Lynn Lowry Mania!!!

This edition of BRAIN HAMMER’S PICKS FROM THE CRYPT features three clas-sick horror flicks that all feature the stunningly beautiful cult film actress Lynn Lowry!

Lynn has a very unique beauty and presence that really makes her stand out amongst the pack of other, more well known genre actresses and “scream queens.” She’s appeared in several films and television shows over the years and is still going strong, but will always be best known to sick fucks such as myself for a terrible trio of her early roles where she played a diseased sex maniac! My kind of girl! In honor of the lovely Lynn Lowry…

 

LET THE BLOODSHED BEGIN!!!

 

 

I DRINK YOUR BLOOD (1970)

A wandering hippy devil cult’s van breaks down, so they set up shop in a small town which is nearly deserted thanks to the recent construction of a nearby dam. When night falls after a busy day of catching rats to barbecue, the hippies take acid, pledge themselves to master Satan, and proceed to freak the fuck out. One of their mock Satanic rituals degenerates into the rape of a young girl from town who was caught sneaking a peek from the woods. The girl wanders home dazed and drugged, unable to speak.

When her Grandpa, the town veterinarian, figures out what happened he decides to confront the drug infested hippies. They quickly dose Gramps up with LSD and send him packing. Gramps is reduced to an incoherent imbecile who uses salt & pepper shakers for rabbit ears. This infuriates his chubby and feisty Grandson – Pete, who in turn shoots a rabid dog, expertly extracts a blood sample (!) and then injects the rabid dog blood into the hippies’ meat pies! Yes – meat pies! Did I mention that Petey also works in the town bakery?

The hippies are duped by Pete into buying the tainted pies and quickly suffer the brutal effects of hydrophobia after eating them. The rabies combined with the drugs make them homicidal and they turn on each other before wandering around the town infecting others. One of the female hippies with a particularly roaring sex drive winds up getting gang fucked by several of the local construction workers, and they all become infected with rabies as well. The small town becomes overrun with rabid lunatics on a blood crazed killing rampage and the young kids and the owner of the bakery have to fight for their lives.

I am a HUGE fan of this bloodthirsty 1970 effort from director David Durston. As a Satanist, I get a lot of enjoyment out of dialog like “Let it be known brothers and sisters that Satan was an acidhead!” There are lots of great performances from the hippies to enjoy including Bhaskar as “Horace Bones,” the cult leader, Jadine Wong as the deadly Asian beauty “Sue Lin,” and George Patterson as the wild eyed “Rolo.” George does his best to steal the movie and is very convincing as a slobbering axe wielding lunatic. I also have to mention Riley Mills, who plays the pugnacious “Pete.” This kid is absolutely hilarious. Something about the confidence in the way he delivers his dialog, and the way he carries himself really cracks me up. No one could say “Gran-Paw” better than Riley.

The breathtaking Lynn Lowry made her second uncredited on screen appearance (she had previously appeared in a small role in Lloyd Kaufman’s “The Battle Of Love’s Return”) here as the mute hippie who wields a mean electric knife. Lynn gets naked and looks absolutely beautiful here. She says more with her eyes than some actresses could say with a lengthy monologue. It’s a crime that she wasn’t credited here because her role is arguably the most memorable of the film and her image was frequently used in the ads.

This clas-sick Jerry Gross production was a perennial grindhouse and drive-in favorite, almost always paired with “I Eat Your Skin,” which was a rather lame 1964 black & white jungle/zombie effort from director Del “Horror Of Party Beach” Tenney. The one-two punch of I DRINK YOUR BLOOD and I EAT YOUR SKIN looked unbelievably cool on movie posters and was too much for audiences to resist. Fans looking for a bloody good time might have been disappointed however, depending on where they saw the film, as the film was originally rated “X” for violence and the prints were often butchered by theater owners in a lame effort to tone it down. When you see this flick uncut it is full of bloodshed. The splatter is applied by the bucket full in the proud H.G. Lewis tradition and is sure to satisfy gorehounds.

The fine fiends at Grindhouse Releasing put out a beautiful special edition dvd of I DRINK YOUR BLOOD which is completely uncut, beautifully remastered, and includes a wealth of bonus features including director’s commentary, deleted scenes (which include an alternate ending), and interviews with David Durston, Lynn Lowry, and more! It also features a nifty day-glo cover that glows in the dark. Trippy!

 

 

THE CRAZIES (1973)

An experimental biological weapon is accidentally dropped over a small city in Pennsylvania. This deadly virus is code-named “Trixie,” and causes its victims to quickly become incurably insane and/or homicidal. The freshly infected townsfolk begin setting their homes and themselves on fire, hang themselves, and stab each other with sewing needles. The government quickly steps in and attempts to quarantine the town, figure out why all the good people are dying, and most importantly cover up the mess that they created.

The insanity of the situation is escalated when the soldiers begin shooting non-infected citizens who attempt to flee the town in cold blood. The soldiers attempt to coral everyone in town into the high school gymnasium while Army scientists feverishly work at discovering a cure. Meanwhile, a small ragtag group of survivors barely manages to escape into the deserted outskirts of town. After killing a few soldiers the group hides out inside an abandoned house, but Trixie begins to infect them too.

“The Crazies” was George A. Romero’s return to the realms of socially conscious horror after doing two dissimilar films that were both unsuccessful. The pace here is absolutely breakneck, and the editing manages to be both frantic and very precise. George really is amazing when it comes to creating scenes with multiple shots sewn together. This flick is much more violent than Romero’s clas-sick “Night Of The Living Dead,” and features a great deal of splattery goodness. The opening scene is especially chilling, as a man kills his wife and then torches his house while his children helplessly watch. From there ‘The Crazies” definitely lives up to its name with scene after scene of deranged and sometimes depraved insanity.

The cast consists mostly of amateurs, but fans of Romero’s “dead” films will love seeing both Richard France & Richard Liberty chewing up the scenery here. Richard France seems to be building up steam here for his beautiful, blustery, and one-eyed performance in “Dawn Of The Dead.” Richard Liberty on the other hand isn’t quite as cracked out as he was as “Dr. Frankenstein” in “Day Of The Dead,” but he does get to imbibe in a little delirious yet delicious incest with his tasty on-screen daughter, played by none other then Lynn Lowry!

Lynn actually gets some dialog this time around, and turns in another very memorable performance as a lovely young girl infected with the virus. The trio of leading actors on the other hand are all uniformly unappealing, awful, and forgettable. The rest of the supporting cast isn’t that hot either, but the wooden performances are low key and realistic enough to not ruin the film.

This is one of Romero’s more underrated efforts in my opinion. This one doesn’t get mentioned nearly as often as his other horror clas-sicks, which is really too bad. It’s not a perfect film by any means, as it clearly suffers from a low budget, but it’s still a fast paced and entertaining blast. The influence “The Crazies” had on later flicks like “Outbreak” and “28 Days Later” is obvious. The many haunting images of white jump suited solders with machine guns are unforgettable. As usual Romero is right on the money, and his portrayal of how quickly our society could go to hell rings even more true in the post 9/11 world than it originally did in the Vietnam era.

Blue Underground released a spectacular dvd of THE CRAZIES that includes a very fun commentary track with George A. Romero and B.U. head-honcho Bill Lustig, the theatrical trailers and TV spots, poster & still gallery, and best of all: “The Cult Film Legacy Of Lynn Lowry,” which is an excellent interview/retrospective on Lynn’s career that features a lot of insight from her about the films she appeared in…and lots of nudity! This amazing featurette makes this dvd a must own for Lynn Lowry fans. All Romero fans should consider this mandatory viewing as well.

The 2010 remake of “The Crazies” on the other hand should be avoided like “Trixie.”  The sole highlight of the film for me was the all too brief appearance of LYNN LOWRY in a cameo role as a crazy chick on a bicycle. She looked great in the five seconds she’s on camera, and it’s a shame she didn’t get more screen time! Her appearance in this film should technically make it Brain Hammer approved, but the fact that it’s a yet another shitty fucking remake instantly negates this. I’ve seen a lot worse (the Elm Street remake comes to mind), but I’ve also seen a lot better. This is ultimately a very forgettable film, and any comparisons to the original make this remake look pathetic and tame. “The Crazies” (2010) is NOT Brain Hammer approved and should be avoided by all except for the hardcore Lynn Lowry fanatics such as myself that will buy a used copy of the dvd for freeze frame purposes!

 

 

SHIVERS (1975)

The residents of an exclusive high priced high rise apartment building located just outside of Toronto become infected by a strain of quickly multiplying slug-like parasites that turn them into sex crazed lunatics. The deviants then wander around the building trying to fuck everything that moves and infect others in the process. The mild mannered and sexually reserved head of the apartment’s medical clinic attempts to uncover the origins of the parasites and avoid getting infected himself. When he finally realizes that this will be futile he attempts to escape the building along with his hot piece of ass nurse. To the doctor’s horror, he discovers that the entire building has been taken over by the prowling perverts. Think “Night Of The Living Dead,” but with Craigslist creeps with HPV on Ecstasy instead of zombies!

This was legendary director David Cronenberg’s first full length feature, and the debut of his incredible  “venereal horror” genre. The alternate title “They Came From Within” is a much more apt description of what takes place. His brilliant themes of body invasion, degeneration, and evolution which are presented here would also be explored in his later films, such as “Rabid,” The Brood,” “Videodrome,” and “The Fly.” Even though “Shivers” comes off as a lot more primitive than his later efforts, it still possesses that odd uncomfortable quality that all of Cronenberg’s films share.

He is still one of my favorite directors, simply for the fact that you never know what to expect when seeing one of his films for the first time. There are no limits to his imagination. His ability to make viewers unsettled and uncomfortable is uncanny, and is in full effect in his debut effort. This clas-sick film features hardcore perversion aplenty, with incest and forced homosexuality being only a few of the highlights.

Despite an extremely low budget (about $179,000 American) Cronenberg created a very well made film full of inventive special effects and nasty splatter. Special effects wizard Joe Blasco contributes some excellent work as the parasites are vomited out of their victims and latch themselves onto people’s faces requiring bloody plier removal! The slimy parasites also crawl into their female victims’ orifices while they bathe, much to the shock of horror legend Barbara Steele who appears in a small role. (Yet another plot device that was recycled and reused as a “homage” in that overrated and unoriginal flick “Slither”)

In a recurring theme in this round of PFTC, Lynn Lowry turns in the most memorable performance in the film as the cock teasing and uniform removing Nurse Forsyth! The epic and creepy monologue Lynn delivers where she explains to her doctor lover that “old flesh is erotic flesh” and that “even dying is an act of erotism” is definitely the highlight of the film acting-wise. She also looks really good both in and out of her nurse’s uniform! Lynn definitely left her mark on Cronenberg, as she accidentally stabbed him in the shoulder with a fork during filming!

All fans of David Cronenberg need to have this in their collections. When seeking a copy of SHIVERS, be sure to get your wallets ready and look for the 110 minute director’s cut that was offered by Image Entertainment and others. The “R” rated prints under the title “They Came From Within” and “Frissons” are edited and aren’t worth watching. Clas-sicks like this need to be seen fully UNCUT to be fully appreciated!

 

KEEP THE BLOOD FLOWING!!!

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