Sunday, January 31, 2016
Morgan Fairchild(whose name I only know because she was the star of one of those mom shows in the 80's called FALCON CREST) plays a TV news anchor who gets stalked by a koo-koo nutjob of a fan who apparently falls in love with people he sees on his TV and lives in a fantasy land where he believes everyone is just like they are on the little screen. With a little tweeking to the script and a couple of more deaths this could be a horror film but the way it was filmed now it's closer to one of those Lifetime made-for-TV cautionary tales about how deranged men can be and gets the 'thriller' label that many bigger-budgeted horror flicks get.There are some exploitation elements, mostly lots of nudity from Miss Fairchild and one scene where she turns into a shotgun-wielding badass! You're gonna have to look elsewhere for real horror but if ya don't mind something that's more of just a scary drama give it a watch on Valentine's Day.
Thursday, January 28, 2016
I have this movie on DVD as part of a blaxploitation box set and even though it features Mario Van Peebles(and his sister Megan) in featured parts it isn't a blaxploitation film at all. It's actually more of a drama with some action bits tossed in. That's not to say it doesn't have some very exploitative elements. In fact the film starts out with a little boy being forced to participate in the making of a kiddie-porn-shoot, which is one hell of a memorable way to kick off your movie!! From there we follow the adventures of a couple of white foster-kids(with super-thick New Yawk accents!) as they run-away from their extremely pervy and physically-abusive step-dad and end up in the 1980's Bronx. From here we get roaming gangs of interracial hooligans looking for trouble to pad things out until we get to the big unlikely sting-operation of a climax. This film is bizarre enough, thanks to it's horrific villainous character, break-dancing interlude and a talking? ferret that I've had to re-watch it a couple of times now just to make sure I actually saw what I thought I did. The only big minus is that most of the music in this thing is headache-inducingly awful with lyrics that tell the story as they ramble along. The break-dancing rap(which sounded very Grandmaster Flash-like) is the only tune that's at all listenable. If your ears can overlook this you're in for a very strange trip through 80's New York. AKA REVENGE OF THE INNOCENTS
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Director Seijun Suzuki would get himself fired from Nikkatsu studios for making this film and not make another movie for 10 years. Why they thought this film was so terrible and unreleasable I'm not exactly sure. It does deliver on the sex and violence stuff that Nikkatsu films usually contain although it does get a bit unnecessarily weird and artsy in parts which I guess set them off.
Having started out watching Suzuki's GATE OF FLESH film which centered around Japanese prostitutes I find that his gangster films don't measure up to how entertaining that one was but I can clearly see the influence this movie has had on some more modern directors including Tarantino(this is sorta like RESERVOIR DOGS but with way more action and film-making skill shown) and Jim Jarmusch who copied one of the kills here where a guy gets shot right through a sink-pipe.
Overall worth a look for cinematic snobs who don't mind a lot of weirdness(boiled-rice used as an aphrodisiac! suicidal Asian goth chick! bizarre snuff movie! main character with big chipmunk cheeks!) mixed with their actiony/gangster flick.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
If, like the person I recently viewed this with, you have an intense aversion to needles this may be the most terrifying film you could watch. I personally do not share this phobia so to me this isn't scary but more of a depressing movie that chronicles a downward spiral of a couple living in NYC in the early 70's and their similarly gritty associates. This film could really only have been made in this decade because the pace with which it tells it's tale is really leisurely and moviegoers today are way too fucking jittery to watch something like this and get anything out of it except probably a long nap. I will say the movie is not my favorite due to the plot being pretty non-existent but I do really appreciate the realistic way you see the female lead, Kitty Winn, get pretty ragged by the end of this and Al Pacino, who was still in the beginning phase of his career when he actually acted unlike everything he's done in the last 30 years or so, does a great job of making you care about a pretty lowlife type of character. It's a pretty hard-hitting drama that you should pick up if you dig serious 70's pieces or just want to see a view of New York back when it could be pretty ugly.
Monday, January 18, 2016
I got really excited at the start of this movie because our star, Calvin Lockhart, drives up in a beautiful looking vehicle and I figured this would be another sweet 70's pimp film. Sadly we find out this is just a scene in a movie and Mr. Lockhart is only an actor playing the part of a race-car driver called "The Baron". It takes a while for this one to get going but it does manage to, about 30 minutes in, tell a somewhat interesting tale of a couple of black fellas involved with the mob and their attempts to keep from becoming corpses. Richard Lynch is the main bad guy here and as he always does in these type of roles he really makes you hate him as he degrades our two main characters and shows how ignorant and racist he can be. Overall this is a bit slow in parts but worth a watch for hardcore blaxploitation aficionados.
AKA BLACK CUE and BARON WOLFGANG VON TRIPPS
In this strange scene we get The Baron successfully asking for a loan by very loudly calling his friend a nigger!?:
This is a very bizarre film. It's also one of my favs! This one's great because it features a gal who chops and slices up people and you're on her side the whole movie. It's also nice that it's only a couple of minutes over an hour long so things get right down to action. It starts out like a gangster film showing some pretty scummy criminals doing some not very nice things. Then it switches gears into what's basically a rape-revenge film except it's shot more like a horror movie especially with the wonky creepy soundtrack. It's also very similar to a slasher film except those weren't invented yet. For added weirdness they throw in a paralyzed grandfather character who always makes me think of ol' grandpa from THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE which this would actually make a pretty good double feature with(one of the alternate titles for this is CALIFORNIA AXE MASSACRE so there ya go). Check it out for some real grindhouse/drive-in thrills! AKA LISA, LISA and THE VIRGIN SLAUGHTER
Friday, January 15, 2016
After you watch all of the classic films Rudy Ray Moore starred in, and you need more of his greatness in your life, you get to this one. Sadly Rudy is not the main character here, that is portrayed by Yaphet Kotto(aka the black guy from ALIEN) who does a good job even if he isn't anywhere near as flamboyant or outrageous as Mr. DOLEMITE. Overall this is an entertaining look at what the Chicago ghettos may have been like back in the days before rap music and gangster-chic became the only things many black youths emulated and you could get away with running scams on people because there weren't cameras recording everything you do all day long like there are today. Afetr about a half hour or so Rudy Rau finally shows up after what feels like a long time and is sporting some of his sweetest outfits here. He plays a pimp named Goldie who initially you think may be the bad guy but the idea of hating Rudy Ray is just absurd so they turn him into a not-so bad guy who ends up helping out our heroes who include a group of young people trying to save the town from having a highway built through it. So basically this has the same plot as 90% of the comedies made in the 80's. There's also a similar coming-of-age vibe as stuff like COOLEY HIGH and that WHAT'S HAPPENING show so that's cool for some retro 70's thrills. Though if you're looking for action-packed blaxploitation full of nudity and violence you will need to look elsewhere.
Thursday, January 14, 2016
I'd given up on Quentin Tarantino back after he made that stupid DEATH PROOF/GRINDHOUSE thing and then that stupid talky-talk fantasy movie about World War II so I put off seeing this one until now. Surprisingly I thought this was a pretty decent take on and homage to the classic spaghetti-westerns and due to it's subject matter this has the feeling of something like GOODBYE UNCLE TOM sprinkled in there as well. It was also cool that Tarantino included the real Django, Franco Nero, in one scene and I think the main highlight for me was the great soundtrack. Of course most of these tunes are from some amazing classics of the Italian western genre and watching this made me want to go back and watch some of those again. I coulda done without the out-of-place modern rap jams but I knew this couldn't be perfect. Interestingly this is not in any way a remake of Django but is more closely a sort-of re-imagining of THE LEGEND OF NIGGER CHARLIE but I'm sure calling your movie that nowadays would get you lynched by the intolerant "social justice warrior"-filled masses. There is no shortage of the word "nigger" which in itself is a miracle in any modern movie and there's also not much skimping on the blood. In the two main shock scenes we get a bloody slave fight with eyeball violence and another slave ripped apart by dogs.
Having seen a whole lot of movies that use the name DJANGO in their title I would have to say even though this is a newer big-budgeted Hollywood film, this is one of the better examples of what a western-exploitation film can be. I'm back on team Quentin. I'm sure he'd be so very relieved to hear this.
Sunday, January 10, 2016
If you took the show IN SEARCH OF... and replaced it's narrator, Leonard Nimoy, with his fellow STAR TREK hero William Shatner and stretched it into a full length feature this is what you would get. Of course that show was only a half hour long including commercials so it was a bit more entertaining at that length. Here things do tend to wear a little thin with all the crazy-ass unprovable theories about ancient astronauts and UFOs. It is saved by getting the chance to see Shatner doing some of his best over-acting work interviewing some folks with some very off-the-wall interpretations of reality. If you weren't raised on IN SEARCH OF... you might want to give this a pass but it might still be culty and weird enough for lovers of the more bizarre side of the 1970's. AKA WILLIAM SHATNER'S MYSTERIES OF THE GODS
Saturday, January 9, 2016
Pretty much the only ghost movies I really enjoy are old Japanese ghost movies. Unlike their stupid American counterparts, or even those not anywhere nearly as good modern Japanese ghost flicks, these older films are usually basic revenge tales helped out by supernatural forces. In this case we get a cat ghost(based on an old Japanese legend) wreaking vengeance upon a greedy ruler back in samurai times. This one is quite the classic and at times reminded me of a classic Universal monster movie in its aesthetics. It's got sword-fights, a doomed love story and a cursed lake. Check it out for some cool artistically done old-timey atmospheric ghost hi-jinks. AKA THE CURSED POND and THE GHOST-CAT OF THE CURSED LAKE
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
This movie starts out with what seems to be the perfect prologue to a Valentine's Day-themed slasher flick but from there we venture off into a hospital for the rest of the film. This hospital might be the most desolate one ever depicted in any movie even more so than that one in HALLOWEEN II. I mean there's whole long scenes where our killer is chasing people down hallways and no one ever comes along or notices besides his very stupid victims. Not just the victims but everyone in this thing seems either really dumb or stoned or just doing a really strange over-acting job. Former Playboy playmate Barbi Benton is our main character and luckily she has no problem getting nekkid because that's one of the few highlights(along with the flaming dummy thrown off a building ending) you get here. Besides that there's a bit of bloodshed from some pretty typical slasher movie-like kills and a lot of head-shakingly stupid things that happen including doctors that act like the hospital is a concentration camp where patients can't ever leave, equally Nazi-istic nurses and a silly reason that the killer is on a rampage in the first place. There's lots of better slasher-flicks from this era that you should check out before this one. AKA X-RAY
Director Boaz Davidson did go on to make one of my favorite 80's teen sex comedies THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN(he also made the original Israeli version of the film LEMON POPSICLE) so I will cut him some slack for this crap.
Sunday, January 3, 2016
The last of the original OLGA trilogy of cheaply-made roughie films(though there were a couple of later movie that used the OLGA name that didn't actually feature the real Olga(Audrey Campbell). This film is basically just a collection of s & m and bondage and discipline scenes acted out poorly with mostly voice over narration trying to create some sorta plot tying it all together. This was clearly created to play to weirdo degenerates on 42nd street at the time and is really a strange look into a pervy past. There's a soldering-iron to the tits, spanking, beatings, whippings, electrocution, clamps applied to fingers, nipples and hands, a surprisingly small amount of actual nudity and even a chase scene involving a gay? man in a onesie gets thrown in to give us some ridiculous action. Overall this works today more as a curiosity than a great piece of entertainment but it's sure to add some great visuals to your next dull party. Also Olga gets extra props from me for laying the groundwork for Ilsa's future evil ways.
Since the alternate title of this is SON OF THE BLOB and since The Blob starts out frozen just like he ended up back at the end of 1958's THE BLOB you would assume this is a sequel except there's one scene where Godfrey Cambridge is watching the original movie on TV. So I guess technically this would be a sorta-remake. Either way though this movie is way goofier than it's 50's counter-part which is kinda the opposite of what you would expect from the gritty realistic 1970's. I probably rate this movie way higher than people who didn't grow up watching this thing playing on TV on a fairly regular basis. In fact I can recall seeing this a bunch more times than the original BLOB as a little kid which gives it a lot of sentimental value. Even removed from that though I think this a bizarre enough and comedic enough movie to entertain most bad-movie lovers. Directed by Larry "DALLAS/I DREAM OF JEANNIE" Hagman, this is jammed full of 70's stars including EIGHT IS ENOUGH's Dick Van Patten, Shirley(Cindy Williams) from LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY, Burgess "The Penguin/ROCKY's manager" Meredith and Sid Haig. A naked fat man runs down the street, cops, hobos, hippies and even dogs and kittens get eaten by The Blob. Check it out for a stupid good monster romp!
Saturday, January 2, 2016
The original KING KONG is one of the greatest classic sci-fi/horror/adventure movies of all time. This sequel is not quite up there with it's predecessor and it's clearly due to it being rushed out to capitalize on the success of the original. This was actually released in the same year as KING KONG and while the FX are just as good the main no-as-giant gorilla here is way goofier and is actually a hero in the story which takes away from any horror aspects the first film had and makes it way more of a kiddie-friendly monster-movie. Still it's at least a semi-classic and one that was shown along with the first movie and MIGHTY JOE YOUNG every year on Thanksgiving on local TV here in New York making it a sentimental holiday tradition and a good alternative to watching MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS again. If you dig the classic monster flicks or just quickie cheapo exploitation films capitalizing/ripping-off something better this one isn't a bad choice. As a bonus you get to see a musical group of monkeys perform a delightful tune.
While this one plays up the adventure aspects:
Friday, January 1, 2016
I have a bunch of these drive-in classics/exploitation DVD box-sets chock full of movies by Crown International Pictures and quite a few of them, just like this one here, have no plots whatsoever. Know while this might be a good thing maybe if they filled it with action of some sort this one doesn't have much in the way of excitement either. The story, what there is of one, involves a hippie fellow driving a mobile home around Florida and picking up a couple of hippie gals. One of which is really into tarot cards and astrology and other nonsense. She also seems to hallucinate a bunch so we're never even sure what's real or not and it's hard to really care much. A creepy clown, a politician, a rapey/feely priest and a bunch of horny redneck rapists show up from time to time. Our more spacey but less retarded hippie lady has sex with the Greek god Apollo sorta and it all ends with a 70's downer ending. Except they even mess that up. On the positive side I will say the camerawork here is really excellently done with some really cool artsy shots. Too bad it's wasted on such a pointless film. Also there's lots of nudity and nakedness and the two leads are quite eye-catching. I assume this film was meant to be shown at an actual drive-in back in the 70's where no one would be paying attention to what was going on and that would be the best way to view it if you had to.
Based on an old Japanese novel that comments on the state of the country after World War II(spoiler alert: it's not so nice) this is a great early example of a sleazy softcore sex film. It's also got lots of symbolism in addition to the naked bondage and torture scenes so you can show it to your pretentious artsy-fartsy friends and not feel all dirty about it. A gang of anti-American hookers take a vow never to fall in love or fuck for free. When any of them do they get hung up and whipped, have their haircut off and get generally abused in a highly stylized exploitative manner. There's also a hose shower scene and lots of parts showing how terrible and ugly Americans can be.
This was the first part of a whole retrospective on director Seijun Suzuki down at my local snob-theater and I was really glad I got to catch this on 35mm the way God intended. Will probably be checking out the rest of the series if the smell of organic artisan lattes and gluten-free anaerobic popcorn doesn't drive me away.
There was an early film version of this story made in the 40's but I imagine it's not quite as sleazy or rough. There's also 2 remakes, one in the 70's and the other in the 80's, that are most likely even raunchier but possibly made with less flair. I'll have to investigate these.