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Guru the Mad Monk

USA 1970
produced by
M.A. Isaacs for Maipix Organization
directed by Andy Milligan
starring Neil Flanagan, Jaqueline Webb, Judith Israel, Jack Spencer, Paul Lieber, Frank Echols, Jeremy Brooks (= Gerald Jacuzzo), Julia Wills, Ron Keith, Myschka, Irving Metzman, Jeffrey Isaacs, Roy Gordon, Stanley Herbert, Billy Hoffman, Tom Mullaney, Joseph Pichette, Joan Durant
written and cinematography by Andy Milligan

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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15th century, somewhere: Carl (Paul Lieber) works in a prison colony that is also a church when he one day discovers among the convicts his thought lost girlfriend Nadja (Judith Israel), who has been convicted to death for killing her own baby child she conceived in a rape - a crime she didn't even commit. Desperate to save her, Carl turns to the prison's head, chaplain Guru (Neil Flanagan), who actually promises to save the girl by faking her death - under the condition that Carl for the next three months does whatever he, Guru, wants. Without any other choice, Carl agrees - not knowing that his work for Guru would include stealing the dead bodies of executed convicts and shipping them to scientists around the country.

But that's only one line of evilness Guru is in, he also likes to personally kill those who are in need of help and turn to him, he keeps vampire Olga (Jaqueline Webb) as his mistress, and he seems to have a spli9t personality or be possessed or something (this aspect of his personality is only once hinted at without consequence for the rest of the movie.

Eventually, Nadja, whom Guru really has saved, grows suspicious about the goings-on in Guru's prison, especially after two priests (Frank Echols, Jeremy Brooks) seem to have disappeared from the face of the earth after having had a meeting with Guru, but with Carl away delivering some corpses, the only one Nadja can turn to is Igor (Jack Spencer), Guru's hunchback assistant, but when he turns against Guru and Olga, Guru soon enough decides to torture him by nailing one of his hands to the wall and cutting his tongue out with scissors. Then Guru is lusting for Nadja, and when Olga is overcome by jealousy, he has to kill her. Before he can even lay a hand on Nadja though, Carl returns and Igor shows there is still enough spirit in him to have revenge on his master. In the end though Irog has to die a hero's death while Carl sets the score right by hanging Guru who has attempted to make a daring getaway ...


By and large, Andy Milligan has been described as a terrible filmmaker, and Guru the Mad Monk is able proof of this claim: Direction and camerawork are totally plain and impersonal to the hilt, the script is nothing short of super-silly, the actors are uniformly third rate (at best), and the production values are way too low for a period piece.

That all said, Guru the Mad Monk is also great fun, maybe Milligan's funniest: Some of the props - especially Guru's bishop's head visibly and audibly made from paper - are laugh-inducingly cheap, the actors are hilariously over-the-top, the outside-shots are obciously done next to a busy street so the soundtrack contains many a car noise, and the script and dialogue alone are pure fun in their silliness. Add to this a direction that seems to avoid atmosphere at all cost, to an extent that the film has a mood all of its own and background music that never seems to fit what's going on on-screen and you have got one fantastic piece of trash - not a good film, mind you, but still great fun, if (maybe) for all the wrong reasons.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD