Saturday, July 31, 2010

Meteor (1979)

It wasn't that long ago I watched Meteor and wrote a few word about it, but after getting my hands on the gorgeous German DVD from Warner Brothers I had to revisit it. First of all, the DVD beats the hell out of the US and UK DVDs, and the movie looks like it never looked before. It helped me appreciate it a bit more, because the framing was correct and the colours a lot better than before. The effects (some say those are the weakest spot in the movie) also felt better processed.

After watching it now, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a bit unfair to call it a bad movie. It’s certainly generic to the brink of stealing everything from other movies, but Ronald Neame still makes it work with a slick and commercial style of filmmaking. The shots are big and bold, the actors are famous and the lines are ridiculous. A typical American disaster movie. Now, this has all the big names, but it came to budget it probably had less than the more famous disasters from the era. This shows in several ways: lots of dialogue – and the use of stock footage.

Thank heavens the dialogue is less clunky than some other movies, and with a bunch of fun actors – especially Natalie Wood and Brian Keith as Russians (both spoke fluent Russian in real life too), our own Bo Brundin in a small part and the great Sybil Danning in small part where she gets buried by an avalanche. Sean Connery had a tough time during these years and more or less took every job he was offered, but manages to not look to bored. It’s a bit eerie to see Natalie Wood almost drowing in mud, when you think about her famous fear of drowning – and how she died two years later.

So, the disasters then? The main attraction. Better than their reputation. The Swiss-sequence is mostly built around stock footage from the Roger Corman-produced Avalanche and has very little new to offer except a few effect shots that looks ok and the little story about Sybil Danning and her boyfriend. But it’s nicely cut and has some suspense.

The Hong Kong-sequence is actually a lot better with a great build up and a tidal wave that looks way better than some other critics claims. The processing works very good and the miniature-water in combination with the real footage looks kinda neat. Sybil Danning gets a billing in big letters, but the two main Chinese actors here is quite anonymous. But it’s Yung Henry Yu who had (and still has) long career in Hong Kong, and tried his luck as “Bruce Ly” for one movie too! His wife is played by Tsui Ling Yu, a Shaw Brothers veteran who’s credited with twenty movies between 1977 and 1983!

The final in New York looks a lot better in widescreen, and has a cool miniature of WTC exploding – but the rest is mostly footage of real houses getting torn down with explosives, and with a fancy filter on top of it. But it works a lot better here than I’ve seen before. The rest of the show, where our heroes is trying to escape thru the subway, almost drowning in mud, is exciting and fun.

No, Meteor isn’t a masterpiece. But it’s really neither better or worse than Deep Impact or Armageddon, only with less budget and a slightly bored Sean Connery in the lead. Ah, I can’t forget Henry Fonda in one of his one-day-cameos either, as the president of the US. I can never get enough of these one-day-shoots, a good way for a famous character actor to earn some doe and still work minimal time :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hurricane (1979)

Poor Timothy Bottoms. He thought he had something going. Big disaster-drama. Fancy European director, mega-producer fixing the money. Wonderful co-actors and a one hundred percent hit on the box office. But Timothy Bottom was wrong, as usual. Hurricane cost over twenty million US dollar and didn't earn much money. The chaos on set is legendary, and Swedish director Jan Troell once said that he could spend hours every day on the beach, just laying there watching the sky. Nothing else. So what is the problem with Hurricane? I think it's mainly the script, which a classic love-story: white rich woman falls for nature boy and everyone get's angry at them, but everything is told very lifeless. Characters are either reacting to hard or to little on what's happening, and when stuff is starting to get interesting the hurricane arrives and kill everyone.

So during ninety minutes nothing really important happens, except the love story which never has that spark. Nothing wrong with either Mia Farrow or Dayton Ka'ne, it's just nothing between them. Jason Robards transformation from nice dad to psychopatic military is sudden and it's hard to imagine it ever happen in real life. Good character actors like Bottoms, Von Sydow and Howard are slumming in the background and never gets something good to do. The only time the movie lives is when Troell is focusing on the island natives, which are a lot more interesting and well written than all the whiteys running around pretending to be important.

But thank the fairy tale-god, finally the storm hits and it's a nice thirty minutes of classic Dino De Laurentiis-megabudget-action. A good combination between nice minatures and real life physical effects shows a realistic and powerful disaster, one of the best I've seen actually. It's far from typical Hollywood but never shy away from some big budget extravaganza. Hurricane also has a kinda downbeat ending which makes up for the ninty minutes I almost fell asleep. One can wonder what would have been if Roman Polanski didn't get in trouble at Jack Nicholsons house and he instead of Troell directed Hurricane? I doubt it would have been better, but maybe Polanski was more used to the big budget politics and could handle a production like this better. Troell admits this wasn't his cup of tea and went back to Sweden and directed some of most critically acclaimed Swedish movies ever.

And Timothy Bottoms? Some years later he starred in classics such as Amando de Ossorio's The Sea Serpent, Don Sharp's What Waits Below and of course the legendary killer-baboon movie In the Shadow of Kilimanjaro. He's still the best, and has worked steadily since then... but very far from the movies he deserves.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Anyone got this movie: Black Sun (1978)

I just got this great little poster for Black Sun (aka Mannen i Skuggan), a Swedish-Yugoslavian (probably shot in English) action-thriller directed by the one and only Arne Mattsson. I've been looking for the movie during many years now, and it MUST have been released on tape somewhere... so, anyone got it? Anyone want to fix me a DVD-R of this very obscure movie? :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Three DVD's from DDDhouse

Profile in Danger, Phantom Killer and He Lives by Night - cheap as usual and released by good old Fortune Star. Gonna be fun to see them.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cinezilla showed his, so I'll will show mine...

... and I think mine is a bit bigger.

Mr J at Cinezilla took a photo of his newly found Godzilla-figure, and I felt I had to do something similar too. This Godzilla was a gift from a psychotic ex-bf, and the only thing I saved from that disastrous relationship (at the time I also tattooed Godzilla's head on my shoulder).

Why would grown men want to have plastic toys? Well, it's not just a toy. It's Godzilla, the greatest monster on earth. Some people have a complicated and expensive stereo system, some like to show off their strenght in sports. Some, like us, gain power from plastic toys of Japanese monsters. Like an amulet. A religious icon, not far from the wall ornaments in strict catholic homes.

The only difference between us and all these people, is that we're cool. Cool as hell.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

La Herencia Valdemar (2010)

Nah. Bah. I'm not sure really. Or? Shit. Really, this is difficult. On one side La Herenica Valdemar is a prime example of classic Spanish horror, and with Paul Naschy in a supporting role (his last too). On the other side it's the first part of two movies, and if this one didn't leave so much hopla around the world, will we ever see a sequel?

The Valdemar Estate is not up for sale, but the owners - a strange organization - want's it valued and cataloged. The send the young and ambitious Luisa Lorente (Silvia Abascal) there, but she soon disappears after a terrifying experience and soon the president of the organization and a private investigator is on it's way. On the train the president tells him about the Valdemar legacy and it's a tragic story. The house was once owned by a young couple and uses it as an orphanage (of course, it's Spain...). They also gets some extra money by arranging seances for the rich and powerful. After some trouble, the husband gets in contact with Alistair Crowley... and then shit hits the fan!

Now, Le Hernenica Valdemar looks stunning. It's a beautiful piece of cinema, and it really feels old-fashioned. It has that wonderful European feeling. The pace is not especially fast, and they spend to much time showing the young couples life and troubles before the fun starts. They spend way to much time doing that, which probably is because it's meant to be the first part. Big mistake, because this means we get one seventy minutes of drama, and just thirty minutes of Crowley doing what he does best, demons, some gore and cool and well made visual effects. All this, in the finale, looks stunning - but it's probably not only me that asks why they couldn't have done the opposite: thirty minutes drama and seventy minutes horror (it even has some kinda zombie!)! Most of the story is also a flashback, and in the end it leads up to those horrible events that starts the show.

It's a lot of loose ends, and I'm almost willing to pray to Satan Almighty so they can get the money to do the sequel! The best thing with the movie is of course Paul Naschy. He looks frail and old here, not only because of the make-up, and moves slower. But he's still Naschy and injects so much humanity and layers in his character as the young couples manservant. He's in the whole movie, but the part isn't that big - but important and well written. Like in Rojo Sangre, he really shows the world what a master-actor he was, something that can be forgotten among all naked ladies, werewolf-masks, beards and fistfights.

La Herenica Valdemar is one part excellent horror movie, but also a big part disappointment. That last disappointing part could be saved and erased if they made the sequel, if not I'm afraid this will be more forgotten than it deserves.

Specters (1987)

You can say a lot of bad things about Marcello Avallone's Specters, but it's virtually impossible to say it looks bad. I would even consider Marcello Avallone a very decent director with a clear and intelligent view how to create atmosphere and cool set-pieces. The main problem is the script, which has to much clichés and never raise above the rest of the Italian horror movies from the eighties. Donald Pleasence plays some archology professor (and no, I refuse to "joke" about the quality of movies he made during the last years of his career - god damn, the man had to survive and it's not much room for actors like him even today) who together with his students find an old crypt. In this crypt a demon or maybe even Satan himself lives (I didn't bother enough to hear any explanation), and starts killing them off one by one.

That's all. But to understand why this is a fun movie you'll have to understand that only two things can make a movie good:

1. Crypts, tombs and catacombs.
2. There's a real man-in-suit monster in the movie.

It also has a tribute both to Creature from the Black Lagoon and Nosferatu and special effects make-up by Sergio Stivaletti! There's really nothing more with the movie, it's pure eye candy. The cinematography looks gorgeous and the Avallone manages to create a lot of mood and scenes that rivals the best of Italian horror. The gore is sparse, but the little there is works fine. I wonder if this version (the R2UK) of the movie is trimmed? The crushed head looks very fine, but might be a little bit to short to come from an Italian movie.

One important thing that may low budget movies fails at, is to find good locations. Here we have a lot of fine places, both real catacombs and sets. These and the other locations makes the movie looks bigger and more expensive. As you notice, I can't write so much about the story. It's paper thin and easy forgotten, just an (a good one too) excuse to show some nice horror scenes and the danish actress/model Trine Michelsen. She had a short stint in Italian genre cinema with this one, Sergio Bergonzelli's Mercenary Squad and Lamberto Bava's handsome but deadly boring Delirium: Photo of Goia. She died last year after a seven years long battle with cancer. She also starred in Lars Von Trier's The Idiots. I like that movie, but I can't remember her in it - I'll watch it again as soon as possible.

I really like Specters, even if it never will change the world... or anything else. It's just a quite slow movie with great set-pieces and some gore that needs a better DVD-release. I doubt it will sell enough for anyone to release it again, but I hope it someday happens - at least for my sake.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide (Nucleus, October 2010)

Well, sounds like something I need anyway...

Prepare to be corrupted and depraved once more as Nucleus Films releases the definitive guide to the Video Nasties phenomenon – one of the most extraordinary and scandalous eras in the history of British film.

For the first time ever on DVD, all 72 films that fell foul of the Director of Public Prosecutions are featured with specially filmed intros for each title in a lavish three-disc collector’s edition box-set, alongside a brand new documentary – VIDEO NASTIES: MORAL PANIC, CENSORSHIP AND VIDEOTAPE, directed by Jake (‘Doghouse’) West.

Producer Marc Morris, co-author of Art of the Nasty and Shock Horror: Astounding Artwork from the Video Nasty Era comments: “Hopefully, every true movie fan will want this in their collection”..

Disc One presents the 39 titles which were successfully prosecuted in UK courts and deemed liable to deprave and corrupt. These included: Absurd, Cannibal Holocaust, The Driller Killer, I Spit on Your Grave, Nightmares in a Damaged Brain, Snuff & Zombie Flesh-Eaters.

Disc Two presents the 33 titles that were initially banned, but then subsequently acquitted and removed from the DPP’s list. These included: Death Trap, Deep River Savages, The Evil Dead, Human Experiments, The Toolbox Murders & Zombie Creeping Flesh

Both discs can be viewed either as a non-stop trailer show, or with newly-filmed introductions from a wide range of acclaimed media academics and notable genre journalists. Each disc is preceded by a brief introduction by cult horror presenter Emily Booth.

Disc Three This era-defining documentary features interviews with filmmakers Ruggero Deodato (Cannibal Holocaust) Neil Marshall (The Descent, Doomsday), Christopher Smith (Severance, Black Death) and MP Graham Bright as well as rare archive footage featuring James Ferman (director of the BBFC 1975-1999) & Mary Whitehouse. Taking in the explosion of home video, the erosion of civil liberties, the introduction of draconian censorship measures, hysterical press campaigns and the birth of many careers born in blood and videotape, West’s documentary also reflects on the influence this peculiar era still exerts on us today.

Extras include a gallery of original video company idents and extensive gallery of lurid cover art for every video nasty.

Release Date: 11 October 2010
RRP: £24.99

Monday, July 19, 2010

Slice (2009)

Wow, shit. Slice is a heavy piece of Thai cinema. It wasn't really what I expect, actually it was a good thing - but I was kinda into watching a more commercial and "simple" serial killer-movie, but got a very brutal, downbeat serial killer/childhood-drama with some stunning visuals and excellent acting. It starts of with a farang pedophile getting stabbed in his hotel room - the little boy as a witness - by a person in a big read cloak. The man's genitals are then cut off and he's stuffed in a red bag and dumped into the sea. This isn't the first victim for the killer, who attacks virtually everyone that has some special sexual fetisch - neither it's illegal or not.

The police handling the case, the nasty Papa Chin (Chatchai Plengpanich) get's fifteen days to solve the case when the son of the chief of police is killed and get his anal ripped open, and hanged up-side-down outside in the public - wearing female underclothing! He remember that his old friend Tai (Arak Amornsupasiri), an ex-cop - nowadays in prison for killing another officer - once talked about a friend of his, Nat, who might be involved in the case. He get's Tai out of prison, gives him a gun and a cell phone and tells him to find the killer in fifteen days - and so Tai goes back to his childhood village and soon we learn the tragic story of Nat, a boy that wanted to be his friend and maybe more...

I guess this could be one of the most graphic and controversial Thai thriller ever and the style of the movie, a lot of non-shaky handcamera, experimental visuals and naturalistic acting was probably something that turned of the normal Thai audience - it became a flop to, which is a damn pity because it's one of the best Thai movies I've seen in a very long time. This is a movie that never lets the audience calm down and go back to that normal state of non-thinking, non-controversial relaxation. When some shit happens here it happens big, and it won't take long until something even worse happens. The stuff in this movie is something that never, and I mean never, would happen in an American movie. The story deals a lot with pedophilia, which is a very rare subject in Thai cinema (I think this is the first time I see it), and the abuse that both children and women are victims off.

But because the murders are so fierce, it's hard to first connect to the killer - understand why he or she is doing this - but after every detail of abuse, every crappy person that lives in the earth shows up, fuck someones life up over and over again, it's starting to make sense. Everything comes together in the end in a way I think is good, but I would have prefered a slightly different ending. Good or bad means nothing in Slice, which makes it even more interesting.

And yes, for fans of gore and violence, you have a lot to see here - but I doubt you will find any enjoyment from it. The only scene that might pass as "entertainment" is a shoot-out at a sex-club, which is filmed very arty, in slow-motion, with lots of blood and violence. The set is also a weird carousel and the first thing that came to my mind was a Roman orgy! It's hard to describe, so give the movie a try and see what you feel about it.

Because feeling is everything here, thinking and analysing is further slices down in the cake.

Hercules and the Captive Women (1961)

This is actually a Hercules-movie, not just a character like Maciste renamed for the American audience. The titles, Hercules and the Captive Women, is a bit flamboyant to. Because there's actually only one captive woman and that goes on for like... five minutes at the most. But if don't mind a detail like that, you'll find out that this is one of the best peplums of it's time!

Reg Park (Woof!) only did five movies in Italy, and he's one of the coolest and strongest peplum-heroes ever. Here he plays Hercules (what else?) who's joining his friend Androclo (Ettore Manni, who died mysteriously in 1979) to save Thebes from the evil Atlantis. The crew on the boat tries to take over, but Hercules and Androcolo leaves them on an island and sets towards new adventures. What Hercules don't know that his son is aboard, and when the ship sinks in a storm, Hercules floats to Atlantis where he saves the only captive woman in the movie and finds out the evil plans of the evil queen (über-cool Fay Spain) and her army of weird albinos!

Vittorio Cottafavi directs with a fantastic eye for visuals. The budget are probably quite low, but it looks amazing with sparkling colors, huge sets and inspired actors. Reg Park, sporting a nice beard and friendly eyes, is excellent as Hercules and brings warmth and humanity to the character. Far from the stereotypical muscleman-stars of the sixties (whom we love anyway of course). But there's nothing with Reg Parks that makes him look down on other characters, even the bad guys, he's just a friendly smart giant - who both kills and hugs with a sincere smile.

Cottafavi uses the depth of the sets to create something that looks much more expensive than it is. The camera tracks down and up, back and forth and both let us view the colorful scenery, the intensive action and the human (or should I say, "Atlantian"?) drama. The main hall that the Atlantis queen holds court is impressive, but whats even cooler is the outside - probably built in an old sandpit, which makes it looks like a temple built inside a mountain. The action is mostly fights, and the highlight is a cheesy fight with between Hercules and a shapeshifter named Proteus (which is a big lizard with blinking eyes).

The albino army looks really cool too with stylish uniforms and weird make-up. Here we have something that can be quite rare in peplums: set design, clothes and sets that feels "realistic". Not just something that they found hours before shooting, in the basement, left-overs from a couple of other peplums. Like all good peplums, the city is destroyed by a volcano eruption in the end and Atlantis sinks. Some impressive miniature work, but mostly real life stuntmen trying to avoid huge falling blocks of papier-maché stones.

This is a great adventure, a fun matinée and one of the best in it's genre. I had a terrible headache before watching this, but "Ercole alla conquista di Atlantide" was the perfect cure.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

1 2 3 Monster Express (1977)

First of all, I'm not sure when this movie was released - most sources say 1977, but some claims 1970 or 1971, and one say 1975. Sorapong Chatree looks very young here, so it could be the early seventies. Anyway, 1 2 3 Monster Express was the biggest blockbuster that year in Thailand and I can understand why. First of all, the story is very, very, very simple...

We have the usual suspects in a seventies thriller: the pregnant woman, the teenagers, a young military (Sorapong of course), one more typical leading man (Krung Srivilai, who I've mentioned here before), an eldery man and so on. All of them are traveling with a long distance bus, but someone really want to stop that bus. First a couple of robbers are following them and tries to stop the bus, but one man on the bus has a weapon and stops them - and they we realize that he's a gangster too - and that he has a couple more collegues on the bus! The passengers stops them too after some fighting and shooting, but are ambushed again by more baddies and is brought to a prison camp! From there they escape AGAIN with the bus, after a lot of action of course... and they more bad guys takes up the chase... and I even have to mention that there's a bomb on the bus?

I think everyone understands, this is non-stop action from start to finish (actually, the first ten minutes is quite slow but has a big fight and the last ten minutes is a bit slow, but has a pregnant woman giving birth on the bus) in the classic cheap but spectacular way we all learned to love from the Thai's. The fights are of course only fistfights and stuff like that, but it's violent and with a lot of energy. Bloody squibs, explosions and a few good stunts here and there makes this a damn fun movie - and even without subtitles it's easy to understand the twists and turns.

Visually it looks better than I thought it would. The claustrophobic setting on the bus is used with talent (and my god, it must have been warm on that bus when they shot the movie - no studio here, just a moving bus in the hot sun all the time) and the movie looks very fine. It also has two stylish slow-motion shots during the last half, but it could have been more if I could choose. What helps the movie even more is the stolen soundtrack, probably from similar American thrillers and disaster movies. It fits the mood and style, and it's nice to hear something else than cues from the Bond-movies, Pink Floyd or The Pink Panther-theme for once!

The Thai VCD looks quite good, even during the night shots, but is (of course) cropped on the sides. But it's one of the better looking VCD's of such an old Thai-movie I've seen. Recommended.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Latest VCD's from Thailand

Two months ago, I think, I found a cool site in Thailand. They had a lot of cool movies, hard-to-find VCD's. So after a lot of difficulties (the whole site is in Thai, so I had to navigate with the help of Google Translate) I made an order - and nothing happen. I emailed them. Nothing.

Finally a friend in Thailand called them and they say they emailed me about it - fuck yeah - so we decided that they should send the VCD's to her. Nothing happen. She called back to them, furious of course, and now they told us that they didn't had what I wanted...

By this time I just said "Fuck them" and decided to don't waste my time any more. But my friend continued to fight with them, and today - two months later - these VCD's finally arrived. It was only one of them I really wanted, but I guess the other three looks cool too :)

The last one is 1-2-3 Monster Express, one of the biggest blockbusters in Thailand during the seventies. The first one I bought because I own it on a Swedish betamax-tape, see below, and I always wanted to see it :) All four movies stars the great Sorapong Chatree by the way.

Today's fan mail

Anonymous said...
Who gives a FUCK about your cat, you stupid fat twat!! Movies is what we come on here for. Do not get it twisted like we are your friends, and post personal shit, dilweed. We've got our own lives, and just want a few movie tips. If you can't handle that than get fucked... July
16, 2010 8:10 AM

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Zeder (1983)":
Oh my fucking god, Fred!!! Why are you getting lippy with Jack?? Don't you know he's way out of your league?? You'll never be on his level, you fat clown!! Never fucking ever!!! lol He's a REAL collector, and has mucho respect in the underground. You best believe people only come on here because he's here. You're just some douche bag who rambles on about bullshit, and you had no right to talk down to him. He was 100% correct, and you got all butt hurt for no reason!! You're every bit the scumbag everybody says you are. Fuck this blog. I hope you rot, you delusional cum gargling queerbait.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

White Fang (1973)

I've said it over and over again, Lucio Fulci was so much more than gore-movies from the eighties. Nothing wrong with them, I love them and respect them to 100 %. But people tend to forget that the Maestro was an excellent director even without zombies and duck-talking serial killers. My first experience with White Fang was in Sigtuna where I went to school. The driver of the bus, Bertil, obviously understood that I even at such a tender age just was in love with the movie picture. So one day he brought a Swedish x-rental of White Fang and gave it to me. It was quite different than the other similar adventure-movies I've seen at the time, but it stayed with me and over the years I really wanted to watch it again - but with great quality and in widescreen. And I finally did.

Missaele plays Mitsah (which sounds like Pizza everyone someone yells it on the movie), an indian boy who together with his father discovers a wild dog. The boy and the dog becomes friend, and even the father - after a lot of thinking - decides to trust the dog. After an accident, Mitsah needs medcial attention and they go together to Dodge City where a nun has open a hospital. Also in the city is the journalist Jason Scott (Franco Nero, more handsome than ever) and his friend Kurt Jansen (Raimund Harmstorf) - both of course extremely good guys. The only problem is that the village is run by the sleazy and evil Charles 'Beauty' Smith (John Steiner) and his henchmen, and he really wants White Fang to be his own fighting-dog... Scott and Jansen takes it upon themselves to clean up the trash and bring some order in town!

It takes a Fulci to bring life to Jack London's White Fang. This is a much darker and crueler story, and though it's a movie directed towards families and "young adults", it's both violent and cynical. Fulci is not afraid to show the darkness of mankind and do so with a graphic punch. I think kids can, even in the seventies, stand much more than parents or censorship claims, and if I ever get a kid - this is the movie I would show. It's really nothing bad with it. It's such a slick and beautiful production (the only scene that stands out as corny is in the beginning, where we see a lot of studio-sets dressed to look like outdoors) with a magnificent cast. Everyone is wonderful, but Fernando Rey as the alcoholic Father Oatley is character with many layers and Rey makes him come a alive so well. There's a fantastic scene in the end where Oatley discovers something, a tragedy both for him personally, and the city and he goes on a ranting-rampage and breaks down out in the street. Powerful.

My biggest worry was that the story about the boy would be to dominating and cute, but it never happens and every relationship in this movie feels real. One interesting thing, that's been pointed out by other critics, is that the story is much about how evil privatization is (and I agree to a certain point). John Steiner's character is obviously a symbol of capitalism and Scott and Jansen are defenders of communism. I can see why Fulci was attracted by the script.

But White Fang is most of all a dark, intelligent and dramatic adventure-movie. Another proof of Fulci's genius and talent as a director and storyteller.

And yes Jason, I have this one and the sequel to you :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Zeder (1983)

A masterpiece. Maybe one of the most original Italian horror movies ever made, and it don't even have gore! Amazing. Zeder is more of a conspiracy thriller, with a vague giallo-feeling and a few of the living dead showing up doing what they like to do, so if you expect something else you should go home to your mother and cry like a baby or something instead of reading this.

Gabriele Lavia plays Stefano, a struggling writer who one days gets a second hand electrical typewriter from his girlfriend. After the ribbon almost breaks, he takes it out from the machine and by curiosity he starts reading what the person before him wrote. What he finds is two letters, one of them about something called K-zones, places where people somehow can obtain immortality. He traces the machine to a priest, but suddenly he finds himself deep into a conspiracy of people who want's to protect the secret of eternal life...

Zeder is all about mood. There's very little gore and special effects, but the story is so spellbinding and cool that it's hard to stop watching. Stefano (another one of Lavias excellent performances) might be clueless most of the time, but he's sucked into something so much bigger, so much more dangerous that he can't understand it. Everyone seem to be involved, or? A girl wants to give him information about what's behind it all, but gets brutally stabbed by someone before she can give him the info. The priest who the typewriter belonged to, dies one month before he finds him and left is his strange blind sister. Stories about nudists who buried their dog at a K-zone is told, and it echoes Pet Sematary quite a bit - but the story is still very different.

It's hard to explain Zeder with out telling a lot of important details and twists that you should experience yourself, and I don't want to spoil it for you. But I must say that this is one impressive movie, a thinking mans zombie-movie (which can be fun sometimes...). It would have been fun with gore and more, of course, but that's just not Avati's "thing". He want's to tell us everything, and as little as possible. A mystery movie with to many answers.

Zeder is out on Italian DVD from Fox, which is the best released. Sure, you can buy Image Entertainment's crap-release or some even crappier bootleg, but in that way you'll never experience Zeder the way it should be experienced. I hate bad quality (that's why I abandoned VHS so fast, which even with good quality tapes looks shit) and I'm not one of those who are into nostalgia that thinks that "b-movies" should be watched in shit-quality. No, every movie - good or bad - deserves to be seen in a shape as good as possible. So the only way you can see Zeder is by buying the Italian DVD.

2 x Jean-Paul Belmondo

I'm home sick right now and took the time to dive into the world of Belmondo, the über-famous French movie star, stuntman and comedian that graced the screens for many years. Much has been written about him and his movies, so I will just write a few words about what I've seen. First out was...

... The Animal from 1977, a broad comedy with Belmondo playing two parts. First the slightly failed, but cool, stuntman Mike who just been dumped by his girl, stuntwoman Jane (Raquel Welch) and is forced to start working as a monkey at a supermarket and continue his hilarious fraud to get money from the wellfare department. His luck seems to change when an international movie production is coming to Paris, it's the superstar Bruno Ferrari that will shoot his new action-adventure there and he needs a stuntman! Mike sees his change to prove to Jane that he's a successful stuntman and hopefully get her back too!

The Animal is a very funny movie, but also very light and with very little depth. The comedy is sometimes, as European movies from the seventies, quite non-PK and this means that Mike imitates a mentally handicapped man in a wheelchair to get his wellfare money and Bruno Ferrari (also played by Belmondo) is the typical sissy stereotype of a gay man! But most people are stereotypes here, from the womanzing Italian director to Mike's own macho-attitude as a stuntman. It's an expensive movie that also looks expensive, and the set-pieces with stunts and comedy is big and crazy. A lot of laughs, and I can recommend it with out any hesitation.

Ah, and we're also treated to cameos by Jane Birkin, Johnny Halliday and Claude Chabrol too + probably a bunch of other French superstars that I have no idea who they are.

Fear over the City (1975) is the total opposite. No laughs here, but a serious attempt to make a French Dirty Harry-movie with Belmondo as Jean Letellier, a very tough cop that threatens people with death and violence a bit to often. A serial killer is terroizing the city, he's murdering women and teases the police with letters and phone calls. Letellier is of course after him, but at the same time he wants to catch a dangerous bank robber that nearly got himself fired from the force!

The only bad thing with Fear over the City is that it's a bit to overlong. It don't have the same energy all the time as The Animal for example (or like the original Dirty Harry), but it's still a masterpiece of European crime-cinema. The most famous thing about this movie is the chase-scenes which is among the best I've seen, and they all look terrible dangerous. Belmondo do most of the stunts himself, which makes it look even more terrifying, and when he runs around on top of roofs, almost falling down, it looks very realistic. One chase is almost thirty minutes long and ends on top of a subway-train! The killer himself is a nasty guy (with one eye too!), and the perfect enemy of Belmondo.

These movies are very different, but was a perfect double feature. What amazes me is the stunts that Belmondo do himself. It really looks dangerous, very dangerous! In The Animal there's a lot of smaller stunts which seems even crazier than the ones in the movie their making. Belmondo has a rare talent that he can handle both slapstick and brutal action in the same excellent way. I'm impressed.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Jesus Christ Saviour (2008)

Klaus Kinski as Jesus. You've seen the few minutes of rage that opens up Werner Herzogs My Best Fiend, you've seen the clips on YouTube. You've seen nothing!

In 2008 Peter Geyers reconstruction of Jesus Christ Saviour, the name of Kinski's show, finally appeared in cinemas and on DVD. I don't know if this was a big thing in Germany, but very little has been written about about this fantastic movie outside the country. It was just by coincidence I found about it, and of course I ordered the DVD directly from

For the first time we're getting a look into what really happen that night at Deutschlandhalle in November 1971, and it shows an emotional man getting hurt by the fucking idiots in the audience. I'm not usually the one that sits and talk back to the TV, but this time I had a hard time stopping myself from trying to keep quiet. Kinski tries, I think two or three times to start the show. With thirty memorized pages in his head, he demands, like all actors on stage, concentration and respect. But he get's nothing. People, or idiots, start hurling insults at him, talking back, stops listening to him, screaming rude things and at one time one fucking guy comes up one the stage and wants to take the microphone from Kinski. Kinski orders the guards to take this intruder away, and the audience starts calling him (Kinski) a fascist! God damn, who's the facists here?

But Kinski is working hard, one time after another he continues the show (still wearing a very ugly shirt), working his way thru the complicated text and some improvisations here and there. He really tries not the get provoced, and on a couple of occations he stops, standing quiet to focus - to not get angry and scream back at the retards in the audience. You can see in his eyes how his whole dream is falling apart, how he's desperate is trying to get back into his text again. There's sadness, more than anger. Finally he have to stop the show, and all those 5000 in the audience leaves...

Now, this could have been the end - but if you sit back in your sofa and waits until after the credits, you'll see one of the most powerful things I've seen in a documentary. Around one hundred people is waiting for him at the stage. He comes out, walks down to them and PERFORMS THE WHOLE FUCKING SHOW AGAIN, just for them... After a few minutes of disorder, they sit there, quiet and concentrated and Kinski can perform his show, over ten years in the making and planning.

Fuck, I wish I had a time machine to be able to go back to be one of those lucky, serious people who really wanted to listen to him. Kinski is sad and exhausted, but do what he came there for... and leaves.

Such a master-actor, such a fucking professional. I would like to see any other superstar do that now.

With this DVD you'll be able to see a big part of his Jesus-show, and it's a pity he never could tour with it - because it's a damn fine one man show. Intelligent, emotional, a brilliant analyze of the historical character of Jesus, a rebel.

Jesus Christ Saviour is a MUST in any Kinski-fans collection.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dark of the Sun (1968)

Jack Cardiff was one of the best cinematographers that ever graced our little earth, but he was also a fine director - which he proved with Dark of the Sun (aka The Mercenaries), a very gritty and brutal war-adventure from 1968. For the first time on DVD, from Triple X in Thailand, it's far from a perfect release (widescreen and anamorphic, but weak picture quality and still has the same old cuts that has been following this movie for years), but gives the world a chance to see what a great flick this is.

Rod Taylor is Captain Curry, a mercenary that takes on himself an almost impossible job i Congo - to save 50-60 people belong to a diamond mine, but also and most important - diamonds worth 50 million dollars! He brings with him the local warrior and soldier Ruffo (Jim Brown) and an alcoholic doctor (Kenneth More). Because of some very bad luck they're also forced to bring with them old nazi officer Heinlein (Peter Carsten) and his private army. After a few minor setbacks, they finally arrive to the village - only to find that the diamonds has been looked into a huge safe that will open automatically in three hours! And it's impossible to open it any other way... and at the same time the rebels are on their way to the mine, and Heinlen is getting more and greedy...

Okey, it's cut and the quality is like VHS - but this dosen't stop this movie from being a fantastic war-adventure with both strong action and emotional content. Jack Cardiff never stays away from the brutality of war, and what's left after censorship is graphic and disturbing. Shot on Jamaica, it looks fantastic with cool jungles, a even cooler train (which much of the action revolves around) and spectacular and realistic action-scenes. Rod Taylor is one of the most underrated leading men I know (together with James Franciscus, Bradford Dillman and Rock Hudson) and sheds a lot of realism to his character. His chemistry with Jim Brown is perfect, and Brown makes one of his finest performances. To be honest, everyone in front of the camera is excellent.

Train-movies has always been one of my guilty pleasures, and Cardiff utilise this location to perfection. Most of the stuff is made without back-projection (except a few longer dialogue-scenes) and it actually seems like Rod and the others are jumping around this train with explosions and gunfire all around them. Very impressive. There's a couple of major action scenes, all very good. I guess the sneak-attack on the rebels orgy is the most famous one, and I guess it's where most of the censorship was done too. But it's hard to notice, it's so good damn fantastic anyway.

You'll have everything here: explosions, graphic violence, action, fine acting, a good story, cool locations and music. It's a movie that someday MUST have a restored DVD release (or Blu, even better!), reconstruction like it should be watched. I'm sure this will happen, but until then I'll stick with my Thai-DVD!