Cannibal Ferox!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 5, 2015 by Brain Hammer

Positively the most VIOLENT film ever made! Guaranteed to upset your stomach!


A young pair of brother and sister anthropologists – Gloria & Rudy Davis (Lorraine De Salle & Danilo Mattei), take a trip to the jungles of South America to help prove correct Gloria’s theories on the “myth” of man eating man. Gloria intends to prove that cannibalism no longer exists, and has NEVER existed! How she can prove cannibalism never existed by simply visiting a jungle is not explained. Also not explained is why she would want to bring their hot pussied little whore of a friend Pat (Zora Kerova) along for the trip. After Pat has sex with a stranger in exchange for a shower, the three idiots quickly manage to crash their jeep and then have to trek through the jungle on foot.

After a tasty encounter with a native who is contently munching on some fat green worms, the gang runs into a dead body and pair of lowlife drug pushers that are on the run from the New York mob after pulling a sting on a couple of Brooklyn horsemen and running off with $100,000. At first, the rather strung out Mike Logan (the legendary Giovanni Lombardo Radice!) tells a tale about a tribe of vicious cannibals that attacked them and mutilated their Portuguese cocaine and emerald harvesting companion. His buddy Joe is wounded, and lets Mike do most of the talking. Later that night and the next day Mike has some fun with Pat. After a few coke fueled fuck fests he asks her if she would like to “make” an Indio girl. Pat, being a well established slut, is intrigued by this offer and agrees, which leads to the attempted rape and cold blooded murder of one of the young natives.

Shortly after this senseless murder the now sick and delirious Joe finally breaks his silence and tells the real story behind the death of the“Portuguese.” It turns out that the story Mike told the gang was a lot of batshit. The so-called “Portuguese” was really a young Indio boy that Mike had tortured and murdered for not producing any Emeralds from the local rivers. With the cocaine Mike was on, he went completely crazy and seemed to get a perverted kick out of make the poor bastard suffer. Mike gouged out one of the Indio’s eyes, then castrated him and left him to bleed to death. After telling Gloria and Rudy his incredible story Joe dies from an infection. This gives Mike and Pat enough time to steal all of the supplies and leave the others for dead.

The adult men of the Indio tribe had all conveniently been away on a hunting trip while Mike was on his rampage. After returning home and discovering this incredible outrage the tribe decides that all of the white people must die, slowly. It doesn’t take long for all four of the survivors to be captured and brutal and primitive justice is dished out in short order. Once the unholy cannibal ferox has begun the natives have a blast hanging Pat with hooks through her tits and then give Mike more than a little taste of his own medicine. Humiliation and mutilation are only the appetizer for this blood feast – castration and decapitation are the main course. And of course no jungle revenge would be complete without a little cannibalism for desert.

This totally outrageous 1981 Umberto Lenzi film begins with a thoughtful pre-credits disclaimer that warns viewers that “the following feature is one of the most violent films ever made” and that “there are at least two dozen scenes of barbaric torture and sadistic cruelty graphically shown.” I lost count somewhere along the way, but that number sounds about right to me! Pretty much every other scene consists of nauseating footage of animals being killed, either by other animals or humans. One particularly disturbing moment features a tied up and defenseless little mongoose being savaged by a large snake! However, with all the flack that Lenzi (and Ruggero Deodato, and all the other “jungle” flick directors) deservedly gets for his completely unnecessary cruelty to animals, I’m left wondering why more people don’t hate Francis Coppola for doing the exact same thing in “Apocalypse Now,” or despise Walter Hill for similar scenes in “Southern Comfort.” I guess when they do it – it’s considered art. I always rationalize these scenes by remembering the cruel reality of jungle life, where animals are killed and eaten every day, and then remember the real cattle being primed for the final slaughter are the humans.

CANNIBAL FEROX (aka Make Them Die Slowly) is my hands down my personal favorite of all of the incredible Italian cannibal/jungle flicks. I find this one to be ridiculously entertaining. Say what you want about the quality of the film, it certainly isn’t boring. The dubbing, the dialog, the score – all cheesy and sleazy perfection. This one wins the prize for featuring the most plentiful blood and gore of all the early 80′s jungle flicks, with a “tit torture” scene that tops the more notorious “impalement” scene in Cannibal Holocaust!” It also wins the prize for the most frequent use of the word “twat” in any non porno film! Speaking of porno, the infamous Robert Kerman of “Cannibal Holocaust” “Debbie Does Dallas” legend makes a brief appearance as a NYC cop tracking down Giovanni’s character. It’s too bad Robert didn’t make it down to the jungle this time around. This one has a delightfully sleazy vibe throughout that lends itself to a lot of repeat viewings. I was first introduced this flick back in high school, when it was first hyped to me as one the sickest flicks ever. I wasn’t let down with my first viewing, and countless viewings later I’m still a huge fan.

The freaks at GRINDHOUSE RELEASING have topped themselves with their latest release of CANNIBAL FEROX, which is an absolutely STUFFED 3-disc special edition blu-ray/cd combo. The blu-ray features two different versions of the film, including a brand new extended cut with newly discovered violent footage! The pig-killing and piranha attacks are now available in extended versions, which can also be watched separately. The other incredible highlight of the blu-ray is the amazing 85 minute documentary on the Italian cannibal craze entitled “Eaten Alive! The Rise and Fall of the Italian Cannibal Film.” This extensive and comprehensive documentary features interviews with legends such as Umberto Lenzi, Ruggero Deodato, and Sergio Martino, as well as a slew of others. I personally would have bought this documentary as a separate release, it’s that damn good.

The second disc is loaded with additional interviews, including in-depth sit downs with director Umberto Lenzi, actors Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Zora Kerowa, and Danilo Mattei, and special effects artist Gino De Rossi. There’s also a nifty Easter egg that hides an interview with the infamous Terry Levine of Aquarius Releasing! There’s also the usual trailers and still galleries, which are killer. The highlight of this whole release might be the third disc, which is a CD containing the freshly remastered soundtrack from Budy-Maglione! As if this wasn’t enough of a treat, the CD also includes 20 different alternate takes and remixes! Suffice to say, this is hands down the coolest release of the year so far. This is a MUST HAVE if you are a fan of FEROX. I will even go a step further and add that no gorehound’s collection is truly complete without this gem, SHITFACE, so buy or DIE!!!


Class Of 1984!

Posted in Uncategorized on April 28, 2015 by Brain Hammer

We Are The Future!

…And Nothing Can Stop Us!

CLASS OF 1984 (1982)

An idealistic pacifist music teacher named Andy Norris (played by the bearded and sensitive looking Perry King) is transferred to Lincoln High, an ultra violent and dangerous inner city high school. Unfortunately for Mr. Norris, the teachers at Lincoln High have a very dangerous problem…their students! After settling into the neighborhood with his pregnant wife (Merrie Lynn Ross) he immediately runs afoul of the local teenage gestapo, led by the brilliant yet twisted student Peter Stegman (played by Timothy Van Patten of “White Shadow” & “Master Ninja” infamy).

Stegman is a sensitive, classically trained pianist AND a ruthless kingpin of crime who controls the booming high school drug and prostitution rackets. His slightly less than impressive gang consists of: Drugstore: the skinny and strung out drug dealer and wisecracker, Fallon: the muscle who beats people up and breaks in the new prostitutes, Barnyard: the token fat slob (played by Keith Knight, who also played the token fat slob in “Meatballs!”) who loves The Clash, and Patsy: the punk rock skank. The five of them somehow manage to control the entire school population and staff AND dominate other rival gangs via intimidation and brutal violence.

There’s an awesome racially fueled gang fight between the Swastika sporting punks and a Black gang highlighted by the young Caribbean accented gang leader saying “No one messes around with my man Leroy. I’m gonna cut you white meat!” We’re also treated to an extended sequence where Stegman auditions prospective prostitutes and drug dealers. A fresh faced and non twitchy Michael J Fox appears in an important supporting role as a lovable band geek who takes a shank to the kidneys after narcing on Drugstore for selling his pussy best friend a lethal dose of dust.

Mr. Norris tries his best to do things by the book and keep the kids in line but it ultimately proves useless. He tries to turn the kids in but the police are unable to do anything because the kids are underage and there’s no real evidence. The school’s Principal and security staff are equally worthless. His only ally in the school is the burnt out and booze addled Biology teacher – Terry Corrigan (played very convincingly by the legendary Roddy McDowall). After a sick and disgusting act of retribution where the vicious punks skin every cute little bunny in the bio lab, Terry eventually snaps and decides to teach his class at gunpoint! Mr. Norris barely manages to talk him out of blowing the students away, and he will soon regret that decision.

Terry tries to get the last laugh by running the punks over but winds up crashing and burning. After a bizarre bathroom showdown with Mr. Norris, Stegman violently smashes his own face into a mirror and convincingly blames the teacher for it. Andy finally gets pissed off and destroys Stegman’s beloved automobile in return. Stegman then declares all out war on the teacher. “Life is pain. Pain is everything. You will learn. I will teach you.” The movie reaches a whole new level of nastiness when the punks show up at the Norris household and gang rape his pregnant wife!

This unspeakable act leads to the final showdown at the big band recital. The punk rock skank shows up and presents Polaroids of the dirty deed to Mr. Norris, which is enough to finally make him ditch his pacifist ways and start spilling blood like a man! Andy Norris: a teacher equipped to deal with students. But they pushed him to the limit that has gone too far. Now he’s about to teach the Class of 1984 the most dangerous lesson they deserve. This teacher will assure that the class of 1984 will earn a higher degree in pain!

I’m a HUGE fan of this masterpiece of prophetic punk rock perfection, which was written and directed by Mark L. Lester, who also helmed the all time 80′s action clas-sick “Commando.” Few revenge themed genre flicks are this satisfying. The gut crunching sequence where Mr. Norris has to fight his way though the high school and finally gets his revenge on the gang is fantastic. Arms are severed, table saws sever spines, people are set on fire, plummet to their deaths, and are crushed with cars! This flick is also exceptionally well made and acted. It almost plays out like an after school special, only with a really bad case of herpes.

This flick drips with a genuinely sleazy punk rock atmosphere. There’s a nifty scene where Stegman and his pals go to a punk rock club and skank to the ripping sounds of Teenage Head! The non-violent highlight of the flick for me has to be the incredible scene were Stegman “auditions” for Mr. Norris’s “asshole band” by unexpectedly busting out a stunningly beautiful classical composition on the piano, and then demands to know if he got “the fucking gig!” This scene is especially cool because Timothy Van Patten actually composed and performed the piece! Talented guy. Speaking of music, I almost forget to mention the incredibly cheesy theme song “I Am The Future” which was provided by none other than the incredibly cheesy Alice Cooper. Quite an embarrassment for old Alice, as it sounds like a very lame Broadway tune! But as much as I hate the song, I have to admit, it’s impossible to watch this flick without getting it stuck in your head.

Anchor Bay was the first to release a beautiful DVD of CLASS OF 1984 back in 2005. The goodies include the trailer, a commentary track with writer/director Mark Lester, the “Blood And Blackboards” featurette that includes interviews with Perry King and his on-screen wife Merrie Lynn Ross, and a killer booklet full of cool photos and extensive liner notes. This DVD was the best available release of the film for many years, until the good folks at Scream Factory recently topped it by unleashing their unbelievable collector’s edition Blu-Ray! 

class of 1984 cover

This brand new release features a stunning looking high-definition transfer of the film. CLASS OF 1984 has never looked or sounded better. This new Blu-Ray is much brighter and more colorful than the previous DVD release. The exclusive bonus features consist of new interviews with director Mark Lester, actors Perry King, Lisa Langlois and Erin Noble, and composer Lalo Schifrin. The rest of the bonus features, including the trailer and still galleries have been ported over from the Anchor Bay DVD. This collector’s edition is now the definitive home video release of CLASS OF 1984 and I highly recommend a purchase! This one definitely gets better each and every time I watch it, and I don’t think I could count how many times I’ve watched this one over the years. A true cult clas-sick! 

Mark Lester went back to school in 1990 with his campy sci-fi semi-sequel CLASS OF 1999. Leaving the gritty realism of “Class Of 1984″ far behind, this one takes a one way trip into Goofytown. Set in the not too distant future, schools across the nation have become the setting for widespread bloodshed and gang violence. Some of the areas surrounding the schools have become so deadly, they are declared “free fire zones”with no police presence. One of the very worst is Kennedy High School, which is understandable because the Principal is Malcolm McDowell. There’s just one subject at Kennedy High…Survival!

Malcolm hires an especially creepy looking albino Stacey Keach to clean up the school with the help of his specially trained robotic “tactical education units.” These robot teachers include none other than Blaxploitation legend Pam Grier, John P. Ryan from “It’s Alive” & “It Lives Again” and the always awesome Patrick Kilpatrick of “Toxic Avenger” infamy. As to be expected, the androids eventually snap and start using their deadly force against innocent students. It’s up to a punk kid named Cody (Bradley Gregg – who also starred in “Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors”) to avenge his younger brother Angel (the one and only Joshua John Miller from “River’s Edge!”) and to unite the warring student factions and uprise against the cyborg substitutes. It’s the last lesson they will ever learn!

This one fails as any sort of sequel or follow up to the far, far superior “Class of 1984,” but as a stand alone action flick it’s pretty entertaining. Especially if you have any fondness for familiar faces and the gloriously cheesy early 1990’s. The futuristic fashions in this one are absolutely ridiculous, and the fact that the lead character is named “Cody” doesn’t help me take things any more seriously. It’s interesting to note that this film was actually written by “Cody” himself – Bradley Gregg. It makes the flick seem a bit more of a vanity project, but also adds to the unintentional comedy. It’s hard to say how serious any of this was meant to be taken, but the flick is so silly & stupid that it doesn’t really matter. With lots of laughs and plenty of action, I can easily endorse this one for anyone who wants to kill a few brain cells. CLASS OF 1999 is currently available on a bare bones DVD from Lionsgate. 


Massacre Mafia Style!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 21, 2015 by Brain Hammer

The most violent picture ever made!


The late great Duke Mitchell commands the screen as Mimi Miceli, a proud Sicilian, ruthless mafioso and expert killer. After many long years living in exile alongside his father, the patron and lord of organized crime – Don Mimi, Miceli returns to the states looking for payback. With his right hand man Jolly Rizzo (Vic Caesar), Mimi forms a small army of guts, balls, and trust and invades Hollywood. Although his father warns him that the law is not for sale in Los Angeles, and there is no money to be made, Mimi wants the black pimps and the bookmakers. It’s that simple.

Mimi gets what he wants. A crippled prick learns this the hard way when he is wheeled into the john and electrocuted in the urinal. Mimi and Jolly make an immediate impact in Los Angeles by snatching the number one man right out of church and sending his finger home as a warning. Pay up or they will send him home in pieces. The local mobsters pay largely out of respect for Don Mimi, and Mimi is in business. As promised, Mimi begins putting the heat on the pimps and bookmakers. “You’re in, or you’re in the way.” A jive talking pimp that Mimi dubs “Super Spook” is the first to get in Mimi’s way, and bloody shotgun blasted corpses promptly begin stacking up like cordwood.

Mimi eventually steps on a few too many toes, and his father steps in with $50,000 and the demand that Mimi stop his Sicilian slaughter immediately and start a legitimate business. Mimi funnels the funds into porno flicks with dreams of scoring the most mainline broads you’ve ever seen in your life. After a few years trying to go straight and not making a nickel, Mimi decides it’s time to go back into business for himself again. If a Sicilian is going to known as a killer, then Mimi will show them how to kill. When a contract is put out on Mimi, he doesn’t wait to find out who did it, he nails every last son of a bitch. Office buildings and restaurants full of people are blown to pieces, tubby martial arts enthusiasts are pumped full of lead, double crossing mobsters are hung from meathooks, and jive talking pimps are crucified.

When Mimi kills the son of a boss, he finally goes too far and becomes a marked man. The few people in Los Angeles that Mimi can love and trust are brutally murdered in retaliation. After one last explosive act of revenge, Mimi is forced to leave LA in disgrace. He spends a few years on the mattresses, and then goes back to the old country for a final, emotionally charged reunion with his father and son. An Italian son’s future is not written in the galaxies, but dictated by the code set down by generations before him. Like father, like son.

Duke Mitchell’s MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE has to be one of the most underrated and overlooked crime flicks ever made. After a few repeat viewings, I now consider this one to be the definitive mafia movie of all time, far surpassing both “The Godfather” and “Goodfellas.” Duke Mitchell is probably best known as a singer, but he deserves all the credit in the world for creating such an unbelievably bad ass flick. This is an incredibly authentic display of proud Italian American power violence! MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE is definitely a low budget, grimy ass action flick, but it still has a ton of class and a polished production value. It’s an incredibly emotional picture, heartbreaking and hilarious at the same time with a lot of passion and some truly epic dialogue about the suffering of the Italian immigrants.

This is also one of the most violent pictures of all time! Anyone who has ever seen the incredible trailer for this one knows that the first five minutes of this flick are a non stop blast of carnage. I lost count along the way as dozens of people are blown to pieces throughout the entire film. The promises of “more guts, action, and dynamite than The Godfather” are more than lived up to. No false advertising here. This flick makes The Godfather look absolutely pissworthy by comparison. MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE should be more than bloody and mean spirited enough to make even the most jaded splatter and exploitation fans stand up and cheer.

The good folks at GRINDHOUSE RELEASING recently unleashed an absolutely incredible deluxe edition blu-ray/dvd release of MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE. After many years spent watching the trailer for this flick on other Grindhouse Releasing dvds and salivating at the thought of finally seeing it, I can say that the wait was MORE than worth it! The flick is even better than the trailer, and the blu-ray/dvd set is loaded with cool special features. The goodies include interviews, extensive still galleries, radio spots, the theatrical trailer, almost an hour of never seen before Duke Mitchell home movies, lost audio recordings and bonus TV specials! There’s also a few other surprises that I don’t want to spoil for anyone, but I will give a hint or two and say that they include pin up pics and Brooklyn gorillas! This is yet another top notch release from Grindhouse Releasing, who continue to set the standard for special edition releases that all other companies need to try to live up to. After reading the liner notes from David Szulkin, I can truly say that MASSACRE MAFIA STYLE perhaps more than any other flick truly represents what Grindhouse Releasing is all about. A film with BALLS, presented with the sort of love and attention to detail that it deserves. Needless to say, this is an essential purchase. You’re in or you’re in the way, so buy or die!


The Deadly Spawn!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on March 15, 2015 by Brain Hammer

It’s 2015. Your old pal Brain Hammer is back from the grave and ready to party!


This cult clas-sick begins with a shot of a fiery meteorite crashing to Earth. A group of unfortunate campers decide to investigate and quickly get turned into a hot lunch for their efforts. The meteorite contains a nasty looking flesh chomping alien monster with razor sharp fangs and a ravenous appetite for destruction. After devouring the campers, the alien slithers its way into the basement of a small secluded home in the New Jersey suburbs.

A rash of rain showers then floods the basement and provides the perfect breeding environment for the monstrous carnivore. After a few hours spent in the dark, dank basement the monster swells in size and begins to asexually reproduce, unleashing a small army of pint sized predators. The mother of the household (I don’t believe the family’s last name is ever mentioned) eventually wanders into the basement looking for her missing-in-action husband and finds what’s left of him falling out of the mother alien’s bloodstained jaws.

Mom is promptly devoured as well, with the exception of her head which is left on the floor of the basement for the alien’s offspring to tear apart and feast upon – much to the shock and disgust of her son Charles. Charlie had snuck into the basement to pull a prank on his Uncle Herb who was in town for a visit. Instead of finding the fusebox, Charles finds his mother’s savaged remains and gets up close and personal with the virulent visitors.

Meanwhile upstairs, Charlie’s older brother Pete and a group of Pete’s friends also discover the alien’s deadly spawn when they stumble upon Uncle Herb’s corpse, which has been turned into an alien incubator. The mother alien gives chase and the teens are forced to run for their lives and take shelter in Charlie’s bedroom. Downstairs, Charles discovers that the aliens are essentially blind and that they hunt after their prey using super sensitive hearing. Armed with this knowledge, the lad vows revenge on the intergalactic invaders and heads upstairs to try to stop the voracious villains once and for all. It’s mankind vs. the ultimate eating machines!

“The Deadly Spawn” is one of my all time favorite flicks, and one of the very best homemade horror efforts of the early 80’s. This was a true labor of love, a very low budget affair that took about three years of painstaking weekend shoots to finally complete. Despite the micro-budget, there’s no shortage of jaw droppingly impressive gory special effects. The creature designs and special effects by John Dods (“The X-Files”) are nothing less then spectacular. This flick is chock full of scenes with outrageous gore and can be considered nothing less than a 10/10 splatterpiece. There are many highlights along the way, but my favorite scene has to be the hilarious sequence where the deadly spawn chow down on a group of little old ladies attempting to enjoy a vegetarian luncheon!

When searching for clips on youtube I was disappointed to see several comments along the lines of “OMG! What a cheap and crappy looking Alien rip off.” Obviously these idiots have never seen the film, and can’t appreciate what a loving tribute this film is to the monster flicks of the 50’s. The greedy distributors were the ones responsible for the film’s alternate title – “Return Of The Alien’s Deadly Spawn,” not the filmmakers. This flick clearly owes a lot more to classic sci-fi flicks like“The Blob” than it does to “Alien.” Watching 30 second clips on the net won’t give you an appreciation of the film’s superior pacing, the quality of the performances, or the creepy sounding score. I think this flick is terminally misunderstood and criminally underrated. I could attempt to get more in depth with my defense of the film but I’d rather keep it simple (and stupid!) and sum up my review as follows – if you don’t like this flick you fucking suck.

Synapse Films gave THE DEADLY SPAWN exactly the type of special edition dvd release that it deserves. The film was digitally remastered with a new pristine looking windowboxed transfer. Incredibly, the process of remastering the print cost more than the total budget of the film! The bonus features are quite extensive and include two different audio commentary tracks, extensive still galleries, a comic style prequel, an alternate opening sequence, the theatrical trailer, and much more! This is a dvd that no respectable horror collection should be missing.


X-mas Evil!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on December 6, 2014 by Brain Hammer

Better watch out…better not cry…or you may die!!!


This off the wall 1980 horror film from writer/director Lewis Jackson begins on Christmas Eve, 1947. Naughty little Harry Stadling sneaks down the stairs after his bedtime and catches Santa Claus nibbling on Mommy’s Christmas cookie. Harry is horrified by the sexy sight and runs upstairs to do what any kid in his situation would do – take comfort in a little self mutilation with a broken snow globe.

We then flash forward thirty years and find little Harry (Brandon Maggart) all grown up with more then a few screws loose. He works as the manager of a toy factory and is now completely consumed by all things Christmas. He applies shaving cream to his face while staring into a mirror and hallucinates that he IS Santa Claus. He then begins to snoop and spy on the neighborhood children and rushes home to feverishly take notes about who’s been naughty and nice in his big red book.

His madness reaches a peak on Christmas Eve. Harry dresses up as Santa and delivers stolen presents to all the good little boys and girls at the local children’s hospital. He also delivers death to a few naughty adults that had done him wrong via toy soldier sword impalements and lethal toy axe head splitting! He then attempts to break into a home and gets stuck inside a chimney in the process. He awakens the family in his struggle and while the children are delighted to see Saint Nick, Mother and Father are none too pleased to find a fat jolly lunatic in their fireplace. Santa slays the Scrooge-like parents with a little help from the razor sharp star from the top of the Christmas tree and then winds up on the run from a lynch mob out for his blood. You’d better watch out, you’d better not cry, or you may die!

Legendary director and pervert John Waters not only calls CHRISTMAS EVIL “the best seasonal film of all time,” he also declares it “a true cinematic classic.” I wouldn’t go that far in praising the film, but it’s certainly a unique viewing experience. Hardly a run of the mill hack ‘em up holiday slasher, this one plays out as more of a character study – exploring in depth the twisted mind state and motivations of the eventual psycho killer. Brandon Maggart (the real life father of bad, bad girl Fiona Apple!) does a great job playing the demented lead. My only complaint is that he never really comes across as menacing or scary. He plays the role so broadly, its hard to see him as anything but odd and comical.

There’s a lot more characterization (and black humor) than carnage in this one – so hardcore gore junkies might want to look elsewhere for a ho-ho-holocaust, but I highly recommend this to naughty boys and girls looking for an unusual holiday horror flick. Synapse Films released a beautifully remastered director’s cut of CHRISTMAS EVIL that sports several stocking stuffing bonus features including deleted scenes, audition footage, storyboards, and best of all – a commentary track with writer/director Lewis and none other than John Waters himself!

Lewis Jackson Interview!!!

It has been 30 years since Lewis Jackson wrote and directed Christmas Evil, and I was honored to have the chance to briefly chat with him, and ask him about creating a Christmas cult phenomenon.


Brain Hammer: What was your inspiration for writing and creating Christmas Evil?

Lewis Jackson: It was Christmas Eve 1970 and I smoked a joint. I saw an image of a Santa Claus with a knife in his hands. Ten years later, I figured out how to make the script work.

BH: How did the chance to direct your debut film come about?

LJ: Because I came up with a great idea of how to make a soft-core comedy.

BH: Christmas Evil is widely regarded as one of the very best Christmas themed horror films. Was that your intent when making the film – a pure horror film, or were you going for something more psychological and character driven?

LJ: I was trying to make a black comedy and truthfully, if you are not trying to make the best movie you possibly can make, then you are a hack – which is basically 95% of the people in Hollywood.

BH: Are you a fan of the horror genre? Where do think Christmas Evil belongs in horror history, especially when compared to other X-mas horrors.

LJ: There are no other great horror Xmas movies and I believe I am in a genre with Fritz Lang and Alfred Hitchcock.

BH: The film is also known as You Better Watch Out & Terror In Toyland. Do you have a preferred title?

LJ: I originally called the film You Better Watch Out, some asshole who bootlegged the film changed the title card over and over and over again – and only because I had an original print, did Synapse allow me to use the original title because I had the original print.

BH: It’s impossible for me to imagine anyone other than Brandon Maggart in the lead role of Harry Stadling. Was the part written for him specifically or did you discover him through casting?

LJ: I discovered him thru casting. Originally I cast George Dzundza who played the bartender in Deerslayer. We started working and he said to me that we needed to rewrite the script and I realized he wanted me to write him “Marty.” It was a disaster. Somebody found me a great NY casting director who sent me a whole new group of actors. They all came in, they all did videotape auditions. Brandon’s audition turned out to be Brandon’s performance and that was quite a revelation.

BH: The film has a number of violent scenes. Did you find the filming of the violent sequences to be difficult or more time consuming?

LJ: The answer is both. Filming violence is not pleasant, but it has to be precise.

BH: One of the film’s most outspoken fans is John Waters. He mentioned the film at length in one of his books and even participated in a commentary track for the Synapse dvd release. When did you first become aware that you had such a famous fan? What are your thoughts on John and his love of your film?

LJ: 1983 someone told me that John had written about it in Rolling Stone, but I had never seen the article. After the book came out, someone called me and said “have you seen the book?” I hadn’t. When I did, I was overwhelmed basically because I had been treated like a crazy person for making this movie. I didn’t meet John for 20 more years, but then he started to do art shows and invited me to be a part of the film showings accompanying the art shows. I finally met him at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburg.

BH: When the film was originally released did you receive any sort of criticism or protests from moral crusaders?

LJ: I was treated like a leper and I thought I was making a comedy and only John understood it was a comedy.

BH: Christmas Evil has been released on vhs and dvd several times. I’ve even seen dvds selling for as little as $1. Did the film ever slip into the public domain?

LJ: No, it was stolen and it has taken me 5 years to regain the rights.

BH: In an age when seemingly EVERY horror film ever made gets a remake, it seems like only a matter of time before someone attempts a Christmas Evil remake. Have you been approached about this?

LJ: Yes. Twice, but this one seems to be one that no one wants to touch. It still seems too transgressive. It may be the most impressive thing I have done in my life.

BH: The remake of Bob Clark’s Black Christmas was met with a fair amount of controversy because of the title. Do you think a remake of Christmas Evil would have the same sort of reception?

LJ: Worse.

I’d like to thank Lewis for taking the time to do the interview and big thanks to horror society for hooking it up!


Hide And Go Shriek!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 6, 2014 by Brain Hammer

It’s the last game you will ever play!


The nifty pre-credits SHRIEK sequence features loving closeups of what appears to be a man (we never see his face) applying makeup over his stubbled cheeks. He then throws on some eyeliner and lipstick before hopping into his car to go cruising for whores. The man quickly picks up a blonde tits-on-a-stick hooker and takes her into a back alley to fuck her against a wall for a spell before stabbing her with a switchblade. Cue opening credits.

We then meet a pair of buff young bros named John & David. The lads are pumping iron and planning a big evening with some gals and pals. In what has to be one of the gayest things I’ve ever seen or heard, David actually tells John that “It’s time to motivate. It’s time to shower!” while knowingly nibbling on a banana! Then we get to meet the girls, a rather skanky and unappealing foursome consisting of: Kim the whore, Bonnie the bitch-whore, Malissa the virgin, and Judy the virgin with a boyfriend. Malissa is excited about the possibility of having sex for the first time, and Kim assures her that “You’re going to love making love. You’ll never want to stop.” She also lends her a sexy black negligee for the special occasion!

Two more idiots named Randy and Shawn (also a virgin) show up so that everybody has a fuck buddy and once paired up the eight imbeciles embark on “the adventure of their lives,” which sadly consists of a“Chinese Fire Drill” and sneaking inside the large furniture store owned by John’s father for a night of drunken hide and seek. If this is truly “the adventure of their lives” it must be said that their lives are fairly pathetic. The gang hides out until the store closes for the evening. John’s father is briefly shown after closing, and we also get introduced to a dock worker named Fred – a creepy looking tattooed ex con who was recently released on good behavior after a long and lonely stretch in the joint for armed robbery. John’s father is nice enough to let Fred stay inside the store after hours because Fred just broke up with his girlfriend and has no place else to go.

Once night falls and the store is deserted, the kids come out of hiding and begin the night’s festivities. As the title suggests, a good portion of the film consists of kids playing hide and seek inside the large dark store. The creative touch is that this is a “fine furniture”store, which means there are plenty of beds for the horny teens to jump in and out of while they play. Things pick up considerably once the killer shows up and bashes Malissa’s head into a sink just before she can try out her new nightie. The transvestite killer slips into it instead and then gives her eagerly awaiting love interest the shock of his young life, blocking his cock in a BIG way by impaling him on giant ornamental spikes!

The giggling made-up madman frequently switches disguises and happily stalks after the kids in the darkness while wearing the clothes of their dead friends. Once the dimwitted teens finally discover that there is a killer in their midst they decide to “arm” themselves with the deadliest weapon they can find – mannequin arms (!) and go looking for the madman to turn the tables. Close your eyes. Count to 10. And run for your Life! It’s a horrifying game of life and death! 

But who is this cross dressing killer, and what brought him to the store in the first place? The incredible answers to those burning questions are revealed in the films mind blowing ending, which I do not wish to spoil for anyone. All I will say is that the identity and motivations of the madman are very “unique,”and make this often overlooked slasher flick quite memorable. Fans of fun 80’s slasher flicks with perverse twists and turns such as “Sleepaway Camp” and “Girls Nite Out” should really appreciate this one. I’ve been a big fan ever since I first stumbled upon a used copy of the unrated VHS. 

Hide And Go Shriek is certainly a product of the gloriously cheesy 80’s. The hair and fashions (check out the sweet jams the character David is wearing!) on display are truly cringe worthy. Extra special attention must be given to lead actress Bunky Jones, who sports one of the skankiest slut outfits ever captured on film. I also have to applaud director Skip Schoolnik for his infinitely wise decision to have three of his four leading ladies take their tops off! Hats off Skip!

The dark store makes an ideal setting for this type of mad slasher flick. There are quite a few scenes of the kids trying to find their missing friends, and interacting with the cross dressing killer that manage to be very creepy, tense and atmospheric. This flick takes it’s time to get going, but once it does it rarely stops to let you catch your breath. The impressive splatter effects were done by the legendary lunatic Screaming Mad George. The highlight of the film for gorehounds is an elaborate set piece that concludes with a semi-nude girl being decapitated by an elevator! A rather weak body count is the film’s only minor fault. I wanted ALL of these annoying kids to die and was a little disappointed to see so many of them still alive and kicking when the end credits rolled. But that’s nitpicking, overall this flick is a blast. 

Sadly, HIDE AND GO SHRIEK has slipped into a state of semi-slasher obscurity. This is one of the more underrated late 80’s slasher flicks in my opinion. Probably because there hasn’t been an official dvd release as of yet, and the rights to the film seem to be in dispute. I for one would love to see a special edition dvd of this flick with a director’s commentary and perhaps a “where is she now” piece on Bunky Jones! Every other horror flick in existence seems to get the red carpet treatment, so hopefully one day Hide And Go Shriek will get the type of release it deserves. And if Skip Schoolnik is reading this, it’s time for the long awaited SHRIEK sequel!!! 



Sleepaway Camp!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on July 16, 2014 by Brain Hammer

A nice place for summer vacation – a perfect place to die!


This legendary film begins with some especially eerie shots of a deserted summer camp accompanied by the distant sounds of children playing. This immediately puts the viewer off balance, which is where they will firmly remain for the next 88 minutes. The madness begins with a seemingly harmless afternoon on a sailboat. A man named John and his two children Angela and Peter are enjoying some fun in the sun when they suddenly cross paths with some careless teenagers in a motorboat.

Tragedy strikes when a girl takes the wheel (doesn’t it always?) and the motorboat smashes into the family as they happily bob in the water. The boat kills the father and one of the children, although it isn’t clear who survived. This mystery is solved eight years later when we see that the survivor was Angela (Felissa Rose), and that she now lives with her tough but tender cousin Ricky (Jonathan Tiersten) and her batshit insane Aunt Martha.

Aunt Martha is one of scariest characters in all of horror history. She gives the kids a goodie bag full of snacks and ties a string around her finger to remember the kid’s permission slips for camp. The nutjob then implores the children not to tell anyone at camp that she had performed the physical needed for the kid’s admission. No one would understand…even if she is a doctor.

The kids are then shipped off to Camp Arawak. Upon arrival Angela is shy and withdrawn and talks to no one. Ricky runs into his old pal Paul, who excitedly tells him about the massive jugs his ex-girlfriend Judy is sporting. Ricky tries to turn on the charm with Judy but she quickly proves to be a heartless cocktease. She also despises Angela and proceeds to make her life miserable. Angela also refuses to eat, which causes the musclebound main counselor Ronnie to thoughtfully send her along to meet her doom with the perverted head cook Artie. Artie’s mouth waters when he sees the fresh young chicken and he wastes no time attempting to force feed Angela his tubesteak. Ricky catches him in the act and the scared kids run away before anything worse can happen.

Later that day Artie is still steaming from having his cock blocked. He’s also pissed off because his comically oversized pot of water won’t come to a boil. As he fumes over his shortcomings he adds about three pounds of salt into the 200 gallons of water. As the tubby chickenhawk precariously dangles on a tiny footstool a silent assailant makes their deadly presence known. The small person is obviously a child, but manages to push Artie off balance and leave him hanging onto a filmy shelf above the olympic swimming pool of salty molten lava. Artie tries to bribe his attacker with an ice cream sunday, which confirms that the would be killer is a child. The stool is yanked away, causing Artie to tumble and drop the the barrel of toxic waste on top of himself. Artie somehow survives the attack but is very badly burned. The paramedic even remarks that the pain must be incredible. This angers the hideously old and misshapen camp owner Mel and causes him to snap that it must have been an accident. The greedy grandpa decides to cover up the incident to avoid bad press.

Meanwhile, Ricky has his hands full with a pack of meathead jocks that continually torment him and knock his sweet cowboy hat off his head. The goons also have Angela in their sights, and for a couple of laughs they decide to invite her along for a midnight skinny dip. Angela of course says nothing, and stares holes into them. Later that night the boys take the plunge and an idiot named Kenny manages to convince a girl named Leslie to go on a moonlight canoe ride with him. Kenny starts acting like a jackass and both of them wind up in the water. Leslie swims back to shore and for some odd inexplicable reason Kenny decides to swim underneath the tipped over canoe and begin singing a song called “Hey Hey Baba-Re-Bop.” The unseen slayer suddenly strikes again and Kenny is mercifully put out of his misery by drowning.

The next morning a profane lifeguard discovers Kenny’s waterlogged and snake ridden corpse. Police and paramedics are suspicious, especially considering Kenny’s reputation for being “a pretty damned good swimma.”Mel once again interrupts the conversation and swears that the whole thing is an unfortunate accident. The next day Angela is humiliated by Judy in their cabin and then pelted by water balloons by the mean boys. Ricky rushes to Angela’s defense and tells the cocksuckers to stop messing with his cousin. Mel steps in, and the wrinked old dick punishes the boys. He also punishes Ricky for his rotten mouth. The leader of the gang is a blonde doofus named Billy who proudly tells his fellow campers that he has to take a wicked dump and trots off to the shitter to meet his demise. The unseen slasher strikes again, this time armed with a well placed broom and an beehive full of angry bees.

After finding another dead body Mel begins worrying more about the reputation of his camp than the safety of the remaining children. He also begins to suspect that Ricky is the culprit. Things get even more complicated when love enters the picture and Ricky’s good pal Paul falls for Angela in a big way. Paul even manages to almost get to second base with Angela before she freaks out and runs away. The next afternoon Judy gets involved and begins mocking the new couple and coming on to Paul. A bitchy counselor named Meg gets fed up with Angela refusing to swim or shower with the other girls and decides to throw her in the water. Everyone laughs as Angela almost drowns before Ricky can finally break away from the increasingly unstable Mel and once again come to her rescue.

This is where an already off the wall flick goes even further off the rails into crazy town. The bitch counselor Meg has the hots for the rather decrepit and disgusting looking Mel and throws herself at him. The old man then invites the sexy young thing back to his place for a late night meal. Meg then goes off to wash her cootch and get it clean for the elderly man she is planning on having sex with. As Meg showers and hums a catchy little tune that will drive you bananas, the killer shows up to spoil the fun and stick a knife in Meg’s back.

Mel eventually gets a bad case of old man blue balls while waiting for Meg to show up for their hot date and goes looking for her. He discovers her sliced up body in the shower and once and for all goes bananas. He shakes his feeble and brittle fists and rows revenge against Ricky for Meg’s murder. As all this is happening Angela arranges a late night rendezvous with Paul. These combustible elements combine to create one the most thrilling third acts in horror history. Judy gets what is coming to her in a big way, Mel finds out that looking for Ricky will be a pain in the neck, a cop shows up with a mustache that is clearly made out of black masking tape, and just when you think you’ve seen it all, arguably the greatest shock in the history of horror is revealed at the waterfront…after the social. You won’t be coming home!

Growing up as a wee Brain Hammer, I had a wacky lesbian aunt named Aunt Martha (RIP). As you can imagine, the “Sleepaway Camp” films have a very special place in my blackened heart. My cousin beat me to the video store back in the day and snared a used copy of “Sleepaway Camp.” We watched that movie dozens of times in high school. I’ve watched it so many times over the years, with so many different people, I’ve lost count. “Sleepaway Camp” is one of the most entertaining horror movies ever made. A bad time can never be had during a viewing! But don’t mistake this for a “so bad it’s good” sort of experience, “Sleepaway Camp” is a amazingly creepy and disturbing horror film that also happens to be hilarious.

Robert Hiltzig is a genius for making a summer camp movie that shows kids being kids: playing pranks on each other and swearing like drunken sailors. The film is ruthlessly padded with softball, but the non stop vulgarities spewing from the mouths of the players during the game makes the scenes hilarious. Who didn’t tell someone to “eat shit and live” after watching this one? Jonathan Tiersten is a riot in this movie. No one call yell out “COCKSUCKERS! PRICKS!” like he can! Even more obscene is the vomit inducing wholesale hatchet slaughter of a gaggle of little kiddies all tucked into their sleeping bags. You don’t see that in most summer camp slasher flicks. The over the top violence in this movie has a mean spirited edge that I really enjoy. Not only is “Sleepaway Camp” of one the very best slasher flicks, it is also one of the most brutal revenge movies ever made. The intimate and sexual nature of some the killings, particularly the vulgar deaths on the toilet or featuring curling iron violation are far more lurid than your usual horror and exploitation fare.

“Sleepaway Camp” has it all. The perfect summer camp setting. The spectacular death scenes and make up effects needed to make a gruesome slasher flick. The quirky characters and offbeat performances that make it so unique. An unbelievable performance from Felissa Rose. A chilling theme song. I think there is no other slasher flick that compares when it comes to sheer unnerving perversion and horror. The film is full of scenes featuring the violent death of children and young adults and it is laced with a lascivious dosage of homoerotic imagery. Sure, there may have been a lot of other horror flicks in the 80′s that took place in summer camps, but only “Sleepaway Camp” had the balls to feature a leering pedophile who expresses his mouth watering love for “baldies!” The ending packs a wallop that never fails to make jaws drop when seeing it for the first time. The ending of the film is iconic. It has to be considered nothing less than the greatest of all time.

A trio of (almost) equally excellent sequels followed and another is (apparently) in the works. The horrors of Angela and Camp Arawak will never die. The legions of “Sleepaway Camp” fans have kept the series alive for decades and are always thirsty for more. This flick perhaps more than any other I can think of truly defines the term “cult classic.” I think I speak for all Happy Campers when I demand the return of Aunt Martha! Robert, seriously bring her back for the sequel!

SLEEPAWAY CAMP is available on dvd from Anchor Bay Entertainment. It’s a nice looking dvd that includes the trailer and a wild commentary track with Robert Hiltzig and Felissa Rose. The only drawback to this release is the fact that the print is missing some footage, including some gory shots that extend the death scenes. Lovers of hot boy ass will mourn the missing shots of the lads going skinny dipping. Hardcore fans that want a totally uncut version of the film should seek out the Legacy Entertainment release instead. Both are still easy to find online.

SLEEPAWAY CAMP is also available in a collector’s edition Blu Ray/DVD combo pack from Shout! Factory. This 2014 release features two brand new commentary tracks: one with stars Felissa Rose (Angela) And Jonathan Tiersten (Ricky), and another with director Robert Hiltzig. The highlight of the package is the 45 minute featurette “At The Waterfront After The Social: The Legacy Of Sleepaway Camp” which includes interviews with assorted cast and crew…including Aunt Martha herself Desiree Gould! There’s also a short fan-film titled “Judy,” a music video from Jonathan Tiersten, and a Camp Arawak Scrapbook still gallery. All in all, a fantasic release, and an essential purchase for diehard fans (is there any other kind?) of this clas-sick. 



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.