Exploitation

All posts in the Exploitation category

Hell of a Gal: Rings of Fear

Published March 23, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

Helga Vk 2

(Hell of a Gal explores the films of the ever luscious Euro Vixen Helga Liné.)

The radiant Helga Liné has over 130 credits on her resume. If all of the alternative titles of Rings of Fear, a mid career giallo, were counted among those credentials, she would have quite a number more. Known, alternatively,  as Red Rings of Fear (or Enigma Rosso), Trauma and Virgin Terror, this final entry in an unofficial Italian film series known as the Schoolgirl Trilogy, also found Liné portraying a totally sympathetic character, something that she was rarely given a chance to do.

Helga VK 4As Mrs. Russo, the anguished mother of the film’s first victim, Liné is given just a couple scenes here, but she provides plenty of understated sorrow and maternal strife in them. She also shares a nice connection with fellow Euro superstars Fabio Testi (What Have They Done to Solange, Four of the Apocalypse), as the detective investigating the case, and Nicoletta Elmi (Deep Red, Demons), who plays her youngest, incredibly inquisitive daughter. In fact, her best moments come as she, thoughtfully and quietly, answers Testi’s Di Salvo as he questions her after the funeral of her eldest child. Nicely, she gives these moments a disconnected quality, as well, nodding to her character’s expected melancholy.

The rest of the picture focuses on the unusual friendship that develops between Testi and Elmi as they try to discover what happened to her sister. Bolstered by such genre regulars as Ivan Desny, (Franco favorite) Jack Taylor and Christine Kauffman (Murders in the Rue Morgue), whose kleptomaniac character simply decides to leave Di Salvo halfway through the film, this slow burner is redeemed by an ending with several twists. Director Alberto Negrin also provides some interesting moments like the one where the off-kilter Di Salvo physically threatens Taylor’s smarmy shop owner on a roller coaster.

Helga VK 1Granted, the world probably didn’t need another sleazy film about underage prostitutes being done in by sweaty superiors, but the sight of the exquisite Liné, for even a very short period of time, is always a good reason to let some greasy celluloid settle like red dust around your sagging viewing chair.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

 

Hell of a Gal: Pulsebeat

Published January 12, 2017 by biggayhorrorfan

helga-3

(Hell of a Gal explores the films of the ever luscious Euro Vixen Helga Liné.)

Mother Earth or mother of Daniel Greene…the stupendous Helga Liné is fit to play them all. Of course, in 1985’s Pulsebeat, a gloriously goofy Perfect take-off, she plays the latter with cool ease and directness. pulsebeat

Naturally, the big joke (of sorts) here is that Liné, at 53, is still gorgeous enough to be confused as the younger, muscular Greene’s ex-lover. The scriptwriters definitely spend the first half of the film leading the audience in that direction as Liné’s conniving Marlene tries to undermine the smooth and juicy Roger (Greene), her former employee, as he attempts to save his health club from certain extinction. Of course, Mama Bear is just lonely…and controlling…and wants her son at her side to help run her own oasis of perfection.

helga-2But by the time the two rival clubs are competing against each other in the film’s climatic, unconvincingly strenuous National Aerobithon, Marlene reveals a bulging pair of maternal instincts and urges her flesh and blood onto victory, despite her own business interests.

Unfortunately, sticking to the tried and true, the film, disappointingly yet unsurprisingly, does focus on Marlene’s physical upkeep with Roger, at one point, calling her “embalmed” and warning her about “her face cracking”. Granted this is a silly comedy, but these moments do stick out as another indication of how women, particularly those of a certain age, are viewed in society. Funnily, here, it almost comes off as ironic, as everyone involved treats Roger’s almost freakishly large muscles and slavish devotion to his body as a normal state of being while a middle aged woman’s attempts to grow older, gracefully, are treated with contempt. Thankfully, Liné, like every woman of grace and power, wears the insults well.helga-1

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Hopelessly Devoted to: Athena Massey

Published December 10, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

athena-massey

Maria Ford, Jillian McWhirter, Sherrie Rose, Charlie Spradling, Melissa Moore, Joan Severance…These are names that fans of legendary producer Roger Corman’s ‘90s output should be familiar with. The glorious Athena Massey though, was, perhaps, the most exotically mysterious of these women – and, without a doubt, the most Stanislavski-an in her approach to her roles. Whether playing a blood starved alien, an undercover police officer or a bad-ass covert agent, this beauty gave it her all.

star-portalStar Portal, perhaps the most ridiculously fun entry here, finds Massey imbuing her role of Quad Rena/Sarah with both a solemnity and a childish curiosity. Yet another reworking of Corman’s Not of This Earth, this production also benefits from subtle traces of The Terminator and, nicely, places Massey in the alien role usually embodied by a male. Massey’s otherworldly goddess is bloodthirsty – a slaughtered victim or two is hung upside down to be drained of their fluids – but she supplies enough childlike confusion and regret to make this deadly femme qualify as the piece’s heroine. Choppily processed and obvious filmed on the cheap…the love interest, played by Steven Bauer, is almost invisible to the plot…this still provides enough zaniness to qualify as a solid example of the product  that was churned out to meet the demands of the burgeoning cable market in a, regrettably, bygone era.shadow-of-a-scream

Shadow of a Scream (AKA The Unspeakable), meanwhile, truly contains some of Massey’s finest work. The plot, again, is a reworking of everything from Stripped to Kill to (the notoriously protested, Al Pacino fronted) Cruising. But as Alice Redmond, a cop who goes undercover to trap a suspected serial killer, Massey shows a wide range of emotions. Even as her character, predictably, begins to be drawn into the sadomasochistic lifestyle of the man she is tracking, as an actress she colors in all the dots of her character’s personality, showing vulnerability and strength. Despite co-stars from two major television shows, 30 Something’s Timothy Busfield and Baywatch’s David Chokachi, this is definitely her show. It’s too bad, therefore, that the ending comes off so abruptly, almost leaving the audience confused as to who the killer is. The answer may be far too predictable for some, but Massey’s skill here is never in doubt and, as previously mentioned, this serves as an amazing showcase for all of her many talents.

terminationNice believability is also supplied with Terminaton Man, another low budget epic about a commando squad trying to stop a Serbian terrorist from unleashing a deadly nerve gas. As Delilah Shane – great name, no? – Massey provides kick-ass bravado here and truly makes you trust in her character’s flintiness and skill.  Impressively, Massey also makes you believe that the gratuitous nudity that her character is subjected to is all part of her take no shit attitude and not just an exploitive script requirement – true evidence of her compelling acting skills, if there ever was one.

athena-massey-2

Be sure to become hopelessly devoted to Athena Massey, yourselves, by following her at https://www.facebook.com/Athena-Massey-128121317206690.

…and until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

 

Tom Neyman: An Appreciation

Published November 26, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

tom-neyman

Vanity (Action Jackson), Lucinda Dooling (Lovely But Deadly), Alexis Arquette (Bride of Chucky), Kim McGuire (Cry-Baby), legendary director-writers Herschell Gordon Lewis and Ted V. Mikels…The film industry has lost a slew of its iconic outsiders in 2016. Now the immortal Tom Neyman can be added to that list.

Neyman, who passed away at the age of 80 on November 13th, may be the most unusual of all these creative entities, though. An accomplished stage actor, Neyman is known for only one celluloid outing – a role that took him over 25 years to gain any notoriety for. But, as The Master in Manos: The Hands of Fate, Neyman strikes such a foreboding and impressive figure that he, ultimately, should go down in history as one of the most essential horror antagonists of all time.

Regarded as one of the worst movies ever made, Manos finally found public appreciation, after having been  exiled to oblivion after its 1966 premiere, when Mystery Science Theater 3000 parodied it on a classic 1993 episode. Ever since, Neyman has gained a deserved, ever growing following. In fact, horror icon Elvira is among the movie’s biggest fans and a recent poll revealed the Manos show to be MST3K viewers’ favorite episode of all time.

Therefore, Neyman is so much more than an actor in a singular role. He will always be a prime example of the impossible come to life – of that ray of hope beaming through the tangled corridors of darkness. He found an odd fame, decades after it should have come, from a movie that many would dismiss outright.

He is the role model for everyone who strives, despite the odds, to connect with an unforgiving, uninterested public. He is one for the believers and for society’s hardworking misfits…and his legacy will live on forever!

tom-neyman-2

Of further note: Neyman, briefly, reprised his role of The Master in the upcoming Manos Returns, the long awaited Manos sequel: https://www.facebook.com/manosreturns.

Jackey Neyman Jones, Manos’ Debbie and Tom’s beloved daughter, maintains a blog, featuring stories of her father, as well. https://www.facebook.com/Debbiesmanos/

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

 

Stalking Ilan

Published November 17, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

ilan-1

Aw…all he really ever wanted was love. Indeed, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, best known as Wyatt, part of the awkward duo that helped create a magically scintillating temptress in the popular science fiction comedy Weird Science, ended his quest for the perfect woman with his final acting role on a steamy episode of the syndicated series Silk Stalkings.

The television version of the straight-to-video thriller that clogged the HBO and Showtime airways throughout the  ’80s and the ’90s, Silk Stalkings was a weekly Femme Fatales magazine come to life. Featuring gorgeous women who plotted and connived and/or who were often the victims of savagery and twisted sexual domination, Stalkings, as with much exploitation fare, also featured a tough, take charge female at its heart. Here it’s in the form of Mitzi Kapture’s razor talking police sergeant, Rita. Kapture often narrated the episodes with a ’40s gumshoe vibe and successfully got away with the show’s most humorously sarcastic lines.

mitzi_kapture_001In this particular episode, entitled Men Seeking Women, a bevy of beauties are being viciously annihilated, with their fingernails being pried off during the death throes. Rita and her partner Chris, played by the unbelievably handsome Rob Estes, soon determine a serial killer is at work, targeting females who have posted in a singles magazine. Rita sets herself up as bait and, unwittingly, allows Mitchell-Smith’s nervously quiet Gabriel Evans access to her home address. Indeed, playing against expectations (but without any real surprises), it is the meek Evans who is the culprit here and Rita is soon fighting for her life, with Chris, eventually, rushing in to aid her in her desperate battle.ilan-2

What is surprising is that, despite top guest billing and the fact that his character is the focus of the proceedings, Mitchell-Smith is absent from most of the episode. He appears in two brief scenes – his first meeting with Rita and his attack on her. Instead, much of the episode is devoted to Chris’ budding romance with an exotic dancer and his struggles to deal with her profession. It does, perhaps, add a bit of ironic appeal – contrasting the tough-ass too sensitive to accept his girlfriend’s exhibitionism with the meeker underling who makes a more violent display of his discontent. Still, Mitchell- Smith radiates essential goodness in his first appearance and a more pathetically destructive essence in his final moments, allowing fans to wish that he had continued in the profession a bit longer. 

Currently, a professor of Medieval Literature and an enthusiastic gamer, Mitchell-Smith’s tweets prove him to be a fun and honestly liberal presence, deserving of following at www.twitter.com/IlanMS. 

Until the next time -SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

Www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

Review: Spades

Published January 28, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

Spades

You can’t blame me for wanting to stick to a game of Go Fish after watching writer-director John Wesley Norton’s Spades. It may not be as much of a thrill ride, but it would be decidedly less bloody.

This violent noir-like crime meditation opens with a quartet of tough guys playing the titular card game. Skillfully, Norton eventually reveals that something more sinister is at play here. It turns out these criminals-for-hire have kidnapped a young girl and her friends and are waiting for the right time to take the action into high gear. Back stories are revealed and soon double crosses, murky motivations and sexual violence are placed, firmly, on the menu. As the gang’s intended target finally arrives, lives are lost and the quiet Sims (a truly fine and subtly menacing Thomas A. Jackson) reveals one final, truly brutal plot twist.

Here Norton works especially well with his skilled cast and grooms sophisticated performances out of such veteran television and film performers as Alex Skuby, Xango Henry and Juan Riedinger whom play the three other intruders. Equally fine are indie scream queens Deneen Melody (As Night Falls, III Slices of Life) and Heather Dorff (Hole in the Wall) whom are not only beautiful, but bring as much sensitivity and versatility as possible to their roles of the piece’s primary victims.

Ultimately, working methodically and precisely, Norton creates a truly enjoyable thriller here, belying a small budget with heart and cinematic passion.

www.boomstickfilms.com

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan

 

 

 

Review: Blood Sombrero

Published January 18, 2016 by biggayhorrorfan

blood sombrero.jpg

Throw The Pang Brothers into a bowl with a dash of Quentin Tarantino and pinch of the sexy side of Texas and you’ve got Blood Sombrero, the latest production from writing-directing team Abel Berry and Jennifer Stone. Following the adventures of several misfits and violent ne’er do wells on their search for a mystical box, this wild ride is violent, fast paced and filled with some very hot, physically fit men and women – all in various states of undress.

Narrated by the sardonic Izzy (Stone), a former children’s show host, Blood Sombrero is propelled by the actions of a former rock star turned thief named, appropriately, Thief (Billy Blair). Hired by Lucifer (Nick Gomez), a drug dealing under lord, to find the box, Thief’s path is often interrupted by a couple of cops, who are also on the trail of the box, and a mysterious (and very deadly) ninja named Josephine (Paula Marcenaro Solinger), whom is the box’s protector. The box’s creator, a powerful age-old warlord name Sauro (Berry), also, has a group of martial arts enhanced followers who are determined to stop Josephine while a bounty hunter named Coffin (Tom Proctor) is determined to tangle with her and Thief, as well.

Granted, a somewhat keen attention span is needed here as the action flips backwards and forwards in time, but Berry and Stone have clear control of their material and the amazing volume of fight sequences are handled by Berry and stunt coordinator Jayson Atz with beauty and precision. Acting-wise, nearly all the performers (including the many extras utilized in the scenes at Lucifer’s club) resonate with cocky assurance, but Blair brings a special exotic energy to Thief while Stone nearly steals the show with her subtle asides and bored acquiescence to the increasingly dangerous situations that Izzy finds herself thrown into.

Most importantly, Berry and Stone, whose previous credits include such homegrown genre features as Spoils and Kodie, have grown by leaps and bounds as artists with this project. Their future films are expected to be even more impressive.

Be sure to keep the wire work flowing by following the further adventures of Blood Sombrero at https://www.facebook.com/bloodsombrero.

Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!

www.facebook.com/biggayhorrorfan