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to the Grindhouse Double Feature: Black Candles and Evil Eye
1982/1974 (2007) - BCI Eclipse
WARNING! Absolutely no one under 18 admitted to this review!
No, seriously. I try to keep in mind that The
Bits is an all-ages site and choose my language
appropriately. But there's no point in being polite when
discussing movies like these.
Nobody enjoys sleazy, vintage exploitation flicks more than I
do but if I hear the word "grindhouse" used as an
adjective one more time, I'm gonna hunt down and rip out Quentin
Tarantino's and Robert Rodriguez's tongues with a pair of rusty
pincers. They, of course, are the two guys responsible for its
current overuse. Their tribute pic, Grindhouse,
got a lot more wrong than it got right in its effort to recreate
the glory days of trash cinema. My opinion of it has only soured
since I first saw it, although I admit that Planet
Terror is somewhat diverting. Death
Proof, on the other hand, is unwatchable garbage.
Y'see, this is why I hate these guys. Even reviews of movies
that have nothing to do with them inevitably circle back to them
at this point.
one sort of nice side effect of the QT/RR show is the new
availability of some gen-yoo-wine sleazy exploitation flicks,
including the two amazingly sordid "classics" featured in
this disc of bloody terror from BCI Eclipse's Welcome
to the Grindhouse series.
In Black Candles, Carol
travels to England after the mysterious death of her brother,
accompanied by her boyfriend Paul. Once there, they fall under the
spell of the brother's wife and her entourage of devil-worshippers.
Paul falls in and out of bed with both Carol and the sister-in-law,
quickly succumbing to the charms of Lucifer. Place your bets now for
how long it'll take Carol to be seduced by the dark lord.
The only thing that separates Black
Candles from porn is a matter of minutes. A shot held
longer here, a camera moved just inches to the left there, and
you've got yourself a pretty graphic 70s porno flick with a vague
horror theme. Some of this is amusing, although the novelty wears
off quickly and there are far too many dull patches for a movie of
this length. There's plenty of naked late 70s/early 80s flesh on
display, which should come as no surprise. Despite Tarantino's and
Rodriguez's refusal to get their wimmen nekkid (or their men for
that matter), full frontal nudity is a staple of movies like these.
But the blood 'n' gore factor is somewhat tame. Black
Candles does have at least two notorious scenes that will
appeal to those who enjoy this kind of thing. In the first, a black
mass is conducted in which... well, a chick fucks a goat. Quite
believably, too. So either there was actual goat-fucking going on
here or both the actress and the goat deserve Oscars. In the second
scene, a devil-worshipper with second thoughts is captured by the
cult and gets a sword shoved up his ass for his trouble. Hopefully
no one will be disappointed to learn that this bit looks more like a
special effect than the bestiality does.
The second feature, Evil Eye,
is somewhat more entertaining and twice as inexplicable. Millionaire
playboy Peter Crane begins to have nightmares about a group of
moaning, stark naked weirdos. Every so often, a stimulus will remind
him of these dreams and he'll rip somebody's throat out. That
stimulus is never exactly clear... seems to be just about anything
from a painting to a shadow to a Tom Jones record. He hooks up with
his doctor's "frumpy" assistant (frumpy in movies like
this always means she's the hottest chick on screen) and she
attempts to cure him by taking Peter out to a secluded cottage in
the middle of nowhere. Good call. Meanwhile, a dedicated cop who
keeps hearing weird sound effects sorta kinda tries to track him
down. Or something.
Sorry but that's the best I can do with Evil
Eye. This movie doesn't even try to make sense beyond
setting up the premise that Peter Crane kills people for some reason
or other. I could barely figure out what was happening from moment
to moment. Still, I laughed out loud repeatedly, mainly thanks to
the amazing dubbed dialogue. My favorite exchange was this one
between Peter's jealous girlfriend Tanya and the frumpy Dr. Sarah.
Tanya: Well, I don't like her very much.
Frumpy Dr. Sarah: Yes, you're probably just tuning in on my reaction
Tanya: I do tune in on grand pianos.
What the holy hell is that even supposed to mean?! By the end of the
movie, nothing makes sense any more and all you can do is just hold
your head in your hands and wonder what combination of drugs and
alcohol you'd have to take in order to figure all this out.
The DVD looks and sounds lousy, as it should. That's one of the
details Rodriguez at least fetishistically got right in his movie.
There aren't any real extras except for something called The
Grindhouse Experience. The main menu allows you to play either
feature individually or enter The Grindhouse Experience. This option
plays prevues of coming attractions for Pick-Up,
Legend of Eight Samurai and
Don't Answer the Phone! before
launching into Black Candles.
After the movie, you get an intermission with more prevues for Prime
Evil and Sister Street Fighter,
then it's on to Evil Eye. Some
might gripe because you can't access these trailers any other way
other than through The Grindhouse Experience. Not me. In for a
penny, in for a pound, and if you're gonna bite into either of these
shit sandwiches, you'd might just as well make a night of it.
No, neither Black Candles nor
Evil Eye are anywhere close to
being good movies. What of it? Every so often, you want to see just
how weird the horror genre can get. Remarkably, these aren't even
close to being the weirdest or most outlandish flicks you can find.
But they'll do until something weirder comes along. So rip up the
cushions in your sofa, pour a bunch of soda on your floor, maybe ask
a homeless guy to come over and take a nap in the chair behind you
and let BCI turn your home into a grindhouse for a night. Some of
you will be glad you did.
Program Rating: B+ (just
for the entire experience, not the movies themselves necessarily)
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): C-/C/B-
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