Monday, January 9, 2017

Elvira's Movie Macabre Season 2, Episode 19: Craze, Starring Jack Palance

On the evening of January 29, 1983, exactly one week before The Monster Club, the movie Craze aired as Episode 19 of season 2 of Elvira's Movie Macabre. I do not remember seeing this movie, so I will be watching it and live blogging it tonight after I hear the voices upstairs subside so I can put on the earphones. 

Before I even begin watching Craze I notice the director, Freddie Francis, had directed many horror movies I am quite fond of, including Dr. Terror's House of Horrors, Torture Garden, Tales From the Crypt, Tales That Witness Madness, and The Ghoul. He came up through the ranks working as a clapper boy then making films during his WWII deployment. He got his break directing in 1962 at Hammer, and like many classic horror directors and actors, spent the rest of his career being typecast in the genre. It is sad to hear that story over and over when the movies these people made endure, and have made so many people happy. 

The movie opens with Jack Palance and group of worshippers sacrificing a woman to C3PO. I bet they got a cease and desist letter from George Lucas before the end of shooting this scene.

There's a a lot of nudity in this scene, and Jenny said I should start doing warnings about how much violence or nudity are in these movies, so warning, warning, boobs. And violence.

Jack Palance plays an off-center antique dealer who holds nightly rituals in his basement trying to curry favor from the African demigod Chuku. 

After the first nightly ritual where the Black woman offers her blood, everyone goes upstairs, then this older woman comes down and says "That's my Chuku" and insists the idol is hers and tries to take it back. It goes badly for her. C3PO is apparently pleased, spurring Palance on to even more and more creative and grisly sacrifices (probably, I haven't actually seen the movie yet, but I'll give you a dog biscuit if that's not what happens).

Chuku was a creator deity of the Ibo people of Nigeria.

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Readers of this blog will no doubt remember Julie Ege from The Seven Brothers Meet Dracula and The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires, which are the same movie. In this scene Palance is no doubt about to sacrifice Ege to Chuku. But first some casual drug use and a romp. This movie was listed in Britain's infamous Video Nasties. 

Dance for Chuku, dammit. Dance.

That's no way to treat Julie Ege.

Let's see what Neal Mottram gets from Chuku for Julie Ege. He got a drawer full of gold coins for the old bat.

A: Ming vases

Then he scares an old lady with this mask and I have to be honest I lost interest and went to bid on a Hot Wheel on Ebay. If Chuku is paying out Ming vases for Julie Ege maybe just a subscription to National Geographic for scaring old ladies with a kook mask? Got about forty minutes to ride out with this one and I have to say I'm not into it. I feel like I've started this movie before in the past and not been able to get through it. Just not my cup of tea, but maybe other horror fans will like it.

There a couple of musical numbers in subterranean English pubs that are reminiscent of The Amen Corner in Scream and Scream Again. 

Not sure what happened with the Diana Dors story arc. I wanted to talk about seeing her in The Alfred Hithcock Hour episode "Run For Doom" and then later in From Beyond the Grave. But now there's only a few minutes left and for some reason he has scheduled an appointment with a massage therapist/dominatrix and I have no idea how any of this fits into the story, but I did admittedly just skip past a half hour of dialogue.

With eight minutes left in the movie Palance schedules a massage with dominatrix Suzy Kendall. Somebody definitely isn't in for a happy ending. Mostly at this point it's me because I just want to go to bed. 

Eventually the movie ends and there are credits. By modern standards the sex, nudity, drug use, and violence are comparatively tame, so I don't know about being a Video Nasty, but maybe a video meh. 

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