Naked Evil (B&W, 1966) AKA Exorcism at Midnight (with added footage)
Atmospheric voodoo horror with some yardie gangsters expanding their turf-battles to include obeah instead of just old fashioned hits. Instead of tossing bombs, they throw bottles of feathers and grave dirt, and seem to get even better results. The headmaster of a university for Jamaican science students starts getting obeah bottles and has to determine who's practicing witchcraft. Kind of like an early British version of blaxploitation, which plays a little like Curse of the Demon. Despite the title, nobody gets naked. For exploitation purposes, the film was color-tinted and another "framing" story was put together around Naked Evil's footage and it was titled Exorcism at Midnight. -zwolf

Narc (C, 2002)
Low-budget but very well done police drama, like the kind they made in the '70's (except for a little too much flash-editing, which is the bane of the 21st century filmmaking world... god, I hate that stuff). Jason Patric is an undercover cop who's on hiatus from the force because he shot a pregnant bystander in the belly during a bust that went horribly wrong. He doesn't really want back on the job but he needs a paycheck and they need his expertise to close out a case that's gone cold; a cop killed during undercover work. The cop's old partner (Ray Liotta, who deliberately packed on some weight for the role by eating a lot of Chinese food to make him retain water and look "puffy") is obsessed with finding the killers, and Patric soon becomes obsessed, too, and the law gets thrown out the window. The dialogue and acting gives the film a very natural, realistic feel, while the camerawork is very stylized, but for the most part that conflict works amazingly well. Gritty and rough and well-worth watching. Directed by Joe Carnahan and also stars Busta Rhymes. Man, does everybody say "fuck" a lot. It's like this and Boondock Saints are having a contest. -zwolf

The Narrow Margin (B&W, 1952)
Extremely well-done noir actioner with a tough cop (Charles McGraw) given an assignment that may be even tougher than he is - getting a dead gangster's wife to trial before the mob's hit men kill her off to keep her quiet. The bulk of the film details their attempts to find her on a train, while the gravel-voiced McGraw tries to stop them. The low budget forced director Richard Fleischer to make up for the lack of cash with imagination, and that makes this a standout B-film that simply couldn't be better (but o' course they tried anyway - it was re-made in 1990). Besides, ya gotta cherish any film with lines like, "I'd like to give you the same answer I gave him, but it'd mean stepping on your face." Hard-boiled, fast-moving, well-done, and any other good hyphenated things ya can say about it. -zwolf

The Nest (C, 1988)
Killer cockroaches (the product of government experiments) attack the inhabitants of an island, and the sheriff tries to put a stop to it, because eating people is illll-legal! Stupid law if you ask me. The only way to stop the roaches is to destroy their nest. A fair amount of gore, a mutant cat, a roach monster, and lots and lotsa cockroaches! Based on the novel by Gregory A. Douglas, which I read as a kid and kinda liked, although I never figured they'd make a movie out of it. -zwolf

New Tale of Zatoichi (C, 1963) AKA Masseur Ichi Enters Again, Zatoichi Enters Again, Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman's Return, Shin Zatoichi monogatari
Third in the incredible blind swordsman series, and the first in color. Ichi comes back to his hometown to visit the man who taught him swordsmanship. The sensei's daughter falls in love with him, but the sensei doesn't approve and, furthermore, has been helping a gang of kidnappers. Ichi finds himself in a very difficult position when the sensei wants a showdown with him; he'll not only have to face the whole gang, but possibly his beloved teacher who is also the father of the girl he loves. Lots of drama and very well done, but I must admit that this one drags a bit; not a lot of action. -zwolf

The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (C, 1971) AKA The Night She Arose from the Tomb, The Night that Evelyn Left the Tomb, La Notte che Evelyn Usci dalla Tomba
Erotic Eurotrash horror with Erica "I'm in nearly all the Eurotrash horror" Blanc. Suave, debonair, and sadistically crazy playboy Alan brings girls to his decrepit estate, gets them to dress up in thigh-high boots and play bondage games with him... but they aren't games, because he chains them up and stabs them to death while hallucinating that they're Evelyn, the wife who cheated on him and got killed for it. He meets Erica at a strip club where she go-go dances after coming out of a coffin. He tries the old S&M game with her, but she escapes and Alan has to find another woman. This one he marries... and then he starts thinking that Evelyn has risen from the dead and is lurking around. And someone else is doing killings, too; one murdered girl is fed to a pen of foxes. Alan goes crazier and crazier... and that might just be someone's plan. The whole thing gets pretty tedious and doesn't have much in the way of gore, and the creepiness is minimal, confined to only a couple of scenes, so by far the best part of this film was the completely-excellent poster, depicting a skull-faced woman holding out a man's severed head, under the legend, "THE WORMS ARE WAITING!" A co-worker used to have that on the wall of the cubicle we shared, just to freak out anyone who dropped by. This film is readily available on cheap DVDs, but be aware that they're old TV prints with a whole lot of footage chopped out, rendering viewing pretty useless. Currently, if you want a full print of this, you should get it from Sinister Cinema. -zwolf

Nightmare Castle (B&W, 1965) AKA The Faceless Monster, Orgasmo, Lovers Beyond the Tomb, Night of the Doomed, Amanti d'Oltretomba
Barbara Steele gets lonely because her husband Stephen's hideous experiments don't leave him much time for her, so she takes up with a stablehand. Stephen catches them, chains them to a dungeon wall, whips them, drips acid on them, electrocutes them, and drains their blood before cremating them and potting plants in their ashes. Now that's just spiteful. Then, since Barbara left her estate to her mentally-ill sister (Barbara in a blonde wig), he marries her and starts trying to drive her mad. She also becomes possessed by her sister's spirit, causing nightmares about the killing. Her sister haunts her, turning her against Stephen and using her as an instrument of revenge. Meanwhile, Stephen's aged housekeeper/mistress, who's been made young again on his first wife's blood, decides she needs the second wife's blood, too. Finally the ghosts of the murdered couple show up for vengeance. Barbara's ghost, with half its face eaten away by acid, is pretty creepy and memorable. Atmospheric, with stark black and white photography that adds to the nightmarish nature of some of the horror scenes, and lots of pretty shots of Barbara. Would make a good triple-feature with Black Sunday and Terror Creatures from the Grave. -zwolf

Night Must Fall (B&W, 1964)
Remake of the '37 original. This time it's Albert Finney as the psycho who hacks women's heads off with a hatchet. He comes across as well-mannered at first, but is horribly obnoxious and smarmy. Somehow, though, he manages to ingratiate himself with every woman he meets, particularly a rich old lady in a wheelchair who plays "mother" with him and hires him to do some home repairs. So, he moves in, bringing along a hatbox with a severed head in it. And all he does in the way of "home improvement" is to paint weird black jaggedy scribbles on the wall and pace back and forth, gouging the wallpaper with his fingernails. He's already gotten the maid pregnant and begins seducing the daughter, who apparently likes it rough, because he's pretty violent with her. Meanwhile, the police are investigating the headless body found in the nearby pond. The daughter starts getting disturbed by his weird mood-swings, which are becoming crazier and more frequent... and therefore creepier. He starts losing control over his little games, and who knows what'll happen next? Engaging psychothriller with cinematography by Hammer legend Freddie Francis and plenty of over-the-top menace from Finney, who looks a lot like professional wrestler William/Stephen Regal. -zwolf

Night of the Death Cult (C, 1975) AKA Night of the Seagulls, Blind Dead 4, They Don't Go Out at Night, Night of the Blood Cult, Terror Beach, Noche de las gaviotas
Fourth and final Blind Dead film. In a flashback, the Templar knights cut the heart out of a girl and put it in the mouth of their sea-demon idol, then they suck her blood and leave the rest to be eaten by crabs. Then, in modern times, a new doctor and his wife come to the seaside village to set up his practice, and realize that there are strange rituals going on at night. The townspeople chain girls to the rocks as sacrifices to the Templars, who are still active even though they're now mummified zombies. The villagers are very unfriendly, especially to the village idiot, who they beat up. When the doctor takes him in and rescues one of the sacrificial girls, the zombies attack his barricaded house, Night of the Living Dead style. Pretty standard Blind Dead film, but they're all good atmospheric Spanish horror and worth seeing... preferably in order. -zwolf

Night of the Hunted (C, 1980) AKA La Nuit des Traquees
Jean Rollin movies are always a bit surreal anyway, so when he tries to be surreal, look out. A woman named Elizabeth is perpetually lost because she has no memory - she can't remember what happened five minutes ago or who she knows, where she lives, anything. (Possibly some influence on Memento?) Some people come and take her back to a "Black Tower" - a skyscraper/asylum where people with similar mental conditions get treatment... and are held prisoner. Elizabeth rooms with a girl who's too messed up to even feed herself, because she can't control her hands, but she can invent memories for people - "Even if they're false, they're true." Elizabeth starts to remember a few things and wants to escape. And that might not be a bad idea, because one girl ends up with scissors in her eyes, one of the guys is a rapist (as well as a dead ringer for Charles Manson when he shaved his head), another kills with a hammer, the doctors may be causing the symptoms, and bodies are being burned. Elizabeth finds a friend, Veronique, but she soon starts losing her mind completely. A guy she met on the outside comes to help her and finds himself in trouble, too. Very strange narrative with more implication than explanation, and the usual Rollin sex and blood. -zwolf

Night Tide (B&W, 1961)
Somewhat-obscure classic with Dennis Hopper as an awkward, lonely sailor who spends his leave-time goofing around a California amusement pier, where he meets a girl named Mora, who plays a mermaid in a sideshow. He really likes her, and she likes him, but the bad part is that she believes she really is one of the sea people, which means she has a tendency to drown any human who gets too close to her. Dennis tries to convince her that she's wrong, but then he has to wonder if maybe she's right after all. Everyone warns him that all of Mora's past boyfriends have died, and there's also a strange woman (Cameron, who was supposedly a witch in real life) who follows her around... Lots of authentically-cheap, sleazy Cali carny atmosphere and a certain eerieness make this not-quite-a-horror-film-but-sorta a must-see that, for some reason, I always want to compare to Carnival of Souls. Maybe it's the waterfront-carnival aspect, or it could be the creepy scene where Dennis follows Cameron around through deserted Venice back-alleys. Either way, I suggest a double-feature. -zwolf

Nine Demons
(C, 1984) AKA Nine Venoms, Ju Zi Tian Mo, The Demons
Bizarre Chinese horror/kung fu about a guy named Joey (yes, Joey) who falls through a hole into Hell and makes a deal with the devil (a guy with eyeshadow and a knife sticking out of his forehead) so he can save his friend Gary (yes, Gary) from bad guys. Joey is given hellish powers and a necklace of nine skulls that sometimes fly around drinking blood, and sometimes change into a woman and eight giggling, acrobatic kids. These demons are highly obnoxious and their thirst for blood keeps Joey busy trying to feed them, which results in a bunch of acid-trippy scenes with flashing colored lights and people and skulls flying all over the place. There's also some kung-fu fights (as you'd expect, considering two of the actors from The Five Deadly Venoms are starring in it) but this takes a back seat to wacky, over-the-top (and real real cheap!) supernatural stuff. One of the strange fights is conducted with everybody skiing around on a pond of soapy water and floating in the air on wires. Anybody who goes into this looking for a kung fu movie is bound to come away a little disappointed (and dazed), but if you know to expect crazy, imaginative supernatural fantasy instead, you'll probably have fun with it. -zwolf

Ninja Wolves (C, 1979)
An evil white-haired eunuch is using the emperor's guards for his own decadent ends, and plans to kill everyone between himself and complete power. First he stages a contest to kill off all but the most powerful, elite fighters. Two Japanese competitors are warned that the eunuch will just use them selfishly if they're made into guards, but they continue anyway and become the eunuch's top bodyguards. Their ambition and their boss's ruthlessness soon leads to a rash of killings. One loyal officer who sees what the eunuch is doing wants to protect the emperor from him, but the Japanese want his position and get permission to kill him, even though he wants to just resign and move away with his mother. Finally all this crazy ambition gets out of hand. Nice-looking film (it's an independent production from Taiwan but approaches Shaw Brothers quality) showcasing some great swordplay and hand-to-hand (looks like the eunuch uses Leopard Fist; that doesn't show up too often in these movies). The plot's a bit too complex for its own good and it's odd to see a movie that's not hero-driven for the most part, and there are no "ninja," really -- the Japanese fighters aren't ninja - but this is quality stuff for kung fu fiends. -zwolf

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