Thursday, June 27, 2013
This is the first kung fu flick with the Pai Mei character in it who was made famous to mainstream Hollywood audiences thanks to Quentin Tarantino's KILL BILL movie, further showing that Tarantino's movies rarely have anything original in them at all. Anyone with any knowledge of cinema already knows this, of course, which rules out the mainstream corporate-loving zombies anyway. The Pai Mei in this film is kinda similar in that he's a complete bad-ass and seems pretty unstoppable for most of the movie. He also does this weird thing where he can suck up his genitals into his lower body and grab people's legs with his makeshift vagina which is a very odd and unique kung fu move. Another weird thing is that one of our heroes has his hair up in Mickey Mouse ear-style buns which make him seem not very tough. He also acts a whole lot like Jackie Chan would in his later movies in a comedic manner but it works here.
This is a pretty straight-ahead chop-sockey revenge tale done with some style and that's the way I like them. They also throw in a little love story even though most females wouldn't be caught dead watching a movie like this. Check it out for some martial-arts cinema history. AKA THE EXECUTIONERS OF DEATH
This was sorta remade in 1980 as FISTS OF THE WHITE LOTUS(also featuring the Pai Mei character) which I don't think I've ever seen.
Beware the White Hermit!:
Played on a bone-breaking double-bill with this other Shaw Brothers flick:
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
This classic Shaw Brothers kung fu epic has a few positive things going for it including some completely unnecessary but awesome sexy/nudie bits including an attempted rape and an attempted reverse-rape(is that the politically correct term?) where a lady tries to hump a poor impotent drunken fellow. Boobs are rare in many of these old fu-flicks so that's nice to see. Also it's got some blood including a decapitation. Now on the negative side there's way too many characters and I was never totally sure which clan I was supposed to be rooting for up until towards the very back end. Luckily some of the weapons are unique to certain characters or I woulda been totally lost. The plot is your basic warring clan one, the old wise master is called "uncle" instead of "master" for some reason and I found that I didn't care about too many of the characters, probably because there were so many of them that they felt disposable anyway. I would say overall this is a middle-of-the-road Shaw film for completests only.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Although this title sounds like it might possibly be a porn flick this is actually an old school Shaw Brothers kung fu movie. Golden Swallow is the name of the main lady hero here but really the main guy is a dude who uses some silver swords so this movie could just as easily be called SILVER SWORDS but I guess they wanted to push the strong female-starring angle. The plot involves a love triangle story and various treacherous clans which is the standard way these things go. There's one heroic fellow here who wears so much make-up and has such crazy eyebrows that he looks like he has a puppet-head so that's a little disturbing. Surprisingly, for the year it was released, this contains some quite bloody scenes including lots of sword and knife damage and a couple of self-inflicted suicides, one of which is a young boy! Probably worth a look if you're a hardcore kung fu fan just for the amazing cinematography and blood-letting but the plot is possibly a little drawn out for the average attention-deficit-adled action fan. AKA THE GIRL WITH THE THUNDERBOLT KICK
Played on a strange genre-mixing double-bill with CAPTAIN KRONOS:
Sunday, June 23, 2013
This is one of director Dario Argento's early giallo films and it's a surprisingly almost bloodless(rated PG) murder tale with a very Hitchcockian-feel to it. I caught a showing of this a couple of nights ago in a theater but it was far from an optimal viewing experience. There was a live-band playing an accompanying musical set and that woulda been fine except for some reason some jackass decided it would be a good idea to play the dubbed version of this film instead of going with the subtitled print which is what they did the last time I saw a movie presented like this and makes a hell of a lot more sense. In this case the band would play for a bit while the sound was turned down then there were long stretches of silence, then the sound from the movie would come back on, sometimes we would get English dialogue, sometimes Italian. Basically it was a big cluster-fuck of an experience. This definitely colored my viewing of the movie a lot but from what I could make out I'm not sure this woulda been much better even if it was presented correctly. One of the pluses though was Bud Spencer in a rare non-spaghetti-western role. Argento followed this one with DEEP RED which is my favorite movie ever by him and I would recommend watching that over and over again before this one.
A young Ralph Macchio, before he became THE KARATE KID, is the Italian/Mafia kid in a group of typical 80's teen-sex comedy types sent to a military academy where stupid hi-jinks ensue. You get the fat kid, the black kid, a wacky Arab kid, and the normal kid who's trying to get laid. It's basically an ANIMAL HOUSE-rip-off and as with pretty much all of these types of films everything that happens is dumb and completely politically-incorrect which is exactly what you want from a teen sex flick. Unfortunately this one lacks in the boob department with a total of zero exposed fun-bags. There is a lot of cleavage though, much of which supplied by Barbara Bach as a boner-inducing teacher. Other notable appearances include Antonio "Huggy Bear" Fargas and Tom Poston as a super gay-stereotype teacher of ballroom dancing. This was presented by Mad Magazine and it is pretty true to their style of ridiculousness. In a couple of creepy spots their mascot, Alfred E. Neuman, himself shows up. Strangely in the TV showings of this Alfred was cut out of these scenes. Apparently Mad wasn't very proud of this epic and had their name removed from the credits or something. What elevates this one above many of the other teen comedy movies of this time, for me anyway, is it's soundtrack which is filled with some awesome power pop and punk jams. While clearly not amusing to everyone I say check it out for some cheap low-brow knuckle-headed laughs.
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Known in Italy as PUNK STORY this is probably my favorite of all of John Water's films. The weird thing about that is that this one doesn't star Divine and he appears in all the other great Water's epics made before he dropped dead. In his place I find Mink Stole does an amazing job of being a maniacal woman barely in control. There's also the enormous black maid, Jean Hill, who commits homicide by sitting on Stole's husband and who blesses us by getting totally naked and having some hideously obese lesbian sex. Liz Renay, the star of a bunch of old b-movies including stuff like THE THRILL KILLERS, is also featured in a not-so classy lesbian role and the great Edith Massey is our queen! Every character from the background punk/biker-types to the bad-ass bull-dyke is perfect. The other great thing about this scummy classic is that it gets right to heart of what makes Water's classic movies so great. It's an ode to the disgusting aspects of humanity and bad taste in general. It's also told like some demented fairy-tale for degenerates and weirdos. It's also proven to be pretty clairvoyant in it's ability to predict how far society will devolve and it's, on top of everything else, pretty fucking hilarious. Castration, puke, murder, cannibalism, snot, bathroom perverts, a panty-snatching cop, boobs, female wresting, messy trans-gender-operations and a whole laundry list of disgusting antics and bodily fluids make this one a great all-time lowlife ode to the sickness of society.
Monday, June 17, 2013
This was followed by James Cameron's PIRANHA II: THE SPAWNING where the hungry little fellows grow some wings and bite people right in the face, which sounds a lot better than the actual movie is.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
This horror flick combines the killer kids genre with the zombie film to create a killer zombie kid epic. Apparently gas that leaks out of a nuclear power plant can cause children's fingernails to turn black and give them the ability to burn people to death just by touching them, oh and it also turns them into murderous sneaky zombies. There's adult boobs, kids get killed which is pretty rare in American films and instead of getting shot in the head these kiddy-zombies need to have their hands lopped off which isn't as gory as it sounds since they seem to be bloodless monsters. The music score is by Harry Manfredini so it sounds very similar in spots to FRIDAY THE 13TH. Overall this is way more entertaining to me than that CHILDREN OF THE CORN which came out a few years later and even though it's now distributed by Troma it's much better than 90% of their worthless shit. AKA THE CHILDREN OF RAVENSBACK
There was a British remake of this in 2008 but like most remakes, as well as most things made after 1989, I can't imagine it's worth anyone ever viewing ever.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
I imagine this title is supposed to remind people of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK but that movie has nothing to do with this. What you get here is a fairly typical kung-fu flick that takes place in the Shaolin temple. A couple of weird things are that the guys from CRIPPLED MASTERS show up as teachers, at least I think it's those guys, it's a guy with no legs and a guy with no arms anyway which you don't see everyday. They teach the bronze horse style of kung fu, which involves fighting with some mechanical horses which is a little strange. Besides this though it's your standard tale of an evil warlord who hates those Buddhist monks and has some bad plans for them. This all ends up in a big kung-fu extravaganza involving guys who fight with saw-blades and some other guys who fight with sharpened cymbals which leads to an arm being lopped right off. Also one guy gets defeated by having a finger jammed through his foot. OK for what it is. AKA RAIDERS OF WU-TANG
Monday, June 10, 2013
With director Pete Walker there's probably a good 60% chance I will like his films. Then there's the one third that I find really disappointing. This one is only mildly disappointing. It's basically a British version of a giallo with a fellow who has a few mental issues and kills people, at least that's the way it's set up at the beginning, before the climax it becomes more of a mystery, there's one major twist and things fall into place very differently. Maybe the big problem for me was that this was a pretty easy twist to guess early on and I'm not sure if the whole thing makes a lot of sense. Also a lot of these characters seem pretty unlikeable so it's hard to care too much about the outcome. There are some decent kill-scenes though if that's all your looking for including a sledgehammer head-bashing, knitting-needle through the head and out the eye and a throat-slashing among the highlights. While it's not a complete waste I would say check out Walker's other films first before this one.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
While you could argue that the modern-day slasher movie started way back with the original PSYCHO, I think you could most clearly draw the line from this classic Mario Bava giallo to all the stalk-and-slash flicks of the 80's. There are even a few killings in this movie that are directly lifted by the FRIDAY THE 13th series and as much as I love stupid-teens-getting-snuffed-movies this one exists on a much higher level. Being a giallo the mystery aspects are important and handled well. Even after you think you know exactly what is going on more twists are injected to keep you guessing. There's no skimping on the splatter either which is a plus and the body count includes almost every character at some point and some of those are at very unexpected moments. There's also some nudity thrown in, squid kissing and an amusing surprise ending to wrap it all up. A great movie and a great example of what a really well done slasher flick could be if done by someone who cares about what they are creating. AKA TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE, CARNAGE and THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT PART II(this title makes no sense at all)
Saturday, June 8, 2013
The most generically-titled monster film this side of MONSTER this is the story of a doctor who inadvertently takes some pills and becomes a vampire. Now this vampire fellow more closely resembles a Mr. Hyde-type creature with his big bushy eye-brows and disheveled hair but he does bite necks and drink blood so he does qualify. Why a scientist would invent pills that can turn someone into a vampiric creature isn't all that clear but like many 50's films it really just serves the purpose of making science itself the bad guy. Stupid humans meddling in affairs that they shouldn't be and all that kind of thing. Way to be so very progressive 1950's. Overall this is pretty dull but the monster is good for a laugh or two if you can stay awake long enough for that. Shown on TV as MARK OF THE VAMPIRE which is only a slightly more memorable title.
Seems classier in German but still too much talky-talk::
Played a double-bill with the original giant caterpillar movie:
This is a Spanish mish-mash of horrific elements starring the great Paul Naschy. It starts off with a couple of Satanic witches getting executed, which is how a lot of these Eurotrash horrors start out. From there we get some ghostly hijinks, people get possessed and sent on bloody killing sprees with a sickle, a group of zombies show up for no reason except that it's visually cool and the bright red neon 70's blood flows freely over exposed Euroboobs. This isn't my favorite Naschy terror flick but it's still neat to see him play both the evil villain and the goody-good fellow. Of course he gets at least one scene where he gets to show off his chest and get it on with his sexy co-stars. Heads roll, ears roll and hearts get cut out of naked chests. The one puzzling thing is why our main villains go from being witches of some sort to becoming zombie-ish vampires who rip out hearts but I guess you just do whatever Satan wants you to. It's also kinda weird that the antidote to these vampiric monsters is a medallion with Thor's hammers on it. Who the hell would have something like that just laying around?
Released on video at some point as MARK OF THE DEVIL PART IV: HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB and according to the narrator of this trailer the title is FEAR RISES FROM THE TOMB:
Originally titled DEADLY DREAM WOMAN in Hong Kong I assume this new American title is meant to confuse people with Jet Li's BLACK MASK movie which was made in 1996 so there really isn't any connection beyond the fact that there is a character who wears a black mask in both films. Also this film is more of a comedy whereas Li's thing was a superhero type film from what I recall. While I'm not a big fan of Jet Li, I do enjoy kung fu chicks and this movie has quite a bit of them. The one major drawback to fully enjoying this film for me is the version I have of it, on glorious VHS, has teeny-tiny microscope white subtitles and if you can read those over a white background you're a better person than me. Of course this isn't the most complicated movie to figure out. There's some triad mobster shenanigans, people get assassinated, our main lady gets amnesia and ends up living at a whorehouse. The gal from NAKED KILLER, Chingmy Yau, is in this and she is super hot and always great to look at, although there isn't any nakedness on display here. She's also not the main character despite what the video box promises. You do get lots of kung-fu, gun-fu and knife-fu which luckily doesn't need any translation to understand.
Thursday, June 6, 2013
By the time the 1980's came along the Shaw Brothers started to use a lot more blatant wire-work in their kung fu stunts and I'm not really a huge fan of that gratuitous flying/fighting stuff mass-popularized later on in stuff like CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. There's a lot of that stuff in this film but I still think this is an interesting/wacky enough of a kung fu flick that it's probably worth checking out for martial arts movie fans. It straddles the line between serious dramatic tragedy, about the title character who gets treated like shit by his fellow students, and crazy insane fight flick when this bastard fellow learns something called silkworm style and can shoot laser beams and spin silk like mother-fucking Mothra or something! There's also some crazy bad guys with punk-rock colored dayglo hairdo's with matching eyebrows and that sort of thing. Enough of those little goofy bits to make it worthwhile.
There was a sequel, RETURN OF BASTARD SWORDSMAN, the next year but I haven't seen that one yet so I can't say how directly it follows this storyline.
Monday, June 3, 2013
As with most movies directed or produced by Godfrey Ho this film doesn't make much sense. Of course the reason for that is that Ho liked to take a couple of previously released films and splice them together to make something new. Usually something new that involved ninjas or even just the word "ninja" in some cases. In this case we get a hodge-podge of fight scenes, some even involving ninjas, and a bunch of softcore sex mixed together. The sexy bits are supposed to come from something called ROCKY'S LOVE AFFAIRS which sounds right since they involve a guy who spends a lot time working out in a gym and training to be a boxer. The boxing scenes quickly devolve into kung-fu/kickboxing which is way more exciting than regular boxing anyway. The ninja fight scenes are allegedly from a martial-arts flick called 108 GOLDEN KILLERS. There might also be some bits that Ho actually directed just for this film but getting very accurate information about Mr. Ho's trashy films is pretty difficult since there's so much misinformation on the internet about him. Technically he's not even listed as the director on this, someone named Yeung Chuen Bong is, but it seems to be the popular consensus that this is Ho's work and it does seem like something he woulda thrown together.
The plot here as well as I could follow it, which isn't very well!, starts out with some ninjas in the 1940's then somehow we travel to the modern day(1980's) Hong Kong where this tattooed boxing fellow bangs a bunch of chicks. There's something about a missing necklace then a pregnant lady gets shot and killed, ninjas explode and disappear, some gals mud-wrestle, one lady gets herself kidnapped and I think the hero wins at the end but it's kinda hard to tell because I think there were two different heroes at the beginning.. So yeah, basically there isn't really much of a plot just a bunch of random stuff. It's a good thing some of the action scenes are cool, you get lots of naked boobs and ass and things move along pretty quickly otherwise you would just be left with a headache trying to think too hard about this mess. AKA's= NINJA HOLOCAUST & NINJA STRIKE (or these may just be re-edited versions using some of the same footage as this one)
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Directed by THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON himself(Ricou Browning)this is the story of a handi-capable fellow who kicks ass even though, as you may have guessed from the tile, he has no legs. The closest thing I can compare this to is those CRIPPLED MASTERS kung-fu flicks from Asia except in those you feel bad for the disabled characters and cheer on their ass-kicking victories but in this one our wheelchair-bound star is a take-no-shit bad-ass mobster who doesn't mind stabbing women in the belly-button if they cross him. Also in this, since it's an American movie filmed in Florida, the martial arts aren't quite as impressive except of course for Mr. No Legs who is awesome! That's why it's kind of a shame that he isn't really the main character in the movie and we spend way too much time with the actual heroes who are a couple of cops, one of which is played by John Agar. Now while Agar is great fighting monsters in tons of 50's & 60's B-movies he's nowhere near as interesting as a homicidal ninja-star throwing half-a madman and the movie isn't called Mr. John Agar so I have some mixed feelings about this one. There are some great elements though that make it worthwhile including a cat-fight, a midget who shows up for no reason at all to cheer on some bar-fights and some bloody bits with lots of gun-fu and a guy who gets gored by a sword. Too bad there's also lots of draggy talky spots and an interminably long car chase to end it all. Check it out anyway though just for something unique. AKA THE AMAZING MR. NO LEGS