Tuesday, December 31, 2013


(US - 1968)

Shout! Factory's second "Cult Movie Marathon" set gets off to an inauspicious start with ANGELS FROM HELL, a loose follow-up to 1967's essential HELL'S ANGELS ON WHEELS, and one of the dullest entries in the late '60s biker subgenre.  After supporting roles in films like THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD (1965) and THE DEVIL'S BRIGADE (1968), Tom Stern was about to find a brief niche in these things with ANGELS FROM HELL and HELL'S ANGELS '69, but his time in the spotlight was over before it started.  Here, Stern plays Mike, the leader of the Madcaps of Bakersfield motorcycle club who returns from Vietnam to take his MC to the next level.  He hangs with a hippie commune, gets involved with a Hollywood producer and tangles with local sheriff Bingham (Jack Starrett), who, interestingly, is actually sympathetic to bikers and reminds his deputies that they have the same rights as everyone else.  Tensions keep flaring, but nothing really happens, Stern is a terrible actor, and the dialogue is atrocious (Mike, laying out his agenda to the rest of the club: "I'm gonna lay some jazz on your minds..."), though it does have a memorably nasty leg break and a gut-punch of a final shot that might make you think you saw a better film than you did.  But for 85 of its 86 minutes, ANGELS FROM HELL is a snore-inducing drag and Jerry Wish's script lays the verbiage of the era on so thickly that it starts to sound like it's trying entirely too hard.  Also with Ted Markland and Arlene Martel, and songs by The Peanut Butter Conspiracy.  Director Bruce Kessler only made a few features, most notably 1969's THE GAY DECEIVERS, a sort-of proto-I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU CHUCK AND LARRY where two buddies pretend to be gay to avoid the draft, and the 1971 cult horror film SIMON, KING OF THE WITCHES, and went on to become a busy TV director until the late '90s.  Most of these biker movies haven't aged very well, but this one especially feels like it was laughably dated the moment it was released.  (R, 86 mins)

(US - 1977)

Easily cinema's all-time greatest talking vagina film, CHATTERBOX! is mildly amusing at times and plays like an R-rated sitcom pilot.  Nice hairdresser Penelope Pittman ('70s drive-in icon Candice Rialson) finds her vagina (called "Virginia") is suddenly capable of talking, singing, and in the case of her overconfident boyfriend Ted (Perry Bullington), roasting ("You call that a fuck?" Virginia screeches after Penelope and Ted have sex).  Virginia initially causes all sorts of problems for Penelope, especially at her job (Rip Taylor plays her boss!), but the pair soon become a media sensation, going on the game show The Mating Game, appearing at the Rose Bowl parade, and performing such elaborate musical numbers as "Cock-a-Doodle Doo," and "Wang Dang Doodle."  CHATTERBOX! has quite a B-movie pedigree:  the screenwriters were involved in such films as THE GREAT TEXAS DYNAMITE CHASE and SAVAGE STREETS, director Tom De Simone went on to make HELL NIGHT (1981), THE CONCRETE JUNGLE (1982), REFORM SCHOOL GIRLS (1986) and ANGEL III: THE FINAL CHAPTER (1988), and doubled as a gay porn director using the name "Lancer Brooks."  And of course, Rialson (1951-2006) logged time in several Roger Corman productions, like CANDY STRIPE NURSES (1974) and HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD (1976) before retiring from movies in 1979 to focus on raising her family.  CHATTERBOX! is pretty bad, but it has some entertainment value as a nice snapshot of late '70s softcore porn in the guise of a markedly less-sophisticated Mel Brooks-style smutty comedy.  It's nothing spectacular, but if you see only one talking vajayjay movie in your life, it should probably be CHATTERBOX!  Also with Larry Gelman (THE BOB NEWHART SHOW, MAUDE) as Penelope's doctor, Jane Kean as her mother, and Professor Irwin Corey as himself. 1.33:1  (R, 73 mins)

(US - 1986)

Three years after his legendary 1983 cult classic CHAINED HEAT, director Paul Nicholas, a pseudonym for German exploitation vet Lutz Schaarwachter, returned to the women-in-prison genre with this entertaining trash for Cannon.  Nice girl Michelle (Shari Shattuck) is in the wrong place at the wrong time when her ex (John Terlesky) and psycho bad girl Rita (Christina Whitaker) rob the bank where she works.  The ex is killed and the cops think Michelle was in on it, so like most WIP protagonists, she's a dewy-eyed innocent (and she has a horse!) who's about to get schooled.  And of course, it's a prison filled with rape by drooling male guards, drugs, racial conflicts, and the corrupt warden (Angel Tompkins) has lesbian hookups with inmates.  Not quite on the level of CHAINED HEAT, but really, what is?  This could probably use a slumming big name or two, but there's enough hilarious dialogue and nasty violence (one inmate is force-fed a large mirror shard) to make it required viewing for fans of such delightful sleaze.  Also with Lucinda Crosby, Aude Charles, the frightening Faith Minton (who looks like a roid-raging Mark Gregory), the inevitable Carole Ita White, and "Tuff Enuff" by the Fabulous Thunderbirds, thereby fulfilling THE NAKED CAGE's apparently ASCAP-mandated obligation that it be featured in every film released in 1986.  1.33:1  (R, 97 mins)

(US - 1985)

Empire Pictures and future Full Moon honcho Charles Band acquired two sleazy Italian/Spanish women-in-prison films from 1980--ESCAPE FROM HELL and ORINOCO: PRISON OF SEX--both shot back-to-back by Italian exploitation vet Edoardo Mulargia with much of the same cast (Anthony Steffen, Cristina Lai, and transsexual Eurotrash icon Ajita Wilson), and had them re-edited into one film.  The resulting cut-and-paste hack job, was then bookended with new footage shot five years later in Los Angeles with Linda Blair and HOGAN'S HEROES co-star Leon Askin, and released to drive-ins and grindhouses in 1985 as SAVAGE ISLAND--probably to cash in on Blair's 1984 drive-in hit SAVAGE STREETS.  It's as much of an incoherent mess as you can imagine, but bad-movie lovers will rejoice at such sights as night switching to day in the middle of the same action scene, constant back-and-forth wardrobe and hairstyle changes, the same actor playing two different characters, and one character getting killed only to have same actor turn up later and get killed again--all the inevitable results of carelessly trying to fuse two movies into one.  The credited director on SAVAGE ISLAND is Nicholas Beardsley, who has no other IMDb credits before or since, so it may very well be a pseudonym for someone in the Empire stock company.  Empire, or Beardsley, or whomever, obviously didn't even know who some of the actors were.  Wilson is credited as Maria and Lai as Muriel, when it's vice versa, the venerable Luciano Pigozzi is credited as "Paco," but plays the prison warden, and not the guy everyone calls "Paco."  Luciano Rossi also seems to be playing the warden in some scenes, because he was in ORINOCO and Pigozzi wasn't.

Blair and Askin worked one day on the wraparound scenes.  A slumming, career-in-the-toilet Blair, who claims she was "conned" into appearing in this and urged fans to stay away from it while happily starring in things like the wretched POLICE ACADEMY ripoff NIGHT PATROL, plays Daly, a former inmate in a South American prison who shows up at the office of emerald dealer Luker (Askin) after killing his security guard (Penn Jillette!).  She's there to explain that women forced into slave labor are procuring his precious jewels, and then the two haphazardly-assembled Mulargia films proceed, with intermittent voiceover from Blair in a hapless attempt to pull the plot together.  It's all for naught, and Beardsley eliminates most of the sleazier elements.  He does leave some nudity--Lai plays an entire action sequence with her breasts popped out of her top--but the focus is ultimately more on action, with some nice over-the-top gunshot splatter near the end.  Also with Stelio Candelli and WIP sleaze fixture Serafino Profumo, who looks like the Italian Sid Haig, and played similar sadistic guard roles in such dubious Nazisploitation gems as S.S. EXPERIMENT LOVE CAMP and S.S. CAMP: WOMEN'S HELL.  Barely watchable and feeling endless even at 79 minutes, but aficionados of truly awful cinema will have a strange appreciation for it.  1.33:1 (R, 79 mins)


1 comment:

  1. Ha actually the French 1975 hardcore film LA SEXE QUI PARLE is the best talking-vagina movie ever made, and it came first (no pun intended). THAT'S the one talking-vagina movie everyone should see. Though CHATTERBOX does have the marvelous Candy Rialson in one of her last film roles.