Special Features
Digital Shrieks

By Robert Freese

“Grindhouse of Terror”
Basket Case (1980), Something Weird Video
Dir. Frank Henenlotter

“The tenant in room 7 is very small, very twisted and very mad.”

Bright eyed Duane Bradley (Kevin Van Hentenryck) arrives in Manhattan toting a
wicker basket, searching out a couple of doctors with whom he has a little
unfinished business.  In the basket is his deformed Siamese twin brother Belial,
and the brothers are seeking vengeance on the doctors who separated them
years before.  This sleazy little gem is a real classic and its authentic Times
Square locales add to the film’s ambiance of grit.  This is a monster movie with lots
of gore, humor and heart.  It spawned two sequels.


Brain Damage (1988), Synapse
Dir. Frank Henenlotter       

“It’s A Headache From Hell!”

Brian (Rick Herbst) encounters the slug-like Aylmer (named Elmer) who pumps a
hallucinogenic drug into his brain in exchange for Brian taking the little monster
out to dinner.  (Fresh brains are a real delicacy.)  Once he’s addicted to the juice,
Brian’s life falls apart and he tries to kick his Elmer habit but he’s too far gone.  
Bizarre anti-drug flick is equal parts cautionary tale and comedy/drama.  The
monster effects are still quite amazing and Zacherle, the “Cool Ghoul”, voices the
creature.  Herbst gives a genuine and believable performance.  Duane from
Henenlotter’s Basket Case makes a cameo appearance.  The DVD presents the
uncut version of the film, which was originally released on video with most of the
gore cut out.   


Brain of Blood (1972), Image
Dir. Al Adamson

“A Blood-dripping Brain Transplant turns a Maniac into a Monster…”

The brain of a dying middle eastern dictator is temporarily put into the body of a
mentally challenged man who was viciously deformed by thugs.  The giant goes on
a killing spree while henchmen try to save the brain of their leader.  Another weird
but fun flick from the Independent-International Pictures dynamic duo Al Adamson
and Sam Sherman.  The cast includes Kent Taylor, Reed Hadley, Regina Carrol
and Grant Williams.  
The Corpse Grinders (1972), Alpha
Dir. Ted V. Mikels

“Bone-Crushing Terror!  Spine-Tingling Chills!

Cat food manufacturers Landau and Maltby discover that human flesh is the cheapest ingredient to put in their
kitten chow.  Once the cats of the world get a taste of human flesh there’s no going back and the cats begin
attacking their owners.  The grinding machine is an awesome beast in which humans are fed into and come out
of looking like gristly hamburger meat.  For years it played on the “Three Dimensions of Shock” triple feature,
along with The Embalmer and The Undertaker and His Pals.


Death Curse of Tartu (1966), Something Weird Video
Dir. William Grefe

“They thought it was a joke!”

A group of archaeology students travel deep into the Everglades of Florida and incur the wrath of an ancient
Indian spirit.  Once they desecrate the ancient Indian burial land by making out, grab-assing and go-go dancing,
nothing is going to save these pinheads.  Pretty much an early slasher movie, the kids die one-by-one at the
hands of Tartu the Indian witch doctor.  Years later it was basically remade as Scalps by Fred Olen Ray.  It is on
disc with another Grefe gem, Sting of Death, about a half man/half jellyfish monster that runs amuck.  Both must
be seen to be believed.      



Don’t Answer the Phone (1980), Deimos
Dir. Robert Hammer       

“He’ll Know You’re Alone!”

A crazed Vietnam vet poses as a smut magazine photographer by day and a psychotic, misogynistic killer by
night.  Cops try to track the nut-bag down but the killer is always one step ahead of them.  A radio psychiatrist is
a target of the killer, who calls into her show using a fake voice and name.  This is a brutal and sleazy flick but
kudos to the late Nicholas Worth for at least making the killer more than another faceless stalker.  He fills the
character with pathos that makes him all the creepier.  There are two different versions of this movie out on
DVD.  The uncut theatrical version offered by Deimos is the stronger of the two.  Slasher fans may be
disappointed since it is sold as a slasher movie but the killer actually strangles his victims.  


Don’t Go in the House (1980), Shriek Show
Dir. Joseph Ellison

“…Threshold into Terror”
Psycho Donny Kohler (Dan Grimaldi) was abused by his mother as a child and burned as punishment.  When
the old bat croaks, he transforms one of the spare bedrooms in his house into an incineration room where he
takes women to cook like marshmallows over an open camp fire.  Sick, twisted flick takes a look at child abuse
and plays everything so grim and dark that some fans have a hard time watching it.  Grimaldi is pretty good as
the awkward freak.  Worth a look for those with strong stomachs.


Horrors of Spider Island (1960), Image
Dir. Fritz Bottger

“Eight Beautiful Women Alone with the World’s Most Hideous Monster!”

“Talent Manager” Alex D’Arcy crash lands on a mysterious island with eight beautiful strippers.  They find an
abandoned house and a human corpse strung up in a giant spider web.  The girls fight a lot when they’re not
fanning their sweaty, barely clad bodies.  D’Arcy is bitten by the island beastie and slowly transforms into a
spider monster.  When they think they are rescued by some sailors, the monster begins attacking.  A fun
shocker from the 60s that was also entitled It’s Hot in Paradise.  It was sold as a sex picture at some
grindhouses.   In beautiful, vibrant black and white.


Mausoleum (1983), Deimos
Dir. Michael Dugan

“The Nightmare Has Begun!”

Young Susan inherits a weird family curse that is never really defined but makes her grow up to be scream
queen Bobbie Bresee.  She slowly transforms into a demon monster of some kind that doesn’t make a whole
heck of a lot of sense but her ample bosoms do grow mouths that gnash and bite.  What else can I say?  La
Wanda Page has a great walk on role as Elsie the made, who hits the bricks five seconds after the demonic
presence makes itself known to her in the film’s funniest moment.  Lots of good monster and gore effects, but
none of it makes a lick of sense.  Flick has one of the best posters of all time too.  Film is on a double feature
disc with the sort-of slasher film Blood Song, with Donna Wilkes, Richard Jaeckel and Frankie Avalon.


Night of the Bloody Apes (1969), Something Weird Video
Dir. Rene Cardona

“Half Man, Half Beast, ALL HORROR!”

Brilliant surgeon Dr. Krellman performs a heart transplant for his sick son Julio.  Because there are no human
hearts available, he uses the heart of an ape (?).  Once Julio’s body adjusts to the ape’s heart, he transforms
into an ape-faced monster that pulls the tops off buxom young women before slaughtering them.  A cop and
female Mexican wrestler also figure into the picture.  This is one of those flicks that are so bizarre, so over the
top, you just have to see it for yourself.  Chock full of nudity and gore.  Actually, to save money on effects,
Cardona inserted scenes of a real open heart surgery into the action.  


Private Parts (1972), Warner Brothers
Dir. Paul Bartel

“Cheryl is a lovely girl…but to George, she’s a living doll.”

Young Cheryl (Ayn Ruymen) moves into the scummy King Edward Hotel, which is run by her loony Aunt Martha
(Lucille Benson).  The King Edward is home to many crazy tenants and one is roaming the halls and murdering
everyone they encounter.  George is a strange photographer living in the hotel who is hiding a horrible secret.  
He also has a blow up doll filled with water with a picture of Cheryl’s face taped to the head.  Cheryl learns the
horrifying truth about George in the film’s final moments.  This is a sick and twisted tale but told with Bartel’s wild
eye for the humorously bizarre.  Not for all tastes but well worth including in your next home vid grindhouse
double or triple feature.


Snuff (1976), Blue Underground
Dir. Michael and Roberta Findlay

“A film that could only be made in South America, where life is CHEAP!”

A cult leader uses his minions to kill a number of high profile victims, including a voluptuous film actress.  The
film, “inspired” by the Manson murders, is an amateur night splatter movie that was originally called Slaughter,
but later changed when AIP bought the rights to the title for there black action film starring Jim Brown of the
same name.  Years later, in an attempt to capitalize on the “snuff” movie rage, a new ending was tacked on that
supposedly showed a film crew “snuffing” a young actress.  (It’s fake.)  The film was released without credits and
drew a ton of free press by outraged women’s groups who picketed theaters showing the flick.  A ton of hype
revolves around the film to this day, but it’s not a very good flick.  Still, the curious will no doubt want to check it
out.


Twilight People (1973), VCI
Dir. Eddie Romero

“Animal Desires…Human Lust!”      

Finding himself on a weird tropical island, Matt Farrell (John Ashley) learns that the diabolical Dr. Gordon has
been mixing animal and human DNA and making an army of animal/human mutants.  He joins with the mutants to
escape the doc’s “fortress of fear”.  This is a fun, Filipino lensed low budget Island of Dr. Moreau knock-off,
directed by the great Eddie Romero who made the fantastic Blood Island trilogy with Ashley a couple years
earlier.  This is cheesy good fun.  Pan Grier appears as The Panther Woman.