Die Hinrichtung (1976)

Directed by Denis Héroux [Other horror films: The Uncanny (1977)] & Géza von Radványi [Other horror films: N/A]

Known under such titles as Naked Massacre and Born for Hell (probably the best title for this one, if it were up to me), Die Hinrichtung is a gritty, raw experience. It’s not altogether exciting, but I do find the premise somewhat fascinating, and though the movie isn’t great, I do think there’s a little here to be interested in.

I first saw this film around ten years ago from a cheap print on the Mill Creek Entertainment’s Chilling Classics 50-movie pack. Honestly, while the print has issues, the audio quality is decent, and the movie is still certainly watchable (which is not something that can be said for all the movies in the same collection). I didn’t remember too much in way of specifics about the movie, which partially made this one a movie I was more interested in revisiting.

Following a disillusioned American who fought in Vietnam, and taking place during The Troubles in Belfast, there’s a lot of commentary on violence here. This American (played by Mathieu Carrière) has had a troubled life – a hard upbringing, a wife who left him, and some mental issues – and left one warzone for another. He doesn’t snap in a PTSD type of way – this isn’t Forced Entry (thank God). But he desperately wants to get home, and doesn’t have the money to do so. And what better way to get money than by trapping a house of nurses and torturing them?

Based partially off the Richard Speck murders, this movie has that gritty exploitation feel without really going out of the way to show too much explicit violence. The sexual violence, while definitely present, is toned down, and there’s not that much in the way of gore (and in fact, the bloodiest scene is a self-inflicted cut toward the finale of the film). It does have that gritty atmosphere, and of course a little nudity thrown in, but this movie isn’t really near as grueling as others from around the same time, such as I Spit on Your Grave, The Last House on the Left, or the aforementioned Forced Entry.

I don’t know Mathieu Carrière, but I thought he did a pretty fine job with his character. He’s occasionally charming, always desperate, and his performance is solid. None of the nurses stand out particularly well, but some, such as Carole Laure, Leonora Fani, and Christine Boisson all add a little oomph with their characters and traumatic predicaments.

The movie isn’t exactly quick-paced, but personally, I don’t think I ever really got bored. That said, I can certainly understand the somewhat lukewarm reception this has received (at the time of this writing, the movie possesses a 5.1/10 on IMDb with 696 votes). It’s probably worth seeing if you’re a fan of gritty 70’s exploitations, even if this is a bit tame, but for a casual horror fan, there may not be a lot here to really interest you. It’s worth mentioning that the version I saw was the same Mill Creek copy, though, so the uncut version likely has more to it.

As for me, I can say that I found the setting (Belfast) and the killer’s history interesting. I don’t think that made this a great movie, but I do think it felt substantially different from a more, shall we say, base exploitation flick, and though I do find the film below average (with the conclusion being perhaps one of my favorite portions), I definitely think I’d find it in me to watch again.


The Last House on the Left (1972)

Directed by Wes Craven [Other horror films: The Hills Have Eyes (1977), Stranger in Our House (1978), Deadly Blessing (1981), Swamp Thing (1982), Invitation to Hell (1984), The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1984), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Chiller (1985), Deadly Friend (1986), The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988), Shocker (1989), The People Under the Stairs (1991), New Nightmare (1994), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), Scream (1996), Scream 2 (1997), Scream 3 (2000), Cursed (2005), My Soul to Take (2010), Scream 4 (2011)]

No doubt a gritty and occasionally disturbing debut from Wes Craven, The Last House on the Left isn’t necessarily an easy movie to like, what with the occasional inappropriate comedic influences throughout, for instance, but I think that I tend to enjoy this more than I used to.

For most of the film, it’s not that violent. Though the rape and murder of the two young women is certainly disturbing, this isn’t I Spit on Your Grave, and while watching the two of them get dehumanized by Krug and his compatriots isn’t a walk in the park, it’s not near as bad as some later movies might be. Toward the end, we do get some increased violence, but it’s generally the type we can root for, which gives it a far more palatable taste.

The music throughout the movie sometimes feels a bit out of place, and part of that is due to the comedic influences with the two police officers trying to get to a soon-to-be crime scene, but most of the music works pretty well. The recurring “The Road Leads to Nowhere” is a perfect song for the movie, and during a death scene, we’re treated with “Now You’re All Alone,” a somewhat haunting melody (especially given the placement). David Hess (Krug) performed the music here, which shows a soft side to a rather brutish individual.

For the story, it’s pretty simple, but I do find it effective (and, on a side-note, a bit more relatable to the modern audience than 1960’s The Virgin Spring), and not only that, but I find it generally more enjoyable than what we might see from either I Spit on Your Grave or The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Sure, watching Sandra Peabody’s and Lucy Grantham’s characters’ grueling torture isn’t fun, but knowing where it leads does take a small amount of the punch out.

Personally, I love the finale. In some ways, the reaction of the parents (Richard Towers and Cynthia Carr) might seem a bit sudden, but I think it makes for a quality final 15 minutes. Really, the two of them didn’t have a whole lot to do before then, so I think going the direction they did makes the film a bit more special.

Of course, I’d be amiss without mentioning what a quality scumbag David Hess plays. He’s popped up in later films, from House on the Edge of the Park to Body Count, but it’s this role that I think really shows his talents. This is the only role I know of Fred J. Lincoln, but I also found him somewhat fascinating. Neither Jeramie Rain (Sadie) nor Marc Sheffler (Junior) amazed me, but I did think Junior’s regret over the incident was close to touching.

The Last House on the Left isn’t what I’d call an amazing film, but I do think it’s a solid slice of exploitation, and I generally find that I enjoy it a smidge more than Texas Chain Saw Massacre (which may place me in the minority, but I’m used to it). It’s rough, it’s gritty, and it’s amateurish in some ways, especially in regards to that misplaced comedy, but it’s still worth seeing if 70’s horror is your thing.


Drive In Massacre (1976)

Directed by Stu Segall [Other horror films: N/A]

I promise I’m not crazy, but this movie is decent. Well, actually, I can’t promise that my sanity is entirely intact, but I can promise that I have seen this movie four times now, and each and every time has been a blast.

In many ways, no doubt, Drive In Massacre is pretty bad. Part of it has to do with the commonly-available print, which has quite a muddled audio quality along with iffy lighting at times. Even without those issues, the story itself is pretty weak, the conclusion somewhat ridiculous, and though it only runs for around 75 minutes, it can feel boring.

All of that said, though, like I said, I’ve seen it four times now, and I really do find a good amount of this movie a hoot. Though not a horror-comedy in a traditional sense, the scene in which the two main detectives are undercover as a couple at a drive-in (one of the detectives being dressed as a woman) had plenty of lines in it alone that were laugh-worthy (“Kiss me, you fool” / “I hope so, we don’t need anymore of that” / “My God, married only two hours and you don’t want anything to do with me”), so it’s not as though the film is void of charm.

Honestly, both of the central detectives, played by John F. Goff (The Fog and Alligator) and Bruce Kimball (An Eye for an Eye and Snakes), were pretty interchangeable, and while they had some funny dialogue now and again, neither one stood out. Robert E. Pearson’s performance as the somewhat sleazy drive-in manager (as one character describes him, “He’s what you would call your perfect asshole”) was a lot of fun, and I definitely find his character a memorable one.

Douglas Gudbye’s performance as a mentally-challenged character was one of the strongest in the film, and I really felt for him at times. Lastly, though he was utterly added in only for padding, George ‘Buck’ Flower (Maniac Cop, Wishmaster, Pumpkinhead, Cheerleader Camp, and many others) was fun to see.

For a proto-slasher, there wasn’t much in the way of slashing. The best kill is easily the opening decapitation, but there was also a woman stabbed through her neck and the aftermath of a few other killings. Nothing amazing, but at least the opening kill could theoretically hook someone in.

I certainly understand why many people don’t care for this movie, and some find it laughably bad (at the moment of this writing, Drive In Massacre sports a 3.5/10 on IMDb with 1674 votes), but it’s a movie I personally dig. It’s far from a movie without flaws, but coming from a guy who willingly watched this four times, it’s #golden.


Don’t Go in the House (1979)

Directed by Joseph Ellison [Other horror films: N/A]

This is a movie that I’ve now seen around four times. It’s consistently a decent watch, though always tends to hover around average. Likely worth a watch if you’re a fan of 70’s horror, Don’t Go in the House is a rather dark film, and while I never loved it, it’s not without it’s strong points.

Though this has somewhat of a reputation for being overly violent, anyone who has seen this movie can attest to the fact that, for the most part, it’s pretty tame. Of course it does deal with some heavy topics, such as child abuse and the mental instability that it could lead to, but the violence itself is pretty much restricted to a single scene, which is probably one of the stand-out moments of the movie.

Which isn’t to say, of course, that the rest of the movie wasn’t good. In fact, I think that this rewatch has given me a bit more appreciation for the film than I generally have. It’s not that I ever disliked this one, but as a kid, I will admit that I probably found segments of this one a bit dull. Even now, some scenes dealing with Grimaldi feel more uncomfortable than anything else, but the same could be said for Perkins in Psycho, which this movie seemed to be influenced by, so it’s not that big a deal. It’s just fair to say that, even though many of the non-action sequences possess some charm (such as that classy disco scene), this isn’t the most action-packed movie.

With a few exceptions, most of the cast members who stood out never did much else in movies. Of course Dan Grimaldi later went on to be in The Sopranos (a show that I’ve not personally seen, but generally have heard solid things about), and he does reasonably well here playing a socially awkward character. Energetically fun Robert Carnegie (who also apparently popped up in Mother’s Day a year later) was, as stated, fun. His character seemed a legitimately decent guy (infidelity aside), and I dug all of his scenes.

Others who deserve a quick mention include the priest, played by Ralph D. Bowman, a stylish salesman played by David McComb, a heavily intoxicated woman played by O’Mara Leary (her constant slurring cracked me up), and lastly, Johanna Brushay, who was the controversial death somewhat early on in the movie (and also the only one here to throw any nudity our way, for whatever that might be worth). None of these people had much of a career past this film, but they definitely add something here, especially Bowman, who’s character is one that, for some reason or another, has always stuck with me.

Special effects don’t really play that heavily into this one. Sure, we see someone set on fire, which at times looks okay, other times shoddy, and we get some pretty basic corpses, but nothing really stands out much in this department. Far more important, or at least more indicative of the time period, was the funky soundtrack.

Early on, Grimaldi’s character listens to some disco, and then some funk rock piece. Both of these were decent, but we get the best music during the disco sequence, which was just fun overall. Personally, I enjoy some Bee Gees and KC and the Sunshine Band (“I Betcha Didn’t Know That” just slaps), and the music here, with songs such as “Struck By Boogie Lightning” (L’Ectrique) and “Late Night Surrender” (Jeree Palmer) are pretty damn catchy. Legit adding some of these tracks to my iTunes.

That some of this can come across as a time capsule really does give this movie a bit of a boost. It doesn’t make the movie that good, in my view, but it does give us a little bit more than just a gritty, late 70’s outing. Don’t Go in the House isn’t one of those films I go out of my way to watch (evidenced, I’m sure, by the fact I’ve seen this only four times in 15 years), but it’s not a bad time. It just fails to stand out near as much as I’d hope.


The House That Cried Murder (1973)

Directed by Jean-Marie Pélissié [Other horror films: N/A]

Known under alternative titles such as The Bride and The Last House on Massacre Street, The House That Cried Murder was a film that I didn’t really know much about going into. I may have vaguely heard the title before (or at least one of them), but I didn’t know anything about it, and though the movie wasn’t really good in most conventional senses, I did think there was occasional charm to be had here.

Some of this, perhaps even a lot of it, has to do with the final twenty minutes, in which the film subverted expectations I held from the very beginning of the movie, which both surprised and impressed me. I really wasn’t expecting to be surprised by some low-budget 70’s movie with less than 300 votes on IMDb at the time of this writing, but here I am, so credit where credit’s due.

Really, the route this story took was sort of different. It possessed those quality 70’s sensibilities, and even the fact that the print I viewed was quite far away from stellar probably helped the vibe of The House That Cried Murder. Also moderately working in it’s favor is the fact the film is pretty short, lasting a mere 75 minutes (which at times still feels long, but more on that shortly). None of this is to say the movie is great, or even good, but like I said, it can be charming.

The unfortunate thing is, though, save the final twenty minutes (and if we’re being generous, final thirty minutes), there’s not really that much here to applaud. The rest of the film is rather dry (a fate that’s not entirely uncommon of movies from this time period), and while not painfully dull, there certainly wasn’t much to really help keep your attention. It picks up nicely, no doubt, but like Demented, getting there might be more of a hassle than you’d hope.

Arthur Roberts did okay as a rather unlikable character. I mean, he didn’t do great, but I don’t think most central performances here were that striking, so I wouldn’t take offense to that. And related to that sentiment, Iva Jean Saraceni’s short screen-time didn’t do that much to endear me to her character. Robin Strasser (the Bride in the film) was shaky too, but given what we learn about her character, I don’t really mind that. Out of everyone, I think John Beal (who played Strasser’s father, and starred in 1957’s The Vampire and 1939’s The Cat and the Canary) did the best, and was actually a character you could sympathize with.

There were some okay scares toward the latter half of the film, such as a nice surprise left in someone’s refrigerator and a tense walk up the stairs, but the movie never really gives us too much in that department. What’s more memorable, really, are the final five minutes or so, which seemed almost ahead of it’s time. I don’t personally know if I loved that ending, but it was at least unique, so again, credit where credit’s due.

As okay as the finale was, though, I don’t think credit is due that often. I certainly found The House That Cried Murder watchable enough, and occasionally enjoyable enough, but it’s sluggish pace during the first half is pretty damaging, and I just don’t know if the conclusion really saves it. It may well be worth at least one watch, but I don’t see this becoming a favorite of too many people.


The Hills Have Eyes (1977)

Directed by Wes Craven [Other horror films: The Last House on the Left (1972), Stranger in Our House (1978), Deadly Blessing (1981), Swamp Thing (1982), Invitation to Hell (1984), The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1984), A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), Chiller (1985), Deadly Friend (1986), The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988), Shocker (1989), The People Under the Stairs (1991), New Nightmare (1994), Vampire in Brooklyn (1995), Scream (1996), Scream 2 (1997), Scream 3 (2000), Cursed (2005), My Soul to Take (2010), Scream 4 (2011)]

I’ve not seen this one in a long while, and given that I’ve also only seen this one once, I was quite excited to watch The Hills Have Eyes again. It’s not the most gritty or violent horror films of the 1970’s, but even so, Wes Craven made a winner here following his success with The Last House on the Left.

In many ways, this feels reminiscent of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, what with the desert and the cannibal family. Obviously this takes a different approach to things, which I believe works in it’s favor (and makes this a more enjoyable film than The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, on a side-note), but I just love how Craven paid homage to Hooper’s successful film – it’s nice to see these directors’ stuff from the 1970’s feel somewhat interconnected.

And no doubt, the setting here is great. Along with being quite isolating, it’s just nice to see the environment play a large part in the story, be it things like the heat, tarantulas (in a scene that I definitely could have done without), lack of food and intense heat. It gives a more realistic sense of danger even aside from the cannibal homebois in the hills, and I find that aspect enjoyable.

At first, I wasn’t going to spend that much time on the performances, and I probably still won’t, but I did want to say that pretty much everyone did well. Robert Houston had some shaky moments, and Susan Lanier did get to become a bit much as the movie went on, but given what her character went through, I can’t really blame her.

Martin Speer (Killer’s Delight) was decent toward the end, but it did take his character a little while to get there. Virginia Vincent really shined after her husband (played by Russ Grieve) got #barbecued. John Steadman and Dee Wallace (The Howling, Critters, and Cujo) both add some flavor. Of the cannibal family, it’s James Whitworth, Janus Blythe (Eaten Alive), and Michael Berryman (Deadly Blessing, Mask Maker, and Cut and Run) should get the most credit, but again, everyone does decently.

Like I said, this isn’t really that violent of a film. Sure, a dog attack leaves a man’s foot in a less-than-ideal condition, and another character is burned alive, but it’s more of an emotional scene than it is graphic. There is a painful stabbing also, but Last House on the Left, at least from what I remember, was more disturbing than this one was, and certainly the 2006 remake upped the violence too.

Some of this movie is pretty dark, as one could potentially expect from 70’s horror. It seems almost no one is spared from being killed off, and there are some pretty tense and moderately disturbing scenes here, which would probably be true of any horror film in which a character’s family was slowly being killed off around them. This movie, as I said, packs an emotional punch at times (even if the performances can’t necessarily carry that), so I appreciate that.

Really, there’s not much here that I didn’t care for. Sometimes the film focuses more on the point-of-views of the cannibal family (which I think is a good way to almost compare and contrast the two family units), which felt sort of jarring, but it didn’t happen often, and when it did, it sometimes led to quality canine attacks, so I can’t really complain about that.

Oh, and the final scene is quite sudden (and I mean sudden as though it was a 50’s monster movie), but it was sort of jarring, in that event horizon way, so that wasn’t much of an issue.

The Hills Have Eyes has a lot going for it. It doesn’t match the grittiness of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre at all, nor does it match the violence of many of the other horror films coming out around the mid-to-late 1970’s, but it does have a pretty good story with quality performances and a great sense of dread, so if this is a Craven movie you’ve been skipping, I’d ask that you perhaps reconsider. Either that, or I’ll eat the brains of your kids’ kids.


Nothing But the Night (1973)

Directed by Peter Sasdy [Other horror films: Journey Into Darkness (1968, segment ‘The New People’), Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970), Countess Dracula (1971), Hands of the Ripper (1971), Doomwatch (1972), The Stone Tape (1972), I Don’t Want to Be Born (1975), Witchcraft (1992)]

Based on the 1968 novel of the same name by John Blackburn, this British film can be quite engaging at times, but I think that some elements hold it back, such as the conclusion and the eventual answer to some of the questions the ongoings in the movie put forward.

Certainly anytime that Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing share a scene, it’s a good time (previous to this film, they appeared together in movies such as The Curse of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Mummy, The Gorgon, Night of the Big Heat, I, Monster, Dracula A.D. 1972, and Horror Express), and that’s no different here. I’ve always personally preferred Cushing, but both of these actors put in great performances here, story issues aside.

Save those two, it’s hard to really point to anyone else that stands out. Georgia Brown (who later appeared in a segment of Tales That Witness Madness) was decent, but I didn’t think the finale really gave her character a lot to do. I didn’t love Diana Dors (Craze and Berserk) character, but she also did okay. Despite his short time on-screen, Keith Barron was reasonably solid, and of mild interest, though he’s difficult to pick out, Michael Gambon appears in a few scenes also.

If the movie could survive from solid performances alone, we might be talking about an early 70’s classic, but unfortunately some story elements suffer here. I definitely enjoyed the mystery that they had going on, and I did enjoy some things about the finale (which almost felt like The Wicker Man, though nowhere near as epic or memorable), but the solution to the mystery just didn’t interest me that much, and there’s also a bit of over-explanation toward the end by an antagonist, and it just felt off. One of the final scenes is great, but it’s not a flawless ride getting there.

Of course, being the sheltered American lad that I am, I enjoyed the British and Scottish accents and countryside, and though I didn’t care that much for the film overall (which is, on a side-note, about the same reaction I had to this one the first time I saw it some years ago), it still has that British charm to it, which may not amount to much when it comes to rating, but it was something that I appreciated.

Generally, I think that Nothing But the Night is okay. Below average, no doubt, but still worth seeking out if, at the very least, you’re a fan of Cushing or Lee (or the pair of them together). For me, I didn’t dig where the story went, and I think to an extent, things fell apart a little toward the end, but it’s not a movie that I’d never give another chance to, if only for the names involved.


The Food of the Gods (1976)

Directed by Bert I. Gordon [Other horror films: Beginning of the End (1957), The Cyclops (1957), Attack of the Puppet People (1958), Earth vs the Spider (1958), War of the Colossal Beast (1958), Tormented (1960), Picture Mommy Dead (1966), Necromancy (1972), Empire of the Ants (1977), Burned at the Stake (1982), Satan’s Princess (1989), Secrets of a Psychopath (2015)]

For the longest time, this has been one of those films I’ve been aware of and have wanted to see. I didn’t have any delusions that, upon my finally watching it, I’d have discovered a forgotten classic, but I was always hoping for at least an enjoyable film, and I have to admit that I didn’t really get that.

I think this film highlights some of the biggest potential problems with movies from the 1970’s, specifically, in this case, just how dry some of them can be. Certainly other 70’s movies suffer the same problem (one that immediately comes to mind is It’s Alive!), but this is one of the worst cases I’ve seen.

With a plot about some mysterious natural growth serum causing insects and rats to enlarge, you might hope for a little bit of hokey fun, and while I won’t dispute that some of the action may well fall under the category of ‘hokey,’ I don’t think this film has a whole lot of fun ingrained within. Even similar films like Night of the Lepus (which also took itself too seriously) feel a little more enjoyable, and you’d sort of hope that any “nature gets revenge on humankind” movie would have more going for it.

Of course, that may just be my view, but this felt almost entirely dry from beginning to end. You maybe got a little fun out of Ida Lupino’s character, and maybe a pinch of laughs from Ralph Meeker’s insensitive actions, but that’s really all there is, and it’s definitely not enough to keep my interest.

In fact, I actually nodded off not once, but twice, and one of those times was during a giant rat attack (which, by the conclusion, felt far more repetitive as opposed to horrifying, not that they ever once felt horrifying). Perhaps admitting this says more about me and my consistent lack of sleep, but there you go.

I don’t think I really cared much for Marjoe Gortner (of Mausoleum fame) or Jon Cypher here. Neither one really had much feeling to them. It’s the same with Tom Stovall and Belinda Balaski (The Howling) – just more dull characters. Ida Lupino was only remarkable due to having such goofy, old-fashioned beliefs, and Ralph Meeker played a selfish dick, so he was sometimes a hoot. Perhaps best of the cast was Pamela Franklin (The Innocents and The Legend of Hell House), who’s character’s love interest in Gortner’s was just ridiculous but at least Franklin was almost sometimes okay.

Certainly the cast felt uninspired, but I think that has more to do with the film itself. Give these actors and actresses a good story, and I suspect most of them will give decent performances, that’s my motto. And that didn’t happen here, alas, which is more the shame, as this is based (loosely) on a 1904 novel by H. G. Lewis.

The special effects were laughable, but that’s okay, because anything to give this movie a little extra boost is always appreciated, even if it didn’t work. And I have to say, this movie really needed something, but The Food of the Gods never got it. I just didn’t have fun at all – it felt tedious and dry from beginning to end, and I just can’t see myself wanting to give this one another shot anytime soon.


Eraserhead (1977)

Directed by David Lynch [Other horror films: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992), Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces (2014)]

I think I’m somewhat forthcoming about my dislike of more experimental films, and many of them I see (with a few exceptions, such as Hausu) I end up disliking. I’ve seen Eraserhead once before (hated it), and seeing it with fresh eyes, I still hated it.

This isn’t something I want to spend much time on, mainly for the same reason I didn’t want to spend much time on My Boyfriend’s Back – this film isn’t aimed at me, and I knew that going in, so I don’t feel particularly great about giving it a low score (and believe me, Eraserhead is getting a low score). I know it’s not my type of thing, but it’s also a movie that I had seen before, and as such, had to rewatch, so here we are.

I’ll give this film props for a dark atmosphere, banging background score, unsettling imagery, and befuddling ideas. I found much of it repulsive and didn’t enjoy almost a second of it, but it was certainly trying something different, which is something I guess you can trust Lynch to do.

Of course, I can imagine that there are a hell of a lot of interpretations for this movie out there, and I’d guess that most of them are equally valid. I have no idea what this movie was trying to say, if anything, but as to not be left out in the cold, I’d just argue that it tries to expose what working-class isolation in a post-industrial society, following the results of an Atomic bomb dropped by a Western African nation in the grips of an unending civil war, can do to a man’s fragile psyche. Sounds close enough.

Jack Nance had an interesting look to him. Charlotte Stewart (who later popped up in Tremors, of all places) was certainly something. Allen Joseph could smile creepily with the best of them. And that’s pretty much it for the cast.

The story was disjointed and moderately confusing, including dream sequences about pencils and some hideous mutant child and a woman who lives in a radiator, which is also Heaven, maybe, or something like that.

Yeah. Eraserhead has a 7.4/10 on IMDb as of this writing, and I just don’t understand it. From my perspective, while elements of this surrealistic film are interesting, it doesn’t make it good, and I had a thoroughly unenjoyable time with this, and if I’m lucky, I’ll never have to sit through this trash again. It’s not my type of movie, which is good riddance, as far as I’m concerned.


Multiple Maniacs (1970)

Directed by John Waters [Other horror films: Pink Flamingos (1972), Female Trouble (1974)]

Before going into this one, I knew that I was almost certainly going to dislike it, and I did. This really isn’t my type of movie at all, and while it’s not entirely void of entertaining portions, Multiple Maniacs was just torturous for me to sit through.

Primarily a gritty, almost counterculture crime/black comedy, with some horror thrown in toward the finale, this movie had a vibe I just couldn’t dig. There were certainly some amusing lines, and it was funny listening to the terrible dialogue at times, but more often than that, I was bored.

Take this, for instance: after the main character, Divine, is raped, there’s a 15-minute sequence of her going to a church, meeting some random lesbian, becoming seduced by said lesbian in the church, all while Divine’s rambling about religious crap and the other woman is giving a long speech over the Stations of the Cross (which, if you don’t know, and I didn’t, it’s a sort of spiritual pilgrimage following the path of Jesus’ supposed moments prior to the ending of his life).

Hearing about this via some random lesbian as she’s anally pleasuring an overweight drag queen with rosary beads wasn’t quite the spiritual experience for me, though.

Certainly this type of tasteless humor has it’s place, and I can imagine that, if I had been a practicing Catholic, that scene would have mortified me, but as I’m not, I was just bored, and found the whole 15 minutes tedious.

Divine was an interesting character. Despicable, unlikable, and pretty much all-around awful, it was close-to-impossible to care about her, even when she’s getting attacked by a giant lobster. David Lochary was sometimes amusing, but terrible. Mink Stole and her extreme unction’s just annoyed the hell out of me. Cookie Mueller was also awful, but at least had respectable politics. The worst of the bunch was probably Mary Vivian Pearce, who played Lochary’s girlfriend and she too, like Stole, just got on my nerves.

I don’t really think I’ve ever seen a film as intentionally tasteless as this one, which isn’t a bad thing, but when that’s coupled with amateur camera-work (I’m guessing that a tripod was either outside of their budget or outside of their intended “artistic style”) and a plodding story that randomly throws in a giant lobster, followed by ten minutes of the worst conclusion I’ve ever seen, it’s not a good time.

“He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” made an appearance at one point, which I will admit to finding amusing, especially given the context, and the film ends with “America, the Beautiful” in an almost parodic way, which I certainly can respect, but aside from that, most of the music and other dialogue is either so mind-numbingly repetitive or just off that two okay moments can’t off-set it.

I’m not sure the intended demographic for this movie, but I do know that I’m not it. I taped this off TCM because, at the time, I was recording any and all horror movies TCM played that I’ve not yet seen and reviewed, and so, like anything else, despite knowing I’d likely dislike this, I recorded it.

And of course, I hated it. It has a high rating on IMDb (currently a 6.7/10 at the time of this writing) and a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes (not a site I ever really pay attention to, but this score just blew my mind). If you’re into John Waters or shock cinema, it may be worth a look, but this is a mug of steaming coffee, to be clear, and not my cup of tea.