Monday, 21 November 2011

NECROPOLIS (1987)


Y'know, I'm not actually all that sure what I just watched. I know it was as movie, but I'll be damned if I can tell you much more than that. I'll try. 300 years ago a witch was executed for being all evil and stuff. In the present day, she is resurrected as a punky clone of Madonna (and blatantly so, although here and now she looks more like Lady GaGa than Madonna), who sets about taking revenge on people associated with, wait, I've lost it. No, there must be a plot somewhere.

You see, there's a moment in this film that is so odd that it blots out the rest of the film entirely. Actually, maybe the rest of the film (which only clocks in at 75 minutes in total) is just so tedious that the one truly insane scene in the flick just cancels the rest out. The scene in question? It's the scene where the villainess unveils her six boobs and suckles three hooded zombies with gooey ectoplasm from her prosthetic nipples. No, seriously.


It's the only reason this film has any notoriety, as the rest of it is a plodding mess. Basically the evil punkette goes from lowlife to lowlife, encompassing drunks, hookers and more, and psychically forces them to kill themselves and other people.

Oh, wait! Now I remember. The basic crux of the plot is Miss Eva, the witch, attempting to resurrect her cult members from way back when by sucking the life force out of her victims, which then manifests as the goo from her prosthetic boobs. A counsellor, a doctor and a cop are soon on her trail, with every predictable moment of skepticism in there that you can imagine (mmm, padding) before the inevitable revelation that the camp counsellor really was onto something and the witch is killing folks.


There are some hilariously bad moments throughout it, but one of my favourite has to be the moment the counsellor is shot in the arm when the witch takes a character over and forces her to turn the weapon on her colleague.

The resulting squib in his arm goes off wrong, and hangs out of the fake blood of the fake wound for all the world to see. The actor actually pauses a moment, as if to go 'Oh shit!' before screaming in apparent pain. The camera holds on this slightly too long, making it plainly obvious we are watching a botched effect.

That sums the film up, really. A botch job that we see for far too long. The problem is, I actually found its complete ineptitude as a film quite endearing. Something I do find quite endearing is the fact that so much of the score is stolen from other films from C-movie legend Charles Band and his ilk, utilising music from films like Trancers, Puppet Master and more throughout the movie. It's absolute 80s, shot-on-video trash of the lowest order, but it's also passable viewing material if you can't be arsed to pay too much attention between the nasty bits. And by nasty bits I don't mean her terrifying, ectoplasm-leaking six boobs.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (1988)


Ahh, you know you're in for a fun film when Linnea Quigley's in the cast. This is a delightfully chaotic and entertaining piece of mid eighties horror which spawned two sequels and a remake, none of which matched the fun of this first film.

A bunch of teens head to a spooky house in order to indulge in The Standard 80s Horror Film Party Somewhere Bad. This time it's in an abandoned mortuary. After the kids conduct an impromptu séance as a party game, demons are unleashed from their otherworldly prisons and go about butchering some characters, possessing others and causing some beautifully manic chaos for eighty-something minutes.


Night of The Demons is a gloriously archetypal look at 80s horror, from the soundtrack and the cast to the tracking shots, the demon makeups and the set dressing. It's awesome. Angela, the lead demon by the time the climax comes around (and indeed in the two sequels), is everything you could want from a b-movie horror icon. Her outfit, her voice and her demonic makeup are perfect fodder for fans of 80s schlock.

The story is hokey and full of plot holes, not to mention moments where characters could EASILY have escaped their fates if only they had actually stopped standing there screaming and had actually run off, but that's part of its charm.


Linnea is clearly having a bit of a laugh with the whole thing, even when she's required to force a finger right through her own nipple. She certainly earned her Scream Queen credentials in this (and indeed 'Return of the Living Dead') and deserves every bit of fan appreciation she gets, for the simple fact that whenever she's onscreen she seems to be having such a great time making the film. That tongue in cheek atmosphere is very appealing.

The glorious thing about Night of the Demons is that it holds up well as a film despite its dated effects and hammy acting, well, because it never takes itself remotely seriously. It's a valiant attempt at creating a budget Freddy/Jason/Pinhead type character in Angela, and it's hard not to be entertained by her demonic antics, even when they're a tad nonsensical.

It's the sort of film which is referred to as a 'romp', because that's exactly what it is. Beheadings, gore, zombies, demons and teenagers being taught they shouldn't play with the supernatural? It must be Night of the Demons.


Saturday, 5 November 2011

PSYCHIC KILLER (1975)


This entertaining little shocker from '75 has an IMDB score which seems to be far too low. Yeah. It's cheap, hokey and looks like an episode of a cop show, but Psychic Killer has a lot of charm. The basic premise surrounds a man who is able to kill people via sending his spirit out by astral projection and using his psychic abilities to telekinetically influence the world around his victims.

It's a film that has been on my radar for a while as the rather brilliant trailer is attached to a bunch of low budget horror DVDs I've been gathering lately. Pretty much every Vipco title I've found of late has the trailer for Psychic Killer on it, so the power of advertising finally pushed me into checking out what I see as an under-appreciated gem.


Quiet guy Arnold Masters is in a jail's mental ward for a murder he didn't commit. While in jail he meets a man who introduces him to the concept of psychic powers, who then promptly dies in a scene which is both chilling and hilarious. When his innocence is revealed, he is set free and sinks deeper into his own world of strange and dark thoughts. With an amulet the guy leaves behind, Arnold is able to set about tracking down and offing all of the people that screwed his life up with the murder case.

Of course, there's a sexy doctor and a grizzled cop on his trail as Arnold goes about murdering people in very inventive ways. I think my favourite has to be the scene in which a butcher is killed in a rather grisly fashion. The scene really kicks in when a load of raw meat chases him towards a meat grinder, which then spews chunks of meat as we watch his hand minced into a bloody mess (you may well recognize the butcher from Tobe Hooper's Eaten Alive/Death Trap flick).


Arnold, played by the deliciously creepy Jim Hutton, is actually quite likeable in an odd way. It's everyone else that's kinda irritating in the film, which makes it oddly satisfying when they are minced, flung off cliffs, burned to death in the shower or whatever fate Arnold sees fit for them. The film mixes thriller, horror and science fiction together, and while it doesn't always work, for me me it hits the mark more often than not.

I just wish the ending had been longer, a bit more fleshed out, and that there had been an epilogue. Psychic Killer is one of those film that literally stops as the climactic moment ends, which is rather annoying after such a build-up to what is effectively a very short finale. There are moments throughout the film that show great promise, with some very creepy moments where the atmosphere is pitch perfect.

The character of Arnold is classic lunatic, quiet and gentle but always slightly off-kilter. The answer to beating him is a bit of a cop-out and there are loose plot threads dangling here and there, but those final moments, however short they are, are worth waiting for. Psychic Killer does live up to the hype I had built up around it after seeing the trailer so many times, but only just.