Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Pom Pom Girls (1976)

Director: Joseph Ruben

Starring: Robert Carradine, Jennifer Ashley, Michael Mullins, Lisa Reeves, Bill Adler, James Gammon, Susan Player, Cheryl Smith

More info: IMDb

Tagline: They Were the Girls of Our Dreams ...

Plot: A football player at Rosedale High School is amorous of one of the cheerleaders, who is going with another guy. Another player can't decide which of two cheerleaders he wants to be with. Meanwhile, the Big Game with Hardin High School is approaching, and a prank war is in full swing.

My rating: 5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

#25 on 42nd Street Forever Vol. 2: The Deuce (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

This movie is less about the cheerleaders than it is about the football team of really super skinny guys. It's not like that matters. It's another 1970s teen comedy about the hijinks of some high school kids playing pranks on one another and having sex. The laughs are few and the boobs are ample. It's trying to be more like AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973) when it comes to the tone. They even have the car race (with classic cars) at the end just like in that movie. It's better than a lot of the dumb teen comedies like this in the late 70s. That doesn't say an awful lot but if you seen some of the bad ones then you'll know what I mean. It's not horrible like those but it's no classic either. I enjoyed seeing some familiar faces in their early careers and that's about the only positive thing I can say except it doesn't suck completely. It's a painless time killer while you clean up your office or do the dishes or whatever.

The Babysitter (1969)

Director: Don Henderson

Starring: Patricia Wymer, George E. Carey, Anne Bellamy, Kathy Williams, Robert Tessier, Ken Hooker, Ted C. Frank

More info: IMDb

Tagline: She came to sit with baby... and ended up with Daddy!

Plot: A judge is about to sentence members of a motorcycle gang for murder when he gets blackmailed because of an affair with a teenage babysitter.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? Probably not.

#22 on 42nd Street Forever Vol. 2: The Deuce (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

THE BABYSITTER isn't the kind of movie you think. Oh, wait, it is but it's not nearly as bad. It's actually well made. It's definitely an exploitation picture but it's one of the better ones. In fact, it seems strange that a picture like this would be made in '69. It feels like something from at least half a decade earlier.

No kidding, this is pretty good. Kathy Williams shows up...again. I've seen her face (and naked body) in more movies in the past couple of years that I'm beginning to think we're going steady or something. Geez.

She doesn't clean up well, huh. The story is simple but the dialogue is typical of that time and well done. How about this innuendo?

"This is probably the reason the youth of America are so independent today. You know, the wrestling of slippery hot dogs and holding together vicious tacos."

Vicious tacos? I about fell off the couch. Besides the obvious, that line about holding vicious tacos together could be a reference to his lesbian daughter (if, in fact, he even knows about it). There's stuff like that all through this thing. For what it is, this movie is much better than it deserves to be. Hell, even the acting is really good (in comparison). There's really not a bad performance of the bunch except for one and that's Kathy Williams, my would-be girlfriend. Sigh. She's absolutely terrible which is strange because everyone else isn't. Go figure. Director Don Henderson and actor George E. Carey (pops the babysitter fucker who is credited with this story and the next one) apparently had more to say about old dudes nailing their babysitters because they came back the next year with WEEKEND WITH THE BABYSITTER (1970). I think I'm going to have to watch that someday soon.

I need to start making movies so I can make exploitation pictures about a guy in his early 40s bangin' babysitters or something. That sounds like a great plan.

Black Samson (1974)

Director: Charles Bail

Starring: Rockne Tarkington, William Smith, Carol Speed, Connie Strickland, Michael Payne, Joe Tornatore, Tios Vandis, Napoleon Whiting

More info: IMDb

Tagline: One brother's war against the Man.

Plot: Noble nightclub owner Samson does his best to keep his neighborhood clean of crime and drugs. When vicious mobster Johnny Nappa tries to muscle in on Samson's territory, Samson takes a brave stand against Nappa and his flunkies.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Yeah.

#16 on 42nd Street Forever Vol. 2: The Deuce (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

Man, Tarkington is one tall dude (6'5"). I always though Smith was massive at 6'2". Geez.

Tarkington does a great job in the titular role. He's stoic, powerful and he does the right thing. It's not often you see the heroes of Blaxploitation movies not on the wrong side of the law but this guy wants his neighborhood clean. No smack on his block.

BLACK SAMSON is much better than I had anticipated. It's shot well, there's some action, nudity, groovy tunes and the pacing is better than most. That's usually the one thing that brings down otherwise good movies but this movie didn't lose my interest even when it slowed down. Nice job.

Those pants...those fucking pants...Naturally my eyes were fixated on that lovely rack but they started to wander toward those graph paper pants. Wow. Sometimes I don't miss the '70s after all. William Smith did a shitload of bad guy roles and for good reason - he knew how to treat a lady...

There's no shortage on asshole bad guys in this one. With strong leads on both sides of the fence and all the ingredients for a good Blaxlploitation flick, BLACK SAMSON was a breath of fresh air in a genre with so many movies that wind up being mixed bags.

The Devil's Nightmare (1971)

Director: Jean Brismee

Starring: Erika Blanc, Jean Servais, Daniel Emilfork, Jacques Monseau, Lucien Raimbourg, Colette Emmanuelle, Ivana Novak, Shirley Corrigan

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Can You Be Possessed By The Devil?

Plot: When a group of tourists (each of whom is associated with one of the seven deadly sins) gets stranded in the Italian countryside, a stranger offers them shelter for the night in his castle. But his family is cursed: The eldest daughter in each generation is destined to become a handmaiden of Satan. The horror begins when the current eldest daughter (Blanc) turns up and begins exploiting the guests' weaknesses to make them damn themselves.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again? YES!

#48 on 42nd Street Forever Vol. 1 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)
#107 on Drive-In Delirium Vol. 2 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT

At first I was dreading this as just seconds into it I remembered seeing this years ago and thinking that it bored the piss out of me. I was confused because this turned out to be a great atmospheric Belgian horror flick. Had I started this blog ten years ago I would have remembered that. This is one of those rare Euro Horror flicks from the 70s that really packs a punch. There's not a dull moment in the picture and it's thick with atmosphere...kind of like a Hammer Gothic horror movie but muted and more adult.

Erika Blanc needs to have my sucubus babies!

Nice outfits, huh? Don't worry, she looks just as amazing without them as she does in them. There's plenty of nudity for you Euroskin freaks. Some of it fits right into the story and some of it is there just to spice things up like when two of the women get very friendly after arriving at the castle.

Alessandro Alessandroni's score fits the bill perfectly and the variations on his haunting theme tune are used throughout to great effect.

Daniel Emilfork, as the caretaker, has a face that you will not forget and adds an extra layer of creepy to the picture.

I'm really stunned that this was as good as it was. It's very engaging and everything from the acting, music, cinematography to the pacing works really well, all the way to the highly satisfying conclusion. Highly recommended!

This is the final film for me to watch (3 of the 48 were unobtainable) on the 42nd STREET FOREVER Vol. 1 trailer compilation and, after taking a year and a half to do it, I couldn't be more pleased that this was the last one. Most of the films were OK at best with very few exceptions and THE DEVIL'S NIGHTMARE may very well be the best of the 48.

Death Will Have Your Eyes (1974)

Director: Giovanni d'Eramo

Starring: Marisa Mell, Farley Granger, Helga Line, Luciano Pigozzi, Francisco Rabal, Riccardo Salvino

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Love, lust and murder in the Eternal City

Plot: Louisa (Mell) is a young woman who comes to Rome and soon drifts into de facto prostitution in order to survive. She meets a misanthropic doctor and would-be poet, Armando (Granger), but soon falls in love with another man, Stefano (Salvino). Murder ensues and she soon finds herself being blackmailed, sexually and financially, by her husband's shady driver, Antonio (Pigozzi), who saw something he shouldn't have.

My rating: 4/10

Will I watch it again? No.

#42 on 42nd Street Forever Vol. 1 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

Considered a Giallo (Italian murder thriller), it's surprising lacking any blood or grisly kills. There are only a couple of kills and they are very tame but that's not why you watch these films. Oh, wait, yes it is...that and the stylish atmosphere. DEATH lacks that, too. There's nothing all that interesting regarding the stories or the characters. The biggest plot chunk of the movie has Antonio putting the squeeze on Louisa for blackmail money and sex. Unfortunately for him (and us), he lingers too long. After that order of business is done we're only minutes away from the tragic and anticlimactic ending. At first I was intrigued, as much as someone who still isn't sold on this genre can be, and then they lost me. There's not enough character development to keep it interesting. It hasn't turned me off of Giallo (yet) but I've got a long way to go before I give it up. There are a lot of quality titles on my stupendously long list of movies I need to see before I die.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Death Has Blue Eyes (1976)

Director: Nico Mastorakis

Starring: Jessica Dublin, Maria Aliferi, Peter Winter, Hristos Nomikos

More info: IMDb

Plot: Bob and Ches are two bachelors on the make. They are hired by Geraldine to guard her and her daughter, Christine. It seems Christine is psychic, and knows all the details of a political murder. The bad guys are after the ladies, and Bob and Ches try their best to protect the women, when they are not sleeping with half the female population of Greece. The climax tells us that Geraldine and Christine are not the helpless damsels in distress we think they are, and Bob and Ches race to stop another assassination.

My rating: 4/10

Will I watch it again? No.

#43 on 42nd Street Forever Vol. 1 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

Not much to say about this one. It's not a good time waster. There's plenty of nudity and the story is OK but it's just kind of boring. It's the first movie of Nico Mastorakis who one year later brought us the line-crossing exploitation horror flick, ISLAND OF DEATH (1977). That film was amateurish but not as much as this one. He was definitely getting better. Still, for a first time flick it's not too shabby, it's just too long and the action scenes could have used some punching up. The two male leads are likable in a buddy cop sort of way. I really like how they dispensed of the older woman who controlled the younger one. That was pretty damn cool (they pushed her off a roof when she wasn't looking). Other than that it's supposed to be a thriller that lacks the thrills.

The Crippled Masters (1979)

Director: Kei Law

Starring: Mu Chuan Chen, Jackie Conn, Frankie Shum

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Two crippled brothers, one indestructible force. Revenge against all odds.

Plot: Two men skilled in the arts of Kung-Fu are betrayed by their master and crippled for life, one left with no arms and the other with no legs. Despite their obvious disadvantages, they learn to combine their martial arts skills and seek revenge against the evil master.

My rating: 9/10

Will I watch it again? and again and again and again...

#22 on 42nd Street Forever Vol. 1 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

This is one of my favorite kung fu movies and one hell of a group movie to watch with friends. It's so out there. If you watched the trailer then you'll know exactly what you're getting into and don't think that the movie doesn't deliver - it does. The guy with the flipper arm is all kinds of amazing and these two guys working together is a sight to see. There's some great kung fu action and a pretty good story, as simple as it might be. Regardless of any shortcomings, these two actors make up for it in spades. They really are inspirational. For years I've been watching a pan and scan copy and I just got my hands on a good looking widescreen print. Not only that but I also just got the two other movies these guys made plus another crippled kung fu flick I'd never heard of. Life is beautiful.

The Deadly Spawn (1983)

Director: Douglas McKeown

Starring: Charles George Hildebrandt, Tom DeFranco, Richard Lee Porter, Jean Tafler, Karen Tighe, James Brewster, Elissa Neil

More info: IMDb

Tagline: They Came To Earth To Feed On Human Flesh!

Plot: Two campers in the New Jersey woods have their outdoor fun interrupted by the arrival of a meteorite crashing nearby. They go to investigate the crater, but are suddenly attacked and devoured by alien parasites who have hitched a ride to Earth. After finishing off the campers, the hungry space monsters head for a nearby town, where they make their domain in the basement of an old house soon begin polishing off one hapless inhabitant after another. Four young teenagers, plus one pre-teen boy, try to find a way to stop the angry space monsters before they reproduce and literally eat humanity.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

#47 on 42nd Street Forever Vol. 1 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

Nice. What a pleasant surprise. This is actually pretty good. What seemed like a typical monsters from space movie turned out to be a very good low budget monsters from space movie. The acting is much better than you would expect and the makeup and creature effects are pretty good considering the budget constraints. There's some talent here. It's director McKeown's only film which it too bad. He really put together something fun for only $25k. Definitely check this one out. Fans of horror will be pleased.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Romulus and the Sabines (1961)

Director: Richard Pottier

Starring: Roger Moore, Mylene Demongeot, Jean Marais, Francis Blanche, Luisa Mattioli, Scilla Gabel

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The warrior who founded Rome! The kidnapping that founded an empire!

Plot: This chronicles the problem of the men at the founding of Rome. In fact, that is the problem -- there are only men in early Rome. Their leader is the son of the war god Mars and so the tendency is to fight first and ask questions later. But among the Sabine women who do not live so far away are some very attractive females. Needless to say, the Romans see the answer to their problem, though in the end the answer does avert a war between the two cities.

My rating: 5/10

Will I watch it again? Maybe, just maybe, if a nice widescreen print turns up with an English dub.

#46 on 42nd Street Forever Vol. 1 (part of the TRAILER TRASH PROJECT)

Aka THE RAPE OF THE SABINES. I love that trailer, especially at the 1:16 mark - "You see, while some young ladies resented it...there were others who delighted in...the RAPE of the Sabines!" Ahahahahahahaha. Classic. I'm a huge fan of Roger Moore and of the Sword and Sandal genre the Italians pumped out. No musclemen here, just the future James Bond being a complete and utter asshole ruler who thinks everything belongs to him.

For reasons I'm not sure about, there are no women at all in Rome (which was just built, by the way). I must have been sick that day when the teacher explained how the new Romans had to steal gorgeous, and apparently willing, women from a neighboring town. Despite the alternate title, there isn't a single rape but it slays me how happy they seem to be about it in the trailer. This flick isn't all that serious as we get some typical broad comedy from an idiot who is nearsighted. Zoinks! I hate that shit. Roger Moore shouldn't have been in this movie. He's much better suited for other things. A Roman he is not. Everything else is just OK at best. There's nothing special except for an early leading role for James Bond.

The Transporter (2002)

Directors: Louis Leterrier & Corey Yuen

Starring: Jason Statham, Qi Shu, Matt Schulze, Francois Berleand, Ric Young, Doug Rand, Didier Saint Melin

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Rules are made to be broken

Plot: Ex-Special Forces operator Frank Martin lives what seems to be a quiet life along the French Mediterranean, hiring himself out as a mercenary "transporter" who moves goods--human or otherwise--from one place to another. No questions asked. Carrying out mysterious and sometimes dangerous tasks in his tricked-out BMW, Frank adheres to a strict set of rules, which he never breaks. Rule One: Never change the deal. Rule Two: No names--Frank doesn't want to know whom he's working for, or what he's transporting. Rule Three: never look in the package. Frank's newest transport seems no different from the countless ones he's done in the past. He's been hired by an American known only as "Wall Street" to make a delivery; but when Frank stops along the route, he notices his package is moving. Violating Rule Three, Frank looks inside the bag, finding its contents to be a beautiful, gagged woman. Frank's steadfast adherence to his other two rules--which make up his basic code of survival--also quickly fails, hurtling him and his new companion on a road leading to shocking secrets, deadly complications, and the last thing that Frank ever expected to come to believe: that rules are made to be broken.

My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? Maybe to no.

I was disappointed when I saw this several years ago and I'm disappointed with it now. On one hand you've got a badass character doing badass things and on the other he does stupid shit that makes no damn sense. But let's forget all of that. This is a live action comic book and that's that. Frank Martin (Statham) defies logic and physics and delivers some great action scenes. Statham plays this character all the time and I like it. I hope he doesn't stop. He's really good at being Jason Statham. His co-star, Qi Shu (playing Lai) has moments of 'she can't act' but then I remember I'm watching a comic book where shit doesn't have to make sense. The bottom line is this is a goofy action movie that delivers a lot of over the top thrills, kills and explosions. It's not supposed to be remotely serious but I wish they had at least tried. It's a B-picture waffling back and forth to an A-picture. Pick your destiny and just go with it. Although I'm not entirely satisfied with this film I will give the two (so far) sequels a spin.

Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972)

Director: Alan Gibson

Starring: Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Stephanie Beacham, Christopher Neame, Michael Coles, Marsha A. Hunt, Caroline Munro, Janet Key, William Ellis, Philip Miller, Michael Kitchen

More info: IMDb

Tagline: The Count is back, with an eye for London's hotpants . . . and a taste for everything

Plot: In London 1872 - the final battle between Lawrence Van Helsing and Count Dracula on top of a coach results in Dracula dying from a stake made from the remains of a wooden wheel. Lawrence dies from his wounds and, as he is buried, a servant of Dracula buries the remains of the stake by the grave and keeps a bottle of Dracula's ashes and the ring. One hundred years later, the colorful 1972, Johnny, the great-grandson of the servant joins up with a "group" containing Jessica, the grand-daughter of the present vampire hunter, Abraham Van Helsing and with their unknowing help resurrect Dracula in the 20th Century who is determined to destroy the house of Van Helsing, but who can believe that The king of the Vampires really exists and is alive - in 20th Century London?

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? YES!

#48 on Hammer Horror (1957-1976)

This flick is far out! I was expecting something silly, unsure of how Hammer would be able to break away from the 19th century Gothic Dracula flicks they had been making for 15 years at that point. Well, they pulled it off. Of course it helps to have Lee and Cushing back in their familiar roles. Too bad there was only one more Dracula picture left at Hammer with Cushing and Lee, THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA (1973).

The picture opens with the demise of Dracula in 1872. Michael Vickers' score lacks that Hammer touch that James Bernard gave so many (I was REALLY missing his music here) BUT that all changed once we landed in 1972 London. Then it was real groovy and it worked very well. Dracula isn't given much to do but what he does is played to the hilt by Lee. Cushing's Van Helsing kicks all kinds of ass like always. I think Cushing gets more physical than usual, especially at this late in the game (he was near 60).

The kids are a lot of fun and they really picked a winner with Van Helsing's granddaughter, Jessica (played by Stephanie Beacham). The rest of the cast does a fine job and it's always a treat seeing London in this era. I'm really impressed at how well this turned out. I realize there's still one left but I anticipate someday doing a massive Hammer Dracula marathon and enjoying the hell out of them. Great stuff.