“Please give a big, warm welcome to the men behind Black Devil Doll From Hell and Tales From The Quadead Zone — Chester and Keefe Turner!”
The beyond-sold-out crowd at Cinefamily went wild. The Turner brothers approached us from backstage. We shook their hands. They waved to the crowd. Before we could say anything else, Keefe raised his microphone and said, “I can’t believe this. I’m tearing up. You’re gonna make me cry.”
Some “awwww”s escaped from the audience. I looked at Chester. Chester was looking at Keefe. They were both smiling. The stage lights in front of us made it easy to see their eyes. Keefe was tearing up.
After the Q&A, we chatted with Chester on the Cinefamily patio. I opened the Bleeding Skull book and showed him the spreads on Black Devil Doll and Tales From The Quadead Zone. He rubbed his hand over his eyes, smiled, and laughed. “This is so crazy. Nobody ever liked these movies and I can’t believe that all these years later, people are watching them. It warms my heart. It really means a lot to me.”
After the show, Annie and I went back to our hotel room and talked about how amazing the night felt. How happy we were for Chester Turner, who, after his unearthing by Massacre Video‘s Louis Justin, turned out to be a sweet and appreciative man. How crazy it was that the launch of Bleeding Skull in 2004 eventually led to the release of a Bleeding Skull book in 2013. And how the release of the book led us to hosting a night at Cinefamily with Chester and Keefe Turner in person. It felt insane. It felt surreal. It made me feel happy. And grateful.
This year was amazing. And it’s all your fault. Yes, you — the reader. Our friend on this magical journey of obsession and appreciation for ultra-obscure genre movies that no one cares about. These movies make our lives better. And your support and enthusiasm for our own passion makes working on Bleeding Skull a bazillion times better. I can’t thank you enough.
I used to worry that I’d get burned out on Bleeding Skull. But with the addition of Zack and Annie, and the release of the book, 2013 felt a lot like 2004. In other words:
THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNINGZ.
P.S. Here’s a list of ten movies that will make you happy.
10. Satan’s Bed (H. Tjut Djalil, 1984) Video Screams DVD-R / Full Review
“Satan’s Bed is a dirt cheap Indonesian rip-off of A Nightmare On Elm Street, but with improvements. This movie doesn’t mess around with building characters, tension, or storylines. It gets down to what audiences really want — people hanging out in a pool, a prominently displayed t-shirt that says, “This is my SEXY t-shirt,” and Freddy shooting fireballs out of his mouth. Granted, there’s only about 30 minutes of genuine entertainment in this 82 minute movie. But those 30 minutes are more than enough to establish Satan’s Bedas a force of nature.”
09. Bloody Mansion Death (???, 1982) VIP’s Video Productions VHS / Full Review
“Naming a movie Bloody Mansion Death is like naming a movie Tank Explosions or High School Boobs. It guarantees success. The audience knows what they want, and by watching, they hope to get it. This SOV slasher features blood, a mansion, and a bunch of death. Technically, it could be considered a success. However, these elements are only a means to an end. And that “end” is lingerie, fur coats that are made out of skunks, and the use of the theme song from Jaws. By the way, this movie is Turkish.”
08. Doctor Strain The Body Snatcher (LaMonte Fritts, 1991) Nina Films VHS / Full Review
“Thoughts can’t get any bigger than the things that happen in this movie. Which is ironic. Because nothing happens in this movie. The bigness comes from someplace else. A place where people play solos on drum machines instead of drum sets. A place where a leading man wears a leg cast during an eight minute “chase” scene. It’s a place that was haphazardly edited and scored by someone named “Renaissance II” and also a place where the sounds of a softball game overlap the sounds of a zombie chanting over a grave. It is a reason to feel good about everything.”
07. Dream Stalker (Christopher Mills, 1991) Artistic License, Inc. VHS / Full Review
“Dream Stalker revels in non-continuity and fails at communication. Director Christopher Mills goes out of his way to make it difficult for us to understand why we’re watching this movie. After forty minutes of set-ups, false dreams, and random tangents, we get forty more minutes of set-ups, false dreams, and random tangents. Plus gore. But what pushes this movie over the line, and into blissful territory, is director Mills’s disregard for making sure that his equipment was in working order.”
06. Electronic Lover (Jesse Berger, 1966) Something Weird DVD / Full Review
“Claustrophobic and incredibly cheap, the experience of this movie is like projecting Andy Warhol’s Vinyl over a performance of a high school garage band called “The Fludd” who recently discovered Procol Harum. As long as you’re paying attention, there’s always something to look at and always something to infer. But none of it makes sense. And, if any single element was removed, it wouldn’t work. The boredom would overtake the beauty of the random audio/visual massage. Electronic Loverfeels like a living photocopy and sounds like a mixtape for dungeon dance parties.”
05. The Black Alley Cats (Henning Schellerup, 1973) Something Weird VHS / Full Review
“The last line of decipherable dialogue in The Black Alley Catsis: “That’ll teach ‘em not to fuck with The Black Alley Cats!” That makes sense. Because it is a true statement. This movie is un-fuckable-with. It is vigilante costumes consisting of black leather jackets, no pants, and nylons without panties. It is a soundtrack that is mostly a drum solo. It is social reform in the guise of black boobs being pushed into white faces. It is the rare no-budget 1970s sexploitation movie that encourages expectation, surpasses it, and destroys the need for explanation.”
04. The Beauties And The Beast (Ray Nadeau, 1974) Applause Productions, Inc. VHS / Full Review
“If this movie doesn’t convince you that Bigfoot is real, then nothing will. From the Disney-esque library music to the harsh jump cuts, from the thirty-second establishing shot of a portable radio to Uschi Digard’s unintelligible Renee Harmon impression, the surreal mood of Beauties And The Beastis satisfying and relaxing. It’s basically 60 minutes of happy idiots getting naked while Bigfoot hangs out and everything goes haywire behind the camera.”
03. Nigel The Psychopath (Jim Larsen, 1994) Cemetery Cinema VHS / Full Review
“Nigel The Psychopath is a shot-on-video horror movie from Virgina that was made by kids. Real kids. In fact, the oldest humanoid in this movie appears to be sixteen because that is how old you need to be to drive a Chrysler LeBaron. It might be repetitive and plotless, but it’s still more entertaining and realistic than Harmony Korine’s script for Kids. This is the real thing. It’s pure. And energetic. And ridiculous.”
02. Cuadecuc, Vampir (Pere Portabella, 1971) DVD-R / Full Review
“On paper, Cuadecuc, Vampir is an experimental documentary about the making of the late Jess Franco’s Count Dracula. But in reality, it’s an alternate version of Count Dracula, one with meta-enhanced imagery, synthesizers that sound like airplane engines, and smeary, 16mm black and white photography. This is simply a beautiful, intoxicating mood piece. And it’s so simplistic that the mood dominates, like the mood in any Charlton comic book with the word ‘ghost’ in the title.”
01. Das Buch der Blutigen Geschichten (Michael Kahlert, 1987-91) DVD-R / Full Review
“A stop motion, ultra-gore Super 8 epic that stars Star Wars action figures instead of humans should never be compared to Steven Spielberg — that would be an insult to Das Buch der Blutigen Geschichten. The sincerity of this self-contained universe overpowers everything. Boredom never enters the picture. The thrill of seeing these gory, pop-art visuals, combined with a sense of awe for Kahlert’s work ethic, leads to constant entertainment. It’s inspiring and mesmerizing. I didn’t want it to end.”