SUCK-ubus

Posted on Feb 28, 2013 in 80's Horror, All Reviews, Featured, Giant Turds | 0 comments

tavernofterror.comWe horrorfiends who grew up during the 80’s VHS boom are, much like the leading lady in today’s feature, afflicted with a sort of curse.

We remember the tantalizing box art of thousands of films we yearned to see as a child, particularly on those dusty horror shelves in the back of the old video shacks. Now, as adults, we hunt them down and are reminded, repeatedly, that the cover art almost always oversold the budget films they promoted. But still we search, hoping for the day we find that random copy of Three on a Meat Hook, House of Psychotic Women, Microwave Massacre, or Rocktober Blood, just because of the lasting spell of their old clamshells.

My latest such plunge into the septic tank of yesteryear comes in the form of the 1983 horror schlock Mausoleum, which I stumbled upon on a double feature DVD with Blood Song, as release from Exploitation Cinema (who hail themselves as grindhouse sleaze purveyors but still released Mausoleum here in its edited form).  But minor cuts aside; I was still excited to see this piece of retro trash, having been snared by the box art decades ago.

MAUSOLEUM (1983)

The discount DVD jockeys at Exploitation Cinema seem to want to give us a grindhouse experience, and so they offer a few old school trailers beforehand (including Savini’s Nightmare), which are all rather enjoyable. But this grindhouse illusion may all be in an effort to excuse the goddamned terrible quality of the transfer of Mausoleum the viewer is about to endure.

All-natural playboy honey Bobbie Bresse, which many genre geeks will recognize as the temptress from Ghoulies (a superior film), stars here as scantly-clad Susan, who harbors a family curse of demonic possession. Her role in this curse begins in her youth, which we see in a confusing opening sequence fraught with clumsy editing and wretched acting, where young Susan is attending her mother’s funeral and runs off into a… you guessed it, mausoleum. Once inside she is filled-up by the evil thing, as we can tell from her eyes turning green Bill Bixby style and the fact that she blows up a stranger’s head.

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The film flashes forward. Susan is now all grown up, blond and top heavy. She’s married to Oliver (Marjoe Gortner, star of equal golden turds Star Crash and Food of the Gods). She is way out of his league, but he’s wealthy enough to drive a top opening Bradley mobile and to afford an in-house, black maid who is more of a stereotype than Foxy Love on Drawn Together.

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Anyway, Susan bewitches every man she comes across, including a Kenny Rogers doppelganger at the disco, and kills most of them and bangs some of them. There’s no real logic or patterns to her methods. We can only wonder where the bodies are going, if we bother wondering anything at all.

Most of the film moves at a sloth-dump pace, and the first half is not particularly violent, making Bresse’s exceptional beauty the first half’s only appeal. Long, boring scenes of the gardener working are paid off by Susan taking off her top for him and for us. But the sluggish pace and simple plot are excruciating nonetheless, especially when you can almost hear the projector clacking during the quieter moments.

But some hilariously bad dialogue helps keep you smirking:

OLIVER: “What’s for dinner?”

SUSAN: “Poached salmon… and me.”

Soft porn ensues.

Eventually, for no real reason, Oliver starts to suspect that something is really wrong with Susan, so he calls in the standard horror movie hero: a psychiatrist in a trench coat. He calls in a possession expert but not in time to save a delivery boy.

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We are treated to a sloppy montage that plays out like a stock footage reel, and then the gore and FX start to drastically improve even though the movie remains a dull, mindless trek through cinematic diarrhea.

But at least we have that jive-talking LaWanda!

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LAWANDA THE MAID; “I ain’t been this nervous since I been black! Great googly-moogly!”

The grand finale has some solid gore and some downright hilarious monster moments as the psychiatrist must step all the way into the Loomis role of Boogeyman Killer when Susan transforms into an evil California Raisin demon and so do her rockin’ tits.

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There is a twist ending that makes as little sense as possible, and it all takes way too long to wrap up the silly mess that has been made, leaving the viewer exhausted and rolling their eyes at the shitstorm despite the few and far between moments of genuine amusement it has offered.

FINAL THOUGHTS

To give you an idea of how suspenseful this movie is, I watched the first hour of it on Friday and then didn’t get around to finishing it off until Monday night. By that time my wife was home and on the couch, only half watching.

WIFE: “Is anyone really going to care about a review of a movie this stupid?”

ME: “Yes. The people who follow our page are just as disturbed as I am, honey.”

Fans of this film will argue that I would have enjoyed the uncut version far better, and I am sure there is some truth to that. But a few extra seconds of gore and a few more glimpses of our naked starlet would never be enough to make this gas from the past smell less rancid. It is not remotely scary or interesting, and while some of the kills are creative the snail crawl pace will have you jumping on Facebook to see pictures of your stupid friend’s dinner.

Mausoleum has some kicks in there for the B-movie aficionado though: some rubber monster effects, some practical gore, and real, corn-fed, American boobs. But all in all, it is easy to see why it stayed vaulted as long as it did, and I won’t be pining when they throw it back in its crypt.

  • RATING: 2 out of 5.

  • CHICK OF THE LITTER: Bresse is a playmate from back when they weren’t surgically modified, tramp-stamped, spray-tanned clones. She is old school gorgeous, and that really counts with guys like me. But her beauty isn’t enough to save this film, nor was it enough to save her scream queen career.

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WARNING: NSFW!

One last note: check out this foreign artwork for the film, which suits the true appeal of the movie in ways the innocent, ghoulish box art I grew up with did not.

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BARTENDER’S NOTES

While spring is not in the air as much as we’d all like it to be at this point, the spring ales are out and plentiful. While I’m more of an autumn beer fan, I will say there are one or two brews that make the rounds in this season that get my lips smackin’.

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I’m a fan of Shiner, and I’ve been enjoying their 966 Farmhouse Ale. With three varieties of hops fluffing its flavor (golding, meridian, and sterling) and a citrus and spice kick to its froth, this straw-colored beer will go well with a B-movie rewind.

Named 966, it’s just one number off from 666, only slightly missing the satanic mark… much like Mausoleum did.

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What do you think?