Sunday, June 27, 2010

New Poster Art for Older Films


THE WARRIORS by Tomer Hanhka

T2 by Ken Taylor

THE MONSTER SQUAD by Tyler Stout

All of these and many more can be found at Mondo: The Blog.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Newspaper ads from days of old.....



In this sad summer of crappy films I'd kill for a time machine trip to either of these.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Eli Roth films are a waste of time


For no good reason I suffered through Eli Roth’s miserable HOSTEL 2 the other night. I’m not sure why I felt compelled to see this piece of crap as I have experience with this moron’s work. Years ago, lured by the promise of a GREAT horror film, I saw CABIN FEVER. Written and directed by newcomer Eli Roth it had gotten the big build up as an amazing throwback to the classic horror films of the 1970’s. Instead, it was crap! At the time I wrote an email to several friends warning them off (nice fellow that I am) and I’m going to copy the text of that missive below. If you’ve read this review/rant before just skip down the page.

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As a public service I thought it might be a good idea to warn all of you that a recently released movie that you might be tempted to see is not worth the trouble. As most of you know, I love horror movies and love to go see new ones as soon as they open. Hell--I even suffered through FREDDY VS. JASON for God's sake! I was compelled to see the new film CABIN FEVER not just because it was a horror movie but because advance word about the film was very positive. Even so highly esteemed a personage as director Peter (LOTR) Jackson said good things about it. So, I ventured into the theater Sunday with high hopes and left 90 minutes later with dashed expectations.

First the good stuff- the film is beautifully shot with a gorgeous autumn-like color palette and a strong eye for interesting framing. The acting is fair to good, the music is subtle and effective and the effects are very believable. For the prurient among you (i.e. the guys) there is very attractive lady that has no problem displaying her ample endowments on more than one occasion.

Now for the bad-- the story feels like a poorly thought out first draft with no logic or suspense build. The writers seem to have never seen a cliché they didn't love, from the by-the-numbers casting to the coarse dialog there is nary a surprise to be found. By the time one character told a masturbation story involving a dog I realized that any hopes of the screenplay improving were wishful at best. All of these things I could forgive if the film showed any spark of creativity but it is a simple retread of better films from EVIL DEAD to BAD TASTE to NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD only without the humor and scares. One thing you have to maintain in a film of this type is a sense of one step leading to the next with each step being unavoidable because of the dire circumstances in which the characters find themselves. This film has NO sense of logic about how rational, thinking people would handle the situations the film presents. There comes a point midway through where the order of whole scenes could have been completely rearranged without changing a thing. The film is a mess! And they had no idea when or even HOW to end the sucker! The final scenes are so stupid that it's actually insulting.

If you really must go see a horror film please go see 28 DAYS LATER. It's smart, effective and shows you how to give a nod to classic horror stories (DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS, DAY OF THE DEAD, DAWN OF THE DEAD, etc.) while bringing some creativity to the medium. Hell- even this year's WRONG TURN was a better movie.

I just thought you'd like to know.
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Not content to learn my lesson like a smart fellow a couple of years later I attended a screening of Mr. Roth’s next cinematic attempt HOSTEL. I didn’t like it any better as you will see.

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Eli Roth is credited on HOSTEL as the writer/director so this thing is certainly his. Once again getting the high critical praise that seems to be his unearned birthright this has been hailed as a GREAT horror film. It ain’t! To be honest it holds itself together pretty well till about the hour mark and then goes off the rails so badly it was as if someone stepped onto screen and simply said “We’re now going to destroy this sucker- just hang on!” A character does something so stupid, unlikely and physically impossible (apparently he has bionic hearing) that it made me start to wonder if I had been unintentionally watching a comedy. No- instead it simply BECAME an unintentional comedy through sheer cluelessness. After the first mistake Roth then makes another and another and another until it seems that there is no third act screw-up he can imagine that might be a bad idea. This boy needs a strong screenwriting partner to point out story holes and logic problems. While the credits were still rolling my movie-going buddy Jeff and I came up with 3 different ways to fix the script mistakes--and WE’RE NOT WRITERS! Freakin’ pathetic.

With this film Eli Roth has entered hack-land and I will not be suffering his product any longer. I leave his future films to those heaping kudos on this mess. Have fun folks. I'll be watching something else.

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Of course that last bit turned out to not be quite true as I have now seen HOSTEL 2. If I’m lucky the financial failure of that film will make it impossible for him to direct again. I hope!

Monday, June 21, 2010

BBC4 WICKER MAN documentary

This wonderful look back at THE WICKER MAN (1973) with cast & crew is completely fascinating and well worth seeing. If you've never seen the movie I would caution against watching this though as it spoils several key surprises that are best discovered on a first viewing.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lamberto Bava - I am a fan!


Hello. My name is Rod and I’m a Film-Trash-o-holic. I’ve loved trash films for years and occasionally overindulged in them for short spans of time but I must now admit to my addiction. I can no longer fight my desire to watch Trash Films almost every day. I feel the need to both see and obtain more Trash Films as often as possible. I’ve been aware of this obsession for years now but I always felt it was a controllable interest and probably even a harmless ‘hobby’. Looking back it’s easy to see the signs. A love of horror, science fiction and adventure movies turned into an interest in strange cinema of all types. Different varieties of cult movies became fresh meals in which to sample and take delight. Japanese, Hong Kong, Philippine, Canadian, Brazilian or Australian movies washed over me in blaze of color and sound as I strove to absorb all I could. “Give me more!” I screamed. I wanted to see it all. A taste of this and a drink of that! A seven course meal of samurai, blood beasts, noble assassins, mad torturers, exploding heads, top hat wearing lunatics and ex-cops searching for a tank of gas topped with a dessert of violent comeuppance to make it all feel right. I was high on film and the high was amazing!

I should have suspected something was going to be different when I dug deeply into the world of European Trash though. All the signs were there that this was not going to be like the others. This was to be no one night stand- no weekend fling. This meant something. This spoke to me in a way no other cinema had ever spoken to me before. It understood me. Mario Bava sucked me in and Dario Argento held me. Antonio Margheritti surprised me and Sergio Martino shocked me. Naschy thrilled me and Ossorio scared me. Rollin turned me on and Fulci turned my stomach. Jess Franco frustrated me and Joe D’Amato confused me. And in each case I wanted more. Much more. I wanted to see everything these men and dozens more had ever made in every genre. Thrillers, sword & sandal epics, westerns, sci-fi stories, post-apocalyptic tales, police procedurals, horror movies, ghost movies – I wanted to see it all! And I’ve been happy seeking out and seeing all these movies now numbering well into the hundreds. Until today. Today I realized I had finally gone too far in my search for EuroTrash thrills when I realized I was about to dive headlong into the television work of Lamberto Bava. I was checking out my DVD of what is by all accounts a terrible made-for-TV film called DINNER WITH A VAMPIRE and suddenly realized I was looking forward to seeing it. And then I realized that a couple of days ago I was made extremely happy by finding on Amazon a $5 copy of Lamberto’s pirate mini-series. Indeed, it was on its way to me at that very moment. And I was hard on the track of his fantasy series Fantaghirò in English. What the hell has happened to me? Had I gone crazy? Had the cheese slipped off my cracker?

No. Luckily, I wasn’t insane. I had simply been infected with a more hardcore version of my Euro-Trash movie addiction. Having nearly exhausted the ‘regular’ strains of entertainment this fine vein of cinema gold can offer I was ready for more esoteric and modern offshoots. Bring it on! Of course I know this new overpowering lust is my own fault but if I were the blame laying type my shaky finger would point to one man – David Zuzelo. His enthusiasm for Lamberto Bava’s films is second to none and his adventures in tracking down and viewing them all has been both entertaining and infecting. I’ve thought highly of Bava’s fine 1980s horror movies such as DEMONS, DEMONS 2, MACABRE and DELIRIUM for a long time but my recent exposure to BLASTFIGHTER has clearly caused a switch to flip and I am a full fledged fanatic.

So bring on the pirates, the wizards and whatever else Mr. Bava wishes to sling at me from the television screen. I can’t wait! And thanks to Mr. Z. You’ve opened my eyes to a new meal possible from the buffet of Euro Trash. You are a true, trashy friend. I am an addict but I'm a functional one and all the happier for it. And I think Mr. Bava would smile approvingly, as he does below.



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sunday, June 13, 2010

BLASTFIGHTER (1984)


BLASTFIGHTER – where have you been all my life?

For some years now I’ve read comments from various Euro-Trash fans about the merits of Lamberto Bava’s 1984 film BLASTFIGHTER. Shot in Georgia with a mostly Italian cast and crew its part of that small group of movies made in the early 1980s by foreign producers taking advantage of low costs granted to bring any form of film industry to the South. This is how THE BEYOND got made in Louisiana, CANNIBAL APOCALYPSE was shot in Atlanta and various other Italian exploitation movies were made right here in Dixie.

From the title you would expect BLASTFIGHTER to be one of the many, sadly low budget 80s science fiction or post apocalyptic films that were being churned out by the dozen at the time. Indeed, I was under that mistaken assumption until I read the review of the movie by David Zuzelo in his book Tough To Kill. The film is actually much closer to DELIVERENCE in both subject matter and tone. Ex Atlanta cop Tiger Sharp (what a name!) gets out of prison, returns to his childhood hometown in rural Georgia and is harassed by the local assholes. After several run-ins with the troublemakers Tiger restrains himself manfully from killing them all but is eventually pushed to the breaking point when they attack his daughter. This violence provides the impetus for a final act battle in which the movie’s title actually seems appropriate.

Well structured, well directed, fast and exciting BLASTFIGHTER isn’t a perfect movie but it is perfect for anyone looking for a great 80s action film they might have never caught before. It’s well worth your time.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bad film trailers

Because its a blindingly hot day my thoughts turn to films such as these.





There is no logic to my thought process but there you have it.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Cult directors speak

As a standard issue movie geek I'm interested in directors. Fascinated by them actually. I've read a number of biographies about various directors and enjoyed them very much but I find that most of the cult filmmakers I'm curious about these days have very little written about them of this variety. For instance, Jess Franco has had plenty of ink spilled about his films but I've read precious little about his private life outside of how it relates to his constant quest to express himself in celluloid. Luckily he's still alive and often gets interviewed about his work and the occasional tidbit of personal info ends up floating amide the amusing anecdotes and just plain BS. Here's one that I enjoyed enough to re-read recently and thought I'd pass it one to you. LINK

Gary Sherman would go down in horror and cult film history as a genius if the only thing he'd ever done was DEATH LINE a.k.a. RAW MEAT. But his directing of DEAD & BURIED, VICE SQUAD and the clusterfuck of a sequel POLTERGEIST III make him someone worthy of a book length study that may never be written. Until then there is this 2009 interview that shines some light on his life, work and process. It's well worth a read.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Excellent Italian Action cinema reference book


Allow me to highly recommend author David Zuzelo's essential film reference work Tough To Kill. An attempt to review as many of the amazing glut of action movies churned out by the copycat Italian producers in the 1980s it is almost as entertaining as the movies themselves. The success of RAMBO: FIRST BLOOD PART 2 opened the floodgates for dozens of insane low budget cash-ins and this book is an attempt to give the reader a guide to the good and the so-bad-its-good. As a worth-the-price-of-admission style extra is an interview with Edoardo Margheriti who talks extensively about his father's action films and the tricks used to create their impressive special effects on small scales.

Pick it up. Its damned good reading and will edumacate you on a little written of side corridor of Euro-Trash cinema. Oh! And the (ahem!) adults among you might what to check out Mr. Z's fine blog as well.

LINK

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Freddy and Jason comics!


The things you find on the internet. I've known for years about some Friday the 13th comic books but not a version of JASON GOES TO HELL. As someone who has come around to enjoying the Friday movies without thinking they are particularly good I can get behind the idea of a several issue adaptation of one of the least loved of the series. That most fans of the F13 movies would not be interested in comics for any reason just makes me that much more fascinated that these were made at all. I'm sure sales sucked.


And a comic magazine based on A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET? There are real possibilities for some good storytelling without budgetary constraints but once again I doubt the market was ever there.

Friday, June 04, 2010

What I Watched In May


May was a pretty crappy month here in Nashville. The first day of the month is my birthday and rarely have I had such a bad one as it was the day the Great Flood hit town devastating the place and turning a chunk of the city into an Atlantis test site. It’ll be next year before Nashville fully recovers but we move forward.

As far as movie watching is concerned the first day of May was bad as well. I chose to see THE LOSERS and it sucked big time. Other than a couple of fun performances it was a complete waste of time. IRON MAN 2 was a lot of fun even if it wasn’t as surprisingly great as the first film and ROBIN HOOD was a muddle but I still enjoyed most of it. It has an ending that is simply stupid on several levels but the first hour is grim and intense. Ridley Scott’s never been good with humor and when the story shifts its tone with Robin trying to be wry and amusing the movie takes a nose dive. The best film I saw all month was the classic BRIEF ENCOUNTER which does not fit my usual profile but a good film is a good film. It’s not like I haven’t loved David Lean movies before!

On the television front I enjoyed the end of Lost and was disheartened to see Flash Forward get canceled. ABC made a mistake there and compounded it by renewing the vacuous mess of V so that viewers will be subjected to more endless little alien plots that add up to nothing stretched out over weeks and weeks. But on the positive side I finally caught the first season of Breaking Bad (all seven episodes) and loved it. This show really is deserving of all the awards and praise it’s gotten with so many standout moments it’s hard to pick just one or two. I can’t wait to see more.

THE LOSERS (2010)- 3 (terrible and a waste of a game cast)
CITY BENEATH THE SEA (1953)- 7 (good diving/adventure tale from Budd Boetticher)
SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE SILK STOCKING (2004)- 5 (meh)
UPPERWORLD (1934) – 6 (interesting snooty class drama of the period with a great cast)
DEAD SNOW (2009)- 7 (rewatch)
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (2009)- 9 (rewatch)
TAKEN (2008) – 7 (fun action thrill ride)
IRON MAN 2 (2010)- 8 (not as fun as the first, but)
BRIEF ENCOUNTER (1946)- 9 (excellent, emotional tale of a doomed affair)
DEATH WISH (1974)- 7 (vigilantism as cathartic- and maybe crazy)
THE WALKING DEAD (1935)- 5 (mild Warner Bros. Karloff film)
BATTLE CREEK BRAWL (1980) – 4 (not too good attempt to make Jackie Chan a star in America)
FROM THE ORIENT WITH FURY (1965)- 5 (middling Euro-Spy effort that picks up near the end)
CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981)- 7 (rewatch)
FUTURAMA: INTO THE WILD GREEN YONDER (2009)- 6
WAR, INC. (2008)- 4 (muddled & poorly mounted black comedy)
OSS 117: MISSION FOR A KILLER (1965)- 8 (excellent serious Euro-Spy tale)
CRIMSON (1976)- 3 (not too good crime/mad doctor Naschy film – with very little Naschy)
A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3 (1987)- 6 (rewatch)
JCVD (2008)- 8 (wow- in French van Damme can act!)
THE LIVING DEAD IN MANCHESTER MORGUE (1974) - 8 (rewatch)
CACHE (2005)- 5 (the slowest of slow burns)
THE SIGN OF THE RAM (1948)- 7 (fascinating British drama)
ROBIN HOOD (2010)- 6 (interesting and occasionally exciting but muddled attempt - silly ending)
THE SWEET SOUND OF DEATH (1965) - 6 (interesting, melancholy Spanish ghost tale)
WELCOME TO ARROW BEACH (1974)- 6 (odd thriller directed by Laurence Harvey)
TRAITOR (2008) - 7 (good thriller with an excellent cast)
SWORD OF SHERWOOD FOREST (1960)- 5 (OK Hammer version of Robin Hood) (rewatch)
VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS (1965)- 5 (terrible but fun Bert I. Gordon film) (rewatch)
THUNDER ROAD (1958)- 8 (Mitchum’s moonshiner runner drive-in classic) (rewatch)
2000 MANIACS (1964)- 6 (H. G. Lewis’ only good film?) (rewatch)
GAMERA (1965) – 6 (the first flying turtle epic) (rewatch)
ASK THE DUST (2006)- 8 (Robert Towne’s excellent adaptation)
HIGH CRIME (1973)- 8 (Castellari and Franco Nero team for some Euro-Crime awesome)
WHEN A STRANGER CALLS (1979)- 7 (surprisingly good film)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

NaschyCast #5 - CRIMSON


First a disclaimer: I regret that the audio on this episode is not as good as it could be. This podcast has been an ongoing learning lab for me in how to record the two of us with some form of sound quality. I finally got pretty happy with the way the show sounds with episode #4 but then, as we sat down to record this one I promptly forgot one simple lesson of microphone operation. Because of that Troy often sounds as if he’s in a pit or roughly a mile away from me. For this I apologize and you can rest assured the people responsible have been sacked. And I promise it won’t happen again. The good news is that Troy did a little audio tweaking to improve some of the worst spots so hopefully it won’t be too bad. Let us know if we suck. naschycast@gmail.com

For the fifth show we decided to step outside the horror genre and for our deviation from the norm we paid a heavy price. CRIMSON is not a good film. It is at best a passable time waster with a few points of interest for Euro-Trash enthusiasts and very little screen time for Naschy. A French-Spanish co-production it is mostly boring with long stretches of tedium broken up by moments of crap. Director Juan Fortuny didn’t step behind the camera for many movies in his career and it’s easy to see why. Luckily Troy and I find some joy at the edges of the screen as we marvel at some of the reoccurring actors working in Spanish cinema in the 1970s. You might actually enjoy us talking about CRIMSON more than you enjoy the film itself! Subscribe on iTunes or......

Download here!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Bionic Woman and Six Million Dollar Man heading to DVD!

I've been reliably informed (by this site) that this Fall the first seasons of both Bionic series will debut on Region 1 DVD. Hat tip to Mr. Hudson for the link. The wait is nearly over!