John’s Horror Corner: The Haunting of Morella (1990), a smutty, possession-themed, boobstravaganza exploitation film with craptastic effects.
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MY CALL: This may not be softcore porn, but it’s absolutely an exploitation film with nothing to offer anyone looking for any form of horror movie at all. My entertainment derived solely from the ridiculous awfulness of this movie and the amazing amount of screen time dedicated to bare breasts. Now I remember why I liked this so much when I was 13 (over 20 years ago!). MORE SHAMELESSLY BOOB-FILLED MOVIES LIKE The Haunting of Morella: To name a few for you skin-flick horror fans, how about Killer Workout (1987), Death Spa (1989), Barbarian Queen (1985), Conquest (1983), Deathstalker (1983), Deathstalker II: Duel of the Titans (1987), The Warrior and the Sorceress (1984), Evils of the Night (1985), Head of the Family (1996), Piranha 3DD (2012) and Bio Slime (2010). That ought to keep you busy.
Based on the work of Edgar Allen Poe (probably rolling over in his grave) and brought to you by Roger Corman, The Haunting of Morella is a film that leaps into the deep end of its own melodramatic insanity with reckless abandon from its first few seconds of running time as we witness the colonial crucifixion of the young, attractive witch Morella (Nicole Eggert; Baywatch, Clan of the Cave Bear, Decoys) whose last words curse her family that she would one day return to possess her daughter and welcome them to the gates of Hell. This curse (and the three minutes of film surrounding it) are the only fraction of this movie’s story that makes any sense at all. After this point, the story components and even the characters themselves seem a bit confused.
Director Jim Wynorski (Chopping Mall, Deathstalker II: Duel of the Titans) has had a long history of exploitation filmmaking. So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to the abundance of nudity and general dearth of substance in this schlocky film. Clearly he spent every dollar he could tipping the actresses to disrobe and spared a few remaining crumbled bills for the obviously inexperienced special effects team to transform Lenora (also played by Nicole Eggert) into the occasionally monstrous-faced Morella.
Your Day of the Dead make-up sucks. Just sayin’.
Like any Roger Corman film, the cast features a slew of exploitation vixens including Maria Ford (Necronomicon: Book of the Dead, Deathstalker IV), Gail Harris (Sorority House Massacre II), Deborah Dutch (Sorority Girls and the Creature from Hell, 976-Evil II) and the statuesque Amazon Lana Clarkson (Deathstalker, Barbarian Queen), who was tragically murdered in real life by Phil Spector.
Look at Lana Clarkson next to Nicole Eggert. It’s like a Mastiff next to a Pomeranian!
Back when I reviewed Piranha 3DD (2012) I came up with a sort of “Movie Metric” for gratuitous nudity… “If there was a movie Freakonomics calculation called breast time it would be measured in breast seconds—the total number of breasts in a movie times the number of seconds that each breast is bare. [Piranha 3DD’s] breast second tabulation would result in a breast time of 300% of the movie’s actual running time. It’s truly shameful.” Perhaps they should rename this film The Breasting of Morella as it puts Piranha 3DD to shame
Flashbacks inform us that Morella turned to the occult to remedy some unnamed terminal illness that would soon kill her—however healthy and hot she may appear. So, of course, she finds a completely naked bathing virgin woman to kill with the least convincing on-screen throat slit of 90s horror. Afterwards, Morella bathes in her blood, also naked. Shifting back to present day, we find Lenora’s uber-tall guardian (Lana Clarkson) naked taking a bath. Such a smooth transition, right? How ever did the director muse the shift from a flashback with two naked women taking a bath to a present day naked women taking a bath? Impressive and seamless. This naturally develops into a lesbian massage with continued and markedly needlessly prolonged on-screen nudity.
As a teenager of the early 90s without a computer, naturally I loved this. As an adult with the internet, this film now feels like a 90% waste of time with 10% nostalgia.
The plot lumbers forward at a sluggish pace…that is, of course, unless you came here to count on-screen boobs. With the exception of disrobing the female cast (which was done in an instant with the pull of a string), everything seems to take way too long to unfold, occur and explain itself. And on that note, everything is over-explained in nauseating detail. Much to the contrary the one scene that should find elaborate development, the possession and its process, is completed almost instantaneously with no effects to speak of except for a corpse with some glowing eye sockets.
This corpse talks. Not scary, not creepy.
From one temporary possession of Lenora’s body to another, we learn that Morella needs to be fully resurrected because this whole possession thing is like way harder than she expected it to be. So now her old Amazon friend who lives with the family (no clue why) and somehow didn’t age at all in nearly 20 years (maybe it’s Maybelline) must help her to find virgins (because, yeah, you know, virgins!!!). So we find yet another naked lady who, for some reason, is written an entire back story despite being on screen for five minutes…and she’s killed. Now stronger after absorbing another soul, Morella again possess Lenora and…more sex! It seems sex is like filling the tank before taking your newly possessed body out for a spin. Then some more painful acting, cheap and terrible effects, and an evil mirror “other world”…and then yet more sex.
The bombardment of retched effects continues along with the general story-based stupidity. Speaking of stupid, yet another 5-minute character with too much back story is drained by Morella’s Lifeforce (1985) kiss of death to replenish her further a la Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988). As if we hadn’t yet endured enough pointless characters and gratuitous nudity, here comes more of both in the form of a grotto-like lesbian skinny-dipping scene. This smutty scene is immensely drawn out as if to accumulate several breast minutes to the aforementioned breast time metric. And worry not, the gross over-exposition continues to plague this already awful film with such blunt statements as “After one more feeding I’ll be completely resurrected.” How does she even know that? Is this like a Subway punch card that’s one hole-punch away from a free 6″ sub?
For those who could possibly care, the only noteworthy point to this movie is that every female member of the cast gets naked (even though Eggert uses a body double). The movie ends without a single scary moment to its credit, rather abruptly, stupidly and with no semblance of build-up, tension, urgency or conclusion. Lenora’s father simply grabs her, now possessed by Morella, and breaks his oil lamp to burn them both alive. Roll credits. Shit this was awful! Haha
This weeks episode covers the best 60 seconds or less movie characters. The one thing that all great movies have in common is that they are loaded with memorable characters who don’t need a lot of screen time to be remembered. Whether it be an old guy with a very loud stamp or Bill Murray in a tree you gotta love these people.
This guy loved his Rancor and cried for the fallen beast. He did a lot with a little.
In this pod you will be you will transported to a world of memorable bit players that elevated their roles by eating candy bars or attempting to punch Laura Linney.
If you get a chance please REVIEW, RATE and SHARE the pod!
Netflix is loaded with horror films and the majority of them are not good. You could easily pick the wrong film and find yourself watching a soul crushingly bad movie. In order to prevent this from happening I’ve taken it upon myself to scour the depths of Netflix in order to sort out the good from the bad. The following post quickly reviews five films and hopefully gives you some information on whether or not you should watch them.
Dark Was The Night
I love that Kevin Durand (Reel Steal, Noah, Blade 2, Winter’s Tale, Smokin’ Aces, Legion) finally got to star in a film and show some emotional range. I bet he loved every second of not being a thug or villain. However, this creature feature is bogged down by way too much backstory and a somber tone that prevents anything from being enjoyable. I get the character arc, (a man coming to grip with loss) but it takes away from anything that could’ve made this movie fun.
If you are a fan of Kevin Durand I totally recommend you watch Dark Was the Night. However, if you are indifferent to the Durand stay away.
Tremors 5: Bloodlines
Tremors 5 ain’t Shakespeare but it will appease Tremors fans. It is a capably made little direct to DVD film that is way better than it has any right to be. The Tremors world has always been a pleasant place that features cheeky monsters, breezy plots and likable people. The light tone and banter of Tremors 5 make for a fun 90 minutes that helps you remember why Jamie Kennedy had a decent run back in the day. Is Tremors 5 a good film? No. Is Tremors 5 a solid addition to a direct to DVD creature feature series? Yep.
Let Us Prey
Let Us Prey is a nasty little Scottish film that revolves around a very bad night at a police station. When I say “nasty” I mean really nasty. The characters are all villains and the blood and guts are aplenty. I like actor Liam Cunningham (Dog Soldiers, Game of Thrones, Centurion) in pretty much everything so I gave Let Us Prey a chance. If you like deranged people doing deranged things to each other you will love this film.
From the Dark
From the Dark tells the age-old story of a nice couple being attacked by an ancient beast. The small Irish film does a solid job establishing a claustrophobic setting and not explaining away the monster via a lame backstory or convenient harbinger. The biggest knock against it is that it adds nothing new to the creature feature genre. It is well made but disposable. If you dig standard creature features you will appreciate this little film.
I’m not sure why Preservation exists because there is basically nothing to it. Preservation tells the story of a camping trip gone awry. The three main characters start off likable enough but it all devolves once the killers identities are revealed. I feel like this is a one concept movie. The director/writer came up with a decent idea and failed to build anything around it. The poster is cool though.
We hope you enjoyed our previous episode: Creating the Ultimate RomComDram.
SUMMARY: This week the MFF crew discusses who played the sexiest, lecherous, smoothest, monstrous, bitter and weirdest iterations of the greatest evil of them all: the Devil. We also go on some tangents about if Dutch from Predator could handle Aliens with as much style as Ripley, some obscure Kurt Russell references, and the crappy movies that bring us joy.
We also answer such important questions as…
“Could Arnold’s crew from Predator defeat the Aliens xenomorphs?”
“Did the Witches of Eastwick treat Daryl Van Horne fairly?”
“Was Tim Curry’s ‘Darkness’ in Legend really just a low level Dungeons & Dragons bad guy?”
“What movies do you know are complete crap, but still like anyway?”
“What is the most diabolical use of a pineapple in Hell?”
This podcast was based on the article: Who did Satan best? The 12 coolest, smoothest and creepiest Devils of film.
I recently recorded a podcast about JVCD’s first 10 years of action films and I noticed some alarming trends while researching his films. The final villains are all basically the same person. They are larger, stronger and could probably win if they didn’t spend all their time trying not to win. These trained killers resort to prematurely celebrating and thinking barrels are useful weapons. I’m pretty sure they never learned to block and when things go bad they fold quickly.
This post hightlights the poor decisions that JCVD’s final villains made. You may remember them as ultimate badasses but their hubris and mistakes allowed a much smaller man to punch them repeatedly in the balls (it happens a lot) and kick them into oblivion.
Scouting Report: Never blocks, celebrates prematurely and waits several minutes while his opponent overcomes powder blindness.
How Did it End? A blind JCVD spin kicks him into oblivion.
Chong Li (Bolo Yeung) is a great villain but his fight antics are uneven. He mows through his competition and makes his way to the final fight of the Kumite. Instead of relying on his killer instincts he does everything in his power to not win. He never blocks, celebrates prematurely and waits several minutes while JCVD sorts out powder induced blindness. Chong Li could have won this fight several times yet chose to act a fool and suffered multiple face kicks for his troubles.
Scouting Report: Moon tries to kill a guy with a barrel……..
How Does it End? Electrocution due to putting too much importance on barrels.
Bolo Yeung once again pops up as a final boss and his strategy is to crunch JCVD with a barrel. This of course gets him kicked in the nuts (a JCVD special) and eventually electrocuted. The guy will never learn.
Scouting Report: Tong Po has pillowfists and collapses under pressure. It gets to the point where he can’t hit a guy while that person is looking the other direction.
How Does it End? A pretty gnarly face kick.
So, JCVD has to throw the final fight and take a massive beating at the end of Kickboxer. The problem is his opponent Tong Po can supposedly kill people easily and kick down concrete polls. Tong Po puts it on JCVD at the beginning and does very little damage despite landing about 700 unanswered strikes. When JCVD decides to win Tong Po doesn’t block, throws choreographed punches and becomes a human punching bag. The guy went from being a world beater to a chump in like two minutes.
Scouting Report: Flexes way too much, doesn’t capitalize on a hurt opponent and has no clue how to use a very large knife. Named after a guitar.
How Does it End? Impaled by post-apocalyptic hook.
Fender has JCVD immediately on the ropes but chooses to flex and intimidate a woman instead. Then, he lets JCVD punch him in the face about 10 times and flexes some more. Fender eventually pulls out a MASSIVE knife and only gives JCVD a cool movie scar across the cheek. I give him props for doing the fake death thing but when he comes back he eventually gets the real death thing. Not a good performance.
Scouting Report: Atilla loves open hand slaps and allowing his opponent to recover.
How Does it End? JCVD gives him mercy and his street cred becomes nonexistent.
Does anybody block? The bad guy Atilla in Lionheart throws open hand slaps and never capitalizes on a hurt JCVD. Why? Knock him out! Haven’t you watched his other movies? I think this is the worst of all the JCVD fights. Atilla has the weirdest fighting form and I don’t think a champion underground fighter throws open hand slaps.
Scouting Report: He hits hard but walks very slowly.
How Does it End? An uppercut to the face.
The guy never blocks! He knocks JCVD all over the place and is in no hurry to kill the guy. I get playing with your prey but that should only be when the prey can’t spin kick you in the face.
Scouting Report: He has some cool powers but he limits his flight trajectory.
How Does it End? He gets kicked so hard he flies about 50 feet and into a bunch of television screens.
I understand Raul Julia’s situation on Street Fighter so this fight makes sense. However, when Bison gets super conductive hyper electromagnetism and is able to fly around he makes a very strategic error. He flies in straight lines and eventually gets kicked into some televisions. I don’t buy it.
Scouting Report: Likes throwing people and playing hide and seek.
How Does it end? The idiot gets kicked into a furnace.
JCVD gets hit with a massive wrench to start the fight and the damn Sandman doesn’t capitalize! What? He constantly lets JCVD run away and is content playing hide and seek. Also, his light bulb knife strategy is weird because it looks like he wants to hug not cut JCVD. To finish it all off he opens up a furnace door, stands in front of it and get kicked into it. Not smart Sandman, not smart.
Scouting Report: He is tough but crazy. Allows people to stand stationary and kick him repeatedly in the face.
How Does it End? He gets impaled by a plethora of sharp stuff.
I am a big time fan of Dolph Lundgren but the final fight in Universal Soldier is not one of his high points. He never blocks and does the lame opponent throw over and over. When things start going bad for Dolph he immediately falls apart and can’t offer any meaningful offense. As the fight wears down JCVD stands in one place and delivers four kicks to Dolph’s face which propel him to a bloody death. Lame.
It is nearing the end of the year which means the world will be inundated with “best of” lists. I will be guilty of releasing several lists and I’ve already started soul searching in order to produce the most pretentious 1-10 on the planet. The following 15 movies might have gone under your radar and I wanted to get them some press. In an effort to keep this list from being 50 deep I’ve decided to recommend films that were released in under 1,000 theaters
Honorable Mentions: It Follows, Dope, Sicario, Bridge of Spies, The Gift, Inside Out, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian and a whole lot more.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
What I love most about this film is that director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon trusted his actors and let them own the material. The camera lingers on their faces and there are moments that will leave you in tears.
Creep is found footage done right and I just can’t quit it.
Love & Mercy
God only knows how you could watch this film and not put it in your “best of” list.
What We Do in the Shadows
“We’re werewolves, not swearwolves.” I love What We Do in the Shadows.
The End of the Tour
I can barely get through the trailer without tearing up. Director James Ponsoldt (Smashed, Spectacular Now) doesn’t know how to make a bad film.
Cop Car is like a live action cartoon that met a David Gordon Green film. It is a fun ride that puts you in the moment and makes you constantly tense.
Colin Farrell is a very good actor (watch In Bruges) and this movie is very offbeat.
A love story done right. Writer Nick Hornby is awesome.
Predestination ain’t easy but it stays with you. I tried explaining it to a friend but we both ended up more confused. Just watch it.
Brie Larson is the bomb. After Short Term 12 I’m glad to see her getting more great films.
Mississippi Grind will help you remember that Ryan Reynolds is a good actor. Also, Ben Mendelsohn is pretty much the best.
It is like Before Sunset met Species and spawned a horror romance. Spring is a pleasant surprise.
There is a moment when a guy gets shot and salt literally falls into his wound. Slow West is beautifully shot and lots of fun.
Kurt Russell is my hero. If you don’t appreciate Russell in a cannibal western we can’t be friends.
While We’re Young
Noah Baumbach is awesome. I’m glad to see him back with Ben Stiller because the two made magic with Greenberg.
Hello all. Mark here.
Do you love romantic comedies that feature a little drama? Do you love incredibly random romantic comedies that feature time travel, sandals, literal gold hearts and krakens? If you said “yes” to both of these questions you will love this pod.
Sidenote: John Cusack gets a lot of pod time.
We combined ten romantic comedy tropes and broke them down in order to create something glorious. In this pod you will be transported to a new world featuring three Zoey Deschanel’s and several Sandra Bullocks.
If you get a chance please REVIEW, RATE and SHARE the pod!