Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I Luv Video Pick shelf for 6/25

I just ran through both I Luv Video locations, grabbing titles for my pick shelves.

Here's how it shakes out:
At Guadalupe:

Catchy fuckin' title on this one. 90% of all horror movies are "based on Poe" usually in tacky, superficial ways. This nightmarish thriller captures a lot of the anxious doom-laden loathing of Poe, even as the colors are bright and saturated and the ladies (Edwige Fenech and Anita Strindberg) are in effect. Sergio Martino directed Ernesto Gastaldi's (and others') script. Music by lil' ol' Bruno Nicolai.

Claudia Jennings was a great working class heroine. She downplays her sex appeal here and while she's never convincingly tough as the rags to riches rollerderby star, she is tremendously likable. Pretty much all formula here, but it's a good formula and the movie's way better than KANSAS CITY BOMBER.

We showed this on the opening night of the Ritz. It's pretty austere and technically proficient, which you probably wouldn't expect from a movie entitled ATTACK OF THE MUSHROOM PEOPLE in its US release. But sure enough Ishiro Honda works it and makes you believe.

Also known as THE FAMILY, this is one beautiful, violent elegy for sociopathic killers. Charles Bronson convincingly portrays a hired gun who doesn't want to play ball with Telly Savalas' syndicate. There's some of that good old OUT OF THE PAST plotline in here too. The violent city of the title is New Orleans by the way!

At I Luv on Airport:

Antonio Margheriti was one of the better genre hacks who worked with equal facility in Westerns, Spaghetti Sci-Fi, Giallo, War and Dumb Comedy. This movie is kind of insane. A cat seems to be causing the deaths of a bunch of troubled Euros in a castle. Jane Birkin (yowch!) is the damsel in distress, and Serge Gainsbourg turns up in a nothing role as a cop. Mainly though, the zoom lens is the star. Practically every shot has a zoom in it, which, along with the wild sets and crazy makeup puts this movie on it's own planet of visual style. More than anything it looks like a cover from one of those Gothic novels that women read in the '70s with all the fearful virgins standing in the shadow of priapic castles as the ocean batters the rocky shore.

Speaking of berserk! Don't go into this movie looking for a whole lot of loup garous on Harleys, because there's not a lot of it. This is more like a Godard biker film. Characters talk in circles endlessly as vaguely menacing black magic shit happens. Meanwhile the freak-folk/fuzz music of the late Don Gere swirls around them. With some of the best "man on fire" scenes ever - rigged by our friend Gary Kent!

This is not what you'd call an exploitation film. More like a politically overshadowed epic classic. Gillo Pontecorvo, who would be better known as one of the world's greatest filmmakers if he had been less of a commie anarchist, made this after BATTLE OF ALGIERS, hoping that it would end up in regular old movie houses as a swashbuckling adventure movie, but it wasn't to be. United Artists got cold feet and barely released the film, and then only after cuts were made to make Portugal the bad guy instead of Spain. What Ever. This movie is about Uncle Sam all the way, even though it takes place during colonial times. In fact, it may be the best film about U.S. foreign policy period. But it's not a big schematic pain in the ass, it's good moviemaking too. Marlon Brando puts the hammer down as a repulsive yet heroic Englishman, sent to foment a revolution for Britain's economic ends. He acts like the wind, even with a tricky upper-class English accent, that's never less than convincing. Violent, beautiful, uplifting, infuriating, this is a good night at the movies.


A few months before he died Boris Karloff filmed some scenes with Jack Hill to be cut into some cheapjack Mexican productions so they could boast "starring Boris Karloff." The Uncanny One was really old, but always a pro and his scenes come off fine. And surprise, the resulting movies are pretty OK. This one is the best, just for sheer weirdness. Karloff keeps a fear chamber to make women crazy scared and collect some kind of serum from their brains or something. Anyhow, they basically set up haunted houses complete with monsters and sinister midgets and make hot chicks walk through them over and over again. The End. Beautifully Mexiambient.

1 comment:

Adolfo said...

Some good picks, Lars! Is the "Unholy Rollers" a dvd-r or vhs copy? I'm heading up to Austin this weekend, and I need some craziness, dreck, gore, sleaze and sizzle!