Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bad Taste: The Bastards Have Landed!

Title: Bad Taste

Year: 1987

Director: Peter "Kong" Jackson

Long long ago before Peter Jackson was a house hold name among LOTR fans he was a forefather of over the top splatter films and frankly this and Dead Alive (Brain Dead) was hugely important in my film education. Bad Taste was the first feature film by Peter Jackson and he really flexes his creative mind and the end product is an howling funny and gross out film that will give you wanting a second helping! 

ITS STORY TIME:  When I was a younger lad, my sister had dated this punk rocker type guy, he gave me a copy of Bad Taste on VHS from a rental store that he "borrowed" He said it would be something and I quote "dig" I felt so cool that he thought I was hip enough to view it. It was love at first sight and it lead me to another true love Dead-Alive (Brain Dead) and to a lesser degree Meet the Feebes (still cool movie) Well years and years later I still own the vhs ex rental and cherish the memories of my early cinema viewing days. Bad Taste`s poster seems to sum it all up with Lord Crumb giving the audience a middle finger, yes folks this is out law cinema at its sick best!
Two Jacksons for the price of One!!
Bad Taste  is a rare breed of fun over the top comedy gore fests that is in the same catagory as Street Trash Toxic Avenger and Frankenhooker. The whole concept of Aliens harvesting people for a chain of restaurants on there planet is pretty clever and wildly funny,its very tongue in cheek and knows it, never taking itself serious at all.  There are some inspired strange and surreal quality that makes this film really stand apart from the sequel machine Hollywood was churning out at the time.  The vomit scene is something you likely not to forget anytime soon. The humor is no doubt rude crude and nothing like what American audiences might be use too.

Everyone in the cast does a pretty good job with such a far out script. The real fun in the movie is Jackson himself  who not only plays one role but two! Yes you read right TWO! Jackson is actually a really good actor believe it or not, he goes from being a goofy weird whacked Derek he plays the Alien Robert and in a genius scene they fight each other, with some slick editing he pulls it off.

Of course not as grand as LOTR Jackson still commands the screen with good visuals.  The beauty of New Zealand really gives makes a wonderful back drop for this wacky "invasion" Its clear that Peter had an eye for cinema and its evident by nice shots, great editing and sound effects.  The action scenes are not the best, but has a dime store charm and again it plays more for laughs then anything. 

Bloody? You bet your large alien ass there is! Jackson gleefully paints this film with gallons of blood and guts, and unlike the snuff like films of today its mostly done for gross out comedic effect which works brilliantly. For even the most jaded viewer the gore effects are top notch and cleverly done for the small budget that they had to work with.  The Aliens are actually really strange looking and one cant help loving watching huge alien ass`s flop around while they run. An image that's been burnt into my brain. 

Its always interesting to me to see where a huge direct gets his start, and while Peter Jackson may be known for King Kong and LOTR I will always know him as the outlaw filmmaker that really shaped my early horror  education. Bad Taste is from a rare school of rouge film making which is perfectly illustrated by the middle finger to us the audience.  Its PUNK ROCK cinema! For this being his first time its a well crafted sick funny and most importantly entertaining little gem! But don't forget THE BASTARDS HAVE LANDED!! 

Jackson would go on to Meet the Feebles (muppets on acid) and then his epic zombie film Dead-Alive (Brain Dead) which is maybe the best zombie film since Dawn of the dead. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

1980`s Retrospective Series: Dolls Writer Ed Naha Exclusive Interview!

Title Dolls

Year: 1987

Written: Ed Naha

Director: Stuart Gordon

The Plot: A terrible storm brings five strangers to an old house that are owned by a toy maker and his wife.
The guests soon discover that the elderly couple have a dark secret and that the dolls are more then just mere porcelain and glass. Will they survive the the longest night in history or will they become just soulless plaything.

Ed Naha Bio: 
Born in June 1950 in a small town in NJ. He attended Kean college and went on to begin his writing career as a rock journalistic. He has written for such power houses as New York Post, Rolling Stone,Playboy and edited the very first issue of Fangoria. Ed has also written the novelization of Ghostbusters 2 and the first two Robocop movies as well as non fiction work like "Roger Corman Brilliance on a Budget" which is brilliant! His mystery novel "Cracking Up" was nominated for a Edgar Award. All together he has written 20 plus novels. In the eighty's he wrote the cult classic Dolls and Troll. His major success came when he co wrote the block buster "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" as well as the follow up "Honey I Blew up the Kids" 

Gorehound Mike is very proud to have an exclusive one on one with the very talented Ed Naha!

GM: Were you on set often during the filming?

EN: No. Back then, Charlie Band had a studio set up in Italy, which pretty much
precluded sending a writer over. Too expensive. Over the years, though, I’ve found that
writers are mostly excluded from the actual filming process unless you have some sort of
producing credit. A lot of writers get very pushed out of shape over this but, I suppose,
I’m sort of an odd duck. I prefer not to be on the set. Once I’m done writing, I’m done.
I never set out to be a producer (although I have wound up exec producing almost 90
hours of TV) or a director. I usually don’t see a film until the final cut. So, I can either be
delighted or discouraged. Fortunately, with “Dolls,” I was delighted. Plus, I got a lifetime
friend out of the deal, Stuart Gordon.

GM: Any fond memories of this film? Any practical jokes on set?

EN: Well, everyone had whoopee cushions and….nahhh, I’m just making that up. I
wasn’t there. I DO know that it was a bear of a film to coordinate. Stuart and the actors
just clicked. So, all the characters were just dead on and then some. It’s a weird deal to
laugh out loud at things you’ve written but, in all honesty, by the time I see the finished
film, it’s as if I didn’t write it. I have this ability to just be part of the audience. I chalk it
up to blunt blow trauma and/or short-term memory loss.

Where things got a tad hinky with “Dolls” is that the actual dolls, initially, were
marionettes. They were beautiful…but they had strings. And, no matter how some scenes
were lit, you could see the strings. So, a lot of scenes involving the toys had to be re-shot
in post-production. David Allen, who was a master of stop-motion animation, brought
the toys to “life.” He was the resident magician at the studio and worked on practically

Because he worked on nearly every release, though, the post-production work on “Dolls”
took a heck of a long time. Stuart actually filmed “From Beyond” after “Dolls.” It was
released first because the stop-motion work on “Dolls” was so time-consuming.

GM: Were their any scenes you wrote that got cut out?

EN: I’m not sure. I know there was one scene that was changed a bit. In the beginning
of the film, when Judy’s teddy bear is tossed out the car window during the storm, in the
script a titanic “Teddy” comes roaring up to the car and tears the crap out of the nasty
parents. In the script, Teddy is just a big teddy bear. In the movie, however, a monstrous
bear creature rips its way out of the gigantic cuddly toy and does the job. I thought the
concept of a kid imagining her plush toy as a gargantuan killer was funny as Hell. But,
again, I’m pretty odd.

GM: Were any of the actors allowed to improv or were they told to stick to your script as

EN: I’m sure Stuart and the actors riffed about lines but I couldn’t point to an example.
Hey, that’s what happens when you get to be a Geezer.
One interesting bit about “Dolls’” origin. Stuart and I were around before there was a
script. Charlie Band brought out this poster, the one with the female doll holding her
eyeball in front of her, with the title “The Doll.” They wanted me to write it.

“What’s it about?”

“A killer doll.”

“Oh, okay.”

Of course, since I’m such a creative tyro, I went for broke and had a household full
of ‘em. Now, after I handed in the script and “Dolls” made it to the trade papers, I got a
phone call from Tom Holland, who was doing the first Chucky film. He was worried that
there’d be overlap between the two films. We had a nice chat and came to the conclusion
that we were both safe.

GM: Was their ever serious talks of a Dolls sequel and If approached would you write a

EN: Stuart and I talked about a sequel wherein the dollmaker and his wife turn
themselves into dolls and have themselves shipped stateside to Ralph and Judy but
we didn’t get very far. Charlie’s studio began to change a bit and he got into the
whole “PuppetMaster” series. Stuart, producer Brian Yuzna and I turned our attention to
getting “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” off the ground at Disney.

I don’t think I’d get involved in a remake unless Stuart was onboard. For some twisted
reason, we managed to pull off a gory film that had both a sense of innocence and a lot of
heart. We’re both a couple of big kids (although, technically, I’m short). If Stuart signed
on to film the phonebook, I’d be there.

I wouldn’t mind getting involved in a quasi-sequel, though, using the original film as a
jumping off point. I’m not a big fan of remakes, especially the CGI orgies. It’s like: “We
have a bazillion dollars and ten pages of dialogue! That’s good for two hours!” Um. No.
No, it’s not.

GM: Does it surprise you that to this day Dolls is still talked about and written about?

EN: I’m delighted about that. Thanks to the toobz of the Internetz, I’ve become aware of
how many people “get” the film. I joined Stuart for the commentary on the DVD release
a couple of years ago. It was only the third time I’d seen the film. (See: “odd duck”
references.) The two of us had a good ol’ time.

GM: What are you currently working on?

EN: Not being dead. I almost croaked earlier this year. Imagine my chagrin. It was
a reaction to prescription meds. It was actually kind of funny, in an absurd Monty
Pythonesque kind of way. Sort of like the Black Knight scene in “Holy Grail.”

I have an animated film “Noah’s Ark: The New Beginning” that’s in post-production
somewhere. Now, that I’m recuperating and have the use of my hands back - allowing me
to type - I’m hoping to get back to work, again. It’s a bitch trying to type with your nose.
You wind up looking like a pug and the space bar ruins your mustache.

GM: What advice do you have for other up and coming screenwriters?

EN: Learn every synonym for the words “explosion” and “explodes” and keep your day
job for as long as possible.

Thank You Ed for taking the time to talk to Gorehound Mike

All interviews are not to be used in any other blog,website or magazine. Copywrite 2012 All rights reserved

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Bay of Blood Bava`s Gore Masterpiece

Title: Bay Of Blood aka Twitch of the death nerve

Year: 1971

Director: Mario Bava

This is where the body count films began. Bava was not only a genius at visuals but single handily created the Gallio genre.Sadly though what people forget is he also should be credited as being at the forefront of the teen slasher movement which exploded in America in the mid seventies and grew bigger with the 1980 film Friday the 13th. Yes,almost a decade before Jason stalked the sunny Camp Crystal Lake another killer stalked the woods picking off teen loving teenagers. Bava makes a huge departure from his stylish supernatural thrillers to make one epic gore soaked murder mystery. 

Bays Importance to the genre:

This is the granddaddy of slasher films and its safe to say that without it we wouldn't have films like Friday the 13th and Sleepaway Camp. Not only did this come before Friday but Friday the 13th part 2 lifts several kill scenes from Bay almost shot to shot. One is the kills is the machete to the face (done much better in Bay) and the other is two lovers getting impaled by a spare. Bay of blood could very well be the prototype for these teen slasher films. We get a happy bunch of teens that are looking for a good time at the bay, similar to the teens in Friday. Also its funny the one female character just happens to feel the need for a skinny dip, sound similar horror fans? Sounds cliche but it wasn't in 1971. 

Bava wastes no time in setting up a gruesome murder. We see the black gloved killer but the camera pans up to see the killer, wait what? Not a who dun it? Think again as the killer is quickly dispatched leaving the audience even more in the dark and wanting more. The mystery element also keeps you on your toes and keeps you guessing right til the end.  Its the splatter element that really makes this movie stand out. Its note worthy to mention that when a victim gets it, unlike your body count films from the late seventies and eighties the characters don't die right away from there injuries yet Bava prolongs it to give it a eerie realistic feel. It also helps that the effects are top notch and believable. Maybe some of the best effects I`ve seen from films of this decade. The squid on the corpse pictured above is just plain hard to gross. Very cool!  It just goes to show that nobody did splatter and gore like the Italians. Also like the American slashers there are plenty of bare flesh to even make Russ Meyers smile! 

Like most Italian films the characters are off the wall, and everyone seems to have skeletons in there closet. This is certainly the case in Bay of Blood. The strange over the top performances only add to the strange vibes and heightens the surrealism.  The cast is really good. Playing the role of Albert is the great character actor Luigi Pistilli. He is awesome as always. You might remember him from a little movie called A Few Dollars More and the epic The Good The Bad and Ugly just to name a few. Claudine Auger plays the female lead and is also pretty good. Auger has a nice resume as well starring with Sean Connery in Thunderball and Black Belly of the Tarantula. 

Its not a stretch that this film would be visually pleasing as Mario Bava was a pioneer in adding style to the genre with such bloody affairs as his 1964 film Blood and Black Lace. He creates a level of dread and horror even in a normally cheerful bay. His use of colors and camera angles are as always well thought out and polished. And while its not his most stylish it is a lot more interesting then what was being done at the time by anyone else. He also uses the killer P.O.V which again was way ahead of its time. No spoilers but the ending is jaw dropping and shows a killer sense of comic irony. 

 To just say Bay of Blood is important to the genre would be doing it an injustice, it was the blue print to what we now know as the slasher/body count sub genre. This should be viewed by anyone who is serious about horror films and there roots. Its a shame that this film falls under the cracks and it deserves another look. So take a long stroll along the Bay if you dare......

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Tingler: LSD and Vincent Price

WELCOME WELCOME WELCOME To the Wild World of William Castle: Director salute to the KING of the Hollywood Gimmick himself! 

Title: The Tingler

Year: 1956

Director: William Castle

The Gimmick: Probably the most well known of them all. Certain seats were rigged to buzz during selected scenes and the audience members were told to let out a SCREAM to re leave the "tingle" sensation.

Long over are the days of showmens like Castle and grand theares that housed there low rent but enoyable films. Not that I dont love morden cinema I cant help but feel like my generation really missed out on getting the full fun of seeing this film as it was meant too, buzzing seats and screaming movie patrons. Even without the rigged seats, I found this film to be very enjoyable.

The story itself is so far fetched but you just cant help but love it anyways. The concept is actually pretty unique and has some nice twists you might not see coming. The actors do a great job at really making you believe it. What sells this film even more then the gimmick is the king of horror himself Vincent Price who as always gives a 110% and sells this ludicrous plot.Playing the sleazy wife of Price is Patrica Cutts who is great her male lead and holds her own. She is a great bitchy wife that is sexy and just down right wicked They play off each other so well, and you can tell they had fun battling each other.  Even without the experience of the Castle gimmick this still offers an fun ride. The scares are bargin basement but you also have to remember that back in the 50s this was cutting edge.   
The Tingler is also part of cinema history? How you might ask? This is the first film to show an LSD trip with none other then Vincent Price. I mean how cool is that? Sadly it doesn't last as long as you`d like,but the very fact its in there is awesome. There is some very trippy color sequences towards the end of the film. It lends a creepy drug/dreamlike feel throughout. 

Unlike most of the monsters of the 1940s and 50s the horrific "Tingler" in the film is actually a well designed creature. Its like a creepy bug thing. And It may not be able to hold up with the CG I monsters of now, it is a creepy crawler that I wouldn't want to tangle with. This was even cool enough that a toy company made a scale model/toy of the Tingler. Alas I don't own him myself-someday! Castle teases us with the monster only showing glimses until the infamous scene in which the Tingler is loose among film patrons. This is the scene that tied in the buzzing of the seats. You must scream to stop the tingle you feel. 

This comes down to people who love older films and those who don't. I find a lot of charm in even the flaws because the film is just so unique and even with its low grade chills I find it entertaining. If you're not expecting any high art (pun intended) and just a roller coaster ride filled with monsters drugs and Vincent Price then there is a lot to enjoy with this film. Just remember to save yourself from the Tingler just let out a SCRREAMMM!!

Film Triva : Uber Castle fan John Waters searched for years to find a manual for the rigged seats and even asked Castles relatives if they had one. But to no eval. Finally someone found the manual and gave it to Waters. Waters used a Castle type gimmick in his film Polyster with Smell O Vision in with patrons were given scratch and sniff cards.

R.I.P Richard Lynch 6/15/2012 You will be missed

Monday, June 18, 2012

Indie Filmmaker Spotlight: Philip Gelatt

Name: Philip Gelatt

A few blogs back I reviewed the film "The Bleeding House" and was impressed with its polished look and genuinely creepy vibes. And while it had some flaws I was blown away find that this was his first film. I would recomand you check it out, people who have streaming on Netflicks can view it right away, and please do!

Mini Bio: Philip was born in a small town in Wisconsin. When he turned 18 he moved to New York to make a name for himself. While living there he wrote for several mayor comic labels such as Dark Horse and Oni Press. He then made the transition into film making. His feature the Bleeding House marked not only his first film as director but writer as well. His three favorite films are Psycho, Alien and Barry Lyndon.

Philip directing a scene.

Indie Filmmaker Phillip Gelatt gives Gorehound Mike a one on one!

GM: When you moved to New York you wrote for some big comic labels, which comics did you write?

PG:   For Dark Horse I wrote an Indiana Jones comic (this was around when the last movie came out).  And almost did some work on their Star Wars stuff but it never came to fruition.  For Oni I did a book called Labor Days and a book called Petrograd.  Petrograd I am particularly proud of, it’s about the assassination of Rasputin in the run up to the Russian revolution.  It was drawn by Tyler Crook, who is currently doing BPRD.    

GM: How did you make the leap from comic writer to filmmaker?

PG:  Before I was in to comics, I was in to film, basically.  So while I was writing comics, I was also working in the office of an indie film company in New York.  While doing that, I read a lot of bad screenplays and figured “screw it, I can write something better than this.”  That led to me writing the first draft of what would become The Bleeding House.    Originally, I was only interested in writing.  But as the producers started getting money together, at a certain point the idea of me directing came up and I jumped at the chance. 

GM: I obviously am a huge fan of your feature Bleeding House, what inspired you while writing it?

PG:  A lot.  As it was the first screenplay I wrote to completion, I was pulling inspiration from anywhere and everywhere I could.  The principle inspiration was just thinking back to my hometown in Wisconsin and how easy it was to get lost on the back roads around it.  I love the idea of little corners of forgotten America where strangeness lives and breeds.   There is a lot of literature and music influence in the movie too.  There are some specific references to things as well, particularly in Nick’s dialogue.  References to songs and poems and historical occurrences.   There was, for a time, a scene in the movie where he quoted the opening line of Call of Cthulhu but I took it out. 

GM: This being your first film, what are some things you learned from this experience?

PG:  I learned so much I can’t even begin to tell it all.  The big lesson, I think, was no matter how much you think you’re prepared to start shooting… you’re not.   Another big lesson: you might think you have plenty of time to get a scene exactly right… you don’t.  And then more specific lessons:  don’t shoot night exteriors in the middle of November.  Don’t write a movie with a live bird in it. 

GM: What was the most challenging aspect of the shoot?

PG:  Oh mostly things that taught me the lessons I learned.  I really wasn’t ready for the time pressures, I wasn’t ready to have an AD saying to me “we have to move on, we have to move on, we have to move on.”   It was really a mentally and physically exhausting process. 

GM: Did you have to scale back your vision at all, due to time and or budget?

PG:  Yes.  Definitely.  We cut extensively from the script, scenes and violence.   Scenes because our shoot time was so quick, violence because the budget wouldn’t allow anything too extensive.   My vision for the movie definitely mutated at budgetary concerns came to surface.  

GM: This is a dark film, was the mood light on set?

PG:  The mood on set was great, actually.  Everyone got along really well.  The cast were all very close with each other.  I think the only storm cloud on the set was me and that’s just because I was constantly stressed. 

GM: Would you like to work with anyone again on a future project?

PG:  Definitely.  Frederic Fasano was my DP, he shot a few of Argento’s latest movies, and he was amazing.  I never would have made it through production without him.  I’d definitely work with him again.  Both Alexandra Chando (Gloria) and Nick (Patrick Breen) brought amazing things to this project.  They had very different styles and approaches but I had a great time collaborating with them both.  Nina Lisandrello (Lynne) was also great to work with, I’m very excited for her, she’ll be on the new Beauty and the Beast show on the CW this fall.    

GM: Speaking of future projects what are you currently working on?

PG:  A sci-fi/thriller script I wrote just wrapped production a few months ago.  I didn’t direct it but I was intimately involved throughout production.  It’s called The Europa Report and it has Sharlto Copley in it.  And now that that is done, I’m working on writing.  All genre stuff, I’ve been writing a lot of sci-fi recently but I’m hoping to get things back on Earth and back firmly in the horror headspace soon.   I have a project I just started writing that I’m dying to direct myself, so fingers crossed.    

GM: Any advice for future filmmakers who may be reading?

PG:   So much advice.  Study the films you love and figure out why you love them and then figure out what you don’t love about them; figure out what you would have done differently.  Filmmaking is work, so be ready for that.  There’ll be a lot of people out there who will hate what you do, so don’t do your work for them, do it for yourself.  

Thank You Philip for taking the time to do the interview! Guys seriously check out Bleeding House 

the interview on this blog is the sole property of Gorehound Mike and should not be used in any website,blog or magazine all rights reserved 2012 Michael Vaughn

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Baby Doll: Hot Tale in the dirty South

Title: Baby Doll

Year: 1956

Director: Elia Kazans

Not all films on this blog are horror films, its why I choose to call it Weird and wild cinema. I thought i`d mix it up a bit and give us some weird and wild with this classic racy strange film that has a wonderful all star cast.

The Plot: Cotton gin owner Archie Lee has been married for two years to a young pretty girl, sounds perfect right? Wrong- As an agreement with Baby Doll`s father remain a virgin til her 20th birthday. Baby Doll is almost stuck in child hood as she sleeps in a crib and sucks her thumb. With her birthday rapityly approaching tensions mount between her and Archie. To make matters worse competition blows in to town in the form of Silva Vacarro who owns a better more modern gin and threatens to take business away. When a massive fire burns down Vacarro`s gin, fingers quickly point to Archie who was witnessed at the scene.Dealing out his own Italian justice Silva uses Baby Doll as his pawn in getting revenge towards Archie.

The Review:

This 1956 film adapted from a Tennessee Williams it was as controversial for its racy subject matter. It has since become a cult classic that should be essential viewing for any film buff.

Like any good Williams play this film is teeming with hot southern heat and steamy sexuality. By today's standards the sex is mild but viewers should keep in mind at the time women were still not thought of as being sexual creatures with desires but rather traditional housewives. A healthy dose of sexual perversion is injected to make this a film that broke taboos of budding sexuality that just wasn't talked about. There is a wonderful scene in the beginning of the film that shows Archie peeping in at the beautiful Carroll Baker in the infamous crib sucking her thumb. It sets up the tone and her character perfectly in such a short amount of time. Deliciously racy for the time there are some not so subtle sexual in do endows such as when Baby Doll licks an ice cream cone while some asian Americans laugh as they obviously see the underling message. It also highlights the creepiness of her being child like, yet sexually charged. Just another wonderful touch.

The scene that was most infamous is when Eli Wallach pays Baker a vist while Archie is away, the sexual tension is as thick as the southern heat and twice as hot. There chemistry sales this moment and leaves a lasting impression on the audience. Its very smart how Kazans starts the scene very innocent and ever playful sexually and then it takes a turn to the sinister side and reveals the turn nature for the Silva`s visit.

Carroll Baker and Eli Wallach in a wonderful steamy scene. 

The cast is full of film legends.  Hollywood legend Karl Malden is electric as Archie Lee. His range is perfect as the tortured husband of Baby Doll. He like Carroll walks a razor edge of being both a villain who is powered by greed to a beaten down verbally abused and sexually frustrated husband. Its gut wrenching to see him pushed to his breaking point towards the end of the film. Even though Archie clearly is a shady character I still cant help but feel sorry for him. Mr. Malden really brings different layers to his performance. Karl film resume reads like royalty being in such films like Streetcar Named Desire,Patton on the Waterfront and Hitchcocks I,Confess just to name a few. Eli Wallach who plays the villainous Silva Vacarro.Wallach has been in such films as "The Good the bad and the Ugly" The Misfits with Marilyn Monroe and Godfather III, his resume also is quiet prolific.   Not to be out down by her power house co stars is Carroll Baker. She is amazing in this film and for being a fresh young face, really commands her own with on the screen. She has a innocent quality to her yet she is over flowing with sexuality and even though she is nasty to her poor husband Archie, she still comes off as sympathetic by the end of the film. Her and Karl play off each other perfectly which makes this film endlessly watchable. 

The beautiful yet broken down mansion Tiger Tail is like a character in of itself. Its disrepair is symbolic of the disrepair that has taken place in there marriage, which like the house over time has crumbled. Kazans certainly has a keen eye for southern life and captures it in all its glory. 

The infamous shot of Baker in her crib. Tame by today's standard this image was very racy. 

Race plays a central theme in this film. The people in the town doesn't trust Silva because of his Italian heritage and the African American actors are relegated to small roles. More importantly though Baby Doll also services as a harsh reminder of the Jim Crow laws that were still in effect (til 1965) You will see whites only signs, but as they say when we ignore the past we are doomed to repeat it. Lets face it the South was not a great place for racial interrogation.  The humor is pitch black and might not be for everyone. If you like films/plays like Streetcar or Sunset Blvd. your most likely to get the dark comedy, though if you like the films of Eddie Murphy you might not... Just saying.

Baby Doll was nominated for numerous Academy Awards and has a brilliant cast in these oddly comedic and perverse flick. And while it may remind us of the bigotry of the South its a steamy hot slice of Americana.Unlike most of the films on this blog there is no tits or gore, having said that it still sure to entertain fans of the weird and wild and come on who doesn't love seeing the sexy young Baker nestled in her crib with thumb in her mouth.

Film Trivia:  In John Waters opus "Pink Flamingos" a poster of "Baby Doll" can be seen in Connie Marbles house. Men In Black star Rip Torn made his feature film debut in an unaccredited role as a Dentist.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Films In The Attic:Brain Damage: Frank gives us a piece of his "mind"

Frank Henenlotter if you don't know his films you probably should stop reading and buy everything hes done NOW!
Weird and wild, Frank is the king of expoliation films and quiet "frankly" films New York like nobody else. The film were dusting off and looking at is his 1988 Brain Damage.

Title: Brain Damage

Year: 1988

Director: Frank Henenlotter

This is a story about a boy and his brain eating penis shaped pal Elmer.Sound like the plot of the new Disney/Pixar movie? Nope It`s the classic drug,monster gore fest Brain Damage.

The Plot:
Brian (clever play on Brain) becomes the unwilling host to a horrific creature named Elmer. At first Elmer shows his host a wild trip but things soon take a hard left turn when he soon discovers that his new friend has a taste for human brains. Will Brian be able to stop his unquenchable thirst for blood or will he be in for one hell of a head ache.

The Review:
This film is equal parts funny and brilliant. Brain Damage was that dying breed of over the top splatter fests that include Street Trash and Dead Alive. Not only does this film not think outside the box it takes gasoline and a match and sets the box on fire! As with all of Henenlotters films the story is cleverly written with characters that are strange but always interesting.  As always the story is fresh and original something that is seriously missing these days.

I love his take on drugs in the era of Nancy`s "Just say no" bullshit. Not since "The Tingler" has a film married both monsters and drugs into one very fun film with no preachy messages. Though I guess you could make the case this is an anti-drug movie believe me its no after school special.  Frank doing an after school special how cool would that be- I digress.

Now don't get me wrong Basket Case is a awesome film, having said that this is clearly a more polished exercise in film making. Its also clear that this film was given a bigger budget. As I said before Frank can really film New York and capture not only the look of it, but the feel with all the dirty scummy grim, you can almost smell the garbage on the streets and the unwashed winos. 

The special effects are great, with the Elmer creature looking both menacing yet charming at the same time, everything the character called for. It really is a horrific joy to behold. Horror host legend Zacharly the cool ghoul provides the voice and knocks it out of the park, his performance goes hand in hand with the brain munching machine. Gore is spewed across the screen and unlike some eighties films the effects aren't dated. Love showing these ti friends and watch them cringe. Their is a great scene involving a woman getting more then she bargained for when hooking up with our hapless hero. This is one of my top all time gross out moments and one your likely to not forget.  Both funny and tasteless! 

The cast is fresh, Rick Hearst plays Brian the very unlucky host of Elmer. He brings high energy with out going to over the top cartoonish. Frank sometimes gets cited for not being able to write well for his female characters and while I think that's true to a certain degree it doesn't effect the overall product. In an interview with Fangoria he`s quoted as saying  "I`ve never been very interested in any other characters other then the hero and the monster." There are some very fun cameos by the cast members from his previous film Basket Case. Kevin Van Hentenryck reprises his role as Dwayne in a great moment in the film. Also the lovely Beverly Bonner also pops up.

Brain Damage hearkens back to a time when not all gore films were harsh torture porn, but fun over the top brain chewing entertainment. With a clever story and Franks trademarked off the wall characters this film is a must for cult film lovers who need a little brain destroying good time.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

1980`s Retrospective Series: Society Actor Tim Bartell Recounts his shunting experience! Oh a Shunting we will Go!!!

Hello Gore fans! Welcome to a new feature to this blog. Take a trip back to when horror films were both scary, fun and splat-tastic! 

We look at some fan favorite films from the brave souls who actually survived them. Cast, crew and sometimes both share their memories Exclusively to Gorehound Mike`s Wild Cinema blog. We kick things off with a film that over time has become a cult classic. 

The war of the classes, it seems like every day the lower class rages a battle with the upper class. Rich, there also a whole other species. Well in the 1989 film Society that is exactly what is going on. This film was made by the legendary Brian Yunza (see my interview with him in earlier post) and has a smart biting satire along with a more then memorable finale that will leave your jaw dropped. 

This is part 1 of a 2 part Society Retrospective

EXCLUSIVE To Gorehound Mike Actor Tim Bartell who played David Blanchard

On getting the role:

After getting the part, I remember initially being a little freaked out reading the script. Especially my character going through the shunting. I drove to my agent's and said, "Um... there's people I don't even know licking my body in this." He talked me into going through with it. But I was still a little nervous.

On the infamous shunting shoot:

And the shunting is of course what stands out for me about the shoot. I remember lying on that couch, screaming and crying as I was being sacrificed to Society... half naked, covered in slime with lots of people fondling and licking me. I had made the mistake of telling one of the crew I was a big fan of art house filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. Between takes he would lean in and say, "Tim, Bergman just called! He's very proud of you." 

But I really went for it as an actor. I wanted to make my death uber-painful to watch. And I succeeded. Director Brian Yuzna later told me while he was editing my death, he had a visit from one of the actors from Night of the Living Dead. The actor was so disturbed by my performance, he left the editing bay. I was really proud of that. Brian decided my death had to be lightened a little. He cut and trimmed, brought down my screaming and added in some waltz type music under the scene, so it wouldn't play too heavy. Which was probably a wise directorial decision. I screamed so much over the course of the day we shot most the shunting, I lost my voice. We shot a little more the next day, but I had to do that part sans my voice.

The whole thing was frankly a little creepy to play at times. You know you're in a film, it's just a part. But I'm crying, screaming, begging for my life. Everyone is laughing and growling at me like animals. I got a little overwhelmed at one point. I thought it was just pain in my legs, because I was crouching then inside the couch, with the prosthetic version of my body attached at my neck. My legs were really sore. I got a break and an extra came over to me and said "It's hard, isn't it?" He didn't mean my legs. He meant just playing this whole weird scene. His acknowledging that really made me feel a lot better.

But I don't regret the experience at all. It's been nearly 24 years since we shot Society and I have nothing but really the fondest memories of it. Yes, even the shunting.

Big thanks to Tim for taking them time to share his memories on this unique film. 

Coming Soon Part 2 of the Society Retrospective this time with the FX People!

please note that the content on this blog is not intended for any other blog,website or magazine. Copywrite 2012 Michael Vaughn 

Monday, June 11, 2012

First Look: Gallery of Fear: Is it worth hanging on your wall

Title: Gallery Of Fear

Year: 2012

Directors: Alan  Rowe Kelly, Anthony G Summers

Horror Anthongie, to fans films like Creepshow Tales from the Cypt, Vault of Terror and Black Sabbath spring to mind. All have at least 3 or 4 stories with one rap around story that ties all the others in.

Rap around Segment: Critics Choice

While it does what its suppose to, that is to tie the stories together but does little else to hook an audience member in. I understand that in a low budget film you have to work with what you have, yet I would think some more elements of horror couldn't have been added, just because your short on cash doesn't mean you have to be low on clever ideas to punch up your film.   Debbie Rochon the one high point. She is delightfully bitchy as the art critic Roberta.

Segment 1: By Her Hands She Draws You Down
A very interesting story about an artist with the abilty to take a persons life force from drawing your picture. Heres my problem, their is no doubt this is cool concept but its not fleshed enough and It leaves you feeling cheated. Also without spoiling an ending, their was a few gaps in logic. Special effects looked like a high school student did them.

Segment 2: Down the Drain: Not only is school kids cruel towards other kids but teachers too as in the tail of poor Stanley who just cant catch a break. Jerry Murdock who plays the main character seems to be chewing scenery left and right and while I feel normally over the top is better then boring I have to say his performance makes this one hard to watch. I would have chose a more a subtle way to approach Stanley, and I think that the audience could connect with it more then a Jerry Lewis`ese  thing hes doing. Sorry Jerry but bring it in. The drain monster is not very well done. The story is not overly creative either and you can see whats coming a mile away. Characters are cookie cutter at best.

Segment 3: Far Away from Home: Warning Spoilers ahead.
I was looking forward to this one the most. A transsexual and her lover stop off at a five and dime store called Hung by a thread. Yet in the country there are scary Christians afoot.
This film is not clever at all and ramps up the shock value, and liberally uses hate speech. Ok I`m no censor I believe in a artistic content words like this have their place. Back wood Christian hillbillies, that of course get there come up`ens in the end, maybe in a ironic twist? No.. Not only do they kill off the transsexual character but her murderers don't have any kind of punishment. This ending kinda pissed me off actually... It seems to solely relay on the shock value with no clever thought behind it. The film does have some decent special effects and I need head bash. Acting is decent, but as the other segments actors seem to go way over the top and cartoon like. It makes it hard to take this film serious let alone scary.

Final Rap around Segment and Final thoughts: As with the rest of the film it just seems like it was not clever and I was maybe at least expecting a huge awesome shocking twist. Ok I understand this film was executed with a small budget but that is no excuse for lazy story telling. I cant even truthful say I felt the filmmakers truly gave it their all, everything about this was so lackluster. Yes there is some carnage but doesn't save this film. This is a piece of art that didn't try to color outside the box and what were left with is a very laughable copy of other great works of horror`s past.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Demons 2: Its my party and i`ll die if i want too!

Title: Demons 2

Year: 1986

Director: Lamberto Bava

The Sequel to the Cult Classic- Does it stuck up?

The first Demons is a fun bloody romp but I think its safe to say it wasn't heavy on plot and Demons 2 doesn't amp up the plot but rather triesto take the basic outline and shift it to a different location. Why mess with um perfection?  The ominous theater in Demons one now takes place in a apt building, wow lack luster-you bet! And the creepy film that summons the demons, pretty similar to Demons 1 and even shows clips from it. Very clever (eye roll)  but I cant help but feel it was a lot cooler seeing the demons coming out of the giant cinema screen. The film within a film just isn't the same being on a small tv screen. Sorely missing is the really cool metal masks, it seems like all the things I liked about part one they dropped or changed. I respect the fact that the wanted to change it up, but why go low rent?
It really feels like this was rushed into production and its very evident by its release date of only a year after the first. Shame because this could have been so much better had they taken the time. Having said that Demons 2 does have some fun moments that make this worth your while. There is something really cool to me about a birthday party massacre, maybe because their to celebrate a persons birth, you expect people to be having a good time, not to be slaughtered. The concept of a demon coming out of the house hold pet is a really nice creepy scene. The action scenes are pretty good and Bobby Rhodes seems to not lost his demon killing edge. The ending is head scratchier, but at this point I think we`ve already thorn out things like logic.

The demon make up effects are like the first one,very strong and effective. Guys like Bava,Argento and Luci do know how to hire some top notch effects people. At times some of the transformations and creatures look dated, but i`d prefer that over CGI any day. If you freeze frame it you can that some of the demons from neck down are human.  The little demon boy is rad too.

Demons actor Bobby Rhodes is brought back for the sequel to play a different character which is fine by me because he`s as always fun to watch on screen Asia Argento makes her feature debut, years before she`d acted horrible that is in her fathers suck fests. Shes pretty good in this.Angento mainstay Coralina Cataldi Tassoni is great as the birthday party diva and later demon spawn.

This follow up isn't all it could have been, yet with some above par demon effects and some gore Demons 2 is still decent and if you lower your exceptions you can enjoy this 80s gore fest. While it not be the most original sequel it still satisfies our love for Italian gore trash.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Films In the Attic: The Infamous "White Dog"

Another week another film to dust off and watch!

Sam Fuller has made some breath taking visually interesting films that explored the dark nature of humans and what drives them to do what they do. His films had never been "safe" by any means but in 1982 he ruffled more then a few feathers with his controversial film "White Dog" Like Michael Powell with "Peeping Tom" the film was so hated that Fuller was black balled in Hollywood dismayed by Americas narrow thinking he moved to France. Sam Fuller never made another film in the U.S and a shame it was that we lost a wonderful story teller due to negative peoples assumptions.

For the longest time this was extremely difficult to see.  Many of us underground film lovers had to to settle with bootleg copies. Finally the wonderful folks at Criterion Collection was bold enough to re release White Dog so a new generation could view it and maybe learn a little something about the beast in all of us.


Title: White Dog

Year: 1982

Director: Samuel Fuller

The Plot:

The Review:

Opener: I was trying to decide if I should tackle such a controversial film about racism. But then I thought that my readers are adult enough to handle anything I throw at them, and if they cant frankly they shouldn't be reading it. I`m not going to sugar coat things this movie will offend certain viewer no matter what color, but its important to understand that Sam Fuller intention was not to shock but to educate and more importantly entertain.

What I think I liked the most about the screenplay is, that fear of dogs is something that a lot of people can relate with. Its interesting that I don't see the dog as the villain of the movie but yet the racist trainer, who transformed a beautiful creature into a mindless killing machine. Yes this film tackles the issue of racism and I feel like its a topic that should be dealt with. Is this film racist, NO and its this misconception that drummed a wonderful director out of Hollywood.

What narrow minded people failed to understand is that the dog is taught to hate and that the ignorant owner instilled those values in him, and so it is with people. Hate is taught. OK so whats wrong with that message?
What the picketers also failed to see that this film  shows how the dog pound system works and that the unwanted dogs that aren't cute puppies end up getting put to sleep. Their is a wonderful scene in which Kristies character goes to the pound and cries at the sight of all the unloved,unwanted dogs. Overall it gets right down to its a compelling story and entertaining to watch.

Visually: What I love a lot about the films of Sam Fuller is that he has such a interesting visual style and nothing is as awesome then the shot of the dog leaping through a glass window, scary and beautiful.Also notice the use of low shots, giving as the perspective of the dog.

Acting: TV mainstay Kristie McNichol is as always so cute shes its sick. But to be honest I was all ready to hate her in this but shes pretty good. The script affords her many chances to show her range. Everyone is pretty good, but of course the dog is the star of the film, hes lovable one moment and scariest then jaws the next!

Outro: We as a society have come a long way since this film was made, and still have a long way to go. And while we may not all agree on a lot of things I think we can all agree white,black yellow we all bleed red and while this doggy still has bite it didn't deserve to get put out in the cold and its nice that this dog is finally getting a pat on the head for a clever way to tackle a controversial issue.

Monday, June 4, 2012

First Look: Adam Rehmeier`s The Bunny Game

Title: The Buuny Game

Director Adam Rehmeier

Year 2012

The Plot: Bunny is your typical junkie and whore who will do anything for the green. But when she is picked up by a mysterious truck driver she is violently thrust into the truckers insane sexually charged fantasy world and must survive his nasty games.

Review: I`ve always found that the scariest monsters are those that are human, and the depths of depravity we as a species are capable of. Nothing is more true then The Bunny Game. First off let me say this-very few movies actually down right disturbed me and this my friends is one of them. It is a total assault on the senses and something your not likely to forget.

The actors are so good in it you forget your watching a fictional movie and just feels like you`re watching a filthy snuff film. Rodleen Getsic who plays the victim Bunny is so good in this that its frightening and honestly she should get a Scream award for her performance. I was told she actually fasted for awhile to prepare for this. You really have to give it up for an actress who not only is willing to put herself through the mental stress of the material but to be nude, AND not only be nude but be degraded AND have her head totally shaven. Jeff Renfro plays the trucker that picks up Bunny and turns her world into decay.

Renfro is easily more chilling and risk taking then Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs and I do not say this lightly. He doesn't say much in the film and really he doesn't have too, which is a testament to his skills as an actor. You would be hard pressed to find a more evil brutal and more importantly convincing screen serial killer. Unlike American Psycho their is nothing glamorous about what he does, plain and simple he is a monster. Rodleen and Renfro both plunge deep deep down into a pitch black spiral which is at times difficult to watch. It makes the Texas Chainsaw Massacre look like Snow White.  Its an exercise in how I filmmaker can take us the audience into the deepest darkest recesses of our souls and show us how very ugly human nature can be. This is simply not a slasher who is satisfied by quickly killing his victim, he mentally totally destroy`s his victims first. Which to me is a million times scarier.

Jeff Renfro and Rodlenn Getsic give a award worthy performance in The Bunny Game 

Visually this film is stunning and the use of black and white amps up the dread and terror a thousand percent. Its actually harder to work in b&w but its mastered beautifully.  Rehmeier has an impressive eye for style and his 15 years of working in film really shows. I can very easily see the image of Rodlenn in her bunny mask as an icon in the genre.Not since Argentos debut has a filmmaker break out of the gate and brought something fresh like this.  I rarely comment on it, but the editing job is very well done and helps create the psychotic kinetic energy. Its interesting to note that little to no blood is shed in this film yet it is how the character is mentally torn apart that is even harder to watch. Young filmmakers YOU CAN LEARN SOMETHING FROM THIS, its not about the gallons of blood you pour on your victim, its the skill to make a us the audience feel emotion for the character, without that its pointless. Even though we don't know much about Bunny we still can feel for the torture she has to endure.

Critics will no doubt pick this film apart for its treatment of women and the unrelenting violence, what they might fail to see is the polished skill and visual intensity to disturb and shake its audience members to its core. I do warn you, if your sensitive this is not the film for you, and guys this is not a very good date movie. Actually best not show this one to your girlfriend at all.

Rehmeier`s The Bunny Game forces us to take a look at the most depraved ugly and brutal aspect of the human condition and leaves us with a very bleak outlook. And while its not a movie you're likely to re-watch often it is a exercise in film making not seen his Tobe Hoppers Texas Chainsaw buzzed into theaters.

You`ve been warned!

DVD/Blu-Ray comes out July 18th

COMING SOON- Interview with director Adam Rehmeier and hopefully other cast members.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Indie Director Spotlight: Vito Trabucco

Brand New feature, since we featured the films of Scott Kessler I got to thinking, why not feature indie directors every so often...

Name: Vito Trabucco

At the age of 35 Vito has won awards for his short films and is making quiet a splash with the 1970s style film Bloody Bloody Bible Camp which which stars genre favorites Tim Sullivan Reggie Bannister and porn star Ron Jeremy! Vito stops by and talks about Bloody Bible Camp as well as what hes up to now! This truly is a talent that is on the rise, he could very well be the next big name in horror films!

GM: Did you always want to be a filmmaker?

VT: Not really.  My first career choice as a hobo wasn’t working out.  This just sort of came next.

GM: Tell us about your first full length film Bloody Bloody Bible Camp?

VT: It’s pretty much all in the title.  With some boobs thrown in of course.  It’s a throwback to the old slasher flicks of the 80’s that we all grew up watching.  It takes place in 1984 where a group of campers go to a weekend bible retreat at the Happy Day Bible Camp… where they all die at the hands of Sister Mary Chopper.  She’s our killer transvestite nun.  I wrote this with Shelby McIntyre close to 10 years ago.

GM: You have a very cool cast. What was Ron Jeremy like to work with?

VT: Ron was the best.  Really funny guy.  He was great the work with.  I would definitely use him again.  The whole cast was cool.  They were all really great in it I thought.

GM: Were they any practical challenges on this shot?

VT: Time and money as always.   Besides that it was a lot colder than I thought it was going to be.

GM: Any practical jokes on set?

VT: Yeah, but I think they were all on me.

GM: Bloody Bloody Bible Camp is obviously a send up of 70s/80`s horror, which film if any was a major inspiration?

VT: Mostly Friday the 13th, but we tried to sneak in a little bit of everything.

GM: Did you make the horror con rounds yet?

VT: Just starting to now.

GM: So many films are being remade, how would you feel if you were asked to direct one?

VT: Actually my next movie is a remake of Al Adamson’s 1965 Psycho a Go-Go.  I’m not a huge fan of most of the remakes.  I am a big fan of Al though, and wanted to do this for a long time.  His former producing partner, Sam Sherman, was very kind in helping us get the rights to do it.

GM: Anything you can tell us about your latest film?

VT: We’re in the late stages of post production on Never Open the Door which is a black and white homage to my producing partner Christopher Maltauro’s grandfather, John Brahm.  He was a great director from the 40’s and 50’s.  We’re very happy with this one, and think its going to do very well.  Christopher and me were also the executive producers on a film called Crack Whore directed by Lance Polland which we’ll be announcing its release date very soon.

GM:  Finally what advice would you give to future filmmakers?

VT: Drink….a lot.

Thank You Vito for getting stuck in my lair.

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