August 20th, 2008

FORCED ENTRY (1973) **

I like a good, down and dirty “roughie” as much as the next red-blooded heterosexual male, but you’d have to be one seriously sick individual to get off on this flick. 


Adult film star legend Harry (Deep Throat) Reems stars in this porno-slasher hybrid as a deranged Nam vet/gas station attendant (who has constant Nam flashbacks like crazy) that stalks women, rapes them, and murders them.  He watches the first chick make love to her boyfriend through the fire escape, then after her man leaves, Reems sneaks in and forces her to suck him off while he holds a knife on her.  After slitting her throat, he preys on the next (much cuter) girl in the shower before sodomizing her at gunpoint then carving her up.  Finally he tracks down two ugly-as-fuck, doped out of their minds, lesbian hippies and tries to force himself on them.  When they actually consent to his debauchery, it blows Reems’ mind so much that he has to blow his brains out with his trusty pistol. 


One can only imagine what the raincoat crowd must’ve felt like while watching this uncomfortable mix of sex and violence in the theater back in ’74.  The director, Shaun Costello’s intention was to make a hardcore film that mixed sex and violence realistically to show you that when put together, the two aren’t much of a turn on.  He was right.  The scenes of Reems climaxing onto the faces of helpless girls while stock footage of war atrocities are interspersed in between his cum droplets can be called about a hundred different things.  Erotic is not one of them.  In terms of doing what the director set out to do, Costello accomplishes his goals.  As for making an enjoyable movie, he doesn’t succeed at all. 


The film’s biggest problem is the sex scenes.   They aren’t sexy at all, mostly because of the aforementioned use of stock footage that keeps interrupting the action.  Even if this technique hadn’t been used, the sex scenes still aren’t much to brag about.  Only Laura Cannon (the chick who gets sodomized) is anything remotely close to a decent looking broad as the other females in the cast are complete dogs.  The two lesbians in the final scene are annoying as all get out and are two of the most putrid looking excuses for females I’ve ever seen in a porno.  One looks like Janis Joplin’s homlier looking twin sister and the other chick looks like the dude from Sonic Youth.  Not my idea of a hot threesome. 


The “dramatic” portions of the film don’t play much better.  Although Reems and Cannon are quite good in their roles, everyone else is strictly Amateur Hour.  While I appreciated Costello’s use of stock footage (he’s trying to draw parallels to the atrocities of war and the atrocities at home), he does it way too much for it to be effective.  I mean you really can’t even call Reems’ endless flashbacks scenes flashbacks at all.  They’re more like useless black and white stock footage that doesn’t have much to do with anything, except for maybe padding out the running time.


Reems later starred in the similarly themed, Sex Wish two years later.

THE DEAD PIT (1989) **


“Jane Doe” is an amnesiac who gets checked into a maximum security nuthouse where an undead doctor is lurking in the basement giving patients cut-rate lobotomies and tossing their bodies into a mass grave, affectionately known as “The Dead Pit”.  When the zombies are resurrected, the undead inmates start running the asylum and they are HUNGRY; eating people’s brains left and right.  It’s then up to Jane and her crazy ass British bomber boyfriend to flood the Dead Pit with holy water so that the zombies can all turn into Cherry Jell-O. 


Zombie movies were pretty slim pickings back in ’89 so you had to take what you could get.  This flick doesn’t follow in the accepted zombie lore as its HOLY WATER that kills the zombies and not bullets to the brain.  While this doesn’t sit right with a zombie purist like myself, I do have to admit that the scenes of melting zombies were pretty well done.  I also quite enjoyed the scenes of the deranged doctor with glowing red eyes running around giving everyone lobotomies and extremely non-elective brain surgery too. 


Sadly there’s simultaneously too much and not enough going on in this movie.  It’s got tons of plot stuff (like Jane Doe’s secret past, the back story of her psychologist, and the real identity of the undead doctor) but there are way too many lulls in the action to make it truly worthwhile.  The scenes where Jane Doe hangs out with all the assorted oddballs and lunatics who are locked up in the loony bin pushes things into One Zombie Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest territory (or maybe Zombie, Interrupted) and the constant barrage of pointless psychoanalyzing, irritating dream sequences and annoying flashbacks don’t help.  Not to mention the fact that the running time is hopelessly inflated.  (There’s no reason on God’s green earth why a movie with the words “Dead” and “Pit” in the title has to be 100 minutes long.)


Luckily for the audience, Jane Doe walks around in her undies A LOT in this movie.  She’s also just crazy enough that she has a bizarre dream where she runs around in her underwear until a cackling nurse finds her, ties her up, and turns the water hose on her so we can see her luscious breasts.  If Jane had a couple more hot dreams like this, maybe it could’ve been a three star affair, but I can’t bear to give it more than two.


Director Brett Leonard later made such Hollywood fare as The Lawnmower Man and Virtuosity, which are no better and no worse than this mess. 


The undead doc gets the best line of the movie:  “I’ve done life, now I’m doing death!”

AWAKE (2007) ***


Before the opening credits of Awake, we’re treated to a title card that informs us that 1 in every 300 people remain conscious under anesthesia during surgery.  That means that they can feel every little slice and dice of the doctor’s scalpel.  Not a pretty picture.  While the film doesn’t play up this angle enough to really make your skin crawl, it nevertheless is an enjoyable flick. 


Basically what we got here is Anakin Skywalker gets War Machine to perform a heart transplant on him while his girlfriend, The Invisible Woman anxiously paces in the waiting room.  BUT… during the surgery, Anakin uses the Force to remain fully aware of what’s going on around him; learning in the process that War Machine is trying to kill him and steal all of his Star Wars money. 


I’ll stop with the twists and turns there.  Even though I successfully predicted all the surprises this movie had in store for me, that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to hold that against it because it was the WAY it sprung the surprises on me that counted.  Director Joby Harold spiced things up visually (like Anakin’s out of body experiences) and made waiting around in a hospital seem pretty dang suspenseful. 


Awake also had the benefit of some of the skeeviest operation scenes since Let Me Die a Woman.  I know you can see the same kind of stuff on the Discovery Channel, but when it’s happening to Anakin Skywalker, you can just FEEL his pain.  Harold also created mucho atmosphere during these scenes as you could almost smell that sickly ammonium hospital aroma throughout the course of the film. 


Actingwise, everybody hit their marks pretty good and helped moved the story along.  I was especially impressed with Lena (Romeo is Bleeding) Olin as Anakin’s MILF of a mother.  Invisible Girl also got to show off her fine ass body, except it was one of those “I’ll only show you my goodies through a wet T-Shirt” deals. 


So who really cares if I saw the story’s surprises coming from a mile away and the plot was thinner than Sy Sperling’s hairline?  I dug this flick.  I’d highly recommend it.  Just make sure you don’t see it before or after getting major surgery though.   

MAID IN SWEDEN (1971) **


Christina (Thriller:  A Cruel Picture) Lindberg stars in this early Cannon Films release as a young girl named Inga who travels to Stockholm to visit her older sister.  After watching a lot of people do the horizontal polka, she experiences a sexual awakening.


You’ll have an “awakening” while watching this movie too because it’s so damn boring you’ll be dozing off and awakening intermittently throughout the movie.


Maid in Sweden would be nothing more than a useless Scandinavian travelogue had it not been for the fact that Christina Lindberg shows off her exquisitely taut Scandinavian body every ten minutes or so.  She gets naked:  on a train, while undressing just before bed, during a dream involving a Martha Stewart look-alike lesbian, while masturbating in bed, when getting “raped” (I put the word raped in quotation marks because it looked to me like she started to enjoy it near the end there), while brushing her hair in front of the mirror, when making love, in the shower (in glorious slow motion), while making love (again), and while in the tub.  Pointless scenes of local “color” like ice skating, riding bicycles and people sightseeing around Swedish landmarks help pad the running time out to 80 minutes, but it feels a Hell of a lot longer than that.      


Maid in Sweden isn’t much of a movie.  It only exists to show you Christina Lindberg naked.  If that’s what you’re looking for, fine.  If you want to watch Christina Lindberg naked in a real movie that’s actually pretty good, check out Thriller instead.


AKA:  The Milkmaid.

SPASMS (1984) *

I just got into a car accident and have been suffering from back spasms lately so what better time to watch a movie called Spasms. 


Turns out that the movie isn’t about chronic neck, shoulder and back pain, but rather a Big Fucking Snake that menaces out of work actors in Canada.  Too bad the budget was so low that the filmmakers couldn’t afford to show us the damned thing until the very end. 


Anyway, this Big Fucking Snake eats a bunch of natives so Big Snake Hunter Oliver (“Anything for a bottle of booze”) Reed is called in to investigate.  Reed has lunch with Peter (“I’ll travel to Canada and be in your little killer snake movie if it will keep me in Panama Red for the next month”) Fonda and tells him that after being bitten by the BFS, he’s developed a psychic link with the rampaging reptile.  That means every time the BFS kills somebody, Reed goes all schizo like someone told him they forgot to put ice cold Schlitz in his trailer.  After the snake woofs down a few more people, the duo finally decide to team up and kill it.  There’s also a subplot about a secret order of priests sending some fat slob to track down the snake because it’s supposedly evil incarnate or some such shit


Okay, so what do we got here?  A slumming English actor with a telepathic link to a giant snake.  I’ve believed weirder shit in movies before (Remember the vengeful shark from Jaws the Revenge?), but this movie just plain sucks. 


Would you be surprised to learn that we hardly ever see the Big Fucking Snake?  Supposedly the production ran out of money.  I’m guessing that all the important dough went to filling Reed’s flask and paying for Fonda’s doobage.  So to cover up for the fact that they couldn’t pay for the snake, director William (Funeral Home) Fruet does a lot of those blue-tinted Snake Cam POV numbers and instructs Fonda to wave a rake at the cameraman occasionally so it looks as if he’s fending off a giant snake.  When we finally do get a chance to see the snake (more than an hour into the movie), it looks like the python was made out of Paper Mache. 


A telling thing about Spasms is that Peter Fonda keeps his sunglasses on for about ¾ of the movie’s total running time.  You know they say that the eyes are the windows to the soul and apparently Peter Fonda’s soul is thoroughly ashamed of itself.  Either that or he didn’t have any Visine handy to cover up his rampant Mary Jane use that undoubtedly made filming this turd bearable for him. 


You know it’s funny; I have vivid memories of seeing the video box for this movie way back in the 80’s in the video store section of my local Rite Aid.  (May it rest in ever loving peace.)  The cover consisted of two images:  a chick screaming in the shower and the face of a bumpy, bloated corpse.  It always freaked me out as a kid and scared me so bad that I was too chicken to rent it.  Looking back, if I HAD rented Spasms back in the day, the film probably wouldn’t have done much to scare little seven-year-old Mitchie.  The video box on the other hand was the stuff of nightmares. 


The box art deserved an award for Truth in Advertising as the only memorable parts of the film are featured on the video box.  The part where the hot naked chick’s shower is interrupted by the hungry snake is priceless (it bursts through the glass door) and the scene where the guy’s face became engorged with venom filled cysts was a hoot.  Other than that, this flick is the pits.


Reed spent most of this movie drunk and Fonda spent most of it high, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t do likewise.  I myself am on some fairly respectable physician-prescribed muscle relaxers, which made most of this lame-ass bore somewhat easy to stomach.  It did not help to ease the pain of the godawful Tangerine Dream score though. 


Do yourself a favor and just grab the video box of Spasms and stare at it for 85 minutes.  It’ll be a Hell of a lot more entertaining then actually watching the film itself. 

AKA:  Death Bite.