Friday, July 29, 2011

"Goodbye, Bruce Lee His Last Game of Death"(1975) d/Lin Pin, Harold B. Schwartz

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"...He uses every human capability, with a fingertip sensitivity... His kung fu courage set in motion, it is a massive dynamic explosion!" Cue: wah wah-heavy disco guitar riff. Yeah, from the funky opening strains of the title song(the aptly-titled "King of Kung Fu", as sung by a man simply named Candy) the viewer should automatically realize what he's in for in screening tonight's review, a tastelessly grimy Brucesploitation cash-in vehicle for Taiwanese karateka Ho Tsung Tao, who toiled thanklessly throughout a career in countless low budget grindhouse rip offs as 'Bruce Li', certainly the most prolific of the many Bruce Lee imitators out there, for whatever the hell that might be worth to you.Sadly, what few decent movies exist in his filmography(Bruce Lee:The Man, The Myth(1978), Dynamo(1978), Edge of Fury(1978), and The Lama Avenger(1979) are a few I can think of atm) tend to get buried underneath the massif of exploitative deuces he had the misfortune of signing on to appear in, like 1977's Bruce Li in New Guinea where he's forced to trade kicks with extras in shabby gorilla suits.
In regards to tonight's entry, the film's producers opted for groovy seventies wear, hastily painted plywood sets, and inept fight choreography over upright martial simians.They probably should have gone with the kung fu apes instead.Three years before Golden Harvest would build a rotten cut n' paste B movie with lookalikes and doesn'tlookalikes in Elvis sunglasses and crepe wool beards around the sloppy test footage Bruce Lee shot for his 'Game of Death' idea, German production company Atlas International also tried to bring Lee's multi-level pagoda full of different martial arts masters idea to fruition with Goodbye, Bruce Lee, but as you'll read(or see, if you've the guts!)here, it didn't work out too well.At all.Towards!
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Lee(Ho Tsung Tao) shows off his impressive flexibility, which ranks somewhere between 'petrified wood' and 'block of titanium'.
We first see Lee(Bruce Li) showing off on gymnastic rings and a pommel horse in a cheap attempt to impress his girlfriend that draws smiles out of the girl.Maybe if his stunt double was more proficient at gymnastics he'd have scored some kisses.After completing an atrociously choreographed fight scene(there'll be a lot of these, mind you), he is approached by Lin and Cho, two producers who explain that they'd been working on a film with Bruce Lee until his sudden, untimely death, and over some quick cut, dimly lit profile shots of Li(reinforcing just how little he resembles Lee afterall), that he was meant to finish the motion picture for them, as he's the natural replacement for the fallen kung fu star.The young man promises to get back to them, after he's pondered the project thoroughly, and changed his gaudy seventies outfits(looks like Charles Nelson Reilly was wardrobe manager on this movie) several more times.After Lee and his gal are randomly harrassed into more sloppy fights by several groups of unrelated pedestrian non-martial artist guys for no apparent reason whatsoever, they sit down to screen the unfinished Bruce Lee film with the producers.The film-within-a-film, involving a package stuffed full of cash as handed over to Bruce Lee(translation:Bruce Li, who's playing both the star and the imitator, and looking no different as either) by a dying Chinese who's been given a martial reprieve from a slow mo labonza-shanking by a gweilo.It just so happens that the cash is much coveted by no less than two triad gangs.I sense some more atrociously choreographed fights on the horizon.
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"Meathead" has had enough of your bigotry and chauvenism, Arch.
After a piss-poor Kareem Abdul Jabbar wanna-be lankster tries to gaffle the box off of Bruce, his squeeze is lifted by The Far East Trading Co.(translation:bad guys), which is headed by the pompadoured Boss K(Fei Lung), who's decked out in such gaudy red turtlenecks, bell bottoms, and leather trenches he might as well have been named Pretty Tony.All he's missing is a stable of baaad bitches.K takes Bruce's arm candy to the 'Tower of Death'(translation:brightly painted particle board set for interiors, Chung Hsing Tower for exteriors) where he'll have to fight his way through various 'opponents'(I use this term very lightly here) to the top to gain her freedom and bring this muddled mess to a close.On the first level, he easily defeats two lethargic karatekas of little skill.Reaching the second level, he uses his legendary teleportation kung fu(?) to blink himself a la 'I Dream of Jeannie' all around a non-Japanese looking samurai, thus driving him pazzo, wildly chopping air with his tanto in the process.After dispatching a Korean practitioner on the third level, he's faced with a dirty-looking white guy with a beer belly in nut hugger shorts on the fourth.The fifth level brings Mao Shan, of Five Shaolin Masters(1974) fame, only he's decked out in Hindu gear and ass-bouncing across the floor from a lotus position.One sloppy fight later, Lee faces off against a black boxer who would have been better served carrying spit buckets for Mickey Goldmill.Finally, at the top, Lee goes head to head with Boss K, whose whipping technique proves no match for the clumsy nunchaku work of the impostor in the famous yellow and black tracksuit.As Lee is reunited with his dame, we're taken to the end titles by Candy's disco theme for what seems like the hundredth time.You can just imagine Lee Jun Fan slowly spinning on that rotisserie in Hell over this one.
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"Exciting movie?!!?Whoa, stop right there, this doesn't qualify!"
It's almost ironic that a Z-grade Brucesploitation craptacular like this would receive a widescreen remastering and special dvd treatment from a company like Anchor Bay(!!!), when it's probably not even worthy enough for placement in one of those 20 kung fu movie collection tins you find on a five dollar sale rack at K-Mart.If the sub-par fights, embarrassing fashions, annoying disco title track, and dodgy plot don't draw you in, though, this might: the ADR for the 'Boss K' character is unmistakable, as provided by none other than apex silver screen baddie, David Hess!Worth a look for Bruce Lee exploitation fans, Krug Stilo completists, and lovers of rotten chopsocky cinema everywhere, Goodbye Bruce Lee merits a single wop.It's a lot like your kung fu.It doesn't look that hot.
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They couldn't have matched up the nunchucks and the track suit? C'monnnn.
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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"2,000 Maniacs!"(1964)d/Herschell Gordon Lewis

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In the early part of 1964, the 'Godfather of Gore', Herschell Gordon Lewis followed up his wildly controversial pioneer foray into explicitly violent drive-in movies, 1963's primitive splatter opus, Blood Feast, with tonight's entry, a more urbane and imaginative affair that deals with a town full of Confederate ghosts seasoning the centennial of their brutal massacre at the hands of Yankee troops with violent retribution and rebel yells.With an alleged budget of sixty-five thousand dollars and the effervescent participation of the entire town of St. Cloud, Florida, Lewis triumphantly succeeds in creating a more jocular, piquant viewing experience this time around; Maniacs would be the second film in Lewis' "Blood Trilogy", and the second to feature Bill Kerwin as the (aging) male lead opposite to Playboy's 1963 playmate, the scrumptiously nubile Connie Mason.Amazingly, the director avoids the obvious race angle altogether, with nary a colored fella to be found among the supporting cast.Of course, it's still an H.G. Lewis movie, through and through, with buckets of unconvincing grue splashing mannekin limbs and a cringe-cajoling familiarly amateur vibe permeating the production, but it's light fun, and stands as Lewis' own favorite of his films, and mine, too, if anybody's keeping score out there.Even the soundtrack, which includes some upbeat country/bluegrass thigh-slappin' humdingers from 'The Pleasant Valley Boys'(and a theme crooned by H.G. himself!), is upgraded this time around.The South does rise again, only it's from the grave to exact bloody vengeance from the descendants of Union forces here, resulting in a rip-roarin' good time to be had by all.Forwards!
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Those Pleasant Valley boys got them some good 'uns.Dogged if they don't!
An impromptu roadblock leads six northerners into the center of rural Pleasant Valley for its centennial celebration, unaware that their backwoods hayseed hosts have targeted them for violent retributive death for having license plates from states on the wrong side of the Mason/Dixon line.Mayor Buckman(Jeffrey Allen) informs the unsuspecting Yanks amidst much forced-sounding Southern drawl, and a-hootin' and a-hollerin' from Lester(Ben Moore) and Rufe(Gary Bakeman), his drawer-draggin' constituents, that they're guests of honor for the event.The adulterous Bea and John Miller(Shelby Livingston, Jerome Eden) are too busy flirting with their favorite confederate locals to effectively scrutinize the fucking pickle they've just gotten themselves in.Beverly and David Wells(Yvonne Gilbert, Michael Korb), a Wonderbread couple from the North, are equally Lethean to their inexorable fortunes.Only the beautiful blonde, Terry Adams(Connie Mason) and her aged ride-thumber, Tom White(William Kerwin) are the slightest bit circumspective of their abrupt hospitality at the hands of the good ol' boys.Harper(Mark Douglas),a firm believer in common household rope as a clothing accesory, lures Bea out to the woods for a discreet session of extramarital make outin', and after playing "Feel that blade!" with her, laughingly lops her thumb off.Her severed arm provides the comestibles at that night's barbeque by the fire, where Betsy(Linda Cochran) moonshines up Bea's husband, John, who finds himself tied to four horses all galloping in different directions.We like to call that "drawing and quartering" in these here parts.Despite the Millers' sudden disappearances, Buckman's reluctance to explain the necessary Yankee ingredients in the reb-celebration, and an inability to get an outside telephone line in the town, Terry and Tom still haven't figured it all out.
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Harper(Mark Douglas) done tole ya thet knahfe were sharp.
The next day, a recalcitrant David is dragged out to participate in the "Barrel Roll"; only after he's forcibly held inside the barrel does he notice the nine inch nails being gleefully hammered into his wooden prison.And then there were three.Beverly whimperingly judges 'Ol Teetering Rock, which Rufe dislodges from its tentative roost with a good curve ball, sending the massive prop crashing down on the tearful Yankee, permanently removing her from the equation.Finally, it all dawns on the two remaining Union descendants:This is a revenge-fueled centennial where the northerners provide a blood sacrifice.Really couldn't figure that one out a little sooner, kids?Tom brains one of the Bufords guarding their rooms with his own acoustic twanger, grabs Terry and an annoying cat-lynching, confederate brat version of 'Dennis the Menace' named Billy, who divulges the yank's convertible key whereabouts in exchange for candy and a chance to draaaaaaahve the car.During the scramble to recapture the last guests of honor, Harper unwittingly quicksands himself.The would be vics ditch the young loudmouth and drive directly to the local sheriff, while Buckman and co. start dismantling all evidence of their celebration.When our heroes return to the scene of the crime, the entire town has vanished with an empty, swampy marsh in its stead.They find a large rock with a memorial plaque paying tribute to the denizens of Pleasant Valley who were brutally massacred by passing Union troops some one hundred years earlier.Elsewhere, the ghosts retrieve Harper from the bog, and ponder what the next centennial will bring.Tom discovers Billy's toy noose still hanging off of Terry's rearview mirror, proof that it really happened.The two yankees drive off, vowing never to take a detour again.You said it!And how!Boy, I'll say!Okay, I'll stop...
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Well, you could just about rub me with stick butter and call me hominy grits!
The 82 year old Lewis continues to churn out cheezy B movies to this very day, with a fueled resurgence in popularity spurring on such titles as Blood Feast 2:All You Can Eat(2002) and The Uh Oh! Show(2009), and marking his return to the exploitation world after a thirty year absence.Personally, I prefer his old stuff, as it was more daring and shocking the first time around, while his recent material just seems to come off as rehashed nostalgic leftovers served up as fan boy-fodder.He followed tonight's entry up with Color Me Blood Red(1965), his last foray into gore before tackling the vampire mythology the following year with A Taste of Blood.We'll examine both of those movies here at the Wop at a later date, for sure.Whether you're a-layin' 'round the shack 'til the mule train comes back, or rollin' in your sweet baby's arms, Maniacs is a Pleasant eighty-seven minute excursion to the Valley, and with a top mark two wop score on the rating scale, it stands as H.G. Lewis' finest.Y'all check it out now, hear?
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Ol' Teeterin' Papier-mâché claims another centennial victim.
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"Bad Lieutenant"(1992)d/Abel Ferrara

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If you happen to be in the midst of a discussion concerning independent film directors, and the subject of Bronx native, Abel Ferrara, comes up, you can avoid any lengthy pretentious banter by the bearded-trendy-Nancys-in-skinny-jeans surrounding you(who always seem to think their grasp on film is much firmer than yours, of course) about "Driller Killer"(1979), "Ms. 45"(1981), or even 1990's "King of New York" by simply uttering two words, and naming his greatest cinematic achievement, one of the best movies of the nineties, hands down, in the same breath.Bad Lieutenant.The subject of tonight's focus, which is lovingly dedicated to the memory of my mother, Jean Marie Antonello-Monteforte, who was arguably the most hardcore fan of this movie that ever walked the earth.Il mondo 'e vuoto senza di te.For serious.There've been some bad cops in cinema history.Gary Oldman in Leon:The Professional(1994), Orson Wells in Touch of Evil(1958), the entire force in Serpico(1973) all immediately come to mind.None compare to the nameless antihero in Ferrara's 1992 sordidly brilliant offering; a despicable criminal, hopeless drug addict, and degenerate gambler all wrapped up into one corrupt-as-fuck Manhattan police detective, as realized by Harvey Keitel, one of my long-time favorite actors, in one of the grittiest, slimiest, and most unforgettable performances in his long, storied career.Also on board in supporting capacities here are Victor Argo, Paul Calderon, Frankie Thorn, and Ms. 45 star, the late Zoë Lund, who along with Argo, Calderon, and Ferrara, wrote the screenplay, as well.This one oozes New York from every frame; you could probably reach out to the screen and pull back a slice from Sbarro's, luke warm, just how you like it.My college cohorts and I walked around campus parroting Keitel's every outrageous line for weeks after first seeing it.A word of advice, avoid the R cut altogether and dive headlong into the NC-17 version of the film instead, you'll be glad you did.Onwards!
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A healthy breakfast begins with snortables.
We're introduced to the titular detective(Harvey Keitel) as he's forced to drive his two young sons to school, due to Aunt Wendy's early morning dilly-dallying in the bathroom.He tips them off that next time, he'll "throw her the fuck out."After letting the boys out, he snorts a bump of cocaine in plain view of the school, and drives off.He meets up with his fellow beat cops and detectives and discusses their betting plans for the upcoming NLCS game between the Mets and Dodgers, advising them to bet on the Mets, who are down three games to zero, while he secretly lays his winnings on the Dodgers.He's seen chasing a street-level coke dealer into a tenement building, where the two men divvy up a huge bag of headache powder(that the Lt. can't seem to help dipping into over and over).An alcohol-fueled mid-shift rendezvous with a pair of prostitutes(one male, one female) leaves him naked and shmammered, incoherently crying and babbling.He shows up at an Asian bodega that's just been held up by two black teenagers, sends off the arresting officer and store owner, then strong arms the ganked loot off the thugs(which he pockets), letting them run off.The owner's granddaughter watches as he helps himself to free beer and snacks in the empty corner market.He stops off at another girl's place, where they smoke heroin off of some tin foil together.Meanwhile, two hispanic crackheads defile a local church, brutally gangraping and sodomizing one of the nuns in the process.The Lieutenant's bet doesn't pay off, as the Mets win their first game.At the crime scene of a lead headshot execution-style murder, he's tipped off by a transvestite informant to an as-of-yet undiscovered huge sack of powder in the vehicle , which he tries to slip under his blazer, but it falls out to the ground as he moves away from the car.He mouths "Fuck!" under his breath.Later, he pulls over two underaged Jersey girls out clubbing on grass, and forces the driver to mimic her blowjob technique through the window, while the passenger displays her ass to him as he jerks off in the street.He stumbles drunkenly to the scene of the nun's rape and passes the fuck out.New York's finest, alright.
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Yeah, he's fuckin' serious:Jersey Girl(Eddie Daniels) shows the Lt.(Harvey Keitel)how she sucks a guy's cock.
He listens to the next game of the series on his cruiser's radio, and when the Dodgers lose again(he's gone double or nothing, despite telling his colleagues to leeeeave it on the Mets), he has a breakdown in midotwn traffic, shooting his radio(!), and screaming "Nigguh cocksuckuh!"(!!) as he tearfully weaves through traffic.At his sons' first holy communion he again doubles his bet, despite being down thirty grand to a maniac bookmaker who'll blow his house up with his whole family in it.At home, he blows a line off of a photograph of his kids.He then watches the Dodgers lose a third game in a row while at the bar.He meets the bookmaker's associate at the Limelight, zooted out of his mind on coke, demanding that the stakes be raised to 120 thousand for the deciding game seven.Afterwards, he returns to the girl's apartment, where they both boot some heroin.Sixty grand in the hole, he desperately tries to convince the beautiful, young nun to finger her attackers, but she's already forgiven them(!) as Jesus would have done.He hallucinates seeing Christ in the church, calling him a 'rat fuck'(!) before breaking down and begging forgiveness from the Son of God, finally realizing it's an elderly black woman from the pawn shop returning the chalice.With fifteen grand from his drug dealer connection, he busts into a dilapidated crack house and busts the two cholos responsible for the attack.He watches the Dodgers lose the final game, and fills the boys' crack stem with a rock of his own and gets high with the cuffed perps.He berates and pulls his gun on the rockheads in his cruiser, before driving them to Port Authority, giving them the fifteen thousand dollars(!) and setting them free(!!) on the first bus out of the city(!!!) to reboot their wasted lives.He agonizingly moans, knowing doing the Christian thing has just sealed his fate.While parked outside Madison Square Garden waiting for his bookie, a car drives up and shoots him twice in the head.Bystanders don't even seem to care very much.That's New York, for you.
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"Gimme a little more." The Lt. isn't above partying with a little vein candy.
Ferrara originally intended Christopher Walken to play the lead role, eventually handing him the reigns to his later 'King of New York' effort, which, interestingly enough, also showcases tracks by legendary gangster rap pioneer/Philly emcee, Schoolly-D, one of the director's favorite artists.The Swedish-Romanian Lund, also a Ferrara favorite, tragically passed away in Paris from lung and heart failure due to drugs at the age of thirty-seven.WFAN's Chris "Mad Dog" Russo supplies the nasally manic sports radio banter in the film, shot in all of eighteen days total.The BBFC lopped nearly two minutes of heroin use out of the film for the British release.This is one motherfuck of a movie, dealing with personal demons, and ultimately, redemption, in a realistic light that's both hard to watch at times and impossible to turn away from.On the scale, Lieutenant scores a perfect four wops, and comes with my fullest recommendation.It neeevah coulda gone....any...othah...way.Get your mitts on it, pron-fucking-to.
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Bad Lt.to a vision of "Rat Fucker" aka/Jesus Christ:"I've done so many bad things!"
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Friday, July 22, 2011

"Brain Twisters"(1990)d/Jerry Sangiuliano

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When Pazuzu agonizingly screeches, "No one there!" backwards in "The Exorcist"(1973), obviously, he's lying through his demonic teefers, seared by blessed holy water and spoken prayer.He's there, hiding in the innocent little girl's body, posturing for her immortal soul with trickery and deceit.When every frame of tonight's review, Brain Twisters(1990), agonizingly screams, "There's nothing here!" forwards, backwards, and sideways, believe you me, woprophiles, it ain't bullshittin'.Shot unimpressively in its entirety in the Wyoming Valley of Northeastern Pennsylvania(where I happen to be transmitting to you all from) by a director of little skill and even less renown named Sangiuliano, who rightfully lies dormant in the film industry today, like a devastated boat hull resting on the ocean bottom, for the past twenty-one years.He fails miserably in indulging an ambitious(and none-the-less, entirely scareless) plot on a micro-budget and is further hindered by a torpid cast of inert nineties nobodies and ligneous locals who couldn't purvey an on-camera emotion if the oxygen they breathe depended upon it.From the first instance the shabby eighties-style video titles flash on the screen, you know you're in for the bads.Moments after that, you realize that your hopes for entertainingly bad a la Steckler, Lewis, or Milligan have fallen upon the deaf ears of the movie gods, fickle as they might be.If the producers of The Office, a wildly popular Scranton-based sitcom(that I don't watch), screened tonight's review for themselves, they'd relocate the show's premise to Minooka.Or the Honey Pot section of Nanticoke(pronounced(by some): Nannycook).It'd be less detrimental to you to watch your own grandmother slip into senile dementia than giving this a look.As I was frequently heard to say from the backseat of my Cougar on Wednesday nights in the eighties,"Let's get this over with before I change my mind..."
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In 1990, mad brain scientists used pricey monitor displays full of 8-bit video graphics to tap the psyche of Northeastern Pennsylvanian hair pigs to commit boringly lemon acts of evil.Or something like that.
Sometime in the late eighties in a ghost town named Scranton, a professor/scientist named Rothman(Terry Londeree. Ever see him in anything else? Me neither.) has fabricated new mind control techniques in his spare time, using horrible Commodore 64-level video graphics to bend the wills of dated-looking Wyoming Valley mid-to-low end hairpig collegiates with ratted out hair and acid washed jeans to wander out into the area rubble and commit poorly simulated acts of mild violence.The experiments, which look to consist of the subject being hooked via headgear up to a television that's broadcasting a deadly amalgamation of white noise with clips of Alf in the Color Caves and Arkanoid mixed in, also seem to cause all the surrounding participants to engage in trite banalities with each other, delivered with more wood than the two hundred and fifty miles from Fort Smith to Strickland Farm, in Arkansas.To untrained ears, what they're doing might pass as "conversation" or "dialogue", if human beings more closely resembled cigar store indians who talked like Keanu Reeves luded up in front of a teleprompter.In between the incessant vapid chatter that transpires between unattractive, embarrassingly dressed Life game pegs that'd bring dullards to tears, two student/volunteers commit seppuku(if phony-lynching yourself in a doorway constitutes that particular term), and another shanks up a pair of dorks at a Halloween party with a pair of stainless steel scissors.If that sounds appetizing to you, just remember...it isn't.Not at all.
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You call that a 'suicide by hanging', really?
The slovenly murders, that may or may not the result that the evil software-producing corporation that funds Rothman's experiments was looking for in the first place, signal the arrival of a detective named Frank(Joe Lombardo) to investigate(definition: try and get into the Sasoons of the professor's pupil/guinea pig, Laura(Farrah Forke), by delivering lines like:"Are you a virgin? Like the olive oil?" with a straight face.As a matter of fact, he delivers all of his lines, hokey and otherwise, with the same straight face, due to his intrinsic inability to act worth a fuck.) the case.Uninspired cat n' mouse antics between the professor and the detective ensue, as both men also vie for Laura's attention; the prof has an ice cream date, the cop, a spaghetti dinner.I'm crying on the inside because this isn't all over yet, and I'm forced to watch two guys who, combined, wouldn't match up against a bag of frozen sweet potato fries in a personality-off.There's also a particularly putrid dance club sequence(shot at Market Street Square, of course).In the meantime, this ditch pig with failing grades and a failure of a ratted out hairdo who volunteers for the crappy video tests ends up becoming a psycho(you can tell by the way she changes her eye makeup) who kills with her fingernails.Rothman stalks Laurie, and, to be honest, I don't remember if she lives or not.I didn't care enough to pay attention.At the epilogue, we see a preppy kid playing a shitty video game in his room(Suprise! It's called "Brain Twisters" and it sucks in much the same way as the rest of the movie), and when his mother calls him to dinner, he angrily responds, throwing one of the least intimidating angry grills on that I've ever seen in any movie, anywhere.Cue scrolling video titles and abysmal Casio-realized techno.That one hurt...
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Ted "Uncle Ted" Raub deserved a lot better than this...
Farrah Forke followed this up with a long run on television, most notably as a regular on "Wings", and also as an extra in 1995's Pacino/DeNiro vehicle, "Heat".She's quite possibly the only cast member who worked on anything significant afterwards(and with good reason).There's also a name or two in the end titles I know personally, having worked for one of the guys as a barback right around the time this thing was made.I'm gonna refrain from mentioning them, though, they've suffered enough, I'm sure.Congratulations on your worthless piece o'shit, Signore Sangiuliano.No wops whatsoever.
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By the time the end titles rolled, I was rocking the exact same expression as this kid, albeit for entirely different reasons.
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"Brutes and Savages"(1978)d/Arthur Davis

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In the midst of a heatwave, with temperatures still at a sweltering 101F at eight pm tonight, your humble N is sweating like Oprah Winfrey wearing a full-length sable on an elliptical trainer during the scirocco in El Azizia.To break the streak of three straight four wop movies, we focus our collective lenses upon what looks to be another Italian mondo documentary upon first glance, but is little more than a cheap British clone of little renown and even less scruples, that's guaranteed to disappoint regardless of what you came into it expecting to see.First(and only, thankfully)time director Arthur Davis promises "1001 forbidden scenes", but delivers "Let's see how many different animals we can throw to the alligators in ninety-one minutes" instead.For serious.Davis plods methodically from one boring South American Indio sequence to another and before the entire production dies a slow and unnatural death, he peppers in staged animal cruelty, and, in at least one seam-ripper of a resounding failure, a phony animal attack that's sure to have you rewinding and laughing out loud at least twice before you frisbee the cursed thing across the room and ragefully call for the heads of all persons responsible for this dismal Synapse release with the misleadingly choice cover art that you paid good money for.It consternates me that soundtrack maestro Riz Ortolani and Richard (Dr. Menard from Fulci's Zombi 2(1980))Johnson lent their presences to this ignoble lampoon.I opted to pass on the Synapse "Special Edition", as my custom DVD burn from the long out-of-print MPI VHS print is all I'll ever need to see.I suppose a synopsis is due.Onwards!
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Truth in advertising, my cock.
After the film's producers have the cazzies to flash the words "A Factual Report" across the screen, and a snazzy disco beat(that I'm sure I've heard ripped off in one or more Bruce Li z-grade chopsocky epics) is dropped by Riz Ortolani, we see a montage of unrelated images:Indios-in-Spin-Doctors-hats in canoes, a leopard forced into pawing a wild boar, a snarling cougar, a lanky black dude with a spear in enough theatrical grease paint to choke Marcel Marceau, a cougar pouncing on a bunny, some Yanomamos in a canoe blowdarting a monkey then chucking it onto an open flame before the voice of Richard Johnson leads us to South America, where Davis' "expedition" is about to take place.First we see Arthur Davis and his meatslicer haircut and porn 'stache cozying up to Inca authority Dr. Sanginas, who's gonna chart out the Andes for the foreigner's cameras, and apparently also gonna let Davis choice of a gaudy and wide lavender tie slide just this once.More Inca descendants fishing around swampy reeds in canoes.Next, all lovers of the llama should probably skip ahead in the review, as a head's up.You aren't gonna groove on the next sequence.As a religious event on the Inca calendar, everybody dons their best colorful gypo duds and blow flutes, marching in circles on the beach.A heavyweight Indio gal is primped and preened by the men in the cowboy hats, and it is noted that not long ago, she'd have been the sacrifice.An ornately decorated and unsuspecting llama is brought to shore in a reed boat, after which all its limbs are held down in the sand while it's throat is cut and heart is pulled out, still beating, from it's chest.Then we're treated to more shantytown footage than they'd use in a Desmond Dekker and the Aces video.Then a brown-skinned peon with some lax dental habits lays carnal waste to a native virgin in a Sabrina the Teen Witch headband while swaying in a hammock.Some might say he laid the pipe, Tracie Savage of Friday the 13th Pt.3 in 3D fame would probably vote for the hammock.
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"If youuuu...wanna bring me llama hearts...then go ahead nowwww", sing the Spin Doctors in their latest failed comeback attempt.
A juvenile opposum survives a constrictor's venomless strikes only to get its eyes pecked out by an eagle's beak.The bird then grasps the lifeless rodent by its eyesockets and flaps off.Then a hawk makes a meal of a snake, then an alligator chomps one down like writhing live spaghettoni.A juvenile anaconda is coerced into getting snapped down the throat of another large alligator.WTF moment:"When an alligator mates with a crocodile, the offspring is usually a very vicious monster."(When the fuck would that be, since the species don't interbreed like, ever?)Next an armadillo is thrown to the alligators, and we're forced to watch it get crushed in the reptile's formidable jaws.Then some blacks in gresepaint eat raw fiddler crabs and cross a river until an unbelievable alligator hand puppet(why would you substitute something so hokey and fake for an animal you've wasted half the length of your documentary showing?) attacks one of the slower tribesman and through quick cuts and splashing around, is shown to have lost a hand and been maimed by the phony prop.A boring coca leaf farm is followed by equally snore-inducing sheepherding set to the groovy theme music.Out of nowhere comes some impromptu brain surgery footage.Also pretty yawnable.Then we see some pornographic Inca waterbowls with various sex acts depicted upon them.Just when we thought they'd exhausted their staged mondo alligator footage, a mortally wounded jaguar is then thrown to a gaggle of sizeable alligators.Back to the llamas, who are getting it on for the cameras.Finally, two Indios in Spin Doctor hats pretend to bugger a llama from behind.Johnson remarks that violence lurks in all of us, and so does the 'brute', and so does the 'savage'.Then, thankfully, it's all over.
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"Mom sees that alligator hand puppet and food dye in the pool, and she's gonna cream ya, Beav', you kook."
Usually a legit shockumentary is packed with enough gritty reality to rend it difficult to watch at certain points, while a hoke-u-mentary is stuffed full of boring filler material, staged hokum, and grainy death camp footage you've seen a hundred times before, making it difficult to watch for all the wrong reasons, and Brutes is no exception to the latter, minus the WW2 sequences, thank the gods.This entry is a piss-poor example of the subgenre, and one that should be avoided at all costs, unless you're an sadistic alligator enthusiast who always wondered what it'd look like if you chucked helpless animals to their watery graves at the jaws of these brutal reptiles.I never really fit into that category, myself, so I give Brutes a very disappointing one wop on the rating scale.Skip it.
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See! Backwards stonatas unashamedly give it to llama-caboose simulatedly!
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

"Autostop rosso sangue"(1977)d/Pasquale Festa Campanile

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La mia Italia cara, infine ho ritornato a te.Tonight we draw focus upon an exploitation exemplar as realized by paramount Italian artisan, Pasquale Festa Campanile, winner of three Silver Ribbons, a Cannes award, and an Oscar nomination for his screenplays, and director of "comedia alla'Italia" like Dove vai tutta nuda?(1969), Il corpo della ragassa(1979), and Culo e camicia(1981).In 1977, Campanile switched gears from his usual light sex comedies to create a fascinatingly nihilistic spectacle of misogynistic immorality and grindhouse grandeur that has rarely been equalled and certainly isn't soon forgotten.On this cinematic canvas, the skeptical director paints a selfish and cruel world with grim strokes, with no easily perceptible protagonists and a less-than-felicitous denouement.To achieve this sombre tone he enlists the dramatic talents of genre vets like bountifully blue eyed antihero Franco Nero, the nectareous Corinne Clery, and one of the finest blackguards in modern cinema history, David Hess.Providing the soundtrack is no less than maestro Ennio Morricone, whose unique, dissimilar effort is rife with western twangs and folk singalongs that cut in at the most unseemly moments, creating a comparable feel to Riz Ortolani's distressing score in Cannibal Holocaust(1979).One missing element here is the graphic on-screen violence that filmmakers so often rely on to shock their audiences.It's no surprise, then, that the film, released as "The Naked Prey" and "Hitch Hike" outside of Italy, utilizes gritty cerebral shocks instead, and is fully successful in doing so.Anchor Bay released a restored, uncut print in 2002 that should find its way onto your shelves immediately if it isn't already there, where it belongs.Forwards...
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The dear...uhhh, deer in Walter's(Franco Nero) scope has gams for days.My kind of venison.
We first meet Italian journalist Walter Mancini(Franco Nero) and his delectable wife Eve(Corinne Clery) as they hunt a mule deer while on vacation in Northern California(translation:L'Aquila, Abruzzo) but Walter seems more preoccupied with setting his gun's sights on Eve's inviting face than plugging an animal full o'lead.On the ride back to their camp he tells her he shot the deer instead because "the stag doesn't fuck like you do!".He tears open her shirt and grabs the right-sided steering wheel, forcing them off the road, and promptly rapes her.That night at the campsite, a knackered Mancini verbally degrades his wife to fellow campers, forgets his own name, and rapes her again.Later, the sight of a young couple sneaking off to get sexy during a hippie campfire singalong spurs on another round of insult-slinging between Eve and her drunken husband, who trips over a tent spike and breaks his hand.The next day as they drive back to Los Angeles, Eve picks up a roadside hitchhiker named Adam Konitz(David Hess) despite Walter's protests.Adam runs back to his stranded vehicle and turns the radio off before joining them on their journey.A corpse with a bullethole in his temple is strewn across the front seat.She apologizes for her husband's suspicious nature, while he apologizes for her whorish disposition, then Mancini calls Konitz "Cunts" and Konitz calls Mancini "Martini".A radio news broadcast details an armed bank robbery nearby but Walter and Eve are too busy bickering about their troubled marriage to put two and two together.Konitz asks Eve if she'd like to suck his cock(!), buying himself one of Walter's elbows to his prominent nasum.Knock down, drag out fisticuffs on the side of the road ensue until Adam pulls a handgun and holds Walter at bay with it as he paws Eve's pink pantied snatch and executes some spirited squeeze-tittin'.The honeymoon's over alright, Martini, or whatever your fuckin' name is.Back on the road, Konitz bullies the couple, exclaiming, "Easy, Martini!If I wanna fuck her, I'll fuck her and there's not a damn thing you can do about it!"Cue:Maniacal David Hess laugh.
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Exploitation Rule #7:If David Hess is thumbing a ride, you should probably keep driving.
Konitz blows away two highway patrolmen(a slow-mo motorcycle helmet headshot blows brains skyward), rambles incoherently, shows an awed Mancini his suitcase full of two million in stolen money, suggests Walter writes a book about his adventure with Adam("It's a sexy outta sight story", Konitz tells him) in Mexico for a hundred grand while Eve gets them smokes(Camels, bleech) and hooch at a gas station(where gas is six bucks a gallon!), and does a lot of maniacal laughing.Camped out by a waterfall that night, Konitz' two gay gun-wielding co-conspirators drop in and cockblock him before he can ravage Eve in front of a helplessly hogtied Walter.The next day on a narrow canyon lane with the robbers in tow in the Mancini's hitched camper, Konitz returns the favor, driving them off the road in a big red industrial truck(where did he get it?) and wounding one of his former accomplices in a shootout.He loads them into the truck and steers it over the cliff jumping out before it explodes, happily exclaiming, "Goodbye faggots!"Adam rejoins Mancini and wife, and that night after she accuses both men of being "damned fags", he re-ties Walter, strips Eve by the light of the fire, and fucks her in front of her husband's tear-filled eyes.She resists Konitz for about a New York minute, but it's soon painfully obvious that she loooooves the psycho-cock.Afterwards, there's more cocky rambling and maniacal laughter out of the killer when Walter deducts that Konitz must have been the third mental hospital escapee and his wife suggests that Adam accompanies her into the camper, leaving Walter tied up outside(!).When Konitz steps outside momentarily to put Walter out of his misery permanent-like, a completely naked Eve puts a rifle shell in his chest from the camper doorway, killing him.No more maniacal laughter.With their station wagon stuck in the mud, Walter talks of keeping the stolen money, mockingly calling Eve "the girl with the gilded ass"(one of Konitz's pet nicknames for her), putting Adam's body in the camper just as they receive a tow.After some young motorcycle punks hit Walter up for some cash and Eve obliges, they catch up to the couple on the road and run them off the road(there's a lot of that in this movie), forcing their station wagon to overturn, and seriously injuring Eve.Walter pulls Konitz's lifeless body from the camper and slumps it down next to his paralyzed wife, then sets the upside down leaking wreckage on fire, walking off with the suitcase full of cash, and throwing up a hitchhiking thumb of his own...
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Adam helps Eve(Corinne Clery) rewrite the Story of OHHHHHHHH.
During the initial Hess-Nero fight scene, Franco got a little too overzealous and broke Dave's schnoz for serious(I'd still lay my dough on D.A.H. in a fight, though).Though I certainly appreciate some of Campanile's other work, this is, by far, my favorite of his movies.Nero is a marvelously drunken smartass with more wisecracks than integrity, who treats his wife like a piece of meat, whereas Clery is an equally bankrupt nymphomaniac willing to be the meat-in-question whenever she can.Nobody's character can be labelled a "good guy", and speaking of bad guys...What can I say about Hess that I haven't already? He's my favorite modern actor, but you knew that.All three performances are top shelf.Thus, we've got our third movie in a row that earns a perfect rating scale score of four wops.Absolutely recommended.
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"How much liquor will two million dollars buy, darling?!!!"
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"Dirty Ho"(1979)d/Liu Chia Liang

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It was a good week for pugilism at the Wop, as I not only procured myself a bag o' Shaw Brothers goodies for my ever-pullulating gung fu dvd collection while prowling the streets of Chinatown, but also made the e-quaintance of the dually tasteful she's who run the Heroic Sisterhood-The Ladies' Asian Action Cinema Appreciation Society page over at FB, a stupendous blend of words and visuals from all the martial movies and proponents I've found to be so very choice since before I tied my very first sash.If you dig tornado kicks and tiger forks half as much as I do, you'll support this duo wholeheartedly ASAP.It is then, with respect and honour, that I dedicate tonight's review to them, and also to the dynamic matrimonial phenomenon known as "Drennifer", as deadly as the tiger and stork when combined on the offensive.
Dirty Ho was a 1979 kung fu comedy hit for paramount genre director Liu Chia Liang, enlisting archetypal performances from such familiar faces as (Gordon)Liu Chia Hui, (Kara) Hui Ying Hung, Hsiao Ho, Yung Wang Yu, Wilson Tong, and the baddest of the bad, Wang Lung Wei, in creating a dazzling demonstration of Chinese wuxia subtlety flavoured with his jaw-dropping style of fight choreography, trademark training sequences, and tongue-in-cheek jabs at the superheroic cartoon-esque genre cliches that other directors were turning with frequency during this era.Up until the aforementioned fateful trip into Manhattan's Asian community last week, Ho had remained a much-coveted title that had frustratingly eluded me for the past thirty years or so.Better late than never, as they say.After finally focusing the glassies upon it, I can honestly report that it transcended my already high expectations, acrobatically vaulting itself into my all-time favorites list, it being no small exhibit of fulgent fights between three or more martial practitioners at once.Onwards!
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Ho Jen(Wang Yu) and Wang(Liu Chia Hui) throw cash, trinkets, and fists around for the attention of the local brothelites.
A brothel in the southern province of Guangdong is visited upon by a petty thief named Ho Jen(Yung Wang Yu), whose vulgar flaunting of valuables is only matched by a moustachioed jewelry dealer named Wang(Liu Chia Hui), who surreptitiously jacks his stolen goods when the police raid the funky joint.The one-upped Ho attempts to strong arm the businessman, who's travelling the countryside to sample wine, women, and antiques(ah, the finer things in life), unaware his mark is the eleventh prince in succession to the Emperor's throne, in disguise.Unwilling to display his martial skills, Wang instead imparts them into a lute-playing courtesan named Tsui Hung(Hui Ying Hung), puppeting her body to easily defeat Ho and slashing his forehead with a superficial poison-dipped blade in the process, causing the wound to continuously fester(thus, the directly translated title "Rotten Head Ho").Wang offers to heal the lesion, in exchange for a vow of amelioration from his dirty mischievin' and loyalty to the disguised prince as sifu, manners for antidote, to Ho's dismay.Meanwhile at the palace, the despicably power-mad Prince #4 is in cahoots with General Liang(Lo Lieh) in trying to dispatch Wang before he can return home for the ceremony where the Emperor names his successor, despite Wang's obvious distaste for royal life.The first two assassins come in the guise of Fan Tian Kong(Wang Lung Wei) and his assistant(Hsiao Ho), posing as a wine seller who offers Wang tastes of exotic wines, each served in different extravagant vessels, all the while subtlely attacking him with his expanding fan under a gentlemanly guise, unbeknownst to a bored Ho, who's convinced the stuffy men are simply tasting wines.Wang takes out both Fan and his acrobatic servant, rationalizing their slumped bodies as "overly drunk" to his oblivious pupil.
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Wang uses courtesan Tsui Hong(Hui Ying Hung)and her pipa to defeat ya.
...And the fights don't stop there, folks, nosiree.Wang and Ho encounter "The Four Handicap Devils" along their path, each assassin feigning a different disability(one pretends to be missing an arm, one is sans leg, one has a fake hunchback, you get the idea, all in jest towards Chang Cheh's 'Crippled Avengers' and the earlier 'One-Armed Swordsman' films of Johnny Wang Yu), but the tricksters are no match for Ho, who's been goofily sporting an enormous patch of Chinese herbs on his forehead.Wang also matches legs with an "antiques dealer"(translation:assassin) named Mr. Chi(Wilson Tong) who's got razor-sharp blades sewn into the soles of his shoes, and a host of assistants with dagger edges jutting out of the front of theirs.The incognito prince injures his leg, forcing him to tutor Rotten Head in his style so that the young man can further assist him in the treacherous journey back to the palace(cue:training sequence).Ho delicately balances oil lamps on his shoulders while kicking a wooden plank inside a box lined with lit candles(how's that for upper body control?), until he's forced to fend off the incredibly heterodox "Seven Bitters", a gaggle of miscreants that includes an effeminate makeup sissy(with the uncanny ability to turn his opponent mid-fight into... an effeminate makeup sissy, what else?), a fatso who absorbs the power from any blow, and a crybaby.Ho also pushes Wang via fabricated souped up wheelchair over a hilltop where the duo is set upon by archers-in-wait whose arrows are rendered harmless by defensive umbrellas(!!), after which the protagonists wheel through, with Wang striking and defending from the comfort of his martial Hoveround(!!!).The Prince and his student finally face off against General Liang and two of his henchmen in a brutal and breathtaking long weapons tandem battle, coming out victoriously.In the end, Prince #11 makes it back to the palace just in time for his father's ceremony, and Ho takes a freeze framed strike for all of his cheekiness.
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Tasting wines with Fan Tian Kong(Wang Lung Wei) can be dangerous to your health.
The prolific Chia Liang(try 162 movies as action choreographer on for size!) would also direct two other films the same year: a sequel to his Spiritual Boxer, and the popular Hsiao Ho vehicle, Mad Monkey Kung Fu, which he also co-starred in himself, as Uncle Chan.Chia Hui has scored roles in 2010's Hot Summer Days and True Legend(review coming soon, woprophiles) most recently.Yung Wang Yu, also a favorite of Liang's, remained active in front of the cameras until 1994.I get a kick out of some of the titles he's appeared in over the years, such as That's Adultery!(1975) and Spirit of the Raped the following year.Gotta see both of those some time.The ever-villanous Johnny Wang acted in 94 films until 2002, directing 9 himself.His fight sequence with Chia Hui and Hsiao Ho is my favorite by far in tonight's movie, and another one for the always expanding "Best Fight Scenes Ever" list I've yet to compile.As for Dirty Ho itself, it's a fucking classic in every sense of the word.If you dig kung fu movies, you really need to see it.On the scale, a perfect four wops.
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"You haven't lived until you've fought Dirty Ho...and then you're dead!"
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"The Wanderers"(1979)d/Philip Kaufman

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Released six months after Walter Hill's stylized gang vision, The Warriors, on the Fourth of July in 1979, Philip Kaufman's Bronx-flavored period piece and the subject of tonight's review, ended up on the losing end at the box office, but would go on to rightfully achieve cult classic status anyway.What looks like just another gang-related drama at first glance turns out to be a bittersweet and often very funny keepsake of bygone days of innocence, and a far superior movie than its predecessor.Kaufman expands on and transforms the 1974 novel by Richard Price(who cameos in the bowling alley scene btw) into a congruous time capsule of the turbulent sixties and coming of age therein; executed with ease due to zealous performances from a game cast of performers that include Ken Wahl, John Friedrich, Toni "The Sopranos" Kalem, Tony Ganios("Meat" from Porky's(1983)), Linda "gummo" Ganz, and everyone's favorite mountainous operatic bass-baritone(!!!) from the Netherlands, the late 6'6", 400 lb Erland van Lidth de Jeude(Interestingly enough, I must have known at least six van Lidth clones in my travels over the years, at least one of which who shares his cinematic monniker).Adding to the gnarl-gravy here is a mint soundtrack of fifties hits from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Dion and the Belmonts, The Shirelles, and others.All of the gangs' names, from the Del Bombers right through to the Fordham Baldies, are borrowed from real gangs that bopped through the streets of the Bronx during the fifties and sixties, with only the titular Wanderers being a real life Brooklyn-based unit of the day.Forwards!
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"You're Italian, right? Then you got to get into an Italian gang, like the Wanderers."
We meet Joey(John Friedrich) as he unsuccessfully tries to talk fellow Wanderer Turkey(Alan Rosenberg) out of probating for the Fordham Baldies, when his insults send the bald boppers chasing after both boys with violence in mind.A trademark Wanderer whistle brings gang leader, Richie(Ken Wahl), who's been giving it to Despie(Toni Kalem) on the couch by the glow of a Three Stooges movie on the television, to their aid, but when he finds out it's the Baldies giving chase, he's soon running for his life as well.Cornered down an alley, the Wanderers are rescued by the hamfists of Perry(Tony Ganios), a hulking new kid in town.Living just across the hall from Perry(whose alcoholic mother has already begun having an affair with Joey's abrasive muscle-bound father, Emilio(William Andrews)), Joey quickly divulges the pecking order of neighborhood gangs to the newcomer and adds him to the Wanderer ranks.A study on equality in all men in Mr. Sharp's class goes from bad to worse when racial insults are hurled back and forth between the Italians and the blacks until a rumble between the Wanderers and the Del Bombers is promulgated.Worried that the black gang, premier in the area, is more than the crew can handle, the Wanderers look for help, first from other units, then from Despie's mob-tied father and his brothers, then finally, upon insistance from Turkey, the Baldies, who get the potential new member to tie ropes with rocks on the end to Richie's and Joey's dicks and drop them off a bridge("What about cock n' roll, muthas?" asks Roger, the lone black skinhead).At the bowling alley, the Galasso brothers dish out a hearty beating to some hustlers from Long Island that had conned them out of money a week earlier, then suggest to Richie and Clinton that their gangs should settle their differences like sportsmen, with a football game, instead.Some of the Wanderers enjoy a healthy bout of elbow-titting on the street, where Richie meets Nina(Karen Allen), and is instantly enamored of her.Perry tries to follow her car, but unwittingly drives into Ducky Boy territory, where the pint-sized Irish brawlers swarm his car, breaking his arm before the boys can escape by the hair of their teeth.
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"You know what I think we just done? I think we just joined the fucking Marines."
With her father away, Despie, who registers an eleven on the annoying Dagette-o-meter, holds a large house party where Richie can barely harness his lust for Nina, who he's half-heartedly set up with Joey.Meanwhile, Turkey has been just been made an honorary Baldie, and the drunken gang celebrates by being tricked into being sworn into the Marines(!) by a shrewd recruiter.At the party, a fixed strip poker game goes awry, and while Richie and Nina get it on in her back seat outside, Turkey crashes the party with the Baldies, who drive off on him.The commotion brings the couple's makeout session to Joey's attention(betrayed, he punches his friend in the grill), then to Despie's(she weepingly calls him a shit heel).Turkey, drunkenly wandering the streets in search of his crew, stumbles upon a church full of Ducky Boys, who coerce him up a telephone pole, which he falls to his death from.At school, none of the other Wanderers acknowledge Richie, and his day just gets worse from there.He watches President Kennedy's assassination on a store window television set, and later discovers he's knocked Despie up.Chubby G. tells the terrified boy he should have bought his daughter an ankle bracelet and stuck to jerkin' off(!!), before telling him he's going to have to marry her.The rival football game looks bad for the Wanderers until Richie pads up and apologizes for being a dick to Joey, but the comeback trail is soon blocked by hundreds of brawl-hungry Ducky Boys who surround the game.The Wanderers and Del Bombers are joined by Joey's father and also the Wongs(an oriental gang who ought not to be fucked with, as their rep warns) and together they manage to stave off the silent psychos, while a battle-crazed Emilio wallops his own son in the bread basket.The punchy weightlifter later gets his when Joey smashes a bottle over his domepiece while hiding out at Perry's and his father comes a-knocking for the boy's mother with amorous intent.An impromptu bachelor party is held for Richie, who spots Nina passing in the street, impulsively darting out and following her to a club where, from the front window, he realizes he has no place in her Bohemian world, and returns to his own party where Wanderers, Del Bombers, Wongs, and Terror's tiny girlfriend/Baldies head of ladies' auxiliary, Pee Wee(Linda Manz), all have a good time together.Perry and Joey cut out early, hitting the road for parts unknown, but assure Richie that they're Wanderers forever.
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Today's Wanderers vs. Del Bombers football game has been postponed due to a proliferation of Ducky Boys.A makeup game may be scheduled at a later date if anybody survives.
To any ambitious filmmakers aspiring to remake Wanderers(as I said earlier with Warriors), I'm available to play an updated Terror, if he was brilliant, better built, and gorgeous...Curiously enough, I first watched tonight's entry with a chelsea girl(I'm still a sucker for that hairstyle, sue me) who loved the movie so much she carried a VHS copy around in her bookbag.Thanks, Andy.Joey's football banner was drawn up by none other than artist extraordinaire, Neal Adams.Olympia Dukakis, who played Joey's mother, would go on to win an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in 1987's Moonstruck.Her genre work came earlier, with roles in Brian DePalma's Sisters(1973) and Death Wish a year later.Karen Allen, who got her start in John Landis' Animal House(1978), went on to a very busy acting career, appearing in everything from Cruising(1980) to Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull(2008), and remains active today.Wahl, who was born Anthony Calzaretta(!), would be best remembered for his work on television's Wiseguy series.Interestingly, he was also married for seven years to Penthouse Pet/actress Corinne Alphen.Not bad, Ant'ny.Sadly, the Dutch noble, van Lidth died in 1987 at the age of 34, after only four movies, with 1982's Alone in the Dark his lone venture into genre films.On the ratings scale, Wanderers scores a perfect four wops, and comes with my highest recommendation.See it.
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When people talk in the hallway, Emilio(William Andrews) gets angry.
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Thursday, July 7, 2011

"Night of the Pumpkin"(2010)d/Bill Zebub

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During the assloads of time I spent in Jersey over the years, it could hardly be considered classified info that the god-awful smell I'd encounter from time to time was due to the inordinate number of toxic waste dumps in the state(your nostrils can try any one of one hundred and eight out for size these days, bound to have you even screaming your way into Cleveland, Ohio for sinus relief...okay, maybe I'm exagerrating slightly).It can now be argued that the putrefying stench hovering over most of the Garden State can mostly be attributed to the 2010 cinematic effort of one Bill Zebub of Clifton, the imaginatively...ahem... titled "Night of the Pumpkin".From the first glance at the colorful dvd box art I'm swept back to eighties VHS racks full of shot on video shlock packed with naked blood-splashed mid-shelf bimbos who can't even die on camera properly, and those obtuse evenings when you threw caution to the wind and grabbed one, knowing full well you'd just lost upwards of eighty minutes of your life forever.I realize first glances can sometimes be deceiving, but trust me, kiddies, this ain't one of 'em.Judging by the country mile of dialogue Zebub replaces most of the cheap gore with, I'm guessing he was shooting for something more than your average retro-eighties slasher here, but the clumsy delivery of a cast comprised mainly of the director's friends(and the director himself, who stars btw) occludes any chance of that happening.It should be noted there is a pretty mint-looking severed head prop(more of this would have helped), ample nudity(Angelina Leigh, a Playboy model/B-movie scream queen, provides the only stare-worthy wares, IMHO), and some decent soundtrack tunes provided by French dark ambient unit, Elend, English doom metallers, My Dying Bride, and Finnish gothic doom outfit, Shape of Despair, among others.Alas, it's not enough to keep the majority of the movie from nose-diving into Nowheresville, which I suspect must be a neighboring town to Manville, NJ.That's a little Jersey-based inside joke right there.Onwards!
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Insert your own pumpkins/breasts analogy here, would you, ferchrissakes?
After a pair of bikini-clad beachgoers play a spirited game of "Drop" with a frisbee, they notice some pumpkins washing ashore amidst the rocks.Naturally, the destructive dames stomp the pulp out of the gourds until their lower extremities are covered in a strange red ooze.Cut to a grizzled metalhead named Dave(Bill Zebub)and a female friend at a library discussing a theme for that party, uh, my party tonight.Nevermind, keep rolling.Up traipses a half-dressed blonde who pouts her every line like Marilyn Monroe on a Pentobarbital bender.Cut to a brunette-in-the-grass, naked except for some black stockings(exposed outer labia are a recurring image here).She wakes up as she's being raped by a guy in a latex pumpkin mask, some silk fall leaf roping, a blue flannel jacket, and work gloves(he's referred to as "giant pumpkin" by the characters from here on in), and abruptly slinks off on all fours, jutting her meaty ass into the air like an alleycat on the make, before flopping around in the grass with a neck full of stage blood like a spastic who got into the jam jar.Elyse(Kellyn Lindsay) and Elizabeth(Chelsea O'Toole) have a cellphone convo about the get-together that night which dissolves into a religious debate.Apparently, Elizabeth, the blonde in a sheer black catsuit and bulky metal-esque pendant, is a devout christian.If she's a religious zealot, I'd hate to see the devil worshippers.Soon enough, the banal phone chatter is broken by a cut to another bloody brunette stumbling away from Pumpkin Man in a field that segues into the tail end of some uninspired looking simulated sex between Barbara(Angelina Leigh) and Peter, and while the brunette lathers up in the rainbox(more exposed pussylip shots), her old man is set upon by plastic vines while he obliviously jams to his Discman.She exits in a towel to find his severed head(very choice as far as disembodied heads go) on the floor and Pumpy-kins awaiting her.Naturally, she drops the towel and offers her body to him(more lip).Cut to Dave and Jen(Shoshana McCallum) still arguing about the impending get-together/party."For somebody who's into opera, you're very un-mature.", he scolds.
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One minute of good head.If this movie were a first date, I'd have reservations about a second one.
Their argument is interrupted by a phone call from Fred(George Stiso), who's got a naked Barbara on his couch, in shock from Peter's violent end at the gloves of a giant pumpkin.He tells her she's not a good actress.He ain't kidding.Jen slags it all off on Barb's occasional acid usage.Pumpkin Man shows up.Fred shoots him, but Barb, standing directly behind, takes the bullet to the labonza instead(more pussy lip), and Fred is set upon by the plastic vines.Elizabeth shows up at Dave and Jen's place in a Playboy Bunny costume, and before you know it, Dave's in a plastic viking helmet, playing with a Home Shopping Network samurai sword(that's diversity, baby), and three girls are yapping it up on a couch about the origins of Halloween.Some witch next door calls to complain about the noise.Personally, I'd have called about the acting, but that's just me.Pumpkin Man shows up and the girls ward him off with the urgency of a bank account earning interest, while Dave pratfalls around the apartment.The girls sit around and calmly discuss the giant pumpkin's origins and raison d'être(!), even explaining away the reason the pseudopod(!) hand they sword-chopped off is now just a glove full of silk leaves, or rather, a plant that looks like a glove.The unfrightened group ventures out into the night woods(translation:day woods with a filtered lens)and does a lot more talking while Pumpy-kins does some spirited grab-tittin' on the chunky sedated-looking blonde, bound by silk leaves and bareassed(more puss), from earlier in the story.They kill her creepy stalker, who just happens to be dressed exactly like the Pumpkin Man.The real giant pumpkin shows up, and lots of discussion follows(while he stands idly by) until it snaps Dave's neck with its vines, causing him to shoot the naked blonde in the labonza.Elyse and Jen square off against the pumpkin monster in the woods, smashing its head off with a tree branch, and explaining their lack of emotion during the ordeal as a psychological side effect of the trauma that befell them(couldn't be the lack of acting chops, could it).The giant pumpkin ressurects itself with Peter's head on top, braining a running Elyse with the disembodied dome and growing another pumpkin in its place and stomping hers into pulp off-camera.Back at the house, Jen throws on some opera and recites some long winded poetry to the monster, who's moved enough to spare her.We see Jen being roughhoused at the "Clifton Mental Asylum".After all that, they oughta reserve a padded room for me, too.
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"Put some clothes on, baby, Michael's is having a half off sale on silk fall leaf roping!"
This review goes out to my compadre, Randy O, who turned me on to this, errrm, gem.There's a retaliatory Andy Milligan marathon with your name on it in the near future, motherfucker.Mind you, I'm not anti-Jersey over here, I've partied it up with some great people, slung fists in some amazing circle pits, and made out with a few choice Jersey chicks in my day.Hell, judging by the soundtrack and some of the movie posters adorning walls in this one, I'd merit a guess that I could even get down on some level with Zebub and his pals, it's just this particular movie that eats it raw, balls n' all.It doesn't succeed as a mindless slasher, and the budgetary confinements and "acting" keep it from being anything more than one.I wouldn't recommend it to you Woprophiles, but you might wanna give it a look anyway if you're into micro-budgeted schlock.What the hell do I know, I'm just one wop, which, coincidentally...
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"You're not gonna believe this. He killed sixteen Czechoslovakians. Guy was an interior decorator.", says Paulie Walnuts, lost in the Pine Barrens.
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