Archive for September, 2013

Madman!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 27, 2013 by Brain Hammer

Deep in the woods, lurks a hideous evil… Don’t even whisper his name!

MADMAN (1982)

As the opening titles tell us: “It all started during a campfire at North Sea Cottages, a special retreat for gifted children.” An asswipe named TP (get it?) sings a creepy campfire song that scares both the children and the viewers. Then the resident old fat fuck of the group tells the morbid tale of Madman Marz. Marz was a dirt farmer who once lived in a house next to the camp. He was a big nasty bastard who loved pounding his booze and then pounding his wife and children. One night Marz snapped and slaughtered his entire family with an axe. The madman then walked to the local tavern with the bloody axe still in his hand and calmly ordered himself a beer. A lynch mob captured him and proceeded to hang him from a tree. The next morning his body had mysteriously vanished, and the dead bodies of his family also turned up missing.

Legend has it that if you ever dare yell out the name of the Madman in his woods he will come for you. A snot nosed punk named Ricky decides to show off and loudly dares Madman Marz to come and get him. He even has the nerve to throw a rock at the old deserted Marz house, breaking a window in the process. Old man Max jokingly warns Ricky about the consequences of his actions, and then breaks into another long winded speech wishing the kids the best of luck in the future. Everyone laughs this all off as good natured fun.

Unfortunately for the campers and counselors, the legend of Madman Marz is nothing to laugh at. Richie finds out the hard way when he hears a noise and follows a dark shadowy figure back to the Marz house. The Madman is still alive and on the prowl. He quickly makes chop suey out of the camp’s cook “Dippy” and then starts stalking and slashing the kiddies.  The campers are spoiled rich brats, and the counselors are an annoying group of spaced out and horny weirdos that spend their time lying on the floor all in a row with their heads together having inane conversations, so it’s hard to work up much concern for their safety as the bloodletting begins.

TP eventually discovers that Ricky never came back to camp and goes looking for him. He finds Madman Marz instead and is viciously hung from a tree for his efforts. Then the madman begins showing his flair for creative decapitations and swiftly beheads an ugly pair of camp counselors. The night of savage death degenerates into a fiery deathtrap that seemingly eliminates the monster once and for all. As the survivors cling to the last shreds of their sanity, they are forced to accept the fact that MADMAN MARZ IS REAL! They thought they were alone, but deep in the woods lurks a hideous evil. Don’t even whisper his name!

Interestingly enough, MADMAN was originally going to feature the “Cropsy Maniac” as the killer instead of Madman Marz. Writer and director Joe Giannone and his partner in crime Gary Sales wrote an original story based on the infamous upstate New York urban legend. Unbeknownst to them, the Weinstein brothers were also doing the exact same thing at the exact same time. The casting for “Madman” had already begun when Giannone discovered that another film called “The Burning” was being shot and featured Cropsy as the villain. The script had to be immediately changed and the concept of Madman Marz was born. It’s a similar storyline in the proud tradition of a cautionary campfire tale, punctuated with then-cutting edge violent death scenes.

“Madman” came out at a time when similar slasher flicks were flooding the market and failed to make much of a splash at the box office. It’s too bad more people didn’t get out to see this one, as it manages to stand out from the bunch for possessing some of the darkest atmosphere, a fantastic score, nasty death scenes, and one very impressive looking monster. Madman Marz is one of the very coolest 80′s slasher icons, and his kills are almost unparalleled in backwoods brutality. This flick contains possibly the greatest decapitations (via car hood!) and hangings of any slasher flick ever! The special effects are very convincing looking and really add to the impact of the film. It also helps that Paul Ehlers is simply amazing in the lead role. When Paul’s wife went into labor he rushed from the set and actually went to the hospital in full Madman Marz makeup. Imagine the terror this must have caused at the hospital!

Fans of George A. Romero’s clas-sick “Dawn Of The Dead” will enjoy seeing Gaylen Ross (appearing here under the name Alexis Dubin) in a steamy hot tub sex scene. Gaylen looks great in this movie and turns in another good performance. My only real complaint is that I would have enjoyed seeing that little bastard Richie get killed. The fact that none of the bratty rich kids get snuffed is kind of a bummer, but the mind boggling scene where a tiny chick hides inside a refrigerator more than makes up for this oversight. The opening sequence featuring the haunting ballad of Madman Marz and the telling of his horrifying legend never fails to give me chills. “Madman” has earned a well deserved cult following, but it also often gets overlooked when 80′s slashers are discussed. I think the incredible death scenes alone make this flick one of the all time greats, and a must see for slasher enthusiasts.

Code Red recently released a very nice looking 30 year anniversary edition dvd of MADMAN. Just having the film back in circulation alone would have been cause for celebration, but Code Red actually went the extra mile for this special edition release. The bonus features include tv spots, the theatrical trailer, a commentary track with Joe Giannone, Gary Sales, and Madman Marz himself Paul Ehlers, and a brand new featurette: “The Legend Lives: 30 Years of Madman.” There’s no excuse now for not having a copy of one of the essential summer camp slashers in your dvd collection. Buy or die!

KEEP THE BLOOD FLOWING!!!

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An American Hippie In Israel!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 11, 2013 by Brain Hammer

The ultimate trip became a wild psychedelic nightmare for…

AN AMERICAN HIPPIE IN ISRAEL (1972)

Mike is an American hippie traveling around the world on an endless quest for pretty girls and freedom. His barefoot adventures take him to Israel, where he hitchhikes and lands a ride from a sexy redhead named Elizabeth. Elizabeth is naturally curious about Mike’s hippie lifestyle, and invites him back to her place for a relaxing afternoon of coffee and making love. Mike shares with Elizabeth a few of his tender kisses and twisted memories. You must have heard of the Vietnam war. Mike was a 19 year old virgin who had been ordered to become a murdering machine. That’s why Mike bums around. Trying to run away from this stinking world. From the society that turns us into messengers of doom…into robots.

Mike pines for a place, far away from everything. A place of total isolation where he and Elizabeth can live as they want. They take a stroll through the city and encounter a really groovy gaggle of hippies. This quickly leads to the inevitable dope smoking, free loving, and bad folk music. Mike easily convinces the others to join in his quest for total freedom. Just when the hippie jam fest is about to get into full swing, a ruthless pair of robot assassins crashes the party and mows down the happy hippies with machine guns! 

Once the smoke clears, the only survivors are hippie Mike, Elizabeth, and another hippie couple consisting of one very hot chick and one very ugly dude. The four freaks bond together as a family and make a vow to laugh, love, and share the wonderful feeling. They then decide to relocate to a small deserted island not far from the shore where they can freak out and frolic in peace. But someday the children will pay for taking time to play. The time to pay comes the next day, when the hippies wake up to discover that their boat and all of their supplies had washed away in the tide. The gang then find themselves stranded without food or water, surrounded by shark infested waters. The island paradise quickly becomes a really bad scene as the women go mad and the men turn into savages. Looking for kicks and freedom in a land far away from home, the ultimate trip became a wild psychedelic nightmare for an American hippie in Israel!

   

This flick can best be summed up in three words: totally fucking bananas! The (hopefully) rare example of an Israeli Hippie-ploitation flick, AN AMERICAN HIPPIE IN ISRAEL was the masterwork of writer and director Amos Sefer. Amos had a unique vision of free loving hippies seeking total freedom from society, chased around the globe by the evil machinery of civilization, who at the push of a button could degenerate into monsters. Luckily for the dumbfounded viewer, his unique vision also included silver faced mimes with machine guns, bloodthirsty sharks, stark raving mad neanderthal hippies, and a horny hippie co-star who looks like Michael “The Hills Have Eyes” Berryman’s far less attractive Israeli cousin! Most of the unintentional laughs come from the incredibly melodramatic monologues spewed forth from our hitchhiking hero, where he gets to express his disgust at the world and how full of shit it really is. The last act of the film, where the stranded hippies begin to go mad and turn on each other is absolutely over the top and utterly hilarious.

I had been waiting to see this flick for over a decade, and I’m happy to say it didn’t disappoint. AN AMERICAN HIPPIE IN ISRAEL is a fucking BLAST! This is hands down one of the funniest, most entertaining flicks I have watched in ages, and it was well worth the long wait. My first exposure to this tripped out madness came back in 2002 when I picked up the original Fangoria/Box Office Spectaculars DVD release of I DRINK YOUR BLOOD. The trailer for “American Hippie” was included in the bonus features, and it was one of the most odd and hilarious things I had ever seen. I would watch that crazy trailer over and over, and was always on the lookout for a copy of the film – which did not seem to actually exist. Over the years, I would always see the trailer pop up on other incredible Grindhouse Releasing DVDs such as CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, CANNIBAL FEROX, PIECES, THE BEYOND, and CAT IN THE BRAIN, and after ten long years of anticipation – it is a real treat to finally have a copy of this cult clas-sick in my collection!

As to be expected with Box Office Spectaculars and Grindhouse Releasing, this is a seriously amazing, top notch release. AN AMERICAN HIPPIE IN ISRAEL is presented in an incredible 3 disc set: a Blu-Ray/DVD combo that also includes a bonus DVD! That’s right, you get the Blu-Ray PLUS two DVDs all in one groovy looking package that really pays proper respect to the long lost psychedelic clas-sick. The bonus dvd features THE HITCHHIKER – the uncensored director’s cut of the movie, and is only available in this limited edition release. The bonus features include deleted scenes, in depth interviews with stars Asher Tzarfati and Scmuel Wolf, featurettes highlighting the film’s long awaited re-release in Israel, still galleries, trailers, optional Hebrew sub-titles, and a bonus audio track that allows the viewer to enjoy “The Beverly Cinema Experience” and laugh along with an audience. I can’t recommend this one highly enough! This is a must see flick and a must have for any respectable Blu-Ray/DVD collection. Shut your ass, then buy or die!

KEEP THE HIPPIE BLOOD FLOWING!!!

Hell High!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 6, 2013 by Brain Hammer

Where the students are DYING to graduate!

HELL HIGH (1989)

A sexually repressed biology teacher named Brooke Storm (Maureen Mooney) is tormented by memories of the violent impalement death of two sexually frustrated greaser teens that she accidentally unleashed during her tender youthful years as a pink party dress sporting Jon Benet lookalike. All grown up but mentally disturbed, Ms. Storm begins to crack when one of her very worst students – a nasty punk named Dickens (Christopher Striker – RIP) begins harassing her. The tension reaches a breaking point when Ms. Storm snaps and slaps the Dickens out of Dickens in class. Humiliated, Dickens vows revenge on the teacher.

The incouragable sociopath Dickens is never far away from his loyal followers – Smiler and Queenie. Smiler (Jason Brill) is the token obnoxious giggling fat fuck moron, and Queenie (Millie Prezioso) is a slut with attitude and a taste for the colorful fashions of Cindy Lauper. The gang becomes a fearsome foursome when Dickens befriends a pretty boy pussy named Jon Jon (Christopher Cousins) who recently quit the school’s football team because he couldn’t take the pain. Dickens shares his trusty bottle of Jack Daniels with Jon Jon after school and then the two fast friends bond some more while following Ms. Storm home from school. Jon Jon starts whining about how he doesn’t like “the stink of it,” which prompts Dickens to respond with the classic line “You don’t like the stink of nothing. Besides, there’s nothing after high school. There’s only more stink.”

The boys follow Ms. Storm back to her isolated home near a swamp and get their jollies peeping at her in the shower. Much to the lads (and the viewers) shock and delight, the closeted and conservative looking Ms. Storm actually has a smoking hot body, and she seems to get a big kick out of groping her soapy breasts in the shower (Do girls really do that?!?)! The next day, the pack of misfits attend a football game at the school. This allows Dickens a chance to approach an injured player on the sidelines and threaten to “open up” his leg wound with a huge oversized knife! Then the gang hop into Dickens’ car and drive onto the football field so Jon Jon can intercept the ball mid-throw and ruin the game for his former team mates.

Later that night the kids decide to go to Ms. Storm’s house for a little fun. The pack of hooligans head into the swamp to gather up as much slime as they can in garbage bags and then proceed to vandalize her house. They throw the slime all over the house, dump a bucketful on Ms. Storm’s face, jump up and down on the roof, and break a window in the front door. Their festivities are briefly interrupted by the high school’s lesbian swim coach, who unexpectedly shows up at the house to visit Ms. Storm. Unbelievably, the coach doesn’t seem the least bit concerned to find her friend babbling hysterically and covered in slime. The broken window doesn’t faze her either. Instead of doing something crazy like calling the police, she gives Ms. Storm an incredibly fast acting quaalude, tucks her into bed, and leaves!

This gives Dickens and the gang the perfect opportunity to break into her home. The mean spirited pranks turn sinister when both Dickens and Queenie take turns molesting the drugged and delirious teacher. Fortunately for Ms. Storm, Dicken’s concept of “nailing this bitch” consists solely of pawing at her breasts and scrunching up her nightgown a bit. Some in-fighting between the kids gives Ms. Storm a window of opportunity to escape, which she attempts to do by swiftly defenestrating herself! The gang is shocked and horrified, but express more fear for their futures than remorse for their deeds. Jon Jon even mutters “There goes my future.”

But unfortunately for everyone involved, Ms. Storm isn’t dead. The now battered and bloody biology teacher finally snaps and goes berserk. Her demented night of vengeance is best summed up by the European title of the film – “Raging Fury!” The gory highlights include heads being bashed with rocks (very brutal!), pencils shoved into temples, multiple bloody impalements, throat slitting, and human dissection experiments for homework. This teacher is tough, and her final exam will be murder. Don’t go down to the swamp tonight…

HELL HIGH is a semi-obscure low budget horror flick from the dying days of the 80′s slasher craze, and exactly the type of flick I had in mind when I started doing these PFTC reviews. Sadly, “Hell High” didn’t exactly set the box office on fire, only raking in a meager $187,920. For some reason this film received terrible reviews, mostly from critics who apparently didn’t even watch the movie before reviewing it. I say that because comparisons to “Carrie” and “Prom Night” are beyond me. Perhaps the title is misleading, because this is hardly your run of the mill high school slash ‘em up. Most of the film takes place off campus, the body count is too low to qualify this one as a real slasher, and the flick plays out more in the sleazy revenge-themed tradition of clas-sicks like “I Spit On Your Grave” and“Class Of 1984.” 

There are a couple of very nice T&A shots for perverts to enjoy, the highlight being Ms. Storm’s extended shower masturbation scene. Hats off to director Douglas Grossman for fine use of top quality stunt breasts in that one. Lead actress Maureen Mooney was pregnant during the filming, and actually looked fairly disgusting in the nude – as you can very quickly see as she gets out of the shower. This flick isn’t exactly a wall to wall blackboard bloodbath in the same league as “Massacre At Central High” or “Slaughter High,” but the semi-frequent violent scenes are always satisfyingly vicious. I already mentioned the especially brutal head-bashing sequence, the multiple bloody impalements, and the sight of the teacher’s pencil slamming to the fat fuck’s temple will also make the grade for gorehounds.

I also thought the acting in this film was better than you’ll often find in your average low budget horror flick. Maureen Mooney does a great job in the multi-layered leading role, as does Christopher Striker as her arch nemesis. There’s some really great chemistry between the two, you really get the feeling that they genuinely despise each other. (Sadly, Striker passed away from AIDS shortly after the film finished shooting and didn’t live to see its release.) “Hell High” is also notable for featuring one of the very best male screams in all of horror history, provided by Jon Jon himself – Christopher Cousins. Your eardrums will also be assaulted by some hideously catchy original pop music provided by Johnny Vance. The toe tapping theme song “I’ll Trust In You” will haunt your dreams for weeks after seeing this one.

I have fond memories of first seeing this clas-sick flick back in 1990 on Joe Bob Briggs’ “Drive In Saturday Night” show on The Movie Channel. The fine folks at Shriek Show helped bring back those memories by releasing a fantastic dvd of HELL HIGH that includes goodies like a directors commentary track, interviews, trailers & TV spots, and best of all – a hilarious commentary track with none other than Joe Bob Briggs himself! Like all of Joe Bob’s books and commentary tracks – this one is hilarious and incredibly informative. (I am not ashamed to admit that I stole literally everything from his commentary track for this review!) I’m a huge fan of this one and highly recommend a purchase.

KEEP THE BLOOD FLOWING!