Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Barn of the Naked Dead. You Call It NIGHTMARE CIRCUS!

Remember video magazines? They used to come at the end of full feature length VHS tapes and promoted new movies in a way that was more like an extended trailer and would become the precursor to the modern day making of special feature that is attached to move DVD and Blu-rays. Now most video magazines weren’t nearly as complete as the modern day equivalent. Some chose to focus on a wider array of titles rather than focusing on the purchased/viewed title. Full Moon entertainment had the absolute best video magazines and continue to be a source of discussion and cult favoritism. Those of you familiar with the work of Johnny Legend and the films to which he lends his name will appreciate the Gore Beat video magazine featured on the Barn of the Naked Dead release of the Legend House  label distributed by CAV.

Synopsis (probably the best damn synopsis I’ve read from the back of a title in some time):

Three nubile young showgirls on their way to a gig in Vegas break down in the desert, where they are soon abducted, stripped naked, chained like animals and forced to be circus puppets for a demented ringmaster, AndrĂ© (cult superstar and Tarantino favorite Andrew Prine). Andre also has a “Psycho” –style mother complex and his old man has been transformed into a hideous homicidal post-nuclear mutant!

How’s that for a “kitchen sink” flick? Also titled Nightmare Circus AND TERROR CIRCUS, Barn of the Naked Dead is true Grindhouse. It’s a piece of cinema out of the golden age of exploitation having been released in 1974. The advertising and poster were a complete wash of key catch phrases and imagery perfectly guided to pierce a teenage males brain and force him into a drive-in theater with one or more young ladies attached to his wallet. Is Barn of the Naked Dead quality? No! The Gore Beat magazine featuring interviews with John Landis, Fred Olen Ray and Ray Dennis Steckler absolutely confirm that there’s no way in Hell you’re supposed to take this movie more seriously than make out fodder and an excuse to stare at gorgeous naked women. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that!

Barn of the Naked Dead is a gritty movie. It isn’t perfect. It’s part of the great formula that would drive 42nd Street for a decade plus. While Alan Rudolph may have become quite well known for his cinematic efforts later in his career, you gotta start somewhere. Alan started here alongside Andrew Prine with a film that is regretted by more than one contributor to the picture, and yet remains a staple for adolescents trying to find meaning in the end of their new pubescence. What better way to enjoy this picture than to have the infamous Johnny Legend guide you there in one of his classic features.

Special feature includes the aforementioned Gore Beat and an interview with Andrew Prine, but if you’re watching this for the special features than you’re probably missing a few glands. That’s not to say the features aren’t downright fun. They are, but women in cages… women treated as animals… revenge… psychosis. Friendly strangers on roads in between destintations labeled at either end, unknown… this is what Hollywood and wannabe Hollywood can’t hope to understand about the greatness of the 70’s dirt house flicks. If it’s good enough for Tarantino and if it was clay for Robert Altman (or at least Rudloph was the clay) than you better get yourself a tasty beverage and figure it out.

Low quality flick with a nice transfer showing all the grain you want and more (You could bake ten loaves of bread with that grain).

Pick up Barn of the Naked Dead HERE and make sure to check out other titles from CAV  at their website to get familiar with a great distro company.


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