Sunday, August 24, 2014
I hate to spoil the endings of movies but it's hard to write about this film without saying my favorite thing about it is that a creepy obscene-phone-caller in a wheelchair turns out to be the hero. I don't know if that's ever happened before in all of cinematic history. If it did it was probably in one of those Japanese pinkie-violence films.
Lamberto Bava may not be quite the director that his father Mario was but I find most of the stuff that I've seen of his is pretty entertaining on a slightly lower-tier of Eurotrash excellence. In this he has the good sense to fill the movie, right from the start, with tons of boobs, mostly from very busty star Serena Grandi but also from almost every other gal who shows up thanks to a nudie-magazine office being a main ingredient in the story. Daria 'DEEP RED' Nicolodi is spared this nudity clause but does a good job of being a potential murderer by acting a little bit creepy throughout her performance. George 'ANTHROPOHAGUS' Eastman shows up just to get naked and sexy and the killer sees people with giant eyeball faces which always reminds me of that band The Residents. While this is clearly no Argento-like classic and it does drag in spots the giallo aspects are OK and things are shot really beautifully so at least you always have something nice to look at. Another neat thing is the rocking 80's soundtrack during some action sequences which might give you a chuckle or two.
AKA PHOTO OF GIOIA, PHOTOS OF JOY and GIOIA'S PHOTOGRAPH
Germany don't mind some full frontal in their trailers! Bless them!:
Saturday, August 23, 2014
THE BROOD, directed by the great David Cronenberg, was never my favorite film of his because it dwelled so much in the land of drama. There are long psychological bits when characters cry about their past, the main couple Samantha Eggar and Art Hindle try to work out their marriage dilemma and this sort of thing. Luckily Cronenberg fills out the rest of the film with some truly unique bizarre elements including murderous dwarves/children/little deformed monsters, psychoplasmically-induced body-modifications and Eggar munching down on her newborn's fresh afterbirth that just popped out of a distended external-uterus growing out of her. Also you get the legendary Oliver Reed in a somewhat subdued state as the psychologist who sets all this strangeness into motion. I was lucky enough to view this on the big screen from a 35mm print last night and would say it's totally worth a watch or a re-watch for lovers of weirdness.
When I was a teen I had a poster from Fangoria magazine depicting the little girl here, Cindy Hinds, getting grabbed through the wall by the little murdering munchkins and although I had not seen the movie itself at that point that was enough to freak me out. Not all that many horror flicks can weird you out from just one still image.
Weird European title:
Monday, August 11, 2014
Saturday, August 9, 2014
Watching this after seeing THE NIGHT PORTER recently was an interesting exercise in taking the same basic premise and adding a bunch of sleazy, vile elements to it, turning artsploitation into pure trashy Nazisploitation. Comparing the two is like comparing night and day. As with most of the Eurotrash Nazi films this is basically a women-in-prison flick dressed up with swastikas. If you like more stylish cinema Night Porter is for you but if you dig intentionally offensive filth this one is the way to go. Luckily I can appreciate both approaches for different reasons. The laundry list of depravities that you get here include cannibalism, shit-eating, torture, bondage, baby-murder, Jew-murder, animals ripping women apart, acid baths and, of course, the titular orgy which consists of nazis running around raping and beating naked prisoners of war. 120 DAYS OF SODOM seems to also have been an influence for this spectacle. Recommended for sleaze-lovers only. AKA CALIGULA REINCARNATED AS HITLER and LAST ORGY OF THE THIRD REICH
The thing that probably offends me more than anything else in this movie is the horrendously screechy theme song!:
It was kinda weird to watch this movie for the first time last night(in a theater on the allegedly only surviving 35mm print in existence) after having seen all the later nazisploitation flicks that came in the years to follow. This is definitely the inspiration for many of those sleaze-epics and one in particular, THE GESTAPO'S LAST ORGY, which is basically a loose-remake with the shock-elements turned up to 11. Compared to those ILSA and company movies this one is pretty subdued and more concerned with the themes of s & m and some allegorical ponderings on coping with World War II. There's even a little touch of CABARET in there with one musical bit. It's very much a beautifully shot art-film that veers more toward the strange and bizarre than the outright disgusting. Then again the idea of a Nazi and a Jewish concentration camp survivor falling in love will probably be seen as pretty offensive all on it's own by many people. It might move a little slow and be a bit long for the average schlub but I found it a worthwhile viewing experience.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Another one of the many ninja movies directed by Godfrey Ho for IFD films. Like most of the ones I've seen this stars Richard Harrison and inserts newly shot footage with him and some ninjas into older footage from another film. The original film is a Taiwanese movie about a witchy/ghost lady that haunts a family that has a little boy named Bobo. I have no idea what it was originally called but this footage gives some boobs, sex scenes, a part where maggots pour out of a faucet and lots of silly haunted house antics. The new footage has crappy ninja fight scenes and Richard harrison showing how bad-ass he is by talking on a Garfield phone. They try to fuse these two things together but as usual it's kind of obvious that we're watching two different films. Viewable by the insane or cinematic masochists only.
The DVD I have of this has the title of GHOST NINJA for some reason but the movie has the DIAMOND NINJA FORCE credit.
Wednesday, August 6, 2014
I never thought of Lance Henriksen as a bad-ass before. I mean I think he's a good actor and all but I guess I just always think of him as that shifty no-good android in the ALIEN films. So maybe I'm instantly prejudiced against a movie that tries to make him into an ass-kicking action hero. There's a few other problems besides this though. The main one is that this movie is really fucking stupid. It's about this gang of bikers led by William Forsythe who do lots of dumb things including inexplicably stealing a tank from an armory that seems to be guarded by only two people. They take over a town with the help of a crazy-ass Karen Black and have to deal with Lance and his old 'Nam buddy George Kennedy who's stuck in a motorized wheelchair thing. There's also a pervy reverend(Richard Lynch) and some lame tough guy cops that play part in all this. I can't really say this a good watch but at least the cast is pretty interesting. Hell even Sam Kinison shows up at one point as a super religious barber which is something to see.
Strangely the old VHS I have of this doesn't even list Lance Henriksen's name anywhere on it:
Saturday, August 2, 2014
Umberto Lenzi, who would go on to make Italian crime movies in the 70's and cannibal films in the 80's, directed this early giallo flick. It's really only barely a giallo since the murder-mystery elements take a back seat to the dramatic twisted relationship story of our main characters, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Erika Blanc, for most of the movie. Also the body count in this one is really small. There are some cool twists that happen throughout but the ending seemed very disappointing to me. If only they threw in one more twist at the end I mighta dug it more. Also it's sorta reminiscent of the vastly superior 50's French art-film DIABOLIQUE and if a movie you're watching reminds you of something way better that's usually not a good thing. So I guess watch this only if you've already seen every other giallo and absolutely need to see them all.
Super cheesy theme song!:
I first viewed this movie back in the VHS days when I was a teenage obsessed slasher-movie fan. Didn't care for it much back then since I probably didn't know anything about Klaus Kinski and it's not much of a gory slasher flick. Watching it again in a theater recently, with the director in attendance who regaled us with tales of Kinski's madness, this was a much better watch. Realistically it's not a great film but it does move along quickly enough and enough weird crap happens that there's no time to get very bored. Kinski plays a role he's well-suited for, the deranged son of a Nazi who's also a mad doctor and also runs a hotel and randomly kills people after peeping on them from the crawlspace(which seems huge and endless! how big is this place??). Oh and he also keeps a gal, who's tongue he's removed, in a cage in his attic so he has someone to talk to. Also in his spare time he plays Russian roulette with himself(which is probably not the best solo sport to engage in). This does raise the question of how he's stayed in business so long and stayed out of prison or even stayed alive but this isn't a very deep thinking kind of movie. You're just there to take a crazy ride with the master of insane actors and this does serve to showcase Mr. Kinski's unique insanity. Hearing from director, David Schmoeller, what a pain in the ass Kinski was to deal with it's a miracle this thing was ever even completed.
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.