with the Beyond.  Out of the film’s cast, Catriona MacColl plays one of the few strong women to ever appear in a Fulci film while David Warbeck (a personal fave of mine) is the perfect hero.  My favorite performance in the film (and a lot of this has to do with the fact that she co-starred in one of my favorite movies ever, Beyond the Darkness) is given by Cinzia Monreale, who plays the blind Emily.

And so there you go.  If you do get raptured later today, thank you for reading.  It’s been a pleasure telling you about the films I love and hopefully, someday, we’ll all meet in the beyond.

And if, as I suspect, there is no rapture today, I look forward to sharing even more.

Ciao!