After terrorizing a convenience store salesgirl with tomatoes, three lowlifes on a crime spree hide out at an isolated farmhouse occupied only by teenage Lisa and her pathetically paralyzed grandpa. Bad move, guys, for whi... more »le Lisa looks innocent enough, she's actually a ticking-time-bomb-of-psychotic-aggression who spends her days killing chickens, feeding raw eggs to her granddad, staring blankly into space, and hallucinating blood on a mirror. So when the three numbskulls add Lisa to their list of people to abuse, she promptly puts an end to their antisocial activities with the help of her two best friends, a straight-edge razor and her handy Axe. Bonus feature: Who shot the Reverend Sam and cut his girlfriend's tongue out? Was it religious fanatic Mose Cooper? Or that idiot Crazy Billy? Whoever it is will end up paying the ultimate price by frying in The Electric Chair (1972, 85 min.), written, produced, and directed by "Axe's" J.G. "Pat" Patterson (who also plays the creepy Cooper), which gleefully details a hot-seat execution; Trailers for this, under the titles Axe, Lisa, Lisa and The Virgin Slaughter, plus trailers for Harry Novak's Behind Locked Doors, Booby Trap, The Child, Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks, Kidnapped Coed, The Mad Butcher, The Toy Box and Toys are Not for Children; Two Archival Short Subjects: Don't be like Lisa! Learn how to stay sane with 1952's Mental Health: Keeping Mentally Fit, and sexy sword-swallower Maria Cortez in We Still Don't Believe It; Gallery of Harry Novak Exploitation Art; Horrorama Radio-Spot Rarities.« less
Sir Jub-Jub | Sir Jub-Jub's Lair, Alaska | 10/29/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The best part of the DVD of "Axe", is the trailer for the film under the alternate title of "The Virgin Slaughter". I will explain, "Axe" is the story of a trio of criminals who flee into the country to avoid the police. They come upon a lonely farmhouse inhabited by a pre-pubescent girl and her paralyzed father. In what amounts to a no-budget "Straw Dogs", the girl brings her own brand of justice to the criminals. The DVD provide three different trailers for the film with very unique appoaches, the best being the one for "The Virgin Slaughter", which depicts the film as some sort of demonic possesion blood lust film centering on the girl as a type of unholy avenger. It is the most misleading trailer I have ever seen and is well worth the price of the DVD. Something Weird Video has added numerous extras to this presentation. There is an additional film from the same director called "The Electric Chair" which is longer than the main feature. There is also two short subjects, one is very funny as a scantily clad woman, circa 1956 swallows swords which cause various layers of clothing to pop off. There is also director commentary and even radio spots. While this film will not appeal to everyone (anyone?), those who are into this sort of low-budget stuff will find the time spent worthwhile."
Matthew C. Pinkerton | Denver, Colorado United States | 07/17/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Another fine showing from SWV! The main feature, while typical of Friedel's style and, hence, not to all tastes is nevertheless a surprisingly well-made film. Despite Friedel's pacey style of storytelling, I must confess a deep fondness for some of his films. He has a real gift for weaving trashy archetypes together into unique little stories. Though far inferior in every way possible, "The Electric Chair" feature is a real hoot. Bad acting (see if you can spot future "LA Law" star Larry Drake in the courtroom gallery), bad direction, bad script and bad special effects make this a true Kamp Klassic. As is so often the case with SWV, however, the extras are the real reason to add this disc to your collection. The Encyclopedia Brittanica short about "Keeping Mentally Fit" is a howler and a half. It's narrated by a senile old sawbones who illustrates the habits of good mental hygiene with stories of past patients including a lazy school girl, a cry-baby and a self-loathing loser who does nothing but pout. Okay, so maybe I am missing the point, but who really cares. These priceless pieces of Americana are the main reason I invest my hard-earned money in these silly discs. This one does not disappoint!"
"The lady's sure got some nice melons, Lomax."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 01/20/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you were a regular at the drive-in in the mid 1960s and throughout the 1970s, you probably weren't a stranger to the films released by Harry Novak through his Box Office International film group, enjoying such wonderfully sleazy exploitation fare as Country Cuzzins (1970), The Pigkeeper's Daughter (1972), and Wham Bam Thank You Spaceman (1975), to name just a few. Another Box Office International release was this independent film, titled simply Axe (1977) aka Lisa, Lisa, produced by J.G. Patterson Jr. (The Gruesome Twosome), and written and directed by Frederick R. Friedel (Date with a Kidnapper), who also starred in the film, along with Leslie Lee, in her first and only onscreen role, Jack Canon (Maximum Overdrive, Weekend at Bernie's), Ray Green (The Natural History of Parking Lots), and Douglas Powers.
As the movie begins we see a trio of unfriendly looking men enter an apartment building and break into one of the units, apparently waiting for the occupant of said unit to arrive home. There's Billy (Friedel), the youngest of the three, sporting one of the more hideous perms I've seen in a long time, followed by Lomax (Green), a greasy, middle-aged, paunchy, ceegar chomping sociopath type, and finally Steele (Canon), a wiry man with a receding hairline, cruel eyes, who has a really annoying habit of continually picking at his nails, and who also seems to be in charge. Eventually two seriously effeminate fun boys show up, dressed in typically atrocious 1970s leisure wear, setting off a festival of pain as Steele an Lomax literally beat the hell out of one of the them. Why? Who knows? But I suspect it had something to do with the guy's ridiculously ugly print shirt...as for the other guy, cowering in the corner, well, let's just say he saved himself a beating by taking the express route out of the building. Anyway, the men take their psychotic show on the road, heading for the country, stopping along the way to terrorize a lone female clerk at a small grocery store apparently because of a lack of quality control regarding her fruit (it wasn't fresh enough for Steele). Given the hideous nature of the woman's floral print blouse, I'm beginning to suspect these guys are some sort of fashion terrorists, intent on sadistically humiliating and brutalizing those who would violate decorum and good taste with lousy wardrobes (hey, sounds like what that pasty skag Joan Rivers and her skagette daughter Melissa do whenever there's an award event). The terrible trio eventually ends up at a large, isolated house in the country, inhabited by a quiet, unassuming young woman named Lisa (Lee), and her paralyzed grandfather (Powers), who can't move or speak, and relies on his granddaughter, who feeds him a steady diet of raw eggs, to survive. After evaluating out the situation, Steele decides this is a good place to hole up, and the three men move in...later that night Lomax gets an itch and sneaks into Lisa's room for some mad, sweaty lovin' of the brute force kind, but instead gets a straight edge razor to the neck...ouch...Lisa then drags his corpse into the bathroom, dumps it into the bathtub, and proceeds hack the body up into bits in a sequence I like to call `I Dismember Lomax'...well, I wonder what she has in store for the other two...
Overall I thought this film a very stark and effective feature, and a great example of what can be done on an obviously minimal budget. The characters and the plot were kept simple, and the story wasted little of its meager 68 minute running time on unnecessary elements. One really interesting aspect of the film was how there was absolutely no back story towards any of the characters, especially in terms of the three men. We never truly learn who they are, or why they heaped the beating they did on the man at the beginning, whether it was under instructions from a superior, or just a vendetta against someone who did them wrong...and by the end, it didn't really matter. Instead, the story is essentially a snap shot of events that occur over a three day period, and we, the audience, happen to arrive on the scene just as things begin to get good. I though all the characters interesting and distinctive, given what little he had to go on, with Lisa being particularly so, a young female, alone, except for her mute, invalid grandfather whom she cared for, living a life of quiet desperation and despair, that is until the three men show up. At first she seemed willing to give it up, as if to say after all I've suffered these many years, this is my reward? To be used and abused by three men who just happened to pick my house as a place to hide out? What's the point? But then something snaps, and, in cool, almost calculating fashion, she starts to dispatch those deserving, given the right catalyst, that being a big, sweaty bohunk jumping her in the middle of the night. Most of the movie takes place in and about the lonesome farmhouse, and the director makes the most of the locations with some very decent shots, especially given his seemingly limited experience behind the camera. As far as the blood and gore, there is some of the first, but little of the latter, as any scenes with involving the axe are not actually shown, but shot in such a way as to leave it towards the viewer's imagination. I suspect this as done more out of budgetary constraints rather than artistic reason, but regardless, I didn't mind. There was one really unsettling scene for me, and that was near the end as Lisa is feeding her grandfather tomato soup. Given the events prior to the scene, one can't help but wonder if that's really tomato soup, or perhaps something else, something less appetizing...another element that worked really well for me was the simple musical score, with a tinge of the creepy.
Something Weird Video provides a nice looking fullscreen (1.33:1) transfer here, as the picture is clean, suffering minor flaws. The audio, presented in Dolby Digital audio, on the other hand, comes across a little soft and muddled at times, making it difficult to hear some of the dialog. I don't think this was an issue in the transfer, but something due more to how the material was originally recorded. In terms of extras, Something Weird really goes the distance providing a slew of goodies, including a 2nd, full length feature called The Electric Chair (1977), a bizarre little nugget written and directed by J.G. Patterson Jr., who produced this film. Also included are three, theatrical trailers for Axe under its various titles, along with ones for Behind Locked Doors (1968), Booby Trap (1970), The Child (1977), Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks (1974), Kidnapped Coed (1976), The Mad Butcher (1971), The Toy Box (1971), and Toys are not for and Children (1972). On top of that we have two archival short features, the first titled Mental Health: Keeping Mentally Fit (12:14), the type of propaganda film shown in schools back in the day, and the second titled We Still Don't Believe It (3:40), featuring a female swallowing swords, to which each time she would stick a sword down her throat, an article of clothing would pop off (she stops once she gets to her undergarments), and finally a gallery of horror exploitation art with Horrorama radio spot rarities.
Packed With Fun!
Robert Buchanan | Wisconsin | 08/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is the DVD that made me fall in love with Something Weird Video. It's great to discover a company that offers hundreds of obscure titles for consumption and expresses the deepest affection for this catalog, even though it clearly doesn't take any of them seriously! For example, this DVD's main selection screen features the title in the background; periodically, a disembodied hand hops across the screen wielding an axe, which it chops a few times to leave a bloody mess over the title. SWV makes it very clear that their movies are enormously stupid and fun!
The main feature is pretty entertaining. After brutalizing a fruity gay couple and a grocery clerk, a trio of dapper thugs (Canon, Green and director/writer/editor Friedel) hole up in a rural farmhouse, where a pretty, sullen young woman (Lee) cares for her paralyzed grandfather (Powers). While it isn't a great film by any standard, "Axe" is ably shot and edited, featuring some interesting (if unexceptional) performances and a subdued, ominous atmosphere unimaginable in a contemporary American horror picture. Despite its languid pace, plenty of bloody mayhem is bundled into this feature's brief (68 minutes) runtime. Although the musical score by George Newman Shaw and John Willhelm is unique and effective, Shaw's sound design is probably the worst element of this crude production: the soundtrack is as muddled and poorly mixed as that of so many other B-movies. Most of the film's stock is pristine, but a few scenes are quite grainy. SWV claims to use the best existing prints for their transfers and I'm sure that's true; overall, this copy looks pretty good.
The second feature, directed, written, produced and co-starring "Axe" producer/co-editor J.G. Patterson is entitled "The Electric Chair." Quite simply, this may be the single worst motion picture that I've ever seen. Its production values, story, performances, etc. are somehow inferior to that of Z-grade drivel like "Manos: The Hands of Fate" or "Monster A Go-Go." The poorly-constructed plot concerns the murder of two adulterers and the consequences that ensue thereafter. As both a crime thriller and a courtroom drama, this movie is a complete failure in every conceivable way. Even a pair of interesting (albeit depressingly morbid) execution sequences can't save this trash. I don't even know if this was conceived as a denunciation against or promotion for capital punishment, and I couldn't care less. The screeching, synthesized musical score sounds like outtakes from early Throbbing Gristle recordings. Seriously: don't watch this. Just move along to the special features. You'll have wasted 86 minutes of your life on some of the worst audiovisual garbage ever created if you sit through this tripe.
This disc's special features are plentiful. Two vintage short films are available: "Mental Health (Keeping Mentally Fit)" and "We Still Don't Believe It." The former is an educational short produced by Encyclopedia Britannica that makes most of Centron's old movies look brilliant in comparison. However, the second short is modestly enjoyable. In it, a cute Latina sword-swallower examines and then gulps down numerous swords in a fake exhibit. Every time she does so, another article of her clothing is torn as though cut and falls away, leaving her clad in underwear at the movie's end.
11 theatrical trailers are provided on this disc for your viewing enjoyment. The first three of these are promotional reels for "Axe," under both its present title and two others: "Lisa, Lisa" and "The Virgin Slaughter." The trailers of the alternate titles feature, shrill, campy, hyperbolic narration; the "Virgin Slaughter" promo hilariously portrays the movie's victimized antagonist as a bloodthirsty seductress! The other trailers were hastily thrown together to promote eight more raunchy B-movies typical of those that Harry Novak's Boxoffice International Pictures produced and distributed by the score from the early '60s to the late '70s. If none of these can at least make you smile, I don't know what possibly could.
The last of the special features consists of a slideshow of exploitation film posters and advertisements, scored by numerous outrageous radio spots! Some of the movies that these materials promote are lost films; others are available from SWV. Many of them aren't listed on the IMDb!
If you're as keen on sleazy, low-budget '70s movies as I am, this DVD and quite a lot else of SWV's selections will entertain you to no end. I can't wait to check out more of their offerings!"
Silly seventies revenge claptrap, but oddly compelling.
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 06/23/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Lisa, Lisa (Frederick R. Friedel, 1977)
The (still surprising, to me anyway) phenomenal success of such early- to mid-seventies rape-revenge flicks as I Spit on Your Grave and Last House on the Left spawned a bevy of microbudget imitators that were perfect fodder for grindhouse drive-in cinemas. If you've read Austin Williams' phenomenal book Crimson Orgy, you've probably got a pretty good idea of what went on behind the scenes here, and some reminiscences posted on IMDB by one of the gaffers bear testament to Williams' loving research when writing that book. Lisa, Lisa (which has since been re-released as Axe, among other names) was shot in just over a week and a half, with most of the crew paid less than one hundred bucks for their work, very few retakes because the production was constantly running low on film stock, a director and a producer at odds with each other as to the final direction of the film, and even the "curse" that seems to surround pretty much every horror movie made in the sixties and seventies (and not a few in the eighties, as well). In any case, I digress, but I'm really getting to a point; if you loved Williams' book as much as I did, and maybe even if you didn't but still have a soft spot for badly-made grindhouse, you kind of have to love Lisa, Lisa at least a little. It's a terrible movie, don't get me wrong, but it's such a textbook example of low-budget sleaze that it might have been the movie that coined the stereotype. (It wasn't, it was released far too late for that, but it still feels like it.)
The razor-thin plot concerns three criminals (Weekend at Bernie's' Jack Canon, The Natural History of Parking Lots' Ray Green, and director Friedel) who are on the run and find a suitably run-down-looking house in which to hide. They soon find that the house is not abandoned, but is just sorely neglected. Its inhabitants are an invalid grandfather (Douglas Powers, who never acted in another film) and his nubile granddaughter/caretaker Lisa (Leslie Lee, who committed suicide not long after the film's release). As this is a rape-revenge flick, you can pretty much guess where the plot's going from here, though I thought it interesting that Friedel, who also wrote the script, made Lisa into a much subtler character than the heroines of the movies mentioned above; she's certainly not averse to taking an axe and giving her assaulter forty whacks, but her real strength is in playing the criminals off one another so that they end up doing a good deal of the dirty work themselves. You don't see that in this kind of movie too often.
Yes, it's bad. It's grindhouse, of course it's bad. The gaffer's reflections I mentioned above talk about how the initial cut of the film had a great deal more plot and character-building, and the producer of the film, who also did a good deal of the editing, left it all on the cutting room floor. (And we're back to Crimson Orgy again, and you understand that if you like this sort of film, I'm telling you you must read this book, yes?) As such, the end result has about as much plot and characterization as you average porn flick, but it still has a certain slightly diseased charm to it. Yes, it's possible to read the kinda-sorta-one-sided romance between Lisa and the criminal played by Friedel as living out one's fantasy (these days, we'd call Friedel the ultimate Mary Sue), and it's odd to use the word "innocent" in relation to anything relating to a picture like this, but it's got a charm all its own, as does Lee. She obviously took lessons from the Judith O'Dea School of Acting, but on Lee, it works.
So yes, I'm giving it a mediocre-at-best rating, but if you're willing to look beyond shoddy production values and a hack job during the editing, there's actually quite a bit to like about this movie. Worth hunting down. ** "