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Askew Review 15

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  (Retro Shock O Rama) 1975/1987/2005 Running Time would have to be a guess. Probably around five hours of material. Horror the good old fashioned way. Rated R.
   Satanís Black Wedding tells the poignant tale of Mark who travels to California when his sister is murdered. He discovers that she has been working on a book on satanic worship. Then he spots his sister in the company of a priest and it appears that what we have is a tale of corruption, vampires and an unholy wedding between brother and sister to bring about ÖThe Antichrist!
   EI Cinema has always done a magnificent job of bringing us the erotic films of Nick Phillips. Now they decide to explore his small portion of work concerned with horror. Nick does horror like he does erotic; off kilter, weird, and definitely a period piece. Itís like a slice of life from the 70ís on The West Coast.
   Criminally Insane gives us Ethel Janowski who tips the scales at 300 pounds. Just released into her grandmotherís care from an insane asylum, Ethel lives to eat. Grandma decides to put Ethel on a diet.  Bad idea.  Ethel refuses to let anyone come between her and her beloved food. Sheíll kill to eat. And after killing her own grandmother, how hard can it be to kill anyone who wanders near the house?
   Criminally Insane is a low budget, grimy flick that tells a tale of madness. Priscilla Alden (Ethel) steals the film from everyone else.  There is a pretty small cast to begin with and with the proper swung utensils it doesnít take long to get to last psycho standing.
   The effects, like Satanís Black Wedding are crude at best, but still effective for the time frame.
   As bonuses we get commentary tracks from Nick Phillips on the two films, there is a behind the scenes documentary that reunites Nick with his star, Priscilla. And, if that wasnít enough, EI Cinema includes Criminally Insane 2. The sequel that no one needed, but for an early shot on video film it works pretty well. Of course, be warned that half of the film is flashbacks culled from the first film. - Douglas A. Waltz



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