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Bloody Moon Dracula's Widow Fantastic Four Werewolves On Wheels

The Videophiliac thrives on films that could only be seen on that dying institution, the drive-in. Werewolves On Wheels
WEREWOLVES ON WHEELS
Werewolves on Wheels (1971) is the type of film I would hope to see this way, a smuggled-in six-pack at my side. You might be able to see this film, less a few nude scenes, at about 2 a.m. on your local TV station. It was briefly available on video in 1982 and is now available again. The production values are low in comparison to modern-day films, and are similar to those of Innocents From Hell (75) with alot less gore, nudity and special effects -- indicators of an extremely low budget. Many of the opportunities for special effects make-up extravaganzas are cloaked in darkness of the scenes, so you barely notice.
Let's take a mind-trip back to 1971. Grab your beer, grass and chick, and enjoy, once again, Werewolves on Wheels.
First we're introduced to your garden variety motorcycle gang, The Devil's Advocates. Wearing matching denim jackets embroidered with their gang's logo, the bikers do drugs, get rowdy, terrorize citizens and share biker-chicks. Adam (Stephen Oliver), the leader, who resembles a cross-between Kris Kristofferson-and-Burt Reynolds, with period thick, black hair, is paired with his lovely counterpart, Helen (D. J. Anderson) looking somewhat like Susan Dey with a bad hair day (Hey, she's a biker-chick!).
Scarf, played by '60s protester/musician Barry McGuire, famed for his raspy-voiced, Eve of Destruction (65), is wonderfully obnoxious chasing biker-chicks around and adds that special ambiance to this film.
There are scenes that historically chronologue the attitude and lingo of the 70's. The film was banned from some theaters at first run, due to its controversialism and irreverence. While very young, I was raised in a hippie community, so the nostalgia of this film brings back my fond memories of the period. The "norm" represented "the establishment," which was to be rejected at every opportunity and "weird" was "in." Though this film focuses on bikers -- who often crossed paths (reverently) with hippies -- there is little representation of the hippie movement, except for some incidential spill-over within the biker gang itself.
The sterotypical basic characters are a good representation of the various types of personalities that were prevalent during the period of the late 60's/early 70's. So, depending on your age, this is either a nostalgic, or historical, "trip." Watching this film without the use of LSD, might be similar to the effect of watching a 3-D movie without 3-D glasses. (Okay, I probably went too far, there... uh, don't quote me on that.)
The gang stumbles onto a cult of Satan worshippers. Adam proclaims: "Were gonna snort a little cocaine with the devil, pop a little LSD with the devil . . . Gentlemen, we are gonna talk to the devil," and the partying begins. They are greeted by a group of cloaked Satanic monks, who offer bread and wine. While The Devil's Advocates party and begin to pass out, the cult's leader, One (Severn Darden), in a ritual inside the sanctuary, offers blood to Satan, with whom he says he is "one." He beheads a cat and calls for the bride of Satan. Helen wakens, entranced, and makes her way to the sanctuary. She dances naked with a snake and a human skull in a ritualistic marriage ceremony.
The next morning two gang members turn up mutilated, apparently attacked by coyotes. Tarot (Deuce Berry), the gang's spiritual Tarot-card-reading member, gets a bad feeling about the latest goings ons and warns, "Someone's controlling the vibes." The others sluff it off as silliness, bury the dead bikers and hit the road again.
After another biker is murdered, Adam announces that the gang is to make its way back to the Satanic monastery, to, as Scarf says, "Kill us some monks, man." Adam and, "his ol' lady," turn into werewolves and are killed by the combined brute strength of the gang. The remaining bikers charge the monastery to kill the monks.
Can The Devil's Advocates overpower the might of Satan on their own? See for yourself.
Werewolves On Wheels


DRACULA'S WIDOW
For vampire lovers of B-movies, Dracula's Widow (1988) is a modern-day tale that takes place in modern-day Hollywood (actually cinematically re-vamped Chesterfield, North Carolina).
HBO enlisted brothers Marc Coppola and director/screenwriter Christpher Coppola, both nephews of Francis Ford Coppola, to make this 86-minute film. How does this film compare to their uncle's famed Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)? Don't even go there. Think of this as more like the comic-book adaptation of something completely different. Have a good time and gnaw on some popcorn.
Sylvia Kristel (Emmanuelle, 1973), who is best known for her soft-core nude scenes, is Vanessa, the wife of Dracula. Unfortunately for us, she remains clothed throughout Dracula's Widow.
Kristel's performance is first-rate. Her stiff and ominous movements -- fashioned after Bela Lugosi's 1931 performance of Dracula mixed with her sensuous persona -- are the highlight of the film. While stalking, she traipses around the set in her black midi-length-skirt business suit, with her fingers rigidly outstretched as a tribute to the early Nosferatu legend that is highly present in this film. Her character is strong, violent and in psychotic dichotomy, benign and sensuous when luring prey. (Her performance is highly reminicent of that of my ex-wife.)
In the film, The Hollywood House of Wax is closed for two weeks as owner, Raymond Everitt (Lenny Van Dohlen), prepares for the unveiling of his all-new authentic Dracula display. From Romania come six crates filled with expensive period pieces for the show -- although he expected only five. Leaving the crates downstairs (any guesses to what [or who] is in the sixth?), Raymond goes upstairs to view the 1921 silent film, Nosferatu (nice touch).
Later, she insists Raymond take her back to Romania to be reunited with Dracula.
He delivers the news: "If Dracula's your husband, you are a widow."
She finds it hard to believe, and he identifies the murderer as "Van Helsing."
The next evening Vanessa and Raymond crash a Satanist ceremony where, stretched out on a rack, is a wriggling, topless (if you're not gonna show Kristel's tits, you better show somebody's, by God) blonde (Candice Sims) being tortured and prepared as a sacrifice to Satan. Vanessa turns into a grisly ghoul and wastes all 15 cult members, leaving behind a mangled assortment of indiscernible body parts.
Van Helsing's grandson (Stefan Schnabel) just happens to own Helsing's Antiques and Collectibles down the street. The following day he sees the investigation of the scene of the blood-bath and claims that vampires are responsible.
Raymond meets with his girlfriend, Jenny (Rachel Jones), and gives her a cross necklace for protection.
Vanessa, aware of the meeting, gets pissed at her man-slave and shouts, "She would only die for you! I would kill for you!" She further warns: "If you betray me, I'm going to rip your heart out!" (The lines suck, but she delivers them fine. You get the idea that she's pissed.)
Later, with a foot-long knife, Vanessa skewers Jenny's neck (in the film's other obligatory topless scene).
The mildly amusing special effects by Joe Quinlan (The Net, 1995) used in Vanessa's transformation from a bat to a wretched monster, then once again to Vanessa are saved for the climax, most likely in an attempt to leave the viewer with some impression that this might not be such a bad movie. But, it is . . . and that's how we like 'em. UPDATE: Dracula's Widow has been re-released and value-priced to own, click here for more info.

BLOODY MOON
German director Jesus Franco assembles a number of Twiggy-esque young women to star in Bloody Moon (1980, alternatively titled Die Saege des Todes), penned by Rayo Casablanca.
It's a typical formulaic collection of teen-age girls getting wacked by a mad-man miscellany, with a bit of mystery thrown in as to who is responsible for the murders, unlike a Jason/Friday the 13th type of film. Bloody Moon is similar to Friday the 13th (also 1980) in it's use of special effects, but it is no copycat, as these films were shot simultaneously in different parts of the world. There's also no masked lunatic, only a recently released mental patient and an old lady's will. So the suspects are kept to a minimum (some sarcasm intended).
Miguel (Christopher Brugger), a young man with shoulder-length hair goes on a rampage at a masquerade party and rapes and kills a girl. He is institutionalized for five years. Afterward, he is released and reunited with his sister, Manuela (Olivia Pascal), who founds Europe's International Youth-Club Boarding School of Languages, complete with an on-campus discotheque (hey, why not?).
Miguel is intrigued by Angela (Nadja Gerganoff), a long-haired brunette, whom he first saw on the train ride from the sanitarium.
Miguel meets with Manuela to request that they resume their incestuous relationship. She reminds him that it was this relationship that made him emotionally unstable five years earlier. She says they cannot because nobody understands them: "Only if we could get rid of everyone, then things could go back to the way they were."
Angela's friends are killed one by one.
One, while topless, is skewered from behind by a 12-inch knife that exits her right nipple. In my favorite scene, another is coerced by a romantic masked Spaniard who insists on tying her up in an abandoned lumber mill (which according to her is "kinky," but OK) and is decapitated quite nicely with a large power saw, complete with squirting blood from her neck (reminiscent of Monty Python fare, although no humor intended). A young boy is run over mid-section by a Mercedes (so the less sadistic viewers, can say, "Did you see that? He just ran right over that little boy!" while we sit back and say, "Yeah, that's worth 5 extra points.") Another friend is strangled by smoldering fireplace tongs, and don't miss the friend's head-in-the-bed scene.
Be forewarned all blood is not shed yet, there are more knives and even a chainsaw to come.
There are plenty of opportunities to say, "Don't go in there . . . I wouldn't do that!" and ask, "Why are all these women so bloody stupid?" while viewing this low-budget romp down slasher lane.
This is an excellent film for import collectors. It is well dubbed in English with nice transfer quality. If you like to see malnourished, topless women, gashed and slashed, this film is for you.
It is available from Blood Times Video, P.O. Box 3340, Steinway Station, Long Island City, NY 11103, for $20 plus $3 shipping and postage, payable to Louis Paul.


THE FANTASTIC FOUR
Roger Corman brought us B-classics like Attack of the Crab Monsters (1957), Little Shop of Horrors (1960) and, more recently, Frankenstein Unbound (1990). He produced The Fantastic Four (1992). Nue Constantine had the rights from Marvel Comics to make the film and hurried Corman, with little or no budget, to complete the film before the rights expired. Although the film was completed, it was never released before Marvel regained control and locked the film up.
But collectors were able to get their hands on bootleg copies. Now you can see this live-action feature, based on Marvel's Fantastic Four comic book heroes, on video. And this just in time before a blockbuster version with a Batman-like bank-roll (which will have little or no resemblance to this unreleased, low-budget, 1992 film) is tentatively scheduled for release to theaters from Amblin Entertainment next summer.
In the video, unlike Batman (89) there are no big draws on the cast card. The effects are kept to a bare minimum, and the budget does not allow for elaborate sets, matte paintings, or computer-enhanced graphics to give this that box-office smash appeal. On the other hand, if you think of it measured instead against made-for-TV superhero flicks like Wonder Woman (1976-'79) it fares quite nicely. The acting (which is actually quite good, really) and costumes are far superior when judged in that light. This film has never been released and it's said that it never will be, which is a shame. This would make an excellent summertime, Saturday afternoon movie on cable.
In a scientific experiment involving a cosmic disturbance called Colossus, Reed Richards (Alex Hyde-White) and friend/classmate Victor (Joseph Culp) are involved in an accident that presumably kills Victor.
Guilt-ridden Reed spends the next 10 years trying to make it up to his dead friend by harnessing the power of Colossus. He designs a special rocketship that uses the world's largest diamond as a filter to prevent a recurrence of the accident that happened 10 years ago.
The diamond is replaced with a fake, which causes the ship to crash onto Earth. The ship is destroyed, but, miraculously, all four crew members survive. Johnny Storm (Jay Underwood) discovers he has the power of flame, Susan Storm (Rebecca Staab) invisibility, and Reed, the ability to stretch his body like a rubber band at will. Then Ben Grimm (Michael Bailey Smith) turns into a human rock-creature.
They are "rescued" by Dr. Doom (Joseph Culp, in a great plastic-enhanced costume that closely resembles his comic book character counterpart), who wants to drain them of their powers. In a bitchin', rubberized rock-man costume, Ben announces their escape with his famous line, "It's clobberin' time!" The Fantastic Four use their powers to take on two dozen heavily armed guards. Escape they do, and Reed discovers that their powers focus on their weaknesses -- Reed's stretching himself too thin, Susan's shyness, Johnny's quick temper and Ben's resorting to brute strength -- and proves that our greatest weaknesses are really our greatest strengths. Johnny replies, "Holy Freud, Batman! I think you're right!"
Susan whips up super-hero costumes and the changed crew become The Fantastic Four: Mr. Fantastic, The Invisible Girl, The Human Torch and The Thing.
While trying to save new York from destruction the F4 are recaptured by Doom, who begins to transfer their powers to himself. How they gonna get out'a this one? See the trailer! Get the unauthorized Bootleg.

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Dave Lewis, a non-recovering videophiliac, is constantly on the lookout for strange and unusual videos. If you have an independent film (with or without good production values) or know of a rare or unique film that may be good for review, please write:
Dave Video Addict, P.O. Box 1753, Aberdeen, WA 98520. Or, e-mail Dave at webmanabc@hotmail.com.

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