Sunday, June 10, 2012

Necropolis (Bruce Hickey, 1987)

The last sound you will ever hear is that of her high heel shoes hitting the floor as she walks away from your soon to be rotting corpse. Oh, and before you start accusing her of murder, remember this, she simply told you to kill yourself, which you did, without hesitation. Okay, maybe there was some hesitation, but not a lot. Either way, there's very little you can do once you have come face-to-face with the intoxicating allure of the platinum blonde demon goddess at the centre of Necropolis, the epic supernatural thriller from writer-director Bruce Hickey and producer Tim Kincaid (Riot on 42nd Street) about a three hundred year-old witch, one who, get this, uses her long, alabaster legs, which, of course, are sheathed in the blackest pair of black fully fashioned stockings money can buy, to persuade big haired and regular haired New Yorkers alike to do things they wouldn't normally do. Watching her slowly develop as an actress, a cameo in Bad Girls Dormitory, a bit part in Psychos in Love, and, who could forget, her scene-stealing turn as the forthright pleasure droid in Mutant Hunt, this is the film that proves once and for all that LeeAnne Baker is one of the greatest B-movie actresses of all-time. Hold up. Did you just say, "B-movie actresses"? Fuck that noise, LeeAnne Baker is simply one of the greatest actresses of all-time, period. At least from my unique perspective she is, and why wouldn't she be? You know how some people have shoe fetishes, or how some are obsessed with opera gloves? Well, I have a LeeAnne Baker fetish. Now, I know what you're thinking. What exactly does a LeeAnne Baker fetish entail? Excellent question. First things first, you'll need to watch all her movies. And you don't merely watch a LeeAnne Baker movie, you inject yourself into the film like a heroin user shoots up with a syringe. Except, in this case, LeeAnne Baker is the drug and your eyes are the addict.
Okay, now that I've cleared that up. What you need to do next is take what you have seen in her movies (it doesn't matter if she's in the movie for five seconds or is in it from start to finish), and write overlong passages that describe in exhaustive detail what Miss Baker did in each movie. And I'm talking about everything: the style of her hair (since LeeAnne only worked as an actress between years 1986 and 1987, her hair is usually short), the type of clothes she wore, the way she moves, the quality of her acting, etc.
Stealing individual scenes is one thing, but carrying an entire movie squarely on your creamy shoulders is quite a different story. And that's exactly what LeeAnne Baker has to do in Necropolis; a film that not only requires her to be the star (it's the first film where her character appears on the poster), she has to ride a motorcycle along the West Side Highway, grow four additional breasts right underneath her already existing pair, and dance in front of a pentagram in 17th century New Amsterdam.
History majors will probably notice right off the bat that the opening title "New Amsterdam, 1686" is somewhat erroneous (the name "New Amsterdam" was changed to New York in 1664). But don't let a minor detail like that ruin your appreciation for the scope of the storytelling employed throughout this classic tale of good vs. fabulous; I know I sure I didn't.
Speaking of things that are erroneous in nature, did they have "jazz hands" in 1686? I wonder. Anyway, in a misty forest on the outskirts of New Amsterdam circa 1686, a white woman is being followed by a mysterious black man. Why is a mysterious black man following a white woman? Judging by her long, platinum-coloured hair and equally long, black cloak, I'd say the woman in question likes to dabble in Satanism.
Dabble, you say?!? Hardly, she's the leader of a Satanic cult. And not only that, she's the leader of a Satanic cult during a time when being the leader of a Satanic cult actually meant something. Tell someone nowadays you're the leader of anything, let alone a Satanic cult, and they'll probably laugh in your face while they calmly call in a drone strike using the airstrike application on their smartphone. But back then, any extracurricular activities that didn't involve the Bible were usually greeted with an angry mob wielding torches.     
My instincts regarding the white woman with the white hair were right on the money, as we see her standing in front of giant pentagram (the official symbol of Satan). While it looks like she could be the opening act for a Ratt tribute band, don't be fooled, she's up to some seriously evil shit. After wowing the shifty-eyed rabble in attendance with her erotic, well, erotic for 1693, dance moves, she summons a bride away from a nearby wedding using her Satan-approved brand of telekinesis. The plan is to kill the virgin bride with a special knife in order to please her master. Unfortunately, the mysterious black man, and, not to mention, the entire wedding party, show up to ruin her ritual. Swearing to avenge this injustice, the cult leader vows to return.
When and where do you think she will return? Please return to New York City in the mid-to-late 1980s; I don't ask for much.

Panning up a leg encased in lace nylons that is attached to a torso sitting on a red motorcycle to the sound of "Rock & Rock" (yep, the same song used in both Valet Girls and Killer Workout), the next twenty minutes are easily the finest twenty minutes ever to be captured on film. Don't get me wrong, the stuff that happens after the twenty minutes are up is just as awesome. I'm just saying, this particular chunk of celluloid represents my aesthetic point of view like no other chunk has done before.
While that's great and all, let's get back to the camera panning up that leg. Sitting atop a red Yamaha XJ 400 Seca (thanks, IMCDb) motorcycle is a figure in lace and black leather. And you know what that means? That's right, Satan's girlfriend is back, baby! Removing her helmet, the first thing we notice is that her the long locks have been replaced with a shorter hairdo (the kind that would make Lois Ayres and Sharon Mitchell nod approvingly with a snotty grace). Looking around at her new surroundings, Eva (LeeAnne Baker), her eyes smeared with about five cans of black eye makeup, flashes a sly smile, and hits the road.
A close-up shot of her left hand revving her motorcycle's engine, her red fingernails juxtaposed nicely with her black, stud-covered leather fingerless gloves, is the epitome of cinematic cool as far as I'm concerned.
The first stop on her journey is an occult pawn shop run by a guy named Rudy (Gy Milano), a beer-drinking asthmatic who lost his hearing for a week when he was six years old. How do you know all that? Ah, yes. The thing about Necropolis that sets it apart from other films in the genre is that it takes the time to flesh out each character's backstory. You see, if Eva wants you to do something, but you, unwisely, decide to resist her, she'll poke around your subconscious until she finds a traumatic event from your past and use what she found to bend your will. In the case of Rudy the pawnbroker, she wants him to tell her who he sold "The Devil's Ring" to, as it possesses great power. And when he won't tell her (LeeAnne Baker's New York accent really shines through when she says, "You're Lying'!" in response to his floundering), Eva reminds him of the time when he lost his hearing as a child. The ringing sound in his ears drives Rudy mad, eventually kills him. But as he's dying, he tells Eva what she wanted to hear. And that is, the location of the ring.
Making her way to the youth outreach centre run by the Reverend Henry James (William K. Reed), who strangely looks exactly like the black man from the 1680s. It's during this scene when we get our first taste of Eva's menacing-sounding footsteps. Pretending to be a troubled teen, Eva confronts the reverend in the men's room. On top of being the first instance where we get a clear shot of the star earring dangling from Eva's left earlobe, it's also the scene I would submit to anyone out there who wants to learn a thing or two about the art of acting, as LeeAnne Baker is remarkable. Trading in her tough chick persona for a more vulnerable one, LeeAnne will melt your tear ducts with the range of emotions she displays during this particular scene.
Since her meeting with the reverend didn't get her any closer to her precious devil ring, Eva decides to use a different approach; one that involves psychological persuasion, and, of course, her raw sex appeal. When we hear a beat pumping, we know it's time for Eva to slip on her black stockings and attach them to the garter belt, which is no doubt lurking seductively somewhere underneath her short-as-can-be black leather skirt. Using the back room of Rudy's occult pawn shop as her temporary base of operations, Eva takes her black stockings for a test drive by dancing up a storm as "Say You Do" by Zoom Zoom throbs on the soundtrack.
Choreographed by Taunie Vrenon (Elaine from Mutant Hunt), what takes place next is probably the most alluringly staged dance number in film history. After she's done making sure there are no creases in her stockings (she does so by running hands, her black, stud-covered black fingerless glove-covered hands, over the surface of the stockings multiple times), and she finishes applying some more makeup, Eva dances erotically in front of the makeshift Satanic altar she has set up.
Hopping on her motorcycle, Eva arrives at the youth outreach centre just as a reporter in a red turtleneck dress named Dawn Phillips (Jacquie Fitz), a woman who looks like the virgin bride from the 1680s, is about to interview The Reverend and a troubled youth named Philly (George Anthony-Rayza) for some hard hitting piece for NPR. In order to break things up, Eva manipulates Philly (she's outside the centre) by causing him to go into withdrawal (he's a recovering drug addict). Since everyone with the exception one volunteer has gone to the hospital with Philly, Eva can get the key for the safe that contains the ring without as much hassle.  
All that stands in her way is a guy named Tony (Andrew Bausili), a man who looks like the preacher from Dawn's botched 1686 wedding. Luckily for Eva, Tony is no longer a puritan era preacher. He's now a man who is easily swayed by the sight of the exposed thigh skin languishing between two distinctly different textile realms.
Starting off with a close-up shot of the seams that run up and down the back of her stockings, Eva enters the youth outreach centre with a certain swagger.
Asking if he can help her, Eva replies, "Sure, Tony," even though they have never met (well, at least not in a couple of hundred years). Resting one of her legs on a chair, which purposely exposes a generous helping of ashen flesh thanks to the leg's placement and the zipper slit on her leather skirt, Eva toys with Tony in a way that can best be described as "cat and mouse." 
The sound of her footsteps echo through the office, as she circles his desk in a predatory manner.
Audible footsteps, brilliant streaks of rouge makeup, a dangling star-shaped earring, and exposed thigh skin inundate my psyche as Eva slowly approaches Tony's desk.
Grabbing a switchblade from one of Tony's drawers, Eva places it on his desk and tells him to kill himself. Using his suicidal tendencies against him, while, at same time, making sure his eyes remain focused on the first-rate absolute territory she was putting out there, Eva eggs him on by saying, "Do it," over and over again.
You have to wonder why Eva needed keys to open a safe in the first place. I mean, don't most safes use combination locks? And secondly, why couldn't she just zap it open using her witch powers like she did the lock on the fence? Well, to be fair, she did open the fence lock after she acquired the ring, so, she might not have had access to that witch function yet. At any rate, with the ring on her finger, Eva drives to her necropolis, a dilapidated warehouse up in The Bronx, which still contain the bodies of her long dead Satanic cult. After some great leggy shots of LeeAnne Baker walking through the warehouse are implemented, Eva summons her followers to arise.
Meanwhile, a no-nonsense cop named Billy (Michael Conte), a dead ringer for Alan Vega from Suicide ("America, America is killing its youth"), is trying to investigate Tony's death. What do you mean, "trying"? Well, even though Benny the medical examiner (Paul Ruben), a man who's on friendly terms with Dorothy, tells him, "it's a suicide, honey," Dawn and Reverend James are convinced that there's something strange going on in Tribeca tonight.
While Alan Vega's twin brother and the neck sensitive Dawn (seriously, don't touch her neck) make goo goo eyes with one another (the latter invites the former over to her Japanese themed apartment to drink wine and talk about reincarnation), Eva is out collecting souls in a pair of animal print leather pants with a matching bustier. The first soul she grabs belongs to a guy from Queens named Snake (Jett Julian), then she targets his big haired girlfriend Cat (Jennifer Stahl). Their souls are consumed as ectoplasm, which she later expels through her nipples so that her minions may grow stronger. Whoa, how is she supposed to feed an army of minions with only two nipples? Um, she develops four more breasts. Duh.
A rare instance where everything seems to be in perfect harmony with one another in terms of cohesion, Necropolis is a movie that works on so many levels, that it's not even funny. It's got homemade crosses used as weapons, a skeptical red meat advocate who looks like Alan Vega (a man who gets to fondle Eva's stockings at one point), it uses "On the Run From Whistler" from the Trancers soundtrack not once but twice, has a flamboyant M.E. ("That's 'Dr. Parker' to you, honey"), features scenes where a tall (LeeAnne Baker must be at least 5'10) blonde who looks like Anne Carlisle from every angle harasses a hooker named Candy (Nadine Hartstein), and sports a lead character whose clothes are styled by none other than Celeste Hines. Okay, I don't know who that is (Nancy Arons and Jeffrey Wallach are credited as the film's costume designers, and probably deserve most of the credit for Eva's many stunning ensembles), but I like the idea that LeeAnne Baker had her own stylist on this film. Anyway, capturing the nervous energy of New York City after dark, Necropolis is what cinema should be: A steaming wad of diaphanous nectar dripping from the nipples of a soul-sucking witch from the Lower East Side. 

uploaded by GoldEydLer

Special thanks to Thomas Duke, the beer-drinking dandy who runs the newly refurbished Cinema Gonzo (check it out, man, it's taint-tastic!), for doing me a solid and recommending that my Vorta-esque eyeballs make a date with this wonderfully crafted piece of filmed entertainment.


  1. Gee. I need to see this. Right away.

    I can only hope LeeAnne Baker's witch triumphs at the end. I can only hope. I always root for the witch to win, and the filmmakers never give me what I want. That was the one thing that blemished Mario Bava's masterful "Mask of Satan" (aka "Black Sunday", which you must see right away if haven't already). Barbara Steele's satanic witch Asa's plans for revenge go unrealized at the end. Heteronormative domesticity reigns instead. That's bullshit. Victorian Moldavia would have been so much better under the subtle satanic grace and gorgeous eyes of Barbara Steele's witchy glory.

    [unrelated: i found a fun band.]

  2. I'm glad Tim Kincaid handed direction off to someone with an appreciation of LeeAnne Baker's thighs wrapped in stockings. I just watched Breeders (the film that taught me that coke-fueled 80s New York lingerie models with a penchant for nude aerobics on their lunch breaks were totally into celibacy) and it was a travesty how they treated LeeAnne's gams I tell you!

    LeeAnne Baker? Yes. In a nurse's outfit? Oh yes. But do we get to see her slowly de-nurse's outfitting? No. No we do not. She get's home, pulls a giant vat of borscht or something out of the fridge, quickly strips off her nurse dress (in the kitchen, oddly) to reveal neither underwear nor the stockings we just saw adorning her lovely sticks as she walked in the door, and immediately cuts to her getting in the shower for an admittedly not unappreciated lathering-up.

    This little scene was like putting race-grade high-octane fetish fuel into a Toyota Tercel of 80s sexploitation.

    I will give Kincaid mad props for placing alien bukkake and tentacle rape in a film way back in 1986 though. In some ways he was ahead of his time... in others he was a gay man directing hetro erotica.

  3. Now you see why this movie had "Yum Yum' written on it's ass.

    If Lois Ayres and LeAnne Baker never munched rugs together, there is no justice in the world.

    I didn't even pick up on Rock n Rock being in all three films. I actually saw this movie first, so it didn't register as such an important song at the time.

    I don't know a ton about women, but I do know that satanic hicks = hot.

    I once made the joke that I was going to start a Ratt cover band and call it "Rat". Just saying.

  4. @ido: I don't want to give anything away, but Necropolis' ending is surprisingly pro-witch.

    Black Sunday? Yeah, I know that flick. In fact, the image of Barbara Steele's hole-covered face is one of the more ubiquitous horror images floating around out there. Anyway, sure, I'll check out.

    "Heteronormative Domesticity Reigns" is probably The Smiths most underrated album.

    I want to lick LeeAnne Baker from head to toe.

    @Tuttle: First of all, I like the way you think. And secondly, I'm envious over the fact that you have seen LeeAnne Baker in Breeders.

    I'm sad to hear that LeeAnne Baker's gams weren't treated with the respect they deserve in Breeders, but I'm sure I will be able to extract enough perverted goodness from its slimy husk to satisfy my L.A.B. needs.

    "Neither underwear nor the stockings." *cringes*

    @Thomas Duke: You know your Yum-Yum.

    Just look at the way LeeAnne Baker towers over those prostitutes. Look at it! It's too awesome for words.

    Oh my. Lois Ayres and LeeAnne Baker munching rugs. Now that's a mental image worth imagining. Is it okay if Sharon Mitchell watches (wearing a lab coat and holding clipboard, of course) and Tangerine Dream provides the music?

    The fact that Rock n' Rock has appeared in three important, historical significant movies can't be coincidence.

    Satanic hicks?!? I think you meant to say, "chicks." Either way, Satanism is hot. ;)

    I briefly thought about what a Ratt cover band might call itself. And, I must say, it never occurred to me to simply drop one of the t's. Well played.

  5. Jazz hands! LOLOLOL.

    By the way, I think it is so cool that you even know what Transnistria is, or as the Moldovans call it Република Молдовеняскэ Нистрянэ. Yes, that was a cut-and-paste job, but I do have a Cyrillic keyboard on my laptop.

    I'm going to DC in a couple weeks and I hope to visit the Canadian Embassy. :)

  6. Everyone loves jazz hands; it's one of them fact thingies.

    Hey, man, I'm all about ex-Soviet republics, oblasts, and what not. Well, at least I was back in the mid-90s (it's a little known fact that hanging around the Reference Library, reading about the Mordvinians, does not make the ladies swoon), but I've managed to retain most of it.

    I can read Cyrillic. Taught myself. And you know what? It wasn't that hard. ;)

    Have fun in DC. Oh, and make sure to say hi to my parents; they're apparently going there in a couple of weeks as well. Seriously. No foolin'. Yo, I'm being straight-up.

  7. This sounds like about five different movies jammed into one, and I can't believe I've never heard of it until now.

    By the way, I salute your fidelity to historical accuracy. I wrote an MA thesis on the 1660s, but the correct place names would have gone past me. As for jazz hands in the seventeenth century... I bet the Quakers invented it!

  8. Yeah, I don't know what compelled me to look up the history of New Amsterdam. I guess there was something about the date that appeared on the screen that seemed off somehow.

  9. I should be sleeping now, but my brain just ingested this film. And is deeply, deeply satisfied. There are some flaws, though, which are to be expected given he budget. I'll get those out of the way first. I'll try not to give anything away for those who haven't seen the film.

    Part I

    not so hot:
    - The costuming for non-humans (I'll just leave it at that) is not done well at all. LeeAnne Baker's Arch-Witch Eve is excluded from this. I know they were on a budget, but come on. Lots of amazing horror monsters have been constructed on a budget.
    - Said non-humans were not as rough and battle-ready as they should have been given the plot. These ghouls shouldn't have gone down so easy, god damn it!
    - As Sir Yum Yum points out, the first act involves Her Imperial Witchiness's search to regain her lost occult power object, The Devil's Ring. But the director never SHOWS US THE SCENE OF HER ACTUALLY GETTING IT! Just her getting the key, and then she's walking around with it on. And trust me, The Ring is damn important for the entire film, even though the metaphysics and ritual laws are a little goofy (don't think about it, no one but me cares, anyway.) There should have been a scene with her putting the ring on, and then breaking out into one of her ultra amazing LeeAnne Baker special dance numbers to celebrate the occasion.
    - The other leads Jacquie Fitz and Michael Conte take away way too much screen time from LeeAnne Baker in the second half of the film. Maybe they were needed for plot development, but anyone with half a brain in their head knew where this was going. They also had zero chemistry as a romantic couple. Zero. I've seen cooked oatmeal radiate more sexual energy than those two did together.
    - More LeeAnne Baker dance numbers!!! You are shooting a film starring LeeAnne Baker encased in the styling of Celeste Hines. And she uses any possible excuse to dance around while getting changed. Instead of a few seconds, these could have been drawn out to ritual performance in Praise of Satan. Instead of repeating that shot of the six prosthetic boobs. Yes, you paid for it and it looks freaky. But which is going drive the brain more wild with uncontrollable desire? Making poor Ms. Baker stand there for yet another shot of that leaking six boob thing, or her ultra-sleek form dancing around in the absolute height of New York punk fashion? The choice is easy.
    - William K. Reed as the reverend who fights the forces of Satan. Just couldn't buy it (or that he was expert on past lives. Christian reverends that wear big-ass crosses don't believe in that stuff. Again, the only metaphysics I could get behind was LeeAnne Baker doing some slinky sacrificing.) Mr. Reed is not a very good actor. You could say that about the flamboyant medical examiner. But at least he's over the top and interesting. William K. Reed is just dull. Even some Shatner-esque overacting in the face of one the foremost Handmaidens of Lucifer would have been nice.
    - Whoever wrote the line, "Orientals see a close connection between sex and the soul" for Jacquie Fitz's character to say. I'm not going to even get in to how fucking stupid that is. Just don't call Asian's "orientals," ok. Hopefully someone got ectoplasm sucked out of their skull for that one.

  10. Part II

    Incredibly fucking hot:
    - the ending made me very happy. If you are actually still reading this, please see my first comment up at the top.
    - LeeAnne Baker. Why wasn't this woman a huge star of late '80s, 90s horror films? Maybe her acting is a little rough at spots. But she commands your attention. Everyone else in this film completely didn't matter. If she wasn't cast as the lead of "Necropolis," then no one in their right mind would watch this thing. No one else brings anything special, other than the fact they can remember their lines. I think Yum-Yum is far more qualified to review why she is so wonderful. But I will say this, in "Necropolis" there is a definite screen presence she brings to her character. Its not just her physical beauty, alluring fashion sense, or even dancing (I liked it, anyway). There's an extremely rough yet subtle aura the mannerism of her Eva character, truly making her appealing as an Arch-Witch of Satan. You wish she had a honest to goodness coven of writhing demonic minions and hell-beasts at her beck and call. Instead of a handful of extras in Halloween masks and black cloaks. Her acting isn't refined, but it contains raw inner energy- she's in to that character completely, and its real to her. At least Eva was. Like Yum-Yum said, when she is on screen, she is a hypnotic force.
    - Witch Powers: LeeAnne Baker's character Eva had decent witch powers in the film. With more budget she could have achieved more fun stuff. Her Imperial Witchiness took care of her business very nicely in this film. Even at the very end, the very very end when things seemed lost, her resourcefulness and skill was impressive.
    - Celeste Hines designed Ms. Baker's wardrobe for the film. Ms. Hines's contribution to the art of fashion design in cinema should be right up there with whatever they wore in "Gone With the Wind." I'm serious. The only other women in American cinema who have dressed to kill with such artistry and daring are Lydia Lunch and Lung Leg.
    - Taunie Vrenon's choreography. There wasn't enough of it. It fucking rules. All Satanic ritual performance should involve LeeAnne Baker in leather, lace, and high heels dancing around to Ms. Vrenon's work. Hell, the whole film could have been that and I would have been pleased.
    - New York City: lots of the film was shot in the Lower East Side, Tribeca, the New Jersey. The parts of the film shot in the city are great. This is the best thing the film has going for it along with LeeAnne Baker. The total urban blight of New York at the time this was made (especially apparent in the opening shot) works in the films favor. It gives LeeAnne's Eva the perfect hunting ground, and perfectly mirrors her harsh predatory nature burning with evil lust. Everything not shot outside or focused on LeeAnne Baker seriously lags.
    - The music in the film is pretty good. I think its all stolen from other films, but what the hell. The little almost electro-industrial tune during the closing credits was very nice.

    Yum-yum, I hope you don't mind this long reaction list. I really enjoyed this film. It definitely left me wanting more.

  11. Also, DO NOT get the cheap-ass Full Moon dvd of this film. It looks and sounds like garbage. Even if you only paid less than $5, its too much. There are far better transfers that can be obtained. Full Moon is also a rip-off company that you shouldn't give your money to.

  12. Now you tell me. :D

    Which one did you get?

  13. I ended up downloading a grey market copy. Excellent clear transfer, probably from the original VHS. I posted about this on another film but this is serious: email me at for details on getting it.