Tag Archives: horror films

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! LOVE, GEORGE (1973): MOVIE REVIEW

Despite the movie poster's warning this flick won't even untie your shoelaces. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! LOVE, GEORGE (1973) – Category: Bad movie elevated by kitsch value in the casting.

Directed by THE Darren McGavin and featuring his wife Kathie Browne in a small role, this hilariously bizarre film is also known as Run, Stranger, Run. “Run, Potential Viewer, Run” would be a more appropriate title. 

Happy Mother’s Day Love, George  (henceforth HMDLG) is often described as a psycho-sexual thriller but actually it is nothing more than a melodramatic soap opera with a few murders and VERY few scenes of blood and gore. Those blood and gore scenes are so over-the-top they are completely at odds with the low-key, almost made-for-tv mildness of the rest of the movie.

This was a theatrical release but is so subdued and slow-paced it seems like a telefilm. You and your friends can keep yourselves entertained making jokes about the recognizable cast members to kill time since the first murder doesn’t happen until we’re more than an hour into this flick.

Ron Howard IS Johnny, a teenager who has come to town to discover who his birth parents are but who mostly just stands around staring at people and ESPECIALLY at houses. He seems completely taken aback that the townspeople find this somewhat creepy. Johnny is intrigued by the rash of missing persons plaguing the small town and feels they are connected to the secret of his past. Continue reading

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PSYCHO GOTHIC LOLITA (2010): MOVIE REVIEW

Psycho Gothic LolitaPSYCHO GOTHIC LOLITA (2010) – Also available under the title Gothic & Lolita Psycho, this ultra-violent and blood-soaked movie was Japanese filmmaker Go Ohara’s follow-up to Geisha Assassin from 2008.  

Rina Akiyama stars as Yuki, the black-clad title character whose fashion sense combines two Japanese fetish looks in one. The film begins with Yuki already enacting her revenge quest against a bizarre quintet of villainous supernatural figures. Disjointed flashbacks  provide background details as the story  unfolds, with the most crucial secret being withheld for last.  

In fact, I’ll give you my personal guarantee: if you aren’t as blown away as I was by this movie’s climactic revelation … I don’t know what you can do about it. (Just a little something for my fellow Marx Brothers fans out there.)

At any rate lovers of J-Horror know the type of surreal, over-the-top bloodletting and gory violence that awaits in Psycho Gothic Lolita. Yuki’s weapons of choice are umbrellas that are souped-up like the guitars in Once Upon A Time In Mexico and in many Spaghetti Westerns. If you don’t see the logic of her using modified umbrellas just remember it goes with her “look.”

Psycho Gothic Lolita 2Umbrellas are essential to Goth women to block out the sun and keep their skin pale, so Yuki makes a virtue out of fashion necessity by wielding high-tech bumbershoots that have razor-sharp points, shoot bullets like a machine-gun, are bullet-proof themselves and are stronger than steel. Burgess Meredith, eat your heart out!

Our main character expertly employs these weapons to impale, disembowel and shred her opponents to bloody, fleshy ribbons.  Yuki’s most blood-spattered move is to run a foe through with a closed umbrella, then open it while the victim is still clinging to life so they can feel their torso being torn apart by the opening of the umbrella. Look, you’re either committed to movies like this or you just aren’t.     Continue reading

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BEGOTTEN (1990): FILM REVIEW

BegottenBEGOTTEN (1990) – Written and directed by E. E. Merhige, this black and white art film runs 72 minutes. Merhige later directed Shadow of the Vampire, a surreal horror movie about the making of the silent film Nosferatu.

Begotten was grandly described by its creator as a depiction of “the death and rebirth of gods.” If that didn’t make critics and viewers of the time want to belt Merhige in his pretentious face then the movie itself did. Okay, I’m largely just joking with that remark, but I’m sincere when I say that Begotten IS one of those experimental films that practically dares viewers to dismiss it as nonsense masquerading as art. 

Begotten 2I like Begotten but if I was doing a promo blurb for it I would avoid its director’s lofty tagline and instead use something like “It begins with God committing suicide … Then it gets weird.”

The opening several minutes of this movie – the portion where God does indeed kill itself – have been all over YouTube for well over a decade. The footage seems to have inspired many of the creepy, black and white, nonsensically macabre videos that uploaders post when trying to start an Alternate Reality Game or just to get easy hits from sheer weirdness.  (Think of Plague Doctor masks and such.)     Continue reading

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GHOULIES (1985)

Ghoulies toilet

Ghoulies

GHOULIES (1985) – This was a product from Charles Band, so lovers of bad 1980s horror films know what they’re in for. Ghoulies also had the distinction of being the last movie ever shown on the Pre-MST3K cult show The Texas 27 Film Vault (Covered extensively here at Balladeer’s Blog). 

Jack Nance from Eraserhead and Mariska Hargitay from Law and Order: SVU can both point to this flick as their most embarrassing moment on screen.

Ghoulies

Ghoulies poster

A Satanist played by rock singer Michael Des Barres leaves his mansion – which was the site of his Black Masses and human sacrifices – to a young couple played by Lisa Pelikan and Peter Liapis. They move into the creepy old place and the man starts to become possessed by the dark forces that linger in the mansion.

Eventually his dabbling in Satanic rituals causes his zombified father Malcolm (Des Barres) to climb out of his grave,which is conveniently located in the mansion’s backyard. Continue reading

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DRIVE-IN MASSACRE (1976)

drive-in-massacreDRIVE-IN MASSACRE (1976) – Category: Gimmick movie worth watching once, but never again.   

This movie has that certain charm to it that most low-budget 70s horror films possess. When watching Drive-In Massacre you can’t help but reflect on the fact that the talent of John Carpenter is the only thing separating his milestone film Halloween from the many other 1970s slice and dice films like this one. 

The plot of Drive-In Massacre involves a serial killer who strikes only at drive-ins and, in the tried and true custom that countless subsequent slasher films would follow, he thrives on killing couples who are making out. At least at first. The killer’s motive varies throughout the movie, but the murder weapon remains a sword.  Continue reading

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HEX (1973)

Cristina Raines

Cristina Raines

HEX (1973) Category – Enjoyably bad movie but not fun-bad enough to earn my highest rating        Hex, which was also released under the title The Screaming, belongs to that joyously bizarre subgenre of motorcycle horror films.  

That  peculiar cinematic niche also plays home to flicks like Werewolves On Wheels, about a biker gang that hassles Satanists who transform them into werewolves, to Psychomania, about a biker gang that forms a pact with Satan  which permits them to commit suicide and then return from the grave as invincible, soulless marauders and to Blood Freak, about a biker who turns into a turkey monster (no, really).   

Hex trumps all of those other films for sheer weirdness, partly because it is set in the early 1920s and partly because its western locale makes it a candidate for my Weird Western series during the Frontierado Holiday season during the summer.

The underrated beauty Cristina Raines stars in this incoherent mishmash as Oriole, a half-breed witch who uses the Native American magic taught to her by her father to defend herself and her sister Acacia from a roaming biker gang.  Continue reading

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WAYNE ROGERS R.I.P – DR SEX AND ASTRO-ZOMBIES

Wayne RogersThe one and only Wayne Rogers passed away recently and since everyone else will be covering his time on M*A*S*H, House Calls, Stagecoach West, City of Angels and more, Balladeer’s Blog will do its usual oddball salute. Here’s a look at Doctor Sex (1964) and The Astro-Zombies (1968), two of the films Rogers co-wrote and co-produced with bad movie legend Ted V Mikels. Wayne even has a tiny role in Doctor Sex!   

Doctor SexDOCTOR SEX (1964) – Like Doris Wishman, Russ Meyer, Herschel Gordon Lewis and so many others, Ted V Mikels got his start as a director doing Nudie Cuties. For newbies to the realm of Psychotronic Psynema, Nudie Cuties were big in the 1950s and 1960s and despite their name NEVER featured nudity.

Toplessness and some butt-shots were all you got, with strategically and/or improbably placed branches, shrubs or rail fences covering pubic regions. Fans of Peter Sellers will remember the classic sendup of those nudie cuties that he worked into one of his Inspector Clouseau films.   

The appeal of these movies is barely understood today, when you can find any visual stimulation you want with just a few clicks on your keyboard but decades ago Nudie Cuties really packed ’em in. Enter Doctor Sex.

The titular doctor is holding a brainstorming session with his fellow psychiatrists Dr Schmutz and the gorgeous Dr Lovejoy. They plan on co-authoring a book to put the recently released Kinsey Report to shame.

To that end they share stories about some patients of theirs who suffered exceptionally peculiar sexual fixations. The tales are told through flashbacks and feature:

Dr Sex drawinga) A patient who fixates on having a dog’s-eye view to watching the sexy female owner of a pooch take her bath and other activities.

b) A patient whose work at a department store includes dressing and undressing mannequins and holding make-believe tea parties with them and otherwise treating them like they’re real women. In a horror film they would come to life and tear the man limb from limb or something but in this movie the patient just imagines that the mannequins come to life as incredibly beautiful women who want to hang around with him.

c) A female patient who loves taking her clothes off and, in a rags to even fewer rags story she becomes first a nude model and then a stripper.

And d) A patient who – in another idea torn straight from a horror anthology instead of a Nudie Cutie – lives in a house haunted by beautiful nude female ghosts. The ghosts do housework for the guy. No, I’m not kidding.  

To wrap up their presumably successful venture Dr Sex and his colleagues cut loose with some lascivious behavior of their own. In the wildest moment Dr Schmutz turns into a dog and plans to use this canine form to land a sexy female owner so he can watch her bathing and in various stages of undress. Continue reading

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