Wednesday, January 18, 2012


  The KVLT's obsession with monster movies, extreme gore, and overwrought special effects has been a lifelong love affair.  Throughout the KVLT's adolescence and into adulthood, the thrill of watching humans hewn and their vague remains strewn across celluloid has never once waned.  One such film that has always resonated within The KVLT's collective unconscious, seamlessly blended the monster flick with a perfect storm of visceral violence, ample nudity, and exploitation madness.  This creature feature to end all creature features, was a staple of late night cable, and later became a much sought after collectible video gem throughout the 90's and 2000's, until released on dvd in 2010.  A high octane horror romp that plays like The Creature From The Black Lagoon, if the Gill Man had mated with a C.H.U.D. and raised their brood in a toxic sewer on a steady diet of hookers, meth junkies, and monster magazines.   With one of the most truly awesome and unforgettable titles in exploitation movie history, the KVLT has just reeled in the catch of the day, a sort of Mutant Sea Creatures Gone Wild for the 80's called, Humanoids From The Deep.

  Humanoids From the Deep is a timeless... tastless, and heartwarming... heart-ripping, story of miraculously... genetically renewed... mutated maritime residing gentlemen... flesh-rending fish-men, who look like the bastard spawn of The Creature Of The Black Lagoon, becalming... rampaging and charming... raping their way through a small seaside town.

 The Humanoids are going to make you pay for every fish stick or Filet-o-Fish that you have ever eaten.

  Without a complex plot or likable characters to hinder it's momentum, Humanoids goals of unleashing it's homicidal aquatic creatures on the locals, and parading women in front of the camera in various states of undress and ultimately to their untimely demises at the clawed hands of the aforementioned beasts, are reached par excellence as far as exploitation standards go.  This is mainly due to the extra scenes of the marauding maritime mutants mutilating and making love to the human cast, that were shot in post production, according to Roger Corman's B-movie criteria and to the original director Barabara Peeters' dismay.  Also, some early, but nonetheless stunning, practical special effects procured by a very young Rob Botin, (The Thing, Legend, The Howling, Robocop, Total Recall, Se7en), gave Humanoids From The Deep, a slightly elevated production quality that rises above the usual trappings of the thousands of other low budget monster films within horror and sci-fi genre.  Humanoids also benefits from brisk pacing, and even with the last minute insertion of additional scenes, has a running time of only 80 minutes.  How considerate of Producer Roger Corman and director Barbara Peeters to deliver the gilled, gruesome, and gratuitous goodies in such a timely fashion?

The KVLT wants to know...  If you are engaged in sexual intercourse with a half-fish half-man, is it still considered bestiality? 

  Humanoids From The Deep is designed specifically for deranged Monsters kids who have grown up to become monster men and women, who like all adults, have needs.  By "needs", The KVLT is mainly talking about the desire to see hell-bent mutant life forms destroying and committing other distasteful acts against perfectly normal human lifeforms.  A film that holds up as well today as it did in the grindhouses, drive-ins, and late night cable horror showcases of the 80's, Humanoids reminds us, like so many sea monster flicks before it, that it's never going to be safe to go back in the water.  But monster kids never really learned to play safe.  So dive in, you monster movie loving maniacs. 

Fun Facts about Humanoids From The Deep:

Humanoids From the Deep can also be found under the alternate and incredibly apt title, Monster.

James Horner, leant his musical talents to Humanoids From the Deep.  Horner is primarily known for scoring big budget Hollywood blockbusters like Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan, 48 Hours, Jumanji, and Titanic among others.

Humanoids From the Deep was remade, in 1996, for the Showtime television network. 

The second unit director, who shot the additional gore and rape footage for Humanoids From The Deep, was, James Sbardellati, a constant collaborator with Roger Corman, as well as the director of Deathstalker


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


  Like the early 80's, the last ten years have been rife with fantasy flicks.  Films like The Bored Of The Rings Trilogy, The Harry Potter Who-Gives-A-Shitilogy, The Chronicles Of Jesus...  I mean Narnia, The Sorcerer's Shitty Apprentice, Bro-man The Barbarian (remake/reboot), Clash Of The Shitans (remake), 300 (technically a remake, and The KVLT couldn't think of a snappy title for that CGI fap fest) and on and on and yawn and yawn, have been raking in record profits at the box office since the early 2000's.  With the forthcoming flood of movies like Hansel And Gretel: Bitch Hunters, The Slobbit, and another How To Train Your Dragqueen movie in the works, the trend shows no signs of slowing anytime soon.  Much like the movies listed above, The KVLT would like to take you, dear reader, on a quest of epic proportions.  Like todays fantasy films, our quest is also laden with myths, magic, monsters, and maidens from a time long before CGI and green screening techniques made your beloved wizard and warrior movies look like an hour and a half long cut scene from The Elder Scrolls video game series.  A time when Dungeons & Dragons and text based role playing video games were all a fledgling fantasy nerd had to hold on to.  A time when Ray Harryhausen pictures like the original Clash Of The Titans, Jason And The Argonauts, as well as his Sinbad films brought mythological beasts to life through stop motion clay animation.  A time when Frank Frazetta and Ralph Bakshi's art and animation leapt from page and screen and into the imaginations of all who experienced it in the 70's and 80's.  Such a time also summoned forth from the four colored world of the printed page to the silver screen, an internationally successful epic tale of high adventure called, Conan The Barbarian.  This ushered in the fantasy craze of the 80's, and in it's sword-wielding wake came a crazy little exploitation film produced by Roger Corman, romantically titled Deathstalker.

  The titular hero, Deathstalker, (who looks a lot like He-Man) is a nomadic warrior who accepts a challenge from a witch to obtain the Three Powers Of Creation which are a sword, a goblet, and an amulet that are imbued with well...  The Powers Of Creation.  Munkar, an evil, yet powerful sorcerer and ruling king, (who also looks like Judas Priests' Rob Halford with a facial tattoo) has the amulet, and goblet in his grasp, but Deathstalker, possesses the sword.  Invariably, they must do battle for control over the Three Powers to deem whether good or evil rules the land.

By The Powers Of Greyskull...  I, Deathstalker, have the poooooowwweeeerrr!!! 

  Very aware of it's own very basic plot and cookie-cutter characters, Deathstalker, makes no bones about what it really is, an over-the-top, sword and sorcery, blood and guts, T&A, B-movie made for people who stay up way too late and are into those kinds of things.  So much so that it kind of comes off as nascently chauvinistic, even for an exploitation movie.  In fact, The KVLT was actually awestruck by the sheer amount of naked or partially naked women who appeared in this movie and we are pretty sure that some sort of record was set and has yet to be challenged.  Since the production obviously saved a bundle in the female wardrobe department and by not hiring well known actors, (that is unless you consider Playboy Playmate Barbi Benton a well known actor), it seems that the rest of Deathstalker's budget seems to have been spent on hiring trapeze artists, stunt men, building lavish castle sets, and making acceptable by B-movie standards monsters and gore effects.  To be fair, the only monster effects in the film are an old witch, a crappy hand puppet that lives in a treasure chest, a satyr with a blade hand, a male-to-female transformation sequence, and a cannibalistic half-human, half-pig who looks like a Gamorrean Guard from Return Of The Jedi.  There is, however, a rogues gallery of warriors, musclemen, dwarves, giants, and pit fighters that all converge for full-on brawls in Deathstalker's many drawn out fight scenes including an Enter the Dragon style combative tournament.  Also of notable mention are the seemingly random, but very entertaining scenes involving, pro wrestling, mud wrestling, midgets, orgies, a pillow fight and a fairly graphic scene of someone being drawn and quartered!

The KVLT wants to know who wouldn't want to see a movie that bolsters blade-brandishing, berzerking, bra-busting, badass barbarian babes?  Seriously, we want names, and we will be sending her to track them down at their homes or places of business to put them out of their misery. 

  If Deathstalker's title and the poster art alone don't immediately pique your interest, then maybe you aren't a fan of swashbuckling, sword-swinging warriors doing battle with vague yet mystical creatures who wield strange magic amidst foggy forests and castle backdrops while nubile and mostly naked female onlookers scamper about clutching the muscles their hulking derring dos.  Maybe you rather be playing Quidditch or retracing the biblical references in Narnia.  That's cool with The KVLT.  To each their own we say.  Just remember that while you're picking out frames for your Hogwarts Letter Of Acceptance, Deathstalker, will be marauding through enchanted forests, storming castles, delivering deathblows, dropping sweet one-liners, and making out with the damsels that he has so effortlessly rescued.

Fun Facts about Deathstalker:

Deathstalker was shot in Argentina and only took 37 days to film.

Deathstalker's success on the home video front in the 80's paved the way for three sequels. 

Lana Clarkson who plays Kaira in Deathstalker, also played lead role in the Roger Corman produced Barbarian Queen films.

Deathstalker And The Warriors From Hell was featured on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


   A long time ago, in a boot shaped country far far away...  George Lucas's breakthrough sci-fi mega classic, Star Wars, was being put through the Italian exploitation film ringer by Luigi Cozzi.  Cozzi, who had already made an unauthorized Godzilla film and would later go on to make an exploitation version of Ridley Scott's Alien called Contamination, as well as the hilariously bad Hercules starring Lou Ferrigno as a cash in on the fantasy movie craze of the 80's, undeniably took many liberties with Lucas' film.  Cozzi also also managed to cobble together elements from old sci-fi television shows like Flash Gordon, Space: 1999, Battlestar Galactica, and movies like Forbidden Planet, and Barbarella.  Many critics have labeled Cozzi's body of work as blatantly plagiarized hokey hackery, fashioned from the coattails of some many other successful films.  The KVLT likes to think of his work as tongue-in-cheek revisionist.  But beneath the borrowed ideas and trespassed intellectual properties, lies a film that has enough serialized charm and campy fantasy that set it apart from all of the other Star Wars inspired space cowboy flicks.

  The plot can be easily summarized in one sentence with lots of parentheticals.  A group of intergalactic smugglers, led by the scantly clad, femme fatale, Stella Star (Barbarella anyone?) and her clunky robot friend Elle (a 7th grade art project version of 3CP0 with a southern accent), are commissioned by the Emperor of the Universe(!) to retrieve his lost son, and to seize as well as destroy a weapon (that looks like a giant lava lamp) capable of mass solar destruction that lies in the hands of Count ZarthArn and his evil army. 

After George Lucas stamped out the embers of The KVLT's childhood nostalgia with his unnecessary revisions and added scenes to his original Star Wars films, The KVLT gets an irreverent an thrill out of watching someone else tamper with and revise his ideas twenty years before he did. 

  Starring David Hasselhoff, Caroline Munro, Marjoe Gortner, Joe Spinell, and Christopher Plummer, Star Crash is a slightly more exploitative, but easily the best Star Wars knock-off of the 70's due to it's sheer an unbridled ineptitude.  This movie has everything; light saber battles, space swimming, one of the skimpiest outfits on a female in science fiction history next to Princess Leia's slave costume, the absolute worst dialogue and dubbing ever, the most laughable laser effects committed to film screen, amazingly awkward fight scenes and action sequences, a large breasted robot with metal nipples, assorted crappy stop motion robots and various space creatures, Amazons, cloaked minions, cavemen, ultra phony sets and backdrops including a spaceship with very breakable bay windows, and a complete lack of understanding of gravity, astrophysics, and trajectory.  The warped continuity that pervades throughout the entire film feels like the script of Star Wars read in non sequential order by a robo-tripping teenage wastoid whose second or third language is English.  Or if you can't quite connect with that mental image, just imagine if Tommy Wiseau, the director of the neo-trash classic The Room, took the creative helm of the next Star Wars film.  If you have not experienced this epic intergalactic trainwreck of trans-dimensional travesties, do yourself a favor and find a copy.  

After watching Star Crash, The KVLT  can't help but wonder what Star Wars would have been like with "The Hoff" playing the role of Luke Skywalker instead of Mark Hamil. 

Fun Facts about Star Crash:

The original Italian title, "Scontri Stellari Oltre La Terza Dimensione", when translated into English reads "Stellar Clashes Beyond The Third Dimension".

Caroline Munro, who plays the female lead, Stella Star, did all of her own stunts.

David Hasselhoff also performed his own stunts and apparently, on the first day of shooting his stunt scenes, accidentally injured a stunt man by knocking out one his teeth.

Murray Leinster was the name of the first ship seen in Star Crash.  He was an early Science Fiction writer and visionary of practical special effects in film.


Friday, January 6, 2012


  It all started in 1922, with a gaunt, ghoulish, rat-like creature who by day, slept in a coffin, and by night, awoke to imbibe the blood of village peasants to stay alive, in a black and white German expressionist film called Nosferatu.  The next time movie audiences would experience blood meals being sapped from mostly unwilling victim's necks would be by wealthy, fanged, undead European aristocrats from the 1930's through the late 70's.  Then, in the 80's, came the new wave of night feeders in the form of glam-rockers, motorcycle gangs, strippers, outlaws, and even suburbanites.  The vampire of the 90's and 2000's were a mostly reluctant, and considerate sort of bloodsucker, save for the vicious vamps in From Dusk Till Dawn and John Carpenters Vampires, but overall lacked the bite of their fore-bearers.  At present, there appears to be a Renaissance of the vampire in popular media culture with a spike in supernatural romance novels, comic books, television shows like the Vampire Diaries, Supernatural, True Blood, and a slew of new movies, spoofs,  and don't get me started on the ones that sparkle...  It could be said that the once fierce and fiendish fangs of the modern vampire have in many ways been filed down for mass appeal.  That is why The KVLT is offering up a bloodsoaked, by-the-throat, review of a modern vampire flick that not only puts a new and refreshing spin on a tired mythology, but also reminds us that those casket-napping, arterial connoisseurs can still be effectively horrific.

  Daybreakers depicts a futuristic society where the vampire population has overrun and almost tapped it's human meal resources into extinction.   Realizing that a new and more sustainable food resource is needed, vampire scientists are working to develop a sanguinary substitute to curb the looming blood crisis.  Meanwhile, a rogue group of human survivors with the help of a vampire scientist, may have found a cure for vampirism.  They must stave off the nightly vampire attacks and stay alive long enough to use the cure to not only initiate a paradigm shift in the human to vampire population, but to potentially eradicate the vampire gene once and for all.

The KVLT hasn't seen vampire make-up effects this technically proficient since Bram Stoker's Dracula, and From Dusk Till Dawn. 

  Outshining the recent trend of monotonous modern vampire movies with it's revamped vision of the undead, Daybreakers doesn't retract it's fangs for one moment, leaving them fully extended for some serious scares, on-screen violence, bloodletting, and biting social commentary.  In this world of waining blood supplies, some vampires are capitalistic cut throats, some are middle class just trying to make it night to night, others are consumed by their bloodlusts and have become underground dwelling parasitic beasts and are a threat to humans as well as vampires.  Which touches on today's very real energy crisis, the stock market fallout, the stress of the disappearing middle class, and the disenfranchisement of the poor in the western world.  But all politico aside, the film still packs enough action, suspense, violence, gore, and legitimate horror without completely sacrificing the story or characters for cheap thrills.  Not that the KVLT is against cheap thrills mind you.   It also sports a few well known actors like Willam Defoe, Sam Neil, and Ethan Hawke, who lend their thespian credulities to an albeit offbeat genre effort that definitely stands out in the "What-The-Fuck" category of their respective career catalogs.  Although, Daybreakers comes across as a very professional and measured film, Directors Michael and Peter Spierig, aren't necessarily veteran filmmakers and they stick close to their B-movie roots.  In fact they have only made one other feature length film prior, 2003's sci-fi, zombie epic Undead.  Much like Undead, Daybreakers, feels like a tailor-made genre piece procured by genre-obsessed movie nerds.  Baring that in mind, The KVLT will cut it some slack by overlooking some of the plot and character inconsistencies as well as the the wooden acting perpetrated by Ethan Hawk.  But realistically, does he know any other kind?  It's by far more entertaining and interesting than 30 Days Of Night, Fright Night (remake) it doesn't fall apart in the final act like Stake Land, and it's definitely a million times better than the Twilight and Underworld movies.  But the last part should go with out saying.

The KVLT has a hard time imagining what this dude would look like with CG sparkles.

  So if vapid television teen vamps aren't your blood bag, the flood of theatrical and direct-to-video vampire spoofs have become too anemic, the "sparkling sad sack suck saga" and Fright Night remake are enough to give you an aneurysm, find a new untapped vein and give let Daybreakers have a shot.  It's kind of like if I Am Legend (sans Will Smith) and 28 Days Later were blended into one movie and filmed by the creators of From Dusk Till Dawn.
Fun Facts about Daybreakers:

Daybreakers can be easily lumped in with the hundreds of other vampire movies, but it's also an Ozploitation movie since it was made in Australia by Australian filmmakers. 

Daybreakers was shot in 2007 but not released until 2010.

In Daybreakers, Willam Defoe, plays a cross bow-wielding,  former vampire and human resistance movement leader named Elvis.  The movie was released theatrically on January 8th 2010, Elvis's birthday.