Lines In Wax

TWELVE YEARS OF UNWANTED OPINION

exploitation

Dear God No! (2011)

Dear God No! (2011)

The name of this movie amply describes the reaction I had about 45 minutes in, and therefore sustained throughout the remaining runtime. Dear God No! showcases the danger of having fucking amazing cover art on your DVD or BluRay. This steaming pile of shit does nothing to justify how awesome its cover art is, which is what lured me in.

Blood Orgy Of The She Devils (1973)

Blood Orgy Of The She Devils (1973)

Another witchy/satan/black magic exploitation movie thats very thin on plot and acting but very stacked on nubile young beauties and gobbledygook. I mean, what does one expect going into this? The imagery is fantastic even if the cinematography is somewhat lacklustre and the lighting is appalling. The acting? Well, surely you know what you are getting yourself in for if you are interested in this kind of thing.

Barbarella (1968)

Barbarella (1968)

Nowadays, thanks to the wonders of technology, if you want to see Jane Fonda’s tits you can just do a quick Google search. Unfortunately for folk back in the 60s, it meant having to sit through absolute garbage like Barbarella. I’ve tried hard to find some merit in this low budget, camp as hell sci-fi romp. Truly, I have. Sure, its better than OG Star Trek, and watching Barbarella sleep her way across the galaxy to save the universe does have some sort of barbaric charm, but for the most part the plot is wafer thin and the pacing is glacial. The COVID 19 lockdown allows me to take some sort of pleasure in drinking all my whisky reserves and plowing through dreck like this, so I managed to make it to the end in the name of either perseverance or boredom. Fun fact: the band Duran Duran got their name from the character Durand Durand in this movie. You learn something every day!

Inseminoid (1981)

Inseminoid (1981)

Who’d have thought a sleazy sci-fi b-movie would include cast members that would go on to be in shit like Coronation Street? Yes! Welcome to the world of Inseminoid, a terribly low budget sci-fi horror where a female…. astronaut? Scientist? Whatever!? – Anyway she gets inseminated by alien semen and goes berzerk. Plot! The best thing about Inseminoid however is the acting, or lack thereof. The entire cast showcases a unified level of ineptitude that I have yet to find matched anywhere else, except maybe in The Room. I cannot fathom how bad this is. Really, I should have turned it off, but fuck, it was entertaining.

The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation Of Toxie (1989)

The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation Of Toxie (1989)

If you thought Toxie 2 was bad, I’d stay the fuck away from this. Patched together from footage taken in the same sessions as Part II, Part III makes no effort to conceal the fact that a lot of its plot makes absolutely zero narrative sense after the conclusion of the second movie. But hey, this is Troma, it is what it is. Toxie gets a job with the organisation he destroys in part 2 (it’d have made more sense if this movie came first) and ends up fighting Satan in a gameshow-esque series of escalating situations. Honestly, this was pretty fucking cornball, even for Troma. I don’t think I’d watch it again.

The Toxic Avenger Part II (1989)

The Toxic Avenger Part II (1989)

You’d think things couldn’t get much worse than the original Toxie right? Ha! I am infinitely impressed by how low the bar has been set by this first sequel (I cannot begin to imagine 3 and 4) but nevertheless some odd part of me wants me to soldier on through. Apparently Troma acquired a bunch of funding from Japan so set this film there to appease those backers, which makes for some amusing scenarios (plus truckloads of nude Japanese girls), but for the most part, if you’re not into Troma, you’re gonna have a rough time watching this.

Strip Nude For Your Killer (1975)

Strip Nude For Your Killer (1975)

This is an absolutely stunning giallo movie (if one can use such a way to describe a movie of this nature), where the best tropes of the sleazy Italian genre are taken to create a sexy bright-red-blood fest of unexplainable deaths. The plot? Very, very sexy ladies are getting butchered by a mysterious masked assailant clad in leather. I won’t spoil the ending, but what a journey. Aesthetically mesmerizing, but plays out like a gory soap opera. 

Basket Case (1982)

Basket Case (1982)

Basket Case is a bizarre low budget horror movie from the beginning of the sleazy 80s. I’m not sure if this would count as body horror (probably not), but the little monster in the basket (spoiler alert) has a very Cronenberg kinda feel to it, if just a little tackier. This movie seems infamous, and I suppose it is – with good reason – but I can’t help but point out my issues with pacing in the first half of the movie. All in all, it was an enjoyable chucklefest of b-movie madness, and I can’t wait to watch the rest of the series.

Tonight She Comes (2016)

Tonight She Comes (2016)

What in the holy mother of fuck did I just watch? Like, this is a mess. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I honestly don’t know. What starts as a slasher setting quickly devolves into a clusterfuck of Satanic rituals and insane plot twists. The plot can literally go fuck itself, but I have to commend this film on its gore, it’s cast (eyes are now firmly back in skull) and its production style. The film is well made. I’m just not sure if it’s a good film. Either way, be warned, this shit gets hella fuckin’ wild.

Class Of Nuke ‘Em High (1986)

Class Of Nuke ‘Em High (1986)

I can’t decide whether the abnormality that is Class Of Nuke ‘Em High is either genius or hideously hideously bad. The plot suffers some pacing issues, for me I found it hard to stay focused during the first act (yes, even with all those nude “teens” lol) but the payoff comes towards the end. This is a Troma classic so I won’t go into the story itself, but it’s worth saying that the effects are top notch, and are everything you should expect from a Troma release, if not in smaller doses than I expected. What truly surprised me was the camera work, and dare I say, cinematography. This piece sings beautifully on old grimy film, and the editing and aesthetic choices are glorious. 

The Toolbox Murders (1978)

The Toolbox Murders (1978)

This is a strange one. The movie starts off as one of the more depraved exploitation films I’ve encountered thus far; scene after scene of gratuitous nudity and horrendous violence towards women randomly peters out after half hour and the movie turns into this slow investigation / psychological piece. It is bizarre to see pretty much all of the slasher kills over and done with in one go, and honestly, it really effects the pacing and the remaining hour is an absolute slog to get through. A shame, as the snuff-vibes of this thing are totally minging to begin with. Toolbox Murders is brutal, but it really misses the mark.

The Arena (1974)

The Arena (1974)

The Arena is a mid 70s exploitation shit show featuring the excellent Pam Greer. The main girls are pretty decent (or at least funny) actors but the supporting cast are appalling. The plot makes literally no sense and the ending is absolute trash but there is something endearing about this awful movie. It has zero redeeming features but there is something about which has put a smile on my face, regardless. I think that probably says a lot about me as a person, but there we go. 

Shivers (1975)

Shivers (1975)

Well this was just glorious. Eery yet hilarious from the outset, what this lacks in Cronenberg’s infamous body horror FX it makes up for with hilarious attitude and plot. A sexually promiscuous young woman and a scientist of sorts have brought an unstoppable parasite to a housing complex. Weird shit, and almost surrealist in some ways, I’m sure there’s a bigger message here that maybe I am missing. Nevertheless, there’s enough nipples showing through tops to keep your attention if surrealism isn’t your thing. I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Ilsa: She Wolf Of The SS (1975)

Ilsa: She Wolf Of The SS (1975)

Having finally watching this uhhh… “movie” I can see why it remains unrated. Ilsa is essentially a porno, with dump trucks of full frontal female nudity, and even more horrendous torture and “snuff porn” in the way of nubile young beauties being put through a series of increasingly disgusting medical “trials”. It’s a tough watch, even for a seasoned gore or sexploitation nerd, but it’s definitely one for the history books. In my opinion it’s worth watching just to see an SS general being pissed on by the titular main character. Could it be any more German? (I’m joking, Germany I love you!)

Slave Of The Cannibal God (1978)

Slave Of The Cannibal God (1978)

Someone needs to tell the director of this movie the importance of pacing. The 100 minutes or so of this film were some of the longest of my life. The plot is absolutely nonsensical, with the most asinine twists imaginable. Its a good thing really that you want the insufferable cast to all fucking die. That aside, Slave Of The Cannibal God is the usual concoction of cannibalism, tits and staged animal slaughter that comes with the genre. All in all, this is pretty terrible. 

A Cat In The Brain (1990)

A Cat In The Brain (1990)

Lucio Fulci’s swansong in the director’s seat, in which he bizarrely plays himself as he goes mad, unable to tell what is reality anymore after donkeys years of directing gore and exploitation. To top off his deteriorating mental state, people are starting to die gruesome deaths, and Fulci begins to suspect that he is the killer. Despite this awesome plot summary (and the fact that the BBFC wouldn’t rate it), this actually is a pretty awful movie. The pacing is excruciating, Fulci can’t act (sorry meng, RIP) and it includes recycled footage from some of his earlier films. However there is a smattering of gorgeous Italian women present so if you like gore and tits and not much else you might be okay. Otherwise, you might wanna give it a miss.

C.H.U.D. (1984)

C.H.U.D. (1984)

The Dad from Home Alone (haha) leads a cast of Misfits through this entertaining but incredibly low budget mush. Nuclear waste is being dumped in the sewers of New York (honestly, that would explain a lot IRL) and the CHUDs have come to wreak havoc. Hilarious spots for me were noticing bit parts played by Commissioner Burrell and The Greek from HBO’s The Wire. 

The Big Bird Cage (1972)

The Big Bird Cage (1972)

I watched this around the same time as Sweet Sugar and therefore muddle them up in my head quite a lot. Honestly, it hard to tell which one is more morally wrong but this sleazefest, whilst a bit slow-paced, is very enjoyable. I mean, as far as the ‘women in prison’ subgenre of exploitation film goes, I genuinely don’t know what more one could expect from a movie of this kind. Arguably, Big Bird Cage is the daddy (or mommy?) of the genre, plus it has Pam Grier, what more do you want?

Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! (2008)

Zombies! Zombies! Zombies! (2008)

This had absolutely everything you could want from a low budget slasher flick, but still managed to be completely awful. That aside, the laugh factor was surprisingly high and the gore FX attempts were admirable. I’m not sure if the actors here are just “friends” of the director, even most porn stars act better than the girls playing the strippers in this movie. I’m gonna say avoid this one. 

Rabid (1977)

Rabid (1977)

Well then… a decent film, with a stunning lead (how beautiful was Marilyn Chambers? Cool to see her here, I didn’t realise it was the same lass that was in that Green Door porno) but suffering with horrendous pacing issues. I enjoyed the story but was honestly bored for the majority of the film. A shame, considering the effects are pretty cool, and also considering the director’s reputation. I feel like the concept was all there, but the idea was somewhat lacking.

Decampitated (1998)

Decampitated (1998)

This terrible Troma-distributed title gets off to a promising start. However, it devolves rapidly from there and ends up being a total mess, and not in a good way. The practical effects are entertaining despite the budget, but I can’t say that this comes particularly highly recommended from me. I can only apologise as well for the horrendous cover scan on this one.

Troma’s War (1988)

Troma’s War (1988)

I guess the best way to describe this would be to say that it is Troma’s take on the Rambo era of War films. Beginning uncannily in the same fashion as the pilot (lol) episode of Lost, Troma’s War quickly descends into a jungle-fever drenched bullet fest, with a dashing of casual racism and exposed breasts for completions sake. Did I really care what the fuck was going on? No. Did I enjoy watching it? Yes, absolutely. 

Land Of The Dead (2005)

Land Of The Dead (2005)

My quest through Romero’s …of the Dead series marches ever onward. Slowly I guess, like a shambling zombie. Land Of The Dead is a strong one, pitting the zombie apocalypse against a Mad Max kinda societal vibe. Some outstanding gore effects, but loses some points for a few patches of atrocious CGI (nothing makes me more flaccid, truly lol). Those of you who enjoyed the Tenpenny Tower subplot of Fallout 3 should resonate with this movie.

Cannibal Ferox (1981)

Cannibal Ferox (1981)

Ahhh, of course, following the success of the immeasurably grim Cannibal Holocaust, many others in the same vein quickly followed. The acting in Cannibal Ferox is absolutely atrocious, but I still found myself enjoying this movie. Scenes of animal deaths are hard work, but watching tribesmen kill and eat a turtle as they would in reality is far less harsh than most films that have stooped to this level for shocks. On the face of it, Cannibal Ferox is awful. Nevertheless, the pacing was quick and the movie did not drag. Perhaps besides my better nature I found myself enjoying this one, for better or worse! 

Street Trash (1987)

Street Trash (1987)

This one took a while to get going, but it was worth the wait. Sloshy, melty disgusting gore with some of the most hilarious effects I’ve seen for a while. Weird as fuck to see Larry Boy from The Sopranos acting here (it was his first feature), and I was head over heels in love with Jana Arakawa (despite her haircut haha), who has unfortunately not appeared in much else since.

Sweet Sugar (1972)

Sweet Sugar (1972)

A prostitute with a mouth fulla sass gets sent to a woman’s prison work camp where it turns out the guards are sadistic and the camp leader is “experimenting” on the women that work there. Queue all sorts of half-naked debauchery as the girls fight back and give the babyfaced freakazoid Dr. John (yes!) the runaround, with an absolutely insane ending. I haven’t personally for over half a decade, but it might be worth blazing out before watching this one.

Savage Abduction (1973)

Savage Abduction (1973)

Two young girls are snatched for a high-paying maniac who is in love with life-sized dolls. A shady biker gang, who is at first a bit skeptical of the idea, soon warms to the $10,000 asking price for the girls, and they quickly kidnap two young hotties from the city. However, despite the premise for all sorts of debauchery, nothing really happens. At all. There is a bit of back and forth between the bikers and the kidnapped girls, all the while interjected with shots of the lead biker beating his girlfriend, and the doll-loving maniac making insane demands to see the girls he’s bought. Some weed is smoked and the girls are stripped to their underwear…. and then nothing happens. The film keeps you guessing about what is gonna happen next, when will it kick off etc., but it never delivers. Ever. Even the ending, which sees most of the cast dead, just kinda happens under your nose. Couple that with drab scenes and awful lighting, and yeah, I’m surprised I made it through to the conclusion. However, the two girls – Amy Thomson and Tanis Gallik – carry the film and I’d love to see them in something else.

Commander Mengele (1987)

Commander Mengele (1987)

Commando Mengele, or Angel of Death is an 1987 action movie that is best completely forgotten about. This is one of those films which is totally devoid of action, suspense or anything of any real interest. The plot is fucking dire, the cinematography is just appalling, the acting is unspeakable. The only thing of any redeemable quality is the synthesizer soundtrack, and even that sounds like a cross between the soundtracks of a porno and a cheap thriller. I’m not even gonna give this the justice of a plot outline. I will round this off by saying that this film contains one of the worst scenes I’ve ever seen. A woman scans a photograph of Mengele into a computer which instantly dictates back to her – in a robotic voice – who is in the picture and when it was taken. Boy, even by today’s standards we don’t have this outstanding technology! 

Nightmare City (1980)

Nightmare City (1980)

Nightmare city is a decidedly average yet somewhat quite enjoyable zombie horror movie from the 80s. It tells the story of a radioactive army plane returning from an unknown destination, bringing with it an army of crazed undead. As unfortunate for the viewer as it is for the victims trying to escape in near slow motion, the pacing of this feature is somewhat dire. This even makes the most chaotic or gory scenes seem boring and tiresome. The dubs are nothing short of abysmal, which catapult straight past being entertaining into the territory of downright irritating. That being said, Nightmare City does offer the rare kind of zombie that is functional enough to run and use weapons. There is a small amount of nudity and the fake blood is very silly looking, but these elements add to the production rather than detract. The zombies themselves just appear to be regular humans with Homer Simpson’s recipe for leprosy glued to their faces. Nightmare City is an enjoyable rehash of all the tropes of the zombie movie but is poorly executed, and suffers heavy due to the one-speed pace.

Surf Nazis Must Die (1987)

Surf Nazis Must Die (1987)

Quite possibly the worst (best?) film I have seen thus far. I mean, wow, this is bad. This is about a bunch of rival gangs vying for control of the beach now that the police are off the scene due to a massive earthquake or some shit. I don’t really know where to begin. Honestly. I need a moment… Shocking acting on all fronts, except Dawn Wildsmith as Eva, who is probably the most enigmatic member of the Nazi gang. Even by Troma standards this is a struggle to get through. Not even the sparingly used violence and “a bit of tit” can really save it. I only made it through by multitasking; splitting my limited time on this earth between this movie and the Ratebeer website (what a life). Things lull for a while and get exciting, and then lull for another long while and pick up at the end. The last 15/20 minutes are top entertainment, though – watching the Mamma hunt down the Surf Nazis one by one, where the other beach gangs failed. Eva gets cut in half by a speedboat, which is easily the most impressive part of the whole film. The film also scores extra points for its synthesizer soundtrack, which is pretty fuckin’ cool. Finally, the Mengele character looks suspiciously like Rik Mayall. Just saying.

Il Plenilunio Delle Vergini (1973)

Il Plenilunio Delle Vergini (1973)

Billed as Full Moon Of The Virgins on Amazon Prime, and known as The Devil’s Wedding Night to most of the world, this fantastic Italian horror movie can comfortably join the Low Budget Movies With 9000 Different Names Club. I’ll go with the original title, Il Plenilunio Delle Vergini, even though I have absolutely no real fucking clue on how to correctly pronounce it. Il Plenilunio Delle Vergini is brilliant. I loved every second of it. The ridiculously wooden acting of Mark Damon (sorry bro) somehow lends itself to the overall atmosphere of the feature, especially towards the start. And then, as the film progresses, Esmerelda Barros as Lara and Rosalba Neri as the Countess take over the spotlight. Both are oddly creepy, but the latter truly shines in her role, with some breathtaking scenes (the bathing in blood scene being the most striking, see below and above!). The film does unfortunately lose marks for its fairly shitty ending and twist, and the hammy inclusion of some zombie vampire guy who just does a whole bunch of shuffling around and not much else. But as far as virgin sacrificing Dracula knock offs go, this is pretty good. 

A Serbian Film (2010)

A Serbian Film (2010)

This has been on the back-burner for me for quite some time; the film’s sordid reputation initially drew me to it, but its fans pushed me away. “Man, some guy totally rapes a baby, hurr hurr hurr, sick, bro”. A Serbian Film has become a piece of work that has become known for its graphic content, and not for its “artistic” vision or even for its plot, which is fine if you want to wear your heart on your sleeve and create a gory, depraved movie, but if you are – like the creators of this film – hiding behind some paper thin meta / political message to justify your motivation to depict such heinous acts as “entertainment”, then I’m sure that this legacy must be pretty infuriating, no? Anyway, all that artsy shit aside, A Serbian Film also fails on the face value of it being a shocking exploitation film. It draws out all the stops – and then some – yet fails to be entertaining, or repulsive, or even hilarious in its own failure. The film is cold and completely devoid of atmosphere or dread; even the flat-out exploitative moments fail due to them being re-cast in a harsh, “artistic” light that pretends to have a message. Cap that off with the half baked ending, and I would classify this as the worst – and most over-rated – “horror” film that I have seen so far. So, to clarify: A Serbian Film is 100% shock value tripe for plebs who think the Saw movies are the pinnacle of horror cinema, and is completely undeserving of its rancid reputation. Avoid. 

Sukeban Boy (2006)

Sukeban Boy (2006)

This has to be one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. I love watching awful movies (that is the whole point of this venture!) but this just fails to entertain. I mean, in all rights it should; it’s a tale about a boy (?) called Sukeban who looks like a girl so he goes to a girls school, dressed – rather convincingly – as a girl. There he meets a whole array of bizarre characters that are have no hesitation getting naked and violent. It is verrry weird, up to the point where his friend Kanko gets her legs chopped off by a masked female, and then it gets even weirder. A topless villain starts shooting bullets out of her tits. Similarly, Kanko’s stumps turn into guns and she starts gunning people down too. Sukeban grows tits (2020 edit: I think the actor already has tits to begin with but still). Everyone else has their tits out too. A bunch of naked chicks tie everyone up in chains and then a bunch of people die. Did I mention there were tits involved? All of this happens in under an hour, and by all rights it should be massively entertaining, even with the lack of English subs. Unfortunately however, the entire thing is so drab and badly edited that it is almost excruciating to watch. The lighting is awful and the choice of locations (almost entirely within a school) is dark and musty, but in the worst, most amateur way possible. The acting is (unsurprisingly) beyond saving and the fight choreography looks like it was cobbled together by the type of people who wear fedoras, drink lots of Monster energy and enjoy playing with toy lightsabers. Even for exploitation filming, this is abysmal. All DVD copies of this should be fired into the fucking sun.

Man Bites Dog (1992)

Man Bites Dog (1992)

Man Bites Dog is a bizarre “noir-mockumentary” in which a young film crew follow a charismatic and disturbingly chipper serial killer who goes by the name of Ben. Black humour is served by the truckload as we document Ben as he kills victims, eats mussels, visits his gran and generally waxes lyrically on subjects of his choosing. At first, the violence is jarring, but as we enter Ben’s world, it starts to become more and more normalized. I think this is the point of the movie, as eventually, the film crew start to become involved in helping him out as he commits more and more serious / gratuitous crime. I won’t go any further into the plot or talk about the ending but the rate at which I was absorbed into the worldview of maybe not so much Ben, but that of the film crew, really disturbed me after the film ended. I was a spectator, along for the ride, joyously desensitized to and involved in the carnage that was being caused by the serial killer. The dark comedy of it all really threw me off as to how disturbing this film is. Interesting stuff! Cinematically, the high-contrast black and white footage is stunning; allowing the film to be gritty and moody, as well as aesthetically pleasing. 

Sexual Parasite: Killer Pussy (2004)

Sexual Parasite: Killer Pussy (2004)

Oh my days, what a film! Haha! This is absolute, total trash, in the best possible way, and my first introduction to the world of J-sploitation (surely Japsploitation would be better?). As the title might suggest, the film focuses on a deadly carnivorous parasite that nests inside the vagina of its female human host. It also seems to be able to possess control of whoever it is currently inhabiting. It is never clarified whether or not the monster(s) can inhabit male hosts (that would be messy!); the film chooses to focus on chopping off all the dicks of its male cast instead, because y’know…because it can, I guess.

Astro-Zombies (1968)

Astro-Zombies (1968)

I primarily checked out The Astro-Zombies because of The Misfits track which shares the same (or very similar) title. This film is, in a word, terrible. The pacing is excruciating, and when anything does happen, it is so badly acted out that it is just laughable, and not in a good way. The plot is paper thin, and the “Astro-Zombie” scenes are incredibly hammy. The titular “Zombie” is just some dude in a plastic mask. This is a B-Movie I know; a world where villains are often just dudes in plastic masks, but it is so casually obvious, with no apparent care or attempt to make it seem less obvious. For the first half of the film I was completely lost in regards to the plot. The mad scientist and his cliche hunchback assistant are nauseatingly boring to watch, but the strangely beautiful Tura Satana keeps things mildly interesting as the enigmatic villain, even though she can’t seem to fire a gun without posing like a complete buffoon. Appalling, but a small part of me wants to see the sequel, for reasons that I cannot even explain to myself…

Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979)

Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979)

Welcome to the first LIW film post! In the seemingly endless recent downtime I have been thinking of ways to expand on and better this site and incorporating TV/film-speak into the goings on here seemed like the next logical step. LIW started in 2011 as a vinyl-only blog and initially grew to cover CD and cassettes. In 2014, it became “format free”, covering music regardless of format or whether I owned a physical copy of the release, and I started doing festival reviews but not many have been included. Anyway – from today, LIW will contain posts about film and over associated media. Cheers for sticking with LIW (although I guess the site name is irrelevant now!). I’ve recently been on a bit of a kick to catch up on watching films that I’ve been putting off for years, and Zombie (or Zombie Flesh Eaters) was high at the top of the list. Initially, I found that the New York scenes and the scenes in the confines of the boat really didn’t really grab my attention. The scene where Anne and Peter pretend to be lovers to avoid the wrath of the policeman didn’t seem to make much sense at all, but there we go. Things definitely get better towards the second half of the movie, helped in spades by topless scenes of Olga Karlatos as Mrs. Menard and of course, a zombie fighting a fucking shark. As the action ramps up towards the end, the zombies seem to become more and more disgusting. Absolutely fowl creatures! Fulci most definitely created the ultimate zombie; some of them are absolutely disgusting. Brilliant! Bit of a daft ending too, but I really enjoyed this film. The graininess of the footage really lent itself to the content. Classic!

Bad Taste (1987)

Bad Taste (1987)

A slow start, but it eventually unfurls into the debauched genius that its reputation promises it will be. The acting is absolutely atrocious, but the final act as it were, well that makes up for it all entirely. The real question, though: is it better than Lord Of The Rings? I’m going to say yes! LOL