Sunday, February 28, 2010
Officer Brick Bardo (played by Scott Paulin, and the character-name is also one of Pyun's favorite-names, it shows up in a lot of his movies) gets a call to check out a meteorite that some old man has found out in the wilderness. When he arrives the man attacks him and gives him a bug, yes... a big, or a worm. Something crawls into his ear and takes over his body. He continues his trip until he found a couple at lovers lane, that he attacks. The girl escapes, steals his police car and now we follow her during the rest of the movie. At the same time the infection is spreading, taking over more and more people until she's all alone...
The concept with Invasion is that it's shot in one single take, with one single camera - the security camera in the police car. So what you see is what's happening in the front of the car. Nothing else.You'll hear the dialogue of the person inside the car with other people through radio, and on a couple of occurences there's also a picture in picture, showing the person handling the communication at the police station.
Now, this could have been terribly boring in the wrong hands, but Pyun actually makes this work. I can't say it's boring, when it feels like something need to happen it happens, and the dialogue is not bad at all. It's sometimes a bit to on the nose, but to explain certain things it's something that's needed. The music is atmospheric (it sounds inspired by Morricone's score from The Thing) and spices things up during those stretches of dark road that has to be filmed sometime without anything special happening.
What Pyun really succeeded with here is to show us how creepy a dark road can be. I don't like dark roads, and I think it's scary sitting in a car out on a forest road, in our own little island of light with the dark unknown around us. You always gets that feeling that someone (or something...) is watching you from the darkness, and that's exactly that eerie feeling that Pyun creates in this movie. One of the best moments is also when something ghostly is coming towards the car on the road, almost floating in the air, dancing a confusing dance. It's poetic and surrealistic, and make takes us away from the typical alien invasion-movie, but it's a great sequence and one of the best in the whole movie.
Invasion is a pearl of a movie, a pearl that most swines just don't appreciates. But I do, and I'm sure many of you do if you give it a chance.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Yes, life is shit. People are cramped in the cities because there's not countryside anymore. No nature, no happiness and people are starving to death. And if they're not starving, they work as prostitutes, preachers or sadistic policemen with big axes. We follow the Investigator, a sort of private detective that do what ever people tells him to do - as long as he gets payed. One day, like in all noir-stories, a mysterious lady arrives to his office and not one minute after they are bombed and have to escaped. The woman says she's the niece of Hassan the Magician, a superstar in magic and also the inventor of the teleporter. It's a glass-coffin that magically makes you travel to the paradise on the other side of the earth, where life is good, there's food and water for everyone and there's a future. But it costs. A lot of money. But the problem is, according to the niece, is that there's no paradise. That glass-coffin only leads to death, but are people willing to believe that...?
Res aldrig på enkel biljett is probably one of the most depressing movies ever made in Sweden, but in a good way of course. There's almost constant darkness, dirt, catacombs and tunnels. One of the few scenes in daylight is on a dump, and that's just a graveyard anyway. People are unclean, and if they're not dressed in dirty clothes they are naked and fucking, or being killed. As in many Swedish movies there's a lot of ugly naked people doing what they want to do. So beware. It's a visually strong movie with amazing cinematography and cool production design. There's no futuristic environments, just very basic primitivism with axes and old guns, old buildings made of wood and bricks, no cars or visible airplanes. It's a very boring life, and people are constantly seeking help from others here, and never gets any.
It's film-noir, but with some graphic violence and nudity. A voice are talking to us almost all the time, makes us notice small details and filling in on the back stories of some characters. It's not our hero talking, just an unknown man trying to analyze what's going on. I would say the main problem is the acting. The faces are good, but everyone utters the lines like they're in a school play somewhere. The dialogue is very stilted and theatrical, but that might have been the point too. I have no idea, but it don't sound good and it feels wrong.
But if you ignore the uneven acting and crappy dialogue (which probably will work better with English subtitles, like the Swedish DVD have), this is an impressive and dark post-apocalyptic movie. It reminds me of Roy Andersson and Piotr Szulkin, but more pretentious. The Swedish release is worth seeking, especially for the second disc that has a six short movies (from the sixties up to the eighties) by Håkan Alexandersson and Carl Johan De Geer in the same style and theme.
Yeah, I know. It's hard to retell the story. Deathstalker III is just a charming, never boring, adventure-movie with all the clichés you need from this genre. The only thing missing is dwarfs and dragons... not actually, there's a dwarf, but I guess the dragon was to expensive. John Allen Nelson is not bad as Deathstalker, but is very different from Rick Hill in every way. He's more charming and more of a gentleman, but never says no to an adventure of course. The budget is also a bit higher then part 4, and here they actually have quite a big castle! It looks plastic though, so I was thinking if they might have used parts of some kind of theme-park as a location? Or they probably built it very quickly with cheap Mexican labor!
The only disappointing thing with this movie is the Warriors from Hell. Because they're not much of warriors, and Deathstalker just need to chat with them for a couple of minutes and they're best friends for life. The scene where they break out of their papier-mâché-tombs looks kinda cool in a cheap way, and it's just to charming to dislike. I liked part 3, though I guess it's weak compared to Jim Wynorski part 2. You'll see, sooner or later, here Ninja Dixon.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Plaguers was a favorite movie from last year, an unpretentious monster-movie with gore and nudity. I wrote a favorable review of it, and the director Brad Sykes read it and we've kept contact since. Today this arrived in my mail! :)
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Thirst is such an original movie. It stays away from all the boring vampire-clichés and I think we're all happy that the vampires in this movie don't grow any fangs. This is more a black drama - with a lot of humor - that deals with catholic guilt... and yes, that kinda guilt everyone probably would have after killing someone, good or bad. The priest gets super-powers, but there's no martial arts. He can fly, but never really uses it. It deals with the priests fight against his newborn thirst of blood, power and sex. Because he's such a nice guy he steals blood in the night from coma-patients or when ever he gets a chance to licks someones wounds. Another priest gives him blood, but in exchange to make him a vampire too.
Most of the movie also deals with the family, and especially the young step-daughter, that the priest befriends and starts to manipulates to get more access to the willing daughter. This is a very disturbed family, very old fashioned, who totally breaks when the priest comes into their life. It's hard to describe the story, and that's good. It can be abstract sometime, but never looses it's energy or or intelligence. This is a high class product, and it's probably the best movie Chan-wook Park has directed since Old Boy.
It's far from a splatter movie, but has a lot of disturbing and bloody moments that even I had a hard time watching. It's violent and uncomfortable, and very politically incorrect. For being a movie from South Korea, this has quite strong scenes of sex and nudity - which feels very fresh and natural too. Kang-ho Song as the priest makes a helluva performance, and so all the other actors - and I think you all would agree that Ok-bin Kim as the daughter is as perfect as she can be. She's born in '86 and he in '67, so I guess the scenes of sex and cause some controversy for those that are very sensitive about these kinda subjects.
But Thirst is also very funny and absurd, as you should know from watching Park's other movies, and it's a joy to see how creative and smart the script is. It's hard to know what to expect in the next scene, and even surreal moments shows up which probably just are ghosts of the characters angst and guilt.
I loved Thirst. I could say it's a masterpiece, and one of the finest cinematic experiences I had from South Korean-cinema in quite a long while. So check it out and be surprised... or disappointed.
Deathstalker (Rick Hill) switched swords by mistake with a good friend, and now he's looking for him and every track leads to a tournament in a very crappy castle ruin. On his way there he meets Dionara (Maria Ford), a young lady that wants to fight in the tournament - but why? She has secrets of course. The evil queen... or daughter of the evil king, I'm not sure, has evil, evil, evil plans and wants to lure Deathstalker there so they can get the secret to his magic sword... or something. And then there's a lot of boobs and lame sword fights.
To be honest, it's not a boring movie. Rick Hill is (yes, really) great as Deathstalker and handles the oneliners and most of the action quite well. He looks cool and knows how to treat the ladies. Maria Ford is not bad either, but that's about it. The evil king has a bad comb over-haircut and the rest of the people is dubbed Bulgarian actors trying to make a living. The fights is extremely lame. I've never seen such weak fights before. Ford and Hill tries to make them more exciting, but with zombies opponents there's not much excitement going on. The best action is stock footage from, I guess, the first movie, with some gore and scenes with more than twenty people in the background.
But in the end, I wasn't bored and a film with both a handsome half-naked man and a lot of naked women can't be bad and offers something to almost everyone. The locations are okey, but feels more like a typical medieval setting than fantasy - not to mention the flat and cheap interiors that look cheaper than a whole episode of The Bold and the Beautiful. It's just far from the typical DTV-masterpiece from New Concorde.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Cecilia was very nice and this is a piece of my collection I will treasure very deep.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
I don't know why, but I feel completely empty when it comes to blogging for the moment. I haven't been able to read other peoples blogs, and have a very hard time writing stuff myself. It's not that I've been away from movies, but what I've seen is not really fitting for Ninja Dixon. 2012 is a fun disaster movie, D-War could have been something to write about but I just didn't feel for it. I could have recommended Garth Marenghi's Darkplace (I watched three episodes today) or maybe a few words about Wilson Yip's almost excellent Flashpoint - I have to say that Donnie Yen (age 46 now!) still kicks ass and that the endfight of this movie was marvelous. We also watched Martin Campbell's own remake of Edge of Darkness. Very violent and gory, and perfect acting from everyone - but really, who cares to read about these movies?
Tomorrow I will meet an actress from Altin çocuk, which will light up my day I hope. It's always nice to meet a part of the cult film history. We have a "date" at a nice café in Kungsholmen and she will get the new DVD and of course she will sign my copy too. But I hope to write a review too, about some movie no one else bothers to write reviews about. I have Hostages, Rene Cardona Jr's old action-flick with Hugo Stiglitz here - but we'll see if I feel to watch it.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Hugo "The Man" Stiglitz plays doctor Cardan who's patient Devlon, a serial killer and occultist, escapes one final time to murder some more people. This time he's killed by the police, but Cardan still believes that Devlon is dangerous - even when he's dead! And guess what? A bunch of stupid teenagers decides to have a party in the abandoned house by the cemetery - and to spice things up, they steal Devlon's dead body from the morgue and tries to resurrect with some black magic. Of course they don't expect themselves to actually make him come alive, but you know... kids!
Anyway, he comes back to life again as some kinda demon-zombie and starts killing the teenagers one after one. BUT at the same time a gang of Halloween-pranking kids arrives to the cemetery, and of course they'll meet both Devlon... and his army of the living dead!!! Zombies!!!! It's up to Hugo Stiglitz to save the day!
First the bad stuff. It never reaches the heights of cheesy entertainment as the Grave Robbers did. It takes at least forty minutes of boring talky scenes before anything fun happens. If you can get past that, you will have a fun movie with some gore (but not in any massive amounts, so beware gorehounds) and a lot of cool scenes of quite bloodless zombie-mayhem. First it's more or less Grave Robbers again with stupid kids who's getting butchered in different bloody ways. After that the children arrives, and so the zombies, and suddenly we have something like a family-horror-zombie-movie for the last half hour. Devlon is quite scary, and looks dangerous, and his zombies is lifted directly from EC or Tales from the Crypt. We get a lot of scenes when the zombies is bursting out from graves or crawling up from the earth. It's more or less the same five zombies doing all the job, but it's okey and never is distracting. The effects are most of the time well made, and fits perfect in Ruben Galindo Jr's comic strip world.
It's also exciting to see Hugo Stiglitz back in the zombie-slaying biz (he's almost infamous for his insomnia-performance in Umberto Lenzi's masterpiece Nightmare City), but obviously have more fun here with a striped eighties-style suit, his shirt open up down to just above his navel and of course his well known curly hair and beard. He's hardly credible as a serious doctor, but he owns every scene he's in and also get's his chance to fight Devlon in the end - beard vs beard!
A cool house, a spooky cemetery, some goofy Mexican teenagers, a couple of curious brats, Hugo in fighting-mode: this is not as good as Grave Robbers, but still a funtastic and cheesy movie for all of who are young at heart.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
There's something creepy with forests. Especially forests that has big abandoned buildings in them with signs of what was there before. Old wheelchairs, beds, clothes, furniture laying everywhere. In this case it's Willowbrook State School that haunts the memories of everyone. Involved in several scandals, which the biggest one was in 1972 and probably is some of the most disturbing stuff I've ever seen. Geraldo Rivera, then a new hot journalist, took his crew there unannounced and filmed the terrible state the place was in. Mentally and physically sick children laying, sitting everywhere - naked, in their own shit, in the darkness, screaming, crying or just laughing. This is some really fucked up footage. Really fucked up. You won't believe it until you see it. And this was in 1972, but it feels like a concentration camp in WW2 Germany or Poland.
In this environment Andre Rand worked, and maybe was this one of the things that triggered him the crimes that he later performed - or did he? The film makers, Joshua and Barbara interviews his old friends and neighbors, polices, the families of the victims... and not everyone is convinced that he's guilty. But those don't believe of his innocence thinks he was a necrophiliac, a satanist, involved in cults and had a sect of homeless and mentally ill people following him in the forests and ruins of Staten Island. The typical stories evolved from many years of urban legends.
It's easy to see how the legend of Cropsey on Staten Island could have emerged. With the spooky ruins, the old hospitals and schools, homes for the poor and all these children gone missing over the years. A safe little community buried in it's own dark secrets. The film is never boring and it always stays on fact - or what people believe is fact. A threat through the whole production is the directors communication by letters with Andre Rand, and how the letters is growing more and more weird. We follow the woman who still today walks around in the area trying to find the bodies of the missing children. We meet the retired cops believing in his guilt and the man that claims that the police asked him to house Rand just so they could monitor him better.
This is not just a story about an urban legend. Or a true crime. This is also a story about Staten Island and the burden this place always will bear.
The official homepage with more info and how to purchase the movie.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Rubén Galindo Jr. could be one of the most underrated horror directors out there. He made tons of them, often with a lot of blood - and they are hardly mentioned in our respected horror community. Grave Robbers could be his best, or at least most entertaining slice of splatter-cinema. Made in 1990, it look and feels like something from the mid-eighties, which makes it even cooler.
A gang of young and hot grave robbers accidentally finds a secret tomb under the graveyard. It belongs to a famous... satanist... Maybe, at least he was an evil bastard who enjoyed sacrificing virgins to the devil. But now he's dead and buried with a large axe in this chest - a least until the grave robbers (Jorge, Manolo, Raul and so on) decided to steal his gold and grab the axe! Soon they have this axe-wielding zombie after them and it's gonna be a bloody awful night for everyone!
If you haven't seen Grave Robbers (the catcy original title is Ladrones de Tumbas!) you should know that this looks like a long episode of Tales from the Crypt, but with more blood. It's colorful, gory, cheesy, silly and Galindo's idea of scares is cobwebs, skeleton hands, graves, fog and a generous amount of (cheap) graphic gore. There's a lot of axe-cuts of course, a head crushing, stabbings, a belly-ripping (from the inside, by a demon hand!), some general stabbings and decapitations and more. They didn't want so much money on the gore, but it's bloody and fun and shouldn't disappoint anyone.
Grave Robbers is also so stupid that it's hard to dislike it. The characters react like they're from a different planet, and the haircuts and fashion is a different - tasteless - planet too! Sometimes it feels like watching a Mexican soap opera, but with a zombie and some stupid teens in the cast instead of some botoxed "actors" trying to survive another day, another episode of their only life support.
I think this movie is a blast, and almost to much fun for it's own good.
So who the hell is this? Well, he's one a famous actor in Poland and his name is know to the international audience as Christopher Kohlberg - at least for one year or so in the middle of the eighties. In Poland he's Krzysztof Kolberger.
I think is a amazing actor, cool, handsome and talented and he had the pleasure to be the hero in Mats Helge's The Ninja Mission!!! That's something, and I've always dreamed about having something signed by him. Another genre-movie you should check out is Klatwa doliny wezy from 1987, I reviewed it here - the Polish Indiana Jones! I love it!
With the help of his lovely daughter Julia he sent me a signed photo, and I'm grateful for that! Thanks Julia and I hope you all envy me know! ;)
Saturday, February 13, 2010
In November last year I saw, and wrote an review of, Bruce Burgess documentary Bloodline. I've seen work by Mr Burgess before, and though I like him as a character and the subjects he focuses on, I've always felt that he is very, very uncritical. Bloodline is, of course, about the theory that Mary Magdalena and Jesus had children and that their dad probably survived and moved to France, or just died on the cross and was buried there. This is not a new theory at all, but it became very popular when Dan Brown hit gold with The Da Vinci Code. The first time this was mentioned was in the nine or tenth century, and has been discussed ever since. Anyway, I wrote about the documentary and also about a detail that I thought was fishy - and good some unexpected feedback.
Bloodline features Ben Hammott (an anagram for The Tomb Man), a British hobby-researcher that claims that he found a tomb outside Rennes-le-Château. He found it through decoding the clues that the priest Bérenger Saunière has buried around the landscape. Bruce follows Ben on the hunt, and they also finds some interesting stuff and films the tomb! This is sensational stuff, but somehow it's TO good. It's like a movie, a novel. Something made up using wild imagination. But still, it has nothing to do with UFO's, Bigfoot, Yetis or ghost - so why not.
Ben commented on my second post about the Bloodline-documentary, and he's a nice bloke and obviously a good salesman too, so I bought his monster of a book, over 600 pages of facts about his quest for the treasure and tomb: Lost Tomb of the Knights Templar! So, what do we have here? First of all, it's a very detailed account of his interest in the Rennes-le-Château-mystery, from how he first saw a documentary about it on TV and how this led him to go on expeditions first together with his brother Mick and then together with other fellow researchers. What happens in the documentary seem to take five minutes, which raised my suspicions about a hoax, but according to the book it involved more people over a long period, and many hours on every place they found a lead. But that would probably be to boring to show in a documentary.
Some stuff is... no, I just don't agree with Mr Hammott on everything. It seem to far-fetched. But on the other hand, there's stuff that's very impressive. Would you risk everything, many years of your life, career, friends, family, to just make such an elaborate hoax? Maybe, but the down-to-earth style of Ben Hammott makes me believe that he's on to something here. He also himself admits to stuff that some of his critics had said before and after - and also seem convinced that some of the leads was made to "real" leads by Saunière by just using the details in them without changing anything himself, which seem more logical in many of the cases.
But 600 pages of dry facts, turning of stones and walking in the French forests wouldn't be so interesting if it wasn't good written, and to my surprise (I have to admit), it's not a bad writer we have here. Ben writes with a lot of that classic British dry humor, with small witty remarks - sometimes a bit to mean - but still very funny. If you're not that interested in the mystery, this is also quite a good travel book with a lot of information about culture, nature, food and friendships. And tea-drinking. LOTS of tea-drinking.
My advice to you who are interested, is to read the book first (the link is to Ben Hammotts official site). After that, go buy the DVD and see some of the stuff for real. Lost Tomb of the Knights Templar is the child of Ben Hammott, and it shows. This is his life (and I hope his wife can stand him!) and is labor of love and passion.
I'm still a skeptic, but boy, this was great reading!
This joke was told (more or less, my memory and knowledge of the English language is weak) by the great comedian Tommy Cooper. Another funny story is Dawn of the Mummy, Frank Agrama's almost-fantastic Mummy-Mayhem from 1981. A co-production between Egypt, Italy and the US - and to be honest, it feels more like a pure Italian movie shot in Egypt. Or in some back-lot in Cinecitta.
A bunch of idiots (aka photo models and the crew) travels to Egypt (after spending one minute of stock footage in New York) to take some cool photos from some upcoming fashion magazine. They travel out in the deserts, because they think that sounds more fun than to take some nice photos by the pyramids, and run into a couple of grave robbers (one with ridiculous blond hair) who just uncovered the tomb of the dreaded Safiraman. The heat from the camera crews lamps somehow makes Safiraman come to life again, and he brings his small army of desert zombies too!!!!
Dawn of the Mummy is a guilty pleasure (one of the many I have), and it gets better and better. Still, it's a damn stupid movie and with extremely stupid characters. The actors are chewing the scenery like they're in a Colin Nutley-movie and the cinematography is sometimes very murky and dark (the master used for the Anchor Bay-DVD is quite bad, so that could be the reasons, but I have on VHS too and the same problem is there). But Frank Agrama makes the movie entertaining and though there are long stretches when nothing special is happening, it never gets really boring. Just a bit slow.
But if you don't pretend that these negative aspects exists, there's some cool stuff to be happy about. First of all, Safiraman and his zombies are very cool, and very Italian (Maurizio Trani did the make-up effects). They are quite Fulci-esque, slimy and graphic. The scene when they rise from the desert with the sun in the background is beautiful, and of course they are a perfect combination with the fun (but not massive) gore that this movie delivers. I always forget that it's SO gory, but still, it's quite little compared to the movies it want to capitalize on. But there's a nice throat biting, an arm getting chewed on, a belly ripped open and stuff like that spread over the movie. And the infamous machete to head to of course. So it won't disappointed if you don't expect something like Zombie Flesh-Eaters or Dawn of the Dead.
I have a lot of movies I haven't seen yet, but when I'm sick and bored I don't liked to be surprised. I just need something safe, something that I know what it is. This is what Dawn of the Mummy gives me. And it ain't a bad thing after all.
Friday, February 12, 2010
Karen (Ilona Elkin) is a doctor on her way home after a chaotic day at work. The world seems to go crazy, and the nut-jobs are even more at the hospital than ever. One of her patients also take suicide earlier that day, which don't make anyone happier. On the train strange things start to happen, and after the train stops in one of the tunnels she and her new friend, Mike (Nicolas Wright), sense that something is very wrong. At the same time, all over the city (maybe the country or the world), all the members of a sect gets a message on their beeper: The end is near, try to "save" as many as possible. With saving, it means that they should kill everyone that's not a believer so god can save them before the demons, Satan, arrives again. Now Karen and Mike, together with other survivors, has to fight their way through the dark tunnels, empty trains and watch out for murderous sect-members in every corner!
Wow, this is the second time I've seen this movie and it's a masterpiece. It's low budget, but still... fuck, it looks amazing and is one of those movies that actually involves you. The characters are very well written, even if they just are fuck-ups. These are flesh and blood, both alive and dead - if you get my meaning. Most important, the growing relationship between Karen and Mike works, and you believe in how they react to each other - and even hoping that they will find each other sooner or later. I'm sure they did that by the way, if you put the details together and realize that there's not Armageddon, just the insane ideas of a Christian sect. But even Satan is not for real, I'm sure you will be pleased with the horror and gore that this movie delivers. It never becomes a splatter movie like Deveraux earlier movie, Slashers), but has strong and nasty kills with a couple of very graphic and bloody effects. Here it feels more realistic, for example it's not easy to chop of someones head - and it's proven in this movie. The gore reminded my of the Italian horror flicks of the seventies, where gruesome murders often stayed gruesome, and not became cartoonish.
I've seen a lot of the evil things that religion can do, and somehow I think whats happening is in this movie isn't that unrealistic. People blame problems, "sin", disasters and everything else on Mr Satan or God Almighty, and decides that they are the ones to order non-religious Christians how to live. In this movie the Christian takes upon themselves to save people by killing - which has been done before in history - but never in this way. Still, we have attacks and murders in the name of who's god it is just that day, from Catholic's hiding their problems with pedophilia inside the church, to Islamic fundamentalists crashing airplanes into World Trade Center. Everything in the name of their god and their religion.
This makes End of the Line even more powerful, and mixes gore and traditional horror, with something very true - and very real.
It's also not fair to compare it to Ridley Scott's Alien (a movie that's less original than people make of it), because they're very different in style and atmosphere and Warren don't seem to copy Alien at all, in any way. Inseminoid is it's own entity, and a very good one too. The characters are the usual bunch of scientists that occupies these kinda movies, and the main victim/bad guy is the marvelous Judy Geeson as Sandy - the woman getting impregnated by the alien and starts making havoc in the underground facility. She's everywhere on the mood-scale, but it feels real - sometimes to real, and quite uncomfortable to watch - when she's in one second is screaming and is scared, and in the next second turns to a ruthless killer.
The violence is down and dirty, not extremely graphic, but very violent and with a lot of sadistic touches. The characters are made to suffer in different ways, one guy for example, first gets shot, then suffocated and then get his belly ripped open by our blonde femme fatale. This is where Inseminoid is totally unique. You suffer with the characters, and their demises is not quick and nasty - they're drawn out and very nasty! Another thing that helps this movie is the awesome location. Shot in a real mine somewhere, it feels claustrophobic and dusty, and even the cheap sets work in this place. When stuff explodes you see it's made out of styrofoam and masonite, but who cares? Because the budget was low and the money ran out during production, you can also notice that one mayor set-piece don't have any walls! It's just black around them. But it looks cool, and until Norman J. Warren mentioned it himself in the documentary I never noticed it before that.
And what is it with exploitation-movies from the eighties and monster-rapes and giving birth to monsters? The last official entry in this sub-category must be 1993's Carnosaur. Well, I have nothing against it - but it's an odd detail that I've seen in quite a number of monster films from this era.
But yeah, Inseminoid is a very fine little movie, I dare to say it's even underrated. Norman J. Warren did his best with what he had, and gave us a semi-classic that deserves to have a better reputation.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
I wrote this silly rhyme after watching Nightmare City on DVD for the first time, and also uncut and in the correct ratio for the first time - it was a revelation and made me fall in love even more. The DVD was from Italian Shock, and since then it's been released a lot better DVD's of course, like the one from Blue Underground above, or from AWE and Njuta Films.
For the love of Nightmare city
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 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!
Mutants attack the TV-station, with axe's and knifes!
All those silly smurf-dancers, sacrifices their lifes!
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
Not making one 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 see,
Thank you Umberto, thanks Italian Shock DVD!
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
The evil (what else?) wizard Lodac (sounds like an anti-depressant, but is played by Basil Rathbone) kidnaps the princess Helene (Anne Helm) and the king sends Sir Branton (Liam Sullivan) to save her, with the promise that he can marry her and get half of the kingdom. But Sir George (Gary Lockwood), adopted by the sorceress Sybil (Estelle Winwood) also want's to marry her, because he's been watching her for a long time in secret. He brings with him six knights (one French, one Italian, one Spanish and so on) and joins Sir Branton in the quest.
They have seven days to reach Lodac's castle before he feeds the princess to the dragon, but the dangers are many. Seven days, seven curses!
I'm sure this would have been my favorite fantasy-movie ever if I saw it as a kid, and even now it impresses me. The story is not bad at all, and the script moves in good pace with enough twists and turns to keeps the audience interested for the whole time. The cinematography is wonderful and echoes the work of Mario Bava. Lots of colors, cool sets and a bunch of interesting characters. The "dark journey" (as they call it in the movie) is filled with cool dangers, and starts of with a very bizarre Ogre, who looks like it could have scared the shit out of children who saw it at the time it was released. It's not the only disturbing detail of the movie, we're treated to people transforming to skeletons, a very nasty witch, some kinda cave-demons/ghosts... and two not so scary dwarfs.
There's more adult themes than the eyes can see first in this movie, from dealing with death and love, a wizard more cynical than I've seen before, some sexual tension between the characters and some minor disturbing images. But still, this is a family movie, and one of the better in it's genre.
With eighty minutes in length, this is the perfect matinée movie. It never drags, it offers action and monsters, handsome people and some chills and thrills. The best actors are Basil Rathbone, as usual and a new personal favorite of mine, Liam Sullivan as the self-loving Sir Branton. It's worth every penny just to buy this movie only for his sake.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
If I got the story correct, Tan (Preeti Barameeanat) get's his brother killed in an illegal sport where the teams combine basket with Muay Thai. He, himself, gets almost killed and spends a year in the hospital. After he gets out he want to take revenge and starts playing with a new and upcoming team of fighters. The team is lead by a new gangster, who took over the team after his boss died. But who can they trust? The enemy teams are even more brutal, and is not afraid of using weapons to win their games, and with the right amount of money they can be forced to loose a game, and even loose their life to make the boss happy...
This is a raw and brutal movie with a lot of fighting and action. Director Thanakorn Pongsuwan uses his budget well, and creates a dirty and realistic version of the poor part of Bangkok. For once they heroes (and bad guys) aren't honorable country folks or rich well dressed kids. These are the ones that lives under the highway, selling t-shirts to tourists, working hard in the meat district and just are very poor and want to make extra money to get away and get a new life. Pongsuwan has caught the locations very good (I've been there, and lived there, myself - and I feel like I'm there again) and it's just very realistic. Fireball is also shot (beautiful by the way) digitally, which makes the atmosphere even more grittier.
Before I get to the action, I have to say that the actor and script is well above average. These feel like real people, not just caricatures of what people expect from a martial arts movie. They react in logical way, have emotions and the acting is subtle. After the cinematic turds of Hanuman and The Sanctuary, it's a welcome change of quality. Then we have the action. This is hard-hitting and brutal, quite a lot of blood and it feels painful - mostly because all fights are set on asphalt and concrete. The editing is also very rapid, but for once you can understand what's happening and it never becomes irritating. I'm impressed, really.
Fireball is the best modern Thai action I've seen since Tony Jaa's latest, without comparing them - they're totally different in style and mood. But I think you should see it and judge for yourself. I'm already looking forward to the prequel, where the origin of Fireball is explained - which starts during the Vietnam-war. Can be amazing!
Monday, February 8, 2010
It begins with the arrest of a young woman, Paula, who claims she's been working at a sex club since she was five, first with her dad, and later together with another woman named Paula - and now she killed her. The police, played by a butch Lina Romay, is skeptical about it, and seem to almost let her go. No one cares about her, another crazy woman... There's a cut to the interaction between Paula and Paula, in something that seem to be the first Paula's apartment. They dance, there's long psychedelic mirror-effects, slow-motion and an amazing jazz score by Friedrich Gulda (given to Franco by the children of Gulda, the composer himself is dead) and slowly it leads to the expected ending...
Yes, here we have a 66 minute long piece of video art. Maybe more people should appreciate it if it was shown on a wall in a club, or in dark small cinema during an art exhibition. The majority of these minutes is filled with Gulda's fantastic jazz music, and some piece of his classical works too, and the scenes of dancing, mirror-effects and sex goes on forever. But there's never anything tasteless. It's arty and most of the time very cool, beautiful and trippy. I guess some views would like to light up a joint while watching this, not me of course - and prefer to close my eyes and listen to the music.
The actors are okey, but it's hard to tell because there's not much acting. Lina Romay is good as the police woman, but her part is very small. After that scene, the only out-of-place scene comes, when her assistant is watching Paula dance naked by exercise bike (I think...)! It feels like it was shot by someone else and just added to make the movie longer and add some more commercial nudity without video effects and arty editing. I don't have to mention it probably has no budget at all, and sometimes look very cheap.
As with many other productions from Uncle Jess, this is an experiment that will divide the audience. If you see it as an art video, an installation, you will get more from it than if you're expecting the normal sleaze-fest. Sure, it has a lot of nudity and no story, but still... this is not one of those Franco-movie where you gather the boys, opens a few beers and having a blast.
The DVD looks nice and is in anamorphic widescreen. The best stuff is the interview with Uncle Jess, where he goes on like he loves to do about movies, music, sex and life in general. You can order it at the official homepage and for the serious Jess Franco-collector this is a must.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
More stuff from my collection, which is of course very nerdy. But I can't stop myself. Sorry, you serious fans out there that prefer to admire on distance ;)
Signed letter from Umberto Lenzi.
Yes, a signed photo by Charles Bronson. I never met him myself, and I bought this from a collector many years ago. I lost the proof of it's authenticity, so it's more or less worthless now.
Postcard from Enzo G. Castellari.
A signed VHS-tape, Dario Argento of course. I have four of these, on different movies (thanks to Blå Demonen!)
Kay (Sarah Kendall), an artist with strange dreams, is going with her husband and her brother and his wife to a remote island for some fishing and relaxing. But as soon as they arrive to the island she notices that she's already been there somehow. She's been painting the houses, the views... and soon she feels that this island is connected to the one and single nightmare she had since she was a child. And she's correct, something is lurking on the island, starting to kill them off one after another...
The Slayer is an interesting movie, and far from a bad one too. It's shot and directed with a lot of atmosphere, and the concept actually predates A Nightmare on Elm Street, but it's less fancy and more realistic and down to earth. The island is a perfect setting for a horror movie, and though the bodycount is fairly low and the pacing is slow, this a lot better than some contemporary horror movies with bigger respect from fans. The characters are well written, and most of the time there's good acting to - with some scene here and there of clumsy overacting. The dialogue can be a bit on your nose sometime too, but it's not that irritating.
After a lot of character development the movie picks up with some gruesome murders. While not spectacular, they're brutal and graphic (and especially the pitchfork-murder) and sadistic. Director J.S. Cardone handles both the drama and horror very well, and presents a movie full of nice images, gore and good tension. So the weak thing is actually the script. It works fine for this kinda movie, but still has that terrible awful "twist"-ending that I hate so much. You can probably guess it already, but it's a lazy way to tie the movie together and makes everything more or less meaningless.
But still, a good little movie and deserves a better DVD-treatment.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Victoria Koblenko is Kristel Lodema, a young woman who's dad is killed in a car crash. He's a historian and writer and was just finishing up his work regarding Andries Martiens, a sadistic child killer and Devil worshipper who died down in a famous mine - and that mine is now a museum and tourist attraction. Kristel is going to the mine to get her fathers stuff, and of course he bring along some friends. They are invited down the mine, but are trapped there when the elevator breaks down.
Then they get really, really smart. Trapped in a alleged haunted mine, they decides to drop acid and... uses a Ouija board to try to reach some spirits! Smart move, kids! Of course the spirit of Andries Martiens shows up and possesses one of the guest... and starts a bloody rampage down there to try to finally finish his satanic rituals, and also find the gold that his parents left for him...
I was afraid that this would be a normal slasher. Not that I have anything against normal slashers, but I've seen them all and need something else. Here we have the basic body jumper-concept. When Martiens new body dies in some bloody way, he just jumps to another body and transforms them to something that looks like a human demon with pointy teeth and white eyes. The setting in a mine is of course nice, and and it's dark and dirty and lots of sharp things to use to hurt other people with. The gore is actually kinda nice. For the first 45-50 minutes we're only allowed to see the aftermath, which is gory enough - and well made - but still, it's always fun to see the killings too. But don't worry, after that there's some bloody bites (zombie-style), a fun decapitation with a shovel, impalings, an exploding head and more. It's graphic and intensive.
So the movie looks good, it's has decent actors and good gore. But it's still a little bit to much "we've seen it all before", which is a pity. It's like the makers didn't want the movie to be to unique, maybe afraid of loosing slasher- and horror fans out there.
Slachtnacht is not a bad movie by any means, but it just could be much more fun and original. But if you enjoy this kinda horror, you can buy this movie without any regrets.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Here we have the great and intensive Eddy Ko as Chan Chung, a mercenary hired by the Thai government to bring a powerful druglord home to justice. He and his crazy gang of ex-militaries and criminals manages to capture the druglord - but is forced to bring Chan's son with them after the druglord's men is trying to take him in exchange for their boss. Also after them is the Vietnamese military, lead by a sadistic officer (Ching-Ying Lam), these three gangs means a lot of shooting!
The story is simple, the characters isn't that well written, but you can so clearly see the talent of John Woo. The action is amazing, very gory and violent, tons of squibs, blood, a couple of mutilations and more explosions than a Bruno Mattei movie. I love those tracking shots during shoot-outs, which suddenly takes us in the action and almost gives a feeling of 3D. A trademark of Woo. We also have a lot of slow-mo in combination with people nearly getting shot, standing to close to explosions or just feeling like dying in some other way. This is awesome, and it's a pity this movie is in the shadow of his later masterpieces - because even if this don't offer any originality, it's still a helluva action-movie.
Not only the action has Woo's stamp all over it. In the relationships among the men and in the father-son scenes you see a lot of what was going to come later. He has that uncanny talent to hit the heart of the viewers when you least expected it, and really wants you to feel for the characters. Just look at the scene where the little boy is almost burned to death, he's running like a scared rabbit, the camera is following him on a distance, until he finds a way to protect himself. If it wasn't for the gory shoot-outs before and after it could have belonged in a more "serious" movie.
But this is a movie made for action, and during it's 84 minutes it's almost action all the time. Shootings, explosions, some fights, chases and some amazing stuntwork by the Thai stuntmen. Eddy Ko more or less carries the movie on his shoulders and is the best actor of the bunch, even if no one is really bad - just overacting in the traditional Hong Kongnese way.
I'm happy I finally saw this pearl of a movie. This bring class and quality to the jungle-action-genre, and I don't think I've seen it better before or after.
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
A team of scientists arrive to the Headstone Manor, to investigate the alleged supernatural occurences there. They are lead by Dr. Lukas Mandeville (Kenny Everett) and his assistant Dr. Barbara Coyle (Pamela Stephenson), both total idiots. Many years before this, 18 people was brutally killed by unknown intruders, but we of course know that these where bloodthirsty killer-monks who wants the cleanse the house from guest so their friend Satan can return to earth - and now it's happening again! Will the scientist survive? Will they face their demons? Will they be able to have sex with each other? Who knows... unless us who seen the movie!
This is such a mixed bag of jokes, because it's pure comedy of course. Some of the funny stuff just falls flat and never recovers, while a few of them (for example the Bat-joke) is laugh-out funny). There's winks to a lot of movies, like Jaws (quite funny, but predictable joke too), Alien, Hammer-movies, slashers, ET, The Entity, Poltergeist and a few more in between. But still, it's a British comedy with dry British humor. Nothing bad with that, I like it, but it's very uneven. Kenny Everett is the high-point of the movie, and delivers the lines and hams up the acting in a proper way. He resembles Robert Englund to in an eerie way, so much that my boyfriend actually looked up from his computer and asked me if it was Robert Englund! Gareth Hunt and Don Warrington is great as the very British gay couple, and manages to do it with some class. Gareth was also in the terrible Swedish action-horror The Forgotten Wells a couple of years later. Poor man. Vincent Price has an extended cameo and is funny, but seem a bit out of place. Like he's not understanding the comedy.
One reason to see this movie is the superb DVD from Nucleus Films. The movie simply looks stunning, like it's never been watched before. There's a ton of extras too, but I haven't got the time yet to check them out - but I'm sure their top-notch.
Bloodbath at the House of Death is sometimes a very funny movie, with one of the funnies decapitations I've ever seen - and a few other scenes of quite gruesome violence - but it's mostly the slapstick, the bad word jokes and the sexual innuendos that's the main selling point. And if you like that kinda of comedy, and a nice atmosphere - like me - this is a movie well worth purchasing.
Monday, February 1, 2010
In the near future, the world is a wasteland after "The Accident" and a crew of scientists is hiding in an underground base somewhere in the desert. George Kennedy is one of them, and Andrew Stevens another. The other actors are there, but I'm not sure what they're doing. Anyway. Two in the crew is killed by something outside, and the last thing they're screaming is something about "Gargoyles!" and then their voices fade away. A rescue team is sent, but find everyone dead - except a young woman, who's also pregnant! After a few hours down in the base, they need to do a caesarean operations on her... and out comes a monster! And you can guess the rest of the story...
Nothing new here, just move one. Nothing to see for you fancy-pants who deserves something special. This is just a Roger Corman-produced monster-movie with gore, cheap sets and underground corridors. I don't need anything more, and especially because a Corman-production almost every time has "it". Do you know what I mean? There's a sense of that they actually understand what people want with a cheesy low budget rip-off on Alien. They don't pretend to be arty, and gives us that gory belly-bursting. They know we want to see the monster in full light with out any silly ideas of letting it hide in the shadows of the most part of the movie. The Terror Within is a Big Burger extra-deluxe with cheese, and nothing more.
It's not badly made. The director Thierry Notz handles the story fine and keeps thing going even when there's not a monster around creating havoc. The sets are cheap, but still... they work, and with some creative editing everything look a little bit bigger than it is. George Kennedy is there for the paycheck, it's easy to see, but it's George Kennedy for fucks sake! He's the man from Airport. And The Naked Gun... and from Wacko (I need to revisit that one... a perfect movie for Code Red to release by the way!)! You know it's a Corman-cheapie when the bodies in the background not just have fake blood all over them, but fake wounds and some pig-intestines sticking out. It's a detail that is needed when the budget can't be spend on name-actors and thousands of extras.
Yes, this is a simple DTV-movie from a time when even this one could have a sequel - and I will try to watch the sequel later this week. Because I need some more... GARGOYLES! GARGOYLES!!!! HELP!
I consider part 2 one of the best films I saw last years, a magnificent and powerful martial arts-drama. And here's the teaser for the next part, some of it was shot at the same time as last one, and hopefully this production had a more peaceful shooting than Tony Jaa's directorial debut.