Thundercrack!

****

Reviewed by: Chris

Imagine Rocky Horror in black and white and as serious perved-out schlock-horror. Now, let's soup up the story a little...

We have a big old mansion on the hill. Some strangers are caught in a thunderstorm as their truck breaks down and they decide to seek shelter. They are shown to a room in which they can change into some dry clothes (this room just happens to contain a wide variety of sexual 'aids'). Maintain an atmosphere of menace.

Soup it up a bit more. One of the characters is love-sick for a sex-crazed gorilla with whom he had an affair back in the days when he used to work in the circus. The owner of the mansion has the remains of her husband pickled in various bottles in the kitchen. Her son contracted a weird condition in the Far East that made his balls so heavy that they crushed things and sent him crazy (so he's behind a locked door and trying to get out).

Into what is becoming an increasingly complicated story that involves cliched situations treated and re-created with incredible vision, add the odd 'porno' scene (why have pretend ones?). The effect of this is equally unsettling. Just as you get into the comfort zone of camp horror, some carefree full frontals make you feel distinctly on edge - all the better to freak you out for the next scary plot development. I should add that a bountiful mix of hetero and gay sex ensures it is not a film for dirty old men unless they are exceedingly liberal, and the sudden shifts between genuinely erotic and scarily weird make you feel involved with the characters rather than observing them from a superior height.

I saw this film for a second time in 2005 and it was apparent that a number of very explicit scenes had previously been deleted. As the graphic sexuality runs simultaneously with double and triple puns explaining the subplots, it makes much more sense with them in and makes the film more cerebral than the average psychotronic experience. The acting by lead character Marion Eaton is also outstanding, almost Shakespearean, and contrasts with the tongue in cheek hamminess of other cast members in a way that makes your jaw drop. One of the most unusual films you'll ever see, I can't imagine anything more weird if John Waters was abducted by aliens and then regurgitated all over someone making a psychotic horror spoof with political and psychological undertones.

If you like cult films this is a jewel. Go and see it with very open-minded friends, or people you know very well!

Thundercrack! is a cult classic for the seriously open minded.

Reviewed on: 23 Dec 2006
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Camp horror, sex and weirdness in a remote mansion.
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Director: Curt McDowell

Writer: Mark Ellinger, George Kuchar, Curt McDowell

Starring: Marion Eaton, Melinda McDowell, George Kuchar, Mookie Blodgett, Ken Scudder, Bernie Boyle, Mark Ellinger, Laurie Hendricks, Moira Benson, Virginia Giritlian

Year: 1975

Runtime: 158 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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If you like this, try:

The Rocky Horror Picture Show