Monday, 26 February 2018

THE NIGHT OF THE SORCERERS (1974)





THE NIGHT OF THE SORCERERS or, as yours truly likes to call it, VALLEY OF THE DOLLS IN AFRICA is your quintessential Euro-trash B-movie treat.  It’s got everything: A silly plot, three sexy broads, cheesy makeup FX, nudity (no silicone valleys here), and the most ridiculous tribe dance ever produced.  Not one ounce of celluloid print is spared in delivering camp classic style material, and if you’re a fan of the genre, hold on to your seat, for you’re in a for a heck of a treat. 


Kali Hansa, Loretta Tovar and María Kosti lead a team of European explorers who get caught up in a sacrificial tribe ritual where beheading and raping the single gal is very hip.  Just as it had been in vogue with past victim Bárbara Rey who as a result has gained eternal life (don’t ask).  Now all dressed up in a skimpy vampire getup of leopard bikini and neck ribbon to hold up the topmost part of her damaged self (yes, a ribbon) she is more than ready to draw blood and decapitate.  That’s where our three heroines come in.  No sooner have they set up camp that one of them encounters Rey and her black minions for a no-holds-barred session of whipping and tam-tam strutting you just gotta see to believe.  Rey’s body language as she unleashes her wrath is priceless.  Like watching an actress loosing it in front of our very eyes. 


As the leading ladies’ different levels of undress escalate, so does our astonishment toward the film in general.  What possessed veteran director Amando De Ossorio for having made such a wonderfully bad movie, we’ll never know.  One thing’s for sure, though, he never intended it to be a gas.  All is shown with a seriousness bound for the Ed Wood camp ground, but with a better artistic grip on things.  Ossorio’s ability to discern the slightest of chills in common gestures such as a slow-moving antagonist run or the brief movement of a corpse’s hand before the inevitable attack keeps the effervescent feeling of anxiety and giddiness inseparable.  Furthermore, his keen eye for showing female forms and homemade gore (thanks to Jesús Iglesias) in an equal yet so dissimilar splendor shows a talented soul hidden behind unintentional schlock. 


The actors try their best to make it work.  Kali Hansa who plays Tunika, the assertive but insecure doll who just can’t get enough of leader of the pack Simón Andreu, has the better part amongst the ladies.  Her stubbornness plus her quick sense of survival instincts are as bold as her frolicking in the nude scene. Included in this disk (it was lent to me) is a glimpse at the PG-13 version of that same scene (and of others) in one of the bonus feature tracks, as well as some liner notes penned by cult film expert Mirek Lippinski which tell you everything you need to know about THE NIGHT OF THE SORCERERS (how it came about, who was set to play who, so on and so forth).  Which is more than we can say for the nowhere to be found interview track of some of the cast and crew.  Either they were too busy to bother or they just rather cut ties with this oh-so fun loving piece of filmmaking dreck.





Until next post—Martin







Tuesday, 13 February 2018

‘PRIVATE VIEWING’ BY DARCY LOCKHART




As I mentioned before, when it comes to Zebra books you really have to lower your expectation if you ever want to enjoy one of their publications. Like this 1989 Hollywood-type of a novel probably by a pseudonym. I came upon it by chance at a now-defunct used bookstore in Ottawa. It was one of the many trashy paperbacks I gathered up that faithful day, and PRIVATE VIEWING was the first that I found myself engaging in. It tells an effective tale of the shenanigans happening behind a hit TV series, and you all know how I feel about Tinseltown… If you don’t by now then you must be a newbie to this blog. Hope you stick around. 

Coming back to PRIVATE VIEWING, author Darcy Lockhart skillfully intertwines the lives of the rich and (no always) famous and ends up delivering an entertaining novel that is narratively fast moving and hard to put down. While her fixation on hot cars could have been omitted, the general feeling I got while reading this thing is that she clearly has fun baring the secret passions of her colorful cast of characters. Her writing is sharp, engaging and even emotional at times. She may not have reinvented the sub-genre but kudos to her for knowing how to create a fun and compelling read. 

As you can see, I was pleasantly surprised by the overall delivery. Like I said, it does follow the Jackie Collins School of Writing very effectively and turns out to be one of the good ones from the Zebra line. I would have loved to check out other books by this author but PRIVATE VIEWING seems to be the only one she has ever written under the Lockhart name. I’m still holding on to my beat-up copy in the hopes of returning to it one of these days. But with all those unread books gathering dust on my shelves right now I clearly doubt it. Hope you enjoy this one as I did if you ever grab yourself a copy.




Until next post—Martin

UPDATE: It appears that this title is the second book written by Lockhart. Her first is actually called BIGHORN (wink, wink) published in 1986 from Medallion Books and is all about ranching and sex. One word: yummy.