Thursday, 21 February 2013

Old Oz drive in/trash cinema resources

The CAARP database is an invaluable resource for looking up what pre-1980's Eurohorror/trash screened in Melbourne cinemas. It's absolutely surreal to think that the likes of Emmanuelle And The Last Cannibals, Man From Deep River, and Brutes And Savages were screened at drive-in's literally just down the road from where I grew up. I'd love to know the audience reactions at the time...

'Drive-ins Downunder' is another great Australian drive-in resource with lots of pics (the drive-in era was before my time so this stuff is like a whole other world for me):

'Technicolour Yawn' is a true labour of love and a absolute wealth of information back when Melbourne was seemingly overrun with cinemas and drive-ins, and the odd grindhouse inbetween...

The Devil Hunter (1980) - review

The Devil Hunter
Starring: Al Cliver, Ursula Buchfellner, Antonio Mayans

Filmed back-to-back with Cannibals, this second exercise in gut-munching tedium from Franco offers absolutely nothing new since his first inauspicious venture into the genre. Hollywood starlet Laura Crawford (Ursula Buchfellner) is kidnapped while on a publicity tour for her latest movie in Spain by a group of blackmailers. They flee to a hideaway on a remote island and demand a huge ransom from the film’s producer in exchange for Laura. The producer sends hardbitten Vietnam vet Peter Weston (Al Cliver) to deliver the ransom. However the deal turns sour and after a near-fatal showdown, Laura escapes her abusive kidnappers by hiding in the forest, unaware that even worse dangers lurk there...coincidentally a cannibal tribe lives on the island. The tribe is under the command of the ‘Devil’ – a stark naked, heavy breathing seven foot man-mountain constantly mugging for the camera with bulging, bloodshot eyes (literally bloodied ping-pong balls attached to the actor’s face with what looks like brown Play-Doh) and drooling gooey blood. The Devil has the tribe capture any nubile young women they can find as sacrifices for him, whilst he ominously stalks the forest on the hunt for fresh kills. One by one the kidnappers are eliminated and Laura falls into the clutches of the primitive tribe. Weston finds Laura just in the nick of time and after a treacherous haul up a cliff face (Franco outdoes himself with his cheapness here – the camera was turned on its side and Cliver crawled along some rocky ground!), he throws the Devil off the cliff, the tribe are freed from their leader’s evil reign and our hero and Laura sail off into the sunset.
As soon as I saw the return of the multi-ethnic, wedding-band and white tennis shoe wearing cannibals a few minutes into the film I knew I was going to be in a very – long   -  hour   -   and     -    a       -      half. Despite the potential for entertaining depravity, Devil Hunter pretty much consists of endless shots of the characters wandering around the forest, and occasionally splices in a quickly cut or blurry red paint and offal rendered effect. Even the rampant nudity with Franco’s constant trademark zooms on arses and crotches gets mighty old before long. Franco himself has admitted that he had no interest in directing cannibal films and only did so at the request of his producers Eurocine, who hoped to make a quick buck riding on the success of hits like The Last Cannibal World and Slave of the Cannibal God. His blatant disinterest shows in everything from the looped, and occasionally mismatched sound effects (since when are forest floors covered in gravel?) to the feature-length padding ‘technique’ of cutting back to the same shot three times consecutively.  Another cannibal clunker to stay far away from!

Cannibals (1980) - Review


Starring: Al Cliver, Sabrina Siani, Lina Romay
Here’s yet another grimy entry into the dubious cannibal subgenre – only this time Senor Franco is at the helm. ‘Specialist in tropical diseases’ Al Cliver travels to a remote jungle with his wife and young daughter and are ambushed by the world’s first Causasian, gold wedding-ring and sneaker wearing cannibal tribe (or maybe Cannibal Terror wins that honour). Cliver’s wife is chowed down in the first of many weird slo-mo close ups of the tribe chowing down on butcher’s scraps and his daughter is captured. Al manages to escape, but not before one of his arms is hacked off (thus having to spend the rest of the movie with an arm very obviously tied behind his back!) Years later, after overcoming amnesia, Cliver returns to the jungle with an expedition of underdeveloped characters in search of his long-lost daughter. After the rest of the expedition has been killed off, he eventually finds her – she has been adopted as the tribe as their ‘White Goddess’. Not to mention her remarkable transformation from a dark haired, olive skinned child to a platinum blonde woman with a fair complexion?!?! At first she is reluctant to leave but then she is freed when Cliver spares the life of the tribe’s leader. Cue happy ending music...
Slot this amongst the aforementioned Cannibal Terror, Primitives and Franco’s own Devil Hunter as one of the worst cannibal films ever made (and indeed this is one of Jess Franco’s worst in his hit-and miss career).Riddled with continuity errors, annoying shaky camerawork, awful muzak score and general Franco skeeziness, I honestly can’t think of one decent thing to say about it. Except that I’d wished I’d nabbed the now scarce Australian VHS tape back when you’d walk into almost any video store in Melbourne inevitably one of the first tapes you’d always see in the horror section was its garish orange and pink cover,  emblazoned with a $1 rental sticker, languishing forlornly on the bottom shelf gathering dust. Definitely amusing to see one of the most infamous ‘least-wanted’ video titles is now a valuable collectable!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Wrong Way (1972) - Review

Wrong Way

Director: Ray Williams
Starring: Laurel Canyon, Candy Sweet, Forrest Lorne

An ultra scuzzy, grubby sexploitation turd which inexplicably surfaced during the pre-cert video era in the UK (and equally inexplicably was overlooked during the subsequent ‘Video Nasties’ hysteria), WRONG WAY is an early 70’s Last House on the Left-inspired obscurity. But unlike LHOTH, there’s no attempt whatsoever at any sort of character or storyline development – it amps up the sex and seemingly the (deservedly) unknown hack filmmakers thought this would be enough to ensure a shocking, disturbing spin-off of Wes Craven’s cult classic. Um, no...
Two girls are driving home through remote Californian backwoods when their car breaks down.  They run afoul of possibly cinema’s ugliest, scummiest, greasiest biker gang (one who’s nicknamed ‘Crabs’ for obvious reasons and another who slurps down raw eggs).  Under the initial guise of helping the girls, the gang instead drag them back to their camp where they’re gang raped in every position imaginable for the next 20 minutes. WARNING: the gratuitous nudity is not limited to the female leads. Be prepared for lingering shots of flabby beer bellies, unwashed arses and all-round pale, pasty middle-aged male nakedness (thankfully all remain limp-dicked throughout the proceedings). Eventually the gang tire of the girls and the dazed pair are left to stumble through the wilderness in search of help. However their nightmare begins all over again when they are captured by a Manson-like cult who plan to “reduce them to sexual beasts”.  The story then cuts to a completely unrelated subplot involving two drug-runners/slave traders on their way to Mexico stopping at a motel en route to have their way with their latest acquisition. 
Despite the jaw-dropping proceedings, WRONG WAY is by no means a lost gem. It’s far too tedious, technically inept and badly acted (including the ridiculously choreographed rape scenes) to be disturbing. Most likely the ludicrous tacked on ending was due to money running out during filming, the initial actors bailing out and later included to pad the film out to feature length.) All accompanied by a horribly grating soundtrack veering wildly between godawful warbling folk tunes, bongos and banjos. AVOID. PLEASE.

Welcome to Chelle's Inferno!!! I'm not one for rambling introductions, so in a nutshell I'm a longtime fan (20 years) of the finer things in life - Eurohorror, trash, (s)exploitation and cult cinema (and their soundtracks), classic metal and punk, true crime, kitsch culture, retro computer games, etc....

Also a all too-infrequent genre writer - former reviewer for Australia's #1 horror website Digital Retribution and co-writer/publisher of Archetype Malice back in the day.
I'm finally getting back into writing, thanks to inspiration from several brilliant genre scribes Robert Monell, Keith Crocker, Heather Drain and Casey Scott and last but definitely not least Melbourne's own John Harrison (Sin Street Sleaze) and Adam Lee (Spasmo Mixtape).

Some random favourite films off the top of my head - Ghosts of the Civil Dead, Scum, Cannibal Holocaust, Deep Red, Tenebrae, Christiane F, The Girl in the Yellow Pyjamas, Rabid Dogs, Shock, Class of 1984, The House by the Cemetary, Beyond the Darkness, Absurd, To be Twenty....

Back after I figure out how this thing works...only 7 years too late!!!!!