Trash Or Terror Tuesday: Staunton Hill (2009)

DVD cover for Staunton Hill (2009)Staunton Hill (2009) by #GeorgeCRomero AKA #CameronRomero

w/#KathyLamkin #CristenCoppen

In 1969 the winds of a change are blowing… But on a farm in the hills of Virginia, a storm of evil has been brewing for years.

“In God’s Name They Prey”


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…

Staunton Hill (2009) is another movie made by the son (or daughter) of a famous movie director. There have been a few of those in recent years (Brandon Cronenberg, Jason Reitman, Panos Cosmatos, etc.).

I seem to recall Staunton Hill getting some positive buzz when it first came out, and I bought a copy on DVD. I presume that I enjoyed it well enough to keep it in my library, because there it’s sat for the past 12 years (or so). I didn’t remember too much about it, other than the fact that it surprised me by being a relatively straight forward slasher film. George A. Romero never made one of those, so good for Cameron to not be totally following in his father’s footsteps.

I am a fan of both George A. Romero and slasher films, so Staunton Hill seems like it should be a winning combination. I was surprised, however, to see that it fares horribly on the IMDb, and in many other online reviews. People hate this movie. Since I couldn’t remember it well enough to know how correct they are, I decided that it was time to put it to the #TrashOrTerrorTuesday test.

The most surprising thing (once again) about Staunton Hill is that it’s not really much like a George A. Romero film. It’s more like a Tobe Hooper film; The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) to be exact. I love The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but this is not necessarily a good thing. There have been so many ripoffs and lame attempts to copy The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, that when I recognize that this is what a movie is doing, I tend to roll my eyes and say “not another one of these.” I wrote about a few of these on other #TrashOrTerrorTuesdays not too long ago…

Staunton Hill is set in 1969, but it’s never really convincing in that. I found myself forgetting and thinking that it was sometime in the 1990s. Not sure what the point of that was anyway, except to be able to make reference to Night Of The Living Dead (1968) as if it was a recent movie.

There are some good actors in it, most of them not recognizable. There’s some decent gore. The story flatlines pretty quickly after the characters find themselves stranded on an isolated farm. Not sure why they continue to hang around there, when the owners are pretty darn creepy and not to be trusted. Why don’t they just walk to the main highway (which we’ve been told is not that far away). But then the movie would end without a bunch of dumb-asses getting killed, wouldn’t it?

So what’s the verdict?

Staunton Hill (2009) is mostly Trash, with a small side of mild Terror. Yes, there are some effective moments of horror and suspense. But, as many critics point out, it takes a long time to get to them. And the story is not all that compelling or believable. It’s even convoluted and confusing at times – which is quite a feat for something that is basically really straight-forward. It’s not as bad as many people seem to say. It’s really just okay. Worth a watch if you’re curious to see what George A. Romero’s son is like as a filmmaker. But, as always, you’re much better off watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) – or anything by George A. Romero.

Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: Strip Nude for Your Killer (1975)

Poster for Strip Nude for Your Killer (1975)Strip Nude for Your Killer (1975) by #AndreaBianchi

w/ #EdwigeFenech #NinoCastelnuovo #FemiBenussi #SolviStubing

A fashion model dies during a botched abortion, and the people closely connected to her are murdered one by one.

#Giallo #Mystery #Thriller


Strip Nude for Your Killer (1975) is a giallo, and a pretty darn fun one at that. I’ve talked about my personal history with giallos, and how I first discovered them many years ago, in a previous blog post. I would love to go into the specifics of this one, but due to the pressures of deadlines, the convergence of multiple responsibilities, and the general unexpected horrors of real life, I find myself at a loss for time, words and sanity right now. 

Suffice it to say that Strip Nude for Your Killer (1975) is a an example of #NotQuiteClassicCinema that really delivers the good (the goods being tons of sleazy fun and violent murder). It has been described as a cross between a giallo and a sex film, and I guess that’s pretty fair. If you enjoy giallos and sex films, you should certainly get a kick out of this one. If you don’t like giallos and/or sex films, you should probably give this one a pass – and ask yourself why you’re reading this blog. Not that it’s only about giallos and sex films, but…

Strip Nude for Your Killer (1975) is a movie that I will definitely be watching again on a not too distant #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.

Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: Five Bloody Graves (1969)

Poster for Five Bloody Graves (1969)Five Bloody Graves (1969) by #AlAdamson

w/ #RobertDix #ScottBrady #JimDavis #JohnCarradine #PaulaRaymond

“Lust-Mad Men and Lawless Women in a Vicious and Sensuous Orgy of Slaughter!”


“Inhuman” “Brutal” “Shocking”


While discussing Half Way to Hell (1960) a while back, I was already thinking about checking out this movie, Five Bloody Graves (1969). I’ve been a fan of Al Adamson for a long time, and I have quite a few of his movies in my collection – well, now I have almost everything, thanks to The Masterpiece Collection put out by Severin. But prior to that, I had collected quite a few VHS tapes and DVDs. Five Bloody Graves was not one of them. In fact, I had never seen it. 

I first heard of Five Bloody Graves when I read an article about Al Adamson’s murder in my local newspaper. I was shocked – first of all, that Al Adamson was murdered, but more so by the fact that they were talking about him in my local mainstream newspaper. I never would have seen that coming.

In that, admittedly brief, article about Al Adamson, they referred to him as a movie director who had made movies with titles like –

And then they listed a few particularly nasty sounding horror titles. I think they were trying to draw a connection between his brutal murder, and the types of movies he made. I knew all of the titles, except one: Five Bloody Graves.

I was instantly intrigued. Five Bloody Graves sounded like my kind of movie. I had no idea what it was about, but I assumed that it must be a kick-ass horror film, done only as Al Adamson could do it. I was a little surprised when I found out that it was actually a Western. I don’t want to say I was disappointed, because I had also been a fan of Westerns since I was a kid. But I couldn’t quite imagine Al Adamson making Westerns. On the other hand, I would watch anything with Al Adamson’s name on it, so this was a definite must see.

As the years passed by, I never managed to get my hands on a copy of Five Bloody Graves. I’m not sure if it was hard to come by, or if I just wasn’t looking in the right places. Needless to say, I was very pleased when I realized that I would finally be acquiring it as part of the The Masterpiece Collection

I now know that Al Adamson kind of got his start in Westerns – the first film he directed (or at least co-directed) being Half Way to Hell (1960), which I quite enjoyed. And this is what made me all the more excited to FINALLY get to see Five Bloody Graves. So, last #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn I decided to do it.

Let me just say that within the first five minutes I knew that I was having a good time. I suppose a part of me had been worried that it was going to be just another forgettable B-Western (and I’ve watched far too many of those in my life). As I may have mentioned in the other post, a lot of B Westerns can be quite tedious. I don’t know why. I find them harder to take than, say, really cheap slasher films. Or really cheap horror films of any kind. So, I tend to get a bit apprehensive whenever I’m about to watch a really cheap B Western. But Five Bloody Graves put me at ease within minutes (or maybe even seconds). It may be a cheap ass B Western – but it’s an Al Adamson movie! I should have realized he could never let me down.

I won’t bother describing the plot – or really anything about Five Bloody Graves. If you’re a fan of Al Adamson, you’ll know what to expect. If you’re not, you may want to steer clear. I say “may”, because maybe you’re just a fan who hasn’t happened yet. Maybe Five Bloody Graves is the movie that could turn you into a dedicated Al Adamson admirer. In all honesty, I would say you’re probably more likely to be recruited by something like Satan’s Sadists (1969) or maybe Girls For Rent (1974), but who knows?

Five Bloody Graves (1969), like all Al Adamson movies, is undeniably #NotQuiteClassicCinema of a a very special kind (at least to me). It may not be my favourite of his movies (at least not yet), but I’m glad to have finally seen it – and I will definitely be watching it again (assuming that I don’t suddenly first meet an unexpected end like Al Adamson did) on some future #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.

Trash Or Terror Tuesday: Bloody Mary (2006)

Poster for Bloody Mary (2006)Bloody Mary (2006) by #RichardValentine

w/#KimTyler #MattBorlenghi #CoryMonteith

A group of psychiatric nurses invoke the spirit of #BloodyMary and the slaughter begins.

“To Release The Greatest Evil On Earth All You Have To Do Is Say Her Name.”



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…

Bloody Mary (2006) is about a group of psychiatric nurses – but after watching the opening sequence you would probably be utterly convinced (as I was) that they are a group of high school girls, or maybe sorority sisters. They seem to be playing a fairly typical hazing prank on one of their friends. “Hey, take off all of your clothes and go down into this dark sub-basement alone and say “I believe in Bloody Mary” three times into a mirror.  Some fraternity asshole – wait a minute, he’s another employee of the psychiatric hospital (but we don’t know this yet)… this jerk is supposed to be waiting down in the hole to give the naked girl a good scare. However…

SPOILER ALERT (although this is the first five minutes of the movie). He’s late and some honest to goodness spirit or monster shows up and kills the poor girl (I mean, full grown psychiatric nurse).

Her sorority sisters (I mean professional nurses who work in a hospital) simply close up the hatch and don’t tell anyone what happened. In fact they lie about it. Because that’s what full grown, medical professionals do, right?

Did I mention that they are all young and hot? This may be part of what confused me. Having spent a fair bit of time on a psychiatric ward of a hospital (as a visitor), I can tell you that not all of the nurses who work there are young… or hot.. or women. And during the hundreds of hours that I was there, not one of them was playing pranks on their co-workers – or covering up a mysterious death in the basement. At least not that I ever saw…

But the nurses in Bloody Mary (2006), it turns out, are part of some kind of Bloody Mary worshipping cult. “We’re so close,” their leader says, as she warns them not to fuck things up by telling the truth or anything. Close to what, I have no idea. The movie never explains what exactly these idiots are hoping to gain from their relationship with the deadly spirit. Is it power of some sort? Money? Fame? I don’t know – and I predict that you won’t either if you watch this film.

I could go on and on about all of things that don’t make sense in this movie. Put simply, the script is bad. The movie contains some okay moments of horror action, a little but of gore, and a surprising amount of nudity. You could almost be fooled into thinking that you were having a good time if it wasn’t for the annoying STORY – or should  I say, lack of story? It’s hard to know.

So what’s the verdict?

Bloody Mary (2006) is Trash. It does have a decent amount of sleaze which almost elevates it to the level of fun, trashy Trash – but it doesn’t quite get there. You will have a much better time watching a movie like The Vineyard (1989), which is a downright Trashterpiece. I highly recommend it.

If you are really curious about Bloody Mary (2006), go ahead and give it a shot. You may find a few moments of entertainment in there. But I, having seen in twice (?!) in my life, will be steering clear from now on.

Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: Die! Die! My Darling! (1965)

Poster for Die! Die! My Darling! (1965)Die! Die! My Darling! (1965) by #SilvioNarizzano

w/#TallulahBankhead #StefaniePowers #DonaldSutherland

A young woman is terrorized by her deceased fiancé’s demented mother who blames her for her son’s death.

She’s One Mean Mother-in-Law!
In stabbing color”

#HammerHorror #Crime #Mystery

Die! Die! My Darling! (1965) is  a movie that I’ve heard mention of for years, but never seen before. 

When I was a kid, there was a TV show on every Tuesday night called Hart to Hart (1979-1984). I’m not sure how I got into it. It wasn’t about monsters, or outer space, or anything like that. It was about two well dressed rich people who stumble onto crimes each and every week. It wasn’t exactly a mystery, as we tended to know exactly what was going on. I guess you would say it was more of a thriller. Unsuspecting rich couple stumbles onto murder plot and becomes embroiled in danger, or something like that.

I suspect that it was my mom who started watching it, and I somehow followed along. In any case, I wound up watching that show every week. It starred Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers as the rich couple who get themselves into trouble, and then somehow triumph over the bad guys and save the day. Looking back, I suspect that just about every week Stefanie Powers would scream “Jonathan!” with a look of terror on her face.

I had no idea who Stefanie Powers was before I saw Hart to Hart. She wasn’t in Star Wars (1977) or Blazing Saddles (1974), so how could I have? I had no idea that 15 years before I was watching her scream every week on TV, she had been screaming in a horror film called Die! Die! My Darling! If I could have, I’m sure I would have watched this movie. I watched everything remotely scary that came on TV back then. And if it starred someone from one of my regular TV shows, I would have been all the more excited to see it. But alas, that never happened.

In a way, Die! Die! My Darling! is a perfect precursor to Hart to Hart. It starts with a wealthy (or at least fashionable and attractive) couple driving in a fancy convertible in England (something the Harts would certainly have done – and in fact did, I think). They are engaged to be married, but the woman (played by Stefanie Powers) was engaged once before – to a man who died. She feels that she needs to go and visit his mother (played by Tallulah Bankhead). Needless to say, this doesn’t go quite as well as expected…

Stefanie Powers spends most of the running time of Die! Die! My Darling! in peril. And it’s quite an effective suspense thriller. It’s the type of story that I can often feel quite frustrated by – particularly when characters make bad choices that only make their situation worse. For the most part, Die! Die! My Darling! avoids those pitfalls. Sure, there were a couple of moments when I could have advised our heroine to so something a little bit differently, but I never felt that her choices were unbelievable. In fact, some of them were oddly similar to moments I can recall witnessing in real life.

“Don’t aggravate the psychopath,” I’ve been known to say to friends. It’s simple advice, and you’d think it was fairly obvious as well. But you’d be surprised how many people choose to say the wrong thing to the wrong person – in real life, as well as in the movies.

“I’m going to report you to the police!”

This is never a good thing to say to the psychopath. Trust me, they don’t like to hear this. Some of them get downright cranky about it. But I digress…

To be fair, Stefanie Powers doesn’t quite say that to Tallulah Bankhead – but she does speak a little too candidly at times – even after she knows it’s a bad idea. But like I said, it’s believable that she does it. 

As I may have mentioned before, Hammer made a slew of psychological horror/thrillers in the 1960. Many of them were black and white and heavily influenced by Psycho (1960) and Diabolique (1955). My personal favourite is Scream of Fear (1961). Die! Die! My Darling! seems to be a continuation of that line, but in full colour. And it’s a worthy entry in that genre.

Based on a book by , the screenplay was written by Richard Matheson – who was one of the best in the business as far as I’m concerned. I know less about the director, Silvio Narizzano, but it appears that he mainly worked in television. It’s too bad he never got to direct episodes of Hart to Hart. I think he would have been good at it.

Die! Die! My Darling! (1965) is another strangely classy example of #NotQuiteClassicCinema from Hammer Films. It’s perfect for a relaxed, cultured, and somewhat literary #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.

Trash Or Terror Tuesday: Memory (2006)

Poster for Memory (2006)Memory (2006) by #BennettDavlin

w/ #BillyZane #TriciaHelfer #DennisHopper #AnnMargret

A doctor is exposed to a hallucinogenic drug and ends up haunted by strange memories & visions of a series of gruesome murders.

“Sometimes memories can kill”


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…

I had no memory of Memory (2006) when I pulled it down from my shelf last Tuesday. And so, I thought, what better movie to put to the #TrashOrTerrorTuesday test?

Memory (2006) is a slickly made movie with a very strong cast. It looks great, and for a while it seems to work pretty well. There are a lot of hard to believe plot turns, however, and by the end I found myself shaking my head and saying “Well, I’m not buying that!”

It’s written and directed by , and based on his own novel. Perhaps the book is better – or at least clearer – but that’s rather beside the point. It’s an interesting idea (involving genetically stored memories), but it doesn’t really play out in a satisfying or believable way.

So what’s the verdict?

Memory (2006) is Trash. And it’s not trashy enough to be fun Trash. To be fair, t’s not completely horrible – and it will help to pass the time if you’ve got nothing better to watch. It just doesn’t add up to much in the end. It seems like it should be better, based on the cast and the first 20 to 30 minutes or so. But gradually it just disappears down a dark drain of contrivances that manage to suck the life out of it. 

It’s only been a week, but already I can feel the memory of  Memory fading…

Friday Night At The Home Drive-In: Lady Cocoa (1975)

Poster for Lady Cocoa (1975)Lady Cocoa (1975) by #MattCimber
w/#LolaFalana #MilliePerkins #MeanJoeGreene #JamesAWatsonJr

Released from prison to testify against a mobster, Lady C. must fight to stay alive.

Lady Coco, Miss Lady Luck, took a gamble and got stuck ’cause “Mean” Joe Greene ain’t playin’ when he goes slayin’.”

Music by #LuchiDeJesus
#Blaxploitation #Crime

Last week, I re-watched one of the most famous and popular female-led Blaxsploitation movies of all time, Coffy (1973). It put me in the mood to check out one of the more obscure entires into the genre; one of the many films that was probably influenced by Coffy and Cleopatra Jones (1973). I have a few in my permanent collection, and it was hard to pick which one to watch. In the end, I chose the one that I could remember the least about – and that was Lady Cocoa (1975).

Lady Cocoa stars Lola Falana as a prisoner who is released (under protective custody) so she can testify against her former boyfriend, who is a Las Vegas gangster. She’s still in love with him, and may not actually be planning to testify, but she’s using the opportunity to spend 24 hours outside of the prison, having a good time. Someone, however, is trying to kill her. Could it be her gangster boyfriend? 

Lola Falana is a dancer, singer, model and actress who has appeared on television many times – including 52 episodes of The Tonight Show. She was once considered the Queen, or First Lady, of Las Vegas.

She only made a handful of movies, and Lady Cocoa was the last one until she appeared in Mad About You (1989) – not to be confused with the TV show of the same name.

Falana is great in Lady Cocoa, and it seems like it should have led to more starring roles for her, but perhaps that isn’t what she really wanted. In any case…

It seems fitting that Lady Cocoa takes place in King’s Castle Casino in Lake Tahoe, Nevada. She stays in the hotel, plays blackjack, shops in the hotel clothing boutique and attends dinner and a show. It almost feels like advertising for the hotel/casino – and in some ways, it probably was. The movie starts with a big thank you card that includes King’s Castle.

Thank you card from Lady Cocoa (1975)

Lady Cocoa was produced and directed by Matt Cimber, who made over 20 movies in his career, including The Black 6 (1972) and The Candy Tangerine Man (1975). As a successful low budget film producer, one can imagine that he might resort to all kinds of favour trading to get his movie made – and offering publicity to a casino, hotel, and an entire town, doesn’t seem impossible.

Casting the First Lady of Las Vegas in the movie probably didn’t hurt, either.

Lady Cocoa (1975) is not the best of the female-led Blacksploitation films, but thanks to the extremely likeable Lola Falana, it’s pretty fun to watch. One thing that I like about it, is that it feels like a very accurate representation of a time and place. I doubt that the filmmakers did much to decorate the hotel – I suspect it looks pretty much exactly as it did in 1975, and I love that. 

The film feels kind of like a play for a while, as almost everything takes place in Cocoa’s hotel room. But gradually it opens up a little and we get to see more and more of the world around it. Eventually we witness a pretty crazy chase scene that may have been an attempt to give Bullitt (1968) and The French Connection (1971) a run for their money. It doesn’t quite, but it’s pretty entertaining.

If you’re looking for top-drawer Blacksploitation action, check out one of the other films I talked about lately… Coffy (1973), Truck Turner (1974), Trouble Man (1972)…

But if you’re in the mood to sit back, relax and enjoy some mid 1970s nostalgia, then Lady Cocoa (1975) could be just the kind of #NotQuiteClassicCinema that you are looking for. It’s perfect for a laid back, later than late #FridayNightAtTheHomeDriveIn.

Trash Or Terror Tuesday: The Caretaker (2012)

Dvd cover for The Caretaker (2012)The Caretaker (2012) by #TomConyers
w/ #AnnaBurgess #ClintDowdell #LeeMason

As a wave of vampirism sweeps the world, a small but discordant group make a deal with a vampire and holes up in a country mansion in Victoria, Australia.
#Horror #Vampires

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…

The Caretaker (2012) is a low budget indie movie from Down Under. It has a few fresh ideas about vampires, and their relationship to humans. It also borrows a few ideas from older, better movies. The characters are, for the most part, not particularly likeable – but they’re not the kind of raging assholes that one finds in many modern horror films. You feel sympathy for some of them. And one or two manage to go on a personal journey that earns them more sympathy by the end. 

So what’s the verdict?

The Caretaker is a mild Terror. It has moments of genuine suspense, and some fairly creepy scenes. It lacks something that would make it a truly great movie, but it’s an acceptable time passer. it’s not particularly Trashy. It doesn’t contain much nudity, sex, or gore. It takes itself a little bit too seriously for that, and as a consequence, is never really much fun.

It’s a bit like watching a play at a respectable theatre. Lot’s of dialogue in a fairly claustrophobic setting. Good performances, but nothing too exciting ever happens. This one, however, happens to be about vampires  – which makes it more interesting than many of the mediocre plays I’ve sat through in the past 20 years (before the pandemic finished off the art form that was already pretty much in its death throes). 

Having watched The Caretaker (2012) twice in the past 10 years or so, I’m doubtful that I will ever feel pumped about doing it again. It’s not quite good enough for that. But those with an appreciation for ultra low budget horror could find it worth their while to check it out at least once.