The Atrocity Film Festival 2005
as reported by Verson Jetorix & Joe Violente
Special Serial Presentation (3 chapters shown each Saturday morning):
DRUMS OF FU MANCHU - 1940. Fiendish Oriental Fu Manchu searches for the tomb of Genghis Kahn so he can become the messiah over lots of little yellow people. 15 chapter serial.
Joe: Alan Parker... One of the best serials with a great villain. I can only dream about being as fiendish as the Fu!
Verson: Highly enjoyable serial even without any “names” in the cast. Fu rocks!
SANTO IN THE WAX MUSEUM (63) - Director: Alfonso Corona Blake. The masked man goes up against a mad doctor who kidnaps people and turns them into wax figures for his museum. Co-stars Claudio Brook. From the director of Santo VS the Vampire Women.
Joe: Santo vs. Claudio Brook as the mad scientist. It's your typical wax museum story except the scientist wants to create an army of undead animal-men or something like that. Fun stuff as usual.
Verson: Another fun, early Santo. After awhile they do tend to blur together but this had some nice b&w spooky wax museum sequences.
MATANGO: ATTACK OF THE MUSHROOM PEOPLE (63) Ishiro Honda’s weird tale of shipwreck survivors that slowly turn into mushrooms!
Joe: The 60's were a great time for Jap horror and this colorful dreamy sexually tense freaky human mushroom movie is no exception.
Verson: This does indeed have a druggy, sexy feel to it. One of the primo Jap horrors of the era, MATANGO holds up after repeat viewings and looks great on DVD.
MONSTER AND THE STRIPPER (68) Hunters in the Louisiana bayous capture a
monster and do the most natural thing – display the swamp creature in a strip
joint. When the monster's favorite stripper gets into a fight with another
stripper, he breaks loose and starts killing. Sounds almost too good to be true.
Joe: Terrible low-budget excuse to show a bunch of lame strip acts, although this one chick does light her pasties on fire.
Verson: I was very loaded by the time this came on but my sense is that a repeat viewing is not warranted.
DESTROY ALL MONSTERS - 1968. Aliens release all the monsters from Monster Island
and use them to wreak havoc on the whole world. Stars Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra
Joe: Typical Jap monster-rama. An acquired taste.
Verson: A fistful of monsters but this is so kiddie-oriented that it grew annoying and boring pretty quick.
BLONDE ICE - 1948. “ICE in her veins - ICICLES on her heart”. A society reporter keeps herself in the headlines by marrying a series of wealthy men, all of whom die under mysterious circumstances.
Joe: A pretty good femme fatale movie marred by a lame cop-out ending.
Verson: Enjoyed this poverty row, forgotten noir but it doesn’t pay off the way you’d expect, a black mark that doesn’t spoil the rest of the film. Found this one in the Book “Death on the Cheap.”
Winner of the 2005 Golden Knife Fight Award
THE GREAT TEXAS DYNAMITE CHASE (76) Ellie Jo and Candy whore their way across Texas robbing banks and such. Stars Claudia (Gator Bait) Jennings and Jocelyn Jones.
Joe: Gets off (so to speak) to a slow start but then delivers everything it's supposed to: crime, action, car chases, whores, a little killing and nudity.
Verson: Surprise hit of the fest that took the top award. Claudia Jennings definitely had “it” and a shrine is now dedicated to her in the Atrocity Room. Bless her soul.
CYCLE SAVAGES (69) Drugged-out biker Bruce Dern kidnaps
young women for his brother’s white slavery racket. Violent and sleazy. Co-stars
Joe: Another one of those inept make it up as you go biker movies but thanks to Bruce Dern's delirious performance (?) it ends up being really funny. Get juiced up first though.
Verson: Bizarre entry in the biker gang sweepstakes. Bruce Dern’s improvisational performance kept us on the floor. A good booze movie fer sher.
VIOLENT NAPLES [VIOLENT PROTECTION] (76) Commissario (Maurizio Merli) Betti goes toe-to-toe with
the protection racket and violent bank robbers and every other criminal in
Naples. Lotsa great chase scenes, violence and limping kids.
Joe: Premo Merli on a lovely widescreen dvd! This kicks ass.
Verson: Finally, an unofficial yet excellent DVD release of this Merli classic. One of the very best and if you haven’t seen it, you can’t call yourself an Atrocian.
(69) Akira Kobayashi stars in this tale of Yakuza
killing each other off for honor and territory. Look for Jo Shishido in the role
of Wang. From the director of FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION: #701.
Joe: Talk about false advertising. This is one dull yakuza movie where money is just about the only weapon used.
Verson: You can pass on this boring yakuza entry. I wish I had.
THIRST (79) A descendant of Elizabeth Bathory is abducted by
a cult of self-proclaimed supermen who achieve this by, you guessed it, drinking
Joe: Okay but often tedious vampire movie. See photo at left for Henry Silva's show stopping death scene.
Verson: Other than Silva’s awesome death, this high-falutin’
modern-day, revisionist vampire entry is strictly for completists.
SANTO VS. FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER (71) Frankenstein's daughter wants to get Santo's blood to use in her serum for a fountain of youth formula. Santo battles the exact same simian-human hybrid that appears in 1968's "Night Of The Bloody Apes".
Joe: Santo goes toe-to-toe with Frankenstein's daughter and the monster and an ape like creature. More fun stuff after you hit the bottle.
Verson: Pass the tequila, it’s Santo! More silly fun from Mexico. I’m glad Santo never loses, I’d be crushed.
MYSTERIANS (57) Widescreen Toho Tojos.! Naďve Japs allow aliens to settle on earth only to find they intend to take over the world.
Joe: Mysterians ain't no HUMAN VAPOR.
Verson: Starts out good but soon turns tedious as the battle
wages on and on. Good Saturday morning background movie.
QUEENS OF EVIL (72) Three women who live out in the country
are agents of the devil and their mission is to seduce and kill any man who
ventures into their lair. Evelyne Stewart, Haidee
Politoff and Silvia Monti play the witches.
Joe: Not a bad fever dream kinda movie but it needed to deliver some nudity to help flesh out the story.
Verson: Another delirious Italian allegory movie but this one takes the high road and doesn’t deliver the goods. I’ll watch it again tho.
LAST MAN ON EARTH (64) Vincent Price is the only survivor of a global plague
that has turned many of the dead into vampires. Look for Giacomo Rossi-Stuart
and Umberto Raho.
Joe: I'm glad I finally got to see this one, and I'm also glad I knew not to expect much. Vinnie is good though.
Verson: Even with Vinnie and Giacomo Rossi-Stuart this remains a dull version of the famous story. Better than OMEGA MAN however.
CRIME OF PASSION (55) Barbara Stanwyck, Sterling Hayden and Raymond Burr.
Gerd Oswald directs.
Joe: Mostly just a drama but it's got a good cast worth watching.
Verson: The cast saves this meller from complete obscurity. A couple of good moments can’t lift it from mediocrity.
STRAY CAT ROCK: SEX HUNTER (70) Crazy way out Jap girl gangs cause much
mayhem and listen to music. Stars Meiko (Female Prisoner Scorpion) Kaji. Buddha
only knows what we’re in for with this one!
Joe: I hated this annoying and tedious fucking movie. Exploitation without the exploitation.
Verson: I beg you not to watch this but you won’t
*Winner of the 2005 Golden Shower Award*
CENTERFOLD GIRLS (74) Director: John Peyser
“The most beautiful girls in the world! He was their JUDGE... JURY... and EXECUTIONER!” A depraved religious fanatic sets out to punish all the "immoral" women who have posed for the center-fold of a men's magazine.
Joe: Hot chicks getting straight-razored. I liked it!
Verson: Better than I expected. This low-budget obscurity has a good cast and takes liberties with them all. Kudos for having some balls.
RAZOR 2: THE SNARE (73)
Joe: A raunchy and funny samurai movie with Shintaro Katsu. I loved it. A worthy follow-up to HANZO THE RAZOR: SWORD OF JUSTICE.
Verson: This gives the fans what they expected from R1 and raises the bar too. Hanzo rocks!
BADGE 373 (73) Eddie is a maverick cop suspended from the New York police force. When Eddie learns that his former partner has been murdered, he becomes obsessed with avenging his death. Inspired by the dramatic exploits of real life cop, Eddie Egan. Popeye Doyle in The French Connection is also based on Egan. Stars Robert Duvall.
Joe: Not a bad cop movie but it isn't too involving.
Verson: Even with wall-to-wall racism this never seems to
kick in. Not bad but not a particularly memorable entry in the gritty cop genre.
ELECTRA GLIDE IN BLUE (74) “He's A Good Cop. On A Big Bike. On A Bad Road”. Thrills and spills in Monument Valley. See Robert Blake as a short Arizona motorcycle cop who gets his wish and is promoted to Homicide following the mysterious murder of a hermit.
Joe: Pretty good cop movie that's definitely a product of the 70's. A little too long overall.
Verson: Made the same year as BADGE 373, this cop flick
couldn’t be much farther away on the genre spectrum. A bit of a labor of love
(lengthy) this still holds a certain fascination and has a good downbeat ending.
(72) - Director: Fernando Di Leo
Sleazy pimp Mario Adorf frantically flees two hit men, for a crime he didn't commit, while trying to find those responsible for the death of his daughter. The great cast includes Henry Silva, Woody Strode, Luciana Paluzzi and many more.
Joe: I love this revenge movie. Great cast. Mario Adorf is amazing and Di Leo keeps the story moving fast. Contains one of the single best revenge/chase sequences ever.
Verson Landmark revenge with some over-the-top action. Doesn’t have a big finish but it’s a fun ride all the way.
STREET FIGHTER (74)
Hong Kong Yakuza (what the?) try to hire a tough mercenary (Sonny Chiba) to kidnap a billionaire’s daughter, but refuse to meet the mercenary’s outrageous price. After they try to kill him, he promptly offers his services to protect the daughter. Much ultra ultra-violent martial-arts fighting action ensues.
Joe: Lives up to its excessive reputation. A real crowd pleaser.
Verson: Oh yeah. Didn’t make a lot of sense (or was it the liquor?) but was a blast to watch. More SF movies on the way!
RAZOR 3: WHO'S GOT THE GOLD? (74)
Joe: Not nearly as good as the first two but it's fun enough.
Verson: The expectations raised by the first two RAZOR films work against this more cerebral finale. Worth watching tho.
NAKED EVIL (66) Voodoo grips an English town and a detective must put a stop to it. Deporting all the Jamaicans would be a good start. NF
Joe: Not a bad voodoo movie that takes the whole thing very serious.
Verson: Another logical British shocker. Handled well enough
but definitely a second-stringer.
FEAR NO EVIL (69) A psychiatrist specializing in the occult becomes involved in the case of a man who is possessed by a spirit in an antique mirror. A TV movie starring Louis Jourdan, Carroll O’Conner and Linda Day George.
Verson: Failed pilot for a series with occult investigator Jourdan. I enjoyed this quite a bit and apparently so did someone with money and influence at the time because they tried another pilot the next year, only to fail again. Too bad.
NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS (75) Three German sadists humiliate a couple of teenage girls on a moving train. Aldo Lado borrows heavily from Last House on the Left.
Joe: Nice and mean German rip-off of Last Haus on the Left. A little slow at times.
Verson: Really mean-spirited rip-off of LAST HOUSE… that made me anxious for a quick ending. No such luck.
KIRA-THE HOUSE BY THE LAKE (79) Director: Enzo Castellari. A
young woman who has returned to her home where her mother was accused of being a
Witch. She also has this small problem, every time she has an orgasm, she dies
and her stays dead until her partner has a mysterious accident and is killed.
Joe: Delirious fever dream of a movie. Perfect for a late night of heavy drinking since noon. Great cat fight at the end.
Verson: This is what I love about 70s Italian horror: It made very little sense but the filmmakers know what the audience really wants. This will take a couple more viewings to really take hold but I have a feeling I’ll still dig it.
LADY SNOWBLOOD (73) A brutalized woman purposely has a child so it can be raised to get her revenge. Now, that’s hate. Supposedly the basis for KILL BILL. Stars Meiko (Female Prisoner Scorpion) Kaji.
Joe: A bit slow moving at times but it's still a swell and violent revenge movie.
Verson: Chick revenge in the snow! Pretty good if not great.
Some great imagery and bloodletting.
PANIC BEATS (82) - Director: Paul Naschy
The spirit of a long dead knight returns every 100 years to clean house by murdering the women who are making the life of his descendants unbearable. Old spooky house story beefed up with sex and violence. From the writer, actor, director of many strange Spanish horror movies.
Joe: This dull and predictable movie needed a lot more scenes like the one pictured at the left.
Verson: This one feels lost in its efforts to shock just like
many Euro-productions of the 80s. The time had past.
THE FIEND (71) “It’s a sickness of the soul.” A religious zealot serves his holy master (Satan, maybe?) by abducting young women and offering them up for sacrifice. With Patrick Magee.
Joe: Lurid but not exploitive enough.
Verson: The idea was better than the execution and I found
this religion-skewering Brit entry irritating.
SHADOW OF ILLUSION (72) Mario Caiano directed this very weird voodoo sex and horror thriller set in the Middle East. Daniela Giordano (who has some terrific nude scenes) stars as a strange psychic who is drawn to a cult ritual in an ancient and evil setting. She is the focus of a cult who want to kill her so they can raise the dead. William Berger stars as a professor who may help her escape or help her to die.
Joe: Weird movie that's hard to get into because the heroine is so dumb.
Verson: Dreamy Euro stuff that suffers from an annoying heroine but it has a good performance by William Berger and some good scenes and tunes. I’ll watch it again.
GATOR BAIT (76)
Joe: Although too stingy on the nudity it's still a surprisingly enjoyable swamp revenge movie. I'll say it again - Jennings should have been naked most of the movie.
Verson: Not enough Claudia in this redneck revenge movie. How many dumbshit swamp-rats can you take?
LIZARD IN A WOMAN'S SKIN - 1971. A young woman is accused of murdering her debauched neighbor after dreaming it. Was she set up, or did she really do it? Nicely done Giallo from Lucio Fulci. Stars Florinda Bolkan and Jean Sorel.
Joe: Surprisingly good and arty giallo from Lucio Fulci.
Verson: I dug this classic, sexy, dreamy giallo. Too talky at
the end but I was won over early. I could watch Florinda Bolkan and Anita
Strindberg reading the phone book for two hours.
STRANGER ON THE THIRD FLOOR
(40) A newspaper reporter gives truthful but
circumstantial evidence at the murder trial of pathetic loser Briggs. Briggs is
convicted despite crying his innocence and the reporter begins to feel guilty
for the key role he played in the trial. Haunted by memories of the poor man's
pleas, he begins to wonder...
Joe: Pretty good noir with Peter Lorre stealing the show.
Verson: Surprisingly arty poverty row noir that I enjoyed
quite a bit. Peter Lorre’s great as usual.
LE SAMOURAI (67) Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Alain Delon is ultra-cool hit man Jeff Costello in Melville’s stylish and spare crime classic. Required viewing from the director of Bob le Flambeur and Le Cercle Rouge.
Joe: Wow, finally got to see this spare hit man movie in a lovely widescreen version. Required Viewing.
Verson: Simply one the best hit man movies ever. The great Alain Delon is perfect as the fastidious anti-hero. This film says more in a few frames than most films say over the course of two hours. A must.
FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE – 1977. Escaped convicts rape, humiliate and kill their way across the racial hotbed known as Canada. Stars William Sanderson as the lead racist.
Joe: You gotta wonder what everyone was thinking when they made this pointless racist movie. Still, I liked it and it was funny for all the wrong reasons.
Verson: My guess is that the money never saw the script. Unbelievable, racist crime that holds some sort of record for offensive dialog.
HICKEY AND BOGGS (72) Director: Robert Culp
Two private detectives take on a job to locate a missing girl and land right in the middle of a drug deal involving hit men, mobsters, loan sharks and radical revolutionaries. Bitter until the violent end. A must see. Stars Robert Culp and Bill Cosby. And Bill Hickman in the role of Monte.
Joe: Wonderfully spare and morose. Gets better every time I see it. Required Viewing.
Verson: Shamefully overlooked crime from Robert Culp. Terrific sound design too in this dark and downbeat noir. Another must.
WOMEN IN CAGES (71) “White skin on the black market”. Pam Grier, on the other end of the billy club this time, plays a sadistic prison warden who likes to torture and humiliate her female prisoners. Interested yet? I thought so. From the director of THE BLOOD DRINKERS.
Joe: Not a bad women in prison flick but it's too stingy on the nudity and the lead actress is terrible, even by women in prison flick standards.
Verson: It is rare that this genre produces much that is
worthy to watch and this was no exception.
NIGHT OF THE DEVILS (79) Director: Giorgio Ferroni
A young man with amnesia begins to remember he escaped from a satanic cult of witches and wurdulaks. Atmospheric horror from the director of Mill of the Stone Women.
Joe: Quite watchable although it doesn't live up to its potential.
Verson: Ferroni’s wurdulak story never takes off but it has a certain dreamy feel that is not unrewarding.
SISTERS OF DEATH (72) “There's nobody to hear your scream...except your killer”. During an all-girl secret society initiation, one of the new members is killed playing Russian Roulette. Many years later the survivors are invited for a reunion to a mysterious lavish estate…and I think you get the picture.
Joe: Claudia Jennings is in so too bad it was rated PG.
Verson: A stronger version would have met with more acceptance from the Atrocity crowd. I’ve seen worse.
SANTO VS. DRACULA AND THE WOLFMAN (73)
Joe: I tell you. Santo is constantly running off to the ring to wrestle while monsters are terrorizing his friends. Sure he saves the day but Santo needs to get his fucking priorities straight! I actually had to take off my Santo mask half way through in disgust.
Verson: This is a Santo movie.
DIABOLIK (67) Director: Mario Bava
Bava’s adaption of the Italian comic books is finally available widescreen. Stars John Philip Law and Marisa Mell.
Verson: The widescreen DVD has given me a new appreciation of this Bava classic. I actually ended up watching it twice more in close succession and enjoyed it more every time. Totally fucking cool.
SATAN'S BLOOD (77) A young couple are invited to stay at the country place of an older couple they have just met. They soon discover what a bad idea that was! Occult rituals, bloody ressurections and lots of orgies make this Spanish thriller a very entertaining mix of sex and horror. Angel Aranda, Sandra Alberti, and Marian Karr star in this film directed by Carlos Puerto.
Joe: This one delivers big time. Weird atmosphere, satanic
cult sacrifice sex, nudity. What else can you ask for?
Verson: Runner-up for the big award, this was a surprise crowd-pleaser. Satan, nudity, violence, dreamy atmosphere, and more nudity. A classic!
THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD (51) Directors: Nyby/Hawks
Arctic researchers discover a flying saucer deep in the frozen tundra and bring back a frozen alien to their camp. All hell breaks loose when the creature's icy tomb melts and he's suddenly set free. It's man vs. alien plant life in a struggle to save the world from the evil seeds of destruction!
Joe: Classic sci-fi horror. Great for Saturday morning drinking.
Verson: Never fails to be an enjoyable, ever-watchable
BORDERLINE (50) Two undercover agents infiltrate a drug-smuggling ring in Mexico, but neither is aware of the other's identity. With Fred McMurray, Claire Trevor and Raymond Burr.
Joe: I don't remember much - heavy drinking must have started early.
Verson: Fairly fun, low-budget crime entry reached its
peak when Fred decides to “change Mexicans.” They should not have put Raymond
Burr in a white suit, however.
DAY OF ANGER - 1967. A bored young man (Guiliano Gemma) jumps at the chance learn a trade when Talby, a veteran gunfighter (Lee Van Cleef) blows into town. The ruthless Talby eventually takes over the whole town and the two must face off.
Joe: A pretty good spaghetti western mainly because Lee Van Cleef and Guiliano Gemma make a good team.
Verson: Better than average spaghetti with a winning cast.
TOM HORN (80) Director: William Wiard
A renowned former army scout is hired by ranchers to hunt down rustlers but finds himself on trial for murder when he carries out his job too well.
Joe: A very good and underrated western with Steve McQueen and Linda Evans.
Verson: A favorite western and my second favorite Steve flick. It’s a crime more folks aren’t aware of this excellent oater that looks great and has an overshadowing of sadness to it. Recommended.
A BELL FROM HELL - 1973. A young man is released from an asylum and returns home for revenge on his aunt and her three daughters, who had him declared insane in order to steal his inheritance. Strange and atmospheric Eurohorror.
Joe: Good movie. A little more exploitation and this would have been a real fever dream classic.
Verson: I wanted this to be better. It has its moments but I wish it had been directed by an Italian, you know what I mean?
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