Friday, November 30, 2012

A Night of Lemora-like Devils?

The film's leading man looks a lot like Vincent Cassell in this painting

Watched NIGHT OF THE DEVILS BluRay for the second time. It's an extraordinary little horror film from Italy with exceptional cinematography by Manuel Berenguer, who shot over one hundred movies in his forty year career. The film's pleasures, like most pleasures, are subtle and lingering.

For mine, the American film it most closely resembles is LEMORA - A CHILD'S TALE OF THE SUPERNATURAL. It has that same Lovecraftian unease and setting, and a similar focus on corrupted children; also, a well-meaning hero plunged into a supernatural world, and powerful sexuality conveyed via subtext.

Director Giorgio Ferroni, who also made the very fine MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN, demonstrates, once again, a flair for rising menace and grotesque nuance. Carlo Rambaldi, who died recently, contributes some wonderful putrefaction effects, and Ferroni knows to use them sparingly.

LEMORA was a '73 film; DEVILS is '72. Did LEMORA director Richard Blackburn see DEVILS before conceiving his own masterpiece and was divinely inspired? Who knows?!

The Raro Video BluRay is struck from an immaculate print.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Craving Pulpy Porn

This fella has a 'Lust List', and she's at the top of the list, apparently.

Male and female, we've all had our own personal Lust Lists over the years. Not all of us have posed like this while considering the state of our lists, though, so his Charles Atlas pose does make me doubt the young lady's  placement on his list... unless she's a mid-op transsexual?

Perhaps Tom of Finland had a son.

These novels existed before paperbacks embraced full-on pornography, so they conveyed a pleasing noir vibe.

For me, her total nudity takes some tension away, although I like the suggestion that she may be standing behind a mirror, or window.

Mother and daughter competing for the same men. A pulpy chestnut, for sure. And most guys would welcome the eventual compromise.

Massive themes of voyeurism in art of this nature, and it never fails to work.

Love the hook of a book being taken from a 'file'.  A 'file' suggests reality, something highly classified, highly taboo. Must try to get my mits on more of Harding's 'files'. Come to think of it, who the hell is Harding, and why is he sharing his files?

A lot of cover copy here to get us to the deliciously lurid title.

Personally, I hate covers with real photos, but this sweaty shot of a wanton woman who turned nympho after being slipped some 'stuff' does evoke a successfully sleazy tone.

"She was a hot enough broad without any outside help..."  Is it too much too expect a woman to be hot without outside help these days? Must ponder that.

Someone came into her store to take advantage of a 'Sale', but stayed to sample the merchandise that wasn't on sale, I suspect.

So, does the title suggest that he'll stick around until she screams? Or does the screaming kick things off in a whole new direction?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Under The Radar

Easily one of the oddest movies ever made, Little Johnny: The Movie takes on an Australian tradition known as 'Little Johnny' jokes. They usually involve Johnny saying something obscene or being exposed to something obscene. In the good old days, folks would howl at stuff like this. Nowadays, they laugh behind their hands.

The animation is limited and not everything works, but if you're ready to go where most video viewers have never gone before, you'll enjoy this ribald delight.

Directed by Ralph Moser, a well known Aussie production designer, the film runs a scant seventy-eight minutes and boasts mountains of good-hearted "wrong". Mr. Moser ought to be anointed with a crown of some kind for persevering with a project so clearly non-PC as this.

This Shout Factory release snuck quietly onto the market very recently and has remained quiet ever since.


It's a bloody revelation of British rock flicks. Directed, no less, by Richard (Brimstone and Treacle) Loncraine, and starring a classic rock band, it takes a completely unexpected route for a rock flick starring a band at the height of their powers by being about the sleazy and destructive side of the business. 

The Slade members play another band called 'Flame', and the movie documents the band's rise and fall as London's criminal underworld gets its hooks into management. It's more The Long Good Friday than Kiss and Attack of the Phantoms, that's for sure, and it's a good thing, too, because the drama rocks and the Slade members acquit themselves well in roles tailored to their strengths.

The DVD also features an extensive interview with Noddy Holder, who comes across as a charming chap who never took himself too seriously. 

Based on a series of crime novels by Martina Coles, this British TV series is pretty darn amazing, and little seen outside the UK. In fact, during a recent trip back to Australia, I found a vanilla DVD of it selling for $5 out of a bargain bin alongside public domain cartoon compilations.

It stars Tom Hardy as a brutal wanna-be crime kingpin who bullies his way through a family torn apart by violence, jealousy and betrayal. Easily as violent as anything seen off-TV, it's a towering achievement for a burgeoning genre.

The Martina Coles follow-up is The Runaway.

Terrific doco focusing on the thinking, production, and aftermath of Floyd's 'Wish You Were Here' album.

Although focusing on one album in particular, it's a rare look into the world of the band and its place in rock history.

The latest from Sion Sono, shot in the ruins of Japan's recent disaster, is a scathing but beautiful love story set in a world of ecological disaster and  -- worse --  homosapien brutality.

The film focuses on the consequences of indifference, of allowing ourselves to disconnect from other human beings.

Like the previous films of this totally original director (Cold Fish, Guilty of Romance, Love Exposure), it tells its story using a unique blend of music, audacious camera movement, subtle performances, and unexpected turns of narrative.

For mine, this is the 2012 viewing experience to beat.

Also known as 'The Murderer', this powerful crime thriller has yet to be released on BluRay in the US, so the UK BluRay is the one to get.

It's a brilliant and bloody misadventure named for a section of the Pacific lying between China and the Korean peninsula.

There are close to a dozen rousing action sequences with a gory knife fight between multiple participants being a highlight. 

Epic Chinese war flick in the tradition of Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War, The Front Line, 71: Into The Fire, and Saving Private Ryan.

The film explores a survivor's guilt at being the only survivor of a massacre. It is brutal and powerful stuff.

This is a strange love story that incorporates unexpected sci-fi elements, but it never telegraphs its turns. It's so well written, you enjoy watching matters develop between the leads, and I didn't once feel that the romance was being contrived.

I'd rather not say too much about this for fear of revealing too many of its virtues.

It was released fairly recently alongside a bigger budget Kiera Knightly flick called Seeking A Friend For The End of The World.  I was originally confused by these films because, although this film is titled Safety Not Guaranteed (a bad title choice ,I feel), the plot and marketing campaign relied on a personal ad the lead male posts that begins: "Wanted: Someone to go back in time with me..." I guess the tones of both movies played silly buggers with my head.

For the record, Safety is way better than the Knightly film (which also stars Steve Carell). Although Seeking begins with a great concept (the world will be destroyed in 21 days!) and offers a very funny scene where a boss is offering a CFO job (and other titles) to any staff member who will take it (all decline!), the script quickly abandons the comic possibilities of nihilism and settles into a predictable romance between Knightly and Carrel.

Although it's not a total success, it's audacious enough to warrant serious attention.

The lead character, Andrea Dunbar, wrote a play called 'The Arbor' about a teenager abused by her alcoholic father. Dunbar herself was living in an outer suburban British shithole at the time.

The film details her life via re-stagings of her plays and lip synced interviews (by professional actors) with people who raised her and knew her.  The zoophile doc Zoo, about the demise of the infamous 'Mr. Hands' employed a similar technique.

The film has received scant distribution outside the UK, but it's well worth your time.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Doing It For Kicks

Lorna Dixon's I Peeped For Kicks sports one of my very favorite illustrated covers.

Somehow, the expression on the peeper's face reminds me of past and recent visual depictions of  The Zodiac Killer with his casual indifference to perversion.

Impactt Library was infamous for its contribution to outrageous literature and potent cover art.

Others who peeped for kicks, like Bo Vebenius's dangerous miscreant, also got covers incorporating the subject of their gazes, this one more surreal than most.

This art for the Shaw Brothers' The Criminals - A Teenager's Nightmare, a really great Hong Kong flick (released on VCD only), mimics the top scan's impossible view of two scenarios.

These are so evocative and a little brilliant.

Texas Chainsaw Never Dies

Very rare publicity images and lobby cards from the granddaddy of all modern horror films.

Reproduced in Creepy Images magazine, these gems remind us why the original is not to be trifled with.

I recently caught the trailer for the new Texas Chainsaw 3-D and I wasn't impressed at all. It's such an obvious grab for 3-D cash and insults the original.

I'm not totally against intelligently expanding on the Texas mythology, but most Texas films just re-make the original or totally boob up the original's tone. I'm looking at you, Texas 2, you cunt!

"Evil wears many faces"! Yes, and it's called greed.

Creepy Images is a superb digest-sized magazine that reproduces ultra-rare lobby cards and posters from around the world.

Go to:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Captive Women of Pulpy Porn

They were a product of the good old days when the good old days meant there was a big difference between fantasy and reality. Now, because of ambitious DA's and politicians, the lines have been deliberately blurred.

There's still a yawning chasm between the real and the imagined, but you wouldn't know it.

On-line porn favors some of the scenarios here, but most of it is cheap and shabby and lacking imagination.

Hopefully, text-based pornography will endure in digital form if not on paper, even though these very fine examples of the genre scream for a revival.

The fellow on the left looks decidedly ape-like, and the rural setting would not have been out of place in Craven's Last House on the Left. Surely a role for the late David Hess?

Enthusiastic biker does his thing as the victim's husband (?) considers the ramifications of abandoning his drink in favor of rescue.

The figure behind him (a black man?) appears relatively unconcerned and marginally disfigured. 

It made most middle class readers comfortable to think that, on the w(hole) sex criminals were deformed tragics and uneducated hicks. A young Ted Bundy may have had a different opinion. 

The cameraman is a terrific touch here, his activities pre-dating an era (now) where filming the sex act has become extremely common. He's using one of those great old cameras with the rotating lenses. A good choice for illicit porno making, my friend!

The use of the long phallus seems very matter-of-fact with the male showing little emotion.

Another photographic opportunity pre-internet with wide distribution doubtful... lucky for the lady perhaps?

These days, one photograph is forever.

Back then, most photos ended up in someone's locked desk drawer or buried between pages in a nondescript book, far from the wife's prying eyes.

Another reason the 70's may have been the good old days for some.

The Captive Women Series stretched (excuse the pun) to hundreds and hundreds of titles and were a bargain at $2.50 apiece. Now, many sell for over $100.