We get a lot of review requests along with links to private “screeners.” Mostly, these are low-budget movies so dreadful that they don’t even appear on Netflix or Amazon Prime – yet.  They have titles like Luciferina and The Haunting of Mia Moss and, in this case, Blood Paradise.

Often the movies are unfinished: The soundtrack might not match the video, the credits have yet to be added, that sort of thing. But occasionally these films have a certain rustic charm; the spirit of Ed Wood living on.

 

Blood Paradise

 

 

Imagine you’re a Swedish actress. Your director-husband looks like a Greek god, and you resemble a younger version of Melania Trump (you are both former models). But you don’t have a lot of cash at your disposal. What do you do for work?

If you’re statuesque beauty Andrea Winter, you make a low-budget horror-comedy on the family farm in north Sweden. And you recruit your non-actor parents and brother to play pivotal roles. Oh, and you produce, co-write, score, edit and star in it.

We’re going to do something a bit unusual here. We’re going to write not one, but two reviews; one of Blood Paradise itself, and one of the film’s main attraction: Andrea Winter Wahlgren.

 

The Movie

 

 

Novelist Robin Richards has writer’s block and decides that a change of scenery might be the fix she needs. So she moves into a farmhouse in rural Sweden. There is just one problem: The locals are a peculiar lot. Very peculiar, including a poker-faced farmer (Winter’s real-life father) who makes mysterious trips into a nearby outbuilding; her “biggest fan,” an odd-looking fellow who sidelines as a Peeping Tom; and a gruff neighbor who enjoys playing with guns (Winter’s real-life brother).

When Robin’s boyfriend (Patrick von Barkenberg) shows up on the farm, things take a nasty turn.

The premise of Blood Paradise isn’t bad. At first, I was reminded of Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone: a female novelist moves to the country and fish-out-of-water hijinks ensue. But the comedy part of Blood Paradise is, unfortunately, dropped pretty quickly, and the horror that remains is fairly pedestrian stuff.

You’ve seen this story before. The phones don’t work. The locals are more odd than ominous.

But the farmstead is attractive, and so is …

 

The Farmer’s Daughter

 

 

By now, it’s become something of a cliché: A European actor will do extensive nudity, American audiences will be (a bit) shocked by said nudity, and the actor will state that, where she (usually a she) comes from, nudity is commonplace and “natural.”

Why is something considered so natural in parts of Europe thought of as more sexual — and naughty — across the pond? Is it a hangover from the prudish Puritans? Or are the Europeans bullshitting us?

In the YouTube clip below, Andrea answers a fan’s question about the nudity in Blood Paradise:

 

 

Either way, it’s not your everyday movie in which a fetching daughter scampers about in the buff in scenes with her real-life male relatives.

The Grouch did the following e-mail interview with Winter:

 

 

The Grouch:  Thanks for doing this interview. At the beginning of Blood Paradise, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect – would it be mostly comedy, mostly horror, or a mix of the two? I thought the story might be influenced by, say, Romancing the Stone, in which an attractive novelist with writer’s block travels to some far-flung location and winds up in a wild, comedic adventure. But by the end of your movie, it was quite clearly more in line with movies like Psycho or The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. What was your intent in making this movie?

Andrea Winter:  Our intent was to make a movie that was both fun and scary but in an artistic way. I see a lot of new independent horror films that have a lot of comedy and they’re really scary, but I don’t see many that are artistic. I didn’t just want to make another horror film just to make one. I consider myself as much of an artist as a filmmaker and it was important to me that our movie was as beautiful as it was scary. I also consider myself a vintage horror snob and we were very inspired by old horror films. Maybe that’s why our film turned out the way it did.

Grouch:  I watched an interview with you and the film’s director, which was quite illuminating. What was it like working with family members? Did they inhibit your work in any way? Also, what was their (family members) reaction to the finished product?

Winter:  It was truly fantastic working with my family members. They were so professional and sometimes I actually forgot they were my family members. I’ve always wanted to put them in a movie. They’re all such natural born actors. Our dinner parties are quite interesting. It’s incredible. I believe (and hope) they are proud of the movie. Of course I don’t think they have much of a choice but to tell me that they like it, since we’re family.

Grouch:  It seems to be inherent to movies like this – in the horror genre – that sex or nudity is part of the formula. But it’s unusual, I think, for the lead actress doing the nude scenes, in this case you, to also be the producer, co-writer, co-editor, music, etc. Was it difficult being “the boss” and then taking your clothes off in front of cast and crew?

Winter:  I made fun of it a lot. I mean, it probably sounds like a nightmare, trying to run a production naked, right? But it wasn’t that weird, believe it or not. In Sweden nudity is quite normal and the director and the cinematographer are both German. I see completely naked people sunbathing in the parks in Berlin like it’s no big deal all the time. In Germany men and women go to the sauna in the gyms together, completely naked. It’s the north European way I guess.

Grouch:  What has been the general reaction to your movie? Also, what’s next for you?

Winter:  From what I’ve read and heard I feel like people either love or hate our movie. I guess some people don’t get it. I understand and respect that. We made this movie exactly how we wanted to make it. It’s not supposed to be taken that seriously, we want people to laugh and have a good time. Every time someone tells me that they like the film, or when I hear audiences laugh at certain parts of the film it’s all worth it.

Me and the director, Patrick von Barkenberg, are developing two new projects right now. One is a TV-show that we have been working on for a very long time. We are hoping to make it in the UK, but we’ll see what the response is. The other one is an independent movie that we are planning on filming in Northern Italy if everything works out. I’m very excited about both of them.

 

At this point, the reader has probably made up his or her mind about whether or not to watch Blood Paradise. Possibly, you are like our contributor Rip van Dinkle and are most intrigued by Andrea’s nude scenes. She was kind enough to drop a “hello” to Rip in the comments section of his “Playboy Interview”:

 

 

In turn, we asked Rip to write captions for the sexy screen captures below. Rip, we should add, is not exactly politically correct.

 

 

 

Rip: “This is the first nude scene. Like all of us, Andrea enjoys some quiet time in the tub. Unlike most of us, she’s worth watching.”

 

 

Rip: “The dude above is Andrea’s real-life partner. You might be looking at him sniffing her foot, but I’m looking at some pussy hair. Then again, I’m a dirty old man.”

 

 

Rip: “The guy above is Andrea’s real-life brother, watching his sister scamper naked in a field. I wonder if he got a boner. I’m sorry, but if that was my sister, I would still get a boner. I wonder if she wondered if he got a boner.”

 

 

Rip: “Andrea told an interviewer that the scene above was shot at dusk, and that mosquitoes were biting her everywhere. Apparently, even the bugs wanted a piece of ass.”

 

 

Rip: “Gee, I wonder what the guy above is peeking at. Could it be Andrea’s perfect butt cheeks?”

 

 

We end with this intriguing YouTube clip from the same appearance referenced above, in which von Barkenberg hints that the DVD (tentatively scheduled for release in July) might be even more revealing than the theatrical cut:

 

 

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**

 

It’s not often that I agree with the boneheads who run San Francisco, but I’m with them on their decision to ban facial recognition use by law enforcement. The argument in favor of the technology is that it will make finding the bad guys much easier.

OK, let’s follow that argument to its logical conclusion: You know what else would make finding the bad guys much easier? Placing cameras in everyone’s living rooms and bedrooms.

 

**

 

.                                        

 

Sure, I can see the resemblance.

 

**

 

Usually when celebrities die I shrug it off. Better them than me. But this one hit hard:

 

 

**

 

This was just a throwaway comment by Neil Cavuto on his show Saturday morning, talking about income inequality:

 

That’s the kind of attitude – “It’s too bad about the enormous gap between the super-rich and everyone else, but hey, what are you gonna do?” – that’s so infuriating.

Cavuto’s got his (big) piece of the pie, so too bad about the rest of us. Or, as Doris Day might have sung, “Que Sera, Sera.”

 

**

 

grouchyeditor.com Ivanka

grouchyeditor.com Ivanka

 

 

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Little Mark Zuckerberg has decided that he and a panel of media “experts” can best determine what should or should not appear on Facebook.

God help all of us.

 

**

 

I think I speak for most Americans when I say that I always get a warm sense of security and well being whenever I hear our president utter his favorite reply to so many questions: “We’ll see what happens!”

 

**

 

Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time writing reviews of books, movies, and TV shows. Sometimes my reviews are just a few paragraphs in length; sometimes they’re longer.

Probably a colossal waste of time.

Probably I could just post a smiley face and simply write: “Should you spend your time on this? Well, you could do worse!”

 

Black Summer and Quicksand: While neither show merits five out of five stars … you could do worse!

 

**

 

Everything’s rosy in Stuart Varney’s world

 

I’m sick and tired of blowhards like Stuart Varney and Larry Kudlow crowing about the Trump economy. The Trump economy pleases well-off know-it-alls like Varney, and Masters of the Universe on Wall Street, and economics gurus in academia.

But ask the average Joe or Sally and they will tell you it’s not “the economy,” stupid, it’s your wallet — two very different things.

 

**

 

Venezuela: Oh, by all means let’s meddle in that mess. We’ve proven many times that we’re very good at fixing that sort of thing.

Asked to comment on the situation, President Trump said, “We’ll see what happens!”

 

 

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There is a story that goes with the above picture. The story is at the bottom of this post. The picture is here, rather than with the story, because readers are much more likely to read an entire post if you tease it at the beginning with a picture of some bare-assed blonde on a beach.

 

**

 

I used to rely quite a bit on Rotten Tomatoes for movie recommendations. Not so much anymore. The problem is this trend of today’s critics going back in time to review what were once considered classics. When these old movies violate some 2019 benchmark of political correctness, they get downgraded. I hate that.

Just tell me what the movie’s contemporary critics thought. I don’t care what some snot-nosed millennial fresh out of liberal-arts indoctrination thinks of Citizen Kane. If the movie is dated, I’ll figure that out on my own.

 

**

 

“Getting out ahead of our skis” – latest trendy expression that everyone has to use on cable news

 

**

 

 

The Amazing Race spans the globe, so I guess it’s not surprising that CBS has begun subtitling episodes so that viewers might know what the locals are thinking when the crazy Americans show up.

The guy in the pictures below might have checked out contestant Corinne Kaplan’s Instagram page (above) before helping her mount an elephant on Wednesday’s episode.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

**

 

 

The last two times I promoted YouTube channels, it was to plug a guy who makes fart videos and another guy who reviews splatter movies. So keep that in mind when I recommend yet another YouTuber, some dude named Charles Ross who cranks out hilarious pranks and stunts at “Vlog Creations.”

 

 

 

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Seems like it would be a lot cheaper if they just rebuilt Notre Dame in Las Vegas.

 

Also on the glass-half-full front: Maybe now young people will learn who Quasimodo was.

 

**

 

Random Gripes and Observations

 

Words that are bastardized, but we’re afraid it’s a lost cause to fight for them:

 

a) Often vs. oftentimes – Example: “I oftentimes complain about grammatical mistakes.”

Why does everyone insist on turning a perfectly fine two-syllable word into a clumsier three-syllable word? Also, stop using a hard “t” in “often.”

 

b) Using “their” instead of “its” – Example: “The FBI will update their Web site.”

 

c) The word “literally,” which Sean Hannity literally butchers on a nightly basis.

 

d) “The American people believe/want/say …”

The American people can’t agree on anything.

 

**

 

 

I don’t believe Cher was siding with Trump on immigration. Well, she was, but she had no clue that she was because Cher is an airhead.

 

**

 

 

As if Google wasn’t already a hateful company, now they it is ruining a classic Beatles song by overplaying it in commercials. Stop!

 

**

 

For once, we weren’t planning to publish any cheesecake pictures of a female celebrity in the “Weekly Review.” But then we heard about some NFL jock who is jealous about some model:

 

 

We don’t know who the hell “Zed” is, but judging from the pictures below, looks like Olivia has gotten “cozy” with other dudes.

 

No “tight end” jokes from us … although she certainly has one.

 

 

 

 

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The Meg

 

Popcorn movies like The Meg, in which a giant shark terrorizes people at an ocean research facility, used to be a lot more fun. Those older movies were also silly, of course, but they had a sort of careless charm. I’m thinking of flicks like Deep Blue Sea. These days, popcorn movies seem weighed down by conscientiousness. Does The Meg have a diverse cast? Check. Does it have Chinese stars to please the all-important Asian market? Check. Are there pricey special effects? You got it.

Sadly, last on the filmmaking checklist is any sense of originality or creativity. Instead, we get borrowed bits and pieces of superior movies, like Jaws and The Abyss and yes, even Deep Blue Sea. The good news? If your brain needs a rest, you needn’t bother following The Meg’s plot, because you’ve seen it all before. Release: 2018 Grade: C-

 

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“The Ted Baxter Award”

 

.

          Williams                              Baxter                                 Scott

 

I used to believe that NBC’s lantern-jawed cockatiel Brian Williams had a lock on “The Ted Baxter Award,” with his tilted-head, squinty-eyed, oh-so-serious delivery. But then I watched last Sunday’s Fox Report Weekend with Jon Scott.

 

 

Here is Jon telling viewers what to expect at the Department of Homeland Security after the ouster of Kirstjen Nielsen:

 

 

Here is Jon thanking reporter John White House for reporting from the Roberts:

 

 

Jon struggles a bit with his timeline:

 

 

And finally, Jon has trouble with correspondent Casey Stegall:

 

 

 

**

 

We recently complained about the scarcity of quality new TV shows. That complaint stands. But a couple of returning shows are just as good as ever: Killing Eve, which is fairly routine as a spy drama but with moments of comic genius, and Unforgotten on PBS, which is always absorbing.

 

 

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We get a lot of review requests along with links to private “screeners.” Mostly, these are low-budget movies so dreadful that they don’t even appear on Netflix or Amazon Prime – yet.  They have titles like Luciferina and The Haunting of Mia Moss and, in this case, Terror 5.

Often the movies are unfinished: The soundtrack might not match the video, the credits have yet to be added, that sort of thing. But occasionally these films have a certain rustic charm; the spirit of Ed Wood living on.

 

Terror 5

 

 

Terror 5, produced in 2016 but just now getting a video release, is an Argentinean horror film that follows several story threads with one key theme: revenge. Revenge on bad teachers, revenge on corrupt politicians, revenge on mean-spirited “friends,” and revenge, apparently, on one very naked couple.

The movie is a bit incoherent – there are apocalyptic zombies on the loose; I’m not at all sure why — but it’s never boring.  This is the IMDB plot description:

 

Storyline

While most of the residents of a small Argentinian town attend a funeral procession following a tragic building collapse, the few who do not will face terrors of their own in this mashup of urban legends from brother- filmmakers Sebastián and Federico Rotstein. Think bondage, torture, zombies…and governmental corruption. Juan goes on a date with Sonia to a school where students get even with teachers. Luco and Paulo create an elaborate plan to swap girlfriends. Two lovers escape into a motel for a night of passion, while a group of friends enjoys a snuff film. As their primal urges distract them all, local officials are judged innocent of the neglect that caused the building collapse-and then the horror really begins.

 

One of the bright spots is actress Cecilia Cartasegna as “Gabriela,” a young woman who, after having sweaty, angry sex with her boyfriend, learns that their motel rendezvous is not as private as she had thought.

We e-mail interviewed Cecilia about her role in the film. (English is not her first language, but we thought her occasional grammatical slips were cute, so we left them in):

 

 

Cecilia Cartasegna

 

Grouch:  I thought you were very good in the film. I’d say that your character, Gabriela, and the man in the Joker makeup were probably the most memorable. Thank you for doing this short interview.

Cecilia:  Thank you! I love this movie.

Grouch:  The main theme of the movie seems to be justice: Revenge on corrupt politicians, revenge on cruel friends, and revenge on bad teachers. [Spoiler Alert!] But why were Gabriela and Hernan killed? What was their sin?

Cecilia:  I think their death was not about any sin, was a symptom of the horror in society.  No one is safe anywhere! Not even on the most intimate moment. Every character in this movie in deeply human and a sinner though. Every character is either corrupt, or coward or unjust, greedy. This two do not enjoy sex, it is awkward and bumpy.  They are both being used. I don’t think they even like each other. 

 

Above, Cecilia with actor Julian Larquier, who seems to be enjoying his work

 

Grouch:  It was ironic the way the men in masks were watching you have sex from behind the mirror, while at the same time the audience is watching you on a movie screen. How do you feel about an audience seeing you in such intimate scenes?

Cecilia:  This wasn’t my first intimate scene, usually nudity doesn’t ashamed me. But the first time I saw the movie was at a festival in Mar del Plata, on spring, it was chilly but nice weather. When the movie ended and we went up front for the Q&A, I took my friend’s sweater and I put it in on, the biggest sweater ever!  There is a look people have when they just saw you naked and it was a big audience…

Grouch:  The sex between you and your boyfriend seemed very realistic. Was it simulated or real?

Cecilia:  Julian Larquier is an awesome partner and we talked a lot because we were worried about the reality in the scene. It is really disappointing when while seeing a movie you notice the actors uncomfortable, the sheets carefully and strategically covering the bodies. We try to make it seems real. But it wasn’t. There was many days of shooting for that scene, no one last that long and no one should. Sorry to brake the illusion. 

Grouch:  Was it difficult to do so much of your scenes without clothes?

Cecilia:  It was difficult to stay focused, it was a situational scene, so the acting was about the situation. There was not an emotional story to perform. A small part of me was always thinking “you are naked, you are naked, you are naked.” 

Grouch:  What’s next for you? Any more horror movies? Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Cecilia:  I love horror movies! When the story that is told is fantasy, the acting must expand and other tools became necessary because even though it is not real must feel real for the viewers.

Now it is at post production “To Kill the Dragon” directed by Jimena Monteoliva. It is like a faery tale nightmare. It is my second movie with her. The first one was “Clementina” a psychological thriller filled with ghost and blood.

I hope there are many genre films in my future. I would love to shoot all over the world. This is a big moment for genre.

 

**

 

Let’s face it: A good number of you readers have no intention of ever watching Terror 5. It’s a low-budget, subtitled horror movie with a confusing plot and cheesy special effects.

You probably do, however, want to see more of saucy Ms. Cartasegna in her birthday suit. So here are a few more screen captures and, better yet, a seven-minute clip of the actress’s nude scenes in the movie:

 

“There is a look people have when they just saw you naked, and it was a big audience.”

 

Here is the movie clip:

 

 

Finally, we should mention that at the end of our interview, we had a request for Cecilia. We told her that contributor Rip van Dinkle is a fan, and would she leave a comment for him at one of our small-penis-pageant stories? We sent her this link … and never heard back.

 

 

Said a dejected Rip (pictured above): “It’s too bad. I guess she didn’t like what she saw in the story, assuming she read it. It’s a shame because I think we have something in common: She has diminuto tetas, and I have diminuto pene. And we both have spectacular butts.”

 

Well … he’s half right:

 

 

 

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by G.K. Chesterton

 

Chesterton was obviously influenced by Arthur Conan Doyle when he penned these eight short stories, with Horne Fisher a variation on Sherlock Holmes and journalist Harold March in the role of Dr. Watson. In each story, some sort of crime is committed, usually a murder, and everyone is flummoxed save the wise and world-weary Fisher. Alas, unlike the cocaine-ingesting, violin-playing Holmes, Fisher is a bit too enigmatic to make a strong impression. (Chesterton also created priest-detective “Father Brown,” a character who has better stood the test of time.)

Chesterton’s stories are also heavily invested in the politics of the day (the 1920s). But this intermingling of mystery and social issues dilutes the overall effect. The suspense is interrupted by political digressions, and the politics aren’t explored enough to resonate.

 

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