January 21st, 2009

DAY OF THE NIGHTMARE (1965) **

Jonathan (Cliff Fields) is a married painter who gets his kicks by tying up models and whipping them (“I’m going to make love to you MY WAY!”) before nutting in his pants.  He frequently will leave his long suffering wife at home to go off to Los Angeles “on business”, but it’s usually just to ball his models.  After Jonathan watches two lesbos get it on, he has flashbacks of his mommy humping a stranger and then beating poor old Jonathan.  (“Whip me momma!  Whip me!”)  Eventually Jonathan becomes a cross-dressing psycho (no spoiler warning necessary since you can see it coming a mile away) and murders his father.  When he comes after his wife, a crusty cop (John Ireland from Gunslinger) chases him through an amusement park and finally to a dock where Jonathan inadvertently falls overboard and gets chewed up by an outboard motor.

 

There’s plenty of entertaining stuff here for me to want to recommend Day of the Nightmare.  It’s got some kinky S & M, lesbianism, some priceless dialogue, and a blindfolded swinger party.  There’s also a great scene where Jonathan, dressed in drag, freaks out while looking at his distorted image in a funhouse mirror too.  Unfortunately after an energetic beginning, the film quickly bogs down once Ireland starts snooping around.  Most of these 60’s grindhouse movies from Something Weird run about an hour long and that would have been a perfect running time for this movie.  As it is, the flick clocks in at 93 minutes and the extended length makes it something of a chore to sit through.  The Homicidal style twist ending doesn’t work and is way too obvious since Fields is so butch while wearing dress.  Still, the movie’s got a bunch of titties in it, so that’s a good thing.

 

Future director Ted V. (The Astro Zombies) Mikels did the excellent cinematography.

 

Fields gets the best line of the film while painting one of his figure models:  “It will take me about five minutes to get these anatomical proportions correct!”

 

AKA:  Don’t Scream, Doris Mays.

SCREAM OF THE BUTTERFLY (1965) *

A slutty housewife named Marla (Neilda Lobato) gets ran over by a sports car and her husband is arrested for the murder.  That means a trio of cranky lawyers have to sit in a room and argue about why or why not the case should go to trial.  That means that they have to relate a bunch of boring flashbacks of the events leading up to the murder.  They deduce that the husband’s motive was jealously because his wife cheated on him with a beach bum stud, but in the “shocking” twist ending, we learn that Marla’s lover is actually a confused bisexual (“You don’t even know what side of the fence to walk on!”) that has psychotic tendencies and is the real killer.

 

Scream of the Butterfly is on the whole pretty pointless and is dull as all get out.  The endless scenes of the lawyers bickering are nothing but tedious filler that will test the limits of your patience and the flashback scenes are mostly fifth rate soap opera shit.  There isn’t much here to make the film worth a look except for Lobato’s nude bubble bath scene; which is shown twice to help further pad out the running time.  Although there is another nude scene when Lobato fucks her stud on the beach, it’s senselessly arty looking and features way too much slow motion for it to truly be arousing.

 

The late Ray Dennis Steckler, the man who directed the immortal The Incredibly Strange Creatures That Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies acted as the cameraman for the low budget stinker.

 

The goateed asshole lawyer gets the best line of the movie when he calls Marla, “Miss Slutzy Whutzy”!

 

AKA:  The Passion Kit.

CODE OF SILENCE (1985) **

Chuck Norris stars as a Chicago cop who goes undercover as a garbage man to bust some drug dealers.  When the deal goes sour, cops get killed and a drug war begins to brew between the rival dealers.  Then the Mexican drug lord (Henry Silva) kidnaps the Mafia kingpin’s daughter and Chuck has to go out and kick some ass.

 

Directed by Andrew (The Fugitive) Davis, Code of Silence suffers from way too many supporting characters and unnecessary subplots.  The side story about a cop played by Ralph (the guy who said “Merry Christmas, ya filthy animal!” in Home Alone) Foody who shoots an unarmed kid is especially gratuitous and the scenes of his wet-behind-the-ears partner pondering whether or not he’ll cover for him really slow things down to a crawl.  These irritating interruptions get in the way of the story; particularly in the film’s early going.

 

All these extraneous shenanigans don’t leave Chuck a whole lot of time to dish out the whoop ass.  When he finally does, it’s too little too late.  (You have to wait a good hour until old Chuck starts roundhousing Mexicans.)  Since Chuck’s considerable kung fu skills are kept to a disappointing minimum, it knocks Code of Silence a notch or two below the usual Norris fare.  Not even the scene where Chuck partners up with a prototype police robot (it looks like a cross between a Hummer and ED-209) makes the grade. 

 

One of Chuck’s cop buddies gets the best line of the movie when he says, “You know what a Mexican and a cue ball have in common?  The harder you hit them, the better their English gets!”

WILD STRAWBERRIES (1959) **

I’ve given famed Swedish director Ingmar Bergman three tries to make a good movie.  His films are supposed to be what the highbrow snobs call “Required Viewing”, so I figured that I’d at least give some of them a chance.  Well, I didn’t like either The Seventh Seal (cool chess playing sequences but otherwise it wasn’t very good) or The Virgin Spring (the remake, Last House on the Left was much better), and now I just got done watching Wild Strawberries which I got to tell ya, despite a couple of cool dream sequences, is pretty bad.  Sorry Ingmar, but three strikes and you’re out.

 

The plot is all about this old fogey professor who goes on a trip to some fancy schmancy university to receive an honorary degree.  As his daughter drives him up to the college, he falls asleep and has some weird dreams about his past, his future and even some Twilight Zone type shit.

 

The first couple minutes of this movie hooked me.  Early on, the professor had this bizarro dream where this dude that didn’t have a face melted on the sidewalk.  Then, a corpse grabs the professor from out of a coffin.  The big surprise is that the corpse turns out to be the professor!  So far, so tight; but then Bergman stops with all of the freaky nightmares and opts to have a bunch of lovey dovey bull honky dreams about the professor’s childhood sweetheart picking wild strawberries and his wife cheating on him and stuff and then… well…

 

OK, I’ll admit that I fell asleep about ¾ through this one.  I even had a dream myself.  It was about a 200 foot tall wizard firing laser beams from a crystal scepter at the Chrysler Building.  Shit, man that dream was a lot better than any of the dreams that were in this movie.  Maybe I should be making dream-filled movies and not this Bergman jackass.