Long before the advent of blaxploitation films or Wings Hauser, pimpin' remained as difficult as it had ever been, with hookers' general inability to get a hustler's money straight, resulting in many of these fancy trick bitches coming down with an acute case of foot-up-yo'-ass disease and rightfully GODdamned so, if I may be so bold.In 1973, a player's dilemma was finally committed to celluloid in the form of tonight's review, a surprisingly effective film that transcends the sub-genre limitations in sporadic instances, making it highly watchable for both exploitation fanatics and general film buffs alike.'Intense' and 'passionate' aren't usually commonplace words when describing B-movies about small-time crooks in Oakland, but you'll hear those and others tossed around a lot when Mack comes up in cinema convo, due in part to a potent supporting cast made up of comedic great, Richard Pryor, genre vet Carol Speed, Roger E. Mosley of 'Magnum P.I.' fame, B-movie staples, Juanita Moore and Don Gordon, as well as a smattering of real-life pimps and hustlers like Frank Ward, who was gunned down shortly before the film's release.Of course, the spotlight here is on Max Julien, who gives a tour de force performance as Goldie, mixing sleaze with sympathy in creating one of the most compelling characters in cult cinema history while inspiring future directors like Oliver Stone and entire generations of hip hop artists to follow, and even helping design some of the outrageous threads worn in the movie.The final draft of the script was also written by Julien, Pryor, and Campus, though screenwriter Robert Poole allegedly wrote the first treatment on toilet paper while in prison(!).Tonight's review goes out to reader Floyd, who's seen just about every blaxploitation flick ever made, and whose own pimp cape has stayed wrinkle-free as long as I've known him.Dig it, baby... Pimpin' Hint # 7:Avoid crooked honky cops at all times. After finding himself suspended upside down in a car wreck looking up at two mocking cops(Don Gordon, William Watson) when a botched drug deal turns into a fire fight, Goldie(Max Julien) is given a five year bed at the state pen, where he damned near goes stir crazy.Having served his sentence, he finds himself on a charter bus back to Oakland where he reconnects in a billiard hall with street guru, Blind Man(Paul Harris), who helps him to get back on his feet by introducing him to the mackin' game, convinced that Goldie could potentially be the coldest pimp there ever was.Goldie meets childhood sweetheart, Lulu(Carol Speed), at a nightclub where she admits to having become a prostitute in the years since, beseeching him to become her pimp.After leaving the bar, he's leaned on again by the same two badged bigots from earlier, there to remind him they plan on remaining a thorn in his side.He then tells Mama(Juanita Brown) that he's gotta face the man the only way he knows how, the nefarious and illegal exploitation of women for money, vowing to move her out of the ghetto once he's amassed the ends to get it done.He meets up with his brother, Olinga(Roger E. Mosley), who's since become a black nationalist that pulls drug addicts off the street and rehabilitates them into soldiers for the cause, but spares him the news of his forthcoming new business venture.Goldie listens to pimp braggadocio at the barber shop to strengthen his own game, which he lays on Lulu, who becomes his bottom bitch, with partner-in-crime, Slim(Richard Pryor) along for the ride.Cue: funky montage of Goldie rolling in long dollars as he gathers his eclectic stable of money hos, that includes Chico(Kai Hernandez) and Diane(Sandra Brown), while moving his mother into a new place and doling out cash to kids on the street for going to school.We then see Goldie congregate his bitches into a local planetarium, where he laughingly indoctrinates their minds in the ways of gash fo' cash with projected views of space and a microphone with echo.A sweet mack, indeed. Big Pimpin'.It's the toughest job you'll ever love. Once Goldie's rolling in a pimped out '71 Eldo and rocking a matching brown velour derby and pimp cape to boot, he's instantly set upon by the street's bottom feeders; The Fat Man(George Murdock), a white heroin kingpin Goldie once worked for that's been losing addicts to his brother's racial rhetoric, Hank and Jed, the two corrupt cops with a hard on for Goldie, who murder a black detective that uncovers their shady side deals, rival Pretty Tony, when his apex hooker jumps ship to Goldie's stable in front of all the hustlers(Goldie memorably remarks:"We can handle this like you got some class, or we can get into some gangsta shit."), and even Olinga, who righteously denounces his brother's gaudy lifestyle.What's a hustler to do, except attend the Player's Ball where he rejects another work offer from the Fat Man before being awarded "Pimp of the Year" by his ridiculously garbed peers.It isn't long before the streets of Oakland are littered with overdosed hos, executed mothers, and whacked main men, so naturally, Goldie responds with repeated cane-sword-ass-stabbin', dynamite teethin', cop headshots(while Olinga C.T.F.O.'s the partner), and overdosed syringe retribution on all the cats what's done him wrong, culminating in a touching bus station farewell from his brother, when he's forced to split town due to the incredible amount of heat he's just brought down upon himself.Cue the funk, baby. Pimpin' Hint # 43:Use a planetarium light show to effectively blow your bitches' minds. Besides playing L.S.D.-soaked Elwood in Wop fave Psych-Out(1967), Julien can be seen in Ted V. Mikels' The Black Klansman(1966) and The Mod Squad tv series.He also wrote Cleopatra Jones(1975), for then-girlfriend, Vonetta McGee, though Tamara Dobson ended up winning the role.His long-time friend, Richard Pryor, was frowned upon by the film's producers for his legendary behavior on the set of 1968's Wild in the Streets, where he took a piss on Shelley Winters(!!).Director Campus, who helmed the minor sci-fi movie Z.P.G.(Zero Population Growth) in 1972, claims Pryor rarely showed up straight on the set, if at all.Mosley's Olinga character was based on Black Panthers Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, both of which were real-life friends of Julien's.Apart from his long run opposite Tom Selleck, Mosley would appear on television shows like Night Gallery, Starsky and Hutch, Kojak, and The Love Boat.Ms. Speed, would score acting credits in blaxploitation fare like Jack Hill's The Big Bird Cage(1972), Savage!(1973), Dynamite Brothers, Abby, and Disco Godfather(all 1974).On the scale, Mack rates a pimpadocious three Wops, as a top rate genre flick, probably the best of it's kind, were it not for a director named Van Peebles and a film project he'd completed in 1970, but that's another movie, another entry, baby.Highly recommended. Real hustlers aren't afraid to rock a mink bowtie to the Player's Ball.
Tonight we wrap our glassies around a documentary about sideshow freaks, errr, human oddities, ummm, y'know, I'm not exactly sure what the 'politically correct' term is these days for a dude, who, when asked where his brother is, replies "He's growing out of the side of my face, you can't miss him.", but judgmentless distinction doesn't come easy when looking at these folks focused upon in the Rasky-written and directed production, most of whom are Gibsonton, Florida denizens when not travelling the countryside with carnival sideshows.Ironically, listening to the pretentious narration as delivered by Christopher Plummer, who'd come a long way from his Sound of Music(1965) salad days in trying to make a nearly eight foot tall giantess seem ordinary without directly pointing up at her, screaming, and running for his life like an evacuated Tokyoan as Rodan's leathery wings menacingly flap over the metropolis.Yeah guys, next time you're trying to document the triumph of people over life-altering deformities and handicaps in a condescending p.c. light, you might wanna leave out sex life questions in your interview with three foot tall midgets, it just makes you sound like a glorified barker selling tickets outside the big tent.Kind of like the one you hired to introduce each human oddity here?I'll go out on a limb here and surmise that these folks are probably pretty used to "Holy FUCK!" expressions and comments from people in this stage of their lives, especially if they're making a living in a sideshow or in a Guinness Museum display.But that's the good thing about this one, kids, you can leave the pretense to the filmmakers and be properly astounded, guilt-free. I wish you and Cactus Jack all the luck in the world, brother. First stop on the "C'mere! You GOTTA see this!" Express is Gibsonton, Florida, the winter home away from home for carnival folk, where we're introduced to the Galyons, adult twins who are conjoined at the large intestine, have no outward genitals(!), and are situated face to face.Watching them tread the basepath during a softball game reminds me of two guys in a horse costume.Ronnie profoundly says of brother, Donnie: "That's because we are like brothers.Wherever I go, he goes, and wherever I go, he goes."Nah, dude, you are brothers, but besides whiffing on the Bette Midler lyrics, you're like some creepy Harryhausen animation once you start moving all those legs.Then there's a dwarven fire eater who looks like my dad circa the nineties, the grumpy 729 lb Paul Fishe who lays to waste the 'jolly fatso' myth, a hefty female bookend, Icelandic giant and former B-movie actor, Johann Petursson, who, at eight foot two, needs dual walking canes just to get around, and his opposite, Dolly Reagan, who's an ordinary head on an underdeveloped infant-sized body.After asking her considerate questions like "Do you feel like a freak?", they get down to the nitty-gritty and beat around the bush about her sex life.From 'human dolls' we switch to the 'strangest married couple', or simply Alligator-skinned Boys and the Monkey Girls who love them.He just looks like he could use some lotion(about a fifty-five gallon drum's worth), while she can't go shopping in public(even in Gibsonton) without rocking an Arab-style veil over her non-ironic beard, while their average son appears on-camera to subtly answer the interviewer's sex question before he can even ask it. "Fore!" might be a bit too much for you.Try "One and a half!" instead. After some irksome filler footage involving amusement park rides and hot air balloons over a forgettable music soundtrack, we're whisked outta the carny world and into the "normal" one, where being different is once again measured in opposites:First Sandy Allen, at 7'7", the world's tallest woman, then cult movie personality Billy Barty and clips of the annual Little People convention, where we see dwarves rollerskate.Then, we're off to Montreal where we meet a six foot man who's married to a three foot woman and living in a midget-sized house.We see him flush the cute little toilet.Then he's finally asked about his sex life, to which he wisecracks that it's better than his previous marriage to a normal-sized woman.Bob Melvin's box art-gracing, elephantiasis-ravaged grill is next, and we watch him ride a bike, and be memorialized at his local Missouri church for some reason...while he's still breathing.A lengthy disco segment doesn't quite prepare us for the crab-pincered marathon runner/motivational speaker who was also born without feet, the karateka with one leg who blows through pine boards with his arm stub, two legless rascals, and finally, a Texas lass born without arms who shimmies into her jeans with a wire hanger, drives a car, writes, knits, and even gives her son haircuts with her feet.We hear a sacchariferous ballad to Louise herself, who's been married twice already(once at twelve years old, insert your own "Yeeeeeee-haaaaaaaaawww!" here) as she skateboards, daydreaming about posing for Playboy.Plummer returns to coerce good feelings out of a shell-shocked audience while prattling on about the human spirit and other insincere verbal knick-knackery... We'll return to "When 75% of Your Face Wages War with The Other 25%" right after these words from our sponsor... The late Rasky, a leading Canadian documentary director, covered subject matter like Leonard Cohen, Arthur Miller, and Chagall when he wasn't penning the awful lyrics to the personalized songs in tonight's review(which were composed by Paul Zaza, who provided scores to genre films like Prom Night(1980), My Bloody Valentine(1981), and Porky's(1983) by the way) or ignoring substance and structure in revealing these extraordinary individuals in the same damned exploitative geekshow light we've peeked at human oddities in all along, only from behind an artificial moral shield.Billy Barty(nee Bertanzetti!) was a native Pennsylvanian who acted in 177 films from 1927 until the time of his death in 2000.The Galyon brothers now boast of being the world's oldest conjoined twins, long retired from the sideshow circuit to a tranquil life somewhere in Ohio.On the scale, Different rates two solid Wops, and makes for one of the more memorable mondo documentaries of the eighties. Yeah, but can she handle a standard tranny?
Enjoying an exemplary early grilling season here at Chez Wop, with the respective swordfish and bison population dwindling at the apetite of yours cruelly, while you guys have quietly hit the site over the past few months like El Duce on a forty-ouncer of Hurricane at nine in the morning, leftover pizza and weight lifting optional.As a token of my gratitude, tonight we'll look over the second last feature from the King a' Gashingas, the potentate of pillow-puppies, the maharajah of major moundage, the one and only, Russ Meyer.For his bicentennial effort, a wild and woolly sex comedy with little regard for cohesion or clarity(and really, who's going into a movie like this looking for that), Russ enlisted the ample charms of the staggeringly beautiful Raven De La Croix, who measured a modest 42DD during her heyday in cult cinema and burlesque and selfishly hogged my adolescent daydreams just like the archetypal brunette sex kitten oughta.Assisting Ms. De La Croix in pitching my Levis brand tent is two time Miss Nude Universe and former arm candy of Russ himself, Francesca Natividad, merely 42D-24-36 in stature at the height of her popularity(she's been measured at 46EEE as recently as '97), a 'Kitten' I wouldn't mind having my inbox flooded with memes of for a change, to be honest with you.Also along for the ride are Janet Wood and a zipper-masked Candy Samples, neither of whom have a problem getting 'em out for the lads in front of a camera, gods bless 'em, a Hitler lookalike gettin' ass-blasted by a pilgrim with a kielbasa-sized cartoon crank in an S & M dungeon...describing the carnage as penned by Meyer and film critic/repressed pervo Roger Ebert in this mammarian whodunit's even gonna be a challenge to a wily wordsmith such as I, believe me.Twisted fucks of the world unite...and all that old pomp and circumstance, as it were... Adolf Schwartz(Edward Schaaf), sans shorts, enjoys news reports amidst his watersports. Straight outta the gate we're introduced by a busty nude Greek chorus(Francesca Natividad) with a dubbed British accent, to Adolf Schwartz(Edward Schaaf), a German who bears more than a striking resemblance to that other Adolf chappie, except he's in an S&M dungeon wearing furry assless chaps getting the fuck whipped out of him by a pilgrim named Paul(Robert McLane) while he ravishes various naked ethno-dames.He tips the pilgrim extra to stuff his hentai-esque cock up his whip-rattled ass.One of the more unsexy visuals in film I've ever had to endure, thanks.Later he's brutally murdered in the bathtub of his Bavarian-style Wulf's Lair hideout in northern California when some mysterious intruder in black leather gloves dumps a piranha(or grouper, same thing, I guess) named 'Harry the Nimrod' in with the bubblebathing fuhrer.The Greek chorus pops up in various picturesque environs, bucking and gyrating in nude interpretive grooviness to run down the list of murder suspects and motives to the audience keeping score at home.While the ever-so-slightly pillow-chested Margo Winchester(Raven De La Croix) bobbles her buh-hubbas on a morning jog, she's sexually attacked by a less-than-subtle admirer from afar that she's forced to cream with a post-rape boulder.The whole sordid incident is witnessed by local badge, Homer Johnson(Monty Bane), who offers to corroborate her alibi if she'd only just fuck his brains out once in awhile.She does(does she ever), later scoring a job at Sweet Li'l Alice's, a local restaurant run by it's namesake(Janet Wood) and her husband, Paul.Glad to see he settled down and dropped the whole puritan/sado-sodomizer kick he was on earlier. Margo Winchester(Raven De La Croix) makes for an impressive seat cover, indeed. It's not long before Paul, too, falls prey to Margo's bewitching and bountiful bait, and an abridged period of time passes before the narrative gets hung up on who's putting the blocks to who:Paul v.Margo, Homer v. Margo, Paul v. Alice, Homer v. stereotypically garbed native American chick(Margo asks, "Why's your dick so red? You been fucking an Indian??!")... Oh, that's a scream, alright.While captivating a cafe full of pickled cat-calling hayseeds one night with a table dance in a form-fitting gown with a neckline somewhere around the Marianas Trench, she inspires the reticent mountain of a lumberjack (who's a half-case of beer in), Rafe(Bob Schott), to vigorously rape her in front of the crowd of compliant clodhoppers(Meyer's in there among the hillbillies, btw).Apparently, brutal rape's a real crowdpleaser in them thar parts.When Li'l Alice tries to intervene, her clothes disappear as she becomes another layer in the Dagwood-sized rape-wich, which leads to an outrageous knock down, drag out, cafe'-battle/chase-to-the-death complete with obligatory axes and chainsaw.With Rafe and Homer presumably getting acquainted with their respective makers at the bottom of a ravine, Alice takes the opportunity to seduce Margo(naturally, who wouldn't?), which quickly dissolves into two completely naked women chasing each other, going knuckle up in a river bed, all the while laying down one of the most incomparably unhinged dialogue exchanges to ever take place in the annals of cult movie history, if not cinema itself, which I'm gonna let you hear for yourselves when you decide to check out this particular eighty minute example of Meyer's most deliriously over-the-top stuff available.Must be seen to be believed, and I don't often say that about softcore porn. I'm exempt from tree-fucks on account of termites becoming lovestruck by my jutting Mediterranean wood. Up! often gets dismissed as Meyer's ugliest, most hateful work due to the comedic approach to the rape scenes and one-dimensional characters with only ruckin' n' fuckin' in mind, but getting caught up in a Bugs Bunny-esque sound effect booooooiiiiiiinnnng! when somebody whips a prosthetic dick out of their pants when there's naked women who are so goddamned voluptuous that they deserve ogling from misogynists and feminists alike, traipsing through lush locales, whose beauty is only intensified by Meyer's loving lens, well then I think you've missed Russ' point completely.Besides, if you read Wopsploitation on anything resembling a regular basis, then a movie like this is right up your alley with double D doses of cartoony sex, violence, and beautiful women in every frame, though, it's admittedly a frightening thing when Roger Ebert is left to his own perverse devices while writing a screnplay, indeed.On the scale, three really Big ones, with no further boob jokes to follow... Look out, Kitten! He's about to snatch your pelt.Or vice-versa.
One thing people aren't likely to reminisce about when pondering the late Bing Crosby's storied life and career, is much of his Bing Crosby Productions company's output in the seventies, of which tonight's review is a lesser specimen, no doubt.I vaguely remember the movie's original release, thanks to some tv spots that featured eyes behind paintings that creeped out my three or four year old ass at the time, but negative reviews and word of mouth sent the release into relative obscurity immediately afterwards.It wasn't until a video store clearance sale years later that it'd reappear on my radar in the form of a Lightning Video vhs copy, ironically the last official release of the film in any format; the same videotape I'd wisely back up to dvd with all the packaging bells and whistles, stickler for detail I, no doubt, am.Probably more effort than the film, a weird and mostly unfunny ham-off between familiar genre faces like Roddy McDowall, Victor Buono, and Stella Stevens, upon a gothic studio set, was really worth the more I think about it.Still, it's not altogether without merit, so long as by 'merit' you don't mean 'M.A.S.H.'s Jamie Farr masquerading as a badly made up Hindu with an eye patch', which, by the way, this movie just happens to have covered, thankyouverymuch.That being said, I can't see anybody going out of their way to get a new release for the film, a la certain moustacchioed gents I know with an affinity for 3D spaghetti westerns, but it may appease certain cinephiles enough to give it an hour and a half while Wednesday night-surfing Google Video, where it currently rests, undisturbed, to this very day. Arnold(Norman Stuart) seems to have gone all stiff at the thought of Robert(Roddy McDowall) gaffling his inheritance. The film begins with an English caretaker and constable looking on as the funeral procession of local tycoon Lord Arnold Dwellyn(Norman Stuart) as the proceedings abruptly change to a wedding ceremony between the recently deceased and a buxom young thang named Karen(Stella Stevens)(!), much to the dismay of the congregated wedding party, comprised of Arnold's younger brother Robert(Roddy McDowall), his widow, Lady Jocelyn(Shani Wallis), his cousin Douglas Whitehead(Patric Knowles), his doting sister Hester(Elsa Lanchester), Whitehead's law partner, Evans(Farley Granger), and his mysterious Hindu(not really) manservant, Dybbi(Jamie Farr).Constable Hooke(Bernard Fox) decides to sneak a peak at the affair, only to watch the soused vicar(Victor Buono) ask a man's coffin if he takes Karen to be his lawfully wedded wife.A pre-recorded tape of the cadaver's voice piped through a tape deck in the coffin responds appropriately without cue.Hmmm, that's strange.The policeman and caretaker are invited to the reading of Arnold's will, where most of his fortune goes to his lovely new wife provided she stand near to her husband's cadaver for the rest of her life, while miserable pittance bequeathals are doled out to his other family members, and goose eggs for his brother.When the guests are taken aback by their late relative's future money plans, the cassette answers their queries as if he were alive in the room with them.The cryptic tapes continue to turn up at the manor, warning against feelings of anger and greed from his family, though, you just know the circling vultures are about to get their just desserts somehow... Less material, more flesh from Stella Stevens here, and I'd consider upping it a Wop, to be sure. Arnold's widow inherits the Rolls Royce and a cosmetic company, but when she samples a facial cream, it reacts violently, disfiguring her face and doing the old girl in before she can scheme any further with Evans.Meanwhile, Karen and Robert have been discreetly planning a getaway for two, but when Arnold seemingly follows the adulterers to Robert's pad, he hurries back to the manor, where a custom crushed red velvet suit for Arnold's body has arrived, and when he tries it on, it constricts around his body until he upchucks his own innards.Karen desperately turns to Whitehead for a way out of her agreement, to which Douglas offers to help for half of the inheritance money plus fringe benefits, the old dog.Whitehead samples some of Arnold's expensive cognac to celebrate his recent good fortune, only to end up being compacted in the back of a garbage truck when the drink turns out to be drugged.Karen turns to Evans with the same deal she offered Douglas, innadvertently getting Dybbi beheaded when he searches the basement lab for Arnold's hidden fortune.After Evans and Karen get themselves crushed to death in a shower with shrinking walls, Hester reveals that she and her dead brother dreamt up the whole scheme to rid themselves of greedy inheritors, and that all of his inheritance will ultimately go to her.When Arnold's final tape begins to sound too cocky for Hester's tastes, she has his body cremated immediately.After snuffing the caretaker with a spade, she stumbles upon Arnold's secret hiding place for his riches while interring his remains in the crypt.She crawls into the secret room to gloat over the money, but a moving wall seals her in permanently as another cassette of Arnold wisecracks that expected such betrayal from Hester, and they'd be together forever now.Outside, Hester's cat traps a raven behind a tombstone as the constable obliviously rides off on his bicycle, while the bird tears the feline to pieces off-camera... Arnold's painting can see me sawing logs on the couch. The late Fenady also helmed 1973's Terror in the Wax Museum for Bing, with Ray Milland, John Carradine, and much of the cast from tonight's feature, as well, and countless episodes of television shows over the years, which he was much better suited for, imho.Stevens would appear in genre fare like blaxploitation classics Slaughter(1972) and Cleopatra Jones and the Casino of Gold(1975), horror like 1979's The Manitou, and even Chained Heat(1983).If you're into genre film and you don't know Roddy McDowall by now, you're a lost cause, for sure.Grand dame Lanchester only played Frankenstein's monster's titular bride back in '35, while we're at it.If you're unfamiliar with her...alright, I'll stop.Shani Wallis sang the cheesy title song that'll make your life miserable for days after watching, as well as appearing in tonight's movie.Like I may have mentioned earlier, Arnold is a strange little flick, with a hardcore made-for-tv vibe about it, that showcases some inventive deaths while failing epically at making the viewer snicker.If you're into McDowall or any of the others, it may be worth tracking down for a screening.As it stands, it merits a wholly average two Wops on the scale. Elsa Lanchester looks older than the piles of cash she's surrounded by here.
Tonight's review is an early martial gem from elder Liu, who directs and co-stars here alongside twenty-one year old protege' Hsiao Ho, an acrobatic Shaw contracted performer who'd go on to feature prominently in Liu's later offerings like My Young Auntie(1981) and Legendary Weapons of China(1982); one of two HK films to center around the monkey fist style in 1979, the other being Yuen Biao's excellent Knockabout.I can't really say which of the two is my favorite, but I will say that, combined, they'd make a double feature par excellence on any given night.Mad Monkey is a showcase of traditional kung fu comedy with gravity-defying performances by Ho, who somersaults so much here, I got a nosebleed just watching him, but even more so from Liu himself, who shows on multiple occasions just why he's the gold standard in martial choreography and direction, serving up no less than a solid half hour of dizzying training sequences and lengthy, intricate fights displaying the rolling and flipping of the comedic-rooted monkey style, often paired off in groups.Flying evil's black banner of badness here is Lo Lieh, who shined brightly in Liu's ground-breaking Executioners from Shaolin(1977) as the white-brow priest, Pai Mei.Lieh never looks as impressive as he does when he's choreographed by Liu and tonight's entry, which was coincidentally released on my tenth birthday(though it's taken thirty years for me to finally score a good copy), is no different.Kara Hui Ying Hung is also on board, but puzzlingly not given a whole helluva lot to do for some reason.Liu expertly offsets the broad physical comedy with sorrow and tragedy to make for essential pugilistic viewing, an underrated classic of the genre that somehow gets passed over in the maddening volume of movies released during the era. Uncle Chan(Liu Chia Liang) puts away toasts and challengers with ease. Uncle Chan(Liu Chia Liang) and his sister Miss Chen(Kara Hui Ying Hung) are travelling stage performers in an opera troupe who are obliged to attend a dinner in their honour at the estate of the wealthy Mister Tuan(Lo Lieh) on their final night in town, unaware Tuan's loins secretly burn for Chen, and he's planning to frame Chan in order to turn her out as a personal concubine in his stable of otherwise unscrupulous bitches.Chan gets panzerknackered on wine while making fools of all of Tuan's henchmen in a dazzling display of his monkey fist, while Tuan's wife keeps Chen occupied with womenfolk matters in another room.When the monkey king finally passes out, Tuan's wife lies with him momentarily, while in a state of undress, long enough for her husband to discover the pair together.To make matters worse, Tuan's men cripple Chan's hands with boards, so that he might never drink again, before sending him back into the world without his sister.Some time later, after Chan has taken up as the resident childrens' entertainer with a pet monkey and tray of candy, he's pressured by more of Tuan's goons into paying protection money with disruptive violence, much to the dismay of a young street urchin named Little Monkey(Hsiao Ho), who's tried to befriend him during this low period.When the thugs beat Chan's monkey off of a wall(big-time downer, be forewarned), Monkey volunteers his own services, dressing like his namesake animal and displaying acrobatic prowess and skill with a bo.When Chan grows weary of seeing the goons beating on his young friend, he begins to train him in the basic techniques of monkey fist, but the hothead protege' decides to exact revenge himself before completing the training, with disastrous results... "More comfortable than a futon..." remarks Uncle Chan. After using his newly learned skills to treat most of Tuan's entry-level bullies like props in a Chinese Harold Lloyd skit, Monkey descends upon Tuan's brothel, where Miss Chen has just overheard how her sugar daddy once tricked her brother some years ago.Tuan makes short work of Chan's student, and is about to bash his skull in, monkey brain brunch-style, when Miss Chen de-skirtifies Tuan's wife as a diversion long enough for him to escape the evil boss' clutches.Back with his sifu, Monkey trains hard, toughening his knuckles on tree bark, rotating fluidly while suspended from vines around all his limbs, and somersaulting endlessly against the intricate Shaw Bros backdrops with his vengeful master.Back at Tuan's crib, Chan busts in on the baddies as they've netted his pupil, learning his sister has perished under his black hand.Combining skills, the duo takes out Tuan's small army with flips, kicks, and punches before focusing on the main antagonist, who ironically ends up with busted mitts full o' glass shards before getting chucked off the top balcony to his bloody, broken death, in the same way he sealed Miss Chen's fate.With whores and johns cowering in fear, Monkey feigns a jump that Uncle Chan preemptively catches in his arms.The student assumes a familiar monkey position before vacating the carnage-covered premises with his sifu in a trademark Shaw Bros freezeframe. "Whooooa, careful around my beanbag, fellas!" Though I'm always well entertained by elder Liu's efforts, this one is representative of some of his finest period work ever, I'd surmise.After watching tonight's review, follow it up with an American action picture and see the difference in speed and technical prowess for those of you with any doubt to the director's contribution to the genre.It's downright tragic that Hsiao Ho didn't enjoy more starring roles in Liu's films and beyond, as he's definitely one of Shaw's brightest stars, having scored himself some sixteen film credits as an action director and double that in front of the camera.Definitely in my top ten martial arts movies, and one you should check out right away if you dig 'em as much as I do.On the scale, Mad Monkey merits the perfect four Wops, coming with my highest recommendation.A must-see! Peter Gabriel'd have a hard time shocking this Monkey(Hsiao Ho).
Miss me, ya bastards?Nevermind, I'm sure you did.It's just that when you've lived as charmed a life as I have, being hurled fifty yards from a spectacular car wreck(not breaking a single bone, mind you), getting walloped with baseball bats by overzealous pinkos(bones intact on that front, too, thanks), outlasting terminal illnesses, and outrunning the constabulary of nearly every major city on the east coast in my heyday, and the weather suddenly changes drastically in a day's time or so, my forty-two year old body sometimes reminds me that I'm not twenty-two anymore, and I'm hobbled for weeks at a time with osteoarthritic flare-ups that leave me totally immobilized, and unable to update your very favorite site for genre reviews, as was the case the past few weeks here at the Wop.Being an invincible Italian superman isn't all wine and roses, y'know.Fret not, wee droogies, I've got plenty of movies to scrutinize for your enjoyment anyway, and since there's no better time than now to kick it all off, we'll do just that, by the Gods. Tom Six is back at it again, leaving behind the tact with which he handled the first wildly popular multi-segmented shocker, in favor of the level of balls-out gross most people expected from his first effort.Really, a brilliantly crafted, near Jodorowsky-scale thumbing of the director's nose towards any detractors of his previous movie as actualized from the viewpoint of a naughty six year old and emphasized with blood and bodily waste.It's definitely hard to watch in certain spots, where Six turns up the on-camera sadism and cruelty to appease the film freaks who happen to be geared towards such viscera, but I found myself laughing through much of the worst of it's excesses as they played out like a black and white Salo' torture porn update minus the politics.Though I appreciated II for what it was and had a pretty good zooted time of the whole affair, I much prefer the original's dark sense of humor to it's sequel's somewhat infantile one.Eh, we're all different.Aboard once again is game-to-endure-the-tortures-of-the-damned-a-second-time actress Ashlynn Yennie, though gone is lanky scenery-chewing Deutsch-weirdo, Dieter Laser, and in his stead, the portly pint-sized pinhead, Laurence R. Harvey, as the mentally deficient parking garage attendant obsessed with Six's first movie. "Excuse me, ma'am, you seem to have deposited some cerebrospinal fluid on the end of my prybar..." You never know what you'll find lurking in an underground parking garage in London these days.In this instance, it's Martin Lomax(Laurence R. Harvey), the resident attendant whose obsession with 'The Human Centipede' has expanded well beyond feeding insects to the ravenous specimen he keeps in an aquarium or the elaborate scrapbook on the movie he keeps, complete with recreated illustrations of the...ahem, medical procedures from the film, which he watches repeatedly on a laptop in his toll booth; he's already begun clobbering unsuspecting patrons with his crowbar, hog-tying them with duct tape, and throwing them into the back of his van with designs on ultimately fabricating himself a nifty 12-segmented full sequence human centipede.As fucked up as you'd have to be to dream up such a D.I.Y. project, Martin's got his sociopathic bases covered, having been molested by his father as a child, and raised by a suicidal psycho wretch of a mother who blames him for sending her husband to prison(!).She also sends him to Dr. Sebring(Bill Hutchens), who sedates him to the gills in between inappropriately fiddling with his no-no spots, which doesn't exactly draw the brakes on his sick mania, as he clobbers all types in trying to achieve it: a young couple, a man complaining about the ATM, two clubbing dames who stumble upon him jacking his sandpaper-wrapped meat to the original movie in his tollbooth, the tattoooed baldie who lives upstairs from he and his mother who's perpetually threatening them with a kicking when they complain about his loud music, a cabbie and a cheap hooker who just happens to be servicing Sebring in the back seat(the doctor remarks that he'd rather be fucking Martin!), a rich puke and his pregnant wife, and even Ashlynn Yennie(herself), one of the actresses from the original movie, lured into Martin's web of perversion on the promise of a phony film role, and destined to be the obsessed retard's front segment this time around.Marty's got a crush, no rear segment for you, baby! Mother(Vivien Bridson) interrupts Martin's(Laurence R. Harvey) sexy time. After shooting Sebring in the junk and head, smashing his own mother's skull into a pulpy mess when she callously tears up his scrapbook, and killing a guy who's leasing some particularly dark n' dingy warehouse space, Martin begins preparing his kidnapped segments for the big operation, which he, no professional surgeon by any stretch of the imagination, performs with the help of a bag of common household tools.He sloppily severs knee tendons before punching teeth out with a hammer, fishing the loose teeth out of his victim's mouths with his fingers before they can gag to death on them.Using a tile cutter, he clumsily carves open ass cheeks then attaches the next respective segment with a staple gun and duct tape, while two of his guinea pigs presumably die off during the brutal process, driving the mental midget into a frenzy of anger which sees him strip down to his undies.Yeah, thanks for that visual, Six.He uses a funnel to force-feed Ashlyn, cutting out her tongue when she sassily smacks a food bowl away and makes too much noise.He then injects each struggling segment with a syringe full of laxative, forcing them to evacuate their bowels into the waiting yap of the sorry sumbitch behind them, causing Martin to joyfully make raspberries with his tongue before he violently hurls from the growing fecal stench.After wrapping his dick with barbed wire(!!), Martin forcibly pumps the rear segment's dumper, as the pregnant woman, presumed dead, springs to screaming, bleeding life, trying to escape in the leasing agent's car as she goes into labor, spitting the fetus into the car's foot well, and crushing it's skull with the gas pedal(!!!) as she reverses out of the nightmare with the mentally challenged attendant giving chase.Meanwhile, his upstairs neighbor has bloodily torn his face free from the ass in front of him, separating the centipede into two halves, which Martin sets upon angrily, shooting one half's segments in the head, and after Ashlyn smashes his pet centipede's aquarium, setting it loose in the warehouse, he cuts the throats of the other half's segments, stopping at his obsession, who abruptly knees him in the goodie bag and shoves his own funnel up his ass(!), dropping the centipede into it(!!), before he shanks her in the grill and staggers out in agony, screaming bloody murder(!!!).We then see Martin back in the toll booth, watching his favorite movie, as if nothing had ever happened, although the screams of a baby he had left in a locked car earlier tell us different. Eh, look on the bright side, you still have four more than Shane MacGowan. Six, who provides the voice of Martin's abusive dad here, is currently working on The Human Centipede 3, which he claims will make II look like a Disney production, ironically the same analogy he provided between the first and second installments.Whether or not you appreciate the repetetive nature of his pre-production hype, you've gotta give it to the guy.He delivered exactly what he promised in the first sequel, so there's no reason to think for a second he won't do the same with the third film.Personally, I'm well over the whole 'centipede' thing by now, and would rather see him move in an original and new direction.To be honest, the entire recent 'torture porn' phenomenon's incisors have lengthened in a hurry, and sitting through most of it has become more torturous than pornographic, really.On the scale, Full Sequence earns a solid three Wops, and comes recommended for hardcore gorehounds everywhere.See it. "If I show you a moment of compassion, you promise you won't knee me in the balls and shove my pet centipede up my ass?"
When my roommate and I are sitting around zooted with lungs full of convivial vapors, oftimes we'll throw our favorite ADR-dialogue from kung fu movies back and forth at each other.It wouldn't be the least bit strange to wander in and hear lines like, "Say, Tiger! Since you're here we're on top!" or "I'll even go to Shaolin!If I have to GOOOOOOO!" affected in those familiar Brit accents around here on a good day.It just so happens that tonight's review, a godawful slice of seventies Bruceploitation also known as 'Golden Sun' and 'The Dragon Dies Hard', contains a deluge of quotable lines familiar to both of us dating all the way back to Channel 11 WPIX's propensity to serve up z-grade chopsocky affairs every Saturday afternoon back in the early eighties.Apart from a few brilliantly inept sequences, some loud silk shirts, and some of the hokiest Bruce Lee mythology ever committed to celluloid, that's really about all this one has going for it.Forget your old prerecorded VHS of the Golden Sun print, Master Arts Video has trotted out a luxurious new remastered(translation:dubbed from video cassette) print with no less than four lengthy-n-clunky black pauses in the action, and a nifty scene chapter index.No, seriously, it's a bare bones disc, and not even an average one at that.Forwards! Stone(Bruce Li) meets Bruce Lee's ghost(also Bruce Li).Uhhh, yeah. After a sluggish entry-level form display and sparring match, Stone(Bruce Li)'s brother(Au-Yeung Chung) tells him that he reckons his sibling has surpassed his lifelong idol, Bruce Lee, in martial skills.Before anyone with half a brain can chime in to the contrary, some students rush in with a newspaper whose headlines declare the legendary kung fu superstar dead.Shattered by the news, Stone takes to the local bar and gets pie-eyed on booze, then gets dragged home and tucked into bed by his martial chums.During the night, Stone is visited by the ghost of Bruce Lee(also Bruce Li), who tells him through some vague charade-esque hand gestures, that he died violently while hating.This, alone, is enough for Stone to cast aside any and all prior engagements and do some amateur investigation(translation:saying "I want the truth" repeatedly) into the movie star's premature death, once he's visited Shaolin, related his wild story to the head abbot there, and fight all the monks while wearing polyester slacks and platform shoes.While Stone meditates, Lee materializes over some candles and takes a golf club to the labonza.Stone returns to his brother, who ponders aloud where his inquiries will start, to which he replies, "Betty Ting.But first I must find her." "You're right there," says Stone's gaudily-garbed sibling, "That's the most important thing." Sure enough, one of the other students who knows Betty and her nightly haunts happens to stroll up and divulge the info.After saving the starlet from some drunken chiselers who want Ting to pay their tab, Stone takes her back to her apartment, where he frightens her into thinking he's Bruce Lee with the lights off, then splits, satisfied with the evening's sleuthing.Meanwhile, Betty calls her mob-tied bosses... We now return you to "Shaolin vs. JC Penny's Leisurewear for 1975". First, Betty is told to cozy up to Stone, while various novice thugs-in-silk-shirts pounce out at the couple as they walk, forcing her new champion to climb atop a Fillipino bus with low tires, and fight several of them on the roof while it speeds along at ten miles an hour.Look out, Chan-man.Ho Tsung Tao has your number...or not.The mobsters kidnap Stone's brother and warn him to keep his brother's nose out of their business.Too late, fellas, he's looking for the truth.After laying low for a while, Stone visits the crime bosses during a thunderstorm, while wearing a kung fu uniform, and is naturally mistaken for Bruce Lee's ghost.Frightened, they point him back in Betty Ting's direction, remarking that Lee died in her apartment.He catches up to her and roughhouses her into a flashback sequence from that fateful night, just as she's splitting town with her bags packed.We see Bruce(again, Bruce Li) arrive at her place, pour himself a drink, strip his silk shirt off, and writhe in agony at a bruise on his hip.Oh, he doesn't stop there, friends.He bounces in slo-mo on the bed with his sunglasses on like a dying teenaged chick at a tragic sleepover, to Betty's horror, for five solid minutes before shuffling off the martial coil.Before Stone can brood over still not knowing who killed Bruce Lee, the mob bosses send some dusky-looking Asians with bad teeth and afros to his school to bully everybody.The last of his vanquished foes directs him to the local stadium(translation:golf course)for the end of his investigation.There, he faces the man responsible for his idol's wrongful death, in the form of permed n' moustacchioed Lung Fei, who mistakes him for the real thing several times.I don't see the resemblance, but anyway...Fei tries to shank Stone's labonza(I wonder why golf clubs with hideaway daggers never caught on), but thanks to the tutelage of Bruce's ghost, he happened to wear a sheet of metal under his clothes in exactly the right spot.After a sloppy n' lethargic fight(they're all like this here, believe me) that ends when Stone kicks him down a gravel bank and into the waiting arms of the police, who arrive just in the nick of time. I don't know which is slower and clumsier...the bus or the fight choreography. Director Cheung would only take the chair for one more feature after this, 1979's Immortal Warriors, marking his eleventh credit as such, dating back to 1968.I'm in no hurry to catch the other ten, really.For Ho Tsung Tao, 1978 would bring some of his better films to date, in Edge of Fury, Dynamo, and Deadly Strike.Unfortunately, the year would also mean titles like Bruce Li's Magnum Fist, Bruce Li in New Guinea, and Bruce Lee-The Invincible, for him.It's hard enough convincing movie audiences that you're the second coming of Bruce Lee, let alone taking on twin kung fu gorillas that fight on their hind legs.Another movie, another day perhaps.Lung Fei appeared in no less than 139(!) kung fu movies dating back to 1969, but I'm gonna wager a guess right here and now that the vast majority of them are complete piles of arm-waving shit a la Furious Slaughter(1972) with Jimmy Wang Yu.I'm not holding my breath waiting for someone to prove me wrong, either.On the scale, one embarrassing Wop, and I'm being pretty generous.For hardcore Brucesploitation completists only. Flopping around in slo-mo on the bed for five minutes.Or an aneurism.Whichever sounds better to you.
After a weekend of altered states and nautical bathrooms in Trenton, New Jersey went horribly wrong, due to the sheer volume of feline pussy snuggling up to my hyper-sensitive sinuses(I'm talking Felis silvestris catus, not the flesh-scabbard oft-waved in my face by amorous females of humankind, for once, anyway), we're facing the premature arrival of March here at the Wop with considerably more genre reviews for the month than I had originally laid out in advance.What is it that Robert Burns, Scotland's favorite son, once said? "The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men, Gang aft agley, An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, For promis'd joy!" Yeah, I'm not exactly sure what solace that's gonna provide you genre-starved aficionados of film, but there it is anyway.With my butt securely parked in the gracious throne here at La Sala dei Giganti, let's get back to big cine-biz already.Here's a high profile sci-fi/horror/comedy debut(if you don't count his co-directorial credit on Tromeo and Juliet(1996), and really, why would we do a thing like that to the poor guy?) from the witty James Gunn, that I've been meaning to cover for quite a while, but haven't gotten around to doing it until now, sidetracked as a frontin' mothersuckah as I often find myself, on this end.When all was said and done, I was well entertained by the gobs of goopy gore(mostly practical work, the way it should be done!), the hilarious script, laden with self-referential humor and several even-handed nods to earlier work by Cronenberg as well as genre classics like The Blob(1988) remake, Invasion of the Body Snatchers(1956), and Night of the Living Dead(1968), with solid, campy performances by a cast that includes the likes of Michael Rooker, Elizabeth Banks, Gregg Henry(tops of the bunch, imho), and Nathan Fillion, and cameos from that Kaufman cat and even Gunn himself.Winner of multiple Fangoria Chainsaw awards, and publically snubbed by Roger Ebert, you can go ahead and queue this one up presently, I reckon ye'll enjoy it more'n a smidgeon.Towards... I don't know about you, but I caught myself scrutinizing this x-ray for that shitty pretzel Rooker gobbled in Mallrats(1995). In the backwoods burg of Wheelsy, where the cops point their radar gun at passing birds instead of speeding motorists, a wayward meteorite slams into the rural terra, paroling a pernicious alien parasite in the process.The interstellar leech takes up residence in the labonza of local car dealer, Grant Grant(Michael Rooker), who's taken Brenda(Brenda James) into the woods for some extramarital enrichment when his voluptuous wife, Starla(Elizabeth Banks), proves less than receptive to his recent love launches.With the space slug parked at the base of his brain, Grant begins to behave more strangely and secretive than usual, slowly metamorphosizing into a sluggish, tentacle-whippin' pile o' shit himself while stowing Brenda, who's been pumped full of embryonic alien wigglies, away in a remote cabin in the woods.Meanwhile, Starla juggles concern for her own weird marriage to a homicidal space spore with suppressed feelings towards local sheriff/childhood crush, Bill Pardy(Nathan Fillion), who's been dealing with the recent rash of pet disappearances and his own belly butterflies towards Mrs. Grant.Pardy and a group of his officers follow Grant to Brenda, who now resembles a massive, dirty tit that explodes in a grue-blast shower of juvenile alien slugs upon the startled lawmen.Most of the posse is infected by the slimy little bastards and transformed into a zombie-esque flesh-chompin' legion that shares a single consciousness with the "Long One", the interstellar stowaway that's been altering Grant into a giant, slithering piaje off a Tijuana toilet lid, while sharing the human's obsession for his curvaceous wife.Then the townsfolk begin to fall prey to the slugs... "Book that 'sad drunk' over there for his resemblance to the guy who wrote 'Sugar Cookies'(1973)!" With much of the local population stumbling bloodily around town and mantra-moaning in unison about Starla, the daunted task of saving the civilized world falls upon the collective shoulders of Pardy, Kylie(Tania Saulnier), a teenaged girl who has seen the Long One's sordid plot to envelop and digest all the life there is in the universe and recycle it into it's own propagating mass o'slime and razor-sharp man-splitting tendrils, the self-absorbed Mayor MacReady(Gregg Henry), and Grant's aforementioned wife, when the hive-minded drones surround their vehicle, taking Starla and infecting the wise-cracking mayor, in the process.Pardy and Kylie pursue the mind-controlled mob only to discover the hulking slime-blob that was Grant has taken to epic proportions while physically ingesting(yet still displaying, blech) all life forms around it, and it's a-fixing to patch things up with it's wife.With Starla forced to use her vampy charms to divert the gooey behemoth's attention from Sheriff Pardy's incoming grenade attack, the mass proves too cagey for such a maneuver, bitch-slapping the woman across the room, detonating the grenade in a pool nearby, and impaling the lawman on one of its tentacles.All I'll say about the boffo finale, is, that it involves propane tanks, bullets, and a whole mess o' splattery discharge; a real crowd-pleaser that's fun for the whole family. "Normally, I'd be at ease jes' a'hangin' out here in the field a spell, but I really gotta split(right down the middle)." You'll no doubt remember Gregg Henry in his genre debut in Jeff Lieberman's Just Before Dawn(1981), or one of his many memorable roles in movies like Scarface(1983) and DePalma's Body Double(1984).His performance in tonight's review is not to be missed.For Elizabeth Banks' recent genre ties, you'd have to look towards The Uninvited(2009), the Dreamworks remake of K-horror hit A Tale of Two Sisters(2003), though you're probably better off checking her out in the Raimi Spider Man series.Jenna Fischer, Gunn's ex-wife, can be found all over television, in shows like Scranton-based The Office, and movies like The 40 Year Old Virgin(2005), neither of which are my bag, man.Rooker, who cut his genre-teeth in the cult classic Henry:Portrait of a Serial Killer(1986), currently appears on The Walking Dead, a show I'm a few seasons behind on, at the moment, due to a sudden outbreak of dontgiveafuckboutit-itis.Gunn has proven to be a hot commodity in these days since penning the scripts to the live-action Scooby Doo(2002) and Dawn of the Dead(2004) remake, turning up all over the place, recently judging on VH1's Scream Queens reality show.I'll be keeping an eye out for his future work, myself, as he's a talented writer and director capable of good things in the genre.On the scale, Slither earns an impressive three Wops, an entertaining blend of fifties sci-fi and eighties shlock that's good for repeat viewings.Recommended. Grant(Michael Rooker) balks at Starla's refusal to incorporate a "MySpace angle" for his Match.com profile pic.