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Anti-Film School’s 3rd Annual Halloween Horror Movie Spooktacular: Cinq Monstres Féminins

Posted in horror, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2013 by goregirl

Antifilm School 3rd Annual Halloween Horror Movie Spooktacular

When Steve from Anti-Film School asked me if I wanted to contribute a list of my five favourite movie monsters the first thought that came to mind was Toho. I did a month-long feature on the Japanese production company Toho and covered a few of the studios monster flicks. It would be pretty simple to compile a list of five of my favourite Toho monsters. Godzilla was the first horror film I ever loved. If it is easy it isn’t worth doing, right? Who the hell said that anyway? I thought I should challenge myself and at the same time come up with five titles that were lesser known. What variety of monster seems to get less love? By Georgette; I’ve got it! Female monsters! I am bringing the “girl” in Goregirl to the table for my favourite movie monster list; Cinq Monstres Féminins (Five Female Monsters).

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Cinq Monstres Féminins

Delphine Seyrig as COUNTESS BATHORY in Harry Kümel’s 1971 film DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS.

Daughters of Darkness

A newly married couple’s lives are forever changed after meeting a countess while staying at a beautiful old hotel.

…THE SEDUCTIVE MONSTER…

I could have easily filled this list with five female vampires. There are countless brilliant performances in the sub-genre by women. The sexy, smart, seductive female vampire. Both men and women fall under her spell and oh, what a way to go! One of the absolute sexiest, smartest and most seductive of them all is the immensely talented Delphine Seyrig’s Countess Bathory. The infamous Countess Elizabeth Báthory who allegedly tortured and killed hundreds of women and bathed in their blood to maintain her youth. The Countess arrives with her assistant as the sun is setting at the nearly abandoned hotel; only the newlyweds to keep her company. She quickly acquaints herself with the couple and sweet sadism soon follows. Daughters Of Darkness is a sexy, stylish and psychological trip where violence and eroticism reign. The beautiful locations adds an old world charm to the contemporary setting as does its Countess. Countess Bathory seems to have come from another time, another century perhaps. As sophisticated as she is nasty; a chic, sexual, hungry beast. Delphine Seyrig is outstanding as the sophisticated, powerful and brutal creature. One of the most elegant movie monsters of all time; Seyrig is a class act.

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Aurora Bautista as MARTA and Esperanza Roy as VERONICA in Eugenio Martín’s 1973 film A CANDLE FOR THE DEVIL.

A Candle for the Devil

Marta and Veronica run an inn in a tiny Spanish village where sexy, young female guests check in but don’t check out.

…THE RELIGIOUS MONSTER…

Marta and Veronica are two sisters with repressive attitudes guided by religious principles who believe they are doing god’s work. At least that is what Marta, the more dominant of the two believes. Marta takes the accidental death of a female tourist tanning topless on their rooftop as a sign that they are to punish women of loose morals. Veronica is the subservient sister and goes along with Marta regardless of her comfort level. Veronica is having an affair with a young man who works for them and is twenty years her junior. She refuses to get completely undressed during these trysts for moral reasons. Marta has no such outlet for her sexual frustrations and was once engaged to be married until her fiancée ran off with a younger woman. Marta is a severe woman who is not easy to like. Is she a monster though? Blinded by her jealousy and hatred for other women she uses religion as an excuse to murder. Despite Veronica also being blinded by her religion (and an accomplice to her sister’s crimes) it is clear she is not comfortable with Marta’s decisions. The sisters are a fascinating pair and their escapades are complimented by all manner of religious imagery and expression. In one of my favourite scenes, Marta is spying on some young men swimming and runs guilty through thorny bushes arriving home lashed, bleeding and breathless; frantically she washes and scrubs the sin from her flesh. Aurora Bautista and Esperanza Roy who plays Marta and Veronica do one hell of a job! Although these are two huge personalities they are played with a great deal of restraint. A Candle for the Devil is stylishly filmed with gorgeous scenery but it is all about the sisters who use their religion as an excuse to murder nubile young beauties who are unfortunate enough to end up as guests in their inn.

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Meredyth Herold as DAUGHTER and Michele Valley as MOTHER in Nikos Nikolaidis’ 1990 film SINGAPORE SLING.

Singapore Sling

A private eye is searching for a woman named Laura, and follows the trail to the home of an incestuous, sadomasochistic mother and daughter team.

…THE SEXUALLY DEPRAVED MONSTER…

If ever a film deserved the tag of polarizing it is Nikos Nikolaidis’ 1990 film Singapore Sling. There is more unsavory sex acts in this thing than you can shake a stick at. The comedy and the black and white photography do take some of the edge off, but I doubt this film is going to be palatable for most people. The women are killers, but they are far more interested in exploring the lines between pain and pleasure. Prepare yourself for shock therapy, water torture, golden showers, vomit orgasms and excessive amounts of masturbation. Mother looks like a silent movie star and has a flare for dramatics. She speaks her dialog in French and translates herself in English. Despite Daughter’s actions she comes off as slightly naive and is in a constant state of pre-orgasm. Singapore Sling is partially narrated and Mother and Daughter often speak directly to the camera. Mother and Daughter are pleasure monsters. They will do anything in the name of sating themselves regardless of the results. They torture each other and the male guests who end up in their home. Mother and Daughter are definitely the most sexually depraved monsters on this list. Mother played by Michele Valley and Daughter played by Meredyth Herold both give bold and fascinating performances. They are monsters of a different variety; a delightful mix of degenerate and class. You’ll be glad the film is black and white (it is a really great looking film also) as there is stuff on display here that you would not want to see in color.

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Béatrice Dalle as LA FEMME in Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury’s 2007 film INSIDE.

Inside

A woman about to give birth is terrorized in her home by a mysterious psychotic woman.

…THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS MONSTER…

Béatrice Dalle is the mysterious psychotic woman. Her intentions are simple; to take by force the baby inside of her victims stomach. La Femme as she is noted in the credits, is just straight up nuts. She kills a lot of people and barely breaks a sweat over it. Sarah the woman due to give birth unsurprisingly receives some visitors and La Femme barely seems phased by it. Oh well, more people to kill. She doesn’t care who she kills and she doesn’t care how many. She doesn’t really even go to any trouble to be careful about the whole business. She is tough, relentless, brutal and extremely sober for a woman who is completely and utterly psychotic. Béatrice Dalle is a talented and appealing actress who is a fascination to watch. Dalle’s performance is easily one of the most driven and brutal portraits of a psycho I’ve seen in a film from the past 20 years. Watching a very pregnant woman being terrorized is nasty business but the audacity of showing the action from the fetus point of view wins it a whole lot of extra respect. This however is Dalle’s movies, she owns it like she owns that adorable little fetus in Sarah’s belly.

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Nobuko Otowa as YONE and Kiwako Taichi as SHIGE in Kaneto Shindô’s 1968 film KURONEKO.

Kuroneko

Yone and her daughter-in-law Shige are gang raped, murdered and their home set ablaze by a group of samurai. The women return from the dead as vengeful spirits whose sole purpose is to kill and drink the blood of every last samurai.

…THE VENGEANCE MONSTER…

Kuroneko takes place during wartime and its opening scene illustrates the brutality of the period. The way the samurai swarm the women’s home was like wild animals stalking their prey. Once inside they raid the home of food and then each one takes their turn raping the women. The horrific scene is a strong argument for the women’s revenge but negotiating with the spirit world comes with a high price. The women are the focus of every shot. Their light ethereal appearance made everything around them appear darker. Kuroneko’s dream-like visuals are enhanced by beautiful and subtle touches like Yone’s slow rhythmic dance and Shige’s cat-like attacks. Kiwako Taichi is bewitching as Shige. Bound by her pact, Shige is a seductive and vicious spirit but the woman she once was lingers inside. Nobuko Otowa is superb as Yone. Yone is a strong, serious spirit who methodically goes about her rituals. Her unusual eye makeup gave her an appropriately menacing appearance. Yone seems to have considerably less connection to who she was and is more the vicious for it. Revenge is rarely sweet. Kaneto Shindô directed another film focusing on a pair of women during wartime called Onibaba which I highly recommend you check out if you enjoy Kuroneko; the two are great companion pieces.

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Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1990

Posted in horror, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2012 by goregirl

Happy New Year y’all! I am hitting you with a top ten list right off the bat; and what a wonderful array of insanely messed up celluloid this bunch is! The top four are films I rated 5/5 and spots 5 – 10 were all rated 4/5. It was tough choosing spots 5 – 10 as I rated seven other films 4/5; Two Evil Eyes, Adrenaline, Frankenstein Unbound, The Ambulance, The Death King, Tales from the Darkside: The Movie and Nightmare Concert (please do not start with Nightmare Concert if you have never seen a Lucio Fulci film, this one is for fans of daddy like myself). Let the 90s madness begin!

*Only feature-length films will be included on the top ten lists for the decade; I do not include shorts, documentaries or made for television movies.

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#10 SINGAPORE SLING
Directed By: Nikos Nikolaidis

Singapore Sling is the story of a private eye searching for a woman named Laura who follows the trail to the home of an incestuous, sadomasochist mother and daughter team. An absolutely bizarre mix of humour, weird, kinky, vile sex and a touch of blood, gore and torture. The two women although murderous are far more interested in exploring the lines between pain and pleasure. They don’t do anything to their captors they don’t do to themselves. Prepare yourself for shock therapy, water torture, and golden showers amoung other unsavory acts. Ever shove your fingers down your throat so you can vomit on your partners face while they orgasm? Needless to say, Singapore Sling is not for everyone! Thankfully filmed in black and white, and quite beautifully I might add with great performances too. Michele Valley and Meredyth Herold who play the mother and daughter roles are both bold, fearless and fascinating. The private eye whom they nickname Singapore Sling has little to no dialog and spends the film in a semi-comatose state, but actor Panos Thanassoulis does get to have some fun in the film’s finale. Singapore Sling has a very satisfying ending I won’t soon forget! Singapore Sling is a cheeky and nasty little film I found unique and thoroughly mesmerizing. To read the full review click here.

singapore sling

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#9 NIGHTBREED
Directed By: Clive Barker

I have an extra special place in my heart for Nightbreed. Nighbreed is written and directed by Clive Barker and is based on his story Cabal. Aaron Boone dreams of a city called Midian where strange creatures have been forced into hiding. Aaron goes to see psychiatrist Philip Decker at the bequest of his girlfriend Lori. Decker convinces Aaron that he is responsible for a series of murders that Decker himself has committed. Aaron in a hallucinatory state is hit by a truck and while in the hospital he meets a man who gives him directions to Midian. Aaron immediately seeks out Midian only to find he is not welcomed. He is bitten by one of the Nightbreed from whom he escapes only to be gunned down by police. The bite he took from the Nightbreed brings him back from the dead and he once again seeks out Midian. Aaron now accepted as one of the Nightbreed is forced to fight an all out war to save them. I do love my creatures and Nightbreed is jammed packed with beautifully realized nightmares. Equally impressive are the fantastic sets and sets pieces and I think this may just be one of Danny Elfman’s best scores. I will not deny there are some continuity issues and Craig Sheffer was not a great choice for lead but what it gets right is so very satisfying. I understand that Clive Barker was livid when a huge chunk of the film was cut before it was released. Barker casts David Cronenberg as the psychotic Philip Decker and he is just creepy as hell and Lori played by Anne Bobby is cute and likable. But really, this is all about the wonderful world of Midian and its gorgeously grotesque and massively creative creatures. I adore Nightbreed despite its problems and I think it is a must see for fans of creature features.

nightbreed

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#8 TREMORS
Directed By: Ron Underwood

Tremors is yet another creature feature from the decade but this one leans towards a 50s sci-fi and is played strictly for laughs. Handymen; Val and Earl attempt to vacate the teeny tiny town of Perfection but discover the dead body of a man on their way out. This is only the first of several corpses that turn up and a rock slide prevents the duo or anyone else from leaving. A young female seismologist suggests that the tremors and the deaths are related and it turns out she is correct. Giant sand worm creatures they call Graboids are determined to eliminate every last resident. I have a huge crush on Fred Ward who plays Earl and I really think he is one of the most under-appreciated actors out there. He has good chemistry with Kevin Bacon who plays Val. The two characters have some great back and forths. I also enjoyed the gun crazy fanatical Gummers played by Reba McEntire and Michael Gross. While there is a significant body count there certainly is not much here in the way of blood and gore. This is definitely PG but it sure is fun and action packed. The lightening fast pace, copious action, entertaining characters, solid performances and amusing dialog make Tremors a re-watchable amusement.

Tremors

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#7 THE EXORCIST III
Directed By: William Peter Blatty

The Exorcist III is the sequel that should have been called Exorcist II. Exorcist II: The Heretic is just shite. The Exorcist III is directed by William Peter Blatty the author of The Exorcist which the original movie is based on and he wrote the screenplay for. The Exorcist III is based on Blatty’s book Legion. Exorcist III takes place fifteen years after the events of the original film. Lieutenant Kinderman is investigating a series of murders that bare a striking resemblance to those of a dead serial killer coined The Gemini. Possession and death ensues. Suspenseful, intense, well-acted; The Exorcist III is both a visceral experience and a head trip. Some of the creepiest moments are relayed verbally and are equally as effective as the visual stuff. A fabulous cast including the great George C. Scott, Brad Dourif, Ed Flanders and Jason Miller amoung others and all are perfectly cast. Smart, well-acted and genuinely scary; The Exorcist III is a fantastic horror film worthy of multiple viewings.

exorcist iii

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#6 BEGOTTEN
Directed By: E. Elias Merhige

Begotten is filmed in black and white and features a barrage of violent and unsettling images. The film has no dialog, very little music and most of the sound filling the air is those of nature and grunting. It has a grainy ancient look that I found most alluring. I don’t profess to understand every aspect of Begotten by any means. It is a strange, trippy and violent journey full of Christian and Pagan symbolism that I believe is really left open to interpretation. The three key characters are God killing himself, Mother Earth and Son of Earth (Flesh on Bone); there is no disputing the religious imagery. Begotten opens with a particularly nasty snippet of God disemboweling himself. Mother Earth emerges from God’s gory remains and arouses his corpse to impregnate herself. Begotten is visually stimulating, challenging and utterly mesmerizing. To read the full review click here.

Begotten

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#5 MISERY
Directed By: Rob Reiner

There sure as hell aren’t too many films reviewed on ye olde blog that have won Academy Awards. Kathy Bates won a much deserved Oscar for best actress playing the role of the frighteningly dowdy and dangerous Annie Wilkes in Misery. Novelist Paul Sheldon crashes his car en route back to the city and is “rescued” by Annie Wilkes who also happens to be his number one fan. Annie is kind and accommodating initially but Paul quickly discerns the woman is not in her right mind. After Annie reads the draft for his latest novel and discovers Paul has killed off the heroine of his series Paul learns just how “off” the woman truly is. Misery is a well-paced and thrilling trip. I thought James Caan was an interesting choice for the role of Paul Sheldon. Other actors might have provoked more empathy than Caan but I sort of appreciated that the character was somewhat prickly. He didn’t exactly strike me as someone who would write romantic drama, but what the hell do I know about authors who write romantic dramas? There is a nice tension building and a cynical sense of humour throughout. Misery is really Kathy Bates show though, and she shines like a psychotic bright light!

misery

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#4 BABY BLOOD
Directed By: Alain Robak

This wonderfully twisted French horror film is an exceptional entry in the killer baby genre…sort of. It is more of a parasite than a baby actually. The parasite crawls into a woman’s womb and she is forced to nurture and feed it by killing and drinking the blood of her victims. Yanka is the abused wife of a circus performer; those of you who visit this blog regularly are well familiar with my obsession for carnival and circus-themed horror films. The circus theme is definitely secondary but adds an effective weirdness to the action. Baby Blood has a mildly sleazy vibe with plenty of blood to satisfy particularly in its delightful second half. The voluptuous Emmanuelle Escourrou is an absolute freaking delight as the involuntary parasite mama and her relationship with the thing that resides within her is intriguing, bizarre and sometimes humorous. The initially meek Yanka becomes stronger and more confident with every kill. Fun fact; Baxter, the dog from the excellent French film of the same name makes a cameo! Baby Blood is well-filmed, gory, bizarre, funny and over-the-top high jinx of the first order!

baby blood

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#3 FRANKENHOOKER
Directed By: Frank Henenlotter

Frank Henenlotter is a horror-comedy genius! I can’t say enough good things about Henenlotter’s Basket Case and Brain Damage; two of the highlights of the 80s! Frankenhooker if the name didn’t tip you off is loosely based on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Very, very loosely based! After losing his girlfriend Elizabeth in a tragic lawnmower accident Medical school dropout Jeffrey Franken will stop at nothing to have her back. Jeffrey creates a drug that makes people literally explode. He takes his supercrack to the streets and tries it out on some hookers whose parts help to reconstruct his girl. But of course Elizabeth is not the girl she used to be and is no longer satisfied with just Jeffrey. A tragic lawnmower accident?! That alone is some funny shit but Henenlotter keeps up the goodness right up to the end! Frankenhooker is a fast-paced, effects intensive, bit of hilarity! Jeffrey Franken is an absolutely mad character and is played with finesse by James Lorinz and the lovely Patty Mullen is a too perfect as Elizabeth Shelley/Frankenhooker. The effects are top-notch; there isn’t a computer generated image in sight. So few films get that balance of horror and comedy right but Henenlotter hits the nail on the head! Frankenhooker is utterly outrageous and an absolute shitload of fun!

Frankenhooker

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#2 THE REFLECTING SKIN
Directed By: Philip Ridley

The Reflecting Skin is about a nine year old boy named Seth Dove and his nightmarish life living in a small rural community in the 1950s. The film is really just teetering on the edge of horror. Although it explores some horrifying ideas it leans heavier towards the drama. The Reflecting Skin is beautifully filmed with its endless fields and massive sky that adds so very nicely to the film’s feeling of desolation. It has a relaxed pace and leisurely unleashes a series of vignettes; one more bleak than the other. Its mix of strange, melancholy and ugliness was compelling. There are some peculiar trippy snippets that give The Reflecting Skin a dream like feel; like Seth walking past two women chirping carrying a dead bird. Seth seems to immerse himself more deeply in fantasy as the film wears on. There isn’t much in the way of graphic violence but what they include is very effective and at times disturbing. The Reflecting Skin is a hypnotic watch and its slow grind added to that vibe. I loved its perfect slap you in the face finale! The Reflecting Skin is beautifully filmed, unique, powerful, strange, sad, hopeless and merciless. To read the full review click here.

the reflecting skin

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#1 JACOB’S LADDER
Directed By: Adrian Lyne

Jacob’s Ladder is a film I have seen several times over the years and it never fails to blow my mind. Tim Robbins completely and utterly bares his soul in this film. He is a likable and extremely empathetic character who runs through an impressive gamut of emotions. Tim Robbins plays Jacob Singer an ex-Vietnam vet. Our first shot of Jacob sees him at war. His platoon is attacked and several men are left dead while others are in a state of seizures. Jacob attempts to flee only to be stabbed. Jacob awakes on a subway train in New York. Jacob is plagued not just by his memories of the war but his young son’s untimely death. Now employed as a mailman and living in Brooklyn with a woman named Jezzie, Jacob begins to experience horrifying hallucinations pointing to a serious case of post-traumatic stress that may have more heinous roots to a chemical experiment gone horribly wrong. The line between reality and hallucination become blurred to nightmare proportions. While the film definitely focuses on Jacob, all of the minor performances are also noteworthy, particularly the wonderful Danny Aiello who plays Jacob’s chiropractor. Jacob’s Ladder is beautifully filmed with fantastic visuals that are hard to shake and the heart-wrenching performance from Tim Robbins makes this a re-watchable masterpiece.

Jacob's Ladder

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SINGAPORE SLING (1990) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in Greece, horror, movies with tags , , , on March 5, 2011 by goregirl

“The Man Who Loved A Corpse”

A couple of people left comments on my review of the Greek zombie film Evil. One of the comments had a link to a review for another Greek film called Singapore Sling. Jori’s review over at Forced Viewing intrigued me enough to put this at number one in my queue. Singapore Sling is the second film I watched in the last few weeks that contained significant amounts of vomit and masturbation. I think I’ve officially met my vomit-masturbation quota for the year. I think I could tell you every last detail about this film, and it wouldn’t deaden the impact. The films visuals are so insane, bizarre and disturbing, it almost overshadows the plot. I have no intention of relaying the film in detail of course, but I have included some minor spoilers so proceed at your own risk.

A private eye is searching for a woman named Laura, and follows the trail to the home of an incestuous, sadomasochist mother and daughter team.

How’s that plot summary grab ya? Thankfully the director filmed in black and white, as there are scenes that would have been much nastier in colour. I was quite impressed with the look of the film. The director was clearly going for a film-noir vibe. He even calls his missing woman Laura as an ode to Otto Preminger’s Noir Classic. The villa the two women live in is a very cool space. The furniture and even the women themselves look as though they belong to some other decade. The director uses rain to great effect throughout the film but particularly in the opening scene. The two women are out in the pouring rain digging a hole wearing goggles, raingear and lingerie. The scene plays out almost like a Three Stooges bit with the women hitting each other with shovels and “accidentally” throwing mud in the others face. It’s a great looking scene and the slapstick comedy thrown in was actually quite amusing.

There are definitely funny moments in Singapore Sling and the mother and daughter characters are so freaking insane I couldn’t help but find them entertaining. Mother has a flare for drama and looks like a silent movie star. She speaks all her dialog in French and then translates herself into English. Daughter manages to come off somewhat naive despite the fact that her actions are anything but. She seems in a constant state of pre-orgasm and sometimes sputters and sneezes out her dialog. The film is narrated in sections and the characters often speak directly to the camera. Daughter speaks of her father who took her virginity when she was just a child. We get a reenactment with the daughter getting fucked doggie-style by her dad who is wrapped in bandages like a mummy. I actually found this particular image interesting. Perhaps it symbolizes daughter seeing father as a monster. Or maybe it means she never knew her father, hence he is faceless. And maybe it is just a fucked up image thrown in to shock, and I’m a head case. A woman getting fucked by her father isn’t remotely the most absurd or shocking image in the film.

There is a lot of weird sex and torture in Singapore Sling. The comedy and the black and white photography do take some of the edge off, but I doubt this film is going to be palatable for most people. How horrified you are by Singapore Sling will depend on your tolerance of depraved sex acts. There is not much of a body count and there are only a couple scenes of blood and/or gore. The women are killers, but they seem far more interested in exploring the lines between pain and pleasure. They don’t do anything to their captors they don’t do to themselves. Prepare yourself for shock therapy, water torture and golden showers amoung other unsavory acts. I was particularly repulsed by a scene where one of the characters shoves her fingers down her throat so she can vomit on her partners face while she orgasms. Bloody hell! There are some cringe-worthy, disgusting images I could have lived without seeing.

Singapore Sling is an interesting film that is occasionally brilliant. It is beautifully filmed and the mother and daughter played by Michele Valley and Meredyth Herold are both bold, fearless and fascinating in their roles. The private eye whom they nickname Singapore Sling has little to no dialog and spends the film in a semi-comatose state, but actor Panos Thanassoulis does get to have some fun in the films finale. Singapore Sling has a very satisfying ending I won’t soon forget! The plot is a simple one, but it is certainly effective enough. While the weird sex is often repulsive and sometimes hard to watch, I can’t say some of it wasn’t damn well executed. Singapore Sling is a cheeky and nasty little film I found unique and thoroughly mesmerizing. Highly recommended!

Dungeon Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Nikos Nikolaidis

Starring: Meredyth Herold, Panos Thanassoulis, Michele Valley