Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: The Female Bunch (1971)

I’ve been a fan of Al Adamson for a long, long time. So long that I’m not sure how my minor obsession began all those years ago. It might have been when I first saw Satan’s Sadists (1969). I was considering writing a biker musical as a follow up to Bad GIrls Jailhouse, so I was watching every biker movie that I could put my hands on. Satan’s Sadists blew me away and became one my favourites. At some point I started buying any and every bargain bin VHS tape that had Al Adamson’s name on it. Some of them were horrendously bad, some of them were surprisingly good – but they were always entertaining. The Female Bunch (1971) was not one of the movies I bought, or rented on VHS. I think I had read of its existence in some book or magazine, but it seemed to be a fairly elusive movie (at least to me). 

VHS box for The Female Bunch (1971)I had visions of The Female Bunch being a companion piece to Satan’s Sadists (1969). After all, The Female Bunch was made two years after Satan’s Sadists and it had Russ Tamblyn in it again. It was about a group of female outlaws, and I imagined that they might be bikers, like the guys in Satan’s Sadists. Unfortunately, that was all wishful thinking on my part. 

The Female Bunch is more of a weird, modern day Western. The outlaw women ride horses, not motorcycles, and hang out on a ranch somewhere in the desert. They are all women who hate men. They’ve all been screwed over by men in some way (this actually makes it closer to Bad GIrls Jailhouse than any biker musical I might have written), and they have  formed a secret, outlaw society as a response to their bad times with bad dudes. There are no men allowed on the ranch – except for an old and decrepit alcoholic stuntman played by Lon Chaney Jr.. Sadly, it doesn’t seem like Chaney is having to stretch very far to play this character. According to some of the other actors who were in the film, he had to be supplied with one bottle of vodka per day to keep him going. And anytime that the production ran low, they had to send someone out to buy more booze. This was a task made more complicated by the fact that they were shooting in Utah, which was a dry state (or at least their part of it was). Thankfully, they had a plane which figured into their story about drug smuggling, and when not being filmed it could be re-purposed to smuggle booze. 

Behind-the-scenes stories like that one could be more interesting than the film itself. Roger Ebert, who had been an early champion of Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch (1969), was somewhat less enthusiastic about Al Adamson’s The Female Bunch. Ebert wrote: “There’s no level at which “The Female Bunch” is any good…” I suspect that most of the critics – and audience members – felt that way back in 1971. As a connoisseur of Al Adamson’s oeuvre, I can say that I don’t entirely agree.

Poster for Satan's Sadists (1969)Honestly, The Female Bunch is no Satan’s Sadists. It’s closer to some of Al’s lesser films, although it does have some standout moments. Russ Tamblyn, as a man who makes the mistake of thinking he can sneak onto the ranch to have sex with one of the outlaw women, is excellent. The beginning of the film works well enough, as we follow a new recruit into this wild and crazy world. The final act also more or less works. The film really starts to sprawl in the middle, as there is very little forward movement in the story and not quite enough sleazy goodness (or should I say, sleazy badness?) to make up for it. Still, there is some sleazy goodness, and some inadvertent humour, so it’s not a total loss, either. 

Al Adamson is true master of #NotQuiteClassicCinema, and perhaps one of the genre’s greatest auteurs. Ed Wood gets a lot of credit for his efforts to further the art form – and deservedly so – but a guy like Al Adamson deserves just as much recognition for his accomplishments. The Female Bunch (1971) is not one of his greatest works, but that’s okay. I’m glad that I finally have a copy in my Al Adamson collection, and it certainly is essential viewing for anyone who has a taste for Al’s particular brand of cinematic madness. Perhaps, like some of his other films, The Female Bunch will only get better the next time it’s screened on some future #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.

Trash Or Terror Tuesday: The Vineyard (1989)

It’s time for #TrashOrTerrorTuesday

…when I examine a film that’s been languishing in my personal library to determine if it is #Trash or #Terror

– or more importantly, if it deserves to stay in my collection.

And so, out from the dusty shelves of #VHS tapes & DVDs comes…

Poster art for The Vineyard (1989)The Vineyard (1989) by #JamesHong & #WilliamRice

w/ #JamesHong #KarenLorre #MichaelWong

A world famous winemaker invites several actors to his estate to audition for a movie he’s financing.

“An island of death fueled by the blood of its victims.”




The Vineyard (1989) is not a movie that I saw back in the ’80s or ’90s. I had never even heard of it, to the best of my knowledge. I found the DVD for a reasonable price back in 2001 and decided to give it a shot. As I recall, I enjoyed it quite a bit, even though it was clearly a “bad movie”. Looking it up in my review books certainly confirmed this, as it was pretty universally panned. One and a half stars in Terror On Tape by James O’Neill: “A bad hybrid of the mad doctor and stalker subgenres…”. Still, it entertained me so I added it to my personal library…

…and then I never watched it again. So, last week I realized that it was time to put it to the #TrashOrTerrorTuesday test.

I’m going to keep this short. The Vineyard (1989) is a minor trashterpiece, and James Hong is the man to blame/congratulate. He co-wrote, co-directed and starred in it. I could be wrong about this, but it almost feels like Hong was trying to capture some of the same over-the-top energy as Stuart Gordon’s brilliant films Re-Animator (1985) and From Beyond (1986). The Vineyard is nowhere near as good as that, but it makes me think of those films. On the other hand, it also seems to channel something much sleazier, like some of Al Adamson’s work, or perhaps SCTV’s brilliant parodies Dr Tongue’s 3D House Of Stewardesses, and Dr Tongue’s 3D House Of Slave Chicks. One of my twitter friends (hello grendelvaldez) referred to The Vineyard as “1 of the Greatest Sleaze Turkeys Ever” – and I think he’s right.

So, what’s the verdict?

The Vineyard (1989) is somehow both Trash and Terror. It’s a whole lot of fun, and more than deserving of a place in my permanent collection. I hope to watch it again before the next twenty years blows past.

Friday The 13th At The Home Drive-In: Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985)

I was annoyed when Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985) came out. I had thought that Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (1984) had been a fitting ending for the series, as I may have mentioned in a previous blog post. Still, when a friend and I were looking for something cool to rent on a Saturday night, we decided to give Friday the 13th Part V a shot. Part 5? That in itself was unheard of and ridiculous to us. Most sequels petered out by Part 3 in those days. The idea of endless sequels would soon become fodder for satire in movies like  Back to the Future Part II (1989), which featured a movie poster for Jaws 19.

Friday the 13th: A New Beginning Beta tapeMy friend and I brought the Friday the 13th: A New Beginning tape back to his house and popped it in the Betamax. As the movie began with a couple of assholes digging up Jason Voorhees’ grave, I started to get worried. When they removed the lid of his coffin and Jason was lying inside, looking fairly intact, I started to get angry. He had been chopped up into a million pieces at the end of Part 4, hadn’t he?

When Jason woke up and started killing the two assholes, I completely lost it.

“What is this bullshit?!” I yelled at the screen. “He’s been lying in his coffin, alive, waiting for someone to come along and dig him up?” My friend couldn’t explain it any better than I could. The Friday the 13th series had not exactly been realistic up to this point – and Jason certainly seemed to get killed two or three times in each of the previous movies, only to get back up and start massacring teenagers again – but he was chopped up into little pieces at the end of Part 4! The whole point had been to make sure that he would never be able to get back up again. That’s why they called it The Final Chapter.

If they were going to bring Jason back to life, I would have at least expected them to have some sort of explanation – like a mad scientist sewing all the body parts back together. Simply opening a coffin and having him sit up was not good enough for me. I was in the midst of expressing my great displeasure when suddenly the TV screen went all fuzzy. Something had gone wrong with the tape. My friend stopped and started it a couple of times, and tried to adjust the tracking, but the screen remained fuzzy. Not even ejecting and reloading the tape made any difference. We looked at the clock and it was too late to even return the tape to the store and complain. We would not be finishing Friday the 13th: A New Beginning on that might.

Of course, it wouldn’t have done much good even if we could have returned the tape to the store. This was before the big chains started stocking thirty copies of every new release and guaranteeing that you would be able to get hold of it. Hell, this was before the big chains even existed (at least in my home town). Our only hope might have been that the guy at the video store would have known how to fix the tape, but that wasn’t too likely, either.

We did not watch the rest of movie that night, or the next day. I think my friend maybe got a store credit for a future rental. I hated the first five minutes of Friday the 13th Part V so much that I was no big hurry to ever rent it again. Why would I want to watch the rest of it, when I thought it was complete bullshit? I complained loudly to all of my other friends about it. Several months later, one of them took me aside.

“Hey, I just watched Friday the 13th Part V,” he said, “and that scene at the beginning… the one you hated so much… it’s a dream.”


“It’s a dream. Jason doesn’t come back to life, it’s just a dream!”


So, I rented Friday the 13th: A New Beginning and gave it another shot. I still didn’t like it. My big problem was that the killer was not Jason Voorhees. It was a guy pretending to be Jason Voorhees, but he seemed to be just as indestructible as Jason Voorhees. As much as I had complaints about Jason’s unrealistic ability to survive being stabbed, hung, hit in the head with an axe, etc., I had ultimately accepted the fact that he was in some way supernatural. He had possibly downed as a kid, after all, and somehow come back to life. Although, I tended to believe that he hadn’t drowned, but rather had somehow survived and grew up in the woods. Still, he was clearly some sort of indestructible, supernatural being. Simply putting on a hockey mask and pretending to be Jason Voorhees should not give you superpowers.

Apparently I was not alone in my dislike of Friday the 13th Part V. However, it seems that most people didn’t like it simply because the killer wasn’t Jason. So, the next movie was Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (1986). I refused to see that one for years. as I still believed that Jason had been permanently destroyed at the end of Part 4. So, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning became the end for the series or me, at least for a while.

Eventually I watched the rest of the films, and I watched Friday the 13th Part V a second time. Knowing what to expect, I enjoyed it much more than the first time. It’s grown on me more and more with each subsequent viewing. In some ways, it’s the most unique movie of the series. It has characters that I actually like and care about. It has a sense of humour. It continues the story of Tommy from Part 4, although he has somehow aged 12 or 13 years between 1984 and 1985. But there’s a new kid in this movie, “Reggie The Reckless” played by Shavar Ross (perhaps best known as Dudley from Diff’rent Strokes (1978-1986). Reggie is a great character, and helps to make this movie more than just a typical slasher movie sequel. The presence of troubled adult Tommy also gives the movie a different spin. Possible SPOILER ALERT: much has been made of the “final girl” trope in golden age slasher films, but this movie has a final trio.

While some people do cite the movie as their personal favourite, Friday the 13th: A New Beginning (1985) is probably the most maligned entry in the series, and thus a perfect example of #NotQuiteClassicCinema. I can honestly say that I love it now, which I would have never predicted when first watching it on Beta back in 1985. It is a most welcome addition to any #FridayThe13thAtTheHomeDriveIn.

Trash Or Terror Tuesday: Dead 7 (2000)

It’s time for #TrashOrTerrorTuesday

…when I examine a film that’s been languishing in my personal library to determine if it is #Trash or #Terror

– or more importantly, if it deserves to stay in my collection.

And so, out from the dusty shelves of #VHS tapes comes…

DVD box art for Dead 7 (2000)Dead 7 (2000) by #GarrettClancy

w/ #JanetTracyKeijser #TanyaDempsey

A group of friends are killed one by one after discovering numerous dead bodies of drug dealers while out on a hike.

“Your Ultimate Fear Has A New Number!”

#Horror #Thriller



I think that the only reason why I kept this DVD in my collection is that it was released by Brain Damage Films, which according to Wikipedia “distributes a variety of horror and shock exploitation movies in many formats, including DVD, Blu-ray, and cable, satellite, and Internet video on demand.” They were a fairly new company when I bought this movie, and I was curious to see what kind of films they were making/distributing. I’m pretty sure that Dead 7 (2000) did not particularly impress me, but it was kind of okay, and I felt like it might be worth keeping as an example of a Brain Damage Films movie. Perhaps I thought that other Brain Damage Films movies might be better, and I would decide to collect their entire catalogue. I’m not sure. Needless to say, I never became a Brain Damage Films collector, and I’ve only seen a handful of their movies over the years – and none of them have become personal favourites. 

So, why is Dead 7 taking up valuable space on my movie library shelf? That is the question I asked myself, right before putting it to the #TrashOrTerrorTuesday test.

The description of the movie is inaccurate. It’s not about a group of friends who stumble upon some drug dealers bodies and then get killed off for knowing too much. This is about a couple of drug dealers killing some guys (who cheated them in some way) and dumping their bodies into a hole. Meanwhile, coincidentally and unknown to them, their girlfriends are wandering around the same wooded area looking for some leaves for a school art project (or something like that). Also in the area is another girl from school, and her mute brother. The drug dealing assholes toss the mute brother into the hole with the dead bodies because he may have seen them. Since the poor guy can’t speak or make a sound, he can’t call for help and let anyone know that he’s down there.

Fast forward several months (?!)

Someone starts killing the asshole drug dealers and their girlfriends. SPOILER ALERT: It’s the dead mute kid who’s been rotting in that hole for months.

Dead 7 is not much of a horror film. It plays like a cheapjack crime film for the first two thirds. The “horror” really only starts happening in the final act – and it’s pretty tame. 

So what’s the verdict?

Dead 7 (2000) is trash – and not the good kind that delivers laughs, gore and sleazy entertainment. There are a couple of slightly sleazy scenes involving the drug dealers and their girlfriends, and some rather unremarkable gore – but all of this stuff happens in the final 20-30 minutes of the movie. You have to sit through a lot of nothing in order to get there. All in all, I’m not sure how I allowed myself to sit through this movie twice – but I won’t be doing it again. Perhaps someone, somewhere, likes this movie more than me. They can have it.

Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: Andy Warhol’s Bad (1977)

Andy Warhol’s Bad (1977) is one of those films that is almost mythical to me (in terms of my own life and how I experienced it – not that I had heard great mythical stories about it). I stumbled onto it as a VHS rental decades ago. I had been exploring Andy Warhol’s filmography, starting with Flesh for Frankenstein (1973) and Blood for Dracula (1974), of course. The VHS tapes showed up at my local video store and looked like something special. The boxes actually said Andy Warhol presents Dracula, and Andy Warhol presents Frankenstein. I read them as Andy Warhol’s Dracula and Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein, which I swear some boxes actually said. 

VHS box for Andy Warhol's DraculaVHS box for Andy Warhol's Frankenstein

One of the first things that I discovered about these films, is that they were not directed by Andy Warhol. Some guy named Paul Morrissey seemed to be getting all of the credit. How can this be? How can a film be called Andy Warhol’s (whatever) and not be directed by Andy Warhol? This was a new concept to me…

I’m not sure what I really knew about Andy Warhol in those days. Not a lot, I’m sure. I knew he was an artist. A “pop artist”, in fact, who painted things like soup cans.  And that he had famously predicted that “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” Although, it turns out that he may not have ever said that, in fact. Go figure.

VHS box for Andy Warhol's Heat - not for Andy Warhol's BadAt some point I must have found out that Andy Warhol made movies. Was that before the VHS tapes of …Dracula and …Frankenstein turned up at my store? I’m not sure. But after I watched those movies, and found them to be suitably unique. and interesting, I decided to rent all of the Andy Warhol’s (whatever) movies. There was Flesh (1968), Trash (1970), Heat (1972) and last, but not least, Bad (1977). The VHS tapes all looked like they were from a matching set, and it seemed like Andy Warhol had a thing for one word titles that were somewhat provocative. And most of them starred a guy named Joe Dallesandro, who was presented as if he was a big star, but I had never heard of him.  It turned out that he was what they call a Warhol superstar.  He went on to have a decent acting career, at first in Europe and then back in North America, where he appeared on TV shows like Miami Vice (1984-90) and The Hitchhiker (1983-91). He was also in John Waters’ Cry-Baby (1990), which is interesting for other reasons that will become apparent.

Andy Warhol’s Bad was the last of the first wave of Andy Warhol films that I made of point of renting and watching, and it was by far my favourite. I would say that it was the best, but that’s a highly subjective thing, and I don’t want to offend anyone who has another favourite (but it was the best). I would say that it blew my mind. It was so edgy and shocking (to me) and like the review on the cover of the VHS box said, it’s “A picture with something to offend absolutely everybody.” — New York Post

Needless to say, I loved it, and I wanted to buy a copy and add it to my collection. Unfortunately, it was pretty hard to come by. The VHS tape that I had rented was technically for sale, as all tapes were at my favourite video store, but the price on the sticker was $199.99. In my experience, this basically meant that the store did not want to sell it, but if anyone was crazy enough to pay two hundred dollars for it, they’d take it. I may have been crazy, but I wasn’t that crazy.

So, I spent the next twenty years keeping my eyes peeled, and scouring bargain bins everywhere that In went. But this movie was never for sale anywhere. I might have considered giving up and paying two hundred dollars for it, but it had long since disappeared from that store. Had someone else been crazy enough to pay that price? I’ll never know.

A couple of years ago, I found a cheapjack DVD released by Cheezy Movies. It was probably no better a print that I had originally seen on that old VHS tape many years ago, but the price was right, so I bought it.  Why has this film never been given the super-deluxe collector’s edition treatment? Why is there no Blu-ray? I’m sure there’s some bizarre legal reasons, or something like that. In any case, i’ll take what I can get until something better comes along.

It was great to finally see the movie again. Of course, it’s not quite so edgy and offensive anymore (to me). I’ve watched a lot of edgy, crazy, offensive movies in the decades since I first saw Bad.

This brings to mind another interesting point. many people have compared Bad to the films of John Waters. Some have even suggested that it was Andy Warhol’s attempt to do a John Waters film (that could have been a good title, actually: Andy Warhol’s John Waters). This is not something that would have ever occurred to me back when I first saw Bad, because I don’t think I had ever seen a John Waters film. Watching it now, after becoming a full fledged fan of John Waters and collecting all of his movies, I can see the comparison. There are still a lot of differences, and I’m not sure that it was actually an attempt to “do” John Waters. But I like Bad for many of the same reasons that I like John Waters, so that’s something, I guess.

I recently found out that Andy Warhol’s Bad (1977) ran for many years as a midnight movie in Chicago. This gives it the ultimate seal of approval as a perfect selection for a #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn. It’s a wonderful, nostalgic blast from the past, and a timeless piece of #NotQuiteClassicCinema. And if you’re a little on the new side, it might still have the power to shock and offend you. And what could be better than that?

Trash Or Terror Tuesday: Frankenstein 90 (1984)

It’s time for #TrashOrTerrorTuesday

…when I examine a film that’s been languishing in my personal library to determine if it is #Trash or #Terror

– or more importantly, if it deserves to stay in my collection.

And so, out from the dusty shelves of #VHS tapes comes…

Frankenstein 90 (1984) by #AlainJessua

w/#JeanRochefort #EddyMitchell #FionaGélin

An obsessed scientist assembles a living being from parts of exhumed corpses.

Sort of based on the novel Frankenstein by #MaryShelley

#Comedy #Horror #SciFi



I avoided renting Frankenstein 90 (1984) for years because I had it confused with Frankenstein ’80 (1972), which got one star in my favourite horror movie review book, Terror On Tape by James O’Neill: “…notable mainly for the first-ever Frankenstein testicle transplant.” What the-? Why was I avoiding this movie? It sounds brilliant.

I eventually bought a copy of Frankenstein 90 because it was cheap, and I figured I should see what it was all about. I recall thinking that it was okay – not amazing, but okay – and I put it onto the shelf next to all of the other Frankenstein movies. Years went by, and I never had the urge to watch it again, so…

Time to put it to the #TrashOrTerrorTuesday test.

I had trouble getting into Frankenstein 90 right off the bat. It seemed to start right in the middle of the action, with a character (the mad scientist?) stealing body parts. Why? I didn’t know (but because it’s a Frankenstein movie I could assume it was to complete his monster). There’s some slapstick humour, but it seems a little forced. I just didn’t know enough about the characters, or the situation, to care for the first twenty minutes or so. 

It did eventually improve, and I found myself enjoying it – mildly – for the remainder of the running time. The obvious comparison that kept coming to mind was Mel Brooks’ masterpiece, Young Frankenstein (1974). Both films seem to be about descendants of the original Dr. Frankenstein attempting to repeat his experiments. Unfortunately, Frankenstein 90 is no Young Frankenstein. Mel knew enough to take his time to build up to the character’s decision to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps. We cared about him, and were with him on that journey – and he was played by the charismatic, funny, and Promo Photo from Frankenstein 90 featuring Jean Rochefort and Fiona Gélinlikeable, Gene Wilder. I spent a lot of my time while watching Frankenstein 90 wondering how this schlubby, middle aged scientist (Jean Rochefort, age 54) could have such a young hot fiancé (Fiona Gélin, age 22), when he was actually treating her with indifference (see photo on the left). 

I could go on and on about all the different ways that Frankenstein 90 is inferior to Young Frankenstein, but what’s point? I must judge Frankenstein 90 on its own merits.

So what’s the verdict?

Frankenstein 90 (1984) is a mild Terror, which is to say that it’s mildly amusing and could be an acceptable time passer for those who are curious. It does deliver a certain amount of sleaze (nudity, sex, and some exotic dancing – sort of). Not enough to make it the kind of Trash worth seeking out at all costs, but perhaps just enough to make it a mildly pleasant viewing experience (for those who view Trash with pleasure). I suspect that twice in a lifetime is enough for me, so I will likely pass it on to someone who is either looking forward to their first time – or who perhaps counts it among their offbeat favourites. 

Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: The Snorkel (1958)

The Snorkel (1958) is labelled as a horror film by the IMDb.  It was made by Hammer Films, and they are certainly best known for their horror films. I would go so far as to say that most people think of them as a horror film company. Hammer Horror is a well loved phrase and #HammerHorror is a well used hashtag.Poster for The Snorkel (1958)

DVD box set of Hammer Film Noir. It does not include The Snorkel (1958).The truth is that Hammer also made films that were not horror at all. For example, Hammer made quite a few crime films, such as the ones included in DVD sets like Hammer Noir Collector’s Set #1. In some ways, The Snorkel fits in better with those movies, and the IMDb does also use words such as crime, mystery and thriller to describe it.

Still, The Snorkel isn’t quite film noir, either. It’s more of a suspense film, possibly closer to something that Alfred Hitchcock might have done. In fact, Hammer made several Hitchcock style suspense thrillers in the wake of Psycho (1960). I may have a said a few words on that topic when I wrote about Scream of Fear (1961), which is one my all time favourites. Or maybe it was Stop Me Before I Kill! (1960)…? No matter. The point I’m working my way around to, is that The Snorkel came out two years before Psycho so it can’t really be categorized as one of those post Psycho black and white suspense thrillers (but it is black and white).

I suppose horror is as good a label as any to hang on this movie – especially when accompanied with other words like crime, mystery and thriller. Not everyone will agree with me, however. Some people make a really big deal about what is horror, and what is not horror. They say things like “That movie isn’t a horror film. It’s not horrific or scary at all.”

Not horrific? What does that even mean? I watch horror films almost every day of my life and I can’t recall ever saying “That was horrific!” I think of horrific as something that’s really unpleasant, like a brutal industrial accident that tears someone apart. If I try to think of a movie that is horrific, I tend to come up with films like Irreversible (2002), which Roger Ebert described quite accurately as:

“…a movie so violent and cruel that most people will find it unwatchable.The camera looks on unflinchingly as a woman is raped and beaten for several long, unrelenting minutes, and as a man has his face pounded in with a fire extinguisher, in an attack that continues until after he is apparently dead. That the movie has a serious purpose is to its credit but makes it no more bearable. Some of the critics at the screening walked out, but I stayed, sometimes closing my eyes…” — Roger Ebert, from his review.

I watched the movie once, was perhaps impressed by the skill that went into making it and the performances of the actors, but I felt no desire to ever watch it again. I certainly would not have said that I enjoyed it. I might have said that it was horrific. Interestingly enough, the IMDb refers to it as crime, drama, mystery, thriller – not as a horror film.

What I experienced when watching Irreversible is NOT what I am generally looking for when I watch a horror movie. I am more often looking to have fun. Friday the 13th Part (whatever) is fun – and I think that most people would agree that those movies are horror films. They aren’t horrific (n my opinion). They aren’t even really scary (at least not now, after seeing them many times over the years). They might include the odd jump scare, or a few moments that create suspense and/or tension. But I watch them with a smile on my face, not cowering under the covers afraid of what might be coming next. And still I think of them as horror films.

Horror is a broad genre that includes everything from comedies, to period pieces, to children’s stories, to romances – even hard core pornography. Pretty much every other genre you can think of, can also be the setting of a horror film. Why would anyone want to put limits on what can be called horror? Why would anyone want to have a narrow definition of the genre that would leave out many great films? Within the overarching genre of horror, there are also many sub-genres, such as zombie movies and slasher films. These sub-genres CAN have much more specific rules and narrow definitions (although not necessarily, in my opinion). I believe that one of the things that makes horror such a powerful and timeless genre is it’s ability absorb almost anything from other genres and make it its own. If it was too narrow and unbending, it probably would have died out years ago, as times and tastes changed and it did not.

But I digress…

I had never heard of The Snorkel before, and the title certainly didn’t conjure up feelings of fun or horror (at least in me) – but fun it is.  It’s the story of a man who commits a murder in a very clever way and gets away with it – except for the fact that his step-daughter immediately suspects he’s guilty and tries to tell anyone who’ll listen. No one believes her, but she vows to prove it. And this, in good Hitchcockian tradition, puts her in peril.

It’s an effective little thriller – not as good as, say, the best of Alfred Hitchcock, but an effective suspense film nonetheless. It includes a great performance by child actress Mandy Miller, and it’s often referred to as her last movie. This is a bit misleading, because she continued to appear on television – including acting in at least one made-for-TV movie – for the next five years or so. She retired from acting at age 18.

The Snorkel (1958) is a #NotQuiteClassicCinema classic – that could have been a real classic if it was just a little better known. Things being what they are, it would make for a perfect addition your next double or triple bill of black and white chillers and thrillers on a #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.

Trash Or Terror Tuesday: Virgin Terror (1978)

It’s time for #TrashOrTerrorTuesday

…when I examine a film that’s been languishing in my personal library to determine if it is #Trash or #Terror

– or more importantly, if it deserves to stay in my collection.

And so, out from the dusty shelves of #VHS tapes comes…

VHS box for Virgin Terror (1978)Virgin Terror (1978) by #AlbertoNegrin

AKA Enigma rosso or Red Rings of Fear

w/ #FabioTesti #ChristineKaufmann

A detective investigating the murder of a teenage girl begins to focus his suspicions on the three girlfriends of the victim, who call themselves “The Inseparables.”

“Sweet sixteen … they’ll lose more than just their lives.”

#Horror #Giallo #TrashOrTerrorTuesday


Confession: I knew that I liked this movie before putting it to the #TrashOrTerrorTuesday test. I even wrote about it briefly in a post about giallos a while back. However, it’s a VHS tape that I frequently notice on my shelf but haven’t watched in a long time. So, I figured it was time to refresh my memory…

Virgin Terror (1978) is a giallo, and it reminds me of other gialllos like What Have You Done to Solange? (1972) and Who Saw Her Die? (1972). It’s probably not quite as good as those two, but it’s still a worthy entry into the genre.

I won’t summarize the plot, as I feel that it’s best to go in not knowing very much at all. But if you’ve seen other giallos, like the ones I mentioned, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you’re getting into.

So, what’s the verdict?

Virgin Terror delivers the goods in terms of violence and sleaze, so I would have to say that it is both Trash and Terror. I would say it’s a moderate to seriously valuable treasure, in fact. I am operating a slight disadvantage, however, because it turns out that my VHS copy is an edited version of the film. It’s about five minutes shorter than the uncut version – which I have never seen. So, I am partly guessing that there is more sleaze, more violence, and more gore that what I got to see. I enjoyed it well enough as it is, but I’m assuming that it would be even better uncut. So…

My VHS tape might looking a little more like trash to me now. I may have to upgrade to a better copy of this film at some point. But for now, it’s a keeper.