25 March 2008

Rider On the Rain

Rider On the Rain
France - 1969
Dir. – Rene Clement
Monterey, 1992(?), VHS

I am entering into the binding agreement to watch this film to the end with the assumption that this movie is going to be terribly boring. It is French afterall, and at two hours is set to be truly agonizing.

A sinister looking bald guy gets off a bus into the rain. Across the street, a chainsmoking mother and her daughter fix slot-cars in a bowling alley. Later that night, the daughter is tied up and raped by baldy. When she comes to a while later, she unties herself, and blasts him down the cellar stairs with a big shotgun then finishes him off with an oar to the skull. Loading the corpse in her car, she drops it off a nearby ocean cliff. When she gets home her greasy trading Italian husband has arrived there and is waiting to belittle her.

The next day at a wedding, Charles Bronson shows up, corners the daughter and starts asking questions with greater and greater intensity and menace.For the rest of the movie Bronson will bully the daughter about the murder, moving into her house, getting her drunk, explaining to her the criminal psychology of her victim, and finally throwing walnuts at her walls. The husband and mother appear intermittently and treat the daughter like crap in dry poorly shot boring dialogue scenes.
Another murder case accidentally gets tangled up with the original one, some rich people start harassing the daughter, and the swilly penny opera piano music reaches a cacophonic crescendo. In the end, even Bronson gets fed up with the crap and walks off without his prey.

The cover image at the top is a smaller intact version of the cover I have (above), which at some point was badly mutilated to fit into a clamshell box. The design is the same, so I'm pretty sure it was released by the same distributor.

A French poster, and a supposed DVD cover which features a much older Bronson, who looks about as bad as the film was.

21 March 2008


United States - 1982
Dir. – Robert A. Burns
Paragon Video Productions, 1984, VHS
Run Time - 1 hour, 28 minutes

This video tape opens up with a series of previews of other movies available from Paragon, Boarding House, The Witching, Molly and Lawless John (starring Sam Elliott), Just Before Dawn, One Armed Executioner, The Beyond (as Gates of Hell) and Hotwire. These trailers are awesome and gruesome, I wonder if the films live up to their acclaim, I’m willing to find out.The Mongrel title sequence is awesome too, pretty foreboding. Ken, a random dapper dude moves into a big rambling mansion with a bunch of unknowns, and a vicious barking dog in the front yard. Jerry, a nervous shy bookworm gives him a tour and a warning about the roommates before running off. Woody (Mitch Pileggi, or “Skinner”of The X-Files) is the asinine hotshot balding redneck Jerry warned Ken about. When one of the other roommates, somebody named “Toad”, taunts the snarling dog with a steak, the dog breaks its chains and mauls him. Everyone reacts with strenuous Seriousness, and with stage play sincerity, and Woody shoots the dog.

To get revenge on Ken for making a pass at the girl roommate, Sharon, a jealous Woody and Ike electrocute him to death, whoops. Soon, Jerry starts to lose his shit, getting sweatier and sweatier, hearing things in the hall at night, and ranting wildly. Each time the belchy growling mongrel sound stacks up the mostly offscreen body count, Jerry matches shot for shot with a sooty shrieking paranoid schizo panic scene.
But the dog is already dead, so that sound is coming from somewhere, I knew that irritating little shit was up to something, you don’t get that grating and harpy-like for no good reason.

The perfect kind of early 80’s gore-horror movie that has a lot of promise, a lot of ambition and a really low budget. Often this type of thing seems to overreach itself, but sheer sincerity and the tactile onscreen filth and decrepitude make Mongrel well worth drinking through.

20 March 2008

Amazons vs. Supermen

Amazons vs. Supermen
(Superuomini, superdonne, superbotte)
Italy - 1975
Director – Alfonso Brescia (a.k.a. Al Bradley)
Rarescope, 2008, DVD

The music alone foreshadows a tenuous grip on logic, and should have given me all the warning I needed. If only I had noticed it during the first viewing, drunk with four friends, I might have noticed a big terrible secret. Instead, I sat expectantly through what at first looked like an average low budget Italian adventure movie, but what quickly turned into a full-fledged assault on my sense of propriety. Menaced by brutal vicious Amazons, their callous disregard for life proven by an opening a scene of them killing each other to great fanfare, the innocent peasant residents of a peaceful valley turn for help to Dharma, a skinny old white man who lives in a Batman style rock cave. Not just any skinny old white dude, this guy spouts cocky mystical passive aggressive rhetoric while wearing a chain-mail short-short/hood combo with a tiny waist length red cape.

Nearby a giant black man is eating lentils and pitching dwarves at local hoods, while a Chinese guy (Shaw Studios actor Hua Yueh) astride an ox does more or less the same thing to the strains of spooky jazz, and wins the affection of the only other Asian actor in the film, a pretty girl.
Passing on the yoke of “gay medieval superhero” to his protégé, Dharma reveals the secret of the flame of immortality. Really, is this supposed to be metaphorical?

With their racially matched mates in tow, black man and Chinese man team up to beat up some more thugs, ostensibly to prove their worth to Dharma who is busy trampoloining into a fracas with the gullible Amazons, taunting them all the while with an incessant trampoline slide whistle sound effect. With Dharma hogging 90 percent of the screentime, and having sufficiently angered the hollering Amazons with a little panty-raid, the three heroes return to the valley to prepare for the inevitably bizarre confrontation.
A brutally, hair pullingly insistent combination of inept slapstick and vanilla violence, this bears all the marks of improvisation on a scale that can only be the work of one man. Alfonso Brescia, mastermind of babbling, semi-coherent “tourettes syndrome” filmmaking. There is no way of predicting what crescendo of insanity is sure to come spluttering from the glue sniffing blowhole of this movie short of heavy drinking and cranial trauma.

19 March 2008

Night Force

United States - 1987
Director - Lawrence D. Foldes
Lightning Video, 1987(?), VHS

This is nothing more than a young clueless republicans-of-the-80's battle cry. I use the term battle cry because these dudes are hard, rich-white kids with gym memberships - and they are going to get some.

Somewhere in Beverly Hills some rich white kids are hanging out: one of them is Carla (Linda Blair) and the other, her best friend Christie, the blonde daughter of a senator, and fiance of a super rich lawyer. Christie, the embodiment of pure white American goodness, will spend a great deal of the movie naked and whimpering, much of it at the mercy of brown skinned people.

Later at Christie's engagement party, she's out in the horse stables screwing her fiance's brother, and just in case you didn't get it the first time, after confessing to Carla in the gym showers, Christie flashbacks much of the previous sex scene while fondling herself in the shower. Exiting the gym moments later with perfect, massively ratted and rigid hair, Carla and Christie are fired upon from an unmarked black van, and Christie is kidnapped.

Unsatisfied with the liberal government's spineless impotency and unwillingness to intervene, Christies' ugly horsefaced friends (one of them played by Steve McQueen's son) gather up all the gung-ho they can find and arm themselves with some good clean indefatigable patriotic American spirit. Renting a U-haul trailer and packing along all their naivete, they zip off into South American jungle to confront the bearded, unabashedly Castro-esque warlord leader. Their first encounter with Mexicans in their native environment goes rather poorly, and they are rescued by Bishop (Richard Lynch), a hard drinking expatriate sporting a neckerchief (my brain tells me zebra print or something?).

Taking them back to his base, Bishop treats them to a hauntingly beautiful solo flute concerto, and later confesses to being a 'Nam Vet.

Having never returned to the States after his tour, Bishop now wears snazzy safari clothes and plays flute in his private Mexican enclave. This being a perfect opportunity to prove that 'Nam vets are just misunderstood, damaged-but-otherwise-good American patriots, Bishop volunteers to lead the totally clueless kids on their misadventure. Later he makes creepy sexual overtures toward Carla and tells her the secret of his flute playing: it's to "confuse people about his personality", and is at the same time, "a prayer".

During a gunfight a bad guy is captured, and the complicit kids stand around while Bishop tortures answers out of him. The next day, the Night Force raids the three-shack enemy base at midday, fight off a halftrack and majestically ride a white stallion through the battle.

Christie, and by proxy the purity of the American way of life, are saved from covetous third world savagery. Some of Force are sadly lost, but 'ol Bishop, that never-say-die-free-spirited rapscallion, always shows up to bail the Force out, and prove that if you can suspend your total bored disbelief, some people really do give a damn.

13 March 2008

The Teaser

The Teaser
United States - 1973
Director- Greg Valtierra
Something Weird Video, 2005, DVD

One of Something Weirds awesome series of "classic" sexploitation double feature DVDs.

Becky an uptight 19 year old girl working in Mr. Condors stamp shop argues briefly with her semi-steady boyfriend Stanley who’s come to sweat her for a date. He leaves flustered and after work she hops in her car to her second job, gyrating on the floor of a divey LA strip club wearing nothing but a smile. Buck, a slimy dude exuding rape through his matted fur lined coat comes into the club tries to buy a private “show”, but is rebuffed, and instead follows her when she leaves and sure enough, takes her by force. Afterwards, a young couple finds Becky tied up, violated and naked in her car, and comforting her, take her home and ply her with wine and full body massages. The next morning, Becky and the wife lounge about and frolic in the nude completely unconcerned, while under cover of getting Beckys car “fixed” the husband clandestinely calls his slimy hippie buddies.
Back in the house, the wife lubes Becky up with some more booze and seduces her into prolonged lesbian friction in front of a warm welcoming hearth. The husband arrives home to find the ladies in a post coital cat-nap and decides to smoke a hookah and again call his buddies who begin to show up like paisley feathered vultures to a groovy fresh roadkill.Creeping into the party on his slime trail is Buck, and while all the other suburban hippies start grinding all over the nasty furniture he tries to dose Becky with rufies.
Just in time to save us from seeing these people dance again is Stanley who’s back to redeem his character (despite the fact he too merely wants to screw Becky) and bring another flesh fueled movie about the supposed depravity of the “free love” lifestyle which it so freely displays to a gloriously noncommital finish. Now that’s sexploitation.

03 March 2008

The Pom Pom Girls

The Pom Pom Girls
United States - 1976
Director – Joseph Ruben
Prism Entertainment, 1983, DVD
School Dazed 8 movie set

Opening with a cross-cut scene of a high-school football team practicing, and the cheer squad practicing on the beach, and canned teen rock muzak, there is little doubt that this movie didn’t budget much for subtlety.

Johnnie (Robert Carradine) is one of the jocks is driving around all crazy with his buddy trying to pick up girls, in particular, Sally one of the cheerleaders who’s dating Duane, a decidedly un-cool dude. During a scuffle, to show Duane how serious he is, Johnny calls him a turkey.
Preparing for the big game, the cheer squad eats up the extras budget with auditions for a bunch of lackadaisical girls while the footballers perpetrate a bunch of typical stunts that are supposed to be serious to them, and amusing to the audience. Classroom scenes are the same, a whoopee cushion on the teachers chair, a food fight. It all has a strange quality though that matches the burned out scratched up print. All the predictable silliness is bound together with a sort of gritty flatfooted sincerity, I almost expect Eric Stoltz as Rocky Dennis to come walking in puking puppydogs. You can really feel these people acting, attacking their jobs with a vigor equaled only by the canned romance rock soundtrack.Despite his cocky crude (still the best in the film) approach to the task, Johnnie manages to win Sally’s heart, and uses his irritating toothy Alfred E. Newman mug to rub it in Duane’s face like a gangly whining munchkin on a sugar buzz. His buddy Jesse shows a couple girls the back of his new van, and slugs the asshole gym coach in the face, and then finally the big game, the climax of the film, and based on the importance the characters place on the moment, likely the most important day of their lives.A bunch of adults playing at being children, and trying very, very hard at it. At once funny, dramatic, dirty and irritating, none of them driven fully home. By itself, not worth much more than any other teen sex comedy I’ve seen, but in this format it’s perfect.

The cover of the DVD set which actually features a still from The Pom Pom Girls, the two female leads are on the right: