Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Reel Grindhouse Presents: Classic Films

Since the film Grindhouse came out , I got a lot of emails from websites and fans. They want to know what I consider the top ten grindhouse films. Since the term” grindhouse “ encompasses at least 15 or more different genres, picking a top ten would be next to impossible. The good folks at Scars have given me a forum, so to speak, to steer you, the fan , in the right direction. When you figure that we have Horror, Sci-Fi, Biker, Women in Prison, Slashers, Spaghetti Westerns, Euro Shoot ‘em ups, Porn, Teen JD epics, ect, the list could go on and on. And it does. There is so much out there right now, that it’s a film junkie’s wet dream. So let 42P be your twisted tour guide as we paddle through the sludge of some of the greatest exploitation films ever made.

Woman’s Prison Massacre 1983 Starring Laura Gemser as Emanuelle, Directed by the late sleazemeister, Bruno Mattei.One of the wildest of all the WIP flicks. Reporter, Emanuelle is framed and sent to prison after she gets the goods on a corrupt politician. We have the usual nudity and lesbian hyjinks until three male prisoners, led by Crazy Boy Henderson( Gabriele Tinti, Gemser’s real life husband) take over the prison. Mayhem ensues with throat slashings, rapes, castrations, and the most horrific Russian roulette scene ever committed to film. The uncut version of this film is available from Shock O Rama.

Mad Doctor of Blood Island 1968 Starring John Ashley, Angelique Pettyjohn ( Star Trek) Directed by Eddie Romero.Second in the Blood Island Trilogy. A true Drive In classic. The prologue instructs the viewer to take the Green Blood Oath, ensuring that you won’t become a “ green blooded monster” Dr. Lorca has turned his former friend, Don Ramon, into a nasty monster. He treated his friend’s leukemia by injecting him with a chemical that turns him into a mentally unstable green monster that drips slimy green blood. Ramon escapes into the jungle where he plays annoying practical jokes on anyone who tries to ferret him out. Heads, arms and legs are ripped off and entrails are scattered about. There is some nudity and a pretty intense sex scene between Ashley and Pettyjohn. Lorca, Don Ramon, and Ashley returned in the sequel , Beast of Blood. Available from Image.

Northville Cemetery Massacre 1976 a biker film in which the bikers are the good guys and the cops are scumbags. A cop rapes a girl and tells her father that the bikers did it. They enlist a big game hunter and pick off the bikers with high powered rifles. The bikers are constantly harassed by the police and some are just gunned down in cold blood. The climax is a biker funeral , were the club hides guns in the casket. When the cop, the father, and the hunter attack the club with a helicopter, the bloodbath ensues. Even the biker chics are gunned down. One of the few films to portray bikers as the good guys. The Scorpions Motor Cycle Club stared. The original poster had a fat, redneck cop on it , holding a shogun. The tagline was “ The Day Law & Order Went Berserk”. Available from VCI.

The Cut Throats 9 1972 Starring Robert Hundar and Emma Cohen Directed by Joaquin Luis Romero Marchent. “Possibly the Most Violent Euro Western Ever Made” quote from The Psychotronic Video Guide. You ain’t kidding, this is one rough ride indeed. This was playing at the bottom half of a double bill at The Hollywood Theater in East Orange. I don’t remember the main feature as I passed out due to drinking a pint of T-Bird. When I woke up, this was on. This was one vicious movie. Nine criminals are chained together in a wagon. The are ambushed, their guards are brutally killed by throat slashing, shootings and one guys head is beaten into jelly by a rifle butt. The gang is pissed because there is no gold to be robbed. The gold is actually the chains that hold the prisoners. As the chain gang treks across the frozen tundra, they amuse themselves by killing each other off in various gruesome ways. Head shots, strangling, burning, disembowelments are all in this catalog of cruelty. Currently out of print, Cut Throats is going for big money on Ebay.

Forced Entry 1972 starring Harry Reams( as Tim Long) and Laura Cannon. Directed by Shaun Costello.A real libido crusher that was the first porn/ horror hybrid. It was also the first deranged Vietnam Vet on a rampage film. It was also the first film to use real war footage. When Reems sees a crowd on the street, they become Vietnamese villagers. This film sat around for a couple of years because no one would touch it. When it finally got released, it made the rounds of the Times Square porn grinders. Live sex show performers, many who were down and out Vietnam vets, turned their backs to it. Reems performance was so convincing, and , he took so much heat for it, that he never played a psycho driven character again. Entry virtually disappeared after the Meese Commission purge. It showed up on grainy bootleg VHS tapes from dubious mail order companies. While purusing Ebay, I saw a 16mm print for sale. My partner in my 8mm Madness series had bid on it. I contacted him and told him the importance of this film and that I would back him up with cash if need be. We got it and it’s out courtesy of After Hours Cinema.

So there’s a little taste for you fans. Hopefully I’ll be able to shine some light on more obscure gems from the golden days of the grindhouse . Later, 42P

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