Ogroff

a.k.a. (The) Mad Mutilator Year: 1983   Runtime: 89′
Director: N. G. Mount   Writers: N. G. Mount   Cinematography: Marc Georges   Music: Jean Richard
Cast: N.G. Mount, Robert Alaux, Francoise Deniel, Pierre Patin, Howard Vernon

A leather mask and wool cap wearing killer who might or might not respond to the name of Ogroff (the film’s director/writer/nearly-everything-else-er N.G. Mount) haunts a patch of woods in the French countryside, doing what masked killers do, namely killing people with his favourite axe, eating parts of their corpses raw (although he appreciates a good blood soup, too), and having sex with said axe in his bone-adorned shed. From time to time, Ogroff has more interesting things to do, like having a longish duel with a chainsaw-wielding gentleman or demolishing a very French car with his axe in real-time.

While Ogroff goes about his day(s) – time tends to be somewhat malleable in these woods – a female relative of one of his victims – let’s call her Girl – arrives to find out what happened to her sister/brother/little nephew. While she’s at it, she also decapitates a zombie with the help of her trusty car and a rope. When Girl and Ogroff meet, our hero (yep, that’s what he is, sorry) hauls her over his shoulder and drags her to his shed where the two soon proceed to have consensual sex. Afterwards, Girl starts with improving Ogroff’s home by burying various body parts and tidying up the shed.

Continue reading

War of the Worlds – Next Century

a.k.a. Wojna Swiatow – Nastapne Stulecie
Zespol Filmowy “Perspektywa” [1981] 96′
country: Poland
director: PIOTR SZULKIN
cast: ROMAN WILHELMI, KRYSTYNY JANDY,
cast: MARIUSZA DMOCHOWSKIEGO, JERZY STUHR

Television personality Iron Idem is walking through a city street with his wife when he sees two boys playing – one walking on all fours while the other, masked, walks him like a dog on a leash. Idem is taken aback when the child holding the leash kicks the other – when he confronts him about it, the child simply states that he is a martian leading an inferior human. As Idem and his wife walk away, disturbed by the sight of the children playing in such a way, they pass by television equipment inexplicably set up in the street – the director’s first indications of the nature of the story he is to tell.

We learn, through a stock footage montage, that a Martian civilization has made contact with our own and have traveled to our planet to share with us their advanced ways.

Continue reading

Epidemic

Elementfilm A/S [1987] 106′
country: Denmark
director: LARS VON TRIER
cast: LARS VON TRIER, NIELS VØRSEL,
cast: MICHAEL SIMPSON, UDO KIER

Unconventional seems the most appropriate term with which to describe writer / director Lars von Trier – a man whose work is so frequently unconventional that it can drive its viewers to distraction. Unconventionally written, produced, and performed, EPIDEMIC, the second film in the director’s Europa trilogy, is certainly no exception.

Lars and Niels [von Trier and Vørsel, both playing themselves] have just completed a screenplay, scheduled to be turned in later in the week – in the midst of printing it from the computer disk on which it was stored something goes terribly wrong and all of the 200-plus pages of screenplay are lost. Knowing that they have to turn in something, the two sit down to recreate the script from scratch, only to realize that they don’t remember it! Lars admits that he never liked it [THE COP AND THE WHORE - a reference to the earlier ELEMENT OF THE CRIME] to begin with, and the decision is made to write something entirely different… something more dynamic.

Continue reading

Cure

Daiei Co. Ltd. [1997] 111′
country: Japan
director: KIYOSHI KUROSAWA
cast: KOJI YAKUSHO, MASATO HAGIWARA,
cast: TSUYOSHI UJIKU, ANNA NAKAGAWA

A middle aged businessman removes a length of lead piping from a tunnel. Later that day he meets with a prostitute in an average motel room and, without warning, clubs her to death with the piping. So begins the inimitable film experience that is CURE.

One who desires to be on the cutting edge of cinema need not look further than the Japanese indie film movement over the past 10 years or so – directors like Hideo Nakata, Takashi Miike, and Takashi Shimizu have brought the Japanese horror genre – now affectionately referred to as J-Horror – an entirely new sense of respect throughout the world. With CURE, director Kiyoshi Kurosawa has taken the genre that these men helped to popularize and utterly revolutionized it – his revolution would reach near perfection by the time of his apocalyptic film KAIRO [2001].

Though Kurosawa’s film output had been quite prolific in the fourteen years leading up to CURE – he averaged three films a year – the international film community had taken little notice of him. Involved primarily with low budget softcore porn and other films that were meant to earn the majority of their revenue on video release, much of Kurosawa’s work from 1983 through 1996 went (and still goes) generally unnoticed. Hints of the greatness he would achieve later in his career are peppered throughout his earlier films, however – often quite liberally.

Continue reading

They Don’t Cut the Grass Anymore

Hedge Productions [1984] 70′
country: United States
director: NATHAN SCHIFF
cast: JOHN SMIHULA, ADAM BERKE,
cast: MARY SPADARO, LEANNA MANGIARANO
Order this film from AMAZON.COM

When I was in junior high I had a few friends who made short action comedies starring their extensive collections of Star Wars action figures. While I’d hazard to call them films, the penny productions were certainly entertaining for all their creaky stop motion work and in-camera audio recording – and I’ll be damned if those kids didn’t have at least as much fun making them as the rest of us did watching them. I only ever made two shorts myself, both as parts of school projects [one regarding the Civil War and the other a dramatic rendition of the hypothetical trial of Montag from Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 - the latter concluded with a showcase of my awesome model of the mechanical hound from the story, made by shoving pencils into a 2 liter soda bottle and covering the lot of it with aluminum foil]. Both have undoubtedly been lost to the sands of time, which I don’t consider unfortunate in the least.

I make this odd introduction to my past by way of an apology to the director of the film in question today – Nathan Schiff. It was only a few months ago that I was giving his debut feature WEASELS RIP MY FLESH a sound critical lashing, something I’ve come to regret [and, more importantly, intend to correct]. You see, Schiff’s film sprouted from the same youthful naivety that produces sitcoms starring Gammoreans and flying foil-covered soda bottle attack dogs. At the age of seventeen and with a ludicrously low $400 dollars at his disposal, Schiff wrote, directed, and edited a feature-length color sound Super 8mm film. More amazing still is the fact that the feature, originally circulated beyond regional screenings via Schiff’s own video masters, has since made its way to a legitimate special edition DVD [restored, no less!] from one of the biggest names in the home video business.

Continue reading

The Video Dead

Interstate 5 Productions [1987] 90′
country: United States
director: ROBERT SCOTT
cast: ROXANA AUGESEN, ROCKY DUVALL,
cast: VICKIE BASTEL, SAM DAVID McCLELLAND
Order this film from AMAZON.COM

It was around nine years ago when I first heard of this film – I was running one of my early review sites at the time [either Flesheater or Tales From The Contaminated City, though which escapes me at present]. A reader, who said they had directed the picture, sent me an email letting me know that no horror film site was complete without coverage of it. Whether or not the sender was in fact director Robert Scott is quite beyond me, and the original message has long since been lost in the overstuffed inbox of an abandoned email address.

Whoever it was, be it Scott himself or some rabid fan masquerading as such, this review is for them.

Continue reading

Les Raisens de la Mort

a.k.a. THE GRAPES OF DEATH / PESTICIDE
Rush Productions [1978] 90′
country: France
director: JEAN ROLLIN
cast: MARIE-GEORGES PASCAL, FELIX MARTEN,
cast: SERGE MARQUAND, BRIGITTE LAHAIE
Order this film from AMAZON.COM

There was something of a craze for zombie films after George Romero’s smash success NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, and the growing exploitation industry was more than happy to provide. The years immediately following saw the rise and fall of the BLIND DEAD series, Bob ‘A CHRISTMAS STORY’ Clark’s CHILDREN SHOULDN’T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS, and the under-seen Spanish / Italian co-production LET SLEEPING CORPSES LIE [recently re-released on disc as THE LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE]. This momentary surge in the popularity of the undead would prove minor in comparison to what was to follow, with Romero’s sequel DAWN OF THE DEAD jump starting a world-wide gore craze that continues to this day.

Sneaking into French cinemas just months before Romero’s second DEAD film saw its first European release was LE RAISENS DE LA MORT, a little-known effort from French director Jean Rollin, who was best known then, as he is now, for directing a number ofBava-inspired Gothic vampire eroticas . Rollin’s film took considerable inspiration from NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, but capitalized on the 1970′s disaster boom and the post-THE BIRDS demand for ecologically-minded horror as well. Though derivative in many ways, RAISENS was hardly deserving of its fate. Lost in the shuffle when DAWN OF THE DEAD exploded onto European cinema screens, it wouldn’t see release of any kind outside of its native France until the early 1980′s. Even then it would remain an obscurity, overshadowed by largely inferior productions [think HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD,ZOMBI HOLOCAUST, and BURIAL GROUND] that had broader appeal due to their high quotient of ‘hard-gore’ effects.

Continue reading

La Nave de los Monstruos

a.k.a. THE SHIP OF MONSTERS
Producciones Sotomayor [1960] 83′
country: Mexico
director: ROGELIO A. GONZALEZ
cast: EULALIO GONZALEZ, ANA BERTHA LEPE,
cast: LORENA VALAZQUEZ, CONSUELO FRANK
Order this film from AMAZON.COM

It’s Cinco de Mayo ’round these parts, and confession time once again here at Wtf-Film. In my endless quest for weird-cinema nirvana, I have yet to dive into the fertile depths of the Mexican fantastic film industry. I’m not sure how Sampote Sands made his way into the archives before el Santo, Blue Demon, or anything else originating with our friends to the South, but I can’t say I’m proud of it.

Being the cult connoisseur that I am, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the 5th of May than with this little number from producer Jesus Sotomayor Martinez, which marries two of my very favorite things – ridiculous monsters and rampant bizarreness. There’s even a joke about the French to be had [in reference to a bear with blue eyes] that, fleeting as it may be, makes the film all the more appropriate with the historical significance of the holiday in mind.

Continue reading

The Sinful Dwarf

a.k.a. The Dwarf / Abducted Bride
company:
Box Office International
year: 1973
runtime: 92′
country: Denmark / United Kingdom
director: Vidal Radski
cast: Torben Bille, Anne Sparrow,
Tony Eades, Clara Keller
dvd company: Severin Films
release date: March 31, 2009
retail price: $29.95
disc details: Region 0 / NTSC / single layer
order this disc from Amason.com
reviewed from a screener provided
by Severin Films LLC

“You know what to do – when you are finished, ring the bell . . .”

Unemployed writer Peter and wife Mary are down on their luck and in search of a cheap roof to put over their heads – they find what they’re looking for in a derelict old apartment building run by washed-up celebrity Lila Lash and her creepy dwarf son Olaf. While Peter goes out in search of work Mary takes to snooping around their new home to see if she can find the source of the mysterious noises she’s been hearing at night. When Peter is sent to Paris as part of his new job, Mary snoops herself right into trouble . . .

Continue reading

Cozzilla

a.k.a. Godzilla / Godzilla il re dei mostri
company: Cozzilla S.R.L.
year: 1977
runtime: 88′ / 106′
country: Italy
director: Luigi Cozzi
cast: Raymond Burr, Takeshi Shimura,
Akira Takarada, Momoko Kochi,
Akira Takarada, Akihiko Hirata
special effects: Armando Valcauda
Not on home video

The year nineteen seventy seven is all but immortal in the eyes of this site’s curator – it will be forever remembered as the year when dinosaurs rose to attack vacationers around Mt. Fuji, school girls were devoured by home accents, and the world was introduced for the first (though, sadly, not the last) time to the bloated mythology of STAR WARS. Indeed, in this viewers mind, there is no year more important to the history of bizarre film than those absurdly bountiful 365 days.

But when shuffling through 1977′s mountainous shrine of the strange, one title alone rises above the rest as a near-forgotten testament to just how weird the film world can get. I speak not of the ridiculous LEGEND OF THE DINOSAURS AND MONSTER BIRDS, the surreal HOUSE, or the derivatively entertaining STAR WARS, but of the Japanese cum American cum Italian (twice!) epic best known as COZZILLA.

Continue reading