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Showing posts from 2019

Review: Vampyres

Two bewitching young ladies (Marianne Morris and Anulka Dziubinska) invite unsuspecting men to their abode…and their ultimate bloody demise. Murray Brown is the next intended victim, with Sally Faulkner and Brian Deacon playing a caravanning young couple who witness some very disturbing things from their window. Michael Byrne has a brief cameo as a horny guy lured by the title characters.


A good vampire film deserving of more notoriety, this 1974 flick from Spanish director Jose Ramon Larraz (“Symptoms”, “Stigma”) only falters in the repetitive structure of the film. After an initial burst, it’s a tad slow where there’s just a little too much walking around waiting for rather similar things to happen. Otherwise, this one’s a bloody winner that I was glad I’d finally caught up with after wanting to track it down for about 20+ years.


The film doesn’t fuck around early on, getting to the goods right away, though it’s hot stuff that doesn’t exactly lead to a happy ending if you catch my d…

Review: Boy Erased

Baptist preacher Russell Crowe and wife Nicole Kidman wrestle with the knowledge that their son Lucas Hedges is gay. Crowe’s answer, in consultation with fellow religious figures, is to send the boy to a gay conversion therapy retreat headed by Joel Edgerton. Kidman starts to see that Edgerton’s methods are insidious, manipulative, destructive, and completely and utterly useless. Crowe sinks his head into his bible for answers, whilst poor Hedges is in utter torment, wanting to please his parents, whilst also knowing that he’s gay and that’s just how it is. Can mother and son get through to Crowe before Hedges’ is completely destroyed? Troye Sivan plays another gay kid, Cherry Jones is a doctor, and musician Flea plays a military-style associate of Edgerton’s who tries to teach the gays how to be ‘manly men’ like him, whilst Edgerton tries to tie things to learned patterns of unacceptable behaviour or some disingenuous bullshit.


Co-star/writer-director Joel Edgerton has a bit of a tou…

Review: Black Cobra Woman

Laura Gemser comes to Hong Kong to do some sexy snake dancing at a nightclub, and gets involved with two very different brothers. There’s Judas (Jack Palance), who despite his name and being a reptile enthusiast is rather a milquetoast sort, who takes an immediate liking to our heroine. Younger brother Jules (Gabriele Tinti) is seen as the less responsible one. Judas was given all of the family inheritance until Jules proves himself worthy after a five year period. It’s Jules who introduces Gemser to a lady named Gerri (Michele Starck), whom she immediately falls for and gives the brothers someone in common to be jealous of.


Like a Jesus Franco film with almost all of the fun bits taken out, this 1976 exploitation piece from writer-director Joe D’Amato (“Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals”, the notorious “Antropophagus”) is kinky and weird but not in any especially interesting way. It’s weird to a point and there’s plenty of full-frontal nudity and the occasional Sapphic touch, but that…

Review: Slaughter

Jim Brown plays the title police captain an ex-Green Beret whose parents (who had mob connections!) are killed in a car bomb explosion. Slaughter does everything he can to find out what happened and who is responsible. This has him getting in the way of an investigation by the Treasury Department, headed by a racist Cameron Mitchell. Mitchell isn’t happy for the intrusion, but nonetheless offers Slaughter a deal: Be charged with murder (Slaughter kills a mob guy), or co-operate with the Treasury Department. Slaughter, not being an idiot, takes the second option. Mitchell pairs Slaughter up with fellow agents Don Gordon and Marlene Clark to track down mobsters Hoffo (Rip Torn) and his grandfatherly employer Felice (Norman Alfe), believed to be behind the hit. Stella Stevens plays the surly Hoffo’s girlfriend, whom Felice arranges to seduce Slaughter. Robert Phillips plays the henchman you know is set to get punched all over the face.


Jim Brown’s career actually started before the Blaxp…

Review: The Domestics

Set in a harsh, gone-to-seed post-apocalyptic Earth, Kate Bosworth and Tyler Hoechlin play a couple who aren’t quite on the same page anymore. However, they’ll need to work together in order to get themselves to safety at Bosworth’s parents place across country. Domestic disharmony will have to wait to be sorted out, whilst they have graver matters at hand. There are feral gangs and all kinds of creeps looking to nab them and do who knows what to them. Lance Riddick plays a family man who takes the couple in at one point, whilst David Dastmalchian plays a bleached psycho creep.


I like a good post-apocalyptic movie, but this 2018 film from writer-director Mike P. Nelson (based on his own short film) is more of a frustrating near-miss. Its borderline “The Divide”-esque bleak tone is a plus, but there’s just enough wrong here to keep this one from entirely satisfying. The performances for one thing, are crucially under par. Character actor Lance Riddick has a rare miss and is surprisingl…

Review: White Boy

Quite astonishing 2017 documentary from director Christopher S. Rech offers up a disgusting and shameful display of clearly very dodgy police procedure. It’s the story of ‘White Boy Rick’, AKA Richard Wershe, Jr., a teenage drug dealer who has over the years become infamous due to references in Kid Rock songs and the like. However, I only vaguely knew the name ‘White Boy Rick’, nothing about his story. What I found in this ‘stranger than fiction’ documentary horrified me. Detroit teen Wershe Jr. was clearly no angel, he was indeed quite a successful drug dealer at a young age, with his father also a criminal of some note. In the mid-to-late 80s, 17 year-old Wershe Jr. was arrested, tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison for a mere drug crime (carrying 8 kg of coke is nothing to sneeze at, however) due to a then mandatory life sentence law in Detroit that has since been dispensed with. Decades later, whilst every other of the offenders under this law had since been released,…

Review: Jindabyne

Set in the title town in New South Wales, buddies on a fishing trip (Irish-born mechanic Gabriel Byrne, Stelios Yuakmis, Simon Stone, and veteran character actor John Howard) discover a floating dead body, but after tying the murder victim to a tree, continue with their leisurely activity for the time being. We know creepy Chris Haywood is the killer from the get-go, and he’s further filmed in an over-the-top manner, and Haywood acts accordingly. When they get back to town (they report the body to police just before leaving), the media and many of the townsfolk condemn the men, sickened by their callous inaction. The situation worsens when it is revealed that the victim was an Aboriginal woman, and that one of the fishermen’s partner (Leah Purcell) is herself an Aboriginal. Laura Linney (in full-on histrionic, brittle mode) plays Byrne’s unstable American wife (it’s believed she may have suffered post-partum depression in the past), who hates his hardened mother, and after the fishing…

Review: Slumber

Maggie Q is a doctor specialising in sleep issues, who is still haunted by past trauma in her own sleep, revisiting the night her brother died whilst sleepwalking. She’s currently helping out a troubled family who seem plagued by some kind of sinister force in their dreams. William Hope plays a professional colleague of Q’s, whilst Sylvester McCoy plays an important part in the plot as a deeply disturbed old man with his own sleep issues.


If this 2018 horror pic from writer-director Jonathan Hopkins (a former production assistant making his feature-length directing debut) could’ve stayed on the level of creepiness and quality in its opening scene, we’d have a winner here. Even the credits are genuinely creepy, with unsettling illustrations of demonic figures playing over them. Yikes. Unfortunately, the film never really reaches that level again, aside from a pretty neat little twist in the end.


The main problem here is that every time Hopkins tries to drum up some atmosphere and tensi…

Review: Vixen!

Set in Canada, Erica Gavin is the bitchy title character who screws around on her bush pilot husband with almost every man and woman around…including her own brother (Jon Evans). Harrison Page plays Evans’ fellow biker buddy, whom Vixen engages in bitchy, racial banter with throughout. Vincence Wallace plays a rich and bored housewife whom engages in drunken Sapphic action with Vixen at one point.


I was spoiled early with the films of Russ Meyer, with the fantastic camp classic “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls”. It has since become one of my all-time favourite films after first discovering it on Aussie cable in my early 20s. Subsequent trips to Meyerland have not been quite as enjoyable. “Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!” was fairly tame, if pretty well-made for its type I guess, but “Supervixens” spoiled the softcore fun by having Charles Napier (in a terrific performance) violently attack a woman in a very uncomfortable scene that just rubbed me the wrong way. Now here I am reviewing hi…

Review: Places in the Heart

Set in Depression era Texas, Sally Field plays a mother who is widowed when her lawman husband is accidentally killed by a young drunken black man (De’voreaux White). Struggling to keep a roof over her two kids heads, she ends up taking a couple of boarders; African-American jack-of-all-trades Moses (Danny Glover), and a quiet, blind loner named Mr. Will (John Malkovich). They are faced with tornadoes, financial hardship, and for Moses the added issue of racial hatred from the local Klan. In a subplot we have Field’s sister (Lindsay Crouse), her cheating husband (Ed Harris), and another married couple (Amy Madigan and Terry O’Quinn).


Most people have their favourite Sally Field film or TV show, and for me it’s this 1984 drama from writer-director Robert Benton (“Kramer vs. Kramer”, the underrated Paul Newman movie “Twilight”). I really, really like it. Yeah, had to. It’s a simple story well-told with a terrific cast from top to bottom, including some actors doing their best-ever work …

Review: Bohemian Rhapsody

The story of Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) and rock band Queen, whose other members include Brian May (Gwilym Lee), Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy), and bassist John Deacon (Joe Mazzello). Lucy Boynton plays Freddie’s female companion Mary, though he is quite clearly more sexually drawn towards men. Allen Leech plays the treacherously depicted Paul Prenter, whilst Aiden Gillen plays manager John Reid.


If you’re a Queen fan like I am, it’s unlikely I think that you’ll enjoy this 2018 film from director Bryan Singer (who still hasn’t bested his debut “The Usual Suspects”), with an uncredited assist by Dexter Fletcher (who will forever be Spike on “Press Gang” to me. Loved that show as a kid) after Singer’s dismissal. If you’re a movie fan with even the slightest critical eye, you’ll also be unlikely to enjoy the film. This is a wildly unconvincing biopic of Freddie Mercury, and an extremely shoddy piece of filmmaking to boot. How it has received any critical and commercial success, let alone ho…

Review: The Meg

The inhabitants of an ocean lab off the coast of China find themselves dealing with a 90ft megalodon shark from previously unexplored depths of the ocean. A submersible ends up being attacked by the shark, and the only man capable of resolving the situation is former diver Jason Statham. His ex-wife Jess McNamee is among those in the submersible, giving the reluctant hero enough incentive to agree to the mission. Rainn Wilson plays the entirely obnoxious billionaire backing the lab, whilst the rest of our protagonists include father and daughter Winston Chao and Bingbing Li, Robert Taylor, Page Kennedy (practically screaming ‘We gon’ die!’ from moment one), Statham’s buddy Cliff Curtis, and a pouty Ruby Rose (struggling embarrassingly with an attempted American accent). Sophia Cai plays Bingbing Li’s daughter, who takes a shine to gruff Statham.


There will never be another “Jaws”, the film is practically flawless entertainment. There sure as shit are a hell of a lot of shark movies th…

Review: Alien Prey

A slightly bitchy lesbian couple (Sally Faulkner and Glory Annen) live out in the woods in their mansion, and are about to have a close encounter of the alien vampire kind (Barry Stokes).


Director Norman J. Warren (the dreadful “Alien” rip-off “Inseminoid”) and screenwriter Max Cuff (his only film credit) essentially give us a sci-fi/horror version of “The Fox” here with this 1977 low-budget oddity. The result is all over the map, but with one scene excepted none of it is particularly interesting. This is partly because the short running time renders a lot of it incoherent. It’s mostly because Warren is a subpar filmmaker and he’s made a lot of it incoherent.


I really wish this wasn’t – and can hardly believe it is – boring, because a lot of it is nuttier than a fruitcake, and that one scene is pretty darn good. If you’re gonna watch this film, it’s because you’ve heard about the lesbian content, and although darkly photographed, it’s pretty steamy for a non-porn film from 1977-78. It…

Review: Bilitis

The title teenager (played by Patti D’Arbanville) is on holiday from her French boarding school, and staying with a married couple. The bulk of the film has her frolicking with a handsome photographer, but she is also drawn to the older Melissa (Mona Kristensen, then-wife of the director), whose husband treats his wife rough, to say the least.


When you read the synopsis, it sounds dubious, especially from a 2019 perspective. Having seen this 1977 softcore effort from British director and former photographer David Hamilton (who made the similar “Laura”, I can indeed confirm that it is rather a dubious effort, especially from a 2019 perspective. I can also confirm that if you can get past that (and that’s likely a big ‘if’ for most), it’s not that bad, if not up to the heights of “Emmanuelle II”. It helps that despite the teenage characters, the actresses are all clearly above age. Well, it helped me at least. Your mileage may differ. It’s certainly not nearly as artistic as its arty-fa…