Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year!



Well- not for 1971! Have a Happy New Year in 2016! 


Try not to follow the Man of Steel's bad example tonight. 
Damn, Clark! 




Wednesday, December 30, 2015

THE HATEFUL EIGHT (2015) - Roadshow Screening!


When I learned that Quentin Tarantino's new western was going to be shown in all its 70mm film projection glory at only a few select theaters around the country I readied myself for disappointment. I was sure that since this meant that the theaters screening it would still have to have old style film projectors and our local art house cinema was closing up shop for six months of renovations on the very day THE HATEFUL EIGHT was set to debut that Nashville was NOT going to get the film in this format. Luckily I was wrong! Two theaters in Tennessee got the film - one in Knoxville and one right here in Nashville! Saddle up, boys! It's time for blood! 

 After some research I learned all the details of this version of the film and it increased my excitement. This was to be an old style movie screening in more than just the insistence on film projection. The version being shown turned out to be the longest edit of the film at a little over three hours, which would include an overture at the beginning and an eleven minute intermission in the middle. Tarantino has built the movie like one of the old Roadshow films from decades past! This means that the film that goes out to regular digital theaters in 2016 won't quite be the same as this cut and certainly won't have the overture and intermission. Also, in another nice touch reaching back to the old Hollywood Roadshow tradition, each person attending these screenings gets a souvenir booklet! How very cool!


So, how was the film? I loved every snow covered, bloody minute!

As far as I'm concerned, Tarantino can keep making westerns for the rest of his life. Much like DJANGO UNCHAINED this one is steeped in a vast love of the genre that shines through in every detail. Once again he takes elements from old films and recasts them, reshapes them into a fresh new tale. Besides the visual nods from a dozen movies (Carpenter's THE THING, Fuller's THE BIG RED ONE, etc.) he steals ideas from some great but under seen spaghetti westerns such as Corbucci's THE GREAT SILENCE and Fulci's FOUR OF THE APOCALYPSE combining them with a classic locked room mystery plot. The great Kurt Russell plays a bounty hunter known for bring in his charges alive so they can be tried and hung - emphasis on the 'hung'. His latest bounty is played by the very talented Jennifer Jason Leigh who's character Daisy is worth $10,000 for some unspecified murders. On the snowbound trail their stagecoach encounters Samuel Jackson as another bounty hunter trying to get his latest kills to Red Rock, Wyoming and, after some negotiations, he accompanies them on their way. A blizzard forces the trio and their coach driver to hole up in a lonely business known as Minnie's Haberdashery where they end up in the company of several men, one of whom may have plans to free Daisy from the noose.


This enclosed space is where the rest of the story plays out and it was fascinating to watch! Isolated location, desperate characters, hidden motivations and dark secrets come together in highly entertaining fashion with all involved really sinking their teeth into the proceedings. The entire cast is fantastic with great work from the always welcome Bruce Dern and a very nice role for Channing Tatum, who has turned out to be much more skilled an actor than I first thought. Not just another pretty face, eh, mon ami? Oui.


I could go on praising the super-widescreen photography, juicy wild west dialog, mean spirited moments and just the general glory of a film that revels in the joy and power of cinema. But instead I'll just name it one of the best I saw in 2015 and let go at that. These are the kind of films I live to see on the big screen! 

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Fantastic Films of Vincent Price #51 - THE RAVEN (1963)

Here is the latest episode of Dr. Gangrene's amazing video series covering ALL of the films of Vincent Price. Well worth your six minutes!



Saturday, December 26, 2015

Radiohead's Rejected Theme Song for SPECTRE (2015)

Although I was not one of the (many) people that expressed dislike for Sam Smith's theme song for the new James Bond, film I did find it completely forgettable. The forgettable nature of the song points toward my problem with it though. As much as I would agree that often the score of a film works best when it is unobtrusive, that cannot be said of a theme song. No! A theme song is there to be noticed and, in the case of Bond films, to give the audience a sense of the movie that is about to unfold before them. So, in that sense the chosen tune for SPECTRE fails.

As a counterpoint we now can see and hear the song composed for the film by British rock band Radiohead and I can say that it is a major improvement. That may be because I am a huge fan of the band, but I think it better fits the tone of the credit sequence and the film that follows. Look for yourself -




Thursday, December 24, 2015

A CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY (2015)


When I first saw the listing for A Christmas Horror Story (2015) I had major doubts. To begin with, it was going straight to video as far as I could tell which did not bode well. Also there was going to be a major Christmas horror movie coming out in theaters at nearly the same time called Krampus (see review already posted) so this seemed like a probable cheap cash-in. But after reading at least one good review about it and hearing a few other positive things floating around on Facebook I decided that I needed to give this a try. Plus, it turns out the film made the festival circuit back in the summer and got a limited release in October, so it wasn't some quickly produced rush job. Just wish it had played anywhere near me!


So last Friday night I used a free rental on Amazon Prime and settled in for what turned out to be an excellent dark little almost-anthology Christmas story. Now when I say 'almost anthology' you have to understand what I mean. A Christmas Horror Story doesn't follow the usual style of an anthology film of telling one tale and then moving on to the next. Instead it allows all the stories to unfold steadily over the course of the entire movie with each reaching it's climax in the final act. Adding to the unusual approach the film's several interlocking stories are completely separate from one other except for tangential connections. The linking connections usually involve one character in a story being related to a character from another story. These minor relationships are not necessary to enjoy the movie but they are a neat little extra as all the stories take place in the same small (apparently Canadian) town of Bailey Falls. Of course, extra points for the name Bailey - Thank You, It's a Wonderful Life!


I don't want to ruin the film for those curious but I will say that William Shatner as the town's slightly off the rails Christmas loving radio DJ proves once again just how talented he is onscreen. I've made fun of him for years, just like everyone else in the world, but he really is very good.


And be prepared for a little R rated dialog and violence as the film progresses. There are zombie elves, dead ghost girls and one incredibly creepy & murderous child that might give more sensitive viewers the screaming willies! Everyone else can sit back and enjoy.

Wow! We got two excellent Christmas themed horror films this year! Crazy! 


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Joker Got Away!


Come on! You know the words! 


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Trailers From Hell - THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993)



I don't talk about this film a lot but I really love it. I haven't rewatched it in years and I might not again this Christmas season simply because I don't have much time. But I'd like to see it again. Soon.

.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Bloody Pit #33 - NEW YEAR'S EVIL (1980)


For the first of our annual podcasts focused on Holiday Horrors we tackle 1980's NEW YEAR'S EVIL. A much maligned and neglected slasher film, NYE boasts a number of high points that its terrible reputation would have you think could never exist. While it is true that this film is a muddled oddity, it has more than a few moments of brilliance. No one will ever call it a masterpiece movie but it is never boring and it's highly entertaining - sometimes for the wrong reasons. Plus- how many movies can manage to get you to root for a homicidal maniac murdering innocent victims on a strict schedule? No matter what, that is a major cinematic accomplishment!

I am joined this time out by my longtime podcasting partner from the NaschyCast, Troy Guinn, as well as frequent Bloody Pit collaborator John Hudson. We pick apart NEW YEAR'S EVIL calling out it's bizarre structure and strange characters. Strangely, we find much to love in the movie as we spot more than a few successes among the number of glaring flaws. We relate our takes on the film as we discuss the story, comment on the unusual presentation of the Punk music scene, question the casting of certain roles, complain about the film's implausible timeline and posit some simple improvements that could have taken NYE from near-forgotten oddity to slasher classic.


We prattle on for a quite a while with John fitting in several wrestling metaphors but only one porn reference. Must have been an off day. We discuss the short career of Roz Kelly and note her late 1990's brush with the law. It is sad to see what become of Pinky Tuscadero. As the show proceeds you'll hear me become stunned as I'm reminded of the existence of Leather Tuscadero, a character I had mercifully blocked from my childhood reminiscences. I guess you only remember the good things from your formative years, huh?

We can be reached at the email address of thebloodypit@gmail.com where your comments would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for downloading and listening to the episode.





Saturday, December 19, 2015

What If the STAR WARS Prequels Were Good?

I, like billions of other people, am excited to see the new STAR WARS film but I have my expectations dialed way down because of the triple disaster of the prequels. This guy has noticed how easy it would have been for George Lucas to make those films GOOD if he had just employed a decent writer! Or some careful thought about plot mechanics or character motivations or anything else!

Well- check these out. This bright fellow has given those three messes some serious thought and posits a series of alterations that could have made them truly great. What an epic loss those films represent in science fiction film history.







Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Comic Books - Amazing Spider-Man #166


Nostalgia plays a part in most of the media that I like to watch and read around this time of year. One of the things from my childhood that I revisit each December are the Christmas themed superhero comic books of my youth. I'm not talking about Christmas themed religious comic books because then you get into the realm of Christmas stories about the Nativity or stories about other religious parables and that stuff in graphic form always kind of bored me. A lot! No, no - what I'm talking about are stories that take place around the Christmas season that involve superheroes and super villainy. The first one I was aware of came out when I was eight or nine and it's the issue pictured above of Spider-Man - or should I say The Amazing Spider-Man! Issue number 166, in fact.


The story takes place in the dead of winter with snow constantly falling and, of course, now when I reread it all I can think of is that Spiderman must be freezing his balls off! There's nothing Christmas about the story except that there is a Christmas party going on that Peter Parker can't get to because, as usual, he's chasing around some bad guy. In this case he is dealing with a couple of cold-blooded beasties who should be disliking the cold weather far more than they let on. We have poor cursed Curt Conners a.k.a. The Lizard and the brand new villain named Stegron.


Last week I picked up a cheap copy of this issue which I haven't seen or read for decades and it was a blast! I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting this issue of the comics of my childhood. Not only did it bring back a lot of memories but it was a fun thing to see what had ingrained itself so deeply in my head as a kid was still really good if occasionally pretty silly.  As an adult reading it I cringed a few times when a story element was a bit too ridiculous with the biggest eye roll coming from Stegron the Dinosaur Man's actually real name being Vincent Stegron. And he looks like a stegosaurus! Whew! OK. And Stegron's evil invention is a ray that can put living flesh back on dinosaur bones and bring them back to raging reptile life! Madness! But as a kid I ate this story up reading it over and over until I had it memorized. Silly is in the eye of the beholder and as a youngster my BS detector was much less sensitive.


I'm willing to admit that the reason I love this era of Spider-Man probably has a lot to do with nostalgia but there are objectively great things here too. Len Wein's dialog and characterizations are wonderful painting even briefly glimpsed cast members (Mary Jane, Flash Thompson, etc) color and life. And Ross Andru was the artist that I first grew to trust as a dynamic visual storyteller perfectly framing Spidey's often contorted poses as he battles opponents. These are the comics that turned me into a comic book fan. The Christmas angle was just the smile inducing whipped cream on the pumpkin pie! Plus- how can you not love a Christmas-time comic book that ends with this panel?


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

DC Comics Says Merry Christmas!







Happy Holidays! 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Merry Christmas From Wonder Woman!









And to all a good night! 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

KRAMPUS (2015)


I am happy to report that the new Christmas film KRAMPUS is a fantastic holiday treat! Well- if you're a horror-comedy fan it's a treat. I can't imagine that those seeking a safe night out at the movies with their loved ones will enjoy it but hopefully the ads let people know what they were getting into. This isn't a feel-good family story about the joys of being together for Christmas. Oh, no, no, no. This is a tale about the awful side of family relationships - the ones that make you dread the season because you are going to have to spend time with those distant unpleasant relatives that you would like to forget. This film asks the question, "What if you could wish those nasty folks away?" Not into a cornfield (Twilight Zone reference - three points!) but into the deadly arms of the Krampus!


What is the Krampus? In German folklore, Krampus was a horned, human-like supernatural creature who, during the Christmas season, punishes children who have misbehaved. He was seen as the opposite of Saint Nicholas, who rewards the well-behaved kids with gifts. In this movie the mythical figure is a dangerous monster that can be called by angry children to enact justice (as seen by a child) on those around the frustrated or ashamed. Picture it as a combination of the classic Monkey's Paw dilemma and getting one wish from the Genie's lamp - with all the hideous consequences that you might fear from a desire born in anger!


The film introduces us to a fairly happy but mildly dysfunctional family a few days before Christmas as hey prepare for the arrival of relatives for the holidays. The youngest child has been writing a letter to Santa at the behest of his German grandmother who has told the boy the legend of the Krampus. Once the visiting relations have settled into the house the children begin to tease each other which escalates into a terrible public embarrassment for the young boy because of his Santa letter. Tearing the paper into pieces he throws it into the wind wishing the worst for his mean spirited family. Suddenly a harsh winter storm descends on the house and the surrounding area cutting the power and knocking out cell phone reception. By the time people start disappearing it has become clear that something terrible stalks the snow covered land.


I was unaware until the credits rolled at the end that this was the latest film from the writer/director of the excellent Halloween film TRICK 'R' TREAT (2007). Usually I'm more well informed but this one slipped up on me. Much like that film KRAMPUS is first and foremost a well written story that has also been given solid cinematic treatment on every level. I could go on and on about the wonderful creature design, set detail, directorial cleverness, sound design and score but instead I want to briefly note the fine acting. I expect good performances from Toni Collette as I have never seen her do anything less than very well for nearly twenty years but Adam Scott as her husband was a surprise. He is familiar from several comedy roles but here he does very well as a caring father dealing with an unruly bunch of often ungrateful people. Likewise David Koechner is known for high profile comedy performances and, at first, his over the top brother-in-law character seems a one dimensional clown. But he, too, is given some real depth to play and he does it skillfully as he demonstrates his affection for his family. Indeed, one of the film's strengths is its cast, and director Dougherty is smart enough to let them add nuance to their characters often allowing significant grace notes at the end of scenes. Moments like those show a storytelling maturity that makes this wonderfully effective film so much more than it might have been in less confident hands.


Only time will tell if KRAMPUS is to become a much loved Holiday favorite, but I know I'll be watching it again next December. I hope more people give it a chance this year and maybe soon the writer/director will turn his eye toward another holiday for such treatment! Could there be an Arbor Day horror/comedy around the corner? Nah! Let's have a sequel to this or to TRICK 'R' TREAT!  

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Bloody Pit #32 - WESTWORLD (1973)


WESTWORLD is a fantastic science fiction tale from the early 1970's that deserves more notoriety on several levels. The first feature film written and directed by best selling author Michael Crichton, it has all of the strengths of a screenplay penned by a novelist but very few of the usual weaknesses that often come along with being too close to the page. It's a lean, mean 90 minute thrill ride that builds its characters and its suspense very well and seems to have been a major influence on later big screen projects. The movie was a big hit for MGM in 1973 spawning a sequel film and an attempted TV series in 1980 with HBO now set to remake the story as well. I guess the concept is simply too juicy to leave in the past! WESTWORLD stars James Brolin, Richard Benjamin and the legendary Yul Brynner along with a cast of very recognizable faces from Hollywood.


In this episode I'm joined by writer Randy Fox to discuss the film, our history with it and what it means to us as children of the 1970's. This was a film neither of us got to see in the theater but its TV screenings burned images into our memories for a lifetime. Of course, we circle the main subject for awhile, reminiscing about the state of science fiction cinema in the 70's before STAR WARS came along and forever altered the landscape. Our mutual love of the films of that decade shines through and eventually leads us to decide on another movie we should cover here on the podcast in the near future.


Along with our personal takes on the film we also have a fair amount of production information on the film including the battles with the studio over budget, the short shooting schedule, smart editing decisions, the injuries sustained by the cast, the height difference between director and star as well as a lesson from Brynner on how to not blink onscreen! Additional we touch on the many cinematic descendants of WESTWORLD, some of which may be surprising. So, join us for a trip to Delos where it seems certain that they have a vacation for you. And if you have any comments or questions please write us at thebloodypit@gmail.com where we'll be glad to hear from you. Thanks for downloading and listening. 





Tuesday, December 08, 2015

A Marvel Comics Merry Christmas!






Sunday, December 06, 2015

What I Watched In November


Last month saw the debut of the latest Bond film, SPECTRE and I caught it opening weekend, like you do. I've been a big fan of the Daniel Craig Bond era films feeling that the revision of the character was both overdue and well done bringing needed gravitas and believability to a series that often made feints at emotional complexity but rarely succeeded in generating more than thrills. Not that there is anything wrong with thrills- that is why we watch a spy movie/action film in the first place. But sometimes the spectacle can be quite hollow without a sense of danger or the feeling of connection to the events onscreen. The Craig films have shown a mature sense of what loss can do to people and why regret is sometimes the standard state of being for people in high risk jobs. These last four Bond movies seem to me the most natural outgrowth of the original Connery films. Craig's Bond is now at the point that Connery's version of the character should have been allowed to reach by 1970. If the series' producers had had the vision to let Bond age and grow older, shouldering his experiences like the barely repaired tool of the state that he has become, these last two films would have been what that man was destined to be - haunted, desperate and fearful that his path was too crooked to be followed any longer.


All that may make it sound as if I didn't enjoy SPECTRE but that is not true. This fourth Craig adventure is a solid if unremarkable Bond film that has plenty of thrills and fantastic moments even if it ends up seeming less than what it should have been. The biggest crime the film commits is an almost criminal underuse of the great Christophe Waltz as the story's central villain. He is given so little to do that it is painful to see an actor of his talent squandered in such an underwritten role. As a mysterious man from Bond's background he is far less menacing than he should be and I can't escape the sense that the script needed another pass to give him more to do. Damned shame. With a little luck he will return in the next film to be more of the bad guy he was set up to be for the first hour of this film.


The rest of the movie is standard Bond heroics - and I consider that a complement. There is a certain lack of cohesiveness to the plotting that occasionally caused me to have to mentally backtrack for the reason for each change of locale, but I'd rather the film move quickly than overstate each point so I'm not going to complain too much. I actually found the events back in London with M and his problems with the destruction of MI-6 to be more interesting at times than the globe hopping of the superspy. I can't say that has ever been true of one of these movies before. Overall I like this movie but it does not reach the heights of SKYFALL or CASINO ROYALE. This is a good mid-range Bond film which means that Craig now has two solid wins, one loss and what I will call a TKO. I hope he does one more of these and that the script rises above the bare bones construct-a-threat level this one sinks to far too often. 

The List 

SAW III (2007)- 5 
SEE NO EVIL 2 (2014)- 6 
METAMORPHOSIS (1989)- 3 (pretty bad but kind of fun Euro-Trash horror) 
BEYOND DARKNESS (1990)- 3 (pretty bad Euro-Horror) 
LET US PREY (2014)- 7 (solid Scottish horror effort) 
SPECTRE (2015)- 7 
THE PROWLER (1951) - 8 (sharp film noir) 
WITCHERY (1988)- 3 (Hasselhoff and Linda Blair in a Euro-horror mess) 
MORTAL SIN (1977) - 6 (Spanish drama/soap opera) 
VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WONDERS (1971)- 8 (surreal arthouse horror) 
BLOODSTONE: SUBSPECIES II (1993) -5 
THE HOLLOW (2004)- 3
A DOG  CALLED VENGEANCE (1979) - 6 (a.k.a. EL PERRO) 
SAW IV (2007)- 5 
THE DEADLY COMPANIONS (1961) - 6 (Peckinpah's first feature) 
THE DARK HALF (1992)- 9 (rewatch) 
ABAR, THE FIRST BLACK SUPERMAN (1977) - 2 (incredibly poor blaxploitation) 
VICE SQUAD (1982) - 6 (rewatch) 
TERMINATOR: GENYSIS (2015)- 7 (rewatch) 
THE INVISIBLE MENACE (1938)- 6 (minor Karloff murder mystery) 
MIAMI CONNECTION (1987) - 1 (hilariously bad 'action' film) 
Rifftrax - THE SWORD & THE SORCERER (1982)- 8 (film is only 3 but...) 
RINGO AND HIS GOLDEN PISTOL (1966) - 7 (a.k.a. JOHNNY ORO) 
FURY IN THE TROPICS (1986) - 5 (Interesting Jess Franco WIP) 




Saturday, December 05, 2015

The Muppets sing Christmas tunes!





I know it's getting a lot of hate but I am loving the new Muppet TV show and I hope they use it to make more cool Christmas moments like this.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

WOMEN'S PRISON MASSACRE (1983)

I'm not sure what the heyday for Women in Prison movies was but I'm pretty sure that by 1983 the wave had crested. By then I assume that the conventions of the genre were in place and most interested moviegoers knew what to expect from such a film — there will be at least one wrongfully imprisoned inmate and she will invariably be the most attractive; the prison will be run by a hard-ass and possibly corrupt warden; there will be plenty of female nudity and at least some lesbian groping; and harsh girl-on-girl violence will erupt as often as it can be inserted into the plot. As long as these elements are in the movie, other things are negotiable. So its usually much more fun to track a film's success in juggling these elements than it is to quibble over the fact that one resembles another. The joys are in the details.

And so we come to Bruno Mattei's Women's Prison Massacre. Mattei (hiding behind one of his many pseudonyms) puts all his pieces in place and creates his usual derivative, trashy mess. I don't think there was an original bone in the guy's body but his ability to assemble a shambling Frankenstein, made up of parts ripped from other people's work, is almost unrivaled in its bold theft and entertainment value. Mattei's films are never good, but they are fun. This one is no exception.



The movie begins during a strange stage show being performed by three of the prison's inmates. Dressed seductively and painted up like mimes, the women spout autobiographical confessions in bizarre self-important monologues. This avant-garde act doesn't go over well with the prisoner audience; lead by the very touchy blonde firebrand Albina (Ursula Flores), a minor riot breaks out to end the show. Where all those fruits and vegetables came from to be thrown at the actors I have no idea, but it makes for a funny scene with plenty of flying tomatoes.


It turns out that this play was written by inmate Emanuelle (Laura Gemser). She was given permission to stage the show by the warden, Colleen (Lorraine De Selle), who is now quite angered by the reaction. You'd think she would have thought about this before letting the inmates see it. Now she insists the dialog must be cut and toned down or there will be no more shows. Here we learn that Emanuelle is a crusading journalist, imprisoned by a corrupt district attorney named Robinson for getting too close to his criminal enterprises. It's also obvious that this Emanuelle is supposed to be the same one played by Gemser in the loose series of "Black Emanuelle" films made from 1976 to the early 1980s. I was a little surprised by this, as I was unaware of this movie's connection to the character, but it fits in neatly with the others and Gemser is always pleasing to see. I have begun to wonder just how many official and unofficial Black Emanuelle films there were, though... I've seen about 10 and they just keep on coming — if you know what I mean!

Well, just when you think the focus of Women's Prison Massacre is going to be the trials of putting on a brilliant piece of high-minded performance art in a prison hellhole, the story shifts. Or lurches, rather. Albina definitely has it in for Emanuelle and her fellow actors. As play performers Irene (Antonella Giacomini) and Laura (Maria Romano) are enjoying some lesbian heavy petting in the communal showers, the enraged blonde stomps off and alerts the guards. These guards slap the two lovers around and hold their heads underwater much to Albina's delight. Emanuelle complains to the warden about the incident but since the guards claim they did nothing wrong, it stops there. Emboldened by this success, Albina arranges with the guards to have some time alone with Emanuelle and attacks her in the showers. Humorously, Albina's fighting skills are sorely lacking and E puts the smackdown on her easily, pulling her blonde wig off in the process.

At this point we are witness to the warden taking a phone call from corrupt D.A. Robinson, insuring him that Emanuelle will be done away with very soon. Proving she's dumber than she looks, Albina tries again to kill E, this time with a knife, while both the guards and the warden look on. Once again E kicks the crap out of the lunatic and ends things by burying the knife in her opponent's thigh. As the screaming, cursing woman is dragged away to the infirmary Emanuelle is returned to her cell, smile firmly in place. Further attempts to have the reporter die by inmate violence are postponed when the warden receives word of an emergency. Four vicious male prisoners were being transported to the prison to be held for a few days (prior to their executions) when their partners made a bid to spring them. In the resultant gun battle two cops were killed and the van they were traveling in was wrecked. The lone surviving cop (Carlo De Mejo) manages to get the criminals to the women's jail, but as they're being placed in cells the four men gain the upper hand, taking the warden and the now wounded cop hostage. They close off the cellblock (with its dozen or so inmates) and start issuing demands.


From here on the film is a prison siege story, with the police trying to end things without more death and the inmates inside indulging in whatever nastiness they wish with the trapped female prisoners. The four men are a fine bunch of bastards, too. Gemser's real-life husband and frequent co-star Gabriele Tinti plays "Crazy Boy", the brains of the group. He gets the cops outside to give him a walkie-talkie and makes his standard three demands: $5 Million in small bills, a getaway car and safe passage out of the country. Of course, he might as well have asked for the letter M to be stricken from the English language, but he seems content. His gives them a three hour deadline and then the sadistic fun begins.


Anyone conversant with the genre can guess the end point from here but with Mattei it's always a question of just how perverse he will get before the credits roll. In this one he gets pretty damned perverse! Even before we get to the rape, razor blades in vaginas and SWAT team assaults the film has already laid the crazy card on the table. Irene has a male blow up doll she sleeps with and the prison appears to be in a poorly kept medieval palace. Even goofier, the film tries hard to pretend it's taking place in California even though its European locale is obvious in everything from the cars to the buildings to the countryside. I seriously doubt that any U.S. police department has ever fielded a subcompact cruiser, much less one with an extension cord running up to power the rooftop lights. And I was laughing out loud at the high level police officer's uniforms with more decorations and braid than a dress parade general.

But all this stuff is part of the fun of a silly, guilty pleasure like this. Say what you will about Mattei's lack of skill in most areas of filmmaking, but the man knew his lowbrow targets. Even as he steals something so plainly as the Russian Roulette scene from The Deer Hunter he manages to add a gory note to things that can't help but produce either a shudder or a laugh depending on your tastes. For trash connoisseurs there is some real fun to be had with Women's Prison Massacre. All others would be best warned off.