Friday, September 28, 2012

Savage Harbor aka Death Feud (1987)

One would think that if you put Chris Mitchum and Frank Stallone (yes, he's got two older brothers: Rocky and Rambo) one would get good action movies. Unfortunately that not the case with Save Harbor. Mitchum and Stallone plays sailors. Stallone's characters rescues woman who is running away from her pimp. They fall in love, but Stallone has to go out to sea for a work. Pimp forces the girl back to her old tricks and gets her hooked up on smack again. Stallone comes back from the sea 6 month later and the girl is nowhere to be found. Rest of the movie pretty much concentrates on Stallone trying to find his girl.

There are couple of good action scenes, especially the one where guy gets drag behind a pick-up truck. That shit look dangerous! Mitchum gives good performance as usual. Basic '80s action crap, just too little action and too much talk. Directed by Carl Monson.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Commondo Mengele aka Angel Of Death (1987)

Infamous nazi doctor Josef Mengele (played by Howard Vernon) is hiding in some South American country. In which country ? Eather i was making snack when this was explained or it never was explained. Anyways. He is back to his old tricks, conducting human experiments. Group of nazi hunters get a hint about his whereabouts and they start planning a mission to bring Mengele to justice.

Directed by Andrea Bianchi, best knows for his etruscan Zombie mayhem "Burial ground". I have say that movie blew me away. This is some amazing package: special effects (hair clued on mans face and arms to make him look like a half ape/half man), acting (one of the nazi hunters is a karate experts and he demonstrates his skills every time he gets some screen time) and directing... I think that Bianchi dozed off while "directing" in half of the scenes and just kept the camera rolling. Dialog is also priceless. One of the guys, who are out to catch Mengele, is an acrobat and he gets his legs shot to pieces. "It's okay, it's okay, i can still do card tricks for a living". Talk about positive attitude!

Chris Mitchum is billed as the leading star, but once again his screen time is very limited. He plays an evil sidekick to Mengele, so something different this time. Jesus Franco provited the script and off they went. Be prepared for some mind bobbling '80s Euro-madness!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Trhauma (1980)

Yes, in case you are wondering the spelling is correct. Movie starts with a flashback from couple of decades back. Two young boys are playing together. One of them has one blind eye (tacky white contact lense) and is bit slow. Other one is clearly the boss and tells the disabled one that if the doesn’t climb on the tree he won’t be his friend anymore. Disabled boy falls from the tree and other one calls him stupid and runs away. Fast forward some odd years. A group of friends are spending a weekend on a summer cottage. The disabled boy is now all grown up (he still has the tacky contact lens...) and he start to kill the guests one by one. But someone else is behind all this. We get a clue about this when a figure from the shadows gives the disabled killer couple of packs of Lego-Duplo like building bricks...

Pretty enjoyable movie. Of course the mastermind behind the killings is pretty obvious from the start. Most of the killings are done off screen, so don’t expect any over the top slasher-o-rama. There are still couple of disturbing scenes, especially the one where the one-eyed-killer gets it on with his first victim, after he has killed her. There are couple of nighttime scenes that are filmed during daytime; broader shots in these are are shot during nighttime but the close-up are clearly shot during daytime.

All in all, a decent giallo. Directed by Gianni Martucci (Blazing Flowers).

Monday, September 17, 2012

Executioner, Part II, The (1984)

Oh dear...I am a big fan of Chris Mitchum, but this one is really weak entry in his filmography. He's got cool mustache in this one though. What about Executioner Part 1? As fas as i can tell there is no part 1, they went straight to sequel...

Movie starts with a flashback from Vietnam, squad of American soldiers are under attack and suddenly we cut to the present day. Mitchum plays cop who is working on a case to catch a vigilante killer, The Executioner, who is killing the thugs and criminals. Prime suspect is his Vietnam buddy who saved his life. Real dilemma there, should he arrest him or not. His daughter is also hooked on drugs and she gets into a bad crowd to support her habit.

Low budget straight to video stuff. Plot is full of holes, sometimes the movie jumps from one scene to another kind of leaving you hanging just what happened. Action scenes are really weak. Althought Mitchum is the leading man his screentime is somewhat limited. Couple of years after Executioner Part II Mitchum went to Indonesia and filmed some of the best action movies, Final Score and Lethal Hunter, ever made with the mighty Arizal.

Directed by James Bryan, best known for "Don't go in the woods"

Friday, August 31, 2012

Robo Vampire (1988)

Classic? You damn betcha! Police officer is killed in the line of duty and what is left of him is turned into a android, half man half robot (Does this sound familiar?). He is send on a mission to rescue kidnapped secret agent and in the process bring down the drug cartel.

Directed by Godfrey Ho (as John Livingstone) and you know you are in for a treat. Ho touches on subjects that are too delicate for other directors to even think of touching. Like marriage between ghost and vampire in a gorilla suit, Robo officer fighting hopping vampires, just to name of few.

The cheer entertainment value of this movie is just beyond any scale. Cartboard robocop, hopping vampires, kung fu fight, gun fights, explosions... You just have to see this movie for yourself to truly appreciate it. But be warned, you will never ever watch Robocop again without thinking about Godfrey Ho and his classic "Robo Vampire".

Just check out this still image collage and tell me that this does not whet your appetite to see this movie. Doctor gives his diagnosis after Robo is shot with a bazooka, twice "I'm afraid he short circuited". I am speechless.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Scarecrows (1988)

Group of soldiers heist a payroll money. One of them betrays them, jumping off the getaway plain with the money. Rest of the soldiers follow him and find themselves in the middle of old graveyard with lots of scarecrows. But these are not your ordinary scarecrows, they are very lively and they start to kill the soldiers one by one.

Low budget but ok special effects, bad acting, so this should be pretty good cheese fest but no. It's only a-ok flick. One of the biggest flaws is that the scarecrows don't have that iconic look to them, compared to icons like Jason or Halloween's Mike Mayers. Directed by William Wesley. According to IMDB he only directed one other film, Route 666.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Blaxploitation Explosion: Death Journey (1976), Truck Turner (1974), Trouble Man (1972), Super Fly (1972)

Death Journey (1976)
"One mean cat" Jesse Crowder (Fred Williamson) is hired to take star witness (Bernard Kirby) from Los Angeles to New York. Sounds like a easy job but themobsters who want the star witness dead make their journey feel like a trip through hell, a real Death Journey! But don't worry , Crowder still has the time to get it on with the ladies.

Aaah, shit. Fred, Fred. Even the meanest bad ass on the face of the planet, Fred Williamson,  can't really save this one. Full of long shots of stuff that really could have been easily left on the cutting room's floor: Williamson practising karate, Bernard Kirby eating chocolate etc. Those scenes must be put in to get the running time little longer. It's now clocking just little over 70 minutes. Couple of good action scenes, but i have to say that movie is definitely not the best movie starring Williamson. Fred Williamson also directed this one.

Truck Turner (1974)
Truck Turner is a bounty hunter (Isaac Hayes). He gets a job to bring in guy named Gator. Gator gets killed and now the Gator's woman has put out a contract on Turner. When Turner's sidekick buddy gets killed, Turner will make all those mobster pay for it.

Full of iconic shots with Hayes pointing his .357 Magnum and blasting away the pimps and mobsters. The dialog in this movie just makes me laugh out loud. Absolutely brilliant. The man with the silky voice, Isaac Hayes, is really good in this role. I have to track down also the screen debut from Hayes, Tough Guys from 1974. It's really sad that he didn't make any more Blaxploitation films. I think that the music of course took most of his time at this point of his life.

Trouble Man (1972)
Local tougher than nails go-to guy Mr T (Robert Hooks) gets in a middle of local illegal gambling territory wars. Masked men are robbing the other gangs joints. Gang hires Mr T to solve the problem but he gets framed for killing one of the robbers who turns out to be member of the rival gang. Now Mr T has to figure out who is behind all this and most of all stay alive!

Easily one of the best Blaxploitation movies. Robert Hooks gives an amazing performance as the Mr "nobody f**ks with me" T. Action is top notch and dialog is full of stuff that makes you just want to yell "Yeah!" all the time. Recommended.

Super Fly (1972)
Priest (Ron O'Neal) is a small time drug dealer. He starts to realise that only way to survive is to end his dope dealing days. So he decides to make just one more big deal and then quit. But it's not that easy to get out of the "cocaine business".

First of all i have to say that this movie has one of the best "theme songs" of the genre. Curtis Mayfield's Pusherman is just a brilliant song. Mayfield also makes apperance in the film, as a night club singer performing the Pusherman. This movie works on all levels, great story and acting is top notch. Especially the scene where Priest and his pusher friend gets a proposition that will change their lives and they discuss in the street corner about their future.

Highly recommended.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hellbenders, The (1967)

Confederate officer Jonas (Joseph Cotten) along with his sons rob a convoy carrying shit load of money. They brutally kill everyone in the convoy so there will be no witnesses. Jonas wants to use the money to revive "the south" again. They hid the money inside a coffin that they have in their wagon as they plan to travel back to their home territory. They also have "grieving widow" (Norma Bengell) along for the ride just in case they get stopped by the army or the law.

The film felt too "American" for me. Maybe it was the leading actors or something. I just couldn't get into that good ol' spaghetti mood when i was watching this film. Story was good and acting was fine, but there was something holding back for me about this film.

Directed by Sergio Corbucci. He did ok job, nothing really special to say about the direction. At this point the best one from him was yet to come, The Great Silence.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Primal Rage (1988)

Science professor in the university is using monkeys in his experiments. Monkey turns into a raving maniac as his experiment fails. One of the students breaks into the laboratory and in the process sets the monkey free and gets bitten by the monkey. Infected by horrid raging-monkey-disease the student turns into a raging lunatic who starts to kill people at the campus.

Well, yeah. Pretty damn horrid movie, special effects are ok, but the plot is really thin and especially the acting is really bad. Not in that good b-movie way bad. And believe me, i tried to find something good about this movie, but i slipped into b-movie coma and just watched the end of the movie with blank stare and drool dripping from my mouth. B-movie-comatozed.

Directed by Vittorio Rambaldi. The maestro Umberto Lenzi wrote the story.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hands Of Steel (1986)

Update 9.2.2012
New DVD release (Future Film, AWE) with great picture quality, sadly non-anomorphic. Here is couple of screenshots of the disc (click images for full size)

Original review, published 26.08.2010

In a near future... well, actually now it's the past. At least on the video cover it says "In 1997.."

Bionic killer cyborg Paco is programmed to kill scientist, but suddenly develops a conscience and lets the scientist live. He escapes the law and the people who programmed him to kill. Ends up in isolated bar arm wrestling truck drivers. Final showdown includes chick cyborg vs Paco (priceless!), helicopters and lazer guns.

Directed by Sergio Martino better known for his excellent giallos (Torso, The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh etc). Excellent '80 action film with cheesy dialog and hilarious computer stuff (~ 25 years is a long time in a computer world). John Saxon is the main villain. As always he delivers the goods.

Special kudos for soundtrack, pure '80 stuff and the dramatic score is really catchy. I couldn't find the composer, if somebody knows, please drop a line.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Masterblaster (1987)

Best of the best have gathered in a paintball tournament to see who is the ultimate paintballer. Things start to go awry when someone start to kill the competitors for real.

Shit, i remember liking this movie a lot as a youngster but i have to say that it has not aged well. First part of the movie is basically just about competitors getting ready for the competition, nothing really happens. Murders are pretty well done, but i have to say that this is one of those movies that i should have not watched again and just  have the recollection from my youth that this is one awesome movie. Not bad enough to be good.

You might wanna skip this one (especially if you have watched this at the time when it first came out on video). Probs for the title song, it's just... mind blowing.

Directed by Glenn R. Wilder. This was the one and only film he ever directed and it not hard to see why...

Monday, January 30, 2012

American Commandos (1985)

Strange movie, basically two movies in one. First one is a revenge story and in second one group of American Vietnam-vets take out the Golden Triangle heroin ring.

ACT I: The Revenge
Vietnam-vet Dean Mitchell(Chris Mitchum) works at a gas station. One night group of thugs rob the place. Dean manages to kill one of the robbers. Remaining thugs invate Deans home while he is at work. When he gets back home he finds his son killed and his wife bound to bed and raped. When he unties his wife, she takes her own life with a razor in the bathroom. This send Dean over the edge and he hunts down the thugs one by one.

At this point i was pretty confused. Film had lasted only 30 minutes and Dean had already taken out all the thugs. Now what? And why in the hell is the movie called "American Commandos". Well, lets move on to the second act...

ACT II: The Golden Triangle
Dean is offered a job to take out the heroin smuggling ring, Golden Triangle. He acceps the job, of course 'cos he is a man who has nothing to lose. He gathers his old army buddies and off they go in  this cool bulletproof armour car to take out the heroin ring. And as a special suprise for the bad guys chasing them they got motorcycle with rocket lauchers. Action wise the second act is top notch, lots of gun fights, explosions, car chases. Full of really cool stuff. Law and Mitchum are really good in this movie, both of them are just fitted for these kind of roles. Hats off to them.

Franco Guerrero plays the bad guy of the movie. He is a sadistic drug lord who takes no shit from anybody. If he's workers try to escape from the drug plantation, they are executed, plain and simple.

Directed by late great Bobby A. Suarez and comes highly recommended for all the action movie junkies. Just don't let the first part fool you, act II is where the action is.

Release year in IMDB is 1986, but lots of other sources in the Internet claim its released in 1985.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Superargo Against Diabolicus (1966), Superargo (L'invincibile Superman, 1968)

Superargo Against Diabolicus (1966)
Wrestler Superargo (Giovanni Cianfriglia) accidentally kills his opponent in the ring and he retires from the world of wrestling. But there is a job to do and the only one who can deliver is Superargo. So he is called in to stop a crazy bastard who is about to take over the world with his crazy schema.

Superargo (L'invincibile Superman, 1968)
Superargo (once again Giovanni Cianfriglia) got to stop madman who is turning top athletics into robots. And of course this madman's ultimate goal is to take over the world. This time Superargo has an Indian guru as his sidekick. So be prepared for some levitation action in this one...

Ok,what we have here is Superargo who is a caped crusader (yeah the cape and suit is bulletproof) doing jobs that normally are signed to James Bond. El Santo might be Superargos's distant cousin. At least they must have the same mask maker...

I think that these movies had decent budgets and they are really Bondesque in terms of crazed villains trying to take over the world, Superargo having all kinds of cool gadgets and the over all feel is more like a spy movie than your typical superhero movie.

I have to say that i really eyjoyed these films. Yes, they look ridiculous at this time and age but that is part of their charm. Well, i think it's hard not to like superhero running around in bulletproof spandex and saving the world!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Prom Night (1980)

Four kids accidentally cause the death of their fellow comrade. Fast forward six years and now these kids are teenagers and they are getting ready for the prom night. Maniac starts to kill them one by one.

Heavily relying on the fame of Jamie Lee Curtis as the early '80s scream queen. Opening scene where the kids kill their friend is pretty well done, but after that (six year later) movie kind of drags on a little bit, nothing really happens. Maniac just makes a couple of phone calls to the victims-to-be. Leslie Nilsen plays the father of the child that was killed and Curtis plays her sister. Ending is pretty good, maniac doing "disco dance" with an axe.

Not the worst slasher for the early '80s, but certainly not the best. My least favourite slasher featuring Jamie Lee Curtis, i have to say. There was remake made in 2008, but what i have read for various reviews, it's total piece of sh*t.

Directed by Paul Lynch.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hell Night (1981)

Four college pledges, 2 girls and 2 boys, have to spend a night in an old empty mansion so that they are approved in the fraternities and sororities. Older members are playing pranks on them: loud screams from the hidden speakers, ghosts moving in the hallways etc. But there is strange killer on the loose who starts to kill off older members one by one and after that he is after the four pledges. Can they get out of the mansion before it's too late!!!

Actually this movie feels more like an old gothic horror movie than a slasher. The killer is a strange wolfman type character, not your typical student-gone-insane-from-the-childhood-trauma slasher movie killer. Linda Blair is not my favorite actor. Well, basically she can't act... and in this movie her performance is really halfhearted. Sometimes she looks like she is bored out of her mind.

All in all, pretty decent horror movie, but not my favorite slasher from the early '80s.

Directed by Tom DeSimone.