24 November 2017

88 FILMS PRESENTS: THE LAST HORROR FILM (1982), STARRING HAMMER BEAUTY CAROLINE MUNRO. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.




THE LAST HORROR FILM. (1982) DIRECTED BY DAVID WINTERS. STARRING JOE SPINELL, FILOMENA SPAGNUOLO (CREDITED AS MARY SPINELL), JUDD HAMILTON, GLENN JACOBSON, DAVID WINTERS AND CAROLINE MUNRO. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©




'This is your last horror film. I love you, Jana. Goodbye...'

If this slasher horror flick from the early 'Eighties isn't high up on the list of the best slasher horror flicks from the 'Eighties ever, then it bloody well should be. It stars Hammer Horror beauty Caroline Munro as the gorgeous Jana Bates, a horror movie actress who's in line for a Best Actress Award at the 1981 Cannes Film Festival, up against the likes of Faye Dunaway and Meryl Streep and other lady film icons of the day.

Would now be a good time to tell my Caroline Munro story? Oh goody, I love telling that story. I met the lady herself in 2015 at the annual Irish Film Institute Horrorthon, which that year was honouring Hammer icon Christopher Lee who had sadly passed away earlier in 2015 at the age of ninety-two.

The Film Institute showed THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES which co-starred Peter Cushing alongside Christopher Lee, and the fabulous Ms. Munro attended in person at a special screening of Hammer's DRACULA A.D. 1972. This film saw Caroline Munro join that elite group of females of whom, truthfully, I will die jealous, that is to say, actresses who have been bitten on the neck by Christopher Lee in his role as Count Dracula. Sooooo jealous, lol.

I met Ms. Munro before the screening in the lobby of the Film Institute, and she was gracious and lovely to me as well as being still beautiful after all those years. After the screening, at which she was present the entire time (I know because I was watching her the whole time, hee-hee-hee! I'd probably make quite a good stalker myself.), I queued up with about a hundred men (yep, all guys except for little me!) to get my hands on some signed photos.

I got the iconic one of herself and Christopher Lee in character in DRACULA A.D. 1972, where she's just been bitten and she's got half a gallon of Kensington Gore poured over her boobies. What did she scrawl across my picture? Oh yeah. She wrote: 'This'll never be you, you jealous cow...!' Haha, of course she didn't. She just signed her name like a normal person...!

Anyway, let's get back to THE LAST HORROR FILM. It starts off in New York, where a greasy-haired, overweight middle-aged cabbie by the name of Vinny Durand spends his every waking moment fantasising about Jana Bates, a horror movie actress whom he'd love to be the star of a film of his own making some day. That's right, folks. Vinny, who's got 'loser' written all over him, wants to be a big-shot Hollywood movie producer some day, with Jana Bates as his leading lady. Dream on, poor deluded Vinny Durand. Dream on...

He's serious about all this though, serious enough to buy himself a ticket to the 1981 Cannes Film Festival, at which Jana is up for the Best Actress Award with her horror flick SCREAM. If she wins the award, she'll be the first horror actress ever to do so. Vinny is determined to see her and ask her to be in his 'movie,' aptly titled THE LOVES OF DRACULA. Aptly because Caroline Munro had starred in DRACULA A.D. 1972 with Christopher Lee, see?

Once Vinny hits Cannes, the people close to Jana Bates start to mysteriously 'disappear,'
leaving both the resort of Cannes and Jana Bates herself in a state of panic. Where- and whom- will the mysterious Stalker-slash-Abductor, who's obviously keeping close tabs on Jana Bates and her entourage, strike next? I'm guessing it won't be a million miles from Ms. Bates herself. Dearie me, oh dearie me. Cannes won't see such chaotic shenanigans for another quarter of a century when Mr. Bean hits town...

The film is chock-a-block with stunning-looking nudie females. When we first meet Vinny, he's masturbating away like crazy to a blue movie in which a busty blonde, her two pneumatic fake tits glued to her chest like bowling balls, strips naked and climbs into a hot-tub, where she's immediately murdered by an unknown assailant. Right up Vinny's street, that is...

On the beaches of Cannes, there are topless females everywhere, bouncing around the place in their nudieness like porn stars in one of Vinny's wet dreams. Check out the scene where the nearly-naked women taunt Vinny from the safety of the ocean wave, those little harlots. Surely they can guess that Vinny's all talk and no action?

You know what, psychologically speaking, the Vinster's probably impotent. He can probably only achieve and maintain an erection while fantasising about bumping off women. He'd be a psycho-analyst's dream, Vinny would, with his mother-love and his sicko slasher fantasies and his wild delusions. He almost manages to make Norman Bates look normal. I said almost...!

And do their paths ever actually cross in the film then, Vinnie's and Jana Bates's? When Vinnie first meets Jana face-to-face, she's just come out of her bath, where she's lathered her naked body up right nice with lovely sudsy water... Hey, you there, reading this! Stop getting turned on, haha, or I'll have to ask you to stand outside in the corridor until we're finished here.

The bit where Jana Bates runs terrified through the crowded streets of Cannes dressed in only a towel and people think it's a publicity stunt for her movie is excellent fun. Whatever's keeping that towel up is obviously a miracle of engineering, and I'm certain-sure that there were plenty of admirers watching in person that day who were praying for the miracle to fall apart and for that towel to open and reveal even a sneaky glimpse of the flawless body contained therein... Oh-er. I'm getting turned on myself now. Better watch out.

Caroline Munro is such a glamour girl in this film. Whether she's wearing teensy-weensy little hotpants and boots or that fabulous gold lamé catsuit, she looks the picture of sexiness, glowing good health and vitality, strutting around Cannes with her lover-slash-producer, the heavily-moustached Alan Cunningham.

Her glossy, raven-black hair is streaked with blonde, her golden-brown tanned arms jingle with bracelets and her beautiful face is lipsticked, mascara'd and blushered to an insane degree, but that was the excessive 'Eighties for you!

She gives good face, Caroline Munro does, and if you've seen how ravishingly beautiful she is in THE LAST HORROR FILM (also known as FANATIC, by the way), you'll most likely have accorded her pin-up status already. Better than Farrah Fawcett any day of the week, iconic red swimmie or no iconic red swimmie...!

Vinny's tiny little old Italian-American Mom (his Mom in real life, maybe? They seem to have the same last name, anyway!) is a great character. The bit where she smokes a joint with her son is pretty funny. She reminds me of the ancient Italian-American Mom of Joe Pesci's character Tommy DeVito in GOODFELLAS, the kind of Mom who worries about things like whether her precious son is getting enough baked macaroni to eat and why he hasn't found a nice girl to settle down with yet, that type of thing. And, if you're the Mom of Joe Pesci's character in GOODFELLAS, whether your son will be 'whacked' before he's forty by members of another 'Family' whom he's pissed off, that kinda thing...

The film's news bulletins and newstands will keep you up to date on the real life news of the time as well, which is interesting. Stuff like the Hinckley-Reagan-Jodie Foster in TAXI DRIVER thing and the assassination attempt on the life of Pope John Paul the Second, that kind of stuff. 
I think I spotted the real-life Kris Kristofferson hobnobbing with the paparazzi on the red carpet in one scene as well. That was cool. It's always fun to play 'spot the celeb.' 

The film was shot on location in Cannes and so all the places you're seeing, all the hotels and streets and stuff, are all for realsies. It's such a glamorous film, and Caroline Munro is the ultimate Glamour Girl. Have I ever told you guys my Caroline Munro story, by the way? Gather round, my friends, gather round, and I'll tell ye a tale...




AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com











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