Saturday, October 30, 2010

Brothers Till We Die

Umberto Lenzi and Tomas Milian team up once again for Brothers Till We Die. This is basically one big set peice for Milian to play two roles, Humpo and Pigsty. Humpo is of coarse a hunchback and criminal extrodinaire while Pigsty is his younger (by ten minutes) twin brother who idolizes his brother. Humpo schemes a plan to rob an armored truck using smoke bombs. Humpo is double crossed by a gang of criminals and the film is about his vendetta to get revenge on them. There really isnt alot of action here, of course theres the obligatory car chase sequence but its nothing really spectacular. All of this is not to say its not a good film because it is if like me your a Milian and Lenzi fan. The added touch of comedy is kinda refreshing and thankfully it never compromised the integrity of the film. But i was pretty suprised by the lack of violence. It is of coarse a Umberto Lenzi film.
Umberto Lenzi and Tomas Milian team up once again for Brothers Till We Die. This is basically one big set peice for Milian to play two roles, Humpo and Pigsty. Humpo is of coarse a hunchback and criminal extrodinaire while Pigsty is his younger (by ten minutes) twin brother who idolizes his brother. Humpo schemes a plan to rob an armored truck using smoke bombs. Humpo is double crossed by a gang of criminals and the film is about his vendetta to get revenge on them. There really isnt alot of action here, of course theres the obligatory car chase sequence but its nothing really spectacular. All of this is not to say its not a good film because it is if like me your a Milian and Lenzi fan. The added touch of comedy is kinda refreshing and thankfully it never compromised the integrity of the film. But i was pretty suprised by the lack of violence. It is of coarse a Umberto Lenzi film.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Gorgon! Another Hammer gem!

Combining Greek Mythology and their signature gothic horror touch Hammer films delivers The Gorgon courtesy of go-to man Terence Fisher. And the results are very cool. Anytime you had Fisher in the directors chair and a gothic horror film to be made the results were always awsome. His films have a romantic quality to them that catapult them to the level of top notch film sophistication! The scene were we first get to see the Gorgon is anything short of masterful. Italian Mastro Bava couldnt have dome a better job with that scene. Fantastic castles and thick atmosphere

Hammers Dracula and a gay vampire Baron!?

Its been a while sinc i posted anything new hew here! Jeez its looks like the last time i put anything up here was back in July! Well ive been watching a ton, i guess ive been too lazy to blog about it.
Well, this is my favorite time of the year. The Fall. And with the Fall comes my craving for Hammer Horror. For some reason i really get in the mood this time of the year for Hammer. And so its with that, that i bring to you my quick non informitive reveiws of the first three entries in Hammers Dracula film series.

In the 50's, Horror Of Dracula along with the Curse Of Frankenstein kicked off Hammer's reinvention of the classic Universal monsters. And Hammer did it better. Having not veiwed this film in a long time, i found The Horror Of Dracula to not be as engaging as i originally thought. Maybe its because ive seen this story adapted too many times to count. None the less its still a great Horror film. This is a bare bones telling of the Stoker story and thank god for that. Allowing Hammer to put their own signature touch on the timeless tale. This film moves fast and never bores. Peter Cushing is in my opinion the ultimate Van Helsing. Lee is good as Dracula in this, but really he had yet to own the character. Even though i find Universals Dracula film just O.K. Lugosi owned the character bringing more to Dracula than Lee does here. Its in the sequels were we find the ultimate Lee-Dracula incarnations in my opinion. But still his presense in the film is still very awsome!

In many ways Bride Of Dracula is a superior film to Horror of Dracula. Cushings Van Helsing is more swashbuckling and director Terrence Fisher pours on the eerie atmosphere thicker. The dialogue is a riot at times and the supporting cast of semi-Hammer regulars are great. Yvonne Monlaur in particular. She is absolutly gorgeous and captured the innocents of her character perfectly. David Peel as the gay (!?) vampire Baron was refreshing from the snarling and hissing vampire that usually occupies these films. Unfortunatly Christopher Lee is absent from this film, in fact Dracula isnt even in it. But i think Peels vampire is great! Although ive seen pratically all these Hammer films at one time or another through out my life, Brides Of Dracula had escaped me and after years of putting it off Iam now glad to say this film is incredible....bat on a wire not included.

Christopher Lee returns as the Count in the direct sequel to Horror Of Dracula, even though this is the third film in the series. Dracula- Prince Of Darkness is a darker-creepier horror film than the previous two. Christopher Lee's performance is more beastly and animalistic than his take on the character in Horror and he has no dialogue. And he's scary! As always the sets and exterior shots are magnificent. And the always incredible talent of Terrence Fisher directs another fast, brutal and elegant film.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Jess Franco slasher film, Bloody Moon.

For those who are not familiar with Jess Franco, all i can say is that this is most definatly a place i wouldnt start at. Essentially all this is is Franco's foray into the 80's slasher scene. This is also a period in Franco's career that was pretty awful. Like all slashers the plot and the characters decisions are extremly frustrating. Example is scene were a chick is in her bedroom with another friend when the freind is murdered while the other girl looks in a closet. Never hearing the sounds of murder, even though shes just a foot away. But thats not were the absurdity ends. The chick comes out of the closet to find her friend lying on her bed with a knife planted firmly in her heart. So she does the right thing and runs out of the house screaming. Only to come back to the scene with others to find the body missing. She seems to accept the fact that maybe she just imagined it and goes to school the next day only to see the empty seat of her freind, were she ends up wondering were she could be!? Umm...didnt you just see her murdered last night!! But all the typical bullshit aside, this is a Jess Franco film. And though most who dont have a love affair with his films or have never really taken the time to study this underrated artist...then youll never get why this is more than just a slasher film. Because those of us who love the man and his work know and appreciate what hes capable of both good and very bad. This falls into the almost very bad. But it does have style and Franco style is more than half of the love affair.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Jean Rollin's Lip Of Blood.

The few Rollin films that ive seen have come across as surreal grim fairy tales with the photography and gothic locations that transend lower budget constraints. And thats how a true film artist does it. He knows how to manipulate the low budget to become a part of the atmosphere and lets you focus on the beauty he creates. And this is one of the main reasons i have such a love for Euro genre films of the 50's through the 80's. Especially Italian, Spanish and French.
Lips Of Blood is a beautiful film and from my limited experience with Rollin his most linear in terms of plot. Ive only seen Fascination, Shiver Of The Vampires and now this...unless you count the footage he shot for Jess Franco's A Virgin Amoung The Livivng Dead?

With Lips Of Blood there is very little dialogue which was a good thing because those subtitles were pretty fast at times. The female vampires are typical of 60's - 70's Euro vampires in terms of them being extremely seductive while being able to walk through scenes in a blank gaze. They are all 'clothed' in see through shawl wraps. They embody seductive sexuality.
Basically the story goes like this, A young man named Frederic goes on a quest after veiwing a poster of a castle which looks vaguly familiar to him from dreams. He has suppressed memories of his childhood and only his mother has been the one to tell him what took place during those missing years after his fathers death. But after becoming obssessed with the poster these memories start making their way to his conscious. In these visions he sees himself as a child wandering a beach front castle. As the light of day slowly turns to night this young boy is confronted with the vision of a beautiful woman in white who invites him to the castle were he is to take shelter from the dangers that lay outside of the castle's gates. After sleeping outside of the castle the boy is awaken by the woman just before the sun rises and is told it was now safe to return to his home. Young Frederic tells the woman he loves her and promises to one day return to her then makes his way home.
The key to his supressed memories lies in the location of castle from the poster. With the aid of a specteral vision of woman from his dreams, Frederic sets off on a quest to find this castle,his love and his fate. The plot is very inspiring.
Annie Brilland plays the seductive woman whom the child meets. Annie Brilland not only has the main protaginist under her spell but she also had me.
Lips of Blood is a prime example of why European horror is the best in the world! The locations are all beautiful be it the Castle or the streets and alleys of Paris. Rollin knows how to make the locations central to the atmosphere. This is essential veiwing, especially if your into the Erotic Vampire films of the 70's.

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Cry Of A Prostitute!

Ive been really in the mood for the good ol' Italian crime film lately and this little sleazy gem hit the spot! Cry of a Prostitute is known by two other titles...Quelli che contano (Italy) and Guns of the Big Shots (European english title) Released in 1974, this film is a full throttle sleaze experience!!
Directed by Andrea Bianch, famous for the horribly fun cult classic Burial Ground- Night Of Terror. The opening scene with the dead body of a young child being used to transport Heroin is kinda cringe inducing. But the body looks like a mannaquin from an old hardly offends.
Henry Silva always delivers a tough as nails performance. Babrbra Bouchet's sex scene with Silva is something to be seen! He shoves her head into a gutted pig carcass as he nails her from behind. And the sleaze doesnt stop there! But what else would you expect from a director whose most famous film involves a man-child-thing having an insestous relationship with his mother and biting her nipple off when he becomes zombified!
This is a very violent film! Practically no one survives. The story is reminiscent of Yojimbo. Silva arrives in town and gets between two waring families. Of course hes got his own agenda! Bianchi actually makes great due with the beautiful mountain village and country side. Who knew he had an eye for such things.
The sleaze factor and the very brutal violence is this Polizioteschi's saving grace!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

More Polizioteschi fun with The Stunt Squad!

La Polizia E' Sconfitta or as its known in most English markets Stunt Squad is an 1977 entry in the Polizioteschi genre. Directed by Domenico Paolello, mostly known for his entries in the Peplum and Pirate genre's.
First i would say this to anybody looking to get into this genre, theres films other than this one I would start with. But to those who love the genre and are familiar with it i would tell them this is a solid entry! The violence is bloody, the chases are fun and the dialogue is at times awful. These three elements make for a really fun hour and a half viewing.
An Inspector Grifi sets up a special unit, a "Stunt Squad", to combat the criminals who are strong arming and murdering local buisness owners who are refusing protection from the rackets. This is hardly an original premise but the film does rise above the by the numbers plot to deliver a fast paced and very violent film. The scenes with the Sqaud training is truly hilarious with out trying to be. As we see commandoes riding motorcycles, practicing sharpshooting and hand to hand combat all in the cofines of a a very small mountain area. Its great...two men are practicing hand to hand as motorcycles are landing their jumps feet from them. Other men are practicing their aim on wooden targets as these same motorcyle maverics are jumping and landing just feet from these snipers. It really is all too funny.

With the unitentional occasional laugh, Stunt Squad is still a very fast paced and violent film. The main villian is Valli, a tough S.O.B. who shoots and blows-up anyone or anything that happens to get in his way. And god help it if you double cross this Dago. He will have you beaten, castrated and then he will take mercy on you by unloading his pistol in to your pathetic carcass. Valli, played by Vittorio Mezzogiorno, is a pretty fun villian. Theres a great scene involving a raid on his hidout were Valli becomes pretty resourceful with small explosives. It becomes a great footchase through a decrepit old building.

I guess from what little research ive done this is a rare and mostly unknown film. But with the recent rise in Polizioteschi popularity iam sure this will be a film re-discovered. Its a good one and its sporting a really cool Stelvio Cipriani score!


Friday, May 28, 2010

Revolver (1973)

Revolver is an impressive Poliziotteschi! From its beatiful and haunting opening with Fabio Testi burying his only friend in a shallow grave over the opening credits to the jaw dropping climax. Sergio Sollima fills every frame with gorgeous detail from the many locations chosen...Milan Italy, Paris and the French Alps. Sollima is a masterful director. His Milan at night, blanketed in fog, looks like something out of a gothic horror movie.

Unlike most Poliziotteschi's Revolvers story line is never gratuitous in its twists and complex story lines. The film makes sense! Which is a hard feat given the intricate story line. Reed plays a prison warden who must let an inmate escape, played by Testi, in order for Reed to get his kidnapped wife back. Once Reed has broken Testi out the two must band together to figure out who wants Testi and get Reeds wife back. The once character element that really drives this film is theres no straight line between good and bad. Reed is driven by his love for his wife and Testi is a thief with a heart.

Not only does it have all of that stuff going for it, its also got Oliver Reed and Fabio Testi guaranteeing strong performances! Two of my all time favorite actors doing a "buddy" film! Reeds intensity is incredible. He is entirly believable in his role. And Fabio Testi keeps up with him the whole way! This was great stuff and essential viewing for Poliziotteschi lovers.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Survival Of The Dead?

Survival Of The Dead is Romero's first direct sequel to Diary Of The Dead. This is his first dead film to have a continuing character. In Survival its the S.W.A.T. guy who robbed the RV in Diary. He was one of the few interesting characters from Diary. And unlike Diary, this has more than its share of Romero moments thats been sadly missing from his last two films. But before it sounds like Iam stroking this film off...which i wont, this is a flawed film with its fair share of cringe inducing moments. Namely the Sam Raimi-esque comedy. Why Romero went this route is beyond me. Its unnessasary and truthfully none of it even manage to pull a giggle from me. It works for Sam, not George. Even worse than that is the CGI special effects. Its not just applied to gunshots here it even creeps into most of the graphic violence. And it looked awful! The very first major effect of the film is so horrible, ive seen better computer animation from an Atari 2500!

This one seriously suffers from low low budget production values. Its feels like a made for Sci-fi channel film most of the time. Survival skips the whole political reflection of the times and to be honest i was pretty happy with that. Diary is way too in your face that shit. In the old days Romero was able to artisticaly make his message more subtle. Maybe he's realized this or maybe there was one and i was too stupid to see it? Either way i thank god for it.
On with the strong points. Survival has a really fun story and the setting is totaly unique to the Romero universe. Survival is more of an adventure film than the others. And i can see what he was trying to do with the story of the rival clans on the island, but it kinda came off poorly upon my first veiwing. I know i was bitching about the CGI gore but there is a decent amount of the rubber stuff. And some of the feeding scenes were more in line with the trademark Romero's trademarke style than Land Or Diary ever had.
Survival is by no means a total peice of shit. Its way better than the atrocious Diary of The Dead!! The more i catch pieces of Diary on cable the more i loath it. The acting is much better than Diary but at the same time its Sci-Fi channel acting. This one is truley a mixed bag. Its like a good solid shit that doesnt need much wipe up. Time and repeated veiwing might do the film more justice?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day Of Anger (1967)

Strong character development, the relationship between the two main leads and cool sets drive this violent spaghetti western. Giuliano Gemma plays what is basicaly the village idiot. He keeps the town clean by sweeping the streets and emptying the shit buckets and best of all he rides a mule named Sartana. With the exeption of a few, no one in town respects him and they are constantly bullying him. Lee Van Cleef plays an aging gunslinger who rides into town one day and befreinds the young kid. When he meets Cleefs hard nosed gunslinger he sees the chance to become what hes always dreamed of being. A badass. This is a well told western were the only complaint i have is the guy who dubbed Giuliano Gemma. Its an obnoxious voice. But that is no fault of the films.Its a damn good movie with lots of violent shootouts. Although Cleefs character is the most sympathetic to Gemmes, he is still a dangerous man. Riz Ortalani's cool surfy western score kicks ass. The best peice of music being a different take on the main theme as the end credits roll. Essential veiwing for spaghetti western fans!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

THe Wolfman 2010

Jeez, were to begin with this one. I guess i gotta say that this isnt a bad film at all. In fact if the projectionist at my theatre did his job right with the correct aspect ratio I probably would have been in a better frame of mind. But when you see the tops of the actors heads missing, i had a hard time getting there. I couldnt stop thinking about it especially after i complained and Mongo did nothing about it.

The Wolfman is pure Gothic horror. Its a beautiful looking movie. Its heavy with atmosphere and gothic style. Del Toro did a fine job contrary to what people are saying. He was doing Lon Caney Jr. He looked like him and he had the desperate quality Chaney Jr. had in the original

Emily Blunt was good but her character seemd kinda there. And thats one of the many flaws of this film. And they are all minor enough that i wouldn't not recommed this film. I would in fact recommed it, i would just be open to the fact that this is a good film with lots of flaws. The films real flaw seems to be the goreand the directors approach to the gore. Now dont get me wrong, Iam no prude. I come from the school of Fulci and Lenzi. And i think this film has every right to be gory. Its just that many of the scenes are amature. Quick cuts of alot people getting fucked up in a cartoonish manner. And this happens alot! There was no suspence to go with the violence. I wanted to be afraid of the Wolfman and at what he was going to do, not amused by what he does. The film seems to dwell more of getting as much violence on the screen and less about solid story telling.

But its still a fun time. Rick Bakers make-up is tops! I love the classic look he gave Del Toro. Hugo Weaving is the suprise element of the film. Hes great and brings alot to the film. This is a fast paced gory horror film with lots of violence and unfortunalty these are its flaws. This sounds odd i know. But still its a damn fun time if you dont have a retard projectionist! Thanks Mongo

Friday, February 12, 2010

Video's added

I recently went through this blog and added videos to my previous post were i thought neccassery.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Mercenaries aka Dark Of The Sun

Here is a film thats tough as nails and once it ends your inner voice is screaming about how fucking incredible those 100 minutes of your life were just spent. The opening credits alone are worth the price of admission, with a incredible theme composed by Jacques Loussier. As soon as the film was over i had to rewatch those credits just to hear that beautiful piece of music. Taking place during the Simba revolt, Rod Taylor and Jim Brown are hired by the president of the Congo to journey into hostile territory, retrive millions of dollars worth of diamonds and rescue the mostly white population of a isolated village. Rod Taylor looking every bit of a buff Robin Williams is without a doubt one of the coolest togh guys in a leading mans role. Jim Brown brings sensitivity to his role as Taylors right hand man Ruffalo, who does what he does for the love of his country. Peter Carsen makes your skin crawl as the ex-nazi whos recruited to be the military power to back up Taylor and Browns mission. This is absolutly one of the best Mercenary films ive ever watched. The viloence is still shocking by today standards. This is one fucked up film in that aspect. i can only imagine how people reacted to it when the film first ran in 68.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My picks of 2009

Picks 1 - 8 are not really in any kind of order. These were definatly the best films of 09. I cant say i liked one more than the other, but each one holds a #1 spot in my heart for different reasons.

10. Terminator Salvation

I went in to this with very low expectations. All ive read is bad reveiws with a couple positive ones thrown in. Several of my friends told me to it wasnt good and i should wait to see it on cable. But i was pleasently suprised. I liked it. Its renewed my interest in a series i considered dead. Sam Worthingtons character was one of the more interesting characters in the whole series. Alot of the set peices were cool. The scenery was shot gorgously. And although the action was a bit was fine. The kid who plays Kyle Reese does a fine Michael Bein impersonation. Shit he even sounded like him at times. Sure there was a ton of action followed by more action..but it worked just fine. And the characters they focused on were interesting to level out all the action.The Arnold cameo was just plain dumb but expected. What can you do? Relax and enjoy the film..its a popcorn passer.

9. The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker makes no attempts what so ever to send any kind of sided message at the viewer. This isnt anti war and it isnt pro war. Its just about war. And damn it thats the way a war film should be! The Hurt Locker is possibly the most realistic depiction of war that i have ever seen. There is no Spielberg corniness about life back home every ten minutes. These guts here are brutaly real. The three leads had me convinced they were real soldiers and i was watching a documentary about them. The suspence is almost unbearable at times. This is a full throttle action film with out the "Hollywood" over the top bullshit. And this coming from the woman who made Point Break!!? On a bad note and honestly i would have normally knocked the rating had the film not of been so damn good, is the fact that its a very shaky cam film. Iam ultra sensitive to this and i was ready to blow chunks from motion sickness about an 1 and 45 mins into it. Fuck your 'gamer generation' style of filmmmaking! And damn you for being so good that i cant hold it against you! War doesnt get any more realistic than this...unless you sign up.

8. Drag Me To Hell

Drag Me To Hell is Sam Raimi's triumphant return to the Horror genre. Its been almost 20 years if you count the awfull Army Of Darkness. And With Drag Me To Hell Raimi out does
himself. Its extremly entertaining. Full of jumps galore, frightening imagry, lots of foreign fluids in the mouth, loud creepy sounds, a wonderful Cristopher Young score and that unique Raimi visual style. The story is a good one and Alison Loman is so damn cute you instantly sympathize with her. And Raimi abuses the fuck out of her. He abuses her like he would Bruce Cambell!! In fact i bet when Bruce first saw the film he said, "it about damn time Sam did this to someone other than me!"

7. Moon

Another kick ass entry in the Sci-fi catagory from 2009. Moon is a rather brilliant Sci-Fi film thats relies heavily on mood and thought. Sam Rockwell delivers a fantastic performance. Hes gotta carry this one all by himself. I really didnt know which way the film was going at first and it brilliantly chose the right path. It really makes you think about morality and existence

6. Watchmen

Alan Moores Watchmen like many of his other comics is one of my all time favorite reads! I was a bit hesitant when i heard that Snyder was going to direct. I liked 300 the first time i watched it....but after a second viewing i really disliked it. It has no substance just visual flash and glam. But then i started seeing little bits poping up on the net with Watchmen footage and my hesitation grew to anticipation. And now that ive seen it i can finally say with appreciation "HE DID IT!!" Wow did he do it. What a fantastic job on Snyders part! I dont think anybody could have done a better, more faithful job! And thats saying alot!! The actors cast almost seem to have leaped right from the pages of Dave Gibbons art! The acting was great, the story was perfect and the visuals were breath taking! Thank god Snyder didnt over use his slow-mo style that fills every damn scene of 300. The film never compromises any of the mature stuff and actually improves on some things...namely Comedians brutal ass beating and murder at the very begining. I cant wait to see the extended cut of this when it comes out on dvd later. Until then i think a couple more visits to the theatre will suffice.

5. Taken

O.K. it took me about twenty minutes or so to take the bait but once i did i was not disappointed. Taken has brass fucking balls!This is like Get Carter on PCP. Liam Neeson character does exactly what you would want a person in his type of situation to fucking relentless, show no mercy and make the bastards pay! I cant believe this had a PG-13 rating. Theres no way in hell i would let a kid that age see this. This film makes no apologies for what a revenge film really means. Fuck justice...its all about revenge. Hard hitting, brutal and sleazy as hell!

4. Antichrist

Antichrist is a very mood heavy film. Its dark, bleak and utterly unforgiving. The acting and direction is brilliant. Major kudos goes to its two leads for taking such a risk in the material presented. There is alot of strong imagry and the relationship between the grieving husband and wife is totaly masochistic. This is a incredible film and although I understood what went on I definatly need to see it a couple more times to totaly get it. There is a good bit of heavy symbolism thrown at you on top of the heavy subject matter and mood that it will take me a couple more veiwings. But thankfully i found it that good that i look forward to revisiting this nightmare again. Its original and a welcome entry in the genre! Just see it!

3. The Road

This is a well made and well acted post apocalyptic film. The filmmakers capture the bleakness and physical deteriation of what it would be like better than almost any post Apoc film ive seen. The one film that manages it much more realisticlly is a BBC film called Threads, but this is right there with it. The Road has many tense scenes that at times get down right scary. Those that have turned towards cannibalism are the biggest and ever present threat in this film. Viggo Mortensen is a great actor and this is just one more terrific role in an already impressive resume. The humanity he brings to the role really grabs at you. His main goal is his sons survival. His son in the film holds his own for the most part having to basiclly carry this film with Mortensen. The relationship and bond between father and son is really were the heart of the film lies. There is no political messages made in the film. There is not gore for the sake of grossout. Its just a film about father and son fighting to survive and protecting one another in a horrific situation. Highly recommended!!

2. Inglorious Basterds

Tarintinos masterpiece. Its part pulp war film part spaghetti war film. Its everything you want to see from a Tarintino film. Technicaly its his most accomplished to date. Having studied Leone, there are several scenes of slow building tension thats as good as anything Tarintino had drawn inspiration from!

1 District 9

Finally an original film to see during the summer months! District 9 exceeded expectations. Its a smart film with alot of underlying political themes set against a action packed Sci-Fi film. The first half plays out documentary style before becoming a total assault on the senses. The last half of this film gets very moist and even manages to pull at the heart strings in the process. The CGI is flawless. Lets hope they leave it at just this one and we dont see a sequel! Sci-Fi is getting smart again! This is definatly at the top of my list for 2009! Highly recommended.