Archives for posts with tag: John Carradine

The Howling poster

The Howling (1981)

National Socialists have traditionally appropriated wolf imagery as an expression of their movement’s fierceness, masculinity, and pagan mystique. Hitler’s first Eastern Front headquarters was named the Wolf’s Lair, and Werwolf was the name the Nazis selected for a German guerrilla resistance force during the waning phases of World War II. White nationalists of today will sometimes refer to themselves as werewolves, as well. A close reading of Joe Dante’s horror hit The Howling (1981), however, may convince viewers that Jews are the ones who deserve the mantle of the wolf.

Ilsa She Wolf of the SS

Lupine-themed pop Nazi iconography

“Signed his work,” explains television news producer Christopher (Dennis Dugan), with reference to the gruesome clues furnished by the artistic creations of a murderous maniac – and, as it turns out, a werewolf – in dialogue suggestive of what may be The Howling’s ulterior intention of cluing viewers into the nature of its Hollywood provenance by way of a revelation of method.

The madman is Eddie Quist (Robert Picardo), a sexual pervert stalking anchorwoman Karen White (Dee Wallace). The latter, in an attempt to help police capture Quist, agrees to meet him in an adult video shop, where he lures her into a private booth, activates a sadomasochistic sex loop, announces his intention to possess Karen’s body, and then proceeds to transform and to reveal his true physical nature – that of a wolf.

Dee Wallace

Dee Wallace as Karen White

Thus, in this crucial encounter, key subtext is set into motion. Quist is in his element when surrounded by filth and shows a pronounced interest in pornography – an industry dominated by Jews – and he also seeks to dominate Karen, a character who is significantly beautiful, blonde, surnamed “White”, and a representative, furthermore, of her local news media – another Jewish near-monopoly. Karen’s employer at Channel 6, Fred Francis (Kevin McCarthy), would seem to be one of the last of the WASP old boys’ club.

Picardo

Robert Picardo as Eddie Quist

A search of Quist’s apartment reveals obsessive drawings of monsters (i.e., autobiographical deviant art) and newspaper clippings illustrative of his resentful preoccupations with violence and Christianity. Two visible headlines from articles on his walls read, “The Dismembered Corpse in the Burned Out Church” and “Weird Case of the Murdering Messiah”. Murdering or murdered? Either way, the headlines speak to Quist’s sense of Jewish supremacy and hatred of gentiles.

Appearing as a guest on Channel 6 is a pop psychiatrist, Dr. Waggner (Patrick Macnee), who advises his audience of the benefits to be had from slackening their moral standards when he says, “We should never try to deny the beast, the animal within us.” Psychiatry, of course, being another field famously lorded over by Jews hostile to the traditional ways of Christendom. Dr. Waggner, like Quist, has designs on Karen White, and – using the pretext of her post-traumatic stress resulting from the meeting with Quist – invites her to his rustic retreat, suggestively named the Colony, for what is supposed to be group therapy along with her husband, Bill (Christopher Stone).

Elisabeth Brooks

Elisabeth Brooks as Marsha Quist

The Colony, unfortunately, is a forested den of werewolves, among them folksy locals Charlie (Noble Willingham), Erle (John Carradine), Jerry (James Murtaugh), deceptively friendly sheriff Sam (Slim Pickens), and shapely seductress Marsha (Elisabeth Brooks), a quintessential scarlet woman who sets about dissolving the bonds of Karen’s marriage by making herself aggressively available to Bill. Marsha’s love shack in the woods is adorned by pelts, which – with their six points of paws, head, and tail – abstractly approximate elongated Stars of David.

Pelt of David

Pelt of David

“Karen, you’re really gettin’ paranoid,” Bill accuses when his wife confronts him about his infidelity. “I know,” he says sarcastically, “it’s all a big conspiracy as far as you’re concerned.” Bill’s tactic, then, is to attempt to distract from the fact that he has plainly sold his soul and his services to the alien by smearing his accuser as a “conspiracy theorist”. Sound familiar?

Karen’s new Colony acquaintance Donna (Margie Impert), also a crypto-werewolf, lets slip a hint of her hidden identity when she and Karen happen upon a mutilated cow. “Oh, Jesus,” she blurts with embarrassment, to which Karen automatically tacks on “Christ”. It is Karen, and not crypto-werewolf Donna, who identifies Jesus as the Messiah and not a head of slaughtered cattle.

Donna and Karen

Donna (Margie Impert) and Karen (Dee Wallace)

An isolated redneck community might seem an unlikely representation of Jews, if not for their legendary prowess at passing themselves as common whites. “Your classic werewolf can change shape anytime it wants, day or night, whenever it takes a notion to. That’s why they call ‘em shapeshifters,” explains occult bookseller Walter Paisley (Dick Miller). “Silver bullets or fire,” he goes on. “It’s the only way to get rid of the damn things. They’re worse than cockroaches.”

Joe Bob Briggs

“That’s why they call ’em shapeshifters.” An example of the crypto is John Irving Bloom, who made a career as ersatz good ol’ boy Joe Bob Briggs

The strength of the wolf is in the pack. A single Charles Schumer or Dov Zakheim might pose no threat to the United States; but taken together, as an organized infestation, Jewry comprises a nearly unbeatable hydra. “A secret society exists and is living among all of us,” Karen duly warns her viewers when she returns to television. “They are neither people nor animal, but something in between.”

The less-than-sympathetic and decidedly utilitarian view this secret order of carnivorous creatures takes toward the goyim is made explicit during the scene in which they reveal themselves. The script is worth quoting at this pivotal juncture:

     Jerry: It was a mistake to bring her to the Colony.

     Erle: We should have stuck with the old ways. Raising cattle for our feed. Where’s the life in that?

     Charlie: The humans are our cattle.

     Erle: Humans are our prey. We should feed on them, like we’ve always done. Screw all this “channel your energies” crap.

     Dr. Waggner: But the danger of exposure! We need this shelter to plan! To catch up with society! Times have changed and we haven’t! Not enough.

     Marsha: Shut up, Doc! You wouldn’t listen to me! None of you! “We can fit in,” you said. “We can live with them!” You make me sick.

True to the bookseller’s lore, the werewolves prove to be vulnerable to silver bullets and fire – which is, of course, to say Holocaust – when gentile news producer Christopher, presumably following in the imaginary footsteps of Julius Streicher, rides to the rescue and burns the lot of the flesh-devouring good-for-nothings alive in their barn-synagogue of Satan.

Marsha, the Zionist Werewolf Whore of Babylon, is seen to be the only survivor of this horrible Howlocaust, and one can only assume that she will now be more bloodthirsty than ever, an assumption corroborated when she gazes into the camera and orders a hamburger – specifying that it be cooked rare. The Howling’s end credits then roll over a close-up of the sizzling hamburger patty – a macabre reminder of the final significance of what is meant by “goy cattle”.

“Rare.”

Wolfshiem

Jewish werewolf Meyer Wolfsheim (Amitabh Bachchan) in The Great Gatsby (2013)

Paul Wolfowitz

Jewish werewolf, warlord, nose picker, and comb licker Paul Wolfowitz

Wolf Blitzer

Jewish werewolf Wolf Blitzer, fiendish face of Cabal News Network

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Cat Creature

The Cat Creature (1973) ****

A suspenseful TV movie with a solid genre pedigree, The Cat Creature was written by Psycho novelist Robert Bloch and directed by Curtis Harrington, whose previous forays into horror included the Shelley Winters classics What’s the Matter with Helen? (1971) and Whoever Slew Auntie Roo? (1972). The Cat Creature‘s hokey but involving story melds elements from old standards Dracula (1931), The Mummy (1932), and Cat People (1942), for a film that reverentially prowls familiar territory, but also marks it with a distinctive musk.

A young Meredith Baxter stars as Rena, a shy woman who takes a job working for sinister Hester Black (Gale Sondergaard) in her occult curiosity shop in Hollywood, catering to dykes, eccentrics, and satanic dilettantes. Things seem to be going well for her until a police detective (Stuart Whitman) comes to question her about a missing Egyptian amulet and drops the bombshell that her predecessor jumped to her death from a balcony.

People have been succumbing to strange, cat-related deaths ever since a “part-time handyman, full-time wino”, and burglar (Kung Fu‘s Keye Luke) stole the amulet from a mummy’s coffin. Meanwhile, the police have brought in a charming archaeologist (David Hedison), who hopes to put the moves on Rena while also solving the mystery of the amulet and all the horrible catty crimes associated with its discovery. Will the professor be able to figure it all out before more are murdered and Rena falls prey to an ancient and evil Egyptian agenda?

The Cat Creature is a relatively classy (albeit low-budget) affair until a high-camp climactic twist knocks it straight into the gonzosphere. Laughable ending notwithstanding, the film has enough going for it to warrant horror aficionados’ attention. The future hippie mother of Alex P. Keaton looks sweet and innocent enough to munch, while Whitman lends the film some weight with his usual air of cool, haggard authority and experience. John Carradine also has a cameo appearing alongside a drunk midget whore.

4 out of 5 stars.

Manhattan Baby poster

Manhattan Baby (1982) ***1/2

This Poltergeist-inspired spaghetti chiller has a reputation as something of a bastard stepchild among the works of gore specialist Lucio Fulci. This is unsurprising, considering that most of the movie is bloodless and comes up short in the scares department. However, for those who appreciate the director more for his stylistic tendencies – his unsubtle closeups, languid pacing, tedium punctuated with shrill hysterics, and spacy evocations of vague sensations and dreamlike states of being – Manhattan Baby finds the master mining the mother lode. Great gore there is, though, particularly toward the end, when a flock of taxidermied birds spring to life and swoop into ravenous action, pecking and ripping some sad Italian greaseball to shreds.

What plot there is concerns an archaeologist (Christopher Connelly) whose daughter becomes possessed by something evil in Egypt after receiving an amulet from a blind beggar woman in a desolate square; but Manhattan Baby is less concerned with plot points or logic than with atmospherics and strange set pieces, sometimes seeming less like a narrative feature than a series of otherworldly, disconnected episodes. Certainly, this one is going to be a difficult sell to anyone other than devoted Lucio Fulci fans and hardcore Italo-horror buffs, who will also enjoy the sight of familiar faces like Connelly (Raiders of Atlantis), child actor Giovanni Frezza (The House by the Cemetery), and Fulci himself in a cameo. Anybody who does have a taste for such fare, however, really does need to see the aforementioned scene of the man-eating birds.

3.5 of 5 possible stars. (Only earning a solid three stars, Manhattan Baby receives an extra charity half-star for featuring blue 80s lasers that zap Christopher Connelly in the eyes.)

Bikini Drive-In

Bikini Drive-In (1995) ****1/2  One of the quintessential Fred Olen Ray classics, Bikini Drive-In features all of the traits his fans have come to expect over the years: campy acting from a mix of has-beens and shapely young performers, genuine American trash culture nostalgia, a man in a monster suit, broad humor, and heaping helpings of big, bare breasts!  Or the world’s cheapest special effect, as Ray might put it.  The plot, a variation on the old motley-crew-of-underdogs-bands-together-to-raise-money-to-save-the-[insert school, summer camp, or recreation venue] Roller Boogie or Screwball Hotel type, finds beach babe Ashlie Rhey inheriting a decrepit drive-in theater and having to fight to save it from real estate gangster David Friedman.

Thousands of dollars have to be raised in one weekend – what to do?  Fortunately, the mogul’s son, the adorably dorky Richard Gabai, has the hots for Ashlie and comes to her rescue with the idea of turning the family-friendly but deadsville drive-in into a bacchanalian gonzo bikini-infested party headquarters and showing exploitation films like Ray’s own Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers.  All of this, of course, is a fine excuse to show scantily clad floozies cleaning up the drive-in montage-style in preparation for the gala opening (and turning the hoses on each other, naturally).  What then follows during the film’s final act is one of the greatest party/riot/saturnalia sequences in memory – maybe not quite as happening as Animal House or Bachelor Party, but pretty mightily crazy and loose.

The cast is a real bonanza for fans of the Wynorski-Ray-DeCoteau-Sloane heyday of low-budget L.A. cinema.  Michelle Bauer appears to sizzling effect as a sultry scream queen duped into appearing at the gala re-opening; seedy Ross Hagen is one of Friedman’s henchmen; Tane McClure, renowned stripper Nikki Fritz, and porn actress Sarah Bellomo (aka Roxanne Blaze) are among the film’s many bimbos; and Becky LeBeau (so memorable as the nearsighted stripper in Not of This Earth), in addition to performing some of Bikini Drive-In‘s pleasantly cheesy soft rock songs, plays a stripper recruited to seduce cocky disc jockey Fred Olen Ray.  Other cameos include Gordon Mitchell, Forrest Ackerman, Jim Wynorski, and (posthumously, via photograph) even John Carradine.  Bikini Drive-In is essential viewing for any fan of Ray, Gabai, big breasts, or drive-in movies, and the interior sets are a treasure trove of posters for vintage exploitation films like Death Curse of Tartu, Sting of Death, Cannibal Girls, and Wild, Free, and Hungry.  4.5 of 5 possible stars.  Recommended.

Assault Nerds 2

Assault of the Party Nerds II: The Heavy Petting Detective (1995) ****  First of all, any nerd movie or cheap trash aficionado who is not yet an admirer of the redoubtable Richard Gabai and has not yet watched the incomparable Assault of the Party Nerds needs to do so immediately.  Gabai, an actor who better than any other strikes a captivating balance between accessibly handsome and hopelessly if charmingly dweeby and made a semi-star of sorts of himself in that 1989 Revenge of the Nerds-inspired opus, returns as writer-director-star of its sequel, The Heavy Petting Detective, which, clearly designed with the intention of pleasing fans of the original, has also reunited several members of its cast, including Christopher Dempsey and Robert Dorfmann as secretly gay jocks Bud and Chip; scream queens Michelle Bauer and Linnea Quigley as airheads Muffin and Bambi; and even, in a cameo, hairy Richard Rifkin as the World’s Oldest Living Active.  New and welcome additions to the Party Nerds coterie include Laugh-In‘s Arte Johnson; Batman‘s Burt Ward; USA Up All Night‘s Rhonda Shear (sporting some outrageous hair and kooky outfits that have to be seen); Tane McClure as Dempsey’s seductive secretary; and Tony Scaduto, Spridle Esponda, and Steve Rosenbaum as a trio of next-generation party nerds.

Long since having graduated, Gabai’s alter ego Ritchie Spencer is currently working as a private detective and finds himself mixed up in a wacky imbroglio involving his old greek life acquaintances and rivals when Burt Ward hires him to investigate his son-in-law, who just happens to be the narcissistic and villainous Bud, now married to Muffin and working as an executive at her father’s company.  Bud, having discovered that Muffin has actually inherited the business, concocts a fiendish scheme to sow discord between his wife and her family and so get her to sign the company over to him.  In the course of his investigation, which has to compete for Spencer’s time with a concurrent case involving an elusive potato chip truck driver, Spencer also catches up with Bambi, who, while still somewhat ditzy, has become a cynical, sexually jaded golddigger.  Also complicating matters is the fact that the nerds’ fraternity has fallen on hard times and that the jocks, it turns out, own the deed on the property and are threatening to evict the brothers.  Can the nerds save their frat house?  Will Muffin ever win her husband’s affection again?  Will Spencer ever grow up?  Will the new generation of party nerds rise to the occasion like their forebears and manage to lose their virginity before they graduate?  Naturally, and in the venerable Party Nerds tradition, everything comes to a head at a zany fraternity party.

Though not quite as classic as Assault of the Party Nerds, The Heavy Petting Detective is in some ways superior and offers a lot to recommend it.  In addition to the over-the-top commitment of its entirely colorful cast, the film is fast-paced and never slows down long enough to be boring, even when the humor is occasionally (or usually) lame.  Gabai’s pop ‘n’ roll band, the Checks, provides several upbeat songs (some also featured in Bikini Drive-In) that contribute to the movie’s tempo and harmless, friendly feeling for the viewer.  A few gags are repeated from Assault of the Party Nerds, which, depending on individual taste and affection for the original, could be a plus or a minus.  In the end, however, what probably matters most for partisans of independent VHS glory days, is that The Heavy Petting Detective brings Michelle Bauer, Richard Gabai, and Linnea Quigley together again to do their things, and what, in all honesty, could be better than that?  4 of 5 possible checks.

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