Last of the Monster Kids

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Halloween 2011: October 12

Nude for Satan (1974)
The movie doesn’t deliver on its title. Oh there’s plenty of nudity. But Satan is a no show. The story begins like so many horror stories do: A car crash, which occurs off-screen, forces a couple, in this case complete strangers, to seek lodging in a strange house, in this case a vaguely gothic castle. The dude with the crazy sideburns stumbles inside, while the lady remains comatose. A cryptic guy in a black cape appears and then disappears, there’s an old book, Astaroth gets name-checked, and then some random nudity.

The next morning, our female protagonist awakes, wanders the castle, and encounters some guy in evening wear. When he first sees her, he immediately gets a psychedelic shot of her in the buff. Side-burns dude soon runs into a version of the girl that dresses in antiquated fashion and is overly horny. After a random lesbian encounter in the shower, the chick runs into an equally horny old-timey version of the dude. Boning ensues. Meanwhile, the woman dreams of another unexplained lesbian encounter, we get a sequence of some unidentified woman being whipped and then sacrificed at some sort of ritual. Not long after, the lady (the car crash survivor) falls into a giant spider-web and is menaced by the fakest looking damn spider I have ever seen in a horror movie.

Yes, there are deviant doubles of both of our main characters running around the castle. But don’t ask why. Our couple (the non-lecherous versions) attempt to leave the castle, but evening-wear guy suddenly appears in a shattered mirror and tells them to stay. Honestly, that would probably make me want to leave more. There’s also a scene of Side-Burns running around the castle grounds for a long time that I’ll admit to not understanding at all.

We get a half-way explanation of just what the hell is going on and then, for the climax, the movie descends into totally incomprehensible sleazy Euro-art weirdness. Men in loincloths, half of their body painted red and the other half blue, appear out of nowhere and dance around, along with a pair of naked ladies in see-through gowns. I’d assume these ladies are spirits or demons or something, especially since the one girl’s rip cage sticks out disturbingly far. (That’s not a special effect.) But I don’t think spirits have tan-lines. And, yes, if it wasn’t blatantly obvious from the beginning, the movie ends with a stable time-loop… I think.

All of this is dubbed too, by the way, with the high standard audio work you generally associate with seventies euro-sleaze. To add to the incoherence, the DVD starts with a long company logo composed of a naked lady with breast implants getting bitten by a vampire(?) with fuzzy TV-static eyes. The only hint that this is a DVD logo and not the actual movie is that this footage was obviously shot on digital video. “Nude for Satan” is kind of boring truthfully, not quite the hilarious sleaze-fest the title implies, but it does have just enough what-the-fuckery to be worth seeing, preferably late at night while extremely drunk. (5/10)

Genesis (1998)
I saw Nacho Cerda’s “Aftermath” some time ago. That movie might have a reputation as a shock film (And is certainly only for the strong stomached.) but there was ultimately an artistry and a point behind the carnage on-screen. Though “Genesis” is definitely more polished, it lacks the visceral gut-punch reaction “Aftermath” had. Like that film, it’s dialogue-free. The set direction is effectively dank and gloomy. The story, of an artist and his sculpture slowly trading places, is rife with symbolism.

The film never out-right states but instead visually illustrates that this is a husband making a sculpture of his dead wife. His nightmares, showing a burnt-out car and shot in a jittery metal-video “Saw” style, nail that point home a little too hard. And, honestly, considering Cerda’s obvious visual strength, it’s disappointing that he’d rely on such a tired, obnoxious style for even a small portion of the film. Despite the lack of dialogue, the movie’s sound design is top notch, as is its melancholy score.

“Genesis” is less exciting then “Aftermath.” That film portrayed its message about death and the living’s relation to it in a naturalistic, if graphic, manner. In comparison, “Genesis” seems like more typical art-school (pun), foreign made short film abstractness. It’s still good but Cerda’s next film “The Abandoned”, his first and only feature, would fall into the same trap of relying more on surreal asides and tone then anything else. (7/10)

Blood and Roses (1960)
The first screen adaptation of “Carmilla,” the prototypal lesbian vampire novel, this is pretty soft on the lesbian content. For a fact, Carmilla seems more attracted to her best friend’s finance then the girl herself. The movie is character-based and focuses on Carmilla’s duel personality and loneliness, displayed through an inner monologue. The movie climaxes with a surreal dream sequence and there’s a framing device, discussing the nature of myths. The movie is pretty slow and I’ll admit to preferring Hammer’s later sex-and-violence laden adaptations of the same material, but the thick atmosphere and interesting execution makes this a recommendation. (7/10)


Kernunrex said...

I just picked up Cerda's "Trilogy of Death" DVD, since it seems to be going out of print. Genesis I need to rewatch. Love Aftermath. A similarly gory and arty movie is Flower of Flesh and Blood (the 2nd of the infamous Guinea Pig movies).

Ah man, Nude for Satan is boring. I found the fake spider attacking the nude girl, however, to be absolutely hilarious. I ripped that scene off the DVD to save...

Bonehead XL said...

I've never watched the Guinea Pig movies. They all sounded a bit too extreme for my taste. (The fake snuff film idea crosses some weird line in my brain, considering all the sick stuff I willingly expose myself too.) But if they're no worse then "Aftermath," I might give them a look.

"Nude for Satan," like "Surf Nazis Must Die!" is another example of a movie that in no way lives up to its awesome title. The spider scene is hilarious though and will live on in the horror clip shows I put together for my friends.

Kernunrex said...

Heh - I've got a hard drive full of clips for such purposes too.

Flower of Flesh and Blood is very similar to Aftermath, I think. The big difference being the Japanese movie starts out with a living girl.