Tuesday, August 25, 2015
This was definitely a favorite of mine back in the days when it played a bunch on Creature Feature Saturday mornings or late nights hosted by various horror hosts. Watching it now it's a super silly giant monster movie about a couple of huge ugly ape/bigfoot-like creatures named Sanda and Gaira romping and stomping around Japan and it works good as some wacky background imagery. There is a great/terrible scene of a lounge singer warbling through a horrible tune appropriately titled "The words get stuck in my throat" before getting mauled by a monster which was always a personal favorite of mine. WEST SIDE STORY's Russ Tamblyn provides the token white-faced character and main hero and a giant octopus shows up for no reason at all.
This is technically a sequel to the previous year's Toho-produced monster-bash FRANKENSTEIN CONQUERS THE WORLD and it's original title was FRANKESTEIN'S MONSTERS: SANDA VS. GAIRA but I don't think the English-dub of this ever makes the connection between the two films very clear.
Green Gargantua(Gaira) does not dig crappy lounge music!:
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
This is one crappy spaghetti-western directed by Bruno Corbucci. Bruno is the brother of Sergio Corbucci who was the guy responsible for a bunch of great Italian westerns like DJANGO, THE GREAT SILENCE etc. Judging by this film, Bruno was not quite the director that his brother was but Bruno did co-write most of his brother's better known euro-classics so he deserves credit for that at least.
This whole film is really dull with not much in the way of shootouts or violence for a large chunk of it's run-time which makes for a not-very exciting viewing experience. It mostly just gets bogged down in endless dialogue about a guy who is accused of being a traitor and then our main character(Robert Woods) tries to clear his name. There's also a love triangle thing going on. It's all very hard to stay awake or get invested enough in the characters to care about the outcome. I have this as part of a 12 Italian-westerns DVD box-set and this is certainly the worst movie on there. Also the title is really dumb. I mean was $4 ever all that much money even back in the old west days? AKA 4 DOLLARS OF REVENGE
As far as action movies go there's not much better than 80's/90's Hong Kong. Kind of like how Italy reinvigorated the western back in the 60's Hong Kong took the standard American action flick and added a certain style and level of violence that reshaped the genre. This one here, directed by the master of these sorts of movie, John Woo, is a gangster/action movie containing tons of gun-fu and graphic bloodshed. Chow Yun Fat is featured, although he's actually not the main star here since 70's kung-fu mainstay Ti Lung has the main role. I think it's great to see Mr. Fat in a slightly lesser role and he gets to be a real bad-ass as the sidekick character. The story concerns two brothers who end up on the opposite sides of the law, one being a cop and the other a criminal. It all ends with lots of bullet holes, exploding barrels and lots of people dead. There are a couple of segments that lay a little heavy on the drama but I think the kick-ass action more than makes up for these slight slow overly-dramatic spots.
There was A BETTER TOMORROW II the following year and A BETTER TOMORROW III: LOVE AND DEATH IN SAIGON in '89. I think I have seen both of these but I should probably re-watch them since I'm not 100 % certain. There was also a South Korean remake in 2011 that I have definitely not seen.
This was billed as Jayne Mansfield's last movie(though technically there were a couple released after this, she did die before completing this) and that's a pretty big shame because it's so terrible. The whole thing seems like it could be a play with every character droning on endlessly about stupid crap while performing their mandatory monologue about how they feel about life. There's really no plot, just little stories about people in relationships. Most of the acting is laughable, though I guess Miss Mansfield was not actually famous for being a great actress. There's one part where she tries to pull off a Brooklyn accent which is particularly cringe-inducing. Probably the highlight of this was when Jayne calls a fellow with a shitty haircut "monkey" a bunch of times. While perhaps in 1966 some of the topics discussed might have been considered risque, i.e. abortion, prostitution, being a generally slutty lady etc., this being 2015 it doesn't pack much in the way of shock value anymore. The only other Mansfield films I've seen, so far, are THE WILD, WILD WORLD OF JAYNE MANSFIELD and FEMALE JUNGLE and those were only mildly amusing from what I recall. One of these days I should probably watch THE GIRL CAN'T HELP IT since that seems to be the film she's best remembered for.
Sunday, August 9, 2015
I've seen quite a few artsy-fartsy movies where nothing happens but usually 70's softcore sexploitation/porn flicks at least have some kinda thin-plot to hold everything together. This one does not and chooses instead to just be a slice-of-life kinda deal looking at the experiences of young innocent Cindy as she is exposed to some sexual action thanks to her older sluttier sister Donna and her cheating incest-happy dad as well as other various fellas and ladies she meets along the way to her sexual awakening. The film seems to go on forever and ever despite the wall-to-wall nudity, lesbianism and exposed ugly underpants. Somehow they manage to sneak that 70's downer ending in there out of the blue so that's something. To make things a bit creepy I'm pretty sure most of the naked gals we see are supposed to be portraying ladies under the age of 18.
Because the film is so dull I found myself focusing more on incidental details like that sweet Frank Zappa poster Cindy has on her bedroom wall and some of the great 70's "can you dig it?" and "it's a groove" dialogue which hardly makes this worth sitting through.
Apparently a screening of this film in Kentucky in 1970 got a few people busted by the police for showing obscenity in a case that went all the way to the Supreme Court which is pretty shocking looking back at how fairly innocent it all is in comparison to the filth that was to come.
Even the title music is dull!:
Saturday, August 8, 2015
So the first hour of this movie is a basic soft-core sleaze tale of a nutty photographer who likes to yell at his models. This sleazy wacko is played by Ross Hagen, who is a guy I remember from being in a few 70's biker and exploitation flicks so by 1990 he's a bit on the old side to be playing the cool trendy artistic photographer, but whatever. He surrounds himself with sexy ladies with big hair and I'm guessing this is because he was also the co-director. Then in the last 30 minutes or so it turns into a slasher flick where we get to see Hagen cross-dress in a wig as a female nurse and run amuck. It's all really dumb and I can't imagine this played in theaters anywhere but there are some boobs on display and a little bit of blood with a neck slashing. Also a lady gets tied to a cross for no reason. Troy Donahue who was a star in the 50's also shows up once in a while to act like a big creep which I don't think had anything to do with the story at all. This came on a DVD set of 12 movies with boobs in them or I'm sure I would never bother watching it. AKA CLICK: THE CALENDAR GIRL KILLER
The complete wackjob ending which is the highlight!:
Monday, August 3, 2015
This was the last of the goofy-looking 70's Godzilla films and it was directed by Ishiro Honda who was the guy who directed the very first GODZILLA back in the 50's. I saw pretty much all of these films as a kid growing up on TV in full-screen cropped versions but you can really tell now by looking at some of the great prints out there how this one really stands out as having been beautifully shot, especially when compared to some of the other lower-budgeted entries that came before it. Also the music cues(bringing back the original Godzilla-theme among them) really help set the tone. The plot is pretty standard with some aliens and a mad doctor using Mechagodzilla and a dinosaur/dragon with a little head named Titanosaurus to kill Godzilla and take over the Earth but there are some downer touches like a suicidal android lady and people actually getting killed by these terrorist ape-aliens. There are two different cuts of this(Japanese and English) with some small differences between the two. Also the Japanese version has some quick nudity which clearly Americans couldn't handle at the time. Check it out if you're either old and nostalgic like me and want to get sad, silly and nostalgic while watching your childhood end or if you're just a cool kid who digs watching giant monsters fight and break shit. AKA THE TERROR OF GODZILLA
90's slasher movies are mostly horrible, terrible things and this one is no exception to that rule. While on the surface it's a mix of a THE INVISIBLE MAN rip-off, a sex comedy and a slasher flick it pretty much fails at being a good example of any of those things. You do get some nudity and, thanks to the not-really-trying acting method employed by everyone in this, the whole thing feels like you're watching a porn flick that someone cut all of the hardcore scenes out of. To further enhance the porn aesthetic 90's porn-star Savannah has a fairly large role here, acting as well/poorly as she does in her fuck movies. There's also disappointingly not really anything much in the way of blood and gore except for a couple of instances towards the end. Pretty much a waste of time as the majority of horror films from the 90's were unless you really wanna see a guy get killed by a sub-sandwich and hear exceptionally lame one-liners from an annoying stupid killer(sort-of like a retarded invisible Freddy Kreuger).