Sunday, December 8, 2013
An evil warlord and his five brothers take on some rebels, among them is Dragon Lee who has some Bruce Lee-sound-alike yells dubbed in while he's kung fu fighting. This isn't the best martial arts film since it gets bogged down in political espionage and has quite a few dull bits. There are some cool elements though including a lady ninja in white who has a hat that doubles as a flying buzz-saw and a guy with a detachable metal hand(very possibly inspired by Mr. Han from ENTER THE DRAGON) who also uses a flying metal hand-fan. The main hero, Dragon Lee, is pretty generic in comparison. AKA THE ANGRY DRAGON
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Probably the best thing about this movie is it's rockin' theme song which gets stuck in your head. Besides that you also get America's #1 nerd, Eddie Deezan, in a big role which is something you don't see often.
The plot itself, like everything else in this movie, is pretty dumb. Written by Fred Olen Ray it's a about Brinke Stevens renting a haunted house from Michael Berryman then getting possessed. Then a goofy demon shows up and takes a shower with her naked sister. Then a priest comes along and they do a spoof of the exorcism in THE EXORCIST. Now some zombies appear and finally Mr. Deezan shows up as a pizza-boy which might make you chuckle or just annoy you some more. He ends up having off-screen sex with Brinke which seems strange since he was supposed to be sacrificed as a virgin just moments earlier.
The title lies to us since there's no teenagers of any sort in this but maybe they were referring to Deezan's character who I'm guessing is supposed to be pretty young. Altogether pretty forgettable if not for the bare boobs and butts and Stevens making for good eye-candy being half-naked and demonic for most of the film.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Before watching this I'd only seen Mantan Moreland in supporting roles in stuff like Charlie Chan movies and the great SPIDER BABY but here he stars in his own film. Apparently they made a bunch of these all-black-cast films back in the 30's & 40's and many of the ones starring Mantan, like MANTAN MESSES UP and MR. WASHINGTON GOES TO TOWN, have been lost over the years. This one features Moreland and his buddy, F.E. Miller, as a couple of gambling bums who win a nightclub by shooting dice then they get spooked by some ghosts and a couple of skeletons. It's all pretty basic and I can't help but feel Mr. Moreland's schtick works better in smaller doses but this movie is only about an hour long so it never feels too tedious. Worth a watch for it's novelty value and just too see what's essentially the first wave of blaxploitation films even though these were much sillier and didn't have much of a social message beyond the most superficial. AKA LADY LUCK
I've read that Moe Howard had considered Mantan as a replacement stooge after Shemp died and after watching this I can see why he thought he would be a good fit. There's gotta be some crazy-ass alternate universe where The Three Stooges broke racial barriers and are seen as modern-day Abraham Lincolns or something.
Sunday, December 1, 2013
Well this movie certainly would explain where all of the fake Bruce Lee's came from, apparently they're all cloned from the original Bruce's blood by a mad scientist. You get three Lee's here; Bruce Lai, Bruce Le and Dragon Lee. Of course they don't really look all that much alike or even that much like Bruce Lee but if you slap the correct sunglasses on them I guess you can fool enough Westerners to get by. Unfortunately outside of this novel origins of the fake Bruce's story they didn't bother with much more of a plot and just added long fight scenes. There's also a training scene set to music from ROCKY, the great Bolo Yeung sounding a little like he was dubbed by John Wayne, stock footage of the actual Bruce Lee and a crazy bit with a bunch of naked ladies at the beach rubbing oil on their boobs and attacking male passers-by which might have been the highlight of the whole film.
This one's kinda weird for a Bela Lugosi flick because he's not a mad scientist or other sort of miscreant and pretty much a nice guy throughout most of the movie. He's really more of a victim who just happens to fall into a hypnotic and psychotic state when he occasionally sees his allegedly dead wife appear to him. You get the typical DRACULA-like walk from Bela and a black butler who gets all the comic-relief lines. Technically, despite the title, there aren't any ghosts in this movie and by their very nature wouldn't ghosts usually be invisible? Also the plot doesn't really make much sense, like why would seeing his deceased spouse set Lugosi on a murder-happy rampage anyway?, but if you like the moldy-oldies this one is OK for a quick dose of Bela goodness.
Not to be confused with the earlier CRIPPLED AVENGERS or the later FIGHTING LIFE(aka CRIPPLED MASTERS 3) this is the story of a guy who has his arms hacked-off and a guy who has his legs destroyed with acid that meet up and then get trained by a weird yoga-master guy who teaches them some handicapable-kung fu moves. The main bad-guy here has a scarred face and a strange iron-hump(or is it some sorta magical turtle-shell?) on his back. There's also an iron-headed bald fellow, a sorta-Bruce Lee-rip-off guy and your standard fat bully character. Though not as well-done or inventive in the weapons department as the Shaw Brother's AVENGERS movie it's definitely worth a look for being one of the more oddball of martial-arts flicks.
These two crippled fellas would go on to be in CRIPPLED MASTERS 2: TWO CRIPPLED HEROES which I've never seen but might have to since apparently they get a pet chimpanzee in that one which sounds just delightful.
This isn't one of the best nazisploitation flicks out there but it's also not the worst. It's pretty average in most ways for this sleazy sub-genre. You get the expected women-in-prison touches; multiple shower scenes, big escape scene etc. and then they throw in some torture-porn type stuff with our nazi-doctors setting live women on fire to try and find cures for burns and a few bits that look like they were inspired by MARK OF THE DEVIL including a head-crushing and a tongue-removal. Oh and some actual footage of World War II concentration camps in case you were still in a good mood after all that. In between all this excitement there's boring parts involving a Jewish doctor, rape, abortion and organized prostitution. One memorable scene involves a black prisoner with a strap-on banana pleasing her Aryan captor. At least these movies will never be accused of being too P.C. for anyone. AKA SS CAMP 5: WOMEN'S HELL and SS LAGER 5: A HELL FOR WOMEN.
Director Sergio Garrone specialized in these lurid nazi/prison films. He also directed SS EXPERIMENT LOVE CAMP and wrote screenplays for a whole slew of women-in-prison films including THE BIG BUST-OUT, HELL BEHIND THE BARS and HELL PENITENTIARY.
Friday, November 29, 2013
If you want to see a kung-fu flick mixed together with a re-imagining of the classic Trinity spaghetti-western movies this would be the place to look. Unfortunately the only thing they kept from the westerns is the music and the Bud Spencer/Terrence Hill characters. These aren't the best interpretations of these two fellows I've seen. The Trinity character, played by someone named Steve Tartalia, is particularly repugnant. I guess since it was the 90's he resembles Zack from SAVED BY THE BELL more than he does the gun-slinging hero of the 70's films. The Spencer Bambino character, played by a fat man named Roberto Lopez, is slightly better although he never gets the head-bonking right and for some reason here he has a pet pig(that's sometimes a hand-puppet or stuffed animal of some sort) that I think is supposed to tug on our heart-strings(yuck!). There is also a Bruce Lee-rip-off character(played by an actor with the cool name of Sky Dragon), a take-off on the Lone Wolf and Cub movies with a pig in the cart instead of a baby, ninjas and dragon-balls. Bambino also copies the old "don't laugh at my mule" speech from FISTFUL OF DOLLARS. All these homages and rip-offs just make me want to go watch the originals instead of this. Only worth a watch if you wanna see a chubby fella kung-fu a bunch of ninjas.
Fighting in their pajamas:
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
I have this movie on a DVD box set of spaghetti-westerns which is a little strange since this isn't a western at all but a modern-day(modern-day of 1975 anyway) comedy about two bumbling idiots who unwittingly get involved with truckin' guns for the Mafia. Apparently they were trying to emulate the slapsticky Trinity-westerns with Michael Colby in the Terrence Hill-role and Paul Smith(from POPEYE and PIECES) as the Bud Spencer-type character. In fact Smith was billed as Bob Spencer in the American ads for this, which is something he ended up suing the filmmakers over. While I am big fan of those original films this one is really overly dumb and really only worth watching if you want to see Smith do an impression of Spencer right down to his patented head-bonking. AKA CONVOY BUDDIES
There's also a sequel to this called THE DIAMOND PEDDLERS which I'll probably check out at some point since it's also on this set of westerns where half the movies aren't even in that genre.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
The title lies. While we do get the guy who played Trinity in a bunch of movies, Terrence Hill, he's sure not playing him here. In fact he's about as super serious as can be and this movie is about as far from a comedy as possible. It's also one of those political spaghetti-westerns(technically a Spanish/Italian western) which are my least favorite type. This one concerns some peasants fighting against a corrupt rich fellow. When I say "fighting" I mean mostly just talking about stuff and the occasional gunfight. I, like me, you enjoy westerns where more exciting stuff actually happens you might want to look elsewhere. To top it all off the DVD I have of this looks like crap also which didn't add to my enjoyment. AKA THE WIND'S FIERCE, THE WIND'S ANGER(both more suitably dull titles) and TRINITY SEES RED
Before viewing this I was excited to see William Smith top-billed on IMDB, unfortunately he gets whacked before the title even shows up, so I'm not sure why he's the first actor listed in the credits on there. I knew right away that this was a bad sign and the rest of the movie didn't give me much more reason to get excited. It's just an overall very stupid movie about a veteran who's back from the dead, dressed up like Uncle Sam and killing people in pretty dull ways. I guess if you really need to see a Fourth Of July-themed slasher movie watch this but don't expect much gore or any kind of a half-way decent film. It does keep in tune with the rest of the horror-crap that the 1990's spewed out. The sad thing is that there is a decent cast in this including Isaac Hayes, Robert Forster and PJ Soles but the only one who really stands out is Bo Hopkins as a sleazy general character who makes a habit of banging the widows of those K.I.A. He also isn't in the movie enough to matter though.
Director Bill Lustig, who's films MANIAC and VIGILANTE I really love a lot, was at the screening of this that I attended last night and gave a few reasons why this didn't turn out the way it was originally intended including the budget limitations and the script being rushed. Lustig's original intention was to make this something closer to DEATHDREAM which certainly would have been a better template than trying to copy every bad slasher movie trope from the late 80's/early 90's was. He also said that there was some demand for a sequel from the distributors(this was released direct-to-video when it first came out) luckily that was never made.
Tom Savini does what's some of his best gore-FX work in this 80's slasher. You get lots of nasty slashings and stabbings with a pitchfork and a bayonet, head explosions and other nasty gunshot wounds. After seeing this on VHS and DVD a few times in the past I finally caught this in a theater last night at the bottom of a horror triple-feature and while I always enjoy seeing a good bloody stalk-and-kill flick this has never really been one of my favorites mainly due to the fact that outside of the amazingly gruesome sequences there's not a whole lot going on that you care about. I mean the characters are completely forgettable and even though I've seen this a bunch of times I can never recall who the killer is because the story doesn't really make much sense. I mean if this is the same killer from the 40's and now it's the 80's wouldn't he be a little old for all this strenuous murdering and rampaging? Also Lawrence Tierney is totally wasted here as a peeping-Tom/pervert in a wheelchair who doesn't do much of anything. I know slasher flicks don't generally have great characters or stories but at least they usually throw in something memorable or relate-able and outside of the crazy World War II killer soldier and gore there isn't much of that here. Still if you're a fan of the classic-era of slashers you should probably check this out anyway. AKA THE GRADUATION and ROSEMARY'S KILLER(this title is weird because it seems to be a play on ROSEMARY'S BABY which this is a pretty far cry from). Director Joe Zito would go on to make the more exciting killer-on-the-loose movie FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE FINAL CHAPTER.
"I died for you... the least you can do is die for me."
This has to be the weirdest zombie film(or is he a ghost or some sorta vampire?) and at the same time one of the weirdest crazy Vietnam Vet movies. Directed by the great Bob Clark who also gave us the classic BLACK CHRISTMAS and the wacky CHILDREN SHOULDN'T PLAY WITH DEAD THINGS, before going mainstream, this is the story of a soldier returning from a battle in which he may have been killed. Things aren't spelled out that clearly though and it's all done in a cool CARNIVAL OF SOULS-ish way where we're not always sure what the hell is going on. This is a good example of a movie that takes it's time but never really becomes boring. Everything is done well from the acting to the creepy atmosphere. This is obviously an allegory for the returning veteran and how they feel dead inside but taken to a more literal level. More intelligent people than me could probably write long essays about this aspect of the film. For me though it's just an awesome dark-trip through an inverted-nightmarish view of the American family.
Apparently Christopher Walken was an earlier choice for the lead role which probably would have been awesome but I think Richard Backus here is pretty spot-on in his portrayal. It's too bad he went on to TV stuff and didn't make any more features after this. Tom Savini did the makeup FX work on this but there's not really much in the way of gore. There's a great scene of mayhem in a drive-in theater showing a double-bill of DEATH IN SPACE and THE SPACENAUTS, unfortunately I don't think these were real movies. AKA DEATHDREAM, NIGHT WALK, THE NIGHT ANDY CAME HOME, WHISPERS and THE VETERAN