Friday, November 30, 2012
Having only previously seen the film PASTORAL from Japanese director Shuji Terayama and not really being a big fan I wasn't too sure what to expect from this earlier more controversial art film. I'm still not sure if I'm a fan of this director or not but I will give him credit for creating some truly cutting-edge cinema with few boundaries that I can't see being viewed anytime soon by the general public in any comfortable way.
The idea here is that children have revolted against their parents, killed them off and formed a new revolutionary society, at least that's what I took away from watching this in Japanese with no subtitles. Also a midget cuts a head off a chicken, a guy gets hung up on a cross like Jesus while a not-very sexy threesome of scarred-up folks goes on and similar to PASTORAL lots of women wear white face. Of course the most controversial aspect to this film is you get naked kids but with it's insane imagery including kids dragging old people through the streets I can't imagine anyone confusing this with porn of any sort unless artsy-type films with a deeper societal message really turn you on. Again I'm reminded of cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky and I think it's pretty interesting that on two different sides of the planet such mind-bending examples of transgressive cinema were being made at about the same time.
I viewed the 27-minute version of this and apparently there is an alternate 72-minute version that was released in 1996. There are also scenes edited into this from another Terayama 12-minute short film called PAPER-SCISSORS-ROCK WAR.
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Gianni Garko stars here as Sartana. Now I'm not sure if this Sartana has any relation to the Sartana in the other bunch of movies they used his name in but here it seems like Sartana has some supernatural powers working for him and it's not up until the very end that we find out if this is true or not. This adds certain spooky horror-elements to the film and even has our main man returning from the dead like a zombie or something. Klaus Kinski shows up for a bit as a knife-flinging assassin who wears bells on his boots(which seems like a bad-idea for a guy who needs to sneak up on people a lot). You also get the stereotypical cackling old man, a creepy casket-maker/gravedigger guy and the leader of the Mexican bandits(Fernando Sancho) plays this same role in just about every other spaghetti-western out there. There's some good stylish action in this one even if it coulda gave us some more Kinski goodness. AKA GUNFIGHTERS DIE HARDER
I got a chance to experience this film which was lost for many years last night in a theater and I have to say it's definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of insane cinematic head-trips. This film is really the story of a man's decent into madness as he ends up stuck in a strange outback Australian town where binge-drinking, gambling & friendly drunken fistfights are everyday expected events. A place for rugged manly men who shoot kangaroos for sport and when they don't die fast enough don't mind using their bare hands and knives to finish the job.(these kangaroo kill scenes are edited together from real hunts which might upset ultra-sensitive animal lover-types) Donald Pleasence isn't our main character here(that would be Gary Bond) but he really steals the show as an alcoholic doctor of sorts who's a complete madman under his seemingly intellectual exterior. It does start out a bit slow at first and you're not sure where things are going but this all works to build things up until they reach an insane climax. A strange view into a part of Australia that I'm not sure I could ever live in but it would be one hell of a vacation. AKA OUTBACK
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
This zombie flick starts out with two hot gals getting attacked by desert-dwelling undead creatures who pop up out of the sand. From there it takes us into a time-warp where minutes turn to hours and everything seems to stand still while we get hit with boring dialogue, crappy battles scenes and not enough in the way of the expected flesh-eating goodness that you might expect. There is one slightly amusing scene where a guy gets bitten by a zombie and then has the slowest, most over-exaggerated death scene ever. This film is credited to Jess Franco and if he is responsible it's one of his duller movies with none of the obsessive/pervy sexiness of a lot of his films. Also it's hard to believe Franco turned down making ZOMBIE LAKE because of it's awful script and then decided this would be a good project to take on. On the positive side this was shot on actual film stock and I would rather watch this again than have to sit through any of the 10 billion shot-on-video homemade shitpile excuses of zombie movies that have been made over the last 20 years. This is also a good film to watch if you're feeling a little under the weather since you will get plenty of shut-eye. AKA THE TREASURE OF THE LIVING DEAD, THE OASIS OF THE LIVING DEAD & BLOODSUCKING NAZI ZOMBIES(might be one of the greatest alternate titles ever!)
There's an alternate Spanish-cut of this that features Lina Romay that has only been released in Spain and I've never seen it..
Sunday, November 25, 2012
All of these Corman-produced(Roger's wife Julie Corman is responsible for this one) nursesploitation flicks deliver on the boob count but not so much on the plots that you give a crap about. It all starts out with an animated credit sequence complete with nude cartoon ladies and then there's three main gals we follow around. One is the Spanish chick who's trying to help an innocent guy accused of robbing a gas station, the other two are white gals and they're trying to help a speed-addicted basketball player and an impotent rock star who looks like a bit like Harry Shearer's character from Spinal Tap. There's no black chick here which is pretty much the only element that's different about this when you compare it to all the rest of these types of things. Candice Rialson is our main blonde candy-striper and she would go on to be in a bunch of exploitation flicks throughout the 70's with her biggest role being in HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD. Dick Miller also shows up for a small bit as a dickhead heckler at a basketball game. There's attempted rape, streakers and a girl eating a Twinkie in a bathtub(which I'm assuming has got to be a fetish for someone out there). Like all of these flicks it's equally heavy on the drama as it is on the boobs so I guess it all equals out in the end.
Lee Van Cleef stars in this story of an outlaw who winds up becoming the sheriff of a town. His partners include Lionel Stander(the old guy from that HART TO HART show) and Gordon Mitchel(Hercules from those old Hercules movies), who shows up as a bounty hunter type. From there we get some double-crossings and the usual spaghetti-western shenanigans. The real goody-good guy is played by Antonio Sabato and he's kind of an annoying naive fellow. The awesomely named Herbert Fux from MARK OF THE DEVIL also shows up for a small bit. While this isn't the worst thing ever it's what I would consider a middle of the road spaghetti-western really only memorable for Van Cleef and you can find him starring in better stuff around the same time. The title itself is completely forgettable and I think it must be the name of at least one other action movie if not more. One big disappointment I have with this film is that they have the great Bud Spencer in it but he's all clean cut and shaven playing a boring boss character instead of his usual gruff head-smashing self.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Thanks to director Jess Franco what we get here is one of the most insane interpretations of the classic Universal monster ever put on film. It's like Franco took a few elements from FRANKENSTEIN, THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, a few other movies, including his own, and some classic literature and mixed them all up into a jazz-infused monster mash.
The plot is kind of all over the place and inconsequential to the series of bizarre images on display or maybe it's just complete nonsense, depending on your point of view, but I dig it regardless of that just for it's insane anarchistic feel. It all starts out with Dr. Frankenstein building his creature(who in this film is painted silver which goes unexplained, as does pretty much everything else that happens) with the help of Morpho(Franco himself as an Igor stand-in). Dr. Frank is killed off in the first 5 minutes but don't worry cuz he keeps getting rejuvenated over and over again just to spout ridiculous inane lines about life and death and the evil of Cagliostro(an evil madman who uses the power of magnetism to control an army of the undead played by Howard Vernon with a sweet goat-tee). In addition to Cagliostro's skull-faced(rubber-masked) minions he has a strange-sounding, feather-handed, bird-woman helper named Melissa who is either a cannibal or a vampire or maybe both. Also Frankenstein's daughter shows up and they force her to make a bride for the monster. This ends up with heads being chopped off and girls being kept in cages. The oddest scene, in a film that's made-up of oddball scenes, is probably where we get to watch a topless Frankenstein monster whip a couple who are surrounded by poisonous spikes.
This is probably one of the weirdest films in the Francoverse and for that I give it extra-mind-warping credit. Nothing really makes much sense but I do find it entertaining in it's own way.
There's a couple of different versions of this movie. In some we get Lina Romay(her first film role ever) as a strange gypsy woman who doesn't interact with any of the main characters and was obviously shot at a completely different time. There's also a version with a few scenes(including the poison spikes bit) re-shot but full of nudity without Lina, which seems weird since Lina was so into getting naked. AKA THE EROTIC RITES OF FRANKENSTEIN, THE EROTIC ADVENTURES OF FRANKENSTEIN & THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN
This is a pretty cool old psychological-type horror flick with some good creepy atmosphere and a few plot twists to keep things interesting. It starts off as the story of a young girl who sees her mother kill someone right before her eyes making her a bit unhinged. While this would later on become the plot to a zillion slasher movies here it's used to kick off what is sort of the Hammer studios version of the film DIABOLIQUE and I'm a big fan of that 50's French classic so a similarly well done thriller was a nice find. One thing modern viewers might find strange is how well-behaved the crazy homicidal characters are in this. I guess this musta been some kinda proper English thing. Director Freddie Francis would go on to make a bunch of monster flicks for Hammer and most importantly TROG, the cult classic where JOAN CRAWFORD fights a killer caveman. NIGHTMARE is one of your blander titles but it's alternate, and also quite polite, U.K. title of HERE'S THE KNIFE, DEAR: NOW PLEASE USE IT is a more catchy one.
Monday, November 19, 2012
Spanish western starring William Shatner as a half-breed Indian and also his identical evil twin(who's evil because he smokes too much of that ole' peyote, and according to this movie peyote makes Indians want to rape and kill whitey). The jazz score for a lot of this movie seems very out of place and I kept waiting for some old west beatniks to show up. Also native Americans are not really shown in a very positive light except it's such a goofy movie I can't imagine anyone ever getting offended by it. Shatner does his usual over-acting, which I can dig, and it works perfectly with the silliness of it all and he gets to fight himself. Probably only of interest to Star Trek-nerds who want to see what Shat did in between Trek seasons or your typical cult movie obsessive-types. For a better Indiansploitation flick check out JOHNNY FIRECLOUD.
Monte Hellman, who's a director best known for TWO-LANE BLACKTOP(but personally I think I like his movie COCKFIGHTER with Warren Oates better) made this artsy/romance/spaghetti-western flick which features Fabio Testi and Warren Oates along with a kinda weird supporting cast that includes Sam Peckinpah in a cameo and my fav bit actor Sydney Lassick(unfortunately, as he often did, Lassick also only shows up for a tiny scene and then disappears).
The basic plot here concerns Testi who's freed from jail and is supposed to go kill Oates so a railroad can be built. He ends up banging Oates wife(Jenny Agutter) and then a bunch of shootouts occur. Technically Testi is presented as our hero but doesn't seem all that heroic but that's not really my problem with this film. The main problem is that things go by pretty slowly and drag on and on up until about 3/4's of the way through the run-time when we finally get some action. I've also only ever seen an edited print of this so I imagine an uncensored version would be slightly more exciting with the full nudity and violence. Might be worth a watch for the ladies though, with it's triangular love story and all, which is a rare thing for this genre but it's a little too slow-moving overall for me.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Only in the 70's would there be a western where Leslie Nielsen plays a bad guy who gets a little rapey with a young lady complete with a soundtrack by 60's folk-singer Janis Ian. I'm not sure how graphic this film originally was since the print I viewed seemed to be some sort of TV-cut version with offensive language censored out but I at least got to see Nielsen get a little molesty.
This American western somehow ended up in my spaghetti-western box-set (which I've watched 20 films from in the last week) and I guess that's because it was filmed in Spain. The story centers on four main characters and is about two men searching for a suspected Mexican murderer/bank-robber and his girlfriend decides to tag-along so he doesn't get himself killed. The gal is played by the chick in Stanley Kubrick's LOLITA and seems way more of a 60's chick than an old west chick and along with the folk ballads sprinkled throughout, the whole movie has that feel. Although the film is boring in many parts it does have enough tension and fighting going on between all the characters and even has a great 70's downer ending that I would give an A+ to so it didn't feel like a complete waste of time.
Janis Ian shows up as "The Singer" in the intro and then is never seen again. Was she some kinda hippie ghost?:
So this kid sees his family raped and murdered right before his very eyes by a gang of dirty western outlaw types and then grows up to become a revenge seeking John Phillip Law(DANGER:DIABOLIK). Along his path of vengeance he gets some help from one Mr. Lee Van Cleef. Why is Van Cleef helping him out? We find that out in the revealing conclusion and I'm not really the kind of asshole that spoils the ends of movies for people.
Pretty decent, if not also pretty basic and by-the-numbers, Eurowestern with a good soundtrack by the master of western soundtracks Ennio Morricone. I will say that this movie does seem to be a little overrated since I've heard so much high praise for it and it's really just an OK film in this genre and entertaining enough for what it is but nothing spectacular(It is a pretty cool title and tagline though). Also noticeably John Phillip Law seems to be doing a John Wayne impersonation throughout much of the movie which is a little weird.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
I assume these 70's White Fang movies were meant as children's films at the time which is kinda odd now since they're filled with violence and this one has a bunch of shots of wolves being gunned down and an alcoholic character. I can't imagine this would be considered acceptable viewing for the coddled youth of today but the 70's were wilder, freer days. I've seen the Lucio Fulci-directed entry in this series and remember nothing at all about it except I think a guy wrestles a bear in it, either that or I had a cool dream after watching it. This one is directed by an even crappier Italian director, Mr. Alfonso Brescia, who would go on to make a slew of really awful STAR WARS-rip-offs in the later 70's like WAR OF THE ROBOTS etc.
In this not so epic tale of a fur-trapper(who looks a bit like Johnny 'Wadd" Holmes) and his pet wolf you get an annoying little blond-haired boy with a pet dog named panty-waist(at least I think that's what his name was though it coulda just been the horrible dub-job), an old fat hairy wino who somehow gets himself a love interest(these scenes might make you ill), the theme from JAWS shows up a couple of times and there's lots of snowy scenes with wolves(dogs?) being made to attack people. Also there are some shoot-outs and stuff blows up once in a while. While this is part of a spaghetti-western set I own I'm not sure I would classify it as a western at all(maybe a Pacific-Northwestern?) but there is a barroom brawl so I guess you could vaguely describe it as that.
A film watchable by true bad-film appreciators only. AKA LONE HUNTER OF THE WILD NORTH
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
It seems a little weird to me that they would make an Italian exploitation movie featuring American football but that's what this movie is. I have to think this is a pretty rare sub-genre. I know there was a eurotrash war movie featuring some football players in Vietnam or The Philippines called THE LAST MATCH but outside of that oddball entry I can't think of any others off the top of my head where this uniquely U.S.-based sport is a main element.
This here film features the great Bud Spencer who I have only ever seen before in spaghetti-westerns playing a big bad-ass fellow and he pretty much plays his trademark head-bonking tough guy role here as well with the addition of him being a former big-time football star. If you dig Spencer's style of Three Stooges-esque physical comedy this is a decent flick to check out for some dumb laughs. Some U.S. army guys on an Italian base are the bad guys and there's a Matt Dillon look-alike character. The theme song is by Oliver Onions who seem to always come up with some very silly sounding tunes. AKA UPPERCUT
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Back in the 80's there was a show on at 2am on Saturday nights/Sunday mornings called Snicker Theater. They had two stupid comdians? showing lots of Eurotrash crap and this is where I first caught this spaghetti-western. It stars Donald O'Brien from DR. BUTCHER M.D. as Lester the preacher who's looking for gold so he can open a church and his brother Jesse(Richard Harrison) who's more interested in opening his own whorehouse. Overall this is a pretty stupid movie with overly comedic fight scenes, guys running up walls and doing flips and whatnot and just general goofiness. There's a super stereotypical Chinaman character and the leader of the outlaw gang here looks like he stepped out of a biker movie with his biker glasses and top-hat. Also that beast guy from the nazisploitation movie THE BEAST IN HEAT shows up as a bad guy. Only watchable if you're looking for something light-hearted and silly or if you cant sleep and it's 1985 again and you don't mind watching bad comedians do silly skits in the middle of your stupid movie.
I guess they also showed NO GRAVES ON BOOT HILL but that title wasn't as memorable to young me:
There's not too many spaghetti-western/kung-fu mix-ups as far as I know. I know there's one called SAMURAI that I've seen but that one pales in comparison to this bloody tale of racism and violence in the old west. Chen Lee stars here as our humble and skillful martial-artist looking to become a cowboy after leaving San Francisco for Texas. Lee doesn't look like he had much of a film career having appeared in only four films and he is kinda bland but he does at least make for a convincing Chinese fellow and I guess that was the main reason for his casting. The words "chink" and "slant-eyes" are dropped about every five seconds as we discover every white person in this film is a complete and total racist asshole. There's a massacre on a whole group of Mexican slaves and a raging bull gets amazingly knocked out with a kung-fu kick from our hero. Klaus Kinski shows up for a bit as a homicidal hit-man named Jack The Scalper who, as his namesake suggests, enjoys scalping his victims alive. The only downside to his appearance is the dubbing. I hate when Kinski is dubbed and we're cheated out of hearing his sweet German accent. There's also a cannibal named Pedro, a guy gets his eyeball ripped out of his head and a hand gets chopped off. There's also the big kung-fu showdown battle to tie it all up.
All in all this one has all the elements of a great 70's grindhouse-style classic and I imagine it must have been a big crowd-pleaser on 42nd Street back then. Check it out to see some gory revenge on old-west racist jerks. AKA SHANGHAI JOE, MY NAME IS SHANGHAI JOE & THE DRAGON STRIKES BACK
There is a sequel to this called RETURN OF SHANGHAI JOE but from all the reviews I've read it sounds pretty awful.
Bar-room brawling Shanghai Joe style:
Friday, November 9, 2012
If you can deal with the more comedic style spaghetti-westerns this one is pretty decent. Bud Spencer, who as far as I can tell was the king of these slapsticky type westerns after making those TRINITY movies along with Terrence Hill, stars here as a guy who ends up having to take care of a little boy whose uncle is shot and killed. Now in most Eurotrash movies little boys are horrifically annoying and this kid here is a bit of a smart ass but not gratingly awful like many. Hijinks ensue and many heads are bonked in the trademark Spencer head-bonking fashion. A big added bonus here is Jack Palance as a pimp. I think he just pimps showgirls but I'm not sure of the overlay in the showgirl/prostitute professions in old western times. They're just shown here being overly affectionate showgirls since this movie was rated PG but I'll still count Palance as a pimp since he seems noticeably extra-sleazy. One weird thing about his character is sometimes he speaks with a Mexican accent and other times he's just talking like regular old Jack Palance. There's also a town-crazy who eats dirt looking for oil. I have my doubts about the accuracy of this method but it makes for some strange scenes. Overall a decent time-waster and a good way to pass the time after a stupid hurricane knocks out your internet connections.
I guess in Germany this is called THE DICK IN MEXICO:
Thursday, November 8, 2012
Two fancy-pants fellows return home to their daddy's ranch and quickly end up getting involved with some evil protection service gang. A mysterious stranger in black(Gianni Garko) watches over them and helps them not get killed. There's also a bounty hunter here named Duke that looks like 70's cowboy wrestler Blackjack Mulligan.
This spaghetti-western kind of straddles the line between comedy and seriousness and while I don't mind some laughs mixed in it feels a a little too goofy for it's own good. Garko does the whole Clint Eastwood Man With No Name shtick by not saying much for awhile and he's OK even if he's no Clint. Pretty mediocre film with the standard showdowns and barroom brawls you would expect. Also the title lies to us since the main gunslinger here is named Ace and not Graveyard. AKA A BULLET FOR A STRANGER, HIS PISTOLS SMOKED...THEY CALL HIM CEMETERY & THEY CALL HIM CEMETERY
This is probably one of the best things I've seen in a while. While it's basically a rape/revenge flick I think it's the starring cast which take this one to a higher level for me. You get Leslie Uggams as a black singer(which she was in real life) whose car breaks down in some craphole southern town. So right away we get that hicksploitation/DELIVERANCE feeling. Luckily? she gets some help from Lurch from THE ADDAMS FAMILY(Ted Cassidy) who tows her back to a service station/bar run by Shelley Winters who also happens to have a young pretty lover named Eddie. Eddie is a singer also and a wannabe Elvis-type who doesn't mind getting a little rapey with the ladies now and then. If all this isn't enough to entice you to seek this one out an extra-sleazy Slim Pickens shows up as a pervy sheriff and you get a townful of wacko morons that reminded me a bit of the cast of 2000 MANIACS. A true exploitation classic that's not often enough brought up and where else are you gonna get to see Lurch as a brooding hillbilly?
AKA REDNECK COUNTY:
It's hard to believe in the cinematic-apocalyptic decade of the zeroes they produced a horror anthology film that wasn't a complete waste of time but somehow they did. It's also hard to believe that it took filmmakers this long to remake CREEPSHOW and do it halfway decently. It must have all been a big mistake.
You get four spooky stories that wrap around each other, ala Quentin Tarantino, which include some werewolf women(including that chick from those X-MEN movies), Halloween-masked retards getting their retarded bus driven off a cliff and then getting retarded revenge, a fat candy-obsessed kid(aren't they all?) who knocks on the wrong door and an old guy who hates Halloween and winds up getting abused by some living potato-sack boy with a sharp lollypop. While it's not the most intelligent thing you will ever see, and it will never top the original HALLOWEEN as the ultimate movie to watch on October 31st, it's still a fun holiday-themed flick and compared to just about everything else that came out in 2007 you could do a lot worse.