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CineSchlock-O-Rama: It Came From The Vault #1

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CineSchlock-O-Rama: It Came From The Vault #1

Old 02-17-09, 03:37 PM
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CineSchlock-O-Rama: It Came From The Vault #1

Happy New Year!

Behold the debut issue of the It Came From The Vault! newsletter. Response to the launch of the CineSchlock-O-Rama archive site has been humbling! Already had to order more booster buttons. The first couple hundred making their way as far as Germany and South Africa. Schlock knows no borders! Now, it's never farther than your inbox!

Adventures in Geekdom

These days yours truly is consumed with Texas Frightmare Weekend, which has rapidly become the southwest's premier horror convention and film festival. We're deep into planning our May 1-3 event (in Dallas) featuring shock rock icon Alice Cooper and a host of other fright favorites. Hope to see y'all there!


4 of 5 stars / 1974 / A

Some exhibitors dubbed this flick the California Axe Massacre in an attempt to exploit the success of a certain increasingly notorious movie released the same year. They weren't entirely cracked. Both pictures illustrate the dangers city folk face when they wander too far into rural America. Each feature catatonic patriarchs, damsels in distress and implements befitting lumberjacks. They share a similarly gritty, uneasy atmosphere, but familiarity doesn't equal, well, equality. One's THE greatest horror picture ever made. While Axe (1974, 68 minutes) is a comparative footnote. But writer/director Frederick R. Friedel's crime story turned blood feast is well worth exploring, no matter how the title card reads.

The movie: Three underworld enforcer types lamb it to the sticks after murdering a fella and chasing his shrieking boyfriend out the window of a high-rise apartment building. Steele, the head hood (Jack Canon), doesn't seem phased by having to leave the city behind, as he much prefers to look generally disinterested while absently fiddling with his cuticles.

Meanwhile, back at the farm, we meet a dour teenage girl named Lisa (Leslie Lee) who lives alone with her invalid grandfather (Douglas Powers). Hers seems a joyless life as she hums the same melancholy tune while spooning broth into grandpa's drooling mouth, as she does when blankly lopping off a hen's head. Not far away, the fugitives' car lurches to a stop in front of a sleepy country store and Steele swaggers in for nourishment and criminal diversion. He flings apples at the shopkeeper's head before making her strip and dodge bullets for his amusement. Of course, these cruel buzzards land at Lisa's doorstep and force themselves upon her hospitality. To their bewilderment, she appears nonplused by their menacing presence, as her only passive concern seems to be for her beloved pappy. Our director plays Billy, the third and most reluctant bad guy, who takes it upon himself to preserve Lisa's virtue and life against the base urges of his comrades. However, this razor-clawed kitten is in NO need of a hero.

Eagle-eyed CineSchlockers will remember Mr. Canon was among the valiant defenders of the Dixie Boy Truck Stop in Maximum Overdrive.

Notables: No breasts. Six corpses. Cigar burn to the mouth. Baby doll bludgeoning. Coca-Cola cleavage. Foot chase. Cookie dunking. Toenail clipping. Bathtub dismemberment. Geriatric sponge bath. Produce skeet shoot.

Quotables: Steele grows impatient with his fidgety lackey, "Why don't you go get me a glass of water -- then drink it yourself! It'll give you something to do!" And later, he admires some cantaloupes, "The lady's sure got some nice melons there, Lomax. I bet she's got some OTHER nice melons!" Billy helps Lisa move an exceptionally heavy trunk, "What have you got in there? Old bowling balls?!"

Time codes: The boys play William Tell with a blubbering convenience store clerk (16:16). An unlucky relative of Mike the Headless Chicken (18:43). Lisa introduces cutlery into traditional bath-time fun (45:20). Bizzaro commercial for Campbell's Home Cookin' Soup (1:00:38).

Final thought: Lisa is such an enigma that the tension born from not knowing what she'll do from moment to moment is weirdly enthralling.

What's new?

Good to know my close, personal friend Tommy Habeeb is still up to Beelzebub's business. The legendary Cheaters host has cultivated Stag: Last Night of Freedom into a bona fide deep, dark cable hit. Particularly among attention-starved engagement ring gazers willing to wager their booze-addled hubbies-to-be won't go ape poopie in the face (or nethers) of not-so-taut temptresses. Naturally, with a titillating title such as Stag: Topless Treasures Uncensored one expects (and gets) a leering "Grooms Gone Wild" bachelor party ride along. Yet, as with Cheaters, the 24-karat gold gleams most blindingly when Tommy presents his tattle-tale video to deliciously devastated, alternately ENRAGED bridezillas. Hell hath no fury, indeed!

Let the Right One In is easily the best horror movie (with heart) since May. Sink your fangs deeper into Oskar and Eli's beautifully blood-soaked serenade by investing in the original novel. It's certain to enhance CineSchlockers appreciation of the film as an adaptation, while also expanding the richness of the story.

However, if like yours truly, your preferred reading has more pictures than words, check out The Walking Dead -- a fantastic comic series which, better than any film, explores the human drama of a post-zombie apocalypse world. CineSchlockers will care about these "survivors" and their losses and (meager) advances truly become your own. Issue 56, which just published, celebrates five years of the monthly series and, thoughtfully, issues 1-48 have been beautifully collected in four hardcovers.

More from The Vault

Send your comments to [email protected]
2009 G. Noel Gross, CineSchlocker.com
Distribution courtesy Texas Frightmare Weekend (Dallas) May 1-3, 2009
Old 02-21-09, 01:10 PM
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Re: CineSchlock-O-Rama: It Came From The Vault #1

One of these days I'll have to make it out to Texas for the Frightmare Weekend. Very cool that AC is gonna be there this time.

I'm surprised there are no boobies in Axe... it's the 70's, man.

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