Simply Double Creepy Sunday Nite Surreal: Just Leave the Rotting Bodies in the Spare Room!

Both films have that right amount of reductive 70s horror enchantment….!

CRIMINALLY INSANE 1975

Alden in Criminally Insane 1975

Priscilla Alden is Crazy Fat Ethel…

Now let me say right here and now, that I do not advocate fat-phobic themes and story lines. I avoided watching this film for that very reason.

CapturFiles_1

“She’s 250 Pounds of Maniacal Fury” -tagline

But on one particular insomnia ridden night, I felt the urge to try and embrace a 70s horror trope for the sake of being well versed in my classic horror knowledge. I have to say that I was truly impressed by the simplistic and claustrophobic view with which I experienced Priscilla Alden’s performance. An unstable woman who is released from an institution after she is deemed ready to face society again. The film is directed fluidly by Nick ‘Philips’ Millard

The opening titles have such a purely creepy simplicity to it, it makes me think of Saul Bass doing a film school project. It sets up the moodiness and the isolation that is pervasive throughout the film.

CapturFiles

And what I took away from this very elementary vision of madness was this… This gem of a horror film is NOT about fear of fat girls, or conflating obesity with mental illness. What I got from the story was that Ethel Janowski is just a mentally ill woman, whose food represented her comfort, her freedom and her identity. And when the interfering people in her life, like her uptight Grandma Janowski (Jane Lambert) or slutty cocaine sniffing parasite of a sister stand between Ethel and her happiness or freedom… Watch out!!!! I won’t even say that Ethel is a likable anti-hero, she’s belligerent, self absorbed, anti-Semitic and homicidal!

CapturFiles_15

CapturFiles_16
One could say that the food is used as a prop to make Ethel appear more grotesque … Or it might be a commentary on how our culture of excess has unleashed a sort of madness

That’s about it. The idea is that people should be allowed to do what they want even if it’s perceived to be unhealthy for them. Let them eat 6 boxes of Nilla wafers and a gallon of milk. Don’t lock the kitchen cupboard or empty out the refrigerator, don’t be the delivery boy who insists that $4.50 isn’t gonna cover it,treat them like imbecile children nor a nosy neighbor be.

CapturFiles_10
“Did you know they tried to kill me… that goddam Jew doctor gave them orders not to give me enough to eat… two lousy boiled eggs and a piece of dried toast for breakfast… they were trying to save money and starve me while they were at it…”
CapturFiles_4
Grandma-“Dr Gerard just wants you to lose a little weight” Ethel- “Why what do I need to lose weight for?”

CapturFiles_6

CapturFiles_12

CapturFiles_11

CapturFiles_13

CapturFiles_14

I never saw Ethel as crazy because she was overweight. It’s everyone else in the film who identifies her illness as being connected with her being ‘fat. I see her as just another off-balanced damaged soul on that old rickety Ferris Wheel of life., who gets triggered by the people around her to go even more crazy when she feels threatened or out of control.

The mood is fabulous, I think of Don’t Look in The Basement the very stark and realistic tone of the plain environment, that still holds a sense of strange & lurking weirdness. Thanks to the cinematography by Karil Ostman and the sound by Ronald Gertz that works so well to conform to the queasy atmosphere and Ethel’s derangement.

THE CANNIBAL MAN 1973 or Week of the Killer

or (US dubbed release “The Apartment on the 13th Floor”-again misleading as all the murders take place in Marcos’ little historic house that keyholes the backdrop of modernity and the high rise apartments of the nouveau riche.

The Cannibal Man

Directed by Eloy De La Iglesia known for his interesting To Love, Perhaps to Die 1973  with Sue Lyon, Christopher Mitchum, and Jean Sorel.

Just a word of warning there is a very disturbing scene in the beginning that takes place in the slaughter house. Those of you as sensitive to animal cruelty or killings like myself would advise you to skip the first awful minute and get into the wonderful jazz score by Fernando G. Morcillo that leads you out of the charnel house and into the openness of the city.

First to clarify one thing about The Cannibal Man… the film has nothing to do with cannibalism, and it is unfortunate that such a moody psychological film should be anchored with a label that would give the wrong impression of the story. I am a fan of Spanish horror films, and I am actually adding this one to my list of favorites, having navigated around the title and sitting with the film on it’s own terms. A film about an alienated man, who is surrounded by a landscape of modernity taking over the quaint and a pervading sense of loneliness and futility. Marcos is a tragic figure in a very bloody play.

CapturFiles_4

Vincente Parra is perfect as the virile yet detached Marcos… a fascinating character. the archetypal outsider who stumbles into a whirlpool of trouble in a single moment of fate that makes him spiral into a fog of Sisyphusian madness, filled with a diss-associative savagery that lifts the film out of ordinary gore into art-house butchery.

Marcos works for the local slaughterhouse. One night while on a date looking for a taxi with his girlfriend they find a very nasty and violent cabby who kicks them out of his cab when he gets offended by the couple kissing in the back seat. Marcos argues with him and refuses to pay for the ride. The driver actually physically punches Marcos and then assaults Paula (Emma Cohen) In a fit of rage and legitimate self defense Marcos picks up a large rock and kills Goyo Lebrero the taxista.

CapturFiles

Marco manifests a strange neutrality around the situation. Back at Marco’s house Paula insists on going to the police and telling them what happened. Marco begs her to understand that the police won’t believe it was an accident. “Don’t you see Paula, if I go to the police they will never listen to someone as poor as I am…”

Marcos says that her parents will be furious that she’s been seeing him and he just can’t afford to get into trouble. But… she refuses to listen to him. She breaks it off with him, telling him that she won’t be made a fool of, and marriage shouldn’t be based on lies. You can see Marco begin to uncoil at that moment. “So I can go to the police… or I can go to hell right!”

CapturFiles_6

CapturFiles_10

CapturFiles_11
Marco places the dead Paula on his bed as if she is sleeping. An act of remorse and his growing confusion….

Marco kisses her as his hands crush the life from her throat, we see her struggle, a close up of her green eyes and Marcos with a somnambulist sense of self preservation, a killing machine that must operate to keep himself one step away from the horrible incident with the cab driver and the insanity that has been let out of his head.

What makes the film so eerie and realistic is this nightmarish cycle, this spiraling out of control pace where Marco must continue to remove all obstacles that threaten his sense of autonomy as an outlier in the world. Even from the beginning we get the sense that he is not as interested in marrying Paula as she is about marrying him.

Once his brother comes to the house, his brother’s fiancée looking for him and her inquisitive father show up, oh and the nice local waitress Rosa (Vicky Lagos) who has had her eyes on Marcos, he must continue to kill each one in order to protect his secret.

CapturFiles_12

CapturFiles_13

CapturFiles_15

CapturFiles_17
Marcos’ simple little house becoming the ‘killing field’ is more than a bit unsettling.

He begins posing the bodies in his sparse bedroom, using as much room freshener as he can, before the smell of death becomes too obvious. Yet on the outside he acts as if nothing has happened, or that there are several rotting bodies in his bedroom. He then takes them to the slaughter house piece by piece in his duffel bag.

The ordinary look of Marcos’ simplistic home, the bachelor setting, his wall of tools, no frills, no style or I should say money for such privileges is perhaps necessary for the very trappings of an under class worker in the early 1970s. There is an overt sense to the film about classist friction …

CapturFiles_16

CapturFiles_21
Marcos’ humble working class house….
CapturFiles_20
Néstor ‘s opulent apartment complex that towers over Marcos little home… the disparity between the classes is an obvious stresser and sub-text to the narrative…

Of particular interest is the relationship that develops between Marcos and the handsome bourgeois Néstor (Eusebio Poncela )who lives on the 13th floor of the high rise behind Marcos humble little cottage. Néstor’s interactions with Marcos allow him to be free of the fear and frenzy he is submerged in. There is an element of homosexual attraction for both men. It’s a poignant chemistry and adds a layer of realism in the midst of the bloody fugue of Marcos’ environment and identity. At one point Marco speaks of his bad memories… Néstor suggests that he should perhaps “bury them’ already. It leaves us wondering if the tranquil authoritative and voyeuristic fellow knows what the mysterious Marcos has been doing but is a silent admirer out of love.

CapturFiles_18

CapturFiles_19

CapturFiles_23

CapturFiles_22

Néstor perhaps speaks the most telling idea of the story when he tells Marco who warns him about the dangerous wild dogs that roam the area, while walking his Boxer who is in heat… “There’s no danger, a well fed dog is always stronger than the hungry ones”

This has been your everlovin’ MonsterGirl sayin’ in any case, never run out of air freshner!

MonsterGirl’s 13 Days of Halloween: Obscure Films Better Than Candy Corn! is back!

Double Exposure 1983

A photographer for a men’s magazine is disturbed by a recurring dream he has that he is killing his models by various gruesome means…Directed by William Byron Hillman and stars Michael Callan and Joanna Pettet.

Death Scream made for Tv (1975)

A young woman is stabbed to death in an alley. The crime is heard and seen by some of the residents of a nearby apartment building, but not one of them tried to help and now they refuse to get involved with the police during the investigation.

Based on actual events. Directed by Richard T.Heffron with a stellar cast, including: Raul Julia, John P Ryan, Edward Asner, Luci Arnez, Art Carney, Diahann Carroll, Kate Jackson, Cloris Leachman, Tina Louise, and Nancy Walker.

Neither The Sea Nor The Sand (1972) aka The Exorcism of Hugh

A troubled wife is having a mid life crisis. She meets a lighthouse-keeper and they become lovers. They run off to Scotland. While making love on a beach, the lighthouse keeper dies, and that’s where the true story begins. True love never dies, Hugh comes back from the dead, to Anna’s wanting arms, but he’s not quite the same, and he’s decomposing! Directed by Fred Burnley, and starring Susan Hampshire, Frank Finlay and Michael Petrovitch.

Anatomy of a psycho (1961)

The crazed brother of a condemned killer sent to the gas chamber swears vengeance on those he holds responsible for his brother’s execution. Directed by Boris Petroff, and starring Ronnie Burns, Pamela Lincoln and Darrell Howe.

36 Hours aka Terror Street (1953)

An American pilot AWOL from the states is framed for his wife’s murder and has just 36 hours to prove his innocence. Directed by Montgomery Tully, and starring Dan Duryea, Elsie Albin and Gudrun Ure.

Trauma 1962

Emmaline, who, as a teenager, discovered the drowned body of her aunt (Lynn Bari), returns to the family mansion as a married woman. Eventually, she falls for the caretaker’s nephew, and remembers who the real killer was. Directed by Robert M.Young, and starring Lynn Bari, John Conte, and Lorrie Richards.

The Exterminating Angel (1962)

The guests at an upper-class dinner party find themselves unable to leave. Everything starts to devolve as their pretenses fall away, and they start acting like desperate animals.

Directed by Luis Bunuel and starring Sylvia Pinal, Jacqueline Andere, Enrique Rambal, Claudio Brook,

Mirrors (1978)

A newlywed couple check into an old hotel, and soon the wife finds herself having hallucinations and wandering the halls aimlessly.. A voodoo priest has put a curse on Marianne and now wants to take her soul.

Directed by Noel Black and starring Kitty Winn and Peter Donat.

Madame Death 1969

A mad scientist teams with an evil, disfigured woman to kidnap and operate on young women to make her look beautiful again. Directed by Jaime Salvador starring John Carradine, Regine Torne and Elsa Cardenas. Great Mexican horror thriller!

Master of Horror 1965

A trilogy of the Edgar Allen Poe stories, “The Case Of Mr. Valdemar,” “The Cask Of Amontillado” and “The Tell-Tale Heart.” It starts with the house maid sitting down to read some stories on a stormy night. Directed by Enrique Carreras, with a screenplay by the great Narciso Ibáñez Serrador (The House That Screamed 1069)

Starring Narciso Ibanez Menta, Osvoldo Pacheco and Ines Moreno

THE BLOODSUCKER LEADS THE DANCE 1975

Directed by Alfredo Rizzo and starring the gorgeous Femi Benussi and Krista Nell, with Giacomo Rossi-Stuart

An obscure Gothic horror about a man who invites a theatrical troupe to his mansion, and of course the women start turning up dead.

QUINTET 1979

It is the future ice age, humanity is dying off.  So the survivors play a game called “Quintet” For one small group, this obsession is not enough; they play the game with living pieces … and only the winner survives. Robert Altman directed this sci-fi thriller, starring Paul Newman, Vittorio Gassman, Fernando Rey, Brigitte Fossey and Bibi Anderson.

Scream Baby Scream 1965

A psycho artist kidnaps models and slices up their faces to create his own grotesque form of art.

Directed by Joseph Adler, and starring Ross Harris, Eugenie Wingate, Chris Martell, Suzanne Stuart and Larry Swanson. Written by Larry Cohen!

The Third Secret 1964

A prominent London Psychologist seems to have taken his own life, causing stunned disbelief amongst his colleagues and patients. Directed by Charles Crichton and starring Stephen Boyd, Jack Hawkins, Richard Attenborough and Pamela Franklin.

The Strange One 1957

Ben Gazzara plays Jocko De Paris, a sociopathic cadet lead in a Southern military academy. He manipulates several of the people into various stages of duress, in particular a cadet that Jocko terrorizes into dating a girl from the town named Rosebud…hhm? Directed by Jack Garfein and also starring Pat Hingle, Peter Mark Richman, Paul Richards, and Julie Wilson as ‘Rosebud’

The Witch aka L Strega in Amore 1966

A historian goes to a castle library to translate some ancient erotic literature. While there he discovers what he believes to be supernatural forces at work. Directed by Damiano Damiani and starring Richard Johnson, Rosanna Schiaffino and Gian Maria Volonte.

The Snorkel 1958

Although the police have termed her mother’s death a suicide, a teenage girl believes her step-father murdered her. Directed by Guy Green and a screenplay by Jimmy Sangster. Starring Peter Van Eyck and Betta St. John.

viy 1967

This is a Russian horror/fantasy film about a young priest who is ordered to watch over the wake of witch in a small old wooden church of a remote village. He must spend three nights alone with the corpse with only his faith to protect him. Based on a story by Nikolai Gogol.

Bluebeard 1972

This is a 70s version of the infamous tale of Bluebeard. A World War I pilot Kurt Von Sepper (Richard Burton) whom everybody envies as a “ladykiller” actually is one – after he beds the women he’s after, he murders them. Directed by Edward Dmytryk, and starring Richard Burton, Raquel Welch, Verna Lisi, Natalie Delon, Agostina Belli, Sybil Danning and Joey Heatherton.

Criminally Insane 1975

An obese woman recently released from an insane asylum kills anyone who attempts to get her to stop eating. Director Nick Millard casts Priscilla Alden as Ethel Janowski who lives with her Grandmother, and doesn’t want anyone taking away her food!

HEX 1973 aka The Shrieking

The film takes place in rural Nebraska after WW1, six veterans head out together on their motorcycles and ride into the little town of Bingo. When one of them beats a local kid in a drag race, they are driven out of town.

They hide out at a farm house run by two sisters. One of them tries to rape one of the girls, who is part Native American, and now her sister wants revenge by casting a hex on them!

Directed by Leo Garen and starring Christina Raines, Hilary Thompson, Keith Carradine, Mike Combs, Scott Glenn, Gary Busey and Robert Walker Jr.

Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things 1971

Stanley and Paul are hiding out from the law, so they rent a house in the suburbs, and decide that Paul should dress in drag, pretending to be Stanley’s Aunt Martha. Stanley brings a girl home one night, and since Paul is crazy and violent, he murders her. Now, Aunt Martha is a dangerous woman to approach! Directed by Thomas Casey and starring Abe Zwick as Paul and Wayne Crawford as Stanley.

Necromancy 1972

Orson Welles plays Mr. Cato, the head of a witches’ coven in the town of Lilith, where he needs the powers of Pamela Franklin to raise his son from the dead. Directed by the fun Bert I. Gordon. Also starring Lee Purcell and Michael Ontkean

Old Dracula 1973

A faulty blood transfusion turns Dracula’s wife black. Directed by Clive Donner and starring David Niven, Teresa Graves, Peter Bayliss and Veronica Carlson.

Poor Pretty Eddie 1975

A wrong turn on a jazz singer’s road trip results in her car breaking down near an isolated lodge run by a faded starlet and a young, homicidal Elvis impersonator. Directed by Richard Robinson and David Worth, the film stars Leslie Uggams, Shelley Winters, Michael Christian, Ted Cassidy, Dub Taylor and Slim Pickens.

The Mafu Cage 1978

Two strange sisters played by Lee Grant and Carol Kane, live in a decaying mansion where they keep their father’s pet ape locked in a cage. One of the sisters is descending into violent madness.

Directed by Karen Arthur also starring Will Geer.

Scalpel aka False Face 1977

A psychopathic plastic surgeon transforms a young accident victim into the spitting image of his missing daughter. Directed by John Grissmer and starring Robert Lansing and Judith Chapman. An interesting thriller in the ‘surgical horror’ genre.

The Flower in His Mouth 1975

A female school teacher is implicated in a murder in a Sicilian town only hours after her arrival. The dead man insulted her on the bus on the way into town. Directed by Luigi Zampa and starring the beautiful Jennifer O’Neill, sexy Franco Nero, and James Mason.
“”””

The Terminal Man 1974

Hoping to cure his violent seizures, a man agrees to a series of experimental microcomputers inserted into his brain but inadvertently discovers that violence now triggers a pleasurable response his brain. Directed by Mike Hodges and starring George Segal, Joan Hackett and Richard Dysart.

The Woman Who Came Back 1940

After a bus accident, a woman comes to believe that she’s actually a 300-year-old witch. Stars John Loder, Nancy Kelly and Otto Kruger.

A Taste for Women 1964 Aimez-vous les femmes

Directed by Jean Leon, this French black comedy thriller Roman Polanski has written another dark kinky story about cannibalism. It stars Sophie Daumier and comes across as a piece of Film Noir.

Lorna -a film by Russ Meyer (1964)

Starring Lorna Maitland, who’s married to Jim (James Rucker)but isn’t satisfied sexually. While Jim’s at work in the salt mine, she is raped by an escaped convict.(Mark Bradley) Strangely she finds him fascinating, as he has brought out her lustful side. One of Meyer’s best films! The cinematography is so starkly beautiful.

Home Before Dark 1958

Director Mervyn LeRoy’s darkly psychological drama starring the incredible Jean Simmons as Charlotte a woman recovering from a nervous breakdown. Once she leaves the safe hospital environment, she must return home to face the same demons that were haunting her there from the beginning. Also stars Dan O’Herlihy, Rhonda Fleming, Efrem Zimbalist Jr.and Marjorie Bennett.

Monsieur Verdoux (1947)

A suave but cynical man supports his family by marrying and murdering rich women for their money, but the job has some occupational hazards. Directed and starring Charlie Chaplin, Mady Correll, Allison Roddan, Robert Lewis, Audrey Betz, Martha Raye, Ada May and Marjorie Bennett.

The Unseen aka Fear 1945

Directed by Lewis Allen and starring Joel McCrea, Gail Russell , Herbert Marshall and Norman Lloyd. A mysterious figure is viciously killing people in a shadowy alley. Russell plays a Governess haunted by mysterious goings on. Scripted by Raymond Chandler and Hagar Wilde. Gail Russell also played Stella in the wonderful ghost story directed by Allen, The Uninvited…

The Cat Creeps 1946

A black cat is suspected of being possessed by the spirit of a dead girl. Directed by Erie C. Kenton, starring Noah Beery Jr., Lois Collier, Fred Brady, Paul Kelly, Douglass Dumbrille and Rose Hobart…

-MonsterGirl