Killing of the Flesh (1983)

When the maker of The Gestapo’s Last Orgy makes a giallo, you just have to figure that it’s going to be sleazy. Seriously, this is Play Motel level sleaze, filled with victims who’d rather get drunk, have sex and avoid reality while they’re all getting killed off one after another. To make matters even sleazier, they’re all related to one another. Throw in some police who are about as effective as the cops always are in these films and you have, well, something.

Known in Italy as Delitto Carnale (Carnal Crime), director Cesare Canevari also made A Hyena In the Safe, a much better regarded giallo, before this movie. He also made Matalo!The Nude Princess and A Man for Emmanuelle.

This is Marc Porel’s last film after a career with movies like Don’t Torture A Duckling; Live Like A Cop, Die Like a Man and The Psychic. He was also married to Barbara Magnolfi, Olga from Suspiria.

Moana Pozzi is in this before her career in adult films. She and Ilona “Cicciolina” Staller were the two biggest Italian female stars of the 1980’s and even formed their own political group, Partito dellAmore (Party of Love), before she died at the young age of 33 from liver cancer. A life of scandal had led to rumors of her being killed, but an inquest in 2005 proved that it really was cancer that felled this gorgeous actress.

This is the kind of movie that wants to be porn, but doesn’t go that far, and yet isn’t good enough of a mystery to be a giallo of any note. If you want something sleazy that’s actually a decent film, let me recommend something like 

Summer Girl (1983)

This movie is pure junk. In the words of Nicolas Cage, “That’s high praise.”

Gavin and Mary Shelburn (made for TV movie power couple Barry Bostwick and Kim Darby) don’t have a great marriage when the movie begins. It doesn’t get much better. They have two kids already — David Faustino from Married with Children is the boy and Laura Jacoby, Scott’s sister who was in Rad, is the girl — and now another one on the way. The pregnancy has been troublesome and Gavin already feels trapped.

Enter Cinni (Diane Franklin, who we may have mentioned on this site, fired the flames of teenage lust in movies like Better Off DeadThe Last American Virgin and gave weird feelings to us in the bleak scumfest Amityville II: The Possession), a young girl with a mysterious past that is the au pair that will help Mary with the kids. If I’ve learned anything from my decades of TV movie watching, it’s never ever hire an employee hotter than your spouse. Sure, she shows up dressed beyond conservatively for her first interview, but just seeing a photo of daddy Gavin sends her ladyparts into overdrive.

Of course, by the time the family goes to the beach for the summer — I refuse to feel badly for any family that can afford two houses — she’s ditched the dowdy look for a sundress that makes me remember, “Oh yeah, that’s Diane Franklin.”

Mary’s pregnancy means that she slowly grows dowdier as Cindi somehow gets even hotter, treating every man around her as a plaything. In fact, even Gavin’s mom can’t help but comment on her “hot little body.” Nearly everyone feels highly sexualized, except of course poor Mary.

Two years later, Franklin and Darby would be in much different roles in the aforementioned Better Off Dead, which is pretty amazing when you think about it. Franklin’s work here is great, as she’s all at once commanding of men, worried about growing as a woman and a devious planner who takes over an entire family. Oh yeah — she also killed her best friend and later takes care of that woman’s man, who she also stole. She’s a force of nature.

It’s also a movie that dares bring Murray Hamilton, as a philandering neighbor, back to the beach.

Toss in some occult, Bostwick falling for our villainess and as much skin as network TV would allow in 1983 and you have a movie that I’ll keep talking about as long as you’ll let me. It’s as if the makers of The Hand That Rocks the Cradle watched and said, “Can we just make this again with an actual budget?”

Honestly, Gavin is a complete jerk, but this was made in a time when men were not responsible for their penises. Hold on, I’m checking with the judges…and yes, it’s the same way now. Me, I’m on the side of Cinni. If this family and everyone around her is dumb enough to be seduced like this, they deserve it.

You can watch this on YouTube. And you should. Like right now.

The Cradle Will Fall (1983)

If you’re looking for someone to direct a made for TV movie, always go with John Llewellyn Moxey. He was behind great films like Where Have All the People GoneHome for the Holidays, The Night Stalker and A Taste of Evil amongst others.

Here, he’s making a Mary Higgins Clark film all about attorney Kathy DeMaio (Lauren Hutton, Once Bitten), a widow who keeps passing out at the worst moments. As a child, she watched her father die in a hospital and now she’s phobic about even being there. It gets worse when she has to stay in a hospital, has a nightmare and wakes to spy a doctor (James Farentino, Dead and Buried) stuffing a body into the trunk of his car.

Look for a young William H. Macy — billed as WH Macy.

The weirdest thing is that Ben Murphy, who plays Hutton’s love interest, did a three-episode cameo on the soap opera Guiding Light — thanks Made for TV Mayhem — and characters from that show crossed over into this TV movie!

This was remade in 2004 with Angie Everhart in the lead role.

You can watch this on YouTube:

Never Say Never Again (1983)

Over this month, we’ve talked about the controversy over Thunderball, with Ian Fleming not crediting Kevin McClory, which led to a copyright case and Ron Productions settling on a deal to use the novel as well as the Blofeld and SPECTRE intellectual property.

By the mid 1970’s, McClory wanted to remake the movie as Warhead and had Connery interested in coming back as Bond. This led to another lawsuit, as Eon thought that the results of the lawsuit allowed for the usage of elements of the story, but not Bond himself.

Another version of the movie was in development as James Bond of the Secret Service, with Jack Schwartzman coming on board as a producer and adding writer Lorenzo Semple, Jr. Connery asked Diamonds Are Forever writer Tom Mankiewicz to join the project, but he felt that wouldn’t be right due to his respect for Albert R. Broccoli.

After Connery had finished Diamonds Are Forever, he pledged that he would “never” play Bond again. His wife Micheline suggested the title and by the end of another lawsuit in 1983, this movie was finally about to get made.

Many of the Eon-produced Bond trademarks couldn’t be in this movie, such as the gun barrel sequence, the theme and even a pre-credit sequence.

In the post-Star Wars world that Moonraker attempted to navigate for Bond, this film embraces the Lucas team, with director Irvin Kershner (The Empire Strikes Back) and much of the Raiders of the Lost Ark crew, including first assistant director David Tomblin, director of photography Douglas Slocombe, second unit director Mickey Moore and production designers Philip Harrison and Stephen Grimes, coming on board.

Bond fails a routine training mission and is sent by M to get in better shape. While at a health spa, he watches as Fatima Blush (Barbara Carrera, Condorman) beats a patient into oblivion and battles an assassin.

That beaten man — Bond is dealing with BDSM here — is Captain Jack Petachi, an Air Force pilot whose eye has been altered so that it is the same as the President of the United States. He’s played by Gavan O’Herlihy of Death Wish 3. He and Fatima are working for SPECTRE and its main boss, Blofeld, played here by Max Von Sydow.

Soon, he’s battling SPECTRE agent Maximillian Largo, seducing his mistress Domino (Kim Basinger) and, as always, saving the world all over again.

Former pro wrestler Pat Roach is in this as a henchman. Most people will recognize him from his roles as the giant bald Nazi mechanic Indiana Jones battles outside a Flying Wing in Raiders of the Lost Ark, as well as the Man-Ape in Conan the Destroyer and General Kael in Willow.

Bernie Casey is a welcome sight as Felix Leiter and Rowan Atkinson makes his screen debut as one of Bond’s assistants. Plus, a pre-fame Steven Seagal was the movie’s martial arts instructor. He broke Sean Connery’s wrist during training, a fact that the actor didn’t learn until nearly a decade later.

The end, where Bond winks at the camera, is fun. However, Connery and Roger Moore had an idea for an ending where they would bump into one another in the street and Moore would say, “Never say never again!”

Years after this, McClory announced plans to make another remake starring Timothy Dalton called Warhead 2000 AD, but it never was made. Sony acquired his rights and announced that since they held the rights to his material and Casino Royale that they would make their own Bond movies. As you can imagine, this led to another lawsuit.

After McClory’s death, MGM acquired the rights to his intellectual property, as well as both this movie and Casino Royale, meaning that finally Blodfeld could come back to the Bond storyline, as he did in Spectre.

Octopussy (1983)

When Octopussy came out, I was 11 years old and in full James Bond fever. I’d been watching all the old ones on ABC and HBO whenever they were on and playing the Victory Games James Bond 007 role playing game. I was probably more excited for this movie than anything else that year.

That same year, Bond would also be back — as would Sean Connery — in Never Say Never Again. This is the 007 movie I saw in the theater. I saw that one on HBO.

British agent 009 is killed, but abe to reach the British Ambassador, where his body shows up dressed as a circus clown and carrying a fake Faberge egg. This draws 007 into the orbit of Afghan prince Kamal Khan (Dr. Arcane from Swamp Thing), who has been smuggling Russian treasures to the West with the help of a circus owned by Octopussy (Maud Adams, who was also in The Man with the Golden Gun).

The title comes from the Ian Fleming short stories compendium Octopussy and The Living Daylights. Hardly any of the plot of the short story Octopussy was used, with the auction scene taken from The Property of a Lady and other parts from Moonraker.

Much like Connery, Moore began to tire of playing 007. His original contract had only been for three films, which ended with the The Spy Who Loved Me. The producers even started looking for a new Bond, with Timothy Dalton as a suggestion and tests being filmed with between Maud Adams and both Michael Billington and James Brolin. Yet once Never Say Never Again was announced, Moore was brought back.

Octopussy herself was supposedly going to be played by Sybil Danning, Faye Dunaway, Barbara Carrera, Persis Khambatta and Susie Coelho. Seeing as how Maud Adams was already doing those screentests, she was brought in and darkened her hair to play the Indian-born Octopussy, depsite being Swedish.

This movie is also the first time I ever saw my father swear. We took one of our neighbors to see it, who may have never even seen a film in the theater before by the way he behaved. He kept asking my dad if James Bond was going to die, until completely infuriated, my father blew up. It still makes me laugh to this day.

The Beast and the Magic Sword (1983)

The tenth adventure of Count Waldemar Daninsky — played as always by Paul Naschy — this Spanish/ Japanese co-production was never theatrically shown in any country other than its native Spain. It was never dubbed in English, never released on VHS or even DVD. Now, Mondo Macabro comes to the rescue with a gorgeous blu ray release of a movie that defies any logic and makes me fall in love with werewolf movies all over again.

What do you need to know? Well, Waldemar Daninsky goes to Japan in the hopes of being cured of his lycanthropy. You may wonder, “Why is this movie in the past instead of modern times like most of the other Paul Naschy werewolf movies?”

Stop asking questions and buckle up.

For the first time, you will learn how the Daninsky curse began, way back in the 10th century. Yes, a witch busts in and screams, “All the seventh-born sons will be transformed into beasts! The Daninskys will be a race of murderers! Hated and persecuted FOREVER!” before taking a wolf skull and biting the baby Daninsky through his pregnant mother’s stomach. Centuries later, that baby has grown up and searched the world looking for a cure before coming to Japan.

There, in the studios of Toshiro Mifune, he will battle a samurai played by Japanese actor Shigeru Amachi, as well as a tiger, a witch, ninja and ghost samurai.

How could something this magical happen? Well, Naschy was paid by some Japanese investors to make a series of documentaries on the history of Spain. They also paid for two films — Human Beasts and this movie.

I wish they had given him enough yen to make twenty of these movies.

You can get this directly from Mondo Macabro. Do so now. ASAP.

This first-ever U.S. release is awesome, with a brand new 4K restoration from the original negative, an archival intro by Naschy, a documentary about his werewolf films, new audio commentary by Rod Barnett and Troy Guinn of The Naschycast and a New interview with Gavin Baddeley, author of the book The Frightfest Guide to Werewolf Movies.

If the mail fails at any point, you can also download this from the Internet Archive.

Mountaintop Motel Massacre (1983)

Jim McCullough Sr. produced Where the Red Fern Grows and Creature from Black Lake before he started directing his own movies like Charge of the Model T’sThe Aurora Encounter and Video Massacre. He also acted in The Love Bug and Teenage Monster years before all of that.

Initially a regional movie that plated Louisiana and Mississippi under the titles Mountaintop Motel and Horrors at Mountaintop Motel, it was picked up by New World three years later and retitled before playing in New York City and coming out on home video.

Evelyn has been recently released from a psychiatric institution and loses her mind all over again when she catches her daughter Lorie doing a witchcraft ritual. So she does what any of us would do and kills her daughter. She gets away with it. And then she runs a motel called, you guessed it, the Mountaintop Motel.

That’s when the victims show up, like wanna-be record producer Al, two girls he’s trying to do the horizontal lambada with, some newlyweds and a preacher named Reverend Bill McWiley (Bill Thurman, ‘Gator Bait). Much like Shakespeare, just about everyone dies.

The folks at Vinegar Syndrome have sought fit to rescue this movie from the moldy fate of hiding around on the shelves of the few remaining mom and pop video stores in the country by doing a 2K scan from the original 35mm film and putting this out on blu ray. They really are doing the Lord’s work.

You can also watch it on Amazon Prime and Tubi.

Eyes of Fire (1983)

Released by Vestron Video in 1987, this movie — also known as Cry Blue Sky — is a forgotten piece of folk horror. It’s also pretty much the same movie as The Witch, minus any arthouse aspirations. Instead of a man whose pride casts his family out of their village, this movie is about a reverend accused of adultery and polygamy.

Reverend Will Smythe (Dennis Lipscomb, Under Siege) and his follows leave their town behind to live in a valley haunted by an ancient evil. A rugged woodsman named Marion Dalton (Guy Boyd, Body Double) is along for the ride because he has his eye on Smythe’s lusty wife Eloise. Hijinks, as they say, ensue. And by hijinks, I mean, whatever is in the woods begins to haunt and kill everyone.

Rob Paulsen, who plays Jewell Buchanan, would go on to be a voice actor. Perhaps you’ve heard him as Raphael and Donatello, two of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or as Pinky from Pinky and the Brain. He’s also in the movies Stewardess SchoolWarlock and Body Double. He’s also the voice that says, “Cheers was filmed in front of a live audience.” In all, he’s been in 1,000+ commercials and been the voice of 250+ cartoon characters.

Director Avery Crounse started his career as a photographer and only made two other films: The Invisible Kid and Sister Island, both of which starred Karen Black.

Eyes of Fire is a strange and wonderful film, a kind of Western horror that sadly is not available either on DVD or blu ray in the U.S. That’s pretty amazing, as we live in a world where nearly every film is available in physical and streaming form. I’d assume once Vestron begins releasing blu rays again — their collector’s series has put out Maximum OverdriveBeyond Re-AnimatorDagonGothicClass of 1999Slaughter High, the three Warlock films, The Unholy, the Wishmaster collection, The GateLair of the White WormParentsChopping MallC.H.U.D. II: Bud the Chud, the two Waxwork movies, Return of the Living Dead 3 and Blood Diner — this might finally appear.

For more movies that haven’t been released on DVD, check out our article “Ten movies that were never even released on DVD.”

Suffer, Little Children (1983)

A beyond low budget film made by a drama school and directed by the former owner of the Brixton Academy, Alan Briggs, this movie is strange beyond strange. Basically shot on VHS yet proclaiming that it’s based on true events, it comes off as both amateur hour and endearingly earnest. It’s a combination that more than pays off.

Elizabeth shows up at a children’s school with a note that says she’d be better off being there. That’s because she’s possessed — not to skate, but by Satan. Soon, zombies are rising from the dead and the other children are under her control.

This sounds like so many movies that I love, like Cathy’s Curse, but this movie makes it even better by having blaring heavy metal play every time Satan’s powers are used and VHS static between each and every transition.

It’s the last fifteen minutes of the movie that make it great, with the evil kids decimating the adults until Jesus Christ himself shows up to take care of business, complete with video game drones, boops and beeps.

No, I didn’t believe it either.

You have to love a movie that has its child actors writing about it on IMDB.

You can get this — of course — from Intervision and Severin.

According to Severin, “Suffer, Little Children is a reconstruction of the events, which took place at 45 Kingston Road, New Malden, Surrey, England in August 1984. None of these events were reported in the press and now the house is scheduled for demolition in the immediate future.”

You basically want this in your life right now.

Star Wars Droppings: Space Raiders (1983)

Space Raiders AKA Star Child was directed by Howard R. Cohen (Saturday the 14thSaturday the 14th Strikes Back and the scripts for Unholy RollersDeathstalkerStrykerBarbarian Queen and The Young Nurses) and produced by Roger Corman as part of his new Millennium’s films, where he also produced Love Letters, Screwballs and Suburbia.

If you think you’ve seen the spaceships and special effects and heard the James Horner music before, it’s all taken from two other Corman films, Battle Beyond the Stars and Humanoids from the Deep

Captain C.F. “Hawk” Hawkens (Vince Edwards, TV’s Ben Casey) is a space pirate who was once in the Space Service, hired to steal a freighter from The Company. A ten-year-old boy named Peter (David Mendenhall, Over the Top) stows away with the pirates and goes on adventures with them.

Luca Bercovici, the director of Rockula and Ghoulies, appears in this film as Ace. Dick Miller shows up and that’s always a welcome thing. And hey that’s William Boyett — Sergeant William MacDonald from Adam-12.

Not content to rip off only Star Wars, the end of this movie 100% comes from Shane. So there’s that. I’ve never understood why people loved putting annoying kids into science fiction films in the hopes that kids would find someone to identify with, when all we wanted was to be the adults. Oh well.

You can watch this for free on Amazon Prime.