Tuesday, August 23, 2016
1974 was the high point for Hollywood and American cinema in general and here's another reason why. The greatest heist film ever made. Gritty, realistic with just a couple of humorous touches thrown in here and there. Every actor here is amazing and the story works perfectly. It's really amazing that shooting was allowed in the subway with cooperation from New York City for a story like this but I obviously things were much different back then.
I first sought out this movie in the 90s thanks to Quentin Tarantino ripping it off/homaging it by using the color-coded names thing for RESERVOIR DOGS. It blew me away back then and it's only become more of a favorite upon repeat viewings. There was a remake for some reason in 2009 but it looks like a great big pile of shit like just about everything else made in the 2000s so I will not be viewing that ever. Stick with the originals!
Monday, August 22, 2016
After having seen all the later appearances of Mothra where he/she/it fights against all the evil monsters like Ghidorah and Battra the Bad Moth-Monster and Evil Godzilla it's weird to go back and watch this one where Mothra is the menace who's destroying Japan. Of course the main problem with Mothra is that it's a monster who is not scary at all but more of a colorful fantasy creature who is only smashing crap to get it's 2 little teeny twin fairies back from unscrupulous capitalists. Although I never found this to be a favorite or great all-time giant monster flick myself, all the special FX look really good and if you're into the Godzilla movies you gotta see them all eventually.
Sunday, August 21, 2016
Don't know much about this short film except that it was shown at a recent VHS-sellers gathering and seem to be fairly well-received by the audience there. Not being a huge fan of homemade shot-on-video 80s crap I can't say I was all that impressed but I will at least give the filmmakers, The Cousins Brothers (identical twins from Hawaii who seem to have gone off into the world of conspiracy-theory UFO cover-up video-making more recently), credit for their obvious enthusiasm and love of ultra-cartoonish ultra-violence and massive bloodspray. I can see an obvious nod to THE EVIL DEAD series and kick-ass action cinema shine through the very rough edges. Also a very heavy metal soundtrack because what else would you score this with? This seems to be pretty obscure so I'm not sure if it's worth the effort of tracking it down but if you're an 80s VHS-obsessed nerd apparently it's hilarious stuff.
Apparently there are 4 sequels to this thing(SLAUGHTER DAYS II, SLAUGHTER DAYS III, SLAUGHTER DAYS IV and SLAUGHTER DAYS: THE MOVIE) but I'm not exactly sure why those exist or if they ever played anywhere.
The Cousin Brothers big 2007 production looks like it has a slightly bigger budget but I can think of a zillion zombie movies I'd rather re-watch before this:
Sunday, August 14, 2016
A real mess of a movie mainly due to the fact that they took a bunch of footage from a 1920s serial called PERILS OF THE JUNGLE and spliced it into new footage(well new for 1945 anyway). The plot has to do with the titular White Gorilla being excluded from all the fun gorilla games by the mean black gorillas and then becoming a badass who kills everyone cuz he's super pissed off at the world. I guess we can transpose some simplistic racial politics onto this with our collectively progressive 2016 minds because that's always so much fun. There's also a little boy Tarzan character(from the serial) who shows up and all the natives act scared of him, which is dumb and adds nothing to the story.
I know this movie because clips from it show up in that compilation movie IT CAME FROM HOLLYWOOD and it's a lot more fun when you only have to watch a minute or two of footage. At it's full running time(which is actually only a little over an hour) it's a real sleep-inducing drag. So I guess check it out if you're in need of a nap.
This is the second one of these female Tarzan-type flicks that I've watched recently(the first one being SAVAGE GIRL) and the main thing that sticks out to me is that back in the 30s and 40s no one could figure out how to make a female character, even ones that were raised by wild animals in the hostile jungles of Africa, tough at all. In this one our Tarzan lady(called "The White Witch" by the spooked natives) does have a dad for a while when she's a little kid but then he disappears and she's raised and protected by a big badass gorilla with a spiky punk-rock hair-do named Samson. Why they gave this guy in a gorilla suit spiked hair I'm not sure but I like it and I suppose it does make him stand out from the other standard apes running around. Everything's going fine with some gorilla fights and monkey hijinks until Buster Crabbe(who played Flash Gordon a bunch and also played Tarzan himself at least once back in the 30s) and a couple of crooks come along looking for some lost treasure that Lady Tarzan's(who actually just has the dull name of Doreen) daddy may have swiped. Doreen does get the hots for ol' Buster(mainly because he's the only white man she's seen since her pops and I guess that's her preference) and I suppose it's a happy ending. Things don't work out so swell for Sampson though. R.I.P. punk-rock King Kong. :( AKA THE JUNGLE WOMAN
Wednesday, August 10, 2016
This might be of some interest to classic Universal monster movie fans since it features a few of the same folks that had starred in DRACULA just a year earlier. Of course you get Drac himself(Bela Lugosi), Van Helsing(Edward Van Sloan) and DEATH KISS' main star is John Harker(David Manners). Unfortunately there are no monsters in this and it's not even a horror film but is a rather dull mystery. Lugosi plays it pretty straight and doesn't even appear all that much despite having top-billing due to his DRAC fame. You do get to see a bunch of behind-the-scenes shots of a Hollywood studio in the 30s but there's not much else of note going on in this one.
Monday, August 8, 2016
Terrible acting, over-the-top violence(about a million very fake-looking rounds are shot off in this thing!), an instantly forgettable plot and characters you couldn't care less about make up this movie yet somehow I still found it entertaining. The very definition of a so-bad-it's-good experience. I assume this is similar to those new very hip and trendy movies that play at every theater that shows "cult" movies nowadays. You know, stuff like MIAMI CONNECTION and DANGEROUS MEN. I haven't actually bothered to see these two but I assume it's all a very similar "laugh at how dumb the 80s were"-kinda vibe. In addition to the 80s dumbness you get an old and very hairy Aldo Ray. Also what I think might add positive points for me is that this was a U.S./Mexican co-production so it has a little bit of that south of the border insanity going on. Give it a watch if you can deal with a very clunky 80s action flick that plays like an extra-retarded episode of MIAMI VICE.
Tuesday, August 2, 2016
This creaky oldie is basically a Tarzan movie with a gal replacing Tarzan(in Greece this was titled THE DAUGHTER OF TARZAN) and it's also half a comedy. The plot deals with a constantly drunk richman who wants to build a zoo on the property of his Westchester home so, of course, he travels to Africa to hunt down animals and bring them back. You would think a lady raised in the wild jungles by herself would be a lot tougher than this chick but that's not what you get. Our titular character always seems just about to be raped by the villain(or maybe just rough-housed since this is the 30s) and doesn't put up much of a fight. Luckily a killa gorilla comes along and saves her. It's all pretty silly and played for laughs most of the time but you do get a girl in a loincloth swinging around if that's your fetish.
Being a big fan of Mantan Moreland this movie works for me since you get quite a bit of Mr. Mantan which you don't normally get in movies like this. He's not the star but he's definitely the #2 man here and actually ends up saving the day for our white hero(cowboy actor-'Dusty' King). Without him this would be a pretty boring story about espionage and cannibal natives in the jungle but you do get a big fat native gal so that's something. If you dig the old-timey comedy hijinks and can overlook those old-timey racial stereotypes and pretty dull "action" bits check it out.
I have this film in a DVD set of gorilla-themed films which is a little misleading since a gorilla(guy in a gorilla-suit) only shows up for about 2 minutes before being shot to death in a ridiculous scene.
Sunday, July 31, 2016
On VHS under the snazzier title of IRON HORSEMEN:
Friday, July 29, 2016
I've been a big fan of the last Cramps album FIENDS OF DOPE ISLAND ever since it came out back in 2003 but for some reason up until now I never got a chance to watch the film that it was based on. Well like everything the Cramps ever referenced it is an awesome thing! The story concerns itself with a drug-smuggling douchebag named Charlie who's in control of this tropical island. He uses a whip to keep all his underlings in line or just for fun since he's a real dickhead. A hottie dancer/stripper with a euro-accent shows up for entertainment purposes, one of Charlie's employees decides to play the hero and a revolution gets underway. It all plays out like some ridiculous over-the-top pulp novel and ends with some shark-attack action, gunfights and whippings galore!
This film was a bit controversial back in '61 and apparently some of the spicier scenes were trimmed. There is a brief shot of our dancin' gal's(Tania Velia from Yugoslavia and also from Playboy magazine!) ample bazooms which I guess musta slipped by the censors. Pretty crazy stuff for the early 60s. Thanks Lux & Ivy.
Truckersploitation with Chuck Norris as a trucker who ends up karate-ing his way through a whole town full of rednecks and retards after they kidnap his little brother brother, who's also a trucker and steal his truck. There's also a big climax where a whole convoy of 18-wheelers go apeshit and totally demolish a town and a helicopter. Pretty decent time-waster that gives you exactly what you would think with that truck-driving twist that was so popular in the late 70s. Hard to imagine any sort of mainstream movie today glorifying the working class but the 70s were pretty big on that concept and that's another reason they were a much better decade. The big end fight with Mr. Norris is shot very much to look and sound like a spaghetti-western with fists and kicks substituting for bullets which was a little unexpected. The big bad guy here is the guy(George Murdock) who was great as the fat Mafioso fellow in THE MACK. Coulda maybe used a little nudity and maybe some bloodshed but I guess Chuck was a little too classy for that even back in the good ol' days.
Monday, July 25, 2016
Charlie Chan(Sidney Toler) ends up on a ship with someone pretending to be the ghost of a peg-legged, hooked-handed pirate. This fellow whacks a couple of people and Charlie's on the case. Also his #2 son(played by an actual Asian!) falls into the water a lot like a dumbass. This Chan flick, the 28th one in the series, has some horror elements with it's atmosphere to balance out the silly comedy bits. Everyone ends up being a suspect including 'Superman' George Reeves. Not the best or worst of the Chan flicks but a pretty typical one and as a bonus it has a nice short running time. AKA CHARLIE CHAN IN DEAD MEN TELL