Posts Tagged ‘chains

27
May
14

The Big Bird Cage (1972): Hell Hath No Fury like a Woman Scorned and Horny

big_bird_cage_poster_01

a Primal Root written review

Folks in the late 60’s and early 70’s must’ve loved to imagine somewhere out there in the Philippines there are prison/labor camps filled with gorgeous, violently horny American women wearing nothing but the tiniest of shorts and shirts that hang open so their ample, sweaty bosoms simply pour out of them as they sweat and work in the baking hot sun.  How did I come to this conclusion, you ask? Because Corman and Co. were pumping these flicks out like chicken nuggets. One thing’s for sure, they tapped into some strange, dark fantasy of the time that proved profitable and a wonderful showcase for gonzo politics, dark satire, even darker attempts at comedy, and bizarre perversions of all kinds.

Among the grandest touchstones to come from these scantly clad and brutalized women in exotic prison movies was the steady appearances by the sassy, energetic,  Ms. Pam Grier, who would go on to become a legend in her own right. In 1972’s “The Big Bird Cage” Pam Grier and Sig Haig play two revolutionaries, Blossom and Django (in possibly my favorite pairing of the two in their long history of working together), who end up dragging a gorgeous social climber by the name of Terry ( the lovely Anitra Ford of TV’s The Price is Right and the forgotten and highly underrated “Messiah of Evil” from 1972) into their crime wave as a hostage. It’s a short lived affair that end with Blossom and Django getting away and Terry going to a brutal concentration camp run by a sadistic warden and his army of burly, homosexual guards. Terry and the rest of the girls are put to work in the sweltering Philippine heat harvesting the sugar cane crop in the fields and within a giant wooden contraption of the prison warden’s own nefarious design known as…THE BIG BIRD CAGE.  His device crushes, maims, and kills the perky, naked women just as efficiently as it brings sugar to market. Hell, most of the prisoners would rather commit suicide than work within…THE BIG BARD CAGE.

BBC Pam

When the ladies aren’t working nearly completely nude they’re showering, making sexual advances towards their gay captors and each other or plotting to escape.  These women are all perpetually horny and lusting for hard cock and much of the film’s lighter moments are derived from their attempts to seduce the guards who have no interest in them whatsoever.  It;s a strange mishmash of politically incorrect humor (back when that was the acceptable norm. Ah, the good old days…) and brutal revolt, punishment and death. You’ll be laughing your ass off as a tall, skinny blonde covers herself head to toe in Crisco and runs after her nemesis and fellow inmate stark nekkid so no one can stop her, and the next second you’ll be staring in disbelief as a woman is gang raped by a horde of sweaty, butterfly knife toting Filipino men before a gay prison guard can make a bizarre joke about how he never gets that kind of action. This is the kind of filthy, off the wall tone shifty comedy Jack Hill (Spider Baby, Coffy, Switchblade Sisters) seems to really go for in his film, and frankly, I love him for it. It’s sick, it’s sleazy, and it sure as shit is like nothing else you will ever see in cinema. It’s so vulgar and eye wideningly weird that you cannot help but laugh even though what’s left of your heart which is not black tells you that you’re going to Hell for finding this humorous.

During a botched act of revolution where Blossom attempts to explode a gathering of politicians at some kind of public art Chautauqua with a grenade her lover and fellow revolutionary Django gave her. The grenade lets out a sizzling spark fart rather than exploding and Blossom is sent to the same sugar cane Hell hole Terry was imprisoned in.  As you might expect, Blossom establishes herself quickly as the Queen B of the women’s concentration camp as she kicks ass, tears off clothes and generally shows everyone who’s boss. But soon the Evil Warden is suspicious that Blossom is one of the jungle’s revolutionaries and begins beating and torturing the head strong and drop dead gorgeous Blossom to try and get her to talk.

bbc

In the meantime, Django begins posing as a fellow homosexual in order to seduce the prison guards and land himself a job within the women’s penitentiary so that he can rescue Blossom and get his revolution going.  It isn’t long before the entire prison camp is in flames, women are gunned down, guards are stabbed and hacked into pieces and much time is spent on a gang rape scene where about a dozen women tie down one of the gay guards, force him to get his cock hard and then ride it like the proverbial pony. It’s an odd, uncomfortable scene that’s trying to play itself for laughs. Again, the laughs are of the “what the fuck is this? Am I meant to laugh?” variety.  It plays as retribution for this guard making lite of a gang rape that happened earlier, but it’s still pretty fucking uncomfortable listening to this fellow struggle and whimper as a group of sexy, sweaty, naked women suck on his wang and start straddling.  I did laugh out loud when one women has to think fast and muffles the guard’s screams by placing her pussy squarly on his mouth before letting out a “WOAH!” of surprised ecstasy. Now THAT’S funny. Jack Hill is one of the last true rape joke artists.  See what I meant when I told you this thing is politically incorrect and deeply inappropriate? This ain’t no Shawshank Redemption, Gang.

The women who survive the initial riot make their way into the jungle as they are tracked by vicious dogs, and guards packing all kinds of heat and out for blood. Many are killed, few are spared, and the only folks to survive are saved by gentlemen revolutionaries who send the survivors off into the sun set on a little schooner sure to capsize and kill them all before they ever make it to dry land. THE END.

BBC girls

“The Big Bird Cage” is one fantastically off the wall film filled with gratuitous nudity, torture, blood shed, and ruthlessly mean spirited, dark, offensive comedy. I say offensive because the sensitive rubes out there would certainly find this film to be vile and despicable with little to no socially redeeming qualities. To those rubes, I say sit and spin. These are the exactly reasons I enjoy “The Big Bird Cage” so much!  It feels like a satire of the entire women in prison genre and has it’s sleazy little tongue planted firmly it’s slimy cheek.  The Big Bird Cage is a wild mother fucking ride and one Trash Cinema Connoisseurs will lovingly embrace.

What lesson did I take away from “The Big Bird Cage?” Never keep a woman horny and sugar cane is an excellent cash crop.

I’m giving this slice of sleaze FOUR AND A HALF Dumpster Nuggets.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

17
May
12

Gorotica: Coldcocked (1993)

a Primal Root review

Ah, yes, after scraping the glorious  dregs of  the Trash Cinema dumpster and coming up with 1990’s “Gorgasm: The Ultimate Climax”, it is time we move on to Hugh Gallagher’s 1993 second installment in the much maligned, enjoyed by some, despised by other, Gore Trilogy entitled “Gorotica!” Get ready, gang, cause this one’s going to leave you feeling a little dirtier than our last flick, if you can believe it.

“Gorotica” spins the tale of two band mates, Neil (Dingo Jones) and Max (Bushrude Gutterman), who pull an armed diamond heist in order to score the funds necessary to send their band to California in the hopes of making it big! It’s a really shitty plan. Max has sold Neil on it, but being a leatherclad, crappy guitar-playing punk rock kid in your late 20’s, your whole life is more or less defined by a long string of shitty moves and really stupid decisions.  So why not orchestrate a diamond heist so you can move to California for your already flaccid music career?

Speaking of The Grateful Dead…

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before the action even gets going, “Gorotica’s” opening sequence features Carrie (Ghetty Chasun), a curvy, pierced up, well endowed goth chick, as she lays in bed watching a compilation of still shots of dead bodies at various crime scenes and masturbating. Sure, this all seems normal,  that is until she pulls a skull out from under her bed and rubs it up and down against her exposed vagina.  I watched this as a kid and had the distinct feeling this was actually how goth girls who never grew out of it spent their time. As I got older, I came to realize  I wasn’t that far off.  It’s only after Carrie has shown off her ample bongos, tried to shove a skull up her love tunnel, and knocked a totally different skull  off the top of her television set with her intense, rhythmic, masturbatory gyrations & gushing climax, do our credits begin to roll!

Opening Credits by Atari

Alright, so we first meet pseudoheroes Neil and Max post robbery as they run down a dark alley, stop to catch their breath, and discuss what their next move should be. Seeing as they robbed the store in their every day attire, you know, torn jeans, plaid shirts, leather jackets and ratty haircuts, the police know just who to look for. Hell, the morons didn’t even wear fucking masks when they robbed the place! So, it stands to reason that Max would come up with the idea of swallowing  the fist sized diamond they stole for safe keeping and chase with half a handle of bourbon. I don’t even want to imagine what Max’s poor sphincter will be going through when that girl’s best friend passes the threshold. The depressing concoction of blood, tears, and shit is never something I like to comprehend, let alone experience in anyway.

Thankfully, we never have to see this happen as some police officer happens down the exact same alley demanding the two young men freeze. Max pulls out a gun and he and copper exchange warm bullet welcomes, rendering both cop & kid as flat-liners. The police officer dies instantly from his gut shot while Max, on the other hand, survives but is left in critical condition which means we get the pleasure of hearing him whine and groan for the next several minutes as Neil enters a comic relief sequence where he steals a drunk old man’s car.  The comic scene plays out like a when you try to fart in order to make someone laugh and then you realize it was a lot wetter than you anticipated and you’ve now shit yourself. It goes from funny to tragic in less than a second.  Yeah, it’s that kind of failure.

Gotta look good for those dead bodies I’m gonna be digging up this mid-afternoon!

So, Neil heads off to the local cemetery with his newly dead band mate to lay low for a little bit, and maybe catch a few well-deserved Zzz’s. But guess who happens to be there… SURPRISE! SURPRISE! It’s Carrie! Who has come to the cemetery after an extensively gratuitous make-up sequence, which is obviously just an excuse for the filmmakers to showcase her supernaturally giant knockers, in order to gather some fresh stiffs to fuck.  As luck would have it this star-crossed love triangle crosses paths and Carrie introduces herself to the hot and cold duo, Neil and Max, and the rest is history. She offers Neil a place to hide and stash Max’s body for a bit until he sorts things out.  I mean, it’s mighty neighborly of Carrie but the fact that Neil isn’t immediately weirded out is a little sad to me. But, again, this guy doesn’t seem to be firing on all cylinders so I guess we can just use that as his excuse.

That a dead guy in your bucket seat or are you just happy to see me?

As soon as Carrie and Neil get to her place and they drop off Max’s body in her bathtub, Neil gets on the horn and contacts his connection, Miss Miles, who set the plan for this whole half-baked heist motion and promised cold, hard cash if they brought her the ice.  Course, now that there’s a dead cop in the mix and Captain Bumblefuck is on the FBI’s shit list this ice is now “too hot”, so the situation’s changed a bit. Neil heads out on foot and runs afoul of some very angry police officers looking for his “cop killing ass”. He is held at gunpoint by one officer in civilian garb whose face spastically alters moment to moment like some kind of rodent on speed. The mustache is the icing on his ballistic cake.

This officer’s most dignified facial expression.

However, Neil gets the drop on the two cops by using his patented “Flying Rat” method! As the popo flings Neil into a pile of garbage he retaliates by grabbing some poor, bystander rat and slings the littler dumpster diver at one of the cops! Eat Temptleton, pigs!!  And this… works?  In terror, the cop discharges his weapon which, luckily, finds purchase right between the eyes of his fellow law enforcement pal. Neil quickly draws his weapon firing several slugs into the gutty works of rodent boy who drops to the piss soaked asphalt and fades into B-movie heaven. Good night, sweet prince!  You know, for being so unlucky Neil sure is lucky…Wait a minute…

It’s hard out here for a punk.

While Neil is off getting his face bashed in and throwing rats all over the joint, Carrie is back at her abode fucking the living daylights…er, what’s left of the daylights, out of dear, departed, Max. She undresses his body in the shower and gets to work grabbing his pale arms and caressing herself with them and puppeting his fingers to pinch her nipples. If you ask me, this just seems like some really labor-intensive masturbation. I mean, really, for all the effort of moving the fucking corpse appendages and waiting for rigor mortis to settle in the damn thing’s sausage link you could be done already by just using YOUR OWN APPENDAGES to get this shit done. But, what do I know, I’ve only dabbled in necrophilia. I’m sure once it’s blossomed from experimentation to a serious, full blown addiction, your own touch just doesn’t cut it, anymore. No matter how much ice cold water you soak them in beforehand, the vag just ain’t buyin it.

Necrophilia: Not as easy as it looks.

Anyhoo, after the marathon cold-cut fuck session, Carrie decides to put that almost-cosmetology license to good use and treats Max’s corpse to mohawk makeover. All of a sudden, a bruised-up Neil busts in and is soon unnerved by his lady harborer’s glee that,”He’s starting to stiffen up! All the really good parts! *tee-HEE*” After a brief, one-sided discussion on Neil’s part explaining just how fucked his situation is and how events have “snowballed” he goes off to the crusty living room couch to crash. Carrie, on the other hand, takes the Maxcadaver to bed with her and discusses her family history with him while smoking Pall Malls, then deciding it’s time for another lengthy deep dicking of the dead.  Well, damn.  I guess it DOES pay to just sit and listen. Neil tries to drown out the disturbingly loud & squishy goth girl necrophiliac noises with couch cushions, firmly deciding,”When I die, I better be fucking cremated!” Because, yeah, heaven for-fucking-bid some gorgeously breasted babe makes use of your body once you’ve departed. I mean, what the hell do you care? Like you’re really doing anything better with it!

Something for the ladies! And the smokers!

The next morning Neil wakes up to find Carrie moving Max’s body out of the apartment. Ummmm… Seems she has other plans for his rotting flesh. It goes without saying, Neil has a bit of an issue with this seeing as in his buddy’s cold, punctured gut sits that gigantic rock that’s the difference between living life on the lam, soaking up some sun in Kokomo or life on the lam bunking in a nicotine stained, musty apartment with a corpse fucker. They get into a bit of a tussle in which Neil seems to have the upper hand after delivering a very slow kung-fu kick to Carrie’s mid-section sending her flipping up and over her Goodwill, filth encrusted love seat.  Oh, and manages to flash us all her whole fruit basket in the process! But the tables turn as Carrie grabs a nearby fuck-skull and smashes it over  Neil’s head. Before he goes unconscious Carrie forbiddingly quips,”I’m sure when you come to you’ll see things my way. You’ll have no choice! *MANIACAL LAUGH*.” Kinda makes you think he’s going to wake up trapped in a coffin being buried alive, but instead, he just wakes up in the apartment, but Carrie’s left with his pal’s body. He’s not tied up or anything, sooooo, yeah. Neil just leaves.

NEIL DOWN BEFORE CARRIE!

Where did Carrie take Max’s remains, you ask? Well, she spiked up his mohawk and took the guy over to the abode of a flamboyant fellow named Blake. You know, the kind of guy who wears puffy armed shirts and capes. He’s in the market for a dead guy to fuck because he has AIDS (!) and wants to have a partner he can ride bareback. Nice to see people play it safe, I guess. Seems he’s purchased cadavers from Carrie before, but never one this fresh. Lucky dog Blake and corpse-pushing Carrie haggle over the price a bit before agreeing on a deal and Blake gets to town riding his new, well broken in, dead fuck mate. But that’s not all! He throws in some more cash for Carrie and hands her what looks like a trash bag to wear with a holes cut into it so her tits hang out of it and then hands her a whip so she can go all Roots on him whilst he rides Max’s Hershey Highway to Hell. I’m sure this was meant to be disturbing but I cannot help but laugh at Gorotica’s grandiose attempt at being provocative and deeply disturbing. Sorry, gang, but this shit is comedic gold.

Joe Don Baker and Edward Norton share a tender moment.

Somehow, nitwit Neil is able to track Blake’s place down (…?), and with gun drawn he barges through the door and claims the body of Max in name of Asshole. What follows is an action-packed finale where Carrie busts out her Indi Jones moves and disarms Neil with a crack of her whip! Neil stabs Blake to death getting the guy’s blood all in his mouth, eyes, and up his nose in the process thereby, in all likelihood, ensuring that he’s contracted HIV/AIDS. Carrie, who can see the bright side of everything, points at the guy, explains his now very topical 90’s doomed dileama, and laughs her ass off. You gotta admit, it is pretty funny. Neil doesn’t quite see the humor in it and blows Carrie away. He FINALLY cuts Max’s stomach open and locates the hidden diamond within. Hastily giving the diamond an unnecessary tongue bath (ew), Neil heads to some seedy motel where he shaves his head into a Travis Bickle style mohawk, douses himself with gasoline and booze, and waits for Miss Miles splayed naked in bed. Miss Miles shows up, gets an eye full, comments on the strong smell of GASOLINE in the motel room and still, as Neil sits on the edge of his bed and put a cigarette to his lips, gives him a light upon request thereby sealing both their fates. Or so I assume as whatever happens after she flicks the Bic happens off camera.

And so ends, Hugh Gallagher’s  bizarre, unintentionally comical, mildly boner inducing, low budget horror cult sophomore effort, “Gorotica”!

Immolating oneself is sooooo erotic! Excuse me, Gorotic. A. Gorotica. 😉

I’ve heard the hand full of fans of this series call Gorotica a huge disappointment after Gorgasm because this follow up doesn’t feature any of the gore the title promises. Personally, I’m really okay with this because Gorotica is a far better movie, if you ask me. The acting’s better, the streamlined, MILDLY believable story doesn’t just kind of make sense, it’s actually relatively coherent!  Sure, there’s not much gore in this second entry in the trilogy, but that’s a moot point when you have such goofy story that hunkers down and takes a little bit of time to tell it’s terribly trashy tale. It’s not a good movie, at all, but it feels like Gallagher has grown a little bit as a video maker. Not a whole lot, I mean, the man’s no Scorsese, but he doesn’t over reach. It’s a small scale story that can be handled on the cheap and doesn’t have an over reliance of effects the man has never been able to pay t have pulled of at all effectively.

The performances are uniformly bad, but you know what, they’re a damn sight better than the performances in “Gorgasm.” Gutterman makes an outstanding corpse, to be honest, rivaling Kim Basinger in tom Petty’s Last Dance with Mary Jane video. In my opinion,  the glue that holds this thing together? Ghetty Chasun as Carrie. She may not be a great actress, but she has plenty of charisma, is always game for whatever is thrown her way in the film, doesn’t mind showing off her goods and is pretty easy on the eyes, which you can’t really say about the lead in “Gore Whore”, Gallagher’s final installment in the Gore Trilogy. It’s always fun watching Ghetty Chasun on screen, whether it’s mingling with an AIDS infected necrophiliac wearing a cape or putting out her cigarette in an ashtray balanced on a naked dead guy’s chest, I just can’t keep my eyes off of her.

Desperately Seeking Ghetty. We miss you!

What the Hell ever happened to Ms. Chasun, anyway? She did a handful of flicks in the 90’s and then just kind of vanished off the face of the earth. IMDB lists her birth date, her measurements,  (36C-29-38 according to the experts) and that she’s a Capricorn. If anyone has any information as to how Ghetty’s doing or if she’d be interested in doing an interview, drop your pal The Primal Root a line, will ya?

Gorotica is a more mature and more refined offering from Gallagher (which isn’t saying much) and if you can get past the fact that there simply isn’t that much GORE in GORotica, this flick’s actually a pretty fun piece of stinky Trash Cinema. And in this Trash Cinema Connoisseur’s eyes, Gorotica is the strongest flick in the Trilogy. But, it could just be my unhealthy crush on Ms. Chasun talking…

Stay Trashy!

-Root


05
May
12

Carnosaur (93): Handpuppets from Hell

a Primal Root review

“It’s heading this way!” – Smith, Carnosaur

If there is one thing we’ve learned from good ol’ Roger Corman is that you sure as Hell don’t need the same budget as the big boys to beat them at their own game and rake in a little money for yourself. Case in point, Carnosaur, a low budget dino-chicken on the loose tale made strictly to make money off the then upcoming Speilberg project some of you may have heard of  “Jurassic Park”.  In fact, Carnosaur was released merely two weeks before the Jurassic Park showed up on the scene to break all kinds of box office records and usher in a new era of innovation in special effects.  Therefore, Carnosaur did exactly what it was designed to do and scraped up some profit by riding the coat tails of the oncoming giant and undoubtedly falls into the Mockbuster sub-genre.

That being said, there are few similarities between Carnosaur and Jurassic Park. In all actuality Carnosaur is one bizarrely unique horror film, at least in concept. The story proper involved an evil geneticist,  Dr. Jane Tiptree (played by Diane Ladd, of all people), who has hatched an idea to destroy humanity by bringing dinosaurs back onto the playing field through genetically altered chickens. I shit you not, these dinosaurs are born of omelets as these poor hens grow gigantic dinosaur eggs within them and explode in a gush of blood rather than actually laying the damn things. One by one these clucking little guys rip and pop open to reveal the dino-egg prize within.  Poor chickens, that’s pretty fucking rough no matter what animal you are. Save a leg for me!

Anyhoo, these dinosaurs begin raising Hell all over the American south west as they attack just about every human being in sight, and in some cases, teleporting to do so. These dinosaurs get around, man. From a pick -up truck full horny teens to some Native American fellow who is introduced just long enough to have his lower intestine yanked out of him and slurped down by a couple Carnosaurs as if this was Hershel Gordon Lewis’s personal version of Disney’s Lady and the Tramp.  One has to wonder if these damn things ever get full because they devour just about any and everything their gaze happens to fall upon.

but the dino-chicks aren’t the true plan, only a red herring. See, Tiptree has created a type of virus that will steadily kill us all and prompt the female of our species to ACTUALLY CONCEIVE THE DINOS and then GIVE GRAPHIC, BLOODY, PAINFUL BIRTH to the little jerks! Thing Alien or Humanoids from the Deep if you want something to compare it to. It’s nasty, it’s mean and it’s pretty damn messy.

All that stands in Dr. Tiptrees way is a drunk asshole and an environmental activist who must aside their differences to fight the good fight against dinosaur baby birthing and basic disemboweling by dinosaur in general.  The pacifistic idealistic Ann, aka: Thrush, becomes an trigger happy dino killer once her Eco-concerned gang chains themselves to some bulldozers in protest of…um, stuff that hurts the environment and end up getting chewed into hash by a rampaging, munch happy, dinosaur in a harrowing sequence. Did I say harrowing? I meant hilarious. The cheese factor is through the roof on this one and my favorite moment of this massacre has got to be when one young lady ends up getting her leg taken off by an adorable little dinosaur. She screams, kicks and fights but once her leg is gone and she begins to spew geysers of blood from her fresh leg stump she seems kind of okay with it. No longer screaming or reacting at all, really, she just sits and seemingly contemplates, calmly, the fate of her appendage.

Now, the resident alcoholic named Smith, his motivations are a little less clear. He is somehow tied to the evil corporation responsible for these dinosaurs and the killer dino-preggo virus, but his official position from what I can gather is “Passed Out Drunk In Mobile Home”.  Now, he could be some kind of guard or something who watches over all the equipment right outside his door, but if that’s the case, the man is a pretty big fuck up allowing protestors to chain themselves to the equipment and then going out to dinner while said protestors become dino chow. Why he begins a campaign to infiltrate the evil corporation and put a stop to their shenanigans is vague. Either the small lake of blood that used to be his front door has given him a new found respect for human life or he is now in the throws of the nookie monster as he has overcome his whiskey dick thanks to the blonde, militant and cute as a button environmentalist,  Ann aka: Thrush.

There’s no telling, but the film reaches it’s awesome climax as the government shows up to neutralize the situation by killing every single living thing in sight and it is left up to Thrush and Smith to take down the big daddy Tyrannosaurus-Rex with by battling the creature with industrial load bearing equipment. Really, it’s the action packed climax Jurassic Park only wishes it had.

Carnosaur is not to be taken seriously by any means. In fact, the things a pretty ridiculous experience to sit through. From the opening credits informing us that chickens are being cross bred with vultures and iguanas (?) to the very first appearance of the gut bustingly funny appearance of the forced perspective hand puppet dinosaur and then the films laughably goofy final act, Carnosaur is the epitome of the guilty pleasure, bad movie night viewing experience. The thing has one very strange concept going for it, some game actors and the thing sure as Hell doesn’t skimp on the gore or arterial spray. And a performance by the inimitable Clint howard, and you have yourself on Hell of a Grade-A ticket to B-Movie paradise!

Bottom Line, Jurassic Park might be considered a modern day classic. Even a milestone in contemporary cinema tic history.  Carnosaur, in my humble opinion, is it’s own milestone. Few horror movies have captured the horror of being eaten by a dinosaur and the prospect of child birth and combined the two so well! Name another film that taps into this uncharted nightmare terrain! Sure, the film is silly as all get out, has sock puppet dinosaurs that are far more adorable than they are menacing, and our heroes are all rather unlikeable, but at the end of the day, Carnosaur is pretty dang entertaining for a total piece of cash-in schlock.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

08
Apr
12

Castle Freak: Inherit Madness

a Primal Root review

Inheriting a castle in Italy has to be pretty dang cool. Finding out you’re descended from royalty? That’s the icing on top of the hoity-toity cake to which so many aspire. Yeah, it all seems great on paper until you take your horrendously dysfunctional family there to assess the situation and sell that hunk of junk off to the highest bidder.  It’s drafty, dull, dusty and, making matters worse,  your wife hates your guts no matter where you take her and the one surviving kid is still blind and your single digit son is still pavement pizza due to your dumb, alcoholic ass driving the family mini…vehicle over a small hill and flipping the vehicle at 25 MPH.  Or 85 MPH in sped up film time…

And then, of course, there’s a horrifying, psychotic, mutilated freak chained up in the castle’s basement. Buyer beware.

TOUCHDOWN!

Castle freak is, at it’s very core, the story of a family dealing with a heart crushingly tragic incident where the family patriarch and reformed alcoholic, John Riley (played pitch perfectly by Gordon collaborator Jeffery Combs) managed to get completely shit-faced before picking up his teenage daughter and 5 year old son during a torrential down pour and then swerving off road resulting in the death of the son and blinding daughter,  Rebecca (played by a very game and sympathetic Jessica Dollarhide).  Of course, there are some resentment issues between John and his gorgeous wife, Susan (always reliable Barbara Crampton) who apparently lives to torture and be spiteful towards John every second of every single day therefore turning his life into a Hell on Earth of guilt, regret, and shame.

As you can tell, the story is already pretty dreadful before there’s even a freak for the family to contend with.

The Reilly’s  move into their new castle after the old woman who was living there died in her bed from a heart attack after beating the chained up freak in the basement within and inch of it’s life which looked to have been a long standing supper time tradition and Casa de le Freak.  This poor creature has obviously never known affection, love or humanity living a life of agony chained up and naked down in the dank bowels of The Reilly castle. Much like John Reilly himself, who is living a life of pain due to his past mistakes and the fact his wife reminds him about it on a near minute by minute basis that he’s responsible for the death of their son.

Castle Freak is a far cry from the what we’ve come to expect from a Gordon, Combs, Crampton, collaboration. Typically fun,m over the top and colorful, Castle Freak is drastically different. Thee pacing takes it’s time, and the whole story is just gruelingly sad. This is not Re-Animator or From Beyond by a long shot. In fact, it’s a very dark and honest look at redemption, forgiveness and family as John must defend his family from what could be seen as his horrific doppelganger, his id or symbolizing the young Reilly boy whose memory they still cling to and is tearing the whole family apart.  There are no laughs to be found here and  no easy outs in Castle Freak.  This is straight ahead horror dealing with some pretty real issues. Only these real issues are set against the backdrop of an Italian castle with a freak looking to molest your cute little blind teenage daughter and frame you for the murder of a hooker and your housekeeper. For a freak, this guy is surprisingly crafty.

Castle Freak Foreplay: Not nearly as fun as you'd imagine.

One night, after Susan gives John a particularly vindictive verbal thrashing, John heads to a local watering hole where he quickly jumps off the wagon. And who can really blame the guy? He takes shot, after shot of some kind of counterfeit rot gut and ends up taking a whore back to his castle’s wine seller where he eagerly chows down on her bowl of “Down South” spaghetti.Again, you can totally understand his need to feel the touch and connection to another person.  Trouble is, he happens to be performing in front of a captive audience as the Castle Freak studies John’s moves like he’s preparing for the S.A.T.’s.  And you know castle freaks, they are more than happy to go after the sloppy seconds…

As our hooker goes to leave the castle, it’s resident freak abducts her, chains her up and has his way with her including a graphic nipple eating and a sickening reveal of the Freak’s genital region that’s sure to make your stomach churn. In fact, the film seems to focus quite liberally on the Freak’s disturbing genitals which, I suppose, does make some sense since that is kind of the Freak’s motivating factor. Looking for affection, someone to be close and have sex with.  Or, director Stuart Gordon could have simply just wanted to showcase a little something for the ladies. Soak it in, girls! Still, even though the Freak, in my estimation, is only looking for compassion, tenderness and a connection to another living creature, he can;t for the life of him understand how to give these things. Remember, this is a person whose entire life since birth has been spend locked away, abused and mutilated only ever understanding violence and pain.  How Freak goes about violently raping the hooker, yet mimicking what he witnessed John do to her, furthers this point. That violence begets violence.

Feel the Excitement!

But, I digress, at the threat of spoiling the whole sleazy, blood encrusted, drippy scrotum flopping affair, let’s just say Castle Freak is a one sad, violent, and effective story of redemption. The story of one man’s quest to find meaning and forgiveness in a world that refuses to see past his mistakes and misdeeds and see the man who is in need of compassion and just wants to feel human again. Now, am I talking about John or the Castle Freak of our title or both?

Stuart Gordon’s Castle Freak pulls off an impressive feat in capturing some very deep, dark, human situations and maintaining a fairly well paced and interesting story. As a viewer you grow to like most of the characters, and even the unlikable few are at the very least, you can understand where they’re coming from.  And for a film made in a creepy castle with a miniscule budget, Castle Freak works thanks to some spot on performances, creative shot compositions, great make-up/gore effects and also gains a lot of atmosphere from the genuine Italian castle where the action is set. Which just happens to be owned by the president of Full Moon Pictures.

Castle Freak isn’t exactly a fun, crowd pleasing movie experience but is still a fine piece of trash cinema. One that will certainly speak to anyone who has ever made a grievous mistake and feels they are destined to pay for it the rest of their lives.  Even if we can;t directly relate viewers will empathize and come to understand that there really are a number of fates that can feel worse than death. Only through love, forgiveness and understanding can we ever truly regain what makes us human.

And a good bit of reconstructive surgery and upper plate dental work in the case of The Castle Freak…

Love may be blind but she can still smell you, Freak.

Stay Trashy!

-Root




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