How did I miss these???
Thursday, May 29, 2014
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
This one really hits home with me.
Although I played many other role-playing games Dungeons & Dragons was the all time champ. I have no idea how many countless hours of enjoyment this wonderful little game brought to my young life. Entire weekends were spent in my parent's (literal) basement running friends through so many battles and so much adventure that the telling of them all would fill a dozen books. Nothing fueled my fantasy loving imagination more than this wonderful game because it allowed me to create and embellish tales in a way that made the the monsters and evil wizards more fun. The players I was creating these tales of bloody quests with relished the often mad details and we all loved crafting a world of sword wielding heroics that could almost be seen as we rolled those dice. Just flipping through the Monster Manual or the Fiend Folio was enough to get the creative juices flowing and conjure up new tricks and traps to spring on the other players.
The game was inspired by the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien and Robert E. Howard and as designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Anderson is an amazingly immersive experience. As a kid, being able to put myself into a world populated by elves, wizards, dwarves, trolls and dragons of different colors and powers was incredible. I cannot overemphasize how much joy D&D gave me over the years. I learned a lot playing this game and I'm not ashamed to say that a lot of those lessons have served me well in later life. That may sound silly but it is true. Playing this game helped make me a better person. How's that for countering all the crazy BS from the press in the 1980's?
Monday, May 26, 2014
None of these images really impress me and I think that is symptomatic of how the studio had no idea how to market this film. It is a strange one- A Rock & Roll Fable - but I think its one of Walter Hill's crowning achievements. And Hill made 48 HRS, THE WARRIORS, THE LONG RIDERS and THE DRIVER so that is high praise. I understand he had to trim the movie down for a PG rating so I hope one day he might be able to restore his full-blooded vision for video.
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Lots of things. I can remember how much I loved this film as a teenager and that love lasted about ten years. Some time in my twenties I realized just how sloppy, dumb and irritating so much of ROTJ is. There is a solid fifteen or twenty minutes in the film (mostly the beginning and parts of the end) but in the final analysis this film is pretty sad.
Allow this video to illustrate---
Allow this video to illustrate---
Monday, May 19, 2014
Episode forty-five brings us back to the wonders and excitement of a Gothic period tale! The film is so steeped in creepy atmosphere that it begins with a funeral, which leads to a will reading and inevitably to a sleazy seduction - its all good. The plot will be familiar to genre fans but the story has a few nice twists on the standard tropes. So much fun! One of the joys of a gothic tale is the chance to see rare locations and The Hanging Woman (a.k.a. Terror of the Living Dead) has a great set of places to delight the eye. Of course, it also has a couple of lovely ladies in Maria Pia Conte and Dyanik Zurakowska. Both of them vie for the attentions of our handsome leading man--- no - not Naschy! He was too busy to play the time consuming central figure. Instead our man Paul Naschy plays the local gravedigger and all around oozer of sleaze by the name of Igor. Strangely, Igor does not work for the film's mad scientist character. Odd, but you gotta love it!
In this film we discover many things- the dark world of Nebulous Electricity: the possibilities of Black Magic as a hobby; an alternate way of reanimating the dead; the fact that its difficult to maintain a monogamous relationship even if your girlfriend is a corpse; and that its good to be the king of any small domain. We were both surprised by this one and that is no mean feat.
You can write us at email@example.com and let us know your thoughts on The Hanging Woman or any other Naschy related or non-Naschy related topic. We plan to get back to tackling some other Spanish Horror films in new Beyond Naschy episodes later this summer - we think you'll be surprised! Thanks for listening and be sure to rate and review us in iTunes or where ever you find our show.
Whoa! I guess Uncle Jess really did make almost every kind of movie it is possible to make. Check out this plot synopsis-- "A young aristocrat falls in love with a gypsy-girl the day of his engagement. After a fight in which the young man is injured and convalescent for a while, he returns to his love, the gypsy-girl, who has became a well-known artist in
Not sure when I'll ever get around to this one but I'm glad to know it exists.
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Scooby Doo is 45 years old. Oh, my! How old am I, again?
This most reluctant canine sleuth and his bizarre group of human minders was my first favorite Saturday morning cartoon series as a young lad. Although there are many criticisms that can be leveled against the show (repetitive plots, repetition of animated backgrounds, silly ideas, etc) this character has brought so much joy and happiness to me and, indeed, to at least three generations of kids and kids at heart that I feel all can be forgiven. The show is simplicity itself - Scooby and the gang drive around the country in their awesome van named The Mystery Machine and solve mysteries. Now, even at a young age I wondered just how these young folks were able to afford all this travel and all those Scooby Snacks since I never saw them getting paid for their hard work. Where did the gas money come from? How were those hamburgers bought? As I got older I created a possible side story about how Shaggy was actually a criminal mastermind pulling off heists in each town the gang drove through to finance the ghost busting 'fun' side of life. But I digress.
Saturday, May 17, 2014
This amazing teaser poster art for one of my favorite guilty pleasures (?) is by Philip Castle and shows beautifully the fabled Hawk Men of Mongo! I love almost everything about that film.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM is 30 years old! Holy suspension bridge! The first film will always be the best of the lot but I find this much derided second movie in the (ongoing?) series to be the most fun. I love the setting, the style and the fact that the female sidekick is such a pain in the ass! I also like Short Round and I usually hate pointless kid sidekicks.
The film got a lot of grief at the time because of its violence but I have always loved that the film was willing to push things so far and still keep it relatively bloodless. I mean, that has to be the most impressive heart removal scene of all time and there is NO squirting blood! You gotta love that! The general consensus seems to be that the third film was better but I've always been irritated that in that movie they returned to Nazis as the villain. All the bitching about Temple Of Doom seems to have made them want to stay with a villain that did not have to be established onscreen so as to avoid having to create one - just point at the SS officer and say 'I hate these guys'. Sloppy and sad. Sign me up for a round of Anything Goes anytime!
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Friday, May 09, 2014
The second Captain
America film is being lauded as
possibly the best super hero movie and it IS very good. Marvel has very intelligently
made an espionage thriller with a super powered main character instead of
making a 'super-hero' movie. The well crafted plot smartly moves Steve Rogers
forward while introducing The Falcon (excellent turn by Anthony Mackie), giving
The Black Widow a very good role in the story, finally gives Samuel l.
Jackson's Nick Fury something to do onscreen other than scowl and issue orders
and gives us the great Robert Redford having a grand old time being the
smartest villain (spoiler?) the Marvel franchise has yet produced. And the fact
that they managed to link the current S.H.I.E.L.D. television series into the
film was a stroke of storytelling genius! I love the show and having this
adventure merge with the events that have been unfolding recently with Agent
Coulson's team really felt like the old comic book summertime cross-over
madness I used to enjoy so much. This is an excellent movie and shows Marvel
Studios still knows what they are doing but I must add that I actually enjoyed
the second Thor movie a bit more -that seems to be a controversial statement from what my friends say. Sorry!
I also got to take in a screening of the amazing documentary JODOROWSKY'S DUNE (2013) at
Belcourt Cinema. It was just as entertaining and awe inducing as I had expected
with the added bonus of finally getting to see and hear the 81 year old Jodorowsky.
I hope I have a quarter of his energy and enthusiasm at his age! His joy at
discussing this failed film project from the mid-70's is infectious and only
increases my wish that this mad vision had somehow made it the screen. The film
smartly illustrates the plan of the movie with hundreds of illustrations
augmented with new animation using the original conceptual artwork by Moebius
and Voss. I can only imagine what science fiction filmmaking would look like if
this movie had been made instead of STAR WARS - the mind boggles. If you are a
fan of science fiction movies, Jodorowsky or just fascinating cinema you owe it
to yourself to see this documentary.
CABIN BOY (1994)- 8 (hysterical, absurd comedy)
CALIBER 9 (1972)- 8 (excellent Italian crime film)
THE FIVE MAN ARMY (1969)- 5 (mediocre Spaghetti western)
CRIME OF PASSION (1957)- 7 (interesting noir)
DISCO ROJO (1973)- 6
STOKER (2013 - 10 (amazing)
THE EYES OF CHARLES SAND (1972)- 6 (good TV-movie/failed pilot)
THE INITIATION OF SARAH (1978)- 4 (not very good TV movie)
THE LONG KISS GOODNIGHT (1996)- 3 (sad evidence that a Shane Black script is not foolproof)
CAPTAIN AMERICAN: THE WINTER SOLDIER (2014)- 8
VIOLENT BLOOD BATH (1967)- 7 (interesting murder mystery from Spain)
HARD TARGET (1993)- 7 (rewatch)
THE WOLF OF
WALL STREET (2013)-
HOLMES & WATSON:
DAYS (2012) - 3
(Overlong and deadly dull Spanish Sherlock tale) MADRID
TALES THAT WITNESS MADNESS (1973)- 6 (rewatch)
DRACULA- PRINCE OF DARKNESS (1966)- 8 (rewatch)
TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY (2011)- 8
COUNTESS PERVERSE (1973)- 6 (Franco's tale made up of part sex, part Most Dangerous Game and part cannibalism)JODOROWSKY'S DUNE (2014)- 9
Wednesday, May 07, 2014
If ever there was a missed or flubbed opportunity in cinema this film is it! Such amazing potential wasted because (as so often happens) the filmmakers didn't trust the material. I still hope for a good Doc Savage film and hope that Shane Black is the guy that makes it.
Sunday, May 04, 2014
I'm not sure what's come over me but I'm beginning to actually like the Emanuelle films. Don't get me wrong - I've not suddenly found hidden depths of meaning or unplumbed pockets of brilliance in these rambling T & A movies - but I have somehow found a frame of mind in which I understand their appeal much more than when I saw them as pointless excuses for nudity and soft-core groping. This change of heart happened while watching 'Emanuelle in
Usually I would have been frustrated by the lack of any real story or forward
momentum but instead I found myself caught up in the pure sensual pleasure of
looking at beautiful women and beautiful places. I felt at ease; maybe even
comforted by the pace of the film with its essential lack of story and almost
complete absence of conflict. It soothed me... Nay, it washed over me like warm
soapy water dripping from a naked oriental massage girl. But I've gotten ahead
A few years back Severin released a series of boxed sets of the "Black Emanuelle" films and I have worked my way through them. Produced in the 1970s and '80s, they were a huge international hit quite apart from the Emmanuelle (spelled with two M's) films they were imitating and they now have a much more vocal fan base in the 21st century. Whether by accident or design the three movies I'll talk about here show Laura Gemser's Emanuelle move from lustful sex kitten to crusading journalist to penitent daughter of Christ. It's a long strange trip but I definitely enjoyed it.
The onscreen credits give the title of the first film in the set as 'Black Emanuelle En Orient' but the more common name is Emanuelle in
After a group opium smoking session at the prince's house an impromptu orgy breaks out that sees the American couple decide that maybe they weren't made for each other. And as both of them end up sleeping with Emanuelle, maybe this reporter has a vocation as marriage counselor in her future. Up until now the film has been a plotless but gorgeous travelogue of
Now I would never claim Emanuelle in
But as I advanced to the next film in the set, Emanuelle Around the World (onscreen title Le Vice Dans La Peau), I find that director Joe D'Amato (real name Aristide Massaccesi) opted for something different this time out. He decided to have not only conflict, but a story! Not necessarily a bad idea, but a funny thing happened on the way to a plot. While Emanuelle in
fun in a silly way, by injecting a serious tale of white slavery into
Emanuelle's world the tone goes from silly to stupid. While EIB was
ham-handed in its construction and character motivations (when there were any),
it didn't matter so much as we weren't being asked to take things seriously at
all. But in EATW we are confronted with all kinds of sexual cruelty
that repeatedly destroys the occasional eroticism. At best we are placed in the
arena of the drooling voyeur crudely trying to see where that banana is going
to be shoved. It’s a film at least as technically accomplished as EIB but it is
just not enjoyable in the same fashion.
The film starts with Emanuelle arriving in
After this sad encounter our feisty girl reporter decides she wants to do something important with her life and selects violence against women as her target. She travels to
Clearly emboldened by their success (and forgetting the rape, I suppose) the two reporters follow another lead to
Kong, where they dig into the Oriental white slavery market. Here
we witness more rape and some forced bestiality with a German Shepard before we
learn that an Arab emir is the true beneficiary of the slave trade. He turns
out to not be too bad a guy; in exchange for sex with both Emanuelle and Cora
he ends the white slavery ring operating out of Macau!
Is there nothing that woman's moist nether regions can't accomplish? After this
triumph Emanuelle gets a lead on a crooked politician in Washington so it's off to D.C. for another
bout of rape courtesy of a group of bums enticed by a naked girl forced to
dance before them. Once again we jump to the next day, with the cops having
arrived to fix everything and Emanuelle getting out of the situation with
little more than another rape or two. At this point the film has passed the 90
minute mark so our intrepid do-gooder sails off into the distance with Dr.
Robertson for a vacation. The End.
After the casual sexual shenanigans of Emanuelle in
So following her conversion to conscience-driven reporter it's a little easier to accept the major change the divine Ms. E makes in Sister Emanuelle. Having become disillusioned by her hedonistic lifestyle, she has entered a convent and become a nun. Trying to put her lustful past behind her, she strives to overcome her sexual desires but this is made much harder when a new student is enrolled in the convent's school. Monica (Mónica Zanchi) is a beautiful young girl forced by her rich father to attend the convent. Showing a healthy appetite for both sexes, Monica tempts Emanuelle even before the girl climbs into her bunk on the train ride to the school. The sister holds her off so she slips out to have sex with the conductor. Nymphomaniacs just want to have fun! Once at the secluded school the new student quickly seduces her prim roommate and then by pure luck finds a fleeing criminal named René (Gabriele Tinti) hiding in the woods nearby. Working her considerable charms on the bankrobbing killer, she sneaks him into the school and hides him in an unused tower. (A girl's got to have some variety in bed.) Contriving to have Sister Emanuelle find the two of them puts René in the position of forcing the nun to keep silent by threatening to kill everyone. Monica then informs Emanuelle that René wants the virginal Anna (Vinja Locatelli) brought to him, prompting the nun to offer herself instead. Monica brings Anna up to watch E and René having sex but the girls are spotted by the mute, guntoting groundskeeper. The resultant mess finally gets the lascivious girl expelled but as Sister Emanuelle drives her to meet her train a new surprise is in store.
The only movie in this set not directed by Joe D'Amato, I really enjoyed this one as it managed to have a story (if slight and ultimately shaggy-doggish) and be quite erotic without the nastiness of EATW. That Emanuelle is not the main lovely engaging in the romps is also a nice change. Mónica Zanchi steps up to the challenges of the central role quite effectively, bringing both a natural beauty and a bed full of enthusiasm to every scene. Of course it wouldn't be a Black Emanuelle film without Ms. Gemser showing off her fine form and eventually making with the horizontal bop, but the change of main feminine scenery was inspired. Having the young nympho be a conniving pain in the ass also added to the interest level, throwing a few curves that I really couldn't see coming. There is very little wasted time in Sister Emanuelle aside from the silly few minutes spent on an older nun's bladder control problem (!); the film's conclusion made me curious about the further adventures of the beautiful Emanuelle. That's something I never expected to say about this series of movies. I should mention that there is one odd moment near the end where there is obviously some footage missing... After Emanuelle strings Monica up in a barn the girl goes from fully clothed to mostly naked with a jump cut that just screams 'trimmed for content'. With all the flesh on display I wonder what might have prompted this edit?