Trailer for Gaspar Noé's (I Stand Alone, Irreversible) Enter The Void. 

www.enter-the-void.jp


What must be a couple of years back now, Jim Groom (Revenge Of Billy The Kid, Room 36) mentioned he had a project in the works called Zombie God Squad. At the time he was finally bringing cult noir comedy Room 36 to the big screen after a serious of unfortunate events and disasters saw it languish for more than a decade. Since then Room 36 was released on DVD and then out of the blue this little teaser pops up. 

www.ivorytowerent.com


God Told Me To

When a sniper guns down 14 pedestrians at random on the streets of New York City, cop with a troubled personal life, Peter Nicholas, is up for the job of reasoning with him. Though he doesn’t manage to talk him down from his killing spot atop the water tower, he does elicit a reason from him before he throws himself to his death. As Nicholas investigates further killings across the city it becomes apparent that something connects them all; the killer’s dying confessions reveal that “God told me to.” As the investigation takes shape, the common ground for each killer is having met an elusive long-haired stranger shortly before their crimes, but who is this ubiquitous being and what will Detective Nicholas’s connection to them be? Find out in Larry Cohen’s genre-busting cult classic.

New York City in the 70’s had a tendency to be portrayed in the movies and the seemingly endless cop shows of the same era as the perfect site of public paranoia; a sprawling concrete metropolis breeding suspicion and uncertainty where anything could be possible, and usually was, egged on by the media to fuel the almost palpable air of unrest that floated around the dirty streets. Writer/director Larry Cohen’s God Told Me To is certainly no exception and exploits this feeling well with his bizarre mix of the strange and the serious in this detective/mystery/horror/sci-fi hybrid that is as compelling as it is peculiar.

God Told Me To, despite being a mixed bag generically, belongs for the most part, particularly tonally, to the detective/mystery genres. With the opening scenes of a nauseatingly claustrophobic New York, our troubled detective has to act fast when a sniper opens fire, causing hysteria in the streets below. Reminiscent of the earlier Dirty Harry, God Told Me To uses the detective figure as an urban hero, combating one of the city’s most feared attackers; the sniper. This kind of crime perfectly utilises the self-perpetuating urban fear; a crime which preys on the city but which the city conversely and simultaneously conceals in safety. And if you are thinking there’s nothing too strange or unusual about this, well then you’d be right, but it is as the investigation gets underway that we gain the bizarre turn that has earned Cohen (Q The Winged Serpent and It’s Alive!) his rightful cult status.

Indeed, it’s only as the story develops that the bizarre horror/sci-fi elements begin to enter the arena. As we learn more about the tangled personal life of our hero, of his devout Catholicism, the parallel mystery similarly unravels. But don’t be fooled by Cohen’s crazy generic mix for it masks some grave undertones. There are some serious and still very relevant ideas about religion at play here, which helps to make this film timeless. Cohen presents some surprisingly open ideas about religion which won’t be to everyone’s taste; “You got all the blessing’s who needs religion?!” points to a false and almost greedy human search in desperation for a higher power which, as Cohen rather aptly presents, won’t necessarily be a good one.

Whilst there is some bloodshed in this film it is more a horror of ideas with some creepy and genuinely unpleasant and difficult scenes made only the more so as it is so plausible. As we discover that religion has a hand in the city hiding something more deadly, invested with the power of destruction more precise than a sniper, it is truly chilling. It is an idea even more relevant now than when Cohen wrote it; that the more modernised society becomes the more we search for some lost meaning and the more we open ourselves up to religion, fanaticism and the need to feel the presence of a deity to restore the human purpose (it is no accident that the sniper opens fire above the icon of modern American consumerism that is Bloomingdales). But fear not, if this all sounds a little heavy you can still relax and enjoy the bizarre story, direction and generic mix that make it peculiarly entertaining as this, after all, is what makes this a Cohen Classic; a strange film with intelligent undertones, and who can say fairer than that?

Part warning for modern society, part bizarre generic mix, but all-round Cult Classic.


Cult Epics

Nico B's Cult Epics DVD label specialises in Cult, horror, art House, world cinema and erotica. Releasing the likes of Fernando Arrabal's' I Will Walk Like A Crazy Horse, Walerian Borowczyk The Beast, Agustín Villaronga In A Glass Cage and the majority of Tinto Brass's directorial outings.

The label is also home to "The Bettie Page Collection" for fans of legendary 1950's pin-up icon and various collection of classic erotic short films.

Cult Epics at Amazon | www.cultepics.com


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Trailer for Melvin Van Peebles seminal independantly produced feature Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song.


Wrong Side Of The Art!

How could something so wrong be so right? Featuring a wealth of Horror, Sci-Fi and B-Movie trash images sourced for your eyeballing guilty pleasure is how! Covering such deliciously moreish genres as Carsploitation, Bruceploitation, Prehistoric and Burlesque, Wrong Side Of The Art is a dedicated picto-gallery of high-res images featuring such delights as aliens and monsters from retro imaginings, boobs, violence and maybe even violent boobs. After all, any site that's got the good taste to feature the 'ode to the violence in women' poster for Russ Meyer's Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! that adorns my own wall can't be wrong, right?

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

www.wrongsideoftheart.com


The Bronx Warriors Trilogy

In December 2009, Italian director Enzo G.Castellari (director of the original "The Inglorious Bastards") and Shameless Screen Entertainment present, together for the first time ever, Castellari's complete post-apocalyptic vision on DVD in The Bronx Warriors Trilogy, an exclusive three-disc collection featuring the cult classics The Bronx Warriors, its sequel Escape From The Bronx and The New Barbarians.

The three-disc set comes packaged in a limited edition special collector's tin and includes reversible sleeves for each individual title. Additional special features include an introduction to the films by Castellari, plus an all-new 20-minute interview with the director. As an extra bonus for fans, the version of scape From The Bronx included in the set is a newly restored anamorphic widescreen presentation complete with a Shameless rebuild edit that represents what is believed to be the most complete version of the film available anywhere.

The Bronx Warriors Trilogy - promo trailer


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Leif Jonker directed what could probably be called the best splatter gore movie you've never seen. Darkness (Released later as Darkness The Vampire Version) is'nt really that far away from the early works of Sam Rami and Peter Jackson. Its a an ultra low budget classic, you really should seek out. Demon Machine was to be his next project, but sadly the years slipped by and funding meant it never to fruition. Which when you look at this promo is such a shame, it was bound to be all kinds of fun. Someone really should seek the guy out and get this made, especially now digital is a viable format.

www.13thdream.com | www.myspace.com/13thdream_entertainment


Welcome to the sexual revolution as only Tinto Brass could have imagined it! Featuring Deadly Sweet (Col Cuore in Gola) a cinema fumetti pop art giallo thriller, starring the sexy Ewa Aulin (Candy). The Howl (L’Urlo) a surreal cult classic, with Tina Aumont (daughter of Maria Montez) now for the first time ever Uncut on DVD. And Attraction (Nerosubianco), a psychedelic pop art experience, with music by Freedom (ex Procal Harum)

www.cultepics.com


Can You Dig It? Music & Politics of Black Action Films: 1968-1975

In the early 1970s, Black Action Films exploded into the cinema with three extremely successful films – Shaft, Super Fly and Sweet Sweetback's Badasssss Song. The most profound statement of these films was their actual existence – black actors and black directors entering the previously closed Hollywood film industry.

'Can You Dig It?' charts the rise of 'Black Action Films' from 1970-75. As well as featuring a double-CD collection of the stunning music from these films, 'Can You Dig It?' comes with a 100-page booklet, limited-edition mini-film poster cards and stickers. The vinyl is on two monster loud separate double albums.

If your a fan of funk music and the blaxploitation genre, theres a good chance you own the majority if not all of the music featured in this collection. However with the buzz around Scott Sanders's homage movie Black Dynamite (Trailer). There should bea rise in interest in the genre and the music which makes up such a fundamental element of it. 'Can You Dig It?' would certainly put some essential music into your collection.

www.souljazzrecords.co.uk

Via: amazon.co.uk


Dawn of the Dead Blu-ray

October 2009 sees the highly anticipated Blu-ray release of George A. Romero's classic zombie movie Dawn of the Dead, presented as a special three-disc edition – exclusive to the UK – that represents the ultimate presentation of the film available anywhere in the world. Released just in time for Halloween, this is undoubtedly the horror movie Blu-ray release of the year.

Produced and compiled by Arrow Video with the kind of loving care and attention only the most devoted of zombie aficionados are willing to provide, this must-have three-disc set includes the George A. Romero approved Theatrical Cut of the film in 1080p resolution on Blu-ray, plus the Director's Cut and the Dario Argento Cut on DVD, the latter being made available on DVD as part of this collection for the first time in the UK.

Also included is a host of extras that include the rarely seen "Scream Greats" documentary on the career of special effects wizard Tom Savini, audio commentaries by the filmmakers and, for the first time, French Romero fanatic Nicolas Garreau's fascinating travelogue-come-documentary "Fan Of The Dead". Additionally, exclusively designed packaging features four different sets of artwork from which fans can choose to display the collection, including the little-seen "gasmask" artwork and an all-new, specially commissioned oil painting commemorating this landmark release of the film.


Revolving Video Podcast Episode 18: Out For Something Or Other

Episode 18 of North East England's premier movie podcast. This episode the boys review Out For A Kill

For full show notes and to comment / leave feedback visit the Revolving Video blog or email them revolvingvideo [at] hotmail.co.uk. Also remember to subscribe to the feed and vote for the guys at Podcast Alley. You can also follow Chris from Revolving Video on Twitter @snoog and Jamie @JamieJohnston7

Subscribe via iTunes

Download the show or listen to it below:


Revolving Video Podcast Episode 17: Backwoods Homicides

Episode 16 of North East England's premier movie podcast. This episode the boys review Hollywood Homicide and The Backwoods

For full show notes and to comment / leave feedback visit the Revolving Video blog or email them revolvingvideo [at] hotmail.co.uk. Also remember to subscribe to the feed and vote for the guys at Podcast Alley. You can also follow Chris from Revolving Video on Twitter @snoog and Jamie @JamieJohnston7

Subscribe via iTunes

Download the show or listen to it below:


Revolving Video Podcast Episode 16: Frantically Angst Ridden

Episode 16 of North East England's premier movie podcast. This episode the boys review Frantic and Angst

For full show notes and to comment / leave feedback visit the Revolving Video blog or email them revolvingvideo [at] hotmail.co.uk. Also remember to subscribe to the feed and vote for the guys at Podcast Alley. You can also follow Chris from Revolving Video on Twitter @snoog and Jamie @JamieJohnston7

Subscribe via iTunes

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Revolving Video Podcast Episode 15: Profoundly Stupid

Episode 15 of North East England's premier movie podcast. This episode the boys review  Mad Max 3, the final film in Mel Gibson's classic post apocalyptic trilogy. Also being reviewed is 1989's Cyborg directed by Albert Pyun (Knights, Nemesis, The Sword and the Sorcerer) and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme (Kickboxer, Bloodsport , The Eagle Path).

Movie News: No 'Expendables' news but they still manage to talk about it, Sam Raimi to direct 'Warcraft', Nic Cage as 'Green Hornet' villain, Shane Meadows' 'Beware The Devil'.

Also on the show Steven Seagal Fun Facts and the return of Jamie's "wierd news" section.

For full show notes and to comment / leave feedback visit the Revolving Video blog or email them revolvingvideo [at] hotmail.co.uk. Also remember to subscribe to the feed and vote for the guys at Podcast Alley. You can also follow Chris from Revolving Video on Twitter @snoog and Jamie @JamieJohnston7

Subscribe via iTunes

Download the show or listen to it below:

Via: Revolving Video Podcast


Bad Boy Bubby [Blu-Ray]

Awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival, Bad Boy Bubby with its hard hitting content of deprivation, mental illness and incest, shocked its audiences to become one of the most daring and controversial cult films of the 1990s.

Nicholas Hope gives an astonishing performance as Bubby, a demented man-child kept locked for his entire life in a squalid apartment by his depraved mother who uses him for sex. When Bubby who can only communicate by mimicking what others say and do, escapes into the outside world, he soon discovers young women, crime, rock 'n' roll, and pizza. Will this naive 'mad bastard' be destroyed by the realities of our cruel world, or does a higher calling ultimately await him in the most unlikely place of all?

Bad Boy Bubby is released uncensored, uncut, the directors version on 3rd August 2009 for the first time in the UK on Blu-ray in a 3-disc box set also containing a DVD version and Digital Copy.


"A Look Back The At 'No Retreat, No Surrender' Trilogy"

In the mid-eighties Ng See Yuen’s ‘Seasonal Films’ company decided it might be a good idea to try their hand at making films with more international appeal, initially inspired by the success of a certain Hollywood martial arts movie.

But unlike previous attempts at international productions by the likes of Golden Harvest and other studios, where the main goal was to introduce a home grown star to the west, Seasonal’s aim was to make movies with a combination of American actors in front of the camera, with a mostly Asian crew working behind the scenes, putting together the kind of action that Hong Kong does so well.

Their first attempt, ‘No Retreat, No Surrender‘ was released in 1986...A film which would eventually spawn two sequels.

No Retreat, No Surrender

“Tonight, he either fights for his life, or he’ll be running for the rest of it.”

The original ‘No Retreat, No Surrender’, directed by the great Corey Yuen Kwai (‘Yes Madam‘, ‘Fong Sai Yuk‘), was inspired by the success of ’The Karate Kid’, Seasonal’s mindset was to take the same concept, but pepper it with better action scenes. The film tells the rather simple tale of a Bruce Lee fanatic teenager named Jason (Kurt McKinney), moving to a new town, having problems with the local bullies, the usual stuff. After one particularly bad day he is visited by the ghost of Bruce Lee (played by Tai Chung Kim, who doubled Bruce in ‘Game Of Death’). Ghostly Bruce teaches Jason in the ways of Jeet Kune Do, turning Jason into a kung fu master. All of this leading up to a typical tournament scenario, which is being held by the goons than ran his father out of business, so it’s up to Jason to settle the score by beating seven shades out of their toughest fighter, the evil Ivan The Russian (Or Karl Brezdin according to the credits, even though they call him Ivan numerous times in the movie. Not sure how they messed that up.)

As you can see, the film is ’The Karate Kid’ with some Brucesploitation added into the mix for good measure. Yes, the idea of having the spirit of Bruce Lee randomly appear to teach some kid kung-fu is stupid and pretty tacky, even when I first saw this movie as a kid I thought it was a little daft, but it does add to the overall cheese factor of the movie. And cheese is something it has in abundance; It seems like ‘No Retreat, No Surrender’ exists in a world of it’s own, it’s damn sure the eighties, but it feels like the eighties in overdrive at times. It’s almost as if Corey Yuen and the guys at Seasonal were trying a little too hard to make the movie as hip as possible and as American as apple pie. Just check out the random break dancing/body popping for example and overall corny back slapping friendship between Jason and his buddy R.J. The music, which I’m sure even at the time was considered an Edam-fest, should also be noted, with it’s power-rock styling’s and motivational “training montage” lyrics.

Of course, we can’t forget that this was the first time the world got to see Jean Claude Van Damme on the big screen and to be honest he probably gets to show his stuff in a more impressive way here than he did in ‘Bloodsport’ or ‘Kickboxer’ thanks to the choreography. Van Damme really should play bad guy roles more often because he’s great here, with his Stallone-esque curled lip, battle cries and brutal tactics.

Overall the film kind of falls into guilty pleasure territory, or indeed “so-bad-it’s-good” territory, as do the sequels at times but more so here. You have some pretty atrocious acting and clichés by the bucket load, but you also have well choreographed fight scenes from Mang Hoi (Randy Mang!) and Corey Yuen, which although are not as tight and fast paced as the work they crafted in Hong Kong, are still miles apart from the kind of stuff Chuck Norris and other American martial arts stars were doing at the time.

So ‘Seasonal’ had a little hit on their hands, what was next on the agenda? A sequel of course.

No Retreat, No Surrender 2

“It’s not a rematch…IT’S WAR!”

‘No Retreat, No Surrender II: Raging Thunder’ was originally intended to be a continuation of the original, bringing back the Jason and Ivan characters to do battle one more time. But, Van Damme had his mind set on starring in ‘Bloodsport’, which ended up shooting at around the same time, but he was contractually obliged to make two more films for Seasonal. So according to producer Roy Horan (of ‘Snake In The Eagles Shadow’ and ‘Game Of Death II’ fame) production was about to commence on the movie in Thailand when he received a fax from Van Dammes lawyer saying he wasn’t going to show up, effectively breaking his contract. As for Kurt McKinney, he had recently married and his wife had concerns about the risks of shooting in Cambodia, so he was out too. In the end the roles ended up being recast and the script was given a re-write.

I’m sort of glad this happened for a few reasons; firstly, Van Damme ended up making ‘Bloodsport’ which is one of the greats of eighties action cinema. And secondly I prefer the direction the series went from here and the characters it introduced in part two especially. So, let’s talk about part two…

The story this time centers on young American hard ass Scott Wylde

(Loren Avedon), a man with martial art skills and without a doubt the greatest name of all time; Throughout the movie you’re always waiting for someone to say something along the lines of “You’re insane, Scott! You’re wild” and for it to be followed up by the line “I’m wild alright…Scott Wylde” [CRASH ZOOM]. Or maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, Scott is in Thailand to visit his girlfriend and meet her folks, but typically she ends up kidnapped and in the hands of the bad guys, who are once again, the Russians (it was the eighties after all). After Scott beats seven shades out of the kidnappers that stayed behind to finish him off, he ends up in police custody, but being the “Wylde” renegade youngster that he is he escapes, determined to get his girl back.

He enlists the help of his old buddy Mac Jarvis (Max Thayer), a ‘Nam vet

who now earns a living selling all sorts of weaponry, including tanks. Now they’re armed to the teeth with machine guns and crossbows. Off they go into Cambodia to save the day, along with helicopter pilot Terri (Cynthia Rothrock).

Whilst the original was spurred on by the success of ‘The Karate Kid‘, this movie seems to have taken it’s influence from ‘Rambo: First Blood Part 2‘, it’s full of machine guns, explosions and even a red head band. But there’s another movie that this has a lot in common with, ‘Star Wars‘. When you think about the plot; young guy and his friends try to rescue captured beauty from an evil and powerful army. Now I know, that can be said for lots of movies that were made even before ‘Star Wars‘, it is of course a classic narrative, but Max Thayer sounds a hell of a lot like Harrison Ford at times and has this penchant for calling Scott “kid” all the time (I’m sure he also calls him “farm boy” too) so we’ve got a bit of a Han/Luke relationship there. If that seems like too much of a stretch, they’re destination is a place called Death Mountain…Yes? No? Am I over analyzing to the point of annoyance, Mark Cousins style here? Right, moving on…

This is probably my favourite of the three, it’s full of great characters and great slam-bang eighties action, as well as great martial arts action too; the stand out set piece being the fight with the monks, it’s a fantastic piece of complex choreography, especially when the ropes come out and it goes into agile flips and twirls. Brilliant.

As for the bad guys, taking up the role of the bad ass Russian this time around is b-movie favourite Matthias Hues, who I’d say is best known for his role in Dolph Lundgren’s ‘Dark Angel’. Apparently Matthias learned how to fight for the screen whilst shooting this movie, under the masterful tutelage of Hwang Jang Lee, you certainly can’t tell that this is his first stab at an action movie. Matthias is a lot of fun in the movie, playing it just right with a hefty dose of menace along with a slight dose of camp (whether the latter is intentional or not I don’t know, but I still enjoy it). Ty, his right hand man however is played by the aforementioned kung-fu legend Hwang Jang Lee, star (and usually the villain) of many kung fu classics, most notably the movies Seasonal produced that made Jackie Chan a star, ‘Snake In The Eagles Shadow’ and ‘Drunken Master’. As usual Hwang gets to show off his trademark kicking skills, especially during a small, but memorable, fight scene with Cynthia Rothrock.

Rothrock is also good in the movie, handling her action scenes as brilliantly as she usually does. The only problem is her character is hampered with some horrible dialogue, it’s obvious they were trying to make her character the smart ass, tough chick, but it really doesn’t work and her character eventually just ends up coming off like a bit of a childish bitch with some really bad put downs in her repertoire.

Avedon’s character is basically a younger version of the typical gung-ho American “nam vet” heroes of the time, and as I said earlier he even sports the Rambo-esque red head band. And once again his fight sequences remind you of the fact that this guy could easily have been a much bigger star given the chance. It’s a shame he never went to Hong Kong, he could’ve easily been one of the top “gwailo” bad guys over there.

All in all ‘Raging Thunder’ is a hell of a lot of fun, chock full of great action set pieces and a great explosive finale which gives us the carnage of the war themed action epics of the time and combines it with some great martial arts rumbles. It also has quite a cool theme tune too, which I can almost guarantee will be stuck in your head after the credits have rolled.

No Retreat, No Surrender 3

“The first was for honour…

The second was for his country…

This time…It’s family.”

In 1990 we got ‘No Retreat, No Surrender III: Blood Brothers’, which brought back Loren Avedon from part two but unfortunately Corey Yuen did not return, instead we have Lucas Lo in the directors chair, who after this would go on to direct Avedon again in the great ‘King Of The Kickboxers’…Which I’m pretty sure is one of the only movies to mix the world of snuff films and martial arts.

The story this time centers around two brothers Will (Avedon) and Casey (Keith Vitali) Alexander, but as the trailer says “they’re oil and water, they‘ll never mix”; Casey is following in his father footsteps and making his way up the ranks of the CIA, whilst Will is a rebel, disagreeing with the CIA’s methods and making his own way in the world by running a karate dojo. When their father (the Jimmy Stewart-esque Campanella) is murdered, the brothers go their separate ways to track down the killer; Uber terrorist bastard Franco (Rion Hunter).

So, this time around we have a plot that seems to have been inspired by the likes of ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Lethal Weapon‘, what with the terrorists and mismatched partners etc. And it’s good stuff, once again we have lot’s of good action which is probably even more “Hong Kong style” than the previous entries, the fights certainly seem a lot quicker and sharper. Keith Vitali especially looks great here and whenever I watch this I’m always disappointed that he didn’t get more to do in ‘Wheels On Meals’, but maybes his screen fighting chops weren’t up to scratch back then. After all he has said before that he accidentally knocked Sammo Hung out cold during a fight scene.

Although Keith may be strong in the action department here, his acting is certainly on the stiff side, at times it sounds like he’s saying his lines for the first time or reading cue cards. Take note of the scene in which he goes through the CIA’s records looking for information on his fathers murderer; Never mind the fact that the file he’s looking at is called ‘Top_Secret.doc’, it’s just a classic bit of bad exposition. Even seasoned actors can have trouble with dialogue that only serves to fill in the audience as to what’s going on, never mind actors that are not that experienced.

To be fair, this was only his third time in front of the camera, the others being the aforementioned ‘Wheels On Meals’ and the other being ‘Revenge Of The Ninja’ alongside Sho Kosugi, with this being his first shot at a lead role, so I do have to cut him some slack. And besides, in interviews he always seems like a really nice guy, so I feel a bit bad slating his performance…Plus he could kick my head off it’s hinges.

But, the most memorable thing about the movie (Besides the gorgeous Wanda Acuna in a bikini) is Franco, with his white mullet and white eyebrows and maniacal smile, he’s like a classical Kung Fu villain of yesteryear, but late eighties style. I always find it amusing that Franco is wanted the world over for terrorist acts, yet he never bothers to hide his most distinguished feature, the fact that he’s pretty much an albino. Even when he’s on his way to assassinate the president (with a rocket launcher!) he still doesn’t seem all that bothered that he’ll be spotted. You’d think he’d be well stocked up on ‘Just For Men’.

The finale isn’t as explosive and grand as the ending to part two, but it certainly has more kung fu action with the brothers squaring off against Franco and his George Eastmen look-alike henchman, there’s even a pretty cool homage to Jackie Chan’s ‘Dragon Lord’ thrown in there for good measure.

Well, I’d better finish up here because this is getting long, but if you’ve stuck with this until the end then you’re a good person, anyone who would read this much about this series is alright with me.

To sum up, a great set of films that always put me in a good mood after viewing them. Stick ‘King Of The Kickboxers’ in there and you’ve got yourself a night of solid, no bullshit entertainment. B-movie action at its finest.

Note: For maximum satisfaction, this night of martial arts action is best viewed with pizza, beer and a few friends.

- Snoog (Revolving Video Podcast)


Vanishing Point

In case your wondering I'm talking about the 1971 classic and Viggo Mortensen made for TV re-make which I have not seen and pretty much have no interest in seeing either. Having just watched Dirty Mary Crazy Larry (A film which I like), it was time to throw on Vanishing Point (A film I love). Vanishing Point is another film with a simple premise, but one which is given a near perfect execution. Barry Newman (City on Fire, The Limey) stars as "Kowalski" (No first name is ever used). Kowalski is a man who has had a varied career from military service in Vietnam, a cop, a speedway motorcycle rider, a NASCAR driver and now he delivers cars across the states.

Arriving in Denver with a car to drop off "Kowalski" decides against the advice of the guy at the depot to pick up another car and drive right back to San Francisco. The car he chooses is of course an iconic white 1970 Dodge Challenger. Just before he leaves Denver "Kowalski" drops by a speed dealing friend to pick up some amphetamines so he can keep those nasty slices of death known as sleep away. He bets that he can be back in Denver in record time or will double the price he pays for the drugs at his next purchase. Wired on uppers and sitting on several hundred horses of American muscle car "Kowalski" starts his run and nothing will stop him from reaching his goal ... nothing.

On his high speed limited time journey "Kowalski" is chased by the authorities almost from the start when he fails to stop for some motorcycle cops. How ever he is aided by various outsiders and members of counterculture, 1% bikers, drug users, an old hermit and maybe most importantly blind radio DJ Super Soul played by Cleavon Little (Greased Lightning) who is best known for his role in Mel Brooks Blazing Saddles. As the film moves along Kowalski becomes a kind of hero for those who believe in true freedom and in turn he becomes a deadly pariah to those who would keep order. Although in reality his "crime" is nothing more than a simple mistermeaner, his refusal to stop (and the failure of the establishment to stop him) becomes an insult those who believe respect is bestowed (In this case with a badge and a gun) and not earned. "Kowalski" though is no simple hippy maniac giving a finger to the man; he was a cop who stood up when his partner did wrong and a decorated war hero. No doubt these things were included in the characters back story to make it less easy for certain viewers to dismiss. Unlike Dirty Mary Crazy Larry which is really just an excuse to drive cars around having fun (Nothing wrong with that) Vanishing Point is more complex, it’s a look at American culture as the innocence of the 60's is lost to the escalating backdrop of the Vietnam War and the changing times. "Kowalski" is a much a visual representation as an idea or a theme as he is a character. He is in the words of Super Soul " ... the last American hero, the electric centaur, the, the demi-god, the super driver of the golden west!"

The thing I like about movies like this is they know they won't resonate well with everyone. It really depends on your mind set. For some people while they may enjoy the fast cars and naked girl on a bicycle they will be thinking "Why doesn’t he just stop when they ask him to". The rest of us however will be right alongside Super Soul cheering on "the last American hero" and personal freedom. No nation no matter its history is more synonymous with the motor car than America and Vanishing Point is a great slice of America on film. This is a road movie and thriller with very few peers and one rarely bettered.


Dirty Mary Crazy Larry

A few years ago I picked up a book called Trash: The Graphic Genius of Xploitation Movie Posters. On page 42 and 43 are the posters for Dirty Mary Crazy Larry and Vanishing point. Also on page 42 is a flyer for a 1975 (Drive-in I assume) double bill of with both films. The flyer / poster bears the slogan "3 1/2 hours of high performance action as two of the great chase films return ... together". Now I've seen both films  over the years (Vanishing Point more, because its the better movie), but ever since I picked up the book I have wanted to watch them back to back as a double bill. With cult movie magpie Quentin Tarantino referencing both films in his "Grindhouse" movie Death Proof it reminded me of this, love or hate QT he does have the effect of putting older movies back in the public consciousness. Anyway you have obviously figured out where this is leading, I did indeed enjoy 3 1/2 hours of high performance action ...

Dirty Mary Crazy Larry was first up and it’s a pretty simple film with a simple premise. Iconic actor Peter Fonda (The Trip, Easy Rider, Race with the Devil, The Cannonball Run) stars as Larry. Larry is a down on his luck NASCAR driver, who feels he never really has a chance of winning because he lacks the money for a top of the range car. Susan George who is best known for her role as Amy Sumner the wife of Dustin Hoffman's character in Sam Peckinpah's mighty Straw Dogs stars as Mary. Mary is one of those laid back sexually active swinging chicks / groupies looking for excitement and the men that can provide it. The film opens up with Larry leaving Mary in bed after a night of passion and joining his friend and ace mechanic Deke Sommers (Adam Roarke). Today is the day Larry and Deke pull a heist to rob a supermarket of all its cash and get out of town. Deke keeps the managers wife and child hostage in their house while Larry pays him (Roddy McDowall) a visit to collect the cash. On leaving the supermarket Larry finds Mary sat in the getaway car unhappy to have been screwed and left without a goodbye. He now has no choice but to take her along for the ride. Picking up Deke, the three of them flee the town and head for the state line however grizzled cop Everett Franklin (Vic Morrow) has no intention of letting them get out of his jurisdiction and will do everything in his power to stop their escape. And so ensues a game of cat and mouse that makes this one of the most drive time heavy movies of all time.

Of course a driving action movie from 1973 completely differs from the modern concept. There's no "Michael Bay" style CGI cars flying in the air as trucks jack-knife left right and centre .... while the road becomes a series of enormous explosions. In the likes of Dirty Mary Crazy Larry the majority of cars are just run off the road and are brought to a standstill in the dust. This is one of those films that's probably not as good as you remember, but it has a great nostalgia factor whether that be because you where old enough to have seen it on the big screen back in the day or like me saw it as originally as a kid back when the likes of Smokey and the Bandit, Cannonball run and The Dukes of Hazard TV show where essential viewing. Sure it’s dated, but unlike films from the 80's it dated in that "Cool" way. I think that’s a lot to do with fashion and music, where 80's fashions still look ridiculous for the most part I would not blink if I saw a modern girl wearing Susan Georges bikini crop top warn jeans combo.

Realistically this is a movie about driving and muscle cars a lot of your enjoyment will hinge on a simple fact. Whether of not you think the 1969 Dodge Charger is a cool piece of machinery or not. I think it’s pretty cool and that's pretty much what I think of the movie, its not essential viewing unless you're really, really into seeing old school muscle cars on the big screen, but its pretty cool and the ending is a classic.


Van Heflin stars as Sam Cooper (the film is sometimes known as Sam Cooper's Gold) A man who has struck a rich vain of gold. The problem is one man can't get enough out and back, he needs a partner. Circumstances conspire to land him with three. Manolo Sanchez (George Hilton), who he raised as his son. Mason (Gilbert Roland) A man who holds a grudge against Sam believing he double crossed him some years earlier. The forth partner is "Brent the Blonde" played by Werner Herzog's Best Fiend Klaus Kinski.

Giorgio Capitani's spaghetti western, probaly won't be making too many top ten lists, but its an enjoyable flick and you can watch it right now (Visit this link for full screen) online for free thanks to AMC’s B-Movie BMC Classics. BMC provides an online destination to watch some classic (and not so classic) B movies from yesteryear. The films include (and I would recommend these) John Carpenters "Dark Star", Herk Harvey's Carnival of Souls (which we are big fans of and posted here thanks to Joost). They also have Amicus classic and late night UK TV gem Asylum.

To see what else you can catch on the channel visit www.amctv.com/b-movies/


Hardware: Special Edition On DVD And Blu-Ray

Richard Stanley's cult classic Hardware finally makes it's way to UK DVD on the 22 Jun 2009. It's long over due this one and with sub par euro editions and obscenely expensive OOP region 1 versions being the only option film collectors across the pond will want to pick this up as well (assuming you have region free equipment).

Dylan McDermott, Stacey Travis, Carl McCoy, Lemmy, William Hootkins & Iggy Pop star.

"In the post-apocalyptic, post-nuclear world of Hardware, our worst environmental fears have come true. Temperatures hover at a balmy 110 degrees in the shade and the omnipresent radiation has wreaked havoc with the societal gene pool. For your entertainment there is a 24-hour television broadcasting porno films and heavy-metal music videos. Radio offers the rantings and ravings of Angry Bob (Iggy Pop), a lunatic disc jockey who broadcasts bad news all day. Good news has become a thing of the past. If you are looking to escape reality, try smoking the mind-altering “Major Good Vibes” – the painkiller of choice. But, if you’re looking for comfort or safety, forget it: just lock your doors, turn on your super-sophisticated security system and pray that nobody knocks. For in this world, everything can harm you – whether it is the air you breathe, the food you eat, or a seemingly harmless bit of hardware… Upon its release in the US, Hardware became the most successful British independent movie ever released over there."

Extras: Audio commentary with Richard Stanley & Paul Trijbits / Deleted, Extended & Behind the Scenes / Sea of Perdition / The Early Days Richard Stanley Super 8 Movies / The Voice of The Moon / Original Hardware Promo

Also contains: Set of original concept art cards, Booklet containing liner notes written by Kim Newman and Shok! Reprinted with permission of 2000AD

Pick Richard Stanley's Hardware on Blu-ray and DVD now.


Revolving Video Podcast Episode 13

Episode 13 of the cult podcast Revolving Video from the Northeast of England. This episode the guys talk about the season finale of Lost, The Expendables, Shane Meadows to tackle the horror genre, Mad Max 4, Jean-Claude Van Damme's 'Weapon' and 'The Eagle Path'.

Movie Reviews: Bus 44 and Soft andSteve Ayson's ecellent horror short The French Doors whitch is a favorite of LateMag scribe Fi Wilson (watch it here)

For full show notes and to comment / leave feedback visit the Revolving Video blog or email them revolvingvideo [at] hotmail.co.uk. Also remember to subscribe to the feed and vote for the guys at Podcast Alley.

Subscribe via iTunes

Download the show or listen to it below:

Via: revolvingvideo.mypodcast.com


Wandering Ginza Butterfly 1 and 2

Synapse Films are releasing DVD Meiko Kaji's (Lady Snowblood, Female Prisoner #701) Wandering Ginza Butterfly and it's sequel Wandering Ginza: She-Cat Gambler. The sequel see's her joined by the legendary "Streetfighter" himself Sonny Chiba. Both films are directed by Kazuhiko Yamaguchi (Delinquent Girl Boss: Worthless to Confess, Sister Street Fighter).

In Wandering Ginza Butterfly Kaji plays Nami, a girl boss who kills a local mob boss and spends a few years in jail. On her return to society she once again finds herself embroiled in underworld violence. The sequel see's her in the same role, this time however she is on a quest for revenge seeking the man who killed her father when she was a child.

According to Twitch Film (you can find expanded plot details and trailers there as well) the DVDs features include New, fully restored, anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) transfer mastered in high-definition from Toei’s original vault elements. Japanese language with newly-translated, removable English subtitles. Audio commentary by Japanese film expert Chris D. (author of Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film). New, exclusive video interview with director Kazuhiko Yamaguchi. Original Japanese theatrical trailers for both films. Reversible cover with original Japanese poster artwork.

www.synapse-films.com

Via: synapsefilms.blogspot.com


Black Dynamite

Good news for those in the UK looking forward to seeing Scott Sanders' blaxploitation homage Black Dynamite. The film has been picked up by Icon Film Distribution.

Screen Daily also reports The film which stars martial artist Michael Jai White will get its first market screening at Cannes and is also scheduled to screen in the Spotlight programme at Tribeca. *Sony Pictures have already purchased the North American rights after its screening at Sundance.

Black Dynamite - Posters

Black Dynamite - Trailer

Check out the official site at www.blackdynamite.com

*and promptly ordered we take down the trailer, if you jump over to Cinemablend however you can see a clip being used for Tribeca promotion.

Via: Screen Daily - News


The first full-length feature by LA-based artist and filmmaker Anna Biller (The Hypnotist; A Visit From The Incubus), VIVA is "a spot-on spoof of low-grade late 60s/early 70s sexploitation flicks" (Variety) that joyously and faithfully pays homage to the classics of the genre.

With a plot stripped from a 1969 letter to Penthouse Magazine, Viva tells the story of Barbi, a naïve housewife who sets out to discover the seedy underbelly of the sexual revolution. With her best friend Sheila in tow, she encounters everything from prowling cougars, grandmotherly brothel madams and lesbian supermodels to full-blown orgies. Toss in a gay hairdresser, a funk-gasmic soundtrack and some surreal animated and musical sequences and you’ve got one smoking hot slice of nouveau cult cinema.

Viva is available on DVD in the US now from Cult Epics. Nouveaux Pictures will show Viva at selected UK cinemas on 15th May and will release a DVD in June.

www.lifeofastar.com 


Trailer for The Machine Girl Written and directed by Noboru Iguchi (Sukeban Boy) and starring former Japanese porn star Asami (Sukeban Boy) alongside hot, up-and-coming newcomer Minase Yashiro.

Boasting more arterial spray than any gorehound could ever wish for, this fun celebration of gratuitous violence features everything from graphic, bloody dismemberment, decapitation, necrophilia and yakuza ninjas to chainsaw- and machine gun-wielding girls, a flying guillotine and – the showstopper of them all – a flesh ripping drill bra!

The Machine Girl is released on UK DVD and Blu-Ray 18th May 2009. The US edition has been available since last year.


Revolving Video Podcast

Revolving Video is a podcast from the northeast of England that covers films, unsigned/indie bands/artists aswell as covering the weeks odd and off kilter news.

Myspace | Revolving Video Blog | mypodcast.com | Podcast Alley


Pervert!

Young College student James (Sean Andrews) decides to spend summer break on his fathers Homestead. His father Hezekiah’s (Darrell Sandeen) has been living out in the desert since the death of James mother and this will be the first time James see's the ranch. Once their he finds that his father is now living with a busty vixen named Cheryl (Mary Carey), James finds himself instantly attracted to her and her various "Charms".

Pervert is an unashamed homage to the skin flicks of the 60's and 70's particular the genres godfather Russ Meyer. Sure it’s the kind of thing that is politically incorrect, but it's not "mean spirited" at all, which I think some of the modern movement to "react" against "political correctness" is. Pervert! Is really just good ole fashion soft-core fun and titillation with large slice of humour.

Writer and director team Mike Davis and Jonathan Yudis have proved that you can create a "homage" film while keeping it feeling fresh and original. They have achieved a huge amount on a limited budget. I think the reason Pervert! Works so well is that they set out first and foremost to deliver a movie that was fun. They have certainly achieved the fun factor, pervert is a really enjoyable ride and genuinely very funny in places. Yes its tongue in cheek, but it never derides the films it homage’s there’s a genuine love for those movies that shines through. Russ Myers films are not the only homage’s the movie also made me think of Frank Henenlotter's films in particular the under seen and underrated Brain Damage (for reasons that will be obvious when you watch Pervert!). The soundtrack itself provides constant references to films and genres of years gone by as well as being a great collection of music.

The film itself looks really good, helped a lot by the fact that the desert always makes a great location. That’s not to detract from the fact that this really looks like a labour of love. The acting is a bit cheesy from some of the stars, intentional to a point I guess. Mary Cary won't win any acting awards in the near future but she makes a great onscreen cheeky Vixen. Sean Andrews nails the classic sexually inept type young male lead character well and Darrell Sandeen as his father is easily the films standout performer.

While this is not the stuff of classics, I do believe the filmmakers have achieved what they set out to do and that in itself is a real achievement. They have captured the vibe of the films they homage well (something that is harder than people think). The constant double entendres are excellent and the comedy writing is often spot on. They have managed to avoid pushing the film into the realms of childish humour while keeping a silly edge.

Big breasted vixens, crazy rednecks, a voodoo master, oodles of female flesh and some of the best comic lines I have heard in some time mean this is should be a must for fans of irreverent independent cinema. Russ Meyer fans should really check this out Mike Davis and Jonathan Yudis have done a great job of drawing on the spirit of his work.

Maybe not for the easly offended or those that are not keen on bare breasts, but highly recommended cheeky fun for the rest of us! 8/10

www.pervertthemovie.com

Pervert! - trailer, clips and "making of"


Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman

In this the *final entry in the long running Zatoichi series released some 15 years after the previous entry we catch up with the character as he enters his twilight years. A living legend and master of the quick draw sword technique Zatocihi continues to roam the dusty tracks of Edo Period Japan. To most who pass him he is just another blind masseur. How ever though blind from the age of 2, his other senses have been heightened to near supernatural levels and this makes him not only a formidable swordsman, but also a gambler with few piers. While these skills have enabled Ichi to wander as he wished making a living from gambling and massage and safe from anyone who would underestimate his bumbling walk and lack of vision as a weakness he has also built a reputation that follows him where ever he goes.

The Zatoichi movies made their star Shintaro Katsu a household name in Japan and a cult icon abroad. This entry in the series finds him not only as the star, but also director and producer. The actor like his iconic character has by this point entered the twighlight of his own life and career. In many ways this film is almost like Katsu's love letter to the character that gave him so much. At times it's slower paced than other entries in the series feeling more like gentle world cinema (not in a bad way) than the films of the 60's and 70's but when it does get violent the ageing Katsu still manages to look, very, very impressive with a sword in his hand and the finale is fantastic.

The tale is a slightly confusing one which see's rival Yakuza gangs and a crooked officials vying for power in a time of change. Zatoichi as ever wanders into town with the intent of making a little money and keeping to himself. How ever when you’re a legend in your own lifetime things are never that easy and soon Zatoichi finds himself pulled into the chaos. How ever he also gets time to meet old friends and make new ones including a baby chick that he hatches from an egg.

Shintaro Katsu's movie is beautiful and balances the gentle with the violent perfectly; he spends a great deal of time giving you a feel for Zatoichi's world and the everyday characters that inhabit it. It's amazing that this is the 26th movie in the series; in many western franchises part 4 or 5 in a series would normally be straight to video nonsense. This is quite noticeably a very musical film (Not that they all start singing) just music and sound are used to great effect here with the only hiccup being the 80's style song used about an hour into the movie. Whether you have seen all, some or even none of the other films I would highly recommend this movie. Certainly if you saw and loved Takeshi Kitano's 2003 take on the character (Which he apparently was inspired to make to scupper the Tarantino and the Weinsteins plans to re-imagine the character) you will surly love this. This film should appeal across te board to fans of Kurosawa classics like Yojimbo (A character Zatoichi meets in an earlier film) to those that enjoyed Ryuhei Kitamura's more recent manga-in-motion Azumi.

Although not as well known in the west as he should be Zatoichi is one of the greatest characters ever to appear on screen and this film should be an essential purchase. 9/10

*Starring Shintaro Katsu

Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman - Clips


The Machine Girl On UK DVD

The Machine Girl, is the debut release from Cine Asia's new imprint, Cine Asia Extreme. This super gory and hilariously over-the-top Japanese exploitation splatterfest has had genre movie fans in an anticipatory frenzy ever since its amazing trailer debuted on the internet.

Written and directed by Noboru Iguchi (Sukeban Boy) and starring former Japanese porn star Asami (Sukeban Boy) alongside hot, up-and-coming newcomer Minase Yashiro, THE The Machine Girl is the ‘grindhouse' movie Quentin Tarantino (Death Proof) and Robert Rodriguez (Planet Terror) can only dream of making. Boasting more arterial spray than any gorehound could ever wish for, this fun celebration of gratuitous violence features everything from graphic, bloody dismemberment, decapitation, necrophilia and yakuza ninjas to chainsaw- and machine gun-wielding girls, a flying guillotine and – the showstopper of them all – a flesh ripping drill bra!


Cine-Excess III

"Cine-Excess III is delighted to confirm that Italy’s iconic horror legend Dario Argento (Director of Deep Red, Suspiria, Tenebrae, Opera and Sleepless) and his long-time composer Claudio Simonetti (of rock-supergroup ‘Goblin’ fame) have just been confirmed as this year’s Guests of Honour."

www.cine-excess.co.uk | cine-excess.blogspot.com


Five: Overlooked and underrated vampire films

Ricardo from U.N.L.O.A.D.E.D gives us five overlooked and underrated vampire films.

Nadja1. Nadja

Pixelated imagery (shot with a toy pixel vision camera of all things) along with slick B&W cinematography pulled me right in.  This David Lynch produced flick mixes art film with horror and a nice dash of humor to boot.  Nadja (Elina Lowensohn) and her man slave arrive in New York City to claim the remains of their father, Dracula, who was taken out by Dr. Van Helsing played perfectly by Peter Fonda.  A young couple, Lucy (Galaxy Craze) and Jim (Martin Donovan) are pulled into Nadja's web of seduction which complicates matters as Jim is the Nephew of Van Helsing.  Enter Nadja's brother Edgar, who has no love for Nadja and things get even more dicey.  The film is an allegory about family dysfunction and while disjointed in parts, the style and unique approach to the genre won me over. Some may find this gem pretentious but I  just saw director Michael Almereyda trying to be unique in his delivery.  I also wanted to get my hands on that toy pixel vision camera but never found one.  Guess I could always try eBay.

Habit2. Habit

Nice little film by Larry Fessendem who wrote, starred and directed this one.  This film also takes place in New York City where Sam (Fessenden) plays a down on his luck guy that drinks a little too much and seems to be headed down the road to nowhere.  He's shabby but has his heart in the right place.  Things start going wrong when he meets an mysterious woman named Anna (Meredith Snaider) who doesn't fit the plastic definition of movie siren but delivers a performance that oozes with sex appeal.  They have wild, savage lovemaking sessions that involve some blood drinking. She'll only see him after the sun goes down, she mysteriously vanishes and suddenly appears in Sam's dreams.  Hmm..... somethings awry with this young lady.  Sam becomes isolated from his friends but Anna starts making some inroads with them as well during a countryside retreat.  There's a feeling of realism that this film is able to hold and capture quite well.  Matters of loneliness, addiction ad depression seem to be well represented here.  I was hoping to see more of Meredith Snaider in other films but this is her only one.  I read somewhere that she's a social worker. Too bad in a way, she had something and so does Fessendon with this one.

Vampyros_Lesbos3. Vampyros Lesbos

Lesbian vampires, what more could a movie fan want? This wonderful 70's cult gem by Jess Franco has so much vampiric sex and tripped out music that it reminded me of a spaghetti western on crack with vamps instead of cowboys and sex instead of gunfights.   The plot involves the stunning Countess Carody (Soledad Miranda) that has an appetite for female blood. Running around alleys and biting women is not her style.  She's got an island where she lures women to wine and dine them and then,  suck them dry.  The story focuses on Linda Westinghouse (Ewa Stromberg) falling into the Countess's trap and later tries to escape the living hell that follows.  But that's not really the point either.  See this for the sheer outrageousness of it all.  The camera work, the music, the camp factor.  It must be seen to fully comprehend.

 

Graveyard_Shift4. Graveyard Shift aka Central Park Drifter

I'm not referring to the Stephen King adaptation circa 1990.  This blood sucking film came out in 1987.   While Vampyros Lesbos cashed in on 70's camp, this one made the most of 80's gloss.  The story isn't the best there is but has promise.  NYC Taxi driver Steven Tsepes (Silvio Oliviero) uses his graveyard shift  credentials to pick up women in despair with the desire to die. Once he's pinpointed the right candidate, he feeds on them in the back seat of the cab, thus turning them into vampires.  He falls for one of his converts, Michelle (Helen Papas), and her jealous ex-husband tries to take them both out.  In the meantime, his other female converts have begun to go on a rampage around the Big Apple and the body count starts going through the roof.  With a script that's in need of a few rewrites, the film still wins me over. The visuals are rich in color and lighting, the sex scenes are hot and ridiculous,  and the mood and atmosphere seem to hold for it's time on the screen.

Ravenous5. Ravenous

OK this isn't really a vampire film which may lead you to think I'm cheating but I don't think I am.  I'll explain.  The film is about Capt. John Boyd (Guy Pierce) who is transferred to an outpost in the middle of nowhere just after the Mexican-American War.  The top brass feel he was less than brave in defeating the enemy hence the demotion of sorts.  The outpost is filled with an eclectic group of soldiers and 2 Indians that help around the place.  It's not until a hysterical fellow by the name of Colqhoun (Robert Carlyle)  stops by and tells the story about how he and a party became stranded that the horror begins to unfold.  He had to consume the other members of the party to survive.  Boyd and the others stationed at the outpost must investigate the site where Colqhoun was to see if they're any survivors.  There is cannibalism, yes, but the lust seems to be more blood based with the flesh being more of a by product.  The elements of hunger, addiction, desire, over consumption and destruction that are rich in vampire lore are here as well.  The film tries to draw a parallel with these themes by doing a little blurb on the concept of manifest destiny.  A very interesting take on the history of how the USA came to be, but it's not fully explored.  No matter, this film is so overlooked that it's a crime.  If your a vampire film fan, looking for a well made film written with intelligence, this one will do very well.

So there's my 5. Sure there's lots of vampire flicks out there but these didn't seem to get a fair shake.  We've all seen "Interview" with Pitt and Cruise, "Blade" with Snipes, and a few episodes of "Buffy" here and there but these still stick in my mind after all this time.  And while I took a shot at writing my own vampire flick which I didn't like.

Buy them at amazon.com: Nadja | Habit | Vampyros Lesbos | Graveyard Shift | Ravenous

... more Late Fives

Read more from Ricardo at U.N.L.O.A.D.E.D and follow him on twitter @unloadedone


Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned in first-time director Shunya Itô's superior Women In Prison film. Attempting a daring break in broad daylight, Matsu (Meiko Kaji) and Yuki (Yayoi Watanabe) are brutally captured and sent right back to prison to endure such punishment as cold, wet blanket torture and hot miso soup to the breast torture. Whilst held captive in the leaky depths of the prison, Matsu has time to reflect on the wrongdoing which took her freedom away. In a nightmarishly creative flashback we see she was set up by the man she loved, betrayed and left to be raped by a gang of yakuza's. It is at this point that Matsu turns into the 'scorpion' of the title, a deadly lone assassin fuelled only by hate and on a mission to gain vengeance. Back in the present, Matsu’s fellow inmates are also being punished for her stubborn behaviour and a riot ensues, giving Matsu the chance to escape once more and wreak her revenge against those who have wronged her.

Itô's casting of the already iconic Kaji (Stray Cat Rock, The Blind Woman’s Curse) was spot-on for Matsu. A year before she cemented her role as a figure of female vengeance in Lady Snowblood (a film which, like Female Prisoner #701 was an influence on Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill), she perfected Matsu's almost silent presence and cold gaze full of intent for this, one of her first features for the Toei studio after her move from Nikkatsu.

Not only is Female Prisoner #701 a highly impressive debut, but also an unusually decent entry into the Women In Prison genre. Though there are still plenty of the expected exploitative elements intact (nudity, sexual violence, lesbianism, sadistic wardens, gruelling punishments), Itô's film takes them to a more cinematic level. Fusing the revenge and W.I.P. genres together, Itô's confident direction sees surreal visuals incorporated for an unusually stylised treat, with the nightmarishly theatrical shower scene the most potent. Where Matsu is the embodiment of calm rage biding its time, Itô externalises this through the dramatic score and visuals almost akin to psychadelia.

Spot lighting and plenty of low angle shots add both an inspired and trashy element to this 'rise of the underdog' story. Feminist in its portrayal of rage against the confines of patriarchal rule, it also exemplifies the status quo of Japanese cinema where sexual and violent boundaries were pushed in order to regain identity. Female Prisoner #701 is typical of this now cult cinema, where iconic stars and high-end production values met with the sleazier, exploitative draw.

An astonishing debut from Shunya Itô mixes generic elements and bold visuals to make this a superior entry to the usual exploitative fare 8/10

Female Prisoner #701: ScorpionFemale Prisoner #701: ScorpionFemale Prisoner #701: ScorpionFemale Prisoner #701: ScorpionFemale Prisoner #701: ScorpionFemale Prisoner #701: Scorpion

www.eurekavideo.co.uk


Uzumaki

What begins as one man’s fascination with spirals soon infects a whole town as it becomes ominously besieged by the shape.

In the last few years Japan has shown itself to be somewhat of a leading light when it comes to horror films. Whether it be ghastly gore or ghostly goings on, this nation has brought some innovative terrors our way. But if the post-Ringu style knock-offs has become a little stale to you then Uzumaki could well be right up your street. Combining the arty/surreal/horror/strange town movie elements to full effect, director Higuchinsky shows us all once more that the Japanese still have some terrifying tricks up their sleeves.

Ok, I know that the idea of a town, er, spiraling out of control doesn’t sound all that horrific or, for that matter, believable, but Uzumaki is both of these things. Taking a subtle, creeping paranoia and mixing it with moody, artistic visuals, a smattering of gore and some nicely down-played characters, this film is a beautiful, frightening and highly original horror quite unlike anything else. And just like its namesake (Uzumaki literally translates as ‘vortex’) it draws you in and envelops you in itself until you are as curiously and unwittingly spellbound as its characters.

It’s hard to believe this is Higuchinsky’s first feature film as it is a project as ambitious and inviting of failure as any other he could have chosen. Based on a manga comic (to bring these to life without courting criticism is a notoriously hard feat in itself, prone as they are to lose much of their charm in the move to live-action adaptation) and featuring one of the most conceptually bizarre ideas in cinematic history, it transfers miraculously well to the big screen.

Visually this film is strikingly morose, capturing the imaginary origin nicely as a town that lives in an almost-reality; basking permanently in a green haze and having the feeling of a bubble-like existence, this is a place which dwells in an exaggerated reproduction of reality. The town retains a mixture of innocence and foreboding in its fairytale-like unreality where the inhabitants reside in their dingy green-hued world where some comic style wipes help keep the manga roots. As is fitting for a film about shapes, Uzumaki has an emphasis on the visual with a highly, but not overly or pretentiously, stylised appearance. Though it is a horror and there are some gruesome deaths, the gore is not as relished or as lingered upon as we’ve come to expect from the Japanese, this is more nightmarish and atmospheric than tangibly horrific.

Whilst Uzumaki conjures a fantastically surreal atmosphere of a nightmare taking shape, it wisely retains some semblance of normality. Though nothing is ever really defined and so much is ambiguous there are some elements which keep it rooted in reality; the investigation and the relationship between the protagonist and her childhood friend keep a more traditional foundation to the otherwise bizarre goings on. There is a tinge of humour to the proceedings, too, which feels slightly familiar to 1989’s gross-out horror, Society, giving the edge of the film being able to make light of itself and not taking itself too seriously. Eriko Hatsune and Fhi Fan, too, are perfectly cast as childhood chums with an inkling something’s up, Kirie Goshima and Shuichi Saito respectively. But it is the incredible visuals and surreal atmosphere that make this film not only an amazing success as an adaptation, but also as a film in its own right. The fact that a film about a shape, with all the horrors that we see on our screens these days, is capable of being in any way frightening at all is a testament to the success of Higuchinsky’s direction. Very different, very strange, very good.

Extremely artistic, bizarre, surreal and creepily atmospheric; a wonderfully weird treat. Please, sir, can I have some more?


Five: Late Night TV Gems

You can’t beat late night television to catch some of the oddities of the film world. Series’ like Moviedrome and Mondo Macabro presented some weird and wonderful films, but sheer scheduling alone would bring the occasional strange delight our way. The only bonus of insomnia was that I’d never miss these films when they were on and it’s how I got into loving film, the veritable B-movie banquet that was the early hours So, here are my choices of five late night TV gems:

Don’t Be Afraid Of The DarkDon’t Be Afraid Of The Dark (1973) Now you see them, now you don’t…now you die

Be afraid, be very afraid in this very effective made-for-TV movie which has already made an entry in fistinface’s ‘Five: TV Movies Not About Eating Disorders’. I love cheesy TV movies but this is the rare thing of a darker, more original film and for years I never knew what it was, just that Feral and I had both seen the film independently and were both independently a bit freaked out by it. The film concerns Sally and Alex (Kim Darby and Jim Hutton), a young married couple who move into a large house Sally inherits from her Grandmother. There is mystery surrounding her Grandfather’s demise and the chimney is boarded up, much to sally’s dismay as she is intent on opening it up and making good use of the room. When she takes it upon herself to do just that, the trouble starts to happen. Sally starts to see tiny demons around the house and Alex needs her to be hold it together for a business dinner party they are to host. That’s what’s so great about this film, that, though the creatures themselves are real and very scary, the fear is old-fashioned paranoia and fear of losing your mind as represented within the confines of a traditional marriage. Though there has been talk of a remake, it wouldn’t have the same resonance today as you couldn’t recreate the marriage interplay of the era and that’s what builds the tension in this surprisingly scary film.

The_BabyThe Baby (1973) Pray you don’t learn the secret of…The Baby

If ever there was a great late night cult movie it’s The Baby, this bizarre tale is one of the most pleasingly strange films I’ve ever had the satisfaction of catching. Ann Gentry (Anjanette Comer) is a social worker investigating the Wandsworth family; Mrs. Wandswoth (Ruth Roman), her two daughters Germaine and Alba (Marianna Hill and Suzanne Zenor) and son Baby (David Mooney). Recently widowed Ann is rightly concerned about the situation at the Wandsworths being as Baby is in fact a 21 year-old grown man dressed, treated and kept as a baby. Well-meaning Ann finds intervention difficult to say the least with the hostile matriarch and her wilful daughters and turns to her mother-in-law for support in the case. The strong female-led cast really makes this film as the women are not just strong, but beautiful, strange, cunning and manipulative, with funky fashions to boot. Unnerving in many ways, this film works very nicely on the fear of other peoples domesticity, weaved around a truly unique take on maternal horrors. With an amazing twist ending, there’s really not much more you could ask for in a late night TV treat.

High_Desert_Kill_VHSHigh Desert Kill (1989) In the badlands of New Mexico it waits for them…

The second TV movie on the list, like Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, High Desert Kill is unexpectedly unique for TV fare. The film focuses on a hunting trip that goes awry when strange things start to happen. Jim (Anthony Geary), Brad, (Marc Singer) and Ray (Micah Grant) make the usual annual trek to New Mexico, though this time without Ray’s Uncle Paul (Vaughn Armstrong), who died in an accident. Though the absence overshadows the trip, the men are enjoying the great outdoors until things and people disappear and the men, confused, turn on each other. When deceased Uncle Paul starts making an appearance there is definitely something weird afoot and the film manages to convey this well with a distinctly eerie tone. This is an instance where the low budget works in the film’s favour as the minimal effects add to the slightly creepy atmosphere. Not what you’d call a great film, but an interesting little flick nonetheless and worth seeing for Chuck Connors as the old-timer and Ray’s impromptu and highly 80’s dance beside the camp fire. Probably not high on the list for a DVD release but if, like me, you search hard you too could be the proud owner of one High Desert Kill big-box VHS, just the way it should be.


The_Cars_That_Ate_ParisThe Cars That Ate Paris (1974) The traffic in the township of Paris was murder

A great retro intro begins this Australian ‘strange town’ movie with added social commentary from director Peter Weir (Picnic at Hanging Rock). In Paris, New South Wales, the locals boost their economy by causing road accidents and salvaging the wreckage. This is an unfortunate fact for brothers Arthur and George Waldo (Terry Camilleri and Rick Scully), who happen to be passing the town and for whom normal town practice ensues. To the surprise of the Parisians, Arthur survives the crash and is taken in by the Mayor (John Meillon), even being given employment as a hospital orderly. However, while embedded in the community and unable to leave, Arthur discovers the truth, but will he be as much of a threat to their existence as the town’s own disaffected youth? Though dark and offbeat, this is less horror than you’d think and more of an endearing small town drama. It’s no Picnic, but The Cars That Ate Paris is one of my fondest memories of random films to catch as it seemed to be quite a regular on the late night TV circuit.

Psychomania_DVDPsychomania (1971) Ride with the Living Dead!

With 70’s fashions and decor, a ridiculous plot, amazing soundtrack and one of the greatest intro’s I’ve ever seen in a film, Psychomania is fantastically kitschy nonsense for a late night viewing. Tom (Nicky Henson) is the leader of a rebellious biker gang called The Living Dead, whose ambition is to come back from the dead as indestructible hell raisers. Tom thinks he’s cracked it, with believing the secret, and multiple suicides ensue followed by much biker mayhem like trashing a supermarket. Meanwhile, Tom’s mother, Mrs. Latham (Beryl Reid), is frog-worshipping in her funky pad aided by butler Shadwell (George Sanders), but what is the secret of the locked room, and what happened to Tom’s father? All won’t be revealed by director Don Sharp and that’s part of the charm of this film, that it doesn’t make any sense and never explains itself. It’s a lot of fun and if you can’t appreciate it for what it is surely seeing Beryl Reid out of character is attraction enough.

Buy Them at amazon.com: Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark  | The Baby | High Desert Kill | The Cars That Ate Paris | Psychomania

... more Late – Fives


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Trailer for Room 36 the lost film from the team that made cult British low budget horror comedy Revenge of Billy the Kid.

Room 36 Review

Website: www.room36.net


Russ Meyer's Black Snake

1835 on the island of San Cristobel. Lady Susan uses her whip to enforce the law on the Blackmoor plantation. No man, black or white can escape her island or her lash. The dashing hero is trapped in a volcano of terror in his search for his brother. See the cruel hand of hypocrisy twist and turn through lives. Boisterous action from opening scene to mind bending climax.

Directed by legendary Auteur and Breastman Extrodinaire Russ Meyer who wrote, produced and directed such cult classics as Faster Pussycat, Kill, Kill, Vixens and Up!
Starring hotelier and socialite Anouska Hempel.

Arrrow Films releases Black Snake on DVD on March 16th with a RRP of £9.99, however if you wander over to amazon.co.uk right now you pre-order it for a very reasonable £5.98


Angel Guts: Red Classroom

When a pornographic magazine worker becomes obsessed with the star of a rape film, he discovers the implications of the sex industry are wider reaching and much darker than he ever could have imagined.

The second edition in the Angel Guts box set sees director Chusei Sone, who also directed our initiation into this disturbing Pandora's Box, High School Co-ed, once more at the helm for the next, and equally uncompromising, glance down the dirty alley-way of sexual assault. Made a year later than its predecessor, Red Classroom is just as powerful in its portrayal of what is a notoriously problematic area for film. Taking the common Angel Guts theme of rape, Sone turns Takashi Ishii's manga to life once more with startlingly different effect to his previous work. Where High School Co-ed focused on the brutality of the act itself, Red Classroom looks at the horrific aftermath with frighteningly forceful results.

Red Classroom is not only, for me, the most stylistically competent of the series, but also the most compelling from its point of view. The only rape that actually takes place in this film is in its opening, where a group of middle-aged men gather for a seedy, smoky session around a 'blue' projection of a school girl rape. When one of these men, our pitiful protagonist Muraki (Keizo Kanie), becomes almost fetishistically obsessed with the female ‘star’ of this grainy and voyeuristic show, believing her to have a rare quality about her for a porn actress, he has no idea what a dangerous eye-opener this infatuation will become. You see Muraki works for amusingly titled porn magazine company Pornoc, where Carry On style joviality is all in a days work when your willing subject submits to gynecologically based titillation. Jaded with the sex industry, Muraki seeks out the object of his strange affections and finds her, Nami, not to be the lady he had imagined. You see Nami (Yuuki Mizuhara), far from the image of shattered innocence that once flickered on the screen before him, is now a prostitute with a voracious sexual appetite. In a hotel room rendezvous she tells him "Fuck me right now ... you'll see me vanish to some other place." But if Muraki isn't picking up the clues, he certainly latches on when he traces her after a missed encounter puts a three year separation between them. What he discovers in the distressing finale, as the film completes its full circle, is not only the devastating knock-on effect of sexual assault but of the dangerous blurring fluidity between the presentation of sex in the media and the actuality of its effect.

Intelligently and expertly directed, Sone presents a different view point of rape from a fittingly different style. Where High School Co-ed was rough and fast-paced as its biker gang subjects, Red Classroom is a slower, more deliberate study into a horrendous aftermath. Where the former took the voracity of the immediate situation, the latter is spiked with the elongated and bitter reality of mental and emotional turmoil. Replacing gritty realism with a sometimes surreal, sometimes Noir-ish tinge and an always ominous bass line, Sone shows the hulled shell of a former person is a very dark and disturbing thing indeed.

A striking, clever and stylish film, Red Classroom reaches far into the shadowy recesses of sexual assault and plucks out its dark, diseased heart 9/10 

Buy It: amazon.com | amazon.com


Rainy Dog

A down on his luck Yakuza, shadowed by an unhinged cop and a vengeful gangster, finds solace in a make-shift family in this, the second installment of Takashi Miike’s Black Society Trilogy (Shinjuku Triad Society, Raint Dog, Ley Lines)

Unrelated in all but theme and tone, Miike’s central work in his unapologetically downbeat trilogy sees criminal figure, Yuji (Sho Aikawa), play out his own story in a similarly gritty style to that of its predecessor, Shinjuku: Triad Society. Set this time in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei, Rainy Dog focuses once more on a harsh and de-glamourised criminal underworld existing uncomfortably but firmly in the tips and veins of modern society. Though less kinetic and more dramatically involving than the first film, Rainy Dog shares its hopelessly brutal melancholy in a typically candid portrait of an unsavoury, and frankly depressing, underworld existence.

It never rains but it pours for unlucky protagonist Yuji. Like a fish out of water, he survives by butchering and lives by killing in this dismal portrayal of urban realism. With the same relentlessly downbeat tone as Shinjuku, Miike rains almost constant tropical downpours on our ill-fated hero, adding yet more drab tones to his grim mix. Whilst, like Shinjuku, Rainy Dog looks at a sense of belonging, the focus on drama rather than action sees the theme of fulfillment come more to the fore. With a peculiar tone of something and nothing, Miike makes serious and troubling issues blend into the background of each characters lonely quest for almost attainable happiness derived from simple existence and interaction. In his typical bucking of generic trends, Miike makes a strange success of playing down the stronger issues of sex and violence and instead opts to use these as a way of drawing out the underlying emotional issues for these deeply unhappy individuals. Just as the violence is strong, quick and matter of fact, the sex is devoid of any emotion or even lust and is born from a deeper need for a fulfillment on an entirely different plane. In a film so bleak in its entirety it is this concern which is at its core; characters who are constantly striving to accomplish something so seemingly simple but without really knowing what that is or how to obtain it.

Where Shinjuku and Rainy Dog do share some similarities in theme and tone (the grim realism of a life you’d never wish for, the drab hues, the issues of cultural disengagement) Miike’s directorial style differs. Where the former contains his trademark frantic editing as a perfect showcase for the fast-paced violence and hectic chase sequences of a life on the run, the latter opts to let the unremitting rain form the structure for this human drama. With almost imperceptible emotional changes, the three leads form the gently touching bonds of lost souls in limbo, searching within each other for some crutch of stability on which to base a semblance of happiness. Drawn inexplicably to each others restless search, the dysfunctional trio of Yuji, his recently acquired mute son Ah Chen (played with brilliant proof that an understated performance can speak louder than words) and prostitute Lily (Xian-Mai Chen) make an ill-fated bid for their own version of happiness in Miike’s strangely rewarding if harrowing presentation of the innate misery in human nature.

Another gruelling installment in Takashi Miike's excellent but troubling and loosley linked trilogy. Powerful and drenched with the sadness of de-sensitisation, this is about as un-Hollywood as the crime genre gets. Another honestly accomplished


Shinjuku Triad Society

Tatsuhito (Kippei Shiina) a “dirty cop” is on the trail of gay Triad warlord Wang (Tomorowo Taguchi), who leaves a trail of sickening crime in his wake. In persuit of this particularly slippery gangster Tatsuhito comes to test his own limits and is forced to confront some painful familial and social issues.

In this first edition of Takashi Miike’s Black Society Trilogy (Shinjuku Triad Society,Rainy Dog, Ley Lines), Shinjuku Triad Society makes for some very bleak and complex viewing. Delving into issues way below the surface of its subtitle Chinese Mafia Wars, this story of shadowy underworld dealings is a very raw and unforgiving look at the seedier side of Japan’s criminal underbelly. Filmed in a variation of styles including hand-held, Miike’s camera gives a relentlessly gruelling insight into a gritty and downbeat world where good and evil don’t exist, where there is only bad and worse.

Shinjuku opens with a typically kinetic sequence with some fast-paced crime and some dodgy sexual exploits interspersed with shots of Japan’s hectic club life as the DJ provides the tempo in a nod to Miike’s self-professed style of direction. The frantic pace slows however as we become engaged in our protagonist Tatsuhito and his persistent pursuit of warlord Wang. It soon becomes obvious that our hero Tatsuhito is more of an anti-hero in a scene of such sudden and unprovoked violence that for a moment you are stalled in total disbelief. Policemen of questionable morals are of course not unusual subject matter in film but where we are more used to a character composed of entirely immoral or amoral leanings, like Bad Lieutenant for example, Tatsuhito is less usual in the way we can still relate to him and empathise with his cause. This is of course aided by the absolutely reprehensible Wang, whose vile criminal deals and strange private life convey a character next to whom most people would compare favourably.

What unfolds from this cat and mouse tale of hunter and hunted is far more than a gritty police drama. Away from all the usual glamorising or stylising of the genre, Miike reveals with honesty an unsettlingly grim way of life which is both fascinating and repellent. Surrounding the abhorrent and multifaceted exploitation are some very sensitive and deep seated issues concerning race, identity and sexuality in a society so honour bound as to become a little neurotic about its repressions. This is absorbing from a Western-eye view and a brave move on Miike’s part to depict with unflinchingly brutal honesty such seldom portrayed concerns. Shinjuku is therefore pretty violent and sexually graphic in keeping with its realism and almost utterly bereft of any humour or similar cinematic tool to break up the unrelenting grim. Miike is clearly making no apology for this no-holds-barred representation of the reality of contemporary Japanese life and underworld associations. The screen remains as realistically shadowy as the unpleasant dealings and is a drab and bleak as the mood.

Shinjuku is a refreshingly raw if difficult piece of viewing. Ceaselessly demanding on the viewer, it rewards you with the realism gleaned from a rare view of a world stripped bare and sodomised like one of Miike’s unfortunate characters. This isn’t what you would necessarily describe as “entertainment” in a popcorn-munching beer with your mates on a Saturday night sort of a way, but it is thoroughly enthralling, thought provoking and directed with such bare-bones honesty that it is a must-see for anybody wishing to look past Hollywood and to a darker side of crime. You may want to have this one with a stiff drink though.

An excellent if harsh and difficult piece of cinema. Fascinating and distressing, it’s every bit as enthralling as it is reprehensible. An honest, brave and accomplished film from Miike once more proving he's no one-trick pony


Penitentiary

Jamaa Fanaka’s raw and violent indictment of prison life is a masterpiece of Urban Cinema and was the most successful independent film of 1980. A potent combination of "blaxploitation", prison film and social commentary, Penitentiary busted genres and galvanised audiences from the art houses to the inner city, becoming the cornerstone of urban independent film for generations to come.

Martel Gordone ( Leon Isaac Kennedy) is a Hitchhiker who gets into a fight with a  pair of bikers over a prostitute. One of the biker dies and Martel finds himself in prison with the moniker ‘ too sweet’ because of his love of candy bars. Soon, he is a hardened but pragmatic inmate who joins the prison boxing team in an effort to secure an early parole. Standing in his path however is ‘Half Dead Johnson’, a member of the prison’s most violent gang.

www.arrowfilms.co.uk


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Here's a sideshow gallery of poster artwork from director Scott Sanders movie Black Dynamite. The film stars African American martial artist Michael Jai White who woud have been a huge star if the Spawn movie had not been so lame. The movie is a loving ode to the classic blaxploitation movies of the 1970's. 

While the movie itself and the artwork pull on many of the films of the genre, you can clearly see the influence of some of the best known ones in the posters. Namely the Gordon Parks Jr. directed, Curtis Mayfield scored Super Fly which starred Ron O'Neal. Gordon Parks snr (yes the father) 1971 classic and probably the genres best known film Shaft. Haft of course was scored by the legendary Isaac Hayes and starred probably the genres biggest star Richard Roundtree. And then of course there's the influence of Black Belt Jones, which starred Afro sporting martial arts legend Jim Kelly, a man probably most famous for co-starring the year before with Bruce Lee in the mighty Enter The Dragon.

Black Dynamite - Trailer

Check out the official site at www.blackdynamite.com


Trailer for director Scott Sanders movie Black Dynamite, which stars Michael Jai White.

When "The Man" murders his brother, pumps heroin into local orphanages, and floods the ghetto with adulterated malt liquor, Black Dynamite is the one hero willing to fight.

With the recent passing of Rudy Ray Moore (Dolemite) other of the genres legends is gone, so its great to hear the voice over on the trailer. Black Dynamite just played at Sundance and the reviews have generally come back pretty positive, so I'm looking forward to seeing this one.

Black Dynamite - Posters

www.blackdynamite.com

 


Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals

Lovely Laura Gemser stars as a saucy undercover journalist of questionable ethics whose investigations take her on a perilous journey deep in the heart of cannibal country.

It’s safe to say it's not only a good scoop Emanuelle was after when she undertook the brave task of going beyond the call of duty following a nasty breast munching incident involving a girl in a metal hospital. Our intrepid reporter is soon whisked away to the Amazon in search of the cannibals who apparently raised the breast chomping loon in this sex and horror combo from Aristide Massaccesi, better known to most as Joe D'Amato, champion of the Black Emanuelle series.

As you may expect there's less gore and more phwoar in this flesh filled film from the seventies where the libidos are as wild and unchecked as the pubic regions. In keeping with the soft-core genre the story acts as a pretty flimsy means by which to screen copious amounts of copulation so expect a case of story fitting around content rather the other way around. If you're expecting a horror in the excessive tradition of the Italian cannibal genre therefore, you’ll be disappointed. The gore is extremely few and far between but when Massaccesi gives it he gives it pretty raw i.e. much intestinal carnage and a bit more booby snacks. This is down to the focus not being on the horror element and the fact that it was so low budget, you're often left to fill in the bloody blanks for yourself as much of it takes place away from the camera.

What we do have though is the staple of the Italian Cannibal film; the juxtaposition of the urban/rural with the opening city shots and the obligatory move to the Amazon where time has left the barbaric natives untouched. This kind of genre and setting does enable Massaccesi to place his saucy heroine in a situation steeped in animalistic behaviour with humans driven by the most basic needs of survival, and that folk’s means fornication. Emanuelle and co. are certainly feeling the animal magnetism, and Massaccesi brings this to the fore with the horny white woman lusting after the black guide, the sight of him cleaning his gun being a scene of such stereotyping and phallic suggestiveness that it just proves too irresistible. Well, after all her husband is impotent.

Emanuelle owes more to the Russ Meyer school of smut than just the economical camerawork. This group of lusty ladies know what they want and know how to get it. These women volley between pure feminine desire and sexual voracity, the territory of the predatory female has never looked so natural. Emanuelle herself can be lost in erotic fantasy or prone to what can only be described as abuse. Massaccessi's camera makes neat work of presenting the women without objectifying them. Whilst he does seem to fetishise the vagina, because these women are so sexually aware and commanding, it never feels like a perversion of the male gaze, rather an emblem of female sexuality. This isn't a film which could be taken as female objectification; these women are in control, with men at their service by command, any man found trying to cop a feel uninvited is reprimanded by a punch and those words which cannot fail to put you in your shameful place - "Have you gone mad? Dirty bastard!"

Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals (Emanuelle e gli ultimi cannibali | Emanuelle's Amazon Adventure | Trap Them and Kill Them ) could certainly not be described as a good film, but it's perfectly inoffensive. Massaccesi wisely steers clear of placing the sex and horror together coupled with a refusal to fetishise the rape scene, making this an all round harmless piece of eroticism, a little more than innocence but less than perversion.

Harmlessly exploitative, if rather boring, with some strong leading ladies and a good old Italian horror/porn soundtrack. A perfectly silly piece of soft-core nonsense 3/10

Buy It: amazon.com | amazon.co.uk


Russ Meyer Collection

If you're keen to share in the mammaries then this is for you the Russ Meyer Collection (18 films) for just over £40, less than £3 a film.  So, if you want to grab a handful, you know where to go...


The Exterminator

John Eastman (Robert Ginty) is a Vietnam Vet (aren’t all the best revenge movie / vigilante hero’s?) and when his best friend, Michael Jefferson (Steve James,) who saved his life out in The 'Nam is attacked and left paralysed by a gang of vicious street punks, Eastman decides to even the score.

The film starts off with its heroes fighting the Vietcong in the Vietnam war. After a vicious gun battle, Eastman, Jefferson and another comrade are captured and taken for interrogation. During the interrogation the 3rd comrade has his head hacked off in a surprisingly gory film moment, Eastman is next up for the chop, luckily Jefferson gets the drop on his guards and takes them down, machine gun blazing.

Back in New York, Eastman and Jefferson are honest Joe’s making a living from blue-collar factory jobs. An encounter with some thieves at the factory sets off a chain of events which lead to the birth of The Exterminator. Having put a stop to a robbery at work Jefferson is jumped by members of the same gang (The Ghetto Ghouls). Vastly outnumbered he is beaten badly and is left paralyzed. Eastman decides there is only one thing to do. This is the guy that kept his head on his shoulders back in the 'nam lying crippled in bed. So he picks up his M16 and goes in search of the perpetrators. Finding the punks in a flat, they seem to find it a little difficult to figure out what his problem is, saying Jefferson was "Only a nigger" to which Eastman replies "that nigger was my best friend". After dispatching the gang members Eastman still plagued by the memory of the beheading he witnessed back in Vietnam, decides to continue in his role as the vigilante The Exterminator. Taking out all kinds of other criminal trash, including a Mob Boss and Pimp who specializes in supplying young boys to rich male clients.

The Exterminator, which has the great tagline “The man they pushed too far”, is a great example of the Vigilante / revenge movie genre which was particularly popular in the late 70’s and early 80’s, dishing out classic action, gunplay and car chases. Jake Eastman just looks like a normal guy, which makes the film so much better than having a muscle-bound freak in the lead role. Robert Ginty gives a very understated performance in the lead role; he doesn’t exude any kind of charisma, crack cheesy one liners or even particularly fly into any kind of rage. He is, as he states at one point, “taking care of business,” and he deals with his foes just like a garbage man taking out the trash. Christopher George is top notch as the hard-bitten cop on the trail of The Exterminator and all the cast fit the feel of the film nicely. The rubbish strewn, impoverished streets of New York's 80’s underbelly are a fantastic backdrop for the action; these are the streets no-one cares about, these are the streets that could really breed “The Exterminator”.

If you like, The Warriors, Death Wish, Dirty Harry, The Gauntlet, and films of that type you should find The Exterminator a very enjoyable experience. This may not be mainstream action stuff, but its classic cult movie revenge fun.


Trailer and clips for Babylon, directed by Franco Rosso (Dread Beat an' Blood), co-written (with Rosso) by Martin Stellman (Quadrophenia; Defence Of The Realm; For Queen And Country), photographed by two-time Oscar winner Chris Menges (The Mission; The Killing Fields) and starring celebrated reggae star and Aswad frontman Brinsley Forde (Here Come The Double Deckers), Karl Howman (Brush Strokes; Mulberry) and Trevor Laird (Doctor Who; Quadrophenia).

The film is available on DVD from Italian distributor Raro Video and UK based Icon Home Entertainment.


Babylon Comes To DVD

One of the most highly regarded cult British films of the 1980s, Babylon comes to DVD for the first time ever in the UK this October courtesy of Icon Home Entertainment, boasting fully restored and remastered image and audio (personally overseen by Chris Menges) plus Audio Commentaries, Interviews and feature on the restoration.

Directed by Franco Rosso (Dread Beat an' Blood), co-written (with Rosso) by Martin Stellman (Quadrophenia; Defence Of The Realm; For Queen And Country), photographed by two-time Oscar winner Chris Menges (The Mission; The Killing Fields) and starring celebrated reggae star and Aswad frontman Brinsley Forde (Here Come The Double Deckers), Karl Howman (Brush Strokes; Mulberry) and Trevor Laird (Doctor Who; Quadrophenia), Babylon is a raw and incendiary film employing an effective mix of music and social commentary to recount the everyday experiences of a small group of working class black youths living in South London in the early 1980s.

Mechanic and part-time sound system ‘toaster' Blue (Brinsley Forde) and his Ital Lion crew are looking forward to their forthcoming reggae sound clash competition with rival outfit Jah Shaka. But as the event approaches, Blue's personal life begins to unravel. First he's fired from his job by his racist boss (played by Mel Smith) and then he begins to suspect his girlfriend is cheating on him. A further series of unpleasant racist incidents - including Blue being chased, brutally beaten and arrested by a group of plain-clothes policemen - culminates in Ital Lion's lock-up garage being broken into and their sound equipment being destroyed. Increasingly angered and alienated by what he perceives to be society's rejection of his race and his culture, Blue is compelled to respond by fighting fire with fire.

Driven by a musical score composed and arranged by legendary reggae guitarist, former member of Matumbi and record producer (The Thompson Twins, Madness) Dennis Bovell, with additional songs by Yabby U, I-Roy and Aswad, Babylon is a brilliant, breathlessly energetic, neo-realist snapshot of what it was like to be young, poor and black in early 1980s Britain, Babylon remains as socially relevant today as it was almost 30 years ago.

Babylon - Trailer

Via: Babylon DVD at amazon.co.uk


Movie Grooves

UK-based mail order webstore, Movie Grooves, promises to bring you "the grooviest, jazziest, sleaziest, easiest, funkiest and scariest cult movie soundtracks and funky and groovy library music from the 60s & 70s." Well that's the mission and they duly deliver, but do they deliver?

As a sometimes customer myself, I can personally vouch that they do. Their "by fans, for fans" mentality really does pay off, with the result a glorious wealth of lesser-known and hard to find soundtracks plucked with a passion belied by their 1000+ titles. It really is a virtual world of musical loveliness and one which will doubtless take you into somewhat of a temporal black hole as you rifle through the titles and genres on offer here. They have rather thoughfully provided the addition of audio samples so you can have a snaffle of the delights for yourself before committing yourself to purchase.

I myself went a little Italiano on the soundtrack front, purchasing the following titles:

A Trip? Just A Little...Beat - "A taste of pure Psychedelia in the Italian 60's"

Beretta 70 - "Roaring Themes from Thrilling Italian Police Films (1971-1980)"

Cinecocktail : Calibro 3 - "Funky Energy From The Best Scores of Violent Italian Cop Thrillers"

Well, I can certainly say that customer satisfaction abounded as I was audibly furnished with a delicious array of goodies from the strange and the twee to a hefty dose of rare beats and cool synths. Undeniably a magnificent source for retro classics. Praise be!

Visit Movie Grooves online at www.moviegrooves.com


Slogan DVD's From Cult Epics

Serge (Gainsbourg) is a hip and successful film director who leaves his pregnant wife to attend the annual advertising awards festival in Venice, and enters into a passionate affair with a young British woman (Jane Birkin). This sexy satire formed the background for one of the swinging sixties' most famous real-life romances. During the rehearsals for Pierre Grimblat's "Slogan", Serge Gainsbourg met the woman who would forever change his professional and personal life: Jane Birkin. They sang together for the first time on the film's theme-song, "The Slogan Song". After which, they recorded their version of "Je t'aime moi non plus". The song became a huge success and set the 70's on fire. Together, they lived out one of the most beautiful love stories ever. Featuring music by Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin

The Two Disc Special Edition features Bonus Disc including new and vintage interviews with Serge Gainsbourg, Jane Birkin and Director Pierre Grimblat, Interview with French writer, Commentator Frederic Beigbeder plus original 60s/70s TV commercials directed by Pierre Grimblat.

View the original Frech Trailer for Slogan 

Cult Epics has relased the film as a single disc edition DVD for those that just want to catch this French Classic and a two disc edition for collectors.


Revolving Video

SJ Cult Movies Forum's "Snoog" tells you what he watched last night and more at his Revolving Video blog. I believe it takes it's name from the old school video store that he used to frequent back in the day.


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Toronto After Dark 2008 Festival Preview Trailer featuring scenes from the *first eight announced feature titles

* Repo! The Genetic Opera, Red , Let The Right One In , Idiots and Angels, Tokyo Gore Police, Mirageman, Trailer Park Of Terror , Who is KK Downey?

www.torontoafterdark.com

Via: torontoafterdark.com


Calvaire

Paul Bartel is the owner of a remote Inn, these days no guests stay there. Once though, the inn was a lively place, but that was when Gloria was still about. When Paul's wife Gloria left, all the enthusiasm for life he had left with her. Now she's back in his life, how ever is the person now known as Gloria the same "Woman" they once where?

Marc Stevens is a singer earning a meager living from performing at two bit gigs and living out of his van. Even though the only real adulation he receives, is from old ladies in retirement homes he sings for; he still dreams that one day he will hit the big-time. Surly it’s just around the corner. Maybe at his next engagement some distance south where he will perform at Christmas. Unfortunately for Marc, bad weather and car trouble combine to force him to make an unscheduled stop. Seemingly lost in the remote countryside he comes across a man named Boris who is looking for his lost dog in the woods. Boris directs Marc to the Inn of Paul Bartel where he can wait out the night until he can get his van fixed in the morning.

In the morning Paul tells him it will be some time before the mechanic will arrive so Marc decides to take a walk in the nearby countryside. Paul how ever begs him not to go near the village, although he will not give any solid reasons for this advice. Promising to heed Paul's advice and avoid the locals Marc sets off, however he does spy some locals in a barn and curiosity gets the better of him so he peeps inside. What he see' is a bunch of depraved country folk enjoying some of their animals in a way nature did not intend. On his return to the Inn things don’t seem quite right and it’s not long before things seem very wrong indeed. For In Marc, Paul has seen elements of Gloria or in fact he see' "Gloria" and has no wish to let "her" leave him again and so begins Marc’s Ordeal.

Calvaire is an adult horror movie, more than likely it will do nothing for passing fans of the genre who feed at the Hollywood trough and revel in it’s PG-13 slop. Its foreign, its subtitled, it moves at a slower pace taking time to develop and build. Its filled to the brim with genre homages and influences. Though this should not to be written off as a “Homage” movie, but if you’re a genre fan you will recognize many touches, from the obvious to the slightly more obscure. Not everything is clearly explained so those that want their movies spoon fed to them, instead of thinking and interpreting meanings for themselves may want to put this back on the shelf. For those of you that are still interested you however are in for a treat, because Calvaire is a modern genre movie par excellence. Straw dogs, Deliverance and Southern comfort echo in its themes as do Texas Chainsaw massacre, Don't look now and many others. For modern movies it reminded me at times very much of King of the ants and maybe it’s closest recent counterpart would be Wolf Creek. Make no mistake though this film makes Wolf Creek seem as mediocre as it really was. Calvaire is beautify shot, amongst stunning, yet foreboding countryside. While it is obviously a lower budget film, it looks very good. Its' well scripted, well thought out and powerful. like Irreversible, it once again proves not everything extreme on film originates in Asia.

Personally I never get bored of weird towns and unfriendly inbred locals in movies with the aforementioned Straw dogs, Deliverance and Southern comfort pretty much being the holy trinity of the sub genre in much the way Romero's dead cycle (The first 3, not the mediocre Land) are to the zombie sub genre. While its difficult to say how well a film will stand the test of time I would say Calvaire has a shot at joining them. Even though it is influenced by and to a point homages them, it would be difficult to make a movie like this and it not. Calvaire certainly has enough elements to make it it's own movie. Look out for the bar scene in which the all male inbred patrons of the local bar have a impromptu surrealist shindig to rival any ever put on film, a scene so good it makes the film worth seeing by itself. Everything you want from a city slicker trapped with crazy rednecks is in place, all that’s left to wonder is will it be a case of  squeal piggy squeel ... oh you know it will, its just a case of when!

Genre fans who have heard mute buzz on the internet or even walked past it a few time and thought "Should I?" yes you should Calvaire is insane country dweller class!

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Sex and Fury

A young girl witnesses the murder of her father who is a detective and the only clue to his killers are three cards which carry the pictures of a deer, a boar and a butterfly, but what does it mean?

The years pass and the girl has grown into a beautiful young woman who goes by the name of Ochô Inoshika, played by Japanese exploitation superstar Reiko Ike (. Having survived a tough life as a female orphan in patriarchal Japan, Ochô has to been strong and streetwise and prepared to use whatever means she had at hand, which quite often means her naked body. A skilled gambler and blade wielding streetfighter, Ochô finds herself thrown into a deadly confrontation with powerful, scheming factions whose true identity could be the key to her own revenge.

Sex and Fury is in many ways summed up by its title, as the character, Ochô's personality is easily summed up by both. A woman driven by a burning inner fury who will use sex as a weapon if she needs to (and this being an exploitation film it's pretty much guaranteed she is going to need to … a lot.) Reiko Ike (Terrifying Girls' High School: Lynch Law Classroom, Girl Boss Guerilla, Female Yakuza Tale) is Joined in the film by Swedish exploitation sex-bomb, Christina Lindberg, best known for the Tarantino-influencing cult classic Thriller, A Cruel Picture AKA They Call Her One Eye. So, you know there is going to be a serious dose a naked. Christina plays Christina, a British spy and devil at the card table in the employ of a sleazy Brit on a mission to destabilise the emerging power of Japan and start another Opium war. Unknown to her boss, Christina became a spy to travel to Japan to find a former lover, a Japanese son of a man wronged by the same powerful group that Ochô is taking on. Needless to say, a degree of co-operation ensues to take on the mutual foes.

Enough of the plot, though, as needless to say it really performs as a vehicle to drive the sex and fury onscreen that exploitation audiences hunger for, including a Lady Snowblood-alike scene in which Reiko Ike strips naked and fights her male attackers in a snowbound courtyard. Most of the performances are very good, although the English speaking characters acting and delivery leaves a lot to be desired. I can only imagine the Japanese director was unaware of how bad they sounded, but that's OK as there is nothing wrong with an element of cheese in an exploitation movie and they don’t have a lot of dialogue. I guess I don’t need to tell you that the woman are sexy, the bad guy's eeeevil and the blood flows; it's a prerequisite of this type of movie after all. Reiko Ike is a great actress who really warms up the screen and has a very expressive face. which means she can convey many emotions without saying a word.

As exploitation films go, director Noribumi Suzuki has created a very attractive film; mixing pop art décor, funky seventies kitsch music and creating a great feel of an Eastern nation colliding with, and absorbing, elements of Western culture into its own. Many of the key exploitation elements are there; naked flesh, lesbian encounters, inter-racial love (maybe not exploitative now, but remember its 1973,) torture, gambling, organised crime, prostitution, extreme violence, rape and even a slice of nunsploitation and blasphemy. Fans of female Cult sirens will certainly want to watch out for the scene in which Christina Lindberg dons a swade cowgirl outfit and is made to whip a half naked and chained Reiko Ike.

While it will no doubt draw comparisons to well known Japanese cinema of the period including many samurai films, and the gambling scene at the begging is very remanisant of a Zatoichi movie, Ochô's outcast status similar to that of Ogami Ittô from the Lone Wolf series, it is perhaps Lady Snowblood which will draw the most comparisons and, in terms of setting, it can at times feel like Ochô could pass Meiko Kaji in the street (the same manga was the inspiration for both films). However, the characters are very different; Snowblood's Meiko Kaji is a trained and deadly emotionally controlled beast of vengeance, while Ochô is an emotional, wild spirit of fury, deadly with a blade but she is a rough and ready streetfighter and should the two have ever met in fantasy vs. land you get the feeling Meiko would dispatch Ochô without breaking a sweat. Both films where made in 1973 and both have there place in the collection of any serious fan of Japanese Cult cinema. So leaving aside comparisons and fanboy vs. dreams, Sex and Fury as an introduction to the "bad girl cinema" of Japanese studio Toei is an incredibly entertaining film. Packed with pretty much everything you could ever want from a well made exploitation film and its sequel Female Yakuza Tale is just as good.

Glorious bad girl action, Reiko Ike is indeed sexy and furious, as she slashes and sleeps her way to deadly revenge! 8/10

Sex and Fury - trailer


The Key (La Chiave)

The Key is the tale of a Husband and wife in living in Venice during the run up to the declaration of the Second World War. After twenty years of marriage their sexual relationship has become stale. The husband Nino longs for his wife Teresa to set aside her modesty and inhibitions. Nina herself remains unsatisfied by their sexual encounters but is bound by her own modesty. After getting a little to drunk one night while out with their daughter Lisa and her Fiancé Laszlo, Nino stumbles upon a way to re-ignite the flames of their sexual encounters. How ever has he really thought through the consequences of such a scheme?

Nino Rolfe is a British born art professor living and teaching in Venice, his wife Teresa runs the guest house in which they live. Frustrated by his wife’s modesty which restricts his own sexual excitement, he devises a way in which he can explain his frustrations without actually confronting her. To this end he begins to write a dairy describing his fantasies and feelings. He locks it in a drawer in his study and then leaves the keys conveniently on the floor knowing his wife will find it when she cleans. Its not long before she too is writing her own diary and as such they are able to communicate their desires covertly without having to directly mention them, this in itself becomes part of the sexual interplay between them. How ever things don't stop here, Nino recognises that he is excited by jealousy and so through his writing and a number of schemes pushes his wife slowly into an affair with his daughter’s young Fiancé Laszlo. In the arms of Lazlo Teresa finds even greater sexual liberation and this she brings home to the marital bed.

The Key is adapted from the classic Japanese novel Kagi by Junichirô Tanizaki. The novel had been previously brought to the screen by Japanese director Kon Ichikawa under the title of Kagi which was released in 1959. Cult erotica director and some say European master of the genre Tinto Brass, had long been a fan of the novel and after several attempts was finally able to acquire the film rights from the then deceased Junichirô Tanizaki's wife. Brass moved the setting to Venice a city he describes as smelling like a female sex organ (See the interview on this DVD). On the surface The Key plays like classic soft-core erotica with an air of decadence and soft focus artistry, how every beneath the obvious Brass has in fact created a very subversive film. Brass is a pretty skilled director the film has a very European art house look and certainly does not look cheap and sleazy. Limited locations are used, but then they are all that's needed after all this is all about character interplay. The acting for the most part is of the serviceable variety, nothing outstanding but certainly not poor enough to bother the viewer. The film is dual language with the majority in English. The four main characters converse in English but if they speak to anyone outside of this circle they use Italian and are subtitled. The Italian seems more comfortable to all except Frank Finlay who plays Nino, but then he is English.

Tinto Brass clearly finds censorship especially around something as natural as sex an undesirable part of culture. His film is as much about that as the story we see on the screen. Nino in particular being an art professor constantly makes references to classic art and art history which featured nudity and erotic images, he also mentions Items that where censored in the past by church and state and the fate of some of those involved. In away it is this external censorship and the attitudes towards sexually prevalent in society that have spoiled the couples sexual relationship. The need for a woman to be modest, and overt displays of sexuality being frowned upon have shaped the way Teresa is. Brass illustrates this at several times in the movie, in particular the reaction of guests at the dance when a drunken Nino puts his hand on his wife’s bottom during a dance. As with many Italian films there are also some veiled swipes at the Catholic Church and its dominating moralising presence in Italian society. Maybe the most interesting thing is the change in the balance of power with Teresa and Nino's relationship once she begins to become sexually liberated. Anecdotal evidence often supports the idea that faced with the sexually liberated woman they wish for men feel a loss of power. Often a man who pushes his wife or partner into the likes of swinging comes to regret it once she begins to enjoy it and really want to do it in her own right.

The Key is first and foremost soft-core erotica, if nudity, overt sexuality and scenes of simulated sex offend your sensibilities; this is not a film for you. Those comfortable with such things will find much to like here as its an attractive and interesting film with the kind of protagonists who would maybe not feature in more modern takes on sexuality. Depending on what pushes your buttons you may even find some of it quite stimulating, I certainly am a fan of hosiery and I am sure I am not alone in that.

www.cultepics.com

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Buy It: amazon.com | Also available from Cult Epics at Amazon is The Tinto Brass Collection Volume 1 which Includes: The Key, Miranda and All Ladies Do It.


The Living Dead Girl (La Morte Vivante)

A small van pulls up outside a recently vacated Château. The occupants carry barrels of industrial waste down into the catacombs beneath to dump. While down there, two of the men decide to rob the coffins of the houses former occupants, the recently deceased Catherine Valmont and her mother. While they pry jewels from the bodies a barrel of the waste tips over and the contents run towards the body of Catherine, releasing gas as it does so. The waste it seems has the unexpected effect of resurrecting the dead, now Catherine is back and she is terribly hungry!

Jean Rollin’s (Les Demoniaques, Requiem pour un Vampire), 1982 cult classic La Morte Vivante (The Living Dead Girl) finds him firmly in territory he loves, with yet another tale of lesbian vampires. This film how ever lacks some of the visual style and inventive locations of some of his other work. How ever the story itself is slightly tighter and more controlled, so while it loses in some area’s it gains in others.

Perhaps Rollins most visceral film, as it’s more definable as straight horror than his other more expressionistic, surreal, dark erotica. With simple yet fairly effective gory effects from Benoît Lestang who would go on to work on films such as Christophe Gans Brotherhood of the Wolf and Lars von Trier's Manderlay. The gore effect here are actually quite nasty as Catherine’s vampiric tendencies are surprisingly for a Rollin film anything but erotic (Unless you’re the kind of person that likes fried penis in garlic butter). No discrete puncture wounds in the neck here, Catherine’s blood lust has her desperately chewing and ripping you to bits to get at your blood.

The tale is a simple one taking place for the most part in and around the Châteaux which was Catherine’s former home. On awakening from the dead disorientated Catherine instantly falls upon the men dumping the waste chewing out there blood. She then wanders upstairs driven partly by memories of her former life and partly in need of a snack. Finding a young female estate agent and her lover sexually compromised Catherine one again indulges her new found taste for blood. It’s not long before Barbara, Catherine’s childhood friend, turns up and after getting over the mild surprise of finding freshly chomped bodies in the house she quickly renews their friendship. Barbara quickly decides to help Catherine live on by luring victims for her to poke to death with her very long fingernails and them munch on. Meanwhile a couple of meddling Americans (mainly the wife) decide in true 80’s cheesy style to investigate the strange girl they catch a glimpse of.

The Château itself is an imposing building, although Rollin refers to it as a castle, its more akin to what we in England would call a stately home or large manor house. The interior decor which is forms the majority of the films backdrop, looks like the kind of place where many and 80’s pornographic magazine shoot would have taken place. The acting is pretty reasonable for a Rollin outing with the lovely Francoise Blanchard adding and outstanding performance in the films final scenes. The one jarring downside in the way the special effects are edited in, with a drastic cut to special effect each time, but the effects themselves while very low tech practical make-up stuff are really fun.

While I did miss some of Rollins more stylish touches from some of his other work, the film itself is one of, if not his most enjoyable and you have to love those fingernails of death.

www.encore-films.com

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Buy It: hkflix.com


Requiem Pour Un Vampire

A car flees from pursuers through the narrow roads of the French countryside. Close on it's tail are unknown occupants in a second vehicle. Shots are fired from both cars, the fleeing car escapes down a hidden track and the pursuers are lost, but the male driver is fatally wounded. The cars remaining occupants step out of the vehicle, set it on fire and the leave the scene dressed as clowns.

Welcome to the world of cult French exploitation director Jean Rollin (Les Demoniaques, Levres de Sang, La Morte Vivante). A world seemingly populated by an endless supply of lesbians, piano players, cannibals, vampires, clowns, twins and very pretty young woman who feel restricted by having to wear clothing.

Marie-Pierre Castel stars as Marie and with twin sister Catherine not available; Mireille Dargent co-stars as her friend Michelle. The two girls who flee the car dressed as clowns at the start of the movie. So with his two young nubile female leads in place Rollin sets off on making a surreal Gothic sexploitation movie with an artistic edge.

With a run time of two hours the plot is surprisingly thin (or not when you consider it’s a Rollin film). The story sees the girls wander the country side, stealing food, a motorbike and being accidentally buried in a fresh grave. Finally after about 25 minutes (but seems like an eternity) of dialogue free "action" the girls stumble upon a seemingly deserted castle and the fun begins ...

Unfortunately for the girls the castle is not as deserted as it seems, in fact it is the home of an ancient vampire and his acolytes. After slipping out of their clown suits for some naked action the girls are disturbed by a noise and go to investigate. Its not long before they cross paths with the vampire's minions who naturally decide the best course of action is to strip the girls naked and abuse them (Well this is a sexploitation film, it’s not like they where going to offer them a cup of tea). After witnessing the drawn out abuse of two other unfortunate girls Marie and Michelle decide to flee. The problem is Marie has been bitten by a female ghoul and which ever way they run it takes them back to the castle. It appears there is no escape, at least not until more firm bosoms have been squeezed to bruising point anyway.

The plot is far too threadbare to sustain the running time, even with the sweet flesh on display (Weird to think those cute young actresses are in their 50’s now), the film drags. Normally that would be a nail in the coffin for an exploitation film, they can be crap yes, but boring is a step too far. How ever Rollin has a fantastic knack for finding brilliant locations to shoot, a great eye for the artistic and a wonderful ear for music to fit his films. Requiem Pour Un Vampire is undoubtedly a film atheistic pleasing way beyond it limited budget should allow. Rollin's surrealist and expressionist cinematic touches lift it above the dross it could have been. With great touches like moving from the outside of a castle on a beautiful French summer day to the contrastingly dark and gloomy interior where Michelle is forced to whip her friend Marie into submission. For many fans one of the most memorable scenes features Louise Dhour (Les Demoniaques) playing a grand piano in the middle of a remote graveyard.

Requiem Pour Un Vampire is both artistic and exploitative in equal measure, but there’s just not enough going on to justify its length.

Trailer | youtube.com

www.encore-films.com

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Kung Fu Wonder Child

While walking down the street, a man and his teenage daughter are attacked for no reason. "Obey me and you will live, turn against me and you will die" cries the laughing maniac. It seems he is after their clans silver skull (don't ask me, I have no idea why they have such an item). The old man refuses to hand over the skull so is told that he and his daughter must die. A fight breaks out in which deadly beams are thrown and ninja smoke blasted, but the man and his daughter are quickly overcome. The laughing maniac then takes the souls of the defeated twosome and places them in pots with others who have lost to him and tells his zombie slave to guard them.

Enter a beautiful girl who is searching for her now missing father and sister. She's quick with her leg,s but it will take more than that to overcome the evil master and stop his diabolical soul stealing plans. It's not long before she enlists the help of the Kung Fu Wonder child, his grandfather and his two bumbling friends. Together they just might be able to do it, but first the kung fu wonder child has to go through being miniaturised, placed in a dolls house and fight a plastic face hugging scorpion ... no really.

Directed by cult Hong Kong director Lee Tsonam aka Tso Nam Lee (Shaolin vs. Lama, Hot, Cool and Vicious, Black Belt Jones 2). The film stars Lin Hsiao Lan as the titular Kung Fu Wonder Child, quite obviously a female, but she plays a male character anyway. Joining her is the lovely Yukari Ôshima who fans of cult Hong Kong Cinema will recognise from ultimate Hong Kong cult movie Riki Ô AKA The Story of Ricky amongst other stuff. Jack Long is in their as well a guy who has appeared in some real genre classics including fan favourites like The 18 Bronzemen, Born Invincible and Master of the Flying Guillotine.

Kung fu Wonder Child if you have not worked out already from the title is not a serious film. In fact it’s far from such mixing high camp, cheesy dialogue, toilet humour and crazy fantasy effects to produce a pretty ridiculous piece of celluloid fun. I guess it would fall in the fantasy Horror category, but this is low rent stuff compared to Sammo’s Close encounters of the spooky kind or Tsui Harks Zu Warriors of the magic mountain. But to its credit it is very entertaining and will appeal heavily to the fans of bizarre, cheesy and so bad it good films. There’s no getting away from the fact its trash, but its lots of fun and even if it is nonsense. Where else will you hear the line "Shut up! I am your master! I will urinate wherever I want!", or see a couple of young female orphans hopping after there deceased zombie father, who stops to give them a hug … ahhhh. Yukari Ôshima looking like she has been ripped right out of the old Nintendo street fighter game shows off some impressive legwork (and legs). The exaggerated by wires reaction to the blows that are dealt out by the various characters is cool. Some of the comedy is actually funny, which is not always the case with these cheese fests and director Lee is happy to throws in everything but the kitchen sink to make this entertain you.

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More sexy stills from Requiem Pour Un Vampire ...

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The Review

Buy the 3 disc SE from hkflix.com


2 clips from "Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman" the 26th and last film in the long running series.


The Senator Likes Women

Italian senator Gianni Puppis is on the verge of being elected President, but he has a problem. The senator has just found out "He likes women". After years of steadfastly dedication himself to his political career and abstaining from the pleasures of the flesh, senator Puppis's carnal urges are erupting uncontrollably. After being caught on film squeezing the bottom of a visiting female dignitary Puppis finds himself the victim of blackmail. The problem is until now Puppis had no idea he was doing these things, but once his obsession with the female posterior is revealed to him the bouts of ass squeezing come at more regular intervals. Senator Puppies has no choice but to get help for his affliction and with the election coming up he needs it fast. Luckily a Dominican monk who runs a nunnery in the countryside believes he can help, but is it really such a good idea to put the rear end obsessed Senator in a nunnery with 21 beautiful young nuns?

Once at the nunnery Puppis finds his "Sickness" in full swing and it's not long before he sleepwalks his way into the bedrooms of all 21 nuns. Returning home he believes himself cured and he better be because he is the puppet of a power mad Catholic bishop he will stop at nothing to see his man win the election. Unfortunately for Puppis and the Bishop there are a lot of beautiful asses to be squeezed in Italy and Puppis is far from cured.

"We're fucked"
"He’s not cured! He's worse than ever!"
"This means Giacinto doesn’t just touch clothed asses anymore!"
"Now he wants more!"
"He wants naked asses!"

The Senator Likes Women (All'onorevole piacciono le donne) is directed and co-written by "nun" other than Italian cult favorite director Lucio Fulci (The House by the Cemetery, The Beyond, Warriors of the Year 2072, Contraband, Conquest). Fulci is generally thought of as a pulp director, even a hack by some and is certainly most famous for his horror and gore than any of his other works. How ever with a directorial career spanning over 30 years and having worked in the industry Fulci turned his hand to quite a few genres and The senator likes women finds him directing a farcical political satire come sex comedy. While much of Fulci's back catalogue has long been plundered by "for the fans, by the fans" DVD labels, their constant pledge to bring weird and interesting films to the DVD market rarely see's them get past the predictable sex and violence. So props must be given to Dagored films for taking the step to release this little gem. Here we have a film the likes of which most cult and film fans in general will not have seen before.

The music is very, very cool in places with the track that plays every time Puppis looses it and starts needing to grab an ass being a must own for me. Fulci's direction is pretty good here and the weird shots and old school special effects are just brilliant. The softly exploitative dream sequence with Senator Puppis grabbing the naked asses of a line of nuns is just fantastic and need to be seen.

"Last night, you dishonoured my entire convent!
You used my nuns to quench your beastly instincts!
You dared to defile twenty-one immaculate bodies!"

The Senator Likes Women takes several elements and blends them together. It can be seen as and works very well as a Rush Myer esque / Carry on films, type sex comedy with a happy dose of female full frontal nudity. How ever there is more to it than that, it also takes aim at the Italian establishment of the early seventies with the government, the Catholic Church and organised crime in the firing line. Not happy with blending both these elements Fulci then throws in a dash of Nunsploitation, a large dose of weird and just a touch of his patented horror.

Italian funny man Lando Buzzanca (For a Few Dollars Less, Monte Carlo or Bust, Dracula in the Provinces), gives a wonderful comic performance as Senator Puppis, reminding me at times of British comedy legend Peter Sellers for some reason. The rest of the cast is suitably fun all giving slightly hammed up performances.

Maybe not a film for Fulci horror fans, but for those who like comedy exploitation this is great fun and genuinely funny in places.

... The kind of movie that makes you want to go out and grab a nun yourself! 

NB. This review concentrates on the film itself, the Dagored DVD sadly features a very poor transfer from a weak source and has not be re-mastered in any way. I am not sure there is currently any other release for the movie so Fulci fans and sexploitation lovers may want to pick this one up anyway, but be warned it offers the picture quality of a heavily watched VHS tape at best and that’s probably being too favourable.


Les Demoniaques: Un film expressionniste de Jean Rollin

On the coasts of Northern Europe at the end of the 1800's a small group of wreckers make their living by enticing ships to their destruction on the rocky coastline. After a successful wrecking two beautiful young women are washed ashore and encounter the four deadly wreckers. The girls find themselves raped and beaten to death, how ever they return from the beyond to seek out their revenge.

Les Demaoniaques carries the sub title "Un film expressioniste de Jean Rollin" and it certainly does tip it hats towards expressionist era cinema as much as it does the adventure serials shown at the cinema in times before television proliferated the homes of the majority. As with allot of low budget cinema from the late 60's and 70's the backers put the money forward under the proviso that the film contained a certain amount of nude and sex scenes so it could be sold to an "International" audience, something which Rollins cinema is famous for. Rollins actually was accused of then selling on his young female starlets into "White slavery" for the North African market. As with many of the director’s films the plot plays second fiddle to the visuals, both sexual and surreal, Rollin is one of those directors who is maybe more about hamaging and experimenting with cinema as he is about producing cohesive well told stories. That said there is an interesting if simplistic ghost story at the heart of Les Démoniaques.

The actors are of as you would expect in exploitation cinema of varying competence, but all make interesting visual impact even if their acting skills are questionable to say the least. The four wreckers in particular do manage to camp up the serial inspired pirate roles to wonderful levels. John Rico (A gay Mexican actor I think), plays the character known as captain in his only starring role and he does a great job as the open shirted macho leader of the wreckers. Rollins long time friends Willy Braque (Le Jouisseur, Lèvres de sang ) and Paul Bisciglia (Les Raisins de la mort) play Bosco and Paul respectively and both make great characters. The stand out character in their deadly crew though has to be Tina played by the very attractive Joëlle Coeur (Jeunes filles impudiques), who manages to camp up the stereotypical pirate body movements while in various states of dress and undress to the point of genius. Lieva Lone and Patricia Hermenier who play the wronged girls (the Demoniac’s from the title) both do a competent job in their only film appearances, not that they have to do much more than wander about getting in and out of their clothes without speaking.

When Encore Filmed Entertainment sent me out this DVD to review I let it sit for a week or two, knowing that Rollin films tend to be the kind of cinema I need to be in the mood to watch, this is a world away from the popcorn munching brainlessness of modern cinema. Les Démoniaques contains some great imagery, locations and surrealism and these are things you really need to be able to appreciate to enjoy this film. if you where to come at this looking for a linier story with tight editing and high production values that makes quickly digestible entertainment you will be left no doubt feeling like some of the negative commentors on the IMDB.

For me the film is certainly one of the better Rollin films I have seen, the high camp mixed with the stark gothic imagery works well, certainly you have to accept things which are down right silly like the Magus and clown who live together in an old ruin. Well the magus maybe you can accept to be keeping an eye on the imprisoned devil there, but the clown you just have to write off as being one of the directors screen fetishes.

Les Démoniaques is certainly a movie worth seeking out for fans of the cult director Jean Rollin, sexploitation, French cinema and of course those who just want to experience something a bit different.

7/10

TRIALER

Buy It: hkflix.com


The Nun and The Devil

The mother superior at the convent Sant' Arcangelo is on her death bed. As she passes into eternal peace the convent itself becomes anything but peaceful. A power struggle erupts between the senior nuns almost the moment the former mother superior draws her last breath. One nun however Mother Julia played by former Miss Great Britain Anne Heywood, may just prove herself to be the most devious of them all. However it's not just each other the nuns have to worry about. The power which comes with the top job at Sant' Arcangelo, mean forces within the Church are keen on keeping an eye on proceedings.

Directed by Domenico Paolella (Stunt Squad, Diary of a Cloistered Nun), The Nun and The Devil (Li Monache di Sant'Arcangelo) AKA Sisters of Satan is considered one of the best Nunsploitation movies ever made. After watching the movie it's easy to see why, this really is a great film. It's easy to write off films that fall under the broad banner of exploitation as curiosity pieces for cult film snobs, DVD collectors and degenerates looking for cheap and nasty thrills. However if you take this view you may find yourself missing out on a wealth of fantastic film making from lesser known and yet often very talented individuals.  Sure these genres do also have more than their fair share of hacks and films which exist only as some lame attempt at being shocking or  offensive, particularly amongst more modern attempts at exploitation film making. However what one should remember is that for many of the earlier exploitation filmmakers, the exploitatative elements exist more as a way to get their films seen than the primary drive behind the film. Without big name stars and Hollywood budgets lesser known directors turned to exploitation as the hook to get the audience into the cinema. They lured the audience in with nudity, gore and depravity that could not been seen in the mainstream, but they often did their best to work those elements into something that was really worth seeing.

The Nun and The Devil, is certainly worth seeing, above and beyond the lure of naked flesh and tales of perversion. At its heart is an interesting historical drama, which looks at internal politics in the Church. Themes of class, social standing, political manoeuvring and sexism mix with tales of deceit and perversion. The closed societies in microcosm that are monasteries and particularly convents will always hold intrigue for the outsider. The concept of denying ones own nature for a higher cause is one that causes both suspicion and fascination. Those of us that give in to the natural and primal urges of humanity can't help but wonder how such institutions and the people within them contain such basic forces and often suspect it's a lot more difficult than they would have you believe. More recent revelations have shown us that the very structure of the mighty Catholic Church has for years been the playground of the morally corrupt and an outlet for those with less than savoury wants. Sure that may be evidence from the last few decades, but one has no reason to suspect this is a new thing, the institution has no doubt been a haven for the corrupt for centuries. In many way's The Nun and The Devil looks to the church as not just a haven, but also a breading ground for depravity, its arcane rules and punishments as much a part of creating beasts as it is a haven for them. Years of self denial, ritual and enforced social structure have left the inhabitants of the Sant' Arcangelo Covent with only the chance of becoming mother superior and wielding that petty power on their peers to strive for. The church how ever will not tolerate anything which may bring it into disrepute and will use any means at its disposal to make sure that it is the institution and not the individual matters. In the 16th century setting of the film, the means are very cruel as the churches inquisitor and his hooded guards, search, inspect and finally torture confessions from the nuns. Soon the full extent of the depravity is known as the nuns admit to lesbianism, being visited by male suitors, attempted murder and more.

The Nun and The Devil is well shot, well acted and interestingly plotted. An exploitation film it may be in the broader sense, but look past that and you have a very intelligent and subversive viewing experience. Maybe not one for devout Catholics, but for those who can tolerate a dose of nudity and a smidgen of torture onscreen this is a film I recommend.

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Tinto Brass Collection's from Cult Epics

Cult Epics released 6 films from cult erotica director Tinto Brass in two box sets on September 26, 2006. The director is maybe best known to a wider audience for 1979's outrageous Caligula (Caligola), which though shot primarily by him with a cast of top flight British and Italian actors was later mutilated by producer Bob Guccione. The producer took it upon himself to "spice up" the already boundary pushing film by bringing porn stars onto the set at night and shooting hardcore footage to insert into the film. After that Brass returned to doing what he does best making erotic drama's like The Key from 1983.

The Tinto Brass Collection Volume I: (The Key, All Ladies Do It, Miranda)

The Key
 
Nino (Frank Finlay) is finding it harder each and every day to keep up with his much younger wife Teresa (Stefania Sandrelli). It's soon discovered that jealousy and desire is the viagra that Nino needs, and Teresa is more than happy to comply. She begins a torrid and most sexually charged affair with her son-in-law Laszlo (Franco Branciaroli), much to the chagrin of their daughter Lisa (Barbara Cupisti of Stage Fright). Such a host of goodies follows including bizarre sexual encounters, photo sessions like you've never seen before, senior citizen cross-dressing (nope, that's not a typo), and more ass-slapping than you can shake a stick at (or would want to for that matter) Hope you like yourself some ass, Tinto sure does!

The Key, in my opinion is one of Tinto's more accomplished and watchable films, which makes sense considering The Key pretty much set the standard for Brass and many of his future cinematic endeavors. Full of great sets, mostly impressive performances (amidst all the ass-slapping) and an awesome score from composer Ennio Morricone, The Key is a fine example of early 80's erotica done right (this ain't no "skinemax" jerk-off fest that's for sure). One thing that I really admire about Brass is that despite the obviously low budgets his films have, they manage to never look or feel cheap. He seems to stretch his film dollar pretty far, which I'm sure makes his investors quite happy. He may not make the best films, but I still feel that his unique style has plenty to offer for fans of this type of cinema. It's most certainly not for everybody, but if your idea of heaven is ass, well then let the angels sing!

Miranda

The buxom Serena Grandi (The Grim Reaper, Bava's Delirium) stars as the title character Miranda (a sort of soft-core AMELIE if you will), a tavern owner and all around pleasure givin' love machine. Among her repeated conquests are a local boy (Andrea Occhipinti of New York Ripper), an elderly politician (Andy J. Forrest) and a visiting soldier with many a bizarre fetish. All the while, poor Miranda teases those less fortunate (meaning those unable to bed her) and searches for the perfect mate. From the looks of things, Miranda would be much happier with the sampler platter. Of course there is plenty of skin on display (of the male and female variety) along with some "close call" sexual situations (I'll be damned if it didn't slip in once or maybe twice even). Brass succeeds with Miranda in that he produces a much more interesting story (and characters) and some truly witty dialogue than some of his other efforts. As usual Brass exhibits his expertise with the camera and winds up producing a nicely composed film that outclasses many erotica films in comparison. 

All Ladies Do It 

Even though it was made 10-years after The Key, All Ladies Do It sees Brass returning to a similar theme in what ultimately becomes my favorite of the three flicks in the set. Diana (Claudia Koll) is married to Paolo (Paolo Lanza), a giving husband who ultimately allows his wife to take in some sextra curricular activities with some more than willing male counterparts. Of course when Paolo gets off on the stories, so does Diana. However, as with all good things, infidelity must come to an end (get it, end?) and who'd of thunk that Brass could turn the act of anal into an artistic endeavor? Not I!

Slickly produced, All Ladies Do It is a visual feast with great sets and locations. Of course let's not forget the trademarked Brass ass-play, as there is aplenty. Brass skillfully takes us from one sexcapade to the next and in the process manages to fill his frame with beautiful photography along with likeable and sympathetic characters (and ass, did I mention the ass?). The score provided by longtime DePalma collaborator Pino Donaggio also manages to add a certain level of class to the proceedings. Not to mention the fact that this film features one of the oddest post-apocalyptic type raves/orgies that really does need to be seen to be believed complete with a truly bizarre rendition of the dance hall classic EVERYBODY DANCE NOW that I have ever heard; easily worth the price of admission on its own. Oh, and did I mention this bit of inspired dialogue "It's 8:00! You'll have to rape me later!" Brilliant! This movie rocks!

Director versions, fully uncut and unrated
Tinto Brass Trailers
Photo Galleries
Widescreen Versions (16*9 Enhanced)
Interviews with Tinto Brass
Filmographies

The Tinto Brass Collection Volume II: (Frivolous Lola, Cheeky!, Private)

Frivolous Lola

Join the Joie de Vivre club with the maddeningly charming Lola, as she plots to loosen up her fiance in this exuberant comedy. Everyone is wild about Lola - even, some suspect, her own stepfather…

Originally titled Monella (Rascal), FRIVOLOUS LOLA has generally been available in censored versions. Here, for the first time outside of Italy, and with Subtitles, is the uncut masterwork of erotica at its most humorous.

Long renowned for his work in documentaries and the avant-garde, director Tinto Brass is now famous as the world's premier erotic filmmaker, turning out movies that have bridged the gender gap, earning at least as many ardent female admirers as male fans. Frivolous Lola is perhaps his most likeable film yet.

Cheeky! (Director's Cut)
 
Will you be able to endure the sexy hilarity as Carla (Yuliya Mayarchuk) visits London? She’s a big hit with everyone — except for boyfriend Matteo, who seethes with jealousy. With her skimpy skirt conveniently blowing in the wind, Carla attracts the attention of one and all. As she is having adventures with her lesbian real-estate agent Moira and Moira’s ex-husband Marion, Matteo jets over to put her in line. But finding himself surrounded by freelovers in Hyde Park who remind him of his own dalliances, he soon mends his ways.
Beautifully shot and featuring a head-banging soundtrack, Cheeky! is sure to have you glued to the screen. Cheeky! is Tinto Brass’s manifesto for a new world order — a most erotic and joyful one. Cult Epics is proud to present the Uncut Italian Director’s Cut.

Private

The maestro of Italian erotica is back! Lies, subterfuge, betrayal and mischief - FALLO! is a collection of six stories based on the joys of sexuality and the eroticism of a new generation of women.

Director versions, fully uncut and unrated
Tinto Brass Trailers
Photo Galleries
Widescreen Versions (16*9 Enhanced)
Interviews with Tinto Brass
Making Of Featurette

Buy them from amazon.com:  The Tinto Brass Collection Volume I | The Tinto Brass Collection Volume II

www.cultepics.com


Black Sun: The Nanking Massacre

Black Sun The Nanking massacre is the follow up to director Tun Fei Mou infamous Men Behind the sun, a film about a Japanese military experimentation unit responsible for horrible atrocities in the name of "Science"". Black Sun The Nanking Massacre once again deals with Japanese war crimes in China, this time the "Rape of Nangking". Though valiantly defended by the Chinese during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945) Nangking fell on December the 13th 1937. Japanese troops took the city and leaflets were dropped claiming civilians who complied with the occupiers would not be harmed. How ever there were those amongst the Japanese military who felt the Chinese citizens of Nangking had to be used as an example to clearly illustrate the consequences of resisting Japans Imperial might. The occupiers noting that the emperor had left out direct orders to follow the international treaties that govern warfare in his latest edict. Something which had always been present in his statements during the war with Russia the military commanders in Nangking devised a plan which would show the Chinese the folly of standing against them once and for all. The plan was quite simply to commit wholesale slaughter, rape and arson in the city which lasted roughly six weeks and would leave roughly 300,000 citizens dead.

The modern history of Asia both in wartime and piece is not covered heavily in western curriculums. While I did now about this period to some extent it was because of my father’s interest in world affairs and history and not any formal teaching. Also because of the sheer horrific scale of the Nazi's mass extermination program which resulted in the deaths of over six million Jews, Gypsies and homosexuals, other atrocities from the period tend to be overlooked. The film does it's best to bring the horrific slaughter during the occupation of Nanking to the screen and in my opinion does a pretty good job.

The film is really a series of events large and small scale which happen during the occupation of the city. They are loosely held together by a couple of personal tales revolving around a family stuck in the city and the desperate plight of the two youngest children to survive. The director blends in archive film footage and photo’s that back up the horrible events depicted onscreen by the actors often ending a segment with a photo and sometimes the name of the people who really where involved. I have heard it argued that this is exploitative and normally I would agree, but for me this is different to say the use of footage of executions in Cannibal Holocaust. Here the director is not using shocking archive footage to support a fantasy, this stuff no matter how much it play’s out like a horror movie really did occur. Maybe not exactly the way a director decades later envisions it, more than likely the reality is far more horrible than most could stomach.

It is a shame in some respects that the idea that this is a “grindhouse” or “exploitation” movie permeates, because of its no doubt shocking and at times gory nature. Yes you can watch this in a voyeuristic way and see only the decapitations, rapes, burning and the unborn baby torn from its mother on a bayonet. How ever it would be a shame if the only audience for this is those lonely teenage losers dressed in black. Who spend their time flicking through images of dead bodies on some of the internets well known shock sites. War and by association killing has become so sanitized in our modern media driven world. We talk about "The Theatre of war" and "Collateral damage". Civilian casualties are reeled off but how many of us really stop to think what that means. The theatre of war is really a city or town with a name and a population. Collateral damage is often somebody’s home and the civilian casualties are people with names and loved ones and aspirations and feeling who have been blown to bits. We watch in wonder as missiles sore through windows to hit targets and marvel at the accuracy of computerized warfare, all the time forgetting once that warhead strikes some child's dad is never coming home again. Are films like Black Sun shocking, offensive and hard to view, sure they are, people are getting killed, but they also are a good realty check. You might watch this and think it couldn’t happen today and yet right now in the Sudan a huge and largely ignored massacre is taking place. It’s often said if we don’t learn from history we are destined to repeat it and personally I think there is a great deal of truth in that.

Black Sun is a film that tries to give a human face to the numerical figures given on the massacre. It’s not a perfect film, it’s rough around the edges and their will always be people that will see this kind of thing as voyeuristic. Yeah it lacks the specially composed orchestral scores and dramatic performance of say of Hollywood take on the Jewish Holocaust, but in some ways I was glad of that, something as dirty and ugly as these atrocities can benefit from a lack of gloss. The film is released on Tartan Video’s “Grindhouse” imprint here in the UK and if you’re looking for a grindhouse style exploitation movie it will perform in that capacity. How ever I hope it will also inspire people to give a thought to the ravages of war both past and present as well and maybe even inspire the odd person to visit the wikipedia, get a book, watch a documentary and maybe find out a little more. 

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Three Classic Films From Tinto Brass

From the shocking to the sensual the best from the European king of erotica
Tinto Brass is undoubtedly one of the most genuinely erotic filmmakers working in cinema. A household name in his native Italy, where he is known simply as 'Il Maestro', Brass is the acknowledged king of European erotica. Now, Nouveaux Pictures brings together three of Brass' finest works on DVD in The 'Maestro' Presents...Three Classic Films From Tinto Brass, a three-disc boxed set including Salon Kitty, P.O. Box Tinto Brass and The Voyeur

The most shocking and controversial of Brass' films, Salon Kitty presents a serious, unflinching depiction of moral decay within the Nazi Party at the time of World War II, and of how power ultimately leads to corruption. The film is presented here in its fully restored Director's Cut version, completely uncensored and featuring 21 minutes of never-seen-before footage. Boasting superb performances by Helmut Berger (The Godfather Part III; The Damned) and Ingrid Thulin (Cries And Whispers; The Damned; Wild Strawberries), Salon Kitty also features beautiful cinematography and sumptuous sets that provide a stunning showcase for the work of twice Oscar winning production designer Ken Adam (The Madness Of King George; Barry Lyndon), the man responsible for designing the incredible sets for the majority of the James Bond films.

P.O. Box Tinto Brass is a sensational collection of real-life sexual fantasies. A huge theatrical and video hit throughout Europe, it's a sumptuous feast for the eyes and the senses and a breathtaking celebration of female sexuality. Over the years, Tinto Brass has received thousands of unsolicited letters, photos and videos from female fans, all recounting their most intimate sexual fantasies. Here he presents many of these exciting, explicit and uninhibited fantasies on screen, giving the viewer more stunning girls, more thrills, more shocks and more eroticism than ever before in one movie.

Acknowledged as Brass' most explicitly erotic film to date, The Voyeur follows Dodo, a young university professor, as he relives various telling moments of his sex life through a series of erotic flashbacks, trying to understand his wife's absences and bizarre sexual needs. He also observes the nighttime habits of his father and his maid which, although finding them shocking, he cannot resist any more than he can help witnessing the totally liberated dalliances of his dusky student Pascasie.

The three disc box set The 'Maestro' Presents...Three Classic Films From Tinto Brass (cert. 18) will be released on DVD by Nouveaux Pictures on 16th October 2006. Special Features include an exclusive 24-minute interview (in English) with director Tinto Brass and trailers.

Buy It: amazon.co.uk


Re-cycle

After the success of her romance trilogy, young female author Tsui Ting-Yin decides to turn her hand to a new genre. Her upcoming novel Re-cycle she has decided will be a tale of the supernatural. How ever after her PR announces the books new title to the public before she has even put pen to paper or finger to keyboard she begins to feel the pressure and soon suffers writing block. Tsui finds herself writing and then throwing away ideas. How ever the discarded idea's start to act as premonitions for events in Tsui Ting-Yin's life.

Tsui Ting-Yin's writing transports her to another world where forgotten things go. Unused idea's, lost memories abanded childhood toys and a host of lost souls. There she meets and old man and a young girl who essentially form tour guides as she moves from landscape to landscape. Falling bodies that get up and walk, a "half finished" tall woman, restless souls and living aborted foetus' block her path as she trys to escape the re-cyle which erodes the fabric of this strange new world and her to if she does not move fast enough. Why do fantasy worlds on film have to always suffer with dissapearing???

The Pang Brothers Danny and Oxide (Bangkok Dangerous, Bangkok Haunted , The Eye) much anticipated Re-cycle see's them up the anti in terms of visual style. After the trailers which showed off the films seemingly fantastic visual effects Re-cycle quickly became one of my most anticipated movies. How ever as much as I wanted this to be amazing it's just not. Not that it’s a bad movie, it’s not but it does have some glaring issues that can't be ignored. The CGI effects on which the film relies are great for the most part, how ever a large proportion of the film is very dark. It almost looks as though the print was darkened and tints used to cover patchy effects which would have looked poor if the definition was clear. For a film shot for the most part in daylight or a studio there is no excuse to have viewers straining their eyes to pick out details. I get the feeling the some of these effects are just not as good as you think and it’s a bit of a trick of a brain deprived of detail. I would go as far as saying the darkness of the image is something which spoils much of the film. The films plot and effects also "Borrow" very heavily not only from other films in particular the "Creepy" Asian ghost stories which have been in vogue for the past through years, but undeniably heavily from the Silent Hill video games. Having just watched Christophe Gans and Roger Avary’s Silent Hill adaptation for the first time the day before watching this I was amazed at how strikingly similar they are. Also the first 30 to 35 minutes of this film are with out a doubt fucking boring. Yeah yeah the Pang's are the savants of film editing in Asia, but boring is boring no matter how many different camera angles and rapid edits you use. For a film sold entirely on the basis of its other worldly visual effects, waiting over half an hour for them to begin while watching a sub par not even vaguely creepy rehash of every other Asian ghost film since Ringu is not fun.

When Tsui Ting-Yin does make it to the "world of re-cycle" the film does pick up, the darkness of the image is an issue, but some of the scenes are brilliant. And while I am not convinced the effects are always as good as you think they are, the idea's visualised by them are excellent. With being stuck in a weird tunnel of unborn foetus’ being a personal highlight, especially the attack of the giant foetus which has to make any film worth watching, along with the "I accidentally trod on a living foetus" incident. Other highlights include a landscape made up entirely of giant forgotten toys, a land of the forgotten dead and some hanging victims with cool stretchy necks. Once Re-cycle finally gets going you can forgive many of its floors and the second half of the movie slowly becomes more and more enjoyable as it goes on and by the end with the beginning largely forgotten it has become an enjoyable experience.

Re-cycle is well worth seeing, but sadly it’s not the film I was hoping for and I expect many people will feel the same way. If only the Pangs would hire a decent screenwriter and really think about plot. There is only so much wow you can achieve with effects and only so many mistakes even the most talented editors can cover. Effects should form a films epidermis, not its body otherwise the whole thing just feels hollow. How ever I do love dark fairytales and fantasy’s so did enjoy more than I disliked and Re-cycle is certainly better than the likes of the similarly themed Mirrormask. 7/10

DVD: The region 3 DVD is great, but the subtitles are very obviously done by someone for whom English is a second language. The translations are often very literal, which I suspect means they are more accurate than many, but they don't always reflect grammatically correct English. This is not a huge problem and in no way spoils the film, but it's worth noting. The one thing which is kind of annoying is the fact an old man is constantly referred to as granny until the last part of the film. Also worth noting is that the extra's on the DVD are subtitled in English.

Re-cycle - trailer

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Buy It from hkflix.com: Standard edition | Special Edition DVD

Buy It from yesasia.com: Standard edition | Special Edition DVD


Lynch Law Classroom

The super strict School of hope which prides itself on taking delinquent teenage girls and making them into suitable fodder for wives and mothers receives three new students. Amongst the three is Noriko AKA "The boss with the cross" and she has an agenda which has nothing at all to do with being turned into a respectable member of Japanese society. How ever the school is run by a pack of girls who form a disciplinary committee and with the backing of the corrupt vice principle they run things with an iron hand.

Terrifying Girls' High School: Lynch Law Classroom opens with a semi naked schoolgirl being held against her will in the science lab. She is surrounded by a group of girls wearing red surgical masks and armbands. The girls have set up some pipes and jars and placed a needle and tube in her arm and have convinced her they are going to bleed her to death. Hysterical she brakes free and runs out onto the roof of the school, her tormentors drive her to the edge and force her to fall to her death. The girl they killed though was lieutenant in the gang of Noriko the cross and now she has come to the school to find out just what happened, believing her lieutenant was not easily defeated. Once she gets there Noriko finds more than she bargained for as the school is completely corrupt with girls used by the administration for sex and rampant bullying performed by the disciplinary committee.

Lynch Law Classroom is directed by legendary Japanese exploitation director Norifumi Suzuki, who is maybe best known in the west for Sex and Fury as well as exploitation classics like School of the Holy Beast, Girl Boss Guerrilla and a slew of Terrifying Girls' High School films. While not a match for Sex and Fury, Lynch Law Classroom is excellent fun and a great example of Toei’s classic 70's bad girl cinema. All the ingredients are there, cute girls who are not afraid to bear some flesh, soft-core sex, lesbians, girl on girl violence and a dash of rape. Though described as pink cinema these films differ a lot from the artistic brutality of Nikkatsu's Roman Porno films like the Angel guts series and Watcher in the attic. Although exploitative the sense of fun is much stronger as is female empowerment (all be it within the realms of a very masculine fantasy). Both Toei’s top girl stars are present for this slice of funky girlie fun. Reiko Ike (Female Yakuza Tale) plays second fiddle though in this outing to rival starlette Miki Sugimoto (Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs) who takes the lead role as Noriko.

As you can imagine a sexploitation flick centring on Japanese schoolgirls is not exactly a film that's going to be crammed with politically correct imagery. In the opening scene which see the girl driven from the roof the camera spends as much time zooming in a the subjects knickers as it does her face. This does make you feel kind of wrong watching it. The plot is pretty threadbare and plays on the classic youth vs. the system theme which has comes up in a lot of Japanese cinema. How ever you didn’t start watching this for plot you came for the funky music, the kitsch fashion and most of all semi naked Japanese girls hitting each other and the films delivers on all those counts.

So if you love, 70 films, funky music, exploitation, Japanese cinema this should be for you. If you’re a fan of Norifumi Suzuki, Reiko Ike, Miki Sugimoto and their friends this is also for you. Fans of Pam Grier's 70's blaxploiation movies should also find themselves pretty much at home with this film as theme tough women who don't mind if their clothes come off at some point in the film theme is pretty similar as is the sonic background. The film does get slightly weaker towards the end, but it makes for fun viewing all the way through. 

Terrifying Girls' High School: Lynch Law Classroom was featured as part of Panik Houses Pinky Violence Collection, but is now available on it's own.

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The_Nun_And_The_Devil

The original, and to many "Eurotica" afficionados the best, "nunsploitation" movie of all time, The Nun And The Devil comes to DVD for the first time in its most complete and uncut English language version, fully restored and boasting all the quintessential trappings of the genre it created – sadism, masochism, lesbianism, torture, unfeasibly attractive nuns and plenty of gratuitous nudity.

Starring former Miss Great Britain and Golden Globe nominee, Anne Heywood (The Fox), alongside Ornella Muti (The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things; Flash Gordon; Tales Of Ordinary Madness), Tinto Brass regular Martine Brochard (The Voyeur; Paprika) and Maria Cumani Quasimodo (Behind Convent Walls), The Nun And The Devil is a gothic-style tale of lust, greed, jealousy and corruption.

The untimely death of their Mother Superior sparks a villainous power struggle amongst the nuns of the Covent of Sant Arcangelo, all of whom are uncommonly eager to replace their departed sister – but for good reason. The position comes with untold wealth and power in the form of control over a charter for the exploitation of gold mines in the New World. As rival aristocrats pull the strings behind the scenes, the ruthless Mother Julia (Anne Heywood) sets about eliminating the competition from inside the convent. Complicating matters is the arrival of Mother Julia's beautiful and headstrong niece, Isabella (Ornella Muti), who despite her induction into the convent secretly continues her affair with her boyfriend. As the nuns' fight for supremacy escalates, degenerating into wanton depravity and murder, it attracts the attention of the local Cardinal, triggering a Holy Inquisition. With so much at stake, the nuns are reluctant to co-operate with any investigation into their actions, leaving the inquisitors no option but to resort to torture to resolve the issue.

Director Paolo Dominici skillfully blends stylish eroticism, wry humour and wince-inducing torture sequences to produce a sexually charged and utterly compelling study of immorality and religious hypocrisy.

"The best of the sex-and-violence-in-a-convent movies"   Aurum Horror Encyclopaedia

The Nun And The Devil (cert. 18) will be released on DVD  by Argent Films on 16th October 2006.

Buy It: amazon.co.uk


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Trailer for Cult classic Burst City coming June 27th 2006 on DVD from Discotek Media. Boasting an impressive lineup of early 80's Japanese punk bands, including The Stalin, Battle Rockers, The Roosters, and Inu. Never before available in the US. This is the film that started the Japanese cyberpunk films. Directed by Sogo Ishii whos work has inspired everyone from Takashi Miike to Shinya Tsukamoto.


On Halloween weekend Bad Reputation played to a packed house at the Chicago Horror Film Festival, where it won the People's Choice Award for best film.

Bad Reputation premiered at the Eerie Horror Film Festival in Erie, PA on October 7 to an enthusiastic crowd. At the awards ceremony the following night, the festival's jury gave Bad Reputation its top prize as Best Feature and named star Angelique Hennessy (Michelle) Best Actress.

Interview with star Angelique Hennessy: Bloody-disgusting.com

badreputationmovie.com | myspace


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