I have zero interest (perhaps less) in the recent DVD releases of slasher flicks like Final Exam and Sweet Sixteen.
I saw both of those movies in Detroit theatres in the early 80's (at the Showcase Sterling Heights and Northgate, respectively) and they were beyond execrable. Unbelievably boring pieces of shit that deserved eternal oblivion.
Romano Scavolini's '81 Nightmare (aka Nightmares in a Damaged Brain, '81), not yet released on DVD, is another matter entirely. It is one of the bleakest, bloodiest, most interesting slasher flicks ever made, sharing similarities with Clean,Shaven, Angst, Maniac, Henry - Portrait of a Serial Killer, and even Agnes Varda's Vagabond.
It is NOT a masterpiece, but it has a filthy atmosphere of menace and psychosis that counts for something.
Clearly, the film has rights clearance issues. If it didn't, it would be out on DVD.
Released unrated in most US theatrical markets, it is the film that Tom Savini denied ever working on. Stills of Savini on the set of the film are rife. Thanks for being an up-front guy, Tom.
When this double opened, I ditched the horror-loathing ex- for the night and headed to the Northgate for a night of grim horror.
I'd read Russo's Midnight ('82) and liked it...
... and I was bonkers for William Fruet, Funeral Home's director, after being blown away by his The House By The Lake (aka Death Weekend).
Unfortunately, Funeral Home ('80) had minor impact as a horror pic.
Midnight, though wildly uneven, had a strange, sleazy, Pittsburgh vibe that really turned me on. Lawrence Tierney was creepy as a stepdaughter-abusing cop who redeems himself, and it was great to see John Amplas (Martin) on screen again. There is a terrific on-screen decapitation, courtesy of Savini (who didn't deny doing this one), and the film's prologue, in which a young girl is beaten by a mother and her kids, is delightfully moody.
For some outrageous reason, I went and bought the horrible soundtrack, thinking that it would contain some of the film's moody synth score. I was so wrong. It's actually a collection of putrid folk songs including the title song with the lyrics:
"You're own your own, You're all alone, and Midnight's at your door!"
Complete retitling of Paul Morrissey's Flesh for Frankenstein ('73).
I attended this screening at the Gratiot drive-in. Liked the film a lot. Udo Kier is amazing. Got sore eyes watching the 3-D. That's pretty standard. The format doesn't agree with me.
I spent an hour driving from Franklin to downtown Detroit to attend the Plaza, an old-style grindhouse.
Although it was cut, it was still horror heaven.
Joe D'Amato's The Grim Reaper (aka Anthropophagus, '80) is not a technically polished or well acted movie, but it is a sincere piece of grisly exploitation that spits in the face of "common decency". It has bloody murders, cannibalism, and a vile villain played by George Eastman.
It's like having someone smearing feces on your eyes for a couple of hours.
Can that be a bad thing?
Ask Veronica Moser.
Pulp as a way of life was being redefined once again at the Northgate, my premier pit for sleaze.
Doctor Butcher MD (Medical Deviate), was also known as Zombie Holocaust and Queen of the Cannibals in order to cash in on Cannibal Holocaust.
I enjoyed it immensely.
It's not non-stop gore and dismemberment, but it features a bunch of showstoppers including a face pulverized by a spinning boat propeller. Lots of flesh chomping, too, and other forms of behavior deemed unacceptable by polite society.
Billed with the Doc was Umberto Lenzi's '76 Assault With A Deadly Weapon, a great police actioner that surpassed the Doc for sheer, polished filmmaking.
Still, Doctor Butcher MD ('80) lit my life up for a couple of hours way back when almost thirty years ago.