Thursday, July 28, 2011
If you took WEST SIDE STORY(which didn't come out yet) and removed the music and added a bunch of talky melodrama I think this is pretty close to what you would have. This was directed by Don Siegel who had just made the classic INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS. Unlike INVASION which had lots of wide open space and was shot in real locations, this movie always feels like it was shot on an obvious set where everything seems closed in. Sort of like SESAME STREET but with switchblades. John Cassavetes, who went on to be in ROSEMARY'S BABY, plays the gang leader who looks a little old for the part of a troubled teen. Also one of the gang members seems to be a homosexual which was weird to see in the 50's although maybe it was just my screwy "gaydar" acting up. There is a cool gang fight scene in the opening but from there on out the movie gets way too preachy for me about the dangers of troubled youth and blah, blah, blah... On the plus side it wasn't a silly musical. Watch it only if you like being preached at.
The closest experience I can relate this movie to in the real world is maybe a drug-fueled night of binge drinking complete with sex and violence. While this is sorta based on the life of Jesco White, "The Dancin' Outlaw", who has a couple of documentaries out there about himself, it really just uses his story as a template to push the film into completely insane areas. Carrie Fisher shows up as Jesco's girl looking super awful. You get gas-huffin', crank-shootin', revenge-killin' and plenty of hicksploitation moments. Also some weird nonsensical pseudo-religious pondering thrown in for added confusion. Also a scene with some retarded nutjob shitting on the floor and playing with it to make you feel extra specially filthy while watching. The gratuitous use of Hasil Adkins on the soundtrack for added insanity was nice. On the down side I'm not sure why the movie was almost in all in black and white except for a few bits of color here and there. It does make everything seem more depressingly bleak so I guess that works. Also I'm not a fan of the quick-cuts style of showing an action scene which is the downfall of most modern movies. Overall though for a newer film this was a unique ride through hillbilly hell worth giving a look to as long as you don't expect many factual events to be portrayed.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
A little boy sees his friend fall off a cliff because a little girl asks him to get her doll so, naturally, he grows up to become a serial killer who kills both men and women and compares them to dolls. You can probably tell by that description you're not dealing with a film that makes much logical sense but as far as giallo flicks go this isn't the worst you could sit through. It moves along well enough even if director Sergio Martino is never anywhere near as stylish as a Dario Argento or Mario Bava. Certain scenes are well shot though and there's plenty of nice use of the Italian countryside. Speaking of nice scenery I think this film is probably most memorable to me for the abundance of naked females on display including a nudie hippie dance/orgy scene which was nice. You would, with a name like TORSO, think this film would be packed with gore which I guess for the time it was made it is. You get a head smashed by a car, bloody eye gouging of a dead body, hacking up of dead bodies but most of the actual killing is done by strangling with a scarf so nothing very splattery there. Watch it anyway though for some proto-slasher, stylized, bare-assed fun if that's your thing and it should be unless your a boring person.
A.K.A. THEY CALL HER ONE EYE. In the sub-genre of rape-revenge films I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE has got to be my personal #1 pick while this one could possibly be a close second or maybe third after LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT. It easily beats both of those though in its stylistic choices(matching eye-patches and snazzy trench-coat) and tops it in not just being about a rape but a long-term abduction, forced drug-addiction, forced prostitution and mutilation. This is probably why Quentin Tarantino has called this one the roughest revenge film ever. Being filmed in Sweden helps give it a whole unique style of desolate feeling. The parts that bring this movie down a bit are some strange plot points(do enslaved hookers get Mondays off?) and a major overuse of super slow-motion during the revenge portion of the film. Also don't try watching this movie if you're even a slight bit tired cuz it's super quiet in lots of parts which adds to the sorta documentary feeling but doesn't help you if you want to stay awake. It's also generally slow going at points when you know exactly what's going to happen. Some versions of this feature hardcore insert shots which used other actors as stunt genitals and don't really add anything except the sight of hairy private parts which might shock your grandma. Overall it's worth seeing if you're at all a fan of 70's revenge type flicks that mix up the sleazy elements with artsy pretensions or if you ever wanted to see an actual corpse have a scalpel jammed into its eyeball.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
1974 is generally a stellar year for exploitation movies. In this one a hitchhiking hippie chick ends up on a beach owned by a Korean vet and his sister who are into cannibalism and incest. The movie is slow in spots but I found it a pretty good watch with one gory murder scene and some naked hippie girl scenes to help move things along. At one point 'Boom Boom' Turner from ALL IN THE FAMILY shows up as a hooker which she also played in BARFLY "I did ya good, old fart. I did ya good. I oughta bit your champagne cork off". I guess playing sleazy old women was her specialty for many years. Amazingly, according to IMDB she's still acting. I think I might have to check out some of her other sleazy roles as I've always enjoyed her work in a sorta uncomfortable way. Also has Sammy Davis Jr.'s wife appear as a police clerk. While this movie isn't the greatest thing from this year I found it worth viewing just for it's overall strangeness.
This also played as TENDER FLESH but when I think of that title I think of the Jess Franco flick:
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Roger Corman along with great Filipino exploitation master Cirio Santiago produced this JAWS rip-off which features probably the fakest looking monster of all time. It's sort of a big rubber barracuda creature that chomps on tourists at a resort and at one point even yells before doing so. The dialogue is all goofy and dubbed terribly and the whole thing drags in a whole lot of spots. On the positive side you get some boobs, laughable scenes of people running around the beach in terror, a silly stereotypical Japanese man who tries to make sushi out of our monster-fish and an awesome looking movie poster(which is also copied from JAWS) and that's really about it. This was released at one point as a double-feature with David Cronenberg's THE BROOD and I think that would be a terribly uneven bill to watch. I'm not sure of this but whenever the monster attacks someone it looks like they took the bloody water footage from Joe Dante's PIRANHA. Speaking of which, you would be way better off just watching that flick.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I caught this on a spaghetti-western double-bill recently with A PISTOL FOR RINGO and while that movie was a lot of fun this one in comparison seemed like quite a long haul to get through. Maybe if it was shown first it wouldn't have seemed so unnecessarily lengthy. The movie is just full of talky-talk scenes and has an underlying socio-political message which isn't necessarily a bad thing but overall I felt it was dragged out here. The movie comments on fascism as our main character, a professor played by Gian Maria Volonte, is drawn into the brutal world of a bandit after being taken hostage(Tomas Milian with a haircut that makes him sorta look like one of the cannibals from CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST). I think I just prefer Volontes' role as the bad-ass criminal type in A FISTFULL OF DOLLARS than this more intellectual bit. Probably the best thing about this film to me was Ennio Morricones score but even there the main title theme is used over and over. Good thing it's a beautiful piece of music.
Monday, July 18, 2011
This movie must have been pretty popular in Italy when it was released since there seem to have been about a million movies that threw Ringo into their title for years after this one came out. I'd seen a bunch of the follow-up/rip-off films but none of them really stood out as being all that special. I'm sorry it took me so long to find the original since this was a really fun spaghetti-western flick. It straddles that fine-line between silly-comedy western and serious action film really well. It never gets as goofy as the TRINITY films and never as deadly serious as something like CUT-THROATS NINE and I think that's why it worked for me. Giuliano Gemma is good as the slick gunslinging Ringo who has some memorable sayings like "Early to bed, early to rise, gets you shot between the eyes." but my favorite character has got to be the head of the Mexican-bandits Sancho who shoots his own gang-members in the head if they dare to say the wrong thing to him and generally doesn't give a shit who he has to screw over to keep his stolen gold. He's the perfect embodiment of every slimy lowlife Mexican outlaw character in these type of films and would probably also be perfectly at home in a 70's biker flick playing a bad-ass. I think I also appreciate his work cuz he has a Shemp from the Three Stooges haircut and that right there is comedy gold! While nowhere near as epic as the Leone films and the score by Ennio Morricone is pretty subdued I can see why this one stood out in the sea of more bland euro-westerns. Another unique thing is the movie takes place on Christmas. I don't think I've ever seen a Christmas spaghetti-western before so that's something. There was a follow-up the same year also by the same director(Duccio Tessari) with some of the same cast titled THE RETURN OF RINGO and I think that I need to check that one out soon as well now.
Friday, July 15, 2011
After becoming a Hollywood star and making a bunch of garbage most people forgot that at one time Burt Reynolds was actually a good actor. A lot of his 70's output, like most famously DELIVERANCE, dealt with hillbillies in one way or another. This film could be called straight-up hicksploitation since almost everyone in it is your stereotypical redneck character. It's also a pretty straightforward revenge flick that follow Mr. Burts Gator McKlusky as he works toward his revenge on a corrupt southern sheriff played by a slimy-looking Ned Beatty who is responsible for killing his little brother for being a hippie. As in most 70's action-type flicks many cars are raced and smashed up. This one was rated PG so you get a grand total of 0 boobs and very little blood for your money. Bo Hopkins also appears as a fellow moonshine runner and hippies are bashed throughout the film. Also it's before Reynolds had his trademark mustache. The movie comments on intolerance in the old south a little bit and isn't bad for what it is and would probably be a decent time-waster if you like 70's action. There was a sequel a few years later titled GATOR but from what I remember that one was a little sillier than this.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Lux Interiors favorite film! This movie would probably be totally forgettable if not for the worlds stupidest monster outfit consisting of a cheap-ass gorilla suit and a diving helmet. Ro-Man our alien invader manages to wipe out all humanity except for a couple of stupid people living in the desert. For some reason Ro-Man keeps a bubble machine in his cave. I guess he just digs bubbles. There's an annoying little kid and our ridiculous monster looks like he's getting ready to molest a lady until he's interrupted. This then leads to a stupid KING KONGish "twas beauty killed the beast" ending. Then some claymation dinosaurs show up and some lizards and alligators fight(all stock footage from ONE MILLION B.C. and LOST CONTINENT.). Then the worst ending possible happens where we find out it was all a dream. At least I think that's what happens. It's also possible that Ro-Man was a ghost of some sort but who the fuck knows? This was shot in 3-D but I've never seen it shown that way. You would have to be really hardcore into crappy B movies to enjoy this movie which fortunately I am.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
My main problem with this Pam Grier action flick is its PG rating. It means I'm not gonna see any boobs, not much bloodshed and I might as well watch STARSKY AND HUTCH or something like that. There is a bloody shootout early on but that didn't help this movie from being a big flop when originally released and thanks to that it helped stall Grier's career for many years up until Quentin Tarantino gave her the starring role in JACKIE BROWN. Director William Girdler had done some nifty horror films before this like THREE ON A MEATHOOK and ABBY which are both worth checking out. On the positive side here you do get that bad D'Urville Martin from DOLEMITE as one of the bad guys and a memorably flashy pimp character named Walker but besides that you'd be way better off watching COFFY or FOXY BROWN for some quality classic Grier action.
Monday, July 4, 2011
"You're all very pretty pigs"
Early 70's roughie produced by softcore sleazemeister David F. Friedman. This movie is sort of like a more sex-filled version of BARN OF THE NAKED DEAD. A long-haired sleazy fellow kidnaps five girls and uses them however he wants. He's helped by a mute henchman named Momo. The odd thing is that the girls don't really seem to be all that upset about these events. This is probably due to the horrible non-actors used but you would think they could have tried a little harder to seem a little bit upset. One of the girls is played by Uschi Digard who is billed here as Barbara Que(get it?). In fact all the cast and crew are given cutesy little aliases like our main bad guy Harry Chest and make-up by Mary Goround and sound by Less Noise etc, etc. You get girls called pigs, unexpected lesbianism, expected rape, penises squished with a wrench and in the most memorable scene a girl is thrown on top of a car's radiator and has her "clam" steamed open. It all ends up with some revenge served up by screwing our evil baddie to death. How he keeps it up for all of that I'm not sure. Especially since we never see him get it up in any scenes at all. Also after all that they still find room for a twist ending. Overall a pretty ridiculous movie for true lovers of bottom of the barrel sleaze only.
"Love means never having to say you're horny"
"One of these days, I'm gonna come in here, and ZAP!" "Zap?" "You know, Zap. R-A-P-E: "zap"
While, technically, there were women-in-prison flicks before this one this is the movie that really kick-started the whole cycle thanks to it being a huge drive-in hit when originally released. It was made for Roger Corman's New World Pictures company and he was pretty much disgusted by the more gratuitous content. But you can't argue with success. Pam Grier plays lesbian inmate Grear and Sid Haig plays a sleazy salesman who dreams of getting raped by an inmate some lucky day. You get some mild torture scenes, junkie-dancing, full cavity searches, shower scenes, mud-wrestling and lots of other cat-fighting. Also all these type of movies after this had to have a big food fight scene. Compared to the later WIP pictures, by the likes of Jess Franco and similarly low-brow Italian directors, it is all pretty tame stuff but done well enough by director Jack Hill to be entertaining. There's a nonsensical bit of dubbing at the end to give the whole movie a sorta happy ending which was apparently forced on the filmmakers for some strange reason.
AIP cranked out a bunch of these cheaply-shot action flicks in the Phillipines around this time. This is one starts out as a women-in-prison movie and then turns into a fugitives on the run from the law tale. There's the obligatory shower scene of course and plenty of female nudity to go around, lesbian guards and a stupid prison-slop food fight. Pam Grier is the black mama, who's a hooker and Margaret Markov is the white mama who's a revolutionary freedom fighter. They get chained together and make a break for it, catfighting with each other the whole way. Neither one of them is very convincing in their roles but then again nothing is very realistic about this film. You also get Sid Haig in some funky shirts playing this cowboy/criminal type. He has a great scene in his tidy-whities wrestling with some half-naked Filipino chicks. There's also a strange scene where he examines guys dicks and threatens to shoot off the smallest one!? Overall there's enough going on to keep things from getting too boring and make this worth checking out even if it's not the best example of a Pam Grier action flick.