Wednesday, July 30, 2014
This is Del Tenney's first movie as a producer. He would go on to direct the shlock-classic HORROR OF PARTY BEACH as well as a few other not-so classic flicks like I EAT YOUR SKIN. I think the thing I like most about this film is that it's kind of a mish-mosh of different things all thrown together. You get a horror/thriller story with a killer on the loose on a stab-happy murder spree, you get lots of instances of nudie-cutie antics with naked models, college gals seen showering behind glass doors, side-boob and bare ass(some pretty risque stuff for an early 60's flick), little sprinkling of film-noir with some detectives on the trail of our killer(including Dick Van Patten of EIGHT IS ENOUGH fame) and even some touches of a juvenile delinquent film with one of the main characters being a tough leather-jacket wearing hoodlum who isn't above slapping men or women around when they piss him off. Also since this was made a couple of years after PSYCHO, and that was such a huge hit, you can feel the shadow of that classic hanging over this with some characters that have a few screws loose just like ol' Norman. Pretty good stuff.
AKA PSYCHOMANIA (way before the English zombie biker flick came out) and BLACK AUTUMN
Sunday, July 27, 2014
The original title of this is RICH AND FAMOUS 2 and I've never seen the first movie but I don't think that makes much difference since this feels fairly complete by itself. Chow Yun-Fat is the titular "hero" here and that title is a little bit off since he's not really all that heroic. He's basically just a gangster fighting with his insane and very cocky brother(Alex Man) for control of the mob. Watching this right after viewing Chow in HARDBOILED KILLERS was a slightly strange experience since both films couldn't be further apart in tone. That film is straight up slapstick/pratfall comedy and this one couldn't be any more serious. This does lead to it getting bogged down a bit in the heavy dramatics but there's enough gun-fu and other bloody action sequences that make it a bearable watch. There are better Hong Kong action flicks out there but you could also do worse.
Bizarrely enough this is called BLACK VENGEANCE in France even though there are no black faces to be seen anywhere in it:
This Youtube version has way bigger subtitles than my old crappy VHS!:
Saturday, July 26, 2014
This title, which combines 2 of star Chow Yun-Fat's best known movies, HARD BOILED and THE KILLER, into one is pretty misleading. For one thing it's pretty much a total comedy and there's not much action to be seen. Secondly it's not directed by John Woo so it doesn't have any of that stylishness going for it. Thirdly neither one of those movies had even been made when this was originally released. The only similarity to those films is that it features Chow. He looks very young here as a rookie cop who gets promoted to detective very quickly and ends up going up against a criminal mob. The leader of these mobsters has a little pet monkey which makes me think he can't be all bad. Basically all the action and kung-fu (including some very ridiculous toilet-plunger-fu) happens at the very end. The three main bad guys are introduced as The Knife Witch, The Ninja and The Fiery Gunman which sounds pretty awesome but unfortunately they turn out to be just your standard kung-fu baddies. Pretty bland overall as far as these Hong Kong action flicks go and the VHS copy I have of this has tiny subtitles for added frustration. Watching one of the Woo-directed flicks would be a better time.
Alternate titles include POLICE SIR and MODERN HEROES.
Saturday, July 12, 2014
This futuristic/apocalyptic sci-fi film is an American/Korean co-production. This gives the whole movie the oddball feeling of a perfectly decent Korean sorta-artsy environmentalist-message-film with a stupid American action movie shoe-horned into it. I would say overall it's probably worth checking out if you dig Korean films but there are quite a few stupid cringe-worthy elements here also. The plot, which is based on a French graphic-novel, is engaging enough but some of the characters are really annoyingly dumb and some of them don't make any sense at all. The sassy heavyset black lady, for one, has to be one of the most illogical things in the movie. How she could exist on a train full of people so desperate for food that they resort to cannibalism and yet remain an overweight stereotype is incredible. Besides her though the main character, played by some American Hollywood-type who's apparently not a very good actor, is pretty grating. Fortunately you get Kang-ho Song, who was also the star of the great SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE, in a bad-ass role to make up for this shortcoming. Also this was directed by Joon-ho Bong, who previously did the cool giant-monster flick THE HOST, so it has a fairly cool style to it. Just don't expect everything to make perfect sense and you'll probably enjoy this a lot more. Or you could go the other way and just look at it all as a big metaphor for society where the illogical stuff is there because it's commenting on some aspect of humanity which I think is kind of a cop-out but whatever works for you.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014
FIGHTING LIFE also known as CRIPPLED MASTERS 3 is the third movie about a couple of handi-capable kung-fu practitioners. One guy with little flipper-nubs for arms and the other with useless deformed legs. This third chapter(which isn't technically a sequel to the first or second movie since they're playing brothers here which they weren't in the first two films) is the worst of the lot with the first half hour concerned with the two guys looking for a job and getting discriminated against. The one stand-out scene has the no-legs guy getting involved in a fighting tournament where he somehow gains the ability to fly around and beats the crap out of a large Indian-looking fellow. Besides this though you could probably skip this one and just watch the first two for superior cripple-fu action.
Sunday, July 6, 2014
This starts out with Bela Lugosi knocking off brides with special poisonous orchids and then stealing their bodies. From there, like many of these old Monogram pictures, it becomes one of those spooky old house movies. The most interesting thing about this to me was the menagerie of weirdo's Lugosi has at his place. This includes an old witchy/gypsy woman who has two sons one(Angelo Rossitto) who's a midget and the other one who's a creepy peeping-Tom hunchback. There's also Lugosi's wife who's an old lady that he keeps looking young with the spinal-fluid of these brides that he swipes. Also Bela and the Mrs. sleep in coffins for no reason at all. These characters put this one slightly above your average old creaky 40's horror flick. The only thing missing was the guy in the ape suit.