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La regina dei tartari

Obscure sword and sandal classic
Great peplum with lots of charm! It's kinda like the first 10 minutes of a sword and sorcery flick, where a bunch of barbarians dressed up as Manowar pillage some village, but for 90 minutes. It even features a man in a bear costume! The tartar queen is really a kick-ass girl, who takes no crap and is a better leader than the men (ps! she's really cute too). I wouldn't go an call it feminist masterpiece, but well... it's about as feminist as the peplum genre gets (remember this is the genre where women with black hair are automatically cunning and evil). If you're a peplum fan and get the chance to see this little film, by all means do - it's one of the best of its kind!

Island of Blood

Scared Alive - even the title makes no sense...
Mindnumbing bad slasher flick about a killer who's killing off a young film crew while playing a godawful new wave track that goes something like "Boil me! Boil me! Boil me! Cut me! Cut me!" on his tape deck. It's painfully apparent that nobody, in front or behind the camera, have no clue what so ever what the hell they're doing. Incomprehensable story, dialogue that makes no sense, acting from hell, weird cuts etc. About halfway through I got the creeping suspicion that this slasher abomination was the brainchild of a bunch of really confused hippie freaks! There was just one misplaced quasi-philosophical mumbo-jumbo line, longhaired acoustic guitar player or "i'm not going to mess with a bunch of food picky drug freaks!"-line too many to pass unnoticed, especially in a god-damned teen slasher flick! Label under uniquely bad. Since it's from 1981 it was pretty enjoyable as a cheezy turkey, if it was from 2001 I would probably hate it. You won't believe the twist ending... Guaranteed to make any intelligent, sensible human being lose their lunch.

Eugenie (Historia de una perversión)

Sad and poetic minimalistic S/M drama, remains one of Franco's best!
A really, really good early 1980s Franco title which remains one of his most underestimated according to me. It's basically a remake on Eugenie, the Story of a Young Girl's Journey into Perversion (a title he would remake many times, even as a HC porno) but this is way better than the original according to me. Great atmosphere, perverse, voyeuristic and detached, and as with many of the better of his 1980s films: much more focused than most of his 60/70s output. A benefit of the ultra low budget I reckon. When you're making a movie with such a ridiculously low budget as this, you have to really make the best use of the elements you've got and you've got to keep it minimal. The cute Katja Bienert is the perfect face for innocence-to-be-corrupted and Antonio Mayans has one of his best roles as sadistic Alberto de Rosa. Anyway, if you're at all interested in Franco, make sure to catch this one, if only to see Lina Romay as a dog (!). I'd also like to add that the sandfigures is one of the best images Franco has come up with yet!

I think Franco during his career has been the filmmakers who have reached closest to the true spirit of De Sade in his work... unlike all the other sleaze merchants and bozos that have consistently missed the point.


Uneven Bollywood slapstick action
Seriously, who could resist a hero named Loafer!? The DVD almost begs to be played... Anyway, the film starts off really good which some extremely silly, but fun, slapstick of the kind you should really be ashamed you like. It's about a young, hairy good-for-nothing and his cousin (a catch-phrase mumbling idiot in rockabilly-due who gives comedians like Jimmy Il Fenomena a run for their money for the most annoying-but you can't hate them- slapstick act) and their quest for babes, steady jobs and their parents respect. Problem starts when the ruthless mayor and his henchmen starts to terrorize the town for protection money and Loafer is the only one with the shoes to stand up to him... Unfortunely the less humorous second part of the film, where Loafer gets wrongly accused for murder and runs for mayor really drags compared to the energetic first half and you can't help to get a little bored near the end. Also with a really kitschy love story and lots of song and dance numbers, of course.

Mil sexos tiene la noche

Franco at his finest - somebody get this film on DVD now!
This obscure Golden Films production got to pop the Franco-cherry on my new movie projector. It was just the right choice! Lina Romay, chubby like she just walked out of an Anders Zorn-painting, plays Irena (Female Vampire flashbacks, anybody?) who's part of a kind of hypnosis nightclub act with the magician Fábian. He's not a very nice guy and uses his hypnotic powers to use poor Irena as an instrument of vengeance, sleeping with and killing off his enemies. Or is the whole set up just part of her nightmares? An unusually good, hypnotic (in both meanings of the word) sleaze flick that really shows what Franco can achieve with extremely limited resources - some hotel rooms, a handful of actors (the same old faces that's in all films from this period), a film camera and some re-used Daniel White music. Man, I really love this stripped down Golden Films stuff when it's done right and this films is much closer in spirit to, say, Macumba Sexual than Mansion of the Living Dead. Parts of the film are almost delirious. There's a thick, intimate atmosphere and interesting experimental photography. Some scenes are almost bordering on the poetic, for example we have a beautifully shot long kiss filmed through a glass door, bathing in sunlight. Say what you want about Lina's acting capacity but here she gives all she's got, somewhat reprising her roles in Female Vampire and Doriana Gray. Even though the story itself is more similar to Nightmares Come at Night. Highly recommended!

Convoi de femmes

Typhical Eurociné composite
Routine Eurociné sleaze. A bunch of gals are kidnapped and are shipped off (rape, whipping, bouncing french buttocks, probably a little inserted footage from some old pirate film) to America to become army prostitutes (rape, whipping, bouncing buttocks... sigh... lots of footage of cowboys and indians, storming of forts etc. from the 1960s Eurociné western-adventure The Last of the Mohicans). Typically bland direction, stiff acting and sub par camera work... and as often when watching routine Eurociné sleaze your mind immediately numbs and starts playing "find the stock footage" in self-defense. OK film, I had hoped for more pirate stuff but it was more a dirty western. The most enjoyable thing for me was seeing that creepy, bald Eurociné regular who always plays rapist as an Indian in warpaint!

Le jouisseur

One of Franco's worst
Terrible sex comedy by Franco. A young lord gets turned off by his porno industry girlfriend and her all too technical sex life and starts posing as a butler to sleep with girls. Or something, my french is not up to date. Lots of lame jokes, people hiding in closets and boredom follows. Only for Francophiles, the only fun I got out of it was spotting some familiar Franco faces like the awesome fatman who played the merry mayor in Loveletters of a Portugese Nun, and some filming-out-of-the-carwindow footage from Paris notorious sex district (is it the one called Pigalle?), a film poster of the (much funnier) Franco film Les Ebranleés is spotted and all. Imagine seeing that whacked-out flick in a real movie house!

Una rajita para dos

If your in the last stages of the disease called francophilia, this film is for you...
Lina Romay and her motley crew of female agents are hiding microfilm up their asses for reasons I didn't get (my Spanish is not so hot). The first minutes of extreme closeups of anuses through a magnifying glass really sets the tone for this disgusting hardcore effort, which was directed by Lina herself with some noticeable help from Franco. Roughly 80% of the movie consists of failed, slightly awkward hardcore scenes between the three female agents and two male spies (one of them having serious problems holding an erection). There's also some slapstick humor of the lowest kind to spice up the dull hardcore action, like Antonio Mayans silly gay agent or the communist spy who chants political slogans while 'making love'... real classy stuff, recommended to idiots, lovers of unerotic porno and francophiles in the last stages of the disease (same category?).

Nao mo

Don't mess with the brain of a mummy
A pretty strange little flick here, a guy steals the grant-wishing brain of a mummy (!) but forgets to kill the brain with holy water after his wishes about wealth and power had been fulfilled. The brain starts haunting his house, eats the brains of the pets and drives his new wife to frigidity and religion... something has got to be done! The guy contacts a taoist white magician who shares body with a buddhist statue (!!) and they decide to drive the spirit out...

We're hardly talking Shaw Brothers here. It's cheap and pretty shoddy film-making but it's not exactly boring. No sensations but I kinda liked it for what it was and the ending was goofy fun. Another fun thing: the same "scary video violence" music plays every time the brain makes an appearance or something even remotely scary happens and the result is almost parodic. File under "so strange its watchable".

La casa de las mujeres perdidas

Family drama, Franco style
One of the most obscure Franco's i've had the privilege to see. Or rather see the first hour of because after that the frame just freezes on my (very murky) copy, leaving the confused viewer to wonder what the hell happened. OK, I admit it, I didn't understand a thing but it seems to be some kind of perverse, kinky, black comedy/ironic family-drama/soft porno? Only in the mind of Jess Franco... A family is living together on an isolated island and the family idyll is sometimes disrupted by PC stuff like the daughter masturbating in front of her father (i'd say a good third of the film consists of Lina jacking off), the mother forcing her children to take part in S/M games or Lina giving her retarded sister a handjob. "We're a happy family, we're a happy family hey mum and daddy", as the Ramones song goes. There's a lot of lot of seemingly misplaced, mindless chattering (which I didn't understand of course) during all the weird and sick stuff going-ons, so I would guess the film is wittier and more intelligent than first seems (much like The Inconfessionable Orgies of Emmanuelle I guess, in which the dry, sarcastic tone got lost completely in the language barrier until the subtitled DVD release revealed a much better film than thought at first). But all in all it's safe to say that this no budget wonder is for francophiliacs only. I don't know whether I should consult a film buff or a psychiatrist, but why the hell did this film somehow remind me of a perverted Douglas Sirk?

Le evase - Storie di sesso e di violenze

Mean Italian exploitation flick
With the undertitle "a story of sex and violence", this Last House on the Left-type exploitationer doesn't excuse itself. A very cheap production with unknown actors (lots of women in hotpants and disco dues and men with greasy moustaches and tight blue jeans... Zora Zerova was the only actor I recognized) and dull photography in brown, grey and orange color schemes. The story is about a couple of female convicts, a leftwing political terrorist and her jaded band of robbers, whores and dykes, who've escape from prison and hide out at a luxurious mansion where they hold a judge and a female basketball team hostage. The schtick being, of course, that its the females that bring the terror and havoc this time around! Highlights include female-on-female rape, the gals forcing the judge to pee his pants, forced dogfood-eating and of course lots of nasty, hateful dialogue! Not the strongest or best in its genre, but I liked it, these nasty Italian disco era exploitation flicks are always enjoyable at worst (and from all the wrong reasons).

¿Cuánto cobra un espía?

For those who enjoy Miss Romay's comic abilities
If you think that Lina Romay taking really fast in her whining, high pitch "comic" voice mode ("mi queridooo... miiii queridooo!!!) is the height of comedy, then this is the film for you. Lina and her dorky new husband are on their honeymoon at a Spanish resort and unfortunately pick up two hitchhikers, who are really spies that hide secret microfilm in their car. And then of course lots of different parties are trying to get their hands on the microfilm, with lots of silly slapstick situations as result. Hardly any nudity, just slapstick, slapstick and more slapstick. I really tried to fight it, but halfway through I found myself starting to enjoy this at least a little bit, clearly a sign that the end is near for me.

Crossbone Territory

Cheap, stupid and racist... and fun!
Not my genre really these shoddy fillipino war flicks, but this one was odd enough to be entertaining as trash. A sad Rambo-wannabe sergeant with an effeminate voice goes on a mission that my brain failed to register, probably to blow some secret Vietcong stuff up or something. Once into the sweaty vietnamese jungle we get a super-high bodycount, gore, nasty jungle traps and idiotic dialogue, i.e the usual stuff, but this movie is grittier, schlockier and more primitive than your usual Rambo knock-off. Also worth mentioning is that this movie has some strong racist tendencies, against the vietnamese as expected (they are seen slaughtering live animals and dancing around in primitive voodoo-style) but also against jive-talking ("dubber-on-crack" jive) black solider, who was so much a racist stereotype you half expected him to show up eating watermelons and doing Chris Rock impressions. Since this film is pure trash that nobody can take seriously it only added to the fun for me. "Dedicated to The Duke and all the boys who served in 'Nam"!! :)

Missione finale

Italian Rambo kills Nazis in North Korea?
OK little italo action time-waster, the film's history is probably more interesting than the film itself since it was shot in north Korea with the blessing of Kim Il-sung! It's about an evil drug dealer/nazi who uses "deer-serum" (!) to create a race of übermensch and of course a good guy blowing lots of stuff up. In the tradition of Andrea Bianchi's similar Megele: Angel of Death we get to see very little of these nazi experiments, but more of screaming men with machine guns and huts blowing up. We also get to see two of Italys worst actors, Mark Greogry and Sabrina Siani, together at last (though Sabrina is so fine you don't care if she can't act and Mark Gregory is at least cool as Trash and Thunder in better Italian 80s action flicks... but completely free of charm here). If only Conrad Nichols would have shown up the circle of Italian loser actors would have been complete.

La rose de fer

A horror film about getting lost
A very odd film from Jean Rollin, a horror film completely without traditional horror elements and threats - it's about getting lost! A young couple gets lost at a country churchyard one night and lots of panic, statues and typical Rollin-doomed romanticism follows. It's a sympathetic, sometimes beautiful films with an interesting idea that still could have been executed a lot better. Lack of pacing was to be expected but the bad actors are the biggest problem. Usually Rollin's use of non-professionals is greatly to his advantage - bored-looking non-actors delivering pretentious dialogue in a very stiff way is part of his aesthetic style, but here the actors actually tries to act and it doesn't really work. Still, a pretty good film with some memorable scenes (the lovemaking in the tomb with spinning cameras was great!). A film for friends of Rollin.

Tie jin gang da po zi yang guan

George Lazenby kicks ass!
George Lazenby has a moustache and is Stoner (!), an angry Australian antidrug-cop who takes on the Chinese mafia who tries to push a new drug that makes women super-horny! He also says "Hmm..." a lot, wears pimp suits and kicks ass. A lot of ass, using his own special "kung fu" technique. Basically he's just waving his arms around like a madman while the villains fall like bricks. More Cüneyt Arkin than Bruce Lee if you catch my drift... The real kung fu (and eye-candy) comes from his female sidekick Angela Mao who really got some moves! To sum it up, this is a cheezy but highly entertaining kung fu-burger full of 1970s charms. A new martial arts favorite of mine! Blink and you'll miss a young Samo Hung getting his ass beaten to shreds by George Lazenby (the humiliation!)

The Archer: Fugitive from the Empire

Sword and sorcery miss
This sword and sorcery flick is a mess. Judging from the confused narrative and editing plus constant namedropping of characters we haven't been introduced to, I would guess that it's a failed TV-pilot or something that somebody squeezed together to feature length and released to an unsuspecting world. If you have a high tolerance level for bad sword and sorcery flicks there's some fun to be had: there's some monsters, like the cool snake-men, magic, a lot of silly fantasy nonsense dialogue ("you must recover the runestone from Brakus the Destroyer in order to save the kingdom of Harmonia from the evil... blah blah blah...") and some weird color filters that the creators use from now and then for no apparent reason. Also, it should be noted that this film takes itself 100% serious, which makes the pretentious overacting from an aged George Kennedy in fake-beard and a silly wig all the funnier. And everybody's favorite boy's-own hero Kabir "Sandokan" Bedi plays the hero's sidekick! But all in all I think it's safe to say that this movie is only for real sword and sorcery nerds like me. Hawk the Slayer come back, all is forgiven!

Nero veneziano

A neglected gem!
A blind kid starts getting horrible visions about the birth of the Antichrist when he and his sister moves in a rundown pension in Venice with their guardian relatives. I liked this Italian horror flick a lot! It's heavily influenced by Rosemary's Baby & The Omen but its got a personality of its own. Pretty slow pace but great surreal atmosphere there's a constant feeling of dread and uncertainty, good photography and an surprisingly clever script. And the Venice setting is always appreciated, that city is almost provocatively beautiful! Not much violence, but the few violent scenes were highly effective. Especially one scene really raised my eyebrow, those of you who have seen it probably know which one i'm thinking about... The bad dubbing is about the only really negative aspect I can think of right now, although I can imagine that some find it slow on action and maybe even a little boring. Not me though, I love slow, atmospheric films!

La maison des filles perdues

The House of Lost Girls: Mindboggling Eurociné composite!
Strange Eurocine sleaze about a girl who's forced into prostitution, made mostly from bits and pieces from other films... to make it even more puzzling, some of the newly shot footage (or is it? You can never be really sure when you're watching a Eurocine film) also ends up in the almost identical L' Oasis Des Filles Perdues, which I saw before this one. And just as in that routine sleaze film the action just drops dead in the middle for over 20 minutes from a 1960s spy film with Jack Taylor! It's very funny when the geniuses behind this opus try to mix the spy footage to make it appear as it's part of the sleaze flick! I really enjoyed this film but there is no way I can justify it.


Beyond awesome!
A shady Chinese boxer gets caught up in a web of fate, buddhism and black magic when he's in Thailand to avenge his brother who was crippled in a dirty fight with a thai boxer. It turns out in a past life he was the twin brother of a enlightened buddhist monk, who is now preserved in a state between life and death after being poison-spelled by a powerful black magician who wanted to stop him to reach full enlightenment and eternal life. Only the power of Buddah stops the semi-dead monk's body from decomposing, and since their fates are linked from previous lives, when the monk finally decomposes the boxer will die too... a horrible, messy death! So the boxer has to become a taoist monk and beat the black magician to break the poisonous spell and save his life and the eternal life of his ex-twin brother (are you confused yet?). But the black magician has a few cards up his sleeve too... or rather decks and decks of 'em to! The final battle between good and evil that takes place is in an inferno of laser beams, crocodile carcasses, weird magic, maggots, bats, magic relics, devouring of disgusting foods, adult baby birth, monk chanting, puke eating, monsters etc. etc. etc... You could go on and on and on!

At the risk of sounding like a fashion-blogger: GAH! OMG! I can't believe I haven't seen this before! All I can say is do believe the hype because this is an amazing slice of HK black magic-weirdness. And best of all it's not only "so weird it's good" like movies like Devil Fetus or Wolf Devil Woman, it's actually a really good, original, well-crafted weird film with good actors, production values, lots and lots of imaginative effects and impressive trippy cinematography... visually it looks nothing else! All the actors work fine but extra credit goes to the guy who played the black magician (he's sort of like an though-to-be harmless, half-crazy old hobo who gets sudden outbursts of extreme anger) - best voodoo-style screen black magician ever! Genius! Not a guy I would let anywhere near a chicken farm though... A question: Did HK producers hire their cast at the geek section at their local freak show or was it considered a normal thing to eat maggots, kill animals and puke live barracudas (!) in Hong Kong movies?

Even though I didn't find it scary (a little bit disgusting maybe) I had WILD nightmares about witches and black magic all night tonight. I even woke up at five in the morning scared as hell, decided it was too good to miss and fell right back to sleep. It was like the film's sweetness continued in my dreams.

Sorry catholicism, paganism, old school (pre-LaVey) satanism & Jewish mysticism - close but no cigar, buddhism is now the coolest religion on the block. An absolute must-see!

Le porno killers

Dull, dull, dull... did I mention it's dull?
Supertrashy giallo with a porno twist? Nope, that makes it sound far too good - it's in no way a giallo, try super-bad and boring action/thriller with sad hardcore scenes and ugly performers... Kind of reminded me of some of Franco's worst 1980s films, but at least they have some kind of spirit and experimentation over them, this is just dull in every way. I can't imagine anyone getting a kick out of this piece of crap, even those who usually likes to explore the lower slums of Cinecitta. Couldn't even sit through the whole thing - avoid by all cost, unless you're a really anal completist who wants to check it off your list. What a sad way for Roberto Mauri to end his career - his not a well known Italian director but I like the other films i've seen from him, a Kommisar X, the trashy fun King of Kong Island, some westerns and adventure films.

The Survivalist

Come, Armageddon! come! Come, come, come - nuclear bomb!
Really corny and bad low budget film that feels more like a piece of confused NRA-propaganda than post-apocalypse. The world is cast into chaos, violence and confusion after the threat of nuclear war between the US of A and the Soviet union. Everybody is freaking out, except... Jack Tillman! (his name is repeated in absurdum)... who's a survivalist who's been preparing for this crap and now gets to play with weapons, build campfires and protect his family and blah-blah-blah... If you are a 40 year old guy in army pants who lives with his mum and have strange ideas about most things, and who's biggest hobby is to hang around in the forest and build knives, this might be right up your alley... Everybody except that guy and the most tragic of post-apocalyptic movie collectors needn't bother. A few unintentionally funny scenes and the fact that this ultra-low budget film takes it self 110% serious saves it from being a complete waste of time.

Gold Raiders

Robert Ginty cleans up Thailand with rad motorcycle
Nothing too exiting here but a pretty entertaining thai action/adventure romp with an international cast (well... Burt Reynolds seemed to have had other obligations but they did get the lovably lame Robert Ginty, looking as wimpy as ever, and a cute caucasian girl who's acting abilities are limited to looking angry and/or horny whatever takes place in the movie... hey, good enough for me). As often when there's more than one county involved in the production we get an clichéd espionage story with a gold treasure that many parts are after - my guess is they were reaching for sort of a mixture between James Bond and Rambo with some local thai spice to make it exotic for foreign sales. We get some dumb dubbing, a high body count with lots of juicy squibs, a glide-flying motorcycle with a built-in rocket launcher (sadly the only gadget, but a good one indeed!), great evil communists, a character named Porn - who gets sick and is replaced by Penporn (did the writers see Café Flesh? ) and best of all - an underground Mario Bava-esquire lit cave filled with fat, super-duper-mega evil vampire bats with gleaming red eyes! Best vampire bats ever. But maybe I oversell it now, the film do have some obvious problems that makes land at "enjoyable B movie" rather than "trash action classic". Especially the pacing and cutting feels very... thai (judging from the few other 70s and 80s thai films i've seen). Even though there's action and excitement in almost every scene the movie still drags a lot in parts, and it's a bit overlong too. Still worth checking out for fans of trashy 80s action Asian B films though, it gets a mild recommendation from me.

The Swedish video release I saw had a perfect widescreen print and has the line "The Exterminator man is back" all over the front, back and side of the cover. They even renamed the film GOLDRAIDERS (The Exterminator Man is back!) on the tape label. You've gotta miss the early days of video when even bloody Robert Ginty was a selling name!

Je brûle de partout

Desperate low budget film-making á la Jess Franco
Susan Hemingway hooks up with a guy at a discoteque (GREAT disco scene!), has unwilling sex (Brigitte Lahaie joins in on the action) and is drugged and sold off to a "deluxe bordello" where a bunch of dirty, moaning girls are kept in a constant state of excitement by some sort of sex-gas that is pumped into their living quarters. This is film has almost non-stop softcore sex but is still interesting for a francophile due to the dark subject matter and claustrophobic, sweaty atmosphere. There is no happy sex in this film, only rape, perversion, sadism and unfulfillment (as usual in Franco's world). Very low budget film, even by Franco's standard, Franco does the best to cover up the absence of a budget, a descent crew and good locations with some interesting/eccentric camera work and angles. I liked it, but it's almost impossible to discuss in terms of "good" and "bad" and I wouldn't recommend to anybody who haven't been bitten by the Franco bug.

Les paumées du petit matin

Comercially doomed Rollin flick
Although there is no horror and only a bit little sleaze and violence (courtesy of Brigitte Lahie no less) this is an unmistakable Jean Rollin film - nobody else could, or even wants to make films his way. Two girls, one rebellious and the other one almost catatonic, run away from a borstal-like psychiatric clinic, meets a butch pickpocket-girl, some black strippers and a bunch of sailors and ends up in various adventures. This almost plot less, commercially doomed movie, equally pretentious as it is naive, was bound to make 95% of its audience either laugh or leave their seats, but for a Rollin fan there are some beautiful shots to be found. The figure skating scene was incredible and so was some of the shots at the junkyard. I also liked the sad ending. Not among his best but an interesting footnote in his filmography... for a Rollin fan that is, all others beware! The most shocking thing about this film for me is that there is no...*gulp*... beach scene! What happened, Jean? A few years back you couldn't even shoot a cheap porno without a trip to the beach?

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