Sunday, May 13, 2012

Matri-Phony (1942)

Get ready for a bit of sexism with The Three Stooges in Matri-Phony. Set in ancient Rome Moe, Larry and Curly find themselves in a bit of trouble when they are arrested for being "Girl hoarders".

Emperor Octopus demands the fairest red-head in all of Rome and the Stooges were caught hiding her. Luckily for Moe and Larry emperor Octopus needs eye glasses. They break the glasses and disguise themselves as Roman guards. Notice I left Curly out when I said Emperor Octopus needs glasses. Poor Curly pretends to be the half blind emperor's new bride and in the funniest moment Moe tells Curly "To get sexy" for the emperor Octopus. Curly is chased around the bedroom by the horny emperor and we are treated to some sweet talking romance and naughty pinching. Curly definitely steals the show and gets all the best gags. In one of my favorite scenes Curly deviously plucks the leg hairs from a guard. Ouch! Check it out and see The Stooges poison an old drunkard, get speared in the ass, go to war with a crab and run amok in ancient Rome.

By The Sun Rays (1914)

In this 1914 one reel short film a rape is staged by Lon Chaney. Of course it is extremely tame by today's standards but I'm sure it was quite offensive in the early 1900's when Chaney jumps across a table and attacks the pretty blond girl who was sworn to another man.

This film only runs at 11 minutes and there isn't much to talk about with the exception of the attempted rape scene. It is set in the old west and we do have some gun-slingers but the only real reason to check this one out is to see Chaney in one of his earliest roles.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Penalty (1920)

Now this is a fucked up movie. Its almost impossible to believe they could make such a cruel movie in 1920. The Penalty is a crime film filled with gangsters, murder, violence towards women, junkies, drunks and even full frontal female nudity.

This silent film is amongst the first of Lon Chaney's full length features and he does an amazing job as always as Blizzard, a ruthless gangster who had his legs chopped off without reason as a child. He grew to hate mankind and the city of San Francisco where he made a name for himself in the underworld as a crime lord.

Blizzard is plotting out a violent revolution where his followers will loot the city and leave large portions of it on fire. He dreams of his revolution in great detail and we witness the police and other people of the city dying.

His plans shift gears when he learns that the daughter of the doctor who took his legs is looking for a model for her next art project. Now Blizzard lives only for revenge and to crush the soul and lives of those who destroyed his.

The story couldn't get much darker and for this reason I completely loved the movie. Blizzard believes that he resembles Satan and that he will leave a vicious mark on the society that did him wrong.

In one of the most memorable scenes a junkie brutally stabs a woman to death in the middle of the busy city streets. We are also treated to a few shoot-em-up scenes and some violent cripple-fu. For this role Lon Chaney tied his legs behind his back and hobbles around on his knees. This was extremely painful for the actor but it doesn't show. Chaney is a master of his craft and you really believe that he is an amputee.

The only disappointment in the film is the last couple of minutes. It suddenly changes in its moral fiber and leaves off on somewhat of a nice note. Other then that The Penalty is a must see for anybody who likes Chaney, silent film or just cold blooded extreme cinema.

Lisa And The Devil (1974)

Judging by the year and the title I think its safe to say that Lisa And The Devil was trying to cash in on the success of The Exorcist but unlike the countless Euro-Trash ripoffs like The Eerie Midnight Horror Show or Paul Nashy's Exorcismo, Lisa And The Devil isn't an Exorcist rip at all.

Nope! Instead Mario Bava does what he does best and directs another atmospheric Giallo.

Lisa is played by Elke Sommer who I remember best from another Mario Bava collaboration Baron Blood. She is stranded in a spooky old castle where a young man, his blind mother and Telly Savalas reside. Lisa believes Telly Savalas's character to be the devil and this is neither proven nor disproved but there is much worse things to worry about at hand. For one a killer is roaming about the castle killing people in very violent ways. We have stabbings, achy-breaky skulls are caved in with blunt objects (complete with red splatter that splashes all over Bava's camera lense), women are impaled on poles and in one of the most gratuitous moments of violence a man is repeatedly run over by a car. His mangled body is crushed worse and worse with each passing of the vehicle.

Aside from the bloodletting and random acts of brutality Elke Sommer bares a bit of tit for us in a much appreciated scene. We also have a bit of necrophilia going on and while all these horrible things are filling the screen Mario Bava yet again manages to pull off some incredible shots. The sets and locations are filled to the brim with decor and Bava makes use of every square inch. The lighting and shadows seem natural and add a whole new level of life to the film. In some of the most memorable scenes Bava shoots reflections through broken glass and a puddle of red wine. In another he films Savalas through a lake. We even get a typical American 70's horror movie type ending.

This one is bound to bore the average gore hound who is not used to this Italian brand of film making. Check it out if you have an open mind and can appreciate a bit of beauty with your horror.

Detention (2003)

Take everything that is awesome about Class Of 1984 and throw it out the fucking window. Add in a bunch of shitty shoot-em-up action scenes and you will end up with something like Detention. This lame-ass hack of a movie is a modern day example of actionsploitation and it just doesn't fucking work. Dolph Lundgren (Rocky Part 4, The Expendables) who I never cared for in the first place plays an ex war hero turned school teacher. He decided to resign from teaching and on his last day he is on Detention duty. The school is taken over by terrorists who are using the highschool as the middle grounds for a huge drug heist. Of course our blond muscle-head gets the chance to do a bunch of action stunts and kill the bad guys, the girls all love him and he even manages to throw in a few shitty typical action movie one-liners.

The director Sidney J. Furie gave us the far superior rapist-ghost flick The Entity in 1982 and was also responsible for Doctor Bloods Coffin and a movie called The Snake Woman (1961) which looks half interesting. Its a shame that this director ventures into the murky waters of shitty action movies.

For a much better time with punks running rampant in a high school check out Class Of 1984 or Over The Edge. This thing should be shoved back up the ass that it exploded from. I had a better time sitting in detention when I was in highschool.

Female Vampire (1973)

Jesus Franco was one of the busiest men in trash cinema. In 1973 alone he did 11 films. Female Vampire is probably the most popular of that 11.

With Franco films like Female Vampire you shouldn't expect much as far as dialogue and plot goes. Instead you will be treated to shit-loads of full frontal nudity. Sporadic monologue that sounds more like poetry, lots of close ups on nature and a surreal, dream like pace.

The film opens up with Lina Romay walking through the fog with nothing but her cape, belt and boots on. As she gets closer to us the camera focus's in on her finer points. Breasts, butts and bush there is plenty of. That's a promise. After all one of the many alternate titles for Female Vampire was The Bare Breasted Countess.

This Female Vampire "Sucks the life, blood and semen" from her victims. So we have plenty of scenes of oral shenanigans. She also indulges in lesbian acts as well and in one of the sleaziest scenes Lina Romay in munching away at a victims box. When Lina lifts her head from the dead girls genitals goo drips from our Female Vampire's mouth.

Then we have a bunch of scenes of Lina spreading her legs for the camera. Its nice to have an actress who isn't vagina-shy. We are treated to scenes of Lina humping the bed, hard wooden objects and even humping the bloody bath water. As I mentioned before there isn't much talking in this one. Our lead vampire is actually a mute. So she makes up for the lack of communications with straight up genital-fu.

The Female Vampire starts to shift gears with the introduction of Jack (Pieces, Succubus) Taylor's character. Jack Taylor falls in love with the thousand year old vampire and from here on it plays like an nihilistic love story.

Jack Taylor's character is suicidal and doesn't want to go on living. He begs Lina Romay to take him with her to the dark side "Beyond the mist". It all finishes with a sensitive yet downbeat climax.

Female Vampire is typical Jess Franco in the sense that there is nothing typical about it. Most would despise the film but fans of artsy-fartsy Euro-trash type stuff might just enjoy it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Roadracers (1994)

Roadracers also known as Bad Boys Never Die and Rebel Highway is the second feature film from Robert Rodriguez who is now known for his modern examples of big budgeted exploitation style cinema such as Machete and Planet Terror. The weirdest thing about Roadracers is that it is a made for television movie.

Its not often that a television movie is worth a shit and in the 90's it was unheard of but Robert Rodriguez delivers the goods with this throwback to 50's road-rebel movies. The directors love for rockabilly really shows in this greasy look at natural born American rebels.

The soundtrack sports shit-tons of Link Wray And The Wraymen, Gene Vincent And The Blue Caps, Hasil Adkins, and a bunch more. The highlight of the soundtrack for me is that they threw Ralph Nielsen's Scream! into the mix for a bad-ass driving scene. That song always puts the image of reckless kids in my head and in this movie it makes for one hell of a nihilistic scene.

Nihilism is the basic message here. The dark story follows a young rock & roller who is into cars, guitars and his girlfriend played by the always sexy Salma Hayek. Our anti-hero's father was run out of town years ago by a crooked cop and now the police have it out for the younger generation. Our greasy main character needs to make a decision whether or not to pursue his life dream of being in a dangerous rock & roll band or following in his dads footsteps down a violent road of rebellion. I won't spell out for you which path he takes but lets just say it is the more cinematic one. Roadracers comes complete with teenage knife fights, great rock & roll, fast cars, violent shoot outs, self induced pain (complete with switchblade through the foot), rumbles in the roller rink and a sexy Spanish lead actress in tight sweaters.

For me Robert Rodriguez is hit or miss. His style is somewhat unique but I can also find it a bit annoying at times. I prefer the directors throwback movies to a better time in cinema, like this!

The Stranger (1946)

Not to be mistaken for that shitty movie with Liv Tyler The Strangers or for that matter the countless other titles of the same name. Nope this is Orson (Citizen Kane) Welles Film Noir all the way through.

Orson Welles plays professor Charles Rankin a man with an abnormal obsession with clocks. His beautiful wife played by Loretta Young is brought in by Mr. Willson, an investigator for War Crimes. Mr. Willson believes Charles Rankin to be a Nazi who goes by the name of Kindler who was responsible for mass genocide and horrible atrocities in Nazi Germany. If Charles Rankin is in fact Kindler many lives will be endangered to keep his identity secret.

Orson Welles does an excellent job in direction and in acting as usual. As the character of Charles Rankin who is clearly genius and insane at the same time gives off emotion of paranoia and hatred at the same time. The cinematography is excellent as always. Camera angels, shadows and even the pace all play a big part in The Stranger.

While The Stranger may not be the masterpiece that Citizen Kane was or show off the genius eye of Orson Welles to his fullest as could been seen in movies like Touch Of Evil it is still a fun watch for anybody who enjoys film as art.

While The Stranger is a very talky movie it all comes together with a heart pounding climax. That will keep you at the edge of your seat. We have some 1940's style shoot outs, a man falls from a church tower and we have a very memorable stabbing that has to be seen. Its almost hard to believe that somebody had the balls to shoot this death scene in the 40's. Especially from somebody with a huge name like Orson Welles.

The Stranger can only really be recommended to Film Noir buffs and fans of Welles. Alfred Hitchcock fans are also sure to enjoy this movie. So check it out if you are in the mood for something with a bit of class.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Falling Down (1993)

Falling Down although a Hollywood flick from the 90's that is still watchable for fans of exploitation films or at least if you grew up with it. It is over the top and while a bit morbid but not overly violent it still manages to hold a certain sense of humor that will stick with the audience long after viewing. It is also one of the few movies that will play on television occasionally that I don't mind watching.

Michael Douglas plays a disgruntled business man who is about to go over the deep end. He has lost his job, lost his wife and he is ready to lash out on society. While he is clearly insane the viewer can't help but identify with his psychotic philosophy and ideals.

I have never been a fan of Michael Douglas and this is probably his only movie that I can sit through. However his performance in Falling Down is entertaining. You can't help but to enjoy watching a man in a suit and tie going on a rampage with a baseballbatt, butterfly knives, automatic guns, and a fucking rocket launcher.

Robert Duvall (Apocalypse Now) plays a police officer who is due to retire the day that the man in the white shirt and tie goes on his violent rampage against society. Duvall is always one step behind the man with the tie as he smashes up a Vietnamese deli, kicks the shit out of gang-bangers, shoots up fast food restaurant, kills Nazi-scum and initially goes after his ex wife and daughter. All of these scenes are high in entertainment and at the same time hold a certain social commentary that I think many Americans can identify with.

If you haven't seen Falling Down you probably grew up under a rock or something. It makes for a good movie to watch with drunken friends. Its chock full of memorable quotes for everyone to yell at the screen while you chug-a-lug of your favorite alcoholic beverage. "No... I'm an American, You're a sick asshole!"

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Arousers (1973)

Originally released as Sweet Kill and then later as The Arousers with some added footage of nudity that doesn't really match up or make any sense. This thing has got to be the most awkwardly silent movie ever made. With little to no soundtrack and for that matter little to nothing going on The Arousers makes for a good sleeper.

The bare breasted women is the extent of your viewing pleasure here. 50's "Sex icon" Tab Hunter plays a sexually frustrated gym teacher with a really bad temper. He enjoys peeping in the windows of naked bathing beauties and picking up chicks. Once he gets the girls into the sack he is forced to kill them because he is impotent and he can't ruin his good rep. by letting the girls know that he is not a shower or a grower now can he?
Aside from his penile dysfunction Tab Hunter also has some mommy issues going on in this one. Well I would assume he has some mother issues anyway due to his weird and unexplained flashbacks. His back story is never explained nor is his mother complex. All we know is that his mother walked around in the nude and dropped her earrings. I do not know if this earring business was as traumatic to our golden blond killer as the film makes it seem but it just might be the problem in our heart throbs pants.

Angus Scrimm from the Phantasm movies also shows up but doesn't add any charm to the movie. I could recommend countless impotent, prevy, slashers from this era but unfortunately The Arousers is not one of them. Skip it and check out Forced Entry (1975) with Tonya Roberts instead.

Side note : The director of The Arousers went on to do a bunch of shitty Hollywood movies like 8 Mile and such but he was also responsible for personal guilty pleasure of mine called Evil Town which sports more gratuitous nudity.

The Fly (1958)

This classic monster movie from the 50's might not be the craziest in the genre but it stands on its own and differs from most. First off it was shot in color and deals more in back story and plot then the average monster romp would prefer to. Sure we get to see our half man half Fly monster but this one takes its sweet time and plays more like a mystery then an all out bug-man spectacle.

Another strange thing is that horror master Vincent Price appears in the film but not as the main character or the monster but instead as a supporting actor. Of course he would come back for the sequel Return Of The Fly in 1959 but this time around he just helps the story unravel.

While The Fly has a decent pace the order of events are more like something you would see in a Quentin Tarantino movie rather then a 50's monster flick. All of the good stuff is shown through flashbacks and we come to our shocking and downbeat climax rather abruptly.

Personally preferring the cheaper black and white Return Of The Fly over the original for the soul reason of more all out monster mayhem and more cheesy gags. The original is by far a more serious film. Or at least as serious as you can take a movie about a man with a flies head.

It tells of a scientist named Andre and his wife  who is forced to kill him after an experiment goes horribly wrong. Andre is "playing god" with his new invention of a teleporting machine. He runs a series of tests some of which being successful and others not so much. For example the family cat becomes lost in space when put into Andre's new machine. However things get really bad when Andre experiments on himself. He successfully telaports himself from one end of the room to the other but a fly must have gotten into the machine with him and the atoms of man and insect are combined giving us a silly monster flick. Thank you!

David Cronenberg would go on to remake The Fly in 1986 and it would become a huge success all over again. Cronenberg would take the classic monster movie in a complete different direction with new top of the line special effects and some very disturbing imagery.

While most would argue, I personally would prefer to watch the original trilogy over the Cronenberg remake and follow ups in the 80's. Check it out for scientists in executioner masks, a historical close up shot on a screaming woman, and an amazing final scene that has to be seen to be believed. "Help me!"

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Punk In London (1977)

One of my favorite documentaries on British punk rock culture in the 70's. Director Wolfgang Buld would go on to do a pretty bad follow up to in 1980 called Punk In England which was a big fucking let down. This film on the other hand captures a young, snotty generation and the raw music that they release.

We get some early footage from The Clash in Germany. The live show is amazing of course as is all of their early footage. The band also gives an extra snotty interview where they bad mouth Germany and throw forks around at each other.  The Adverts play One Hit Wonder with extreme energy and we also have performances from X-Ray Spex, Chelsea, KillJoy and many others. The Jam give us two songs one of which being In The City and the crowd really goes bonkers for that one but for me the best moments in this flick are the interviews. The singer for The Lurkers gives a cool interview with his mum & pop sitting next to him as they watch The Boom Town Rats play on the T.V. The Stranglers give an exceptionally rude interview and basically tell the director to fuck off because he is German but the very best and most entertaining interviews come from the Rockabilly Teddy Boys who all despise the punk rockers. They discuss how the punks don't look like men and don't look like women. The Ted's view them as "an alien life form" and don't mind beating them up whenever they cross paths.

Fans of Punk In London should also be sure to check out U.K.D.K. and OI! The Movie.