In this edition of the Retro Film Report, we're taking a quick look at a potpourri of 70s and 80s B-movies: Blood Sisters (1987), The Girl in Room 2A (1974), La Machine a Decoudre (1986), Too Hot To Handle (1977), and Lover of the Monster (1974). It's quite the mixed bag of bottom-shelf video store rentals. Enjoy!
Blood Sisters (1987)
A group of party girls just wanna have fun spending the night in a haunted old whorehouse. As you might predict, girls and their horny boyfriends start turning up dead. It's a trope that was done with much more fun and pizazz in Hell Night, Sorority House Massacre I and II, Evil Toons, and a host of other 80s cheesecake slashers.
The oh-so-wild-and-crazy party girls, just kickin' it at the club.
Did I mention the haunted whorehouse was haunted by whore ghosts? You'd think this would be great... alas, it is not.
The gratuitous nudity comes in the form of a couple sex scenes, and a gal changing clothes... nothing to write home about. Worst of all, none of the disrobing ladies are particularly good looking.
No scares, essentially no gore, and nothing impressive on the T&A front. This is what gave 19870s slashers a bad name, and got teenagers hopelessly tired of the genre.
The Girl in Room 2A (1974)
Not so with this one. It's a blend of boring blandness, mixed with a little tiresomeness. A good giallo has lots of mod 70s fashions, sadistic killings, studly detectives, and groovy music... this has none of the above.
So, Margaret (Daniela Giordano) is the girl in room 2A, an ex-con who's soon trying to unravel the mysterious death of who-the-hell-cares.
(wolf whistle) Oh yeah, baby. Check out that pastry. I'd like to eat that all up. Deelish!
(I'm talking about those pastries pictured on the wall. What'd you think I meant?)
Maria (Karen Schubert) is also working with Margaret to unravel the completely obvious mystery killings.
As it turns out, there's a cabal of nutjobs who abduct the girls who stay in room 2A of the boarding house. They take them to a mansion to be punished for their sins.
There's a rather creepy crimson executioner who's sort of a cross between Darth Maul and the Gimp.
Maria doesn't fare too well, but there's hope for Margaret. I like my giallos to be deliriously crazy at a frantic pace; sadly, The Girl in Room 2A, just doesn't have the giallo mojo. As an added downer, the standard technicolor psychedelic color pallet of your standard giallo is lost in favor of a muddy 70s look, with lots of poor lighting.
Yes, there's some respectable T&A thanks to Karen Schubert, but Daniela Giordano never shows much eye candy. In the end, I'd just have to say: there's plenty of other giallos to watch - go watch them instead.
La Machine a Decoudre (1986)
A pretty yawnworthy venture from France; a one note flick. An insane doctor holds a Chuck Norris-esque fella (Pierre Semmler) and an always-nude chick (Patricia Barzyk) hostage in his attempt to raise money for a children's hospital.
Patricia starts out the film naked, and pretty much stays that way for the duration of the film. You see that pointless blue vest? Yeah - that's her wardrobe for La Machine a Decoudre.
This movie surely holds the record for longest sustained gratuitous nudity, as well as longest sustained characters held at gunpoint. This entire film can be encapsulated by this single frame: Patricia nude, Patricia and Pierre at gunpoint.
Eventually, Patricia manages to wrap a towel around her waist, but, as you can see, she's still falling out all over the place.
You may remember Patricia Barzyk from Duran Duran's 1984 music video for "New Moon On Monday". She was also Miss France in 1980.
If you take away Patricia's ample anatomy, there's absolutely nothing whatsoever to like about this film. But, then, that's like saying, "If you take away the shark, there's nothing to like about Jaws."
Too Hot To Handle (1977)
Cheri Caffaro plays Samantha Fox, a contract killer who lives the swanky lifestyle of the rich & murderous. As one of the world's top assassins, she employs all manner of techniques to claim her prize: kung fu, sex, and a variety of horribly unconvincing disguises.
My main problem with this film is that it is essentially a showpiece for Caffaro.... who I didn't find particularly attractive. Not ugly by any stretch... but not enough to revolve an entire movie around. Caffaro's glory days were perhaps a decade behind her when she was a model and then the star of the Ginger movies.
The movie is fairly predictable, except for one very notable aspect - Samantha Fox really delights in the torturing of others; she eroticises it, in fact. In the scene pictured above, Samantha calmly smokes while her victim dies via autoerotic asphyxiation. Truly a disturbing scene.
Now, she's moved on to torturing and murdering another person. There were a lot of badass kung fu maidens in the 70s (TNT Jackson, Firecracker, Superchick, etc.), but none were as sadistic as Samantha Fox.
If you find Caffaro mega hot, this movie is for you: she is certainly not afraid to wear her birthday suit. Otherwise, there's much going for Too Hot to Handle, not even Hugo Montenegro's soundtrack.
Lover of the Monster (1974) AKA "Le amanti del mostro"
Klaus Kinski made a career out of behaving like a madman. No one could portray a brooding psychopath or raving lunatic with such flair.
In Lover of the Monster, Kinski keeps it subtle (if you can even comprehend) except when he turns into his Hyde persona, when goes full apeshit. This makes for a startling contrast, but also a rather boring movie - who wants to spend an hour seeing Kinski playing it subtle?
So, the story is that Dr. Alex Nijinski (Kinski) and his wife Anijeska (Katia Christine) move to her homeland where he can conduct his mad scientist experiments.
The experiments turn him into a psychopath who kills several of the townsfolk (but the murders are blamed on a tramp). The trouble is, I almost prefer the psychopath Hyde to the douchebag Jekyll. He's a horrible, jealous, dickhead husband.
Anijeska holds a coming home party, but Kinski behaves like a pouty prick. Naturally, Anijeska begins to fall for the suave town doctor - and we can hardly blame her. But she never acts on her feelings.
Besides precious few minutes of Kinski in full Hyde madman mode, most of the film is like this.... like a dry, emotionless historical drama on the BBC. Even if you love nothing more than a lifeless interpretation of a Bronte novel, this will still bore you to tears.
But then there's the ending, where for some reason, things just go off the rails...
A frothing, sweaty Alex rapes then murders his wife, Anijeska. Aside from a few moments of "Hyde", this movie has been like Anne of Green Gables up until this point. It was quite unexpected.
But it's not over...
As Alex returns to his senses he starts to manhandle his dead naked wife. It's as disturbing as it is awkward.
Fast forward to the end and the town is hanging an innocent man while the real killer, Kinski, remains free. I suppose this is all supposed to mean something - I'm just not quite sure I care enough to figure it out.