The Penis Monster's Movie Guide by Ian Watson - Read Online
The Penis Monster's Movie Guide
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He calls himself "Ol' Painless." He likes bad action movies, Italian zombie flicks and chasing locker room starlets. He's "kind of a dick." And now you can read his thoughts on Uwe Boll, Jean-Claude Van Damme and that mad scientist movie with exploding hookers...

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The Penis Monster's Movie Guide - Ian Watson

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Part I: WTF?

Blood Freak (1972)

Part Reefer Madness, part Glen Or Glenda?, but mostly an affront to sanity and good filmmaking, Blood Freak fancies itself as a cautionary tale about the dangers of drugs, atheism and poultry, which might’ve been easier to take from anyone other than Brad Grintner, the director that set Veronica Lake against Hitler in Flesh Feast (1970). He plays the film’s chain-smoking narrator, a character apparently based on Bela Lugosi’s The Creator from Glenda, who in between glancing at the script delivers such Ed Wood-isms as You know, most people go through their lives completely oblivious to the obvious things that predictably influence their destiny and Changes are perhaps invisible to us, perhaps because our level of awareness is limited. He asks, Do you ever think about this fantastic order of things?

Grintner honed such doggerel on Florida’s dinner theatre circuit, writing and appearing in several plays whose literary pretensions must’ve gone down well enough to convince him to bring his unique voice to the screen. Herschell (as in Gordon Lewis), played by co-director Steve Hawkes, is our wholesome protagonist and possibly filmdom’s first Bible-loving, drug-hating biker hero, though judging by his quiff and shades he ought to be singing Are You Lonesome Tonight? at a lookalikes convention. When girlfriend Ann turns him on to the devil’s weed, he naturally becomes a giggling, lustful addict after his first puff, so desperate to sustain his habit that he raises extra cash by agreeing to take part in experimental trials at, er, the local turkey ranch. We need a human to eat the meat to see if there are any side effects, a ‘scientist’ informs him. It’s a government regulation.

There are side effects, all right: Herschell grows a turkey head and rampages through town tearing out throats and cutting off limbs with a circular saw, though his new look fails to impress Ann. You sure are ugly, she sobs. If we got married, what kind of life would we have? What would our children look like?

So they start praying.

Interesting, Grintner says at this point, how when we come to moments of despair, when we can’t seem to solve our problems any other way, we turn to God.

Z film lovers who’ve ‘seen it all’ haven’t seen anything until they’ve checked out this monument to ineptitude, whose editing, cinematography and effects are waaay more primitive than anything on Herschell Gordon Lewis’ resume. The film’s original investors ran out of cash during filming and bailed, leaving Grintner and Hawkes to put up their own money to finish the picture, but when it failed to secure national theatrical distribution, both turned their backs on genre filmmaking with Grintner knocking out a pair of softcore romps so lame that even Fred Olen Ray (Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers) walked out of a screening. He fared better than Hawkes, who having written off the movie as a sad chapter in his life retired from acting to run a ‘private wildlife sanctuary’ in Loxahatchee, Florida. He was arrested in February 2012 for having two grown tigers and a panther in his home.

The Human Tornado (1976)

Coined by Variety in their review of Cotton Goes to Harlem (1970), the term ‘Blaxploitation’ came to epitomize the kind of exploitation fare that was popular with coloured audiences in the 1970s, but while these films had an African-American in the lead, they were far from being examples of African-American filmmaking. Abby, Coffy and The Thing With Two Heads were the products of white studios (and filmmakers) that just wanted to make money