Tag Archives: Euro-horror

SLAUGHTER HIGH

slaughterhigh1.5 Stars  1986/18/86m

“Marty majored in cutting classmates!”

Directors/Writers: George Dugdale, Mark Ezra & Peter Litten / Cast: Caroline Munro, Simon Scuddamore, Carmine Iannaccone, Kelly Baker, Donna Yeager, Billy Hartman, Gary Martin, Sally Cross, Josephine Scandi, Michael Saffran, John Segal.

Body Count: 12 – or not…

Dire-logue: “We’ll take my car…it starts every time.”


Another one for the filmclub de lá Final Girl

I saw this film a long, long time ago on a date. Said date frowned and shot questioning looks my way throughout, wondering if there was actually something wrong with me. Explanations that “they’re [slasher films] not all this bad, I promise!” notwithstanding, that was possibly the beginning of the end of that relationship.

Curiously, being that Slaughter High was a UK-US combo project shot in Surrey (albeit pretending to be America), it’s never been given a DVD release here and, due to the bitter memories emanating from my VHS copy, I’ve not seen it again. It took three guys to write and direct this bizarro Friday the 13th pretender, which was scored by Harry Manfredini, thereby allowing those who write things on poster art to state that it was “from the makers of” that film.

Slaughter High sports the now classic revenge opus with a clique of popular kids at Doddsville High School, led by a then 34-year-old Caroline Munro (it was apparently shot in ’84), playing pranks on cookie cutter nerd Marty Rantzen, one of which ends with him being horrifically burned by acid. Caroline is sorry, the others aren’t really.

caroline

“Let’s get physic-aaaaarrgghhh!!!”

A decade on, all ten are invited back to a bogus reunion at the now abandoned school where they are quickly locked inside and picked off by the jester-masked Marty, who does them in creatively with acid-laced beer, a pit of sludge and the usual array of axes and knives. He also manages to ensure one chick – spattered in blood – takes a bath in acid, melting off her skin in all of twenty seconds.

Grisly and gory where it counts but entirely inept in almost every other department, the characters of Slaughter High make time to stray for sex after they’ve witnessed several friends DIE! DIE! DIE! Said horny couple are electrocuted during the act, whilst another guy is crushed by the tractor he’s trying to fix (!?), which has a convenient spinning rotor on its underside…

Sooner or later, it’s down to Marty and Caroline. It climaxes slightly differently than one might expect but then there’s the twist. Jesus Wept, there’s that twist! If the inexplicable behaviour of most of the cast had you scratching your head earlier on, you’ll want to dig your fingernails through your skull and into your brain at the end proper.

As you can tell, I’m not a fan. But plenty are and the film has garnered a weird following over the years, partly due to Scuddamore’s subsequent suicide and the presence of bad-horror fixture Munro and the sometimes uncomfortable vibe the film has on parade, from seeing Marty full-frontally nude to the often sadistic deaths (deserved, I guess…), the film suffers from some of the lesser elements of British 80’s productions: grainy and drained of colour, it’s like a horror episode of Dempsey & Makepeace or a Bucks Fizz video that went askew! But they got it right with the jester mask –  it’s damn creepy.

Though it sucks, it’s kind of a crap-classic that I’ll give another spin one day should I require another date to make a quick exit…

Blurbs-of-interest: Munro and Baker both appeared in the even worse Don’t Open Til Christmas; Munro was also in Maniac and it’s sort-of sequel The Last Horror Film. And check out the pair of covers below, IMDb trivia states Cutting Class is a spin-off. Eww.

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SILENT BLOODNIGHT

silentbloodnight 2006/18/84m

“The terror is everywhere!”

Directors/Writers: Stefan Peczelf & Elmar Weihsmann / Cast: Vanessa Vee, Mike Vega, Robert Cleaner, Alexander E. Fennon, Markus Schlotti, Andrea Stotter, Christine Dune, Christina Conti, Andy Freund, Julia Melchor.

Body Count: 13

Dire-logue: “Daddy, the waitress was allergic to bee stings. Why did all the bees sting at the same spot?”

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There are times when things aren’t quite real to me, like the time I ate Space Cake in Amsterdam and my brain seemed to be firing so fast I thought it would short out and explode, then I was convinced I’d be run over by a tram. Bad times.

Self-induced trips aside, when watching Silent Bloodnight earlier today, I was struck by a sort of whatthefuckishappening vibe as the events of this supremely weird Austrian export unfolded before my eyes, which is quite possibly the weirdest film I’ve seen in recent memory, and said recent memory includes both Mr Halloween and Ax ‘Em.

The film begins with a girl wandering aimlessly down the middle of a road in the dark, chanting the lyrics to Mockingbird. She hears some splashing and spies on three guys and a girl skinny dipping in the lake and sits there nibbling the corner of a chocolate bar. Skinny dippers emerge from the water and we see something you don’t oft get in slasher flicks: FULL FRONTAL MALE NUDITY!

silent1The girl then finds two naked people having sex and is approached by two clothed guys (possibly the skinny dippers but who knows what’s going on in this film?) She offers them chocolate. Another couple drive up and begin having sex in their car. A different girl goes to the bathroom and finds blood. Whose? Dunno. Her boyfriend staggers in and is then killed with a spade by a dungaree wearing farmer type.

Back in the sex-car, the girl – Sabrina – sees a terrified girl at the window but doesn’t stop the sex for now. When she chooses to, her boyfriend Matt thinks her screams are climactic and continues humping her. The terrified girl hides in some reeds but spade-farmer comes and kills her. Another guy called Jacob appears and asks Sabrina and Matt – done with sex-car – if they’ve seen a girl called Nina. No. He goes to the lake and cries “nooooooo” for some reason.

The mysterious transvestite-eiderdown killer!

The mysterious transvestite-eiderdown killer!

Sabrina, we learn, is the local news anchor who presents her show in only a bikini. There’s some blah about a discovered piece of jewelry and Sabrina wants to investigate the girl-at-the-window but nobody else cares, including her cop dad. Some more teens turn up to stay at a house or help open a boy scout camp (I couldn’t work it out) and a couple of them die by spade when they go off somewhere. Meanwhile, after being attacked by a clodding transvestite, Sabrina investigates Jacob’s sister Nina, who has escaped from an institution and she and Jacob discuss it over the world’s biggest jug of OJ.

silent2

Jacob confided in Sabrina the truth about his Vitiman C deficiency.

The killer eventually comes to the house where the teens are staying a kills some of them, including another frontally nude guy, whose frontally nude girl ran down the hall straight into a knife… Sabrina’s dad appears to save the day and we learn something to do with Nina being raped and dying somehow. In a handy flashback, mid-rape, one of the guys just says she’s dead and leaves… How did she die? Chocolate intolerance? What? Help! To make matters worse weirder, the killer appears almost straight away at the scene and spins with his spade in hand as if competing for Gold at The Hammer in the Olympics and takes the guy’s head off!

silent3Silent Bloodnight makes little sense and two of the girls look exactly the same so I had no idea who I was dealing with at any one time. Also, the film stock may well have been left out in the rain for a fortnight as it’s so damn blurry, giving it an early 80’s look akin to trash like Satan’s Blade or Honeymoon Horror. It’s actually better than those films though, mainly because the Austrian cast all talk in English. Better than subtitles? Well…yes and no. I respect anyone who can master a language as we English-speaking natives are just too damn lazy to most of the time, but both pronunciation and choice of adjectives constantly had me smirking as Sabrina would try and make points during her terror: “something unexplained has happened!” she caws. Elsewhere, a cop assigned to protect her suggests she order a pizza, to which she responds: “what a mouth! I will complain about you!”

Bless them for trying but I had little to no idea what was happening, who most of the cast were, what they were doing there and why dungaree-farmer killed most of them. Or who the tranny-killer was. Or what became of dungaree-farmer at the end.

If you like tons of mixed-gender nudity, incomprehensible plotting, incidental stingers that sound like you’re receiving a text message, translations assumedly advised by Google and slightly blurry visuals then Silent Bloodnight is for you and nobody else. Stick it in the box under your bed with your porn, it’ll be happy there.

SLAUGHTER HOTEL

slaughterhotel 1971/18/86m

“A place where nothing is forbidden.”

A.k.a. Asylum Erotica (UK DVD); The Beast Kills in Cold Blood; The Cold-Blooded Beast

Director/Writer: Fernando Di Leo / Writer: Nino Latino / Cast: Klaus Kinski, Margaret Lee, Rosalba Neri, Jane Garret, John Karlsen, Gioia Desideri, Monica Strebel.

Body Count: 11

Dire-logue: “Your desire to make love is obsessive; compulsive… Go and take a shower.”

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Supposedly, men cannot go more than six seconds without thinking about sex. I don’t disagree with this assessment, but in a typical day of 16 waking hours, that’s 9,600 thoughts about sex. So…how many of those thoughts are bit sleazy?

In spite of itself, there’s nowt wrong with a bit of sleaze. It’s probably healthy! Ergo, how about this early Italian giallo that is practically dripping with sleaze? It’s certainly no Argento or Bava outing though; an institution in an old castle – seemingly only for glamorous, beautiful women – is the hunting ground for a cloaked killer who offs his victims with a variety of medieval weaponry.

Slaughter Hotel is less a horror film than some bizarro porn flick with interracial lesbian romps, endless scenes of naked women in bed, writhing with night terrors while doctors Kinski and Karlsen move around dishing up pop-psychology hypotheses’ for their fashionista patients. Bouncing along to a Loveboat-esque samba rhythm of flutes and various woodwind instruments, there’s precious little dialogue, most of which is badly dubbed and nudity far outweighs any violent content. In fact, half the body count is racked up in the last couple of minutes of the film, all of it female bar one poor schmuck who’s pushed into a handy iron maiden and skewered therein.

Kinski gives an uncharacteristically restrained performance in his thankless role while all the female characters simply drape themselves around set pieces waiting to be fucked of filleted. It’s a direlogue haven, as one man drives his gorked-out wife to the venue, she lunges for the steering wheel and, as if questioning an item on the shopping list, he says to her: “killing me is one thing but why commit suicide?” Indeed. Di Leo reportedly admitted never having researched institutions prior to the shoot, which is subtley evident in the finished product. A weird, weird experience that must be seen to be believed.

Blurbs-of-interest: the film is available on a variety of cuts, some with more of the sexual content cut than others. Kinski also played a shrink in Schizoid.

DEAD IN 3 DAYS

deadin3days

2006/98m

Director: Andreas Prochaska / Writers: Thomas Baum, Uli Bree & Andreas Prochaska / Cast: Sabrina Reiter, Julia Rosa Stockl, Michael Steinocher, Nadja Vogel, Laurence Rupp, Julian Sharp, Andreas Kiendl, Karl Fischer, Amelie Jarolim, Susi Stach.

Body Count: 6

Dire-logue: “You guys are out of your minds – this isn’t a movie it’s fucking real!”

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About the trillionth offshore Xerox of I Know What You Did Last Summer, this twee Austrian export can boast some stunning scenery and well above average photography, something Euro-horror does better than most.

A clique of graduating high schoolers each receive the same text message, which tells them they’ll be dead within three days – hence the title, duh. They assume it’s a prank, most likely by the requisite outcast and party on down. The joy of leaving school is somewhat short lived when one of them disappears and turns up bound and weighted in the town’s lake the next day. The usual reactions ensue: the police blame whomever is convenient; the teens grieve and attacks continue.

Dead in 3 Days elects a not-so-obvious final girl in Nina, girlfriend of the recently departed, who is the next to be abducted but escapes from the slicker-clad killer, allowing him/her to move on the next target, beheading them with the help of a splintered fishtank. With the cops now taking notice, the three remaining kids are quizzed about who they think might want them dead and eventually recall an ice-skating accident from their childhood where a school buddy of theirs died and, two days later, his grieving father hanged himself – or did he?

Eventually, the kids break curfew and head to the former home of dead-kid and confront the killer. What should now crank up the considerable amount of tension (the circumstances of the past incident not yet fully clear), instead fizzles out in a flat, kinda rushed finale. Nicely done but too generic to be memorable.

Dubbed into English with more care than most efforts. A sequel followed in 2008.

Not-so-cold Prey

manhuntdvdMANHUNT

2 Stars  2008/18/76m

“This year…it’s open season.”

Director: Patrik Syversen / Writers: Patrik Syversen & Nini Bull Robsahm / Cast: Henriette Bruusgaard, Jorn-Bjorn Fuller-Gee, Nini Bull Robsahm, Lasse Valdal, Janne Starup Bones, Helge Sween, Jeppe Laursen, Erlend Vetleseter.

Body Count: 9


I like mystery plots, whodunits and complex conspiracy thrillers but sometimes filmmakers take this a little too far. In the case of Norwegian Wrong Turn rip-off Manhunt, the mystery is why the hell any of what’s happening is happening?

Inexplicably set in that golden year for teen death, 1974 (so…that tagline should probably be “that year…it was open season” right?), for no other reason than to rob the characters of cellphones, I suppose, a quartet of teens in a VW Camper drive into the woods for some hiking. They stop at a diner, quarrel about picking up a traumatised young woman, pick her up, argue again, lose their keys and then get ambushed by a trio of backwoods hunters who want to kill them. Why? Shrug. No, really…why?

Perhaps the writers thought the true horror lay in the absence of motive but this factor doesn’t impress much when coupled with the less than likeable characters, all of whom have no particular story of their own save for obvious final girl Camilla, who’s going to go to a good school. It’s like I’ve known her forever.

Manhunt does succeed in creating some sub-Haute Tension style, uh… tension when Camilla is wandering alone through the dense forest while her buddies drop like flies. Strangely, she’s the only one who even attempts to fight back and offs all three psychos before staggering away. Notably, the whole film takes place in the daylight for a change, enabling us to witness some amateur pathology and hear some squishy cutting sounds.

Ultimately, it’s not a film you’d remember and, even at a mere 76 minutes, seems to drag. Cold Prey it ain’t, Texas Chain Saw it wants to be.

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