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Wild Sex! Gore! Monsters! It’s the twisted, sick and nasty ‘Blood Island Trilogy’!

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There I was, 1971, ten years old, bored, and flipping through the newspaper when BAM! It hit me like a ton of bricks! The exact thing my ten-year-old eyes dreamed of seeing: A huge half-page ad with a giant grotesque monstrosity ripping its own head off printed in blood red ink! Dripping red letters screamed BEAST OF BLOOD! I was an avid monster magazine reader then (and now) and even made a slew of my own monster mags. This ad was so very important to me that part of it was used as the entire back cover of “Monster Journal” a one-off handmade on loose leaf paper by a couple of ten year olds (one of them being me, natch). The monster ripping his own head off was the centerfold.

Luckily I somehow still have it. Here’s the front cover, centerfold and back cover:
 
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Having misbehaved, I was punished the whole week this movie played in our neighborhood theater and I never got to see it, cementing it even deeper into my psyche, as it became my own demented folklore in my personal history. That I had to wait at least fifteen years—and for VCRs to be invented—to see it may be hard for young people to grasp in these days of consumer enlightenment, but such was our world back then, and believe me, the rewards were truly that much more rewarding when it took you that long to find something.

Not so strangely enough, this is exactly what these now 54-year-old eyes still dream of seeing. I have been buying a lot of DVD’s of late and was missing one of the “Blood Island” films so I bought a box set that came out called The Blood Island Vacation on Amazon. The so-called “Blood Island trilogy” has quite a convoluted past. Even the box set has four films in it. There are at least three or four other films that also fit into this trilogy.

The Blood Island saga begins in 1959 with Terror is a Man (later retitled Blood Creature, of course).  It borrows its basic plot from The Island of Dr. Moreau—an obsessed scientist on a secluded island experiments with changing animals into humans. But the film is anything but a cheap rip-off. Terror is a Man is surprisingly intelligent, stylish and suspenseful, and from the same creators/directors/producers as the “Blood Island” trilogy: Eddie Romero, Gerardo De Leon and Kane Lynn. But let’s deal with the three main films to start with.
 
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Brides of Blood (1968) begins the way all of the “Blood Island” films do, with our hero John Ashley (long time Hollywood B movie favorite starting out in fifties monster and juvenile delinquent films, graduating to sixties beach party films, doing quite a lot of weirdo flicks in the Philippines in the seventies, and then winding up producing TV shows like The A-Team, etc.), some hot chick with a specific reason for going to the island, some natives and the ships captain all sailing out on a steam ship to the dreaded island. This first film co-starred the ample real life stripper/actress Beverly Hills and 1930’s-1950’s B movie star Kent Taylor as her scientist husband (Kent Taylor was apparently the inspiration for the name of Superman’s alter ego Clark Kent).

They arrive on Blood Island and are met with the usual hostile/fearful islanders. Something weird is going on. Why are these people here? Everyone has their own concept of the monster in this film but to me it looks like a big burnt deflated Michelin Man with fangs and ummm… lipstick?
 
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The big gimmick for Brides of Blood was the wedding ring give-away. Theater managers were encouraged to order hundreds of plastic wedding and engagement rings to give to every unmarried female in the audience.  Hemisphere Pictures even made a special trailer to advertise the rings. I actually have a set of them that were still in the press book for the film that I bought many moons ago. The marketing and advertising for these films is amazing. Wild trailers, including deranged narration from demented doom comedian Brother Theodore on the Mad Doctor of Blood Island trailer (see below), gorgeous posters done by world-class artists (paperback book cover artist icon Charles Copeland on Mad Doctor of Blood Island and Beast of Blood, comic artist Gray Morrow on Brain of Blood) etc.
 
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You can read a great and funny review of Brides of Blood from BadMovies.org here. The whole film can be watched for free on Hulu here.
 

 
More ‘Blood Island’ after the jump…

Posted by Howie Pyro | Leave a comment
‘Acid, Delirium Of The Senses’: Sixties Italian LSD exploitation at its finest!
05.08.2014
03:05 pm

Topics:
Drugs
Movies

Tags:
LSD
exploitation films
cult films
acid


 
Part psuedo-documentary about the Italian counterculture and drug scene (Dr. Humphry Osmond appears as himself) and part straight up LSD exploitation film, Acid Delirio Dei Sensi (“Acid, Delirium Of The Senses”) is an obscure Italian cult movie directed by Giuseppe Maria Scotese. The plot involves some free-livin’, free-lovin’ hippies who get mixed up with the Mafia.
 

 
Acid Delirio Dei Sensi is one of those films best known for its poster art—some examples here—which is highly collectible and molto expensive. The little-seen film itself, however is surprisingly decent.
 

 

 
If you click on subtitles, an English translation will appear. Buy Acid Delirio Dei Sensi on DVD at ModCinema.
 

 
Thank you, Daniel Gibson!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Forget ‘Reefer Madness,’ 1938’s ‘Sex Madness’ is your new favorite moral panic film
02.13.2014
08:48 am

Topics:
Amusing
History
Movies
Sex

Tags:
exploitation films

movie poster
 
Premarital sex! Lesbians! Syphilis! These are the the threats of Sex Madness, the most unintentionally hilarious moral panic film I have ever seen! And I watched Reefer Madness in a fit of herbal-induced giggles, if you catch my meaning, if you get my drift…

The plot is charmingly anachronistic, (if you can forget all the shame, damnation, and sometimes prosecution that has historically befallen less-than-respectable sexual practices). Paul Lorenz, our resident protagonist and “concerned citizen” fears the growing threat of “social diseases”—perhaps my favorite euphemism of all time. Meanwhile, additional plots serve to support his wholesome concerns. A New York burlesque show sets the stage for the aforementioned debauchery.

Most compellingly though, is the storyline of Millicent Hamilton, a good girl from a small-town who came to New York after winning a beauty contest. Poor Millie caught syphilis on the “casting couch,” and hopes to be cured by the time she returns to her sweetheart, Wendell. “Wendell”—now that’s the sort of name you can take home to mother.

Though it’s tempting to reduce the fervor of Sex Madness to puritanical pearl-clutching, in 1938, the US was still battling a syphilis epidemic that physically and mentally ravaged the populous. As with most STD outbreaks, a fair amount of shame, naivety, and pseudo-science contributed to the spread of the disease. Yes, Sex Madness is mostly prudish scare tactics and moral condemnation, but it also emphasizes that syphilis can be cured with legitimate treatments, warning the audience of the quackery that pervaded the time.

Of course, making a movie on these scandalous subjects risked censure at least, prosecution at worst, since the Motion Picture Production Code quite plainly forbade such filth on celluloid. Even the word “sex” could be grounds for action! Attempting to skirt potential repercussions, the film was released multiple times under different names, including such titillating titles as Human Wreckage, They Must Be Told, and Trial Marriage. It’s also possible that it was released multiple times to trick audiences into seeing it more than once—and with such prurient titles, wouldn’t you?
 

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Celebrate Thanksgiving with a John Waters double-bill: ‘Mondo Trasho’ & ‘Multiple Maniacs’


 
Happy turkey day my American chums!

I have to admit, as a Mick living in Limeyland, I don’t fully understand what Thanksgiving is all about. All I know is that it’s as American as apple pie, as the Detroit Lions or the Pittsburgh Steelers, as right-wing Christian nut jobs or cheapo exploitation cinema starring 300lb drag queens.

So on this turkey day, come worship at the altar of the Pope of Trash. Because nothing strikes me as being more American than the work of cult auteur John Waters. What’s more fitting to watch on Thanksgiving than two of his very early, very cheap shocksploitation classics?

Sure, these films may represent a way of living and a segment of the US population that America is not too comfortable sharing with the rest of the world (see also: Honey Boo Boo Child) but it’s an integral part of America nonetheless, and worthy of as much celebration as turkeys or pancakes with bacon with maple syrup (I’ve tried that one, I wasn’t impressed.)

So here’s an early-John Waters double bill to sink your teeth into, starting with 1969’s silent Mondo Trasho, (it’s got a great soundtrack though) and followed up by 1970’s ever-so-slightly higher budget Multiple Maniacs (it’s got sound!)

Even now, over forty years on, these films have the power to shock. Mondo Trasho kicks off with a live chicken being killed (kind of of fitting for Thanksgiving?) and Multiple Maniacs climaxes with Divine being raped by a giant lobster. In between you will find all kinds of depravity, though looking back it’s funny how innocent all this depravity seemed. There’s no real rage or unhappy-ever-after bleakness on display, everyone involved always seemed to be having too much fun!

Some people would say these films are hard to watch, and you know, they might be right. That doesn’t mean the films are not worth watching. In fact, some other people would say that John Waters’ films are so good that they are all worth watching in row, back to back, non-stop for 24 hours. Who would be crazy enough to attempt such a thing?!

Mondo Trasho, 1969
 

 
Multiple Maniacs, 1970
 

 
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! xx

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
‘K-11’: the most brutal cell block of all?


 
K-11 is a new film directed by Jules (mother of Kristen) Stewart, about a prison complex in LA for homosexuals and transgender inmates. It looks brutal, exploitative, and I can’t wait to see it.

The trailer is pretty self-explanatory: a record producer ends up in jail, charged with killing a cop, after he blacks out. The prison is the titular K-11, and there he must navigate a murky world of mixed genders and shifting loyalties in order to survive. (Hmm, maybe I should go into b-movie copy writing?)

Yeah, it sounds corny, but it looks pretty well shot and the cast is decent (though some actual trans actors wouldn’t have gone amiss, and I would love to have seen Kristen Stewart in this, as was originally cast - perhaps she was slated to play Mousey, the prison’s tough bitch queen?) But you know what really surprises me about this? For a subject that looms so large in the American subconscious, it’s surprising that there haven’t been more films about homosexuality in jail.

Even HBO’s mighty Oz was disappointing in that respect (if pretty much perfect in any other.) Sure, two of the main male characters fell in love (or did they?) but the show failed to explore the prison’s gay subculture, in the way it did the Nazis, Nation of Islam, Latinos, etc. Gay characters were only shown flitting away campy in the background, or as facilitators for other characters’ story lines.

K-11 is hardly going to be perfect, but for films about gay life behind bars, it’s a start:
 

 
Pardon my ignorance, but are US prisons really segregated by sexual orientation and transgender identity?

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Everything is Perfect Until the Music Stops: ‘Disco Fever,’ 1978


 
While looking up a suitable image for last night’s post on disco by Simon Frith, I came across a film called Disco Fever, a disco-exploitation oddity from the same year as the article, 1978.

As a fan of both disco music and cult cinema I was surprised to never have heard of this, and now I’m wondering if any of our readers have seen it? In case your memory needs jogging, it stars Casey Kasem and some dude called Fabian, and a lot of the action seems to revolve around a discotheque which is onboard a jumbo jet. Here’s the original trailer for further investigation (this film may just be so bad it’s good, or it may just be so bad): 
 

 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Leave a comment
Grindhouse, Rocksteady & Andean Women Wrestlers: Oakland Underground Film Fest opens this week

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The crew that hooked up the Bay Area premiere of the fantastic blaxploitation spoof Black Dynamite returns to put on another wildly diverse Oakland Underground Film Festival for 2010. Screenings run from Sept. 23 through Sept. 26 at the Grand Lake Theater on 3200 Grand Ave. and the Linden Street Brewery on 95 Linden St. Check the Oakland UFF site for details.

The Fest features indie and DIY film, video, and projection-art based in the O, with special emphasis on local filmmakers, social justice, urban life, the environment and non-traditional filmmaking. Films on tap in the 2010 fest include Elijah Drenner’s survey of exploitation film American Grindhouse and Stascha Bader’s Jamaican music doc Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae.

One of the intriguing docs in this year’s lineup is Betty M. Park’s Mamachas Del Ring. It depicts the pressures of hustling in Bolivia’s lucha libre circuit on indigenous champion female wrestler Carmen Rosa and her crew of petticoat-and-bowler-hat-bedecked maulers.
 

 
After the jump: trailers for Rocksteady: The Roots of Reggae and American Grindhouse
 

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment