Saturday, August 30, 2008

I Luv Video Pick Shelf 8/30

I changed out my pick shelf after too many weeks at both I Luv Video locations yesterday. By the way, I hope some of you have started checking out I Luv Video since it became the WW sponsor. Their website has also gone from being (very nearly) the worst site on the internet to a valuable resource: www.iluvvideo.com

My picks:

AIRPORT:

UPTOWN SATURDAY NIGHT
All the great black actors who weren't in FRIDAY FOSTER are in this. Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby are great as two working class buddies who get robbed in a stickup at an underground casino, then have to retrieve a winning lottery ticket from the gangsters who stuck the place up. These two Joe-Sixpacks are totally out of their league but they con their way into the world of the gangsters. Not a perfect movie - in particular the tone gets pretty goofy by the ending - but a lot of fun.

SCREAM BABY SCREAM
Some of you may remember CONVENTION GIRLS, and maybe also - though it wasn't as good - REVENGE IS MY DESTINY. The man who made those was Florida's Joseph Adler and this is probably his best movie. It's a psychedelic horror film made for a tiny budget but with a lot of cool shocks and such a fun sixties feel (and a really sexy heroine). It's the old "mad artist keeps a dungeon full of mutants that he paints and becomes well known as an abstract artist" plot but it rocks like a peninsula full of alligators.

RETURN OF THE TIGER
A satisfying kung-fu film made and set in the crazy Hong Kong seventies. I don't remember much about it other than I loved it - as much for its ambient qualities (great clothes, the soundtrack cleverly constructed of a bar or two of various American funk instrumentals) as for anything else. Paul L. Smith, who played chainsaw man in PIECES and Bluto in POPEYE is the main American bad guy and he's supposed to be a kung fu master, which is pretty hilarious.

FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED
By far the best Hammer Frankenstein movie. CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN is pretty good and FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN has its moments but this is the scariest one. Peter Cushing is incredible as the doctor/monster. He's a really bad guy and his performance is surgically precise. Of course Terence Fisher's direction is great. Like Fritz Lang he tells the story visually first and lets the words fill in the spaces - but you could watch this without sound and get the whole story.

GUADALUPE:

INGA
Early Joe Sarno masterpiece starring Swedish sex kitten Marie Lilljedahl. Sarno has always had a lot to say, even though the market was pretty non-demanding. Look at the amount of human interest and storytelling he fits into this film. And as always, it is an erotic film, that is to say the subject matter is that crossing place of human beings that is sex. An brilliant and original filmmaker.

SPASMO
This giallo is some sort of experiment in reducing human actors and actresses into a series of lines and planes. The whole style of the film is mechanical and fascinatingly detached. After a while I was expecting the whole thing to be revealed as a dream but the movie never let me off the hook. It's weird as fuck and I don't understand what Umberto Lenzi was going for at all but I'll take it. With Robert Hoffman, Suzy Kendall (!) and weird-looking Ivan Rassimov.

WITCHFINDER GENERAL
Most of the AIP sixties horror movies were candy-colored concoctions of swirling mist, tacky looking castles and Vincent Price going nuts. They're great. I love them. After a few years of these AIP took the show on the road to England and surprisingly gave the 24 year old Don Siegel freak Michael Reeves a chance to direct. Reeves instantly alienated Vincent Price by criticizing his acting and making him tone down his performance. Reeves and Price hated each other throughout, but it's the best work either did. This movie is dark, muted and doom-suffused. It's not fun per se but it's undeniably major. If you haven't seen it. Now's the time.

CATMAN IN LETHAL TRACK
Just watch it. And learn how to curse like a pro.


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