Friday, January 23, 2009

Can't Find My Mind

In the last two days I've subjected myself to Jack Hill's "Spiderbaby" and José Mojica Marins' "Hallucinations Of A Deranged Mind." Honestly, I'm a pretty peaceful person, but I like a jolt of cartoonish madness to chase away the Winter blues.

"Spiderbaby (AKA "The Liver Eaters," "Attack of the Liver Eaters," "Cannibal Orgy," and "The Maddest Story Ever Told") was shot in 1964 but not released until 1968. It concerns the Merrye family, who all have a disease that causes them to devolve into more primitive life forms. Three of the children are living in the house (the ancestors' remains are lovingly kept in the basement). The children, Ralph (Sid Haig), Virginia (Jill Banner), and Elizabeth (Beverly Washburn), get their kicks from trapping and killing innocent visitors. They are watched over by their chauffeur Bruno (Lon Chaney Jr.), so you know there's trouble brewing. The amazing cast also includes Carol Ohmart and Mantan Moreland. Apparently, there's a remake in the works. God help us.

"Hallucinations" is a 1978 film cobbled together from censored and deleted scenes, as well as new footage. The film is a sort of condensed version of Marins' other demented classics ("Awakening of the Beast," "This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse"), with little plot and lots of torture, nudity, weirdo noises, and ultracheap FX. Marins' alter ego, Zé do Caixão ("Coffin Joe") presides over a sadistic hell where the damned are stabbed, pitchforked, eaten, stepped on, and generally not treated nicely. It's like Hieronymus Bosch made a home movie.

As Ghoulardi used to say, "Stay Sick!"

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