The Eurotrash Film Pinncle Project – Castle Buzzerstein Strikes!

From our good buddy and Spanish horror enthusiast, Buzz! The ETFPP rolls on after a hiatus. Anyone with entries is welcome to pass them along as well. This is a nifty list with a heavy helping of Spaniard spookiness and even has one I have yet to see. I’ll have to fix that!

1) The House That Screamed- one of the greatest euro gothics ever and the film (along with FBT) that kicked off the spanish horror boom..Serrador even manages to beat the Italian directors at their own game with the film containing two of the best gialloesque kill scenes ever put on celluloid!

2) Who Could Kill A Child?- hands down best damn spanish horror of the seventies..Prunella’s last scene with blood dripping down her legs is unforgettable…and powerful! Very creepy & atmospheric..

3) Spirits Of The Dead- if you haven’t seen Toby Dammit trust me folks you are *missing out*…a masterpiece! I’ve blown many of friends away with this one!

4) Perfume Of The Lady In Black- Deep thinking man’s giallo with an outstanding Mimsy performance & a kicker of an ending! Polanski meets Bava….meets Aldo Lado!

5) Blood Spattered Bride- Inventive spin on Fanu’s Carmilla with multiple viewings revealing new surprises each time. Easily one of the best european vampire films & required viewing for any spanish horror 101 class..

6) Short Night Of The Glass Dolls- another thinking man’s giallo similar in style to Perfume Of The Lady In Black..If you’re looking for a little something extra in your giallo, more than the standard/traditional formula, look no further than these two..

7) Planet Of The Vampires- Highly influential fun sci-fi spin on the vamp theme awashed with wonderful psychedelic day-glo colors. The movie is a nonstop procession of stunning visuals with many accomplished through a clever deep-focus mixture of miniatures & live action.. The costumes are brilliant, a leather-fetishist’s idea of scuba gear with Draculaesque styled high collars that’s the ultimate kicker! : )

8) Suspiria- a kaleidoscopic LSD drenched nightmare that I never get tired of watching.. This has always been my number one Argento and one of my favorite drive-in memories was catching this on the big screen..A psychedelic fairytale for adults!

9) What Have You Done To Solange?- The opening scene with the girls riding their bicycles while the image is saturated in red, accompanied by Morricone’s beautiful enchanting score, for me, is the most haunting & memorable in all of euro-land..The film brings out certain emotions in me that I’ve never experienced with any other gialli and the first time I saw it it blew me away, and made me a giallo fan for life..It wasn’t Dario who made me a giallo fan, it was Massimo..

10)Tombs Of The Blind Dead- No way I could leave off the Ossman and his amazing creation, the Templar Knights! This is up there with Serrador’s two classics as the very best of the spanish horror boom and while all four films are essential viewing for any eurohorrorhead, I still feel like the first one is the strongest in the series.. Not to mention TOMBS has a strange vamp undercurrent running throughout not present in the other 3 sequels.. Always a *plus* with
me.. ; )


Eurotrash Film Pinnacle Project – David Zuzelo (me!)

At last, my own list. A lot of things could go on here, but this is what I came up with after whittling away at a list of over 100 essentials. These are not in any particular number order, each is a number 1 in my book.
Since the entries have stopped rolling in, I’ll start tallying up the data this week!

House By The Cemetery: A line in the film has a tired and weary researcher proclaim “I’ve lost all critical perspective…” With this film, I have as well. This is the best Fulci horror film, and manages to cram in bizarre mannequin abuse, knife in the head splatter and a gothic ambience that equals many of the 1960’s Italian spookfests. A fantastic soundtrack and all that splatter is tied up in a nice bow of arteries and gristle as one of the great monsters of european trash horror finally appears in the mashed and monstrously alive Dr. Freudstein. While the finale cops from Jorge Grau’s earlier Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue a bit, it is downbeat and uplifting at the same time. House By The Cemetery is the best film from the crew that forged Fulci’s splatter legacy.

A Virgin Among The Living Dead: One of the strangest films in the odd oeuvre of Jess Franco. A film shrouded in mulitple versions-including a rampantly available mutilated edition that saw Eurocine splicing in “zombie” footage by Jean Rollin to dilute the films strange atmosphere by injecting “real” horror. With a haunting score propelling along the strange tale of a young woman’s return to her family estate-there is a real mystery to solve, but in this villa it seems reality is as distorted as a tenth generation video dub of the XXX edition of this very film. The world bends as love from beyond the grave and sexual bliss at scissor point collide to jab the viewer at every turn. A perfect film from Jess Franco.

Vampyres: Jose Larraz’ stunning sex and death film works as a straight up splatter film with two incredibly sexy leads, but there is more to the film than that. I’ve always seen this as a haunted house film as much as a vampire film and find it endlessly entertaining. Besides, have YOU seen a better pair of lesbian vampires than Marianne Morris and Anulka? If so, let me know! Bonus points scored when the title was released to DVD and contained a great commentary track with Larraz. When he practically shouts the words “Anulka’s POOOOSY!” I can’t stop laughing. Good to know the filmmaker loves his subject.

Thriller: A Cruel Picture: One of the best exploitation films to come from Sweden, I’m obsessed by Bo-Arne Vibenius’ masterwork. Slow motion death, a performance from Christina Lindberg that is great on both the surface (and what a curvy, beautiful surface it is) and in creating a character without using any words. Rough and raw, this one has hardcore sex, hardcore violence and puts the lead character through so much hell that by the end of the movie you can only sympathize with the horrible vengeance she wreaks. A great final sequence completes the ultimate Swedish Spaghetti Western cum Sleazeploitation.

Web Of The Spider: Antonio Margheriti remakes his own classic gothic horror, Castle Of Blood…only in color and with Klaus Kinski as Edgar Allen Poe! Talk about perfect casting! The opening Poe sequence is worth the price of admission, and once our hero enters the haunted mansion the film becomes a mesmerizing ghost story with all the trimmings. Michele Mercier may not be Barbara Steele, but she does an admirable job in a complicated role. Antonio Margheriti did everything from space operas to violent action and right on back to gothic horror-and this under seen and never properly presented film is one of his best.

Female Vampire: The second Jess Franco film on the list (I’m limiting myself here), this features an early and career defining performance from Lina Romay that is nearly flawless. Her Countess Irina is both sad and predatory, and those that come within her reach (har har) are drawn to her for both reasons. Lina Romay at her finest and an unforgettable Alice Arno performance collide with the score by Daniel White and the images that get up in your face quite literally, this is Franco’s best sex horror film.

Tenebre: I think of this classic Dario Argento film, my favorite of all his work, as a true milestone in my personal trip through trashdom. The film is slick on the surface, shiny and bright… yet is loaded with despicable deeds and shady characters so well that it becomes uncomfortable to root for any of them. A writer wants to cheat on his wife-and more. A journalist has gone over the edge-with an axe. The cops are barely able to keep up with any of the action-so much so that a fiction writer can do better than them. And let us not forget that there is one character with a secret that involves a transvestite! Argento’s camera prowls and puts the viewer right into the mind of one psychopath, while leading us away from another. The music is pure electronic adrenalin and the story moves along quickly.

And yes my fellow gorehounds, THIS one contains some of Argento’s most harrowing set pieces and fountains (literally) of blood. A must.

Werewolf Shadow: Paul Naschy is a guy that has the balls to write himself the best roles in the world. Be he a wolfman, a hunchback or even just a bloke on holiday-he gets the girl(s) and always has fun. Fun is the way I look at his films and Werewolf Shadow is one fantastic mash-up monster movie. Let’s see what we have. Naschy returns as Waldemar Daninsky. He gets multiple beautiful women involved in his werewolf drama. He romances…. But the evil Countess Wandesa is on the scene. Paty Shepard is a great vampire woman to our hirsute heroes El Hombre Lobo and we get creepy tombs, hanging werewolves and yep…a throwdown that isn’t exactly long, but goes deep on satisfaction. Werewolf Shadow is the ultimate Eurotrash Saturday Afternoon Chiller Theatre for the big/little kid in all of us.

Return Of The Evil Dead: The Blind Dead are the coolest zombies ever. I’m not kidding, these guys are just plain menacing and original and feature one of the coolest designs in all of monsterdom. While I could simply put all four of Amando de Ossorio’s films on this list (or cheat and call them one), I will play by my own rules and take this one. The Templars are back and ready to rumble all over those that did them wrong. A bit lower on atmosphere, but higher on impact-this is action and trashy vibe all the way through. If you have not experienced this film, you should simply get them all. The music by Anton Garcia Abril is almost a special effect in these films, and never so much as in this particular entry. Ominous sounds backed up by perfect images… The Blind Dead films are classic Eurotrash monster movies-Return Of The Evil Dead is the monsters on the rampage.

Burial Ground: You may shake your head and wonder why Andrea Bianchi’s trashy zombie opus would be in a “pinnacle” list. But sit down in a theatre (or with a bunch of friends at home) and watch it. Unrelentingly sleazy, but in a fun way, we meet some goofballs that are in a big villa to hear from a professor about…something. Unfortunately for said professor, he is chowed down by some spooky looking zombies before he can tell them, or us really, what the hell is going on. But who cares? The characters are chased all over the place by some incredibly well made up zombies! They drop like flies amidst their own bickering…but they don’t just get caught by slow moving shufflers. These zombies use tools. They beat down doors, they hurl metal spikes like ninjas and just wait until they have to find a way to get a fools head off with a scythe! Perfect entertainment or silly spectacle? Both! You can’t take anything from Bianchi though, he handles it with his trademarked “wade in and wallow” style and it all comes to a screeching halt before it even gets to be 90 minutes old. Besides, you too will be scarred by Peter Bark and his mommy obsession! Bark is a “little boy” that wants to stay close to moms breast. Since those breasts belong to Mariangela Giordano I can’t blame him. But when he gets monstered up… he takes breast feeding to a new extreme.

Eurotrash Film Pinnacle Project – Paul Cooke

Today we have a Eurotrash Pinnacle entry from my brotha by anotha mutha, Paul Cooke! Fantastic choices, if you have missed even one of these, fix that my friends. You can read lots of Paul’s reviews at Cinema Nocturna!

Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979) . Director Lucio Fulci’s awesome chunk blower. My most re-watched movie still to this day & I never tire of it. A spectacular set piece eye to splinter gore segment that will never be matched. The quintessential Zombie movie from the Italian horror scene.

1990: The Bronx Warriors (1982) . Young star Mark Gregory made Trash Cool. George Eastman makes big trouble & Fred Williamson gets to style & profile pimp stylee !. Christopher Connelly & a great bad guy turn from Vic Morrow as Hammer makes for an impressive Euro Action cast. A futuristic gang war Action flick supremely put up on the screen by Director Enzo G. Castellari.

Bronx Warriors 2 (1983) . Enzo serves up more of the same as the body count increases & body parts fly. Giancarlo Prete is Strike & alongside Trash they take on Henry Silva as the Bronx is invaded. Flame throwers & spiked clubs in equal measure against fists & guns. It’s clobberin’ time in the Bronx.

2019: After The Fall Of New York (1983) . The ultimate low budget Sci Fi fans ‘Wrestlemania’ moment. Michael Sopkiw as Parsifal rules the Post Nuke roost & Big Ape George Eastman is the cock of the walk. Big Ape gets to impregnate Valentine Monnier with his fertile seed to further mankind , but leave it to Michael Sopkiw to save the world. George Miller’s ‘Mad Max’ started it all but Sergio Martino Directed the magnificence of this ‘Fall’.

Yor: The Hunter From The Future (1983) . Reb Brown with stunt wig comes from the future to save the past in a four hour made for TV Epic from Director Antonio Margheriti. Producing more cheese than a field full of cows caught up in a tornado , but oh so wonderfully innocent in its fantastical charm. John Steiner almost steals the show with his pantomime turn as the Overlord but its Reb Brown who’ll win a place in ‘Yor’ heart if you get the chance to step into his world of dinosaurs & nasty Neanderthal’s , on the way to crossing swamp creatures & robots cast out from ‘Buck RogersIn The 25th Century’.

Robowar (1988) . The Rebster is back screaming at the top of his lungs as Director Bruno Mattei goes ‘Predator’ – ‘Robocop’ style in the jungle. Another great cast that alongside Reb Brown includes Max Laurel , Jim Gaines , Catherine Hick land & Romano Puppo. Look for the infamous Bruno Falls as the Filipino setting includes a ubiquitous scene of a water fall. It defies logic in such a totally terrific trash way ya gotsta love it.

Contamination (1980) . Director Luigi Cozzi’s Excellent take on Alien as an extra terrestrial terror seeks to overrule the Earth with deadly exploding eggs. Ex astronaut Ian Hubbard , Ian McCulloch’s character , teams with a New York cop , played by Marino Masé , as they race against time to uncover the Alien presence. What follows is a stomach exploding aftermath of bloody brilliance. Cozzi’s intentional eye for detail of timeless setting with dress wear & vehicles affords ‘Contamination’ a future proofing for audiences to this day. A wonderful slice of Sci Fi hokum that explodes across the screen all to the accompaniment of super synchronistic rock group Goblin.

Rats: Night Of Terror (1984). One of the many great writing / directing collaborations of Claudio Fragasso & Bruno Mattei. A far fetched futuristic nightmare vision of man made disaster after the fall of the bomb. It’s a handful of human survivors against a humongous horde of rats with a cheesy big twist at the end to bring the house down.

Tenebrae (1982) . Director Dario Argento’s contemporary killer classic. Superbly filmed & supremely scored once again by Goblin. A sexually charged thriller that oozes pure perfection from every scene. A pumping soundtrack drives the insidious killer to a frenzied cacophony of kills right up to the incredibly original closure. Top marks for Dario and yet another that stands up to continued revisits.

The New Barbarians (1982) . More Post Nuke greatness from the Action master Enzo G. Castellari. Fred Williamson is bowman Nadir & eponymous bad boy George Eastman is One , who certainly gives a unique ‘one’ to hero Scorpion as played by Giancarlo Prete. In a world laid to waste garish outcasts with a taste for flesh rule but aided by Nadir & Scorpion the surviving good folk still have a chance. Another in the long line of Italian Eighties Action classics first uncovered on home video.

Eurotrash Pinnacle Project – Kimberly Lindbergs

Another outstanding entry from Kimberly of the amazing CINEBEATS blog. Note the love for David Z’s favorite gothic horror… CASTLE OF BLOOD! If you have missed any of these, give them a look. For lots more of Kimberly’s writing (and far superior layout to this ugly old blog)…be sure to click through and check out CINEBEATS.

1. Venus In Furs (1969, Jess Franco) Everything I love about Franco’s filmmaking style comes together perfectly in Venus In Furs, plus it also features Klaus Kinski in one of his sexiest roles.

2. Danger: Diabolik (1968, Mario Bava) Danger: Diabolik is my favorite eurospy movie and easily one of the sexiest and most entertaining Bava films.

3. Spirits of the Dead (1968, Vadim, Malle & Fellini) I wasn’t sure if I should include this since it’s probably considered more arty than trashy by some, but with Vadim involved I figured it would fit right in. Spirits is easily my favorite horror anthology thanks to the amazing cast and great directing by all the filmmakers involved. Alain Delon and Terence Stamp are espically memorable in the film, but Jane Fonda and Brigitte Bardot are also great. Fellini’s segment is
my favorite, but the other two are equally entertaining.

4. The Diabolical Dr. Z (1966, Jess Franco) This Franco film just has so much going for it and I love the way it’s shot. Miss Muerte is easily one of Franco’s greatest creations.

5.Dorian Gray (1970, Massimo Dallamano) This is my favorite adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s classic story. Helmut Berger is the perfect Dorian and the movie is really sexy and sleazy, plus it has a great score and I think Dallamano does some really creative things within the film

6. 5 Dolls For An August Moon (1970, Mario Bava) Bava has made a lot of great films and I had a hard time narrowing down my favorites to add to this list, but 5 Dolls won out due to the great cast, intriguing
story line, fantastic score and Bava’s stylish way of shooting all the action and mystery.

7. Tombs of the Blind Dead (1971, Amando de Ossorio ) Tombs of the Blind Dead is one of my favorite zombie films. I like the entire Blind Dead series, but the first film is a real favorite. The great story and Amando de Ossario’s directing make it really entertaining.

8. Castle of Blood (1964, Antonio Margheriti) I came very close to adding Bava’s wonderful Black Sunday (1960) to my list, but I decided to include this great and lesser known gothic chiller instead that also happens to feature the lovely Barbara Steele. I really like the story and Margheriti films it all beautifully, plus the erotic tension between Margarete Robsahm and Steele in the movie is very sexy. I also really like Margheriti’s color remake of this film called Web of the Spider (1971) too.

9. The Frightened Woman (1969, Piero Schivazappa) The Frightened Woman is one of the most creative and interesting sexploitation films that I’ve ever come across. Dagmar Lassander is wonderful as the “captive woman” and Schivazappa’s directing is really impressive.

10. Deep Red & Suspiria (1975 & 1979, Dario Argento) TIE I just couldn’t pick between the two so they both tied for 10th place. Argento has made a lot of great films, but these two remain my long time favorites and I love them both equally. Deep Red is a fantastic homage to Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blow-Up (1966) and Suspiria is just one of the most stylish horror films ever made.

Ten more honorable mentions that came really close to making my list: Black Sunday (1960, Mario Bava), Possession (1981, Andrzej Zulawski), The Great Silence (1968, Sergio Corbucci), A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin (1971, Lucio Fulci), Gates of Hell (1980, Lucio Fulci), The House With Laughing Windows (1976, Pupi Avati), Zeder (1980, Pupi Avati), Succubus (1968, Jess Franco), Daughters of Darkness (1971) and Satanik (1968).

Eurotrash Pinnacle Project – Ade Salmon

Ade Salmon has one of the best design senses in the comics biz, and that is a fact. Toss in the coloring ability to make static images leap out of the page and you get pure gold. While you can find his work in 2000 A.D. and various Dr. Who projects (I still have to find his Cybermen tales)… I would point everyone that loves horror film in the direction of Salmon/Tinnell’s nifty TERRY SHARP book available here. Some interesting Pinnacle selections here…check ’em out!

The first of three spags on my list – both my choices come from different ends of the spectrum. This is Leone’s finest vision of the American ideal – it’s a sprawling spectacular , beautifully filmed , bridging the gap between
both the Italian and American visions. Fonda is superbly cast out of his usual character and brings inestimable weight to the film. Charles Bronson’s enigmatic Harmonica *could* be the perfect anti-hero. However I think
ultimately Sergio’s film belongs to Claudia Cardinale – the only character able to adapt to the changes taking place.

Placing this second pretty sums up where my heart is in italian film ( for the most part). DJANGO is the flip side of OUATITW. It’s definitely trashy and stars the ultimate italian spaghetti star – Franco Nero. Rugged , sparkling blue-eyes , with a smile to make the ladies drop their pants. The opening image of a lone Nero dragging a coffin through the mudflats is indeliably etched on my mind – it’s one of spaghetti’s truly iconic moments and sums up the genre to me. Stylish , viscereal and bloody – DJANGO is the best of the best dirty spaghettis and should really share my number one spot.

Easily my favourite Argento. I love the pulsing opening drum beat – Michael Brandon’s hipness – the sci-fi overtones and the great gay detective. Never boring – the scene where a character gets locked in the cemetery is straight out of Val Lewton. FOUR FLIES is frankly special.

It’s the best Spanish horror I’ve ever seen – I still shudder at the finale. Looks like a Hammer film but plays with a distinct continental psychological edge and looks fucking gorgeous. I used to think that all Spanish horrors
were like Naschy’s werewolf outings – a bit gonzo and daft – this set me straight I’m happy to say.My sort of sangria.

I think this was either the first eurotrash film I ever saw – but that might of been DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS. No matter – SHORT NIGHT gave me hope all the genre would be as involved and interesting . I still wonder if it’s truly a giallo – it skirts the genre but seems a little different. The idea of a man paralysed ( but awake) and awaiting vivisection! – adds immense drama to it.The occult subplot adds to the chill ROSEMARY’S BABY chill factor.

First time I watched this I wasn’t that impressed. Since then I’ve learned to love this like no other Bava. The black leather sixties sci-fi chique places this on a plinth of it’s own. The film is bathed – I say bathed in Bava’s paintstrokes and held together by the black leather glue. It’s also confusing at times – yet keeps resurfacing to impress. A friend of mine fell asleep 20 minutes before the end – promptly woke up about a minute before
the credits and declared it a great film! Yeah it is…

Erica Blanc – wow. This is my hot tottie choice – her succubus is the best going. This is the perfect gothic cliche film – it’s suitably lush to look at , has a cheesy plot and revolves around the star. Doesn’t get better for this kinda thing.

This could never be classed as Dario’s finest film – in fact it’s lack of class direction and slasheresque violence mark it out as downright cynical. Max Von Sydow brings an anchor of gravitas to the film amidst the violence.
Death by English horn particularly rough going. I can’t tell you exactly why I liked this so much – maybe the thriller aspect , maybe the lack of style -though there is some great rainy scenes. I just rate this above the better
ackowledged of his ouevre.

I was really excited to finally see the great release by Mondo Macabre of Giogio Ferroni’s 1960 gothic. It looks lovely and has a typically sluggish pace. It very much reminds me of those 1950’s wax museum films which were
always creepy. A good quality disc made a solid film really exciting.

I just couldn’t leave a Cleef off the list. I love his SABATA persona – but this is my favourite of his spags. It’s got a pulsing pace , is rather psychotronic in many sequences and is very well made. Even John Philip Law’s
woodeness is worked to effect – a brilliant example of the genre.

Thanks Ade, now check out Terry Sharp having spikes with the great Eurotrash Icon…THE FEMALE VAMPIRE. My wall is proud to house this one…

Eurotrash Pinnacle Project – Douglas Waltz

From Doug Waltz we have a new entry with loads of great titles to peruse. He is also the author of a chapbook you have to read to believe! Just wait til you see the cover!!

From the man himself:

Douglas Waltz has recently taken a movie that never evolved into anything past a really cool poster and made it into a bizarre chapbook. BRUCE LEE VS. ILSA, SHE WOLF OF THE S.S IN THE DEVIL’S TRIANGLE is available now with the coolest wraparound, widescreen cover ever made by artists Linc Polderman. Ten buck takes care of it all and send it off to Douglas Waltz, 1915 Douglas Ave. Kalamazoo MI 49007.

A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD – I love this movie. It’s
beautifully shot, minimal effects. A cohesive, yet trippy storyline
from Franco and a case where the zoom shot takes on a wild life of
it’s own.

ZOMBIE – I saw this at The Douglas Drive In when it first came
out. There is nothing like the memory of this splat fest playing
against the stars and making you freaked out enough to roll up your
windows in July in Michigan.

SUSPIRIA – This was playing with ZOMBIE. It’s amazing to me that I
wasn’t driven mad during this double feature. My sister still hasn’t
forgiven me for dragging her along for this one. I think she was 12
at the time.

BLOODY PIT OF HORROR – This one typifies the basic Eurotrash
sensibility for me. We get an insane muscleman in his Crimson
executioner garb. whacking pretty people in the wildest ways. I
prefer to watch this really bad print I have of this flick. Adds to
the sleaze factor for me.

MAKE THEM DIE SLOWLY – It was the mom and pop video boom. The box
for this thing dared you to watch it. I mean it had been banned in so
many countries. It had to be gruesome. It was and I’ve never needed
to see it again. That sucker is burned into my frontal lobes.

WOMEN’S PRISON MASSACRE – One sentence; razor blade on cork
inserted into woman’s vagina. Nuff said.

TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD – The undead Templar Knights left such an
impression on me that I started researching the real thing. Now I’m a
true Templar junkie and read waaay too many history books.

HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB – Sure Paul Naschy is pretty well known
or being a werewolf, but this one seemed to fit so well. As the
reincarnated Warlock Aleric du Marnac he tears up the celluoid in
this one and I have a warm spot for it.

THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE – The first time I saw this
my jaw dropped. The lead guy who we saw murder women in the beginning
of the film is made out to be a hero because he catches the bad guys
who were out to drive him insane. Did anyone catch this, but me?

TOWER OF THE SCREAMING VIRGINS – I have always made a bad habit
of buying films based solely on their titles. This one is so great
though. Jean Piat satrs as Buridan a war hero of France who goes to
discover why young men are turning up murdered in Paris. The answer
is mind bogglingly stupid, but the movie works. It’s a cross between
The Three Musketeers and Erotrash to the nth degree. A true classic
that deserves an new audience.

Eurotrash Pinnacle Project – Bryan Senn

Film critic and all around good fella Bryan Senn goes the extra mile today with his Eurotrash Pinnacle entry. If he isn’t taking a bath with a Franco film you can find him painting himself black and white and banging a drum somewhere on vacation.
You can go visit Bryan on the IMDB by clicking here! How long can I hold off starting a Senn Forum on the imdb? Not long!


LADY FRANKENSTEIN: Nudity, gore, monster mating, gratuitous Joseph Cotten, and two creatures—one an ugly hulk with a penchant for slaughtering copulating couples, the other a “satisfier of strange desires”—make this one of the most unique and bizarrely entertaining Frankenstein entries to ever clamber off the cinematic lab table. Among its many charms are: 1) a close-up of Dr. F. pushing a juicy brain into his monster’s empty skull cavity with his fingers; 2) a creation sequence in which, for no discernible reason, a bevy of bats flit and squeal about the creature’s body on the operating table; 3) the creature’s face catching fire during the animation scene, with the good doctor promptly putting out the flames with a rag!; 4) former Mr. Universe (and Mr. Jayne Mansfield) Mickey Hargitay as an arrogant, sarcastic, cape-wearing police inspector; 5) the hulking, hydrocephalic-looking monster going on a rampage of murder (with naked nubile nymphs his seeming targets of choice); 6) Rosalba Neri seducing her dead dad’s assistant into donating his own brain for her experiment!; and on and on…

THE GREAT SILENCE: Along with THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY, my all-time fave Spaghetti Western. The completely unique SILENCE offers: 1) A novel wintery landscape that seems bleaker than any seen-it-a-million-times-before dusty desert; 2) A damaged, silent hero who lets his Mauser do the talking. No need to blah-blah-blah when you can just point to your slashed throat, shrug, and shoot instead; 3) That cool-as-shit Mauser itself and some fine potato-shooting practice; 4) Some really oogey oooh-that’s-gotta-hurt thumb-fu; 5) The subtle, almost likable villainy that is Klaus Kinski and his “girly shawl”; 6) The late, great Frank Wolfe as a comical sheriff who loses his horse, loses his prisoner, loses his life, and still wins our sympathy; 7) Vonetta McGee and her “body like a boy” (as noted by that irrepressible funster K2); 8) Morricone’s absolutely haunting musical score. 9) Luigi Pistilli dripping slime while extorting everyone in sight and ordering brutal hand-burnings right and left; and 10) An ending that stands you up, slaps your face, then kicks you in the nuts while your jaw drops to the floor and you make noises like a squirrel.

BLACK SUNDAY: Mario Bava’s nighttime atmosphere, prowling camera, and moody lighting vividly creates a Gothic shadowland of doom and dread. Images such as a lantern suspended in total blackness or a face suddenly appearing out of the darkness both startle and chill. And standing at its center is the iconography that is Barbara Steele in her career-making first starring role. Steele’s mix of beautiful innocence and smoldering sensuality codified the good and evil that could drive men to their nirvana or to their doom (sometimes simultaneously). More than any other Eurohorror, Black Sunday weaves its potent spell to draw the viewer into a shadowy world of palpable evil, making it one of the most atmospheric, eerie and frightening horror films of the 1960s.

NIGHT OF THE HOWLING BEAST (aka THE WEREWOLF AND THE YETI): My favorite Naschy/Daninsky flick has it all: Brutal werewolf action, cruel mountain bandits, sexy cannibal cave-chicks, flayed-skin-as-poultice medical treatments, battling babes, and the friggin’ YETI, ferchrissakes!

RETURN OF THE BLIND DEAD: I love all the Templar films (well, apart from the is-he-an-actor-or-a-wooden-Indian Jack Taylor-starring, ship-in-a-bathtub misfire that is THE GHOST GALLEON), but the second of the Blind Dead quartet features the tightest script, best-drawn characters, most action, and a hear-a-pin-drop-a-mile-away suspense-laden climax that never fails to set my blood pumping.

REVOLVER: Perhaps THE most intelligent and involving Eurocrimer I’ve seen, with Oliver Reed and Fabio Testi turning in Oscar-caliber performances. But just because it’s smart doesn’t mean it’s a sissy movie, for it features some brutal, in-your-face violence and gunplay, and emotionally wrenching twists and turns. An atypical Eurocrimer that tops and transcends its genre.

SUSPIRIA: Argento uses color and sound and blood to make one of the most stylish and visually striking horror films ever made. Literally stunning in its visuals, SUSPIRIA is a breathtaking ride into an Old Europe nightmare. And standing at the center is none other than Elizabeth Collins-Stoddard!

HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB: My favorite non-Daninsky Naschy offers living heads on tables, heart-ripping, medieval hypnotism, castles and catacombs, fog-shrouded diaphanous-gowned Eurobeauties, bumpkin banditos, bleak wintry landscapes, and zombies! What’s not to love?

WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO SOLANGE? This is the one giallo that REALLY knocked my Eurosocks off. Lusciously photographed, clever, brutal, well-acted and well-cast, it’s a take-no-prisoners trip into the sleazy world of black-gloved killers.

THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE: The most coherent and clever of Argento’s giallos. And you gotta love a character who keeps the riff-raff out of his artist’s “loft” simply by removing the ladder to his door and raising housecats for meat!

MANHUNT: Henry Silva and Woody Strode are a pair of New York gangsters/hitmen sent to Milan to track down a small-time pimp (Mario Adorf). It turns out the family-oriented, middle-aged, well-dressed procurer is the HERO, lol (and a disturbingly likable one). Vicious action, a sleazy Silva, an unsmiling/all-business Strode, plenty of gratuitous nudity (including hippy go-go dancers… always a plus), a likable main character who draws you into his plight, and an exciting, brutal, and novel climactic “showdown” in a junkyard make this perhaps the most all-out entertaining Eurocrimer I’ve seen.