Thursday 31 May 2012

Flavours of the Month: May 2012...


Shameless Screen Entertainment - "Phantom of Death", "Who Saw Her Die?", and "The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh" - follow the links for full DVD reviews.

Mad Men Seasons 2 through 4 - TV time, and the small hours of the morning as temptation took over, was entirely replaced for a couple of weeks with an obsessive catch-up with Don Draper and the gang. Next up, season five.

Blue Velvet (Blu-Ray) - preposterously, the release in the UK does NOT feature the 52 minutes of newly discovered deleted scenes! Fortunately, the American release is Region FREE on Blu-Ray, so I imported it. For any fan of Lynch's darkly twisted vision of the hell that lies beneath the white picket fences of Americana, it's well worth investing in.

The Real Ghostbusters: Season 1 - I used to adore this show as a child, so having spotted this on the cheap, I decided I'd sprinkle a daily dose of nostalgia into this month.

The Inbetweeners Movie (Blu-Ray)

Click "READ MORE" below for this months sounds, vibes, and flavours...

Sunday 27 May 2012

Pentuple Bill Mini Musings: Guns, Killer Laundry, Grind, Nightmares, and Badlands...

Nude Nuns With Big Guns:
What's it about?
If you can't figure it out from the title, then you've little hope for the future.
Who would I recognise in it?
Nobody, unless you've seen Run! Bitch Run!
If flattery is the highest form of compliment, then Robert Rodriguez must be blushing, because Guzman & Co have unrepentently ripped-off his ouvre - particularly Grindhouse (even the music from the opening sequence is highly influenced/half-inched from RR's ode to the sleaze flicks of 42nd Street). The presentation is much improved over Guzman's previous flick, the aforementioned Run! Bitch Run! (which was highly indebted to The Last House on the Left, and I Spit On Your Grave), although it too is utterly indebted to the work of others - but even still, for a low budget faux-grindhouse flick such as this mean-spirited outing, it's put together well enough to not distract from the onslaught of bared flesh and brandished firearms. The script is a bit thin (unsurprisingly, as you might imagine), yet heftier than RBR's, and the pacing is sometimes a bit slow, but it certainly passes the Ronseal test - it does exactly what it says on the tin ... it's just a shame that Joseph Guzman, Robert James Hayes II, and company, are seemingly such unashamed rip-off merchants in the process. Alright.

Click "READ MORE" below for killer laundry machines, movie documentaries, and two crazy kids on the run from the law.

Sunday 20 May 2012

The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh (Sergio Martino, 1971) DVD Review

Find more Shameless Screen Entertainment DVD reviews here.

One of Sergio (The Mountain of the Cannibal God, Torso) Martino's earliest films, The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh exhibits a confident grasp of tension-building and exploitable elements, which would be seen just as strongly in his later work (such as the equally superb Torso aka Carnal Violence). This prime example of the greatest the giallo genre has to offer, partly inspired by Les Diaboliques (Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1955), follows Julie Wardh (screen siren Edwige Fenech, Strip Nude For Your Killer), the wife of an American diplomat who has been left stifled and unfulfilled by her marriage, and resorts to fantasising about her fiery relationship with the sexually aggressive Jean (Ivan Rassimov, Eaten Alive), who she once again comes face-to-face with when she arrives in beautiful Vienna.

Similar to Torso, The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh kicks off with a first half that is fuelled by frequent sex and violence, with a second half that focuses on the psychological torture of the female protagonist. Ninety seconds into the film and you've already been confronted by bare flesh and a slashing straight razor – the tool of choice for the so-called 'Sex Fiend' killer who is on the loose. During this first half, there's more bared arses and breasts than you can shake a stick at (Martino deliberately shot much of this content so the conservative Italian film censors would have something to edit out – content which has returned for this DVD release, the first-ever in the UK) – and then by ten minutes in we've had four nude scenes.


Click "READ MORE" below for the rest of the review, as well as more screenshots.

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Who Saw Her Die? (Aldo Lado, 1972) DVD Review

Find more Shameless Screen Entertainment DVD reviews here.

Opening in the snowy hills of France in 1968, it's not long before Ennio Morricone's eerily memorable score seeps into the film (children singing the title like a nursery rhyme), as we are plunged behind the veil of a killer – a twisted psychopath whose modus operandi relates to red-haired girls – in one of a series of effectively orchestrated scenes of stalking. At these times, and indeed throughout the film, Aldo (Night Train Murders) Lado's tight direction, Franco (Amityville 2) Di Giacomo's gorgeous cinematography, Morricone's score, and Angelo Curi's skilled editing, combine to create a sinister journey through the echoing waterways, canals, stairways, rooftops, and breath-taking architecture of Venice.

Pre-dating the much more widely recognised Don't Look Now (Nicolas Roeg, 1973), which tread similar ground a year later, Who Saw Her Die? details the trauma suffered by sculptor Franco (a rail-thin George Lazenby) and his estranged wife Elizabeth, after their red-haired daughter Roberta is taken by the veiled woman in black and found dead in the waters of a fruit market. However, Massimo D'Avack and Francesco Barilli's script (with help from Aldo Lado and Ruediger Von Spihes) opts to pay more attention – in true giallo fashion – to a civilian's (Franco) quest to find the killer when an ineffective police force can't help (you'll find similar narrative approaches in the likes of Dario Argento's The Bird With The Crystal Plumage).


Click "READ MORE" below to continue the review and for more screenshots.

Monday 14 May 2012

"Gaia: Greek Goddess of Earth" wins award!

"Gaia: Greek Goddess of Earth" - an alternate version of one of the films found in the "Gaia & Genesis" Environmental Ethics DVD - has won an Australasian Best Environmental Film Award. From a field of 85 entrants, our film (Joe Jenkins of Ethics Online wrote the script and directed, while I was in charge of the camera work and editing) was chosen as the winner by the Australian Film Critics Association.

It screened last night (May 12th 2012) at the Campfire Film Festival in Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia. The film is also in general competition at the festival, and is one of the finalists.

Many thanks to Campfire for this award!

Sunday 6 May 2012

Phantom of Death (Ruggero Deodato, 1988) DVD Review

Find more Shameless Screen Entertainment DVD reviews here.

Otherwise known as Off Balance, Ruggero (Cannibal Holocaust, The House on the Edge of the Park) Deodato's vengeance-fuelled thriller, co-written by Vincenzo (New York Ripper) Mannino and Gianfranco Clerici, tells the story of Robert Dominici (Michael York) – a piano virtuoso – whose previously dormant Progeria condition (a disease that ages the victim at an accelerated rate) sends him spiralling into an insane thirst for blood.

At first he seeks to hide his condition from those around him, but soon – as the disease warps his mind – he descends into a cat-and-mouse game of chase with Police Inspector Datti (a typically skewed and bewildered performance from Donald Pleasance, well known for his role as Doctor Loomis in the Halloween franchise), whose obsession at one point drives him onto the streets to scream out “Where are you, bastard?! I kill you!” over and over in front of a passing crowd of perturbed Italians.

Click "READ MORE" below for the rest of the review and more screenshots.

Giallo, Exploitation, and Various DVD, Blu-Ray, and Movie Reviews...

The most recent reviews are at the top of each section.

Stage Fright (Michele Soavi, 1987)

Formula For A Murder (Alberto de Martino, 1985)

Contraband (Lucio Fulci, 1980)

Four Flies On Grey Velvet (Dario Argento, 1971)

Amsterdamned (Dick Maas, 1988)

The Washing Machine (Ruggero Deodato, 1993)

The Sister of Ursula (Enzo Milioni, 1978)

The Frightened Woman (Piero Schivazappa, 1969)

Baba Yaga (Corrado Farina, 1973)

Venus In Furs (Massimo Dallamano, 1969)

The Beast In Space (Alfonso Brescia, 1980)

Satan's Baby Doll (Mario Bianchi, 1982)

Love Goddess of the Cannibals (Joe D'Amato, 1978)

Watch Me When I Kill (Antonio Bido, 1977)

Oasis of Fear (Umberto Lenzi, 1971)

My Dear Killer (Tonino Valerii, 1972)

Almost Human (Umberto Lenzi, 1974)

The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh (Sergio Martino, 1971)

Who Saw Her Die? (Aldo Lado, 1972)

Phantom of Death (Ruggero Deodato, 1988)

Dellamorte Dellamore (aka The Cemetery Man) (Michele Soavi, 1993)

Night Train Murders (Aldo Lado, 1974)

Torso (Sergio Martino, 1973)

The Killer Nun (Giulio Berruti, 1979)

What Have They Done To Your Daughters? (Massimo Dallamano, 1974)

Strip Nude For Your Killer (Andrea Bianchi, 1975)

Various Giallo Reviews:

Death Smiles On A Murderer (Aristide Massaccesi, 1973)

The Pyjama Girl Case (Flavio Mogherini, 1978)

The Suspicious Death Of A Minor (Sergio Martino, 1975)

Delirium (Lamberto Bava, 1987)

Francesca (Luciano Onetti, 2015)

Cold Blooded Beast (Fernando Di Leo, 1971)

The Night Evelyn Came Out Of The Grave (Emilio P. Miraglia, 1971)

The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (Emilio P. Miraglia, 1972)

The Editor (Astron-6, 2014)

The Bloodstained Butterfly (Duccio Tessari, 1971)

Death Walks At Midnight (Luciano Ercoli, 1972)

Death Walks On High Heels (Luciano Ercoli, 1971)

Five Dolls For An August Moon (Mario Bava, 1970)

The Girl Who Knew Too Much (Mario Bava, 1963)

Blood and Black Lace (Mario Bava, 1964)

The Case of the Scorpion's Tail (Sergio Martino, 1971)

The French Sex Murders (Ferdinando Merighi, 1972)

All The Colours Of The Dark (Sergio Martino, 1972)

Short Night of Glass Dolls (Aldo Lado, 1971)

Yellow (Ryan Haysom, 2012)

What Have You Done To Solange? (Massimo Dallamano, 1972)

The Black Belly of the Tarantula (Paolo Cavara, 1971)

Seven Blood-Stained Orchids (Umberto Lenzi, 1972)

Seven Deaths In The Cat's Eye (Antonio Margheriti, 1973)

The Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion (Luciano Ercoli, 1970)

Autopsy (Armando Crispino, 1975)

Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key (Sergio Martino, 1972)

Eyeball (Umberto Lenzi, 1975)

The Bloodstained Shadow (Antonio Bido, 1978)

The Case of the Bloody Iris (Giuliano Carnimeo, 1971)

  Other Reviews:

Vice Academy (Rick Sloane, 1989)

Ski School (Damian Lee, 1990)

V/H/S/85 (Various, 2023)

Murdercise (Angelica De Alba & Paul Ragsdale, 2023)

Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-o-Rama 2 (Brinke Stevens, 2022)

Evil Dead Rise (Lee Cronin, 2023)

Kids vs Aliens (Jason Eisener, 2023)

Scare Package II: Rad Chad's Revenge (Various, 2022)

Witch Academy (Fred Olen Ray, 1991)

Dinosaur Island (Fred Olen Ray & Jim Wynorski, 1994)

Virgin High (Richard Gabai, 1991)

Ghoulies III: Ghoulies Go To College (John Carl Buechler, 1990)

Beach Babes From Beyond (David DeCoteau, 1993)

Ghoulies II (Albert Brand, 1987)

Bad Girls From Mars (Fred Olen Ray, 1990)

Ghoulies (Luca Bercovici, 1985)

King Frat (Ken Wiederhorn, 1979)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (David Blue Garcia, 2022)

Free Hand For A Tough Cop (Umberto Lenzi, 1976)

Death Row Diner (B. Dennis Wood, 1988)

Dude Bro Party Massacre III (Tom Jacobsen, Michael Rousselet, Jon Salmon, 2015)

Hell Squad (Kenneth Hartford, 1986)

Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich (Sonny Laguna & Tommy Wiklund, 2018)

Willy's Wonderland (Kevin Lewis, 2021)

Hired To Kill (Nico Mastorakis, 1990)

Dial Help (Ruggero Deodato, 1988)

The Zero Boys (Nico Mastorakis, 1986)

Joysticks (Greydon Clark, 1983)

Return to Savage Beach (Andy Sidaris, 1998)

Day of the Warrior (Andy Sidaris, 1996)

Hot Dog ... The Movie! (Peter Markle, 1984)

The Dallas Connection (Christian Drew Sidaris, 1994)

Season of the Witch (George A. Romero, 1972)

Enemy Gold (Christian Drew Sidaris, 1993)

There's Always Vanilla (George A. Romero, 1971)

Fit To Kill (Andy Sidaris, 1993)

Hard Hunted (Andy Sidaris, 1992)

Chopping Mall (Jim Wynorski, 1986)

Do Or Die (Andy Sidaris, 1991)

Guns (Andy Sidaris, 1990)

3 From Hell (Rob Zombie, 2019)

Castle Freak (Stuart Gordon, 1995)

Savage Beach (Andy Sidaris, 1989)

Critters Attack! (Bobby Miller, 2019)

Splatter University (Richard W. Haines, 1984)

Malibu Express (Andy Sidaris, 1985)

Picasso Trigger (Andy Sidaris, 1988)

Hard Ticket To Hawaii (Andy Sidaris, 1987)

Microwave Massacre (Wayne Berwick, 1983)

Evil Toons (Fred Olen Ray, 1992)

Body Melt (Philip Brophy, 1993)

The Best of 80s Scream Queens - Nightmare Sisters, Murder Weapon, Deadly Embrace (David DeCoteau aka 'Ellen Cabot', 1987-1989)

Nail Gun Massacre (Terry Lofton & Bill Leslie, 1985)

The Mutilator - aka - Fall Break (Buddy Cooper, 1984)

Syndicate Sadists (Umberto Lenzi, 1975)

Blastfighter (Lamberto Bava, 1984)

Man From Deep River (Umberto Lenzi, 1972)

Thriller: A Cruel Picture - aka - They Call Her One Eye (Bo A. Vibenius, 1973)

Massacre In Dinosaur Valley (Michele Massimo Tarantini, 1985)

Milano Calibro 9 (Fernando Di Leo, 1972)

Hell Comes To Frogtown (R.J. Kizer & Donald G. Jackson, 1988)

Live Like A Cop, Die Like A Man (Ruggero Deodato, 1976)

Zombie Lake (Jean Rollin, 1981)

Evil Ed (Anders Jacobsson, 1995)

Bride of Re-Animator (Brian Yuzna, 1989)

Dr Alien (David DeCoteau, 1989)

Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals (Joe D'Amato, 1977)

The Bogey Man (Ulli Lommel, 1980)

Creepozoids (David DeCoteau, 1987)

Killer Workout (David A. Prior, 1987)

Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers (Fred Olen Ray, 1988)

Don't Answer The Phone! (Robert Hammer, 1980)

Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-o-Rama (David DeCoteau, 1988)

Matinee (Joe Dante, 1993)

Slave Girls From Beyond Infinity (Ken Dixon, 1987)

Pervert! (Jonathan Yudis, 2006)

Rabid Dogs (Mario Bava, 1974)

Chillerama (Green/Lynch/Rifkin/Sullivan, 2011)

The Final Girls (Todd Strauss-Schulson, 2015)

The ABCs of Death 2 (Various, 2015)

SS Experiment Camp (Sergio Garrone, 1976)

Bloodsucking Pharaohs In Pittsburgh (Dean Tschetter, 1991)

Anthropophagous (Joe D'Amato, 1980)

Contamination (Luigi Cozzi, 1980)

Manborg (Steven Kostanski, 2011)

Galaxy of Terror (B.D. Clark, 1981)

Fly Me (Cirio Santiago, 1973)

Barbed Wire Dolls (Jess Franco, 1976)

Hitler's Last Train (Alain Payet, 1977)

Fraulein Kitty (Patrice Rohmm, 1977)

Ilsa: The Wicked Warden (Jess Franco, 1977)

Caged Women (Leandro Lucchetti, 1991)

Super Bitch (Massimo Dallamano, 1973)

99 Women, Women Behind Bars, Bare Behind Bars, Sadomania, and Amazon Jail ("Bad Girls Behind Bars" DVD Collection, Jess Franco and Oswaldo De Oliveira, 1969-1982)

Jungle Warriors (Ernst R. von Theumer, 1984)

Red Heat (Robert Collector, 1985)

Chained Heat (Paul Nicolas, 1983)

Hard To Die: Sorority House Massacre 3 (Jim Wynorski, 1990)

Sorority House Massacre 2 (Jim Wynorski, 1990)

He Knows You're Alone (Armand Mastroianni, 1980)

2019 After the Fall of New York (Sergio Martino, 1983)

Silent Night (Steven C. Miller, 2012)

The Las Vegas Serial Killer (Ray Dennis Steckler, 1987)

The Hollywood Strangler Meets The Skid Row Slasher (Ray Dennis Steckler, 1979)

Evil Dead (Fede Alvarez, 2013)

The ABCs of Death (Various, 2013)

Maniac (Franck Khalfoun, 2013)

The Lords of Salem (Rob Zombie, 2012)

Dead Genesis (Reese Eveneshen, 2011)

More reviews will be added as-and-when.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

Double Bill Mini Musings: Assembly, Assemble!

The Avengers 3D:
What's it about?
After two Iron Mans, a Thor, and a Captain America, Nick Fury finally has all the pieces in place to assemble his Avengers Initiative in order to defend Earth against Thor's dark-hearted adopted brother Loki, in a spectacularly huge superhero team-up flick.
Who would I recognise in it?
Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Evans, Jeremy Renner, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Gweneth Paltrow, Stellan Skarsgard, Cobie Smulders ... pretty much everybody, really.
Joss Whedon directs (and co-writes with Zak Penn) this incredibly well-balanced superhero action extravaganza. It may be two-and-a-half-hours long, but it barrels along at speed. All the characters (most benefiting from their own individual movies prior to this outing) are given enough screen time at regular intervals so nobody is ever forgotten - even the action sequences manage to juggle numerous characters and points of interest deftly, thus keeping you fully informed at all times (Michael Bay, please take note, this is how you handle a multi-charactered action blockbuster). There is also a perfectly balanced vein of humour that runs throughout - going so far as to elicit real howls of laughter from the entire audience, that come along at the right points to break the tension when you're just about out of breath. The 3D also works surprisingly well (I didn't experience any of the redundancy or sheer darkness exhibited by the 3D on-show in last year's Thor), although the tech remains a gimmick that is almost entirely perfunctory. Speaking of tech, the use of CGI is constant, but never overwhelming or distracting - this is a big, ballsy, and brash action movie, but with an intelligent, well balanced script to back it up.

Also, having had zero interest in the two Hulk movies that were released in years past, I found myself really enjoying Ruffalo & Whedon's version of Bruce Banner/The Hulk. His first appearance is terrifyingly brutal, but he then becomes your favourite smash star who also commands the biggest laughs from the audience. The rest of the characters all have plenty to do and say too, so fans of the previous films will be well served here and, naturally, there will be plenty to look forward to in The Avengers 2. I knew I would enjoy this movie, but I didn't know I would enjoy it quite as much as I did - I had an absolute blast with it.

A note on the UK release - amazingly we got it a week before the Americans, but on the other hand the title was officially changed over here to "Marvel Avengers Assemble", which is the most clunky title they could have chosen. Plus, as if any Brits are dim-witted enough to confuse a movie featuring Iron Man, The Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, and Loki, with an abortive attempt to adapt the famous British TV show (The Avengers) starring Uma Thurman and Ralph Fiennes. Marvel: kindly revert the title to The Avengers for the UK home video release, please. In short though - great flick.

Continue reading after you click below for thoughts on Bad Teacher.