HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION. (2002) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

HALLOWEEN: RESURRECTION. (2002) BASED ON CHARACTERS CREATED BY JOHN CARPENTER AND DEBRA HILL. DIRECTED BY RICK ROSENTHAL. STARRING JAMIE LEE CURTIS, BRAD LOREE, BUSTA RHYMES AND TYRA BANKS.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This film is great craic, as we say here in Ireland. (That means fun, by the way, not hard drugs…!) It’s the eighth instalment in the superb series of HALLOWEEN horror films, and this one was directed by the chap who directed HALLOWEEN 2 back in 1981, which I think is kind of cool. And I know cool when I see it, haha. Ask anyone who knows me…

It’s got a very ‘Nineties feel to it, and it’s kind of like two films in one, really. The first segment of the film sees Jamie Lee Curtis, once more playing Laurie Strode, facing off against her deranged brother Michael Myers again.

This time around, the setting is the psychiatric hospital in which Laurie has been incarcerated since she decapitated a paramedic three years ago, mistakenly believing him to be her brother. It’s an easy mistake to make. Shure, I remember one time when I… On the other hand, no-one really needs to hear that story now. On with the review…

Does pure evil prevail when the siblings come face-to-mask once more? I can’t tell you, even if you try to tickle it out of me, because that would be a pretty big spoiler, and I don’t roll that way. I can, however, tell you that this bit is excellent, even though the overall film itself got poor reviews, and is easily as good, as tense and as dramatic as any of the other Laurie-Michael bits throughout the rest of the franchise.

During the part of the film that follows, you’d almost be forgiven for thinking that you’d tuned into a different movie. It’s still good, though. This time around, we’re back in the old Myers house in Michael’s and Laurie’s home town of Haddonfield, Illinois.

The house is in a terrible state of disrepair by now, which makes it the perfect location for an Internet reality show in which six young people hole up inside it over Halloween and try to figure out what drove Michael Myers to kill. Well, okay, if they think that they can succeed where the police and the psychiatrists failed, who are we to argue? Let ’em knock themselves out, that’s what I say.

The students are so uniformly horrible and annoying that I doubt if any of the viewers are too upset when Michael Myers, star of the show once more, shows up and starts to murder them one by one in increasingly imaginative ways. One of these ways is so unpleasant that it gives me the willies to even think about it, so you’ll forgive me if I don’t write about it here.

Busta Rhymes is a good laugh as Freddie Harris, the mastermind behind the reality show. And the language out of him! ‘Tis shocking altogether. It’s mother-effing this and mother-effing that. You’ve never heard the like of it. He needs his mouth washed out with soap, that’s what he needs.

He’s great fun, though, and totally kick-ass when his back is to the wall. Also, Michael better beware ‘cause Freddie knows kung fu. Supermodel Tyra Banks (AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL) doesn’t contribute a whole lot, unless you count getting herself killed off fairly early on as a contribution.

I love the bit in the underground part of the old Myers’ house where it transpires that Michael has been living for the last three years, since the time that Laurie thought she’d killed him but it turned out that she killed a paramedic due to Michael’s sneaky sleight-of-hand. He’s been eating rats and probably drinking the water that drips off the walls, no doubt dreaming of the day when he can go after Laurie again with his trusty old kitchen knife.

One of the three girls is a Brittany Murphy look-alike, one’s a dead ringer for actress Julianne Moore and the lead girl is actually pretty mopey, until being pursued by a murder-minded Michael Myers forces her to show a bit of spunk/chutzpah/true grit for once. The three blokes are pretty much uniformly awful. Michael’s welcome to ‘em.

An interesting twist is that the show taking place in Michael Myers’ old house is being streamed live on the Internet, and so, when the murders start happening, people in the online world think it’s all part of the act. This makes them slow to reach for the phone and call 911. Luckily, however, there’s still one little girl out there who still believes in Santa Claus. Wait, wrong movie, but right sentiment. Carry on killing, dear Michael. Carry on killing…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

CANDYMAN. (1992) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©


CANDYMAN. (1992) DIRECTED BY BERNARD ROSE. SCREENPLAY BY BERNARD ROSE. BASED ON ‘THE FORBIDDEN,’ A SHORT STORY BY CLIVE BARKER. MUSIC BY PHILIP GLASS.
STARRING VIRGINIA MADSEN, TONY TODD, XANDER BERKELEY AND KASI LEMMONS.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘Remove your underwear…’

‘It was always you, Helen…’

I was confused but also intrigued by this rather strange and iconic horror film. The main thing I loved about it was that, every time something happens in the film that’s so gruesome or awful you just automatically assume that the character is having a nightmare, they’re actually not, and the awful or gruesome thing was perfectly real and did happen. It’s an extremely gory film and not, as they say, for the faint-hearted, so don’t stick the kids in front of it while you nip to Tesco for a loaf of bread, lol.

Anyway, the beautiful Virginia Madsen, sister of actor Michael Madsen, plays the main character, Helen Lyle, in this supernatural slasher movie. She is a graduate student living in Chicago with her cheating and rather weedy-looking university professor husband, Trevor. Helen is studying urban legends and local folklore for her thesis, which she is co-writing with her friend Bernadette.

They decide to focus their thesis on the legends surrounding the Candyman, the evil spirit of a black man called Daniel Robitaille who was born the son of a slave in the late 1800s. He was killed in horrific circumstances by white men after becoming a painter of some repute and impregnating a white woman with whom he was in love.

The ghost has a hook for a hand (I know what you did last summer, by the way!) and a great big hulking chip on his shoulder. If you say his name in the mirror five times, the ghost, now known as the Candyman for some reason that’s not explained, is supposed to appear to you. No-one tells you what’s supposed to happen once he appears, but one would imagine it’s something fairly negative, as he’s a vengeful ghost and not, say, Father Christmas…

Instead of revenging himself on white men, as you might imagine, so far the spectre seems to have killed mainly black people living in notoriously poor housing projects. Helen and Bernadette, armed with cameras and notebooks, head straight to Cabrini Green, one such housing project, where the Candyman is supposed to have murdered a black woman after gaining access to her apartment through the medicine cabinet in the bathroom.

Cabrini Green is a terrifying place, even without the lurking presence of the Candyman, whose name seems to be on everyone’s lips. The apartment blocks are disgracefully neglected by whichever local authority authorised their construction. They are filthy, probably overcrowded, daubed in graffiti and faeces, patrolled by gangs of aggressive black males and the lifts don’t work.

Sounds delightful, right? But Helen, our intrepid investigator, can’t seem to stay away from the bloody place, or from the mystery of the Candyman, even after she gets a terrible hiding from some of the local males who don’t take too kindly to posh ‘whites’ like Helen sniffing around their patch. Incidentally, did you see the state of those public toilets…?

But Helen is personally involved now, after a meeting she’s definitely not expecting in a deserted underground car-park. (This dame just can’t stop courting trouble, right? All she needs now is to hang round the tunnel under the old disused bridge at midnight on a bloody full moon…!)

Her discovery that the Candyman is all too real is just the beginning of a nightmare ride for the pretty graduate student with the lying, cheating bastard of a husband. She finds herself accused of the bloodiest, most horrific murders, murders that we know she didn’t commit. Her life changes out of all proportion, if by ‘changes’ you mean ‘fucked up beyond all recognition,’ or even FUBAR, lol.  

But the Candyman, a suave and decidedly sexy, sharp-dressing black ghost with a deep, delicious voice, refuses to relinquish his stranglehold on Helen. Might her resemblance to a woman in a certain portrait possibly hold the key to his obsession…?

The murders are gory and grim and the special effects excellent, but you might not sleep easy for a while after viewing this supernatural slasher flick, especially if, like me, you have a medicine cabinet in your bathroom…!

I loved the social commentary in the film. You could make a whole other film just about Cabrini Green and the people who live there, or in other forgotten housing projects like it. I especially liked the character of Anne-Marie McCoy, the young black single mum who works to take care of her baby, Anthony, whom she obviously adores.

It’s not all drugs and gangs, she tells Helen defensively. It’s not all like you whites read in the newspapers. Some good decent folks live here too. That is undoubtedly true. It must be very hard to live there as a woman on her own, trying to raise a little boy who, as he’s growing up, is going to see crime and gang activity everywhere he looks.

That’s the real horror of CANDYMAN, if you ask me, but, hey, there’s a pretty darned good murderous ghost in the mix too, so enjoy your film. There are two sequels: CANDYMAN 2: FAREWELL TO THE FLESH (1995) and CANDYMAN 3: DAY OF THE DEAD (1999). And watch out for the 2021 direct sequel, CANDYMAN, in your local cinema right about now. Now, all together: Candyman! Candyman! Candyman! Candyman! I just can’t say it a fifth time, lol. Too scared the legend might be true…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

ORPHANAGE. (1980) THE SCREENPLAY BOOK BY MICHAEL ARMSTRONG REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

MICHAEL ARMSTRONG: THE SCREENPLAYS.

ORPHANAGE. (1980)

PUBLISHED IN 2021 BY PAPER DRAGON PRODUCTIONS.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘Michael Armstrong is creating history by being the first film-maker to publish his entire screenwriting output. With the original uncut screenplays in print for the first time ever and peppered with a mixture of wildly entertaining anecdotes, astounding behind-the-scenes revelations, creative and educational insights and brutal ‘no holds barred’ honesty, these books are guaranteed to provide a completely new kind of reading experience while offering a unique insight into the movie industry. Starting from his first professional screenplay written in 1960 when he was only fifteen and which he subsequently directed in 1968, the books will ultimately encompass a career that has spanned over fifty years. The books will include not only those screenplays which made it onto a cinema screen but, for the first time ever, all those that didn’t- and the reasons why…’

http://www.michaelarmstrong.co.uk

http://www.paperdragonproductions.com

This fantastic screenplay was intended to be written along the lines of the humongous ‘sleeper’ hit of the era, FRIDAY 13TH, and, yes, there are certainly loads of ‘killings’ in it, but, Michael being Michael, he actually put some great believable plot in there as well and gave one or two of his characters some genuinely heart-rending back stories and life issues.

And, knowing what we know nowadays regarding pretty much every state institution ever, from Mother & Baby Homes and industrial schools to children’s homes and Magdalen Laundries, it’s not difficult to imagine traumatic starts in life and horrific emotional scarring for all the poor kids who find themselves living in a state orphanage through absolutely no fault of their own.

The plot is set in an English orphanage, not an Irish one, by the way, and, thankfully, the kids aren’t being abused by the staff like they might have been over here, but, as it’s horror fiction, the protagonists do have a rather pressing problem of their own to deal with, namely a slasher-cum-paedophile killer who cuts a murderous swathe through their numbers like… well, I was going to say like a knife through butter but that’s not very original, is it? Think of something that’s very effective at cutting that’s not a knife and we’ll use that instead, lol.

Michael Armstrong, by the way, is the famous British director and screen-writer who wrote the screenplays for the following films:

THE DARK- 1960.

THE IMAGE- 1964. Starring a young David Bowie in his first screen appearance.

THE HUNT- 1965.

MARK OF THE DEVIL- 1970. A gruesome but frighteningly real depiction of eighteenth century witch-burnings.

THE SEX THIEF- 1973.

ESKIMO NELL- 1974. A riotous sex comedy starring beloved English actor Roy Kinnear and a young and handsome Michael Armstrong himself.

IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU- 1975.

THREE FOR ALL- 1975.

ADVENTURES OF A TAXI DRIVER #2- 1975.

ADVENTURES OF A PRIVATE EYE- 1976.

THE BLACK PANTHER- 1976. The story of Donald Neilson, the British armed robber, kidnapper and murderer who abducted wealthy British teenager Lesley Whittle in 1975.

HOME BEFORE MIDNIGHT- 1979.

SCREAMTIME- 1981.

HOUSE OF THE LONG SHADOWS- 1982. The only film in the history of cinema to star horror legends Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Vincent Price and John Carradine all together.

LIFEFORCE- 1983.

I’ve said this before, I know, but Michael Armstrong’s writing is an absolute joy to read. Reading the pictures he paints with his words is actually not much different to seeing them played out in front of you on the cinema screen. ORPHANAGE is particularly vivid. You’ll enjoy it, I promise you, although I must warn you all that the subject matter is very, very dark and some people just won’t be able for it.

We are all of us orphans in one way or another. All of us alone, isolated, looking for someone to hold onto, to love- and all of us are frightened of that shadow, that terrifying something, forever lurking just out of sight; that unexpected moment of death. It is the only thing in the world of which we can be certain; that it will always be there waiting to strike when we least expect it…

You know that guy? He’s sent the police this letter saying he’s going to do a whole load of murders next time. It was on the news.

The girl steps from a bus and crosses the road to start across some wasteland; a shortcut to her home…

Oh, horror films don’t frighten me. It’s when things are real… I mean, that’s different, isn’t it?

It doesn’t take long- especially if I cut through the woods…

Come and meet some of the kids, why don’t you? Mike is the hero, a teenage boy struggling with the twin unexploded bombs of the murder of his mother and his confusion regarding his sexuality.

Mike really likes an older guy called Brandon, but we don’t know yet if Brandon swings that way… Mike is someone with whom we can truly empathise, a decent young fella just trying to cope with the rotten curve-balls life keeps chucking at him.

‘I keep trying to fit in with the others but- all I really want to do is run away and curl up in a cave somewhere far away where no-one can ever find me.’ Poor Mike.

Terry is a bully, and, in particular, Mike’s very own special personal bully. The scene in which Terry forces Mike to act out some particularly graphic scenes from the book they’ve been studying in school, LORD OF THE FLIES, made me want to call Childline, and no kidding. Terry makes Mike’s life a misery, but Mike’s life is already tough enough. Someone should really put Terry back in his box.

‘Right! We’ve caught the pig! Now we do like they do in the book: we’re gonna stick him! Stick the pig and make him squeal! Make him wriggle! Stick him and kill him!’

 The little bollix, seriously.

Jan is a young black girl and she’s kind of Terry’s girlfriend. The scene involving their disastrous attempt at sex puts me in mind of Rachel screaming the following at Ross in FRIENDS: ‘It IS a big deal, it DOES matter and it DOESN’T happen to everyone…!’ Yeah, I think we can all guess what she’s talking about there, lol.

On the serious side, if Jan stays with Terry in the long-term, she’ll have a baby every year and a shiner every Friday and Saturday nights, and you can take that to the bank. Maggie is Jan’s younger, not-as-streetwise friend whom Terry delights in taunting.

Joey, an adorable five-year-old with obvious emotional problems and an unbreakable attachment to his teddy bear, is the kind of character that would just break your heart. He needs a mammy so much, and the one thing he doesn’t need is to be parted from his beloved teddy bear before he’s ready.

Anyway, one fateful night, the boss of the children’s home and his female co-worker go off to have dinner with someone who might possibly donate some much-needed cash to the home.

This makes it easier for the sick paedophile-killer who’s been stalking the home- and the kids- to gain access to the building… and the children who live in it… (Shades of Ted Bundy in the sorority house in Tallahassee, Florida, in 1978 here.)

The killer’s hand selects a knife with a serrated edge to the blade…

By the way, taking the short-cut home through the woods has never done any character in a film any good. Two of my favourite but possibly little-known movies from the early ‘Seventies can attest to this: THE APPOINTMENT and ASSAULT. In ORPHANAGE, there are some fantastically atmospheric scenes set in the woods in which characters get an overwhelming sense of impending doom.

There is someone else out there… in the darkness of the woods…

The screenplay puts me in mind of so many grisly things and serial killers. Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper. The original Jack the Ripper and his letters to the constabulary. Ted Bundy, as I said, and any serial killer in the movies who’s ever skulked through a darkened dormitory in the dead of night with murderous intent.

The two above-mentioned films, THE APPOINTMENT and ASSAULT, but also a film about a children’s home and several mysterious deaths called NOTHING BUT THE NIGHT, featuring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Diana Dors. Another film too, entitled WHEN A STRANGER CALLS. ‘Have you checked the children…?’ 

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m locking my bedroom door tonight and sleeping with the lights on…

By the way, all of these gorgeous glossy script books of Michael’s feature a chapter called: A HISTORY OF THE SCREEN PLAY. I always make a point of reading these because they usually contain hilariously funny anecdotes, cautionary tales and interesting snippets of showbizzy-type gossip from when Michael was actually sitting down to pen the film script in question. Read the one in ORPHANAGE and you’ll find out why Michael says: ‘That left me broke and stranded in Paris.’ Broke and stranded in Paris, lol. That’s such a writer thing to be…!

 You can buy this book and all of Michael’s other books as well at the following links:

http://www.michaelarmstrong.co.uk

http://www.paperdragonproductions.com

Joey continues drawing closer…

Every step taking him nearer to the open doorway…

His teddy bear…

And the waiting killer…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

LAST GIRL STANDING. (2015) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.©

Last-Girl-Standing_600 (1)

LAST GIRL STANDING. (2015) DIRECTED BY BENJAMIN R. MOODY. STARRING AKASHA VILLALOBOS, DANIELLE EVON PLOEGER AND BRIAN VILLALOBOS.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘What happens AFTER the horror movie?’

This isn’t exactly the greatest horror movie ever made, but it whiled away a June Bank Holiday Friday night during coronavirus lockdown nicely enough, and it’s definitely worth one watch and one evening of your time.

The idea of the ‘last girl standing’ is a ready-made horror trope all of its own already. (It’s always a girl, by the way; maybe because the aesthetics of a trim young woman running in a slim vest top and hotpants, with unfettered boobies bouncing freely and with long hair streaming out behind her, are more pleasing to the eye than if we just have, say, a heavy-set bearded bloke in sweatpants pounding along, struggling to breathe ’cause its years since he attempted anything approximating physical exercise.)

We’re all familiar with the image of the last girl in a horror movie to survive a massacre by the serial killer. We’ve all seen her running frantically through the woods in the dark, her white vest top stained with the blood of the friends she’s seen murdered by the villain and her long hair matted with blood and twigs. (From the trees and bushes, see?)

We’ve seen her trip and stumble to the forest floor just inches ahead of the pursuing killer. We’ve seen her flag down the one car on the otherwise deserted motorway, only to find that the car is being driven by the killer or one of his local accomplices, say, a corrupt sheriff or something. In other films, the car’s occupants are genuine and the Last Girl Standing is whisked away to the safety of the nearest hospital or police station.

In this film, Camryn (the world’s worst spelling of Cameron, a lovely name) is the titular Last Girl Standing. She saw her friends butchered in the woods in a pagan ritual, by a serial killer wearing a deer mask complete with antlers known as ‘the Hunter.’ Camryn went one further than most victims, however, and actually killed the man who was looking to add her name to his list of kills.

So, now, it’s a few years later and Camryn’s life is, to be totally honest about it, a bit shit. Her apartment looks like no-one lives in it, so reluctant has she been to personalise it or put her own stamp on it.

Her hair is limp and lank-looking, she dresses in the drabbest of drab shapeless hoodies and tops, she’s become almost terminally shy and jumpy and she barely talks to anyone at the dry cleaners-cum-launderette where she works. Even Nick, the cute new guy, has trouble getting a smile or a friendly word out of her.

Camryn has terrible survivors’ guilt. Why did she live, when none of her friends did? Plus, she lost all her closest friends in one fell swoop; all murdered by ‘the Hunter.’ That’s plenty to be depressed about as it is, but now, as well, since Nick joined the staff, coincidentally enough, Camryn has the feeling she’s being stalked.

Is the Hunter not dead after all? Has he come back to finish the job he left unfinished before? Or is Camryn merely losing the plot after all this time? You’ll have great fun trying to figure out which it is.

Camryn’s new friends- they’re Nick’s mates really- certainly think that Camryn is as mad as a box of frogs, out in their garden in the dead of night searching high and low for skinned and bleeding rabbits, and digging up dead serial killers in the middle of nowhere, also in the dead of night, just to make sure they’re still dead.

Is she cuckoo, or is she right? Is the Hunter back to finish her off, or maybe one of his friends or relatives is seeking to avenge the killer? It could go any way, especially as Camryn has such a tenuous grip on reality at the moment. Have fun figuring it out. It’s a good, serviceable little horror film and you’ll enjoy watching it, as I said earlier, at least once.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

FRIGHT. (1971) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.©

fright

FRIGHT. (1971) A BRITISH LION FILM. WRITTEN BY TUDOR GATES. DIRECTED BY PETER COLLINSON. STARRING SUSAN GEORGE, HONOR BLACKMAN, GEORGE COLE, DENNIS WATERMAN, JOHN GREGSON, TARA COLLINSON AND IAN BANNEN.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

This is a terrific horror-thriller movie in the sub-genre of what we would call ‘babysitter horror.’ Remember the original version of WHEN A STRANGER CALLS (Carol Kane), the first twenty minutes of which are pure unadulterated perfect horror? Damn right. ‘Have you checked the children?’

There’s also HOUSE OF THE DEVIL (Jocelin Donahue), in which a young American college student desperate for rent money is lured out into the sticks on the pretext of a babysitting job, but when she gets to the creepy old house in the country, she discovers two things. One, the baby she’s been called out to sit for isn’t a baby at all, but an elderly lady; and two, that the entire family are up to their tits in a devil cult. Lol. Dontcha just hate it when that happens?

And then, of course, there’s the original babysitter horror itself, HALLOWEEN, with Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie Strode doing duty as the babysitter and the masked escaped criminal Michael Myers providing the chuckles, I mean, the murders.

FRIGHT stars the delectable Susan STRAW DOGS George as Amanda, the young babysitter and child welfare student who comes to the isolated house of Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd to watch their son Tara, while they go out to the Plover Inn in the village a few miles away and celebrate ‘a sort of anniversary.’

The real star of the film is Susan George’s infinitely expressive, mobile face, with the huge eyes, the lush trembling lips and the slightly gammy but still charming teeth. This woman can really show fear in her face. Her long blonde hair and perfect, petite little body all go to complete the package.

The camera loves her, and her face can be shot endlessly in close-ups and you’d never get tired of it. Also, she’s rather smashing at portraying women who are being pushed around and abused by men. You can see this here, and also in STRAW DOGS which she made later in the year for Sam Peckinpah.

Anyway, as Amanda, she shows up at the Lloyds’ house in her fab little woolly pinky-purple mini-dress with the kinky black knee-boots, all set to babysit their little blond cherub of a son, Tara. By the way, in Ireland, Tara is a girl’s name. Just sayin.’

The Lloyds are played by George Cole (MINDER, THE VAMPIRE LOVERS) as Jim and the super-posh and classy Honor Blackman (GOLDFINGER, THE AVENGERS, TO THE DEVIL A DAUGHTER) as Helen. They are an uneasy pair.

Helen is obviously on edge, and doesn’t really want to leave the house, or her baby son, at all, but she’s going to go out to dinner for her husband’s sake and for the sake of living life as normal. Even though they clearly have a secret, one that might possibly place Amanda and the baby in danger if things pan out the way Helen clearly fears they’re going to.

The Lloyd house is big and old and creaky. Amanda gets a few scares initially that turn out to be no more than taps dripping or washing-lines tapping off the branches of trees. But when she sees a distorted man’s face through a ground floor window-pane, she can’t pass this off as a mere commonplace event.

She gets really scared and is glad when her male friend Chris (Dennis Waterman; MINDER, THE SCARS OF DRACULA) pops round to try and get in her knickers. She resists him at first, then gives in part of the way, then throws him out on his ear. Women, eh? Talk about moody and inconsistent. Men are like children. They need consistency in a woman. No means no and all that. Chris leaves, angry, confused and in a danger he’s unaware of…

In the meantime, there’s someone in the Lloyd house who shouldn’t be there and poor little Amanda, in her skimpy mini-dress that opens at the front to show her brassière and her perfect little boobies, is about to be subjected to a nightmare that will only be topped when Susan George films STRAW DOGS later in the year for Sam Peckinpah, the Daddy of Movie Violence. Will Amanda make it out alive? Will Tara? And what is the secret that’s eating Helen Lloyd up from the inside out…?

I love the shots of Helen and Jim boogey-ing on the dance floor in the Plover Inn, and also the fact that Amanda is watching Hammer’s PLAGUE OF THE ZOMBIES on the Lloyds’ ancient telly. FRIGHT could so easily pass for a Hammer film itself. 

I also love the confident, ginger-moustached cop who’s clearly in charge of the station’s one gun, and the way the desk sergeant won’t tell the Inspector a single solitary dicky-bird until he’s painstakingly made out a handwritten report.

‘Oh, you’ve been shot in the ‘ead there, ‘ave you, sir? Well, just hang on out here, sir, will you, while I go and fetch a pen and paper and write all this down for the Inspector, sir. Now where did I put that darned pen? It were ‘ere a minute or two ago. ‘Ere, you, Davies, ‘ave you had me pen? Blue it is, with a chewed cap where I chewed it myself. Oh, you’ve given up and died, ‘ave you, sir? Right on the floor down there? Fair enough, sir, I can’t say I blame you, but just hang on a minute, will you, while I make a note of it for the Inspector? Oh yes, that’s right, I’ve lost me pen, ‘aven’t I…?’

Cracking stuff. Watch FRIGHT. It’s a good atmospheric watch with loads of shocks and scares along the way. Out now from STUDIOCANAL, it features interviews with Susan George (she’s still alive and looking very well) and good-humoured cinema critic and snappy dresser Kim Newman. I saw him give a talk once, but unfortunately didn’t get close enough to him afterwards to ask for an autograph. You snooze, you lose.

But please don’t snooze while you’re on your own in a strange house, with their telly and your refrigerator privileges. That could be the very chance a boogeyman needs to gain access. And, once he’s in, he can be very hard to get rid of…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

MICHAEL ARMSTRONG’S SCREENPLAYS: THE DARK. (1960) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

horror house jill

MICHAEL ARMSTRONG’S ‘THE DARK.’ (1960) PUBLISHED IN 2019 BY PAPER DRAGON PRODUCTIONS.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘Michael Armstrong is creating history by being the first film-maker to publish his entire screenwriting output. With the original uncut screenplays in print for the first time ever and peppered with a mixture of wildly entertaining anecdotes, astounding behind-the-scenes revelations, creative and educational insights and brutal ‘no holds barred’ honesty, these books are guaranteed to provide a completely new kind of reading experience while offering a unique insight into the movie industry. Starting from his first professional screenplay written in 1960 when he was only fifteen and which he subsequently directed in 1968, the books will ultimately encompass a career that has spanned over fifty years. The books will include not only those screenplays which made it onto a cinema screen but, for the first time ever, all those that didn’t- and the reasons why…’

http://www.michaelarmstrong.co.uk/publications

http://www.paperdragonproductions.com

Some of my regular readers might have heard me mention a certain Michael Armstrong, a screenwriter and film director whose luxurious script-books I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing over the past eighteen months or so, according as they roll off the presses at Michael’s publishers, PAPER DRAGON PRODUCTIONS. If you want to know where or how you might have heard of Michael before, I can tell you that he wrote the screenplays for the following films:

THE DARK- 1960.

THE IMAGE- 1964. Starring David Bowie in his first screen appearance.

THE HUNT- 1965.

MARK OF THE DEVIL- 1970.

THE SEX THIEF- 1973.

ESKIMO NELL- 1974. A riotous sex comedy starring beloved English actor Roy Kinnear and a young and handsome Michael Armstrong himself.

IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU- 1975.

THREE FOR ALL- 1975.

ADVENTURES OF A TAXI DRIVER #2- 1975.

ADVENTURES OF A PRIVATE EYE- 1976.

THE BLACK PANTHER- 1976. The story of Donald Neilson, the British armed robber, kidnapper and murderer who abducted wealthy British teenager Lesley Whittle in 1975.

HOME BEFORE MIDNIGHT- 1979.

SCREAMTIME- 1981.

HOUSE OF THE LONG SHADOWS- 1982. The only film in the history of cinema to star horror legends Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Vincent Price and John Carradine all together.

LIFEFORCE- 1983.

PAPER DRAGON PRODUCTIONS are not only publishing the screenplays of Michael’s that got made into films, but also the ones that didn’t, for one reason or another. He’s written a load of horror movie scripts, some of which were extremely progressive and before their time, for example, BEELZEBUB, the story of a haunted computer which could have- should have- been made into a fantastic horror film, and OUIJA-BOARD. Of course, nowadays every second horror film-maker does a ouija-board film, so I’ll just point out that Michael wrote his script in 1989, people. 1989, while the hot-shot directors of today were still in nappies…! Check out some of my favourites quotes from THE DARK:

‘The moon’s full. Let’s hunt for ghosts.’

MADGE: ‘How the hell did I ever get talked into coming here?’

CHRIS: ‘Because you’re like the rest of us, dear. Bored with life.’

‘Maybe the house’ll catch fire again… I like fire.’

Something curved flashes: The sharp blade of a kukri.

‘We get rid of the body. Act as though we didn’t even know that he’d been- that this had happened.’

‘He was there!- He came out of that room!- He saw me and he beckoned!- He was covered in blood!’

‘Madmen are affected by the moon, aren’t they? The moon to me isn’t anything horrid, though… It’s beautiful… You know?… Maybe because I’ve always been afraid of the dark… and the moon gives me light when it’s dark.’

THE DARK (1960) is a script along the same lines as BEELZEBUB and OUIJA-BOARDIt’s the script of a slasher film penned long before slasher films were even popular, and it was deservedly made into a film by Tigon British Film Productions and American International Pictures in 1968/9, although the production was definitely what you might call ‘troubled.’

You can read all the gory, behind-the-scenes details in Michael’s book, you scurvy gossip-mongers, you! Michael directed this one himself, by the way. He was super-young when he did it and I’m guessing that he knew even long before this point just exactly what he wanted to do with his life. It’s good to have that clear sense of direction early on, ba-dum-tish…

The film was re-titled prior to release as THE HAUNTED HOUSE OF HORROR in the UK and HORROR HOUSE (USA). To be brutally honest, although both of these new titles are perfectly fine, Michael’s own title suits the script better because he was calling it ‘THE DARK’ for a very particular reason, which you’ll see for yourselves when you read the book.

THE DARK is the story of a bunch of no-good young ‘uns in Swinging Sixties’ London, some of them creative types like artists, singers and songwriters. They’re young, bright, rich (well, some of ’em are), beautiful (again, some of ’em are!), bored and looking for what used to be called kicks. Thrills. Spills. You know the type of thing. Fun.

They have sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, but all that’s not enough for them, the greedy young ‘uns. They want more. More what, I hear you ask? Well, more excitement, I suppose, as if the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll weren’t enough for most people. The beautiful people are like that, of course. Always looking for more. And they usually get it too. ‘Cause they’re beautiful, d’uh…!

They’re like the Bright Young Things in Hammer’s DRACULA AD 1972, Caroline Munro and Johnny Alucard and the rest, who hold a Satanic ceremony in a deserted ruined church in London and end up bringing Count Dracula back from the dead. Which was exactly Johnny Alucard’s intention, but of course his dopey chums don’t know that and they get a helluva fright, especially Caroline Munro who’s stuck right there in the firing line.

But it proves the point that kids who already have sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll do sometimes turn to black magic, the occult and the dark arts for that little something extra when they’ve grown tired of everything else in their lives. It’s the next step up on the ‘kicks’ ladder, as it were. The kids in THE DARK are no exception. One of them, Chris, says about another one of their member, Sheila:

‘I think she’s seen every horror film that’s ever been made.’

To which Sheila promptly replies:

‘Well, they’re such fun. I like monsters… They amuse me. I think being frightened is fun.’

Thank you, Sheila! You’ve hit the nail on the head there. We all think being frightened is fun. Why else would we read books like this or watch films like THE HAUNTED HOUSE OF HORROR? Because we want a good old fright, that’s why. I personally think it’s because it takes our minds temporarily off our own crappy little lives, haha. Later on, Chris says of Sheila:

‘The way you relish blood, Sheila, anybody’d think you were a vampire.’

To which she (jokingly?) replies:

‘Yes, well, you’d better watch out next time I give you a love-bite, then.’

The kids jump at the chance to drive out into the countryside in the middle of the night, in the middle of a party, just because one of them says he knows of an old deserted house that might be haunted.

In my day- harrumph!- the party was the party, and was plenty good enough for us. Just like in my day, we didn’t get expensive goody-bags to take home after a party because we’d just been to a fucking party. That WAS the party. Harrumph again!

The cars draw up outside the house;

An old dilapidated building; huge and sinister.

Then:

They enter the room…

Where there are still pieces of old furniture,

Even torn curtains hanging.

Most of the glass in the windows is broken

And there has been a vague attempt at boarding them up.

A great deal of damage obviously the result of hooliganism.

If this house isn’t haunted to buggery, I’ll eat my… well, I’m not a hat person but I’ll eat something, anyway. A large slice of chocolate cake, maybe. There’s some in the cupboard. Anyway, Richard, the guy whose idea it was to come to this house in the first place, tells us a bit about the house’s history:

‘Apparently, the family who owned this house were all bumped off one dark night. One of them went mad, for some reason, and killed all the rest.’

Then, a little later:

‘The story goes that one dark night, one of the sons- for no apparent reason- went raving berserk and hacked his entire family to death.’

Oooooooooh. Shades of THE AMITYVILLE HORROR here and the Ronald DeFeo murders, a full decade and a bit before they happened too so we know that Michael came up with the idea himself and wasn’t inspired by the Amityville phenomenon. Another girl, Sylvia, states clearly her opinion of the house:

‘I can feel an evil presence here. There’s an aura about the place.’ Also: ‘That house is evil. I could feel it. It’s evil.’

And Richard adds, after informing us that the abandoned old mansion is now supposedly the property of an aged cousin of the deceased owners who now lives in a mental home (that’s nice and cheerful, innit?), that the place is ‘the house of the dead.’ So now we know…

It’s not altogether surprising when one of the young ‘uns is brutally murdered while the kids are holding their makeshift séance in the obviously haunted house. But when Chris makes the stunning discovery that ‘the (front) door’s still bolted,’ it clearly means that the calls are coming from inside the house…!

Lol, it doesn’t mean that, but it does mean that whoever killed the murder victim is still in the house. It could even be one of them and, as they can’t find another perpetrator when they search the house, it means that it probably is one of them.

So how do they cope with this staggering knowledge? Well, I can totally assure you that they do all the wrong things and get themselves into such a tangled muddle that it’s hard to see how they can ever get out of it, which is exactly what you want from a horror movie.

There’s a wonderful scene set in the British Museum, a place which I’ve always wanted to visit. It sounds so atmospheric and spooky, with the weight of thousands of years of history inside its walls. I want to visit it even more now that I know that they have stamp rooms and literary rooms as well as the Egyptian rooms. They’d better still have those, lol. They’d jolly well better not have changed anything in the last sixty years or else. Or else what? Well, I’ll just be very pissed off, that’s all.

All kinds of sexual tensions and forbidden attractions are simmering away below the surface as well, as couples come together and break apart with all the frequency you might except from a large mixed group of horny young ‘uns in their twenties. There’s some gorgeous writing in there too which is brilliantly evocative of the atmosphere Michael tries successfully to create:

The shadows loom like gigantic veils… Draped over the walls.

The sky is slashed with clouds.

The house stands alone; Bathed in the moonlight.

You can really see the house standing there, can’t you, all dark and brooding and evil, like in THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE, where whatever walked there, walked alone…? You see the house in your mind’s eye and then you immediately know that some really bad shit is going to go down in there. How could it not, in a house that’s obviously so chock-full of bad mojo and as malignant as a particularly persistent cancerous tumour? 

There are some fantastic full colour and black-and-white movie poster photos towards the back of the script-book which will be invaluable to the collector of movie memorabilia, and the book itself- or indeed, any or all of the books- would make a wonderful gift for any film buff or movie lover. As usual, all the books are available to buy from Michael’s own website and his publishers, PAPER DRAGON PRODUCTIONS. So, until next time, for God’s sake don’t go in the house…!

http://www.michaelarmstrong.co.uk/publications

http://www.paperdragonproductions.com

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

HALLOWEEN. (2018) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

halloween 2018 stabby

HALLOWEEN. (2018) BASED ON CHARACTERS CREATED BY JOHN CARPENTER AND DEBRA HILL. MUSIC BY JOHN CARPENTER, CODY CARPENTER AND DANIEL DAVIES. DIRECTED BY DAVID GORDON GREEN.

STARRING JAMIE LEE CURTIS, JAMES JUDE COURTNEY, NICK CASTLE (the original Michael Myers), JUDY GREER, TOBY HUSS, ANDI MATICHAK, WILL PATTON AND VIRGINIA GARDNER.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I bloody loved this brilliant fortieth anniversary edition of John Carpenter’s 1978 slasher horror classic. It’s got our beloved Jamie Lee Curtis, daughter of Janet PSYCHO Leigh, reprising her role as Laurie Strode, the woman terrorised by deranged serial killer Michael Myers one fateful Halloween night forty years ago when she was babysitting while studying for her exams.

Michael’s murderous nature has lost none of its sick inventiveness and tendency towards the most shocking violence. The theme tune we love is there, the music overall is great and we get to see the blocky orangey credits from the first film again.

Dear old Dr. Samuel Loomis, played by an over-coated Donald Pleasence in the original films, gets a couple of mentions and the respect and love the cast and crew show towards the original movies is all we could wish for and more as fans of the franchise.

There are a ton of lovely recognisable nods and tributes to the original franchise of movies in this film, which a friend aptly described as ‘a love letter to the original Halloween.’ Aw, isn’t that sweet?

Anyone who doesn’t love this movie and deem it ‘rackworthy,’ as Comic Book Guy from THE SIMPSONS might say, is a snobby nit-picker, there I’ve said it, lol. (Or maybe a nobby snit-picker, depending how well you’re able to get your tongue round the tongue-twister.)

So anyway, it’s been forty years since attractive brunette high school student Laurie Strode was pursued and attacked by Michael Myers for the first time. What’s she been up to all this time? I think it’s safe to say that she’s been living in fear ever since.

I don’t know what she’s been doing for a living but she’s turned her isolated woodside home into a fortress that she hopes is Michael Myers-proof, just in case he ever decides to come back. Which you know he will.

And the place hasn’t yet been built that’s one hundred percent Michael Myers-proof, as our dear old Laurie should know by now. Still, I totally understand that she’s got to at least try, in order to make herself feel better and even safe. If Laurie Strode can ever feel totally safe again after what Michael put her through, which I doubt.

Her house has a locked high gate where you have to state your business into an intercom and be buzzed in by Laurie herself. The woods around her house serve as an eerie mannequins’ graveyard for all the tailors’ dummies she’s personally murdered over the years during her target practice. I don’t really see Michael ever being killed by a bullet from a gun, though, do you?

Laurie’s become something of a crack shot by now and she keeps a veritable arsenal of weapons in her basement. The basement is accessible only by activating a switch that moves the kitchen island to one side and reveals a staircase leading downwards into what Laurie’s grown-up daughter Karen calls her ‘childhood.’ This basement is Laurie’s ‘panic room.’ It’s filled with enough guns and food supplies and other sundries to satisfy even the strictest, most panicky survivalist.

It’s good to be prepared, but it doesn’t look like poor Laurie has had much of a life since Michael Myers came into it and blighted it. Has anyone been helping her with her obvious PTSD?

Unfortunately, her obsession with what happened forty years ago has cost her two marriages and her relationship with her daughter. This last I wouldn’t shed any tears about because the daughter Karen is a whingy bitch.

I wanted to slap her upside the head and yell at her to show some respect to her mother and have some sympathy with Laurie’s plight. ‘How dare you be so rude to Jamie Lee Curtis, you bitch?’

But Karen is a proper Moaning Minnie who was removed from Laurie’s care when she was a child because of the way that Laurie’s fears had taken over both their lives. I would have washed my hands of her and gone back to concentrating properly on living in fear, lol.

Karen herself has a daughter called Alysson now, a teenager for whose romantic future I tremble. There don’t seem to be any male people in her school who have any intention of growing up into what we used to recognise as men. I’ll say no more in case I’m accused of some new and horrible kind of discrimination but seriously, what’s happened to all the men in the world of cinema…?

Alysson has a better relationship with her grandmother Laurie than Karen has with her mother. Alysson also seems to be more tolerant of Laurie’s PTSD than Karen, and more inclined to believe her grandmother when she tries to explain that Michael Myers will always constitute a threat to the Strode family as long as he’s alive somewhere.

This is good because right now, we’re on a full-on red warning as Michael, a big strong burly man now in his early sixties and with his beloved old mask firmly in place, has escaped from the bus conveying him from one insane asylum to another.

Slowly but inexorably, and leaving a terrible trail of savagery and murder behind him, he’s making his way home to the little town of Haddonfield where, when he was a mere tot of six years old, he suddenly stabbed his older sister Judith to death with a massive kitchen knife one Halloween night.

And of course it was on another Halloween night in Haddonfield that he murdered a slew of Laurie Strode’s incredibly slutty high school friends and tried to murder Laurie herself too. Laurie was a good studious girl who put studying ahead of sex. Was it a mere coincidence that she alone survived Michael’s rampage? Maybe, maybe not.

Either way, just like whenever horny teens try to have sex in the vicinity of Camp Crystal Lake, there will Jason Voorhees be to throw buckets of cold water on their ardour (‘Ardour, ardour, do it ardour!’), so will Michael Myers be on hand wherever the babysitters of Haddonfield are trying to get some. They should really set up a picket line, shouldn’t they?

Haddonfield is tricked out beautifully for Halloween, as it is every time we go back there. It really captures the feel of the original movie. Kids are going about trick-or-treating in full Halloween costume and there are pumpkins galore.

I love that people get slaughtered in this that you actually assumed were going to make it till the end of the movie (it really confounds your expectations and turns ’em on their head!), and I also loved it that Michael chose not to kill that crying baby. Michael Myers is a killer of stupid people, of annoying, disrespectful journalists and horny teens. He is no baby-killer.

It’s funny as well the way that you get so protective of Michael after all these years. Even though we know he’s a demented serial killer who kills people in dreadfully painful ways, he’s our beloved serial killer and we don’t want any harm to come to him or for anyone to be annoying him.

When that awful podcaster couple were harassing him in the exercise yard of the asylum in the beginning, I wanted to scream at them to leave him alone, he’s our Michael Myers and how bloody dared they pester him like that? Let’s just say that I didn’t shed too many tears over what later happened in that grubby little gas station bathroom…

If this turns out to be our last HALLOWEEN movie ever, I’d consider us to be well off. If there are ever any more sequels, especially ones with Jamie Lee Curtis in ’em, that’ll just be a lovely big bonus. There is a sequel to this one planned, so we’ll see.

HALLOWEEN (2018), whether you view it as a stand-alone movie or the first part of a two-part film series, is more than worthy of being added to this terrific franchise. I’ll fight anyone who says differently. What, fisticuffs? Yes, fisticuffs, lol.

Have fun, by the way, counting all the cute little nods to the original movie, there are at least ten of ’em. And remember this little fun fact the next time Michael Myers comes a-calling. No matter how fast you run, he can walk faster…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor

MISS LESLIE’S DOLLS. (1973) A NAUGHTY VIDEO-NASTY REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

miss leslie's dolls split screen

MISS LESLIE’S DOLLS. (1973) DIRECTED AND CO-WRITTEN BY JOSEPH G. PRIETO. STARRING SALVADOR UGARTE, TERRI JUSTON, MARCELLE BICHETTE, KITTY LEWIS AND CHARLES PITTS.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I loved this one, as fine a low-budget piece of exploitation cinema as you’ll find anywhere. It’s a cross between a video-nasty, an early slasher movie and a porno flick, with a really cool ‘Seventies music soundtrack and tons of lady-nipples, lol. It reminds me a bit of DON’T GO IN THE HOUSE, another ‘Seventies film that would also fall into the category of video-nasty. The basic premise is as follows.

A young University teacher called Alma Frost is travelling somewhere with three of her students, two beautiful young ladies called Martha and Lily and then there’s Roy, who’s driving. Their old jalopy runs out of gas in the middle of the night. In the middle of a cemetery. In the middle of a storm. They really planned that well, didn’t they? Snigger.

There’s a spooky old abandoned-looking house by the cemetery. Miss Frost thinks it might be a good idea if they sought shelter there, although personally I’d rather sleep in the car with the doors locked than try to deal with whatever dwells within the walls of that old mausoleum. Still, the folks in horror movies, they just won’t be told, will they?

The house is owned by one Miss Leslie Lamont, a queer old duck who’s only too happy to be receiving company as she lives alone in her isolated house (except for her cat, Tom) with little or no contact with the outside world. It’s a strange set-up but then we gotta live and let live, right? To each their own.

The little school party don’t seem to notice that she’s distinctly masculine-looking and built like a brick outhouse with hands and feet the size of dinner plates, but I did. I was onto that rum dame in the blue dress right from the start, lol.

She’s awfully forthcoming about her private and personal business, and so in no time at all the schoolies and their teacher have discovered the following snippets of information about her.

Her mother is dead, but when she was alive Mother owned a small doll factory. I don’t know if it’s the factory or the dolls that was/were small…! Anyway, the factory mysteriously burned down years ago, killing Maw Lamont and a young woman who worked for her.

Miss Leslie is a self-confessed student of the occult, reincarnation and all things other-worldly.  She moves and speaks slowly and deliberately while all the time stroking her pussy (cat, that is, Tom the cat!) and there’s something distinctly odd about her, even once you get past the fact that she’s built like a WWF wrestler in a very big frock. She’s both calm and placid and yet also highly sensitive and emotional as well, a lady who obviously feels things deeply.

While Miss Leslie’s off kindly organising some ham and cheese sambos for the little lost lambs, the lambs are off sticking their noses into a room of hers which she calls her ‘sanctuary.’ It contains five or six life-sized dolls that look suspiciously like dead human females and which would put you in mind immediately of Vincent Price’s HOUSE OF WAX.

Anyway, bedtime comes and the three silly-billy females have seemingly only packed see-through shorty nightdresses of the kind that used to be called ‘baby doll.’ They must all be freezing with the cold. There’s a storm on, after all. There are so many perky little nipples on show that you’d hardly know where to look. 

There’s even one scene in which Miss Leslie appears to be confiding in a pair of bare breasts with some lovely standy-uppy nipples…! I know I talk to my own boobies sometimes (in you go, girls, that’s it, easy now, like when I’m squishing them into a brassière) but this is ridiculous.

There’s a very permissive ménage-à-trois thing going on between the sex-mad Roy and the two beautiful, horny-as-feck young ladies, Martha and Lily. He’s sleeping with both of them, the dirty dog, with the full knowledge and consent of all parties. I know it was the permissive ‘Seventies, but still…!

So Roy has sex with Martha while the seemingly uptight and sexually repressed Miss Frost whips off her frumpy librarian spectacles, unpins her glorious strawberry-blonde hair and strips off her teacher clobber to commit an act of what these days would pass for rape against Lily, the student who’s not having sex with Roy at this moment in time. (But don’t worry, readers, she soon will be…!)

Still unsated after her unexpected bout of lesbian sex, Lily afterwards goes in search of Roy and Martha for a spot of heterosexual shenanigans just to mix things up. Meanwhile, Miss Leslie, who’s already rather creepily told the schoolies that Martha is the living image of a girl she once knew who’s now dead, is having a full-on earnest conversation down in the basement with what remains of her mother. Cuckoo, right…?

All we need now is for the four schoolies to suddenly decide they urgently need to wander around the house in their ridiculously skimpy nightwear in the middle of the night and the stage is set for the bloodiest high-jinks since Carrie got her first period in the Stephen King novel of the same name.

Will the college party unwittingly be the cause of Miss Leslie’s finally achieving her lifelong dream, which I can’t tell you about because it would be a definite spoiler? We’ll see, gentle reader. We’ll see…

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger, poet and book-and-movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens’ fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:

https://www.facebook.com/SandraHarrisPureFilthPoetry

https://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com

http://sexysandieblog.wordpress.com

http://serenaharker.wordpress.com

sandrasandraharris@gmail.com

https://twitter.com/SandraAuthor