May 6th, 2008

THE LORELEY’S GRASP (1979) ***

Director Amando de Ossorio found time in between Blind Dead movies to helm this nutty 85 minutes of cheesy goodness about a rubbery looking reptilian monster that gets it’s kicks by mauling beautiful women to death and ripping out their hearts.  To protect some sexy college students from being turned into Lizard Chow, the headmistress hires a studly big game hunter (Tony Kendall) that dresses like one of Elvis’ bodyguards to kill the beast.  And he packs heat in more ways than one if you catch my drift. 

 

Thankfully for the audience, he’s not much of a bodyguard.

 

First night on the job, the lizard beast sneaks into a girl’s room, rips off her blouse and plunges it’s claws into her breast and pulls out her heart. 

 

Meanwhile, the hunter just kinda shuffles around the school grounds at night chugging from a flask and checking out co-eds wearing skimpy nighties.  The next night, the monster switches up it’s eating habits and decides to rip the heart out of a blind hippie dude.

 

Thankfully for the audience, the hippie wasn’t wearing a skimpy nightie at the time.

 

Kendall learns from a weirdo professor that the monster is actually a “Loreley”, a beautiful woman that turns into a killer reptile by the light of the full moon, so he charters a boat to go find the mythical monster.

 

Just when you thought the movie was getting a little plot heavy, out pops the monster to rip out every one of the boat captain’s vital organs.

 

Tony finally tracks down the Loreley and it turns out she’s HOT.  She gets cheesed when she learns that the old prof is snooping around trying to debunk her legend so she gets her Renaissance Festival reject bodyguard to whip him to death.  During the confrontation, the professor inexplicably drops a beaker of acid on his own face.  Hilarity ensues. 

 

Again, just when the movie threatens to give us an overabundance of plot, the director shows us some lesbos giving each other a bubble bath.  Just before things get too sudsy, the monster strikes again and turns things into a BLOOD bath. 

 

Then about an hour into the movie, de Ossorio makes his first critical mistake.  He shows us Tony Kendall wearing nothing but a Speedo and believe you me, it’s the most unsettling thing in the whole picture. 

 

So Tony skin-dives down to the Loreley’s lair and she promptly has him chained up so her nubile looking girlfriends (all of whom wear next to nothing) can play with him.  Lucky for him (and the audience), the girls get into a big catfight and he’s able to escape while they’re wrassling around.  He eventually finds time to stab the Loreley to death and blow up her lair.

 

This flick is not exactly a classic (the aforementioned Tony Kendall in a Speedo scene knocks things down a couple notches), but there were several things I liked about this movie.  First and foremost, I liked the rubber face lizard monster.  I liked how it resembled those lizard monsters from V with a severe case of water on the brain and admired it’s knack for sneaking up on women just as they were undressing.  I liked the fact that in the 70’s there were still colleges out there that made recess a high priority.  I also respected that college mostly consisted of letting the ultra hot student body dress in skimpy bikinis and lay around the pool all day.  I also liked the fact that the gore in this movie was incredibly fake looking.  I could just imagine de Ossorio reassuring the special effects guys, “I don’t care if that guy’s stomach looks like a Whoopee Cushion!  Put some ketchup on it and nobody will notice!”  In a word:  brilliance.  Heck, I even dug the swinging 70’s porn music score too

 

I got to tell you, de Ossorio is a smart man.  He knew from a story standpoint he had to put in the obligatory scenes of people talking to advance the plot, but he always rewards the viewer about every eight minutes or so with a truly stunning scene of a rubber suited lizard monster ravaging naked girls.  You have to admire a director like that.  Truly a master of his craft. 

 

Oh, and if you thought that Young Guns 2 had the definitive person-riding-a-horse-into-the-next-dimension scene of all time, wait till you see this movie.

 

The Lorely’s Grasp is far from a perfect movie, but it would definitely make a good lizard on a rampage double feature with Track of the Moon Beast.    

 

The Loreley gets the best line of the movie when she says, “It is part of my nature to devour human hearts!”

 

AKA:  The Grasp of the Lorelei.  AKA:  The Night the Screaming Stopped.  AKA:  When the Screaming Stops.