Sunday, March 27, 2011

D@bbe (2006)

I had D@bbe in my piles of unwatched DVD’s for quite a while now, but in my ongoing project to watch movies in my collection I haven’t it just jumped out at me, so why not? Directed by Hasan Karacadag, this is a movie clearly inspired by the Japanese horror tradition, but as usual with Turkey mixed with local traditions and Islamic symbolism – something many other countries in the west doing their best to forget, just copying US production without any local flavour.

One unlucky guy accepts a job creating a web page (I think). But after a little while he starts to act strange and finally takes suicide with sticking a big knife thru his neck. His friends want to find the reason for this, and not soon after that they begin to see horrible visions and terrible ghost-like creatures crawling out from walls and floors. They are fed with more and more clues, and soon they one by one is dying or disappearing, or just acting very weird…

I was sceptic at first. It feels like a VERY cheap movie, shot digital and with some uneven editing choices. But after 30 minutes or so I suddenly felt how I was drawn into the movie and both story and the technical issues came together to something quite impressive. The visuals and pacing is obviously inspired by Japanese movies like Ringu or Ju-On, it’s a mystery that very slowly unfolds itself without explaining too much. I hate when movies make everything so damn clear. I want to think a little bit for myself.

By the way, I think the digital look of the movie is very fitting. It’s a movie that focuses a lot on emails, computers, monitors, cell phones. It enhances the digital coldness of the horror and works very fine with the modern locations and simple digital effects. The effects are cheap, but gets more and more effective the longer the movie goes. The manipulation of faces and ghosts actually is very good, but don’t expect Hollywood-effects. This is cruder, but also quite scary.

At two hours D@bbe certainly takes its time, but if you get past that first half hour and watch it with concentration, this lives up to it’s premise and goes for a dark, down-beat ending far away from the normal mainstream productions.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cyborg: Director’s cut (1989)

First of all, I’ll have to confess that it was ages since I saw Albert Pyun’s Cyborg. It could be as far back as VHS! I’ve always been a big fan of the Pyunster, but for a while – a few years – I had a surprisingly dislike for Jean-Claude Van Damme, and I think this helped me stay away from Cyborg even longer. Nowadays I worship Van Damme, even his bad movies, and really appreciate this work as a fighter AND actor. So when I got the chance to own the director’s cut of Cyborg on DVD I also felt that the time was right for a revisit.

Originally titled Slinger by Pyun (which is a more appropriate title), this starts of dark and gets even dark the further it goes. Rickenbacker, the character played by Van Damme, is hanging crucified on a desolate place, rambling. And then the story starts. The idea is not original by itself, a lone mercenary transporting (or protecting) something important through a dangerous trip, but I must say that Pyun really succeeds in giving Cyborg a very bleak look at the future. The music, by Tony Riparetti, helps a lot with setting the tone, for example. The “drama”, which is there is more of than action, is slow and low-key, with a refreshingly lack of boring dialogue. But when the action hits, it hits hard and brutal and fast. It’s also quite bloody, but it’s nothing compared to todays bloodshed in cinemas.

It gets a bit confused story-wise with the leading ladies, but Van Damme is such an important presence that they story lean on him when getting to complicated regarding characters. Rickenbacker is, after all, us a lone samurai directly from one of those Japanese classics. Haunted by his past and filled with revenge. He pretends to have a very objective view at life, when he in secret actually cares more than he will let us believe.

One of the finest sequences in the movie (together with the wonderful stop-motion cyborg, I guess its stop-motion…) is the action scene in the rundown building out in the forest, high up above the tree-tops. Because it was such a long time ago since I saw the released cut I have no idea if this scene was re-edited, and if it was – it’s a damn scandal. This is ultra-stylish, über-violent and just beautiful to watch. All fight scenes are very effective, but everything in this scene stands out from the rest. The end fight is also excellent, and I’m one of those suckers that like hunks fighting in the rain with knifes – can it be more romantic?

The director’s cut is visually a masterpiece, and I wish this version was the version out officially. Now it’s not the case, but even this rough version – with several different ratios, uneven colors and sound and of course VHS-quality (which most of the time is good, no problem with that, but there’s a few non-action scenes which has at least a couple of generations crappier quality) – is such a cool, violent and excellent post-apocalyptic movie. I’m not sure I like the look of those flashbacks to the idyllic house, it takes away some of the magic in those scenes, but it also strengthens the dread in the rest of the movie.

I need to go back to the non-Pyun version too see what’s different, but for me this is the THE version to watch from now on. I can’t imagine it can be a better movie than this.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Code Name: Wild Geese (1984)

If miniatures are porn for me, Antonio Margheriti’s Code Name: Wild Geese are the ultimate in kinky sex. I hope you all know what I mean, because this movie has so many cool minature-effects its dream come true for miniatureophiles. I guess only Commando Leopard, from the same team, could be a competitor in this special alternative world of small buildings, small bridges, small cars and big explosions.

The story is kinda vague, as usual, with Lewis Collins leading a gang of tough guys into the wilderness to take down a drug factory, or something. Anyway, Lee Van Cleef is helping him and the people who send him out are, among others, Klaus Kinski and Ernest Borgnine. This is one big, fat excuse for showing a lot of action and explosions, a mighty fine bodycount and some impressive scenerys if the Philippine jungle!

I’ve said it before: Antonio Margheriti was one of the finest action directors EVER. No one could shoot a big scale action scene like good old Antonio, with a smart combination of cool miniature work and real life explosions and wild stunts. I also appreciate how he captures local colors, it’s never clean or neat, it’s dirty and raw – but never really nasty. He never was fond of blood and gore. He’s one of the few directors that could make the Philippines look beautiful, even when he’s only shooting in really rundown areas and junkyards!

Also, please, take notice of of how excellent he films miniatures – an artform by itself. The light always feels natural and even if the minitatures themselves can be a bit rought, they are so detailed and so well-shot that you buy the illusion totally. But the magic lies in the lightning, something that only Margheriti and the Japanese had the knowledge to do. Code Name: Wildgeese has one insane sequence, a car-chase, which goes from being real cars outside a tunnel to a miniature-chase where the cars drive on the walls inside the tunnel (yes, like in Men in Black!)! Sure, you can see they are miniatures, but they are so well-made.

So, what do we have except a ton of action? Great actors of course. Lewis Collins is one of my favorites nowadays, a James Bond-ish actor which kills with elegance and handle the most stupid dialogue excellent. Here he’s backed-up by Klaus Kinski, Ernest Borgnine and Lee Van Cleef – all which do decent jobs, even of Van Cleef seem very tired/bored during some scenes. Luciano Pigozzi, the Peter Lorre of Italy, plays a priest and does it well. A nice selection of German actors, for example Manfred Lehmann, does a good job too. What maye tend to forget is that Mimsy Farmer has a nice little part too, but she’s really never any part of the story and feels more like the token female than anything else.

This is one of the finest, together with Commando Leopard, men-on-a-mission flicks from the happy Eighties, and another showcase for the brilliant eye of Antonio Margheriti.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hell's Trap (1990)

It’s hard to understand that Hell’s Trap (or the way cooler original title, Trampa Infernal!) was released in 1990, because the fantastic mullets and outdated clothes make it seem more like 1987. Produced by the Galindo Group, and that means – as usual – that this is more or less a family affair. Pedro Galindo III handles the direction duties this time and does it very well. But over to the story:

A couple of youths (I’m not sure they are suppose to be teenagers) goes out on the wilderness to… hunt bear! Dressed in the “latest” fashion and with no obvious skill in hunting bear (but with fixing their hair). After almost killing a rabbit they settle for the night, just to await their horrible destiny: a killer with a pale, anonymous mask on his face, a female wig and Freddy Krueger’s saw-glove on! Yes, saw-glove, no knifes here. This killer is no damn pussy!

To be honest, Hell’s Trap is an effective backwoods-slasher with quite a good amount of blood (but no gore) and well-directed by Pedro Galindo III. Even if the story is extremely unoriginal, the killer is creepy and the kids (at least) funny to look at. The action, chases and so on is shot better than usual in this kind of low-budget flick and delivers a few surprising deaths.

This is one of the first Mexican commercial horror movies from the eighties I’ve seen who was shot in Spanish and not dub seem to have been made. Which is a bit weird, because this form of horror movie must have been easy to sell to other markets. This was a time when such an “odd” language like Spanish in a non-art movie surely would have been overdubbed with the more accessible English.

But sure, this is no masterpiece and those who expect something expensive and very graphic will be disappointed. I wasn’t, because it managed to entertain me, which haven’t been possible with a slasher for a long time now.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Don't Panic (1988)

Forget Freddie and Jason. Virgil's the newest nightmare in town.

Yes, Don’t Panic sets the bar high (or low, depend how you see it) and to be fair, it’s a lot better and entertaining than the rumour says. When I first saw it some years ago I wasn’t especially impressed. I found it boring and way over its head in trying to do a serious horror movie. But after all the thousands of movies I’ve seen, it’s actually just a typical eighties horror movie, just with a way lower budget than usual, uglier hair cuts and a pyjamas that defines ugliness.

After some horny Mexican teens play with an Ouija board, they resurrect an evil demon called Virgil! He possesses one of the boys and starts to stalk the curly-haired hero of our movie, Michael (Jon Michael Bischof). Of course no one believes him, not even his alcoholic mother or those who sees the red eyes he gets when Virgil is in killer-mode. Anyway, Virgil goes after everyone that was present when the Ouija board-incident happen with a big shiny knife!

In short this is a Mexican version of A Nightmare on Elm Street, kinda, maybe a bit more of ANOES part 2 (but very straight-safe) plus a healthy dose of The Eyes of Laura Mars. What I appreciate here, even if I love the Freddy Krueger-character, is that Virgil is a serious dude. No jokes, no slapstick. Just killing teens with a big knife. Jon Michael Bischof is not bad in the lead, but he’s the only one carrying the movie too. None of the other actors are really worth watching. The effects aren’t that bad, and quite bloody and Ruben Galindo Jr makes the movie work despite a very weak script.

The truth is, and it’s obvious, that the reason why the movie has a bad reputation is that it’s VERY outdated in fashion, music and a also sports a very naive look at teenagers. I mean, poor Michael is running around in a pyjamas who look like something a five year old could wear, only made for someone close to seventeen.

And because I’m a gentleman I won’t even mention the eyebrows of Gabriela Hassel. Oups, I did it anyway. Darn.

If you can look beyond the mega-cheesiness and the infamous Michael-goes-rampage in his room-scene, this is a decent entry into the eighties horror legacy. Ruben Galindo Jr is one of my favourite exploitation directors, and I can recommend everything horror-related he’s directed. But be prepared for something very cheesy.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hostages (1980)

One of the best exploitation-directors ever out there is Rene Cardona Jr. Yes, without a doubt! I love the man and I love his work. Sure, some stuff has been less than stellar, but he surely knows how to tell a story and bring some glamour into any kind of b-action movie. Tonites choice in the house of Ninja Dixon was an old favourite, the absurdly action-packed Hostages, a movie that very effectively brings three genres together as one Hugo Stiglitz-o-rama macho-fest!

Some thugs rob a casino, but during the getaway they split up and everything are fucked-up. One part of the gang ends up in a nice, expensive neighbourhood where a rich businessman and his family live. They are taken hostages, and now the fight for survival begins! Outside, somewhere, in a nice beard and with a loaded gun, is Hugo Stiglitz on the hunt to kill some criminals!

The script for Hostages is a fantastic mix of stories, all which works way better than they should. First it’s a heist-movie, which goes wrong. Then a car-chase flick, which leads to a terror-flick and then ends like smaller version of Airport 1975! Yes, this script never let a fan of b-action down! Cardona handles the small budget very well, and delivers a lot of action. Shoot-outs, a good car-chase, another chase where Stiglitz ends up on the roof of a speeding bus, nail-biting tension when the family are trying to save themselves, explosions and finally a small airplane out of control, and it’s up to someone on the ground to talk it down! Every cliché in the book, but it’s so damn entertaining.

One of the funniest scenes are when Stiglitz is on the bus (and it seem to be him, no stuntman) and one of the bad guys has an accident and slams into a van beside the road and lands on the ground with the guts all spilled out! That and a lot of nice squibs and some nudity, makes Hostages both an effective thriller in it’s own right, but also a fine slice of exploitation.

A co-production between Mexico, Italy, Spain and Venezuela, this movie has a fine cast: Hugo Stiglitz, Stuart Whitman, Antonella Interlenghi, Marisa Mell and Francisco Rabal. All doing very fine here, another quality of Rene Cardona Jr’s work – always good performances from everyone involved.

Hostages aren’t out on DVD, not officially. I have an old Swedish x-rental and also a US bootleg, which has ok tape-quality (even if the tape is very worn in the middle of the movie). If you find it cheap it’s worth picking up, or just find yourself a tape on eBay.

They don’t make movies like this any more, which is a pity. The world needs Hugo Stiglitz, Stuart Whitman and Rene Cardona Jr to survive, to be able to cope with natural disasters, the upcoming end of the world, famine and animal abuse. Well, maybe not. But they deliver, as usual, a lot of fun entertainment for the moment – which is enough for me.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I’m kinda late here in the biz, just when everything is dying and we’re leaving DVD to VOD and similar stuff. But you know, I had to do it. I had to at least once try it, mostly because I want to see some of my favorite obscure movies on non-bootleg DVDs.

So let me introduce to you, ATTACKAFANT ENTERTAINMENT. And it’s possible to write with small letters too ;)

What I miss on the DVD-market is weird Asian movies, odd exploitation from Thailand, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong and so on. We’re not talking the normal martial arts flicks, we’re talking trashier stuff, wilder stuff. Mondo Macabro, one of the best companies in the biz, has released some amazing Asian stuff – but I don’t even want to compare myself with them. I’m in a much more primitive league.

I bought the rights to two movies, and those two might be the only titles I release… we’ll see what happen. Here they are…

The Killer Elephants (Thailand, 1976)
One of my favorites, this ultra-cheap and ultra-entertaining action movie with superstar-hunk Sombat Metanee will blow your mind when it comes to trashy action. The concept with the movie is that one of the gangs has trained killer-elephants who stomps, crushes and causes havoc to the poor suckers that meet them! You can read my review here. The knocked-out-by-elephant-dick-scene is a classic ;)

Thunder of Gigantic Serpent (Taiwan/Hong Kong,1988)
Yes, Joseph Lao’s cut & paste classic finally out on DVD! For this movie Joseph Lai and Godfrey Ho used footage from a Taiwanese monstermovie, King of Snake, and edited it together with new footage with legendary Pierre Kirby. No Ninjas, but a lot of monster action (Moslar!!!), a terrible cute kid and not always fitting-footage with western actors running around. What’s there not to love?

These versions where prepared for the international video market in the Eighties, so they are in fullscreen and with English dubbing. I’m using digibeta masters directly from Joseph Lai. For The Killer Elephants I MIGHT also include a widescreen version, sourced from a German VHS tape. Because of the cost I will make these on DVD-R, professionally manufactured in a factory. You won’t see any difference from a normal DVD. I will try to include some extras, but more on that later.

I bought the rights for Scandinavia, so the plan is to have at least Swedish subtitles. I’m sure there won’t be any problems for you outside Scandinavia to buy them from some store that ships internationally. I'm just a small business, nothing big and fancy, doing this to be able to see my favorite movies out on disc.

Yeah, that’s it. Check back for more info about release dates, new homepage, coverart, specs and of course screenshots.

Please spread the word about Attackafant Entertaiment and I would be very happy :) And hey, "like" my Facebook-page too! You find it here!