Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Venomous Vixens: Britt Nichols

Born in Guarda, Portugal, May 29th, 1951, the delectable and very statuesque Britt Nichols (born Marìa do Carmo da Resurreição de Deus) has enjoyed a successful fashion modeling career in Argentina for over 35 years under her more common name Carmen Yazalde, and, looking better than ever, she continues to model to this day, hosting cable TV shows and appearing frequently in the media.

A former Miss Portugal, Nichols married an Argentinian soccer player on July 16th, 1973, European Golden Shoe winner Héctor Yazalde, and moved from Portugal to Argentina in 1977 and has stayed there ever since.

When reading articles about the fashion model Carmen Yazalde on the web, as far as I could tell, there didn’t seem to be any mention of her cinema career in the early ‘70s. As I have found on a thread from the Latarnia Forums, she apparently does not wish to discuss that period of her career but claims to still be proud of the films she has been in; the bulk of which consists of films directed by the late, great Jess Franco. She also appeared in Amando De Ossorio’s Tombs of the Blind Dead and a giallo by Juan Bosch, The Killer with a Thousand Eyes.

Nichols left cinema behind shortly after getting married, but her relatively small body of work in film is fondly remembered and embraced by Eurocult movie fans. She is commonly seen in Franco films with Anne Libert (our favorite woman-in-black) and is perhaps heavily remembered as the sapphic vampire lead in Daughter of Dracula and more so as the bizarre, living-dead bombshell haunting the ancestral castle of the title character in A Virgin Among the Living Dead.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Macabre / Macabro (1980)

Lamberto Bava’s first movie is a brilliant deviation from the more-formulaic giallo. It lives up to its title and is a twisted treat that doesn’t nearly rise to the campy heights of the director’s more popular work, Demons. Unfortunately, due to Macabre being poorly received at the time of its release, by the public, it took three years before Lamberto could direct another film. It almost seems like he took a safer route with his next film, A Blade in the Dark, an impressively violent, though by-the-numbers, giallo that seemed like a stopping point to the interesting new direction Lamberto was going with Macabre.

Too bad, really, because as much as I do appreciate Demons and Blade, I really do think a different type of Italian thriller was blooming with Macabre (possibly only comparable to D’amato’s Buio Omega). It’s also something that Mike and the bots of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 wouldn’t be able to riff so easily, as they did with one of Lamberto’s other films, Devil Fish (season 10, episode 11).

After suffering from severe shock from losing her lover, Fred (Roberto Posse), in a car accident and finding out her son had drowned, all on the same day, Jane Baker (Bernice Stegers) is admitted to a mental hospital for a year. After getting out, her relationship with her husband damaged, she chooses to live in the flat where she used to have her, not so secret, affairs with Fred. The blind man who maintains the house, Robert (Stanko Molnar), regularly hears Jane at night upstairs in her room copulating with someone she is calling Fred.