Saturday, May 16, 2009

Phantom of Death



Phantom of Death
(Aka: Off Balance]
Original Title: Un delitto poco comune
Directed by Ruggero Deodato
Italy, 1988
Thriller/Horror/Giallo, 90min
Distributed by Shameless Screen Entertainment


Story:
Concert Pianist Robert Dominici is a praised musician who’s performances are aired on national television. During one of these televised concerts a scientist is murdered in a beastly manner, and the police are left clueless. Inspector Datti, is put on the case and when Dominici’s girlfriend also is murdered he starts putting together a possible solution that doesn’t make sense, but is plausible. Dominici starts dating his old girlfriend and fashion coordinator Hélène Martell, and pretty soon she turn out to be pregnant with his child, but Robert isn’t as happy as he should be, instead he’s quite the opposite. When Inspector Datti starts figuring out the enigmatic mystery put before him, he’s forced to put logic aside when the suspected killer either is several people or one man aging rapidly…




Me:
I really can’t find much good to say about this movie at all. Perhaps it would be that great Argento-esque second killing in the train station with the great big shattering windows and the always fantastic Edwige Fenech, but not even Edwige feels at place in this terrible piece from Ruggero Deodato. Not to mention Michael York in what might be the worst case of miss-casting ever. Michael York just ruins this film for me completely. He’s so not into his character and he acts like a lump of coal. Which is a shame; because I’m sure that this could have been a great movie if the heart had been in place instead of a lump of coal that generates no empathy or interest at all. Even good old Donald Pleasance is more or less just parodying the “inspector” role that he perfected in so many earlier movies that it’s annoying. The story of a serial killer having a lethal disease which makes him grow older at rapid speed is a great, the few effects by Cataldo Galliano (Sergio Martino’s Island of the Fishmen, and Mannaja, Dario Argento’s Four Flies On Grey Velvet) that are in the movie are very effective and are very appropriate of the late eighties special effects, exaggerated and overdone, but gory as hell and fit the movie like a charm and the aging process of York’s character is really well done, but still his acting ruins everything.

Story wise it’s a very interesting and unique attempt at bringing something new to the genre, as York goes insane parallel with his progeria that is turning him into an old man, and when he learns that Fenech is pregnant with his child he goes after her to inhibit his bad genes from to infect their unborn child, hence prohibiting the child to grow into a “monster child” like the one he has previously seen at an orphanage. It’s a decent plot and really is the strong point of the film, but like I said, York just ruins it completely with his shitty acting. But I suppose that’s what you get when you use the wrong person to play the lead part in your movie. Anyhow, the story brings something new to it and it’s a nice twist to it as you are lead on by the opening montage which crosscuts between York playing the piano, and a doctor being murdered, and it couldn’t possibly be nice Michael York who was the killer, as he was playing the piano live on TV at the time, we saw that didn’t we…?


Pino Donnagio’s score works all right, perhaps not his best work and all that classical piano tinkering just adds to the annoyance, as York’s character is so maddening, but the score gets the job done. Considering that the storywriters/scriptwriters Gianfranco Clerici and Vincenzo Mannino have titles like Fulci’s New York Ripper and Don’t Torture a Duckling, Deodato’s House on the Edge of the Park and Cannibal Holocaust, not to mention Enzo Castellari’s The Last Shark, Umberto Lenzi’s fantastic poliziotteschi Violent Naples and Duccio Tessari’s The Bloodstained Butterfly on their writing credits, it’s painfully obvious that Deodato not only miscast, and failed his directorial duties on this one, but also shot it ten years to late. With the right cast, the right score and made at the right time it would for sure have been a classic, and not a dud once again proving that the giallo as a genre wouldn’t make it into the nineties.

Unfortunately this was also the last collaboration between Deodato and editor Daniele Alabiso, who used to bring a much more violent and aggressive tone to the movies he edited for Deodato during the 70's and 80's. Again the movies unfortunately became more about spectacle than the impact full narratives and jazzy swagger of those gone before them.


Keep a look for the bloke who get’s on the moped just before the train station. Don’t blink because if you do you’ll miss Deodato’s cameo, possibly the only part of the movie he really focused on in this terrible piece of Italian Genre Cinema. Great eighties special effects, some brief nudity and the always wonderful Edwige Fenech, but that’s about it.

Image:
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen

Audio:
2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo.

Extras:
Trailers for: The Killer Nun, The Black Cat, New York Ripper, Torso, Manhattan Baby, and Baba Yaga - The Devil Witch coming from Shameless Screen Entertainment

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane


All the Boys Love Mandy Lane
Directed by: Jonathan Levine
Horror, 2006
USA, 90min
Distributed by: Noble Entertainment



Story:
Meet the hottest girl in college, Mandy Lane. Every guy at school has the hots' for her, every single one. When Mandy is invited to spend the weekend at Red’s farmhouse with some of her new friends, things start to go really terribly wrong as someone is stalking and killing them. Who could it be and why? And what is it with Mandy Lane that makes all the boys love her?


Me:
Excuse me? I thought that All the Boys Love Mandy Lane was supposed to be the new smash? The shit, the real deal, amazing and according to all those festival reviews and rant the best darned horror movie in ages with a surprise twist ending… Erhm, what? No I’ve got be honest and say that I really didn’t enjoy this movie. OK, I’ll give them credit for an interesting set up where the strange relationship between Mandy Lane [Amber Heard] and Emmet [Michael Walsh] is presented and explored, it’s really creepy when he manipulates the Jock wanting to get into Mandy’s pants, and her total cold reaction to the terrible event that follows as he smashes into the floor of the pool. But that’s about it. The jump forward in time, and then the red herring that Emmet and Lane don’t get along anymore is kind of lame. Then the expositions to set up that still, all the boys want to bone Mandy Lane. And here’s my first problem, why don’t the other chicks react? If they are a nice little clique of friends that hang out, drink and fuck together, then why the hell would the girls be the ones to arrange and bring Mandy Lane with them on the weekend trip? You’d never bring your own competition to a party would you! That just threw me off as its plain stupid. And from there it’s all down hill, the stupid “beer heist”, the hand job in the back of the car, the arrival at the Ranch and introduction of hero character Garth, the drinking games that lead nowhere and the total despicable characters that are unravelled in front of us. There’s nothing new going on here at all. It’s all genre convention at its worst, stupid kids drinking, taking drugs, and teenage hormones running rampant in their lust for a shag and not enough nudity to keep it interesting. And it would have needed it because the story isn’t that great to tell the truth. Then the antagonist makes it’s entry.


Stuff usually gets going after mediocre exposition and setup when you throw in the antagonist to start the mayhem off, and from a start I thought that this might get better as the first time you actually see the antagonist, no one else does! Obviously inspired by J-Horror and Asian ghost movies, the killer is already in frame as Marlin [Melissa Price] walks up to the totally un-empathetic Jake [Luke Grimes] with a comforting blow job. A very neat detail that I thought would follow through the movie, but unfortunately not. At least this scene evokes some sort of audience emotion, as Marlin tries to comfort Jake and expects the same sexual favours back from him, makes us feel some what empathetic towards her, but totally wanting Jake to be the first to die. But never forget that in generic horror the slut gets more than dick first, she’s also the first to die.

But from there on it just goes for the same old tricks, and then the worst of all why the heck would you expose the killer so early on? It was fairy obvious from that “Not friends anymore!” scene before the kids took off for the ranch that Emmet was going to be the guy stalking them down in a “if I can’t have her nobody else can either.” That is what the opening pool party death and the race track incident add up to, so there’s no real reason to keep Emmet hidden, but then again you want to keep your audience guessing as long as possible, and my line of thought was shattered there as soon as he was revealed. I’ll get back to the reveal I was hoping for later on when I explain how this movie could have rocked so much harder.


Here’s a quick mention of other really stupid things that got me feeling that I was wasting my time with this flick. There’s a power failure and the ranch looses all electricity after Jake fiddles with the fuses in an attempt to make a move on Mandy, which the other two lads already have done. Why don’t the other girls get jealous? Especially as the “pretty” one claims that Mandy looks so much better than her in a tender intoxicated moment in the bathroom. If you say a thing like that you are obviously threatened by Mandy’s good looks and would be jealous as hell if the bloke you where trying to make a move on went after Mandy instead. Ridiculous. Anyway, there’s the power shortage, which separates the group, decent enough move I’ll give them that, but then as Jake makes his move on Mandy, there’s a soft seductive music track playing in the back ground…!? What? I thought this was supposed to be a horror movie, not a romantic piece of schlock. That music did more to break the illusion than anything else, and it lies so low that I really thought that it was supposed to be music playing in the house. Stupid. The party! Now I’ve been to a fair amount of parties just like this one, cesspools of debauchery where alcohol, drugs and sexual lust are so tangible that you could slice it, package it and sell it as a sex aid overseas. But this party just lingers on and on and on, and nobody gives the impression of having a good time or passing out. So I just don’t get it. It’s insulting to me as an audience member. Now for a quick focus on the killings… …well I thought that we where quite used to and all right for onscreen violence and total chaos when it comes to our horror movies. After all 2006 saw grotesque imagery and gore fests like The Hills Have Eyes, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, Feast, SAWIII, Hatchet and a whole load of other movies heavily depending on onscreen carnage and death. But after the first initial kill, this movie almost goes off-screen with the violence. Now go figure that out? Why would you do that? Especially that scumbag Jake, I’d torment the crap out of him if this was my movie.

Then there’s the surprise twist ending. Twist yeah maybe, but definitely not surprising at all. It more or less makes sense that Mandy is in cohorts with Emmet, and I started thinking that this was going to be the surprise ending a few minutes before it was revealed, but I still don’t understand for what reason? That’s what annoyed me, it’s just stupid. If they where total outsiders yeah, I could have gone along with it, but these two kids where accepted parts of school hierarchy. Emmet goes with Mandy to the first party, and it’s only because of Mandy snubbing him on the race track that the Chloe disses him. Then when Mandy decides to double cross Emmet just because she’s got the hots for the ranch hand Garth is also quite sudden and illogical. The ending isn’t very satisfying at all, and to be frank not much in the movie as the end credits scroll have been either.

But if you want to say something good about this movie, I have to say that the cinematography by Darren Genet is beautifull, and you have to take your hat of to whoever cut the trailer, because that is an impressive trailer, and it sure had me holding high hopes for this movie, it's just a pity that it turned out to be rather tame. But still a great trailer.


Now here’s my take on the whole thing. First accident/death at the pool party. Yeah keep it it’s going to be essential to the final twist. Also it does a nice job of setting up the strange relationship between Emmet and Mandy. Get the kids out to the ranch after snubbing Emmet on the race track. Fine, keep it and get them out there. Set’s up a good line that will return in the final act. Loose all the ridiculous girlfriends talking Mandy into coming along for the ride. Flip that around and have them doing it as a favour to say Red or one of the other blokes. This gives you the opportunity to alienate Mandy from the other girls later on, and also weave in some complicated threads as Mandy obviously goes along for Jake, which is why she’s appalled when he gets that hand job from Marlin in the back of the car later on. Chloe convinces Mandy to come for Red, Mandy comes for Jake, Chloe is disappointed when Jake tries to go after Mandy, just like all other boys in the film, and devastated when he goes with her best friend Marlin. See you have a very fragile and delicate set up there. None of the girls get along when it comes to men and love, just like in real life. Then bring in your masked antagonist, but make him really terrifying. Keep the great cheerleader chant as he beats Marlin to death, but make it much more visual, that’s why the kids are here. Keep the violence on screen and much more provocative. When the antagonist drives the car up to the house and shoots fireworks at the on the porch, let a fire work hit one of them in the face, ruining their good luscious looks and taking one of the few values they have away from them. Imagine, your friends face is a smashed burning crater, and as he/she lies screaming on the porch the others have already taken to hiding behind the front door. Create a moral dilemma, risk your life to save your mate, or cower as he dies a painful death! Sprinkle a lot more nudity throughout the movie, give us a few teasing shots of Mandy “the untouchable” if you really want her to be so much hotter than the others. Make the audience want Mandy too. Shock ending, here you go, Hint at Emmet being in the area, but don’t reveal that he’s the killer, don’t even show him, just hint Let the audience do the math, give them an investigatory challenge. Then the surprise twist, just before the last fight the last crescendo Chloe runs towards Mandy, reveal the killer in the car… OH MY GOD IT’S DYLAN, FROM THE POOL PARTY! With his scared face and disfigured back after the terrible accident in the opening sequence he’s made it his mission to kill Mandy and all of her new little mates, because, “If I can’t have her, no one can!” This makes sense because, after all the guy threw himself of a fucking roof in an attempt to get in her panties remember? Then as Mandy kills Chloe have her stare in terror at Dylan, because that’s NOT who she was expecting to see, she was expecting Emmet, who she shares a death pact with. Enter Emmet, have him and Dylan fight to the death, Mandy assisting Emmet. In the fight Dylan tears Mandy’s clothing exposing her breasts, even keep them in her bra if you are too prude, but tear that shirt, it’s setting you up for the REAL shock ending. The fight goes on, Emmet is more or less dead, you now think that he’s only been there to stalk Mandy and through his mad behavior saved her life for a moment longer. Mandy beats Dylan to death even in the cow grave just like in the real movie if you like. It’s a nice disturbing touch. She goes back to the lethally wounded Emmet, and sits next to him. They look at each other and we realise that they still are very close friends. “Did I do good?” He asks, “You did great” Mandy says sobbing. She drags his head into her lap and he produces the vial containing the suicide pills and explains their death pact just as in the real movie. Then she sobbingly agrees as he tries his best with his bloodied hands to cover up that exposed breast. She kisses him and they both take the pills. Now Garth who we have been counting on to be the hero drives up in his jeep only to find a bunch of dead kids. GOSH! That’s shocking! Three killers, two working as a team the other one solo, but all of them unaware of the others presence. But for this to work we need to set two things up, one in that opening sequence, one later after the reveal. In the opening sequence, Emmet needs to try to get a peak at Mandy as she changes clothes or something, this to give effect to the final scene where he tries to cover her up, his love is now much deeper than the other blokes as his love is much more than lust and the desire to see a pair of tits. The second set up needs to be the back-story of why Emmet and Mandy chose to go on a killing spree. We need to see how the new gang engulfs Mandy and more or less alienate Emmet from her, preferably by some humiliating rite where Mandy can’t intervene but is present. This will be their reason for murder. The death of Mandy at the end will pack much more impact than the lame drive off ending that the movie has now. And that my friends is my take on how to create a shocking movie with a surprise twist ending.


Image:
2.35:1 Anamporphic Widescreen

Audio:
Dolby Digital 5.1 and dts Digital Surround, English dialogue with Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish subtitles

Extras:
Trailers for other titles from Noble; The Mist and a totally terrible Kärlek3000 trailer. That's all folks.


Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Oasis of Fear


The Oasis of Fear
Original Title: Un Posto ideale per uccidere
Directed by: Umberto Lenzi
Thriller, 1971
Italy, 90min
Distributed by: Shameless Screen Entertainment

Story:
Two peace loving hippies, Ingrid and Dick, make their living by peddling smut that they pick up in Denmark and sell for a fortune in Italy. Selling off all their stock, they go wild spend most their profit on clothes, food and champagne and soon find themselves back at square one again, and after being ripped off by a travelling biker gang they are completely broke. In desperation they make their own “dirty photographs” to sell to the punters, but this leads to them being apprehended by the fuzz for breaking the law. Their camera confiscated, they are told to get out of the country or they will be thrown in the slammer for selling their homemade erotica. Keeping a positive spirit they start their trip back to stock up on new items, but after trying to exchange some passport booth pics of Ingrid at a gas station their paranoia runs wild, and they try to hide. Luckily for them, they come upon a house where they plan to hide out, repaint the car and keep out of sight for a while. But the house is not abandoned, and as they start to hang out with the ever so nervous Barbra who lives there, sinister plans are sat in motion…


Me:
Good old Umberto Lenzi, a very underrated genre director who’s unfortunately mostly remembered for that god awful Cannibal Ferox [1981], (god awful in a good way) the one supposedly “Banned in 31 countries” one, the sad reworking of his previous masterful entries into the obscure Cannibal genre. The 1972 Man from Deep River is the one to check out if you ever want to explore that depraved world of death violence and flesh easting savages (or Deodato's magnificent Cannibal Holocaust [1980] of course). But don’t be fooled by the reputation that Ferox has labelled this great director with, because in many a case Umberto Lenzi made brilliant genre movies. He directed some of my favourite Gialli, some truly disturbing horror flicks and some incredible poliziotteschi movies too, not to mention all those Swords'n'sandals and westerns. So don’t write him off so easily thanks to that one reknown gutmuncher. The Oasis of Fear, or rather, An ideal place to kill, if you prefer a proper translation of the title and not a cheesy re-titling, is a fascinating and impressive thriller where you’ll never quite know where things are going to go. Brilliantly cast with Ray Lovelock as the English hippie Dick Butler, a young Ornella Mutti in her third starring role as the sexy Ingrid Sjöman , and screen legend Irene Papas as Barbara Slater, the desperate housewife to say the least.


It’s an interesting movie as Lenzi spends so much time building up these two sympathetic young characters before starting to push them towards their descent. As all good storytellers will tell you, you have to build to a high before you can hurl your characters to a low to motivate that noble climb back to stature. That’s pretty much what Lenzi does with all three of the lead characters, as he has the young hip sexy Dick and Ingrid wind up in the house of the distraught housewife Barbra. From the start Barbara is very nervy, and wants them to leave, but pretty soon she’s making moves on Dick and downing spirits with them as if there was no tomorrow. This is where the gialli-ish themes start to make their way into the movie, as we understand that Dick and Ingrid are setting up Barbra, or is perhaps Barbara the one conning the young couple. A healthy amount of kinky sequences later the all is in full movement as Dick and Ingrid discover that Barbara’s army husband isn’t on his way back from the base, but in fact dead in the boot of his car. Now both parties have to keep a calm face as Military police and the nosey gardener keep interrupting their suspenseful mind games. Who will get the blame for the murder? Will it be pinned on the young couple or on the housewife? Who’s fooling who? Exciting stuff that will keep you on the keep you engaged as the values shift back and forth until the shocking ending.

During the start of the movie, as they buy smut in Denmark, with obligatory shots of the little mermaid statue in the harbour, there’s a great little detail which kids of today will be freaked out by. In a time before internet porn people actually listened to other people shagging on cassette tapes or vinyl records. It’s a great little detail completely unimportant in 1971 when Lenzi made the movie, but hilarious now in retrospect.

Perhaps not as twisted and disturbing as some of his Gialli or as dark and violent as his poliziotteschi’s, but still a very entertaining film, with great lead actors, a full range of fantastic genre super names in bit parts [Calisto Calisti, Jaques Stany and Michel Bardinet to name a few] and then there’s the terribly catchy theme song that frequently is reused in a varied number of arrangements, even an Indian influenced one to accompany Mutti in Indian outfit, by Bruno Lauzi. Eugenio Alabiso’s rapid editing has to be acknowledged too, as he really keeps a great tight pace throughout the movie. But the main ingredient to make this movie worth the while is the simple fact that it’s character driven. The characters and their interaction is what make this movie flow, instead of the customary tom foolery and set up in between each murder of the common Giallo. To top it all off, Shameless have put together a complete rebuilt version of the movie where several scenes previously missing are back in place. Scenes that you won’t really understand why they where taken out as they are of plot specific nature! Great stuff indeed, Umberto Lenzi in great shape and form!

Image:
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen.

Audio:
Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo

Extras:
Trailers for other Shameless Screen Entertainment releases, [Torso, Strip Nude for Your Killer, Baba Yaga - Reloaded, Watch Me When I Kill, The Frightened Woman and The Designated Victim] Trailer for The Oasis of Fear and a rather entertaining, and informative text commentary by The Wilson Bros.


Saturday, May 02, 2009

Strange World of Coffin Joe


Strange World of Coffin Joe
Original Title. O Estranho Mundo de Zé do Caixão
Directed by: José Mojica Marins
Horror, 1968
Brazil, 80min
Distributed by: Njuta Films



Story:
Tales of horror, depravity and human suffering are presented as José Mojica Marins' alter ego Coffin Joe brings us three terrifying examples collected together in the piece he calls The Strange World of Coffin Joe. See a doll maker and his delicious daughters take on the vile burglars, see a mute hunchback’s final carnal pleasure as his love is laid to rest, and see the seven days of torment that prove Professor Oaxiac Odez deadly thesis. Prepare yourself for sights you will never forget in The Strange World of Coffin Joe!


Me:
Well if you want to talk about world cinema and the underbelly of subgenres around the world, you should at least have seen one or more Coffin Joe flicks. José Mojica Marins, The Brazilian legend who has made at least thirty-four movies since his debut Sentença de Deus in 1958 has a decent back catalogue for cineastes of the obscure to explore and enjoy. The Strange World of Coffin Joe opens to images of violent nature and stormy weather haunts the skies, before Mojica’s voice is heard setting up the movie with a series of philosophical questions, a trademark Coffin Joe opening if there ever was one. And also made homage to in Brazilian Director Tiago Belotti’s zombie flick A Capital do Mortos, and like I previously mentioned, if you ain’t seen a Coffin Joe movie that would have been completely lost on you.


Then we are introduced to the first tale; “Doll maker” where we are hurled and a world of depravity as nightclub guests dance and drink, dance and drink, all shot from subjective angles where women are indefinitely objectified as they gyrate their lower torsos and breasts seductively at the camera, and drunken men try to grope their dates. In this setting, four young men watch as the Doll maker delivers his latest creation to the bar owner. Its amazing remarks the bar owner, the eyes look so real he says before paying the old bearded man. Figuring that the doll maker should be holding onto a fair amount of cash, as he’s just been paid, the four roughnecks follow him home with intention to steal his earnings. But there they find something that tickles their fancy far more than the petty cash they realise they won’t be finding, the doll makers four beautiful daughters! After a fight with the old man, who they think they have left for dead, they get into bed with the young girls and try to rape them, but when the girls stop resisting and almost welcome them the doll maker rushes in and laughing aloud with his daughters shoots the four men dead. After a for 1968 measures rather gruesome scene of decapitated heads the secret to how the doll maker gets the eyes so realistic is revealed. So far The Strange world of Coffin Joe does little to make me rant on about cinematic genius, there’s not to much happen in the first instalment that hasn’t been show in genre cinema before at this age and time. And neither do I understand why his movies constantly got banned in his home land, there was nothing there to get too worked up about. But that’s all about to change as we enter the second episode…


Greed” showcases why Marins is an interesting director, as this short segment has no dialogue, “an experiment in making a movie with out any word’s” Marins’ is know to have said about this episode. And it works; there is no need for words here, as we watch a wealthy woman walk past the disfigured, hunchback selling balloons on the town square. He falls head over heals in love with her and begins to follow her around. The soundtrack is really corny and with its strange mix of music boxes and seaside pipe organ tunes it brings Carnival of Souls and Early John Waters movies to mind, which is a good thing. The hunchback follows his love around fully aware that he will never have her, especially when she starts to prepare for her wedding. It’s during these preparations that she drops a box containing her shoes. The hunchback picks them up thrilled as he now finally has a reason to face the woman. But he never gets the opportunity. She’s all too occupied preparing her wedding, and on the day of the wedding, she’s murdered on the stairs to the church by a jealous rival! Despair! But the hunchback doesn’t give up that easily as he watches the mourning funeral guests leave the crypt where the young woman is laid, he finally sees his chance. He enters the vault, unboxes the shoes and lovingly places them on her feet… Then he starts lifting up her dress… Finally the hunchback has his woman. Whoa! Not only very impressively told by not using any dialogue, Marins also deals us a shock ending with necrophilia! Now I start to understand why he was hated so much by his critics and censors. But wait, there’s more to come, and you ain’t seen nothing yet…


The final instalment “Ideology” sees Marins himself getting in front of the camera. This time he’s not his usual Coffin Joe persona, but Oaxiac Odez (and you’ll kick yourself when you realise that it’s Ze do Caixao [Coffin Joe] backwards), an obscure professor invited in to a TV show called “The News Men” to defend his latest research and thesis. Nonchalantly he is little bothered with the interviewer’s questions and dismisses them one by one. After the show he invites the anchor to his house to further discuss his research. The anchor, Alberto, accepts the invitation, and later shows up at Professor Odez mansion. At first they are invited into a room where sexual acts are mixed up with sadistic beatings, copulating couples are whipped and thrashed but don’t stop their activities. Proof of my theories, claims Professor Odez. Alberto and his girlfriend, squirm in disgust and want to leave, but Odez has his army of male and female zombies force them in front of a small theatre stage, and the carnage begins in a show that would have made Grand Gugniol close its eyes. A man is drawn apart on a rack and then devoured by Cannibals, demented rapists paw a resistant maiden before throwing acid in her face. As her once good looks melt off her face she falls to her knees and kisses the feet of her assailants. Outraged and appalled, the visiting couple tries to leave but the sinister professor has other plans for them. He forces them each into separate cages and locks them up for seven days telling them that in seven days they will understand his theory that will prove the triumph of instinct over reason. Seven days without food or drink and each day a new torment as Odez quotes passages from the bible to them. After the seven days Odez releases the famished woman and after slitting Alfredo’s throat, she drinks his blood hence proving the mad professors thesis. Finally the professor and his zombie henchmen feast on the barbecued remains of the young couple. Coffin Joe’s omnipotent voice is reheard and a collage of phobia inducing insects and reptiles is shown as he sums up his movie. Finally there’s an extra sequence added on where meteorites hammer down upon the professor’s house exploding it in the process. A final scene where judgment is passed on the mad professor, which the Brazilian censors demanded that Marins added to the film if it where to be released.

When the movie is finished you’ll have a different image of Coffin Joe that was imagined at the start, as you have witnessed the death, necrophilia, cannibalism and sadistic torture held within, and it’s quite easy to understand why this guy was looked upon as a trouble maker in his homeland. Even though the movie is pretty poor technically, i.e. poor photography, sloppy editing, and really bad soundtrack, both audio and score, it’s still an entertaining movie and definitely something you would want to see. At the least it’s an influential, impressive and visionary director creating some of his best work in his own special take on surrealist horror and exploitation.

Image:
Black and White 1:33.1 Full frame

Audio:
Portuguese language, Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0. Swedish Subtitles optional.

Extras:
There’s a quite gimpy introduction with Marins in full Coffin Joe outfit, presenting the movie as he walks around a “dungeon” full of vampires, monsters and scantily clad lasses. The Original Trailer, Trailers for other Coffin Joe Movies, a Poster Gallery and a José Mojica Marins filmography. Then there’s also an animated short movie directed by Victor-Hugo Borges.