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Winter 1987
Vol. 21ssue2. 1.25
Well , we're almost at the end of another year,
and this time we\:e succeeded in getling three
whole issues out. But perhaps we're some way
towards solving the problems of OUT erratic
appearances (if quest ioned closely on that point J
will of course deny all knowledge of ' improved'
regul arit y ... ) and we' re certainly continuing to
add to the 'design' aspect. H all goes well this
issue will sec us through to the new year, with the
next due at an indeterminate conj unction of the
planets in January.
Lasll ime I wrote the editorial before the rcst of
the issue came together , and that, plus Ramsey's
Dieee (probably the besHcccivcd featu re we' ve
run) provided a ki nd of ideological springboard
(or something) which helped the rest of the issue
take shape. This time I' ve left the editorial until
last, mai nly due to the fact that as the weeks have
rolled past numerous points have raised them-
selves, but nothing that has thrown me into the
paroxisms o( fear and loathing like the clection
and the Obscene Publicat ions Amcndment did
last time. So what we have here is basicall y a
grab-bag of platitudes and pontificntions (what' S
new ... ?) together with some ideas you might
want to respond to.
* * *
On August 1st, we prescntcd the fi rst ' Shock
Around the Clock' horror and Xploitation fi lm
festi val in conjunction with London' s Cily Limits
magazine. The Scala cinema, well-known
warhorse for trash marathons, found itself brim-
ming with dedicated gore fanti cs, sleaze balls and
curious mutants for a peri od of over 18 hours.
The majorit y of the SX team emerged as well as
numerous visiting celebrities - directors Cli ve
Barker and John Hough, special effects man Bob
Keen and most of the Hellraisercrew, Hellraiser's
producer Chris Figg, and horror author Shaun
Hutson . Ten fil ms were screened, nine of which
were previews for the London area, the other
being the classic 1958 stinker She Demons -
shown at 7.00 am Sunday, it finished even the
most hardcore schlock fans off better than a
mammoth dose of vali um . .. The other films to
receive screeni ngs were (in order): A Relllm to
Salem's Lot , Salvation! , American Gothic, Hel-
'raiser, The Step/ather, Street Trash, A Nigilimare
on Elm Street 3, Witchboard and The Lamp.
Audience response was at times fai rly over-
whel ming - Nightmare 3 sounded li ke a Super-
bowl game, and the three rounds of riotous
applause and bellowing following the uncut Street
Trash threatened to bring t he roof down.
Hellraisers recept ion was a little less raucous, as
befits one of the few genuinely inspired, seri ous
horror films in recent years. Barker himself was
almost mobbed after taking part in a panel
discussion ... Altogether a wildly successful
event (Witch board notwithstanding I' m sorry to
say), which left even me satisfi ed ...
A couple of days later I fin all y succeeded in
giving myself terminal brain disease wi th a
pilgrimage to observe the Bunhole Surfers at the
Clarendon. Arter the thoroughl y abysmal rot
cranked out by the massively over-hyped AR
Kane and deeply repellent toads The Shamen,
the Buttholes were li ke a one- hour breath of stale
ai r, 60 minutes of having some terrible drug shot
straight into the central nervous system. Pure
bli ss. I was deaf for approxi mately 36 hours aftcr
By the time I'd calmed down from the ecstasy
of the BUllS, it was the weekend of Conspiracy
'87, the World Science Fiction Convention held
in B,righton. Probably the biggest gathering of
freaks I've ever witnessed (and that inclfldes a
fl eeting visit to Stonehenge festival many years
ago ... ), Conspiracy was at times nearer to Hell
than I' d care to get. Spent much time wandering
around with Carl Ford, including about 40
minutes of an intermi nable Hawkwind concert; a
fi ne - and hilariously tasteless - panel discussion
between Ramsey and Clive Barker, where the
latter entertained with some well repulsive dead
baby jokes and the former somehow managed to
bring up his twO (0 vasectomies; many parti es,
and a trip down the pier to eat donuts made from
molten lead.
If that wasn' t enough , the following weekend
saw myself and Steve Jones organising the British
Fantasy Society Convention in Birmi ngham, a
very pleasant and laid back affai r, with 2 ~ 3 0 0
attendees as opposed to the 7000 or so at
Conspiracy. While oriented more towards hor-
ror/fantasy li terature, we still managed to pro-
vide video screenings of the uncut Zombie 3 and
Andy Milligan's Torture Dungeon . ..
All this ' pleasure' brings me about one- third of
the way into September, when I suddenl y reali se
that hardl y any of thc contributions for the next
issue (that's this one ... ) of Shock have arri ved
yet. What do we have? No advert ising, no
competitions, no editorial ... Ye gods. Strange
people keep turning up at the house , demanding
to stay for days on end; the baby develops
interesting diseases and daily appears more and
more li ke the elderl y Alister Crowley ... But
enough of this! What we want is entcrtai nment
And now, a few mumblings about the state of
the magazi ne. I' ve been musing on whether
readers might enjoy to read a few choice excerpts
from H.G. Lewis's novelisation of Moonshine
Mountain, but fearing accusat ions of space
wasting have not done so. What do you think?
Vari ous sections of the magazi ne arc in the
process of mutating at the moment . We now have
a TV page - Ernie having been more than happy
to turn ' Video Obscura' into his observations on
the morc (and less) interesti ng aspects of the idiot
box. His column retains its title just for the sake
of confusion . I'm goi ng to experimcnt wit h
alternat ing the fa nzine page with books and
oddities in pri nt. Had space all owed I'd have
li ked to devote some attention to t he weird and
often wonderful publicat ions issued by Robert
M. Price and his Cryptic organ (sorry?), as well as
concentrating on good new fiction. Maybe even
the odd movie book ... Who knows. I've
,received a surprising amount of mai l on the
subject of music ('rock' for want of a better
term) , and I'm sorry to disappoint the silentish
minority but I can't honestl y justify taking up
space wit h noisc reports , no matter how psychot-
ronic or doom-laden they may be. A few
incoherent rambli ngs in the editori al are alii can
envisage at the moment - though I'll interject a
brief rant ri ght now and state that anyone
thinking of parting with money . for a poorl y
copied bootleg of a naff gore film dubbed into
Turkish and letterboxed to the size of a postcard
should throw their cash in the di rection of
Michael Gira and invest in the Swans' Children of
God double. But for good music coverage you
can' t do better than A way From the Pulsebeat or
Forced Exposure (Wild Bunholes interview in the
last one) ...
That's about it for now. Billson finally got
around to doing a few revi ews (i t's onl y takcn hcr
18 months ... ), Slimetimeeditor Steve Puchals-
ki steps on board this issuc with some serious
schlock and Phil ' One Troma Too Many' Nutman
returns wi th a short but interesting piece on the
travails of Tobe Hooper.
Lastly , a few book plugs. I derived much
pleasure from the foll owing: Dennis Etchison -
Red Dreams ( Berkley); Ramsey Campbell -
Dark Feasts (Robinson) and Scared Stiff
(Scream/Press); Lucius Shepard - The Jaguar
Humer (Ark ham House); Karl Edward Wagner -
Why NOt You and I? (TOR); Steve RasnicTem-
Excavation (Avon). Shepard's coll ection in par-
ticular contains some of thc finest stories I've
read in recent memory, frequentl y defyi ng
generi C categori sation and moving into whole
new areas of speculative fiction.
The new fles h awai ts ..
Stefan Jaworzyn
Shock Xpress
Vol, 2 No.2 Winter 1987
Managing Editor
Executive Pfl blishers
26 Stanley Road. Chingford.
London E4 70B. UK.
109 September Way. Stanmore.
Midd, . HA7 2SF. UK.
Adverlisers & de' ll ers ple,lse scnd a
SAE to the editorial address (above).
1987 Airgedlamh/Shock Xpress
(Copyright reverts to individual
contributors upon publication).
URAIN DAMAGE ( Frank Henenlotter)
Anne Billson. Ramsey Campbell. Nigel
Floyd. Barry Forshaw. Ernesl Harris. Shaun
Hutson. Alan Jones. Stephen Jones. David
Kerekes, Brian Matthews. Kim Newman.
Philip NUlman. Steve Puchal ski. Ed Seni or.
David T .. ylor.
Avatar. Arl Black. Blue DOlphin. Brent Walker.
Eric Caidin. C:l llnon. CBS/Fox. CIC, Columbia.
DDA. Enlerlainmcnt Film Dislributors, BreI!
Garten, GaryGittings. Guild 1lome Video. Miek
Harner. Nick Haysom. Kate Hughes, JAC. Craig
Ledbctter, Mainline. Medusa , Mieltinen. New
World . David Nolte. Orion. Palace . Jaime Pina.
Pol ygram, Malt Presion. PSA. Rank, RCA.
Recorded Releasing. Ri chard Robson Associ-
ates. Steve Roc , Scala Cincma . Slimeti me. 20t h
Century-Fox. Tri-St:lr. UIP. Vest ron, Vi rgin
Vision. Warner Bros, Winsor Beck and all who
hel ped wi lh Ihis issue.
There Me a felV copies of Vol I. 106 aVi.il able at
901' (inc p&p) or $3.00 (inc p&p) . Copics of Vol
2. No I are avail able for 1.55 (inc p&p) or $5.00
(inc p&p).
1.25 (plus 30p p&p) or S2.50 (plus SI.50 p&p) .
Three issue subscript ion (i ncl udes p&p): 4.00
UK. 7.00 Europc. SIO.OO US. 8.00 rcS! of
world. Available from SUBSCRIPTION
ADDRESS "bovc.
Shock Xpress
Write to: 26 Stanley Road, Chingford, London, E4 7DB.
So here we are again . .. I mllst say rm more than
surprised at the volume of mail we received after
the last isslieamJ the SX filmfest, aile oflhe things
thm struck me this time is the abuse faclor ill the
intray - at times outweighing thai of Ihe replies!
MallY of my favourite cranks put claw 10 paper this
time arollnd, tlnd I regret there's nowhere near
ellough. space to prim till the bizarre stllff Ihat's
come in. Remember, please enclose a SAE if yo II
1I'(lI/t a reply alld try to avoid ' Where can I get hold
of . .. ' reqflests if possible.
Dear Stefan, '
Shock goes pro, e h? Very nice. I must admi t I
had my reservalions about the inclusion of four
colour covers, typesetlings, advertising and all
those general things ;:I ssociated with mass- market
publication - bUI I need not have worried. Shock
remained fu ll of the ingredients of .. first-class
' weirdo' zi nc wi th all the old fave pcrverls on
board. I was very impressed with the articles
devoted to t he obscure movies ... It s ni ce to see
thai you're cate ring for the horror genre in
general and not just printing pieces on hard-core
splatter fare.
Finall y a complaint - what t he hell is Slephen
Jones doing reviewing horror movies for Shock?
Judging from the reviews presented by Steve in
this issuc I would say that the man hates horror
movies. To describe the plot of HOllse /I as
' ridiculous' doesn'l really say a lot docs it ? I mean
almOSI all ihe fil ms in your zi nc would appear to
be ridicul ous on the surface , but Shock reildcrs
lovc such movies. But thc case resls wit h Sieve's
wonderful review of Toxic Avenger, whe re he
call s CI(lss of Nuke'em High "i nlolerablc" and
goes on to describe the film-makers. Who docs
this guy think he's preaching to? Churchgoers
maybe. but surely not Shock fans. Next limc
Steve' s in the pub. watch his teeth carefull y, I'm
sure they bear more than a passing resemblance
to those dent ures worn by our patron saint Mary
Whitehouse. Please confi ne Steve Jones' ravings
to the 'Obit uaries' column where this man most
cerlainl y belongs.
Yours insanely,
Carl T . Ford.
Yes readers, the estimable Carl T. Ford, editor of
Dagon, hlls galle berserk again . .. What will he
think lip next? Read 011 .
Dear Siefan.
Having re-read your zinc this morning. it has
sudde nl y dawned on me t hai il may well have
been you thai reviewed Toxic A vel/ger and those
other movies mentioned in my last Ictter. All I
can say, if thai is indeed the casc. is sorry Mr
Sieve Jones and f**k you Stefan. I must admit I
was mosl surprised that Ihis reviewer & editor arc
one and the same degenerate. My cont inued
support to SX regardless.
Carl T. Ford.
II Warwick Rd.
PS. If you decidc to print my fi rst commenl S on
the maller, please include the above so that l onl y
appear to bc a 'Little Prilt" as opposed to a
'f**king big onc'. Cheers.
Editing Ihe leiters collimll now wkes me longer
tlu", editing the rest of the magazine, Fact.
Watching House 11 (lI/dToxic Avenger lVere two of
worst cinema experiences r ve had all year. FOCI. I
lVillnot say I like something, nor will I defend it. if
I think it Slicks the hind legs of dead dogs. Fact.
You, Olri, can spend the allowance they give you
e(lch week in lhe melltal institution walching liS
mallY lousy movies as your evil liule heart
requires, and thllt's your privilege. Now, would
yOIi rMher I illtroduced (UI across-the-board policy
of recommending all genre lIfollies regardless of
quality i" case I upset someone, or w01l1d you
rather I said w/JM I felt 10 be I'tlglleiy 'reasonable'
and what I felt vaguely approximated my 'opin-
ion'? ( The latter of course beillg to((llly sel/-
obsessed ami entirely dependent 011 the (Jcres of
advenising (Uui Ullfold sums I receive in payolas
from film companies who just love my critiques of
their movies . .. J Oh damn, off the deep elld
agaill . HOlI'tiresome. Sorry. I hated the films alfli
you obviously did" t. It's 1I0t exactly dialectics,
/JfIt i, 's a start ..
Dear Stefan,
I must congratulate you on an excellenl
looking. colour covered Shock. But what is all
this crap about Troma? Come on, stop acti ng the
asshole. Even t he worst Troma couldn't be as bad
as one of old Joc D'Amato's 'walk around in the
jungle for years and get your prick bitten off by a
c.mnibalistic Icsbian zombie nun on heroin' epics.
If there is any more of this kind of talk I'll break
your legs.
Davc Carson.
Peabody Buildings.
London SWI.
Trama films represent the . .. Bllt whal's that
... ? II call 'I be . .. til e slwmbler from SWI .
coming here.. Yog-Sotho,h save me . .. those
tentacles. la! SllIIb-NiggurMh!
Dear SX.
1 was surprised to sec my leiter last issue . I had
assumed. judging by thc mail in issuc 6, that you
had to be a weird fo reigner or noggi ng a fanzi ne
(or both) to gel a leiter published. The new
commercial look works far bell e r tha n the
'screw' cm for eve ry penny' approach in Srarburst
( videos of Zol{(111 at 40 each!) Unfortunately
some art iclcs are obvioll s padding fo r the new
format : Wi lli am Nolan may likc Don't Look No w
but I fo und it like so many Rocg films - lethargic,
incompre hensible and all too spa ring in its
exploitati o n cle me nts, a nd rd be most grateful to
anyonc who can explain the plot.
Some sort of TV column is an absolut e must.
You woul dn' t beli eve how pissed off I get staying
up half the ni ght to vicw a film wit hout cven a
dccent piece of nippl e in it. a nd channcl 4 hasn' t
shown a decent film since t he red tri a ngle affair
(anot he r thing to bla me Ma ry Shit ehouse for),
TV itself is looking up , wi t h butc h Do n He nde r-
son baring a ll in Bu/m(/ II . Well , okay, it's no t my
idea of fun eithe r . but hopefull y t he nubile
Siobhan Re mond wil l foll ow suit in a fu ture
SX is a superlat ive zinc, one o f the fe w I spcnd
money on, a nd I wish you luck wit h the new
for mal. though I woul d like to kll Ow what Anne
Bill son docs.
Simo n Cole nutl.
Mytho lmroyd,
West Yorks.
You're crackillg up, SOIL r m 1/01 SlIre I should tell
a desperado sllch as YOll rself wlwi AII I/ e Billsoll
does. r l'e gOllhis odd feeli ng that Roeg iSIl 't
actually {III exp/oiwlioll dir(,{,lOr, which might
explain lack of said scenes iI/ his mov;es , . And
which partiCIIlllr piece of lI ipple were YOll/ooking
for. by the way. .? \\'('" be rWl/ling a topless
DUll Hem/er.WII cover jllst for YOII next i.Hue .
Dcar Stefa n.
I appreciate your cffo rt s to upgrade t he
critici sm of horro r/sleaze fi lms . . I' ve cnjoyed
the last few issues, wit h the latest cdit io n no
excepti o n. St rangely, the inte"iews seem the
least interesting (except for Larry Cohe n) . as
people like Ra imi and Cronenbe rg get a fa ir
a mo unt of atte ntion a nyway. something li ke the
Joe D'Amato article, though. is a rare t rcat and
somet hing that no o ne else can do with a ny stylc.
I don' t part icularl y havc any suggestions - you
seem to do what yo u want a nd that's fine by me.
A La rry Bucha nan retrospective would sure bc
fu n. t hough. as I have always wo nde red why and
how anyo ne could/would do scene-far -scenc li ft s
from Roge r Corman fil ms . Still , give the ma n
credit for titles like The Eye Cremllres, Cllrse of
the Swamp Crelltllre a nd It's Alive! (prcdati ng
Co he n' s lI SC) .
But if I had to put one bug in your car (I mca n
reall y had to, y' unne rstan') , that bug would be
phrased t hus: Linda Blair. Oh, skip all tha t
Exorcistl Exorcisl II bull shi !. I mean Linda Blair
of Chained Hellt , Bom llIIlOcefll, Hell Nighl,
Slimmer of Fear. I mca n Linda Blair who walks
onto the distributor' s set of Savage Islalld a nd
start s na rrat ing the turkey. I mean Li nda Blair
who sashays down Holl ywood Boul evard 112
times in Savage Streets and has a 'sistcr' so cute
c\' e n t he most li be ra l crit ics couldn' t look away in
the rape scene. Whose career has sli d into the
gcnre's excesses with such pa nache. Whose
maste ry o f broom a nd crucifix fri gging has set so
m<ln y young he<l rt s <lglow
Keep up the good wo rk . I' m sure you will.
Da rcy Sulli van.
5209 Call e de Arbo les
Californi a.
P(' rI'crr! Bm sholl hl l ever feel the need for a /Jlair
r{'fro it looks like /' 1"(' gOl the mall to do it .
/Jl/ clwl/(lI/'s career hWi beel/ f airly well covered
elsewhere (Subhuma n 3 has a grem piece 011 his
11IIer work. rec'omml' fI(it'd). bllt / wO/l I(/I/'t objeci
if someOll e were illlere,Hed ill doillg a f il II career
articl(', . /" I'e f allell asleep so mallY times ill Ill e
credit sequell ce a/oll e of The Loch Ness Horror
dUll I'm beginlling to wonder if /'m cra::y for
Hell o Stefan,
Just writing to let you know how muc h I e njoyed
Vol 2. No I. I love your approach to the letters
column, the Bri an clo ugh of the film press
pe rhaps? Ramsey's article was ve ry disturbing. I
wo rry for the future whe n I read about these
fanati cal 'God Squads' and ' clean up the media'
me rchants. I believe (as you me nti oned) it's all
related to Ihc Tory gove rnme nt we' re having to
suffe r - the passing of t he idea of freedom of
choice. What reall y a mazed me was Ra msey's
admi rabl e self-control at t he meet ing.
All good things,
John Cart e r ,
Covcnt ry.
Yeah. bur would we have ever seell Ramsey lIgain
if he had spukell Ollt . .?
Dea r Shock Xpress,
I-Icy! what a novel idea! Slag off t he people who
write into 'Xpress MaW! Docs t hat also mea n that
we can slag you o ff?
Anyway, I'd j ust like to say t hat Evil Dead II is
the most exhil arati ng, audience participati o n-
inducing movie since Aliells (by participati o n I
mean checri ng li nd laughing) .
Oh, bcfore I go, I'd j ustli kc to say 'F**k you!'
Yours not too se riously,
Ken Miller.
Hi gh Wycombc ,
Well, tll(lr"s blown our chalice of getting illio
Smith's Ihis mOl/lh .
I' vc bccn quiet ly readi ng and e njoying Shock
Xpress, but wit h yo ur upgrading I wanted to
make it official by pUlli ng it down in print. Why
arc you guys so rcviled? Here in Ame rica the re is
not hing (fanzine or ncwstand publi catio n)
pushi ng the limi ts as SX is doi ng. Yet you' re
being att acked for your commcnt s o n Fallgoria?
Mi splaced priori ties I say. rill fearful t hat we (t he
United States) arc slowly heading towards the
di sastroll s stat e of affairs you havc wit h videos in
your country. Whe never videos sta rt being
butchered for eve ry small offense the n that' s t he
time I stop re nti ng t hem. Who wants to read a
review of a film t hat has been drasti call y alt cred
by a committee of o ld fa rts? Not me.
Peoplc in your lett e rs page continue to COI11 -
plain abo ut SK's attitude yc t they writ e Iclt e rs
that beg your a buse . Yo u' re onl y giving t he m
what t hey wa nt. I'm one who buys a magazi ne
because they're doing something I e njoy. Why do
people buy SX and the n write a letter to tell you
how their ideas would make it bell e r?
I appreciate your new direct ion. mi xing well
known fa re ( Rai mi) wIthe obscure (t he D'Amato
piece was the hi ghlight ). Campbell' s The White-
house Way' was the most import ant a nd e nl ight -
e ning a rt icl e this t ime a round.
Si nce rel y,
Craig Ledhett e r .
in 'Cold Print ')
I too am occasionally mystified by some of tlie
correspondell ce vomited forlh by tortured block-
heads. bllt I lreaSll re Ihl' illl'eclh'e as mil ch llS Ihe
praist, . L(/.\t ti,,1I' flT01I/1l1 I I ....m aghast at IIie
lack of Imst evill ced by relllias cOl/ a millg the
mOl'e ' Ilp-markn': 111l1t . combil/ ed wilh the idiot
milherillgs of those offel/ded by my chosell
editorial Slllll ce prompted fh e rorrellfs of abuse /
hurled Ollf . / do fi nd ;1 odd thar people bllrely
capable of holding (I pen wrile ill alld tell me that
what I'm doillg is WRONG lIlill thllt I shoilld
challge my sl)'/e to suit their misapprehensiolls of
how SX should JUIiClioll , . Some of these gllYs
may well be masochists, aml/woll 'I dellY that I set
myselfllp f or angst-riddell allllcks by pronolU/cilig
judgemenr Oil all ami sll lldr)" bllt I"m qllite
prepared 10 justify anYlhillg I' ve said llt fediolls
lellgths , , . Alld will doubtless have fO do so wltell
the Troma hit-mell come to shove the baby ill Ill e
Dear Stefan,
I had a shock whe n I saw the latest: I thought
you'd sold out a nd become a glossy gore rag. I
mean, on t he cover after " Ra nt ing! Decay!" a nd
before " Dissolution!" you sho ul d have added
"Glossy Coved Typeset!" Still, I sho ul dn' t havc
worried: as soon as I' d ope ned it thc fetid odour
of insults li ke "blockhead" , "peabrain", a nd
"De rek Malcolm" assai lcd my nostrils and I
relaxed. Sir. you a rc a cad, bounde r, blackguard,
fi e nd, kna ve , scullery, gardcrobe ( huh?) . . but
I love you anyway. I think you' re vc ry huma n.
Well .fairly human. I was reassured by your repl y
to " Par-boiled in Parbold". at least I think I was
( I'n not sure wha t "a)" rcfe rred to but I probably
agree a nyway). There's too much heed-pa ying to
t hesc FX jox as it is.
Don't drop t he ' Rcview Round- Up' : I love
rati ngs. It' s always interesting to see a ' di gital'
summati on to co nt rast with a re vi ew's 'analogue',
e ve n if it does invite misleadi ng compari son
between fi lms. Still. t hat Alan Jo nes charactcr
see ms a bi t o f a wildcard (ace word I pick cd up
fr om that ace film Top GUll: SIG isn't it?). I mean
' 112 ' for TF? '****. for FTlJPVf'! '*****'
for LSOH? He sounds a bit dissolute to me: if I
we re you I' d give him a good talking to.
The necrology secti on was useful t hough I W<l S
surprised to find Andy Wa rhol the re: I tho ught
he di ed years ago. 0 doubt had some of the
o the rs sti ll been ali ve they would have been
surprised to find t hemselves the re - if you gct my
.meaning, that is. .(Oka)" Hll ),som, thar's
ell ough from you. .)
Shock Xpress
Nick Haysom
(Address in 'Cold Print ')
Tll is looks like praise to me, so I agree lVitll you.
Why 1I0t? A"d if you Ihi"k Alan is dissolute, lVair
umil you see his rave rellielV of Back to the Beach
ill the Il ext issue ..
Dear SX.
Just to say your multiple person ' Review Round-
Up' is a good idea. Especially int eresting when
one person gives a film one star and the next gives
it fi ve - that's my kind of movie.
Another poi nt in favour of publishing different
viewpoints (even if it is onl y in the form of a ' * ')
is that maybe it encourages people to think a little
bit for themselves. Often reviews of records.
films, books etc, once in print , are seen as the
Great Truth/Great Heresy - not just an opinion
that happens to get publ ished. A recent reply to a
reader's letter in the NME (where some of the
writers encourage a rigid code of what is ' ri ght' to
sec and hear) made a similar point ..
Yours sincerel y,
Martin Reddin ,
West Susscx
Wllatever you do, don't retld my re"ielV of Toxic
Avenger in ril e last issue . .. 1
Dear Stefan.
First of all. I must thank you from the bottom of
my ' hcll bound heart ' for the trul y wonderful
;Shock Around the Clock' festerville! It was a
real gorcreast of superb selection and taste and
worth every penny both for the actual ticket and
the travcl expenses down there. Please express
my thanks to all involved and, since it was such a
success, are there li kely to be any more of these
splatterganzas in the foreseeable futu re? I hope
As a female horror fanatic (a rare breed it
seems round here!) this was also a chance to see
the turnout in terms of femalcs vs males and I was
pleasantl y surprised. It' s good to know I'm not
alone in my depravity!
I couldn' t beli eve my luck - not onl y were
Hellraiser and Salvatio,, ! on the same bill , but A
Nightmare 011 Im Street 3 (which I didn' t think
I'd ever get to sec aft e r the hassles it had in he
States). All three I thought excell ent, but
Hellraiser got my vote for the treat of the day.
Christ, what a movie! What a love story! What
performances and Special FX!
~ I see you' re a Buttholes and Swans fan Stefan-
. ,have you ever thought of bringing a splattercore
angle into Sil ock?
Well , I'll wind up by saying thanx again.
100 Stephen Road
Thallk you . .. This is bill olle of the mlllly leuers
received Oil Ihe 'Shock ArOUll d the Clock' {Ilmfest
(ll11lOlIgSt them very nice comnlllllicariollS from
Japanese fml Rey AraklllVll, the irrepressible
Sleaze Kid, Debbie Woods, Gary Bird, Keith
Beavers and IIumerous others) alld is ineluded for
a couple of reasons. Firstly, because it came as a
surprise to receive II leller from a female, but
secolldly - llfld more importantly - because said
Pip IViIS recemly burgled alld lost mallY video
tapes. She's afler variolls tlocumetaries from the
TV perlllilling to horror, plus oddilies SllCh liS
episodes of 'The Rock',, ' Roll Yellrs' lllld "The
Media SllOw' . Drop her a {jlle to see if you can
Shock Xpress
Dear SX,
I'm stupid, damned lazy, tired, toothached.
unhappy, unsatisfi ed and very thirsty female
vampyre, eoz I haven' t got access to CHRIST
'OPHER LEE!!!! Can you - or anyone in this
f**kin world - help me????? I'll make you an
oHer you can' t refuse !! I want everyt hing 'bout
him: copies or original videos. books, posters,
zincs, you know! coz he's the greatest, sexiest,
loudest, bloodiest etc. As Dracula he's the best.
f**k the rest! Bloody kisses from Scaramanga's
Massproduction -
c/o Tumberl y Ylavaara,
Soriankatu 8
95600 YUlornio
Finl and
Somethillg rold me my life would become
mellllillgiess "nless I prinled this leller. NolV I'm
1V0rried it might elld prenwillrely "nless someone
replies to this girlie . ..
Strangely enough, when I pm yOllr accllsation to
Alall he gave me a withering look and commented
something along the lines of "Pshaw, 'everyone
knows abollt that old thing , .. " Such is life. 8m,
as you so)', a TS mOllie nonetheless. And whatever
did /tappen 10 Mike Stlme ... ?
Dear Stefan and Crew,
Well , what a pl easant surprise. I was in Sydney
looking for the latest yawn packed issue of
Fangoria (yeah, I still feel obliged to buy the
sucker. just hoping Bob Martin will come
back!!). There on the stand was the latestSXwith
the nift y colour cover. You guys have reall y
outdone yourselves, the latest issue is terrific.
The onl y sour point of the whole issue, Stefan,
is the fact that you' ve become so cyni cal towards
your readers - sure, some of the people who
wrote in are dick heads but III least they bot hered
to write. Crimson Ceffflioid has been going for
over two years and we still average I or 2 letters
~ per month ... I can understand how you've
~ become so cyni cal ... I'm cynical because
(") people don't write and that was why I set up the
-....; 'zinc in the fi rst place - to meet fellow horror
t; fans.
~ . That minor gripe aside, I reall y enjoyed SX, I
"i: lOt all y agree with your opinion of House /I - I
~ went with my coeditor Brett the other night and
~ it was a real shiller ...
: Keep up the good work, '
(") David Nolte,
~ \..: (Address in 'Cold Print ')
I\.,) ,. As II result of Ihe acrimony I seem 10 have
engendered by my wanton crtl elly in the lellers
depllrtme"t, I have " OW lake" OIU a subscription to
,the 'Scourge of l/i e Flagellants' society ami belli
myself half to demli wilh rtlbber mOIiSlers three
limes a day . .. It hasn'r helped . ..
Dear Stcfan,
Congrals on the ncw look Shock Xpress- glossier
but not flossier.
I usuall y count myself pretty lucky if I've heard
of (let alone seen) a small fraction of the films
mentioned in SX. But now I'vc even discovered
an omission! Oh joy. oh bliss. I refer to Alan
Jones' piece on transsexual exploitation films. He
unearths all manner of obscurit ies and omits to
mention Mym Breckenridge. Surely the most
well-known dock the dick movie of all (and don' t
say he left it out deliberately as it is well-known or
' I'll ... be very disappointed) .
Incidentall y, did you know that before Mike
Sarne decided to use two different people to play
Myra (New York film crilic Rex Reed Defore,
Raquel Welch aft er). he did make some test
footage with a man, Stanley Glick. playing bot h
roles. Now not many people know that. or are
terribl y interested when you lell them.
Either way, a prell y dreadful movie. Poor old
Mike Same; a second rate pop Slar , then a third
rate actor. thcn a fourth rate di rector. At least
now he seems to found his ni che. doing nothing.
All the best to you and yours,
Philip Collins,
Ley ton.
Okay Jaworzyn the Unpronouncable,
Boy, is it etlsy to get you mad. I was tempted to
praise Fangoria to the ski es to begin With. just to
warm you up, but even a ' peabrain' like me can't
bring himself to do that with a straight face ...
If you 'couldn't care less' that I think two video
columns are pointless, why did you ever bot her
asking for more mail ... " I thought two video
columns seemed daft . I told you. Now you know.
You say ;Piss off!' in not so many words. Hey,
thanks for your time.
As for the rest of your ' rcpl y' .. , . I never
actuall y said , or meant to imply, that I thought
the majority of the magazine was '(I waste of
sp.lce. On the cont rary. Givc me half a pagc of
decent SX as compared to any other crap. What I
was trying to say was that your special features
are the main reason I , and I suspect m'any others,
buy SX . ..
Which bri ngs mc to the good bits. The new ish.
I was dubious about the colour and horrified at
the dramatic price rise, but what the hell. Despite
colour. you haven' t lost any tack and by goll y,
have all the good 01' features returned. I' m sorry,
I reall y am. The bleeding review chart has
become a cent refold (!) but I can ignore it in the
safe company of ' D' Amatos Inferno'. "The
Whitehouse Way' and ' Pass the Angora Sweater'
(oh. heavenl y tit le ... ). If this amount of
digest able garbage continues. I might do some-
thi ng reall y silly, like stop eating. I won' t moan
again. Honest.
Karl Maskell
Feli xtowe
P.S. Evil Dead /I was crap. Awful . reall y awful
.. "Never say sorry, SOIl, it's a sign of
weakness. " (Mario" Michael Morrison, de-
Henenlotter Holds Forth
By Alan Jones
Whatever happened to Frank Hcncnlollcr? In
1981 he made his directori al debut with Basket
Case. a warped horror cartoon packed with
outrageously excessive violence posing as comic
relief. But since that fi lm, j ustifiabl y call ed "E. T.
as if written and directed by a psychopath". not a
squeak has been heard from the wi ldly inve nt ive
di rector who won the heart s of gore- hounds
everywhere. Hcnenl ottcr nol only shuns public-
it y with a vengeance bUI he is also loath to even
discuss his film(s) in the way people with a 100i css
talent drone on about the subtext contained in
thei r lalest 2 day dri ve-in wonder. The bottom
line as far as Hcncnloncr is concerned is "Did
you li ke the movieT.lfyou did. then fine, but so
what! If you didnt. too bad because basicall y he
couldn't care less. II sounds patroni sing to say
this was all rather refreshing to a cynical old hack
like myself. but nevertheless it's the truth as
Henenlotter constant ly kept me on my toes the
whol e time I spent with him. And it isn' t
condecension on my part either to report Henen-
lotter is nothing more than a straight A sleaze
maniac. The fact that he made Baske/Case, a film
some of us hold in high regard, is neither here nor
there because quite frankl y he couldn't give a
shit .
So what has Henenl oll er been up to these past
six years? Apart from holding down a day job.
coll ecting every Jess Franco video he can lay his
hands on and writing some rotten scripts, not hing
much. Only one of those scripts now forms the
basis of his new film Brain Damage.
Backed by former Embassy Home Entertain-
ment executives, Andre Blay and Al Eicher . to
the tune of $2 million, Brain Damage began
filming on January 21st this year at a disused
warehouse just around the corner from New
York' s Madison Square Garde ns. And the
personnel involved with his new project , to be
released January in Ameri ca, should have every
sleazophile slavering with ant icipation. Edgar
levins, Henenlotter's close fr iend , produces just
as he did for Basket Case. Street Trash director
Jim Muro helps the Steadicam unit. Greg
Lamberson, assistant director recentl y made his
own debut with Slime City after working on the
two independent Gotham based horror films I
Was a Teenage Zombie and Plutonium Baby. The
Braill Damage soundtrack is in Digital Sound - a
first for such a film - thanks to West Coast genius
Russell Jessum. And the Special Effects roster
consists of Gabe Bartalos, Dave Kindlon, Al
Magliochetti , Pete r Kuran and Jim McLoughlin
who coll ecti vely have a mass of credits between
them including Toolbox Murders II , The Lamp,
The Texas Cha;flsaw Massacre II , Friday til e /3lh
Part VI . Day of the Dead, A Nightmare 011 Elm
Street 3, The Monster Squad , From Beyond.
Spookies and Buckaroo Bonzo;.
Brain Damage, ori ginall y titled Elmer ,Ire
Parasile, stars all unknown actors bar one: Rick
Herbst, Jennifer Lowry, Theo B.arnes and Lucille
Saint-Peter. The one recognisable name, and
only if you saw Baskel Case, is Kevin Van Hen-
tentryck. But his involvement is something
Henenl olter is keen to keep under wraps and has
to do with an in-joke more than anyt hing else.
What Braill Damage is about in many ways defies
description although what producer levins says
about Henenlotter' s sensibilities bei ng at least six
months ahead of the rest of t he indust ry could
well be true. Henenlotter himself calls it "A
horror comedy on the edge. I want ed to blur what
was funny and what wasn' t. The best review I
could ever get regarding this film would be The
director lost cont rol after the fi rst fi ve minutes'.
The sense of danger you will get by not knowing if
what you are goi ng to see next is a gag or a bloody
special effect is the unease level I want the fi lm to
work on. I find it boring setting up a situati on to
them give an audience exact ly what t hey expect.
This just may be me hypi ng thc movie though.
You' ll never know unti l you've seen it. And then
I' I! have your money so too bad! "
Bra;" Damage concerns Morris and Martha's
weird pet - a parasite named Elmer. Bored with
being kept under control by the middleaged
couple, the all -Singing, all -danci ng turd-li ke
creature - his song is Tommy Dorsey's 1940s
"Elmer's Tune" - escapes from his bathtub home
and enters Brian's apartment whcre he strikes a
bargain with the good-looking youth. In return
for a flu id that Elmer will inject him wit h creating
instant euphoria and wild hall uci nations, all
Brian has to do is promise fresh supplies of a
certain food he can' t do wit hout - human brai ns.
And so the pattern is set. While Brian roams
around junkyards and punk clubs stoned out of
his mind on parasite juice, Elmerconstant ly leaps
off his body to burrow through the heads of
unwilling donors on a brain-sucking spree. At
firs t Brian sees these unfolding death scenes as
psychedelic fa ntasies di vorced from reali ty. but
when his wasted tripped-out binges end he is
shocked and horrified at Elmer's idea of a ni ght
on the town . Unfo rtunatel y he's now addicted to
Elmer's mind-expanding li quid. And Elmer
knows that the withdrawal symptoms will force
Brian to get him more brains no mattcr what the
cost. But as Martha and Morris demand the
ret urn of their pet. Elmer damages Brian's brain
with one large final dose of fluid changing its
physical shape heralding the ultimat e psych-out
of acid li ght-shows, blood and brains.
" I haven't Ihe fai ntest idea where I found the
'inspiration fo r Braill Damage", said Henenlot
te r, "It sounded like a good story wit h potential. I
start ed with the image of a monster leaping off
someone's body and took it from there. Why
woul d anyone wa nt a monster on his body? There
could onl y bc two reasons - you either don't want
it t here or you have control of it. II was more
interesting to writ e a story about why you would
wa nt it t here. Not hing deeper than that. Sorry to
disappoint you"
Shock Xpress
"Elmer the Parasite was always a gag title", he
conti nued, " I need one to start writing otherwise
I never would, At one stage this was called The
Tingler Takes a Trip and that about says it all .
Way back when 1 always wanted to remake The
Tingler and resented the fact there was no market
for a new type of LSD IiIm, So I combi ned two of
my favourite genres and this is the result , A
phony tiUe gets me going and puts me in the
mood. Generic titles like Basket Case and Brain
Damage can easily be swiped too, so why take the
risk of fanzine gossip. Far better to throw the
competition off the scent. I have a whole bunch of
titles 1 want to use but I'm not telling anyone what
they are especiall y someone like you who would
tell everyone,"
"Arter Basket Case Ilurned down a lot of shiny
stuff at no grealloss", he explai ned. " I could have
made SOil of Basket Case or Bride of Basket Case
but even I didn't want to see those. Some
producers would say to me 'Take this script and
make it with your sense of humour but don't
change anything', Obviously 1 wasn' t interested
and the same went for a couple of made-for-video
fi lms. The laller 1 would have done if I could have
gone way over the top and made semi -pornog-
raphic non-narrati ve blood and guts garbage, But
1 was told there was no market. Brain Damage
was the first good script I wrote in those years and
that was two years ago now, A good script writes
itself quickly, it' s the lousy one's you slave over.
That' s how I knew this would get made, I'm not
prolific at all but Brain Damage simply fell into
"You say people are intrigued by what I' m
going tocome upwith next ", he said. ';But 1 don't
think anyone reall y cares about what I'm pre
pared to give them aft er Basket Case. Does
anyone reall y give a fuck apart from a few
aesthetes - and that means you and perhaps four
other people! But if you insist, I thought 1 would
tonc down the humour this time. I went out of my
way but I just couldn' t do it. On the first day of
shooting all the planncd restraint went straight
out the window. Nor did I at first gear Brain
Damage around thc special effects, I had met
Dave Kindlon a few years ago and was so amazed
he wanted to work with me. My personal brief
was I onl y wanted a creature that couldn't
possibly be a hand puppet and I lucked out with
Dave's work which can only be described as
'Gumby Goes to Hell' . !-Ie worked in such close
conjunction with Gabe that the first time we shot
a scene of Elmer biting into a vict im's forehead, I
laughed like crazy because it was so good with his
tail flapping like crazy. The actress was unnerved
enough as it was but I kept shooting endless
footage because I want to keep it forever . I intend
pUlling my favourit e music behind it so I can have
the ultimate video clip. When I first told
'everyone about this idiot script a while back I was
amazed they stupidl y all dropped other higher
paid jobs to work on it. So they have a piece of it
and if it makes any money at allthcn so do they".
According to Henenlotter . the hi ghcr budget is
deceptive, He said , "All it' s doing is letting us
film in 35mm with better quality cameras and
high speed lenses. It won't look slick alt hough the
Shock Xpress
backers arc hoping it wi ll be. Thcy have been
telling me over and over again , 'We must be sure
it doesn' t look like the last one'. I didn't likc the
look of Basket Case eit her but I know they don't
believe me, I had nothing to play with there just
one 16mm camera and a zoom lens. Basket Case
completely surprised me if you want to know the
trut h. It made more money than it ever had a
right to deserve. I made it to dump on 42nd.
St reet for a couple of days. I never thought
anyone would take any notice of it. nor did I
make it to be noticed, I thought it was good
because I left a lot of stuff in the film that amused
me as , primarily made it for myself not a bunch
of film critics. rr I had bcen more selfconscious I
would have toned it down".
"Sleazy movies arc my world". he continued.
"Give me $23 million and I'll give you 23 low
budget sex and horror films. Just call me an
American Jess Franco! I would love to play more
dangerously - give me an X rat ing and a mix of
horror. porn and comedy because ultimately
these arc the films I want 10 make. I love those
sort of movies because in honesty the)' excite me.
I love being caught off guard. That 's why I like
quote bad movies unquote because whether it
was intended or not is of no concern. The onl y
concern is the film it self and if a film can take you
by surprise and take you somewhere you've
never been taken before then great, I' m wi lling to
foll ow. I don' t care if it s accident al. Just let's all
have a good time, Whether it s either Re
A"imator or Mamie Van Doren we arc gelling
the same ride. My favourit e gag be a man
getting a pie in the face, hi s head splitting open
with brains spurting everywhere and a naked
woman jimping onlO the gore , humping the
brains. to see that sort of sequcnce would make
me very happy.
"Nobody thinks I'm this wonderful director -
you' re one of Ihree people whose ever said that -
but thanks for the compli ment" said Henenlotter
when 1 tried to call his blufr and make him admit
that his selfeffacing stance didn' t fool me one bit.
But it seems I was wrong. "Comments like that
really do embarrass me . Perhaps my art isn't
accidental but it 's nothing to bui ld a cult around. I
don't want that. We' re talking because I wanlto
promote the film and interviews are unfortunate
lya necessary part of the whole boring business.
Of course I want people to know about the film,
when to expect it and what the story is to whet the
appetite . But that 's all . I ban any photos of me
posing around the set because I don't want
people knowing who I 'Im. I don 't like it. For the
book Incredibly Films, I was told I was
going to be an introductory paragraph on one
page. I was fra nkl y humiliated at the ten page
spread. Not because of the company I was in but
the fact is I' ve only made one film and I didn't
deserve the coverage . I reall y didn't. I was so
,, ' don' t know what an (American) R rating is" ,
commented Hencnl otler on the need to secure
one for broader acceptance in the market place.
"There arc no standards, no guidel ines. How the
MPAA rate a film seems to depend on how they
feel in Ihe morning. I have no idea if anyt hing
gory we arc shooling will be in the final film. It
seems an underl yi ng sense of humour is not taken
into account. Slallone gets an R wi th all the
knives, guns etc. in Rambo, but Broil! Damage is
.1 fantasy, Screen violence does not c<l use anyone
to copy it. That is one of the dumbest arguments
I' ve ever heard. But if you were to accept it. I
would worry more about rape scenes, shootings
and muggings than a George Romero zombie
biti ng off someone's arm. No one is going to do
that when they leave the cinema. Gore is so oft en
confused with violence and it isn't the same at all.
Gore isa grossout which is often funny but it isn' t
violent or real life - well, not as I know it. Braifl
Damage features an extensive brain unravelling
which even I'll admi t is disgusting. But should
anyone be protected from it ? I have no idea what
to do about it so I'm shooting everyt hing anyway
and using blue blood as opposed to red in some
cases 10 lessen the criticism. I was considering
filming a 15-minute bl ood puking scene with
someone sticking razor blades in his head just so
the rat ings board would cut it out and leave the
less obvious alone!".
All Brain Damage has 10 do as far as Frank
Henenlotter is concerned is turn to profit. He
said , " What's a big success in reallerms? I know
I'll enjoy it. I don't want to go back and do a day
job agai n but then I don't want to do another
movie yet either . I'm taking e<lch day as it comes.
I'll worry later back in the real world. There are a
couple of weird halluci nation optical shots at the
climax of Brai" Damage. It is the one place in the
entire film where I've set out to shock and
dist urb. As yeti don't know ifit wi ll indeed upset
people or just crack them up instead. You will
love it because you're obviously j ust as disturbed
as I am. But for each one of you. you knowl. there
will be 400 people who won' t and tell others to
stay away. Who cares? There arc plent y of films
out there and if anyone doesn't like the sound of
Brain Damage, please don' t go and see my film if
all you' re going to do is whine about it.
Everybody's a fucking critic these days - no
offence. Whatever sins I made on Basket Case,
I'm probably repeat ing here and will do so on the
next one . Please keep this interview short in
prinl , I don' t want to bore people to death!",
CHEERFUL 1, 2, 3
By David &erekes
Mondo = world cinema. A doc umcnl ary of sorts.
Because of ma n' s na tural preoccupatio n wit h
biza rre sex a nd bizar re deat h. t he mondo fi lm
exists - a n educitl ional film offeri ng no facts.
Faces of Demli is suc h a n educalion, subject
matte r being rathe r morc conservati ve tha n most
in t hat it breaks down t he aestheti c group of
and violence even furth er
Pl agued by the recurring d ream o f a fu ne ral.
Dr Francis B. Gross ( narralOr a nd pathologist
cxtraordinairc. i.e . how can he sec out of those
gl asses?) is dri ve n by "a compulsion 10 under
stand" - to make a journey that til kcs him
around the world : a drC<lffi thai dete rmines the
beginning o f a three fi lm rni !.sion to search out
new deat h!.: to accumul<ltc footagc of autopsies,
o f !. Iaught crho use!., o f a!.!.a!.!.ination!. <lnd acci
" Prepa re a journey," tell s U!o
at Face:!i of Death '!) ope ning, "a journey into a
world where each new !o le p may give you ,I better
unde!.tandi ng of your own realit y. " An undc r-
!o tanding born of pe rhap!o'! A
journey to a ro,ld!o idc accide nt . maybe? Be
pre piHed (II ri ght - Face!:> of Dealll doc!o touch
ne rve!>. It!o full frontal apprmlch i!o in parb
ge nuinel y !o hocking a nd rc pubi vc. ( Full -frontal
violence. of cour!oe - at any !o ign o f geni talia a
kind of ink !o tai n plo p .. over t he offendi ng hit !o. -
an up!o ide down logic at wor k if ever Ihe re wa!o..)
For Ihe mm t repubive !>ee: the culinary ueli ghl o f
monkey- ha!> hing and hrain chomping in it re!.
laura n\: the ahaltoir met hou of cattl e
puri ficat ion; fo r .. cal hunt ing: mort e m

Pcnneated wit h Gr(b!>' hi!o ' in!oighl '
and theology, may come ac ro .. !> a!> !oo mething
!> Ii ght ly more than wha t il it , hut it i.\ a monuo
movie - a !> hockume nt ,l ry - a nu a .. !> uch CiUlIlot
he take n fo r illl ylhing ot he r than ' face' value:
pe rve r!'Je, e nte rt ainme nt. For unlike
IWo imaginati vely lit leu "-aces of J)emll
comforta bly along .. iue the be,t of t he re!>t
in t he genrc , ha ving the right hlellu of ' real' anu
' m,mufacl urc u' foot age, ,mu it e ve n horing
Iw() thinh o f the wa y through '
It ma y hc of to no tc th,lI thc UK print
of FaCl'.\ of Dealh a number of
not ahly an exeeution hy elect ri c chair ;
film of a hi zarre San cannihal cult :
( vil riou!'J ) footage of burning figurc!> -
fanatic!'J a nu - to but it fe w, the
arc more po tcnt than
left in , it likely t hat the UK
t helmelve!'J decideu to hri ng FlICl'.\ of {) clIIII's
running time uo wn from the o riginal Ameri can
rct ea!'Je tlf 105 ttl a mo rc
acccptahle 70
An if you thought t hat of {)etltll
warranted iI follow-up - a nd it diun' t - then you
shouldn' t be surpri sed to hear that it spawned no t
one, but two sequels. Furt he r t rail s o f bodies for
bucks (the sequels never made it to British
shores). The ve ry idea of a foll ow-up mocks the
fal se se nse of since rit y which the o rigi nal fi lm
tried to convey; Faces of Delllll /I and Faces of
Dealll /II are me rely excuses to warm over the
morbid excesses o f their predecessor, a nd
although the same ground is covered, parts II and
III stand as two ve ry uiffe re nt movies, Faces of
Demll /I is t he poorer.
Whe re Faces of Delllll had the rcueeming
qualit y of unde rstanuing ils own limitations: the
luci dit y of exhi bitng ' the e nd' as an e nte rt' linme nt
a nu at the same time presenting it so whole
heart edly, Faces of Death /I comes ac ross as a
cheap can: it 's tiring a nd it 's smug. The first fi lm
found an audie nce, part 11 mi lks it . treating us to
furthe r air di!>asle rs a nu trai n det rail llle nts, but
this lime arounu it 's on long newsreel - whil e a
' like ness to an o rginai' can o ft e n constit ute
lowart , it is by far a bette r commodity than
att empting to pass lI oart off as something whi ch
it not. Take for in!. tance Faces of Delllil Irs
o f fami liilr archi ve film of the Vi etn<lffi
wa r a nu napalm-sca rred victims. all the more
of the context in which it is
heing utili!>ed ; no lo nger is this a journey through
the vall ey of death but a long ogling l ook at il -
what matte rs thi!o time is the gr;t phic footage
a vailabl e, No reconstructions. No " what-you-
iI re-ahout -to-!.ee-is-all real" -type nonse nse.
FlIces of De(ltll /I hreaks the unwritte n law
o f the mondo: Thou Shalt Not Appea r Stupiu .
il nonethel ess proved fru itful (do peo ple go
to the cinema with their gi rlfri e nu a nd/o r hoy-
fri e nu losee monuo fi lms? Do they grope even at
the luriu biI S?) , it wa!o n' t long before the
wa!. wit h a not he r . This ti me though, a
" F.O. D. Prouuctions Pre!>e nt s" Anu wit h
Face.\ of Death /II comes again the good Doctor :
" I would like to invite you un ye t anot her jou rney
, " Doesn' t sound lUu promising uoes it ?
Anot he r t1etour a nu fu rthe r air anu ,lUto
gets the t hiru {)etl111 unde r wa y: " Fur as
long people drive people will also die" -
back with a ve ngeance . Doesn' t sounu til
all promi!>ing, right ? Ri ght. But afte r thi !o inpireu
opening. uf Demit 1/1 suduenl y changes
gear. when it loo ked as though WI.! we re
going to get a nothe r helping o f part II , III drops
the new!> reel foot age. . to the extent that it is
almml a parouy of the previ ous film: Face.\ of
/)l'(lIh /I almost elllirely of ' reconstruc-
tion!'J', rcgarulcss of the post-creui t legcnu "Cer-
tain ... cencs have heen recrea teu 10 uerkt . "
Policc ,I homi cida l maniac - fake! Sec an
undcrwat e r photography team al1<1cked hy
- fak e! Rattl ers all ac k a plumbe r . A man
A Tar1{c/s gunman gets uone. Fake. Fake,
Glori o us Fake! Witness rive r police give chase to
a gang of drug smuggle rs (le ngthy chase, you
unde rstand. this is part III ) - a face of death?
No, but one o f the smuggle rs is shot dead e n
rout e. Get the picture? Parts I and II alre,ldy
exhausted the pa noramic a pproach to the evenl .
so III takes the logical next logical ste p of
personal ising the event , III is a se ries o f iso lated
incidents : true-life dra ma sto ries, with Gross as
Crypt - Kecper (he never was a real pathologist
anywa y but a cert ain Michael Carr). And at thi s
rate t he seri es could ru n fo rever ( Faces o f
Near Death?)
Typical of the ma ndo genre in genera l. the
Faces of Delllil se ri es has provcu it self to be <I
rat he r fick le commodity. That il has dive rsified in
such a !o ho rt span of fi lms from World Of Death
through to Ulliled SWtes uf America Death is
mo re al1ri butahlc to careless padding tha n to
Illondo pl anning, If ever the re was a "compul sio n
to unue rstanu" it has lo ng since been oversha-
doweu hy the desire for fu rthe r product. Whe re
Faces of DC(l/1l was a genui ne al1e mpt at a
rolli cking adve nture, part III is li ttle more than a
for t he worthl ess part II. A fi nal
retrihution'! Mondo trasho.
CRw rrs
OF I)EATH (19811
director : Conan I.e Cil aire
producer : H:osil yn T. Scott
writer : Alan Hl ack
creat ive consultant a nd na rrator: Or S ,

FACES OF !JEAl' U II (19841
director : Cona n Lt Cil airc
producer : Rosil YIl T. Scott
writer : Ala n Ul ack
crt at i\'c consulta nt and narrator: I)r Frances 8 .
director: Cona n Le Cilaire
prod ucer : Rosil yn T. Scott
writ er : Ala n Uhl ck a nd Veroni ca Lakewood
creat ive consulta nt a nd narrator: I)r Fra nces S.
Shock Xpress
By Stefan Jaworzyn
Issue: Experienced? Further excellence from Art
Black and Monica Dec. AfTP appears even
more sporadicall y than SX (thi s one is several
months old, with a new one promised 'soon'
. . ), but is more than wonh the wait. A brulal 98
pages long. it comprises a fai rly definitive guide
to what's worth listening to in the world of wild
music. H anyt hing Art is too kind to some of the
garbage he innicts on himself. but with the
wonderful Forced Exposure. AFTP is the l ast
word in new sounds. Where else could you find a
interview/feature on Ki l ldozcr ... Plus coverage
of the beller comics. sleaze publications and a
million reviews. But si ll y old Art hasn't pUI a
price on the cover Write to: P.O. Box
M 1842. Hoboken. NJ 07030. USA.
The guys responsible wrote and said the issue I'd
previously enjoyed wasn't a particularly good
one -so much for my j udgement ... Afterseeing
No. 17 I can still give a hi gh recommendation.
Packed full of reviews (t hey loved Combat Shock
too . . ). st range bit s of trash clipped out of
newspapers. interviews with people you'd never
imagine and sundry craziness. CC has shaped up
impressivel y as the Australi an equivalent of a
good US sleazezine. They promise to head
up-market soon. with help from Phil Edwards.
Info from: 312 Great th Rd. Five Dock 2046.
New South Wales. Australia .
Originally conceived largely fo r players of the
'Call of Ct hulhu' game. Carl Ford's Dagon has
expanded most admirably over the last few
issues. the current (ISlI9. a double issue devoted
to the wo rk of T.E. D. Kl ein) being a superb
present ation. 78 pages long. it features an
excellent select ion of essays. articles. interviews
and artwork focussing on Kl ei n's career, plus a
sho rt , deleted chapter from The Ceremollies and
a revised version of ' Hagendorn's House'. an
obscure talc from Cowury /1I1Is. Contributors
include Kl ein. Ramsey Campbell. Gahan Wil -
son, S.T. Joshi. Robert M. Price plus some
inspired wo rk from Davc Carson. CostsI .75. or
6.00 UK/S20.00 USA (cash o nl y) for a year's
subscri ption. Dagon Press also have a 450-copy
limited. signed edition of Dave Carson's Hmm-
lers 0/ the Dark portfolio. cont aini ng six of
Carson's most impressive illustration o f Lovec-
raftian and Lovecraft- inspired horrors. A fine
package, including an amusi ng forcword by
Ramsey. 4 .50 inc p&p. Both avai lable from: II
Warwick Road. Twickenham, Middx , lW2
6SW. England.
Shock Xpress
' More comics. . This o ne comes from Malibu
Graphics of California. and is mo re or less
comprehensible. Story concerns the eponymous
character's quest for vengeance after some
centuries spent in limbo. It turns out he and his
lover were burned to death by slimeballs and he
hasn' t quite gotten over it .. . Issue I had a
cameo appearance by the lovely Kell y Nichols
(ex-porno star ; nai l-gun victim in The Toolbox
Murders), issue 2 by the sli ght ly less lovely
Harl an Ellison .. In b&w. Malibu also do
something called StelilIh Force, the tag-li nc for
the first being 'Meet the membcrs o f Stealth
Force ... And watch them die!' $1.95 per issue,
though you can probably pick them up in UK
comics shops easily eno ugh. from: P.O. Box
31R5. Thousand Oaks. CA 91359. USA.
Easily the most interest ing publication to emerge
from the UK in recent times . Small format. 64
pages packed full of reviews. comment <tnd
art icles - all well above average. The investi ga-
tion of obscure TV genre fodder is peerless, and
there's a fine sense of insanity running riot
throughout. Worth the price of admission for the
mercil ess lampoons of Srar/og alone . .. Therc's
nothing wildly perverse or gory covered, but
editor/publisher Nick Haysom is aiming for a
different market and succeeds perfectly. Recom-
mended. 1.15 inc p&p from: 45 Springvale
Road, Kings Worthy. Winchestcr. !-Iant s. S023
Impressively warped but slim publicati o n from
Craig Ledbetter. dealing with (on the whole)
objectionable sleaze videos availablc in the US.
Continental and Ori ental rubbish seem to be
Craig's stomping ground. and one can' t fault him
for that. Onl y 4 pages but tho roughly enjoyable.
$6.00 fo r 12 issues from: Box 5367, Kingwood,
TX 77325. USA.
I actually met propri etor Eric Caidin at Conspira-
cy in Brighton , and the first thing he did was pull
out a sheaf qf photos of porno stars and wrestling
jocks, not mention The Mighty Sphincter. which
he assures me are " rock's answer to Charles
Manson" Eric had material like the script
(t here is one'!) for Plan 9 and H .G. Lewis posters
for sale Ask for lists. uucst H BA PN
continues to improve. featuring int ervi ews with
H.G. Lewis. David Friedman and Bruce Imp-
bell . photos of musclebound blockheads and
another weird cart oon strip by The Alcalde. A
couple of doll ars fo r postage to: 1706 N. Las
Palmas. Hollywood. CA 90028. USA.
It s almost an insult to call this i
produced magazine a (anzine . The standards
writing/information supplyllayout arc t he bcst
I' ve seen in an 'amateur' magazine. Issue 8
features materi al to make any sel f-respect ing fan
o f sleazefoddi ties drool heavil y: Bruno VeSota
interview, Susan Cabot tribute , the making of
Demeflfio, the films of AlP. Fo rry interviewed
and a cover pic of John Carradine in The Cosmic
Man . . . Not to mention reviews (movies, hooks.
fanzincs) and a Drew Friedman strip. PUblisher/
editor/designer Raymond F. Young should get a
sai nthood for this. Essenti al. $5 .95 in USA or
$9.95 abroad (includes p&p) from: PO Box 0446.
Baldwin , NY 11 5J()....{)J29. USA.
An occasional publication by Gary Gittings. PP
has come and gone as Gary's whims have taken
him - he's been known to suspend it when he
received too much fan mail! Recently resur-
rected, it now runs to two pages of reviews and
ra nting. usuall y accompanied by a murky cover .
Generally possessed o f good taste in sleaze.
mutilati on and mainst ream movies. Gary's style
is amusing and informative. ve ry much modelled
o n Ri ck Sullivan's Gore CllZt!rre. while his failings
arc a marked disinterest in spelling and reliance
on a typewriter which gives the impression o f
bei ng a reli c of a dim and dista nt epoch . .
Worth a look . No price , write for subscriptio n
details: 307 Bloxwich road , Leamore. Walsall ,
W. Mids. WS2 70D.
New Yo rk's best trashzine continues unabated.
issue II being the last received. Included therein
are reviews of such classics as Smail's Sadists.
Killg KOllg Lives. Steckler's The Thrill Killers
and Rat Fillk arid Boo Boo. The Flesh EMers and
somc total obscurities. Editor Steve Puchalski' s
taste is always spot o n and there' s lillie to fau lt in
the whol e endeavor. Recomme nded. Subscrip-
tions: $3.00 for 6 issues (50 each back issues. ) UK
add a couplc of dollars for postage . From: 1108
East Genesee S1. 103. Syracuse, NY 13210.
Forty Years In Another Townl
By Ed Senior
"Amidst Freda's crazy world of giants. spec-
tres. vampires and assori cd mythi cal beasties.
onc might by turns become both bored and
excited but o ne is ne ve r allowed to forge I thai a
hi ghl y sophisti cated visual an isl is al work:'
(David Badde r . Film Dope # 17).
"Ci nema is aClion. e moli on, te nsion. speed. I
was oft en accused of shooting too fast. For
example. I would do a scene a nd the re verse shot
at the same lime. cha nging the a ngle. but nOllhc
lighting - and savi ng an hour and a half of
technical SCI- UpS. I used three o r four came ras
. elcCl e ra . But the re's a rcason. whi ch isn' t
just 10 save cosls. It 's because the fasler you
shoot. t he fasle r your inspirati on nows with the
sto ry. Ci ne ma is acti o n also for t he director .. '
(Frcda. from a n int ervi ew in Divoralori di
Celluloide. edited by G. Fo fi and P. Pistagnesei.
Edizio ni Del Mystfest. 1981 (c))
' The visual motif t hat carries the narnll ive . .
is enha nced by Freda's inspi red orchestration o f
li ght . .. " ( Aurum Film Encyclopedia of Horror.
Ed. : Phi l Hardy 1985 (c) From review o f
L"Orribile Segrelo del Dr Hidlcock ( 1962)
' This picture is spoil ed by bad cUlling. worse
special effects and a lud icrous setting. this
cheapie appears to have been made wi th so littl e
thought that it borde rs on disho nesty. ... (ib .)
From review of Mllcisle AIl'lIl/emo (1962)
Riccardo Freda. Ital ia n fi lm d irector . journey-
man o r genius o r . mo re li kely. something in
between. stands about fi ve feet fi ve: he has the air
o f a ret ired imp. a young a nd beauti ful daughter.
and a big black dog call ed Wit ch. His conversa-
t ion is opinionated a nd fascinat ing. his good
humour disarming the more poisonous barbs
aimed at Ame ri can directors. nco- realism. a nd
intell ectual cri ti cs. He loves movies.
He was born in Al exandria . Egypt. February 24.
1909. In 19 18. the famil y moved to Mi lan. His
earl y educati on was at Alexandri a's Italian
School and t he cit y's many movie houses. His
mothe r was an invete rate ci ne magoer . freque ntl y
dragging her unprotesting son from o ne theatre
to a nothe r several times a day.
Freda disliked the static dramas . but reli shed the
bravura adventures of Fai rbanks a nd Vale ntino:
to this day he can re me mber and describe e ntire
seque nces fro m his favouri tc films. which he saw
over a nd ovcr again .
He recalls being at first fr ightened a nd then
delight ed by t he gesti culating. voci ferous reac-
tions to the acti on o n screen of the poorer Arabs
in the cheapest cine ma scats . The re was a ri gid
segregatio n o f audie nce: the local wealthy a nd
aristocra tic personages occupied the best posi-
ti ons. the n ' there we re the Europeans. t he n the
Later. in Mila n. the young impressionable Freda
succumbed to the eeri e deli ghts o f Murnau a nd
Dreyer . Nos[erolU, Golem. Faust. left ha unting
echoes of a ra ntasti c alte r-world , which would
sound again through the Oamboyance of even hi s
most pedest ri an movi es.
When asked by a French journali st whethe r he
c<t rl y wished 10 become a film director . Freda
responded by clai ming that he would have liked
to foll ow the example of a Murnau , or a Lubitsch.
bei ng in complete control of his films. but
rea li sed while still young that the di rector of the
sort o f genre which he e njoyed most. the
Fairbanks fi lms fo r example. was ve ry much a
servant of the iconography of star a nd subj ect.
wit h lillie scope for pe rsonal cont ro l or use o f
imagination. The refore he had no great desire to
foll ow such a career . In his twe nties. newly
ma rri ed. Lubitsch and La ng we re his cine mat ic
gods. his studies were Latin. Greek , Design. and
after a brief spell at uni ve rsit y he decided to
pursue a career as a sculpt or,
He ente red the studi o of a Mi la nese call ed
Pre ndoni. a now-fo rgoll e n practitioner of the
short-li ved Lombardy School o f sculpture. Fre-
da'S activities we re unre marka ble. except in that
he made last ing and ultimat ely innue nti al fr ie nds
a mong the country's artistic communi ty.
Hi s training a nd ability was late r'put to use in the
films Spartaco. I Gigafll i Della Tessaglia. a nd
Maciste Alia Corte Del Gra" Khml . for each o f
whi ch he personall y did some of the statua ry.
At age 24. a fr iend who was working on the
statues and orna me ntat ion o f the recentl y-
founded Centro Ci nematografico Italiano in
Rome. sent fo r Freda 10 be his coll aborator. This
institution later devel oped into the Centro
Sperime nt ale a nd became an arm o f the Fascist
gove rnment. prOducing a nd fi nancing many
notorious fi lms of the t hirties. Today. it is linked
with the Cinetecha Nazionale. the prime fi lm
a rchi ve in Italy.
Freda dissociates himself completel y from all his
biogs whi ch state Ihat he worked at t he Centro
Sperimentale. having been asked 10 become a
film-ma ke r there.
The slap-hazardy approach to fi lm-making had
characterised earl y Holl ywood still pertained to
the Italy o r t he thirti es: Freda was soon involved
in all aspects of producti on at the Cent ro:
tinke ri ng a nd coll aborating on scripts. set decora-
ti on. editi ng. etc, Between 1937 and '43. he
co-wrote 14 movies. t he fi rst of which was
Lllsciale Ogni Speranza (Abandon All Hope).
with Edoardo Anton. a close fri e nd,
His firs t taste of directi on came in 1938. wit h
Piccoli Nall/ragh;, on which he assisted t he
undistinguished Flavio Calzavara. Freda also cuI
the film. whi ch is only now worthy o f no te
because the music was composed by Renzo
Rossellini. altho ugh it should be mentioned that
Freda. unde r the pseudonym Ri ccardo Santelmi .
played the leading rol e,
During this period. up to t he coll apse of
Fascism and the temporary destructi on of the
Itali an film industry in 1943. Freda wo rked with
ma ny people who subsequentl y would become
key figu res in the boom yea rs o f the fi fti es a nd
sixti es,
Shock Xpress
Raffacllo Mat atazzo. later rcsponsibl e for a
hugely success ful series of films ( Tormemo.
Cmell e ctc.) starring Italy' s fiflies a nswe r to
Burto n a nd Taylor. Amadeo Nazzari a nd Yvon-
ne Sansom. and for the sublimel y sadistic
excesses of La Nal'{! Velie VOlllle Maladelle (Ship
Of Condmllled Women. 195" ). was the co-
scenarist and di rcctor of NOlli Vi Fortllne and
L'A v\'t!lltllrit'ra Vel Piano Oi Sopra. both 1941.
Luigi Zampa. director of the awa rd-winning
post-war Vil'ert' ln Pace ( To Lil'e III Peace. 1946).
co-wrote wi th Freda a nd. a mongst ol hcrs. Enni o
F1aiano- most famous for his long col laboration
with Fellini - L'Abilo Nero V a Sposa ( 1943).
Mario Mo ni celli (/ Solili Ignoti, eArmaw Brt", -
caleolle. many ot hcrs) wo rked on La Crall-
dllcltessa Si V iI'erUl (19"0). before starting his
fruitful appre ntices hip wit h Steno and Toto. The
directo r o f t his film was the prolific Giacomo
Gcntil omo. who made many of t he pe plum
movies of the sixti es. a nd in parti cula r Maciste
Col/tro /I V(lmpiro (1961) .
Eduardo de Fil ippo. Vitt orio De Sica. Cesare
Zavall ini . names normall v associated with the
upper strata of Itali an fi lnllnaking. all werc acti vc
around thc Centro Sperimentale whi lst Freda
learned a nd contributed .
In 19"3. Mussolini WaS overthrown a nd the re
W.IS chaos in Italy. Freda and some frie nds Oed to
aplcs . He was bri efly involved with American
Intelligence. and returned to Ro me with the
allied troops . He fou nd hi s apa rtment in thc
Piazza Trinita dei Monti overOowi ng wit h
Yugoslavian p,uti)',ms. t he chief of whom was
also enjoying the hospitali ty of his wife . Freda
wcnt back to work.
Through 't il '''5. he wo rked on what he
described as t he fi rst It ali an musical: Twra La
Ciua C(IIIUJ . a che;Jply made seri es of numbe rs
interspersed with minimal plo t. Int crest ingly. a n
uncredi ted Federico Felli ni cont ri buted to the
script: not vc ry much. but something. for onc
With the exception o f the classic I Miserabili.
released in two parts in 1947. a reasonably
fai thful. sli ghtly stodg)' ve rsion of Hugo's Les
Miserabl('s. which featu red the screen debut of
Marcello Mastroianni . Freda' s career from 19"6
on. sta rl ing with Aquila Ncra ( Blac k Eagle). was
a headlong gallop through genre cinema. Histor-
ical adve nture. spy thrille rs. murdcr mysteries.
horror . peplum: hi s fims encompassed the lavish
tragedy of He(/(rice Cenci (Freda's vcrsion was
lush a nd violent . but achieved a dignity utterly
absent from Fulci 's 1,lIer crass and ugly remake)
and t he first It alia n va mpire fi lm. I V(lmpiri - a
1956 failure. heavil y but unsuccessfull y influ
e nced by the Ha mme r goth ics.
One area o f \l alia n cine ma whi ch Freda
ada mant ly refused to get involved with . and
about whi ch he remain)' unrepenta ntl y scat hing.
was nco-reali sm.
"Aquila Nera exploded like a bomb to scatter the
foetid mi asma o f neorealism . . My film was at
last the fi rst 'Ame ri can' type of it s kind (i n Ital y).
with the triumphant parade of t he coss,lcks at t he
e nd trampling down t he last resistancc of a
Ci ne ma perpetuall y anchored in sordid huma n
Freda doesn' t disguise his feelings. nor politely
mask wit h lati n ornateness. his opi ni ons about
o the r directors. actors. critics. Like Vitto rio
Cottafavi. Sergio Corbucci. he is secure ill the
knowledge of hi s own competence. unashamed
o f the na ture of much of his work. and ve ry very
pl eased at the surging interes t in the mainstream
It ali an cinema of the past. to the glories of which
he a nd his co-artisans contributed so much.
On Alessandro Blasctli . who di rected one o f
t he most successful 'soft' neoreali st films. QIl(/('
Iro Passi Tra Lt' Ntll'o/e/ Follr Steps I" Til e
Clollt/s. 19"2'. ill at/wlll ee of nco- realism prope r!
- and Fabio/a. 19"9. wi th its j ui c)' depict ions of
Shock Xpress
tOrlure a nd crucifixions e mbell ishing a rout ine
Christian/ Romans plo t
" Blasclli always had none- toocl ear ideas: he
knew whe re to put t he camera . for the point o f
view of the spectators. but always made it mess o f
the exposit ion of the sto ry. whi ch is essential in
ci nema . In Salt'tuor Ros(I (he) is incapable of
telling the sto ry cleMI)'. even tho ugh it was his
beSI film . . (S(I/1'lI10r Rosa) is a confusing film.
and at one point no o ne could understand who
was thc bandit and who was (Ihe hero)
Fllbio/a is not a totall y compre he nsive film .
On Cinema as art'. accordi ng to crit ics:
"" For me cine ma is Ame ri can cinem'l. the re is no
other cinema bet'\'een Rao ul Walsh and
Ingmar Bergman . t he re is no common ground:
o ne speaks cine ma. the othe r is it mos t intelligent
man. perhaps fr ighte ningly intell igent. but he
doesn' t make cine ma."
On actors ll nd di rectors:
""Our (Ita li an) acto rs a rc the laziest of all. "
" I must say 1 was ve ry sati sfied wi th Edmund
Purdom. a ve ry disci plined acto r."
"The French il lwi:lYs gave me great sati sfaction.
~ I b o v e all Michelinc Presle in Bearrict' Cellci."
"One o f the actrcsses with whom 1 worked with
great pleasure was Yo ko Tani: we ncver had
morc than one or two retakes. and I have ra rely
seen such discipline a nd professionalism in an
actress . "
. but it's a fact that in a scene wit h sevc ral
peoplc. if the re is o ne of t he m who doesn' t give
you what you wa nt (as a direclor). it's no t vc ry
grave ...
"" I" ve always adored beaut y. a nd in my life I a m
alwa ys surro unded by beautiful wome n. Even my
secretary must be beautiful I have never
workcd (in my fi lms) wil h unattract ive women.
like (Mariangela) Melat o o r Streisand. irrespec
tive of thei r tale nt."
"(Amadeo) Nazzari asked me. ,IS executive
producer (of C(lftll'tlggio). why C<lfavaggio ncver
kissed a woman. saying: 'And with m)' face and
figure !' ..
'"To make his fi lms. Fellini shools for months and
mont hs. eati ng up mil es a nd mil es o f negati ve.
Experimenting over iIIld over . shooti ng and
reshoot ing. afte r h,wing viewed t he material in
Ihe projeclion room. he then hands over this
a valanche of cclluloid to an experienced edito r .
who salv'lgcs some seque nces: but al what a price
of boredom "nd presumption !"'
Freda has lilli e time fo r many Ame ri can
directors. several of whom. during t he ' Ho ll y-
wood-on-thc-Tiber' pe ri od o f the sixties would
a rrive in Rome to make major studi o backcd
epics. fo ll owing t he worldwide success of Pietro
Fra ncisci's Hercules movies. According to Freda.
although he W,IS o nl y no minall y responsible for
the exteriors of I MOllgoli ( The MOllgo/s. 1960).
with full directorial credi t going to Andre de
Toth . he virtually did the whole fi lm: si mila rly he
quotes hi s fri e nd Mario Bav;t 's experience on La
Hauaglia Oi Martl/oll l.' (Ci(llll Of Mara/holl.
19"9) : Bava was second unit director. a nd
photographer. t he MGM fi nanced production
being credit ed to Jacques Tourneur. Appare ntl y
Tou rne ur disappeared back to America aft e r a
couple o f weeks a nd ""phoned in his di recti on""
the reaft e r . Bava fi ni shing t he film.
Whe n Freda was making I Mongoli. he had
trouble wi th Jack Palance. who. much to the
It alia n speed-me rcha nt' s chagrin. insisted on
'preparing himself" prior to each scene. howeve r
simple. wi th deep breat hing exerci ses. psyching
up etc . Eventuall y Freda left Pala nce off t he call
sheet. havi ng discovercd a dead ringer for t he
American star (!?) a mo ng the Germa n extras.
and went off wi th the cast and crew to fini sh the
film without actuall y using the sta r. Freda
gleefull y admit s to even having a close-up of this
sta ndin and no o ne notici ng the differe nce .
Despite the cheapness of ma ny of hi s histo ri cal
films. Freda is ve ry serious "bout their intentions.
He docs no t rcgard escapism as a ny less worthy o f
criti cal attention in movies tha n ot he r mo re
identifiilbly 'seri ous' concerns. He is ve ry articu-
late o n whal he sees as a major problem in these
fi lms: that o f appropriate and com' inci ng dia-
logue . " It is most difficult to make a film in
cos tume which is not a modern fi lm - 1ll0S1
diffi cult and most intercsti ng."
It is a problem all ied to t he difficulty o f using
images whi ch a rc essenti all y mode rn. in the
shape of actors. a nd few directo rs overcome il.
(""Even Anto nioni . who a few yea rs ago collabo-
rated on Nt'l Segll o Oi Roma. ")
When he wanted to make Or. Hichcock. he took
great care to find Ihe right actors. English being
essenti al. he fe lt. for thi s Victori a n melodrama
reeking of repression a nd suppressed sexual
vi o lence . He chose Robe rt Flemyng afte r seeing
t he actor in an Engli sh tctevision play. Ba rbara
Steele Will<. (in relrospect) a n obvious and ideal
choice for the tormcnted heroine .
Perhaps out of va nit y. and irked at the lack of
crit ical esteem accorded in Europe to main-
stream It alian directors. with the possible cxccp
tion (t his was just a post-La Maschertl Vel
Demollio) of Bava. Freda used Engl ish
pseudonyms on the credi ts of the film: several
mont h), later he was deli ghted to o\'e rhear a
nOl ed Fre nch criti c expounding o n Dr I-lichcock
to the effect t hat t he fi lm coul d onl y have been
made by li n Englishman . because of the greal
dark lit e rary t raditions whic h made the Engli sh
- and presumably Irish - master of got hic
represent at ions of ho rror . underpinned by seet h
ing restrained sexualit y.
Alt hough the career of Ri ccardo Freda ground
to a hah in 1971. followi ng t he f<tilure of the
made in Israel LII S(II(IIlIlllulro Del Desena. he
was still in dcma nd as advisor and consult a nl on
actio n sequences. and some te n yea rs late r
directed his last feature : Mll rder Obsessio1l. nOI
widely distributed. but well -rcgarded in these
davs o f excess.
\Vhen Bruce Be resford \VilS making King
Oal'it/. Freda was c,l lI cd in 10 direct ext e rior
action seque nces. According to Freda. when he
arrived. he was Ireated dismissively by the
Aust ralian. who told the press that this Itali an
was of no usc to the production. as hi s expe ri e nce
was not suitable. Exit Freda. smarting. The battle
scenes in King Vm'it/. which did nothing for
biblical history and even less for Ri cha rd Gere's
career . look as t hough a littl e touch o f Freda
would have been a n e normous bonus.
Co-SCR (Uncredit ed).
SCR (Uncredit ed).
(Uncredit ed).
Co-SCR (uncredit ed).
Co-SCRIEdit/Pl ayed lead unde r
pseudonym Riccardo Sanl cimi .
DIR/Co-SCR. Thi s was Freda' s first
solo directorial credit . and the firsl of
hi s hi slOrical/adventurcs.
These films were made for Freda's
own producti on company: ELI CA
D I RlCo-SCR/Co-STOR Y/Edit .
(Re-edited ve rsion under title:
51 PI:.R o TrO. QUA RAN-
1946: 07 . .. TASSI ! Co-DIR (Uncredited)
ABLES. DIRICo-SCR. Released in
two parts:
DI R/Co-SCR. (Original titl e: LE
GUARANY. (Made in Brazil ). DIRI
(Freda is also credit ed wit h the song
' Vcdi Napoli e poi Muori' - one of
fi ve songs featured in film).
SCR. (N. B. Title is a pun on DA
PER FORZA. Both one- reel com-
edies. DIR (Under pse udonym Re-
nato De ry)1 Co-SCRIEdit (Credit ed
to OlcHo wit h actors involved). FTC- ~
da also did voice over commentary Cs
for BARONE. "
DIRISCRIEDIT. ( Film made in
Brazil )
DIRISCR (Under pseudonym Dick
Co-EDIT (Original tit le: I
MALADETTI) (Music is credited to
Franco Mannino. but Freda W,IS
responsibl e for choice of classical
pi eces).
PIRE). DIRICo-SCR. Thi s film.
made in twelve days. marked the fi rst
use by Freda of Mario Bava as
photographer. Freda also played a
small parI. as a doctor . in the film.
THE GLADI ATOII ). Freda is cre-
dited on the film wit h having directed
the bailie sequences. although he
Shock Xpress
was responsible for virtuall y all ex-
teri ors. The interiors were directed
(uncredited) by Michelangelo Anto-
ni oni . The director on the credits was
Guido Bri gnone who was to have
been in charge but was taken ill
before shooting commenced. .B.:
Among the four crdited writers was
Sergio Leone.
pseudonym: Robert Hampton).
Freda is credited on the film with
direction of the battle sequence only,
but was responsible for several other
( mainl y exterior) sequences.
FLEECE). DIRICo-SCR. (Original
ti tle GLI ARGONAUTI ) . (Some
additional sequences were shot aft er
Freda ' finished' the film) .
1961: CACCI A ALL"UOMO. (A. K. A.:
da was not responsible for the pre-
credit sequence)
(Following Freda' s completion of the
film, producer Ermanno Donatti and
brought-in dirctor Piero Pierotti re-
shot several sequences).
MARCO POLO. Freda was onl y
responsible for the battle sequences.
which he shot on the same sets when
he was making MACI STE/GRAN
KHAN. (Some footage appears in
both films.)
CALAI S) . Freda choreographed
and edited the naval battle cl imax of
this MGM, Rudolph Mate-dirctd
Shock p r e s ~
WITCHE'S CURSE) . D1R (this film
was made in the remarkable, even
for Freda, peri od of eight days).
pseudonym: Robert Hampton)
AGAINST ROME). Freda directed
the arena sequences.
SWORD) . DIRICo-SCR. This was a
remake of DON CESARE DI
Freda direct ed the exteriors.
Pseudonym: Robert Hampton)
Co-SCR (as Hampton).
DI RlSCRISTORY, Made in Spain,
the film credi ts JOSE LUIS MO -
T ER as director.
Robert Hampt on)
The screenplay was by Berlrand
T averni er.
LARI. DIR (Under pseudonym
George Lincoln) Co-SCR (As lin-
Robert Hampton) . The story was
provided by. amongst others, Lucio
Fulci . Co-SCR (As Hampton).
FUOCO. DIR (Under pse udonym
Willy Pareto)/ Co-SCR (As Pareto)!
Co-EDIT (As Pareto).
T hi s film was only released in 7Sn6.
It was made in I srael.
1972: LIZ & HELEN. This title is listed in
the Catalogo Bolaffi directors' index.
but no further details/informati on is
as yet traceable.
14 Shock Xpress
By Ernest Harris
Pulli ng on the Agony
St yle is somethi ng that most people have difficul -
t)' aClua ll y describi ng. It is that often i ndefi nable
(I"alil), t hat a creator brings to a work of an that
li fls il above the shoulders of its contcmporat ics
- t ha t makes it stand out. I lISC the word
"creator" because .Hy/e is not always. despite
wh:1I die-hard il li lc urists might t hi nk. t he product
of the di rector. If we call', always desc ribe style.
wto: a ll t hink we know wha l it is whe n we sec it.
The re is most ddini tely it Hitchcock style ; we can
rccognbc it instantl y a nd we ca n ,,"en poi nt 10 the
work of ot he r film-makers as bei ng "i n t he styl e
of" Hitchcock. so idcnlifiablc has it become.
I;\'CII to peopl e wit h littl e real interest in the
movies. Now. just hcca use a fi lm has "style", j ust
!>ccaus!.' it st ands out. does n't nccessa ril y mean
t hat it has any real value ( re member , the ClIrry
011 seril's had a ve ry individua l style). I sti ll t hi nk
t hc most valuable style tha t can be imposed o n a
fi lm is that of a good director (at heart I am a
di e- hard aute urist!) - fo r it is then that we
confro nt the artist. fiu t. the rc a rc othc r sources
of st),1e tha t arc as int e resti ng if not a lways
cll uall y valuable . This was highlighled ea rl ie r in
Ihe year whe n the nnc ran ils lo ng-t hrea tened
scason of Hamllll' r fil ms.
Corporate Punishment
Hammer fi lms still have a largc and lo)'al
foll owing and those among Ihem who a rc still
talki ng to me we re gell ing prclly cxcited abo ut
the prospect of a season devoted 10 the films o f
Messrs Carre ras. Fi she r and Co. As il happens,
t he y got mo re tha n they ba rgained fo r. Ol he rTV
channels raidcd t hei r vault s to dig up il S much
I-Ia mme r material as possible - t hus treati ng ('1)
us 10 Terence Fisher's Dracula tril ogy wil h Ihe
fil ms shown out of order o n Ihree di ffe re nl
channels (and shame on lTV fo r hi di ng the 1958
Dracula away in t he 2.00 a . 111 . slOI a nd even more
sha me for tra nsmitti ng what I am assured hy
those who know ahout these thi ngs WilS a seve re ly
truncated pri nt ).
The re can be few who woul d de ny that the
earl y Hammer product io ns (and I'm talking
aboul t he t uppenny coloured goth ics ral her Ihan
t he penny pl ai n s.L fi lms) have a style all of thei r
own. But just how good were Ihese fi lrnsand who
\\;:lS reall y responsible for Ihe element thai has
made the m so popula r with the fans (besides t he
obvious eleme nt o f gore Ihal Ihey introduced to
t he classics)? Most Hallum: r e nt husiasts wi ll te ll
you that what reall y disti nguished the earli er
Ha mme r got hi cs is Ihe presence in Ihe director's
chai r of Terence Fisher. Much as I woul d have
liked Hamme r 10 have had a rea l stylist al Ihc
hel m, I' m afraid il j usl isn't the case. David Pi rie
no twithstandi ng, Fisher just wasn'l t hat good a
Shock Xpress
di rector. He was , as has been pointed out many
ti mes. a workma n - a compelent storyteller
when the story was worth te ll ing. Prior to The
Curse of FrlmkellSieill the re is nOl hi ng in Ihe
Fisher canon to suggest more than a routi ne
tal ent and as soon as he was deprived of Ji mmy
Sangster's scripts the talent fa lte red, and whe n
d ivorced from Ha mmer comple te ly t he resul ts
we re such depressing items as The Earth Dies
Scr('amillg and The Horror of It All. Why t he n a rc
his Ha mlll e r got hi cs so hi ghl y regarded by some?
They do have their st yle ( the ir initi al popul arity
was the result of t he ir gore quo ta - mild by
todays standa rds but e nough to cause apoplexy
among the crilica l eSlablishme nt back in Ihe late
fifli es), bUI il can ha rdly be all ribuled to Fishe r -
it is more corporate Ih,1I\ individual. The visua l
look o f the I-la m me r gothi cs was more a produCi
of the geogra phy of Bray st udi os and. perhaps
more importantl y. Ihe producti on design of Ihe
brilli a nt Be rna rd Robi nson. M)' Shock Xpress
colleague , Ba rry Fo rshaw, has argued that the
Fishe r Frankensteinn a nd Dram/a fi lms arc
supe ri or to those of Ha mme r hacks li ke Freddie
Francis a nd Peter Sasdy. the a nswer seems
obvious to me: It isn' t tha t Fishe r was thai good-
iI's more thai Francis, Sasdy et al a re n't. Fisher's
bes t Dracula and Frllllkellstein e nt ries also had
the be nefit of Sangster scripts. It is useful to
compare Fishe r wil h his American contempor-
a ry, Roger Corma n. Corman' s Edgar All a n Poe
se ries was anot he r example o f corporale style in
tha t they were made by a more of less regul ar
team o f collaborators. Yel. whe n the producti on
. of t he series switched from America to England
the result ing fi lms - Masqlle of III(' Red Dl'mh
a nd The Tomb of Ligeritl we re, if a nything. e ve n
more interest ing tha t the previo ll s fi lms. Even
Corma n's less ca ptivat ing movies be ll r his disti nct
signa turc: his personal vision (whal c"er Ihc
ge nre), somel hing t hai can hardly he said of
non-Ha mme r Fishe r effort s like Isllllld of Terror
and Night of Ille Big Heat.
Out of the (last
Of much mo re inte rest and in fini tel y rnore
value t ha n the nBC Hamrnc r seri es was the same
channe l' s long season devoted to the best fi lms o f
t he RKO Radio sl udios. He re we re t reasures
indeed - t he superbly atmosphe ric film noi r .
cl assic thrille rs like The Spiral Staircase a nd Ki/l g
Kong, superb B-Illovies a nd. of course, the
wonde rfu l Val Lewton horrors (dccidcly lacki ng
in loda y's requi site gore).
Somebody once suggested to me t hai Val
Lewto n's admi rble reputation was me re ly the
result of his good fortune in havi ng tale nted
di rectors worki ng fo r him. Now, Jaques Tour-
niur . Robert Wise a nd Ma rk Robson arc cert ai n-
ly fil m- make rs of tale nt but in t he case o f Wise
and Robson Ihese fil ms we re tyro effort s.
Tourne ur was al ready a di rec tor o f some yea rs
experie nce il is tr ue, but al l. in inte rviews, gave
fu ll credit to Lewton's gui di ng hand, taste and
imaginalion . a ltho ugh I t hink this is self-evide nt
in the consistenl high quali ty and intelli ge nce o f
the filmS. Lewton's films, Hammer. even Ihe
Art hur Freed musical team over a t MGM, arc
prime examples o f corporate style developed
sludio systems - highli ghti ng the coll aborative
na ture of fi lm-mak ing, maybe a t the cxpense of
the more luna ti c clai ms of the Poli ti que des
Did You See Dept.
As this column has been devole d 10 the
quest ion of style and the responsibi lit y for il. it is
nice to be able to me nti on a movie, shown on
Chan nel 4 in August , t ha t spotl ights the wor k of a
man who was one of the undisputed visua l stylisls
()f Ihe cine ma - although , oddly, the role he
fu lfilled waS nOI thai o f a director . I refer to Ihe
1947 fi lm II -y. All hough di rected by Sam Wood.
the fil m was co produced (and I am sure
designed) by the remarkable Willi a m Came ro n
Me nzies - his ge nre fil ms as a di reclor include
C/umdu Ihe Magician ( 1932), Tlrillgs 10 Come
( 1936) The Whip I-/alld ( 195 1), The Maze ( 1953)
a nd t he cl assic o rgina l ve rsio n of I" vaders from
Mars (1953). It is some thing of the dist incti ve
visual slyle Iha t Menzies' SCI design ( for il is as an
a rt directo r thai he is best known outside the
fa ntasy genre) brought to IlIvlIders f rom Mars
Ihat distinguished Ivy, a Victori an murder talc
featuri ng an excell e nt perfo rma nce by Joan
Fontaine in the ti t le role. From the st arkl y
st yli sed Sl reel set of the opening scene as Ivy
makes her way to consult a siniste r fo rtune- te lle r
(played by Bride's of Frenkel/slein's Una O'Con-
nor) to t he fr enet ic cl imax whe n she takes a d ive
down a lift-shaft in a swirl of orga ndie, sa tin , lace
a nd ostric h fe the rs, this was a production to
re li sh. Maybe not a ge nre piece but a fascina ting
example of the work of one o f the fantasy
ci ne ma' s mOSI fascina ti ng stylists.
1976. Dir: Hcnr)' Paris (aka Rl.tdh.')' Metzger ),
With: Consta nct Mone)'. J a mie Gillis. Jaqueline
Bc'lUdant . Gloria Ll'Onard. TerT)' Hall. Mar)'
The hard-core fi lm indust ry in America
fn:qucl1 t ly had pretensio ns regarding the aesthe-
tic qua li ty o f its 1110" iC5- :-c"c ra l of which. il has
heen cl ai med . a rc the equal of a nyt hing that
mainstrea m cinema can offer. Perhaps the belt!
example of Ihe fi nest in hardeo rc ill The Openi"8
of Mist), B t't'f il OI ' (' " , and t he rC;lson fo r il s
much-heralded success is simple - I h:nry Pari s.
real name Radley Metzger. Paris came to
nu t ice in 1966 when he achieved considerable
sucees as Ihe: US tli lllri bulOr of the brcaklhroll l!. h
I , A \Voma" . directed by Mac Ahl berg - nO'w
prominent as a cincmalOgraphcr on t he likes of
ReAnimator. House. Trtlll cers and many OI her
Empire and low-budget product io ns. Paris late r
made headway with nudies such as Therese and
/saf) /'lle (1968) , Camille 2{)()() ( 1969) and Thl'
Lickerish Quartet ( 1970).
With t he arri v .. l of hardcore and pornochic'
care of Deep Th rOlll and Til l' Ol' vi/ in Miss ) OIlt'S
he was able to fl ex his cinematic muscles that bit
more. being unrestricted by censorship. By the
mid 70s he was approaching his peak . having
established himself as one o f t he finest X-ratcd
film-make rs wit h such classic!:> Ci S The Af ternoons
0/ Pamela 101m", and Naked C{l me the Slr(lIIger
( 1975) with the lewd and lusty Darby Lloyd
Rains. But Misty BeethOlen remains his finest

Very much a pornographic Pygmalion. it takcs
place in Paris, Metzger' s fa vouri te cit y. Gi ll is.
hardcores finest male perfo rmeer. plays
Seymour Love . a re knowned sex writer who
stumbles across st ree t-wise hooker Beethoven
(Money) plying her t rade in a sleazy porno
palace. She intrigues Seymo ur . so much so that
he wages a bet wit h his lover (Beaudant) that he
can transfo rm this wretched slip o f a girl into t hc
"The Golden Rod Girl o f the Year' - a ti t le
bcstowed on onl y the hottest of sexual athletes.
Thi ngs go badly al first - he has what amounts to
an unwi ll ing patient o n his hands - and she
cert ainly lacks the fi nesse and charm of a
pot enti al Golden Rod girl. But befo re lo ng he
succeeds in administering a crash-course in
sexual re-cduc.llion: first comes the seducti o n of
a pi lof s wife, airhorne in CI 747. foll owed by a
' quickic' at the Opera . and the ultimate chall enge
of seducing a g'IY artiste at an art exhibition.
Though initiall y hesitant. Misty confounds her
critics and starts to show rca I promise. Her real
test awaits - part y sociali te Gloria Leonard.
Take her and the t itle bcckons ..
The film's critical and commercial success has
generall y been attri but ed to the enthusiast ic
playing of newco mer Monc), . Cert ai nl y her
naivct )' and apparent innoccnce has lent much
credibilit y to t hc sto ry - t hroughout t he movic
o nc gets the feeling t hat she is having the time o f
her li fe. Ironi call y. she wasnt o riginall yslatcd for
the title ro le - Paris had opted fo r French porno
starle t Beat ri ce Harnois, but the latt er withdrew
late in the day and in stepped young Constance .
Sadl y, her career in adult films took something of
a nosedive aft er Misty. Despi te being the hi ghest
paid blue-movie star o f the time she- onl y
appeared in routi ng pic1Utes like Mary, Mary,
AIIIIll Obsessed ;md her co meback/ farewell
movie A Tus /t' of MOlley. although she did make a
cameo appe;lf:lIlce in Barbra Broadca.H. another
AS: Anne Bill son
RC: Ramsey Campbell
NF: Nigel Fl oyd
S1: Stefan Jaworzyn
AJ : Alan Jones
SJO: Stephen Jones
KN: Kim Newman
Brent WalkerN irgin 1987
Entertainment 1986
20lh Ccnlury.Fox 1986
New \Vorld/Entertainment
Avatar 1987
Paramount/UIP 1987
H.I.T.lBraveworld 1986
TriStar 1986
New Line/Palace 1987
Mainline 1986
Warners 1987
ITCNirgi n 1986
Cannon 1987
.Paragon/Guild 1986
Warners 1987




Except ional
Above Average


Di sposable








Shock Xpress
The mainstay of Misty is Gillis' portrayal of
Seymour. wit hout doubt his finest performance
in what seems like a li fetime of adult movies.
Gi ll b has rarely been requi red to do little more
than act the superst ud , but Pari s consistentl y
writes good pnrts for his actors, and Misty gives
Gi ll is a role he can really get his acting teet h into.
Even with hi s fine performance here and in
subsequent films, he's never quite made the best
of hi:, undoubted talenb - an the only 'legit' role
he':, played was thai of Lindsay Wagner's fri end
in Bruce Malmulh' s underraled Nighthawks ,
Thh. picturc' s 'mc:,sage' is familiar in mOSI of
Paris' ot her films-sex is fun. and Pari s mixes hi s
philosophy with high-class raunchy sex and much
lOunge-i n-cheek humour . But wi th Misty he goes
deeper : w.,ing Seymour"s character he explores
the emoti onal depth of it person who grooms a
M.'xual machine. and has Ihe ' m' lchine discover
Ihal she may not be a better person for her
experience - somet hing 1110:,1 porno movies stay
firmly away from. The concepl thai sex can
corrupl is well investigated here, and for once
po rno appeared to have grown up. giving us EVIL COME. EVIL GO. USA 1973, Di r/Ser:
char;tcters with dimensions producing great Walt Davis. P: Robert C. Chinn, With: Cleao
empathy - porn with a heart. O' Har a. Sandra Henderson, J ane Louise, Ri ek
It would he unfai r to say that afler Misty Cassidy.
everyt hing Pari s did was an anti -cl imax. but 'No man is safe from the " Preacherwoman""!
despite the raunchiness of his 198 1 offering The She's a Man-Hati ng. Hymn-Humming Hellcat !'
T(I/(- of Ti//iUlY Lllst (with Arlenee Manhatten), reads the ad line for this grindhousc cheapie. It's
he's not been able to recreale Ihe earthly so obscure that not even Don Will is ( Norrorand
excitement and tension produced in Misty , Science Fiction Films) or Michael Weldon
li s credentials notwit hstanding. plus Ihe faci ( Psychorrollic Encyclopedia) list it. and it' s so
that it 's cleven years old. the film still had not had absurdly repulsive that it deserves Ihc SX seal of
a general showing to cinema audienccs in Brit ai n. tedium rccommendati on as a sleazo picce of
A truncatcd version was submitt ed to the late ci nemascum Ihal plumbs deplhs beyond even
Grea lcr London Counci l in the hope of a Psycho From Texas or Satalllvtlr when it comes to
London-X rat ing. bUI evcn thc GLC refused to thc combinat ion of dullness and the dislilstcful.
issue a ce rtificate. However. a soft version did Sister Sarah Jane (O' Hara), the man-hating,
appear on Ihe Cinema Club circuit in the earl y hymn-humming hellcat, is a short , plump, nearl y-
19SOs. and HVS released an cven softer version middle-aged woman wilh an annoying mid-
on video a few years later. but since Ihe Video western twang. She wanders around singing.
Recordi ngs ACI il has surely been withdrawn . playing her guitar, hassling people in the street s.
( Bria" Matthews) and seducing disgusting men whom she Ihen kill s.
' Will you strike with your bladef' ti l they've all
THE LAMP, USA 1987. Dir: Tom Daley, Wilh: fina ll y paid/there's another victim every single
Deborah Winters, Andra St Ivanyi. J ames Hus- day,' runs the poignant c&w theme before
ton, HIT Bra\'eworld_ segucing inlo its singalong chorus 'Sara h Jane.
Scripted by a former Professor of Behavioural Sarah Jalle/Siste r Sarah, you're insane: Whil c
Sciences. The Lamp appears 10 be his treat ise on hanging aboul on a street corner playing the
10lall y irralional behaviour. Sti ll. if you can accordion. Sarah meets a tall er, cver-so-slightl y
swallow a plot Ihat pits i.l bunch of hi gh school thinner woman with fu nny teeth (Henderson).
sludenls agai nst a wicked genic of the lamp, then and recruits her into ' the Secret Order of
you will no doubt be able to tolerate the fey Compl ete Subjugat ion', whose purpose is to 'rid
heroine (whose idea of dress scnse is to wear the world of pleasurable sex and evil men'. No
three blouses si multaneously over a pai r of sooner has the disciple signed up than she finds
pyjama bOlloms), an opera singing securit y guard hersel f bei ng tied to a bed by the prcacherwoman
(who. to my mind. Could Not Be Kill ed Too (' this is symbolic. I must bind you to the bed as
Soon) and the presence of executi ve producer you arc bound to me and the Lord') and the fi lm
Deborah Winle rs (who performs Ihree different presents us with Ihe least erotic lcsbolbondage
roles in the movie and is tiresome in all of them). scene in the cinema as Ihis pai r of uglics grope
Censorship appears to oblit erate an)' justification each other for ages and ages, Thc p:'lir go out and
for the whole endeavour. ( David Taylor) sing hymns to a wicked couple Ihey find making
~ - - - - - . : . . ~ - -
Shock Xpress
out in public (' how dare you beget in front of
me!'), and start killing more men. 'Think of all
the swect. innocent girls we've saved from this
stinking, sweaty body.' remarks Sarah aft er a
particularl y inept bit of Lewisian slaughter. This
is one of those video/drive-in disposables that
lasts a little over an hour but seems longer Ihan
T h ~ Sacri/iu. Cleao O' Hara comes on like a
youngcr Edy Massey and ranks as one of Ihe least
likeable screen psychopaths of all lime. and
director/screenwrit er Walt Davis probably de-
cided to make this a slasher/gore movie because
even he knew the gi rls were 100 bloated 10 bring il
up 10 scratch as a soft core time-waster. The
surprise ending fcalures nothing in particular
happening as Sister Sarah wanders off whi le her
theme song reprises. ( Kim Newman)
THt: UNTOUCHABLES. USA 19tn. Dir: Brian
De I)alma. With: Ke\'in Costner. Sean Connery,
Charles Marlin Smith, Andy Garcia, Robert De
Niro. l'aramounlfUlP.
Over Ihe vears Ihe cinema of Brian De Palma
has proved [lothing if not compulsive . One of the
few directors whose work succeeds in produci ng
violent ambivalence in viewers and critics alike -
it's possible to love his films and hate yourself for
doing so. as well as reseming his abi lity to
manipulate through blatent re-use of Hitchcock's
and his own set-pieces while marvel ing at his
lechnical sensibilities and fl orid di rection - he is
still capable of transcending his influences and
produci ng work which is stunning in ilsown ri ght .
For all its indulgences, Scarface was an ohject
lesson in escalating obsession and megalomania
- in lerms of both Paci no's performance and the
nat ure of inciden!. The Umollchables contai ns
none of his wayward wanderings or tacky
flamboyance, but is probably as near to a
perfect ly judgcd. 'slraight' product:ls he is likel y
10 gel.
Essenli all y a classic crime yarn . wit h more than
a few li berties taken with the actual cvcnts. Th e
UtIIQIl c!wbfts cvinccs a maturit y generall y absenl
fr om his fil ms. Here al last the sct-pieces are well
inl cgnl1ed - the 'stat ion steps' scquence bcing
out standi ng in it s orchestrati on and execulion -
and performances are treat ed as e nsemble acti ng
rather a seri es of hazy sketches with one or IWO
central roles. Connery is Sli ght ly larger than li fe
as Malone. css's mentor. Costner is quietly
persuasive as ess, determined to do ' ri ght '. and
De Niro's AI Capone is an exercise in deteri ora-
lion from smiling villainy 10 pathological ranting.
Ennio Morricone contri but e:, a thoughtful.
broodi ng score, emphasising atmosphe re and
avoidi ng the bombastic counterpoint of sound
and action ohen present in De Palma'scoll abora-
tions wi th composers, particularl y Pi no Donag-
gio. And the violcnce is simpl y st unning
Essenti al viewing. (Stefall Jawor:YII )
THE MONSTER SQUAD. USA 1987. Director:
Fred Dekker ; Scrttnplay: Dekker and Shane
lJIack. With: Andre Gower . Duncan Regehr, Jack
Gwillim. Tom Noonan. TriSlar.
TIl(' Monster Squad is a nawed movie with One
big problem: iI's fift een years too late fo r its
potential audience .
A respectfu l ho mmage to the Uni versal crea-
ture-features of the thirties and fo rti es. it' s a
monster movie fo r kids. and like Miho n Sub-
ut:. ky!> ' horror' movie fo r the younger mind-sel.
The Monster Club. it comes close to pat ro ni zing
it s viewers.
The ti t le squad <Ire a bunch of brats who read
Fangoria. Stephen King novcls. and watch
videos. Led by newcomcr Gower . the kids
discover Dracula (played as a psychot ic by
Regehr of V infa my) is in town to cause trouble .
Assisted by the Wolfman, Mummy, Gillman, and
the Frankenstein monster, t he count is searching
fo r an ancient amul et that will plunge the wo rld
illl o evil chaos. Of course the kids arc the onl y
ones who reali se what' s going o n and set out to
stop him. which inevitably they do wit h t he help
of the Franke nstein monster. who defects to t heir
side when he devclo ps a soft spot fo r little Ashley
Bank . t he gang's to ken girl.
Fortunately. the kids are on the tolerable side
of Spiel bergcute ness, but t hey're still too
squeakl y clean. Even if you adopt t he mental age
of an elevcn-year-old whilsl walching. you' re slill
going to havc problems liking this bunch.
That aside. the film also suffers from lack of
invent ion . Fro m an impressivc FX- Iade n open-
ing, superbly shut by Bradford May. wit h Van
Hel sing (Gwill im) and the vi llagers of Transylva-
nianburg sto rming the count 's cast le a hundred
years previollsly. the mo\pie soon runs out of
stearn. Noonan. the seri al murde rer in Michael
Mann' s MllIl/lflllta. gives t he bes t performance
as the Frankenstein monsler. but even he is a
uisappoint mcnl. not being used to any great
cffec!. Neither the Mummy and Gillman do
anything of any real consequence. while t he
predictable plo t is weighed down by some st,lle
Although hi s competence as a director is
dearly impro\' ing. Fred Dekker's mai n fa ili ng is
sti ll his inahil ity to susta in narrati ve while bot h
. writing and directing. though in this casc co-
writer Shane Black (Ll'tlllli Weapon ) must share
the blame.
Fiftee n years ago t his coul d have been a
success. but today's younger audie nce h,lVe
grown up wi th Jason. Freddy. and Romero's
zombies. not Karl of!. Lugosi. and Carradine.
whi ch goes a long way to explai n MOllsta Sf/Witts
box-office fai lure in America. ( Philip NllIm(lll)
by Bill Froelich. Wjl h Lori Lelhin. Alex Rocco,
Vince Edwards. Brendan HUJ,!hes. Sco .. Jacob)'.
New World.
One wo nde rs what New Wo rld thi nk they' re
playing at when t hey release House /I and
CreefJsholl' 2 theat ri call y. but onl y put t his small
but dccent item (1I ot a scquelto the 1974 Horror
High, a. k.a . Twisted Brain) o ut o n video. Like
Fr(lnkensteill 1970 and /-louse of tlte Sevt'fl
Corpses, it's about the blight ed production of a
ho rror film based o n actual event s. but in its
playing wit h the illusio n-and-reali ty theme and
parodic subversion of the hi gh school splatter
genre. it comes ovcr as a lOW-budget cross
between The Sf/lilt Mall llll d Wacko.'. Detectives
pore over the bloody site of t he latest mass'lcre
:lnd a demented screenwrit er nashes back 10 the
seri es of murders which has plagued the produc-
tio n of Horror !-ligh. an exploita ti ve fi lm about a
real series of murders. and wit hin the nashbacks
we gel cleverl y misleading scenes which arc
either fu rther nash backs 10 the o ri ginal ki lli ngs.
cxtracts from t he film in progress o r the confused
ni ghtmares of the leadi ng lady. Typical is an
inte nse teenage rape scene. whi ch is int errupt ed
firstly by a sleazy producer tryi ng to make sure an
actress' breasts arc in shot and then by t he leading
lady, who protests at the mi streatment of women
in schlock films like t his. Some seri ous gore. and
lOIS of jo kes al t he expense of crass Holl ywoo-
di ans who make claims to be into psychological
thri ll ers with an import ant message, and t hen line
up the next explodi ng cit sho t. ( K.N.)
ultimatel), mesh into an exceedi ngly pl easurable
Ihriller with a ncat sense of irony, No gorc , but
there's a sockeroo ni ghtmare sequence and a
spectaeularl )' nast y death . (A. B.)
Russell . With: Robert Englund. Heather
Langenkamp, John Saxon, Palricia Arquelle,
Craig Wasson, Palace.
While aimed rather mo re than one would wish at
BLISS, 1985. Direcled by Ray Lawrence. Wilh t he mainstream teen audience , this is nevert he-
Barry 0110, Lynelle Curran. Helen Jones, Miles less se\peral cuts above the d readrul Freddy's
nuchanan , Gia Cardes. Enlerlainmenl. Revenge. and develops the ni ghtmare theme
Ad exec l-htrry Joy (Otto) drops dead during a nicely by having il s teen protagonists explore
part y but wakes up again . unsure whether he has t heir own dream powers to fi ght back agai nslthe
ret urned to li ve o r been rcborn in a twisted razor-fingered creep, who by now has emerged as
afte rl ife of hi s own imagining. ormalit y has all all -purpose cult anti -hero with a snappy
been fractured: t he support ing cast come down one-liner for every occasion. Wes Craven has a
wit h C'Hl cer. an elephant sits on Harrysca r. and a hand in the story. which has Nancy ( Langenk-
Thatcherilc nurse in a ment al home turns boy amp) reappeari ng as a doctor (not vcry COlwi n-
scouts into ginger snaps. A weird Australi an ci ngly) ilnd Craig Wasson reprising his being-
movie . fro m a novel by Peter Cmey (who also buri ed ali \pe act from Body Double. The charac-
wrote, in a different frame of mind. Deml Eml ters. even minor ones. are mo re than mere
DriI1e- ln ). It goes o n too lo ng and has an cannon fodde r and thei r fal es arc an amalgam of
awkward hippie idyll nC1I r the end , but while bot h their own worst fea rs and somc bloody good
Harry is trying to cope with an urban wo rld Ihat 's special effect s (sinews ext racted for use as puppet
cracking up as fast as he is, it's very funny and st ri ngs and so o n). And there's not a sui cidc paci
prett ), pointed. ( K N.) in sight. (A . B.)
~ ~ ~ ~ - - - - - r - - - - - - - '
GOTHI C). GU 1987, Dir: John Hough . With:
Rod Steiger. "onne DeCarlo. Michael J. Pol
lard. Virgin.
What Sl<I'rl S off as a routi nc re\polting-young-
people-i nperill er develops into an enjoyable
romp through the backward/backwoods looni es
genre. with Steiger and DeCarl o presiding o\pe r a
fa mil y of adult retards who dispatch t heir vict ims
by way of swings ,l1l d Skipping ropes. Steiger
managcs to be remarkably restrained until the
end . when he fin all y gets his Big Hammy Speech,
but the fi lm's most nOlable coup li es in its
espousal of what Clive Barke r would call 'Uni -
versal Degradati o n Time'. t he message being
that you' lI havc to be eve ry bit as bonkers as the
bad guys if you wa nt to get o ut of Ihis set-up wit h
your limbs intact. (A. B.)
Nigel Dick. With: Clayton Rohner, Talia Balsam.
Ray Sharkc)'. Vcrnon Wells. Paul LeMar. Blue
This is the debut fea ture of Dick, veteran of
pro mo videos for the likes of Madness and Bi g
Country. But. unl ike other vid-kids turned film
di reclors (stand up Ste\pe Barron and Julien
Temple) he's equipped himself with a solid script
and turns out a ripping Y.lrn about a yuppi e
architect who finds a corpse in his bat hroom and
an enigmati C message on his answering machine .
After a crcaky start. t he plot gets into gear when
he goes on t he run t hro ugh the sleazie r side of Los
Angeles. pursued by bent cops and ;r magni -
fi centl y cocaine-crazed Ray Sharkey. A load of
appare ntly incidental detail s alo ng the way
COMBAT SHOCK. USA 1985. Dk, S<r & p,
Buddy Gio,'imtzzo. With: Ricky Gio\ina1.lO
Veronica Siork, Mitch Maglio, Asuph Livni.
What's t his? A Tro ma pick-up actually worth
picking up and watChing? Incredi ble - but t r u e ~
More to the point. Combat Siwek should bc
rcquircd viewing. Forget Platoon. Hamburger
Hill and Full Metal laeket , Buddy Giovinazzo's
celluloid primal scream is the onl y movie this year
that reall y gets to grips wit h the angst of the
Vietnam war. And altho ugh the Trollla lag leads
o nc to expect a bargain- basement L(lSt /-IImter.
nothing could be further from the t rut h. The
mood and style of this inte nse little fi lm lift s it
head and shoulders above the average 'Nambo
j unk movie to remai n imprinted on the memory
as an extraordinary and rather traumati c viewing
experi cnce. Yes. it 's bloody. And yes, it' s
shocking. But on so many different purposely
sick level s. Combat SllOck is uncompromising in
intentio n and defi antl y down-beal - it is a wo rk
of pure brilli ance.
Directed in a sub ci"e- "erite style recalling
Toys Are Not For Children, Combat Shock
begi ns with a gory night mare as ex- Vietnam
\peteran Franki e reli ves his Saigon days. Waking
up in a grim New Yo rk suburb, the harsh realit ies
of his life become apparent. He li vcs in a
dilapidated apa rtment wit h his nagging wife
Kat hy and their defo rmed baby son. He can' t get
a job and wo n' t call his father for mo ney who
presumes he died in action anyway. His mindless
existence revolves around hustl ing in t he street.
standing in unemployment lines and coping with
his drug addict fri end . Life has cheated Franki e
Shock Xpress
all the way down t he line and unfort unately the
worst is yet to come. As the t rut h behi nd t he
unfolding fl ashbacks becomes clear . we finall y
rCli lise t he fu tilit y of Fra nkie's grip o n the past
and come to understa nd his desperatio n. And
wit h his li fe shot to hell. there is onl y one escape
route open to him. But wi ll t he baby fit in t he
Full of resonances neve r even att empted by
Coppola. Sto nc . Kubri ck etc. Combm Shock has
an impact o ne rarel y fi nds in (I II )' fil m. Ict alone a
sleazy Troma movie. As kitchen sink cli che t urns
constantl y inlo grim and gri ll Y no ncl iche. the
stereotypical cyphe rs usuall y fo und in such Tax;
Dr;\leresque material - child prostit utes. loan
sharks. junkies and muggers - actuall y come to
represent a warped view of the Meani ng of Life
blank gene ration style. The urban decay sur-
rounding Frankie's brutali sed uni verse actuall y
mirrors his menial siabili ty and t his fractured
tableau is hard nOl to empat hise with o r feel every
slep of t he way. And it fca tures one of the Ill Ost
aweSOme heroin fi xing scenes (wit h a coat
in screen history.
Combal Shock is best described as Platooll
meets Emserlu'ad. As a rel entl ess assault on the
senses. it is quite unlike any fil m I' ve seen as it
defies t he conventi o ns of genre imitators. And
it' s enough to resto re your fait h in t he indepen-
dent exploitat ion ind ust ry who have never been
afraid to show it like it is even though Ihey fail
99% of the ti me. Onl y Combm Shock isn' t a
fail ure but probably t he best visio n of post
Apocalypti c sparseness ever eommi lled (0 fi lm.
Shoot a gook to sec it !
(Nole: Before being picked III' by Troma. this
{tIm was known as American Night mare)
Alall Jo"es
THE STEPFATHER. USA 1986. ))ir: Joseph
Ruben. With: Terr)' O' Quinn, Jill Schoclen,
Shelley Hack. ITClVirgin.
A low key. unsett ling and (ultimatel y) fr ighten-
ing view of a maggot-ri dden American Dream.
Hack and Schoelen pl ay a young di vorcee and her
daught er who graduall y come to reali se t hat the
charming. affable man of the ho use is actuall y a
multi ple murderer obsessed wi th establi shing the
perfect ho me and fami ly. Their inabilit y to mat ch
his pure (fo r that read ' puerile' ) vision of
domestic bliss earmarks them as addi ti o ns to his
evcr.growing li st of vict ims. Both female leads
arc excepti onal. but it is O'Quinn as t he ti t ul ar
patriarch who deli vers a ri vett ing port rait of
psychopathy: geni al demeanour exploding into
uncontrollable rage. then abrupt ly shi fting into
torrents of incomprehensible self justi ficat ion.
Director Rube n mai nt ains perfect cont rol ove r
his material. graduall y tightening the screws o n
t he audi ence mi nute by pai nful mi nute. Not t he
most comfort able v;ii e",in" ,xr.oc ri er, ee of 'he
ei ther ",en", lI v
Shock Xpress
t er Hill. With: Nick Nolte, Powers Boothe,
Michael ironside, Maria Conchita Alonso, Rip
Torn, Clancy Brown. Guild.
A great cast hl ow themselves to pieces in
slow mot ion in Hill' s hommage to Tilt' Wild
fi liIl CIi. The basic script (the sto ry is co-writt en by
John Milius. who is presumabl y responsible for
alo ng the li nes of ' l love drinki ng with
mah buddi es. I love America' . ) pi ts one time
frielu.l s Nolte. now a Texas Ranger. and Boothe.
a cokecrazed d rug baron o perating from Mex
ico. against each ot he r. Into the feud step
Iro nside and his gang of ex Nam vets. armed to
t he teeth and ready for a massacre. This is duly
supplied. alo ng wit h shotgun hlasts. machine-
gunnings. explosio ns. CIA c(wert o pcratio ns.
ambushes. a bo na fide showdown. and gall ons of
blood. Glossy. fast-moving. wil dly violent and
prett y dumb. Extreme Prejudice is one of the
most whol ly entert aini ng acti o n pictures to
appear for some ti me. Watch for Iro nside in
Nowhere 10 Nide. an acceptable conspiracy!
actioner starring Amy Madigan. (Su'fim
Jfl lI'orzyn)
Inin. With: Tim Quill , Courtney B. Vance.
Steven Weber, Anthony Barrile. Michael Patrick
Boatman. RKO!Palace.
Hot off the hell tT;:tin from Nam co mes t his
turkey. Falling fla t un its face between the
cat hartic Platoon and Kubrick's bizarre Full
Mewl Jacket - successful in spi te of its chaot ic
st ructure - Namburger Hill. li ke t he Grand Old
Duke of York . goes nowhere fasl. A platoon of
unsympat hetic rednecks stagger through a '69
Nam unt il they meet t heir nemesis in t he
eponymous slope (pun intended? Beats me
. ). A crass script wit h appalli ngly stereOl ), peli
characters (po' black mo' [os; mean faced goo ks:
earnest bee rswilling blockheads who love Amer-
ica) t hrows in as many cl iches as possible -some
tedious sequences arc even given a second
run-through - until the lo ngeurs render t he
climactic assault devoid of tensio n or drama . If
Apocalypst' Noll' took the Nam rn yt hos and
t urned it illio .1 psychedeli c. pseudo-li te rary
night mare. and PI(l lOon provided a deconst ruc
ti on of t he mythos of st ripping awa y t he laye rs of
bull shi t. then Hamburgn Hill represents a return
to the misconceived ideals of WW2 .l ohn Wayne
vehi cles like Tire Sands of 111'0 Jima. Made at the
same time as Platooll (but wit h far more
resources used to no effect . .). H(llll bll rgn !fill
cannot even be seen to have succeeded on a
hurn,lIl isti c level. t he characters being dull and
lacking in depth of personali ty. A gnl\'f.' dis-
appoint ment. (Slef(l n Jawor:y" )
THE DIG EASY. 1986. l)irecl ed b}' Jim McBride.
With Dennis Quaid, Ellen Barkin. Ned BeaU}' .
John Goodman. Man.' I.awrence. Recorded Re
Under the credits. t he camenl swoops low OVl' r
the swamps while foot tapping caj ull music
It looms t hrough built -up New Orl eans at dead of
night 10 corne to rest on"a dead body fl oati ng in a
pool in fro nt of a mafiafront building. Sli ght ly
bent but wholl y charming cop Quaid d raws t hc
case . and soon int uits a gang war shaping up
between old guard mafiosos and voodoowor
shipping bl ack drugs dealers. Meanwhile. Assis
tant Di st rict Attourney Ell en Barki n is out to nail
Quaid on a corrupt io n charge. and also is fa lli ng
in love wit h hi m. The fi rst wholl y sat isfyi ng movie
from McBride. who made Glen (llI d Randa and
t he remake of Breatlrless. and a dazzli ng cross
l1 rced of screwball romance and cop t hriller. It
fa lters a li tt le in t he fi nale. owing to an overl y
obvious surprise vill ain. bUI is ot herwise square
on t he nai l. A IlHl ch be tter usc of New
and ils attri butes - nice dist inctive
music. terri fic food - t han eit her Angel HeMI o r
No Mercy. ( K.N.)
Larr)' Cohen. With: Michael Moriart)' , Sam
ruller. Andrew Duggan. June Havoc. E\'elyn
Keyes. Warners.
Cohen can always be rel ied on fo r quirky
reinterpretations of t he horro r myt hs. and he re
he pitches his tone a lo ng way fro m t he Stephen
King boo k. Mo ri art y plays an ant hropologist who
arri ves with his brat in Jerusalem's Lot. Maine .t o
find t he pl ace popul ated by vampires who
proceed to steamroll er hi m into sell ing down
t heir long and honourable history for poste rity.
This is one of t hose ra re films which actuall y
delves into t he practicali ties of being one of the
undead: how to adjust your li pgloss after
partaking of your daily pint a. for exampl e . or
how to hreed a race of daylight -tolerant under
li ngs. Cohen's typicall y slipshod teChni que and
dodgy producti ()Il values don't detract fro m the
fact that there's an incisor of a mind at work .
whi tt ling away at aspects of the American Dream
and offering enough sat ire. allegory and Ill oral
dil emma to sharpen a dozen sets of dent ures.
I A.B.)
RIVER' S EDGE. USA 1987. Dir: Tim Hunter.
With: Crispin GIOl'er. Keanu Ree\'es. lone Sk)'('
Leitch. Roxana Zal. Daniel Roebuck. Joshua
Miller. Dennis Ilopper. HemdalelPalal'e,
Whcn Samson (Roebuck). a psychotic mi sfit.
strangles his gi rl friend. he takes his school fri ends
to view t he hody. prompti ng a crisis of loyaltks
wit hin the group. Should t hey hel p him o r info rm
the ' IUthorit ies. . '! Layne (a regall y demented
Glover) beli eves the forme r and enl ists the hel p
of Feck (Hopper. Cr<l zy again). an ex-hiker!
nutcase minus a Icg who Ji ves wit h a rubber doll
and suppli es the kids wit h Feckweed. Matt
( Reeves ) and Clarissa ( Leitch) feci ot herwisl'.
but Laync's overbeari ng personali ty leads them
to keep a low profile . But Feck. fa r more twisted
t han anyone had hargained fo r. solves their
probl ems for them
An except ional debut from Hunter - harsh.
gritt y and realis tic - wi t h superb perfo rmances.
the c<t lculatcdl y over-the top ravings of Hopper
and Glover notwit hstanding. . The kids here
look rClI l - speech. habits (dope. booze. sex.
violence) and mannerisms are thoroughly con-
vinci ng. as arc the traumas t hey experi ence in t he
courSe of the fil m. Tension bui lds relent lessly
throughout . producing an intense feeli ng of
unease. Inspi red. uncompromising and often
dist urbi ng. R;I'er s Edge is one of t he year's best.
Highl y recommended . (Stefl/ n Jaworzyn)
NOCHE DE LOS BRUJAS. Spain 1973. Dk:
Amando de Ossorio. With: Simon Andreu. Kali
Il ansa. Jack Taylor. Maria KOSli.lorena Tower.
Picture thi s. i f you can . . A tedious "oodoo
o rgy is laking place in ' Bumbasa', 1910. A gi rl is
tied up. whipped unlil all her clothes fall off.
raped and rinall )' dccapilalcd by a native chief.
The other merrymakers drink her blood. I n the
midst of the orgy soldi ers lurn up and shoot
evcryone in !>ighl. Damn! The camera zooms in
on the girl' s severed head. whi ch sprouls fangs.
turns 10 face us and screams Amando de
Ossorio. one of Spain's many hack horror
di rectors. is at il again .
' Burnbasa'. the present. A group of foolish
human bei ngs in jeeps appear in o rder to wa nder
t hrough the jungle unti l they chance across the
voodoo By " quirk of fat e the execut ed
nat ives rise t hat vcr)' night as zombies. j ust in
time to gra b the sexy photographer who is drawn
to the orgy area by beyon mortal compre-
hension. Apprehended, she is tied up. whipped
and bitten by the once-decapitated gi rl. now
zombie supremo. The photographer also loses
her head. is duly e;,lIen (in neg'Hive). and her
head turns around ;:tnd screams.
is incarnated with the I ,IS a leopard . and
IOgether they attack the expedi ti o n campsi te. All
is chaos as the duo push a professor's face int o
photographic developer and muss him up real
good, abduct another gi rli e and bite her . and a
shrunken head appears in a tent. The remaining
fcmale prot agonist knifes o ne o f the two remain-
ing males who fe lt obliged to rape her. Here
Ossari o kindl y provides an extended ' running
thro ugh the jungle' sequence, culminating in the
surviving girlie heing captured by the leopard
women/zombies who tear her Oesh with their
claws. From the depths of the seripwriter's coma
emerges the ' hero'. who throws a handful o f
o n a voodoo ri re, all o f which shoot off in
the ri ght directions to kill zombies. Afte r res-
cuing t he heroi ne. the couple escape in a jeep,
splattering the odd zomb, our man having fail ed
10 not icc that his comptlni on has been smillen
with thai old black magic.
NOI one of Ossori o's beller films. La Noche
bears passing resembl ance to the turgid j ungle
cpics o f Jesus Franco (speciricall y the disastro us
mcss of The Devil HWllerl M{mdillgo MtmlllUl terl
/I Cacciatore di Uomilli ). wi lh ils grat uitous
nudit y, sadism and cndless meandering through
the darkness. Lacking the visual qualities and
generall y sll ccessful at mospherics of Ihe ' Blind
Dead' series. this o ne grinds predi ctabl y alo ng
with onl y the cannib.llism-in-negative scene and
occasional lISC o f slow-mol ion (.1150 a staple of
22 Shock Xpress
Franco's cinema) to add minimal lust re. Francis
co Sanchez' photography is glossy but aimed
squarely at the ' travelogue with gore' end of the
market. while Fernando Morci ll o's score reli es
too heavil y on wonky organ tones and the
inevit able voodoo drums to produce anything
other than cliches,
Ossori o's exploitation career stretched back
almost as far as Franco's, commenci ng with
weslerns in the mid60s and moving rapidly on 10
horror by the late 60s. Possessed of sporadic nair ,
Ossorio - like so many of his compat ri ots-had
been far too happy 10 lurch on to convenient
bandwagons (exorcism, zombies) and draw his
own. initi all y inspired. ' Bl ind Dead' saga out well
past its welcome, Ihough even La Noelle de los
Cavio/as had its moment s with a gory heart
ext racti on and an impressive image of crabs
scuttling across dismembered body parIs. While
the majority of his genre product appears to have
reached either the UK or USA, there is doubtl ess
a large body of work (scxploit ation particul arly)
which is yet unseen outside the continent.
Shock Xpress
Selected Filmography
1965 I Tre del Colorado.
1968 Malenka - La Nipotc del Vampi rol
Malcnka the Vampirc/Fangs of the Living
1971 La Noche del Terror Ciegorfombs of the
Blind Dead.
1972 Las Garras de Lorelei/When the Screaming
StopslThe Lorel ei's Grasp.
1973 El Ataque de los Mucrtos Sin OjoS/Return
of the Evil Dead/Return of the Blind Dead.
La Noche de los BrujosfThe Night of the
1974 EI Buque Maldito/Horro of the Zombi es,
La Endemoni adalDemon Wi tch Chil d.
1975 La Noche de los Gavi otaslNight of the
Note: While Michael Weldon assigns
P/tmela Ciego (1975) 10 Ossori o, Don Willis
credits it 10 Leon Klimovsky. It was releas-
ed in the US in 1980 as The People Who
Own the Dark .
Slefa" Jaworzyn
NOCHE DE LOS MIL GATOS Mexico 1972. Di,:
Rene Cardona, Jr. With: Hugo Stiglitz, Anjanete
Comer, Gerardo Cepada, Christa Linder.
Whe n I' m asked "what' s the worst fi lm e ve r
made about killer felines?" (a question that pops
up all the time, needl ess to say), the first answe r
used to be Ted V. Mikels' "The Corpse Grin-
ders" . But not any longer . . Not afl er vie wing
this Mexican mess. because this south-ofthe-
boredom snooze-fest wins boltom-of- the- barrel
ho nors . Eve n the title is idioti c-sounding.
Hugo Stiglitz sta rs as a suave pl ayboy-type who
woos the ladies and always e nds up taking his
latest conquest back to his secluded castle,
complete with a mute, Tor l ohnsonlookali kc
serva nt (kudos to Gerardo Ccpada fo r being the
o nl y one in the cast who looks like he's having
fun) . Whe n we first meet him, he's showing o ff
his dank mansion lO a n expendable blo nd bimbo,
and you know the re's going to be trouble whe n
Hugo gets a maniacal glimme r in his eyes and
begins spouting o ff about his unique "collecti on".
Of course , she doesn' t suspect a thing (obviously,
she hasn' t read the title of t he fi lm she's trapped
in), but soon the secret is out! Hugo has a huge
indoor cage crammed with noisy cats, which are
fed with the freshl y ground-up hunks of his lovely
ladies. Just to ma ke matte rs sillie r, Hugo also
keeps his victims' pickl ed (and very rubbery-
looking) heads in glass cases.
Whe n Hugo isn't at home with his huma n-
hungry pets, he likes to hover above sun-bathing
beauties in his helicopte r and a nnoy the m with his
cocky peeping tom-routine. Along the way he
meets up with Anja nette Come r (popping up
afte r a fe w Ame rican duds in orde r to collect
some quick rent money), a nd the whole produc-
ti on limps al ong at a snail' s pace --- taking itself all
to seri ously, even during the climacti c 'cat -
attack', whe re some o ff-screen cat-wrangle r
heaves the bewilde red pussies t hrough the air and
into the came ra.
A lot of Cars is pretty ludicrous (or couldn' t
you guess), but the inherent silliness of the
situati on is quickly negated by the somnambulis-
ti c tone o f the whole producti o n --- it 's Iow a n
vi ole nce , gore, excitcme nt , a nd basic eme nain-
me nt value. What it does have in abundance is
letha rgic perfo rmances, bikini -clad non-actres-
ses, and hideous ea rl y-70s fas hions, such as
bell -bott om stretch-pant s and leat her hip boots
... Sure, some o f the fi lm's continuit y proble ms
coul d be from the fact it was hacked by 20
minutes whe n it was snuck through Customs, but
even at seventy minutes long, it' s still padded to
the sprockets with travelogue footage a nd e nd-
less shots of Hugo flyi ng hi s chopper .
The o nl y positive thing I can say about Nigh' of
a Thousand Cats is that it' s mi les a head of
Cardona Jr.'s later cash-in exposes, such as
Survive, Tintorera and Guyana, Cult of Ihe
Damned (aU featuring Mr. One-Nate-Pe rform-
ance himself, Hugo Stiglitz). Yo u can give me
o ne of his dad's flicks instead a nytime, such as the
immort al Wresrling Women Vs. The Aztec Mum-
my. Now the re ' s real film-making!
(Steve Puchalski)
NEAR DARK, USA 1987, dir: Kathryn Bigelow.
Wi th: Adri an Pasdar, J enny Wright , Lance
Henriksen, Jenette Goldstein. Joshua Miller. Bill
Paxton, Tim Thomerson. FfMlEntertainment
Film Distributors,
Referred to in the press notes as ' a roma ntic
thrille r', Near Dark is a fi ne example of a classy,
low-budget ho rror movie. Containing ma ny
simi la r plot elements to The Lost Boys but
e mploying them fa r mo re successfull y, Near
Dark is an intelligent , beautifull y crafted , atmos-
phe ri c va mpire story (although t he word is never
me ntioned and there's nary a fang on view) which
simult aneously a muses a nd t hrills. Like The Lost
Boys, this postul ates the hypothesis that it' s
possible to enjoy sucking blood while also
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pointing o ut the painful ' realit ies' o f the situa-
ti on. Bigelow, co-director of The Loveless a nd
co-writ e r o f The Hitcher, acquits he rself admir-
ably with an art y. sca ry a nd incredibly sleazy
portrait o f a nomadic vampire clan (headed by
He nriksen) , producing a coupl e of the year's
most impressi ve horror set-pieces along the way.
Ominous, brooding photography a nd a n un-
obtrusive but effective score work togethe r wit h
fine performa nces- ranging from Paxto n's manic
inte nsit y to Wright's seductive underpl ayi ng - to
produce an inspired a nd inspi ring movie . Recom-
me nded .
(5.1. )
THE LOST BOYS. USA 1987. Di,: Joel Schu-
macher, With: J ason Patrie, Corey Haim, Kiefer
Sutherland. Jamie Gertz. Corey Feldman, Di-
a nne Wiest. Warners.
So. Ano ther 'vampire' fi lm ... He re we have
all the pit falls of t he tee n ne rd movie a nd feeble
forelock-tugging gene ri c refere nce defect film
combined in one dreadful product. Imagine
every va mpiric concept you've seen or read in
recent years. hurl it into iI ble nde r wi th The
Goonies. a couple of John Hughes fi lms, vapid
pop vids, and add a peculi ar but undenia ble
unde rt one of homo-eroti cism a nd what do you
have . The Lost Boys! Think of the idea first ,
the n think of t he dizzying but superfluous came ra
pyrotechnics, t he n re me mber the script ... A
bunch of photogenic boys a nd girls pose and pout
inte rminably, a ra ndom na rra ti ve is sJXlradicall y
int erj ected , rock songs burst fo rth regula rl y, the
film goes nowhe re pro nto. Entirely lacking in
sympathetic ( hell. eve n inte resting) cha racte rs,
The Lost Boys epitomises the market fo r wa-
tered-down kiddi e fare conceived by middle-
aged crackpots whose hearts are indeli bly im-
pri nted with a dolla r sign. The Losl Boys . .. ?
More li ke The Mild Bunch .
(5J )
Shock Xpress
AL ORGY USA 1964. Dir: Jack Hill . With: Lon
Chaney Jr . Carol Ohmart, Jill Banner , Sid Haig,
Mantan Moreland.
Any fil m that has Lon Chancy Jr. singi"g the
t itle song has my vOle for weirdest opening o f a
horro r fi lm. and the rest o f this low-budget
excursion into depravity doesn' t disa ppoint
either. Director Jack '-lilL who kepi American
drive-ins in busi ness wi th such exploitation
cl assics as The Big Doll House and Swilchblad('
Sis/ers. started off his career wi th thi s disturbing
lill ie ho rror-comedy. And i f you can imagine a
cross belween the 1960 Lillie Shop of Horrors
and raserhead. you've got the basic idea for the
lone of this obscure cl assic.
Welcome 10 the Merryc House. where the
entire family is affl ic tcd with t hc rarc and
mysteri ous Merryc's Synd rome. It seems that at
t he age o f 10. each membcr o f thc clan contracts
thc "Famil y Curse". and whil e their bodies
continue to grow no rmall y. their brains begin
regressing until they become babbling. blood-
thirsty geeks. Eventuall y. they even go beyond a
pre- natal state and turn into inhuman savages
. Of course. no one beside the trusted famil y
chauffeur. Bruno (Lo n Jr. ). knows the full truth
about The Merrycs' secret (he refers to thcir
condit ion as "rotting o f the brai n"). and he has
his hands full covering up the sporati c bloodshed
and keeping things under control. You sec.
t herc's Ralph . a drOOling. bald- headed man-baby
who li kes to hide in the dumb-wait cr : Uncle Ned
and the oldsters. who are fo rever-unseen in the
cobwebbed basement : and prelty little Virginia.
who runs about with twin but cher kni ves. playing
"spider". In fact. Vi rginia is t he first to spill blood
when she hacks up a Stepi n- Fetchi t clo ne and
saves his severcd car as a souvenir (I wonder if
David Lynch saw this film before writi ng Bille
To complicate affairs, a pair of scheming.
distant rel ati ves suddcnly show li p to lay claim to
t he mansion --- sti cki ng their noscs into famil y
busi ness and dist urbing t he rel ative peace and
quiet. Aftcr a dinner of bugs. undressed rabbit
and fungi soufnc. t hesc money-grubbers decide
to stay the ni ght. whic h turns out to be a BAD
decision. Though the graphic violence is si mply
inti mated. the constant creepiness of the pro-
ccedings go fa r beyond t he bounda ries o f good
taste (especiall y fo r the '60s) --- especially when
Virginia coyly seduces her normal Uncle into a
game of Spider . tyi ng hi m to a chai r and setti ng
IiV(' spiders at hi s lcgs. Add a bit of canni balism. a
hinl of dismembe rme nt. and lots of grim humor.
and Spider Baby becomes an overl ooked cult
classic fo r shock j un kies.
Chancy. who was stuck in some of the worSI
Shock Xpress
so-call ed " ho rror"-fodder during the late-'60s
( Dracula Vs. Frankenstein. Hillbillies il/ (l
Haunted House), gives it fine. sympalhelic
pcrformance as t he fai t hful servant who prom-
ised to care for t he fa mily unt il thc lineage dies
o ut ; and all the Merrye members are approp-
ri ately child- li ke and maniacal. wit h ve teran
B-movie actor Sid Haig stealing every scene as
Ihe t humb-sucking Ralph . in fact. t he cnsemble
works so well together that the gro up bears
stri king similarities to t he Texas Clwills(/w Mas-
sacre crazies and thei r perverse antics.
T hough t he low-budget is evident throughout.
Spider Baby succeeds in large part bccause of it s
stark black and white photography by Alfred
Taylor . twisted perfo rmances and tongue-
through-check humo r. Most of all . Jack Hill
sho uld be commended for creating a true visio n
of madness. Alterna tely hilari ous. touching and
very nasty. it's easil y his most o ri gi nal movie ; and
though thc film was ori gi nall y hampered by poor
distri butio n and constant titl e changes. I'm
hoping it will soon find ils demented ni che. it' s
one o f my favo rites.
(Steve PIlc/wlski)
CREEPS HOW 2. USA 1987. Dir: Michael Gor-
nick. With: Lois Chiles, George Kennedy,
Dorothy Lamour, Page Hannah, Tom Savini.
New WoridlEnlertainment.
Could this be the worst film ever fro m New
World? It certainly makes thei r other stinker of
the yea r , House II . look like a towering master-
piece of horro r cinema It's hard to know
exactl y who to blame fo r Ihis mess - Ste phen (t he
Godzi ll a o f horro r fi cti on) King for writing t he
stori es, George Ro me ro fo r script ing. or Mi chael
Gornick for directi ng While Gornick's
photography contri buted much to t he fine
appearance o f Day oltll e De(l{l. he seems to have
learned not hing from hi s menlo r. Each of the
three sorry episodes is thoroughl y atrocious.
lacking pace. at mosphere. and convincing pe r-
fo rmances ( Lois Chil es except ed). Linking
animatio n is below the standard of even the worst
T V fodder . effects arc abysmal (imagine the
menacc created by a bunch of fl oating garbage
bags or the sheer terro r produced by a
wooden indi an wobbling creaki ly around )
and the punch-lines arc bereft of the impact
found in even the worst Amicus movies. Barring
an amusing o rgasm joke and some gratuitous
hi tcher squashing in the Chiles episode, there's
absolutel y nothing here to recommend even on a
turkey level. Rock bott om.
of Barry Forshaw
Palace Plums
Tired of fun-or-the-mill video farc? Tired of
video companies that supply rcJiabl c (rat her than
hit-or-miss) star ve hicl es? Well the PVG group
can .dways be guara nt eed 10 mix the sublime with
the ridi culous - and any company that was
prepared 10 bring Sam Raimi over to defend his
Iif Dead in a protrClclnl court action has 10 win
the heart:. of readers of this magazine. right ?
(Incidentall y. Palace's Andre w Kirkham informll
me that , ,;1 Dead /I 0 11 video may unde rgo ,I
severe BBFe pruning - lhey were obviousl y
lying in wail for thi s one.)
Anywa y_ the curren I balch from PVG sports a
definite first. Yo u"ve seen films that run out -
take:, behind t he end credit s (Jackie Chan"s
POJiCl' Story being a r CCl' !ll example) - but
lJiolUl :ard (from the ever under-achieving Fred
Olen Ra y) has to be: the: fir!>t film with a
out -take as its actual final !>hot-
i.e. the he ro's inabilit y to take the film's AIi!'1I
donI.' mon!> te r seriously (and who can blame
him?). Angciique Pettyjohn forsakes the carnal
pl easures of he r mo re customary roles to pl ay the
world's most unlikely nuclear physicist. and Ray
makcs surc that thi!> IllOIl!> tcr-on-t he-l oose farrgo
cvery bit as inept as his earli e r dforts.
Also from PVG. Hypf'rsp(l((' aka Gremloic/s is
Todd Durham's low-budget Swr Warl' parody
with one reaIJydcver joke ( the rocket sled fo rest
scene in EII/pir!' re played with nying shopping
troll eys in a supe rmarket). while Alan Smithee's
GIWlt Ft'I'!'r lacks evcn one smilc-provoker in its
witless tal c of multiracial cops vs . spooks from
the Deep South (unless you count two spectres
appearing behind a group of Southern Belles in a
Ca nvas on the wall) . Trick Or Treat is the nagship
feat ure. a nd Charles Martin Smith's first movie
as di rector will bc loved or loathcd bv head ban
gcrs evcrywhcre in equal proportio ns-, but Toxic
A I'ellger wi ll prO\'oke irritatio n by its drastic
censorship excisio ns.
Melting Moments
I' d j ust like to add my vote for Jim Muro's
off-the-wall Streel Tmsh (A v,lIa r) with it s marvel-
lo us melting winos a nd well -obscrved central
characte rs (evcn if of the m arc squeaky
clean actors under all the grime) . Lively Raimi-
style camera work . and not too many censor cuts
for video (t he exploding breasts have gone.
though) ,
5l'cond !lit e
One of the greal as!>e ts o f the video industry
Ihe o ppo rtunit ies it granl s we
compl et isb. Miss 8i1va's P/(lIIl'1 of llle Vampin's
ur COllafavi'!> lIercules COli'll/US Ati(llllis'! Don' ,
worry - they'lI probably turn up. And if the
breathtaking technical skills of Jame!> Cameron,
displayed in The Termillator and Aliells, made
you, li ke me, want to take another look at his
debut featur c . PinmJw II: Flyill g Killers - RCA
have agai n provided us with the opportunity.
WclL wcre we wrong? After Joe Dante's li vely
Piral/lw. the sequel initially seemed to be bitten
(sorry!) by the usual follow-up disease (viz Jaws
II & III) i,c, a pale reworkingof the origi nal with
less int eresting characters. And a sccond look
regrettably confi rms this - but there \ certain
evidence o f Cameron's nascent editing skills. a nd
anybody who loves his other films had gOI to
catc h thi s prentice effort. correct"? (Oh yes -
look out for Lance He nriksen, later to be ripped
in two by Cameron' s Ali e n Oue:en) .
And while we' re wi th sequels, a quick mention
fo r Cl Cs re- issue of Honda's King Kong Vs.
Godzilla, famous fo rthe linc - you can't
shoot King Kong for he' s holding my sister in his
hand!" You've seen it all before - but why do
these cndless Toho products kcep us watching? Is
it for the hilarious natives of Kong Isla nd
(Chinese in black face) ? Or the equall y hil arious
noti o n that a man in a baggy ,lpe suit could ever
match Willis H. wonderful stop-
motion? Still. afte r ten or !>o, I did want to
sec it again . I' m all right now,
Allil erath'e Awfulness
With Mowuaifllop Motel Mass(lcrt' ( New
World) we' re in very f;lIniliar territo ry -
scythe-wiclding psycho picks off hapless victims.
In thi s case, it' s a middl e-aged woman (don't
worry, I'm not givi ng anything away) whose
slaughtered daught e r docs a littl e post humous
prompting, Zilch characterisatio n goe!> a long
way to insti ll ing a glazing of the viewe r' s eyes in
thi!> one. and director/writer Jim McCulloch' s
shock tacti cs have been j udiciously trimmed (one
victi m whose checks arc pierced by the dOil Y
matriarch is gli mpscd so briefly as to be almost
suhliminal) ,
New 8100d
A new video company hilS appeared on the
call ed "Sheer Entertainment" - and thcir
fir st ho rror product is somethi ng called Geek! In
the classic Tyro ne Power movie Nightmare Alley.
Power e nded up as the unseell depraved thing
ke pt in 11 cage to cntcrtain Carnival audiences.
Here, the Geck of the title is a toothless
backwoodsman with evil designs o n thc custom-
ary disposable tcenagcrs. The most divening
thing on vicw he re is the demise of the epony-
mous maniac - of red by a combination of
fi sh-hooks and magncsiulll flare.
Ouij a Boards - their care and maintenance
From Guild, \Vitchboarc/ is an above-average
outing directed by Kevin S, Tcnney
(who is not, o ne fervent ly hopcs, rc lated to Del
Tenney of The /-Iorror of Party Beach). What
struck me most about this o ne (abollt a young
\\,omall - the improbably named Tawny Kit ae n
- menaced by the spiri t of a dead chi ld via an
ouija board conjuratio n) is the care taken to
establi sh a relationship betwee n the two male
leads (Todd Allen and Stephen Nichols) - we' re
even e ncouraged to change ourmilltls about them
- when did you last sec a genre fi lm that tackled
something like that "?
Gri sly occult carnage is briefly glimpsed at
strategic poi nts - it medium. aft e r having he r
throat cuI. is propel led t hrough a window to be
impaled on a sundial. But if Omel/style slayings
arc your meat . spend your shekel!> el sewhere -
and - oh yes - do n' t think I'm putting all my
wcight behind this o ne - it 's just that it struck mc
as a lillie more ambitious than a lot of the stuff
that comes my W:ly (I sho uld warn you. however.
tllilt Ihi!> o ne didn' t go down we ll at the rccent
SX/City Limit s exploitation fe stival at the Scala).
Mind The Doors
people who've seen Argento's O!'el' Red
re member the: \' illain' s gri sly de misc via a part of
the body caught in a moving lift. A si mil ar fate -
fairl y well staged - bcfall s a character in Chuck
Vincent 's If Looks COIlId Kill (PVG) - and the
vict im is actor Ja mie Gillis (he re called J . Gillis,
presumably to disti nguish this from his wo rk in a
genre that onl y utilises o nc part of his body) ,
Vincent 's film expli citl y invo kes a comparison
with Hitchcock - a grcat mistake , because Re(lr
\Vim/olV this aint. A young pho tographer (appal-
lingly played by Tim Gai l) is hired to spy o n a
young woman via her apartment window -
bloody murder e nsues. Vincent shows a late nt
skill for editing his confrontations. but one has to
say that so far Hitchcock' s rotund ghost can
remain undisturbed.
Irwin Allen rans or the world. unite!
Now somewhe re out thcre, legions of Irwin
All en fans arc poring over their video coll ections
of complet e runs of The Voyage To The BOlIom
Of 1'11(' Se(l - after aiL look at the clamour for
re-runs o f Lost III Sp(lce. Well . just fo r thcse
p,lnting hordes, Wa rners ha ve issued City U"der-
lI{'mll The Sea (aka Olle /-I Ollr 10 Doomsday) - a
pilot fo r a n unsold 'TV seri es, in which Stuart
Whitm,m commands a futu risti c submarinc cil Y
menaced by an advancing meteor. Ri cha rd
Baseha rt pl ays the President - and didn't he
notice that the " nying saucer" scout ship uscd by
hi s old vessel. the Seavie w, is still doing service
here (or Allen re-using fami li ar footage?) .
Dario Delights
The rc:tI plum in the Warne rs' pic , however, is
Da ri o Argento' s brilliant Th l' Cm O'Nil/ e Tails.
Shock Xpress
rccciving its vidco prcmicrc . All thc Argento
finge rprints are fully evide nt in this grisly tal c of a
blind report cr ( Karl Malden) and a younger
coll eague (Jamcs Franciscus) tracki ng down a
deadl y murderer - a nd hcre Dario's sometimes
wayward plotting is diamo nd ha rd in its chilling
developmcnt. Not to be missed - a nd most
readcrs of t his journal wi ll be renting another
Warnc rs ti tle in the same batch (anothe r video
premie re) - George Rome ro's KfI;ghlriders,
previously unseen in t his country. This is the o ne
in which George put his familiar zombies in cold
storage for a visio n of Arthuria n knights as
modern-day bikers. wit h the now well-known Ed
Harris as t he Arthur of the picee, Sir Willi am. All
Rome ro complctists will want to see it - but as in
Jack's Wife/Season Of The Witch, it 's clear that
t he director's more at ho me with hi s living dead.
Also from Warne rs, the better tha n-average
Exorcist clone. The Possessed. with Ja mes Fare n-
tino as a n ex-mi nistcr confro nt ing a malefi c
prese ncc at a girls' school. The fi nal confront a-
ti on has a genuine charge. given a TV movic's
restri cti o ns. And to complete a bumper Warners
bundle, Craven's disappointing Deadly Friend is
now on video - has to bc seen by all Crave nites,
cvcn tho ugh somct hing we nt scriously awry.
More Fury
From Polygram. Douglas Grossman's Raging
Fury is familiar st uff. but de monstrates Ihat
thcrc's life in ma ny a n old for mul a. When a
young girl is (accident all y) responsible for a
doubl e impalation (amazi ng how ma ny disuscd.
45 degree ra iling spikes the re a rc a round) she
grows up - who wo uldn ' t? - thoroughl y
screwed up. And at the fi rst provocation . she's
sli cing and di cing in grand st yle. The catalyst?
She's a teache r (Maureen Mooney). coming up
against sli ghtl y- more-recalcitrant than usual
pupil s . who e nd up shish-kebabed a nd othe rwise
d isassembled. The stude nt ri ngleade r is called
Dicke ns - clearl y evide nce t hat American
exploitation movics know thcir Engli sh Litcra-
t ure. This mayhem is of the quick cut variety (i n
both senses o f the te rm), so has been leftlargcly
untouched by t he SSFe.
Biohazard USA 1986 D. Frcd Ole n Ray. With
AIda Ray. Angcliquc PCll yjo hn.
Hyperspace USA 1986 D. Todd Durham. With
Alan Marx . Paul a Poundstone. Chris Ell iot.
Piranha 1/ - Flying Killers USA 1984 D. James
Ca meron. W. Trida ONeill. Stevc Marachuk .
La nce He nri ksen.
King Kong Vs. Godzilla J apan 1963 D. Inoshiro
Honda. W. Harry Holcomb. Ja mes Yogi.
Street Trash USA 1986. D. Jim Muro. W. Mike
Lackey, Vi c Noto. 8il1 Chepil.
Mowllaimop Motel Massacre USA 1986 D. Ji m
McCulloch. W. 8i ll Thurman , Anna Chappell.
Will Mitchell.
Ghost Fever USA 1985. D. Alan Smithee. W.
Luis Avolos. She rman He msley. Je nnife r
Geek! USA 1986 D. Dcan Crow. W. Christine
Noonan. Jack O' Hara, Di ck Kreusscr.
Witchboard USA 1986 D. Kevin . S. Tenney. W.
Tawny Kitae n. Todd Allen , Stephen Nichols.
If Looks COIl Id Kill USA 1986 D. Chllck
Vincent. W. Tim Gael. Kim Lambcrt. Ala n
City Ulldemeath The Sea USA 197 1 D. Irwin
All e n. W. St uart Whit man. Rosemary Forsyth.
Robert Colbert .
The C(l t O'Nine Tails Ital y/ France/W. Germay
1971 D. Dario Argento. W. Karl Malde n. J ames
Franciscus. Catherine Spaak.
Knigh/riders USA 1981. D. George Rome ro . W.
Ed Harris. Gary La hti . Tom Savini .
Raging FlIr), USA 1986 D. Douglas Grossman.
W. Christophe r St ryke r, Maureen Mooney.
Chri stophe r Cousins.
Shock Xpress
Courtesy of WARNER HOME VIDEO, we have SIX
copies of the fabulous all-star musical version of LITTLE
SHOP OF HORRORS, directed by Frank Oz. Released
on video on November 23rd and worth around 80
(retail), all you have to do to win one is answer the
following three questions correctly. The first six correct
replies the editor can actually focus on will receive a copy
of this classy song and dance number ...
1) What happened in the original ending of this version?
2) Name three movies starring Steve Martin.
3) Name the monster plant in the new Little Shop of
Closing date for entries is January 1st , 1988. Winners to
be announced next issue. Please indicate whether you
require VHS or Betamax. The competition is open to UK
residents only - such is life
Courtesy of BRA VEWORLD and WINSOR-BECK, we
have SIX copies of Tom Daley's debut feature THE
LAMP to give away. Released on video on November 5th
for rental only, THE LAMP tells of the eponymous magic
object and the fate befalling anyone foolish enough to rub
it . . . The first six correct answers to the following
questions will receive a copy ...
1) Name two other feature films with genies.
2) Who stars in the TV series I Dream of Jeannie?
3) Which actor/body-builder was the torso of the monster
based on?
Closing date for entries is January 1st, 1988. Winners
will be announced next issue. Please indicate whether you
require VHS or Betamax. The competition is only open to
UK residents - there's no justice ...
It was harder than expected to persuade Fang to judge the competitions, but after
we'd prised his jaws open the lucky winners emerged as follows:
Keith Beavers, Mark Harrison, Gerald Houghton, john Hunt, Robert jones, C.
Mark Baker, R. Chapman, Carl T. Ford, Adam Hooper , j ames Morton, Keitl\
By Philip Nutman
The interview took place at Tobe Hooper's house
in Beve rl y Hills in August. Hoopcr still defies the
'Hollywood mould: quietl y spoken, shy and
retiring considering all he's been through in
rece nt years. . Here he di scusses the fo nunes
and mi sfortunes of hi s Chaills(lw fi l ms.
SX: Even though it was made in 1974. The Texas
ChaillslIw Massacre was sti ll fairl y mild fo r its
ti me. even when compared with. say. William
Girdler 's Three 0 11 (l Meathook . So why the
minmal gore?
TH: II was vc ry deliberate because of the ratings.
TeM was il reacti o n to my previ ous fi lm.
Eggshells . an art isticall y well int cnlio ncd picture
about the end of the peace movement. After that
I reali zed I didn ' t rcall y know how to ma ke a
commercial feature. Prior to Eggshells, I' d made
a MOllferay Pop type of thing about Peter, Paul.
and Mary, which ended up as a PBS special.
Anywa y I was aware of t he problems of
ha nging the girl on the meathook, so I developed
a relati onship with the MPAA hefore I sta rted
shooting. Originall y, Te M was going to be a I'G
movie . Well. I explained to thc guy at t he MPAA
that we we re goi ng to hang this girl on a
mcathook and how could we do it and get that
rat ing? ' Impossible' he said . What. even if I don' t
show the spike ent ering her body, if iI' s implied
ra ther than shown'! 'Out of the questi on' was his
respo nse, Anyway, I got what I tho ught were
certain comrnit lllcntsso the film would have a PG
rat ing, whi ch of course turned out to not be the
case. I' m sti ll amazed it got an R because
every ti me we did somet hing I call ed the MPAA
to check things a u!. But regardless of all tha t. I
didn' t fee l it was necessary to have an extreme
amount of blood-letting upfront on screen be-
cause I didn ' t wa nt to echo 2{)(X) Maflian or any
of those bloody movi es t hat look like they' re sho t
on Kodac hrome. So that's why in that scene all
you sec is dried blood on the wall behind her , lert
over from a previo us engagement with the
rneat hook. In '{eM2 I felt t he audience wanted
more than we had give n t hem in 1974, and
although it wasn' t bucket s and buckets, it still
didn' t get it rating. I guess it was down to the L.G.
character having his brains beaten o ut wilh the
ha mme r and when he was skinned. Of course , I
didn' t show him having his face removed, just put
hack on (laughs), hut Tom Savini 's makeup job
was kind of gory so I shot the scene with an
:trnheri sh glow to uimini sh t he nast iness.
Neverthl ess, I still t hink it should have got an R
rati ng.
SX : Apparentl y YOll had numerous problems
with Cannon o n that pictu re ; what's the full
'I'll : What happened was this. On the da y before
we were due to start , Cannon new down to Texas
to inform me they were cutting a week from t he
Shock Xpress
Tobe Hooper Interviewed
schedule and that I' d have to deal with it by
rewriting. Fo rtunately, Kit Carson was on loca-
ti on with us so we were able to sit down to do
some fidd ling with Ihe script whi ch didn't scem to
terribl y hurt t he sto ry at the time. Then I
all ocatcd some scenes to the second unit Ihat just
didn't wo rk oul.
It was t he lousiest second uni t directi o n I've
ever seen. The guy wellt off on his own tangent.
In my mind it had been very well talked out and
he knew exactl y " 'hat to do. Fo r instance. t here's
a scene where Yuppies arc massacred in an
underground parking lot. The scene was shot but
was terri ble, anu it was somet hing any good
second unit di recto r coul d do. But this guy tried
to add his own interpretati o n to somet hing that
was al ready laid down in hi sto ry. There was this
scene of Leatherfacc breaking o ut of the back of
t he catering van . Well. I went wild when I s w the
footage . The doors slam open and there's this
blinding light li ke Leatherface is standing in the
Poltergeist closet. Then all the Yuppies have a
sheepdog expression comc over t heir faces and
he j ust steps out and hacks them to bi ts. The
second unit director believed t he Yuppi es should
be under his spell : well. I inve nted Leat herface
and I did n' t realize he had t hose powers (laughs).
It was totall y in conflict with my concept. and 1
didn ' t ha ve ti me 10 go and reshoot those scenes.
So that was the fi rst thing I to re out of the movie.
Then Canno n to re o ut Dennis Hopper' s back-
story that told you about his character.
The story was that St retch. the radio dj. knew
who this guy was because he used to go with her
mot her years ago. She grew up hearing about thi s
Texas Ranger. You know, t here's onl y twelve or
twe nt y of them o r something like thaI. and
they're kind of legendary characters with their
malta 'One ri o t. One Ranger' . So she grew up
wi th these stories about this wi ld guy. Once she
reads about hi m in the paper, making a fool of
himself, a cowboy chasing chainsaws. looking fo r
these ki ll ers for fi ftee n years because Ihey
slaughtered some of his brot her's kids in the first
movie, so she knows who he is, and there is a
relati onship there t hat has not been developed .
Also, Enright had used her mot her as bait to
entrap Stretch's uncl e in a drugs bust , so when he
sets her up as bait for t he mani acs the whole
situati on has come full ci rcle , and there was a
terrifi c symmetry to t he sto ry.
In addition to this, it becomes clear that
Enright is not right in the head: he's drinking lo ts
of mescal. hallucinating aft er eating the wo rm
you know, chai nsaws coming out of wall s and
surrounding him - stuff li ke that. Again , J shot
everything up to the point where he has the
hallucinati on, t hen handed it over to the second
uni t. Seemed simple. Especiall y with story-
boards. Bul. surprise, that stuff didn 't wo rk out
The story coul d. in fact. live without that
sequence anyway, but Dennis's t ransition into
madness was much more satisfying if you had the
informat ion about his rel at ionship to St retch, and
all that stuff about his gun, " My gun is God's
gun". and shooti ng off his magnum. But that
materi al made t he film ne<lrl y a reel longer than
Canno n wa nted, and we are at a time when 2, 4,
6, 8, or 10 reels can comfo rt ably support the
co ncessio n st and. or that is some people' s line of
thought at Icast. I don' t know whether it was the
type of t heatre they had t he fi lm booked into, or
what. but the shorter the movie became, the
happi er everyone else was.
I don't have a problem wit h that as I thi nk it' s a
good movie, despite t he material t hat was
delet ed. And because we were o n such a ti ght
schedule to gel the movie into theatres, Cannon
did n' t have enough time 10 trul y fuck it up like
they had done with Lifeforee and Ifl v(lders From
Is this true? I hear they've banned Ihe movie in
SX: Yes, but there arc va ri ous boot leg copies
going around.
TH: Thank God fortha!. So longas people get to
sec it. I j ust hope they' re good copies.
SX: What's the new fil m you' re planning?
TH: It 's call ed Whose Woods TheJe Are, and it' s
writt en by Ri chard Christi an Matheson. It' s a
great script , o ne of t he best I've read in years , and
has a spiritual qualit y that' s akin to Poltergeist,
hut it's definitel y going to be a white-knuekler.
And I hope to start shooting by the end of the
Note: The above project has now been
temporarily suspended, alt hough he intends to
return to it in the future . Hi s next film wi ll be
DO/lblt' ViJioll for Cine vest. scripted by Mick
G(lrris. It also looks ext remel y likel y that he will
be making a fi lm for Empire Pictures - a
big- budget affair which they hope will be their
move out of the B-picture arena
It happened in Stoke on Trent
about. 5 years ago and now it's
happening in Leicester, it's ...
the opening of a shop, big
enough to house one of the
largest selectiuons of: Im-
ported and UK Film
magazines and books. in-
cluding; Fangori a. Mad
Movies. Ci nefantastique.
Cinefex, Shock Express,
Samhain, Starlog, Prevue,
Starburst, L'ecran Fantasti
que. and Monsterland, hun-
dreds of issues, including
many rare it.ems. Also a huge
selection of posters. badges.
postcards and t-shirts. Plus
much, much more!
The Stoke on Trent shop is
caUed 'Fantasy World' , and
can be found at 10 Market
Square Arcade, Hanley.ITel:
0782 2792941, and is open
now! The Leicester shop,
which opens in late October.
is called ' Another World' and
is situated at. 23 Silver Street.
Full detai ls of both shops and
their comprehensive mail
order catalogues is available
by writing or telephoning
. Fantasy World' at the above
Opposite: A satisfied customer.
Shaun Hutson Picks
His Top Cinema Horrors
Asking a ho rror wri te r to pi ck oul his ten
favourite fri ght fil ms of all time is a bit like giving
a (at kid a blan k cheque a nd expect ing him to
come out of a swccishop with a single Mars Bar.
The choice. as the cl iche goes. is endless. But. all
horror films do not and shoul d not contain
,halfwit s in icc hockey masks and portabl e 1001
chesls pursuing pubcsccnI teenage rs with l Os
slightl y lower t han thir temperat ures. There is
more to the genre than t hat. And. wo rki ng on
;tha t premise. ho rror reaches every ki nd of fi lm
a nd eveTy ge nre of film-maki ng. Which. unfortu-
nately makes t he task of scicCii ng ten even morc
difficul t. However . tful y grecH fi lms arc ones
whi ch leave an indelible ma rk. eithe r on your
heart. your mind or. in t he ease of some good
horror fil ms, o n your unde rwear . So. descri bed
below arc te n fi lms whi ch have each made an
impact o n me for diffe re nt reasons. All :Ire great
films and each one, in its wa y, has innuenced me
in some way in my li fe.
THE EXORCI ST. USA 1973. Dir : Wi lliam
Fri cdki n. With: Ell e n Burstyn, Jason Miller ,
Max Vo n Sydow. Linda Bl ai r.
Even now. 14 yea rs since its release. it' s still t he
cinemat ic equivale nt of being hi t over the head
with an iron bar. Friedkin builds sll spe nse
brilli ant ly. helped by Willi a m Peter Blatty' s
excell ent script a nd supe rb pe rformances from all
his cast . especiall y Ell e n Burstyn as the possessed
chi ld' s mothe r. Me mo rable scenes abound parti-
cula rl y the first appearance o f Linda Blair fu ll y
possessed (complet e wit h a complexion that
wOllldn' t look out of place on a ny MacDonald's
employee). the infamous crucifix masturbation
and . of course, the final exorci sm. But , as wi th all
great horror movi es. it is sometimes the quiete r
m()lllents which send chills down the spine . For
instance. Jason Mi ll e r listening to the recordi ng
o f t he de mon's gibbe ri sh only to be IOld it's
English spoken backwards. or the qui te unne rv-
ing sequence in which he visits hi s mothe r in t he
asyl um. and, o f course. Lee J . Cobb's det ecti ve
calml y telling J ason Mi ll er that the murdered
Burke De nnings (Jack Macgowa n) was found
wi th hi s head .. turned compl etel y around . Faci ng
backwa rds." The Exorcist is a supe rb achi eve-
ment and I. for one. still canno t watch it without
making sure all the doors a nd windows a re shut
fi rst . One: of t he few fi lms which has ever kept me
a\\:ake at ni ght . Qui te a feat whe n some can't
even keep me awake insi de the cinima
THE OMEGA MAN. USA 1971. Dir : Bo ri s
Sagal. With : Charlton 1 lesIOn. Anthony Zerbe,
Ros;llind Cash. Pa ul Koslo, Lincoln Kilpatrick.
Sl'conll version o f Ri chard Mat heson's supe rb
I Am Lege"d and . yes. I know. not a bit like il.
However , the opening sequence of Cha rlton
Heston dri ving alone around a dese rt ed San
Shock Xpress
Fra ncisco, and also hi s hunt for the ' nest' o f
zombies led by Anthony Zerbe are very sus-
pe nseful . I can re me mber seeing this as a thirteen
yea r old a nd it made a ve ry deep impression o n
me . Even now it' s sti ll a good act ion picture.
despite the fact that Hesto n himself supposedl y
dislikes it. No sweat. Chuck. I thought it WitS
great. One o f the few films of its day ( 1971) not to
'cop out' inasmuch as t he ' he ro' gets ki ll ed a nd
director Boris ' watch o ut for that propell or' Sagal
iso't frighte ned to kill o ff some kids if necessary.
Well worth seeing.
It' s a superbly compl ex movie because Be nny' s
(Oates) motives fo r goi ng afte r the head a rc
two-fold. Firstl y he wants the te n grand and,
secondl y, Alfredo Garcia also spe nt some ti me
wit h his girl fr ie nd (Vega) before getting himself
ki ll ed in a road accident. Benny is robbed o f his
re ve nge but persuades Elita to lead him to
Garcia's grave whe re he di gs up the body a nd
prepares to take the head. Needless to say. he's
prevented by the simpl e expedie nt of being
whacked over the head with a shovel by two
vill ains who also want t he valuable it e m. Benny is
buried ali ve and eventuall y surfaces almost
BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GAR- re-born , but also t hinking that he is Alfredo
CIA. USA 1974. Dir : Sam Peckinpah . Starring Garcia. Having regained t he head he d ri ves along
Warre n Oates. Isela Vega, Gig Voung, Robe rt wit h it in his C<l r ho lding o ne-way conve rsa ti ons
Webber . Emili o Fe rnandez. with the fl y-swarming appe ndagc. (Sevcred
Peckinpa h's is not t he ho rror o f possession or heads not bei ng generall y ve ry talkative hi s
germ warfa re but t he horror of ali e nati o n. This e nquiri es go unanswered .)
superb and appallingly unde rrated film was one This o ne is definitely a ' love it or hate it' movie
r - ~ ~ ~ - - - - - - - - - - ~ ~
of the most pe rsonal movies Pecki npah ever
made. Shot in his beloved Mexico it' s a mixture o f
mode rn day Weste rn and Edgar All e n Poe, ilS
Wa rre n Oat es. a struggling pi a no playe r in a
seedy Mexico Ci ty bar. goes hunt ing for the head
of t he man who impregnat ed t he da ughte r o f a
ri ch landowne r ( Fernandez). The prize is SI(J.OOO
doll ars, or at least that 's \\' 11<11 Oates is o ffe red by
Gig Young, the act ual prize is it millio n doll ars
a nd . afte r wiping out most of the cast and a fai r
few extras. Oates sets about claiming it.
but. even so. it certainl y doesn't deserve to be
incl uded in that bloody awful to me The Golde"
Turkey A I ....ards. This one is pri me beef. served up
by a master. Nihilistic, violent. de pressing a nd
disturbing. What mo re could a nyone ask for ?
TAXI DRIVER. USA 1976. Di r: Ma rtin
Scorsese. Wi th: Robert Dc Niro. Jodie Fosth,
Cybi l Shepherd. Albert Brooks. Peter Boyle.
Ha rve y Keitel.
Anot he r film about the horrors of urbilll
alienat ion. De Ni ro is Travis Bickle. a Viet nam
veteran who. through his inabilit y to integrate
wi th the rest of societ y (and also his inabilit y to
take his girlfri end to decent films) becomes. as he
put s it "Gods lonely man". Destined to find
fulfi ll ment onl y in a single minded obsession to
save a twelve year old prostitut c. Iri s (Foster)
from the clutches of her pi mp, Sport ( Keit el).
ew York is depicted as a hell on eart h. Travi s
himsel f call s it "An open sewer. full of fil th and
scum: ' In hi s job as a taxi dri ver he meets and
sees the dregs of the city. keeping a diary of his
day-to-day existence. By using De Niro' s voice
over the scenes he shows us. Scorsese pulls us
deeper into Travis's twisted mind . "One day a
real rain will cOllle and wash all the SCUIll off the
streets. says Tra vis at one point. That rain turns
out to be a rai n of lead from his four pistol s in a
blood and bull et s cl imax which leaves the viewer
breat hl ess. bot h from the sheer horror of the
violence bUI also from Scorsescs insistencc on
making it so reali stic. Finall y. after wi ping out the
three pi mps that li ve off Iri s' earnings. De Niro
sits. badly wounded. on a sofa as the police enter.
The close shot of hi s blood drenched fi nger
pressed against his temple in imitat ion of a gun is
chilling beyond description . .
A truly bri lli ant fi lm.
EXORCIST II , Just joking .
SUSPIRIA. ITALY 1976. Dir: Dario Argento.
With: Jessica Harper. Alida Valli. Joan Bennett,
Udo Ki er.
A ve ry styli sh and. in placcs. terri fy ing exercise
in pure horror. Forget the logic, there isn' t any.
Just sit back and enjoy the brilliant opening
sequence of Jessica Harper arri ving at a big ballet
school in Germany during a bli nder of a
thunderstorm. All the stunning visual s are per-
fectl y compl iment ed by Goblins haunt ing sound-
track . The script is a bit rough sometimes bUI
Argento's di recti on saves it. elevating il to the
status of excellence. It docs exactl y what a horror
fil m shoul d. It scares you shi t less. And there arc
maggots in it too. Now that' s real value for
ALIEN, UK/USA 1979. Dir: Ridley Scott. Wi th:
Tom Skerritt. Sigourney Weave r, Ian Holm .
. Harry Dean Stanton, John I-Iurt. Veroni ca
Cartwright. Yaphet KolI O and a sodding great
monster the like of which has never been seen
Reams have been writt en about thi s masterful
suspensefhorror movie. There arc those who
have tried to pick holes in it, those who have tried
to find hidden meani ngs in it. Well . to hell with all
of them. What we have here . qui te simpl y. is one
of the most terrifying movies ever. Forget the
'chestburster' scene. it's the quiet er ones (as with
The :wrcisl) that bring the real terror. As when
Ripley (Weaver) says to Ash ( Holm) "That signal
Mother picked up. It wasn't an S.O.S. It was a
warning." Or when Ripl ey. desperate to destroy
the ali en creature says to Ash (who has now been
exposed as a robot and has been decapitated for
his troubl e) "How do we kill it ?" "You can' t: he
tell s her. calml y. Other memorable scenes in
clude Dalls (Skcrrin) crawli ng along the air vents
in search of the monster and a superbl y timed
scene of Brett (Stanton) tryi ng to find the cat but
fi nding somet hing bigger.
Magni fi cent. Al so vastl y superior to the over
rated sequel. Argue about that amongst
HALLOWEEN. USA 1978. Dir: John Carpen-
ter. With: Donald Pleasence , Jami e Lee Curt is.
Nancy Loomis. P.J . Soles, Charles Cyphers.
Cupent er brings to life the cinema of expecta-
tion . The movie that spawned dozens of imita-
tors. not one of them anywhere near as good. Its
strength lies in its simplicity and Carpent er' s
abil it), to time sequences to perfection . It gets to
the stage where you're wanting the ki ll cr to
slaught er the girls just so you can relax. For
Christ' s sake kill them. )'ou bastard. get it oyer
wit h. . Smart arse critics have questioned how a
boy incarcerat ed since he was six could have
learned to drive a car (as the maniac killer docs
when he escapes). Well, who cares? Maybe it was
11 very liberated nuthouse. Small detai ls li ke
that arc swallowed up by the unbearable sus-
pcnse. Donald Pleasencc is great as Sam Loomis
(t he character pl ayed by John Gavin in Psycho)
and another amusing moment comes when.
unbeknownst to them. Jamie Lee Curtis and
Nanc), Loomis are beign foll owed down the road
by the mani ac whil e their car radio blurts out
Blue Oyster Cult 's ' Don't Fear the Reaper' . Don' t
fear the reaper. but watch out for the tall sod in
the mask wi th the kit chen knife.
ULOOD SIMPLE. USA 1985. Dir: Joel Coen.
With: John Getz, Frances McDonnand. Dan
Hedaya. M. Emmell Wal sh.
The scene where John Getz tries 10 bury the
mortally wounded Dan HedaYit is. for me. one of
the most horrifying in the hi story of the cinema.
Thi s picture is film noi r at its best. so int ri catel y
plolt ed and yel also so accompli shed. There were
times I wished I' d had a scorecard in the cinema
with me to work out the twists and turns of the
plot. Brilliant performances from all concerncd.
part icularl y M. Emmell Walsh as the pri vatc eye
Shock Xpress
- L.-____ .......:
hired by !-I cd,l)'a 10 kill his cheat ing wife and her
Io\'cf . Vi suall y sHinning and also one of the few
films !oshow how rcallydifficuh it is to kill II man.
(it is difricul1. believe me . .) .
PSYCHO. Need I say more .
THE FOG. USA Oir: John Carpente r. With:
Adri enne Barbeau. J amie Lee Curtis. J anet
Leigh. Nanc), Loomis. John Houseman. Hal
Technically speaking. t his is to my mind st ill
Carpcnt cr"s best fi lm. Anot her classic example of
what you don' , sec bcign morc frightening Ihan
what you do. As wit h t he ghost ship's a!lack o n a
fis hing hoat. A close shot o f one characters' wide
eyes. t hen a close sho t of a metal spike. Cut.
Three guesses where the spike ended up'! A
bcaulfiull y cont roll ed sereni ty pervades the
whole film. gi ving it the feci of a stor y told by a
superb craft sman at the peak his powers.
Consl<l nlly chilling. it builds 10 a fri ghlening
climax wit hout o ne drop of blood being spilled .
Further proof Ihal gallons o f gore do nOI a horro r
movie make . The ghostl y lepers are also visuall y
unforgettable . Lovely soundtrack too.
Wes Crave n. With : Heather Langenkamp.
Robert Englund, John Saxon, Ro nee Blakley.
This film caused me acute embarrassment the
fi rst time I saw it inasmuch as I fell o ff the seat at
one of the most startli ng shock moments. Such is
the powcr o f Cnwcns brilliant fi lm. The second
time around I was prepared. so I thought. but.
no. Freddie came crashing through t he mirror
and t hump, 1 was down amounst Ihe spill ed
popcorn agai n. Even the shout line on the poster
was briliantl y effect ive in its implieity. Sleep
Kills . Yes. and so do blokes wilh carving knives
for Pass the black coffee . Ri ghI. that's
the ten (or eleven) but there arc others. many
which have left t hei r mark o n me and I
can' go wit hout mentioning the scenes and t he
o ther fil ms which have stayed with rne and will
conti nue to. for man)' yea rs.
Edward Woodward' s fi rst sight o f The Wicker
M(IfI . Jack Nicholsons nose bei ng sli t in
Shock Xpress
ChitWIOWII (second ti me I watched it. even I had
to look away) . . The final massacre in Soldier
8/lle. . The siege o f t he f .trmhouse in Straw
Dogs. . John Marl ey discovering t hc seve red
horse's head in his bed in The Godfather . . The
rotted head roll ing into view in Jaws. . The
giant computer, Colossus decla ring "There is
another system' in The Forbin Project . .. Jack
Nicholsons loboto my in Olle Flew Over the
Cuckoo's Nest. Dustin Hoffman being tor-
tured by having his teeth drilled in Mamthon
Mall . . The to rture of Maril yn Burns in TI, e
Texas Clwinsaw Massacre. The Russian
roulett e scene in The Deer/lllllter. . Dominic
Guard' s search for the missing girls in Picll ic at
Hal/ging I?ock . The computer created
chil d's first words in Demoll Seed. . The first
sight of the creature in Curse of Fmnkell-
stei/l . The Tingler. Southern Com-
fort . Nosferalll (1922)... The War-
riors. . The LOllg Riders . .. The helicopter
anack on the village in Apocalypst' Now.
Robert De Ni ro pul veri zing a handsome oppo-
nent because his wife had said she thought him
attractive in I?tl ging Bull . Shelley Duvall 's
discovery o f Jack Nicholsons manuscript ' in The
Sh;nillg (AIl work and no play makes Jack a dull
boy" typed millions o f times). . The trans-
fonmllio n scene in Tile Howling (not as tech-
nicall y accomplished 3S the one in All AmnietUl
Werewolf ill LO/ldon but more fri ghteni ng be-
cause o f the circumstances of the change. ).
A keeper having his arm to rn o ff in the re-make
o f Cm People. . The Thillg bursling (orlh from
a dog. . AI Pacinos eXlremel y bloody demise
at Ihe end of Scarface. . . The final batt le in Tilt'
Willi /Jllnch. . Almost any visual image from
The CompallY of Wo/lles. . James Farenti nos
realisation thai he too is a li ving corpse at the end
o f Dead {lml /Juried. . Rut ger Hauer descri b-
ing to C. Thomas 1 lowell how he a
man in The ' Iftcl ,u and Ned BcallY's rape and
the subsequent ki lling of Bill McKinney in
Delil ,t' Nmce.
I could probably think o f more bUI then this
would turn into a novel . Happy Night mares and
remember, tomorrow is Ihe first day o f Ihe rest of
your life . . unl ess you happen to get hit by a
truck. Keep
Shallll Hutsol/ is the sort of writer who illspires
kindly old granllies to lobby their 10c(II library
bmllches to remove his books f rom the sheb'es
after they've borrowed Slugs thinking ;( WllS a
gardener'S mamml . . . SIIlIIUl spends mOllY sOlll-
searchillg hours in deep /Juddhist meditlllioll
devising more repulsive ways to dispose of
characters ill his /lol'e/s. . Im/eel/, 0111' idly
wonders if death by l'ibrMor or a rectal illfusioll of
m(IfI -emilig slugs call be bettered, but we've come
to trust him. I-/is most recelll hardcol'u is Vict ims.
wilile }I/all Piquer Simoll lUIS completed (I
lower-tltall-Iow budget film of Slugs. which Shm",
(perhaps I'ery wisely) Q\'oided allY artistic illl'oll'e-
1111'1/1 with. A del'Qtee of SuiO/lS Metal mllsic alld
sel[-eff(lcing to a f(lIIlt, ShaWl is possessed of (III
evil senst' of hllmOllr. and bears the lJril'ilege of
orlce havillg shocked Clive Barker iI/to silellce -
110 l1I e(1II feat .
By Stephen Jones
Thi s column is Shock Xprl'ss' link with t he
past. a final oppo rtunity 10 re me mbe r t hose
fil nHnakcrs who have made a significant con
Iribul ion 10 the genre over the years and have
now - as Forry Ackerman would put it - been
called to Prince Sirki"s dark rcal m. After all.
whe re else wi ll you discover t hat Rita Hayworth
acted with Bela Lugosi or Fred ASlaire turned up
in Baulestar Galaaim .? My thanks to Kim
Newman for help with researching the fo ll owing
Ame rican leading man KENT TAYLOR (real
nalll e Louis Weiss) di ed o n April 11th aft er
several heart operations. He was RO. Hi s nume r-
ous credits include DOflblt Door (1934). Dealll
Takes A /-Ioliday. PlullllOmfrom 10.000 Leaglles.
The Crawli"g Hand. The Day Mars I" vaded
Earlh. Brides of 8100d etc. I-I e rinall y e nded up as
a regular for AI Adamson in rubbish like SaWn's
Sadists, Braill of Blood and Blood of Ghastly
Comedian J)l CK SHA WN ( real name Ri cha rd
Schulcfand) died whi le pe rformi ng o n stage on
April 17th. He was in his lat e 50s. His occasional
film roles included Tht' WiZ(lrd of Baghdad and
Love At FinN Bite.
Argentine-born actor ALEJANDRO REY died
on May 21 at Ihe age of 57. Besides numerous
appearances on such TV series as Thriller. Night
Callery and Spidermall. he appeared in The
Swarm, Terrorvision and the TV movie Sawn's
Six-fool sevcn-inch lall India n act or WILL
SAMI)SON died June 3rd after unde rgoi ng a
heart -lung transplant. He was 53. Best re me m-
bered for his role in Olle Flew Oller the Cuckoo's
Nest. he also IUrned up in The White Bllffalo.
Orca Killer Whale . Poltagt'ist /I The Other Side
and the conlfoversial TV movie The Myslic
Dependable Scott ish acto r FULTON MACK-
AY died on June 6t h aft er a sha ri ill ness. aged 65.
He was the o nl y huma n 10 appear on TV's
Fr(lggle Rock seri es.
DANIEL MANDELL. Oscar-wi nning film edi-
tor. died June 8th . I-Ie was 92 . Among t he ma ny
films he edited were Wwhering /leights. Arsenic
find Old Lace and HtlIIs Christian Andersen.
Oscar a nd Emmy Award winning act ress
GERALDINE PAGE died of a hear! attack o n
June 14th. She was 62. He r nume ro us credit s
include What Ever "{appel/ eel to Awlf Alice? TIll'
nt'glliled and TV's Nighl Callery.
America's finest screen dancer. FRED
ASTAIRE. died of pneulll oni a 0 11 June 22nd. He
was aged 88. Best rememb('rt.:d for hi s string of
'30s musicals. often paired with Ginger Rogers.
his late r !ltreen credils include 011 the Beach.
Hllitm's R(/in/)QII' . The TOlI'aing Illfano. and
Ghw.1 Story . Real name Frederi ck Austerl itz.
Astairc also turned up o n TV in t he movie The
Mall ill Ille Sama Claus Suil a nd the BaUlel'tar
Galactictl episode. Th e Mall With Nine Uves.
JACKIE: GLEASON. who played Minnesota
Fat s in the lInfo rgellable The Hus/ler. di ed o n
June 24th of cancer. He was 71.
TV director WILLIAM WIARD died o n Jul y
2nd fr om lung cancer. aged 59. His ma ny credits
include Gel Smart, The Rockford Files. Search
Conlrol. Tarzall a nd Ihe 1981 TV movie, This
HOllst' Possessed.
Canadian-bo rn director ALAN GIBSON died
o n Jul y 5t h after a long ill ness. I-Ie was 49. I-lis
fi lm credit s incl ude three fo r H:lmme r : Crescen-
do. Dracula A . D. 1972. and Tht, Sa/(lI/ic Hiles of
British character actor ALFIE BASS died of a
heart attack on Jul y 15th, aged 66. He played a
man who returns from t he dead in Tilt' Bespoke
OI'l'rCQat ( 1955). a Jewish vampi re in Vallce of
the VaUlTJires. and had a small cameo in Mool/-
KIP OHMAN. co-producer o f Tlte Hilcher a nd
The Fly. died from AIDS- relat ed me ningit is on
Jul y 25th. He was 4 1.
VJ: teran animator KENNETH MUSE (Mickey
Alollse. ToUl alld Jerry, The Flims/ones. Scooby
Doo etc.) died J uly 26th . aged 75.
ARTHURT J. BRESSAN, JR, make r of gay
hardcorc porn movies such as Comillg Ow.
Ptusing Strangers and Forbidden Lmal'. died of
A IDS on Jul y 29t h. aged 44 .
MARY SPINELL. Joe's mo ther and a n act ress
in The LtL\'l Horror show. Tempesl a nd The
Codfmller, died Jul y 30th. aged 83.
Poli sh-bo rn silent screen act ress POLA NEGRI
(real name Appoloni a Cha1upek) died o n August
1st from pneumonialbrain tumour. She was 91.
The same day saw the death of Ho ll ywood
producer and founder o f Embassy Pictures.
JOSEPH E. LEVINE at the age of 81. Embassy
was origi nall y sct up to exploi t cheap European
spectacles ( the earl y Hercules pics) a nd Levine
went on to produce The ('arpelbaggers and
Veteran Orient al actor BENSON I' ONG also
died on August lsI. from a stroke. aged 70. His
career ranged from Monogram's Charlie Chall in
Ille Secret Service to Disney's Tilt' Love Bllg. and
he was a regular on TV' s Kling fj, seri es.
JIM HASSINGER. the set decorator on Planer
of lhe Apes. 1941 and TV's Losr in Space di ed on
August 5th . aged 6 1.
Gay porno actor CULVIN CUlVER(aka
Casey Dono\'an) died of pulmo na ry infection on
August 10th. ,igcd -0. His film credit s include
The Bo)'s itl the Satld. The Opellitlg of Misl),
Beelhm'ell. The Back Row, HOI Shols a nd SleaU!.
WINIFRED 8RISON MANGER . si le nl screen
act ress and widow of Warner Baxter. di ed on
August 20th after a le ngthy illness. She was 94.
Her credit s include the 1924 ve rsio n of The
Hll llchback of NOIre Dall/ e.
Actor/dancer TANIS MICHAELS. who
appeared in Soyletll Creen and All Thor Jazz.
died of AIDS on August 27t h. aged 33.
The same day saw the death o f composer and
lyricist CHARLI E SMALLS from cardiac arrest.
Aged n. his credit s include The Wi z and he was
worki ng on "musical version of H.G. Wells' The
M(ln Wll o Could Work Miracles al t he lime of his
death .
Screenwrit e r. director and actor JOHN HUS
TON died on August 28th at the age o f 81. One of
the t rue grCilts of the Ameri can ci ne ma. he
started his film career by co-scripting Murders ill
Ille Rill' Morglle starring Bela Lugosi. As a
director , hi s credits include The Maltese Falcotl .
The Treasure of Ihe Sierra Madre. Key Largo.
Betll Ihe Dellil. Mob)' Dick. Cm'ino Roya/e. The
Mati Who Would Be King a nd the terrible
Phobia. The son of Walter Huston. his acti ng
abi lit ies never matched those of his father ,
although he added a touch of cl ass to The Bible.
Casino Royale. De Sade, Myra Breckinbridge.
/Janie for Ille Platlet of Ihe Apt'S. Tentacles and
Till' Visitor.
Tough guy actor LEE MARVIN di ed ofa heart
attack on August 29th. aged 63. He appeared in
Coril/a (It Large in 195-l and won an Oscar for his
role in Cal BaIlOIl.
Animatronics e ngi neer T. RODGER SHAW
was ki ll ed in a car crash in France on September
4t h. He w:ls39. a nd hi s many credit s include Time
Bandits. Indiana Jotles aud the Temple of Doom.
Cn'ystokl' . Alien. The ('ompm,), of Wolves.
Nypersapierl. and Ti, e Princess Bride.
TV producer QUINN MARTIN died from an
' apparent heart attack' o n September 5th at the
Shock Xpress
DEAD PEOPLE COlllillllt!dJ
.,.: of 65. His two most famous seri es were Tht!
Fugitive and Tht! In vaders.
The same day saw the death of film and
ftvision di rector RICHARD MARQUAND in
apital. foll owing a stroke. He was aged 49.
After winning two Emmys for his TV work.
Marquand made his film debut with The Legacy
iD 1919. He went on to direct Eye of the Needle.
RnuTtl of the Jedi. Until September. Jagged Edge
and Hearts of Fire.
Balllestar Galactica's commander Adama has
&OM to that great Ponderosa in the sky:
Canadian actor LORNE GREEN died from
pneumonia on September 11t h. aged 72 . His fi lm
credits include The Sil ver Chalice and Earth-
Canadian-born Norwegian actor JOHN
QUALE (real name John Oleson) died on
September 12th from hcarl fai lure. He was 87. A
,--eteran character actor, his many movi e credits
incl ude The Grapes of Wrath . All That Money
Call BIlY. The Jungle Book. Casablanca, Hans
Christian Allderse" and The Seven Faces of Dr.
Art director SAL GRASSO (aka Steve Scott)
also died the same day from AIDS, aged 50.
Besides working on films such as Frogs and The
Killing Kind , he also directed gay/straight hard-
core porno fli cks li ke China lind Silk , Coming
""est , ClIlifomia Boys. Inches and Track Meat.
British director JIM O'CONNOLLY died in
September. aged 61. Hi s films include Beserk ,
The VlIlley of Gwafl gi and Tower of Evil.
September 13th saw the deat h of for mer actor
and veteran Holl ywood producer/director MER-
VYN LEROY of Alzheimer's Disease. aged 86.
His numerous credits include Lillie Caesar, The
Wizard of Oz. Million Dol/or Mermaid and The
Bad Seed.
In September the death was announced of
American actor HAYDEN RORKE, a series
regular on TV' s I Drellm of Jeannie as the
suspicious Dr. Bell ows. he also turned up as a
BLOOD FREAK. USA 1974. Oil': Steve Hawkes,
Brad F. Grinter , Ph: Ron Sill . Mus: Gil Ward.
With: Steve Hawkes, Dana Cullivan, Heather
Hughes, Bob Currier , Larry Wright , Rand)'
Gri nter Jnr, Lee Morris, Sam Taker. Sampson,
What if the cosmic axis suddenl y shined, and
Ruftr Madness and Plan Nine From Outtr Space
,nre combined into one rancid movie? , . . What
if HerscheJl Gordon Lewis was a raving Bible
freak who made anti-dr ug films? , . . Well , I
think you' d come face- to-face wi th Blood Freak,
the type of stupid, badl y-made, annoyi ng fil m ),ou
ntvtr forget, no matter how hard )'OU try. It 's an
amalgram of drug propaganda, religious bullshit ,
monster rampages, graphic gore, and a cast that
looks like they were spawned from a century's
\ot'orth of backwoods in-breeding,
Just 2et a load of this plot! Herschell (Ste\'e
Hawkes) is a broodi ng bruiser on a motorbike who
belps a pretty young girl with car problems. It
tu.rns out that she's a gospel-spouting religious
fanatic named Angel (pretty subtle, eh?). and she
invites him back to her apartment , which she
shares with her sister Anne. But when they arri ve,
they stumble head-first into one of those notorious
drug-crazed hi ppie parties (actuall y, ofTered a
joint, Angel o"ernows with moralistic crap like
"don' t ),ou know that ),our body is the temple of
the Holy Spirit ?" Since Herschel! isn' t into the
;hard sturr , he's Immediately aUracted to Angel's
sappy sentiment , and those two good nicks reject
the rest of the pa.rtygoers and sit in a cor ner
talking about religion.
Before you know it , Anne's j ealousy of her
goody-goody sisler gets the best of her, and with
Evil Old Lust in her heart , she cajoles Herschell
into smoking a joint that's laced with a weird
chemical. Within moments he's spinning into
Addiction Land. and j ust to make matters worse,
Hersh goes to work on a poultry ranch, where he
plays guinea pig for two rural scientists (they' re
wearing lab coats. so they must be scientists) by
eating chemically-modified meat and seeing if
there's any wei rd side efTects. So, between the
drugs in his food and the drugs in his joint .
Herschel! is a Ih'ing wreck, complete wi th tre-
mors. spastic fi ts, and the uncontroll able urge to
do The Frug on the ground , ..
What does this combination of chemicals do to
our log-neck hero? Well . or course. it tur ns him
into a bloodsucking monster with a giant bird-
head! That's r ight , and a prelly pathetic bird-
Shock Xpress
head it is, too! Paper mache, pillow feathers, and
ping pong balls for eyes! . ' . And when he visits
Anne, she's such a total airhead that all she can
worry about is the effect it ' ll have on their
relationship (" What would the children think of
thei r father?")
Now, you' re probably thinking that this is the
point in the film where Blood Freak turns Into
comedy, right ? Nope. Unfortunately, it 's deadpan
seriousness all the way. So, what's a guy to do
when he has a monkey on his back, bloodlust in his
heart , and a big, laughable turkey mask stuck on
his head? In this case, he turns 10 God (and Angel)
for spiritual guidance; bul first he has 10 commit a
few drippy gross-oul murders , with fowl-minded
Herschell hanging his victims upside-down, slit-
ting their throats and lapping up the streams or
blood that pour out. He slices up some drug-
addled hippies, chops ofT a pusher 's leg with a
ci rcular saw, scares the bej esus out of the
supporting cast , and makes ridiculous bird noises.
But don' t worry, because he's saved by a load of
rubbish concerning "Faith in God" (plus a
patheticall y unimaginati ve twlst ending), and the
film ends with Herschel! wearing out his kneecaps
while praying for his rreedom from addiction.
Oh, I mustn' t forget about the nar rator who
pops up throughout the proceedings to comment
philosophically on the action and explain the
Incoherent storyline. Reading directl y from the
script . he drags continually on his cigarette and
comes across li ke a blear y-eyed, 4th-rate Criswell
in a cheap silk shirt .. , Maybe he's supposed to
look world-weary, but I say he's been swiggi ng
down the cheap whiskey for one too many liquid
OK. Just one question .. . Were these guys
serious? Or were they on the same drugs Herschell
was smoking? Actor/Co-director Steve Hawkes is
miserable on either side of the camera (as far as I
can tell . he was onl y allowed to make one other
film - a Sunn- Classic-style family-nick called
Stevie, Samson and Delilah, starri ng himself and
his son), and he must have gradualed magna cum
laude from the School of One-Take Film-making.
The acting sucks, The direction sucks. The
photography is so grainy and out-of-focus that you
wonder if the cinematographer had glaucoma.
The script is so inept that nobody would take
credit for it . And Blood Freak is such a
wholeheartedl y rotten movie that you feel like
spitting at the screen half the ti me.
reanimated corpse in William Castle's The Night
Comedian DAN ROWAN, who fronted the
popul ar Laugh In TV seri es wi th Dick Martin
( l968-n) died of cancer on September 22nd,
aged 65. The one !jIm they made together was a
horror spoof, The Mallese Bippy (1969) ,
American choreographer and later di rector
BOB FOSSE died of a heart attack on September
24t h at the age of 60. His deat h mirrors that of his
character Joe Gideon in All That Jazz (1979) .
fosse's other credits incl ude Damn Yankees,
Cabarel , and Lenny, and he appeared in the
fantasy The Lilllt! Prince.
Veteran Holl ywood leadi ng lady MARY
ASTOR (real name Lucille Langehanke) died on
September 25t h. She was in her early 80s, Mary
Astor began her career in silent fil ms duri ng the
earl y 19205 and went on to appear in Relurn of the
Terror (1934) , The Hurricane. The Maltese
Falcon, A Kiss Before Dying and Hush
Hush, Sweet Chllr/olle. She won an Oscar in 1941
for her bitchy performance in The Great Lie.
Though it 's advertised as a horror film, for the
first half the tone Is more on the level ofa late-60's
drug-paranoia piece, and It 's the only anti-
Chemical, Christian Splatter Film I've ever heard
or. And hopefully the last! . . . It' s an absolutely
ridiculous film that's more entertaining to read
about than actually sit through. I laughed all the
way through it, and hated every moment of it.
Stevt Puchalski
(Note: Brad F. Grimer is probably best forgotten
for his role in hastening the demise of Veronica
Lake by 'directing' her in Flesh Feast, her last
film. Heather Hllghes also appellred in the laller
travesty, executed with the kind of ineptitude that
makes Blood Freak the only logical step forward
. And you'll have'to ask Texan turkey outfit
Reel Movies why the back cover poster is
captioned Blood Freaks when the prim title and
original advert refer to said creature as a singular
entity . .. J

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