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Retro Snapshot: "The Killer Must Kill Again"

"The Killer must Kill Again" is an undermentioned 1975 Giallo directed by Luigi Cozzi. It's got all the elements of a classic yellow thriller; sex, violence, sexy violence and J&B Whiskey. Actually, it is short on one big element from the Giallo lexicon, red herrings. This is because from virtually the first frame of the film we are introduced with full face time to the story's gaunt, monastically coiffed killer. His motivations are the stuff of conjecture and that keeps the audience invested in the promise of a revealing finale of some sort.

Retro Snapshot: "The Wicker Man" (1973)

Suck it Nick Cage! There is only one “The Wicker Man”. The one shot in 1973. The one that features Britt Ekland humping walls in her birthday suit, Edward Woodward as the stodgiest puritanical git you’ll ever see, Christopher Lee as a hippie Lord in a smoking jacket and the late, great Ingrid Pitt (seen above). Though it deals with a remote pagan community prepping for an unforgettable Mayday celebration, it seems somewhat appropriate to give it a look on the heels of the vernal equinox as well.“The Wicker Man” is a slow burn by today’s standards.

Snapshot: "Satan I " by H. R. Giger

Happy 70th Birthday H.R. Giger!

Retro Snapshot: Hell of the Living Dead (1980)

"You gotta shoot 'em in the Head!"

In 1980 the simple and insulting joys of Bruno Mattei ("Rat"s) and Claudio Fragasso ("Zombie 4: After Death", "Troll 2") fused into a flawless union of zombie pork. Also known as "Virus" and "Zombies of the Savanna", this new-standard-of-bad film is set in Papua New Guinea but filmed solely in and around Barcelona and Rome. Music from "Dawn of the Dead" and stock footage from a French film "La Vallee" (which was actually shot in New Guinea) were included in an attempt to squeeze in some credibility. The efforts do not pay off in increased production value or overall quality. What they do is help to create a bonanza of Frommagio/Queso that elevates "Hell of the Living Dead" into a rare sweet spot of sour; one that is reserved for films like Tommy Wiseau's "The Room" and Marino Girolami's "Zombie Holocaust". Enter at your own risk.

Retro Snapshot: "Night of the Hunted" 'aka' "La nuit des traquées" (1980)

French filmmaker Jean Rollin is a familiar name to all who enjoy Eurotrash cinema of the 60's, 70's and 80's. His movies often show the hallmarks of lost funding battles and abbreviated shooting schedules; but Rollin also delivers a lot of incredible imagery in the process. It is not uncommon to find deeply impressive visual moments like that shown above side by side with poor acting and incomplete story lines.

Rollin had this to say about the actress pictured above:

Retro Snapshot: "The Beguiled" (1971)

Don Seigel is a seldom referenced genre-film giant. His resume is punctuated by two landmarks, 1956's "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and 1971's "Dirty Harry". Equally worthy are "Charley Varrick" (1973) and the film shown here, 1971's "The Beguiled". The film follows Clint Eastwood as Corporal John McBurney, a wounded Union soldier taking refuge in a Confederate girl's boarding school during the American Civil War. McBurney is an unscrupulous Lothario who manipulates the pubescent girls and their spinster headmistress both for survival and sexual fancy. The games eventually catch up with McBurney and the maidens of the house swing from sweet to sinister, a snapshot of which you can see above.

Snapshot: "In My Skin" (2002)

Marina de Van's 2002 French body-horror masterpiece "In My Skin" deals with a woman who tries to claim dominion over her own body after a freak accident leaves her scarred. de Van wrote, directed and starred in the story of a woman who strives for control by habitually biting, tearing and cutting away her own flesh. Despite appearances, the director insists that she was not making a film about self-mutilation as a practice nor was the gender of her protagonist chosen to convey any social commentary.

Snapshot: "Flavia the Heretic" (1974)

Nunsploitation is not where you would think to go when looking for reflection on the plight of women through history. 1974's "Flavia the Heretic", directed by Gianfranco Mingozzi, is full-up with exploitative imagery including one truly offensive horse castration. What you might not expect is that it is also laden with ideas about the institutional control and ritualized savagery directed at women in medieval societies; much of it spawned and promoted by organized religion. The above image is part of a sequence where sister Flavia's convent is opened to the members of the Tarantula cult, whose influence transforms the nunnery into a sodomite circus.

Horror Hodge Podge

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Steve Romanko is a talented guy. A longtime sound wizard for Lucas and an ardent horror fan, Steve and partner Turner Van Ryn have a trailer for their new short "The Hell Patrol". This should be tense, gory and fun with great locations and a plethora of barbiturate dead (because true zombies are not fast).

A Few Indellible Scenes From the Slashtastic 80's.

Eric's top 10 deaths from Friday the 13th got me thinking about my most memorable scenes from 80's slashers. It was harder to pin down than I thought. As much as I loved the genre, much of it has proven to be forgettable.

So, here is the one that has stuck most firmly in my mind for years.

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