Archive for psycho

CONFESSIONS OF A PSYCHO CAT (1968) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, Something Weird Video, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2013 by goregirl

Stepping Into Something Weird COAPCB

coapc dvdMost of the DVDs I will be watching (and have already watched) for Stepping into Something Weird and The Films of Michael Findlay have (and will) come from my DVD service Zip. I was not able to get everything I wanted through Zip so I purchased some downloads directly from Something Weird and bought a few DVDs for my collection. One of the films I bought was a blind choice but sounded so good I decided to take a chance. Bloody hell am I glad I did! Before I even get started on a review for the little piece of awesome called Confessions of a Psycho Cat I would like to firmly criticize the cover of this DVD.

“Exciting…Exotic…Evil…!”

Exciting? Absolutely. Evil? Sure. Exotic?! Why is that word in there? What detail of this film could be considered Exotic? There are a lot of words beginning with the letter “E” they could have used alternatively that would have made sense. Eclectic, Extraordinary, Edgy, Egregious, Efficacious, Engaging; just to name a few. A minor complaint in fairness but the unforgivably erroneous “HER BED WAS HER LAIR” is nothing short of devious! The main character Virginia hates people. At no point in Confessions of a Psycho Cat does Virginia lure anybody into her boudoir. Her bed most certainly was not her lair! As a matter of fact I don’t think we ever even get a shot of her bedroom. Virginia Marcus is far more interested in hunting human beings than making friends with them; never mind making them her lover! Sheesh! The film’s alternative tagline “She’s One Crazy Kitty!” Now THAT is an appropriate tagline! My girl Virginia is indeed a crazy kitty!

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Confessions of a Psycho Cat opens with Virginia taking her brother to the airport. Her brother is going on a yearly safari; a vacation they usually take together. This year however Virginia has to stay behind due to a nervous breakdown.

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After that long-winded rant Confessions of a Psycho Cat’s post title sequence goes right into several minutes of nudity and sex. The sex scenes in the film were allegedly added a few years after the film was made. Confessions of a Psycho Cat was originally intended to be a straight up horror thriller. The sexy subplot, if you can call it a “subplot” involves the friends of one of Virginia’s victims. I will get into that in a few seconds.

“It’s that dumb Buddy. He’s so unreliable. He should have been here an hour ago. He’s probably doing something stupid right now.”

Buddy is a friend in the loosest sense. He is actually the groups drug dealer and is himself an addict.

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What Buddy was doing was being hunted!

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Than we get a segue into more sex.

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Buddy shows up to the party with a bullet in his leg. A small group of his chums gather around him and he tells them the story of how and why he was shot.

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Buddy “the addict”, Charles Freeman “the actor” and Rocco “the wrestler” each receive mysterious notes to meet at the residence of Virginia Marcus. Virginia offers the men $100,000 if they can stay alive in Manhattan for 24 hours. The challenge? Virginia intends to hunt each one of them down. It’s a safari in Manhattan! “When you receive the cheque the game is on.” Why this particular trio of men? They each committed a murder that they were acquitted of. Virginia looks at it as a sort of public service and at the same time an entertaining game. The balance of Confessions of a Psycho Cat details the hunt with a lot of unnecessary sex scenes randomly scattered throughout.

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I can not lie, I would love to have seen what Confessions of a Psycho Cat looked like without the added sex scenes. Eileen Lord who plays Virginia Marcus gives a show stopping performance! She is truly magnificent! She has a great look and fantastic expressions; shouting, yelling and laughing hysterically. She just wanted to go on safari goddammit! It is one of those epic crazy performances that linger in the mind. She never holds back the emotions going from reasonable to insane regularly. The first thing I did when the film ended was look up Eileen Lord on IMDB and I was shocked to see Confessions of a Psycho Cat was her only credit! What a crying shame! This film is worth watching just for her character and her brilliant performance! She is not the only highlight of Confessions of a Psycho Cat though. Virginia’s three victims were all perfectly chosen.

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Good old junkie Buddy! Buddy may or may not have been played by Frank Geraci who I could not find any information on. Frank Geraci would have been at the right age to have played Buddy based on the small amount of names listed on IMDB. The film itself does not give credit to any of the actors or actresses. It notes Camera, Sound, Lab, Sound Transfer, Props, Location, and Script Girl (Script Girl?!). And getting their own credited highlight was Bill Boyd who wrote the script and Eve who produced and directed. Eve apparently is a pseudonym for Herb Stanley. There was not an actor or actress listed however. In any case, back to Buddy; he was a top-notch junkie. The dark circles around the eyes, the hollowed cheeks, the sunglasses indoors, the feet on Virginia’s coffee table, the tweaking out. He amused me and he also gave Ms. Virginia Marcus a run for her money.

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Charles Freeman “the actor” may or may not have been played by Dick Lord. And frankly sir, I would have stuck with Richard with that last name; but to each his own. Dick had only one other acting credit listed under his name and I could not find a picture of him on Google or anywhere else. In any case, the Charles Freeman character is great! Sort of a washed up actor sort who is looking to get his career back on track. A murder is bad for the career even if you are acquitted. Evidently they reenact each one of the men’s acquitted murders and Mr. Freeman’s is definitely the highlight. He has a great leading man of the 50s look that suited the part well.

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The only other character besides Virginia from the cast of Confessions of a Psycho Cat who I can confidently note the performer; Rocco “the wrestler” played by boxer Jake “Raging Bull” LaMotta! Oh yes, Jake LaMotta plays the wrestler and Virginia is particularly relentless with her taunts where he is concerned. He gets himself in quite the lather that inevitably results in his downfall. His and Virginia’s final confrontation is one of the cherry on top moments of the film that will have you shouting Toro! Needless to say LaMotta’s role was not a stretch but nonetheless…perfectly cast.

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The sex scenes are filler and rather goofy filler at that. Some of the participants actually looked bored and some of the acting by this group was hilariously bad. The keyword being “hilarious”. I didn’t hate the sex scenes. They are an attractive 60s-licious bunch of folks who spend their screen time nude or partially dressed and cough out some pretty silly nonsense that certainly gave me a chuckle. The Pièce de résistance was Rocco’s hooker pictured in the two images above. Her scene was one of the added bits and she was clearly not in the same room as Jake LaMotta. There is no way Rocco would have let that crazy dame in his room. Her dialog was priceless.

“What you bring me up here for anyway? All you’re doing is reading that silly little paper. I came up here to have some fun. What’s the matter? Don’t you like me? (Takes off bra and examines her breasts) I never had any complaints before. Can’t you tell I’m a girl? I think I look pretty good. I think you’re putting me down. I’m sexy and that’s what I came up here for…sex.” She than starts kissing her own reflection and really goes at it, tongue and all for a good minute plus. Classic sixties sexploitation fun!

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I thoroughly enjoyed Confessions of a Psycho Cat! While Virginia and her trio of victims was certainly the highlight and definitely the film’s best performances, the clumsily added sex scenes were quite amusing. The film had the deck stacked against it when some Einstein decided it would be more marketable as a sexploitation flick and it is a damn shame that seemingly no one will ever get to see the original vision of Confessions of a Psycho Cat. That said, the superb story and characters of the central plot make up the majority of the film and there are a dozen memorable well-executed scenes. The black and white photography and the sets and props are quite excellent. Especially outstanding is Virginia’s intimidating trophy game room! If a woman offered $100,000 to hunt me down safari-style in that room I would have to take a pass. Based on how entertained I was despite the senseless (but amusing) additions this film thrilled me to no end and I am giving it a perfect score. I am so very pleased I added Confessions of a Psycho Cat to my collection and I look forward to repeat viewings in the future!

For more images from Confessions of a Psycho Cat click here.

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Herb Stanley

Starring: Eileen Lord, Ed Garrabrandt, Frank Geraci, Dick Lord, Arlenne Lorrance, Jake LaMotta

Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1960

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

IMDB listed 139 titles for 1960, but once I dug into the list I discovered only 61 were actually full-length feature films. As is my modus operandi when doing these features, I do not include shorts, documentaries, made for TV movies or TV series. IMDB lists every individual episode of the television shows which accounted for a goodly number of the 139 titles. There were several episodes of the excellent Twilight Zone series along with two shows I had never heard of Thriller and The Unforeseen. I saw 47 of the 61 films from 1960. Ranking these was practically impossible. For starters my entire top five are films I ranked 5/5. How do you rank films you rated identically? Numbers 6 and 7 were films I rated 4.5/5 so they were easy enough to place. The bigger problem came when trying to decide which 3 films would round out the list when I had 8 films I ranked 4/5! What a colossal headache! The films I left off are all well worth a viewing; The Brides of Dracula, Circus of Horrors, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll and The Secret of the Telgian.

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#10 THE FLESH AND THE FIENDS

Directed By: John Gilling

The Flesh and the Fiends is the story of infamous corpse peddlers William Burke and William Hare and their business transactions with Professor Dr. Robert Knox. The lead performances are absolutely top notch; Peter Cushing as Dr. Knox, Donald Pleasence as Hare and George Rose as Burke are perfectly cast. Some of the supporting character subplots felt redundant but it’s a small complaint in an otherwise outstanding film. The Flesh and the Fiends beautifully captures the dark shadows of 19th Century Edinburgh. It’s a fantastic looking film with an excellent grim and eerie vibe. The deaths are not graphic but they are cold-hearted, well-executed and effectively chilling. I foolishly assumed being a 1960 British film starring Peter Cushing and directed by John Gilling (who directed the fantastic Hammer film Plague of the Zombies) that this was a Hammer film. It was in fact made at Shepperton Studios and was produced by Triad Productions. I was particularly torn between Circus of Horrors and The Flesh and the Fiends. In the end John Gilling’s excellent The Flesh and the Fiends won out in a large part thanks to the performances of Cushing, Pleasance and Rose.

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#9 MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN

Directed By: Giorgio Ferroni

Mill of the Stone Women is about a reporter writing a story on a reclusive sculptor who lives in an old mill. The mill houses a strange tourist attraction created by the sculptor; a carousel-esque contraption that features statues of historical women including some famous murderesses. The sculptor is hiding a secret in the form of a beautiful daughter suffering from some mysterious illness. Add to the mix an eccentric doctor and you’ve got one entertaining story. They give away too much information too soon yet the finale is none the lesser for it. The film’s finale is an absolute utter treat! Mill of the Stone Women is an imaginatively filmed lush affair with some seriously trippy scenes. The performances are good; particularly strong are Herbert Boehme as Professor Gregorius Wahl and Wolfgang Preiss as Dr. Loren Bohlem. It is a slow-moving but hypnotic watch with utterly fantastic set pieces, especially that lady carousel; that thing was freaking awesome! Giorgio Ferroni’s Mill of the Stone Women is a stylish, atmospheric horror film that comes highly recommended.

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#8 JIGOKU (aka THE SINNERS OF HELL)

Directed By: Nobuo Nakagawa

Jigoku or The Sinners of Hell is a bit of a bitch to give a short summary for. It is a story about a student named Shiro who is engaged to his professor’s daughter Yukiko. Shiro is the passenger in a hit and run, but there is a witness who wants revenge, Yukiko dies in a car accident, and Shiro is called home to see his dying mother. Shiro’s father runs a shoddy retirement home and openly flaunts his mistress and his mother’s caretaker is a dead ringer for his recently deceased fiancé. For reasons I will not divulge everyone ends up in hell. Hell! Rivers of blood, endless tortures, and demons await you! Jigoku is one of the earliest films to feature graphic gore. There is a flaying and a decapitation among other goodies. Jigoku is an exceptional film visually that is as beautiful as it is bizarre. To check out my photo review for Jigoku click here. Jigoku is an exceptionally unique Japanese horror film…and it has gore!

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#7 HOUSE OF USHER

Directed By: Roger Corman

Roger Corman directed several films based on the work of Edgar Allan Poe starring horror legend Vincent Price. Expect to see more of these on the top ten lists as they are some of the best the decade has to offer! Vincent Price plays Roderick Usher who opposes the marriage of his sister Madeline due to their cursed family bloodline. Price, of course is brilliant as Roderick Usher and he gets strong support from Myrna Fahey who plays Madeline Usher, Harry Ellerbe as Bristol and Mark Damon as Philip Winthrop; Madeline’s intended. The visuals are first class all the way. House of Usher’s great costumes, fantastic sets, superb performances and well-paced plotting assures you are entertained every single second of its 80ish minute runtime.

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#6 CITY OF THE DEAD

Directed By: John Llewellyn Moxey

City of the Dead was on my list of favourite witchcraft films I posted last week and it easily qualified as one of the best of 1960. City of the Dead is about a college student prompted by her professor to do research in the tiny village of Whitewood where much to her horror she discovers she is a target for a coven of witches. The performances are good particularly from Patricia Jessel who plays dual roles and Christopher Lee who has a memorable supporting turn. City of the Dead is a great atmospheric horror films with excellent suspense, beautifully gothic visuals and an engrossing story with one hell of a finale.

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#5 VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED

Directed By: Wolf Rilla

Village of the Damned has been a favourite since I was a kid. An entire town rendered unconscious and protected by an invisible force field even the military can not breach. After a while the force field disappears and the townsfolk begin waking up seemingly unharmed. A few weeks later however the women of child-bearing age discover they are pregnant and all deliver on the same day. The children grow at an alarming rate and bare a striking resemblance to one another. The creepy, emotionless blonde haired children also possess supernatural powers! Filmed in beautiful black and white with a perfect sense of paranoia and an eerie menacing vibe that is completely engrossing. Village of the Damned is well-written and the performances are perfect; especially excellent is George Sanders as the affable Gordon Zellaby, and the talented Barbara Shelley as his charming wife Anthea. Beware the glowing eyes of the children! Why haven’t you seen this film? Village of the Damned is one of the great classics of sci-fi horror.

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#4 BLACK SUNDAY

Directed By: Mario Bava

I warned you it would not be the last time you would see Mario Bava’s Black Sunday on a list! There is no movie on this list I have seen more than Black Sunday! My childhood viewing of Black Sunday terrified me! These days I appreciate it more for its beautiful, gothic, hypnotizing cinematography. But that scene of the mask of Satan being pounded into Barbara Steele’s face still has some sting! It is the story of a witch put to death by her own brother who returns 200 years later to seek revenge on her descendants. Black Sunday is beautiful, eerie and hypnotic and Barbara Steele simply stuns in her dual roles. Black Sunday is one of the greatest gothic horror films ever made!

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#3 PEEPING TOM

Directed By: Michael Powell

Peeping Tom has a particularly racy story for 1960. Peeping Tom is the story of Mark Lewis who murders women so he can capture on film their terrified expressions before death. Its voyeuristic nature is heavily emphasized and the film is as much psychological as it is horrifying. Carl Boehm plays it quiet and brooding and is outstanding as the awkward and unstable titular Peeping Tom Mark Lewis. This isn’t simply a film about a serial killer it is an in-depth character study and an intelligently written story that explores deeper issues than one would expect of the sub-genre. The film is a slow-burn but an extremely effective one. Peeping Tom is a dark, edgy, well-made film that was ahead of its time. Absolutely brilliant.

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#2 EYES WITHOUT A FACE

Directed By: Georges Franju

Eyes Without a Face is about Christiane who lives hidden from the world, shrouded by a white featureless mask that hides her horribly disfigured face. Her father is guilt-ridden plastic surgeon, Dr. Genessier. With the help of his assistant Louise, they lure young women in and surgically remove their faces in hope of successfully grafting the skin to his daughter. But one failed graft after another leaves a pile of bodies and little hope. Eyes without a Face is about vanity, guilt, obsession, depression and redemption. It is a tale that is as bizarre and bleak as it is beautiful. Eyes Without a Face is a visually stunning film; its sterile brightly lit surgeries, shadowy corridors, endless rooms and impressive set pieces. The “face removal” was very graphic for the time and still impresses. A strange and wonderful score compliments beautifully. Eyes Without a Face is a flawless, strikingly original, bleak and beautiful contribution to the horror genre.

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#1 PSYCHO

Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

Truthfully, I don’t enjoy Psycho any more than the other films in this top five. As I mentioned in my introduction I gave all five of these films an identical perfect rating. Alas one of the films had to hold this spot and technically speaking Psycho is a flawless masterpiece. I am sure there is nothing I can add that hasn’t been said about Psycho before. If you are unfamiliar with Psycho’s story it revolves around a woman named Marion Crane who decides to leave town to start a new life with money she stole from her employer. Inevitably she must stop to rest and chooses the Bates Motel run by a socially awkward momma’s boy named Norman Bates. This does not end well for Ms. Crane whose disappearance does not go unnoticed. Psycho is a stunning film with a pitch perfect mood and atmosphere. Psycho’s real attraction for me is Norman Bates. Anthony Perkins gives a truly epic and iconic performance as cinema’s most infamous momma’s boy. Hitchcock constructed a truly beautiful, chilling, ground-breaking film that has a firm place in horror history.

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Hitchcock On My Mind

Posted in movies, music with tags , , , on April 6, 2012 by goregirl

I love Alfred Hitchcock! One of these days I will do my top ten favourite Hitchcock films! In the meantime here are two videos I put together for a couple of pieces of music from two of Hitchcock’s outstanding entries; Vertigo and Psycho.

Bernard Herrmann – Psycho Suite Prelude/The Murder/Finale. Music and images from Hitchcock’s 1960 film Psycho! Warning! Spoiler pictures have been included in this slideshow!

Bernard Herrmann – Vertigo – Scene d’Amour with a slideshow of Alfred Hitchcock films (1934 – 1976). I have not seen any of Hitchcock’s pre-1934 films so I did not include them in this slideshow.