Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Speed Driver (1980)

Director: Stelvio Massi

Writers: Artur Brauner, Massimo De Rita, Luis Maria Delgado

Composer: Stelvio Cipriani

Starring: Fabio Testi, Orazio Orlando, Senta Berger, Francisco Rabal, Manuel Zarzo, Romano Puppo, Luis Rivera

More info: IMDb

Plot: Rudi is an illegal street racer named whose reputation in the area becomes so strong that he is hired by a drug kingpin to compete professionally on the circuit.  Mix in a dame and some drug crimes and you've got yourself a conflict.



My rating: 3/10

Will I watch it again? No.


Woof!  Four writers are credited with creating this by-the-numbers script.  I don't mind that it's so predictable but there's nothing at all interesting about this picture.  It's one cliche after another but with A LOT of racing footage that is almost entirely comprised of closeups of cars where you see the car they want you to look at with very little else inside the frame.  Most of the time I couldn't tell what was going on with who.  I knew which car was Rudy's (Testi) but you don't get a chance to see the big picture.  When someone crashes or there's some kind of an accident, you don't get to see what caused it; you just see someone spinning or trying to get off the track.  The love story is typical, none of the conflicts between Rudy and everyone else (it seems like he gets pissed off at every A level and B level character) deliver any dramatic punch, and there's just too much fat between the story and the racing footage.  That's bad enough on its own but this picture clocks in a twelve minutes shy of two hours and it's not good enough to deserve that much time.  The ending wraps up insanely fast where you find out that everything worked out for Rudy and friends like a nice bow on a package that miraculously wrapped itself up saving the filmmakers from having to show the audience any evidence of the quick exposition vomit that just came out of Napoli's (Orlando) mouth.  

The print I watched was a lousy fullscreen VHS quality one.  That trailer above looks better than what I watched.  IMDb doesn't list what scope this was filmed but I imagine this is a damn sight better seeing this widescreen in a theater but then it's got too many problems that would keep even that from making this good enough to recommend. 



Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Satan's Baby Doll (1982)

Director: Mario Bianchi

Writers: Gabriele Crisanti, Piero Regnoli

Composer: Nico Catanese

Starring: Jaqueline Dupre, Marina Hedman, Aldo Sambrell, Giuseppe Carbone, Giancarlo Del Duca, Alfonso Gaita, Mariangela Giordano

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Tender young flesh seduced by the ultimate evil!

Plot: In the crypt of the remote castle of the Aguilars lies the recently-deceased body of Maria. Her husband Antonio is a jealous bully, his mute brother Ignazio is in a wheelchair peeping on his caretaker Sol, a novice. Also present are Miria, the couple's virginal daughter, and Isidro, a factotum who fears Satan's power. A frequent visitor is Juan Suarez, a doctor who wants Miria in a sanatorium for a month. She doesn't want to go. Isidro tries to exorcize the castle's evil spirits. Bodies pile up. Is Miria's mother truly dead, and who is Satan's tool?


My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again?  Nope.

Hmmmmm.  Where to start?  Director Bianchi thought it best to begin with a two minute softcore lesbian makeout session and you know what?  He was right.  The music over that (by Nico Cantanese, for his sole feature film) is pretty fucking of-it's-day-Eurosleaze great.  Sadly, that one motif is repeated enough over the first few minutes that you get the idea that he'd run out of ideas.  I counted two themes used in the picture with that first, main one playing 80% over the other one and you hear it A LOT, which got old fast.   The nudity, ahem, thankfully does not tire.

It needs to be said, before you stop reading, that there's a lot of nudity.  It's shocking, I know, because it's an Italian horror movie.  It's a small cast.  There are 3 women and 4 men.  Between this troupe of 7 actors, you get to see 3 different pair of tits (for a total of 6 - count 'em, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 boobs!), 3 glorious Euro bushes and two dicks.  Dicks, you say?  Yes.  More on that in a moment.  When the film needs to move, it does at a reasonable pace.  But there are many scenes that linger for a long, long time and over stay their welcome, and they all revolve around naughty bits.  Now, I know what you're thinking; "Hey, Scorethefilm.  What gives?  Don't you like the sex?".  I do, and thank you for asking.  However when the already overplayed and once memorable theme makes yet another go around AND the sex act feels like it's playing out in real time (because it takes a while) only it goes beyond that, then it's too much.  Sol (Giordano) pleasures herself in bed while the parapalegic, wheelchair bound Ignazio (Gaita) secretly watches on.  You'd think this would last 60 seconds or so but it goes on for a full four minutes.  This is softcore, not porn so no graphic stuff.  This is a frequent thing with this flick.  And then, BAM!  An hour in, someone looks like she's going to go down on Ignazio...


And then she does.  For real.  With hard dick in hand, she does her little mouth dance.  Alright, it seems that we now just went hardcore.  I can dig it.  A couple of minutes in you can tell that she's already at the point in the act that she ready to milk it for all it's worth, so to speak.  So she's fist pounding it like she's in the whack-a-mole finals and occasionally tries to restore life with her tongue, hoping that will light the nerve endings on fire, but that clearly isn't helping.  Look, I've been there.  It's frustrating when you're unable to finish on cue but it's also sad to watch.  She spent 4 full minutes trying to make that happen after she'd given up on the throat bath.  After that, she sets her sights on bangin' Antonio (Sambrell), her husband before she died, but this time, after another overlong speed bag session with his dick and her uvula, they have vaginal sex.  


 Now, you could make the argument that these two hardcore scenes help the story and I would not disagree in this case, but the sheer length of the scenes makes you aware that this is no longer artistic but rather excessive.  But that's just me.  Anyway, back to the movie proper... There's something strange going on that involves Antonio's dead wife from the beginning of the picture.  Is she alive or what?  What's making all this weird shit happen?  As the film goes on you get more and more until you know exactly what the fuck is going on in the last half hour.  Once that happens, bodies start dropping like flies and the kills are fun.   There's a bit of padding in addition to the sex and some of the dialogue exchanges get tedious where a character will repeat the same thought but with different words.  It's not an economic screenplay by a long shot.  Mood is more important.  And it didn't hurt that it was filmed in a castle, giving that Gothic vibe and the widescreen print I watched was dirty which adds to the sleaze factor.  Italian dub with English subs is the way to go.  It's no classic but there's a good movie in here somewhere.  Great fucking posters, right?



Monday, November 16, 2020

Tales from the Hood (1995)


Director: Rusty Cundieff

Writers: Rusty Cundieff, Darin Scott

Composer: Christopher Young

Starring: Clarence Williams III, Joe Torry, De'aundre Bonds, Samuel Monroe Jr., Wings Hauser, Tom Wright, Anthony Griffith, David Alan Grier, Duane Whitaker, Corbin Bernsen, Rosiland Cash

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Where nightmares and reality meet on the street

Plot: A funeral director tells four strange tales of horror with an African American focus to three drug dealers he traps in his place of business.


 

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

Of all of the horror anthologies I've seen that were made in the past forty years, this is one of the best.  I loved it!

There are four main stories with a fifth one being the framing wraparound tale which is called...


 Welcome to My Mortuary sees three gangbangers approach a mortuary (in a house) around Halloween for a drug deal.  Once inside, Mr. Simms (hilariously played by Williams III).  Before he gives them the drugs he starts spinning tales of horror (as you would).  This sets the four main stories in motion with a little bit of stuff inbetween with the guys reacting to Simms' yarns.

 

Rogue Cop Revelation has a couple of horrible, white, drug-dealing, crooked cops pulling over a black man for no reason but to send him a message for speaking out against said crooked cops.  They fuck him up hard and it's painful to watch.  Anyway, his dead body gets his revenge.  The only thing fun about this one is seeing these assholes get their comeuppance and boy do they get it.

 

Boys Do Get Bruised is a depressing tale of a small boy often coming to school bruised up.  He tells his teacher a monster does it and shows him the picture he drew of the giant, scary green creature.  Naturally, being a kid and talking all fantastical, the teacher finally is concerned enough to visit the boy's single mother at her home to get to the bottom of this.  She's rude about it and seems to be hiding something.  She's got a touch of a violent streak but it's not until her boyfriend comes over for dinner that you find out he's the monster and the child has manifested his abuse as coming from an actual monster.  This story is fucking great all the way through with a fantastic finish.  There's some great storytelling going on here.


KKK Comeuppance - Corbin Bernsen stars as Duke Metger, a former KKK leader who is running for office and is one racist mother fucker.  He lives in a Southern mansion where slaves were slaughtered in the 19th Century.  One racist thing after another and the ancestors of the dead (in the form of a doll) fuck Metger's shit up real good.  Bernen throws himself into the role and brings out the relentless asshole of the character.  It's a fun one.

Then there's Hard Core Convert where a gang member who, after a shootout with another gang when the police show up, finds him self severely wounded and taken to a hospital.  Some time later he's recooperated and Dr. Cushing (Rosalind Cash) tells him he will be released from prison hospital if he accepts to go into a behavior modification program, which he accepts.  Then it gets into A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971) territory where the big takeaway is he's spent his life killing black people and that needs to stop.  That's the gist.  He sees horrifying actual vintage photographs of the KKK, lynchings and murders of black men, often times with smiling whites (including children) surrounding them, proud of their deed.  The images flash so quickly that you get the message, but after the movie, I went back to this part and slowed it down so I could see more clearly what was shown and it's some severely fucked up shit.  

 

But wait, the movie's not over yet.  We've still got the mortuary story to wrap up and that one was fun as hell.  The looks on their faces when they find out what's really going on are priceless.



These are, unfortunately, real life situations that far too many people regularly face which makes this even scarier than your typical monster movie anthologies.  Writer, director Cundieff did a marvelous job of going beyond what typically satisfies a horror anthology and brought to the screen something that is real world horrifying while still fulfilling the scary movie stuff we usually get, and each story satisfies each side of the fence equally well.   It digs deep and remains a fun, scary movie.  It's sad that all of these stories are just as relevant today, if not more so, as they were when the picture was made 25 years ago. 

I see that it took Cundieff and Scott 23 years to make a sequel in 2018 and another just last month!  The more you know.  I'm going to have to check those out.  And I almost forgot, Christopher Young's score is great!

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Johnny O'Clock (1947)

Director: Robert Rossen

Writers: Robert Rossen, Milton Holmes

Composer: George Duning

Starring: Dick Powell, Evelyn Keyes, Lee J. Cobb, Ellen Drew, Nina Foch, Thomas Gomez, John Kellogg, Jim Bannon, Mabel Paige, Phil Brown

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Time Was Running Out For Johnny O'Clock ... and so were his women!

Plot: New York gambling house operator Johnny O'Clock is junior partner in a posh casino with Guido Marchettis and Chuck Blayden, a crooked cop. But Blayden is trying to cut into the casino's profits and warns Johnny not to interfere with his intention of becoming Marchettis' full partner. Blayden ends his relationship with coat check girl Harriet Hobson, then disappears. Later, Harriet is found dead in her apartment, apparently from suicide. Police Inspector Koch begins an investigation.He questions Johnny, Harriet's sister Nancy, who is infatuated with Johnny, and Johnny's associate, Charlie. When Blayden's body turns up in a nearby river, and when it is learned that Harriet death wasn't suicide but murder by poison, Johnny and Marchettis become prime suspects in both cases.To make matters worse, Pete Marchettis discovers that his wife Nelle is having an affair with Johnny. Out of jealousy, he sends hired gunmen to kill Johnny in a drive-by shooting while Johnny is driving Nancy to the airport. Johnny, now certain that Marchettis has betrayed him, goes to the casino to end their business partnership.


My rating: 6/10

Will I watch it again?  No.


Johnny O'Clock wouldn't be in this mess if he hadn't been squirelling around with all those dames.  He's one troubled dude.  Is that why he's such a brooding downer?  I don't think I saw him smile or laugh once.  Powell does a fine job but for my money, it was Cobb who stole the show as a drab, solid, hardened detective who's out for Johnny and to clean up the criminals.  He was great and the picture would've benefited from more of him.  But then this is called JOHNNY O'CLOCK and not INSPECTOR KOCH.  And while I'm thinking about it, That's a terrible last name.  Drinking game:  take a shot every time someone says his last name and you'll be hammered in twenty minutes.  It's so bad with the number and frequency that it calls attention to itself, hurting the picture for anyone who picks up on (and it's easy to notice and not stop noticing).  

The writing has your standard 40s crime dialogue and for the most part it's good.  It's when it gets into the melodrama with the broads is when it goes south, and there's enough of it to realize Rossen and Holmes were weak on writing female characters.  That's also where the picture shifts halfway in to deal with Johnny's relationships with his women and it starts to drag.  Until then, they'd done a nice job with the pacing of that first third only to crawl from that point on until the finish line was in sight.  The ending isn't a winner either with it's odd mix of emotions.  Johnny's a criminal but he's also the nicest and most charming of all the criminals in the picture so Inspector Koch gets his man but he's not really sore at Johnny, hinting that he'll put in a good word so his punishment won't be so bad.  It was just a little too happy for my taste.  




Saturday, November 14, 2020

The Exotic Dreams of Casanova (1971)

Director: Dwayne Avery

Writer: Dwayne Avery

Composer: Vic Lance

Starring: Johnny Rocco , Jane Tsentas, John Vincent, Uschi Digard, James Brand, Jay Edwards, Vic Lance, Veada Van Ness, John Tull

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The Hilarious Escapades of an Infamous Lover!

Plot: During a huge sex party at his place, spaghetti western star and the greatest lover's descendant Joe Casanova is knocked unconscious. He dreams that he's put on trial which quickly turns into another orgy.

My rating: 3/10

Will I watch it again? No.

#52 on the Uschi Digard Needs to Have My Babies Project

Once again I've been betrayed by a movie poster (SHOCKER!).  This is disappointing in so many ways.  First of all, I was in the mood for a sexy, silly costume period piece.  Instead, it's about a descendant of the famous lover who gets hit on the head while hosting a sexy party.  While unconscious, he dreams about being on trial as a sex freak who learns that he's a conceited asshole that doesn't appreciate those around him that love him.  Naturally he wakes up at the end a changed man and promises to be a better friend and lover.  Ho-fucking-hum!  At least Uschi's in it!

 




That lackluster plot device is just here to show that the film makers tried to have a story creative enough to showcase A LOT of female nudity.  Someone should've told them that they could've achieved the same goal by starting the picture with Casanova announcing to a room full of naked women, "Who wants to fuck?" and let the adventure begin.  What's here is a smattering of weak humor, some lame music (but not all of it), stale technical merits and an exercise in padding the run time.  

 


Man, this guy gets ALL the pussy!





It does have a smidgen of entertainment value but it's often dull and uninteresting.  It at least picks up some steam once Casanova goes into dreamland but there's no reason it needs to be 90 minutes which is much too long.  At least we got a big drum solo sexy dance!





Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Tigers in Lipstick (1979)


Original title:  Letti Selvaggi

Director:  Luigi Zampa

Writers: Luis Castro, Tonino Guerra, Giorgio Slavioni

Composer: Riz Ortolani

Starring:  Ursula Andress, Laura Antonelli, Sylvia Kristel, Monica Vitti, Orazio Orlando, Michele Placido, Jose Sacristan, Roberto Benigni, Enrico Beruschi, Jose Luis Lopez Vazquez

More info: IMDb

Plot:  An 8-part Italian sex comedy anthology, all of which center around various women who call the shots with the men in their lives.


My rating: 3/10

Will I watch it again?  No. 


Oh, this is just dreadful.  It's 95 minutes of unfunny.  There are 8 short stories (2 each for the four leading ladies) lasting anywhere from about 4 minutes to way too fucking long.  As you would expect with a European sex comedy, especially of the Italian variety, there's a good deal of much appreciated nudity but even that isn't enough to save this dull, dull picture.  Stories, even the small ones found in anthologies, should have some sort of structure.  With comedy there's usually a setup to the eventual punchline, but several of these don't even have an ending.  I mean they really just stop without a hint of resolution and then move to the next one.  It's baffling.  The writers couldn't tie up simple, dumb bits.  The last two are the most amusing which isn't saying much because any life they might have, having watched the previous six waiting for the movie to end, kills any boost they might have provided.  The penultimate story is less than five minutes and it has Ursula Andress flashing traffic in front of an auto mechanic shop.


At the end of the bit we find out that she gets a cut of all the new business at the shop generated by her shenanigans.  It's mildly amusing but hot really all THAT funny.  Then the final story has a very energetic (and fun) Laura Antonelli playing a businesswoman who meets an orchestra conductor to date but she get work phone calls constantly so they only have a few seconds in between them to fool around.  The initial joke is funny enough but what really sells it is that the joke leaves the bedroom and continues when she brings him along to meet a client and it keeps going from there, escalating all the while.  I've rarely found the European sex comedies of the 70s (or 80s for that matter) worthwhile.  The humor is very broad (and dumb, and I love a good, dumb comedy sometimes), the men are typically extremely immature (I know, right?) and the jokes just aren't funny.  I was brought to this because of my love for Roberto Benigni.  That man is a comic dynamite genius but he's wasted in his brief segment.  And I unfortunately only had access to the English dub which was fine for everything but his bit.  I would've preferred to hear his actual voice.  What little there is to like here is all but destroyed by everything else that bored the mess out of me.  I'm glad I can now move on to the next flick.  





Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Ape (1976)

Director:  Paul Leder

Writers:  Paul Leder, Reuben Leder

Composer: Bruce MacRae

Starring:  Rod Arrants, Joanna Kerns, Alex Nicol, Nak-Hun Lee, Yeon-Jeong Woo, Jerry Harke

More info:  IMDb

Tagline:  See APE *defy the jaws of giant shark *destroy a teeming city *demolish an ocean liner *vanquish monster reptile

Plot: A newly discovered 36-foot gorilla escapes from a freighter off the coast of Korea. At the same time an American actress is filming a movie in the country. Chaos ensues as the ape kidnaps her and rampages through Seoul.

My rating:  3/10

Will I watch it again?  Nope.

One of the things you'll read on the movie poster is, "Not To Be Confused With KING KONG".  You don't have to worry about that one bit.  There are a small handful of moments that you'll get a chuckle out of.  And these are moments where it's so bad it's good.  I'd say there were three or four.  It's not nearly enough to justify watching this movie.  The music is very repetitive, giving you plenty of chances to hear each of the three themes used over and over again.  I don't know what else composer Bruce MacRae did with his career but IMDb shows this as his only screen credit.  There are a few WTF moments that don't seem to have any relation to the rest of the picture.  Aside from those very few laughs, there's nothing all that entertaining about this.  The acting is anywhere from bad to fun.  Alex Nicol (in one of his final film roles before retiring) as Col. Davis has the most fun and he's easily giving the best performance.  APE does have the added benefit of starring Joanna Kerns in her first feature film.  I'm sure she's awfully proud of that distinction.  I would be.

The effects are cheap and shoddy which add to the entertainment value.  That there's a man in the monkey suit doing just about everything in slow motion doesn't hurt nor help.  The worst part is just how long many scenes run, dragging the picture down with it.  APE's 86 minutes can be brutal.  It feels like this is about as far from KING KONG (1933) as you can get, but then no one, and absolutely no one working on this picture had any expectations for much more than what it ended up being.  How about this cheesy dialogue at the end, after the destruction and fate of Ape?  Marilyn: Why, Tom, why?  Tom: It's just too big for a small world like ours.  Roll credits.