Sadistic Intentions (2019)

written & directed by eric pennycoff
midnight treehouse/feast & bourbon films/alexander groupe/79th & Broadway entertainment

Plot twists, or maybe thematic twists, are pretty much this film’s modus operandi, and for the most part, they’re not all that predictable – and even the ones that are receive a little tweak. At about three-quarters of the way through this fable, I thought that what may have been intended to be some sort of dark comedy was about to veer into a disturbing realm that few films ever broach. Such a move would have been disheartening, nay, dispiriting, and it was with a palpable sense of dread that I waited to see if the director had chosen that path. Nope. He didn’t entirely cop out, either, however, so that was refreshing. But – this could have become a really remarkable examination of how things can spiral out of control and seemingly ordinary people can become trapped by circumstances and wind up making absolutely terrible, life-shattering decisions. In one sense, it still is, only the profound lack of empathy at its core finishes much differently. The actual ending is disconcertingly funny in its own special way.

why did i watch this movie?

Well, the trailer was intriguing, though I wavered for quite a while because I had envisioned something more ironic and postmodern.

should you watch this movie?

A guy invites over his bandmate and a prospective drug buyer; they don’t know each other. And where is he, anyway?

highlight and low point

Right, there’s only three people in this picture, and two of them are tremendous. The third, however, basically channels Crispin Glover, which is fairly distracting. This T-shirt, however, was jaw-dropping:

I haven’t been so envious in a long time. Oh, yeah – this movie involves death metal, mostly as a framing device.

rating from outer space: B+

Diabolicamente… Letizia aka Sex, Demons and Death (1975)

directed by salvatore bugnatelli
b.r.c. international films

An incoherent mess, badly restored from scraps and thus chock-full of abrupt transitions and missing moments – and clumsily subtitled to boot – it’s doubtful this picture could have been any better in pristine original condition. Letizia is supposed to be a boarding school student; she clearly isn’t. She exercises some sort of nefarious mind control, mainly to direct others’ sexual urges while someone takes blackmail photos, but also occasionally to create terrifying visions to torment her prey. Not even a hint of why she may be doing any of this is given until the very end, and it seems made up out of whole cloth. Despite the titillating alternate title, no demons seem to be involved, and the deaths are all extremely unconvincing. Sex there’s plenty of, and we could have a healthy debate about the apparent (offscreen) gangbang scene, how it may tie into the leitmotif of Letizia’s methods of control, and whether it’s related to the climactic niteclub dosing … but that would be giving this rubbish way more credit – and thought – than it deserves, by a long chalk. One may as well have a semiotic debate centered on Bert & Ernie.

why did i watch this movie?

Look, I try to keep things as high-minded as possible around here, given that all I do is scribble out 300-word capsule reviews of the products of a typically lowbrow art form, but you know I’m not ignoring a title like this one.

should you watch this movie?

I mean, I can’t stop you.

highlight and low point

The delicate interplay between Magda Konopka’s overacting and Franca Gonella’s somnambulant performance is a study in contrasts. Fittingly, that sentence means nothing. Oh, I neglected to mention Letizia’s occultist trainer? That’s too bad.

rating from outer space: f

Fright (1971)

directed by peter collinson
fantale films ltd.

This title might seem a misnomer, as this mild-mannered British production does not provide its audience much in the way of chills or thrills. For characters in the movie, I suppose the moniker may be more apt, but many of the emotions on display are too restrained for such easy classification. Some anger is displayed, sure, and the young lass played by Susan George spends much of her screen time FREAKING OUT – her mewling, whimpering, sobbing, puling and so forth obscuring her Saxon patois till it’s all but incomprehensible at times – but all this really accomplishes is to annoy the living hell out of certain viewers, such as this one. This film actually is more or less a rumination on various mental states, and does not convey the sensation one reasonably might expect. It does, however, contain a few oddities. The police are depicted as almost comically inutile, seemingly by design, and a thought-provoking sequence involves one of them getting “the gun” out of its secure locked storage. Cultural differences! In addition, one of the characters is a toddler who seems sedated throughout much of his screen time.  Overall, the picture feels rather disjointed and haphazard.

why did i watch this movie?

I was scouring lists of pix I’d considered and could remember nothing about this one. I looked it up and thought, oh why not, 1971.

should you watch this movie?

Unless you want to catch an eyeful of some early ’70s ladies’ fashions, there’s no real reason to do that.

highlight and low point

The outmoded attitudes towards any variety of ideas or concepts, including but not limited to mental illness and a woman’s capability and/or agency, provide some food for thought. The ending is spectacularly unsupportable.

rating from outer space: d+