Brief info on a few of the films seen since the last issue. Contributions for this section are especially welcome.
Ai No Corrida (Nagisa Oshima) – Japanese version of “9 1/2 Weeks”, which has a very large and pretty explicit sex content. The storyline is tenuous, to say the least, and the film is just plain DULL, not helped by some truly bad Japanese music.
Barbarian Queen (Hector Olivera) – Lana Carlsson and her team of women in leather armour in a tale of rape, revenge and rescue (sorta “I Spit on Your Broadsword”). Never taxing on the brain, a nice addition to the ‘Barbarian Bimbo’ genre.
The Beast (Walerian Borowczyk) – EXTREMELY dodgy film. Plot totally indescribable and probably irrelevant. Judging by this, the director is in severe need of therapy. ‘Nekromantik’ for animal lovers, if you get my drift.
Blood for Dr. Jeckyll (Walerian Borowczyk) – Relatively mild Borowczyk film (it got a certificate!) retelling the classic tale. Atmospheric and reminiscent of ‘Nosferatu’, with Udo Kier as an excellent Hyde. Recommended.
Blood for Dracula (Paul Morrisey) – Andy Warhol production. The Count is seeking ‘wirgins’. but the local handyman is de-virginizing them all; poor CD must lick the blood thereby spilled off the floor. The finish is arterial and pure Grand Guignol! Brain Damage (Frank Henenlotter) – Far more effective than ‘Just Say No’ as an anti-drugs message, this is low budget horror at it’s best, with the ultimate bad trip. However, the ending is a bit weak and too sudden.
The Brood (David Cronenberg) – Early body-horror from the master. Odd tale about a woman whose anger takes physical form – mutant dwarves who kill everyone who annoys her. Bit too obscure for it’s own good, although thought-provoking.
Clan of the Cave Bear (Matthew Chapman) – “One Million Years B.C.” with Darryl Hannah doing the Raquel Welch bit, without the fur bikinis. Too serious by half. In Neanderthal with subtitles; unlike Racquel, Darryl does her own grunts.
Common Law Cabin (Russ Meyer) – Mr. Meyer has a breast fixation to rival Benny Hill. His films are normally excuses for him to indulge it, but are usually entertaining – this one, though, is little more than average.
Cop (James Harriss) – James Woods as a policeman seeking a psycho killer. Nothing new or original in the plot (I feel asleep, missed 30 min and didn’t lose track). The ending, however, is sharp and very effective.
Crimes of Passion (Ken Russell) – Uneven brilliance. Some of the time it’s soap opera, but when Kathleen Turner or Antony Perkins are on the screen it’s electric stuff. Perkins joins Dennis Hopper and Rutger Hauer in the Psycho hall of fame.
Dead Ringers (David Cronenberg) – Understated film compared to DC’s past efforts. Weird, but an excellent performance from Jeremy Irons as BOTH twins. Not sure exactly what it’s about – it’s impressive anyway!
The Dead Zone (David Cronenberg) – For me, one of Cronenberg’s weaker films to date, not least because it’s from a Stephen King (spit!) book. Has some good moments, Christopher Walken is good, and DC’s talent shines through.
Death Line (Gary Sherman) – Dire British 70’s horror, the sort of thing that killed the genre. Taut where it should be cool, relaxed where it should be tense. Some people (Stefan Jaworzyn, Shock Xpress) like it. Damned if I know why.
Die Hard (John McTiernan) – Bruce Willis fighting tower-block terrorists in his bare feet. A violent film, perhaps a bit too flippant now & again, but it is extremely gripping stuff and seems a lot shorter than 130 mins.
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! (Russ Meyer) – More Mayer mayhem, starring Tura Satana as the leader of a gang (well, three) thrill-mad hellcats who kidnap a girl after killing her guy. Nice start & end, middle dull.
Flesh for Frankenstein (Paul Morrisey) – One on the ‘video nasties’ list thanks to it’s gore (viscera spilling out, an unrealistic decapitation) supplied by Carlo (E.T.) Rimbaldi. Silly version, great fun for the most part.
The Fly (David Cronenberg) – A slaughterhouse love story, body horror at it’s most extreme. A lesser director would be overpowered by the FX, while Cronenberg remains their master. The man is a genius. Sick, but a genius.
Fright Night (Tom Holland) – Mildly entertaining reworking of the vampire movie, mostly thanks to Roddy McDowell hamming it up for all he’s worth as a TV vampire hunter.Otherwise normal American-teen-in-peril fare.
Graveyard Shift (Gerard Ciccoritti) – ANOTHER modern vampire story, this one is worse than most. A bit of dull sex, some designer violence and they think they’ve got a movie. Try getting a plot as well, next time.
Heart of Midnight (Matthew Chapman) – A little less attention to style and a little more to content would have helped this strange tale of a haunted whore-house inherited by Jennifer Jason Leigh. Some nice sequences and JJL is pretty as ever.
Metamorphosis (Kenneth Hall) – Endearingly tacky, micro-budget cross between “The Fly” and “Countess Dracula”. Gratuitous nudity (Bobbie Bresee), fair FX and acting ranging from the good (Donna Shock) to the hilarious. Gets better as it goes on.
Motel Hell (Kevin Connor) – Strangely inconsistent film about a motel where the guests end up in sausages. Parts are brilliant black humour, other parts are comparatively slack. Horror for vegetarians?
Personal Services (Terry Jones) – Tho’ I’m no fan of Julie Walters, she is excellent as the prim & proper Madam, even if she’s more 60’s than 80’s. Parts are supremely funny and under it all are sly comments on s*x and modern society.
Rabid (David Cronenberg) – DC’s version of “Night of the Living Dead”, and a far better film than the original. Gradual expansion of the area infected is matched by the increase in the horror. Excellent.
Return of the Living Dead Part II (Ken Wiederhorn) – Not as good as the originals but not as bad as the reviews. Characters too clean and all-American, but some nice effects. Survivable and worth a look.
Robocop (Paul Verhoeven) – By now EVERYONE must have seen this one. Violent, black comedy, satirizing privatisation & big business. Similar style to Verhoeven’s other film, “Flesh and Blood”, but with explosions and no sex.
The Running Man (Paul-Michael Glaser) – [Yes, him from “Starsky and Hutch”!] Schwarzenegger’s best film to date, less mindless shooting, more acting. Criticizes ‘violence as entertainment’ – isn’t this a bit dodgy, coming from Arnie?
Salon Kitty (Tinto Brass) – Paris, 1942. The SS open a brothel to find out which officers are traitors. Somewhere beneath the sub-“‘Allo, ‘Allo” acting and atrocious dubbing is a good film. It’s buried pretty deep.
Scandal (Michael Caton-Jones) – Keeler & Profumo, 1989 style. Good, solid acting, especially John Hurt, though not much attempt is made to explain the motives of the characters. Still, a worthy film and it resists any temptation to glamourise.
Scanners (David Cronenberg) – Less gory than most people think, with just one exploding head at the start and a gruesome climax. Script not quite up to the usual DC standard, still a lot better than the usual ESP film.
Slaves (Russ Meyer) – Seriously trashy tale of plantations, slaves in revolt and Anoushka Hempel as a Grade A dominatrix who comes out with lines like “No white man gets whipped on my plantation unless I do it”! Classic of blaxploitation.
Teenage Doll (Roger Corman) – 1950’s juvenile delinquent picture about a girl who kills a rival in love and has to run from her victim’s gang and the police. Dialogue dated now, acting surprisingly good. Highly watchable.
Terminator – (James Cameron) More Schwarzenegger killing. Interesting idea of altering the present by changing the past, but the film changes pace suddenly too often to work. Grandstand climax, an impressive final 15 minutes.
Trancers (Charles Band) – Cheap B-movie, a cross between “Terminator” (time travel) and “Blade Runner” (Harrison Ford character). Fails to be either, though it is completely acceptable despite this.
Untamed Youth (Howard Koch) – More 50’s trash, with NO pleasant shocks in the acting department! Dire tale of cotton-picking prisoners, complete with appaling songs and rotten acting. Into the “so bad it’s good” category.
Warrior Queen (Chuck Vincent) – Strange film, just 70 mins long (heavily cut?) with minimal dialogue, Sybil Danning not doing as much warring as the title suggests and the destruction of Pompeii footage clearly from about three other movies. Odd.
Videodrome (David Cronenberg) – Excellent film, simultaneously thought- provoking, horrific and exciting. See it at the cinema if you can, the video’s cut heavily. Wonderful. Death to Videodrome!!
Virgin (Catherine Breillat) – Subtitled film, quite reminiscent of “Wish You Were Here”. A typically French film, it deals impressively with the subject matter (an affair between a man and a young girl), treading the smut/twee tightrope very well.
Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Roger Zemeckis) – Technically brilliant film, suffers a little from over-hype; you expect it to be the best movie ever and are disappointed when it’s only very good.
At some point, possibly Issue 3, we’ll be doing a ‘list special’ – eight or nine pages probably of Top or Bottom 10’s/20’s/50’s/100’s. Any topic will be welcome, especially anything to do with films!
Between now and next time, I’m going to investigate the cost of getting printed professionally. Ihope the quotes I get are noticeably cheaper than the Aldershot firm who quoted me 1.67 per copy, without folding, stapling or delivery…
To give me something to compare these against, I’d be quite interested to hear how much you think TC’s worth, or how much you’d be willing to pay for it. I stress this DOESN’T mean we will be going “glossy”, but if it can be done without a massive hike in price, it’s worth a thought.