10 July 2011


THE LIVING DEAD GIRL (La Morte vivante)
1982/Director: Jean Rollin/Writers: Jacques Ralf, Jean Rollin

Cast: Marina Pierro, FranCoise Blanchard, Mike Marshall, Carina Barone, Fanny Magier

Some arty, sexy gore from Eurosleaze master Jean Rollin. Not really sure if this a vampire or zombie film that has some sort of environmental message running through it. In this case if you do not handle toxic waste properly while storing in the underground tombs of a French Chateau it could spill over and revive some luscious babe that has been resting in her coffin for the last couple years. Like a most of RollinIs film the attempt is at some sort of beautiful gore but like many French horror films from the 70's the story drags most of the time. I watched it over three settings really. Catherine and Helene are childhood friends who will not let a little thing like death keep them apart. Catherine is constantly goring up her sheer white dress only to return in the next scene with sparkling white again. Some of the gore is simply overdone and there is not enough nudity to keep your eyes open. Some pesky American tourists get fried and axed respectively but not one of the better European horror offering from the time. The film titles was the inspiration for the rob Zombie song.

THE GRAPES OF DEATH (Les Raisins de la Mort)
1978/Director: Jean Rollin/Writers: Jean-Pierre Bouyxou, Christian Meunier
Cast: Marie-Georges Pascal, FElix Marten, Serge Marquand, Mirella Rancelot
Another one from Rollin a few years before The Living Dead Girl and a little more entertaining over all. Another zombie theme with an environmental message again, this time about the dangers of pesticide. Grapes from a local vineyard become contaminated from said pesticide and turns the person who drinks the wine slowly into what can be called a zombie though some zombie purists may debate this point. Not any major emphasis on nudity or sex in the film as a young woman runs through the small wine making community fleeing the outbreak and running into one violent situation after another. Again it is the style of the film-making in that some scenes are unnecessarily drawn but it works well over all and there a couple unexpected twists. The effects are a little low budget but effective. A blind girl gets crucified and plenty of oozing, necrotic flesh on the victims. Sit down with a fine Burgundy and enjoy this better example of French horror.    

1959/Director: Monte Hellman/Writer: Charles B. Griffith/
Cast: Michael Forest, Sheila Noonan, Frank Wolff, Richard Sinatra, Wally Campo   

The actual beast here has little screen time as the bulk of the film is essentially a heist film set during winter in South Dakota. In many ways this is a pretty good film and as a low budget crime caper it may have worked better without the horror element but the addition of the mysterious blood sucker makes the film a real B-movie treat. There is some tough dialog between the gangster and the handsome hunk ski instructor Gil (Michael Forest) and lots of slurred quips from lush moll Gypsy (Sheila Noonan). This movie is not unwatchable at all though I wish the monster had been done a little better. In some scenes it looks like a super-imposed image as it is transparent. The gangster/heist/monster movie is an under explored genre. Again, for cheese lovers most likely but I recommend it. Taliesin the vampire hunter did a good review of the film over at Taliesin Meets the Vampires with lots of his typically well chosen screen captures.

1972/Director: William F. Claxton/Writers: Russell Braddon, Don Holliday
Cast: Stuart Whitman, Janet Leigh, Rory Calhoun, DeForest Kelley, Paul Fix
I just giant rabbits just aren't that scary. Not as scary as the posters for this "animals attack" make it out to sound. This came out in 1972 so actually predates the killer animal movie craze that followed Jaws. Not really a terrible film but damn it rabbits just aren't scary, especially domesticated looking bunny rabbits. To control rabbit over population Dr. Roy Bennett (Stuart Whitman) injects a rabbit with some sort of hormone that is supposed to stop the animals mating drives. After the rabbit is released by his daughter because it is her favorite the hormone somehow leaps into all the other rabbits and soon there are stampedes of bunny rabbits in the deserts of the southwest. Jack rabbits would have looked a little more menacing. And for some reason that is never explained the bunnies become carnivorous. Of course or it would not really be too scary a film right? Janet Leigh plays Whitman's wife and tough guy Rory Calhoun is a rancher trying to save his grazing pastures. DeForrest Kelly (Dr. McCoy from Star Trek) plays a university scientist and sports a moustache. I can recommend it for cheese lovers. I enjoyed it if that is any sort of sound recommendation. My poor wife was stunned speechless.


Magixx said...

nice movie reviews, gonna try a some of them!
keep it up

Bill D. Courtney said...

Thanks. I like this format a lot of four one paragraph reviews. Some of my reviews are long and a bit too much work really but I enjoy doing them, and I enjoy reading a long review of a good b-movie. But this way I can almost keep up with the movies I watch.

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