Friday, July 19, 2024

What I Watched in June 2024


I love all five of the Mad Max films and I find that I am one of the apparent few that thinks BEYOND THUNDERDOME (1985) is one of the best of the series. In fact, until FURY ROAD (2015) that third film was my favorite of the run. I feel that the original three films became better and more impressive as they went along with BT bringing all the best elements of the first two movies together to create an emotional and bruising action juggernaut that perfectly summed up the Max world and capped it too.
 
And then thirty years later the director returns and shows he still has some stories and some new tricks up his sleeve. FURIOSA (2024) is another brilliant vision of his wasteland and I only wish it might not be the last. That the film failed at the box office disgusts me. It shows once again that often the best movies have to be found years after their release to be evaluated properly, leaving people to lament the missed opportunities. Pathetic.
 
One day we’ll get the ‘looking back’ pieces written that praise FURIOSA as the masterwork it so obviously is but just let me briefly say a few things. George Miller does one thing better than any film director currently working - he puts the motion in motion pictures using action to define and reveal character’s natures. He makes every scene come to pulsing life with some of the most fluid, frenzied action I’ve ever seen onscreen. And this movie’s scale is huge, with tons of big action scenes and wild, colorful locations. In fact, the colors become part of the storytelling with certain hues coded to specific characters and used to key things in the viewer’s perceptions. I’ll be watching and rewatching this movie for years just to soak up the incredible visual craft of ever single scene. Dammit! We need another Mad Max World film. Hell – in this benighted universe we deserve it, just for the two hours of mouth-agape joy it would provide. 

The List 

TARANTULAS: THE DEADLY CARGO (1977) – 6 (well done TV movie) 

ANGEL ON THE AMAZON (1948) – 6 (interesting adventure/melodrama with a strong cast)

DAUGHTER OF THE JUNGLE (1949) – 7 (fun jungle girl variation) 

THE WATCHERS (2024) – 5 (it ain’t good but it ain’t bad either) 

PHENOMENAL AND THE TREASURE OF TUTANKAMEN (1968) – 4 

PEARL (2022) – 8 

FURIOSA: A MAD MAX SAGA (2024) – 8 

TORMENTED (1960) – 7 (rewatch on Blu)

A NIGHT OF ADVENTURE (1944) – 6 (Tom Conway in a strange crime tale) 

DARK HARVEST (2023) – 6 (not bad adaptation of the fine book but something is missing) 

MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME (1985) – 9 (rewatch) 

SOUND OF HORROR (1966) – 5 (not bad but too long Spanish invisible monster tale) 

FIND A PLACE TO DIE (1968) – 6 (Jeffery Hunter spaghetti western – remake of GARDEN OF EVIL) 

THE BEAST WITH A MILLION EYES (1955) – 4 (rewatch on Blu) 

NIGHT OF FEAR (1973) – 6 (short Australian backwoods slasher) 

THE VAMPIRE EFFECT (2003) – 5 (silly, comedic action with some Jackie Chan)

A BLADE IN THE DARK (1983) – 7 (rewatch on Blu)

HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD (1980) – 4 (rewatch on Blu)

FAIR WIND TO JAVA (1953) – 6 (South Seas adventure) 

ONCE A THIEF (1911) – 6 (good John Woo action but it’s a little too silly) 

INN OF THE DAMNED (1975) – 6 (overlong but solid Australian western horror film) 

A QUIET PLACE: DAY ONE (2024) - 8 

THE BELLE STAR STORY (1968) – 7 (well done spaghetti western directed by a woman) 


 

Thursday, July 18, 2024

Patreon Post- LONGLEGS (2024)


Here's the first few minutes of my most recent Patreon review. Sign up for more. Many more!  

Friday, July 12, 2024

Wild, Wild Podcast - Season 7 Ep. 8 - Danger: Diabolik (1968)

Dashing home after having stolen a country's entire gold reserve and blown up its tax offices, Rod and Adrian grab their microphones to talk about one of the greatest films to be covered on Wild, Wild Podcast - Danger: Diabolik. In this episode the latest Severin Films announcements are discussed, and Adrian potentially alienates everyone by saying something blasphemous about Morricone's score. He may need to go into hiding!

We are now halfway through our fumetti season. If you want to do some background reading on the most popular Italian comics of the sixties, there's a great resource here on Comic Vine.

We would love to hear from you if you have any favourite Italian comic or masked hero/ villain-based films, or if you have scaled a castle wall to steal priceless diaomonds. You can contact us on Twitter and Instagram or by email at wildwildpodcast@gmail.com. You can also find our YouTube channel here.

Please also remember to rate and review us on your podcast platform of choice!

Monday, July 08, 2024

The Bloody Pit #198 - HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD (1980)


HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD (1980) is no normal Italian zombie film. Coming hard on the heels of both George Romero’s genre-defining DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978) and the now classic ZOMBIE (1979) from director Lucio Fulci this Bruno Mattei/Claudio Fragasso effort ‘borrows’ elements from both. In some cases, the things recycled are surprising, such as the chunks of music composed by Goblin for Romero’s film being inserted into the soundtrack. Other things that get borrowed are to be expected, like an attempt to one up the famous Fulci eye trauma sequence that made audiences worldwide to shudder. But the things that cause HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD to stick in most viewers’ memories are the strange asides, terrible dialog, unexpected nudity and slow-motion stock footage of animals. Oh – and the bizarre tutu scene! No one ever forgets that. Three stalwart defenders of this twisted zombie epic join me to discuss the haphazard, sloppy film that was produced. They want to call it a classic. I just want to call it over! 

Troy Guinn, Jeff Nelson and John Hudson vigorously lay out a series of justifications for what I see as cinema crimes and finally manage to get me to admit to a few points of agreement. We examine the odd actions that characters in zombie films make for no discernable reason. We spend some time trying to figure out if the script was working its way through an exploitation checklist or if there was a less mercenary reason for the way things unfold. Each of us relates our history with the film and pick out favorite Bruno Mattei films from across his career. At some point we get lost in the possibilities of a 21st century BetaMax rental business but we retreat from that financially doomed idea soon enough. And we end the show with a unique musical contribution from Troy’s oft-mentioned brother! 

If you have any comments about HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD or any Italian zombie films thebloodypit@gmail.com is the place to send them. Thank you for listening!