Wednesday, June 30, 2010

OSS 117 - Lost in Rio (2009)

I rarely write about comedies here at Ninja Dixon, but sometimes a movie is so good and charming that it's hard not to. OSS 117 - Lost in Rio is the second of the new series of movies with the master-spy of France himself, Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath. The first (OSS 117 - Cairo, Nest of Spies) one came in 2006 and of course Jean Dujardin is back as the slightly stupid, racist, old-fashioned who treats women like pieces of meat and his missions like paid vacations.

Now, these movies are very different from other parodies like Austin Powers. First of all, they're a lot funnier and they never step outside the movies they celebrate. OSS 117 still looks exactly like a movie from the sixties, from the cinematography, editing, costumes, make-up, storylines... yes, everything. What differs is that they of course is a bit absurder and has broader comedy. Like the first one, Lost in Rio, looks and feels amazing. Jean Dujardin could have been one of those actors who actually did real spy-movies during that time: he's handsome, charismatic and knows how to dance. In this new adventure OSS 177 goes to Rio to work together with the Mossad, though he have a difficult time to understand what the nazis actually did to the jews. He's after Von Zimmel (Rüdiger Vogler), a nazi that has a list of French nazi co-workers during the war (which surprises OSS 117 totally, that the French could work with the enemy!). Von Zimmel also has two mexican wrestlers as bodyguards, Zantrax and Blue Devil!

But the biggest problem is that OSS 117 has to work together with a woman, a sexy Colonel of the Israeli army, Dolorès Koulechov (Louise Monot)! Could this be the end of our favorite spy, or can he survive his mission even with a women as his equal?

This is very, very, very funny. But I guess it's most funny for us who's actually seen a lot of these sixties spy-movies, not only Bond of course. But from Italy and France. The humor is quite subtle sometimes, but can suddenly be pure visual slapstick (for example the fight between OSS 117 and Blue Devil or when our hero is shot at during a lenghty sequence). A nice touch, who's also based on the real production company of the movie, is that Lost in Rio seem to be one of those typical Hong Kong-European co-productions from the time, complete with a nice logo for the asian company. You'll understand when you see it.

The best thing is that this one, like the first one, never get's to big or expensive. It never becomes modern with the action, with huge action-sequences or visible special effects. The story is still how it could have been in the sixties and the action is mostly smaller shoot-outs, fistfights and of course car-chases with back-projection.

Even if OSS 117 is quite a bastard, very stupid and egocentrical man with some very strange views on everyone else then French people, he's played with such love and passion by Dujardin that it's hard to dislike him. He even get's a chance to taste some man-love in this one!

Even better than the first one, this is a movie that I will revisit many times. Can't wait for the third part!

(and I just can't stop laughing at the crocodile-BBQ-scene...)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Slugs: The Movie (1988)

I'll have to confess something for you all out there. I'm 33 years old and has been watching eurocult since the teenage years. Juan Piquer Simón is a favorite and I've a big fan of Pieces, The Rift and Fabulous Journey to the Center of the Earth... but not until tonite have I seen Slugs! Yes, it's bizarre. Very strange and very odd. But that's the way life is sometime.

Slugs begins with a young couple getting killed while fishing... cut to an old man getting killed. And then some exposition... and then some more deaths. And a couple of huge explosions in the end. Did I mention the graphic gore? Okey, the story is so thin but works very well... actually, it's so thin that I'll have problems remember the details! The heroes are some kind of government guys, one works with sanitation in the little town and the other... is some other guy. They discover that the town is slowly taken over by a breed of highly aggressive killer-slugs who have a fondness for human flesh!

Ah, shit. Let's put it down like this: Slugs feels like a perfect American creature feature from the eighties, but with more detailed and graphic gore and no humor. They way I want it. It looks slick and quite expensive, with a glossy feeling and music that sounds like it's from some eighties TV-movie. The actors are okey and do their job, the cinematography is excellent and Simón really knows how to direct with flair and style. The script is so cheesy it can be with tons of silly dialogue and scene that are almost surreal in their absurd execution.

I was skeptical at first, because killer-slugs isn't something I can see attacking people (if their not big like... horses or some other animal), but these creature are really vicious! They have teeth, they are quite fast and they bit hard and brutal so the blood sprays all over the scenery. They also have worm-like parasites inside that can infect people - which is seen in a spectacular scene where a guys head is exploding from angry worms! We also have the loving couple - very nude too - who are attacked by slugs after a healthy dose of graphic sex, not to mention the guy trying to chop of his arm with an ax to remove a one of our nasty title creatures... and much, much more.

Slugs completely lacks any depth. But do we really need that in a movie with killer-slugs? It's so filled with charm and cheese, gore and galore, sexplosion and explosions that you'll never have to worry about being bored or disappointed. It's old-fashioned and still "modern" and gory.

So I bet you all want to the buy the DVD now? The Anchor Bay US-version is OOP, but... don't be afraid, it's just been released in the UK very cheap and features the same wonderful anamorphic and uncut print as the Anchor Bay-version (actually, the new one also has the AB logotype in the beginning). So there's not much to think about, is it?

The Killer is still Among Us (1986)

I'll admit that I'm fascinated by real crime, but I'm not just interested in the normal fuck-ups. I want something extra. Il Mostro di Firenze, or The Monster of Florence, is one of my "favorites". Maybe THE favorite if I should bring up serial killer-cases. Between 1968 and 1985 the killer shot and mutilated 16 victims. The first two in 1968 was no mystery, but is connected the others because of the same weapon was used. The murders of the two men in 1983 was probably a mistake from the killer (he thought one of the was a woman), and even if a man later was sentenced for being the serial killer no one really believes that. No evidence at all, nothing. Nada. In 1986 no less than two movies based on the case was produced, and The Killer is still Among Us is the most interesting one.

Here we follow an young female psychology student who lives in Florence and decides to write her final tesis about the murders. We follow her for a year or two in her life, while the murders continue around her. She's fascinated by the cultures around the killer and the suspects, for example the weird sub-cultures that deals with spying on loving couples or spying on the people who spies at loving couples! There's an example in the movie when the voyeurs is using high-tech equipment to record a couple in a car, and everything is based on fact! Believe it or not.

Part of the movie is a classic giallo with some very graphic gore and a couple of thrilling sequences of terror. But the rest is a social-realistic drama, though quite colorful because it's in Italy in the eighties! A lot of the story centers around the student and her new boyfriend, a doctor, and of course this means a lot of red herrings that he's the killer - but not only him, most men in this script has something strange and perverted going on in the background. The violence (which is not that plenty) is really nasty, up there with New York Ripper. And also very well made.

What fascinates me even more is that the murder-sequences is exactly like the real thing. From where the victims are shot and stabbed, to small details how one of the victims faces is covered with a lid from an old paintbucket. It's as close to the real thing as the police and media could come. This is probably because of Mario Spezi, who still is the leading expert on the case - to that degree that he was arrested himself many years later for being involved. He was released as a free man of course, but it's a sign how crappy the investigation was.

The Killer is still Among Us is a damn fine true crime-movie that mixes correct fact with thrilling fiction. I recommend you to read Douglas Preston's excellent book about the case (it was written together with Mario Spezi), The Monster of Florence, and then watch the movie to really understand the mythology around the case.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Apocalypse of the Dead (2009)

It's not everyday you'll see a Serbian zombie-movie and Apocalypse of the Dead was the first one for me. It's not totally Serbian, it's a co-production involving Spain and Italy too, which makes it a nice new addition to the cinematic euro-soup. I read some harsh words about Milan Konjevic and Milan Todorovic's inofficial zombie-remake of Assault on Precint 13, but after a couple of weeks (maybe over a month) of thinking it over I decided to purchase it from and see how it really was.

Ken Foree (forever famous for his legendary role in George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead) and Kristina Klebe (which will star in the upcoming Escape of the Living Dead - directed by the one and only suckmeister John A. Russo, Romero's talentless collegue from Night of the Living Dead) plays Agent Mortimer Reyes and Agent Mina Milius, both stuck in Serbian trying to get a famous criminal (Emilio Roso) to Belgrade. But because life stinks, they get caught in a zombie-infection and have to seek shelter in an old police station. Soon they have to work together with their prisoner, save some other people and fight he never-ending hordes of zombies!

Sure, you can write down a lot of bad things about Apocalypse of the Dead (aka Zone of the Dead), like some very uneven acting, a couple of bad editing choices, a script that's not working all the way, locations that sometimes look like... something it's not suppose to be, and so on. But everyone else write that, so I will try to focus on the good things. First of it, it has a good pacing and is never boring. One zombie-attack after another, and some good but sometimes underwritten characters to root for. Ken Foree might sleep thru some scenes, but eventually comes out alright. Emilio Roso and Kristina Klebe is not bad at all. The only actors really doing a bad job is some of the young folks getting into action after a while, and the soldiers showing up at the train station is both terrible actors and has terrible dubbing! But because we're in Serbia it's easy to accept some strong accents anyway.

Shot on HD, it looks good and and though it has it's generous amount of shaky-cam, it still never get chaotic or confusing. I kinda like these rundown Eastern Europe-locations, and they add to the atmosphere of the movie. The only thing taking away the illusion is what's suppose to be an abandoned police station. Maybe it was a police station for real, but it feels more like a school and not much work has been done to make it look like a place where the police work, breed, sleep and harrass innocent citizens. But fuck that, I've seen worse.

The gore and zombies then? Not bad. But way to little gore. There's a couple of decaptiations, bloody bites, squibs and blood spruting over walls, but it's not enough. I want bellies ripped open! I want brains crushed and arms torn off! But you can't have it all. At least the zombies themselves looks cool with a lot of heavy make-up, blood from mouths and white lenses - but a couple of times they feel a bit to theatrical too.

And yes, of course, Ken Foree makes several winks to Dawn of fhe Dead, but that's the only humor we'll get. The rest is serious and with out irony.

Apocalypse of the Dead was an alright little movie that I can recommend to those that finds this review interesting.

Curd Jürgens

Another unplanned purchase, but I got an opportunity to bid on this signed photo of Curd Jürgens yesterday, and I got it for a great price from a serious Swedish collector. I really don't find it interesting with signed stuff from people I never met, but as with Charles Bronson and Bruno Mattei, I never had the pleasure of meeting this gentleman (he died in 1982)- and Curd happens to be one of my favorite character actors.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The House with Laughing Windows (1976)

I sorta lost interest in reviewing giallos because it often means I get a pat on the head with some well-meaning words that I don't know what I'm writing about. The House with Laughing Windows is a slow movie, not necessery in a good way (no, I know the difference between mood and boredom), but even if Pupi Avati used the infamous Kevin Costner-method of directing (aka show everything that happening, even if it includes looong, uninteresting scenes of people walking up stairs) this is still a stellar giallo that maybe's in the shadow of the giants, but still manage to crawl out and hit you in the groin.

First of all it's fucking nice to finally see a movie without the typical macho-idiot wannabe-cop trying to solve a mystery. I'm kinda tired of tight jeans, big polisongs and boring love-scenes with some random chick, imported from Sweden or Germany. Here we have the excellent Lino Capolicchio as Stefano, a friendly restorer sent to a little village to fix a fresco that never was finished due to the death of the painter. Stefano soon finds out that someone don't want him to finish the fresco, and even starts murdering people that might know to much about it. The original painter, Legnani, disappeared (on fire!) into the deep forest and was never seen again. Obviously a really disturbed guy, terrorized by his two older sisters, he left a legacy of fear and paranoia in the little village... and soon the killer is after Stefano too, who want to find out why the fresco was so important for Legnani...

One of the best things with Laughing Windows is it's so far away from Rome and the other cities. Finally we're feeling a real danger out in the isolated countryside. That, together with a good mystery and a creepy final, makes this a very fine giallo with some decent gore (but as a film-fan you can't admit to like gore in movies...) and maybe first of all, excellent acting. Stefano is someone you want to follow into the intrigue, you want him to stay away from certain buildings and people, and everything he does feels like something that you can cope with. I mean, the first thing he does when he arrives to the village is to fuck the local teacher/whore - and you won't even think it's something wrong to do. It's his choice, and he likes it.

It's not many murders, and I would have liked at least one murder in the first half to spice things up. Cut down on the walking, in with the killing! But Avati knows how to make it fun too. Mysterious tape-recordings, a secret hidden in art, some really fucked up traumas and of course religion. It's just sad that he also uses the overused "find-something-important-and-goes-to-get-police-and-nothing-is-found-when-they-arrives-and-the-police-thinks-he's-an-idiot". You know what I mean. Seen that, done that, fallen asleep to that.

I would include The House with Laughing Windows the top ten of giallos, but not among the first five. Maybe eight or nine, maybe even ten. It's far from perfect, but those weak spots is hidden well in a movie filled with highlights.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I as in Icarus (1979)

Here we have a movie, I as in Icarus, that would fit perfectly in a triple-bill together with the 1973 masterpiece Executive Action and the 1991 masterpiece (yes) JFK. The big difference here is that this movie is French and deals with the assassination of a French president, but it's almost an identical set-up as the JFK-murder and the conspiracy theories afterwards. Yves Montand plays general attorney Henri Volney, who are the only one in the official investigation that refuses to agree that it was a lone gunman killing the president. So he starts a new investigation and quickly unravels some new leads that leads him into the belly of the beast...

Oh, this was such brilliant movie. I love conspiracy movies, especially from the seventies and if you enjoy a dialogue-heavy investigation with no stupid romantic plots, a lot of details, men in suits looking serious and a good budget - this is the movie for you. From first scenes which copies the Dallas-assassination (including mysterious men with umbrellas and witnesses that obviously are bought) to the chilling last half hour when Volney is getting closer to the mystery, this is a marvelous good time. They never hide that it's based on the JFK-murder, but makes witty references to the orginal case. For example, the lone gunman's name is Daslow, which of course is an anagram of Oswald!

Like a lot of French movies from this time, the acting is brilliant. Yves Montand is almost emotionless, but it's because he's not overacting. There's stuff happening all the time in his eyes, it's just his character that is very strict and sets work before pleasure. Actually, he's so obsessed with his job that it's not until the end that we realize that the women on his desk is his wife and not someone he divorced or a realive. He's just not at home at all. And blink and you miss her, because our favorite Brigitte Lahaie shows up as Ursula Hoffman, a german striptease-dancer that saw the real killer - and pays with her own life!

Totally without action, this is one of those movies that only could have been made in the seventies. The script is no 1, with a couple of very smart moves and intelligent use of psychology and paranoia. My favorite sequence is when Volney is visiting an institute for memory-research, which turns out to be something else. It even surprised me. It's a cool idea - based on reality by the way - and it's used in a way that it makes the following scenes make sense. It's important to understand some of the characters motivations.

The ending is bleak and mysterious, and of course the only correct ending to a story like this. Watch it and you will see. I as in Icarus is a smart movie filled with tension and great acting. It's a pity it's not out on an English-friendly DVD (what I know anyway, but feel free to correct me), because it's a movie I would like to own for real, and not like now, downloaded with fan-made subtitles!

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Art of buying Eurocult (and other genres) from Thailand!

Well, because of me it’s no art anymore. Because here you have a huge list of interesting movies to buy from!

I buy a lot directly from Thailand. It’s often cheap (free worldwide shipping!), good quality (no bootlegs here) and a lot of gorgeous covers. But as often in Thai-store there’s chaos, and this is a guide to help you find some very nice movies. I will concentrate on this store, because I’ve been shopping there a lot and it’s always a pleasure and great service. If you’re into modern creature features (like I am) and modern Russian blockbusters you will find tons of movies here too, but now it’s Eurocult, seventies action and thrillers and other movies that can be of interest for you out there.

I have no idea why, but you will finds a huge amount euro-westerns in Thailand. Check it out. I will buy a couple of them, for example Lucio Fulcis Massacre Time and some stuff by Castellari.

I've just copied the titles, so I haven't bothered with correcting the spelling.

Adventure and War

Arabian Adventure
5 For Hell
Cross Of Iron
The Last Hunter
Shout at the Devil
The Adventurers
Operation Crossbow
The Dirty Bastard
The Mercenaries

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Who Saw Her Die? (1972)

I can honestly say that Who Saw Her Die? is the most mature and brilliant giallo of the seventies. Of course there is other giallos of the same quality, but this is the only one that mixes such a serious subject and gets away with it. There's sex and violence, but Aldo Lado's masterpiece never feels like exploitation or a quick cash-in on Nicolas Roeg's amazing Don't Look Now.

This is such a beautiful movie, but still underneath, so full of dread and perversion. All men, except maybe George Lazenby's character, could be pedophiles and their looks are lingering way to long on every little girl in their way. From the rich art-dealer Serafian (my favorite, as usual, Adolfo Celi!) to the catholic priest Father James (Alessandro Haber), and everyone else in between. This is one of those few giallos with interesting and well-written characters, and where you really care for hero and his wife, both played with sensitivity by George Lazenby (in his best role ever) and Anita Strindberg. The chemistry between Lazenby and his ginger daughter Roberta (who other than Nicoletta Elmi?) is sparkling! Lado also chooses to make us see a lot of scenes from the daughters view, with the same curiosity as a child have. A stroke of genius. Just look at the scene where Roberta and her dad visits Sefarian for the first time, and she looks around, studying the animals on the wallpapers or checking the old furniture.

Lado chooses to not let us see how the parents react to their daughters death, but the build up, the love for her, makes us realize how terrible it must have been. Similar to Lars Von Triers Antichrist, guilt is also a factor here. Lazenby leaves his daughter alone for some steamy sex and then work with his art, it's not until late the same evening he realize that she's gone - but then it's of course too late. The interacting between Strindberg and Lazenby feels very real, and for once these characters feels like a real couple and not just two handsome actors tossed together for a couple of weeks in a foggy and moisty Venice. Both are sensational, and it's a pity this isn't the movie that's being mentioned everytime these actors careers are discussed.

It's also a good murder mystery with a lot of suspects and red herrings, and once again an old piece of film is an important lead. You will get a killer with black gloves and a knife (a very fake knife by the way), a couple of murders and people giving each other strange looks. Sexuality, every kinda, is important and weird enough, there's no real blame on sexuality itself in the end - and the pedophilia theme might not be so important after all, or...? Arty and with top-notch direction by Aldo Lado, this could be my favorite giallo ever. But there's one thing that makes it even more fantastic...

... the score by Ennio Morricone. This time he has a lot of girl choirs in the music, using weird voice-samplings and creating something that goes from cute and beautiful to disturbing in just a couple of seconds. The music enhances the poetry of the cinematography and the intelligent storytelling by Lado, and even here I'm convinced this one of Morricone's best scores ever.

There's so much to write about Who Saw Her Die, but only the language barrier in my case stops this. I just don't have English words enough to tell you about how magnificent this movie is. So watch it yourself, and I hope you'll agree with me!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Species II (1998)

From The Changeling to Species 2, Peter Medak knows how to make totally different genre movies. But what can you accept from a classic gun for hire? Actually, Medak is doing an excellent job on both movies - it's just that The Changeling is a low key, intelligent ghost-movie and Species 2 is a sleazy, gory, stupid helluva silly sequel to a movie that wasn't that smart from the beginning. Now, I respect Medak for what he did with Species 2, because he delivers exactly what we want and nothing more.

This time it's some astronauts coming home from Mars and they are infected with an alien-species. One of them, the hunky horny son to a respected senator (played by the brilliant James Cromwell) is extra nasty and fucks one woman after another to death, makes they super-pregnant and everything ends with exploding bellys! Of course Dr. Laura Baker (Marg Helgenberger from the first movie) has with some genetic hocus pocus made SIL come alive again, this time as Eve - under strict quarantaine of course. Michael Madsen, still quite big star, repeates his character and together with one of the astronauts, a token black guy who chooses a machete for the final battle because of some obscure joke about Africa, they fight the new alien species before he can mate with Eve and destroy the earth.

Oh yes, this is stupidity in the form of cinema. But what a fucking awesome trash-movie this is! Really! From the beginning with the product placement in space, to very bloody and juicy gore-scenes - this is a sequel that throws away all pretentions and aims for the quality-jugular! It reminds me of a big budget Roger Corman-movie from the eighties, where there's tons of nudity, tentacles and at least one exploding human per hour. The scene where the pregnant women get's ripped to pieces reminded me of such classics as Humanoids from the Deep, The Terror Within and Carnosaur. For those who like it, this is a movie with a lot of dead women! ;)

The dialogue (poor Peter Boyle by the way, with a couple of the worst lines in history! I hope he got a big fat paycheck!) is beyond realistic, but it adds to the goofiness of the movie. I'm sure Peter Medak took a look at the script, then his paycheck, then the script and thought "What the hell, let's have some fun with it!". Everyone takes the movie seriously, except maybe Madsen, and that's the way we want it. Movies like this should be serious in tone and absurd in story.

Species II has the deepest respect from me, believe it or not! But don't expect a masterpiece, which neither of the movies in the franchise is. Just some fun and retared gory fun. What else do you need?

Letters to the editor

"You're a disgusting, misogynistic pathetic queer. You look like an inbred insect, and you boyfriend look emaciated from HIV. You sit there and look into the people that visit your site? What a no life loser you are!!! hahaha On top of all this your taste in movies is miserable, and uneducated."

It's always nice to get intelligent response from readers, but this is not one of those readers as you all can understand. But of course, I have a big problem taking anonymous comments seriously, especially if they're just rude and... stupid.

But let's analyze it.

"You're a disgusting, misogynistic pathetic queer"
- Disgusting? Maybe in the morning, before shower. Misogynistic? I guess this is because this person came from this site where they have dead women as wank-objects, and he needs to show his friends there that he is a feminist and really respect women. Queer? This guy must be over 70, who the fuck uses a word like that nowadays?

"You look like an inbred insect"
- I actually can't agree with this. Must be a chubby bug or something then, but it's not specified in the description.

"and you boyfriend look emaciated from HIV"
- Uh! Someone learned a new word, "emaciated". I admit that my dear boyfriend is slim, which is because of 9-10 hour work everyday, 6 days a week and nothing else than coffé, cigarettes and sandwiches during the day. But ey, I love him anyway.

"You sit there and look into the people that visit your site? What a no life loser you are!!!"
- OR maybe I'm interested in my readers, where they come from, who they are, what can I do to make them to stay? Basic business-work. And I have this guys IP-number to (thanks to Statcounter), so maybe I one day can use it for something.

"On top of all this your taste in movies is miserable, and uneducated."
- Oh yeah, a perfect, right-on-the-spot ending of the message ;) If you have nothing to say, just throw out some random bullshit and humiliate yourself. I guess those soon 75000 visits I had on this blog in a little less than a year also has bad taste in movies and is uneducated.

Anyway, nice to met you and try to stay away from dead women, please.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Four interesting things with the worst Swedish movie ever!

I worked with movies, television and shit like that for many years. One of my first assignment outside of TV was the movie that is considered the Worst Swedish Action-Thriller Ever Made: Farligt Förflutet ("Dangerous Past"). The title is as generic as the movie itself.

The shooting was a nightmare, the script was crap and it turned out TERRIBLE. Strange enough, it made it's money, sold quite well on DVD and VHS, had good ratings on the TV-channels - but for me as a co-producers, it's my biggest shame.

More or less everyone knew it was gonna suck (it would have been more fun if the director shot the killed-by-carrot-scene and didn't edited out the only action-scene worth it's name), but I decided to have some fun with the casting at least. I've always enjoyed the casting process and did a lot of it on this movie - at least the smaller supporting roles.

We were making a b-action movie and I felt it needed some star quality from the world of Swedish b-action. So I called in four "legends" from the world of Mats Helge, Arne Mattsson and actually some international productions too. They all did it for free and for the fun of it, and that's about the only thing I think it's worth watching the movie for. Sure, you can find my, my mother, my brothers, my friends and some other fun cameos - but nothing beats the b-movie legends of Swedish action!

Frederick Offrein was first seen in Arne Mattsson's Smutsiga Fingrar (aka Dirty Fingers) in a small part, and some years later he showed up in Mats Helges slasher Blood Tracks (with poodle rockers Easy Action, fun movie). After that he did bigger roles in classics like Fatal Secret, Animal Protector and The Mad Bunch - all with David Carradine as a co-actor. Grottmorden (aka The Forgotten Wells), the hard to find The Hired Gun (Arne Mattsson's last movie) and Russian Terminator ended his career. He was also one of the hotshots in the Stockholm nightlife and owned a famous nightclub and was friend with Sylvester Stallone.

Mats Huddén is probably one of Swedens finest actors, but is seldom used nowadays. Hire him! He did the following productions for Mats Helge: Eagle Island, Silverhawk (with Offrein in the lead by the way, I'm not sure it was released), Spökligan, Animal Protector, The Hired Gun, The Mad Bunch and Russian Terminator. His father, Olof Huddén, was a famous character actor and plays the title role in Arne Mattsson's Ryttare i Blått.

Anders Hellqvist is a legend. He flexed his muscles in several of the worst of Mats Helge's productions: Fatal Secret, Animal Protector, The Mad Bunch and The Forgotten Wells. He's also famous for being the ex-boyfriend of Carola, a christian bitch-singer who is still quite popular in this shithole of a country. But for you who want to take a closer look into the best movie ever made in Sweden, you can find him there as a teenager. I wrote a little bit about this in an older post.

Lars Lundgren was a famous stuntman/coordinator for many years, and in his filmography you can find such classics as Planet of the Apes, Towering Inferno, Thriller - A Cruel Picture, Sharky's Machine, Stroker Ace, Animal Protector, Marital Law, Licence to Kill and Total Recall. You can see him very clearly getting killed by Timothy Dalton in Licence to Kill, he's the first guard to go when Dalton is sneeking abourd the boat to see someone get killed in the air chamber. He was also a good friend of David Carradine and still believes it was the asian mafia that killed him down there in a Bangkok-hotelroom...

So, that's the only reason to watch Farligt Förflutet. And yes, sorry. One of the actors also killed another guy, rolled him inside a carpet and buried him in the forest a couple of years later.

But that's another story...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

And who shall I thank for all the visitors this week?

I had a lot of visitors this week, more than usual actually. So far today I had what I usual have in 24 hours. So with the help of Google Analytics I could trace the visitors from one site, and most of them wanted to read this review and the rest has been lurking around all over the blog.

Who are they? What do the want? Continue to read and you'll know:

"Your 100% Free Fantasy Female Death Fetish Site is Back! is the place where you can see pictures and engage in the erotic fantasy conversation about women being killed in

Written Stories
All Forms of Art Work

Full of great, friendly understanding Male and Female Members who have the same Adult Female Fantasy death fetish as you. You are welcome to post you own fantasy text story if you like. Most of the men and women of this site are most anxious and willing to share and exchange their sexual fantasieswith you! It's all done in a fun, informative Enviorment!"

Now, I have nothing against it. What ever makes your heart beat a little extra, and as long as they don't kill people for real! I guess they've come to the right place, because there's a terrible lot of women (and men) being killed in the movies I'm watching anyway ;)

After some more research I found that the user "Mauser" saw one of the scenes in the review above, and described it the following way:

"Dear Friends and professionals,

Here is an unknown horror movie scene
discovered upon another blog site.

A naked body pile is fed into a large

Full frontal & powerful to watch."

He wrote that in 2008, and last tuesday he obviously identified the movie thru the help of my little blog. I'm glad I could help with something ;)

But I'm a little worried what he's meaning with "professionals"...

The Swiss Conspiracy (1976)

Oh, I love a good cast, and The Swiss Conspiracy is a German-US co-production with a great one: David Janssen, Senta Berger, Anton Diffring, John Ireland, John Saxon, Elke Sommer, Ray Milland and David Hess! I never heard about it, so of course I had to give it a shot for a number of reasons: it's a seventies action-thriller, it's set in Europe and had a cool poster! Everything you need from a movie. I'm not really sure about the story, but I think it's something like this:

Someone is blackmailing people with secret bank accounts, and is demanding money to not... steal money? Or give out some secrets like where the money come from or something like this. David Janssen plays David Christopher, a US government man sent to Swiss to find out who's blackmailing rich and powerful people... Maybe. Anyway, people are starting to die around him and two hitmen are also sent out to kill him and everyone else involved in this affair!

Yeah, the story is a bit vague actually, and I had problem following the intrigue, but it didn't the stop the movie from being a very charming and well made action-thriller with some excellent directing by no other than Jack Arnold! As you might know, Mr Arnold is the wonderful director responsible for a lot of classic American sci-fi and monster movies: Tarantula, It came from Outer Space, Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Incredible Shrinking Man. He mainly worked in television, but never lost his touch.

The Swiss Conspiracy delivers a few very nice action scenes. First is a great and stylish fight-scene between John Saxon and David Janssen in a garage, and later a long and cool chase-scenes with some nice stunts set in the long winding streets of Zürich. There's also a assassination and chase in a trainstation where David Hess meets his demise. Some stunning shots up in the mountains ends this little pearl of a movie. But the best scene is a car chase, nothing serious really, just David Janssen and Senta Berger trying to impress each other with their sport cars. It's fast, looking dangerous and very nice shot on the narrow and winding roads of Swiss.

To watch this movie can be difficult. I bought a UK DVD with a nice cover, but the quality was so-so, but I've heard there's worse versions released. But I should have felt something was wrong if I read a bit more carefully on the back, where you find with a small discreet font: "Some quality may have been lost during the transferring process". Never seen that on any other DVD!

Anyway, a good little movie that fans of eurocult and seventies action-thrillers might enjoy more than they think.

Stonehenge Apocalypse (2010)

I think the most important ingredient to make a fun b-movie is to be fucking serious with what you do, or else it fails and it just get's boring. It's the same thing with other media, if you're gonna do a quickie exploitation-movie, do it like the big guys. No, sorry. Do it even more serious, then you will create cinematic magic. Stonehenge Apocalypse is far from a masterpiece, but the talented director Paul Ziller knows this, but still try to deliver as much as possible for very little money. The story is so far the most absurd, but fun, in the history of the SyFy Channel.

Misha Collins plays fringe scientist and general nuthead ("I never said it's aliens on the moon, I said it's a robot head"), a former boy genius but nowadays running a conspiracy themed radio show and talking to other nutheads. He notices an energy burst at the site of Stonehenge and this leads him to the craziest story ever told: Stonehenge is really an ancient mechanism who's connected to a huge underground Egyptian pyramid in Maine! His friend Leshem (Hill Harper), another more serious scientist has just discovered the pyramid and sets everything in motion with some ancient mumbo jumbo. This trigger every darn pyramids to transform themselves to volcanos and destroying everything for hundred miles around them. The only key to stop this end-of-the-world machine is the world famous The Antikythera Mechanism!!!

So this mixes everything from Stonehenge to pyramides, ancient technology and the mythology of 2012. It's a lot of fun and though the budget was low, there's not one boring second. The dialogue is witty and is performed by a bunch of talented actors who seem to have a lot of fun here. Misha Collins is really good as the hero, and I hope he will show up in more SyFy movies in the future. Most of the effects are cheap CG, but it works better than you would think - probably because of the absurd storyline - and it looks kinda cool when the pyramids transform themselves to violent volcanos. It's a pity more money wasn't spent on the actually disasters, because I would have loved to see some more mayhem.

Stonehenge Apocalypse seems like something that was made up during lunch. A couple of fun ideas tossed together to one story and even if the science is gone with the wind, it's an engaging story. A lot of the script is people sitting behind computer and watching earth grids, TV-footage of disaster areas and some inside quarreling about nuking Stonehenge or not. But we're also getting a crazy sect, some bloody squibs, some action, volano eruptions and Papier-maché Stonehenge zapping tourists to death with death-lasers!

Good, old-fashioned, cheap fun. I love you Paul Ziller. Never stop making movies.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Man of the Week: Vincent Price

Vincent was a extremly cool actor, handsome and dashing - but he was also a major hunk during the thirties and early forties. The last photo appeared - without he knowing it beforehand - in an ad for deodorant :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Schizo (1976)

It's a pity, I think, that Pete Walker's Schizo has been hidden away in the shadows of his more famous movies. I can guess why: the slightly generic title, no Sheila Keith in the cast and a slow first part that has way to much exposition for it's own good. But what really works is the last hour, which mixes Walker's trademark, social realism, with a very violent and bloody murder mystery that echoes giallo a long way - complete with a killer with a big knife and black gloves, some trauma in the past, some touches of the supernatural and a lot more.

Lynne Frederick plays Samantha, and does it well by the way. She later married Peter Sellers, and some claimed she did it for the money. After he died she got a big fuckload of money, and obviously spent them on drugs and alcohole and died in 1994 because of her abuse. But I think it's fair to say she did a fine performance here, as the ice skating queen who's troubled past starts to chase her in the form of a William Haskin (the great Jack Watson). But of course, as this is a murder mystery, nothing is clear and it might be someone else than Haskin that follows her and finally starts killing off her friends and close ones.

This is a very well made movie, and thought it starts terrible slow - to slow - it finally starts up it's engine around the one hour mark with a couple of very brutal murders, some fine suspense scenes and a story that get's more twisted and filled with red herrings as it goes on. Pete Walker has, as usual, made a realistic British movie but still kept the fun stuff. So mixed with the blood, there's some fine performances, lovely working class characters and a lot of nice and moody locations. It's bleak and pale, like a lot of British movies of the seventies, but Walker never let the blood run dry and deliver a lot of high class terror.

My favorite scene, and I think all of you will love it, is the seance. What's really interesting with this one is that it's very similar to the first scene in Dario Argento's Deep Red, from the year before, but less over-the-top and with a more realistic approach. Walker's version also has a shocking little twist which actually makes me jump a little bit everytime I see it. It's just make-up, but god damn, it works so well! It's clearly one of the best scenes in any of Peter Walker's horror movies.

I wish I could go back in time, visit Pete in the editing room and tell him that he should cut a lot of the cat-and-mouse game in the beginning, edit out a few of the red herrings - we kinda get it quite fast that some one is after her, it could be Jack Watson, and that she's quite stressed about it. Twenty minutes out = twenty thousand new fans. I'm sure of it.

Anyway, if you've been skeptical, stop being so silly. Give Schizo a try and let me hear what you think about this underrated British thriller!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Born American (1986)

Born American is a strange little movie. It's a Finnish action movie with Mike Norris (yes, the son of "actor" Chuck Norris) and directed by Renny Harlin. It was his first movie too, and it's probably one of his weakest too. No mistunderstandings here, I actually like Harlin a lot - even those movies that people call crap - and think he's an excellent popcorn-director. Nothing deep or thought-provocing in his work, but often very solid shallow and fun entertainment.

This movie was three weak things, and first being a trio of the most unlikable characters every to be written. I guess the meaning is that you should root for them, suffer with them and so on... but honestly, they behave so fucking stupid (I won't even bother to explain all the idiotic things they do, and think they will get away with) that it just feels kinda good to see them suffer. It could be the meaning, but when they'er acting like super-macho-american-action-machines, killing evil evil evil evil Russians everywhere, it's hard to see the irony or satire.

So, the second thing? Well, it's suppose to be an action movie I guess? But for being an action movie it really lacks action. Most of it is just a couple of whiny Americans crying prison and some scenes with really evil evil evil evil Russians doing evil evil evil evil things. Thank god (he don't exist, but it's just an expression anyway) we're treated to two action scenes which both are quite good. The first is a showstopper at a small Russian village with a lot of explosions, and the other is when they break out of prison in the end. Good eighties stuff, mucho slow-mo and explosions. Me like.

The third thing is the most pointless thing EVER to be written into a movie. The chess. It's a lot of talk about the human chess play, and we even get to see some short sequences from this cool gladiator game (the Italians would have created a whole movie around that concept) and everything, and I mean everything, makes us believe that this is something important and that there will be some fights there. But... nada. Nothing. It's just left there, somewhere in the end with not one single chess-fight. That's the most wasted opportunity in the history of b-action movie cinema. It could have been an excellent opportunity for a couple of juicy bloody kickboxing-scenes. But nothing.

On the other side, the two action scenes that are is very nice and good. The movie looks great and mixes the Hollywood-style with a moody European way of filmmaking. Effects, sets and everything else looks amazing. For us action-aficinados it's also very interesting to see Mats Helge Olsson in a small part as a priest in the beginning of the movie. For you who don't know how that is, he was the director of (among a few others) The Ninja Mission and Blood Tracks. He claimed to have made hundreds movie movies, but in reality it was maybe 14-15 and a few movies that never went further than testfootage or teaser-trailers. The rumour says he worked with the pyrotechnics on Born American, but he's not credited neither as an actor or somethings else - just a "Special thanks".

Born American don't have that much good stuff to offer, but those few details that work, works very well. But this movie also allowed Renny Harlin to move to Hollywood and make better and more entertaining things.

Really. And I'm serious about that.

Man of the Week: Udo Kier

I've always thought that Udo Kier is a very attractive, handsome and... yes, sexy, actor. Up until let's say, 15 years ago, he was still hot. Now he's just damn cool ;)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

City of the Living Dead (1980)

There's something bugging me after watching the amazing blu-ray of City of the Living Dead (Arrow has done a marvelous job, no matter what all the conspiracy theorists out there says - this is the best way to see the movie!). Make no mistake about, but there is a logic behind what's happening in the movie, but I just can't pinpoint exactly what it is. I'm not gonna go in to the story, because this is one of the few movies - together with The Beyond - that can be attributed to the title "dreamlike". It's like nothing is real, but still so visible there in front of us and the characters.

You see, all of the heroes in this movies - from Mary Woodhouse (Catriona MacColl), Peter Bell (Christopher George) and Gerry (Carlo De Mejo) is dead. They are already in their own personal hell. With Mary it begins with her dying, there's nothing more else to it. She's saved by another spirit, the journalist Peter Bell and without any hazzle they are with our other psychic - but I think she just called on them. Together they goes to Dunwich, this almost mythological place which is impossible to find on the map. Dunwich is already hell, and maybe has been forever or from the moment the priest took suicide. It's always stormy, cloudy or dark in Dunwich, like it has it's own natural laws. You can never escape from there, the only one realizing this is Bob (Giovanni Lombardo Radice), who's going mad because he knows what's happening around them - thats why he sees a good opportunity to die when it's served to him. No fighting back, just accept that he's gonna leave this place. COTLD has a town-perv and not a town-like other small town-movies, Dagon, Dead & Buried, Messiah Of Evil etc etc.

There is never a clear plan what to do about stopping the hell to come back to earth, and when they're very fast are killing the priest in the end and all the zombies goes ups in flames, it's just way to easy. Like a trap. When they come up from the underground againt he weather hasn't changed. It's foggy like... hell. When the little boy, the child - the symbol of innocence) comes running towards them, happy and by the looks of it, unaffected by that everyone around him has died - they realise it's just gonna go in circles, that they are still in this nightmare and it will never end.

Or it might just be a confusing, gory Italian shock-flick. But still, there's something behind the lack of logic, something behind the emotionless characters accepting the death and grue around them. It's not bad exploitation-acting, it's strong direction from Maestro Lucio Fulci. But enough analyzing. I actually can say that this movie just climbed up one notch on my list of favorite Fulci's. I never felt connected to it when I watched it on tape (both the uncut Vipco-version that was released once, and the cut Video Invest) or the Vipco DVD (uncut, widescreen, but terrible quality), but finally I somehow "got it".

I felt I finally could get into the rythm, appreciate the madness and the (as usual) brilliant direction my Lucio Fulci. The coffin-scene could be one of the best ever shot for an Italian horror movie, with some fucking amazing visual ideas (the wind blowing on the rose leave, her breath creating moist on the mirror, the axe coming down right through the coffin-lid, so close to her head...), gorgeous cinematography by Salvati (no one could have shot the scenes in the apartment of the psychic so moody and filled with atmosphere like him!) and tense music by Fabio Frizzi. It's still not the best movie Fulci made, and it feels rushed and a bit sloppy, but the good stuff is a lot more than the bad stuff.
Jocke also reminded me that COTLD has some very weird stuff on the soundtrack, and it's true: monkeys! Yes, during at least two exterior shots you'll hear monkey screams in the background, quite loud to. It could be some very strange bird, but it really sounds like monkeys!

The gore? Yeah, it's not that much. The two main gore scenes are classics in their own right, but except that it's quite dry on the blood and gore. Sure, there's some slime and maggots, but compared to other Italian horror movies it's quite sparse. But like all Fulci-movies the gore isn't that important really. We all love it, but if he hadn't filmed it no one would have missed it either. He's such a good storyteller and creator of atmospheric filth.

But the work of Fulci, yes, the genius of storyteller Fulci reminds me of one of Kurt Vonnegut's advices when it comes to writing a good story: "Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them - in order that the reader may see what they are made of". That was something Fulci could handle more than well, to a degree that some people thought he was a misogynist and a cynic, when all that he did was to show us how humanity really is.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rampage (2009)

Our dear German doctor Uwe Boll has during the last years become one of my favorite directors. Yes, it's true. I both appreciate his wacky no-brainer popcorn-flicks and his steady work of dark, brutal dramas which often are so cynical that it's hard to understand how he got the guts to release movies with such downbeat endings. In Rampage he deals with something all people seem to fear, and that is happening everywhere - not only the US.

The star is Brendan Fletcher, a fine actor whom you seen in many movies, often small parts, during the 15 years. Even in a few Boll-movie too. Here he play Bill, a slacker, a nobody who still lives with his parents. He's 23 and life is shit. But what no one knows is that he's been doing some planning and preparations for some time. Weapons and a kevlar-suit is now ready in his close and tomorrow it's time for Tenderville (or Centerville, the name changes) to meet it's maker. Armed to the teeth he starts shooting everyone he sees, starting with blowing up the police station. Why? Well, we're not sure because he just don't seem to care about anything. But somewhere in that chaotic mind is a plan, a quite disturbing plan...

I really only have one complaint with Rampage, and it's the first part which is a bit drawn out with a lot of cutting back and forth what's happening right, in his head and in the future. It's to much repeating. But if you'll survive that you're gonna see a very impressive and disturbing little movie which actually surprised me. Shot with a lot of handcamera, improvisations and in a autumnal little American small town (but shot in Canada I guess as usual) this is a moody movie, filled with excellent acting and beautiful cinematography. Boll likes to stay with the actors and lets them talk and talk until there's something good, which he uses and intercuts very good with the rest of the takes. It's a special style, which fans of Dogme might recognize, or of course all the US indies using the same technique.

When Bill finally flips the movie regains it's energy that it somehow lost during it's first act (which not is bad, just a bit to drawn out as I mentioned above - and now I also see purpose with that). With different guns and even a knife he starts killing his way through Centerville, which is a dream for us fans of bloody squibs and general mayhem. It's very violent and it's hard to watch execution after execution, but at the same time we're so focused on Bill persona that we tend to distance ourselves from the violence. We're actually curious what he's up too.

Everything with Rampage is very well made, and together with Doctor Boll's other "serious" movies this is another classic of radical, intelligent, arty and über-violent European cinema set in the US (aka Canada). Guys like Boll is needed in the mainstream cinema because with this one, Seed, Tunnel Rats and Stoic he tries to fuck things up. He don't want us to sit there after the movie feeling good, feeling happy. He wants us to fucking understand that life can be shit, and that some of us is hiding way to far down in our cuddly rabbit-holes.

No, I haven't deleted my Facebook-account...

...just deactivated it for a while. I feel I need to be away from that place and concentrate on other things, for example this blog, a future business I want to start up, my current job and just TheG and the cat.

The communication-thing can be to much for me sometime. I just don't need so much of it, and it's easier with this blog because it's more or less a one-way-dialogue for me. I write the reviews or whatever and you can comment, but it's such a different thing than being depressed on Facebook, write stupid things and getting more depressed.

What the hell, it's a fantastic Sunday here in Märsta. It's getting closer to 20 degrees celsius and we're planning a picknick. Maybe I will watch some good (or at least entertaining) movie after that. We'll see... :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Tomb (2004)

Under the alias of David Hunt, Maestro Bruno Mattei gives us another of his crazy exploitation-movies which rips of everything that happens to be in his way. The Tomb is shot in the Philippines and Mexico and though the budget probably was lower than my yearly salary, they manage to make it looks quite good and at least gave the set designer some money to build a temple!

The movie starts with a human sacrifice, an ancient Maya-king wants to have eternal life or something... but in the last minute he has to sacrifice himself to be able to resurrect next time some one happens to walk by the temple and decides to stir up a mess there. Well, he had to wait one thousand year or something like that, until our team of stupid university students, led by Robert Madison (who kinda reminds me of Wings Hauser in some angles). These are a bunch of absurdly stupid people, and the lines they utter are so bad that it's impossible to understand how anyone could write them. But we don't watch a movie like The Tomb for the dialogue, but for the horror. It kinda works. It's still very, very, very, very, very silly - but it's fun to watch because of the cheap but impressive sets and jungle exteriors.

Mattei was a great craftsman and this movie is no exception. It's well-shot and Mattei tells the weak story like a pro. When he seem to miss footage, he (or his editor or producers) just steals some footage from Army of Darkness, some jungle movie and maybe The Mummy (the one with Brendan Fraser) too! It's not that much, and it's incorporate in the new footage quite well - but we, as the movie experts we are - will recognize every single stolen frame. The temple is masonit and plastic, but has that wonderful b-movie quality that I prefer than no temple at all. There's a big sacrifical hall, some tombs and corridors - and of course everything falls apart in the end, just like in a good old Indiana Jones-movie.

Most of the actors are mediocre, David Brass who behaves like an old queer even when tries to hook up with young women, is good but has as usual very little to do. Robert Madison is quite okey, and so the bad guys - but the rest, the university students are among the worst actors I've seen in quite a long while. We have rolling eyes, facial expressions from hell, awkward movements and most of the time they just don't know what to do with their bodies when they are in front of the camera.

Gore and tits then? There's very little nudity, and the gore-quota was far less then I thought it would be. It's not completely dry, and has some nice after the fact-make up, a graphic slith throat, some decomposing bodies and a couple of very cool make-up effects when the bad guys are showing their demon-faces. But it should have been a lot more! Maybe they spent everything on the sets? I guess you can't afford everything all the time...

The official US DVD is easy and very cheap to find on ebay. I bought mine for one dollar and of course it's worth that for us Matteiophiles. It's also in widescreen and good quality.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Escape from the Bronx (1983)

Like the first movie Escape from the Bronx uses a title that is actually a bit misleading. It makes you feel it's mostly a rip-off on Escape from New York (which the story of the first movie resembles, but not the title), but it's not. The title could be "We're not gonna escape from the Bronx" or "Let's stay in the Bronx" instead. But that don't stop this movie from being one fantastic, awesome, ultra-violent Italian action-explosion! Sure, it lacks the stylish cinematography by Stelvio Salvati, and the script is more an excuse for making Rocco Lerro and his crew to work extra much! The concept-gangs is more less gone, though some of them shows up during the finale, and Mark Gregory is a lot more relaxed in the lead - and also got clothes one or two sizes bigger.

This time the evil company that owns the Bronx-property wants to tear everything down, move the people to Mexico and build a new luxury city on top of the Bronx-ashes. This is not a popular decision, and it's even less popular because of the tactics he uses to get the people out from there. He sends in termination-groups, lead by the sadistic Floyd Wrangler (Henry Silva) who let his men murder everyone in sight. Trash and his gang of cool misfits decides to hit back!

There's even less story in this sequel, and it both looks more expensive and cheaper in the same time. How that works, I have no idea. But the scenes feels more rushed, but still are so god damn filled with violence, action, explosions and some gore that it makes the first movie look like sissy-movie Terminator Salvation in comparison. The Castellari-trademark of slow-motion is everywhere, and very spectacular. He also incorporates stuntmen and sometimes dummys in the explosions, which makes it looks a lot more dangerous than the usual "lonely explosion far away from people on some deserted parking lot"-style. Even if you see it's dummys being blown to pieces, it's perfectly alright, because it's the thought that counts in the end. To make it even better there's also a couple of miniatures being destroyed in the beginning!

Escape from the Bronx boasts a marvelous cast lead by a relaxed and much more focused Mark Gregory. Henry Silva is of course one of the best bad guys in the world, and even Ennio Girolami gets more to do this time. Giancarlo Prete, Paolo Malco, Antonio Sabato, Massimo Vanni and Enzo G. Castellari in his usual cameo. Ah, and don't forget Romano Puppo in a small part as the father of Trash! The small army of stuntmen works hard and according to some sources 174 people are killed in this movie. The style of action and sometimes locations makes it similar to another favorite, Death Wish 3 - and though they are different in style and story, they could be a great double feature.

The look is flatter and the style is more trashy and, some might say, sloppy. But for me this is one of the best futuristic action-flicks ever from Italy. I could even say that this movie is the reason, since I first saw it in my early teens, why I'm interested in rundown buildings, deserted places and concrete-romanticism. The DVD from Shameless is a composite of different prints, and is far from perfect. But it's still, what I know, the most compelete version of this classic out there.

Escape from the Bronx is just the movie you need in your collection of trashy eighties action.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Bronx Warriors (1982)

Though the title refers to Walter Hills The Warriors, and the concept of theme-gangs are there, The Bronx Warriors more resembles Escape from New York, but still manages to stay on its own feet. Gone is the Snake Plissken-character that probably would have been annoying being ripped off by any other actors, and instead we have Mark Gregory, better than people say, and a good collection of characters actors like Vic Morrow, Christopher Connelly, Fred Williamson, Luigi Montefiori, Joshua Sinclair and of course the ever present in Enzo G. Castellari's productions, his brother Ennio Girolami.

Here we have the daughter of some corporate leader running away from her school to find freedom in the sealed area of The Bronx. It's ruled by a couple of gangs, where The Riders, controlled by baby-faced leader Trash (Mark Gregory) is the biggest and toughest. But there's also The Ogre (Fred Williamson) and his bunch of dandys, a cabaret-style dance-gang, some violent underground dwellers and so on. Yes, sorry, almost forgot, the murderous gang of rollerskating killers with Luigi Montefiori as the boss!

Not surprising, the young woman wants to stay there and falls in love with Trash. But of course this has to be stopped, and the corporate leader (played by Ennio Girolami - his assistant is Enzo himself by the way!) is sending in his best man, Hammer (Vic Morrow) - a hired killer that stops for no one!

This could have been so crappy. The budget is obviously very, very low, but with the master Castellari behind the camera and his faithful Rocco Lerro and team in front as stuntmen, this becomes a very good little movie. Sure, you'll have to look beyond some of the sillier props, cheap clothes and The Bronx in the background, obviously living it's normal daily life (in one scene we can see kids playing basket in the background) without caring about these weird Italianos doing their business in the backyard. But Castellaris direction is excellent, one of the best jobs he did during this area - I personally think some of his more "normal" action movies during this period felt a bit unpersonal and stuff - but here he makes the screen come alive with a lot of stylish shots, the use of Sergio Salvati fantastic cinematography and Walter Rizzati's Goblin-style score.

It's more violent and graphic than I could remember, maybe I've only seen a cut version on VHS before, with juicy big squibs, a nice decapitation, lots of stabbings, fighting and mayhem. Everything is turned up to the max in the even better sequel, but this is still one helluva good movie. Mark Gregory is chapter for himself. First of all, I can't agree he's a bad actor. He's a little bit stiff, but remember this was his first part and he wasn't an experienced or trained actor. He's a bit uneven in the drama and dialogue (and to be fair, the dub voice they given him make him sound a bit... stupid), but he shines in the action and is convincing beating the hell out of people.

I'm not sure where I heard it, but Mark Gregory was (or is? no one seem to know where he is or if he's even alive and well) was gay, and because of his inexperience with acting this makes him not so convincing when it comes to women. Really, I get that feeling. But what's make this interesting is the scene where one of his men dies, killed by the evil Ice (Joshua Sinclair), he gives it all when it comes to emotions and closeness and it's obvious he invested a lot more in this scene than later when one of the women dies and he's in the exactly same situation. Well well, it might be unimportant for most of you out there, but my gaydar really reacts to both Marco Di Gregorio and the relationships he has in this movie.

And did I mention he has the tightest jeans ever in movie history? He can't hardly move around in them! Walks like someone with a buttplug up his ass! Sorry for being a bit rude, but jeans of that kind does that to a man. At least it shows his well-trained ass, which could be fun for those who appreciate it.

Anyway, The Bronx Warriors still holds up very well compared to a lot of other similar movies from those glory days of Italian genre cinema. The Shameless DVD looks stunning is recommended to 100 %.

Kiss Me Deadly (1955)

I decided to write a few words about Kiss Me Deadly, though it's already been over-analyzed one hundred million god damn times over the years. The reason is actually Wesley Addy, a magnificent actor I discovered in both the above mentioned movie and in Sidney Lumet's Network. I'm quite fond of cold, untrustworthy, characters in movies and addy did this for me twice this week. Not bad at all, and what a fantastic actor. Subtle, not a trace of over-acting or a theatre-esque performance. But back to Kiss Me Deadly.

The reason why I finally saw it goes back to my childhood. I remember a documentary about noir on the Swedish public television. The highlight, and the only thing I remember, was them showing the ending of Kiss Me Deadly - and it blew me away (no pun intended). That scene has stayed with me for so many years, and for a long time I had no idea what movie it was from. I asked people who might new, but strange enought I didn't know which movie I meant - which is strange because it's such a famous movie and such a famous scene.

Kiss Me Deadly have everything I expected from a classic noir, but with a twist that so powerful. Except that there's strange dangerous women, a hard-hitting private dick (Ralph Meeker bitchslapping everyone he meets and sees!), a corrupt police for... but the best of all, a conspiracy. A dangerous conspiracy where we never really knows who's behind it all. Addy, as the almost psychotic Lt. Pat Murphy, drops a few names, a few code words that gives a clue about everything, but the end we never reach so far. We stay way below the real baddies, and the only people left are the greedy businessmen trying to earn some money from the dangerous secret. But they are nobodies anyway. Just roadkills on the way.

To be honest, there's not much going on in the movie. Mike Hammer walks or drives around, talking to people who refuses to talk, and then getting killed, and slowly gets closer to the secret without even knowing what it means or what it is. A lot of people is getting killed during his little investigation, both by him (often in quite sadistic ways, the stalker-scen is very violent and also how he let one of the bad guys kill another baddie in the end)) and the rest by the unknown baddies. Kiss Me Deadly is a classic, a top-notch thriller with a nasty and eerie twist that still leaves a lot of unanswered questions. I like it because it's a movie that never sees it's audience as stupid.

You'll have to think by yourself when watching this movie, something that rarely happens today - or in the past.