Sunday, March 31, 2013
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Recently found this while rummaging thru a box of stuff. I remember ordering this out of the back of a comic book when I was about 10 years old and saving up my money to order one of the shirts. Looks to be an Ed "Big Daddy" Roth sorta enterprise with "Big Daddy" Rat instead. I love this kinda stuff. The catalog is really cool. Lots of girls, psychedelic/ biker stuff, monsters in car T-shirts, chrome plated German helmets and giant beer steins. Looking at the catalog now, I wonder what my parents thought about me getting this in the mail ? By their address they looked to have been right down by the ocean in Daytona Beach, FL. I'd love to find someone who remembers this place.
Hey Look ! You can be Miss Rat -Mate !!
Friday, March 29, 2013
Mid 70's made for TV madness with Capt. Kirk, Mr. Brady and a former child evangelist taking a motorcycle trip to hell & back down Baja, Mexico with a demented Sheriff Taylor (who's a LONG way from Mayberry here). Originally premiering on ABC on Jan.23 1974 and featuring William Shatner in one of his first roles post Star Trek, Robert Reed fresh off The Brady Bunch and Marjoe ("Mary" + "Joesph") Gortner who was an ordained minister at age four. Last but not least (and best of all) is Andy Griffith in a really wild-eyed scary psycho role.
Griffith plays Sam Farragut who runs some sort of heavy equipment company while Shatner, Reed and Gortner play the groveling ad execs trying to land him as an account for the agency where they all work. Of course everybody's got problems at home so all the soap opera stuff can get ratcheted up in the plot. Reed is having marital problems with wife Angie Dickinson (with what we now know about Reed, you can see how that marriage won't work) and Shatner is losing his job, contemplating suicide and having an affair with Angie (Yeah ! Go Captain Kirk!) while married to Lorianne Grey (Jaws). Marjoe, playing the token hippie at the ad outfit (we can tell he's a hippie because he wears a bola tie, lives with his girlfriend and says "Man" & "Right On" about every other sentence) has to deal with the unwanted pregnancy of his girlfriend while ass kissing his way up the corporate ladder.
TV movies in the 70's are a fascinating genre. For all the tons of pure junk there is some really great stuff that came out - The Night Stalker (1972) & The Night Strangler (1973), Duel (1971) and A Cold Nights Death (1973) among them. Pray For The Wildcats is kinda hard to categorize - its poorly written in a lot of spots and some of the characters are pretty one dimensional (Reed's role really suffers from this), but there is something going on here that holds your interest - mostly seeing Andy Griffith leering away and chewing tons of scenery (plus, Angie looking gorgeous).
Farragut talks the gang into taking a motorcycle trip down in Baja, Mexico (with their clothing eerily similar to Star Trek uniforms) and things go from bad to worse after he gets a little carried away with a hippie girl in a bar, gets in a fight with her boyfriend and later goes all homicidal on their van leaving them stranded to die in the desert (the way he snarls " "DIRTY HIPPIES" makes you wonder if there would've been a summer of love if he'd been there in '67). The other three guys then spend the rest of movie wrestling with their conscience on whether or not to drop a dime on psycho Sam to the local straight outta central casting Mexican Federales which in the end leads to the expected motorcycle duel with an Evel Knievel like climax.
According to Shatner, Gortner spent much of the time on location getting stoned and trying to get Shatner to take LSD while Griffith went on tequila fueled rampages that had him running naked thru the set.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Some truly great new release info from Severin in the form of these two new DVD/Blu combos. They've been rumored for awhile and now pre-orders have shown up on Amazon (nothing on Severin's site yet - but their Facebook is updated pretty regularly and they just posted a clue about these). House on Straw Hill has been a long hinted at release, first by the now defunct Barrel Entertainment and then by Severin the past couple of years. Lack of materials for the uncut version has been the problem in the past, but it looks like now Severin has put together the whole schbang with some nice extras. Not to mention anytime you can get Linda Hayden in HD, that's a big thumbs up.
House of Seven Corpses had a bare bones Image DVD release eons ago and was rumored from MPI a few years back. Not the greatest movie, but a fondly remembered late night TV staple in the 70's and its always fun to watch John Carradine play the spooky old guy role for about the 100th time (and in another 100 performances after this). Supposedly old time actor John Ireland was partaking of the hippie lettuce during production.
The write-ups below are from Severin's press releases which are on Amazon and here's the links - House of Seven Corpses & House on Straw Hill , but as usual I'll be ordering mine from Jesse and the gang over at Diabolik DVD.
The House on Straw Hill (AKA Expose) 1976
Banned in Britain for thirty years, The House On Straw Hill is a shockingly violent and erotic tale of seduction, brutality and revenge. Cult movie icon Udo Keir (Mark of the Devil, Theatre Bizarre) stars as a successful novelist suffering from writer's block, who rents a country cottage in the hope of finding inspiration. But the arrival of a sensual secretary, played by Linda Hayden (Blood on Satan's Claw, Taste the Blood of Dracula) sets in motion of chain of events that culminate in an unrestrained explosion of sex and savagery.
Also known as Exposé and condemned as a Video Nasty in the UK, this sleazy classic from Brian Smedley-Aston (Vampypres) and co-starring the notorious Fiona Richmond - Britain's No.1 sex symbol - is now fully restored from the only uncut elements and is available for the first time in the US with brand new extras!
- Audio Commentary with director James Kenelm Clarke and producer Brian Smedley-Aston
- All-new interviews with director James Kenelm Clarke and star Linda Hayden
- Theatrical Trailer
House of Seven Corpses 1974
Eight graves! Seven bodies! - screamed the ads, One killer... and he's already dead! Hollywood legends John Ireland (Red River, Satan's Cheerleaders, John Carradine (The Grapes of Wrath, Vampire Hookers) and Howard Hughes paramour Faith Domergue (Cult of the Cobra, This Island Earth) star this much-loved 70's shocker about a film crew shooting an occult drama in a sinister manor actually the former Utah Governor's Mansion with its own grisly history of family bloodshed. From its notoriously gruesome opening to the creepy zombie-attack climax, revisit the old-school favorite that Bloody Disgusting hails as a classic Saturday afternoon Creature Feature scare - as you've never seen it before, now transferred in HD from original vault materials and featuring an exclusive archive interview with the legendary horror icon John Carradine and a revealing new audio commentary.
- Exclusive Interview With Star John Carradine
- Audio Commentary With Associate Producer Gary Kent, Moderated By The Alamo Drafthouse's Lars Nilsen
- Theatrical Trailer
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
This is looking be a good year for exploitation/drive-in fans with a bunch of great DVD's announced already announced and now a book AND a documentary on Charles Band's Empire Pictures. I love big 'ol movie books and they've been kind of few & far between lately, so its always cool to see something like this coming.
Empire Pictures was formed by Charles Band in 1983 and distributed such classics as Ghoulies, The Dungeonmaster, Re-Antimator, Savage Island, Creepozoids, From Beyond (just released on blu from Shout), Rawhead Rex and bunches of others.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Excellent 1967 war actioner "guys on a mission" directed by Arthur Hiller and starring Rock Hudson, George Peppard and Nigel Green. Based very loosely on the real life exploits of the SIG and LRDG British commando units that operated in North Africa during the desert campaigns of 1941/42.
A big thumbs up in every war film - It's got a map in the prologue
Rock and the guys have to get behind German lines disguised as British POW's (escorted by Peppards's disguised Afrika Korp) to blow up a fuel dump and a giant harbor gun emplacement. Also along are Jack Watson, Percy Herbert (who had escaped Ray Harryhausen's Mysterious Island in 1961) & Norman Rossington playing the roles you would expect them to play - Watson as the stalwart Sgt. with Herbert and Rossington as the comedy relief privates. In addition you've got an evil, double crossing Guy Stockwell and the desert in technicolor scope. A woman is introduced in a spy subplot , but luckily no romance gets in the way of tanks, blowing bunches of stuff up, repelling down cliffs, and more tanks. Produced by Gene Corman (Roger's brother) and written by the great craggy faced character actor Leo Gordon (who appears here as Sgt. Krug).
Some Critics have complained that the film gets rather bogged down in politics, but I think it moves along at a great pace with the widescreen desert almost becoming a character in the movie. All the leads do solid work and George Peppard gets to go on a one man tear with a flame thrower at the end.
Excellent special effects and miniature work (the fuel dump finale and harbor gun sets are particularly impressive) and best of all its got Nigel Green. One of my favorites, Green was in tons of great movies. He was the Sgt. in Zulu (1964), Hercules in Jason and the Argonauts (1963) and appeared in Hammer's Sword of Sherwood Forest (1960) and Countess Dracula (1971). He died way too young in 1972 at the age of 47 from a heart attack. For some weird reason Universal ignored this for years on home video. Finally awhile back it was released as part of the Universal Vault collection. It was also recently released on an English friendly Blu in Italy (which I want to get one day). I saw Tobruk back in 1967 on a double bill with Deadlier then the Male (which also starred Nigel Green).
A big Happy Birthday remembrance for film noir icon and real life mariner Sterling Hayden seen here as Lt. Sims in 1954's Crime Wave directed by the great Andre De Toth. He was born in 1916 and left us on May 23 1986. In his last role he played a great John Brown in the TV mini series The Blue and The Grey from 1986 and was Steven Spielberg first choice for the role of Quint in 1975's Jaws. He is very missed.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
(and Rosalba Neri Friday)
Here's something kinda different I found. In 2009 Benin issued a stamp featuring actress Barbara Bouchet. Here's Barbara and Rosalba Neri in Sivio Amadio's 1972 giallo Amuck!. Rosalba's nude slow-mo/druggy seduction of Barbara is one the high points of 70's Italian exploitation cinema.
....and thirty years later here's Barbara as Mrs. Schermerhorn in Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York from 2002.
Friday, March 22, 2013
"When You Race With The Devil, You'd better Be Faster Then Hell !"
In the same package is 1974's Dirty Mary & Crazy Larry. Basically a 70 minute car chase in a 93 minute movie,with Peter Fonda, Adam Roarke and Susan George in a 1969 Charger R/T being chased by manic obsessive cop Vic Morrow. It is however, a very well written & directed car chase movie with an unexpected ending and wonderful performances by all the leads (I love Susan George in this - a sadly underused actress who never really got her due). With The Thing From Another World's Kenneth Toby and Roddy McDowell. A great double bill.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Monday, March 18, 2013
One of the greatest war/guys on a mission/adventure films ever complete with trains, machine guns on the top of trains, planes attacking trains, Nazis, Nazis with chainsaws, fistfights while vine hanging over cliffs, more machine guns and lots of sweat. In war-torn 1960's Congo mercenary Capt. Curry (Rod Taylor) is hired to rescue by train a group of Europeans at a diamond mining town cut off by the Simba rebels - while also picking $50 Million in diamonds held by a mining company executive. Along for the ride is Curry's friend Sgt. Ruffo (played by soon to be black exploitation star and ex-footballer Jim Brown), an alcoholic doctor ( Kenneth Moore) and a Nazi turned mercenary Henlein (Peter Carsten - dubbed by veteran voiceover guy Paul Frees) and a missionary picked up along the way (Yvette Mimieux). Her presence at first seems like a plot point to develop a romance thing with Taylor , but thankfully that's pretty much ignored.
Directed by famed cinematographer Jack Cardiff (Black Narcissus) and based upon a novel by Wilbur Smith, this is a non-stop blast of adrenaline with Taylor giving one of his best performances. Although he's technically the "hero" of the story (with a great deal of ambiguity), its Jim Brown who serves as the film's moral voice. Brown had previously co-starred in 1967's The Dirty Dozen and between these two roles did an excellent job of dispelling the myth at the time that athletes couldn't act. Mimieux doesn't have a lot to do, bit it is kind of neat to see her reunited with her Time Machine co-star Taylor.
After a short, concise set up that introduces the main characters and their motives the story then moves toward the main action and pretty much never lets up. Although there is some political overtones (which can't be helped considering the location & time period) the film pretty much sticks to the mission at hand and sets up some amazing set pieces. If anything the film ratchets it up even more during the last half after the arrival of the train at the village. Highlights include - the massacre after the train gets hit by mortar and the car full of civilians does a slow, agonizing roll back to the rebels (with lots of implied rape & torture - this is the scene that most people remember and where the violence issue arose from) and an amazing action set piece/shoot-out in a hotel as Brown & Taylor rescue the diamonds (and kill about 200 guys with machine guns). Plus you've got hand to hand combat with a chainsaw, Rod Taylor driving the hell out of Land Rover and lots of sweaty, bloody action. Last but not least there's a great score by Jacques Loussier (some of which was used in Inglourious Basterds).
After its theatrical run the film pretty much disappeared with no video release and would only show up occasionally on TV and later letterboxed on TCM. - which helped the films growing stature and also cries of "Where the hell's the DVD !?" After a long time waiting MGM finally released a decent looking DVD as part of their MOD program a few years ago. There was some complaining on the internet that it was cut and as mentioned before there was a pretty big outcry at the time of the original release because of the violence, although by today's standards it seems kinda tame. Most of it occurs off screen and because of the film's intensity people might be remembering more then they actually saw. A really great movie, that in the past few years has finally getting some of the recognition that it deserves.
Friday, March 15, 2013
"Thank God - She Only had two !"
There are certain times when everything pretty much clicks in a film , things come together and you've got the almost perfect drive-in movie. With enough sleazy elements (implied incest ,attempted rape, nudity, a shotgun death, plus voyeurism - and this is just during the pre-credits ! - with a bunch more to follow) and a story that develops into an twisting amoral film-noir like plot worthy of a James M. Cain novel, this is a great 105 min. ride. Producer Arthur Marks (The Centerfold Girls) really knew how to cast a movie and Bonnie's Kids has a wonderful cast of newcomers and veterans including Leo Gordon, Scott Brady, Alex Rocco, Timothy Brown, Steve Sandor, Max Showalter, Lenore Stevens, plus Tiffany & future daytime soap star Robin Mattson (who was only 17 at the time of filming - yep we're all goin' to jail !)) as the title characters.
The story starts off with sisters Ellie (Bolling) & Myra (Mattson) who are in the care of step-father Charley (Leo Gordon) after the death of their mother. Coming home from work one night Ellie finds Charley attempting to rape little sister Myra (after an undressing Myra has been leered at thru a window by Dad's buddies and even the local cops !) and blows him away with a shotgun. Stuffing his body down the in the basement, the sisters head off to Los Angeles to hook up with their Mom's brother "Uncle" Ben (Scott Brady) and his wife Diana (Lenore Stevens).
Turns out Ben runs a modeling agency that is tied in with the mob and he sets up the sisters up to live with himself and his ignored wife in their huge ranch house. Ellie then auditions for some nude modeling, afterwards ol' Uncle Ben sends her out of town to pick up a box (which unknown to her at the time, is full of money) that was arranged to be delivered by a P.I. ( Larry - played by Sandor) who was hired by two gunmen working for Ben. At this point for the first time in the movie the sisters are separated with Myra using the lesbian advances of Ben's wife Diana to con free stuff out of her(at first she was merely stealing it ) and Ellie who after discovering what was really in the case, running off with Larry while being pursued by the two gunmen Eddy & Digger (Rocco & Brown).
This is a twisting, turning story that spirals into a bloody & downbeat ending with none of the main characters having much of any redeeming qualities. The best part (aside from Tiffany) are the two the mob guys played by Alex Rocco and ex-football player Timothy Brown. An obvious inspiration for Pulp Fiction, the two go about their business with a low-key, deadpan approach and almost steal the whole movie. Rocco would later later star in Mark's Detroit 9000 (1974). Veteran TV actor and character "face" Max Showalter has a great part as an unlucky traveling gun (!) salesman who has the unfortunate luck to meet up with Ellie and Larry.
A long time wanted DVD, Dark Sky has released this in a very nice package with the trailer, TV spots and an interview with Arthur Marks.