Wednesday, April 30, 2008

NAIL GUN MASSACRE


NAIL GUN MASSACRE (1985)

As is common with many slasher films of the 80’s the plot for this little gem is wafer thin, but it’s not the plot that keeps it going and has made it a cult classic today. The film opens with a young woman being raped by a group of construction workers. As far as rape scenes go this baby has got nothing on I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE. Hell, it’s really got nothing on an explicit episode of The Brady Bunch. Pretty tame stuff. Well, it doesn’t take long before a camouflage wearing, motor cycle helmeted looney with a self contained nail gun happens on the scene. And it’s a good thing the killer is wearing camouflage too. Seems that if you’re less than three feet from the psycho you can’t see them …because the killer’s wearing camouflage!?!



So, it doesn’t take long before this dirt water town in Texas is overrun with dead bodies. The local sheriff is real good at driving around in his unmarked car wearing a generic brown shirt and plastic badge that changes from one side of his shirt to the other for no apparent reason. The local doctor is some Trans-Am driving dude who thinks he’s cool and they spend the day running around looking for bodies. And, according to the doc, all the bodies have been laying around for hours. This would be okay, but the film only shows the passage of maybe two days tops. There aren’t enough hours in the day to manage what this killer does. Not only does he have the ability to kill people with non lethal shots from a nail gun, but he can then make it seem as if they’ve been dead for hours. One guy he nails to a tree by the hands. I’m sorry, but it would hurt like hell and you’d lose some blood, but you could be hanging there for days before you expire from exposure, not blood loss. Maybe he dips the nails in poison?



And as for the identity of our killer. Well, that doesn’t take a lot of figuring out. You know the scene in many films where they show some guy or gal and they look really suspicious? Yeah, the old red herring trick. They do this one time in the film and it’s the killer! Real suspense going on there.
As much grief as I’ve been giving the film you’re probably waiting for the other shoe to drop, right? Nope. I remember watching this film on its initial release. The video boom was in full swing and slasher films stalked the land. It was a golden age that we all enjoyed. Sure, there were some awful pieces of crap oozing from the wood work, but this film always held a dear place in my heart. First, we get the ultra reality of the fact that none of these folks are actors. The lady, who runs the local grocery store and has some of the wildest dialogue in the movie, is the director’s grandma! No one in this film went on to anything else. Well, except for the hot blonde in the beginning of the film. With a body like that you know she had to have a career somewhere. Second, we get the wildest killer of all time. The motorcycle helmet has tape over the visor to help hide the identity of the killer. Sure, they could have used a smoked plastic visor, but they probably didn’t have one and those damned things cost money! The camouflage jumpsuit is a nice added touch of bizarre to the entire proceedings. Factor into that the electronic, garbled voice that the killer has plus his penchant for making truly funny puns with each kill and we have a character begging for a franchise. I’m amazed that a sequel never came from this. Finally, Terry Lofton gives us a competent film. Sure there are plot holes you can run a semi through and continuity is similar to a grade school play, but they gave it their all and you can see it on the screen.
The DVD gives us a pretty clean print for what we have to work with. The only extra is a 24 minute interview with Director Lofton. The man is personable and lets us in on most of the secrets about making the film. He also lets a few cats out of the bag concerning questions people have asked him over the years. My favorite? Remember the scene I mentioned with his grandma? Watch carefully as the scene ends and she hands the young folks their box of groceries. Under the box is her script for the film. She even turns a page and checks it and then looks at the camera and smiles. Things like that crack me up and add a certain homey feeling to the proceedings. The folks at Synapse who released the disc also include a hilarious little essay entitled, ’20 Things I Learned From Watching The Nail Gun Massacre. A funny read and a nice little addition to the package.
Nail Gun Massacre is a shining example of what was lying on the video shelves of yesteryear and still worth watching today.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

GOTO, ISLAND OF LOVE



GOTO ISLAND OF LOVE
Directed By Walerian Borowczyk
1968 – 90 Minutes/Widescreen
DVD Provided by Cult Epics (www.cultepics.com)

In 1887 the island country of Goto was hit by a devastating earthquake that destroyed ninety percent of the island along with ninety percent of the population. The remaining people became insulated and cut off from the rest of the world. So much so that, in the present day, or 1968 the time the film was made, the island of Goto has remained in the year 1887. Now, under the rule of Goto III, the island of Goto goes about its business as always. During an execution ritual where two men must fight and one is killed, the guilty one and one is freed, the innocent one, Grozo is pardoned for his crimes and Gro, who refused to stay within the rules of the tournament, is beheaded. Now Goto III gives Grozo the job of dog watcher, fly catcher and boot polisher. Unbeknownst to Goto III, his beautiful wife Glyssia is having an affair with Gono, a lieutenant in the Goto army. Grozo uses this knowledge to try and take over the monarchy and the prize he covets above all things. The lovely Glyssia.



This is the first live action film of Walerian Borowczyk. Before that he was an animator. Cult Epics includes an award winning short film entitled The Astronaut on the DVD to show Walerian’s roots as a film maker and animator. The short is very well done and entertaining, reminiscent of some of Art Clokey’s work that didn’t involve Gumby. The feature film is a political fable that is interesting to watch and one must wonder if David Lynch has seen it as the film contains many Lynchian images. There are the intricate fly traps that Grozo is constantly fiddling with during the course of the film that are intriguing to try and figure out the mechanics of. The film comes across as a silent movie in picture quality with flashes of color throughout to help give certain scenes more of an impact. Unfortunately, the quality of the color scenes is so dreadful that they detract more than enhance the overall film.
Another point of misdirection is Cult Epics presentation of the film. Being Walerian’s first film he had not yet dove headfirst into the bizarre and sexually deviant themes he explores in later films such as THE BEAST and BEHIND CONVENT WALLS. There are two nude scenes, one in a well organized brothel and the other in a final lovemaking scene between Glyssia and Gono. Other than that the film is pretty chaste. But, Cult Epics would have us believe otherwise. The cover of the DVD case has Glyssia and Gono in a clinch and the disc itself has a shot of the nude women in the brothel. Even the insert has a color reproduction of a poster for GOTO that someone thought was a good idea. It has a nude woman surrounding by a psychedelic sea and makes it seem like we’re about to get down to the nitty gritty. Nothing could be farther from the truth.



The one problem I have with the film itself is that Walerian wants us to feel sorry for Glyssia, the Emperor Goto III’s wife. Kind of hard to do since Goto III is portrayed as a benevolent ruler and a truly loving man. He realizes that his kingdom is still being affected by the horrible catastrophe that befell it over eighty years ago and he acts accordingly. He is shown over and over again as a fair and just man. Never is he portrayed as a tyrant. He loves the simple things in life; horses, his dogs, children and the affection he shows for his wife is simply wonderful. Yet, Glyssia can’t seem to keep it in her pants? Whatever, bitch, you get what you deserve. At no time did I feel sorry for her or her lover, Gono.
The film elements are less than perfect, but it is better for the film to have surfaced in this condition than not at all. I question the inclusion of the color scenes since the color is washed out and murky and the scenes are so brief and hard to see that they really add nothing to the film in their present state. If anything they tend to detract from it. The inclusion of the short film The Astronaut was a good idea, but the miniscule history they include as an insert in the DVD case is so brief that it borders on insulting for a man whose obsessions became such an impact in filmmaking. Admit it you’ve all heard of THE BEAST and its infamous scene.
So, if you’re a big fan of Walerian Borowczyk for films like THE BEAST, this is not for you. True lovers of classic cinema will enjoy this simple tale of political intrigue.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

AN EI CINEMA SAMPLER

This article was supposed to appear on Larry Stanley's old website. Then Larry passed away. I have a site dedicated to Larry at Penguin Comics, THE BLOG!, but I tend to keep that site a little more PG like Larry would have wanted it. I thought the article deserved to see the light of day, so here it is in its entirety. Enjoy it. I know Larry would have.

Ei Cinema is divided into many smaller divisions. There is Seduction Cinema, Shock-O-Rama, Video Outlaw…well you get the idea. Recently, my good friend Larry Stanley sent me a stack of films from ei and asked me to review them. To be honest I had already seen the entire batch of flicks and wasn’t looking forward to reviewing them again.

That’s when I hit upon this idea. Cover all the films in one feature, give them the coverage that most of them deserve and make Larry a happy camper. That’s when I hit on the sampler idea. Alone, these films are just entries from an independent film company. Together they represent a pretty good cross section of what ei Cinema has to offer. So, with that said, let’s delve into the realm of ei Cinema.



DEMON SEX (2005)
If you were to watch one film to represent the body of work that ei Cinema represents then this would not be a good one to use as an example. Far from the beaten path of Misty Mundae and the multitude of lesbian encounters, Demon Sex serves up its nudity and sex the old fashioned way. Heterosexual with plenty of blood and kink. Seems there’s this alien race of demons that can transform into hot chicks. This comes in handy when a team of researchers discover an alien strain of DNA that will save their dying race. It doesn’t take long before the nerdy scientists are approached by hot chicks and they’ll do anything to get the formula. Especially slaughtering scientists.

Brinke Stevens and her ultra hard gorgeous shape are the center attraction of this film as she portrays the queen of the aliens bent on saving their species. It’s always nice to see Brinke in the altogether. The rest of the cast are no slouches in the looks department either. An oddity in the company’s library in that there is quite a bit of heterosexual play going on along with the lesbian antics we come to expect.

The extras on the DVD are plentiful. Two short films entitled, DEMON TREAURE and DEMON FAMILIARS give us little plot and lots of Brinke Stevens which is always a good thing. In addition to that there is a vintage peep show loop that seems to be starting a trend with the DVD’s released by ei Cinema. It actually seems out of place among with this modern, blood soaked violent epic, but who am I to turn down perfectly good vintage peep show material.



VOODOUN BLUES (2004)
This is one of those things where you do not have to really be a fan of Misty Mundae to enjoy. It’s basically her film school project that received a major release because; well because she’s Misty Mundae! Really, I have a hard time believing that ei Cinema would have released this short film if Misty hadn’t done so much feature work for them.

What we get is the title film which is a short lasting only 6 minutes. It’s the extras that truly make this a disc worth having. There’s an interview with Misty Mundae that goes over the trials and tribulations of making the film. We get another documentary that goes over the making of the music for the film. Since the short has no dialogue it’s the song that makes it work. Originally, she had wanted Screaming Jay Hawkins’ I Put A Spell On You, but when she discovered that it would cost some severe cash and that it would be used in an upcoming Levi jeans promotion, she passed on it and got Tim McBride to compose a fresh piece for the film. Cinematography Joe Miller has a short film called SOUR MILK that is twisted and funny and co star Katie Bourdeaux gives us the short, WHORROR HOPPERS that is bizarre as Hell.

As for VOODOUN BLUES, we get the wild tale of a gorgeous voodoo practitioner bent on revenge against her ex lover. It’s a little David Lynchian with a definite stamp by Misty. Shot on 16mm the print is great and it shows that Misty is made for film. Sure she looks drop dead hot on video, but film gives her a more sophisticated look and the camera loves her. This is a DVD that anyone would be proud to call their own.



BITE ME! (2004)
Michael Raso, head of ei Cinema shows that he knows what makes a great film. In this case he hired film maker Brett Piper (THEY BITE & NYMPHOID BARBARIAN IN DINOSAUR HELL) to make a film that utilizes the basic framework of a Seduction Cinema film and then twists it into one of the best horror comedies on the market today.

Strip club owner Ralph (Michael Thomas) is desperate for cash. So desperate that he decides to go into the marijuana business and gets a crate of experimental pot from a couple of guys. Unfortunately, the crate is infested with these bizarre bugs that feed on human blood. It isn’t long before the club is infested, there’s a DEA agent snooping around and an exterminator who actually loves bugs is called in to quell the menace of the bugs. It’s finally up to the strippers to save the day. Misty Mundae, Julian Wells and new discovery Erika Smith must team up and defeat the bugs.



This is true exploitation at it’s finest. We get monsters, beautiful girls that like to be naked and a threadbare plot that manages to hold it all together, but not get in the way of all the fun. Brett Piper’s other film SCREAMING DEAD managed to make a truly horrific ride into terror and still keep some of the conventions of what Seduction Cinema fans have come to expect. It’s amusing to note that in both films he pokes fun at the lesbian scenes that the company is famous for. In BITE ME! The only lesbian scene takes place under a blanket and it hilarious.

Once again the extras on this disc are piled high. There are three documentaries that delve into the making of low budget cinema. We get the prerequisite interview with Misty Mundae. There’s a video by the band CKY along with a making of the video documentary and a beautiful booklet with extensive liner notes for the film. If nothing else, ei Cinema manages to stuff their DVD’s with worthwhile extras that are as entertaining as the films themselves.


LUST FOR DRACULA (2004)

If you told me that I could only pick one director to make the rest of whatever Seduction Cinema decides to put out, my vote with no hesitation would have to be Tony Marsiglia. I remember watching DR. JEKYLL AND MISTRESS HYDE for the first time and being totally blown away. Here was a tale of power, madness and corruption drenched in some of the wildest sex on the market today. And the interesting part was that the sex scenes were actually integral to the part! Couple that with a man who demands quality performances from his actors and you have a man who will be able to lead Seduction Cinema down a path of true excellence for years to come.

That brings us to LUST FOR DRACULA.

LUST FOR DRACULA just might be the most ferociously original vampire film I have seen in some time. All the major characters are played by women including Jonathan Harker, played by Julian Wells. Julian may be a man played by a woman or a woman pretending to be a man or…well it’s a little confusing and that makes the film all the better for it.

Mina Harker (Misty Mundae) is married to Jonathan (the aforementioned Ms. Wells). She wants a child to make her life complete, but is unable to conceive. Probably because Jonathan is, in reality, a woman. Add to that the presence of Dracula (Darian Caine) who is willing to give Mina what she so desperately carves. It’s interesting to note that Ms. Caine plays the part, for the most part, completely naked. Dracula is helping Mina because Jonathan is trying to create a new race of vampires that it is doubtful that Dracula will have any control over. I think.

See, that’s the beauty of this film. We are given all the information necessary to make for an enjoyable film going experience, but there are things only suggested that can be interpreted in more than one way. That’s what makes this film work. You are required to pay attention and think. Sure it’s full of naked women and their boobies and yes, there’s blood spattered in a number of different places, but director Marsiglia wants more from us as an audience.

Misty gives a fine performance as a young woman manipulated by chemicals for so long that her grasp of reality has failed miserably. Darian Caine manages to make for a regal Dracula while wearing absolutely nothing. My favorite actress to watch though would have to be Andrea Davis. As a predatory creature of the night she rules the screen with her presence. Her delivery is smoky and seductive and her looks are of a heart pounding exotic nature that makes you watch more intently than before. If anyone ever deserved her own movie at Seduction Cinema it would have to be Andrea Davis.

This DVD’s extras are a little light. There’s a good commentary for the film by Tony Marsiglia and Michael Raso. We get a behind the scenes documentary that is informative. There’s an interview with Misty Mundae and a short film entitled INSEX which is so so at best. The one thing this disc is missing and a true slap in the face is that there is no interview with Darian Caine. The film’s called Lust For Dracula, not Lust For Misty Mundae. Darian is a beautiful lady, a fine actress and she is the real star of this film. Seems like a grievous oversight on the part of the film makers.


LUST CONNECTION (2005)

Then we come to the final film in our little round up and this time I have saved the worst for last. LUST CONNECTION is not a real Seduction Cinema film. It’s something they bought and released. As for director H.R. Blueberry, when will Jim Wynorski stop making this crap?

The no talent star Glori-Anne Gilbert stars as twin sisters. When one is murdered and the husband is the prime suspect it doesn’t take long for the twin to surface and start making goo goo eyes at the husband.

This is straight, heterosexual, soft-core porn at its lowest common denominator. All the men are scary looking and the women have been stretched to the limits of what silicone will allow in our universe. The acting is sub par and nothing new under the sun is exposed in this horrid feature.

To try and make up for it the company has released the disc with a second ‘feature’ called NIGHT VAMPS. It’s not a movie it’s just more silicone taking their clothes off and wiggling around in a fashion that gets annoying at the 30 second mark. We also get another vintage peep show and commentary for LUST CONNECTION by it’s over rated star and director ‘H.R. Blueberry.

This DVD is a prime example of what to avoid in an ei Cinema film. Don’t recognize the usual cast of maniacs and babes on the back of the DVD? Then make sure it’s what you want to see. LUST CONNECTION is probably the worst film that has been released by ei Cinema ever.

This brings us to end of our little cross section of what you can see from the company ei Cinema. From the bizarre to the kinky to the complete waste of time, ei Cinema brings you the world of erotica all wrapped up in a neat little bow. Of course, being Seduction Cinema I kinda doubt it’s a bow. More like a nasty piece of spiked leather.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

BIKINI GIRLS ON DINOSAUR ISLAND

I have been going through my files and recently rediscovered the films of William Hellfire. I did an interview with Bill a while back and will run it here, but first I thought I would get some reviews of some of his work up here. I just reviewed VAMPIRE STRANGLER for a couple of other sites so I'm going to leave that one out for now and will put up links to those when they hit. In the mean time, let's get this party started with...



BIKINI GIRLS ON DINOSAUR PLANET (Seduction Cinema www.seductioncinema.com) 2005 Unrated.

Zoe Moonshine and Ruby LaRocca play space travelers checking out the prehistoric life forms on a planet. A planet of nothing but farting dinosaurs and lesbian cave girls. Director William Hellfire seems out of his normal elements of shocking cinema in such a tame endeavor. Zoe Moonshine is a delight to watch on screen and having recently interviewed her can attest to the fact that she’s a delight to talk to as well. Well, sort of we did the interview via email, but she comes across as very personable. Misty Mundae is there, but she seems lost in this sea of naked women. Tina Krause is as always, quite gorgeous to look at and well, except for the overweight Lily Tiger, all the girls are extremely hot. Looking for a complex storyline of a superior alien race studying the primitive rituals of a society of cave people? Forget it and just relax and watch the simulated sex. Best scene in the movie is when Ruby LaRocca plops head first into a huge pile of dinosaur doody and stays there for a very long time. I thought she might have died for a moment there. I asked director Hellfire about that stunt and he said they made the mud out of chocolate cake mix and Ruby just took the fall like a trooper.

As is the norm for Seduction, the disc is packed with extras. Besides the prerequisite ton of trailers and the new thing that Seduction is doing with these retro peep shows, we get another movie. Don’t get excited. It’s the lame ass Bikini Goddesses (1994) directed by former porn director David DeCoteau. His film comes with a completely unnecessary commentary that just adds to the dullness of the picture. I would have rather heard what William Hellfire had to say about his flick than this boring bastard droning on about his movie. Misty fans will all buy this and most other people will avoid it like the plague. That’s too bad because it comes across as a true throwback to the threadbare exploitation films of the 60’s and 70’s. Not Bikini Goddesses, but the other one. The good one with Misty in it.

The one thing that irritates me about this flick is that cover. All true Misty fans and aficionados know that is not her body. Why Seduction Cinema continues to photoshop Misty is beyond me. We like the girl in the movies, not some weird, fake chick that seems to be the norm for all of her more current releases. That said, I think this film does convey a real sense of nostalgia of the nudie cuite era.

Monday, April 7, 2008

TOUGH TO KILL Volume 1: The Italian Action Explosion by Paul Cooke and David Zuzelo


In the 80's Hollywood gave us some mindless action films that are fan favorites to this day. Yeah, then the Italians ran with the concept and gave us the movies we really like. In Tough To Kill, Cooke and Zuzelo give us 80 reviews from A to Z of the essential viewing in this bizarre little genre.
The reviews are fair, but you can see the love for the genre. The use of exploding huts as how good the film is ranging from one to five exploding huts is sheer genius. And they are pretty strict with their ratings. Only three of the eighty flicks actually got the coveted five exploding huts rating.
As if that by itself with the occasionally wild box art wasn't enough we get a couple of essays that look at major stars of this film style, a tribute to Bruno Mattei and an interview with Edoardo Margheriti that gives us a wonderful look at the career of his father Antonio.
Still not satisfied you greedy buggers? How about the final truth of the mythical THE BRONX CRACKDOWN?
This book is written by two gentlemen with a true love of the films they are watching. It sucks you in and makes you want to seek these things out. I've already started a list and director 'Larry Ludman' (Really Fabrizio De Angelis)is at the top of mine.
This is the first time I have ordered anything from Lulu so I wasn't sure how it would turn out. All I can say is that for less than twenty bucks my book was delivered flat, covered in layers of protection and looks great. If I ever decide to produce a book of my own, Lulu would be a fine choice for it.
According to author David Zuzelo, volume 2 of the series will focus mainly on Jungle Action films.
I can hardly wait.
Now run along and order your copy today. Just go here.

And after that, when you realize that you must own these flicks that are impossible to find on Amazon and too damned expensive on Ebay, just trot off to Digital Conquest for your Italian Action Exploitation needs. They have quite a selection of films covered here and currently are running a sale where you buy three flicks and get the fourth one free. Not a bad deal.

TOUGH TO KILL VOLUME 1: THE ITALIAN ACTION EXPLOSION. GET IT TODAY!!!


UPDATE!!

For those of you, like myself, who read through this book in a weekend, then I have good news. There's a website to help feed your need for Euroaction by the authors of Tough To Kill. Just head on over here and tell 'em that Doug sent ya!

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