SLASHER MONTH: My Brother Has Bad Dreams (1972)

Writer/director Robert Emery made one hell of a movie here. Seriously, this is one of the most downbeat movies that I’ve ever seen and yet it’s one that you can’t turn away from. I mean, this is a movie where the lead, Karl, is a stunted child of a man who jerks off to his sister and constantly lives under the shadow of a brutal moment in his family’s history that he witnessed. So what happens when a drifter enters his world of mannequins, monsters and barely repressed and maybe inherited murderous needs?

This feels very stagy and I say that with complete love and respect. There are long stretches of dialogue by actors perhaps not ready for the complexity of what they’ve been given to say and yet it still more than works for me.

Strangely enough, so much of this film reminds me of Pin, which also has a mannequin and sister obsessed virgin of a murderous man and ends on a much different note. And oh yes — no spoilers here — this movie has one of the most audacious, astounding and just plain what did I just watch endings of any movie I’ve ever seen.

Also known as Scream Bloody Murder — and it has nothing to do with the other Scream Bloody Murder — this Tampa-filmed slice of exploitation is practically screaming for a label to clean it up, have someone smarter and more social media-connected than me do a commentary track and give it a collectible slip case.

KINO LORBER BLU RAY RELEASE: The Victim (1972)

EDITOR’S NOTE: We originally watched this made for TV movie on April 3, 2018. We’re bringing it back because Kino Lorber has released it on blu ray — making us go wild because we’ve dreamed of a day when TV movies were commercially available — and we want you to get a copy for your collection.  Their release has a commentary track by the awesome Amanda Reyes, art by Vince Evans and a new 2K master.

If you ever wonder why I love my wife so much, I was watching this movie and she walked into the room, sat on the couch and excitedly remarked, “That’s Eileen Heckart!” Yes, Becca loves The Bad Seed. And she isn’t shy about it.

Director Herschel Daugherty’s directorial efforts run the gamut of TV’s classics, from Star Trek to Alfred Hitchcock PresentsThriller and The Six Million Dollar Man. He was even the dialogue director for Mildred Pierce!

Kate Wainwright (Elizabeth Montogomery, who you may know from Bewitched, but around here we celebrate her for her role in The Legend of Lizzie Borden) is coming to visit her sister, but unbeknownst to her, her sister is already dead. She has to deal with the increasingly crazy attention of her sister’s maid, Mrs. Hawkes (Heckart) as well as power outages and an increasingly more frightening storm. We soon learn that her sister already fired the maid and is planning on divorcing her husband, Ben.

While we see the sister get murdered at the beginning of the film, we never see the killer. What we do see is Kate go increasingly more and more afraid and Montgomery turns in an awesome performance.

The McKnight Malmar story this was based on was first filmed for a 1962 episode of Boris Karloff’s Thriller entitled The Storm, which was also directed by Herschel Daugherty. The Victim was rewritten by Merwin Gerard and doesn’t stick as close to the original story.
The ending of this movie might frustrate you. Or maybe you might enjoy it, as it never really lets up on the creep factor.

KINO LORBER BLU RAY RELEASE: The Screaming Woman (1972)

EDITOR’S NOTE: We originally reviewed this movie on January 1, 2021. Now Kino Lorber is releasing it on blu ray, complete with a new 2K master, commentary by film historian/screenwriter Gary Gerani and great new art by Vince Evans. I’m beyond excited to see more TV movies make their way to blu ray. Thanks Kino Lorber!

Jack Smight did some great directing, with his films No Way to Treat a LadyAirport 1975 and Damnation Alley being favorites of the B&S About Movies household. Here, he’s working from a short story by Ray Bradbury* and delivers a quick and suspenseful reminder that in 1972, TV movies could really get under your skin.

Olivia De Havilland plays Laura Wynant, a wealthy former mental patient who has gone to the country to continue healing. That’d be easier if she didn’t keep hearing the pleas of a woman who has been buried alive on her property. Arthritis has robbed her hands of the ability to save the woman and as she brings others in to help her, her family starts to think that she is losing her control over her sanity again.

Beyond scoring De Havilland, Joseph Cotten and Walter Pidgeon show up.

This is a movie that builds and builds its suspense and doesn’t let up. I may have said it before this week — and certainly will again — but they don’t make them like this anymore.

*Merwin Gerard wrote the screenplay. I’m a big fan of another TV movie he wrote, The Invasion of Carol Enders.

The Man from Deep River, aka Deep River Savages (1972)

This is really the whole gooey enchilada, ain’t it: for this is where all of those cannibal hybrids of the George Romero-rebooted zombie genre originated.

What makes this film a film that I have never gone back to: three-plus minutes of this Umberto Lenzi puke fest has moments of real animal murder (not cool). Of course, this being our “Video Nasties Week,” the puritanical purveyors of the all-things-holy U.K. cut those scenes from the British release ever since it was first kept out of British theaters in 1975.

Yes. Sometimes you’ll find it out there as Sacrifice!

The plot, such as it is, is a blatant ripoff of the Richard Harris-starring A Man Called Horse (1970). That film’s positive critical reviews and box office success spawned two sequels in The Return of a Man Called Horse (1976) and Triumphs of a Man Called Horse (1983), each also equally acclaimed critical and box office hits.

Then there’s this U.K. Section 2 “Video Nasty” that made the rounds on the U.S. “Midnight Movie” circuit and earned a re-renting when it hit home video stores. Some of the titles you know the film under are l Paese del Sesso Selvaggio, aka The Country of Savage Sex, as well as Deep River Savages. The best known and distributed title is Sacrifice!, and that cut can be purchased from Raro Video.

Both films deal with a civilized man incorporated into a tribe that originally held him captive. Here, British photographer John Bradley (Ivan Rassimov) heads off to the rain forests of Thailand for a wildlife photograph wildlife assignment. After a bar fight with a local, Bradley, in self-defense, kills the man; Bradley flees the scene and heads down river to not only complete his assignment, but to escape arrest.

He’s soon captured by natives and put through a series of the tortures — as you’d expect from a cannibal film — only the tongue removals, along with everything else — was done here, first.

The highlights of the film — which is still not enough to get us past the animal cruelty — are the always welcomed Ivan Rassimov; he does the cannibal thing again in Jungle Holocaust and Eaten Alive!. Also starring here — and in both of those films, again, with Rassimov, is the Queen of Cannibal Cinema: Me Me Lai.

Then Ruggero Deodato released Jungle Holocaust in 1977. That film, alongside George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1979), was the one-two punch that ignited the cannibal sub-genre of zombie films. Then Deodato gave us Cannibal Holocaust (1980). Lenzi was presented the opportunity to direct Jungle Holocaust, but the job ultimately went to Deodato. Lenzi would follow up his own Eaten Alive! (1980), with his third cannibal romp, Cannibal Ferox (1981). In between, Sergio Martino chimed in with The Mountain of the Cannibal God (1978).

You can learn more about Lai’s career — the star of The Man from Deep River (Deep River Savages), Jungle Holocaust, and Eaten Alive! — and the cannibal sub-genre of zombie films, in whole, in a documentary we recently reviewed, Me Me Lai Bites Back (2021). You can purchase restored DVDs and Blu-rays of The Man from Deep River from 88 Films, which also includes Lai’s documentary as a supplement.

We run down most of these cannibal films with our February 2018 “Mangiati Vivi Week” tribute, which serves as a great catch-all reference list. And what’s not on that list is being reviewed during our “Video Nasties Week” tribute, this week.

As always, we appreciated you surfing to B&S About Movies and using us as your one-stop source for discovering and rediscovering classic films from the Drive-In, UHF-TV, and home video eras.

About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook.

The Cannibal Man (1972)

La Semana del asesino (Week of the Killer) has no scenes of cannibalism in it, but hey, that title was catchy enough for international distribution. Now that the full version of this film is available from Severin*, people may see it beyond its lurid title and appearance on the section one video nasty list.

Instead, The Cannibal Man presents a journey into a place that few of us have experienced: the oppressive rule of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco. Estimates are difficult to put together, but Franco killed between 15,000 and 50,000 of his political opponents. His oppression also led to how the arts were treated, with a unitary national identity created at the expense of Spain’s cultural diversity. Women could not manage money, hold certain jobs or even open a bank account. And yet, in the words of geopolitics, Nixon referred to Franco as, “a loyal friend and ally of the United States” when the general died.

Basically, Spain was a real-life horror show and this film attempts to explain that pain through the life of a young butcher named Marcos who accidentally kills a cab driver. That murder sends him on a spiral as he has to start removing anyone who could potentially turn him in, from his girlfriend to eventually his family members, using his butcher shop to remove the evidence. Then the dogs come searching for the rotting human meat hidden in his bedroom.

Even the potential relationship that the protagonist discovers with another man who lives in the high caste high rises above the city won’t be enough to stop the drain at the bottom of this downward spiral. Franco’s censors saw to that.

*Yes, I realize Anchor Bay and Blue Underground also released the full cut, but the Severin one has “both the International and extended Spanish Version newly scanned from the original negatives for the first time ever.”

Wrong Way (1972)

Made under the title Bad Scene, the British cuts to this movie took out fifteen minutes of footage, taking the film’s total down to under an hour. I can completely imagine what they cut, as this movie  has multiple assault scenes that last so long that they become an actual assault on the viewer.

Two girls named Nancy and Kathy (Laurel Canyon and Candy Sweet) are on their way home when their car breaks down, which leads to them getting attacked by drug-addled hippies, soon followed by a Satanic cult who also abuses them and then plans on killing them. That’s it, that’s the movie. Some movies push past the actual act of sexual violence and concentrate on the revenge or the escape, but this one and done by director Ray Williams.

So once the cult kidnaps them, you’d think that the cops would find them or get invovled, right? No because now we move to another story where a female heroin addict is kidnapped, assaulted and sent to Mexico before the cops forget Nancy and Kathy and rescue her.

There’s a biker named Crabs because he has crabs. This is utter garbage and not in the right way. I have no idea who thought they could release this movie in the UK in the early 80s and it kind of makes every other movie in the section 3 video nasty category look positively classy and well-made by comparison. Horrible.

GIALLOPALOOZA PRIMER: Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972)

EDITOR’S NOTE: There’s never been a better titled movie ever. Sergio Martino again proves why he was the absolute master of the genre with this film. We originally shared this movie on November 7, 2017 and can’t wait to see this at the Drive-In Super Monster-Rama Giallopalooza on September 17 and 18. The artwork for this article comes from PhilRayArt. Buy something from them!

Has a movie ever had a better title? Nope. Sergio Martino’s fourth entry into the giallo genre, following The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail and the previously reviewed All the Colors of the Dark, it refers to the note that the killer leaves to Edwige Fenech’s character in Mrs. Wardh. And the title is way better than the alternate ones this film has — Gently Before She Dies, Eye of the Black Cat and Excite Me!

Martino wastes no time at all getting into the crazy in this one — Oliviero Rouvigny (Luigi Pistilli from A Bay of Blood, Iguana with the Tongue of Fire, Death Rides a Horse) is a dark, sinister man, a failed writer and alcoholic who lives in a mansion that’s falling apart (If this all feels like a modernized version of a Poe story like The Fall of the House of Usher, it’s no accident. There’s even an acknowledgment that the film is inspired by The Black Cat in the opening credits.). His wife, Irina (Anita Strindberg from A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin and Who Saw Her Die?), suffers his abuses, but never more so than when he gathers hippies together for confrontational parties. He makes everyone pour all of their wine into a bowl and forces her to drink it, then humiliates their black servant Brenda until one of the partygoers starts singing and everyone joins in, then gets naked. This scene is beyond strange and must be experienced. Luckily, I found the link for you, but trust me — it’s NSFW.

The only person that Oliviero seems to love is Satan, the cat that belonged to his dead mother. A black cat that talks throughout every scene he’s in, his constant meows led to my cats communicating with the TV. God only knows what a 1970’s giallo cat said, but it seems like his words spoke directly to their hearts.

One of Oliviero’s mistresses is found dead near the house, but he hides her body. The police suspect him, as does his wife. Adding to the tension is the fact that Irina hates Satan, who only seems to care about messing with her beloved birds.

Remember that servant? Well, she’s dead now, but not before she walks around half-naked in Oliviero’s mother’s dress while he watches from the other room. She barely makes it to Irina’s room before she collapses, covered in blood. Blood that Satan the cat has no problem walking through! He refuses to call the police, as he doesn’t want any more suspicion. He asks his wife to help him get rid of the body.

Oliviero’s niece Floriana (Edwige Fenech, pretty much the queen of the giallo) is in town for a visit, learning how Oliviero hasn’t been able to write one sentence over and over again for three years, stuck in writer’s block (and predating The Shining by 5 years in book form and 8 years away from Kubrick’s film). Unlike everyone else who tolerates Oliviero’s behavior or ignores it, Floriana sees right through the bullshit. The writer is used to seducing every woman he meets and she initially rebuffs him, even asking if it’s true that Oliviero used to sleep with his mother. He angrily asks if it’s true that she’s a two-bit whore. “Those would be two bits worth spending,” is her caustic reply.

Irina confides all of her pain to Floriana as the two become lovers. And another girl gets murdered — perhaps by Oliviero. Then, a dirt bike racer comes to drop off milk and hit on Floriana. Whew — I was wondering when this film would get hard to follow and start piling on the red herrings!

After being questioned by the police, Oliviero comes home to choke his wife. He stops at the last second…then we’re off to the races! The motorbike races! The milkman loses when his bike breaks down, but he’s the real winner — taking Floriana back to the abandoned house that he lives in. And oh look — there’s creepy Oliviero watching the action.

Meanwhile, Satan has gotten into the coop and chowed down on several of the birds. Irina catches him and they have quite the battle. He scratches her numerous times before she stabs him in the eye with a pair of scissors. An old woman watches and is chased away by Irina’s yelling.

She’s afraid that her husband will kill her once he learns that she killed Satan. And Oliviero keeps wondering where the cat is, especially after he buys the cat his favorite meal from the store — sheep eyes. That said — Satan might not be so dead, as we can hear his screaming and see him with a missing eye.

Floriana puts on Oliviero’s mother’s dress, asking if this is what the maid looked like before she died. Whether it’s the dress or the forbidden family love or just her beauty, he rips off her dress — at her urging, mind you — and begins making love to his niece. We cut to Idrina, caressing her pet birds, when Oliviero confronts her with scissors and questions about Satan. He almost stabs her before he ends up raping her inside the coop, while Floriana looks on. She playing them off the other, even telling Idrina that she’s slept with her husband. She also tells her that Oliviero wants to kill her, so she should kill him first.

Idrina wakes up to the sound of Satan, but can’t find him anywhere. What she does find is her husband in bed with Floriana, who is belittling him. With every sinister meow, there’s a zoom of the cat’s damaged eye. Finally, Oliviero attacks her for spying on him, slapping her around before he leaves to write. She walks the grounds of the mansion, seeing the motorcycle rider make a date with Floriana and catching sight of Satan, who runs from her. In the basement, she finds scissors and the hidden bodies of her husband’s lover and the murdered maid. In a moment of clarity — or madness — she stabs her husband while he sleeps. The sequence is breathtaking — a giallo POV shot of the murder weapon intercut with the same sentence being typed over and over interspersed with all of the abuses that Oliviero had wrought upon her. She stabs again and again before Floriana interrupts, asking her if it was easy. The sentence that the author had written again and again was him claiming that he would kill her and there was a space in the wall for her, so obviously, she had to kill him.

As for Floriana, all she wanted was the family jewels, which were hidden in the house. They seal Oliviero’s corpse within the wall while Walter watches from afar. He’s played by Ivan Rassimov, who does creeping staring dudes better than anyone else — witness his work in All the Colors of the Dark. And it turns out that he’s the real killer! He’s been typing “vendetta” over and over again. Floriana asks if Idrina was planning to kill her before she runs off into the night, then Walter appears to kiss Idrina. Turns out they were working together all along — she tells him where to find Floriana the next morning. Holy shit — Idrina reveals her whole plot, revealing how she drove her husband crazy, making him believe that he could have been a murderer! She wishes that there was an afterlife so Oliviero’s mother — who she killed! — could tell him how great her revenge was. She ends by wishing that her husband was still alive so that he could suffer for eternity.

Walter sets up an accident that takes out Floriana and her boyfriend, as their motorcycle crashes, sending blood across the white heart of a billboard and out of her lips. He tosses a match on the gasoline-soaked highway, burning both of their corpses. He collects the jewelry and gives it to Idrina, who responds by shoving him off a cliff!

When she returns to the mansion, the police are there, as there were alerted to her stabbing Satan by the old woman. They come inside the house to write a statement, but hear the sound of Satan’s meows. Following the sound, they find him inside a wall — with the corpse of her husband!

Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key is superb. An intriguing story — only a few derailing giallo moments (like the killing of the girl in the room with the dolls and the B roll motocross scenes) — with great acting, eye-catching camerawork and some genuine surprises, it’s well worth seeking out and savoring.

Drive-In Super Monster-Rama is presenting “Giallopalooza”, two big nights of classic, fully restored giallo thrillers from such maestros as Dario Argento, Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci and Sergio Martino!

On Friday, September 17, the line-up will be What Have You Done to Solange?, Torso, A Lizard In a Woman’s Skin and The Cat O’Nine Tails. Saturday, September 18 they will present Deep Red, The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Blood and Black Lace and Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key.

Admission is $10 per person each night (children 12 and under FREE with adult guardian). Camping on the premises is available each night for an additional $10 a person, and that includes breakfast.

Advance tickets are available online at the Riverside Drive In’s webpage.

Sexy Cat (1972)

A Spanish television crew is making a TV show based on a comic book called Sexy Cat, which is all about the adventures of a sexy Diabolik-style female killer, yet they’re now being murdered one by one by Sexy Cat herself. She’s even killed her creator, who had hired a detective named Mike Cash to figure out who really owns the rights to the creation. But if she’s real who owns her?

Each of her murders matches issues of the comic book — a snake placed in an actress’ apartment, murder by plastic bag that seems like Black Christmas yet these were made across the world from one another at the same time, crushing them under junkyard debris and just old fashioned slashing with claws.

Director Julio Pérez Tabernero had to have had his heart in the sexy side of this movie more than the giallo, as his resume speaks to numerous horizontally inclined movies like Hot Panties, Con las bragas en la mano (With Panties In Hand) and Midnight Party, which he made with Jess Franco.

There’s a lot to like here, like the pop art moments and murders, but I wanted more to love. Then again, Spanish giallo is a fickle mistress and doesn’t always achieve perfect art.

Arcana (1972)

Man, this movie just hit me right in the brain.

Lucia Bosè (Something Creeping in the Dark) plays Ms. Tarantino, a widow who practices spiritualism. As her son grows older, he learns that the parlor tricks his mom uses to get money out of the marks hide what she can really do, so he forces her to give him the power of magic. Before long, he’s stringing all sorts of objects around their apartment building, putting live frogs into a woman’s mouth, creating a voodoo bread man and fondling torn-off chicken legs.

He’s also obsessed with Tina Aumont from Torso and you know, who can blame him?

Director Giulio Questi was the screenwriter for The Possessed, as well as writing and directing the berserk Django Kill… If You Live, Shoot!, which starts with its hero clawing his way out of a mass grave and ends with people being messily melted down by molten gold. He also was behind the equally strange Death Laid an Egg before the failure of this movie ruined his directing career. It would be nine years before he had the chance to make another picture.

This movie starts with these words: “To the viewers, This film is not a story. It’s a card game. This is why the beginning is not credible nor is the ending. You are the players. Play well and win.”

From what I’ve found online, people either absolutely love this movie or hate every single minute of it, much like the other films that Questi made. That means that — you guessed it — I loved this mess of a movie. I can’t wait for people to reply just how much they disliked it.

Naked Girl Killed in the Park (1972)

A wealthy industrialist named Johann Wallenberger has showed up dead outside a haunted house ride and is missing all of his money. His insurance company sends its top man, Chris Buyer (Robert Hoffman, Death Carries a Cane). He decides to go undercover by dating the dead man’s daughter Catherine, but before long, he’s in her family home as her mother loses her mind and her sister Barbara starts to seduce him. And oh yeah — more people start dying, which could be anyone from a blackmailer to a family member to even someone else from Chris’ company trying to ruin his good name.

Director Alfonso Brescia is well-known to us here — we did an entire breakdown of his five post-Star Wars science fiction films — and you can trust the man who made The Beast In Space and the underrated Iron Warrior to make something interesting.

I love that this movie has more than one ending and more than one killer. It plays with the form a bit and keeps you guessing. I’m also all for Adolfo Celli showing up in every movie that I watch.