October 19, 2018


You know what I think? I think that we’re all in our private traps, clamped in them, and none of us can ever get out. We scratch and we claw, but only at the air, only at each other. And for all of it, we never budge an inch” – Norman Bates, PSYCHO

There’s quite a bit of Norman Bates lurking inside the Michael Myers of John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN. This was before the film had spawned a complicated franchise full of brother-sister revelations, mystic Celtic runes, and reality TV show shenanigans. The Michael Myers of HALLOWEEN, which will be referred to as HALLOWEEN 1978 from this point on, is just a man (albeit one who can take some serious abuse), a vessel for a fractured, psychopathic personality forever fixated on a single act of violence he committed as a child.

That quote from PSYCHO up there? That is what Norman is referring to, not relationship troubles or family issues, but psychopathy, a point of pure trauma that renders an individual perpetually stuck in time. For Norman, his sexual desire for his mother and his subsequent act of matricide has left him in a regressive, almost childlike state, every feeling of lust a potential cause for murder. For Michael Myers, his act of sororicide has left him in a similar state, his obsessive need to keep murdering his sister triggered when young Laurie Strode wanders onto his front porch. Just like that, Michael has found a surrogate sister and the cycle of violence begins anew.

Carpenter’s film is best watched as a singular entity. Every film that came after changed the nature of both the narrative and the villain at the center of it. In erasing all of the sequels, David Gordon Green’s HALLOWEEN 2018, gets back to the basic underlying psychosis of the original film. Michael is not Laurie’s brother. There is no Man in Black, no psychic connections to family members, no talk of “the rage” beating within Myers’ black heart. Michael is once again just a psycho in a mask.

But Green’s film does something quite interesting… it addresses the impact of Michael’s 1978 killing spree by reinventing Laurie Strode as a PTSD-riddled prepper who, like Michael, is stuck forever in time, a victim of her own brand of psychosis. The film is at its most interesting when it explores this issue, painting Laurie and Michael as two different sides of the same damaged coin, both linked by violence, both scarred by violence, both doomed to violence. There’s no need for Laurie and Michael to be sister and brother in this narrative. Here, they’re linked by something far more intimate and, quite possibly, much stronger than simple DNA.

Laurie is estranged from her family, stuck in her “own private trap”, a paranoid, ex-alcoholic agoraphobe whose home is littered with weapon caches, door locks and booby traps. In the same way that Michael sits waiting for his opportunity to finish what he started all those years back, Laurie’s life has been consumed with the thought of Michael escaping and the vengeance she wishes to bring down upon him. Even with a hundred plus miles and four decades between them, they’re still fighting in the upstairs bedroom of the Doyle house.

This is the central narrative thrust of the film and when it is at the forefront, HALLOWEEN 2018 is a strong, heavy piece of work. Unfortunately…

For as much love and respect that Green and his co-writer Danny McBride show to Carpenter’s original film, HALLOWEEN 2018 simply does not feel like a HALLOWEEN movie. Gone are the playfulness and the attention to suspense. Michael Myers doesn’t feel like a silent, patient stalker anymore. He feels like a goddamn ballistic missile, barreling through random characters for no other reason than the film needs for him to show up every five minutes. HALLOWEEN 2018 packs a surprisingly high body count and not much else. Characters show up just to die and that alone makes it feel like you’re watching Jason Voorhees in a Michael Myers mask spend the day in Haddonfield.

It’s a movie that simply doesn’t work whenever Laurie Strode is not on screen. Green attempts to create a new Laurie in Allyson, Laurie’s granddaughter, but the film doesn’t seem all that concerned with weaving her into the narrative properly. Her boyfriend troubles don’t affect the plot and her friends are underdeveloped body count fodder whose deaths are so random that they feel like they’re taking place in some other movie. When Allyson finally has her run in with Michael, I think we’re supposed to feel like this is some grand plan of fate, but it all comes across as a giant distraction from what we really came to see.

The finale of the film is definitely a crowd pleaser, even if it fails to offer up any real sense of closure. But therein lies another problem... Had this been Jamie Lee Curtis’ first return to the franchise since 1981’s HALLOWEEN 2, there might be reason to celebrate. However, if we ignore the third installment and the horrible remake films, Curtis has appeared in over half of the franchise installments. It’s simply no longer a treat to see her in a HALLOWEEN film. HALLOWEEN H20: 20 YEARS LATER might be an entirely different beast, but watching an alcoholic, anxiety ridden Laurie best Michael in a mano a mano showdown for psychological closure is slightly more dramatically interesting than watching Laurie stalk around her own home in the dark with a shotgun.

The existence of Steve Miner’s film robs HALLOWEEN 2018 of some of its glory, if not its entire gimmick. The particulars might be different (the settings, the hair styles and clothing, etc.), but the films are largely the same. The most interesting character in the film has to share running time with completely uninteresting teens up until the showstopper finale when we can all sit back and finally enjoy some good old fashioned bloody therapy.

HALLOWEEN 2018 is a good looking film plagued by bad pacing, uninteresting side characters, an overabundance of Michael Myers standing around in the open, and one horribly executed plot twist that should have been torn out and flushed down the nearest toilet. It looks like HALLOWEEN 1978, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it. It’s an ‘almost’ kind of film, one that comes so close to being exactly what It wants to be. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t hit the mark.

August 23, 2018


I have been pushed around my whole life by lousy men and I’m sick of it.

A common refrain sung during every viewing of Meir Zarchi’s immortal 1978 exploitation classic I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE goes a little bit something like this… “all the men in this movie are assholes!”... and yes. Yes, they are. That’s kind of the point. In a genre which typically depicts women as bubble headed life support systems for easy access vaginas, Zarchi’s film comes across as a nasty bit of tit for tat, a sucker punch right to the balls of self entitled, hyper masculine men.

Tanya Rosenberg’s 1990 pseudo rape-revenge actioner BLOOD GAMES tries to play the same tune. We begin at a softball game somewhere in the middle of Hicksville, USA. A bevy of beauties in short shorts beat the ever living snot out of some good ol' boys on the baseball diamond. This triggers a regressive and altogether violent response from some of the local men. With two of their own nearly raped and their head coach stabbed, the girls make a getaway attempt in the team bus, killing a man in the process. Unfortunately, a war hungry, ex-military misogynist and his army of beer swilling rednecks are in hot pursuit. Once their getaway fails and the gloves come off, it’s an all-out battle of the sexes, albeit one with baseball bats, crossbows and hunting rifles.

Virtually every negative action in this movie is caused by a man. The all-male baseball team repeatedly grabs their opponent’s asses, even throwing an elbow into the face of a woman running to second base. Had the girls simply left after the baseball game was over, all of this would have been avoided, but their head coach (who is also the father of our lead protagonist) feels compelled to hold someone up in a bar bathroom just so he can get money owed to him from a bet. The would-be rapists are not just looking for action but for revenge. The misogynist bastard leading the rednecks into battle repeatedly scolds his son for losing to a bunch of broads. It’s just a cascade of toxic masculinity, self entitlement and unhealthy machismo all the way down.

But unlike Zarchi’s film which goes out of it’s way to avoid the gross sexualization of it’s lead character, Rosenberg gives us a playful, nudity filled shower scene, endless shots of asses in barely there shorts, and copious glimpses of bouncing breasts. It also plays the same end game as SAVAGE STREETS, another exploitation film with loose female empowerment goals. Both films give us strong heroines who collapse in fear at the sight of the big bad guy they just seriously injured. Now maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always found this sort of thing a bit confusing. While there’s no doubt that a sexually attractive, scantily clad woman can also be empowering, inspiring and even awe inducing, the clash between sexploitation visual tropes and a genuine female empowerment message can sometimes create a film which doesn’t quite practice what it preaches.

BLOOD GAMES avoids the typical slasher film idea of a single underpowered and underprepared woman overcoming an aggressive male threat. Despite the understandable fear of being shot to death, it’s bevy of ass kicking beauties are more than capable of aggression. We understand that they can easily handle this threat. But it seems the film often wants me to gawk at asses more than it wants me to pump my fists in solidarity, and that threw me off during some of the more tense moments the film offers up. The final half of BLOOD GAMES is great stuff, just a classic 90s action film set in dense woods. I feel the film might have been better off leaving the sexploitation visuals behind at that point. Unfortunately, they persist through most of the film, cluttering up the message along the way.

But perhaps I’m simply thinking too much about this. From start to finish, BLOOD GAMES is an absolute blast, a nicely executed and potent piece of exploitation cinema. It’s not a flashy film, but it’s certainly effective, perfectly paced with an engaging cast of actors and some rather effective action set pieces. It’s also a great bit of cornball fun that would definitely tickle the fancy of Andy Sidaris fans everywhere. So if women in short shorts killing rednecks in the woods sounds like your cup of tea, by all means, sip away.

August 12, 2018


Rino Di Silvestro’s 1976 Italian sleaze fest WEREWOLF WOMAN wastes no time in announcing to the audience just what kind of film it is, offering up an ear piercing scream and full frontal female nudity right out of the gate. This is CAT PEOPLE by way of Joe D’Amato, a lurid little tale of a woman whose past sexual abuse and current, frenzied sexual desires cause her to deteriorate into something animalistic and murderous at the first sign of arousal.

It’s also slightly reminiscent of George Romero’s early masterpiece, MARTIN. Daniela, a striking young blonde, is having nightmares of her ancestor, a woman believed to be a werewolf. Ever since her rape at the tender age of 13, Daniela’s libido has triggered panic attacks, fugue states and worse. When her sister and her new husband arrive at the family villa for a stay, Daniela loses control of the beast within, so to speak. 

She murders the husband in secret and is hospitalized, her increasingly dangerous behavior threatening to spiral quickly out of control. Upon escaping the hospital, Daniela goes on a sex fueled murder spree.

This is essentially a tarted up sexploitation film, but there is the same kind of genre deconstructionist undercurrent flowing through it that Romero would use to masterful effect two years later. Is Daniela really a werewolf? Of course not. Martin wasn’t really a vampire either. But both films use these supernatural monstrosities as a kind of allegory for poisonous superstitions, and arcane ideas about sex and adulthood. Romero purposefully kept things vague, but Di Silvestro either doesn’t have the patience for subtlety or simply doesn’t care. WEREWOLF WOMAN is full of scenes of a doctor and a police inspector talking endlessly about clinical lycanthropy (which is a very real psychological malady), explaining away all subtlety and intrigue in the process.

It’s a bit strange to call WEREWOLF WOMAN, a movie in which Dagmar Lassander’s credit is superimposed over an undulating woman’s fully exposed vagina, a pseudo-feminist horror film, but to some small degree it is. The film morphs into a full-on rape-revenge flick during the final act and is never shy about pointing out that Daniela’s condition is both caused by and aggravated by aggressive, sexually abusive men. Daniela’s constant abuse of other women, calling them whores and bitches, is more or less internalized misogyny brought about by the fact that virtually every man she meets thinks of her as just a hole to be filled. 

When Daniela finally finds love, it’s with a man who tells her, directly and honestly, that he doesn’t intend on hurting her and that the choice of a relationship with him is entirely up to her. He breaks the mold of what she has come to expect and in doing so effectively removes the trigger for her illness. Her subsequent gang rape (and the death of her lover) prompts the usual response, a channeling of abuse into a kind of righteous reclamation of self, her murderous vengeance acting as a bloody reckoning. This isn’t going to win the praise of feminist film critics everywhere, but it’s a soft progressive attitude you wouldn’t expect to find in a film like this.

And that’s kind of the problem. Simply put, WEREWOLF WOMAN is all over the goddamn place, never sure of what it really wants to be. It seems to want to put forward a more progressive message at times, but it surrounds that message with endless shots of exposed breasts and labia. If the camera clearly views our character as little more than flesh, it’s difficult for the audience to reconcile the presentation with the message. It seems to want to be a sexploitation film, but it constantly derails the eroticism by cutting away to endless scenes of two men sitting or standing in a room explaining the subtext to us as if we were children. It seems to want to be a horror movie, but it consistently sacrifices atmosphere for pornographic sensibilities.

It’s a film I couldn’t really come to grips with during my viewing because I couldn’t ever find a solid enough piece of land to stand on. The ever-changing tone of the film, the strange mixture of psychological drama, police procedural, gore-drenched horror, soft pornography and sexual politics… it should have left me feeling rather giddy. I happen to like schizophrenic films. But it all just kind of falls flat here. It’s not a bad film, per se, just a horribly undisciplined one. I suppose if you simply latch on to one of the many threads the film offers up and don’t pull so strongly that it all unravels, you could find a lot of joy in WEREWOLF WOMAN.

July 26, 2018


Through a clumsy exposition scene we learn that the old Willard property used to belong to some Native Americans. Old man Willard stole the property from it’s rightful owners and the Native Americans, none too happy about that fact, placed a curse on the land. Every ten years, for an unspecified amount of time, an ancient muscle-bound man in a monster mask materializes in the woods, hunting and killing any white man or woman he comes across.

A gaggle of college aged whities are about to have a really bad weekend as their hunting trip turns into an implied bloodbath, 90% of which happens during the daytime hours. Will Neal, the youngest member of the Willard family to ever return to the old family lands, be able to stop the marauding Demon Warrior before he can kill his lovely girlfriend, Sarah, and his friends Brent, Hassmiller and… sigh… a guy named Badger? Neal might be in luck, as an investment banker turned Indian shaman has arrived on the scene with a magic arrowhead, ready to do battle with the buff guy in the monster mask.

So yeah, Frank Patterson’s 1988 low budget slasher movie DEMON WARRIOR is yet another Native American themed horror film, just another romp about some well-to-do white people paying bloody reparations for the sins of their fathers. It seems this kind of film pops up from time to time. POLTERGEIST featured the typical Indian Burial Ground trope, a nicely done and lovingly cynical look at the underbelly of white suburban life. Tobe Hooper’s (or Steven Spielberg’s) film sits at the top of the list, a genuinely good large scale horror film. Much, MUCH further down the list you have tripe like Fred Olen Ray’s SCALPS and George McCowan’s SHADOW OF THE HAWK, and somewhere in the middle, there’s some fairly decent stuff, like William Girdler’s gonzo sci-fi/horror mash-up THE MANITOU and the Wendigo cycle of horror films from Larry Fessenden.

Where does DEMON WARRIOR fall on the list? Pretty low, to be honest. This is a film where virtually every detail of the script seemed to be dictated by the incredibly low budget. Although our cast of characters are all crashing at Neal’s family home, we spend very little time there, most likely because the production could only afford the location for a single day and the owners didn’t want their nice hardwood floors stained red with food coloring. As a result, the vast majority of the film takes place outdoors, but not in the woods or near any kind of eye catching scenery. Expect a lot of walking and running through wide open fields with characters simply crossing through the frame because no one could afford a Steadicam or any other kind of camera-stabilizing mount.

90% of the film happens during daytime hours, a good choice if you’re looking to save a few hundred bucks on lights and generators, but definitely not a good choice if you’re trying to create atmosphere or scares. The demon warrior is wisely kept off screen in these daytime scenes, only showing his poorly constructed face during the nighttime scenes that bookend the film. He’s a ridiculous creation, literally just an oiled up bodybuilder in a Halloween mask. He doesn’t even get a roar or a growl. He just shoots arrows and moves at a light jog so the actor in the oversized mask won’t trip on a log or a rock.

The only saving grace in DEMON WARRIOR is the cast of characters, many of whom actually have personalities, wants and needs, and emotions that go beyond the typical “must get laid” attitudes of 1980s slasher movie characters. There’s a bit of a love triangle between Neal, Sarah and Brent, her old boyfriend who still carries a flame for her. Patterson and his co-writers actually treat this element of the script with a lot of care. When Hassmiller calls Brent out for trying to hit on Neal’s girlfriend, Brent rightfully points out that Hassmiller is currently sleeping with, you guessed it, a woman in a relationship. This leads the two men to have a somewhat heartfelt ethical conversation about relationships and love and… I don’t know. It’s not poetry, but the fact that a film called DEMON WARRIOR has the audacity to stop in it’s tracks so two of it’s male characters can have a kind of heart-to-heart about their love pangs is, well, kinda neat.

Not that anything really comes of it, as Hassmiller’s love interest exits the narrative as quick as she enters it and Brent is shot with an arrow before he settles on a course of action, but it’s the thought that counts, right? I mean, no one in the cast is a world class actor and all the characterization is in service of a plot about a shirtless man in a Halloween mask chasing people through a field for 26 minutes, but I have to say that in a world full of obnoxious, can’t-wait-for-them-to-die slasher movie characters, the knuckleheads on display here are actually really likable.

Unfortunately, everything else about DEMON WARRIOR is not so likable. All of violence (minus a few arrows to the chest and a nice, juicy scalping) is off screen, the Final Girl never gets to be a proper Final Girl, and the whole film boils down to a long scene of Indian magic and unconvincing lightning optical effects. There just isn’t a lot of movie here. Most of it is running through fields and making sandwiches. There is however a rather ludicrous car accident and at least one memorable nightmare sequence. So it’s not totally useless, I guess. It’s just not very good.

July 7, 2018


The second VCR my family ever owned was a gloriously large, ridiculously heavy Zenith machine that we bought from K-Mart for a couple hundred bucks. It was a definite step up from our first videocassette recorder, with true composite cable output and a remote control that actually worked from more than five feet away. It also had a feature I didn’t know even existed at the time. While it would still only rewind at standard speed during playback, this Zenith VCR could fast forward at variable speeds. Press the button once and it would move through the film at 2x speed. Press it a second time and it would run noticeably faster. Pressing the button again would kick the machine into overdrive (relatively speaking), zipping the movie along at a whopping 6x speed. A truly remarkable feature for those of us desperately seeking out whatever nudity a film contained while our parents were busy at the grocery store.

When DVD came along, I was blown away by the picture quality, the sound clarity, the special features, all that jazz. But for some reason, I found myself genuinely disappointed by – of all goddamn things – the fast forward and rewind features. Seems like a fairly stupid nitpick, doesn’t it? Well, it is, but I have to admit that back in the day it absolutely annoyed me that kicking the fast forward into high gear didn’t result in a smooth image. I expected something like an old chase scene from a silent movie. What I got was more or less a slide show, with the film seeming to leap forward every ten or fifteen seconds. I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about, right? 

I want you to hold that thought for a moment while I give a very brief (and possibly fabricated) history of Doris Wishman’s 1983 film A NIGHT TO DISMEMBER.

This low rent slasher flick was intended to be Wishman’s first full blooded foray into the horror genre, a real change of pace from the kind of nudie-cutie and roughie flicks Wishman had spent the last two decades creating. Filmed almost entirely in 1977, Wishman’s film plays a bit more like PIECES than HALLOWEEN, a grim and nasty B-movie filled with more than a few gialloesque moments. It might have been yet another success for Wishman had the film been released as intended, but as fate would have it, the world would never set eyes on a fully completed A NIGHT TO DISMEMBER. 

According to legend, nearly 40% of the film negatives were destroyed by a disgruntled lab technician and Wishman, contractually obligated to deliver a feature length film, had to spend the next year or two shooting all new scenes in a desperate attempt to piece together what was left of her film. Whether this story is true or not, I have no idea, but it is very, very easy to tell that A NIGHT TO DISMEMBER is far from complete.

And this brings us back to my petty annoyance with the fast forward feature on my DVD player. Because watching A NIGHT TO DISMEMBER is a lot like watching a movie with the fast forward cranked up to 16x speed. The first few minutes of the film are a disjointed mess, an attempt at back story cobbled together not from whole scenes, but from scene fragments. In order to make this intelligible, Wishman employs voice over narration from a police detective named Tim O’Malley. He tells us all about the Kent family and the horrible fates that befell them in the far future of 1986.

It’s a relatively straight forward bit of exposition covering two generations of the Kent family. In the first, young Susan kills her younger sister, Bonnie, with a hatchet before accidentally falling on the blade herself. In the second, a husband returns home from a business trip to find his beautiful wife dead in a pool of blood. It is later discovered that the husband had hired someone to kill his wife. After his arrest, the man hangs himself in his prison cell. That sounds straight forward, right? Not difficult to follow at all, just a clear cut way of showing that the Kent family tree sure can produce some nuts.

Except watching it play out on screen is a different story. We begin with a zoom-in on an upstairs window of a home, then cut to an old man playing cards. We cut to Bonnie stripping in the bathroom then to a doorknob turning. Bonnie steps into the bath, a hatchet is shown in shadowy silhouette, another window is zoomed in on, then Susan hacks her sister to pieces. Once the bloody work is done, we are treated to a shot of a dead (though still blinking) Susan lying motionless on the floor. We then immediately cut to the second of the two stories without any indication of changing location. A man returns home. He looks around the empty room. We then cut to Detective O’Malley speaking to the man on the phone. This leads to an outdoors shot of a busty, barely clothed woman walking through the woods. When we cut back to the home, the man wanders into another room. We see a brief shot of someone, presumably his wife, lying nude in a blood filled bathtub. The next series of shots involve a black gloved hand turning a doorknob, the wife sitting in her bedroom, a silhouetted murder, another too brief shot of a body being dragged into yet another room, and a silhouette of someone dangling from a noose.

It is obvious that this entire set-up ran much longer in the first cut of the film (if it was included at all; I’ve had difficulty finding out what was originally shot back in 1977 and what was later added to bolster the running time), but here, it plays as a series of disconnected, disjointed shots. Were it not for the voice over narration, none of it would make any sense. This is a problem the film never manages to overcome.

The next scene takes place five years in the past, a plot detail that only serves to further the confusion. Two teen boys are chased into a basement and savagely killed. We learn the culprit is yet another Kent, a young(ish) woman named Vicki. We then move ahead five years to the present day. Despite brutally murdering those two boys, Vicki is released into her parent’s custody after her shrink declares her “cured” of her insanity. This rubs her siblings, Billy and Mary (both of whom are still living at home in their early 30s), the wrong way. Billy is fearful that Vicki might once again go insane. Mary, clearly the petty one in the family, simply doesn’t want Vicki stealing all the attention. Even though both siblings are well aware that Vicki’s brief stint of madness resulted in violent murders, they set about driving their sister crazy. All the while, someone is messily bumping off extended Kent family members.

Had the film been properly completed, all of this would make for a rather enjoyable, exploitative romp. Unfortunately, because it’s such a goddamn mess, Wishman needs to utilize more and more explicit voice over narration as the film goes along. As a result, we don’t even get to entertain the idea that Vicki might be losing her mind once again. We’re flat out told that everything that is happening is being caused by Billy and Mary, even the murders. Hilariously, once Detective O’Malley starts his investigation, the film has O’Malley narrating his own investigation in the third person. This absolutely drove me bonkers as the film went on as I could see the potential in the material. At one point, this was a movie I would have genuinely enjoyed watching.

The murder scenes lay somewhere between Herschell Gordon Lewis and Juan Piquer Simon, unconvincing but appropriately gooey and gross. A head is run over by a car, a knife is repeatedly stabbed into flesh in gruesome close-up, hatchets are slammed into skulls, fingers are cut off, nails are rammed through throats… It’s gloriously nasty and utterly mean spirited. The nudity is plentiful, the acting is dreadful, the excursions into strange 1970s editing are wonderful, the use of superimposition and classic spook show lightning effects are fantastic… It’s all there. 

Except that it isn’t. Not really. It’s a bag of flesh with no skeleton to keep it upright. The film had to be re-dubbed years later by a voice cast of about three people. Sound effects are all done with voices, the stabbing sounds accomplished by having someone go “squish squish” close to the microphone. A dog barking is actually just someone going “arf arf arf” in as highly pitched a voice as they could muster. The score is comprised of inappropriate library tracks. Vicki’s awkward return home is scored with light elevator rock music while her tender reunion with an old boyfriend is scored with booming, Gothic horror music. I’m fairly certain that Wishman used porn loops for the sounds of moaning that accompany all of the murder set pieces, as the actors all sound like they’re getting their rocks off from having their limbs removed. Many of the close-ups in the film are clearly made from B-roll material, as the actor’s close shot reactions rarely suit the context of the scene. With almost a half hour to go in the film, the voice over narration simply stops, rendering much of the final reel unintelligible.

I won’t say, as many other have, that A NIGHT TO DISMEMBER is one of the worst films ever made. It’s still somewhat enjoyable to watch (and at 69 minutes, it won’t waste much of your time) even if it rarely makes much sense. It would be rather easy for me to dismiss any and all criticism of the film by stating “well, it was never finished so...”, but that wouldn’t be an honest bit of argumentation. This particular version of A NIGHT TO DISMEMBER might not have been the intended version, but the fact remains that this is what was released to the public. This IS the film unfortunately and it’s a mess. A complete and total mess. 

But damn it, there’s a good film here, or at least an entertaining film. You can see it among all the confusion and cacophony. I stand by that. This could have been another PIECES, but as it stands, it’s just… wait for it… pieces, held together with tape, gutted and hallowed out. A shell of what it could have been.

June 25, 2018


What should be a mercifully short 67 minutes feels like an eternity. Don Swan’s 1986 Super 8 atrocity GOREMET, ZOMBIE CHEF FROM HELL begins in a field in the year 1386. Three men clad in black robes, members of the Righteous Brotherhood, expel one of their own, Goza, for high treason. As punishment, Goza is condemned to eternal life, an auspicious ‘curse’ which carries an unfortunate caveat. In order to avoid rotting, Goza must consume human flesh.

It was at this point, less than 10 minutes into the film, that I knew I was going to hate every single minute I spent sitting in front of my television. This is roughly the same set-up as the one found in DON’T GO NEAR THE PARK, a movie I hate so much it hurts. I will say that GOREMET, ZOMBIE CHEF FROM HELL is nowhere near as awful as Larry Foldes’ 1979 abortion, but that’s really not saying much. That’s like saying radiation sickness isn’t as awful as prostate cancer.

We move 600 years into the future. Goza is now running a crappy little restaurant with his henchman, Blozor. I would like to give you some kind of plot synopsis, but this movie simply does not have a plot to synopsize. It’s a tired parade of character introduction, character death, character introduction, character death repeated ad nauseam until the final 10 minutes. At that point, the men who expelled Goza 600 years ago reemerge to bring an end to his reign of terror. Even if there was a plot to be found here, I doubt it would be comprehensible.

I’m not going to slag off the film for looking like shit (it was shot on Super 8, after all), nor will I chastise Mr. Swan for not equalizing his sound mix (good luck hearing 25% of the dialogue over the awful slap bass synth puke this movie calls a score). Instead, I’ll take it to task for committing the gravest sin a movie called GOREMET, ZOMBIE CHEF FROM HELL could ever commit. 

It’s fucking boring.

The VHS box art is glorious, promising some semblance of splatter and gore. Apart from a few dime store severed limb props, there’s very little in the way of splatter to be found here. In the only somewhat competent murder set piece the film has to offer, a man’s head is punched off and his spurting blood is sipped like water at a park fountain. It’s the only on-screen death they bothered to film. I will include for your viewing enjoyment three stills from the film. Here, have a look…

See that? That is an actual murder scene in the film. The man in the pictures is Larry, some doofus desperate to find his finance after she went missing in the restaurant. What you’re seeing is the actual death scene. There is no action missing. It’s done in three individual cuts. We never see the girl stab Larry. We never see the knife extend towards him. This is EXACTLY how the death is presented in the film and when I can recreate with 100% accuracy the action of a moving picture in still shots, something is horribly, terribly fucked up.

I should point out that GOREMET, ZOMBIE CHEF FROM HELL is a horror comedy and not a straightforward chiller. This does not let it off the hook for being incompetent. When we first meet Larry, he’s sitting next to Sherry, his soon-to-be finance. She looks like this...

Larry attempts to slide a ring on her finger, but the ring is too small. He can’t get it past her knuckle, despite trying very, very hard. And yes, this is how she wears the ring for the rest of her scenes, with it sitting just below her knuckle. Now, the problem is… I can’t tell if that was intentional or not. Was that meant to be a joke? Was the fact that Larry refers to Sherry as “a blonde” a joke? She’s clearly a brunette so why is he referring to her as a blonde? Was it because Don Swan couldn’t find a blonde actress and never bothered to correct the script to reflect the casting? Was it an attempt at humor? I honestly cannot tell because the movie is so inept and stupid that it slips into Poe’s Law territory. I have no idea how to suss out what is intentionally stupid and what is unintentionally stupid.

Like, was I supposed to be on the edge of my seat as Goza and one of the priests from the Righteous Brotherhood have a Force battle in the park (and yes, they do throw each other around simply by extending their hands, a la STAR WARS)? There are actual stakes in those scenes, unlike the rest of the film. It’s the big fight between good and evil. So was I supposed to care or laugh?

I mean, I didn’t care OR laugh, but you get my point, right?

Another problem is just how padded out this 67 minute film is. Songs are played in their entirety, including one impromptu blues performance in the restaurant. There is a 32 second long shot of two women sitting at a booth during which not a single line of dialogue is spoken. There is an over two minute long scene of Goza making a mixed drink. And what’s worse, because there is no such thing as character development in this film and all the deaths are bloodless, off-screen affairs, each new victim does nothing but prolong the pain. I should be excited when new characters come wandering into the restaurant. I should be giddy at the thought of watching them being butchered. But I don’t get to see that. So every time a new character was introduced, I groaned. It was never going to end. This fucking movie was Never. Going. To. End.

I hated GOREMET, ZOMBIE CHEF FROM HELL every minute it was on my screen. Even when the mystical goddess of the magical brotherhood of Force wielding monks super glued Goza’s lips shut so he would painfully starve to death, I didn’t grin. I didn’t once chuckle or giggle like an idiot. I just wanted it to be over with. I couldn’t wait for it to end. It’s a great, big black hole of a film, just a fun vacuum that sucks up an hour of your life. I would tell you to avoid it, but we both know that you won’t. You’ll want to see it for yourself because… well, it’s called GOREMET, ZOMBIE CHEF FROM HELL. It’s a great title, fantastic even. It’s also the one and only thing good about this whole rotting, stinking affair.

June 21, 2018


Last month, I reviewed Harry Kerwin’s 1975 shocker GOD’S BLOODY ACRE, a movie all about three hillbilly rednecks attacking a quartet of damn Yankees squatting in their little area of the Florida wilderness. It’s a small premise stretched out to feature length, with the entire first half of the film devoted to people driving, arguing and walking down the sides of lonely roads. This narrative tedium is flavored with bizarre detours into avant-garde aesthetics and strange stream of consciousness diversions. But just as the film is starting to wear out its welcome, it explodes into a barrage of brutal violence, delivering a final 20 minutes that completely makes up for the long, anemic wait.

BLOOD STALKERS, the 1976 feature film debut from professional Bigfoot tracker (!) Robert Morgan, is cut from the same cloth. Here, we have a trio of backwoods types (one of whom inexplicably has a British accent) terrorizing a gaggle of vacationers who are spending the weekend in an isolated cabin just outside the Everglades. Like Kerwin’s film, most of the running time is devoted to character stuff - relationship issues, talk of financial woes, even old war stories. The film doesn’t really come to life until the halfway mark when our group is attacked by something rather large and hairy, triggering a downward spiral into graphic bloodshed and revenge.

The man in charge of the weekend festivities is Mike, a Vietnam vet who was once admitted to a mental hospital after his wartime activities resulted in the deaths of multiple civilians. His wife, Kim, is instantly put off by the backwoods town they will be spending time in, endlessly (and I do mean endlessly) pleading with Mike to turn the car around. Along for the ride is Danny, a businessman whose fortunes are on the downturn, and his age inappropriate, ex-stripper wife, Jeri. The group stops off at a small gas station in hopes of getting directions to Mike’s old family cabin. The gas station attendant, a mean old man covered in muck, tells them to get the hell out and never come back. “This is blood stalker country”, he tells them, just before our trio of gun toting, bandanna wearing goons make their first appearance.

Despite the locals (all 30 or so of them) all giving them the cold shoulder, Mike travels on, eventually reaching the cabin. They have dinner, make out, go skinny dipping, tell spook stories about Native American mythological monsters… the usual stuff. But when Mike goes to get something from the car, he notices large animal tracks on the hood. A little later, Mike and Kim hear a loud animal call, like a panther. After they settle down for the night, a large, hairy arm bursts through the wall, grabbing Jeri by the neck. Clearly under assault from something, Mike decides to go get help, only to have everyone, including a minister, turn him down. Meanwhile, back at the cabin, our helpless trio falls prey to whatever it is that lurks in the nearby woods.

It’s almost pointless to discuss the first hour of BLOOD STALKERS as nothing much really happens. There are some interesting juxtapositions and moments of not-so-subtle, ironic humor. Beautiful nature shots of clouds and fields are inter-cut with images of poisonous snakes. An intimate, tear filled discussion between Danny and Jeri occurs. He breaks down in tears over his business woes. She offers to start dancing in strip clubs again to help pay the bills. Danny doesn’t want his wife to do that, to be a sex object for lusty, dirty men. We immediately cut from this raw, emotional discussion to Kim swimming naked in a nearby lake, the camera soaking up the sight of Toni Crabtree’s bare breasts. That’s about the level of intellect this movie operates on during this first half.

The majority of this time is spent rehashing the same moments over and over. Kim says they should turn around. Mike tells her to shut her trap. Danny makes bad jokes. They stop to get directions only to be shot down (the only person to help them is a mentally challenged man who communicates through hand gestures and vocal tics, the “funny retard” character that unfortunately often pops up in all these films). Even when they reach the cabin, we spend most of our time watching characters mill about than actually do anything worth watching. It’s tedious time wasting, just padding to get the film up to feature length.

But once that hairy arm comes bursting through the wall of the cabin, BLOOD STALKERS undergoes a strange metamorphosis. The direction becomes noticeably more experimental, with multiple close ups giving way to slow motion action shots and off-kilter camera angles. The lighting becomes less naturalistic and more artificial. As he searches for help, Mike inexplicably comes across a church group having choir practice, the melodic singing underscoring Mike’s desperate pleas for help and his frantic return to the cabin. It’s like we slipped out of the workaday, low budget B horror film into the land of bizarre Southern Gothic. It’s a major tonal shift and a complete reversal of the visual style of the proceeding 60 minutes.

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that the monsters terrorizing our protagonists are not monsters at all, just the trio of rednecks decked out in cheap Bigfoot costumes. But even this reveal (and the slaughter that proceeds it) is handled in a fashion not usually found in movies like this. Mike’s return to the cabin triggers the most shocking scene the film has to offer, a real gut punch of a moment that actually rendered me momentarily speechless (and made me remember just how stunning the final act of Sergio Martino’s TORSO was the first time I saw it). It’s a brave move for Morgan to make and the concluding action of the film doubles down on the nasty bloodshed that triggered it.

Make no mistake, the final 20 minutes of BLOOD STALKERS is damn good stuff. Like GOD’s BLOODY ACRE, the biggest complaint I have about the film is that it takes so damn long to get there. Half of the audience will check out well before it reaches the end of the second act. It would have helped if Morgan gave us characters with whole personalities instead of just flashes of internal conflict. Danny is worried about money. Jeri is torn between wanting to support her husband and not wanting to go back to stripping. Mike suffered emotional trauma in Vietnam. Kim… well, she just won’t stop whining. None of these character moments matter at all. They’re just brought up, explored for a few minutes, and then dropped. As a result, the characters (despite being well acted by an energetic cast) feel cardboard and flimsy, and the time spent with them doesn’t add up to much.

But once the film starts picking up speed and the main threat is revealed, BLOOD STALKERS becomes a rather excellent little horror movie. It’s difficult to stay angry about the slow, plodding first half of the film when it ends in such glorious fashion. After all, it isn’t how you start the game, it’s how you finish it that matters. BLOOD STALKERS might stumble out of the gate, but in its final act, it puts on one helluva good show.

June 13, 2018


As a young boy, Alex witnessed his parents being gunned down on Christmas Eve by an angry ex-business associate in hunting gear and a wolf mask. Now a young man in his late teens, Alex is an aspiring writer attending a local college. Haunted by recurring nightmares of the long dead, mask-wearing killer, Mr. Perkins, Alex’s life is in a bit of a shambles. Even his new relationship with a gorgeous young dancer named Maggie isn’t enough to set his mind at ease. As Alex’s nightmares worsen, his dream life begins spilling over into his waking life. He begins seeing Perkins skulking around his home at night.

His ability to tell fantasy from reality at an all time low, Alex begins to suspect that someone is out to kill him – or to drive him insane. Is it his slightly sadistic, pill popping best friend Danny? Or maybe it’s his older brother, a man desperate for his Alex to pour his considerable inheritance into the sinking family business? Or maybe Maggie is behind all of this? Or maybe, just maybe, Perkins has returned from the grave to finish what he started all those years ago…

At a brisk 79 minutes, Kristine Peterson’s 1988 directorial debut DEADLY DREAMS dances effortlessly back and forth between rubber reality psychological thriller and mean spirited slasher. It’s a clever film, one that could have been a real contender had it been gifted with a little more production money and proper distribution. The film might not be perfect (the interior design choices, especially Alex’s completely blue apartment, are oftentimes ghastly, and the decision to stage a steamy sex scene on a rotating bed was just… no), but DEADLY DREAMS is honestly one of the better unheard of horror movies from the 1980s, nowhere near a classic, but most definitely a cut above most cheaply made cookie cutter genre efforts.

The way Peterson handles the frequent collapse into nightmare logic is more akin to Luis Bunuel than Salvador Dali. While Dali wrapped his surrealism up in abstract symbology, Bunuel filmed his dreams, nightmares and surreal flourishes in the same purposefully detached manner that he filmed everything else. A shot of ants pouring from a hole in a hand is as matter-of-factly presented as a shot of uptight jerks standing around a dinner table. In DEADLY DREAMS, there is no clear cut delineation between nightmare and waking life, no sudden transitions in the color palette from blues and yellows to baby shit brown and puke green. No slow motion or Dutch angles. No odd shifts in the sound design.

This helps Peterson firmly align the audience with Alex’s cracking psyche. Dreams within dreams, dreams which seem to portend future events, dreams which seem to be occurring within reality… this is all blended into the film rather well, so well in fact that early on I expected the final twist of the film to simply be “Alex really is insane. The end”. What we get instead is a kind of twist within a twist that strongly parallels many early giallo films, especially the Umberto Lenzi gialli of the late 1960s and early 1970s, many starring Carroll Baker.

It isn’t really a spoiler to say that someone is indeed after Alex’s inheritance and is using his post traumatic stress against him in an attempt to drive him crazy. That will undoubtedly be evident by the 30 minute mark. It’s everything that comes after the pronouncement of motive that took me by surprise. Like Lenzi’s PARANOIA, the film doesn’t hesitate to follow through on its premise. It also doesn’t feel the need to call it quits after revealing the double cross, instead using that bit of narrative development to propel itself towards a rather stunning (though a bit daft) triple cross that sends the film out on a spectacular high note.

The blend of psychological thriller and slasher film works well for most of the film, though if you’re looking for a body count, you should most definitely look elsewhere. Most of the murders are revealed to be nightmares and many times the victim in those murder set pieces is Alex. His parent’s deaths are replayed three or four times from various angles and one unexpected death occurs completely off screen. In other words, instead of watching multiple people die, you’re really only watching two or three people die, usually over and over again. That isn’t to say that the film lacks teeth. Some of the nightmare death scenes are in fact pretty jarring, especially one involving a knife to the face.

But DEADLY DREAMS doesn’t want to be a body count film. It’s a psychological thriller through and through, one with a small cast of well defined characters and a tightly crafted, intimate story full of reversals, betrayals and lies. It’s a well acted and well executed little film, one that definitely deserves rediscovery and reappraisal.

June 8, 2018


Calling THE UNDERTAKER an oddity is a bit of an understatement. All but abandoned when the production ran out of money and lead actor Joe Spinell kicked the bucket, this low rent slasher film (with no fewer than four directors, here credited under the collective pseudonym Franco Steffanino) first hit DVD a few years back, only to be later reissued on Blu-ray by the venerable cult maniacs at Vinegar Syndrome. The Code Red DVD was my first experience with the film and I was dumbfounded by how much footage from other B-movies was incorporated into the proceedings to fill dead air (in particular, footage from Wallace Fox’s 1942 schlocker THE CORPSE VANISHES appears again and again). Watching the Vinegar Syndrome release was like watching an entirely different movie, albeit one with abrupt and sudden shifts to VHS quality inserts, a compromise needed to present THE UNDERTAKER in a somewhat complete form.

The movie issued on Code Red DVD barely made any sense. It was haphazardly constructed, sliding into absurdity at the drop of a hat. Whole scenes appeared to have been out of place or improperly positioned in the edit. Watching the Vinegar Syndrome release definitely helped smooth over the rougher edges, but those lapses of logic and strange tonal shifts persisted. This was of course because the film had never been finished and while all of the major set pieces seemed to be in place, it was clear that the interstitial stuff – the transitions, establishing shots, inserts of people entering or leaving rooms – was simply never filmed or was lost to time.

As such, we have a movie where our lead villain, the necrophiliac undertaker Roscoe, has a brief dialogue exchange with a comely co-ed in broad daylight. A single cut later and he is standing outside of a woman’s house in the middle of the night. As Roscoe spies on the shapely lass cooking a hamburger in a frying pan, we cut again. We’re now standing inside the kitchen and Roscoe has mysteriously teleported inside with us. There are dozens and dozens of these moments in the film, noticeable gaffs in which characters seemingly teleport around locations or magically summon implements of bodily destruction from the ether.

The real question to ask is does any of this detract from the experience of watching a movie as goddamn bizarre as this? More on that in a moment. For right now, it’s best to summarize what passes for a plot.

Roscoe runs the local morgue. He’s also a necrophiliac serial killer responsible for a sizable amount of disappearances over the past few months. Roscoe has a nephew named Nick and recently, Nick has become suspicious of his uncle’s behavior. In a strange twist of movie fate, his anthropology professor, Pam Hayes, is currently teaching her class all about cultural traditions of necrophilia. Instead of going to the police, Nick partners up with his teacher to investigate Roscoe’s after hours activities. When Roscoe catches Nick snooping around, he quickly dispatches his nephew and sets his sights on Pam.

While all of this is going on, Roscoe attends horror movie showings, the local cops poke around crime scenes and discuss how there was “traces of semen on the intestinal tissue” of a victim (their words, not mine), a security guard with delusions of grandeur goes about solving the case himself, and an old man out for a jog pratfalls into a puddle of bloody muck.

So yeah, this movie is kind of a mess. Spinell’s performance is all over the place, giving us half-maniacal serial killer and half… well, plain old MANIAC. Sometimes, he likes to babble to the corpses he has hanging from meat hooks in the basement. In these moments, he’s essentially portraying Frank Zito in a lab coat. At other times, he’s playing something akin to a mad scientist, often talking about his laboratory as if he’s engaging in science of the ‘gone amok’ variety. It’s not difficult to guess on which shooting days Spinell showed up drunk. His performance, always the strongest suit of any horror film he appeared in, is so erratic and undisciplined here that you might think this film had four goddamn directors all of whom seemed to want to make a different film.

And that’s exactly what appears to be the case here. The film vacillates wildly between softcore porn (virtually every actress is unclothed at some point), graphic gore film, police procedural and run of the mill killer thriller. You can kind of see individual threads begin to appear. Roscoe states that the damn Surgeon General and popular diet fads are eating into his business. Maybe this was going to be a black comedy at some point before it was deemed necessary to have Joe Spinell rape the corpse of a woman he just stabbed to death? Nick’s rather early departure seems like a nod to PSYCHO. The cops actually do cop stuff here, unlike your usual low budget horror film. When Roscoe takes in a nice Satanic horror film at the local theater, we’re not given any indication that the Satanic ritual we’re watching is not actually happening in the film, a little scene that leads me to believe that someone in the crew of directors had at least one meta bone in their body. What exactly was this movie supposed to be?

I have absolutely no clue, but what I can say is that watching THE UNDERTAKER unravel was far less painful than I expected. Because there is no single guiding vision behind it, the film feels positively schizophrenic. The missing bits of interstitial stuff gives it a slipshod grasp on reality. It’s sometimes even difficult to know when one day ends and another day begins in this film. It’s a stream of consciousness feel, an accidental bit of art house wankery that just adds to the overall strangeness of the proceedings.

The kills are bloody and mean, the acting is just the right shade of excruciating, and the abundant female flesh caked the whole thing in lovely, lovely grime. It’s an ugly film and a borderline mad experiment, one that would have probably been ruined had filming reached completion. Because the absurdity of it, the ‘work in progress’ feel, is what make this otherwise mundane “been there, done that” two cent shocker into a genuine curiosity.

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*** You can grab a copy of THE UNDERTAKER from Vinegar Syndrome HERE.
I was not provided a copy for review. I bought it with my own damn money, but Vinegar Syndrome deserves support and links help with search results. So fuck it, there's a link. ***

May 24, 2018


Harry Kerwin’s 1975 exercise in moonshine-tinged weirdness GOD’S BLOODY ACRE is some kind of film. I do mean some kind of film. Is it hicksploitation? At first glance, it certainly fits the bill, with its trio of redneck vagabonds clashing against ever-encroaching capitalist city folk out to turn their beloved woods into luxury camping grounds. Is it horror? It certainly turns into horror as the film goes along. Is it a drama all about disillusionment and unfulfilled emotional needs? Is it a comedy? Is it an art film? Truth is, it’s a little bit of all of that.

It begins with an unconvincing “this story is based on true events” placard before introducing, in descending order of mental acuity, Monroe, Ezra, and Benny, three good ol’ boys living in the forests of Florida. They watch as a group of construction workers level trees and destroy foliage in preparation for the building of camp grounds. When most of the group head off on break, Monroe and Sons attack a lone bulldozer operator, pelting him with stones before bifurcating the poor guy with his own bulldozer. That would appear to be the end of that.

We meet Richard and his wife Carol as they drive down a lonely stretch of road. They pass three black men and their car. Richard takes the opportunity to remark about how unlikely it is that three INSERT RACIAL EPITHET HERE came into possession of a Rolls Royce through hard work and proper finance. Carol, being more socially conscious (and less of an asshole) than her husband, wastes no time in chastising Richard for his less than politically correct observations. Their relationship on the rocks, the couple is on a long trip to God Knows Where in hopes that time away from the kids will help mend their marriage.

Next, we meet David, a straight laced dude on a motorcycle that's about to break down on the side of the road. As David wanders off looking for a garage, we’re treated to a flashback. David is standing in the office, everything is off-kilter with slightly askew handheld camera work and Echoplexed sound. It’s a stylistic choice that borders on self-important avant-garde wankery. Unable to muster another day working for a company which, in David’s words, creates “weapons of war”, David packs his bags, bids adieu to his lovely girlfriend, and hits the road.

We’re not done with the distractions yet, folks. We still need to meet Leslie, a free love kinda gal whose boyfriend isn’t having it when Leslie says no to sex. He smacks her around and threatens to rape her. The next time we meet Leslie, she’ll be sitting in a small town restaurant, again being threatened with rape by a group of hyper-masculine men. The guy running the place throws the men out, but wastes no time in criticizing Leslie’s apparent dislike for bras.

These disparate lines of story coalesce when all the characters converge on the unfinished camp grounds. Richard and Carol discuss their relationship issues, only to be interrupted by the arrival of David and Leslie. David has been robbed and beaten by the black men we saw earlier and Leslie has been caring for his wounds (and having impromptu sex with him in a nearby lake). In an odd act of kindness, Richard invites the couple to have dinner with him, much to Carol’s chagrin (“that’s the trouble with this country, we don’t help each other anymore”, says the racist Richard to his otherwise compassionate wife). But dinner will never come. After horsing around for damn near 60 minutes of this 86 minute movie, Monroe and Sons decide to get down to some unfortunate, bloody business.

It’s an odd and circuitous route for GOD’S BLOODY ACRE to take. From the 60 minute mark on, it’s an all-out bloodbath with our city folk heroes coming to blows with our redneck antagonists. Ezra, the lecherous virgin of the three, assaults Carol. Richard winds up with his neck in a noose. David and Leslie do their best to hide from Benny and his brother only to be dragged into a brutal battle royale. There is a bit of Peckinpah’s STRAW DOGS here. Carol’s sexual assault begins as a rape, turns into a consensual bit of lovemaking, before turning back into a rape. David, whom the film views as effeminate, reclaims his masculinity through bloodshed (I mean, this cannot possibly be a coincidence, right?). It’s an effective and satisfying conclusion to an otherwise meandering film, at least on a visceral level.

If co-opting the gut punch finale of Peckinpah’s classic was really Kerwin’s goal, he largely succeeded. I just wish he paid more attention to the 70 or so minutes Peckinpah spent building up to that climax. GOD’S BLOODY ACRE doesn’t really have a solid through line, no real substantial subtext or underlying theme. Like STRAW DOGS, there is a strong current of territoriality at play here, with the three vagabonds defending what they view as their private territory, but that thread of subtextual richness gets tossed aside for gratuitous rape and wanton destruction. Also like STRAW DOGS, the issue of masculinity gets play time here, with the women all being victims of male chauvinism and the men all acting as pawns in some grand game of ‘my dick is bigger than yours’. The fact that both villain and hero end up as victims of female violence is wonderfully ironic, but it doesn’t really do much to address the issues dancing around the periphery of the film.

I can get what Kerwin was trying to say, but the need to turn in a feature length film meant the director had to up the running time. As a result, we spend far more time watching characters travel than we do seeing them usurp the so-called natural order of the vagabonds. We spend more time talking around the issues the film brings up than we do actually talking about them. So when the credits roll on GOD’S BLOODY ACRE, we’re left with a movie that was meant to be about something, but never got around to actually being about something.

Still, I don’t think the movie is a waste of time, just a waste of opportunity. I liked the louder than loud performances and I found the oddly shifting tone of the film quite interesting at times. The ending is a knock-out, filled with fights that don’t look choreographed (I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that someone broke a rib or two during filming). It’s semi-charming, oftentimes brutal stuff, a nice schizophrenic mix of hicksploitation, backwoods horror and 1970s hippie melodrama. A weird, unstable mix, to be sure, but one with a certain charm and charisma to it.