Just in time for Halloween weekend, Kino Cult features more genre gems from filmmakers like Jess Franco with five new films from the prolific exploitation auteur. For those film fans that have seen Edgar Wright’s fantastic Last Night In Soho they can now dive into more gialli, such as Mario Bava’s Five Dolls For An August Moon and Pete Walker’s Schizo.
Kino Cult is also excited to show Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Lady Vengeance from venerated South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-Wook’s vengeance trilogy. And in anticipation of Paul Verhoeven’s Benedetta, nunsploitation fans can catch up on the Italian exploitation classic Sinful Nuns of St. Valentine and Franco’s The Demons, his take on Ken Russell’s The Devils.
Newly arriving titles include:
Baron Blood: In a reworking of elements of Bava’s own Black Sunday (but this time in the director’s vivid color palette), an American professor travels to the estate of his ancestor, the sadistic Baron Otto von Kleist (Joseph Cotten), seeking the truth beneath his notorious reputation. When he and his assistant Eva read aloud an ancient incantation, the Baron’s spirit is resurrected, leading to a series of gruesome deaths within the haunted castle.
The Bitch: Kino Cult celebrates the queens of jet-set debauchery, actress Joan Collins and her sister, writer Jackie Collins, with The Bitch, a salacious sequel to The Stud (currently playing on Kino Cult). A staple of premium cable in the 1980s, this movie stars Joan Collins as the newly divorced Fontaine Kaled. The lack of protection from her billionaire ex-husband leaves her vulnerable to scammers, blackmail and the mafia.
The Bloody Brood:
Two years before directing the 3-D cult favorite The Mask
, Julian Roffman made his feature directorial debut with this early canuxploitation film. When his brother turns up dead after eating a hamburger laced with ground glass, Cliff (Jack Betts) sets out to investigate the murder, venturing into the underground world of beatnik culture and its sinister underbelly of drugs and vice, leading him to confront a diabolical gangster (Peter Falk in an early screen role).
Bodies, Rest and Motion: Kino Cult flashes back to one of the films that helped define the ethos of the Sundance Film Festival with this 25th anniversary 4K restoration of Michael Steinberg’s Bodies, Rest & Motion. Rebelling against his dreary life in a small Arizona town, TV salesman Nick (Tim Roth) abandons his girlfriend, Beth (Bridget Fonda), and strikes out onto the highway in search of… something else. Encouraged by her best friend Carol (Phoebe Cates)—who happens to be Nick’s ex-flame—Beth reluctantly accepts the romantic attentions of a local housepainter (Eric Stoltz).
Crimson: Eurocrime meets Grand Guignol as horror icon Paul Naschy (Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror) stars as a criminal gang leader who undergoes a radical surgery in Juan Fortuny’s 1973 thriller Crimson (aka The Man With the Severed Head). When a jewel heist goes awry, Jack Surnett (Naschy) and his fellow thieves take shelter at the home of a scientist experimenting in brain replacement. Through the surgical finesse of the doctor’s wife (Silvia Solar), Surnett is restored to health, but suffers irresistible pangs of bloodlust—and conventional lust as well—after the brain of a criminal known as “The Sadist” (Roberto Mauri) is grafted onto his own.
In the wake of the success (and massive controversy) surrounding Ken Russell’s The Devils
, numerous filmmakers rushed to create their own Inquisition horror films, most of them inspired by the true story of satanic possession and torture at the convent of Loudun. The Demons
is Jess Franco’s stellar entry in the nunsploitation canon, depicting on episodes of torture, sex and demon possession with a sense of tenderness that is both aesthetically pleasing and deeply unsettling.
One of the most irreverent and inventive filmmaking collectives was the Canadian combine known as Astron-6 (The Editor
). Kino Cult proudly showcases their spin on a no-budget cable-access program featuring an emotionally fragile father (Matthew Kennedy) reeling from a mid-life crisis. The series wallows in the spectacle of low-grade video production, while taking unexpected detours into horror and surrealism. The eight-episode series co-stars Gilles Degagne as his sleepy sidekick. Kino Cult further celebrates Astron-6 by presenting their final short film, Chowboys
, a metaphysical horror Christmas Western, which screened at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
Dr. Orloff’s Monster: When Melissa (Agnés Spaak) returns to her ancestral home to claim her inheritance, she finds that the castle is filled with strange characters and dark secrets. Governing the crumbling manor is a diabolical scientist, Dr. Conrad Jekyll (Marcelo Arroita-Jáuregui), who uses high-frequency mind control to command an undead henchman (Hugo Blanco) to perform a series of vicious murders. When a dry-witted detective (Pastor Serrador) and Melissa’s suitor (Pepe Rubio) trace the crimes back to Jekyll’s castle, they realize the only way to trap the zombie is to use Melissa as bait.
Arguably Jean Rollin’s most erotic film, Fascination
is a story of hedonism in France at the turn of the 20th century. A group of French noblewomen drink the blood of an ox to cure anemia; it works but the side effects include an increased sexual appetite and a newfound taste for flesh and blood. Loaded with eroticism and blood (and featuring erotic film queen Brigitte Lahaie), Fascination
is Rollins at his best and sexiest.
Five Dolls for an August Moon:
Mario Bava’s transforms an Agatha Christie-style whodunit into a delirious mod giallo. A space age island retreat is visited by a group of friends and business associates, one of whom is a scientist who has invented a revolutionary chemical process, and is fending off various offers to buy it. Soon the vacationers start dying, and the survivors begin to wonder who has the most to gain from these murders most foul.
In Mario Bava’s biggest stylistic departure, Kidnapped
is the story of a group of robbers who, in an act of desperation and brutality, become kidnappers, abducting a man, a woman, and a sick child. They perform depraved acts on the hostages while on the run from the police, but a nasty surprise awaits them at the end of their road trip. Kidnapped was not released during Bava’s lifetime but was reconstructed and completed by producer Alfredo Leone in 2015.
After being wrongfully convicted of kidnapping and murdering a young child, a beautiful young woman (Lee Young-ae) is imprisoned for 13 years and forced to give up her own daughter. While in prison she gains the respect and loyalty of her fellow cellmates, all the while plotting her vendetta on the man responsible (Choi Min-Sik). Upon her release she sets in motion an elaborate plan of retribution, but what she discovers is a truth so horrifying, even revenge doesn’t seem punishment enough.
Nightmares Come at Night:
For years considered a lost Jess Franco film, Nightmares Come at Night
(Les cauchemars naissent la nuit
) was rediscovered in 2004 and has been recognized as a key film in the evolution of Franco’s cinema, which in 1970 was assuming a dreamlike logic, governed more by the director’s libido than traditional horror movie structure. Diana Lorys (The Awful Dr. Orlof
) stars as a sultry dancer who falls under the hypnotic control of the sinister blonde Cynthia (Colette Giacobine) and begins to suffer terrifying hallucinations. Meanwhile, a pair of jewel thieves (Soledad Miranda and Jack Taylor) hide out at a nearby house, biding their time until they can confront Cynthia for their share of a recent heist.
Sadistic Baron Klaus:
In this follow-up to his ground-breaking horror film The Awful Dr. Orlof
, Jess Franco continued to lay the foundation of a career defined by fetishistic imagery and transgressive violence. A series of grisly murders in the remote village of Holfen convinces the locals that the town is still cursed by the spirit of a 17th-century baron who maintained an elaborate torture chamber in the dungeon of his estate. Undaunted by the villagers’ superstitions, a detective (Georges Rollin) quickly focuses his investigation upon the creepy Max Von Klaus (Howard Vernon).
Lynne Frederick (Vampire Circus
) stars as a beautiful ice skater who, as a child, witnessed the gruesome murder of her mother. After Samantha marries, her close friends begin to be horrifically killed, one by one, and she is brought closer to an inevitable confrontation with the murderer. Schizo
is one of the most popular films of British auteur Pete Walker, whose sexy thrillers (laced with wry social commentary) laid the foundation of what would later become known as the “Video Nasty.”
The Sex Thief:
From its opening title sequence, it is apparent that director Martin Campbell (Goldeneye
, Casino Royale
) intended his first feature, a low-budget sex romp called The Sex Thief
, to be an homage to the James Bond series. Irresistible to women of every variety, the roguish title character (David Warbeck) channels his inner Sean Connery, muttering witty double entendres, relishing the danger of his secret mission, forever sidetracked by beautiful women.
The Shiver of the Vampires: A
most unorthodox vampire film; by turns, it is magical, eccentric, poetical, erotic, philosophical and, whenever the vampire cousins are onscreen together, surprisingly funny. It is also unique among vampire films for offering some sort of backstory of warring paganism and Christianity that explains why a vampire would feel revulsion for the sight of a crucifix.
Sinful Nuns of St. Valentine:
Pursued by soldiers, having been accused of heresy, Esteban (Paolo Malco) seeks refuge in a nearby convent–the same convent to which his girlfriend Lucita (Jenny Tamburi) has been banished by her parents. In order to be reunited, Lucita must resist seduction by her lesbian cellmate (Bruna Beani), endure the deranged torments of the Inquisition, and escape from a madehouse within the convent walls. Esteban, meanwhile, contends with the advances of a sensual abbess (Francoise Prevost).
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance: Unable to afford proper care for his sister dying from kidney failure, Ryu turns to the black market to sell his own organs, only to end up cheated out of his life savings. His girlfriend urges Ryu to kidnap the daughter of wealthy industrialist Dong-jin , who recently laid him off. Ryu agrees.
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