Happy Halloween!!

Happy Halloween from all of us at Tomb It May Concern. A few more Halloween Horrors remain unwritten, but I can’t resist a simple post to put up some cool images and hope that everyone enjoys some horror films for the spoooky holiday. Be it Slasher, Ghost, Universal, Hammer, EuroHorror, Zombie, Shot On Video In A Language You Don’t Speak or anything else…have fun and stay spooky today!!
Click for the big images…and enjoy!


Halloween Horrors 25 – Attack of the Crab Monsters

Nothing says Halloween like a classic creature film from Roger Corman. This film always makes me smile when the Crab clickitey-clicks his way around, taunting and terrifying the unlucky group that landed on the incredible disintegrating island. I’m certain that Guy N. Smith drew his infamous Crustacean Domination sound effect from this cinematic clawful!

A group of scientists land on an isolated island to research the effects of the US military running nuclear weapons tests-but they find that things are already stirring before they can even get started. All that radiation has set free a GIANT killer crab! Perhaps the swift decapitation of one of the crew should have tipped them off… Some investigating takes place and the cast does a fantastic job carving out their spots. I’d say that Mel Welles was my favorite cast member (especially since he would later direct the awesome Lady Frankenstein)-but I’ve long remembered this film for the scuba gear clad Pamela Duncan, and even after many years since the Saturday Creature Feature has closed it’s UHF signals down I still love seeing her pop out of the water.
And run. Oh, the running… but let us not forget why she runs!

Yep, the radiation has built a big bad beast out of the local sea life thanks to all those shake ups below the surface! And out comes the coolest crab of the 50s. But there is a twist. As the crab claims rights to the island it also ABSORBS the intelligence of it’s meals! Now, this is something that freaked me out as a kid-once I really understood it. And it still does…I could not help but hear the hive mind of Prince of Darkness when old big claws was yammering away about how much trouble the soft humans were in. Bad enough to be a snack, but to give that smack the keys to conquering the world? Not good…

Attack of the Crab Monsters is fast and furious, with all the things I love about a Corman creature film. The man could take a few elements and make magic with them. Not once do I not believe we are on an island that is slowly sinking in to nothing even though the Bronson Caves are as familiar a location as any in the United States for genre films. I want the cast to win, even though I love the monster and think he is a little spooky despite rolling around bouncing over rocks. The sounds, the sights and all the fun of a monster movie rolled in to one brief hour of black and white happiness.

Well, maybe it isn’t all happy… because the ending is one of the best in all of the Corman Canon as far as I’m concerned. The cast has survived at great cost! Sacrifices have been made! Heads have been chomped. A crab stands poised to use new found Atomic Intelligence to scissor pinch the world as it gives birth to a new race of HyperCrab! And though victory for the humans does happen, it is a Pyrrhic victory, because the island is shrinking and their is nothing left but the knowledge that the world is safe…but the nuclear tests WILL continue and it could happen again.
Ah, a classic chill from a film that seems so simple… If you have never enjoyed Attack of the Crab Monsters this is the right time of the year. Click Click Clicketey-Click!

“Once they were men. Now they are land crabs.”

Halloween Horrors 24 – Horrible Sexy Vampire

I’m finding that nothing says Halloween like Spanish Horror Films of the 70s. The Horrible Sexy Vampire is certainly not the best of the batch, but if ever a film celebrated the relentless pursuit of being horrible and sexy, it would be this vampire entry. It isn’t horrible as in bad, it is horribly groovy. And loaded with some of the Spaniard-O-Sexo that goes down so smooth with a good beer and dark night and the shades pulled down in your home theater.

Opening with a classic sequence of a beautiful woman and her husband heading in to a motel for the night to shower (of course) and get a nights rest-the pair are attacked and killed by an INVISIBLE man! An invisible VAMPIRE really, and that made me wonder if he was pulling some trick with mirrors (har har) or this was just a cheap way to not clutter up a frame of a sexy nude woman by adding in a guy in a cape! Well, either way, it works. After this opening few moments the film gives us a ton of exposition about the local lore of the vampire. It seems that the young Count Oblensky has returned to The Black Forest to take a look at his castle. The only problem is that his still kicking around and eternally horny ancestor, Count Oblensky original style, is an invisible vampire that loves to bite young women and kill their lovers.

Luckily for Old School Oblensky, there are tons of women in the area of fine build and eager to remove clothing at the drop of a hat. Or soap. Or some dudes trousers. Regardless of the logic, the movie plays out for the first hour as a nudey flick with a little mystery added as young Oblensky tries to come to grips with the vampiric resident of the castle. Good thing that Val Davis, billed with the awesome pseudonym WALDEMAR WOHLFART, is up to the task of playing the confused descendant and the ready to implode under the weight of his own libido Count Oblensky with equal vigor, because he makes the film work between the frequent nude scenes.

After the first hour runs it’s course, the film picks up as the elder Oblensky taunts his descendant in hopes of being killed! Just threatening him doesn’t work though, the introduction of Patricia Loran as the beautiful young woman in the castle brings the film to life-and we have a vampire terrorizing the castle and eventually getting exactly what he wants. Me, I’m just happy to have Loran deliver the biggidy bam goods and exchange her Halloween costume for a perfect birthday suit! BoooooooooooooYAH!

The Horrible Sexy Vampire is not a good horror film by any stretch, but as softcore Spanish fun, it succeeds and sure did keep me sitting straight up! It commits some horrific fashion crimes (check out that sweater above…I want one), and is paced poorly to say the least. The first major dialog sequence lasts more than 8 minutes…and while that isn’t bad sometimes, it is completely static and reveals the secret origin of a Vampire that you just know is not going to be all that important anyways. But for groovy ladies, ghoulies and toe tapping tunes of terror…you could do a lot worse.

For a much better horror fix from director Jose Luis Madrid check out his next film, Seven Corpses for Scotland Yard-a unique mystery / horror film that features Paul Naschy bopping around London. If you enjoy oddball Spanish films in their unclothed glory, than you can’t miss The Horrible Sexy Vampire…well, you could-but for the right viewer it is a lot of fun.

What, you still need convincing?? Well, I present to you, the younger Count Oblensky and his lady love…zowie!! Happy Halloween!

Halloween Horrors 22 – 23 Crimson Executioners From the Grave!

Pacemaker sure knew how to package a double feature…what wall is complete without THAT artwork making it a brighter, funkier and more terrifying surface than one could dare dream of? So, I was inspired to recreate this double bill after the urge to revisit the realm of The Crimson Executioner struck. Bloody Pit of Horror is one of my favorite berserk 60s cinematic gems and I had never seen Terror Creatures From The Grave. Watching the films back to back was an amazing experience! Individually they are both a great time, but once you match them together, they are not only fun and crazy-but Eurotrash fans will enjoy looking at two films made by one man that share what appears to be very little between them.
So…on with the show.

Terror Creatures From The Grave, a lurid retitling of Five Graves For A Medium, is a solid Gothic style shocker that has a lot of small parts that make the whole a recommended experience. Some surprisingly violent episodes match up nicely with a unique twist on the typical haunted group of potential sleaze bags stories that usually take place in a spooky castle!

Albert (Walter Brandi) is a lawyer that finds himself at a spooky estate where the owner has left behind a beautiful widow (Barbara Steele) as well as other bizarre servants such as Kurt (Luciano Pigozzi looking young and scary) and hangers on as well. The one year anniversary of his death is approaching and everyone is looking for a piece of the money. That is all well and good, but there is this little matter of a bunch of severed hands hanging out in a glass case in the hall. That is NEVER a good sign when you are wandering around a black and white film in a castle.
Well, I’d pass on sleeping anywhere that keeps these specific hands, because they belong(ed?) to a group of “plague givers” that were intentionally killing off the locals back in the day. If there are ghosts afoot, I’d prefer they don’t have the insta-death touch. And they do!

It all comes to a crashing finale when we realize that the deceased Baron Hauff is not kidding when his recorded voice intones “I’ve summoned them from their graves and now I am one of them” over and over. And I must admit, that particular sequence I found very exciting even though it does not lead directly to any gory action. It sets a great tone for the viewer not to be sure exactly what is happening until Massimo Pupillo decides to rip the roof off and just start killing everyone with an uprising of plague bearing ghosts!! Ah…Barbara Steele, nothing is as effective as marring her beauty to get a reaction!

Terror Creatures From Beyond The Grave is a great bit of Black and White Eurohorror that revels in spooky atmosphere, strange characters, strange behavior, a great score and some familiar faces to keep the audience on the edge of their seat. I was really impressed by not only the style, but the story-something that is lost on me in some gothic styled films. The history of the house and the events are intriguing and the solution to “is he really dead” is handled incredibly well. Not just well, but WEIRD…. Plus, Barbara Steele in the tub? Yeah, you want that. I sure do… A spooky Halloween treat for EuroHorror heads. The US DVD is apparently cut by a little bit and rather ugly looking, but I’ll take it the best I can get it for now-certainly worth a rewatch if ever a nice definitive version is released.
So, Massimo Pupillo, director of gothic horrors…a subtle guy. Not afraid to splash a little blood around, but still…subtle and textured and a teller of layered tales. 1965 was fairly late in the game so he was probably ready to..re…wait wait wait. He directed one of my all time favorite horrors that has NO subtlety at all. THE SAME YEAR??? Welcome to my head clonking moment of the year and a wonderful time to rewatch a great TALE OF TORTURE…yes…THE BLOODY PIT OF HORROR.
But…the same director?

“Mankind is made up of inferior creatures, spiritually and physically deformed, who would have corrupted the harmony of my perfect body!”-Travis Anderson, all around loon and Crimson Executioner on weekends.

If I need to give you a synopsis of The Bloody Pit of Horror you just need to go watch it right now. This is prime gonzola out of controlla fun. Briefly, a bunch of models and their photographer are looking for bizarre places to shoot their sexy pictures. This is good, because we have sexy women in various states of disrobe and costume prancing about. Too bad for them that the prologue sequence showed us the demise of THE CRIMSON EXECUTIONER and we know his body is around them somewhere. They cross paths with the Striped Shirt Henchmen having Travis Anderson, who is played with all the delicacy of a meat cleaver striking a water balloon by Mickey Hargitay. In a clever twist, Anderson played in “muscle movies” and has a fantastic body…hmm… the only problem is, he is a little odd. Or a lot, because he doesn’t like the impurity the women bring and decides to strap on his de Sade underoos and become The Crimson Executioner ’65 edition. And those torture traps all work….

A lot of stuff happens and there is a little bit of plot involving Anderson’s Ex-Wife the model finding her way here accidentally, but you won’t worry about that. Everything is insane in this film, from the mysterious Batman like villainy of The Crimson Executioner (why does he have henchmen living in the castle), the ranting of Hargitay done to perfection, the beautiful women, the weird torture devices and a manic pace that I adore. The set piece with the ridiculous mechanical spider threatening Moa Tahi (who I saw recently in a few EuroSpy films!) is incredible. Webs on the walls, a trap on the floor and a beautiful woman hanging around terrorized by…that…is just too much and reminds me why I love this kind of film. Even the decor is crimson, look for red chairs, red candles, red bannisters…The house of The Crimson Executioner drips the fluids of life…and don’t get me started on The Lover of Death! Brilliant.

Bloody Pit Of Horror is a must see. Absurdly fetishistic, obnoxiously loud and utterly charming, I can’t push you towards it enough. And to those who know how great it is, watch it again this Halloween!!

But what of the strange case of Massimo Pupillo in 1965? I still need to see a third film to really understand it and I can’t find anything on La vendetta di Lady Morgan to check it out sadly. But looking at the plot and the cast which is a stunner and includes Erika Blanc, Gordon Mitchell and Paul Muller it sure is intriguing! Judging from these two films, Pupillo was a versatile guy that had a lot of warped ideas and could put across his vision, no matter how disparate they may seem on the surface, with a lot of style. Terror Creatures…feels like it was made 20 years earlier, while Bloody Pit could have been made at the very end of the 60s if not the early 70s and summed up not only the colorful horrors of Italy to come, but even the Batman television show, where Hargitay and his Crimson Executioner would have given The Joker a run for his hoo hoo hah hah!
I was amazed to see that someone could make a film inspired by Edgar Allan Poe and succeed, and then follow with a film inspired by Marquis de Sade and succeed as well. I don’t know if even Jess Franco could have achieved that miracle.

Follow the poster at the top of this post…Double these up and be thankful for the gifts that a director that I could not have named a month ago has given us for all the ages… Your beautiful body…and mind…will never be the same!!

Halloween Horrors 21 – Curse of the Vampyr

Now that is some great Jano artwork above these words….and this is a great Spanish horror and sex combo plate from the golden year of 1972! All of the elements of a classic vampire film are here…. a doctor enters a small (Spanish) village to cure the local Barons father of a weird disease-a blood disease no less… Fangs to follow and everyone gets terrorized. But Curse of the Vampire (which is the title on the print I watched) takes these tried and true tropes as a starting point and ladles on a sex and blood drenched sauce of Spicy Spaniard Sensuality to make it incredibly enjoyable. To be honest, I’ve got stacks of Spanish horrors lying about, but I get them all jumbled up and the constantly shifting titles games gets me confused. I purchased this DVDr from Midnight Video at least 5 years ago, probably longer, and by the luck of the Halloween Horrors draw it was my good fortune to find it again.

Doctor visits a little village? Sure, but did those other doctors (and assistants) wear hotpants and strut about to a wah wah pedal infused soundtrack that leaks audio sin all over the images? Nah!

I knew right away this was going to be good, because on of my favorite faces of Amando de Ossorio cinema, Loretta Tovar, pops up right as things get started. And she has fangs…and gets staked gorily!! That means she is coming back and will run roughshod all over the cast at some point, but I could not have foreseen just how great that would be. After her character, Margaret, is put down the film shifts forward to show us the arrival of Doctor Dora Materlick (what a name!!) and her beautiful assistant Erica (Beatriz Elorrieta) and they promptly settle in with that classic “science rules, superstition is for fools” attitude that always gets you stuck on the business end of a fang. They are coming in to town to take care of Baron Rysselbert’s father-who is afflicted with a strange disease. Seems about right….and then Carl (Nicholas Ney)-a handsome enough, in a creepy way, guy who swoops right in on Erica. There is a problem…the full moon is on the way and evil is afoot, because these particular vampires sprout fangs and go berserk only with that particular condition being met. Weird, but cool!

It doesn’t take long before Carl introduces Erica to the dark side of this particular bloody moon and now we have her ready to serve her new found mistress…because I’ve just been waiting for Margaret to get back on the scene. And she does, because she is quickly de-staked and pops up in a little nightie. Luckily Erica is dressed the same way, they frolic and go for a quick nights suck snack!

From here on out, things don’t really get innovative, but they do get quite out of control! Considering the shooting conditions in Spain at the time, I was aware that I was lucky and watching an export print of this movie, but it is HEAVY on the sex when the time is right. The cast falls under the thrall of Margaret in a big way, and none more than a poor lass that decides it would be fun to read the paper nude! Vampires have a funny way of slipping up on you while you read about the local sports scene nude. Or do anything nude actually. But reading the paper? They must have run out of props before shooting this…but I like it.

What happens up there is the ultimate in nipple rubbing vampirism-and a chance to witness the somewhat rare, yet charming, Spanish vampire trend of sapphic sucking that does not involve any necks, barring the neck strain of the dedicated lesbian vampire. I guess when you are undead there isn’t any chance of that anyway! Seriously, Loretta Tovar fans (anyone?) will be happy. I’m still smiling.

From here on out we go straight to the horror, and I’m recommending you check it out today. Right after you finish reading this, find a copy and settle in for a real treat full of Spanish sin, sex and vampiric salvation!

There is a lot of things to recommend this film. Spanish horror films do not have the same vibe to them as the Italian productions of the same time, and Curse of the Vampire has the exact feel nailed down. It feels at times like you are watching a weird Hammer film with the Bavarian castle and the beautiful vampire women running around, but no Hammer film I’ve seen embraces the weird and sensual the way a full blooded Spanish film will. The horror elements seem the same, but the way they are used is different. And I’ve NEVER encountered a film outside of the Jean Rollin canon that features a torture chamber of female vampirism that includes licked feathers (?) as a method of torment slash pleasure. And just as with the Hammer films, this does not feel much like a Rollin film either.

I am more familiar with director Jose Maria Elorrieta’s film Night Of The Devils, which was made just before Curse of the Vampire. I will have to go back and watch it again to compare them (the true joy of Eurotrash Cinema for me)-because the man has jumped up my list of respected directors. The handling of the vampires in this film is even more exciting than all of the nipple rubbing and crotch tickling. Well, not when Beatriz Elorrieta is on screen and I’m hoping that I’m not drooling over the director’s daughter-but hey, he put her out there and I’m just here to enjoy and report. Anyways…

The vampire legend gets some tweaking in this film, the usual stakes and mirrors and thralling is all there, but my favorite part of the film is that the change from human to vampire with Carl is much more like a werewolf than the traditional Draculatic repetition I’m accustomed to. Nicholas Ney (is this his real name and is this really his only film??) is great and his sweating and bestial Nosferatu styled darker side is great. The first major transformation from man to vampire is stunning…while staring in a mirror Carl begins to sweat and suffer as he transforms over a wild soundtrack that builds and builds until his reflection vanishes and all sound goes with him. This is startling and the kind of sequence that I’ll return to and think should belong in any Eurotrash Cinema collection of “this is cool” moments.

A great surprise and a sterling example of why I love not only European Horror films, but horror films and the joy of just grabbing a film and putting it in to the player with no advance warning or reputation. Try it…you just may like it. That is if you like sexy vampire stories with equal parts horror and sex. If you don’t…well, I can’t believe you read this far!
Happy Halloween Horrors!

Halloween Horrors 19 – The Earth Dies Screaming

Time for a little change of pace as I pulled out the second disc of the Midnight Movies set Chosen Survivors / The Earth Dies Screaming. I had no idea what the film was, I loved the title and it had a creepy looking alien on the poster. Sold. I found a very interesting, though short and one with the barest bones of a plot, bottom of the bill science fiction thriller directed by Terence Fisher. SCORE!

After a mysterious attack causes trains to crash and nearly everyone to fall down dead, a disparate group of people find themselves thrust into a little group out to survive. The opening is probably the best part really-with a show like Flash Forward on I bet this would be a curiosity for some, but after that we get a lot of talking with the occasion bit of alien strolling and skullduggery between the survivors. After the survivors start turning up as zombies themselves it becomes a scramble to see who can get out of the small British town-and where exactly they may go.

There are some upsides, the cast is quite good. Willard Parker is a standard hero, but Dennis Price steals the show as a shifty clown that has no idea how to properly handle a gun from what I could ascertain. Whenever I think of Price I can only recall his face and appearance from Jess Franco’s Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein, where he looks positively awful. It was a treat to see him hamming it up and taking his barely sketched out character for a spin as a groovy ghoulie idiot that is easy to dislike.
Also nice is the monster design, while they have goofy back packs you have to love the work that went in to the monstrous faces beneath the glass bubbles!

I’m sure it has been raised by far more studied horror critics, but this film had to have been a minor influence on Night of the Living Dead. Not only do the zombies act similarly, but the theme of a zombie ratting out it’s one time compatriots to the others, or in this case 2 aliens, is incredibly similar.
For 60 minutes this is a fair bit of entertainment that doesn’t really have a payoff in the end, but I was intrigued through out. If you need a Black and White Fright that you may not have seen, this could fill out the bottom of your Halloween quadruple bill easily.

Halloween Horrors 18 – Dial: Help

This years Halloween Horrors has got me thinking…the Demons films have always seemed to mark the end of the Italian Horror boom for me. Sure a few things were done here and there… some minor gialli (Nothing Underneath, Too Beautiful To Die, Obsession), the occasional low budget Filmirage item (Ghosthouse, Witchery) and even the occasional film that felt somehow out of place with their timing because they were so good (Cemetery Man, The Church) cropped up here and there. But a film like Dial : Help, and my recent rediscovery of the Cine Duck horrors, have me thinking I need to re-explore the post 1986 terrors of Italy. They may not be all good, but some incredibly enjoyable items are waiting to be viewed once again! While the Italian action films were pouring out and occupying the time of many major talents, there are some horrors worth watching-both made for the cinema and television. Dial : Help and the utter pleasure it brought me was a revelation!
I doubt many would qualify this Ruggero Deodato film as revelatory, but I forgot how great it was.

If you thought that the premise to the aforementioned classic DEMONS was thin, let me introduce you to Dial: Help. Young and beautiful, Jenny (Charlotte Lewis) is waiting for a mysterious lover to call. A gorgeous model wandering around Italy and pining for some missing man would seem to be a great joke eh? Well, that is probably the least absurd part of the film. After randomly picking up a pay telephone it would seem that the amazing body of Charlotte Lewis has awakened a room full of ghosts that like to dial out death whenever possible-all in the name of love. To bad for the cleaning lady, because once she gets strung up by the polterroom the chase is on and violence and punishing prank calls become the order of the day. Jenny has no idea what is going on, but her Armani phone (which is crazy ugly) is out to woo her-and kill anyone else that gets in the way.

The mystery souls of telephonic terror kill the fish, they kill her friends and yes…they kill William Berger-who sets a cameo land speed record as a scientist that is grabbed as he tries to board a plane and once told about the Phone-nominal Phreaking just agrees that it may be possible. Then, his chest explodes as the phone callers pop his pace maker from a thousand paces.
But when I look at Charlotte Lewis, I kind of get it….the phone has good taste, even if she is playing a character that is too dumb to not answer a phone!

It all ends on a sort of upbeat note really, though the sheer body count it takes to get to the finish line should leave Jenny and her new boyfriend a bit more shaken than they are…whee, glad it the nightmare is over, and all your friends and colleagues are DEAD. William Berger didn’t even know your name and he got blown up!! But really, the film dangles from a curly cord with a flimsy premise and still overcomes this with ease. Because Deodato knows how to milk everything he can from the idea. We are treated to a phone P.O.V. stalking not once, but several times!! You don’t see that every day….

The idea may be silly, but Deodato does manage to show off his onscreen assets well. Not only does he do every flattering outfit justice, inject energy into a rolling around in the bath sequence (for an actress that seemed to not want to do nudity sadly) and roam his camera around some oddball sets, but he pulls off one of the best stalk and chase scenes I’ve seen in years. After Jenny goes in to a subway to find her friend reduced to a smoking husk she is chased by a menacing junkie that obviously has the hots for her. But Deodato drops the hints early as she walks by the predator and he is seen picking up a dirty needle from the ground and slinking away. Once she starts running from her discovery and realizes she is being stalked by something more physical than a phone line this becomes vintage Eurohorror, equal to many of the better layered scenes in classic Giallo films that find someone terrorized directly in to the arms of danger. Of course, the junkie didn’t account for a coin hurling payphone. Silly? Oh yes…but a crazy pay off to an excellent sequence. And all set to a hard edged Claudio Simonetti soundtrack no less. Italian horror still had it past Demons…yes it did.

Dial : Help has opened up another floodgate, I have nothing but good memories of The Washing Machine and Phantom of Death-time to get back into turn of the decade Deodato… You won’t confuse this film for a classic, but if you love the feeling of wondering what the hell anyone is thinking trying to pull off this script as a feature film, some gore, a great Simonetti score and even an appearance by Detective Altieri from Tenebre-Carola Stagnaro-this one is for YOU!

And, because I love my readers, here are a few shots from a scene that should live in infamy and will stick in your cine-craw after all is said and done…Charlotte Lewis gets seduced into dressing up to take a bath? Huh? Well, it looks good anyway!