Friday, July 31, 2009

Okey, here we go again: Nightmare City is the best movie ever made!

I've written everything there is to be written about Nightmare City. What more is there to be said about Umberto Lenzis fantastic and groundbreaking mutant-nightmare? I have no idea, but I just have to write something. As everyone knows, it's not a zombie-movie. It's radioactive mutant humans going berserk with garden tools - something that seems to be a common thing to be found on a military airplane. Yeah, I know. It's easy making fun of NC (as we fans call it ;)), but I seriously think it's one of the coolest and best movies ever made. And that's a sensitive thing to say.

Once there was an idiot at DVDforum (one of the most boring forums in Sweden by the way) who got upset because he claimed that I couldn't say that NC was a GOOD movie! He said that I like NC because it's a bad movie. Not because it's a good movie. I said that's not correct. I love NC. It's a good movie. But he didn't belive me and got more upset. So I fucked him in the mental ass and left him crying there on the forum-floor. I think many people have a problem to admit that it's a good movie. They joke about the faults and problems, but then they admit very carefully that it has a good pacing and is quite fun after all.

I think the "thing" with NC is that all the weird and goofy little details create one big fat piece of entertainment. If you focus on one detail, you get lost. But if you put it together with all the rest it's perfect. I'm sure they didn't care so much about the details in this movie, and just went for all the fun stuff that they could make up. The knife-throwing doctor, the exploding television, the dance-scenes, the exploding heads, the priest with the scarred face (that they should have seen from the beginning, but acts surprised when he turns the scars away from them), Stiglitz... hmm "inspired acting", Francisco Rabals acne-face, the cheap gore, the cool music (Ever noticed the techo-beat in the main-theme? Great!), the fighting... it has everything and it's the most perfect exploitation-puzzle I know.

So, is there possible to write about NC in some new angle? I've tried. Maybe from a gay-angle? No, even as a gay man I can't find anything remotely gay in this movie (some of the male dancers are a bit... feminine by the way, but on the other hand, I know a lot of feminine straight guys to) and I'm not sure I want to see Hugo Stiglitz as a hunk. Hugo...the man, the myth. I like him as an actor very much. He looks tired, but he's absurdly uninterested in this characters. He's somewhere else, maybe home on his mexican ranch, sipping on a drink. Because he's not in Nightmare City. But I've learned to love him here to. He's works fine and do what Lenzi tells him to do. Like a good, faithful dog.

Lenzi obvious wanted to do something else than a normal zombie-movie, and he just goes berserk filming the action-scenes! It's wild, very nice edited, some nice stunts and it's never, NEVER boring. He know's his craft. The most eerie scene is the first one in the hospital, when the first mutants appear. It's the only true horror in the whole movie I think. Well, maybe in Rabals house when his wife and her friend get's it. Good stuff.

Shit. I have to see it again. It was at least six months since last time, so I can feel the urge for...BLOOD!!!

Today's rant about what people call "bad acting" in genre movies...

Maybe I'm naive, but I never fully understood why people (even fans) always talking about "bad acting" in genre/exploitation-movies. Almost as it's something to expect. These "fans" can love the movie, adore, worship it... but always throw in a "sure, the acting isn't that good" or "but except the crappy acting" and so on.

I just don't understand it.

I watch a lot of slasher movies from the eighties, and those are extra attached because of this alleged "bad acting". I watch them, I'm not into nostalgia, so I don't think automatically that everything is great and fantastic, but I'd never any problems with the acting. The same thing with italian exploitation movies, even the dubbed ones, american b-movies from the fifties or direct-to-dvd creature features. Of course there's different acting styles all over the world. A chinese actor dosen't act the same way as an italian, at least if you look back in time to some older movies. American actors had a special way of delivering lines and moving their body, it's all in the tradition. It has nothing to do with realism, and never will.

But that there's a common thing with bad actors in exploitation movies? Bullshit. Of course. I see now different way in the quality of acting in Antropophagus as in... Taxi Driver. Just one example. There's good actors in both of them, but the tradition in italian cinema is to dub the movies - and often fast and a bit sloppy. But that's the way it is. Antropophagus dosen't have the same well written script as Taxi Driver, and a good script with good dialogue makes actors seems better. For be Robert De Niro and George Eastman are the same quality-wise. They just act in movies so far from each other that people just think they other one is a worse actor.

When it comes to professional movies, not amatour-productions, there's often "real" actors involved. Even if it's a cheesy lowbudget slasher from 1984. They get the paycheck (which is probably quite small), do the job and go home and look for the next job to survive. It's not all the time you can put your heart in a production.

Of course there's a lot of bad actors around, but many of them are either so big that people hire them because they're famous or they're so unknown so sooner or later they won't get any acting jobs anymore. The main important thing is charisma, and an actor - good or bad - can survive a long time on that. If they show love for their job, have fun, gives the audience a blast and just do the best they can with the script, that's a good actor. A bad one is one who just dosen't care anymore. Who just do it for big money or being famous.

Acting is where your heart is, and it dosen't have anything to do with if your movie is big... or small.

The car chase in Missing in Action

I've not a big fan of Chuck Norris, but many of his movies features a lot of good stuntworks. This is one of my faves, though not THAT spectacular, but classic lowbudget-mayhem.

And it's always fun with these harbour-areas. You can do a lot of stuff on there, without causing to much damage.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"For the love of Nightmare City - A sensitive poem"

This is something I wrote in january 2002 - I think, because it's the date I found it related to on the internet recently. I'd just seen Nightmare City for the first time on dvd and was of course happy as George Michael in a marijuana-plantation. Now there's better releases out of course, but the Italian Shock-release is still one of my faves.

Actually, this poem was also for a while on their official site - but it's long since gone. I've take the opportunity to change a few words and rhymes here and there, to make it the ultimate Nightmare City-poem. Enjoy.

"For the love of Nightmare city - a sensitive poem"

Oh God, how I love Nightmare City
The cast, the script – so witty!

Watching Hugo Stiglitz sleep through his role
Less inspiration than the sleepiest mole!

Maria Risarua Inaggui beautiful and nude
Hey, Francisco Rabal, what a horny dude!

See how the monsters from the plane leap
(and at the same time watching Hugo sleep)

Waving with axes and sharp nasty knifes
Doing their best, taking bloody spanish lifes!

Action, romance, suspense
Everything makes so much sense!

Bloody action all the way
Monsters killing innocent people everyday!

Mel Ferrer in his suit is standing
Looking worried when the plan is landing

“No panic in this town” he orders with a deep voice
“Kill all the monsters, that´s our only choice”

Hugo tries to warn the innocent people at home
But instead the horrible hell-dancers the TV-screen roam!

Attacking the TV-station with weapons raised!
Half-naked dancer, so many they chased!

Eating throats and heads, asses and tits
While taking non-fatal bullet-hits!

Hugo´s tired eyes are open wide
While TV-technicians besides him died

With only one bored facial expression
Watching the bloody monster session

All this and many things more
I just this movie love and adore

Stelvio created such a great funky score
I just want to listen to it more and more!

And those wonderful pizza-faces
Giuseppe and Franco boldly made, still amazes!

My love for this movie is incredible you all see,
Thank you Umberto, thank's Italian Shock DVD!

Seeding of a Ghost (1983)

Hej och hå i lingonskogen! This was the craziest, weirdest and... strangest Hong Kong movie I've seen! I thought Devil Fetus was freaked out, but this... Seeding of a Ghost is one of the few movies that lives up to all the rumours and hype! I'm very happy I finally saw it!

The start isn't anything out of the ordinary. Just an standard category III-flick with lots of nudity (I guess the slow-mo scene is popular among the straight guys out there... I found it more funny), some more nudity, and a little bit more nudity. This mixed with some brutal violence... but then shit hits the fan! The wife of our "hero" (with the same haircut - or wig - as Arnold in Commando), the taxi driver, dies and he takes revenge with the help of some black magic!

I guess the slow first forty minutes of the movie is part of the filmmakers plan, because the rest of the movies is so bizarre and weird because of the sudden change in style. There's some nice fighting by the way, which I think many people tend to forget. It's not much, but it hurts and it's a lot of fun. But the gore and the ghost-effects are of course the best thing. The main character in the second half is the dead body of the wife. She's rotten and possessed and fucks one of her victims spirit! It's a beautiful and cool scene, part animation, part animatronics. Has to be seen to be believed. Well well. She rip the backbone out of a guy, let's a woman almost rape her husband in the ass with a HUGE matchstick (I guess she hits the right spot, because he screams a lot!), makes people eat brain and vomit worms!

A cool scene is a high fall from a building, where we follow the guy down all the way. Something that has been done later, in more famous movies, but this much cooler because it's a topless possessed chick doing the crime! And the final... Wow. This is what I really like. It suddently turns to a The Thing-style monster-movie with some healthy doses of gore, limb-ripping and a primitive, but cool monster.

Ah, shit! I shouldn't tell you about this stuff, because the best way is to see it yourself. Anyway, I fell in love with this movie and it's such a fantastic mix of genres that it actually get's quite unique. I don't think I have to mention it's a gorgeous show to, which isn't a surprise because it's Shaw Brothers-production. The effects are really well made, though you can see some wires and crappy make up-effects from time to time.

I can't write anything bad about this freakshow of a movie. It's just one of those legendary movies that you have to see and own. Hmm, if there's something negative, it's the very abrupt ending. I guess everything falls in to place, but it's very sudden.

Ah, helluvamuthafucking movie anyway.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Der Commander (1988)

Legendary swiss producer Erwin C. Dietrich was the money-man behind three of Antonio Margheritis more expensive movies from the eighties. The last of them was Der Commander, a routine affair that dosen't offer something new, but still is kinda entertaining. The cast is, as usual, marvelous: Lewis Collins, Lee Van Cleef, Donald Pleasence, John Steiner, Bobby Rhodes (as "Kongo Klaus"!), Brett Halsey, Paul Muller, Romano Puppo and paler (almost albino!) than ever, Mike Monty!

The story is forgettable. Something about Lewis Collins being hired by Lee Van Cleef to deliver some weapons in exchange for some drugs, but he's actually hired by the goverment to destroy the drug factory. He hire a team of roughnecks down in Thailand and by boat they travel into Cambodia. Of course they're in constant danger and there's shooting, explosions and one after one dies... as usual in a men-on-a-mission-movie.

Der Commander never get's as interesting and Commando Leopard and Codename Wildgeese, mostly because the script is much more focused to talking and characters - and we're not talking really fascination characters either. The first scene is a nice little shoot out with some good stunts, and after that there's talking for almost an hour. And then the action starts. Margheriti handles the action as the expert he was, as usual, and it never gets boring. Most of the big explosions at the end is stock footage from Codename Wildgeese, but it's not that much. There's rarely any squibs, which is a trademark of the director, but the stuntmen falls, flies and get's thrown in all directions instead. Which makes up for the blood.

Beautiful jungle, a nice Bangkok-location, fun actors and some good action, but sadly one of Antonio's weaker efforts from this time.

How Sweet, Fresh Photos!

Ah! I was thinking of this the other day, and now I found some photos here on the new Freddy Krueger. I'm sure this movie will be great, because the team has done a few other good "remakes" and it seems to be very faithful to the original vision of Elm Street.

The Killing Hour (1982)

Also released as The Clairvoyant, this is one of the most forgotten thrillers I know. Armand Mastroianni had something going for him after the interesting He knows you're alone and followed up with this sister-movie to the John Carpenter-scripted The Eyes of Laura Mars. While it never reaches to that level of quality, it's actually a very nice little movie. Elizabeth Kemp plays Virna Nightbourne, a art-student who starts draw visions of murders. The goofy cop Larry Weeks (Norman Parker) get's interested in her, but also the up-and-coming tv-personality Paul 'Mac' McCormack (Perry King). But the murders continuing and soon the killer get's closer and closer to Virna and her friends...

This was more or less marketed like slasher (remember, this was 1982), but it's more of a serious little dialogue-driven thriller with no blood, gore and spectacular effects. What it has is a very good script and a nice bunch of character actors. Norman Parker looks like Robert De Niros weird little brother and his cop-partners is Jon Polito (who is SO fucking slim here), Joe Morton and the great Kenneth McMillan. Watch out for Antone Pagan as Gonzales. Who is Antone Pagan? Have you seen The New York Ripper? He's the one of the perverts at the restaurant... yep, the toe of silver-scene!

So the actors are great. We know that. But good actors need a good script, and we have one of these here. At least if you don't except an action movie and tons of murders. Mastroianni works with his story carefully and never looses sight of the characters. The ending is fabolous and quite unexpected. I was guessing until the end who the killer was, and it's a good thing.

So, while not a perfect movie, it's a very competent thriller that has been forgotten because people think it's a slow-moving and boring slasher-movie. It's not that, just a slow-moving thriller and if you enjoy a nice New York-setting and an even nicer whodunnit, this is your movie.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Today's hot photo of Hugo Stiglitz

'Nuff said. He's the man.

The end fight in Cold Harvest

In this Isaac Florentine production Gary Daniels and Bryan Genesse shows their talent in a great section of the end fight.

Isaac is very inspired by Hong Kong-fighting, and uses is very creative and gives it some own personality.

The movie itself, Cold Harvest, has a cool premise: post-apocalyptic western - which sets up for a lot of good action.

I never seen a bad movie from Isaac Florentine, so pick up anything with his name on. Special Forces and U.S. Seals 2 is amazing!

My DVD-collection

I couple of months ago I decided to try to catalog all my dvds, so I signed up on DVD Aficinado. It's a good site and easy to use, but the problem is that there isn't so many scandinavian users (or at least not from Sweden), so trying to add swedish releases myself to the database takes a lot of time.

Now I really don't care about the big companies, and is trying to ad titles to Njuta Films and Studio S only - two of the few interesting dvd companies in Sweden. But it takes time.

On my page now is 1800 titles, but I have at least 500 titles more of versions that I just don't care to add, or that I'm doing sooner or later. Earlier releases from the companies above will be up sooner or later, but I concentrate on the all the new releases instead - at least those I own myself.

If you are a user or just want to admire my collection (irony!), please visit my page. Are you a user there yourself, please ad me as a friend if you want to.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Freddy: The Dream Master and The Dream Child

I had a rush of nostaligia today. I'm sorry for that. Yeah, I watched not one, but TWO Elm Street-movies today. My plan was to watch Sweden, Heaven or Hell and write something witty about this great mondo about Sweden... but Freddy Krueger one and now I sit here with an overdose of late eighties fashion. Not to mention the rap song in the end of Dream Child!

But sure, both of these movies aren't bad at all. They are extremly stylish and especially part 4 was much better than I remember it. Renny Harlin did a great job on the look, but maybe less good on the gore. Because it lacks some graphic mayhem - except the brilliant Roach Hotel-scene of course.

Though I'm more of a Jason-fan, the Freddy-movies is still something I rewatch more than any other series. Well, maybe I watch Halloween more... I'm not sure. Though Freddy is more wild and wacko, he's also less brutal than his friends Jason and Michael. I just think humans are more scary than demons, and I know that the other guys are more or less demons nowdays. But they can't come into your dreams, crack jokes and being silly. Thank god for that.

I'm not sure I should, but maybe I will watch the other movies during the week. But now, I shouldn't. There's some swedish thrillers from the fifties and sixties to write about, some new Shaw Brothers-releases from Njuta and of course, the Sweden, Heaven or Hell. Or maybe some new stuff in the mail... ah, fuck it. We'll see.

Now, off to bed and a date with... Freddy!

The car chase in Laser Mission

Brandon Lee had a short, but quite productive career, and even if some people thought that he had his dads shadow over him all the time, I would say that wasn't the case.

In this US-German co-production from 1990 with he plays a mercenary who are hired to find a diamond and a professor that's being kidnapped by the sleazy Werner pochat.

There is some very bad fighting, but also this amusing and, in a zero-budget way, great car chase. Lotsa crashes, nice stuntwork and explosions.

Laser Mission might not be a good movie, but I consider this car chase a guilty pleasure.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Spent some money on dvds...

I've made some orders since friday and this is what I'm expecting sooner or later:

Der Commander
- One of the few Margheriti-movies I haven't seen from the eighties.

Killing Hour
- Some mystery-thriller from the eighties that have so-so reviews.

The Adventurers
- Lewis Gilberts ultra-expensive drama-soap-action. Big flop and cut down a lot, but I've ordered the three hour original version.

My Bloody Valentine 3D
- Yeah, I like it.

The Light At The Edge Of The World
- I have it downloaded since earlier, but found it on PlayTrade. Great, great movie.

Psycho - Triple Feature (Psycho II / Psycho III / Psycho IV - The Beginning)
- I love the two first sequels, especially part 2 who is a masterpiece. Part 3 is a slezy and gory movie and part four I haven't seen. These are all in widescreen.

I'm also waiting for Jun Fukudas War in Space and a bunch of movies from Hong Kong.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Gen (2006)

It's not often you get to see a quite new turkish genre movie, but now I've finally seen Gen, a giallo-style slasher with enough turns and twists to entertain for ninety minutes. I guess those who expect something very trashy and sleazy will be disappointed, because it's a well made lowbudget-thriller with good acting and even some blood.

I like movies that are set on a small location, and I guess this is a good way to keep the budget down to. Here we have a cool and spooky psychiatric clinic far out in the countryside. Long corridors, flickering lights and strange nurses. Scary enough. In some parts it's a very old fashioned movie with long shadows, creaky doors and rain and storm, but the director suddenly bursts out in rapid cutting and weird angles. Both good and bad actually, but it's never boring. We follow a young new female doctor who's gonna start working at the clinic. But soon a suicide brings some polices there and not long after that a brutal murder! The killer cuts the genitals of the vicitims and mutilates them so the blod spurts all over the scenery! Lovely!

It won't take long until there's more victims... and the question is, who is the killer?

Gen is a smarter movie than I thought from the beginning. It seems shallow, but afterwards you realise there's more details and more thoughts behind the story than it first seems. I could guess quite fast who the killer was, but I wonder if that might have been the purpose to? Because there's more twists than how the killer is, and even if I've seen it before, I didn't expect it at all. It's quite a shocking and cynic ending, which I liked very much.

So, how's the gore? No, there's not much gore, but a lot of blood. So nothing graphic, but a lot of blood flying on the walls. The actors are great and they do exactly what they should do. Nothing new, but it fits perfectly in this turkish mystery-puzzle. For us swedish bastards there's a funny detail: Jay-Jay Johansson is credited in the pre-credits for a couple of songs! Didn't know this, so it was fun. The music where good to.

Great little shocker that starts weak, but ends with a bang! Recommended!

And yeah, I bought my copy from Onar Films - and so should you!

The first asian movies I saw

I began watching asian movies quite late, to late maybe, and I had the probably the most normal beginning in this area: Jackie Chan. I still consider Jackie Chan a genius (and I'm very aware that he's not the hippest guy nowadays), especially in the movies from the eighties. I saw Police Story on a fullscreen vhs and was amazed by the stunts and fighting. I started to collect a lot of tapes, and soon I found A better tomorrow 2 - which I know people consider is a weak part in this trilogy, but for me it's always been the best. Just Heroes is also one of the first Woo-movies I saw and it's a shame it's so forgotten.

But before that it was really two movies that shaped my asian (or at least Hong Kong-taste): Mad Mission 4 and G.I. Samurai! I had (and still have) both of these on swedish x-rentals and Mad Mission 4 was the best action movie I've ever seen. I still consider it a masterpiece of action-comedys, and the best part in this series of movies (I have a wonderful korean box with 1-5). G.I. Samurai was the first japanese movie I saw, and what an experience! Violent action, cools stunts, interesting drama and the best big battle in history. And this was the cut, dubbed version

I see now that I still consider the first asian movie I saw among the best ones, so maybe it's all nostalgia (which I really despise, but I'm probably fooling myself) and nothing else...

(and now I totally left out Godzilla, because that's a whole different story)

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Mighty Peking Man (1977)

Dino De Laurentiis mega-production of King Kong was a big hit and spawned a couple of big ape-movies. South Korea with A.P.E, UK with Queen Kong, Italy with Yeti and Hong Kong with the best of them all, The Mighty Peking Man! It had a brief comeback some years ago when Tarantinos Rolling Thunder released it on DVD in the US, but of course the original Hong Kong-version is the one to see. We even have it on dvd in Sweden, under the name Goliathon. But fuck that title. We want our Peking Man!

Danny Lee is the unhappy hero who escaped the shallow Hong Kong-world to catch the worlds biggest ape in India. There he meets a semi-naked blonde jungle-woman, Ah-Wei (Evelyne Kraft) and falls in love - which is something you have to see. There's tons of running around in slow-mo, playing with a huge jungle-cat (which looks hilarious!), some harmless sex and more slow-mo. Well well. Her best friend is a big, ugly ape that of course get's jealous. They take the ape to the city and the transfers it to Hong Kong... where it breaks havoc and finally get's burned to death on top of a skyscraper!

So it's more or less the same story as in King Kong, but with a friendlier ape and more nudity. The thing that makes this one so much better than the other rip offs out there is that it's a Shaw Brothers production. It has a slow start, with only an elephant-attack and some typical chinese melodrama, but then it hits the big one and produces more action than in any other Kong-movie. The miniature works is amazing and extremely detailed. It's also lit in that way that it seems to be direct sunlight, which makes the studio-based action scenes very realistic (as realistic as it can be at least). Peking Man stomps through Hong Kong with a wonderful frenzy, and it intercuts with scenes of Evelyne running around among completely uninterested chinese citizens.

Danny Lee is, as usual, a great hero and manages both to be a first lover and a tought guy trying to save both the ape and his new jungle-mistress. To make everything better it also has more blood, a cut of leg and some gory squibs, and a lot of politically incorrent scenes with stupid indian villagers. Those darn chinese!

The Mightly Peking Man is a cheesy and almost to entertaining monster-flick from Hong Kong and is recommended to everyone with a good taste in movies ;)

Five criminally underrated movies starring Rutger Hauer!

Sure, the man has more than a few more acclaimed classics in his filmography, and even more movies that are easy forgotten. I still consider him one of the best actors around, though he sometimes can sleep himself through a movie, just waiting for the money in the bank to wake him up. But I still respect and love the man. Here's five of his most underrated movies. Some of them has begun to get more recognition, but still is deep in the shadow of Blade Runner, Flesh + Blood, Wanted: Dead or Alive and a few more.

Salute of the Jugger
- To be honest, this is one amazing piece of cinema. At a first glance it seems like an ordinary post-apocalyptic Mad Max-rip off, but it's really in a league of it's own. It's surprisingly serious and with a very compentent direction by David Webb Peoples. The cinematography is slick and the acting is better than in a lot of movies in the same genre. The script is simple, but very effective. Just love this movie.

Split Second
- A video-classic, I guess more than a cinema-classic. Dark, stylish, violent and... I'm not sure about "unique", but at least entertaining as hell! I saw it many times when I was younger, and I'm thinking of buying the german uncut release that also happens to be in anamorphic widescreen. I remember it got quite a lot of negative reviews when it came, at least here in Sweden, and it's really a pity.

Surviving the Game
- How can hate this movie? Ice-T, Rutger Hauer, F. Murray Abraham, Charles S. Dutton and Gary Busey in a gory, violent version of The Most Dangerous Game. It actually was caught in some kinda moral bullshit when some kids killed each other, the day after they rented this movie... and of course it was this movies fault. That they never had the time to see it is another thing. Stupid swedes! And yeah, Ice-T sucks. But I like him anyway. In this movie.

- Oh, I heard so many bad things about this movie. Sure, it's a bit slow and the story is really bizarre. But it's quite gory, has good production values, cool monsters, a depressing ending and Hauer in a small but well written part. Stay away from the cut fullscreen version, it's a beautiful and nice exploitation movie that deserves some respect and a good release.

Bone Daddy
- Hardly original, but still one of the finest Seven-rip offs ever to be released on video (together with Russell Mulcahys masterpiece Resurrection). Hauer is gooood in this part and seems to be enjoying himself more than usual. Maybe he thought it was nice to play a good, decent guy for once? I remember some nice gore to, and a tight script. Well worth watching again!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The helicopter-crash in DNA

I actually like DNA. It's a fun Predator/Alien-rip with Mark Dacascos. It has some nice gore and is never boring. But in the end comes the most unexpected and BAD effect-scene I've seen. It's like the just ran out of money and decided to make the crash themselfs, with a toy-helicopter and some improvised stop-motion. Just check it out.

But like I wrote about, it's a fun movie and well worth watching.

Those wonderful bathroom-fights!

I always enjoys a good bathroom-fight! Not myself, but at the movies of course. One favorite that have stayed with me for long is the excellent and violent showdown in True Lies, where Arnold and some dudes are killing each other and more or less destroying the public toilet. Something similar happens in Terminator 3 when the Terminatrix whops Arnolds ass in the bathroom. More destroyed walls, but not as a violent of course.

It's not a bathroom in Showdown in little Tokyo, but they shootout/fight in the japanese bath is great. Van Damme does something similiar in Maximum Risk when he beats some russian mobsters in a sauna - which of course brings us to Eastern Promises and one of the best - and most naked

Two of the best are of course from Hong Kong. In Story of Ricky there's more than one scenes in the showers, and the best one is when Ricky quickly kills a fat guy with just ramming his fist into his belly! But the finest one is the ultra-brutal fight-scene in The Black Sheep Affair, which really hurts a lot watching!

The point with having fights in bathrooms/toilets/showers is of course that it hurts. There's no way to not hurting yourself actually.

If you don't land on some soft and cuddly person of course.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976)

I don't want to be one of those wankers who's nagging about how great the seventies where. The music was great, the movies where amazing and blahablablaha. BUT the thing is, the movies where great. Not all of course, but there was special feeling of breaking taboos and trying something new. Gone where the naive sixties, and here we have the cynical and sometime brutal seventies. Graphic violence became accepted, controversial issues where made into films and somewhere around here came The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane.

In a rainy little town in Canada lives a girl, Rynn, alone. But everyone thinks she's living with her father, the poet. Rynn stays alive with traveler checks and just being a very good liar. But she has something or someone down the basement, and the bitchy landlord (a perfect Alexis Smith) is getting more and more nosy... and more serious, her grown-up son Frank (Martin Sheen), the town pedophile, is just wanna do one thing to little Rynn... And that's it. I want you to see this classy little movie. Now.

To be honest, I'm not sure how to categorize this film. Is a thriller? Maybe. A drama, yeah sure! A childhood-drama. Yep. Horror? No. It's a bleak, but warm, black drama about smalltown life and how to cope with death, life and everything in between. It's such a script that it could have been made into a one-room-play, because most of the important stuff is happening in the livingroom. The dialogue is very good and delivered with an uncanny presence by a fourteen year old Jodie Foster. She's well backed by a very solid cast of supporting actors, and Alexis Smith is so disgusting that you want to see her dead at the same moment she arrives on the screen. Martin Sheen shows already here that he's one of the best actors around, and makes the pedophile so eerie and creepy that it's hard to forget his playful way of making contact with the child, and those eyes. At moment he shows up in a cape and hat, dressed like a magician... and it's like one of those classic movie monsters alive again. But human, the worst monster that is.

What makes this movie work is the actors and the location. But I've always thought Canada makes the best backgrounds to these kinda movies anyway. I'm sure it's not a movie for everyone, especially for people expecting a sleazy horror movie or a thriller with Tom Hanks chasing symbols in Europe. This is so much more. An impressive trip to the darkness of the human soul.

For us in Sweden this is a great day, because it's being released by Studio S in a nice anamorphic transfer. Uncut of course, with the notorius nude scene - which is not so sleazy at all. For fans of seventies quality cinema, here it is: The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane!

My first experience with euro-cult...

I've always, since I was a child, been more interested in movies that are a little bit different than the usual mainstream- productions. I always prefered Jaws 2, 3 and 4 before the first one for example, because they had a trashier feeling and more... simple storytelling. Maybe I'm not that smart... But I've always had a problem to concentrate on to perfect movies, though I love big budget mega-blockbuster flicks to. It's just that I prefer the lowbudget way of style and story.
When my dad wanted to rent some high class miniserie, I always pushed for a Linda Blair-movie or something with jungle and explosions on the cover! When I was a teenager I started to collection videotapes, hunting the videostores for x-rentals and stuff that they wanted to throw away. So now my basement is filled with tapes that I have no room for. Shit happens.

The first eurocult-productions I saw was maybe the best beginning for me, and I still LOVE these movies. I hail them as masterpieces. Really. Contamination was wonderful. The swedish release from Walthers was cut a few seconds (but those seconds where in the trailer anyway) and it was such a different experience. Far from perfect, dark and murky, but creepy and wonderful settings. Around the same time I saw Atlantis Interceptors to, which was a fanastic experience. Love the action, the atmosphere, the (minor) gore, the rough style of filmmaking.

The third movie of this list would probably be Nightmare City. Of course it was a cut version, but it's a movie with an amazing pacing that never lets you down. Sure, it's cheap, nasty, silly and more silly... but it was love at first sight. Nowadays I have a signed letter from Umberto Lenzi on my wall and I collect all dvd-releases that I can find (+ of course a couple of different tapes).

Soon after this I saw Zombie Flesh Eaters, a fullframe version of Deep Red and a lot more... and the rest is history.

Human Lanterns (1982)

I must confess something. I've never been a fan of Shaw Brothers. At least not the classic jumping around with wires, colorful clothes and titles like "Seven Brothers Against The Deadly Venom-Snake Ninjas" (Hm, that sounded more like a Godfrey Ho-movie!). I prefer modern day action, or at least in a time that's not SO far away. When it comes to Shaw Brothers I prefer stuff like 7 Man Army, Mighty Peking Man,The Naval Commandos, The Legend of Seven Golden Vampires and Shatter. So I decided to try broaden my view on Shaw Brothers.

Human Lanterns is not so much a horror movie as people will say it is. I guess it was more horror before Shaw Brothers did their cuts and removed some of the graphic skinning and mayhem. Now it's a classy and effective, and quite downbeat, kung fu-movie with some gorgeous fighting-scenes towards the end. The killer is really cool, looking like mix between Chewbacca and a skeleton, and has a weird giggling all the time. The story is about a Lantern-competition, and the killer is of course making human skin-lanterns! I wish I had such an orginal hobby!

Though it was more a kung fu-flick than horror, I liked it very much. And the few gory shots that's left is really painful and disgusting, especially the wide shot of the killer tearing the skin of a woman. Nasty! Mostly shot in studio, it has that wonderful set-feeling, but there's a great little fight-scene out in the forrest which was one of the highlights. In the end there's a great and spectacular stunts-scene involving a crumbling building that was sensational.

So, even if it wasn't what I expected, it was a great and great-looking kung fu-movie that really kicks the shit out of the modern "classics" like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and the rest of the snooze-movies...

The rebel-attack in McBain

One year ago I had the idea of putting all the more unknown action-sequences I knew of on Youtube. To encourage people to look beyond The Matrix... or something like that. I created a Youtube-user called ExplodingHuts and started... and then just fucked it up. It's a pity, because there's some wonderful stuff out there that's darn impressive. 

Here's a scene from the excellent McBain, directed by the master James Glickenhaus. Great movie, cool action and here you see some great stunts. It's not really over the top as The Soldier, but it's still extremly high class.

Wattyasay? Almost Philippino-quality!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tarkan vs the Vikings (1971)

Our heritage, the silly vikings, has been mauled, ridiculed and bashed for centuries. From those early Hollywood-movies, to italian Viking-peplums, the Lee Majors-"classic" The Norseman (I would love to see that on dvd!) to british comedies and strange big budget-adventures... but never, never has the vikings been so silly in Tarkan vs the Vikings, the amazing turk-action from 1971! No misunderstandings here, I love it. The vikings dosen't deserve any better, and this movie is the way to go. Never pretentious, never serious, more gory and more sleazy than anything else in the viking-genre.

Kartal Tibet is a charmig hero, Tarkan, with his faithful dog Kurt... who just lives ten minutes into the movie and get's replaced by it's son! The whole movie is about Tarkan getting revenge on the brutal vikings who killed his dog anyway. Wish more movies where like that (new idea: "a lonely samurai-hero is getting revenge on the indians that killed his parrot"). The opening massacre is quite violent, and blood and impalings is everyhwere. There's a lot of energy in the action and from now on it's never boring.

The vikings look like Astrix-characters with bad wigs, colorful clothes and always ready for a nasty rape. A perfect enemy to the almost perfect gentleman of Tarkan. They also has the most dead-looking octopus-monster since Bride of the monster, a floating gigant beast that sometimes movies with the help of it's victim or a guy standing underneath it moving the head.

But now it seems like I'm making fun of the movie! I am. But it's a wonderful, cheesy, funny movie that never bores you - which for me is the most important thing. It's just popcorn-entertainment with no meaning. Just entertainment, which we need now and then. I often needs it now. This is release together with The Deathless Devil, another great turkish classic, from Mondo Macabro. I recommend a purchase as soon as possible, because this is one of the movies that you should have in your collection.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Exclusive: The infamous Sopkiw-napkin!!!

So here it is, the legendary napkin that I've mentioned in the Blastfighter-review. Some interesting swedish there, "Hey Do" and "Tjen Tjen", but that's not bad for a man who hasn't been in Sweden for many, many years :)

I wonder who's napkin it was? David Zuzelos or Michael Sopkiws? In any way, sometime in the future I can probably create exact copies of them with some simple do-it-yourself DNA-cloning kit.

Here's the exact message:

Yo! Fred!
Hey Do!
Tjen! Tjen!
They're all talking
about you in Boston!

Of course it's possible to click on the photo to see it more close-up. If you want to feel how it is to be me and own something that Sopkiw has signed ;)

I will try to take some photos of the other signed stuff I have here at home, but no hurry. Life is long and... The woods are lovely, dark, and deep, but I have promises to keep. And miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep. Remember. Miles to go before I sleep...

Bought myself a couple of Hong Kong-movies...

When it comes to Hong Kong I'm very much in my childhood when it comes to pure exploitation, horror and non-action. So I decided to get some movies to start with, just after reading a couple of good blogs and researching on the net. One did I buy this weekend on Monkey Beach to... and the rest is on order from DDDhouse.

Human Lanterns
Seeding of a Ghost
Bloody Parrot
Blue Jean Monster
Fatal Vacation

I'm also thinking of ordering Black Magic 1 and 2, The Killer Snakes, We're going to eat you and what ever else people recommend. Corpse Mania and Boxer's Omen seems to be OOP in DDDhouse, so I hope to find them cheap somewhere else.

Blastfighter (1984)

One day a napkin arrived at my doorstep. It was sent directly from the US and the sender was David Zuzelo. The napkin was special because it was a message to me, written directly over pieces of food and saliva and signed with "Mr God". I will share a photo with you someday. Well, this napkin is holy for me, because "Mr God" there is actually Michael Sopkiw, the best action hero ever to hit the screen. He only made four movies, and I would say that at least two of them are among the best I've seen in italian action: After the fall of New York and Blastfighter.

I never been a real fan of Lamberto Bava. He's always been to uneven for his own good and have a tendecy to make movies that look like TV-productions. But of course, he's the man behind Demons, You'll Die At Midnight and Macabre. He also directed Monster Shark (with Sopkiw) and the extremly boring Demons 2. But I always hail Blastfighter as his masterpiece. The rumour says it started as a science fiction-movie by Lucio Fulci, but sometime along the way it transformed into a Rambo-esqe action-opera!

For once the story is quite well written, but the star is (except Sopkiw of course) is the action and atmosphere. Shot in Georgia, US, and with Billy Redden (the banjo-boy in Deliverance) in a fun cameo, it's a real beauty of a movie. Wonderful dark forests, a tense little town with more rednecks than in Skåne (a part of Sweden) and grim faces in every corner of the screen. Sopkiw plays Jake 'Tiger' Sharp (ain't that a perfect name of a hero?) and he returns to his old city after spending some time in prison. He's getting to know his daughter (who seems to be almost his own age) and also George Eastman as old friend Tom.

But of course the shit hits the fan quite fast and suddenly everyone with a rifle and with a sister and brother as parents, starts hunting Tiger... and he hits back, fast-hard-brutal! It might take a little while to unfold itself, but Blastfighter is one hell of a movie. The action fastpaced and gory and Sopkiw is THE MAN! He fights, shoots, cuts and explodes himself through the enemy. This is really good. I'm getting more and more impressed by this movie everytime I see it, and it's a shame that Sopkiw just did these four movies and Bava return to his (mostly) mediocre horror movies.

I have, not mentioned a couple of different tape versions, the german dvd. It's slightly cropped on the sides, but it's worth buying because of the nice cover-art and it's uncut. The quality of the picture itself is good, far from perfect, but still the best english version out right now. I heard the italian dvd has the correct aspect ratio, but only an italian language track and nothing else.

My father, a part of the swedish sin

On my 30th birthday two years ago I finally got a chance to sit down and talk to my father. We see each other every eight years or something like that, so it's nice to see whats up the old mans sleeve nowdays.

He knows I'm a movie-freak. I make movies, write about movies, doing research about movies, collect movies, act in movies. Everything that has to do with movies, especially eurocult and arthouse. So after being my father for 30 years he suddenly says "Freddy, do you know I've been in a movie?".

My father, that are so shy that he never dares to mention the times when he played with Eric Clapton on stage, have been in a movie?"Ah, it was nothing. Just in the background".Of course I wanted to know what movie it was. And he said "Som Hon Bäddar Får Han ligga", directed by Gunnar Höglund. I've seen that movie a couple of times. A german-swedish sex-komedi with Harald Leipnitz in the lead together with Diana Kjaer and a lot of other nude women.

Do You Believe in Swedish Sin?, Nach Stockholm der Liebe wegen, Svensk synd - finns den? and Swedish Sin is a few of its titles. So my father has been an extra in a swedish sex-comedy. A part of the swedish sin. Sure, I'm proud. Very proud, because this means where my DNA came from. It came from a man that earned 50 swedish kronor by sitting in an airplane during ten hours in a swedish nudie-flick.

Dad, I love you.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The best car chase ever filmed!

I never get tired of Blazing Magnum, and it's a pity it's still not out on a proper dvd. I just dosen't count that lousy public domain-release in the US. It's a smart, violent and cool giallo/cop-movie with Stuart Whitman in one his best performances.

This also brings me to one of this worlds biggest mysteries: why Alberto De Martino have such a bad rep? He did some stinkers, like everyone else, but most of what I've seen directed by this man is of very high class. 

In this scene he's actually chases someone called "The Swede" (or something that's related to Sweden) and it's first of all a fantastic showcase for stunt coordinator Remy Julienne and his team of experts. 

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Earthquake (1974)

My friend Pernilla (no, she wasn't really a friend. She was a bitch, already when she was nine years old), correction: classmate, stole her fathers tape of Earthquake that he recorded of the swedish public service television in the eighties. I payed fifty kronor for it. As a kid I was (and still is) a fan of disaster movies and I've heard of the spectacular Earthquake. So I just payed whatever she asked for and is happy that I did that.

Earthquake is camp of course. Mega-super-deluxe-fantastic-camp. But I've heard that gay men like camp so I just had to live up to that stereotype at least. There's few movies I've seen so many times over the years and still watching at least once a year just to be entertained to one hundred percent. The tape that I bought from Pernilla was missing the first couple of minutes, so it wasn't until the swedish DVD many, many years later that I actually could see how the movie started.

Even as a child I reacted to the characters played by Ava Gardner and Charlton Heston. There's nothing said about it, but I still get the impression that Remy (Avas depressed wife) is supposed to be a younger wife. I know that Stewart (aka Charlton) has the hots for an even younger chick, Denise (Geneviève Bujold), but there's something about how Remy is written that just can't keep me away from these thoughts. Ava was older than Charlton here, but gives a great performace and somehow makes her credible as the young daughter to the (in real life) five years older Lorne Greene! Charlton himself is not doing his best here, but it's still one of his more interesting performances.

Talking about acting. Sure, George Kennedy is almost TO good and honest for being a cop, but injects some humanity into the movie... but the star of them all is Marjoe Gortner as the raving mad Jody, bodybuilder (which is very hard to notice) and military freak. The scene where he gets even against his bullying neighbours is still one of the most creepy scenes I've seen in a seventies disaster movie. There's a lot of other characters running around getting killed. Richard Roundtree, the great Victoria Principal, Walter Matthau (as Walter Matuschanskayasky) and Pedro Armendáriz Jr.

But the magic comes with the first major Earthquake. This was the moment I always was waiting for as a kid, sitting in the sofa hiding behind a pillow and enjoying life. First you hear the birds, the barking dogs, church bells ringing and the car alarm goes of. The guy waving to Denise (I always wondered who that character was... something deleted from the much longer version?)... and then it hits! The disaster scenes is so great. I have no word for how much I like these scenes of destruction and mayhem. Some excellent miniature works (the road collapsing) and some bad ones (the church collapsing), but it's so violent! Houses ripped apart, people falling to their death, glass in the faces, people getting crushed under debris... and it's BIG and expensive! You can see every frigging penny on the screen! I just love that Rosa (Victoria Principal) is so bored watching High Plains Drifter, which is even better because it's one of the greatest western masterpieces out there. But not for Rosa of course.

A lot of people just say this is a bad movie. This isn't any bad movie. The Day after Tomorrow is a bad movie because it has the disaster first and then two hours of boring melodrama. Earthquake has not only one big earthquake-scene, but two... and in the final the Hollywood reservoir bursts and flushed most of the cast away in a scene that still looks amazing. And inbetween there's one intrigue to much, motocycle daredevils, a high speed car chase that ends in Zsa Zsa Gabors bush (you know what I mean!), the worlds silliest blood-splatter effect, Lorne Greene having a heartattach and a lot of bitching between Ava and Heston. It just can't any better.

At least for me.

For Earthquake has a lot of faults. But that's one of the reasons I love these movies. European exploitation has a lot of faults. They're are often not perfect, and I like those beauty spots. No, I don't like them. I love them. Earthquake is just like a big juicy exploitation movie with a cast of thousands and a million
dollar budget.

The dialogue is "colorful", the acting is hammy and the overall impression is a movie made just for the sake of it. People needs an Earthquake-movie after all these towering infernos, rollover boats and airplanes in need of landing. And maybe I'm wrong, but there's passion in Earthquake. There's some love. There's some sense of "Lets give the audience one hell of a ride that they can forget when they walk out of the cinema, let's give'em some blood, violence and shallow social commentary. Let's give'em hell. Entertainment-hell!"

William Shatner IS Alexander The Great!

I watched this curiosity, Alexander the Great, today and I thought it was 50 okey minutes of television. Shatner was fun, but not really convincing as Alexander, and Adam West had very little to do. John Cassavetes, Simon Oakland and Joseph Cotten was more fun. Cotten seems quite tired and dosen't look healthy at all, but Cassavetes and Oakland really tried to do something good.

I really like Phil Karlson's direction and the stunts and action was better than average for this kinda production. It felt a lot like a peplum, but with less sets and extras. Most of the time it looks like a western-movie, but with greeks running around killing enemies. Karlson has some great crane-shots that really shows of the scenery. There's no chance in hell that we would think it was something else than the US

What I understand it was a pilot for a TV-show that never happen. The pilot was put on the shelf for a couple of years and resurrected when Shatner and West had become popular because of Star Trek and Batman. Far from a masterpiece but good matiné-fun, at least for me.

In the end there was a good battle, some nice sword-fighting and good stunts. But most of it was obviously stock footage from another movie, and those scenes where quite cool. I've been trying to to find some info about this stock footage, but no luck. Can anyone give me a clue to which movie it was from?

Korkusuz (1986)

What the heck is Korkusuz? Well, of course it's Rampage, or know as "Turkish Rambo" among YouTube-visitors and snobby film-aficinados. Dark Maze have done something that everybody's been waiting for, giving this classic a official release! I'm always a bit suspicious against these "cult movies", but for once this really lived up to it's reputation! The story is of course something that's hardly worth telling you about, but Serdar (Serdar Kebabçila) is of course the hero, getting caught, tortured, going on a mission, getting flashbacks and looking a bit confused when it comes to show some emotions in front of the camera. 

It's cheap, sloppy, silly and boasts a very confusing editing. Forget about all the rules you've learned in film school. If Lars Von Trier was a turkish film student with no talent, this would be his masterpiece. Nothing bad about Von Trier, love the guy, but... ah, fuck it. As long as I understand what I'm meaning! But it's not all bad. Believe it or not, it has some GOOD action scenes! Well, at least one! There's a very cool fight between Serdar and his new pal, or he thought it was his friend, and it has some impressive stunt work, round kicks, wrestling-tricks and tons of brutal fistfighting. I just loved every muscular turkish homo-erotic second of it!

Talking about homo-eroticism, that scene where the baddie hoses Serdar down with water is... special. And he's very intensive with shaking that hose back and forth, over and over again... and Serdar seems to enjoy it! Or it could be bad acting to of course.

Okey, back to the DVD itself. Dark Maze didn't go the Mondo Macabro and Onar Films way to release something with stolen music in it. MM and Onar hasn't been sued (not what I've heard of anyway), and I'm sure the copyright owners would have been to upset with this release either. So Dark Maze created a new english track from scratch... and behold: it's really good! The actors is not acting silly (except for some screams here and there) and the dialogue is dead serious. Good. Very good. Thanks for that babys! The picture looks like hell. Like someone took a dump on it, lost in the Amazonas for a couple of years and finally melted it down, made a rubber-dildo of it and then turned it back to a video tape. But this is not a bad thing. It was better than I thought it would be, but still crap, and it didn't take any of the entertainment value away.

So the only thing for you people to do is to go to the Dark Maze website and order it. NOW!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sodom and Gomorrah (1962)

Who can say no to violence, sword, sandals, half-naked men and women and mega-gigantic-mass-scenes of destruction and a cast of thousands?!

Sodom and Gomorrah was one of my strongest childhood memories. I never saw it, but I saw the cover in the video store. Directed by Sergio Leone it said - a fact not that correct (he was uncredited second unit) - and those übercool letters shaped like stone. As it should be on an biblical epic.

Stewart Granger, looking like a combination between a Las Vegas-entertainer and a TV-preacher is Lot, the good, nice and handsome Lot. His people, the hebreews, follows him everywhere. They die for him. The pour burning oil on other people for him. They watch him became decadent and they even belive that his word about how sinful it is to paint the toe-tails is true. So of course god almighty must punish them all. And he does. In a grand way.

This is a fun movie. Maybe not a good movie, but fun. And quite wellmade. Granger is very miscast and you actually feel more fo the Sodomites than the fanatic Hebreews. But what the heck. There's a fantastic big battle that combines swordfighting, burning oil, arrows and of course an enormous amount of water. Great. Violent. And a bit cheesy.

Then there's some nice torture, some praying to god, some bearded angles, some lesbianism and the ultimate destruction of Sodom - which is a very wellmade and wellexecuted event. Lot's of cool distasterscenes. People getting crushed by falling buildings. Fire coming from the ground. More people getting crushed. People stabs each other to get some gold with 'em. And a lot more.

So it's well worth buying the german release. It's good cheesy trashy fun with a budget and some cool actors (Stanley Baker... what a dude!). The print is spliced together from a very good and clear print and from a bad videomaster, so but it's very complete and it's easy to forget the change in quality. It's a good movie for the whole sleaze-family.

Okey, I had to buy it...

The UK release, with a bonus poster!
Of course I just NEED it! It has this years best title and I guess it can be a little fun at least. Hope so anyway :)

The Last Border (1993)

From the finnish wilderness comes this violent and gritty post-apocalyptic western, The Last Border. Hated by most of those who have seen it, but loved by us that understands the mening of such a movie. It was directed by Mika Kaurismäki, brother of arthouse-favorite Aki Kaurismäki. None of them are appricated in finland, but in the rest of the world these guys are geniuses. When it comes to Aki he can be too pretentious, but that depends on the mood the viewer is in. Mika, on the contrary, is always just silly, arty-trashy fun for the mature part of the family. What the f**k, he’s the best!

It’s basically another "man with no name"-movie with a longhaired bum who seeks revenge on his fathers death (told in slow-motion flashbacks). What we can understand is that the terrible and dangerous gang-ledare "Duke", played by Jürgen Prochnow, is the murderer. He and his gang of motorcycle-madmen terrorises the post-apocalyptic landscape and has alos kidnapped a beutiful girl that our hero (of course) finds interest in.
After being hurt in a motorcyclechase our hero, soon named "Hawk", finds shelter at an old witch and her retared son. But it don’t take long until Duke and his gang of bandits is after Hawk...

This movie has everything an italian post-apocalyptic movie should have, except that it’s a finnish movie with mostly finnish actors and a score filled with finnish heavy metal. How strange it all can sound this is a very solid piece of entertaining cinema. Made in 1993 it was long after the big post-nukie-trend and it might be one of the reasons that it never got that popular. But with a movie with characters named Hawk, Duke, Borka, Skunk and so on I can understand why this haven’t been elected into the nuke hall of fame.

But it has one small problem. The middle of the movie is to slow. It concentrates the story on the relationship between Hawk, the girl and Borka. Not a bad thing, but it never works out that well. But the last 20 minutes it’s good old classic post-nukie again (with a italian western set up and also a small gladiator-fight). It’s also a very dark movie. After watching all the italian flicks with bright sunlight and sweaty closeups of mean men we get here a wet and rainy future with dirt, dirt and a lot of dirt.

I want to see this on dvd now and I think all you fans of these movies should be pleased after watching this flick.

The Killing of Satan (1983)

The coolest thing with The Killing of Satan is the poster, or DVD-cover. It's to cool almost. A perfect example how to make a cheap exploitation movie interesting. But the nicest thing with this movie is that it's quite good. It's wacko of course, not to mention weird and naive. But it's one hell of a ride. I bought the Substance bootleg-DVD much because of the cover, so... I'm guilty to being a dead fish ("döda fiskar flyter med strömmen" as we say in Sweden).

Storywise it's just a revenge thriller that quickly evolves into a fantasy-horror-action-hybrid wich involved Satan himself (no surprise really), snake people, some minor but nice cheapo-gore, primitive visual effects, magic, religion and a manly mustasche-hero, Lando (played by nowdays Senator Ramon Revilla, who where attacking Alec Baldwin recently because of some joke he made about mail-order brides from The Philippines!). There's something special with these very local movies, they feel extremly exotic, and especially mixing religion and traditional beliefs into the story. I felt the same thing, but stronger, with Queen of Black Magic. This is something that never could have been done these asian countries.

The Substance-release was better than I thought and boasts a good VHS-rip that still shows some of the amazing colors and (most of the time) great cinematography. The visual effects is primitive, but works better than some of the stuff I seen in other movies from this time. The elbow/arm-shield is quite cool. Acting is... yeah, it's okey. Seen worse. The hero is a bit stiff sometimes, but but handles the action well.

It's nothing wrong with naive movies, as long as they are made with love. Here we have Satan, dressed in red and with horns and black widows peak. He's played by a young man, but sometimes he's also acted by an older man. The first incarnation of Satan is quite creepy, if you try to look beyond the silly costume.

I guess we'll never seen a proper release of this cool movie...

Deluge (1933)

Don't know why, but people tend to think that overblown expensive Hollywood-movies with a thin storyline and special effects in the lead is something new, but it's been a part of movie business since the dawn of film. The thirties is one of the crazies and most creative parts of movie history with some big movies with effects, sex and big time melodrama! Deluge was a long time lost, but was found in 1981 in Italy - dubbed to Italian only - and what I know, it's never got a good distribution after that. So in a way it's still lost, at least from the memories of modern audiences. But now I've seen it, and that's the most important thing here

The world is in panic. Earthquakes, storms and floods are destroying the earth, on part after another. We're getting to know a couple of characters: a famous female swimmer, a lawyer and his family and of course a couple of different institutes that's monitoring the disasters. Finally the disaster reaches New York and more or less make it disappear from the face of the earth.

Some people survives. The lawyer has lost his family and the swimmer is more or less a prisoner at some rapists! She manages to escape, swims for seventeen hours and lands at the lawyers beach and starts a new life in his little cottage. Of course there's a little romance, but what he don't know is that his wife and children are alive! Complicated! At the same time, the Bellamy-gang is ravaging the area, rapes and plunders....

Deluge is having the same problems as The Day After Tomorrow - a great beginning and then a lot of boring doomsday-intrigues. But I've never seen such an aggressive destruction of a city in any other movie. There's not really any human angle of the disaster, but the city itself is being teared to pieces by earthquakes and tidal waves. There's some fantastic miniature effects here, and it looks fabulous! This was good practise of destruction for San Francisco I guess, the mega-spectacular blockbuster-hit of 1936.

The funny thing with the story after the disaster his how it shows the morality and culture of that time. The only to black characters and being shown as lazy and are only longing for a nice sofa, the women are tough - but when a charming man shows up, they're on their back without even hesitate. There's a fun scene when the lawyer explains that he loves both his wife and his new girlfriend, and the wife accepts it. This and some insinuations to rape, suicide and sex-murder is very daring, and I guess the Hays code would never have accepted this a few years later.

But to be on the safe side, the producers added a text in the beginning of the movie explaining that God and the bible promised us that there will never be a flood again. That feels safe.

Amazing disaster-scenes, but the rest is quite bad. But it's still a very fascinating child of it's time. The disaster-sequence is up on youtube, so take a look.

/Ninja Dixon

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sword & Sandals

I've been totally obsessed with sword & sandal-movies since I was a kid (starting with more serious ones like Ben-Hur and Quo Vadis), but to be honest: It's just gotten worse the older I am! ;)

It's fantasy-peplums, biblical-peplums, historical-peplums, new Hollywood-blockbusters, miniseries and everything else inbetween. Have no idea why. When I was a kid it was maybe the thrill of seeing tenthousands of people on screen at the same time, but nowdays I just don't care. I'm happy if there's a couple of blokes in a sandpit with some wooden swords and plastic helmets.

I'm not even a fan of traditional fantasy! I don't even own the Lord of the rings-trilogi... I saw the two first ones in cinema, but then I grow tired. I really think Oliver Stones Alexander and Ridley Scotts Kingdom of heaven is masterpieces - yeah, really. But I say the same thing about Carlo Campogallianis Son Of Samson and Robert Aldrichs Sodom and Gomorrah! Yeah, throw in Goliath and the sins of Babylon, Edgar G. Ulmers fantastic Hannibal and Medusa Against the Son of Hercules and I will be in happiness forever!

Don't even mention more serious shit like The War Lord, Helen Of Troy, The Fall of the Roman Empire and The Sins Of Rome... and I'll be all over it. Yeah, sue me.

But the italians (I mean, they worked on most of these movies - even the expensive ones) where the best. Churning out these movies like ratshit in a cheesefactory, and almost everyone of them with the same storyline:

* Evil Queen OR evil henchman that want to kill his king.
* Rebels.
* Muscleman (Hercules, Goliath, Maciste, Ursus and so on) helping the rebels
* Some belly dancing
* A gladiator scene
* Some chariot-racing (if the budget was good)
* A happy ending

Some of these movies had monsters, and some really fucking good (The Medusa in Medusa Against the Son of Hercules for example, or the dragon in Goliath and the dragon) and a very few had some graphic violence (Hannibal, Son of Samson... and that's more or less it).

But it's pure escapism. It's nothing for the brain. No thinking. Just silliness. But often with a heart and some fun actors chewing the scenery. One of the best in the more "serious" genre is Sodom and Gomorrah, with some great scenes of destruction, torture, battles and a happy gang of Sodomites that really are more interesting, intelligent, fun and loving than the hebrews trying to crush them :)

So, anyone else into this drug? ;)

Delirium - Photos of Gioia (1987)

After watching Delirium - Photos of Gioia there’s a sense of disappointment striking me. Not that this was a bad movie, but it didn’t have that special energy. It felt uninspired for the most, except Lambertos cool ideas with the murders vision – but it could have been done better. Lambertos direction almost felt inhibited...

Serena Grandi was a surprise. I don’t know why, but I didn’t except her to be so good. Not that the role has much to offer for her, but she definitive had charisma and talent not to make the part of Gioia boring. The cast was excellent, and maybe that helped her to make such a good job. David Brandon is a fave, always great and interesting. Can make the dullest part quiet spectacular. Karl Zinny is good as the young pervert and Lino Salemme is always sleazy and bizarre...what a face (only a mother could love!). George Eastman and Daria Nicolodi does their job and does it good. But it not the parts we will remember them for.

It feels like a TV-movie, but isn’t...but I felt that Lamberto deep inside just delivered a movie and got the paycheck – even if he seems quiet fond of it. I prefer You’ll die a midnight, one of the best and most entertaining giallos made during the eighties. Give me a dvd of that one! :)
But to get to a conclusion. I liked it. It was a good and entertaining little flick and is well worth a purchase on dvd.

BUT BEWARE!!!! Shriek Show actually reveales the killer on the back of the dvd with a nice, clean shot with the killer and a big, big knife! Stupid morons!

It's time to reevaluate Starcrash

Boys and girls, isn't it time to reevaluate Starcrash? I recently saw it again, the french DVD-release by the way, and after I sat down to do some research what other people write about it. It as tragic reading.

They laugh at it. They think it's the worst film ever made. They try to make Cozzi look like an idiot. And so on, it's not worth counting every thing they wrote about how awful Starcrash is, it just makes me sad.

But personally, I think they're missing the point. Luigi Cozzi (or Cozzilla as some of his friends call him) is a big fan of old american science fiction, japanese monstermovies and Ray Harryhausens fantasyflicks. He's a well known fan of these, and other parts of the sci fi and fantasy-world. When you see Starcrash it's obvious that he likes Star Wars to... but not even close to the degree that he loves old style movies.

Cozzis work in cinema is weird. Almost every movie has their own style and feeling. The scripts are always a bit (some time much more than that) naive, but that's his style. But no other movie - I think so anyway - of his work looks remotely like Starcrash. He obvious had a strong vision with this project - and he really dosen't care about the strings holding the spaceships being visible.

There's hints to Inoshiro Honda, to Mario Bava, to Harryhausen and Flash Gordon. You have a playfulness that very few of these lesser-loved italian directors could reach. But I say that most of what happens and sees in this movie is a consciously choice by Cozzi. He knew what he was doing. He wanted to the ultimate cheesy matiné-adventure and he just didn't care about logic or being cool, gritty, seventies or with the cinematic in-crowd. He just wanted to do HIS movie.

I don't want to sound like the character David Brent in The Office, but it's time we laugh with Cozzi - not at him.

So it makes me sad to see how many people that actually missing the point with Starcrash. I'm not saying it's a masterpiece, because it's not. It's exploitation, it's a cash-in on something more popular and wellmade. But it's a cash-in with love.

There's a very honest moment in the end where Christopher Plummer (who seems to be the only actor in the movie not understand that this isn't a new Star Wars) sits on his throne and speaks directly to the camera:

Well, it's gone. It's happen. The Stars are clear. The planets shine.
We've won. Oh, some dark force no doubt, will show it's face once more.
The wheels will always turn. But for now it's calm.
And for a little time, at least, we can rest...

That's not The Emperor speaking. It's Luigi Cozzi the storyteller that sits by his childrens beds. He just told an amazing fairytale of princes, princesses, evil people, monsters and adventures. The children are both amazed and sceptical, but they will sleep very good after that. In a galaxy far far away.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rituals (1977)

I had the opportunity to watch this little shocker on DVD the other day, the X-rated version of course - which is crap, but uncut at least. I wish there was remastered version out, because this one really, really deserves something special.

For me, the strongest selling point with the movie was the characters - which might sound pretentious, but it was very well written - and to be, more or less, a rip off on Deliverance, it was a masterpiece. To be honest, I think it's better than Deliverance.

I love the Burt Reynolds-character in John Boormans classic, but Rituals becames a stronger and more engaging movie without a arrow-expert hero. Here we have five doctors, all of them with personal problems, that goes out on a hike... and four of them never comes back. One of them is gay, but that subject is treated so natural that it's almost absurd. Just one in the gang, nothing more. Great and unexcepted. But it's just five guys. No heros. Just people trying to survive.

The idea of the killer stealing their boots is one of the best I've seen in a movie like this. Because without boots, without shoes, in the wilderness, there's gonna be hell and nothing more. It makes every step painful and it makes these doctors suffers even more. There's extremely little gore and blood in this flick, which I of course miss... but when it comes, the few seconds here and there, it becomes very strong. We have a decapited head on a pole. A axe in the chest. A nasty wound in the leg. A blown of hand. But it's very effective.

One of the best canuxploitation-movies out there. Well, it's more than exploitation. It's truly a classy, intelligent horror movie.

Yours truly,

Ninja Dixon

Stridulum (1979)

In a way, Stridulum, is a sports movie. It begins with the longest basketball-scene I've seen in a official non-sports movie. A while later we get advanced ice skating and where you least expect it, sudden montages of even more impressive gymnastics. But this is not only a sweaty orgy of athletics, it's probably the most confusing movie I've seen in a long time.

John Huston is doing his worst as an polish alien. Or something. His pal is a Christ-like figure, in a charismatic performance by Franco Nero, and somewhere in there is Mel Ferrer as the main baddie. Human or not, I have no idea. Lance Henriksen is a famous CEO who's dating Joanne Nail and gets to know her nasty little blonde killer-daughter at the same time. The daughter has some powers, metallic eyes and is a master at ice skating and gymnastics. Huston is running around with a bunch of shaved guys on top of a skyscraper and preparing for a portal to open. And somewhere a confused Glenn Ford is trying to solve the mystery of the "I'm a cute little bird"-statue...

No, seriously... you have to see this one. It's not a bad movie. Not in the technical sense. The cinematography is for most of the time excellent and there's some amazing set pieces. There's some nice car- and motorcross-stunts, which looks expensive and dangerous, the final half hour is less incoherent than the first hour and gives us a great mirror-room sequence, a cool bird attack (where one of the birds transforms itself to a metal bird with a knife inside it!) and one atmospheric scene with a broken down car in the middle of the night.

I'm not sure I have to mention the fact that most of the older men feels like child molesters (it's mentioned twice in the movie itself actually!) and especially the scene where John Huston’s fools the parents the he's the babysitter! They even joke about him being a child molester, but laughs and shakes their heads in disbelief. Those where the days.

The abstract storytelling is probably what will scare people away from this odd bird (no pun intended) of a movie. Sometimes the scenes jumps to another without any logic, people show up and appears again, stuff happens without any explanation or consequences (the ice skating-rampage for example...) and people just goes around like zombies in something that seems like a dream.

But ya know, I liked it. It's not as good (far from actually) as Holocaust 2000 and the american movie it imitates, but it's a weird mix of genres and is at least never boring.

The DVD from Storm is good. Not perfect, but good. The picture is quite soft and the english track is very low, but just kill and slaughter everyone and everything around you that can disturb the silence and you will hear what's going on without a problem ;)
Yours truly,
Ninja Dixon