the last horror film
2 and a half stars   Cheese Rating: 100% King Cheese!

directed by: David Winters
starring: Joe Spinell, Caroline Munro

(back of video blurb):
       "Jana Bates, the beautiful queen of horror flicks, is in Cannes to open her film and to recieve an award. Vinny is a taxi driver who lives with his mother in New York city and is a fan of Jana Bates. He is also in Cannes, where he has followed Jana in a last attempt to get her to star in his imaginary film, 'The Loves of Dracula'.

      Vinny hates the blood and gore horror films and the people who make them, all of whom have rejected him. He fantasizes killing off the ones that stand in his way, after the manner of scenes from many famous horror films he has watched. Jana's ex-husband/producer, Bret Bates, who has snubbed Vinny, is the first to be killed when she discovers him beheaded. Vinny still continues to follow Jana around when Marty Bernstein, a theatrical agent who has brushed Vinny off, meets his end in a theatre where he was supposed to meet with the first victim, Bates. Again, as in Bret Bates' case, the body has disappeared.

      Panic has gripped Jana's entourage. Director friend, Stanley Kline agrees to take his actress girl friend back to the air port after giving her a suprise...a suprise that takes them to the highest tower overlooking Cannes where they both mysteriously die.

      By this time, Vinny is totally flipped and believes he is actually directing his own horror film. As in the case of the missing bodies, everyone again thinks it is a publicity stunt. By this time, Jana and her boyfriend, Alan, realize that they have got to get out of Cannes and plan to come back only for the awards ceremony. They retreat to a friend's castle in the country for some peace and quiet. The friend becomes another victim the first night that Jana and Alan spend in the castle.

      The closing five minutes of THE LAST HORROR FILM are the most critical ones, as you will then know who the killer is."

choice dialogue:

"The very real possibility that a mad killer might be at the international film festival has sent a wave of panic through Cannes!"

slash with panache?

       WA-HEY!....You know those kind of films that are so bad they're good, well THE LAST HORROR FILM is certainly a case in point. A truly, truly terrible film, but one that is as endearing as it is glaringly awful.

       It reunites Munro and Spinell, stars of the previous year's MANIAC, again as woman-in-peril and gibbering misfit respectively. But TLHF has a very different feel. Whereas MANIAC was unremitting in its gloom and general air of hatred, TLHF is pure camp. Sure, Spinell is as sleazy as ever, his enthusiastic 'acting' is a sight to behold, and the film sure is gory (see that cut throat spurt a tidal wave of crimson!), but this is a gleeful 'romp'; a disco-fuelled slice of grand-guginol. It doesn't take itself seriously....well at least I hope it doesn't!

       The makers had a flash of inspiration setting the film during the 1981 Cannes film festival; ready made crowds of baying autograph seekers; flash bulbs a-go-go and enough big breasted wannabes jumping up and down on the golden sands to fill An US video cover for THE LAST HORROR FILMtwo Russ Meyer movies. Part of the fun is trying to spot the 1981 genre classics splashed across the billboards and foyers- eagle eyed viewers will spot POSSESSION and CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. Jana Bates (Munro) is there in competition (as if!), for her touching portrayal of a woman who has her face burnt off by a psycho with a blow torch- and yes, you see it in full goreous techni-colour. An unlikely looking jury ( British viewers may spot an actor from dire late 80's sit-com 'ALLO, 'ALLO (!)), unanimously vote her as the best actress. She should be over the moon, but unfortunately someone is murdering her colleagues in ghastly and flamboyant ways- all fingers seem to point at the increasingly twitchy Spinell, whose inability to get near Munro to pitch his film is pushing him to the edge. Is he the killer, a killer who has watched PEEPING TOM one too many times, or not? Does lightening strike twice?!

       There are attempts at social commentary, Munro defends horror films at a press conference and there are references to the Jodie Foster/Robert Hinkley case, as well as the attempted assassinaton of the Pope (!). Spinell complains that contemporary shockers are too gory (he has to flee a cinema, almost puking into his popcorn at the sight of a pensioner disembowelling a young man on film). Spinell criticising the gore-score? about the pot calling the kettle black! And there is much talk of 'horror' being hot-stuff, which it was - back in the halcyon days of the early 1980's. This, of course, is all padding- its camp exploitation at its most outrageous, pure and simple. The blood and titters run freely!

       A point of interest is the name of the fictional film Munro has made, none other than...SCREAM! If that wasn't coincidence enough ,another film seen on posters around Cannes is STAB- which you may recall is the name of the fictional film in SCREAM 2 of the events that took place in SCREAM....Hmmm, maybe I should just go and have a lie down!

       But before I do, I can't go without mentioning the astonishingly stilted 'performance' of Spinell's real life mother. She really is jaw dropping. Try thinking of a surreal cross between Edith Massey's 'Egg Lady' and Mae West's Alzheimer's fuelled turn in SEXTETTE. It beggars belief.....Mind you, talking of the surreal, images keep on reappearing in my mind (like particularly virulent flash-backs), and one I'll probably take to my grave is Spinell perving around in a bra!......Are you ready for this film?!

BODYCOUNT 9  bodycount!   female:3 / male:6

       1) Woman electrocuted in pool (film within film)
       2) Woman has face burnt off with blow torch (film within film)
       3) Male (gorily) has his throat cut and is found decapitated
       4) Male axed to death
       5) Male (gorily) disembowled by bag lady (film within film)
       6) Male stabbed to death
       7) Woman shot and falls from tower
       8) Male shot
       9) Male decapitated and dismemebered with chainsaw