A Cat in the Brain (1990)

Cat in the BrainThe film opens with Dr. Lucio Fulci sitting in his deep, almost trance-like concentration as he writes down a series of murder scenes for his new, gory horror film. As he groans like Freddy Krueger while he writes, we hear his inner voice describing what to expect for the next 90 minutes:

 

A woman hacked to death with an axe … her face cleaved in half…another strangled… yet another hanged… someone chopped to bits by a chainsaaaw … or drowned in boiling water, or throat torn out by a maddened cat! Buried alive! Tortured! Scarred! Stabbed! Sawed in two! Crucified! Decapitated…

 

There’s no room for any imagination here, so we dive right into a bizarre, messy scene where we see some cats chewing on a big, mushy brain. The cats are clearly prop effects since they obviously didn’t find one, single cat who would eat that nasty-looking shit. But if you’re still hungry, we’re only one minute into the film, and this is just an appetizer.

 

Then we see some guy in a basement, cutting a fresh corpse to pieces with a chainsaw while we hear classic music playing. He makes some of the flesh into a nice steak that he eats together with some red wine, while he watches some weird fetish porn on TV. The rest of the corpse gets thrown to the pigs. And what we just witnessed was Lucio Fulci transferring his latest draft of the screenplay into his new cinematic masterpiece. A regular day in Fulci land, in other words, and business as usual. Now it’s time for lunch.

 

And as you have probably figured out by now, Lucio Fulci plays himself as the aging, legendary “Godfather of Gore” who shows no sign of slowing down, physically, at least. But his mind, however, seems to loosing its grips as he begins to see morbid visions from his films, left and right. He can’t suddenly enjoy meat anymore, as he gets flashbacks from his own films. Then his neighbour turns into a madman soaked in blood who threatens him with his chainsaw, and he also soon starts witnessing women getting brutally killed.

 

A Cat in the Brain

 

We soon learn that all of this is just hallucinations and mind-games, carefully orchestrated by his shady psychiatrist, Egon Schwarz, who hypnotizes Fulci to make him believe that he’s gotten influenced by his own films to kill people.  Why, you ask? It’s too easy to guess, and what could be a decent plot-twist, is already wasted thirty minutes in.

 

But we’re not first and foremost watching a Fulci flick for the plot, are we…  we’re here for the gore, the juicy stuff, and that’s what you get. Limbs and heads gets sawed off, a head gets melted in a microwave, tongues get ripped off, there’s Hitchcock-style stabbing, and of course one of Lucio Fulcis’s trademark with slimy corpses with maggots, and much more. We also have several scenes with some sleazy nudity, and a Nazi orgy scene if the shock values already wasn’t enough. It’s complete and utter madness. But if you’re looking for some scares, just forget about it. The tone here is completely off with some eye-rolling killing scenes with “In the Hall of the Mountain King” playing on block-flute. It’s a comedy, I know. But still…

 

This is far from the same level as his earlier films, for sure, and considering that this was one of his final films and way past the golden era of Italian horror films, and produced by a TV company, it should be no surprise. There’s no atmosphere here, no time for any stylish visuals, and hardly no time to write a script. Fulci’s script for the film was on 49 pages with no dialogues, and consisted of descriptions of bodily mutilations/imagery and sound effects. So there you have it. It’s fast and cheap and out of control, with a more and more confused Lucio Fulci wandering from the next gory scenario to the other to show as much blood and guts as possible. And we are as puzzled as he is, for the most part. And as sloppy the film is on the technical aspects, and not to mention the schlocky acting, it’s still one of Fulci’s truly entertaining films with a lot of awesome and fun moments.  Fulci also seemed to have a blast playing himself in his own world of insanity, and makes himself an amusing character to watch.

 

A Cat in the Brain is available both on DVD and Blu-ray from Grindhouse Releasing and 88 Films.

 

A Cat in the Brain A Cat in the Brain A Cat in the Brain

 

Director: Lucio Fulci
Original title: Un gatto nel cervello
Country & year: Italy, 1990
Actors: Lucio Fulci, Brett Halsey, Ria De Simone, David L. Thompson, Sacha Darwin, Jeoffrey Kennedy, Robert Egon, Malisa Longo, Shilett Angel, Paola Cozzo, Adriana Russo, Luciana Ottaviani, Paul Muller
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0099637/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cannibal Apocalypse (1980)

Cannibal Apocalypse

We’re in the jungles of Vietnam where two American POWs are being held captive by some natives. A group of troops, lead by Norman Hooper (John Saxon) is about to rescue them. While they succeed after a tirade of bulletstorm, flamethrowing and throat-slicing, the two captives seems to have been turned into cannibals by some virus. And those who gets bitten leaves people with serious cravings for human flesh like a hardcore heroin addict. Or just zombie cannibals, if you will. The next who’s to be infected is Norman, when he gives out a helping hand to get them out of the hole they’re trapped in.

 

This was a flashback nightmare, by the way, and Norman wakes up sweaty besides his wife in their home in Atlanta, Georgia, and now struggles daily to not get his cravings and triggers by looking at raw meat, and fears ending up a cannibal himself. He especially struggles not to take a bite out of the teenage girl next door, who has a crush on him.

 

Things doesn’t get better when Norman receives a phonecall by Charles Bukovski (Giovanni Lombardo Radice) who wants to hook up for a drink. He’s one of the guys who’s gotten turned into cannibalism, and Norman smells Bad News and says “another time”. Charles seems to have lost his mind completely, as he’s just hunting for his next fix and wanders around like a deranged serial killer. He goes into a movie theater, where he can’t resist it no more when a coupe starts to make out in front of him. He bites the chick’s neck like Dracula, and the Zombie Apocalypse has just started.

 

I hadn’t heard of this film until it suddenly popped up on Netflix (Norway) of all places, fully uncut and ready for the whole family to watch on a Friday night. I remember there was a time when films like this was totally banned in most countries, and you had to import a VHS copy from US to watch in the basement with friends while the parents were far out of sight. Yeah, things have changed. This film was also on the Video nasty list because of two seconds where a sewer rat is getting torched by a flamethrower.

 

And no, as you’ve probably already figured, this is not your typical cannibal flick with confused half-naked natives running around sunny jungle surroundings, big turtles getting ripped apart, penis severing/castration, et cetera… We’re in a gritty urban setting where the police, and some angry bikers, gets involved to hunt down the cannibals through the streets and sewers. It’s more action-packed with some really great tension filled moments, and of course a bit of the mandatory Italian sleaze. Not the most complicated plot, really, but overall an entertaining Grindhouse flick with an interesting take on the cannibal genre and a crazy, unhinged character. But I’ll never  get used to hear saxophone music during killing scenes, though…

 

Also known as Invasion of the Flesh Hunters and Cannibals in the Streets.

 

Cannibal Apocalypse

 

Director: Antonio Margheriti
Original title: Apocalypse domani
Country & year: Italy, Spain, 1980
Actors: John Saxon, Elizabeth Turner, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Cinzia De Carolis, Tony King, Wallace Wilkinson, Ramiro Oliveros, John Geroson, May Heatherly, Ronnie Sanders, Vic Perkins, Jere Beery, Joan Riordan, Laura Dean
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0080379/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resurrection Corporation (2021)

Resurrection CorporationDottor Caligari is an undertaker who finds himself in an existential crisis since no burials are taking place in the city anymore. Why? Because “Resurrection Corporation”, a company run by a man named Potriantow, has found a way to bring the dead back to life. Caligari and his companion Bruta, a loyal young woman whose heart is a clockwork-mechanism which Caligari himself has inserted into her, decide to find out more about Potriantow and his death-defying business who has turned Caligari’s life and ambitions upside down. They visit the castle of Potriantow’s supposed mentor, but soon find themselves facing unexpected dangers.

 

Resurrection Corporation is an indie black and white animated movie from Italy, which pays an inspiring homage to films like The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, Nosferatu, Der Golem and Vampyr. The movie was completed in 2020, which fits perfectly with the 100th anniversary of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. It mixes Gothic expressionism with comedy, and oh boy, does it get crazy at times! The director, Alberto Genovese, is also behind a Troma-distributed film called Sick Sock Monsters From Outer Space, which from the trailer looks so mind-blowingly hilarious that we decided we just have to check it out sometime.

 

The animation is reminiscent of the South Park-style, which probably sounds a bit weird considering this is actually a pretty dark and atmospheric movie despite the comedic parts in it… but together with the more detailed and surreal backgrounds it actually fits pretty well. The voice acting is overall engaging and solid (we watched the Italian version). The protagonist, Dottor Caligari, is pretty much a very self-centered man who, to be honest, comes off as a bit of an asshole… in contrast to his companion Bruta, who comes off as the most sympathetic character in the whole movie. This does make for some interesting character interactions, and the viewing experience was anything but predictable.

 

Overall, Resurrection Corporation is a fun and unique ride, with amusing characters, a crazy plot, and a music score that together with the atmospheric graphics manages to set the tone in all the scenes. It is an inspired indie animated feature that pays homage to several black and white classics, while adding its own bizarre comedic elements.

 

Resurrection Corporation is currently available on streaming on Amazon (US and UK).

 

Resurrection Corporation Resurrection Corporation

 

Director: Alberto Genovese
Country & year: Italy, 2021
Voice actors: Antonio Amoruso, Alessandro Bianchi, Eliana Farinon Lazzarino, Erik Martini, Paola Masciadri, Marco Soldá
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt9890120/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manhattan Baby (1982)

Manhattan BabyWe are in Giza, Egypt, where the archaeologist George finds a stone tablet with mysterious writings which he believes is the answer to an ancient riddle that is linked to the tomb nearby. He enters the tomb with a guide who falls right into one of the traps with spikes, while George is attacked by dark forces that shoot two cheesy neon-laser beams in his eyes, which makes him temporarily blind. At the same time his wife and daughter are tourists in the local area, where Susie meets a mysterious blind lady who offers her to buy an antique amulet before she cryptically says “tombs are for the dead” and disappears into thin air like a ghost.

 

Then we cut back home in Manhattan, New York, in an apartment complex where we are introduced to Susie’s annoying little brother, Tommy (most known as Bob from (The House By the Cemetery). The amulet is around Susie’s neck, which soon turns out to be a cursed object (who could ever imagine), and lots of weird things start to happen. The apartment transforms into some kind of warp zone that teleports people to the desert area we saw in the beginning, and things such as scorpions, poisonous snakes and desert sand appears in the apartment while Susie loses her mind and gets possessed by the dark forces of the amulet.

 

And we also get a completely random scene were some random dude falls through an elevator floor. Just because.

 

As mentioned, the blonde kid from The House by the Cemetery shows up, with far more screentime and dialogues. Uh-oh. And if you thought his dubbing was bad in the aforementioned film, they managed to fuck it up even worse here, believe it or not. I laughed and chuckled every time he opened his mouth, but since the film itself is an incoherent goofball which is hard to take seriously anyway, it didn’t ruin or distract my attention from anything, really. So, yeah, Manhattan Baby is clearly one of Lucio Fulci’s weaker films when it comes to tone, pacing and…well, the absent of any logic when it’s actually needed. It isn’t totally hopeless, though, and just to repeat myself as I always do when I’m talking about a Fulci film, it has some great qualities among the cheesyness. The horror elements sticks out with some gory scenes, as always, with the highlight being a scene with some attacking stuffed birds (with the wires clearly visible). There’s a great soundtrack, competent camerawork, and a dose of atmosphere.  I especially liked the Egyptian scenes which are beautifully shot. And of course there’s no Fulci film without a countless use of obsessive eyes-close-ups.

 

Manhattan Baby

 

Director: Lucio Fulci
Country & year: Italy, 1982
Actors: Christopher Connelly, Laura Lenzi, Brigitta Boccoli, Giovanni Frezza, Cinzia de Ponti, Cosimo Cinieri, Andrea Bosic, Carlo De Mejo, Enzo Marino Bellanich, Mario Moretti, Lucio Fulci, Tonino Pulci
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0084298/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zombi Holocaust (1980)

Zombi HolocaustWe’re at a hospital in New York at night, where someone is stealing body-parts from the cadavers. One of the doctors is able to catch the body-snatcher as he is about to eat one of the cadaver’s heart, but then quickly commits suicide by jumping out of a window. Well, case closed, then? Well, no, he doesn’t die right away, and says his last word “Kitoh ordered it”, and we soon learn that he was a part of a cannibalistic cult from an obscure island in Asia, also named Kitoh.

 

A trip to this island gets arranged with Lori, a journalist, and some other dude in order to meet a doctor named Dr. Obrero, while they get to the source of the cannibal cult. As soon as they enter the island, one of the bearers goes missing, and after a quick search for him the next morning they find him mutilated, and soon surrounded by a horde of cannibals and a doctor with some really shady practices. And yes, there’s also some zombies wandering around.

 

As you already know by reading the title, Cannibal Holocaust comes to mind. I assume that Zombi Holocaust was an attempt to do some sort of a crossover with the wave of Italian cannibal films that came and went in the late 70’s and early 80’s with the rise of zombie films after Lucio Fulci’s success with Zombi 2. Most of the film is pretty tedious and sloppy with dry dialogues, boring characters, cheesy undressing-scenes with porn music, plot holes and nothing much that keeps the pacing or interest up.

 

The title is also a head-scratcher since the zombies are far in the backseat and appears in only a scene or two. The film was released under several titles and most known as Doctor Butcher M.D. in the states, which is probably more fitting, I guess. However, the most entertaining moments are when the cannibals show up and provides some really grotesque death scenes. The last act is the best part where we finally get some interesting scenes with Dr. Obrero/Butcher, and a pointless ritual-scene with some blurry nudity. So yeah, Zombi Holocaust isn’t much as a whole, unless you’re only in for the goryness.

 

Zombi Holocaust

 

Director: Marino Girolami
Country & year: Italy, 1980
Actors: Ian McCulloch, Alexandra Delli Colli, Sherry Buchanan, Peter O’Neal, Donald O’Brien, Dakar, Walter Patriarca
IMDb: //www.imdb.com/title/tt0079788/

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The House by the Cemetery (1981)

The House by the Cemetery

We’re in New England where Dr. Norman, Lucy and their son Bob moves to a big old victorian house, which by a coincidence lies right by a cemetery. How cozy. One of the former residents was a surgeon in the Victorian era, who did some really shady experiments in the house’s basement. And on top of that, his last name was Freudstein. Nothing bad could ever happen here, right?

 

Bob starts seeing visions of a mysterious girl with a doll, who says it was a stupid idea to come here, which has to be one of the first The Shining references. His parents do not believe in him (of course they don’t) and his mother is already struggling with her emotional problems while she refuses to take any medicine. After they have entered the house and started unpacking, the babysitter, Ann, comes in, straight from nowhere. A young lady with a menacing stare, ready to trigger Lucio Fulci’s eye fetish to its full maximum. And as soon the door to the basement is open, so is the can of worms.

 

House by the Cemetery is Fulci’s last part of the “Gates of Hell” trilogy, where he mixes zombies with the supernatural. This has a more of a cohesive narrative compared to The Beyond and City of the Living Dead, but is really slow at times with scenes that just seem to drag on forever. We get a long scene with a bat that could have been cut down to ten seconds, where it cuts straight to a guy who starts the scene with a yawn. Talk about timing. The kid who plays Bob has one of the most ridiculously out of place dubbing ever, that unfortunately ruins every scene he’s in, which just adds far more chuckles and eye-rolling than tension. It’s not the actors fault, but the movie would gain a lot just to remove the dub with a better one.

 

It’s not my favorite Fulci film, but far from the worst, and it has some great qualities. The soundtrack is good, in which the intro tunes give some serious Castlevania vibes. The technical aspects are pretty solid, with its thick, moody and sometimes gothic atmosphere, just as the predecessors. And several messy gory scenes, filled with maggots, of course.

 

The House by the Cemetery

 

Director: Lucio Fulci
Original title: Quella villa accanto al cimitero
Country & year: Italy, 1981
Actors: Catriona MacColl, Paolo Malco, Ania Pieroni, Giovanni Frezza, Silvia Collatina, Dagmar Lassander, Dagmar Lassander, Daniela Doria, Giampaolo Saccarola, Carlo De Mejo, Kenneth A. Olsen, Elmer Johnsson, Ranieri Ferrara
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0082966/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Other Hell (1981)

The Other Hell

We are in a catacomb somewhere, where a nun seems to have gotten lost. She ends up in a “mad scientist” style lab where another nun lies freshly dead, naked, ready for God knows what. One of the other nuns shows up to cut out a part of her uterus (I guess), like some kind of ritual punishment, while preaching how sinful she was. And we’re only 6 minutes into the movie where the acting is so hysterically bad with one retarded facial expression after another. And out of pure randomness, a cauldron starts to boil over as we see close-ups of two glowing, blinking red eyes that gives off some really cheap cyborg/Terminator vibes. (And yes, this is made by the same director and screenwriter who also made the cheap unofficial Italian Terminator II some years later.) The glowing eyes seem to possess one of the nuns to stab the other to death. In this local convent, run by Mother Vincenza, several nuns seems to die in mysterious ways, while priests are being burned alive… and so on.

 

So… just to have the non-existing plot going on, an investigator is put on the case to find out what kind of fishy things are happening inside of the convent’s walls. Well, good luck with that, for not even the movie’s Wikipedia page has a fucking clue on what to fill in the plot section, as we speak.

 

So… uhm… yeah, it’s hard to convey what’s really going on here. A lot of weird convoluted shit just happens… just because. With the directing (to use the word loosely) by Bruno “Italian Ed Wood” Mattei and a script by Claudio “Troll 2” Fragasso, there isn’t much movie magic to witness here. I didn’t really expect it to be either. This rather shabby duo has made over a dozen shitty schlocks together, and is perhaps best known for Hell of the Living Dead (1980) where a considerable amount of the screen time consists of stock footage.

 

The one and only quality to dig up here is the soundtrack by Goblin, which I have no idea they used legally or not, but it doesn’t help that much with putting some lustre on this pure stumbling incompetence or add any form of atmosphere. On the other hand, I can’t deny that I had a fun time watching The Other Hell. It’s completely unpredictable and has plenty of insane campiness to get entertained by. And of course, the absurdly bad acting itself makes it worth a watch alone.

 

The Other Hell

 

Director: Bruno Mattei
Original title: L’altro inferno
Country & year: Italy, 1981
Actors: Franca Stoppi, Carlo De Mejo, Francesca Carmeno, Susan Forget, Franco Garofalo, Paola Montenero, Ornella Picozzi, Andrea Aureli
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0080362/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beyond (1981)

The Beyond (1981)

We’re in a hotel room in Louisiana, and the year is 1927. A thunderous evening is setting in as the artist Schweick (Antoine Saint-John) is brushing his last strokes on his latest grotesque painting, which is also to be his final. The painting is apparently representing Hell, and the locals believe that Schweick is an evil, ungodly warlock that uses the painting to open one of the Seven Gates of Hell. The hotel is said to be built upon one of the gates, and a group of men in full mob-mode storms the hotel and into Schweick’s room to stop him. They drag him down to the basement to cut him up with a chain before bolting him to the wall and torturing him to death. But what they didn’t know is that the sacrifice of the artist just opened the gate, and the dead from beyond are now free to enter the world of the living.

 

Then we jump forward to the year 1981, where Liza Merill (Catriona MacColl) has inherited the hotel and is in the process of a renovation, after the building has been empty and collecting dust and cobwebs for the last six decades . Shit already starts to happen when one of the workers see a female figure with big, scary, glossy eyes through one of the windows. In shock, he stumbles off the scaffold and almost crushes his skull. The alarm from room 36 suddenly starts to ring, even though the hotel has no costumers. This happens to be the same room where the artist we saw in the beginning was working on his painting. It goes from bad to worse when plumber Joe is brutally killed by demonic forces in the water damaged basement as he finds a secret room behind some worn stone walls. Liza bumps into a mysterious blind lady, Emily (Cinzia Monreale), who advises her to give up the hotel and go back where she came from, without being able to explain exactly why. And more questions than answers arise when Liza learns from Dr. John McCabe (David Warbeck) that he has never heard of this blind woman Emily, and that her house has been empty for decades.

 

The Beyond is the second film in Lucio Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy. And although the plot may be somewhat diffuse, The Beyond works on more levels than the previous and rather clunky City of the Living Dead. More steadier and focused direction and not least, the acting is significantly better. And The Beyond works perfectly for what it is: an atmospheric, nightmarish fever dream with some really intense and morbidly gory moments. Faces are being melted with acid and eaten by spiders. A girl with pigtails gets her head blown away, eyes being plucked out and so on. Juicy stuff by the great makeup artist Giannetto De Rossi, who’s also worked on Zombie Flesh-Eaters, and a mountain of other films. Also, great and fitting soundtrack by Fabio Frizzi, I must add.

 

The Beyond is also known for its highly visual ending sequence, which was actually planned to be filmed somewhere in an amusement park. But due to logistical restrictions, Fulci had to find an other way to end it and had to quickly improvise. And with reduced budget and resources comes more creative thinking. And I must say that the plan B-ending was a pretty simple, but genius move that sets a unique and satisfying climax.

 

For a completely uncut version, look for a DVD/Blu-ray from Grindhouse Releasing.

 

The Beyond

 

Director: Lucio Fulci
Original title: …E tu vivrai nel terrore! L’aldilà
Country & year: Italy, 1981
Actors: Catriona MacColl, David Warbeck, Cinzia Monreale, Antoine Saint-John, Veronica Lazar, Larry Ray, Giovanni De Nava, Al Cliver, Michele Mirabella, Giampaolo Saccarola, Maria Pia Marsala, Laura De Marchi
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0082307/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

City of the Living Dead (1980)

City of the Living Dead (1980)City of the Living Dead is the first part of the Lucio Fulci Gates of Hell trilogy, which followed up with The Beyond and House By the Cemetery. But apart from sharing the theme of the dead being brought to life, with some small doses of inspiration from H.P Lovecraft and with actress Catriona MacColl starring in all three, they work well as separate films.

 

The film starts at a cemetery in the small town of Dunwich where a priest hangs himself, and reappears as an evil deathstaring zombie. At the same time, Mary Woodhouse (Catriona MacColl) witnesses a New York apartment suicide during a vision under a seance, which scares her to death. Yes, literally to death. And why, you might ask? Well, because his act of sin causes all the dead in the cemetery of Dunwich to rise from the dead as zombies. And these are not the traditional carnivorous zombies…here, they have the ability to teleport themselves and use telekinesis to make people bleed tears and spew up their own inner organs. Miss Woodhouse’s death is seen as a mysterious case, which captures the curiosity of newspaper journalist Peter Bell (Christopher George). The day she is to be buried, he sneaks around the cemetery when she suddenly comes alive in the coffin and screams. Peter hacks up the coffin to save her, but unlike the ordinary dead who resurrects as zombies, Mary wakes up like from a normal night’s sleep and is straight back into her old self again. Well, good for her. After they learn that the gates of hell must be closed and this evil priest must be stopped, they take a roadtrip to Dunwich. And this must happen before All Saint’s Day. If not, the dead will take over the world.

 

Meanwhile, the evil priest has already started terrorizing Dunwich, while rubbing mud filled with worms in peoples faces as he teleports around the city. While strange and macabre things continue to happen in the city, a group of men sit in the local pub, suspecting Bob, the city’s outcast who has a taste for inflatable sex dolls, to be behind all of this. And this side plot with Bob (Giovanni Lombardo Radice) is completely useless which is nothing but filler scenes that could easily have been cut out. Even though City of the Living Dead doesn’t work all that well with its serious pacing issues, the film has some great ghoulish atmosphere with a fitting soundtrack by Fabio Frizzi, who’s scored several of Fulci’s films. There’s also several memorable gory scenes to enjoy, and some of the actors were dedicated enough to get isolated in a room to be attacked by ten kilos of maggots via two wind machines. Trivia: one of the crew members decided to pull a prank on Mr. Fulci by stuffing some of the maggots in his pipe tobacco. Everyone but Fulci found it funny and he blamed the incident on the heart surgery he had years later with health problems that escalated to ventricular aneurysm, contracted viral hepatitis and liver cirrhosis. No more maggots on set, I guess. And of course don’t forget the drinking game: take a shot every time there’s a close-up of the actors eyes, and you’ll surely die of alcohol poisoning before the first twenty minutes. In advance, rest in peace.

 

City of the Living Dead

 

Director: Lucio Fulci
Original title: Paura nella città dei morti viventi
Country & year: Italy, 1980
Actors: Christopher George, Catriona MacColl, Carlo De Mejo, Antonella Interlenghi, Giovanni Lombardo Radice, Daniela Doria, Fabrizio Jovine, Luca Venantini, Michele Soavi, Venantino Venantini, Enzo D’Ausilio, Adelaide Aste, Luciano Rossi, Robert Sampson, Janet Agren
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0081318/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nude for Satan (1974)

Dr. William Benson is driving late at night to reach a patient, and stops at a mansion to ask for directions. He learns that he must drive a huge detour and that the roads there are bad, and the man at the mansion offers him shelter for the night. As the conscientious doctor he is, he declines the offer and continues on. A lady in white suddenly stands in the way, and this forces Benson to swerve his car which makes it bump into a mountain wall. When he is going to check for the mysterious lady in white, she is nowhere to be to seen, but another lady suddenly crashes in front of him and lies unconscious in the car with a white blouse…which suddenly turns black in the next clip. Just five minutes in and a continuity error already. Impressive. Anyway, he carries her away and brings her back to consciousness by patting her on the cheek, like the doctor he is. But unfortunately he does not manage to start the car, and sees no other way than to return to the castle to ask for help. When he enters the castle the place looks abandoned, with trash, rats and covered furniture.

 

He then comes across an older guy who seems to have been stabbed to death, who glances at Benton with some crazy eyes as he asks “what can I do for you” and gives a sinister laugh. Okay, Dr. Benton, time to turn around, there’s no help to get here. Still, this is just a gentle start on the rabbit hole he has stumbled into. When he opens another door he witnesses someone who has a sex orgy with scenes of a blowjob, close-up penetration and lesbian sex. Okay. After seeing enough, he shuts the door and looks further around, and suddenly the woman pops up…the one he left in the car, with no signs of harm or discomfort. And she’s really happy to see Benson, as she rather calls Peter, as if she’s known him all her life, and gives some obscure lines that don’t make any sense. And just like the viewer, Mr. Benson is just as lost and confused and wants some fucking answers (pun intended).

 

As I said, a rabbit hole. And a hairy one. The movie actually starts out as a classic Hammer movie with thunder, rain and an old castle, but as soon as we see our protagonist, or whatever he is supposed to be, it quickly nosedives into a stumbling, incoherent obscurity of a demented sleazeball of a movie with x-rated porn scenes in between. The balance between horror and porn is completely off. It’s as if the writer and director Luigi Batzella couldn’t decide whether he wanted to make a traditional horror or a porn, but went for both with no clue how to blend it together, with a script that apparently was scribbled in a hurry on his palm between the shooting. With a title as “Nude for Satan” I expected a fair amount of tits and bushy beavers, but I was completely unaware this was actually a x-rated pornflick with close-up penetration and whatnot. But okay, what a pleasant surprise. So let’s just call it “Fuck for Satan”, then, to avoid further confusion.

 

Fuck for Satan is probably most known for a certain random spider scene. And I must say, it lived up to the hype. How can one not laugh at a fake, giant spider that seems to be made of a bunch of layers of cow dung? And to make it more realistic, just stuff some wooden branches into it and it got some really believable legs. Haha, oh my.. Fuck for Satan also has the most frantic use of zoom I’ve probably seen. As if the cameraman was clearly told to zoom in and out as much as possible to make  a desperate attempt to add some tone of surrealism or whatever. Well, I beg to differ. The movie isn’t trippy for one bit, just weird and messy with lazy directing, while the horror aspects fails as a blind, drunken sailor on an unicycle. And what does the space-like music have to do here? Is there a flying saucer wobbling from a string in the background somewhere I don’t see? Who knows. Who cares. But man, that spider scene..haha.

 

Nude for Satan

 

Director: Luigi Batzella
Original title: Nuda per Satana
Country & year: Italy, 1974
Actors: Rita Calderoni, Stelio Candelli, James Harris, Renato Lupi, Iolanda Mascitti, Luigi Antonio Guerra, Barbara Lay
IMDb: //www.imdb.com/title/tt0162503/

 

Tom Ghoul