Archive for May, 2012

Confessions of a Serial Killer!

Posted in Uncategorized on May 25, 2012 by Brain Hammer

Gory greetings! Your old pal Brain Hammer is back from the grave and ready to party! Step inside the mind of a killer…

CONFESSIONS OF A SERIAL KILLER (1985)

On June 4, 1987 one of the most bizarre and twisted accounts of human atrocity began to unfold. It began with the simple arrest of suspected thief and murderer Daniel Ray Hawkins. Routine questioning revealed unspeakable horrors when Hawkins glibly admitted to killing as many as 100 people before his capture. The cops try to get tough with Daniel Ray and get nowhere fast. Daniel Ray ain’t talking to nobody that’s gonna treat him bad. Then an old timer named Gaines takes over the interrogation. Sheriff Gaines eventually wins over Daniel Ray with an endless supply of cheeseburgers, chocolate shakes, and cigarettes. Satiated, the serial killer begins his confessions.

His first victim came at age 15. Daniel Ray went down to where the whores was because he wanted to have sexual relations. Daniel Ray was very familiar with sexual relations, as he had spent much of his childhood watching his prostitute mother entertain her roughneck clients and occasionally being forced to join in. Daniel Ray’s daddy was an alcoholic in a wheelchair who eventually got fed up watching mommy doing business and blew his brains out. Daniel Ray had an instinctive fear of seeing the whores all gathered together and decided to follow one of them home as she walked alone. When the whore rejected Daniel Ray’s feeble advances and called him a creep she didn’t want to touch, something snapped inside him. Something inside him that drove him to murder. The whore fell victim to Daniel Ray’s blade, and Daniel Ray found the whole thing real exciting. He even had to pull the car over on the ride home and do sex to himself just thinking about it.

Daniel Ray’s confessions are the savage tales of a road predator. A part time handyman and full time criminal and drifter who stuck to the highways. One year Daniel Ray managed to put 60,000 miles on one car. Countless victims would encounter Daniel Ray along the highways, and very few of them would live to tell the story. Once they got in his car, they were his. One of the only broads that ever gave Daniel Ray any real trouble was a drunk that he picked up outside of a roadhouse in Louisiana. She offended Daniel Ray with her foul language and tough acting. She also managed to get the drop on him, finding his pistol and turning it on him before he could use it on her. The killing spree might have ended there, if not for the help of Moon Lewton.

Moon Lewton (Dennis Hill) is a big dumb queer who meets Daniel Ray while working off the same truck and starting running with him. Moon didn’t say much, but he said enough so Daniel Ray knew he was a queer. The two of them had sexual relations. Daniel Ray still loved the ladies though, and couldn’t resist the chance to pay a visit to a good looking hide he saw living alone. Daniel Ray & Moon kindly offer to fix the woman’s broken air conditioner for $5, and in desperation the sweaty woman hesitatingly accepts. Bad decision. She walks in on Moon trying on her makeup, and is then tied face down to the bed. Moon proclaims that “The pig is ready!” and slits her throat while Daniel Ray rapes her. Sheriff Gaines begins to question the validity of Daniel Ray’s story, noting much of this had already been in the newspapers. Daniel Ray then adds the grotesque detail that Moon shit on the floor when they were finished.

Daniel Ray is proclaimed by doctors to be a consummate liar who mixes lies with the truth, which makes his incredible claim of 200 victims all too believable to the police. Daniel Ray offers to help the police locate his victim’s bodies so their families can rest easy. He also confesses to an armed robbery that turned deadly. A trip to a gas station inspires a conversation about the lack of hardcore porn. Moon dreams of starting their own X rated magazine, which Daniel Ray dubs “Cunt Killer.” Once inside the store, Moon shoots the owner, Daniel Ray shoots the owner’s wife, and Moon grabs a polaroid on his way out the door and snaps a few pics of the corpses for their magazine.

The pictures were stored inside a shoebox in a bus station locker. Daniel Ray and Moon learned all about bus stations thanks to Moon’s younger sister Molly. Molly was pretty young but she was real experienced and smart. She even worked inside one of them massage parlors. Molly had no problem with running with a pair of killers, and even offered to show them how to make some real money at it. Molly helped the deadly duo with their pickups and later became married to Daniel Ray, although Daniel Ray insisted it was a normal relationship – no sex or nothing. The drifters eventually wind up in Texas, living with and working for a doctor who also owns an appliance repair shop. It doesn’t take long before Daniel Ray and Moon start taking an interest in the doctor’s scantily clad daughter. She may have been the final victim, but the true story of America’s most twisted serial killer had only just begun.

The late, great Robert A. Burns of “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre” and “The Hills Have Eyes” legend makes a rare appearance in front the cameras in CONFESSIONS OF A SERIAL KILLER and commands the screen as Daniel Ray Hawkins. The Daniel Ray character is closely patterned after the prolific serial killer and/or pathological liar Henry Lee Lucas. Henry Lee and his right hand man in murder – Ottis Toole are notorious for having confessed to as many as 600 murders between 1975 and 1983, before changing their minds and recanting their stories. Some Texas lawmen who worked on the “Lucas Task Force” remain stubbornly convinced that Henry is responsible for at least 350 murders, but the evidence and police work is dubious at best.

It appears that Henry and Ottis both enjoyed living in the media spotlight as world famous serial killer superstars and happily confessed to any unsolved crime that the police would accuse them of. Henry in particular confessed to several murders that he could not possibly have committed because work and hospital records proved he was in a different state at the time. All of this “justice” came to a crashing end when Henry decided to change his story and declare that he wasn’t a serial killer at all and that he was only in fact responsible for two deaths – those of his mother (which he had been convicted for several years before) and his teenage lover Becky. That new story conveniently left out the murder of an elderly woman for which Lucas was originally arrested, and did little to clear up the confusion about his crimes. Regardless if Henry Lee Lucas actually killed 3 or 300 people, his legacy as one of the most notorious yet celebrated criminals in American history remains intact.

And this bizarre legacy is exactly what makes Henry Lee Lucas such perfect subject matter for a serial killer flick. To date, I have seen three different films that attempt to tell the twisted story. My personal favorite of the bunch has to be CONFESSIONS OF A SERIAL KILLER. “Confessions” is by far the most accurate and disturbing depiction of Henry Lee Lucas’s alleged atrocities. It pulls no punches at all with concerns to Henry & Otis’s homosexuality and their alleged acts of necrophilia – two important elements of the story that are missing from the much more well known and respected “Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer.”

“Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer” is a fantastic film in its own right (and a personal favorite of mine), but it suffers from inaccuracies and attempts at making Henry seem heroic. “Confessions” is a truly sick little film that celebrates “Cunt Killers,” it doesn’t make Henry (Daniel, whatever) a knight on a white horse who turns up his nose at necrophilia, or valiantly rescues a woman from being raped by her brother. In real life, Henry would have gladly helped rape her. Speaking of which, the real life Becky Powell was a semi-retarded twelve year girl. For some reason, all three of the flicks that have told this story always cast Becky as being some sort of sassy or sexy twenty-something. I find these sort of morality-inspired inaccuracies to be highly dubious. Like the filmmakers, I have no problem with the graphic depiction of violent death but unlike the filmmakers I see no reason to sugar coat elements of the story that might be “too much” for an audience to handle.

Regardless, “Confessions” is the still one of the very best films I have ever seen when it comes to capturing the real, sleazy essence of a hardened road predator. Robert A. Burns’s relative lack of acting experience works in his favor. He absolutely inhabits the role. Everything he says feels totally real. It’s interesting to note that Bob was originally hired to work on the film as  the production designer, and wound up taking the leading role of the film when the original actor that was cast split town. Bob is best known of course for the incredible props and sets that he created for Tobe Hooper’s clas-sick “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” and in a knowing wink to his past “Confessions” includes a few shots of a bloody chainsaw and meathook. Also of note for Chainsaw fanatics – this film contains an uncredited appearance by none other than Bill Johnson, who would later play “Leatherface” in the immortal “Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2!” (Bill plays a roughneck who has his blowjob rudely interrupted, and you can check out my exclusive interview with the man here: https://brain-hammer.com/2011/10/05/leatherface/)

“Confessions” has a reputation for a being a typically troubled, low budget production. Fortunately, none of that behind the scenes chaos comes across on the screen. Much credit to first time writer and director Mark Blair for a job well done under pressure. This was the first in a series of one film that Mark would create over the years, and his debut effort is a big winner. The film is captivating from start to finish. A number of the scenes where Daniel is seen stalking after his female prey are very tense and uncomfortable, and the home invasion/rape scene (which is punctuated with a nasty throat slitting and twitching legs) in particular is ultra realistic and unsettling. There’s also a sense of twisted black humor that runs throughout the film and adds to the fun of the proceedings. You will walk away from this film with only two words on your mind – WHICH ONE?

I can’t recommend this flick highly enough. I’ve been a big fan ever since first encountering it on late night cable back in the day. Sadly, CONFESSIONS OF A SERIAL KILLER is probably best remembered today for it’s craptacular VHS cover art – which was a laughable looking attempt at making the film appear to be a“Silence Of The Lambs” ripoff. To date there has not been a dvd release in the states, but the film is widely available through the usual underground sources. It should be considered mandatory viewing for serial killer fanatics and hardcore horror fans with a taste for high quality, low budget brutality.

 

KEEP THE BLOOD FLOWING!!!

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Be Sure You Are Really Dead!

Posted in Uncategorized on May 16, 2012 by Brain Hammer

MORTUARY (1983)

Good looking Mary Beth McDonough (best known to old farts as Erin from“The Waltons”) stars as a dimwitted teenage girl named Christie who mourns the mysterious death of her father by wondering around at night in her skimpy nightgown. It appears that ever since her Daddy got a bonk on the noggin from an unseen assailant and drowned in the backyard pool that Christie has become a chronic sleepwalker. Christie on the other hand is convinced that her mother (Lynda Day George of “Pieces” infamy) is trying to drive her insane. Things get even more complicated for the already terminally confused Christie when a lunatic in a black death shroud begins stalking after her with a knife.

In desperation, Christie turns to her blonde doofus boyfriend Greg (a blonde doofus named David Wallace – who also starred in the cult clas-sick “Humongous”) for help. The wacky kids laugh in the face of death and crank up some disco, which causes Christie to exclaim “Hey Boogieman – Let’s Boogie!” Greg keeps himself busy after school stealing tires from a warehouse, stumbling upon a séance being led by non other than Christopher George, and looking for his missing (dead) best friend. The search ends at the roller disco. Need I say more? Needless to say, much hilarity and roller-padding quickly ensue. Watch out for the token comic relief fat guy.

The legendary Christopher George plays an angry asshole mortician and funeral home owner named Hank Andrews. Hank also owns the warehouse that Greg and his buddy like to steal tires from, and heads up a coven of witches that apparently includes Christie’s mom. Hank’s son Paul (a fresh faced and already completely insane Bill Paxton!) is a fruity little weirdo who also happens to have a big crush on Christie. Greg thinks Paul is a creep, but Christie has a soft spot for the harmless loser who prances and skips with delight after talking to her. Christie and Greg try to find out what her mother and Hank are really up to, and as the title might have already clued you in – it all ends with a deadly confrontation inside a mortuary…where NO ONE rests in peace!

Christopher George AND Bill Paxton in the same fucking movie?!? Playing a psycho father and son duo no less? This one is Brain Hammer approved in a BIG way! Christopher turns in another great, angry and irritable performance. One of the many highlights of the film is Christopher snarling “Get out of here before I embalm you!” at his blonde pretty boy co-star. Speaking of co-stars, Bill Paxton completely steals the show here. His performance is…unique, to say the least. This film is perhaps best known for the short yet sweet moment where Bill shows off his new classical music record and then SKIPS through a graveyard on a quest to put some flowers on his mommy’s grave. It’s such a bizarre little moment in slasher history.

Sadly, that’s about the only slasher history MORTUARY makes. The rest of the film is somewhat predictable and is hampered by a thin body count. There’s also a bit too much disco in this one for my tastes. Flicks like“Mortuary” and “Prom Night” were probably cutting edge at the time for featuring hot and happening sounds, but now they come off as painfully dated. The “who done it” aspect of the film isn’t exactly riveting either. The cast consists of about six people, and one of them is clearly insane. But somehow I doubt anyone would watch this one for the mystery. Perverts will be happy to know that Mary Beth McDonough gets naked in this movie and has a fuck scene on a bear skin rug. This is a must see flick if you ever had fantasies about plowing Erin Walton’s bean field.

Oddly enough, the trailer and cover art for “Mortuary” are a bit more interesting than the film itself. The incredibly cool trailer for the film included no footage at all from the movie, and instead featured the one and only Michael Berryman of “The Hills Have Eyes” legend as a creepy looking gravedigger who gets pulled into a fresh grave by undead hands. This madness was accompanied by one of the all time great ominous voice over narrations:

Before your funeral…Before you are buried…before you are covered with the last shovelful of dirt…Be sure you are REALLY dead!”

Scorpion Releasing recently released MORTUARY on dvd as part of their Katarina’s Nightmare Theater series. As with the other entries in this series, viewers have the option of watching the film with or without wraparound host segments starring former WWE skank Katarina LeighWaters. The special features consist of the film’s trailer and an interview with composer John Cacavas. This one isn’t exactly overflowing with goodies, but I couldn’t care less. I’m happy to finally have this flick on dvd, and I can now retire my dvd-r copy, which hilariously enough came from a crappy high speed VHS copy of the film that I bought at Walmart. (the first thing I ever bought at Wallyworld!) The title “Mortuary” is now easily confused with the unrelated Tobe Hooper film of the same name which sucked, so make sure that you are buying the right flick. Paxton demands it!

KEEP THE BLOOD FLOWING!!!    

Night Of The Demon!

Posted in Uncategorized on May 13, 2012 by Brain Hammer

Gory greetings! It’s time to take a look at the greatest film ever made…that includes a scene where Bigfoot rips off a dude’s dick!

NIGHT OF THE DEMON (1980)

This one opens in the hospital room of the esteemed Professor Nugent. The Nuge was found half dead in the woods, horribly mutilated and incoherent from shock. An inspector arrives at the hospital to question the professor about the whereabouts of his five missing students. Fighting back the pain, Professor Nugent proceeds tells the inspector that all of the horror stories about the forest are true.

In the first of MANY flashbacks, the Nuge then tells the terrifying tale of a fisherman who was found brutally murdered in the same woods. Even more horrifying, the killer wasn’t a man – it was Bigfoot! The bloodthirsty Bigfoot demon rips the fisherman’s arm off and the stump bleeds behind the opening titles. The credits then arrive via sensitive sounding soft rock and footage of a good looking young couple walking on a college campus than resembles a 70′s tampon ad.

The good looking young couple are a pair of Professor Nugent’s prized students. Nuge shows his class disturbing lost footage that was recovered from the site of yet another suspected Bigfoot murder. Then the daughter of one of the victims shows up to talk at length about the time Bigfoot killed a couple that were fucking in a van. Bigfoot rudely interrupted the passionate proceedings by grabbing the dude and smashing his face into the roof of the van. The redhead bimbo reacts to her lover’s violent death by doing her best fake orgasms for a few minutes before the final freeze frame.

The professor then prepares an ill advised expedition into the woods with five of his favorite students. His wife thinks it is a terrible idea, and so does the college, who remove their funding. Regardless, the Nuge presses on and leads everyone to their inevitable  doom. After setting up camp ,the Professor tells a creepy campfire tale about a dude on a motorcycle who stopped on the side of a nearby road to smoke a joint and take a leak, only to have his dick ripped off by the infernal beast! Later that night things take a turn for the bizarre when the Nuge and one his students hear a noise and accidentally stumble upon a backwoods rape ritual being performed in Bigfoot’s honor!

The next morning, a random dude unrelated to the group who is also sleeping in the woods is killed by the demon. Bigfoot violently swings the dude around in his sleeping bag (Jason Vorhees stole everything from this guy!) before impaling him on a branch! Who this person is, I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter because it beefs up the body count. The students go to town and question the locals about the legends of Bigfoot and a deranged woman named Crazy Wanda. After hearing morbid tales of a religious cult led by Wanda’s father and Wanda’s rape and miscarriage, the group stupidly decides to push farther into the woods and look for Crazy Wanda’s secluded cabin.

As darkness falls Professor Nugent tells yet another incredible tale, this one about a woodsman that Bigfoot chopped to death with an axe. Then he spins a truly EPIC yarn about a pair of unfortunate Girl Scouts that Bigfoot stalked after before capturing them and forcing them to stab each other to death! These stories apparently turn on a pair of frisky students, who wander off to shag in a sleeping bag. The eternally cockblocking creature shows up to spoil their fun and give the Nuge’s student a bad case of the back scratch fever.

The group press on the next morning like nothing happened and eventually find and force their way into Crazy Wanda’s cabin. They then immediately impose their will upon the deranged and disturbed young woman. It’s hard to feel sympathetic for the professor or his students when they boss Crazy Wanda around, rifle through her meager possessions, and break into a bedroom that she had locked shut. As if this isn’t enough to justify their wholesale slaughter, the Nuge then takes it upon himself to hypnotize Crazy Wanda and force her to vividly recall her past traumas. Under hypnosis, Wanda reveals the twisted secrets about the time that Bigfoot boned her, and when she later burned her daddy for killing her Bigfoot baby.

Just when it seems like things couldn’t possibly get any more fucked up, the monster invades the cabin and unleashes a devastating final attack on the Nuge and his students! This unholy rampage is highlighted with strangulation, throat slashing, pitchfork impalement, and dismemberment capped off with Bigfoot gleefully swinging bloody intestines through the air! Professor Nugent makes a desperate attempt to stop the beast and winds up regretting it. But will he survive…and what will be left of his face?

Wow! I wish I could have seen this one sooner. What a fantastic, funny, and utterly fucked up flick! NIGHT OF THE DEMON was destined to be released unrated by an offshoot (no pun intended) of an Adult Video distributor, and is chock full of grisly, sexually themed footage that could easily earn it an X rating. It didn’t surprise me at all when I first read that this film had been banned in the UK as a Video Nasty back in the day. The graphic scenes of castration and dismemberment are presented in loving closeup and are about as gory as they come. Much credit must be given to director James C Wasson and writer Mike Williams for having the GUTS to create such a gruesome backwoods horror flick.

The acting is abysmal, the structure of the film is jumbled by the annoying flashback within a flashback set up, and when we finally get a good look at the monster, the makeup is cheap looking and ridiculous. You’ll actually be wishing for Charles B. Pierce to come along and show them how make a convincing looking creature. Not that any of that really matters. This is pure entertainment from start to finish. Whatever it lacks in competence or talent, it more than makes up for with carnage and cheap laughs. The characters are especially annoying body count fodder, and it’s easy to root for Bigfoot to bring on their gory demise. The highlight of the film has to be the incredible scene where Bigfoot makes the Girl Scouts stab each other. That one had me standing up and cheering. Fans of cheese-tastic 80’s clas-sicks such as “Don’t Go In The Woods…Alone” and “Mother’s Day” should consider this an essential backwoods bloodbath.

Code Red released NIGHT OF THE DEMON on dvd as part of their Maria’s “B” Movie Mayhem collection. Like the other entries in this series, viewers can choose to watch the film with or without annoying wrap around segments hosted by former WWE skank Maria Kanellis. Maria’s “Fantasy” music video is also included as a “bonus,” and it is truly wretched in every aspect. The dvd packaging also has reversible art cover that again allows the option of removing Maria from the proceedings. I’m not a fan of the cover art either way, and wish they had used some of the vintage materials instead. There is an onscreen disclaimer before the film apologizing for the source material they had to use for this release, but I can say this dvd looks much better than my bootleg dvd-r copy I had been making due with for years. Nothing else in the way of bonus features relating to the film, no commentaries, interviews, etc., but there are trailers for a few other upcoming Code Red dvd releases, including the Brain Hammer approved clas-sick “The Hearse.” This essentially bare-bones dvd release falls into the “better than nothing” category, but is still highly recommended to anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure of seeing this film yet. It is truly an unforgettable experience.

 

KEEP THE BIG FOOT BLOOD FLOWING!!!