Evils of the Night (1985)

One from the to watch pile…
Evils of the Night (1985)


Film: Don’t you just love it when a friend suggests a movie you’ve never heard of to you? Then when you get your hands on it you see the awesome cover shown above, replete with amazing Tales of the Crypt styled artwork featuring a subtle rip-off of Star Wars’ Millennium Falcon (by subtle I mean ‘glaring’) and find on the back it’s directed by Mardi Rustam, the producer of Eaten Alive, AND it stars Batman’s Julie Newmar, Gillian’s Island’s Tina Louise, Eaten Alive’s Neville Brand and b-movie legends Aldo Ray and Jon Carradine. (I have to also point out that that awesome cover was done by Tom Tierney who was America’s foremost Paper Doll artist!)


This sounds like it’s going to be a treat! That is, a terrible, awful tainted treat, like a rotted finger found by a cannibal behind the lounge.

Our story in this film is of a bunch of aliens (played by Carradine, Louise and Newmar) who have travelled to earth and quickly… very quickly… established a process where a couple of local crooks (Neville Brand and Aldo Ray) kidnap nubile young women and beefcake-ish young men and deliver them for processing as the aliens require human blood to survive!

Amazing! How did their species survive before they discovered interplanetary travel… maybe some concepts don’t open themselves up to critical scientific evaluation.

Of course, amongst their latest group of victims there are a few tenacious teens who may actually be able to survive the slaughter! 

Now as you may be able to tell from the synopsis, it’s a pretty daft story that has its roots in, well, every 50s American scifi film. In this film they have at least used the plot device of an older alien showing new ones how to perform their roles as leaders of expeditions as a way to convey the story to we, the viewer.

Mostly, the acting is deplorable, but thankfully the cast are good looking enough to keep your interest for a bit longer than a film this bad would probably deserve. The film is edited such that there are several nude/ sex scenes where the main cast aren’t involved so their demises don’t effect the outcome of the plot, but dropped 80s porn legend Amber Lynn in their is a bonus. The acting highlights would have to be Aldo Ray and Neville Brand as quite possibly the best hillbilly killers this side of the hills from The Hills Have Eyes.


This film has one real problem though above how bad the acting is and how generic the storyline is: the pacing. There are some scenes that just go on for far too long. The key to a movie that has tension is knowing when to tighten and release it, and this film doesn’t, so for the most part is becomes an unsatisfactory freakshow of hasbeens and neverwases.

It’s a strange film that’s as dumb as a box of hammers with a bizarre identity crisis: 80s soft core comedy porn a la Porky’s but with 50s or 60s scifi plot and ‘spaceman’ outfits. It’s ‘Plan 10 from Outer Space’ made real! I’m sure Ed Wood would have loved it!

Oh, by the way, the Milennium Falcon DOESN’T make an appearance in this film, even though the cover may suggest it! 

Score: **1/2

]

Format: This movie was reviewed in the Gorgon Video DVD which runs for approximately 85 minutes, and is presented in a clear but unspectacular 1.78:1 image with a Dolby Digital 2.0 audio which is fine, but nothing special. There is an occasional artefact on the screen but it’s not detrimental to the viewing.

Score: ***

Extras: There are three extras on this disc: 

The first one is the ‘television’ cut of the film which lasts a whole 8 minutes longer than the regular version, but unfortunately isn’t very clear as it was taken from a video tape master. This version removes all the sex scenes and Amber Lynn isn’t even here at all! Criminal!

There are a bunch of outtakes here but unfortunately there is no audio. The look of embarrassment on the old greats is clear and present though.

We also have a trailer for the film.

Score: ***1/2

WISIA: I probably won’t watch this again, but I am glad to have seen it and loved the surprise appearance of Amber Lynn!

Advertisements

Supervixens (1975) 

One from the re watch pile…
Supervixens (1975)

The cover of the UK DVD release


Film: I had read about soft-core porn filmmaker Russ Meyer long before I had ever seen any of his films. I remember seeing the image of a gigantic pair of boobs hanging from out the front of a cinema in Sydney in a magazine called Shocking Cinema which contained that particular image, with a small write up, within a ‘sealed’ section.

Just through magazine I read, and shops I frequented, like Land Beyond Beyond in Sydney, I became a little obsessed with Meyer though the opportunity to see any of his stuff didn’t become available to me until I managed to get my hands on a few releases Madman in Australia did on DVD a few years ago, and since then I’ve grabbed everything that Arrow Films in the UK have available, and have accumulated several books on the subject of Mr Meyer, including his experiences documenting WWII , as well as a photographer for Playboy in the early days.

The focus of Meyer’s movies are the female form, and the bustier the better! There are certain male attributes that are generally enhanced too when the opportunity arises for a peek though. His films are no doubt soft core porn, but there’s no ‘I’ve come to clean ze pool’ stuff in his work: no, these are articulate, rural black comedies that if you don’t just fast forward to the nudity, or turn them of when you have… um… ‘finished’, you’ll get a lot out of them

His movies are spectacularly weird too and he has been called the ‘Rural Fellini’, insomuch that his films merge fantasy, not just sexual but metaphysical and supernatural within the rural environments, like farming communities and small towns.

Supervixens is no variation on that.

Clint Ramsey (Charles Pitt) getting down and dirty


Poor Clint Ramsey (Charles Pitts) has a problem: his woman, Superangel (Shari Eubanks) is a suspicious, high-maintenance, voluptuous woman whose sexual appetite and penchant for violence is making his life a living Hell, even though she is a gorgeous.

After a particularly horrible argument, Supervixen calls the police, who send police officer Harry Sledge (Charles Napier). He quickly proves to be her undoing when he murders her after she tries similar shenanigans on him when he fails to satisfy her her in bed.

The titular Supervixen.


Sledge murders her and places the blame square in Clint’s lap, which puts him on a trip across country, evading the law and somehow ending up pursued by every horny, busty woman he …ahem… comes across, but will Sledge catch up with him?

This movie is heaps of fun and has some bizarre scenes that somehow make plenty of sense within Meyer’s eye. He has this amazing sense of cinematic style with the camera that once you see past the statuesque figures on screen, you really see a man who is totally in control of his craft. His previous occupation as a photographer is clear in the amazing way he frames his scenes.

The women in this film aren’t the only amazing thing within the camera’s eye: the locations are desolate and the heat of the desert is almost palpable.

I really love this movie, and though you probably should start any Meyer adventure with either Vixen or Faster Pussycat! Kill! KILL!, you really can’t pass this up.

Score: ****

The UK DVD menu screen


Format: Supervixens was reviewed using the U.K. Arrow Films DVD release which is presented in an ok 4:3 image with a pretty clear 2.0 audio. The image is a little artefacty at times but not to the detriment of the entire image.

Score: ****

Extras: Only two extras on this disc, but both are as entertaining as hell.

First there is an amazing commentary with director Russ Meyer where he doesn’t just tell amusing stories about the making of this film, but also interesting reflections of his life. 
Next, we have a trailer reel of Meyer’s films: Faster Pussycat! Kill! KILL!, Blacksnake, Mudhoney, Vixen, Wild Gals of the Naked West, Supervixens, Beneath the Valley of the Ultravixens, Cherry, Harry & Raquel and Common-Law Cabin.

Honestly Meyer’s trailers are the best ever made, not just because of the beautiful stars, but also due to the absolute Sideshow Huckster, P.T. Barnham styled voiceovers which deliver the hard sell like never before.

Score: ***

WISIA: It’s a funny, sometimes silly and occasionally violent piece of classic Meyer cheese: not for family viewing but I watch it when I can.

Harry Sledge (Charles Napier) looks back at future victims.

Countdown to Halloween Review #2: Halloween II (1981)

One from the re watch pile…
Halloween 2 (1981)


Film: I have a special love for Halloween 2. My days of being a voracious film collector started with two films that I grabbed in the days of VHS: Halloween 2 and Dawn of the Dead, so excuse me whilst I zip up my 80s pants, so you can’t see the size of my nostalgia.

I am not even quite sure if I had even seen the first Halloween when I first saw this, and realistically, I am not sure it mattered. All I do remember is being stunned by how awesome horror movies didn’t have to have either Godzilla or Abbott and Costello in them, which is what I had mostly been exposed to before that, either on a Saturday afternoon when they played those sorts of things on Channel 7, or something like Octaman on a late night creature feature.

I mean I knew other horrors existed as I had been getting Famous Monsters of Filmland for several years, but this was something else!

From what my young mind could tell, obviously something bad had happened before, then a whole pile of more bad stuff happened, then boobs… Pause…. Then more bad stuff happens and then the bad guy gets his come uppence.


… or to put it in a slightly different way…

Laurie Strode’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) Halloween night has so far been pretty terrible, as all her high school friends have been slaughtered by a madman named Michael Myers, who then pursued her, but she fought him off, and he was shot 6 times by Professor Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance) before falling out of a second story window… And disappearing!

Our story takes us to Laurie’s journey to the hospital, and how her night of being terrorised by Myers is not over. Her recovery is not without event, as Myers survived the fall, and has tracked her to the hospital, carving a bloody path all the way there, and through the hospital staff… But why is he so intent on Laurie’s death? The revelation that she is the younger sister of Myers, adopted by the Strode family, would perhaps suggest that he has a job to finish…


As I previously suggested, I believe this may have been the first slasher that I ever saw, and I’ve loved them, and by extension, giallo films as well. I’ve definitely rewatched this more than any other slasher, even my beloved Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (!), and I still enjoy it today… Even though it contains the two most ridiculously luckiest shots from a handgun by an amateur in the history of cinema!

Basically I just love this film, and I am well aware it’s not the greatest film in the world, but I love the cast, the look of the film, the soundtrack and it’s higher body count, and even though the revelation if Laurie’s relationship seems to come from left field, it does create the basis for the franchise that the film’s became… Whether that’s a good thing or not is a different story. Is it nostalgia that makes me so fond of this film? Maybe, but that’s not SO bad, is it?

Score: ****1/2


Format: The review copy was the Australian region B bluray, which goes for 93 minutes and is presented in anamorphic 2.35:1 image no a Dolby DTS-HD 5.1 both of which look just fine.

Score: ****

Extras: There is a few extras on this disc. The first is a series of deleted scenes which show more of the personalities of the hospital staff, and throw a few unnecessary story elements in. There is also an alternate ending which shows the survival of a character previously assumed to be dead. There is also a theatrical trailer.

Score: ***


WISIA: This is one of my favourite movies for story, body count, boobs and nostalgia, so it is a regular respinner at the To Watch Pile Cinema.