January 27, 2019


The titular monstrosity at the heart of GUZOO: THE THING FORSAKEN BY GOD – PART 1 is a primordial, amorphous blob of tentacles and teeth capable of adopting the physical appearance of any organism it comes across. In other words, it’s The Thing of JOHN CARPENTER’S THE THING. But unlike THAT Thing, this Thing never adopts the appearance of anything. It just lounges around the basement of a hot springs resort in some scenic corner of Japan, waiting for people to munch on.

Thankfully, it won’t have to wait much longer as there just so happens to be a quartet of bubbly teen girls on their way to the resort right now.

At least I think it’s a resort. It has unoccupied rooms like a resort. It has a swimming pool like a resort. There’s even a manager/chef named Tomoko. But something doesn’t quite add up. One of the teen girls, Minako, is the daughter of a professor who happens to work at the building. The manager/chef is his right hand woman, an archeologist who is all too aware that there is a monstrosity lurking in the basement. They're even carrying out tests on the creature.

So why exactly are you taking in guests when there’s a bloodthirsty beast downstairs? And what kind of hot springs resort doubles as a science lab? Why are archeologists studying a biological organism and why is it a better idea to keep it behind a single wooden door than, I don't know, in some kind of actual containment facility? So many questions...

Minako has brought along some friends. There’s pushover Yuka, nosy ‘sleuth’ Kazuko and pouty Mayumi. Kazuko is the first to catch whiff of something suspicious. She wanders downstairs only to be told off by Tomoko. That area is off limits. Later, Kazuko spies her carrying a basket full of rotting meat into the basement. While the girls are out, Tomoko smashes the mirrors in the makeup compacts. Why? Well, as we see later on, the Thing in the basement can manifest out of mirrors.

So why is there a mirror hanging by the fridge in the kitchen? Seems like a massive safety oversight. 

None of the girls seem very intelligent. After one of the teens is bitten by something unseen in the swimming pool, Tomoko tells them that the injury was caused by (I shit you not) an invisible weasel. No one questions that at all. Later, Yuka is attacked and bitten by Guzoo in the kitchen (see? I told you the mirror was a safety hazard) but survives. Tomoko chalks it up to a wild animal attack. Again, no one questions a single absurd word that comes out of Tomoko’s mouth.

And then, just to underline the idiocy of these girls, the very next day, Yuka decides to go back into the kitchen and stand in front of the mirror again. This time, Guzoo drags the young girl through and rams a wiggly appendage down her throat. Yuka all but explodes into pieces, torn apart from inside out by a mass of writhing tentacles. After discovering their friend is missing, the girls finally grow a brain cell, tying up Tomoko and demanding she tell them the truth.

Cue more splattery gruesomeness.

I was on edge from the moment this little slice of mid-80s V-cinema started. It’s directed by Kazuo Komizu, the miscreant psychopath behind the notorious rape nasties ENTRAILS OF A VIRGIN and FEMALE INQUISITOR, the former featuring a scene of a woman having her internal organs pulled out of her vagina. GUZOO: THE THING FORSAKEN BY GOD – PART 1 (I have no idea if there ever was a Part 2) does start with an exposed thigh and a close-up of full, pouty lips. The teen protagonists strip down to bathing suits for a romp in the pool. But by the midway point of this 40 minute flick, not a single nipple had been exposed. I kept expecting it to go full blown sleazy. I half expected lesbian rape when the girls tied up Tomoko. I knew the monster in the basement had more tentacles than you could shake a stack of UROTSUKIDOJI OAVs at, but, to my GREAT surprise, none of those tentacles ever found their way inside... well, you know. 

So at the very least, GUZOO: THE THING FORSAKEN BY GOD – PART 1 is completely rape free. Thank god for small favors. It’s plenty gory though with a handful of really entertaining deaths, chief among them a gross disembowelment and a decapitation which results in great geyser of blood. The creature effects range from bad to slightly above bad. Wobbly tentacles on sticks and strings don’t really inspire fear, and Guzoo itself is just an ill-fitted rubber suit. However, the staging of the attacks are fairly impressive and I will admit to actually feeling a bit of claustrophobic anxiety during the final five or six minutes. All in all, I’ve seen a lot worse.

The film is a nitpicker’s dream though so if you have movie logic ADHD, stay far away from this one. The geography of the house makes no real world sense with hallways and staircases suddenly appearing out of thin air. Character motivations exist solely to push the story forward and the whole underlying premise beggars belief. But I don’t think those things matter much. This is, after all, just a throwaway bit of Japanese V-cinema, one which would have fit in well in shows like Tales from the Crypt or Masters of Horror. It’s short, sweet, dumb and gory, an overall pleasant well to kill an hour.

January 23, 2019


A man wakes up from a nightmare, screaming and covered in sweat. A woman has her throat slit. A man wakes up from a nightmare, covered in sweat. The man is seen sitting in a field, a jet of blood splashing his face. A man wakes up from a nightmare, screaming and covered in sweat. A body is placed in the back of a truck. A man wakes up from a nightmare, screaming and covered in sweat. The man is feeding a giant monster in a kitchen cabinet. A man wakes up from a nightmare, screaming and covered in sweat. A bloody skeleton lies on a kitchen counter. A man wakes up from a nightmare, screaming and covered in sweat.

No, I didn’t just have a stroke. This is the opening 30 seconds of THE ABOMINATION, a 1986 Super 8 horror flick from Z-grade auteur Bret McCormick. This pre-credits sequence runs almost 4 minutes, offering up a synth-soaked spoiler reel for the entire film. Every death is shown, every effects gag ruined. It’s a strange way to begin a movie, that’s for sure, but in hindsight it feels rather apt for this film. Simply put, THE ABOMINATION is so strangely structured and bizarre that I’m not sure any other opening sequence could have lived up to the weirdness that follows.

The man suffering from nightmares is Cody, a 20-something guy living with his hyper-religious mother. She believes she has lung cancer, not because of an actual medical diagnosis, but because a television evangelist told her so. One day, the mother coughs up a nasty lump of… well, something. She tosses it into the garbage can and heads off to bed, believing herself cured of a malignant growth. That night, that fleshy, nasty lump squirms its way into Cody’s bedroom and slithers down his throat.

The next day, Cody becomes ill. He also hacks up something nasty, placing it under his bed. He begins to suffer fugue states, driven to kill by some unseen force. After murdering his best friend’s girl, he sticks her corpse under his bed. The next morning, the gooey lump of flesh has grown into a monster, thanks in no small part to the tasty snack Cody procured for it the day before.  

From this point forward, Cody begins killing virtually everyone he comes across. His friends, the television evangelist, even his own mother, each time feeding the remains to the monster he has come to call ‘the Abomination”.

THE ABOMINATION is a little bit BASKET CASE, a little bit LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS and a little bit SHIVERS, with a few nods to ALIEN and BRAIN DAMAGE tossed in for good measure. It’s also a little bit confusing. After the credits have rolled and the entire film has been spoiled for us, we’re treated immediately to a scene of Cody murdering a woman in a graveyard. This murder is accompanied by voice-over narration from Cody and his unseen psychologist. Apparently, what we’re witnessing is simply a dramatization of a recurring nightmare Cody has been having.

But once that sequence reaches its bloody conclusion, we flashback, again with voice-over narration, to Cody and his mother, his mother’s obsession with the evangelist, his mother coughing up the lump, the monster crawling down Cody’s throat… all that stuff. At this point, we seem to have left the dream and are now listening to (and witnessing) the events which led Cody to this point in his life. 

And way down the line, near the end of the film… we see that murder in the graveyard again. So when exactly did this dream end and real life take over? Is the entire film a dream? There’s a bit of voice-narration (which completes after the end credits have rolled because whoops) which attempts to answer this question, but it conflicts with pretty much everything we’ve been told throughout the film. So it’s never entirely clear what is a dream and what is reality. That might have been a massive boner killer had this movie not been THE ABOMINATION.

Because the slip and slide between the mundane and the outrageous is what makes this film such a low grade joy to watch. It’s absurd and ridiculous, over-the-top gory and downright stupid. All of the audio in the film is post-synch, all its effects concocted from stage blood and animal offal. The titular Abomination is a massive, vagina-like puppet crammed into cabinets, stoves and toilets. It’s the kind of film you will either love or hate, chock full of amateur shocks, histrionic performances and wood chipper editing. Don’t feel like watching a man shovel pitchfork after pitchfork of real animal guts into a tentacled and fanged vagina puppet tucked inside a fake kitchen cabinet? Probably best to stay away. But if you’re like me and you love a good bit of try hard, backyard filmmaking from time to time, you might just find a lot to love here.

The use of voice-over narration was probably just an afterthought, a way to skirt the limitations of low budget filmmaking. It imposes a narrative onto a loosely connected series of scenes, most involving chainsaws and kitchen knives. Had the connective tissue of the film been shot and edited together (ie. conversations between friends, montages showing a proper passage of time, establishing shots, etc.), THE ABOMINATION might feel more like a traditional movie than a ultra-gory slice of religiously tinged monster horror (there’s quite a bit of talk about the Whore of Babylon, the book of Daniel and the inherent dangers of religion to people too weak minded to see through the false promises of divine intervention). That would have actively harmed the film, in my opinion. The scattershot nature of the story and the almost absurdist horrors it contains help to turn a low budget snoozer into a bona fide B-movie great.

January 9, 2019


"When the material and creative forces of women become corrupted by the brutality of the everyday world, a force of incredible violence is unleashed, it's blood lust insatiable. In this modern, enlightened, yet terrible age even religion seems powerless against the wrath of the female who is, it has been maintained, the deadlier of the species"

So says the opening narration of Michael Lucas'
BLOOD ORGY OF THE LEATHER GIRLS, a 1988 shot-on-video catastrophe that has been largely (and thankfully) forgotten by all but the Trash Cinema faithful. It tells the sordid tale of four 20-something high school girls - dimwitted Fleabrain, pretty blonde Dorothea, sadistic virgin Rawhide, and their Jewish, Hitler worshiping leader Sarah - who go about their days drinking, smoking, beating up men and occasionally philosophizing about rebelling against the oppressive systems of education, religion, etc etc etc. Our four punkish layabouts stab a man to death for no good reason, steal a gun from a cop and, after Dorothea is raped, lay waste to dumb high school guy after dumb high school guy, all in the name of... well, we'll get to that in a minute.

Now, I need to get one thing out of the way right up front. While the above synopsis may seem like a movie narrative and while
BLOOD ORGY OF THE LEATHER GIRLS has all the things movies normally have like a soundtrack, actors and special effects... it isn't really a movie. I repeat, BLOOD ORGY OF THE LEATHER GIRLS is NOT a movie.


I don't know how else to describe a film so clumsily put together, so devoid of anything resembling traditional movie making. This is a shot-on-video “movie” made by amateurs so expecting careful framing, consistent matching eye lines and even audible dialogue is simply asking too much, but BLOOD ORGY OF THE LEATHER GIRLS feels like it was constructed of fragments of a dozen other aborted shot on video projects. It features an on-screen Detective character who fills in important blanks like how the girls got to one location from another or why they're suddenly breaking their own philosophical MO by bludgeoning a grandmother to death with a garden tool.

Halfway through the film, the voice of the narrator changes and I couldn’t be sure if this was supposed to be a second narrator or if they just couldn’t get the first guy back to finish the job. The direction of the film is so haphazard and sloppy that changes of location were not immediately noticeable. The film begins with freshman film student symbology and metaphor, moving from live birth to war footage, from blood covered breasts to castration. I was prepared for more of the same throughout the movie, but what I got was just a random assemblage of images which didn’t match, didn’t follow one another and didn’t coalesce into anything resembling narrative filmmaking.

Because much of the soundtrack was captured live, much of the dialogue was impossible to make out, the music blaring louder than the on board microphone could reasonably handle. In an attempt to be blackly comedic, we're treated to a pre-porno shoot bit of vaguely sexist exercise, a bizarre LSD trip and random bits of educational information about Aristotelian logic and the teachings of Thales of Miletus. Our characters are introduced working out, gazing lovingly at pictures of John Wayne and self-flagellating to drawings of Jesus. And what exactly does all this add up to?

Absolutely nothing. It's just a series of images. Characters don't speak in carefully weighted words. They speak in polemics. We're told that these women hate school, hate religion, hate their parents, hate their lives, yadda yadda, and that their actions against men are rooted in some kind of retaliatory rebellion against male tyranny

I don't buy it. Not for one moment. The shift from weird, Cinema of Transgression-esque clusterfuck to rape-revenge film is where the film earns the misplaced moniker of "female empowerment tale". I've seen that applied to this movie by other reviewers and critics. I just don't buy it. And the reason I don't buy the claim of "female empowerment fantasy" is because the actions of our cast of miscreants are not really a reaction to anything. They are, at the very best, little more than violent tantrums.

The characters flat out murder men for no other reason than they despise men. When we learn in the final moments of the film that Dorothea was not a victim of rape at all, that she simply passed out and this was all a big misunderstanding, it doesn't matter at all to our characters. "It was a beautiful experience", Fleabrain explains. Simply put, they would have carried out the violence anyway. Dorothea's rape, whether it happened or not, wasn't a cause. It was just a reason.

The fact that some people have attached the label "feminist" to this film is a goddamn outrage. This isn't a feminist film. It doesn't have a feminist message. This is, at best, "straw feminism", a perversion of the ideology usually not found outside of angry male YouTube skeptic channels where feminists are considered little more than bitter, pathological women looking to subjugate and castrate men.
CEMETERY GIRLS did this kind of thing better, getting the overall message across in a way that didn't make angry women look like bloodthirsty, psychotic monsters.

But honestly, I have no idea what the intended purpose of this horrible film was or what message it really is trying to convey. Trying to sift through the oblique visuals, ear shattering noises, constant diversions into poorly thought out black humor and general idiocy would take me weeks. Michael Lucas decided to use a pseudonym for his director's credit. He chose the name Meredith, the thought being that using a woman's name would make the film more palatable and perhaps avoid the claims of misogyny which usually accompany a film containing violence and nudity.

To that I say, congratulations, Michael. You may have dodged the misogyny label, but only by making a movie which not not only wallows in strawman feminism but blatant misandry as well.