Thursday, April 28, 2016

April Exploitation/B-Movie Challenge 2016- Days 23-27

Time to catch up! I apologize for falling behind on coverage here but I'm here now and ready to catch up!

Day 23 started with ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE a DVD sent to me courtesy of Wild Eye Releasing to view specifically for this challenge. It's a modern exploitation film, filled plenty of things  I like and dislike about modern exploitation films. This demon biker movie is funny without too many "in jokes" or winks and nudges to the audience and has a genuinely sleazy sensibility to it with lots of violence and forced nudity. The special effects are a bit hit and miss but aside from CGI blood splatter I'm okay with them. The acting holds up a decent script so I can get passed the things I don't like such as artificial scratch filters to make it look like an older film ala Grindhouse. It's a trend that annoys the piss out of me but ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE is good enough that it didn't make that big of a difference.

I followed that up with THE CURSE, a 1987 adaptation of HP Lovecraft's The Color Out Of Space. I wasn't aware of the HPL ties until seeing the film so that was a pleasant surprise and the movie ended up being a pretty solid 80s horror style work on the story. It has plenty messy gross out effects work and latex effects makeup. Wil Wheaton stars a young boy who's family is changing into vicious monsters after eating and drinking produce and water that is tainted from a strange alien orb and he's quite good carrying the film.

Day 24 started and ended with THE CURSE 2 which has nothing at all to do with the first film. Subtitled THE BITE, this one follows a young couple, including the gorgeous Jill Schoelen, as they're on a road trip and travel through an old bomb testing site that is overridden with snakes. When the boyfriend gets bitten on his hand he slowly transform into a hyper aggressive and violent version of himself and undergoes bizarre physical changes as well. THE CURSE 2 was good, but had it let the major payoff occur earlier in the film and let the snakeman monster run amuck on the town this could have been a true masterpiece of horror cheese.

An overdue viewing of KING KONG ESCAPES was next - A well known Kaiju film from Toho that I had never seen. It's King Kong vs MechaKong. Need I say more? We have a giant gorilla fighting the robot version of himself in Japan. A solid script that is deeply rooted in the original King Kong allows the movie to have fun with the giant beast and robot while maintaining an air of seriousness that allows the campy film to still be a pretty good movie.

The next night I tossed on ISLAND OF DEATH - A Greek exploitation film from 1976 that found itself on the Video Nasty list a few years later. Director Niko Mastorakis made this film after seeing the financial success of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre as a way to cash in. With no artistic desire to make the film he made it anyways and he certainly made a film filled with deplorable acts and ideas such as rape, goat fucking, murder, racism and homophobia. From an exploitation film standpoint it's entertaining, and competently made for the most part aside from our two main characters essentially being on this Greek island for no other reason than to be bigots and kill people they don't like. ISLAND OF DEATH's biggest problem to me is that any and all likable characters are quickly killed off and the movie is over 100 minutes long which is far too long for a movie with nobody to root for. If this movie was 75-80 minutes long I'd like it more.

EXTRAORDINARY TALES was the follow up - This animated anthology of E.A. Poe tales was an interesting watch. With voice over work from the likes of Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi, Roger Corman, Guillermo Del Toro and Julian sands it gave each short, which featured a unique art style, it's own atmosphere. Some segments were better than others, and I don't see myself rushing back to watch the film again as I'd rather sit down and watch the various feature film adaptations of the stories but it was well done and I recommend it for any Poe fans.

This update comes to a close with a movie I've long seen floating around on VHS but it had never crossed my path until recently - THE ANNIHILATORS. This vigilante film is set in Atlanta where a gang has a section of the city under siege, forcing them to pay unfair "protection and insurance" taxes, and raping and murdering those that don't agree including a man running a mini market who was paralyzed in Vietnam. His squadron reunites to help his father, and his neighbors regain control of their neighborhood in a film filled with shootouts, flame throwers, food carts filled with heroin and a school bus filled with kids in the line of fire. THE ANNIHILATORS isn't the best vigilante style film and the cast isn't amazing but it remains an energetic, action packed exploitation romp of a good time.

Today's Rundown
All Hell Breaks Loose - 6/10
The Curse - 7.5/10
The Curse 2 - 6.5/10
King Kong Escapes - 6.5/10
Island Of Death - 6/10
Extraordinary Tales - 6/10
The Annihilators - 6/10

Monday, April 25, 2016

THE MILLION EYES OF SUMURU/THE GIRL FROM RIO - Blue Underground (Blu-ray Review)

UK, Germany, Spain/1967, 1969
Directed By: Lindsay Shonteff, Jess Franco
Written By: Kevin Kavanagh, Harry Alan Towers
Starring: Shirley Eaton, Frankie Avalon, Richard Wyler
Color/173 Mintues/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: April 26, 2016

The Films
This double feature of films starring Shirley Eaton as the titular Sumuru who has plans to take over the world with her all femme army are a part of the kitschy, campy and colorful 1960s spy genre that was so heavily influenced by the James Bond films. A bit more for the cult or midnight film crowd than Bond may be, including a show stealing scene in THE MILLION EYES OF SUMURU from Klaus Kinski, these are the textbook definition of the films that Mike Myers would go on to parody thirty years later in the Austin Powers trilogy.

I will admit that I'm not a big fan of spy films and that I don't particularly care for James Bond. To put it simply those films and I have never clicked. I've never felt any sort of longing to watch them or dig deeper into the genre and there's never been a kinship between us. When I sat down to watch these two films I did so with an open mind giving them the best shot I could. I thought at least THE GIRL FROM RIO was directed by Jess Franco so that had a fighting chance at being something I'd find enjoyable. I couldn't necessarily say the same about the first film as Frankie Avalon doesn't exactly get my blood pumping but upon sitting down and finishing both films I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying both.

The films are campy, with overacting, scripts full of action and sexy bikini clad villains who can't hit the broad side of a barn with a machine gun. They're imperfect and flawed throughout but they remain charming and simply enjoyable. They're colorful and fun - in a way the Frankie Avalon tie is almost poetic. For movies about taking over the world, with weapons that will turn you into a statue or cause your organs to rot slowly, to maximize the suffering of course, these movies are silly and lighthearted and they work because of it. I won't say I fell in love but I think this is a fun double feature despite the flaws of the films.

The Audio & Video
Blue Underground does a bang up job with the technical side of this release. Both features look very nice with a newly remastered transfer from the original negatives maintaining the original aspect ratios of 2.35:1 and 1.66:1 respectively. Detail levels are high from facial closeups to textures and surfaces such as clothing to walls and doors. Black levels are deep and inky while colors are bright and vivid without being artificially enhanced to "pop" more than they should. Skin tones are mostly very natural and healthy with only an instance or two of a waxy look. On the audio side of things, both films are presented with DTS-HD mono tracks and optional English subtitles. The tracks are crisp and clear with a steady and well done mix. The soundtrack enhances the film but doesn't become overbearing on the dialogue. There's no damage, distortions or background noise.

The Extras
Carried over from the previous DVD of THE GIRL FROM RIO is "Rolling In Rio" a featurette of interviews with director Jess Franco, producer Harry Alan Towers and star of both films Shirley Eaton. There's also trailers and still galleries.

The Bottom Line
These films have given me some hope that the spy genre may in fact hold some gems for me and if they're released in a high quality release such as this SUMURU double feature I'll be much less hesitant to give them a chance. Another job well done by Blue Underground.

The SUMURU Double Feature is available HERE

Saturday, April 23, 2016

April Exploitation/B-Movie Challenge 2016 - Days 20, 21, 22

4/20 DUUUUDEEEEEEE. Smoke weed or something. Also, Hitler was born that day. Not worth celebrating the biggest piece of shit of the 20th century but it is a reason to watch Nazisploitation flicks so I watched one - ELSA FRAULEIN SS - This one wasn't as exploitative, violent or offensive as many of films in the genre but it was also a bit better made with solid performances and a decent story and there's still plenty of sex and violence. I was pleasantly surprised by this one.

Cirio Santiago decided to make another visit, this being the fourth film I've watched from the Filipino  director this month and it is yet another winner. DUNE WARRIORS is trashy post-apocalyptic action starring David Carradine. It's packed with cool cars, flame throwers, sword fights, wimpy leaders and the lamest name for a main villain of all time. It's campy, cheap and incredibly fun.

April 21st had no viewings. It was one of those days where I wasn't in a particularly good mood to begin with and then the passings of Chyna who was a major part of WWE during a time that I was growing up with wrestling and Prince who I need not mention how legendary he is but I will say that I think he's somehow underrated in ways, if that's even possible. Those things combined made it so that I wasn't in the mood to sit down and watch anything.

Day 22 was a strong comeback though. The first of three movies on the day was SCHRAMM. Jorg Buttgereit's fourth feature film is my favorite of his and his most polished in my opinion. It has all of the sick shit that his previous films such as Nekromantik and Der Todesking had and raises the level of his writing and the performances he gets from his cast. This is a great film that just got a Blu-ray release and I have reviewed the brand new boxset of Buttgereit's films so you should check out that video right here.

Next up was a movie I've pretty much fallen in love with immediately. While I don't think it's a perfect film it does what many contemporary Gialli fail at - feeling authentic to their original period. Many newer Gialli try to feel authentic without being able to really capture the true look and feel. FRANCESCA is a 2015 film straight from Italy and while it has it's flaws it has a solid story, interesting murder sequences and stylish direction. All of the Giallo tropes are present without it feeling disingenuous. I highly recommend Giallo fans checking out FRANCESCA.

The night ended with NUKIE - The 1987 E.T. ripoff set largely in Africa. Yeah... I have seen a couple scenes from this and the trailer but sitting down to watch this on VHS was really an experience. It's a terrible movie with some of the most obvious and glaring plot holes I've ever seen. Nukie, the main alien character and his twin brother are fairly creepy looking, nothing a child would want to encounter. To be fair I feel that way about E.T. as well. NUKIE is awful but I think everyone should see it once just to know about it.

Today's Rundown
Elsa Fraulein SS - 6/10
Dune Warriors - 7/10
Schramm - 8.5/10
Francesca - 7/10
Nukie - 3/10

Friday, April 22, 2016

INFRASEXUM - Vinegar Syndrome (DVD Review)

Directed By: Carlos Tobalina
Written By: Claus Muras, Carlos Tobalina
Starring: Eroff Lynn, Carlos Tobalina, Marsha Jordan
Color/87 Minutes/Not Rated
Region FREE
Release Date: March 26, 2016

The Film
An older man has lost his sexual drive and decides to temporarily leave his business, his wife and the rest of his life behind to find it. His road trip leads him to a simpler life where he finds a great appreciation in painting and meeting new friends. His journey is bumpy as he experiences bits of murder and kidnapped along with more failed sexual venture but he doesn't give up despite how wild his journey gets.

INFRASEXUM is an interesting piece of sexploitation, experimenting in mixing roughie elements with lots of nudie cutie scenes. The more violent and rough scenes come out of nowhere which lend credence that anything can and probably will happen on this trip.

This is director Carlos Tobalina's debut feature film and it feels no less polished than movies he'd make years later as a far more experienced director. There's flourishes of style and he gets rock solid performances from his cast. Tobalina shows that he can direct a sexy fuck scene as well as a nasty murder scene. INFRASEXUM flows well and even if the main story is predictable there's enough turns in this road trip to keep things fresh and be a piece of sexploitation well worth seeking out.

The Audio & Video
The DVD presentation of INFRASEXUM is damn good. Vinegar Syndrome's new 2K scan from the original 35mm camera negative turns into a rather gorgeous 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Detail is quite strong for a standard definition release and colors are vivid and natural. Black levels are solid and there's very little in the way or damage or dirt and debris. The Dolby Digital mono mix is crisp and clear. There's no background noise or damage to speak of.

The Extras
The original theatrical trailer is included

The Bottom Line
INFRASEXUM is an interesting and enjoyable journey and an enjoyable piece of sexploitation.

INFRASEXUM is available HERE

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

April Exploitation/B-Movie Challenge 2016 - Days 17, 18, 19

Day 17 had one lone movie but it was a fun one - ATRAGON - the 1963 Kaiju film from director Ishiro Honda. As a fan of giant monster movies from Japan this is one I've long heard about and it didn't disappoint as the people of Earth are forced to develop and use their new flying submarine warship Atragon to battle the underwater Mu people and their giant laser breathing snake monster Manda. The movie is well made and has a solid story and script but is a bit light in the Manda v Atragon department. A bit more action between the two and I think this would have been bumped up to true classic status.

INFRASEXUM was it for day 18 and the new DVD from Vinegar Syndrome will be getting reviewed later today so be on the look out for it...

And finally day 19 had a pair of films that probably couldn't have been more different. Bill Zebub's 2011 feature ANTFARM DICKHOLE features exactly that... an antfarm dickhole. Just think about that term for a second- antfarm dickhole. Antfarm. Dickhole. Ant. Farm. Dick. Hole. You get it? Yeah, this movie, among many other things like a giant spider fucking a woman and as many "ant" puns as you can handle (and probably couple dozen more) has a man that has a colony of killer African ants living in his dick that kill people whenever he's sexually stimulated. Have you ever wanted to see a giant ant crawl out of a man's peehole? Here's your chance! The movie is funny and raunchy and stupid and you're either going to appreciate it or think it is repulsive trash. Chances are you'll think it's repulsive trash. I enjoyed it.

This recap closes with SECRETS OF A CALL GIRL - a Euro Crime turned drama from director Guiliano Carnimeo and co-written by Ernesto Gastaldi. That duo should have made a far better movie than this is. Luckily Edwige Fenech stars and makes thing visually stimulating at all times. The movie starts out good enough as Fenech plays a girl caught up in the middle of the mob and their prostitution ring who wants a way out after giving birth to her son. The movie's timeline doesn't make a ton of sense towards the end as a lot of time is covered all of a sudden without much mention of it. Once the movie turns into more of a drama it falls flat and feels deflated. It's watchable but I hoped for better. Oh and that artwork I used from Wikipedia is fucking atrocious and doesn't do the film any justice or even represent it accurately.

Today's Rundown
Atragon - 7/10
Infrasexum - 6/10
Antfarm Dickhole - 6/10
Secrets Of A Call Girl - 5/10

Monday, April 18, 2016


Directed By: Phillip Marshak
Written By: Mark Weiss, Joe Repaso
Starring: Herschel Savage, Jacqueline Lorians, Jamie Gillis
Color/85 Minutes/X
Region FREE
Release Date: March

The Film
What do you get when a handsome man is on the hunt for an old relic that potentially holds the key to eternal life and has to beat the Nazis to the chase? No it's not Indiana Jones, it's BLUE ICE! A private eye from San Francisco (Herschel Savage) is hired by a wealthy man known only as Big Man (Jamie Gillis) to retrieve an ancient book that holds the power to eternal life. Unbeknownst to him is that the Nazis are also after the book and have a secret serum to turn anyone into an insatiable nymphomaniac.

I love this movie. It's equally funny and endearing as it is seedy and immoral. With everything from rape to Ron Jeremy doing Kung-fu and gloved blowjobs to group sex and shootouts and stock Nazi footage, BLUE ICE has a little bit of something different around each corner. And it's well made to boot. The cast, lead by Savage but also including adult film mainstays Jamie Gillis, Ron Jeremy and  Bill Margold are all solid. There's even a monologue early on in the film by Reggie Nalder that is edited with stock footage of Hitler and the Nazis that is exceptional.

Oh and the women are gorgeous. Yeah, it's a porno so it's important to note. They're also, in many cases, tough as nails and know how to get what they want. The sets and locations are rather lavish as well, especially Big Man's home and the Nazi hideout. The film culminates in an extremely atmospheric and gorgeously lit and photographed scene of the book finally being opened in a scene that instantly reminded me of the type of atmosphere Lucio Fulci created in films such as City Of The Living Dead complete with beautifully eery music.

BLUE ICE is as campy as it is sexy. At times it gets a little rough and at times it makes you laugh. It has a little bit of everything and sometimes that isn't always a good thing but BLUE ICE comes together as one of the most interesting viewing experiences I've had lately and I love it.

The Audio & Video
Vinegar Syndrome touched this disc so it turned to gold like everything they touch. Really, the anamorphic widescreen transfer has a warm natural film-like look with a nice grain structure while keeping digital noise to a minimum. Colors are vibrant and flesh tones are peachy and natural with no waxiness. Black levels are deep and handled well. The detail level is high in everything from close up facial details to wood grains and fabrics. The DTS-HD Master Audio mono mix isn't going to blow you away with an insane surround mix but it's going to deliver a crisp, clear and pretty fucking stellar sound quality. Dialogue and score compliment each other while the clarity never comes into question with distortions or background noise.

The Extras
Aside from reversible cover art the Blu-ray features an audio commentary track with star Herschel Savage and co-star Bill Margold. The track is lively and genuinely funny as the duo relives their days on the set of the picture giving insightful information and actors and locations along with endless yelling about how awesome the actress' tits are and how hot they were. It's like they're watching a porno for the first time. It's fantastic.

The Bottom Line
I'm giving BLUE ICE the "essential viewing" recommendation for any of my readers who are fans of the adult film stuff I cover. So chances are, if you're reading this you should definitely check out BLUE ICE.

BLUE ICE is available HERE

Sunday, April 17, 2016

April Exploitation/B-Movie Challenge 2016 - Days 14, 15, 16

BLUE ICE... what a movie. I'm reviewing the Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray tomorrow so be on the look out for that for my full thoughts but boy what a movie.

Oh hey, it's another movie I did a full review of for its Blu-ray release. Why don't you check out SHADOWS IN AN EMPTY ROOM right HERE!

Oh no... THE MILLION EYES OF SUMURU and THE GIRL FROM RIO are next and they're also getting full reviews because Blue Underground is releasing them on Blu-ray later this month. Watch out for that review later this week.

Sorry guys, a lot of stuff I'm doing in depth reviews of so I don't want to waste all the good thoughts before they get their just due.