I’ve neglected this place for months & it’s time to rear my Medusa like head just long enough to shit out a new retrospective.
Forgive me, my inadequacies. – Love, Nom
Toys Are Not For Children (Stanley Brassloff; 1972) Attack of the scuzzy seventies! This movie rocks! Between the talented cast and a sheer willingness to go where few dare to tread this movie is pretty much essential as far as I’m concerned. A sweet, doe-eyed girl with daddy issues & a fondness for frolicking naked with her toys turns to prostitution with tragic results. I’m honestly shocked that Marcia Forbes never made another film; she’s beyond convincing in her role as the emotionally stunted & psychologically scarred Jamie. This is one of those rare instances where you’re simultaneously uncomfortable yet thankful for the opportunity to be so. If the seventies lasted any longer we’d all be in Hell.
R.O.T.O.R. (Cullen Blaine; 1987) I’m pretty sure this was written by a lobotomized child who watched RoboCop, The Terminator & Short Circuit in succession. Terrible doesn’t begin to describe it. The poster is the best thing about this movie & even that’s a rip off of the Japanese Mad Max artwork. So many things are inexplicable I can’t even begin. I actually dare you to watch it. It’s not “so bad it’s good”, it’s so bad that it makes you wish that you could bleach your eyeballs & forget. Recommended for the truly masochistic.
Tusk (Kevin Smith; 2014) The enjoyment boiled down to a few fleeting moments peppered throughout a disgusting misappropriation of time, energy & funds. I really enjoy Smith but I think I might like his personality more than most of his films. *shrug*
Mannaja aka A Man Called Blade (Sergio Martino; 1977) With Sergio Martino helming a spaghetti western this movie had no chance of being anything but awesome. Euro-crime staple Maurizio Merli stars as the titular Mannaja who goes up against Martino favorite John Steiner in this oh-so-stylish & atmospheric slice of spaghetti pie. If you like Sergio’s giallo efforts you owe it to yourself to check out how he capped off this genre. The opening sequence should ring some familiar bells. Essential.
A Wet Dream on Elm Street (Lee Roy Myers; 2011) Fucking. Sucks. Not sexy enough to be porn, not relevant enough to be parody. If you have a “Freddy Krueger” character & he has vibrators instead of knives then you damn sure better showcase the fuck out of them. They barely even show his face! He bangs a chick for a god damned hour & never uses the glove once! That’s prime opportunity for double/triple/quadruple penetration, making her airtight or at minimum a nice stuffed-mouth fuck. What do we get? Nothing. Oh, a chick with big zits on her ass. Thanks for making me puke in my mouth, Myers. It’s a fucking slap in the face to porn AND horror fans. You can’t pass on this shit fast enough.
It Conquered the World (Roger Corman; 1956) Lee Van Cleef, Beverly Garland & Peter Graves star in this above-average B-grade quickie monster pic directed by none other than the Cor-man himself. The low budget & silliness of the alien monster actually make for an endearing, fun ride. Yes, it’s a ridiculous plot but it’s played earnestly by some damn fine actors and it’s absolutely worth the watch. Keep your eyes peeled for a young Dick Miller!
Sleepaway Camp (Robert Hitlzik; 1983) Can you believe I had never seen this little gem? I’m sure I can’t say anything about this movie that everyone else in the universe hasn’t already considered. I’m sorry I waited so long to check it out. Great stuff.
Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy; 2014) Gilroy impressed the hell out of me with this. Thoroughly original & beautifully written/directed, this is the L.A. that needed to be shown – with shallowness & inhumanity on display as commonplace as a stock ticker footnote. Gyllenhal has the uncanny ability to both repel & amuse- he’s brilliant. Highest of recommends.
Ed Wood (Tim Burton; 1994) Everyone loves this film and for good reason. To have such an amazing cast of talent respectfully & lovingly dive into the life of someone that oddballs revere & who most revile has to be up there in the makes-your-heart-sing category. Bliss.
Titus (Julie Taymor; 1999) One of the most visually stunning movies I’ve ever seen. Easily the greatest Shakespeare committed to celluloid. (In the Shakespearean tongue, mind you) If you haven’t seen this stop what you’re doing right now & track it down. It’s an overdose of pure creative genius. Spike that vein stat.
How to Enlarge Your Penis (John Stagliano; 1985) This is a 15 min penis-pumping video starring coked up porn director Scott Taylor. The train of ridiculous bullshit that comes out of his mouth while he’s pumping his dick is what makes this video so essential. He tries his inept best to be sexy, informative, philosophical & clinical all at once. Delicious nonsense.
The Curse of the Werewolf (Terence Fisher; 1961) Oliver Reed + Hammer + Yvonne Romain + Werewolves + Rape = Why the fuck are you still sitting here reading? These old creature features are all similar in tone, the true monsters are always the townsfolk & the sweet albeit bloodthirsty beast is the tragic antihero. Get your shiny silver forks kiddies, time for cake & empathy.
Blood Sabbath (Brianne Murphy; 1972) Before Dyanne Thorne gained cult status as Ilsa she tittied up the screen as “Alotta, Queen of the Witches” in this hot mess that does its best to fall into the category that was so prevalent at the time – Erotic Witchcraft. It mostly just bores us to death with its hippy-free-love bullshit & psychedelic music (composed by Les Baxter no less!). This thing had to be made on zero budget & while under the influence because what it lacks in cohesion & acting ability it makes up for in nudity & dirty feet. (No, I don’t want shoes! I need to feel Mother Earth breathing under my feet, man.) If you’re a sucker for titties & fake occult movies then this should be next on your hit list. Watch for a brief appearance by Uschi Digard frolicking with her fun bags on full display.
Werewolf (Tony Zarindast; 1996) Zarindast has the unparalleled ability to set screens ablaze with his passion for ineptitude and his unapologetic avoidance of continuity. I first saw this on Mystery Science Theater 3000 but immediately fell in love & had to track it down to view as it was intended, sans riffing. I thank God every single day for the advent of the internet. This movie wins not in spite of the problems that plagued the production but because of them. Do yourself a favor & check it out. It’s “absolutely fascinating”.
Il Cittadino si Ribella aka Street Law (Enzo Castellari; 1975) If the poster art & synopsis are any indication, the film promises to be an Italian Death Wish clone but what you get is something much more rewarding despite being difficult to watch at times. When you grow up seeing Franco Nero take care of business in any & all situations it’s hard to witness him fail not only miserably but often. Although, under the crafty eye of Castellari what you get is an exciting and realistic portrayal of what happens when civility & lawlessness clash. It’s not a perfect film but I fully respect and appreciate the depressed & cynical tone. Corruption is rampant, humanity is dying and the underdog quite often loses. Bravo, Castellari!
Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo (Stuart Hagmann; 1977) I know I’ve discussed ad nauseam my distaste for animal-movies. “Why the fuck do you keep watching them?” you might ask. 1) I’m an idiot who never learns her lessons. 2) It’s got Tom *motherfucking* Atkins in it. All bets are off where he is concerned. So, of course I get pie-eyed & dense when I see his name & neglect to notice that this is just a shitty made-for-TV movie. UGH. By & large these movies suck but throw animals & the seventies into the mix & it doesn’t matter if Atkins is eating tarantulas for the entire runtime it’s going to be questionable at best. Needless to say this film fails on all levels. Tom manages to brighten the screen for about 5 minutes & we’re left wishing that the spiders would annihilate this dirt-farm town & every racist asshole in it. Watch Kingdom of the Spiders instead; you can’t go wrong with Shatner.
Se incontri Sartana prega per la tua morte aka If You Meet Sartana Pray For Your Death (Gianfranco Parolini; 1968) The thing that I love about spaghetti westerns is that they portray people as they most often really are – dishonest & selfish. There is no distinct “good guy” who saves the day while singing a song & helping orphans before marrying a pretty maiden. The “hero” is anything but – he just happens to be slicker than the rest of the scoundrels out there fighting for the same stash of gold. This film is particularly enjoyable because every character involved is a piece of shit plotting to screw over everyone else. Gianni Garko is the epitome of cool in this first of the Sartana series. Parolini’s work on this film is what led him to the Sabata Trilogy (a review for another time). He offers up brilliant direction- the action is nonstop, the body count is high & because everyone is treacherous you’re invested from start to finish. William Berger is incredible as always & even though he wasn’t needed, Kinksi hangs around for about 10 minutes. You’re reminded (intentionally, I’m sure) of Eastwood’s “Man with No Name“; there’s very little dialogue but what’s uttered is worth its weight in gold. “I am your pallbearer”, indeed.
The Story of Prunella (Phil Prince; 1982) A fucking fabulous XXX roughie helmed by the “Prince of Porn” himself. I find myself really struck by Phil’s movies & often wonder what life must’ve been like for this motley crew of porn stars who worked on arguably some of the sleazier productions. Prince embraced the grime & filth and seemed to revel in rape, incest & despair. This succeeds in a big way because the amount of porn balances perfectly with the story/action. I abhor the dirty 70’s bare feet but that is easily overlooked when you have the wild eyed, rape-tastic George Payne, Ron Jeremy as a *cough* cop, an oddly placed videogame soundtrack and a shock ending that makes you want to head straight to the confessional. Most of you probably own this but if not you’re missing out on a true grindhouse classic.
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