Bleeding Skull Addendum: A Handful of Coming Attractions
A while back, I was lucky to share with all of you guys an interview with the two men who have been a major inspiration for me: Joseph Ziemba and Dan Budnik of Bleeding Skull. Now, as you may or may not be aware, a Bleeding Skull book is well on the way for publication, which I’m sure will be simply amazing—hopefully when it comes out I’ll be able to take a break from film reviews to do a review of that book. Bleeding Skull, as you know, is a genius database of obscure cinema that cannot be rivaled, though many sites definitely serve as good supplements to it. I learned via Facebook that there were a number of films that the guys at the site were looking for to showcase in the book, which were rarer than anything they had seen before. For them, that’s saying something. So, I probed my collection to try to find some of the films—I was fortunate to find four of them, including Brainsucker, Evil in the Woods, Have a Nice Weekend, and Mutilations. I made copies for them in exchange for my interview and DVDs of Overlords of the UFO and Weird World of LSD (score!); and now, I present glimpses into those movies on that list—not exactly previews, and not exactly reviews. These are Bleeding Skull’s Coming Attractions.
The movies they have already received on this list are Brainsucker, Evil in the Woods, Have a Nice Weekend, Mutilations, and The Corpse Eaters. Everything else is still needed, and if possible they do not want copies made from torrents—only ones made from legitimate tapes. Contact Joe, Dan, or myself if you think you can pitch in.
Brainsucker—the movie you love to hate! (See: Ogroff review.) That Brainsucker is one bad mother—shut yo’ mouth! Hoo boy, this movie leaves something in my veins—something distinctively, nostalgically serious and yet also hilarious. Halfway between horror comedy and a revenge movie, Brainsucker is a weird one to open with. Pretty much a crazy German scientist (yes, crazy) kidnaps a dead man and tries to give him a new life as a perfectly happy type of man. Unfortunately, his assistant switches the machinery controlling his brain from “Good” to “Evil” (seriously!), which results in his hatred of mankind—so, natch, he goes around sucking people’s brains out through a straw. He also reconciles with his lost parents (!) and gets a girlfriend (see: Ogroff review) but kills himself at the end.
Again, this is a strange opener—it seems so confused but moves through piercing logic. It goes from disturbing to funny to just insane in the course of seconds, and sometimes looks like a studio film before bouncing into backyard indie territory. I have to admit, I laughed, I cringed, and then the ending came and made me cry. For operating in a world which moves outside of normal physics (and sanity) it is a moving piece of film. I thought I was gonna hate it, but in the end…I am content. It’s an opener—so far, so good.
A kid checks out a book called Evil in the Woods from the library, and then reads it. It tells the story of a bunch of b-movie filmmakers going into “Evil Forest” (dead serious) to make a Bigfoot-and-aliens movie. A witch has a problem with them being there, and, alongside her boyfriend, a corrupt cop, and her gang of mentally retarded hillbilly children, she begins to kill them off. Then, the kid reading the story turns into a monster and kills his parents. Woo!
Whereas it becomes obvious even through the fog of confusion that Brainsucker is definitively meant to be a horror comedy, I have no idea where Evil in the Woods is coming from. The narrator who provides voiceovers for silent-era style inter-titles has a thick Southern accent and uses words like “wacky”—the hillbilly children laugh in that typical Patrick Star “dumb person” chuckle. We get cocaine-themed slapstick and a gay joke. It feels very surreal, and very funny, but it seems too serious. I remember one scene where the hillbillies start to pull a girl’s clothes off, in a dark room—it turns out they’re just putting her in a “princess” costume, but I thought they were going to rape her. It was freaky. And yet…it all plays out like a comedy. It’s filmed in that certain format. And it becomes very memorable. Keep an eye out for the psycho librarian, too. She’s a peach.
And here the wacky stops and the typical begins. Such a shame, too! This movie is essentially only notable in its status as one of the early “proto-slashers”, up there with The Ghastly Ones and maybe Blood Feast —an ambiguous killer in normal, everyday settings, and a group of people that gets smaller and smaller as time goes on. In this case, we aren’t dealing with teenagers, just a group of normal, middle-aged people. And, of course, we have to have our crazy Nam vet. Sonuvabitch, it’s the ‘70s!
When I say “typical”, I know that that sounds like a critical term. It is, both in its importance and its implication of criticism overall. I don’t like typical movies—I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve become a little pampered on weirdness. If a movie goes on without any sort of bizarre outstanding, I probably won’t like it too much. There always need to The Scene. Pretentious? Unfortunate, but certainly. Yet I still like Have a Nice Weekend. Is it the fact that it resembles the types of movies that wouldn’t really be made until at least a decade later? Perhaps. What about the fact that it seems so realistic in its banality? That’s also a factor. Of course, the scene where the killer confesses why they started killing is gripping. I loved it, and I’m glad I sat through to the end to see it. Boring? Of course. But still intriguing.
Impossible—simply impossible. Expert clay-modeling—terrible clay-animation. Brilliant dialogue—stoned, dead delivery. Typical concept—experimentally crazy delivery. What is going on? Have I discovered something that man was not meant to know?
This is what followed in the wake of Have a Nice Weekend. Aliens invade Earth—they mutilate cattle. They have been so since 1947, when Roswell happened. A really badly stoned college professor and his squad of “college” “kids” are called in to talk to people, meandering around impressive sets, and fight giant clay lizards with harpoons. Humanity is debated—Nazis are discussed. People die—they are mourned, but are forgotten. Romances bloom—and save lives. And of course, there are plenty of bright lights to have seizures to. Muddled, beyond reason, and a definitive surprise, Mutilations is a nice thing to return to. I went in with no expectations, and I came out with a new favorite. All in all…it’s pretty good. Wait, what am I saying?! It’s great, I loved it, I always have and always will, and you should watch it today. Now.
And…oh great. This movie isn’t Italian, but it is made in the ‘70s by a bunch of people who don’t understand lighting—and it’s a vampire flick. Oh, Canada, oh, Canada…
There’s not much to expect from The Corpse Eaters and there’s not much to take away. We get an exploitative opening in which an “Oh, hey!” lisp-voiced man tells that when we see the lonely businessman in the theatre throwing up into his handkerchief, we should look away. We get some bad lighting, some Satanism, some gore, some flesh-eating vampires, and some boobies. It’s not even an hour long. It’s not boring, but it holds my interest—barely. It’s like a short movie that goes on for far too long. The crazy drunk coroner who may or may not get killed and may or may not be crazy makes the movie kind of cool. So, it’s not much. But it’s not the most forgettable movie I’ve seen. And yet, I want to see it again. Will it be different? Will it be better? I doubt it. But I have time to waste…
I don’t know to say about this one—ugh. Maybe it’s good in some way. Just maybe. With work. Work which will never come. The eons have draped their cloak over this movie. I feel dissatisfied. I feel nonchalant. What is this?
We get a lot of boring chemical fumes and dialogue about pseudo-science and mysticism. Then, a gay black man rapes a mannequin and girls start getting smoke coming out of their skirts. Hoo boy! So, a guy named Professor Addams is in search of the “philosopher’s stone”, which he thinks he can find using the “Alpha Force”. And, it causes people to really want to bang him, along with all the other people who he exposes to the Stone. That’s the whole premise of the movie. It gets pretty insane, but in a slow, very early-‘70s way. We are in a new realm.
This is the second movie I’ve talked about on this site that comes close to just being porn. The first was Psyched by the 4D Witch, and they were made in the same year—Curse of the Alpha Stone, though, actually kinda looks like a movie, not just backyard softcore. And although all the alchemic stuff gets to be a little dull, at least we don’t get talk of “sex vampires” and “fantasy fucking”. This was back in the day, though, when phrases like “sex maniac”, which seemingly meant something in psychological terms but really didn’t, floated around freely on movie posters. The slang and broken terminology get to be a bit much—but with scenes like those two above, who needs to worry? This is one that I recommend for anyone who isn’t afraid of nudity and wants to see sci-fi delve into the realms of madness. And I do mean madness.
Why is this so interesting? Why am I fascinated? It is so dull and yet so clever. It is so simple, so unoriginal, and yet I am captivated. Will I ever watch it again? Maybe I will, in The Hereafter.
A guy named Neville (he’s British, as is everyone else) accidentally kills his abusive father, and believes his spirit will come back to the haunted estate to torture him. He almost dies at the hands of a zombie after a séance, but it turns out that the zombie is actually the housekeeper, sleeping with Neville’s wife. The wife and the housekeeper are out for his money. He lives on as a cripple, and that complicates things for the sneaky, Lady Chatterley-esque couple—but good old Neville knows what they’re up to. He pits them against each other so they take different roles in one of the ghost stories he was told about the house. Everyone gets their just desserts, and of course the house is really haunted.
I wanted to hate this movie—I can’t stand those movies where it’s just a bunch of idiots after someone’s inheritance, and how they fake a haunting which turns out to be real. This is different, though. I realized it was the element of how they end up taking on the roles of the ghost story, and the ongoing theme of how “you can never leave the house, no matter what”, that made me like it. Typical, but deliciously clever. This one is worth a watch.
Annoying people? Yes! Freaky killer removing the annoying people? Yes! Slow, almost molasses-like pacing? Yes! The first Swedish horror movie I’ve ever seen? Well now!
Blodaren is cool. It starts out slow, with a couple moving up to a cabin for some lovin’. They run across “Blodaren”, or “The Bleeder”, who kills them while giggling and pushing around a baby carriage. Then, over the course of the remaining hour, we follow an all-girl band as they wander around the Swedish countryside not really reacting to a bunch of dead bodies they find, and a park ranger (I think) following around a lady in a white dress using a really slow canoe. The girls get killed and we don’t really find out much about Blodaren, nor do we find out anything whatsoever about the girl in the white dress. And now I am satisfied.
This really is the first shot-on-video Swedish horror movie I’ve ever seen—strange, given that most of the websites I get my movies from are Swedish! (Ahem.) I love seeing things from other cultures (see Evil, by the way), and thus this movie, to me, equates out to the Swedish version of N.G. Moutier’s lunatic Ogroff or (dare I say it?) Andreas Schnaas’ immortal Violent Shit. It’s up on YouTube. Have fun.
When is enough too much for a nerd? I live life as a man who revels in intellectualism and pop culture alike—I am a nerd, or a geek, or a what-have-you. All I want out of life is that Weirdo satisfaction that can be achieved through finding the fine things in life and finding people to love them with you. Nerds of the world, rise! Shreck has got your back.
A trio of Wayne-and-Garth-esque horror film nerds/Nazi lovers is trying to run a tour business out of the house of the evil murderer and Nazi Max Shreck—real name unknown, given his alias because he was known to love Nosferatu and thus was named after the man who played the titular character. They accidentally raise him with a phony Satanist ritual that features the dumbest dialogue this side of The Last Slumber Party. (That movie had lines like, “Whoa! Stereo telephones!” Just a heads-up.) This causes them to start to fade back in time to when Shreck was alive in 1958, and they need to escape him and his trio of zombie ghosts.
This is a weird one. Trapped somewhere between the kingdom of David “The Rock” Nelson’s essential no-fi synth-ridden Devil Ant and the backyard holocausts of Weasels Rip My Flesh and Splatter Farm, we enter a new universe. A new plane of existence, in fact—mindlessly intelligent, pop-culture obsessed, critically geeky, and impossibly fun. I love Shreck. It’s a nerd movie, by nerds, for nerds. And it is not to be avoided.*
Ah, yes, another porn, is it then? Sure, I’m game. In a sarcastic sense. What is it about Bigfoot?! Search for the Beast, Night of the Demon, The Geek…and now Beauties and the Beast. Bigfoot always gets laid by human chicks, whether they like it or not. I said I wanted to hate Brainsucker. I said I wanted to hate The Hereafter. But I loved those. Beauties and the Beast = the odd man out.
So, Ensign Chekov’s lesbian sisters run off into the woods for fun time. They bump into an old hermit who gives coins to a bunch of “hippies” in exchange for food. (The hermit is a thirty-something-year-old wearing a beard made of Kleenex.) Some guys are after the coins. The two girls boink the hippies for about an hour while Bigfoot kidnaps some girls in a subplot which is, disturbingly enough, completely forgotten about. The guys who are after the coins beat up and rape the hippies to try to get their loot, but the hermit and Bigfoot save the day. Hooray?
I guess I’m just beating on this one because, well, I’m sick of Bigfoot porn. Well, and the fact that this movie is almost literally nothing but fucking. Is that wrong of me to say that? (You can tell I’m angry. I get blatantly sarcastic and cynical when I’m on a tirade. Imagine this whole thing in a Brad “Cinema Snob” Jones voice.) Thank Thanatos that this piece of crap is only an hour—and did I mention that I watched this on Valentine’s Day? Yep, Bigfoot porn on the day where I walked around campus hallways ignoring people exchange bad poetry while trying not to screw each other right then and there. Happy fucking Valentine’s Day.
I believe I can express my thoughts about this movie in two ways: with a paraphrased quote from The Abomination, and through a story told in parentheses. The first goes like this, and does indeed reflect how I went into the movie. “As I washed the blood off of my truck [I realized how little I actually wanted to watch Psycho Girls in the wake of the crappiness of Beauties and the Beast]. As the blood goes down the drain, [I suddenly get a vision of a giggling man and a prostitute cutting off a coke fiend’s head with giant novelty scissors] and I realize everything is alright!” True story.
So, my copy (via torrent) was in Italian (but it’s an American film). We start off with a writer (who isn’t that good) typing a story set in the 1960s, and then we open with a little girl (boy?) poisoning his parents (or just one) with some rat-poison-laced bacon. Then, we cut to (I think) the wife three years (or twenty years) later. She visits a woman (older? Younger?) in an abandoned (or condemned) insane asylum (who is her daughter? Her mother?) and then kills her (why?). There is a dinner party where (again, I think) philosophy is discussed. The maid feeds them (a person?) with poison in it that knocks them out and they all get hauled off to the abandoned (or condemned) asylum. Then, three patients (one female, two male) torture and kill a few of the people in dangerous (ly hilarious) skits. They order pizza (with a gun) and do celebrity impressions (Marlon Brando, Al Pacino) and just have a nice time. Then they die, and some things happen (no spoilers this time) and the movie ends (with the frame story restored). And that is it.
Whew, Psycho Girls. So random and so fun. I think I love you. It’s just an hour and a half of harmless…harmless…what’s the word?
The word is stuck in my head—jamming the machine. It needs to come loose, so I can think—come on…come on! Almost there—aha! There we are. “Sleazy”. Sleazy is the word that I am looking for. Gears begin to grind again. The machine is restored…
A guy named Titus runs for Senator, citing his dedication to “The Party” (apparently neither Left or Right Wing, as the intro states he wants to eliminate both) and gets mixed up with some pot-smoking orgy-partying hippies while trying to get more votes. His marriage falls apart and his wife, Felicia, unstable to begin with, goes insane. Titus’ manager, Frank, is in love with his wife, and tries to save her. They both learn something about life, but it’s too late. In one truly disturbing scene, Felicia cuts off her nipples and clitoris and bleeds to death. Frank breaks into the party and kills the hippie leader as well as Titus before he is also stabbed. And, like my mind, things go on, unfazed by the senselessness—and the sleaze.
I am apathetic to the cause that The Dirtiest Game tries to pitch. Political activism and moral teachings are actually not the name of the game. The name is in the title itself: the game is dirtiness. Orgies, blood, boobs, and pointlessness all mix together in a filthy cocktail and it all is handed to the audience. And when you drink it down the world isn’t any different—you just feel a little dirtier. And that’s perfection, from the viewpoint of the creator. For us, it is nothing. The gears go on. Choices do not branch off because nothing is learned…and finality is reached. I feel nothing but apathy now.
Holy crap, it’s the Eighties! Seriously! Not since Hobgoblins have I seen such impressive Eighties-itude! (That’s what people from the Eighties would call the status of something being from the Eighties.) Too much hairspray on the girls (and guys). Comic relief characters. Leather suits. Rock n’ roll songs about rock n’ roll. That special Eighties dialogue. The different Eighties stereotypes. I didn’t grow up in the Eighties, but Holy Phantasos did I fall back in time
There really isn’t too much to this movie (something that is, again, a property possessed by many horror movies in the Eighties). We get some rock n’ roll, werewolf killings, making out, werewolf killings, teen drama, werewolf killings, rock n’ roll, werewolf killings. Then it’s over, like a flash. And my life is changed. These are the movies that I feel so comfortable with. Horror movies with class—with characters that aren’t depraved perverts, just mortals like you and me—and teenagers, too. Relatable. Normal, for the most part. I do love movies filled with depraved perverts, but really, this is the type of stuff that I watch when I like to treat myself. The Last Slumber Party and Blood Lake and especially Final Exam are great examples of this. Teens just talk like teens do (or don’t, it depends on how old the screenwriter was) and everyone just chills. Sure, people die, and we get some gore. But that’s okay. These were different times. This was the Eighties.
This is getting its own article, I do believe—there’s so much to discuss. Detective Kaminski is a favorite. He’s the comic relief cop. He bickers with the chief and calls him “Sarge” in a whiny buddy-cop voice. And there’s the issue of the hair band, and their could-be Hell’s Angels manager, Vince. And the band itself, and the music they play. And the high-class accented lady who speaks before the werewolf kills people at the school party. And the…well, you get the drift. This is a keeper. Go back in time.
This really isn’t a movie—it flows together with a course of a standard yet bare-bones plot. And yet it feels like a graduated system of cheaply-related vignettes. The action is fake, the tension is real. Where am I…and do I need help? Is it even a matter of all this concern?
This is not a movie, but this is not Nightmare. The shots change, and sadly enough, there is no Gatekeeper. And yet like my review of Nightmare I assess artistically. Hookers get picked up—literally one second later their bleeding corpses turn up in trashcans. We see nothing that leads towards the deaths. Is this some sort of metaphor? Is the real world as drab and grey as the naked sets from Streets of Death? There are some boobs and gore does not appear when it should. A company that sells snuff films may be involved with the murders. A washed-up “Gil from The Simpsons”-style whiny cop shows up. Randomness keeps. But it doesn’t go anywhere. And yet it all becomes…
Well, in the end, I liked Streets of Death. But, strangely enough, it’s the only film on this list that my mind can’t make into art. Simplistically advanced? (Which is to say, advanced in its term of simplicity?) Or just trash? I dunno. Contentment flows either way. Like blood. And there are still questions.
And now we reach the closer. Not a crescendo, mind you—more like the final whimper. Heavy Metal Massacre, here we come. Let’s dance.
A couple of cops appear now and then (for, like, five minutes throughout the whole thing) to chase down a killer who is apparently killing hookers. Familiarity comes in, but this is not Streets of Death. The killer, played by the director, “Bobbi Young” (in reality David DeFalco, the shithead behind Chaos ) just slices his way through town, killing people who go to this one club. But more often than not, he mugs to the camera, trying to look sexy, while the worst, most outdated “heavy metal” crap lingers in the background.
Heavy Metal Massacre can only really be described as “well, uh…special?” just because it’s, well, uh…special? Seriously—plotline is replaced by cheap proto-Sony Vegas newbie FX. Suspense is replaced with not-even-garage-level “heavy metal” (again, quotes) blandness. The director’s ego replaces everything that’s not plot and suspense with simple “special” retardation. We are left with a mess that is almost unwatchable and unflinchingly boring. I had my hopes up for a decent conclusion—but now there is only bitterness.
And so that’s my list.
* A quick note on Shreck. It is impossible to find. This is the first online review of it that will be posted in forever. I was lucky to get my copy. If you are interested in snapping it up, please, by all means, contact me, and I will do what I can to run something off for you.