Friday, May 27, 2011

Theatre of Blood (1973)

To let me write a review of Theatre of Blood is like giving puppy dog tails to the big green dragon that eat puppy dog tails. My life with TOB has been long and nice and I plan to watch it many, many times in the future. The first version I got was a HORRIBLE bootleg-tape, I’m sure we’re talking ten generations down! It was virtually impossible to watch – but I watched it anyway and fell in love with a movie that I consider the best black comedy of all time. Some years later I found a nice-looking tape at the Sci-fi bookstore in Stockholm nowadays I’ll stick with the Midnite Movies-version until a better version comes around.

The story is so familiar I won’t even comment on it, but let’s instead discuss the art of playing a bad actor in a masterful way. This is a hard thing to grasp, because Vincent Price makes one of his best performances ever and is basically playing a happy, over-the-top actor who very rarely leaves his character of a bad actor going bad. I’m sure Vincent is the only one who could have done this to perfection, mostly he was very good in doing campy performance, but with an edge. Edward Lionheart himself, the character played by Price, isn’t THAT bad of an actor, just very hammy. But he sure has passion and fits great on a theatre stage. I’m sure the reason Lionheart became hated by the critics was his 100 % lack of self-distance.

So what could have been a very campy and silly horror movie transforms itself to one of the smartest and best black comedies of all time. The horror is gory and bloody, and the filmmaker never shy away from the gruesome stuff, which makes it work even better. To make it black you have to really go all the way. But in the middle of all the violence, happy Shakespeare-recreations and the solid cast we have a scenes that brings everything down to earth, something that shows the humanity – and self-indulgence – of Edward Lionheart. This happens just after he didn’t get the award for best actor, and rushes up to the critics and holds a final speech before throwing himself from the balcony. This is by far the strongest scene in the movie, because both Vincent suddenly becomes so real. This is him, this is the real Lionheart, far from over-acting. If this wasn’t a horror movie with blood and gore it would have given Vincent Price an Oscar.

It’s a scene that’s needed to balance the campiness, to give the characters, the motive and story extra depth. And I never get tired of this scene. It still gives me goose-bumps. Sometimes even tears in my eyes…

I also want to turn your attention to another of the movies brilliant performance. All actors are perfect, but Harry Andrews is my favourite. He personifies the dirty old man with Trevor Dickman! This is of course even more fun when you put in perspective that Andrews was gay and in ab longtime relationship with his partner Basil Hoskins. I guess it takes someone completely opposite to play dirty old men hunting young women! Anyway, in his final scene he’s gonna act to be a bad actor – and I mean REALLY bad. And he makes it so good that I can remember all bad amateur actors I’ve seen in hundreds of indie SOV movies, school plays and local TV-advertising. I’m impressed, very impressed.

Ok, this wasn’t a review. It was mostly ramblings about acting in a movie about acting and I never get tired of that. Theatre of Blood is one helluva movie and the crown on Vincent Price’s impressive career. I miss him a lot, because he’s one of those actors I really would have liked to talk with, listen to. If he was alive today I would have been 100 years young and I’m sure he would have kept going with everything he loved: acting, food, art and just having a blast.

Happy Birthday Vince, thanks for making me see how we all could enjoy life to the fullest!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Firefist of the Incredible Dragon (1982)

I would never have seen this movie if it wasn’t for Mr Jensen, the Danish master of Asian exploitation, who got for a penny from I never been really fond of old school Kung Fu, and this looked like one of those movies that was factory-made in Hong Kong during the seventies and probably lacked every kind of entertainment-value. But no, that was not the case. Instead it was a South Korean martial arts-horror movie! Sure, set in Ancient times – but it’s (parts of it at least) horror and sleaze!

Because of the moronic English dubbing and slightly confusing cast of characters I had certain problems trying to figure out the story, but I guess I got this right: rich middle-aged bastard raped and killed and girl, and maybe her lover, and now they’re coming back as ghosts for revenge! Maybe just the girl, I’m not sure if her lover is a zombie or not. But he has grey hair and a deformed face and seems a bit upset.

This could have been a normal revenge from beyond the grave-kinda movie, but it’s not. First of all, it’s shocked-filled with nudity and sleaze. Even my dear bf, Gregory, looked up from his computer and said “Hey, this movie has a LOT of sex!” and imitated the ridiculous “sexy” dubbing from the voice actors. This is of course very fine and nice and makes these kind of movies extra entertaining. BUT this has something very special, a god damn killer-heart! Yes, a flying heart who bashes peoples faces in, makes their head explode and is very aggressive.

Probably the most aggressive killer-heart I’ve ever seen in the movies. Probably the ONLY killer-heart I’ve seen in the movies. And yes, it’s a very fake-looking rubber-heart hanging on a thread, flying around like a crazed bat. Here and there we also get some old school kung fu, but most of the time the story is focused on sleaze and during the last half, the angry heart.

Firefist of the Incredible Dragon has a couple of gorgeous scenes, not the fighting, but when one of the characters is haunted by a couple of ghostly women and another scene when bodies (I guess) breaks free from the snowy ground, and flies up in the air. Cool, visual stuff.

The French DVD should be the best version when it comes to picture quality and correct ratio, but it’s only dubbed in French. The UK DVD looks crappy and is slightly censored (no idea what’s cut) and is also a shorter version, but still worth every penny (or the only penny) it could cost you.

I stole the poster from En lejemorder ser tilbage, which is one of Mr Jensen’s excellent armada of blogs.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Thunder of Gigantic Serpent - trailer!

I've uploaded a trailer in better quality for Thunder of Gigantic Serpent, one of the two movies I'm releasing through my DVD label Attackafant Entertainment this year. Enjoy!

(And yes, I will try to write some reviews soon again too. Just didn't have time to focus on writing, sorry!)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Killer Elephants - trailer!

Yes, this is the second release from my own Attackafant Entertainment. First out is Thunder of Gigantic Serpent, but this is also a personal favorite of mine. This trailer was included on the master tape I got from the license owner and I had to share it with you all! Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Do Gaz Zameen Ke Neeche (1972)

When I first started to research about Do Gaz Zameen Ke Neeche I noticed that several texts claimed that the Ramsay-family was inspired by Hammer and their gothic horror movies of the sixties. This might be true of course, but after watching it I can clearly say that the main inspiration must be movies the Riccardo Freda’s The Ghost or Seth Holt’s Taste of Fear, and similar movies. If you seen these you know what I mean. The main antagonist is a living dead, just like Dracula and friends, but that’s about it.

A rich scientist saves a young big-breasted girl from the hands of some thugs and offers her protection in his house. That night she slips into his bed and claims she did it because she felt safe there. Our scientist, who works with something that will help people getting longer lifespan… or something, is of course a gentleman and offers to marry her. But the girl wants to get his money and together with her lover and a sleazy uncle they kill the scientist and bury is body deep in the woods. But maybe because he took is own medicin, the scientist returns from the dead as a zombie-thingie and want revenge on the killers!

What I really appreciate with Do Gaz Zameen Ke Neeche is how serious it is. There’s no real comic relief, not funny faces or silly slapstick-moments. The sing- and dance-numbers are few and the actors try their best to deliver a classic form of thriller without any tongue-in-cheek shenanigans. Most of the last of the movie is set in the house and/or the dark surrounding forest, which give us a couple of very effective thrills. The zombie-scientist himself is not overdone, just a black/blue face and staring eyes.

But the most interesting thing is the relationship between the girl and her lover, and the sleazy uncle, that’s getting more and more intense and frail for each minute. It’s greed, love and just pure madness mixed together. I wouldn’t like to call Do Gaz Zameen Ke Neeche a pure horror movie, even if it has a lot of horror moments and of course as a horror movie. It’s instead a rather daring thriller with supernatural ingredients and a few twists and turns.

The DVD from Friends Video looks OK, but has a logotype on the right side of the picture of the screen, in the middle. Transparent of course and after five minutes you won’t even remember its there. The English subtitles is also good (I guess, because I have no knowledge in the Hindi) and it’s a movie that is worth that dollar or two it costs at

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Norwegian Ninja (2010)

The original title is Kommandør Treholt & Ninjatroppen, which is a superior title in every way, but I want to make it easier for many of my international readers and will stick with the international title. Norwegian Ninja is the oddest movie I’ve seen in a long while. Marketed like a action-comedy it’s… yeah, its part action-comedy, but it boarders to a serious arthouse-flick, just very wacky and with eighties kitsch for the whole family. But wait, this is eighties kitsch the Scandinavian way: grey and ugly!

Based on real events this is the story of Arne Treholt, probably one of the most famous persons in Norway. He was accused of being a spy for the Soviet Union (and even Iran), but questions has been raised about the probability of this and the lack of evidence in the case. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison, but got out after eight years and is nowadays a businessman and author. But this tells the real story. Mr Treholt was actually the leader of a special force of Ninjas, created by beloved King Olav and this is the story that leads up to his arrest and what really happen behind the scenes…

At a first glance, Norwegian Ninja, seem to be a chaotic mix of retro-fashion and Norwegian patriotism. But everything is very tongue-in-cheek and I guess it must have upset some people that they made famous traitor Treholt the ultimate Norwegian patriot, the only one really caring for Norway. He and his colleagues live at the Grassy Island, a paradise of nature and animals and Treholt is focusing his powers on “Bumblebee”, the young Ninja apprentice that’s gonna take over after him. This causes jealousy and controversy among the others, but Treholt know he’s right in the decision. But the Stay Behind-network, a pseudo-fascist organisation, is working in the opposite direction, to create more war and havoc around Europe with faking communist-related terror attacks. The Ninja Group and Treholt can’t find any proof for this and Stay Behind need to stop his investigations once and for all…

Norwegian Ninja is extremely connected to the politics in Norway during the seventies and eighties, and it was a similar atmosphere in Sweden. The idiots… uh, the military saw Soviet submarines everywhere and everything was the communists to blame. The story is intervened with real news footage of big events in Norway and links the Ninjas or the Stay Behind-network to everything (Stay Behind was a real organization by the way). Mixed with documentary footage (which make the movie seem like a mockumentary in parts) and wonderful washed-out cinematography, CG-effects and very primitive miniatures and matte paintings, Norwegian surely has a unique look.

There is not much action, except for a few smaller fights here and there and a very impressive Wingsuit-sequence. But we’re talking Ninjas dammit! They should be quiet and discreet, not causing too much disturbance around them. In a way this more realistic than a lot of the more famous Ninja-flicks out there. The story is a bit all over the place, but in the end most knots are solved and the ending is quite happy, all connected to the real events before, during and after the storyline in the movie.

For me, this was a wonderful movie. Honest, but still absurd, a look at one of the most traumatic events in Norwegian history. Refreshingly non-respectful towards the older generation that still analyzes and dwells the past and a weird and lovingly look at the, most of the time, not so realistic fear for communists in Scandinavia. I really appreciates that they connect King Olav, who was VERY loved and respected by the Norwegian people, to the most controversial person during this time. That’s radical!

The Burning Train (1980)

In 99 % of the cases a good disaster movie has a title that tells it all. Earthquake has earthquakes, The Towering Inferno has an inferno in a tower, Meteor has a meteor coming towards earth, Avalanche has an avalanche threatening Rock Hudson, City on Fire has a… city on fire! You get my drift. The perfect title of a movie about a train on fire could be The Burning Train, and it is – even if my partner suggested the title Train on Fire as something catchier. This was the most expensive movie ever in India and flopped. Wonder why? I’m far from an expert on Indian movies, but this has romance, dancing and singing, adventure, bad guys and crying children. Maybe it was too much for the Indian audience? Maybe it was, with the Indian history of train accidents, too sensitive? I have no idea, and I won’t analyze it even further.

After the electro-funkiest theme music ever (where a female voice and a hilarious “monster”-voice sings “The Burning Traaaaaain” over and over again) we’re introduced to the movies main characters, for more or less ninety minutes. Vinod (Vinod Khanna) works for the Indian railways and his dream is to create a super express train which can go from Delhi to Mumbai in 14 hours! Another dream, which he makes come true, is to marry his sweetheart – which also is the sweetheart of another employee at the railways, Randhir (Danny Denzongpa). This makes Randhir plan for revenge, something he does for six years until the train is ready and everyone is aboard. He fucks up the brakes and plants a bomb on it, which seem logical. I would probably also kill hundreds of people of someone stole my sweetheart from me ;) The disaster becomes even worse when the kitchen staff forgets to turn of the gas, and turns the whole train into a flaming inferno (which means it’s like The Towering Inferno, but horizontally!).

I don’t mind long movies or excessive character development and massive build-ups. Just look at the Soviet masterpiece Air Crew, which take its time to create the characters before killing them off. The Burning Train takes a similar approach, but never succeeds in the same way. It still feels a bit to shallow and there’s a lot of repeating in the first half of the movie (It’s three hours long). But wait, I can’t say I dislike it. It’s colourful and entertaining and never really boring, it’s just don’t have “it”. But after 80-90 minutes it finally kicks into disaster-mode and never stops after that.

First of all, Danny Denzongpa (who also plays the bad guy in last years Robot) is awesome in his part. He’s probably the best actor of the bunch and gives it all as the man filled with madness and revenge. He also sports a nice hair-cut and moustache. The rest of the cast is the usual disaster-fodder: the good-hearted thief, young lovers, older couple, the policeman, a couple of different holy men, the unselfish hero, the wacko, innocent children and the crazy guy who wants to save himself before all others. Yes, it’s the same cast of characters like in all disaster movies with a multi-cast (like Towering Inferno, Earthquake, Poseidon Adventure etc). It’s very familiar and also very welcome, because I demand safe and non-original entertainment when it comes to disaster epics.

If you manage to get through the first half you’re treated to a lot of awesome stuff in the second half. The Burning Train has a lot of nice stunt work (some look very dangerous), explosions and impressive fire effects. It’s on the same quality-scale as the Hollywood movies, where only the slightly primitive miniature train in the end betrays that its non-Hollywood. I love scenes when people are hanging on the outside of trains or fighting on the roof, and its all here! The fire stunts looks very dangerous and there are some explosions in slow-motion that are closer than, I guess, they was planned to be from the beginning. Like most of the Indian movies I’ve seen there is also some comedy, and here it’s – and I can’t say what they’re meant to be – two silly men who seem to be in the toilet together several times. They also sit beside each other when they eat. Not sure if they are meant to be some comic relief gay men? No explanation is given to us.

The Burning Train is a very entertaining and spectacular disaster movie. If you gonna buy it, go for the version from Eros Entertainment. It’s in widescreen and it’s the long version.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Aussawin Darb Gaiyasid (1970)

From the first of October 1970 to the fifth, the same year, just under a week, Mitr Chaibancha was in Hong Kong and Taiwan and shot one of the few foreign (or co-productions) movies in his career. A couple of days later he was back in Pattaya and did the final scenes in Golden Eagle, the first movie he produced and starred in at the same time. As we all know, that final take was the take that led to his death and he left behind 266 feature length movies in fourteen years and 18 (!!!) unfinished productions that had to be shut down or re-shot because of his death!

I don’t know the original title of Aussawin Darb Gaiyasid, but most of the cast seem to be Chinese – and the only actor I can identify is the great and awesome Kien Shih. The female lead is played be a Thai actress in this version, but I heard that it was a Chinese actress doing the part in the Hong Kong version. Anyway, because I watched it without subtitles and it has a lot of story and characters it was kinda hard to follow. But what we have is the traditional love story, two enemy families and one of them owns a salt mine. Chaibancha plays the son in one of the families and seem to be fighting a lot with another dude, maybe someone from the other family. In one sequence I get the idea that one of them has some kind of psychic powers, because he can move heavy objects. Maybe making them magnetic. Yeah, that’s about it.

I’ve been trying to decipher the Thai Wikipedia about this movie with the help of Google Translate, and after Chaibancha died the director also brought in another actor with a similar face and body to shoot rest of Chaibancha’s scenes. I didn’t notice this when I watched it, so either it was very little or the other actor had very similar look.

Even if I didn’t understand a friggin’ word of the movie I enjoyed it immensely. The action was more or less non-stop with a lot of fun and bloody sword-fighting. Maybe because of the print quality, it had a very nice gritty feeling. Especially those scenes shot outside of the studio, around beautiful Taiwan. Cool angles, some smart use of handheld camera and lots of energy. Sure, it might just be the result of the low budget and fast shooting schedule, but it still looks and feels very impressive.

Mitr Chaibancha impresses in the only serious role I’ve seen him in so far. After all the tongue-in-cheek action flicks from Thailand it was cool to see him in such a meaty, blood-soaked, part.

The Thai DVD from Triple X is not bad at all. Anamorphic widescreen and, I think, uncut. The print is quite rough, but for us that appreciate these kind of movies it just makes it even better.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Wild Beasts (1984)

Finally out on Swedish DVD, Franco Prosperi’s Wild Beasts is an odd duck in every way. Sure, it’s just a normal killer animal-movie but it almost completely lacks a build-up, characters or any kind of engaging story – it’s just a lot of spectacular scenes of different animals attacking and killing people! What I understand of the story and some of the info I read about the movie before, PCP is leaked into the water and makes all the animals go crazy, most of them coming from the zoo. This means that tigers, lions, a cheetah, bears, elephants, rats… yes, even COWS, start to attack the humans in a lot of bloody and sometimes even gory ways.

In-between we’re following Lorraine De Selle and a silly-looking man with a massive moustache trying to figure out what’s happening and of course some not so impressive side-story of her daughter being trapped with her ballet-friends together with a polar bear inside a school.

The more I think of it, the less story the movie has. It’s just a very good excuse for a lot of cool animal-scenes. I’m actually very impressed by how they made the animals do all the stuff they do. I doubt the disclaimer in the beginning that no animals were hurt, because there are live rats being set on fire and some other short scenes of big cats attacking pigs and other non-carnivore beings. Thankfully, those scenes are quite short.

If you can look past those nasty scenes of real-life carnage there is a lot of fun scenes too. The elephants stomping people to death (and breaking down walls!), cows invading a restaurant, tigers tearing people into pieces and one of the coolest scenes in the whole movie: a cheetah lurking in the middle of Frankfurt and finally chasing down a Volkswagen! I have no idea how they did that, but it looks impressive. Miniature-mayhem is also included in the package, with a horde of elephants causes a passenger airplane to crash and explode into a power station! Not in the same class as Margheriti, but it’s the thought that counts!

But it would have been nice with a more interesting story around this. I would have preferred the Cryptkeeper sitting and introducing each segment than a zombie-like Lorraine De Selle staring herself to boredom at the moustached gentleman (he reminds me of Rock Manlyfist, but with brown hair instead of blonde). The end is eerily similar too Food of the Gods, but takes it one step further with showing the madness of the victims.

In the end Wild Beast is a spectacular Killer Animal-movie that finally gets an easy-to-get DVD release from Studio S (it has been released by AWE in Denmark also). The print is OK, suffers a bit from softness in some scenes. It looked quite good on my 40 inch Sony Bravia LED anyway, not much to complain about – but I never demand a perfect-looking picture. A couple of scenes seem to have been taken from an inferior video master, but does not distract much.

Attackafant needs a new tagline for Thunder of Gigantic Serpent!

The existing taglines for Thunder of Gigantic Serpent are a bit lame, even if they are cool in that unique IFD-way:

"Today he was only a household pet. Tonight he threatens to destroy the world"

"A terrible legless creature brings the world to its knees"

"What would you do if you were a serpent, 300 feet long, and someone threatened your only friend? For Mosler, the only answer is "Kill""
None of them are really that good. A bit to long, a bit to... lame. With all respect to IFD and Mr Joseph Lai of course! So join our Facebook-page and help Attackafant Entertainment to come up with a new cool tagline. The price is the honor of helping Mosler rule the world again!

Get some inspiration from the cool trailer down below!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dream Home (2010)

Ho-Cheung Pang’s Dream Home is marketed like a slasher, but is very far from a slasher. It has a massive body count and is about one person killing of a lot of other persons in a small area, but still – this is not even close to what I would consider a slasher. Instead it’s an impressive, but slightly flawed, satire with lots of nudity and splatter, foul language and honest drama.

Josie Ho is Cheng Lai-Sheung, a young woman working for a bank doing telephone calls to customers who really don’t want her to offer anything to them. “Fuck off and never call again”, is the normal answer she have to endure whole day long for a shitty salary. But she has a dream, a dream home. She wants to live in a special house, on a special floor, close to the water with a fantastic view over the sea. When a loan at the bank falls apart and the people who’s gonna sell their apartment there raises the price she’s forced to do something about it… and it’s gonna get very ugly!

Told with the help of flashbacks in-between the mayhem, Dream Home is a sharp and smart thriller/drama with some outrageous gore-scenes and a intelligent and a tragic backstory. Josie Ho is nothing but brilliant as Cheng Lai-Sheung, even if her character borders to be totally unsympathetic. You understand what she wants and maybe even why she do it, but what she does is brutal and so violent and that can be hard to – as a spectactor – forgive her for the brutality. The victims aren’t bad guys or people deserving to die, just ordinary loosers living in a fancy building. That might be one of the reasons it can be hard to root for Lai-Sheung, but why do we always have to root for a character? That’s just silly!

Lai-Sheung has to do what she does, or else she doesn’t want to have the apartment. If she even once back away from killing a character the whole story would be lost, the whole pay-off with the movie.

Dream Home is CATIII, with very graphic gore- and violence, not to forget the nudity, sex and foul language. But it’s also very slick and great-looking, with no traces of low budget-filmmaking. The locations are small and claustrophic, which makes the mayhem even more nasty. The special effects are very well made, mostly non-CG (for those who care, I don’t care) but with some clever CG-enhancements.

In the end Dream Home is a great little movie, which may lack the final emotional punch because Josie Ho’s character are such a fucking bitch. So extremely sadistic and evil, with no traces of humanity, nothing to relate too. But fuck that, I’m sure you, like me, will love this movie!

This is one of those movies Janne Ahlgren at Dischop will deem dangerous for everyone watching it, a movie for psychopaths and people who don’t believe in God. That means you should buy it, at once.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hotel Angel (1974)

Long before Chatrichalerm Yukol directed overblown historical epics was one of the best and most interesting directors from Thailand. He specialised early in realistic gritty dramas about everything taboo in Thailand: drugs, prostitution and growing up in a harder and cynic world than before. Gunman (read my review here, the 1983 crime-drama is one of the best Thai movies I’ve seen and also has Sorapong Chatree in one of his finest roles. But Sorapong did also star in a supporting part in this interesting drama, Hotel Angel. It’s really about Malee (Viyada Umari) a country girl that follows her boyfriend to Bangkok – but get dumped instantly by him with out money and are forced to work herself out of debt. Sooner or later she finds a place at Hotel Angel, a bordello where the emotionally very unstable pimp Thone (Sorapong Chatree) calls the shots.

Malee starts writing letters home to her father, with money, pretending to have succeeded as a dressmaker. For ever bath she earns, her father builds a house luckily unaware about his daughter’s new job. But Malee wants out of her profession and become a real dressmaker…

Hotel Angel is a very well-made little movie which becomes even better with the amount of real locations and sleazy adventures in the bordello. It’s a Thai movie, so it does not show much of course, but you can feel the dread. Like a fuck-factory, young and old, good and bad. Sorapong Chatree is phenomenal here, and is totally crazy – and incredibly good-looking at the same time. One second he bitchslaps his way through the room and seconds after he breaks down in panic disorder. He plays a very manipulative character, very nice and caring but still a raving psychopath.

But the finest performance is by Viyada Umari, who are in almost every from of the movie. Naïve in the beginning, but her character is growing by experience in every scene and for once she’s learning something. Her feminist stance is also very interesting, learning to be very independent and strong though she’s been fooled into something very stupid and dangerous. The first half of the movie is the most intensive: impressive action (fights mostly) and very colourful characters. After one characters death in the middle it kinda slows down and changes the focus on Malee’s determination to create a new life. This could be a disappointment for those expecting the whole movie to like the first half, but it’s still a great drama with some excellent acting.

I can’t even imagine how controversial this movie must have been when it came, because some subjects are even taboo today in Thai cinema! One scene, a brutal beating, is inter-cut with real demonstrations and burning cars (I don’t know from which incident), which reminded me of the works of Thunska Pansittivorakul, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Tiwa Moeithaisong.

Hotel Angel is out on a fine DVD in Thailand. Widescreen, non-anamorphic, and with burned-in English subtitles. A must have for collectors of older Thai movies, you who are fascinated by some extremely cool seventies fashion and those who just want a good different melodrama.

The Killer Crocodile Saga (1989-1990)

Fabrizio De Angelis might be a very impersonal director, ONLY making movies for earning a quick buck. But I’ve always thought he was a competent and effective action-director. He makes the show working at least, which is something you can’t say about other directors (who just got work because they could wrap the movie under budget and on schedule). The first Killer Crocodile is actually just a mix of everything else we have seen earlier, from the grumpy old hunter (here played by the awesome Ennio Girolami, Enzo Castellari’s brother) to the evil capitalistic judge who rules the area (Van Johnson, slumming – but seem to enjoying himself). The heroes are a bunch of idealistic tree-huggers who are out to examine the pollution in the area and discover a dump of radioactive waste! And this of course leads to the discovery of a magnificent and plastic killer crocodile who eats everything in its way!

I might be wrong here, and I’m usually am, but Killer Crocodile 2 seem more like a bi-product of the first movie. Like Fabrizio felt he didn’t to go from the location with only one movie! Why not just use Richard Anthony Crenna (son of THE Richard Crenna) and Ennio or another adventure in the wilderness? But instead he let special effects maestro Giannetto De Rossi direct it but with a very small cast, fewer locations and in a week. Why not use that cool fake-crocodile for two movies instead of one? Anyway, Killer Crocodile 2 is actually weaker than the first one (when I first saw it many years ago I thought the sequel was better) even if it has the crocodile eating a nun and a lot of children. It also has a spectacular attack on a house, where the croc is barging right through the wall eating the people inside!

What is good about the movies are the gritty and dirty locations. I’m not sure they shot anything inside studio in Rome, because everything looks too dirty and realistic. And it must have been hell bringing that huge crocodile back and forth to whatever country they shot the movie in. Richard Anthony Crenna is a surprisingly effective hero, even if his huge hair is almost distracting sometime. It’s weird he never got a more successful career, but maybe he wasn’t that interested? Another great thing with both movies is the presence of the mighty and always muscular old man of Italian exploitation, Ennio Girolami (aka Thomas Moore). The man was even here in his golden years, but is more fit than any of the young studs running around trying to look macho. Maybe his performance isn’t totally 100 %, he look a bit tired, but he’s still one of the reasons why you should watch the Killer Crocodile saga.

So what’s the best way to see these movies? I would go for the Thai DVD’s which are uncut, having the English track and are in widescreen (non-anamorphic). The quality is good too, probably taken from a good analog beta-master. They are a bit hard to find in Thai webshops, but try this excellent eBay-seller for a good price and free shipping.

Now we just have to wait for Tarantino to direct "Killer Crocodile Unchained part 1 & 2" as a homage to the ninja-giallos of the eighties ;)