Friday, July 30, 2021
Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Sunday, July 25, 2021
John Hudson and the mighty Bobby Hazzard return to discuss this late 80’s mystical mystery filmed in Miami.
Directed by Sergio Martino, AMERICAN RICKSHAW (1989) surely would not be nearly as entertaining or as coherent if it had been handled by someone with less experience behind the camera. Juggling enough disparate elements for two movies Martino somehow makes it all come together in a mad mishmash of sex criminals, televangelists, magical fires, mysterious ladies and the stolen pig idol that starts the whole crazed affair. Along the way we are witness to Donald Pleasance drifting in and out of a Southern American accent which might be worth the price of the Blu-Ray all on its own. Our hero is played by Olympian Mitch Gaylord and, for some reason, his performance gets better the more unshaven and sweatier he becomes. Maybe desperation breeds more believable acting in professional athletes?
Our conversation meanders all over the film and its various strange elements as we attempt to come to grips with the way that the plot is both insane and – eventually – straightforward. Of course, it is impossible from the start to realize that this tale of a poor college student working as a rickshaw driver in Miami will transform into the endgame of a decades long mystic war between rival sorcerers so I think it is understandable that we can’t maintain a straight-line plot discussion. In fact, it might just be impossible to talk about AMERICAN RICKSHAW in a completely linear fashion. There are simply too many things going on all at the same time! Luckily, I think we only lose track of what we’re doing a couple of times with the worst moment being when we are nearly derailed by tales of small-town strip clubs. And Hudson is still obsessed with transparent simians. Of course.
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Saturday, July 24, 2021
Friday, July 23, 2021
Wednesday, July 21, 2021
Monday, July 19, 2021
Friday, July 16, 2021
My first trip in over a year to an indoor theater was a solo viewing of the new film in the resurrected SAW franchise. This is very much a surprise to me as it is the first of the series I have seen theatrically.
I’ve never been very impressed with the Saw films while being mildly amused by their twisted inventiveness in interlocking multiple plots across several movies to present a near incomprehensible series of events that seem to exist to….. well, to exist. Although they are talked about in hushed tones because of their blood-drenched murder set-pieces they have always been more interesting to me as the latest (many generations removed) descendants of the 1960’s krimi films from Germany and the 1970’s giallo films from Italy. Warped variations on the 1980’s slasher cycle, they celebrate the creativity of the hideous deaths inflicted while making the fans feel that they aren’t just wallowing in gore – there is a real mystery involved, dammit! Of course, the mystery is often so impossible to discern that the final revelations have to be spelled out with a series of flashbacks to make sure the crowd is aware of how clever the scriptwriter has been. It often seems a little like someone trying too hard to justify watching a horror movie. Just enjoy what you like to watch and be done with the silly aspirations to in-your-face creativity! If you want to see a bit of the old ultra-violence just step forward, buy your ticket and ignore the derisive looks from others. In twenty years the Saw films will be tame in comparison to the next variation on this theme. Trust me.
Sooooo……why did I go see SPIRAL (2021)? Well, it was a new horror film. Oh! And Chris Rock stars in this re-start of the series AND was involved in getting the film made. That sounded much more interesting than just another sequel. And, I have to admit, it was pretty darned good. Rock is the main reason the movie works as it has become clear that he is now one of the most interesting actors around. His facility with comedy enhances his ability to play serious roles and even allows him a believable tenderness when necessary. The rest of the cast is solid with Sam Jackson having to work a strange balancing act as a respected, retired cop with a few dark secrets but it is Chris Rock’s show. He lifts this slasher mystery on his back and carries it across the finish line.
The only downside for me was that the identity of the Jigsaw copycat killer was pretty easy to figure out. Not that the ride wasn’t pretty fun but I can’t be the only one able to note that when a SAW film doesn’t show us a grisly death but only tells us it happened…..it didn’t happen! But the movie is inventive in its approach to the material with Rock’s sharp-tongued cop character getting to toss off funny insults that make his reactions to the horrors onscreen feel decidedly real. SPIRAL feels more grounded than the previous films in the series and therefore more interesting. This isn’t a great movie but it is the first Saw movie I can imagine wanting to rewatch sometime in the future.
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
Monday, July 12, 2021
Only four episodes in and it's already time for more Mario Bava! After his first foray into space science fiction with The Day the Sky Exploded, he finally came back to the field in 1965 and this time delivered one of the all time genre greats. Join Adrian and I as we spend longer than usual discussing the next film in the season, the misleadingly titled Planet of the Vampires.
Saturday, July 10, 2021
Friday, July 09, 2021
Wednesday, July 07, 2021
Monday, July 05, 2021
The Naschycast returns to the films of Amando De Ossorio for a romp through the jungle!
THE NIGHT OF THE SORCERERS (1974) a.k.a. The Night of the Witches follows a small group of researchers seeking to document the endangered species of a fictional country in Africa. They make camp near a (miniature) village and then learn from a native about the supernatural history of the area. Of course, we have been made aware of the odd rituals of ‘Bumbasa’ in a 1910 prologue showing the kidnapping, rape and beheading of a British lady on an altar that seemingly transforms her into a leopard demon! Or, at least, a fanged disembodied head that can turn and snarl at the camera! It’s a wild ride.
Troy and I hack our way through the jungle foliage to get a good look at this strange little film. As he had done with his Blind Dead movies Ossorio is clearly trying to create a new monster of his own design. But the leopard demons offer some technical hurdles that the writer/director’s usual low budget is often unable to jump. We discuss the various forms in which we see the creatures onscreen trying to decide which of them is most effective. Since these three forms are simply leopard stock footage, fake leopard heads partially hidden by leaves and female members of the cast running in slow motion through the jungle night it can be difficult to make a conclusive choice. And Ossorio throws in enough sex and blood to keep an exploitation audience distracted from the inherent silliness of the pieces of his narrative that don’t always work. But where does this film fall in the legacy of this legendary Spanish horror filmmaker? We share our opinions and hope to hear yours.
The podcast can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org where you can send your thoughts on this episode’s film or Amando De Ossorio’s career as a whole. We’d love to hear from you! And we end the show with a song from Nashville band Peachy - check them out! Thank you for listening and we’ll be back soon with more from the Golden Age of Spanish Horror.