The once beloved word Grindhouse has been so overused as of late when it comes to cult film that it is all but meaningless. Does it refer to the time period of the seventies before the mandatory “R” rating of all modern day film where nasty hyper sexualized violent movies played in double, triple features in small filthy theatres or small town drive-ins? Does it refer to the Planet Terror/Death-Proof double feature by Rodriquez and Tariantino which sought to reclaim the authentic feel of a double feature from long ago by using stressed film, fake trailers, and a finished hardcore product which still packaged the same tame lame MANDATORY R rated viewing experience that might as well have been filmed on digital all along? Whatever the true “according to Hoyle” meaning of grindhouse, Full Moon has recently released a ten volume series of movies which hopefully will introduce this overused phrase once again to a whole new generation of moviegoers most of whom cannot remember when it actually meant something.
1987 wasn’t exactly a good year for “Grindhouse” films, unless you count the unintentional X-rated hyper violent “too hot for release” version of ROBOCOP, but here is an attempt. Necropolis is the story of Eva, a witch from the 1600’s who is struck down by villagers right in the middle of her topless ritualistic dance on a Satanic altar, gyrating around to ancient but anachronistic Duran Duranesque keyboard background music (which seems like justifiable homicide any way you see it). Nonetheless, she does threaten revenge before she “dies” and, with a full seventy minute running time left to go, you just know she is going to get some.
Cut to modern day “1987” and Eva is inexplicably riding high on a red Yamaha motorcycle, looking like the bastard 1980’s offspring of Pat Benatar and Billy Idol. Yet our spiky haired witch on a modern 500 CC broom has much more pressing matters than to scoot around Manhattan looking like a partially bleached clown/ paid spokes model for a cosmetic makeup line exclusively designed for street walkers. She must find the magic ring she had from long ago, the one that will help her finish her ritual which will allow her to become immortal. Though if you ask me, (all previous eighties fashion attacks put aside) she already looks pretty good for being over three hundred years old.
Unfortunately, the ring had just been sold to someone else by a scuzzy pawnbroker - unfortunately for the pawnbroker that is, for his thoughtless oversight gives Eva the chance to demonstrate her evil (and extremely low-budget) power to hypnotize people (while they are still awake) through the ancient evil magic of voice over. Not only can she delve deep inside people she just met and know every secret failing or personal weakness, she can talk to them in their thoughts, and encourage them to do terrible spur-of-the-moment things like committing suicide, murdering others, or sleeping with her. While this sounds like two vastly different fates, everyone she mind probes usually ends up dead a scene later anyway, so please try not to stare directly into her breasts when you hear the scary synth music play.
It turns out her scary ancient (Hot Topic) Pentagram Ring was purchased by a goodly preacher (WHAT??) So after some more brainwashing and some more mysterious deaths by goodly employees of a downtown homeless mission, the ring is hers once again, and that’s when things start to get kind of weird. She goes around the dark streets of Manhattan, mentally seducing people or verbally antagonizing them into fights all so they can die by her mere touch, and leak protoplasm out of their still warm corpses. Not only does Eva eat the suggestive white viscous fluid which pours out of the foreheads of her victims with great visual delight, a scene later she is seen back at her underground lair while several of her ghoul henchmen are suckling her SIX naked breasts (teats?) drinking the evil protoplasm which they need to survive. Look I am not thirteen years old; I am a jaded man, in fact, when it comes to depictions of sex onscreen, and I usually see at least six different breasts in every film I watch (usually in the first five minutes). But this is the scene involving the woman with a 1/6 head to breast ratio is the moment that EVERYONE talks about when they speak of this film, so you might as well know of it, just in case it’s a question on some obscure movie trivia show (It won’t be) or you just want to one-up; razz your buddies for fawning over that certain hot mutant girl in Total Recall (you know which one).
There are subplots involving a love story between a cop and a reporter who ally with the goodly preacher (who still wants his devil ring back), but the real main character here is Eva and her all-encompassing quest for revenge, eternal life, and (probably) a decent six cup bra that doesn’t make her look “all fat”.
For a film based upon a blonde scantily clad 80’s Punkarella who loved screwing and killing like most normal, modern women crave shopping and snacking, this should have been a much better cult film. Though Eva racked up a convincing body count of six victims (one per breast), nothing in this movie was convincing. Seduction sequences ended with a network friendly suggestive fade out stolen from an afternoon soap opera, and what could have been thrilling action/ murder sequences were over before they began as Eva seems to be able to bloodlessly kill people at her mere touch. There is room left open for a sequel ,but something tells me it may take another 300 years before we get one. I will give it two skulls, though, because if I had seen this on late night cable when both it and I were of the recommended preteen viewing demographic, it would have been deliciously awful/admittedly watchable. DVD “extras” include more trailers, a soliloquy by Charles Band as he waxes poetic on what the “exact” meaning of Grindhouse is, and (of course) four extraneous breasts.
Grab your copy here!