Release Date: April 10th, 1970 (Baltimore premiere)
Directed by: John Waters
Written by: John Waters
Music by: John Waters
Cast: Divine, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Mink Stole, Cookie Mueller, Edith Massey, George Figgs
Dreamland, New Line Cinema, Janus Films, 96 Minutes
“I love you so fucking much, I could shit.” – Mr. David
Multiple Maniacs is the second feature length film by John Waters. It’s also the oldest picture I’ve seen from him. Out of his ’70s pictures, I’ve only seen Pink Flamingos and that was a long time ago at an age where I probably shouldn’t have seen it.
I grew up loving Waters’ films Cry-Baby and Serial Mon, which are tame when compared to his earlier, exploitative work. However, I’ve always loved his style of black comedy and his quirky sense of humor and his love of all things trashy.
This film jumps right into the deep end of trashy and exploitation and just keeps diving, never coming up for air. It’s actually kind of impressive that this got played at all and that it helped build a foundation for Waters’ long, busy career.
At the time that this came out, indie filmmakers created their own cinematic Wild West. Movies like this may have been suppressed and held down by the mainstream but they found their home in “seedy” theaters and at drive-ins that actually weren’t afraid of letting artists truly express themselves. Plus, American culture was in a dark place, as it was the time of the Vietnam War, Richard Nixon and we were just coming out of the Civil Rights Movement and multiple major assassinations in the ’60s.
The plot of this movie is about a group of degenerate freaks that run an exhibit that showcases weird sex fetishes, perversions and obscenities. However, the show is a front as the freaks use it to rob the people they lure in, usually by force. Things escalate and the groups leader, Lady Divine, decides to start murdering her disgusted patrons. And all this is just the first fifteen or twenty minutes of the movie.
Everything then devolves and escalates into pure unadulterated madness.
There’s a scene of Divine getting fisted in a church pew by a hand wrapped in rosary beads. There’s also lots of over the top gay shit, which drove the normies mad back in 1970. Then there’s more murders, Divine goes on a blood rage and eventually, she’s gunned down by American soldiers in the streets of Baltimore as onlookers cheer her much deserved misfortune.
Yeah, this is a really fucked up movie, especially for the time. Hell, it existed a quarter of a century before the Internet was a common thing and ’90s edge lords took over, exposing regular people to the things that John Waters was capturing on celluloid a generation earlier.
It’s also easy to see how this became a cult classic and found a particular audience that embraced it and helped create enough buzz to open more doors and opportunities for Waters. Granted, he eventually grew out of this level of grotesqueness and had to adapt his filmmaking style into something that was more palatable for a larger audience.
As a film though, I kind of appreciate what this was for its time in history. Honestly, though, I’m not a big fan of it. I’m not offended by it, as many people were, it just isn’t my cup of tea and while I like some of the humor, it’s still a bit of a slog to get through.
The thing is, when you get through the shock value shit, there isn’t much else here. Sure, it shows signs of creativity and a fucked up yet entertaining mind but Waters hadn’t yet mastered his craft and certainly hadn’t found the needed balance.
But I also get that this wasn’t supposed to be anything more than what it was.
Also known as: Psycho Ripper, The Ripper (alternative titles)
Release Date: March 4th, 1982 (Italy)
Directed by: Lucio Fulci
Written by: Gianfranco Clerici, Lucio Fulci, Vincenzo Mannino, Dardano Sacchetti
Music by: Francesco De Masi
Cast: Jack Hedley, Paolo Malco, Almanta Suska, Alexandra Delli Colli, Michele Soavi
Silent Warrior Productions, Fulvia Film, 91 Minutes, 93 Minutes (Director’s Cut), 80 Minutes (VHS cut)
“But you won’t understand me, you’ll never understand me! You’re too stupid! Quack! Quack! Quack!” – The Ripper
Not all Lucio Fulci movies are created equal. Some are very good and some are not so good. This one falls somewhere in the middle but actually gets some extra credit points for its ending, as I thought it was a good double twist that I didn’t see coming.
Anyway, this is pretty much a perfect marriage between giallo and slasher but it’s much grittier than a standard, vividly colored giallo. Maybe that has to do with it taking place in New York City and Fulci was trying for a Martin Scorsese aesthetic. But honestly, his giallos have never been as colorful as Argento’s or either Bava’s.
This is a really violent film that mixes gore and sexploitation in a way that only an Italian director can properly do. It has some seriously gruesome moments akin to that infamous eye scene from Fulci’s Zombi 2. One in particular sees the mysterious killer cut and torture a naked woman while laughing at the police over the phone, as they fell for his ruse and failed to stop him.
The killer is also interesting in how his serial killer personality talks like Donald Duck. He boisterously quacks between his threats like a sadistic, evil cartoon character and while that may sound kind of hokey, it’s actually effective and pretty unsettling.
Overall, this is pretty straightforward for a giallo or an urban slasher flick. It adds in a lot more sex stuff than average but I wouldn’t call any of that shocking. The only thing really shocking and pretty unnerving is the gruesomeness of some of the kills.
For whatever reason, this film is pretty highly regarded by die hard Fulci fans. I don’t think it’s a classic of the genre like many do but it’s certainly worthwhile for fans of similar films.
Pairs well with: other Lucio Fulci horror movies, as well as Maniac and The Last Horror Film.
Release Date: March 13th, 2010 (SXSW)
Directed by: Elijah Drenner
Written by: Elijah Drenner, Calum Waddell
Music by: Jason Brandt
Cast: Robert Forster (narrator), Eddie Muller, John Landis, Joe Dante, Herschell Gordon Lewis, William Lustig, Lewis Teague, David Hess, Jack Hill, Fred Williamson, Larry Cohen, Jonathan Kaplan, various
Lux Digital Pictures, End Films, 80 Minutes
This was a cool documentary but the title may be a bit misleading, as it isn’t specifically just about grindhouse pictures. It actually goes much deeper than that and discusses the history of exploitation film in general, going back as far as the Pre-Code Era and explaining what that was, how it ended and then how films evolved in the aftermath.
The best part about this documentary is that it interviewed so many great creators that were all a part of exploitation filmmaking, as well as also bringing in several experts on the subject. I especially liked seeing Eddie Muller in this, as I mostly only see him involved in things specifically about classic film-noir.
American Grindhouse also gets extra points because it was narrated by the great Robert Forster.
In addition to all that, this documentary featured an absolute fuck ton of movies from all eras and it definitely increased my list of films I need to review, pretty exponentially.
This was well organized, well presented and gave me a lot of insight. Mind you, I say that as someone that is pretty well versed on the subject matter.
American Grindhouse was in my queue for far too long. I didn’t think that I would think highly of it, as documentaries like this are a dime a dozen. However, this one is far ahead of the pack and it impressed me and actually re-energized my love for this type of cinema.
Pairs well with: Machete Maidens Unleashed, Corman’s World, Electric Boogaloo, etc.
Release Date: October 31st, 2007 (limited)
Directed by: Jonathan Louis Lewis
Written by: Shawn Lewis, Mitch Mayes
Music by: The Giallos Flame
Cast: Jonathan Louis Lewis, Heather Murphy, Natasha Talonz, Erika Branich, Precious Cox, Christine Svendsen
Lowest Common Denominator Entertainment, Rotten Cotton, 73 Minutes
“Rated X by an All-White Jury!” – tagline
I never knew of this film’s existence until I was sitting with some friends in Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas and clips of the movie were edited into a video mixtape that was playing on all the TVs in the bar. The scenes of a Black Panther Chucky-like doll violently fucking and then murdering big breasted white girls intrigued me and I had to track down the film.
The same friends and I then had a party where we watched this on DVD, as you could actually get those from Netflix, back in the day. We had our own Tiki horror party and paired this up with Ed Wood’s Orgy of the Dead, which is basically just a horror themed nudie cutie from the ’60s. I reviewed that ages ago here.
Anyway, this is a dumb movie but I say that lovingly. It’s the sort of dumb, edgy boi, violent, offensive, cinematic trash that can easily entertain me. Since this was only 73 minutes, and actually felt shorter, this was the perfect running time before the joke ran dry and I zoned out.
The story is about a Black Panther who is set to be executed but his soul is then trapped in a little doll, similar to the origin of Chucky. Except this doll likes to fuck and kill big titted women. It’s exploitation at its finest with a supernatural twist.
And that’s basically all this movie is. A plot barely exists and this is mostly just softcore porn scenes with ’70s grindhouse style gore thrown in with a wisecracking killer doll that delivers great one-liners like a pro.
This film won’t resonate with most people bit it wasn’t made to.
It’s really hard to track this down now but if you come across a copy, you should definitely seize the opportunity.
I also remember that there was a sequel sitcom series that was in development. However, it was being crowdfunded and I don’t think it made its goal. If it does exist and you’ve seen it or know how to track it down, let me know in the comments below.
Pairs well with: Black Devil Doll From Hell, Dolly Dearest, Dolls and the Child’s Play movies.
Release Date: October 15th, 1984 (New York City premiere)
Directed by: Brian De Palma
Written by: Brian De Palma, Robert J. Avrech
Music by: Pino Donaggio
Cast: Craig Wasson, Gregg Henry, Melanie Griffith, Deborah Shelton, Guy Boyd, Dennis Franz, Al Israel, Barbara Crampton, Slavitza Jovan
Delphi II Productions, Columbia Pictures, 114 Minutes
“I do not do animal acts. I do not do S&M or any variations of that particular bent, no water sports either. I will not shave my pussy, no fistfucking and absolutely no cumming in my face. I get $2000 a day and I do not work without a contract.” – Holly Body
Having now seen all three movies in Brian De Palma’s neo-noir trilogy from the early ’80s, I’d have to say that this one is the weakest but it is also the most fun. But I’ll explain what I mean.
The first two movies in De Palma’s noir thrillers came out back-to-back. This third film, however, came out after he did Scarface. I feel like I need to mention that, as this feels like a weird amalgamation of the style from the other noir pictures, as well as the style from Scarface, which was poppier, livelier and had an early ’80s neo-noir aesthetic in its own way due to its use of lighting, shadows and neon accents. Scarface almost had vibrant giallo tones and they carried over into this movie.
I’ve talked about De Palma also tapping into Alfred Hitchcock for these films and honestly, this might be his most Hitchcockian of the lot, as it channels parts of Rear Window and Vertigo.
As simply as I can state it, Body Double channels Rear Window in how it explores voyeurism and it channels Vertigo in how it features two women appearing as one with some noir styled trickery.
This might also be tapping into Dial M for Murder due to the use of the phone as a narrative prop when the girl that the protagonist is obsessing over has a killer in her midst.
There’s really a lot going on in this movie and it’s a solid homage to all of these great things but it is very much its own film that taps multiple creative wells but still comes up with something refreshing and unique.
I thought that the plot was well conceived and executed and even if you can start to put it together fairly early, there is still a bit more to the big reveal than you’ll anticipate.
While this might be the worst acted of De Pama’s neo-noir flicks, no one in it is bad and the performances kind of add to the bonkers proceedings. I feel as if the performances are a bit hammy because the tone of the film called for that. And that’s not to say that this isn’t a serious movie, it is, but it seems pretty self aware that it is tapping into schlock territory while still being real cinematic art.
The film also uses some gore and it works well here. De Palma has used gore before; look at Sisters for instance, as that had some brutal moments in it. But the use of gore really adds something to the dreamlike quality of the film. While this takes place in the real world, there is something fantastical and magical about the look and feel of the picture.
On a side note: I love the use of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax” in this film. It briefly turns the film into a bizarre ’80s style MTV music video with a bit of sexploitation thrown in. It may sound odd for someone who hasn’t seen this film but it’s the moment where I realized that I love this picture. And it’s that moment where the film really commits to the bit and shows you that despite the harsh moments and violence, this is a film that’s really having fun with itself. It’s like cinematic masturbation of the highest regard.
And thinking about that moment, it really helps to set this film apart from the other two that are so closely associated with it. Where the first film was really dark and gritty, the second one started to let some light into it and then this third picture, really embraces the bright lights and becomes somewhat chipper, creating a lot of contrast from the beginning to the end of De Palma’s neo-noir work. In fact, the visual tones also remind me a bit of De Palma’s very lively Phantom of the Paradise.
Due to the length of this review, it seems that I have more to say about this picture than the other two, which I still feel edge it out. But I think that’s due to the fact that this gave me the most to chew on and it feels like the most Brian De Palma film of all-time, as he calls back to a lot of his previous work and his main influences.
Despite this being my least favorite of the three noir thrillers, it’s still a damn fine film and honestly, it’s probably the one I will revisit the most.
Pairs well with: Brian De Palma’s other neo-noir thrillers from this era: Dressed to Kill and Blow Out.
*The Bullshit Series started on an older blog but I wanted to bring these articles back here, as I have new installments for the series that I want to release over time. The series focuses on things that I think are bullshit… like filet mignon, Zubaz pants, the Pro Bowl and diets.
*Written in 2014.
I like porn. I always have. No, I am not an addict or one of those guys who actually goes out and buys porn tapes; do those even exist anymore? But when I’m in a sex drought and need to take care of some business, I like to pop on a decent porn and do what I’ve got to do. Luckily for you, this post isn’t about my masturbatory habits; don’t shy away and act like you don’t do it too because you do: everyone does. What this post is about, is the problem with modern porn. It just isn’t the same as it was when I was twelve.
Yes, I watched porn when I was a kid. Most American males from my generation did because we always had that friend who’d bring one of his dad’s tapes to school. In fact, I don’t think a week went by on the school bus where someone wasn’t showing off their dad’s Playboy or nudie trading cards they acquired from their older brother or drunk uncle. At least a few times a year, someone had a tape. By high school, I had probably half a dozen in my own collection from tapes copied from friends or stuff I “found”.
Porn is different today. Long gone is the bad acting, bad plots, bad hair, monstrous pubic pies and a lot of other staples that I came to know as a youngster. Today we have plastic supermodels, no plots, bald vaginas, better hair and the only bad acting is the sex moans. At first glance, one might consider this an improvement and I did too for a little while. Then I realized that something just wasn’t right about modern porn. I couldn’t connect to it and although it wasn’t ineffective, it wasn’t as effective as the material generations prior.
To start, how much fucking felatio are they going to cram into a 25 minute scene? No one in the world gives head for that long and between every single position change! Well, except paid porn stars apparently. But really, why so damn much of it? I’m glad I don’t pay for this porn shit anymore because it’d be a waste of damn money. At the risk of sounding too lewd, I want to see a dude bone a chick, not just make his cock disappear into her head for the whole damn scene! Besides that, felatio is boring after about 30 seconds. If I wanted to watch a non-stop blowjob, I’d just beat off to a GIF file.
Another issue is that chicks in porn used to look normal. These porn stars now are like plastic CGI creatures. Yes, some of them are excruciatingly beautiful with or without their “enhancements” but the whole thing just doesn’t feel real to me anymore. Not that old school porn felt real, as it was fantasy scenarios and situations that would most likely never happen, but the girls at least looked slightly better than average and felt like they were accessible. Maybe I’ve always liked the “girl next door” over the supermodel but porn was much more believable and enjoyable when it had even just a small level of believability to it.
The style of porn has also changed drastically and what I mean by that is that there are no longer plot-driven porn movies. I mean, they’re still made sparingly by some of the larger megaporn manufacturers but they’ve almost become nonexistent, unless you count the hundreds of parodies that are being cranked out. Sure, I enjoyed the porn parody of the 1960s Batman show but this seems to be the only type of porn movies with plots anymore. Now we just have “reality porn”, which is just some dude throwing a random chick a bunch of cash and banging her in a cramped bus or the supermodel type giving 75 minutes of felatio in some hotel room that looks like it’s in an MTV Real World house. Porn has become like crash television in its delivery. While it serves a purpose, it has become extremely redundant and bland. Maybe I’m just bored with it because I’m a creative guy and I don’t think it’s weird that I’d like a little more creativity in my smut.
Then there is the porn that is too goddamned creative. I’m referring to that “art porn” crap. Sorry, but I don’t want to see a tiger-striped body-painted chick in a cyborg outfit with tubes coming out of her orifices, as she shines and gleams under hot lights in front of a camera lens that some idiot art school dropout smeared Vaseline over. It’s fucking bizarre and stupid and serves no purpose other than stroking the overblown ego of some moron who thinks he is a genius even though he couldn’t get a job as a key grip on a SyFy movie about UFOs fighting giant radioactive koalas. But don’t get it twisted, straight up science fiction porn is cool; I’ll take that any day over this “artistic” crap.
Moving on, don’t even get me started on the overabundance of disgusting porn that I come across online. Octopus tentacles hanging out of a Japanese chick is unacceptable. If this makes me intolerable of other cultures, I’m okay with that. Actually, I could keep listing more stuff but I’m already feeling vomit-y.
Looking at the overall big picture, modern porn fucking sucks. No, I don’t want 1970s looking chicks with Wookiee bush on my screen but something a little more fun and entertaining than some crooked-dicked douchebag grunting like a retarded rhinoceros as he face fucks a shiny polyurethane looking chick that moans like a duck choking on a brisket would be nice.
While you may disagree with me, you’re wrong. Not much else needs to be said on the topic.
RETRO RELAPSE is a series of older articles from various places where I used to write before Talking Pulp.
*Written in 2015.
People have sex. Some people are uncomfortable talking about it. I’m not sure why, maybe the Jesus is strong in some people.
For me, it is a pretty comfortable subject. I’ve never seen the big deal. It’s just fucking sex. If you aren’t doing it, you want to do it. It is human nature to get off. For sanity’s sake, we need to get off. The more, the better.
Obviously, I maintain some decorum based off of my social audience but once the ball is rolling, it is rolling with the velocity of a pinball chugging Cuban coffee sweetened with cocaine.
Why is sex taboo? I don’t know. But it is probably the same reason Rick Santorum has held public office.
When it comes to sex, not much is off limits for me. But when I watch porn, there are often times where I say to myself, “What possesses them to do that?”
Well, this is a list of those acts. Some I don’t have a problem with if it’s your thing. Some of these I am vehemently opposed to. Regardless of where each item on this list fits on my scale of acceptability, these are things I’ve never had the primal urge to engage in.
1. Hocking a loogie on a vagina.
2. Making out with someone post-beejer, just no.
3. Sex in a moving vehicle. Tried it once, just about snapped my shaft in half on a hard turn.
4. Drinking breast milk.
5. Being the dude in a gang bang that isn’t first. Definitely not being the guy that is 412th.
6. Food involved in sex. Cool-Whip off of a titty doesn’t enhance the titty.. or the Cool-Whip.
7. Glory holes. Wait.. are those whiskers?
8. I shouldn’t have to list anything involving animals but just to be safe, no fucking animals.
9. Golden showers.
12. Anything on or around a toilet. Not to say I haven’t. But never again.
14. Anything involving menstruation.
15. Beejers through a hole cut out of a pizza.
17. Anything involving vomit.
18. Anything involving something going into my urethra.
20. Anything involving poop.
Release Date: August 31st, 1984 (West Germany)
Directed by: Danny Steinmann
Written by: Danny Steinmann, Norman Yonemoto
Music by: John D’Andrea, Michael Lloyd
Cast: Linda Blair, Linnea Quigley, Robert Dryer, John Vernon
Ginso Investment Corp., Motion Picture Marketing, 93 Minutes, 80 Minutes (cut version)
“Go fuck an iceberg!” – Principal Underwood
Savage Streets is a film that stars both Linda Blair and Linnea Quigley and it isn’t a horror film. Sure, some horrible things happen and characters are faced with dread and terror but this is more like a “women in prison” movie mixed with an urban violence film.
It’s sort of strange that it has that “women in prison” vibe, as it takes place primarily in a high school and the urban environment around it but there are too many similarities to ignore, the biggest of which is a big brawl in the gym showers. There are nude bodies and fisticuffs like the greatest of “women in prison” pictures.
The story sees this group of rough high school girls go up against this gang of male punk rock assholes. Well, one of the guys is in the gang very reluctantly and he always has reservations about all the horrible stuff the other gang members force him to do. One of which is raping a deaf girl in the school bathroom, the other is when he is present for a pregnant teen getting thrown off of a bridge just before her wedding night. Yeah, this is a hard and gritty film that is more grindhouse than Sixteen Candles.
If you are into unapologetic, hardcore, ’80s action mayhem, then this is a film for you. Linda Blair may deliver some cringe worthy lines but it’s the ’80s and almost all the dialogue in real life was cringe worthy in that decade.
This isn’t a memorable film, even for grindhouse standards. But it does hit its mark in the right way and it is a good time killer on a Sunday afternoon or on a night where you are binge watching a bunch of similar films from this era.
It’s low budget and almost feels like it was directed by an Italian horror master transplanted to Los Angeles for this shoot. The whole sequence where Linda Blair fights the punk gang in their hideout feels like something Lucio Fulci or Lamberto Bava would do.
Savage Streets is worth your time if you are into low brow, ultraviolent, ’80s pictures with a good amount of boobage.
Pairs well with: Other ’80s high school urban violence movies: Class of 1984, Class of Nuke ‘Em High, etc.
Published: December 22nd, 2010
Written by: various
Art by: various
Dynamite, 390 Pages
I’ve read a few stories over the years with Vampirella in them. I have never gone back to check her out at her earliest though. Luckily, there was this archive edition of her first seven issues.
If you also haven’t read the earliest Vampirella stuff, then this book could be a bit of a disappointment. Not because it is bad but because what Vampirella was, in her original incarnation, was very different than what she would become.
The character was originally imagined as a horror story hostess, similar to Vampira or later, Elvira. She was created to set up short horror stories in an anthology collection, which is what her magazine was for its first eight issues. After that, she would go on to be a character with her own life and adventures.
While the original concept was really cool, I can see why they would change and evolve. Reading the seven issues collected here, the format starts to get derivative and actually loses its luster pretty quickly. Some of the short stories are fun but some just feel like quickly crafted knockoffs of stories you’ve seen before.
I really liked the art style in these old school Vampirella stories though. It kept that pulp feeling going strong well beyond the decades where it peaked.
This collection is definitely historically important but it isn’t a necessary read for those wanting to experience Vampirella. The second volume gets more into the Vampirella stuff most people would want to read. You know, where she is a total badass and gets her hands dirty while wearing only about four square inches of wardrobe.
Pairs well with: Lots of old horror and pulp magazines. I would continue on from here and keep reading further into Vampirella, as she goes on to be a leading character in her own stories, as opposed to just hosting tales.