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Saturday, 9 January 2016

Gonzo Film reviews: Prison Island Massacre: Angel of Death 2: Women Behind Bars / Frauengefengnis 4


How many titles can you find in THIS opening sequence?
Now this was a real interesting find.

We recently discovered the work of German sexgorehardcorehorror director Andreas Bethmann, thanks to a footnote in the rather neat Jess Franco photographic tribute book Pornodelic Pleasures (review of that coming up soon).

Debasement in de basement.
This is the first of his we'd seen. It's so good we watched it twice – once in the 85 minute 'safe' softcore version (which very obviously displays its hefty cuts to the action), and again in the full-on gore/hardcore 105 min version. The extended version we viewed was in German audio with French subtitles (released on the Euro Uncut Movies DVD label and ordered cheerfully from Amazon.fr, if anyone's interested, as the Amazon US edition is currently unavailable) – now while our German sucks, our French is pretty good, and we were able to fill in all the gaps in the movie we wondered about first time around in the short, German-only edition (like, why run off into the wild jungle on foot, rather than drive off in the jeep you just hijacked at gunpoint?)

Step away from the vee-hickle, ma'am.
We have to admit some of the photography is pretty neat, with a lot of the early exterior scenes being airborne. Being shot entirely in an exotic island location helps, and is usual in these movies, we're treated to a menagerie of local flora and fauna as well just to prove the crew really went somewhere far-flung: lizards, big beetles, and big, big freakin' spiders. But no animals were harmed in the making of this jungle epic, thankfully.

'I'm sure I left my clothes out here somewhere...'
Like ol' Jess, Andreas is pretty clumsy when it comes to handling violence and action, although he digs in deep for the gore set pieces and there's some pretty stomach-clenching moments in the final act. We won't spoil it for ya but let's say, if there's ladies watching this one who get pissed at all that horrible violence being handed out to cute young (and older) women – there's a couple of scenes that may even up the balance in that respect (and one of which did bring to mind an old Cannibal Corpse tune, I Cum Blood) – including a couple of scenes of hard gay sex, which weren't exactly expected either. 

'Bubba? Who the hell is Bubba?!'
Some reviewers have complained about the general roughness of a lot of Andreas' female performers – well, who but full-time (or aspiring) adult industry actors are going to end up in movies as cruel and explicit as this? Gypsy Euro music chick Manoush does look rather fetching in a black bra, however (although she doesn't get it off, if you're wondering). And speaking of guest appearances – we're treated to a supporting performance from none other than Lina Romay, and her long-term paramour ol' Jess Franco himself (RIP).

'Yes, I'd like to order another dozen nubile Euro porn starlets, please. The last batch you sent got shot whilst trying to escape.'
Lina is basically just Lina, doing what Dyanne Thorne did to her so well in Wicked Warden (and her assistant sure looks like a black-haired version of Ilsa to boot)a wickedly deviant and sexually sadistic commandant whose perversions are well in keeping with de Sade. Jess turns up as a wandered warden himself, bewitched by the sight of some chick playing with her tits, and it's real nice to see the master in a work by one of his many apprentices. The usual lack of logic and character development for movies of this type is still very much in evidenceBethmann hasn't gone all post-modern and clever-ironic on us, but instead hands us a big thick slab of something that could have been conceived back in about 1976, packed with uber-gratuitous sex, snuff, BDSM, violence, and more sex; a rudimentary story, nihilistic immorality, some sweet revenge, and lots of labia to lap up. 
 
'I haff told you ein millionen times, bitch...don't be a lesbian!'
We like Andreas a lot, not because he's a whizzkid auteur – he has nothing on Jess, who had a good eye for interesting colour schemes, lush set and costume design and the occasional flash of real artistic inspiration - but because his heart is firmly planted back in the old-school of sexploitation revenge and horror flicks, and he pulls no punches, either. The gore effects actually ain't half bad, and this uncut French disk shows the application of some of the special makeup in a silent (!) behind-the-scenes feature, confirming that Bethmann lashes around more of the red stuff in this one movie than Jess probably did in his entire career.

Put it in the curry...
 As it turns out, fellow Teutonic nutcase, Olaf Ittenbach, contributed the splatter and gore effects in this movie, which has served as a nice introduction to the work of that individual (Burning Moon, which Olaf directed as well as did the SFX for, is now on order, and will be reviewed as soon as we've viewed it). He also provided the eye-poppingly gross and indecent carnage at the finale of the (visually and thematically very similar) other Bethmann WIP effort K3: Prison of Hell, which seems to have been Andreas' reboot of this very movie and is possibly even filmed in the same prison island location (and more of that one to come soon in our movie reviews section, too).

Well, he did ask for a close shave...
The difference between the 85 minute cut of Prison Island Massacre and the 105 version is considerable. I don't think there's any way the longer cut would ever hope to get an official UK release of any sort, while the shorter edit really strips away the prolonged scenes of flesh and blood, and presents us with a completely different (and rather pedestrian) opening sequence to boot. The longer cut announces its hardcore credentials within the first 5 minutes, by comparison, in a brutal oral scene which helps to explain the presence of one of the inmates seen later in the movie.

'How come the tall bitch gets a stripy shirt, and I don't?'
As an additional footnote, another luminary of the German underground splatter scene, Andreas Schnaas (director of Violent Shit and others), turns up on the other side of the camera as the psychopathic torturer responsible for the climactic bravura gorefest. Now we're intrigued to see what the 130 minute 'workprint' version contains – if we can track one down. As it stands, the 105 minute version of this flick is one of the most startling 21st century entries in the sexploitation genre that we've seen to date. 5 stars. A definite 'woof'!

Is this really necessary for a broken arm, Doctor...?
Other DVD features: Again, we're reviewing the superior French uncut edition here, rather than the inferior mainstream 85-min German-only release. In addition to the on-set Ittenbach/special effects feature, we get interviews with Lina, Olaf, a number of trailers for the film and a selection of equally hard and weird movies available on the Uncut Movies catalogue...a few of which we'll be checking out in future...


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

New Gonzo Art eBook Lands on Amazon Kindle!

Yup, it's been about time that we came up with something new on the publication front, an' here it is - now available for download at Amazon.com exclusively.


Basically a bumper collection of some of the best sexy, lowbrow and totally adults-only toons and sketches we've produced over the years. Now all in one handy li'l digital package. Obviously there's a shit-tonne o' boobs, butt 'n bush in this, so keep it the hell away from the kids, and the Christian fundamentalists, OK?

An' guess what - it'll be on free offer as a special introductory type thang this week, so be sure to grab yours quick.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Open...for Commisions!


That's right...the Gonz is now open for any sexy, weird, lowbrow, bizarro or just plain FUBAR cartooning commissions.

If yer interested, drop us a note. Quick payments through Paypal.

Full Pencil: 7-15 GBP per character
Ink lineart only: 5-10 GBP " "
Full colour digital: 15-35 GBP " " depending on complexity

Check your exchange rate here.

More complex scenes, multiple characters, sequential art etc can be discussed - with discounts available for repeat business

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Gonzo Returns to Deviantart

It's been a long time since we hung out there, on the website where we first started off sharin' our love of sexy, weird and lowbrow artforms...but we're back now as of today.

You can visit us right here: http://gonzodawg.deviantart.com/

We got a big archive of artworks that's been building up lately, so be sure to check back real regular as this'll now be a going concern.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals: Redux Preview

Some of yez might remember this li'l horror toon we posted a while back.

Well, the Gonz has decided to revist, rework, re-imagine and reboot this one in a seriously happenin' new style. It's a damn big piece o' work and so is taking some time - but here's a sneaky preview of the full X-rated in-progress epic...


Monday, 15 June 2015

Crumb vs Gonzo!


Underground comix legend Robert Crumb drawn in his own style, by Gonzo...editorial cartoon for the still-in-progress second volume of Crackerz! More news, of course, will follow in doo course...

Monday, 8 June 2015

New 'Crackerz!' In Progress...

That's right, y'all...we mentioned this a while back an' now we're well on the way towards offerin' yez a second whoppin' volume of Crackerz! madcap retro 80s mayhem. Over 25 pages done 'n dusted so far, and plenty more in the pipeline - so look out for Crackerz! 2 - the Sequel!! sometime in the second half o' this year (that's 2015 for them what ain't too sure, and we'll tell ya - neither are we, sometimes).

An' just to whet yer appetite, here's a free sample from some of the strips we've been workin' on so far. And yes, the accident-prone Snowi Hills returns - and her boobs are bigger than ever.


Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Gonzo Film Reviews: Forced Entry


“What d'you think you are, some kinda gook from 'Nam?”



Not to be confused with the thriller of the same title (and starring Tanya Roberts), this is one o' those movies that the average, ordinary moviegoer has never heard of – and probably would never want to. It's one that even those suffering a mild dose of sick fuck-itis are unlikely to have even stumbled across in the early stages of their condition. This is a movie so grim, so grimy, and so genuinely appalling that it can only be reached by, like Dante, plumbing the depths of cinematic hell through the grungy and filthy realms of exploitation, sexploitation, softcore, hardcore and Satan knows what else before you finally find it, clenched in the perspiring claw of a demented perverted demon with seven pierced penises and a vile grin a mile wide. And then you must decide: do I want to to go any further – and actually choose to view this? And if so, why? It's one of those films for viewers who 'expected more' from Cannibal Holocaust, for whom Sinful Dwarf wasn't really grubby enough, who enjoyed I Spit on Your Grave for all the wrong reasons but wanted a bit more sex. Like, lots more. And rougher, too.

Harry gettin' tooled up

Due to its subject matter and relative obscurity, this is one of those movies that you only learn about gradually, either via initiation or by following lots of links on grindhouse movie review sites. It's one we've been chasing down for close on 8 years and we finally got to view it last month. Was it worth the wait? Well, uh...hell...yeah. For the simple reason that you'll never see anything like it ever again. This ain't one that even Rob Zombie will be rebootin' any time soon, sorry to say.

Gratuitous boobage

What's it about?

Porn legend Harry 'Deep Throat' Reems plays a psych-damaged Vietnam vet who decides to work out his post traumatic stress disorder issues by stalking, sexually assaulting and killing young women – stabbing them first with his cock and then with his knife. That's pretty much the entire story. So what's the big deal? The sex is full-on graphic hardcore, mostly unconsented, and pretty disturbing in that hairy early '70s kinda way. The fact this movie is marketed as 'vintage porn' is kind of alarming in itself – but indicative of an era in underground and adult movie making when it was a case of 'anything goes'. The money shots and close-up penetration scenes are industry standard, but it's the overall theme and mean-spirited brutality which sets this one apart.



What's it like?

Director Shaun Costello scores serious points by, according to the DVD liner notes, presenting the first motion picture ever to use the theme of post-Vietnam stress. In some ways this is the precursor to Taxi Driver and Deer Hunter. He further impresses by cutting actual (monochrome) war footage into the movie to serve as flashbacks. And whether by design, or accident, his use of Harry's looped and out-of-sync dialogue samples foster a growing sense of alienation, monomania, and general mental decay for the central character. There are lengthy, almost tedious sequences where little happens. The music is minimalist, the locations real and scruffy, the acting from the supporting cast often awkward and at times looks downright ad-libbed, especially with the two kooky bombed-out lesbian chicks in the final act, who probably really were on drugs at the time; at some moments they almost are antithetical to the story, filling a similar role to the two idiot cops in Last House on the Left (i.e unwelcome comic relief). They are pretty hot though, and do spend a lot of time getting to know each other intimately while Uncle Harry spies upon them from on high.



Overall Thoughts

From the opening shot of a blasted, bloody brain, you know this isn't going to be an easy ride (heh, pun intended) or even much like a standard porn flick of any sort. If you like your adult material to be nice and glossy and easy on the eye, with shaved crotches and pert tits all round, then look the feck away NOW as you may just upchuck. To be perfectly honest, we didn't find it very sexy either but it was undeniably fascinating and just plain wrong on so many counts, and that's why it held our morbidly curious attention. It's so un-PC it's delicious; so dirty and horrible it's beautiful; so cruel and amoral it does actually make you think; so of its time, that it ought to be treasured as a lost relic of the hideous depths to which adult cinema sank during the golden grindhouse era. You'll need a shower, big hugs from fluffy kittens in cotton sox, and a box of chocolates after watching this one to get it out of your system. You'll feel wrong and guilty for even having watched it to the end. And, seriously folks, there aren't many movies made today that you can say that about. This is legendary underground grindhouse grime of the lowest, basest, most uncompromising order, and for that we loved it. A definite 5.



Tech Specs
The sound is pretty muffled, what little there is. The film stock quality is dire with visible damage in almost every sequence, but according to the notes this 'director cut' was edited from multiple sources so maybe it's a miracle it looks as good as it does (not helped by the 4:3 frame format, to be honest).



Trivia

We named a chapter of our own grindhouse/splatter parody novel Last Gas Pump on theLeft after this movie in tribute – and we hadn't even watched it at that time.




Friday, 15 May 2015

LGPotL Video Trailer - Just Released!

New, remastered, updated an' unimproved 'director's cut' of the old LGPotL trailer vid that we put out there to plug the ol' comic book back in the day. Now, it's been fiddled about with a bit an' pressed into service to promote our Kindle eBook edition. Here it is, kidz....kinda' cunningly tellin' the start o' the whole story in pictures, to our very own 'Ry Cooder with half his fingers sawn-off'-style slyde guitar soundtrack...


In other news, the Dawg recently took possession of a small stack of classic, obscure and generally pretty quirky 70s sexploitation DVDs, so expect a bunch of new reviews of them to come in the near future.