Saturday, August 23, 2008


Rare surveillance photo of Nancy Kwan hiding out in Mexico after WONDER WOMEN'S release


By the way, I hope to be back as a more regular correspondent and a more regular person. We finally got the Alamo Sept/Oct calendar and the Fantastic Fest guide done so my time will hopefully be a little freer and I can do things like post blogs, sleep with both eyes closed etc.

WONDER WOMEN is pretty awesome. I hope some people came to WW for the first time this week because I think that movie encapsulates a lot of the really great things about these kinds of films. It has a sort of '60s comic book craziness and improbability while never (well, rarely) becoming overtly comic.

I really love Ross Hagen as the gravel-voiced hero. He plays that kind of macho superman with just the right amount of humorous observation. The brain-sex scene is flat out hilarious, particularly played against Nancy Kwan's cold veneer. Kwan herself doesn't fare so well in low-budget movies generally, her acting effects are limited largely to being beautiful, and in the hands of a quickie camera-crew she isn't lit for glamour and she comes across as stiff. Still, the role calls for a woman who stands a little apart from her flock, so it works fine.

The army of female assassins is notable for two actresses, Maria de Aragon, who seduces and (almost destroys) Hagen, and beautiful blonde Roberta Collins as Aragon's antagonist. De Aragon was in director Robert V. O'Neill's BLOOD MANIA, which I like too but the part she's been able to capitalize on most was the role of Greedo in STAR WARS! Collins was a dependable fixture in all the best exploitation films - her taste in role selection was impeccable. She played prisoners in Jack Hill's BIG DOLL HOUSE and Jonathan Demme's CAGED HEAT. She was Claudia Jennings' sex-mad roommate in UNHOLY ROLLERS, Matilda the Hun in DEATH RACE 2000, and she lit up EATEN ALIVE, THE ROOMMATES and THE WITCH WHO CAME FROM THE SEA in small roles. A pretty impressive variety of films.

One element about Filipino-shot exploitation I neglected to mention is one of my favorite: bug-eyed, perpetually stoned-looking character actor Vic Diaz, who plays the cab driver. Diaz was so funny and reliable that he ended up getting cast in 90% of all American/Fili productions. Every time I see him it's like seeing an old friend.

Thanks again to I Luv Video for being super awesome and sponsoring Weird Wednesday. Check out Robert V. O'Neill's first feature THE PSYCHO LOVER (produced by the Isley Brothers!!!!???) in the Something Weird section of the Airport location.


Greasy Greg said...

The actress from Blood Mania was Greedo in the first Star Wars movie?! Holy crap!

ps: I think Florida madman William Grefe did Whiskey Mountain, not William Girdler. The only reason I know this is becuase I've been planning to make a section for Girdler at Vulcan's 29th Street store since it dawned on me that we have all of his movies, every one of which is utterly amazing. And Grefe's Impulse is one of my all-time favorite unintentional comedies.

Lars Nilsen said...

You caught me slinging misinfo. Thanks.