The Last House on the Left (1972) USA Love Camp 7 (1978) USA Madhouse (1981) USA Mardi Gras Massacre (1978) USA Night of the Bloody Apes (1968) Mexico Night of the Demon (1980) USA Nightmares in a Damaged Brain (1981) USA Snuff (1971/6) Arg / USA SS Experiment Camp (1976) Italy Tenebrae (1982) Italy The Werewolf And The Yeti (1975) Spain Zombie Flesh Eaters (1979) Italy
Devil Hunter (1980) Spain / Italy / W Germany AKA - Sexo Canibal; Il cacciatore di uomini; Jungfrau unter Kannibalen; Man Hunter; Mandigo Man Hunter
Dir. Jesus Franco (as Clifford Brown) - 85m 23s (Cinehollywood)
Plot A native woman is chased through the jungle until she is captured by a ‘man-monster’ who then proceeds to feed on her entrails. Elsewhere, in a hotel, a film star (Laura Crawford) is kidnapped and taken to a jungle hideout, and the film company hire Peter Weston (Al Cliver from Zombie Flesh Eaters) to retrieve Crawford, preferably without paying the $6 million ransom. Bak in the jungle, the kidnappers rape Crawford and then go to meet Weston (and his accomplice Jack) to collect the ransom. They find about the double-cross and open fire on Weston and Jack, who survive, but the helicopter is hit and immobilised. The kidnappers return to Crawford but inadvertently lose her and one of them is then killed (Predator-style) by the man-monster, who goes on to kill Jack and a young native girl. Some more kidnappers are killed, and the local tribesmen capture Crawford. She is tied to a sacrificial post, but instead of killing her, the man-monster runs off with her. Weston gives chase and fights the man-monster on a cliff. He eventually defeats the monster by hurling him off he cliff onto the rocks below. The tribesmen celebrate, leaving Weston and (a topless) Crawford to head home with the $6 million.
Review Oh Jesus Franco, what a terrible film! Full of awful music and crash zooms to nowhere, Devil Hunter unfolds with no suspense, emotional engagement or real interest whatsoever. Characters rarely speak on screen (obviously to help the painful post-production dubbing) and the sound effects just sound plain bad. In fact there really is nothing at all to recommend this film as it is full of bad editing, cheap monster make-up / art department, amateur acting and ludicrous plotting – written by Franco himself. Even the gore (when it does appear) is shoddy, not so much special effects as merely effects. Ursula Fellner who plays Crawford spends much of the film naked or semi-naked, and it’s the fact that the women in the film are often held captive, molested and/or raped that contributed to it landing on the ‘banned’ list. Don’t bother.
Versions The video first appeared in November 1981, and is currently unavailable in the UK (or anywhere else for that matter).
Don’t Go in the Woods… Alone! (1980) USA AKA - Don’t Go in the Woods
Dir. James Bryan - 78m 15s (Video Network)
Plot An ornithologist is attacked in the woods, has his arm hacked off and is killed. A couple (Dick and Cherry – hmm none-too-subtle sexual names there) are killed as they make out in a camper van. The Sheriff and his men arrive in the woods to find the missing ornithologist, and some backpackers are stabbed in their sleeping bags. A woman is murdered whilst painting, and the assailant, a wild man in furs, takes the woman’s infant. A fisherman is then murdered with a bear trap, and another young backpacker is killed before two other backpackers (Peter and Ingrid) stumble on the wild man’s hideout. When the wild man returns, they both run and Peter accidentally kills an innocent man before they escape into the woods. Another young backpacker (Joanne) is hacked to pieces and a man in a wheelchair is then decapitated. Finally Peter and Ingrid return and kill the wild man in a stabbing frenzy. In the last scene, the child who was taken is shown playing with an axe, forgotten and all alone in the woods.
Review As if Devil Hunter wasn’t bad enough, Don’t Go Into The Woods is even worse. The only reason it still remains in the public consciousness is because of it’s ‘banned’ notoriety. Photography, continuity, editing, acting and music are all amongst the worst ever put to celluloid, and a lot of the time it is difficult to work out exactly what is happening on screen. There is very little bloodletting, yet when it does happen (the murder of Joanne and the final scene of Peter and Ingrid maniacally stabbing the wild man) the scenes are unnecessarily drawn out and end up being needlessly unpleasant. Somewhere there is a good film to be made from the ‘Wild Man in the Woods’ premise. This isn’t it. In fact, it’s probably the worst of all the nasties, which is really quite an achievement considering the rest of the (mostly crap) titles on the list.
Versions The film was never released theatrically in the UK and is still banned in the UK, although it is available uncut on Dutch DVD.
Plot A struggling artist (Reno) is offended when he comes into contact with a tramp. The next day his flatmate (Pamela) drills a hole in the door with a power drill and Reno throws the telephone out of the window when a large bill arrives. Reno tries, but is unable to get any money for his paintings, and when a rock band moves in downstairs, it further annoys his concentration. He toys with a skinned rabbit corpse, before taking to the streets with a power drill to murder a street bum. The next day he kills a few more. His girlfriend (Carol) then leaves him when his painting is said to be ‘shit’ by his art dealer. Later, Reno kills the art dealer and Pamela his flat-mate. He visits Carol’s ex-husband’s place and murders him before lying in the bed, waiting for Carol to get out of the shower.
Review Abel Ferrara pretty much launched his career with this film, taking the lead role (under the pseudonym Jimmie Laine) and directing this ‘art-house’ effort in 1979, yet it still remains more widely known for it’s lurid video artwork than the content of the film itself. Actually the film is a pretty good attempt at a blackly-humorous look at a man’s descent into depression, and is now regarded as an ‘acceptable’ nasty, largely thanks to Ferrara’s semi-assimilation into the mainstream (King of New York, Invasion of the Bodysnatchers and even some episodes of Miami Vice). The effects of the film are cleverly realised, but may detract from the film as a whole as they seem to alienate the art-house film fans, in the same way that the tone and the message of the film alienates the gore-hounds. But really, Driller Killer is very much an original ‘punk’ film, and whilst being relatively boring at times, it is still worth more of your time than most of the films on this list (yes, Devil Hunter and Don’t Go in the House.. that means you).
Versions Driller Killer was originally released uncertified on the Vipco label in the UK before being banned in 1984 for 15 years. Visual Films resubmitted it in 1999, and it was passed 18 with minor cuts (54 secs). This version also reinstated some non-violent scenes (42 secs) that were missing from the original print that had been trimmed in order to fit onto a 90 minute tape.
The full-uncut version was eventually passed in the UK in 2002 on the "ILC" label.
Dir. Eric Weston - 99m 53s (Videospace / Filmtown)
Plot In 16th Century Spain, a devil worshipper performs one last ritual before being banished. Modern-day America, and Coopersmith (Clint Howard) is a downtrodden Military Academy student who is bullied by both the students and the teachers. It turns out the Academy is built on land owned by the old devil worshipper, and Coopersmith stumbles across his book of devil worship. Using a computer, he discovers he needs two ingredients to perform the resurrection ritual – consecrated host and blood. As Coopersmith is bullied more, some supernatural force kills the alcoholic caretaker and some pigs escape from their pen and eat the Academy secretary alive. Coopersmith’s dog is then killed, and after discovering the dog’s dead body he murders a staff member to finalise the ritual as instructed by the computer. In a final ‘Chapel’ showdown, Coopersmith (along with the pigs) kills all his tormentors whilst levitating with a sword, before being interned in a psychiatric hospital.
Review Evilspeak was the first starring role for Clint Howard (star of TV’s Gentle Ben and brother of Ron Howard) and he fits the part of Coopersmith, the lowly downtrodden student, perfectly. Indeed, the film is fairly competent and is held together nicely by director Eric Weston. Clint Howard has a particular fondness for the film, calling it ahead of its time for featuring a computer so heavily in the storyline in 1981. Unfortunately the film is let down by a fairly formulaic plot that drifts towards its inevitable climax without really engaging. The ending is quite lame, but also strangely amusing (Killer pigs!!) and while it’s no disaster, it is a shame about the stereotypical characters and the routine script. There are relatively few gore-effects, but when they do appear (a decapitation of a topless woman, a hand plunging into a chest to pull out a heart and a pig chomping down on the secretary’s intestines) they are pretty visceral. Nice scene with the head being used as the ball in a game of soccer too.
Versions Originally released uncut in August 1983, this film was finally passed (with minor cuts 0f 3min 34secs) on the Horror Classics label, Prism and Apex Video labels. Anchor Bay UK released the uncut version in 2004.
Expose (1975) UK AKA - The House on Straw Hill; Trauma
Dir. James Kenelm Clarke - 80m 16s (Intervision)
Plot Novelist Paul Martin (Udo Kier) is trying to finish his latest book in a quiet country cottage, but is having panic attacks, so his girlfriend (Suzanne) leaves. His agent arranges for a secretary to stay with him to assist his writing, and Paul picks her up (Linda) from the train station. The next day Linda begins snooping around the house and masturbating in her room. Later, while masturbating (again!) in a wheat field, two men rape her at gunpoint, but Linda gets hold of the gun and shoots both men. One day Paul makes a pass at Linda, but she rejects him, so he invites his ex-girlfriend, Suzanne, over. Paul and Suzanne make love, and Linda leaves. Paul tries to follow Linda, but she returns to the house and makes love with Suzanne before killing her. When Paul returns (after crashing the car into a pond due to tampered with brakes) Linda attempts to kill Paul because he stole a manuscript from her late husband. At this point, one of the rapists appears, killing Linda before dying himself, leaving paranoid Paul alone surrounded by dead bodies.
Review Released theatrically in the UK in 1976, Expose, (aka The House on Straw Hill) is the only British film on the nasties list and was probably most notable for the feature-length debut of Fiona Richmond (who was at that time ‘Britain’s Number One Sex Symbol’). In fact, although similar in tone to Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, Expose was marketed more as a soft-porn sex-flick rather than a ‘horror nasty’. Admittedly, it’s not hard to see why, as the film features a lot of fairly graphic (soft) sex scenes, including lovemaking, masturbation and lesbian romps which are often uncomfortably mixed with scenes of violence such as the murder of Suzanne and Paul’s violent hallucinations. It is this, along with Linda’s impassive rape scene, which led to Expose receiving ‘Video Nasty’ notoriety. Future Brush Strokes actor Karl Howman can be spotted as one of the village thugs.
Versions By the time it reached video, the film suffered from the dwindling star-power of Fiona Richmond and poor distribution (making it currently harder to find a video copy of this than to find Viagra in the Vatican). More recently Siren Video remastered and reissued Expose (alongside Clarke’s other two films of this ‘trilogy’ – Let’s get Laid and Hardcore) with a further 51 secs of cuts, and Clarke has reportedly stated his attention to remake the film at some point.
Plot A succession of film clips ‘investigating’ man’s mortality and the mystery of death, hosted by ‘Doctor of Pathological Sciences’ Dr Frances B Gross (in reality, actor Michael Carr). Opening with footage of open-heart surgery and an introduction from Gross in a mortuary, the film then shows various clips including mummies from Mexico, a bull fight, and two pit bull terriers tearing each other apart. Clips from the Amazon jungle, Africa and an American farm precede an obviously fake segment showing Western tourists dining on monkey brains. We see more animal deaths, a fake alligator attack on a park warden, an assassination and an American gunfight between police and a man who has killed his family. More corpses are shown in a morgue scene, clips from World War II, concentration camps and epidemics in India. A parachutist falls to his death at an air show. A stuntman miscalculates and dies. Finally, there is more newsreel footage before the film ends with a ludicrous ‘investigation’ into the spirit world.
Review You’re either going to be fascinated by Faces of Death, or revolted by its ‘exploitation’ feel, there’s rarely a middle line. Essentially a string of clips (some obviously faked) of death, the format is not that far removed from today’s current TV ‘Shock’ reality programmes, except this was made way back in 1979 riding off the back of the ‘mondo’ shockumentary success. Some of the clips are genuinely harrowing, these generally being the ‘real’ depictions of death, whether the scenes of animal death (of which there are many) or long-shot out-of-focus clips such as the parachutist plummeting to his doom. However, moments such as the infamous ‘eating-monkey-brains’ sequence, and the host, Dr Frances Gross (in reality actor Michael Carr), are far from convincing and often end up just being faintly amusing. It was made initially for the Japanese market, and indeed was such a huge success that 3 official sequels followed. If you’re morbidly curious, you may want to see this for ‘educational purposes’, just remember to ignore the largely insensitive music, and don’t take it too seriously.
Versions It was released in the UK by Atlantis Video Productions, although they had chosen to remove a whole chunk from the film (about 35 minutes), including several State executions, a Satanic cannibalistic cult, a fake bear attack and a few ‘real’ death clips. A cut version, which removed a dog fight and partially trimmed the ‘eating-monkey-brains’ sequence was eventually passed in the UK in 2003. The film is still available uncut in the US and Holland.
Fight For Your Life (1977) USA AKA - I Hate Your Guts; Bloodbath at 1313 Fury Drive; Held Hostage; Staying Alive; Getting Even
Dir. Robert A. Endelson - 82m 11s (Vision On)
Plot Three criminals (Kane, Chino and Chow) escape by shooting a police officer and drive off in a pimp’s Mercedes. Stopping for gas further down the road, they kill the pump attendant and hold up a liquor store, shooting the cashier. They take a young black girl (Corrie Turner) hostage, and drive to the Turner’s house to switch cars. The father, Ted Turner, a Minister, is at Church so the gang take the whole family hostage and await his return. When Turner arrives home, Kane insists on dinner before they leave, and after plenty of racial slurs, Kane reveals a black man once raped him. Turner, the pacifist, refuses to stand up to Kane physically and when Karen, a white girl, arrives at the house Chow chases her, rapes her and kills her. He also kills a boy and returns to the house, gloating about the rape. The gang beat Ted unconscious with his own bible before raping Corrie, his virgin daughter. The police arrive and surround the house, as Turner wins possession of the gun. Chow and Chino are killed attempting to escape whilst Turner shoots Kane himself.
Review Fight For Your Life was never granted a theatrical release in the UK, instead sneaking onto video in 1982 marketed as an all-out action film, promising “eighty-nine minutes of sheer terror”. The film itself is a far more disturbing (yet powerful) affair, essentially replaying the old exploitation theme of ‘intruders degrading victims' (see also The Last House on the Left and House on the Edge of the Park), but this time substituting the normal ‘class divide’ for one of race. Black does triumph over white by the end of this film (in a short burst of physical retribution), but along the way racial slurs (“Martin Luther Coon”, “Pink Pig”) from both sides attempt to turn the film into a sort of blaxploitation film that attempts to appeal to black and white audiences alike. It’s not overly gory (although it is violent) suggesting that the film was rejected due to the BBFC’s concerns over its seemingly racist overtones. Is it racist? Not really, both black and white characters are equally flawed, but it does make for very uncomfortable viewing in a mean and trashy kind of way. Also stars William J Sanderson (J F Sebastian in Blade Runner).
Versions The film is still currently unavailable in the UK, although Blue Underground has released an uncut version on DVD in the US.
Forest of Fear (1979) USA AKA - Blood Eaters; Toxic Zombies; Blood Butchers
Dir. Charles McCrann - 81m 05s (Monte)
Plot Two federal agents stumble upon a hippy community cultivating marijuana in a remote forest. They kill a young girl hippy, and are then stabbed to death by other members of hippy commune. In Washington, two other agents Briggs and Phillips discuss dropping a powerful herbicide, Dromax, over the area, even though it may have dangerous side effects. The drop is made and all but two of the hippies are covered in Dromax. Those covered in the pesticide turn into flesh eating zombies who chase and kill the two unaffected hippies, before murdering a man, a woman and a passing motorist. Tom, a forestry agent out with his brother Jay and his wife Polly, discover two children, Amy and Jimmy, left alone in the forest, but the cannibal hippies attack killing Jay. Tom, Polly and the children escape to a hermit’s shack, but the hippies attack (again), devouring the hermit as Tom, Polly and the children make their escape (again!). The next day Briggs and Phillips find them in the forest, but just as the two agents attempt to murder them, the killer hippies arrive. In the final showdown, all the crazed hippies are killed along with Polly, Briggs and Phillips, leaving only Tom, Jimmy and Amy alive.
Review With the complete opening titles reading, “CM Productions presents Forest of Fear”, this film doesn’t hold out much hope from the get-go, and indeed is a sloppy, largely forgettable movie. Made by one-time filmmaker McCrann (one of the great unknowns in low-budget cinema), the most interesting thing about this film is that John Amplas (the lead in Romero’s Martin) plays Agent Phillips. All other characters in the film are dull or inappropriate, such as the two children who are seemingly played by actors in their mid-twenties (indeed the character of Jimmy just seems to mumble a few words to himself, largely ignored by the rest of the cast). The film lacks suspense, tension, shock and logic, and although the gore is reasonably well-performed, most of the killings take place off-screen.
Versions The British release is missing the whole epilogue sequence (about 4 mins) where Tom quits his job and drives off to see how Amy and Jimmy are coping. It has never been resubmitted for classification, so is therefore still unavailable in the UK. An uncut Dutch video was released on ‘Video For Pleasure’ and in the US under the title Toxic Zombies, but both are currently out of print.
Frankenstein (Andy Warhol's) (1973) Italy / France AKA - Il mostro e in tavola Barone Frankenstein; Chair pour Frankenstein; Flesh For Frankenstein; Andy Warhol’s Young Frankenstein; The Frankenstein Experiment; Carne per Frankenstein; The Devil and Dr Frankenstein; Up Frankenstein
Dir. Paul Morrissey & Antonio Margheriti - 91m 10s (Video Gems) 88m 55s (VIPCO)
Plot Baron Frankenstein (Udo Kier) and his assistant Otto stitch up body parts in their laboratory in an attempt to build the perfect male and female to start a new race. They decide to head to the town’s bordello to find the head of a male with a powerful sex drive. Nicholas is at the bordello with his uninterested friend (who wants to be a monk), and when they leave, the Baron and Otto pounce, knocking Nicholas unconscious and decapitating his friend. The next morning, Nicholas goes to the castle and is employed by the Baron’s wife (Katrin). Katrin and Nicholas then make love, secretly watched by the Baron’s children. In the lab, the Baron mounts the female zombie, pleasuring himself with his hand in her torso. He brings both zombies to life, and takes them to dinner, where Nicholas recognises his friend’s head. Later the Baron spies on Nicholas making love to his wife (sister?) and Otto kills the housemaid. The Baron catches Nicholas in the laboratory and chains him up and the male zombie kills Katrin in her room as they make love. Otto then ‘accidentally’ kills the female zombie and the Baron throttles him. The male zombie returns and spears the Baron with a lance, before tearing his own guts out, leaving Nicholas at the mercy of the Baron’s two children.
Review Shot back-to-back with Blood for Dracula in Italy over two months, Flesh For Frankenstein was filmed by Factory-member Paul Morrissey and Antonio Margheriti (who reportedly directed some of the scenes). Given a budget of almost a $1million, Morrissey shot both in Spacevision 3D, and collaborated with Margheriti to ensure a more ‘commercial’ appeal than most of the other Factory output. Frankenstein is the better of the two films, and is bizarrely entertaining. Keeping humour and irony firmly in place, Kier is career-defining as the maniacal Baron with a ridiculous, but fitting, accent (“I vill not die in wayne”!). There’s great support from Arno Jeurging as the Baron’s long-suffering assistant Otto and the dialogue often hilarious – “To know death, Otto, you must first fuck life in the gall bladder” being the most famous (misquoted) line of the film. The gore is terrific, especially when seen in 3D with the housemaid’s spilling guts and the Baron’s final speech with his stomach dangling in front of him being the standouts.
Versions The film was heavily cut for it’s theatrical release in 1975 (about 7 mins), but the original Vipco video release was uncut. It was re-released on the First Independent label with 56 secs of cuts, although an US uncut version is available.
Gestapo’s Last Orgy (1977) Italy AKA - L’ultimo orgia del III Reich; Bourreaux SS; Last Orgy of the Third Reich; Des Filles Pour le bourreau; Caligula Reincarnated as Hitler
Dir. Cesare Cannevari - 80m 56s (VFP - Video Film Promotions / Video Shack)
Plot A former Nazi death camp commander (von Schtarke) is released from prison and he drives to the ruins of his camp to meet one of the surviving prisoners, a girl called Lise. Together they flashback to the past and we witness various concentration camp atrocities; rape, murder and humiliation. A female commander, Alma arrives to help run the camp with von Schtarke and she immediately feeds one of the prisoners to the dogs. Noticing Lise for the first time, von Schtarke orders her to fellate him, but she bites his penis instead, hoping that he will kill her. He doesn’t kill her, but becomes determined to break her, and gets Alma to threaten to skin her alive. He then orders his guards to rape her and suspends her over a tank of rats and a vat of lime. She still does not break and when von Schtarke brings in a doctor they realise she’s depressed, as she believes she is to blame for turning her family over to the Nazis. When Lise learns she isn’t to blame, she discovers a new lease of life and succumbs to von Schtarke, helping him with his war crimes. She falls pregnant with von Schtarke’s child, but after it is born he kills the baby boy because it had Jewish blood. Back in the present, Lise and von Schtarke have sex, before Lise kills both von Schtarke and herself with a pistol.
Review It’s got to be said that there are very few good films to have come out of the ‘Nazi Death Camp’ genre, but Gestapo’s Last Orgy is probably the most nasty and pointless of the whole lot. It’s a technically incompetent film, with crewmembers seen in shot, continuous continuity errors and unsympathetic characters (Lise’s new desire for life after learning she wasn’t to blame for betraying her friends and family is absurd – she turns evil, and even wears a girdle made from human scalps to please von Schtarke). It’s an incredibly sleazy film with sexual torture, slide shows of incest and female humiliation and misogynistic dialogue. Granted, it’s not overly gory (which perhaps makes it even more pointless!), but more the tone of the film that causes the most problems. Showing such historical atrocities as the Nazi concentration camps as mere sexual titillation is pretty reprehensible really. Ignore.
Versions It remains banned in the UK although there is an uncut Japanese DVD available (if you really must) although it has optically censored nude scenes.
The House by the Cemetery (1981) Italy AKA - Quella villa accanto al cimitero; The House Outside the Cemetery
Dir. Lucio Fulci - 81m 06s (Videomedia / Vampix)
Plot In an old house, a woman is killed moments after finding her dead lover’s body. Cut to: New York, and Norman and Lucy Boyle (Fulci regular Katriona MacColl) and their son Bobby prepare to leave for Boston, but Bobby is hesitant as a girl called May (imaginary?) warns him they shouldn’t go. After arriving at the peculiar house, Lucy grows increasingly uneasy, especially when strange babysitter (Ann) arrives. When Lucy discovers a tombstone (of Jacob Tess Freudstein) in the hall, they decide to move out, but the estate agent is killed when she arrives for her appointment. Ann, the babysitter is then decapitated with a knife, and Bobby discovers her head when he ventures into the cellar. At the library, Norman suddenly realises that Freudstein is somehow still beneath the house, regenerating himself by killing humans, and he dashes home to fight with Freudstein but Freudstein tears out Norman’s throat and then kills Lucy as she and Bobby try to escape. Bobby receives a helping hand from his friend May, only to find himself trapped in a bygone age with May’s mother, Mrs Freudstein.
Review This being the 4th and final part of Fulci’s ‘Living dead’ series (after Zombie: Flesh Eaters, The Beyond and City of the Living Dead), it shares similar themes and motifs to the earlier films, but is also more focused in its storyline, as it is all pretty much based around one house. Unfortunately, it suffers from Fulci’s habit of inconsistencies (which you either find annoying or hilarious), yet there are a couple of standout sequences, most notably Bobby’s discovery of Ann’s decapitated head. The film takes its time ‘building atmosphere’ throughout the first half, before indulging in the resplendent maggot and intestine infested gore. It’s not great, and by no means the best Italian Living Dead film, but it’s worth checking out if you’ve got a taste for the Fulci flavour. Lucio Fulci next went to work on New York Ripper.
Versions Vampix’ release of House by The Cemetery is the same print as the theatrical release (given an ‘X’ certificate in December 1981 with 4 cuts of 1m 21s), yet it has had a lot of footage removed, including extended shots of Ann’s demise and more gore in most of the other scenes. When re-released on Elephant and Vipco, more cuts were imposed (an extra 4m 45s). The Vipco 2001 release only suffered 33secs of cuts. Apparently the BBFC were willing to pass the film uncut, but were unable due to the film having an obscenity conviction back in 1994 for someone dealing in uncut imports. Uncut versions can be found in Denmark (Vipco), Holland (Chainsaw), Japan and the US (Vestron).
House on the Edge of the Park (1980) Italy AKA - La casa sperduta del parco; La Casa al confini del Parco; Der Schlitzer
Dir. Ruggero Deodato - 87m 48s (Skyline)
Plot A girl is forced off the road and is raped by the driver (Alex). Later, Alex and his dim-witted friend Ricky are invited to a party. Teased, taunted and humiliated by the ‘rich’ people there, Alex pulls a cutthroat razor on the men and encourages Ricky to rape the woman of his choice (Gloria). Alex throws one of the men in the swimming pool and pisses on him before tying him up under the table, beats the other men and rapes one of the women. The doorbell rings (Cindy) and Alex cuts the young girl’s clothes with the razor and torments her. Meanwhile, after having had sex in the greenhouse, Ricky then convinces Gloria to return to the house (!) as Alex throws a naked Cindy onto the sofa, slashing her several times. Alex then stabs Ricky (in a fit of anger) and Tom seizes his chance, shooting Alex three times. Tom tells Alex it was a plan of revenge as he is the father of the girl who was raped and killed in the opening scene. The guests take turns to fire the gun into Alex’s body and then call the police.
Review Moving on from his outrageous excesses on Cannibal Holocaust, Ruggero Deodato turned his attention (and outrageous excesses) to this low budget ‘remake’ of The Last House on the Left. Deodato even employed David Hess to reprise his Krug role (type-casting the Elvis Presley song-writer forever), and cast John Morghen from Cannibal Ferox as his buddy-in-crime, Ricky. Deodato’s spin on the ‘family-avenge-rape-and-murder’ theme was to make the line of the revenge element seem somewhat blurred, as if the ‘rich’ were enjoying their deeds, and getting turned-on in the process. Attempting a clumsy social commentary, he portrays them as cold and unfeeling, implying that the ‘upper classes’ are no better than the average hustlers walking the streets. It’s a film that’s still shocking today especially with the arrival of ‘innocent’ Cindy. Forced to strip, Cindy is slashed several times across the arms, breasts and torso with a razor accompanied by a hugely inappropriate love song, whilst being intercut with scenes of Ricky and Gloria’s orgasmic thrusting as they make love in the greenhouse. Full of rape, murder and humiliation this is one of the nastiest of the nasties that still remains (just about) watchable thanks largely to Hess’ over-acting, and Deodato’s occasional moments of great staging.
Versions House on the Edge of the Park was rejected outright for a cinema certificate in March 1981, and was released uncut on video in March 1983. It was finally passed in 2002 and released by Vipco, but this version was cut by 11min 42secs, and was missing most of David Hess’ assaults on the women. It is available uncut on Dutch DVD (EC Entertainment) and on US DVD (Shreik Show / Media Blasters).
Island of Death (1972) Greece AKA - Island of Perversion; A Craving for Lust; Psychic Killer 2; Devils in Mykonos; Pedhia tou dhiavolou; Cruel Destination
Dir. Nico Mastorakis - 102m 39s (AVI)
Plot A couple (Christopher and Celia) arrive on a Greek island and rent a house before making love in a public phone box. Later that night they meet Jean-Claude, who is on the island to renovate a Chapel. The next morning Christopher wants sex, but Celia is too tired so Christopher shags a goat before killing it. The couple then kill Jean-Claude by drowning him in paint (after Celia has shagged him of course) and also a gay man (with a sword) and his lover (gun) and a detective (hanging from a plane). Christopher then visits an older woman and he urinates on her, beats her unconscious and decapitates her with a bulldozer. Celia is nearly raped by two men, who are summarily despatched also. Celia then meets a lesbian barmaid, and the couple kill her (after Celia has shagged her of course). Christopher attempts to rape his landlady before ‘accidentally’ killing her with a sickle. Chased by the police, Christopher and Celia run to the hills where they meet a shepherd who rapes them both before leaving Christopher to die in burning lime whilst shagging Celia (of course).
Review The only Greek film on the DPP list, Island of Death was the brainchild of Nico Mastorakis, the second feature film from the TV Director / songwriter / quiz-show host. Mastorakis deliberately crammed the film with every perversion possible as we follow Christopher and Celia’s attempts to cleanse the island on a ‘crusade against perversion”, despite Christopher being the most corrupt person in the film. Along the way we are exposed to graphic sex, bestiality, masturbation, drug taking, rape, homosexuality, sodomy, mutilation, incest and urinating on old ladies. The murders are equally repellent, including a particularly nasty ‘face-burn-by-aerosol-can’ scene with the lesbian barmaid and the decapitation by bulldozer. Although crammed with nudity, depravity and some well-filmed location photography, the film is never great, but is often fun. The acting is sometimes dubious (the director makes a hilariously bad cameo as an ‘Agatha Christie’ type investigating novelist), and the Greek music, written by the director, is hugely enjoyable – “Get the sword! Kill them all!”
Versions It was released theatrically in the UK in 1978 by Winstone Films under the title A Craving for Lust, but was cut by 18mins. The original video release was uncut, and a heavily edited version of the film was submitted under the title Psycho Killer 2 in 1987, but this was rejected. A version was passed in 2002 with 4mins 9secs of cuts (toning down the scenes of sexual assault) and was released by Vipco. The film is available uncut on Greek and US DVDs.
I Spit on Your Grave (1978) USA AKA - Day of the Woman; I Hate Your Guts
Dir. Meir Zarchi - 96m 47s (Astra)
Plot Novelist Jennifer Hill (Cammile Keaton – grand-niece of Buster) takes a vacation in a secluded summerhouse in the country. As she arrives, she is watched by Johnny the pump attendant and his friends Andy and Stanley. The next day she skinny-dips in the river, and takes a delivery of groceries from the local retard, Matthew. The four boys (including ‘innocent’ Matthew) then proceed to harass Jennifer and eventually Johnny rapes her. Matthew runs away, but the gang follow Jennifer and rape her again. She makes it back to the house, but the gang are waiting for her, and Matthew is coerced into raping her also, and the boys leave her for dead. Jennifer spends two weeks repairing herself and her torn-up manuscript, and when Matthew nervously shows up with a groceries delivery, she tempts him with sex before killing him. She then kills Johnny in the bath with a knife (ouch!) before finally despatching Andy and Stanley with an axe and a boat propeller.
Review Arguably one of the most notorious and controversial of all the nasties, I Spit on Your Grave was condemned by almost all critics on its release (Kim Newman: “ISOYG has the distinction of being the most loathsome films of all time”) and this brutally shocking film is certainly no easy task to watch. Dealing with themes of rape and revenge, the film takes a distant (almost immoral) stance that neither condemns nor condones the rape or the subsequent murders. The rape scene itself is particularly uncomfortable (almost unwatchable), seemingly played out in real-time and shot largely from Jennifer’s point of view as she is gang-raped, not once, not twice, but three times on her struggle back to the house. The bath-time castration scene is equally gruesome, making men everywhere wince, although it has to be said the hanging of Matthew is almost comical. With very little music, lots of long shots and long-takes, and no really three-dimensional characters (apart from Jennifer) it is a very cold film, but also a very intense experience. It is this tone which has landed the film in the feminist art movie / filthy exploitation flick argument. Personally, if I had to pick, I’d go for the latter. Zarchi (who wrote, directed, edited and cast I Spit on Your Grave) went on to only make one other film, the little-seen Don’t Mess With My Sister!
Versions The film was released in the UK on video only on Astra Video and Wizard Video (believed to be identical versions save for a small sticker on the tape). The version passed by the BBFC in 2002 was cut by 7m 02s, but this was later re-released in a more complete version the ‘reframed’ the rape scenes so they take place just off-camera. There were still 41s of cuts to remove the scene where Jennifer is raped over a rock.
This article was compiled with the help of various sources including;
See No Evil : Banned Films and Video Controversy by David Kerekes and David Slater
Nightmare Movies by Kim Newman
The Art of the Nasty by Nigel Wingrove and Marc Morris
Shock Express - The Essential guide to exploitation cinema by Stefan Jaworzyan