Entries Tagged 'multi-pack mania' ↓

The Witches Mountain

I knew going in that Category 7 of Operation: 101010, movies pulled from my 50-packs, would frequently cause me to find myself swept up in a Category 7 storm of crap. If the Spanish film The Witches Mountain (1972), the first film I'm ticking off that list, is any indication...well, I may have to upgrade it to a Category 10 and call in Nancy McKeon or Randy Quaid or someone else who's portrayed a Stormologist to help me survive.

Now, I'm not gonna lie: the first five minutes of The Witches Mountain are completely awesome and completely insane. As some of the softest soft rock plays, a woman arrives home and finds that someone has plunged a knife through a wig, pinning it to her front lawn. Wanton wig abuse! I was immediately smitten with this movie.

She goes upstairs and spies her cat all bloodied and dead on her bed. A little girl comes in, calls the woman an infidel, admits to the kittycide, then heads to the garage to play with her pet snake (not a euphemism). The woman follows and...promptly SETS THE CHILD ON FIRE. Cue The Witch Chorus Singers (redundant I know, but it sounds better), the opening credits, and a look of What the fuckery? that would remain until it was time to cue the end credits.

Wait, there are no end credits in The Witches Mountain...but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Whenever I set a child on fire, the first thing I want to do afterward is go on a nice vacation with my boyfriend. This mystery woman is no different, so she gets two tickets to one paradise or another and tells Mario (Cihangir Gaffari) to pack a bag. Mario is the very picture of delightful 70s sleaze, from his fluffy proto-mullet to his ambitious moustache to his chest carpet and medallion. He is kind of amazing.

At this point, I would like to remind everyone that a moment ago the woman SET A CHILD ON FIRE.

Perhaps he can sense that she's a nutcake, or perhaps he's just a cad. Whatever the case, Mario declines the offer of a free vacation and calls his boss to ask for a new "photo assignment" starting, like, now.

Mario must be a photographer for the CIA or something, because all we ever find out about his assignment is that he must go take some pictures of some mountains. Where, exactly? Eh, somewhere in the Pyrenees, it looks like. Why, exactly? 'Tis a mystery.

Along the way, Mario stops to take some photographs of a woman out sunbathing. The two begin talking and the woman, Delia (Patty Shepard) agrees to accompany Mario on his trip. This makes total sense. I mean, who wouldn't drive for hours deep into the middle of nowhere with a total stranger? It's not like anyone knows where she's going, so no one's going to bitch that it's a bad idea.

Anyway, they end up at a hotel run by Andorra's own answer to Marty Feldman. He is kind of amazing.

Thus begins our slog through the excruciating middle 65 minutes of The Witches Mountain. People talk, people sleep. Mario takes some pictures. Delia sleepwalks. They encounter a mysterious goat herder. They walk around. They say everything twice to the Marty Feldman innkeeper because he's deaf. Delia says she sees a face in the window in her room, but as usual, the picture is too dark for me to see anything.

mysterious goat herder

At one point, Mario and Delia are out taking pictures- well, Mario is talking pictures...Delia just sort of stands there- and someone drives off in their Jeep. They run after it and find it abandoned far down the road, outside of some little village that appears abandoned. It turns out that one house is occupied by a little old witchy-looking woman who claims she knows nothing of the Jeep thievery and she's totally the only person around.

Hey, remember when that woman set that kid on fire? Me too.

Mario and Delia invite themselves to stay with the old woman. Lest the sounds of The Witch Chorus Singers (they're back) lead you to think something is actually going to happen...well, don't get your hopes up because we're still ensconced in the 65-minute negative zone. They talk, they sleep, the old woman makes a big cauldron of something or other, Delia sleepwalks, Mario goes out and takes pictures. He stays out too long and after the sun goes down, the eeeevil fog rolls in. He gets lost, but spots some robed figures carrying torches and singing; yes, I think we've found The Witch Chorus Singers' Secret Hideout.

The next morning, Mario makes his way back to the old woman's house. He busts out his portable picture developing kit and...develops his pictures, anxious to see those robed figures again. The pictures of them are blank- however, random women appear in other photographs despite the fact that Mario did not see them and what's even more eerie, there's a photo of Mario and Delia that they did not take. Then some women drag the old woman out of her humble abode.

Finally, some GD action and stuff in this movie! Mario and Delia follow. They end up at the spot where The Witch Chorus Singers were hanging out...then they leave. Then Mario goes back. Then Mario finds some blood on a rock. Then I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that The Witches Mountain will probably never make any sense.

Now, I'm going to sum up the rest of the film using this series of rapid fire questions my roommate asked me when it was over. My answers are in parenthesis:
  • So, they grab her...and she wears a bridal gown? (yes)
  • Then she's in a dungeon? (y-yes)
  • And there's...a hairy, oily guy in there? (umm...)
  • And the witches are dancing? (It's like a failed musical.)
  • Then someone hits him over the head? The lead guy. (I think so.)
  • Then the girl he likes runs away? (yeah)
  • And he chases her. (yes)
  • And she runs off a cliff. (that was awesome!)
  • So he sets the village on fire. (It looked like it...)
  • Then all the witches are at his house. (I guess so.)
THE END, no credits.

The Witches Mountain leaves one with oh so many questions. What's the deal with the witches? And the bridal veil? And the dungeon? And the guy in the dungeon? And...why? And what the fuck is the thing that one of the witches is holding at the end? Seriously, your guess is as good as mine: I see a door hinge and a Zuni Fetish Doll.

AND WHAT ABOUT THE WOMAN WHO SET A CHILD ON FIRE? Well, she was there at the very end, but that doesn't explain anything. Oh, Witches Mountain, thou art verily a place of mystery.

This movie is so, so bad. So bad. Bad. Bad movie. If it consisted solely of the first and last 5-minute portions, though, I'd be sitting on a 50-pack of gold! The Witch Chorus Singers are purely and simply awesome, and they need to be heard by all. How you can achieve this without sitting through the film, I don't know. It may not be possible, but it may be worth the risk.

Nah, that's not true. The Witches Mountain may be a bad movie that's just plain bad. That's so hard for me to say, especially because of all the wig violence and singing and Mario's moustache. Siiigh.

Day 7: “I call it ‘the sucker'”

I've let it be known far and wide for a long, long time: I loves me some anthology movies. Just a couple of days ago, I introduced some friends to Creepshow- yes, horror movie fans who've never seen it. It's just. So. Good. I manage to appreciate it more and more as the years wear on, and I can't imagine there'll be a day when I don't love Creepshow. Even if "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill" finally wears on my nerves (if any segment is ever going to, it's gonna be that one), I'll just have to watch 30 seconds of Adrienne Barbeau as Wilma Billie in "The Crate" to fall in love with the movie all over again. After all, she knows all the best stores.

Folks, can't I talk about Creepshow today instead of the movie I watched to fulfill my SHOCKTOBER obligation? Wouldn't you rather I go on about Creepshow rather than Creeptales? No? Well, damn you! Damn you all to hell I say! Siiiiigh...fine.

Yes, I said Creeptales. Surprisingly, it's also an anthology movie. It's available in the same multi-pack as Slash Dance and Knight Chills...and if you've read my reviews of those movies, then you can surmise that Creeptales pretty much stinks. But does it stink in a delightful fashion? That's the real question here.

The wraparound story is one of the most irritating I've ever witnessed: some doofus hunchback ghoul-types set about trying to find a copy of Creeptales, but unfortunately for them the video store is closed. Then they remember that their Uncle Munger was buried with a copy, so they dig it up, then invite all their doofus monster friends over to watch it.

I know- it doesn't sound so bad...a little corny-cute, even. But it dragged on for so long and was so full of irritating doofus chatter, I almost couldn't take it. My finger was even on the STOP button, but then at last the first segment began...in hindsight, I wish I'd pressed the button.

Story #1: Warped

Elizabeth goes to stay with her much-older cousin Viola and crippled Aunt after a lengthy hospital stay. Viola has a secret: after she was raped by Elizabeth's father (yes, her own brother) she gave birth to a still born baby, and later went a bit cuckoo nutso. She kills a nosy cop and Elizabeth, then cradles her skelebaby. See? Cuckoo nutso. The end.

It did, however, feature this line, which I'm going to use with regularity whenever anyone starts bitchng at me: "You're making my gallbladder act up!"

Story #2: Snatcher

A purse snatcher steals the handbag of a "helpless old lady"...but it turns out that the purse is a monster, and it eats him. Brief and sort of cute, but mostly notable because the snatcher is played by Tom "SpongeBob" Kenny.

Story #3: The Closet

A little boy is afraid of the monster in his closet. His older brother tries to convince him that there's nothing in the closet, but the monster is real and it attacks the older brother...the end. It took me longer to type this than it took the segment to play out.

Story #4: Groovie Ghoulie Garage

Two guys are on their way pick up the sister of one of them, when their car breaks down in Tower Springs. Everyone is a little weird, but nice enough- they invite the boys to a Halloween party, blah blah blah. Their car gets fixed and they split, but on the way out of town they pass a sign informing them that everyone in Tower Springs died due to a horrible chemical spill in 1969. Egahhhhhh!

Though this segment was fairly pointless, the garb of the two guys (as seen above) made me a bit nostalgic for my junior high days. You know, being "punk" but not at all punk, and wearing lots of buttons on a tweed trench coat. Also, when they got in their car, one of them said "Come on, let's rap some more!" and then they rapped...and I don't mean they talked. I mean they rapped.

Story #5: Howling Nightmare

A bunch of hunters are chasing what one assumes is a werewolf- finally, one of them shoots it with a silver bullet, killing it...but it was all a dream! A man wakes up from this nightmare, all sweaty, and he promptly begins turning into a werewolf. The hunters show up and kill him before the transformation is complete.


Story #6: Sucker

"Sucker" began with this shot...

...and so I thought I was in for a a music video from the long-lost love child of Bonnie Tyler, Stevie Nicks, and Stockard Channing...but no, it was just a dream wherein a woman shoots her husband with a bow and arrow.

She's awakened by a ringing doorbell, and we see that the woman is not all flowy and ethereal like her dream-persona; actually, she's a big slob. The man at the door is a traveling salesman who gives her a magic dustbuster that she can use for one day to rid her life of all the filth, which she blames on her husband. The only caveat is that she can't point the vacuum at people, and she can't use it for more than 30 seconds at a time, lest there be eeeevil consequences. In the course of cleaning her entire house, however...well, I guess she uses it longer-than-30-second intervals or something, because all of a sudden she's gained 500 pounds. By the time her husband (who's not at all the jerk she's made him out to be, by the way) gets home, she looks like this:

Then she sucks herself into the magic dustbuster, the end.

"Sucker" was probably the strongest of the bunch- the best of the worst- and it felt like it probably could have been an episode of Tales from the Darkside when the show was hobbling along on its last leg. That should give you a clue about this whole affair; I realize I've skimped on the descriptions, but there wasn't much to describe in any of these. Creeptales is a low-budget anthology flick, and the stories are middle of the road at best. The framing narrative was excruciating, and when the film cut back to it between segments, I hit fast forward.

The late Forrest Ackerman was listed as a "Creative Consultant", but I have no idea what that means. As anthologies go, this isn't enjoyably bad like, say, House of the Dead, and it certainly can't hold a candle to Creepshow or the Amicus efforts.

There, now I've written about it, so leave me alone...you're making my gallbladder act up!

this is not my movie

Think on back with me, child, to that magical long-ago time called "earlier this week" when I reviewed a little sumpin' sumpin' called Cathy's Curse. Wasn't that a great day? It sure was. Unless I'm thinking about last week, when I had some frozen yogurt...or was that yesterday? Eh, I have no clue. My days tend to mush all together to form a big blob of amorphous solid (not unlike silly putty), only broken up by occasional trips to my mailbox or, when I'm feeling particularly wicked, the local branch of the library. But! I am not here to blather on and on about my glamourous life, no- I'm here to talk about...wait, what am I here to talk about?

Oh yeah! So listen, Cathy's Curse was a selection from my awesome 50-pack of Chilling Classics (or, as the package is labeled, "CHILLLING CLASSICS"), right? And when I took it out of my DVD player, guess what I noticed! I noticed that the B-side to Cathy's Curse is a little sumpin' sumpin' called The Demons of Ludlow. Imagine my surprise! Go on, imagine it. IMAGINE IT I SAY.

Now, to those few of you who're all, "What's the big effing deal about a movie called The Demons of Ludlow?", well, if you'd been paying attention around here you'd know that I recently made a movie called Ludlow. So now you know what the big effing deal is...and you, too, can imagine my surprise!

Reading the synopsis of the 1983 film clued me in that it has nothing in common with my movie, save a bit of the title...but still, I had to size up my competition in my quest to claim the sweet, sweet Ludlow pie.

I'm sorry, that doesn't make much sense. I'm gonna tell you right now: none of this post will make much sense because boy oh boy, I'm in a mood. I've been really hyper today, and I've had an inordinate amount of cheese...so there's no telling what might happen. Bear with me...but don't worry, The Demons of Ludlow makes no sense either, so who the frig cares what I write about it?

As the helpful banner indicates, the town of Ludlow is celebrating its bicentennial. It's a right ol' hoe-down!

The Mayor...or whoever he is...gets up to give his little speech about how wonderful it is that Ludlow is one of the oldest settlements- one of the very first!- in the United States. Never mind that by 1783 the entire Eastern seaboard had long been settled already- Ludlow is 200 years old and one of the very first, dammit! When the Mayor claims they're all one big, happy family, it's clear that the crowd enthusiastically agrees. My heart shed a crystalline tear, for I was so very touched by their response.

Anyway, it seems that a descendant of Mr. Ludlow, the town founder, has sent a gift- all the way from England!- to commemorate this momentous occasion. It's a beautiful (not at all tacky) white piano...and when someone busts out a few tunes, the citizens of Ludlow are so fucking dazzled you could just puke.

It's worth noting that this magical white piano sounds an awful lot like a Casio keyboard set to "organ".

Now then, let's meet some of the town's finest, shall we? There's...
  • The Mayor, who we already know...
  • The Writer, who was raised in Ludlow until she was nine- but now she's back and she's nosy and she knows there's something hinky 'bout that piano...
  • The Reverend, who knows that Ludlow has a secret...
  • The Horny Teens, who sneak off to a barn to make out...and make out they do, until a green glowing hand rises out of the ground and...smears hay and chocolate sauce on the girl's stomach ...
  • The Weirdo, who is either mentally ill or mentally retarded (it's never really specified)- either way, she spends a lot of time talking to her POSITIVELY EERIE doll collection...

...which includes Smurfette.

Once the piano is played, bad things start happening in Ludlow- or, at least, bad things kinda happen every twelve minutes or so. Thank goodness the scares were so spaced out, 'cause I don't think my nerves could stand a full 90 minutes of such unrelenting terror! It was hard enough to make it through sequences such as...

The one where a poker floats in the air, takes a swing at The Reverend, and WHIFFS!

Or the one where the piano ekes out a teeny tiny amount of blood!

Or the one where The Weirdo's Mom gets pulled up into the ceiling after a couple of colonial chicks throw a noose around her neck!

Or the one where The Weirdo has a flashback to Ye Olde days, when people engaged in such debauched behavior as eating copious amounts of bread and engaging in powdered wiggery!

It seriously looks like someone from the FX or costume department took a trip to the Halloween Store and stocked up on blood, "witch nails", and "Billy Bob teeth". I am not saying this is a bad thing, I am just saying.

Now, I realize I've made The Demons of Ludlow look like it's jam-packed with action, thrills, and frights so frightening your eyeballs will pee their pants in fright...and while that may be true for the scintillating sequences I've relayed above, the truth of the matter is that this movie is boring with a capital DULL. The Writer tries to piece things together regarding the piano's history and Mr. Ludlow, but she never gets anywhere beyond "He did something and was exiled to England". Meanwhile, The Reverend is concerned that people are dying, but in typical jerk Mayor fashion, The Mayor doesn't want to cancel the parade piano festival just because there are a few dead bodies around. I'm gonna be honest: once this flick hit 59 minutes and I was bored outta my gourd, I hit the FF button, only stopping when it looked like something was happening. I was tired of all the blah blah blah- so sue me! This is the last half hour of The Demons of Ludlow, on speed:

A tree stump explodes- repeatedly- in a shower of fireworks.

The piano plays itself.

Some Three Musketeers-looking dudes show up and cut off The Mayor's head.

The piano loses a leg for no reason and starts to smoke.

This dude shows up.

The Writer is suddenly in Ye Olde Clothes...she runs about Ludlow, encountering colonials with poor dental work everywhere she turns.

The Writer cannot escape because there's some sort of force field around Ludlow...but then a car drives through it- and her- and she's back in her regular clothes.

She falls down, the driver of the car goes to her...freeze frame THE END.

You know that if this movie was so bad it was good, I'd tell you, right? I would, because I'm here to spread the love, friendos. I know you're looking at those pictures up there, thinking that exploding tree stumps are just what you need to cure what ails ya- but trust me, The Demons of Ludlow is only gonna ail ya even worse. For every second of magical sparkles and fireworks, there's ten minutes of nothing. It's a disjointed mess that's a chore to sit through, even on fast forward. Reading this post is all the time you need to spend with this one, I'm sorry to say. And I swear, I'm not just saying that because I want to hog that sweet, sweet Ludlow pie all to myself...

...although I do wish I'd worked an exploding tree stump into my movie somehow.