Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

It Came From The Grindhouse!

The big movie this upcoming holiday weekend is the long awaited and much eagerly hyped Grindhouse,a daring double feature courtesy of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.
You get not only two freaky flicks but some amusing trailers for nonexistant exploitation films made by the likes of Rob Zombie,Edgar Wright(Shaun of the Dead)and Hostel's Eli Roth,who really put the ratings board to the test with his tribute to old school slasher movies,Thanksgiving. Take a look but be warned-this is not work,school or any other safe viewing. Those with weak stomachs should just skip this part,trust me:

So,how revved up am I for this film? Let's just say the sound is turned up to 11 1/2 on my speaker. While I was born too late to actually go to a grindhouse film(altho I have been in my share of run down movie theaters),I've seen a few of these films to be able to appreciate what's the what here. Without further delay,let the show begin!


This so-called sequel to the Dee Wallace Stone cult classic has two alternate titles:"Howling 2:Your Sister is a Werewolf" and "Howling II:Stirba,Werewolf Bitch". Either one will do to describe the story,that sends our leading man to Transylvania to investigate the death of his sister.

There,he and one of his sister's old school friends run into Stirba(Sybil Danning),the werewolf witch queen who,when she's not having orgies with her wolfen minions,plots to destroy her enemies. Christopher Lee is in this story,too-I guess he had to pay the rent that month-as Stirba's archnemesis. The most memorable part of this whole movie for many people are the end credits that put a quick scene of Sybil popping her top in replay mode.

While I don't have a clip of that,this montage should give you a good idea of what this movie is all about. If you find that none of this makes sense,you're on the right track:


I caught this movie unexpectedly on American Movie Classics one early morning,back when AMC use to show s decent selection of old school horror movies not just play those godawful Halloween sequels in repeat rotation. Forgive my digression there and let's get back to the feature at hand.

Blacula is a great combo of blaxploitation and cheesy gothic horror,the kind that Hammer films did so well but that AIP could only attempt to copy. You can see echoes of Blacula in later mainstream films,such as Love at First Bite and Vampire in Brooklyn(Eddie Murphy must've been a really big fan of Blacula and it's sequel,Scream,Blacula,Scream)but the original movie still leaves it's fang marks on audiences:


Grindhouse films do have an apprecation for foreign cultural contributions and Lamberto Bava's Demons has to be seen to be believed. The plot is rather looseleaf in design,where basically the main characters are lured to some kind of movie opening that has a mystical mask in the theater lobby which scratches one person and sets off a whole chain of freaky zombie attack events. The zombies here don't have to bite you to spread the infection,they pretty much go"Tag,you're it!". There's no real story arch in place,you just watch the weirdness unfold:


Hammer Films did it's own mix and match of movie genres,pairing up a kung fu film with it's waning vampire franchise. Peter Cushing reprises his role as Van Helsing who only gets to actually confront Dracula at the end of the film(Dracula not being played by Christopher Lee,who actually turned it down. Guess his finances were better back then than in the mid-eighties. Can't imagine that he did Howling II merely for the chance to work with Sybil Danning). The rest of the film is mostly a"we must seek revenge against the fiends who took out sister!" deal,with some nifty sword play:

Most of these movies are available on DVD,so if you can't get a ticket to see Grindhouse this weekend,maybe you can grab a couple of them to have your own private schlock fest at home.

1 comment:

Pop Culture Diva said...

Grindhouse looks clever. I doubt I see it in the theater but will put it in my Netflix. Blacula is a classic. I haven't seen it in years but have great memories of it as a child.