Two Female Spies With Flowered Panties (1980)

    Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties tells the timeless tale of two men in their golden years who come together every Wednesday to talk of life’s foibles over a game of chess…I’m just F’n with ya; it’s the story of two incarcerated strippers, Cecile and Brigitte, who are offered a reprieve to go deep undercover…as strippers…to help nab a human trafficking ring in Paris. Said trafficking involves an evil, and drop dead gorgeous, woman who possesses a magic opal that hypnotizes her slaves who are broken down by a lil’ in and out involving her henchman (one such sequence lasts so long you could actually have sex, smoke a cigarette, go for a post coitus nosh, and return for a second go before it comes to an end). Anyhow, our burlesque bombshells are soon hot on the heels of the dastardly lot and what follows is: women in bikinis being shot at from helicopters, mountains of mammaries (towers of tits?), sky high bush, shots that go out of focus (hey, it’s a Franco flick), a hippie commune that lives in caves (I have no idea either), boob rubbin’, pube rubbin’, implied peen rubbin’…lots of things get rubbed in this one folks…all set to music that sounds like it came out of a random Pink Panther cartoon.

    The chief thing working in this film’s favor is the fact that it’s absolutely packed to the gills with female flesh, so if nudity is your bag tiger, you just hit the jackpot! Another strong element is the playful interaction between the two leads Lina Romay and Nadine Pascal (as Cecile and Brigitte respectively), they really seem like long time friends, and at times they are just patently ditzy, which really endears them to the audience. Finally, the sex traffickers…while what they do is ultra-sleazy, they are so over-the-top, comic book ridiculous that they become entertaining as hell…they are like some sort of sex based super villains.

    As for the negative, there is a lot of rape in this thing, so if that is a cinematic pet peeve just move along partner. Also on display are a flaming homosexual stereotype (that one of our heroines has sex with, because remember kids, rape is a two way street…though to be fair, it’s all presented in a broadly comedic, knowingly un-PC way), outrageously long (and by that I mean outrageously long) sex and stripping sequences, and a pace that’s all over the damn place.

    All of that said, Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties is an amazingly enjoyable, delightfully sleazy, over-the-top romp that doesn’t take a damn thing seriously.

    While the film is full of raunchy good times, there are some bonus materials thrown in by those freaky fellows at Severin to keep out interest aroused after the curtain closes on the main event. Included are: archival interviews with Director Jess Franco and Composer Daniel White, an info packed discussion of the film by author Stephen Thrower, some (unfortunately silent) outtakes, and the film’s trailer. Also included on a separate DVD is the Spanish cut of the film that trims of the entire opening of the film (along with other minor plot changes)…a nice bonus for those of us that like to contrast and compare a flick’s various versions.

    If you are a Franco-phile, lover of the absurd, or are just horny AF, then Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties is the flick for you; it’s ridiculous, filled with comic book villainy, and oh so very sleazy…in other words, a near perfect grindhouse/drive-in flick experience!

    The Consequence (2017)

    Mad film making genius CHRZU (Nightsatan and the Loops of Doom) returns with The Consequence; the follow up to his short film The Contract (2015). Once again featuring the notorious anti-ingenue Carlotta Moore, The Consequence picks up in the aftermath of the indescribable events of the first film with our heroine struggling to break free from the crippling shackles of her astounding super-stardom as she flees from demonic versions of some familiar faces from our pop culture lexicon. At first I couldn’t believe my eyes…was this a more sedate and philosophical entry in the ongoing saga of Carlotta? Hahaha…’twas the calm before the storm my fiends, as before you can say “baby powder blue eye shadow” a naked savage accosts Moore, and what happens next is so unbelievably, jaw droppingly offensive that your jaw will hit the floor so hard it’ll end up in China!

    Part pointed commentary on how one can become a literal slave to stardom and part John Waters without a filter (if you can imagine such a thing), CHRZU has once again created a short film that will surprise, entertain, and actually say something. But that being said, you should make no mistake: The Consequence is pitch perfect exploitation with all of the profound ability to fuck your eyes raw and melt your brain like all great shock cinema should (but it’s gorgeously shot and contains another great score provided by Nightsatan).

    If there is a negative to be found with this mini-feature, it’s that if you are easily offended (although I do have to interject that if you are why are you reading my column?) this picture will not be your cup of tea. Also, at a brief six minutes, I was left wanting much more Moore…so c’mon CHRZU, be a pal and give us more of what we want (though I can scarcely imagine the wicked wonders that would comprise ninety full minutes with Carlotta…).

    If you see The Consequence playing at a film fest near you, I urge you to check it the hell out; the whole experience is like getting a hot pink stiletto straight to your throat while you masturbate to a Divine music video…so you know, highly recommended!

    Here’s some stills of ol’ Carlotta in action!

    Portrait of a Monstrous Soul (2017)

    Hey creeps, ol’ XIII here with a disclaimer…what follows is a review of a flick I appear in, so I handed the review off to frequent guest reviewer Shane Migliavacca. He’s an honest dude, but if the idea of this review sticks in your craw feel free to move along!

    Regional film making of the ‘70s and ‘80s is a wonderful thing; it gave us many a wonderful genre film…but it also appeared to die off. But wait! It appears to be back, and the subject of this review, Portrait of a Monstrous Soul, serves as an example of what the genre can offer us today…so let’s check it out shall we?

    Immortal maniac Dorian Grey breezes into town…the same town where the Vampire  DeBlood is recuperating from an intense battle with legendary vampire Dracula (as seen in last year’s installment Bataille de Sang). Grey is apparently a mad bastard, and engages in a murder spree, which draws DeBlood’s attention as he thinks it’s his enemy Drac. Soon DeBlood and Grey are headed for a fiend on fiend showdown!

    Portrait of a Monstrous Soul is the newest entry in the ongoing Vampire DeBlood series. I haven’t seen any of the previous films, so I can’t comment on them, but I enjoyed this one. Filmed in the style of a silent film, the overall vibe felt like a classic Universal monster mash (admirable considering the film’s low budget).

    Director Mark Dickinson does a nice job here as he creates a great ambiance, utilizing beautiful old buildings to great effect. The effects are low budget and the black and white film does a good job of adding to them (in color they might have stood out more in the wrong way). Also of note is the acting, which displayed the right mix of the theatrical style of silent films with a touch of the grand Hammer feel.

    All and all, I dug this little silent quickie; it evoked the right horror feel and shows that down n’ dirty regional film making is still alive and kicking in the new age!

    Don’t Torture a Duckling (1972)

    Guest Review by Shane Migliavacca

    In Don’t Torture a Duckling, a local boy goes missing In a small Italian village which ignites a media frenzy. As reporters flock to the southern village, the residents demand swift and brutal justice. The police are quick to arrest a local mentally handicapped man, but Martelli (Tomas Milian), a perceptive reporter from Rome, doesn’t think the police have the right suspect. Martelli soon meets and teams up with Patrizia (Barbara Bouchet), a socialite involved in a big drug scandal, and the duo set off to track the killer as more murders ensue.

    Gone are the typical urban trappings most often associated with the giallo genre, as horror maestro Lucio Fulci shakes things up and has the story take place in a rural setting…which feels almost medieval (thanks in large part to the near-primitive village and a large stone church which looms over it). Also adding to the dichotomy are a plot revolving around a spiritual battle between witchcraft and Catholicism and the very mod ‘70s fashions and modern structures like highway overpass set against the bucolic setting and draconian cathedral. All of this helps Don’t Torture a Duckling stand out among the sea of giallos produced at this time.

    One element of the film that doesn’t break with tradition are the murders; which are suspenseful and brutal; with the standout scene taking place in a crumbling cemetery where a lynch mob exacts brutal justice on who they believe is the killer. It’s violent, haunting, and surprisingly quite beautiful and in my opinion it’s the best scene Fulci ever directed.

    Speaking of tradition, Arrow gives you quite a bit of bonus material in this release as they so often do. Included are: a new audio commentary by Troy Howarth, a discussion of the film with giallo expert Mikel J. Koven, a new video essay by Kat Ellinger, and interviews with co-writer/director Lucio Fulci, actor Florinda Bolkan, cinematographer Sergio D Offizi, assistant editor Bruno Micheli and assistant makeup artist Maurizio Trani.

    If you are a fan of Fulci or the giallo, you need to pick this edition up…it’s a great way to experience a classic, and the extras definitely make it worth your time!

    The Otherworld (2013)

    Genius film maker Richard Stanley brings us this; the filmed record of the self professed strangest thing that’s ever happened to him (and if you know anything about Stanley, then you know what follows will be a true fucking deep dive into the off-kilter).  So here’s the long and short of it: Stanley goes in search of (see what I did there?) an arcane hot spot located in the south of France. While there he encounters bizarre tales of strange architecture that was meant to deliver an optimal spiritual experience, odd geographic anomalies, ancient rites of occult sects, a haunted mirror, floating orbs, u.f.o.s, past life regression…oh and Lucio Fulci video covers (?!!) factor in as well…Anyway, not content to let Stanley and his companion Scarlett Amaris just hear other’s accounts of the region, the powers that be ensure that they encounter first hand a being that they simply can not explain.

    Stanley is one of my favorite film makers, and I will gladly follow him wherever he may lead…and when said journey involves the truly staggering amount of paranormal occurrences contained in The Otherworld (no matter if they are true or not, which in this case is irrelevant as the piece attempts to establish a mood and sense of the place more than anything) even better! Beautifully lensed and containing a heady blend of fascinating stories, legends, historical fact, and interesting individuals (the sorcerer Uranie and his pop culture laced talismans is a real standout), this is a documentary like no other, and is recommended for anyone that digs on tales of the unexplained mixed with transcendent spiritual experiences in a manner not entirely the speculative paranormal docs of the 1970’s. In other words, it’s a true outre head trip!

    As if the main event won’t make your head spin enough, those sexy devils at Severin have included some choice bonus content on this release as well. First up you get a duo of deleted scenes that offer up even more tales of outre occurrences. Following that you get a thirty minute peek behind the scenes of the film’s production, followed by the film’s trailer. Saving the best for last, if you are one of the first 2,500 to pick up a copy of The Otherworld on Blu-ray, you get a bonus DVD containing three more Stanley lensed documentaries (Voice of the Moon, The White Darkness, and The Secret Glory respectively) that cover subjects including the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, Voodoo practices in Haiti, and SS officer Otto Rahn’s search for the Holy Grail (which ties into the region in France explored in The Otherworld…and is a fantastic watch for those that love Raiders of the Lost Ark or Hellboy).

    If you love In Search Of…, Altered States, or even a good ol’ ghost story, you will doubtless enjoy the hell out of The Otherworld; it’s earnest, off-the-wall, eerie, and thoroughly engrossing!

    Motorrad (2017)

    Hugo, a young man desperate to fit in with his brother and his friends, embarks on a dirt bike trek to an ultra-isolated, rocky no man’s land in a quest for personal freedom. When the group arrives, they encounter a mysterious rock wall that wasn’t present before (and even stranger, a rider they encounter has seen no wall even though it stretches around the land). After some frolic, things turn even more odd as four, black clad riders appear on the scene. Well, before you can say Evil Knieval, we witness one of the dark riders cut a man’s head clean off leaving no doubt these dudes are moto-psychos of the highest order!

    Filled to bursting with breakneck action, explosive violence, artistic cinematography, and a desaturated palette that echoes the barren landscape in which it takes place, Motorrad (co/written/directed by Vicente Amorim  and co-written by L.G. Bayãois an amazingly effective slasher flick, that has echoes of The Hills Have Eyes (or perhaps more accurately Part 2 due to the dirt bikin’) and other slay-a-thons, but never feels derivative or unoriginal. This is accomplished chiefly thanks in no small part to the nearly preternatural antagonists and the strong undercurrent of “coming of age” yarn that is Hugo’s quest for acceptance by his older brother as an equal. Also of note are the gore effects and heart stopping stunt work, both of which are top shelf and contribute greatly to the film’s entertainment value.

    If there’s a negative aspect, it’s that for the most part none of the characters beyond Hugo are actually fleshed out to any great extent…and that goes for the killers as well; who they are, where they came from and just what they are up to is never explained, nor is the strange wall, or the involvement of Paula (Hugo’s kinda/sorta love interest and the rider mentioned above) in the goings-on. I personally enjoy it when things are left ambiguous in a fright flick, especially one with hinted supernatural activity, but your mileage may vary.

    Bloody, fast paced, and brutal, Motorrad is a high octane murder machine that will surely satisfy stalk n’ slash fanatics!

    Leatherface (2017)

    After a scene detailing a young Leatherface’s well, he ain’t quite Leather yet…rather he’s a young boy that actually doesn’t like using a chainsaw to hack up helpless victims (I know, it’s like when Popeye hated spinach in that Altman flick). Time passes and Kid Leather becomes adept at luring prey for the ol’ Sawyer family to murder (wearing his first mask…in this case a severed cow’s head), including the daughter of a Texas Ranger named Hartman (played by a scenery devouring Stephen Dorff). Upon discovering this lil’ bit o’ horror biz, the lawman makes sure our “hero” gets his ass sent far away from his kill crazy clan, and after bouncing around foster homes, the not-so-little anymore tyke finds himself shoved into a mental institution. Before long, Leather (along with some other inmates and a kidnapped nurse) go AWOL from the loony bin and hit the open road with Hartman in hot pursuit.

    Leatherface has a lot going for it; it’s beautifully shot, competently acted, and features a story that is entertaining enough (the mystery of just which one of the escaped patients is our boy Leather manages to keep the viewer guessing), and (most importantly)the film moves at a good clip. While not exactly plentiful for most of the flick’s runtime, there are some solid gore effects (some highlights include a man being bludgeoned against a window until his head finally breaks the glass, our protagonists hiding in the corpse of a rotting steer, and a woman making out with a corpse for no good reason). Adding to the overall feel is a solid, and at times haunting, score from composer John Frizzell.

    What doesn’t work is that as horror hounds, we come into a picture like this (namely one in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise) expecting one thing; a dude in a human skin mask slicing n’ dicing people into so much hamburger with a rather large, very loud chainsaw. Well, I’m not saying you don’t get that in this film…it’s just that co-directors Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury (working from a screenplay by Seth M. Sherwood) have made the downright baffling choice to not even have our beloved icon hold a chainsaw until the hour and eighteen minute mark (out of an hour and thirty minute feature), and the skin mask comes even later than that. Now I know, this was strictly intended as an origin for Leatherface (more on that sticky wicket in a tick), but c’mon, don’t be so precious with your origin tale that you can’t satisfy the very audience the picture was intended for! Speaking of the target audience, I’m sure a lot of you will complain that any explanation is given for Leatherface’s origins at all (for the record, this is the second time this has been attempted), but honestly that didn’t bother me, and believe me; nothing presented here diminishes the character.

    Look, Leatherface is by no means a bad film; it’s well made, suspenseful, and a great tale of lunatics on the lam hunted by possibly an even bigger lunatic…it just falls short as an entry in the Texas Chainsaw series by not giving us more of exactly what we love about these features in the first place.

    Suffer, Little Children (1983)

    Oh S.O.V. (that’s short for “shot on video” for the uninitiated out there), you drunkenly delirious subgenre…you continue to prove that while any one with a camcorder could technically make a film, that by no means implies that they should have…but my lord do I ever enjoy watching them! Where am I going with all of this? Nowhere…wait, that’s not right…oh yeah, Suffer, Little Children. That shit was shot on a camcorder, and I’m going to tell you if it’s worth your time, money, or any combination thereof…

    So, Suffer, Little Children goes a lil’ something like this: Elizabeth, a mute lil’ moppet, is dropped of at a children’s home (which contains an inordinate amount of sweet tiger posters). Some of the other wards give her some ‘tude and they have a little accident as ‘Liz smirks and a guitar riff plays (the calling card of her powers). Moving on, rockstar Mick and his pal Hustler (other members of his entourage doubtless include High Society, Leg Show, and Juggs) arrive at the home to visit the kids and go over the details of a charity gig they are playing for the institution (and to talk to the kitchen staff…fitting because this sequence eats up so much run time), and while there Mick gives Elizabeth his cross. Before long, Lizzie gives the other girls spook show nightmares replete with zombies and picnics (the hell?!!) by working a little hand juju, Bela style. Anyway, that charity gig pays off and the kids get a hi-fi with which they immediately play the film’s theme song (a bold choice movie…I salute you)…this leads to more mayhem, but most importantly a scene of wistful leaf twirling set to music that wouldn’t be out of place on an especially emotional episode of High Feather. Soon, the folks that run the home get wise to the fact that Elizabeth is a bit of murderous psycho, but before they can do anything about her demonic personality comes the fore! Killer office furniture, savagely atrocious voice overs, more shitty zooms than a Franco film, and a rather large amount of stabbings ensue.

    Loaded with bizarre filler (the “out on the town” sequence is a huge offender here as long, dialog less scenes of people enjoying themselves by un-enthusiastically dancing at the award losing Cloudbusters Club as Elizabeth glares and mopes in a strobe light like something out of an early Danzig video), at times technically inept, and jammed with blistering guitar riffs, Suffer, Little Children is a solid gold winner in my beastly book! Trust me on this one, while the brunt of the feature is entertaining enough, the climax of this film is so staggeringly bat shit insane it’s worth the price of admission alone as it features mass bloody murder, comic book occultism, and a special guest star that had my jaw hitting the floor…especially with the super power they displayed.

    As for extra features on this release, you get: an interview with the film’s director Alan Briggs, that while brief really details what it was like to bring this lunacy to the screen, an interview with “video nasty” expert John Martin concerning Suffer, Little Children’s place within the classification, and the film’s trailer.

    Cheap, off-kilter, and full of fun ideas and grizzly good times, Suffer, Little Children is for me the ultimate S.O.V. fright flick…don’t miss this one fiends!

    The Forlorned (2017)

    A young dude named Tom takes a job at a remote lighthouse…a lighthouse the locals shun like one would a cup full of bobonic plague laced vomit. Why you may ask? Well, Tom isn’t there more than five whole minutes before it becomes painfully obvious the place is haunted as all shit; appliances play sounds that are the audio equivalent of a million tortured souls whispering sweet nothings in your ear, mysterious voices fill the air, the previous caretaker met with an untimely end…yet Tom sticks around like a person with a death wish. I mean c’mon…I would be out the door after the faintest popcorn fart of a sign of paranormal activity, but not this stooge. Anyway after getting assaulted by ghost stories from the locals things get even stranger at the ol’ lighthouse (for example there’s a ghost boar…yeah,…) and before long Tom wages a war against the supernatural for control of his sanity and very existence.

    The Forlorned is a bit of a mixed bag, but ultimately proves to be worth a view. In the plus column, the film is loaded with heaps of Gothic atmosphere. The lonely lighthouse, the remote town, hell even the snowy landscape all add up to a rich, eerie aesthetic that perfectly sets the tone for the film. Also adding to the tone are the near constant ghost stories the townsfolk fill the head of our hapless hero with…at heart this is flick has a real campfire ghost story vibe, so it makes sense to have spook show yarns bein’ spun throughout. The acting is fairly strong here too with Colton Christensen playing a perfect “everyman” type of put upon protagonist who gets more and more a-scared as he’s confronted with the sinister unknown…before changing gears completely in the 11th hour.

    On the opposite end of things; The Forlorned is a bit of a slow burn. Tom is haunted for sure, but things escalate in slow steps rather than a full on, special effects bonanza. I loved this aspect, as it really creates a fantastic sense of mounting dread, but I know that some of you cats n’ creeps are annoyed by such pacing. Also, Tom is definitely not a “man of action”…he basically stumbles through his days as the spirit realm does what it does to him, even going so far as having almost nonchalant convos with the spirits…again, I thought this was a refreshing change of pace from the histrionics that normally accompany such meetings…but for some it may be too unbelievable, as is the fact that Tom hangs around as shit gets worse and worse (and yeah, I know…suspension of disbelief and all that).

    Loaded with atmosphere and Gothic sensibility, The Forlorned is a fun lil’ excursion into ghostly terror for those that can be patient with a slow burn pace.

    Lycan (2017)

    Lycan takes place in 1986. Why am I mentioning this? Well, besides a little title card that says the year, nothing on screen (save for a mini video camera) will convince you that the picture takes place in the ’80’s…the hair styles are wrong, the clothes are wrong, hell, even the music they chose for the soundtrack is wrong. Why on Earth even bother to make your film a period piece then just say “Ah, fuck it” and dress people in whatever they came to the set wearing. With that out of the way, let me tell you what this lil’ fright flick is all about: Outcast Isabella (who may be mentally ill, or under a curse…honestly, it’s so hard to tell with those things) is selected at random to join a select group of college students tasked with reevaluating an historical subject. What does this brain trust settle on? Surely an item of immense cultural significance, right? Nope, they pick some random bullshit about a werewolf that supposedly stalked the land in ye olden days. It just so happens the grave of said werewolf sits on Isabella’s family’s property so off our heroes trod into the woods to see what they can see. Of course, the streotyp…err, I mean characters start getting picked off one by one…but is it actually a werewolf, and if so is one of the red herrings not so red?

    I’m not going to beat around the bush, this picture did nothing for me. The characters come off as bitchy stereotypes rather than the more witty and sarcastic characters they are supposed to be (there’s a real Breakfast Club vibe going on with these kids; there’s the jock, the outcast, the stuck-up sorority babe…but these folks have none of the charm of that lot). Adding to the “meh” are the uninspired kills, the cliched slasher in the woods scenario, and the unsatisfying werewolf angle is the final nail in the coffin for me.

    As unsatisfying as the film is, the extras follow suit with a handful of cast and crew interviews, a panel discussion with the producers and writers, and the film’s trailer comprising all that is to be found.

    If you have to see every single werewolf film ever made, then give Lycan a shot I guess…as for the rest of you, blast this one through the heart with a silver bullet and call it a day.

    Daniel XIII
    Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

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