Friday, November 30, 2007
This is the infamous sequel to Night of the Living Dead. Dawn of the Dead was a bit more mainstream than it's predecessor, mostly due to Night of the Living Dead becoming such an unexpected major success. The storyline is supposedly the next day, even though it's obviously not, due to the different, more modern clothes and hairstyles. Anyway, the dead are still being resurrected for some as yet unknown reason (it was hinted as space radiation, but never confirmed) and are outnumbering the police and military, and eventually starting to overrun the planet. At a television station, people are panicking and abandoning their jobs as TV informants and are heading for who knows where. A helicopter pilot, his girlfriend, a military buddy and his friend take to the skies, trying to figure out what the hell to do next. They come across a huge shopping mall (another storyline continuation discrepancy) and land on the roof. There's a few zombies roaming around, but not many. They soon realize the benefits of staying there for a while. They rid the mall of the few zombies it has and block all the entrances to the mall with freight trucks. Finally, after getting some sleep, they milk the mall for all it's worth, which is quite a lot. Food, clothes, televisions, radios and ammunition as far as the eye can see. While placing the freight trucks, one of the men was bitten on the leg by a zombie. Three days later, he dies, then comes back, then dies again and is buried in the mall garden courtyard. All goes well for a while, then the mall is raided by a gang of motorcycle bandits. In fighting for what he has claimed as his, the helicopter pilot flips out and fights back. He ends up wounded and then attacked by zombies, dies, resurrects and comes after the only two remaining live people he knows of. The rest of the zombies follow him and bombard the upstairs sanctuary leaving the military guy and the pilots girlfriend to escape the only way possible... up. They fly off in the helicopter (thankfully, he taught his girlfriend how to fly it) and that's the end. I have to say that I was a little disappointed when it ended. There were just too many unanswered questions. Near the beginning of the movie, we find out that the pilots girlfriend is pregnant, but she's like 9 months pregnant at the end when they fly away. Also, where the hell did they go with almost no fuel left. I guess it was so that they could make another sequel (which they did, and much like this one it differs greatly in time discrepancy). The movie basically ends right where it began, so it makes a good transition between the original and part three. This movie was recently remade and unlike the great majority of movie remakes, this one is actually pretty damn good. Scary as hell.
The Children is another wonderful yet practically impossible movie to find. It's one of Troma's least popular movies (at least in comparison to "Toxic Avenger" and "Class of Nuke 'em High) I can't imagine why because it's a jewel of of movie. It's a totally classic movie featuring Troma's most patented plots concerning nuclear waste. A school bus is bringing happy singing kids home and passes through a suspicious yellow cloud. We learn that a nearby nuclear facility has had an uncontainable leak of toxic waste. The bus and children are not arriving home as scheduled and when the school bus is finally located off to the side of the road, no bus driver, no children. Pretty soon, the youngsters are seen walking around in a trance-like state and have mysterious black fingernails. When parents go to hug them, the parent begins to smoke, burn and are eventually reduced to a blistered pile of goo that sort of resembles a human. The children hug and melt parents, siblings, baby sitters, etc. for most of the movie (very cheesy special effects that are really side splitting). Pretty soon the problem is recognized and the children are exterminated. All seems well, but soon afterwards when the one of the main characters' wife gives birth... it has mysterious black fingernails. Much like the movie "Village of the Damned", this film has a special kind of creepiness to it because it uses innocent looking children as murderous monsters. Well worth seeking out!
Sunday, November 25, 2007
This is another gem from Troma. A little different though, it's in french, hopefully with subtitles and actually had an air of quality to it that most Troma movies lack, due to the fact that H.R. Giger (artist, most popular for having designed the creature in the high budget film Alien) was recruited to design the Killer Condom. Anyway, the story goes... a man in a sleazy motel gets his penis bitten off and the woman performing fellatio on him is the presumed culprit. She's soon exonerated due to many other attacks on different men's penises around town. Inspector mackaroni, a gay chain smoking sleuth with one testicle is on the prowl for what's attacking men all over town. They soon discover vicious, hungry organisms that look like condoms and are biting off weenies left and right. That's right, it's the rubber that rubs you out. The condoms are hilariously fanged and can even run. Inspector Mackaroni soon discovers that these creatures are being genetically manufactured by a woman scientist with a hatred for men, especially gay men (I guess if one penis makes her mad, then two penises should really piss her off.) It's a very funny film with a lot of laughs and definitely worth seeking out.
Class of Nuke 'em High is one of Troma's greatest hits. For those of you who don't know what Troma is... it's a production company that for a while had their own actors to star in most of their early films. Troma also buys and reproduces old and otherwise lost cult films. Their also known as the Troma Team. Some of their more recent self produced films have been beyond awful, even for cult fiends. They certainly do have a few very entertaining movie gems though, but the rest look like they were filmed with a simple camcorder with some of the worst acting ever. As always, it's a matter of taste. But the fact remains that Troma has an undeniable cult following and deserves it's rightful position among the strangely elite. Class of Nuke 'em High is a great movie with a really fun plot. As with most of Troma's movies, this one centers around the topic of nuclear waste. A nuclear plant that is next door to Tromaville High School begins to leak toxic waste and starts turning teenagers into violent cretins. A gang of thugs start selling pot that is grown out of toxic chemical waste and when a Warren and his girlfriend Chrissy smoke a joint at a party, they start undergoing strange happenings. Warren turns into a green drooling sort of disgusting superhero, that is compelled to fight crime and his girlfriend Chrissy belches up a weird wormlike creature that gets flushed down the school commode and ends up in a barrel of toxic waste where it grows to an enormous size. When a gang of thugs (The Cretins) get kicked out of school for violence and drug pushing, they take revenge by trashing the school. Unbeknownst to The Cretins, there is a huge, tall, slimy, worm thing in the school that seems pretty pissed off (maybe because he's protecting his "mommy"). The worm thing eats Cretins left and right and when it gets it's tentacles on Chrissy (Mommmiee...), Warren finds a laser and beams it at wormy the thing. It lets Chrissy go and everybody gets out (well, most everybody). Moments later, wormy thing explodes, school explodes too and creates a lot of really happy students (school's out!!!) It's reading, writing and radiation! Great fun!
Saturday, November 24, 2007
This campy little classic has grown in cult status over the years. At first it was hard to find but eventually a DVD of it came out both on it's own and as a double feature, coupled with the film about Ed Gein "Deranged". It stars an ancient Rory Calhoun as Farmer Vincent, who along with his sister Ida (Nancy Parsons, most known for her role as the bitchy Coach Balbricker from Porky's) run the famous (at least locally) Farmer Vincent's Smoked Meats, the tastiest barbecue and beef jerky in the south. Vincent has all sorts of booby traps that he uses to ensnare hapless victims who are then buried up to their neck in a sort of human garden, have their vocal chords severed so they can't scream (just gurgle a lot) and are kept there with bags over their heads until they are "ripe form the picking". He then cleans them, smokes them and sells them to the greater southern populace who love his meats and keep coming back for more. His philosophy, "Meat is Meat and Man's Gotta Eat". Eventually, Vincent traps a couple on a motorcycle, plants the boyfriend in the "garden", tells the girlfriend that he died and since the girlfriend is pretty, Vincent decides to keep her, (not exactly sure why) he treats the girl more like a lost puppy than a scared young woman. Vincent's brother (conveniently the sheriff, and one of the biggest cannibals in the whole county) falls for the newcomer, but to much amazement, she decides that she wants to marry Vincent (what could a pretty young blonde in her 20's possibly want with Rory Cahoun?) Anyway, eventually she learns the secret of Vincent's marvelous meats, appropriately disagrees and is put on some type of meat slicing machine alive, all the while Vincent and little brother sheriff have a chainsaw duel (Vincent wears a pigs head, really creepy), just to have the damsel in distress to be saved by the lovelorn sheriff at the last moment. As for Ida... well, one of the "garden people" gets loose, releases all the others and together (massively gurgling the whole way) hunt Ida down and bury her in the garden... upside down. It's funny, at the end of the movie there's what appears to be a poignant moment when Vincent is dying and explaining his horrible actions to his brother. His horrible action... he used preservatives.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
The Evil Dead was the first movie collaboration with Director Sam Raimi and actor Bruce Campbell. It spawned two more sequels making it a trilogy. The story starts as a group of 5 young people take a vacation in a deserted cabin deep in the Tennessee woods, (sounds like the ideal getaway doesn't it). During the course of their mundane partying, they hear noises in the basement (which appears to be about three times bigger than the house itself) so they investigate. They find a tape recorder, a strange dagger and a book (Noturam Demontos, book of the dead). As they listen to the tape recorder, a man describes how the reciting of the passages of the book can awaken the evil beings that haunts the forests and dark bowers of mans domain. The man on the tape recorder recites the passages and before long the forest starts to come alive. One by one, the happy vacationers are possessed by evil demons and start killing and eating each other. The main character "Ash" is for some reason, never possessed, but has to deal with his sister, girlfriend, best buddy, etc... all getting possessed and turning into vigorous flesh eating zombies. They can't leave because the surrounding forests seem to be possessed also. One girl tries to escape and is actually raped by a tree. Poor Ash goes through hell just trying to survive the night, because hopefully the demons will recede back into the forest when the sun rises. He has to dismember and bury his girlfriend (which doesn't really work). He gouges eyes, chops up friends, and gets lots of blood splattered everywhere. When he becomes the only non-possessed, non-dismembered person there, and it's almost dawn, he thinks he's gonna be alright. ...I don't think so.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
This little gem starring Joan Crawford is a must see. It covers all the essentials... campiness, a stupid plot, bad acting and an aging Hollywood superstar with nothing else to do. This film was made by William Castle (House on Haunted Hill) who had always used gimmicks with his movies (buzzing theater seats for "The Tingler" and a flying skeleton for "House on Haunted Hill") stumbled upon the ultimate gimmick when he found Joan Crawford. She had been making movies for a hell of a long time, with a hit here and there. It appeared that she was losing ground as an actress and when "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" made her a hot item once again. This film soon followed and really is a great performance on Crawford's part (can't say anything good about anyone else in this movie though). Alright, the movie opens when Lucy Harbin (Joan Crawford) coming home early from a trip and catches her husband screwing an old girlfriend. She takes an ax, chops them to bits and is carted off to the loony bin. Their daughter witnesses the entire event. Fast forward twenty years, Lucy is finally released from the asylum and goes to stay with her daughter. All seems fine... the daughter is a pretty young woman now, is a sculptress and is engaged to a handsome young man. Things couldn't be going better... until Lucy starts to have nightmares about the murders and wakes up next to two severed heads and hears an eerie nursery rhyme about herself repeated incessantly (Lucy Harbin took an ax and gave her husband forty whacks and when she saw what she had done, she gave his girlfriend forty one). Strange events begin to happen and people start disappearing. Everything points to Lucy, of course. We also learn that the gentleman that Lucy's daughter is engaged to is the son of a wealthy, prominent, business man. Lucy's daughter Carol is positive that her fiances parents are not going to allow their son to marry a woman who's mother is a certified but rehabilitated lunatic. So she assumes that having her mother recommitted (and out of the picture) is the only solution. Lucy herself actually walks in on someone who looks just like her in the process of committing an ax murder. A scuffle ensues and the "other" Joan Crawfords mask is pulled off. Surprise, surprise... it's Carol. Having made the mask from a sculpture she had created of her mothers face. All in the attempt to drive poor Lucy over the edge again, so she can have her stupid fiances parents like her. Kinda dumb, but still very entertaining.
Divine. The name says it all. One of my favorite actors/actresses in the entire world. Born Harris Glen Milstead in Baltimore Maryland, he grew up with childhood friend John Waters. The two became synonymous for quite some time, at least until Divine died from sleep apnea in 1989 (the result of years of excessive weight gain). John Waters and Divine created some of the best cult films ever made. Divine starred in all but one John Waters movie (Desperate Living, in which Divine was slated to be in but had to pull out due to his touring schedule) until his untimely death shortly after starring in John's biggest hit "Hairspray" (which spawned an actually pretty amusing musical on Broadway in which Harvey Fierstein very appropriately played Divine's role as Edna Turnblad). Divine remained with John Waters for 90% of his career making classics like "Pink Flamingos" and "Female Trouble", but in the late 70's/early 80's when he began to gain some actual fame, Divine began to spread his wings a little and starred in a few plays such "The Neon Woman" and also starred in other motion pictures like "Lust in the Dust" with Lainie Kazan and Tab Hunter. Divine also had a strenuous singing/touring career as a disco queen, and had some pretty big hit songs like "I'm So Beautiful" and "You Think You're a Man". She was no ordinary drag queen, Divine was a drag terrorist. She sent the best of them running (in six inch heels), screaming for their lives. Even though it was her trademark, it was also her downfall... excessive weight. Divine had been overweight for most of his life and began to have some difficulty breathing and soon developed sleep apnea. When Divine (who was well known for his punctuality) didn't show up for work one morning (when I say "work" I mean that Divine failed to show up for the first taping of the show "Married with Children" with him starring in it as a regular guest character), I think most everybody's heart began to sink. Divine was dead, but far from gone. Thankfully, his amazing talent was all caught on film and he left us with some of the most bizarre, hilarious, outrageousness ever seen. She was bold, she was beautiful, she was... Divine. As a humorous footnote to the story, when the "Married with Children" show sent flowers to Divine's funeral, the card read "If you didn't want the job, all you had to do was say so".
Monday, November 19, 2007
Siouxsie and the Banshees were a punk/goth band that formed in the late 70's. The lead singer Siouxsie Sioux (Susan Ballion) formed Siouxsie and the Banshees with Steven Severin and Budgie. It was a rough start, but by the early 80's some hits began to come out. With each album, Siouxsie and the Banshees got bigger and bigger and racked up more and more hits, with each album becoming more successful and popular than the last. They weren't quite as mainstream as their counterband, The Cure. But instead kept their own style and were rather original. Siouxsie, with her wild hair and severe makeup, became an 80's signature band. From albums like "Kaleidoscope"," "Ju Ju" and "Tinderbox" came some even bigger hits like "Happy House, ","Spellbound" and "Cities in Dust". In the late 80's, Siouxsie and the Banshees produced an album called "Peepshow" featuring the hit song "Peek-a-boo", which quickly rose to the top of the charts and reached #1 in Europe. In the early 90's, Siouxsie and the Banshees changed their image a little. Siouxsie's makeup and hairstyle had been tamed quite a bit and for once we saw how beautiful she actually was. Their new album "Superstition" was much tamer than previous albums, but still another great success, with it's #1 hit "Kiss them for me" (a ballad to Jayne Mansfield). The band was bigger than ever and was asked to be one of the performing bands at the first Loolopalooza Festival along with bands like "Living Color", The Jesus and Mary Chain" and "Jane's Addiction". When the movie "Batman Returns" was being made, Siouxsie was approached to play the part of Catwoman. She declined stating that she was a singer, not an actress. Instead she composed the movies theme song "Face to Face" and the part went to Michelle Pfeifer. This was to be their last big hit and sadly, their follow-up album "The Rapture" failed to deliver any hits and by now, the band was getting kind of old and facing extinction. Siouxsie and the Banshees called it quits after over 20 years on the billboard charts. Siouxsie married the bands drummer Budgie and started a new band called The Creatures. Not much success there, due to the constant comparison to the Banshees. In 2003, the band reunited for a filmed concert called "The Seven Year Itch" in which despite of the amazing performance that it was, it was quite apparent that Siouxsie was losing her voice. High notes in songs became flat and painfully low baritone. It would appear that this was the end of the story of Siouxsie Sioux and her Banshees. Then a surprise. Siouxsie (alone, no Banshees or Creatures) has a new album coming out November of 2007 called "Mantaray". I'm not sure if she regained her voice or it's just some studio magic, but she looks and sounds great. A new video has been released for a song called "Into a Swan", with Siouxsie looking her gothic best. Sure, she's a little older, but as they say.. "Like fine wine". Welcome back Siouxsie!! We missed you!!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
This movie probably has the largest cult following of all time. Most Cult Fiends know it word for word (it would make for some interesting karaoke). This is another film that was made on a shoestring budget and not expected to be an Oscar winner, but instead this movie has very much become art in itself and still delivers a frightening punch that is truly scary and still very effective. I have an admitted obsession with "living dead" movies. I'm not sure why, I guess it's because of having been in mortuary school and worked in funeral homes, I just find the subject to be most disturbing, terrifying, effective... and wonderful! Anyway, this is also another movie to be recently colorized by Off Color Film, very interesting. Ok, so Johnny and Barbara are at the cemetery putting a wreath on their dead fathers grave. In a joking manner, Johnny teases his sister saying "Their coming to get you Barbara." "look, there comes one of them now". Barbara notices the man coming and wants to apologize but instead he attacks her. She nearly gets away with her life which is more than I can say for her brother. She holes up in an old farmhouse (the owner is a meat salad at the top of the stairs) with a man who manages to get to the house just as his truck runs out of gas. He tells her about other attacks going on outside, she slowly loses it and becomes either hysterical or mute during the rest of the movie. Soon we learn that there are people hiding in the basement. A young local couple and an obnoxious man and his barely tolerant wife. Their kid is downstairs and sick by having been bitten by one of those "things". One gripping aspect to this movie is the dynamics between all the people in the house. Had they got along and helped each other, they might have made it through the night, but instead, they all pulled in different directions and eventually everybody got it soon or later. The other dynamic being the "show no emotion" factor. "How can I shoot my daughter, even though she's trying to eat me?" Nerves are shattered now and then by really creepy corpses banging their way through the windows and doors. This film was the beginning careers of two of the most respected people in the movie industry... George Romero and Tom Savini. George Romero went on to have a huge directing career and Tom Savini is one of the largest names in the special effects department for more movies than I can count. Night of the living dead has spawned three additional sequels, had tons of copycats made, a remake by Tom Savini in the early 90's. Who better to do a remake, right?. Most remakes are really bad, but I can honestly say that it really wasn't bad and stuck to the original script and had an interesting new twist ending. This is as classic as they come. A must for any Cult fanatic!
This is another one of those movies that had huge expectations that couldn't possibly have been met. They chose one of the biggest and most popular models of the time (late 70's) the incomparably beautiful Margaux Hemingway (Ernest's granddaughter) to be the lead character. Margaux, who was never really shy about taking on challenges, was offered a chance at acting and even though she hadn't taken even one acting lesson in her life, she jumped at the chance to be in a film. The producers figured that her incredible looks were enough to carry a movie, but just in case, they hired veteran superstar Anne Bancroft and newcomer Chris Sarandon. Margaux's little sister Mariel even got a part in the movie as what else, Margaux's little sister. Margaux hemingway plays a model (I guess they thought that putting her in her own environment would enhance her acting performance) named Chris McCormick who is introduced to her little sisters school music teacher (Chris Sarandon). Apparently, it was common to have music playing in the background of modeling sessions and this teacher thinks he can maybe use Chris as a way to get his music out there. One day he comes to her apartment to let her listen to his music and it sucks (irritating no-beat techno mixed with whale song). It's obvious that she doesn't like it and being a model, she's very busy and usually in a hurry. The music teacher then violently rapes her (very realistic and hard to watch), trashes her apartment and leaves. He's soon caught and it goes to trial, but he insists that Chris wanted him to do this to her in some sadomasochistic fashion. The court (for some unknown asinine reason) finds him innocent (despite a great performance by Anne Bancroft as Chris McCormicks attorney). He walks free and now the totally defamed Chris is hemorrhaging modeling contracts at an incredible rate. Due to her severe trauma, she can't even concentrate on the few modeling jobs that she has left. Anyway, soon afterwards, Chris has a modeling session to do and her little sister Cathy goes with her. The actual modeling session proves pretty boring for little Cathy so she goes roaming around the large building that the session is being held. She stumbles upon Mr. Stuart (her music teacher that raped her sister) who is there giving a musical presentation of his work mixed with lasers and dancers (underage students that are mostly Cathy's friends since they were all in the same music class). He lures Cathy into a dark area and makes some very inappropriate advances on her. She runs, he catches up with her and rapes her as well. Cathy stumbles beaten and half clothed back to her sisters modeling session and when Chris sees this she flips. She grabs a shotgun from her jeep and runs to find Mr Stuart (all in a beautiful red beaded fabulous couture that's to die for) and proceeds to blast off ever appendage he has. With a final shot to the crotch, her rage is begins to fade. She's handcuffed and carted off to jail for his murder. The one minute epilogue is a shot of Chris back in court being acquitted for his murder. I bought this film because I'm very much in love with Margaux Hemingway (even though she died in the early 90's). At first this film really pissed me off, because it was as though Chris McCormick just couldn't win, even when the odds were totally in her favor. In fact, the producers and directors were trying to get the topic of unreported rapes out there so the public could walk away with renewed courage to report sex crimes, but ultimately this just left me pissed off. Poor Margaux got terrible reviews, and her sister Mariel seemed to steal the show with an unknown knack for acting and went on to have a pretty lucrative career.
This a very in your face documentary on the topic of sex changes and transgenderism. And I mean that truly, it literally takes you from start to finish, into the nether regions that not so many of us wanted to see or know about (I can't say "all of us" because there's something for everyone). It was made in 1978, not long after Christine Jourganson went public with her successful new life as a post operative transgender, male to female. She pulled it off (no pun intended) rather well, appearing very feminine with little to no masculine reminders of her previous gender. Sex changes began to emerge in different forms, pre-op, post-op, half-op, hormone treatments, plastic surgery, etc, etc. This documentary explores them all... at a range, so close you can almost smell it (I'm so sorry, don't worry God'll get me for that) We're shown, the ins and out, the missing and the added, all narrated by a doctor that noticeable flinches every time he mentions the words "cut off". We're even shown demonstrations of sex with transgender people that are very unexpectedly pornographic, but are still being narrated like a documentary (...and here we see the North American Humanus Pervertis in their natural habitat). There is also a Puerto Rican transexual that does a lot of the narration, who is actually very attractive and intelligent and tells of her difficult life growing up transgender in a poor and intolerable society. The rest of the people (all transgender) in this documentary seemed like they were reading from a cue card or something. Their dialogue seems very scripted and wooden, and they all appeared to be "attempting" to act. Probably because they were transexuals and not actors (oh don't worry, they are proven without a shadow of a doubt to be transexuals). It's very campy, mostly due to it's age, and I'm quite sure that today we've come a long way in surgical advancement when it comes to fine tuning a medical procedure like a sex change, since this was filmed. But whether you're genuinely interested in the subject or just desire 87 minutes of sheer weirdness, this Bud's for you. Definitely not for the squeamish, weak of stomach (or worse... homophobic).
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
This movie is particularly creepy, mostly because the evil villain in this film takes the form of innocent looking children. The movie begins when the small town of Midwich (I love the title of the book this movie was made from... "The Midwich Cuckoos") falls under some sort of blackout. People as well as animals are all in a mysterious coma. Anyone that goes in, instantly falls down unconscious. Scientist and military surround the town. After a few hours, the coma lifts and is never explained. Shortly afterwards, the women of Midwich are all discovering that they are pregnant and that the date of conception goes back to the day of the mysterious blackout. From the beginning, the pregnancies are strange. For one thing, one of the women was a virgin when she got pregnant. Since this phenomenon hasn't gone unnoticed my the military, they set up shop in town to monitor these bizarre events. The babies are all born on the same day (fully developed after only 5 months) and all have very similar characteristics, almost as if they were siblings from the same set of parents. They have white hair (some really cheap looking wigs), elongated fingers and strange eyes. They also grow very quickly and are extraordinarily smart. They also seem to be telepathic amongst each other and if one child learns something, the others immediately know it as well. By the age of three, they have the appearance of children about ten years old and have strong enough minds to read anyones thoughts and can force people to do their will. The military eventually learns that other "blackout children" have been born in other locations around the world. Determined to discover the source behind this phenomenon, military and scientists disregard the children's growing powers. A cheap but effective camera trick is used when the children stare and control other people. The film negative was flipped over just the eyes of the children, making them appear to glow a bright white (or bright blue, if you like the colorized version). When it's learned that the other cities with "blackout children" have been destroyed the children want to disperse and likely "grow" others like themselves. They must be stopped!! It's gonna take a suicide bomber for this job!! Very creepy mindfreak of a movie. "We know what you're thinking." This movie spawned a weak sequel called "Children of the Damned" and was remade in the early 90's and was coincidentally Christopher Reeves last film before his accident.
This is one of H.G. Lewis' better movies. The acting is slightly better (but still pretty bad). The jokes are actually funny and the characters have more depth than most of his other movies. This is my personal favorite among H.G. Lewis' films because of the incredible amount of humor poured into it. Go-Go Girls are being mutilated all over town, one gets her face smashed into a vanity mirror, one gets her butt pulverized with a meat tenderizer (a very effective use of red jello, I might add) , y'know the usual. An overzealous reporter seeks out one of the snarkiest and most sarcastic detectives of all time to help her solve the case of the Go-Go Girl killer. This film gives a whole new meaning to "Live Nude Girls"! After all, they're a lot more fun than all those dead nude girls that permeate this movie. Watch for the cheesy striptease contest where even the reporter gets into the act (after downing quite a few cocktails, that is). Great fun! Keep an eye out (no pun intended) for a special appearance by Henny Youngman.
This is the third (but not quite final) installment in the H.G. Lewis "Blood Trilogy". Color Me Blood Red has a tamer story than most of his other films, but with a much more interesting idea. A frustrated artist is obsessed with finding the right shade of red. He tries many mediums but none of them quite have the perfect red that he's been seeking as the one element that will make his artwork into a true masterpiece. One day he accidentally cuts himself and notices how beautifully red his blood is. He smears the blood on a canvas and finally finds what he's been looking for. He starts cutting himself repeatedly to obtain more of that beautiful blood red. After a short time, he notices that he can no longer use his own blood, as there isn't enough of it and you can only cut yourself so many times before it becomes an issue. By now his paintings are actually starting to sell, but unfortunately he no longer has a healthy blood supply to satisfy the ever growing demand for his new and wonderful artwork. So he starts luring vapid and unassuming models to his home for some bloodletting ...oops sorry, I meant modeling. His artwork, with it's brilliant use of the color red, are now greatly sought after (which confuses me, because blood turns brown when it dries, doesn't it?) Strangely, the whole movie is framed in an "Annette Funicello beach party type" setting, with beach girls dancing and water sports, which is a odd yet interesting contrast to the goriness of the plot. An interesting note, is that when these movies were finally released on DVD, the producers enhanced the color of all the blood seen in the movie, so it's really really red and has a striking contrast to the rest of the movie color. My television can barely handle the enhanced red blood, but it's a great idea to go with since all H.G. Lewis' movies are filled with lots and lots of blood. Great fun!
I don't usually incorporate people into the cult phenomenon, but there's no denying that some people throughout history have a huge cult following. One of the biggest and certainly one of the most beautiful is the lovely lovely Ms. Bettie Page. Bettie was born in Nashville Tennessee into a poor and abusive household. She left Tennessee for the bright lights of New York with hopes and dreams of becoming a great actress. She won a few beauty contests, but unfortunately fame as an actress eluded her. While walking on the beach one day, she was spotted by an off duty police officer named Jerry Tibbs with a hobby in photography. After doing some modeling for him, they became friends. He also suggested that she change her hairstyle by adding bangs. This style would become her lifelong trademark. Soon she began modeling for local camera clubs and was eventually introduced to Irving Klaw and his sister Paula. The Klaws ran a very successful photography and modeling operation that produced celebrity photographs as well as their own photos using hired models. The Klaws also specialized in a new form of fantasy photography including various forms of bondage. As risque' as this was at that time (mid 50's) Bettie seemed unconcerned and was quite comfortable with this form of modeling. Because of these photos, Bettie began to gain some attention in the modeling world as somewhat of a dominatrix. This couldn't have been farther from the truth. After all, it was just modeling and it was all pretend. To quote Bettie herself "I've never whipped anyone in my life!" Paula did the tying up and always made sure that the ropes were loose and comfortable. In the 1950's, bondage was still seen as a taboo and soon Irving and Paula Klaw were facing some distribution difficulties. Bettie loved the beach and when things got a little hectic in New York, she would always return to her beloved Florida. While there, she met another photographer named Bunny Yeager who was a rising star in photography side of the modeling world. From this union came some of the most famous of Bettie Page photos. She even made the prestigious centerfold of Playboy, a magazine that was very new and very classy. Bettie was the second Playboy model ever (Marilyn Monroe was the first). Although Bettie gained much notoriety for her cheesecake, burlesque and bondage shots, fame (as an actress) and fortune continued to elude her. After a few close calls with stalkers and the lost enthusiasm from the continuation of non-profit modeling. Bettie Page called it quits and disappeared... literally. No one really knew what happened to the missing pin-up queen. Rumors were that she had committed suicide, was rubbed out by the mob, etc. etc. The truth was far less shocking. Bettie had moved to Florida permanently and tried marriage and family (children from her husbands previous marriage, Bettie never had any children of her own). She also gave her life over to God and became a Christian Missionary for many years. She didn't just keep a low profile, she quite literally had disappeared entirely from the public eye. For years and years, no one knew what had become of Ms. Bettie Page. And although she had vanished, her pictures had not. Unbeknownst to Bettie, a huge cult following was evolving around her. Her pictures became more and more popular and her fame continued to grow at a rapid pace. Paintings, post cards, calendars, statues... soon Ms. Page was everywhere and more adored than any model in history.. After decades of seclusion, Bettie was finally located by the show "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous". She lives in an undisclosed location in California with her brother Jimmie. When she was rediscovered, Bettie had absolutely no idea that she had become so famous and was actually quite shocked. She's 84 years old now and prefers to stay out of the public eye, wanting only to remain the young beautiful woman she left on film so many years ago.
Dear Cult fans, It's with deep sorrow that I bring some terribly sad news. The eternally beautiful Ms. Bettie Page has passed away. About nine days ago, Ms. Page suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized. She never regained consciousness and was taken off life support at 6:41 EST Thursday December 11th, 2008. A private ceremony will be held this Tuesday, December 16th, 2008 at an undisclosed location. She will be laid to rest in Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles. Anyone who took the time to get to know the real Bettie Page (beyond their own masturbatory fantasies) knew that she was as beautiful on the inside as she was on the outside. A beautiful soul through and through, she will be deeply missed by so very many. On a lighter note, we all know how religious Bettie was and I find great comfort in knowing that she finally gets to meet Him. On a personal note... I love you Bettie, rest in peace, beautiful.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
First of all, I was shocked to actually find an H.G. Lewis film that had no gore or even a horror overtone. With this in mind, I really didn't know what to expect. Basically we have an all girl biker gang called the "Maneaters" that act like they have more testosterone than Mike Tyson. The mostly female cast seems to have had some trouble acting butch enough for this film, because it comes out so forced and scripted (which is terribly funny to watch these over-actresses at work, they so aren't feelin' it). Despite their incredibly lesbian qualities and overtones, they race motorcycles to see who gets the privilege of picking a "useful stud" from a lineup of men from who knows where, (that's never really explained). They sometimes make references to "roping in a Philly" but it never really happens. This is quite a change from anything H.G. Lewis had done before. When She Devils was made, it was right when he was making his gore movies. He may have just been trying to make some money and sexy biker chick movies were very popular at the time. Even though there's no gore (except maybe a small decapitation scene near the end) H.G. Lewis fans will still enjoy the atmosphere, the absurdity of it all, and the cheap crap that H.G. Lewis was all about. A funny tidbit about this movie that still makes me laugh... after every intense scene, there's a painting of a colorful she devil biker that spins around and around making one almost sick, but hey, H.G. thought this was cool, and maybe it was for the time, but it's camp value today is priceless.
Although the title implies that this is a sequel to Valley of the Dolls, but it really isn't. A sequel was in fact written for "Valley" but was rejected. Legendary breast mogul and 60's movie producer/director Russ Meyer got his hands on the opportunity to direct a sequel-esque film that had many of the same elements of the original. So the movie was made, but not without a disclaimer at the beginning stating that this is NOT a sequel to "Valley" and is a completely separate film entirely. It has basically the same elements as the original... sex, drugs and fame. Three young women (and a wimpy manager that's the lead singers boyfriend) in an all girl band called "The Kelly Experience" set out for New York and all the seedy elements therein. They soon gain fame when they are introduced to "Z-man" Barzell, a more than eccentric record producer that constantly talks like Shakespeare. Soon Z-man replaces their former manager and renames the band "The Carrie Nations". Former manager/boyfriend is left in the dust and attempts suicide on national television while the band is appearing on a talk show. This movie is without a doubt, the Queen of Camp. Freaks, Kooks, Swingers, Fruits, and every other 60's cliche' in the book. More colorful than an LSD trip, with an ending that is nothing short of bizarre. "This my happening and it freaks me out!!!
Duane Bradley is a meek and somewhat odd individual who carries a basket around with him wherever he goes. What's in the basket? Well, it grunts and groans, eats hamburgers and hot dogs, and has a sort of telepathy with Duane. Duane and his basket have rented a room at a seedy motel and has "as yet unknown" reasons to seek out two particular doctors. We soon learn that Bradley was born with a severe deformity where a not quite developed conjoined twin is attached to the left side of his body. They name it Belial (ironically after one of the fallen angels) and call in the docs to remove it. Duane and Belial are actually upset that they are going to be separated, especially since Belial is not much more than a blob of flesh with arms, eyes and a drooly mouth. Anyway, when Duane finally has the means, he tries to locate the doctors that separated him from his mutant twin and wants them to reattach what should never have been removed in the first place. They're not entirely successful and Belial escapes, leaving an obvious and convenient opening to the sequel. This has way more comedy than horror and I'm sure many people have trouble putting it in just one of those categories. It's a great film, lots of fun and has some really cheesy special effects, leaving us with the knowledge that this was a shoestring budget film that actually made some unexpected profits, spawning two sequels. In an eerie coincidence, this idea is based on an actual condition known as a "fetus in fetu", where during the development of twins in the womb, one fetus is stronger than the other and develops around the weaker fetus, essentially consuming it. Later in life, the weak inner fetus begins to develop much like a tumor and are often discovered due to the assumption that a tumor is all it is. Then surprise, the tumor has arms, legs, hair, fingernails, etc. If left untreated, this parasitic twin starts to develop outside of the host twins body, leaving a person with legs and arms growing out of their abdomen. Unlike the movie, 99.9999% of all parasitic twins are born with little or no brain at all.
This is the second installment of H.G. Lewis' "Blood Trilogy". It attempts to outplot and outgore it's predecessor "Blood Feast". A small town is celebrating the 100th year anniversary of the Civil War. To celebrate, the townsfolk trap people by putting detour signs along the main road, to lead hapless victims to their quaint little town of terror. They then kill these people in odd and tortuous ways (all of which are totally hilarious to this town of weirdos). A woman gets crushed by a boulder in a dunking booth type contraption. A man is rolled downhill in a barrel lined with nails. It's all in good fun though, and later there will be a huge feast... on a beautiful blonde. Apparently blondes are a delicacy in the south. Some of the trapped "tourists" manage to figure out what's going on (which is a pretty hard concept to grasp, considering how incredibly nice everyone is) and try to get the hell out of there. Almost all of H.G. Lewis' movies are pretty gory and disturbing, but with a tinge of humor to the whole thing. The humor in "Blood Feast" seemed very accidental. Maybe H.G. recognized this and went with it, because it shows more and more with each movie he made thereafter. Intentional humor is certainly abound in this sick little flick.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Valley of the Dolls was initially expected to be a top box office smash. It had some some decently big names like, Susan Hayward and Patti Duke, as well as newcomers Sharon Tate and Barbara Parkins. Built from Jacqueline Susann's fantastic novel, it centers around three young girls, who among the bright lights of fame, tumble and fall many times. Jacqueline Susann had a trio of elements present in most of her novels... drugs, sex and fame. Anne Welles is an elegant lady who leaves her home town for the excitement of New York and gets a job as a secretary for a law firm gauged for entertainers. A client comes in one day, spots her beauty and signs her to a modeling agency and Anne is instantly thrust into the role of Supermodel. Neely O'Hara is the little kid from nowheresville that comes along and blows Broadway right out it's socks with her incredible talent. Jennifer North is a beauty queen with a body to die for, but alas... she is totally devoid of any talent and soon learns that having a body is all you really need... as long as we get to see your body, every inch of it. All these women are friends and go through some pretty vicious ups and downs. Thank God, there are those wonderful "dolls" (pills) that wake you up, put you to sleep, ease the pain and make life a lot better, at least temporarily. This movie was made in the latter 60's and it by all means dates itself. It's incredibly campy and colorful. This movie has tons of great trivia about it. For example, the premiere of the movie took place on a ship, during a cruise. Jacqueline Susann hated the movie. Soon after it's release, Sharon Tate was murdered by the Manson Family. Judy Garland was originally signed to the role of Helen Lawson (very appropriate casting, she pretty much WAS the character Helen Lawson (played by Susan Hayward) but left the project, due to a multitude of reasons. Judy had a drug problem, she was becoming harder and harder to deal with and would often be late or intoxicated on the set. The producers on "Valley" were becoming as displeased with her as she was with them and a mutual dismissal was agreed upon. She soon then after went on tour and did in fact take much of the wardrobe with her and was spotted during concerts wearing many of the same outfits that had to be remade for Susan Hayward.
Monday, November 5, 2007
This was Ed woods first real attempt at movie making and as many as he did, you'd think he would have learned something along the way. Umm, no. Ed's last movie was just as bad as his first. For those who don't know... good 'ol Ed was a transvestive with a particular liking for angora. When Christine Jourgenson (one of the first and definately the most famous) transexual ever, announed that she was once a man and had his sex surgically changed to that of a woman. The world was a bit shocked, but this story struck a chord with Ed and he auditioned for the director of the Christine Jourgenson movie that was set to be shot soon. Christine Jourgenson wanted money and money was a thing that eluded Ed Wood for most of his life. So they just decided to make a sex change movie anyway with a fictionalized story. Ed wood got the role only because he was able to produce the practically embalmed screen legend Bela Lugosi to be in the film. Ed took this as the perfect opportunity to reveal his own transvestisism and played the main role of both Glen and Glenda. It's Ed's story, truer than we ever wanted to know. A boring documentary about whether or not to tell his girlfriend about why her pink sweaters are always so stretched out. Only the last five minutes deal with topic of actual sex change. And Bela Lugosi (who is totally out of place) plays a sort of mad scientist role that pulls the strings (sorry... Pull De Strink!) The movie has an overall uplifting (yet narratively annoying) facade until it cuts to Bela, the we see lightening and hear thunder and for the moment at least, it's a horror movie (without much horror). After the doom and gloom comes happy Glenda turning down homosexuals in rude ways, letting us know that transvestites are definately not gay. It's got bad acting, cheap sets, nonsensical characters, and a terrible editing format. Which of course means that you'll love it. This by his own accounts is his true story, the bizarre makings of Edward D. Wood Jr.
Some people find it difficult to intergrate music into a category like cult classics, because the word "classic" tends to strike people as meaning "old". This is sooooo not true here at Cultarama. You see, "Cult" is the key word, meaning the campy, the fun, the shocking, the intrigueing, etc, etc. The word "classic" therefore doesn't mean "old", it means the perfect and distinguishable. Music I feel, should not be excluded from this category, so here we go. Daisy Chainsaw was a really fun band that sprang up in the early 90's, fronted by the lovely but truly bizarre Katie Jane Garside. This woman can do the strangest things with her voice. Honestly though it isn't for everyone, but what is? Katie always wears dirty, tattered dresses with dead flowers in her hair and is usually barefoot. Daisy Chainsaw only came out with one album "Eleventeen", but it was a huge hit on the grunge, goth scene. Their sound is very gritty with hilarious lyrics, backed up with a thrashing energy. The band broke up in the mid 90's and Katie Jane Garside along with former Daisy Chainsaw member, guitarist Crispin Gray formed a new band called Queen Adreena. With albums like "Taxidermy", "The Butcher and the Butterfly", and "Pretty Like Drugs", that hint of Daisy Chainsaw is still there. It's a new band, but essentially it includes everyone that we liked from Daisy Chainsaw and is still fronted by Katie Jane Garside. It's not Daisy Chainsaw, but it's an incredible facsimile.
Blood Feast is hailed as the first gore movie ever made. And is the first of the "Blood Trilogy" by H.G. Lewis. This is supposed to be a horror film and if it weren't for all the blood and gore, it would be an outright comedy. The acting is probably the worst ever caught on film. The sets are cheaper than cheap, the dialogue is wooden, calculated and downright stupid. In short, it's very unintentionally hilarious. Fuad Ramses is a creepy little dude that runs an egyptian catering service. Coincidentally, he's also a faithfull follower of an evil egyptian goddess named Ishtar. Apparently, the time has come to serve up a religious "blood feast" in order to bring Ishtar back to life. So he goes around town murdering young women and stealing certain parts of their bodies to cook up and serve to a dimwitted mother who is throwing a party for her daughter. The fact that nobody finds this guy weird really stands out. Any normal person would be terrified of him. He's obviously a younger guy with old man makeup. Why they didn't just get an older actor, I don't know. He stares at people a lot (supposedly hypnotising them) and is sneaking around with a bag full of body parts, totally inconspicuous. Must be seen to be believed.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
This movie made such an impact on me that I almost believed it to be complete truth. This haunting movie is quite unnerving in a very subtle way. Mary Henry is in a car accident, how she survived is anyone's guess. But ever since the accident, her life seems somewhat altered. She is a paid organist that has decided to make a new start after the accident by relocating to Utah and taking a job as the organist for the local church. Mary seems to be haunted by an eerie pale faced man with dark eyes that appears to her but no one else. Mary also becomes a little obsessed with an old pavillion just outside town. Soon even stranger events begin to happen. There are times when no one can hear or even see Mary, as though she has no place in the world. During these episodes, the only sound that can be heard is the spooky organ music that is almost a character in itself and present through most of the movie. Mary finally sets out to solve the strange events that now plague her constantly. Believing that the answer lies in the old pavillion, she goes there and faces the ghostly truth behind her own existance. Tons of easy to understand symbolism, a great story, an unexpected ending and an actress that seems cold as ice, even when she smiles. This true classic was made on a shoestring budget but was an instant hit, and has gone on to gather followers of the cult for years. It's also been colorized as of lately by Off Color Films, who did an excellent job, but it's the black and white version that really has the more haunting impact. This movie makes a great conversation topic, due to the different ways the story can interpreted. A wonderfully artful film.
Desperate Living was John Waters fifth movie and by his own admission was the first movie he made after quitting drugs (pot to be precise). You really wouldn't know it though, because it's a truly hilarious flick and decimates the assumed theory as to why his earlier movies were so strange. This one ranks among his greatest, even with the abscence of Divine. Divine was originally slated to be in this film, but due to his new success as a disco queen, was not able to be in the movie. This a sort of strange and trashy fairy tale story with a constant lesbian overtone. Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole) is a completely over the top neurotic who along with her maid Grizelda kill Peggy's husband and are exiled to the land of Mortville, where the population lives in constant mortification for something bad that they've done. Mortville is a "shanty town like" village (complete with tourists) that's ruled by the Evil Queen Carlotta (Edith Massey) and her gang of leatherman soldiers. Peggy and Grizelda seek shelter with a tough as nails lesbian named Mole and her girlfriend Muffy (the mildly famous Liz Renay). Meanwhile, the queens daughter Princess Cuckoo is in love with the garbage man from the nearby nudists colony. Because the princess is so defiant and Peggy Gravel is so vicious, Peggy is appointed the new princess and helps to (or tries to) spread rabies to everyone in Mortville. This is definately one of Edith Masseys funniest performances, a total scream.
John Waters sixth full length film. By the time Polyester came out, John Waters was doing considerably less drugs and his movies began to move in a more mainstream direction. Waters managed to sign Tab Hunter to the cast and Debbie Harry (Blondie) to do the soundtrack. This movie is much tamer than his earlier films but still retains that wonderful unique sense of humour that Johns movies have always had, and was the perfect prelude to Hairspray (his first truly mainstream success). Divine plays Francine Fishpaw, a hopelessly humdrum housewife with a husband that owns a XXX theater and prefers the company of the dog over his wife. A daughter named Lulu that is the epitome of "bad girl". A son named Dexter that is heavily abusing drugs and roams around Baltimore stomping on peoples feet for the fun of it. Her husband runs off with his secretary which causes Francine to become an serious alcoholic. But better times are on the way when Francine meets Todd Tomorrow (Tab Hunter). Todd is flashy and rich and sweeps Francine off her feet. In addition, Lulu has had a miscarriage and becomes a good girl obsessed with macrame'. Dexter is arrested for being the "Baltimore Foot Stomper" and is released on an insanity defense. Everything looks rosy until it all comes crashing down when we learn that Todd and Francine's mother are planning to frame Francine, admit her to a mental institution, sell her kids into sex slavery, and run off with the money from selling her house. Edith massey makes a great comeback as Francine's best (and only) friend Cuddles. Mink Stole is another one of John Waters "originals" that makes a reappearance. Most of his early actors had died off due to AIDS and drug overdoses by the time Waters made this movie. Mary Vivian Pearce and Cookie Mueller also make small guest appearances. A fun gimmick that went along with this movie is that it was filmed in "odorama". When the movie was released, a card with twelve scratch and sniff numbers on it was given to the audience members. When you saw the number flashed in the lower corner of the screen, you scratched and sniffed the corresponding number on your card to experience the same smells that would be experienced by the characters. Unfortunately, the smells are terrible... gasoline, a fart, stinky sneakers, pizza, etc. Tying this into the theme of the movie wasn't hard due to the fact that Francine was obsessed with air fresheners and apparently has the nose of a bloodhound. Not nearly as shocking as his earlier films, yet still packed with all the hilarity that emanates from the genius that is John Waters.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
This is John Waters second full-length feature. Much more of a story than Mondo Trasho. Multiple Maniacs deals with Lady Divine who runs Lady Divine's Cavalcade of Perversion. A freak show where one can enjoy puke-eaters, queers kissing on the lips and a heroin addict going through withdrawal. Before the show is over, the people who run the cavalcade trap the customers in a net and rob them blind. All in a days work for the always glamorous Lady Divine. Soon she gets bored running with the show and wants to just kill people for the hell of it. She finds out that her boyfriend Mr David is cheating with a Jean Harlow lookalike. She sets out to kill him and gets raped, has a religious vision, and gets fucked in a church by a lesbian with her rosary beads along the way. Mr David and Jean Harlow have now decided to kill Lady Divine so that they can be together. Jean Harlow accidentally kills Divines daughter Cookie and botches the whole thing. Eventually everyone dies except Divine who has now been reduced to sheer insanity. Just when things things can't look any rosier, a giant lobster comes out of nowhere and rapes Divine. This is definately the last straw for Lady Divine and she takes to the streets like Godzilla in drag, destroying everything she sees. She's eventually hunted down by the military and shot down "in a very Godzilla like way". A somewhat shocking laugh riot.
This was John Waters first full length feature film. Before this he had made some short films that cult fiends are dying to be released. But alas, this is this is the earliest John Waters film out there, I had a heck of a time finding it. There's no actual dialogue, only sound clips from records from John Waters personal collection. This one's often been referred to "the gutter film", mostly because it actually was filmed in the gutters and alleyways of downtown Baltimore. Like I said, there's no real dialogue but as best I can surmise, the story goes something like this: A blonde bombshell (Divine of course) accidentally runs over a woman that has spent most of her day getting her toes sucked on by a strange man in a park. Divine stuffs the girl in her trunk and carts it around town, running into the Virgin Mary in a laundromat to a naked dancing mental patient as well as other religious visions. Divines downfall culminates in a strange ending of Divine dying in a pig pen. This is the only John Waters movie that I have a hard time sitting all the way through. The sound clips used, are used over and over and over. The story, which is actually pretty thin, is stretched out for an hour and a half. Even John Waters himself has said that it should have been a half hour short film much like his early stuff, rather than a full length fim. But Hey, it was a start. Only for true John Waters fans like me.
Follow Dawn Davenport as she goes from pick-pocketing high school dropout to mutant fashion model. It starts at The Lipstick Beauty Salon owned by Donald and Donna Dasher. Two extreme stereotypes of the snobby super wealthy. You even have to audition to get your hair done at their prestigious salon. Only women of a mega trashy flavor is good enough for their salon. All others are referred to Mr.Ray's Wig World. Dawn gets married to a louse and has the brattiest daughter ever conceived. But when the Dasher's ask Dawn to be a part of their beauty experiment, Dawn becomes intrigued. You see, they believe that crime is beauty. The worse the crime, the more raveshing one becomes. A model, but mostly a glamourous guinea pig. Who else to fill this need, but the notorious beauty Divine, making a splash in her fourth full-length feature film. And by far considered to be one of his absolute best. Written specifically as a vehicle for Divine, it follows her from youth to the electric chair with tons of hilarity in between.
One of the quirkiest shows ever to hit the airways and definately one of the best. The pilot alone earned director/producer David Lynch a Peabody Award. The story begins with high school prom queen Laura Palmer washing up on the lakeshore in her hometown of Twin Peaks. Special agent Dale Cooper is brought in to solve the crime, but the more they inquire into Laura's life, the more they start to realize that Laura had been a completely different person than everyone thought she was. Among her shenanigans were drug use, prostitution, etc. Though the story completely revolves around Laura, we hardly see much of her with the exceptoin of flashback scenes. The search for Laura's killer ultimately reveals a town filled a ton of secrets. The show ran for two seasons with 30 one hour episodes and a prequel movie. You really have to pay attention and watch the episodes in order if you're to make heads or tails what's going on (and even then it's hard to figure out). Something will happen in episode 5 and not explained until episode 27. A little confusing but it's well worth it. Top notch entertainment!
Probably one of the greatest T.V. shows of all time. Definately worth a mention as it totally captures the cult fiends eye, due to it's completely unintentional humour. This daytime soap opera began in 1966 with the premise of a gothic romance but the ratings were terrible and it was facing cancellation after only 6 months. The writers assumed that cancellation was inevitable and decided to write the last few episodes with some flare by adding a vampire to the mix. Barnabus the vampire was on the scene and the show became a huge hit and has many many dedicated fans. The show ran for six years, and like most soap operas, the plot twists and turns in every direction untill nobody really knows what's going on. Also, Dark Shadows didn't just take place in the modern time, but in multiple time streams and dimensions. The story mostly centers around the Collins family, a wealthy family that pretty much owns the entire town of Collinsport. Of particular interest is Barnabus Collins, his curious reappearance and uncanny resemblance to his ancestors picture that is hanging in the foyer of Collinwood. We learn slowly that he is a vampire and is obsessed with the past, and in a strange way tries to recreate it with people from the future. Lots of people get bit, brainwashed, etc. After the first year, the story jumps back to the year 1795 and all the modern character actors change names and relationships to expain what was being experienced in the future. All the ghosts from the future get to be live characters for a change. In addition to vampires and ghosts, the Collins family is also riddled with witches, werewolves and whatever else they could think of with a ring of supernatural to it. It's truly campy though. The show was filmed live so there were lots and lots of bloopers. Props fall, flies land on the actors faces, they forget their lines and often called the character by the actors real name. The show began in black and white, therefore certain things had to be changed like using blue candles instead of white, because the white candles caused too bright a glare. Unfortunately, when the show went color, they forgot to ditch the blue candles. So for most of the show, there would be nothing but gothic everywhere you looked... except for the neon blue candles that were everywhere. With over 1,225 episodes, it's a large collection to want. But now that they've been released on DVD, Dark Shadows lives on for it's old fans from the past as well as creating a whole new fanbase for all those cult lovers out there.