Incredibly Bad Film Show: Witchcraft X, Mistress of the Craft

witchcraftx2Dir: Elisar Cabrera
Star: Wendy Cooper, Kerry Knowlton, Stephanie Beaton, Eileen Daly

It’s been a long while since I’ve done one of these – more than 18 months – but when I re-watched this, as part of our exhaustive survey of the entire Witchcraft series, I knew there was no way I could truly do this justice in a couple of hundred words. The other entries in the series are a mix of light occult shenanigans and heavy petting, set in Los Angeles. But for the tenth entry, they shifted things to London, and apparently threw everything you knew out of the window on the flight there. The results are all an Incredibly Bad film should be: it contains laughable concepts, pathetic production values and some performances that would disgrace a school Nativity play. Yet, it’s certainly more memorable and, dammit, I’d say entertaining than any of the nine preceding installments.

The core here is a British government department, Bureau 17, who have been charged with investigating any paranormal shenanigans. Their tiny staff (I blame budget cut-backs: perhaps governmental, more likely by the film’s producers) have captured Hyde (Knowlton), a mass murderer with Satanic tendencies, and are holding them pending the arrival of Detective Lutz (Beaton) from Los Angeles, who’s going to extradite him back to the States. However, the vampire Raven (Daly) and her minions, break Hyde out, because she needs his help to translate a tome that will allow her to summon the demon Morshenka, who will give her unlimited power. It’s up to white Wiccan detective Celeste Sheridan (Cooper), Lutz and the other members of Bureau 19 to stop them.

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One Missed Call: The TV Series

Having not exactly been impressed with the original Japanese feature film, and even less enthusiastic about the pointless and uninteresting American remake thereof, it’s no surprise the DVDs of the TV series sat on the shelf for quite some time. They’d been acquired before we saw either movie, and the prospect of sitting through the equivalent of about five more feature films of the same kind of nonsense, didn’t exactly fill us with enthusiasm. However, when we eventually could be bothered to slap them in the player, we were pleasantly surprised – this Asahi television version, which came out a couple of years after Takashi Miike’s movie, is actually the best version of the bunch.

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Incredibly Bad Film Show: The Creeping Terror

Dir: “A.J. Nelson” (Vic Savage)
Star: Vic Savage, Shannon O’Neil, William Thourlby, John Caresio

“Anyone who experienced that catastrophe and survived, would never go there again…”

The player will show in this paragraph

The above line is one of the many lines of narration spoken during The Creeping Terror, but is just as appropriate a summary for the entire movie itself. While there can never be a unanimous choice for the worst film ever made, going forward I will refuse to take seriously the views of anyone who does not at least acknowledge the credentials of this as a worthy contender. I’ve seen films with bad sound, poor special effects, amateur performance or any other number of flaws. But this tale of alien invasion is so inadequate in so many areas, it’s difficult to conceive how it could ever have seem adequate.

Almost from the get-go, you get a sense of how bad things are going to be. The shot of the alien spacecraft descending to Earth is, very obviously, stock footage of one a V-1 rocket taking off, played backwards. Yes: really. That the makers thought no-0ne would notice, or that the craft seen on the ground bears no resemblance at all to the the stock footage, sets the bar of expectations appropriately. The next thing to kick in is the narration, and its use may mark a new low-water mark. Even at best, it’s a dodgy technique, usually a replacement when the director’s skills aren’t up to the task of showing the necessary emotion or conveying the plot points in a less-clunky manner. Here, it seems a technical necessity caused by insurmountable audio issues: two characters will be having an animated conversation, but rather than hear them, the narrator describes what’s being said. It feels like the narrator is reading an early script treatment.

Let me provide a couple of samples to show you what I mean:

  • “Martin was outraged by the government’s intellectual approach to a monster that had already killed and caused the disappearance of his two close friends. Caldwell tended to agree with him, but stated that he had to follow his orders.”
  • “The Sergeant, a shaken man, returned babbling about what had happened. Realizing the full danger of the situation, Caldwell decided he had only one means left to stop the monster: grenades. Now Bradford made a drastic move. Acting on his superior authority, he forbade Caldwell to destroy the creature. The Colonel, more concerned with saving human lives than advancing science, told Bradford to “Go to Hell.””

However, what elevates this, more than any other aspect, lifting it from the realms of “Somewhat Sucky” into the pantheon of all-time greats, is the monster. I’d heard tales of this cinematic abomination, but nothing could prepare me for the amazing sight. At first, it was largely hidden behind some trees, but it seemed as if the makers finally realized the pointlessness of trying to conceal the thing, and opted instead to give the audience plenty of opportunity to play “Let’s laugh at the monster.” The general consensus is that it resembles a pile of carpet remnants, and who am I to argue with that? It appears to consist of a man under a blanket, pulling a large quilt behind him.

It’s reported that there were actually two different monsters used – if you look closely, you can tell the difference. The reason for this has also been explained: “According to actor/makeup artist Byrd Holland (who played the sheriff), Lackey was banned from the set by Nelson after a dispute over the ownership of the monster “suit”, whereupon the monster suddenly went missing. Lackey supposedly informed the crew that the monster was “in hiding” and would not reappear until he got paid. Apparently Lackey never got paid and Nelson decided instead to rebuild the monster on his own.” Hard to tell whether this was a boon or a bane: neither is exactly going to give Rick Baker sleepless nights.

There are two factors which render it particularly non-terrifying. While that half of the title is singularly inappropriate, there can be no doubt that it certainly lives up to the ‘creeping’ part. It moves at the pace of a reluctant sloth on downers, and the only way it can consume anyone, is because they stand still and let it. It is not necessary to run away. It not even necessary to walk away. You could amble, and still comfortably out-pace  the alien. The other issue is that the creature’s mouth – at roughly the level of the man in the front’s knees – is basically a hole. Due to this, the only way for a victim to be swallowed is if they obligingly climb into the mouth, then more or less pull themselves down its throat.

terror1I am also somewhat confused by the sounds it makes, which appear to resemble stock audio from a big-game hunt, though I am impressed that it can make them even while swallowing its prey. However, the creature’s finest moment probably comes later in the film, when it attacks a group of cars parked in the local Lover’s Lane. While absorbing its victims, at one point it climbs into a convertible (shown, right), and for a glorious moment, we imagined the alien driving off in the automobile, the wind blowing in its…er, shag-pile.

This is, however, only slightly more entertaining than the preceding sequence where it attacks a local dance-hall, apparently managing to avoid the cover charge (probably claiming it was “on the list”).  The same people who were frantically fruggin’ their hearts out on the dance-floor, now find themselves incapable of any motion at all, and the creature eats its fill. A particular highlight is the guy who gallantly pushes his date towards the monster, though I also enjoyed the town drunk – one of the few people with an excuse for not being able to move out of the way. There is reportedly also a ‘wardrobe malfunction’ in this scene, with an escapee throwing a woman out of the way and accidentally tearing off her top. I can’t say I am curious enough in 60’s b&w boobies to investigate further.

There are any number of other aspects worthy of derision, but I’ll just mention these in passing. The way the alien craft contains very clearly terrestrial dials with Earthly numbers (below). The shot of the hyper-secure crash site, where you can see a kid playing in the background, oblivious to the camera.  The tactics of the army [or, at least, the single-digit number of soldiers we get here] against the monster: even though attacking across open ground, they bunch up into an area no larger than an elevator, so that it can gobble them up as well.  Gratuitous, and apparently serious, use of the word “hootenanny,” followed by offensive use of a guitar, the likes of which would not be seen again until Animal House. The way the hero and heroine invite the hero’s best friend over, simply it seems in order to make out in front of him. The fat guy who bears an odd resemblance to Harry Knowles, and is tripped up by some pesky river-bed gravel.

The weird thing is, there is actually the potential for a half-decent movie here. The creature is very different from most aliens of the time, and its purpose here – absorb humans to find out their weaknesses, so it can transmit them back to its home planet as data for a future invasion –terror2 is inventive too. It’s the kind of movie begging for a remake, perhaps with a nod to how the original was actually government disinformation, designed to cover up a real incident by creating a target of ridicule. However, I am fairly sure I came up with better ways to use a concept like this when I was writing stories aged seven or so. You can see why the MST3K crowd pounced on it, but it’s one of those cases where there’s not really much more they need add: the film’s insane stupidity doesn’t need much in the way of commentary. Not that, of course, this stopped us adding our own.

But as a bad movie, it’s an awful lot of fun, fully deserving its reputation in the field. After a spell where I’d been grinding my way through dull films, it was a refreshing delight to come across something like this, possessing in spades the loopy charm which attracted me to the field of incredibly bad cinema to begin with.

B+
[February 2010]

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Phoenix Fear Film Festival 3 – the ‘close, but no cigar’ movies

If you’ve been wondering where we’ve been of late, and why there’s been no reviews posted for three weeks, we’re heading towards the 3rd Phoenix Fear Film Festival on January 23rd. So, our spare time has been spent filtering through the various shorts an features sent in for the consideration of the viewing panel. Submissions came from a variety of sources: we had films directly from the makers, got others passed on to us for consideration by our friends at Brain Damage, and we also reached out to some creators whose work looked like it might be interesting. [You can spend, literally, days trawling round Youtube, watching trailers of all shapes, sizes and qualities of horror!]

This year, I think the quality of the submissions was the highest it’s ever been. I know it sounds like a patronizing cliche, but the decision of what to show was genuinely a difficult one, and we could easily have run the event over two days rather than one. Writing the rejections is not the funnest part of the endeavor, though much credit due to Devi Snively, whose email in reply was surprisingly upbeat and quite made our day [her film, Trippin’, is currently first alternate, in the event that a movie Brain Damage have promised us does not complete post-production in time. Update: and as that proved the case, Trippin’ made it in!].

We have now just about finalized the list of features to be screened there – details of those can be found on the festival site. But I’d like to pay deserved tribute to some of those that didn’t quite make the final cut [as it were], and give them a bit of publicity for their efforts. Hence, the reviews below, which cover some of the contenders in the feature category – please note, these are my opinions alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the entire festival panel, blah, blah. You know how it works. We’ll be covering the shorts separately, since we’re trying to squeeze as many of those into the festival as possible.

It’s somewhat amusing how some film-makers subtly (or not-so subtly) hint that if we pick their movie, all their friends will show up at the festival. We treat such assurances with skepticism, after years of promoting bands and other shows. Now, we pretty much knock a zero off any predicted claims of attendance – and deduct a further 50%, for those who do show up, and claim they should be ‘on the list.’ From a pragmatic viewpoint, it’d be only a short-term gain, even if their friends did turn up, and pay to get in. Showing crappy films might get a few more arses on seats this year,  but the rest of the crowd will not come back next year.

For some reason, we got an awful lot of late entries this year too – in September, we were wondering if we’d have enough features submitted to fill up the event, hence our decision to see if Brain Damage had any suggestions. However, the last couple of weeks saw a tidal-wave of features and shorts arrive, on almost a daily basis. Which, of course, means that the viewing panel has had to convene on almost a daily basis to watch them. While this has been more of a pleasure than a chore, now we have got the line-up finalized, I think we will likely be taking a break from watching inde horror by choice for a while. So, look forward to our review of The Ugly Truth in next week’s update.

We’re joking. Of course.

Meanwhile, other preparations continue for the event: we did look at the possibilities of bringing in a “big name” star to headline the event, but the finances didn’t quite work themselves out there. I have to say, some do seem to have a rather inflated idea of their own worth, demanding more money for their appearance than we’d take in, if the entire event sold out. And we’re not even talking icons like Bruce Campbell, but fairly minor stars. Perhaps they’re under the impression the PFFF is some kind of commercial event such as Fango’s Weekend of Horrors, when it’s really just Chris and I, doing the work entirely because we love the genre – if we break even, we’ll be happy. However, we are delighted to have inked scream queen Tiffany Shepis, one of the leading horror movie actresses of recent years: she’s been a pleasure to work with.

Stay tuned for a full report on the event, with reviews of the five chosen features, towards the end of January – after we’ve recovered from the event itself!

Reviews

Repo! The Genetic Opera

“Is this movie for everyone? Absolutely not. Will there be people that hate it? Absolutely. But the fact is – what I can say is we didn’t sell out… This movie was made triple fold not only because I love the story and I wanted to do a musical but to basically show people that you can make something different. You don’t have to regurgitate the same ideas over and over again. There are original ideas out there. You just have to fight for them and get the audience out.”
Darren Lynn Bousman

Zdunich (left) and Bousman field Repo! questions

Zdunich (left) and Bousman field Repo! questions

Some things seem doomed to fail. High on the list would be a horror musical with no advertising budget, buried by its distributor, whose stars include Paris Hilton, the lead singer from industrial pioneers Skinny Puppy and that guy off Buffy. But 500 people came to Chandler Cinemas late on a weekday night, paying $15 each to watch Repo! The Genetic Opera. Mainstream Hollywood would kill for that level of viral buzz. What the hell is going on?

Repo started as a ten-minute opera called The Necromerchant’s Debt, written and composed by Darren Smith and Terrance Zdunich in Newport Beach. It grew from there, with additional songs and characters being bolted on, and eventually developed into a full-length 2002 stage-play, which ran at Hollywood’s John Raitt Theatre. That was directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, then 23 and, at that point, with no feature experience at all. However, after he helmed Saw II and Saw III, he used some of the cast and crew to make a 10-minute promo reel.

Twisted Pictures, the producers behind the Saw franchise, took the idea up and the movie was green-lit with an $8.3 million budget and an eclectic cast. Shooting begain September 2007 in Toronto, with a release date originally scheduled for April this year, as shown on the image, top-left. Post-production delays – an opera proving significantly harder to edit, etc. than a regular movie – pushed this back to November. However, Lionsgate – and I can certainly see their point, though the arrival of new head Joe Drake probably didn’t help – simply didn’t believe there was a market for the film. They basically dropped out of promotion and released Repo on just eight screens [even worse than Lionsgate’s dump of Midnight Meat Train in August]. Matters weren’t helped by some particularly vicious reviews.

  • “Misery is enduring this Rocky Horror Paris Show” — Rolling Stone
  • “Excruciating new torture” — New York Times
  • “Unfunny, unscary, preposterous… Self-indulgent misfire” — USA Today
  • “Appears to have been shot with a cell phone” — Village Voice
  • “Plain awful and nearly unwatchable” — LA Times

It’s hard to find much disagreement among the mainstream press: the movie currently has a 17% Fresh rating among the top critics at RottenTomatoes.com. Zdunich and Bousman were undaunted, inspired by the better reaction on blogs and indie sites that there was an audience for their film out there – if only they could find it. The warm reception it had received at film festivals also helped convince them Lionsgate were wrong, and with the help of a dedicated Internet following, they took their movie on a tour across North America in November. Sold-out screenings followed, with the creators somewhat bemused to find fans turning up in costume as characters – to watch a film they’d never seen before.

The creators deny having deliberately set out to create a “cult movie.” I think it’s probably true, though the obvious potential inherent in the concept is clear – if you can capture the singing goths of the Rocky Horror fanbase, and the Whedonites, attracted by the casting of Anthony Stewart Head, you’ve got a fiercely loyal audience. Said Zdunich, “I think we appeal to a group of people who are hungry for more than just your typical moviegoing experience. They’re hungry for something that feels like an event, that feels like a community.” There’s no doubt, based on the reaction and attendance on Thurday night in Phoenix, that this sense of community is no mirage.

Hard to say where the film goes from here. Bousman has vowed to keep touring, all the way through the release of the DVD in January, and beyond [we want to bring him back for our Phoenix Fear Film Festival next year]. However, it seems tough to create a theatrical cult in the DVD era, where home viewing is increasingly superior to the multiplex experience. Time will tell whether this current, undeniable phenomena is merely a short-lived curiosity, or develops into a lasting feature on the cinematic landscape.

And with that all said, is the movie any good?

Repo! The Genetic Opera

Dir: Darren Lynn Bousman
Star: Anthony Stewart Head, Alexa Vega, Paul Sorvino, Terrance Zdunich

The year is 2057. The world is dominated by GeneCo, the company under Rotti Largo (Sorvino) that helped defeat a wave of organ failure, by providing transplants – at a cost. And woe betide you, if you feel to keep up with the payments, for they’ll send repo man Nathan Wallace (Head) after you for a friendly chat and the foreclosed organ. However, both Largo nor Wallace have their own issues: the former discovers he is terminally ill and has to decide which of his three dreadful offspring will inherit GeneCo, while his employee has a teenage daughter (Vega) suffering from an incurable blood disease. The two have a connection that goes back a long way; Nathan’s now-dead wife had been engaged to Largo, back before he saved the world. I trust the potential for tragedy, of the Wagnerian kind, needs no emphasis.

I don’t think this is as original as has been claimed in some quarters. While the rock opera [note, not musical: that just contains songs, while this contains almost no spoken dialog] is a genre that’s not exactly been seen much, aspects of this come from – in chronological order of the movie versions – Phantom of the Paradise, The Rocky Horror Show, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The last-named may be the closest, for its mix of arterial spray and show-tunes. Add elements from the likes of Brazil and Blade Runner [while the central notion is close to Python’s Live Organ Donors] and the result is about as original as the average Tarantino film. Still, what emerges is unquestionably its own beast – albeit in much the same way as Frankenstein’s monster.

The movie’s strongest suit is its visual style, which is little short of breathtaking: a future world with a dreamlike atmosphere has been created, mostly using sets but with effective use of CGI to add scale. Much credit to cinematographer Joseph White and production designer David Hackl for their sterling work creating a backdrop, into which all the characters fit perfectly. Head is the standout performance, commanding the screen with a combination of pathos, presence and gallows humour; he is no slacker on the singing front either, though having seen him on the London stage as Frank N. Furter, back in the early 90’s, that’s not really a shock. Zdunich appears as a graverobbing drug-dealer, and gets one of the best songs, though his character seems peripheral – it may have served a greater purpose on-stage?

Paul Sorvino is a pleasant surprise [with some research, it seems shouldn’t be]; not so Vega, whose voice comes over as thin and reedy; it’s probably appropriate for her 17-year old character, but lacks anything to make it a pleasure to listen to. Sara Brightman, as an opera singer whose site was restored by GeneCo, also makes an impression, albeit probably as much for her enormous false eyelashes as anything else. Paris Hilton shows up as one of Rotti’s appalling children, and doesn’t suck as much as you might expect, though I’d still have welcomed it if her character’s fate had matched that suffered in House of Wax.

For an opera, it’s a major weakness that the tunes are eminently forgettable: less than 24 hours later, I can’t remember even a couple of notes of any of them. Being charitable, let’s assume they take a few hearings to sink in. Though mostly unremarkable, I liked the neo-industrial feel to most of them [the presence of Ogre from Skinny Puppy, playing another of Largo’s kids, makes a great deal of sense], and there’s enough variety to keep things interesting. Joan Jett shows up at one point, for reasons that escaped me.

Even if the results are wildly uneven, I have nothing but enormous respect for the creators: they clearly went into this with a vision of what they were trying to create, and they refused to compromise it one iota. In a world of increasingly-sterile entertainment, the love that went into this, both in front of and behind the camera, is a pleasure to see. The dedication to and passion for the film shown by Zdunich and Bousman is both obvious and infectious, and is likely a key part of the reason why fans of their work appear to be every bit as enthusiastic.

B-
[December 2008]

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Incredibly Bad Film Show: Devil Fetus

Dir: Lau Hung Chuen
Star: Aai Dik, Lui Sau-Ling, Liu Pui-Pui

To mis-quote Twelfth Night, “Some are born bad, some achieve badness, and some have badness thrust upon them.” I think that Devil Fetus falls into the last category, since a good few of the people involved in this 1983 film should have known better, or would do much better later in their careers:

  • Producer Lo Wei directed Bruce Lee in Fist of Fury and The Big Boss, as well as being involved early on in Jackie Chan’s career.
  • Editor David Wu would go on to cut some of John Woo’s classic Hong Kong movies, including Hard Boiled, before moving to Hollywood and editing films such as Crying Freeman. But on Devil Fetus, he also did the music, though some of it sounds suspiciously like it came off the soundtrack to the Alien movies…
  • Director Lau had also worked with Woo, as his cinematographer, and would go on to shoot Jackie Chan’s Thunderbolt, as well as one of the most lyrical gun-fights ever — Cynthia Khan’s blood-spattered wedding in Queen’s High.

All good omens: so why is this film such a total mess? I think it’s largely a script which fails to convey the simplest information. You’ll find yourself rewinding to try and work out who did what to who: the plot description that follows should thus be regarded as a best guess, pieced together from a variety of sources. The film itself was not the most helpful of these, with subtitles which fell off the sides, and occasionally bottom, of the screen. However, even allowing for this, failure to mention when we leap forward a dozen or more years is somewhat inexcusable.

The film is based around the family Cheng, consisting of one grandmother, her two sons, their wives, and two grandsons. One of the wives buys a jade vase at auction; unfortunately, it’s possessed by the spirit of a Tibetan monk who advocate sex as religion (another point the subtitles make less than clear – I gleaned this nugget from a review by a Cantonese-speaker!). She’s soon taking the vase to bed and being humped by the horny spirit, much to her husband’s understandable distaste. But when he smashes the vase, his face rapidly gets covered in boils, and he decides to charge through a window. It was at this point that the films potential IBFS status became apparent, and it hardened when his wife suffers that horror-cliche, the Thrown Cat Attack, and falls down the stairs to her death.

At their funeral (I wonder if it’s cheaper to bury two at the same time?), the Taoist priest sees the demon foetus of the title erupting from her belly – its only appearance in the movie – and seals it in there with incantations, and dire warnings to Granny Cheng not to let anyone disturb the remains. You don’t need to be Nostradamus to see where that is eventually going to lead.

We are now introduced to Kent, a Kendo champ: it’s only when he returns to his family that we realise this is the same kid seen playing with toys previously. This is the point at which the film leaps forward a decade, without bothering to mention it – you’re left to infer it, though apart from the sons, no-one else looks any any older. He meets Juju (Lui Sau-Ling), a nebulous “friend of the family”, who is obviously the love interest. While picking Granny up for a party, they disturb the urns: anyone who didn’t see this coming needs a white stick.

Back at the party, the birthday cake turns into worms, although the only person who notices is the one we see eating the worm-infested cake in close-up, and the family’s pet dog gets possessed by (we assume) the evil monk. We now enter Psycho mode, with the dog as Norman Bates, stalking Juju while she sings selections from Strauss and Rogers & Hammerstein in the shower. Kent arrives just in time to slice up the dog with a handy samurai sword, but when the dog is buried, the spirit leaps into his younger brother Kwo Wei, with a dazzling array of visual effects, unsurpassed since…since..well, you know that screen-saver where lines bounce all around the display? In comparison, that’s a masterpiece

Kwo Wei begins to behave a bit strangely. He digs the dog’s corpse up and eats its entrails. He tries to kill Granny. And just to show what a total lunatic he has become, he puts on women’s clothes. This behaviour, as well as trying to drown Juju, and slaughtering a servant (whose body he keeps under the bed for purposes I’ll gloss over), leads his concerned relatives to consult the Taoist priest once again. He soon susses what has happened, and reveals that you need eagle’s blood to slay the spirit. So he summons Kwo Wei, and the duo engage in a battle of dodgy optical effects, and even worse filmic ones, with techniques that look a good quarter-century out of date. I suppose this could be a homage to classic fantasy movies – if so, it sits somewhat uneasily with the corpse-raping (oops, was supposed to gloss over that).

With the priest dispatched, Daddy follows, attacked by a cloud of dry ice. Actually, he meets his end in the sauna, the room collapsing in on him, crushing his head in spectacular, if highly implausible, fashion. Mummy is next for the chop, levitating round the room over a carpet which is bulging for no apparent reason. I suspect the idea was to evoke berserk spirits; it’s so obviously people pushing it up from underneath, they’d have been better off not bothering. She too gets chased by furniture, and the mirror seeps blood in one of the film’s occasional genuinely eerie images. Kwo Wei is now drinking gin straight from the bottle – does his evil know no bounds?

Kent and Juju return home to rescue their mother; while Kent tends to her, Juju goes to call for help. The phones are, inevitably, out, and the lights rapidly follow. Juju runs round screaming – everywhere she goes, Kwo Wei is there already. Kent’s attempts to fight his brother are foiled by the latter’s ability to teleport, though since he can’t be hit even when he stands still, this seems like overkill. Granny turns up with a bowl of eagle’s blood (the movie is unclear over whether this is a standard item in Hong Kong kitchens) which she drops. Just as Kwo Wei is about to kill everyone, Juju drives a spade through him; because the spade has lain in the spilt blood, it causes…I can’t believe I’m about to write this…a series of flying heads to sprout from his neck, which Kent decapitates with a similarly-smeared sword. This triggers stop-motion footage slightly reminiscent of the climax to The Evil Dead. Credits roll. The End.

The early 80’s were something of a golden era for Western horror, with the likes of The Thing acting as a showcase for new-found special effects techniques. Devil Fetus clearly springs from these, with nods to others already mentioned. However, despite a gratifyingly serious tone, the gulf between idea and execution is too enormous to bridge. However, it’s hard to deny the energy that goes into it, and the cheerful lack of concern over trivial things like story-telling can only endear it to the viewer.