Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Green Inferno (2015) review


Lorenza Izzo (Justine), Ariel Levy (Alejandro), Aaron Burns (Jonah), Kirby Bliss Blanton (Amy), Magda Apanowicz (Samantha), Ignacia Allamand (Kara), Daryl Sabara (Lars), Nicolas Martinez (Daniel), Eusebio Arenas (Scott), Richard Burgi (Charles), Matias Lopez (Carlos), Ramon Llao (Bald Headhunter), Antonieta Pari (Cannibal Elder), Sky Ferreira (Kaycee)

Directed by Eli Roth

The Short Version: Lost and presumed eaten by studio red tape, Eli Roth's jungle horror adventure finally surfaces to tell its story in theaters beginning September 25th, 2015. An ode to the Italian cannibal films of the late 70s and early 80s, the production and promotion of Roth's movie mirrors those gut guzzlers of old in multiple ways. Basically a group of obnoxious activists interested more in selfies as opposed to selflessness, pursue what turns out to be a false cause and end up getting their just desserts by being someone else's dinner. Aside from some rough spots, THE GREEN INFERNO is a delicacy for those with a fondness for red meat.

Justine, a college student and activist in training both fascinated and repulsed by studies in primitive practices, joins up with a brooding revolutionary harboring a secret agenda. Along with a number of other overly anxious and ill-informed radicals, Justine and this motley crew fly into the Amazon to bask in personal glory masked as social justice. Supposedly an attempt to stop the deforestation of acreage that will harm a remote native tribe, the protesters violently interrupt the land renovation while projecting the footage live via satellite. After a harrowing altercation with the workers and their armed escorts, the group is arrested and eventually allowed back to their plane and out of the country. Shortly after takeoff, the plane blows an engine and crashes back into the jungle. Losing a few of their group in the crash, the remaining survivors are quickly captured by headhunting cannibals, the very tribe they were proclaiming to save. Believing them to be part of the bulldozing crew, the Anthropophagans prepare assorted tortures and menu ideas for their unwilling guests.

THE GREEN INFERNO is Eli Roth's paean to Italy's second most notorious brand of extreme cinema, the cannibal film--which is the neolithic successor to Italy's Mondo Shockumentaries (MONDO CANE and the like). His script (co-written by Guillermo Amoedo and an uncredited Nicolas Lopez) is a blood-soaked buffet of nods to prior 'man eat man' epics both classic and classless.

The plot itself is engaging if standard for this sort of thing, but upgraded for modern times--supplanting the usual search for a missing person to a bunch of (mostly) phony activists on a misguided quest who end up paying for their selfishness. Taking its title from the film Professor Monroe (Robert Kerman) watches in Ruggero Deodato's seminal CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980), it bears mentioning that there's another Italian jungle affair (minus the cannibalism) bearing the title of THE GREEN INFERNO--the last such film of the sub-genre from 1988, and directed by Antonio Climati.

Roth's cast and crew shot the picture in Peru giving the production the authenticity of its antecedents. Much like some of the other films from Lenzi and Deodato, the natives used as actors had never seen a movie before, nor knew anything about television. Reportedly, Roth and his crew aided the natives as part of their payment by reinforcing their huts, giving them metal roofs. Despite their onscreen frightening appearances and cannibalistic savagery, the Peruvian members of the tribe seemed to enjoy the experience. And speaking of the man-eaters, it's time for this films main course....

The cast and director survive the jungle hell to tell of their horrible ordeal.

THE GREEN INFERNO (2015), as repulsive as it is, never goes for the jugular in quite the way its inspirations did. Definitely not a movie you'd want to show your grandmother, there's just nothing you really haven't seen already in other films. You just expect it to go farther than it does, but never quite crosses the line. I half-expected to see John Morghen (Giovanni Lombardo Radice) show up to be dismembered and castrated. Naturally the live animal killings are gone; and the rape and misogyny--a staple of the genre--is nowhere to be found. Today's social climate is so fragile, so PC, it's highly doubtful the filmmakers could have gotten away with going to the extremes of the sub-genres master chefs Lenzi and Deodato. The film has already been attacked for being racist--likely more to do with Roth's skewering of the SJW movement than its depiction of ravenous natives. For the seasoned fans, your expectations of what the primitive revenge will entail may leave you hungry for more, although mainstreamers who have never seen nor heard of such pictures will likely not want to eat at all for a day or two after seeing what lies within Roth's green hell. 

The main reason for seeing such a film is for its scenes of depravity; and if you're a fan, the script is fattened up with a cannibalistic cornucopia of references from other Italian pictures envisioned through Roth's directorial eye. These are listed below. If you've not seen THE GREEN INFERNO, or any of the Italian cannibal films, you may wish to skip past this section of the review...

  • In CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST (1980), we discover the documentary film crew incite, provoke, and engage in violent acts to sensationalize their stories. This attribute of Deodato's movie is as relevant now as it was back then. For Roth's film, the activists want to stop big business from bulldozing and displacing property occupied by primitive tribes. However, there's an ulterior motive behind it--shared by some, and unknown to others. Overall, Alejandro and some of his leftist extremist pals aren't interested in halting deforestation so much as they are in obtaining their 15 minutes of fame. Just like in Deodato's movie, the cannibals aren't the real villains.

  • Towards the end, we see a few victims impaled, fully clothed, on poles forced into their rectums. You see the same scene in CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST; instead of a group it's just one individual, a young and totally naked Indio woman who, after being raped by the male members of the doc crew, is killed in the same manner, only the pole protrudes from her mouth making for a far nastier image. In neither film do we see this happen, only the grim aftermath.

  • In CANNIBAL FEROX (1981), Rudy (Danilo Mattei) attempts to escape the cannibals and is killed. Later on, Gloria and Pat (Lorraine De Selle and Zora Kerova) are placed in a hole. At dinner time, the cannibals lower a hunk of meat down into the hole. Pat anxiously grabs it, but Gloria stops her noting, "It might be Rudy". In Roth's film, Samantha, Amy's lesbian lover, manages to escape the bamboo cell they've been placed in. She makes it to a canoe before the film cuts away. Later on the prisoners are fed. Believing it's pork, they gobble it down. As Amy finishes her meal, she notices skin in the bottom of the bowl bearing a familiar looking tattoo--they've all been eating Samantha.

  • Again in Lenzi's FEROX, Gloria is pitied by a young Indio boy. He helps her escape into the jungle, but the kid doesn't make it, leaving Gloria to find her own way out. In the INFERNO, Justine is befriended by a village boy who becomes entranced by the small flute she wears around her neck. In turn, the little savage helps her escape.

  • Once more the presence of Lenzi's movie is felt, this time during the concluding sequence. In his film, Gloria returns to civilization to submit her thesis on the supposed myth that is cannibalism. However, having been tortured and witnessed horrific events that involved angry primitives devouring warm human flesh, she decides to never reveal these horrible truths. The film ends with a closeup of her emotionless face. In Roth's movie, the film ends with Justine returning to civilization and openly lying about her experience. She claims the tribe was kind to her and the only aggression was enacted by the workers clearing the forest. Justine has done her part in protecting the indigenous tribe of headhunters, but has done so with lies--much like the false cause initially begun by the radical Alejandro.

  • If you stick around for the end credits, you'll not only get an additional scene (just after the credits begin), but towards the final crawl you'll hear a reworked version of Fiamma Maglioni's 'Jaywalking Lizard' cue from CANNIBAL FEROX.

  • THE GREEN INFERNO (2015) features a torture/death scene involving one of the captives tied to a post. The man has his arms and legs broken and is covered with a coating that attracts a dozens of ants that crawl all over him and bite him. A similar scene plays out in Deodato's THE LAST CANNIBAL WORLD (1977), only the victim is not a white prisoner, but a captured warrior of an opposing tribe. The man has his arm tied to a large ant hill and covered in some sort of syrup. Red ants engulf his arm and eat it away to the bone.

  • Again from Deodato's CANNIBAL WORLD, aka JUNGLE HOLOCAUST, the films major man-eating set piece involves Burmese actress Me Me Lai being trapped and killed in graphic fashion; she's ripped apart and her innards prepared by turning her chest cavity into a makeshift grill! It's a disturbing sequence that lasts a couple minutes. Roth replicates this to a degree in the single most graphically gory sequence in his film wherein a victim is dismembered and decapitated before the remaining carcass and limbs are meticulously prepared for a village-wide cannibal barbecue.

  • In Sergio Martino's MOUNTAIN OF THE CANNIBAL GOD (1978), Ursula Andress's body is covered in some sort of sticky coating as part of a ritual that has something to do with her being worshiped as a goddess. In ZOMBIE HOLOCAUST (1980), aka QUEEN OF THE CANNIBALS, Alexandra Delli Colli is treated in a similar fashion, only her naked body has flowers painted on it. For Roth's picture, the character of Justine is prepared for a ritualistic female genital mutilation ceremony and covered in white paint. Similarly, Bo Derek was covered in white paint as part of a primitive ritual in John Derek's unintentionally hilarious TARZAN THE APE MAN (1981).

  • While an end title card reads, 'Per Ruggero' (For Ruggero), Roth's movie seems to contain as many homages, if not more, to Umberto Lenzi's CANNIBAL FEROX (1981), also known under its more infamous moniker, MAKE THEM DIE SLOWLY. Lenzi started the whole cannibal craze with 1972's MAN FROM FROM DEEP RIVER. You could also draw comparisons to Cornel Wilde's brutally violent THE NAKED PREY (1965). If you're into this sort of specialty cuisine, you can read about some of these entries HERE and also about the animal cruelty often seen in these and the Mondo films HERE.

With the main course served, there are some tough parts that are difficult to swallow. These bits of gristle keep THE GREEN INFERNO from being Anthro-perfection. In Roth's past work (excluding his best film, HOSTEL 2), these bizarre instances of comic shenanigans creep into the narrative that end up momentarily stopping the films dead. In CABIN FEVER (2002) it was the Kung Fu fighting, pancake shouting kid; in THE GREEN INFERNO, we get flatulence humor at the most inopportune of times, and a scene where Alejandro decides to jack off after being cooped up in the bamboo cage too long. In another sequence, the remaining survivors strike upon the idea of getting the cannibals high by stuffing a corpse with marijuana. This works, but ultimately backfires and costs one of the prisoners their life. These failed attempts at humor and overall weirdness hurt the flow of the film. As for the cast....

The performances are fine even if the characterizations aren't all that strong. Exposition isn't something a cannibal movie needs be concerned with, and a large number of the cast are dwindled down during and immediately after the plane crash (one walks right into the propeller!), anyway. For the remaining hour, the basic requirement of the actors is lots and lots of screaming. Luckily two characters get a lot of mileage out of the script, and that's Justine (played by Roth's wife Lorenza Izzo) and Alejandro....

.... and of all the characters destined to end up lining the stomachs of hungry natives, the one whom is of the most interest is Alejandro (Ariel Levy of 2012's AFTERSHOCK). Possessing attributes of Communist murderer Che Guevera, Alejandro is the embodiment of the SJW (Social Justice Warrior). Akin to the so-called Occupy Movement, he has no intentions of affecting any serious change so much as disrupting social mores while simultaneously making his name and some money on the side. At one point in the movie, he reveals himself to be a 9/11 truther, so his grasp on reality is suspect from just that alone. By the end of the film, and without revealing too much, Alejandro has become something of a cult figure; his countenance adorning T-shirts in the form of Che--the product of the very capitalism he and his ilk portend to hate (Crony Capitalism to be exact).

Elsewhere, Antonio Quercia's photography captures some stunning vistas that lushly and dangerously accommodate the films title. THE GREEN INFERNO might be a nauseating experience per its subject matter, but it's pretty to look at in some instances.

Manuel Riveiro's music score is an unusually soaring piece of work, sounding nothing like the soundtracks of its predecessors. The composer settles on a particularly boisterous sound; even the threatening cues have bombast.

Eli Roth's apocalyptic cannibal feast is a bit of a celluloid bastard child. There's nothing quite like it out there at the moment. Bringing the sub-genre of primitive vengeance into the modern age, Roth has cooked up an impressive gore ghoulash that, while not entirely successful, will satiate the palette of horror fans with an affinity for the primal side of grueling big screen terror.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

TV Movie Terror: Terror Among Us (1981) review


Don Meredith (Sgt. Tom Stockwell), Sarah Purcell (Jennifer), Jennifer Salt (Connie Paxton), Ted Shackleford (Delbert Ramsey), Kim Lankford (Vickie Stevens), Sharon Spelman (Sara Kates), Elta Blake (Beth), Pat Klous (Cathy), Tracy Reed (Barbara), Spencer Milligan (Alex), Austin Stoker (DA Rick Clayburn), Jane Badler (Pam), Ken Foree (prisoner)

Directed by Paul Krasny

The Short Version: Debuting on January 14th, 1981, TV director Krasny delivered a memorable piece of small screen quasi-trash about a disturbed man who can't keep his prowler urges in check. Dealing with an array of subjects, its primary focus is on psychosis and rape, politics and policing. Everything in between concerns the love lives of a clutch of airline stewardesses leading up to their fateful run-in with the title terror. Fans of 70s and 80s television will get their money's worth in the stockpile of familiar faces. There used to be a time where there were good TV movies among us.

A California cop trying to nail an ex-con is at odds with the prowler's parole officer over putting him behind bars permanently. Alternating between stealing women's clothes and raping them, he's finally pushed over the edge by his girlfriend's constant beratement. After committing murder, the disturbed sexual predator sets his sights on five stewardesses living in an upscale apartment complex, one of which had previously tried to put him away.

TV director Krasny hits a home run with this occasionally tense thriller that expounds a number of topics, some of which had been trotted out in all your finer R rated cop thrillers since the early 70s. One of the keys to this film's success is its screenplay. Tackling multiple subjects, it comes at the viewer from more than one angle--whether in dealing with relationships between men and women; the politics of the legal system; naivety of the young vs. the enlightenment of the old.

Dallas and JoAnne Barnes wrote the exposition heavy screenplay, managing a surprising amount of depth and characterization for a 95 minute movie. Formerly an LAPD narcotics officer, Dallas Barnes got into writing novels before being hired to write for television starting with the George Kennedy cop series THE BLUE KNIGHT (1975-1976). His wife, JoAnne, eventually became his scripting partner in 1980 for TERROR AMONG US. They were the first husband and wife team in television. Both are still active today.

Virtually every character cliche is trotted out in their script. There's the frustrated cop whose hands are tied when it comes to nailing the bad guys; the politically opposing goody-two-shoes who thinks rehabilitation will eventually pay off; the disturbed ex-con whose crimes escalate as the film wears on; and the victims themselves are a television facsimile of the sort populating all your finer slasher pictures of the day. Both Dallas and JoAnne do an extraordinary job of balancing the screen time of a staggering amount of characters--one of the most important being the main villain.

Ted Shackelford had a very healthy career on the small screen, with only a few big screen credits on his resume. He's best known as Gary Ewing on KNOTS LANDING (1979-1993), the brother of Bobby and J.R. Ewing from the famous series DALLAS (1979-1991). In TERROR AMONG US, Shackelford plays Delbert Ramsey, a chronic liar and Peeping Tom who can barely contain his sexual impulses in the company of the fairer sex. He compensates by sneaking into women's homes and swiping their bras; or ogling them by the pool; or getting all hot and bothered at the slightest amount of exposed female flesh. 

The script tries, and moderately succeeds in creating sympathy for its rapist-murderer--blaming his actions on other factors as opposed to creating a straightforward villain. There's a feeling that Delbert is something of a societal Frankenstein Monster even though the scenarios leading up to his eventual breakdown are all initiated by his own carelessness. It's as if the writers wanted to allow the right-leaning Stockwell and left-leaning Paxton to have their cake and eat it too by feeding both their political sensibilities; or more likely, both Dallas and JoAnne wanted a three dimensional antagonist.

Texas born Don Meredith walks tall as Sergeant Stockwell, the high-falutin' cop constricted by a legal system that, at times, favors the criminals over their victims. Also constricted by standards and practices, Stockwell is far more preachy than Eastwood or Bronson would ever be. Playing a 95 minute game of political chess with Connie Paxton (Jennifer Salt)-- the naive parole officer convinced she can rehabilitate the Terror Among Us--Stockwell ultimately wins the game and they put politics aside to nab a killer. The banter between them never gets too overly heated. Both actors have a rapport together and are likable enough. The relationship is more or less the equivalent of Harry Callahan and Kate Moore (Tyne Daly) of THE ENFORCER (1976) minus any innuendo and gunplay.

The violence is mild in what television could show at that time, but still tense and riveting. The film's major set piece is the sequence where Delbert, having gone off the deep end, takes the five stewardesses captive. Bound and gagged, he then takes the women one at the time into another room where he beats and rapes them--well, rapes one of them. This sequence, as grim as it is, has an unintentional air of humor about it. Every few minutes somebody else either comes into the room or comes by and knocks on the door, pissing Delbert off even more as the number of people who can identify him continues to grow. Still, director Krasny orchestrates a harrowing sequence.

About the only place where TERROR AMONG US seriously fumbles is in its airport-set finale. You kind of expect a slightly beefier climax, but one isn't forthcoming. For a Made For TV movie, it's satisfying enough in every other department. One of these areas is in its cast. If you're a fan of 70s and 80s television programs, you'll have a field day picking out all the familiar faces.

If Spencer Milligan looks familiar, you'll recognize him as Rick Marshall, the father trapped in a prehistoric land with his two kids in the classic Sid & Marty Krofft series, LAND OF THE LOST (1974-1977). Milligan only appeared in the first two seasons. Stepping off the show over reasons of pay, Ron Harper (PLANET OF THE APES TV series) took his place on the third season. In TERROR AMONG US, Milligan is Vickie's tough guy boyfriend.

Any SciFi fan worth their salt will know the name Jane Badler (see insert; middle). A couple years before playing the lead lizard bitch from another galaxy who harvests humans for food on the original V (1983), she was a snotty stewardess named Pam in TERROR AMONG US. Onscreen for approximately 60 seconds, it would be a couple more years before the stunning actress would cement her fame as the literal man-eating alien Diana on the aforementioned V mini-series, its subsequent sequel mini-series in 1984, and the single season television show (1984-1985).

Austin Stoker starred in a handful of exploitation features in the 70s including the likes of ABBY (1974) and HORROR HIGH (1974). He had a significant role in BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (1973) taking over the role played by Hari Rhodes in CONQUEST OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (1972). Probably his most significant part was in John Carpenter's cult favorite ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13 (1977). For TERROR AMONG US, Stoker has a cameo as the District Attorney.

Forever famous as Peter in George Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978), Ken Foree cameo's as an unnamed inmate who first asks Delbert for a cigarette then tries to push him off the phone. A fine actor, Foree cropped up frequently on television and in movies like FROM BEYOND (1986) and LEATHERFACE: TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 3 (1990). His work has been primarily in film the last ten years.

TERROR AMONG US debuted as the CBS Wednesday night movie on January 14th, 1981. A product of its time, it's a sturdy character ensemble, if watered down crime thriller that fans of grittier fare will still find of interest. It's a topical picture that juggles everything from the criminal justice system to infidelity to rape. There's even some campiness that creeps into the narrative at times. Film fans with an appreciation for vintage TV movies and forgotten and obscure productions from the 1980s will find this TERROR AMONG that league.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sometimes Aunt Martha Does Dreadful Things (1971) review


Abe Zwick (Paul Sutton), Wayne Crawford (Stanley; as Scott Lawrence), Don Craig (Hubert), Robin Hughes (Vickie), Yanka Mann (Mrs. Adams), Marty Cordova (Alma)

Directed by Thomas Casey

The Short Version: Little seen Hippies, drugs, and psycho cross-dresser shocker about jewel thieves, Paul and Stanley (not to be confused with the KISS frontman), who share more than just their loot. Less a horror movie than a psychological thriller with a touch of black comedy, Casey's flick is a fascinating nosedive into the lives of two criminals with serious mental issues. A truly bizarre film, its mixture of genre styles strikes a wildly erratic tone, but this only adds to the quirkiness of the storyline. Serious Drive-in and exploitation buffs should see this one at least once; those seeking blood and gore might want to pass it by. Despite budgetary shortcomings, Sometimes Filmmakers Make Memorable Things.

Two mentally disturbed jewel thieves hide out in Florida after committing a murder in Baltimore, Maryland. Disguised as "Aunt Martha", Paul Sutton keeps house with Stanley, his drug-addicted, mental midget of a partner. To protect their cover from prying eyes, a junkie strung out on Astrology, and Stanley from the lascivious allure of sex, drugs and rock and roll hippies, Paul kills anyone who comes in the house. As bodies continue to pile up, Paul and Stanley can't keep their twisted actions hidden for long.

Nearly unclassifiable, director Casey (who directed nothing else) wrote the unconventional script to this minor gem that, up to now, was mired in perpetual obscurity; its VHS availability in the 1980s possibly got the film more exposure than its theatrical run ever did back in the 70s. Marketed as horror, the picture is crowded with other genre styles and some fascinating characterizations.

At times Casey's celluloid conundrum feels like a comedy; at others it takes on the guise of a crime thriller; then it segues into a horror film before starting the whole cycle over again. Aside from the omnipresent hippie and drug culture, one theme is constant, though: the mania of its primary antagonists. Casey doesn't go to great lengths to divulge the backgrounds of either of them, but drops just enough information for the viewer to draw their own conclusions. It's the kooky relationship, the exposition between the two main characters that keeps AUNT MARTHA from being a dreadful movie.

We learn early on that cross-dressing Paul (Abe Zwick, who acted in nothing else) is only wearing women's clothes as a cover after an incident in Baltimore that ended in an old woman's death. He's not a very convincing woman, either, yet effortlessly fools nosy neighbors and anyone else who happens by. As screen time passes, it becomes apparent that Paul is very comfortable emulating the female form. At times Paul seems to get lost in his "Aunt Martha" guise--posing and admiring his legs in pantyhose, or addressing and castigating Stanley like a mother would a child.

The implication of a sexual relationship between the two is obvious in a few scenes. This is hinted at in the first ten minutes when Paul becomes highly irritated Stanley isn't where he's supposed to be; another example occurs a short time later when Stanley latches onto Paul's arm proclaiming he "needs him" after spurning the forceful sexual advances of the blonde waitress Alma.

Wayne Crawford (GOD'S BLOODY ACRE, BARRACUDA) plays the drug-addicted Stanley as an easily manipulated, yet irresponsible teenager who, at times shows interest in girls--but once their pants come off (or try to remove his), he turns into a preadolescent who's fearful (maybe even disgusted) of a woman's advances. That he's heavy into drugs only reinforces the ease with which Paul controls his partner in crime. The few times Paul feels he's losing his grasp on his petulant paramour, his demeanor is overtaken by a jealous rage that leads to murder.

Aside from that, the most intriguing facet of Paul and Stanley are their dual personalities. Both men are seemingly conflicted as to who they really are--the demented Paul to his dominant role as both male and female. Interestingly, we only see him murder when he's dressed as Aunt Martha (save for one crucial moment). As Paul states at the beginning, the disguise is supposed to allay suspicion yet it's the "skin" he wears when he kills people. It recalls the disturbing mother fixation of Norman Bates.

Stanley is the bigger societal outcast of the two. One sequence of a bare-chested Paul wearing a bra, admiring himself is juxtaposed with a girl disrobing in front of Stanley. He couldn't be less interested. He's not even looking at her. Towards the end, though, Stanley seems to detach from Paul, if momentarily, by becoming interested in Vickie, the shy, innocent daughter to the nosy Mrs. Adams who lives across the street. It would appear Stanley might actually be drawn to Vickie, a woman of purity who is the polar opposite of the drug-loving hippies he normally hangs with; but then Paul uses his power of persuasion to reel Stanley back in--leading to the film's sole gruesome moment involving the removal of a baby from a dying pregnant woman. There's also a big reveal during the finale you'll probably already guess well before then.

With all of AUNT MARTHA's substance out of the way, Thomas Casey's movie is a monetarily bare bones affair. The music score is made up of library tracks, some of which will be recognizable to fans of Shaw Brothers kung fu movies. Just the same, director Casey does wonders with limited resources. Shot in Florida, it has that unique Floridian pallor of other films shot there by directors like William Grefe and Herschell Gordon Lewis-- but lacks the sleazy punch found in Lewis's BLOOD FEAST (1964) and Grefe's STANLEY (1972), to name two examples. Aside from its strengths in its subtext and performances of its main participants, AUNT MARTHA is weak in the horror and gore department. 

The kill scenes themselves aren't that bloody, and the editing of them reveals some graphic material may have been scissored out at some point; this is unfortunate as had the brutality been more pronounced, Casey's film would be palatable for a wider contingent of the trash film spectrum. Even without splatter, SOMETIMES AUNT MARTHA DOES DREADFUL THINGS is worth checking out for its bizarre, blackly comedic qualities. A shame Christopher Casey didn't direct more features; his sole directorial excursion into celluloid weirdness is an overlooked anomaly in the field of 70s exploitation cinema.

This review is representative of the Vinegar Syndrome DVD. Extras and Specs: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen; audio commentary by filmmaker David DeCoteau and film historian Nathaniel Thompson.

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