Rupert Pupkin Speaks: "Bad" Movies We Love Guest List: Alison Nastasi ""

Friday, August 17, 2012

"Bad" Movies We Love Guest List: Alison Nastasi

Alison Nastasi is an editor for Flavorwire and writer for outlets like Fandango,, FEARnet, MTV, and Rue Morgue. Follow her on Twitter( @alistasi).

Sweet Savior (1971)
I'll watch anything about Charles Manson, the Family, and the Tate-LaBianca Murders. Sweet Savior (aka The Love Thrill Murders) feels surprisingly authentic, depicting a Manson-like figure whose exploitive relationship with the bored jet set triggered a bloodbath. Teen idol Troy Donahue plays messianic cult leader Moon in the New York City-based tale that espouses sex, drugs, and overblown acoustic tunes about sticking it to the man. The title track from chart-topping songwriter and producer Jeff Barry sets a nice tone, however. Moon orchestrates a sex party for an actress and her swinging friends, but after a few sleazy scenes, all hell breaks loose. Troma founder Lloyd Kaufman was a production manager on the film (his company later distributed it) and even has a small cameo as a disciple named "Squeegee."

Burial Ground (1981)
Andrea Bianchi's Oedipal masterpiece features the famous Peter Bark — a twenty-five year old little person who played the role of 12-year-old Michael. He's cast opposite exploitation starlet Mariangela Giordano as her depressive, creepy son — and he even wears mom jeans! The story about a horde of zombies attacking a villa of horny couples on vacation is secondary to the gloriously perverted Michael lusting after his clingy mama. This leads to a scene where the man-child desperately gropes his willing mother before giving in to even darker urges. The zombies are great fun, but Barker is the star of this amusing and illogical Italian cult gem.

Interno di un convento (Behind Convent Walls) (1978)
I adore all things nunsploitation, which made it hard to choose a favorite. Selecting a film that stands in the middle of the artfully crafted School of the Holy Beast and Joe D'Amato's grimy smutfest Images in a Convent seemed to be the best approach. Walerian Borowczyk's Behind Convent Walls oscillates between dreamily shot, magical realist erotica (helped by Dario Argento cinematographer Luciano Tovoli) and a bawdy, but critical indictment of the Catholic Church. Highlights include dildo portrait painting (and dildos that fall from heaven), nude crucifix calisthenics, sex with violins, and lusty Jesus crushes.

Night of the Demons 2 (1994)
I know Night of the Demons has Linnea Quigley lipstick nipples and Bauhaus, but there's a special place in my heart for Brian Trenchard-Smith's sequel. Amelia Kinkade returns to the role of Angela — this time crashing the dance at a Catholic boarding school to the tune of Morbid Angel. Jennifer Rhodes appears as Sister Gloria — an ass-kicking nun with admirable ninja skills. A party at abandoned mortuary Hull House puts the virgin, slut, outcast, and other usual suspects through their paces. Snarky, goofy, naked shenanigans feature aplenty, and it makes me laugh like an idiot.

Pieces (1982)
The poster tagline for this sleazy Spanish slasher, plastered beneath a massive chainsaw hovering over a woman's corpse, says it all: "It's exactly what you think it is!" The dialogue is terrible, the pacing is non-existent, and the special effects vary from gruesome to ridiculously fake. Still, it features a "kung fu professor," skateboarding, a host of cult acting favorites, gardening, pervy jigsaw puzzles, aerobics, and a triple "Bastard!" freak-out from Lynda Day George. Bonus points for Pieces' giallo-esque vibe.

Angeli bianchi... angeli neri (1970)
There are a few different versions of this hazy mondo flick that sensationalizes occult practices across the globe, with the American cut (Witchcraft '70) being a more cautionary tale and the British edit (The Satanists) appearing more skeptical. Genre star Edmund Purdom narrates in his delightfully contemptuous and unimpressed way, introducing us to voodoo rituals, witchy orgies, and other pagan goodness. Footage of Anton LaVey's black Bay Area house inspires serious horror and occult-loving jealousy. Italian composer Piero Umiliani features one of his best soundtracks here, full of spooky, sweeping grooves.

Some Call It Loving (1973)
Director James B. Harris made this truly bizarre film after working with frequent collaborator Stanley Kubrick on Lolita. This probably explains why the strange story's morosely silent, wealthy saxophone player (Zalman King) buys a real-life "Sleeping Beauty" (Tisa Farrow) from a carnival — drawn to her innocence that has been frozen in time during an eight-year slumber. He takes her back to his mansion where a domineering woman (Carol White) and a number of female "slaves" also live. The mysterious women engage in extensive role-playing games, while our weird musician watches with a now awakened Beauty — when he's not exploiting a bouncy nightclub waitress for a nude cheerleading game, leering at Beauty like a total creeper while she sleeps, or moping about his pal's addiction problem (Richard Pryor). There's a lot of moping, but it's magical. A mawkish, baroque score from Richard Hazard is an uneasy match for the allusions to rape, necrophilia, and depraved psychosexuality. The film is based on a short story by John Collier, who also wrote Evening Primrose. It's about a secret, nocturnal society that lives in a department store. Clearly, this guy never loses.

Emanuelle around the World (1977)
Sleazemeister Joe D'Amato's violent, hardcore twist on the French softcore series Emmanuelle took his ongoing storyline about Laura Gemser's titular, globetrotting journalist to some wild places. In Emanuelle Around the World, the hedonistic heroine gets naked with a love guru in India (George Eastman in laughably bad makeup), at a Roman brothel, a Hong Kong dungeon, and more. One of my movie boyfriends, the villainous Ivan Rassimov, also makes an appearance. The pervy comedy, sketchy feminist declarations, and a few soul-crushing and controversial scenes — I'll let someone else awkwardly warn you about that (sorry, I just showered) — adds to the insanity.

Diabolik (1968)
Oh Mario Bava, how do I love thee? This spot was tied with the maestro's space anxiety stunner Planet of the Vampires, but I was in a sexy super-criminal mood upon writing this. A leather-clad Diabolik (John Phillip Law) and his sultry accomplice Eva Kant (Marisa Mell) are one of my favorite cult cinema couples. They wear the best clothes, they drive color-coordinated Jaguars, they make love on a pile of money, and they hang out in an underground lair that pleases my inner Bond geek. Diabolik's colorful pop art aesthetic is a visual feast for Bava's clever camera, paying homage to the stylish film's fumetti roots. The incredible eye candy is made all the more pleasing by a lush Morricone soundtrack.

The Worst Witch (1986)
The Worst Witch is a pink satin beacon of innocence amongst my horror and exploitation proclivities. Fairuza Balk's Mildred Hubble studies at an academy of witches. The girls have a hopeless crush on Tim Curry's "Grand Wizard." He's a flying, flamboyant, tambourine-playing headmaster who wears a mind-boggling, pink cape Liberace would covet. The Avengers' Diana Rigg stars as a snarling schoolmarm, while The Facts of Life's Charlotte Rae has a dual role as a good/bad witch. If the awful special effects don't charm you, perhaps the cheesy song about Halloween, or the drugstore witch costumes will.

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