Sunday, August 29, 2010

Abominable (2006)

It’s time for Ryan Schifrin to make a sequel to Abominable, because with his talent and the quality of this creature feature it can’t go bad – and the ending is a perfect, well-used cliché which actually works. It’s a low budget movie, which can be noticed with the crappy pre-credits graphics, but the rest is so damn on-the-spot that it’s difficult to understand this was a SyFy Original Movie when it was released in 2006.

Matt McCoy (in a great performance, one of the few really likable heroes I’ve seen in recent years) is trapped in a wheelchair after a climbing-accident that also killed his wife. After six months the doctors think he’s read to go back to his own home, in the shadow of the mountain that killed her, together with a male nurse, Otis (Christien Tinsley, who also was the creature effects coordinator). It don’t take long until something is lurking outside the house, and soon our hero will witness how the young beautiful women in the house next door is picked off one by one…

No, it’s not Jason… It’s Bigfoot!

Actually, if you mix the Bigfoot-legend with Friday the 13th and Rear Window you will get Abominable, and what a wonderful mix. Ryan Schifrin handles the direction as a pro and the style is old-school, calm and genuinely thrilling. He learned from the old masters, and it’s hard not to feel involved in the characters. McCoy as Preston Rogers is the best written character, and everything evolves around him. We’re seeing most of what’s happening from his point of view and not one single time are we visiting the opposite house by “ourselves”. Exactly like in Rear Window. The girls are good, but they have little to work with. Most of the supporting parts is played by excellent character actors like Jeffrey Combs, Lance Henriksen (who seem to enjoy playing just an ordinary guy!), Paul Gleason, Rex Linn and Dee Wallace.

The monster itself is fantastic. A classic man in suit, but with a very freaky face and tall as a house. He also delivers some very fun and nasty gore-scenes and the havoc he’s creating in the girls house is so cool. Some very smart editing makes everything seem more spectacular and advanced. He looks a lot like Jack Elam too, which makes it even scarier. A slightly human face which makes us connect to the creature a little bit more, and it feels more like a huge motherf**king hairy killer than a typical Bigfoot.

It’s been talk about a sequel ever since this movie became a huge success on TV and DVD, and it would have been a fantastic opportunity to spin this movie up one notch. More monsters, more gore, more cool characters – and hopefully Matt McCoy back in the wheelchair.

I’ll cross my fingers!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Madhouse (1974)

A little while ago I watched Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2. Now, I don’t think it was that terrible, though Mr Zombie still can’t direct horror. He should stick to classic non-horror exploitation. Anyway, the best thing with the movie was the character of Uncle Seymour Coffins, a local TV-host, and he’s dressed like Dr. Death! Yes, THE Dr. Death from Jim Clark’s Madhouse. A cool detail, and it also wanted be to revisit this underrated horror flick.

Vincent Price is Paul Toombes, a horror actor famous for his long series of Dr. Death-movies. This is the sixties and during a release-party of the last episode in this popular franchise, someone – maybe Toombes himself – kills his young trophy wife brutally. Paul goes insane and it’s not until twelve years later he feels ready for combat. He’s offered the lead in a new British TV-show where he’s gonna reprise his Dr. Death-character. But someone wants him to go insane again, and people are starting to die around him! Is Paul really mad, or is it someone se who wants to bring him down once and for all?

Now, this movie has gotten a lot of negative reviews over the years – and I can’t understand why. It don’t have the same black humour as the Dr. Phibes-movies or Theatre of Blood – but that can be a good thing. Madhouse is instead filled with almost only shitty people. Even Toombes himself is self-obsessed, paranoid, mean and spoiled – and so is everyone else, except maybe Julia, his production assistant (played by Natasha Pyne). Everyone else has either something to hide or just wants someone else dead. I like that. It’s a nice way of showing the cynicism in the movie-business, and it’s not far from the truth either.

In a way Price plays a more bitter version of himself, stuck in horror movies and during this time starting to become a star from the past. He do it with excellent, and it’s always fun to see him play such unsympathetic characters. Gone is the tongue in cheek, and instead we’re getting a very dark and complex version of a character Price played so many times. Peter Cushing and Robert Quarry is very competent co-actors here, especially Quarry who has a lot more interesting character than Cushing’s friendly writer-colleague.

The movie gets weirder and weirder, and the end has a hint of supernatural – which kinda not work that good. The final scene also has another tune over it in the old tape I have somewhere, and I think that music worked better. But it’s fun to hear Vincent sing a little bit of course.

Another weird thing is the PG rating. It’s has not nudity, but it’s still a quite intense and dark movie with some blood and gore (not in the same amounts as Theatre of Blood though), nasty and scary scenes. Madhouse isn’t perfect, it lacks the same wonderful pace as Phibes and Theatre, but it’s still a great seventies slasher/horror-hybrid with a great cast!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Laughing Dead (1989)

I once saw The Laughing Dead – I think on a bootleg (and on VHS of course) – a thousand years ago and it never really left me. Not that this cheesy slice of auteur-cinema will change the world, no. But it’s colourful, very gory, a story with a lot of imagination and a steady hand by director and wonder-kid S. P. Somtow.

The story is simple: a bunch of wacky characters (for example, a New Age-couple, a party guy, a mother and son etc) is leaving their calm American life to visit the Day of the Dead festival. On their way there the bus hits the corpse of a dead girl and two Aztec Indians appears and acts strange. From now on the passengers on the bus are more or less doomed are bricks in an evil game played by the mysterious Dr. Um-tzec (S.P. Somtow himself). When their leader, a priest who lost his faith, is transformed into a demon, everyone now that the basketball has hit the… fan?

The Laughing Dead has the most uneven (mostly “un”) acting I’ve ever seen. This don’t have to be a bad thing, because it adds to the comic book feeling of the movie, which cinematography and special effects are as colourful as the acting. I noticed that there was a lot of non-actors, some writers and special effects-people doing acting – which can explain the sudden bursts of over- and underacting – and everything inbetween. The one that makes the most even performance is Tim Sullivan (the priest), but it’s like with him as the others, when the screaming starts everyone is more convincing than when they’re gonna do drama.

But enough with the less good things. I’m surprised that this movie isn’t more talked about among horror- and splatter-fans. It’s not better or worse than a lot of the other more well-regarded movies from the same era for example. It has a lot of style, nice location and competent directing. What really makes it even more fun is the gore and special effects, which there is plenty off. All in graphic absurdity! Nothing is really off-screen and we’re treated to head-choppings, entrail-rippings, heart-stealings, arm-decapitations and a lot more! The movie ends with two big monsters (kinda) fighting each other – both transformed from humans to the final monsters! John Carl Buechler is credited on the DVD-cover with the impressive special effects, but now when I’m doing some research I can’t link him at all to the movie – though it has his feeling all over it.

S.P. Somtow has gone to be the artistic director of the Bangkok Opera – but according to the never reliable IMDB he’s also involved as a writer on Brian Yuzna’s upcoming creature feature Amphibious 3D!

I hope The Laughing Dead someday will be released in a really DVD (or Blu-Ray, it would look great in that format) with commentary by Somtow andsome interviews with all these crazy actors. I would buy it anyway.

(and I saw him, without looking at IMDB: Forrest J. Ackerman in one of his many cameos. I had the pleasure of meeting him many years ago in his LA home, a memory for life!)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Crack in the World (1965)

I have no nails left. This is a common syndrome from watching Crack in the World, Andrew Marton’s classic disaster-flick with Dana Andrews in the performance of his career. It’s silly to criticize new movies, to compare them with old movies (and of course, all the older movies are always better according to the fan boys out there). But now, for once, this is a movie that is in every way better than modern examples like The Day after Tomorrow or 2012. Not that it has the same kinda budget, but it’s a real nail-biter and has character that somehow feels real and that you can relate to.

Here we have Dana Andrews as the aged, sick and very bitter Dr. Stephen Sorenson. He’s married with the young and beautiful Dr. Maggie Sorenson (Janette Scott). She actually loves him, for real. But the tension is very frail because of her former lover, Dr. Ted Rampion (Kieron Moore), who works with them. Stephen is convinced that she don’t want him anymore, and uses this to put Ted in a bad light.

In this case this silly game is more serious, because they together are trying to reach the hot interior of the earth to from there gain energy. It’s just that Ted believes that the way Stephen wants to do it, is dangerous and will create the destruction of the earth! And guess what, he was right…

The budget was probably not that high, but Crack in the World still looks magnificent. The look is big and fancy and with intelligent direction by Andrew Marton. He let the actors faces speak, and never cuts away to fast or let the camera linger to long. He knows he has a great script to work with, and in the centre of it is Dana Andrews with a very complex character. He shows off every emotion, but never too much. It’s subtle, but still manages to affects the audience. All the other actors are wonderful, but Dana steals the show.

Now, the script builds the story quite slow. The movie never had so much money to show all the disasters, and it’s a lot of talking about what’s happening around in the world – but the further the movies goes, the more of Eugène Lourié’s awesome special effects. Lots of explosions, a couple of very nice miniatures and a very tense final where all the disaster clichés comes to use and still it feels fresh and original.

It’s recently been released by Olive Films, so get this DVD – it’s an order!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ten Giallos for the Internet Generation

I have some suggestions for Internet-related Giallos here, I hope you like them. Maybe the Internet-generation, the computer-nerds out there needs their own Giallo's. Probably they just feel those old movies isn't hot enough. They need something to relate to, which of course is understandable.

Strip Nude for your Webcam

Don't Torture a Forum-Newbie

The Blog O'Nine Readers

7 Pokes on Facebook-page

Naked you Surf

An Old Perv Using a Womans Name

Forbidden Downloads by a Greedy Nerd

French Sex Sites

404 Errors on Grey Monitor

Bring on more titles if you feel for it! :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

För mina svenska läsare: nytt förlag, Oddbooks!

Ett tillfälligt avbrott från mitt vanliga skrivande på den här bloggen, sorry :)
Jag slog till och startade Oddbooks, ett förlag som kommer att specialisera sig främst på skräcklitteratur, men även annat som kan vara av intresse. Än så länge så finns det inte så mycket info, men håll gärna koll på Oddbooks hemsida eller på Facebook, så får ni veta vad som händer :) Det känns nervigt, men också kul. Det var länge sedan jag tog mig för något sånt här nämligen! Välkomna!
Nu, tillbaka till normaliteten igen - hur normalt det nu kan bli på den här bloggen ;)

Yor: Hunter from the Future (1983)

It was 27 years ago today, since Yor: Hunter from the Future came here to stay. It went up on 1425 theaters, played for a week and earned Paramount 2,810,199 dollars! Not bad, really. Yor was a co-production between Italy, France and Turkey – and it’s Turkey the movie is shot in (at least the exteriors). It might now win any Oscars, but it’s a helluva entertaining, silly and wacky adventure with a lot of cheese!

Reb Brown IS Yor, a handsome warrior with nice blond hair (he reminds me of Steve Oedekerk somehow too…) who comes to saves the day when a Ka-Laa (Corinne Clery) and her guardian Pag (Luciano Pigozzi) is attacked by huge dinosaur when they’re trying to catch themselves a Pigosaurus (it looks like a little pig with a dinosaur-outfit). Ka-Laa falls in love directly and everything is fine… until they village is attacked by something that looks like cavemen! Yor, Ka-Lee and Pag escapes! After some adventures – and the immortal line “Damn talking box!” – they meets a bunch of alien Stanko Molnar-clones and the evil Overlord (John Steiner), who wants to rule the world!

Something like that. The story is quite straight forward (it was cut down from being a mini-series to a 90 minute long feature) and aims for action and adventure all the time. Director Antonio Margheriti is mostly known for his excellent work with gothic horrors and modern action, so this is a departure from his normal line of work. But as usual he handles the direction very well, and it’s stylish and competently told. He knows how to point the camera and makes everything – except some sets and the dinosaurs – look big and expensive. He really uses the Turkish exteriors in an excellent way.

Like all of Margheriti’s work he offers a lot of well made and cool miniatures that most of the times gets blown to pieces or destroyed in some other way. Here he had help from his son Edoardo and daughter Antonella. Most of the effects look great, and I’m especially impressed by the spaceship that flies away at the end. Could it be a real remote controlled miniature plane made to look like a spaceship?

I’m not kidding above, Reb Brown IS Yor. No one else than him could have done this role so perfect. Always a twinkle in the eye, a huge blonde wig, a fit body and doing mighty fine in the action sequences. Corinne Clery is lovely and Pigozzi do what he do best, playing himself. John Steiner is also in it, as the Overlord, but don’t have so much to do really, except looking evil under his hood.

Yor is a very fine and cheesy Barbarian/Sci-Fi/Adventure-movie from the master of miniatures. It fully deserves it’s legendary status and one day, I hope and pray, it will arrive on glorious Blu-ray in it’s full complete form.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gonggoi the Beast (2002)

To be honest, there’s really nothing interesting to write about this failure. Another shot-on-video (not bad looking either) horror from Thailand, this time with the monkey-spirit Kong Koy as the baddie. He likes to rip people’s entrails out, eat them and also suck the energy from the bodies. Just a pity the budget was to low to show any gore.

But if you want to see a bunch of Thai teenagers dance to very, very lame covers of Beat It, Footloose and other hits of the eighties, talking about nothing and then die off-screen, this is the movie for you. If they had focused on the professor and his assistants in the beginning, making it more of an adventure-style hunting-movie with a gory body count deep in the jungle – this could have been something.

Maybe you think this screenshot look fun? You’re wrong, because this movie also boasts one of the worst monkey-suits ever. Makes Queen Kong look like Jurassic Park in comparison!

That’s it, next time I need a good DTV-movie from Thailand!

The Medusa Touch (1978)

One thing is for sure, The Medusa Touch isn’t the fastest boat in the harbour! Jack Gold’s supernatural thriller is very British and takes it’s time to tell the story. Slowly building up to a spectacular climax, for those that can stand the slow pacing and the sometimes hard to understand accents. I first read about it on a comic book, a comic-version of the disaster movie Meteor. It was a list of disaster movies that didn’t incorporate natural disasters, stuff that happens every day, and since then I’ve always wanted to see it.

The controversial author John Morlar (Richard Burton) sits and watch when the latest space expedition plunges into disaster live on TV. His eyes are focused on the screen and he don’t notice that someone, dressed in a coat, sneaks into his apartment. Moments later his clubbed to death – at least that’s what the police thinks at first, but he’s in a coma.

When investigating the crime, French inspector Brunel (Lino Ventura), finds that Morlar has been going to a doctor, Zonfeld (Lee Remick). Morlar was convinced that he only with his mind could create disasters and death, from the death of his parents and up to the latest space expedition.

The problem is that Morlar isn’t dead yet, and his brain is full of energy… and he’s gonna create even more death and destruction before his dies completely…

Told in flashbacks, The Medusa Touch, is mostly a masterful movie, a great seventies thriller with some pacing issues. Jack Gold tries to melt together the past and present with editing, but it’s only works in part. This way of telling a story, in a movie at least, slows it down and it would have been more interesting to see it told in the correct order. But if you, like me, can live with that, this is a great movie with a lot of wonderful British character actors and two very spectacular scenes of destruction.

Richard Burton has a small part, but still dominates the whole movie with his presence. Lee Remick (which I think is the only American actor in the whole movie) is excellent as usual, but has quite little to do. Lino Ventura is an odd choice, but together with character actors like Derek Jacobi, Jeremy Brett, Harry Andrews and Michael Hordern he’s a great addition to this great cast of characters.

Like all supernatural thrillers of rank in the seventies (The Omen-movies, Holocaust 2000, The Legacy, later even The Awakening) this also has its share of creative deaths. Most of them are off screen and only told about, but the few we see is magnificent. From the death of his parents – pushed by a car outside a cliff to the amazing miniature work when a jumbo is crashing into a skyscraper in the middle of London! The highlight is of course when the cathedral crumbles down to nothing, which is both made with physical effects inside the cathedral and miniature-work. Anyway, everything in this scene looks stunning and very realistic.

A bit stiff and British, but a very classy thriller with amazing effects and great acting. Give it a try!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mask of Satan (1989)

Sorry for the ”bad” things I wrote about Lamberto Bava yesterday, after watching Mask of Satan – his homage/remake/reimagination of his fathers Black Sunday, I’ve seen that Lamberto is very capable to make a visual roller coaster with a TV-movie budget. I don’t remember so much of the original movie, except the witch and the mask so I won’t bother to make any comparisons. But I would like to know who they came up with the concept for this version…

A bunch of young hot people with trendy (at that time) skiing-clothes falls down thru a crevice in the snow and ends up finding an old church with and even older village. The only one left there is a weird blind priest with his faithful dogs. But like in all horror movies they fuck things up the first thing they do. Down in the rift they find the frozen and ancient body of a woman, and she has a cool mask on, who they remove and therefore unleashes the power of Anibas the Witch and Satan again! Slowly the group is getting more and more weird and twisted, and the only one who seems to not be affected by the curse is Davide (Giovanni Guidelli), who received a blessing by the priest and is stronger than the others… But Anibas want to regain her power do everything to do so…

First of all, the look of this movie is marvellous. The sets are big and spooky, built with a lot of imagination and talent. The outside village is perfect and is thick with atmosphere. Everything is cold and snowy too, which is even better. It’s easier to escape and hide when it’s a warm, sunny day – but not here. The script is a little bit of a mess, for example the characters never seem to mind that one of them dies in a horrible accident, and they never seem to analyze so much that a broken leg is healed – but it could be explained later in the movie too. Not much is happening in the ways of twists, but the script is still so entertaining that it’s easy to ignore the bad stuff.

Most of the actors are doing fine, but the characters are a bit anonymous and easy to confuse with each other. Eva Grimaldi is the ancient witch Anibas, and Debora Kinski (she was married to Klaus at that time) is the woman she possesses. Old time favourite Michele Soavi is one of the unlucky skiers and Stanko Molnar is great as the creepy priest.

Lamberto has never been a gorehound, and so even in this movie – but it has still a lot of cool and slimy special effects to enjoy! Ok, character gets eaten alive – but it’s a more abstract scene – but that’s it when it comes to gore. The best scene is when one of the characters is transforming back and forth from human to demon during a sex-scene! Some very smart solutions there and just very well made.

Mask of Satan (or Demons 5 as it was called in come territories) is an entertaining and good-looking piece of Italian TV-horror. Recommended!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Body Puzzle (1992)

I never made a secret that I think Lamberto Bava is way to generic and... boring, compared to his father. But really, should I compare him to Mario? No, of course not. Lamberto has talent, but he’s way to mainstream to really be one of the Italian masters. I don’t think we should blame Lamberto though, because he mostly worked in television and the limit has always been different in that media. Another detail that probably stopped Lamberto from being really popular is that he’s not fond of graphic violence in movies. Sure, he made Demons and a few others with some strong stuff in – but compared to the rest, he’s always been quite tame.

Body Puzzle is a slick little thriller with Joanna Pacula and Tomas Arana in the leads. Joanna as Tracy, who a serial killer is obsessed with. Tomas as the police Michele, who’s trying to find out why the killer wants to kill her. Our killer, who seem to be the ex-boyfriend of Tracy’s dead husband is slicing of body parts of his victims and has also stolen the body of the husband. So he’s a real freaky guy… but is that all, is there something more behind the crazed killings?

Of course there is. This is a giallo, with a couple of very nice twists and turns. It’s clearly above average and Bava directs with intelligence and manages to hold together the story and characters and still spread around a few red herrings here and there. The script, even if it’s not that original, is still well written and gives the characters some depth. Tracy and Michele is the best developed, but Giovanni Lombardo Radice shows up doing an interesting character on the way. Gianni Garko and Erika Blanc have smaller parts, but still doing some good stuff here.

I admire Body Puzzle for two things: It has misdirection that works, and it surprised me the first time I saw it. It also has a good view on gay’s, which in Italian cinema often can be very exaggerated and on the brink to parody. Here they are written like “normal” humans, and are allowed to be funny, smart, mean, bad or whatever.

Like I wrote above, Lamberto has never been fond of graphic violence – and Body Puzzle is no different from this rule. It has one graphic, gory hand-shopping, but that’s about it. The rest is off-screen or only hinted. I know he can’t make movies like Demons everyday, but I would have liked a little bit more of the red stuff.

Body Puzzle is a good thriller with good actors and some nice twists. Not bad at all.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Deathstalker II (1987)

I’ve been a good boy and have been watching part 4 and part 3 earlier, but it wasn’t until now it felt safe to continue the saga backwards with Deathstalker II. The first movie must have been some hit, because four years later our hero is back in the form of John Terlesky and with a lot of more intentional campiness, violence and jokes.

This time he runs into a princess in exile, Reena the Seer (played by Monique Gabrielle). She don’t tell him that she’s a princess and lures him away to help her kill the evil magician and Reena’s evil clone, so she can bring happiness and joy to her people again. Deathstalker smells money and joins her, but Jarek the evil magician (John Lazar) wants to stop them and uses all his power to create danger!

Something like that. I don’t remember all the details, because the story is not that important here. It’s the adventure, action, comedy and nudity that’s the main focus under Jim Wynorski’s competent directing. The movie is full of jokes – some in-jokes, some stuff that could almost belong to a parody. The dialogue is campy and ironic, without getting annoying – and even Monique Gabrielle, who is a terrible actress, is a lot of fun in her twin roles.

John Terlesky is maybe not the best actor either, but has enough charm and wit to carry the Deathstalker-character with good one-liners and a lot of physical action. Both him and the character sometimes reminds me of Bruce Campbell in Army of Darkness. John Lazar, who starred in way to few movies over the years, is fun and over-the-top as Jarek (a common Polish name by the way) and has a lot of chemistry with colleague, the evil sorceress Sultana (Toni Naples).

Everything is thrown into the mix here: zombies (which rises from beneath the ground like good old classic living dead – and the gravestones are worse than in Plan 9 from Outer Space, here we even see how they look from behind!), mud-wrestling, real wrestling – with a fun cameo by female wrestler Queen Kong, lots of explosions - and hell, even some minor gore! In the end credits we see goofs and mistakes from the shooting, so the whole movie is made with a lot of fun and a wink in the eye.

A damn nice and fun matinee adventure for us grown-ups!

(ah, and the DVD I have is the Australian one. Crappy quality, but uncut)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Deathsport (1978)

I really can’t find words to describe Deathsport – but I guess ”stupid”, “ridiculous” and “awesome” could be fitting. It’s basically a rip-off on Roger Corman’s earlier Death Race 2000, but with zero budget and zero script. Not a bad thing really, but don’t expect to see any interesting satire or witty dialogue here, this is just very cheap entertainment!

Carradine is Kaz Oshay (!?!), a lone and spiritual warrior who rides around on his horse. But when it’s vaporized by the baddies, he finds himself in deep shit. But deep shit together with a sometimes nude woman isn’t bad, so lucky for him Deneer (Claudia Jennings) also is in prison and together with some of the other prisoners, they have to fight in Deathsport – which is a game where they’re driving around on motorbikes and shooting lasers on each other!

It’s not much more than that. Sometimes the story cuts to the president of this future country when he’s having a head ache in a strange black room where a naked woman is dancing around, and sometimes being tortured with sounds (I think). Richard Lynch is the president’s closest man and is evil, evil, evil. Jesse Vint (from Forbidden World) is his closest man and is kinda evil too.

Deathsport is a mess, and is filled with strange editing choices, cheap costumes and even cheaper sets. It has cannibalistic mutants with ping pong-eyes that live in caves, lots of nudity, stupid music and the corniest dialogue since the bible was written. But to be honest, it has a lot of entertainment value and is never boring – though the first half is very close to be boring. But then the game starts and it’s almost non-stop action until the end.

The action is cheap, but quite good. Nice stunts (very impressive fire stunts), a high body count, tons and tons of explosions and slow-motion and David Carradine in a very inspired performance. Both him and Lynch give it all here and makes surprisingly good performances, rather than sleeping thru another Corman-gig.

Trash, without a doubt, but good old American Corman-trash that never lets you down with it’s mix of boobs, explosions and stunts.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Nick Nicholson has left us :(

It saddens me very much to hear that Nick Nicholson is dead. You can read the words from his wife Annie here.

I never met him, but we was planning to go to the Philippines someday to visit some volcanos, and also drop by Nick. We never got the chance.

With Nick it always was a lot of emotions, like him, I'm also a hot-head, really not trying to hide our opinions about people. So when he started his ramblings (I don't think would mind me using that word), I saw myself in that so much.

Though I never commented much on his blog, we kept in contact thru email. The last time was this weekend when we as discussing some plans, and he seemed to very enthusiastic about it. "I love it" was the last message I got - just that. He was sick, but took the time to write back anyway.

So I went back to the other mails we shared, and it's hard to keep back the tears. "I don't mid discussing things with you as it does help to talk with somebody. I thank you for your concern, and am glad I have found a friend like you!". He sure could be very rough, but he was always so open, he could discuss, analyze, joke about everything. And it always helped me back on track, and hopefully the he felt the same way. Everytime some idiot made rude and offensive remarks against me, I'm being gay or what ever, at the blog, Nick showed up and wrote that I shouldn't care about those fuckers, that I should be doing what I want to do... I appreciated that a lot. A good man, with a very foul language :)

Last week I was chatting with Brian Trenchard-Smith. I wrote to him about The Man from Hong Kong and we had a little conversation. He said he was very proud of Firebase Gloria and I mentioned that I know Nick, who was in it. He wanted me to say hi to Nick and wrote that he was a great asset during the shooting of the movie and that he deserved more credit for his work. Nick was very happy hearing this, which he emailed me a couple of days ago. Now when I've been writing this, I forwarded the sad new to Trenchard-Smith who replied: "Vale, Nick...A good soldier, a strong actor, and a great guy. Manila will be less colorful without him.". See his impressive filmography here.

It was many years since I cried. But I do it know, which is strange. Many people probably knew him better than me, of us fans, but when I look back to all the wonderful emails, all the support he's given me (and I hope I gave that back to him too), tears is rolling down my face.

But still, I can laugh when I read Annies words on Nick's blog, that even if he was dying - with a bad heart and everything else - he fucked doctors order, ate his hamburger, coke and fries - kissed his wife and saying "I love you". That's life, man.

I'm very happy I got to know him, that I had the pleasure of discussing life with Nick. My regards go to Annie, his wife, and his family.

I borrowed this new photo of him, probably taken by Annie. I hope that's okey - or else I will remove it.


It's 5 x SyFy!

Most critics have the wrong approach to the production from SyFy (former Sci-Fi Channel). Even if they know what to expect, they have to whine and cry over crappy CG, silly scripts, uneven acting and absurd storylines. Why do they continue to bash these productions? I have no idea, but personally I think most of them has some good entertainment value – and some is more or less unwatchable.

Since Saturday I’ve been focusing to turn of my brain by watching five different SyFy-productions, all quite different from each other. I had a great time. I also started to watch Shark in Venice, with the Republican cover-boy Stephen Baldwin (obviously high on something), but first of all – it’s no an official SyFy-movie and second, it was crap – so I couldn’t finish it. Which is very rare in my house.

I started with House of Bones (2010), a haunted house-flick directed by Jeffery Scott Lando and with Corin Nemec in an extended cameo. This was a lot more fun that I thought it would be. The whole thing is a send up on reality ghost-hunting shows, with a wonderful and perfect pastiche on the credit sequence of a show called Sinister Sites. Hosted by Quentin French (Nemec) and his crew of ghost-hunters, this time visiting the terrible Wicker House. It won’t take long until they realize the house is a living being itself (with flesh inside the walls!) and starts killing them off one by one. Fun movie, creative and with good acting and some minor and nice gore.

After watching Corin Nemec in House of Bones I felt I finally needed to take a look at the notorious S.S. Doomtrooper (2006)! I don’t think it never been released on DVD and I didn’t find it on Nemec’s official page, which is a pity because it’s a very fun and quite violent WW2-movie with nice production values and probably one of the worst CG-creatures I’ve ever seen. A Nazi-Hulk! Expect this visual effect, this is a nice decent adventure-movie – and I think you all could be entertained by it. If I was the producer I would go back now, redo the CG-monster and release it again.

To much Nemec is not good, at least not in one day – so I decided to support Lou Diamond Phillips instead. Carny (2009) is a slightly more expensive movie than the first two. Excellent directing by Sheldon Wilson and a nice creature, both as a physical and digital effect. The Carnival-set is of course great, and so also the “freaks” there. Lou Diamond Phillips looks old, but he feels a lot more relaxed as a middle aged sheriff than the other parts I’ve seen him in recently. It also has a fun take on religious fanatism, which makes it the only SyFy-production I’ve seen with some kinda political standpoint.

Next up is Brian Trenchard-Smith’s Aztec Rex (2007)! Made on a very low budget, shot in 15 days on Hawaii… this is better than I first thought. It took some time to accept and get used to the very, very, very bad CG-dinosaur and the very, very, very, very bad wig on Ian Ziering’s (Why him? I would have chosen Dean Cain here) head, but after that it became a quite decent adventure-movie with some gore, gorgeous locations and the worlds smallest Aztec-community. But the story, with dirty, evil Spaniards coming to find some gold in Mexico works better and better and I was never bored. And yes, Ian Ziering is Cortes. Weirdest miscasting since Charlton Heston as a Mexican.

I saved the best for last, Sea Beast (2008)! Directed by my old favourite Paul Ziller and with... Corin Nemec as a grumpy old fisherman! Maybe not that old, but old enough to have a 17 year old daughter! Excellent cinematography and a bigger look make this one of the best SyFy-movies I’ve seen for a long while. The creatures are cool too, some two-legged fuckers that spits poison and then rips you to pieces. The gore is mostly after-the-fact, but it’s far from bloodless and has one great graphic gore-scene! Ziller is bothing mixing rubber-effects and CG and everything looks quite good. Nemec is convincing as the fisherman too, though I was very sceptical in the beginning.

So, five classics! :) Now I need to see something with depth and proper character development, so I can regain some brain cells!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Day of Violence (2010)

I consider myself quite lucky actually, for not being one of those who seen every British gangster-movie the last twenty years. I have no memories of those I’ve seen – which is very few – and have no idea what’s been released since then. A movie I will remember is Darren Ward’s A Day of Violence.

Nick Rendell is Mitchell, a new debt collector for a local sleazy little (he looks quite small) gangster boss, Curtis Boswell (Victor D. Thorn). There’s just one problem. At his last job, collecting a big debt from Hopper (Giovanni Lombardo Radice), he just steals the money... This was just private business, and everything is fine… until Curtis want’s him to collect the money at Hopper – because it’s his money!

Here the shit hits the fan, and there will be a lot violence during this long, shitty, fucked-up day...

Why do I consider my lucky to have so little knowledge about British gangster movies? I just can’t compare this one with any other movie in the same genre! Almost all reviews I’ve seen so far mention a certain director, but I have no intention to do that. I think that A Day of Violence stands on its own legs, very much so. Show digital, but with great energy and a lot of inspired actors, this is a damn fun and intensive movie.

Nick Rendell is convincing in the lead, so also the other bigger actors – though I was confused in the beginning because of at least two other actors with a similar look like Nick – quite big boys with shaved heads. The Mitchell-character seem to act on instinct, he don’t think that much and don’t seem to care so much about what’s going to happen to him – or to others around him.

Giovanni Lombardo Radice is phenomenal! I love his character, the little time he’s in the movie. He’s freaky, disgusting, over-the-top and still realistic. That beard, man! He makes a great character and if this movie didn’t have any gore or violence I would recommend you all to buy it just because of him!

Another spot-on performance is Victor D. Thorn, who plays a bad guy directly from an Eighties Bronson-movie. He's he truly bad person, extremely rude and cold - and Thorn is great in the part. There's something with his delivering of lines that reminds of someone. Everything he says is calculated to his own advantage, which makes the character even more despicable!

But do you know what? This movie has a fucking lot of gore and violence. I mean, it’s bizarre. It’s mostly squibs and stabbings – with blood spraying everywhere, but also a couple of very nasty torture-scenes which I’m surprised managed to slip by the UK censorship. The action is handled very well too, with a couple of nice shoot-outs (and one impressive massacre at a night club) a huge body count.

I guess this movie isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s nice to see such a over-the-top action/gangster movie with such fantastic squibs, good acting and violence – and probably made for a small percent of what that other British gangster-director spends on his movies.

This movie might not win any Oscar for best foreign movie, but I’m sure it will win your ripped out, bloody hearts!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Primal Rage (1988)

The wait has been long for me, ever since I saw the cool poster and video art a thousand years ago, but Primal Rage is one of those movies that lives up to its hype. This is a damn goofy, silly, entertaining, gory and fast-paced piece of US-Italian horror with no pretentions of being to smart, but is aware of that.

Anyway, some doctor in brain-diseases makes experiments on a monkey and a journalist at university magazine is sneaking inside the lab, upsets the money - who breaks free, bites him, jumps thru a window and gets killed by a car. The journalist gets sick, infects his new girlfriend with a violent kiss on the throat and she infects some local hoodlums – and now it’s up to the friends to the first two infected to save the day!

Yeah, it’s more or less a simpler version of 28 Days Later, but with a nice eighties-soundtrack and a cool score by Claudio Simonetti. Did I mention the script by Umberto Lenzi? I’m not kidding you when I say it’s well-written, because it delivers what it’s suppose to deliver: entertainment. The dialogue is a bit corny (”Hey, you dildos!”), but fits fine with the style and feeling of the movie.

Vittorio Rambaldi, the son of the famous Carlo, is doing a very good job with the directing and makes the movie look a lot more bigger and more spectacular than the budget probably allowed in the first place. Like Umberto Lenzi’s Nightmare Beach it feels very American, but with a lot more visual class than a lot of the US movies in the same genre from that time.

And talking about Rambaldi, it’s father Rambaldi together with Alex Rambaldi who’s behind the impressive make-up and gore-effects. The red juice flows steadily without becoming a real splatter movie and it’s a lot of fun kills to look forward too. My favourite is not the goriest, a person with a three-nosed mask (the noses are formed like water taps) who’s getting his head crushed (I think, hard to see) and the blood starts flowing from all the noses! Most of the gore is during the big masquerade-party at the end (with a lot of fun and creative masks and dresses by the way), and even if it’s nothing big and extreme, I don’t think anyone will be disappointed.

Primal Rage is released uncut and in widescreen by Code Red, and I think you all should BUY it and nothing else. Support your local DVD-distributor, especially those that are small and often vulnerable.

End of the World (1977)

"Some of the films I've been in I regret making. I got conned into making these pictures in almost every case by people who lied to me. Some years ago, I got a call from my producers saying that they were sending me a script and that five very distinguished American actors were also going to be in the film. Actors like José Ferrer, Dean Jagger and John Carradine. So I thought "Well, that's all right by me". But it turned out it was a complete lie. Appropriately the film was called End Of The World."

That’s what Christopher Lee remembers about End of the World, and even if I can understand his anger of being fooled into making a movie with old friends and none of them (except Dean Jagger) is cast, he’s a bit to harsh against this Charles Band-produced sci-fi/disaster/thriller. Hardly a fan favourite, but if you look beyond some of the silliness, it’s actually quite cool.

Kirk Scott is Andrew Boran, communication-expert. Under a period he’s been tracing signals from earth to space and back again. When he finally decrypts them, the message is creepy and points to that the earth is going to be destroyed. He traces the signals and finds that they lead to a monastery. The place is run by Father Pergado (Christopher Lee) and a staff of six nuns. At first everything seem fine, but when Andrew get back to his lab and finds out that he’s mention in the messages to space, he realize that something is very wrong with them...

It’s a simple story, but actually works fine. The budget is very low, very low and some scenes and sets is very cheesy. The control room, that we’re spending some time in later in the movie, looks like it filled of props from some old Ed Wood-movie and the disaster scenes is stock footage from (among others) Mark Robson’s Earthquake. In a low budget movie like this, it works fine and is eerie to see the disasters only on crappy monitors in the control room.

But the script holds up and never explains too much. Lee is good as usual, and so most of the actors. Joel Goldsmith, the son of Jerry, is credited with the weird and abstract electronic sound/music together with Andrew Belling, and is one of the best things with the movie. It ads to the quirkiness a lot.

Not as bad as I expected and an interesting little sci-fi movie with some deep flaws, but also a lot of highlights.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Another award!

As you can see on the side of the blog I got a Versatile Award recently, and sorry - I just can't find the original post where I got it, so the person/blog giving it to me can step forward I will post a link and some other info - it's been a bit to much with work recently.

But today I got another one! This time I won't forget! It's from Cinezilla and this is what he wrote about Ninja Dixon and why he gave me the award:

1. Ninja Dixon. Yes this is a great spot that I usually start the day off with, visit during lunch, and then check out again before I fall asleep on the couch. This guy can write up between one to four films during a day, so you have to be alert if you want to keep up. The blog is run by a one of a kind enthusiast, multi talented chap who’s rants and rambles on the most strange selection of movies in a fashion that makes me either want to revisit the stuff he covers or enjoy it for the first time. Toppo nothcho as Miss Hannah Minx would say…
I appreciate it a lot!!! :) Always a good way to start the day!

Now, when you get an award it's normal to give this award away to other amazing blogs. I've done it before, but I will wait a little. I'm planning my own award for later this year...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Phantom Killer (1981)

One of my favourite genres, no matter the country of origin, is the classic murder mystery. I guess that’s why I love giallo’s for example. It’s always fun when some other country delivers a nice mystery, and when I saw Phantom Killer at DDDHouse, I knew I needed it. Directed by the legendary actor Stanley Fung (who you all will recognize if you google his name), this is a both a dark and violent movie, but also in the tradition of old-school kung fu.

Wai Pak plays the hunky and popular Siu, a well respected man by everyone. There’s just one problem: all the girls that he meets ends up getting killed by a mysterious skeleton-masked serial killer! Wai is of course a suspect, but his good looks and charming personality is more or less proof that he’s innocent. Instead he helps the police with the investigation, during which the body count continues…

Phantom Killer isn’t by any means a unique movie, but it’s never boring and has a lot of good fighting. Not fantastic fighting, but still above average. The end fight especially, which is top-notch. The red herrings are many, and the twists are more than in a normal giallo. I had a few ideas who the killer was, but didn’t have a chance when new leads was introduced! No problem with the acting either, but it would have been nice with some more blood – because this is a serial killer movie!

I’m not sure if the music is stolen or is stock music, but it sounds different – very European – and fits the movie perfectly. Some cues here and there reminded me of Fabio Frizzi’s score to The Beyond, but I’m not sure.

Not a classic that will rock your world or make world peace, but I liked it a lot and it was a hugely entertaining mix of murder mystery and martial arts.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Profile in Anger (1984)

I once saw the trailer for Profile in Anger over at Jack’s place, and I fell for it directly. It’s an insane and violent trailer, which made the movie look like the best Hong Kong-movie ever. Unfortunately that’s not the case, but after a rather slow and boring first half, it finally kicked into action with some generic, but still cool action scenes.

Leung Kar Yan plays Liang, a famous ex-sportsman and nowadays just rich and happy. He’s just gonna marry his girlfriend and is meeting her at the airport. There he also meets an old schoolmate and they bring him home, because he just arrived from South Africa. During the night the schoolmate disappears and a little while later Liang’s girlfriend his brutally killed.

Furious with revenge Liang understands that he’s also under attack, and hides and try to figure out why it’s happening. After several violent attacks he’s going crazy, start to grow a beard and works out at the gym until he becomes a deadly fighting-machine! And finally he can take his revenge…

I’m not gonna hide it, but Profile in Anger is a quite silly movie. It’s also the directorial debut for Leung Kar Yan, which he handles quite well – it’s more the script that could have needed a little bit more work. The first part is more of a stupid love-drama, then becomes a normal revenge-movie, until he goes crazy, builds himself a Mad Max-style battle truck and fights a deformed killer who prefers to fight in his underwear!

That killer is no one else than the brilliant Phillip Ko, who makes the best performance in the movie and also – which is weird, because the role is quite small – has the best written character. He’s crazy, psychotic – but also loving against his girlfriend/wife.

So the script and character (and beard) is all over the place. How’s the action then? Yes, it’s very violent (this version can be cut, probably a scene when a drill enters a hand) and bloody, lots of hard-hitting fights and some really cool stunts. A cool scene is where a motor cross-gang of gay post-apocalyptic drug users is attacking a restaurant with their vehicles! But at the same time the action and fighting isn’t especially extraordinary. Just something you’ve seen a thousand times before and after. It’s not bad, but could have been funnier. But all violence has a very mean-spirited streak of sadism, so don’t be afraid – this is not boring Wuxia-movie for children.

Still quite fun and violent, I think I can recommend it to all of you that appreciates something out of the typical mainstream.

Murder Obsession (1981)

A perfect companion with Riccardo Freda’s earlier movie Tragic Ceremony, Murder Obsession is actually better than what I’ve heard over the years – but it’s far from some forgotten masterpiece. After an awkward start, the movie picks up pace and makes the simple plot more complex and delivers some nice set-pieces and a few unexpected twists and turns.

Stefano Patrizi plays Michael Stanford, famous horror-actor with a terrible childhood-trauma: he killed his abusive father with a knife! After going a bit to far during a scene in his latest movie, he decides to visit his mother at her mansion. They haven’t seen each other for many years, which could be because of the murder – or the weird incestous feeling over their past relationship. Michael brings a few friends with him over the weekend, and soon they’re getting killed one by one…

Murder Obsession is one of those movies where it’s easy to point out the bad things. The acting is most of the time very bad – or at least uninspired. Stefano Patrizi walks around with a blank face and the others seem uninterested in what they’re doing. Anita Strindberg and Laura Gemser are the only ones with some charisma, but they are far from their best. The pacing is also very uneven, and some of the editing is sloppy – which is probably because of lack of footage to work with. Just watch the dialogue-scene in the car in the beginning, which is two angles – almost the same angles – which they are cutting back and forth between.

As with Tragic Ceremony there is also some big mistakes that they probably just didn’t bother to remove, like the head of a camera man (or maybe focus puller) showing up very clearly in a mirror, a very fake knife and a couple of other things. That really don’t bother me, but it’s sign of “we just don’t care”.

BUT after half the movie it’s getting better, and darker. The characters suddenly becomes more interesting – but still very shallow – the story is getting darker. We get a long dream sequence which is both very cheesy and very cool (complete with rubber-bats and a big ugly rubber-spider). The movie actually becomes more gothic the longer it goes, with darkly lit corridors and stairs, scary basements and occultism. The script becomes more fun to, with a couple of nice twists and some interesting character developments. Another interesting detail is the small homages Freda makes to other famous horror movies of the time. I don’t think it’s rip-offs, but it feels like small winks to Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Suspira, which works better than expected.

And the gore. Yes, the infamous gore. Two scenes, very bloody and graphic – but also very primitive and silly. Thousands miles from the gory quality of Rambaldi’s effects in Tragic Ceremony. But still, it’s gore and blood and it always makes a movie like this even better.

I’m happy I finally got a chance to buy and see Murder Obsession, but if you’re picky about your eurocult, stay closer to safe cards like Deep Red or something by Bava. This is for us that gone further…

Monday, August 2, 2010

Headhunter (2004)

It’s traaaaaash-time at Ninja Dixon. It’s not often nowadays, I know. But I will be better, promise folks! There seem to be tons and tons of cheap shot on video movies in Thailand, and during a period cheap 3D-movies shot on video was even more popular. They never reached outside Thailand and its VCD and DVD-market, and I guess most people just are happy because of that. Me, a brave man, likes to dive into the unknown and therefore I’ve seen – so you don’t have to – Headhunter!

A serial killer (no, actually two serial killers) are murdering their way thru Bangkok (I think…) and is collection body parts. Their dad is a man with black magic as a speciality and he want to create a new man, a “Frankenstein’s Monster” more or less, but will make him alive with magic instead of electricity.

After one of the sons is killed by the police they want to take revenge on them, and kidnaps and chops up the brother of our hero-cop. Not soon after that, they have a zombie, a living dead super-strong killer built of body parts – and the head of the brother!

Yes, Headhunter is cheap trash with cheap gore and cheap acting. It’s not boring, I can’t say that, but a lot of the story is destroyed by two other characters – a nosy female journalist and her very stereotypical gay photographer. They are written like two morons and is totally unnecessary for the story. They’re just there to be some kinda silly, idiot non-funny comic relief.

The gore is cheap, but its quite bloody – though it’s nothing to some other Thai movies I’ve seen. What works though is the 3D, which looks fine and a lot better than I expected. The colours look realistic and the depth is ok, at least when the camera is moving around on rail or on a steady cam. Even if you would see this in 2D, there is not chance in hell that you would have missed the 3D-feeling because there’s something always pointing towards the camera, always!

Headhunter is crappy, cheap entertainment. Nothing else.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Losers (1970)

I’m officially impressed. Mostly because director Jack Starett and screenwriter Alan Caillou was brave enough to take a typical exploitation-movie and raise it above what everyone probably expected. The Losers has every ingredient a exploitation-movie should have: nudity, graphic violence, exploding huts, cool actors and shot in the Philippines. BUT here comes the surprise, mixed with this is a quite smart and multi-layered movie with well-written characters and a world that’s not black and white.

Armageddon comes to mind when analyzing the concept in The Losers. Why not just take a couple of good soldiers and teach them driving motorcycles even better than choosing a bunch of rednecks and trying to make them do a secret mission in Cambodia? I guess you can see the connection to Armageddon (something even Michael Bay jokes about).

But it’s an absurd world, it’s a ridiculous idea – something one of the characters says in the end – but it could probably happen in the brain of some crazy military. On the other side, they don’t have to waste any more soldier-blood. Anyway, the bikers arrive – lead by Link (William Smith – awesome as usual) and of course they starting to behave badly, continuing their lifestyle with hookers, drugs and bar fights.

After being threaten with seven years in prison, Link gets them to work together and save the ass of an American, Chet Davis (an excellent Jack Starett himself, a bit drunk too in some scenes) – but of course, not everything goes as planned and in the end it’s hard to tell the bad guys from the good guys…

Yes, this is far from the normal men-on-a-mission movie. Our “heroes” comes off as kinda childish, immature. Violent and racist too, with no respect for either women or children. One of them is beating an old lady and also giving a child some brutal spanking. Later children are shot down by one of them. When it’s revealed that one of the more sympathetic characters was in prison for five years for raping young girls, it’s suddenly a mental stand-off between him and a higher ranking person, because not even him is good. He tries to defend himself, with some clichéd words about freedom and “You don’t understand us”, but by then it’s a joke. A very sad joke.

There’s more stuff that sets this movie apart from a lot of other movies in the same genre, and that feels genuine. But the real reason people went to see this movie was probably because of the fantastic and bloody action!

Yes, ton’s of Peckinpah-esque slow-mo, big squibs, explosions, crazy stunts and over all a damn fine action movie. Starett probably had very little to work with, but with fantastic editing and brilliant camera work this makes a movie that is highly impressive and makes even bigger-budgeted movies look weak and small.

It’s easy to appreciate The Losers, either you like it for the drama and satire or the action and bloodshed. This has it all, everything you need.