Bumping and Grinding with the Mad Doctor

Bumping and Grinding with the Mad Doctor

 

Truly successful exploitation flicks don’t have a ton of plot, and “Mad Doctor Of Blood Island” is chock-full of scenes that have only the most tenuous connection.

Such as they all happen on the same island.

The movie does have some of the best gibberish chanting music I’ve encountered this side of a good Satan movie.

There’s a native dance sequence that owes more to Burbank than Borneo, but hey, a girl in a grass skirt is a girl in a grass skirt.

The in-shot zoom, very popular in the 1960s, is employed to great if slightly nauseating effect here, with incessant and rapid zooming used about as often as scary music.

Fuzzy and/or green zombies, nekkid girls running through the jungle, a green blood cult and the best in late 1960s leisure wear.

Even the dubbing is competent.

So settle in for an excellent 90 minutes of cheesy goodness.

Three coils.

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Plan 9 NOT Worst Film Ever

Plan 9 NOT Worst Film Ever

 

I rewatched Ed Wood’s “Plan 9 from Outer Space” recently, and it is a long way from being the Worst Movie Ever Made.

Are we talking incompetence? Then I give you “Manos: The Hands of Fate.” The budget for this film couldn’t handle a belt for the star, whose pants keep falling down. (And no, it’s not for dramatic effect.)

“The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies,” in addition to having no plot, is also a musical.

And “The Terror” is completely incomprehensible from start to finish.

How about high-budget films that are awful? “Dirty Grandpa” comes to mind, with America’s greatest living actor (Robert DeNiro) mugging over mastburbation jokes.

Or the group version, “Last Vegas,” in which DeNiro and other fine actors who really should know better allow their elderly characters to be infantilized.

I review “regular” movies for a newspaper. Nine out of 10 are horrible.

When they aren’t boring, bloated, and banal, they are pretentious, preachy, and predictable.

It’s a miracle “Plan 9 From Outer Space” was made at all. Wood had no money, a dead star, and a cast for whom the term “nobodies” would be flattering.

And yet it is, in a modest manner, quite entertaining.

So what excuse do modern filmmakers offer for high-dollar dreck  like “Dirty Grandpa”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

See Beautiful New Guinea!

See Beautiful New Guinea!

 

 

 

 

 

The best things about Bruno Mattei’s 1980 masterpiece “Hell of the Living Dead” are the grinning zombie extras, the super cool security team, the green fog, and the little kid zombie.

The film is uncontaminated by plot but does stay true to Romero zombie tradition — the creatures must be shot in the head.

And the government is next to useless, of course.

We’re talking egregious and dismissive treatment of natives, as articulated by sleazy Italian TV news guys and unwashed hippies. Old Jeep. Kangaroo. Terrorists in the American consulate, for no apparent reason.

Humungus control panel in the mysterious scientific facility, with lots of guys in lab coats pushing buttons and saying things like “Check the number five configuration.”

Crocodile vivisection. Bad babysitting. Native funeral, with dancing and singing.

Dancing and singing at night, with cheesy synthesizer accompaniment.

Lots of barfing.

Six breasts — two western, two native and bouncing, two National Geographic rejects.

Academy award nomination to Margit Evelyn Newton (as intrepid TV reporter Lia Rousseau), who takes her top off at a particularly critical moment in the non-existent plot.

And atrocious dubbing, which always adds something.

A hearty four coil endorsement for this fine example of bad filmmaking.

 

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Beyond Belief

Beyond Belief

The Beyond is the second film in Lucio Fulci’s Gates of Hell trilogy, and ain’t that special.

It’s pretty gory, which caused a fuss when it was released back in the olden days (1981).

Today, however, it’s difficult to imagine what could possibly cause anything short of a snuff film to be banned, except for obvious things: racism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, transism, treeism, shrubberyism, dentalstudentism…

Oh, I almost forgot Islamophobia! Boy, do I need to check my privilege.

Speaking of privilege, a dopey New York woman named Liza inherits a crappy old hotel in New Orleans and instead of selling it she decides to fix it up because it’ll be great!

Never mind the water in the basement and the dead bodies in the walls and the blind woman in the garden — it’s also a portal to the underworld.

And to severe boredom. For every eye-popping gross-out scene, there are interminable stretches of “I feel…something” and “Where is my wrench?”

It ends unhappily. But you already guessed that.

Disgusting, intermittently. Boring, constantly. Avoid, eternally.

Two coils.

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Lots of this…

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And this…

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Culminating in this…

 

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Earning this
Adventure! Excitement!

Adventure! Excitement!

I have a week off between Christmas and New Year’s, and in the spirit of adventure I am cleaning my apartment from top to bottom, getting some new furniture, and culling the piles of CDs, DVDs and books that threaten me daily.

This is exhausting work. Also dusty.

So last night I sank into the $10 transfer station couch that is going to end its 14 years of service when a new one is delivered day after tomorrow and fired up three films that are adventure stories of one sort or another.

I began with Deathstalker and the Warriors from Hell. This is, the internet informs me, the last sword ‘n’ sorcery flick made by Roger Corman in Argentina.

It is also my favorite of the first three Deathstalker films. (The final two are essentially the same film and of no use to anyone.)

It is my favorite because it features character actor Thom Christopher as the evil warlock Troxartes.

John Lazar does a fine job with the similar character in number two, but Thom gets the edge because he channels Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard.

To wit:

torxartes

Troxartes is simply teeming with evil here.

It also features the famous potato scene, between Deathstalker and the mother/daughter combo who live in the canyon and raise horses and potatoes. That the women are proto-Third Wave feminists goes without saying. (The hair.)

 

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Next up was Monty Python and the Holy Grail, with its rabbit jokes,  discussions of avian migration, and the endless peril. Also French taunting and the brave but somewhat delusional Black Knight.

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I completed the journey from ridiculous to more ridiculous to weird and creepy and ridiculous with A Clockwork Orange, which I haven’t watched in 30 years.

It remains a disturbing film. The Ludovico Technique is particularly gruesome, as is the interior decorating at the DeLarge home.

I’d like to see someone try to make it today. I think it would ruffle a lot of feathers across the political and cultural spectrum.

The Return of Mylar Ovaltine

The Return of Mylar Ovaltine

 

Stray thoughts on “Rogue One” —

  • Would it kill the screenwriters to invent a character with a regular Earth name? “Han Solo” is about as close as you’ll ever get to “Joe Smith” in one of these things. Everyone else has a handle like “Mylar Ovaltine” or “Smarm Jazzbo” and it’s hard to keep it straight.
  • Why don’t the platforms that abound in space cities have guard rails?
  • Computer Peter Cushing was pretty good. No reason not to have a Hammer Films Dracula remake, complete with a computer Christopher Lee and a computer Ingrid Pitt.
  • Forest Whitaker was quite splendid as Don King.
  • The kung fu blind monk was excellent, and I was pleased the filmmakers stayed true to the martial arts movie tradition that only one bad guy may attack at a time.
  • The scene where the Imperial troopers are ambushed by the insurgents could have been an outtake from “American Sniper.”
  • Nice “On the Beach” moment at the end.
The Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Mummy Is Better Than Citizen Kane

The Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Mummy Is Better Than Citizen Kane

The Wrestling Women vs. The Aztec Mummy (1964) is quite possibly the best film ever made. It answers two questions that have always bothered large segments of humanity:

1) Can bad guys really run around on ancient Aztec pyramids in those pointy little shoes without tripping?

2) Can women in tight sweaters and Capri pants really save the world from an Ancient Evil?

 

In this fine film by the immortal Rene Cardona and recut and dubbed by the equally deathless K. Gordon Murray (director of Cell Block Girls and producer of Shanty Tramp and Santa’s Magic Kingdom) , the Wrestling Women get on the trail of some thugs in the pay of the evil Black Dragon who have swiped the sacred Aztec breastplate. The chase goes hither and yon, with many fine wrestling sequences, some of them between the actors’ lips and the dubbed dialogue.

After an enormous amount of plot and the introduction of the “Purloined Letter” theory of hidden camera placement (i.e. if you’re going to spy on someone with a hidden camera just shove it in the bookcase), the breathtaking chase takes us to the Aztec pyramid, which has steps, unlike the Egyptian kind. (See, you get some archaeology with this picture too.)

And soon enough we get the answers to those questions.

The Aztec Mummy is worth the price of admission alone. He makes a heartbreaking “waaargh” sound that really makes you wonder what it’s like to be locked for centuries in an airless room guarding a princess’ remains when all of a sudden bad guys in ill-fitting suits and pointy shoes, and female wrestlers in tight sweaters and missile-silo brassieres come barging in, stirring up the dust and generally making nuisances of themselves.

To sum up: Bad dialogue, worse dubbing. Female wrestlers. Asian female wrestlers. Comic book villains. Unconvincing, wailing mummy. Short neckties and peak lapels. Gratuitous driving back and forth to the ancient pyramid. Capri pants. Girls in tights. The parts that aren’t bizarre are idiotic. Short.

Better than Citizen Kane and a damn sight cheaper to buy, too. Plus the version I have is a two-fer, with Doctor of Doom, which is, if anything, worse.

A heartfelt four coil rating.

(Click here to read a highly academic article that requires 1000 words to reach the same conclusion)