Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Uya: A Beast Like No Other, by Ron Shaw

Nightfall...when all the horrors begin to stir. Horror fans know the score.  Behind the tree line, it watches and waits.  Perhaps you sense it is there.  It senses that you sense it, so it is careful as it plots. Perhaps it waits hours, maybe days...or weeks...but now its ready.  It strikes with confidence and viciousness.  The thirst and hunger will be satisfied and blood will be drained...a lot of blood.  Hence Uya: A Beast Like No Other by my good friend Ron Shaw.  What lies in the woods?  Wrong question.  The right question will horrify you and change the way you think.  Everything about this Ron Shaw work is terrifying...no fluff in this short story.
Cover art by Greg Palko
It has been feeding off small farm animals for a few years now.  A local Cherokee tracker is mystified and attributes certain god-like attributes to this elusive fiend.  Cause for concern?  After all chickens, some baby goats, and other similar creatures seem to be the victims.  These unfortunate animals weren't just dragged away and eaten...that would be too easy.  In a Ron Shaw horror story, horror compounds the horror. These animal victims are sucked of all their blood, other bodily fluids, and bone marrow.  The Chupacabra?  Perhaps...but does that thing really exist?
The Chupacabra photographed by Chris Zisi
The cops are involved, and they are good cops.  A local deputy joins up with a Captain at The Tennessee State Police.  The fiend is stalking the remote woods at the Georgia-Tennessee border. I promised the author I would stop short of spoilers.  I will say that you readers waiting for the Mexican goat sucker, or UFOs, or vampire bats...well...I'll just say that those theories are so minor league compared to what awaits you as Uya unfolds. I will say that this Uya (...as the Cherokees call it) does not stop at chickens and roosters. I will also say that true horror does not stop at the toothy monster hiding in the dark.
Uya is a monster tale, but a monster tale on steroids. As Ron Shaw tells this story, the cops put a puzzle together and you think you are figuring out where this is going.  However horrific (there's that word again) the destination is...and however blood-curdling the monster may be...you will not be prepared for the ultimate theme of Uya: A Beast Like No Other.
To find Uya on Amazon, click this link Uya by Ron Shaw
For more information on Greg Palko's art, click here Greg Palko Designs

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Psycho Cop, You Have the Right to Die

Community Oriented Policing (COP) took flight in the 1990s. COP was due to be the savior of inner city neighborhoods beset by violent drug gangs. Its success? Debatable at best. Still around today, COP is largely a tool for local police departments to drain money from the U.S Treasury to start basketball leagues, move officers into grimy apartment buildings, and visit elementary schools. As a 25 year veteran of federal law enforcement, I can tell you any criticism of COP would fall on deaf and hostile ears as it has become a cash cow for local municipalities.. One may argue that COP is an improvement from Satanic Oriented Policing, which brings us to 1989's "Psycho Cop."
Psycho cop sacrifices a babe
Satanist/serial killer Joe Vickers (Robert R. Shafer) manages to pass a background check and become a police officer. As the film begins he has just sacrificed some babe (Julia Araskog) to the Prince of Darkness as a bickering, but good looking couple (David L. Zeisler and Denise Hartman) happen upon the scene. Witnesses are so inconvenient so Vickers murders them too. Enter three great looking couples on their way to an isolated but luxurious vacation home.  The couples seek to drink a lot of beer and have plenty of sex. Vickers follows them. Laura (Palmer Lee Todd) is the smartest of the sextet and she is suspicious of everything...unfortunately no one ever listens to her. The sultry Julie (Cindy Guyer) however, is adept at getting all her buddies to drop everything and look for her hairbrush.
Psycho cop swings an angry ax
The big menacing cop begins terrorizing these very shallow idiots who obsess about some caretaker who is only in the film for thirty seconds...don't ask.  The women look great sunbathing at the pool and spend most of the film either in swimsuits, looking for more beer, or looking for a hairbrush.  The guys spend their time trying to have sex with these ladies, looking for more beer, or looking for the aforementioned caretaker. Enter Joe the satanic cop...he begins picking them off one by one. He'll shove his billy club down some guy's throat, run his cruiser over one, and electrocute another guy. The deaths of the ladies will be just as good.  Oh yes...not to be outdone...Joe the satanist also continuously steals the sextet's beer...Fiend!
The unfortunate Julie
Will any of the hunks or babes survive this satanic arm of the law?  Will Julie's quest for her hairbrush spell doom for more than just her? As federal assistance dries up for the states, will Satanic Oriented Policing replace Community Oriented Policing?  Directed by Wallace Potts, "Psycho Cop" is a fine slasher film in which the death of its main characters brings us lots of smiles. Don't lose your beer while watching this one.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Blood Shack, Ninja Slasher and a Rodeo

Say what you must about 1971's "Blood Shack," at very least it is a useful film. Those triple features at drive-ins which ended before 11pm would only frustrate amorous teens seeking to make-out until midnight. Hence, a 55 minute slasher flick to take us up to the witching hour.  Perhaps this flick could have used an extra 20 minutes, but there is so much right with it, we can overlook some minor faults. For gratuitous drive-in elements, and some neat rodeo scenes, Ray Dennis Steckler's "Blood Shack" will beat "Love Shack" any day!
The unfortunate Connie
The lovely and perky Connie (Laurel Spring) feuds with her husband.  How does a liberated woman of the 1970s show up her husband? Exactly, run off and spend the night at a haunted house. This doesn't go well, I'm afraid. As soon as the sun sets, Connie strips to her undies. This striptease conjures up a weird specter in black, brandishing a sword, who chases her around the shack before skewing her several times. Bye bye Connie! Daniel (Jason Wayne), the caretaker of the ranch, finds Connie's corpse and buries the formerly pretty gal.  Daniel knows that the shack is haunted/cursed and anyone going into it will be killed by "the Chooper."  Enter the sultry Carol. She arrives at this dusty Arizona ranch, which has been in her family for 150 years.  Clad in white go-go boots and a very short dress, Carol is there to set up her life.
Run Daniel!
Despite Daniel's warnings, Carol is adamant about remaining. Tim (Ron Haydock) pays Carol a visit...actually he'll visit every few minutes, trying to force her to sell the ranch to him. Carol refuses. Our brunette protagonist likes to take showers and go to the rodeo. We see a lot of gratuitous rodeo and semi-gratuitous shower scenes during this slasher film. Uh oh...Connie's husband (John Bates) shows up looking for his precocious wife...he'll be skewered by the ninja like killer. A cop (Steve Edwards) will show up looking for the dead couple...he'll assume room temperature. As Carol repels an increasingly determined Tim, it is apparent that Daniel knows the secret of the shack and is determined to keep it a secret.
Run Carol!
What is the secret of the the blood shack? Will our ninja-like slasher follow Carol into one of her showers? Will Tim's inability to take Carol's rejection ultimately spell his doom? This film may have some short comings but is more genuine than Christopher Nolan's CGI infested "Dunkirk." Fans of 1970s drive-in horror will want to find "Blood Shack."  

Friday, July 21, 2017

To All a Goodnight, Santa Shreds the Beautiful

As a bikini babe in 1984's "Up the Creek," Jennifer Runyon enthralled millions of teen boys. Still a stunning actress and producer today, Ms. Runyon also played in her share of horror films, including 1993's "Carnosaur." Today we examine a classic slasher film in which our blonde beauty portrays a very clean-cut final girl, 1980's "To All a Goodnight." Oh yes, I almost forgot...the screenplay of this film was created by Alex Rebar.  Mr. Rebar played the title character in "The Incredible Melting Man."
Santa and his ax
Christmas break has come for the lovelies at an exclusive all girls finishing school. A quintet of babes are remaining at the school for the break. Nancy (Runyon) is a very pure gal but her buddies are a bit more promiscuous.  Also remaining is Mrs. Jensen (Kiva Lawrence), the housemother. The girls invite their rich boyfriends, who arrive by private plane...must be nice. As the gals plan, we get some very gratuitous nude and lingerie shots of Cynthia (Lisa Labowski). Her and her beau will be slaughtered by a maniac, and neither will be missed. The boys arrive and foreplay begins, as will pre-marital sex and beer drinking (Pabst Blue Ribbon...seriously!..these rich kids are gargling with PBR?). One of the gals, Trisha (Angela Bath), an alluring sort with a seductive British accent will have her throat cut by a slasher clad as Santa Claus on her way to getting more PBR.
Shower head
As the kids fornicate, Nancy roams the cavernous sorority-type house sipping on a glass of milk. Our Santa slasher will decapitate more of these rich kids with either knives or axes, and the virgin Nancy will bond with the geeky virgin Alex (Forrest Swanson). The two make a cute couple and one could see them both finishing off a whole gallon of milk.  Oh yes, the creepy gardener who carries around hedge clippers warns the virgin Nancy that evil is about and she should pray. As more babes and hunks are skewered or torn apart, our killer finishes off one schmuck with an airplane propeller (Yes!).
Two virgins
Will Santa instill a sense of morality in this unfortunate finishing school by wasting all of its fornicators? Couldn't the makers of "To All a Goodnight" land a deal with Heineken instead of Pabst Blue Ribbon?  Will the virgin Nancy and the virgin Alex succumb to Santa's ax, or de-virginize themselves?  With lots of great kills, some gratuitous nudity and gore, "To All a Goodnight" is classic 1980s slasher fare. This Christmas, instead of the preachy and annoying "Polar Express," watch a film you actually want to see..."To All a Goodnight."

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Brides of Blood, Mutant Plant Rapist

Ah the Peace Corps! Travel to exotic lands and help the unfortunate natives. What could go wrong? Civil War? Famine and disease? Cannibals? Perhaps, but in 1968's "Brides of Blood" our noble warriors of altruism are beset by radioactive mutants, man-eating banana trees and a very amorous and misogynistic mutant humanoid.
Alma
Our Peace Corps team is about to land on Blood Island. Dr. Paul Henderson (Kent Taylor) is preparing his test tubes for experiments. Jim (John Ashley) is reviewing his plans to build an irrigation system for the hapless and very superstitious natives. Carla (Beverly Powers), Paul's wife, is having very rough sex with a swarthy, young crew member. Don't be too hard on Carla, Paul is a cold fish.  Upon landing, our trio witness the natives performing a ceremony which entails throwing the severed and torn body parts of native babes into the sea. We should not be judgmental, but Paul, Jim, and Carla are unsettled by this display.  You guessed it, the babes are sacrificed to some evil god who rapes them and tears the women from limb to limb. Perhaps a metaphor for the female plight in a very paternalistic culture.
God monster accepts virgin sacrifice
Okay, Jim grows quite close to Alma (Eva Darren), an island girl. As Paul and Jim help the natives and Paul finds mutant specimens of crabs and fauna, the god-monster continues to rape and shred babes. The trio accept the invite of Esteban Powers (Mario Montenegro), the handsome and exotic plantation owner at the opposite end of the island.  Carla does everything she can to bed Powers. Powers is served by a team of midgets...don't ask.  As tentacled trees try to eat Carla, she is often rescued by Jim or Paul. No cause for alarm here...mutants will be mutants. Uh oh, Esteban appears to be suffering from a mysterious malady and Carla is really wanting extra-marital sex. See what's coming?  Uh oh, Alma is selected to be the next sacrifice and her beau, Jim, is willing to go to war with the natives to rescue her.  Carla is willing to brave the man-eating banana trees to have sex with Powers.
Carla finds a taker for sex
Will Alma's virginity end in sprays of red and internal organs? Will Carla find carnal pleasure with Powers, the midgets, or something more un-godly?  Will Jim's war for Alma's virtue start a conflict which will be deadlier than the god-monster?  This is a good one, and the gore and nudity are front and center.  Made in the Philippines and directed by Eddie Romero and Gerardo de Leon, "Brides of Blood" is pure gold for fans of horror exploitation films.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Corrupt Half, A Japanese Ghost Story American Style

We all love those Japanese ghost stories. The ominous women coming back from the dead seeking revenge from some past evil deed. In life, the antagonist was beautiful and vulnerable...in death, ominous and creepy. Hair covering her face and a homicidal attitude always makes this specter seem invincible. Throw in some young, good-looking protagonists and the Japanese have hit on timeless horror themes.  Wait...enter Rod Wess!  This isn't a Japanese film, but one from Colorado. Later in 2017, "The Corrupt Half" will be screened at various film festivals around the world (hopefully that includes Japan).  If the Japanese can scare you with tales of Geisha women, pagodas, and bamboo...well...Rod Wess will creep you out with tales of ghosts in town-homes, laptops, and pretty women.
Alas, pretty damsels don't fare will in this film. Natalie (Ashley Abendschein) has committed suicide...or has she?  She was young, nubile, and in love.  Her evil sister pushed her to do the ultimate deed...and now Natalie is back. When the dead return, it is never good. The carnage starts before we meet Ashley (Kendra Buck) and Sarah (Felicia Tassone). The two unwitting babes move into the town-house and find a laptop and HDTV have been left. Natalie begins to communicate with us the viewer immediately and fills us in on her story...at least part of it.  Her suicide won't be the last at this address as Natalie goes to work on Sarah's vulnerable boyfriend, Scott (Danny Bohnen)...he'll off himself in Sarah's bedroom.
No spoilers here, but the suicides continue as Natalie picks her victims to work her evil on.  Very pretty Jodi (Mariah Salazar), a horror blogger, tries to help...but Natalie isn't into good Samaritans and Jodi's fate will be horrific.  But wait!  Is Natalie really evil?  Or is there something else on the other side seeking vengeance? As our two protagonists are hurled further and further into otherworldly terror, Natalie's actions become more bold and her true intentions are revealed...and they are even more terrifying than revenge.  Will our beautiful duo survive long enough to have a house warming party? What did happen to Natalie and is she really the evil antagonist that decimates fair young ladies?
Fans of Japanese horror will be right at home in Rod Wess' "The Corrupt Half." The actresses are fantastic and the menacing spirit will pop up in your nightmares. Revenge and vengeance are great themes in ghost stories, but this one is a bit more complicated and eerie...you'll see. Oh yes, the fate of the horror blogger Jodi has put me on edge, so I leave you with a warning...see "The Corrupt Half" and if you are a horror blogger, it will be at your own peril.
"The Corrupt Half" link on IMDB The Corrupt Half on IMDB
Trailer on YouTube Trailer for The Corrupt Half

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Victims!, Damsels Tortured and Humiliated

In the first two  minutes of this film, even before the credits, a beautiful woman arriving home is axed in the face, a nude woman in bed is chopped up with a meat cleaver, and a perky brunette is stabbed several times by a transvestite while walking down the street. Again, this all occurs less than two minutes after the the film begins. Awful exploitation I know and these scenes do nothing else than promote misogyny...awful! Tasteless and without any redeeming value, I give you 1985's "Victims!"
Four nubile geology students (Ava Kaufman, Ann Richardson, Geri Schlessel, and Pam Richards) head to the desert to study rocks and go skinny dipping. Susan, Janet, Lisa, and Debbie dress like hussies (not my word, but an old prude who catches a glance at them) showing a lot of skin and jiggling their wares catch the eyes of two psychos, Peter and Eric (Robert Axelrod and Lonny Withers). These two sex maniacs follow our quartet into the desert and watch them frolic, strip, and skinny dip.
The perverts then make their move. Janet will be injured avoiding a rattlesnake, but the real horrors are about to begin. Peter, holding a rifle, takes Debbie and Lisa. He orders Debbie to strip and for Lisa to then perform lesbian sex on her. Meanwhile, Eric rapes Susan while Janet watches helplessly. With her bikini back on, Debbie makes a daring move that could turn the tables on her tormentors.
Will our quartet of beauties survive this ordeal? Will Debbie's bold move lead to the castration of the psychos? How could any sane human being even think of watching this sexploitation trash? I only watched this film for scientific purposes.  As awful as this film is, it is infinitely better than the Mila Kunis disaster, "Jupiter Ascending." Enjoy...I mean avoid at all costs...though it is a better take than any George Clooney recent film..."Victims!"