Posts Tagged ‘ladies

20
May
17

Death Spa aka: Witch Bitch (1989) Let Me See Your Body Drop

death spa cover

a Primal Root written review

“Alright, I’ll show you fried chicken, bitch!” – Michael, Death Spa

 

If you’re anything like me, and I know I am, the gym is a pretty uncomfortable place to spend time in. I’m not going to lie, I;m out of shape. I have the keg as opposed to the six pack, my complexion is of the fish belly white variety and I get winded walking up the stairs to the office building I currently work. The stink of sweaty bodies, the harsh judgment in the huddled masses eyes as my flab goes to bouncing on any given piece of exercise equipment designed to improve my cardiovascular function as I gasp for air and my face turns the shade of the ripest tomato in town. Honestly, this is possibly one of the finest setting for a horror films I could imagine. Plenty of scantly clad hard bodies and a few out of shape oddballs thrown into the awkward situation of having to deal with one another as they each spend exorbitant amounts of money to utilize dangerous equipment to try and make their bodies match the standards set by society so that they might be attractive by photoshopped celeb standards and, hence, more desirable and a far shallower level than someone who is sweet, kind intelligent and not so hung up on their own body image. Oh yes, there is plenty of creeping fear to be found in this scenario, no doubt.

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Enter DEATH SPA! A 1989 bargain basement horror film with all the earmarks of a film made right on the cusp of the 80’s and 90’s. The fashion trends of the 80’s are still there, but beginning to get much more neon, the focus on body beauty is strong and the health food, new age craze is about to explode like a bukakke tape all over the face of the consumer market.  Death Spa takes place within the space age (for the late 1980’s) confines of Star Bodies gym, a place that’s every bit as popular as Uncle’s Day at a whore house, but also exceedingly prone to hazardous, deadly, truly horrifying accidents. We are introduced to this establishment as a young, blonde. gorgeous, perfectly fit frolicking dancer decided to call it a night, disrobes, and hits the sauna. After some much appreciated full frontal nudity and gratuitous sweaty body self fondling, the steam becomes some form of poisonous gas and our nubile young fitness expert begins to suffocate of toxic chemical fumes. As she thrashes, and bounces her perky young body in panic around the sauna room, she manages to keep it together long enough to throw an epic kung-fu chop to the sauna’s small peeping tom window at the entrance door.

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We then cut to a woman on fire in a wheelchair , seriously, that is what we cut to after watching a nekkid young woman collapse to the floor with her boobs bouncing in slow motion. Turns out this is a retrospective nightmare of our main character and Star Bodies owner, Michael (William Bumiller), whose wife was crippled in child birth, lost the baby, went insane with jealousy and immolated herself to teach her husband a lesson…huh? Anyway, he is plagued every night by these horrible nightmares of her burning herself into “unrecognizable ashes.” However, when he wakes from this particular nightmare, he finds himself right in the middle of a living one, as it turns out the lovely nekkid blonde dancing babe who just survived a near fatal gassing was, in fact, his new fuck buddy, Laura (Brenda Bakke from Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight and Hot Shots part Deux). She’s not doing so hot and her eyes have been severely damaged resulting in temporary blindness and the necessity to keep them covered in gauze for the remainder of the film, which is a real shame, because Brenda Bakke has some DAMN lovely eyes. Man, what a waste… at least they didn’t skimp on her bodacious body exposure.

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Well, as you might have guessed, this leads the local authorities to the front door of Michael’s establishment and our suspects begin to organize in a single file line.  Leading the investigation are Sgt. Stone (Rosalind Cash from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai and The Omega Man), a no nonsense, dreadlock sporting badass and Lt. Fletcher (Francis X McCarthy of Altered States and Interstellar fame) as a man who never stops eating, make bizarrely insensitive, unfunny quips and looks like his heart is fixing to explode any second. These two add a constant police procedural subplot that is one of the few subplots not dropped or forgotten along Death spa’s running time. On their initial investigation the find out that the entire gym is run by a highly sophisticated super computer designed and controlled by David, Michael’s ex-brother in law and his dead wife’s twin brother ( David is played by the late Merrit Butrick who tragically died of health complications due to AIDS and is the one shining performance in the whole film. He’s probably best remembered for his role in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.) David has a deep loathing for Michael, but they still have to work together, which makes every moment between them exceedingly awkward and, dare I say, fun?

We are also introduced to our gym rats, several folks in skin tight leotards showing of their tits, asses, and packages while they sweat out their butt cracks. One of these gym rats is Marvin, played by the legendary Ken Foree from Dawn of the Dead (1978) and From Beyond. He is basically Michael’s right hand man and security for Star Bodies. First time I watched this flick I assumed he was the killer, but he is so under utilized and hardly seen in the film for most of the story, that hope pretty much faded away. Really. the poor guy’s screen time is maybe 5 minutes. Really, who besides Rob Zombie would cast this guy an make him a mere cameo? Anyhoo, before the cops leave there is another accident in the gym, this time a diving board collapses into the pool plummeting the diver into the water below…and uh, yeah, that’s it. Pretty insidious, huh? The diver is unscathed and everyone walks away fine and the diver, a bit moister, which she was planning on getting anyway.

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Michael picks up the now blind Laura from the hospital and after a surreal candle lit dinner and sexy food feeding segment, asks her to move into his enormous condo which has very few railings for a late 80’s house with several high areas where one who, say, cannot see could simply walk off of them and end up obliterating their spine…Of course she says yes.

Death Sparigus

But back at Star Bodies, we are treated to an extended shower scene were a half dozen nekkid ladies treat us to the lathered up fully nude forms before the shower tiles begin flying off the walls and cutting their pretty faces! Not only that, but someone cranks up a fog machine full blast, obscuring our view of their goods, as they begin screaming as if it;s the second coming of Christ, and do that weird slow run out of the shower, like they don;t really want to go, but their noses are getting hacked off, so they might as well.  The cops and Michael start pointing fingers and Dave and the super computer, but Dave throws out the apt point that the computer doesn’t control the fucking shower tiles, and the argument falls flat as Michael, who has a handicapped girlfriends waiting for him as home, invites two of the traumatized yet horny hot shower massacre victims to come fuck him later to make up for the incident. Michael, what a guy!

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And just as this occurs, another gym rat gets his rib cage ripped open by a weightlifting machine that malfunctions and a girl in the locker room gets impaled by a pipe and stashed in a locker…and in the course of the film is never ever found. Even the cops mention later that this young woman has been missing for two days. In fact, the last time we ever see her is when the blind Laura is gathering her items from the locker the young ladies’ corpse  is stashed in, but Laura, you know, doesn’t see her. It’s honestly one of the better scenes in the movie and lasts all of 5 seconds as Laura reaches around the body getting her birth control and buttplugs out the locker as we wait for her to grab a hand full of cold bloody cadaver flesh, but it never occurs. Bummer.

Michael is convinced there is something supernatural afoot and hires a paranormal investigator who ends up trying to shoot the ghost only to have his hand exploded and get tossed around the room till dead. This all culminates with a Mardi Gras party at Star Bodies as women are being melted with acid in the basement, yet omitting no odor, and pools or recently crushed to death clients are still being mopped up at the food station. You really get a sense of a broken community of fitness enthusiasts as they all gather, get drunk and party down while fucking like jack rabbits in the sauna room. Hey, like they say, grieve in the way that makes you feel good.

Death Spa 1

Before long, the killer is revealed, the horrifying and laughable incidents reach their fever pitch as people get their hands stuck in blends, people suddenly have wooden chunks hanging out of their heads with no explanation as to how they got there as a topless woman screams at the implication of this, and this might be the one film I’ve seen where flying zombie fish attack someone sending geysers of crimson spraying across the walk in freezer. It’s truly spectacular.

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Michael decides the only way to kill the vengeful, possessing spirit of his undead wife is to…electrify himself after telling her he will show her fried chicken? He starts shaking and spiting and the ghost which is highly flammable (who knew?) begins burning as she unloads her murderous ghostly powers to lock everyone in the party and send them to Hell one by one.  Michael, may I remind you, is a mortal man and walks away from his deadly electrocution TOTALLY unharmed while the ghost of his dead wife burns…back to death? In the computer room up stairs. Our “heroes” make their way out of the gym while all the other extras trample one another and burn to death. The movie ends, hysterically, with the burned into a bloody, gooey skeleton of Catherine, Michael’s jealous, vengeful ghost ex-wife (Shari Shattuck of The Naked Cage fame) as it vows even further revenge on Michael, his current fuck buddy AND his mother fucking gym! All before gagging on her own drippy insides and her eyes explodes like a giant zit. FREEZE FRAME! ROLL THOSE CREDITS!

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Gang, I am here to tell you my descriptions of the content of Death Spa do not get anywhere close to doing this hunk of Grade A Trash the justice it deserves.  With it’s over the top, outrageous gore effects, lack of respect of it’s characters, actors and audience’s intelligence, Death spa makes with the goods, spewing fourth some gratuitous, mean spirited gore, some extended gratuitous nudity, and there is plenty to go round! It;s basically the all you can eat buffet of trash cinema exploitation all wrapped up in one poorly written, awkwardly executed and endlessly entertaining supernatural splatterfest.

Plenty of Blood, Breast and Beasts! Death Spa is a nasty little piece of dreck sure to liven up any Trash Cinema Night you and yours plan to have. The Primal Root says check it out!

I award Death Spa FIVE out of FIVE Dumpster Nuggets! Only for true Trash Cinema Aficionados.

Stay Trashy!

-Root

 

 

 

 

28
Aug
14

Killer Party (1986) or I myself prefer a big, fat, cucumber

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a Primal Root written review

Among the most everlasting and endlessly interesting paradoxes of the horror slasher genre are those rare films that charm your cinematic pants off with their absurdity, their unabashed disregard for the established genre rules and conventions and being totally different from anything else you’ve ever thrown down to watch on a Trash Movie Saturday with The Gang. I’ve always found such films to be thoroughly engrossing simply because I don’t have the slightest idea of what to expect, we’re in the hands of an original thinker, one who says “fuck you,” to the old horror genre guards, “we’re going to tell this story my way!” It’s a bold, strange tactic for approaching a horror sub genre and often delivers something unlike we’ve ever seen.  Unfortunately, this approach often plays poorly with the genre die hards, and are typically rejected for being “too weird” and are relegated to the ever growing pile of forgotten and neglected horror oddities.

Enter Canadian made slasher horror lost nugget of pure gold, “Killer Party,” Directed by “Funeral Home” helmer,  William Fruet, and written by Barney Cohen, the visionary who wrote 1984’s perennial fan favorite, “Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter”, “Killer Party” is one of the most off beat offerings of the entire slasher era. To describe it would be a disservice, as the film actually contains some fun moments where the rug ends up being pulled out from underneath the audience, leaving us in a form of exhilarated bafflement as to what the Hell movie we’re actually watching…or resentment and annoyance, if you’re looking for another Friday the 13th clone.  Obviously, these two creative minds knew the well treaded rules of the genre and it’s apparent they had a blast fucking with everything audiences had come to expect from their dead teenager opus.

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The main story of “Killer Party” centers on three high school best friends who are starting out on their freshman year of college and are pledging to the same sorority together.  Phoebe (Elaine Wilkes, playing the excited optimist), Vivia (Sherry Willis-Burch, playing the adorable nerd with a penchant for awesome pranks and excellent special effects), and Jennifer (Joanna Johnson, playing the quiet, shy, somewhat repressed young lady). As luck would have it, their hazing ritual will be taking place in an abandoned Frat house that’s been left to rot since a freshman was decapitated by guillotine when an initiation ritual went murderously haywire. Of course, someone on campus has their nuts twisted in a knot over this, as evidenced by the house mother getting her brains bashed in with an oar and smeared all over the steps of this old, sagging, frat house.

The hazing itself, with a ritual highlight being the girls having raw eggs dumped into their mouths and then spitting the aborted baby chicken goo they catch into sundae glasses, but the fun and games come to an end when shit starts getting all poltergeist. Noises are heard, glasses fling themselves off tables and shatter across the floor, and someone puts a light on a dimmer and turns on a fog machine from the other side of the door down to the basement. Vivia goes to investigate on her own as the other Sorority Girls hold each other and cry. Once the ladies gather up enough courage to check on Vivia, they witness her fastened to a guillotine, where her head is unceremoniously, but efficiently, lopped off and sent rolling down the stairs.

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Turns out this was all a hand crafter prank by the creative, resourceful and immanently lovable Vivia, who not only managed to scare the living shit out of every woman in the house, but also secure herself and her two best friends, spots at the sorority house of their dreams, which seems to be filled with judgmental uber bitches and I can;t for the life of me figure out WHY they want to be a part of this sisterhood so badly. Never the less, the following evening the Sorority sisters will be throwing a celebratory April Fool’s Day party at the abandoned frat house and will be inviting the boys from their fraternity that likes to prank them by unleashing jars full of angry bees upon them while they’re nekkid in the sorority hot tub.  Now that’s fun!

Several university staff members investigate the frat house on their own and go missing on account of their brutal murders, but thankfully for us, no one notices these folks have vanished into oblivion without a trace and the party can commence. The only person who senses that there might be some spooky shit going on in the crusty, dank, frat house is the lovely,  quiet, Jennifer, who gets the oogie-boogies every time she steps foot into that roach motel. Once the festoonery is displayed, the kegs are tapped, and the costumed revelers arrive, things start getting just a little bizarre. Supernatural shenanigans start going down, subtle at first, but then more apparent, pranks are had, but what are pranks and what are vengeance fueled demonic paranormal phenomena?  As an audience, you’re never quite totally sure what the fuck is going on, even when somebody starts trudging around the house in a turn of the century scuba harness and begins spearing folks with a trident. Is this for real, or some sick and twisted joke? By the end of “Killer Party,” all is made clear, and it might be a bit more disturbing than you expect.

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Coming out in the same year as “JASON LIVES!: Friday the 13th Part VI,” Tobe Hooper’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre part 2”, and the year after  Dan O’ Bannon’s “Return of the Living Dead,”  it was apparent that the genre had begun having fun with itself, it’s fans and the conventions of the genre they had created in the late 70’s and early 80’s. By the mid 80’s, there had been so many fucking slasher films that the formula was  practically etched in stone. It seems many filmmakers decided one of the best ways to go about eschewing these predictable traditions was to turn those rules on their heads and have fun with what folks were expecting. In a way, those films became final salutes, the last gasping breathes of a cinematic genre that had all but run it’s course and are now hailed as some of the most beloved cult favorites from that time period.  “Killer Party” is another entry in this select group of offerings from the mid 80’s.

What sets “Killer Party” apart from these other offerings is that our lead protagonists, Vivia, Jennifer and Phoebe are incredibly likable characters. They’re not your run of the mill sex pot, teen dream, centerfold, slasher standbys, in fact, the three girls straight up dorks. All three look and are played as your “girl next door” type, they don’t dress for sex appeal, they dress for warmth and comfort (this thing was filmed in Canada, after all). Not only that, but they are intelligent, headstrong and ridiculously funny, never taking themselves too seriously. If I am being honest, I’d rather hang out with these three ladies than anyone in any other slasher franchise. Seriously, they’re that appealing.  And I gotta give credit to Joanna Johnson’s performance, especially in the last fifteen or twenty minutes of the film. That woman goes for broke and it’s pretty goddamn outstanding. My jaw drops to my popcorn littered floor every time I watch her transformation at the end of this thing.

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“Killer Party” doesn’t redefine the genre, or anything and it’s lacking in the gore department and the TnA quotient is pretty low.  Hell, it’s not even all that great of a movie, but what it IS, is a very fun and unpredictable piece of Trash Cinema. Filled with bizarre funeral home mishaps, nekkid young women being chased by furious swarms of killer bees, and impromptu rock and roll zombie dance parties taking place at one of the coolest god damn drive-in’s I’ve ever seen, “Killer Party” is a rare, wonderful oddity. The kind you used to see on the video rental store shelf and take a gamble on. Killer Party never ever makes the mistake of taking itself too seriously, which may rub many hardcore slasher film fans the wrong way. But for the rest of us willing, able and hungry for something refreshingly bizarre and unique, this is a party worth crashing, Gang.

I’m giving this sucker THREE AND A HALF Dumpster Nuggets

Stay Trashy!

-Root




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