Archive for January, 2014

3 on a Meathook!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 28, 2014 by Brain Hammer

WARNING: Not for the bloody mary for lunch bunch!

THREE ON A MEATHOOK (1972)

This one starts off with some tender porno music, a lengthy shot of something resembling a college campus, and then jumps straight into a tacky love scene with an especially nubile blonde co-ed who sports some fantastic tan lines and later slips into some devastatingly short hot pants. Welcome to the wild world of William Girdler’s “Three On A Meathook!” 

Blondie and three of her skanky gal pals take a weekend trip to the country, only to have their car break down in the middle of the night. Along comes Billy, a good natured young country bumpkin who lives with his “Paw” in their large farmhouse. Billy invites the girls back to the farm for the evening and serves them up some of Paw’s special smoked meat as a late night snack. As the girls later settle in for bed an unseen slayer makes their presence known and slaughters them one by one via stabbings, shootings, and swift beheadings! The co-eds became prime candidates for murder!

The next morning Paw wakes up Billy, who had spent the night sleeping outside in a shed, and informs him that, oops – he had done it again. Ever since the tragic death of “Maw” several years before, Paw has repeatedly told Billy that he is a cold blooded killer who can’t be around women – ever. Paw claims that crazy things happen whenever Billy gets involved with women, but Billy just can’t seem to remember ever doing anything wrong. When Billy is told he killed the four girls the night before he is shocked and horrified. Paw then thoughtfully offers to clean up the mess Billy made and gives him some money to go to town and see a movie.

Speaking of movies, the one you are currently reading about then slows down to a crawl, as we spend some quality time with Billy while he roams the streets and then gets loaded in a local dive. This part of the movie is a ruthless attempt at padding out the film’s running time, and the background music provided by a shitty bar band called “The American Xpress” is terrible and annoying to the point of ridiculousness! You will need a high tolerance for the sound of wah wah pedals if you hope to make it through the TWO horrible songs that this band plays – in their entirety, without hitting the fast forward button.

Mercifully, this torturous scene eventually ends and we then wake up the next morning with Billy inside the apartment of a waitress named Sherri. Sherri apparently took a shining to shitfaced Billy and brought him home for the evening. In arguably the most memorable scene of the entire movie, Sherry informs Billy that he had “an accident” the night before and hands him a freshly washed pair of trousers! Stale urine and love are in the air, so Billy wisely decides to invite his new pal Sherri back to his place: the same place where four girls were just violently murdered. Sherri agrees and brings along another pal to help flesh out the film’s body count. It doesn’t take long for poor Sherri to discover Paw’s padlocked shed, hooks of cold steel, and a madman on the loose!

I really enjoy this early Ed Gein inspired “meat” film from the late, great director William Girdler. William began a tragically short, yet incredibly prolific film career in 1972 with the release of his first picture – “Asylum Of Satan.” He then went on to make eight more films over the next six years, including the clas-sicks “Grizzly,” “Day Of The Animals,” and “The Manitou” before dying in a helicopter crash in 1978. “Three On A Meathook” is often dismissed as a cheap “Texas Chain Saw Massacre” knock off, but it actually proceeded TCSM by a few years. This was the FIRST flick to feature tender young girls hanging on meat hooks! This one is also a lot more gory than TCSM, and the ample bloodshed on display is more reminiscent of the clas-sick H.G. Lewis splatter flicks. That’s probably because Pat Patterson of “Doctor Gore” infamy provided the bloody special effects, which are the highlight of the film.

When the co-eds aren’t being slaughtered, the film tends to drag along. As already mentioned, the music is terrible, and the acting is also uniformly wooden and awful. Despite those rather glaring flaws this one still really works in a big way. It must have something to do with the genuinely creepy backwoods vibe that this one possesses. The actors all sleepwalk through their roles, but that weird “non acting” actually makes the film feel more gritty and realistic. The actor who played Paw – Charles Kissinger, is easily the best actor in the picture and always shows up in Girdler’s flicks. The ending of this one is shamelessly lifted from “Psycho,” but as always – they don’t call them “exploitation” flicks for nothing!

Incredibly, there has never been a proper dvd release of THREE ON A MEATHOOK. Most of William Girdler’s films have received some sort of dvd presentation, but for some reason his most graphic and notorious horror flick remains semi-obscure. A bootleg dvd was released by Televista back in 2007, and more recently CG Media Parters released a cool sounding but shitty looking double feature dvd titled “The Naked Torture Show” that includes both “Three On A Meathook” and the Veronica Lake epic “Flesh Feast.” Both of these bootleg releases were essentially vhs quality, and nothing to write home about. Hopefully someone will come along and eventually give this one the type of special edition release it truly deserves. The eye catching title alone should ensure that this cannibal clas-sick won’t ever slip into complete obscurity. Definitely a must-see flick for fans of old school backwoods brutality!

KEEP THE BLOOD FLOWING!!! 

Advertisements

Hardware Hack ‘Em Ups!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 17, 2014 by Brain Hammer

The blood runs in rivers…and the drill keeps tearing though flesh and bone!

THE TOOLBOX MURDERS (1978)

B-movie legend Cameron Mitchell stars as Vance Kingsley, an apartment building super who slips into psychosis after his daughter dies in a car accident. Vance dons a ski mask, grabs his trusty toolbox, and begins taking the lives of the filthy females in his apartment building that do “unnatural” things to their bodies. The tenants are a tasty assortment of alcoholics, porn stars, and strippers. Bit by bit, the killer carves up a nightmare with a power drill, hammer, screwdriver, and nail gun.

The masked madman then sets his sights on a sweet virginal gal named Laurie. Instead of hacking her to pieces, he kidnaps the young girl and ties her up to his bed. Vance later explains to the terrified gal that she reminds him of his daughter. In his deranged mind, Vance believes keeping Laurie prisoner is protecting her from God, who wants to claim her pure soul the same way he previously claimed his daughter’s. What he does to her nerves is almost as frightening as what he does to his victims.

Despite the fact that all the murders took place within the same apartment complex, there’s no sign of forced entry, and the murders are all committed with tools, Vance is never seen as a suspect by authorities. The dimwitted police (lead by the eternally confused Tim Donnelly of “Parts: The Clonus Horror” infamy) are baffled by the sheer brutality of the crimes and can’t seem to find a single clue. Laurie’s brother Joey and his best pal Kent finally get fed up and decide to take the law into their own hands. Their investigation eventually turns up a dildo and a deadly secret. Will Laurie survive the toolbox murders, and what will be left of her?

Director Dennis Donnelly’s “The Toolbox Murders” was one of the most controversial horror films of the pre-slasher era. It’s hard to believe such a graphic horror flick could come from a director best known for working on TV’s family favorites “Dragnet” and “Emergency.” The film was even discussed at length on the “Donahue” show. Old Phil ranted and raved about how sick the film was and even showed the nail gun murder scene in it’s entirety, much to the shock and horror of the fat housewives in his studio audience! “The Toolbox Murders” was also banned in the UK for several years as a video nasty.

It’s certainly lurid and vicious stuff, but it’s exceedingly well made and also works a deranged character study. Some people complain about the pacing of this flick, most of the complaints note the fact that most of the action takes place in the first 30 minutes or so. Despite the fact the film sometimes drags, I think Cameron Mitchell does a fantastic job in the lead role and actually makes the character somewhat sympathetic. Miles beyond the usual mute masked killers, and a lot more interesting too. I think horror fans would only be let down by this one only if they were expecting a straight slasher flick with a higher body count. This one is more of a sleazy slow burn, and it also plays out more like of a 70’s TV police procedural.

A few years ago Bill Lustig’s Blue Underground released THE TOOLBOX MURDERS on dvd. As expected from Blue Underground, the dvd features a number of fantastic supplements including a commentary track with producer Tony Didio, DP Gary Graver, and star Pamelyn Ferdin, theatrical trailers and tv spots, and a still gallery. My favorite feature is “I Got Nailed In The Toolbox Murders” – an interview with actress Marianne Walter, better known to old school porno fans as Kelly Nichols. Hail Bill Lustig! You are truly a sleazy gorehound’s best friend! This is essential exploitation and a mandatory purchase. Buy this one or get SCREWED!

DRILLER KILLER (1979)

A true piece of punk rock cinema, “Driller Killer” begins with an on screen title card instructing viewers to play the film LOUD. Infamous director Abel Ferrara stars (under the name Jimmy Laine) as Reno Miller, an up and coming avant garde artist who struggles to keep a roof over his head and to hold on to the last shreds of his sanity. Reno is constantly tormented by the sleazy denizens of the mean streets of NYC, and his manhood is threatened by his girlfriend’s girlfriend. Things take a turn for the worse for Reno when a fucking horrible punk rock band called Tony Coca Cola & The Roosters move into the apartment above him and assault his eardrums with their non stop rehearsals.

The constant noise prevents Reno from finishing his latest masterpiece, a bizarre and bloody painting of a buffalo. After many long nights filled with pizza, beer, and frustration, inspiration finally hits Reno in a big way when he catches a TV ad for a nifty combination belt/battery pack that allows mobile use of power tools. Reno quickly runs to a hardware store to buy one, and then begins wandering the streets at night with a drill. Now completely unhinged and frequently hallucinating, Reno drills holes into any bum that makes the fatal mistake of bothering him. Reno has become one of those who kill violently!

Despite the rather lurid sounding premise and title, this is actually more of a cracked out character study than a traditional slasher film. “Driller Killer” owes a lot more to films like “Taxi Driver” than “The Toolbox Murders.” Slasher fans looking for non stop bloodshed will be sorely disappointed, although the film is punctuated with some fairly graphic kills. The film’s gore centerpiece is the brutal scene where Reno repeatedly plunges the drill into a hobo’s forehead. This incredible scene was used as cover art for the notorious UK vhs release, which was promptly banned and instrumental in helping to create the “Video Nasties” craze. As a result, “Driller Killer” was banned in the UK until 1999 and wasn’t released uncut until 2002.

“Driller Killer” perfectly captures the sleazy and amped up essence of the big apple in the 70′s. It was the directorial debut of Abel Ferrara, who would later go on to helm equally disturbing films with much bigger budgets including the clas-sick  “Ms. 45” and “Bad Lieutenant.” “Driller Killer” takes a long time before getting to the bloodshed so impatient splatter freaks might have to hit the fast forward button a few times to complete a viewing. There are numerous scenes of Reno arguing with people. Mostly his girlfriend(s), but also his landlord and his art dealer. Bickering, bile, and bad music largely comprise the first two thirds of the film. In the long run this actually works in the flick’s favor, because it’s much easier to relate to Reno’s descent into madness when you suffer right along with him as you watch.

The good folks at Cult Epics have released DRILLER KILLER on dvd a few different times. The best release is the two disc collectors edition which is presented in widescreen and includes a hilarious drugged out director’s commentary track, theatrical trailers, and the original Porto-pack commercial. The second disc features three of Ferrera’s early short films: “Could This Be Love,” “The Hold Up,” and “Nicky’s Film.” There’s also a trailer for the legendary “Nine Lives For A Wet Pussy.” Cheap bastards looking for cheaper thrills should look out for the “Classic Splatter Pack” double feature dvd from CFS Releasing that features “Driller Killer” along with the notorious “Drive-In Massacre.” Either way, there’s no excuse for not having a copy of this clas-sick in your collection. Buy or die!

NAIL GUN MASSACRE (1985)

After a brutal gang rape occurs on a construction site in a small Texas town, a masked maniac with a bad case of Darth Vader-itis and a penchant for horrible Freddy Krueger wisecracks goes on a killing spree seeking revenge against… well pretty much everyone. Dressed in camouflage, driving a hearse, and armed with a pneumatic nail gun, the deranged killer makes swiss cheese out of any redneck that crosses his deadly path. Forget about that guy with the chainsaw, and start worrying about the deranged Nail Gun Killer!

The unfortunate (in many ways) victims are repeatedly nailed in the head, the groin, to trees, to the highway, and sometimes to each other during sex. The dimwitted country bumpkin sheriff with a badge that likes to switch sides on his chest at random teams up with an always denim clad county medical examiner who looks like the bass player from Journey to investigate the murders. As these two geniuses wander aimlessly around the countryside looking for clues the nail ridden dead bodies begin stacking up like cord wood. Who will get NAILED next?

I’m a huge fan of this hilariously inept but equally lovable 80′s slasher flick. This body count flick delivers about fifteen bloody murders and some really nice titties within its 90 minute running time. Hard to argue with that! “Nail Gun Massacre” is a special film for many reasons, but my favorite part has to be the odd, inexplicable appearance of a toothless old geezer who randomly shows up in a scene and proceeds to steal the whole fucking movie by asking the immortal question “Hey, what put all them holes in her body? Sex?” That’s followed closely by the freshly grilled dead body that starts to tip over and is thoughtful enough to prop himself back up so he doesn’t fuck up the shot. You don’t see that in every flick, folks.

Fans of gratuitous nudity will enjoy a steaming eyeful thanks to a big haired blonde who proudly displays her enormous rack, complete with tan lines and a set of nipples roughly the size of a midget’s thumbs! There’s also a fairly sleazy scene with a really ugly couple bumping uglies against a tree, and an unbelievable moment where a hick talks his bimbo date into having sex on the hood of his car “so they can really fly!” The latter sex scene is set to the tune of a toe tapping number entitled “Foozeball” that is played in it’s entirety not once, but twice in a row. It’s guaranteed to get stuck in your head and fuck up your life. What I really appreciate about the chicks in this flick is the fact that they are all 100% authentic trailer trash. No pesky silicone or cosmetic surgery to ruin the fun, they all look like chicks you could pick up at a county fair.

The late, great writer, producer, and co-director Terry Lofton was the brains and the bucks behind this incredibly cheesy homemade horror flick. More than a few critics have nailed “Nail Gun Massacre”  over the years but I think it more than delivers the goods for horror fans with a hunger for bloody mayhem and cheap, sometimes unintentional laughs. Terry had stated that he didn’t want to make a “real blood & guts type horror movie” but instead wanted to make a fun, low key horror flick. Hats off to Terry for a job well done! I think that’s the reason this flick still has such a well deserved cult following – it’s a blast! Unlike a lot of other micro-budget horror flicks from the same era, and especially nowadays, this one is actually fun to watch. It’s a very penetrating story!

Synapse Films released a fantastic looking dvd of NAIL GUN MASSACRE that was fully restored in high definition and is presented in anamorphic widescreen. The special features include outtakes, a promotional trailer, and an interview with Terry Lofton. There’s also some very funny liner notes from Michael Felsher that point out some of the film’s many shortcomings.  If you attempt to take this one seriously, you’ll probably hate it. But if you watch this flick with sense of humor you’ll love it. This is a perfect movie to watch on a Saturday night with a few beers and buds. It’s also cheaper than a chainsaw!

KEEP THE BLOOD FLOWING!!! 

Cannibal Holocaust!

Posted in Uncategorized on January 8, 2014 by Brain Hammer

Ripout! Barbeque! Devour! How long can you take it?

CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980)

In 1979 four documentary filmmakers disappeared in the jungles of South America while shooting a film about cannibalism…six months later, their footage was found. Genre superstar Roger Kerman (“Eaten Alive,” Cannibal Ferox”) stars as Harold Monroe, a NYU anthropology professor who travels to the deadly “Green Inferno” jungles of the Amazon searching for the missing crew. After a long and grueling search leads the professor into the heart of the Yanomamo village, he finally discovers the filmmaker’s rotting remains alongside the reels of footage they had shot shortly before dying.

The lost film footage is assembled and restored by technicians at the University and Professor Monroe is the first to see it in its shocking entirety. Meanwhile, he is constantly being pursued by greedy network executives that want to buy the footage along with his incredible story. The network is convinced that the more you assault an audience, the more you rape their senses – the more they will love it, and that this remarkable documentary footage would pull huge ratings. In frustration, Monroe arranges a special screening for them, purely to prove his point that the footage is far too vile and inhuman for anyone to see and that it should be destroyed. What unfolds before the unfortunate viewer’s eyes is sheer horror. “Don’t turn away! Look at it! These are men, men like you!”

The deceased documentarians had a controversial reputation for being sensationalist filmmakers that strived to shock and offend their audience at any cost. The lost footage from the jungles reveals them to be much, much worse. The four filmmakers, led by the incredibly obnoxious director Alan Yates (Gabriel Yorke) and his arrogant girlfriend/assistant Faye Daniels (Francesca Ciardi) had brutalized the jungle and its innocent inhabitants in a crude effort to obtain “shocking” footage. Arson, rape, murder, torture, and barbaric impalement were all part of Alan’s demented script and if the natives weren’t actually savage enough to do those sort of things, Alan and his crew were more than willing to do it for them!

The natives eventually and justifiably snap after enduring such incredible cruelty and seek revenge against Yates. One by one, the murderous film crew is dispatched, dismembered, and devoured as their cameras roll catching every last moment. The men you will see eaten alive, are the same who filmed these incredible sequences. After seeing these horrific events unfold before their eyes, the network executives have no choice but agree that the footage is too much for anyone and agree to have it destroyed. This leaves Professor Monroe alone to light up his trusty pipe and muse: “I wonder who the real cannibals are.”

“Cannibal Holocaust” is the undisputed king of the “cannibal” films. No other flick in this perverse and eternally despised little sub-genre comes close when it comes to assaulting the viewer with unsettling, gruesome horror. This flick doesn’t often provide the sort of jivey music or unintentional laughs you’ll find in Umberto Lenzi’s “Eaten Alive” or “Cannibal Ferox.” Director Ruggero Deodato deserves much credit for helming such an uncompromisingly grim and shocking motion picture. Deodato had already helped pioneer the “cannibal” movement with his 1977 effort “Ultimo mondo cannibale” aka “Jungle Holocaust.”  That film was simply brutal, but incredibly Deodato managed to top himself with “Holocaust.”

Deodato himself calls “Cannibal Holocaust” a “clear and straightforward denunciation of the journalistic approach as we know it today,” and if that was his honest intention I’d have to say the film was a success. That doesn’t really explain the extended scene – not involving the film crew – where a native woman is raped and then beat to death with a stone phallus, or the countless stomach turning scenes of animals being slaughtered. They don’t call them exploitation flicks for nothing, but this one actually lives up to it’s immortal “most controversial movie ever made” status. More than perhaps any other flick in horror history, “Cannibal Holocaust” truly is the one that goes ALL the way!

The influence that this eternally controversial flick had on later “lost footage” films like “The Blair Witch Project”  is obvious. “Cannibal Holocaust” was a groundbreaking, pioneering genre film for using lost footage to help tell its story, and this plot device has been lifted and recycled several times since. This flick also has a bad rap for essentially being garbage, but I think the superior quality of the film making, the acting, and the score all rises well above the expectations of even your average exploitation enthusiasts. Riz Ortolani’s haunting score is hands down my favorite part of the film. The contrast between the beauty of the music and the ugliness of the violence is unsettling. The pacing is excellent and the film is beautifully shot. It’s also beyond brutal and can be hard to stomach. The simulated acts of rape and dismemberment are chillingly realistic, and these violent scenes are surrounded with scenes of animals being slaughtered. Not to mention the REAL death footage seen in Alan Yates masterpiece “The Last Road To Hell.” In other words, this is a great first date movie.

In the proud tradition of their superior “Cannibal Ferox” dvd, Sage Stallone and Bob Murawski of GRINDHOUSE RELEASING unleashed a devastating two disc deluxe edition of CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST that has more bonus features than you can shake a severed limb at! There’s a one hour behind the scenes documentary entitled “The Making Of Cannibal Holocaust” that features rare behind the scenes footage, an audio commentary by director Ruggerio Deodato and star Robert Kerman, interviews with the Deodato, Kerman, and Gabriel Yorke, theatrical trailers, extensive still galleries, the Necrophagia music video for “Cannibal Holocaust,” which was directed by Jim Van Bebber (“The Manson Family,” “Gator Green”), liner notes by the legendary Chas. Balun, and much more! The most controversial movie ever made belongs in every horror fiend’s clas-sick collection, and this definitive release is an essential purchase. Better to rest in peace in the warm body of a friend than in the cold ground…so buy or die!

KEEP THE BLOOD FLOWING!!!