Sunday, January 31, 2010

Satan's Black Wedding

A long while back (September 08 to be more exact), ol' Mama F watched a fun little film called Crazy Fat Ethel, and then we talked about it here at the Firefly Ranch. I also watched its sequel, Crazy Fat Ethel II, and I also mentioned that CFE I and II were both on the same disc with another movie called Satan's Black Wedding. (All of which cost me a whole $ 1.31 ! )

I always planned on finishing the set (also known as the Nick Phillips Horror Trilogy Collection), but somehow it got lost in the shuffle, till I came across it a couple weeks ago and thought Hey! Why didn't I ever watch this? I'll check it out! After all, it features this dude:
Should be fun, right??

So wrong.
So, so flat out, one hundred percent WRONGNESS.

But hey, I suffered through it, and we're not about nothin' down here at the Firefly Ranch if we're not about sharing.

Even if means sharing screencaps and our accompanying thoughts about a movie that's so bad that it almost makes Godmonster of Indian Flats look good in comparison.
I said ALMOST.

Anyway, back to the crapfest at hand.
Satan's BW comes in a whole 60 minutes - which doesn't seem ALL that bad - but if you removed all the dramatic pauses, shots of oceans/rivers/foilage/cars, and had the actors speak their lines at a pace more on par with, oh I don't know, the way LIVE HUMANS BEINGS SPEAK, you'd probably have a movie that comes in at a tidy 25 minutes or less. And it's still be boring as hell.

And BTW, if you decide you want to take this baby on for yourself, I hope you're a big fan of this screen shot:
Because you're going to see PLENTY of it.

So anyway, our movie starts with the dude featured above visiting this lady, Nina, and seemingly makes her do this to herself through mind control or whatever:

And he's a priest, too? Not only does he kill her, he's nice enough to give the eulogy at her funeral.

Her brother, Mark (who's kind of the 70's low budget horror movie Ben Affleck), comes back home for her funeral,

He also meets up with a cop at his sister's house later, who doesn't believe that Nina committed suicide. Which leads to a very slow conversation with many, many dramatic pauses. Because, believe me, my friends, nobody in THIS movie is ever compelled to do ANYTHING with any kind of urgency, ever.
Let's just sit down and have a nice, long, slowly paced conversation.

And then we find that Nina's not really dead - she's just hanging out with her priest buddy and she's also now the new owner of a mouthful of really bad teeth:

Mark goes to visit a sick aunt, and finds out that Nina has been acting kinda weird lately and researching some book on Satanism:

And then Mark goes home to the living room of my childhood and reads Nina's book:

Aaaaaaaaand Nina's back! She takes out her sickly aunt and her caregiver by sucking their blood. And the movie never explains how Satanism = vampires.

I think they just wanted to give people in the movie fucked up fangs:
Will someone explain to me how these are AT ALL FUNCTIONAL????

Mark also visits Nina's friend Jean, who was helping Nina write her book. She admits that she was shocked at what happened to Nina, but not completely surprised.
This is mah 'shocked but not completely surprised' look.

Oh, hell with it, let's take a break from all this amateur detective bullshit and go a long walk and NOT TALK AT ALL for a while.
I'm sparing you the many, MANY, intercut scenes of WATER here.

Then the cop ends up at the church - he figures some shit out about the priest dude - don't ask me, I really don't even care enough to explain it any more- and ends up being attacked by these ugly fuckers - who are just, you know, hanging around, waiting for something to happen. Just like the rest of us unfortunate enough to be watching this movie:
And so the cop fires his gun at them:
And yes, that's EXACTLY what he's doing in the shot. Firing a GUN. And how do I know this? Because of the nifty sound effects in the movie. Not that I ever saw an actual gun. With a movie this compelling, who needs friggin props anyway?

So, anyway, Nina comes back for Jean:
This scene also comes with mixed with other scenes of running water. Which makes NO KINDA SENSE.

Wow, hey, we're all vampires now:

And the priest tells Mark that Satan has had his eye on him and his sister for a long time now. In fact, Satan wants them to get married and make a lil' baby Antichrist!
In fact, Satan himself is going to show up and perform the ceremony!!
This is how I felt after 60 minutes of this bullshit.

And Mark tries to run, but in the end, Satan wins the day, and our movie ends with our wedding taking place.
With Satan NOT anywhere to be seen - I guess even Satan has standards when it comes to appearing in a mess like this one.

Here's hoping the next movie I pay less than a buck fifty for is much better,
Mother Firefly

Monday, January 25, 2010

Final Girl Film Club: Black Sabbath

One of Mama F's goals this year is to make it through ALL the Bava films we have here down at the Firefly Ranch. Thanks to some buy one, get one free online sale last year, I ended up both Bava Boxes. And they look great - sitting on my shelf gathering dust.

I've seen (and loved) two of the films already, Black Sunday, and the Final Girl Film Club selection for January, Black Sabbath.

Black Sabbath is a trilogy of films that begins with an introduction and words of wisdom from my friend and yours, Boris Karloff:
My sentiments EXACTLY.

Our first shortie short is called, simply:
Which begins, not surprisingly, thusly:

I know, who saw that coming, right?

As you might anticipate, the calls keep coming and each one gets more threatening. Pretty soon our heroine is doing the only thing she can do:
Cry, smoke, and call a girlfriend:
Who agrees to come over (in a not so subtle smug way)

And then immediately hangs up only to call back:
Oh, for the days when you could disguise your voice by merely putting a handkerchief over the phone!

Psycho friend comes over and keeps up with the crazy talk:

It's the really GOOD friends that will come over in the middle of the night when you're being phone stalked and give you tranquilizers:

Psycho friend sits down in her PJs and writes a letter:

Letter Translated:
Hey Girl,
Guess What? It was ME making all those crazy calls that made you cry and chain smoke. I just PRETENDED to be a psychopath so you'd give a bitch a call and we could be BFFs again.
Don't be mad, K?
Yer HomeGirl

Oh, Irony.Turns out that Frank is really out and ready to kill some old girlfriends.And then our heroine stabs the bad guy. The End.
Um, okay.

On to Part Two:Where we learn that Wurdulak translated into English means:
er, Wurdalak.

Wurdulaks are really just another kind of vampire, but these vampires are especially fond of drinking blood from people they know and love.
The Wurdulak is probably the best story in the movie and the one filled with the creepiest visuals:

Boris Karloff, scary as he's ever been:
but he's not all bad - when he goes away on his travels, he always brings home souvenirs for his family:
Grandpappy, why are you all moldy and smell like cabbage?

Creepy little vampire kid bonus points of 10,000,000
And a bevy of creepy vamps to see you out with:
Lastly, we have:
Which is the story of what three years of nursing school did to poor Mama Firefly:KIDDING.
It's just a sweet, warmhearted story of what happens when you steal from dead people who are into the occult:

In a nutshell, it goes a little like this:

And BOO! (Cat included)

Personally, I think Walt Disney needs to make a ride out of this section of the movie PRONTO.

And Boris is there again at the end to impart more words of wisdom:
Thanks, Uncle Boris!
Anything else?

Will do, Uncle Boris.
Will do.
-Mother Firefly

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Alligator People

It's true, some mornings I wake up wanting nothing else but to watch a movie with a guy in a goofy monster costume. And I want the other people in the movie to take the goofy monster guy deadly serious. And then I want the whole thing to be in black and white.

Thankfully, I had something in the Firefly library that fit the bill:

Our story starts out with a doctor and his nurse, Jane, played by Beverly Garland. Jane's been helping her boss out with some experiments in memory. Because of course, as nurses, our first and foremost responsibility is to let doctors experiment on us. It's the first thing you learn in nursing school.

Well, Doc has discovered that Jane has all kinds of craziness in that pretty little head of hers.
Under the influence of some unnamed drug, Jane spills the beans. She claims she has a different name (Joyce) and that she married some dude named Paul and everything was rosy:

They're celebrating, opening congratulatory telegrams, and reminiscing about the accident that Paul was in a while back......that crazy plane crash where he broke all his bones and was all messed up and stuff? The one that he healed up from without so much as a scar? That shit be so crazy!

Oh yeah, that one.....

Suddenly Paul opens a telegram that seems to upset him, and the next thing we know, he's getting off the train at the next stop- and hubby ain't getting back on.

Well, our dear Jane/Joyce is not one to be stopped and manages to find an old address of her husband's - and of course, it's in the Bayou.

And of course, Lon Chaney, Jr. is there. Because well, why wouldn't he be?

This lady and her matronly bosom wholeheartedly deny any knowledge of a man named Paul:

But she lets Jane/Joyce stay the night anyway.

But somewhere else strange goings on are a'brewing......people all wrapped up like mummies and making gurgly noises.

Is it just me or does this remind you of Jiffy Pop too?

Lest you think that Alligator People is all silliness and no substance, take a look at this shot with its beautiful shadows and lighting:


Well, eventually Paul makes an appearance, and Baby ain't lookin' too pretty. And he's also developed a deep, froggy voice.

Hello my baby, hello my honey........

At first Paul plays the 'Don't look at me! I'm horrible, I tell you, HORRIBLE!!!!' card, and runs away.

But Jane/Joyce will not be dissuaded, and chases after Paul into the swamp. This is a part of the movie I really wish I could show you, because it's at once hilarious and scary at the same time. Of course the run through the swamp involve scary creatures, and the first is a reject from The Jungle Cruise at Disney World. You can almost hear the springs creak when its mouth opens and closes.

The next, however, appears to be all too real, and Beverly Garland is literally inches away while the alligator twists and snaps around. And Miss Garland, to her credit, doesn't seem like she even sees the thing. Since we didn't have CGI back in 1959 (thank GOD), I assume if it looks real, it is real.

Back to our film:
So here's the deal. Remember the horrible accident? This crazy doctor injected Paul with reptile hormones (because since a lizard can grow its tail back - that means that lizard hormones will make people rejenerate, right? Makes perfect sense to me!

Whatchoo talking bout, Willis?

And then the doctor explains all this by hooking up a gator to a table and shining a shiny light on it. Because..............of course you would.

Dude, when you shine this bright flashlight at the back of its skull, the light totally comes out of his mouth!

So Mom, Doc, Gator Guy, and Jane/Joyce all decide that the only thing that can be done now is to shine the shiny light on Paul.

Because hot, bright light calms reptiles down. And that will fix his little alligator problem.

Or not.

All well-dressed Alligator Men wear dockers:

Somehow I think this relationship has went as far as it can go:

But we're going to do the requisite run/chase thing through the bayou anyway.

OMG can it be??????????????????
Mmmmm Hmmmm, it's one of the devices of death that we hold near and dear to our little black hearts here at the Firefly Ranch:

And that's the end of that.

We return to the two doctors who are discussing Jane's case and debating whether or not to tell her the crazy story that she's apparently repressing. In the end they decide, nah, what's the point of upsetting her?

Better living through denial......ain't it pretty, people?

And ta-da:

I miss when movies used to say 'The End'. I know it's kind of redundant and all, but it makes me all tingly when I see it. Especially when the filmmakers do something really hokey like add a ? to it, or some phrase like 'Or Is It?'. I'm easy, I know.

So, Yay! For goofy rubber monster suits smothered in black and white. Alligator People is one of the better types of movies of its time, and if you're not familiar with horror/sci-fi films from the 50's, there are worse places you can start.

Mother Firefly