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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

TOP THREE FUCKED UP WAYS PEOPLE HAVE FOUND THIS BLOG, AND OTHER BORING STATISTICS

We like to keep track of our statistic tab and see what's what and from whence you came. Here is the top three so far:

1. The fella from Morocco that found my well written and protracted defense of Star Trek The Motion Picture by entering into google.ma (the Moroccan google page) the search term "ass pictures blogspot" obviously hoping to hit gold when seeing a blog post titled "Motionless picture my ass!". I wonder to this day how bummed they were and whether or not they read it.

2. The fella from Ethiopia who somehow stumbled upon this blog by entering the search terms "upside fuck vedio". Yes, "vedio". I have no fucking clue what it was they were after or if they ever managed to find it, but I really don't want to know.

3. I have no idea where this one originated, but somebody searched for "girly sonny incest" when looking for information about the film "Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny, and Girly". Seriously, how sick is that? Yes, there is a borderline incestuous streak running through that film but really? Dumbfounded!

HONORABLE MENTIONS (questionable places that apparently linked to here):

-The Russian milf porn website that somehow linked to here
-Some site selling official NHL hockey jerseys
-Some site or other having something to do with improving your golf swing

FACT:

More people have found this blog by typing in the phrase "I'm so hungry I could eat a whore" than any other search term.

LESSON LEARNED?:


Having a blog with the word "Fuckshit" in the title and swearing a lot in my reviews probably wasn't such a good idea...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

THE BLACK GESTAPO


When I first heard about this movie only two words came to mind: HOLY and SHIT. Balxploitation is already a mixed bag of themes but this one somehow managed to completely take the cake without leaving a single crumb behind. While this is not the most epic box art for this release (The Unicorn Video edition (I think that's it?) has the full original poster art on it) you have to admit its pretty damn noticeable. Plus, I only paid like two dollars for it- and got way more than my money's worth in sheer unbridled entertainment. Whoever put the 99 cent rental sticker right in the middle of the box art is a total schmuck. Way to spoil the greatness you turd...

View the trailer NOW:


I mean seriously, YES!  Can you really argue with a trailer like that? If your answer is no then go jump into your hotrod and hit the road. Plot synopsis time, you jive mutha: Watts is being run down hard by Mafia bosses and the pressure is too much for the citizens to bare on their own. A grant of money from white run organizations comes to the ghetto to form a force to help stop the problem, but manages to fall completely on its face due to lack of training and a decidedly non agressive stance. Malcontent about the severe injuries and a rape that occurs because of the groups inaction, the second in command of the group demands to form an agressive defense splinter group to counter. Little does anyone realize but once they succeed in erasing the mob threat that they become something worse than any mobster- they become The Black Gestapo...

Most Blaxploitation is pretty dull. Sure this has some flat acting and a rather pedestrian plot but I find the premise behind it all quite interesting actually. The Black Gestapo wind up using their power to run the very rackets they were supposed to destroy. They act for profit and gain as opportunists rather than the militant defense force they initially promised to be, leaving using their own violence against them as a last resort. Its actually a really strange reimagining of George Orwell's novel Animal Farm if you boil it down a bit.I do have to admit that this is all pretty much cookie cutter action fare and there really is no way this film can rise above its frankly absurd plot elements, but seeing a bunch of dudes in black fatigues giving the Black Power salute while we hear samples of WW2 era German crowds shouting "zeig heil!" over the top of it does have a peculiar appeal to anyone looking for something out of the ordinary. While I cannot find a clip of it, the opening credits is nuts too, with images of goose stepping German soldiers and a snippet of film of uncle Adolf that goes from black and white to negative to make him appear black before the movie title hits the screen shortly afterward, WOW! The closest thing I could find was this still image:


Other film highlights (beyond the those already mentioned) also include:

- A pretty awesome castration sequence
-Nazisloitation sleaze queen Uschi Digard as General Kojah's girlfriend

Apparently this film was released at some point under the title "Ghetto Warriors". I have to be honest with you, I like "The Black Gestapo" way better. This film is also unique for that fact that despite being a relatively small film it actually had a proper soundtrack release. This is pretty rare amongst Blaxploitation films as usually only bigger budget stuff from major studios (like the big time cash in of the Shaft series) got them, or if you were lucky enough to have a known artist do the score (Like Curtis Mayfield's amazing score for Superfly). An original lp for The Black Gestapo ost is really insanely rare, but some nice dudes a while back reissued it with a free full size movie poster so if you see it don't hesitate (like I did, much to my chagrin)!

The score for this is awesome, check out the theme song:


 There are quite a few different releases of this over the years on both vhs and dvd. The dvd editions are sometimes a double bill with a really awesome movie titiled "The Black Six" which has the distinction of being one of the very first all African American biker gang movies (check it out! I'll review it eventually!), and sometimes appears in box sets of Blaxploitation flicks you find for cheap on the value racks now and again. This movie has all the exploitation cinema prerequisites- action, an improbable plot developed with little cinematic knowledge, frontal nudity, hip dialogue, etcetera. Definitely a bizarre gem of a film if there ever was one. I recommend you pick it up!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bad Timing


I'll start this review off like any other and be perfectly honest with you: This film is probably one of the most honest and brutal depictions of love/obsession ever committed to celluloid. It is in NO way light hearted viewing. You want bullshit light hearted "it'll all work out in the end" fare, go someplace else. This is no consumer pip consumer pap movie to make you feel good, unless of course you are an incredibly fucked up individual and in that case stay well away from me please.

See trailer below:


The story begins with an ambulance rushing a young girl to the hospital who has apparently overdosed. As the backwards/forwards story unfurls ever so slowly and purposefully (the editing in this film is beyond superb by the way) we find out that as in all things there is far more to something than ever meets the eye. The plot revolves around the affair between teacher/lecturing psychiatrist Alex (Art Garfunkel) and a worldly young American girl named Milena (Theresa Russell). Innocent flirting quickly becomes a full on love affair from apartments in Vienna to the bazaars of Morocco and back. As the strange relationship of white lies that never really mattered and the obsessions that overshadow them flash before us, we see scenes of love making, scenes of violent outbursts and actions, and scenes of deceit. Milena's emergency room operation continually flashes before us and later is taken over by the subsequent police investigation (the lead inspector of which is played by Harvey Keitel) which dredges their past even further and ends with a rather mentally shattering climax. Speaking of the supporting cast, Denholm Elliot (veteran British actor who many of you will recognize as Marcus from the Indiana Jones films) has a wonderfully acted yet brief role as Milena's estranged husband.

From interviews included on this excellent Criterion Collection entry one learns that this film has had a bit of trouble over the years. It was not a smashing success (due to its subject matter no doubt) upon release and was given poor reviews by a number of writers. In the US at least, there appears to be no NTSC VHS release either. If there is, I've not come across one that wasn't PAL. This is likely due to the expense of licensing the soundtrack which features the like of Tom Waits and The Who. Easily done around 1980 when the film was in production sure, but try jumping through all the same hoops again to do more permanent vhs editions. This is why this film has been relatively unavailable here in the states until the kind folks at Janus films decided to do right by us movie lovers and give it the treatment it so sorely deserves.

I'll be perfectly honest, this is a REALLY difficult film to review without simply telling you everything that happens. If you've ever been in a truly serious relationship however I'm sure you can guess with a high degree of accuracy as to the turn of events. The above paragraph regarding the story is all I can really say because I want each and every one of you reading this to at least TRY to watch it even once. I think anyone who has ever truly loved someone will identify with this film even on a cursory level.

The acting is extremely natural between Garfunkel and Russell, as Nicholas Roeg allowed for quite a bit of improv and captured moments you could otherwise never script. The non linear (but simultaneously linear) editing lends a frenetic pace to the proceedings as well (I've said it earlier in the review yes, but cannot stress this point enough). Nicholas Roeg compared the way it was edited to the way people remember a relationship, as we never remember it in sequence but rather particular moments and off of that smaller things- both good and bad (I highly paraphrased that!).

Here's the only clip I could find on youtube to whet your appetite further, it has French subtitles so ignore them and watch the clip instead. The acting and camera work are exceptional in this scene, as they are in every scene in the film. Theresa Russell's acting ability in particular is incredible as she was only 22 or 23 at the time of filming and expresses incredible range and depth here.

Watch:


Romantic/sexual obsession is a difficult and sometimes impossible circle to break, and only one other film I have seen portrays it so well (keep an eye out for a review of said film- Andrzej Zulawski's Possession from 1981 coming soon). I can only hope this review has done the film adequate justice without giving anything away. This is an uncompromising film for uncompromising people. There really isn't much more I can say beyond that.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Night Porter


This is a movie that had long been on my "to watch" list but for some reason or other kept getting pushed about. Once I finally saw it, it became a personal favorite of mine.  Its a tale of darkness, secrets, and in the end of it all love. Yes, believe it or not this film is a love story when all is said and done. Read on!

First, have a look at the trailer:


I purposely chose the Japanese trailer so that for those of us who cannot read Japanese something still remains a mystery but still might titillate you into seeing it if you haven't already. The plot revolves around a solemn night porter named Max (played to absolute perfection by Dirk Bogarde). Max works in a hotel in Vienna in the 1950's and is hiding from his past as an SS officer who perpetrated many brutal (but only hinted at) acts against concentration camp prisoners. The hotel is full of former Nazi's (many from Max's past at the camp), for whom he performs various services.

Tensions are running high in Max's life as of late, as he is about to go through his "trial" that will allow him to confess his misdeeds and come clean in a room full of ex nazis and have any relevant documents incriminating him burned. Unfortunately a lone witness, Lucia (who as a teenage girl had a bizarre S&M love affair with Max in the camp, played by Charlotte Rampling) has survived and once found will be "filed away". Seeing one another in the flesh for the first time in nearly a decade, they reignite their passionate but morally dubious love affair as events begin to spiral far out of their control. So begins a journey of reunion, dark desire and ultimate loss. The roles of opressor and oppressed are completely turned on their heads by the end of this tale, while the almost sickening repetition of the past (both in actions taken by the characters in their present day and via flashbacks) lends a frenetic and dizzying air to the film as a whole.

I've recommended this film to quite a few different people over the years- none of which has seen it I absolutely guarantee. Apparently this film is simply too "edgy" for them as they are sensitive about anything even vaguely having to do with nazism. All I can say is their loss. The many philosophical questions raised throughout the film would lead you to believe that most intelligent people will have seen it at least once. I was of course sorely mistaken.

The idea for this film partially came from an interview which director Liliana Cavani had with a concentration camp survivor. The interviewee told her about how she had had a brutal sexual relationship with a camp guard in order to survive. I do not know if this interview was ever published, as I have unfortunately never been able to locate it but should anyone know if it was please do come forth and tell everyone as I am sure I am not the only one curious to know what was said.

The imagery and over all aesthetic of this film (which ranges everything from staunch political beliefs to homoeroticism and beyond) has inspired countless musicians and other artists since its original release. The scene most often referred to is the Dance Of The Seven Veils sequence, in which Lucia dances for a bar full of SS men in masks while singing the song "Wenn ich mir was wünschen dürfte" (made famous by Marlene Dietrich). The scene is strange, and unsettling. Like all of the flashbacks in the film, the scene appears to be over lit and the actors all wear very pale makeup. This is a touch I really think makes these scenes interesting. As memories fade and become glossed over with time to you and I, our character's memories become washed out and faded as they struggle to put their pasts behind them, and frankly it makes them literally appear as ghosts (which is most fitting under the circumstances). This scene heavily influenced the video clip for the Duran Duran song "The Chauffeur", just to name one popular example off the top of my head. Other bands such as Neo Folk powerhouse Death In June have used samples from this film on their recordings also. As merely trying to describe this would not be enough, here is the scene in question:


There is one thing I cannot and will not stand for: The way this film is often categorized by laymen. It is often (and I feel erroneously) classified as a "Nazisploitation" picture. I find no sensationalistic or otherwise exploitative elements ANYWHERE in this film. You may remember my review of the film "Cut Throat Kommandos" from a while back- THAT is a nazisploitation film if there ever was one. Exploitation films are by definition often bereft of artistic integrity, artful direction, and moral standing which this film has by the pound. In no way can this film be lumped in with such a shameless and morally benign genre by anyone with the least amount of film knowledge (or so I like to hope). This film is pure art house, and inspired such films that became nazisploitation later on. Such are the unfortunate ways of film.

I have another special present for you, dearest readers! This time it comes from a rather rare Japanese 7" single featuring two songs from the score by composer Daniele Paris. I apologize for the crackle on the recording, but I removed as much of the dust as possible before transferring it to mp3. Read further for more information and a handy link for your downloading pleasure.

Here is the cover of the single in question:


There is another release of this single which has a different b-side, and also a full length lp. It appears that Japan (and if I recall correctly Spain?) was one of the only countries to receive a proper release of the films haunting score. There is also an Italian 7" similar to the one seen above. Then there is a CD release with most of the music on it (along with another score by Paris) but it just doesn't quite cut it for me when the day is done. Maybe some day the score will get a proper rerelease, one can only dream...

If you've read this far about the soundtrack, you are no doubt interested.  Simply click here to get this rare gem.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Deathstalker II: Duel Of The Titans


Let me ask you something: do you like action? Cheap laughs? Low budget film making? Wooden acting? A little frontal nudity to spice things up? Did you just answer yes to all of the above? Then I  think you have passed the litmus test for being a candidate for liking this movie. This direct to video masterpiece was directed by the formidable Jim Wynorski (who gave such masterpieces as Chopping Mall and Return Of Swamp Thing!). His low brow and cheap comedic genius is on full display here and I can't find a single bad thing to say about this movie. I've honestly looked for it for years. This doesn't mean its rare, I just wanted to physically find it rather than take the easy route and get it for 5 bucks on ebay just so I could experience the thrill of ultimate victory when I finally did stumble across it somewhere. In fact, this copy only cost me $1.99 and was bought at the same time as my other ill fated purchase of Dr. Giggles that you might remember from last week.

Trailer watching commence forthwith:


See? AWESOME. What's not to like about that trailer!? To paraphrase the director Its an action movie with Bugs Bunny as the main character. What more can you ask for, it even has John Lazar (aka The Z Man to us folk in the know) in it for cryin' out loud. The plot revolves around Deathstalker rescuing a hopelessly attractive woman who happens to be an exiled princess which leads him on a quest to return her to her throne that was usurped by an evil wizard and his clone of the princess. Along the way there are a series of amazingly entertaining shenanigans most of which involve incredibly attractive women and really scummy not handsome devious dudes.

This scene is a particular favorite:


High brow. Low Brow. NO BROW. This movie has something for everyone I think. Deathstalker even punches a damn sword in half at one point (he punches thing A LOT of things in this movie)! I could go on and on about all the great shit that happens in this movie, but I will just give you some highlights instead: John Lazar's "business in the front, party in the back" hairdo, Monique Gabrielle's breasts, and the fact that a synth screech happens pretty much each and every time something construed as action occurs.

Observe:


I wasn't kidding. The gags never cease right up until the end of the closing credits. I'm not entirely sure what makes this film so great actually, but its the most shamelessly entertaining vhs I have by far. Why this only has a 4.9 out of 10 on the IMDB is beyond me as I feel it should at LEAST be a six. Now that I have some scant information to either whet or completely destroy any appetite you may have/have had for this flick, I will now tell you about its production just a pinch.

As a feature released directly to video in the US, the production value has to be cheap to make something feature length. So where do you make a movie like this you ask? Argentina of course! So if you backlight scenes with piles of burning stuff and simply borrow sets left over from previous medieval movies you've stretched your buck pretty far indeed. Not sure what else to say there without boring the ever loving shit out of you, so I'll move on to the soundtrack. The film score really adds to the camp/comedy/adventure of this movie. Its was composed by Chuck Cirino (who did several other Wynorski scores) completely blind! No, I don't mean he can't see, but that he never actually got to see the film in order to score it properly.

The composer of the score for the first film was set to do it (so said the studio in Buenos Aires) but Wynorski (who felt justice would not be done to the comedic elements laden throughout the film in question) instead phoned Cirino and described the movie to him in detail  as the work print had already been sent out thereby not allowing Cirino to see the flick first at all. Damn genius! I fucking love the score for this movie, which was not released until 2008 on CD along with the score for Chopping Mall all on the same disc! If you can find one cheap, get it as there's only 1000 copies. Because I am on the record label who released its email list, I bought it mere minutes after it was announced and being amongst the first 100 folks to do so got one signed by Jim & Chuck in sharpie! Sorry folks, as this is still available if you do a cursory seach for it, there will be no soundtrack download for you this time like with my review of Cruising.

Take a look:

BUY IT, IT IS GREAT! And that's not all! Being the super fan I am I also have the VHS release poster too:


In case you are wondering what that white oval on the poster says, it reads: "Featuring MONIQUE GABRIELLE sexy star of BACHELOR PARTY and HOT MOVES!". Be careful if you're looking for one of these. I luckily stumbled across this one on ebay years ago for 8 bucks, but some dudes have started making reprints of this poster and selling them for a bit more than that. Okay enough showing off. There's several DVD releases of this circulating around in the US. There is a stand alone version of it and also one which is a double feature with Deathstalker I. These contain what I hear is a REALLY AMAZING feature length commentary with Jim Wynorski and star John Terlesky that tells you everything you ever wanted to not know about the movie.

See them below:


Here's the double feature version:


These editions are now scarce but are hopefully going to be coming down in price as a new release is coming out featuring two more b grade sword & sorcery movies at the end of August 2011. The best part is from what I understand the print for this release of Deathstalker II was made directly from Wynorski's own private 16mm film copy rather than the old Vestron Video VHS master like the previous releases. I hope this is true, because if it is I will definitely be sure to pick one up.

Here's what that one should look like when it comes out in a couple weeks:


What more do you want me to say asshole? GO SEE THIS MOVIE!