Here's the DVD that secured my love for Something Weird Video. It's great to discover a company that offers thousands of obscure titles for consumption and expresses the deepest affection for its catalog, even though it clearly doesn't take a single release seriously! For example, this disc's main selection screen exhibits its title in the background; periodically, a disembodied hand hops across the screen wielding an axe, which it chops a few times to leave a bloody mess over said appellation. SWV harbors no reservations in presenting movies that are as stupid as they are fun!
Headlining feature Axe is modestly entertaining. After brutalizing a fruity gay couple and a grocery clerk, a trio of dapper thugs (Jack Canon, Ray Green and director/writer/editor Frederick R. Friedel) hole up in a rural farmhouse, where a pretty, sullen young woman (Leslie Lee) cares for her paralyzed grandfather (Douglas Powers). While it isn't a great film by any standard, Axe is ably shot and edited, featuring some interesting (if unexceptional) performances and a subdued, ominous atmosphere unimaginable in a contemporary American horror picture. Despite its languid pace, plenty of bloody mayhem is bundled into this feature's brief (68 minutes) runtime. Although the musical score by George Newman Shaw and John Willhelm is unique and effective, Shaw's sound design is probably the worst element of this crude production: the soundtrack is as muddled and poorly mixed as that of so many other B-movies. Most of the film's stock is pristine, but a few scenes are immoderately grainy. SWV claims to use the best existing prints for their transfers and I've no doubt that's true; overall, this copy looks pretty good.
Directed, written, produced and co-starring Axe producer/co-editor J.G. Patterson, the second feature is entitled The Electric Chair. Quite simply, this may be the single worst motion picture that I've ever seen. Its production values, story, performances, etc. are somehow inferior to that of Z-grade drivel like Manos: The Hands of Fate or Monster A Go-Go. The poorly-constructed plot concerns the murder of two adulterers and the consequences that ensue thereafter. As both a crime thriller and a courtroom drama, this movie is a complete failure in every conceivable way. Even a pair of interesting (albeit depressingly morbid) execution sequences can't save this trash. I don't even know if this was conceived as a denunciation against or promotion for capital punishment, and I couldn't care less. The screeching, synthesized musical score sounds like outtakes from early Throbbing Gristle recordings. Avoid this film at all costs and move along to the special features. You'll have wasted 86 minutes of your life on some of the worst extant audiovisual garbage if you sit through this tripe.
This disc's special features are plentiful. Two vintage short films are available therein: Mental Health (Keeping Mentally Fit) and We Still Don't Believe It. The former is an educational short produced by Encyclopedia Britannica that makes Centron's postwar output look brilliant in comparison. However, the second short is pleasant enough. In it, a cute Latina sword-swallower examines and then gulps down numerous swords in a fake exhibit. Every time she does so, another article of her clothing is torn as though cut and falls away, leaving her clad in underwear at the movie's end.
11 theatrical trailers are provided on this disc for your viewing enjoyment. Three among these are promotional reels for Axe, under both its present title and two others: Lisa, Lisa and The Virgin Slaughter. Those trailers of alternate titles feature, shrill, campy, hyperbolic narration; the Virgin Slaughter promo hilariously portrays the movie's victimized antagonist as a bloodthirsty seductress! Additional trailers promote eight more raunchy B-movies typical of those produced and distributed by Harry Novak's Boxoffice International Pictures from the early '60s through the late '70s. If none of these make you smile, I don't know what possibly could.
Finally, the presentation is concluded by a slideshow of exploitation film posters and advertisements, scored by numerous outrageous radio spots! Some of the movies that these materials promote are lost films; others are available from SWV. Many of them aren't listed on IMDb!
If you're as fond of sleazy, low-budget '70s movies as I am, this DVD and quite a lot else of SWV's selections will entertain you to no end.
Pros: ... Cons: ... The Bottom Line: Lizzie Borden took an axe And gave her mother forty whacks. And when she saw what she had done, She gave her father forty-one. When Im in a bit of a funk I generally seek out an old nasty 1970s era B-flick slasher movie. Nothing will ground you quicker than the miserable presentation of a low budget B-flick. Its even better if you can … more
This ultra low budget horror film, a drive-in favorite in the early 1970s, is a fast paced shocker that is part REPULSION and part TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. In it, three small time crooks who are looking for a place to hideout after a crime spree happen upon a deserted looking farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. Inside, they find a young girl named Lisa who cares for her invalid grandfather. Pleased that they will have a young woman to push around, the three criminals set up shop and order Lisa to cook them some food. What the three crooks don't know, however, is that Lisa is a near psychotic young woman who regularly hallucinates and whose pent up rage is about to boil over. When one of the criminals triggers her anger, she begins killing each of her house guests, one by one.