Seven Blood-Stained Orchids (1972)

sevenbloodstainedorchidsposterOn the surface, it’s an odd combination to say the least – a Cornell Woolrich story serving as the basis for an Umberto Lenzi film. Woolrich was the author of several stories during the fifties that were turned into such film noirs as Black Angel and Phantom Lady. Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window was also based on a Woolrich story.

Lenzi is best known as king of the cannibals for his Cannibal Ferox, Deep River Savages, and Eaten Alive films. But he was also proficient earlier in his career with thrillers in the giallo mold including Spasmo and Orgasmo so maybe it isn’t such a surprise that itt all works much better than you would suspect, resulting in an easily digestible confection of mystery, graphic violence, and Antonio Sabato. Continue reading

Full Metal Yakuza (1997)

full-metal-yakuza-dvd-coverThe premise is simple enough: mobster doublecrossed by fellow mobsters gets killed, rebuilt as a cyborg and returns to wreak havoc on those responsible for his death. As director Takashi Miike (Audition, Sabu) notes in an interview contained on the DVD, it was really so simple a premise that it wasn’t conceived by a screenwriter, director, or even a money-grubbing producer, but by a property guy who worked at the studio! Continue reading

Rolf (1984)

rolfcoverMario Siciliano was a pretty minor player as far as Italian scuzz cinema goes with credits on a few spaghetti westerns, a bunch of sex comedies, and Evil Eye. Mario proves though that it isn’t how much you do, but what you do with what you have. Some folks like Lamberto Bava or Bruno Mattei may be willing to share their gifts with us three or four times a year. Others, like Mario, may simply explode one day on the scene and burn brightly for a single film or two before returning to the relative obscurity whence they came. Continue reading

The Web of Silence – A.I.D.S. (1994)

webofsilencetitleI knew I was in trouble right from the beginning when a message appeared on the screen that if this film caused someone to meditate, then it would have been worth the effort. I was pretty sure that when I tracked down a copy of The Web Of Silence – A.I.D.S., it was because it was an Italian movie that was going to either gross me out or make me laugh and hopefully both. I was also pretty sure that I didn’t buy it because I was in need of meditation inspiration. That’s what my day job is for. Continue reading

Concorde Affaire ’79 (1979)

concorde-affair-posterAs directed by Ruggero Deodato (Jungle Holocaust, Dial: Help), Concorde Affaire ’79 manages to create a uniquely Italian take on the airport disaster genre by mixing low budget action (think lots of murky underwater diving scenes), bad special effects (do you think Britain or France was going to let Deodato within a country mile of a real Concorde?), a generous helping of slumming movie stars (Van Johnson and Joseph Cotten? An awesome team – in 1945!), and a story that not only fails to make sense, but whose climax involves a very suspenseful phone call. Continue reading

Zorro in the Court of England (1970)

zorrointhecourtofenglandposter2First off, I should probably disabuse you of the notion that at some point during this film Zorro will be swinging from the curtains in Buckingham Palace and carving a “Z” on the Queen of England’s royal backside.

Zorro is in the Court of England only in the sense that he happens to be shacked up with his manservant Pedrito in the English colony of Bermuda. How he got there all the way from California and why he is surrounded by peasants with Spanish sounding names who are played by Italians is one of those questions best left for director Franco Montemurro. Forty percent of Franco’s five film directing output consists of Zorro movies, so he ought to know, right? Continue reading

Virus (1980)

virus-1980-posterMeteor strike, nuclear war, zombie outbreak. All ways our world could end horribly where the dead are the lucky ones (as the various movie posters would undoubtedly exclaim). But there is another apocalypse we should add to the list. To the top of the list that is. Big budget foreign end of the world movie riddled with actors familiar from mainstream domestic film and TV cashing easy paychecks. Continue reading

Night of the Demons (1988)

night-of-the-demons-dvd-coverNight of the Demons is another one of those movies where a bunch of poorly constructed teen characters (they are all “types” as opposed to people – good girl, douche boyfriend, fat slob, scared black guy, girl who flashes panties as part of a shoplifting ring – the usual horror movie tropes) get stalked and murdered by monsters while trapped in a particular location (in this case an old funeral home). Continue reading

Pinocchio’s Revenge (1996)

pinocchios-revenge-dvd-coverThe real villain in Pinocchio’s Revenge is of course the mother, Jennifer. While it is either her crazy daughter Zoey, her killer puppet Pinocchio or a combination of both of them killing everyone (and by “everyone” I mean exactly two), Jennifer is the self-absorbed defense attorney who allows it all to happen even when she is presented with videotaped evidence that her daughter is insane.

Most parents upon seeing video of their kid arguing with a puppet about who really hurt the boyfriend would be understandably upset, but would also surely see the child needs to be locked up until she stops bickering with a wood carving. Jennifer’s response? She threatens to use her legal resources to have the doctor’s license pulled if he tells anyone about his concerns! Typical defense attorney, right? Continue reading