Thursday, September 30, 2010

Det Okända (2000)

After The Blair Witch Project everyone wanted to make their own digital horror movie in the backwoods somewhere. Me and a couple of friends made what probably was the first Blair Witch-spoof, The Ninja Spirit Project. Entertainment Weekly payed over 900 Swedish kronor to get a VHS-copy shipped to New York! Poor them! Anyway, Det Okända (aka The Unknown) was a hyped project the arrived to cinemas in the year 2000. Shot with digital cameras and with the same rough style like Blair Witch, but no mockumentary, it was a small success. I remember it to be quite boring, but I decided to give it a new look and surprise… it was better than I remember it to be!

Five geologists are travelling to the north of Sweden to examine how the landscape has been affected by a big forest fire. When they arrive they soon find a strange object, like a deformed animal. After the first nights drunken party one of the members becomes ill, starts to bleed from her private regions. Soon she behaves more and more strange, and everything seem to be connected to the strange “animal” they’ve found… The paranoia is spreading, and soon something is taking over their bodies one after another…

A mix between The Thing and Blair Witch, but with much smaller budget and a cast of (then) unknown actors doing their best to behave naturally in front of the camera (which seem very hard for Swedish actors to do!), this works fine – a lot better than when I saw it the first time. I probably compared it to much to Blair Witch (a much scarier movie), but after so many years this holds up very well. The acting is sometimes a bit uneven, but most of the time really good – so is the (adlibbed?) dialogue. The photography is rough and simple, very grainy video-footage, but adds a lot of atmosphere to the dark Swedish forest.

It might not be scary, but it’s never boring and gives a few thrills here and there, especially when the paranoia sets in during the last half of the movie. One thing they’ve stolen completely from The Thing is when the look another character up and that person are trying to convince them to let him out. It works good in this movie too.

The “alien” (or what the hell it is…) might look like a deformed barbecued chicken, but Det Okända works a lot better than it should. If you can find it on a DVD with English subtitles, I recommend a purchase.

Frank Henenlotter to Stockholm!

This is really cool awesome mega-cool news for us in Stockholm, Sweden. SubDVD and Njuta Films will arrange an evening with Frank Henenlotter in our little main capital of Sweden! The last Sunday in October of course, the 31st!

It only costs 150 Swedish kronor and it begins at 15:00 with mingle together with Henenlotter, then a screening of Brain Damage, after that a Q&A together with famous film journalist Ronny Svensson and finally another screening, Bad Biology. Njuta is releasing Bad Biology on DVD and Blu-Ray, so of course you will be able to purchase that release a little earlier - and of course get it signed by Mr Henenlotter himself!

Read more here - in Swedish - or on Facebook.

I'll be there, so if you are a reader, try to find a fat bloke in a striped jacket, glasses and a patetic beard who have a tendency to stutter when he's close to famous and talented people that he adore ;)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sharktopus (2010)

I was very fond of Roger Cormans earlier SyFy-production Cyclops, with Eric Roberts and some impressive left-over sets from a bigger production, so it was with joy I heard the news about Sharktopus – the best creature feature-title ever? But if that’s not enough, Sharktopus also gives us a performance by Brent Huff, the mega-star from Strike Commando 2, Born to Fight, Nine Deaths of the Ninja and a lot more classics from the eighties.

The main idea with creating such a monster like Sharktopus is that the US military will have something to use against drug smugglers! It’s controlled by a remote, but after an accident the Sharktopus looses its remote and is out to kill, kill and kill!!! Eric Roberts is the inventor of our hero, and her daughter co-inventor. Now they need to catch it before it can kill, kill, kill even more!!!

Jaja, as we say in Sweden. The story is so-so. Nothing special. The typical creature feature storyline used a billion times on the SyFy Channel and since the dawn of monster movies. Like The Asylums latest monster movies, Sharktopus has its tongue firmly placed in the cheek and has at least one Sharktopus-attack ever ten minute. Everything is computer graphics, except a few rubber-tentacles here and there, but fits good to the glossy, sunshine style of the movie. It feels like a commercial for shampoo or some ab-fitness machine, but with very silly dialogue and a huge tentacle-monster munching half-naked hunks and babes.

But the highlight of the movie is the attacks, which is many and often very entertaining. The best one is already a classic, the bungey jump-kill, but I like when the Sharktopus is attack the WORST dance troupe in movie history and eat’s them one by one. He probably did something that the dance critics probably just dreamt about doing. Another victim is a poor worker who’s screaming “No, not like this” when the monster grabs him, and that after talking with his colleague about death!

I wonder if this line echoes the famous one from Night of the Lepus? It says everything about the movie:

"Excuse me! Everyone! There's a killer shark-octopus hybrid heading this way! So please leave the marina in a timely fashion!"

Sharktopus is a great movie for fans of stupid shark-movies (I’m looking at you Jocke!) and I can’t wait to own it on DVD – or even better, blu-ray (but I guess that never will happen)!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990)

I stayed away from Leatherface for many years, because the Swedish tape was cut to ribbons by the weak distributors that wouldn’t dare take a fight with the censors. I’ve always prefered my movies uncut, at least the violence, and as close as possible to the director’s vision as possible (which makes VHS a no-no). When it finally was released in a nice special edition in the UK, I decided to buy it. That was a couple of years ago, and yesterday I decided to take a new look at Jeff Burr’s troubled production.

Kate Hodge and William Butler are Michelle and Ryan, a young trendy LA-couple on their way home. After some drama at a gas station where they meet redneck-idiot Alfredo (Tom Everett) and hunky cowboy Tex (Viggo Mortensen), they escape out in the night just to almost crash into tough guy Benny (Ken Foree). He first dosen’t believe them that a chainsaw-maniac is after them, but soon has to use his survival skills to defend himself against Leatherface out in the backwoods. In the meantime, Michelle and Ryan is stuck on a farm… a farm belonging to the infamous Sawyer-family…

Jeff Burr is an excellent director, his From a Whisper to a Scream is one of my favorite episode-movies ever. Dark and gritty, very cynical about humanity. TCM3 is never as dark as that movie, but it’s still very stylish and fun movie which might lack some of the trademark-sadism that Tobe Hooper gave the two first parts, but has more interesting and colorful character and for once a very strong hero (Ken Foree). The Sawyer-family is great, with R.A. Mihailoff as one of the best Leatherface-versions ever. The mumbling redneck Alfredo is a highlight to, and Tex and Tinker (Joe Unger) is a sadistic duo of…brothers?

The house in the TCM-movies has always been important, and the problem with this movie is that it’s way to clean. The random body parts just feels way to fake and you never get the sense of the organized chaos that should reign this family. Because if post-production trouble a lot of the grittiness and violence was trimmed, and what’s left in the unrated version isn’t that graphic – but still has a nice streak of violence thru all the horror scenes. The shoot-out, and everyting surrounding the kitchen, is the best and most TCM-esque scenes in the movie.

But still, Leatherface is a great sequel in a franchise that is more even than most movie-series. Almost every part has its own style, and so of course this one. Blue-tinted, typical early ninties, witty dialogue and that special kind of acting that you see very rarely in todays horror movies.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

...And Henry Fonda as The President

If Henry Fonda was alive I would hire him and do a movie where he plays The President. The whole flick will be in his office where he talks in telephone how dangerous the situation is out there because of fires, killer bees, earthquakes and tsunamis. Only him and a telephone.

He would look more tired during the whole two hour movie. At the end he will have no tie and look a bit sweaty, a bit worn after the shocking events.

The credits would have all the stars: Charlton Heston, Lee Majors, George Kennedy, Ava Gardner, Olivia De Havilland... and Bradford Dillman as Major Baker. But you would never see them, only hear. Only two telephones, one normal and one red.

In the end the glowing sun raises behind him, thru the window in the oval office. He made it. With all these phone calls and looking worried, he made it. He saved the world. Pity his wife who died, crushed by a falling train, stung by bees and threaten by Marjoe Gortner.

But the President, still proud and strong after defeating the disasters, stands there with his gaze somewhere beyond the brighter clouds, brighter for a future without volcanoes setting fire to brand new skyscrapers.

The End.

Paganini Horror (1989)

Luigi Cozzi’s Paganini Horror might not go to the history as the best movie ever, or even of the year or the day – but it’s still a quite fun and cheesy lowbudget production with some bizarre ideas. It’s the superficial style of Cozzi that I like so much, he just want to make pure entertainment and nothing more. He’s capable of making more serious stuff too, but he seems to prefer fun and joy before more destructive horror themes.

A female rock band has hired a horror director to make a music video in Paganini’s old house. The producer rented/bough the house from a sinister Donald Pleasence, who then goes up in a big tower and throw the money all over the city. The video goes well until one of the women disappears, and soon they are all in danger when the Paganini-demon starts to stalk them with his dangerous violin!

There’s nothing much to write about Paganini Horror, but it flows by easily and is never boring. It’s fun to see Daria Nicolodi in one of the leads, and she’s easily the best actor together with Donald Pleasence (who has a very small part). I guess there wasn’t much time to shoot this movie, because the typical stylish Cozzi-quality is a bit weaker than usual, more longer takes without cuts and less focus on close-ups. Just much more simple editing.

I’ve seen Paganini Horror a couple of times over the years, and I always enjoy it without saying it’s even close to a masterpiece. But it’s just brainless entertainment, it has some gore – not to much though – and this crazy idea with Paganini walking around killing people with a sword stuck into his violin! I guess the concept is that he sold his soul to the devil or something similar.

But the wackiest thing is the song used in the music video. It’s almost a copy of Electric Light Orchestras old hit Twilight, but with the chorus changed to something else. It’s actually a quite catchy version and I wonder if it ever was released commercial on vinyl?

Paganini Horror is a colorful and silly movie that can entertain some of us, we who appreciates Luigi Cozzi’s talent and love for the cinema.

X-rental: Long Live Robin Hood

This Robin Hood-movie from 1970 is something I would like to see. Directed by the great Giorgio Ferroni too!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Inferno (1980)

Inferno is a dream, a flow of coincidences. If chaos theory can be applied to a movie, Inferno would be the perfect choice. There’s hardly a word spoken within the first 25 minutes of the story, just stuff happening, often by chance. This is so beautiful, so calm and peaceful, even if it’s filled with terror and dread. I think these minutes are better than the whole movie of Suspiria.

This is the strength in many cases of the Italian filmmakers. They work with their instinct, just write and direct what their instict tells them, no matter if it’s logical or not. I understand that many people have problem with that, but for me it’s the ultimate form of storytelling. Even if I love giallos and mysterys and clever spy thrillers, it can be too constructed, to much written and “smart”. Inferno IS a very smart movie, but it’s more about the EI (Emotional Intelligence) than the IQ.

Officially Daria Nicolodi wasn’t involved as a writer in Inferno, but the ideas and atmosphere is obviously a work of hers. What I understand she has a knowledge and interest in the occult, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she practices magic too. She claims she knows who the REAL Il Mostro Di Firenze is, and I hope she one day will share her theories with us. Anyway, she’s in the movie, but like all other actors she’s not the main characters – and that leads me too why this more seem like a spiritual journey than a typical horror movie.

For me house no 49 is a body, it’s a symbol for us all and the darkness that we all have deep inside. It’s also Mater Lachrymarum that resides in this house, the mother of darkness/shadows. The road to her is thru the body of the house, under the skin and beneath the surface of what we think is something normal. The water is the blood, the wallpapers is the skin. She’s all that we don’t want to admit ourselves to be.

But after all, it’s the sequel to Suspiria and it’s filled with gorgeous set-pieces, violent murders (but not as graphic as many of Argento’s other movies, some is even off screen!) and an awesome score by Keith Emerson. Sure, it would have been fantastic with Goblin – but Emerson does the job so well, that it’s perfect. The music is both Goblin-esque progressive rock, abstract modern music, classical pieces and a quite uneven choir-piece (it sounds like a bad version of Bohemian Rhapsody sometimes!). But it fits the movie perfectly!

Most of the acting is vague, people are just reading their lines, but Sacha Pitoëff, Feodor Chaliapin Jr, Alida Valli, Daria Nicolodi and Veronica Lazar is excellent! The appearance of Gabriele Lavia is weird too. A good actor, but the character he’s given is flat and feels unnecessary – maybe just a way for a friend to give a good friend a job?

Inferno is a masterpiece, a wonderful surreal horror-drama which in its dreamy state can spellbind most viewers. The new blu-ray from Arrow is stunning, and gives the movie a whole new layer of details. Shadows and colors, blackness and that juicy italian red blood finally feels perfect.

Go get it.

X-rental: The Wise Guys

Some comedy with Lino Ventura. Looks quite boring.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

X-rental: King of Kong Island

Never seen King of Kong Island, and I even have it on DVD! It's both ugly... but still kinda fun in a Swedish retro-tape way.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A package from Mr BIG

Bert I. Gordon has been a favorite director since I was a kid. There's so far no movie he made I dislike. Some is cheap, some is not so original, but always fun and entertaining and filled with giant monsters, animals... and people. His filmography is filled with exploitation-classics! So of course I had to buy his autobiography - signed and dedicated to me from the man himself!

I've only glanced in it so far, but it seem to be filled with information, anecdotes and (black & white) photos! You can buy it yourself directly from Mr Gordon at his homepage.

Will there be a review? Of course, what do you think? :)

Big news for swedish readers: the infamous ”Studio S”-episode on DVD!

This probably won’t matter at all for you non-Swedish readers and movie fans, BUT for us in Sweden this is fucking big news!

“Studio S” was a TV-show dealing with social issues and the most famous episode was aired 1980, 2nd of December. The subject for the evening was “Videovåld”, video violence. Let me quite Wikipedia, who has an english section about this episode:

“Despite covering many issues, the show is now mainly known (and infamous) for an episode broadcast on December 2, 1980 entitled "Vem behöver videon (who needs video)?". The episode raised concerns over violent movies on video and the notion that they were being viewed by children. Reporters interviewed children who claimed that they had seen movies such as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and showed that children could easily rent violent videos. They then held a debate on how to deal with the issue, featuring a group of parents who all agreed that they couldn't stop their children from viewing these movies. Representing the government of Sweden was the Swedish Minister of Education Jan-Erik Wikström (fp) who wanted a ban but stressed that it required a change in the constitution of Sweden.

The episode spawned the buzzword videovåld (lit Video-violence), and a major moral panic that would shape public perception and even influence new laws. In the end the movies demonized by the show were more helped than harmed, as the exposure made them famous. Today the whole thing is widely regarded as an example of sensationalism and the videovåld controversy is mostly over. The Swedish DVD-cover for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre even mentions the episode and proudly claims to have been "the most hated movie in Sweden!".

Because of its cultural significance, the episode has become a cult item among film enthusiasts who see it both as an important document on the issue of censorship, and as unintentional comedy. It has been shown in film-festivals and is circulated as Bootlegs.

A parallel can be made to the UK debate on Video Nasties.”
I’ve seen the episode – I had a bootleg on VHS many years ago, and I can confirm it’s both hilarious and tragic. People are mentioning god, some parents are almost crying when they’re discussing this terrible thing called “videovåld”.

Anyway, now I can announce that Studio S, the swedish distribution-company have secured the rights to both the original episode from 1980 and the follow-up from 2002where other journalists debunk the “facts” in the original show!

Now, I don’t have a date or any other information about the release, but it WILL be released on DVD in Sweden during 2010.

X-rental: Overrun!

Another Italian war-movie from my collection of Swedish x-renals, this time directed by Mario Siciliano. Ivan Rassimov and Kirk Morris in the leads. Not the best cover. Something tells me this movie is filled with stockfootage.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Dragonfly for each Corpse (1974)

I’ll have to admit that this review will lack one thing, a full understanding of the story. I watched it without subtitles, which usually isn’t a problem for me, but this time they talked so much and I guess I miss a lot of plot in that way. Once again León Klimovsky is back in the directors chair which makes A Dragonfly for each Corpse a handsome bastard to look at. Another handsome bastards is of course Paul Naschy as the cool, cigarre-smoking police investigating the dragonfly-murders. The murderer is killing of immoral people: prostitutes, drug addicts etc, and is leaving a plastic dragonfly on each body. More victims and more suspects show up…

Yeah, you can see for yourself. Of course the story is more convoluted than this, with a lot of characters, red herrings, murders and a sparkling and brilliant Naschy playing a pure good guy for once. What I especially like about it is his good relationship with the gay fashion designer Vittorio, who he seem to have no problem with at all – this is a bit unique because it’s almost standard that the macho police in these movies must show at least a little suspicion against the token gay character. A very good thing from writer Naschy himself.

The murders? Well, it’s a high bodycount. Often with axe, knife and one very dangerous umbrella. But except a graphic, and very crappy-looking, hand-chopping it’s almost nothing on screen. Everything happens off screen with some splashes of blood here and there. A disappointment after the extremely sleazy and bloody “Spanish giallo” Seven Murders for the Scotland Yard, also starring Naschy.

But if you don’t understand Spanish, like me, the main thing to watch this movie for is Naschy himself. Always up for a good fight with bad guys, chewing cigars and making sweet love to his girlfriend Erika Blanc. He’s a walking testosterone-sprinkler, and I just love him more and more. I don’t understand people who say he’s a bad actor, he’s not. He’s just Paul Naschy, and I rather see Paul Naschy doing his stuff than… there’s no one to compare with. Sorry. He’s the best.

Did I say I love him?

Dr. Jekyll Versus the Werewolf (1972)

Before I saw Dr. Jekyll Versus the Werewolf I had a vision of a totally different movie. Waldemar Daninsky with the alias of Dr Jekyll and when he transformed, he transformed into a werewolf with the alias of Mr Hyde. So wasn’t the case of course. Instead we have something that starts of like the normal Waldemar Daninsky-flick and then takes a quick turn to something else…

A British couple is going on a honeymoon in Hungary, their car breaks down in the forest (surprise, that has never happen in a Naschy-movie) and runs into a scary guy. They move along, chats with a guy at a hotel and continues the trip. After stopping at an old graveyard they’re attacked by a gang of bandits – but of course Waldemar Daninsky shows up and saves the day. But the husband is killed and Daninsky brings the women to his castle. He’s not a popular guy in the neighbourhood, because he’s a werewolf, and she brings him to London to meet the grandchild of THE famous Dr Jekyll, played by the great Jack Taylor… and there the shit hits the fan as usual!

León Klimovsky directs with a very steady hand and this movie really looks very good. A lot of the castle locations look gorgeous, but the hastily shot London-footage looks like the normal tourist-stuff we see in these movies. The rest is probably shot on soundstage in Spain. The first half feels exactly like a normal Daninsky-movie – mountain road, attack, castle, lynch-mob, macho-Naschy – but it because extra fun when he flees from there and ends up in party party party-London. The disco scene is way to short, but the whole storyline of Dr Jekyll trying to cure Daninsky from the werewolf-syndrome is fun and creative.

It has some blood, but no real gore. The werewolf-make up is as cool as it can be (I want one of those masks! Can’t anyone start to manufacture them?) and Naschy is great in the part. He actually plays three parts: Daninsky, the werewolf and Mr Hyde – and the latter character is a creepy guy with weird eyes and a pale face who strangles prostitutes and being rude and abusive to drunks.

Dr. Jekyll Versus the Werewolf is a very nice addition to the saga of Waldemar Daninsky.

Starcrash (1978)

After watching Shout Factorys fantastic new DVD of Starcrash I decided not to write a new review, but to re-publish this older one. It seem like Luigi Cozzi's sci-fi classic now is getting some cred from the fans and critics, and I urge you all to buy the new release. Anyway, here's what I wrote in July 2009:

Boys and girls, isn't it time to reevaluate Starcrash? I recently saw it again, the french DVD-release by the way, and after I sat down to do some research what other people write about it. It as tragic reading.

They laugh at it. They think it's the worst film ever made. They try to make Cozzi look like an idiot. And so on, it's not worth counting every thing they wrote about how awful Starcrash is, it just makes me sad.

But personally, I think they're missing the point. Luigi Cozzi (or Cozzilla as some of his friends call him) is a big fan of old american science fiction, japanese monstermovies and Ray Harryhausens fantasyflicks. He's a well known fan of these, and other parts of the sci fi and fantasy-world. When you see Starcrash it's obvious that he likes Star Wars to... but not even close to the degree that he loves old style movies.

Cozzis work in cinema is weird. Almost every movie has their own style and feeling. The scripts are always a bit (some time much more than that) naive, but that's his style. But no other movie - I think so anyway - of his work looks remotely like Starcrash. He obvious had a strong vision with this project - and he really dosen't care about the strings holding the spaceships being visible.

There's hints to Inoshiro Honda, to Mario Bava, to Harryhausen and Flash Gordon. You have a playfulness that very few of these lesser-loved italian directors could reach. But I say that most of what happens and sees in this movie is a consciously choice by Cozzi. He knew what he was doing. He wanted to the ultimate cheesy matiné-adventure and he just didn't care about logic or being cool, gritty, seventies or with the cinematic in-crowd. He just wanted to do HIS movie.

I don't want to sound like the character David Brent in The Office, but it's time we laugh with Cozzi - not at him.

So it makes me sad to see how many people that actually missing the point with Starcrash. I'm not saying it's a masterpiece, because it's not. It's exploitation, it's a cash-in on something more popular and wellmade. But it's a cash-in with love.

There's a very honest moment in the end where Christopher Plummer (who seems to be the only actor in the movie not understand that this isn't a new Star Wars) sits on his throne and speaks directly to the camera:
Well, it's gone. It's happen. The Stars are clear. The planets shine.

We've won. Oh, some dark force no doubt, will show it's face once more.

The wheels will always turn. But for now it's calm.

And for a little time, at least, we can rest...
That's not The Emperor speaking. It's Luigi Cozzi the storyteller that sits by his childrens beds. He just told an amazing fairytale of princes, princesses, evil people, monsters and adventures. The children are both amazed and sceptical, but they will sleep very good after that. In a galaxy far far away.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Samson dan Delilah (1987)

For the love of Satan, how many outfits can a woman have? Suzzanna, as the evil Delilah, has one new outfit for each scene in Samson dan Delilah, and with that ridiculous wig she looks like a slimmer version of Miss Piggy! Yes, Samson dan Delilah is a very weird Indonesian take on the biblical story of Samson with his curly hair and super strenght. Here played by the talentless Paul Hay, a man who gets his bodybuilding-resume in the pre-credits! He looks like the retarded offspring of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Eddie Izzard.

Anyway, it’s more or less the same story that we learned and loved since kindergarten. Except this time Samson chops an evil Cyclops in two pieces, makes Suzzanna imitate fellatio on a banana and then licks her thighs clean from syrup! One of the baddies is a man with an upside-down moustache and we also are treated to some eye-tits.

Yes, this, Samson dan Delilah, is crazy motherfucking wacky Indonesia in full bloom. The fights are absurd and colourful (everything in this movie is colourful) and the gore is over-the-top and with a lot of spraying blood. Of course we’re getting some fun magic, including a self-repairing magician! The comedy goes from stupid to just childish, but it’s impossible to dislike this movie. Everyone seem to have a lot of fun, especially Suzzanna who really is wild here, and even Paul Hay is fun to look at, even if he can’t fight and is very, very stiff during the rest of the action scenes. But I’ve seen worse.

The French DVD is in widescreen and uncut, but only with French language. Still, this is – what I know – the best version out right now and believe me, it’s easy to understand this even if they don’t talk English or the lack of subtitles in the same language. It’s also very cheap!

I have no idea what to write more about this fantastic movie, so here’s some screenshots! Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Humains, Mutants & Vertige

Three French horror movies saw the light of day during 2009. Not only those three of course, but three that have some similarities and isn’t mentioned so much in the horror community. In a way I can understand why, because neither of them will change the world or French cinema – but at least one of them is very good, and one very bad – and then we have one in between.

First out is Humains, with a very competent cast - Dominique Pinon and Philippe Nahon for example – and a nice concept. Our team of scientists is set out to some remote valley in Swiss to try to find more remains of Neanderthals, to prove that they died much later than everyone thinks. Of course everything gets fucked up after a car crash and our heroes – together with a hiking family – is stuck in the wilderness together with a gang of very alive Neanderthals who just want to have some fun.

This could have been great, but somehow the director and team decided to skip all the gore, make the monsters look like something out of a Disney-movie and also add a not so surprising twist in the end which we’ve seen around one thousand times before. It’s more of an adventure movie, but remove the gore-less kills and you will have a family movie. Pinon and Nahon leads a very competent cast, though they are not the leads – but that, and the amazing location, is the one and only selling point of Humains. Which is a pity, it had a lot of potential.

Mutants is a much more interesting movie. Set after the outbreak (where almost everyone has been infected by some rage-virus and acts like bloodthirsty zombies!) and first we follow a small group people that quickly becomes smaller after a couple of bad choices. In the end there’s a only two people left and they hide out in an old hospital far out in the forest. One of them is bitten…

Here we at least someone who tries to make something new. The outbreak-part of the movie is the same old shit, but instead of focusing on that we’re treated with a bleak and depressing journey to save someone that’s infected – and it ends with a lot of bloodshed and thrills! I don’t want to say to much about Mutants, it’s a good movie but different from the others in a very good way.

Last, but not least, we have Vertige (or High Lane as the English title is). We follow some young folks hiking in the mountains and of course they’re gonna do some dangerous mountain climbing too. But of course something goes wrong and they’re stuck far out in the wilderness with a god damn cannibal chasing them down one after one!

This is feels a lot like a French Wrong Turn, but with mountain climbing and set in Croatia. Now, I like it. It’s far from a bad movie and it’s very well acted and excellent direction. But it has the same problem like for example Dying Breed, we’ve seen it before and it’s getting a bit boring. It’s easy to say what’s gonna happen and that’s of course the only big failure of this movie. The climbing scenes is amazing by the way, and me, who hate heights, it was a true ordeal to get thru those scenes. Not a bad movie, just a bit to generic.

So you all see, three movies set in amazing, fantastic, beautiful landscapes with a few people against Neanderthals, mutants and cannibals. It’s a perfect trio, but in the end very similar to each other. Mutants stick out as the best one and the only one I will recommend to 100 %!


Hey, I've started up my old Twitter-account again. Tired of Facebook, I'd like to have it more simple. Follow me and I'll follow you, just to be able to talk with some fellow movie freaks out there.

Cya there!

(and I think there will be a post later tonite about three new French horror movies I've just seen on UK DVD)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Von Richthofen and Brown (1971)

I enjoy Roger Corman’s bigger mainstream movies like The Secret Invasion (one of my faves!) and St. Valentines Days Massacre, but I never got a chance to see Von Richthofen and Brown until this weekend. Now, this movie might lack in a good coherent story and the acting (or more the accents) are very uneven, but Corman is such a gifted director that he makes us forget about the bad things and delivers some amazing action sequences.

John Phillip Law is Von Richthofen, aka The Red Baron, and Don Stroud is Brown, a Canadian mechanic working for the brits. As an aristocrat, Von Richthofen is obsessed by being the perfect soldier and is making one risky mission after the other. Brown is a cynic, a realist, and have big problems facing the uptight brits who belives they are doing something for their country by dying in battle. These two men will finally meet in a battle to the death…

The story is all over the place, and it never feels like it holds together properly. Sometimes it’s just aerial footage with narration, sometimes it seem like the story takes huge leaps in time, but it’s never really clear if it does. But if you take every scene and make it a stand alone piece, it looks fantastic.

As usual the budget was low for such a historical movie, approximate 900 000 dollars. But it feels a lot bigger, and has action-scene after action-scene. The aerial fights is top-notch with almost no back-projection at all. The actors seem to be up there, which makes it a lot more realistic. Here and there Corman also delivers some juicy and quite bloody ground-attacks with a lot of exploding houses and a high body count.

It’s no surprise this is a great popcorn-movie. Visually and action this is the best I’ve. The budget isn’t the highest, but creativity and talent always win over buckets of money.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hard Target: The Emil Fouchon / Pik van Cleef Relationship

Hard Target is, as everyone agrees on, the best movie John Woo made in the US. Face/Off is fun too, Windtalkers has great bloody battles scenes and even Broken Arrow was kinda fun in a mainstream-way. But Hard Target beats them all.

If I mention homoeroticism and Hard Target, I guess most of you think I mean Jean-Claude Van Damme as the absurdly fit Chance Boudreaux. But you’re wrong. He’s a typical heterosexual action-characters from the nineties and nothing more. What really makes Hard Target interesting is the relationship between Emil Fouchon (Lance Henriksen) and Pik van Cleef (Arnold Vosloo).

It might be, for the time, a bit stereotypical to have a gay couple as the bad guys. We’ve seen it before, and some think it’s a bit homophobic. It’s not, because we gays can be mean bastards too. What make this movie so special is two things:

  1. It’s not big deal.
  2. The LOVE is strong.

Emil and Pik not only works together, they obviously lives together too in big tacky southern mansion where Emil plays on his huge piano and Pik walks around with casual clothes (if he was a normal henchman, he would never do that) acting like he was at home, and he is. No one cares about their sexuality. They’re the bosses, they are in it together.

If you watch the movie, look how Lance and Arnold are working together. Often very close, touching shoulders or just faced to each other in a way that typical Hollywood-bad guys never do. Pik is never the normal henchman, Emil trusts him totally and never get angry or upset on him like he can act towards his other workers.

One of the clearest examples of their relationship is when Emil founds Pik dead. He goes close to his dead body, touches his face and then shows a very restrained act of willpower not to scream. A normal heterosexual baddie would never do that. Believe me.

Like Mr Kidd and Mr Wint in Diamonds are Forever and Sappensly and Quill in Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia, Lance Henriksen and Arnold Vosloo continues a fine tradition of emotionally strong gay couples.

They might be bad, but that has never stopped true love.

Bloody Movie (1987)

”From the producer of Dude! Where’s my Car?” boasts the DVD-cover of Bloody Movie, which I guess it’s true – but it’s also one helluva way to scare away people from this funny and ambitious little slasher-movie that has gotten far to little attention since it’s release in 1987. It seem distribution killed it, which is sad because it’s juicy piece of Scooby Doo-esque cheese-cake and far more entertaining than a most of the other slashers from this era of decline in the genre.

Once Lance Hayward was the biggest star in Hollywood, until the talkies came. He withdrew from the outside world and lived like a hermit in his big mansion… until he one day disappeared. His house has been abandoned for years, and now it’s time to tear it down and build something new. Over the years the house has been a place for Satanists to hold their ceremonies, for teenagers to make out and bikers to party, so even this night. A couple of people in their early twenties is breaking in to explore and have fun, but someone – probably Hayward himself – is starting to re-live his past glory and kills of every guest in gory, silent movie fashion!

No one can blame Bloody Movie to be smart, but it’s directed with a lot of low budget style by Nick Marino (with guidance and support by the legendary André De Toth) and with a fun cast of newbies and old-timers. The whole movie is set inside and outside the mansion, which you never get a clear look at. All furniture is covered by white blankets, which is smart way to hide that they probably didn’t have expensive furniture, and the walls are mostly empty. So it has a cheap look when it comes to the sets. Marino understand the limitations of the location and instead fills the movie with a lot of chases, murders, corny dialogue and the great concept of intercutting footage from silent movies during the murder sequences. It works very good, and give the movie it’s own style.

The acting is uneven from the young actors, but they do what they can do and seem to have a lot of fun. The best thing is the veteran actors doing cameos. John Ireland plays Lance Hayward, he’s in the whole movie but always in disguises and rubber masks – so Ireland is only in the end of the movie. Cameron Mitchell (oh those eyebrows!!!) is good as a tough cop, Aldo Ray has a small role has a bum and Alan Hale is great as the night watchmen of the mansion.

The gore is plenty too. Cheap and corny, but bloody. One character is ripped apart, one is decapitated, there’s impalings and strangulations. Not bad at all, but never convincing. It feels like a bloody and adult episode of Scooby Doo.

Bloody Movie is released by Fred Olen Ray’s Retromedia and the DVD is excellent. Nothing extra except a trailer, but the movie itself looks great – like it’s never been shown before, and it’s a highly recommended purchase for you who enjoys eighties horror.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Return of Swamp Thing (1989)

There’s not one single frame of The Return of Swamp Thing that I don’t like. Jim Wynorski has created a fun, cheesy, tongue-in-cheek comic adventure which never seems like a cynical cash-in on the first movie. Yes, the heart is on the right place and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves to the max.

To be honest, I don’t remember so much from the first movie, but Dick Durdock is back as Swamp Thing, roaming the swamps, saving people and being heroic. But it’s not a nice swamp nowadays, when Dr Arcane’s (Louis Jordan) mutations is running around killing people out there. One day the stepdaughter of the evil doctor, Abby Arcane (Heather Locklear) shows up trying to figure out what happen to her mother. She soon becomes friend with Swamp Thing and helps him take down her evil stepfather!

A few to many words for a very thin plot actually, and the plot isn’t the most important here. It’s just a good old monster-romp with an underground lab, a small army of stupid henchmen, the sinister assistant to the bad guy (here played by the great Sarah Douglas) and a couple of comic relief kids running around, getting themselves in danger.

It’s colourful and cheesy, but never boring and enough action to please everyone that likes explosions, rubbermonsters and matinee adventures. The make-up effects looks cool and over-the-top, but it’s a pity we see so little of the other creatures in the lab. The main monster-protagonist is lovely and fights with Swamp Thing a couple of times, but the main fight is with a mutated scientist and is very short – but fun.

All actors are fun and inspired here, but I wonder if Heather Locklear isn’t the highlight. She’s obviously in on the joke and it’s easy to see that she has a lot of fun playing the heroine falling in love with a… plant. Dick Durock has the right twinkle in the eye and is perfect as the absurdly heroic and witty plant monster. Yes, even Jordan slumming in a movie far beneath what he’s done before do a good job.

The Return of the Swamp Thing is one of the silliest, funniest and craziest little sequels I’ve seen. It has monsters, cartoon-violence, stupid jokes, good actors and wild stunts. Not bad, not bad at all!

Contamination (1980)

One of the first meetings with eurocult I had was with Luigi Cozzi’s Contamination. It was the old Swedish rental-version from Walthers Video. The cover had a big, slimy “egg” on the front. On another tape the gory trailer showed me the goodies that was cut from the feature itself. And since then I’ve been in love.

Now, the story is simple and I guess most of you have seen this classic. But egg-liked cocoons is found in the New York harbor. If a human (or animal) gets slime from the eggs on them, they explode in gory spectacular slow-motion action! The cold and professional Colonel Stella Holmes (Louise Marleau) takes the help from drunk ex-astronaut Commander Ian Hubbard (Ian McCulloch, who acts like he’s in a british kitchen-drama) and the wacky womanizer New York cop Lieutenant Tony Aris (Marino Masé) and goes to South America where all the traces lead to UniverX, a coffee producer…

Contamination is a classic, without a doubt. It’s a bit cheesy, some bizarre choices of dialogue and a few bloopers here and there. BUT it was that infamous thing called atmosphere. I know people hate when you refer to the atmosphere because it’s kinda vague, but this movie has it. For me atmosphere is in the rythm of the editing (of course all details are important, but if you get the rythm right you can make a classic out of a VHS-camera and three sleeping snails). If that flows, you have a movie that’s possible to watch.

Cozzi had Goblin doing the soundtrack, which is one fantastic score. Even the silly stuff is great. The cinematography is dark and the story has a nastiness that separates this sci-fi from other similar movies. Sure, it drags a bit towards the middle when our heroes mostly drink whisky and relaxes in the little South American town, but it belongs in the movie like rubbermonsters in a Kaiju.

Talking about rubbermonsters, the infamous cyclops is one of my favorite aliens/monsters ever. It sits there, staring. Controlling a few weak minds, making people repaing the walls with their intestines, just having a blast! If you know about the problem making that creature work, it’s still surprising to see how well it works. I guess what we have here is the magic of editing and lightning. The gore is wonderful too, but quite cheesy. Lots of (almost fluorescent red) blood and bodyparts, all in ultra slow-motion, filmed with an almost voyueristic camera. It’s cheep, but very effective.

First made as a rip-off on Alien, but Cozzi wanted to make classic British sci-fi and the producer wanted something more like James Bond. It has parts of everything, and the result might be a bit cheesy at times, but still quite unique and very, very entertaining. One of my absolute favorite sci-fi’s ever.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

100 000 visits!

I wrote the first post on Ninja Dixon the 15th of July 2009, and since then – from this morning – I’ve had over 100 000 visits (the blog I had before this one reached 100 000 visits after four years...)! I have 22000 visitors that returns back to my blog from time to time, 70000 visitors has made a visit, read a review and that’s it. I’m very happy for both of these kind of visitors, because that means there’s people who wants to come back and read more, and the rest I helped with an opinion or two – even if they don’t like what I’ve written.

No stats about which review is the most popular, but one that always been on the top everyday is my sensational review (with graphic screenshots) of Killer Elephants!

More than half of my vistors comes from the US, and the majority of the rest is from Europe. I wish I had more visitors from the Asian countries, but I guess it’s harder to find my blog there because our written language is too different from each other.

What do people search for, and makes them come to Ninja Dixon? Today it’s “uwe boll auschwitz” (and different versions of that subject) for example. I wrote already in April that Uwe is making an Auschwitz-movie, and today people obviously realized it was the real deal when he released his slightly controversial teaser for his new shocker.

Many people search for “Ninja Dixon”, I don’t know what that means. I hope all of them are researching old Godfrey Ho-movies ;). But often they key words tend to reflect what’s populaar at the moment, for example Piranha-movies, Darren Ward’s A Day of Violence, Swedish feminist porn and Jess Franco-related words (like “naked women prison jess franco” and so on).

But who gives a f**k about all these statistics? I’m happy that people are visiting my blog, make comments, links to reviews and uses Ninja Dixon as a place to check what can be worth watching. I know my English is crap from time to time, but what can I do? I’m Swedish – just pretend you’re hearing a funny Swedish accent and you’ll survive!

And take a look at the right side of the blog, I have a lot of links to good friends and excellent writers – always worth a visit!

Thanks people, I love you all.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Humanoids from the Deep (1980)

The first title of this movie was Beneath the Darkness, just to lure innocent actors into a gory sleaze-feast. The director, Barbara Peeters focused more on the death of the male characters than the nudity, and so even more footage was shot and the final product became one of the best, goriest, sleaziest and craziest monster-movies ever from the eighties – and it has a very manly Doug McClure as the hero!We're talking Humanoids from the Deep!

The story has been told on a thousand blogs over the years, so you all know about the humanoids crawling up from the bottom of the sea to rape women and rip the heads of their moustache-adorned men. The evil Vic Morrow, here with his curly head still on his body, blames the carnage on the Indian, but soon they’re fighting together against the humanoids!

I joked that this movie is like Gorillas in the Mist, just with humanoids instead of gorillas and Doug McClure instead of Sigourney Weaver. Let me correct that. It’s Ann Turkel instead of Weaver and I guess Morrow could be the mist, because he looks kinda stoned in most of the scenes. Anyway, this is one of the few movies that actually delivers what it promises. You have a lot of gore and spurting blood, nudity all over the screen, destruction and huge explosions. Even a kid gets eaten. And a lot of dogs. It’s so far away from American family values that you can come, and I will be eternally grateful for Barbara Peeters stepping aside in anger so the second unit could film even more sex and gore.

Even if it’s a bit silly (I mean, it’s a movie about fish-monsters raping women!) it has some very eerie scenes. One of my favourite details his how the ventriloquist dummy seem to come alive during the attack on the tent, looking scared when his owner and the girlfriend is getting ripped to pieces in front of him. I wonder if that was something the editor Mark Goldblatt came up with during the editing, or if it was planned that way?

It’s actually surprising how big this movie looks, which I guess is something smart editing fixed. The finale is wonderful, with a lot of extras running in panic when monsters bursts up from beneath them, tearing throats of men and ripping bras of women. It always reminds me of those bigger disaster movies from the seventies, which always had at least one big scene of destruction before the drama can continue. Or maybe the traditional mass-scene in every cheap peplum. You know it will be there, the question is when? In Humanoids most of the fun is saved for last, with smaller hints of violence and sleaze early on.

Bad things? Nah, not really. But if I’m gonna complain: why the hell is Vic Morrows character so stupid when he’s gonna save the little girl? He can just pull her up, but he was to go around everything, jump over the water and push her up! Retard! And that stock footage of the owl is on Hell of the Living Dead-level. But that wasn’t any complains, just some smaller unimportant details I had to bring up.

I’ve seen this movie many times over the years (always with the gore intact by the way, included the dutch tape from Warner – or, am I wrong?) and it never fails to bore me. It’s like everything we want from a Corman-movie, only even more!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Man of the Week: Lance Henriksen

Yeah, Lance has been one of my favorite actors since childhood - and I always found him to be one of the sexiest, most handsome and coolest actors around. He might do mostly weird little DTV movies nowadays, but he can make the worst movie worth watching.

My dream is to work with him someday...

I'm not dead...'s just that the vacation has ended and I've been very busy with my job - and also my company. Not many movies has been watched in our household, and those who has been shown is almost only mainstream and not proper flicks for this Ninja Dixon.

But I'm here, I will be back as soon as possible. Don't move, just wait :)