Archives for August 2008 | Varied Celluloid

Archive for August, 2008

New Stuff Before Gustav!

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 31 - 2008

Hey guys, I know this is a short update, but I wasn’t able to get my Satana/Pray For Death review done before ol’ Hurricane Gustav came beating down the door. For those who don’t know, VC is based out of Louisiana and the north shore. So, in the morning I can look forward to that, but I’m hoping this won’t be like Katrina II: Electric Bugaloo. If you don’t see me for a couple of weeks though people it’s just the lack of electricity.

NEW REVIEWS

I Drink Your Blood – FINALLY! Been in need of seeing this film for quite a while and finally completed this horror/exploitation classic. Hopefully others dig the review!

Saturday the 14th – By Jon Jung – Jon comes through again with a witty and insightful review for a fogotten film. I remember it from my VHS rental days, but had never opted to check it out. Jon unfortunately did and came back with mixed results and probably provided a more entertaining review than the value of the film.

Okay everybody, that’ll do it, hope this Hurricane just blows over us and everything turns out A-Ok. Already spent waaaay too much on supplies, but what can you do, if anything Katrina taught us it was that it’s better to be prepared. Hope everyone has had a better weekend than I have that’s for sure!

– Josh

Saturday the 14th

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 31 - 2008
Originally reviewed by our good friend Jon Jung (AKA: Coffin Jon) from the VCinemashow podcast and web blog.

The Plot: An average couple (played by real-life couple Richard Benjamin and Paula Prentiss) inherit a house from an eccentric uncle. It turns out that the house, um, houses an ancient book which unleashes a curse whose power reaches its apex on the title date. Two characters, Van Helsing (Severn Darden) and vampire figure Waldemar (Jeffrey Tambor), are both after this book albeit for different reasons and the struggle for its possession leads to a great battle between good and evil. But who is good and who is evil?




The Review
Let’s get things out of the way first: this movie has no relation to the Friday the 13th series other than the tragically misleading title and the fact that it came out a year after the Voorhees masterpiece, 1981. In reality, Saturday the 14th is a horror spoof that covers the classic Universal/Hammer era: haunted houses, bats, vampires, and other rubber-suited fiends of the night. Anyone expecting a slasher spoof should just go back to Scream, Beneath the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, Club Dread, or other wink wink, nudge nudge, tongue in cheek horror “comedies”.

Another thing, and this is a confession: from my first viewing of this movie at age twelve, I’ve seen this movie at least two dozen other times. No, not because it is good, funny, or a rousing tribute to classic horror icons. No, these are not descriptions that could be used for Saturday the 14th. The one reason is Kari Michaelson, who would take sassy tongue lashings from Nell Carter later in the TV series “Gimme a Break!”, is absolutely hotness on wheels; a lengthy bath scene in which we are treated to Ms. Michaelson removing her panties and later, only wearing a towel, being pursued by a gill creature is worth it for the price of admission.

There is plenty that does not work for the movie. Cheapness is not necessarily one of these things as it’s almost de rigeur for a spoof of classic horror movies to harp on that which makes those oldies fun and memorable to begin with. Rather, the problem lies in the screenwriters producing a decidedly goofy, yet unfunny, and definitely not scary script. In fact, the movie feels like something that I’d be watching the tube on a Saturday morning with a bowl of generic Rice Krispies. In fact, I’d like to think of Saturday the 14th as a precursor to the Bailey School Kids series (which includes such classic titles such “Sea Monsters Don’t Ride Motorcycles” and “Mummies Don’t Coach Softball”): a few cheap jokes in a faux ‘spooky’ setting that would make The Haunted Mansion seem like the Sawyer family homestead.

The Conclusion
Luckily, the one hour and spare change running time makes this a relatively painless watch. In 1988, a sequel of sorts, Saturday the 14th Strikes Back, somehow managed to get produced with a nearly identical premise. Proof positive that the creaking you hear might not be the sound of a dilapidated door opening to a dark and haunted house at the corner of the street but actually that of money being flushed down the toilet.

I Drink Your Blood

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 31 - 2008
The Plot: Horace is the leader of his own little cult of satan worshipping hippy drugheads who are busy travelling the country, stealing and gathering money any way they can. After a night out where one of the group invited a young girl from town to one of their satanic gatherings (where the girl was brutally gangraped after Horace found out she happened to be hiding in the back), the group are upset to find their van has broken down. They stop into the next town they can and set up shop in a broken down abandoned building. This turns out awkward, as the building is located close to the home of the young woman who was raped by their group the night before. It isn’t long before she comes out of her shock and tells her grandfather just who committed the act and off Grandpa goes with his shotgun to intervene. Once Horace has his way however, the old man is beaten to a pulp and fed some LSD. The old man is let go however, and it’s up to his other grandson Pete, a young boy looking out for his sister and grandpa, who takes the mission upon himself to set Horace and his group right. After taking a walk with his grandpa’s shotgun he kills a rabid dog in the woods and decides rather than shooting them – he’ll simply poison them. So he takes a vile of blood from the dead rabid dog and injects it into the meat pies that he knows they will be eating the next day – and by nightfall… the group is feeling the side of effect of the rabies. Although it isn’t as quick and painful as the child had hoped, as it turns out that the rabies have given these psychos no remorse whatsoever and a greed for inflicting violence on humans!




The Review: Thank goodness for Sage Stallone and the fellows over at Grindhouse Releasing. They along with Unearthed Films have been providing those of us in North America with quality releases of films that normally have only been traded by bootleg for so many years. I Drink Your Blood is an obscure title that I actually had very little knowledge of before their release – like many people. A wild case of a film featuring animals being slaughtered, lots of bloody gore and satanic hippies – and yet this title remained so obscure for many years. Ever since I first saw the promotional photo of the construction worker holding up that decapitated head – I have been anxious to get my hands on I Drink Your Blood. Simply a fantastic cinematic moment captured perfectly and to see the trailer afterward with so many other bits of gory fun – well, I was sold. With press items like that, the movie really sells itself. Foaming at the mouth rabid psychos running around killing people and chopping them up, a satanic hippie cult with no care for human life, blood injected meat pies? Do I really need to come up with another six hundred words to convince you that this flick is something you should track down? The plot is somewhat ridiculous, but so much fun in that entirely “exploitation” way that films like this are. You have to take a minute out to just enjoy the sight of eleven grown men chasing people down with foam covering their mouths. The effects are obvious, but that’s the fun of it. The film was made with such simple expectations in order to entertain the audience who would have an interest in such a topic – and when it lives up to such expectations and goes so far above them that it becomes something unique and special.

The imperfections of I Drink Your Blood are often some of the more alluring aspects of it. When filmmakers go out and they do their best to make modern campy horrors, they simply don’t deliver the same atmosphere. Likely due to the fact that films such as this were usually intended to play completely straight. I say it in nearly all of my reviews that “although this film is great, it isn’t perfect…” – trust me even I am tired of repeating it; but I Drink Your Blood is partly as great as it is because of those quaint little goof-ups or bizarre choices in the direction of the film. Small things like when one character tells of Mary being “assaulted” and “beaten”, the man listening immediately steps out of the car and says (and I’m paraphrasing here) “If she’s delirious then how could she have told you” – although we the audience know of this fact – his character, just told of the story had no way of knowing that particular bit of knowledge. The whole film gets pretty silly like that at times, even sillier than grown people running around with foam pouring from their mouths if you can believe that. It’s a charming bit of wild exploitation cinema, the likes of which you do not run into all that often. With these kinds of movies, the fans get more and more excited with the stranger these things get and of course, the bloodier get. I Drink Your Blood definitely doesn’t shy away from the red stuff. It seems all too frequent that films made in the late seventies on limited budgets would go a pretty far distance with the cinematic violence, but aside from the work of Herschell Gordon Lewis in the late sixties to mid seventies it seems fairly rare to run into horror films of this caliber that feature as many dismemberment’s and shots of intestines. Really Dawn of the Dead and the birth of the dime a dozen slasher film gave way to our more modern gore films – but it seems all this time we had another funky little number running around and I didn’t even realize it.

I’m not here to mislead you on the violence in I Drink Your Blood, the trailer (and if you haven’t seen it, search it out, GREAT stuff!) pretty much hits all of the best spots and it’s that sort of late seventies blood that looks awfully red and reminiscent of paint more than a bodily fluid; so don’t go expecting Lucio Fulci. You do get a lot of bang for you buck though, as we’re treated to hands, legs and heads being chopped off as well as a couple of intestine rippings, a few animals either being killed or already dead and being mutilated along with a whole lot of naked people running around in the first fifteen minutes. Okay, the naked people have nothing to do with the violence – but a gangraping is alluded to! You won’t see anything, but for a film that at times seems so naive in the dealings of mind altering drugs (the whole dialogue about LSD sounds like something from an afterschool special) it deals with sex in a pretty straightforward manner. Heck, even the race issue is brought up once or twice, most memorable the African American fellow who brings up the townsfolk wishing to chain up the hippies like they did slaves in the old days. I don’t doubt that there’s also some kind of symbolism going on with the whole hippie cult being made up of many racial groups (Asian, Black, White and Native American), though don’t ask me just what they were getting at. In another movie the group might represent racial change scaring the older more conservative townies, but since they’re all psychopath satanists I doubt that was the intention. Regardless of any dreams of pretension the film may or may not have had, I’m giving the film a five out of five. It was the most fun I have had with a movie in a while and I hope others can emulate that experience. Definitely check it out if you haven’t already, and beware of any satanic hippie cults who wander into town… bunch of rapists and elderyl beating sociopaths those guys are.


New Wallpaper!

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 30 - 2008

Hey everybody, just started looking at some new ideas in photoshop and thought I’d put myself to work and came up with this idea for Lucio Fulci’s classic Zombi 2 AKA: Zombie, Zombie Flesh Eaters. Anyway, hope someone out there digs it! Using it as my wallpaper right now, so yeah, I liked it. I need to work on my little “crease” effect, but other than that I’m happy with the way it turned out. Give me some feedback guys!

Check out the Multimedia section and choose your resolution!

New Barbarians, The

Posted by Josh Samford On August - 26 - 2008

The Plot: It is the post-apocalyptic world of 2019, and there is nothing left of human society. All that we know and love is now simply ashes and rubble. In this world, all of governing law & order has been abolished and street gangs have taken over in the wake of this absence. The Templars, a gang of white suited psychopaths (who it is revealed much too late in the film to also be homosexuals) looking to destroy what little is left of humanity are the main culprits on display here. Scorpion, our hero who drives a suped up black musclecar, has history with The Templars and is aiming to be a major pain in their side. After saving a young woman from certain rape & death, he becomes their number one priority as they start a manhunt for the man known as Scorpion. Scorpion must now run for his life, and also help protect this beautiful young woman who he finds himself falling for. With the help of a friend (Fred “The Hammer” Williamson), he must stop and take on The Templars and save the rest of mankind.



The Review: It all started with this animated gif image I found on a message board somewhere. When I first saw it, I was entranced, I watched it over and over again. I’m a pretty well versed guy when it comes to a lot of this cult cinema stuff (not a genius or anything, but I keep up), so really cool stuff such as that usually doesn’t come up and shock me all that often without me at least being able to place a good guess on what film it may or may not come from. When first seeing it, I assumed it was from an Italian action yarn. However, after I posted it over at The Deuce, the ever knowledgeable HungFist had come up with The New Barbarians. Now, The New Barbarians isn’t anything I had never heard of. Most geeks for Italian horror at some point hear about their love affair with post-apocalyptic films and such. I gave The New Gladiators a shot which was an okay experience, but nothing as amazing as those few seconds caught in that animated gif. So, to the top of my netflix queue The New Barbarians went and my quest to find if it lived up to the amazing hype of that digitally animated piece of art. When Enzo G. Castellari is in charge of the production though, you know you’ll at least be treated to something interesting. With one of Enzo’s favorite casting choices, and one of my favorite actors in Fred “The Hammer” Williamson in a starring role – I’d say The New Barbarians held the most interest for me as far as any of the post-apocalyptic Italian flicks go. Does the film live up to all of the promise though? Well, it depends on what you’re expecting. No doubt, that animated gif is probably one of the coolest things you’re going to find out there but no film could reasonably be that cool for 90 minutes – but if you know what to expect The New Barbarians does offer quite a bit of entertainment itself. There’s also a great deal of really awesome violence in the film – and more exploding bodies than you can shake a stick at: that right there sold me on the film that’s for sure.

The score by Claudio Simonetti… well, if you’re a fan of Italian synthesizers (and who isn’t?) then you’ll find it easy in your heart to show some love for it – but even I have to admit it sounds like something you would find in a PBS special from the early nineties dealing with computers. Some kind of “welcome to the internet!” video package that might be sold in an infomercial in the wee hours of the morning. Sort of like something from Mr. Wizard even. The main theme of most chase scenes is a breakbeat with light keyboard strokes played over it, and while it is indeed as funky as it gets – it does date the film considerably. Then again, do you see those costumes in the above photo gallery? The New Barbarians sure didn’t need any extra help in dating itself as an eighties scifi picture. Some might see all of these things as being too cheeseball to get into; but you have to simply view it as a piece of the charm. There’s a strange amount of homosexual tension in the film that really doesn’t come into play until the final half hour or so of the film, as we finally discover that the Templars are apparently homosexual. Don’t worry, that’s no real spoiler, it’s not like the director hides it from you and then the revelation makes any kind of difference. It really doesn’t, except for a little anal rape that comes from out of NOWHERE! This whole reveal is completely from out of the wild blue anyway, so what does it matter on the entirety of the film? Are all homosexuals super villains who desperately want to see the world demolished? Not that I’m aware, but if so maybe I have more in common with the homosexual community than I thought. Aside from all of the crazy stuff going on, the film is graced with an upstanding cast of characters featuring George Eastman (Antropophagus, Kidnapped), Giovanni Frezza who most remember as the annoying kid from so many Italian productions like A Blade in the Dark and House By the Cemetery. There’s also a little guy you may have heard of… FRED THE HAMMER WILLIAMSON! Everybody knows I’m a big Hammer fan, and this is definitely one of his quirkier performances to date. Completely over the top in every way, with him uttering such wonderful lines of dialogue like: “Use that anger, control that power! And you shall know the meaning of VICTORY!” which I promise you is uttered with this bizarre lack of passion and simply yelled out into the open. This is classic Italian cinema for sure. Unfortunately star Giancarlo Prete is often shown up due to the rest of the cast generally being so over the top, but he is very solid in his performance and seems like the only one in the film currently inhabiting planet earth at times.

A few years ago, this would have probably received a rating of one from me – because it’s truthfully not what I could consider a really “great” movie. It’s a cheesy action yarn with little in the way of dramatic purpose for the actors or creativity for a “futuristic environment”. This desolate future with such amazing technological advancements is only just slightly more believable than say Future War. However, we are talking about one fun film. As goofy as it is, The New Barbarians is such dumb fun that I am kind of impressed with its ability to be so strange and yet so intriguing. In the end, this won’t be a film for everyone but for those with an interest in the genre and Italian cult cinema – you might just have a lot of fun with this one. I’m giving it a rating of three of five, however, it is a high three and if it weren’t for some of the terrible dialogue and unfortunate performances I’d probably feel safe in awarding it a four.. That isn’t the case however and New Barbarians definitely has it’s problems. However, if you’ll give it a shot you will find it to be a lot of fun.

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Varied Celluloid is a film website intent on delivering views on movies from all genres. Started in 2003, the website has been steadfast in its goal and features a database of over 500 lengthy reviews. If you would like to contact us about writing for the website or sending screeners, please visit the about page located here.

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